Saturday, January 23, 2010

Eczema, vomiting and cow's milk (now with a happy ending!)

If that picture is painful to look at, I'm sorry. It's the reason I don't like to discuss Kylie's eczema... because it's too painful. And I haven't even snapped any pictures when it's out of control. Sometimes the red marks cover her whole body (excluding her face, thank goodness). That's too much for me, I don't want a picture of her skin when it reaches that point.

I finally decided to post just in case someone who reads this has some different options, opinions, suggestions or even questions. I know there are lots of kids who have this skin condition. It's not an unusual thing, so someone who reads this could possibly either help me out, ask me questions or just simply relate.

Kylie's been diagnosed with it ever since her two month doctor's appointment, so long before we stopped breastfeeding. My sister Rachel had it and STILL has it pretty bad, and she was breastfed for a year, so that helps me cope with the guilt that Kylie has it and wasn't breastfed for a whole year. She was breastfed up until 7 months when she refused to do it anymore. I have a feeling it was because I was one month pregnant with Eve and it didn't taste the same anymore. Besides, it's genetic and Jason and I both have a family member who has a severe case of eczema. For him, it's a cousin and for me, it's my sister. So that helps me deal with the guilt of not breastfeeding for a whole year.


There's a reason why I haven't wanted to make this post. It just makes me so sad to see her red marks that sometimes cover her entire body; to hear her make that terrible scratching sound even when her nails are cut short; to feel her sand papery like skin when I'm putting lotion or medicine all over her body. I remember hearing that same scratching sound every night growing up, since I shared a room with my sister who scratched her eczema every night before she could fall asleep. Eczema is not rare, so I would imagine most people know someone who has it to some degree. But for those of you who it, the scratching sound I'm describing is almost like a paper tearing sound. Or maybe imagine the sound it would make if you would run your fingernails hard against a piece of sandpaper. It just sounds painful.

Kylie thinks that people's wrists are called "owies" because she always has scratch marks on hers. If I tell her they are called "wrists," she just corrects me and says: "no mommy, they're owies." I especially can't stand it when I catch her whimpering and I ask what's wrong and her reply is: "My owies hurt. I need medicine." Yep, the word medicine has been part of her vocabulary for quite some time. We are constantly putting prescribed steroid cream on her. There is no cure for eczema, but it can be kept under control. Something else we have tried is bleach baths. We have heard about it from several different reliable sources and looked up the research on it before trying it. It is a very diluted bleach bath; the water is similar to pool water. Since it's so diluted, it's safe if the child drinks the water and safe if they get it in their eyes. It works because Eczema scratches can become infected with a type of staph bacteria, so the diluted bleach bath kill the germs to keep it from becoming infected. It's much better than keeping your child on antibiotics. Our doctor prescribed antibiotics for Kylie once because she was covered neck down in eczema wounds. It cleared up immediately, but everyone knows the danger of using antibiotics too often. Well, the bleach baths helped a lot at first. We were so happy. But once Winter came and the heaters were turned on, her skin became terrible looking again.

So now, we do Aveeno's oatmeal baths every once in a while. It does seem to soothe her skin a lot. The only problem is that the label says not to get the water in your child's eyes and to contact poison control if swallowed. So having Eve (who drinks bath water like it's kool-aid) in the oatmeal bath is out of the question. Eve loves baths and she would throw a fit if she saw her sister Kylie in the bath and she wasn't allowed to join her. So I can only give Kylie these types of baths when Eve is sleeping.

Those of you who have experience with eczema know that certain allergies "trigger" it. We haven't discovered any food, soap or fabric allergies that seem to make it worse. Our doctor finally gave us a recommendation to see a specialist at Children's Mercy, but the appointment isn't until mid-April. Hopefully we can find out more at that time. I do know that cow's milk allergy is pretty commonly associated with this skin condition. An interesting thing happened this week that made me wonder even more about the possibility of milk: Kylie started throwing up this week. She hasn't thrown up since she was literally 2 days old. She hasn't had a fever and she seems to be doing fine. Jason noticed that she was only throwing up when we were giving her milk to drink. I didn't believe him (I thought if milk was the problem, we would have noticed long before her second birthday) so I gave her some chocolate milk as a treat when we visited the Crown Center yesterday. Jason was not happy about that decision, but I thought that since it had been over 36 hours since she had thrown up, that she was over whatever it was. Well, I regretted my decision really quickly. We were shopping in the Crayola store when she lost her marbles all over the floor. Gross. She was so embarrassed, poor girl. I was embarrassed too, and those of you who know me know that it takes A LOT for that to happen. But it made me realize that maybe it was milk that was bothering her. So I did some more online research and I found out that she could be allergic to milk, which could have been triggering her eczema AND was causing her to start throwing up when it was in her system. So I'm taking her off milk, just to see what happens.

I'm very anxious to see that specialist in April. I have lots of questions.

EDIT/UPDATE: So Kylie is five now, and I'm doing a quick update on this post in case anyone is reading this later: The BEST thing we found out from the dermatologist at Children's Mercy hospital was... (drum roll please!)... vaseline! Just regular old petroleum jelly. Slather is on, especially after bathtime and it works. Seriously. Kylie's skin is so much better. Also we learned not to put any lotion on her, it will dry out her skin. The gel/oily stuff is the way to go because it locks in the moisture. We are now battling mostly with redness around her eyes, but the vaseline even helps that to some extent. They also put her on benadryl daily which helped a ton because it cut down on her itching, but I wasn't too fond of her being constantly on benadryl, so I've weaned her off and she now only takes it when she is really itchy. So I hope that helps someone out there with a similar problem! Also, she drinks milk all the time, I don't think it triggers anything. It really didn't do anything different when we took her off milk.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

WWTS (What Would Tyra Say?)

She looked so cute all dressed up to go to her best friend's Josey 3rd birthday party. She had been asking about Josey all week, begging to go "play Josey's house." Every time we got in the car she asked: "Go see Josey? Please mommy?" Finally, it really was time to go see Josey. She helped pick out her dress and didn't complain as I pulled her hair back. She wanted to look "pretty to go see Josey." I told her how adorable she looked, so why didn't we take some pictures before we left? She was really excited by the idea, so she posed next to her favorite "picture taking wall." I snapped this little beauty...
... and was thinking what a great little mini photo session we were about to have.... until I realized that Kylie was in the mood for a SPEED photo session. She would pose really quickly, then run away quickly to another location where she would once again pose and run away: Besides running photos like the one above, I also got lots of shots of walls because once I adjusted my camera settings to a new location, she was gone. I won't post any wall pictures. I'm sure you can imagine what it would look like :).

There was ONE pose however, which she felt it was worth waiting for me to get ready. Here it is:
Just in case you didn't quite "get" it, here's the same photo, just zoomed in on her face with everything else cropped out:
Yep, she sure is special!
Oh and she also felt that I needed to get some pictures of her jumping. She made sure I was getting this on camera too. Little Miss Bossy Pants told me: "Take picture me jumping mommy!"
Yes, I need to clean that carpet. Her room was a little messy that day. She found a piece of paper on the floor and ran to the couch for me to take a picture of her "big teeth":

Then she decided it was more appropriate as a "mustache" (A word she learned from playing with her Mr. Potato head.)

How can you not laugh when you are around this silly girl!

Oh and I found another "modeling" photo that I took back in December:
I think Tyra would have been proud of that last one: interesting body pose, nice angles, intense eyes that aren't "mean", good connection with the camera... She did lose her neck, however. Oh well, hopefully Tyra wouldn't be too hard on her. She's only two years old.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

An Everz update

Eve just turned 10 months old. We took her to get her 9 month well baby check-up yesterday. Yes, I know, we are a month behind. Things kind of got hectic around the holiday season, not to mention it was also Jason's finals week. So we scheduled our appointment kind of late. No biggie. We didn't have any health concerns for this little girl. And I really do mean "little". She weighs 14 lbs. 4 oz and is 25.5 inches tall at 10 months. I really thought that she would at least on the growth chart by now. I mean, this girl eats so much food! I thought that maybe she would have reached the 3rd percentile or something. But no, she hasn't. Thankfully my doctor is no longer worried about her like he was in the first couple months of her life. I'm glad we don't have to make any extra appointments to track her weight like we used to. He just told me that since I'm small, she's small.

Well, there's no denying that she's healthy, this girl is very active. She is a very fast crawler, check out one of my favorite recent pictures:
Obviously not an action shot of her crawling, but still cute.

This isn't recent news, but she loves pulling up on everything. She can cruise around furniture, but she has figured out that crawling is much faster, so she prefers that method of getting where she wants to go. Here's a picture of her pulling up on her daddy's foot (I thought it was so funny that she was using his shoe to stand, so I had to take a picture)
So she's been pulling up for several months now, and now she has recently figured out how to stand without holding on to anything. I'm such a proud mother. Here are some pics (By the way, it's so hard to get a picture of her standing, because when I notice she's doing it, I have to run and get my camera. By then she has lost interest, and she will not do it for me "on command." She's stubborn.) The first picture was taken at Jason's mom's house right after Christmas-time, so she was 9 months. Jason snapped that picture and he was so excited to show me that he managed to take a picture after one try when I had been trying for a couple weeks! The second picture is one I took just recently. She was pushing the shopping cart (that her older sister had filled full of jeans from their dresser drawers by the way) and just decided to let go and hang out there for a minute. You can tell she was proud by the look on her face. Oh, how I love these milestones!
I'm wondering when she is going to walk. Not because I'm concerned at all, I do realize that she is still very young. I'm just a curious mother. If you would have asked me a couple months ago, I would have guessed by 9 months, like her older sister. She seemed to do everything else earlier than Kylie did, so I thought walking would be the same. Obviously that didn't happen. Which is perfectly alright, I'll be a proud mom regardless of when it happens! I don't even think at this point that it will be anytime soon. She just doesn't have any desire to take any steps. By the age of 4 months, Kylie used to love it when I would hold her hands and make her "practice" walk. Well at 10 months, Eve still hates it. She doesn't want any of it. She will force herself down and crawl off as fast as possible. Whatever. I'm just going to let it happen whenever it happens. No more practicing. Over Christmas, I did see her take 2 steps, completely unassisted. Then she fell down and giggled. Then she stood up again, fell down and giggled again. I guess falling is much more fun than walking. At least it is to Eve. My sister Rachel tried to "train" her while we were visiting for Christmas. She was determined to have her walking before she left to go study abroad in France. She left today by the way, so her strict program didn't work. So I guess I don't know when she'll be walking, but what I do know is that no matter when it is, I will be so excited to see my little girl toddling around.

There is another very important development that I should mention: I gave Eve her very first pigtails today. How adorable is this:
The naughty girl was putting a "hair pretty" in her mouth in that first picture, but what can you expect, she's 10 month old. Don't worry, I was obviously there to take it away (that and all the other "pretties" that a certain toddler dumped all over the floor).

Oh, something else fun? She loves to dance! When she hears music that she likes, she pulls up and bounces up and down. I have a video of her doing it for the first time back in October. I'll try to remember to post it sometime.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome to my crib

So shortly after getting my new camera... -Yes, I know I'm way behind on blogging! I promise to put up Christmas pictures and maybe even blog about the new year and all. I promise to do all that, but later. For now I'm trying to keep these posts somewhat in order. Like I said, I'm way behind, by about a month or so.- ... Anyways, let me start over.

Shortly after getting my new camera, I realized I didn't have many, if any at all, pictures of Eve in her crib. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure if I have many pictures of Kylie in the crib. This could have been very regrettable since it's a very special crib. It's the very same one that I slept in as a baby, in Indiana. It was then used by my sister Rachel before making the trip over to France, where it was used by my sisters Stephanie and Kelly. The next person to use this crib was our Kylie in Kansas. And now it's being used by Evie in Missouri. I wonder who will use it next? Most likely it will NOT be a Marsh. Jason and I are pretty sure that our family is complete, but who knows? Our girls were BOTH big surprises. Oh and the crib is safe. We checked into all that. With older cribs, it's always wise to find out all the current safety regulations.

That was a long explanation just to say that I had fun taking pictures of my baby in my old crib:

There are so many toys in there because whenever Kylie wakes up, she throws ALL the toys from the toy box into Eve's crib. Eve loves the attention from he big sister, and Kylie loves to entertain. We have taken all the hard toys out of their room, to eliminate the chances of Eve getting bonked on the head by such a toy. We have also had to check the floor every night to make sure that there is nothing that could be harmful to Eve. If Kylie can get to it, it ends up in Eve's crib. Once Jason completely spaced out and left a wet diaper on the floor and I found it the next morning in Eve's bed. EW. Thank goodness it was all wrapped up and wasn't stinky, but needless to say I still washed all of Eve's bedding and all the stuffed animals and toys just to be safe. I'm so tired of diapers.

Kylie noticed that I was taking lots of pictures of her sister, so she told me: "I want in crib too mommy!" I love the expression on Eve's face when I put Kylie in bed with her.

I love that last picture. She has her usual crazy bedhead hair and those big eyes that constantly change color. On this day, they were a very dark brown. Today, her eyes are green. Yesterday they were gray. And everyday she stays beautiful.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

You'll have to read this post to see where I'm going with this.

A while back, I read the book "God on Sex" by Daniel Akin. He included an "unscientific" list of differences between men and women. Included in the list was the quote:

"A man will pay $10 for a $5 item he wants.
A woman will pay $5 for a $10 item that she doesn't want (or need)."

I've often thought of this as I'm shopping. A lot of times I do get so excited by a good deal, that I have to remind myself that I really don't need the said item. So what if it's such a great deal if I'm not going to make much use out of the purchase?

What's funny though, is that I have found that my dear husband, Jason, doesn't fit into the "man" description. It's an unscientific list, just meant to be humorous, so it's not too shocking. I just find it funny that he gets as excited over a good "deal" as I do. He's the one who hunted for our camcorder, washing machine, dryer, minivan, wii, camera... until he found the best deal. One of his favorite websites is amazon, because he can periodically check their deal of the hour. His most recent amazing find? A new apartment. That's right... we are moving! Jason found an apartment just a couple streets away from where we are living now that has an incredible move in special. We'll be saving quite a bit of money each month to live in a place with the same square footage.

I asked if we could paint the living room and kitchen walls before we moved in. Jason's reply? "Sears paint goes on sale for half price quite often! It's only around $11 a gallon when it's on sale."

Friday, January 1, 2010

Crown Center Christmas Crayola Land

Right after Kylie's birthday, Jason and I took our girls to the Crown Center to check out all the Christmas decorations and displays. It was lots of fun. They had their Christmas Crayola Land exibit which was perfect for Kylie. She was big enough to play with everything completely on her own, but not too big where it was boring. It was fun to watch her run around and have a blast. She fell down a couple times climbing on some of the displays, and I heard some of the moms say: "Oh no! Is she alright?" I told them just wait and see. Sure enough, Kylie just bounced back up, laughing and fell down again... on purpose. I need to get this girl in gymnastics (or maybe in some toddler stunt actor program); she falls off of lots of things on purpose and just laughs and laughs. The minute I rush over and act worried, she starts crying, so I know now to just wait and see if she gets up laughing or crying to judge if she is really hurt. If I act like she should be hurt, she just acts hurt because she sees that I'm worried. Well, she sure had lots of fun climbing everything and "tumbling" everywhere.

Eve also loved it, we found quiet corners for her to crawl around and pull up on. She also just enjoyed sitting and watching all the "big kids" run around.

The night before we went, Jason had brought home a surprise for me. A new digital camera. I know what you're thinking, I do NOT need another camera. I'll agree. However, it is an SLR camera, a Nikon D40. Unbeknownst to me, he had been keeping an eye on it at Sears. Sears was no longer going to be carrying that model, so Jason watched the price drop and drop. Finally, Jason purchased it and got an amazing deal. I would have been so upset if he would have spent the regular price on it (We are trying to be more careful with our money and are starting a new much needed budget), but when I heard how much he spent on it, there was no way I could tell him to take it back. So, this trip was the first time I got to play with my new camera. I still have lots to learn, but it was just so much fun regardless! I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them. If you want to make a picture bigger, I think you can just click on it.

Going down head first, like the little daredevil that she is:

Yes, that is a Dora backpack (a birthday gift from her Aunt Stephie):

Somewhere along the way, we seem to have lost a sock:

Check out Jason in the background trying to encourage Eve to go through the tunnel:

We tried to take a picture with this mechanical Santa. We don't teach the girls that Santa is real, since we want to emphasize the real story behind why we have Christmas. You really can't get away from Santa in this society around this time of year, so we just tell them that Santa is a fun imaginary story. So we didn't bring them to get a picture with Santa anyhere. I figured a picture next to an obviously fake Santa wouldn't be a big deal. Unfortunately, we had a hard time getting Kylie to look at the camera instead of robot Santa. This is the best we got.