Allergies stink


Being allergic to the outdoors stinks. I say that in a flowing statement as if I am “allergic to the universe” but somedays it sure seems that way. I have always had seasonal allergies since I was a child. I used to get Benadryl syrup when it was a prescription every spring and most of the summer. I was not only allergic to pollens and trees and grasses – oh no- I was also allergic or rather “highly sensitive” to any sort of insect bite. Mosquito bites in particular were so big that I would be covered in silver dollar or larger sized welts. This led to a life of “indoor” activities or “screened in” activities. I was not the active outdoorsy person I wish I could have been.

This brings me to today (where even after 5 years of allergy shots which I got as an adult) I am itchy. I get annoyed with my circumstances. I hired a lawn guy to mow because when I mowed for my superbly busy husband for Father’s day last year I was confined to the couch covered in sweat and the oh so sexy after-glow of puffy face and arms and hands from a reaction to the grass. On a Benadryl super-coma- my dear husband came home to a “Happy Father’s Day!” card and he was less than pleased. Since his work travel and schedule have gotten even busier I resorted to the lawn guy.

Now- this should mean that I would be smart enough to ask said lawn guy to trim the bushes (which mind you they will do in the fall) except- NO- why would I do that. It’s sunny out and I want to SEIZE THE DAY! “CARPE DIEM!” I exclaim as I leap off the couch and exit my safe and allergen free A/C house. I get the loppers and start chopping away at the rose bushes and this tall and gangly thing in the corner which has grown too high over the past 18 months. Little did I know there are nasty and biting ants (I didn’t know they did that!) in the dang bush. After shouting and a few choice words I left a pile of clipped branches and my pride and came back inside. This ONLY after the prodding of my 10 year old who said “Mom- you are in sandals. You have nothing to protect your feet. These things are going to eat you alive. OH MY GOSH- they’re crawling out of the lawn bag. RUN!” Seasonal-Allergies-03
Fudge- here I am bringing my kin- the child who is equally or even more allergic than I was as a child into the wild. What have I done? Mind you our wild is Chicago-land suburbia and it’s not that WILD and yet for us allergic folks it couldn’t be any more truthful. We need to be in areas without bugs, and if out at night in a good strong breeze to avoid mosquitos and …the list goes on. The best part (insert sarcasm here) of being so allergic is we are even sensitive to the ingredients in the bug sprays and the sun screens. I am still sporting a rash on my neck/upper chest from a mineral sunscreen (none of the bad stuff) I put on the other day. Like seriously- I get a rash from Zinc. I was practically painted white. COME ON.

So- you will see me at the pool (although not in it much- yeah I am sensitive to Chlorine as well) but in the deep shade of a tree. I will go out walking but probably on the tracks in the wide open at about 5:30pm when it’s breezy but before the bugs have come out. I get out there. I walk the dog. I do my thing. I just do it less than most of you. Oh and wait- I can’t forget to take the kiddo for his allergy shots this afternoon. May this help him more in his youth than me waiting til I was an adult for them. If I can spare him I will be happy (or rather happier). I’ll go read my book now….inside.

Making time for YOU- It’s important


Taking time for yourself can be hard to do. Sometimes you have to schedule it in order to set aside some precious time. A few days ago a friend asked if I was free for coffee this morning. Normally I would have said I was busy because I have so much on my plate but this time I said “sure” and I am so glad I did. Sitting down with 2 friends, enjoying a scone and a much needed cup of caffeine was the best thing I could have done for myself today. We laughed, I cried (yeah-that’s me lately) and we had a great time.

Taking time for yourself is so important. My kids didn’t perish while I was gone. Heck it’s summer break and they were asleep for most of the time anyway. When I checked in they groggily answered the phone and assured me all was well and indeed when I came home all was fine.

In life we have to dedicate moments for us. Especially stay at home moms or moms in general. We tend to take on a lot of the care-giving and a lot of the organization of the home front. It’s hard work and it’s ok to make time for US! I have slowly learned that taking a night here and there and a morning here and there really does replenish me.

That is not enough time for yourself though. You need to carve out time to exercise, and eat well too and if you are in a relationship it also means carving out time for your loved ones as well. I find that it is necessary to put things on a calendar. Date night doesn’t happen by itself. My husband and I are carving out one night a month just for US. I am carving out time to walk our dog solo to just be with my thoughts.

None of this happened over night. For me it was hard to make time. We have 3 kids, we have no family in the state we are in and I haven’t had a babysitter since we moved here (3 3/4 years ago). Our kids are now old enough to stay home alone for a few hours and that is all it takes to carve out some time. I wake up early in the summer and can get my dog walk in before the kids wake up. It’s easier to get together with friends over the summer (especially since I have some teacher friends) and even those that work full-time- we can hang out an evening here and there.

I am realizing that my kids will be home with me less than they will be away. Only 7 more years til the youngest is 18. I need to invest in my friends NOW so that I have friends when they are gone or don’t need me as much. I need to regain my identity. I’m not just their mom- I’m Allie- and I need to get her back.

I hope that you figure out way before I did that YOU are important. It’s liberating to realize that we need the support of friends to get thru life’s challenges. I’m so glad I have mine.

Blood tests – make it as easy as possible


Taking your child for blood work can be stressful on the best of days. Our family has had our fair share of medical issues and are currently being worked up for some more things. My youngest had to go to get more blood work today. We are lucky to have a facility that uses “magic spray” to make the stick practically painless but that has not always been the case. Here are a few tips to make the experience less painful.

  • Be honest with your kids- they are going to feel a pinch
  • Explain to them that they need to relax- the blood flows faster if they are calm
  • Drink plenty of water the day before and the day of the test- it makes your veins easier to see and feel by the phlebotomist
  • Distract your child- if your child is small and doesn’t understand this- then bring a favorite toy- sing to them- anything they love
  • Be calm yourself- your child senses if you are afraid and they will react accordingly
  • And ASK ahead of time if they have a spray or cream that will numb the area first.

Our test was fast and easy today and my son isn’t afraid anymore. It stinks that we have to go to the doctors as much as we do but it’s nice to know that it’s no longer traumatic.

Advice from Allie

I hope you’ll join me on this journey we are on in this life we’re living. I could sit here and pretend that I have all the answers or that I know how to do everything right. I don’t and I don’t claim to be an expert of any kind. What I can tell you is that I have been through a lot of stuff and I have learned from it. I could have chosen to go “Oh whoa is me!” or I could have looked at the glass as half empty but instead I take each day and I do the best I can and I try my hardest to remain positive despite life’s challenges.

Life can be messy but it can also be full of joy. I am married to an amazing man and partner. We have 3 beautiful kids and we are entering the land of teenagers (and that can be loud and messy at times). I have survived quite a lot and I use my experiences to help others. As a family we have dealt with medical issues and are still dealing with some. We are living despite all of life’s challenges and I want to help others navigate the world like others have helped me.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey. I look forward to answering questions, sharing things that work and things that didn’t work for me and my family. I want to share recipes, and my hopes and joys with you as well as my sorrows. I want you to know you are never alone. Life can stink sometimes and really badly too but no matter what you can conquer and survive anything. Wallowing in it doesn’t help anyone.

I want to be your companion, your guide, and help you answer questions even if I don’t know the answer myself. I am on a quest to be the best person I can be and I can’t do that without you. So join me and we’ll see where this takes us!