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Sunday, 20 March 2016

Our eczema story

Long post alert:

I feel somewhat compelled to share about Echo's eczema. It has been an arduous road and what we've learned, I feel I just must share in hopes it can help any of you. I will be as brief as I can, after all no words could describe how hard it was with his extreme eczema which covered his little body from the top of his head down to his ankles.

Starting in early December, when Echo was about 3 months it all began. Since I had experienced a similar situation with my first son, I immediately eliminated ALL dairy, egg and wheat out of my diet. This did not help much and for the next 2 months we would be in and out of the pediatrician's office, 2 different dermatologists and an allergist many times chasing our tails. It was hard, and bad, I mean blisters on his face bad, google images bad.

Echo ended up having a severe staph infection because his skin was breaking down and because of so many open areas on his body. The pediatrician tried to help as much as possible, suggested countless ($$) prescription products which we tried, but even he admitted/implied there was little to do besides wait for him to outgrow it.

Baby did 2 consecutive rounds of antibiotics and still was back to square one. The topical steroid the dermatologist prescribed was the only thing that worked and we used it a lot for a couple of months. If we wouldn't use it, we'd be back to infection. The appointment with the allergist revealed a couple of allergens : soy, fish, nuts. After eliminating those we saw a little improvement, but it was still bad.

The second dermatologist we saw, pretty much told us there was NO CONCRETE relation between eczema and food allergies and prescribed oral steroids (which we never used). We were exhausted, extremely frustrated and quite hopeless;  then something major happened. I introduced Echo to his SECOND baby food: bananas. He immediately reacted with hives around his mouth after ingesting MAYBE 2 teaspoons! We washed off his face and the reaction went away quickly. That night (hours and hours later) he developed an ENORMOUS golf sized swelling in the back of his head. One of the scariest things I've experienced.

This was the apex of the darkest moments of those 2 months. After having dealt with essentially never having felt ANY soft baby skin on my infant, not being able to kiss him much for fear of irritating his skin, becoming paranoid about all fabrics, perfumes, never having a normal diaper change due to his extreme itching, having him be covered in Aquaphor from head to toe under his clothes, finding him in his crib with blood when mittens would fall off of him and he'd scratch himself. THIS, this scary swelling, was even worse than all of those moments. Imagine finding such swelling in the back of your child's head. As for me, I was terrified.

The very next day we saw the allergist again, who confirmed Echo has a severe banana allergy. I had been eating at least one banana daily since he had been born, essentially poisoning him through my breast milk. Within a day or two of eliminating this uncommon allergen from my diet, it has been like a miracle. His entire body is healed, we rarely have to use topical steroids anymore, I can kiss my baby, I can caress his face, we can leave him naked and mitten-less without fear of bloody scratches, we can have normal diaper changes and baths and our baby can show us his true rainbow loving colors. We do still have minor breakouts, but life is worlds better.

So in short, which this post is not, if you're child is struggling with eczema, I hope you can let our hard experience motivate you to look into specific allergies. As I am sure that with both my children that was the main cause. Doctors are used to offering quick bandaid solutions that work (like the steroid cream did for us), but none of the doctors we saw ever gave a clear definition or cause to eczema, when the reality is (Thank God) there WAS a very simple solution and cause. And speaking of God, I humbly thank him several times a day for this incredible healing and for my incredible baby. 

Photos of Echo while my diet contained his food allergens:




Photos a couple of days after having eliminated allergens from my diet :



Wednesday, 19 August 2015

30, 32 & 35 Weeks




We are so close! Echo moves soooo strongly and so constantly, I want to say more than Ezra did and if not more often, definitely more powerfully. It's hard to remember exactly to compare but wow this kiddo is STRONG. 

The moments when I get to soak in that another little boy will actually be here so soon are few and far between. This pregnancy I've developed some kind of trait where I am not able to ever relax my mind and body. I am constantly doing or thinking something and it just feels hard to relax. I am sure that is apparent to those around me too as I feel it too. 

I feel such a "go-getter" sense, so it's good and bad. Good for accomplishing a lot but bad for my mental sanity probably.

We constantly talk about Echo and I so badly wish that I could write down EVERY THING Ezra says in his regard because truly it's an avalanche of genuine sweetness. I never have told him most of the things he congers up in his head about how to treat his brother or what to do with him. 

Ezra brings Echo up so often and so randomly, like 
"when Echo is here I will go and get a chair for him" 
or
"When Echo pops out I am going to carry him on mama's bed and snuggle him"
or 
"when Echo is a lot big and a big kid he can sleep in my big kid bed"
etc etc etc the list goes on and it's incredible the things that are coming so natural in his mind about having a sibling. 

I still cannot imagine what it will be like to have 2 children, I can't believe that's my life when I really look at it. As for Brian,  he is quite patient with me and has definitely been taking care of all the chores that need to be done before baby's arrival. I kind of love to see him nesting in his own way ;)


Monday, 29 June 2015

27 weeks



27 weeks means that I am entering the third and final trimester. I've had emotional moments knowing that the changes ahead mean a lot of "lasts" for Ezra and I. The time we have had just the two of us will come to a close in just 12 short weeks. 
But I also think that I've been thinking about it wrongly a little bit. Sure it's the last summer just me and him, sure Echo will have a lot of my attention, but it is not like I am going anywhere. I am not going away I will still see Ezra every day and I will make every shred of effort to spend time with him, make him feel like the priority he is, and just loving him the same as always. That won't change and I have to remind myself of that. 
This pregnancy, has been different in the one and only sense that I am not out to predict Echo's anything. I have no inkling for what he will look like, what he will be like, what life will be like, what the joys will be like, I am going to emotionally let it hit me all unexpectedly. No expectations, no predictions, just what will be will be. Embracing chaos, embracing new hardship, embracing new love and embracing newness with open arms. If I can keep that motto, I think I will be ok :)

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

25 Weeks

I wish I could encapsulate somehow all the amazing things Ezra has been saying about Echo through the pregnancy,  I write them down, but I never want to forget his immense sweetness. One of the best so far, is when he asked  "Echo will be a friend to play with?"

or even just today: "When is Echo gonna pop out?"... "a kiss for Echo"... "I am your love and he is your love" or the way he wants me to tell the story of what's gonna happen when Nonna brings him at the hospital and he will get to meet Echo.

I know that there will be an adjustment period for me, the boys, the family, but wow the way Ezra is an outpouring of love towards Echo and my belly and my well being, really does make things easier emotionally for me.

At this point in the pregnancy is when things are starting to feel REAL and almost imminent. We have the summer and then that's it, then this babe is coming--- ready or not.

Although materially, we have everything, he truly could be here tomorrow and we'd be ready. But Im not yet ready for the constant juggling, I am embracing full force the fact that I only have to care for one kiddo at this point! Of course, as predictable as it may be, my biggest fear is just making time for each child.

I look forward to the boys interacting in even the most miniscule ways..... and Christmases with a santa and an elf, all experiences from now on Ezra will be able to share with a peer.


Thursday, 14 May 2015

18 & 20 Weeks


Our baby boy's name is ECHO FROST MORRIS! 

I have a feeling this boy will be a strong, willful, force to be reckoned with sort of person.
He will be confident and always be able to rise above. He will be wise and not let others lead him astray. 

Brian and I chose a name that we hope will forever shine amongst the others with diversity and mystique. We believe life is too short for the mundane, and we hope both our children set off to do great things with the power their name can encourage.

 I found the name Echo while searching for "Greek baby boy names"-- it really was the one name amongst the bazillion names that claimed to be unique (but weren't to me) that "stopped me in my tracks" I was parked and I called Brian saying I thought I had found a name that he would adore-- I was so serious about the name right away that I did not want to tell him over the phone. I waited all day with my special find so that I could tell him in person. 

When Brian found the name Frost it was again love at first sight for me. I felt it played with the first name so well and emphasized it, if such a thing could at all be possible.

We know Echo will complete our family with all his traits, whatever those may be. We are so thankful for a healthy pregnancy and to have a little brother for life for Ezra- we feel blessed. 


Sunday, 19 April 2015

It's a BOY



We were shocked to find out that the little baby growing inside of me is a little boy! It would have been fun to experience pig tails, mary janes and barbie dolls, but God has a different vision for our family-- and I trust his over mine any day. I am stoked that Ezra's childhood and life will be alongside his BROTHER and hopefully best friend. This path of two babies, two boys is so obscure to me, as in, I have no idea what to expect, that I don't even try to look ahead at all. I look forward to seeing how different and unique this next little person will be. Maybe he'll have some of Ezra's traits?!?! that would be super wild.

It's been so so so difficult coming up with a name, but I think we are getting warmer.

I am 17 weeks and I would say I feel one tiny tiny baby poke once every 3 days... so very inconsistently and faintly. I cannot wait to feel more more more! :)

We had an incredible gender reveal party with 42! of our big and small loved ones and it was so amazing to celebrate family and love that way. Very soul enriching.


Friday, 20 March 2015

Belly Growth | Belly Progression





Video of baby's heart beat heard for the first time at 8 weeks :


video 

Plus a little video of the day after we told Ezra about Baby No. 2 and his completely genuine words caught on video:

video

 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

13 Weeks

We have movement! It had been so enigmatic up until today, but this afternoon when I sat down and relaxed I felt the movements, and still feel them a bit now-- so so so clearly! there is a BIG baby in there! like BIG! I feel like it went from nothing to everything !

I already feel this is such a huge deal to connect with the babe :D :D it's definitely just as exciting as the first time ;)


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

12 weeks

We are 12 weeks along with our Baby No. 2 pregnancy and yesterday's doc appointment really made me giddy. We heard the baby's heart through an external Doppler and to just know that she/he is healthy is just so reassuring. Another sign of her/his health is my growing uterus, which insists on coming front and center with the passing of each day. At first I had 5-6 little red bumps on my belly and I was kind of freaking out that it would turn into PUPPS, but they never itched and they are slowly fading. I think it may just have been a hormonal manifestation or something. When in doubt, always blame it on the hormones.

It's so exciting that we finally announce it to everyone, and it makes it more real. I have embraced that when this baby will come, it will be a new sort of chaos. I don't necessarily like chaos, but this time I know how temporary it is, how fleeting, and that it is only fair for every member of the family to have an adjustment period.

I am so happy to be crawling out of the first trimester, because I know that the fun begins now! :D In 4 short weeks we will know the baby's gender!!! that blows my mind, a lot. I do have an inkling, but we are just going to have to wait and see if I am right or wrong.

Overall I've felt great, sometimes I am out of breath, but I feel like I am slowly regaining my energy.... SLOWLY.




Just as unbelievable

It's January 21st but September 2015 seems so close that if I blink, it will be here. September 2015 the month that we will become a family of four. It's all JUST AS UNBELIEVABLE as it was the first time we found out we were pregnant. Maybe more so. I feel this incredible sense of calm, I suppose you'd call that denial. At the same time I feel one of the strongest feelings of fear, fear that Ezra and my relationship will have to shift. I am so in utter love with that little boy, that it's hard to think I wont be all his all the time. At the same time I WILL be ALL his, while being ALL for someone else too.  I know this is true. I know how hard this will be.

I feel so blessed that we have been given another little angel by God to nurture in this lifetime. That is my only sense of security right now. The only thought that calms my worries, is that there is in fact going to be another angel in our lives.

Now as for how it happened. I am 3 days late on my period and Brian sort of forced me to take a test against my will. I was too worried and yet just put off by the idea of finding out either way. With conviction, he told me that he wanted to share with me that first moment where we could see the test's result.

As soon as the test "lit up" I said "im not pregnant" with the patience of a spastic monkey,  as I finished uttering those words, the second line appeared. The next 5-8 solid minutes, truthfully speaking my husband annoyed the crap out of me. Brian sat there looking over the test's instructions back to the test and saying how it could not be true and that it was just not a sure thing. After those minutes of "yes I am pregnant" vs. "no you are not"
we finally sat on our bed in utter disbelief just as we had in the winter of 2012 when Ezra was an even littler shrimp growing inside of me.

As I type this, I want to be able to convey just the utter disbelief that I feel at this moment. I don't know if a shred of what has happened has sunken in with me. And yet, we've already looked so far ahead into the future, reflecting on how these two babies of ours will have each other long after we're gone.

I foresee an avalanche of adventure ahead and I can't wait to rise to the challenge of double parenthood...but I am so glad there are 9 months to go :D




Saturday, 17 January 2015

Food Allergies & Natural Foods

The more and more that I interact with a community of mothers, childcare figures, and even small talk with strangers, the more I realize what a giant misinformation in regards to food and food allergies there seems to be amongst the general public.

Food allergies; something I don't think I had ever thought about before spring of 2013, when Ezra (my now 2 year old) was tested and proved to be allergic to MILK, EGGS, WHEAT & DOGS. No one in Brian's or my family had such allergies and we were completely clueless, taken aback and event felt like you may be feeling right now imagining the possibility of your own kid having these:  "why my kid?", he won't be able to eat PIZZA, or cookies, or ice cream or or or ...

Little did we know that what seemed like a giant limitation, has become not only an effortless way to eat for us, it has made me personally cook with more creativity, it has made Ezra and our entire family healthier, more slender, it has refined our palate (yes even the palate of our 2 year old!) and ultimately, we've been able to creatively find "just-as-yummy" treats for the whole family to enjoy.

When one member of the family has food allergies, it is only natural that the whole family jumps on board for the same type of diet; out of convenience, new found knowledge of food, and even a little support.

So back to that word "misinformation", it all dawned on me a few weeks ago when, in passing, I mentioned to a clerk at checkout how my toddler has food allergies. The man told me how he had babysat a little girl who knew she had allergies and how the list of "prohibited foods" went on and on and on. I found it sad that the man recounting the story was shining a light of compassion on the little girl and implying that the child had been impaired by not being able to eat X, Y & Z processed foods. While he felt bad for kids with food allergies, I sat there "feeling bad" for the misinformation that he and so many others must have ingrained. After all, I believe, I too would have felt and reacted the same exact way a few years prior.

What's my point?

Food allergies & food intolerances are not a fad. Yes, our grocery stores now have ailes of gluten free, dairy free & vegan products, more than ever--- But, this is not a new atkins diet!

So Why is there a "new" demand for this type of diet & products? 

I believe that it comes from a need that the general public has developed, to escape the consequences of toxic processed foods that inundate the American diet. In simple terms, new generations have been affected by fake foods that are stuffed with mystery ingredients to make them last on shelves.

I think that it is a blessing that such allergies have arisen, so that, in turn, malformed foods will be less of a demand! Maybe, just maybe this new demand will be the new way, and corporations will have to adapt accordingly.

What is the main problem?

America's size. Yes, the actual SIZE of the country. Corporations have taken a sort of monopoly and are feeding way too many people- resulting in having found the cheapest, most synthetic ways of mass distributing foods for 300 million people.

What way is there around it?

As much as it's been heard, buying produce that is organic, buying local. Not filling your cart of things that come in shiny air-tight seals and boxes. Buying food that takes longer for you at home to cut up, peel, saute, season and enjoy.

PROS to joining the "natural food" diet :

• Health (lower risk of heart disease, medical bills, better quality of life etc)
• Eating food that tastes better!
• Learning to cook more complexly and creatively
• Making food a culture, tradition and wholesome ritual for families
• Support of local farmers vs. giant corporations
• Eating natural foods vs synthetic foods


CONS to joining the "natural food" diet:
• can be more costly
• cheese can be hard to replace, as many of the vegan replacements have strange & carcinogen components too
• finding healthy options may be hard while traveling
• ordering at restaurants  may take a few seconds longer as you ask what is fresh and local

Obviously

Obviously there will be moments where it should be allowed to "cheat" and eat your favorite cheesy fries at a restaurant, or cookie at Starbucks. After-all, social occasions and circumstances will happen!-- but the point is to gain knowledge & to make "natural food" the majority of the food you ingest and that you let your kids ingest. 

A little Game

Pick up a boxed item at the grocery store next time and challenge yourself to GUESS all the ingredients you believe should make up the product before turning the box! As if you were to cook that product at home, what ingredients would you use?
First thing that pops in my head is coco puffs.

I personally would guess: wheat, cocoa, sugar, a natural emulsifier, milk powder & honey. 
6 ingredients.

The actual ingredients of coco puffs: Whole grain corn sugar, corn meal, corn syrup, canola oil, processed cocoa, added color, salt, fructose (more sugar), natural and artificial flavors,  trisodium phosphate & BHT added to preserve freshness. 12 ingredients.

Conclusion

Make "natural foods" the MAJORITY of the ingredients in your diet. Having a burger or guilty pleasure every once in a while won't harm you. Although, you can rest assured that ingesting small amounts of synthetic foods from many different sources every day, WILL have an effect!
 
Taste does not have to be compromised whatsoever, there are endless sources of recipes to achieve yummy chocolate chip cookies, muffins, even pasta sauces, soups, and other treats. It will simply take more time to prepare, but the end result can be identical if not (in most cases) more wholesome, better tasting and of course, healthier!


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Hula hoops, poops, and serious business

As always what I want to record most of all is the stage my baby boy is at. His creativity, imagination and explosive personality is so so entertaining at every moment. He is still entranced and obsessed with trucks, but my favorite thing he does as of lately is create these sculpture like formation out of random house objects that represent different truck types. A row made up of a dirty sock, step stool, dinosaur, book, and pool noodle, for example, is a roller truck. My favorite was the other day he stuck 2 dirty socks of Brian's in the hole of the step stool and called them the "eyes" of the truck sculpture.

He is just so clever, every day more and more. I struggle to keep a list of ALL the amazing little things he says and get so mad at myself when I forget what they were, because each one is a little gem of hilarity.

He is an incredible little person, he knows every song, dance, letter, inside joke, and is always not only aware of what his daddy and I are talking about, he has to participate and contribute to the conversation too.

This is the stage where I think videos can capture so much more than photos. I adore the way we (still) have little dance parties in the kitchen every other night, how he loved the "bumpity bump" part in the Frosty The Snowman Song. I love the way he mouths the words when I sing the Alvin Christmas song and then right after I say HUUUULLLA HOOOOOOP, he says "I want a hoooola hooop".

He now does 99% of his caccas in the potty and is SOOOO good with the potty. It all revolves around his other addiction, the lollipop, when he does a good job in the potty. Those few licks of candy, and an innate love for the potty, have made him a potty champion. He is so proud of his business he will look at it each time and if I am not in the room, he will want me to come see it.... aheam... even during dinner... >;P

Aside from Ezra our life has been pretty sweet. Brian has started physical therapy for his back and we hope wish and pray that we can see some result from it, even if it's slow and minimal, anything will help. He is in better spirits with the new therapy and that makes me so so happy.

We have an ugly xmas party planned and I am just loving this friend group, it's so fun to have regular, adult time with friends and it's something I just need as a functioning person.

The business has been crazy as always with daily challenges and amazing projects, but overall things are so much better than they have been in the past few years and C and I are just so much happier now.

aaaand that concludes the personal update for now to have a little life-log for myself :>




Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Docs & Meds

These past 2 months have been a little intense under some aspects.

This month we had him retested with his known food allergens hoping that the number would be decreasing but actually discovered that they have ALL worsened... not to say this won't change by next year, but for now the allergist prescribed him an EPI pen. Unless he eats a bowl of mac and cheese or an entire cheesecake I don't know why he would need an EPI pen, but nonetheless that's that.

In September we were in the ER with Ezra because he was having "labored breathing", he got a chest xray, breathing treatment, had oxygen tube in his nose all night, Brian Ezra and I ALL slept in a tiny hospital couch overnight, they drew his blood (I lost count how many times) because it kept getting coagulating, people started unnecessary drama, it was hell on earth. 

While in the Er they found one of his levels high, we are currently getting retested to investigate into this level and find out if it's a fluke or what. 

Dealing with a toddler in those types of situations, really I think, breaks people into a million pieces and then transforms them into stronger, more patient, and well, older looking individuals.

The sent us home after 24hrs saying that it must have been just a virus.

At the beginning of October, Ezra had another, milder, breathing episode- so I took him to the pediatrician's office in FEAR of ending up in the ER again! At the pedi's office they gave him a short ibuterol breathing treatment and he got better.

Finally, just this past weekend (mid October) He had another episode of scary breathing, the worst one yet.. this time with scary wheezing and an ALARM when off inside of me. I was picking him up from school and laid him down for a nap terrified about his breathing. He was miserable and sounded like a balloon deflating. I was panicking. Meanwhile I got on the phone with the Pedi's nurse who reccomended to take him to the ER because they are not supposed to go long breathing that way.

I took the sleeping angel and prayed he'd stay asleep in the car seat but NO he woke up and we headed to the ER....

This last trip only lasted 3 hours and not 24 thank goodness, but this time he was pretty much diagnosed with baby's asthma: reactive airway disease.

We got prescribed a nebulizer an inhaler and a DAILY anti allergy med for him. We are still considering whether we want to do that daily med.

Meanwhile, we had been discussing rehoming our dogs because everytime Ezra plays with them he gets itchy by his wrists and gets eczema and I always have to wash him and then the little itch goes away.

Now with this newfound "asthma" situation, we are sure, beyond my bawling, that re-homing the dogs is the ONLY way. This is also a situation I never thought I'd be in. I don't let myself think about the dogs long enough because if I do I change my mind and bawl all evening.

It's been way too chaotic with meds, docs and hospitals lately... I never thought we'd have to worry about ANY of these things, but it seems that each kid has "his/her thing"

Trying to stay positive and look at things from a big perspective, because we do have a healthy, spunky sweet angel of a boy.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

On growing up

The other day my little family and myself found ourselves on our old college campus by chance. So many memories flooded back to me as I smelled the fall air. It was the same air I smelled years ago, everything looked the same, everything felt familiar, even the students seemed to belong to my past. The recollection that was clearest in my mind, was that of days spent wondering what my future would hold, what life's meaning was. Now, I sat there, my future standing right before my eyes: my husband and my son playing together. The feelings I felt a decade before, the need to know what would come next, that sort of turmoil and curiosity were completely gone. Now, in the midst of the familiar air, I breathed with assurance, contentedness and satisfaction.


Friday, 19 September 2014

Cacca in The Potty

I never thought I would be as joyous over a bodily function placed exactly where it should belong, but when your own toddler is learning to wean off of diapers, it's simply just a big deal.

Over the past few months I would say we've had about 5 caccas in the potty and each time we dance around and celebrate with special treats!

What has the trick been? rewarding majorly, teaching him to feel the cacca coming before it does, asking him at "crucial" times, teaching him how to say the words to let us know, and last but not least, seeing us commit to the action.

It's so adorable now to watch him on the potty reading a gossip magazine that swallows the length of his legs, with Kim Kardashian on the cover and being so proud of himself when something trickles out of him.



-V