Sunday, December 27, 2009


This year was a definate success for finding a toy for Austin for Christmas! Each year (and birthday as well) is soo difficult. Austin doesn't really play with toys and would much rather watch tv all day long (which to his dismay is not allowed LOL). So yes, DVD's are a hit with him. Find a perfect toy? Now that's another story.

This year Austin received two gifts that he LOVES! I thought I'd pass the ideas to other families with children with RTS.
The LeapFrog Text and Learn

Austin loves that it talks to him, has dancing objects on the screen, and is handheld (not too heavy). The only downside is there is no backlight so you can't play it in a semi-dark room.

His other favorite gift: his red bean bag chair (Thank you Tena for the idea!) He loves it when we hold him up high and throw him down on the bean bag. =) He also loves flipping upside down on it and laying on his belly.

Here are some random pictures for you to enjoy!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My son is a tattletale...on himself!

Conversation between Andrew and I:

(I was upstairs showering and Andrew threw open the door exclaiming...)

Andrew: Mom! Austin's mad!

Me: Why is Austin mad? (I can hear him crying downstairs)

Andrew: He's crying!

Me: I know that. I can hear him. Why is he crying?

Andrew: I hit him on the head. (smiling)

Me: You hit him on the head?!?

Andrew: yes mom!

Poor Austin. Andrew picks on him all the time!

Here's the update on my 'decked wall'! Can you spot your Christmas card?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Decking my halls

This is what I do with all my Christmas cards. Can you spot the one you sent our family? =) If you click on the picture you can see the cards better!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What mischievious boys do on a gluten free diet...

This morning I purchased a dozen donuts for my Sunday School class at church. I brought the leftovers home and put them on the counter. I'm not sure how many he ate (no more than 2 I'm thinking) but when I went to check on Austin this is what I found. So much for a gluten free diet today!

Sorry for the dark pictures, my battery was dying!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gluten Free update and HELP!

Many of you have asked how the Gluten Free diet is going so here it is!

Austin is still on the Gluten Free diet although I have to admit I've had SEVERAL days where I either wish he wasn't or that I feel bad that I'm making him do it. Some days are really easy and other days are really hard. We've recently had quite a few birthdays in my family (with mine coming around the corner!) so I made Austin the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownies. He loves them! He actually gets mad at me when I cut him off from the chocolately goodness. =)

Austin is only on the Gluten Free diet at the time. I'll do this diet for a time and then *hopefully* we'll add in the Casein free diet as well. (No milk/dairy) I have read that the casein free diet may help with digestion and self stimming but haven't really seen anything about the GF diet doing that. Austin stims a lot and sometimes we stop him, sometimes we don't. It all depends on how distracting it is for the rest of us!

I haven't seen a ton of changes in Austin since I started the GF diet but all books/articles state that it can take up to a year to clear all Gluten from your body so I'll give it at least a year and go from there. His teacher has seen changes in him at school though. She claims he's more attentive, willing to sit in his chair, and able to follow directions better. He's also started making some new sounds/pitches with his voice recently so that could possibly be from the diet as well.

On to other things...


Several months ago, Austin started yelling at the TV. It's not 'inside' voice level that you can tolerate either. It's the top of your lungs (or close to it) yelling with all his might. Thankfully, Andrew is gracious enough to keep quiet and has yet to tell his brother to be quiet or to complain that he can't hear the movie. Mommy on the other hand is quickly losing her patience and her mind. I cannot stand him yelling at the TV. He does it every 5-10 seconds for the ENTIRE movie. We've tried redirecting him, we've tried pausing the movie and talking to him, and we've tried sending him to his room. Nothing works. Plus pausing the movie isn't fair for Andrew. I seriously am contemplating getting those noise reducing ear muffs.

Seriously, it's that bad. I get a headache and my patience gets paper thin. We purchased him a weighted vest (more on that later when I have a bit more sanity) but we haven't seen the slightest change with his yelling. Any and all comments are welcome!

*The video is of quiet yelling. To get a true impression, turn your volume up all the way. =) And no, he doesn't always sit this close to the TV. I've just reached the end of my patience and don't care at the moment! ;)

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Okay so keeping up with the gluten free diet is hard. Not only do you have to give up what you love but it's stinkin' expensive. Seriously, I pay $6.50 (unless it's on sale!) for bread mix for my bread maker. Ben and I were in Walmart here in town (they're nearly finished converting our Walmart into a Super Walmart) checking out the new layout and food displays that they've been working on. Would you believe I saw a sign that read 'Gluten free'! The other Super Walmart near our house doesn't carry but one or two gluten free items but this new Super Walmart has a whole section for it! WHOOO HOOO! Go ahead, ask my husband. I did a happy dance right there in the middle of the aisle. LOL The bread mix I mentioned above is going to cost me $4.88 at Super Walmart! Not only that but they had 10 (or more) different kinds of cereals and a bunch of other items I didn't know existed. I'm so thrilled to know I can now shop at ONE store for ALL my needs. I usually shop at Walmart or another grocery store and then head to the health food store for Austin's gluten free food but now I don't have to!

Can you tell I'm really excited?!? Hee Hee!

Thank you Walmart!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just helping myself, that's all Mom!

I made a fresh loaf of Gluten Free bread this afternoon. I cut it in half to cool so I could freeze half of it. Then I left it on the counter to cool. A few minutes later, I found Austin at the table eating one half of the bread.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Family pictures!

A few days ago, our family had professional pictures taken by a good friend of ours. She just started her photography business and she's really good! Oh course, Andrew just HAD to be clingy that day and would not leave Ben's lap for the pictures. When we did manage to get him off his lap for the 'couples' picture, we couldn't get him back for another try at a family picture! Three year olds. They have such a mind of their own, don't they? Anyway, enjoy the pictures!

Click here to view!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Wondering where I've been? I was able to attend the annual M.O.P.S. (Mothers Of PreSchoolers) convention held in Nashville, TN this year. Ben held up the fort (and the GF diet!) while I was away for 4 days without the kids! Last year it was held in Grapevine, TX as you can see here.

Here are some funny pictures of Andrew. Even though he's attempting to cut out his nap, he still can't quite make it all day without one.

Sunday afternoon Ben fell asleep on the couch and Andrew wanted to be with him. So what's a 3 year old to do? Climb right on top of sleeping daddy and lean over and watch his face and...fall asleep in the process. Haha! He slept practically upside down for 45 minutes!

Friday, September 18, 2009

No Gluten!

Last night I made a BBQ chicken sandwich meal (just like shredded BBQ beef but with chicken) and it dawned on me to check the ingredients on the BBQ sauce label. We love Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce and 'modified food starch' was listed. I've read somewhere online that modified food starch can sometimes contain gluten so unfortunately I didn't feed the yummy dinner to Austin (and Andrew) but gave them an alternative that was just as yummy. I emailed the BBQ sauce company and they quickly replied by this morning saying "Sweet Baby Ray's Products do NOT contain any gluten!" WHOO HOO!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New loaf of GF bread and cute video

Today I made my 2nd loaf of GF bread. This time I tried another box mix and it came out MUCH better. The color looks more like typical bread and it's nice and moist. Here's a picture of the box. It gives you options on which ingredients you can use but for this loaf I chose the milk, whole eggs, and butter. The other option is water, egg whites, and vegetable oil.

Once we had finished dinner, Austin started rocking himself to sleep and I quickly grabbed my ancient camera with no sound and videotaped it. =) The food in front of Austin is his GF bread with peanut butter on it. He ate the peanut butter off the bread cause I gave him the heel. Silly kid.

Monday, September 14, 2009

GF Diet update

For now on I've decided not to post daily on Austin's food schedule but to post when we come upon a solution, problem, or discovery. Here's the latest:

Problem: Tonight I had planned on making a pot roast with potatoes, celery, and carrots. Gluten free, right? Right. Yeah for another gluten free meal! Well as I was preparing it, I read the ingredients of the seasoning and go figure the seasoning has gluten in it. Boo.

Solution: I have a package of single serve ham steaks in the fridge that only need heating before serving! Thankfully, Austin won't care a bit.

Discovery: Two days ago, Austin did something he's NEVER done. Do I chalk it up to him growing up and changing or could this be a subtle change from his diet? Hmmm.

I was sitting on the couch watching the news and Austin walked up to me, climbed up on the couch, wiggled himself under my arm, wrapped his arm around me, and snuggled. For the first time ever. Even as an infant, Austin hated snuggling. He had to face out at all times or he'd cry. When Austin is sick, he does lay around a lot BUT the only way he allows us to snuggle with him is for us to cover his ear with our hand. (strange I know but he loves it). We can't put an arm on him, play with his hair, nothing. This time he loved it. =) I sat there for 20 minutes, loving the change!

Hopefully there will be more to come!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gluten Free Day #5

Forgot to post Day #5 so here it is!

Breakfast: WHOO HOO! We finally had success! I gave Austin the Envirokidz Leapin- Lemurs GF cereal (peanut butter and chocolate flavored) and he LOVED it!

Lunch: ate leftover GF pizza, GF pretzels (which taste exactly like regular ones), and yogurt

Kelbasa and baked beans (one of our family's favorite meals and it just happens to be gluten free!)

A friend who is also on the GF diet let me borrow her Gluten Free, Casein Free Diet book and I love it!! It's easy reading and is written by a bunch of parents who's kids are on the diet. It's full of helpful tips and things you wonder about such as 'what to do on vacation', 'how to handle Halloween candy' (for casein free mostly), etc. Some of it is a little confusing cause she'll recommend not eating an item and then it takes me a minute to realize it's because it's dairy. We're not doing that diet just yet!

This book was written by parents who live in our area and it states on the back that it's $15 so if anyone is interested in purchasing it, I can see if I can get one for you.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Gluten Free Day #4

Today was a better day, food-wise. Still no real success with breakfast. Austin ate the GF toast this morning with peanut butter and he ate a 1/4 of it. Trying a different GF cereal tomorrow. *sigh*

Lunch today was the same as usual.

For dinner, my sis decided to come over with her kids for a playdate. We planned on having pizza so I racked my brain at what to give Austin since he couldn't eat the pizza dough. I decided to try our local health food store in search of a gluten free pizza so he wouldn't feel left out. When I walked into the store (never been in it before) I was overjoyed! The gluten free section was a good size AND they had a freezer section too! Another tip from me: Check your local health food store!!!! Yes, some items were more expensive but I found 3 kinds of GF pizzas! While I was there I also purchase cereal and cheese crackers. Dinner was a huge success! He loved the pizza and ate 3/4 of it! (It was slightly bigger than a Pizza Hut personal pan pizza)

Another helpful tip: Quaker's Quakes Rice snacks are gluten free! I bought Austin the caramel ones today but have yet to see if he likes them. If not, I know I do! =)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gluten Free Day #3

We did pretty good again today. Still not much success regarding breakfast but that was mostly my fault. I ran out of GF bread so he had to have cereal instead. I'm going to pick up some more GF cereals tomorrow and see if he prefers something else. Isn't the guessing game just fun?!? Lunch was spent at school and I haven't heard anything negative so I'm not worrying about that yet. Dinner tonight was hot dogs (need to go grocery shopping!) which is always a hit. Austin never ate a bun before the diet so this wasn't any change for him.

I made my first loaf of GF bread with my new breadmaker! It does look a little strange on the outside but I tasted it and I even like it! If any of you are thinking about trying the diet, I'd highly recommend finding what works for your family regarding breads. Some make their breads by hand but frankly I don't have the time to do it! I'm lucky if my house is picked up sometimes! So, if you're like me, get a breadmaker and don't bother with the store bought bread. The first kind we tried was called Tapioca bread from a grocery store called Hannaford. Don't bother. Just step away from the breads and don't look back. You'll thank me for it. =)

Now that I have a whole loaf of GF bread, Austin will try it in the toast form tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gluten Fee Day #2

A bit more successful than yesterday but still a little bump. I'm having trouble with finding something Austin enjoys for breakfast. This morning I offered him a GF cereal bar. He ate a bite, kept it in his mouth awhile. I then slathered it in peanut butter (which he loves) and he ate another bite. Then he gave it back to me. =) Sooo, tomorrow we're shooting for a different kind of toast. A fellow RTS mommy gave me the idea of a GF cereal her daughter enjoys so once I buy that, we'll try that too!

I'm guessing lunch went okay at school but the lunch bags were accidentally left at the school so I'm not sure what he ate. I didn't hear otherwise so I guess no news is good news.

I was extra brave with dinner! My parents took Andrew off our hands for the afternoon/early evening so Ben and I decided to try Burger King with Austin. I asked the lady at the register for a dietary breakdown since our son is on a new diet and would you believe they have a large, fold out menu completely broken down and stating if it contained any grains! WHOO HOO! So, Austin ate the grilled chicken with no bun (I cut it into cubes) with french fries and he loved it! Success!

By the way, I purchased a breadmaker (thank you craiglist!) still in the original packaging for $40 this afternoon. Going to try that tomorrow!

I'll close with a couple of pictures. One is of Andrew helping Ben wash the car and the other is a picture of Andrew's organizational ability. Can you tell he loves the Cars movie?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gluten Free Day #1

Well today was semi-successful! I started Austin's day with gluten free toast with peanut butter. He took a big bite, chewed a bit, and gagged on it. He then took another bite, then burst into tears and handed it back to me. He does NOT like gluten free bread! I do have some mixes that others have tried and said they're really good so there's still hope! I tried the bread myself and it was like biting into a dried up sponge (not that I've ever done that!). So his breakfast was gluten free cereal this morning instead.

I sent him to school with a gluten free lunch (minus the pb&j sandwich I planned on making him with that nasty bread) and his teacher said he loved it. For dinner, I had planned on making a lasagna but didn't want to leave Austin out since he can't eat the pasta (haven't bought them GF kind yet) so I made him a GF Penne Rigate instead. The dishes cook for roughly the same amount of time and use nearly identical ingredients. I just used the GF Penne noodles. He loved it! Even had seconds!

So day 1 is over and I'm trying another kind of bread tomorrow. This one was handmade by a friend who is also on the diet so he SHOULD like this one. I'm also trying a GF cereal bar for breakfast tomorrow since the GF rice chex bored him a bit. =)

Bottom pic is from today as we were waiting for the bus!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tomorrow is the big day!

Tomorrow is not only the first day of school for Austin but it's also the day we start our gluten free diet with him. After doing a bit of research, it's surprised me how much CAN eat. The only really hard part will be eating out (which I'll blog about). I've had many people tell me how gross the gluten free bread is but I decided to try it with Austin anyway. The kid will eat anything so I thought if I used it for just toast it might work out. We'll see! Right now, I'm looking for a bread maker (on craigslist and in stores) so I can make bread that actually tastes good! Thankfully, I don't have to worry about his diet at school. His teacher is on the diet as most of his classmates are as well. As soon as I'm able to get a note from Austin's pediatrician that states he is now on the GF diet, I should be able to get free GF meals for Austin for school lunches. I may have heard wrong on that but we'll see. The ped's office was closed today so I'll try again tomorrow!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

And here it goes!

Well it's official. We are going to put Austin on the gluten free diet. We've decided to wait to try the casein free diet since doing it all at once sounds so complicated. I've got enough to worry about without adding more!

This morning I had to run to the store (forgot to purchase ingredients for a meal) so I decided to keep my eye out for gluten free items. I was 3/4 of the way through the store and hadn't seen a thing til I saw the Rice Chex cereal. There were 3 kinds of Chex that said they were gluten free! Once I got the bread aisle, I found a relatively small section of nothing but gluten free items! I was soo delighted to see it but when I saw the prices, my heart sank. I'm going to have to take out a small loan to pay for this diet! I'm used to paying under $1 for spaghetti and the gluten free stuff was $3.99! Yes, this is the only store I've shopped at so I'm going to look around and check Aldi's, Super Walmart, and our local health food store and see who's cheapest but good grief! I stocked up on several gluten free foods (regardless of price, just to get started) and here is what I got:

Rice Chex cereal
semi-sweet chocolate chips
Betty Crocker brownie mix
Betty Crocker yellow cake mix
Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix
Spaghetti noodles
Chocolate Caramel bite size cookies
Bread mix (thought it might be cheaper to make it myself but we'll see!)

I will be frequently blogging about my attempts at this diet for Austin and what changes we see since many are curious about it. I still have a ton of questions about what he can eat and what he can't so once I figure out a few days worth of gluten free meals we'll start Austin on it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


After hearing so much good stuff about the gluten free, casein free diet I think I may try it with Austin. He seems to be at a stand still learning-wise and a small amount of aggression has shown it's ugly face. Thankfully, I know several people who use the diet and can help me but the whole idea of making sure Austin eats ONLY GFCF foods sounds really hard. He's the kid that will go up to just about anybody and take food from them or beg them for it. And then there's the thought of 'what if he wants something he cannot have?'. It's all rather daunting. If you use the diet or know someone who does, let me know how they started! The cupboards are becoming bare so a grocery shopping trip is in the near future so any help would be appreciated!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I just realized I forgot to add the pictures from Andrew's first day of soccer so here they are:

A couple of Andrew's coaches watching him while waiting for class to start

A recurring theme: the coaches making Andrew hold his hands behind his back to encourage him to keep his hands off the ball. =)

Andrew's first day of soccer, Austin swims!

Today was Andrew's first day of playing soccer with other 3 & 4 year olds at the Y. He did so good at following directions! He absolutely loved it and we're looking forward to it again next Tuesday. The video is of Andrew just playing around while we were waiting for class to start. Next week I'll share a video of him doing drills. It's just too cute!
Here's the video I promised of Austin swimming! Our next door neighbors are gracious enough to let us use their pool whenever we want! Just 3 visits ago to the pool, Austin would only sit on the stairs and occasionally make me hold him while I brought him around the pool. One day, Austin decided to swim! We didn't teach him anything! He treads water, pushes off the side of pool, keeps water out of his mouth, and floats on his back ALL BY HIMSELF!! This is huge for him since he is evaluated around the mental age of 2/3 yrs old. I'll make sure to get a video of him floating on his back, it's quite funny! So enjoy the video of Austin doing something he taught himself! (Can you tell I'm excited?!?)

Yes, that's Ben in the background with his leg propped up on a floatie. He broke his foot playing soccer 3 weeks ago. =)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

So it's been a while

I haven't been in the mood to blog lately. Sure there is always plenty to say but frankly, sometimes I enjoy just reading everyone else's blogs! Our family just returned from a vacation to New Hampshire for a family reunion and of course I brought my camera. I just happened to leave the memory card at home. =( Boo! We visited the Boston Aquarium (not impressed I must say-Baltimore is much better) and the Clarks Trading Post in NH.

Summer is winding down and next week is Austin's last week of summer school. We'll then have 2 weeks of 'free time' and then school starts back up! I have some ideas in mind for a new routine to set up with Austin but haven't figured out a good time of day to impliment it. Hmmm. More about that later.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Birthday Pictures

How the time flys...

Andrew (10 mo)

Andrew's 1st Birthday

Andrew's 3rd Birthday

I am happy (actually I'm quite thrilled!) to say I finally got to see one of my kids blow out their birthday candle for the first time this year! Insignificant to some, but I was so excited!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Andrew is turning 3!

Since Andrew's birthday is Saturday, I thought I'd get his 3 year pictures done this morning. Boy, was that fun! LOL He was incredibly hyper and didn't want to do anything asked of him. He held onto a yellow shovel the entire time and sometimes would put a bucket on his head for the picture. =) There were also moments of quacking like a duck and jumping up and down. Anyway, I did get two decent poses and bought one of them (the one without the shovel showing) so I was happy!