Friday, January 25, 2013

My Hard-Working Husband

In May, my hard-working hubby graduated with his B.A. in Organization Leadership. We were all so proud of this accomplishment. He had been working so hard writing papers, putting together presentations and doing lots of reading and homework to work toward his goal. He graduated with honors and with a higher GPA than me. He earned it.

Richard with his mom and sister

Richard with his mom and Emilio


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wellness, Wholeness and Sickness

Ack - cold/flu season you are NOT my favorite. This pretty much sums up last February and March and I'm really hoping that everything we have learned this last year will help us fare better this time around. 

Eli got really sick again last year and it seemed we might be on the same path we were taking when he ended up hospitalized in 2010. We had been relatively healthy October-January and I thought we might escape unscatched. WRONG. February saw lots of illness and antibiotics and by March Eli was still battling off and on high fevers. We thought he was getting cold after cold after cold and then his fevers would spike and he'd end up on antibiotics again because of ear and sinus infections. And he would get better after a couple of days of treatment only to relapse with more fevers a few days later. At one point, his pediatrician recommended 30 days of expensive antibiotics. It worked to make him better, but I have my opinions about excessive antibiotic use and over-prescription and I needed more answers. Since Eli got so sick in 2010, we've always been told that he has allergies and asthma and that we should expect to be in and out of the pediatrician's office on a routine basis. 

Arsenal of wellness?


Taking his own temperature
 I needed to know what else we could and should be doing to keep him healthier. I didn't want to keep reacting to his sickness with drugs, but instead wanted to boost his immune system and keep him healthy and able to fight of what ever was bogging him down.

We went to a wholistic wellness doctor in May (which I just got the bill for - YIKES) and pushed his pediatrician for allergy testing. His blood test came back positive for a dairy allergy and pet allergy. Hello Puggy who sheds copious amounts of dog fur. The wholistic doctor confirmed the dairy allergy based on some other unpleasant symptoms and constant mucus and we embarked on a dairy free lifestyle for Eli. Not a super hard transition considering he doesn't like milk or melted cheese and has never wanted to eat quesadillas, grilled cheese, mac n cheese or any other gooey cheese food. But there is dairy in a host of other foods he did like, such as ranch, frosting, baked goods, chocolate, etc. 

I recently read that drinking too much milk as a baby can sometimes cause a dairy allergy. Eli drank WAY too much milk as a toddler, which actually caused anemia when he was 18 months old
I've been an avid label reader for awhile now and I just had to pay better attention to ingredients like casein, whey, etc. With food allergies on the rise, most packaging specifically mentions milk, soy, nuts and wheat. I substitute almond milk in baking, which I actually like better than cow milk. I bring his own snack for school if there is something that has milk in it on the menu. It takes more time and better planning, but it has been a great change. 

However, going dairy-free wasn't enough to keep Eli from getting colds and fevers and he had more illness when school began. I pushed his pediatrician to see an Ear Nose Throat (ENT) specialist in August. His pediatrician had nonchalantly mentioned a potential adenoidectomy and I need to explore this option. Based on Eli's history, the ENT believed that we wouldn't need to remove tonsils or adenoids and that we just needed to aggressively manage Eli's allergies the right way, which we hadn't been doing thus far. His pediatrician had recommended Claritin and a steroid inhaler but had only directed using them during allergy season (October - May) even though he didn't have "seasonal" allergies. 

He is now taking allergy medicine twice a day, we purchased a Hepa air filter for his room and he takes a nose spray before bed. He is also being treated as if he has a dust allergy. I am happy to report that he has fought off more than one cold since then. He also battled a small virus where he got a low-grade fever that didn't require fever-reducer and went away on it's own. Progress! 

I try to avoid all of the flu hype circulating around right now. Being off of Facebook certainly helps to avoid the constant feed of Flu Watch 2013. Here's to a healthy, February & March.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Batter Up! The Bats are at Bat

The kids played baseball/t-ball for the first time this last year. It was a fun experience. It wasn't true t-ball, because there was an unpredictable and inconsistent pitching machine that lobbed 5 pitches at the kids before the tee was brought in, which it almost always was.

Since Isabella already had an activity (dance) and Eli had been begging to do an activity, we signed them up for baseball. With Eli's 4th birthday in April, he just made the cut, which means he was actually only three years old when the season started in March. In hindsight, he was probably a little young, especially because he was in a league of 4-6 year olds. There is a big difference in size, maturity, attention span, listening skills, etc. between a four year old and a six year old. Not to mention, we ended up on a team with a first-time coach, who insisted that she wasn't the coach, just the manager. Okay. 

Isabella decided that she isn't fond of standing up for long periods of time, sweating or participating in a whole lot of running. I think that's baseball. The season started in March, but by early summer we were starting to experience some warmer weather temperatures and we're grateful for early morning game times. Those 12-2pm games were H-O-T!

This picture of Isabella pretty much sums up how she felt about the baseball season. Ha! 

She got on a base!

Crying in the outfield.

Having waaaaay too much fun.

Sa-wing batter!


Baseball is exhausting.

Post-game In-n-Out treats

Best friends

Trophy Time!


By the end of the season, they finally stopped playing in the dirt and got serious and then baseball was over. Isabella decided she had enough of was going to stick to indoor activities where there is air conditioning. Eli enjoyed baseball but wanted to take a break from jumping right in to winter ball. Now he says he misses it and wants to play again. We might try soccer next and he can't wait until the junior golf course is open.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Patch of Pumpkins

The Pumpkin Patch is an annual tradition. We have gone to the same patch for the last couple of years. We had fun at Peltzer Farms in 2010 and 2011 and fun at the Live Oak Pumpkin Patch in 2008 and 2009  I think we need to get into the Pumpkin Patch business, because these places are EXPENSIVE and we don't even buy their pumpkins, but by the time you ride the train, go on a pony ride, mine for precious "gems" and pet the animals, your invested pretty heavily.
It was great fun to pick up the pumpkins.

And sit on the huge ones.

The last couple of years they have been able to ride on the same ponies, Rusty and Domino.  

 Domino was still in business!
Woah Domino!
 Rusty was taking a break this time around, so Eli chose a different pony.
 The goats are crazy and try to eat your clothes.
Crazy goats.

They only like you if you have food.

Biggest one in the patch!

That's $1/tickets x 4 tickets x 4 people = $16 train ride

At least the corn maze is free.

Mining for gems

Train ride fun.


Looks like we are going faster than we are. 
We might choose a different patch this year to switch it up a bit. So stayed tune until...October...ooooooh! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Will We Ever Find the Perfect Dance Studio?

Isabella starting taking dance lessons in August of 2011. Well, if I'm being 100% accurate, she actually took a couple of lessons when she was three and she just kept leaving the room and opening and closing the door to make sure that I was still waiting for her outside. 

She had her first performance in Christmas 2011, which was a Christmas Recital. For the time being, I can't recall the name of the song. I'm sure it was something Christmas-y and this is why I should have never stopped blogging. I know I have a recital program somewhere and I'll have to look it up. My brain is TOO full. ::sigh::

She had her end of the year performance, which I recently documented here

We switched studios for the new dance year, which began in August 2012. I wanted to see her perform more, without being in some demanding midriff-wearing, fake eyelash sporting, booty short donning, made up doll looking older than she is dance competition team. I wanted to find something similar to what I participated in when I was younger, but it sadly doesn't seem to exist. SO, I found a new studio that performed at different small events throughout town. And they did perform more, at places like the...animal shelter. Watching her dancing was my highlight!

Dancing to "Christmas Island"

Fake hair on a SIX YEAR OLD?!

Such concentration!

With daddy after her show.
Fake hair? I did not sign up for the fake hair. Had I known there was fake hair in our future, I probably would have explored more studio options. Even Isabella was opposed to the fake hair that didn't even look like real hair. Little girls' hair is prettier than a synthetic curly mop on top of their cute little faces. So, we finished out the year with a Christmas recital (I didn't take pictures, just video). I was also misinformed with this studio's assurance that typical enrollment usually numbered somewhere around 60 dancers, which was actually more like 30, and 8 of them were in practically every routine. On to the next studio!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Happy 6th Birthday Isabella

We haven't done birthday parties in a couple of years, but Isabella was turning 6 and she wanted an Under the Sea party. This was a fun party to put together because there are so many possibilities. Here are a few pictures of the fun.

Sweet Dessert Station

Shell Chocolate Candy


Coral Pretzel Rods

Crab Cake Pops

Aquarium Cake Pops

Sugar Cookies


Shark Pinata

Take that, Jaws!

Time for cake!
Grandma and Grandpa with Bella

Grandma, Bella and Auntie Abby

Fun birthday gifts.

We are all a little bit crazy, some more so than others.

Bella and Auntie Abby