Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Our life on a fridge

You might among those who think you can learn something about people from what they have on their fridge - well draw your own conclusions...

This girl started early with the gang signs (this is her official Hospital picture, but check this for continued evidence of her actually being more from the block than her middle class parents would like to admit).

...so yes, we're cleaning all this off the fridge today and have a "clean slate" after a good 8 months of collecting tidbits.

To be continued next time Kirsten has a need for clear spaces.

Egg on my Face (or not)

A few posts back I commented on the unique brand of Mommy Karma (Marma?) that follows this principle: every time you find yourself feeling superior in the slightest, it will absolutely come back to bite you.

In the years since I had Cecilie, I have often been known to make comments along the lines of "God must have known I couldn't handle a kid with allergies, so He didn't send any my way" - or variations thereof. When Annika was very small, my good friend Betsy called me out on this inane sort of commentary: "You don't know Annika doesn't have any..." Oh, fair point, I thought to myself, but she doesn't understand that we just don't have allergies in our family. Smug smug smug.... it's clear where this is headed.

At about 4 months, Annika started screaming - really, more howling - after some feeds, but not all. Clearly, it was about pain but for the life of me I couldn't figure it out. Was it reflux? Indigestion? Not enough milk? A kink in the plumbing? Severe metabolic disorder? There wasn't a clear enough pattern for me to link it to anything - I kept a food diary [sometimes], I tried reflux medicine, I tried feeding more often, I tried feeding less often.... After 6 long weeks, Annika's poor Grandpa (who had endured many a distraught phone call from me, and paced the floor with a screaming baby) suggested that I take her into our doctor's office.

Lovely lovely lovely Karen Vorsteg, the nurse practioner who works with my dad, listened very carefully to my tale of woe, looked Annika over carefully, and observed (very tactfully) the raging case of eczema that covered her body. Her suggestion was that perhaps it was time to start eliminating things from my diet, and we'd just see if maybe it made a change, and hey, why don't we start with dairy?

Within 12 hours, the screaming had stopped.

Within 24 hours, the eczema had subsided.

Within 48 hours, our sweet happy baby was back & nursing happily.

And here's the kicker. We had to wait a few weeks to see the allergist. When we finally got in there, it turned out the allergy was to EGGS, not as much the dairy. An allergy to eggs that involves words like 'anaphylaxis' and prescriptions for EpiPens and allergy bracelets.

So what this all means is that for as long as Annika is nursing, her mom is off the eggs & dairy too. It means that birthday cakes and Daddy's Sunday Morning Waffles are off the menu. Trips to the Ice Cream Cottage will mean shaved ice treats instead of Double Fudge Brownie.

But due to my aforementioned hubris, there is MUCH for me to learn about having a child with allergies. I have several family members & friends with much more experience in this field, and they are gently and patiently waiting for me to get up to speed. Luckily they're not shy about pointing out the egg items for me, even if its a mouthful I've already inhaled. Almost daily I am struck by how profoundly this affects Annika's future life, and therefore our family life. Slowly slowly I am learning.

Reality check today: our beloved VejaLinks, FriChik and Morningstar 'breakfast hot dogs' are primarily based on egg whites. What?!?!?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sorry about the weather

C: [worriedly] Is this a hurricane?

Mommy: [in a soothing tone] No, in a hurricane the trees will sway so much in the wind that they almost fall over

C: …but, that’s what they’re doing!

M: well, but to be a hurricane the rain needs to fall sideways

C: …but that's what the rain is doing!!!!

And that’s when lightning hit our next door neighbor’s 200 year old oak.

For the record, this was a severe thunderstorm

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A boy's perspective

Lars' photograph of his most favorite guy to work with...
Not sure where he picked up that a tummy plant is the best way to enter the pool...

And here is another one of his heroes, both looking rather more nautical than a pizza parlor would suggest...

Little Ladies

Cecilie and Ellie invited Elizabeth to a birthday teaparty the other day (apparently Elizabeth turned 12!), and a good old time was had by all.
Cecilie insisted on wearing her bunad (Norwegian national costume), because it was the only Princess dress that she had "that wasn't silly, really". Ellie contributed the beautiful centerpiece & kicked off the flower theme...
Annika has the capability of being ever so silly, and get away with it...
Wouldn't put it past her, that she'd end up a test pilot at NASA (here at Mach2 speeds through the kitchen)
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Baby picture fatigue?

Honestly, you have been warned, too much of a good thing can be dangerously delicious...

...just to cut in on the monotony...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The meeting of the girls

The day after 4th of July we had another party (well Peter and Amanda were the hosts, and boy do they have that down to an art...).

The only picture we have is a terribly blurred one, which is the way it should be; and then this one of the sidewalk the day after - Heidi and Cecilie and Ellie had a real go at flowers and fireworks...
So, here it is then - the meeting of the Excersaucers, the Dec 28 Brigade: Annika and Scarlett (born the same day, but continents apart) hit it off famously, and we were so excited to see them strike up the beginnings of a beautiful friendship.
It is kind of limited interactions 6 months olds have with anybody and at the first encounter (not captured) the theory was that they thought they were looking at mirrors
They warmed up to each other though, and at the end of the second weekend they were as thick as thieves...

The after party

The Tepes joined in on the fun and we ended up with 16 adults for a cook-out and 14 kids that thankfully focussed their energy mostly in the back yard.
The sand box saw some action..
...but the second biggest hit was the stomp rocket and the game that was made up about getting the rocket in to the tree house...
The finale was the fireworks, and since we live in Baltimore County we can have our own...
Judging from these pictures you could be forgiven for thinking that the pyrotechnics budget was on par with the city of New York
If they weren't so blown away it would have been a standing ovation...
...yep THAT was the show! I believe this could be filed under "A little goes a long way..."

4th of July, Catonsville style

This one is tradition...
We did the soap box with the Steins again (sans camera), then hooked up with Grandparents, Uncle Jon and Chichin, the Ryans, the Mattisons and the Coopers at the parade...
...so much cooler from the other angle!
Lady Liberty came by too...
...she'll do your taxes apparently
...and the wiener car
some hot and bothered kids, all paraded out & ready for a big ol' bbq...

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