Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What it means to be gluten free


What is a gluten free diet? First of all, I don't like to call it a diet. That makes it sound like some sort of fad, like the Atkin's diet. It's a lifestyle change. Gluten is a protein composite in foods that are processed from wheat, barley or rye. However, it is not limited to those, it is anything that is processed around wheat, barley or rye. You would be surprised how many things contain gluten and casein {dairy, which we also removed from Logan's diet}.

Why does someone choose to be gluten free? Several reasons, the first two can be very serious. Celiac disease, an auto-immune disease in which the lining of the intestines are damaged from gluten and a gluten allergy {not to be confused with a wheat allergy}. Both of these require an invasive test to determine as simple blood tests are not reliable. There is also such a thing as gluten intolerance where someone may have similar symptoms as those with celiac disease. Removing gluten and casein have been thought to help behavior problems in children with ADHD and autism...which would be my reason, initially.

I had never even heard of a gluten free/casein free diet {GF/CF, also referred to as the autism diet} before this. I researched alternative treatments for behavior issues, I talked to other parents and my son's therapist. All recommended a GF/CF diet. I knew that it would be a difficult transition but if it helped, so what. I was willing to try anything. I looked up everything in my pantry and refrigerator. EVERYTHING! If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. I learned that it wasn't just food, but shampoo, soap, band aids, stickers, Play-Doh, crayons, vitamins, medicine, etc. {I hate Play-Doh anyway}. I was going to make sure that anything and everything that Logan put into his mouth was GF/CF.

This lifestyle change affected all of us because all of my meals had to be GF/CF however, we are not totally GF like Logan. I like to say that we are gluten reduced. One thing I learned quickly is that it can be expensive. My grocery bill went UP. We had a Trader Joe's close by and my grocery store had a gluten free section but I also looked up regular products that are gluten free. I was really surprised at how many things are GF out there. When in doubt, I look it up. I don't trust the labels 100%. As I said, if it's processed in a plant where wheat, barley and rye are also being processed, it's contaminated and therefore NOT GF. Since moving, we don't have a Trader Joe's close by, but Kroger has an organic section and Meijer also carries GF items. It was trial and error at first for Logan to decide what he did and didn't like but I think we finally have it figured out.

What foods are GF/CF? Rice flour is a great substitute for regular flour. I also have found a GF butter substitute and I use almond milk, both are really good! I have even found GF/CF ice cream sandwiches, which Logan loves. There are GF breads, but in all honesty, they aren't that good. Logan prefers no bread. He can eat rice, fruits, vegetables and meat, lots of meat. He loves meat! {Some meats may not be GF though.}

What about eating out? Nope, pretty much don't do it. Some places say they have a gluten free menu, but they cannot control cross contamination. Not to mention chances are the staff are not educated, I had a bad experience at Chili's. The only place I really go is Chipotle. Everything, aside from the tortilla shells, is GF. Logan can't have the sour cream or cheese either but I buy a soy cheese that he loves and we put that on his burrito bowl. We love Chipotle! NO fast food is safe. French fries are fried in oil, the same oil that is used to fry chicken nuggets (breading) and is therefore contaminated. Sure they can take the bun off the the burger but do you know if the bun was originally on the burger? You see where I'm going with this. We don't eat out.

Logan has been GF/CF for a little over three months now. He is so cute. He knows what he can and can't have and always asks when in doubt "Is that gluten free?" I had to educate him as well and his teacher and anyone that was going to be around him. I can honestly say it has helped. He isn't having the terrible temper tantrums that he was having but it has not only helped him, it has helped me as well. I have suffered from irritable bowel syndrome for years {not something I enjoy sharing}. I had my first colonoscopy at 27ish {ugh}. I've been on several different medications. Since being gluten reduced, my symptoms have almost resolved themselves. I talked to my new family physician about this and he is totally on board. He said this is the best thing for someone with digestive issues and he also believes that if can help behavior problems.

Here are a few websites that I found helpful:


Monday, November 29, 2010

It's potty time!


Last night, after reading this book, Bryn sat on her potty. She sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat. After about 45 minutes, it happened. Pee-pee! This was the first time Bryn willingly sat on her potty and did something! Hopefully, she will give a encore performance today!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

The thrill is gone



I've been thinking about deleting my Twitter account. I'm bored and it's a huge time suck (as is Facebook but I gotta hang on to that). I just don't know. I don't care about followers or any of that crap it was just fun. The thrill is gone...
Thoughts?

Friday, November 26, 2010

I have a slight owlbsession, who knew?

I'm a sucker for anything that has to do with owls.

My Owl Barn

I can always find something on Etsy. I found these cute little earrings here...




...and this pendant here. ( I will call him Bubo)


I saw this on the counter of the Dunphy home on Modern Family
and I knew I had to find it.
It's only $98!


Here's a cheaper version for $15 on Ebay. (I still like the other one)




I'm even working on some owl bows (pics to come) and I couldn't pass up some owl fabric I found at Hobby Lobby, even though I can't sew. I also found the cutest blog for those owlbsessed like myself, My Owl Barn.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

I'm thankful that my husband didn't have to spend Thanksgiving on his boat, but Thanksgiving wasn't the same without him.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Where do we go from here?

Upon getting the diagnosis, I instantly became Logan's advocate. I had to fight this battle for him. I set out to learn as much as I could about ASDs, especially about potential causes and alternative treatments.

My disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am not a scientist. I am not an autism expert. These are mostly opinions based on the information I have read. I am simply a mom. Okay, now that we've cleared that up...Have you noticed that the autism is on the rise? One in 110 children are diagnosed with autism and one in 70 boys. What does this say? Do you honestly think it's strictly environmental factors? I personally do not. Look at the rise in vaccines. There is a vaccine for everything these days. 20 years ago there were ten vaccines. Today, there are 36! That's right, 36. Did you know that many vaccines use mercury as a preservative? Yep, because it's cheaper. No flu shots in this house thank you. (I choose to use natural methods of staying healthy. ie: supplements) Auto-immune issues are also prominent in ASDs . A lot of these kids were sickly babies. Logan in particular, had constant ear infections. He ended up getting tubes and had his adenoids removed when he was three. Glutathione is a natural anti-oxidant found in the liver and kidneys, it's a natural detoxifier. Many of these children are born with low levels of glutathione and have a weaker immune system and on top of that get a ton of vaccines at birth. Hmmmm. FYI: Tylenol depletes glutathione levels in the body. Never give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) before a vaccine. Just to clarify, I am not anti-vaccine. I am anti-vaccine for what is unnecessary. Regular doctors won't tell you this.

Gastrointestinal problems are also common in children with ASD. Candida (yeast) overgrowth produces toxic byproducts, which can impair the immune system. Candida can also produce digestive enzymes that actually eat away the intestinal lining, allowing undigested food molecules to pass through into the bloodstream and cause food allergies. Many kids on the spectrum cannot properly digest gluten (wheat products) and casein (dairy products), which form peptides, which act like opiates in their bodies. These peptides can alter their behavior, perceptions, and responses to their environment. It is believed that peptides can trigger an unusual immune system response as well.

I wholeheartedly believe in biomedical and natural treatments. I am looking to take Logan to a DAN (defeat autism now) doctor, who takes a biomedical approach to treating autism. Along with conventional therapy, my son sees a chiropractor. Chiropractic helps boost the immune system. He gets regular adjustments and he likes it! He takes various supplements, melatonin to help with him sleep (this seems to be yet another problem with ASD), calcium, Omega-3, and probiotics (which are essential for eliminating yeast). We have also started him on a gluten free/casein free diet. Logan is still taking his Adderall, but he is on a lower dose. I hope to eliminate it altogether.

Logan been on the diet and supplements for three months now. All hail MELATONIN! That has helped a lot! As far as his behavior is concerned, it may be too soon to tell, but he isn't having the terrible temper tantrums like before. Progress comes in small steps.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I just can't blog today

I am having a bad day today and I just don't feel like blogging. I'm stressed and I need a break from these kids. School provided a little bit of a break, but now they'll be home for 5 days. I just don't know if my sanity can take it...

Monday, November 22, 2010

NKOTBSB

Did you see them on the AMAs last night?!?! In case you missed it, click here. Um, AWESOME. I saw NKOTB back when I was 16 and again a couple years ago. I went with my friend Jill. We had so-so floor seats but then, right next to us, a STAGE popped up! There. They. Were. Donnie totally pointed to me (I have the picture to prove it) and Joey Joe and I made eye contact. Yes! Eye contact! ~Swoon~ It was a fabulous concert. It made up for the nosebleed seats I had the first time.
I've never been much of a BSB fan but they were great on the AMAs with NKOTB. I think I must see this. Who's in?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Open for business

I have finally opened up my Etsy shop, Fleur de Lulu, since moving. I am slowly getting things listed. I bought a ton of Christmas ribbon with the hopes that I would sell a lot at the craft show I did Saturday. Unfortunately, it wasn't a good turn out. C'est la vie. So I will be putting many of those things and more in my shop. Stop by and check it out.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

label whores

I used to be one and probably still would be if it weren't for the fact that I have three killjoys...er kids. Now I spend most of my money on them. I shop at Target, a lot! I love it.

Nowadays, labels are splattered across purses, shoes...ahem, asses. I will splurge on handbags, some shoes and jeans because these things usually don't go out of style but tops, TARGET. I used to be a Coach purse junkie. I got my first "fix" when I graduated high school and since then I have received several more for gifts as well as purchased a few. I don't like the giant C all over them lately (I have one though). I like the old school Coach. There was nothing sweeter than the smell of the leather. To me they are trying to compete with Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Puhhleese. Everybody and their sister has a Coach purse now, that is if they are real. I have a vintage Louis that my mom gave me. It even looks vintage. I like it, it was free. My favorite purse is my Michael Kors Astor Satchel. It's purty!


I own several pairs of designer jeans. My most expensive were my Hudson's, but they're not my favorite pair. I recently bought a pair of Mossimo Skinny Premium Denim at Target for $24.99. Love them! I think I'm going to get another pair. They also come in boyfriend and bootcut. One can never have too many pairs of jeans.

What do you splurge on?


Friday, November 19, 2010

Craft show

Here are a few of the things I made for the craft show:



I made a bunch of Christmas bows and clippies.


Hot pink/damask/polka dot bow


Little Mickey Mouse bows



This is my fav. Paisley/polka dot bow



Big Mickey Mouse bow


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Life imitating art



Parenthood. I love this show as I loved the movie, if not more. Back when this premiered in March, I was hooked on the character Max. I didn't know why. I was, at that time, having difficulties with my own son so I could relate to the Bravermans. I could see similarities in Max and my son, Logan. Little did I know that Max and Logan had a lot more in common than I realized.
Did I mention I love this show? My only critique of the autism storyline is that everything happened so fast, which is completely unrealistic. You don't just discover your kid is a a little "odd", magically get him into this highly sought after doc and *BOOM* you are handed a diagnosis. Sorry doesn't happen like that. A lot goes into daignosing an ASD (autism spectrum disorder). It has taken us many months to arrive to this diagnosis for Logan. What this show does do is create awareness for ASDs and shows you a tidbit of what a family with a child on the spectrum may deal with. I encourage you to watch not just for that reason but simply because it's a show about a crazy family. I think we can all relate to that.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Welcome to my nightmare

While dealing with all of Logan's issues we found out that our renter's broke their lease and split without telling us. Nice. When we moved to New Orleans we had kept our house, our first house, with hopes of making money...hindsight. We've had two sets of renters. Neither one worked out. {I'm sensing a trend here.} Our house is older but we took care of it. My renters did not. To make a long story short, they had cats, two of them {NTTAWWT}. We have a NO PET policy. I kid you not, my house smelled like a friggin' litter box! The carpet was only 5 years old and it was completely ruined. I had it professionally cleaned and deodorized. That didn't even work. On top of that there was water damage, the place was filthy, the yard was trashed...the list goes on and on. My neighbor said that he could count on one hand how many times they raked leaves and mowed the grass in two years. Awesome. My eaves had trees growing in them. Hmmm, wonder why my roof leaks? Better question, WHY THE HELL AM I PAYING A RENTAL MANAGER?

We knew that in its current condition, we could not possibly rent it out and we sure as hell can't sell it. We left New Orleans in 2009, we were so lucky our home sold in less than a week. C's tour in Virginia was only 2 years so we were renting a house there. We only had ONE option at this point. I was not working so I had to move back to the house and give up our rental. Paying for two houses was not an option especially since I needed a new car. That meant living apart until next summer, by myself, with three kids, one being a special needs kid, while my husband lives on his boat. Ugh! I miss you career, I'll write soon...

Our landlord was kinda a tool but we gave him 60 days notice and he was able to find someone to move in the week we moved out. Thank goodness! C got here a day before me and I am glad he did. He walked into the house and almost puked from the smell. He knew we couldn't wait a week for the new carpet so he and his dad and step-mom ripped out all of the carpet themselves. The carpet looked okay, it just stunk, really bad. Lurking on the under side of the carpet were tons of yellow-orange pee stains. It was just plain disgusting. The kicker is my rental manager was defending these a-holes and saying she didn't smell anything when she did the walk through with them. I'm thinking she did the walk through with a blind fold and nose plugs. Idiot. Once I arrived and saw the house, I cried sobbed. Pretty much nothing worked. Not the dishwasher, not the plumbing (bathroom and laundry room), not the heating and air, NOTHING and I didn't even have carpet! I just don't know how people can have such a lack of respect for other people's property. I was sick to my stomach. Needless to say, we got a lawyer.

So I'm back in the 'ole house again. It is a work in progress. We have done and are going to be doing some good things to it to modernize it. It's a slow process since C is doing all the work. I hope that it sells because I don't want to have to go through this again. It has literally, and figuratively, been a nightmare. We've definitely had some challenges but this will be the toughest 10 months of our lives. It's nothing we can't overcome. I cannot wait till next summer so my family can be together again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hang in there

This is a bad week for blogging. I really want to finish my Logan story. It's important to me. I promise I will get around to it, just probably not this week. I'm preparing for a craft show on Saturday and I have nothing made! The kids are off school Thursday and Friday for parent teacher conferences and we have basketball. So there ya go. In the meantime please enjoy this photo of a cute kitteh.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Coming to an airport near you

This...



and this...



is happening. Outf***ingrageous! This. Is. Not. Okay.

My feelings about this are best summed up here.

UPDATE:
Read this


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Caption please?


Yesterday we went to the zoo. My daughter toted along her cardinal beanie baby. While in the Aviary, this cardinal came up to the window to greet her and her stuffed bird. It was so intrigued by them, it was following us as we walked along. It was cute.
She later dropped her cardinal somewhere in the zoo and we didn't realize it until we got home :(

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Muse


I've started making bigger bows for hats and headbands. I made this one for Bryn to match her outfit. She's a ham!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Date Night

It was a dream come true...someone offered to babysit my kids. OFFERED! Better news, they survived and may babysit again no less. Tis a good night indeed!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day!


All gave some. Some gave all.
Thank you to the Veterans (and families) who have served and those who are currently serving.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Relief...kinda

I had to wait three weeks to see the new therapist. My summer was about to go from bad to worse. An oil spill happened, yeah that one. Chad was deployed to the Gulf for a month. Great timing oil spill!
Logan's behavior was getting worse. The temper tantrums were unbearable and I never knew what was going to set him off. It was like walking on eggshells all the time. I needed help STAT.
Meanwhile, until our appointment, I wrote down ALL of Logan's behaviors. That way I didn't forget to tell the therapist anything. I also compiled notes and report cards from school. I wanted to be prepared. The time had come and our first appointment went well and basically I just gave the therapist all the background on Logan. She wanted us back in a week.
The next week the therapist handed me the book All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome. She asked me to read it. As I flipped through the pages, tears welled up in my eyes. I would glance over at Logan periodically as he was engrossed in the Legos. I kept reading even though at one point I couldn't see through the watery goggles I was wearing. I handed the book back to her and she just nodded and said "Sounds about right, doesn't it?".

We had a few more sessions with her. One thing I wanted to work on with Logan was that he was not the bad kid. But having a problem is no excuse for bad behavior. This was something that was clearly going to take time. The therapist told me we also needed to see a developmental pediatrician and/or a psychiatrist, we needed an occupational therapist, we needed to get an IEP (independent educational program), we needed to apply for the EFMP (exceptional family member program) through the military and get him in the ECHO program to receive additional services...and then my head exploded.
Thankfully my husband's time in the Gulf saving chocolate pelicans had come to an end and just in time to meet with the psychiatrist. The Dr explained Asperger's/PDD (pervasive developmental disorder) in terms that we could understand. That there are many symptoms, you can't treat the disorder, you have to treat the symptoms. Made sense. I had a problem though. The word "autism". I have to admit my own ignorance got the better of me. I mean my son has normal intelligence, aren't kids with autism...slow?
So what are the signs and symptoms associated with high-functioning autism?
  • Problems with social interaction, difficulties interacting, overreacts when being teased, reacts negatively when interrupted, difficulty asking for help, difficulty making friends - Big Fat Check! Logan doesn't have any friends. He prefers to play alone or with his baby sister. He's 7, she's 2. He sits alone at lunch. In first grade he wanted to sit with the teacher and not his classmates. He has only been invited to ONE birthday party ever. This makes me sad. He also lacks facial expressions at times.
  • Difficulties with nonverbal interaction (no eye contact, difficulty accepting affection, awkward body postures, difficulty with nonverbal gestures) - Check! He doesn't like eye contact. At. All. I have to ask for a hug, I cannot just give him one. He will stand there like a tree and not hug back. I'm a hugger.
  • Problems sharing enjoyment, interests or achievements with others - Check.
  • Unusual, restricted or repetitive types of behaviors, interests and activities - Check! He has some OCD tendencies, like lining things up and categorizing things. He has obsessions with nature. Bugs, spiders and more recently sharks. Over the summer he spent the majority of his time searching for bugs. I took pictures of many of the bugs he found (some were pretty cool) and we are going to make a scrapbook so he can always "keep them". He would wander out of the yard, which was not safe. He had no concern for his safety. Logan gets attached to "things" which he says are special. He has a special box for his special things. I cannot touch these things or he'll have a fit. Literally. Another obsession is cars. We must own every Matchbox car made in the last 3 years. He cannot walk by a Matchbox car display with stopping. I hate Kroger for putting them randomly throughout the store! Reason ONE why I cannot take him shopping.
  • Lack of social or emotional back and forth interaction (difficulty sitting and participating in groups, inability to negotiate, difficulty engaging in appropriate play, difficulty in greeting others, difficulty in majority rules) - Check!
  • Mood swings - CHECK!
  • Difficulty dealing with changes in routine - Check. Being that I have OCD, my life revolves around routine, so I can relate to this. We have a definite routine!
  • Hyperactivity or passiveness - Check to the former!
  • Inappropriate laughter or crying - Check.
  • Oversensitivity or undersensitivity to stimuli - Check. Logan has issues with food. He will only eat certain things and ONLY those things. Dinner time was becoming a challenge.
  • Poor speech or lack of speech - This is true with many types of autism but not necessarily with high-functioning autism. Logan's speech is normal but he was slower at developing speech.
This may sound strange but I felt a sense of relief knowing what we were dealing with. Now we can move forward. But just as we had gotten the ball rolling on treatment, my husband and I were forced to make an extremely difficult decision....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Loganisms

Logan: Mom, for my next birthday, you know what I want?

Me: No. What?

Logan: For everybody to leave me alone. Especially Hayden.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Right Wing Conspiracy


Have you seen Bristol Palin dance? Seriously! How has she made it this far? I really, really *wanted* her to do well, I did. Call me a RINO but this is a dancing competition not a popularity contest. The poor thing has no rhythm. ~Sigh~