Vacationing Gluten Free style

Vacationing Gluten Free style

Just when I felt like I was getting the hang of this whole gluten free thing, we went on vacation.  7 days in a house with gluten plus two days spent traveling…..what could go wrong? 😀

I must say, I was most stressed out about the car ride.  We didn’t pack food and planned on stopping for breakfast and lunch.  Anyone with two young kids knows a 10 hour car ride that includes no stops could be torture. I downloaded the Find Me GF app on my phone  and started searching for GF breakfast restaurants near where we would stop. Weirdly enough, Cracker Barrel popped up.  I laughed hysterically thinking it must have been a misprint, but after further research I read their gluten free menu on their website. Now, you won’t find pancakes or biscuits, but there are several options and after talking to their trainer at the restaurant I felt more comfortable with their prep practices. Pierce ate yogurt and fruit.  He does love it and it was the least likely thing to get cross contamination!  For lunch we had Chic Fil A grilled nuggets and applesauce.  Side note, don’t ever try to treat your older son to French fries while feeding your youngest applesauce.  One will have a terrible breakdown in the restaurant ( and its probably not the kid you are thinking😀).

I won’t even begin to tell you how many traffic jams we sat in going to the beach.  After 4 million hours in the car, we arrived and my mother had already gone to the grocery.  As you know, my mom is a gluten free shopping ninja.  She had tons of options for us and had even purchased Pierce’s own containers of jelly, butter and peanut butter.  We enjoyed some fried shrimp on the trip, but used GF breading for Pierce’s and fried it in separate oil. He had his own GF bread and I purchased new plastic plates and cups for him (remember I am crazy and this is not necessary). We took a ton of precautions. But he still got an upset stomach one night. 

My mom is probably reading this and freaking out!  It is not anyone’s fault that he got sick and ultimately I blame myself for not being overly annoying about things. So apologies for anyone that watches Pierce from now on….I will probably be overly annoying.  Want to know how he got sick?  The chip bag.  We had only gluten free chips in the house and although each of us would pour some on our plates at lunch, many times we would go back in the bag for more.  Harmless right?  Not if you are eating a sandwich made with gluten. I have told this story several times and people say “oh gosh he is that sensitive?”.  Who knows. He is so young he can’t tell us when his stomach begins to hurt. He can only kick and scream and act super tired when it gets bad. It could have built up for a few days and then we noticed the reaction. I am mad at myself for not thinking about it.  And it was such an easy fix….individual snack bags of chips!  Once we did that, all was right with the world. 

That one little hiccup didn’t ruin our fun.  The boys had an amazing time. Pierce is obsessed with the ocean and the pool. 

He has no fear. At all.  

It is scary at times and he must get that gene from his father…..this girl is full of fear! My favorite memory was watching them play together.  They are getting to the place where they laugh together, run together and act sneaky together. It warms my heart!

    
    
    
 

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Oh how I miss restaurants

Oh how I miss restaurants

I have always been a weekly menu planner.  I would sit down each Sunday after church, plan my menu, my grocery list, and then pretend to be busy so Nathan would do the shopping:). He probably laughed out loud seeing me admit this in writing.  Anyway….it never failed that we always steered away from the plan.  I would leave work late or traffic was bad or the day wasn’t a happy one, so we’d make the decision to stop in at a restaurant. It made those lazy days so much easier. Not so anymore. 

Yes, restaurants have added more gluten free items, but with a shared kitchen full of gluten it can still be extremely risky for a kid with celiac. Being the Tucker family control freak, I just have not been comfortable venturing outside of a controlled kitchen. However, with vacation quickly approaching I had to try something. 

Our first trip was to Pei Wei. My pediatrician raved about their gluten free practices and tons of websites/blogs said the same.  We went after church, thankfully arriving about 5 minutes before the rest of Brentwood decided to eat.  Immediately I became a little nervous…..they have a limited gluten free section and nothing on the kids menu. However, after mentioning to the cashier that Pierce had celiac she made a recommendation on how to make a kids meal gluten free. It was obvious there had been some training on the subject. Pierce loved his food and had no adverse reactions. 

Since then, we have tried Mellow Mushroom and Zoe’s Kitchen.  He ate like a pig at both and didn’t feel sick afterwards at all. Mellow’s gluten free crust isn’t bad at all (leftovers do leave something to be desired). Zoe’s doesn’t have any kids meals that are gluten free so Pierce and I shared the Power Protein Plate. Everything that is gluten free is clearly marked on the menu which is helpful. I should say I felt like a bad mom after leaving Zoe’s. I didn’t even mention that our son had celiac or request special attention to our meal. I must get better at that. I think after two good experiences I felt more comfortable, but it is important to continue to stay focused on keeping him well. 

There are many days I miss the local Mexican restaurant….our little gluten filled haven around the corner. Although, the last time we were there Pierce puked ALL over me (day before he was admitted to the hospital) so it’s probably best I steer clear. I do look forward to getting more comfortable with the idea of dining out with the kids. Mostly I look forward to getting back to my lazy ways of not cooking:). 

Look at this happy face at Mellow! 

 

I have to share this last little nugget.

In mid March, we stopped by the neighborhood park one afternoon to swing and play.  Pierce had yet to be diagnosed and was sick every day, so we thought some fun was needed. We arrive and walk over to the swings. After being in the seat for less than 2 seconds, Pierce screamed bloody murder. I tried to push him to remind him how fun it was, but he kept screaming. I, so upset and frustrated, picked him back up and proceeded to sit in the cornet watching other kids play. I remember wanting to cry in that moment, wishing my son would get better and feeling like it would never end. Last weekend, we went back to the park for first time. That once sick and sad little boy had the BEST time. He went down the slide, ran around and laughed hysterically while I pushed him on the swing. It was the best feeling in the world. The best.