Monday, March 26, 2012

Picture This: 18 Months

He's 18 months. 1 1/2 years old. I saw the pictures and bawled.  He's so big. And I'm really pregnant. So I bawl often. But I think I would have bawled pregnant or not. How did he grow up so fast? He used to just lay there, helpless. Now he's chasing people with sticks. 

(Photos courtesy of DeEtte Rustemier)
My little man loves sticks. He loves to be outside and if he's not outside - there better be a really good reason. I usually cannot think of a good enough reason - so out he goes.

He loves applesauce, Granddad's popcorn, cheese and spaghetti. He's tolerating bananas now which is wonderful! He IS a monkey after all, moneys need their bananas. He also, strangely, loves peas. (Maybe you could learn something from him, Uncle Luke!)

He jabbers all day long. Applesauce, balloon, Addy, popcorn, socks, shoes, ball, dada, Oooooo (I think it counts!), and duck are his favorite words to say. He says Looooo for Uncle Luke and Cawr for Aunt Cara. Which is upsetting because he's only met Luke and Cara a small handful of times and I carried him in my belly and then care for him on a 24/7 grueling schedule and I only hear mama when he's very, very upset. That stinker. He signs most of his words, please, thank you, more, all done, outside, puppy, baby, sleep time, dirty diaper, and many, many more.

We haven't won the battle on the pacifier yet and probably won't fight it until after he's adjusted to his new baby brother.

He sleeps like a rock star. Naps from 1-3 almost every day. Sleeps from 7:30-7:30 almost every night.

His favorite person to see pull up in the driveway is his Granddad. If you tell him Granddad is coming, he gets his shoes on and stands at the door waiting.

Sticks are a serious hobby. Its a crime in his eyes to walk by a stick and not take it home. We have a lot of sticks. And rocks. He believes all rocks are meant to be thrown into the pond. The pond is a 2 feet square shaped hole filled with water where a fountain goes. Its also where rocks go.

Adam is not afraid of worms.

He's a great help with the laundry too. He's in charge of loading the washer and putting the clothes from the washer into the dryer. Mommy is so proud of him. Mommy can't bend. So this is a big help!

Sesame street is another favorite. And its our special time together since I'm on butt rest. Otherwise we have a pretty strict no TV rule.

He gives lots of kisses and hugs. He checks on his mommy a lot and gives high hives. He's so precious. Amazing. No words - but that doesn't stop me from talking about him constantly.

He's going to be a wonderful big brother. If he loves Matthew half as much as he loves Addy - we're set!

Friday, March 23, 2012

10 days until Done. Your baby is cooked.

Do you guys have those digital probe thermometers? I have one. It tells me how long until my meat is done. And then it tells me its done. AND THEN if I don't take it out of the oven - it tells me how I'm overcooking it.

Yesterday was pretty exciting. I started getting waves of stabbing, excruciating pain that caused me to lose my breath, search for my breath, breathe, and then call the doctor.  The pain was coming about 7 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds. After the 4th wave, I got a hold of my OB. Then my husband. Then Aunt Linda to take care of Adam. My OB's said office to prepare for my C-section that day. My aunt is my OB nurse. I liked her advice the best, "Its going to be ok honey. Just go brush your teeth but don't you dare swallow a drop of the water." She's my boss.

I was greeted at Labor and Delivery by a nurse. "Are you Sheila?"
"Yes, I am. I'm here to be assessed and then I'm going home. I won't be staying."

I was hooked up to the monitors and computers so that my OB could monitor me from her office. I had about 6 contractions in the 50 minutes I was hooked up. Those contractions weren't painful and the baby responded nicely to them. I was given medicine that would stop the contractions and sent home within an hour and a half of my arrival. And so far the medicine is working! YAY!

I would like this kid to cook for 10 more days. That's a long time in baby land. He'll be happier he did too. I tried telling him this. I tried telling him that April is a diamond month too. He refuses to listen to me!

Other exciting things around here: THE FORT! THE COOLEST FORT EVER!

Andy and Adam have a fort they constructed in the basement. It looks simple on the outside, but I'm assured its a magical kingdom on the inside. And pregnant moms are NOT allowed in.
St. Patrick's day came and went. But not without us celebrating! I figure I'm 1/3 Irish. I was asked how I figured that. I used Irish math. I'm a 1/4 Irish because my mom is Half Irish. And the rest is from my dad because I'm told he's a bit Irish too. So, that makes me 1/3 Irish. Which makes Adam 1/6 Irish. Which means we had to celebrate. Adam and I weren't into the Guinness Bombs or Green Beer this year. But we did cook up some Corned Beef and Cabbage, Irish Soda Bread, and Dana's Brownies. (Click on Dana's Brownies for the MSPI-Friendly recipe!) Aunt Cara gave us her super, secret family recipe for the Corned Beef and Cabbage and Soda bread! We made the soda bread MSPI-friendly by subbing rice milk with vinegar for the buttermilk. Remember - 1 cup nondairy milk + 1 Tablespoon Vinegar = buttermilk. 
It was so fun! Mom and dad came up to eat with us. Then, mom scrubbed my toliet, my shower, picked up, cleaned up, organized. This is love, she told me. She's so right! 

The Easter Bunny dropped off an early present for Adam this week too! Adam loves Elmo. And he loves to read! And the Easter Bunny knew this and brought him an Elmo Chair for his reading station. The chair spins when its not sitting on plush carpet. It makes some noise too. But I found the off switch. And Adam loves it whether Elmo is squeaking at him or not. 
Does your house look like this? I need a sign. CAUTION! TODDLER AT PLAY!
But its worth it. Makes everyone so happy. Here are my boys. Luckiest Girl in the World I am. 

Monday, March 19, 2012


MSPI - Milk Soy Protein Intolerance.

I bet you have heard of it by now. More and more babies are being diagnosed MSPI or other food allergy type intolerances. I believe (STRONGLY) that babies have always had food allergies. I don't think this is ANYTHING new. I think food allergies used to be called colic. And little was done.

When Adam was first born, something was wrong. He had incredible reflux. Like failure to gain reflux. He had eczema that started on his legs and arms and eventually moved to his face. His diapers were always weird. Mucusy. Green. Runny. Loose. Frequent. (Mmmmaybe I should have warned you not to eat while you read this...) The biggest symptom of all in babies with MSPI or other food intolerances is crying. They cry and cry. They arch their backs. Their tummies may feel hard. They just look uncomfortable. Adam rarely cried. But when he did - it was so obvious it was because he was in pain and that the pain was in his bowels.

Moms have to be pushy often in the food allergy department. After weeks of trying to get my son to gain weight and feel better and look better, I decided to get rather assertive. I marched into the pediatrician's office and told him I wanted Adam's issues addressed that day. And I marched into our local breast feeding support organization where I had an appointment with a pediatrician who specializes in breast feeding medicine and told her the same thing. Our specialist assessed Adam, tested his stool, took a history, and made a plan for us. Eliminate dairy. Keep an eye out for other food allergies, like soy or the top 8. Keep a food journal. Switch to a dairy/soy free supplemental formula. I think she saved Adam from a failure to thrive diagnosis or other more invasive testing. She and our lactation consultant became our guardian angels.

Over the next couple weeks, by journaling my diet and then journaling Adam's reactions... I learned that he was quite sensitive to dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, citrus, and avocado. (The avocado part was the hardest!) I joined the support group for mom's with children who suffer from food allergies and started learning about reading labels, new recipes, and all sorts of other tidbits. I watched Adam's reflux subside a bit, allowing him to gain. His rash lessened. His diapers started to look better. He didn't act in pain.

Some of my friends and family couldn't understand why I'd continue to nurse. Besides the fact that the new special formula we were on ran about $400 a month, breast milk is best. And a diet change? A TEMPORARY diet change? I can do that. I thought about Celiac's who make a permanent diet change. Or other people who permanently have such serious allergies or health conditions. This was a no brainer for me. It wasn't easy. But it wasn't a difficult decision. Those who questioned my sanity generally were asked, "Are you going to give me $400 a month for formula?" That usually did the trick! But truthfully, I did it because it was the right thing for my family, for me, and for my baby. And I'd do it again.

I AM doing it again! So many times, future siblings have similar or worse food allergies. Its not always the case - but it seems to be overwhelmingly so. So, to give Matthew a good start, I decided to cut out all dairy, soy, treenuts, and peanuts from my diet about 4 weeks prior to delivery to give all those proteins time to leave my system and clear my milk supply. If Matthew can go a few weeks without showing any telltale signs of a food allergy I'll happily start adding food back in! Its so easy this time! I'm serious! I know what food to eat. I know what recipes are good. I know so much now. I have lots of support. I don't feel deprived. I feel lucky!

In case you stumbled on this post searching for mspi help... let me link you up!

A printable, wallet sized list of dairy to avoid:

Great info on food allergies:

Food Allergen Scale:

Soy words:

Recipes Blogs:,

Common MSPI questions:

SOOOO many recipes that you use on a weekly basis or see on a daily basis - are easy to adapt. I have several recipes pinned on pinterest too. Look for the ones labeled MSPI friendly.

There's an adjustment for the diet. But its very doable. The hardest thing about it is very little is quick anymore. You can't just swing through the ol'burger joint for lunch without checking an allergy menu. Most meals require some planning and prep and you learn to shop differently. You learn to read labels. You become very aware of what's in your food! But that's ok! We all should be!

Lots of restaurants can accommodate you with a little head's up notice. And many chains post their allergy info online making it easy for you to plan accordingly. Ultimately, though, you are responsible for what you put in your mouth. Chipolte is my go to! Love them and they are great to work with. They wipe down the counter for me and put on clean gloves. Cheesecake Factory is also easy! Pasta with Meatsauce all the way baby! Qdoba is easy too but the only protein there that is milk AND soy free there is the shredded pork - which IS delicious!

My favorite butter substitute is Earth Balance Soy free. But Fleischmann’s Unsalted stick margarine is another popular one. If I'm baking, I generally sub crisco for the butter. I use rice milk in place of milk in recipes. Buttermilk can be subbed by adding 1 Tablespoon of vinegar per cup of nondairy milk. (rice, hemp, oat, flax, coconut, almond, etc.) Health food stores are great places to find items that are dairy/soy/etc. free. And usually the staff is very helpful! (Thanks Whole Foods!) 

This is doable! Its just a learning curve! You can have your chocolate cake and eat it too! (I am eating some right now!) 

Here's a list of food I have in my freezer right now that is all MSPI friendly and waiting for the sleepless nights stage of newborndom.

Meatballs for spaghetti
Pulled chicken - ready for enchiladas (no cheese - but sill awesome!), soup, sandwiches, bbq, etc.
Crunchy breaded pork chops
Bean dip snacks
Sausage and root vegetable bake
Beef enchiladas (no cheese) get the recipe here! I have to tell you - I didn't miss the cheese! I didn't!
Pulled BBQ Pork for sandwiches
Pulled BBQ Chicken
Lots of chicken stock
Marinara Sauce
Meatballs with Gravy

I'm happy to send out recipes! Email me or comment if you want more info!

Lastly, most moms who go on the MSPI diet wonder about soybean oil and soy lethicin. These are considered fats and generally are safe to eat while on the diet. Adam did great with them and I'm assuming Matthew will too. But there ARE kiddos who are so sensitive to soy that even these fats bother them. That's where the journal comes in handy!

Think of all the food you can eat! Fruits and Vegetables! Meats! Grains! All you have to watch is the dairy department and the add ons and processed foods.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Adam Had a Little Straw.

Adam no longer sits in his high chair. 
He's a big boy. 
He uses a spoon. 
Some of the food from the spoon makes it into his mouth every time. (Or a whisk if he's eating brownie batter. - Its egg free - stop hyperventilating.)

He's soooo big! 

A couple weeks ago, Adam and I dashed out of the house to meet our lovely, beautiful friend, Whitney, for breakfast! In our mad dash to be on time, I forgot to pack Adam's sippy cup with milk.

"Mom! Sippy cups are so 2 weeks ago! I can use a straw. Duh!" And then he rolled his eyes at me, picked up his glass and drank it like I would drink an iced tea. Then he started talking about the Republican Primary race.
He's such a big boy. 
Oh! And he's a big believer in yoga too.
And to just to prove that I am still in a Glass Case of Emotion - here's a video documenting Adam's first successful straw experience. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I'm in a Glass Cage of Emotion!

As I told you all in the last post - I'm at the "boil some water, she's in labor!" stage. I'm also in the everything makes me tear up stage. Everything annoys me stage. Everything is so wonderful stage. Everything is awful and I'm so pissed off stage. Everyone better watch out stage.

Since my last OB appointment at 34 weeks I've been on modified bed rest which I call butt rest. Basically I'm taking it very easy. I limit the amount of stairs each day. Limit the lifting of my toddler. No housework. I stand only to cook. Grocery shopping on a scooter works, but too much walking leads to contractions. I have help come over each day to do the things I can't and to keep my toddler entertained and outside, away from the TV.

22 more sleeps until I meet this baby! And I need every last day. This baby is already being born a week early - 39 week c-section. Plus, the longer he waits to be born, the easier he'll adjust to life outside the womb without any intervention. Things like maintaining his temperature and his blood sugar. Time for the suck reflux to be in high gear. Time for him to mature enough to be able to maintain his weight. Things that aren't the end of the world - but make such a difference when you come home with this new little stranger.

But the biggest reason of all....
The birthstone for April is a Diamond. :-)

So as we poke closer to D-day. So many of my friends and family have asked how they can help. Many are already! My neighbor and wonderful friend, Stacy, comes over once a week to watch Adam and do laundry. My dad is coming over twice a week to take care of Adam. He vacuums, walks the dogs, and does the dishes before he leaves. My mom is headed up next weekend to help freeze more meals, clean closets and bathrooms and scrub the freezer/refrigerator. Women from church have taken Adam for walks and also entertain him so I can continue incubating. Aunt Linda has accompanied me to OB appointments and taken care of Adam also.  My amazing husband.... He's pulling all the extra weight. I am still able to make all the meals, but when he's home, I'm in bed or on the couch. He's mom and dad all wrapped up into one. 

When I was pregnant the first time, I didn't have to ask for as much help. (My parents might not agree...)  I didn't have the need, really. It was just Andy and I. But now, things are tougher. So here is my list for ways family and friends can help now and after the baby is born. 

1) Dogs. Take the dogs outside or if you're really ambitious - take Addy for a long walk. 
2) Trash. Empty all trash from main level. (Kitchen, Laundry Room, and Powder Room)
3) The dreaded dishwasher. It always needs unstacked or stacked.
4) The never ending laundry. When a newborn invades, there are always piles of laundry. Things need to be folded, carried up stairs, put away, carried down, sorted, washed, dried. Oh Laundry.
5) Is it May and my Easter decorations are still up? 
6) Take Adam for a walk in the stroller or play with him outside! In fact, make Adam the first person you say hello to when you come over. 
7) The floors. If you really want to score points, vacuum the floors and/or use the steam mop.
8) Hit the grocery store in Omaha for us. (Don't worry, we'll reimburse you!)
9) Bring an MSPI meal or snack. This is daunting for many. But its not too bad. I have tons of recipes and websites for reference. 
10) Tell me how awesome I look. :-)

Because this is another C-Section - a major surgery - there will be some major recovery time. With Adam, all I had to do was carry a tiny 8lb baby around. It was really doable. This time, however, I won't be able to lift my 24 lb toddler. Or get up and down off the floor with him. Or really do much of anything until my incision heals. It won't take long to heal - but there will be a few weeks of limitations. So consider this my SOS. I promise to be recipitus-ious-ness-able? (STACY! What's the word!!!!!) 

Last night my amazing friends came over for Game Night. We partied like rockstars with our popcorn and other mspi friendly snacks that everyone brought! (See? Aren't they amazing!?! - Of course, I did threaten them with death if they showed up with cheese...) It was so much fun and I soaked up the together time! 

I plan to make the most of the next 22 sleeps. "Sleeps" really is the wrong word for this. Who the heck sleeps at 36 weeks pregnant. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

My Little Blue Steel

It was time. His hair was getting tangled. Combing it was becoming a battle. And it was becoming expensive as I've lost at least 5 combs. I think he hides them somewhere. Yesterday I found my straightening spray in his book bin. He's clever.

I got a precious lock. And a few precious photos.

My all time favorite photo is this one:
We like to call it: Blue Steel
In other news, I am so pregnant. I'm way past the cute stage. Way past the "you look uncomfortable stage". I'm right at the "Whoa, boil some water! You look like you're in labor!" stage. My doctor has told me to take it easy or I won't make it to to my 39 week C section date. And obviously, the closer to 39 weeks we go, the healthier little bun I'll deliver! I've been having lots of contractions and am incredibly uncomfortable.  I was able to sneak in a trip to the grocery store and to Hobby Lobby with a friend. It was a great day of sitting, eating, and buying food!  For the most part though, I'm on my butt now everyday. That's ok. I want this baby well done not medium rare. :-) I'm so grateful to my friends and family, especially my dad, who are helping during these last 4 weeks.  They've helped clean, cook, and be my legs. Having a toddler while "taking it easy" ain't easy. Ain't easy at all!

More posts to come soon on the "Busy Bag", dinner with the foodies (girls), Adam had a little straw, and going MSPI.

You're on the edge of your seat, aren't you?!?