Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Fun

So, the Stall family got our first taste of a stomach bug, with puking galore for all. Jake's hit on Christmas Eve, so he was still hurting on Christmas Day, but Keaton was back in action and ready for fun.
Here a few highlights from the day of my boy who just turned 15 months.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Divine Insanity

A friend posted and it was too good not to share.

“Christmas is such a unique idea that most non-Christians accept it, and I think sometimes envy it. If Christmas is the anniversary of the appearance of the Lord of the Universe in the form of a helpless baby, it’s quite a day. It’s a startling idea, and the theologians, who sometimes love logic more than they love God, find it uncomfortable. But if God did do it, He had a tremendous insight.
“People are afraid of God and standing in His very bright light. But everyone has seen babies and almost everyone likes them. So if God wanted to be loved as well as feared, He moved correctly here. And if He wanted to know people, as well as rule them, He moved correctly, because a baby growing up learns all there is to know about people.
“If God wanted to be intimately a part of Man, He moved correctly. For the experience of birth and familyhood is our most intimate and precious experience.
“So it comes beyond logic. It’s what a bishop I used to know called a kind of divine insanity. It is either all falsehood or it is the truest thing in the world. It is the story of the great innocence of God the baby. God in the power of Man. And it is such a dramatic shot toward the heart, that if it is not true, for Christians nothing is true.
“So even if you did not get your shopping all done, and you were swamped with the commercialism and frenzy, be at peace. And even if you are the deacon having to arrange the extra seating for all the Christmas Christians that you won’t see until Easter, be at peace. The story stands.

Harry Reasoner from 60 minutes. Christmas Eve 1973
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Allergies, Natural Treatments and Losing my Mind

I know every parent deals with their kids "thing". For some it's kids who won't sleep, or always wake up at 5am, or one who constantly have some sickness, picky eaters, screamers and criers. And while I'm sure there are a few seemingly "perfect" kids out there, most parents will agree that their kid has some "thing".

And my kid definitely has a thing too. It's start with an A and ends with LLERGIES. Honestly, he's pretty great, he's pretty much always slept great, eaten great, napped fairly well, loves to play by himself, follows directions, doesn't usually cause a rucus, loves his "mama" and "dada". But man alive, do we have allergies.

Anyone that knows me, knows Keaton is allergic to a lot of food items, he's also highly allergic to dogs, and anything fragranced or made of chemicals. By nature I am a researcher, so I have really been on top of this from the beginning, but sometimes it feels overwhelming today is one of those days.

We have been undergoing NAET treatments for about a month now. I don't want to get to into it, but it's a natural allergy elimination technique using accupressure. It has been highly successful for a lot of people, but of course nothing is full proof.

At the source of Keaton's allergies we believe are 3 things. One, genetics (while neither Jake or I directly have food or any allergies) we do have milk allergy in our families. Two, Keaton (though treated with penicillin while laboring contracted a form of GroupB Strep at birth). See my birth story for the details. This lead to him being in the NICU for 11 days, and undergoing serious rounds of antibiotics that of course would majorly mess with his gut flora. Gut health is the source of most immune disorders (eczema, asthma, and the list goes on). And three, vaccinations- Keaton was showing extremely sensitive skin from birth, and was showing some mild signs of eczema. If your baby has eczema delay vaccinations til your kids are much older and their immune system can handle them! Keaton had his 2 month vaccination and his eczema got MUCH worse immediately after. I of course didn't recognize any correlation. The doctor prescribed cortisone, and when I said I didn't want to band-aid it, but instead try to find the trigger he looked at me like I was crazy. The week of his 4 month vaccination, he literally started breaking out in splotches and rashes all over his body after every time he nursed.

This was at 3 months, and then just a few weeks later at 4 months this came out of nowhere. Insane.

(The day this happened was the day I eliminated dairy). :(

The trifecta had finally occurred those preexisting chances that he might have dairy or some allergy, combined with extremely poor gut health from all the antibiotics despite being breastfed, couldn't take it anymore. When we did that second round of vax, his immune system couldn't handle anymore. Literally overnight he showed insane food allergies. By 5 months (in just several weeks) I had identified eggs, dairy, wheat, chocolate, nuts, strawberries, coffee, and several other foods as triggers and eliminated them from my diet. After I eliminated these foods from my diet, the splotches, cracked skin, and eczema almost completely cleared up.

Those were the foods I had to eat to see a reaction, but his own personal list is much longer (tomatoes, oranges, broccoli, pineapple, all berries, nuts, seeds, anything processed and the list goes on, and on).

We are currently undergoing NAET treatments like I mentioned, and that's a post for another day, but I've simultaneously started reading the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book. And I must say it is so good. I have pieced together hundreds of articles via the internet and blogs and if someone had just given me this book last year, I wouldn't have had too, because seriously it's all in one book. It is so interesting, and has some really crazy things to say about gut health and our modern diet. I think probably like 50% of people in the United States could do the diet and their lives would be changed. For the better, because alot of people are so unhealthy it's insane.

The GAPS book, diet, and even alot of similar schools of thought like "paleo" have really changed the way that I look at our diet.
- There is so much information that meat, good fat, and vegetables are the way to go. We are definitely not there yet, but if it can help Keaton, we're on our way.

The GAPS book has one thought that immediately when I read about it, I knew I wanted to blog about, so expect that soon.
For now the journey continues, but God it can end any day and we'll be OK with that.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sweetened Passion Tea

Ok, so I really wanted to do my own tutorial on this, because I've been making it like crazy, but I have been really busy to actually do this.

But it's so good, and I want you all to go and make it right now. So, instead of delaying a moment longer, I will just link to the tutorial I followed.

I don't frequent Starbucks often, but when I do go, I often get something decaffeinated. The reason being aside from the occasional coke, I don't really drink caffeine, so if I have a latte, etc. I get all jittery and I really hate that.
So, my cold drink of choice is usually sweetened iced passion tea or hot I'll get a vanilla rooibos tea latte. (I make it sound like I frequent Starbucks a lot) -- HA -- that was in my former life. But my order is still the same.

Anyway, the tutorial goes one step further and make Shaken Passion Tea Lemonade. I did buy Simply Lemon and tried the Lemonade, but for me the tea is where it's at.
So, boil Passion tea bags, cool and add simple syrup and BAM PRESTO, deliciousness.

So, check out this tutorial. Skip the lemonade and enjoy. Seriously this tea is so good. I drink the pitcher in like 2 days!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

With Thanks!

OK, I know I've had some serious lack of postings, but we all have seasons and this is just a season where blogging is not ranking very high for me.
But I have been "blogging" in some sense online since high school, so I promise I'm not quitting.

We had a great Thanksgiving with friends. We are so grateful to find friends that uplift us and take us in no matter where we've gone. Every holiday since we've lived in NJ, we have spent it with either our family who has come to visit or friends who adopt us for the day, and we are so grateful!

We did a 5k in the morning, neither of us are really in "running shape", so we power walked the first mile and a half, and then ran the second pushing Keaton. It might have been the first time Jake had ran in like 2 years, and definitely since I visited Italy for me, but since we had walked so quickly as our warm up, neither of us were really sore. But we had worked up a great appetite and that was the plan. Possible Thanksgiving tradition in the making? We'll see....

Here is a little photo collage of the day.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cray Cray in New Jersey

I'm sorry guys about the major lack of posting, but I've misplaced the cord that connects my camera and computer. So, that's my excuse, a likely one, but not very good.
And on that camera there are some good pics, from the pumpkin patch and the costume party we went to. So, maybe I'll just have to suck it up and order another one.
Anyway, things have been a bit cray cray around here if you know what I mean, (with the whole everyone on the northeastern coast has major freak out when a storm approaches thing).
And I'll admit the flooding was bad on the coastline.

That's a highway covered in water in Atlantic City.
Such times do allow people opportunities to ban together in times of need though. My church has totally done that allowing the local rescue mission to use our facilities.

But honestly, I've never seen so many people in panic mode as when they say the word "storm" here. Even the Coast Guard flew in other teams all the way from Savannah and when they got here. There was nothing to do. Nada.

Here we are the day after the storm, when hubby expected to be saving people based on the reports.

Instead it was playtime with K.

Speaking of, with all this time trapped inside Keaton has decided to try out his walking a bit more. So, very soon I think I'll have a true "toddle-er" on my hands. And it's a bit bittersweet if I do say so myself. Because of course when he's walking, I know things will get alot more crazy. And we have enough crazy in New Jersey. We don't need to add more. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cardboard Box Party

We had K's first birthday party. A super fun cardboard box party. Unfortunately Mister K was not in his happiest moods. You can tell by his first and last pics that despite my best efforts smiles weren't easy to come by. :)
Because I was busy holding mister moody pants. I barely got any photos. But there were some super cool creations. Including a 7 ft rocket, I didn't get a picture of. It was still a great, beautiful fall day to celebrate my boy's first year!

Inspiration for the party came last year when I read a featured party in Parents magazine. Also favorite books while teaching were "Not a Box" and "Not a stick", so once I decided what we wanted to do, there were tons of resources on the internet. We had such a fun time getting ready for Keaton's big day. And he seriously played in the ball pit everyday for like 3 weeks before.

Here's the day before his bday. The house is quiet and Keaton had snuck into his ball pit (again) right before bedtime. :)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

At 12 months

My oh my... my little man isn't so little anymore. Just take a peak.

1 month.

12 months.
Ok seriously, how big does he look?

I know, big.

But for real, this month has been interesting. We just came back from 3 weeks in Europe and you have been sick for what feels like FOREVER. Needless, to say you've been a bit of a grump, or at the very least a mama's boy.

- However, you are funny. Like you literally laugh when we are laughing, because you have a sense of humor. Class clown anyone?

- On the plane back from Italy, I realized you knew all your farm animal sounds. 9 hours in close proximity, reveal these things to you. You can say them if I ask, with no prompting. Cow, duck, sheep, dog, kitty, and horse.

- You started using your baby signs!!! YAY!!! You say eat, more, and all done correctly. The light clicked over night.

-You are a total parrot. "what is it" being one of your favs. Also, "woah", "oh no", "uh oh" and "no, no, no" always said in 3's when I say no to you, or when I yell at the cats. LOL You try to imitate everything. You also say "Say-cia" & so much more.

-You love attention. But you don't like performing on command. And sometimes you pretend to be shy. That makes for an interesting combination.

-You still eat everything in sight. And you are still allergic to everything. You now try to consume said items off the floor. :)

- You have like zero interest in taking real steps. You will furniture walk for hours, but if I make you take a step, you will shrug me off, and try to crawl. That being said, I have forced you to take a few steps between things. But you have like 0 desire.

-You totally get that you're cute. And I kind of feel like you're already manipulating me with it. :)

- You have been sleeping past 8am, since we got back from Italy. Literally, every day this lasts, I am thanking God!!!

-You LOVE toy cars. You will sit and zoom them around for like an hour, without me even having to play with you. You say vroom and have them crash. Total BOY, I say.

- If it's possible. You might be even more OBSESSED with birds. I don't know why or how, but you love them. I taught you that birds say tweet, tweet. But you ON YOUR OWN picked up that the Seagulls say, "caw caw". So, now when I say anything about birds or you see one, you passionately SCREAM "caw caw" and point to the sky.

- You are inquisitive, smart and give appropriate facial expressions in timely places. You are so alive, and full of life. Grumpy, self centered, and throw mini tantrums when things don't go your way for one minute. You are trouble. But you are my love!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Baby Boy

OK, it's official, I've turned into a mommy blog. I'm sorry I can't help it.
But as you know my boy turned 1, so we had a little fun!!

Love this kid. Below is his "cheese" smile.

Didn't take him long to get messy. Dairy, gluten, and egg free doesn't bother him!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Finally, my birth story--- **SUPER LONG**

One year ago today my little guy was born. I really wanted to post my birth story then, but it was a crazy time, and as time got away it didn't seem right, but I don't want to forget it either. So, as we celebrate his day, today, I will tell about how he made his way into the world.

So as many of you know, Keaton H. was 12 days late. I was 2 weeks late too, I guess it runs in the genes. And those last 2 weeks were full of false labor and bouts of contractions lasting hours only to be nothing. Since, I've actually been in labor I can now say, that a few of those "pre-labor" pains were intense and readily believable that labor was imminent. However, it really wasn't.

I knew I didn't want to be induced, because I wanted the best chance at a natural labor, and I knew that didn't start with induction. However, at week 36, I found out I had Group B Strep, so I knew I was already off to an "intervention path" since you have to be on antibiotics while laboring with Group B. And they recommend you arrive at the hospital when your contractions are 5 min apart. And they want to hook you up to an IV and own you after that. :) Not really, they want to ensure the health of your baby, but I felt that way beforehand.

On Sept. 24th at about 11pm, I was feeling some pretty intense contractions, but assumed nothing because of my previous crazy pre-labor bouts. By about 3-4 in the morning, I realized I was groaning in my sleep and by about 5:30 I couldn't sleep anymore. So, I did what any normal person does, Jake and I went to WaWa and got breakfast burritos, all the while having intense contractions about 5 minutes apart. :) At this point, I knew I was in labor, because the contractions were timely, and not stopping. By about 8:30, I was laboring on my birth ball, and having hubby provide counter pressure, cause I was really feeling my contractions in my back. By about 9:30 the contractions were every 3 minutes, and I did not want to go to the hospital, but I was also worried about getting penicillin to treat my Group B.

Since, I was so past due, I had been "checked" about 10 times it seemed, and had 3 ultrasounds in a week, all predicting Keaton was 9 lbs or bigger. Several days before I had been 3 cm dilated, so I didn't want to push it too close, and miss getting medicine for him. So, by about 10:30, we decided to go to the hospital-- with the agreement, that if I wasn't at 5 cm, I would go back home. My contractions were about 2.5-3 min apart.

We got to the hospital and I was quickly informed that I would not be going to Triage to get checked, but rather I would become a patient regardless of what I wanted because the following day, I was set to be induced anyway.

I was NOT happy about this. When I finally got checked, I was at a blasted 3 cm, which I found to be impossible, since I'd been that 5 days ago, before 12 hours of early labor. I wanted to go home, but they made me feel like that was the wrong choice, etc.... Really they just wanted to OWN me (see above) and hook me up to an IV. Kidding- Kind of. :)
Shortly after, this around noon, my OB came in to see me. He had stripped my membranes in the office several times in the past 2 weeks to try to activate labor. Well, while I was having a contraction he did it again, and it was the WORST decision ever. It hurt like stinking fire, and it made my contractions majorly ramp up. Almost immediately after, my contractions went to like 2 min apart, and I started to puke when I was having them. Based on everything I'd read I would have sworn I was in "transition"-- with them being so close together and intense, and if I had been in transtition, I would have been great, but I was at blasted 3cm. This went on til about 4 pm. With my blessed husband by my side, I was doing a round in the tub, and they made me get out to GET BACK ON the IV and check the baby's heartrate for 20 min, while lying on my back. My nurse asked if I wanted to be checked again. I told her yes and no. Yes, because I wanted to know, but no because I was afraid it wouldn't be the number I wanted. Since, I was puking every couple contractions, I was MISERABLE. But she told me the magic number was 5cm, so I decided if I was at 5cm, I would keep going, and if I wasn't, I would get an epidural. Low and behold, 4 hours later, I was at a 4 and 1/2, and I think she gave me the 1/2 to be nice. :) So, I got the epi, and while I was having a contraction, trying to hold still they gave it to me. Next thing I know, my husband is about to pass out. And literally within 30 seconds, my vomitting had passed and I could talk again. Talk about crazy turn around. I was literally amazed. Like 5 minutes after that my water broke. I thought maybe things would speed up, but no such luck. It took me til almost 11 pm to get to 10 cm.

And not without any action either. Oh no, I had a raging fever during a large portion, and Keaton was showing super high heartbeat (indication of fever for a baby) as well. I was self prescribing advil and trying to cool myself down with rags/fanning, cause I didn't want them to make me have a c-section. The doctor said epidurals can occasionally cause fever (another reason in my mind not to have gotten one, since it puts you on the intervention path), but we were past that. When I finally got to 10cm, my contractions slowed way down to about 5 min apart again. They kept asking if I felt the urge to push, I didn't. They let me wait for about an hour and a half, and then started putting some pressure on me to push. They said I SHOULD be feeling the urge by now, I was just barely starting to. So, we did mini pushes for about 30 min, and then started pushing for real, for about an hour +. But we pushed with the contractions, so it was slowing moving. The doctor said Keaton wasn't coming down and he was thinking c-section.

This made all hell break loose for me, I was like NO WAY am I going to have a c-section after all this...... He said it was my choice, but that was his prediction. So, I started pushing like donkey kong, and on the next contraction, Keaton's super high heart rate (from the fever) dropped REALLY low. My nurse got nervous and put the oxygen mask on me. At my next BIG push, I was determined to get that boy out. Only to be followed by an even crazier deceleration in Keaton's heart rate. The next thing I knew, there were literally like 7 people in the room, monitor's were going off, and they were telling me I was having a c-section no matter what.

Since, they hadn't been planning for me to have a c-section, they had to call someone in to assist my doctor. It was during that lovely 45 minutes that I suddenly felt the urge to FINALLY push. And boy was it intense, this was welcomed by 45 minutes of people telling me not push. While we waited for everything to get set up.

When we got to the operating room. The discovered that the cord was wrapped around K's neck which was stopping him from descending. They also find that since he was already working his way down the birth canal, they were having a hard time pulling him out via c-section, they were talking about using a vaccuum. While laying there, I was jokingly yelling out, seriously this kid is 12 days late, won't come out the normal way, and now is fighting the c-section, what does this say about my boy?
But at 2:53am, they finally yanked him out. I got to see him, and when I spoke he turned right to me, as if to say, "there's that voice I know", but he was whisked away to the NICU to be checked over since he'd had quite a tramatic labor and delivery.

I finally, got to be with him at about 5:30am. Only to find out that something was wrong with his blood levels. The next day, my Ob let us know that K's problems were stemming from something else based on the examination of my placenta.

Group B strep.

Despite all that penicillin and my rushing to the hospital, my baby was the 1:4,000 exception of the kid who still contracts it despite treatment.
Specifically the results showed chorioamnionitis, which is another bacteria that can be caused by Group B. In my case, I possibly contracted it with one of my gazillion checks or ultrasounds. Since, I had Group B, I had a better home for other outside bacteria to latch onto.

This whole fiasco resulted in another 12.....
12 days in the nicu.
But it also resulted in this....A precious bond with my sweet boy. And a fiercer, more protective love than I could have planned for.

So, happy birthday Mr. K-- today you are the light of our world.

XO- Mama

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Italian Life

Just a little taste of posts to come.

Vineyard stops, family and lots of love.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

At 11 months

At 11 months
I know my baby boy is actually almost a year now, but we are on vacation in Italy visiting family and appropriately timed blog posts were low on the priority list, but we couldn't skip it altogether.
My boy, my boy- my how you've changed.

- You are one of the most excited babies I have ever seen. So full of life, almost anything can get you so happy you're bouncing and shrieking with delight.

- You have a funny little personality, everything you do is  done with great passion, but not in a stubborn sense, you are a people pleaser, so your ultimate goal is to make everyone adore you.

- You have a new obsession, bird watching. You discovered it in the NJ parking lots of Target and Home Depot as the seagulls circled above.  :)  Now anywhere we see a bird you point and wave, and say " bird- y". Obsessed I say.

- You are testing your physical limits all the time, but still no walking. Which mom loves, cause for now you still love to be held by her.

-You are starting to cuddle and nuzzle a bit, so sweet.

-Your vocabulary is ever increasing. You have some animal noises down pat too.

- You love daddy more. Done with nursing now, means dad is the bees-knees. Your favorite word and person are both dada.

- You are such a good baby!! Up for any adventure as long as theirs food.

- You are definitely a boy. Cars, trucks, growling, and "vroom" sounds are among your favorite things to do and play with.

- You have 9 teeth, and 3 molars to chew up all that grown up food you love.

- You are still a magnet for allergies, but your zest for life doesn't let that stop you. Praying some start to pass, but your overall "itchiness" is vastly improved, so we are believing you will get better.

- Wonder would be the best word to describe you. Your sense of awe and wonder at the world around you is so intense, we can't help, but see the joy and magnitude of God's creation for the first time too.

We love you little K!!!

See, that boy loves life!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Baby Shower Delight

Jake told me today, "I'm glad that party is over". I said, "why" and he said, "because that was way too much work". I laughed because of course he didn't even do any of the work (except maybe watch K part of the day OF the shower). But for me, it's work that I love. Being creative, juices flowing...
This specific baby shower (the girls that hosted) modeled ours after some things I had seen online. I love doing that, because the one I used as inspiration was of course thrown by a party planner.
I love trying to do every detail from scratch, on a tiny $, using my Michaels 40% off coupon every time I shop.
So without further ado, here it is for my bf here in Dirty Jersey.
"Ribbons and Bows, Tutus and Pearls: Brandi is having a Baby Girl"

So excited for that girl to come!

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