Saturday, May 30, 2015

Letting go of the other love of my life....

I've known about this day for about 6 months but it doesn't make it any easier-so I'm taking to writing my feelings to avoid the emotional blubbering mess I would become if I said these things in person.  Ashford wrote a love letter of a different kind so most people already have some idea of how we moms feel about our other loves-our nanny.  I never thought I would be one of those people who would have a nanny.  That always seemed like something the "rich" people had.  But when it came time to make decisions regarding our child care, we prayed hard and decided on a nanny.  It worked for our family-and we are not rich!   Our first two were pretty much disasters which almost swayed us from trying one last time.  Until that day in August when your profile popped up on my account.  I knew the minute I saw it that you were sent from God.  Sounds cheesy, but I really felt like you were an angel sent from the great heavens above.  I remember we called a family you previously worked for and they carried on and on about you.  Now I sit here doing the same.

You fit into our family immediately and have been a saving grace.  You have been a calm presence in the madness that is our life.  You tolerate my quirky sense of humor and you have an uncanny knack of knowing just the moment when I'm having a bad day and send me a hilarious text to brighten my day.  My girls adore you.  You have taught them manners, a love of reading and swimming, and you have even shared some of your fear of germs with them which might actually be a good thing.  You have gone above and beyond and never complain, except that one time my girls made you sick and you ended up in the hospital.  I will certainly miss the fact that you put the silverware in the wrong drawer (but we've never told you because we think it's funny).  Or having to tell people in conversation which Andy I am referring to-my "Andy" or "Andi the nanny".   I have loved being able to share in your life and support you in trying to figure out the rest of your life.  One day, I hope you will understand the magnitude of having someone you love and trust care for your children.  And how it makes working full time a little bit easier knowing they are so well loved and cared for. 

I've tried not to be too sappy.  I remember the days almost 20 years ago when I was in high school and said goodbye to my favorite family I baby sat for.  I can still in my head see sweet little Anna waving with tears streaming down her face as I said goodbye before they moved to Oklahoma.  I can remember pulling away in the car praying I could hold the tears in until she couldn't see me, and then falling apart into a snotty, tearful mess.  But somehow that experience makes it easier for me to be a little more comfortable letting you go-and helps me understand both of our emotions.  I know you will forever be a part of our lives, just as I have been with my sweet family all those years ago-in fact, 20 years later I still check with them on facebook and while I wish I could see them more often, I was forever changed by those amazing kids-they helped me be the mom I am today.  In fact, they were all in my wedding!

I'm pretty certain you and I are forever changed by the year you have been with us.  I am just grateful that  we have technology now-we can face time, send text messages, and be present even when we are 14 hours and 957 miles apart (but who's counting).  We will write letters and expect you to visit often! 

So I'm not saying goodbye-I refuse.  Instead, I'm choosing to say "see you soon!"  Thank you for loving my girls like your own, for giving us so much joy, and for making a difference in our lives-all of our lives.  We will love you always and forever! And yes, just like 20 years ago I will fight back the tears until you pull off and then I will cry my tears as you leave-just like you will. 


Friday, May 15, 2015

Milk, Soy, FPIES-OH MY!!

In honor of national food allergy week, I thought it was appropriate to share our story/way of life.  

For anyone who doesn't know, (because I believe anyone in our lives is very aware) our daughters have allergies to milk and soy.  Our oldest was borderline failure to thrive, did 7 days in special care at birth because she stopped breathing, and was extremely sick for the first 2 years of her life as a result of her allergy to cows milk.  We were given every diagnosis one could think of....Cystic Fibrosis, Silent Reflux, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, etc.  It wasn't until our amazing GI did an endoscopy and biopsied SK's esophagus that we got the real answer-she was severely allergic to milk.  We changed our diet and she finally gained weight after 2 years.  Thankfully she is now 5, can occasionally eat a piece of pizza, and is not allergic to soy.  This is the face of a child with milk allergies....

Our youngest was recently diagnosed with FPIES.  Her reactions to milk or soy have always been very severe and a lot harder to deal with than SK's.  FPIES is a non-IgE food allergy that can become life threatening.  FPIES is a rare disease, but one that we are embracing and learning more and more about daily.  Here's some information if you want to read more about FPIES.

The diagnosis has not changed much for us, other than understanding her severe reactions.  We avoid milk and soy already so our hope is that we no longer have any incidents!  It is extremely difficult to eat out and to constantly have to say to people, "no she can't have that".  My own mother in law is often offended that I turn down food for K because I can't guarantee the ingredients.  Most times I feel like she thinks I'm being dramatic and she normally makes some comment that "one bite won't hurt her".  Sadly, one bite is all it takes for her to earn us a trip to the ER.  We have to check EVERY.SINGLE.LABEL.  Just this past weekend we traveled out of town for the weekend.  Imagine your two kids are hungry and screaming on your 4 hour ride.  Most people stop at a fast food place, grab a bite to eat and get on their way.  We have to first spend our time googling restaurant menus, and then we have to be very careful about making sure she gets the right food for her.  I am happy to report Chickfila and Wendy's have safe options for us!  Wendy's even posts the food allergens on the wall so it was super easy to find!

This is the face of FPIES....

I get asked all the time what some of our "standard" things in our home are.  Thankfully now there are so many alternative options available.  These are a few of our staples...
This is our daily great and is now at Walmart and Food Lion.

This is a great margarine I have used (found at Walmart), but it does contain SOY.

This is our favorite pancake mix...just add Water and we are serving up some fluffy carbs!

This is one of our favorite cheeses that we use to make our own pizzas or grilled cheese sandwiches!

Some of our favorite recipes..

 Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Cake/Cupcake Recipe

Some of our favorite snacks....
Veggie Sticks
Cereal (we eat a lot of cheerios-thank goodness for a variety now!)
Peanut Butter
Fresh fruit and vegetables

I can remember when we first were learning about food allergies with SK.  It all felt so overwhelming and defeating. However, I can honestly say that now, 4 years later, it is a way of life.  We check labels on all our food.  We will probably politely turn down a treat for K at a party and we ask that you not be offended. It's honestly not about your food-it's about her health and us avoiding a trip to the ER.  Most of the time we pack our own cupcake or we bring a bag of snacks so you don't have to worry!  We are very blessed to have such awesome friends who try their hardest to make sure that they include my girls and for that I am constantly thankful.  I always encourage anyone to ask us questions and share resources if they need help or ideas living a milk/soy free life!


Monday, May 4, 2015

"I Do"- over

Last night the hubs was helping my daughter fry up some fresh fish that they had just caught together at the lake. We’ll just say that the kitchen is NOT hubby’s forte and they were calling me in for back up. As he was heating the oil in the frying pan he asked how he could tell if it was hot enough. I quickly got a drop of water on my finger and let it fall into the pan. There was a slight sizzle but not the hopping red hot oil sizzle that you wait for before throwing your fish in the pan. In his ignorance he asked me how to tell the difference between the sizzles. Fumbling for a way to translate it into his male brain I blurted out the first analogy that came to mind.

“It’s like the way our relationship used to sound- not what it’s like now!!”

For a moment we both stared at each other in shock at what I had just said and then we burst out laughing. He corrected me that after three children our relationship doesn’t sound like sizzling oil at all. In fact, it sound more like a sad trumpet.

This got me thinking. What would our wedding vows look like now after 8 years and 3 children together? I’m thinking they’d go something like this…

I, Ashford, take you, Hubs, to me my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; till death do us part.

I promise to stay up with you through bouts of food poisoning (which you somehow manage to get at least every three months) and to even drive to the pharmacy at 3 am to get you anti-nausea suppositories despite my “big day” at work the next day.

I promise to watch “Wicked Tuna,” “Gold Rush: Alaska,” and every single season of Motocross races. I will try to feign interest. I will make tailgate food for every televised Clemson football game. And I will make my famous “Ham Sammies” for every poker night. 

I vow to cook you a pot roast every year on your birthday and to cut back on trying to serve you things like kale and quinoa. (Furthermore I apologize for my foray into “Meatless Mondays” with that tofu chili that you so graciously choked down.) I will choke down your biscuits and gravy and will cease to make vomit noises while you cook potato soup.

I promise to resist the urge to smother you with my pillow as you lay snoring next to me when I get up for the fifth time with the crying baby. I promise to clean up all the “poo-tashrophes” if you will in turn promise to always clean up the dog vomit.

I vow to always present a united front to the children even while I am screaming inside my head “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!?!” I will always have your back (even though I might talk behind it sometimes).

I promise to remind you of your father’s birthday year after year and to be the one in charge of organizing family get togethers. I will also make sure to send Christmas gifts to your brother and baby gifts to all of your cousins.

I promise to be your sounding board and to always talk you out of the really stupid ideas. I will always be honest with you. (Whether or not you want me to.)

I promise to always make time for you even when I feel like there’s no time for me. 

I promise to love you even when I hate you and I promise to remember why I married you every time I feel like leaving you. 

I promise to hold on to the glimpses I get of the boy I fell in love with and to remember the feeling of butterflies in my stomach. I will always remember what it felt like to hold your hand as I gave birth to our daughter. And our son. And our other son. In the worst times I will remember that I wanted no one but you in those moments. 

But most of all I promise I will be here. In all of these things. In the sickness, the health, the richer (if someday we get there), the poorer, the better and the worse.

All my love.