No Kiss For Me!

My son’s favorite word lately is “NO!” Everything is “no”.   Pretty much no matter what I ask him he says “no!”

I used to be able to ask him questions like, “can I have a kiss?” And lately instead of him giving me a kiss; it is now “no!”

I want to respect his boundaries and wishes and not force things like kisses on him but I also want him to know how much I love him… so, sometimes I just do not even ask if I can give him a kiss and instead I just steal kisses!

Hopefully this phase will pass soon because I miss getting kisses from him. 


A Bit Peanut Peeved

peanut oil
As a parent of a child that
may be allergic to peanuts I was more than a little peeved to realize that I have been letting him eat food cooked in peanut oil…

Let me start at the beginning…

As soon as he had a few hives on his face the first weekend I fed him peanut butter shortly after his first birthday I became incredibly aware of all the possible foods that contain peanuts and tree nuts.  I introduced our son peanut butter during a long weekend and as soon as Monday came around I called the allergist that I knew I wanted to use for him in case he has allergies like Mama. 

He had the skin test, blood test, and a non-definitive food challenge test for peanuts…

The allergist told us that until we get a definitive result (aka: my son completing the food challenge) to avoid all peanuts and tree nuts. 

My husband and I thought we were doing that… until today when I noticed at Chick-fil-a that 100% refined peanut oil is used for the breaded chicken.  Every time I go to a restaurant I always check for signage informing me of peanuts and / or peanut oil… I had never noticed signage at the door or on the menu or anywhere else…

Least to say… I was absolutely peeved and a bit taken-a-back this morning as I was sitting at Chick-fil-a after an awesome morning together and on the side of the kids chicken nuggets box had a simple sentence stating that peanut oil is used for their breaded chicken.  He had already eaten about half of the chicken and was now on to some of my waffle fries… It was not worth wrestling him to get the chicken away…

I quickly Googled: “Does Chick-fil-a use peanut oil?” and was shocked at the results that came onto the screen of my phone…

This is what Chick-fil-a says about it on their website:

Q: Why does Chick-fil-A use Peanut Oil?

A:  Chick-fil-A® has exclusively used refined (heat processed) peanut oil to cook Chick-fil-A chicken menu items…

In 1999, we began labeling foil bags and Chick-fil-A® Nuggets boxes to inform customers of our use of peanut oil. We also communicate our peanut oil message through our Website, nutrition brochures and menu boards, which include a message about the use of peanut oil at the bottom of some of the panels…  The proteins in the oil are stripped out during the processing. According to the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska Food Allergy Research & Resource Program, highly refined oils “do not demonstrate a hazard to allergic individuals.” There have been many well-designed studies to test the effect of highly refined oils on allergic individuals, and the majority of these “support the position that refined oils are safe for the food allergic-allergic population to consume.” Also, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation, highly refined (heat solvent extracted) oil are “non allergenic*.”

*From International Food Information Council Foundation.

Q: Are oils derived from foods that can cause allergy, such as peanut oil, also allergenic?

A:  Not usually. Most commercial oils such as peanut oil are highly refined (hot solvent extracted), which removes protein from the product. These types of oils are most commonly used in commercial food preparation. Since it is protein in allergenic foods that cause food allergy, highly refined oils are non-allergenic, research has shown that individuals with a severe peanut allergy have not had reactions to heat processed oils. However, people with a food allergy should avoid “gourmet” or cold pressed oils because they may contain allergenic proteins, which provide the flavor to the oil. For the same reason, oils that have been used to fry potentially allergenic foods should be avoided by allergic individuals.

* Used with permission from International Food Information Council Foundation Publication- Questions and Answers About Food Allergy

We are providing the above information solely for your reference. If you or your family member has a peanut allergy, we recommend that, prior to making a decision as to whether or not to eat any Chick-fil-A menu item, you consult with your physician.

As a parent of a child that may be allergic to peanuts I am more than peeved… The site says that on some of the menu boards informs customers that peanut oil is used.  Why is it not labeled at the front door of the restaurant like other places that cook with peanut oil (for example: Five Guys)? 

I should not have to be reading the fine print and the website to be informed that Chick-fil-a uses peanut oil!  Luckily, there have been no severe reactions after eating there but I also have noticed that he does not eat a ton of the chicken there and am wondering if he feels a reaction and just stops eating the chicken.  We will have to wait and see once we complete the food challenge in a few more months.

Pieces of art

art work

A piece of his artwork.


We do not hang our son’s artwork on the fridge.  However, we do hang it on his whiteboard in his playroom.  His artwork gets hung up by his magnets; another story for another day…

It is really fun to get new artwork from “camp” and soon to be “school” so that it can be displayed at home for a while.  I like changing out his artwork every couple of weeks if possible.  That all depends on how often daycare sends home new artwork.

Besides my wanting to display his artwork for all to look at and enjoy.  I love the moment my son notices the change in the artwork displayed.  Every single time it is changed and he runs into his playroom to play he immediately notices the new artwork.  The happy/excited squeal is immediately heard as he notices the new artwork… I love it!

16 down, 4 more to go!

baby teeth chart

Our son has cut sixteen of his baby teeth with only his three-year-old molars remaining.  I had thought that since they are named three-year-old-molars that I would have some time before those enormous teeth would attempt to cut through his gums…

With numbers fifteen and sixteen teeth he had all the typical teething symptoms and I just knew that it was imminent for them to come through.  He had a reprieve of about three days after the shiny white teeth of fifteen and sixteen cut through…

Then the teething symptoms began yet again…

There are only four more teeth that can cut through.  My poor baby (he is one-and-a-half years old so not much of a baby anymore) is going to be getting his three-year-old molars a year and a half early!  At this point we are just waiting… he has become a much pickier eater yet again for very soft food, his nose is running like crazy, he has to be wrangled to brush his teeth, and other lovely teething symptoms…

We are still waiting but my husband was able to distinguish the other day that the top two three-year-old molars are cutting through his gums first.  It should just be within a matter of a couple more weeks until they start coming in.  I have no idea when the bottom two three-year-old molars will cut.  However, knowing him and his baby teeth they should start hurting him right after the top teeth come through…

I will be glad once these molars are in because then it should be YEARS before we deal with anymore new teeth!

One and a half officially

grandma wishes book

The book given to my son (from my aunt) in memory of my mom.  Her maiden name even translates to “owl”. 

All of the different age milestones are both happy (since my son is growing so well and being so happy) and sad (he was born on the day his Grandma; my mom passed away.  It is a legacy that he will always be linked with especially in my mind.  It is always very tough to think about all that my mom is not able to be here and experience with all of us.  However, it seems easier to talk about it at the half years instead of the whole years.  I guess because I want my son to have happy experiences with his birthday and not always surrounded by sadness.  Last year when he was 6 months old I had a time of reflection and sadness.  This year I am experiencing similar reflections and sadness.

I am writing this blog post on his official 18-month milestone day (the 15th) and I am just sitting here remembering my mom and how happy and excited she was when I told her that summer day in July of 2014 that she was going to be a grandmother.  She actually thought that the ultrasound photo was a moonscape photo.  It took her a few seconds to realize what I was showing her when I handed her the picture.

For those of you that do not personally know me; so obviously do not know what happened… Here is the cliff notes version / timeline…

June 2014 – we conceived

July 2014 – we announced to the immediate family as soon as we got confirmation at the doctor’s office (I was only 7 weeks pregnant when it was confirmed… I knew when I was only 4 weeks pregnant).  My due date was February 28, 2015 with a scheduled C-section February 21, 2015.

October 8, 2014 – my mom got diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and had to immediately begin aggressive radiation and chemotherapy.

January 10, 2015 – was my baby shower.  My mom was able to attend and everybody there (mostly family and a few close friends) were able to celebrate my baby on his way as well as talk to my mom and help put her mind at ease even though she was not going to be around much longer that me and my son were going to be ok.

February 4, 2015 – my mom was told that there were no more treatment options and to be home with the family.

February 13, 2015 – I had the day off from work and I sat with my mom the entire day.   My husband met me at my mom’s house after work to whisper our baby boy’s name in her ear (we were keeping it a secret until he was born but wanted her to know it) and to say goodbye to my mom with me.  I went to sleep not feeling well but attested it to being 9 months pregnant and having sat in uncomfortable positions (to be close to my mom) for about 8-10 hours.

February 14, 2015 – I woke up with a fever and ended up going to the ER to get tested for the flu.  I was diagnosed with the flu and was told to only go to labor and delivery if I went into labor.

February 15, 2015 – 3:30am I went into labor.  I had my son with an elective C-section at 9:00am.  He was officially born at 9:14am.  Around 12:00pm I texted my mom a couple of pictures of her grandson.  Her nurse told her to open her eyes and when she did she said “wow!” (that was the first time in days she had said anything).  I arranged with her nurse that I would call in the evening.  I almost did not because it was getting late.  However, I decided to call at 9:45pm and was put on speaker phone when my son was brought in to me for a feeding.  I had the nurse help me strip him down to cry so that my mom could hear her grandson cry.  She passed away while I was on the phone introducing her to her grandson and saying goodbye to her.

If you do not know me (since this is the blogosphere) you may be thinking that I am making this timeline up… I promise you I am not…

So, I am sitting here on his 18-month “birthday” and this timeline (as well as other details about those 4 months) is just swirling around in my mind.  It is just amazing how much things can change in a year and a half / two years…




Being a tourist

train museum

My son loves exploring new places and experiencing new things.  Last week my sister-in-law asked if my son and I wanted to get together with her and her kids.  She suggested two places (one outdoors and one indoors) and I picked the train museum.  We picked one of the hottest days with the latest heatwave.  I quickly was thankful I picked the air conditioned spot!  When my son and I arrived we realized that Grandmom decided to join us as well. 

As we entered the “Rolling Stock Hall” there were trains on tracks to walk along and some even to look inside.   It was really cool!  My sister-in-law has been there multiple times before so we followed her lead and enjoyed a morning of exploring trains. 

My son has recently realized that he enjoys running around so he was enjoying his cousins ready and willing to chase and keep up with him and help him up and down the stairs to look inside the railroad cars. 

My son’s favorite spot in the museum was the “Railroad Education Center” where he was set loose to play with a huge Thomas trainset.  Our morning came to an end quickly crossing the street and going to the local train station where there is a playground.  We ate lunch at a local place that the restaurant is inside a train car right across the train tracks and down a block from the local train station.  As the trains passed by you could feel the vibration from the train. 

As we said our goodbyes and got into our cars my son was absolutely exhausted.  Within a few minutes he was passed out asleep in the back and was probably dreaming about all the fun things he had seen and experienced!

All quiet on the daycare front


Recently, I had written about the craziness at daycare / “camp” and my son getting hurt with his classmates’ teeth… I am not sure what has changed except maybe the staff just keeping a closer eye on all the little friends in the classroom.  However, I just wanted to quickly update everyone and let them know it has been all quiet on the daycare front!  I have not been receiving phone calls with a follow-up incident report in over 2 weeks now! 

Hopefully, they set into place better watching practices and there should have been a specialist come last week to help give more insight into why certain friends want to bite others. 

My son still asks to have Teeth are not for Biting read to him and I am sure that will continue through the age / phase that he is tempted and his friends are tempted to bite. 

With this he has also learned to start to stick up for himself and say “NO” when a friend in class steals a toy he is playing with.  I have seen it a few times at drop-off in the last week.  I am glad he is learning to stick up for himself!  When he was getting bitten and he would come home all upset after “camp” I was adding words into his Teeth are not for Biting book telling him that if someone tries to bite him to say “NO!” and he extended it to when others steal toys as well!

My pillow!

toddler pillow

After months of our son tossing and turning and not being able to settle; my husband turned to me the other day and said, “I think he wants a pillow ever since he crawled into bed with us that one early morning.” A light went off in my mind!  That is why he could not get comfortable, that is why he keeps using his blanket as a pillow, that is why he keeps snagging the Wizard of Oz small accent pillow… He wants a big boy pillow!

Luckily, we had a toddler pillow (about 1/3 or 1/2 the size of a regular pillow) ready and waiting in a closet for when the day would come.  I was hoping the big boy pillow would go hand in hand with the big boy bed.  However, he had other plans. 

The first night that we gave him a big boy pillow as I laid him in his crib I laid his head on the pillow and told him that he had his big boy pillow.  He let out a squeal of excitement and happiness.  Every night since (it has been about a week so far) he has let out that squeal as I laid him in his crib. 

He has been sleeping much better and he is not tossing and turning NEARLY as much as he had been before getting his big boy pillow!

Calm after the storm (phase 1)


The original project of the new French doors.


A month ago my husband and I decided it was time to get some work done to the house.  The project began as him simply wanting French doors installed to separate his office.  Besides my husband liking how French doors look it is more of a sound blocking device so he can work in his office at the bottom of the stairs when our son is sleeping to the right of the top of the stairs.

My husband invited in multiple contractors to give estimates for the job.  As soon as Mike Swenson left we both turned to each other and agreed his Swenson Home Solutions contracting company was the right fit for us! 

Besides the fact that we liked the estimate, his easily being the best, I liked that his company makes sure that working around children they keep things as safe as possible… as a mom staying at home with a toddler it has to be a safe environment (even during construction).

What started out as a small little project that would only take a couple of days quickly became a huge project since we decided to just start crossing off home improvement projects that are needed to be done at some point.  We decided to also: get new front and side doors, put a sliding door in place of old French doors to the patio, and while we were already doing construction rip out the baseboard heating units and the carpet and linoleum on the first floor and replace it with oak wood floors. 


Front door after fixing the dry rot and repainting.


If all had gone to initial plan it was going to take about 1.5 weeks… Because there was dry rot at the front door, side door, and old French doors as well as the former owner (original builder of the house) had leveling compound put under the linoleum instead of glue the 1.5-week project became a 3.5-week project.

As soon as we all realized that the project would be taking longer than expected my husband and I decided to put our son in “camp” to help keep consistency and safety to the time he is in the house.  It started out that we were going to just put him in camp for just one week.  Once the contractors were on their hands and knees for 4 days scraping the leveling compound off the subfloor with a heat gun and scraper we decided to just keep our son in “camp” until the end of the project.


Leveling compound before the heat gun and scraper…

Swenson Home Solutions was great with keeping things toddler safe once I would leave them around 4pm to go pick my son up from “camp” no matter how late they stayed that evening…

As soon as our son would get home he would quickly want to run around the first floor to see everything that had been completed for the day.  Before we sent him to “camp”, the first two days of the project, when the front door was replaced, he enjoyed sitting as close as I allowed him to watch and learn…

Luckily, we are now finished phase 1 of our home improvement projects.  As phase 1 was being completed phase 2 of getting HVAC installed (and second floor baseboard heating units ripped out) began last weekend with our brother-in-law sacrificing his weekends with his family to set us up.  Next will be phase 3 of getting a porch and deck put on.  Following, phase 4 being an electrical overhaul (we have too many switches and too many outlets with many bottom outlets attached to a switch).  Then will be phase 5 of patching and painting the entire house.  Next year at some point will be phase 6 of finishing off the room above the kitchen that leads into the attic with the ripping up of the carpet and linoleum (which probably has leveling compound as well) on the second floor of the house.