Monday, March 26, 2012

Just another crazy weekend!


Let’s back up a bit.  I didn’t mention that on Thursday, we went to a Korean Restaurant after the hospital appointment.  This is tricky for me since corn and gluten are in a lot of Korean sauces.  I ordered a stone pot Bimbambop without the pepper paste.  I missed the taste of the pepper paste so much.  basically I ate rice, veggies and meat mixed together with no seasoning.  I was glad Angel got his Korean though.  I also love the little side dishes but didn’t eat anything because once again, I am not sure what is used to marinate those dishes.  Even Kimchi could have something in it that I can’t have.  One of the side dishes was this…


No thank you! 

But Angel had no problem eating it. 

Friday was a normal day.  Every Friday, we rush out at 5pm for Anna’s 3 hour dance classes.  While she is at dance we grocery shop.  Rush home and then try to put everything away before crashing for the night. 

Saturday morning the goal was to get up at 5 (me that is) and get the family out of the house at 7:30 so David can get to work for 8 and we head to my parents.  Well, that didn’t work out so well.  David ended up getting a ride so I didn’t have to rush.  I did still wake at 5.  I cooked my meal for the road, just in case.  I packed a lot of snacks since we were planning to go to the movies as well.  We set out around 9am. 

The van was making this horrible clicking sound and we ended up driving back to the house.  After staring under the hood and fiddling around with things Angel decided to call his brother Abe.  Of course at that point the noise was very faint.  Then it disappeared completely.  So now our plan changed a bit.  Head to my parents first, then go to Abe’s, then the movies.  By this time it is 10am. 

We get to my parents at 11:30, stayed there til about 2:30.  They decided to order pizza so I ordered a chicken salad.  I had showed mom what I made (chicken, carrots, and sweet potatoes with onions..) she just had to have some. I swear her mouth was watering.. so we shared that.  Then we headed out to Abe’s. 

Abe ended up not being at home, so we met him at the Laundromat.  He looked at the van and found nothing.  The noise was completely gone.  We chatted with him and the kids for a bit then headed back to CT for the theater. 

We made it to the theater just in time for the 5:30 showing.  Hunger Games was very very good.  I have some hang-ups when it comes to being different from the book but overall they did a good job.  Anna was thrilled with the movie and was so glad they changed the ending. 

We made it home by 8:30pm.  I was in bed at 9:30. 

Sunday Morning, Anna wanted to go to the Dove beauty campaign at the Mitchell College.  This meant some planning.  David had to be at work for 10, so up again at 6am, pack up the chicken salad that was leftover and more snacks.  Anna had to get fully dressed in dance clothes.  After dropping off David we headed to the college from 10:30 – 12:30.  By the time we walked out of there it was more like 1pm which left an hour to grab food and head to the high school for dance rehearsal.  They got grinders and we parked at the school and ate.  I was so thankful I grabbed my salad and dressing since I would not have been able to find something to eat.  I do not cater to dry salads. 

Dance rehearsal was from 2 – 4:30.  Then we headed to get Angel’s prescription and they picked up some fried rice and chicken wings from a Chinese takeout.  We got home around 6pm and I quickly made myself some fried brown rice and quinoa with veggies and safe hot dogs (corn free hot dogs are hard to find!).  We watched a show and by 8pm I was ready for bed.  I managed to stay up til 9 (Anna begged).  I slept in til 7am.  I am still exhausted.

Today I am focusing on cleaning up the weekend mess and then we leave for dance at 4.  I have to make myself food again for the road.  Anna’s dance is from 4:30 – 5 and then 6-7.  Hubby wants to grab taco’s with Anna.  Taco Bell has nothing I can eat.  That’s ok though.. chicken in rice wraps for the road. 

Did I mention I am exhausted. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Update on Angel and Anxiety.

Been super busy!  I wanted to post what happened at Angel’s appointment on Thursday.  Just as we were walking toward the room I ran into Debbie in the hall.  I honestly can’t remember her job title but I can say she goes above and beyond her job. 

When Angel was sedated, she came to visit me almost every day.  Sometimes bringing me treats (crackers and peanut butter, personal products) and sometimes just to see how I am doing.  When Angel was in a delusional state and I was told to leave, she took me straight outside and made me sit in the sun and just let me cry.  She is such an amazing, caring person. 

It was great to get to chat with her.  In talking she told me it was completely normal to still have anxiety over last year.  It really helped to have those feelings validated.  We talked about how wonderful Angel is doing and just so much more.  She even chatted with Anna about dance.  She really thinks it would be good for us to take a vacation.  Although it is not financially possible, I am sure there is something we can do. 

Angel’s appointment went very well.  There was not much talk about the hernia since we didn’t see the doc that would be preforming that surgery.  We did however talking about checking for celiac again.  The plan of action is to check the antibodies again.  If they are still there then Angel will swallow a camera to get a better picture of his intestinal wall.  They are also working on getting him off the Coumadin.  On Friday, the office called to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lally (love her as well! She was part of the team that saved his life.) to check the hernia.  She will be doing that procedure as well. 

I will admit I am still a bit nervous.  A lot will be going on right after the year mark and it is a busy time for us with dance performances and homeschooling conference.  Oh, I must not forget Anna’s birthday in a month!  I am feeling a lot better though.  The Lord is definitely getting me through these rough patches of life. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012


It’s pretty obvious to me that I am having some anxieties this morning.  Yesterday as I was walking home from the school after dropping off Ethan, my mind started to wander.  It decided to focus on ‘what if’s’.

What if Angel didn’t make it when the new liver cracked?

What would have happened to us?

Who would I call about the house?

Would we still be living here?  If not where?

How would we be able to carry on without him?

It only got worse til I walked into the door of our house.  Angel said something to me and the tears started pouring.  Of course, at this point he is demanding to know what happened. 

Last night I dreamed he went into surgery to have his hernia removed (caused by the liver transplant).  From what I can gather, a few days had passed and he still did not wake up.  In my dream it felt like it was happening again.  I was trying to sit at the hospital and work on our taxes and school planning for Anna.  Dan (a guy who works at the hospital and was super nice) was trying to encourage me that everything will be okay.  Then I woke. 

Today we leave for Angel’s appointment with the transplant team.  He has not seen them since the beginning of December.  The focus will be the hernia removal.  I don’t think I have to mention how terrified I am. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. Will you run to the store or to pick up a kid looking a mess?

Probably depends more on where I am going but most likely I don’t care that much.  However, I will not leave the house in sweatpants!  I can have no makeup, stained shirt, and even messy hair, but no sweatpants, ever!  I’m strange that way. 

2. Do you finish a book if it's boring or you don't like it?

I have lots of books that I never finished.  I really have to be interested in the words on the pages.  I love to read but it has to catch my interest.  If it’s a really good book, I have a hard time putting down. 

3. Beach or mountain vacations?

Definitely the beach!  If there is water, then I love to be in it.  I am not a fan of hiking at all. 

4. What thing/event says "winter will end and spring is right around the corner" to you?

Flowers blooming, light jackets, birds singing, feet peaking out of blankets at night and sinus issues.  LOL.  I love the Spring.  I am not a fan of cold weather at all. 

5. Would you prefer couples or family vacation?

That’s a hard one.  I would love a vacation with hubby but then I know I will be wishing Anna was with us, or wondering what she was doing.  I think I will have to go with a family vacation.  I can still enjoy a night with hubby after she sleeps.  Just getting away with the family would be awesome right now. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ristorante Pizza Night

A while ago I signed up for the Ristorante Pizza Campaign through BzzAgent.  I received a coupon for two pizza’s to check out.  I know I can’t eat the pizza but I figured the family would enjoy it. 
Ristorante Pizza by Dr. Oetker is a favorite in Italy.  It’s been around since 1985, however didn’t come to the states til 2009.  It has a thin crispy crust and is topped with unique toppings.  Hubby decided to try the Speciale which included Pepperoni, cooked ham, and spicy herbs. 
I only had to pop it in the oven at 425 for 14 minutes. 
It looked really good.  The family really loved it.  Angel is not a fan of boxed pizza at all.  He usually avoids it completely.  He was quite impressed.  Ethan loved it so much he was upset when we ran out.  He insisted I just had to make more.  He doesn’t know we have a box of the Quattro Formaggi in our freezer right now.  He will be quite surprised. 

What’s your favorite boxed pizza?  Are you planning on trying this out?  I have a feeling we will be purchasing more in the future. 

*as a BzzAgent I did receive coupons for two free pizzas to try and review. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Not the Lay’s Potato Chips!!


Today was day one of being corn free. 

I did it.  It’s 9:44 today and it’s tough but I did it.  I started off the morning with a brown rice cake, a bit of peanut butter and some jam sweetened with fruit juice and a banana. 

Lunch was Chicken in a salad.  Snack was an apple and a small bowl of raw nuts (with the shells).  Dinner was some quinoa, brown rice, assorted veggies, and an egg on top.

I felt great.  I was doing everything on my to do list (I am totally a list person!) Not focusing on food to much.  Although I realized I had forgotten water, so I had to catch up on that. 

After dropping Anna off at dance I headed off to the mall with Angel to get my ring checked and cleaned.  I was way overdue.  While we were there, we still had some time to kill.  So Angel, of course, said he was hungry.  No problem, I can handle this.  We head to the food court and I go straight to Meyer’s Deli to check out their fruits.  They only had strawberries.  I am not really a fan of plain strawberries.  They also had some veggies sticks sitting in some dip.  Can’t have that.  So I head to Subway and get a bag of Lay’s Classics.  I love Lay’s low salt.  Lays is so simple with their ingredients.  They are gluten and casein free.  Should be no problem.

Of course I can’t look at the bag behind the counter so I purchase the bag and go sit with Angel. Just before opening, thankfully, I look at the ingredients, corn oil.  I didn’t eat any but of course now my stomach is grumbling in complaint.  I am forced to ignore it.  I am totally craving watermelon and so frustrated that the deli didn’t have any this time.  Funny thing is I never even looked twice at Angel’s pizza.  That’s a good thing! 

After arriving home I drank more water and held off eating for a bit.  I had some hummus (I made it today) and carrots.  Angel and Anna just ate ice cream and of course my stomach is rumbling again.  I can’t wait to go to bed so I don’t have to deal with it. 

I don’t know if I ate enough calories today and I am honestly too tired to look it up.  I am sure I am fine though.  I just need to get used to not having the corn fillers that make up my daily meals.  I was was definitely eating way too much corn chips and tortillas to add to those calories. 

I did do some research and it looks like the only Lay’s I might be able to have is Kettle chips.  While it doesn’t have any gluten added, it has not been tested to be gluten free.  Looks like I need to find another chip to love. 

What’s your favorite chip? 

Stuck in the Checkout Lane

I see myself as a fairly patient person.  I try really hard to smile while I am waiting and be polite.  Sometimes however, it can be difficult when you need to pick up your child from dance class on time. 

Friday night, we went grocery shopping at a store not far from Anna’s dance studio.  We had plenty of time and knew we had to get a lot.  We mostly stayed on the outside aisles since we were focusing on healthy foods. I was pretty proud of myself when I went to the checkout with a cart full of food with 30 minutes to spare. 

The lady in front of me already had most of her food on the belt.  The other lines looked full so I figured it was a good spot.  As I started unloading the lady in front of me exclaimed “Where did you get that juice that is on sale?”.  I told her where I found it and she sent the bagger off to grab her two bottles.  No problem, plenty of time.  I smiled at her. 

After a bit there seemed to be some discussion going on and soon the bagger was off to grab more items that the lady had forgotten to purchase.  I didn’t know that was in the bagger’s job description.  The lady in front of me apologized for taking so long and I smiled. 

After a lot of coupon searching and talking, it turned out the lady also had some WIC items.  I used to use WIC when David was little.  It’s a great program.  However, I don’t remember the protocol being so long back then. 

Angel had to leave me in the aisle.  Anna was getting out of dance in 5 min and he had to be there.  So I stayed and smiled and was polite.  It took her 30 mins totally to get through the aisle.  That was the longest 30 minutes ever.  LOL. 

Now it’s my turn,  I got my coupons, I got my card.  She rings up 128.00 of groceries.. I pack my cart (bagger never did come back) and in all it took 5 minutes.  My cart was loaded to the top.  Now that I think about it 128.00 wasn’t bad for a full cart.  Especially when more than half the cart was produce items. 

I guess the point is, I really strive to be as efficient and quick as possible when I go through the checkout lane.  Of course there have been moments of having an item with no price or barcode.  I always hate those times because I feel bad for the person behind me.  I have had frazzled moments at the checkout and they are not fun. 

How are you at the checkout? 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Is a Corn Free Diet Possible?

I read an article the other day, Dilemmas of a Gluten free convert.  It really made me think.  First of all the social aspects of it is so true!  As a person who grew up with a hearing loss, I know way too well what it feels like to not be a part of the crowd.  Now the whole gluten/casein free diet has made it even worse.  Mostly because it now makes me feel left out among family and friends! 

What hit me even more was the elimination of corn in her diet.  While my casein and gluten levels were above 28 my corn was 5.6.  The paperwork says anything over 2 is considered an allergy.  Because of how low it was, my doctor had told me not to worry about corn.  To focus on the two high ones, which I have done for the last 5 months or so.  However, I don’t think it’s enough.  So I decided maybe I need to eliminate corn for about 6 weeks and see what happens.  After getting rid of gluten and dairy, it shouldn’t be a problem, right? 

Wrong!  Have you looked at your labels lately? 

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Modified Corn Starch
  • xanthan Gum
  • maltodextrin
  • dextrose
  • vegetable oil
  • and many more!

I actually thought I just needed to stop using cornstarch, and no more tacos or corn chips.  Boy was I delusional!  I found it in my steak sauce, canned peaches, gluten free broths, baking powder, honey mustard sauce, all my dressings, my jam, and the last place I would ever have thought.  My peanut butter has corn syrup! 

I really should have dug further before shopping on Friday night.  I bought a lot of things not realizing they had corn in them.  However, I also bought loads of fruits and veggies.  At least they are safe! 

I started off today with some eggs and sauteed veggies.  For lunch just before heading out I made a huge batch of brown rice and quinoa.  Had some of that with Pollock and spinach. I think I messed up cooking the fish.  I am really not familiar with preparing fish.  Today I picked up some Swai to try out.  I have no clue how I am cooking that! 

Angel and Anna both got a burger at Burger King (gotta love those dollar burgers) and I was fine with it.  Not hungry at all.  Dinner ended up being corn because we had already marinated the steak.  Since steak is a rare treat I was not passing it up today.  On the side Angel decided to sauté some onions, mushrooms and spicy peppers with fresh green beans.  It was great.  I really wish I had taken some pics. 

Angel made some beef jerky last night that I grabbed a few pieces of.  I had to sample some before I get serious.  I also had some peaches.  I had bought a big can of it without realizing they are not usually made in their own juices.  I have really been clueless here. 

Tomorrow will be a much better day.  I have chickpeas that I soaked since this morning for hummus.  It’s simmering I the crock overnight and I will make in the morning.  I have lots of carrots to eat with it instead of corn chips.  I have a bag of chicken breasts, lots of eggs, fish, and veggies.  I don’t remember seeing that much veggies in my fridge.  I even went back out today and purchased some Jam and peanut butter without corn syrup.  It took a bit of digging but they were there.  I also bought some corned beef.  To be honest, I looked it up first to make sure it had nothing to do with corn.  Sounds crazy but I figured you never know! 

Although I keep telling myself this corn free diet could be temporary, I know deep down I am going to have to get this family off the high fructose corn syrup.  I can see soda being a huge problem in the future.  My husband loves his Pepsi and Maltza.


I will admit, I am going to miss the occasional root beer / cream soda.  I don’t get it often but when I do, I love it. 

Do you pay attention to your food labels?  What would be the hardest food you would have to give up? 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When are you too old for Chuck E Cheese?

I just love my girls!  When my nieces come every vacation, there are a lot of girls in the house.  Ethan (my grandson) always claims he doesn’t like them here.. but when they arrive he loves all the attention.  The day before they were leaving, I asked if he was going to miss them.. he said “NO!  But I will miss their Ipods.” 

In the past, we used to always go to Chuck E Cheese.  We stopped going a few years ago, although I am not sure why.  I kinda figured a 14 and 12 year old would not want to spend the day there.  Oh how wrong I was.  We were going through old pictures and hit a bunch of Chuck E ones.  They started talking about how we just had to go again. 

We decided to surprise them.  On Thursday evening I told them we would be going shopping.  I insisted they come because they had been there a week already and just needed to get out of the house.  We drove from around the back of the place and as we came to the front the screams began.  Ethan was so thrilled he just couldn’t relax even for a moment. 



I got tickets!!








Even hubby joined in on the fun.





I had such a hard time getting everyone out of the place. 

Ethan ended up sleeping over since it was so late anyways. 


Anna and Kate slept in the living room,

while Jade and Ethan took Anna’s room. 

Anna loved waking up to find Popotan in the chair with her.


Of course, Ethan snuggled up next to Kate the next morning

so he could play on her Ipod. 



Jade and Anna at Chuck E Cheese in 2004

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Beautiful Baby Girl

I was going through some old posts on my Xanga blog and came across this post.  I just had to share.  Anna will be 11 years old next month!
Posted Monday, 15 May 2006
  • My Beautiful Baby Girl

    3 days old

        1.  Your full name is Annaleah Aiko Ramos
        2.  You were born on April 24, 2001
        3.  You were born with a cleft of the soft palate and had to be hospitalized for awhile.

                                                    1 month old

    4.  You were born with dark curly hair and big brown eyes
    5.  You didn't like sleeping in our bed.. You had to be able to stretch out.
    6.  You still carry the blanket (in above picture) around with you everywhere.


2 months old

    7.  Your first food ever was watermelon - sucking on mommy's slice at a picnic
    8.  Once a lady crossed 3 rows of cars in a parking lot, came over just to tell us how beautiful you were.
    9.  Daddy got really nervous and said we were not to let you out of our sight.. ever!

4 months old

    10.  You used to love your thumb.
    11.  Mommy was afraid that palate surgery would be hard.. because you wouldn't be able to use your thumb that way.
    12.  You were a trouper though... it didn't phase you one bit.. although mommy was a tad sad about it.

7 months old

    13.  Mommy and Daddy bought our home when you were 6 months old.
    14.  You started walking around furniture around 6 months of age
    15.  Shortly after we moved in.. You were sleeping with daddy in big bed.. you scared him when you fell out.  Mommy never seen daddy so  scared before.

9 months old

    16.  The night before your cleft palate surgery, you tried to eat an entire pancake
    17.  It was the last solid food you would eat for months.
    18.  After palate surgery you lived on smoothies and juice.  You had to be on a liquid diet for a few months.

10 months old

    19.  You took your first step at 10 months
    20.  After cleft surgery, you had to wear these braces on your arms,  You could not bend them to put things in your mouth.  I thought that this would discourage you.  Instead, you used all your energy walking around with a big purple ball to help you.
    21.  This is how you are about everything.  You will practice getting on your little riding toy over and over again.  You would do that for days.. never actually riding it.  Just practicing on and off till you got it perfect.

    22.  You loved getting into things..
    23.  If we told you "no".. you would try over and over again.  Never in anger or tears.. just determined.
    24.  The first time you went to sleep on your own.. You were 15 months old.. You asked for your cup and walked away.. Mommy found you sleeping on your crib mattress..

16 months old

    25.  At 16 months you said "eye" for the first time.. then poked me in my eye..
    26.  Around the same time, you said "no" for the first time.. but "Yah" was your favorite word
    27.  You also loved to strip off clothes, put on dress up shoes, and dance on the coffee table in your nightgown

2 years 3 months

    28.  Mommy had to put your diapers on backwards for awhile, because you just loved to take them off.
    29.   It didn't take long for you to proudly show me how you could still take them off with no problem.
    30.  You got your first sugar rush at 17 months.. from a lollipop. You would spin around in a circle and laughing, then and stare at the floor.. and then this giggle would just bubble up.. It was hilarious.

2yrs - snuck in tub as I was getting it ready..

    31.   At 22 months we got tired of hearing Barney videos.. you loved them
    32.   We bought your your first Wiggles dvd and you fell in love.
    33.   But you didn't like Wally in the Wiggles movie.  You would run out of the room everytime he came on the screen.

3yrs - applying lipstick

    34.   Just before your 2nd birthday, you had your first hearing test.
    35.  You almost got kicked out of the Birth to 3 program because you passed the tests with flying colors
    36.  However, you failed because you decided to be un-cooperative at the final testing.. which was a good thing.

3 years old - 4th of July sparklers

    37.  We discovered you had a slight hearing loss due to fluids and it started to affect your speech.
    38.  You had to have new tubes put into your ears to help the drainage.  All was well again.
    39.  Thanks to Birth to 3 program your speech improved in no time at all.. You were doing wonderfully

    40.  At the age of 2 you hated flying bugs.. Especially flies.  You would cover your eyes and yell..
    41.  Mommy gave you a fly swatter and yoiu would walk around the house calling "fly, fly."
    42.  You desperately wanted to see Santa for the first time.. until you got up close.. You cried and wouldn't let him touch you, but when we left, Santa was all you talked about.
    43.  When your blanket got dirty and needed to be washed.. You would carry it down to the washer and give it a kiss before putting it in.
    44.  Around this age you believed you were a dog.. you would even help me make the bed, with your teeth.  You would try to walk on all fours and bark in public places
    45.  Just before your 3rd birthday, you were denied speech services at the school because your speech was awesome!


    46.  You insisted and made pasta from scratch and then ate it for lunch
    47.  A month shy of your 3rd birthday you informed mommy "I love you so much!"

    48.  You fell in love with raising baby chicks after your 3rd birthday
    49.  It was impossible to potty train you. You peed every 15-20 min on the dot.  At 21 min.. it was too late
    50.  At  the age of 3 years and 3 months you decided you were done with diapers.. No help from me whatsoever.
    51.  You love the Land before Time series
    52.  You found your first love at the drive-in, Spiderman
    53.  Every time we went out you would insist that certain females were in fact Mary Jane!

    54.  You found a stuffed Spiderman on clearance at KBtoys for 3.00 and still carry it everywhere you can
    55.  I once discovered your Spiderman kissing your Barbie doll (who you insist is Mary Jane).
    56.  You told Daddy.. there was only two people you wanted to marry.. Spiderman or Daddy..
    57.  Your first Movie Theater show was The Incredibles.
    58.  Your favorite PBS Show now is Dragon Tales
    59.  You used to love Caillou
    60.  Your favorite Nick show is Lazy Town
    61.  You love to watch musicals
    62.  You fell in love with Phanthom of the Opera
    63.  You watched it so much.. Papa let you keep the movie.
    64.  You love creepy crawlers, like worms..
    65.  You tried to keep a worm as your pet
    66.  You also tried to keep caterpillars for pets.
    67.  Your favorite meal is Spaghetti and meatballs.. yet you won't eat the meatballs..they just have to be included..