Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Candy Cane Lane

Back when the older kids were little there were several special places we would take them to look at Christmas light displays. One was St. Albans street in Pasadena. Giant fir trees line the street and each one is decorated. And then there were two Candy Cane Lanes, where neighbors go all out decorating their houses. One was in Sierra Madre and the other in Claremont. In Colorado there are no such neighborhoods. It would be quite dangerous I think with the slippery icy sidewalks. There are several commercial light displays, at the zoo, the botanic gardens, etc. and we have enjoyed those.

So I was excited to learn that there was a Candy Cane Lane in the Coachella Valley where we are for New Year's.  It is just one street, perfect for a five and six year old to walk. On Sunday night we headed over there and were not disappointed. You can walk or drive through. The girls and I wanted to walk. Scrooge wanted to drive. We won.

 There were lots of nativity scenes.

 Who are these two little cuties??

Only in the desert, Spiderman climbing a palm tree!
I thought this was a snowman, but now that I look at the picture I think it's a squirrel!

The scene below was in a garage with customized plexiglass in the front for you to look through.

This reindeer had a red nose with a burnt out bulb and Christmas "balls" strategically placed.

These wisemen will get to Bethlehem way before Epiphany on their quads.

It's too bad this whole event doesn't start until everyone leaves on Thanksgiving. It would have been fun to take all the grandkids!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Update on Mia

For the last three years this is what doctors have told me:

Geographic tongue is benign. It means nothing.

Your daughter's behavior has nothing to do with what she eats.

She doesn't have any allergies.

And then I found Mindful Pediatrics and Dr. Roy and his wisdom:

Geographic tongue is usually a mineral deficiency.

Let's do some blood work. 

She probably has anemia. Children should not be tired and irritable.

We need to get her some magnesium. Her anxiety level is telling us something is wrong with her neurotransmitters.

She most likely has Sensory Seeking Disorder. Let's get her some occupational therapy.

Let's test her ferritin, not just the iron in her blood. If she's not storing blood this will make her tired, irritable, prone to tantrums, hard to motivate, hard to discipline and anxious. 

Let's test her blood for food intolerances. Most mainstream pediatricians don't believe in this, but I have found that it is very valuable.

We need to check her zinc level. If she has food intolerances, her zinc will be depleted. And she will be irritable, tired, anxious, etc. 

Mid-November:   He started her on Relax Max, multivitamin, fish oil, probiotics, dairy and gluten 
                             free diet and ordered 7 blood tests

December 1st, Lab results:

Zinc deficiency
Ferritin deficiency
One of the most clear cut blood tests for food intolerances he has ever seen: gluten, dairy, soy, eggs

Started egg, soy, dairy, gluten free diet for six months.
Zinc supplements.
Iron supplements.

28 days later: A clear tongue with some very small cracks and a few raised taste buds. Her tongue is healing big time.

Anxiety levels down, but still above normal.
Hyperactivity about the same, but able to self regulate and calm down better.
Irritability way down.
Happiness up.
Way less crying.
Way less tantrums.
Itchy skin lots better.
Dry skin a thing of the past.

The diet has been pretty difficult. Most restaurants use soy bean oil we are finding out. Breakfast is the hardest to figure out since eggs are out. She is eating a lot of rice, rice milk, gluten free crackers, chips, etc made with rice. Any baking I do with gluten free flour is rice-based. I'm a little nervous she will develop an intolerance to rice so I am trying to substitute other things but she is not a meat or vegetable lover and I have my own issues with meat as well. I don't think we should kill animals if we don't need to! I'm not really an animal lover, I just have a hard time with it.

We have found corn can be a problem if she eats too much so we limit that to twice a week at the most. Corn syrup is in just about every processed food. She has been drinking a lot of juice because it masks the taste of the iron, which is in a liquid suspension. They went years without drinking juice except for fresh squeezed OJ. 

But it is all worth it!!!! She is doing so well and hasn't even started occupational therapy. We are excited about learning ways to help her seek stimulation in appropriate ways!

Why am I putting this in the family album? First and foremost, Mia will probably have to be dairy and gluten free for all of her childhood. And she will ask why. And I will show her this post. And she probably will still not like it. And neither will I. But it is what it is. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade with high fructose corn syrup, or meringue or lemon cake. Make a little lemonade with plain old sugar and then relax and drink it all up because it's gluten, soy, dairy, egg and corn free!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas 2015

Becky and Arek came over before dinner on Christmas Eve and we exchanged gifts. Oliver messed his clothes so he attended with just a diaper on, but oh so sweet.

Christmas morning is so fun with little kids! Santa left Anna a new scooter. She was so excited that it didn't have "training wheels". Her old scooter had two wheels in the back.

Mia has been asking for a skateboard for three years now. I hope this wasn't a BIG mistake. We are making our little daredevil wear knee pads, elbow pads and a helmet when she uses it.

We did not spend much on them at all this Christmas and they were just as happy! The Furbies are driving us cRaZy!!  They have no off button!

Beth's mom-in-law, Roberta, sent them gifts.

Dan's secretary also gave them some little Anna and Elsa dolls. 

I had to get them a Cootie game after seeing it at the Toys From the 60's exhibit at the museum. I have wonderful memories of this game.  Mia thinks it's boring but Anna really likes it. We also got them the game, Sorry.

For about an hour we had a little bit of a White Christmas, which was unexpected.

We also had a smaller group than expected. Stel and Bill both had the flu so we were down five people. Becky and family and Greg, Deirdre and their kids were still able to make it. The new horse racing game that Beth sent Dan was a big hit.

Anna stayed in her jammies the whole day as she woke up with a cold. So glad it wasn't the flu!

It was a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Dan's 56th

Last Sunday we celebrated Dan's 56th birthday! His actual birthday is on the 28th, but we will be in La Quinta. He will get to golf on his real birthday with a buddy from work who has a house out there also.

It may not look pretty, but this cake was gluten, soy, dairy, and egg free as the doctor has ordered for Mia. And it actually tasted pretty good.

There are always helpers around here on birthdays! 

Really, I get to eat cake? Really?

Happy Birthday to a great guy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


We have had a lot of snow this year so far. I think we have had more than all of last year. So when God gives you snow...go sledding!

There is a small hill at the park near us. They are probably going to want a bigger hill soon. But it works for now!

We had lunch when we got back and Mia read the newspaper, seriously.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Busy Thursday

We had a busy day last Thursday. First we did school in the morning. Then I spent about an hour preparing treats for the girls to take to an Elf party and dinner to eat in the car. Mia is on a gluten, dairy, soy, and egg free diet right now so we could not eat most of the food at the party. But we are very pleased with our new pediatrician and we think we are finally seeing some results!

I only took one picture, which was bad, shocker, so I dragged these off the blog of the woman who threw the party. If you read my blog, Liese, thanks!

The timing was perfect. As soon as the movie was finished we headed out to help with Operation Santa Claus.  It was frigid outside, never getting out of the teens all day.

We wrapped our gifts.

Then we swing the car by the back of the grocery store where they load it up with six boxes of food. We then had the privilege of dropping the gifts and groceries off in person at the home of a needy family!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Holiday Stuff

I have not been taking a ton of pictures lately but I do have a few from events I want to remember.

Some days I get a little extra time to get things done as Mia reads to Anna when they wake up.

At Friday school this year Mia has a music class. Last Friday they gave a holiday performance.

Mia had been nervous for weeks leading up to this. It's a little strange. Mia will walk up to a group of strangers at the park and just start talking to them but she gets nervous about performing. Anna, on the other hand, does not talk to any strangers but loved getting up for her Thanksgiving performance and was the loudest one in the group. 

Later Mia said she wasn't nervous once she realized, "It wouldn't have been very good without her singing." Confidence is a good thing.

Last Sunday we went to the Face to Face Christmas party. Guess who was there with his new haircut?

This group of Star Wars characters is so generous to come to every event.

Poor Anna talked and talked about her friend from the picnic in August and then when she saw her she wouldn't say a thing to her.  I remember being exactly like that! Her little friend has a bilateral cleft and is from the same province in China as Anna is.

Here is another cutie with a bilateral cleft.

I think I recognize him!

Please take a picture of me in front of the game I cheated at won!

The whole group! Oil was eating and you can barely see Maks behind another kiddo.