Wednesday, May 29, 2013

More allergy talk, &some REALLY SPECTACULAR NEWS.

Here's a little update on Jude and his...

ALLERGIES. And lots of them.

Right now Jude's "official" allergies are wheat, eggs, dairy, nuts, and mustard. At our last appointment when we found out the results of his patch testing (we have received excellent care and been able to get thorough testing done) his tests showed that he was also allergic to...

Soy, barely, potatoes, beef, rice, and corn (That list may be missing or have added one or two, I didn't commit it to memory).

That would literally wipe out his entire diet. There are some with Eosinophilic Esophagitis who are allergic to so much, there is little they can eat to sustain their diet and they end up with a little feeding tube through which they get their formula. That will hopefully never be the case for Jude and I would do everything in my strong will's power to avoid it!!

We found out about his original allergies, to cows milk and only certain nuts, so we took him off just that- cows milk and the certain nuts. My dietician informed me that if he's allergic to cows milk he is most likely allergic to goat milk too, and that we should just go off all nuts to be safe. We made those changes and I, too, went off all dairy and nuts as Jude is still breastfeeding. We also have him drinking Neocate and have seen huge improvements. He's gaining weight, been sleeping better, is overall just a happier baby and his appetite has literally doubled (his esophagus is obviously [hopefully] healing).

So, back to the story... The original plan the doctor suggested when we found out about all these new "allergies" was to take him off all these foods too, then get another EGD to see if he's healing. I quickly reminded him that we had already made drastic changes since the last EGD and he seemed to be improving. So in order to find out if he was doing better, we would have to get another EGD. If he is healed... great! We know his diet is working. If not, we'll have to take out everything else he tested allergic to on the patch testing. So we are going to get another EGD, hopefully soon, and we can just pray he is better. (PLEASE PRAY!!!!!!!!!!) We have to be extremely careful because even the littlest crumb of an allergen could cause his throat to freak out and ruin all the results on his EGD... A little daunting.

So that's where we are. We are not implementing his "new allergies" at this point and I pray we won't have to. His skin is really sensitive and reacts to even the saline so it was hard to read the test results in the first place.

Jude is growing, happy, healthy, active, and precious beyond all words! He has quite the refined pallet and enjoys spicy salsas, hummus, heart of palm, pickled asparagus, red peppersand any and every fruit and vegetable we offer him.

To him, every animal woofs. He is absolutely enthralled by every member of the animal kingdom. He is attached to his mama at the hip and calls me mama, muhmuh, Mimi, mummy, mommy, mum, mom, and every other combination of m with a vowel. He loves to dance. He is getting really good at folding his arms for prayer, he wipes his mouth with a napkin while he's eating, he covered me with a blanket when I was lying down the other day, he gives big, tight squeezes when he hugs, he likes to smell flowers and blow on his food, he still chuckles and giggles every time he nurses, he growls when he's happy, he loves books and will sit and read one after another with us, and he is the light of our lives, as always! 

Tonight was the first night in almost a year that someone else has put him to bed! We were a little nervous but the time was long past due. Dan cuddled and rocked him and he did great! He had a couple crying spells and would occasionally point at the door and moan like "what is going on?! Where's mommy!?" So we made some progress tonight!

We had a showing this evening so that's always exhausting. We are enjoying an old John Wayne movie on our super soft bed!

After I took off the patches during the patch testing



It's been almost two weeks since I wrote the beginning of this post. Yesterday, he had another appointment with his GI doctor. At his last visit, he was in the sixth percentile for weight. Yesterday, he was up to the twenty-fifth percentile! I was very near tears when the doctor started praising us for his progress and showed me that once-blasted little Denver II chart and the slightly steep uphill slant of that little blue line. What amazing and impressive progress in two short months!!! I <3 NEOCATE & OLIVE OIL!!! He still hasn't grown height-wise, but we are going to wait on that due to the inaccuracy of measuring height on squirmy toddlers by a different person every time. Grow, Jude, grow!!!

He has another EGD on June 26th and if it is free of Eosinophils and cleared of the trauma, then we can continue happily on our diet and maybe one day, start introducing new foods that he's currently allergic to, one at a time. That is what I am hoping and praying for!

The not so desired outcome would be that his throat would still be full of Eosinophils and "damaged," so we would have to take out all the rest of the foods he's "allergic" to, according to those highly unreliable allergy tests.  

So that is where we are. Trying really, realllly hard for Jude to avoid his allergens and for me to avoid all dairy products. 

We are starting nursery next week and I'm a little paranoid about it... ten toddlers all eating goldfish?! HELLO!!! You know I will be in there the whole time on some serious patrol. 

Pray for us... please?!

Here a couple more not so heartbreaking pictures...

We borrowed Joslin's little pink hat before we had gotten one of our own. :) 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"The Words We Speak"

I just watched this talk, "The Words We Speak" by Rosemary M. Wixom. It is short, but powerful. I feel inspired to be a little more patient, a little kinder, and a little quicker to savor every moment with my family.

I made this little picture to help me remember. Go read the full talk!

Friday, May 24, 2013


Let's not focus on how long ago Easter was... we'll just keep chuggin along, one post at a time! We had a little Easter egg hunt at our friend Jen's house with a bunch of little ones. It was so fun. Jude knew just what to do. He got really excited, took my hand, and off we went grabbing eggs. It was one of those surreal moments in parenthood where I was just beaming inside and soaking it all in, thinking "Am I really on an Easter egg hunt with my little "baby" Jude?" It's true what they say. They grow up so fast! He was not interested in and did not care what was in the eggs. We played on the jungle gym while the other kids devoured their goodies. I was a little worried about him not being able to have most of the candy, but he didn't care... Yay! Little victory. He never eats candy or sweets so he just doesn't care about them I guess!

I was bummed Dan wasn't there so we had another little hunt at home after his nap. Dan placed the eggs in a little trail for them and Jude was all over it. Some of the eggs had "Whole O's" (gluten-free Cheerios) in them... Yum!

We had a little photo shoot in his Easter outfit. Joslin was there of course there, considering it was in their yard. Most of Jude's smiles are thanks to her! Sitting angelically in a grassy field only lasted so long before he was off hauling around the largest, dirtiest object with the most sharp claws that he could find. Typical Jude. Typical boy! LOVE it. :)

All the Easter egg hunts and little outfits are lovely, but only reminders of why we celebrate Easter. Because our Savior died for us and was resurrected on the third day, we too can live after we die. Not only can we live, but we can live together, happily, with our families in a place more glorious than we can even imagine. Forever am I indebted to my perfect Savior for his sacrifice and forever grateful I am for his resurrection.

Monday, May 6, 2013

HELLO ALAMO!! [the big move... again]

Dear Texas,

     Well, we've heard a lot of good things about you. Everyone who knows you seems to love you, so we've decided to give you a chance to win our hearts, too! We are moving from a heart-warmingly small country town, so your big cities are going to be a big change for us. We are probably coming in early August or late July, so leave the light on for us, okay? We don't need a lot of space, maybe just a little house with a couple bedrooms and... is a decent-sized backyard with green grass and trees and a few places to explore too much to ask?

You probably don't remember, but we've meet briefly... mostly in passing. We are looking forward to getting to know you better and we think we are really going to hit it off.

Soon to be yours,
Dan, Rachael, & Jude

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Jude's first haircut

I won't go into details about how we actually accomplished the hair cutting of the squirmy little toddler... let's just say it took all three of us, the tub, and a "little snack." 

Looking back at these pictures, we really didn't cut off that much. SOMEBODY (not the father) was a little nervous about him loosing his baby curls and them never coming back so I was kind of freaking out... "Noo!! Stop!! You're cutting too much!! It's chopped!!!"

Now that it's several weeks later, I'm happy to saw those fuzzy little curls have come back with a vengeance. It's already time for haircut #2!!

While we're kind of the subject of bath time... I'll share a couple more pictures. This is one of Dan's favorite things to do. He gets Jude right when he's out of the tub, wraps him up like a little tiny baby, and cuddles, nuzzles, and kisses him as much as possible. And Jude likes it! It's really the only time Jude complies to Dan holding him this way.

Friday, May 3, 2013

12:04 am

Right now...

I'm inspired by: A Beautiful Mess

I'm loving: my super shmanzy soft mattress topper

I learned: a lot about flying with a toddler today (online research &a phone call with Delta)

I want: overalls

I need: to go to bed

I hope: Jude sleeps until at least 5:00

I'm thankful: that Jude is learning how to pray. He folds his arms and bows his head.... oh my. It is one of the most endearing, rewarding, wonderful experiences as a parent so far! So precious.

I dream: of Danny getting tonight off work and working in the yard together.

Oh yeah, this happened...


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Practical Tips for Showing Your Home

These are practical tips that will hopefully be helpful. I am new to this and have appreciated any advice I've received so I thought I'd compile it. I have a toddler, but the thought of having my house immaculate at any given moment, ready for potential buyers to come look in every corner and closet has been a little terrifying

Here are some tips I've found helpful:

I received a great, practical tip from my mother-in-law, who has much experience in this department with several moves under her belt.

1. Don't be afraid to shove anything and everything (papers sitting out, that half-eaten cake sitting in the pan with a fork in it and tin foil on the top, dirty dishes in the sink) into your dishwasher and oven. (Hopefully they won't be that nosy and look in their, too!)

In order to do this, we have to do all we can to keep our dishwasher empty. So keep those dishes moving!

As far as the stove goes, don't forget about whatever you put in there... I already learned this from experience. I shoved previously mentioned half-eaten cake in there yesterday before the Realtor came for his walk through and when I opened the preheated oven to put the cookies in today, I found the cake... reheated... surprise! That could obviously cause a problem if it was something plastic or... paper! Eeek. Maybe we should just try not to put anything highly flammable in there.

2. Start packing and moving stuff out... immediately.

Even if you aren't moving for months! We have a shed out back we are going to put our packed boxes in. The easiest was to keep a clean house is to keep it as empty and clutter-free as possible. If it's summer, pack up all your winter clothes. Pack up those kitchen gadgets you never use, and anything else you think you can live without until you move. If you don't have a shed or another space, consider a friend who may have extra space, or even a storage unit.

3. Declutter and depersonalize.

Decluttering is an extension of number two. Cleaning (when you're in a time crunch) will be so much more manageable with as little "stuff" lying around as you can possibly manage. Clear most things off the counters (appliances, decor, picture frames, etc). Empty, clean counters make them look bigger. Take all magnets/papers off the fridge. Clear out everything atop cupboards/fridge, if possible. Put appliances you normally keep on the counters in the cupboards (it.... will.... fit!!!).

Take down most personal pictures and items. You want the potential buyer to be able to picture themselves in your home. Make it neutral. I took down all my little banners, religious pictures, and photos except my one little gallery wall. It looks really bare to me now but it also looks bigger and cleaner. Walls and decor should, ideally, be as neutral as possible (embrace the taupe).

The most personalized part of our house right now.

4. Leave some windows open and some closed.

If you have a nice view outside, pull the blinds up or open them so they can see out. This will let natural light in, make the room feel bigger, and they will be drawn to the view. If you have a less desirable view (the bathroom window of the neighbor's house, complete with man washing hair and all), leave those blinds half closed, facing down. This will still allow a little light in but will keep the view to the imagination.

I don't mind watching the seasons change while I do dishes...
leave windows like this wide open and squeaky clean!
5. Turn all ceiling fans on low and turn every light on (tips from my Realtor).

Turning on the ceiling fans will draw their attention up so they notice them. Everybody likes a ceiling fan! Also, turning every light in the house on makes the spaces seem bigger. Make sure every light bulb is functioning, and ideally, uniform (we have normal bulbs and one and squiggly in the other... it doesn't look great). Maybe opt for a softer white so it doesn't feel like they're in an exam room.

6. Have a babysitter on standby.

You will undoubetdly (but hopefully not!) get that call asking if you can show your home in thirty minutes. (Expect this more if there are other houses in your neighbor for sale. People will go to look at that one and then see yours and want to see it, too.) This is when your emergency babysitter comes in handy, especially if you have a toddler! Run them over to the neighbors and clean like crazy! Even if you try to stay on top of it, there will always be little last minute to-do's. Unfortunately, they will look in every closet and cabinet, so you have to have like, everything, organized! This is when you will be thankful you already boxed up the 50 hotel shampoo and conditioners and half of your little one's toys. If you can, always vacuum/sweep and quickly mop over the high-traffic areas. Clean floors make a big difference in the overall feeling of the house. Also, don't forget about the outside of the house. Make sure all trash is gone, shoes are put away, lawn is mowed, weeds are wacked, and everything looks as warm, fuzzy, and inviting as possible.

7. Pick it up and put it away, right away.

This has always been a challenge for me. Needy baby wants me, dishes can wait. Diaper needs changing, putting laundry in hamper can wait... not anymore! Baby can wait. He'll survive. An extra minute here and an extra minute there to take care of things right away saves an hour or two later. I am working on this but I have a long way to do. Anyone out there honed this skill? How do you do it?

I am not the cleanest or most organized person by nature, so I have been fretting over this. It will definitely be a challenge for me to keep the house "ready," but I'll do my best! My hubby helped me get the house in tip-top shape yesterday before the Realtor came so my challenge now is just keeping it this way. I am trying to do a couple "sweeps" a day to just make sure nothing is falling below par.

Any tips or other words of advice from the wise out there?! I'm all ears!!