Thursday, June 25, 2009

My name may be Peanuts.......

But I say Naaayyyy to PB&J.

My Children's book is finished!!!! It is such a cute story about a little girl living
with peanut allergies. It has a good message and
all the children I have showed it to, love it. They
are the best critics after all, aren't they?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Peanut allergies and Reflux?

On top of Amanda being allergic to peanuts, she was just diagnosed yesterday with Acid Reflux and is now on Prevacid. She had been complaining of stomach pain for weeks, especially after eating, and I had a feeling that's what the doctor was going to us it was. She was first diagnosed back in 2007 and after 8 weeks of treatment it went away.

This has really given me something to think about. Is there a link between food allergies and reflux? Can this be what her problem was as an infant? I ask that because she cried all the time as a newborn. She was always fussy and always spitting up her formula. Her then pediatrician was a new, young doctor who told me Amanda had "colic" the common answer for new mothers from doctors who don't think anything is wrong with the baby. But looking back, all the signs were sure there.

I've often wondered if a lot her stomach ailments through the years have been because she's eating certain foods that don't agree with her. Maybe she has Celiac Disease. We are at the beginning of trying to fix her stomach pain. She is going to do 8 weeks of Prevacid and if that doesn't help then go to the next step. But hopefully this will give her some relief.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Feeling so bad for Diana....

My last post was about my friend and illustrator, Diana Evans, and how wonderful she is. And she is....

But now I am feeling sad for her and her family because Diana lost her nephew who was only 24 years old on the very day I wrote about her last (Tuesday, June 16, 2009).

I don't know why we are dealt these difficult circumstances. Only God does. All I know is that is has happened to me, just happened to Diana, and will continue to happen to the rest of us.

Interestingly enough, the book I'm writing is about people who have lost a loved one and how they have dealt with that loss.

Loss can happen to any one at any time. No one is immune to it. It's just a matter of when. And unfortunately the "when" was now for Diana in loosing her precious nephew Duane.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Children's Book is Finished...

I have the most amazing illustrator. Her name is Diana Evans. She is talented, beautiful and her heart is full of love that comes out in her art. She illustrated my first book I Spy a Dragonfly which is the most beautifully illustrated book ever! The kids love it!!! The adults even love it -which says a lot!! Please feel free to pop by her website and say Hi.

She illustrated the next book I wrote called My name may be Peanuts, but I say Naaayyy to PB& J. It is about a little girl living with peanut and tree nut allergies and the challenges she has, but that she is just like any other kid - she just have to make sure her food is "safe".

The book is so cute and the illustrations are captivating! She will hopefully remain "my illustrator" for a long time to come as I have a few more children's book idea's up my sleeve!

Right now we are deciding whether to self publish this book or to hold out for a tradtitonal publisher. We've heard feedback from both camps. What are your thoughts? If you'd like to see an excerpt of our latest book, just ask and I'll send you a page or two in a PDF file. I promise you'll love it if you have small children - and you'll especially love it if you have a child allergic to peanuts or tree nuts.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A favorite quote.

Wanna hear God laugh? Then tell Him your plans! I love that because only He knows what will happen. Right now I'm planning on getting my next children's book out there and am not sure what to do. Several friends are giving me advice to Self Publish and other's are telling me to hold out on a traditional publishing contract. But what if that never happens? It's a dream to think Random House would pick up my book, but from what I've learned they only accept manuscripts through agents. So how do I find an agent? I've been trying to find out. Only God knows His plan for this book. I just hope His plan is to see it in bookstores!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A good movie

I just finished watching "The pursuit of happyness". It was really good. It was based on a true story. Wow!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Amanda is back from camp safe and sound!

She's back but she's exhausted!!! She told me that she was offered cinnamon roles at camp and she asked if they peanuts. The cafeteria worker said "No, no peanuts". After scrutinizing the sweet role Amanda determined it might have pecans or walnuts so turned it down. Thank goodness!!!! She also didn't eat ice cream or any treats the whole time because no one could tell her the ingredients. Ice cream was without labels in huge bins dispensed by workers.

She came back starved...but alive. I gave her a chocolate chip mint ice cream cone and have given her all her favorite foods.

Monday, June 8, 2009

We lost a member of our family today

I am so sad that our beautiful, yellow lab, Dixie passed away today.  She was 10 years old and will be deeply missed.  She was diagnosed with cancer last October and has struggled to walk and breathe ever since.  Her existence since her diagnoses has been to sleep the days away.  She was an extremely loyal, sweet girl who walked by my side around the neighborhood without a leash.  She lived to please and had a wonderful life after we took her in on April 21, 2005.

She was a pure bred lab used only for breeding.  The owners decided to dispose of her in 2005 when her litters got so small they could no longer make money.  She had problems then and we knew it but took her in anyway and gave her the best possible life possible.

I have no idea how to tell Amanda when she gets back from camp tomorrow.  She will be crushed for sure.

R.I.P Dixie Chick Burke  5/20/1999 to 6/8/2009  We will miss you.  

Peanut allergies and Summer Church Camp

So the big day for Amanda to leave for camp came on Saturday, June 6.  I took all the precautions I possibly could to keep her safe while at Camp Tejas.  I filled out medical forms, I met the nurses, I gave them her Epi-Pen (they wouldn't take her Benedryl) and made sure they knew the steps to take in case of an accident.   That's what has caused me the most worry - an accident.  At 9 years old, Amanda reads every label before she eats it to make sure it is "safe".  It the food doesn't have a label then she won't eat it.  But accidents can and do happen.  Even to adults who have lived with peanut allergies for many, many years.  I have never been to the camp where she is now so I'm not sure how the food is served.  Is it buffet style or are they handed plates of food.  One of the nurses told me she would inform the kitchen after I mentioned cross-contamination.

On the way to drop Amanda off at the church to load the bus, she said to me, "Mom, I really wish I wasn't allergic to peanuts.  I really hate having to ask about everything I eat".  I assured her that her food allergy makes up just a small percentage of the gifts, talents and challenges God has given her.  

Sending her to this camp was way different from the girl scout camp she went to in March.  For one, she went with a small group who has known about her peanut allergies for years.  Also, one of my good friends who is a Doctor went with the troop as a chaparrone so I knew Amanda was in good hands.

With this camp, there were over 300 kids from our church that went and I don't know any of the counselors, or workers or staff.  No one.

Interestingly while we were waiting for the busses to leave (the kids were already on board), we saw the nurses walk by the plastic bins full of the medication.  Amanda was not allowed to carry her own Epi Pen and the Epi Pen went on another bus.  I turned and said to my husband, what if something happens on the bus?  What is the snack they are serving?  Nutter Butter cookies seem to be a favorite snack these days.  No one knew.  Thank God I packed Amanda's own snack in a back pack.  But what if it's a snack that contains peanuts?  The fumes could affect her breathing - and she didn't have her mask!  There was nothing I could do at that point as the busses started taking off.   And off she went in God's hands.  I just have to trust that He is in control.

So, she left on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and I have not had a single call.  She comes back tomorrow afternoon and I can't wait to hear about all of her adventures.  She has a shy side to her, so I can't wait to hear if she went zip-lining!

How do get so behind on blogging?

I know how.  Because my kids' last day of school was June 4th (and a half day at that)!  It was a hectic morning that day getting ready for the kids' last day of school parties, talking with the teachers then an afternoon of pool parties.  Oh, and we still had swim practice that evening!

Amanda, my child who doesn't have a lot of energy, was cooked.  It was too much for her.  Sean, who is always in motion was beat too.  I was too tired to even open my Mac.

The next day on Friday, June 6 I was busy running around getting last minute items to pack for Amanda who was leaving for summer camp on Saturday the 7th.  I couldn't believe it was here already.  And I think I was more anxious than she was.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Interesting piece on peanut allergies.

Canadian Olympic Freestyle Skier Defies Gravity and a Life-threatening AllergyI

 Steve Omischl doesn't let his serious peanut allergy ground him      TORONTO, JUNE 2 /CNW/ - Canadian Olympian Steve Omischl is a high-flying freestyle skier with soaring ambitions for 2010. The North Bay, Ontario native and B.C.-resident recently clinched his fourth World Cup title; however, one of his biggest challenges off the slopes has been his life-threatening allergy to peanuts. To raise awareness about severe allergies, Omischl is teaming with King Pharmaceuticals Canada - the distributors of EpiPen(R) - to let Canadians know that allergies should be taken seriously, but not to let them stop you from achieving your dreams. He's also encouraging people at risk for anaphylaxis to always carry an epinephrine auto-injector - the recommended first line of treatment for someone experiencing a severe reaction, which can be fatal in minutes if left untreated.     Canadians can find out if they are at risk for anaphylaxis by taking EpiPen's Severe Allergy Risk Test available at     Omischl was diagnosed as a child after he reacted to a peanut butter sandwich his mom gave him. Despite his best efforts to avoid peanuts, he's had a few serious encounters since then, most notably the day before the final World Cup Freestyle skiing event of the 2007/2008 season in Davos, Switzerland. A bite of a cheese sandwich that had a trace of peanuts caused a serious reaction and fortunately, a medical professional was able to provide assistance. Undeterred, the next day Steve flew twelve metres in the air and executed three perfect back-flips with four twists, winning the event and the distinguished title of World Cup Champion.     "I don't want a peanut allergy to sideline me," said Steve. "I need to be very careful not to eat anything without reading the label first. When you're hungry, you usually eat anything, and fast. I can't do that."     Food is the most common cause of severe allergic reactions. Other common triggers are insect stings, medicines, and latex.     "Aside from the event in Switzerland, I have had a few close calls at dinner parties. It can be tricky when people use different sauces and oils, which may contain peanuts," explained Omischl. "I have learned the importance of having my EpiPen with me at all times. Obviously, it could save my life."     Because Steve is often travelling to far-away places for competitions, he makes a point of showing new people he is travelling with how to use an EpiPen, "I also reassure them that's it's not a big deal to use it, it's very simple - just remove the cap and inject into the mid-outer thigh."     "Steve's story underscores the importance of how vital it is for people with severe allergies to carry an epinephrine auto-injector with them wherever they go," said Mary Allen, Chief Executive Officer of the Allergy/Asthma Information Association ( "Steve is truly an inspiration to others, proving that people who have severe allergies can realize their dreams and live active lives," concluded Allen.     A 2007 national study revealed that only one in five Canadians at risk for an anaphylactic attack remember to carry an epinephrine auto-injector with them at all times.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why do good people die so young?

I previously posted in April about giving platelets.  I've done it for years.  My husband quipped recently that I've probably saved a lot of lives.   I didn't save Deb's though.  I met Deb at the Blood and Tissue Center in San Antonio years ago.  She was in remission from Leukemia.  It came back in November 2008 and she never left the hospital.  She was a dynamic, beautiful person with a 9 year old daughter.  And she was a great blogger and writer.  She died on May 18 and I was deeply saddened when I read about her death that day through following her sister's blog.

I really miss her and think about her every day.
You can find her blog and story below.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Monday blues

Monday's are always very busy for me.  I noticed recently that I always "subconsciously" don't do chores, housework, cooking or cleaning on weekends.

Weekends for us are a time for family - just the 4 of us.  We go on adventures, we eat at our favorite restaurant, Willies, and we just enjoy each other.

Last weekend (Saturday) started off with a swim meet.  I noticed with some families one or the other parent was there to root the children on, while the other parent left to enjoy some quiet time at home.  We are doing everything together lately (and enjoying every minute of it!) so all four of us were there during the entire swim meet.  Most of my friends had long since taken off and left the "dads" to stay and root for the kids.

After the swim meet we went to eat lunch then came back home hung out together.  No chores, no cleaning, just enjoying each others' company.

So it's no wonder that when Monday morning comes around, I spend hours cleaning and organizing the house back into shape after the kids leave for school at 7:20 a.m. and Phil leaves for work.  It's just that before I know it, the kids are home from school and off we go to swim practice, then home to make dinner, clean, put the kids to bed and then I realize....I get to do this all over again tomorrow.  Minus a couple hours of clean time.  I did all the laundry today.   Yay!

This week also marks the last week of school.  Thursday, June 4 is the last day school!  So I'm gearing up for summer.  I will have literally no time to myself which equates to very minimal writing time.

Alas! I have an idea.  Sean just finished 1st grade and can now read pretty darn well.  Amanda just finished 3rd grade, and is well on her way to reading 300 page novels!  So I'll just have "quiet time" for them to read and I  can work on my writing...or read.  I'm reading "The Hummingbirds Daughter" by Luis Alberto Urrea.

Thank you God for my children.  I love them dearly.