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Being less than diligent is dangerous particularly as it relates to a food allergy. It has been years, literally, since our son had an allergic reaction to a food. Things have gone so smoothly that it went from being foremost in my mind when he’s going out or I’m cooking and that is a dangerous thing. He started with an allergy to eggs and strawberries and grew out of both of those only to grow into a new set of allergies months later with the onset on adolescence. The new allergies were white fish, sesame, tree nuts and peanuts. The idea that we had narrowly escaped so many episodes with any one of those was enough to throw me into a bit of tailspin. Asian food was scrutinized for sesame, fishes, fish sauces were avoided and nuts, well nuts and peanuts were forbidden. The other night seizing the opportunity to make a bean soup (since my husband can’t eat beans and he was away), I grabbed the package of bean soup mix — you know the one containing the dried beans and seasoning to which I added my own onions, celery, tomato and chicken. The soup cooked all day on the stove and smelled delicious. Accompanied by some fresh homemade bread, it would be a delicious dinner.

A few mouthfuls into the meal, I noticed that my son had stopped eating. Very unlike my son and very unlike most teenage boys I know. My question was answered with another “are there lentils in this soup?” Why yes, I do believe that the package contained lentils in addition to several types of white beans. Well, within a short period of time everything went from okay to not so much okay. Benadryl was distributed. His throat was tight and he was queasy – two of his telltale allergy signs from when he was as young as 18 months (he is quickly approaching 18 years). Without giving it any thought at all, turns out I had almost done the poor kid in.

Sure enough, giving a little research I learned that peanuts, lentils, soy, peas and chickpeas are all related in the family known as legumes — damn I knew that too, but I just wasn’t thinking. A person with a peanut allergy is 80% likely to have an allergy to one of these other legumes and 60% likely to have an allergy to at least three. Legumes account for some of the most severe allergic reactions to food. Cross reactions are common with legume allergies evidently so given his peanut allergy, it is not unusual that he is also allergic to lentils and could possibly be allergic to other legumes such as chickpeas and soy. While other beans, like the white beans in the soup are also legumes, these beans and green beans are less likely to be the subject of a food allergy. Peas, now peas are another thing. He has an itchiness in his throat when he eats fresh peas or canned or frozen, so peas are on the list in this house. Now, evidently, lentils are as well.

He is fine now, although mom is scarred. In an attempt to make a nice dinner for us, I almost spent the evening in the emergency room and it could have been so much worse.  That will teach me.

So, a word of warning to other with food allergies or family members with food allergies – be diligent.

Today, with all its beautiful sunshine, makes the colors that are emerging on the trees even more beautiful. It seems that each day the colored foliage is more and more prevalent. Now, the mountains are clearly dotted with yellows, reds and oranges.

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The colors are coming on fast and furious. Every day it seems that there is more and more color in the mountains.  There is serious doubt around our house that there will be any leaves really left on the trees for the leaf peepers that arrive on Columbus Day weekend. In fact, taking a look of the wind blowing around today any of those leaves that have already turned are dropping at a high rate of speed from the trees.

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Seems that we are starting the foliage season already. According to the news, the state will start its foliage reporting to advise leaf peepers of the changing colors. There isn’t much changing happening our way, although you can definitely notice a much lighter green on the trees and a definite yellow tinge to a lot of them. There are some trees that are already changing, mostly those that are either young or stressed.

I thought that it might be fun to post our own foliage report. So, I will post photos of the same view so anyone out there that cares, can watch the leaves in our neck of the woods start the foliage parade through the coming weeks.

Here’s today’s photo. As you can see, not much in the way of color going on yet, but it’s definitely coming.

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Today is my dad’s birthday.

While he’s no longer with us, and hasn’t been for a while, his presence is felt everyday. It’s the little things, remembering something that we did together, or how he was such a kids himself, particularly when it came to Christmas and presents or some story that someone tells. He loved having fun and I sometimes catch a glimpse of him in my own boys and it makes me smile. I used to give him a ride back and forth to work and honestly, it was a nice part of my day when I was still living at home and he was working. It was just the two of us and he was always happy to hear about what I had planned or what had happened. It was, in some respects, our time. I miss it and I miss him. No one can ever fill the hole that is left when someone who was a part of you and your life passes away.

I so wish he were still here. He would be so very, very proud of his grandchildren and how his family has blossomed.

Happy Birthday Daddy – We love you and we miss you!

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I have not had a whole lot of luck growing sunflowers which is pretty frustrating considering just about everyone else can grow these flowers like weeds. For whatever reason, they have been a gardening challenge – either birds or other critters have eaten the seeds before they could germinate or the plants didn’t seem to thrive and never flowered. This year, however, I have sunflowers! Not a lot, just three plants but they are beautiful.

Here are some pictures – seems I’m not the only one that appreciates these beautiful flowers.

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How does your garden grow? This year, I must say I am pretty pleased with my garden. In years past, it has either been too big and gotten out of control by this time of the year or we have been away or busy and it has gotten overgrown and weedy to the point of disgust. This summer we are enjoying being around here and consequently, we have been tackling a lot of yard work. I enjoy popping in my headphones and getting out there and weeding or just sitting down and weeding without the tunes, enjoying the sunshine and the summer breeze that always seems to exist in our neck of the woods.

Here are some garden pictures I’m happy to share with you.

Purple Habanero Peppers

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Pablano Peppers

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Corn – This will be a first, thanks to the generosity of a friend and neighbor who shared his seedlings.

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The Garden looking east

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The Garden looking west

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Today our youngest turns 17. How time flies, seems like only yesterday he was placed in my arms. Funny though how life comes around full circle. When Tim was born, or actually the night prior to his birth, when Tom was putting TJ into his pjs we discovered that he had chicken pox, which appeared like magic over the course of an hour or so. Since I was very pregnant and overdue, wherever one brother was, the other was too, so there was no question that Tyler had been exposed. I went into the hospital the next day and the other two boys had an extended stay with Mimi and Poppy. When Tim came home 48 hours later from the hospital, he was the only kid in the Heffernan house since it would be about another week or so before we could see the boys and they could meet their new little brother. Having just one newborn in the house after a house of two toddlers was like a piece of cake. I think that my husband’s words were something to the effect that he could strap the newborn on his back and climb a mountain with no worries and no great effort. In a few weeks, his two brothers will be going off to college and Tim will once again have our undivided attention for a while.

To say that I am proud of Tim and the young man he has become is an understatement. He constantly amazes me and in the words of his brother, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for his future. He has a big year…senior year… ahead of him.

We celebrated short one brother. Tim and his girlfriend made his birthday dessert, Tiramisu which was delicious. Here are some pictures of the day.

Happy Birthday Tim — we love you!

 

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This week Tim, our youngest, is attending the American Legion’s Boys Nation at Marymount University. He was selected as one of the two Vermont delegates to attend on behalf of our state. It is a great honor and Tim of course is taking it all very seriously. I don’t need to say I am very proud of him. They campaigned and elected their federal officers which mirror the federal government including a President, Vice President and the like. We watched the elections which were streamed live and have been keeping up with the week’s activities. The group, consisting of 98 young men, have visited the monuments at Washington D.C., the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery. They will be visiting the Capitol where they will have the opportunity to meet their senators. They are even supposed to have the opportunity to meet the President.

Here is Tim’s Senate photo.

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It is our understanding that he is the Senate whip, for those of you familiar with House of Cards. Go Tim!

A good friend of the family brought to my attention that if Tim gets the opportunity to shake the President’s hand, I should be a good mom and save those photos. Another Boys Nation participant in 1963 who had the opportunity to shake JFK’s hand, walked into the Oval Office in his own right decades later. One never knows, does one?

If you would like to peek in on what is going on in Boys Nation, here is the link to their website.

We have all heard the stories and perhaps, sadly, even know of people who are forced to eat cat food or dog food because they cannot afford human food. But have you taken a stroll through your local pet food store lately? The food is not inexpensive and the ingredient lists read like menus from your local restaurant. Trying to raise awareness about the diets of humans and pets, one pet woman is pledging to eat only pet food for 30 days. Dorothy Hunter, the owner of Paws National Pet Emporium in Richmond, Washington believed that the products she sells folks for their pets are actually better than human’s processed foods, so much so that she’s going to eat that herself.

It started when she just grabbed a bag of treats off the shelf while she was working and gave them a taste. Stating that the treats were pretty good, she thought this was something she could do.

Watch and listen as this lady explains ….. She is journaling her diet every meal on You Tube.

 

 

We’ve been busy around here. We had a high school graduation for our middle son. Tyler graduated last week and I couldn’t be prouder, despite feeling old. Hard to believe that time has flown by in the blink of an eye. Seems like only yesterday we were celebrating his graduation from kindergarten and had this great picture with his brothers

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and this past week, he graduated from high school and we have this picture with his brothers (same positioning by the way)

 

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Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? ~ Henry David Thoreau

I do not ask the wounded person how he feels. I myself become the wounded person.  ~ Walt Whitman

Why is it that we are sometimes incredibly touched by the loss of a person that we never met. I am not referring to a celebrity or some other person commanding the media spotlight. Rather, a person I have never met or spoken to, but only knew vicariously through another. Perhaps, that incredible human connection, empathy, is all we need to feel the pain and loss of others in order to understand the blessings that we have in our own lives. Sometimes, it is a matter of putting your life into some sense of perspective and realizing that, if not for some finger of fate, the loss and pain could be yours.

Empathy is a quality that is one of the most important to instill in an individual. Sometimes, it is not necessary to say anything, just to listen. Sometimes in feeling another’s pain or loss, we can become a better person and be more grateful for our own experiences and we can offer support that words are sorely inadequate to convey. As you wander through your day, realize that we do not know another’s journey through life but if we did, maybe -just maybe — we would be more understanding and make the world, or at least our little corner of it, a much better place.

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2012.
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