Saturday, February 20, 2010

Amy's Kitchen's *new* non-dairy rice macaroni & Cheese

Yes, we have found the holy grail of pre-packaged, frozen gluten & dairy free macaroni and cheese. It is the one pictured above. Amy's Kitchen rice macaroni with non-dairy cheese. The "cheese" is actually from a company, called Daiya Foods, They have the single-most, best-tasting non-dairy cheese that we've ever tried! We haven't actually tried the cheese itself yet, but mainly because I haven't bitten the bullet and ordered any. As of yet, it's (Daiya) not available locally in any stores, although I keep hoping and am keeping my fingers crossed. If this product is any indication, I can tell that we will LOVE the plain Daiya cheese. It comes in two flavors.... cheddar and mozzarella. I'm excited to get the mozzarella as I'm sure it will be quite delicious on pizzas or even shredded up on some spaghetti for Ashton!

Now that is what I find completely amazing ..... my younger son took one look at his brother's bowl of macaroni & cheese, and asked me if I had given him the wrong one!! You see, Holden wanted a bowl of macaroni and cheese too, so I made him some Kraft macaroni and cheese (you know, that gluten/casein-laden kind.... the kind that WILL cause Ashton to have some serious bathroom issues).

So, which one do you think is the Amy's Kitchen and which one is the Kraft? Other than the noodles of one of them being a bit fatter, they basically look the same, don't ya think? They both looked, smelled and somewhat tasted the same. I have NEVER EVER found a GFCF macaroni and cheese that looked, smelled and tasted so close to the real thing. No wonder Ashton loves this stuff! 

If you're wondering..... 
the bowl on the left is the Kraft mac and cheese and the 
one on the right is the Amy's Kitchen mac and cheese.

As you can see from the picture, Ashton was thoroughly enjoying his dinner. A bit perturbed that mommy was interrupting him to take pictures (how dare I!) and yes, that is a can of Pepsi throwback he's drinking. (hey, at least there's not HFCS - high fructose corn syrup - in it!)

So there you have it ....... delicious macaroni and cheese ... AND it's safe for him to eat!! Now I'm on a mission to get a more local store to carry it. Right now, I've only found it at Navan Foods, which is a local (Virginia Beach) allergy-friendly food store. He's already eaten the four boxes of this that I've bought, so I need to get back out there and get some more. I do believe it's his new, favorite food.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, February 19, 2010

What I thought was an ear infection was really STREP!

nice........ not! :(

Ashton has been complaining of an earache/headache off and on for the better part of the last two weeks. I figured that today would be a good day to get him into the pediatrician to make sure he didn't have anything serious brewing before he has his pediatric psychiatrist appointment next week at CHKD. I'm telling you, nothing has really seemed that off from the normal .... just the fact that he's been complaining of the earache/headache. His appetite has remained the same, he's sleeping just as well (or as bad..... depending on how you look at it) as normal and he hasn't complained of anything else hurting.

Well, his ears looked FINE! The nurse then proceeds to look in his throat and asks me if he's complained of a sore throat. "Nope!" I said, wondering why she's asking. She said his throat was really RED! Ack! But we figured well, he HAS had a runny nose, so maybe it's just drainage. She asked me if he's been around anybody with strep. Again, my answer was "No, not that I'm aware of." I did then point out the fact that there are some parents of children in Ashton's class who do send their sick children to school, when they really should probably be at home. I realize, some parents might not really have a choice, but I digress. We decide to go ahead and run the rapid strep test just to be on the safe side and imagine my surprise when it came up positive! *bangs head* I HAD NO IDEA! If I had realized that THIS was what was brewing over the last week or so, I would have taken him in much sooner. Now he's exposed all of his classmates, teachers, therapists (private and school) to strep, since I'm not sure how long he's actually had it. He has not complained ONE SINGLE TIME of his throat being sore and he's been eating and drinking normally and has not ran a fever at all through out all of this.

So, she writes us a prescription for the Z-pak. We decide to go for the tablets since he takes pills okay (he chews them, which I know is typically a no no, but he does pretty well with it....). BIG! MISTAKE! He takes the first pill (the first days dosage is two pills) ok..... gags and almost throws up but manages to keep it down. But when I gave him that second pill... nope... it came right back up along with whatever else he'd just eaten/taken. L.O.V.E.L.Y. This now means he's thrown up the first days dosage of a five day course of medication. I call the pediatrician back and they call in a prescription for the liquid form and he took that one like a champ .... well, okay... that's pushing it but he did take it without upchucking it. Thank goodness!

So, tomorrow afternoon I'll be washing his sheets/blankets in hot water and tossing his old toothbrush and replacing it with the new one so he doesn't reinfect himself. I'm contemplating washing all of the blankets downstairs on the couches too just because well, he's always wrapped up in them too.

Good news is ...... despite having been on Paxil AND Abilify at the same time (both of which can increase weight) he hasn't really gained any weight at all! He weighed eighty-nine pounds today and that was with his shoes and coat on. At his appointment at the beginning of January, he weighed eighty-seven pounds with no shoes/coat on. So he's maintaining pretty well, YAY!

Well, waiting for Holden to get home from a friend's house .... (well, as I typed that, the doorbell rang... he's home LOL!) and it's almost time to get the boys ready for bed!

I love bedtime..... both the boys' and my own.... *laughs*

Enjoy your evening!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

He may be small, but he IS mighty........

Holden is still quite the little guy. He's almost eight years old and is lucky if he's forty-six pounds. That's in the 5th percentile for his age, for those that keep track of those things! But this kid is super tough! As most know, Holden started wrestling in March of 2009, so almost a year ago. He's done very well in that time and has amassed quite a collection of medals! He's gotten four, 2nd place medals (silver), and one, 3rd place medal (bronze). He also got the coach's "Most Improved Wrestler" medal last spring as well as the gold medal and ribbon the coach gave out to all the kids who wrestled during the season.

While he didn't place in his most recent tournament (January 16th), he did very well. We didn't really like the way they had the brackets set up, but it seems that Holden overcame his anxiety he seems to get when there's a tournament. He even PINNED the first kid he had to wrestle. YAY Holden!!! :) He lost his next two matches, but he kept himself together pretty well and enjoyed spending his time with his teammates and cheering them on.

Among other news... Holden FINALLY has a REAL big boy bed! He's been begging for one for quite a long time now, and we jumped at the chance when hubby's aunt and uncle offered us up their son's bed frame and boxspring. We figured if nothing else, it gives Holden a place to sleep and he can get out of the toddler bed (which was really, a crib with the front taken off). He absolutely LOVES his new bed and loves the new sheets I picked out for him.


In other, more educational/school news.... Holden's report card, was ALSO fantastic! All Ss (Satisfactory) except two Ps (making progress) and ONE O (outstanding!). Now the funny thing about the subject/area he got the O in.... it was in...... currency and money value! Anyone who knows Holden, KNOWS he knows his money facts and can count money like nobody's business. You can give him two numbers and he can't add them, but if you add a dollar sign to the front of the number, you can bet he can add it then! LOL He's such a smart boy, and we're very proud. He was happy to have earned $35 for his report card. We also did some educational/psychological testing to see if he had any other issues other than the ADHD diagnosis we got from the pediatrician back in December of 2008. The psychologist did confirm the ADHD diagnosis and tacked on a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Now, the anxiety is not something that needs to be treated with medication (at least, not yet....) but it is something that we need to be aware of when we're being overly critical of him, his behavior, etc. The testing also showed an above average IQ (we already KNEW he was smart). His reading scores were quite high, while most of his other scores were above grade level, but not substantially so. His writing scores however, are right at his grade level (2nd grade), which is not altogether bad, but it does show a discrepency considering his IQ and other scores. It's something we're working on and hoping it improves with time.

Well, it's time to figure out what is for dinner ...... I'm thinking leftover chili, but we'll see what the hubby says. If not, maybe some hamburger helper or something.

Toodles everyone!

Three steps forward, two steps back..... ??

 Well, that's what it felt like at the time ..... let me explain....

Ashton's behavior started spiraling out of control in November and culminated with us having to put him back on an anti-psychotic medication to somewhat control his mood swings, odd behaviors and aggressiveness. Unfortunately, what caused the initial downward spiral was ANOTHER medication that we had started in November to help with some OCD tendencies.

There were some massive all-out tantrums (from a kid who is nearly as big as I am, that's not so fun) in some very public places. He was also basically attacking me at every turn for the smallest things. Aside from the chunks of hair he pulled out of my head, and the bruises he and I both incurred from his "fighting with mommy", things seem to be evening out, behaviorally for him.

What culminated all of this into us weaning him from the problematic medication that I thought was causing the initial issue, was Ashton decided it was a great idea to try and jump out of the car while I was driving down the road. He had been trying to escape the house at that point and one day, I was going to my husband's grandparents house to finish up some laundry and Ashton climbed into the front seat (while I was driving) and then on a side street in a neighborhood, climbed over top of me and tried to climb out the window. At this point, I stopped the car and scrambled to figure out what I should do. In any case, the situation got resolved, we made it back home safely and all was well. This lead me to calling our DAN doctor and he made an "emergency" appointment for us with a psychiatrist at our local children's hospital. That appointment isn't for another week, and it was made back at the beginning of January!

Desperate to help Ashton, we started weaning him off of it and I found out about three weeks into the weaning process that Ashton had been hiding the pills under our napkin holder. Since then (it's been about one and a half weeks now) his behavior has gotten a LOT better and his mood is much improved. I'm glad he seems to be getting back to his normal, happy self.

He's happier, he's more social, he's completely his school work in a much better fashion and as evidenced by all of this, his report card was AWESOME! He had all Ss (satisfactory) in behavior areas and his academic grades stayed at Cs (pretty normal for an ASD kiddo with an IEP and modified curriculum) except one, which he *raised* to a B! Even better ......... he is FINALLY, after being in the educational system since he was two and a half years old, reading **ON GRADE LEVEL**! YAY!!

Anyways, here's a recent pic of the booger. He has a really big adversion to brightness (outside mostly) so he's squinting. Still a cute picture though ...... :)

The only other "bad" thing that has been happening is his sleeping is really out of whack and he's got some really erratic sleep patterns. He'll sleep completely through the night from 8pmish to around 6amish for a few nights in a row. Then, he'll mix it up with waking up at 2, 3, or 4am and staying awake the rest of the night, yikes! *sighs* The biggest worry with this a few weeks ago was that he was trying to escape from the house in the middle of the night, but now it's more of the fact that he just doesn't want to go back to sleep.

The GOOD thing that's happening is .... he's realizing that if he ASKS to go outside and tells me why he wants to go outside, that I'm more likely to let him go. Last night, he asked to go outside to "play in the backyard" and I told him to get his shoes, coat, hat & gloves on (it is.. afterall maxing out in the 30s this week). He did and he and his brother played outside for forty-five minutes, came inside to eat dinner and then they went back outside for another thirty minutes until it was too dark outside to play anymore. I wanted to take pictures but I felt like I would spoil their moment and fun so I'll try to get pictures the next time.

Well, I guess I should do another post on Holden (who is doing really well) so that he gets his own glory :) Keep Ashton in your thoughts as we hope that we're past the regressive phase that he was in and that things can continue to improve and his behavior gets more under control.

Enjoy the day!