There are moments that are ingrained in our memories. Ones that you can close your eyes and instant remember every detail, feeling and smell.
My daughter, Kiersley was 14 months old. We had done baby led weaning with her, so she skipped the “baby food” phase and we started with real food around 7-8 months. I had a Lara bar that I was eating...and she reached for it, wanting a piece. I broke of a tiny chunk of it, about half the size of a penny. She put it into her mouth, sucked on it for a few seconds and started coughing.
I’ll never forget what happened next. She immediately spit some of it out, and started having a hard time breathing. Her face was beet red, she began vomiting, and I realized she was NOT okay. We should have called an ambulance, looking back, I analyze every second of what was happening. Instead, we ran to my husband’s truck and he drove ridiculously fast to the hospital.
Thankfully my in-laws were there to be with my son while we took her. She went limp in my arms on the way to the hospital, coherent, but couldn’t lift her head. Everything was red - her face, arms and legs were beet red, all except her trunk. They rushed us in, and when they finally gave us the shot of epinephrine, the redness immediately went away, and our little girl came back to us. I remember hugging her and just being in complete shock, and realizing our lives were about to change.
When my daughter was born, I thought I was prepared. After all, my son was three years old and I was no longer a “newbie” mom. I had experience (and the milk stains and stretch marks to prove it :)). No two pregnancies are the same though, and no two kiddos either. Hunter was an easy baby and a relatively easy toddler. He had no major health issues, with the exception of the occasional cold, etc. So, I was not prepared for my daughter’s journey… which was very different.
She changed our world from the moment she was born, and challenged us as we dealt with different issues. I remember early on dealing with her severe skin issues. She would have huge red patches on the back of her knees, elbows, her cheeks, and the folds of her neck. It was an early sign of allergies, but we didn’t know that yet.
We cleaned up our laundry products, changed out our soap - made sure we eliminated as much as could with fragrance. There were other signs as well, she needed tubes in her ears early on and her immune system was so weak. She was truly the kid that was going to catch whatever bug was going around.
When she was 4 months old, she was dealing with bad reflux, had a week long stint in the hospital, and I made the decision to go dairy-free while I nursed her. That helped her skin some… but not a significant amount. Looking back, I realized she was ingesting her allergens constantly through my breastmilk, while I was nursing!
Fast forward to her first appointment at the allergist. I had no idea about the world I was entering. I was scared, overwhelmed and confused. I will never forget the welts on her back after doing her skin testing and realizing it wasn’t just dairy we needed to avoid… but cashew, peanuts, the rest of the tree nuts and egg as well.
While food allergies are definitely not a death sentence, until you are IN that world, you don’t realize just how much they affect EVERYthing in your day to day life.
My goal in sharing this is to help moms who were in the exact same spot I was… trying to come to terms with a food allergy diagnosis for their child and trying to wrap their heads around what that means. I want to share the years of experience I have with you. I want to share my resources with you, and help you as you navigate the food allergy world.
You are NOT alone… You can get started by grabbing this free guide I have here: 3 Tips for Adjusting to Food Allergies.
We also have a wonderful group of supportive moms who are in this with you, who have been where you are and can help you on this journey! You can join them here
Also, stay tuned for my course - I am going to break down ALL the big things that come with a food allergy diagnosis. Including early signs, prepping for testing, easy swaps, how to advocate for your child at school, restaurant tips and trick, how to support your immune system and more!
Life sure is crazy lately, isn’t it? A year ago, I never would have thought about the words “mask”, “quarantine”, or “pandemic” outside of, maybe, my favorite show, Grey’s Anatomy. On a medical show, those words would be considered normal. Unfortunately, they have become “normal” for us as well. 2020 has been a year like no other, and while I am on the side of not accepting things as the “new normal”, I have doubled up on my beliefs in the things we can control - wash your hands, use (good) sanitizer, and do everything you can to support your immune system.
I can close my eyes and still remember how I used to feel. One of my kids would start to come down with something. Runny nose, stuffy, maybe a little cough. The mom in me wanted to DO something to stop them from being sick. Friends all around me told me it was inevitable; they were in daycare and my husband and I were both teaching. They were being exposed to everything.
As a mom, we learn very early on that it is our job to advocate for our babies. I would find myself in this place of helplessness, knowing they didn’t feel well but also being told by doctors that it was “just a virus” and I needed to “wait it out”. They would guide me towards a pain relief medicine off of the shelf at the pharmacy and I would be on my way. It was a vicious cycle but instead of feeling like their constant battles with sickness were making their immune systems stronger, instead I felt like they were becoming sick more and more often.
Their bodies were wore down and frankly, I was BEYOND frustrated at not being able to do a single thing. I began searching for options, I was desperate at that point. As I started to research our immune systems, I was so surprised by what I was able to uncover.
I began to implement a wide variety of things to help boost our immune systems. I also began to slowly collect what I would call my “toolkit”. The more I learned, the more I was able to work to be proactive and support all of our bodies. In addition to the change in our routine, something else happened. I began to shift from feeling helpless and having to “wait it out” to feeling empowered. There was something I could do.
If you have felt like me - if you have been frustrated and felt helpless when it comes to your babies, if you are tired of hearing that they just need to “wait it out”, if your gut is screaming at your that there should be a different option - let’s chat!
2020 has been tough, for all of us. When COVID hit last spring, it threw the educational system for a loop as we struggled to come up with what virtual learning could look like. In districts like mine, the digital divide meant that we needed paper packets for our students. Everyone did the very best they could but it was hard for us as teachers and it was hard for us as parents.
This fall, I am happy to say we have made it 9 weeks so far in person! I was so nervous for my own children, wondering if I made the right call. We do that often as moms, don’t we - questions ourselves and worry about the decisions we are making as parents. It’s been the start of a year like none other in my teaching career. Our teachers have gone above and beyond, offering our parents an in-person option, as well as a virtual option for parents who felt like that would be a better choice for their family.
From the school side -it meant investing in Chromebooks and Hot Spots for our families, and spending vast amounts of time learning new platforms, and attempting to figure out how to replicate what would happen in a normal classroom, online. Learning how to record lessons, edit them, publish them, create interactive assignments - It has not been easy - as some have said, teachers are literally building the airplane as we are flying it.
Parents too, have had to adjust. Whether you are a parent who has your child in-person in school (while waiting for the other shoe to metaphorically drop as we enter flu season), or you have chosen virtual learning for your child. Either way - it has been an adjustment. Knowing how to support your child educationally, especially after a rough spring, is more important now - more than ever. As a literacy coach, teacher, and my English background, one of the biggest concerns for parents is how we can support reading at home.
I am working on some bundles of different activities your child can work on at home, using Google Slides. In the meantime, I wanted to offer up A Parent’s Guide to Supporting Reading at Home. You can grab it here!
Hey friends! Today I have been in the middle of mounds and mounds of laundry. I swear, it just multiplies itself. While I haven’t discovered any secrets to getting the laundry to actually wash itself (or fold and put itself away for that matter), I have discovered a few secrets over the years on how to clean up my laundry process.
I grew up in a Tide-washing, dryer-sheet using family… I loved the smell that came from a clean load of clothes. I grew up and bought the same products I had always known, and why would I question it - I used to think that if they were on the grocery store shelf, they were safe. However, after my daughter Kiersley began having some major eczema issues as a baby, I began really digging into everything I was putting in our bodies and on it - and that included our laundry products!