Monday, March 23, 2015

Georgia Rae - 9 Months Old!

March 12, 2015 - Georgia turned 9 months old while camping in the Davis Mountains!
Eyes: Blue
Clothes: 12 months
Diapers: size 4
Nursing: she is nursing about 5x a day now
Weight: 17lbs 14oz
Teething: She still has 8 but she is working on some molars.

Solids: Georgia is eating everything I eat now! It makes things so much easier now & I love it. She LOVES guacamole, spaghetti, turkey, blackened chicken, noodles with alfredo sauce (dairy-free of course)! We had started with just egg yolks but since she was allergy tested and we know she isn't allergic to eggs she is now eating eggs. She even had her own little omelet while camping! 
She regularly eats whole plain cheerios, almond milk pancakes, peas & diced carrots, bananas, & blueberries. She isn't a fan of broccoli yet and I think it's texture. She self feeds efficiently and currently dominant left-handed. 
Milestones: She is now waving "hi"!! I also got her to clap on cue but she hasn't repeated it since. Still no crawling but she is figuring out how move around. She can scoot and spin around while sitting. She can go from sitting to laying on her stomach. She really wants to be crawling and I can sense her frustration when she pushes up on her arms but doesn't move. She's starting to tuck her knees under her now. She will get there although she may be standing first!

Sleep: I am able to put her down for nap and just walk out of her room. She takes one nap a day (she self dropped the 2nd nap months ago) and although I wasn't a fan at first, all my kids nap at the same time now! She regressed on sleeping through the night from our week long camping trip. I think she is starting to get back into routine now that we are home. 

Playtime: It's all about entertainment at this point! She wants to play and be involved. 
She wants to rotate toys frequently and dislikes being bored. She will be so happy when she starts crawling and can self rotate toys. 

Personality: She can really light up when she wants to!

This is what happens when you ask Daddy to put sunscreen on a baby!

She lights up so much when she sees her sisters when she first wakes up or when Reese gets home from school! She loves them so much and wants to be around them for play. 

Camping at Balmorhea

This girl is seriously ticklish! I am able to change her mood just by tickling her :) She still has stranger anxiety and won't let many other people hold her. 

Signs: She still signs "milk" and is waving "hi". She understands "eat", "more" and "all done" but isn't repeating them yet.

Georgia had her 9 month well check this morning. Here are her current growth stats:
Weight: 17lbs 14oz (43%)
Length: 28.5 inches (77%)
Head Circumference: 18.5 inches (99%)

She grew 2.5 inches since mid December and her head is back on the growth curve!

Issues/Concerns: It has been an emotional morning for me. Georgia tested + for blood in her stools again this morning. I took a diaper to the appointment just in case she wanted to check and give me reassurance. We went through the entire appointment talking about when to introduce dairy around one year, increasing her reflux meds since she isn't therapeutic anymore, etc. The pediatrician tested the diaper for me right before we were ready to leave. She walked back into the room and said "she's positive".

I think my jaw hit the floor. I was shocked. I think she was shocked too. Either my food was contaminated with milk protein somehow or she has some other GI issue going on that we haven't figured out yet. We briefly discussed the next steps: repeat diaper check in 1 month and go ahead and scheduled the GI work up.

It wasn't till I was driving home that the emotion hit me. I have been so disciplined with this dairy free diet. I prep my food first, wash my hands after helping my kids with theirs, cook dairy free meals and yet we are right back to square one again.

My baby is bleeding and in pain...again.

If she was contaminated with milk, then it will take another 4-6 weeks for her to clear it again. If this is something else, then we are probably looking at having to scope her with sedation. I have decided to not eat food from any "allergy friendly" restaurants now. I can't trust that food isn't being contaminated by other items.

When I got home I started bawling. I just don't understand this. I thought we were so close to being over the hump. I just want answers and a happy, healthy baby!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Going Dairy & Soy Free: A breastfeeding journey

 photo 67fc3f03-488b-4530-aaa0-0554c107d255.jpgIn December, when the pediatrician told me I had to go dairy-free immediately I was disappointed but didn't fully comprehend how much that actually meant giving up. I love our pediatrician but I wasn't given any kind of education sheet on dairy intolerance & I was totally clueless!

I am posting this to hopefully help other nursing mothers who have just found out they have to cut out all dairy/soy. There is nothing worse than a breastfeeding mother who is hungry and doesn't know what they are allowed to eat...believe me!

Step 1: Decide if you are cutting out just dairy products or dairy & soy. Our pediatrician did not clarify this when I was first told Georgia had blood in her stools. And I didn't know to ask either. I decided to cut them both out until her colitis resolved and then would add soy back in to see if she could tolerate it. Be forewarned...cutting dairy & soy cold turkey is HARD but you CAN DO IT! You can do it because you are a mom and moms will do anything for their children!

Step 2: Take a quick lesson reading labels. To be dairy free you need to cut out all forms of animal milk, whey, casein, lactic acid yeast starters, etc. To be soy free as well, you need to cut out all soybean oil (which includes vegetable oils with soy), & soy lecithin. Here are my go to lists for reading labels: Dairy Ingredients ListTips for Avoiding Your Allergen; How to Read a Label for Milk Allergy

Step 3: Go look through your pantry and start reading labels. Quickly realize you can't eat practically anything in there. Your favorite bread, snacks, desserts and most importantly chocolate are most likely all off limits. Commence tears....

Step 4: Cry! Just get it out. I swear I went through the 5 stages of grief over this. I was in denial that she could be dairy intolerant. I was angry...angry that the cause of her pain was from my milk. Angry I didn't have the easy way out to switch to hypoallergenic formula because baby G refuses bottles. I was angry that my dairy-loving/dessert-loving self had to give it all up.

At first I focused on everything I couldn't have. Once I came the stage of acceptance and I realized that I HAD to do this and WOULD do this for my child - I was ready to be dairy/soy free.

Step 5: Find recipes that you are accustom to that are dairy/soy free and then find new ones you are willing to try. I made a Pinterest board to save all the dairy & soy free recipes and substitutions I found in one place.

Step 6: Go shopping. This will take you 2x longer than normal since you have to read every label for any hidden dairy. Just because an item doesn't list "Contains: milk, soy, etc" doesn't mean it isn't in there. Not all products are required to list it as an allergen. Read the labels fully!

The following items are dairy and soy free (but please double read the label because you never know when a manufacture changes the ingredients).

Thank you Tostitos for making a soy free chip so I can eat my homemade salsa! Mission tortilla chips are also dairy/soy free.

Rudis Bread & Buns found @ Whole Foods. (I have also found Rudis varieties @ HEB). I think the sourdough is the best compared the wheat options. The wheat falls apart very easily and molds faster.

Rudis (refrigerated) Tortillas found @ Whole Foods.
Udis Frozen Bagels & Hot Dog Buns found @ Whole Foods
*Warning: these Udis Granola bars taste like cardboard! Yes, I seriously text my husband that I was eating cardboard. Thankfully my kids liked them enough to finish off the box. 

I am a huge Blue Diamond Wasabi & Soy Almond fan and cried when I realized I couldn't have them due to the soy. If you are only dairy free, then the Wasabi & Soy flavor is safe per manufacturer!

Original Pam has soy! Pam for grilling is the only soy-free option. I am a mayonnaise fan and the only soy-free one is the Canola Oil version by Hellmann's.

Coffee Creamers:
SO Delicious makes a variety of dairy free products. Switching coffee creamers was one of the hardest things for me on this elimination diet. I find the French Vanilla option to be bitter so I prefer the Hazelnut flavor. Found @ HEB & Whole Foods.
This hazelnut creamer has become my new favorite of the options! Found @ Whole Foods
Enjoy Life brand makes a variety of allergen free products found @ Whole Foods or Amazon. Original Bisquick contains soybean oil - Bisquick Heart Smart is Dairy/Soy Free!

I was an Alexia Sweet Potato fan already so I was happy to see these were dairy/soy free. Most breaded chicken will contain milk but Tyson Fully Cooked Nuggets are dairy/soy free. Daiya brand makes a variety of dairy free imitation cheese products. I did not like this pizza and won't re-buy it. I also did not like the imitation cheddar slices or shreds. The only one that is edible is the mozzarella shreds. 

Found @ Whole Foods. They offer all sorts of flavors made from either coconut milk or almond milk. I'm not a big ice cream fan so this wan't really a big deal for me.

Eating Out:
It is extremely hard to eat at restaurants with an allergy restriction. A lot of our favorite places don't provide allergen menus or ingredient lists of their items. I just don't go to these places anymore and hardly eat out at all now. The places I have found to be allergen friendly are:

Carls Jr. provides an allergen list. They use 100% pure beef. The Famous Star without cheese is an easy way to get a dairy/soy free burger including the bun. The fries are also dairy/soy free. 
Chipolte has an allergen list. The only dairy is the sour cream & cheese; the only soy is the flour tortilla and sofritas. 
Costco Deli hotdog with bun is dairy & soy free. The staff was accommodating and showed us the ingredient label for the buns. It is definitely not the same as eating Costco pizza but it feels me up with the rest of the family wants to order a pizza. 
Five Guys provides an allergen list. They use 100% pure beef. You can get a "lettuce wrapped burger" and be dairy/soy free. Their buns contain milk & soy. The fries are dairy/soy free & fried in peanut oil.
Zoe's Kitchen provides an allergen menu wizard online that filters their menu by allergens.

Baby Foods:
I never would have imagined that once we got the the baby food stage I'd have to read the baby food labels too. There are puree baby foods that contain milk so please read those labels! The standard yogurt melts are not an option for a milk-free diet. 
I was very happy to find these finger food options that clearly say "Dairy Free" on them (made from coconut milk), found @ Target.
  • Don't eat deli cut meat since it is cut on the same slicers as the cheese
  • Most pepperoni has lactic acid yeast starter which is from dairy. The only brand we have found to have a "non-dairy yeast starter" is Applegate Natural Pepperoni.
  • Learn to love homemade guacamole! I seriously make this almost daily now to use as a spread instead of sour cream or cheese. I make guacamole & chicken quesadillas (skipping cheese of course).
  • Cashew Alfredo Sauce (found @ Whole Foods) was very bitter and we could barely eat it. The whole family loves this alfredo sauce recipe using Daiya Mozzerella shreds. I add blackened chicken to it and serve over pasta.
  • Girl Scouts Thin Mints are Vegan (dairy free but NOT soy free)
  • Start taking a calcium & magnesium vitamin supplements
I lost 5 pounds in the 1st week of this dairy/soy elimination diet and have since lost more. I know this is all temporary and I will get to eat the things I love again. 

Since this initial elimination diet began back in December, I am no longer soy-free. I requested baby G be allergy tested, which all came back negative for any type of allergic response to milk, nuts, etc. The pediatrician told me she was most likely "dairy intolerant" vs. "allergic" and I still needed to continue being dairy-free. She said children tend to "outgrow" an intolerance and she most likely doesn't have an intolerance to soy. I continued being dairy/soy free until her diapers tested blood free. Once we got her intestines back to a healthy state I added soy back in and then had them re-test a diaper for blood. She was blood free with me eating soy! I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders when I found out I could have soy. It is hard enough being dairy free much less soy free too.

However, my thyroid does NOT like my soy enriched diet now. Soy does effect thyroid levels and my TSH is now elevated despite a dosage increase 6 weeks prior. For now we are not changing my dosage again since we know the cause is a temporary one and I will be weaning her from breastfeeding when she turns 1.

I truly hope this will help someone starting down this journey! It can be done and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Please feel free to follow my Dairy/Soy Free Pinterest board for meal ideas. Best of luck!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stitch Fix Review {Fix #4}

 photo 8546d99f-5271-4564-bf8d-19bb4336ccd6.jpg
Stitch Fix #4 is here and early I might add! I bumped up my shipment date to before our trip in hopes of getting one more piece I wanted before we go camping. It was scheduled to arrive on Feb. 28th but it arrived on the 26th instead...two days early! I was actually estimated by FedEx to arrive on the 25th but they got behind a day.

For this fix I requested: stylist Rachel again, the Alan Cowl Neck Asymmetrical Cardigan in light grey, Spring colors, subtle floral, tops to match my Kate Spade cobalt rubber rain flats (found on clearance at Nordstrom Rack), and some solid cropped pants to transition into Spring.

This box was about 1/2 the depth of my previous boxes. The first thing I looked for on my personalized note was if it was from Rachel or not...and it was!

As I read it I was skeptical. I knew I didn't want the asymmetrical cardigan in black and I got a dress?! There was really nothing I could wear with my cobalt shoes and only 1 thing in color.

The items I received were:
  • Brixon Ivy Pinson Drape Cardigan, size M ($54)
  • Gilli Noemie Chevron Skirt Faux Wrap Dress, size M ($64)
  • Collective Concepts Phelan Blouse, size petite M ($64)
  • Market and Spruce Alan French Terry Asymmetrical Zip Cardigan, size M ($68)
  • Just Black Jacob High Rise Skinny Jean, size 6 ($78)
Brixon Ivy Pinson Drape Cardigan ($54) - RETURNED
Untitled #11511

I debated this one. I loved the feminine look of this cardigan with the soft layering of it. I don't own anything in the outer oatmeal coloring of it. It seems to photograph more grey but it seemed like an oatmeal color in person.
However, my pale skin doesn't show well in the blush tone of the inside layer. I know blush is Spring color this year but unless it was worked into a pattern with other colors around it, I don't think I can pull it off. 
I also was fidgeting with the fit under my arms. There was a pretty good gap under my arm so when I put my arms at my side the fabric seemed to bunch funny on me. I kept trying to readjust it and knew it would bother me every time I wore it. I think I could have pulled this off in a size small. 
I believe it was priced well and really like the look of it. I'd be willing to try again in different color tones and a size smaller (hint hint Rachel!). 

Collective Concepts Phelan Blouse ($64) - RETURNED
Untitled #11545
I don't even know where to start with this top. I feel like it had to be mislabeled as far as sizing. It just fit so weird! The only thing I liked about this blouse was the color. It was a beautiful raspberry color with cute sleeve detail! 
Rachel sent it in a petite. I have in my profile I'd be willing to receive petite pants. I really don't think I need tops in a petite unless it is due to really long sleeves. I think petite is good if it is for leg length on pants, maxi skirts/dresses. For this top however, I couldn't even raise my arms without exposing my "mom of 4 kids in 5 years tummy". And no one wants to see that! 
The shoulders kept falling off, my bra was showing all over the place, and I could have fit another 1/2 a person in it. It was too short, boxy, oversized,& no shape for me. This was gladly returned.

Market and Spruce Alan French Terry Asymmetrical Zip Cardigan ($68) - RETURNED
Alan French Terry Asymmetrical Zip Cardigan

I was immediately disappointed when I saw this. I am starting to think making specific requests just leads to disappointment. I had requested a very similar item called the Alan Cowl Neck Asymmetrical Cardigan in a light grey, pinned here. I thought it would be great for our camping trip and a great cover up for my running attire. I have black running capris and black running shorts so the fact that this was also black wouldn't work for the purpose I wanted it. I do love black but this time I wanted different. 

I still tried it on since I didn't really know the difference in this cut vs. the cowl neck version. The fabric was super soft! (please excuse the 2 sizes too big, wrinkled pants that were already in the camping pile for our trip).
However, it was forever LONG. The sleeves went to my 2nd knuckles & the back had a "tail" that almost went to the back of my knees.
I asked fellow Stitch Fix customers on the difference of these two brands and I was informed the Cowl neck version is shorter and the French Terry version is softer, fits very generously, and is longer. 

For my 5'3" self and being between sizes I think the Cowl neck would have fit my body better.  Not really sure if I would need the Cowl neck version in a small or medium since they seem to be cut differently. Unfortunately, this didn't work and I knew I needed to send it back. 

Gilli Noemie Chevron Skirt Faux Wrap Dress ($64) - KEEP
Noemie Chevron Skirt Faux Wrap Dress

When I read my note from Rachel I thought to myself "a dress?!" I had 4 girls in 5 years, push a double stroller 5 days a week (if not more), a dress just isn't part of my daily wardrobe at the moment. By the time I got to this item I was already disappointed with the previous items and kept thinking "I am not keeping anything and I am out $20". My husband on the other hand couldn't wait for me to try it on. (I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes at this point). 

I put it on and the first words out of my husband's mouth were "Wow! You look hot!" I am very blessed with an amazing husband who compliments me all the time (even if I don't want to hear it) but I don't remember the last time he has used the word "hot". 
I was pleasantly surprised when I looked in the mirror. First of all, it fit! I have recently purged most of my clothes in my closet because they are all 3-4 sizes too big. I guess I didn't realized how much weight I really lost until I tried on my Spring/Summer clothes and they fell straight down. I literally don't have any dresses that fit me. 

It was fitted where I wanted it to be and flowy exactly where I wanted it to be! I have issues with excess skin from 4 babies in 5 years and my weight loss. This dress doesn't reveal a thing! 

Second of all, it is nursing friendly! The faux wrap chest actually does open making it accessible for breastfeeding! 
It also has ruched sleeves for a bit of detail.
I was still hesitant though. I told my husband I didn't have use for a dress right now. His response "I'll just have to take you out on a date! And didn't you just get rid of all your dresses?" I seriously love him! I would have been crazy to send this back...keeper!

Just Black Jacob High Rise Skinny Jean ($78) - RETURNED
Jacob High Rise Skinny Jean

I have been requesting grey skinny jeans and was supposed to get these in Fix #2 but there was an issue with the warehouse having them in stock. Rachel tried again in getting these to me since they were a shorter inseam and I prefer short/ankle length jeans. The price was right on for a pair of jeans.

These were high rise, which I do not own any of. This did not bother me since they actually help with the "mom belly". What bothered me was the color and the fit. The grey was so dark they almost appeared black. I had to go hold them up to my black skinny jeans to be able to see the difference. It's not that I don't like the color - I do. But for the upcoming Spring and Summer season I am looking for a lighter wash grey. 
The fit wasn't right either. I had to go read the itemized list to see if they were actually "skinny" jeans or not. They were baggy and bunched on my lower legs. It's the first thing I noticed when I put them on.
The waist appeared to fit fine but they have a lot of stretch to them so I was able to pull the waist out pretty far. 
I made this mistake with a recent pair of jeans I bought in a size 6 with stretch and after a few hours of wearing the butt sags they only stay on with a belt. I was nervous this would happen with these too. So these were sent back.

My total cost for this fix:
Dress $64 - $20 styling fee applied = $44 + $2.86 tax = $46.86
I still have credit from Christmas gift cards so my actual cost was $0!

I am nervous with trying a size smaller for some reason but I do think I am needing to size down at this point. It seems like more times than not, the items I have received have been too big. 

I am requesting Rachel again! I knew there was a reason I liked her - she lives around the corner from me in Austin! So she totally gets our South TX weather. She has really paid attention to my requests like nursing friendly and no dry clean. She also really surprised me with the dress, which I probably would have never asked for. 

If you would like to try Stitch Fix yourself, I'd love it if you would use my referral link
Stitch Fix

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. This post does contains referral links, which I'd be so pleased if you would use! All opinions are my own :)