Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Luke's Teeth

Luke is almost 9 months old and doesn't have a tooth in his head.

But, he wishes he does...

This morning, Asher and I were brushing our teeth, and Luke started screaming and crying. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, so to keep him occupied, I gave him an extra toothbrush. He quieted right down. I guess he wants to get a jump start on tooth decay.

My mom says that Luke has realized that you have to earn teeth. If you can't prove that you can take care of them, you don't get any.

He's also decided that he's done with baby food. I guess if you're old enough to brush your teeth, er, gums, you don't have to eat baby food.

This means that while I try to cut up our dinner into small enough bites, there's often a lot of choking and gagging, and well, sometimes, some throw-up due to my inability to get every bite small enough.

I keep looking for those teeth, but since I'm nursing, I'm not all that sad that they haven't come yet.

And, if any of my students have found this blog, please note that this is not an APA style college-level paper. So, it's ok that I'm using 2nd person and contractions all over the place.

Asher Hearts Tom Train

Asher loves Thomas the Tank Engine, or as he's known around these parts, "Tom Train."

We went to the railroad park for a fun family party on Saturday. Asher screamed and yelled until he got to ride "Tom Train."

And, then, he screamed and yelled as we carried him to the car. Charming...

Fortunately, my cousin got a picture of Asher on the train, and emailed it to us (thanks, Ale!). Every day, Asher will run to my computer and say, "Mom, watch Asher train."

Then, he'll look at the picture of him on the train in silence for a solid five minutes. Remembering those good times, long, long ago...

It's strang to see how Tom Train has permeated every corner of this house. Right now, Asher is wearing Tom Train pajamas, holding a Tom Train, and watching a Tom Train DVD.

We made a deal that he had to have a bath before watching Tom Train tonight (and in case you're wondering, yes, we washed him with Tom Train soap). For the first time ever, Asher handed Nate the washcloth and said, "Dad, go faster."

Friday, November 2, 2007

Happy Halloween (or the night our camera gave up the ghost)

This is the only picture we have of Luke and Asher in costume together (and this is the only picture we have of Luke as a hot dog). After this picture, our camera died.

Fortunately, my sister, Rachel, sent us a picture of Asher (aka Woody) and Evan (aka Buzz), so you can the theme we had going. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a costume for Luke that worked. Nate suggested Luke go as Jessie (the cowgirl from Toy Story 2), but Disney doesn't make a costume that little and well, Luke is a boy.

Yesterday, I thought, "Oh, he could have gone as the silly dinosaur." 1 day too late. Sigh...

Still, I think Luke makes a cute, if slightly traumatized, hot dog.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis on the Today Show

The family featured is from the UK, where they call the disorder, Eosinophilic Enteropathy. I'm always interested in hearing a "big kid" with the disorder because most of the patients I know are under 5.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Caillou's mommy and daddy and hummus

Just wanted to post a quick update (actually, I'm sick of grading papers right now)...

The boys are doing well despite me farming them out to anyone who even says, "well...maybe I could watch them for a bit," as I try to keep on top of everything I took on this semester. As I got each new too-good-to-pass-up-opportunity, I kept thinking, "This is probably a bad idea..."

Asher may be a little mad at me since I haven't been as available. He talks a lot about his new favorite parents, Caillou's mommy and daddy. Anyone (grandparents, friends, nursery leaders)hear about them. Now, Asher's speech isn't always super clear, so it usually sounds like, "Caillou's mommy and daddy mumble mumble orange juice." Or, "Caillou's mommy and daddy mumble zoo mumble moose mumble mumble."

I can't really blame him. I've never seen Caillou's mommy yell or not have dinner ready or refuse to take him to Grammy's house. She's a pretty rockstar mom from what I've seen.

And, Nate would like to point out that Caillou's daddy apparently doesn't have a job and stays home to play with Caillou all day.

I guess we should just be glad that Caillou and his parents are cartoon characters. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure Asher would find a way to take a bus to Canada.

Luke did his first real crawl last night. He was so pleased with himself; he just laughed and laughed.

The solids are coming along well for Luke, too. We were out at playgroup on Thursday at Arizona Mills. I brought hummus and pita bread for Asher and me, squash, applesauce and rice cereal for Luke. Luke ate all of his and was still starving. All I had was hummus, he's still pretty new to solids, and I thought with all the garlic and lemon, he probably wouldn't like it. I was wrong. He loved it. Now if we could just convince Nate to love hummus like the rest of us...

Ok, really, I better go grade papers...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

BINGO night!

Saturday, Oct 20th, 6-9pm
Red Mountain Multigenerational Center in Mesa
(on Power Road and University)

Asher's eosinophilic disorders support group is going to do a Bingo night. It costs $5 per person (ages 3 and up). There will be prizes for every winning Bingo card. It should be fun, and the money we raise will all go directly to medical research for this disorder.

Some days, I think, "How involved do I need to be in this? Asher is doing well. Frankly, he's got enough foods he can eat now that his diet is nice and varied--we even have a few fast food resturants."

But, there are lots and lots of kids who aren't doing as well as Asher. Kids who sit and eat ice chips while the rest of their family eats dinner. Families who sneak their meals while their toddlers play because the toddler still doesn't get that he or she can't eat what every one else does. Think of all the social events we go to where food is the focal point of the gathering...

I still remember a post from my Yahoo groups over a year ago when the topic was "Helping your kid through a hard day." One mom wrote, Sometimes, when my daughter is throwing up and sad that she only gets her formula, she turns to me and says, 'Mom, do you think Dr. Putnam (the current expert on this disease) is working with those rats right now to make me better?'

Even if it's 1 am, her mom always answers, "I bet he is.

Ok, off my soapbox...come enjoy a night of Bingo! We will!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Luke: 5 months old!

I haven't written much about Luke on the blog, which I feel bad about, so I thought I'd do a little introduction.

Luke is already 5 months old! He has many interests, like screeching at the top of his lungs when he's happy. Nate says we should pinch him every time he does so he stops, but I think that's mean. He's just trying to express his happiness.

Luke is a delight. He'll smile at anyone and show his cute dimple! And, he likes to laugh and laugh, which quickly turns into the screech described above.

I'm afraid thus far, he's about 90% Clyde, 10% Curtis. He's got my white, white skin, our family's dimple, and looks like a combination of my brother, David and my sister, Sarah when they were babies.

He loves his walker. I know, kids aren't supposed to be in walkers, but exersaucers entertain my kids for about 5 minutes. It's much more fun to run over Mom's feet and bang into her shins!

Luke has just started to enjoy his brother this past month. Asher can make him laugh and lets Luke pull his hair and grab his face.

And, best of all, Luke is a sleeper. Asher still doesn't sleep through the night, but Luke will go down at 7 pm and wake up cooing around 5 am, gets a little snack and sleeps until 7 am (assuming Asher isn't too noisy).

We love Luke (aka Yuke)!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Superheroes to the Rescue

Asher and his cousin, Evan, were being superheroes last week. Evan taught Asher a thing or two about proper superhero attire and proper superhero posing. I guess Evan was a kind of Super Cowboy, and Asher was, well, Asher was Super Leftover Guy (he got all the leftovers of our extensive dress-up collection).

Friday, June 29, 2007

I'm Stuck in the 1990's

Since I know most people come to the blog for pictures of the boys...

I post on another blog far more frequently than this one because I work with a fabulous group of Mormon feminists and have scheduled days to post. Usually, I try to write something high-minded for that blog, but I opened my Word doc to post this morning to find only about 1/3 of what I wrote had saved. So, I posted this instead.

Friday, June 8, 2007

New Pictures of the Boys

Here's some pictures of the boys...the first one is of Luke in the only part of Nate's blessing outfit he could fit into and another one of Luke looking puzzled.

There's a picture of the boys enjoying some Baby Einstein, Asher in an outfit he picked out for himself (a football jersey, no pants, shoes and socks), and one of Asher being silly. Enjoy!

And, finally, a video: Asher loves gum, and he found some boullion that was wrapped in a foil wrapper that made it look like gum. I thought I'd be taking a video of him eating it and making a funny face, but instead, this video turned out to be a much rarer moment captured on tape--Asher actually listens to me and decides not to eat it.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Joys of YouTube

Uncle Tom has gotten Asher and I addicted to YouTube. Where else can I find Muppet and Sesame Street classics?

Here are some of Asher's favorites:
Mahnahmuhnah-I guess newborns really do absorb some of the world around them. I used to sing this to Asher all the time when he was in the NICU. I tried to sing something more touching or spiritual like hymns or lullabies, but I would start to cry. I didn't need to know the words to this song, and it made me feel better. And, now, Asher will walk around the house wanting to do a duet with me for this song. (Nate prefers this version.)

Swedish Chef making cake
Ernie catching fish

Not really classics but Asher loves them:

Elmo and the Goo Goo Dolls
Elmo and Andrea Bocelli
Do De Rubber Duck

This is one of my favorites.

Enjoy! (I'm sure we'll be finding more to post soon...)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Final Video Clips for Eosinophil Awareness Week

Just wanted to finish the week with two video clips

If you go to this website and go to the side bar on the right, there's a link called "View Just a Glimpse Video." (Warning: it makes me cry every time I watch it)

And, here's a video about a girl from Kansas who was selected to go to Capitol Hill as a patient with an eosinophil disease. Most of the kids in Phoenix who have this disease are Asher's age, so I was curious to hear what a kid who can talk would say.

I'm glad I did this whole week of blogging. It was helpful for me to realize that I'm not all that incompetent when it comes to this disease. It seems I've have learned a thing or two after all! Thanks for reading this week!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Food Items that help me

Missing our favorite dinners was a big concern to me when Asher was first diagnosed with food allergies. I've learned a thing or two about cooking without the "Big 8" allergens (90% of all food allergies are: dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, and fish).

I've found a lot of foods can be just as tasty if a. you're only substituting one or two ingredients and b. said ingredient is not a major component of the recipe, which means there's just not good way to make macaroni and cheese (unfortunately), but with a little maneuvering, I can make an acceptable chocolate chip cookie with palm shortening or a safe margarine.

Spectrum palm shortening-This is the only soy-free vegetable shortening I've found. I prefer it to coconut oil (another good shortening/butter substitute) because coconut oil can flavor the dish more than I like.

Mother’s margarine-I ration this stuff very carefully (I have 12 tubs in my freezer) because it's the only absolutely safe margarine I've found--many margarines say they may contain soy oil; this one promises not to because it's made to be safe for Passover, and thus, it is only available at kosher grocers around Passover, which is usually in April or late March.

Chocolate rice milk-Asher doesn't drink much besides his amino-acid formula, but now that I've had to go dairy-free for Luke, I've found this to be the best alternative. Original soy and rice milk is sometimes too sweet for me, and I don't like rice or soy aftertaste. I like the rice chocolate milk; I think the chocolate flavor takes away some of the "riceyness."

Enjoy life cookies and granola bars-While their items, truthfully, taste a little funky, I buy them because they save me from having to make treats for Asher from scratch, and he likes having stuff come out of a package like other kids in nursery.

These are foods I would buy even if we didn't have to deal with allergies:
Costco fruit snacks-always a handy snack/bribe when we're out and about.

Costco guacamole-dairy-free! Asher and I eat this every day for lunch on chips or in a bean burrito.

Horseradish-Now that I can't have cheese on my sandwiches, I sometimes put soy cream cheese in place of the cheese, but I don't like the taste of the soy cream cheese--I just like the fat, I guess :). So, I put horseradish on with it to cut the soy taste when I have a roast beef sandwich.

Advocado-Another handy "creamy" ingredient, which tastes better than the soy cream cheese/horseradish combination on turkey and chicken sandwiches.

Bacon-My salad consumption has gone way down since going off daiy. I think I usually used salads as an excuse to have goat or feta cheese. Now, I try and put bacon, advocado, and nuts on to make up for my lost cheese.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Asher's Turkey Nuggets

I’m not very good at creating recipes, but here’s my first attempt since I wanted Asher to have something when other people are eating chicken nuggets. I think these nuggets are quite tasty in a salad.

Turkey Nuggets

1/4 cup all-purpose flour*
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs**
1 t garlic powder
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
3/4 pound skinless, boneless turkey breast or fillet, cut into thin strips
1/2 c original rice milk
2 T-4 T canola oil

Combine first six ingredients in a shallow dish, and set aside. Combine the turkey and rice milk in plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Remove turkey and discard marinade. Heat oil in nonstick skillet. Dredge turkey strips a few at a time in breadcrumb mixture, tossing to coat. Add turkey to pan, and cook 3 minutes on each side or until done.

*Rice flour or chickpea flour would work well if dealing with a wheat allergy
**Wheat-free bread crumbs would work here

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Eating Out With Multiple Food Allergies

Asher at 18 months

Asher at 18 months old after a visit to Phoenix Children's Hospital Emergency Room. This is what happened to Asher after we went out to dinner and gave him some food we thought was safe but didn't ask to confirm. (This is also after Asher was treated at PCH--his mom and dad were too freaked out about how he looked to take a picture before treatment.)

The second picture is why Wendy’s and In-and-Out Burgers will always have a special place in my heart.

In-and-Out is special because it is the first restaurant I found that made one thing that Asher could eat: French fries cooked in canola oil.* When Asher’s diet was much more restricted, we were grateful to have one place we could go when I needed a night off of cooking. Nate and I would get cheeseburgers, and we’d bring Asher some turkey, a banana and with those French fries, he had a pretty complete meal.

Wendy’s is special because it is everywhere, and it is the only fast food restaurant that has a complete meal that I can order for Asher with complete confidence: a kid’s meal with a fruit cup instead of French fries (which are cooked in the same oil as chicken). I was so excited to order that for him the first time. I thought, “Now, he won’t feel bad when all the rest of his friends are eating fast food at the next playgroup!”

Other restaurants have been helpful; the Biltmore’s Bamboo Club was the best—the chef made Asher a special version of orange beef!

Here’s what I’ve learned about eating out when dealing with multiple food allergies:
1. Go at off-hours when the staff have more time to accommodate you. If we go to lunch or dinner at the time everyone else goes for lunch and dinner, I just pack Asher’s food. Sometimes, waiters don’t have the time to run back and forth checking with us, then the chef, then us.
2. Research on the Internet. If the restaurant has a website, rarely they’ll list allergens. That’s always great, but even if they don’t list allergens, I like to look at the menu online. This gives me an idea of what Asher might be able to eat.
3. When I find some items that Asher might be able to eat, I call the restaurant (again during off-hours) and ask to speak to the manager. The managers I’ve spoken with are always nice and find out the ingredients for me so I can figure out what Asher can eat.
4. Not to be picky, but well, I have to be as seen by the above pictures…when a waiter is impatient with my request or does not know the answers to my questions and refuses to ask the chef, I pull out Asher’s back-up meal. This behavior on the part of the waiter signals to me that he or she does not get what I’m saying and a mistake is much more likely. I figure it’s better to be safe than have Asher accidentally get something he’s allergic to, which could lead to an Epi-Pen injection ($70), a dose of Bendryl, and a trip to PCH’s Emergency Room ($100 co-pay, 5-6 hours).
5. Write thank you notes. When we have a helpful waiter/manager/chef, I tip generously and write a thank you note. It's hard to accomodate us, and I want to make sure that they know that I appreciate their help (and hope they'll continue to do so with other food-allergic people).

*I’m not sure if all In-and-Outs cook their French fries in pure canola oil. Check yours before ordering if allergic to soy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

National Eosinophil Awareness week is official!

Today, Rep John B. Larson (CT), who first brought the Resolution for a National Eosinophilic Awareness week to the House of Representatives, gave a short speech (look on the right bar for the link to hear the speech) about the need to this week before the Resolution was voted on.

I love that he talked about Congress' responsibility to get funding for research for this disease...makes me wish I had a congressperson like that!

Monday, May 14, 2007

My favorite allergy websites

For Eosinophilic diseases' and food allergy information:

American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED)-this is the website I refer to anyone if they're interested in finding out more about what Asher is dealing with. It has good medical explanations without a lot of jargon.

Campaign Urging Research for Eosinophilic Disease (CURED)-another good website about Eosinophilic diseases.

Kids with Food Allergies-I love this website! It has the best variety of recipes for people with multiple allergies and message boards with topics on just about any question I've thought of!

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network-a great website also with a recipe section and information about how to get politically active that I find helpful.

For recipes: because I can't use dairy and soy in my cooking, I often search the web for "Asher-safe" meals. (When he was first diagnosed, I felt so limited by his restrictions. I could only think of one dinner that was safe, so he got turkey bacon, fried potatoes with onions, and a fruit for dinner every night for a week.) While I like some of the recipes on allergy websites, sometimes, they've tried to substitute too many things or they just don't sound appetizing to me. So, I prefer to stick with regular recipe websites and find stuff on my own, except for the first listing...

The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook: I cried the first time I opened Cybele's cookbook. It was the first allergy cookbook I found that had dishes that sounded good--food allergies or no. Finally, we could all eat the same thing for dinner! I've loved every lunch and dinner dish of her's that I've tried. I check her blog occasionally to see if she's got a new recipe on there or a review on a new allergy food.

Food Network: I LOVE Food Network's website. I use it weekly. My only complain is that you it doesn't have an "exclude food" option like so many recipe websites do. I often check to see what programs have been on lately, and if the recipes sound good or like they might be Asher safe, I check them out. I've had excellent luck with Giada De Laurentiis' recipes. I was thrilled when she made this artichoke pesto (I miss pesto); I substituted roasted pumpkin seeds for the walnuts she used, and left out the Parmesan cheese. It's quite delicious!

Epicurious: has recipes from Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines with the lovely feature of excluding certain ingredients. I find it helpful to read the comments people leave about changes to the recipe and of course, to find out if they think its any good.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

National Eosinophilic Awareness Week

I had a nice Mother's Day this year. I got earrings from the little boys and a microplane from Nate. But, the best present I got was the news that the support group for Asher's disease had gotten enough congresspersons to pass a National Eosinophil Awareness Week.

Most of us know how histamines are related to allergies and how miserable they can make life. But, a few years ago, doctors learned that histamines can trigger the production of eosinophils in some types of allergic reactions. Eosinophils are white blood cells in the immune system.

Oftentimes, people with food allergies eat something they are allergic to and histamines are triggered, creating symptoms like itchy throat, rashes, or an analphalytic reaction, to name a few. Less commonly, the reaction continues, and eosinophils come to the scene of the reaction. They create other symptoms that a histamine allergic reaction can also show like vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty swallowing. This is what happens to Asher and lots of other people. (Click here if you want a really good explanation of eosinophils and Eosinophilic diseases.)

Asher was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis last May (almost a year ago today in fact). It was a hard diagnosis because many patients with EG cannot eat any food. Can you imagine not eating? Worse yet, can you imagine not being able to feed your kids? For a while, we weren't sure if this is what would happen to Asher.

But, Asher is lucky. He has a mild form of Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis. He is only allergic to dairy, soy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, and fish. Lots of these kids are allergic to ALL food. These kids throw up when they try to eat anything. They have feeding tubes. They can't gain weight, and they're smaller than they should be.

I'm lucky, too. We have a great Phoenix support group, AZ-APFED, and our online support group have been great resources. I meet amazing moms in these groups: moms who fight insurance companies, moms who create recipes out of the two or three "safe" foods their kids can eat, moms who stop eating the foods their kids are allergic to so that their kids can continue to be breastfed.

Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis is still a "new" disease, so these support groups are important for getting people together to figure out how to spread awareness in the medical community, how to get insurance companies to cover amino-acid formulas and supplies, or how to entertain your child who can't eat while everyone else sits down to Thanksgiving dinner.

No one knows this disease's long-term impact, why so many more people are showing these symptoms, or how likely remission is for those who have it, which is why getting this National Eosinophil Awareness week is an important first step for our little group.

In honor of this week, I'm going to post something every day that I've learned as a mom dealing with this disease.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Belated Easter pictures

Better late than never!

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Worst Allergy

With Asher being allergic to so many things, sometimes, I fantasize about what he'll outgrown, or when I'm frustrated or bored by our limited menu, I focus on all the good things he can still eat.

I have come to the conclusion that there are 4 foods that are difficult for me to live without:

Corn: While I do love some fresh corn on the cob, that's not the thing I miss. The culprit is corn syrup; it's in everything! For a little bit, the allergist suspected Asher was allergic to corn. That month, potatoes were our only starch (wheat and rice were suspected allergens, too), turkey was our only "safe" meat, and a lot of fruits and vegetable (well, except for corn and peas). We couldn't eat processed foods like chips or cereal because they usually had corn syrup in them, and even if they didn't, they often were made at facilities that made other products with corn syrup. Ugh...my sympathies go to those who have corn allergies!

Soy: Soy is in lots of stuff too. Perhaps it's a cheap filler?

Now, I have to admit that corn and soy are not foods I eat daily in their "raw" state--they're great flavor enhancers, but they don't flavors, textures, smells, I love.

So, here are my other tough foods:
Dairy: It has been thirty days since I last had a glass of milk, a piece of cheese, a cup of yogurt. Two weeks after Luke was born, I was fed up with how much this kid cried and pooped. We were going through 20+ diapers a day, he was always crying, and he had the most horrendous diaper rash despite 4 different types of diaper rash creams, one perscription cream, and just letting him air dry 10+ hours a day (we did a lot of laundry those weeks!). With Asher's dairy allergy, and some other family members' sensitivity to dairy

Chocolate: I don't think I need to explain this one :)

Thursday, April 26, 2007


After long hours trying to figure out how to login to the blog site I finally get to see what my family looks like online.
Above are some pictures from Peru. I paid my dues to Peruvian cuisine.
1. Macchu Picchu at sunrise from the terraces
2. Guardhouse watching the Inca Trail approach to Macchu Picchu
3. Cusco monistary built on top of Incan temples
4. Cusco Plaza De Armes at night
I will post more on Kodak for anyone who is interested.

Luke's photo shoot

ok, a 4 week old isn't very photogenic, but here are some of Luke looking less vacuous than usual

Who's smarter?

the toddler or the dog?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

US House Resolution 296

Some of you may know that Asher was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis (more information about this disease is at www.apfed.org). This week, patients and their families are contacting our US representatives to try and get a bill passed (House Resolution 296) that will create a National Eosinophil Awareness week in May, which is the first step in increasing education and getting funding for eosinophilic diseases. This is the letter I sent to my congressman. If you feel so inclined, we'd love for others to call, email or write their representatives for support for this bill.

Dear Congressman Shadegg:

As the wife of a small business employee and the mother of a chronically-ill child, I was glad to see your work on making health care more affordable and easily accessible to small businesses and individuals last year.

Because of your background in health care reform and your position on the Health subcommittee, I am writing to urge you to co-sponsor House Resolution 296: Supporting the goals and ideals of National Eosinophil Awareness Week, and for other purposes, which is currently sponsored by John B. Larson of Connecticut.

Not much is known about eosinophilic diseases, and I am hoping that having a National Eosinophil Awareness week will help educate and raise awareness about these diseases. Currently, 50,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with an eosinophilic disease. Our two-year old son, Asher is one of them. He was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis at the end of May 2006. This disease means that he has allergic reactions to certain foods that cause a flood of allergic cells, called eosinophils, to attack his entire digestive system.

We consider ourselves lucky. Asher was diagnosed relatively quickly, can eat a fairly varied diet, and we can afford to pay for his amino acid formula that our health insurance is currently refusing to cover. However, some families go for years with children that are chronically ill and underweight. Some diagnosed families struggle to pay for formula that can cost about $800 a month.

This is why I’m hoping that you will co-sponsor this resolution. Thousands of eosinophilic families deal with expensive amino acid formulas, restricted diets (or they cannot eat anything because of their disease), and uninformed healthcare providers. By passing this resolution, we’ll be able to raise awareness so that people who have not been diagnosed can be to get the care that they need, and we can work towards finding a cure for this disease.

As a mother who researches and studies every day to find ways to make life easier for my son, I am committed to helping him and other families that suffer from this affliction. I would be happy to help you with this important work in any way that I can.

Best Wishes,

Emily Clyde Curtis
Phoenix, Arizona

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Who do you love?

This week, Asher has decided that he should hold Luke like the rest of the family. After Asher had snuggled with Luke for a bit, we had the following conversation:

Emily: Oh, Asher, do you love Luke?
Asher: No.
Emily: (a bit surprised) Hmmm, well, do you love Mom?
Asher: No.
Emily: Ok, do you love Dad?
Asher: No.
Emily: Do you love Elmo?
Asher: (smiles and laughs--of course, who doesn't love Elmo?)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Luke's pictures

Well, we finally broke down and bought a new cable for the camera...

Here are a couple of pictures of Luke and me right after he was born

Grandma Mary and Uncle Dave should be very happy to see that Luke is a member of our family's very exclusive "dimple club:"

Here are the boys at the hospital the day after Luke was born. And, if you'd like to see Asher's first interaction with Luke, click here and mention to Nate that he really should be the one to film these mini movies—he’s much better at it than I am.

After a little over a week at home, Asher has decided that he just loves Luke. He tries to snuggle with him all the time. This has led to Luke making faces like this one whenever he hears Asher's voice.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Luke Thoreau Clyde Curtis has arrived!

We're happy to announce Luke's arrival--one week before his due date (I still feel like I won the lottery! As anyone who has seen me in the past month can tell you, I don't do that ninth month of pregnancy cheerfully or gracefully).

Should you care for the birth details: Monday morning around 5 am, I woke up to find my water broke, but I wasn't having any contractions. By 6, we were told to head to the hospital anyway. Unfortunately, Nate and I weren't the only ones who thought this baby wasn't coming early. Our planned Asher-watchers were all out of town (Starr and Judy in Las Vegas, Rachel and Evan at Disneyland).

But, Sharona and Dad saved the day, taking Asher for the morning. Then, Uncle Tom took off from school at lunch to watch Asher until Mom got done with work at 3. Hooray for accommodating family members!

Contractions started around 6 am. By 2 pm, I was 1 cm and 20% effaced, so we started pitocin. Having heard from friends that pitocin contractions are no fun (and frankly, the regular contractions were starting to get difficult to handle, too), I asked for an epidural. I have loved epidurals since having one for my colectomy, but now, I know why women love the anesthesiologist who gives it. I had a resident try 3 times to give me an epidural for Asher. After her third attempt, I figured I should just try to get through labor on my own (misplacing an epidural hurts worse than the majority of contractions I’ve felt). But, the Good Sam anesthesiologist did it so fast that I felt him taping things in place. I said, "Wait, you're done?!"

Another plus was the lovely anti-nausea medication I got. I threw up 6-8 times during labor with Asher. So, around noon when I started to feel nauseous with Luke, I told Nate to ask the nurse for a bucket. She rushed in and said, "Oh, no, why don't we just give you some Zofran?"

We continued to wait for the pitocin to do its job until about 6:30pm when I told Nate and the nurse they probably wanted to get the doctor right now. All of the sudden, I felt like if I sneezed Luke would drop out, which is pretty much what he did. Nate says I pushed for 20 minutes--I think it was closer to 10 or 15.

Nate and I were then pleasantly surprised to find out that some babies cry and are quite responsive when they're born. So, the nurse doesn't take them from you right away, and the room doesn't get uncomfortably silent.

My advice is that if you have to have one kid born with problems (like being unresponsive or having seizures), do it with your first one when you just don't know any better.

Now, we're home with Luke, and I feel like I'm a bit in uncharted territory--I haven't nursed a baby this young before or had one this alert (Asher was almost 2 weeks old when we got him home.). He's healthy and pretty content, but his face scrunches up into one of displeasure when his older brother comes around--you may have met his brother, he's awfully noisy and believes that Luke's primary purpose is to show where eyes, nose, mouth, and ears are.

Asher has done something very clever with our camera cable, so we still aren’t able to download pictures, but we'll find it sooner or later.

Monday, March 12, 2007

No news is good news (or bad)

Saturday was Asher's second birthday. And, what did we do? We spent most of the day at Phoenix Children's Hospital's Emergency Department. Apparently, Asher has learned how to:

a. open the childproof doorknob
b. use a footstool, cabinet handles, and his little monkey feet to climb into the bathroom sink
c. open a childproof bottle of Excedrin

While we were 95% sure that Asher didn't actually eat any of the Excedrin, the 5% started making me see images of either a dead Asher or Asher's dead liver. Either way, I finally decided we had to go. After a couple hours of waiting to take the blood test and a couple hours of waiting for the results of the blood test, we found out that Asher hadn't so much as licked an Excedrin. So, I must admit to everyone: Nate was right.

The bad news is that there are no signs of impending labor, and I remain very pregnant. Phoenix's record highs (yesterday was 96 degrees) and my rather large size have made me a not-so-fun person.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Yard Work Helper

Here's Asher and Nate working on digging out one of our backyard trees this week.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Inspired by family members and friends, I have been trying get our own blog up and running. I had the brilliant idea to get it together in place of a Christmas letter, then, in place of a New Year's letter, then, in place of a Valentine's Day letter. The other day, I realized I'm probably out of respectable holidays to try and substitute for Christmas. And, the one other reason I had to post this blog is coming very soon (3 weeks, 5 days for the exact due date).

In case you're interested on what happened to us in the past year, here's the text from our still incomplete Christmas 2006 card (we'll save the fancy graphics in hopes that 2007's card will actually get done):

In 2006, we experienced a lot of small miracles:
We found out Asher will have a brother in March 2007 (they could even share the same birthday)
Asher’s allergy disorder appears to be well under control and we’ve started food trials.
Nate got a job that rarely forces him to leave town
Nate completed a home improvement project in record time (his new movie theatre room)
Emily started teaching piano lessons (& her students seem to be learning!)
Emily found a way to stay with her Mormon feminist group by blogging (http://www.exponentblog.blogspot.com)
We all survived our first summer back in Arizona without anyone getting heat stroke or a serious sunburn.
And…we found a house we love and plan on not moving again for a long time!

Wishing you a year of miracles in 2007!

Emily, Nathaniel, and Asher Curtis