Lots of Exciting Changes

We are going through a lot of changes as a family right now.  If you haven't been living under a rock somewhere, you know by now that I'm obviously pregnant.  The baby will be here on Valentine's Day unless she decides to come early (lets hope not), so that's 2 1/2 months away.

We are in the middle of the crazy holiday season. I'm excited for Christmas, but I think most people are, especially when you have young kids who are just starting to get it.  Ben is so excited for all things Christmas and both of the kids won't leave our Christmas tree alone.

If you can't find the kids, they can usually be found laying underneath the tree.  This is our first year doing a fake tree.  Usually we go to a Christmas tree farm and pick one out, but because last year, Ben had some allergic reactions to our tree, we decided it would be better to go fake from now on.  At first I was sad to not get a real tree, but now I'm really great with the fake one.  Ok, maybe this is me being lazy, but I like not having to climb underneath it everyday to check and see if it needs water and I like not having those pesky little needles everywhere.  Ben plugs in the tree first thing in the morning and Shawn unplugs it at night before he goes to bed.  It's on all day (unless we leave) and we love it!

We need to move because we are out growing our home.  The problem is that we have a lease we are stuck in until April.  Not the best news, but we'll deal with it.  It may take us that long just to find somewhere else to live.  Let me tell you, living in a college town means rental houses are slim pickings while school is in session.

When Ben was a year and a half old he was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy.  Anyone with a food allergy or food allergic child can tell you, it is extremely scary.  As a parent, you already nervous about other people watching your children (family, friends, babysitters, teachers, etc) but throw in a life threatening food allergy and it's almost impossible.  If you're lucky, you have family that understands the seriousness, and make changes to accommodate, making social gatherings and just visits in general so much easier and more relaxed.  A lot of people aren't so lucky.  Ben is now four.  A little while ago we thought Ben had a peanut related allergic reaction.  We did everything we could to keep it under control although we didn't know exactly where it had happened.  When we called his pediatrician, they recommended calling his allergist and setting up an appointment.  We did, but the appointment was set for weeks out.  When we finally got in to see the allergist, he told us that the reaction Ben had, didn't sound like a food allergy reaction at all (we knew this by this point,  and found out yesterday it was to the new Lysol I used) and that because he was fairly certain Ben hadn't had an exposure since he was originally diagnosed, he wanted to do some testing.  They started with the skin test which is the traditional scratch test.  Ben had no reaction to the peanut on his skin.  Then they said they wanted a blood test.  The results to Ben's blood test came in "very low" at .49 on a scale of 0-100.  From what I've read, everything .35 and below is considered negative.  Because Ben was so low, the next step was the "Peanut Challenge" where they do several tests with Peanut Butter in the office.  They start by taking some peanut and rubbing it directly on his skin and leave it there for about 20 minutes.  Next, they rub peanut butter on the inside of his bottom lip and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes.  Finally, they have them eat portions of peanut butter and then they come back and check them after 15-20 minutes.  Ben went through all of these tests and I am proud to report that he no longer is considered a peanut allergic child!  We still have to take precautions, such as carrying the epipens, watch him closely during and after each exposure, and not overload his system with peanuts, but he also has to eat peanuts or peanut butter at least once a month to hopefully keep the allergy gone.  I feel like a great weight has been lifted and sweet Ben can live just like every other normal kid.

Our last big change that I'm finally getting to announce, is that Shawn was offered a job with another company.  He has wanted this job and we have been praying for it, since this summer.  It is a substantial raise and more room for him to grow within the company.  It does include quite a bit of travel after he's fully trained, but we'll all be fine.  While he's sad to leave his current company because there are so many neat people there, it's what's best for him.  I'm so excited for him and this new adventure.


Cassie said…
That is all so exciting!
Megan said…
Congratulations to Ben and Shawn! The peanut allergy not being severe must be so relieving (as should be the extra $$ with baby 3 on the way).

Also, you look gorgeous in that sweater Liz :)
Melissa said…
This is such great news! Congratulations all around. Also, when it comes to finding a new place to live, I'm sure you'll find something great. The Lawrence apartment market is so saturated, that if you find something you like that's a bit high in the rent, you can totally negotiate it.

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