Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This is wrong on so many levels. And yet....intriguing

Twitch, the roadkill teddy bear. Product of Road Kill Toys (their website's not up yet). Even comes with a body bag to keep maggots out and a toe tag detailing his demise. hmmmmmmm

Sierra came home from school today with ornaments she made (beads on pipe cleaners). She proudly informed me "we can put these on my tree". Crap....I'm supposed to put up a Christmas tree aren't I? We actually have one (6.5 feet, but never taken out of the box), but no lights or anything. Maybe I can convince her the Christmas Tree is really the baby apple tree out front?

Tomorrow's the earliest possible time we'll hear results on Sedona's IgE test. I somehow doubt we'll really get them though.

And a "shout out" to my momma friends. As Josh says, we met up last night to kvetch. After way too much time with the totally clueless, but very sweet and accomodating college aged barrista, I was able to order an apple cider and spend an hour and a half complaining about my children with the two women who best understand my parenting style and understand I wouldn't complain so much if I didn't love them so much (my kids and my friends ;-) These ladies definitely keep me sane and help me grow as a woman, mother and wife.

Monday, November 26, 2007

More baby update

Took Sedona back to the doctor this morning. We had a dirty diaper with us, so he tested it for blood. A small part of me hoped he would say I was nuts and there was no blood, but nope, the whole thing reacted rather quickly--plenty of blood. So we did a CBC and IgE test (BIG thumbs up for the phlebotomist at the pediatric office...she was awesome and got the teensy tiny baby vein on the first try). Her platelets are fine, her iron is really good, her WBCs are on the upper edge of normal, but still fine. Her weight gain is on the lower edge of normal, but still fine. The IgE test will take a few days to get back and will tell us if she has a true food allergy (if it's elevated). If the IgE is normal, she either has a local food sensitivity (just in her gut) or something else entirely. Basically, another week of wait and see. We opted against a RAST test because it would require us to pick what allergens we want to test for and besides dairy and soy, we really don't have a great idea of what's bothering her. You can't just run the test for like 50 things because you have to have a certain amount of blood for each one.

In other news...
Another test of who's who?

They are starting to look more different to me, but man, are they sisters, or what??
And this is just funny. Daddy caught her mid-blink, but it looks like, "duuuuude, this is, like, the best elephant EVER!" ROFL

And last, but not least, the new curtains I made (they'll go on a nicer curtain rod when we take down all that paneling):

Friday, November 23, 2007

Milk, Bamboo and Turkey...

Toddler nursing at its finest. I need to print this out to put up in my office. I also have a picture I took of a giraffe nursing at the Houston Zoo.

My second batch of milk I donated to the Austin Milk Bank. This is roughly 200oz (somewhere around 6 liters!!!! I've now donated about 10 liters total). Now that I'm off dairy and soy, my milk just got a whole lot more valuable (some of the preemies that receive the milk need dairy free), but I'm taking a break until we figure out what's going on with Sedona.

Our new floors!!!!! We got an AWESOME deal on real bamboo floors right after we moved in (many thanks to my parents for picking it up and bringing it to us), but we haven't had the money to buy the glue or the time to put it in. With a four day weekend ahead of us, we decided turkey day was a good time to lay floor. It's going to look SO nice, especially when we get around to doing the living room (christmas?).
The board on the right is put in to be sure the floor is square (since walls often aren't), after the rest of the floor sits long enough for the glue to cure, you go back and fill in that section. Yes, we left the baseboard there. In the interest of financial and time savings, we decided we would just add quarter round to the base board instead of taking out what's there. So there's a gap all the way around the room at the moment. The blue tape is just to help hold all the joints together in the first few hours.

And our slightly scaled down turkey dinner. You'll notice the exquisite centerpiece, courtesy of Sierra. She says there are "lots of sparklies" (gold glitter at the end of the feathers).

The results

Sedona's stool culture was negative for everything. Yay, or boo.....can't decide which. In short, we are back to square one. Only it's more like negative one, because I haven't stuck to the elimination diet since Monday (have stayed dairy/soy free) and she started improving yesterday. This leads me to believe that in addition to the dairy and soy, she is reacting to something that was on the elimination diet....rice?? I DON'T KNOW!!! And I'm not sure what to do next...keep playing with diet? Test her for allergies (not entirely reliable, and involves a decent amount of pain for her). Formula's not an option and won't be unless something more drastic happens. She's still gaining weight at an acceptable pace, she's happy, it's cold and flu season, her gut is already irritated and therefore more permeable to pathogens and allergens. No way am I giving up the immunological benefits of breastmilk right now. For better or worse, breastfeeding is my soapbox (not to mention I spend all day everyday fixing everyone else's breastfeeding issues) and I shall stand firm on it unless someone can give me extraordinary reason not to.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


So Sedona's test had to go to a different lab than the pedi normally uses and we won't have results until tomorrow. No regard whatsoever for the fact that this means we have to have a (possibly unnecessarily) restricted diet Thanksgiving :-/ Oh well, the food's not the important part.

I was able to come up with a decent meal. Unfortunately pie wasn't going to happen (no decent crust without butter or margarine ), but I did come up with vegan pumpkin cookies that were pretty good. Sierra was telling me what she liked and didn't like and she pointed to the plate of cookies and said, "oh, and I like those! Those are delicious!" LOL I didn't even know she knew the word delicious.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Baby update

Well, we took Sedona back to the pediatrician yesterday. This time we saw our doctor (the last time we took her in we saw someone else b/c our doctor was out of town). That doctor needed me to explain normal breastfed infant stools, foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, etc... and told us to just wait and see what happens. Our doctor (whom I adore) didn't need us to explain anything to him (gee, imagine that). We described the yucky stools, the food diary, the bleeding and all that. We told him we wanted allergy testing done. He told us she may have a food allergy and he's willing to do RAST testing, but since that requires a fair amount of blood (ever held your baby down while they find a vein? I have...not fun), he wanted to do a stool culture first. He seemed a tad surprised the other doctor didn't do one a week and a half ago. He suspects she has a shigella or salmonella infection and is just handling it well since she's exclusively breastfed. The food sensitivity may be the cause of all this, or it may just be a secondary reaction due to having an already irritated gut. Even most adults have fever, vomiting, dehydration and all that with salmonella and shigella is dysentery (well, there's more mild forms of shigella, but dysentery is one form of it)---if that is what is wrong with her, all I can say is "way to go momma milk". If the culture comes back positive she will need to go on some pretty heavy duty antibiotics to wipe it out (due to her age and the possibility of it becoming a systemic infection, they don't take chances, they go straight to the "big guns"). If the culture comes back negative, we will do allergy testing along with a CBC. We asked about mold being the root of the problem (mainly in regards to the stuff nose she's always had that's improved lately) and he said nothing that's going on with her has anything to do with mold. He says she is too young to have a cell-mediated response like that, and even if that was going on, her mucous membranes would be palid and she would have wheezing, etc...

Even though it sounds bad (and the antibiotics would definitely suck), an infection would be the easy, shorter-term problem answer. The creepy thing is who knows where she picked it up. She's never had anything to eat, so it could've been anywhere. My first guess would be a child at Sierra's school (or even Sierra herself) carrying a low level infection, not washing hands well after going to the bathroom and then touching Sedona's hands. I always tell kids to only touch her feet, but sometimes they've reached out before I can stop them. And that child ALWAYS has her hands in her mouth, so anything that got on her hands was sure to make it to her gut.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ctrl Alt Delete

I think I have successfully "rebooted" my taste buds. You should give it a try sometime. When you avoid all refined sugar for a week (honey still allowed), vegetables start to taste sweet. Maybe the two months I've been off corn syrup have made a difference too. No joke though, I'm starting to dislike cooked carrots in my dinner because they're *too sweet*. It's very very bizzarre. I still want frosting though, any kind of frosting. I suspect when I get it, I'll take one lick and go, "blech! too much sugar!"

Today has been extreme "spring" cleaning day. The carpet has been ripped out (we've had floor to put in since we moved, but haven't had time) and since Josh's mom thinks Sedona's issues are due to mold, I decided it wouldn't hurt anything to clean. Oh, did I say clean? I meant annihilate every living thing. So far the hallway, guest bedroom and Sierra's room have been completely emptied and every surface has been wiped down with bleach---walls, tops of doors, baseboards, floors, every nook and cranie of the windows, ceiling fan, outlet covers and light switches, shelves, everything. Yes, I know mold can live in the walls, but we've done so much rennovation around here, I do not believe there is mold somewhere here that I don't know about (i.e. the bathrooms still have some, but there are not-distant plans to gut those down to the studs and remodel). Josh had the audacity to walk into Sierra's room when I finished and say (with great disdain), "it smells like a hospital in here".

We go to the pediatrician at 9:30 tomorrow to see what he has to say about Sedona's issues. Should be interesting, wish us luck.

Feel free to email me any thanksgiving recipes that are wheat, dairy, egg, corn, sugar, fish, soy, peanuts, citrus, oats and food additive free.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Our eosinophil experiment was inconclusive--I think we messed up in trying to make the smears and then go to the lab when it was convenient.

However, in searching for things to take to the doctor Monday, I came across this abstract that describes perfectly the symptoms we're seeing. I think I'm gonna ask the doctor to run a CBC and specifically get an eosinophil level on her blood, plus do an iron test while we're at it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Just Another Day in Paradise

I think the country song "Just Another Day in Paradise" pretty much sums up our life. I got a pretty good deal going...married to the best man in the whole world, two sweet, beautiful girls, parents and in-laws that love and care about us, not to mention the material things of roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in my tummy. But sometimes life just gets a tad crazy...

Let's see, the first overriding event of the last month has been the shocking realization that Sedona has food allergies. At least that's our best guess at this point. We have plans to do a fecal smear with her poop tomorrow to check for eosinophiles, which will let us know for sure that it's allergies and not a vaccine reaction or some sort of weird infection (fringe benefits of being scientists). The short story is she started having these really weird green, mucousy stools, which I knew just weren't right. I cut dairy out of my diet (that's the number one allergy in babies), but had a hamburger (most kiddos with dairy allergy do not react to beef) a few days into it and she started passing blood 24 hours later. Went to the doctor for an exam to be sure there wasn't a physical problem (polyp, fissure, hemmorrhoid, whatever) and she checked out fine. She is 100% exclusively breastfed, so from a lactation standpoint, the next step was to figure out what in my diet was causing her problems. As a mom, I don't want her bleeding (and becoming anemic and therefore more prone to infections, and having an irritated gut that allows bigger proteins to pass into her system and sensitize her to other allergens). So, we started an elimination diet. For the last week I have only had: lamb, turkey, rice, millet, potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini, squash, broccoli, carrots, apples, pears, grapes, avocado, salt, pepper and olive oil. She stopped bleeding, seemed to be getting better. Then I ate a french fry. Potato, right? WRONG! It's a potato fried in soybean oil or beef lard or who knows what else that was put in the vat that day. Back came the bloody stools. Since I was losing weight, we had to add a few things into the diet, but mostly I'm still eating what's listed above. She's getting better, but still bleeding. We go back to the pediatrician on Monday--this time armed with my food log, research that's been published in Pediatrics and requests for testing that will lead us towards healing her up (ideally fecal culture and/or RAST testing and/or CBC and iron count).

Then we made a quick trip to the in-laws last weekend. Since I can't take off work this year for Thanksgiving or Christmas (no holiday time), we were going to have to take a short trip up there for the holidays and the ticket prices were astronomical. Continental puts out specials every Tuesday for travel that weekend and Houston to Raleigh/Durham came up, so we took it. It was a fun trip and nice to get to see everyone. The girls were great on the plane both ways, but still a stressful time taking a 3 year old and 3 month old on a trip.

And last Saturday my grandmother decided to pet a rattlesnake. Okay, maybe that wasn't exactly her plan. She was cleaning windows and dropped something in the flower bed. When she went to pick it up, she heard the rattle and jumped back, but was just a millisecond too slow. One fang got the very edge of her hand. 16 doses of anti-venom, a helicopter ride from Carrizo Springs to San Antonio and a 6 day stay at the hospital at Lackland Airforce Base and she's finally back at home, though with an oxygen tank (side effects of anti-venom are many....she ended up with lots of fluid in her lungs). We got home late Monday night from the in-laws and made a day trip to San Antonio on Tuesday (3 hour drive each way, lots o' fun). When we saw her, her oxygen saturation level was dropping to the low 80's anytime she did *anything*, I'm assuming that's a little better now since they released her, but I'm kinda scared to call her since I know she needs to rest.

And I'm on a wild-hare to rip the carpet out of the house. We have bamboo flooring to put down (gonna take a while to do), but I just suddenly want the carpet gone, like, yesterday. I think I've convinced Josh it's going this weekend and we can lay bamboo all Thanksgiving weekend.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Omnivore's Dilemma

I just finished reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. A friend of mine commented a little while back, "The Omnivore's Dilemma rocked our world". I think that's probably the best summary I can give. If you are at all interested in a self-sufficient life style and sustainable living, this book is a must read. It's in three sections--the first is "the industrial" and follows the politics and business of corn growing in America (try reading it at precisely the time in life that you've had to remove corn from your diet due to your baby's sensitivity to it and it'll make ya really mad). The second section is "the pastoral" and lets you follow along the typical running of a truly sustainable and harmonious farm. The third section is "the personal" which follows the author through personally creating a meal from meat he hunted, and fruits/vegetables/mushrooms he gathered. The book is very well written and follows people on their own farms instead of just dealing with the theory. It's quite interesting how he attempts to follow corn grown in a certain field through to a burger at a fast food restaurant (unsuccessfully, of course, since industrial giants won't let you see them make high fructose corn syrup or observe the kill floor of a slaughter house). And it's inspiring to follow the natural order on another farmer's more sustainable operation (where the animals live like they're supposed to and the food is sold locally).

Sunday, November 4, 2007

How about....

Just fair warning...whatever habits you have will be amplified and pointed out to you when your toddler reaches that verbal/logic/debating age. So, my habit of "how about we....(go to chick fil a, vaccum and then play, just read a book right now)" has turned against me and everything we ask Sierra to do is rapidly shot down with "how about we......." She also calls us "guys" as in "hey guys, come here!" or "how about we just go swing now guys?"

And the funny Sierra conversation of the day (yes, we play with her, but she's not yet great at playing by herself for more than 5 minutes, so by the end of the day we're pretty much done)
Sierra: Momma, will you come play with me?
Me (nursing sedona): not right now, in a little bit
Sierra: Daddy, will you come play with me?
Josh: not right now Sierra
S: somebody needs to play with me!
Me: why don't you call grandma and tell her how mistreated you are?
S: And then grandma come over and she have lots and lots of treats in her purse! grandma have two, three, four, FIVE treats!!!! (all said with HUGE theatrical expression)

And conversations you don't want to hear in your house:
Josh (while changing an electrical outlet in the living room): uh...momma, come here please
Me: yes?
Josh: what would lay hard eggs in an electrical outlet
Me: snakes
Josh: hmmm
Me (after a second of thought): oh...ewwww we don't have snakes, do we???
Josh: welll........

That's when I looked and saw the crushed shells of about 6 or 7 eggs. The one unhatched egg went straight outside where I crushed it open. Yup, snake. Thankfully VERY old egg, but how exactly do I make sure the snakes are gone?!?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Life without TV

I'm so glad we have broken the TV addiction (again). As a side effect, we are now solidly addicted to a few weekend NPR programs...Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and A Prairie Home Companion. I heard "Harvesttime Blues" on APHC for the first time tonight and I think it may need to be the new Hill family theme song
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