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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happy New Year

Most people attribute this quote to Buddha, but it's actually 
from a character in a Carlos Castaneda book.  
But still, it's true.
It's already 2014.

How did that happen?

I must say, some pretty awful stuff happened since I last blogged.  I was glad to see 2013 end.  The last three months were crapola.

My mom died on November 25th, just a couple of days before Thanksgiving.

October started innocently enough. I turned 44 and Bella turned 9.  We had a dinner to celebrate both on the 5th - my mom had gone in for testing the day before for what she thought was a GI issue.  She was concerned but not too worried.

She was diagnosed with cancer (affecting multiple organs, but originating in the colon they believe) the next Monday, October 7th, went through two rounds of oral chemotherapy, and ended up succumbing to the disease the evening of of Monday, November 25th.

So, 6 weeks, beginning to end.  It's still so surreal.

(This certainly isn't the way I was expecting her to go, the way I worried she would go.  Isn't that life though? The things you worry about don't ever really happen, do they?  It's the stuff that hits you on the side of the head that really take it clean off and shake you up.)

So....

She's gone.  And I'm devastated.  My father, her husband of over 50 years is too.  My brothers, sisters in law, nieces, nephew, and friends are as well.   She was quite a lady.

But I'm also thankful.

Thankful for the goodbye we were able to have.

Thankful she didn't suffer long.

Thankful for 6 weeks in which Bella and I (and Bella's dad, and my entire immediate family) were able to be with my mom and sit with her and talk with her and tell her we loved her, to tell her what she'd taught us and to thank her for being such a good mom.   How lucky were we to be able to do that?!?

Thankful I got to ask her questions about her life, go through her recipe book with her, hear her stories one last time, burning every moment in to my brain to celebrate her life beyond her passing.

And I'm thankful that I got to hear my mom tell me how she felt about me (my parenting style, my love life, etc.) and being thrilled to bits that it was all good.  That may sound a bit selfish, but having your mother tell you that after 44 years, that you're on the right track?  It just feels great.  What a tremendous gift!

I still want my mom back.  So badly.

There's just never enough time.

She's always with me though.  I heard her talking to me over my shoulder when I was making Christmas dinner.  Spooky, but true (to me at least).  I hope it wasn't the last time.

I guess that's all I wanted to say.

Peace and love to you all in the new year - love each other (even if you're mad at someone, take a stab at forgiving them) because life truly is too short.  I've already taken my own advice and have begun to patch up some broken relationships hurt during my divorce.  It feels good.

xoxo
G

p.s.  PLEASE get preventative testing done if you can.  push your doctors for you to stay on track with mammograms, colonoscopies, whatever.  own your health as fiercely as you own your or your child's food allergy safety.  please.





Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall!

Hi Everyone!  Long time no blog, right?  I wont even bother apologizing for not blogging over the summer (what's the point - you know I still love you guys, right?) - life just, well, HAPPENS.  I take it as a good sign that I only have time to post bits and bobs on Facebook (if you don't follow me over there, please join me - you'll see much more Peanut Free content that way).

Here's a small glimpse into what's going on in our lives right now:

School
B started 4th grade!  I can't believe it - 4th grade.  She starts middle school next year (yup, our district has middle school 5th through 8th grade and the whole idea of it makes me insane), so I'm just enjoying my little girl. The big changes this year are that she doesn't carry her epinephrine to the playground any more (her principal takes all the kids epis in a cooler each day to the yard) AND she's not sitting at the peanut free table anymore.  She was really starting to feel self conscious, and since she isn't airborne reactive, we are trying out her sitting at the regular tables with a buffer.  All of her classmates have known her for years, so they instinctively know not to sit next to her if they have peanut butter in their snack or lunch.  It's been working out great so far, and she feels less like the 'allergy kid'.

Anxiety
Along with school came B's anxiety.  BIG TIME.  She's just a creature of habit, and the beginning of the school year always brings a lot of anxiety until she's settled.  That, coupled with her existing anxiety over her food allergies makes it challenging!  How are you all dealing with anxiety??  We are lucky in that B's teacher is so supportive and helpful - don't know what we'd do without her!

Birthdays
Speaking of B, her birthday is next month (the day after mine!) and we are throwing a Candy themed party for her at her dad's house.  So fun!  I have a Pinterest board full of ideas - cannot wait to get all crafty!  p.s. you can follow me on Pinterest if you want - I have an allergy board too as well as all sorts of random things.

Enjoy Life Decadence Bars
The fine folks at Enjoy Life sent us a box of each of their new Decadence Bars.  Holy cow they are awesome!!  B's favorites, in order, are:

  • S'mores
  • Cinnamon Bun
  • Cherry Cobbler
  • Chocolate Sunbutter

I tried them myself and every flavor is DELICIOUS (and I'm not just saying that) and the textures are great.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, you really cannot go wrong with this brand.  The care they put into their product development is outstanding and so apparent when you taste their products.

Thank you so much to Enjoy Life!

Mondo Beyondo
This is a personal one for me.  I'm taking an online class called Mondo Beyondo and I'm just loving it.  This is my second time and it's even better this time around.  I highly recommend Andrea's classes.  They really just help let your dreams out so you can make them a reality!  No affiliate links or ads here, just my personal opinion.

Halloween
B has asked for a day costume and an evening costume (jeez, what did I agree to??).  Each year, B goes out trick or treating, gets all the candy she wants and then we either trade out unsafe candy for safe candy or she leaves the majority of it out for the Halloween Fairy and gets a treat in return (usually a small lego set or something equivalent). The funny thing is that she's a candy hoarder.  I still have a bag of her halloween candy in the freezer from last year! I should probably throw that out LOL...

Love
I'm still seeing the same guy. He's still traveling around constantly for work but his home is here with me and for that I am extremely grateful. Life is GOOD! :-)

Hope you are all doing great too.  Please do join me over on FacebookPinterest, or Twitter.  I love interacting with you all and seeing what you're all up to!

Gabs

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Camp Blue Spruce Is Accepting Camper Applications!

I got an email from the folks at Camp Blue Spruce recently - they are holding their allergy free camp again this year and are accepting camper applications!  Here's the skinny on Camp Blue Spruce:


Camp Blue Spruce, a worry-free camp for kids with food allergies, is like any other sleepover summer camp EXCEPT the food is prepared without any of the top food allergens.  Located in Banks, Oregon, just 30 miles from Portland, the camp is five days and nights, August 18 – 23, and is loaded with fun for boys and girls ages 9 to 14, including:
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Field Games
  • Campfires
  • And More . . .
The camp is free of the foods that cause more than 90% of allergic reactions, including: dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, soy, gluten and sesame. 

To learn more and register, visit www.campbluespruce.org or “like” them on Facebook. You can also contact them at 503-726-8886 or info@campbluespruce.org.

And from their site:

"Camps are an excellent way for children to become independent, develop new friendships, learn about teamwork and grow as individuals. Unfortunately, it is very hard for a regular camp, often with hundreds of children, to ensure that children with food allergies are safe and eating healthy food.
Kids attending Camp Blue Spruce will have a true camp experience without the worry and anxiety they experience daily with their food allergies. Camp Blue Spruce parents can be worry-free, too!2013 DatesCamp begins Sunday, August 18 at 4pm and ends after lunch Friday, August 23.Daily ProgramDays and nights at Camp Blue Spruce are filled with fun indoor and outdoor activities.
We have a swimming pool, a big playing field, and a creek. A professional Outdoor Educator teaches outdoor skills and leads hikes and other adventures.
We have a well-equipped art room with painting, ceramics and beading supplies. All art supplies are reviewed to ensure that they are safe for the children to use.
Kids can also enjoy fun music activities and cooking classes.
Each night there is an all-camp activity such as a campfire, a carnival, guest presentations, or a scavenger hunt.RequirementsBoys and girls with food allergies, ages 9 - 14, can attend the camp. Friends and siblings without food allergies can attend if there is space. Camp Blue Spruce can accommodate 56 children at a time.LodgingFor one week this summer, Gales Creek Camp - normally a camp for children with type 1 diabetes - is providing their lovely facility and their guidance to Camp Blue Spruce. Gales Creek, located near Banks, Oregon, less than 30 miles from Portland, has been hosting kids with diabetes since 1952. The camp has two large cabins - one for girls and one for boys. Each cabin sleeps 28 kids.CostThe tuition for one week of Camp Blue Spruce is $525.RegistrationJoin us for a fun-filled week at Camp Blue Spruce! Hurry, we only have room for 56 campers.
Register your camper now!"
I can't wait until B is ready for sleep away camp - this will be perfect for her!  If your child attended last year (or is going this year), leave me a comment and let me know.  Also, if your child goes to sleep away camp, let me know how you worked with the camp to keep your child reaction free!



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hello 2013!

Me & B - San Francisco, Dec. 2012
Hey there - is this thing on?

Boy, it's been a while - how are YOU?

If I'm being honest, 2012 pretty much sucked.

Don't get me wrong - lots of GOOD things happened. Work is great.  My home is great.  I'm seeing a wonderful guy.  Most importantly, B is great!

The #1 best thing that happened in 2012 - and just under the wire - I'm divorced!!  I know it sounds terrible to make that a good thing that happened, but it was something that should have happened a LONG time ago.  I'm not against marriage, don't get me wrong, I'm just against marrying the wrong person.  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders and that I am finally living an authentic life.

But the best thing I got from my marriage was Miss B - ain't she just the coolest (I know all moms say this, but I think THIS photo proves that maybe I'm not merely biased:
B looking sassy before dinner, Dec 2012
Only this child could pull of being this bad-ass  We went out to dinner the night I took this and on the way back to our hotel, we got out of our cab, and someone on the street looked at her and gasped "She is SOOO San Francisco!".  Love her!

We had an allergy checkup in December that showed B's allergy as definitely NOT being gone.  PLUS we added cats officially to the allergy list.  Oh well.  At least we haven't added any foods - and we were reaction free in 2012 - well at least peanut allergy wise - woohoo!

I think the thing that 2012 taught me most was that you can never get too comfortable with anything or assume anything.  Case(s) in point:

  • I assumed B's peanut allergy would be gone at this year's appt.  I was wrong (and there was a HUGE wheal to prove it on the SPT). Crud.
  • I assumed that during my divorce things would remain civil with my ex (they didn't)
  • I assumed our collective friends would be grownups and remain friends with us both (they didn't)
  • I assumed I could count on the very close friends I had to watch my back (I couldn't - in fact, one of them is dating my ex-husband now.  I know quite a few of you are saying to yourself "what a @!#!@%" - you wouldn't be the first to do so.  Yes we were friends when they started seeing each other and yes she kept it from me and NO we aren't friends anymore LOL).  I think out of everything, this was the worst betrayal of the whole divorce, isn't that strange?
But you know what?  I have ZERO regrets about how things have gone down.  I'm so much happier, and lighter now that I know where things stand (plus un-friending on Facebook helps!).  Quality over quantity!

So now, I'm starting with a clean slate for 2013.  I'm figuratively burning the sage around here to cleanse my life, my heart, and my most important my attitude about things (this, especially, spoke to me).  I'm responsible for me this year, no one else is.  

And that, friends, is my rant.

Yeah, I know this didn't have much to do with Peanut Allergy on the surface, but my divorce isn't much different from peanut allergy.  It's a crap hand to have dealt to you and what makes all the difference is how you handle it. No one understands it until they've been through it, family and friends disappoint you like crazy, and you feel alone. A lot.

But you figure out your way, slowly, until that pinhole at the end of the tunnel gets bigger and bigger.

And it's light again.

-G-



Monday, September 24, 2012

Forget Peanut Allergy: Things I'm Loving This Week #1

I'm sure it's premature to say, but I think Fall may be arriving soon here in Northern California  - I tried to wear summer clothes yesterday and was chiiiiiillly!  But, now that I've typed that, we'll no doubt have a hot spell in early October (just like we always do).

Here's something new.  Non peanut allergy related.

Things I'm loving this week:

The BEST Artichoke Soup

Source: Saveur Magazine
Glass Beaches 
Source: Anthology Magazine (via Flickr)
Big Sur
Source: Hiking in Big Sur
Stitches West 2013
Yes, I'm a knitting nerd. Signed up for this today with my best friend and I couldn't be more excited.  
Source: Knitting Universe
Oahu
Another trip planned - cannot wait!
Source: Haleiwa Town
Tom Bihn Bags
I want, no, I NEED this bag.  Anyone got any spare change hanging around for this beauty? The organizational FREAK inside of me lusts after this:
Source: TomBihn.com
Makeshift Society
How cool is this?  I want to join!
Source: Anthology Magazine
Curried Chicken and Coconut Rice
Um, yummmmmm!?
Source: Shutterbean.com
And, last but NOT least, my boyfriend - ain't he cute?  
Danny reading a putt for Angela Stanford in
Alabama yesterday.  They tied for 3rd. (Source: Getty Images) 
How about you?  What are you loving this week?

G

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Peanut Allergy: Life Lists?

Do you guys keep a life list?  I do, and I'm tempted to share it here - would that be weird? I don't think there's one thing about food allergy on there.

Maybe I'll be brave and post it, we'll see.

For now, here's something I couldn't pass up.

The Things We Forget Blog

The last year has been ALL about this, trust me.
Too cute.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Gabs
xxoo

Monday, September 10, 2012

Happy September!

How did THAT happen?  It's been 3 months since I posted, and for that I am sorry.  Truth be told, most of my posts have been on Facebook (have you liked my page yet - you should!) - it's just easier than a blog post.  Lazy, I know!

So what's new???

B started 3rd grade - nope, not a typo.  THIRD grade.  She was pretty happy and check out her outfit - is she a trendsetter or what? I love those Boden yellow pants (they are SOOOO bright - this picture doesn't even begin to show the yellowness)!

First Day of Third Grade!
We've had an eventful few months.  

B has had some major anxiety issues this year - to the point of Separation Anxiety Disorder - it had become almost unbearable until we started therapy and found this book:


What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety



B's anxiety stems from a lot of things, but primarily our divorce as well as her allergies.  Even though she's in a safe environment both at home and at school (her teacher and school are pretty great) she still just worries, plain and simple.  But these worries were affecting her quality of life (and ours) so we needed to do something.

If you have a child with anxiety issues, buy it.  I can't put into words how highly I regard this book. We still have a ways to go, but after just a week we were seeing tremendous changes in B.  These exercises, coupled with a more structured schedule as well as a lot more sleep in her life have made a huge difference.  Each week we are seeing a stronger, more confident (and worry free) child emerge. 

The other issue we dealt with this summer was Alopecia Areata - have you heard of it?  Luckily, at this point she has a mild case of this.  She had a small patch about the size of a silver dollar (remember those LOL) at the top of her head that has thankfully grown back, but boy was that scary! I've seen things online that indicate that kids with allergies and eczema are prone to this.  And kids with stress in their lives (hmm that sounds familiar).  If your child had this, can you leave me a comment?  I'd be interested to know how you treated it.  Ironically (am I using that word correctly? probably not), once we STOPPED using the cream the doctor prescribed, her hair starting growing back.  I think working on her anxiety and stress worked too.  We'll keep an eye out, but at this point she's in the clear for now.  Whew.

Other than that, things are good.

Still (technically) married, but that shouldn't be the case by the end of the year.  Divorce, in case you didn't know, really sucks.  Even when you agree on everything financial, custody, support, etc.  It takes forever (at least it seems like it does) and there's so much paperwork.  I don't recommend it if you can avoid it.

I'm still coaching folks - it's going really well!  I was really overwhelmed by the number of folks that have contacted me.  If you're interested in a session, shoot me an email - I'd love to help you out.  I have something in the works for folks with tight schedules - look for an announcement in the coming months (here of course, but sooner on Facebook, who am I kidding?).

Take care everyone - Happy September!!!

Gabs