Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Update on Gemma {food intolerances} + Thank You

I have been off dairy for three weeks now.  Within 36 hours of going off dairy, Gemma's small and localized, yet persistent, diaper rash was gone--and hasn't come back.  We also noticed some positive change in Gemma's temperament, but it was still very fickle--good one day, horrible the next.  It takes the milk protein weeks to filter out of my system--and then hers--so we didn't expect a huge change overnight, but I was desperate for more consistency in her mood.
Contagious smile <3

SO, a few days after cutting dairy, I cut wheat, soy, peanuts, and eggs from my diet as well.  We saw definite improvements a few days later, which was great...yet, my diet was less than ideal.   I decided to re-introduce wheat--and two days later, all heck broke loose!   So it looks like I will be off wheat {I'm trying to avoid all gluten} for the long haul.  Gemma seems to be responding well to the addition of eggs back into my diet, and when I am feeling brave again we will try peanuts.  Eventually we will try soy and dairy, although her doctor agrees that dairy is likely part of the problem.

Don't get me wrong, Gemma is still a high maintenance baby {darn cute and precious, too!} and some days are better than others.  But I much prefer holding a mostly-content-as-long-as-she's-in-my-arms baby all day long than having to bounce, shush, swaddle, and pacify an uncomfortable baby all day long.  We are leaning toward getting her tested for allergies in a few months, but until then I am doing my best to eat what she seems to like. 
Getting very sleeeeepy.

Some foods I have been eating a lot of are:
ground turkey
yellow squash
green squash
sweet potatoes
gluten free Rice Krispies with rice milk {essentially a bowl of rice...}
dairy/soy free coconut milk "ice cream" {it's actually decent} 

Sounds good, right?? 

Now that I am committed to this lifestyle and am more educated about foods that meet my criteria, I am actually eating pretty well.  My friend just gave me a gluten free pizza dough recipe that was awesome {with my fake cheese and a ton of veggies}.  I have also purchased gluten free bread and pasta that was ridiculously expensive, so it better be good!  Sorbet is also safe, which along with the coconut milk ice cream and gummy bears, are satiating my sweet tooth.
She likes coffee, too.

It's not so bad living without my cooking {haha}, but my Dad is coming to visit this week, and it is going to be so hard to have to turn down his cooking!!  Before I found out I would be on this diet, I was already dreaming about the meals I wanted him to make me while he was in town.  O'well.  At least Luke will have a week of good eating. 

And now I just want to thank all of you for the support you showed me after my initial post about Gemma's food/fussy issues.  I so appreciate all the comments, FB messages, real mail, text messages, and phone calls I received.  You all are so sweet, and your advice, concern, and care mean a lot.  :) 

...And lest you think Gemma is making me crazy, let me assure you that I never thought I would have a baby who sleeps as well as she does, and her smiles and cooing could melt my heart on even the most difficult days.  As a Mom, it is just super hard to know your baby is in pain and to not be able to make it go away...forever...now!  I promise a Gemma update on just the fun stuff soon! 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

New View in the Rear View

It is still hard to believe that this is what I see when I look in my rear view mirror these days:

I sure am glad that he is one along for this wild and crazy and hard and fun and exhausting and beautiful ride with me:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

That Awkward Moment When...

you are perusing the "family planning" aisle at CVS looking at pregnancy tests 
...with your nine week old strapped to your chest
...and your two year old riding shotgun in the double stroller you are pushing.

Yeah, that was me yesterday.

{And, in case you were wondering, I have nothing to disclose.  God-willing, that announcement will be awhile off.  Yet, all in God's great timing}.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mother's Instinct

To be honest the past few weeks have been really hard. 

Like I felt like I was drowning hard. 

Like I didn't know how I was going to be a good Mom to two without Luke working from home for part of the day...everyday hard.

Like I almost cried when my husband called and asked me to make lunch for him and his business partner the other day...because I also had to make sure the house was spotless...and I had to look nice...and I had to do it all with one hand and/or a screaming baby hard.

I knew something wasn't right.  Gemma's crying fits were getting worse and worse.  Everything seemed normal her first month--she was a bit particular, yet nothing alarming.  But for the past three weeks she has had four primary states of being:
1) asleep {usually in my arms}
2) eating {always in my arms}
3) crying {usually in my arms}
4) being actively pacified {usually in my arms--bouncing her up and down, while holding a pacifier in her mouth}

There was very little time of wakeful contentedness.  No lounging on the boppy pillow while I played with Augustine.  No play time for her at all.  No falling asleep in her swing.  An occasional happy bath, but even then I never knew when she might burst into a sudden crying fit that I couldn't console.   

She almost always cried as soon as I put her down--asleep or awake.  {The only exception was at night--she was, and still is, a great night sleeper}. 

I felt so discouraged. 

I remembered Augustine's lazy newborn days.  We used to joke that he didn't even learn to cry until he was eight months old. 

I remembered her first few weeks when she took great naps on her belly and didn't need to be constantly pacified when awake. 

I felt sad.

Everyone told me she wasn't that fussy and that every baby is different. 

But last Monday, I couldn't accept those answers anymore.  I needed to know what was wrong--in a weird way, I needed something to be wrong.  I didn't want to continue this way, and even more so, I didn't want her to continue to be suffering.  Deep down, my fear was that her problems stemmed from having an underdeveloped something, due to being born 9 days early, which I blame myself for {an illogical conclusion, I know, but that's the way Mommy Guilt works, isn't it?}.  A good friend reminded me before the appointment that I was not to blame, that babies are born early all the time, and that I just needed to pray about it.       

The doctor looked her over and said she looked perfect developmentally.  He said she was probably just be a high maintenance baby.  "On the bright side," he added, "very intelligent children are often super fussy as babies."  I'm sure he tells all the discouraged Moms that--and I have to admit, it did help my spirits...just a little bit.

He said it could also be a dairy sensitivity or a reflux issue and suggested that I cut dairy and chocolate from my diet.  For those of you who know me well, you know that dairy and chocolate pretty much are my diet!  Our before bed snack is almost always ice cream, except when it's a big glass of milk with some graham crackers.  And lately it's been both {hey, I'm breastfeeding...}.  Yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese are also consumed with reckless abandon in our house.

I agreed right away {there is little I wouldn't have agreed to to make her happier}, but I really didn't think it was going to help.  The doctor said I had to give it 3 to 4 weeks before making an assessment and {possibly} going back to my old eating habits.  Luke was more hesitant about the whole thing.  "I'd rather have a cranky baby than an insane wife" was his response.  {He's seen me fast from with ice cream and chocolate...and it's not a pretty site}.

I have actually taken it a step further and cut out most of the major allergens {dairy, wheat, soy, eggs, peanuts}. I am going to slowly re-introduce them to try to figure out exactly what was bothering our sweet baby girl. More on that later.

And Guess what...
We have noticed a huge difference in her temperament! It absolutely pains me that over the course of three weeks, she was growing progressively more uncomfortable.  I am sure it will take a few weeks for her to get used to being content, but she is already much happier and I am so thankful.    

Going through this experience has helped me not to take the little moments of Gemma's life for granted. I love just staring into her eyes, talking sweetly to her, and waiting for her to smile back. I know even these trying times pass by so quickly, and they are moments I will never get back. 
One of her fav positions...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Proud Wife

I am so proud of my husband! 

It has been hard work--a few years of hard work--but it has been worth it to achieve one of his career goals.
When we moved to Virginia, almost four years ago, Luke was starting over in terms of his career.  All he had ever known was playing soccer,  which was a fine living for a young bachelor.  But as a new husband--and potential Daddy--he needed something more to provide for his family and future. 

The first few months in our new town Luke began coaching a few youth teams, in addition to playing professionally.  This helped financially, and we were able to keep our expenses low, but in saving and planning for our future family, it wasn't enough. 

A natural born entrepreneur, Luke quickly decided to start his very own coaching business.  After initially focusing on individual training sessions, he quickly switched gears and realized that offering enrichment programs to preschools and daycares was more his niche. 

And so Little Kicks was born. 

Just three and a half years later, Little Kicks serves over 3,000 toddlers a year at over 60 daycares/preschools in the Richmond area!  It is a fun business for us to manage together--Luke works much, much more than I do {and he does all the hard stuff}; but I try to support him emotionally and also do quite a bit of seasonal administrative work, which I really enjoy. 
Then a few years ago, Luke decided he wanted to franchise his business.  After a months of preparations, legal work, etc, his business became franchise-able {under the name Mighty Kicks}.  It turns out all the preparation is the easy part--actually selling a franchise is where it gets tough! 

But yesterday, Luke officially sold his first franchise!!  Our franchisee was just in town for two days learning the ins and outs of the business.  It has been Luke's goal to someday just sell and manage franchises, and this was a big step in that direction. 

Luke teaches me so much without even knowing it.  He takes risks, he dreams big {and plans big}, he sets goals, he works hard, and he accomplishes great things!  He does things I would never even dream of doing...or even trying...or even thinking possible.  Yet, all the while, he keeps his relationship with Christ and his family his priority.  It makes me so happy to watch him set and meet his career goals.  His focus and determination are so attractive to me.   
My hero
{I had never seen this pic of him until two minutes ago when
I google imaged him...I'm going to guess circa 2006}

If you think of it, please say some prayers for his work and the future of his business.  We are hopeful that things will continue to go well, which will help us achieve some of our other big plans in the not-so-distant future...!!   

Saint Jose Maria Escriva and St Joseph, pray for us!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


A little random for your Thursday evening entertainment {or maybe my Seven Quick Takes almost a week late...}

*I came across this quote about motherhood the other day and really liked it:

“There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one” ~Jill Churchill

*One of my friend's recently posted this as her status on Facebook:

OK, so I know I may not have a lot of support here, and likely will offend some peeps, but I am really tired of hearing about how much conservatives apparently hate women, want to control what women do with their own bodies, etc, etc. As a woman who is both a Republican (gasp!) and a Catholic (eeeek!), I think it's ridiculous for insurance companies to have to provide for free birth control. I can certainly understand why some religiously-affiliated employers would oppose offering such insurance policies, and it has nothing to do with their desire to control women. Using birth control is a choice, not a right, because needing birth control in the first place is a choice, and I don't understand why someone else should pay for what I choose to do.

I say, well put.

*Now that I am a Mom of two young children, keeping up with housework is a bit harder than it used to be.  It's always helpful to have a little extra motivation to keep things in order...and hosting a play date seems to be just the motivation I need!  So thank you to Elizabeth and her cuties, Max and Charlie for scheduling a play date this week.  {Although Elizabeth actually forgot and we ended up rescheduling last minute, my house (and family) still reaped the benefits} :).

*A few months ago, my sweet baby boy locked himself in our bathroom for about half an hour.  Thankfully, he didn't panic {or turn scalding hot water on himself...or turn on my hair straightener and burn himself...or play in the toilet...or fall into the toilet}.  I kept telling him that he was stuck and that he needed to unlock the door.  I am pretty sure the lady who lived here before us had severe trust issues of some sort because there are industrial style door knobs and locks on the bathroom doors {as well as key only deadbolts on the front and back doors}.  Needless-to-say, we don't lock our bathroom doors ever and must have lost the keys as soon as we moved in.  And trust me, a bobby pin or credit card wouldn't even phase these locks.  Anyway, Augustine eventually listened and unlocked the door.  Whew!

...But then on Thursday, he locked us out of the bathroom.  We searched the house for the keys, to no avail.  Two days, a drill, several screwdrivers, loads of frustration, and a crowbar later {not to mention a damaged door and frame} Luke broke into our bathroom. 

It's been that kind of week.
*Augustine has eaten peanut butter and honey sandwiches for part of his lunch the past two days. This brings so much joy to my life!  It may not seem like a big deal, but I've been wanting him to eat sandwiches {and fewer "noo-noos"--noodles} for a long time, and he has never really seemed interested.  It's such an easy lunch staple...and delicious, too! 
We eat pb most everyday in our house--yum!

*What's Augustine's new favorite toy?  Luke's wedding ring.  Um, yeah.  Imagine my surprise the other morning when Luke called me in a panic to inform me that his wedding ring was "somewhere on the living room floor."  Sure enough I found it on the edge of the throw rug, about two feet from the fire place.  Apparently, Luke and Augustine have this really fun game where Luke throws his wedding band and Augustine goes and finds it; repeat.  We have agreed that this game should no longer be played--with wedding bands!  Balls, fine. 

*Did you know they make non-alcoholic wine?!  I had no idea!  Luke spotted some while we were grocery shopping today, and we both wanted to try it.  Our immediate reaction was that it tasted like a combination of grape juice and wine {it is, after all 21% real fruit juice}.  But the more I sipped on it, the more I enjoyed it.  It definitely a worry-free way to enjoy something wine-ish during these consecutive years of pregnancy and breastfeeding.