Monday, September 24, 2012

Crash Course in Allergies

Today was the long-awaited allergist appointment for N, where I was going to get all my questions answered. And I did, but like all of life, things are just a bit different than you expect them to turn out.

1. Does N have a milk allergy? A: no. He has a milk sensitivity. You've already done the test: he got better on a dairy free diet. Suggest testing with lactose-free milk to determine wether it's lactose or milk once and for all.

That was my big question, and I was really hoping for more information and time spent discussing the topic, but he was patient with me and repeated the same answer in many different word combinations: no milk allergy, lady.

2. Does he have seasonal allergies? A: no...but yes. Huh? I brought him here for a milk allergy, but now you're ordering a skin test that does not test for milk even though I clearly see a "milk" vial in that fancy allergy test box. What's going on? Are you testing for a milk allergy or not? I'm sure he's got seasonal allergies like ragweed or hay fever, that's why I give him Zyrtec! Of course I didn't say all this, just some of it (are you sure you don't want to test for milk??), and allowed the skin test to continue. N was a gem and only wiggled when the nurse scratched his back. She also allowed him to choose the marker to number his skin 1-20, so his back in the photo looks much worse than it was- he chose red.

3. So what are the results? Mold. Outdoor mold allergy season begins in March and increases in severity until November in Minnesota once everything freezes.

That's when I had an "ah-ha" moment, to use a teacher term: when I "got it." 1. He seems allergic to everything (and by that I mean milk and pollen) because mold is ALWAYS present outdoors (fortunately we have no known mold in the house). The only non-mold months are during cold and flu season! Not milk, not pollen but MOLD. Who knew?
2. His hospitalization for asthma/pneumonia occurred last October, in the peak of mold season (think decaying wet leaves). Now I see the connection and am sure it was an asthma attack. I distinctly remember an informal photo shoot in a leaf pile last fall, and I'm wondering if it was the day before that happened. No more leaf piles this year!

3. Because allergies are genetic (Hubs meets Dr. H in 2 weeks) it is possible that N will develop more allergies as he ages. I'm certain that Hubs' allergy test will yield many more positives, so it will be helpful to know what to look for in N in the future.

Today was a crash course in allergies for me. Now I'm going to stock up on Zyrtec and get some lactose free milk (still a bit leery about that experiment). N was rewarded for his excellent cooperation with a McD's breakfast sandwich and juice. What a sweetie

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dang It!

The five of us were headed to St. Paul to visit the Italian Festival and eat some good food from Cossetta's, (hooray for cannoli!) when Hubs stopped the van short at a light.
"Dang it!" M shouted.
I looked across at Hubs quizzically.
"Dang it!" N echoed with appropriate inflection.
"Wonder where they learned that?" I asked.
"Guys, we don't use that word," Hubs responded.
"What's dang it?" N asked.
"What's dang it?" M repeated.
"It's like oh bumpers, or oh carrot sticks," I tried explaining using expressions from their favorite Disney. Jr. Show.
"Dang it!" M yelled again.
"DANG IT!" N yelled, besting his brother.
"Ok guys, knock it off. Where did you hear that anyhow?" I said.
"I may have said that when I changed N's fourth dirty diaper this afternoon," Hubs confessed (I think to avoid being tattled on).
"Dang it! Dang it Dang it!" The boys sang in the back seat.
"Well, I'm glad you said dang it and not something else."

Dang it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stuff I Made...Wibbit!

I guess I just have a lot to say this week.  I find that happens when Hubs is traveling and it's not warm enough to spend all day outside.  Not that I'm complaining!  I'm just waiting till it warms up in the afternoon to take the boys to the playground.  I do love fall.  I have a peck of apples waiting to be sauced, a gallon of cider in the fridge waiting to be spiced, and bins and bins of yarn waiting to be crocheted.  And a gas fireplace to sit near while I eat and drink and create all kinds of fun things.

But I think I blog more when he's gone because I feel the need to "talk" to normal adults while I'm home with three three and unders. Not because they don't talk, though....

So last night I blathered on and I think I touched a cord!  I asked "does anyone really MAKE the things they post on Pinterest?"  Holy YES, and I have very creative friends!  I've said that before but these were two more talented ladies.  One responded by telling me all about her "Stuff I Made" board (upon where I discovered how to "find" and "follow" people on Pinterest) and another made a Pinterest board (I think last night, but I'm not sure) called "Stuff I actually made from Pinterest!"  I saw a whole lot of cute arigurimi (not sure about that spelling) toys, little stuffed crocheted animals, but I'm sure it has a much more sophisticated definition, and super-gourmet recipes which look absolutely fantastic.

Which got me to thinking I ought to show you what I've been working on so diligently in the evening this week: my kids' winter hats.  The ones I made last year were my first attempt and not terrible looking, but ill fitting with many errors.  So I recently found some free patterns online and printed several off, both for the kids and for Christmas gift ideas, and let the kids choose which ones I'd make for them. 

M saw what I was doing on the desktop and found the Lightning McQueen pattern on the website I was looking at and asked for that one.  I'll be honest, it's not my favorite, but if he likes it and will wear a hat this winter, so be it.

I thought N would also choose McQueen, but he chose the green frog, which I was happy about.  That's the one I wanted to make for him.

Of course, I chose C's owl hat, the one you saw a few days ago.

I stayed up late putting the froggy eyes together because N asked me about 100 times yesterday when his "fwoggy" hat would be finished.  It was worth staying up late (and getting very little sleep last night NOT due to crochet but my crazy children) to see him hopping around the house this morning crying "WIBBIT!  WIBBIT!"

As if they're not cute enough, I just noticed N is holding c's hand!!

Ka chow!



Two Cute Pics

To make up for the lack of pics in my previous post, I give you M choosing his pumpkin on Sunday afternoon (doesn't he look like a first grader?) and N's pattern creation at ECFE Monday morning. I sat with him as he carefully pegged each row a different color, then held it up to me and said with a huge smile, "it's your birf-day cake and candles! Bwow dem out!" yes my birthday is next week and the boys are so excited; I've promised them a blue/green cake (their request) and the birthday horns and hats again. So so cute!

P.S. to answer your question, I'm up bc I don't sleep well when Hubs is traveling. I've fed the baby, changed M's first night time accident, and investigated a strange noise in the lower level. I think it's the Internet modem, but it quit (making noise) so I guess I'll try to soon as that train passes through town. Thankful we gave no agenda tomorrow except washing sheets...may as well change all the beds and make a day of it. And brew some coffee. Oh yes I'm so back on the java wagon.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Deep Thoughts by K. Handy

I know this is an election year and there are other terrible things happening in the world, but these are the questions rolling around my skull today (and the part where you discover I'm as deep as a wading pool):

1. How old are these two postcard stamps and will they be enough to mail the two random Australia postcards I gave the boys to "write"?

2. Is that oh so faint humming sound in my kitchen coming from the oven and is it related to the oven's inability to light sometimes?

3. Will my house EVER be clean again? I feel like I'm bailing the Titanic with a soup spoon.

4. Does anyone ever actually MAKE the craft/recipe pinned onto Pinterest? I finally am figuring it out, and love finding great ideas for my home, but I honesty don't think I'll get around to doing any of them...until I'm a stay at home mom whose kids are in school all day, which I'm beginning to think everyone on Pinterst is or wants to be.

5. What does it say about me when a friend tells me she's pregnant and my first thought is "glad it's you not me?" Am I a bad friend?

6. Will people think my hand made Christmas gifts are cheap and corny? Just because I think hand made gifts are special and unique, will others appreciate that I spent time and effort on them?

7. Whatever happened to the Jack Handy skit on SNL? When was the last time I saw that show, anyhow? Did anybody catch that reference?

8. How fast are my kids going to grow this fall and winter? I have scads of 3T clothes which fit in the waist but I can tell will be too short soon.

9. Does anyone cut a 4 month old's hair? C's flow hawk was so long and thin after his bath it wouldn't stand up. Now he's got the old man comb over and balding rim around the edges and long three inch strands behind both ears. Good thing it's hat season.  And that he's already so cute.

10. How many activities should I sign me and the kids up for this fall? Should I join MOPS?  I wish I could do housework while at home with them but if I'm honest we are all happier and the day goes better if we do an outing in the morning. But then what about having time at home? Or getting sick? On the other hand, what about going bat poop crazy this winter? How do those day care providers cope? For the first time ever I understand why women took Valium decades ago (maybe still do...I self medicate with food).

11. Will N ever potty train? What's the average for a normally developing child? I heard age 3, then 3 years 3 months, both of which he's now passed. Now I'm hoping for 3 and a half (thanksgiving) or at the very least, Jan 12, a year from the date I first started training him. I'm kinda going crazy with this.

12. Did anyone read to the end of this? I've rambled incoherently, but it kept me from yelling at my kids the last half hour until they fell asleep (another awesome no nap day!) and from trolling Pinterst and Facebook aimlessly.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Baking Binge

There *might* be something wrong with me. I went on a baking binge this morning. It went like this:
1. Hubs promises to bring goodies to a church event tonight.
2. I'm like, "you what?!....I mean, great!"
3. I whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough but put it in the jelly roll pan because I didn't feel like baking and switching pans every 7 minutes for an hour.
4. The dumb pilot light isn't working so I put them in the convection oven and forget to set its timer (I know what a snob, I have two ovens. I don't like the convection oven of that helps, which is why I forgot to set the oven timer.)
5. The boys and I are having fun outside when I smell cookies and dash inside to take them out.
6. Upon cooling and cutting, I discover they are as dry as biscotti...which is what we used them for this morning. The boys ate them for snack, too, but they unservable for friends.
7. I also discovered the rice crispy treats were dry and brittle, too. This is what I get for trying to remember two easy recipes from my BRAIN!
8. In an attempt to redeem myself, Good Housekeeping Cookbook and Pampered Bride apron made an appearance this morning, after making French toast from Thursday's bread baking project, and prepping overnight baked French toast for tomorrow. This is war!
7. Banana nut muffins, to use up my father in law's plethora of bananas he bough last month, and the raw walnuts that I discovered I am allergic to.
8. Apple Gingerbread muffins, to use up the molasses Hubs doesn't like and to prove a point to myself I guess that I can bake a new recipe right the first time.
9. Cocoa Brownies. Oh yeah, these are for reals, people. Just for good measure...I don't need no box mix!!!

I used a pound of butter and wiped out a few baking staples in my pantry, but I feel as though I've redeemed myself. And just for the record, I do use box mixes. Just had to stick it to those chocolate chip biscotti cookies this morning.

Also, I was a little distracted last night because what I REALLY wanted to make was C's owl hat.....

Monday, September 10, 2012

How to Make Applesauce

Our favorite apple orchard is open and we've already paid a visit.  Last week we made our first (of many) batches of applesauce.  I like to use MacIntosh - I've learned through trial and trial that they seem to make the appley-est tasting sauce.  Here's our pictorial of how to make Chunky Applesauce.  It's so easy, even my kids can do it!

 1.  Wash 8-10 apples
2. Peel, core, and slice them.  Drop them into the crockpot.
 3. Mix in 1/2-1 C. Sugar, 1 C. water, 1 tsp. cinnamon.
 And mix again.

 4. Cook on low 6-8 hours.  Smash with a potato masher.  Be careful, it's hot!
 5. Cool and enjoy!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Week in Pictures

Here are some of the best from tonight's photo upload, all from the last 10 days or so...
C and I had a photo shoot in the living room one afternoon.
Trying to catch the flow hawk and a smile

He's starting to roll over now!

Pure love

Is this photo shoot over yet?

More flow hawk, I know it won't last forever

Open mouth, insert anything!

I love gummy smiles
 Snapped a couple pics of our al fresco lunch one afternoon, thinking of all those poor school kids eating in a cafeteria.
M eats his at a time

Mr. Wilson at lunch
 Gotta snap the brotherly love when you see only lasts about 20 seconds.
N asks to hold C every day

I'm cute, you're not PBBBBBT

M's big boy grin
 This weekend was our town festival, the Defeat of Jesse James Day.  While there were many shots snapped on iphones (tractor pull, rodeo, and carnival rides) the NIkon only made it to the parade.  So here they are!
N waits at the parade

M waiting for candy

Cute shot of the boys in the wagon

Me and 3 boys, first shot of us in months!
 N stayed home with me to make Chicken a l'orange (YUM btw) while Daddy and M rode the carnie rides before they shut down this afternoon.  He likes doing his "homework" so while the chicken was in the oven, he traced the entire alphabet himself!  I only modeled on the other white board.  I was pretty impressed! 
N copied the alphabet by himself today!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It's Worth It

Last night I had many many thoughts about staying at home vs. working. I always do on the first day school when my friends go back to work, and even more this year when my stay at home mom friends are putting their kids in preschool while I am not. So while the boys played, er, had art and phy Ed class outside, I did a little research and math on my iPhone.

I plan to do 3 activities a week with the boys: ECFE (early childhood family education), a Women's Bible study with Childcare, and (here's the biggie for me) gymnastics. I totaled up the cost of all 3 activities for 1year, including C's sibling care fee when I take M and N to their ECFE class and it came to $1508. Gymnastics is 2/3 of that, assuming they will like it and go once a week for the entire school year. That's a decent chunk of money if you ask me! So I did some math..

What if I were to put them in preschool three days a week? It would be the same amount of activity time for them that I'm planning now, not to mention free time for me...well, me and C. So not quite free. I chose the local public school's preschool for comparison because the rates are posted online. It came to $3,032. Ouch. I didn't even calculate the cost of both of them next year, then more years for C.

What if I were to go back to teaching this year and put all 3 in daycare? Preposterous, I know, but curiosity got the best of me so I looked up the rates for the daycare also through the local school system. Infants are 160week, toddlers to 48 months are 140/week. Nine months at that rate adds up to 23,040!

I'm pretty sure I didn't net that amount my last year teaching.

There's just no argument, staying home with the fellas is worth it for us.

Edit: the cost of our 3 stay at home activities is just 1024 for the entire year. I miscalculated gymnastics. Or mistyped! (it's not easy to do math on your iPhone calculator, record it to the iPhone note pad then remember the number when you type it into the blogger app you know)

Licensed Stay At Home Teacher Mom

I'm lying next to my snoring husband, listening to the thunderstorm raging at 12:30 am. I'm obviously not sleeping and my thoughts turn to you, my friends who so joyously posted photos of your little darlings heading off to school this morning while you sipped coffee and cruised Facebook in your local coffee shop. Yeah, you know who you are.

I have very mixed emotions about the first day of school. A small part of me wishes I were teaching today. A large part of me wishes I were having coffee with a friend while the kids were in school. Then I feel guilty for saying that because who wouldn't want to be home with these little gems?

I know I know! They really look cute in this picture. They were "tucking in" their cars for naps underneath the towels when I snapped it. I try to take pictures when they are playing well together because a) I want to give you the impression they are like this all the time and b) I need the photo for myself 10 minutes later to remind me that good behavior does exist.

My guys are just three and we are not springing for preschool this year, so i am planning our fall schedule now. I guess I'm running my own preschool.

Here's what our lesson plan was today:

Home ec: baking banana bread. We tried a new recipe. It was a Fail. Thank goodness this teacher allows re-takes.

Phy Ed: our favorite class, bien sur. racing trikes and then going for a walk in our neighborhood.

Lunch: second favorite class, fried egg sandwiches with bacon, yum!

Nap time, you mean you didn't have one today? I considered a science lesson but decided against taking my three year old twins to the phlebotomist with me.

Reading, writing, arithmetic: they have been copying letters numbers and shapes on a whiteboard toy. N is really starting to get good at it!

Ph Ed: I think running through the sprinkler for an hour counts as swimming?

English: I broke out the classics, "light in the Attic" and "Where the Sidewalk Ends" for bedtime tonight. The boys were "skating" with them on the wood floor when I came back from nursing and putting C to bed. (sigh) not quite ready for those, but they did listen quietly for awhile.

When they're not whining or hitting or pooping in the tub (yes that happened this weekend) or smashing their baby brother's face or spilling pineapple juice on my freshly mopped floors, or mooning the neighbors peeing in the front yard, they are a lot of fun. Hopefully I can keep up with them this year...I think all those years of teaching middle school were preparing me for this. Now I'm a licensed stay at home preschool teacher mom.

In other news, M is in underpants for the first time tonight because we "ran out" of pull ups. "there are more downstairs!" he cried.

Shoot! "those are emergency pull ups," I said.

"what's emergency?" he asked.
"where we call the police because you had an accident. We-ooo-we-ooo!" I added to emphasize that he could not wear those (or the half case in the closet).

I am fully prepared to start the washing machine at "seven oh oh," but hoping for the best.