Monday, October 24, 2016

Teal Pumpkin Project

I love this letter found on so I thought I'd share it here. The Teal Pumpkin Project means so much to so many families, including ours. Ruthie is more and more aware of her peanut allergy and my big girls are her biggest protectors. Last year Emmie and Ellie asked at if there was peanut in the candy. Most houses there was. It was sad for the girls to take the candy knowing they wouldn't get to eat it. This year Ruthie will be aware as well. It means the world to those of us in the food allergy world to have others supporting our kids on Halloween so I hope you'll put out your Teal Pumpkin and have non-food treats available this Halloween!

Dear parents who have put out a teal pumpkin this Halloween,

You are doing something so important to parents and children with life-threatening food allergies. I want to acknowledge your effort to mark your home as safe for my food allergic child and others like him this Halloween. I can see you painting the pumpkin teal and thereby teaching your child about empathy and compassion. I blink away the tears, because I am so very grateful for homes like yours that will allow my child to focus on being Albus Dumbledore this Halloween and enjoy the magic of the night.

For our family, Halloween used to be downright scary. The truth is that I used to dread trick or treating with my son. I remember vividly a few years back when my sister invited us to her neighborhood. My son was so excited to dress up in his Thomas the Train costume and even more so, to trick or treat with his cousins. I’ll admit I was nervous, but armed with my EpiPen and safe candy, off we went. House after house, I remember my son asking if there was any safe candy for him, only to get looks of pity or blank stares. Even though I had safe candy with me, he just wanted one door to have something special for him too. His disappointment was palpable, and for a mom to witness this, heartbreaking. I swore to never go to homes I had not vetted again.

If I have to be honest, it can be truly exhausting both physically and mentally to prepare for any celebration that focuses on food. After all, if I get it wrong, or don’t do my research, or miss an ingredient, there can be catastrophic consequences, even death. This weighs on my heart day in and day out. I fear for my son every day that he goes into a world rife with peanuts, his particular poison. I love him so fiercely and just want to keep him alive and safe.

I want you to know these things because I can easily bet our family is not the only grateful one this holiday. Just in case you were wondering if it was worth the effort, please know that you are helping to erase the stigma of food allergies. You are bringing magic into the world of a child, one teal pumpkin at a time.

Thank you again for participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

With gratitude,
A Food Allergy Mom

~Lianne Mandlebaum

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Boo at the Zoo

We headed to Boo at the Zoo tonight for some trick-or-treating fun! We showed up with Wonder Woman, Dorothy, a (not so) Cowardly Lion, and Minnie Mouse. The kids had great fun!

I saw this lion costume when I was looking for a costume for Emmie's first Halloween. I have waited six long years to have a reason to buy it! I was so pleased that my little lion kept his mane on all evening...he knew he was cute! (And he was super squished into his costume! Good thing Halloween is in a week!) JP's favorite part was when we gave him his bucket and he realized there was food in there! Thankfully there were some pretzels that he could snack on while we trick or treated!

Originally Ellie was going to be Little Bo Peep and Ruthie was going to be her sheep. Then Ruthie decided to be Minnie Mouse. So since JP was going to be a lion Ellie decided to be Dorothy.

A rare family picture! They had a volunteer who was offering to take pictures for families...I loved that idea!
Ellie said the foam was her favorite!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Zoo Trip

Yesterday morning I took Ruthie and JP to the zoo! It was a gorgeous morning and we had such a good time. This was the first time that JP was really aware of all the animals at the zoo and he was SO cute. He "talked" to all of the animals. Ruthie had a great time because she got to decide which animals we saw and when and what rides we rode. (She likes to be in charge) At the top of her list: ride the train, see the elephants, see the monkeys, and we need to feed the giraffes (and by we she meant mommy).

riding the carousel

She was so excited about seeing the elephants! This guy was standing right in front of us drinking water and she was fascinated!

This alpaca (?) was so interested in JP. It kept following him around! (Perhaps he looked like a tasty morsel?)

I just had the BEST time with my little wild animals!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why you need a big sister...

Everyone needs a big sister. Just ask my brother. How would he have made it to adulthood with just one mother? Everyone needs a second mother. JP thinks those other mothers come in handy. Especially when you need your shoes off.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


A few weeks ago we did pictures with Kennerly. We did family pictures, a few of each child by themselves, and JP's 1yr old pictures. My poor kids were such troopers. It was 90 degrees outside and I had everyone except JP in fall clothes!

I thought I'd share some of my favorite pictures from our session!

(I have a monogram bloomers picture of each of the kids at 1...JP is my only one standing though!)

So I LOVE this next picture. The rocking chair was my mom's and I have professional pictures of everyone except Emmie in it (and I need to dig out a snapshot of her in it...I know I have one). The outfit (including shoes!) was Paul's from his one  year old pictures! I'm so glad we were able to (literally) squeeze JP into it for his one year old pictures!

Paul on the left and Blake on the right

I just realized too that JP's hair is just like Paul's in the picture...totally unintentional!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

12 months

I am 12 months old!

  • I weigh 21lb 5oz (48th percentile) and am 29 1/2 inches long (32nd percentile). At 12 months Emmie was 22lb 3oz and 30in, Ellie was 20lb 3oz and Ruthie was 17lb 13oz and 29.5in. 
12 months ago.

  • I wear 12mo clothes and size 3.5 shoes. My legs are my chunkiest feature so my socks always leave marks on my legs!
  • I started walking a lot on my 1st birthday! I now mostly walk, especially if there are other kids around my age walking. I don't want to be the "baby" of the group!
  • I go to bed at 8 and get up around 7am during the week and will sleep till about 8:30 on the weekends. I get up once or twice a night for a bottle. I take about a 2hr nap in the afternoons and will often take a catnap in the morning.
  • I love my pacifiers. I like to have one in each hand while I sleep. I will sometimes put it in my mouth when I first get in bed but usually take it out pretty quick and just hold it in my hand. I also take a pacifier in the car but I know that it doesn't come out of the car with me so when Mommy starts to unbuckle me I take the pacifier out of my mouth and leave it in my seat.
  • I get a bottle when I wake up at night, one at naptime, and one at bedtime. I drink whole milk with my meals. I am doing pretty well transitioning to the whole milk.
  • I have 6 teeth still. I have 4 on top and 2 on the bottom.
  • I am a great communicator. I use the "more" sign to indicate that I want to eat. I sign "all done" when I'm finished eating. I can also communicate pretty well anything else I need or want.
  • I say "mama", "dada", "hello" and "bye" and make lots of noises that mommy is pretty sure mean other words. I jabber a LOT. I wave hi and bye.
Mommy thinks I look WAY too grown up in this picture!

  • Eggs are my current favorite food. I eat 2 scrambled eggs every day at lunch! I also like Havarti cheese, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. I don't really like any vegetables but I do love fruit! Green beans make me throw up and my sisters are very good about making sure nobody gives me any green beans!
  • I am happy and content most of the time.
  • I'm a climber!
  • I love to play outside and now that it's cooling off a little we are able to get outside more.
  • I have finally started having less separation anxiety. I usually do pretty well in the church nursery and I love going to the Y childcare (sometimes I even get sad when I have to leave!). I am also better about letting other people hold me when Mommy's around.
Proof that I will go to others when Mommy is around! I went right to Audrey at Uncle Ben and Aunt Ruth's party! (Granted Audrey IS Mary Poppins!)

  • I LOVE my daddy and get SO excited when I hear him come home. I know when I hear that garage door go up it means daddy's home!
  • This month I learned how to drink out of a straw.
  • I have a LOT of hair. I have had quite a few haircuts. My hair grows really fast and is very thick. It makes Mommy sad that I don't have soft baby hair's all big boy hair!
  • I am a sweaty, sweaty boy! I sweat SO MUCH.
  • This month I decided that I love baths. For the last few months I have screamed bloody murder during my bath and then one day I decided they were lots of fun! I love to splash!
  •  I like to throw my toys especially when we're down stairs because they make a loud noise on the floor! I am ALL boy!
  • I love to play with balls. Poor Franklin, I'm often taking his out of his toy basket. Fortunately, he's pretty good natured about sharing toys with me.
  • I love to brush my teeth.
  • I learned how to crawl in and out of the doggy door. Such a useful skill especially when it's raining outside and there are puddles to play in!
  • The bathroom is by far my favorite room in the house. It has a trash can (lots of fun to pull things out of), toilet paper (so fun to unroll!), and a toilet (for splashing!). Mommy and Daddy are working really hard at getting my sisters to remember to close the bathroom door when they're done.
  • I love playing with my sisters. Ruthie and I are working on figuring out how to play together. I always want to play with what she's playing with and she doesn't always appreciate me taking her toys.
  • I get very excited when we pick up Emmie and Ellie from school. I always wave at the teachers while my sisters are getting in the car.
  • I had my one year old pictures with Kennerly Jordan this month. She and Mommy stuffed me in a pumpkin. I was pretty sure they'd lost their minds. Mommy is so looking forward to seeing the pictures!
  • I am very inventive and I'm always watching my sisters and trying to imitate them. I am also very clued in to what "big people" do.  For instance the other day I needed to poop so I made my own little potty. Mommy is real glad I haven't figured out how to take my diaper off yet!