Two Story Cottage

Ode to School & September

Dear Friends,

Well, I can’t let the whole month of September pass without acknowledging back to school time for the kiddos .  This year was particularly special because I have a kindergartner and second grader.  That means everyone is in the same spot for the first time ever.  It feels like a big milestone as a mom.

kids_first_day

Reid going to kindergarten has been bittersweet.  It is so exciting for him to be at big school. He is thrilled to do all of the things Lacey has done and I can tell he thinks he is big stuff.   He is proud and challenged in such a good way.

boy_kindergarten

However, kindergarten is an adjustment.   It wears them out like nothing else.  My even keeled boy is all kinds of cranky by the end of the week.  It has taken a few weeks but finally he is settling in and as a family the routine is feeling more normal.

Second grade has been a seamless transition which I’m thankful for.  Lacey is excited to have her brother at school but slightly annoyed at having to share her special place.  She has made it clear that she is the seasoned veteran and we all need to remember that.

September often feels like a blur and survival mode is the mantra. October is such a fun month in comparison so I’m ready for the next chapter!

-Erin

Lockers for Reid

Dear Friends,

I had a lucky shopping day at Hobby Lobby recently.  My local store isn’t particularly close so I’m doubly glad to hit pay dirt when I go.  I love their selection of knobs and paper crafts. However, this go around I got a bedside table for Reid.

Call it a nightstand or a set of drawers but Reid is quite proud of his new “lockers.”

locker_baskets

I just thought the metal baskets were too cute to pass up.  I got home and it looked like I had painted them to go with his room.

painted_chalk_drawers

Just happy luck and we’ll take it.  His room is slowly coming together.  I’ve got other ideas floating around in my brain.

Reid has decided to store his important sports stuff in those drawers which works for me.  I’m in with love anything that involves enthusiastic cleanup.   Now, if only I could get Lacey so excited to put things away…

-Erin

 

Space Challenge: Reid’s Room in Progress

Dear Friends,

Today, I’m posting “before” pictures of Reid’s room and the “after” is barely even in the works.  I’ve got big ideas but some challenges as well.

Reid’s room has been a blank slate since we moved in last May.  We placed his furniture, made his bed, and never really did much else.  I was motivated recently to mess around with the arrangement because he kept asking to play in the bonus room.  I don’t mind him playing in the playroom (duh) and I’m grateful we have it. However, he used to play in his room a lot at the old house. His new, smaller room wasn’t really functioning for him because of a lack of floor space.  He likes to play football, race cars, and roll around like boys do.

Or my boy, anyway. It got to the point where a lot of Reid’s toys and personal items were in the playroom which didn’t work for the rest of us.

I decided to do the one thing I really did not want to do- we moved the bed from the middle of the room (between two windows) to the wall.  I didn’t want it shoved in a corner but it makes a huge difference from a space perspective.  I’ve never loved the bed against the windows but I want to make it work.

space_challenge

reid_before

I’ve got ideas but this gives you a general idea of where we are now.  Pretty much a blank space and the room looks so much bigger now!

Truth be told, we rearranged at the beginning of January so we have had enough time to know that this definitely works for him.  He is sleeping much better also which is nothing to mess with.   I’ve just started decorating his space but I’d like to take the focus off of the bed against the windows.

reid_room_before

Curtain panels would do the trick but at his age I almost see them as a hazard.  Or asking for trouble.  Also, we have the plantation shutters which is nice.  I’m thinking maybe a sconce on the side wall would help.  Something to make it look purposeful.  Also, a nightstand and decor should make a difference.

The ideas are churning.  With kids, I think a functional bedroom is much more important than a well decorated one!

Of course, I’d like both.

-Erin

 

 

 

 

Reid is Five: A Birthday Survey & Summary

Dear Friends,

Reid turned five yesterday.  There is no question he is a big boy now.  However, that big boy still has a little boy voice and likes little boy things so we can save the tears for first grade when all of that stuff goes out the window.  I’ve got another year at least I’m thinking.

Or hoping, anyway.

Reid is our Mr. Bossy Pants and has become a total and complete sports fanatic.  Mr. C likes sports a lot but Reid has developed this deep devotion all on his own.  It is funny to watch that stuff develop in kids.  It seems like a DNA thing – like he was born to love all things sports.

We’ll see if I’m saying the same thing next year but I’m willing to bet that will be the case.

reid_collage_5

Reid had his first party with friends this year at our local My Gym.  It was complete craziness.  The kids were hyper and loud and just, WOW, so I’m glad we had very little responsibility on our shoulders.  I baked vegan cupcakes for the boy and the kids did not even notice.  Adults would for sure but they might be as close as I can get to the real thing.

Having a weekend party followed by a birthday four days later makes for a looong celebration.  I was actually glad to put away the birthday stuff this morning.  However, five is a big birthday so I have no regrets.

reid_5_survey

I just love those surveys- they are a free download from Lee Lou Blogs.  It is funny to see how the answers change from year to year!  With kids so many of the answers always relate to recent experiences.  Here is a link to last year’s survey.

Reid is our extroverted people person which challenges me on some days but he is also a sweet pleaser and I’m just so glad he is mine.

-Erin

 

 

 

Bad Things & Good Things

Dear Friends,

Last week was one of those “is this really happening” sort of weeks that makes you thankful for the nice, normal, sometimes boring “regular” weeks.   Reid had a fever last Monday and I was bummed because, frankly, I really wanted him to go to school Tuesday.  I had a couple of appointments and plans that were hanging in the balance so I was frustrated by the little setback.

After wheezing set it on Tuesday, I knew school wasn’t happening so we made the dreaded trip to the doctor’s office.  We got some breathing treatments and crossed our fingers that he would respond right away.

reid_sick

Well, Wednesday passed and after a rough night, I knew something wasn’t right because he was still in and out of fever.  We ended up going for a chest x-ray and wouldn’t you know he had pneumonia.

It was the weirdest thing.  He went from perfectly healthy to really sick in no time flat.  That seems to be the Reid way. I’m not sure if it is the autoimmune disease rearing its ugly head or if it is just how his body works.  Who knows?

Antibiotics and absolute rest were on the agenda.  Like snow days or time in the hospital, it is like the calendar just poofs into thin air and everything that seems important disappears.  A time warp of sorts. We did have a lot of treasured snuggle time but by Friday I was begging for a jailbreak.  Luckily, my newly-retired dad came to relieve me for a couple hours so I could make a much needed trip to the store.

Funny, this is sounding all about me.  I know – poor, Reid.  He was pretty pitiful.  He is doing much better though and I’m thankful for his rocking good attitude.   After a couple of days of antibiotics, he was feeling well enough to go to Greenville for the weekend.  We had a scheduled visit with the grandparents and cousins so I was grateful we still got to go- particularly since Mr. C and I had planned to steal away to Asheville for some time just the two of us.  My in-laws were totally up for the challenge and we left Reid in good hands.  Luckily, he was sleeping well and feeling much better by that point.

antiques

I was sure our little getaway wasn’t going to happen but I’m so glad we decided to go- it was well worth it!  In the end it all sort of worked out.  A tough week followed by a blissful, beautiful time.  Oh, and I went to the Tobacco Barn for the first time.  The building is crammed full of the most amazing things.  We were there maybe 10 minutes when they called for closing time.  Apparently, the winter hours are different from the rest of the year.  It was a this-must-be-a-dream tease.  I didn’t buy a thing but I already know I have to go back some day.

The hard part now?  I still have to keep him resting.  Uh, yeah.  Tell the 4 year old boy who feels much better and has been shut in a bubble for a week to “rest.”  Reid is a study in motion.  Absolutely nothing he does is restful.

Nothing.

Wish me luck!

-Erin

P.S.  We are attempting preschool later this week but no physical activity.

And cue the laughter. 

 

Adventures in the ER

Dear Friends,

Last weekend was fall break and we had quite the adventure. As a result I’ve been two steps behind all week long.  Sounds fun, right?  Nah -not so much.  We actually spent many, many hours at the emergency room because Reid had a strange reaction to a virus.  Basically, he was a busy, happy kid on Saturday with a soccer game and various activities.  Sunday he woke up and said he couldn’t walk.  Of course, the pediatrician’s office was closed and we were confused and somewhat freaked out.  He wasn’t paralyzed – he could move his legs but couldn’t bear weight.  Otherwise, he was in decent spirits and even started crawling around the house.

photo

Saturday- photo credit- Uncle Andrew

Thankfully, I have a good pediatrician friend (& his fabulous wife) who I can call upon when in dire straights.  I have always tried to avoid that avenue because I know he isn’t our personal on-call concierge doc, but he was super helpful and sent us to the hospital for testing.

It turns out that Reid had something called rhabdomyolysis which is a strange, rare condition involving muscle protein in the blood, probably stemming from a viral infection he had had earlier in the week.

No, it was not EnterovirusD68, thank goodness.

reid_hospital

Luckily, Reid is quite comfortable in the hospital setting.  His bi-annual endoscopies have prepped him for Cars watching and popsicle eating. Oh, and he enjoyed the lengthy Panthers game from his adjustable bed while the rest of us leaned against a partition.

Reid was given an IV of fluids to help flush out the yucky stuff and after a couple of days he was back to normal.  We had family and friends help us out so everything worked out, but I have to say I’m finding the current outbreaks of various illnesses more than a little disturbing.  In our case, Reid’s body reacted differently to a very common virus but you just never know.

Isn’t it strange the way life can twist and turn in the matter of 24 hours?  We got lucky this time around but health scares will ground your perspective for sure.

Now go wash your hands, okay?  And put on that hazmat suit while you’re at it.

-Erin

 

 

 

 

 

An Interview with Mr. Reid

Dear Friends,

My baby is four today.  It is hard for me to digest that completely.  I’m excited about four because three is always a bit of a roller coaster year.  Such highs and lows and drama!  I remember Lacey being the same way at three.  I attribute it to the dropping of the nap.  Making it to the end of a long day is so hard at that age.

Reid has really turned a corner in the last few months.  He excels in preschool and loves his soccer.   His motor skills continue to improve.  The boy is a total rock star champ regarding his crazy diet.  He can list all of his allergies and is very careful about accepting food from others.

reid_bday_questions_four

The printable is free through Leelou Blogs

Despite his restrictions, Reid is a foodie just like his mom and sister.  He gets excited over vegan pizza, pretzels, sweet potato chips, and coconut milk ice cream.  He listed his favorite places as restaurants which is interesting since we often have to bring his dinner.

reid_basketball
photo by Uncle Andrew

Reid has really gotten into sports the past few months.  He has memorized all of the NFL teams and their logos thanks to his Daddy and the mini helmets he got for Christmas.  He seems to have a really good memory – I wish mine was as good as his!

reid_four

photo by Uncle Andrew

Reid is still a Mama’s boy for sure.  He is a clinger and no matter how much he likes school or church will always hesitate and wrap around my leg.  No tears but he is really a homebody despite his fairly outgoing personality.

I’m hoping four doesn’t fly by as fast as three did.  I’m not even ready to think about kindergarten yet.

-Erin

Reid’s 3 year old summary
Reid’s 2 year old summary
Reid’s 1 year old summary
Reid’s eosinophilic esophagitisupdate #1,  update #2

 

Update on Reid’s Jeep Room

Dear Friends,

It happened again.  Last week’s teeny tiny project paved the way to a wee bit bigger project. After Reid’s bedrail got an update, I was itching to work in his space a little more. His room was abandoned a few months back.  Honestly, I lost my motivation somewhere over the summer.

boy_room_shelf_orange

I finally added a much-needed bookshelf to store some of his goodies.  Little projects, picture frames, and other 3 year old boy treasures are on full display. We have had that bookshelf for several years and I honestly can’t remember where it was in our old house.   It has spent an embarassing amount of time on the floor of the guest room at this house.

cars_big_boy

Sometimes I think about painting those lamps.  They pick up the green in his duvet but they are a little much with some of the red.  Hmmm.  Maybe bright blue?

race_car_room

I also will probably put something on the dresser but I haven’t decided what yet.  Books or a tray or a toy or two?  Hard to say.

I see little boys spaces that sometimes make me sad because you know they reflect a designer as opposed to the boy in question.  I’m happy to report that this is a tried and true Reid room even if it won’t win any awards anytime soon!  I want to celebrate the very loose race car/Jeep theme without overdoing it.

And yes, I found another use for that duct tape.

-Erin

 

Jazzing Up the Bedrail

Dear Friends,

Reid has a bedrail in his room now due to his wild thrashing sleep habits.   I was hoping to avoid it but no such luck.  I have heard that some people are able to use a pool noodle wrapped in a blanket to create that boundary; however, boy wonder has got mad skillz when it comes to working his way off of the bed.

bed_rail_ugly_decorate

Bed rails are ugly.  They make me think of hospitals and nursing homes which is much too depressing for a fun little boy room.

I always find solutions for things when I’m not looking.  I picked up a roll of Duck brand duct tape thinking I could do something fun with it in Reid’s room.  And voila!

bedrail_makeover

Much better, don’t you think?  It took me about two minutes to makeover the bed rail from start to finish.  Reid loves the “race track” which means I may be adding a little more somewhere else.

bedrail_duck_tape_collage

Have you joined the duct tape craze?

-Erin

 

 

Reid Health Update (& Results)

Dear Friends,

I thought it was high time for a Reid health update.  If you remember, he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Eosinophilic Esophagitis in May. Basically, his esophagus is allergic to many food proteins, which when ingested, causes vomiting and makes eating painful.  After extensive allergy testing, we discovered that he is sensitive to dairy, egg, beef, chicken, soy, corn, oat, tree nuts, and white potato.

It was a big whoa to say the least and our lifestyle changed overnight.

Although it has been hard, we have honestly adjusted to Reid’s crazy new diet.  He can eat turkey, pork, sweet potato, fruits and vegetables.  I shared some of our go-to recipes here.  The fact that he is feeling SO much better makes the diet easier to maintain.  We are seeing a difference in everything from energy level to motor skills.  The vomiting stopped weeks ago but the further we go on the elimination diet, the better he seems overall.

happy_healthy_reid

We can still picnic no matter the dietary restrictions.

Last week, Reid had an endoscopy to check his progress as he has been on the new diet for about ten weeks.   We had our fingers crossed for a good biopsy but did not find out results until Wednesday.

While his esophagus is still healing, the eosinophils (white blood cells) that are not supposed to be there have decreased dramatically.  Previously he had between 50 & 60 white blood cells hanging out in his esophagus which was making him very sick and sucking all of his energy. He now has NINE eosinophils in the esophagus. With a number less than TEN, he is considered in remission.

Now what?

This is far better news that we could have imagined. Usually it takes a couple of rounds of allergy testing to pinpoint all of the culprits.  For now, we stick with the current crazy diet and enjoy our healthy boy.

After Christmas, we will start the process of food trials which is where we can see what food from his allergic list that he might possibly be able to tolerate.  I’m not quite ready for that, especially now that he is feeling so much better.

This was a September miracle for us and I plan on enjoying the next couple of months before we shift things once again.   I’m learning things daily about food and allergies and ingredients.  Is there an honorary degree for label -reading?  If so, I might qualify.

We are used to packing Reid’s food for everything, but it is a wee bit harder now that we are out of the summer bubble.  Preschool has been a little challenging with class parties and snack time. I have to provide everything he eats and the teachers understand the situation, but just yesterday we had a very close call with a substitute teacher in the classroom.  Luckily, Reid told the teacher he wasn’t allowed to eat the snack she had given him.  I am so thankful that he is figuring all of this out without us really explaining it. Because he can’t have most everything, it is easier to tell him what he CAN have. I think the fact that he feels so much better helps him resist the yummy things he cannot eat. Two months ago, he would have jumped off a cliff for a goldfish cracker or dug one out of a trash can. Yesterday, he said, “Yeah, I can’t eat this.” Church is equally hard because of rotating volunteers – I’ve decided I need to put a giant piece of tape on the front of his shirt that says,”do not feed under any circumstances”.   People will think he is a zoo animal, but what can you do when the world is determined to give your child cheese cracker snacks?

I’m feeling very positive after our excellent scope. I try not to think too far into the future because it will be a long road with possibly years of food trials; however, this is a pretty new disease, so who really knows?

I was a little sad to miss out on “Talk Like a Pirate Day” at Krispy Kreme – I’m a sucker for free doughnuts and a fun reason to celebrate. On the flip side, we have discovered that Reid can eat sorbet at Sweet Frog which is a blessing. It is nice to have one place to go for a special outing.

October brings Halloween which is another new challenge.

Thanks for your well wishes everyone!

-Erin

 

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