Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Currently: January Edition

LOVING:


big fat snow flakes.
untouched snow.
snow-globe effect.
big thick blankets.
a hot cup of coffee.
having stu home with us for a long weekend due to 
cold spell again, and cancelling school.
baked bacon.
new tradition of making big hearty breakfast every sunday.
netflix marathons. 
my little guy's personality. he's such a ham.
family stopping by for a visit.
how forrest loves to help me clean things up.
finding a nuk in the washing machine, and how forrest loves to hide things. 



READING:

i don't have any book that i am currently reading.
with my birthday coming up, i do have 2 barnes & noble gift cards to spend on the books, and any recommendations? 

WATCHING:

since I'm done with army wives, and got bored of nip/tuck after the carver was apprehended on season 3, i think, i moved on to supernatural! i absolutely love it; a good mix of humor, and scary stuff. Bonus: CUTE guys are on this show. 



Still watching Dexter with stu. we are almost done with
season 1, and i have a feeling there will be a cliff-hanger with ice truck killer...


THINKING:


jayden's birthday, and lighting up a candle for him.
monster laundry to wash, dry, and put away.
how it is too cold lately, and pining for 20 degree weather to return without that dang wind sub-zero temperature.
how my 29th birthday is coming up, and stu is treating me for buffalo wild wings birthday meal. can't wait. 
plans for the weekend.
hoping that all is well for my friend, A, and her boy, who was just born a few days ago.
meeting with a wonderful friend this thursday.
all the things i need to do next month.
how nice it is to get sleep back after crazy 18m sleep regression.
how nice forrest's skin is finally looking now he's off bulk of dairy. 

LOOKING FORWARD TO:

forrest's 18 month check up. i'm curious to see how much he weighs now, and whether he had grown in height (he has not at all at his 12 month check up, ha ha).
meeting with our allergist to discuss about the result of dairy-free trial we did for forrest. 
some babies being born next month among my friends.
my birthday this saturday. 
this crazy cold spell going away?
a lot, a lot, and a lot of sewing projects!! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Giving a Doll To a Boy?

Sleep is still evading us in Russ household.

I was not sure if last night was a fluke, and if I should keep my hope up, but Forrest peacefully slept through the night...until 5:30 am. Then he decided it was time to rise, and shine for the day! Forrest had always been an early bird--he definitely does not get it from me. Nonetheless, he spent the next half hour watching Sesame Street on my Nook while I dozed a bit longer. A perfect solution for our little early bird. I was hoping that 18 months sleep regression was finally at its tail end. It would have been nice if it was.

I have gotten to the point where I considered digging up my old toy bin to retrieve a doll with a long silky hair for Forrest to play with. He had developed a fixation of playing with my hair; combing, yanking, pulling, and simply sinking his little chub fingers into my hair. He loved it when I braided my hair, because that meant he was able to untangle the braids, and pull the strands out of its neatly structured crosses. Forrest absolutely loved standing on the computer chair behind me, stroking, and combing through my hair. I recently had learned that it was a comfort thing. Hence, the idea of doll was born. 

                       

Giving a doll to a boy didn't frazzle me. I have never really understood why some folks were so gender-restricted about toys, clothes, and all that stuff. Gender did not mean one had to fit into a neat little square. That concept bored me, and certainly did not encourage one to explore self. To me, girls seemed to have more freedom than boys when it came to traditional gender roles; being able to wear pants, rough-housing, fishing, camping, hunting, playing in the dirt--all that while still upholding feminine traits such as showing emotions, using make-up, playing with hair, playing with dolls, and shopping. I certainly was able to do both. Boys were unable to do the same, according to our society, and I found it rather silly. 

Matter of fact, this reminds me of a book that I've been wanting to read. The book is called Raising my Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son by Lori Duron. I've been following her blog for a year, and half-ish before she published a book! I love her blog--a great voice, and this kid is darn lucky to have such an amazing mother. It is about a little boy, who is transgendered, and how his parents are raising him to be free of traditional gender roles that is placed by our society. They have another son, an older boy, who is not transgendered. It is rather interesting how the parents continually see differences in both of their children (one very male, and one very feminine, yet both are in male bodies). Lori is someone I definitely admire. 

Anyway, I've gotten off topic a bit here. Oops.

So, yes, I've been thinking about introducing a baby doll for Forrest to keep. It is a good practice for him to play a big brother (and no, I am not pregnant), to be gentle with the doll, and to express his softer side. And maybe wreck the doll's hair instead of mine! Aside from a baby doll, we do have a bunch of little dolls for Forrest to play with, and they are WWE figurines. He loves them. And Stu, too. 

We are now on our second week of dairy-free trial. I do see a huge difference with removing milk from Forrest's diet. His skin is much better, and the symptoms have abated. Forrest still has some eczema patch on his face, despite going dairy-free, and I think it is just how his skin is. He does get dry skin easily. I am curious to see how Forrest may react to milk in the food. Stu, and I definitely know that Forrest is done with drinking cow milk, and we should stick with soy milk from now on. 

Going dairy-free definitely has encouraged me to explore other options with making meals without cheese, or milk ingredients. It has been fun experimenting, and finding yummy dishes to make. Recently, I've gotten on a huge sweet fries bend, and I can't seem to get enough of this! It is relatively cheap (under 80 cents per potato), and so easy to make. Just love it! It is like crack, especially with a bit of olive oil, and sea salt, seriously. Try it. You'll love it. Thank me later. 




Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dairy-free Trial

We are currently going through a dairy-free trial for the next two weeks as per our allergist's request. Dr. G wants to evaluate whether the milk is a source of all distress we have been having with Forrest of late seeing that our initial skin prick test has come up inconclusive. With the skin prick test, when you have a reaction to a certain allergen, and your skin will bubble up in a decent-sized blister. With Forrest, he developed barely a blister, or barely anything except a small reddish bump. I think it is probably skewed by him just being weaned from nursing, but I could be wrong. He may not be allergic to the milk itself, but rather his skin reacts negatively to certain allergens. After all, skin is the largest organ on our body, and it does have separate reaction from our internal system. It is what Dr. G suspects that may be the case with Forrest. 

Dr. G gave us her seal of approval with skin management. She was once again impressed with how well we were able to help the flare-up, especially on Forrest's face, to fade away with rigorous lathering, baths, and keeping his skin moisturized. Dr. G did caution us that even with us being diligent with not giving Forrest certain allergen triggers, he still can experience flare-ups, and it will come then goes. It is just the skin that Forrest has. I understand that all too well. 

Growing up, I have had several reactions to food, and none of them were serious. I used to love eat banana peppers, then one day when I was twelve years old, my body decided it had enough. I ended up having swollen feet, and hives all over my body. I continued to get hives periodically after that incident--to what, I did not know, because by then I had given up eating banana peppers. By the time I was in college, I started eating banana peppers once again, and had no reaction. I had no idea why. 

I also thought about my brother, Alex. 


Alex had never liked dairy, especially cheese, and often had his meals made to exclude anything with cheese. It made me wonder if this had any connection to Forrest's possible dairy allergy. He also had been diagnosed with shell-fish allergy in his childhood years. 

Of course, these days, Alex is okay with eating cheese, and drinking milk. On the other hand, I still don't like drinking milk, and never have. I don't like the taste, and texture of the milk. I don't like the after effects of milk (bloat, nausea, cramping, and gas). As it is evidenced by all this, our genes are fallible when it comes to allergies, and skin issues. 

Because of my personal experience, I am hoping that Forrest is the same way with milk, and that he will outgrow. Dr. G is pretty optimistic that Forrest will outgrow this by the time he is three years old. I sure hope so. Having two major allergies are hard to deal with. It is not as shocking, or as a big deal when we are told that Forrest may have a possible dairy allergy. We figure that, well, we are doing pretty good with Forrest's peanut allergy, and it will be the same for dairy allergy. I am hoping that Forrest will be one of those statistics that children will outgrow their dairy allergy. There is a correlation between dairy allergy, and eczema. So, this is not very surprising, and it will be interesting to see how Forrest reacts to dairy after 2-weeks trial of dairy-free period is over. 

We are going to see Dr. G again in 6 weeks, and discuss the result. Then we will go from there as in what to do next. 

We recently started giving Forrest a soy milk. Forrest loved the vanilla flavor of soy milk. I gave it to him at lunch, and Forrest ended up with reddish rash on his face. It was hard to say if it was a direct result of drinking soy milk, or teething itself. Forrest spent the whole afternoon after his nap in a very surly mood, sticking fingers in his mouth, and exercising his vocal cords as loud as he could. Even my poor ears ended up being sore by Forrest's bedtime. He was up last night, feeling very colicky, and cried until 3:30 am. Stu, and I took turns taking care of Forrest. He did not have gas. However, he was in pain from teething. I was on the fence whether soy played a role in this or not. It was just too hard to say, especially with teething going on right now. 

*shakes fist* 

Damn you, molars. I'm tired of this. I'm tired of witnessing my kid in pain, and wish I can take it away from him. People aren't kidding when they say that we won't get sleep until Forrest is three or four years old. Anyway, I am waiting to see if Forrest has a reaction to soy milk from drinking it during breakfast. If he does, then I think I can say that soy milk is out. I hope it is not the case, because finding the right milk has been a real pain in the arse. 

I don't wish food allergies/intolerance upon anyone. 


Monday, January 13, 2014

18 Months Sleep Regression Is No Bueno

It is hard to believe that my little boy is no longer a baby, but a toddling toddler, and I'm left wondering where time has gone. Forrest is now learning how to use spoon, and fork. He is able to grasp the idea of spooning into the applesauce, and feeding himself that way. It is a bit messy, and still a work in process. Nonetheless, I am pretty proud of my little boy. We have also put him in a booster seat instead of keeping him in a highchair with a tray. Forrest loves being able to eat at the table with us, and we enjoy watching his joy of being a "big boy". 

Forrest has always been fiercely independent, and as it seems to me, in a rush to grow up. I am the same way growing up. I encourage, and nurture Forrest's independence. While I share that trait with him, there is also many traits that is not my own, but Stu's, and Forrest's uniquely own. I enjoy so much watching Forrest grow into his own person. 

I've somewhat figured out what was causing so much problems with sleeping in our household lately. Forrest is on the brink of being done with cutting molar teeth on the bottom. Along with that, I completely forgot about sleep regressions, and apparently, there's 18-month sleep regression. Then there's also 24-months sleep regression. Yay. Nonetheless, Forrest has started sleeping through the night once again, and I am finally starting to feel rested. Stu has chipped in as much as he could last weekend, which I am also grateful for, and we both are quite glad that Forrest is done with cutting molar teeth. It is truly the devil (the molars, I mean). 


Tomorrow, we have an appointment with Forrest's allergist. I am ready to find out what is going on with Forrest, and get answers. His skin is finally clear, and looks great especially so on his face now that teething is done, and milk is taken out of his diet for now. I will keep you guys posted about what I learn tomorrow. 

Stu, and I are done with Sons of Anarchy, and waiting on Season 6 to come on Netflix. In the meanwhile, we just started watching DEXTER. It is off to a slow start, especially after a fast-paced show like SOA, and we like it though. It is funny; one of the characters, who play Dexter's sister, struck me as familiar, and I could not put my finger on who she is. Then I look up on her, and discovers that she was in Exorcism of Emily Rose. 


I laughed about this discovery, because Stu, and I watched Exorcism of Emily Rose forever ago, and it really scared the living shit out of Stu. He didn't like movies that played on realism, and based on "true" events. I decided to play a prank on him, and it was the best prank I have ever pulled on him. Here's the post about it if you want to read about how I pulled it off: Best Prank EVER. When I told Stu that the main character's sister was in the movie, and reminded Stu how I scared the living wits out of him. He scowled at me, and faked laughed along with me. Revenge, my friend, was sweet...even after these years later. 

Things are a bit slow now, but I like it, and it is much-needed after all the holiday madness traveling. Things will be a bit slow in the next couple months, which is pretty much normal for late winters in Wisconsin, and I am trying not to rush through it by thinking, oh my gosh, I wish it's summer already. But the truth to be told, I am already ready for summer to be here. I am very excited for my dear friends' wedding, and my siblings' weddings. It will be a really fun summer, and I am already looking forward to it! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

BRR.....It's Cold!

Forrest signing EAT EAT EAT
Hey guys, I am back from a brief hiatus from blogging! Forgive me, this is going to be kind long rambly type of post with random pictures that has nothing to do with this post. I can't quite remember where I left off the last time with blogging. Forrest, and I are back home for good with Stu, Layla, and our cats! I am quite happy to be back. There is no place like a home. Currently, I am trying to organize, and clean up every room. The clutter from traveling is driving me crazy. Stu has decided to conform our dining table into his personal workspace, and it is driving me crazy to see how cluttered it is with his school stuff. My goal is to organize, and clean up the dining room then reassign all of Stu's stuff onto a different table nearby. That way, he can clutter it up to his heart's content, and I get to have my dining table back. 

I am quite anxious to start my sewing projects. I am excited to share that I have a sewing machine, that I have gotten from Dad, and Jess for Christmas, and I'm just so anxious to get on at least 4 projects already! I am planning on making a sewing machine cover, backing to about 3 baby quilts I've sewn, and cloth diapers. First, I need to get square measuring thing--my brain is drawing blank as in what to call it, a snapping tool for the snaps, and a guide manual to make cloth diapers. My birthday, that is when I should get them. I am looking into shopping at thrift stores to see if there's any small sewing machine table that I can convert, and use in our bedroom. That way, it can be safely stored away from prying, curious little fingers. 


Forrest is going through a weird phase with sleeping. I am not sure to contribute it to teething, separation anxiety, or allergy-related. At first, I am sure it is allergy-related from being at other people's homes, and not being in controlled environment to reduce his reactions to them. Forrest has been waking up 3-4 hours after falling asleep, screaming his head off, and unable to settle unless he's on me, and I am rocking him back to sleep. The frequency has been growing from one episode...two episodes...and so on in the night.

Forrest's skin got very scaly, red, and chapped especially on his face. Fortunately, Bobbie suggested us to try Eucerin lotion, and it has helped greatly. I use that along with Aveeno Ecezma lotion. I've started bathing Forrest everyday based on an instruction from his allergist. I've changed milk once again in Forrest's diet. He no longer drinks regular milk, but Lactid Whole Milk. It has made a DRASTIC difference for Forrest. Forrest is no longer having gas pains, and his skin is looking better every day. However, sleep still evades us. 

I am pretty sure I have eliminated all contributing factors, such as gas, and itchy skin, and that only left is probably teething. Even at that, I am not convinced completely that it is teething pain, because of the growing frequency of waking up screaming to be assured. I can think of night terrors, teething, or separation anxiety at this point. I am so ready for this strange ailment to fade away, and we all can get sleep! I am feeling quite sleep deprived, and thank gods for coffee! 

I am looking forward to meeting Forrest's allergist on Tuesday of next week to get an insight to our sleeping problems. If she has none to offer, then I may have to get a hold of Dr. Johnson, and see what he has to say. Otherwise, we may have to deal with this until Forrest's 18 months (EEK, 18 months!) check up in February. 

Forrest has not had any explosion in language development yet. Even so, he still communicates by saying a few signs, and can say words such as Dada, Mama, & more, to name a few. Forrest loves to GET INTO EVERYTHING. He is at this age. So I've been constantly picking up after him, especially so in the kitchen, and it feels like I've been having tornadoes leaving its wake everywhere lately! It is okay, though. I like having to stay on my toes, and staying busy. 


In the last two days, Stu has been home with us, due to the extreme cold, and it is nice to have Stu home with us! The only casualty we have from the cold is Stu's little Kia car's battery dying, and not allowing his car to start! Fortunately, Kia's battery is brought back to life by being jumped by the cords attaching to my Jeep. Hopefully, Kia will be okay tomorrow morning for Stu to start up, and go to work! I'm so over this extreme cold. At the same time, I can't complain, because we get to have Stu home with us for a long, long weekend, and our house is fine. Thank goodness for that!

I better get going, and take Forrest out of the cabinet. He's in there right now, happily removing all the bowls out of the cabinet, and putting them on the floor. Life is definitely not boring around here! 

Stay warm, guys!