Thursday, February 28, 2008

A 1st for us

Today started out so ordinary.....Eric is away on business, which is why the following story occurred. Something always happens when he travels. I picked Matthew up from school after Emma's tumbling class and everything was peachy. He was a little more sensitive to his listening program this afternoon which should have tipped me off. I was getting ready to take him to music and then OT, Thursday being our super busy days. He started to act very funny, kept saying he wanted to take a nap. Then he would just start crying out in pain. He kept saying his muffin hurt. He had just eaten a muffin so I thought maybe a piece was stuck in his throat. I gave him water and then he felt like he was getting warmer. I started to take his temp. He was screaming in pain from the ear themometer. He just progressively got worse so I quickly called our Ped. They got me right in so I took off with him alternating between crying and sleeping in the car. It was quickly determined that he has his very 1st ear infection. I am pleased he's made it to the age of 4 before getting one but not happy that he has one. I have the antibiotics which I hate to use. Luckily we give him a probiotic nightly so hopefully the good bacteria won't be too thrown off in his gut. What a day......He's asleep in my bed as I type.

In case you wondered, here's where I do the majority of my blogging. Each night after baths the kids lay in my bed and watch Mickey or Elmo. I sit with them, laptop on my lap and get to enjoy their company or quickly respond to a need, but this gives me an outlet instead of watching the same Tivo'd kids show for the millionth time. I love this blogging program, it autosaves so if I am putting together a long blog, I can just type away and come back to it the following night. Sometimes I get a chance to add and post blogs in progress during the day since most of the work is already done or if Eric is home and giving me a little break in the day. So, I know some have asked "where do you find the time?". It helps that I type really fast, but I use this quiet time, or the time after they are asleep if they want to play instead of watch their shows before bed. For example, off to give Emma her bottle, be right back....I just love the laptop!

Hello & happy belated bday to Laurie W.! Eric mentioned that you check my blog, I am taking off the requirement for a login, you should be able to leave comments now if you are so inclined without creating a google account. We still need to get together, lol. Hope you and your family are well.

Kate - hope your mom got here OK, can't wait for book club tomorrow night, I need it!

Jeni - miss you girl!

On the topic of the triathlon, I need a kick in the butt right now. The last few days before our trip to SD I fell off the exercise wagon and have yet to crawl back on. Prior to this trip I had not missed one training day. So far this week all I have done is ride the bike. I am really trying to motivate myself to get on the treadmill tonight. I need it especially after my eating out binge of last week and my not so great this week. After I filled Matthew's prescription and came home to give him a dose I ran to Fresh and Easy (which I love btw) . The unplanned excitement of the afternoon left me unprepared for dinner. Emma and I (mainly me) shared a bean/cheese/rice burrito. Yes, I ate cheese, gasp. I even bought more for the top, plus enchilada sauce. I also grabbed a bag of tortilla chips and guac. Go big or go home....yikes. Not good, don't go shopping hungry. After that 3000 calorie meal my butt needs to get on that treadmill, and stay there for, oh 2 years or so. Sigh....So, someone kick me in the butt and get me re-motivated. The clock is ticking and I need to be ready so I don't die mid triathlon. That would not look good for the Higley Groves Book Club. I need to represent! :)

On a high note, dinner/bed/bath usually is crazy when Eric is gone. Given Matthew's illness, he passed out at 6:00 pm and from the lack of sounds from Emma's room, I think it is safe to say she's going down without much of a fight too. I was prepared for a rough evening but they took pity on me I guess. I have some half finished blogs waiting for uploading, maybe since the kids made it easy for me tonight I will get those done too. So, don't be surprised to see clumps of blogs for today. Hope everyone is having a great week so far!!

** Pre-bed update ** Poor Emma woke up crying. After some rocking and more crying, I did give her some Tylenol and Cough medicine. She said it hurt when she coughed. I sure hope she isn't getting an ear infection she was starting to get a little goopy in addition to that cough....thank goodness the weekend is almost here. Wish me luck to get sleep while I can.

Things we love

Whenever people hear about what we don't eat, the next question is "well what DO you eat then". I will post some favorites here and also post on healthy cleaning supplies and personal care products.

* Applegate farms hot dogs and bacon - no nitrate, nitrites or dairy, just good ole meat!
* Lara bars - yum!
* Enjoy Life brand allergen free snacks
* Guadalupe Farmer's Market for local (mostly organic and MUCH cheaper) and conventionally grown fruits/veggies/and they even brought in GFCF stuff and Lara bars for me, cheaper than Sprouts! The owners are T.J. and Julie and they ROCK! Visit them.
* Homemade almond milk
* Mega Omega homemade muffins (recipe to be posted soon)
* Nuts (almonds and walnuts mainly)
* Green smoothies
* Eggs
* Brown rice crackers with all natural peanut butter for a healthy peanut butter cracker
* Laura's beef, found at Super Targets here in AZ
* Ian's brand frozen foods, they do use canola oil which I do not like so we do these products in small quantities
* Brown rice
* Chicken

I will update more later, miss Emma has her Rolly Pollie's class, gotta run!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Happy hump day!

Can it really be Wednesday already? The frantic pace of our lives has resumed since our trip. It threw Matthew for a loop that is for sure. A whole week with no school, no therapy and no habilitation, aye yay yay. Not good. Plus we had dietary infractions, even with the enzymes I think it started to flare up the yeast and mess with his delicate system. We are back to the big doses of yeast fighting enzymes since we noticed the same old behaviors cropping back up a few weeks back when we scaled them back. I was hoping that we could reduce some of them, for just one supplement it is costing us $100 per month! Ouch. And of course because it is a "supplement" and not a prescribed drug we cannot use our flex spending plan or deduct it as a medical expense on our taxes. These are the frustrating things that families living with the Autism spectrum face daily. We KNOW these things work and yet because they do not fit the pharmaceutical or traditional medical mold, we are stuck bearing the full cost ourselves. I have to chuckle at the doctors and other knowledgeable people who sit back and say diets don't work. Well, I would like to see what they think after a month with my child on dairy and wheat and no enzymes. They would be exhausted and very, very frustrated I bet. It all makes a huge difference. All I know is we keep plodding along, head down and treading uphill against the wind but we are slowly conquering this hill. He's much better since being back at school yesterday and today and having his speech and music therapies this week. He even had his hab preschool this afternoon and did great. He is so busy and I am so proud of how hard he works and how much progress he makes each day. For those who don't know, here is his schedule:

Mon - A.M. preschool through Gilbert public schools and Speech therapy in the afternoon

Tues - A.M. preschool through Gilbert public schools and Music therapy in the afternoon

Wed - A.M. preschool through Gilbert public schools and P.M. preschool through L.I.F.E. Center

Thur - A.M. preschool through Gilbert public schools, Music therapy and Occupational therapy

Fri - A.M. preschool through Gilbert public schools and P.M. preschool through L.I.F.E. Center

Sat - Tumbling class through Rolly Pollies and work with our habilitator at home

Sun - Work with our habilitator at home

Want to know more about L.I.F.E.? Here's their link

This place is awesome, I highly recommend checking it out for anyone with a child with Autism. It was started by a mom and her child's therapist. They are so dialed into what these kids need and it is just brimming with love and understanding. I am so happy leaving Matthew there, I NEVER have a worry. No matter what I know they will know how to deal with anything and will treat him with the love and respect he deserves. They get so much out of him and understand how to meet his sensory needs so he gets the most out of their class.

And what about the Princess? Well, she woke from her nap while I was picking Matthew up from L.I.F.E. She was standing over at one of the windows that we have that flanks our front door. Eric asked her what she was doing and she said "waiting for mommy". Aaawwww, she is such a doll!!! The other day Matthew was getting ready to leave for school and she went and found "green blue" (his attachment object) and said "Here's green blue brother". She is just so darn sweet!!!

Well, enough gushing about my kids. Uh oh, trouble in paradise, time to help Dad manage the troops....

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I <3 Valentine's Day

This may not come as a surprise to some but I got in over my head for V-Day. I bought these cute little mailboxes at Target to alter for Matthew's class and teachers (7 total). Then he started going to the bigger integrated class. So, I was not about to run out and get 17 MORE mailboxes and alter those (some will be shocked that I did set that boundary). So, we did *gasp* store bought Spiderman Valentine's for the big class. But then I started thinking about the speech therapist and OT at school, his other teachers at the hab preschool (4), our babysitter, his outside OT and music therapist (that we would see on Valentine's Day) and also both kid's tumbling teacher. I was so glad I have my handy Cricut because it cut out these cute little heart boxes. I stamped or otherwise decorated, assembled, added a decorative front heart with a To: From: stamp, added a few chocolates and viola, Valentine's all around. Oh yeah, plus I made mailboxes for MY kids and Valentine's Day cards for the kids and Eric. Whew, that is one busy holiday! Hope you all enjoyed your day of love!
PS - ingnore my messy craft table, I had just finished them all and was snapping pics as I had to pack them up to be delivered, so last minute.....

Monday, February 11, 2008

Our weekend update

1) So, we may have been too quick to scale back the yeast enzymes. I think it has come back, probably not to the same extent but still. What we've seen the last few days:

~ Major tantrums, lots of screaming
~ Sleep disturbances
~ Craving yeast feeding foods, and tantruming when we say no

Calgon take me away....

2) I goofed and read my training schedule wrong. I was supposed to run Sat and have Sun off. I took Sat off and so I ran Sun. Then, Eric asked if I wanted to go on a bike ride. At first I said no, hey I just ran, you want me to get MORE exercise?!?! Whataya crazy??? But, it was gorgeous this weekend (Eric's bike temp gauge ready 86?!?!) so I said sure, I will go. We started out, got 2.2 miles and I said "Let's go 4.5 and then come back so I can see what 9 miles feels like". We rode along the power trails, heading west. We got to just past Freestone Park for those in this area. Some of the trail was dirt and not great because of the recent rains but overall a great ride. We actually ended up going 8.5 miles but hey, not bad considering I ran for 25 minutes earlier that day! Today is a swim day.

3) Are we unromantic? Another thing we did this weekend is "exchange" Valentine's day gifts. If you can call it that. Eric wanted a bike odometer/spedometer/etc. I wanted an armband holder for my MP3 player and a heart rate monitor. Romantic huh? The exchange went something like this "Hey is this the kind you wanted?", "Yeah, can I use it now?", "Sure, why not?". We each tore into our respective bags after the other came home from shopping. No wrapping, no fan fare, just bare bones. Oh well, we each got just what we wanted. I joked to Eric that I almost picked up my own gifts while shopping for his but thought he may get mad at my un-romantic-ness. But, we are both practical so I guess this year it works, lol.

Friday, February 8, 2008

My diary on dairy

So some may know that we have been dairy free since April. Matthew has been dairy free for almost 2 years. Almost everyone asks "How do you get calcium???" as if dairy is the only form. So, in addition to my blatant gratuitous postings about my kids, I will also touch upon politics, religion, the state of our country and my new found love of nutrition and health. Here's why we do not consume dairy as a course of our normal everyday lives:

1) Dairy is for cows, do you still breastfeed (no smart ass comments from men on this one)? Alright then, why would you drink cow breastmilk? That's what it is!
2) Dairy is for baby cows, not humans.
3) The high protein content in dairy (which is much more concentrated in cheese by the way) actually turns our blood acidic. The body then pulls calcium FROM your bones to neutralize the acid. So, in some cases, you can end up with a net loss of calcium after your body is done processing it.
4) It produces mucous, a lot. Think 1 gallon of mucous stored in your organs, YUCK!
5) Got Crohn's? If you do, thank milk. 100% of people with Crohn's have it because of dairy consumption. It also is highly co-morbid with arthritis and other auto-immune disorders.
6) In countries where dairy consumption is non-existant or much less you have lower overall amounts of calcium consumption (from natural sources) but much lower rates of bone breakage and osteoporosis.
7) Highest countries for dairy consumption also have highest rates for breast cancer.
8) Cows forced to produce milk without calving usually have high rates of mastitis (breast infections). What happens when you have an infection? You produce white blood cells, commonly known as pus. The USDA and FDA have "legal limits" for bacteria and white blood cells (pus) in milk, eeeewwww. Limits also vary by state. States where it is hotter usually mean more infections. Ooooh, glad we are in AZ!
9) Have a daughter? Do you want her shopping for bras at age 5? How about getting a period by 7? Thanks to the hormones in milk (and meat and chicken), we are seeing a rise in early puberty. Even in the "hormone free" milk you are still getting the normal cow hormones.
10) Haven't had enough and want to know more? Go here:

Better sources for calcium:
1) Leafy greens (spinach, kale, broccoli)
2) Sesamee seeds
3) Almonds
4) Non dairy milks like Almond, Rice or Hemp (very good stuff in there, lots
of Omegas too!)
5) Calcium fortified OJ
6) Beans
7) Molasses

Most non dairy milks are also fortified with it, as are many foods these days. Your absorption rate is going to be higher (50% range for leafy greens vs. 32% for dairy) since there is not the big protein draw on your body.

Hidden places for dairy:
1) French fries (coating)
2) Breading on chicken nuggets and fish sticks
3) Bread
4) Hot dogs/lunch meats
5) Look for sodium caseinate, casein, whey, sodium lactate, milk, cheese, milk fats, milk solids, etc.

So there you go. Give it a try, just one week. Then at the end of the week, go have a big pizza and finish it off with ice cream and see how good you feel!

Gratitude list

1) I am grateful for a wonderful husband
2) I am grateful for awesome kids
3) I am grateful for the chance to vote and have my opinion heard in this country
4) I am grateful for the best friends a person could have
5) I am grateful that my kids are sleeping late this morning which allowed me a shower and some coffee/computer time
6) I am grateful that I can attempt a triathalon in a few months
7) I am grateful for a great and reliable car that takes us all over each day and will be taking us to San Diego safely soon
8) I am grateful for a beautiful house with room for us all
9) I am grateful for the chance of a new day to do things better than I did yesterday, last week, last month or last year
10) I am grateful for an open mind and spirit that allows me to be receptive to all the wonderful blessings in the world
11) I am grateful to have my taxes done!
12) I am grateful for a working computer that allows me to connect with people I would not have the time to connect with otherwise. Stolen moments on the computer sure add up and it is nice to have some adult interaction, even electronically!!!
13) I am grateful for book club, it is my one chance a month usually to get out and just connect with other women/moms and let my hair down
14) I am grateful for a wonderful mother in law and that she is so generous as to take us to Disneyland each year
15) I am grateful for this upcoming Disney trip to see family and friends I have been missing so much
16) I am grateful for baby monitors, they let me hear my baby's first sleepy calls for me in the morning

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I have so many things that I think of while on the run and yet never seem to have a pen and paper to write them down. Maybe this will be a good way to at least put them in one spot.

Short term (within the next year)
Complete a mini triathalon
Get certified in Reiki (scheduled for level 1 on March 1st!!!)
Lose 20 pounds
Take a more advanced aromatherapy class
Make more time to scrapbook/craft
Finish Emma's baby blanket that I started knitting when I was on bedrest before she was born
Start planning a "girl's getaway" with my best girlfriends. A nice trip to a spa is in order, no kids, no husbands, just us girls.

Long term
Go to school to be a naturopathic doctor
Start a medical practice that helps other families affected by Autism where they can go for knowledgeable, caring attention by at least one doctor that has "been there done that".
Really consider locations for retirement and maybe purchase land/home

Of course this is all I can think of right now but I will add more and I remember them.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Handy helper!!

Today was extra busy. We are doing a therapeutic listening program for Matthew (read more about it here Today we met with the OT administering it for a new CD. We check back with her every 2 weeks for a new one and just to see how things are going. We do the program at home twice a day, 30 minutes each time. It is really time consuming when you factor in all the other therapies but we have noticed improvements in several areas. I dropped Matthew off at preschool in the morning and then came home to try and clean, do laundry, etc. etc. with my little "helper". Emma actually was a terrific helper this morning. I got a ton done and moved nonstop it seemed for the whole 2+ hours while he was at school. Our babysitter came to sit with Emma at 10 am this morning so I could run him around and she could nap on schedule. It is important to me that she nap in her bed at her usual time. I do not want her dragged about to all these appts. bored and antsy or asleep in the car while Matthew does his thing. Luckily we have a wonderful person who sits with the kids in those instances. It was raining today and so I was standing outside the usual door at school. Matthew came out with Mrs. Page's class again and she kept them all inside until a parent was there or their bus was. But she had some questions for me today. Her son is in the same class and is bringing snack tomorrow. She had been watching what I sent Matthew and asked if certain snacks/drinks were OK. She wanted Matthew to be able to participate in snack with the rest of the class. I thought that was SO sweet. She certainly did not need to go out of her way, she could have just let her son pick what HE wanted, but she didn't and for that I am grateful. After we spoke I walked with Matthew to the car, quickly because of the rain. But, I saw the paper hand pinned to his shirt. My son was the class "Handy Helper" today. I was SO proud of him!!! I need better clarification on what that is, the most I got out of Matthew was that he helped pass out the fruit roll ups so I assume they help with snack. But since we are new to the class, I still need the specifics. We went to the OT appt where he is progressing nicely and did well with her, then he and I went to lunch (BK because THEIR fries don't have dairy). We had a little lunch date where we sat in a booth and talked and then he begged me to play in the play structure. We had an hour until his speech therapy so he did play for a while. He had a great speech session and then we headed home. Emma was in rare form. Today was a naked day evidently because that girl wanted to run around naked for the remainder of the day! Crazy girl. I did make it to the gym, today is my swim day in my training program. Thank goodness the pool is heated, ours is FREEZING right now. I even hit the steam room after. Now I am ready for bed, lol. I got to cuddle with my two little kiddos before they went to bed, the best part of the day, one on each side. Until Emma decided it was more fun to crawl all over us that is. Last night I gave her her milk and so tonight Eric wanted to do it. She said "No, Big Bird give me bottle" ~ she was watching Sesame Street and saw big Bird and wanted him to put her to bed, I had to laugh....Eric replied that he's much more like Goofy than Big Bird, I guess in that scenario I would be Oscar the Grouch! :) At least Eric replied that he's much more like Goofy than I am like Oscar the Grouch.....I know it was just to pacify me but that's OK, I will take it, lol.

Gratitude list

So my friend Kate inspired me with her gratitude list so here's mine for the day:

1) I am grateful for a loving husband
2) I am grateful for 3 wonderful children in my life
3) I am grateful that the GIANTS won the superbowl (more importantly that we live with the means necessary for me to watch the game comfortably)
4) I am grateful we have a wonderful home
5) I am grateful for the best friends a person could ask for
6) I am grateful one of those best friends had a successful procedure and is now on the healing end
7) I am grateful for the ability to discern what is going on with Matthew biologically and the power to understand and do something about it
8) I am grateful for a healthy body and the ability to exercise

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Book club gets me in trouble....

Last night was book club, which in reality is a drinking club which sometimes discusses books. All but one of us live in our neighborhood and we rotate each month at the home of the person who chose that month's book. The books have been interesting, some better than others. But one thing holds true, there will be interesting coversation and alcohol (which usually fuels the interesting conversation). So, last night we were talking about marathons, etc. And my friend Kate said she did the 1/2 marathon in January and she is doing another one and also doing the Susan G. Koman Tri for a cure on April 20th. Read more about it here It is a mini triathalon for women. It is a 400 meter swim followed by a 9 mile bike ride and then a 2 mile run. Kate threw out the challenge and Kim and I accepted! I went online and downloaded my training schedule. I just finished my first training day, 25 minute run/walk. I am tired but excited about this. I bought a bike a few months ago and a bike trailer to pull the kids. I even picked Matthew up from school with it one day which is just over 5 miles round trip. Swimming will probably be the hardest part since I am not a competitive swimmer and doing laps this summer taught me what a tough workout swimming is. This is just the type of thing I need, a good goal to work towards and two cool chicks to help support me and help me work out on those days I don't want to. And it is helping to support a very worthy cause to boot. All in all, a win win situation! Wish me luck!

Autism DOES speak :)

Matthew decides he needs to go poop. We at least have him going into the bathroom, still not using the potty but at least one step closer, he's in the room where that magic needs to happen. So, he heads upstairs with the directive not to go in our room and wake daddy up. So, somehow both he and Emma end up in her room playing. I go up to see what they are up to. Emma's clothes are thrown into her crib and I start the lecture. Matthew promptly tells me "Mommy go away, right now". Hows that for a declarative statement?! On one hand, I begin teaching him the proper way of telling someone he needs privacy, that's not polite, etc. But, inside I am smiling and jumping for joy. He is interacting with his world and more importantly, with other people in his world and not just doing what they want him to do. He is starting to exert his will over those around him, just like a 4 year old commonly does. I now hear "Emma, come on!" which is so exciting.

Yesterday Emma hit him square in the mouth with a toy bat. It was accidental but painful all the same. He was crying and told me "That makes me sad mommy", yes son, I bet it does. Emma apologizes and in a few minutes all is forgiven. But, more small steps. The ability to express emotion associated with pain, the fact that he connected the two? Amazing, completely amazing. Most times kids just do these things and we may miss that development because it comes so easily. With Autism, we are given the gift of watching each and every step emerge and to celebrate each one because so much hard work goes into each one.

Well, there is silence on the baby monitor now, which means more mischief. Upstairs I go, what new declarative statement awaits me?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Yeast be gone!?!

Maybe we have a handle on yeast. He is starting to say his stomach hurts after his enzymes. I think we may be at the end. Today is just about 2 weeks of the heavy dosing, I started backing them off to 2 per day of candidase and 2 per day of virastop instead of 6 and 3 respectively. We did also start him on digestive enzymes. In a few days I am going to add wheat in and see what happens. We are seeing much less awful, yucky, yeasty poop. I guess I should warn you, parents in general talk about their kids poop a lot but moms with children on the spectrum talk about it A LOT. Poop can tell you a lot about what's going on so I have become a poop afficienado ~ out of self preservation, not desire. So be prepared for lots of poop stories I am sure. So, all good signs that yeast is finally dying off. We also limit yeast feeding foods. So, I will watch this weekend and see what happens, if we start seeing the yeast behaviors we can bump them up again.