Posts filed under ‘Parenting’

Allergy Update: Advance in Testing Gives Us Hope

About two weeks ago we visited the allergist again for the third round of testing in the last three years. Thankfully, Lil D has not had any reactions since the initial incident (read about it here). The absence of reactions gave me hope that perhaps there was no more allergy.

Lil D was not stressed about this appointment which reduced my own anxiety. We grabbed his Star Wars sticker book and we were off.

After a brief consultation, we went into the exam room for the drops and picks, which this time would include environmental allergies. Shortly after the nurse dropped and picked, Lil D began to feel uncomfortable itching in his arm.

He reacted strongly to cats. We don’t have a cat. No biggie.

He reacted to peanuts, not strongly but still significantly.

He did not react to any tree nuts – Woohoo!

The allergist explained that in the last year, there is a new (privately funded at $180) blood test that can help to type the allergy and help predict the likelihood of a systemic (i.e. anaphylactic) reaction. The test isolates the different types of protein in the peanut and the reaction to each.

In studies, there are certain proteins which have little association with anaphylactic reactions and certain proteins which have very strong associations with anaphylactic reactions.

If Lil D did not react to those with the strong reaction to anaphylaxis, we could give him a food challenge (have him eat peanuts in a controlled environment) and see what happens. Perhaps it could even mean that he wouldn’t react. Or perhaps it could mean that we could just feel a little less worried when he is eating outside our home.

Hope! Maybe this was it. He hadn’t had any reactions because he has this more mild allergy and now we could identify it.

Two weeks later the call from the allergist’s nurse…

He only reacted to one protein, the one to which 90% of those who have had anaphylactic reactions were positive.

F _ CK

I guess we have been doing a good job of keeping him away from peanuts.

And we will continue with the NUT-F’in-FREE diet; we will have epipens weighing us down wherever we go; we will ask servers to “check with the kitchen” at each restaurant meal; and we will carry nut-free treats (Coffee Crisp is the current fav) in our bag for the times the server comes back with that disappointing news about the ice cream in the kid’s meal dessert.

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November 25, 2011 at 12:17 am 3 comments

Tico Tuesday: If Not Now, When?

When I was two years old, my parents took me to France to live for a year while my dad did his fellowship. My mom and dad have many fond memories of this time and I also have a couple. If there were a family memory book, that year would fill a significant section.

I always imagined that when I had my only family, I would live abroad with them for a period of time. When Derek and I went on our honeymoon, we fell in love with Costa Rica, a peace-loving, warm population in a physically beautiful land with many ecological treasures and micro-climates. We visited a couple more times since then, each time envisioning ourselves living there for an extended period of time. We visited the school closest to our favourite town, we checked out some real estate, and we investigated the internet coverage.

Our children are getting older and as they get older, taking them out of their Canadian school with the intent to bring them back will become more difficult. So, as we planned a longer one month vacation for this winter with a plan to go for a year in the future, we looked at each other and said, “WHY NOT NOW?”, and really, if not now, when?

I have heard different reactions to our choice to travel, from  “How?” to “I’m jealous”, to “I don’t even like to travel out of Ontario”, to “You guys are unconventional” to “Are they asking for people?” (that last one from my paternal grandmother, imagining the call for people to cultivate the land in pioneer days).

We have arranged our lifestyle so that our work life is as flexible as possible. We have taken (very calculated) risks, made tough choices and made certain sacrifices to design this life for ourselves. It would take many many blog posts to describe this path (I’m actually considering it in a separate blog). But here we are.

There are certain things that society expects from us, and sometimes our peer group as well. I sometimes find myself embarrassed to tell people that I don’t love my day-to-day work (it’s tolerable), but that having to do it for only a couple of hours a day from just about anywhere in the world, makes it worthwhile. I also derive satisfaction from watching the business grow, setting goals, watching our ideas (mostly Derek’s) thrive or fail and working as a team, knowing that as a family, we have designed a life for ourselves via this (these) business(es).

It is common for people to define themselves by their work, but we (Derek and I) define ourselves by our lifestyle and life experiences. Our children are not obstacles to those experiences, but they are part of the reason we gather them. We truly believe their lives will be richer for it.

I often find myself apologizing for my work being below my education level and work experience. It is not what people expect from me. When I explain our business to people, I see eyes glaze over. The business is not going to change the world, and the day-to-day tasks are mundane, but the fruits of it give us the freedom to pursue our dreams… and those dreams are limitless.

October 18, 2011 at 2:26 pm 9 comments

Style Tuesday: Part II

Part II: Lifestyle

So, ya, about that second reason not to buy investment fall/winter boots this year…

Well, as I may have written about before, Derek and I work together running an online business. We can work anywhere, from our local Starbucks or Bridgehead, to remote hotel rooms hooked up to satellite wireless internet.

Sometimes, a vacation with the kids will not be a vacation after the kids go to bed, as Derek and I pop open our laptops and power through emails and work tasks. It is nice to be your own boss and have flexibility, but it’s impossible not to take your work home (or on vacation) with you.

This year, on our trip to Maine, we realized how efficiently we worked when we were disciplined about our leisure time. During certain hours we were not allowed to work (essentially from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm) and then, during the hours we were left with we powered through the work. We prioritized well and we communicated better (i.e. not at all while the other was clearly deep into a task).

Well, with this flexibility and a pact to be disciplined about leisure, we have decided to take our children to Costa Rica for six months. The kids will go to school. We will work. We will be disciplined about leisure. Derek will learn to surf (tee hee; I’ve seen him try a couple of times), and I will improve my Spanish.

We’ve decided to take an idea by the horns and run with it. Since the first time we visited Costa Rica seven and a half years ago, Derek and I have toyed with the idea of moving there OR vacationing there OR raising our children there OR retiring there.

We’ve visited a couple more times since our first trip and our yearning to be there for an extended period of time persisted.

Ma familia sin mi a la playa: Dito, Cito, Derek, Abuela y Abuelo - walking to town along the beach (faster than the road)

We leave after Christmas and come back at the end of the school year.

We have the main plan worked out, but lots of little (and not so little) details to arrange.

There will be lots more on this to come as it all unfolds.

Oh yes, and that’s the second reason I didn’t try anything on in the shoe store. I’m trying to avoid fall/winter fashion altogether since I’ll only be in it for three months. I’m telling myself I can work with what is already in my closet. Or at least maybe I can hold out until the sales start…

I don’t know what is with me this week, but I’ve got at least two more blog posts here and one on another site, so stay tuned. Apparently I’ve got a lot to say.

September 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm 8 comments

Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

I have been contemplating educational choices for my two sons these past few weeks.

I believe in public education; I’ve always believed in public education… but then my older son got ready to go school and I started wondering if the cookie cutter approach to education would work for him. Isn’t that how it goes; you ideologically believe in something until it’s about you?

So, ideology aside, and pros and cons of private versus public education aside, I decided I need to be prepared and informed and I started checking out my options.

I went to visit one private school – gorgeous facility, excellent program but expensive and not bilingual. Then I went to visit an elementary Montessori school. The philosophy and learning style is amazing but there would be little to no peer group – not an option.

So I have an appointment booked to visit a bilingual non-profit private school. My visit is in October.

Yesterday, I was sitting in a new hair stylist’s chair, and the woman beside me started talking about her older teenaged sons. She was giving me life lessons on raising sons and then she told me that her sons went to the aforementioned school that I have an appointment to visit, and then they went to a different private school for grades 7 and 8.

She told me about the experience and gave me a very very different perspective. In a nutshell, she felt they got a similar quality education to those in public school and ultimately, the end product was probably neutral or even negative.

She had nothing negative to say about the school itself. She just wanted me to consider that there are so many aspects to a child’s education and socialization that the financial investment could be better spent in other ways to achieve my goal (which is having them develop to their full potential academically, emotionally and socially).

It was really enlightening.

I told a friend who knows my inner struggles on this matter; she said I sat beside that lady for a reason – Fate? God? Coincidence?

Whatever it was, I’m glad I got that perspective. I’m gonna work harder within the public system. But I’m still keeping my appointment to check out the other private school. If there’s anything my momma taught me, it’s to never close any doors unnecessarily.

So, any thoughts on public vs. private… or thoughts on divine intervention or fate? I’d love to hear it all.

September 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm 2 comments

Back for Real and Back to Reality

Today I feel frustrated, glad, nostalgic, a little sad, but with an overarching feeling of happiness.

Frustrated: My little guys are whining like whatever animal is the most whiney of them all. I have heard”Maahhhhhhmmmm” about 500 times since they woke up this morning.

Glad: I’m glad that we will be back in a routine shortly. I have a feeling of anxiety in my chest when things are not organized. This week we were on a roadtrip with the boys and we’ve been home with no agenda since Friday. I’m also glad I’ve decided to get back to the blog on a regular basis. Expect posts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. I have so much to share.

Nostalgic: My boys are growing up so fast. I’m getting attitude from the sweet little one who just turned four, and my big boy is going to Grade One on a school bus in a big public school rather than having me drop him off with his brother at the safe little Montessori school.

Sad: That life changes fast and I don’t have babies anymore. I don’t want babies, but it still makes me a feel a bit sad; I can’t really explain.

Happy: Worklife balance is bouncing back to normal around here. And we’ve put a plan into action to realize a dream we had for our family. You’ll here lots more about that in the coming months.

___________________________

Now some bullet points

Two great fourth birthday toys which have been in daily since the big day:

Zingo

Wedgits

Some photos of summer fun:

September 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm Leave a comment

Fitness Friday: More Excuses & Kids on the Run

Unfortunately, life is not leaving much time for blog writing, and thus this is my ONLY post this week. I hope you are all able to stick with me while I get into my new busier routine. The family business is growing and thus my work responsibilities grow with it, especially as we get the new bits off the ground.

And the kids… the kids! They are keeping us so busy with all their activities. Spring is the busiest time as many activities overlap. I think I only have one more week of this mayhem before some of them start to taper off for summer.

First soccer game; first goal; first high 5 from Coach

Kids’ (Organized) Fitness Schedule over the Last Week

Saturday: 9:30 am Blastball for both boys; 1 pm first of four summer soccer festivals for Lil D which consist of two 50 minute games

Sunday: 8:40 am Swimming lessons for both boys

Monday: 6:30 pm Soccer for Lil C

Tuesday: 6 pm Soccer for Lil D

Wednesday: 6:30 pm Blastball for both boys

Thursday: 6 pm Soccer for Lil D

Friday: Rest day

Post-game show of muscle

I’m tired just reading that over. They don’t stop (and neither do their appetites)! It’s not only when it’s their activity either. When they’re at each other’s games, they are playing/practicing with the other siblings (or their exhausted parents) on the sidelines.

I will welcome the end of swimming and blastball with (tired) open arms. Please tell me I’m not the only one. Are any of you suffering from spring activity overload?

Quad stretch while he awaits the next drill

Brothers getting ready to bat

Swimming lessons: Lil D and his buddy Lil D2

I’m back at a half-marathon training schedule this week and I have a race coming up this weekend. I’m still feeling a little sluggish from the half-marathon (even 2.5 weeks out!) so I’m not expecting a personal best at the race on Sunday. In fact, if I hadn’t already registered and raised funds (not too late to sponsor me!), I probably wouldn’t run at all. But what’s done is done. I’ll just go and enjoy the experience.

Running Rundown:

Everything is posted in km. For those of you who only do miles, 1 km = .625 mile OR 1 mile = 1.6 km

Saturday-13 km run with Elation Run Club.

Tuesday – Speed class in the evening. 3 km to the track; 4 x (200m, 400m, 200m) with equivalent distance active rest in between; 3 km cool-down.

Thursday – 8 km easy run with a few 100 m strides (accelerations) thrown in near the end.

Strength and Conditioning Stats:

Monday: Greco Lean and Fit class

Uh oh – that’s it.

Have a great weekend! I’m down one child on Saturday and Sunday (Lil D is off for a train ride to Montreal with his Nana and Grandpa) and I think it will make for a quiet and nut-filled weekend around here.

June 17, 2011 at 2:36 am 3 comments

Style Tuesday: What Will My Boys Wear?

Just a warning in advance, this could turn into a rant.

I’ll start with the ubiquitous exclamation of frustration heard from mothers of boys when they go into the section of a store dedicated to boys. I’ve said it myself countless times while looking wistfully across the store,

“Look at all the cute girls’ clothes over there (sigh)…”

And then I turn back to the tees and polos in stripes or solids. I’ll peruse the selection of graphic tees with sports motifs, vehicles, superheroes and skulls. I’ll look at the five colours of pants: army green, light khaki, brown, black and occasionally navy or camouflage. I may buy something, but more likely, I’ll just leave.

You see, not only is the selection depressing, my boys are persnickety when it comes to their apparel.

Their current clothing requirements include:

Lil C: T-shirt (occasionally with a collar) that has a “picture” on the front. He mostly gets hand-me-downs so at this point he still has lots to wear, though the boys are beginning to really wear through their clothes before they grow out of them so I can see this waning in the future.

Lil D: T-shirt, no collar (“I can’t move my neck properly with a collar”). Pants or jeans without a button, snap or clip. It’s not that he can’t do it up himself, he doesn’t like “the feeling” of a fastener on his waist. Lil D also prefers a sports or superhero graphic on his top.

So where does that leave me for Lil D? He will vehemently protest collars for all occasions (though there are a few very soft ones I can sneak in). For bottoms, I’m only looking at elastic waist bands. That means no tucking in shirts (which is fine). But still, it’s HARD to find pants that aren’t sweats with an elastic waist. I have… and I have found the best looking sweats I can.

My husband is very much against sweats for school. But I defy him (I get a kick out of writing that) occasionally. However, I would really prefer to have my boys looking a bit more tailored as they go out the door every morning. Derek actually often comments on the boys clothes and suggests what they need. My response is always a lament that if I buy them what we like, they won’t wear it.

Who would have thought that I would need to bring my five-year old boy shopping with me in order to have him happily get dressed in the morning?

I leave you with some questions:

1) Where can I get cute boys’ clothes that are not covered in fake sports team logos or motorcycles?

2) Do others have boys that are fussy about their wardrobe?

3) Do you think it’s worth a fight?

May 10, 2011 at 10:00 am 7 comments

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