Saturday, January 14, 2017

LeConte Lodge Part 1

A year ago my lifetime friend Kellie won the lottery for LeConte Lodge and we started planning our trip. I had just given birth to Judah but I knew that by September of 2016 he would be one and weaned and I could leave him a couple days to do this trip. I know that I've looked forward to it for an entire year!

Deciding what to pack was a chore. I ended up with a camel pack full of water, a bottle of wine (we each took one), sleeping bag, a few survival items (per Josh's request), several changes of clothes,  Chacos, a few toiletry items, snacks, and my breast pump (Judah was not weaned). I weighed the pack and it was a grand total of 40 lbs. Josh had to pick it up to help me get it on my back. I should have known right then that it wasn't a smart idea for me to hike a 40 lb pack almost 7 miles up a mountain with no training.

We started out leaving my house around 8:30am on September 27th. The drive to Gatlinburg, TN was pretty uneventful and we grabbed some food on the way because we knew it was going to be a long day! The Alum Cave trail which is the post popular trial up to the lodge was closed for repairs so after reading blogs and reviews we decided to take Rainbow Falls trial which was 6.6 miles up to the lodge.

Here we are at the trail head of Rainbow Falls. 

It was brutal. Straight up the mountain. My back, shoulders, legs, entire body was screaming. 

About 3 hours in I decided to pump. Without anyway to keep my milk cold for two days the only option was to dump it for the bears. 

We really tried to soak in nature between the utter exhaustion of hiking these heavy packs. The trail was beautiful and woods serene. We saw 4 other people after we passed the falls in the 4 more hours we hiked up. 

This was about breaking point. We thought that we were so close because the tree line had started to disappear and we were seeing sky. However this .6 mile felt like 10. Kellie left us all in the dirt because it was nearing 6:00 pm when dinner would be served and she wanted to make sure we didn't miss our only meal of the night.  Leslie, Amy and I finally staggered in a few minutes after 6. We dropped our stuff off at our cabin and made our way to the dining hall. 

It was awesome to have hot food, coffee, water and wine waiting for us at the table after 6 hours on the trail. The food was delicious even though it had to be from a can.

This was the cabin we called home for the next two days. We had bunks, a propane heater, and wash basin. It was perfect... well perfect except for the mice that we heard scurrying around above our heads that night. Leslie and I grabbed the peppermint oil and cotton balls and laid those suckers everywhere to ward the mice away. 

The front porch was awesome. Leslie put her Eno up and we all sat our here and talked, read books and watched the beautiful scenery. 

I love this picture of the little cabins in the sky. The air was cool, the sunsets unbelievable. The smell of balsam permeated the air. I was in woodsy heaven!

We grabbed hot water from this only source.. however by the time we got it back to the room it was barely warm. It was still nice for hand washing though!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Happy 1st Birthday JUDAH SETH!

We had a nautical themed party at our pool for this guy! Because of his allergies and limited amount of foods we made him a watermelon cake. He LOVED it! He picked it up, smooshed it, ate it, smeared it and it was adorable... plus way healthier than real cake. The other guests had some delicious cupcakes from Ruth and Ranshaw and had fun splashing in the pool. Judah opened his presents with Mommy and Daddy on the porch and liked ripping the paper of course. 

It's been a hard year.. this one was my hardest baby yet. The lack of sleep, exclusive breastfeeding, navigating allergies all about did me in... but we made IT! He is such as sweet, smily boy. He loves everyone and is so friendly. He is a lover for sure. He will lean that little blond head into mine and just give me such sweet lovies. I am so thankful for this 4th little blessing that broke the mold. Our sweet little blond headed blue eyed guy has my heart! 

J is 11 months

My baby is almost ONE!!! Wow, this year flew by. 

Judah is walking all over the place, saying a few words, waving, clapping and climbing stairs. He's learned how to throw a ball and other item's that shouldn't be thrown overhand. He has 8 teeth, two of which are molars. He wants to put EVERYTHING in his mouth.. this can be dangerous with a 6 year old brother that likes Legos and a 4 year old sister that has lots of tiny pieces for her bunny house. My daily job is to keep him alive between him putting things in his mouth and toddling dangerously all over the house. 

The s word (sleep) is actually happening. The little guy's gut finally is feeling better and he is sleeping! Whoot whoot. We've had some nights of 7:30- 6:30 and then sometimes he may wake up at 3am. Hey.. I'll take once a night! It beats the every 30-45 minute sleep stretches he was doing. I felt like I never hit REM sleep and I was barely hanging on. 

10 months for Jae Bae

Happy 10 months Baby BOY! Judah weighs 22 lbs and he has taken 7 steps in a row! He gets more balance everyday. He finally decided to talk much to my delight since I've been ready to diagnosis him. He's saying: mama, up, baba (bottle), diaper, up, bite bite, utoh, and ball. He gave up his paci a few weeks ago and throws it if you try to put it in his mouth. Oh well! All my other babies had their pact's until they were over two so I was pretty shocked he was finished with it. He smiles at everyone and loves cuddles. He is a love bug for sure. He is our sweet sweet boy and the whole house continues to be twitter pated over this little guy. 

Judah is 9 months

Judah weighs 20.11 lbs. He likes to play peek-a-boo, chase his siblings and wave bye bye. He's got 4 top teeth and two bottom teeth. He can drink from a straw, soppy cup and loves water. So far he's passed pumpkin and prunes however he's still not a fan of eating food. He can stand solo and has taken a couple steps. I bet it won't be long before he's walking!

Judah is 8 months

Weight 19.9
4 top teeth, 2 bottom teeth

This month Judah continues to crawl everywhere at lightning speed. He's learned how to crawl up steps and will stand alone for a couple seconds before squatting or falling down. He especially likes to find the things he's not suppose to have.... shoes and electric cords. He went swimming this month and loved splashing in the water. He even likes his baby pool float some of the time. He loves to take baths in the big tub... Eli and Olivia fight over who gets to take a bath with him. Judah also had his first beach trip. He loved the sand and took a beach nap on my chest for 2 hours. The wind, warm air and ocean sounds were the ticket. 

His weight has slowed down because he's burning so many calories by crawling and pulling up. Because of his food allergies I have to trial each baby food for a minimum of 10 days with a 2 day break in the middle. His first trial was apples. He's already aversive to baby food or any other taste besides breastmilk because he's had such severe vomiting reactions to food. I did manage getting 1 tsp of apples in each day. By day 10 he was having mucousy diapers so I put that on hold and we may retrial those later. I have also trailed a formula to help supplement my milk supply since he's nursing so frequently (every 2- 21/2 hours 24/7). So far he's tolerating Alimentum ready to feed. 

He said 'dada' this month as well.  I don't count it as a true word because he's babbles it other times than when he just sees Daddy. The other kids (even Olivia with hearing loss) were all saying a couple words by now. He's going to be the stubborn baby of the family I guess. 

He's growing and changing so fast! It's bittersweet because he's my last.

7 months old and FPIES

Our little man is growing so fast! We took Judah down to Raleigh this month to visit an allergist at Duke. It turns out my mommy instinct and exhaustive internet searching was actually RIGHT! We saw Dr. Amy Stallings down at Duke Children's and within a few minutes she confirmed his diagnosis of FPIES. FPIES (F-pies) stands for Food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome and basically Judah is allergic to food protein. 2 hours after he ingests the trigger food he began to vomit continually until he looses consciousness, turns blue and is lethargic. Some kids can actually go into shock if the reaction is severe enough. It is super scary! So far he's had this reaction to rice twice, oats twice and a dairy formula once. 5 times was enough for me so I asked my pediatrician for a referral to an allergist at Duke since most allergists are unfamiliar with this type of allergy. FPIES was only recently was given an ICD-10 code in October. She also did IgE testing (skin prick on his back) to test to see if he had the 'normal' type of allergy symptoms to any of the top allergy foods. They all came back negative which we were thankful for. So basically we will not give him the foods he has had a reaction to until he is 3 when we will do an office food trial. Dr Stallings gave us a sample of formula to try that has the milk protein broken down. She also recommend we do food trials of a week per food as we try new foods. We are glad to have this information and hopefully Judah won't have anymore reactions!

Baby J is 6 months

Tidbits about Judah.....
Judah weights 18 lbs 12 oz and is about 28 inches long. He is wearing size 12 month clothes. He is sitting alone, crawling, and has pulled up to stand a few times (see pic below). He likes to babble and squeal and his cry is ear splitting. He loves to hang out in the Tula on Mommy. Baby wearing saves my sanity. He loves to play Peek a Boo and thinks watching paper rip is the funniest thing in the world.  He seriously cackles so hard when you rip paper. Judah is still exclusively breastfeeding because we've found out he's allergic to rice and oats. He doesn't even want to eat any baby food anymore.  However it doesn't seem to be affecting his weight gain. Olivia loves to sing the Beatles song "Hey Jude" to him. He is a horrible sleeper and I'm a Mommy-Zombie. Those blue eyes are still blue!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Judah is 4 months old

Weight: 17 lbs 2 oz 
Height: 26 1/2 inches

This little guy has grown 1/2 a foot in 4 months! No wonder all his clothes don't fit and he's wearing size 6-12 month. He's still exclusively nursing but we will probably start baby cereal within the next month. He's super strong, rolls every where and loves to stand up. He smiles, laughs and makes all sorts of noises. Judah is by far the worst sleeper I've had. Occasionally I'll get a 3 hour stretch but it's usually every 2 hours until 4am and then he wakes up every 15-30 minutes until he's awake at 7:30. I'm a zombie! He's really gassy at night and wakes up crying with his belly hurting. Even though he's not a good sleeper, he is adored by his siblings for sure! Olivia decided she could change him all by her self and it was hilarious watching her hoist his thunder thighs and put the diaper under him. She did not want my assistance at all! Judah tolerated her antics very well. 

This was my baby gown and all of my other babies have worn it too!

Eli loving on his brother
Sweet brothers
Olivia Jane wasn't happy because she wanted to hold Judah
Now we get a smile
Our first real snow this year! 12 inches.. woohoo!

3 months old!

My little sleep robber is 3 months old!
He weighs around 15 lbs and is 25 1/2 inches. We celebrated Judah's 1st Christmas this year and took a weekend trip with my family to Pigeon Forge. We sure love this baby boy! 


Grins for Daddy with his faux hawk

Hey Blue eyes

Judah Seth

He can ROLL both directions!

His eyes are the color of my blanket

Baby Ho Ho with a bowl full of Jelly

I can drive Mama!

Laying in his crib which he's been in maybe once!

Olivia had to nurse her baby

The faces of Judah