Monday, December 1, 2014

Peanut Allergy Treatment - Day Zero

I say day zero, because while we went to the clinic today, we didn't actually start the treatment.  Today was an education day to prepare for the rare opportunity we are about to experience in treating our daughter for her allergy.  

I guess I should say here that my daughter is severely allergic to peanuts.  

It terrifies me.  

Having a child who is 14 years old, you'd expect that she can (in theory) understand their medical conditions, and begin to grasp an assessment of risk and consequences in their lives.  The problem is that my daughter is not 14.  She's three.  I mean, for goodness sake, she's still potty training.  She loves trains and the garbage truck.  She likes to color pictures with markers.  She thinks that every meal should involve chicken nuggets (Okay, so do I, but I can at least practice some self-restraint for both of us at least on that front).  Oh, she can parrot to us very well that she can't have any peanuts because they will "Make [her] sick."  But put a peanut butter cookie down in front of her, and she'll have no idea that this cookie could send a reaction through her little body that could swell her throat shut as she is gasping for air and end up killing her after the terror of it all. 

Oh yeah, apologies for the stark description - but that's the fear I have for her every time we drop her off at someone's house to be babysat.  That's the fear I have when I see some neighborhood toddler at the park suddenly hand her some of his snacks to eat.  And as she's grown up to all of the maturity inherent in a 3 year old, and begins to play with friends more, I'm realizing that tomorrow she'll be starting kindergarten, and the next day will be Halloween at school, and Christmas parties, as well as Valentines day treat exchanges, and friend parties and, oh yeah, sitting at the lunch room table.  

Each one of those is a game of Russian roulette.  Eventually, luck will run out.

We've been to an allergist.  She's done the back scratch test.  She's done lab work.  Without getting into the details, we've been told in no uncertain terms that she is to absolutely stay away from peanuts.  No peanuts in the house.  No peanuts anywhere around her wherever she is.  Epi-pen on her at all times.  Or, as our previous allergist's clinical note says in the last item under "Plan":

My sister was watching the news a while ago and saw a news story on an allergist here in Utah who is doing something different with his patients. She sent me a link to the news story.


He is TREATING patients for their allergy.  He is having great success at taking kids who have been severely or anaphylactically allergic to foods, and giving them the very thing they are allergic to (in small, controlled, but increasing doses under close supervision) in order to desensitize them to it, and remove the danger.  There are kids who previously have been emergently hospitalized and unable to breathe due to peanuts, who are now eating them by the handful without a problem.  

Today, Monday, I met Dr. Douglas Jones, of the Rocky Mountain Allergy clinic in Layton, Utah.  I feel incredibly lucky to have this clinic close by (about a 1 hour drive away for us).  There have been people who have moved here from Hawaii and Australia to get the opportunity to do this treatment. He's the only one in the Rocky Mountain West who is doing this -- who has made the effort to plan, design, and make this treatment happen.  And he's already having incredible success rates even in the relatively short time he's been doing it. 

The actual treatment will start on Thursday.  

I am absolutely thrilled that we have this chance to do this!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Calvin's "Natural" Birth Story

Relatively short version:

Elective induction set for 39 weeks (I was ready to be un-pregnant). However, unlike most inducees I wanted a drug free delivery (this is your fault Kristin)... Brett wanted a pain free delivery... we got a little bit of both... read on.

2:00pm Started pitocin - dilated to a "2, almost 3cm"
3:00pm Watching Sherlock on Netflix
5:00pm Water broken "3cm+ 90% effaced"
5:30pm Stopped watching Sherlock
7:00pm "4cm, 90% effaced, 0 station"
7:30pm Baby's heart rate dropping with each contraction - put on oxygen
8:oopm Turned off pitocin to give baby a "break" - continued contracting on my own however, and baby's heart rate came back up. My Mom came.
9:00pm "5cm, very ripe"
9-9:30pm Contractions getting to be too much... I thought I still had at least a couple hours of labor left.
9:30pm Called for the epidural.
9:45pm Epidural in place, but wow! Time to push! Like right now! This baby will wait for no one! (Epidural takes about 10 min. to take effect)
9:48pm Baby boy delivered!
9:55pm Epidural starts working and I can't feel the stitches or the nurse sitting on my stomach to clamp everything down.

So I had a natural delivery with an epidural for the after stuff. Yay! If only they had checked me one last time before they started working on the epidural... then we wouldn't have to pay for an anesthetist... oh well.

Brett's sister asked me if Brett was a good birthing coach and I said no... but really that's not fair. He questioned why I'd want to go "natural" when there's such a beautiful thing as an epidural. But he supported my decision nonetheless. We weren't one of those couples who practiced breathing together or really prepared for this, so in that way he wasn't much of a "coach."  Brett didn't want to see me in pain and so he'd occassionally say, "It's okay to get the epidural, if you want... just sayin'." Stuff like that. But he was a great supporter, both literally and figuratively. He helped me when I needed it with some counter-pressure on my knees and hips (we had a great nurse who gave us some last minute tricks, that really helped). He was the one who physically picked me up and got me into a laying position when I froze during the pushing stage. I could not move. They told me to lay down, but I couldn't pick myself up from the edge of the bed where they were putting in the epidural. Brett was also the one to run grab my mom from the waiting area. She stepped out during the epidural procedure (she didn't think she could handle the needles, but handled the rest of it okay... weird). When the pushing urge began, all I could say were one word sentences. "Pushing!" "Help!" "Mom!" When Brett heard "Mom" he realized she wasn't there and ran out to get her just in time. I told Brett it was like an "out of body experience" - my brain could do nothing - my body totally took over. It was a really weird experience for me. Interesting also that at that point there really was no pain, just this crazily strong urge to push with each contraction. Once I was in place they checked me one more time. I heard the nurse say, "Oh, he's right there!" Then about 3 pushes later he was here.

This was probably a once in a lifetime event for me. Although know that I know that the hard part is only going to last about an hour... maybe I could do it again...

Brett's still voting for pain free in the future - and I can now say, "I did it once... I know I can... Sure I'll relax this time!"

Last 3-person family photo

Ignorance is bliss

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Prep 2013

We've had a lot of fun getting ready for Thanksgiving this year - here's what Lindy and I have been up to during November...

 For this turkey she painted the plates and feathers, I assembled the face, and she used her hand prints for turkey feet. When everything was dry I asked her what she was thankful for. The first thing she said was, "Jesus." Then she started looking around and said anything that was within sight. She only needed a little prompting to say Daddy and Mommy...

We've been coloring a lot of turkeys - she likes having her hands traced, it's one of the best parts! She's impressed me with her coloring abilities. This is the first time that she's really drawn in a space, trying to make it solid color and staying almost inside the lines. Then she started adding extra color to the sky to this one which I call, "Turkeys at Sunset" - if she becomes a famous artist, I think this is her first official piece... could be worth millions.

We've been spending a lot of time talking about gratitude and being thankful for FHE. One of our activities was to fill in this outlined person with things about our bodies that we are thankful for (doing sharing time has made my FHEs much easier to plan!). So we went through the 2nd verse of "My Heavenly Father Loves Me" and filled in the person. Then we added things from the first verse, and a bunch of other random things that Lindy is thankful for. She colored in some of it and has continued working on it on the floor over the last few weeks. It's even scarier looking now with crazy colored teeth, stickers, and scribbles all over. Prominently to the dude's right is a windmill - she loves the windmills that we see any time we head north on Redwood or out to Highland.

Our library does a story time, which we've only been to a couple times, but hope to go more often. This last time Miss Betsy gave the kids the makings for a "turkey hat" which we made when we got home. Lindy liked putting it together, but got a little nervous to see herself in the mirror when it was all finished. She only wore it for a couple pictures... apparently not being a hat person is genetic.

For our last FHE (actually with G&G Groneman - and Auntie Buffalo) she painted a cornucopia and all the fruits and veggies to go in to it. We each had to think of something we were thankful for, and how to show that we are thankful for it. Lindy wasn't so great at thinking of how to show her gratitude, but it was definitely cute when she said, "Thankful for Buff!" and gave her hugs - so I guess that counts as a way of showing it.

We changed the lyrics a bit from what I learned as a kid... but here's "There's a Great Big Turkey" Lindy style...

Lindy is really excited for Thanksgiving. For the last handful of days she has said, "Thanksgiving is ready!" or "Let's go to Thanksgiving!", and she's sad that she has to wait a few more days... hope she's not disappointed! We are sad Brett has to work this Thanksgiving, but are excited that he's off for Christmas.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lindy's 2nd Birthday

My girl is 2 - craziness! She's still in a fun stage, minus the obstinate, stubborn parts. She still doesn't eat much of a variety and Gerber raviolis are still her favorite food. She loves to sing and dance and is really in to Winnie the Pooh these days. This morning it was raining and she burst in to "And the rain, rain, rain, came down, down, down, in rushing, rising rivulets. And the river crept out of it's bed and crept right in to Piglet's!" Of course, how she says it is, "Rain, rain, rain, dam, dam, dam, rushing, rushing, Piglets!" Once again, I have to explain that she's not swearing, she's just not saying things right...

We only had a few presents for her - I'm all about low expectations :)... but she loved them. I made her second year scrap book (photo book from Shutterfly), and she got a new puzzle. I've had these wrapped and on the table for a few weeks and she's been so good not to bother them. She knew they were presents and I told her she couldn't open them until her birthday. As it approached I would say, "It's almost  your birthday!" then she would point at the small pile and say, "Presents!" - so I know she knew they were for her birthday, but she was awesomely patient in not getting to open them. The morning of her birthday she was very happy to finally be able to get them down and rip them open.

It was morning, night perm for both of us going on in these photos. She actually really loves reading these books all about her, who wouldn't!
During the first session of conference on Sunday Brett set up the toddler bed we got for free from a friend (yay for free stuff). Lindy loved it! A little too much, I think. She played on that bed for almost the entire 2 hours of conference, or climbing on Brett while he set it up. She grabbed a bunch of her blankies from her crib and "snuggled" with them on the new bed and went to "sleep" complete with fake snoring. We tried to have her in it last night, she wanted to sleep in "little Lindy bed," but when push came to shove she kept climbing out, and back to the crib she went. But I'm glad she likes it, and definitely isn't afraid of it. The problem is going to be getting out and reading books all night...

My brother-in-law Justin made us these shirts for Christmas last year - mine was dirty, so I couldn't join in the multi-colored fun, but I think these two look cute when they match.

We spent Saturday's conference day with Brett's family and she got completely spoiled by her Grandma Marilyn. Lots of fun toys and a blow-up pool for the summer - we will really enjoy that, I'm sure! But of course, her favorite part of the gift was the huge bag it all came in, and she had to be in it. I think she's part cat - she likes to be in small boxes, bags, buckets, etc.

She wasn't super excited by the princess pumpkin wagon, but was pretty struck by the Tonka truck - that's my girl!

Fishies for the pool!

Someone, let the cat out of the bag!
On Sunday we went to my parent's for afternoon conference. I made a Pooh Bear carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. The frosting was a little melty... but it was more tasty than most frostings in my opinion. I'm not a fancy cake decorator (although I think it would be fun to learn), but this cake didn't take forever and I think Lindy liked it, although she didn't seem to recognize it as Winnie the Pooh, she thought it was a "smiley face" but that works too.

A little apprehensive about the candle situation

Instead of singing the birthday song she wanted us to sing the Winnie the Pooh song the whole time...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Yard Projects: One Year House Anniversary

We've lived here for almost a year - holy cow! While we've done a lot to improve the yard, there's still tons to do. I had some fun with "paint" to outline for you some of the projects and ideas that we have. Most of them are way cooler in my head, but this is a good starting point. Any ideas are welcome - though don't be offended if we don't choose yours :).

These are some shots of the house before we did very much. You'll notice less grass, lots of weeds, rocks in weird places, etc.

Gotta love those cheery yellow flowers.

Brett put in a lot of work into the sprinkler system.

Here you can see some of the progress we made last year, and some of our plans are documented. Wish we could win the lottery, and pay for everything we want to do...  (sorry the writing is kind of tiny and hard to read on some of the pictures, and there's typos... oh well).

 Despite the huge amount of work that the yard requires (if we want it to be awesome!), it's really been a lot of fun to work out there with Brett. We've planned out what we want to do, where we want to plant things, etc. It's nice to have a hobby we both enjoy. He does a lot of the grunt "Man" labor and I do a lot of the planting and watering. And we both enjoyed the harvest last year, and this year should be 10X better given the amount of manure and organic matter we've tilled into the garden - plus we've been able to get started on it even earlier since we're not dealing with moving into the house like we did last year.

Even Lindy has enjoyed getting out there this year "digging the dirt with a shovel" as she says it. She helped me plant my beets. And she loves rides in the wheel barrow ("wheel-barrah"... she has an accent sometimes), while Daddy pushes her. She likes taking rides in the bucket as well. Spoiled girl.

Already we've torn out that railroad tie wall and made grow boxes out of the planks - progress!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What you do today?

Lindy has really gotten in to playing and imagining lately. She needs a little help from us to get started, but once she gets going she's hard to stop. This is one of my favorite conversations I hear her saying almost every day. I think she got it from +Brett Groneman asking her these questions when he gets home from work and from when she wakes up in the morning. I don't know what anyone else thinks, but I think she's hilarious and cute.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Our Songbird

Lindy loves to sing. She constantly hums "Nic Nac Patty Wak" (she's never seen Barney, so I know it's not that version) and continues to lead the music at church and to the songs played by any toy. Her first single was "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" which she started humming around 14 months. Now she's throwing words in, which is really fun, and several times a day she will sing, "Morrow!" or "Daddy!" and I know that means she wants me to sing "Tomorrow" or "When Daddy Comes Home" respectively. Unfortunately she doesn't say the "w" sound, but inserts a "b" sound instead, which is why way sounds like bay, and what sounds like...

"When Daddy Comes Home"

Unfortunately Brett hasn't seen her for the last 2 days, and might not for the next 2 days that he's working. She is still asleep at 5:15am when he leaves and goes to bed before he gets home around 7:15pm.

"Rubber Duckie"

Sorry about the wardrobe, but there's no other place suitable to singing this particular song.

 I know we've already showcased this one on FB, but she's getting better at it, so here's an updated version.
I am a Child of God
We learned this on in the car last night. About 10 min. of singing it over and over and she's got the tune and the ending words.

I think she's pretty talented for a 19 month old!