Monday, September 28, 2009

Jackson's Allergies

A few weeks ago, I took Jackson to the allergist, because his eyes were really red and puffy and it was right at the time that Derek's allergies were acting up. I was expecting a simple prescription for Benedryl (since it isn't available OTC for infants anymore...), but I got so much more than I bargained for!

Instead, Jackson had a food allergy test, where they pricked his back with about 16 different food allergens to see which would cause a reaction. It was tough for me to watch him get pricked so many times, but it was only frustrating to Jackson because I had to hold him still for them to do it. Jackson is allergic to eggs, tree nuts, and soy. His allergy eggs and soy will cause an skin reaction, such as welts and rashes, He seems to tolerate both eggs and soy when they are mixed in a product like cakes and cereal, so we plan to mainly stay away from direct intake of like scrambled eggs and mainly soy products, like the SoyJoy bars, etc.

The food allergy test-- the red welts are the
reactions to the nuts, eggs, and soy.

Jackson's allergy to tree nuts is much more prevelent and the blood results showed came in last week. His highest allergy is to cashews and is ranked as a class 5 allergy. Other nuts he is allergic to include walnut and pecan, but the doctor strongly mentioned that he avoid all nuts to be on the safe side. And although the skin test didn't show, the blood test discovered a peanut allergy (separate from tree nuts, because technically, it's not a nut). Since the tiniest trace of nut can cause such a severe reaction, it is important to not only avoid food with nuts, but also those labeled "produced in the same facility that uses tree nuts". Fortunately, food companies are required to label products and often the allergen information is in bold underneath the ingredients.

Unlike the egg and soy allergies, the reaction to a nut allergy is anaphylactic, which means the swelling in the mouth, tongue, etc. can ultimately block the ability to breathe. The doctor prescribed an Epi-Pen that is now with Jackson wherever he goes. For those of you who spend time with Jackson, I ask that you watch this quick video on how to administer the Epi-Pen in case of an emergency.

Along with the allergy diagnosis, Jackson was also diagnosed with asthma due to his past wheezing and also family history (not mine!). :) We were also given an "plan of attack" for the asthma and just the name of that alone, sent me into shock as I didn't even know we should be worried about asthma at all. We have an inhaler (with a contraption thingy) to use every day- two puffs. Then, when he has a little wheezing or coughing then we have another type of inhaler to use. And if that doesn't solve the issue, then we have liquid Prednisone.

Jackson's daily asthma medicine- Qvar

It has been a few weeks since our original appointment and all of this has had some time to sink in and doesn't feel so overwhelming. The doctor has hopes that Jackson will grow out of several of his allergies (eggs, soy, peanut butter) and it is possible to grow out of the tree nut allergy, but it isn't as likely. But we still have hopes. I am so glad that we were able to find out all of this information before we had a major crisis! Fortunately, Jackson's pediatrician recommended early on to avoid nuts, peanut butter, and egg until age 1 because they are the most common and I am so glad that we did!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The House

It's been two months since we've closed on our house. We still aren't living there yet, but have made some big strides here lately. It should only be a few more weeks until we move in. Granted, we keep saying that... but this time we really mean it!

Throughout the house, the walls have been touched up and smoothed out. Though the pictures didn't show it, several walls had visible seems between the drywall, and lots of bumps grooves. The ceilings in the kitchen, dining room, and family room have been textured, which updates the house a little and looks nice too. We did need to paint the ceiling because the dirt was coming through the texture and looked yellow-ish. As if the first coat wasn't miserable enough to do, the primer didn't cut it, so we had to endure doing another coat. At this point, I want to make sure it is done right and looks good because I will never paint it again- ever.

The skimmed walls and textured ceilings

Painting the ceiling

We have put a window where the front door used to be. The front door will be installed on the actual front of the house (it was installed on the side) and hopefully within the next week, it will be in and ready to use. We are downsizing our picture window in the front to accommodate the new front door, but we will still have lots of windows. And speaking of windows, Dad went and picked them up today and a few were installed this afternoon. I am anxious to go and check it out.
Craig, Dad, and Derek installing the
window where the door used to be

My new front door that I paid next
to nothing for thanks to Craigslist!

The basement has come along way since we began gutting out the moldy ceiling and walls. The boys installed a new water heater and dad converted it to run on electric instead of gas. The process of fixing the basement wall began last week. First was the excavation to expose the basement wall and then a temporary support was created to jack up the house while the basement wall was knocked down. The new wall was poured about 8 feet high and then cinder blocks were stacked and sealed on top to bring the wall up to the original height. Today, a sealant was rolled onto the outside wall that will help prevent moisture from entering through the wall and the house was lowered onto the new wall.

The temporary wall supporting the house while
it was jacked up to pour a new basement wall

Our new basement wall, plus a new stoop for our new front door

Not much has happened in the kitchen aside from moving the pantry door from the hallway to the kitchen. Even though it is a little change, I am so happy that we were able to get that moved. It will make a huge difference in the flow of the kitchen. We tore up the tile in the kitchen and dining room and we have new wood laminate flooring to replace it. We did purchase a new sink and faucet- and I was so surprised to pay more for my faucet than the sink!! I like to make sure I get good deals, but I also want to make sure that I really like what I install (uhm... have installed...). Fortunately, I have been able to find some great deals on some things on Craigslist so I have a little bit of room to splurge on important items. I did work on painting the kitchen the other day a nice green and I totally LOVE it. I did not love falling off the bucket, landing in the paint tray, messing up the wall I painted, getting paint on the carpet, and sporting around black and blue bruises for a week.

Dad cutting the drywall where the new door will be

Our new kitchen pantry door!

Derek and Craig pulling
up the dining room tile

We ended up gutting out the hall bathroom. The plan is to use the stool, tub, and sink that came with the house, but we just we got new tile for the shower and for the floor as well. Derek and my dad put the tile and floor in this past weekend while I was at a wedding shower. Derek learned to use the tile saw and got pretty good at it. One of the last pieces he had to cut was one of the tiny accent border parts- originally 1 x 2" and he got it down to 1 x 3/4". He said it was tricky, but he pulled it off. We took out the huge cabinets from the bathroom and also covered the window that was in the shower.

Tile around the tub (before any grout)

Jackson's room and the guest bedroom are primed and ready to be painted. I am thinking we might make some headway on those this week. Jackson's wall of closets has been painted blue and Craig has refaced all of the drawers that line the bottom. Mom found some airplane drawer pulls that I am really excited about using! The interior doors were installed today and now I just need to get some door handles. I had no idea how much the door knobs would be. Honestly, it is surprising how much a lot of the little things cost that add up! Door knobs, locks, light switch covers, trim, etc...

To Do List:
  1. Install windows and front door
  2. Install subfloor in kitchen and dining room
  3. Stain and install cabinet doors, install veneer on existing cabinet to cover up the paint
  4. Paint
  5. Install new flooring (wood laminate in kitchen/dining and new carpet in rest of house)
  6. Install new appliances
  7. New trim
  8. Pour new sidewalk to new front door
  9. MOVE IN!!!!
And then after we move in, we hope to make a mud room connecting the garage to the dining room, which will allow us to move our laundry room upstairs. Also, we plan on converting the garage from one to two car. The trees still need to be removed and we plan to reside the house with stucco.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ten Months

Jackson is spending a couple of nights with Grammy, so I figured it would be a good time to catch up on some blogging.

Our little boy is already over 10 months old-- only 6 weeks until his birthday. UNBELIEVABLE! I mean, I seriously doubted that I'd even last the first 6 weeks that he was alive. Alas, here I am alive and well as he is about to turn one.
Jackson's 10 month picture-
also capturing the first time he stood up by himself!

Jackson is so much fun. Everyday, he makes me laugh. Last week, he started making these monkey faces and he is hilarious as he tries to chew his food (make sure to check out the video). If you get him to focus on you, you can make faces at him and he will mimic you- or try, at least! He is so cute. I love this kid.

We can already see Jackson's extroverted personality and he loves watching bigger kids play. He always wants to play with/on David (the little boy I watch), much to David's annoyance. Jackson learned the other day how to make his way down the stairs, without falling, so his new favorite thing is to go up the stairs and then down, and then up, and then down... I have found a spot to make myself comfortable and will just sit there literally for an hour as he entertains himself.

Jackson and his favorite activity

Jackson began taking his first steps at the end of last month. He can take several steps and do pretty well if he would actually want to. A lot of the times, he will just decide that crawling is faster, and a little easier, and opt to crawl instead. Derek is the one motivator for Jackson to walk-- if Derek is the one being walked to, then Jackson goes a lot farther.

Last, but not least, Jackson is definitely "pragmatic" as Derek says, or I might use the word lazy. He won't event try to hold a bottle if he knows you'll do it and he tries so hard to find away to get away with as little effort as possible. Whether it be one handed, resting it on his tray on his stroller and leaning forward to suck, or even to set it on the floor and lean over it (like he is crawling)- but he has found that to be unproductive. It's cute to watch him try though! Another thing that is beginning to become apparent, is Jackson's temperament. This kid is not patient, and is easily frustrated when he can't get a toy to do what he wants or when he doesn't get his way. Derek has already determined Jackson to be a strong-willed child. I don't know where he gets it from.

Jackson thought he was the coolest
kid in town when he got to drive the cart!

When Jackson was itty bitty, I got to cuddle with him as much as I wanted. Then, he learned to squirm and wiggle, and never wanted to cuddle- he was just too busy. These days, he has begun to let me cuddle him again. Sometimes it's when he's drinking a bottle or when he is getting ready for bed and every once in a great while, it will be just a quick cuddle just because before he gets up to play. When I go down to the nursery to get Jackson, he is always super excited to see me and of course, it makes me feel really loved!

Jackson playing peek-a-boo
at the McDonald's Playplace

Oh! And I forgot to mention the blanket. Jackson loves his blanket. We actually went out and bought a similar blanket so that he we will have a back-up! Hardly anything lights up his face like his blanket does. Sometimes, he is so excited to see his blanket when I put him in his crib, it takes him awhile to realize that he's going to have to go to sleep! He always falls forward into his blanket and hides his face in it, then squeals with delight.


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