Monday, September 5, 2011

Washington County Fair 2011

One Friday morning, as I was getting dressed, I heard a knock on my bedroom door.  "Mommy, can you wear tie-dye?  Please?"

With a little borrowing and trading, we all loaded into the car, properly attired, and headed for Greenwich, NY- to the Washington County Fair. Washington County happens to be very agricultural, and as a result, this fair is one of the best.  Anywhere.  Todd and I learned firsthand how sad a County fair can be when we were living in Wheaton, Il, and attended an itty-bitty one. A midway, a flea market and a couple of food stands.  Very disappointing!

The Washington County Fair also happens to be the site of one of the worst e. coli outbreaks in American History, which is why you see lots of these:

But don't worry, I believe it's now the cleanest, safest Fair in History as well. 

We didn't go to the Fair for the rides.  Too expensive!  Each kid got one, because we are misers.  They are 4 tickets each, and tickets are $1.00!  Are you kidding me!  We could have gone on a Ride-all-day-for-$20 Day, but it still would have run us $100 before food to do that.  We decided the kids were content to enjoy the rest of it and skipped the midway for the most part.

First, we attended the tractor pull, but that was mostly just so that we could say we did.  No one seemed to "get" it.  Besides, at 10am those bleachers were right in the hot sun. Moving on, we saw some pig races and wiener dog races.  of course there was also a "magic" show to watch, which was more song and dance.  We visited the barns and milked a phony cow. We also got some chocolate milk from the Creamery table and some cheese samples.  We are all about the free food.

I personally like the barn full of poultry and bunnies.  There were some unusual animals in there!  I couldn't help but take pictures. 
This bunny thinks he is a Siamese cat.
Some kind of rooster.  Very special.

Pheasant?  Quail?  can't remember.

I took this picture because The Little Princess said these were her favorite.  Different barn, of course.
We also visited the local sheriff's office, where the kids got little picture ID's made.  Complete with fingerprints. 

Our fair food choices were maple cotton candy, lemonade, cheese's one of those times when you just don't think about the fat content. 

Towards the end of our time we discovered the 4H youth scavenger hunt.  Some of the items on it we had already seen, but we had to finish it so that led us to find the draft animals barn, which we wouldn't have seen otherwise. 
At the petting zoo, The Giant and The Girl held baby chicks and killed them.  (They say they just went to sleep, but I am not sure.)  

Then for a finale, we got our free ice cream from Stewarts (full size cones!) and went to watch the acrobats. 

This woman was performing above nothing but concrete and it scared me.  Also, I strongly wish she had more clothes on.  I mean, is that really necessary?  Is it impossible to do a circus act with you bum covered?

By then, it was 5:30 and we had spent more than 6 hours at the fair.  People started pouring in the gates for the evening.  We were glad it was time to go.  That was enough fair for one year.

Friday, September 2, 2011

No Longer Gluten-free

When The Mayor had a birthday back in June, I allowed him and the Princess to go off of their gluten free diets.  We to this occasionally to see what happens.  Since we don't have a diagnosis of genetic celiac disease, the hope has always been that they would grow out of it.  I was allergic to wheat as a kid, but I started being able to tolerate it about the time I started kindergarten.  So, we had reason to hope that things would go the same way for him, and then, both of them. 

But the age of 5 came and went with no change in The Mayor.  Last spring when we tried it, he said that he felt fine, but I could tell that he was bloated, his eyes looked puffy, and, well, his bathroom habits changed.  If this seems like too much information, I'm sorry, but I am writing it to help others who might be struggling with the same thing.  It started to look like he was not going to be OK, so back on the diet they went.  it was even more obvious with The Princess, who wasn't using the bathroom alone yet.

Back to this year.  A few weeks after they went on a regular  (but vegetarian), diet, The Princess was obviously uncomfortable again so we took away her gluten.  I reported all this to the NP we see for their physicals and told her that I was ready to pursue testing with an endoscopy of necessary to find out for sure that they were, or were not, going to be gluten free forever.  As it turns out, you have to see a pediatric GI specialist to get an endoscopy, and they don't have those at our local hospitals, so I took them to Dr. Betzhold.  The office was kind enough to get them back to back starter appointments.

They ran bloodwork on The Mayor that day, because he had been eating a normal diet.  The plan was that if it showed any immune response to that diet, the decision might be made to do the endoscopy.  If he had a very strong reaction, an endoscopy wouldn't be necessary, and if he had no reaction, he would be cleared.  No endoscopy, no celiac, no diet.  to be specific, this bloodwork was for immunology, not genetic evidence.  he had genetic workup done when he was about 4 years old, but it showed he carried one gene and not the other, which is inconclusive.  That was why I thought we needed an endoscopy for a definitive diagnosis. 
We don't need one though, because they called a week after the initial appointment to say that his labs showed no response to the gluten.  He feels fine, so he is fine!  We can chalk up his earlier problems to am immature digestive tract.  They want to do labs again in six months to confirm.

The Princess couldn't be tested that day because she had been on a gluten-free diet.   Dr. Betzhold advised her to eat a (gluten) cookie a day for six weeks, and then come back for a blood test, rather than eat a full regular diet and feel very sick.  She has been very careful to make sure she gets her cookie every day!  Unfortunately, I can tell she's been eating cookies because she clearly doesn't feel well.  I don't know if her current spate of the crankies is related to it, but the um...other evidence, is present.  She'll get her bloodwork in late September.

I'm glad to have one less child on a special diet.  There are a great many gluten-free products on the market, and they taste pretty good, a huge improvement over the late 1970's options according to my mother.   I remember crumbly rice flour cakes laced with coconut to moisten them.  I'm still not a fan of coconut...  But these miracle foods are expensive, and most vegetarian meat substitutes contain gluten, which limits the options.  And boy can that boy put it away!  So, I'm happy for him and for me!  For a long time we had this issue on our prayer cards, so I want to thank everyone who was faithful in praying for The Mayor's tummy to heal!  Please, keep it up for the Princess!