It's summer time and it feels like most often I'm stuck in the house. Lots of families are having picnics, BBQs, family reunions, birthday parties, etc... Friends and extended family members of mine are doing the same. Each time we're invited, the answer always has to be the same. No.
Sometimes I think they understand, other times I know they don't. At times I try to explain what they would need to do to accommodate us, but most often it's just too hard or impossible. Containing food to one place while outdoors and then trying to monitor young children with plates and drinks everywhere... Just the thought stresses me out.
I used to think that summer would be the easiest season when it comes to food allergies, but I was wrong. Food is everywhere! In the winter it's too cold for people to be outside with food. Playing in the snow, for us, was the best activity ever!
We're coming up on August now, and I must admit July felt no different than any other month out of the year. The kids have played in the backyard. We've gone to the same safe places we did all winter. I was getting tired of the same old thing. And so I've come up with some plans to get us OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!
One of the biggest challenges we've faced as a family, since our boys were diagnosed with food allergies is changing our mind set about food. Almost every holiday and occasion had a food association with it. Most traditions we had or wanted to start were food oriented. I remember fantasizing about going apple picking with my boys or strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry picking. Adam is allergic to all four. Tears came with the realization that they would never share that experience. What I'd give to host a pie party or any party for that matter and ask people to bring their favorite dish. Even simple occasions like Conference Sunday shout out Monkey Bread!
Having dealt with this life for over a year now, I'm getting better about all of that stuff. I host Thanksgiving Dinner for my husband's family and Easter Dinner for my family. Everything we eat is allergy friendly for everyone and tastes very yummy. BUT on every other occasion we've changed things up! AND we're starting to change things up in our regular daily, weekly, and monthly lives.
I was trying to think of something to take the place of food traditions and holiday celebrations. Gifts and toys work well, BUT it wasn't enough, and honestly it's quite expensive. So, we've decided to embark on a journey together as a family. Instead of centering life around food we're changing our focus to physical activity. It's the one thing that I can think of that's not food oriented, just because it doesn't make sense to be eating at the same time. There may be food after or before, but we can avoid that.
This week I applied for a family scholarship at our local YMCA. After speaking with many staff at the facility and to our doctor, we're eager to receive word that our application has been accepted. There is a referral coming from our doctor too. He knows more than anyone that it's impossible for us to participate in so many other events. I can't put the kids in the YMCA day care, but we can participate in physical activities they offer there of all kinds, all year round. I've signed the boys up for swimming lessons and can't wait to be able to participate in more events.
We're planning a nature hike at our local Wild Life Refuge too. This fall we hope to enroll Owen in either Karate or Soccer. For Christmas we're asking for sleds for everyone in the family. Of course the hot cocoa afterwards will be non existent, but we don't HAVE to have it.
I'm really excited about this new challenge. I love exercise and have always been an outdoor person, being raised on the water, etc... But to try these things with toddlers is different. And to get the courage up to actually try new things...
It will be an adventure, but an adventure we're excited to have. We'll get OUT OF THE HOUSE and have lots of fun! And, hopefully it will instill a love for activity in our kids and keep them healthy longer!