Monday, November 14, 2011

Peace in the Darkness

In the town of Ofuna, Japan, there is an impressive statue of the Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of peace and mercy. This site also houses the eternal flame from the Nagasaki bombs and several other monuments to peace. The Kannon in Ofuna is also meant to be a site for people from foreign lands to visit when they are feeling homesick, a place for people feeling like strangers in a strange land, wishing for a normalcy that they once knew.

In the midst of the confusion, the dark nights, and the constant battles with foods and helping our children to have pain-free days, we still have moments of clarity and beauty every single day. We have chances to see the world through their eyes, to see the beauty and to not always have to realize the weight of a situation, no matter how daunting or overwhelming it may be. It amazes me that always in the midst of some of the most frustrating days, the times when I am just done with FPIES and angry at what it does to my child and my friends' children, my daughter, my beautiful B brings me back to peace.

Today, I went to the hospital. Not for a reaction, not for an allergy test, not for a check-up. Today I went for an ultrasound and got to see our new baby for the first time. (Yes, I am pregnant! My lack of posting is now hopefully making more sense to all of you! haha) We have fears of food allergies (mainly FPIES) and fears of my heart condition complicating the pregnancy, but all of that washed away when N and I could show B, "Look! That's our baby! You are that baby's big sister!" She saw the tiny hands and the tiny heart beat and with excitement said, "That baby is wigglin' around!!!" Any and all anxiety we had been feeling just left and we all enjoyed the moment together, meeting our new little family member. There will be times to worry, times to prepare. But there will be times for peace. There really must always be time for peace.

When I first saw the Kannon, B and I were riding the train and had become turned around. Not badly lost, but in need of direction. I remember looking out the train window and whispering "Who is THAT?" as I saw a huge alabaster bust rising out of the densely wooded mountain. When we finally went to visit her, it was the most peaceful place and I understood the Kannon's significance. As I try to be more and more in the moment with B, I realize the place that peace really does need to have in my house (and I am sure in all of our houses!) We have been turned around, we have lost our way on a lot of days because of FPIES and all that factors in to that, but I now aim to focus on being in B's moment, finding myself and finding my family in times of peace. And I am so happy to now have two babies, one more of a big girl and one yet to meet the world, to remind me of this and the so many other moments of beauty that will find us, FPIES or not.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

B's Chewy Coconut Granola Bars

Every now and then I assemble a bunch of ingredients in front of my now toddler daughter and let her add what she chooses at will (I determine the amounts of each ingredient though!) to the mixing bowl. It makes for some long ingredient lists but it also makes for a very happy toddler. I created the base for this recipe (the quinoa flakes and sunflower seeds) and allowed her to use "modified discretion" for the rest. Enjoy!

B's Chewy Coconut Granola Bars
2 cups quinoa flakes, toasted (you can sub. millet flakes, rolled oats or amaranth flakes)
1 cup raw sunflower seeds (no husks), ground to a powder and roasted with the quinoa flakes
1 banana, mashed (or 1/4 cup finely diced apples, strawberries, or pineapple)
1/4 c pear sauce (or other fruit puree, no added water)
1/2 c. honey
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips**
1/2 cup finely shredded coconut plus 2 Tbsp

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or silicone liner). Measure out 1 cup of shelled sunflower seeds and pulverize in the blender or food processor until a fine powder results. Pour the sunflower seed powder and the 2 cups of quinoa flakes onto your cookie sheet, blending ingredients with a fork. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Once done, remove mixture and pour into a medium bowl. Increase oven heat to 350 degrees F. Save your cookie sheet and parchment and set aside!

In the bowl containing the toasted mixture, add mashed banana (or diced apples/strawberries/pineapples), pear sauce and honey; blend well. Add brown sugar, vanilla, 1/2 cup shredded coconut and chocolate chips. Mix until all ingredients are well blended. Press the mixture onto the lined cookie sheet and flatten until mixture is evenly about 1/4-1/2 inches thick. Sprinkle remaining 2 Tbsp of coconut over the top of the mixture. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the edges turn crispy and golden brown. Allow bars to cool and then cut into desired shapes and sizes. Freeze, store in sealed container, or eat! Enjoy--- we sure did!

** Instead of using 1/4 cup of Enjoy Life chips, you could use 1/4 cup safe baking cocoa instead.

An Incredible Update from The FPIES Foundation!

As some or all of you may already know, I am very proud to be serving on the board of directors for The FPIES Foundation, a non-profit organization aiming to educate, empower and advocate for families of children diagnosed with FPIES. I am especially excited to announce to all of you that as of November 3rd, we have now revealed the amazing team of health care professionals helping us to accomplish our goals-- our Medical Advisory Board.  This is an incredible group of individuals, truly committed to helping improve the futures for our children, our families, and the medical professionals seeking to help these little ones.