Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Arrived in Newport Beach

The drive to Los Angeles was really, really long.  The roads were really bumpy and Dyna had decided she didn’t like driving in the RV due to all the noisy crashes that occurred whenever we hit a bump.  She was having a complete panic attack and was climbing on everyone and was not safe.  She kept waking the girls up, and I was unable to sleep much because I had to stop her from harassing Floyd.  When I tied her up she’d start barking.  I was super tired and was very angry. We thought about stopping at a rest stop and cutting the trip short, but the most convenient rest stop was closed.

We didn’t end up getting to Newport Beach until 5am.  About a 10 hour drive.  It didn’t help that I navigated us wrong at the end.  But we did get there, and we were able to park in the lot to wait until morning to check in.  I slept a few hours before the girls got up.  When they did we tried getting some breakfast at the restaurant, but they are only open for breakfast on the weekend.  We ended up going to the convenience store at the resort and buying a 7 dollar box of cereal.  The girls played in the sand and on the playground till Floyd got up.

We got our site and set ourselves up.  Floyd took the girls to explore while I took a nap.  Everyone went to bed early.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Second Stop - San Francisco

The drive to San Francisco was long.  The weather was a bit better, but going over Sikiyou pass was a bit hairy due to the fog.  Then it was up and down for a long time.  The RV did not drive smoothly.   We planned on parking on the west side of the city along the beach, per information via the internet.  When we got there signs were posted that said no parking from 10pm to 5am.  It was super foggy and driving through hilly San Francisco was difficult.  Luckily it was in the wee hours of the morning so there was no traffic.  We found a street spot around 4am and went to sleep.  We woke in the morning and saw a sign that said you weren’t allowed to occupy a vehicle at night, but really we were only there in the early morning.

Selena had gotten a bit car sick on the trip, and woke up when we parked.  She was extremely thirsty and couldn’t stop drinking water, but she said it wasn’t working.  She was crying and I was starting to freak out, thinking she had diabetes or something.  Floyd suggested getting her some fresh air.  I took her outside for a few minutes and she was able to go back to sleep when we went back in.  She woke up fine in the morning.

The girls and I got some breakfast at Safeway and then got Dyna and walked to the beach.  It was super foggy and the waves were really big, but the girls had fun building the biggest sand castle ever.   Dyna chased some birds.  There were a few ravens (I think) that hung out on the beach.   That was interesting to me because I have never seen ravens in heavily populated areas.   We tried talking to them, but they didn’t reply.  They just seemed to want our bagels.

When Floyd got up, we moved the RV to the beach parking and got our car detached.  I was put in charge of driving since Floyd had already driven so much, and had a lot more to do.  Driving in San Francisco is not easy.  We had a few incomplete maps, but maps don’t really tell you when you can’t turn onto an intersecting road because it is either under or over you.  Floyd’s strength isn’t navigating and mine isn’t driving so we were kind of a mess.  We finally got to Fisherman’s Wharf and the sun was starting to peek out every once in a while.

I felt a bit like home.  It is very reminiscent of Pike Place Market in Seattle.  Fishing and ferries.  They even have the same Ride-the-Duck attraction.  We decided to ride the cable cars.  The cable car took us to Westlake shopping center that had the same logo as the one in Seattle.  Nordstrom’s too!  The one difference though is that it wasn’t as easy to find Floyd a coffee as it would have been at home.  ;)  We went and ate at the mall and the food was great.  After feeling sick from a nasty Burger King whopper the night before, it was great to have some fresh well-made food.  I ate some chilli and salad.

We took the cable car back and attempted to head back to the RV, but we got lost a bit. We got the car attached to the RV and headed out to Los Angeles.   San Francisco was a very pretty city and I think it would be a fun place to explore more.  We didn’t even get to see the Golden Gate Bridge because the fog was too thick.

Monday, February 27, 2012

First Stop - Eugene

It took us all day to pack.  I remember as a girl, going on vacation with my neighbors, and thinking that they took so long to pack, and how in the world could it take them so long?  Now I know and understand.  I am sorry Cliff and Laurie for not understanding.  Now I know.

We left our house around 7:30pm.  It was very cold, rainy and windy.  The RV was getting blown all over the road and it was a bit scary.  We got to Eugene around 3am.  We were planning to park at the Valley River mall per information via the internet.  I was a bit paranoid that we weren’t supposed to be there, but the mall security guard didn’t bother us.  However, when I awoke in the morning I did find a sign that said no overnight parking.  Oops.  It was very loud there due to the train, a bus, a street cleaner and a landscaper all making lots of noise. 

The girls were excited to finally start our trip.  Selena was super excited to ride in the RV.  They both went to bed easily, but woke up way too early the next day.  The weather was already noticeably warmer and the mall was in a nice location right next to the river. The girls and I ate walked to Marie Calendars for breakfast while we let Floyd try to sleep a bit longer.

I met an online friend in the late morning and she took me up to the Ridgeline trail where we did an 8.5 mile run up to the top of Spencer Butte.  It was a hard run, but the view from the top was amazing.  It was so much fun to meet a friend that I have talked to a lot online, but had never met in person.  Unfortunately we were unable to get the kids together because we had to head on out.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Heading South for the Winter

We just spent the past month in Southern California and I'll be updating this blog with a travel log of our adventures.

Last winter was a long one.  I was on epilepsy medications that messed with my mind, and the never-ending rain and gray really got to me.  I told Floyd that next winter we should head to Vegas.  We might as well take advantage of the benefits of being self-employed and the girls not being in school yet.  He said that there was a big poker tournament series in Los Angeles in February.  I thought L.A. sounded like a lot more fun than Vegas and that we should do it.

This winter rolled around and I started looking into vacation rentals, and they were a bit more money than I wanted to spend.  It was especially hard to find ones that allowed pets.  My mom had the great idea of taking an RV.  Renting one was expensive as well, but Floyd's dad had an older smaller one.  So we decided that the price was right, and that would work just fine.

We packed up our stuff, at the end of January, in the pouring rain, with snow and ice remnants still on the ground, and headed to where it was sunny and warm.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tying Her Shoe

Selena has been up to quite a bit.  Her latest accomplishment is learning to tie her shoe.  She keeps asking to knit a pair of socks.  She's tried some knitting and crocheting, but just doesn't quite have the dexterity yet, so I told her she should learn to tie her shoe first.  She had tried tackling it a few times before and didn't have success, but this time she went and got some instruction from her dad and got really close.  Then she came to me and I suggested that she make smaller loops at the start, and then she did it!  She is super proud and now only wants to wear shoes with ties.

She's also getting better with her reading and writing.  We checked out the Cat the Cat series by Mo Willems and she thinks the books are hilarious and likes them because she can read them.  The words are in a large type-face, which I think really helps beginning readers.  The text is repetitive so there is some memorization going on.  But she loves that she can read Allie books at bed time.  She also can write her own name, Allie's name, and she sounds out some words and gets phonetic spellings of some words.  She did correctly spell nana and papa the other day.

Selena loves making things, especially for other people.  She is always full of ideas for projects and is always wanting to make presents for her schoolmates and classmates.  Her birthday is coming up and she is really excited to make a pinata.   Her drawing is amazing.  She drew a picture of Curious George the other day that was really good.

I switched her car seat from rear facing to forward facing and she has been super excited about that.  She is always telling Allie about all the things she can see.  Allie was a little bummed at first about not being able to do the same, but now seems to enjoy the narrative.

One day we were driving and she was trying to play a game with Allie where she said something and Allie would say the opposite.  But Allie wasn't playing along and she was getting really mad.  We told her that Allie wasn't playing because she didn't know what opposite meant.  Then she proceeded to teach Allie what opposite means--then she asks Allie, "What is the opposite of tree?"  Poor Allie.

She doesn't like princesses.  She gets upset because a girl at school always makes her play princesses.  She says she runs away from her so she won't make her play.  I said she should ask her to play something else.  Selena claims she forgets.  In California she played a lot with a little girl across the street.  One day they played dress up.  Selena said it was a lot of fun until she had to put on the big poofy dress (she was dressed as a pirate before that.)  I wasn't ever a fan of princesses or Barbie's either so I remember what it was like.

She did say she liked playing horses with the girl at school.  I asked her how they play horses.  Selena says, "I am the horse and she rides on me."  Then she is silent for a little bit and says, "We only play that when the teacher can't see us."  I ask her if they are allowed to play horses and she says, "I don't know, the teacher never said, but I'm not sure..."

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Child With a Sensitive Sense of Smell

Extreme sensitivity to smells may be caused by a zinc deficiency.
I cursorily Googled child with a sensitive smell a while ago and did not come up with anything meaningful.  Selena's sense of smell was highly sensitive.  Almost all food smelled bad to her.  Bananas were the worst.  Every time Allie wanted to eat a banana she would freak out and run away (which of course Allie thought was hilarious and would proceed to chase her), but lots of other food caused problems as well.  She would frequently eat a different dinner at a different table than us.  Sometimes I would think she was overreacting and making it up, but she would smell stuff from another room, while not being able to see the food, that led me to believe she was not, so I tried to accommodate her.  Sometimes I wondered if something was wrong with her, but doctor Google didn't come up with anything, and I had forgot to mention it at her last doctor appointment.

Then I happened to come across a book called What's Eating Your Child?: The Hidden Connection Between Food and Childhood Ailments recommended via a blog I read.  (There is a new edition of the book coming out on April 23, 2013 renamed  Cure Your Child With Food.)  I had been looking for a book that might explain the prevalence of food intolerance's that seems to be going on. The title mentions picky eating as well, and I thought that might have some useful ideas, but honestly I didn't think it would say more than, "Make your child eat more variety."  Boy was I wrong!  This book goes into picky eating and identifies CAUSES for the picky eating.  If you fix the cause then the pickiness is easier to abate.

She tells you to not skip ahead to the chapters relevant to your child, and I tried not to, but she kept referring to chapter seven and I couldn't help myself (though I did go back and read the book in it's entirety).  Chapter seven is called "The Case of the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow" and is about ZINC DEFICIENCY.

The symptoms she notes are:
  • Fifth percentile or lower for weight or height?  Selena is currently in the third.
  • Growth trend going down?  For Selena she went from about 10th percentile to roughly 5th, gradually from age zero to two, so it wasn't a dramatic drop, but she was also born 3 weeks early and started off fairly short.
  • Does your child rarely seem to be hungry?  Selena is hungry often, but hardly eats much.  A couple bites often fill her up.
  • Is your child a picky eater? Yes!!
  • Does your child complain frequently that foods smell or taste funny?  Yes, yes, yes!!
  • Does your underweight child get full after a few bites (not counting dessert)?  How did you know?
  • Has a bone-age test found that your small child's bone age is close to her chronological age?  Have not had this test done.
At this point I felt like I was really onto something.  Selena is very short (or little as she prefers to be called), and sometimes I worried about it, but at the same time I was always THE smallest kid compared to my peers, and Floyd was the same way.  Someone has to be at the bottom of the charts, and I figured that me and my progeny were destined to be the ones  (excepting Allie who is about 50th percentile for height.). Yet sometimes I would wonder if she was still even smaller than either my husband or I at that age.

The book mentions a solution you can take to test for zinc deficiency.  Apparently there are solutions you can get that taste like water if you are deficient and taste awful if you are not.  I was on vacation and couldn't order it, but I was pretty sure this is what was going on anyway, so I immediately went to the store and got a supplement.  She recommends 20mg for younger children 30mg for older ones.  (Note:  The multi-vitamin I have tried giving her, but which she wouldn't eat because it smelled and tasted funny, only had 2mg).  I could only find 15mg or 30mg so I went with 15mg.  Unfortunately it came in a capsule and has to swallow it, but so far she's managed.  *Update: Here is a 23mg chewable zinc lozenge that is similar to the one we use now. 

I told Selena that the vitamin should help her sense of smell so that food wouldn't smell bad, and that she wouldn't have to run away from Allie's bananas.  I also told her it would help her taste buds and make other food taste better.  She was as excited as I was. In four days we started noticing a difference.  Allie was eating a banana and Selena had preemptively plugged her nose.  I asked her to unplug it and just see if the vitamin was working yet.  She was so surprised, she couldn't smell the banana!  A few seconds later she is asking if she could try eating the banana.  I handed the rest of Allie's uneaten banana to her nonchalantly, internally my jaw hitting the floor, and she scarfs down the whole thing, AND asks for more!  Amazing.

Since then life has been so much easier.  When we go out, she doesn't refuse every available food item, which usually left us with nothing at least somewhat nutritious to feed her.  We have seen the following positive changes:
  • She now eats and requests meat.  Before I could cajole her to eat a bit of chicken or a bite of homemade teriyaki beef maybe once every two months.  Now she requests it.  She chose to eat chicken strips over macaroni and cheese when were out for dinner!  I jokingly asked her if we should have chicken or steak for dinner and she said, "Both, that would be so yummy."  My eyes almost popped out of my head, and of course we did have both.  When we were eating the chicken, she complained about it being messy.  Normally this would have ended the meal right then.  This time, however, I wiped off the messiness and she ate it.
  • She now will eat the multi-vitamins I had tried giving her before and is also taking spoonfuls of fish oil mixed with smoothie.  She says that it tastes bad, but she just grimaces and deals with it, instead of freaking out.
  • I haven't heard one peep out of her about our food smelling bad.  She can sit near us while we are eating something she doesn't like and it doesn't bother her.
  • She doesn't seem to have as much of an issue with different foods touching each other.
  • Usually if a food didn't look "perfect" she wouldn't eat it. Any variance in color, texture, or seasoning would cause her to refuse the meal.  Now she will comment on it, perhaps out of habit, but she still eats it.
  • I'm not positive, but it seems that her appetite is a bit larger and she is eating a bit more at each sitting.  Hopefully this continues.

I honestly did not expect to see such a vast improvement so quickly.  I love stories about how a change in diet can prove dramatic results, and this is an excellent example.  (When I stopped eating cereal was another.)   I am optimistic, and so is she, that she will continue to try and find new foods that she likes.  It will be interesting to see if her growth accelerates and she climbs the percentiles as far as height.

I highly, highly recommend this book (I have not been sponsored in this recommendation in any way though the links are Amazon affiliate links and I will get a small portion of the sale).  There is a wealth of information I have never heard of including how how to combat ear infections, ADHD, stomach aches, delays in speech, among other things.  If your child is a picky eater, this book may help point to a cause of the picky eating, because she notes other causes besides zinc deficiency.   I just wish she had an adult version of this book that had solutions to acne, headaches/migranes, etc.