Thursday, October 30, 2008

Allergist's Report

I know a blog post isn't nearly as interesting when there aren't pictures involved, but I wanted to get an update about Ben on here while I had a minute to spare.

After nearly two years of dealing with severe GERD, more medication than you could imagine, and a long time of just not knowing what was going on, we finally decided to take him to the allergist to determine, once and for all, if he was allergic to any foods.

This decision was not made lightly, as I had heard horror stories from friends about all the scratch test they do on the back. I don't think it "hurts" per se, but it certainly isn't comfortable, and little ones usually don't like it very much. There was also the possibility of them having to do some trans dermal tests (like that awful TB test where they shoot liquid in your arm and it bubbles up). I've had that before, and that one DID really hurt.

So, after discussing our worries with the doctor, she had him tested for 10 different food allergies, and several common environmental ones. The results?? ALL NEGATIVE!!! He didn't react to a single thing, not even slightly. And, to give my little guy some credit, he didn't cry one time. He said "ouch" when they pressed the panels to his back, squirmed a little, looked like he might cry, but that was it. The hardest part was not letting him touch his back during the test.

While we are thrilled that he isn't allergic, I am fairly certain that there are some foods to which he is still intolerant. Unfortunately, there is no test for this, so we'll just have to do some trials on our own. But we are very thankful that we don't really have to worry about what he eats. The doctor did say she wanted us to wait until he is 3 to do peanuts or tree nuts, and she fully expected him to develop environmental allergies as he got older.

The skin rash that he has on his arms and legs has also had us worried, but she identified it as a "cousin to eczema," but not likely a reaction to anything he's eating. So, she gave us some new cream to try.

She also talked with Shawn about his bee and wasp allergies and really encouraged him to start coming in for shots because they have great success desensitizing people to that. This would mean that Shawn wouldn't have to carry that Epi pen around anymore, and he could breathe easier during those warm months.

So, all in all, a good day. Ben is a healthy boy!!

Friday, October 24, 2008


My daughter, the ballerina/princess/jewelry covered sweetheart that she is. I know I danced around alot at this age, entertaining my parents to no end by watching myself twirl in the reflection of the television, but this girl surely has outdone her mama. Yesterday, she woke up from her nap and came out of her room with her princess crown on, her necklace, her plastic dress-up shoes, her backpack, and no pants. Apparently, pants are not necessary to complete the look she was going for. There is no trace of a tomboy in this one, nor is she modest about her "accomplishments." Shawn told her that the outfit she picked for school the next day was lovely and that she would look so beautiful in it. Her reply? "Of course I will. Why wouldn't I?" Oh, to be 4 again.

Here she is singing one of the Halloween songs she learned at preschool this week - "Them Bones." Destined for the Vegas stage? Um . . . I think not.

And here she is joined by her brother for a lively recitation of the ever popular Halloween poem, "Five Little Pumpkins."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Corn Maze!!

I've wanted to visit a corn maze for a long time. You know, put my orienteering skills (thanks SIE visit to the Lakes District) to work, and see how well we could do finding our way through the maze. Winding one's way through a corn maze with two small children, however, doesn't really allow for much beyond making sure that no one gets lost or suffers from a cornstalk related flesh wound.

This particular maze in Yadkinville was sponsored by an adult rehabilitation program that was located on the same farm. For a reasonable entrance fee, we went through the Noah's ark themed maze, played various games, went on a hayride and visited the pumpkin patch. It really ended up being a great day.

Claire and Ben at the entrance to the maze
To track our progress through the maze, we were provided with a map and a chart that we filled with the animal stamps that were hidden in various spots throughout the maze. The picture below was taken at one of the stamping stations.

Ben had had enough of the endless cornstalks after about 20 minutes, so Shawn took him to play games while Claire and I continued to hunt for the remaining stamps to fill our chart. We found them all and even managed to find our way out again.

They had a cornstalk village built around a mock campfire. Ben peeked inside one of the cornstalk tee pees and said, "ew, too sfooky (spooky)."

Here Claire is attempted to race her rubber duckie by pouring water down the slide.

Yes, she's milking the cow.

On the hayride

The Hicks

Rachel Hicks (Fletcher) and I have known each other since the fourth grade. We went to grade school, high school, and college together, so I was thrilled to hear that she and her children were coming to Winston-Salem for a visit. Ok, so she wasn't coming to visit me, necessarily (her sister is a doctor at Wake Baptist Hospital), but it was still nice to spend some time with her. I haven't seen her kids in a long time, and had never met her youngest, Harper. Likewise, this was the first time she had seen Ben.

Claire started looking forward to their visit days before they were scheduled to arrive, and after suffering some disappointment upon hearing that no, they they would not be staying at our house, she satisfied herself with the knowledge that they would come over to play. She had a great time with the boys, Fletcher and Winston (or Wilston, as Claire called him), and she was entranced by Harper. Benjamin was greatly entertained by all the activity around him and was only mildly perturbed at having to share his toys.

We are heading to Tennessee in a few weeks for Homecoming at Lee, so we are looking forward to seeing the Hicks family (with dad, Edward, included this time) then. Winston said Claire could sleep in his room, so at least we've got that settled. :-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


The picture is a little dark, but how cute is this little peanut?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It finally happened - UGH!

I've heard and read of other mother's who have experienced this with their children, and, up until yesterday, I was lucky enough to not be able to relate.

I've posted before about Ben's less than ideal sleeping habits, and this past week has been no exception. For some reason, he has decided to forgo his afternoon nap. I refuse to give up on this one though, so even though he's wide awake in there, he stays in his crib for the allotted nap time. Yesterday, however, he added a new twist. After playing and talking to himself in his crib for over an hour, we suddenly realize that he was talking to us. I distinctly hear him say, "mommy, poopie. Mommy, poopie." This is not a new occurrence. He has become more and more aware of his dirty diapers, and will frequently ask to be changed. So, thinking that this must be the reason why he has been awake for so long, Shawn decides to go in, change him, and put him back in his crib to finally sleep.

Not more than 1 second after entering Ben's room do I hear Shawn frantically yell out, "Naomi! come here!!" I run to his room only to discover that Ben has totally stripped down, taken off his diaper and is holding it, poop laden and all, in his hands for us to take (like it's a gift or something????). He had such an angelic look on his face that I really think he thought he was doing us a favor. "Well, why don't I just save mom and dad the trouble of changing my diaper and do it myself?" Thanks, but no thanks, son!! Thankfully, unlike other children about whom I've heard, he did not decide to finger paint with his new discovery. But it was all over his sheet and his backside, of course.

After cleaning him off, changing the sheet and disposing of the "mess," we got him back in bed. The little stinker (literally) never did go to sleep.

Time to potty train? Um, yeah.

Dixie Classic Fair

The Dixie Classic Fair comes to Winston-Salem every fall, and despite the fact that admission and ride costs leave one feeling as though their finances have been brutally violated, we still look forward to it every year. It's a HUGE fair complete with livestock, live animal shows (we saw pig races, swimming pigs and a bear this year), rides and the inevitable fair food. I mean where else can one buy a turkey leg for $8 that will feed an entire family, and then enjoy a dessert of fried candy bars? Yes, I said, fried.

Generally we try to go in the middle of the week when it's possible to bypass the admission price if you bring non-perishable food items for a local shelter ministry. But this year, it rained that day, so we ended up going on Saturday morning. The weather was perfect, and we had lots of fun. Ben was still a little small to ride all the rides he wanted, but he was fairly content with the merry-go-round, the ponies, and the choo-choo train.

Shawn had to ride this one with them. It was one of those round and round rides that would have made me puke.

Hmmm... maybe he's about to puke too.

Ben was super excited to ride his pony, "Andy." He talked about Andy for the rest of the night.

Claire's first pony ride was at this exact fair when she was two years old. She rode a pony called "Midnight," and ever since then, she wants to ride the same horse. This year she was amazed to discover that Midnight had grown! Um, well, let's just say the old Midnight was really, really old.

Ben loves to drive the rides.
Claire was a little nervous about the bumper cars, so she refused to drive, but by the end of the ride, she was laughing hysterically whenever we crashed into someone.
Claire is in the front seat of the plane.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My landscaping family

Being that Shawn works for a landscaping company, one would think that our lawn would be a velvety green, lush carpet and our house landscaped with the loveliest shrubs and flowers. Well, wrong. I guess it's true that most people don't want to come home and continue the work that they've been doing all day. Ergo, hairdresser's hair.

Now, let me say, that our yard has come a VERY long way from the barren wasteland that it was when we first moved in. Indeed, Shawn has planted umpteen tress and shrubs from the surplus at work, but it's definitely a work in progress. This work continued this past weekend, when Shawn created a planting bed around the mailbox and driveway. Being the "helpers" that they are, and since Claire plans on one of her various future vocations to include landscaping, the kids decided to get some landscaping practice, and they joined their dad.

Shawn was a good sport about accepting all the "help" he was getting.

Claire - Build and Grow

I recently heard about this great program that Lowe's offers to kids and their families. Their "Build and Grow" program is a little person version of their weekend workshops for adults. Instead of learning how to tile your kitchen floor or install a new shower head, kids get to work on a building project with their parents. It's a totally free program that provides each child with a toy kit, goggles, and a work apron. Children are even awarded a certificate and a patch to sew on their backpacks once they complete that day's project.

I wasn't sure Claire would go for this, knowing how sensitive she is to loud noises - surely the hammering would have been a bit deafening - but Shawn took Claire to one of the workshops, and she was totally thrilled about getting to build her own wooden firetruck. Her great-grandfather, Bud, would be proud.

How hilarious are those goggles?

She's looking forward to building a wooden pumpkin face in a few weeks!

Ben's milestones

I've slacked off a bit on keeping the blog updated. Not sure what happened, but I've been busy trying to organize some tutoring jobs that have recently come up. Right now I am scheduled to start with a student in a few weeks. She is officially home schooled, but her mother wants me to take over the homeschooling of her English credit. So, essentially I have to prepare an entire course just for her. It's a little overwhelming, but the student seems nice and bright, and there's no denying that we can use the extra money. Hopefully, the extra money will be worth the time that I will be spending in preparation and the time away from the family. In any case, Shawn will get to brush up on his cooking skills!

In the midst of all of this, Mr. Benjamin learned a few new tricks. He's been working on learning to jump for a couple of months now, and up until a few days ago, his jumping was basically a knee bend followed by one foot being lifted off the ground. As you can from the video below (if I can ever get it to load properly), he finally mastered this trick. Now, every time I turn around, he's practicing his new skill. He could not be more proud of himself.

Along with his new jumping ability, this little stinker also learned how to ride his tricycle. Being nostalgic for my own childhood prompted us to buy Claire a red radio flyer tricycle which, though cute and iconic, is actually a little difficult to ride. It's fairly high off the ground for that age, and, to make matters worse, it tends to tip over at the slightest provocation. This tendency led to many crashes and tears for Claire, but Ben has had better luck. He was finally able to master how to get his feet to push the peddles consistently, and he LOVES riding his bike. Now we just need to invest in a good helmet.

This little guy, as fresh as a 2 year old can be, certainly tries my patience. I mean, really, what can you do when he simply refuses to eat his broccoli? Push it in, and it only comes flying right back out. No amount of ice cream bribery (a sure fire method for Claire) will work. But he does have his moments. The other day after putting on my dress and getting ready for church, I walked down the hall into the living room. Ben saw me, climbed off the couch, came over to me and said, "oh Mommy, you look beyoobiful." Right, ok, so I'm fine with the no broccoli thing.