Sunday, November 15, 2009

Squash, baby food, and allergy update

How have I missed winter squash all these years?! I think I've eaten it if someone else has made it but never prepared any myself until this year. Butternut squash is so good! Ethan really enjoys it too.

Before I discovered how simple it is to prepare, I fed Ethan Earth's Best brand of winter squash. He developed a flaring red rash all around his mouth and was fussy. I tried another brand of organic winter squash baby food and he didn't have an allergic reaction. I tried Earth's Best again and he had the same allergic reaction. Our allergist thought that Ethan may have been reacting to a preservative in it or that Earth's Best was cross contaminated. Making squash at home has been more successful, very easy, and prompted me to eat some with him.

I found spaghetti squash at a local market and decided to give it a try with Bertoli sauce (it's soy free). I'm making enough homemade food these days and needed a quick dinner so I haven't attempted making my own sauce. If anyone has a recipe for one though, I'd love to try it. The first time I baked spaghetti squash it was fantastic ... just like spaghetti! The next two times it turned out crunchy. Maybe I need to bake it for longer? I'm hoping to introduce spaghetti squash into Ethan's diet soon too.

I plan to try this recipe for acorn squash soup.

Other foods I've made that Ethan has loved are mangos, peaches, pears, and green beans. We've bought a few other pre-made baby foods but plan to make and freeze more homemade food. It seems more economical this way and then I will KNOW what is in it. Plus, Ethan is moving past the smooth purees and needs more of a variety of textures which I can easily accomplish by making his food.

I have also started giving Ethan whole peas to help him work on his pincer grasp. He can pick the peas up and has made a few attempts to put them in his mouth! It's wonderful to watch him develop and enjoy food. The sound of him smacking his lips makes us laugh. Anyone who tried to feed him just a couple of months ago is amazed at the difference between then and now. He went from clenching his mouth closed and refusing all food (except nursing) to showing excitement when he knows it's time to sit at the table to eat. What a difference!!

Although we've made such progress with his willingness to eat foods, we've had a setback with his reactions. We were doing so well and moving right along w/o reactions. Well, now that he's eating foods it has been even more difficult to determine what he is reacting to. Is it something I ate or something he ate? I haven't been introducing more than one thing at a time but some of his reactions are very delayed reactions. Since he didn't react when I ate the sprouted grain bread I figured gluten was ok and added oatmeal back into my diet. I didn't notice any reactions so we tried giving him oatmeal. All of the store-bought baby oatmeals have either dairy or soy in them so I made Ethan's from plain organic rolled oats. He was fine for nearly a week of him consuming oatmeal so I reintroduced one of the Enjoy Life Foods rice milk chocolate bars into my diet. That night was TERRIBLE and symptoms started. I can't decide if it is a delayed reaction to the oatmeal or a reaction to the chocolate bar. Regardless, both are gone until he feels better. Rashes, mucousy diapers, several night wakings, screaming & arching his back in the middle of the night, and overall fussiness have returned. It's been difficult on all of us.

*Oh and I had previously cut ALL rice out of my diet to see if his eczema patches on his face cleared up. After nearly 4 weeks of being rice free his cheeks were still pink but no bumps! They looked so great and didn't require any maintenance! It could have been the rice or possibly that the cat dander had finally died down enough. He still reacts to the cat dander/carpets in our bedroom though. So, another mystery still unsolved... is he intolerant to rice? The chocolate bar was a test to see if he reacted to rice milk. I should have waited more than a week after introducing the oatmeal into his diet or used something else to test rice. Ugh.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pics until I post again

I have some posts in the works but never enough time/energy to finish and hit publish post. So until I get my act together ... here are some pics of my lovebug in October.

He melts my heart.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pumpkin Patch trip #2

We took Ethan back to the pumpkin patch for more fun. He wasn't so sleepy this time.

He wanted to get in there and play with those birds!

I love his eyes in this photo.

My favorite family photo to date.

Pumpkin Patch trip #1

Ethan went on his first trip to the pumpkin patch the first weekend in October. We decided to go about an hour before his afternoon nap. We didn't realize how tired he was until we were there. By the end of the trip, he leaned back onto the diaper bag and nearly napped right there in the wagon! He has a serious face in every picture but we think he had a good time. He was fascinated by the pumpkins, especially their stems.


{Time for a nap!}

After a nap at home we carved his first pumpkin:


{Playing with some gooey pumpkin.}

{Watching his daddy carve his pumpkin.}

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ethan's 1st Halloween

I bought his first costume on clearance just before Christmas last year. It was extra special to see him in it since I bought it before he was even born.

This was the first time we had him try it on:


{Fell over}

{And crawls off}

On trick or treat night we took him around the neighborhood with friends and their 6 month old baby girl. She was dressed up as a turkey. So cute!

The owl on our Halloween wreath looks like he's part of the family.

Ethan was able to wear his costume again for the Halloween parade at his daycare.

A few weeks ago his teachers asked each parent to bring in a white onesie so they could decorate it. They tie-dyed them orange and used puffy paint to make jack-o-lanterns on the tie-dyed circles, then added the child's name and 2009 on the sleeves. They turned out very cute. They also dressed each child up in overalls and took their picture on a hay bail & with a pumpkin. They framed the photo with autumn themed craft booking supplies. The parents were given the frames at the luncheon after the parade. It was sweet.

{My cutie with his tie-dyed shirt and candy corn socks.}

Moved to the convertible carseat

Ethan graduated to the convertible car seat. We needed to buy a new seat since his was in our car when we were hit. Some people don't know this but any time a car seat is in a car involved in an accident, even if the baby isn't in the seat, it's recommended that you buy a new seat. Car insurance will cover the cost of a comparable new seat. Ethan was nearing the 22lb weight limit on his infant seat anyway so we moved to a convertible seat. We decided on a Britax Maraton and ordered it from traveling tikes. They had an issue with their Britax shipment when we ordered so it unfortunately took about 4 weeks for Ethan's seat to arrive. They have the lowest prices on Marathon's that I've found & free shipping so if you aren't in a hurry, I'd recommend ordering from them to save some cash.

Here is Ethan the first time he was in his infant seat at just 2 days old. We were getting ready to leave the hospital. I remember feeling so excited to take him home and some anxiety about leaving the wonderful care of the hospital nurses.

And here he is the last time he was in his seat. I can't get over how big he is, how fast the time has gone by, and just how much has happened over the past 9+ months. Life is beautiful!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Missing my girls

I haven't posted about this because I thought I'd give it some time in hopes that I wouldn't be too emotional. We decided to find new homes for our cats. It was an impossible decision because we love our girls. Ultimately, we chose to do what was best for our son and for the cats. I know some will judge our choice and that is fine, but honestly no one can say what they would do unless they were in the exact same situation.

We had both cats confined to our master bedroom and bathroom for more than two months. It definitely cut down on the cat dander in our home but it was not fair to them or to us. The cats weren't getting as much attention. It was sad to see their sweet little faces waiting for us to come pet them or play with them each time we went in our bedroom. Ethan continued to suffer from his allergy to them. Continuing the medication was not an option because of the issues it caused with his eating. He wouldn't allow anything near his mouth because he thought we were forcing the medicine in again. It was awful. We were also concerned about the potential for other issues, such as asthma, to develop with continued exposure.

We knew that Ellie would do well on her own but Kylie would need to go to a home with another cat. She did well with a companion. She was the one who initiated play with Ellie and like to follow Ellie around. We are so thankful that our friends helped us find perfect new homes for them.

My dear friend Charlene asked her sister to take one of the girls. She chose Ellie.

{Ellie was the princess of our house. Here she is on Christmas Day 2008. So pretty!}

We hear she is doing very well. She made herself at home on the sofa during her first day with her new family.

A friend of Matt's took Kylie.

{Here she is loving on me and Ethan just a few weeks before he was born. Kylie was my baby and loved to cuddle. I miss that.}

Kylie has a new kitty friend, Jack, at her new home. They are learning to live with each other. We have heard that Kylie began cuddling with her new family within a week of her move.

I never posted about how WELL the cat's adjusted to Ethan because I was afraid of jinxing it. I was terrified that one or both of them would have a difficult time with such a big life change but they did amazingly well, just as they have with their adjustment to new homes.

Before we arrived home from the hospital with Ethan we plugged in one of these. We didn't know if they would help but we read positive reviews about them. About 6 weeks later we noticed Kylie was more uneasy than usual. We ordered a refill and she was relaxed again.

As soon as we arrived home from the hospital Ellie walked up to Ethan's carseat, nearly stepped on him in it, smelled him, and walked away. It was very funny. She acted like she couldn't have cared less about the addition as long as she was fed and had attention. That is Ellie's way. She loves you but doesn't want you to know.

{Ethan was one month old here. I caught the two of them staring at each other just before taking this photo.}

{Kylie asking if she could come cuddle too. Ethan was 7 weeks old here.}

{Ethan was fascinated by Kylie. He loved to watch her. Before we had to separate them he started reaching out for her and screeched when he saw her.}

{Ellie joining the fun on the play mat.}

I know we made the right decision for all of us but I still miss them.