21 August 2007

"long" time coming

Over the weekend, I treated myself to something I was long overdue for. I had been waiting for this intentionally and with a purpose, not depriving myself. In the last few months I was beginning to feel a lot of anticipation since I knew the time was drawing near. I wanted to give a part of myself and it took over two year's patience to be ready.

In order to fully appreciate what I am about to share, I believe I will post pictures so that you can see for yourself what I have labored to do and give. Believe me, the temptation to give up was strong at times, especially in the heat of summer when the weight of this could no longer be held up by the usual means I had.

I must admit, I have always like the color of my hair, even the texture. It's thick abeit fine, but my problem was how stinkin' straight-as-a-board-with-no-body it's always been. Even as long as it got to be, the fineness of it would make it slip out of a french braid! I've longed for curls my whole life--yes, the grass is always greener. I've even been known to perm it, but that's so not the same. My last real haircut was shortly after Miss C was born, a little over 2 years ago. I had the remains of a grown-out perm still above my shoulders, so the inch or two that was trimmed off definitely wasn't promoting length. Indeed, I grew all of that in little over 2 years (I think the few months of pregnancy helped push it along this summer, though!).

As I sat in the chair, somewhat unsure of what I wanted, just knowing "wash and wear" always has been and always will be my motto (I hate blowdrying it and while a touch of product now and again is all right, the fine hair on my head doesn't hold style the way many women's can), I told the lady how my hair has no body, blah blah blah. I said to keep it simple, some long layers to give it a bit of psuedo-body, not shorter than chin length. I've liked that on me before, so figured it would go well again.

Knowing I wanted to donate my hair, she sectioned it off so as not to "waste" any by putting it in a single pony tail. And then she began to cut (bye-bye tangles and excessive conditioner!).

Yes, a full 11-13 inches are gone. (The minimum accepted is 10 inches.)

The stylist remarked that my hair had more body than I was telling her. In fact, it showed signs of curling, though not "curly". The small hairs at the nape of my neck were definitely not plainly straight. Well then. That suited me just fine. She said either pregnancy or age can change one's hair. I'd heard that, and while it isn't drastically different, I'll take all the body I can get in my hair (and elsewhere for that matter...my figure is typically "straight" as well--when not pregnant!). In short order she was done. I felt lighter, cooler, and happier (I'd been grumpy earlier in the day, not to mention nervous since I was trying a new hair salon that was not exactly what I expected compared to their website). Literally, she did not "style" my hair (and I washed it long enough before the appointment for it to have almost completely air-dried). And I loved the way it looked. It was perfect just the way it was, definitely fuller than I remembered, and I still can't stop running my fingers through it. I'm a happy lady, I tell you!!

(Yes, that's my belly at almost 19 weeks. . .)

Locks of Love

16 August 2007

aw, nuts!

Today, we had a routine allergy appointment for Miss C. We recently had an oral challenge with eggs that showed she had “outgrown” this particular allergy, and it’s made a lovely step toward “normalness” in our meals. I can now feed her French Toast and scrambled eggs, add egg to our pancakes and cake mix, and it’s one less ingredient to watch for when purchasing food for our home.

Dairy, we still avoid; she still gets a red hive or two if we touch or kiss her after we’ve touched or consumed dairy (even cream in our coffee…thus our switch to soy in our coffee, which has definitely grown on us and we now find ourselves preferring the soy!). Today’s appointment was to do another skin test for dairy, thereby confirming that it’s worse, the same, or improved. It’s essentially the same for her, which looks like a massive welt of very noticeable proportions after the allotted 15 minutes go by. Poor baby.

But we couldn’t keep it simple, could we? I had developed some suspicions about peanuts and Miss C not going so good together. As in, she’d accidentally had a granola bar with nut flour, and did fine, so was told to go ahead and let her try peanut butter (because she had other allergies, we were originally told to wait on nuts and shellfish; we’re still waiting on the shellfish, which they’ll include in a test next summer). The peanut butter attempt so did NOT go fine. She began scraping at her tongue within 2 bites, and crying. I tried this on two or three separate occasions in case it was a texture or taste issue (she is accustomed to Sun Butter and Soy Butter {blech} which seem similar in texture, though). Anyhow, I requested a testing of peanut today since I didn’t want to take any chances. And don’t you know the welt was quite similar in size to the dairy one.

I find this far more alarming than a dairy allergy. Indeed, they give me the standard printouts about the allergies in question, as well as what to know about anaphylactic shock; the dairy information was familiar, but not scary. The peanut one began with the all-caps sentence: THIS ALLERGY CAN BE EXTEREMLY DANGEROUS—SOMETIMES FATAL. Yeah, let’s scare mom more than she already was.

Extra precautions I get to take note of? Oh, when a product says it has been manufactured in a plant with peanut products, 10% of the time it is contaminated; I need to avoid these. I need to make doubly sure I have my daughter’s Epi-Pen available at all times. Should I get rid of the peanut-butter my son is so very accustomed to (and I won't even go into the potential trauma this could cause since PBJ is THE standard in his lunch box and new foods are only sometimes an okay thing with him)? Well, it wouldn’t hurt. I’m just hoping the transition to Sun Butter isn’t too painful, because I really feel compelled to make that switch. I already try not to dip the PB knife in the jam, but nobody’s perfect.

I feel an underlying sadness and stress in this. It’s one more hurdle to jump, another food issue to learn around (more specifically than simply not introducing it), and one more concern when dining out.

10 August 2007

a little magic

Where have I been? Well, not too far away, really. Online more than usual (ahem, much more. . .). Just not here. I have been visiting Tour Guide Mike. A LOT. Mike tells me everything I need to know these days because, see, we're going to Walt Disney World (and yes, Mike's for real; we've used his site twice quite successfully). Yes, indeedy--and we’re going SOON (as in next month). In fact, we're just planning to take Little B out of school for a week so we can go during slow season. Is that really worth it or necessary? Well, in my book, he'll be doing his school work anyway, this time of year is THAT much better (less than half the summer crowds kind of better), and what's life if you can't throw in a tad bit of "extras" like missing school for fun? Not regularly, of course (I take school very seriously), but once in a blue moon. He just gets five blue moons in a row this fall.

Now, I’m busting to tell you a secret. We're not paying for it. Nope. A few extras, yes, the whole trip, no. When my loyal husband reached the ten-year mark working for his company recently, they awarded him a free vacation. (Yes, anyone who reaches ten years gets one, but still. . .) There were several package choices but nothing overly appealing since we wanted to include our kids and didn't want to pay extra for them. After some brief discussion, we very happily began our planning to the "happiest place on earth". We'll pay for the stroller rentals, a couple of meals, and souvenirs. THEY will be flying us down for seven nights, to enjoy seven days in the various parks, and seven days of meals. Oh, and trip insurance, heaven forbid we need it.

Why now? We like the slow season--really like it; the baby is due in January which would be our first choice of dates (it would be cooler versus still sweltering and we’ve never gone then, though we are September veterans); and we didn't want wait a whole year to take a free trip. How anxious would that make us feel? Besides, we'll go back eventually. We always do. ;)

Undoubtedly, you will hear more from me on this topic. I am not a person who must own tons of Disney paraphernalia (some souvenirs, though I’m not a Disney-store-a-holic), but I do love a good trip to the World with some catering-to that they always provide. And talk about catering to. . .with advance notice, the allergy issues with food will be total non-issues. A couple phone calls and they simply accommodate, end of discussion (now THAT makes a good vacation!). They truly go out of the way to make the trip “magical” and fun. I love that.

07 August 2007

school days, school days

Little B met his teacher today (she seems really nice) and starts first grade on Thursday! Sniff, sniff. Well, actually it's not as emotional as it was last year (thank goodness) but he's grown so much. It hadn't even occurred to me until we got to the open house, but he's a lot taller all of a sudden; two people commented on how much he's grown, and I was noticing the same thing while they said it. Wow.

Along the same thread of thought, this year Little B will have the opportunity to carpool in the mornings with a little girl down the street who was in his class last year, and we've played with them several times this summer. In the afternoons, they will both ride the bus home from school. Not a bad trade-off; I'm happy with it. AND, by catching a ride to school, he can do his therapuetic listening in the car anytime he hasn't already done it when it's time to go. This can potentially allow for a bit more rest since he can just get ready, eat, brush teeth and leave, versus fitting all that in and around 30 minutes of listening time (some things can be done at the same time, some things not so easily). Thank you Lord!! It will make my mornings that much less stressful, and with a new baby coming, less stress is a very good thing!

That said, I have a question to throw out. The lady (well, friend) driving him will be coming a whopping 8 houses down to pick him up four mornings a week (not on therapy days, which will still interfere with school, but so be it; that cannot be helped), driving one daughter to pre-k and then taking her other daughter, along with Little B, to the elementary school. I know it's hardly extra distance, but I would like to give her some gas money. I don't feel to give her a lot, and I doubt she'd take it, but considered even ten bucks (fifteen, twenty?) every few weeks/once a month. Does that seem too much, too little, a good amount? Does anyone have thoughts on this? I don't want to be insulting, and I don't think she expects it at all (and will possibly refuse it), but I would like to offer something. I very much appreciate her willingness to let Little B ride with them as well as the opportunity for him to do his therapuetic listening in their car (she'd have to keep the radio off, but he can chat just fine during that time; indeed, very little ever stops him from chatting since he never runs out of things to say! haha!).