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Friday, April 11, 2014

Allergy Update: No More!

Carter underwent another round of patch testing this week to foods he had failed a year ago.  Here are the results:

Passed via prick and patch (this year--had failed last year)
zucchini
celery
salmon
banana

Failed via patch (passed prick this year--but had failed patch last year & this year)
shrimp

So, what does this mean?

Since he failed these before, we can't just incorporate them right away.  It will have to follow suit with the other foods he recently re-passed (pork, corn, beef, green beans).  He will have to trial each one for three weeks at a time (and then take at least a three day break before starting another one).  He'll also have to have blood work done before and after each food to see if his blood eosinophil count goes higher.

We just finished our first three week trial, and we did pork.  We've had pork chops and plenty of bacon. (We told him the pork chops were "chicken".) Unfortunately, we never got around to ham.  I didn't dare try lunch meat, since there's a large chance of cross contamination with cheese (usually cut on the same cutter) and I never felt like cooking an entire ham.  

It's so frustrating because we really aren't sure if it's a pass or not!

Since he handles pain so well--it's incredibly hard to tell if he's not feeling well.  Most EOE patients will have a scope and biopsies of their esophagus after a food trial.  We're hoping to not be that invasive, because his prick and patch tests have been accurate so far.  But, where he had failed these before--we're kind of in new, unchartered water.  So, what do we believe?  Do we believe that he just received a false positive last year?  Do we go by last year's fail?  Or, this year's pass?  Do we think his system has gotten better?  I was really hoping for something clear cut, but it's been difficult to tell.

For the first while, it seemed everything was fine.  He wasn't eating it every day like he should--the texture of the bacon I think got to him.  But, I cooked everything in the leftover bacon grease (which is still seen as controversial because some people claim it has to be protein and not just the fat).  I figured either way it was good calories.

Just these last few days he's been waking up early, not wanting to eat very much and being cranky.  Does that mean pork is a fail?  Who knows??!!  Even his doctor isn't sure.  Is he just being a typical two year old?  Is he getting his molars?  Is it his seasonal allergies?  Arg.  It could be any of the above.  I hate to just pull pork from his diet because of some vague symptoms--but I hate to keep feeding it to him.  I guess we could have him scoped, but I don't feel good about that either.  EOE is often a delayed reaction disease, where the damage will gradually build up in the esophagus, so I don't want to be damaging it when we had finally healed it.  We did take the after blood work today, so we'll see what that says.  I'm still not expecting clear cut results because his blood eosinophil count is not considered as definitive as esophagus biopsies and blood eosinophils can go high for multiple reasons--like seasonal allergies and it's been horrible pollen levels this week.  

We've been praying to know what to do and how to move forward.  We're hoping the blood work we get back on Tuesday will give us some indication.  I think if it's still unclear we might just keep it in his diet here and there until he's old enough to tell us how it makes him feel.  

I always think to myself, just let him pass one!  I'm really hoping that banana will be the one from this week's group--although salmon would be such a fabulous protein.

On other big news, one big decision that we made is that we're done testing more foods via prick and patch.  

The prick tests hurt him--because they're literally breaking the skin.  And, the patch tests just rip his back up when we have to pull the tape off.  I have to take the tape off, myself--at home, and it's torture for both Carter and I.  He's BAWLING, begging me to stop and it literally takes all of my strength to pin him down and take them off.  It's misery.  I dread it and no matter if I promise treats, turn on movies...etc...there is no helping it because it's painful, and you can't blame him.  Perhaps it's because I'm pregnant, but I had just had enough this week.  We've done over 150 tests--and many foods have been tested at least twice.  We've been thorough and I think this is a good stopping place.

He honestly used to not mind the tests much, but as he's gotten older he's getting sick of them and I cannot blame him.  He's been such a trooper and has endured sooo much, to still have a restricted diet.  I'm grateful we've done it and that he's been a trooper throughout it all.  But, I feel peace taking a break.  Someday, if he wants to try a new food, it will be his decision, not mine.  I feel like I'm torturing him at this point to try one off foods like egg plant and mango and other non-essentials.  It's not worth it for either of us.

We'll still have plenty of tests--we have to do three week trials on all of the foods mentioned above--so this will last us awhile, but we're not trying any more new ones.  It will take just months to get through these--and that's if we keep up with it after the baby comes. 

I'm hoping for positive, definitive results from the upcoming oral/eating food challenges.  But, I'm trying to be realistic that they could still fail, and I feel like I'm in a good place where we're used to his diet...so anything would be a welcomed addition, but we're not dying to have it either.  I'll keep you posted!

The Truck's Terrible Tragedy

I'm excited to blog about my friend's wedding weekend.  However, I'm waiting to get pictures from my friend's camera.  So, rest assured a happy post will be coming.  The fun wedding guests took up my weekend, hence my lack of Sunday posts.  And now, this is just way too sad to wait until this coming Sunday.

You see, I have, sniff, sniff...well...HAD a truck.

Let's start back.  When I got my license, my Grandparents generously gave me their old car.  It was the typical grandparent car.  It was free and clear, but I had my heart set on a truck.  So, they let me sell it and use it as a down payment on my truck.  I think it was genius of my parents to let me take out a small loan when I was so young.  I got a job to make the monthly payments myself and so by the time I went to college I had learned responsibility, had a PAID OFF set of wheels, and had awesome credit.  It allowed me so much freedom to take better jobs that were off campus, and to not be reliable on others, or mass transit.  I don't know how people do college without a set of wheels!

This truck has seen me through so much.  Buying it at 17, it saw me through high school, moving to Vegas, going to college, getting married...all the way up to driving it pregnant with my second child.

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For awhile, it was the only set of wheels Claudy and I had.  It was even our "get away car" from our wedding reception.  Since I liked to move somewhere different every year of college, it was fantastic to just throw all of my stuff in the back of my truck and move myself.  I also helped countless people move things--a truck was sooo handy and a great and easy way to give service!  I squished friend after friend into my little three-seater.  It saw road trips and it saw dates.  It even taught me how to drive a standard transmission.

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It allowed me have so many fun adventures--like over packing it with inner-tubes to float the Provo river, camping, throwing snowboards in the back of it, to countless make out sessions with Claudy while we were dating.  

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There were so many good memories wrapped up in this little truck.  

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And, as old as it got, I planned on running it into the ground.  It was reliable--in all of the ten years we had it, I hardly had to fix a thing.  Our goal was to either drive it until it ceased working, or if it was still around when we moved to North Carolina we were going to sell it for gas/Uhaul money to drive across the country (since I doubt it would make it across the country).  

Most recently, it was fabulous because it allowed Claudy to go to school while I had the Camry to take Carter to doctor appointments.  I also still drove it to work every day in the afternoon.  

So, I was quite saddened when Claudy called me earlier this week saying he had gotten in an accident.   THANKFULLY Claudy was OK.  For having our truck totaled, it was the best scenario possible.  It wasn't Claudy's fault, and no one was hurt.

Unfortunately, Claudy was on his way home from school when an older lady ran a red light.  He braked, which I think helped, but it was still not in enough time to avoid the collision.

Since my sweet truck was so old, it's hardly worth anything.  Thankfully, the lady's insurance should cover the cost of the truck (still waiting to hear from them...what a long, annoying process for something that wasn't your fault!).  But, we're afraid to buy another older car.  So many cars at this price range are lemons. The only reason why we dared drive something that old was because we KNEW it was in good shape, because we knew we had taken care of it.  

While we're already hating being a one-car family, we're thinking about keeping it this way for a little while.  I only have 34 days of work left until the baby comes.  During my maternity leave, I doubt I'll be going anywhere.  So, if we can just make it until then, I think we'll be golden.  I hate to buy a crappy car, just to have another set of wheels.  I'd rather wait until Claudy graduates so that we can see what kind of a job he gets and if we're moving across the country before getting another one.

We have been praying to know how to be responsible with our money to make it stretch better.  Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise (please, please!).  We won't have to pay for insurance on two vehicles, and little maintenance like oil changes, new tires, gas for two vehicles...etc.  Hopefully we'll see some savings in not having two...hopefully!  

It's only been a few days and we've already had difficulties, been late to appointments, and even poor Claudy had to walk home from a few miles away.  Hopefully we can figure out our schedules and make it work.  

I abhor getting into debt, so I just don't want to go out and get something, and I just don't trust getting something that would fit into the low amount we'll get for the truck.

It's really too bad it happened, and isn't great timing.  We don't need another stresser right before the baby comes--but it did happen and we're surviving.

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Farewell, dear truck.  Thank you for taking me from my late teens to late twenties.  You were a fabulous vehicle and you will be missed!!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

St. George Spring Break

We had hoped to go to Boston for Claudy's dad's memorial over Spring Break, but they decided not to do one.  I felt bad that Claudy had no where to go.  I was glad (as in when I see my paycheck glad) that I could work full days while Claudy could be at home with Carter all day.  But, it just didn't seem right that we had gone from going to Boston to sitting at home.  Thankfully, my grandparents are what some call "sun birds" and they move to St. George for the winter so they can not deal with the cold Idaho winters.  I come from smart folks.

I asked my Grandma Sargent if we could stay with her and she was awesome and said yes.  I was a bit nervous to do that long of a road trip with Carter (3.5 hours) since he hasn't done that long of a road trip since he was 6 months old.

We left early Friday afternoon--loaded down with Skittles, cars, Lays Potato Chips and prayers.  Thankfully he was pretty fantastic.  He had a few meltdowns, but he really was content to sit.  THANK GOODNESS!

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This was the first time we were really relying on someone else to feed us since having all of our issues.  The only other time we've done that is with my friend Alicia--but she is so intimately aware of Carter's eating habits and fabulously creative and flexible that it wasn't a big deal.  I was a little nervous, so we packed an entire cooler of foods Carter could eat.  I don't know why I worried because my Grandma was so sweet and had bought Carter avocados, mandarin oranges, tuna, potatoes, plain chicken....etc.  I even noticed when I borrowed her Samsung tablet (my Grandma is cool with technology like that!) that she had recently googled "wheat free recipes".  It meant a lot that she went to a lot of work to feed my boys.

Once we got there my Grandma had already mapped out some cool parks we could go to.  We went to a fun duck pond and Carter didn't stop running for at least an hour.  It was the perfect way to end the day and help him get tired...or so I thought.  He put up a bit of a fight going to bed in the pack-n-play.  He's always not been a good sleeper unless it's in his own crib.  But, we got him down.  Claudy and I stayed up vegging and when we went to bed, Carter decided to get up.  He was in our room and I was just too tired to fight him.  I should have though, because I don't think I've slept that bad since I had a newborn.  My Grandma just had a full sized mattress--and it was Claudy, me, my pregnant belly and a very squirmy toddler.  One of my limbs was hanging off the bed at all times.

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I was a bit sad because we had planned to spend pretty much all day Saturday enjoying the outdoors, but it was sooo windy that we only made it like half a day.  We still got in some fun adventures like going to the carousel, Carter getting attacked by the water park (he didn't realize he was standing on a splash pad and when it turned on it doused him and his reaction was PRICELESS) and going to another duck pond.

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It was a bit hazardous making sure that Carter didn't throw things at my Grandma (yes,  he's STILL in that stage) or making sure he didn't break anything.  He loved seeing her fireplace, and having someone new to show off for.

My Grandma was actually leaving on a cruise early Sunday morning--which made it even nicer of her to let us stay when she had to worry about leaving the country.  So, we were left with lots of yummy leftovers and locked up after we got up Sunday morning.

While we didn't get to spend a whole lot of time with her, I enjoy any chance I get to see my Grandma.  I'd like to think I'm a lot like her.  I love her hard work ethic, her frugalness, and her love of education and travel.  I'm so glad she had us!

Kind of last minute, but we decided to stop and see my Grandpa Sargent on our way out.  He also lives in St. George.  I've just recently started building a bond with him (long story, with lots of family drama) and so I'm especially glad I did.  I think some people in my family may not agree that we've mended things, or that I allow him to be in Carter's life.  But, the few times that I've seen him, I walk away feeling good and right about it.  While I don't agree with the way things went down a long time ago, and still wish things were united and different, I'm glad that those choices don't continue to affect Carter.  I'm really glad we can put aside our differences and make some positive memories before time runs out.  We saw their place in St. George for the first time (even though he's been there for years).  And, it was so adorable because my Grandpa really likes to hold Carter, and Carter even let him.  For some reason, Carter gravitates towards men.  He and Carter even took a walk around the block, and Carter was content to hold his hand the entire time (in fact, I think he was pulling my Grandpa).

It was so sweet to see Carter give both sets of my Grandparents kisses goodbye.  I know he won't remember these trips, and of course I'm a doofus and forgot to take any pictures with them.  However, I'm really glad that I'll have these memories, and that I've taken the time and effort to build a relationship with both of the people that I come from, so that when Carter is old enough I can tell him about them.  Claudy has never met any of his grandparents--either adopted or natural.  I always took for granted that I lived close by to mine and had them in my life.  Seeing what a drastic change Claudy experienced growing up--not having those roots and those connections drives me to make sure I take advantage of what I have.

I'm very blessed to still have all of my Grandparents alive, and that they can spend time with Carter.  I'm so glad we live close (enough) to them and that we can see them every so often.  Family and friends are what make life worth living.

I'm so glad we got away for a bit.  Sometimes even just a nice long drive, with the chance to talk and think is relaxing.  I hope it was as good a getaway for Claudy as it was for me (especially since he had to do the driving!).

As much as I'm looking forward to Claudy being done with school, I'll sure miss Christmas and Spring break!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Latest Allergy News--Including BACON!

Since Carter had a clean scope at the end of the year, our allergist decided to start re-resting him to foods he had previously failed--because there can be a lot of false positives with prick and blood testing.  He wanted to do them in the order that we had originally done, and wait to test them until it had been a year of avoiding them to see if he had outgrown any of them.  

Oh, boy.  I was hoping for less appointments this year--and was thinking we were done with the 45 minute commute each way once we had a clean scope, but it looks like we'll stay right on track from last year.  At least we don't have to re-rest the ones that passed!  And, I should be grateful that we have such a dedicated allergist and the ability to do so many tests.  Just remind me of that after a three hour appointment when I'm pooped!

We did our first re-testing in February.  I didn't write about it because I didn't want to jinx a thing.  We tested to some of the basics, and he still failed some of them like wheat, peas, and others.  BUT...he passed corn, beef, pork and green beans.  

Unfortunately, our allergist was going out of town for a month, so we couldn't do the 2nd testing (patch testing) until then.  I was on pins and needles.  We were also going to patch test him to gelatin, kiwi and mushrooms (new ones) so those three weeks went by really slow.  

I'm not sure if you read labels, but gelatin is in EVERYTHING.  Some people just thought I wanted Carter to be able to have jello.  Yes, I'm Mormon, but...gelatin is in so much more...like just about every chewy candy.  It's in marshmallows, Starbursts, gummy bears, peach rings...etc.  He could have everything on the ingredient list, but gelatin so he's never had them, so this would be huge.  Since he clearly passed the prick test (which is for anaphylaxis) we splurged and we gave Carter some marshmallows and made rice krispy treats (using coconut oil instead of butter) a few times just because we were so hopeful.  We've never given in like that.  We were such rebels!!

We went this past Tuesday to finally place the patches (ie second round of tests).  Poor Carter said when we pulled up "stickers on back?".  He knows the routine all too well!  We then went back on Friday to have the results read and I held my breath.  Imagine my surprise when he passed every single one.  

Passed both prick and patch testing:
corn
beef
pork
green beans
kiwi
mushrooms
gelatin

I was uber excited and picturing ALL SORTS of recipes.  Unfortunately, my allergist burst my bubble a bit.  We were free to add in kiwi, mushroom and gelatin.  But, because Carter had failed corn, beef, pork and green beans before we had to introduce only one at a time, for three weeks at a time.  The real kicker: he has to get his blood drawn before and after each new food introduction to see how his eosinophil counts are in his blood.  Poor guy, he hates getting his blood drawn (as do I.)  We also have to watch him closely to see if he seems like he's reacting.  Considering EOE can have a huge variety of symptoms, we'll have to be very vigilant and should probably food journal.  His allergist also wants us to make sure he has at least 20 servings before we conclude a trial.  So...I really hope he'll like these, since I'll have to fit them in.  

At first, I was still feeling ecstatic.  Those foods are HUGE.  I mean, I had literally just been praying for one, so to get all of them is like winning the EOE lottery.  Just pork alone will help his calorie count by miles.  I mean...hello...BACON.  What an amazing thing to share with my child.  And, beef...another protein?? Yes, please!  And, green beans is one of my favorite veggies that I haven't had in over a year.  And, corn is in a gazillion things...I'm giddy just thinking of corn chips, corn bread, corn tortillas, corn on the cob....  

But, Satan is sure funny.  He gets at you at your weakness, and for me, it can be being negative.  After a little while I started thinking...just to give my child a piece of bacon, he/we have had to endure: 2 prick tests, 1 patch test (which equals four appointments) and two blood draws.  Holy crap.  Why do things have to be so hard for him?  And, what if I give it to him, he loves it and I have to take it away because he starts to react to it?  Most parents just think...I bet my child would like this, go to the store, buy it, cook it and hand it over without another thought.  We had to put in sooo much time and effort just to enjoy the basic pleasures of life.  This royally sucks.  

This then results in me sometimes have a hard time sympathizing.  Sometimes (thankfully not all the time) I get in a bad spot where a mother of a "normal" child will complain her child had to get shots, or has a cold...or something typical and I'm thinking...do you know the crap my child has to endure?  Do you know just this week I had to hold him down while he was begging me to stop and crying "owie" while I had to rip off his patch tests?  Have you had to rush your child to the hospital, barely breathing because you wanted to share your yogurt with him?  Have you sat at his bedside in the hospital crying?

I guess it's just something that I'm going to have to struggle with and hopefully learn from and become better from, because I know I don't like this feeling--so hopefully being so open and honest on my blog will be the first step.  I'd like to think I'm compassionate when I'm in a good spot, but I can sure easily slip into "wo is me and my child" mode.  But, I'm sure parents who have children with cancer could say "boo hoo" to EOE.  And, round and round it could go until we all only felt sorry for ourselves and never have compassion towards others.

So, I'm going to keep trying to be positive and grateful at the amazing results (and pray it's not getting my hopes up).  In the mean time, I'm going to pick bacon as our first food challenge.  I've already stocked up on two packages today and am DYING to make it for Carter tomorrow.  Since it's salty, I think he'll like it.  If not, we may need to get his head checked too!

Go ahead and enjoy some bacon too and think of us!  We'll hold our piece up in the air and do a bacon solute with you.  And, as always I'll chronicle what happens.  With all of the "this is positive", "now it's not" I'm sure glad I've kept this extensive journal of his food history so that I can keep it all straight.  I keep praying someday Carter will read all of this, after he's down to none--or even just a few allergies--and go...wow...I don't even remember that, but am sure glad you went to all that trouble for me...now let me thank you by giving you a rest home in Hawaii...

Goodnight dear blog, I'm off to dream of bacon and retiring in Hawaii.  It's going to be a good night!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Top 8 Free Lemon Bundt Cake

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I'm normally not a citrus gal.  If I'm going to have a dessert, it had better have chocolate in it...and hopefully in multiple places.

But, pregnancy is an odd thing, my friends.  That, and my son LOVES citrus, so I figured this would be a hit with him.

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As with most Cybele recipes I felt it made a total mess (she's all about separate bowls for this and that...and I'm typically not).  Back in my regular baking days, I would just ignore and throw it all in.  But, since these recipes are already so different, I follow her directions religiously.  Hopefully someday I can simplify them.

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However, once you see this guy diving in to lick the bowl, you know it's worth it.

Things I would change from the original recipe: I wouldn't mind for it to be a bit more lemony.  Perhaps next time I'll do 1.5 lemons for lemon zest.  I am also a glaze fanatic, so I will definitely be making more glaze.  The outside is also a tad bit crunchy, so I'll bake it for 5-10 minutes less next time.  However, since keeping it in my covered cake carrier the outside has softened considerably.

That being said--it is delicious and light.  Each of us--me and my boys--have already had multiple pieces and Carter keeps asking for "cake".  WIN!

*You'll notice that she calls it a lemon poppy seed bundt cake in her book.  Carter so far has been allergic to all seeds, so I just omitted this to be safe.  If you can handle them, I'm sure it'd be a great addition.*

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Top 8 Free Lemon Bundt Cake
Taken from Cybele Pascal's The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook

Ingredients:
3/4 cup rice milk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (My lemon only produced about 1/8 cup lemon juice, so I had to supplement with bottled lemon juice from my fridge)
Zest of 1 lemon (I would recommend 1.5 lemons)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 T Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup rice milk (I find a whisk does this best)
3 T canola oil
2 t yellow food coloring (I used 3 drops)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
4 t double-acting baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup poppy seeds (I omitted)
1 recipe lemon glaze (recipe follows)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 10-in bundt pan--she recommends doing it with flour as well, but just canola spray was plenty for me.

Combine rice milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest and set aside.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and mixed egg replacer on medium speed.  Beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the canola oil and food coloring, and mix until lemon colored, about 1 minute.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour mix, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, alternating with the rice milk mixture, mixing on low until smooth, about 1 minute.  Fold in the poppy seeds.

Pour batter into the bundt pan.  Bake in the center of the oven for 50 minutes, or until lightly golden on top and the edges are a light golden brown and pulling away slightly from the pan, rotating the pan halfway through.  Remove from the oven, let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.  Let cool to room temperature before glazing.  Let the glaze set before covering the cake.  Store on the counter, not in the fridge or it will dry out.  Let rest overnight to meld the flavors.

Lemon glaze
Makes 1/3 cup

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2-3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice, adding 1 T of juice at a time, until the glaze is smooth and thin enough to drizzle.  (I would recommend making 1.5 or double if you like it slathered like I do.)

**This is in no way sponsored by Cybele.  She has no idea who I am.  I'm just a desperate allergy mom trying to find stuff that works and share it with those who might also need it.**

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Scattered

This week has been a pretty average week, so I'm just going to share scattered thoughts, since none of them amount to a post on their own:

--It's Claudy's spring break!  Which is great for him, but too-responsible me has told my work that I'd go in for full days.  I'm not looking forward to working all day while my boys are at home...but it will help save up for the new baby.  I guess I should look on the bright side and be grateful my work allows me to get extra hours.  And, I normally get home later at night (because of going in late in the afternoons) so it will be great to get off at 5pm and have an entire evening all together.  If any of you know of fun, evening activities we could go to as a family, let me know!

--The weather has been fabulous.  For the first of March it's been high 50's...and with the sun out it's felt like pure spring.  I took Carter to the park and he had forgotten that he likes slides...or perhaps they're too daunting this early in the season.  Instead, he fancied himself with chasing/throwing wood chips at me.

--Carter has discovered "Spider Man" on netflix.  Oh, boy.  Like we need him whining for yet ANOTHER TV show.  Sometimes I hate TV...it's great when I need to get dinner done, but then I wish he'd forget about it cuz he always wants it on and thinks I'm a bad guy for making him play.  Why is it soo addicting??

--I had my monthly OBGYN appointment (28 weeks).  I've finally gained enough weight!  After only gaining 5 pounds in the first 24 weeks, I gained six pounds in the last month.  And, I've felt it.  I wish it would be slow and steady instead of BAM here I am!  But, I was sooo relieved.  I'd rather be a whale, than think that my baby isn't healthy/growing enough.  I also had an ultrasound to check the placenta fluids and all is well, so that is no longer a concern either.  PHEW!  I also passed the glucose test (with Carter I failed it the first time and was borderline even on the second test.)  And, to top it all off I got to see sweet Calvin in the ultrasound again and he held up a #1 sign with his hand.  So fun.

--I feel dumb, but I JUST discovered that the Provo Towne Mall has a play place for kids.  We always drove up to Orem.  But, I have to say I like this one even better.  The Orem one I think is for older kids.  Plus, this area is confined.  Carter ran off at the Orem one and half scared me to death.  It took Claudy and I like ten minutes to find him and I was certain someone had stolen him because they wanted an adorable toddler.  Carter loves it and so do I!  Thanks to my friend Colette for telling me about it a few weeks ago.  Her son and mine had fun playing...and she spoiled us with his first carousel ride at the end...plus we topped it off with french fries and lemonade.  Carter was in heaven!  We've been back multiple times since.

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--We were so incredibly blessed!  My mini laptop bit the dust a few weeks ago.  While I should have expected as much, since it wasn't that expensive, I was devastated.  We only have the two laptops, and Claudy is constantly on his for school.  It's where all my recipes are, it allows me to blog, and I take it with me to UFAN meetings to take notes.  It's been my companion and I shuddered to think what it'd be like with no Internet access (since my phone doesn't have it either.)  THANKFULLY a very kind-hearted, generous fellow at my work's IT department fixed it for free.  I gave him some snickerdoodles, but that definitely can't repay him for his awesomeness.  Thank goodness for kind people!!!!

--Carter had his first rice krispy treat!  He passed the prick test or gelatin (which is in marshmallows).  Normally, I wouldn't dare give him something until he's passed both the prick and patch allergy test...but I just couldn't contain myself.  And, he seemed to have no bad reactions to it.  It was fun to have a treat the whole family could have that didn't include some expensive gluten-free flour mix.  We did sub out coconut oil for butter, but other than that it felt pretty average...which was great!

Onto another great week!

Best Sister EVER

I remember being QUITE upset when I found out that my mom was having a girl.  I was six, so I was old enough to understand that I'd have to share my toys and clothes, so I had really hoped for a boy.

How short sighted I was!

My sister has just been more and more incredible as she's gotten older, and is truly the best aunt.  Like so good that I've thought to myself, "Crap, she's set the bar high.  What am I going to do when she has kids??".

Point in case:  this weekend.  My sister called me up and was like, "Hey, I bet you could use a break and I'd like to spend time with Carter; could we have him spend the night?"  Then, to top it off they took him to his favorite place: Chick-Fil-A, and she's making roast (one of my fav things!) so that when we come to get him we can enjoy a delicious meal together.

Seriously, does life get any better???

Claudy and I have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  I made a garlic afredo chicken and pasta for dinner which we scarfed down.  Normally, we can't have cheese/dairy with Carter so it was heavenly.  Then, we went out to a movie--and it didn't matter what time it started or got over!  In fact, we went out for ice cream after.  It was great to not rush home to a babysitter.

And, the best part?  Sleeping in until 9:53 this morning.  AHHHH.

Oh yeah, and I'm about to go take a LOONNNGG shower, and then go to church where I will not be chasing a toddler up and down the isles.

My tired, pregnant self has so enjoyed this break and it's all thanks to my incredible sister and brother-in-law.  I am truly lucky to have them both in my life, as is Carter.  I'm sure he's been having a blast.  I do miss him though, and hope he'll want to come home with us after the fun weekend he's had.

I hope you too have had a wonderful weekend.  If not, you might want to invest in an awesome sister like mine.