Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sauerkraut!

In four to six weeks we'll be dining on raw organic homemade sauerkraut.........hopefully!





Butternut Squash Puree

A simple simple thing that I need to do WAY more of. I picked all my butternut squashes last night and since pureeing I've already added it in to pancakes and pasta sauce.

Step 1: slice squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds.

Step 2: lay flesh side down in baking dish and bake for 40 min on 350

Step 3: scoop squash from skin

Step 4: puree in blender or food processor

Friday, July 30, 2010

Homeopathy/Stuff

Had an appointment yesterday with Rudi and am looking forward to our next set of remedies! We'll be adding a new daily dropper for each of the boys. One to address Harvey's aggression (you should see the bruise/cut on my upper lip - he hucked an iPod touch at my face!) and one for Jack's social anxiety. Really excited to make progress in those areas! I know I keep mentioning it but we're getting very close to the boys' births in their timelines. Once we get through the births and pregnancies we'll begin miasms (inherited conditions)!

We're finally planning (re-planning) a Disney trip! Between my foot issues and travelling we didn't do anything amazing for Harvey's birthday and haven't planned anything for Jack's. But Jack has been talking about his birthday and a party so I may need to throw something small together. And quick. The boys are easy, if we call it a party and their grandparents are there they'll be thrilled to pieces. This could be the perfect opportunity to showcase the sunflower seed butter buckwheat COOKIES I'm working on. And for a total change of subject, I found that a stainless steel baking sheet is about as "safe" as you get so I ordered one on amazon. Time to donate the old (and terribly neglected) non-stick ones!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mouths of my babes

Snuggling with Harvey I cradled his face, kissed him, and said:

Me: My little Harvey baby!
H: No, Hardy BOY (points to his chest)
Me: Oh you're a big boy?
H: Hardy big boy!
Me: Okay, pretty soon there's going to be no more bubby (word for nursing). Big boys don't have bubby, babies have bubby. See Jack is a big boy, Jack doesn't have bubby!
H: No, Hardy baby.

After filling the boys with our new favorite buckwheat pancakes and getting them settled with a movie of their choice, Jack points to the grey/white striped tank I'm wearing and says:

Jack: Mommy looks like a so very fat zebra!!
Harvey: (points) Yeah! Zebra, fat!!

Sheesh! They're lucky I'm old enough to have good self esteem. Plus, really, I know they weren't "name calling" just making silly assessments...right?

In other "notable" news, Jack has been drawing things when coloring! Normally he just makes colorful swirls and lines but two days ago he drew a perfect egg shape and declared he drew an easter egg, yesterday he drew a rock! While these aren't complex or what most almost four year olds are probably creating it's a change and a beautiful sign of development for our kid !!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Food update and pancake recipe!


There's no denying that food is an extreme sport in our home. We started with the basics and have progressively grown in our capabilities. Accomplishing nourishment in Jack is a thrill and I am a total junky. There are a few foods (rice and white potato) that still register on Jack's IGG test but I just couldn't get away from them with all of his other restrictions. He seems to tolerate them fine with the use of enzymes but I still don't feel good about giving them to him in excess. I tried experimenting with other grains but that was a total failure so, deflated, I relaxed a bit and stuck to our status quo.

I've been reading about rotation diets and think that following one with rice and white potato makes a lot of sense. Both foods are convenient and filling but aren't nutrient dense and his body doesn't like them (so neither do I!). The idea is that you take foods that evoke a mild immune response and you alternate those foods so that the same food isn't being eaten consecutively and being attacked day after day. I'd like to have a five day schedule but will probably start with three days and work at spacing it apart more over time. Buckwheat and sweet potato are both super foods and don't register on Jack's allergy tests at all so my challenge will be to use them between days where I allow rice or white potato. Send recipes!

I spent hours messing around with buckwheat pancakes yesterday and finally found success. My first recipe lacked fat and the pancakes stuck to my cast iron. Got on youtube and worked at seasoning my skillets (bacon fat baby) and also ended up with a batter that contained buckwheat flour, hemp milk, sunflower seed butter, and smashed banana which turned out great and the pancakes flipped pretty easily and were even somewhat fluffy. I'll perfect the recipe and post it for those interested. Jack loves them (Harvey too!) and they can be eaten plain or used as sandwich bread. I thought their dark color might deter Jack but not at all - they taste a lot better than his rice bread so I think he welcomes the change! Cheaper too! Hoping they freeze well so I can make big batches.


Trader Joe's has Sweet Potato Chips that are safe and tasty (AND CONVENIENT) so I'm switching to those. I've seen buckwheat cracker recipes, hopefully I can muster up the courage to cracker bake! I get mega paranoid about cookware chemicals. I feel good about cast iron. Any suggestions for safe cookie sheets? Crackers require parchment paper - I'll be researching the health info on that too. Knowing I can send Jack to preschool with a buckwheat pancake sandwich, sweet potato chips, and a banana (a meal that doesn't require enzymes) is such a rush! One less thing to worry about on the big day (Monday!).

Jack's Buckwheat Pancakes

1 cup buckwheat flour
2 cups hemp milk (or milk of your choice)
1 banana smashed
flaxseed goop (6 tblspns boiling water combined with 2 tblspns ground flax seed)
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (or nut butter of your choice)

Pour batter as usual, should serve 4!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mouths of my babes

In honor of the amusing utterances that fly out of these sweet little faces and the nonsensical (but adorable) things they do, I'm going to start dedicating a blog post here and there to what comes from the mouths of my babes.

We brought home a couple pieces of my grandma's artwork from our trip and when I hung them I said "Jack, look what we brought back from Idaho" to which he responded "We needed to bring the fish!". I scratched my head and went back to what I was doing and then it dawned on me - the singing Big Mouth Billy Bass hanging on my grandparents bedroom wall. (grandma - don't. even. thinkaboutit.)

Harvey: Outside mama outside.
Me: No, it's too cold out right now.
Harvey: No told outside....hot outside, HOT!
He slides a kitchen window open, makes a dramatic display of shivering, and runs to the other room. Already a pathetic San Diegan.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Back to reality!

Vacation was a huge success, a magical time. After an x-ray, an mri, and two podiatrists (one of which was wack-o) I was given some cortisone shots --"ahh Kelly Clarkson"-- and was able to travel pain free. A true gift of modern medicine and I was thankful every minute of it! There is a foreign body in my foot that still needs to be removed so surgery to remove the whatever it is will happen soon.

I feel like our visit to Idaho was an adrenaline fed whirlwind and while I tried to soak in the quiet early mornings with my grandparents and skipped bedtime for more visiting, I'm definitely left wanting more. I think though that I will always be left wanting more time with them. I hope we can go again soon. The kids were unbelievably good on the airplane and adjusted well to their new surroundings. I'm still impressed and gained a good sense of confidence in them...they are capable of travelling! I'm missing the pine trees, my homey home away from home, and my family.

Homeopathy was sporadic while there, I tried to keep up with their constitutional remedies but we skipped doses here and there. We're back to it now that we're home and started their next specific trauma remedies the day before yesterday. Harvey's is to clear tylenol/motrin which I gave him when we all had a stomach flu and Jack's is to clear mylanta/cortaid/antifungal cream/azithromycin. We are getting very close to both of their births, so exciting! The last set of specific trauma remedies brought a few days of rigidity for Jack but when that passed I felt a new sense of flexability in him. Flexible is not a word I've ever used to describe him. This is big...huge. We have no lingering behaviors either, the stick holding stopped, the object mouthing stopped, the sleep disturbances stopped. Only good things have remained. Another change worth documenting is that Jack willingly takes his remedies whereas I used to have to sneak them into his mouth after he fell asleep. Just before we left for our trip I noticed that Harvey's eczema was completely gone. It showed up again in a few places near the end of our trip though so I'm not sure if it's because of the missed doses of remedy or if it had to do with dietary changes.

There were mountains of opportunities for allergic reaction in Idaho and we sailed through without anything major happening. Jack did have a tummy issue the afternoon that we flew home but we don't know if he had an exposure on the plane that morning or if it was the close call we had with a piece of pirate booty the night before. I hope it was the booty because that would mean it took almost 24 hours for him to react and the reaction was mild. Unlikely but we'll never know either way. It may have even been a stress response from a full day of travelling. Jack is really so good at coping with his allergy restrictions, I'm so proud of him! The people around us on the plane called him "peanut" which brought back a flood of emotions as that's what we called him when he was a newborn. If that wasn't a loaded nickname!





Monday, July 12, 2010

Stranded at a kitchen island...


And so I blog.

It's the foot again, obviously. (Im)patiently waiting for the podiatrist to call and let me know when I can crawl into their office. Must get foot fixed before travelling in THREE days! ---end pity party!

Big news - Harvey is two years old today !!! I know that I should be saying how I can hardly believe that he's two years old, my baby, but it is quite fitting. He's an old soul and two suits my little lover boy quite nicely. Happy Birthday Harvey!!! *sniff*

Thank you to everyone who called and emailed with messages of love and support from my last blog post. Not only does it make me so grateful for the people in our life but it reminds me that worrying about how Jack is perceived is futile. Jack is loved. Period. I can't wait to be with our family in Idaho. I hope to control my worry over how the boys will behave. I envision them in the best of moods, saying adorable things, and showing everyone what little gems they can be. BUT I more than anyone know how difficult they can be, how they fight over things, and how their language can come across as um....well, bratty. So be prepared, Idaho and those who await us there, that Harvey has a mild violent streak and will need a designated time out area in the house. And be forwarned, dear family, that if you give Jack a piggyback ride that he will ask (demand?) for another and if you don't respond to his questions he will ask ask and ask again until you do. We're working on all these things I assure you.

Most of these people witnessed little Juniper and from what I've been told, I was quite the handful myself. A boisterous (often naked), emotional, and daddy dependant little girl. So my two shouldn't be too shocking to their systems. *crosses fingers, toes (ouchie), etc*

I have so much more to add but mid-post the podiatrist called and I have to fill out paperwork and make an x-ray appointment before I see him. Here's hoping they can fix me up - Idaho just won't be the same if I can't wander the woods!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

"The Spectrum"

This post has been typed multiple times, saved, edited, deleted, saved again. A lot of swirling thoughts that I wanted to piece together eloquently. Well, coherent or not, it's posting. Thank you Joanna for (unknowingly) pushing me to do so.

Let me take you (and myself) back to the beginning. The day that the word "autism" made itself an unwelcome guest in our home. Jack had just turned two. Harvey was the ripe old age of three months and we were ALL still getting used to our new life together. We were having some work done in our backyard and needed to get Jack out of the house so we walked down to the park. On our way back up I thought we'd knock on our neighbors door to see if we could run Jack around their backyard for a while. They of course welcomed us in, their kids were painting and they offered Jack a seat. I commented that Jack wasn't quite mature enough for painting. He was interested in the paintbrush and took off with it into their backyard. Not ten minutes later he started melting down about something and I muttered to Justin that in social situations Jack sure acted like he had autism.

The following day we went to a family member's house and Jack was giving a grand performance of terrible behavior. Opting out of play with the children in favor of testing me over and over by climbing their dining room table! I brought up that meltdowns had become typical and that I thought Jack was having a hard time adjusting to the transition of having a new baby in the house. It was then that Justin repeated my autism comment to her. I tried to justify my terrible comment, that it wasn't funny, that I was only trying to excuse Jack's behavior but I saw "the look" on her face. And I've seen it from others since...that look is concern. And it scared the crap out of me.

A week or so later she called Justin and expressed that she thought Jack may indeed HAVE autism. Knowing her well I know that she had taken a lot of consideration into making that call and did it with the best of intentions. I still felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. Not because I didn't see the symptoms (der, I made the comment afterall, it was I who invited the word into our conversation) but because someone suspected it on a serious level and I had to face that suspicion. My gut reaction was no. No way. Yes I could see the symptoms but don't all kids climb furniture and have meltdowns and have trouble socializing with a twosome they don't see often? Well of course the answer to that is no but that is where my mind was. I clung to all the typical behavior of Jack's and the big fat red flags that he did not possess.

I called my aunt and her husband (who works with special needs individuals and their families) came over and spent a little time interacting with Jack looking for signs. He told me that a speech delay was possible but that he didn't suspect an autism spectrum disorder. This helped my worry, for about a day. I placed a call to the school district looking for direction with early intervention which took for-freaking-ever. I told them I suspected a language disorder but wanted a full evaluation done. When the evaluaton finally happened I was so anxious. It was HARD on him, three full hours of demands and commands. At one point one of the therapists banged on the table at him! Justin later said he thought that was all calculated. That they wanted to see him perform under stress and maybe they banged on the table to see if he'd flinch or cry, to see if he acted like he was ever hit at home. That made sense and made me feel better. I also talked to several others whose children or friend's children had a really rough time getting through the evaluation.

A week later we met to discuss the results of their assesment. He did not score onto the autism spectrum according to the CARS scale they used. They did give him a speech and language IEP and Jack has been attending the provided therapies ever since.

Now you would think that all that gave me peace of mind right? Wrong. I have read read and read some more on autism. And I did finally come to a place of acceptance with "the spectrum". Autism is a list of symptoms. The medical community rests at "no known cause" though I'm fairly certain any combination of environmental insults combined with some type of genetic predisposition are responsible. I am certain vaccines do NOT cause autism but that they are environmental insults and CAN cause autism. I shutter to think where we would be had we vaccinated. So yes, Jack displays some symptoms of autism. Allergies, leaky gut, heavy metal toxicty, language and fine motor delays, and some anxieties. Diagnostically speaking these do not equal autism but if there is a spectrum for autism there must also be a spectrum for the typical and Jack fits somewhere between I'm sure.

Where I believe these symptoms stem from is overall health. Our poor boy has an immune system that fights against him more than for him. You all know the ins and outs of his allergies (although I don't think anyone can keep track other than me). The time when his behaviors kicked in we were feeding him soy and wheat, foods that we now know cause some SERIOUS issues within his system and may have even caused his leaky gut. I can really beat myself up if I dwell on this for more than five minutes so I must forge ahead. This is why we focus so heavily on diet, supplements, and homeopathy. They are giving true results and bringing our boy (and ME) relief and happiness.

I should have typed all this a long time ago but I think I was still walking on eggshells about what I did/didn't want to put out into the universe - it's already all out there, it's just the word that was missing. So there you have it, the good, the bad, and the autism.

Anniversary, birthdays, and travelling. Oh my!


Time to collect my thoughts and try to make some sense of them on the blog whilst the boys wrestle on the couch, best not to look at them I've decided. Bad for my heart. I am tired. Tired. Tired. Tired. BUT I made coffee with some pumpkin pie spice thrown into the grounds (a little Christmas in July) and that plus my Smut...er uh....Us Weekly have perked me up considerably.

With two very special birthdays on the horizon I realized it's been nearly four years since I've really slept. It's no wonder I've aged exponentially. Forgetting what it feels like to be responsible only for oneself is an odd transition. At first it feels like fear and then anxiety, later it becomes as natural as breathing and you start to wonder if you'll ever be able to let go and let your children pilot their own lives. Of course I will. I still carry with me the emotions of giving birth to both my babies, of holding them and nursing them for the first times. Jack will be FOUR years old, and Harvey will be two. In some ways that hardly seems possible and in others I feel they have always been a part of me because they are such a necessary piece of who I am today. In a thought process not far from that lies the SEVEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY that Justin and I just celebrated. I can still feel the wedding dress slipping over my 4th-of-July-Vegas-tanned skin, the butterflies in my stomach as my dad took my arm, and the unexpected tears falling as I made my vows. I would not be who or where I am today without Justin. I love him. And the fermenting crock sitting of my counter and the flock of geese he gifted through Heifer give just a glimpse into how deeply he knows and loves me. A lot.

Next week we are leaving for a big family reunion at my grandparents home in a tiny town in northern Idaho. This will be our first experience travelling with the boys. They are going to LOVE Idaho. The property is smothered with pines and their home is surrounded by a creek (crick) budding with frogs and water snakes. My grandma is an artist (google her - Leata Judd) and her art studio is every child's dream. My grandparents are youthful, active, and carry an infectious energy with them. I'm longing to sit in their kitchen, converse, soak in the air that reminds me of childhood summers spent there in that very house that my grandpa built the year of my birth. My dad and I lived there with them the year I turned five. That's when the sounds and smells of Idaho really sunk in and stayed for good. I can't wait to share the experience with my family! Leaving our door and arriving at theirs will take about eight hours. Pray for us.

Jack is in a really good place. This last rememdy (x-ray) brought a few days of rigity but that has already passed and in it's place lies a beautiful desire to fully engage in the fun around him. Everything is a turn-taking game, imaginative play, and keeping up is the communication needed for those activities. And Harvey is right there with him, hanging on Jack's every move. He has energy for DAYS, I wonder how he'll fare when Jack is in preschool for four hours four days a week. Hopefully with naps! Yesterday was Jack's last day of speech therapy and preschool begins in August.

To a month of milestones....and beyond!