Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Food Challenge

Just a little background . . .Cora has had a very strange food journey.  It all started when she was 4 months old.  All the sudden wasn't sleeping through the night anymore, so I, in true first-time parent form, called the pediatrician saying, "What the heck?" (It is funny to think back on this because now she rarely sleeps through an entire night).  But the nurse suggested that we try feeding her some rice cereal before bed to help keep her tummy full.  It backfired.  She was up for hours screaming.  About a week later we tried again during the day.  A couple hours after she ate, she started an episode of severe vomiting that landed us in the emergency room because she was lethargic and we couldn't keep her awake.  But by the time we saw the doctor she was totally fine.  He said he didn't know what it could be and suggested that we just follow up with our pediatrician.  She didn't know what to say either except that no one is allergic to rice, so it probably wasn't any sort of allergy.  She suggested that we stop with the rice cereal and move onto fruits and veggies.  So we did, and all was well for the next few months.  And then it happened again when I tried feeding her a banana strawberry oat smoothie jar of baby food.  We went back to the doctor and she said it was time for us to go see a pediatric allergist.

We made the trek to Austin to find out that Cora has a syndrome called FPIES (Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome).   Serious name, not so serious condition.  It is just a reaction to specific foods that usually includes vomiting.  And most kids outgrow it by the age of 3.  We also found out that she did have a "normal" rice allergy as well. She was about 7 months old when we found all of this out.  Her doctor ordered that she avoid ALL grains until she was old enough for a food challenge.  

Well back in October she finally reached that age and we went in for the dreaded process.  The plan was to go to their office early in the morning and feed her rice cereal throughout the day under the doctor's supervision to see how she would react.  She was not allowed to eat or drink anything else all day.  She is addicted to milk so I think that was the part I was most nervous about!  She would also have to have an IV port as a precautionary measure.  

I was SO grateful to have my mom there with me all day to help us out, along with plenty of new toys to keep her distracted!  They started with putting the IV in, which was a disaster.  She apparently has "rolly veins" so they had a really hard time getting it to go in and had to try several different places as she was screaming her head off.  But the nurses were AMAZING and so helpful.  After a while and a lot of blood, they finally got it!  

That was for sure the hardest part.  Next, she received the first feeding of rice cereal.  She HATED it.  She is typically a super slow eater and it has to be HER idea to eat.  But since we were on a strict time schedule with the feedings, she had to eat a certain amount of food in a certain amount of time.  So we had to hold her down and force it down her throat.  But other than that, she was a champ all day!! She played with her new toys . . .

AND took a nap (miracle) . . .

They even had a little TV in the room we were in so she was able to relax and watch some new movies! 

We were there until 5pm and she had NO reaction!! WOOHOO!!!! So after that we were able to start incorporating rice into her diet.  We will have to go back in February to do this all over again with oats to be able to give her any other grains, but the rice is a great start!   

Overall, the food challenge was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be.  Her doctor is amazing and the entire staff was just wonderful!  Their office is in a section of the Dell Children's Hospital complex in Austin.  Spending just 5 minutes in the lobby of their building made me realize how blessed we have been to have such a healthy little girl.  My heart was aching for the other families there that have to deal with serious medical issues on a regular basis.  I need to always remember them in my prayers, especially this holiday season! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Happy Birthday: Eli

Happy birthday to my sweet, sweet sister!!!  The big 2-1!!

It was so much fun to go back and look at all of our pictures!  All the way back to these days . . .

Most of the pictures I have are of you, me, and Casey.  I remember how excited I was to get to know both of you when Michael and I first started dating.  You and Casey already had an awesome thing going, and I was just dying to be a part of it.  It is better than I could have ever imagined.  I can't explain how much I cherish our sisterhood.

Elizabeth has been recently self-diagnosed with "don't want to miss out-itis."  Its serious.  Even though we laugh about it, I really do love this about her.  She is SO in love with her family.  She is dedicated to nurturing her relationship with every single member.  She truly understands the value of family and never takes it for granted.  

Another thing I really love about Eli, or "Ay-Beth" as Cora calls her, is her introspective nature.  She is constantly trying to better herself.  For anyone who knows her, it seems crazy because she is already such an amazing person.  But she is on an un-ending journey to search her soul and most importantly, what God is asking of her.  She has a true awareness that she is created for a specific purpose.

This girl has a great desire for wanting to making other people feel special.  It is often expressed through baking. 

What I admire most about Elizabeth are her unwavering morals.  She stays so strong in what she believes.  I wish we could go back in time so she could teach young me a few lessons.  It is a rarity to know someone who is so pure of heart.    

I hope our little Cora Rose will pick this up from Elizabeth Rose.  

I am beyond THRILLED for Evelyn that she gets to have Elizabeth as a godmother.  I feel so blessed to have her as a role model for both of my girls.  Michael and I always talk about how we hope our little ladies will follow in their aunt's faithful footsteps.  

We hope you have the happiest of days, Elizabeth!! Can't wait to celebrate with you tonight!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Brad and Ryane's Wedding: Flower Girl Edition

I was beyond thrilled when Brad and Ryane asked Cora to be a flower girl in their wedding!  Julia was her little flower girl partner in crime so Kris and I went nuts making sure they had matching everything for the wedding.  Starting with the rehearsal . . .

They were super cute, but not very cooperative.  They ran around like crazy people the entire rehearsal.  And they both refused to wear their beautiful head wreaths on the actual wedding day.  Cora even carried her milk cup down the aisle, dropped it, and yelled, "Uh-Oh Milk!!" But they did make it down the aisle.  Success.  

Of course, what really mattered was that these two love birds had gorgeous wedding and will have an even more beautiful marriage!! We felt so honored to be a part of their big day! 

They are so in love, and Ryane was absolutely stunning! 

Cora fell asleep on the way to the reception, so she was not very lively for the pictures . . .

But when she finally woke up, she and Julia had a blast dancing and running all around.  

Congratulations to the happy couple!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Halloween 2012

First of all, the pumpkin carving.  Cora was interested in stirring the pumpkin seeds, but not at all interested in touching them.

We decided to carve it in a "Cora's Coloring" theme so she could be more involved.  Every time she sits down to color she says, "coloring heart, kirkle (circle), quare (square).  So we took the easy route and just carved a heart, circle and square after she was done.  

On Halloween night we went to the vigil mass for All Saints Day so we got off to a late start trick-or-treating.  As you can see, Cora enjoyed her first piece of candy in the car on the way home.  I guess she was a purple princess?  I wanted her to be Pocahontas but I couldn't find anything that worked.  But she loved her costume!  She even insisted on wearing it to mass.  I thought there might be other kids there dressed up.  Nope.  Mom of the year.   

But she really loved trick-or-treating.  Especially since John and "Beth" were there.  She was a little timid at first, but after a couple houses we were having trouble keeping up with her.

Look at all that candy!! Not bad for a first timer! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Girls Weekend

A couple of weekends ago, Michael was out of town so Cora and I went to San Antonio with Kristin and Julia.  Our first stop was Wita's house.  Cora had fun "re-arranging" the pumpkins in her great grandma's pristine house and of course pal-ing around with Abigail.  It looks like these two were up to no good! . . .

That afternoon we went out to Floresville to celebrate our Goddaughter, Clara's first birthday!  She was so cute and as always, it was wonderful to spend time with the Felux family.  Cora was beside herself enjoying their awesome house and cousins running around everywhere! 

Look at this face.  She was pretty worn out by the end of the night!

The next morning we tried to do our second annual Snoga cousin pumpkin patch photo shoot.  It was super cold and a lot more difficult than last year, but cuter than ever!

That afternoon Grams surprised Cora with a trip to Build-a-Bear! She was in heaven amongst all the stuffed animals.  

She picked out a bunny . . .

and she was NOT ok with them taking it from her to stuff it.  

She had a tight grip on it after that traumatic experience.  She is so lucky to have a grandma that makes her feel so special.  

We definitely missed Michael (or "danny" as Cora now calls him ????) but it was a great weekend!