Monday, December 27, 2010

Restaurants

Some restaurants have become very accommodating for those who are on a gluten-free diet! My family hasn't been to all of these locations, but I'm glad to know we have some great options! My daughter cannot have any gluten products, and sometimes when we want to go out for dinner as a family. In the past, we have had a hard time finding restaurants with gluten-free options, so I have decided to do the research. I have asked friends and family for restaurant sugestions and these are a few we have come up with!

Applebee's (we don't have one close to us which is still open for business)
They offer an array of gluten-free options which can be found on their website:
However; there is a risk for cross-contamination. It looks like we will be skipping Applebee's in the future.

Outback Steakhouse
From what I can see on their website, they offer a huge variety of gluten-free items. I am excited to go there sometime as a family. I'm glad to know my daughter will be able to eat at Outback Steakhouse because we sure do love a good steak!

P.F. Chang's
We have not personally eaten dinner there since my daughter has been born, but I have several friends who have. They keep telling me about their gluten-free menu. I know their food is great, so I'm sure their gluten-free items are just as tasty as the rest! It's another wonderful choice we have when we want to go out to eat as a family!
http://www.pfchangs.com/menu/ (just click on gluten-free)

The Rainforest Cafe
We had a great experience at The Rainforest Cafe in Anaheim earlier this month. We were going to Disneyland with the family the following day (for our annual Christmas trip), but we all met for dinner there the night before. They don't have a specific gluten-free menu, but the server sent the manager on duty to our table as soon as we asked about their gluten-free options. The manager went over all the items my daughter would be able to eat. He also told us they could make something special, if we didn't like the options he named off. My daughter had rotisserie chicken with a side of steamed vegetables. She loved every bite! Her uncle Michael was even sneaking a few bites here and there.

Yard House
We ate at the Yard House a few months ago in Long Beach. I was very impressed when I asked the server about their gluten-free options, she brought me a whole gluten-free menu! I've never seen an actual menu printed which was all gluten-free items! Follow the link below to check it out for yourself. They even have gluten-free beer, along with a few ciders. My daughter is only 22 months old, so we don't have to worry about that for a LONG time, but it's nice to know they offer an adult beverage when the time comes =-)

These are just a few of the many options I am learning about. It's a learning process for me and my family, and I'm glad to be able to share it with you all!! What is your favorite restaurant? Have you had good or bad experiences when eating out? Please share your ideas! We can learn together!

To Be Continued...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gluten Free Fast Food

Over the last few months, I have been trying to find gluten-free options at fast food chains. Because my daughter has Celiac, we have very limited gluten-free options. We don't eat fast food very often for nutritional reasons; however, it's nice to know where you can stop when in a hurry, or just out and about and need a snack. Luckily my daughter is a very good eater!! She isn't picky and LOVES her vegetables! Fast food doesn't offer many veggies, but I am on a mission to at least find a few options.

Here are a few items I have found:

Chipotle
We LOVE Chipotle because to their freshness and great quality of ingredients! The taste is awesome and they have a variety of gluten-free options!
Straight from their website:
wanting to avoid gluten can eat anything we serve except for our large and small flour tortillas, a wanting to avoid gluten, including our crispy corn tacos and our corn chips. a small amount of gluten from potentially co-mingling with gluten-containing grains in the field.
http://www.chipotle.com/en-us/menu/special_diet_information/special_diet_information.aspx

In-N-Out
Order a hamburger protein style (wrapped in lettuce). The only thing on their menu containing gluten is their buns, which is easy to omit! You can also order fries!! YAY! Many fast food chains do not offer gluten-free fries because of cross contamination. In-N-Out only cooks their fries in their fryers. They use 100% pure, cholesterol-free vegetable oil.

Jack in the Box
From the information provided on their website, it looks as though they do offer a few gluten-free items; however, they make this statement:
"Our restaurants prepare and serve products that contain Tree Nuts, Wheat, Soy,
Milk, Egg, and Fish. While a particular ingredient statement may not list one of
these allergens, our products may be prepared with equipment that is shared
with products containing one or more of these allergens. If you have a food
allergy to any of the ingredients prepared or served in our restaurants, please
keep this in mind when deciding which Jack in the Box products are right for you.
If you have any questions regarding allergens in our restaurants, please contact
Guest Relations at 1-800-955-5225." For reasons of cross contamination, I would avoid this chain all together.

Taco Bell
Mexican Rice
Pinto Beans
Tostada

Wendy's
Hamburger patty, salads (without croutons), and baked potato, along with several side options
They offer a large variety of gluten-free products! Their chili is gluten-free, which can be topped on a baked potato! Pay close attention to the * items. These may vary depending on the location.

More to come...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another Life Lost...

My grandpa Tom died yesterday morning... He was my dad's dad. He went into the hospital about a month and a half ago (I think) and was diagnosed with Pneumonia. Due to the crappy health care system in the state of California, he was stabilized and sent home with a five day antibiotic. He didn't seem to be getting better with the antibiotic, so last week he was readmitted into the hospital with Pneumonia in both lungs and Congestive Heart Failure.

My brother called me a few days ago to tell me that Grandpa wasn't doing well, and he wanted to go visit him. On Sunday, myself, my mom, and my brother headed out to Lancaster to see grandpa. Initially going to Antelope Valley Hospital was tough for me (actually tough for all of us!). My dad died there in 1999. As soon as we walked in the doors of the hospital, I began to relive that horrible day! The elevator stopped on the second floor. My brother immediately remembered that being the place we spent the hours before our dad died. He began to tell me where the pay phone was, and how exactly to get to the room our dad was in. I had different memories. I remembered there being carpet on the floor. Maybe because I spent time lying there in the fetal position. I remember holding his hand and talking to him. Telling him how much I loved him... I had to snap myself out of it though! We were here to have a good visit with our grandpa! At first, he was sleeping and I personally didn't want to wake him. I think I was a little afraid to see the condition he was in. We went downstairs to find aunt Pam, and to give him time to rest. She was supposed to be in the Cafeteria, but we ended up running into her near the elevators, on the first floor. She was happy to see us and insisted we go wake him up for our visit!

Once he had a minute to wake fully, he seemed to be doing OK. I have to say, in all of my years in hospitals, I've seen MUCH worse!! His color was good and he was completely coherent. We all took turns carrying on conversation with him. He asked me about my kids, and I showed him a few pictures which were on my cell phone (sometimes technology comes in handy!). After about an hour, grandpa seemed to get a little sleepy. We all decided we would let him rest, so we said our goodbyes. Who would have known that would have been out last. One by one, we kissed him, told him we loved him, and headed out the door. When he said my name, "goodbye Ryan, I love you honey," it kind of caught me off guard. He knew who I was. When I think of someone old and sick, I think of their mind being confused. He was doing good. He was going to get better! I left there feeling food about our visit! No sadness, no worries. I think I'm still a little in shock!

Melissa called me yesterday morning at around 7AM. I knew as soon as I saw her calling that something was wrong. We don't usually talk to early in the morning, and when we talk... it's mostly through text messages. The first thing out of my mouth was, " Are you kidding me?" Of course she wouldn't joke about something like this, but I couldn't believe what I was hearing! I couldn't even cry because I couldn't comprehend what she was saying. So, I got my kids ready to leave, and we headed to Lancaster to be with my family!

I didn't sleep much last night. I thought about him the whole time! I tried to piece together all of the memories I have of him. His chickens, the olives he made, which us kids ate by the bowl full, and the different kinds of Armenian treats he would make. Then I began to think about all that I don't know about him. I don't know his favorite color, favorite movie, what kind of music he enjoyed, where he worked before he retired, what his job was when he served in WWII, and most of all, what made him happy in life. I know I will find answers to most of my questions; however, it wont be the same coming from someone other than him! We will miss you grandpa! I'm thankful that I had a little while to visit with you the other day, but as I think back, so many years passed, and I hadn't called!

It was hard for me to talk to you grandpa. Every time I heard your voice, I thought of my dad. I hope you forgive me! You are with him now looking down on us. Protect us and guide us through what God has planned. Give grandma a kiss from me and hug my brother XOXO

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Celiac Sprue

In June of this year (2010), my daughter Isabelle was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue. At first, I was devastated! My mom has Celiac, and her life has been everything but easy. In and out of hospitals, countless testing, and a billion procedures. No parent would want to see their child go through what my mom has been through. However, I have come to the conclusion that I can't compare my mom's life to what my daughter's can potentially be. My mom lived many, many, many years without the information we have today. I am on a mission to do everything in my power, to make my daughter's life great! I can't view the negatives and allow them to hold me down. My devastation lasted a day or so, and then I saw the light ahead. This is going to be a journey of greatness! Isabelle is lucky to have a family so educated on this disease. Over the years, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have learned how to ask the right questions, and to speak to the right medical professionals. My mom has also blessed me with her cooking ability. Because of her sickness and limitations, my mom has become a gourmet cook! Cooking at home, and cooking from scratch had become a must for her. As a child, we ate amazing home cooked meals on a regular basis, and never knew they were gluten free! I can only hope my kids look back when they are adults, and remember the amazing meals of their childhood like I remember mine! My daughter will be the healthiest kid in her class and on our block! She has limited options when in comes to fast food, which is great in it's own strange way. I LOVE fast food, but we all know how bad it is to consume! Our family is going to be healthy because of Isabelle! I plan to BLOG a lot about information I find, and information I do not find. My frustrations, my concerns, the good moments, and the bad. At this moment, everything is going great! As long as we stick to the diet, which we will do 150%, Isabelle is going to be fine! I look forward to your comments and shared knowledge on the subject! This is a journey for us as a community, not just us as a family!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

No longer just us and IZ... Jacob has arrived =-)


August 5th at 8:58 PM, we welcomed baby Jacob Christopher Morse into our family! He was born almost 3 weeks early, but perfectly healthy! He weight 6 pounds, 15 ounces and was 21 inches long! I think he looks a bit like me, but it's still a little early to tell. Isabelle looks mostly like her daddy! My pregnancy was much easier this time around compared to when I was pregnant with Isabelle! I wasn't sick all the time (for 7 months with IZ), but I had more back pain. Jacob was head down, but because of my C-section last year, I had to have a C-section again. Most doctors in this area wont do a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) anymore because of the 1% chance of rupture. I really would have liked to experience a regular delivery because of the hard recovery from the C-section, but either way... we were blessed with a beautiful baby!

Once again, my water broke unexpectedly. We had a normal summer day of shopping and Costco. Maybe I shouldn't have pushed the big heavy cart! When we got home, I was getting out of the car, and I thought I peed on myself! I waited a little while to see if I continued to leak fluid. After about an hour, I decided we needed to go to the hospital! First, I had to shower. I didn't want to go so many days without a shower this time around lol! When we got to the hospital, we went through the routine check in procedures (paperwork, changing into the glamorous gown, giving a urine sample, and getting hooked up on monitors). Then the time came to test the fluid. It came out NEGATIVE!!! WHAT?? What do you mean NEGATIVE? Was I imagining the whole leaking fluid thing? The nurse confirmed I was having contractions and said we would wait 30 minutes and then check the fluid again. TICK, TOCK, TICK, TOCK... It's positive! YAY! I wasn't crazy! Time to call the doctor. When the nurse came back into the room, she said, "In 30 minutes, we will have our baby!" OMG what?? Hurry... call my family, call your family, send a mass text lol (a nervous laugh) we are having our baby! The worst part of the whole experience is when I was laying on the operating table, numb, and couldn't feel myself breathing! I hate that feeling! I almost had a panic attack! I had to close my eyes and take a few deep breaths. A few minutes later, Ryan was by my side! I think we were both a little nervous. It all happened so fast! We knew at that moment that our lives were going to once again change. I looked into his eyes, and knew the tough part would be over soon. Then I heard him cry! Jacob had arrived! It feels like a strange dream when I was laying there, helpless and physically paralyzed, people all around doing their specific jobs, and daddy goes to be with baby.The first kiss is the most special! I was in recovery about two hours... and then I got to hold him! Now the fun begins!

I am so thankful for my blessed life! I have a wonderful husband, and now... two beautiful babies! I'm excited for the future, but I try really hard to live in the now! I'd like to have two more kids; however, Ryan says we are done. Maybe when I'm done with school we can come to a different conclusion! The kids will be older, and we will be more stable financially. We have many goals we need to accomplish! Buying a house will happen in the next year or so, and hopefully a new car is in the near future! By near I mean in the next year... maybe!! Until next time, hug those around you a little tighter, and tell them you love them! Live for today! XOXO

Friday, March 5, 2010

Saying farewell to CHS

Saying farewell to six years at Chatsworth High school has been a little tough for me! It hasn't mattered what job I have had, I've always tried to do my best and be professional! I remember when I first got the offer from Chatsworth High School... I was really nervous because I'd never worked with High School kids before. I was 24 at the time and I thought, "why would these kids listen to me, when I'm not too much older than them." On the flip side, I found my age to be a HUGE advantage! The kids instantly bonded to me. They wanted to tell me their stories, they wanted me to help them with their school work, and they began to depend on me as if I was a family member. Don't get me wrong, some of the kids had serious issues, and didn't want anything to do with the school system. I felt horrible for those kids, but you can't help them ALL! Over the year I have been so proud of the kids I have seen grow into mature young adults, as they prepare to enter into the REAL world! Times weren't always great! There were a fair share of fights I felt the need to break up! I don't know why I ever put myself into dangerous situations, but I never thought twice. If I was there, I would try to do something. I have been cussed at, sexually harassed, and a few times I've been threatened. Even with all of that, I never felt like I was in danger. I've seen girls leave the school because they were pregnant... A LOT of girls. It makes me sad to think of the kind of life they are going to have, and the life that child will grow up to have! I can only hope that they at least have some kind of family support, they are able to finish school, and they are able to hold a steady job.

I will miss the friends I have made throughout the years! They have become a part of my extended family, and I know I will keep in touch with them over the years to come! I will miss working security at the football games, which I did for 4 years! I will miss working Grad Nite, even though it was all night long with a bunch of crazy kids at Disneyland! Not to mention, I had to work the day after. I will miss working the dances, even though the kids do crazy things there that I never would have thought of when I was in High School!!! Many things were different when I was in High School! For example, I remember people would smoke (herbs) in the parking lot when I was in school. Now a days, kids have no shame! They smoke in the bathrooms or anywhere else they feel they can get away with it.

Even though I will miss the world of High School, I feel it is my time to move on! I'm starting Monday at an Elementary school! I get more and more excited everyday! I know I will be very busy there, but it will be so much more rewarding! The kids in Elementary school are excited to learn, they are happy to see you in the morning, and the behavior problems should be minor. I have been told that the school I'm going to has a fantastic reputation, and at this point, anything is better than CHS. So Monday I start a new chapter in my world of working. I will have more experience with a different level of kids, and it will only look good on my resume! I know I will succeed in my new mission! Until next time...


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Isabelle turns ONE

I can't believe my baby is ONE already! I'm sure every mother goes through the minute by minute replay in their mind, of the day their child was born. Dads must have similar memories, but the physical memory is a little different for the mother.

We were in bed, it was a Monday Night... lights off, TV off, almost sleeping. It was about 11PM. I got out of bed for my last potty break, before I attempt to sleep through the night. I swing one leg off the bed, and OOPS... there is a little gush. The other leg follows and I head to the bathroom. "Did I just pee on myself?" I thought, "wouldn't be the first time (lol- part of being pregnant), but this time it felt different! It was a GUSH of fluid. So now I pee... but wait- when I lean forward- more fluid comes out... lean forward again. Is that pee?? I dunno. I call my mom (while on the toilet)- NO ANSWER!!! It is 11PM =-) I call my brother because he can go wake up my mom. AND with my luck, he isn't home. So I call my Auntie Valerie! I KNOW she will be awake! She Answers. YAY! Soooo I ask "how do I know if I am Peeing or if it is my water breaking?" She says to give it a few minutes and then call her as soon as I know anything! Next I call the hospital. Of course they couldn't help me. They said I would have to go in for an exam. My mom finally calls, then my brother calls, and Valerie calls again. It's been 20 minutes, so I decide to wake up Ryan. He was in a deep sleep... "Hey, wake up! I think my water just broke." He says "What?" and rolls back over. "Wake up... I think my water just broke! I think we need to go to the hospital." He looks at me half asleep. "Come on... WAKE UP!! My water broke! We need to leave!" FINALLY, he jumps up! "WHAT?? Lets go. Where is your stuff? Did you call your mom? We need to tell my parents. Are you SERIOUS? Lets go." And our Journey began!

Isabelle was head up, so I was scheduled for a C-section at 8AM. We were in the overflow section all night. Couldn't really sleep. My back hurt SOOOOO bad! I didn't really feel any contractions, except for my back.

Melinda got to be my nurse! I asked for her about 10 times through the night lol. I used to watch her kids, while she was in Nursing school. I picked the hospital she worked at because I knew she would give me the BEST care! There was the chance that I might go into the hospital on her day off, but I was in luck! She showed up and helped deliver Isabelle! I'm so thankful for having her there! Hopefully it will work the same for the next baby!

At 8:58AM Isabelle Amelia Morse was born! The whole experience was Euphoric! The pressure was intense, my chest felt like it was being ripped out, and then I heard her cry. Ryan went to check her out... See his daughter for the first time! Melinda brings her over. I kiss, kiss, kiss her! She is finally here!

I was in recovery for about two hours I think. Ryan was with Isabelle in the Nursery. I wanted to see her so bad! I was exhausted from the long night, and could hardly keep my eyes open, but all I could think about was holding her. They took me to my room and there they were. My husband and our baby girl! All alone! Taking time to get to know each other! Once I was settled in my bad, he handed her to me. AAaaawwww what a moment! Holding my daughter! I didn't want to let her go! She has been a part of me for the last nine months, and now we are a FAMILY! We are together forever! I can't believe it's been a year already! She is such a big girl now! Walking, talking, feeding herself... Very independent! I feel so blessed to be her mommy! I love you Isabelle, and I can't wait to see what an amazing person you turn into!