Tag Archive: allergy

LA LA land, day 5

Alternate title: We took the kids to DISNEYLAND!!!!!

I don’t know what to say that can adequately describe the magic of this day.

I packed a bunch of food for the kids, including muffins for breakfast, and both of Pattycakes’ OIT doses in a mini cooler.  We asked vendors for ice a couple times over the course of the day to keep it chilled, which worked out nicely.  I think I saved a decent amount of money by bringing so many bars and such, but we also bought plenty of fresh stuff throughout the day.

Kyle and I didn’t eat anything until we got to the park, so we made our way to the Starbucks on Main Street as quickly as possible once we arrived (after meeting Pluto, of course). I think the Starbucks staff at Disneyland is the best of the best.  I say that as an experienced ‘bux customer.  😉 I can tell when someone understands my order, and when someone is going to mess it up.  This lady knew her stuff and I could tell it was going to be made right.  And it was.  Boom.  Automatic points for Disney.  Side note: why is decaf SO HARD for normal Starbucks employees. It’s not like I’m asking for anything complicated, but it literally gets made wrong 75% of the time.

Watching the clock at “It’s A Small World”.

My parents spent the weekend in LA just to join the kids in their Disneyland debut.  It was so special sharing the day with them…and invaluable having so many extra sets of hands to help.

P spotted the kale (in Goofy’s garden) and asked me if he could have some so I said sure.  Next thing I knew, he and V were downing lettuce.  Free greens?!  Why not!?

I didn’t have much for breakfast, so I dug into this soft pretzel as a morning snack. Mmmmm…mickey pretzels!!  They’re vegan fyi.

P on his first roller coaster (!!!!) which he insisted on going on.  Kyle and I were very skeptical, but decided to take his lead, and he was pretty adamant, and….yeah, he liked it!  I did too, because I like roller coasters, but I never thought he would. So awesome.  My parents were with V while we did that, so afterwards we met back up with them.

With the Fairy Godmother.


For lunch, we went to Plaza Inn.  I had done research beforehand, and knew which restaurants had allergy friendly menus.  The park has an app which is super helpful btw – not just for the restaurant scene, but for ride waiting times, locating characters, etc.  Anyway.  We went to Plaza Inn, and I asked to speak to someone about the allergy friendly menu.  A spoke to a woman for a while (she gave me menus which we went over together) and she got me the chef just to reassure me further.  I felt pretty confident about their knowledge and after watching the service for a bit I trusted the way they served and how they avoided cross contamination.  So I ordered both kids the baked chicken leg and rice.

The kids’ meals come with water or juice and a squeeze pack of applesauce.  All for $6.99!  Not bad at all! I got both kids the same thing so they could share without risk of contamination.  When I ordered they had a special note pad that noted the allergy and they prepared it in a separate section of the restaurant from the normal buffet line.  Ordinarily they don’t use note pads to take orders (it’s not a waiter place) so I knew this was all a very calculated and systematic means of keeping people with allergies safe.  SO FANTASTIC!!  GO DISNEY!!

Here are the other allergy friendly menus, for anyone else to see.

As you guys know, I don’t trust anyone to cook for P.  The only restaurants he has eaten at in his whole life are Disney’s Breakfast with Mickey (a year ago) and Jamba Juice.  So this was huge.

They both enjoyed it and ate all the chicken, but I saved the extra rice and applesauce pouches for later that day.

I made the mistake of getting one orange juice and one water, thinking they could share both.  But obviously that didn’t happen and so I returned the water and they both got their own juice.  Whatever.  Everything is a treat at the land of magic.  Including juice!

Since you can get whatever you want, in whatever portion you want, I got one fried chicken breast and a salad.  It’s usually a Cobb salad, but I nixed the bleu cheese and asked for Italian dressing instead of ranch.  Done without batting an eye!  They toss it in front of you, and she must have known I was avoiding dairy since she grabbed a different bowl from the one she was using for everyone else’s (dairy-ified salads) to toss mine.

Watching him meet the characters was the cutest thing ever.  He was in awe in the sweetest most innocent way.  I was slightly worried that he wouldn’t know very many characters since he hasn’t seen any of the movies, but we have almost every Disney story on our bookshelf and while he has favorites that we read back to back to back to back, we have read all of them at least once, even the rare ones like Herbie the Lovebug and whatnot…and of course we check things out from the Davis library too. My worrying was for naught.  He was pointing out Tangled and The Princess and the Frog characters to me!  How does he remember this stuff!?!

He knows Toy Story pretty well because I got him the book on cd from the library a while back and he listened to it approximately 85 times.

V, on the other hand, only really knows the OG gang (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy…) but is super into them.  These are her favorite stories and we read them several times a day.

It was so hot out and I really wanted something sweet to treat myself that afternoon, so I got the new iced coconut mocha macchiato.  Have you guys tried it?  My sister had mentioned a while back that she had and liked it.  Whoa buddy was it every sweet!  I was watching as they added heaps of syrup – caramel and chocolate and who knows what else!!  It was decadent and I was happy as could be.

Thanks to the Disneyland app, we were good about keeping on top of the musical options.  The marching band captivated P.

And then later we watched Mickey’s Soundsational parade…just, wow.  Every character he could want to see, with live dancing and music!  His dream come true.  And mine to watch it all through his eyes.  V danced a bit too, before having a bit of a meltdown.  For a 2 year old she did great. And for skipping naps, they both hung on way longer than I thought they would.

We even made it to the 8:30 showing of the electrical parade!  V fell asleep halfway through, in my arms, which I didn’t mind one bit.  🙂

And as soon as it was done, P got in the stroller and passed out, too.

So we went to get chocolate candy and ice cream and heard the fireworks overhead as we left the park…completely exhausted but thrilled to no end about the day’s excitement.

Sadly the stroller did not get to accompany us back to the car, so we ended up hauling the kids for-eh-ver from the park to the bus to the lot to the car.  They slept in our arms the whole way, and then stayed asleep the whole ride back to Venice.  What a day!

LA LA land

Spring Break did not start out great.  P ended up coming down with a cold Thursday night/Friday morning, which stalled his allergy OIT from advancing.  At the time I was a little bummed out, but it turned out to be a blessing because it meant (a) we were able to leave to drive to LA sooner and (b) we got to see how the clinic handled illness without it being too bad.

They were SO amazing.  We have recently suspected he has (respiratory cold induced) asthma, so what is a normal cold for others, escalates more quickly for him, with wheezing and breathing problems.  Even though he had JUST started coughing and sneezing overnight, by the time we got to the office that morning he was wheezing bad enough for you to hear without a stethoscope. The PA and MA were very cautious.  We didn’t updose at all, and instead did a breathing treatment, and left with prescriptions for albuterol and steroids. They even knew we were going on vacation and gave us the steroids as a sample…depending on how he does from here he may need a more aggressive baseline treatment plan to keep everything under control so that he is able to updose without disruptions in his oral immunotherapy. Anyway, we are now a week in and the steroids totally nipped it in the bud!  We were thinking our vacation was going to be a Florida repeat with a super sick P, but by starting the inhaler right away, it was a total non-issue. A normal cold that lasted no more than a few days.  Hooray!

This is what packing for a road trip looks like these days…plus a bunch of breakfast options for the kids over the week.  I had a huge LA restaurant list to tackle and knowing I wouldn’t feed P any food cooked in a restaurant kitchen, I made a ton of muffins and pancakes in advance.  That way I had portable options to take with me to the restaurant so we could all eat together.  I also made oatmeal packets with chia and flax seeds and shredded coconut.  That way I could make it once we got there (with applesauce or mashed bananas for sweetness).

And we’re off!

The drive was long but not terrible.

I forgot about how insane the traffic was, but remembered all the tricks and backroads of a seasoned LA dirver immediately.  P didn’t nap, and V waited until 4 pm to finally give in, but eventually we arrived in our old hood, and went straight to The Veggie Grill for take out.

I had been considering ordering food for P here since it’s vegan (and therefore at least one allergen is a non factor), but they had peanut oil in random things, so I said nevermind.

I got my standard, the All Hail Kale salad with blackened tempeh.  Guess what!?!?  THEY FORGOT MY CANDIED WALNUTS. Boo!  This is the third time in a row I’ve gotten an order messed up from TVG.  I may be done with them.  Seriously, it is so annoying to get home, feed your kids, do the whole bedtime routine, put them down, open your food, and realize something is missing.  Not just something, your FAVORITE part of the meal.  So.  Lame.

I got the fried chick’n plate for V, and stole a bunch of it.  That’s the perk of having a kid without allergies.  You can get things to “share”. Meaning the other entree you want to order for yourself but can’t decide on.  😉

Kyle got BTLA sando.  Solid choice, with good fries.

Team eating.

After dinner, we needed to get outside (trapped in a car all day isn’t the best for toddlers or adults), so we went for a stroll on the beach.

We got our place on airbnb, and chose it for location alone, which turned out to be stellar.

The rest of the details about the place were meh, but you can’t beat being one block from the beach.  It’s just heavenly.

We grabbed a bottle of bubbly on the way home, and watched UCLA lose 🙁 after putting the kids down.

Either way, it was an excellent and relaxing start to a week in the warm So Cal sun.


Larabar allergy info

Now that we are road tripping much more for weekly allergy treatments far away…packing healthy stuff has gotten more challenging.  My desire to be creative and offer diverse fresh whole foods is running up against exhaustion and it’s making me land somewhere in the middle with regards to packing food…which means, something’s gotta give.  So I recently contacted Larabar, wondering if perhaps their bars were safe for P.  I’ve never trusted another company that makes peanut products, and as you all know I’ve made my own bars on a weekly basis for…going on four years now…what if…I could stop making my own bars?  What if a company sold bars that were basically the same as the ones I made, with no fillers or non-food ingredients?

Here’s the written response:

Thank you for contacting LÄRABAR regarding our blueberry muffin bars. Our goal is to provide accurate information, and we believe this is best accomplished by referring to the specific ingredients listed on each product package. This is the most current information for your needs.

Our products are labeled for the top 8 allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, dairy products, eggs, soy, wheat, crustaceans and fish) plus sesame, sunflower and mollusks.

If one of our products contains any of the top 8 allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, milk products, wheat, crustaceans, and fish) or if it contains sesame, sunflower or mollusks, that ingredient will be bolded within the ingredient panel. If it is not listed, it is NOT in the product.

This ingredient and allergen information is for the package in hand. It is not intended for other packages of the same product. Ingredients may vary from one package to another due to product reformulation. If you have allergy concerns, please carefully read the ingredient information on each package.

You may also want to contact the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) at 1-800-929-4040, or visit their web site at www.foodallergy.org. Although they cannot provide specific ingredient information regarding a particular product, they are a good resource to help in the management of your allergies and sensitivities.

I hope this information is helpful, Elise. Thanks again for your interest in our products!

Simply yours,
Renetta Blake
Consumer Relations Representative

Not as helpful as I’d hoped because what I really wanted to know was if their peanut products shared equipment with their non peanut products.  So I called them.  It rang twice, and a real person answered and told me they use separate equipment for peanut products AND if they did share equipment with peanuts it would be noted on the wrapper or box label.  SWEET!

Guess what I went out and bought that afternoon?

They’re saying “APPLE PIE!”

They loved them so much!!  And no reactions!!!

We had a stellar afternoon with nobody else at the park.  They are so fun right now – they absolutely love each other and their physical abilities are close enough that parks are just a blast for them…it’s a joy for me to watch (and participate in).

They are silly and adventurous and imaginative and supportive.

He took a full 10 minutes to coax her down this slide and when she finally came down I don’t know who was more proud!  And then they went back and did it again and again 100 more times chasing each other and giggling with glee the whole time.

It’s funny how different they are, but how much they are mutually enamored with each other.  This chick is a firecracker…she brings out the biggest smiles in our whole family.  And now she’s a big TWO year old!

She was very into that crown!  Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.  After our park date, I still had some time to kill before dinner, so I swung into Target and bought a box of these guys.  We have a combined 10 hours in the car over the next two days so why not?

I just wish I could get carrot cake bars.  Or any others individually.  I may have to seek them out at a Whole Foods store when we are in LA next week…because buying them online seems a $$$ option.  Anyone know where to get the less popular bars for cheap without buying in bulk?

OH!  And guess what else I learned from Larabar?!  They use Enjoy Life chocolate chips so the vegan chocolate ones are even safe for P!  (And me)  I am so stoked!

Packing like a champ.  V got headphones for her birthday (thanks Auntie Bee!) and I found an old discman at my parents’ house, so on our last library trip I got 8 books on cd.  The books are mostly for P, but I have a feeling she will want in, if for no reason other than to be like him.  😉

Double celebrations

Woke up at my parents’ house on Friday and went for a run while Kyle hung with the kiddos, then we swapped and he got his workout in.  After a quick shower P and I hit the road to Fremont for his second oral immunotherapy appt.  All allergy posts are here FYI (in case you missed one and don’t know what I’m talking about with this OIT business).

We left later this time but still left room for a quick run in to sbux.  In the heat of the previous day’s packing chaos, I completely forgot the bag of all P’s activities (including his meds that I need if he has a reaction when we aren’t at the clinic!). SUCH A FAIL.  Ugh.  Luckily my parents’ house is packed with kids’ stuff and I found both of the Where’s Waldo books I had from my childhood…in addition to an I Spy book and some felt boards. I printed out a few more letter activities from the measured mom website and I was back in action.  I still felt horrible for forgetting his meds…and the Connect Four game he got from the pediatrician after being so brave during his shots.  But I explained to him that I made a mistake and that I’d remember it next time for sure.

The truth of the matter is, he spent the first two hours on my lap searching through the pages of Where’s Waldo with the only breaks for dosing and vitals.


This special berry flavored apple sauce was a fun change up for him – made even more enjoyable by adding almonds, cheerios, and raisins from the trail mix I made him one by one in to it. Whatever works to pass the time!  In this case, his s u p e r s l o w eating works to my favor.  No joke, between books that require searching for hidden objects and eating, it pretty much fills up all the time we are there.  Not that it flies by or anything.

New snack alert!

I bought these bare banana “chips” for P, but I like them too.  I like surprising him with some kind of special snack or new activity (or both!) for OIT days to keep him excited about it.  I’ve heard of the bare brand before but hadn’t tried anything.  Nugget Market carries a bunch of their products and the coconut chips looked good too.  Maybe next time…

Per pacman, the one with the most hair in the photo is V!?!

P had another very successful day of OIT, which ended on a more concentrated ratio of water to milk.  However an hour after his last dose (right before we were about to be cleared to go) he started complaining of itching on his inner elbow.  They kept him over an hour after that, giving him anti-histamines too, and monitoring his vitals and the progress of the symptoms just to be overly cautious.  Also, one of his cheeks and ears turned red and puffed up, so obviously they waited for that inflammation to go away too.  In the end, it stopped before it advanced further, but I was definitely on high alert for the whole drive home (especially since I left my meds in Davis!).

P didn’t nap on the way back to my parents house, and when I got home, they told me V refused to nap too.  So we all went for a walk around the reservoir.

My sister was off work by then, so she joined us.  It was fun until a chopper started circling overheard.  Came to find out there was a mountain lion up in the brush (very much within view). EEEEEKKKK!  No thank you.  Kept the kids in the stroller after that and buddied up with another walker who had a big dog. Nobody else seemed phased, but I was pretty glad that we only had a mile left until we were back to the car.

Dinner!  The birthday boy (Kyle) got to pick the meal, which was burgers.  My dad grilled and my sis made fries, and I anxiously hovered trying to help get the kids down early…until I was given a glass of Roscato and told to go watch basketball.  Done.

He chose my mom’s chocolate pecan pie for dessert, OBVIOUSLY.  It’s everyone’s favorite, so we were all very happy about his choice.  😉

We spent that night there, and then got out the door as soon as the kids finished breakfast the next morning.  I was up before the rest of the house with P, so I worked out in the living room while he hung out with me and did more Where’s Waldo and felt boards.  I totally killed myself!  I have been majorly sore ever since that workout!!  Anyway, we were trying to get on the road asap, because we scheduled V’s 2nd birthday party at 9:30 that morning.  Back in Davis.

V had a shared party just like last year with her birthday buddy.  His mom and I are known as “the Elises” when together, but have to go by our last names amongst our friends since it’s too confusing otherwise. It’s funny that I went my whole life not knowing anyone else with my name, and now I have a best friend also named Elise.  Spelled the same way, even!

Despite being due a day apart, our two cuties were born a week apart.  We were the first crazy moms of our group to have second kids, so it has been nice to have her to share in the chaos of two young things so close in age.

Anyway, we divided and conquered for the party…we did a craft first, thanks to Elise’s pinterest-ing (while Kyle ran home to get the muffins I left in the fridge).

I made two pans of these apple honey vanilla muffins (“cupcakes”) which were a huge hit.  I think every kid had a second, and several had three.

The wind was a little too much, so I just held out the candle for them to pretend blow out….but they looked at me like I was crazy.

My loves.

By noon everyone had dispersed so we went home for lunch and naps.  Just one of those was for me.

Oh hiiiii.  Lunch of my dreams.

After P woke up I took him shopping with me.  First we had to go get V a birthday present.  Even though we did no presents with her, I’m letting him pick something out to gift her just like I did with her for his birthday (because I like promoting giving and encouraging generosity). My sweet boy was so thoughtful…brainstorming bunny things for her because he knows how much she loves bunnies.  After that we went grocery shopping and came home to join the other half of the family with some backyard playing until dinner.

I had a beast of a salad for lunch and wasn’t totally in the mood for another salad (weird, I know), but Kyle wanted a Caesar, and he is basically picking all the meals this week in honor of his birthday.  So I jazzed up the traditional Caesar by adding in shaved brussels.  Heaps of nooch for moi.

And then chocolate pecan pie for dessert for us both.  Glad my mom let me bring some home because it’s SO GOOD!!

P gave Kyle a fantastic birthday present by waking at 5 am and then having a meltdown when I tried to convince him it was too early to get up.  He’s going through something with his sleep at night right now and it’s been a doozy to deal with.  Over the past week I haven’t slept through the night once – usually there are 2-3 wake ups involved with irrational issues at the root of it all.  For a child who has slept 12-15 hours a day for his entire life, this is definitely a new thing to deal with. We have tried a few tweaks that haven’t worked but last night (Monday) was the first successful one thus far, so we will see if it continues.  Kids go through phases so I just have to keep reminding myself that they are growing and changing and to be patient and supportive (even though I want to sleep!).

Workouts followed by pancakes for breakie helped everyone.

After breakfast, Kyle opened his presents and then P and I went to church.

As long as they were napping we were watching March Madness.  This time of year always brings back memories of watching with Kyle while laboring with V.

I baked a cake too.

He requested a super decadent chocolate cake, so I made this entire thing just for him.

He also requested tacos for dinner.  Just like his son did!

Taco lovers in this house.

It only took a few taco nights for V to get the shell situation.  My work here is done people.

Teenager Valley is going to hate me for posting these, but I don’t think it’s searchable, so that’s good.

The boys both had THREE TACOS each, and here V is on her second…

Having the refried beans to act as glue in the bottom of the taco was the way to go.  Also, I did it for my own personal benefit because I’ve been in a refried beans kind of mood lately.

Here’s Kyle’s plate.

Look at all that yummy stuff!

I deconstructed mine because the organic chips are SO SALTY and irresistible. I gave V daiya cheese with me and P, so Kyle was the lone cow milk eater.

Before we put the kids down, we all sang for the birthday boy.

The Bruins gave Kyle a WIN for his birthday!  And then the work week arrived like a freight train.  Sigh. I guess the birthday partying had to come to an end eventually…

Nuts without cross contamination

I am in an OIT for food allergy group on facebook and it’s a really awesome helpful community.  I never would have thought to join it until another mom (doing OIT at our same clinic) added me as a member.  It has been so amazing to read everyone’s stories and hear the answers and anecdotes and advice that others have.  Plus all kinds of support!

So here’s a link someone recently posted that I wish I’d known about LONG ago: of a list of companies that sell nuts that aren;r cross contaminated with other nuts or peanuts (the article is from 2014, so as always double check for yourself because things change!)  I’m a big fan of Barney Butter, but it isn’t cheap and it’s sweetened with sugar, so that’s a shame.  Unless they have an unsweetened one that I don’t know about…

Here’s a good OIT website for anyone reading my posts wanting more info…there’s a search for MDs in your area who treat it.

I’d also recommend searching facebook groups if you’re interested because there’s a whole network out there of parents who have been where you are going…and eventually maybe you can pay it forward and be the parent who has some answers and wisdom to share.

Sorry for the foodless post…how about a cute pic of my kids??

P skipped his nap today and I decided to go out for a Jamba Juice treat before tee ball. Because you guys know how I feel about Jamba Juice.  It’s the only place I trust to serve P.  He asks for “a blender with NOOOOOO peanuts” (said in such a hilarious way) because they have special blenders for customers with peanut allergies.  I always give the staff major love and appreciation and positive reinforcement for how serious they take it.  They are so great.  They gave the kids stickers too, so yeah.  Love it.

I got a berry beet up for the kids to split and carrot orange something or other for me.  I love carrot flavor 🙂 I didn’t finish it, so I may have some for breakfast tomorrow too – add some banana and it’s a whole new smoothie!