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Thanksgiving weekend recap

I'm sad that Thanksgiving is already over. Fall is my favorite time of year (largely due to the fact that the weather finally goes from miserably hot to heavenly) and it always seems to go way too fast. We had a lovely Thanksgiving this year. I brought salad and cornbread. I thought it would be funny to bring a mess-free salad dressing dispenser along but it wasn't really the right crowd for that kind of humor. :)

Unfortunately, I didn't know until we got to Donny's aunt's house that my camera battery was dead and this is pretty much the only picture I have from Thanksgiving that doesn't have anybody else's kids in it:
Aside from the eating part, Raya loved Thanksgiving. The last time it was at this aunt's house, she fell and broke her arm. Thankfully there were no broken bones this year. The weather was perfect (about 73 degrees) and there were dozens of little kids running around so Raya and her brother & sisters had a great time. We got to see both of Donny's grandfathers too, which is always a treat. (more so when I have a functioning camera...) His Grandpa K will be 102 in April and I think everybody has stopped counting how many great grandkids he has now because there are so many.

I had brought Raya some mashed potatoes, applesauce, and some of the Raya-friendly chocolate pie I made for her. Out of that, she ate about 1/4 C of applesauce and maybe 2 tablespoons of mashed potatoes. There was way too much going on for her to sit down and eat, and on top of that, it was extremely bright & sunny outside and she has a hard time with bright light, so she kept saying it was too bright for her to eat. I ended up feeding the rest of the mashed potatoes to her and reminded her that I had pie for her when she finished. That did the trick and she eventually finished them. I thought she was going to gag on the last couple of bites but she ate them. I should have taken a picture of her eating her pie. She was SOOOO excited about it! The crust was made with flaxseed, coconut flour and coconut oil and the filling was pretty much a chocolate pudding made with coconut milk. It was actually really good, if I don't say so myself. As an added bonus, one of the cousins has a son with some food allergies and Raya's pie was safe for him to eat too, so he was pretty happy about that.

Speaking of cousins' kids and eating... Thanksgiving with Donny's family is always great. The food is fabulous. They do Mexican food for every holiday, so there's Mexican food on one side of the table and traditional Thanksgiving food on the other. It works out nicely because there's at least something that all the kids will eat. That says a lot considering there were about 20 kids under the age of 11.

Later in the afternoon, I was sitting on a stool in the kitchen watching kids run in & out of the house and trying to decide which dessert I wanted to pick at when I saw something that totally fascinated me. Donny's uncle was holding his granddaughter, who is about 8 months old, and she was eating a dinner roll. I sat there and stared at her for a couple minutes before I realized that I was staring at her, but I couldn't help it. She was just holding a roll in her hand and EATING it. Sure, there were crumbs going all over the place, but girlfriend was very much into that roll. She kept nibbling at it until it was gone. Somewhere during that time, my father-in-law speared the big chunk of ham from the bottom of the spiral sliced ham with a serving fork and held that out to her. She got all excited and nibbled on that too. Then he grabbed one of the turkey legs and let her get a taste of that. She drank a bunch of water from a big fat straw and then sucked down half of one of those foil baby food pouches. I was speechless. It was silly of me, really. I did have 3 kids that ate orally before Raya came along, but now that I know that there are babies who don't know how to eat and wouldn't even if they did know how, I'm totally fascinated by the fact that most babies DO eat, and they LIKE to eat. This kid was loving everything that went into her mouth. It's hard for me to remember what it was like to have a baby that just ate. I try not to even think about having to get another baby to eat because it's kind of overwhelming.

After we had all eaten and divided up all the leftovers, we came home and did nothing the rest of the evening. It was great. We let the kids watch a couple of movies, looked through the ads, did not do any crazy Black Friday shopping, and just enjoyed being at home together. We don't get enough evenings like that.

Friday was a nice relaxing day too. We didn't have any appointments or anywhere we needed to be. I did a little bit of shopping online and we just stayed home all day until it was time for Donny & the kids to go to their karate class. While they were gone, Raya and I started dragging out the Christmas decorations. Once again, our back-up medical supplies saved the day and made a great platform for the Christmas tree. :)

Saturday morning, Donny had to go to work so the kids and I got some cleaning & decorating done. We rearranged all the furniture in the living room and put all the ornaments on the tree. I love me some Christmas ornament irony, so once again we had Raya's little silver "baby's first Christmas" spoon ornament that she got about a month before she quit eating. Cole, who is allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts, has this little gem to commemorate the year that we found out he was allergic to nuts:
I remember laughing pretty hard to myself when I bought that. When all was said & done, the tree was decorated and the kids were giddy with excitement over having the Christmas decorations out.
(the camera battery was charging or I would have taken pictures with a real camera.)

Saturday evening was nice & quiet too except that I had to go to the store. I hate going to ANY stores after the 3rd week of November. Also, it never fails lately that as soon as I'm getting comfortable and settled in for the night in my nice, cozy bed, Raya wakes up or the pump beeps. We've had several pump malfunctions in the last couple weeks too, which never helps. The problem we keep having is that the pump keeps running even though it's partially clogged somewhere, so we wake up in the morning and the pump isn't empty like it should be and it says it's fed her about 400-600ml more than we put in the pump. Problematic. This is what it looked like at 11:00 Saturday morning:
I thought Donny had turned it off at night & that I had slept through it beeping. It should have been empty at about 1:30 that morning, but instead it kept running & running even though nothing was coming out of it. When I went to take the old bag out & put a new one in, the extension tube was clamped but the pump was running as if it was actually feeding her. Dumb thing. I haven't figured out yet if the problem is the pump or the bags since it's happened more than once with this batch of bags.

Sunday was the day that we had our own little family Thanksgiving dinner. I really wanted to start Raya on turkey but wanted to be sure that I knew what it was being cooked with so I didn't let her have any turkey at the big Thanksgiving. I roasted a turkey and made rolls, mashed potatoes (along with some separate ones for Raya), sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, gravy, and popped open a can of good ol' cranberry sauce.

Kaida's kindergarten Thanksgiving program included a song that says, "Who will get the drumsticks? Yummy, yummy drumsticks" so she's been fixated on eating a drumstick ever since she learned the song. I don't think she even knew what the drumsticks were until Donny got her one.

Being the mean mom that I am, I made Raya have a bite of turkey. She didn't want a bite of turkey, but I had cooked that whole stinkin' turkey with Raya-safe ingredients just so she could try it so I made her. The piece I gave her was about the size of my pinky fingernail and about as thick as a quarter, so it wasn't much. It was soft & easy to chew but boy did she not want to eat it. This pretty much sums up how Raya feels about turkey:

Eventually, she did swallow it but she made it clear that she did not want any more turkey. Donny let her have a swig of sparkling cider and she wasn't impressed with that either:
She said it was too spicy for her.

Overall, it was a nice evening and we enjoyed having a fancy-ish dinner together. (even if we did learn the hard way that the kids have been messing with the can of whipped cream in the fridge and let all the pressure out of the can so we couldn't eat the whipped cream...)

Aside from getting super sweaty for no good reason when she fell asleep last night and climbing into bed with us again last night, Raya had a great night. She also had a great morning. She was in a good mood and we got to school right on time. I came home & got a few things checked off of my to-do list and headed to the grocery store. No sooner had I pulled into the best spot in the parking lot when the school health aide called to tell me that Raya had puked and I had to come pick her up. Gah. The best laid plans are ruined by kids puking. I really didn't think she was sick, but she doesn't normally puke anymore unless she is. When I walked into the health office, she was sitting on a chair next to the classroom aide. She turned around and saw me and jumped up to give me a hug. She ran around and was all excited and happy. The one strange thing I noticed as soon as I looked at her though was that the edges of her eyelids were bright red and around her eyes was red. I'm really not sure what to make of that.

I had several "you know you're a special needs mom when..." moments this morning. The first was when I answered the phone and it was the health aide calling about puke. My first thought was, "Oh, puke? That's it? Puke is so not a big deal..." The second was when I started asking detailed questions about the vomit (volume, consistency, color, did it all come out at once or was she retching, etc.) and then saw the look on the classroom aide's face. It was as if to say, "Um, vomit is vomit, lady." It is to the rest of the world but not to the mom of a chronic vomiter! :) We were on our way home and Raya told me she needed to puke some more. I should have emptied her stomach before we got in the car just to make sure she was done but I didn't think about it until we were halfway home, so I just grabbed the towel that happened to be in the car and tossed it onto her lap. I told her to please make sure she got all the puke on the towel. Shortly after that, she emptied her stomach of whatever was left in it. Her seat is right behind mine so I couldn't see her but boy could I smell the Neocate. Part of me got all nostalgic from the whole smell association of smelling undigested formula puke in the car (another special needs mom moment) and the pregnant, overly-sensitive sense of smell part of me had to roll down the window. When we got home, I was afraid to see what damage had been done to the floor & seats of the car but was pleasantly surprised to see that she had actually managed to keep all the puke on the towel just like I had asked. Cue the next special needs mommy moment, I told her what a great puker she was and how proud I was of her for getting it all on the towel like I had asked and not making a mess in the car. Oh, what having this girl has done to me! :)

I took her temperature, which was completely normal, and put her in the bath since the school hadn't changed her pukey-sleeved shirt and the rest of the puke had soaked through the towel onto her pants. She played happily in the tub for a while and then we got her dressed and snuggled on the couch for a few minutes until she was too busy playing to sit on the couch with me. I took a nap and she woke me up every 22 minutes to turn on another episode of whatever she was watching on Netflix. She was her normal self all afternoon and didn't seem the slightest bit sick. I gave her pedialyte just in case, and waited for some sign of illness. She even asked for a juice box, which never happens anymore, and ate a little bit of food. I took her temperature several times and it was normal every time. I thought maybe she'd spike a fever after she went to sleep this evening but so far, that hasn't happened either.

I emailed her teacher this evening to apologize for the vomit on the snack table and to tell her that so far, it doesn't look like a stomach bug. While I was typing it, I thought about the fact that it feels really strange to actually be hoping that your kid threw up at school because her medical problems are acting up because that means it's not a virus. I also wish I had a magic 8 ball that could tell me whether the vomit was a virus, dysmotility/gastroparesis, or somehow related to food allergies. We'll see how she is tomorrow and I'll probably feed her turkey again (most likely through the tube since I doubt she'll put it in her mouth again) so if it was the turkey, that should tell us. She's had some other typical-for-Raya food allergy symptoms this last week so we also have no idea what was causing them. It sure is frustrating to try and figure out what her body can tolerate and what it can't.

And now I'm going to go snuggle her on the couch. She's there in case she pukes again and she keeps waking up and saying, "Mommy, can you come snuggle me now?" in the cutest little voice you can imagine. The last few weeks have made me wonder how in the world this is going to work when there's a newborn in the picture but until then, I'm enjoying every bit of Raya being my baby that I can and doing as much snuggling as I can before she has to share me with the new baby. ♥


  1. What a wonderful weekend! And wow, I do identify with some of your tubie mom experiences. What a crazy life we lead. But I wouldn't trade my son for anything.


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