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Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween 2013

Original post written 2 years ago... haha, that's a heck of a long time. I love Halloween so you get to enjoy this oldie.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love it! The costumes! The candy! The pumpkin carving! It's a holiday for the kids, and I'm a kid at heart. The holiday is even more fun and exciting with a toddler who is just started to appreciate and enjoy Halloween. 

About two months ago I was digging through E's old costumes, hoping H would let me get rid of them. No luck on that part, but it was fun to revisit the costumes from the past two years. For kicks, we had E model them for us. Yes, we could squeeze him into his first costume that he wore as a 6 month old. In the process of trying a costume off, taking it off, and trying on the next one, E was ready for his final costume change -- a giraffe. Back up... We don't have a giraffe costume. Where did he get that from? Hmm...

Gentle giraffe. I bought one for O and E had taken a liking to it. He wanted to be a gentle giraffe! Whenever we asked what he wanted to be for Halloween this year, he always responded with a giraffe. This is his first year expressing an interest in choosing his costume. 

Although I knew he wanted to be a giraffe, I buy E's costumes at Costco every year. In previous years he was a dragon and a lion. This year I bought a blue monster and an elephant for him to choose from (limited pickings for boys these days). He said no to the two choices and responded back that he wanted to be a giraffe this year. Oh toddlers. Once they have an idea in their mind, you can't convince them otherwise. A giraffe it is! 

Halloween Parade

We checked out the Halloween Parade on Main Street to begin our Halloween celebration. It's a fun tradition that I grew up with as a child, and it's even better experiencing it with my own family. There were classic cars on display, high school and college bands marching down the street, dance groups dancing in unison, politicians on floats, and emergency vehicles for all to see. Some groups threw out candy to the crowds, which is a hit among the kids. After the parade ends, it's time for the kids to hit up the stores along Main Street for a little trick or treating fun. We didn't participate this time, but I think it might for fun for E next year.

Halloween Parade Halloween Parade Halloween Parade

I present to you Little E, my little giraffe! As a 2.5 year old Halloween is pretty awesome and enjoyable. The year before we went trick-or-treating on our block, and this year we continued to do the same. It's always fun to see E's reaction to the door opening and taking a piece of candy from a huge bowl. Even though he can't eat most of the candy due to his food allergies, he still had a lot of fun. He was amazed that we could ring our neighbor's doorbell and that they came out with candy treats. :) After hitting up the houses down our street, E was ready to come back and check out his goodies.

Halloween 2013 2013 Pumpkins

Even though most of his candy was not allergy friendly, we did find two items that he could eat -- pretzels and Swedish fish! The pretzels were a hit, and E had a great Halloween. I love seeing how he grows to appreciate these little holidays. Every year he enjoys them more and more.


Since trick-or-treating on Halloween involves staying up past bedtime, we had to end the night early. I continued to give out candy, while E got ready for bed. Another year of Halloween fun down in the books. After writing this post, I'm even more excited for Halloween this year with both kids!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015

Our annual trip to Milburn continues! H took a day off of work to spend extra time with the kids, and we enjoyed an afternoon at the farm. This is E's 5th year and O's 2nd year at Milburn. Both kids had a blast. This year was less about pumpkins and more about the adventures like corn mazes and play structures. The weather was perfect, and we all had a great time.

Milburn Orchards 2015 Milburn Orchards 2015 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015 Milburn Orchards 2015 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015

Surprisingly, both kids entertained us enough to take photos throughout the farm. It's a tradition that I love, and it's amazing to see how much they have grown through the years. O was great at posing for photos. It's like he was raised up in front of a camera or something... hehe.

Milburn Orchards 2015 Milburn Orchards 2015 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015
Milburn Orchards 2015

O is obsessed with anything cars and trucks these days, and he enjoyed the wooden play structures. He ran from one play area to the next without skipping a beat. O was especially excited over this bus cut out but was so disappointed to find out that it was just a cut out and not a real bus. He reluctantly "got behind the wheel" and attempted to open the door a few times.

Milburn Orchards 2015 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015

E really enjoyed the mazes this year. He went through the hay bale maze a few times and loved pointing out all the dead ends. O had fun leading the way through the corn maze, but he was probably a bit frustrated. He kept calling for E who had gone ahead with my sister. E was no where to be found, and it was a long walk for him. Overall it was still fun. We met up at the wooden tractor, and both kids bickered over who would be the driver.

Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015 Milburn Orchards 2015 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015

Doesn't O look really chunky? I swear he is only 5-10 percentile in weight. He has too many allergies to have the opportunity to eat to his heart's content. His face is just really round compared to Elliot. Hehe. It does make for funny pictures. 

Milburn Orchards 2015 Milburn Orchards 2015

Another year down in the books. Milburn always gets us in the mood for extra pumpkin goodness at this time of the year. It means that Halloween is just around the corner. :)

Now onto the comparison photos from last year and this year! Enjoy!

Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015
O at 11 months old (left) and 23 months old (right).

Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2015
E at 3.5 years old (left) and 4.5 years old (right).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween: Teal Pumpkin Project

Halloween is right around the corner, and food allergies are on my mind. With E's first year trick-or-treating, we realized that there are very few treat options for him. Most houses give out chocolates and candies with nuts, which is difficult to avoid. Two years ago he wasn't very disappointed and focused on the few treats that he could enjoy.

Kids with food allergies should be able to enjoy Halloween just like everyone else, and that's where the Teal Pumpkin Project comes to play. It's a national campaign to raise awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters. We will be participating this year and offering both candy and non-candy treats!

Teal Pumpkin Project Teal Pumpkin Project

E and O loved painting their pumpkin teal. For O it was a fun project, but E understood the meaning behind our teal pumpkin. The pumpkin is a welcomed sight for parents with food allergies to know that this is a safe place for their children to trick-or-treat. Later I painted another layer and mixed in some white paint to make it more teal. 

Teal Pumpkin Project Teal Pumpkin Project Teal Pumpkin Project

We even have a sign posted on our door from the Food Allergy Research and Education website. E is very proud of our sign and points it out to every guests who walks through the door. He carefully explains that we have both candy and non-candy treats and that they are allergy friendly. 

Teal Pumpkin Project

For our non-candy treats, I made treat bags with bubbles, temporary tattoos, and a glow bracelet. They were all purchased at Target and relatively cheap. The great thing about non-candy treats is that I can save any leftovers I have for next year. For those who want a sweet treat, we have lollipops, jelly beans, and gummy bears. They are free of the top 8 food allergies and made in a nut free facility. Fun and yummy treats for all!

Teal Pumpkin Project

Although we are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, I know most households will not be participating. To make sure that trick-or-treating is safe for my kids, we will have a trading program. They can trade in their treats for a gift! They are cheap items from the dollar section at Target that should be a lot of fun for the kids.

Yay for the Teal Pumpkin Project! Yay for safe treats! Yay for Halloween! Cannot wait to celebration on Saturday with the kids.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

My Name is Yin. I'm an Allergy Mom.

Hi. My name is Yin, and I'm an allergy mom. I have two kids who both have food allergies, and life can be a little complicated for us. We face challenges on a daily basis, and we work together to keep the kids safe. I have started about a dozen posts about food allergies, and it doesn't get very far. I hesitate to write about the subject because I don't feel informed enough to write about it. Yes, I experience it everyday with my kids, but my knowledge and background isn't great. There are times when I avoid researching and consulting Doctor Google because of the fear of what I will find out. I'll attempt to jot down a few thoughts and see where it goes.

As an introduction, let me tell you specifically about their food allergies. E is 4.5 years old, and he is allergic to dairy, eggs, and peanuts. He is currently outgrowing his dairy and egg allergy and able to tolerate them in heated form (baked at 350 for 25 minutes). He passed his latest egg challenge, but he is still allergic and only able to eat a few bites before informing us that his tummy hurts or that his mouth itches. E has anaphylaxis with ingestion of peanuts, and we have used an Epi-Pen twice and landed in the hospital due to cross contamination.

Hospital Visits for Allergic Reactions

E's favorite foods are pizza, ramen, and sushi. He loves vegan products (yay to no eggs and dairy!) and so do we. He might be a small kid but eats constantly. E loves going out to restaurants to eat, but our choices are limited. 

Elliot Eats

O is 2 years old, and he is allergic to (wait for it...) dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, most seeds, salmon, anchovy (possibly all fish), and fava beans. The list continues to grow, and his reactions are different from his older brother. For a child with so many food allergies, his eczema is under control. He looks and acts like a normal child, but we have to be very careful with his foods. We're still learning about his food allergies, and I'm hoping that he outgrows a few of them.

Oliver Eats

O's favorite food are chicken, avocado, zucchini, and fruits. He loves to drink sparkling water with daddy. He has to wake up to a bowl of cereal (naps included) or else he gets really cranky. O loves going to restaurants but dislikes not being able to eat anything.

H and I have learned a lot in the past 4 years about food allergies, and how it affects our lives. Every decision we make has to work with our children's health in mind. A simple task for most is usually not easy for us. We are thankful for modern medicine, doctors, and access to safe foods.

Do you know anyone with food allergies? If so, please me mindful and understanding. My kids would really appreciate that too. :)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Video Mondays: Watching the Train

If you couldn't tell, E is obsessed with trains, and it has rubbed off on O as well. Everyday on our way to school we drive past train tracks. Occasionally there will be a train there, but most days we don't see a lot of action. When the train is there, we are too far back to really see anything (much to the kids' disappointment). Last week on our way home from picking up E, I wasn't able to take my usual roads back home due to an accident. I ended up taking Main Street, and it was a longer than usual drive with lots of college students crossing the street. It was a bit frustrating, but it was all worth it to have the opportunity to be first in line to see the train cross.

 Watching the Train

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Milburn Orchards - Fall 2014

Pumpkin spice is in the air, and fall is settling in quite nicely. Every year we visit Milburn Orchards to check out the pumpkins displays, fun activities, and farm animals. Since I'm very behind in blogging, I present to you our trip from 2014. E was 3.5 years old, and E was 11 months old. Both kids had a great time, and the parents enjoyed every photo opportunity. Having annual traditions allows for a lot of comparison pictures. :)

Milburn Orchards 2014 Milburn Orchard 2014

Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins! So many pumpkin possibilities! They're sold by the pound, which is too pricey for me. In the past we have spent $40+. Instead we buy our pumpkins at Trader Joe's for $3.99 each and admire the local pumpkins at Milburn. It would be even nicer if there was a pumpkin patch to pick from, but it's nice to enjoy the displays of pumpkins too.

Milburn Orchards 2014 Milburn Orchards 2014 Milburn Orchard 2014

The kids may have fought for the position of driver of the train. It was a cloudy and possibly rainy day, which meant less visitors. The train is a usual hit among kids, and these two had a ball driving and riding in it all to themselves. My train obsessed kids love trains of all forms. 

Milburn Orchard 2014

The farm animals are always a treat for the kids. It's like a very small zoo that will keep their attention for a few minutes before they move on to the next activity. The goats are my favorite. They're just so cute! The pigs were especially smelly that day, and we made a dash for the corn maize. 

Milburn Orchards 2014 Milburn Orchards 2014

We even had a chance to pose with some pumpkins and our favorite cut outs! It's surprising how willing the kids were to pose for photos, and as parents we enjoy looking back and seeing how much they have grown. This was O's first time out of the womb, and it's fun to see him experience Milburn for the first time. 

Milburn Orchards - Fall 2014 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2014 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2014 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2014 Milburn Orchards - Fall 2014
Milburn Orchards 2011-2014 Milburn Orchards 2011-2014

Look how much E has grown! I love our annual trip to Milburn for the kids to experience some pumpkin filled fun on the farm, and I look forward to it every year. Milburn is right down the street from us, and we should probably partake in more fruit picking adventures. We do pick cherries every summer, but they are also known for apple picking during this time of the year. Maybe another adventure for our family of four? :)