Ok, so maybe Halloween doesn't quite fall under the Thanksgiving/Christmas Holiday Drama. BUT...

Tim ordered the kids some nifty costumes:







Only problem... they aren't here yet.

So everyone cross your fingers that they show up in the mail today!!!!

Later.



His company is paying for us to stay at this nifty little place for the Christmas Party in Birminham this year. And we are leaving the kids home with Pop Pop and Gama. It's true. A weekend getaway.

Really, I need to get out more...

Quick backtrack to this past Thursday...

Well, Tori's Owl Pumpkin ended up getting Honorable Mention in her Picasso Pumpkin Carving Contest. She was tickled. She came running up the stairs after school and breathlessly announced "Well,I didn't get 1st place but I still got a ribbon!"

After dance class I took her to the FIS School Carnival. It was raining. Let me be more concise: It was raining quite hard. The school is all outdoor hallways... sigh. She stil managed to have a pretty good time. Me, I managed to stay mostly dry. Tori got hot pink stripes sprayed in her hair, which we are STILL washing out. She even used some tickets to get her brothers (who were home with Dad due to the rain) some glow in the dark thingies. See, she can be sweet. HONEST!

________________________________

And now, as Tommy put's it: Today is tomorrow!

Today was another gorgeous day. After church we had a little picnic down by the bay. And this afternoon... it was time for more pumpkin carving. HOOOORAY.

So the boys have been ready to do their pumpkins for a while now. We had to keep reminding them that they will rot pretty fast here in the heat (And boy do they get stinky and ugly fast in the heat, YUCK!) Decided today was the day. TJ had exactly what he wanted in mind... and nothing else would do. He used his little pumpkin he got on his fieldtrip last week. Yes, he was quite pleased with himself. Even if Daddy did the actually sawing :D



























Tommy of course wanted something associated with the beloved color green, even if he didn't get a green pumpkin. He cracks me up. I actually carved this one (after Tim cleaned it out, thanks dear!). In my defense he does have TWO ears, I just didn't get it in the picture so well.


























Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend. Can you believe it's almost November?!

Later.

Grrrrrrrrrr

Durn Blogger.

I had a whole post... and Blogger ate it.

Bad Blogger, BAD!

_____________________

Yesterday = rainy yucky weather.

Day goes as follows:
Get to K1 Center by 7:30 to set up Teacher Treats (with Tommy 'helping' me)
Spend next hour frantically trying to get all the food etc set up, thank goodness for Jane
Dash up to Tommy's preschool (with TJ... who I forgot to check out of school when we left)
Grocrery Store with TJ
TJ's allergist appointment takes just over an hour
Run home (with TJ) throw together veggie tray for teachers
Get back to K1 Center
Run back to Tommy's preschool (help him get two pumpkins off the trailer in the rain)
Back to the K1 Center
Cleanup
Home
Run pickup Molly
Drop of TJ and Molly at party... Molly starts crying :(
Take Molly home with me
Run back with Tim and the kids to pick up TJ
Head to next Halloween party...
Ooooops, forgot Tommy's emergency kit, turn around....
Ok, try again
To Cydney's party
Have fun
Go home
Collapse.

And that sums up my Friday.

In other news, I scrapped! Did this for my ad challenge over at DSD. If you scrap you'd better hop on over and join in. I'm getting a complex about no one doing this!



Papers by Sue Jones "Sincely Yours" (which I'll be giving away next Friday), stitching by Tamara Dantes "DSD Oct Megatkit", and Photo Action by Kim Hill.

Weather today is glorious. Tim is out at Target with the three kids picking up a present for one of Tommy's classmates. (Thanks, dear!)

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

LATER.

Who me?

Meet Tori's owl for the pumpkin carving contest at her school. Ok, yes, there was quite a bit of adult help. I admit it. I'm all for kids doing their own projects... but she is NOT getting ahold of carving tools at age 9, sorry!

She picked out the pattern and 'helped' Tim carve it last night. (Oh, did I mention she told us about the contest yesterday afternoon?!) Then she and I decided wings would be cool on it. I ran out to Hobby Lobby today looking for a way to make wings. I was able to find some fun feather fringe. I simply cut a wire hanger in half, stuck each side in the pumpkin and wired on the feather fringe.

Whatcha think?



Lots of crazy running around to do. Gotta get out of here pretty soon.

Later.

Thank goodness I managed to get into the doctor's today instead of Friday. I feel like... well, I'll be polite and just leave it at "I don't feel good." Yucky Bronchitis on top of Sinus infection that was a no-brainer as of yesterday. Now I have meds though. So here's to feeling better NOW.

(As I type this Tommy starts coughing.... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!)


I'm off to get TJ and then I'm going to make a big pot of Chicken and Dumplings before I collapse in bed for the night.

Check back Thursday for some new layouts etc. I should have some fun Halloween Party pictures as well this weekend. Oh, and I finally got my camera back to Nikon for the repairs. Can't wait to have a working camera again.

LATER.



I had started this layout forever ago for MY book. Today I discoverd the missing pictures on my computer. I was determined to find them! Thank goodness for Photoshop, eh? It seems like I'm a half decent photographer once you mess with all kinds of filters. Helps to have a cute subject too...

________________________________________

Good day. Long day. On Tuesdays I volunteer at the K1-Center in TJ's classroom. By the time I was done I just made it over to Tommy's class. After school Tori had Red Shoe Club Reading Club. Then Ballet after dinner. She breathlessly ran out to the van to report she was the 'Star Student' of the day in Ballet class. I'm sure the new slippers (that I hurridly attached the straps to just minutes before class) were the reason ;)

The boys have discovered X-Box. Luckily they are easily pulled away with 'let's go out front so you can ride your bikes!' It seems very funny to see them playing that... they seem too young. Oh well, good eye-hand co-ordination, right?

I'm off to drink something hot and collapse in bed with my book.

Later.

Busy, busy, busy.

One of Tommy's classmate's was having a big party Friday after school at the park in Daphne. The little boy was celebrating with his twin sister. The theme was Princess and Pirates. There were kids EVERYWHERE. I think everyone had a blast.

Report cards came home on Friday. Tori and TJ both got straight A's. To celebrate we let the kids pick a place for dinner. We ended up at Moe's. It's no Chipotle's. But not tooooo bad.

Saturday morning dawned bright and chilly. Tim was a trooper and took Tommy to the game by himself. Once they got home my friend, Jane and I walked five kids (mine, plus Jane's a friend) uptown for three hours of fun. The got to touch stingrays (stingers removed I promise) and a Puffer Fish (yes, I know it was a bird festival... but there were fish there), they built birdhouses, and they even watched a live bird show with a Falcon, Bald Eagle, and a Red Tailed Hawk. Super cool. The kids were QUITE proud of the birdhouses, don't you think?



Saturday evening the kids stayed home with my parents while Tim and I went to a party over in Mobile. Yes, we went to grown up party. Can you believe it?

All Sunday night it rained. I thought for sure our church picnic would be cancelled. Luckily, the sun started to peek through. We enjoyed Mass at a little chapel on the Bay and then had a lovely picnic complete with a Jazz band playing. Turned out to be a gorgeous day.

That afternoon the kids made a surprise present for their Uncle John. Afterwards we had dinner. We even took the kids to Barnes and Noble while Tim and I enjoyed a coffee.

All in all. A busy, but fun weekend.

Now, if I could just shake the cough.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Monday.

Later.

Do you have five or ten minutes? (Chances are you do if you are reading MY blog!)


Please take a few minutes to email your senators regarding S. 3980 - The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act of 2006. CLICK HERE for step by step information on the FAAN website.

S. 3980 - The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act of 2006

What The Bill Does

  • Helps assure that schools can safely manage students with life-threatening food allergies
    Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to develop and make available to local educational agencies a voluntary policy to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools.

  • Directs that such policy address: (1) a parental obligation to provide the school with information regarding a student's food allergy and anaphylaxis; (2) communication strategies between schools and emergency medical services; (3) strategies to reduce the risk of exposure in classrooms and common areas; (4) food allergy management training of school personnel; (5) authorization of school personnel to administer epinephrine when the school nurse is not immediately available; and (6) creation of an individual health care plan tailored to each child's risk for anaphylaxis.

  • Provides for school-based food allergy management incentive grants to local educational agencies to assist such agencies with adoption and implementation of food allergy management guidelines in public K-12 schools.


Thanks for taking a little bit of your time to help protect not only Tommy but all food allergic kids in school.

Have a great day!

I know this article is almost a year old. But I found the information interesting. Most articles I have found indicating some children outgrow peanut/tree nut allergies were based on IgE levels but made no mention of past reactions.


Nut Allergies May Be Outgrown
Miranda Hitti



Nov. 9, 2005 -- Allergies to tree nuts such as cashews, almonds, walnuts, and pecans are sometimes outgrown, new research shows.
"Approximately 9% of patients outgrow tree-nut allergy, including some who had prior severe reactions," write doctors from Johns Hopkins University.
About one in five kids outgrows allergies to peanuts, add David Fleischer, MD, and colleagues. Peanuts are legumes, not tree nuts.
Nut allergies can prompt extreme and even fatal reactions. Any testing should be done by experts who are prepared to handle any allergic reactions.
Fleischer's study appears in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Allergy Study
The study included 278 patients from The Johns Hopkins Pediatric Allergy Clinic who had been diagnosed as being allergic to tree nuts.
Patients were from 3 to 21 years old. Cashews and walnuts were their most common tree-nut allergens, followed by pecans. A little more than two-thirds were also allergic to peanuts.
Most had a history of moderate-to-severe allergic reactions to tree nuts.
The patients' blood samples were checked for IgE, a chemical released by the immune system in response to allergies.
If IgE levels were low enough, patients were invited to get a tree-nut allergy test.
Nutty Cookies
Participants ate cookies for the allergy test, not knowing if the cookies contained nuts.
A little culinary legwork was involved. Each type of nut was separately ground. Cinnamon and vanilla masked the nutty smell and taste. Molasses and oil made the cookies' color and fat content similar.
The cookies were served under the researchers' supervision. Emergency medicine was on hand, just in case.
A lot of eligible patients turned the test down. However, about 9% of their peers passed the test.
Who Outgrew Nut Allergies?
Most patients didn't outgrow their tree-nut allergies.
But nearly one in 10 did, some of whom had had a severe reaction in the past to tree nuts, the study shows.
Kids were more likely to have outgrown their tree-nut allergy if they were no longer allergic to peanuts.
That finding should be tested further, write the researchers. They note that parents of kids who had outgrown peanut allergies may have been more willing to let those kids take the nut-allergy test.
The odds of outgrowing tree-nut allergies weren't great for kids with allergies to more than one or two different tree nuts. Those children are "unlikely to eventually outgrow their allergy," write Fleischer and colleagues.
Retesting for Nut Allergies
Retesting may show some patients that they're no longer allergic to tree nuts. That can mean not having to be vigilant about avoiding nuts and treating accidental exposure, write the researchers.
However, they raise a few cautions:
The potential exists for severe allergic reactions during testing.
The ideal IgE levels for testing haven't been set.
Follow-up testing shouldn't be done on kids who are less than 5 years old.
Testing should only be done in proper settings with trained personnel.
SOURCES: Fleischer, D. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, November 2005. News release, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

So ready for a laugh?

Here's just one of the xrays from the Tommy-swallowed-a-penny-saga.



Not the best scan in the world. But... well, you get the idea. And yes, I do giggle about it... now.

I finished up the layout tonight as well.





Again, used the DSD October Megakit. Those letters are by Kim Moore and can be found over at DSD as well.

I'm busy on a couple of projects. Back in a few days.

Later!


No, this is not one of my children. I'm trying to stick with no more than three, thank you very much!

Did a photo swap on Kim Hill's team. I had Nicole's darling little girl to scrap. Used the DigiScrapDivas October Megakit (told you it rocked!)

Started back to exercising today. My knees are NOT happy. But the dog was beyond thrilled to go for a long walk. Weather was gorgeous.

Lots to do as usual.

Later.

Wow. Found this article today.
_________________________

"When my son, Julian, was first diagnosed with an allergy to peanut the summer before starting kindergarten, I was devastated. I felt overwhelmed by the prospect of losing him to a lowly peanut. For months, I walked around looking like a deer in the headlights, my face fixed with that "ohmygawd" expression. Danger seemed to lurk around every corner as I shopped for food (like a walk in a minefield), as I sized up the mother who asked Julian over for a play date with her youngster (Can I trust you?), and as I released him into the care of his wonderful teacher every day (Will you do the right thing?).

When the phone rang during school hours, my heart would skip a beat as I wondered if it was the school office, if Julian had had a reaction. Like a low hanging cloud, the worst case scenario permeated my thoughts: anaphylaxis can cause death.

Strangely enough, my perspective on life-threatening allergies began to change for the better after I read a landmark study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, about 13 children who had died or nearly died from food-induced anaphylaxis. Not light bedtime reading, but the article drove home why food-induced deaths occur: typically, victims had unknowingly eaten something to which they were allergic, did not have an EpiPen readily available, and most were asthmatic. These findings made me realize that I had missed the operative word in the definition of anaphylaxis - it has the "potential" to cause death - but fatalities are rare when measures to reduce the risk are carefully followed.

My husband and I conditioned Julian to carry his EpiPen, to not eat without it, and to only eat foods we had approved. We learned to be label savvy and to call food manufacturers when we were unsure of ingredients. I took on the role of educating others about anaphylaxis and what to do in an emergency. But in the early years of Julian's diagnosis, I also learned the hard way that people sometimes did not "get" his allergies because of my anxiety-ridden behaviour. One time the mother of a classmate cancelled a play date with Julian after I abruptly corrected her technique when she demonstrated how to use the EpiPen with the EpiPen Trainer. My tone said: "This is simple to use and if you don't know how to use it properly, he could die."

After closing that door to my son, I became aware that my perspective of anaphylaxis, the way I'd labelled it in my head, was having a negative impact on my attitude and behaviour and, in turn, on Julian's. I made a conscious effort to view others more positively; to understand that when you're respectful, patient and realistic, people have a much easier time learning how to protect your allergic child.

Julian now knows how to live with his allergy. Even though many people call his school "nut-free", he understands there is no such thing, that there are no guarantees. Despite increased awareness, products with peanut and nuts do slip into the school. Julian knows that he's not in danger unless he eats something he's allergic to and does not have his EpiPen. He knows that the smell of an allergy-causing food such as peanut butter will not cause him to have a reaction.

Now 11, my son has developed more allergies since his peanut allergy was diagnosed. People are often shocked to hear that, in addition to peanut, Julian's list includes tree nuts, shellfish, chick peas, split peas and, most recently, soy. This makes them label my son. Poor kid, they say. What does he eat? I tell them, please don't pity Julian. He's a healthy kid with a healthy appetite. He just has to be careful about what he eats.

Food allergies take the spontaneity out of life, but they do not define my son. Julian has a joie de vivre, a real zest for life. He is an aspiring hockey player, an avid outdoorsman, a pianist (under duress) and a friendly boy (except to his kid sister). He knows that anaphylaxis can cause death, but also that it can be managed. He sees himself as a child, like any other, who just happens to have food allergies. Now that's a label we both can live with."

Laurie Harada is Executive Director of Anaphylaxis Canada,
Published in Allergic Living magazine, Summer 2005

_____________________________

The author really sums up how I feel about living with Tommy's allergy. I went through the wig-out stage fairly quickly as Tommy's allergy was discovered less than 48 hours before Katrina made landfall. The tragedy of Katrina so close to home somehow forced me to see that a food allergy was NOT the end of the World. You know?

Yes, sometimes I will reach over and grab something from him when I realize it might not be safe (dried blueberries). I do still jump when the preschool calls me. Late at night my mind wanders to 'the day' he had his reaction and I beat myself up for not calling 911.

But, I'm getting better.

Education is the key here. And we are getting there.

Hope everyone has a fabulous day. I've got tons to do.

Later.

Ugh. Seems we are all in various stages of this blasted 'cold' that is going around. Poor Tim was up coughing quite a bit last night. Tommy was crying this morning that he didn't feel good. :( This is getting a bit old to say the least.

Sniffle.
Sneeze.
Cough.

Ok, enough about all that boring stuff.

New MegaKit for October is up at DigiScrapDivas. Only $5. It's a steal.




And here's a layout I made with it yesterday.



_____________________________

Yesterday I had little surprise in my inbox. A request to publish one of my layouts in another BlueMedia Book. It's a fun simple layout of Tommy at the beach.

Wanna peek?



This year I have really developed thicker skin in the submitting game. I submit when I remember. I almost never create for specific calls. I forget (well, usually). And then if I get the request it's all exciting. There are places I can hang out (the pub over at twopeas) and easily find out which calls are going out when. But I find it a bit too... much.

So, submit, forget. I know I'll never be 'big' in the scrapbooking world, but I'm happy to create on my terms. With an occasional publication here and there.

And I know my non-scrapping friends are snorting laughing at this point... so I'll leave off here for today. :D

Later!

A few new layouts from me... finally!

"Boo" is a very simply layout (inspired by last weeks's Ad Challenge over at DSD) that used Kim Hill's Retro Vacation Kit.



"Imagine" used Amber Clegg's new kit A Lil Dainty over at The Digi Shoppe.



My new Ad Challenge is up over at DSD. So go check it out... right now. What are you waiting for? Click on the link already.

_________________________________________

Tommy seems to finally be on the mend. Still coughing, but he's improved enough that he won't need another chest xray today. Hooooooray!

Unluckily, the stress of all this has caught up with me and my ears are aching and my head is pounding. Ugh and Ugh and Ugh.

So I'm off to cuddle with the little man and watch some cartoons.

Everyone be well.

Later.

Really, go do my Ad Challenge already. It's an EASY one. Fun. Go!

Seems this just might be a faulty chip.

I may just have to pay shipping back to Nikon and they will fix it for free... wouldn't that be GREAT?!

Fingers crossed.

Later.

I forgot to add




My camera. My beloved Mother's Day present from 2004. My Nikon Coolpix 5700. It has died and gone to camera heaven.

Sigh.

Still sick...

Unluckily the 'Get Well Fairy' forgot to stop by our home last night. Tim brought Tommy into bed with me around midnight. He was coughing and crying. Moaning about his ear hurting. I'm going to take a stab at this one and declare Ear Infection without the benefit of an Otoscope and a diploma from Medical School. ;)

He's up watching Mickey at the moment while I attempt to catch up on life in general.

This whole saga really has me thinking about families that deal with chronic illnesses. I cannot even begin to imagine what some have to go through. When I wake up bleary eyed and exhausted from another sleeples night I remind myself how lucky we have it. Yeh, it totally bites at the moment, but we're still lucky.

And I know it.

So, I'm going to end this post simply thanking God for children that are almost always healthy and the means to take care of them when they are not.

Everyone be well.

Later.

Who is ready for this to be over?!

ME.

Ugh. Got Tommy to the doc, who, of course, insisted on a chest xray. Tommy informed her the penny was gone already they didn't need to look for it. (At this point I tried not to bust out laughing.)

Turns out to be a good thing I took him in and doc did xray. His whole right side (remember the one that was whistly and wheezy?) was filled with 'gunk' and starting to develop into pneumonia. Had we waited another day he most likely would have been a VERY sick little boy. Probably happened because we put him under general with a cold. But, like we said, it had to be done.

Yet again, ANOTHER doc (this now brings the total to 5) who told me that you can never EVER leave a coin lodged in the throat there. She said she sees that xray now and again and it always takes her breath away. It could have flipped over that night in his sleep... well, you get the picture. This doc did me the favor of telling me exactly what could have happened. Great. Nothing like the 'what if's' when you are stressed out. Don't you think?

Anyways, I'm hoping our penny snacking man gets better now quickly. He's propped up in his bed drugged up at the moment. I think I may break down and ask Tim to bring him to me in a bit though. Makes checking on him throughout the night easier ;)

Remember: pennies are not a good snack option.

Later.

Tired

After my last post Tommy and I crawled into my bed. He wasn't sleeping well. Crying that his throat hurt. Coughing. He drifted off to sleep for a little bit. I rolled over around midnight to, once again, check on him. He ws burning up. I took his temp and it was 104 at least. He was crying and crying.

Back to the hospital.

More xrays. Coin had not moved at all. Doc decided it had to come out. Tommy is transfered over to the Children's Hospital accross the Bay via ambulance. When I asked if that was really needed they assured me it was. They didn't like the idea of him going to sleep and having his head roll over etc etc. That convinced me.

We arrived at Children's. MORE xrays are ordered.
Yes, it is a coin.
Yes, it is lodged right at his collar bone.
No, it has NOT moved.
No, it's not going to move.

ENT doc is consulted and it's decided he will remove first thing in the morning. IV started (quite a few tears there) and I hold him in the bed for next few hours watching a mind numbing amount of Animal Planet shows.

Early that morning they took him out. He screamed and cried becaus they took away his PJs. :( Then he screamed and cried when he saw the syringe for his sedative (it ws going into the IV but he didn't like the look of the needle in general). He was VERY much with it when they picked him up and took him to the OR. Just about broke my heart to hear him crying down the hallway "You come WIF me!"

:(

He had to go under general to scope it out. We were all reluctant to do it with his fever and hacking cough. But doc said there was no choice. Coin had to go.

Surgery was very easy. One side was roughed up a bit from where the coin was lodged, but all in all ok. It took him hours to wake up from the surgery. We were put in a room about 10:00 a.m. Daddy carried him up to his room. His O2 sats continued to drop here and there. Finally right at Noon he woke up all the way. I was SO relieved to have him talking to me. The nurse noted some some whistling on his right side. ER docs had noted this as well. He had a few breathing treatment which seemed to help.

They finally let us go around 5 pm. We were blessed to have my friend, Jane, pick up TJ and Tori and take them home. THANK YOU JANE!!!

All last night Tommy hacked and coughed. I think the combination of a cold and general anesthesia has gotten him gunky. So... I'm taking him back to my most favorite place in the world. Yes...The doctor's office! Fun.

We're all tired and out of sorts.

Lots of drama for such a little thing. But he's well. And that's what matters.

:D

Later.

Last night dinner didn't go so well. Remmber those steroid meanies I mentioned? TJ KICKED a 5 year old IN THE FACE. She was bleeding and crying just as you would expect a child to do when kicked in the mouth. :( I wanted to crawl in a corner and hide my head. Poor little girl. I feel SO badly that happened. The night ended ok, she gave him a hug when she left. But I still feel bad. And yes, TJ was quite a bit of trouble with me. Steroids or not he must learn to control his temper when under stress. UGH.

Tommy woke up during the night not feeling well and ended up sleeping in my bed. Do to general hacking and coughing we decided to keep everyone home from REC Sunday morning.

Then today after lunch... Tommy decided to cap off the weekend by 'accidently' swallowing a coin.

Yes, he swallowed a coin.

In typical Tommy fashion it can't be the usual swallow the coin and let's wait a day or two to find it. No...

When he told what happened we hopped online to look up general info. We had decided to just wait it out. Info seemed to indicate it would pass on it's own no problem. And then Tommy started crying and coughing LOTS saying his throat hurt BAD.

So, I reluctanly dragged him to the ER. Thinking in my head the whole time "they do an xray and send us home with instructions to wait for it to pass."

Nope.

They did and xray and found it lodged in his throat right at his collar bone causing him considerable pain. The consensus in the ER was that it's a nickel. Unluckily our local ER does NOT have a small enough scope to get it out. Doc finally decided to send us home (and you tell he was REALLY wavering here) with instructions to eat soft foods only. In the a.m. we'll get another xray. If it has not moved we'll have to be admiteed to Children's and do the (minor) surgery to remove it.

He's coughing alot and not very happy.

I'll update when I can.

He keeps me on my toes he does...

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