Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where Did The Day Go?

Holy cow. How has it been nearly a week since I posted? Oh wait, that's right. I'll tell you how...

For a general rundown of what it's like to be a mother of one, yet nanny to five (three at one house, two at another), here's an excerpt from my day today.

Because I'm working so much, I've been getting sick a lot more. Bleh. As such, today started out bright and early, when Ava and I left the house at 7:30 to make an 8:10 doctor's appointment so I could miss only half an hour of work, which will be made up tomorrow afternoon. Blah. Anyhow, at said doctor appointment, I fit about two months worth of stuff into the visit, including the upper respiratory infection I currently have, the swollen lymph nodes that have been keeping me up at night, and the referral for PT that I needed in order to be seen at my friend's clinic, because lifting the travel car seat in and out of the car has done a number on my back.

From there, I went to work. This began with me dropping the boys at school, then running to the pharmacy to drop off my prescription. Unfortunately there's no drive thru at the one closest to my job, so I had to drag Ava and the baby inside, resulting in Ava's second lollipop of the day (the first was at the doctor...). It was 9:15.

Then, we headed over to Toddler Storytime at the library, which requires my child to sit still and listen. Ha. HAHAHAHA! Picture this if you will: H screaming while I attempt to feed her the soy formula she's currently on (another milk allergy - what are the odds?!?!?!), while Ava LITERALLY runs circles around me, while yelling, "CIRCLES!" at the top of her lungs. That's her new favorite thing.

Afterwards, we went back to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions, since there is no such thing as "waiting around for it" when you have two under two, am I right? Anyhow, we picked those up, made a pit stop at the gas station, and then I drove around until Ava fell asleep. I'm not a lazy parent, but it's so much easier if she looks sleepy in the car to drive her to sleep than try to put her and H down at the same time. I feel only slightly bad about this.

While they napped, I did two loads of laundry, loaded the dishwasher, and stuffed my face ate my lunch. I would've chosen to do something more awesome with my time, except it's not my choice. I'm responsible for those things at work, so there's no indulging the sentiment that the housework can wait. Unfortunately, it can't.

Then, I drug both girls out of bed, praying one would stay asleep (no such luck), and hauled them to school to pick up the boys in the pick up line. After listening to them bickering in the third row, I dropped them off at home, then Ava and I went to get S from HER preschool, all while dashing home, to job #2, to meet P at the bus stop. Now, I have to go, because she's due at tennis in twenty minutes, and I am doing carpool today, before returning to make two cakes for the cake decorating contest at P's school tomorrow (though that is admittedly fun!).

In retrospect, it could be months before I blog again...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life

I just recently read a book by Sandra Beasley, a woman who has grown up allergic to dairy, soy, wheat, shellfish, tree nuts, many citrus fruits and more, entitled, "Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life". Initially, I was interested because, while I consider myself empathetic, I wanted to see what it would be like to grow up with those types of allergies. The ways in which she experienced the world - and everyday situations that we take for granted, like birthday parties - was something I was curious about; after all, Ava has been touched by a similar (though much less severe) fate, and doesn't seem to be outgrowing it. I dove into the 250-page novel, part memoir, part historical and scientific history of food allergies, wanting to know what we were up against. Could Ava live a normal life in spite of being unable to eat dairy? (I should mention that her previous experience with eating a slice of pizza was a fluke, at least as far as later experiences have gone. We're back to square one as far as her ability to consume milk and other milk products, including butter, cheese, yogurt, etc). Moreover, I was curious as to some of the alternatives out there: what advice could this woman offer a mother searching for ways to ensure that her allergic child would not end up feeling left out and isolated from her peers?

What resulted was half what I was hoping for, and half unexpected. I read the book in its entirety in one day, and am definitely the better for having checked it out from the library. While my initial thought was that I would recommend it to my friends who also have children with food allergies, I felt upon completion like it should be required reading for the general population. I cannot count on one hand how frequently I run into misinformation about food allergies, with dairy being amongst one of the most often misunderstood. I've seen people hand her cheese ("If the milk is heated, it shouldn't bother her!" ???), ask if she could have butter instead of cheese on her pasta (apparently our country is in serious need of a review of the food pyramid....), and, with the best of intentions, offer up pesto in place of both (there is parmesan in pesto). While I don't expect everyone I spend time with to be experts on the subject, I do feel as though it wouldn't hurt anyone to know what consitutes dairy when around a child with a milk allergy on a regular basis. As a nanny, I always ask parents if their child has any food allergies, as well as their playdates, friends at birthday parties, etc. It's just common courtesy in my opinion, especially in this highly allergic world.

I'll get off my high horse now, but if you have a spare afternoon, the book is a great read, and eye-opening to those living with someone with food allergies!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Elgin Pumpkin Festival at the Christmas Tree Farm!

Saturday we took a trip out to the Elgin Christmas Tree Farm's annual Pumpkin Festival. This place is really only about half an hour outside of Austin, and well worth the drive, especially when you consider that Meyer's Elgin Sausage and Southside Market (two BBQ joints that had a very public food network face-off for best BBQ!) are just about a mile away! YUM!

You may remember that we took this same drive out last year for Ava's first major pumpkin patch excursion, but this year was a whole 'nother ball game, with Ava being leaps and bounds ahead of where I thought she'd be. She literally ran through the entire excursion, petting the animals and swinging and picking out a pumpkin with me. So glad that I had David in tow with me this year!! Here are some pics (and yes, we're decked out in burnt orange every Saturday!)

Ahh, the sweet scenes of the countryside:

The hayride had a "spooky" theme :)

Antique tractors:

Hayrides through the farmland:

Lots of chances for photo opps!
They had a sweet petting zoo...

and hayrides!

Ava's response to, "Say cheese!"

Cool kid:

She would've stayed on this swing all day!

Driving a tractor:

This growth chart was seriously thwarted by the sloping hill...

Ava and I both loved this picture!

Riding the train with daddy (and mommy in the car behind them!):

Family shot!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Photo Montage

What happens when I take too long getting Ava into the car:

My nerdy family :)

Ava's new bestie, the frog in our front yard:

My cool kid:

Pretty little girl!


My little tom girl:

Ava and Spencer, cuddled up on the couch in the morning :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Meeting of My Two Worlds: Sweet Berry Farm

Yesterday was YET ANOTHER school holiday (kill. me.), so in order to pass the time outside of the house, we took a day trip to Marble Falls to Sweet Berry Farm for some pumpkin picking and other fall fun! It was a great experience, though a bit overwhelming at time with me and the four kids, not to mention the hour and fifteen minute drive each way. Even still, the drive was simply gorgeous, and it gave me time to unwind while all four kids were tied down to their seats! I'll take that anyday!

To make matters even better and more exciting, we had been invited by the D's (the family I used to work FT for, and now work two afternoon/evenings a week for...), so I was going to get to see my girls and introduce them to the boys. Ava was in attention-heaven!

The farm itself was gorgeous. We'll definitely be going back as a family next year!

We sat on pumpkins:

We took pictures with cutouts:

Picked flowers:

Went through a corn maze:

Saw a newborn donkey (it was born Sunday!)

and went on a train ride (so exciting for Ava!)

...and we met up with my ladies, too!

Ava was very confused by the meeting of her two worlds, particularly when P held the baby!

All in all, a successful, yet lonnnng(!!!) day!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pioneer Farms.

Friday, we took a trip out to Pioneer Farms, an old-fashioned colonial farm situated not too terribly far from my house. It was ripe with history, not to mention farm animals - Ava's favorite part, and we had a great time. The only caveat was how hot it was compared to what I was hoping it would be. Oh well. Fall will come eventually (fingers crossed!)!!

Love me some Longhorns!

It was way bigger than we thought it would be!

The "square":

Ava spent the ENTIRE trip running!

Old-fashioned farmhouse:

"Hee haw! Donka, mama!"

This windmill was pretty awesome:

She was NOT shy about the cow - haha!

Leave it to Ava to find the one animal we can pet freely at home...

Old School Farm Equipment:

The Blacksmith's Shop:

How picturesque:

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