Monday, October 29, 2012

Why I'm Thankful for Food Allergies

Food allergies are everywhere these days.  They are tough to handle and very scary.  The day I found out our 5 month old Sam was allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts was one of the scariest days of my life as a parent.  I couldn't envision what he would eat and how I would keep him safe.  He since outgrown the milk and peanut allergy (hallelujah!!), but we still deal with the egg allergy every day.  In the meantime, I became educated and empowered as a parent of a child with food allergies.  I joined support groups and followed blogs.  I learned to read food labels and how to be an advocate for my child.  I cleaned out our kitchen and purged anything containing peanuts and tree nuts... and guess what happened in the meantime? I got rid of the majority of the JUNK.  Most of the stuff that contains nuts or is processed around nuts was junk food.  Snacks, desserts... stuff we shouldn't be eating anyway.  I was forced to rethink the way that I cooked and naturally started to make healthier food for my family... mostly because we initially were forced into this. 

Even though he can now have some of those snacks and desserts since he outgrew his nut allergy, we're now out of the habit of eating things like that.  I usually don't even go down the snack/dessert aisle at the grocery.  Since he is still VERY allergic to eggs, we still avoid a lot of junk food.  He can't have cookies, cakes, waffles, pancakes, baked goods, breads, etc. that contain eggs... which still eliminates food that are mostly unhealthy! 

Sam has never had a donut.  Ever.

He's never had a cookie or cupcake from a bakery.

He has never had a Little Debbie snack cake.

We never eat breakfast out since the pancakes and waffles at restaurants have eggs, and he obviously woudn't be ordering an omelete!

Heck, even a lot of ice creams are not safe for him.

And you know what?  It's okay.  Sometimes I wish it were easier, that we could just run down to Dunkin Donuts for a special treat.  Sometimes when there is something right in his face that he would love to have but can't have (i.e. the special Halloween cupcakes at a buffet we were at the other day), I ache for him and wish he didn't have to worry about it. 

But most of the time, I'm thankful for his allergies.  Crazy, but true. We have become a MUCH healthier family as a result.  We don't buy the junk food, we don't eat out much at all.  Instead, we have a garden in our backyard.  We spend our money on food that are more nourishing for our bodies. 

When Sam originally was diagnosed with milk, eggs and peanut allergy, he basically could only eat fruits, veggies and meat.  Today, fruits and veggies remain his favorite food.  He will beg me for fruit over a  piece of candy.  He LOVES planting and harvesting from our own garden.  He LOVES LOVES LOVES stopping by the farm stand in the summer and picking out corn, peppers, potatoes.... he loves eating healthy and fresh.  His favorite foods are soups that are bursting with vegetables.  I truly believe this is a direct result from his food allergies and how they have directed us to a healthier lifestyle.

So, yep, I'm thankful for his food allergies.  I'm thankful for a caring and thorough allergist.  I'm thankful for his amazing preschool that is peanut-free and is very careful about his snacks.  I'm thankful that he was born into a family who is aware and are advocates for his health and well-being.  Now he's becoming his own advocate and is very careful about what he eats.  We've been told that most kids outgrow their egg allergy, and I do hope he does.  But I also am very thankful that they've given us a start to a much healthier lifestyle.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Allergy scare with Sam today... totally my fault and feel like such a terrible mommy.  He wanted candy out of a little machine at the store and even though there were no ingredients listed, I felt confident that chewy Sprees certainly didn't contain eggs... boy was I wrong.  Thankfully, Sam has a 6th sense when it comes to food containing eggs.  After eating one, he said he hated it and didn't want any more.  About 10 minutes later he started having terrible stomach pains that lasted for the next couple of hours.  We were out running errands, and I didn't think much of it at first, but the pains continued. By the time we got home, he could barely stand up.  It made me think of when he had a bite of a muffin back in the spring the contained eggs and had the same reaction.  So I looked up chewy Spree ingredients online... sure enough they contain egg albumin, which is basically egg whites (he is allergic to egg white and yolk both).  It's listed as a very minor ingredient, less than 2% and he only had ONE piece of candy.  He was miserable-pale and in so much stomach pain.  I gave him some Benadryl and followed his instructions- he said he needed a "bed on the couch and a Diego movie and a bucket in case I throw up."  He didn't throw up this time (he did after the muffin incident), but it really scared me. If that tiny amount of egg in one piece of candy could make him that sick, what could happen if he had real egg?  I'm so thankful for his 6th sense and his extreme caution (usually) in what he eats.  It scares me that usually between the ages of  4 and 6, kids start to outgrow egg allergy.  In fact, his allergist has always been very confident that Sam will outgrow this allergy.  But he's 4 and a half now and is clearly still very allergic. I obviously needed a reminder not to become to lax about his allergy.  He is now feeling much better and is eating whole (big) carrots as fast as I can peel them.  Those of you who know Sam know that that is more like what he prefers!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ben's Poem

Ben was the Star Student of the Week last week in his class.  His teacher really put a lot of time and effort into making each student feel special when it's his week.  He got to make a poster all about himself, including family pictures.  He spent HOURS on this, he was so proud.  He also got to bring in his favorite book and have Daddy come in for lunch one day.  We were also asked to write a letter/poem/story about him and send it in for the teacher to read to the class.  Here's what we came up with.  It started as something I just wanted to check off the to-do list and turned into something really emotional and will be a keepsake for all of us.
Our Ben

One upon a time there was born a boy named Ben.

He came into this world and quickly became our best friend.

An easy, sweet baby with a special blanket of blue

He made us so happy we didn’t know what to do!

With brown hair and bright blue eyes

Our love for him came as quite a surprise.

Over time he grew and became such a smart, strong boy.

His smile and giggle brings us endless joy.

He became a big brother to Sam and then to Allison too.

He loves them and helps them and shows them what to do.

Ben loves swimming and hiking and camping and such.

He also loves baseball and video games just as much.

He’s kind and gentle and patient as well.

He has a heart of gold, you really can tell!

He’s becoming a great reader and writer this year.

And with God by his side he has nothing to fear.


We love you Ben!!!!  We are so very proud of you.
Love, Mommy, Daddy, Sam & Allie

Candy Acorns

Easy and yummy!!! 


Sam and Allie have been taking a tumbling class this fall. They are loving it!!!  Allie's class is a parent-child class, so I participate with her.  Last week Jeremy came and hung out with Allie in class so I could get some pics.

Great Great Grandma

Great Grandma Dot came to visit all the way from Evansville!!!


We captured some outside shots a few weeks ago on a beautiful Sunday at Grandma's house.  Just wanted to share!

Monday, October 1, 2012

A wiped-out Daddy

I left Jeremy alone w/the kids on Sunday afternoon so I could run errands.  Allie was going to nap and the boys were going to rest.  I told him the boys could come out after resting for a while and color or do something quietly so he could make chili and get a few things done around the house.  Here is what really happened:

1:15pm Ben and Sam to rest time

1:30  Allie to naptime     

1:45  Sam “Can I come out?”

1:50 tried to start making chili

1:55 Allie starts screaming

2pm Allie up to poop on potty

2:05 Sam “Can I come out?”

2:15  Ben “How much longer do I have to rest?”

2:25 Sam “I have to go to the bathroom”

2:30  Actually start chili

2:34  wipe Sam

2:36  Let dogs out

2:50 Sam “Can I come out?

When I came home, the house was TRASHED, projects did not get done, but at least there was chili for dinner and one wiped-out Daddy.  Welcome to my world!