Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions and Other Such Beasts

First and foremost, being sick while you are on vacation sucks donkey balls. Seriously. Why is it that the one time when C and I are both home, and everything should be all relaxing and merry (read: time to make whoopie), I get the head cold from hell again? How is that fair? Ugh. Sleeping til 11 this morning helped a lot, though. (Yes, J slept that late too. He's also sick, and yeah, I know that we're incredibly lucky that our almost 2 year old sleeps that long!)

On to my "resolutions."

I think I should start by saying that I think that New Year's resolutions are sort of pointless. I remember in college, from January 1-15 you'd be hard pressed to find an available stairmaster, elliptical, or treadmill at the gym, even at 5am. Starting January 16, though, you'd notice that there were more available all the time. I've noticed that people tend to make resolutions like the following:
  • I resolve not to argue with my husband/kids/coworkers/boss any more. (This resolution, while admirable, is doomed to failure, as clearly if someone has to resolve this there are deeper issues that would make this impossible to carry out for long.)
  • I resolve quit eating so much/drinking so much/smoking. (Good luck, but just resolving that is not so likely to make it happen. You need to actually do something to carry this out, not just say that you want to, and a support system is a must. This resolution is way too easy to just blow of and say "I'll start tomorrow.")
  • I resolve to exercise more. (Vague, very easy to weasel out of, but admirable to want.)
I think you get my point. People, in general, tend to resolve things that sound great but really involve far more effort than they really want to put forth. It is also very easy to make excuses about why you haven't followed up on your resolutions.

Anyway, in that super optimistic spirit, here are my "resolutions:"
1. I am going to lose 20 pounds by July 1. I will do this by keeping up with my SparkPeople tools, the support of my friends, and my exercising as much as I can once this stupid cold clears up and I can do stuff without coughing up my spleen or drowning in snot. I'm not kidding about the drowning, I've gone through a whole small box of kleenex since yesterday. (See? There I go, making excuses already.) This will likely involve the resurrection of the Fitness Diaries.
2. Continue being frugal (stick to the $40 a week for groceries, not going shopping when it's not necessary, etc). This will be helped by the fact that J is tolerating cow's milk very well, and we hope to have him totally off goat milk by his birthday(ish) so he will be a 100% cow milk drinking kid. The frugal thing also includes efforts to be "green" and conserve energy.
3. Improve my efforts to keep the house as clean and homey as possible. This has been made slightly easier by the fact that my mom gave J a bookcase/toy holder cube thingy with 9 slots for storing fabric boxes of his many, many toys. That has helped order the living room enormously. Yay!


Yeah, I think 3 is about good. What can I say, I feel like crap. Goodbye 2009.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Failed Experiment

I had been, for the last week or so, taking only 50 mg of my Zoloft instead of the 75 I am supposed to take. I was hoping I'd be ready to wean myself back down. FAIL. Also, fail because I forgot to take my meds this morning.

Not a fucking chance. Of course it wouldn't be that easy. Why on Earth would I expect that I could deal with that on top of the stress of dealing with lots of people (particularly family) for 3 days straight. Or, better yet, expect that I could deal with all of this as well as trying to make Christmas gift bags with homemade goodies when I have no time, and without snapping someone's head off?

Apparently I am still crazy after all these years. Har de har har. I actually really hurt my mother in law's feelings tonight and I feel absolutely wretched, and it doesn't help that DH is mad at me for it. As if I don't hate myself enough. I didn't mean to be such a whiny bitch, I really didn't. I love my MIL and it kills me that I hurt her feelings. I honestly hate myself right now. I just can't stand this person that is residing in my body and making me say these things and feel so damn bitchy. I hate it. I hate this. HATE THIS. I am constantly on the edge of either an outrage or tears. Wonderful. I want to hurt myself. I won't but that doesn't take away the memory of the relief of watching the blood droplets well to the surface in the blade's wake. God I hate this. WHY ME? Why can't I be fucking NORMAL without needing medication? It isn't fair. It isn't fucking FAIR. I just feel so horrid. I am a horrible person. I hate myself.

I know I won't hurt myself. I know I won't hurt anyone or anything. It just hurts so bad. I can't even explain it. At least I'm not having a fucking panic attack. So I've got that going for me. Honestly I prefer the panic attacks to loathing myself and the occupant of my head masquerading as me.

It also doesn't help that I weighed myself recently. 142. That may not sound like much to you but that tells me I have gained 20 pounds in six months. TWENTY POUNDS. I hate myself. I hate myself. I hate myself. I can't stand this. What the fuck is wrong with me? (Yeah, I know. Serotonin imbalance. Whatever.) I feel so helpless and horrible. I hate this. I want to rip myself apart just to feel something else. And the fucking tears won't even come. I am just sitting here with my eyes burning and nothing is happening. NOTHING.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

In the Spirit

From my lovely friend Cyndi (who works with kids in the legal system):

One of my kiddos picked the week before Christmas to blow her foster home placement and get placed at the Family Crisis Center.  I just hate knowing any of my kids are in there for the holidays.  I just picked her up and took her to lunch so we could talk about what's going on and figure out what to do next.
She's 12 years old.  She sat down at Chili's and looked blankly at the menu for a long time before she admitted, basically, that she was too overwhelmed to look at it and figure out how to choose something and order.  Too many things to pick from.  Then she went on to tell me that she doesn't think she's ever been out to eat and, if she has, she doesn't know when. 
So I helped her figure out what she was in the mood for, something spicy and juicy, and suggested she get the cajun sirloin.  She was absolutely dumbfounded that I would pay for her to get a steak.  She then ate, more like inhaled, the entire 16 oz slab plus the huge sides in about 10 minutes and still had room left over for desert.  She told me at the end that she had never eaten so well before and started crying and gave me a huge hug.
Something I do at least once a week, sometimes twice, go out to eat and order whatever sounds good.   I just take it for granted.  I needed a good dose of looking at it through this girl's eyes, how grateful she was for such a simple pleasure.  Just a reminder to say thanks for everything we have, no matter how small and remember there are folks out there during the holidays who have so little.

From the beautiful Sam: (Background: it is currently 6 degrees in the city today, with snow on the ground.)

I just caught the tail end of their interaction, but there was a man on the train who appeared to be homeless. (Tattered & holey clothes, a jacket that was barely being held on by a few threads. And I don't know of a kind way to put it, but he didn't smell good.) There was a gal that had been talking to him, and I noticed she was only in short sleeves, but was holding her coat.
As the man went to get off the train, she gave him her jacket and told him there was some money in it.
What a kind & selfless gesture, to give someone your own coat, especially on a morning like this one.
I'm tearing up now just thinking about it again.
Merry Christmas.



Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hot Tip! Free Cold Stone!

My lovely friend Adrianne posted this on FB. If you go to the Cold Stone Creamery website and join the birthday club (and while you're at it, sign up the kids and husband too!) and you will get a free ice cream (with mix ins!) for your birthday. Mmmm. Free ice cream. You really can't beat that.

Enjoy!

Edit: The easiest way to do this is actually to create a My Cold Stone account for yourself first. Then once you get the verification email, you can enter other family members under your account for the birthday ice cream.

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful...


Ok, so it was actually warmer today than it has been in like 2 weeks, but the dogs must have been cold! (Yeah, I put the blanket over them, but mainly it was that I wanted the blanket and they happened to be in the dragging path.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

10 Things I Hate About My Bank

We bank with a well-known chain. I have hated them for a while, but we are finally taking steps toward leaving them (to the extent that we can, as we still have a loan with them), which feels *fabulous* by the way. Here are just *SOME* reasons why we hate the devil bank.

1. "Free" online bill pay is not free. It's $7 a month.
2. Overdraft "protection" at $35 a pop, even when my paycheck went through the same day, they just retroactively posted the overdrafts earlier than the paycheck, even though the paycheck went through first and the overdrafts weren't even "pending" at the time the check went through.
3. Non-helpful customer service when I call about above overdraft timing (i.e. "there's nothing I can do, because that 5 minutes difference is forever")
4. Not assisting us to get caught up on being perpetually in the hole due to direct deposit advances.
5. This article. NOT COOL, jackasses.
6. ATMs are hard for me to reach from the car with my stubby arms (ok, that's not really specific to this bank, but whatever).
7. Charging a maintenance fee greater than the interest earned on a savings account so that we actually lose money by having the savings account.
8. "Overdraft" credit card interest rate. 30%. For serious.
9. Not free ATMs.
10. They just don't give a flying fuck about how much they are hurting the average person trying to get out of debt. Money grubbing assholes. Plus, dog killers.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thankful/Blessed

I am thankful/blessed that my son was born at full term, and is healthy.

I am thankful/blessed that my son is alive today, and that he is able to be a pain in the ass sometimes.

I am thankful/blessed that my son is smart and has no developmental issues.

I am thankful/blessed that my son is way into sleeping well, and potty training.

I am thankful/blessed that we have the money to help someone less fortunate this year.

I am thankful for/blessed with my friends and my family.

I am thankful/blessed.

Please pray for Jillian's mommy and daddy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

*Sniff* My little boy is growing up...

J is 23 months old today.

He has peed on his frog potty twice. Tonight it was pretty obvious that he didn't really need to go, but he tried anyway and he squeezed out a couple drops.

I'm so proud of my boy!

I know, I know, potty training isn't nice talk. But he's my kid and he's not even 2 yet and he has used his frog potty twice in two days!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Clause

Sometimes Santa comes in the guise of a perfect stranger.

While J and I were browsing the Target toy department (of which he is no longer afraid, yay!) on Saturday, and older German woman approached us carrying a Target bag. She asked if J had any games yet, and I said no, he didn't. She went on to tell this story:

She'd bought Candyland for her granddaughter, but the little girl already had the game. She didn't have the receipt, so she couldn't return the game, so she was looking for someone who didn't already have the game to pass it along to. No one had yet taken her up on her offer, and she was beginning to think she'd be stuck with the game indefinitely.

After she finished her story, she asked us if J would like the game, perhaps for a future Christmas since he's so young. I was floored and grateful, and not entirely sure how to react to this random act of kindness. I know the games were on sale, but to think that a total stranger just gave J a Christmas present is very touching. He is too young for it, but at worst we can use the cards to teach him his colors.

This encounter reminds me of my favorite "real" Santa story ever. When I was a little girl, my family was poor. I had no idea how poor at the time. I thought everyone shopped at Payless and Goodwill. This was the year that we didn't go out to visit my grandparents in Illinois for once, and money was pretty scarce. Anyway, my mom was at a store chatting with the lady next to her in line at the register, and somehow it came out that she wasn't going to be able to buy my sister and I what we wanted for Christmas. I guess she mentioned some of the toys by name, but I'm not sure. Christmas morning came, and there was a large sack of toys in front of our garage. I was only about 4 or 5, so I can't remember for certain, but I think that the toys included a fantastic play kitchen with faucet knobs that turned and everything, which would be one of my sister's and my favorite items for several more years to come. How that stranger was able to deliver the toys to us on Christmas morning I may never know, but I do know one thing. The magic of Santa lives in those friends we haven't had the chance to know, and it is very, very real.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my BIL Jake's house. All of C's siblings (that live in this state) and their families were there, so it was total chaos, but it was great. The Great Pumpkin Dessert was a huge hit (thanks again to my fabulous friend Francisca!). We also had all the regular stuff. Poor little J didn't feel much like eating (his molars were bothering him, poor boy) but he did eat bread, so I guess that's good.

We did go see my grandma before we headed over to Jake's house. She was sitting in the dining room when we got there, so we took her back to her room and helped her get into bed. It was a bit heartbreaking. As soon as she was in bed she just curled up and went to sleep like a little mouse. I wish growing old didn't have to be so painful.

I am thankful that C and I both have jobs.
I am thankful that my grandmother has gotten to meet J, even if he is afraid of her.
I am thankful for my family.
I am thankful for my house.
I am thankful for my health and the health of those I care about.

I hope your Thanksgivings were memorable and full of love, family, and food.

I hope your days served to remind you of your blessings, as mine did, rather than to act as a prelude to Christmas shopping.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What I Got...

I realized that I never filled the citizens of the blogosphere in on the details of my "free" shopping spree! I know you are all just hanging on the edges of your seats. Or balancing. Something.

Anyway, it was truly amazing. I bought J a 2 pack of Gerber blanket sleepers-with DINOSAURS ON THEM!- (only $7.99, thanks to a handy $2 off coupon I got at Gerber's website!), and I bought Twilight. Yeah. Oh, and I got J some neat stocking stuffers from the Target $1 bins. Have I mentioned that I LOVE the $1 bins? I got him a Richard Scarry book about opposites, and two little wooden vehicles (one's like a dump truck or something, and one is a helicopter) because J really loves vehicles.

J is wearing his new jammies tonight and kept lifting up his feet to look at the "saurs" on them. *Gush* He's so stinkin cute!

Except when he tells the dogs to "shup" (shut up)...well, ok, that's cute too but I am trying to stop saying it so he will hopefully stop too.

Scratch #42 off the list!!

Yay! I've read 50 books this year. Wow. That's pretty cool. I've got several more to read, so we'll see how many I get to before NYE. I have changed #43 so that my goal for next year is to read 75 books because 50 wasn't really a challenge, other than trying to read books that I hadn't read before.

I am currently reading The Handmaid's Tale and Twilight (again). I am nearly done with both, though The Handmaid's Tale is for January's book club. For December we're reading Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, which I haven't read before but I have a lovely illustrated copy that I bought last Christmas. I plan to start reading it to J the day after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

State of the Finger Address

I got my stitches out today. Not bad at all. Only one bled a teeny bit but none of them hurt. My finger is a little bit infected (BOO!) just to prove that no matter how clean you keep it, getting a bit of pumpkin and germs in when you cut it can create infection, so I get to take Keflex. Whee. No biggie, really. I don't mind Keflex at all. Amoxicillin (totally random, but spell check suggests Amontillado as it does not recognize Amoxicillin- hee hee) makes me puke, so I'd rather take just about anything than that. Or sulfa, because I am allergic to that. Did you know that most people with sulfa allergies are also allergic to latex? Interesting, no? I am one of those people. Neato. Or not.

So anyway, I am excited because last night while grocery shopping/picking up my "happy pills" at the pharmacy, I got a coupon for a $20 Target gift card with new prescription at the pharmacy! So J and I get to go shopping for free! YAY!! I am not sure what I'll get yet. I may just be lame and get J some new jammies and me some new long sleeved shirts or something. I feel like I should get C some shoes, but those are way more than $20 so I'm thinking they'll have to wait until we get our Christmas money. We also need some new tupperware containers, as a certain toddler **cough cough J cough cough* has done away with many of the ones we had.

Anyway, in summary: my finger is now stitch free but slightly infected so I get to buy a new Rx and get to go shopping with the $20 gift card that comes with it. Or, to quote one of C's favorite "sayings": So I was pimping some hos and found $20.

Maybe that doesn't exactly work. Hmm.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Could someone just wrap me in bubble wrap?

Because between the pumpkin incident on Sunday and a table leaf falling on my foot/ankle this morning, I think I need all the help I can get.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Adventures in Pumpkin Processing

I prefer fresh pumpkin to canned, any day. I have been baking and processing my own pumpkin since C got his first apartment, so I was about 18 at the time. My first homebaked pie was good, but since then they have only improved. The first time I processed pumpkin, I baked it until the rind came off easily, then mashed it with a potato masher to the best of my ability (neither of us had a blender). Since that first attempt I have refined my technique. The food processor works better than a blender, and draining the pumpkin is a must (it should look about like smoothly mashed potatoes when done- an amusing tie-in to my early attempts!). This year I tried baking the pumpkin in our dutch oven rather than wrapped in foil- for about 1-2 hours at 350 degrees. I am very pleased with the result. Do be sure to let the pumpkin cool before trying to scoop it off the rind (a large metal spoon works great).

I also brine the pumpkin seeds (nothing special, just add a bunch of salt to water and soak them for a few hours) and then bake at 250 degrees for about 1-2 hours. Yum!

As a "special" addition to this year's pumpkin, I added at trip to the ER (ok, Urgent Care, but ER sounds so much more dramatic!) between the pumpkins. Yep, that's right. I was making that first stab into the pumpkin and my hand slipped, and sliced open my pinky. Click here if you want to see a really big, blurry picture of my 4 stitches (taken with my phone, which is why it sucks. No, I still haven't gotten the camera fixed.) I find it pretty hilarious that tinypic suggests purchasing a mug with a picture of my wound on it. C was at work when I did this, and J was napping, and I didn't have a car or the car seat. I did manage to wrap my hand up in an ace bandage with a paper towel to absorb the blood. After a series of progressively calmer phone calls to family members that live in the area and have cars, I eventually called C at work to come home and take me to the ER. My poor stepdad was the first person I spoke to, I started crying halfway into my first sentence! After 2 hours in the ER, plus a few comments about how good I got myself, and compliments on my assessment of the wound (while holding it under the cold water I made sure I could bend my finger and had feeling) and my wrapping job, I got 4 stitches. I get them out on Sunday. Things seem to be healing pretty well, but I did manage to slice through a small nerve so I have a little numb patch on the back of my finger. I've been assured that it will heal and I'll regain feeling. Good times. I did make it to almost 27 years old before I managed to injure myself badly enough to need medical intervention, so that's cool.

Anyway...I made some yummy pumpkin-oatmeal muffins with a little bit of the pumpkin I got done. I'll post the recipe later. The moral of this story? Tena shouldn't be allowed to use knives when C isn't home.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th!

Happy Friday the 13th! I have never had a horrible Friday the 13th. Ever. In my entire life (that I remember). If anything, those days tend to be better than average, and today kept up with that trend, aside from when I decided to weigh myself because I "felt" skinnier. Yeah. Bad idea. My BMI is now 25.4, which for the first time in my life means I am overweight. Fortunately the rest of the day made up for that. Oh yeah, and the thing at Target with J. Hmm.

I just need to get my ass in gear and lose some weigh so I can actually be in good shape and not be totally useless after a 10-minute "run" that was mostly walking.

Anyway. Happy Friday the 13th, I hope your day and night was as nice as mine! You know, minus the feeling fat and wondering if someone called CPS because you showed your toddler a dinosaur.

Recent Freebies by Mail

I have gotten a ton of samples in the mail, most of which I've seen advertised on Money Saving Mom's blog. Here is list a few of the best, links if they actually are still available:

(Aside: I just noticed there is an amusing pattern in my freebies. Hmm. I wonder what the postman thinks?)

  • Free sample of Oregon Chai's latte mix, includes a $1 off coupon. I am enjoying this as I type, and the promotion has run out but they repeat it fairly frequently, so keep the link!
  • Free sample of 6 different Nescafe Instant Coffees (can't be worse than the well known chain's new instant stuff, can it?), just click on "Try it on us" and sign up. I haven't gotten any spam, so it's well worth signing up.
  • Kotex Sample pack from WalMart. Came with several different pads and pantiliners, plus at least 2 coupons. Good way to try their pads, which I don't usually buy. You may be able to sign up for this multiple times, I haven't tried that but they repost the ad once in a while.
  • Always Being Girl sample pack. The best feminine product pack, as it came with a coupon for a free package of Always Infinity pads. And no, you don't have to be 13 to sign up!
  • I also got a free travel/purse pack of OB tampons. Bonus? Came with two coupons. Fail? They expired in July.
I still haven't received the pregnancy test freebies I signed up for a few weeks ago, but I'm assuming they had a ton and a half of signups so I am going to give them another month before I give up on it.

How Not to Encourage Your Child to Like Dinosaurs

J loves dinosaurs, or "sows" as he calls them. He has dinosaur books and dinosaur jammies, and he delights in pointing out the "sows" on his shoes. I thought it would be neat to show him the big, red, roaring dinosaur they have on display at Target.

Apparently seeing something that is your size roaring and stomping around is pretty scary. Even scarier than that is showing him a small, molded plastic dinosaur that neither roars nor moves as an effort at demonstrating that not all dinosaurs are scary. That sent J into such a terror that people actually came from the next aisles over to look at me and see what I had done to my child, because surely only a child that is actively being abused cries like that. I told J I was sorry and carried him around a bit, but I may have gotten him off the dinosaur kick. I also managed to thoroughly terrify him of going down any aisle in the toy department. Oops. Well, you live, you learn.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Thank you, Veterans of America. Whether you fought in a war or not, you performed a service for our country and it is appreciated. Thank you Grandpas, for fighting in WWII. Thank you father-in-law, for fighting in Vietnam. Thank you Dad, for going to Korea.

Thank you for making our country what it is today.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dream Babies

I had a dream last night that I was pregnant. With triplets. Two boys and a girl, I believe. Most of the dream I was in labor. Good times, that. It was a really strange future-dream too, where the world was very different and dark and weird. Of course, the dream faded very quickly after I woke up.

Friday, October 30, 2009

"Things that only a wife would notice"

It drives me nuts when C locks the drivers side door, with the car in the garage, and leaves the other 3 doors unlocked.

I hate it when C lays the dish towels on the counter, puts clean dishes on them, and doesn't ever put away the dishes or get out a new dish towel so when I wash my hands I can dry them.

It really bugs me when C gets snooty and suggests/requests that I do "something" in the way of housework while he's at a gig/work, when he hasn't done a goddamn thing while I'm at work.

It bothers me when I come home and the dogs are in their kennels because they were being "obnoxious" and all they needed was a nice walk, which C didn't give them (when the weather was nice).

I don't know why that man can't do a freaking load of laundry, start to finish (including putting it away).

*sigh* God give me the strength to keep from smacking him upside the head with a damp dishtowel.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Whole Lot of Random

1. C and I have started implementing a "cleaning list" that I found on the Nest. Seriously some awesome stuff there. It basically breaks down the household cleaning so that every day there is one room to clean, and some stuff that happens every day (dishes, etc). Today was the kitchen, and while it's not perfect, it's a far cry nicer than it was! Sparkly clean appliances make me happy, apparently. They are just all nice and sparkly. Except the fridge..that's kind of ecru and dull, but it's clean, anyway. I even cleaned the washer and dryer, and the outside of the trash can.

2. J did not want Pooh Bear to go in the dryer. I had washed him because during a nap this weekend J peed on him (hahaha, he peed on Pooh...). J saw me toss the "Beaw" into the dryer, and immediately said "Beaw!! No!! Wet!" Puzzled, I fished out the bear, gave him to J, and watched as J laid him on the door of the dryer, proclaimed that he was, indeed, wet, and proceeded to march around the house clutching the slightly damp bear in a death grip until bathtime. By the time J went to bed, Pooh was dry, but boy did mama learn her lesson!

3. My iPod makes a handy phone, if a certain boy wants to call "Gma House" (grandma's house). In the future, however, I will be sure to lock the iPod before J tries to call any other edifices, as he managed to change the time zone and some other settings before he got bored of his game.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sick on a Weekend= BOO

Someone up there has a sick (hahaha) sense of humor. I had plans for the weekend, and they did NOT include being sick.

Oh well. Bonus is that it's a sore throat and fever (off and on fever, not very high, so hopefully not the flu), and not a nose thing. YAY!

I'm going to go drink a gallon of apple juice and watch Rosemary's Baby. Then I will make some pumpkin-craisin-chocolate chip bread. Yummy!

On an aside, I gave J honey plus the tea tree oil rub tonight. The honey is harder for him to take simply because it is so thick, so in that respect the Chestal cough syrup was better. In terms of actual performance though, at this point they're tied.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Homeopathic and Natural Kiddo Remedies

Since J was born, it's been very hard to watch him suffer when he's sick without taking more than a painkiller. Due to the "ban" on cold medicine for young children, I've had to get creative with relief for him.

Once he turned one, I could use honey to calm his cough. I have been using Tea Tree Therapy Eucalyptus Chest Rub that I got at a local market instead of Vick's. I've actually been using it on us too, and it works very well without containing turpentine. Yep, Vick's has turpentine in it. Anyway, I know that the website linked above says not to use on children under 2, but the jar says nothing of the sort and J isn't allergic to any of the ingredients, so I'm not exactly concerned.
Today I got a pack of new Boiron's Children's Homeopathic cold products in the mail. (I believe I saw this opportunity on Money Saving Mom's blog.) C is a skeptic, but I say if we can't give J "real" medicine we may as well try the homeopathic stuff. The "sample" pack actually included the new kid's versions of the following: a 6-dose pack of Oscillo for flu-like symptoms, Coldcalm pellets for multi-system cold relief like a runny nose, and finally Chestal honey cough syrup. When I signed up to recieve this I was thinking I'd get small samples, not full-sized products. They sent me over $45 in medicine for free! (By the way, I know they say that these products are not for children under 2. However, J is almost 2, and having looked at the ingredients and knowing what I do about homeopathic medicine, I am confident that I am not putting J in any danger whatsoever by giving him the cough syrup now.)

I have only had J try the cough syrup so far, because he's still fighting a cough from the last cold he had from about a week and a half ago (poor boy!) and when he goes to bed at night he coughs for a long while and it keeps him up. I will reserve a full review of the cough syrup for this weekend, but I have to say that my initial impression was that it's about equal with plain honey. The second dose I gave him this evening was just about 20 minutes ago, and he's stopped coughing and now is sleeping. Considering that he went down at about 7:15 and with no medicine coughed off and on for about an hour, I'm pleased so far. I'm thinking I will try just honey tomorrow night to compare. We'll just have to see.

C HAS A JOB!!

After months of searching, applying, and hearing nothing, C found an open position at a neighborhood liquor store (one of the largest in the state, sweet!). Since he's recently taken a beer judging certification course, he actually has credentials for working there. So he applied, got interviewed yesterday, and got the job today!

It's going to involve a somewhat hectic schedule for everyone, but it will be worth it to have less financial worry. He'll be working from 3:30pm til either 7:30 or 9:30 at night for a total of 20-30 hours a week. This means that I will be working from 6:30am til 2:30pm. Yikes. However, that leaves me more time to spend with J, and take the dogs for walks, and keep the house neat. Another bonus? C is making more to start here than he did after 2 years at a national baby supply retailer. Um, yeah. Sweet! It's going to be rough for the first month, but then it's smooth sailing and we can even TTC when we planned to! Yay! Can you tell I'm just through the roof? I keep smiling like an idiot.

Thank you, Universe, for listening to my plea.

Brandi Carlile CD Giveaway!

Rachel is giving away Brandi Carlile's new CD until midnight on the 27th! Here's the linky:

http://schiranotriplets.blogspot.com/2009/10/music-giveaway-brandi-carlile.html

Good luck! (Well, I mean, I hope I win, but good luck anyway)

Challenges and Missing Out: The Joys of a Toddler with Food Intolerances

I just saw a coupon for free kid's hot chocolate at Barnes and Noble. Seeing that once again whacked me with the fact that J can't have hot chocolate unless we make it at home. Maybe ever.

I know I am probably being over dramatic, but given his skin reactions and diarrhea from cow's milk, and the horrible diarrhea and blistering diaper rash from 2 days on soy milk, he can't have any of the "fun" dairy-containing drinks at coffee shops. Since no coffee shops that I know of serve things with goat milk, J can have warm apple cider and that is it. I know it doesn't really matter in the long run, but it still twists me up inside when he so sweetly asks for a "sip please" of my beverage and when I give it to him he gets a rash around his mouth.

He also has an allergy to tomatoes/ tomato sauce. Yep, good times. It does basically the same thing to him as cow's milk- meaning rash where it comes into contact with his skin, and diarrhea. My niece has the same thing, and at the age of 8 she still can't have tomatoes. I've been hoping J would grow out of this, but seeing my niece (not biologically related to J, by the way) I'm not sure he ever will.

That means that whenever C and I want lasagna, spaghetti, or any other yummy Italian food with tomatoes in it, we have to wait until J is in bed to enjoy it because otherwise J will refuse to eat his food if it isn't the same thing Mommy and Daddy are eating. Also, no pizza for little J.

I really hope he grows out of this, or childhood is going to be a bit rough on him.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Woot! 6-0!

Yay Broncos!!

We love you even when you have ugly banana and poop colored uniforms (Seriously guys, there's a reason that they got new ones after only 2 years...) We love you even when you play like morons.

But we REALLY love you when you kick ass and take names.

Also, J calls you the "Bwonks."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Remembering Those Too Beautiful for this Earth

Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Take a moment to pray for and remember anyone who has lost a child. Many people around the country will be lighting candles tonight in honor of those babies too beautiful to live here on earth.

I am thinking today of my mother, of the sibling I never knew, of my sister and the niece or nephew I never knew. I am thinking of my sister-in-law D, and the two babies that she lost before she got her sticky baby that is currently kicking around in her womb.

I am thinking of EasJer and her perfect little Gabriel, born and gone before he was even physically able to breathe.

I hope that everyone who has lost a child can find some peace on this bittersweet day of remembrance.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Update

My ute got her act together, and is now trying to kill me. Ugh. Stupid short LP and cramps and stuff.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Come ON, Uterus. Get it together.

What the effing hell. This is ridiculous. Uterus, either start bleeding or stop being a pain in the...well...yourself. Dammit. Chart in post below, it's really lovely. My temp is now going up again. WTF.

In related news, when C and I had sex the night before my temp first dipped, it was not enjoyable. It did not feel good. Last time that happened was when I was pregnant with J. Yikes. Ugh.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Juju Please!

Here are some random juju/prayer requests going out into the Blogosphere and Interwebs:

1. Nephew Nick has H1N1. He had a high fever, and is getting better, but speedy recovery juju would be appreciated!

2. C still needs a job. Seriously, any job juju/prayers/whatever would be awesome.

Thanks!

Ok, Body, WTF Are You Doing?!

I am 8 DPO (days post ovulation), and my body seems to think that is a good day to start acting like the end of my cycle. I've been crampy, my sciatica is flaring up, I'm breaking out like a teenager with really bad skin, and at about noon today I just about fell asleep sitting at my desk. I also have a headache but I don't think that's related. The last few cycles I've had obscenely long LPs (well, 16-18 days) and now all of a sudden my body is misbehaving. Ugh.


I suppose it's possible that I am actually 13 DPO (if I ovulated on cycle day 15), but my fertility signs don't exactly agree with that, and it would be a slow and erratic temp rise. *sigh* I think I just need to go to bed. I want my ibuprofen to kick in. If my period starts tomorrow I will say that I ovulated on CD15 and just override the chart. If my temp goes back up, I will sigh, say WTF, and hope I am not pregnant (but hey, thanks to that deal I posted below, I could find out in a few weeks for free).

ETA: Ugh ok, temp stayed down. I guess I did ovulate on CD15. Bleh.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Odd Fixes

When J is on the verge, or in the midst, of a tantrum, there are two steps to calm him down. Both are required.

1. Remove his shoes. If he's not wearing shoes, well, he isn't really throwing a tantrum. I don't think.

2. Hug him so he's laying on your chest, rub his back, and sing Mama's Gonna Buy You a Mockingbird.

Nice to know that the same song that soothed him as an infant still works (and possibly quicker) on him as a toddler!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

21 Months


J is 21 months old today. Above is a picture of him reading in the car this week.

It's hard to believe that one year ago, he looked like this:


(Squeee! Look at that chubby little face! He was so bald! And his teeth weren't all the way in yet, and oh my gosh he was such a baby still! Yeah, I do get a little too into Halloween. I haven't gotten him Halloween socks yet this year simply because all the $1 toddler ones Target has are pretty girly, and they don't have any skull ones in his size)
And even harder to believe, TWO years ago, he looked something like this: (I had actually just had my glucose tolerance test, and would soon find out that I had gestational diabetes)


Ok so technically those are from my 32 week ultrasound, but that's way closer than my 19 week one, so there you go. Wow. He was throwing a fit in the bottom right picture, by the way. He really hated ultrasounds and things like that. He still makes that face when he's crying.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nightmares

It seems that the mid-cycle nightmares are back.

Night before last it was pink and purple mice spreading some sort of flu-related plague where basically people became zombie-like with horrible lesions all over their skin, and the "cure" was fire. The mice were really sweet and nice, so everyone wanted to pet them, which is what made the disease spread. So lots of burning of my friends. Then we (humanity?) figured out an actual prophylactic measure that was basically bathing in an acidic solution of some sort. Lovely. But at least it kept us from dying off in horribly painful ways.

Last night I dreamed I was 30 weeks pregnant with my second son and I went into early labor and delivered him at my parents' house. He died. I spent the whole dream crying and screaming and raging because I hadn't gotten to hold him and nobody kept any pictures of him. My mom had taken some (of other people like C and some random woman holding his little body) but deleted them because "she knew he was going to be dead so she needed to delete them."They buried him without ever letting me meet my dead son.

There's some fucked up stuff going on in my head at night. Fun, eh?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pity Party for One, Please

I'm just going to be whiny for a moment.

1. Someone stole my purple mug that C got me in graduate school, for me to keep at my desk so I could drink tea and write, research, etc. This pisses me off. I want to kick them in the nuts. If they have nuts.

2. I have GAINED probably 15 pounds since J turned one. This makes me very sad, because I am now back to where I was when I got pregnant, but it's worse because I have this stupid post-baby flabby belly so my pants don't fit, and I have a muffin top. I feel fat and disgusting. C likes that my butt is bigger (well, he says it's perfect, but I am not happy). I just feel gross and fat and like people are judging me.

3. We have no money. I want C to just get a fucking job already. I *know* he's trying but I think I could try better. Scratch that, I KNOW I could try better.

4. I think I forgot to take my meds this morning. Pretty sure I did. Maybe that's why I'm so effing cranky. That and I may have forgotten on Saturday too. Ugh.

Update:
I got my mug back and left the postdoctoral fellow who took it the note that I had previously posted on the cabinet. Unfortunately I didn't get to confront him directly as he was not at his desk. That bastard better leave my stuff alone. I do not tolerate that kind of violation of my personal space. Here's the note, if you are interested. The mug had been in a cabinet in the break room, with our lab's name on it and a label that says "Private, do not take."

Dearest Thieving Ingrate who took my mug:

I understand that in this economy it can be difficult to find the money to purchase things like mugs for you to use at work. However, I would hope for your mother’s sake that you had better manners than to steal things that do not belong to you. My purple mug does not belong to you. I did not bring it here for you to use and to take without permission, and I assume your mother raised you better than to think that you can take whatever you please without asking.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Tena

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Want. This.

Picture from t-mobile.com, this is the new My Touch. *le sigh*

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mystery Plant Identified!!

Remember this weird plant that I called a rabbit plant? (The one in the white pot.)



Well, turns out it's a native of Madagascar (!) and is called the Mother of Thousands. Aptly named, I'd say. Highly toxic, so I will have to make sure that the dogs can't get any of the offspring, but interesting nonetheless. The plant has also grown about 2 feet since I took this picture, and has about a dozen or more babies in the pot with it. I do periodically have to go through and strip all the new babies off the leaves because one pot of these monsters is enough for me, thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Slightly Random Freebie...

If you need tires or something, and happen to go to Big O tires, they will give you one (or more, they gave me 2 for J) stuffed "Little O" animals. J says that they're "beews" (bears) and loves them to pieces, and they are just the right size for a toddler to hug. I had originally planned to pass one on to J's cousin Ian but I don't think J will let one go very willingly.

ETA: Here's a picture that I found on some non-ebay auction site (just for you Caesaria!): You can't really see but he has crazy dreadlock hair, I guess that it's supposed to look like tire studs. I think Little O is supposed to be like a tire-bear hybrid? I don't really want to think about the logistics or genetics of that...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Grocery Goddess

Apologies for the lack of keeping up with this. I've been busy. No pictures, because my camera died. I thought I would take this opportunity to address my overall coupon-using, money-saving strategy.

Each week, I make a careful study of the weekly circulars for the local King Soopers, Sunflower, Safeway, and Albertsons. I also go to Target but that is generally for non-grocery stuff.

If there are any fantastic sales going on at any particular store, or any store-specific coupons in the circulars, I make a note and clip whichever coupons we will use. In general, I plan to do most of our shopping at King Soopers in any given week, simply because they have the best prices for the most part. Safeway is most expensive, but when they have good sales it's worth stopping over there. Sunflower has fantastic produce and produce sales, and it's where we buy J his rice milk (which we mix with the goat milk; we're trying Oat Milk as a replacement for rice milk this week) and coffee. Albertsons is reasonably out of the way, and I don't go there unless they have a killer deal, like their frequent GM cereals for $1.50 a box sales, and so on. King Soopers and Safeway both "double" manufacturer's coupons up to $1 in final value.

To use coupons, I look through the coupons I've accumulated for those that I can stack with sales and/or store coupons. I get coupons online (links to the right) and from the Sunday paper ads, which my mom saves for me.

Before I head to the store, however, I make a list in a spreadsheet of everything I will buy, how much of it, at what store, and what the price will be after coupons. I've set this up to total the estimated costs, so that when I leave I have already got an idea of what everything should cost and that way I can stay on budget.


Here are my deals from this week (food only):

King Soopers (Kroger):
  • Colorado Proud milk, $1.88
  • 2 # bag of Sunmaid raisins, $4.99
  • Kroger canola oil, $2.69
  • Welch's frozen grape juice cocktail, reg $1.89, sale $1.29
  • 2 jars of Tree Top Applesauce, reg $3.99, BOGO sale, plus $1/2 coupon, final price $2.99
  • Honey Nut cheerios, reg. $2.95, sale $1.77, plus $0.55/1 coupon doubled to $1, final $0.77
  • Total cereal, reg $3.43, sale $1.77, plus $0.75/1 coupon doubled to $1, final $0.77
  • 1 Campbell's Soup at Hand, $1.89, plus $0.50/1 coupon doubled to $1, final $0.89
  • 3 small bananas, $0.54/lb, 0.82 lb, final $0.44
  • Ricotta Cheese, reg $2.69, sale $2.29
  • Locally grown Bartlett pears, reg $1.99/lb, sale $0.99/lb, total $3.08
I also brought 2 bags, so I got $0.10 in BYOB discount. Total after coupons and everything? $19.06

Target:
  • Market Pantry Natural Peanut Butter, $2.15
Whoo, big spender! I brought my own bag here, so I saved $0.05 for a grocery total of $2.10.

Sunflower:
  • 4 jalapeno peppers, $1.69/lb, total $0.42
  • 2 green bell peppers, on sale for 2/$1, total $1
  • Sunflower brand ground Ginger, reg $2.99, sale $0.99
  • Raspberry jam, reg $2.69, sale $1.99
  • 2 Oat Milk, reg $2.59, sale $1.59, total $3.18
  • Coffee, $6.99/lb, 0.55/lb for $3.84
And, since I am awesome, I actually brought a bag here too and got $0.10 off, for a total of $11.42.

Grocery total: $32.68

I could also include the shampoo I bought at King Soopers (and evidently had a $1 eSaver coupon which I had forgotten about, plus another $1 off coupon) for a total of $2.49. Apparently Kings will stack MF coupons if one is an ecoupon, but I can't guarantee that this is usually the case.

At Target I bought some Johnson's baby wash with a $1/1 Target coupon plus a $1/1 manufacturer coupon, for a total of $1.29. I also got some Colgate toothpaste with another $1/1 Target coupon, and a $1/1 manufacturer's coupon, total $1.79. I did need to buy some travel baby wipes for the diaper bag, so I got some Up and Up brand ones for $1.47. I like them better than Huggies, because they don't rip so easily. The price is a bonus too.
Target total was $4.55.

Non-food total? $7.04. Sweet.

Happy Couponing!

Mylar Balloons = Hours of Entertainment

At my niece's Bat Mitzvah yesterday, J got a nice star-shaped, silver, helium filled Mylar balloon. He's spent hours playing with it, sometimes just hugging it, sometimes pulling the ribbon to send it careening back toward him from it's failed venture toward the ceiling, and sometimes just bopping it and saying "Woah!" He also likes to say "wah, oo, free, WHEEE!" (one, two, three, whee!) and letting it go on "whee." We're pretty sure he thinks "whee" is the number after three. Another bonus? Latex-free, so no rash on J's face when he tries to kiss his reflection. It also still has helium in it today, and is much more indestructable than a traditional latex balloon. It rates pretty high on his favorite things list, as the first thing he said this morning when he was out of bed was "BLOON!"

The balloon did not help me give him a haircut this morning. That was left to the magic of Pluto cartoons. He still has a lovely odd patch on one side because he moved and I snipped at the same time, but otherwise it's pretty good for a non-clippers, scissors only cut. No pictures, because, alas, our camera has totally broken and I haven't called Target yet about getting it fixed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Sentence, and Other Toddler-isms

J is now 20 (nearly 21) months old.

His first "sentence," inasmuch as a toddler his age constructs sentences, was "Hound out pee." He said this while I was taking the beagle out to pee. I was floored that J put three words together in a sentence!

He is also totally into cars, ducks, and rocking in the big armchair recliner in our living room. He actually sits in it and throws himself back and forth so that he rocks. It's pretty hilarious.

J constantly amazes C and me with his never-ending stream of new words. He takes after me, I guess, as he's an early talker and also isn't satisfied until he communicates his intentions.

Another Lesson Learned

If you desire to teach your child what a real animal, say, a mouse, looks like, the appropriate way to do so is not to show him the mouse you caught in the mouse trap in the garage.

If you want your child to look absolutely horrified that this strange thing with it's head smashed in is being shown to him, and being called a mouse, but looks nothing like Mickey ("Moush" if you're J) and start panic crying, then by all means, show him the mouse.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Smoking is bad for you, Mmmkay?

I went to one of the schools that the show South Park is based on. So I got the "drugs are bad" lecture from this guy (image courtesy of Comedy Central):


This unfortunate man does, in fact, exist, and his name has only one letter different from his South Park moniker. Anyway, he also gave my class the "smoking/tobacco is bad, mmkay?" lecture, which basically consisted of showing us lots of gross pictures of black and tarry lungs, and video of people who'd had cancer and therefore had parts of their faces and necks removed.

Well, I never smoked or chewed (ick!) but that's beside the point. All the nasty images in the world cannot prepare you for the reality. I sometimes come across samples from patients who claim not to smoke, when from examination of the white blood cells in their lungs I can tell that they are, in fact, BIG FAT LIARS. Or small skinny liars. Liars nonetheless. Today's sample takes the nasty tar and ash covered cake.
Can I just say EEW?! That, right there, is 14 million of the most tar- and smoke residue- filled cells I have ever seen. This person's lungs looked fairly normal on the grand scale, but when you get down to it, his or her poor little white blood cells may as well have been tarred and feathered.

Lets think about this for a moment. Your lungs have immune cells in them to keep you healthy. If you drown them in nasty tar, how the hell are they going to catch the bugs that make you sick?! Not very well, that's how.

I'll step down off my soapbox now.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Vampire Fantasies...

I just watched Twilight. I put it off as long as I could, and I can't believe I lived this long without seeing it. (Yeah I read the books a while ago. So badly written, yet so damn addictive.)

Screw Edward biting me, I want to bite him. Except that would probably break my teeth. I could totally go for some rough vampire loving.

Wow. I need C to get back, AF to leave, and I need to get laid. Seriously.

Really though, the men in that movie were so...tasty looking. Mmm. I don't know who was better, Edward or Carlisle. Hell, if I'm fantasizing, can I have both?

Oddly, Jacob looks like a Native American version of my ex boyfriend. Huh. Still totally hot though. Also oddly, a while back I had a dream that I was with Edward and we were "flying" through the trees. Exactly the same trees as in the movie, from the same angles. That scene gave me chills. Weird.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wish List Wednesday



Not all of these are physical objects, but bear with me here. Click the images for the source.

1. (I wish we could win Power Ball)2. I wish we could cut up our credit cards.
3. Hardwood floors

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Post #200!! Who Are You??

I am "stealing" this from a couple other blogs, and thought it would be a fitting way to celebrate post number 200. I think that means I blog too much, but whatever ;-). I obviously spill a lot of randomness about myself here. I notice that many people from all over the world (!) visit my blog, but only one person regularly comments. So who are you?

1. Who are you? (You don't have to leave your name if you don't want to.)
2. How did you find my blog?
3. What do you like most on my blog?
4. What would you like me to blog more (or less) about?
5. A totally random fact about yourself!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Girl Named Juice

I set J on the floor of the daycare, watching him saunter away like he owns the place. He carefully balances his bowl of cheerios and banana slices in one hand as he happily approaches a little girl, slightly younger than him, named Jenna.

"Juice!" He exclaims, pointing at her face, then waves and says, "Hi!"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Facts and Fiction about H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu)

In case you are totally clueless about H1N1, here's the CDC Fact Page.

I thought it would be a good idea to provide some information about the H1N1 flu, just because it's in the news, and unfortunately people are not always getting the right information. I'll do my best to debunk some of the myths and also to spread the knowledge. Most of this comes from a combination of my own background and what I've been told by immunologists and physicians at work, as well as some interviews I've heard on Science Friday, and also a lot from the CDC H1N1 page. I'll provide specific references in the form of links where I can.

Fiction: Hand sanitizer will keep you from getting the flu.

Fact: Influenza virus is not killed by alcohol-based sanitizers (according to Dr. J. Owen Hendley). The only surefire way to remove flu virus from your hands is to wash with soap and water, while rubbing hands together, for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer will kill most bacteria and some other viruses, but not H1N1. Regular hand washing is the best defense.

Fiction: Flu vaccine causes you to get the flu.

Fact: The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu, as it consists of pieces of a dead virus that only serves as "training" for your immune system so that your cells will recognize the strains against which the vaccine was developed, so that your body can more efficiently fight off the virus. You may experience soreness at the injection site (I do, anyway), and if you are allergic to eggs (albumin) you should not get the flu vaccine.

Fiction: I don't need to get the vaccine, I haven't gotten the flu in years.

Fact: In general, the flu shot is a good idea for people who take care of small children and the elderly, as well as individuals in both of those populations. However, as a novel virus, H1N1 is a cause for greater concern because most people don't have an immunity of any kind against it. This seems to be manifested best in the observation that people under 50 have presented more cases than those over 50. According to the CDC (via Science Friday), as of May 11:
"the more recent illnesses and the reported death suggest that a pattern of more severe illness associated with this virus may be emerging in the U.S. Most people will not have immunity to this new virus and, as it continues to spread, more cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths are expected in the coming days and weeks."

Fiction: If I get the flu vaccine, I am protected against all kinds of flu virus.

Fact: The flu vaccine varies from year to year, and each year the developers of the vaccine target the predominant strains. This means that you are reasonably well protected, but you can still get a less common strain of the flu. This year, because of the H1N1 flu, there will be two separate vaccines. The first one, which is currently being shipped out and will be available very soon, is the one that comes out every year, geared toward the "old" flu viruses that make up the seasonal flu. The second vaccine is specifically for H1N1, and will not be available until later in the year and will come out sometime in October. The H1N1 vaccine will be given in two doses, about a month apart. If you have a small child, this is the same way that the regular flu vaccine is given the first time your child gets the vaccine. This is because the first shot may not provide complete immunity when your immune system has never seen the virus (dead or alive) before. The second shot gives your immune system a second chance to get things figured out so that you will be better protected. The only time you need to get the vaccine in two doses is the first year you get the vaccine.

Who should get the vaccine?

In the event of a limited vaccine supply, the following groups receive the vaccine before others: pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact, children 6 months through 4 years of age, and children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions. Once the demand for vaccine for these target groups has been met at the local level, programs and providers should begin vaccinating everyone from ages 25 through 64 years. (From the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/public/vaccination_qa_pub.htm)

Here is the email that was sent out at work, by the Infection Control Officer of the hospital:

As there is growing concern regarding the upcoming influenza season and the current novel influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, I wanted to provide a brief update on the situation.

∙ The influenza season in the southern hemisphere appears to be winding down, with most countries having past the peak level of influenza activity. Novel influenza A H1N1 was and is the dominant circulating influenza strain, supplanting seasonal influenza A. The disease spectrum appears to be similar to what has been seen in North America.

∙ In the US, influenza activity has been stable over the summer, with most states currently reporting local or sporadic activity. Novel influenza A (H1N1) is causing the majority of influenza in the United States, and is expected to be the predominant cause of influenza this fall and winter.

∙ In the United States, most of the persons affected have been younger than 50 years old. Symptoms have included fever, cough, and sore throat in the majority. About 25% of infected persons have presented with diarrhea or vomiting. Most disease continues to be mild and self-limited.

∙ The rapid influenza test is an insensitive test for novel influenza A (H1N1). A negative test does NOT rule out infection.

∙ H1N1 PCR testing (in Colorad0) from the state health department is only being done for hospitalized patients, in order to better understand the epidemiology of the virus, rather than as a diagnostic tool.

What this means:

∙ A person with sudden onset of fever, cough, sore throat and other flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches and headache should be considered to have novel influenza A (H1N1) if there is not another probable explanation.

∙ Every person suspected to have influenza should be treated as if they have influenza until proven otherwise, and be placed in the appropriate isolation precautions. If influenza testing is ordered, the person tested should be considered to have influenza until proven otherwise.

∙ Antiviral medications are available for treatment and chemoprophylaxis. However, most people with influenza do not require antiviral therapy. Antiviral prescription is appropriate for persons with severe illness and those at high-risk of complications of influenza (http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/recommendations.htm). If appropriate, antiviral therapy should be prescribed based on clinical suspicion, not on testing results. Healthcare providers with unintended, unprotected, close contact to a patient with influenza may be offered chemoprophylaxis to prevent infection.

I hope the email above was informative. Other random tips:

If you are coughing, cough into your elbow, not your hands. This applies whether you have the flu or not.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

Don't spit on the ground if you cough up phlegm. This releases your personal "bugs" (viruses, bacteria, etc) into the environment around you and exposes your fellow citizens to your illness.

If you have the flu, stay home until you are well. It's best not to expose anyone else unnecessarily.

Use the sanitizing wipes on your grocery cart and hands before you start your shopping to minimize transmission of anything you may be carrying.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Just a Friendly Public Service Reminder


For source, please click on the image above.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

BRU Gift Card with Pampers Purchase

If you are a Pampers lover, you should check this out. For once, you don't have to buy the huge boxes of diapers for this deal, just 3 84-count or lower Pampers diapers and you get a $10 gift card for Babies R Us.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wish List Wednesday



This looks like fun, so I am going to play along. Click the button for more info! (Click the pictures below for sources.)

1. I have always wanted to live in a Victorian house.
2. The bedding, not the room:
3. Ah, shoes...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Reminiscence

The last time he just snuggled in, sucked gently, but mostly just laid there nestled into me with his small hands wrapped around me in a sweet embrace. Ten minutes.

The first time he was so tiny and sleepy that he hardly opened his mouth wide enough to latch, I had to keep tickling his neck to keep him awake. Twenty minutes, switch sides, twenty minutes.

As he grew he became possessive, hugging my breast as if it were a stuffed toy or lovie. Sometimes he would slide one hand behind me and wiggle his fingers, gently stroking my side or my back. Soothing me as he was soothed.

Before I cut my hair he would run it through his chubby little fingers, so gently, loving the softness. After I cut my hair he weaved his hand in and out between my fingers, smiling between swallows.

One morning I was sitting on the couch with him and he pulled my camisole down and latched right on, just sitting there facing me. Sometimes he tried nursing standing up, with absolutely no success.

Whenever he got shots at the doctor he nursed afterward, the comfort of his mother washing away the sting of the needles.

He was perplexed if I wore a shirt with buttons, because that didn't pull up or down. I'll never forget the morning I went in to get him and he sat up and chirped "Nurse!" with a big grin.

My favorite part of the child-nourishing process was breastfeeding, even with two rounds of mastitis, months of battling thrush, and a nipple infection.

I can't wait until I get to nourish my next baby with milk from my body again.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mmm, sputum.

One of the best things about biotech companies is the freebies they give out. I have gotten a free pink Nalgene bottle (love it, seriously), numerous free T-shirts (which will eventually get incorporated into a T-shirt quilt, one way or another...), oodles of magnets (my favorite is on my desk, it's a meerkat and says something about miRCAT miRNA stuff...), a box of kleenex, some stress squeezie things, a giant inflatable dinosaur (Neil, the Intelligent Designosaur, if you were wondering), candy, an insulated lunch bag, and two mugs. I am currently sipping some Gingerbread Celestial Seasonings tea (yes, left from Christmas, but it's very much like decaf chai in my opinion) out of my yellow VWR mug.

Why the yellow mug and not the black one?

Because I am currently hacking up yellow sputum. If I was hacking up black stuff I highly doubt I would be using my black mug, though, I'd much more likely be in the hospital trying to figure out why the hell I was hacking up black sputum.

Gross, yes, but whatever. Better than a headcold. I am wondering if you can catch bronchitis, as one of my coworkers has had that for about 2 weeks now, and it started out a lot like this did. C told me that I sound pretty terrible when he called to let me know he was on his way home from his second gig this weekend (yay for 2 gigs in a weekend!!). I do cough a lot. I'm sure J always wanted Mommy to read him his bedtime story in a genuine monster voice, right? Or maybe he thought I was trying to perfect my own zombie sheep impression, however inappropriate that may be for the Tawny Scrawny Lion.

I did discover some yummy organic honey and menthol throat drops. Mmm. I've also drank (drunk?) my way through a half gallon of OJ since yesterday afternoon, which was enough that the last glass made my throat burn a bit, so I will be taking a break from the OJ for a little bit. Ah well. This chest cold has also managed to mess up my cycle, since I got it right around when I should have ovulated but can't tell whether I had a temp shift as a result of ovulation or as a result of being sick/slight fever/not sleeping well. Blah. Back to my book about the sexy cavemen. That's C's description of the Earth's Children series, not mine.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Emergency fax?

We get mass emails on a pretty much daily basis, telling everyone at work that someone is faxing to a wrong number, and that they should stop. Today's wrong number?

911.

Thanks for the laugh, unknown idiot at work.

A Scientist in Training?

J got a balloon animal at my annual company picnic- it was a duck, with a yellow body and an orange beak. Something I couldn't possibly manage to create, since my entire repertoire of balloon animals consists of snakes. :-p

Anyway, J was sitting on the floor in our living room the day after the picnic playing with his duck (cuack cuack...) and after about 30 minutes he says "Uh oh." J runs up to Daddy with the duck in one hand, and the beak in the other. Neither balloon popped, and I really have no idea how he managed to separate them without making them come unfolded, but he did. Not terribly surprising, given his general enthrallment with how things work and how things fit together. In spite of his "fix dis plees" Daddy could not fix it, so now J has a funny beakless duck balloon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

5 Free MP3s!!

Just spotted on MoneySavingMom.com!

Order the Big Kahuna Reef Game (for free!) on Amazon.com right now, and they will give you $5 in free MP3 credits! The credits are added directly to your Amazon.com account. You don't even need to download the game, just order it. Once the order goes through (no need to enter any payment info or anything) you will receive an email confirmation of your $5 MP3 credit. You may need to download the Amazon MP3 Downloader, but once you do that it automatically sends your songs to iTunes or whatever you use.

I've already got my 5 songs :-).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Update

Baby Andrew is home!

Prayers for Preemies

My nephew Andrew is not home yet, he's still in the NICU after being born at 35 weeks one week ago. Juju, prayers, anything to encourage him to eat lots and get to go home soon are appreciated.

Baby Gabriel entered the world far too soon and left his parents last night. Please pray for EAS at CottonSocks for a speedy physical recovery and that she and her husband are able to find some peace following this terrible tragedy. My heart is broken for her, I feel her loss as keenly as I did for my SIL D when she lost her babies.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The God of Small Things: A Review

The God of Small Things The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There should be a category other than "good" for books that are so deeply, thoroughly unsettling as this one. The language is in a world of its own, taking English and various Indian languages and reinventing them. Moments of horror that make you want to vomit, haunting imagery, descriptions so vivid you can see/hear/smell things come together to create this utterly story that is bitter-spicy-sweet and bitter again. I don't know that I will ever read this book again, but I don't know why I didn't read it sooner.

*****
I have now read 38 books of my goal of 50 this year! Yay me!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Hump Day!

Happy Wednesday! It seems that a lot has happened this week, so here goes a crazy summary!

My nephew Andrew made his debut into the world 5 weeks early on Monday. He's doing reasonably well, for all that he's a preemie, and he is getting better at eating every day. However, since he is a preemie, he doesn't have any clothes that will fit him (since his big brother and J were both much bigger than 5 pounds at birth), and after an appeal on a message board I frequent, some incredible women reached out to send/bring clothes for him. So little Andrew will not have to be a nakey baby! (Really though, Nesties are some of the kindest and most generous women on the planet.)

J and I went to Once Upon A Child to get an idea of their preemie selection and to get a couple more onesies for the new baby, and afterward went next door to meet C at the liquor store. We walked in the door, and J saw the wall of little "individual" wine bottles. He excitedly pointed and yelled "BEER!" That's right, folks, my 19-month-old son knows that bottles that size hold beer. He is his father's son, no?

This is a picture of about 1/3 of C's beer bottle collection. I cannot imagine where J got the idea that shelves of bottles might be equivalent to beer...

J also has recently learned what a horse is, thanks to a bank that features horses in their ads, and he quite happily chirps "hearse!" when we point out a picture of a horse now. He's getting more adept at symbol recognition now, where he will pick out a cartoon of an animal and tell us what animal it is (as long as it's a duck, dog, bird, or horse). At this point, J is pretty much weaned. Just as soon as I think he's totally done nursing, and goes a week without even asking to nurse, he randomly asks out of the blue, like this morning. His tummy has been a bit upset due to a recent round of antibiotics, so I think that had something to do with it. He still knows how to latch, but I was surprised at how quickly my nipples had lost their toughness! I definitely feel it much more than I used to, and I think that if he nursed for more than about 10 minutes it would leave me a bit sore.

It seems like J has suddenly hit toddlerhood full steam ahead. He climbs all over things now, and likes to ask to sit on "lap please" once he's climbed up on the couch. He gets to watch about 30 minutes of cartoons/movie a day, so that Daddy can get some cleaning done, and he really likes movies about animals. Babe is a big hit, and J imitates the sheep by making a strange growling noise (I guess they're zombie sheep?).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Grocery Goddess Returns!

I took last week off, more or less, from blogging, but now I'm back! I am so proud of myself for this week's grocery shopping savings! I actually had a hard time fitting all of the food on the island in our kitchen, yay!

King Soopers (Kroger):
  • Milk, $1.58
  • Santa Cruz Lemonade, 3 at 10/$10, total $3
  • 1 orange and 1 red bell pepper, also 10/$10, total $2
  • Gigantic sweet onion, $0.69/lb, total $1
  • Foster Farms chicken breasts, on sale for $1.99/lb, total $6.05
  • Dole Mandarin Oranges, on sale for $1.99 plus coupon for $0.55 doubled to $1, total $0.99
  • Mott's individual applesauce cups, 6 pk on sale for $1.85 plus coupon for $0.50 doubled to $1, total $0.85
Total spent (after tax) $15.63

Safeway:
  • Welch's Grape juice, on sale at $2.50, plus store coupon for $0.51, plus $1 off coupon, total $0.99
  • Sandwich flatbread, sale for $2.50
  • Pork chops, on sale for $1.47/lb, total $6.39
Total spent (after tax) $10.81

Albertsons:
  • Cheerios (2 boxes), on sale for $1.49 ea, plus $1/2 coupon, total $2
  • Locally grown sweet corn, 6/$1, total $1
Total (after tax) $3.o5

Sunflower Farmers Market:
  • BoarsHead Mozzarella, in the bits and pieces bin, $1.70
  • Bananas, $0.59/lb, total $1.99
  • 2 Green Bell Peppers, 2/$1, total $1
  • Colorado Peacher, $1.88/lb, total $3.23
  • Yogurt for J (goat milk yogurt) $1.99
  • Hummus, on sale for $2.99/lb, total $2.06
  • Rocky Ford Cantaloupe, $1.50
Total (after tax) $13.47

Total overall? $42.96

I did go over a little, but I saved about $40, so I think that is pretty darn good.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Can I Have My Weekend Back?

I don't know how it is Monday again, but it is. I miss my weekend already.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Importance of a Good Cry

I just spent the last almost hour bawling my eyes out as I read the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I feel much better about things in general now, though I wasn't feeling particularly badly about them to begin with. Damnit that book is sad. And onto the final one...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Small Successes Thursday

1. Finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and started re-reading the next one.
2. Took J to the doctor for a small concern (yes, he's fine, gets to take Keflex for a week. FWIW it comes in berry flavor, which seems to be J's flavor of choice, and I didn't know this and had Target make it grape flavored. It smells about as repulsive as you'd think, and I don't think it tastes very good) and went and got his Rx.
3. Sorted out some work-stuff.

Whee. I lead such an exciting life...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Garden Goodies

Today a few people shared the bounty of their gardens with me. I got about a half-gallon of green beans and a few tomatoes from one couple, then my mom gave me 4 pounds (once it was cut up) of rhubarb from her garden (well, I harvested it, but it was from her garden). Lots of goodies to be enjoyed!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Small Successes Thursday

Once, again, it is Thursday. This whole time thing is a little repetitive, no?
I accomplished a heck of a lot today:

1. Helped my sister M take care of my sister N's new twin girls and her two- and four- year old boys while N is in the hospital recovering from an emergency hysterectomy.
2. Got peed on by a cute puppy while helping M take a picture to help sell the puppy.
3. Played with my nephew Josh and got snuggled ferociously by the babies and my nephew Christian. It was a lot like being snuggled by J but by a way bigger kid. I think Christian is going to be a linebacker. Seriously, this kid is like a friggin wall. Not fat at all, just solid as all get out. But I digress.
4. Cooked a lovely dinner for sister N's family before I came home to my own family. I hope it was lovely, anyway. Hmm. I will have to ask my sister M how it turned out since she stayed for dinner and I didn't.
5. Shampooed the carpet for book club tomorrow. Gotta have a clean house!
6. Snuggled my little J and put him to bed. We read "In a People House." I sure missed him today!
7. Made brownies for book club tomorrow.
8. Took the gimpy PT Cruiser in for it's repairs (new clutch, transmission, and radiator) and found out that it only needs a new clutch and radiator! Yay!
9. Got a rental car for while the Cruiser is in "hospital." Damn those things are expensive. It is a great way to decide what cars we would potentially own or not. Thus far, our rental experience has taught us that we will never own a Hyundai Elantra or a Dodge Caliber (our current rental). I love my PT Cruiser. When it finally dies I will be a sad, sad lady.

Wow, that got pretty ramble-y. Huh. Anyway, Happy Thursday almost Friday!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Grocery Goddess Strikes Again!

I think that has a much better ring to it than Grocery Guru.


This week I went to 4 stores, breakdown as follows.

Sunflower Farmer's Market:
  • 1 green bell pepper, $0.69
  • 1 cantaloupe, on sale for $0.50
  • 4 nectarines, $0.99/lb, total $1.17
  • Red potatoes, $0.50/lb, total $1.55
  • 3 red onions, $0.50/lb, total $0.49
  • Seedless watermelon, 4lbs/$1, total $1.7
Total: $6.19, savings $1.91 (They forgot to give me my BYOB discount. Oh well.)

King Soopers (Kroger affiliate):
  • 2 bottles of Santa Cruz lemonade, on sale for 10/$10, plus two $0.75/1 coupons, doubled to $1 each, total FREE!!
  • Bread, $1.99
  • 5 ears yellow corn, $0.19/each, total $0.95
  • 3 pk Ivory soap (not pictured), on sale for 10/$10, total $1
I also got a BYOB discount of $0.05. Total: $4.68, savings: $6.51! That's a 58% savings, a new personal record for me!

Safeway:
  • Mott's Apple Juice, on sale for $2.49, coupon for $0.99 per gallon, total $0.99
  • Lucerne eggs, 18 ct, on sale for $1.39, coupon for $0.99 per carton, total $0.99
  • Van de Kamp's fish sticks, on sale for $4.99, coupon for $3.99 per box, total $3.99
Total: $6.03, savings $6.20 = 51%! I rock.

Costco:
  • Goat Milk, $3.99
  • Tillamook medium cheddar (2.5lbs), $6.59
  • Kirkland Bacon 4- 1lb pks, $8.99
Total $19.57

I also went to Target for lightbulbs ($0.77) and Kids N Pets ($4.74).

My totals for the week are:
Groceries: $35.47
Including non-food items purchased: $42.26

Friday, July 24, 2009

18 Months

J had his 18 month checkup today. Aside from hating his shots and being poked and prodded (which, who wouldn't?) he did great!

The Stats:
33" tall, 73 percentile (up from 30.5" at 45 percentile at 15 months)
24 lbs, 10.5 oz, 35 percentile (compared to 23 lbs 9.5 oz and 40 percentile at 15 months)
Head circumference 50cm, 95 percentile. Yep, still got a gigantic head.

According to the doctor, he's VERY smart (which we knew, but it's nice to hear from a non-related person) and very cute (which we also knew!).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Random Bit Of Cuteness

James whines, pointing and whimpering rather than using his words to tell me what he wants. He gets closer to crying every moment, and I don't know what's wrong. I finally just ask him, "Baby, what's wrong? Tell Mommy what you want!"

The whining stops. He looks up with his big blue eyes, reaches up to me, and says "Love you!"
He gives me a big hug and cuddles on me until dinner time.

Small Successes Thursday

Yep, it's Thursday again! Sometimes I think the main point of this is to keep me blogging at least once a week ;-).

Today I accomplished the following:
1. Finished The Time Traveler's Wife. Wow. What an incredible book. The end brought tears to my eyes.
2. Started re-reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
3. Started setting up Microsoft Money to manage our finances.

Hey, look at that. I did do 3 things today!