Monthly Archives: May 2014

Allergic Reactions…AHHH!!!!

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Left. What Emrist looks like when she is reacting to something. Right. What her skin looks like whenever it decides to be normal.

Poor thing. Her little cheeks are almost always red. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out in public with her and had someone approach me to tell me how cute her rosy red cheeks are. On a normal day, when her cheeks are only mildly reacting, she does look like something out of a fairytale. Curly blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin, with a hint of rose on the cheeks. Of course, it is cute to a perfect stranger….but not to me. I know it’s an allergy, and I get to see what kind of torment those little rosy red cheeks bring her when we’re home. They itch. And that rosiness isn’t just exclusive to her cheeks either. It covers her torso, and is behind her ears and knees as well. The worst places are behind her knees because she scratches…constantly. We have to keep her covered, even on the hot days, to keep her from tearing at her skin.

Eczema. Have you heard of it? Well we’ve been battling it for months. I knew it was her body’s way of telling us that she is allergic to something, but I wasn’t really sure what. We’ve suspected dogs for a while, and wondered about our cat too, since the redness never truly goes away. We’ve also wondered about dairy. But we haven’t known with 100% certainty what is causing her reaction, and with her pediatrician wanting to wait until 2-3 years of age, we’ve just had to battle it to the best of our abilities with what little knowledge we have.

About a month or so ago, we were in the backyard playing when our neighbor’s dog came for a visit. Emrist was having a particularly good day in regards to the condition to her skin, so I decided to let the dog play with her. My thought process was that since her cheeks were pretty clear before playing with the dog, if she reacted then I would know for sure that she is allergic to dogs.

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Here she is playing with him. And within 5 minutes her face looked like this:

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It was terrible. Her face flared up worse than it ever has before. She got welts, and her skin started developing scabs almost immediately! I felt like the worst mom that day. I took pictures so that I would have it for our next pediatrician visit. I decided that day, that we would have her tested with or without a referral, because I was afraid of what other scary reactions could be waiting to happen. I called our insurance company later that afternoon, and to my relief, found out that I did not need a referral. Awesome! The only thing was that we would have to meet our deductible (around $400). So we’ve been saving up for that ever since, and just waiting. I had planned on taking her once Benji was out of school for the summer. However, last week we went to visit with some friends in Birmingham, and Em had yet another allergic reaction. This time to mosquitoes.

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This is just one bite. She had a total of five. This one was by far the worst, but the others were nasty and painful too. These pictures were taken over the course of 2-3 days. The one on the left is the day after it happened. It was huge, swollen, and flashing…like a strobe light. I’ve never seen anything like it. It scared me. I mean…what else is she allergic to that I don’t know about?! And what if she’s deathly allergic to bees or something like that, and I don’t know until she’s stung? To be completely honest with you, it terrifies me.

So we are taking her for allergy testing on May 16th. That’s the soonest they could see us. I’m excited and ready to have some answers. I’m also nervous. I have no idea what to expect, and I’m worried it’s going to be traumatic for her.

The reason I’m posting is to ask for pointers/advice. Any of you who have done this, could you tell me what your experience was like? Was it painful? Did it take long? Did you get answers that day, or did you have to wait?

Also…I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the mosquito allergy. We have a creek behind our backyard, so they are ALLLLLLLLLLLL over the place here. Mosquito paradise. How on earth am I supposed to keep them away from her?! We’ve been drenching her in bug spray, and so far, so good…she’s only gotten one more bite since using the spray. But still…it was one more bite. I’m interested in buying something for our yard. Torches. Candles. Electrical equipment. Anything. I just want to keep them away. Any advice on what I can do? HELPPPPPPPPPPPPP me 🙂

The Story of Us.

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May 1, 2004. I went on my first date with Benji. I still get goose bumps when I think of how God brought everything together. I don’t think I’ve ever shared about it here, so I’m going to today. Get ready for some cheese 🙂

Fall of 2003. I’d recently gotten out of a two year relationship and was struggling with feeling alone. I spent the months following the break up feeling like I *needed* a boyfriend. I was young and dumb, and convinced that if I didn’t have a boyfriend at 18, I’d end up alone for the rest of my life. From September through March, finding someone was all I could focus my thoughts and energy on. It didn’t help that all of my friends had boyfriends. I’m pretty embarrassed to admit that every time I went somewhere, I would look at the boys there and wonder if any would be interested in me. Y’all…I was SO desperate.

Sping of 2004. The Passion of the Christ was the thing to go see. Everyone was talking about it. EVERYONE. My youth group took a trip to see it, and I went with them. Honestly…it was half out of boredom, and half out of curiosity. At the time, I was pretty cynical and didn’t care for “popular” things, so I sneered a little on the inside at the thought of this movie. I was a jerk. I sat down in the theater that day knowing that it was going to be super cheesy, that it would not live up to the hype, and that I would leave unchanged. Buuuuuuuut as usual, the Big G had different plans. I ended up crying like a baby for the entire film.

After seeing it, and getting an honest picture of what Christ had done for me, I was so torn up over what I had been giving my life over to for the past few years. It hurt me to think that after Jesus did all of that, he had to see me be more interested in boys than I was in him. I did a lot of praying that day. Truly knowing for first time what God had done for me, I told him thank you over and over again. I also told him I did not care if I ended up alone for the rest of my life, because he was enough for me. It was pretty freeing to say that and actually mean it. I truly did not care if I grew to be 102 and never married. I wasn’t afraid of being alone anymore, and it was the coolest feeling!

I was on cloud 9, and I blogged about it that night. Livejournal. Do y’all remember good ole’ LJ? Well…it was the Facebook of 2004. And it’s also how Benji and I met. Yes…we met online. Surprised? He denies it to this day, but it’s true! We did!

Anyways, I blogged about the movie and how God had used it to change my heart and my focus, and guess what! That’s the first thing of mine that Benji ever read. Neither of us know how, but somehow we ended up being friends on LJ. We had mutual friends, so it wasn’t creepy or anything like that. We were just…online friends lol. So he read my Passion of the Christ post, and over the next couple of months, we continued to keep up with one another, commenting back and forth on each other’s posts.

I even left him this comment on a post he wrote about feeling lonely (note…I am SUPER embarrassed to share this because of how corny I was, but it’s cool, so I’m sharing in spite of my embarrassment):

“Hey Benji,
Just a few words of encouragement. I know how it feels with the whole being lonely stuff and it’s not a lot of fun. I don’t know what your situation deals with or why you are sad, but I do know that God is there. He’s got you in His hand and He is never going to let you go. One day He is going to bring someone into your life that is going to bless the mess(a little rhyme for ya) out of you! Just wait and be patient…it’s all in God’s timing…and believe me when He does bring that someone….you will know!! I am praying for ya my friend and if it helps for you to know…I’m in the same boat haha =) I hope you have a blessed day!
*Ashley*”

This comment makes me laugh so hard because #1) “bless the mess”…what a cheese ball and #2) Because I had NO idea whatsoever that I would one day marry this boy. I was essentially telling him to be patient…FOR ME. Isn’t that mind blowing? Maybe not to y’all, but it is to me. I found this comment sometime after we got married, and my jaw dropped.

God. Is. Hilarious.

We met in person, by accident, in April 2004. I went to try out for a voice scholarship at the college he was attending. My friend (Anna) and I went to the library to check our LiveJournals while we waited for my audition. Benji and a friend just happened to sit right across from us. We overheard them talking about Livejournal and I thought we were about to get in trouble for using the computers, so we got up and left. When we got downstairs…there they were AGAIN….except this time they approached us. We talked and realized we all knew each other from LJ – crazy, right?!

A couple weeks later, a big group of us went skating in Tuscaloosa. My mom had just gotten me a new car, and buddy…I knew she was not about to say yes to letting me drive it 45 minutes away. By some miracle though, she let me go. I had so much fun that night, and I thought Benji was great, but I didn’t even think about dating him. He was probably the first boy that I had met in months that I didn’t size up, because I was finally in a place where I recognized Jesus was the only thing that would ever complete me, and that everything else in my life would just fall into place.

After our skate night, Benji and I started emailing on a regular basis. I did eventually fall for him, obviously. He was just so darn cute, and hilarious, not to mention into Jesus. He eventually asked me out and we went on our first date on May 1, 2004. Ten years ago today. Wow.

We got married two years later. He grew a beard, and I grew babies. We haven’t really looked back since. I’m so glad that God orchestrated it the way he did. He is hilarious, and all about the details. HE CARES. Oh, how he loves us! ❤