Just Another Day for Us #foodallergies

This weekend we went downtown to take a boat ride on the Fireboat John J Harvey.  It was a beautiful day, and we were able to enjoy a part of it out on the water viewing Manhattan from a different angle.  I planned our meals the night before, woke up early to make breakfast and lunch for everyone.  When you have severe multiple food allergies you have to bring all your food from home.  The only food we've eaten out as a family has been chicken from Whole Foods Market that offers organic and has the ingredients listed, which incredibly is only salt and pepper.  It is a life savior when we are out and in the need of something quick to eat.  We had breakfast at home, and took the rest to go in a cooler.  Keeping safe is easy and extremely difficult at the same time.  It seems simple enough when you say; bring your own food and don't eat anything that you didn't cook.  But like I said, as with everything to do with food allergies, it is also not that simple.

After the very fun boat ride we took, we decided to let the kids play at the playground by the pier.  We spent about 2 hours there, I enjoyed people watching (even spotted some stars), and had a blast seeing the joy in the kids faces.  At one point my son was deciding if he wanted to play in the sand box or the water area.  It was like a mini water park where kids come with their swim suits and play.  We didn't plan for water play so he just had a normal shirt and shorts.  Considering our allergies, sand play was out of the question, so we agreed on water play.  Took his shoes and shirt off, and went off to play.  He was cautious about getting wet at first, and then let loose having a blast in the sun.  After he was done splashing around, we patted him dry and he was pretty dry in no time.  But right away we noticed he had hives all over his chest, then slowly started appearing around his neck.  I panicked, but knowing he didn't not consume anything I held off on the Epi-pen.  Gave him a dose of Benadryl, and wiped him down some more.  Luckily, it started to clear up right away.  He reflects from how we act, so we are always sure to be calm and relaxed when anything happens, so he was fine. 

But unfortunately soon after we left the playground, the side effects of the Benadryl started to set in, he got really tired.  And not sure if related or not but he started getting cramps on his legs - it was not a good time walking for my little guy.  He fell asleep right away in the car, and was drowsy all night after.  It's just another day for us, worrying about every meal and snack no matter where we go.  And it's just another day for us, worrying about every single food (allergen) that we may come in contact with.  We don't only worry about him missing a step and falling or simply catching a cold like other parents might but we worry about the fear of something somewhere or really anywhere causing him to get an allergic reaction.  Imagine every crumble of something on the street, playground, table, chair, bench, doctors office..virtually everywhere is most likely harmful to us.  It isn't just one food, it's sever multiple food allergies.  However, we don't let it stop us from living our lives but in the end it is just another day for us.  We choose to live it and enjoy it.   


Obsessed with Family Vacations!

The beautiful view from our room at the Westin La Cantera Resort 

If you've talked to me at all recently you already know all I can think about is getting away with my family.  My two little kids are starting to really play around and bond with each other since my youngest is getting older, and everything as a family is just getting more exciting.  It was about years ago when we took our first family vacation when it was just us three, and ever since then we have been hooked to everything that defines getting away with your family.  We enjoy the learning experience it provides us all, the obvious memories created, the downtime away from it all, and the complete adventure of it all.  Over the past few years we have made it a point to go on a handful of trips whenever we can, and now it's been about a year since our last getaway - I feel the travel bug ~ bugging, and I'm afraid the only cure is to get away! 

When I was young my family and I didn't take many family vacations.  I remember road trips to see family and friends, and how much I loved stopping at "service area" stops along the road where my dad would treat us to junk food and ice cream.  I always had to place a quarter or two into the games that pulled out a toy (if you were lucky) and the rubber ball machines.  Another memory I recall was visiting Atlantic City as a family, I loved the hotel rooms and buffet food as a kid.  Funny looking  and back!  I never knew the potential of a real family getaway until I grew up and had one of my own with my family.  But you know what they say "what you don't know can't hurt you" or is it "you don't miss something you don't know"?  You get the point, it was one of the best times of my childhood and it was the family time that made it what it was. 

I like to think I don't have an addictive personality, but I am addicted to getaways with my family.  We most recently did a camping trip where we spent 3 nights out in beautiful Virginia after a 7 hour road trip - not at all luxurious but all fun.  If you think you're not into traveling (I have met people who say that) or have yet to treat yourselves to a getaway - don't wait, book now.  It doesn't have to an expensive trip..at all.  All that matters is that you have your family, and you go visit somewhere you haven't been.  It isn't always easy, I know, but try to make it happen - you will not regret it.  I hope you get away somewhere and enjoy an incredible time, I personally am trying to cure the travel bug that's been bugging me too.  In the meantime I've been doing weekly trips to various semi-local state parks with my family, which is a super affordable and possible way to create memories as well. 

The Stomach Flu at 18 Months

Last month my daughter had the stomach flu and it lasted about a week.  It seemed like the days and nights would never end, and it seemed like my baby girl would never get better.  But if you are going through it - I promise it will get better.  I remember how tough it was for my baby, and for me to feel so helpless.  I wanted to share the symptoms she had in case anyone finds them helpful.

I'm not sure exactly how she got the bug, but the first time she threw up was while we were out shopping.  I bought her one of those organic baby fruit pouches, she gulped it down, and fell asleep in her stroller.  Instead of actually taking a long nap, she woke up in about 30 minutes - I thought it was because we weren't home but then she threw up all over me and the floor while I was walking towards the bathroom with her in my arms to change her diaper.  My theory is that it might have been the pouch of fruit, it has happened before (the throwing up after eating a store bought fruit pouch) but this time she got a little better, only to get worse the following day. 

Although taken back, I wasn't too worried about her throwing up the first day.  She showed no signs of feeling ill, so I continued to feed her as I would.  Her appetite wasn't quite the same but she still wanted to eat plenty that day.  Then the next night right before bedtime she vomited again, and this time it didn't stop.  It was never ending, she threw up with minutes in between until everything in her stomach was out.  So for the next three days, she was unable to keep anything down.  Even when she wanted to drink, it would come back out violently.  I started giving her little sips of Pedialyte, which she was okay with the first day - then she started to gag with that as well.  She was able to nurse, fall asleep, then wake up and throw up.  Naturally when your child is unable to hold anything in, you don't even think of offering food.  I continued to offer her Pedialyte until she couldn't tolerate it anymore, then sips of water (because she asked for it), and nursed over and over again - even if she threw up right after. 

She had a fever at some point that went away on it's own.  I didn't want to give her any medicine on a completely empty stomach - and it would have been gagged out anyway.  She was noticeably much thinner, all she did was hug me and fall asleep.  It was a horrible experience.  The only reason I was able to keep calm was because I knew she was at least nursing, if it wasn't for breastfeeding I would have took her to the doctor for an IV for dehydration.  Although she was holding in her liquids better by the 4th or 5th day, she was gagging with Pedialyte and even breast-milk - to a point that she no longer wanted to nurse.  Also at one point, it seemed like she was getting better only to start throwing up again.  Just that it wasn't as dramatic since she had nothing to puke out.  I still can remember how heartbreaking that feeling was, to hold my little baby girl in that condition and not be able to do anything about it right away.

Once she was able to hold in her liquids a little better, and saw that she looked a little better I started to offer her what I can from the "BRAT" diet.  Banana, rice, apple sauce and toast.  My daughter has the same diet as her brother so we don't have toast - so I offered her the other three.  She was interested in eating, and had little bits of it here and there.  But then diarrhea started.  It was horrible.  It wasn't just a normal stomach ache, her diaper would leak and the smell was bad.  She was in so much pain every time she had to go, and she would go so many times.  Anything that went in had to come out.  But I continued to nurse her as much as she would want it.  She almost stopped breastfeeding completely because of being traumatized from throwing up so much, and only would when she was in a deep sleep so I took advantage of that time.

It took a very long time, and I was so scared that she may never love food again.  I was scared she had weaned herself off nursing for good.  I was scared she'd never gain her weight again.  But before I knew it, she was back, back to her playful, full of appetite self.  If you are out there dealing with what you know is the stomach flu, hang in there, offer lots of love and know it will get better. 

*My experience, and opinions.  Not medical advice.