Finn Turns FIVE!

It doesn’t take much for time to fly by and our kids to grow. I seem to blink anymore and Finn grows an inch and spits out a new word.

Finn turned five earlier this month. We celebrated with our first “friend” birthday party, followed by a family BBQ and gift opening. Let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like a huddle of little kids dressed up to remind you how simple life should really be.

Finn Turns Four
Finn Turns Three
Finn Turns Two

Finn started his big day with new books…

Morning 1

… and a mom and dad who demanded a photo with their growing superhero.  (The stickers were a gift from Finn. I proudly wore them all day, even grocery shopping and to Evie’s library time. Needless to say, I got some looks.)

Mommy2

Mommy3

Daddy4

The rest of the day included school, presents, skipping quiet time to hang with mommy, pizza and more presents.

We also did our annual “question ask.” We started at three asking Finn the same questions each year. Finn wanted to get through this part quickly (presents were waiting), but I think someday it will be hilarious to go back and read his answers.  For instance, this year he’s certain he will be married at 10 :)

Birthday week continued with a family and friend gathering Saturday morning.  Finn invited his best pals over and asked them to dress up. Superhero, princess, ninja… we love them all! Evie, I kid you not, layered FOUR costumes on top of one another. Talk about super princess!

We played a handful of superhero games:

  • Bataring Toss – Each child got to wear the Batman mask and throw the Bataring through hula hoops. We had 4 different sizes of hula hoops. Each time they made it through, they had to try for a smaller hoop. (Cost: $4. Already had mask and Bataring. Hula hoops, $1 each, Dollar General.)
  • Catch the Villains - The kids chased and captured the 2 villains, Justin and my cousin Andy.  There were 4 streamer rolls (should have had more). The superheros wrapped up the villains to haul off to jail. Somehow Grandpa got thrown into the villain category! (Cost: $6, 4 streamer rolls and 2 black villain masks from Party City, each $1.)  And, yes, that’s my dad as Superman. What a sport!

Villians

Grandpa

  • Web Shooting - a silly string fight. Why not? (Cost: $14, $1 each silly string from Michael’s. They ran out rather quickly, but the ones at Party City were each $3. Eek!)

Grandpa2

  • X-Ray and Heat Vision – Use your Superman skills (blindfolded) to guess what’s in each bowl. (1/2 tomato, grapes, peas, spoons, dice, noodles, etc.) (Cost: $1 piñata blindfold from Party City. All supplies were common household items.)

XRay

  • Bomb Hunt – We spray painted Easter eggs black so the kids could save the universe by locating all the bombs. (Cost: $2.99, black spray paint from Lowe’s. We already have a million Easter eggs and spray painted 30 as “bombs”.)

Bomb Run

There was more chasing of the villains and popping balloons which led to the most quiet time of the whole day: cupcakes and juice :)

Balloons

Finn had a great time and was so happy to have all his favorite friends over to play and celebrate.  His friends picked an activity book from Michael’s to take home. We found Lisa Frank for the girls and the boys could choose from Angry Birds, Spiderman or Despicable Me 2.

Crew

Following the friend party, our families stuck around for a BBQ of hot dogs, brats, burgers, fruit, veggies and chips. We topped it off with cupcakes and cookie cake and ended the bash with the best time of day for any birthday boy: gift opening! Lots of Legos and superhero toys to last us awhile. (BTW: I forgot how much I love Legos!)

Although party hosting is not really my jam, Finn was in heaven so it was worth the near panic attack pulling it all together. Whew. Until Evie’s 3rd…

Have you done a themed birthday party with your kids? 

My Mommy Mind

Hugs

  • My apologies. I got a little sidetracked last week, hence the lack of posts. Three words: Sons of Anarchy. That’s right. Justin and I have been binge watching SOA. Jax Teller. Gemma. Clay. JT. Who knew I would love a black-leather-wearing, gun-slinging, drug-pushing, biker gang so much? (No spoilers, please. We just got home from Ireland. Seal your lips!)
  • Finn just turned FIVE! In classic little boy style, he announced, “the best part about being 5 is all the presents!” (Superhero party post coming Wednesday.)
  • More and more, I am learning that children are who they are. When Finn and I attended library story time, Finn sat still, took it all in, and didn’t dare sing or dance. Evie, on the other hand, is the queen of the room. She sings the loudest (and way off key), jumps and dances around, and tries to bring the kids just sitting there in on the fun. Their personalities could not be more opposite, and yet, they tell each other they are best friends while hugging every morning, that is of course when Evie is in the mood to do so.
  • As a stay-at-home mom, few things are more perfect than getting the kids down for bed, throwing on my PJ’s and slippers and plopping down on the couch with Justin for 2 hours to watch shows in the evening. Fall programming is back. I’m actually kind of worried how I will devote any time to it with my Sons addiction right now. EEK!

What shows are you most looking forward to being back on air now that fall programming is back in action?

Our Allergy Story: Update

Five years ago today our sweet Finnegan was born. This little nugget changed my world!

Baby Finn

Before his first birthday, we knew there were some food concerns.  He reacted when certain food even touched his skin…

Rashes

… sometimes in places that made no sense…

Rashes 2

And then, of course, there were the times he consumed foods to which we later realized he was allergic.

Halloween

After a RAST blood test with our pediatric allergist, it was confirmed Finn was allergic to dairy, eggs (whites and yokes), and peanuts. Read more of his allergy story and our food philosophy.

From that moment on we did everything we could to teach Finn about how food can make us strong and healthy. We also now talk about how food can make us sick.

Our annual trip to the allergist last year had us skipping a follow-up blood test. We knew Finn still showed a reaction to small amounts of eggs and dairy, and as the allergist asked, “what will it change if we draw blood and realize he’s one point different than before?” The answer was of course – nothing – so we saved all our sanity and didn’t do a blood draw. (The first blood draw took myself and two nurses holding Finn down. He was 15 months. Not awesome.)

Over the last year, things have started to change with his allergies.

Eggs
Eggs are a main breakfast for both Justin and I. We’ve routinely made a different breakfast for the kids because of Finn’s allergies. However, we’ve had major success with eggs in the last year.

We started giving Finn one bite of cooked egg every day we made eggs. No reaction. A few weeks later we would add another bite. No reaction. A few weeks later, another bite. We continued this for several months until he was up to 6 or 7 bites without a reaction. From there we made him an entire egg. He devoured it and, lo and behold, no reaction!

Now, Finn’s favorite breakfast is sausage and eggs. He LOVES them! We love being able to make one meal for all 4 of us in the morning, and he loves being able to eat the same breakfast.

This is a huge win!

Dairy
At different times in the last year, Finn has been given dairy, sometimes unknowingly.

The first time was during a children’s church service we don’t normally attend. Unbeknownst to us, he was given a cup of yogurt. I think he was so used to his school teachers knowing his allergies and what is safe/not for him, he assumed it was safe. He does have coconut yogurt from time to time, so again he assumed “yogurt” was ok.

His eyes were a little red and puffy when we picked him up and he was uncharacteristically quiet on the drive home, but I never suspected dairy as crackers are usually the only item served. He wasn’t interested in lunch. Instead he laid on the couch. He told us he didn’t feel well and that it was probably what he ate.  It took a little digging and detective work to figure out what he’d actually ate. After a long nap, his eyes were back to normal and he felt better.

It showed me dairy is still a concern; however, this time there was no red, welted rash. A change.

We started the same process with dairy as we have eggs. If we had anything with dairy, mainly a little butter, we give him a bite. We even started using ghee or a little Kerry Gold to make eggs without a reaction.

That said, we offered him a little organic shredded cheese one time for tacos. He took a small bite, spit it out, and said it was disgusting. This does not make me sad!!

Peanuts
He hasn’t been exposed to peanuts. We will wait for the blood test next year (before entering Kindergarten in the public schools) to determine his level.

What Does This Mean?
When it comes to eggs, this means freedom! This is the one allergy I’ve really hoped would subside for convenience sake.

The dairy piece is where I have mixed emotions. I’m glad he can consume small amount of dairy in items. It makes me feel better when it comes to what he might be offered or get into when Justin and I are not around. However, I still want him labelled as “allergic.” I do not want him served a piece of string cheese or a glass of cow’s milk or a bowl of cow’s milk ice cream. I have no idea how we would react to that much direct dairy exposure.

I also don’t think it will change what we buy or eat in our house or what we offer him.  I won’t go out of my way to buy cow’s milk products we don’t normally have now. Justin and I consume such little dairy now, and are used to (and like) the way we feel without it.

I know we are not at the place where Finn has “free reign” in the dairy department, but it has me thinking what it looks like when that day comes. I know as he gets older, he will make plenty of food choices without us helping me pick a “better” option. I fully admit sometimes I’m slightly neurotic about the junk severed everywhere and the snacks and treats offered for every occasion whether it’s a birthday, Flag Day, or the 5th Thursday of the month. (Seriously – daily junk!) I don’t know what that will look like, but I know we will have to trust the kids to make good choices, knowing there will be plenty of times they don’t… and they need to learn that on their own. I just am being totally honest when I say I have no idea how to do that.

School

Labels
There’s a growing trend of parents telling teachers their child has food allergies when they do not.  They are doing so in an effort to keep the junk offered to a minimum or restrict certain items (or food groups) they do not want their child to have. While I fully understand the battle (we have it, too, believe me), it is a grave disservice to kids who are truly allergic. I’ve heard of teachers finding out certain kids really don’t have allergies and making assumptions that other families are also lying about allergic reactions. As such, it has put truly allergic kids at risk to exposure of foods they might have life-threatning reactions to. It also minimizes the seriousness of food allergies as a whole.

I share this to say that when the day comes when Finn can freely have all food, we will no longer label him as such.  We will deal with the “system” like everyone else, and work our hardest to teach our kids how to be the healthiest little person possible.

No matter what Finn can or cannot eat, the focus of this blog will always be an allergy-friendly, GMO-free, real-food community. I will never forget the overwhelming confusion and helplessness when Finn was first diagnosed with food allergies. If I can help some of you going through the same thing, I’m honored.

Tonight we will celebrate Finn’s birthday with his favorite cheese-less pizza and dairy-free cupcakes. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Do you or your kids have food allergies? I’d love to hear how they have changed over the years.