Friday, October 22, 2010


When William was just shy of a  one year and half, he had his first reaction to nuts. Within several months of that he had his first reaction to chocolate.  I was typical fist mother and did not give my precious child sugar, so he was nearly two before he had chocolate. Much to my surprise, he immediately spitted it out. I just looked at him like he was crazy, but it was CHOCOLATE!!! Then I saw his lips and tongue and knew: this was a sign that life was not going to be normal.

In the years since we have asked lots of questions to any one giving food to the children (they all have food allergies)  and have read tons of food labels.  Many times the kids have been not been able to have birthday cake in celebration of a friend's birthday.  Thankfully, all my kids just take it in stride and don't get upset.  They all have a healthy fear of being sick.

But even reading labels and asking questions has not prevented reactions.  Two years ago we asked all the right questions and still ended up spending the evening in the hospital. (You can read about that night here.)

Through all these years, one thing has remained constant: uncertainty.  You see, while I have no doubt that William is allergic to chocolate, I'm not sure about the other two.  All three have had reactions to nuts and peanuts, but we have also never given Melissa and Ben chocolate. I just didn't want to take the chance without a doctor near by.  Having a doctor near by is doing what is called a food challenge.

Not an easy thing to get a doctor to do.  None want to be responsible for a reaction.  Can't say I blame them.  (One doctor was willing but at the time Drew was deployed to Iraq for a year and I was at the point of doing only what was absolutely required in feeding, cleaning, and clothing my children. All else was pushed to the side...being happily married but a single mother is the pits! And all the military wives said AMEN!)

Since we have been back in the States, we have been able to see an allergist. He is willing to do a food challenge on the chocolate based on the uncertainty of the test we have done so far. But the kids are at an age where I feel they need to have a say in their health and health-care.  I won't force them. After all, it could be an intense exhausting day if they do have a reaction.

They have one more week to decide. Not sure what it'll be....all are still on the fence. I would like to know....and I have started to think about where I should I hide my chocolate..just in case....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dress Code

I'm quite perplexed about dress codes.  In Guam the schools enforced a dress code during the 2nd semester we were there. Over all it wasn't too bad: khaki bottoms, navy or white pull over/polo shirts.  I did have several problems with the uniforms, though.

I never had an issue with my kids and clothes. I had one rule: only one piece of clothing can have a pattern - either the shirt or the bottom - not both! If there was a piece of clothing I didn't want the kids to wear any longer, it would just disappear in the laundry...never to be seen by my child again. I know friends who have had many trials over clothing with their children and I count myself as blessed.

I, also, couldn't understand why the uniform committee picked the colors that it did. Navy? Hello! Guam is a tropical island where ALWAYS near 90 degrees at recess time. And white? On little boys?? Not even Oxy-clean can clean some stains.

Also, the students didn't have to tuck in their shirts nor wear the right size pants. God gave us hips to our pants up - we should use them! And belts. What a great invention.

This school district seems to have a better handle on school uniforms.  There's a few more choices in colors, but the students are required to tuck in the shirts, wear a belt, and (Thank you!!) wear the correct size in pants!! No more seeing a boy's underwear!

Both school districts also have  dress code for the teachers.  What I found to be unbelievable is the DoDea school in Guam could not enforce the dress code for the teachers.  While the contracts laid one out, due to the teachers' union, it was not enforceable. 

"Uh?" Was pretty much my reaction when I asked one teacher about their dress code.

Several teachers chose to wear clothes that closely matched the kids' uniforms: navy polo's and khaki bottoms.  There was also a handful of teachers that always dressed very nicely: dresses or dress pants, heels even.  One teacher always dressed in black.   I don't think I ever saw her wear any other color....not sure why.

But they also could get away with a t-shirt and jeans or shorts. One of Ben's teachers would wear the uniform one day, a very nice dressy out the next (in which some one would always ask why she was so dressed up) and another day wear flip-flops, a tee, and shorts. That was one aide's out-fit every day: a tee, shorts, and flip-flops. Never saw him in anything else.

Here the teachers also have a dress code. I have yet to see a teacher in jeans except on "jean day"  - which only happens once every few weeks.

I like it - it really does give the school a more professional look.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


For the last several months Drew had been dreaming of long weekend with the federal holiday, Columbus Day.  He had great plans of taking the family to the mountains for some hiking, enjoying the fall colors, and seeing mountains instead of oceans.

But the Bossier Parish Schools throw a wrench in his plans: school was not out. He was off work, but the kids were not. Sort of hard to do a family trip without the family. And then was soccer...of which he is the coach for Ben's team.....

Scratch that plan. On to the next: Drew and I ended up helping to serve a lunch at a soup kithchen our church was helping out with for the week. Then  we went home to finish painting the kids' bedrooms.

Now to this week: for some  very odd reason, the kids were out of school yesterday  - it was called "fall break".   I just find it odd. Very odd.

Last week was a federal holiday - would have been a great opportunity for family fun. Next Monday the state fair will be in town - another time for family fun. But we had the Monday off with nothing going on.

Odd, very odd.

But we did not waste the day.  William had a dentist appointment, then I took the kids to see the movie, Secretariat.  Very good!!! Such a nice family show!

Then we ended the evening with a soccer game.  Deep sigh. Not the best soccer game.  Soccer can be very frustrating! That ball just won't go where the boy's want it to go!  I think several need lessons in physics and angels.

And in no being Christmas trees....that's what the coach yelled at one point: "Quit standing like CHRISTMAS TREES - GO TO THE BALL!"

Friday, October 15, 2010

Up, Up and Away!

Melissa is having the time of her life. She's away for the weekend with her Aunt Margaret and cousin Mary Alyce. They picked her up today at lunch time (Melissa just giddy to not only get out of school early, but to have lunch at our favorite restaurants, Macaroni Grill - so yummy!) to take her for the weekend to spend some time with her grandparents and to see a few hot air balloons.

Every October Natchez host the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race. The city has been hosting the event for at least ten years I think - I remember having baby William at one (he's now 13). 

Hot air balloons are always exciting! Of course, I did have to bring Melissa down to earth as she thought she would actually to ride in one. Maybe one day....just doubt it'll be this weekend!

Monday, October 11, 2010


We now have color on the walls. Yeah. Finally!  We painted all three kids' bedrooms.  We have been talking about it for quite a while. At first we said, NO!!  It was just too hot and we couldn't decide on the colors.  I wanted khaki for Ben's room, but he was not agreeing with that all. He wanted red. Or orange.

I was not agreeing to that at all.

I had once painted with red. Never again.

William had no opinion, and Melissa wanted some wild things, that we totally dismissed.

So. We waited. But in the last few weeks the weather has turned cooler (not cold, after all we're in north Louisisana....and as long as it's not near 100 degrees, it's considered cool) and I have start to think and talk about painting more.

Drew wasn't too agreeable. He really wasn't into painting all! But then, I had a great idea. 

As I was walking Saturday morning, I stopped by and read the fliers on the HOA's bulletin board.  There was one for painting. I told Drew I would call and get a quote.

Apparently, he didn't agree with that. Not long after soccer that after noon, we went to Home Depot and not only bought paint, but also actually painted!! Two days later - done!

YEAH!  Melissa is sporting three light purple walls and one dark purple, Ben has three light blue and one dark blue, and William has all green walls.

Don't tell Drew, but my eyes have now turned to the kitchen......I think a nice bright yellow would look nice....but I'll give him a little while recover from this painting adventure.....

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Shoes & Earrings

The other day Melissa noticed my new black shoes.  They  were just some flats - ballet style - with a row of black sequences.  Of course, anything with sequences she's all over that! She said that she liked them better than her black flats.  She brought them to me  and she was right - they really were very similar to mine - just without the black sequences! I tried her's on and discovered her's were more comfortable than mine. So. We're "sharing".  But I rather wear hers.

On Thursday we celebrated Melissa's twelfth birthday. For her big gift this year, she wanted her ears pierced. Saturday was the big day. She did great. I had already told her that if she cried, screamed, or had any drama AT. ALL. we would leave.  She actually wanted to get them down last year until she found out that no where on Guam did they do both ears at the same time. So, we waited until this year. She really did well. She only jumped and said," OW!! That hurt!"

Of course, on the way back to the house, her thoughts were no longer on the pain, but on the future. Specially, which earrings she would wear. As in which earrings of MINE she would wear. She wanted to "share" my earrings.


I may need to put a pad-lock on my jewelry box.