Monday, December 23, 2013

The Christmas Photos You Didn't See

To get one of these:

You have to take a lot of these:

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 13, 2013

GlutenFree Me: 'Gluten Free' filter for product searches at

I started this gluten free segment, GlutenFree Me, to encourage myself and others that are struggling to GlutenFree their lives. Look for pictures of gluten free meals, reviews of gluten free recipes and products and gluten free tips and tricks.

I am on the hunt for gluten free everything. I don't really care that it's not supposed to cause a reaction unless it is ingested. But for arguments sake, any product you use can end up in your mouth, shampoo, face wash, lipstick, powder, lotion, soap. So I want as many products as possible to be gluten free.

It's stressful to make sure you're getting gluten free products sometimes. It's not always clearly stated on the bottle. When I'm standing in the aisle, googling a product to see if it has gluten, I usually find blog posts from other gluten free people before I find the manufacturer's website, and sometimes gluten information isn't not on the manufacturer's website.

And another thing, that I could totally vent about for a very long time, is that people feel like it's okay to question why I don't want gluten in products that I buy. Sales people, and even people I meet in social settings, ask questions like, "Why don't you eat gluten? Are you really allergic? Like, have you been tested?" First, I don't even need a reason, it could just be a personal preference and that would be okay. Second, you're asking me about my medical history. Would it be okay for me to ask you if you really have lactose intolerance or, say, diabetes? Like, have you been tested for that? If I tell you that, yes, I really have it, why do you need to ask if I've been tested? Do you think I'm lying to you? Third, do you really want to have this conversation in the first place? Because when you ask me about my gluten intolerance, it's not a yes or no answer, it's going to be a really long educational moment for you. Probably you don't want to sit through that.

ANYWAY... has a filter tool that includes gluten free as an option! So you can filter out all the products that contain gluten and just shop away. It's so easy. I'm in love with now. I actually found this tool while googling products in the aisles at Sephora.

You have to narrow your search before you see the gluten free option. Example: Select HAIR, then select SHAMPOO and you will see an option to filter at the top of the product listing. The gluten free option is included in 'filter by ingredient.'

I selected LIVING PROOF no frizz shampoo, conditioner and nourishing styling cream. I really like it, I can tell the conditioner is amazing but I might need a styling product that is specifically for curly hair. I had the Moroccan curling perfection defining cream (which I had not been using because I wasn't sure  it was gluten free until I found the tool - IT IS!) and it does the trick. So this filter is awesome no matter what your price range is.

I wish I knew about this when I first started searching for gluten free non food products!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Charlie Trains!

We took Charlie to the Loblolly Model Train display at the Nacogdoches Railroad Depot. It's free, it's cool and he got a hat and a sticker!

Before Charlie knew about the trains.

Look at those eyes! Those are "OH MY GOSH TRAINS" eyes.

This one is the Polar Express, complete with the disappearing hobo on top of the last cart and shadow images in the windows of the forgotten toys cart and the hot chocolate party.

Feels like a picture from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. The swings, see saws and marry go round were all moving.

Is that Sir Topum Hat??

THAT smile. He was concentrating so hard on the trains
that this is the only smile we got - when the "conductor" gave him a hat.

And back to concentrating.

THAT face! So excited about stickers.

HIGH FIVE! Thanks for playing!

I was there too, See? This is when I sat on the curb, told Preston to take our picture and pretended to find something cool so Charlie wouldn't run away. Wait, should I not tell you that?


Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Time that Charlie Peed on the Ball Popper

If you have even bathed a child, you know that they pee in the bath. Probably every time. Charlie does it almost instantly. I used to hover around him with a little scooper so I could catch it and dump it in the toilet. Now we use the potty chair before baths, but do not be fooled. He pees in there; I'm sure of it.

There was one time, I don't even remember how old he was. He was walking, but not yet one. I let him run around sans diaper while I drained the bath/put up the toys/took a deep breath, etc. I figured he had to have JUST peed, so it would be ok for a few minutes.

When I finished, I walked into his bedroom to find him standing in front of his ball popper.

Let me explain a ball popper: it is a toy that uses a fan to pop plastic balls into the air. Kids chase down the balls and put them in a special spot and watch them circle down a clear ball tunnel to the bottom and pop up again. The kid can turn it on himself because there is a big button on top, it stays on for a minute and then turns off. And while it is on, it plays music.

So there he was, at the ball popper. He had just peed into it. NOT ON IT. Not like he peed on it and it splattered everywhere. He peed INTO the special spot where the balls go; there was a big pee pond at the bottom of the ball tunnel. I know that he had just done it because he looked like he had discovered something.

At this point, I'm a little shocked that this happened. How did he get it all in there? Is that really pee? Oh my gosh.

Then Charlie put some balls into the special spot. They glided down the ball tunnel into the pee pond. And I thought, How am I going to clean this? This toy is forever unclean. Could we get electrocuted? I'm going to have to throw it away. But my mom bought it for him... it's was a long internal thought process in a tiny little moment before I even realized he was putting the balls in there.

Charlie then pushed the button that turns on the ball popper. The music starts. The fan gears up. All the tiny, multicolored plastic balls that were soaking in the pee pond start flying out of the ball popper all over the room. And when there were no more balls, the fan continued to blow bubbles in the pee pond until it turned off.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Charlie goes to the Veterans Day Parade.

Charlie and I went to see the Veterans Day parade in Nacogdoches. These are pictures from before the parade. Based on his "running off" record for the morning, I was too scared to let go of him during the parade to take pictures. Imagine him holding a tiny flag with one hand and waving wildly with the other, and staring, speechless, at the marching bands, horses and people as he took it all in. 

THIS is tree pose.

I said, "Charlie, where are the turkey's eyes." He found them as he banged on the window of the stained glass store.
Um, lets go look at something else now before we get in trouble!

Where is this parade you told me about,  Mom?

This one is just cute.

Charlie was excited to go to the fire station. He was excited about the fire truck. 
He was excited about his sticker badge and his hat... until he saw the fire station golf cart. 
Then he was only excited about the golf cart. He wore the hat for a few seconds
and I snuck the sticker badge back on his shirt for this picture - of him not looking
at the camera.

Charlie also threw a few fits. Mostly about holding my hand.

He ran off a few times.

And then he ran back.

He thought he might fit through these bars.

And this one is just cute.