Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Confession!

My baby is 10 months old and I don't think she knows her name. This is our fault (mine, my husband's, and Andrew's) because we have referred to her since birth as Squeaky (she made little squeaky noises in the hospital and I lovingly gave her that nickname). Also, Squeaker, Squeaks, Squeakington, Squeaky McGhee, Squeaky McKitty, and Squeaky Kitchen (this last one makes me giggle because one time I asked Andrew where Squeaky was, and he said, "Squeaky Kitchen?", so the addition to the nickname came to be).

Elise is a beautiful name, and I love it! I chose it for her and it came to me, much like Andrew's did, and I knew it was THE name and there could be no other name. I really should start using it more often so that she can know that SHE is "Elise".

In the meantime, it's all just good fun and Squeaky has her whole life to learn who she is. :-)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Progression

Just for shits and giggles, this is what my test looked like yesterday morning. I think it's safe to stop testing now. :) Say what you may, but it helps ease my mind and a happy mind means a happy Sarah.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Five weeks.

I am getting more comfortable. The test obsession is wearing off some (well, not really, since I have tested at least every day), although I did POAS this morning and saw that the control line is starting to fading even more as the test line takes more dye away. Things must be progressing nicely.

Christmas was fun in our house. I had the camera going, the hubby had the camcorder going, and we watched both kids open up their presents. I will get some pictures up once I upload them to Photobucket. Andrew got this really neat tornado lab thing (he loves tornadoes) from "Santa" at my mom's house and that his his favorite gift. Elise is a little too young to enjoy all the gifts but I got her this "Peek a Boo" book and she giggles when I read it to her. So cute! My favorite gift: a new vacuum! :) It actually works, unlike my old one, and it has attachments and everything. I felt like a Kirby salesman as I vacuumed up all th stuff my old vacuum left behind (and no, I didn't get a Kirby; it's a Hoover Wind Tunnel (
this one, I think). My old vacuum wouldn't even suck up cereal -- you know it's bad when you have to throw things in front of your vacuum and make several passes before realizing it's not going to pick them up.

Elise is 10 months old today. Where has the time gone? (I always feel so cliche saying that, but it's true). She is such a funny baby. Andrew played so nice with her yesterday that I must have praised him 10 times, and I let him know when I tucked him in how proud of him I was for being nice to Squeaker. He was crawling all over with her, hiding from her and then she'd squeal with delight when she saw him. It was adorable.

Anyway, here's to 2011! I toast you my glass of fizzy juice. May your year be fabulous.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Paranoia

Ah, the joys of early pregnancy. I'm 4 weeks and 3 days, just early enough where the only thing I can do is obsess and pray that things progress nicely. I'm too early to see anything on an ultrasound, hear anything with a doppler, or watch my belly grow. The only thing I can do is continue to test (and I have, 12 times, so far) and temp (to make sure mine stays up there). I didn't used to be this way, but for those of you who have gone through the heartbreak of a loss, or consecutive losses, you know where I am coming from. The rate of miscarriage for someone who has had two or more losses goes up and my "safety net" was taken away after the 2nd one, when I thought I was in the clear at 12 weeks. I had no symptoms that anything was wrong and when we couldn't hear the heartbeat, the midwife offered an ultrasound and I knew right away that s/he had stopped growing. The baby measured 8 weeks, and I had not a clue -- no bleeding or anything.

I cried, and then a few days later, the process began and I healed up and luckily found out I was expecting Elise five months later. And with her, I was very cautious, very scared, knowing I was incredibly blessed to have Andrew but wanting to meet this future baby as well. I knew from my own research that I had a luteal phase defect. I have 24 day cycles with late ovulation, which gives me a short luteal phase (8-9 days on average, but sometimes as short as 5) -- in layman's terms, this means that an embryo does not have time to implant before the next cycle begins and the number one cause of LPD is low progesterone. This was something I brought up to the midwife (not the awesome one I have now, but another one) when I was pregnant with the 2nd one I lost, and I got my levels checked. At first they rose nicely, but then dropped. She did not think it was necessary to supplement progesterone, and 2 weeks later was when that baby stoppped growing.

I have moved on in my mind because without that loss, I wouldn't have my beautiful Elise. But of course, that doesn't change my mentality now. So on Monday I called to see if I could have my Progesterone level checked. My result was 14.8 and they like to see it between 15-20. The nurse said I'm not that low, but under what they like to see, so she did order the Prometrium supplements for me. It doesn't hurt anything to supplement -- it is not guaranteed to help, and it's not a certainty that my numbers wouldn't rise on their own, but why chance it? Especially when I know my own body and am certain, after 2+ years of charting, that I do have low progesterone (which is needed to sustain a pregnancy).

I picked it up last night -- this time I am not doing the pill form, but a (cover your eyes, guys!) suppository -- they are supposed to be more effective that way. I so far am cool with it because when I took the pills, they always made me feel dizzy/drunk and I don't have that this time. I am hopeful they will help.

Until my belly grows or I can hear that heartbeat, I am sure I will obsess a little bit, but hopefully it will gradually become me just enjoying being pregnant and not worrying so much. So that's where I am, in limbo . . . I can test because it eases my mind to see that line get darker (a positive test only tells you that you are pregnant, but those of us in the online "fertility" world know that a line will progressively get darker as the hCG hormone in the blood rises).

Thank you for all the congrats! I am really glad that I have my online friends. I can't talk to my friends in real life about all this and I certainly can't talk to my family (only my mom knows) because I don't want to have to "untell" everyone, but there is such a great support network I have found both through my mommy boards and through Blogger, so I really do thank all of you for being here for me. ♥

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas to . . . my family?

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To all my loyal readers, I love you. I am able to share with you news that I cannot share yet with my friends in real life or even my extended family. So this news is TOP SECRET and I think one or two of you are Facebook friends with me, so thank you for helping me keep this quiet until further notice.

We weren't really planning on having a third child, but we didn't do a whole lot to prevent it, and we found out on Friday that we are expecting. I have taken now five tests (and still have 2 more to use up, muhuhahaha) and the line is getting darker. I am also now starting to get that constant hungry feeling that is familiar.

Now, I am saying this with caution, because those of you who have been following me for a long-time know that I have had 2 losses, one of them being early and the other one being not so early (found out at 12 weeks), so I am in limbo right now. I'm praying for a healthy and sticky bean.

This one is due 8/29/2011, four days after Andrew's 4th birthday. Elise will be 18 months.

I can handle this, right? My friend (whom I met online when I was pregnant with Elise) has told me, "you were born to be a mom", and it was one of the greatest compliments ever received.

Behold!
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13 and 14 dpo


So with that, I bring you Christmas cheer and tidings for the New Year -- may you get everything you want this year, whatever it may be. Please join me for the ride into my third (and final, yikes!) pregnancy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Best and worst Christmas songs?

I love this time of year. I always have. The snow puts me in a holiday mood and once Thanksgiving is gone, I'm all Christmas all the time, especially when it comes to the tunes I play in my car. It's one month where I can enjoy all the classics, as well as the modern stuff.

I will start with my list of the worst Christmas songs. These are ones where when I hear them come on, I will change the station or hit the "CD" button to change the song immediately:

Worst songs:

  1. The Christmas Shoes (by NewSong, 2000) -- can a song make me want to kill myself more? I can't stand the song or the guy's voice. If Country Music and The Christmas music station got together and made a baby, this would be it. WORST SONG EVER, CHRISTMAS OR ANY GENRE!
  2. I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas (by John Coctoasten and performed by Gayla Peevey, 1953): Wow. Yeah, this song is just really annoying and I don't know if it's the lyrics or the lady's voice. I seriously say, "Aaah!" when it comes on and quick change the station.
  3. The Chipmunks: "Hula Hoop" -- simply annoying; nothing more and nothing less.
  4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Bruce Springsteen, 1981) -- I just can't stand the laughing during the song; it really irks me. It's a crappy rendition of an okay song, at best.

Best songs:

  1. We Three Kings/God Rest Ye' Merry Gentlemen (Barenaked Ladies feat. Sarah McLachlan, 2004) -- this song is AWESOME! It's beautiful because it's simply an acoustic guitar and then the voices come in and it's a really nice compilation of the two songs. Sarah has a beautiful voice and the song is perfect just the way it is. I have talked to many friends who agree that this song rocks.
  2. O Holy Night (traditional) -- a classic that has never disappointed. I especially like the Manheim interpretation.
  3. Carol of the Bells (Manheim Steamroller version, 1990, "A Fresh Aire" CD) -- how can one NOT get in the holiday spirit while listening to this?
  4. Christmas Canon (Trans-siberian Orchestra, 2004, "The Lost Christmas Eve" CD) -- this song is beautiful, and genius. Brilliant! The classic melody, normally a wedding favorite, contrasts very well with the voices of the children. My mom and I love this song and turn it up so much that the speakers vibrate in the car.

It bothers me that I only have four in each list, because even numbers bother me, but there you go. I'm sure some will agree and some will disagree, but this is the time of year when we can state our opinions and everyone is all jolly and happy so they just smile and say, "Happy holidays"!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Got a Christmas tree!

Finally! Mr. Scrooge, who shall remain nameless, did not want to go get one for us or with us, so I took Andrew to the tree lot in town (not what I wanted to do, but I found out yesterday that the awesome Christmas tree farm is closed for the season; plus, I wouldn't be able to find my way there since it's 45 minutes away and I have no sense of direction).

We took Andrew's carseat out to make room for the tree and I put him in Elise's seat instead. We found one tree we really wanted but after I carried it over to the car and tried to slide it into the trunk, it would not fit. So I carried it back and then we picked out one that was already somewhat "wrapped" so it would fit better. I got that in and used the bungee cord to keep the trunk down and then we stopped by Menard's to get a Christmas tree stand but they were out. I texted the brother-in-law, and he does have one we can use.

It was -3 (actual temp, not including the wind chill) but I had Andrew bundled up really well and we had a lot of fun picking out the tree. They had this locked box where you put the tag and the money, so it's somewhat on the honor system, but there was a sign that said we were under camera surveillance.

The husband is griping because I didn't plan and it's less than two weeks until Christmas and I'm just now getting a tree, but hey -- I did my best. And tomorrow when we get the tree stand, I will get it in there and we will have fun decorating it. :) I will post pics when we are done.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Some random [and probably boring] updates . . .

I have some of my Christmas shopping done. I feel better now than I did earlier in the week! We actually went out into the blizzard (taking it slow, never getting over 30 mph) to simply get out of the house and we ended up making our way out to the shopping area. I had a $10 off card for both Old Navy and Shopko so I used those up, oh yeah, and a $10 gift card I won at work for Walmart (I got 3 of my photos in the annual calendar we make to give to residents for Christmas) so I did save some money. I really, really enjoy buying gifts for people. My favorite part is when I am all done shopping so that all I have to do is wrap them. I don't mind wrapping -- I take my time and do a little bit each night after the kids are asleep (not simply because some of the gifts are theirs, but because BOTH of them would be all over the paper and it would just be a mess.

I really, really am in need of a massage. It's been 4.5 years -- I remember getting one not too long before my wedding and that was in July of 2006. My back has hurt but it's not a back strain kind-of pain, more of muscle/tension pain. I have this big knot on the edge of my right shoulder blade and it's been there since college (and that was a long time ago, as I am eight years post-grad now). It used to bother me a lot more because I would walk/bike to campus and carry around a heavy backpack all day. It's not as bad now, but it's there.

I love this time of year. I love all the snow. I have fond memories of my childhood when we would play in the snow at night and look at the pretty lights around the neighborhood. I remember lying in the snow with my sister and it was so calm and quiet -- I love that insulating effect snow has. We'd hear the scrape of the shovel as my mom cleared the insanely long driveway (my dad made her do it -- it took her several hours each time). I could never live anywhere warm during the holidays, or if I did, I'd have to come back here by about December 20th because I just need the snow for the whole experience. It's the same thing with Christmas lights: they have to be colored. White lights are so boring.

My kids are doing amazing! Today I was watching them play together. Elise was acting "hyper" and crawling after Andrew and then she'd stop and sit and wait for him to crawl by her and then she'd squeal and crawl towards him, thumping her hands on the floor. She's 9.5 months now and experimenting with food a little more. She really loves oranges and we give her little pieces. If we don't a) peel the orange fast enough or b) the orange is gone too quickly, she cries or screams for more. She has a little baby radar that picks up on any food being eaten anywhere in the house. We pretty much let her sample what we're having, assuming she can have it, but she isn't taking in a lot of foods. When she isn't eating what we're eating, she has organic baby purees and only about 2 tablespoons at a time. She is nursing 8-9 times a day (a day = 24 hours) so she's still getting a lot of the good stuff. And loving it. Andrew is still as funny as ever -- he makes us laugh on a daily basis. He no longer uses the potty seat (the kind that sits under the toilet seat) -- he simply climbs up there, places both feet on the seat, and lowers himself down, supporting his weight with his hands. He can do this now for both #1 and #2, but is still not wanting to stand up to do #1. To each his own, right? He has a very extensive vocabulary and picks up on random stuff. There's this dorky show on PBS called "Rick Steves" (it's a guy who travels Europe and talks about it, tour-guide style) and Andrew happened to recognize him one day when it was on, and called out, "Rick Steves!" Yep.

I'm still loving my job, and they are handing over more responsibilities -- it's just additional FMLA paperwork and I'll be doing more tracking, but it's okay with me. I have the system in place all set up and ready to go in Excel. I love organizing things, both at home and at work.

Last snowfall total for this storm was 11.1", and it's still coming down! This is classified as a blizzard because of the blowing snow/wind speeds. It guarantees a white Christmas, so for that I am thankful. It can all go away on December 26th, and then begins the countdown to spring (fat chance, since here, it's never "here" until April).

Do any of you do this thing where you are always looking forward to something? There's little events that I look forward to (stupid stuff like my kids' doctor appointments, heck even my own appointments if I should be so lucky to have them), Fridays/weekends, there's a work gathering next Tuesday night, there's holidays, birthdays, etc. -- I live my life in these moments as I always have my whole life, and I can't remember a time where I wasn't always looking forward to something. I wonder if this is why I never get depressed, even when there are times I have probably had valid reasons to be so.

Anyway, gotta dash. I am going to try and start getting to bed by 11:00, and we are already over that by seven minutes. Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Passion.

I am a passionate person. I have certain things that take precedence in my life and those passions define who I am. It's just the way I have always been. for instance, when I was younger, I was bound and determined to be the very best I could be at playing the flute. I practiced every single day four hours, sometimes up to four hours a day and it became my life. I even paid for my own weekly private lessons in high school and purchased an open-holed flute instead of a car. I went through college, playing in both the orchestra and the wind symphony (8 hours a week for 1 credit per class) and it was my passion.

When I became a mother, my passions changed. Suddenly it was all about being the very best mother I could be. If I had to define myself, I would say I was a mother and nothing else. My parenting style, if you haven't realized it by now, is definitely more attachment parenting. I do believe that babies should be held more often than not -- they are only babies once and I, as a mother, will never get these moments back and once they are gone, the child is grown and no longer a baby. When I look back at my life in 30 years, I want to look at these moments I have captured in my mind, these beautiful moments where I held my babies close and kissed their sweet heads and looked into their beautiful eyes. I am a photographer so I am always looking for beautiful moments to capture, but there are some moments I capture with my eyes and store in my head, hoping that I am not cursed with Alzheimer's (which runs in my family on my maternal grandmother's side and strikes at a young age).

So many people are so concerned about fitting in with society. Why? Why do I care what anyone thinks about what I do? Does it really affect that person and his/her life? Why do we, as a people, want to all be the same anyway? Why is anyone who is different immediately categorized as "weird", "strange", "odd" . . . etc. I think part of it is because people are used to what most people do.

I guess the point of this rambling post is that my passions define who I am as a person and those passions are what make me me. Without those passions, I wouldn't be the person I am and I would probably have a hard time functioning.

One thing I do not do as a parent or even as a person is judge others for the choices they make. I see other parents in stores and out in public all the time, and I see them as parents. We share the common "link" that we have little ones to take care of. I can sympathize with a mother who has a feisty toddler too tired or too bored or too whatever, who suddenly decides it's time to embarrass Mom and pitch a fit. We've all been there at some point or another, or will get there in the future. Before I became a parent, I would just get annoyed, but hey -- we all change with time. I have now discreetly breastfed in public many times, using my lovely nursing cover and my only goal is to feed my child. I am not about to "please" people by going into a bathroom (where to sit? Ew!) or hiding in my car simply because the normal around here is to bottle feed. Maybe if more moms see moms like me, they might come out of hiding too. We live in America, Land of the Prudes, and it's so much different elsewhere. I have friends in Norway and Canada, for instance, who state that it is completely normal to see breastfeeding moms in public and it's just accepted. People walk by and occasionally give an approving smile, but nobody balks and certainly nobody says anything to express disgust (in fact, my friend from Canada still states that she can't believe the way it is here, because it is so different). I guess the point of this interlude is to say that I wish people were more open-minded and accepting. I don't look down on anyone and I expect the same level of respect. My passion may be breastfeeding and someone else's might be a sport, but we all have a place in this world and it's what makes us different that makes the world an interesting place to be. And nothing has made me feel better in my entire life than my current passions.

Friday, December 3, 2010

9 month well check

I forgot to update on Tuesday, but Elise had her appointment. I know these posts bore most all of you, but I need this for my records.

She weighed in at 19 lbs, 12.8 oz., which is almost the 75th percentile, and she is 27.6" long, which is the 50th percentile. She is meeting a lot of the 12 month milestones, and the Nurse Practitioner (we alternate between her and the pediatrician -- they work as a team) said she's doing great!

We were away the past couple of days -- we just stayed in a hotel and went swimming, just 2 hours away, so not too far from home. The kids had so much fun! Andrew loves to swim, and Elise was squealing with joy the entire time. The only thing about staying in a hotel is that both kids were aware that they weren't at home, so bedtime was a little more stressful than at home. It's good to be back.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

11/27/10: Happy 9 months, Elise

It's hard to believe she's already 9 months, and while I miss the newborn cuddly stage, I do love the stage she is at now. She stands for several seconds at a time, and I think she'll be taking her first steps pretty soon. She has learned to shake her head "no-no" and it's very cute; she also says, "dada" all the time. She did say "mama" a couple times and that was her first word, but of course, she said it while she was crying.

A friend of mine made her this AWESOME winter hat, so I took the opportunity to mark her 9 months with some photography.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

I'm a good person.

What does that mean? Well, for one, it means I am a pleaser. Because I don't like conflict, I strive for perfection. No, I know I'm not perfect and I am not trying to be, but if things flow smoothly, it means less stress for me.

I was just looking at my planner at work here, where I write everything down. This year, in 2010, I have only had 2 days off: January 18th and July 9th. This does not count my [unpaid] maternity leave (which my boss may or may not consider to be "vacation") or the three days I took off for Andrew's surgery (for those of you taking notes, that was NO vacation whatsoever).

I have decided that I do deserve some time off. I have worked here over six years now and all of the other department heads take off much more than I do and I never complain that I have to answer phones more or anything. The receptionist, whom I supervise, is off quite often, or she leaves early, and it's never a problem because she works 5.5 hour shifts, so if she is gone, I am just out at the front desk, covering it, rather than in my office.

I filled out my request and put it in my boss' mailbox and hopefully I get off. I happened to glance at my calendar and the receptionist is, in fact, working just until 2:00 next week which means there is a 2 hour gap (until 4:00) when there is nobody out there -- this will come up in conversation when my boss sees my request, but I am going to talk to the evening receptionist and see if he can come in 2 hours early. This will also mean that the day receptionist will have to put in a full 8 hour shift on Thursday, but I hope my boss remembers that back in July, when we were supposed to all get off the day after the 4th (typically when a holiday falls on a weekend, we get either the Friday or the Monday off), I came in and worked it so there was coverage out at the desk. I was the only one who had to work that day (besides nursing staff, who have holiday rotations and can also trade) and no, I didn't get holiday pay.

So there you have it. I am taking off because I am a good person and I deserve it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oh Andrew . . .

He's so funny. He can't carry his sister, because she's over 20 lbs. and he barely weighs 30, so when he wants to get her somewhere fast, he just grabs her by the leg and drags her. The funny thing is, she doesn't even seem to mind.

I love my children so much. I have so much to be thankful for, today and every day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Eating habits, and a photo session

This was discussed on the board I am on, so I just wanted to blog about it as well, since I have been lacking in posts lately. :)

I have the best eater I have ever seen: my three-year-old son, Andrew. We eat very healthy: nothing that is pre-processed, and nothing containing GMOs, high-fructose corn syrup, or partially hydrogenated soybean oils.

He will eat everything: every kind of vegetable you can think of, including brussels sprouts (which he actually will request, out of the blue), fruit, any kind of meat, fish (including smoked and regular salmon), yogurt, any kind of dairy product, and whole grain noodles and breads. There isn't anything that he won't try or finish.

We aren't so restrictive that we don't allow treats: ice cream is a treat in our house at least once or twice a week, after supper or before bed.

I have had well-to-do friends inform me that by being restrictive with him, we are setting him up to binge someday, but I disagree. One of my husband's friends grew up in a similar house, and to this day, he still eats healthy and leads a healthy, active lifestyle as an adult.

As for me, I was raised to always clean my plate. I cannot leave a plate with food still on it. However, I am at a healthy weight for my height and I don't see anything wrong with continuing to clean my plate. It as as much a part of me as my eye color.

And now, for some pics. I took these 2 weeks ago of Elise for her 8 month photo session. She will be 9 months on Saturday -- it's so hard to believe! Enjoy.

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As for Elise, she is hitting all of her milestones ahead of time. Lately, she's been letting go of the couch or me whenever she can, and standing alone for 5-10 seconds at a time. She seems to be unaware that she's doing it, and when I try to set her down on the floor and let her stand, she doesn't want to. I have mentioned that she is my independent girl, and she certainly holds true to that attribute. I have a feeling she will be taking her first steps by Christmastime, if not before.

I am still going home twice a day during my work day to feed her (and she breastfeeds on demand the rest of the time). She now has six teeth, and we started solids just after she turned 7 months. We started with 1 TBSP. and she now takes in about 1.5 TBSP. once a day. She is a little piggy and verbalizes this whenever she eats by saying, "m-NOM, m-NOM". It's very cute.

To you and yours, have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! I really love this holiday: it's an excuse to eat anything and everything all day long!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What's the weather like where you are?

We are experiencing this lovely November rain (cue GNR, right?). It's cold, it's dreary, and it's typical for this time of year in Wisconsin. When I was a kid, I remember always having snow, at least some of it, by Thanksgiving. The past few years, we haven't gotten our first snow until December. Weather like this makes me just want to stay inside all day in my pajamas. That's okay -- sometimes when it's nice, like in the summer, I feel like it's a rush to get out of the house every day and go do stuff on the weekends, whereas this time of year, I can relax a little. I can play with the kids and get some cleaning done and feel like there is no organization to our schedule, which is kind-of a nice change from my day-to-day rush out the door before work.

We get the joy of putting plastic over our "lovely" window in the living room -- it's a huge picture window facing north -- whoever designed this house should be shot -- although, it was built in the early '60s, when the heating expenses were no big deal. People probably opened up their doors when it was twenty below and heated their front yards for all I know. All of the other windows were replaced at some point, but this big one was not, and even though it is double-paned, if we don't get plastic over it soon, we definitely lose some heat through it.

If this isn't the most boring, detailed post about weather and windows, I don't know what is!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A New York Times article . . .

Breast Milk Sugars Give Infants a Protective Coat
By NICHOLAS WADE
Published: August 2, 2010

A large part of human milk cannot be digested by babies and seems to have a purpose quite different from infant nutrition — that of influencing the composition of the bacteria in the infant’s gut.

The details of this three-way relationship between mother, child and gut microbes are being worked out by three researchers at the University of California, Davis — Bruce German, Carlito Lebrilla and David Mills. They and colleagues have found that a particular strain of bacterium, a subspecies of Bifidobacterium longum, possesses a special suite of genes that enable it to thrive on the indigestible component of milk.

This subspecies is commonly found in the feces of breast-fed infants. It coats the lining of the infant’s intestine, protecting it from noxious bacteria.

Infants presumably acquire the special strain of bifido from their mothers, but strangely, it has not yet been detected in adults. “We’re all wondering where it hides out,” Dr. Mills said.

The indigestible substance that favors the bifido bacterium is a slew of complex sugars derived from lactose, the principal component of milk. The complex sugars consist of a lactose molecule on to which chains of other sugar units have been added. The human genome does not contain the necessary genes to break down the complex sugars, but the bifido subspecies does, the researchers say in a review of their progress in today’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The complex sugars were long thought to have no biological significance, even though they constitute up to 21 percent of milk. Besides promoting growth of the bifido strain, they also serve as decoys for noxious bacteria that might attack the infant’s intestines. The sugars are very similar to those found on the surface of human cells, and are constructed in the breast by the same enzymes. Many toxic bacteria and viruses bind to human cells by docking with the surface sugars. But they will bind to the complex sugars in milk instead. “We think mothers have evolved to let this stuff flush through the infant,” Dr. Mills said.

Dr. German sees milk as “an astonishing product of evolution,” one which has been vigorously shaped by natural selection because it is so critical to the survival of both mother and child. “Everything in milk costs the mother — she is literally dissolving her own tissues to make it,” he said. From the infant’s perspective, it is born into a world full of hostile microbes, with an untrained immune system and lacking the caustic stomach acid which in adults kills most bacteria. Any element in milk that protects the infant will be heavily favored by natural selection.

“We were astonished that milk had so much material that the infant couldn’t digest,” Dr. German said. “Finding that it selectively stimulates the growth of specific bacteria, which are in turn protective of the infant, let us see the genius of the strategy — mothers are recruiting another life-form to baby-sit their baby.”

Dr. German and his colleagues are trying to “deconstruct” milk, on the theory that the fluid has been shaped by 200 million years of mammalian evolution and holds a wealth of information about how best to feed and defend the human body. Though milk itself is designed for infants, its lessons may apply to adults.

The complex sugars, for instance, are evidently a way of influencing the gut microflora, so they might in principle be used to help premature babies, or those born by caesarean, who do not immediately acquire the bifido strain. It has long been thought there was no source of the sugars other than human milk, but they have recently been detected in whey, a waste byproduct of cheesemaking. The three researchers plan to test the complex sugars for benefit in premature infants and in the elderly.

The proteins in milk also have special roles. One, called Alpha-lactalbumin, can attack tumor cells and those infected by viruses by restoring their lost ability to commit cell suicide. The protein, which accumulates when an infant is weaned, is also the signal for the breast to remodel itself back to normal state.

Such findings have made the three researchers keenly aware that every component of milk probably has a special role. “It’s all there for a purpose, though we’re still figuring out what that purpose is,” Dr. Mills said. “So for God’s sake, please breast-feed.”


Link to the article

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's time for your annual declination form.

;)

I'm a naturalist. Everyone who knows me knows this. At my work, it's the annual push for all staff to get flu shots (they provide them free of charge and they are aiming for 95% this year, up from 80% in the past).

I decline it every year; it's my right as a citizen and as a human being. I have many reasons, but I'll just go through a few of them:


The flu shot not only contains the dead flu virus (not what I'm concerned about), but also:



  • Aluminum (a neurotoxin widely associated with Alzheimer's, which happens to run in my family -- early onset to boot)

  • 25 mcg of mercury (which, when injected into the muscle as a flu shot is, is not processed the same in the body as it is when ingested, via fish, for example)

  • Polysorbate 80 (which is associated with infertility in animals)

  • Ethylene Glycol (antifreeze)

  • Formaldehyde (a preservative)

  • Gentamycin, Neomycin, or Streptomycin (antibiotics)

  • Nonoxynol (used to kill or stop growth of STDs)

  • Octoxinol 9 (a spermicide)

  • Betrapropiolactone (a disinfectant)

(Click on this link to see any vaccine insert if you would like to see the ingredients: Vaccine Ingredients).


The flu shot is not as effective as presented. In a review of more than 51 studies involving more than 294,000 children, it was found that there was "no evidence that injecting children 6-24 months of age with a flu shot was any more effective than placebo. In children over 2 years of age, it was only effective 33% of the time in preventing the flu". (Source: "Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children" -- The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: 2 (2008).



As for adults, In a review of 48 reports including more than 66,000 adults, "Vaccination of healthy adults only reduced risk of influenza by 6% and reduced the number of missed work days by less than one day (0.16) days. It did not change the number of people needing to go to hospital or take time off work." Reference: "Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults." The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 1 (2006).

In the elderly (where the push comes in at my work), a study done between 1970-1980 demonstrated that those who had 5 or more consecutive flu shots had an 11-fold increased risk of developing Alzheimer's compared to those who had 2 or less vaccines. In 1980, only 15 percent of elderly people in the US received flu vaccination. Today, the rate has increased to 65 percent. Yet two studies published in early 2009 - in "The Lancet" and "American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care" both noted that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza or pneumonia during the period.

The decline of disease for all diseases was already on the downslope before vaccines were introduced. This is due to public sanitation and nutrition. It is hard to believe that there was a time where we didn't know about proper handwashing, but it happened (doctors used to go from cadaver to patient, even pregnant women, without washing their hands -- gross, I know!).

The chance of dying from influenza is lower than dying from leprosy. The oft-quoted "36,000 people die every year from influenza" includes the combined "flu deaths" as well as "pneumonia deaths".

Vaccines are linked to autoimmune diseases such as asthma, allergies, eczema, and Crohn's Disesase.

I have a hard time trusting the CDC, which recommends vaccinating newborn babies with Hepatitis B, which is primarily transmitted sexually and via intravenous drug abuse. Why would I give any merit to any advice they may have? I am one who cannot trust anything if one major thing is blaring at me. The mere fact that we have gone from 10 vaccines on the routine childhood immunization schedule in 1983 to 38 on today's recommended vaccines is enough to cause alarm. There is so much money to be made in this industry and doctors are pushed to recommend whatever vaccine is next to roll off the production lines and I am not one to say, "how high?" when they tell me to jump.

This all is, of course, my opinion, and I will not push any of my readers to go in one direction or another. It is your right as a citizen and a human being to make your own choices. The Director of Nursing here at my work talked about mandating shots in the future, and it comes to that, they can fire me. It's pretty silly because they'd be losing a good employee over a flu shot, but they do not have the right to tell me that I must be injected.

What can you do to promote good health? Eat right, exercise, don't smoke, drink moderately, and get your Vitamin D. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. For too many years, we have been indoors and sunblocked to the point where we are deficient. The current levels of recommendation are not enough. Vitamin D functions like a hormone in the body, so it's definitely not a "piddly vitamin" -- it is absolutely essential for good immune health. I take 5,000 IU daily year-round, unless I get out in the sun for 10 minutes or so in the summer. From November - March, anyone living above 37 degrees latitude cannot get Vitamin D through the skin (yes, even in the winter when you are outdoors snowboarding and you get sunburnt -- it's not the same process). On the map below, if you live above that red line, you are not getting Vitamin D transdermally from November - March. Take your supplements. 5,000 IU a day will help prevent illnesses, yes, including cold and flu. Since I began taking it at that dose over a year ago, I have only had a minor cold. When I am sick, I up the dose to 10,000 IU and I also take Sumbucol (elderberry extract). Don't worry, Vitamin D toxicity is extremely rare and you would have to be taking an insane amount to become ill -- in fact, patients with weakened immune systems receive very high doses, higher than available for purchase over the counter, for many ailments. Vitamin D is also proven to help prevent SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), so that is just another benefit to keeping on top of your Vitamin D in the winter. Anyway, there is a ton of information/research out there on Vitamin D and it's only been newly discovered that it plays a huge role on health (and why would a doctor tell you that, when there are so many pharmaceuticals available to treat anything and everything?).



Map source: Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School



In conclusion, yes, I am "one of those" who refuses the flu vaccine. I have a working immune system and I let it do its job. I'd rather be one who questioned everything than one who went along with the flow, anyway. I stood up to my doctor last year, when I was pregnant with Elise. She gave me a "talking to" and made me feel bad about refusing the shots (you all remember last year with the H1N1 push), telling me that they would "take my baby away from me" if I came in to deliver with any flu symptoms. That's when I switched providers to a midwife -- no pressure at all from her, and she ended up being wonderful, so I'm kind-of glad it all happened that way.

Have a great day and a healthy flu season!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nine years . . .

November 5th marked 9 years since my father was served his "surprise" divorce and restraining order papers. It was a culmination of events over the previous 25 years, including 22 years of marriage, that led to the decision my mom ultimately made.

She was tired of being beaten up, pushed around, choked, yelled at, and beaten mentally to the point where she felt she truly was worthless. She lived for being a parent to her five children, loving them and providing them with everything she could. It was all about the day-to-day survival. We walked on eggshells, all of us, so as to be as perfect as possible so he wouldn't become upset with us.

We were model children. We were in band, and we excelled academically. My sister and I were always on the honor roll, me not always the "A" honor roll, but at least making the "B". My sister had a 4.0. In high school, while other kids were out partying or having sex, we spent our weekends baby-sitting for close family friends. We vowed to our mother not to touch alcohol until we were 21, and both of us kept that promise. He didn't know us, so he didn't trust us, so he would send my mother into our room when we got home and she'd tuck us in, as she always did for years, and make sure there was no scent of alcohol on us (there never was, because for us, it was about not disappointing our mother).

When we did eventually date (late onto the scene on that one, for fear that he would make fun of us, which he did anyway), he didn't trust us and told us we were "whores" and "sluts". Little did he know, this was the furthest from the truth. All three of us, my mother, my sister and me, were called those names, and my brothers were also called names, particularly the oldest of the three boys, who from a small age was referred to as "Boy" or "Bonehead", and not by his given name, Michael.

He used a leather weight-lifting belt on us as punishment, but oftentimes, we were punished for things kids do on a regular basis, like playing too loudly. I have blocked so many of these memories out, but I do remember that noise the belt would make, the jingling metal sound as he pulled it off the back of his weight-lifting bench. Then, he'd come out into the family room and I would run. I would run around the pool table with him chasing me, yelling at me to stop. I'd think to myself, how long can I go?, but ultimately, I knew that I should just stop and take it and get it over with because the longer I ran, the worse it would be. As he whipped me, I'd place my hands over my bottom, but the stinging of the belt would hurt more there, so then I'd just move my hands, screaming for him to just stop, crying for someone to just help me, wishing the windows were open enough for the neighbors to call someone to help me, praying that he would just drop dead forever and ever so I'd never have to see him again.

Sometimes, I ran away. I didn't get very far. We lived near an apple orchard, and I would run there and hide in the tall grasses, but eventually, I'd get scared that there were snakes in there (there probably were), and after a half hour or so, I'd head back up the long driveway and go in my room. I hated my life. I kept myself busy by drawing for hours on end, and also by reading. I dreamed of a life where I had a father who adored me, and honestly, any song about a father and a daughter I hated, because I thought it couldn't possibly exist. It was all lies. There was no way a father would love his children and display affection.

As a little girl aged 6 or 7, I remember lying in bed, under the covers, tucked in as tight as possible, surrounded by my stuffed animals, and praying that Mary Poppins would just come adopt me. I loved my mom, of course I did, but I was jealous of my friends who got seemingly endless attention and affection. I was afraid of authority for years and always felt awkward at friends' houses. They didn't have to ask before opening the fridge or getting a snack out of the cupboard. We had no snacks, except saltine crackers. For all those years, the only snack was saltine crackers and even those, we only ate when he was at work.

We would get off the bus just before 3:00, and he would be home at about 3:10. We had 10 minutes to run around, play, laugh, do cartwheels, and whatever else we wanted to do before he got home. The garage door would open and we'd scatter off to our rooms, not to be seen until suppertime. Supper was interesting. My parents ate in the dining room but we were not allowed out there (carpeting, you know, is more important than a quality family dinner spent around the table), so the kids ate in the kitchen. What a sad sight that was. There were three barstools at the counter, then a place at the desk (where I sat), and another small table (where my sister would sit, with her back facing the boys). We ate in silence, always making sure to clean our plates. I dreaded the days when bread was part of the meal. You see, when I was about 4 or 5, I was eating a hamburger and suddenly realized I had too much bread in my mouth and it started getting all mushy and disgusting so I spit it out. My dad then force-fed me and made me swallow it down, all the while with me crying. From that point on, I could not eat bread without gagging. I begged to have my hamburger plain -- I'd just dip it in ketchup, I said. "No. What do you think you are, a dog? You gonna eat like a dog?! You will EAT the bread", he said. Well, I didn't want to eat the bread. I was 8 or 9 when he shoved the bun down my throat until I gagged, pouring milk to "help it down". After that, I would just sneak the bread into my hand and flush it down the toilet, otherwise, if my mom came to the kitchen, I'd sneak it into her hand and she'd hide it for me. This went on for years. I didn't touch another bun/bread until I was 18 years old and out of the house, and even now, I still cannot eat it plain. I'm 30 years old and this still affects me.

When I was in 5th or 6th grade, my mom was not home and my brother and I were sitting on the couch, just joking around (you know, like kids do). Dad came home from work and said, "you kids fighting?? Here, you think it's fun?" Then he threw me across the living room (10 feet or more?) and threw my brother, who landed on top of me, and then started banging our heads together saying, "fight! fight, if it's so much fun!"

When we were in public, he would talk to us like we were such wonderful kids. It was all an act. All an act to prove to all of his friends that he was a fucking awesome dad when he was anything but. He'd put his arm around my mom's waist and say, "isn't she lovely? My lovely wife? She's so great", and he'd kiss her. My stomach would turn, knowing that on the way home, he'd call her a whore and tell her that she was after his friends or some bullshit like that. He'd drive like a maniac, swerving and speeding while we held onto our seats and prayed we'd get home safely.

Kids forgive. That's what we did. He'd beat us up or say something horrible and in that moment, we would hate him so much that we would wish him dead. But after we had a good cry, we'd forgive him and hope that maybe that was the last time. Maybe he'd come around and tell us he loved us. Maybe a miracle would happen and he'd see the light.

But he never did.

We all just lived for the moments of happiness in between the bad days. It wasn't worth trying to fight him; after all, he bragged that he could bench-press 350 pounds. He was very good at not leaving marks in visible places, so nobody would notice. We were never brave enough to call the police. I once got as far as picking up the phone and threatening to dial when he was beating up my mom, but he yelled at me that I was so stupid, and I thought about it for a second, agreeing that I was, before hanging it up. This is why there were no records -- no evidence -- nothing to prove that any of this happened. But we all know it did. The bruises on our bodies may have faded, but the ones on our minds have not. The police did not believe my mother -- this was a small town with cops with a "good ol' boys" mentality, and my mom eventually moved after the Chief of Police testified on my dad's behalf, saying what a wonderful guy he was -- the judge dropped the restraining order and my mom no longer felt safe living over there.

This is just my perspective. My four siblings will tell you similar stories. It was even worse for my mom. I am so glad she got out and is able to live a normal life. I am over all this, and nobody would know it looking at me, I don't think. I am always positive, always happy, happier than most people I know who had far brighter upbringings. I think it's because when I was a little girl, I just decided that I hated him and that he didn't matter. There was always something to look forward to, so I did just that (I still live my life looking forward to the weekends, or to the next holiday, or to someone's social event -- it doesn't matter what it is).

Now that I'm a mother, I am a different person. I don't remember the "me" that was before who I am today. My family means the world to me, and I love providing them with a safe and happy home. I will enjoy seeing them do things that are fun. They will not have to walk on eggshells or be silent and not seen. My children will not know what it's like to be unwanted and unloved.

-------------------
For the record, this is not a sympathy post in the least -- it always bugged me when people tried to feel sorry for me. It's more like, I need to deal with these feelings once in awhile and my blog is a good place to do that. Every once in awhile, I feel guilty that my dad has two grandkids he has never met, but I need to remember what he did to us. He really doesn't deserve any of us.

I apologize that this is long and somewhat disorganized. I am not very good at organizing my thoughts when it comes to THIS part of my life, the part that is in the past -- the part I should forget but cannot because it reminds me of the fact that what I have today is so wonderful.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Things my 3 year old says

I was home at 10:00 on my feeding break. As I was feeding Elise, Andrew came in and climbed in the bed by me. I love this age, by the way. He's so observant. I asked him what he did this morning so far (as it had only been just over 2 hours since I left for work).

He said, "spilled syrup on rug". I said, "oh, it's okay -- I'm sure it was an accident". He said, "accidents happen".

Then he pointed to his sockless feet and said, "Squeaky peed on floor". And I said, "so you stepped in it?" "Yes", he said.

Then he wrapped up the conversation with, "Spilled syrup on rug . . . Squeaky peed on floor -- lots of things for Mom to get mad". I just smiled and told him I wasn't mad.

Some days are harder to come back to work. As I was putting my jacket on to go back, he grabbed my hand and said, "No, Mom, don't go back to work. Play with me!" I picked him up and hugged and kissed him but he didn't want to let go of my hand. "Hold my hand, Mom!" I told him I'd be home at 1:00 and at 4:00 for good, so we can play later.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween costumes (pics of kids)!

My ghost . . .

My mom made this costume for Andrew. After the initial fear of putting it on because it was "too scary", he very much enjoyed wearing his costume.
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I told him to "show me scary", and this is what I got.
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Guess he is more Casper the Friendly Ghost than anything scary.


And here is my little calf . . .
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She loves my mom's dog. If she could wag that tail in excitement, she would. ;)
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We had a nice Halloween. We handed out candy at our house for about an hour before heading over to my mom's house. We took the kids around her neighborhood and after the first house, Andrew got the hang of what was going on and ran to the next house to ring the doorbell. He would always say, "thank you", and when they would say, "you're welcome", he'd yell, "you're welcome, too!" over his shoulder as he ran to the next house. It was very cute and he was just adorable in his costume. Elise just enjoyed walking with us and it's funny because she's at that age where she really doesn't understand, so it's cute because she probably just thinks that was just another outfit I put on her and it's just a random day where we go outside. I love the innocent obliviousness of babyhood.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I am so lame.

I actually got excited yesterday afternoon because something so silly made me so happy. I organized my entertainment center in the living room. We have one of those that is actually pretty cool and efficient -- it's a wooden one that is built into the wall. Anyway, we have so many DVDs that they were 3-4 rows deep on all the shelves so anytime one wants to watch something, it's hard to view all that is available.

I decided to do something about it. I picked up some CD/DVD books with the sleeves -- 2 of them, because each of them holds over 100 (105, I think?). I took all the DVDs out of the cases and filled these binders up. I put all the romantic comedies, comedies, and dramas into one of them and all the "kid movies" in the other. I did have to combine some other movies in the second one because the other one actually filled up (that does kind-of bug me that it worked out that way, but I will survive).

I put all the cases in the basement, even though the hubby said we should just toss them. The Type A in me can't do that, because if I am going to loan out any of the DVDs, which I commonly do, I need to put them in the cases.

The only thing I left out of the binders were all of the Seinfeld seasons because the discs themselves are non-descript so I just thought having 9 seasons' worth in there would be a little much. Plus, the seasons do make a nice arrangement on the top shelf, and they add color. But the rest of my DVDs are now neatly arranged into two DVD binders and that makes my life a whole lot more organized. And when guests come over, they don't see a huge mess.

Messes really stress me and if I can sit at work and know that something is clean at home, it makes my day a whole lot better. I am hoping some of you understand my sickness.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Past Halloweens . . .

I will have pics tomorrow of the kids in their costumes, but for now you can enjoy looking at pics from Halloweens past . . .

2007, Andrew's first Halloween. He was two months here, and still in his colicky, unhappy phase. Needless to say, the monster costume didn't make him any happier! This pic still makes me giggle:
Mommy & her crying monster on Halloween!

Halloween, 2008:
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Halloween, 2009 (yes, we reused the same costume because it still fit):
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween costume decided.

DISCLAIMER: I, Sarah from Wisconsin, am a huge dork. Big time. I will understand if I lose blog followers after this escapade . . .

I was sitting at my desk at work today, thinking of what I could dress up as, when around 1:00, the idea hit me. Why not dress up as Julia Child? After all, I can't cook to save my life. It takes me a long time to process a recipe. I enjoy watching cooking shows, if only to admire the cooks themselves. Anyway, I stopped by Goodwill after work and found a navy blue dress for next to nothing, along with those kickin' granny shoes. I got the apron at Walmart. Those bad boy cooking tools, which I have never used (I'm scared of mixers, blenders, and any other cooking tool that steams, fries, or sizzles -- I also refuse to "cook" anything that requires measuring, cutting, or prepping), were available in my kitchen.

The best thing is, the residents will know who Julia Child is! She is of their generation. So there you have it, a ghetto Wisconsin version of JC herself. ;)

(And because Julia liked "the sauce", I had to get a pic with the good stuff . . .)
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P.S., I hope Julia isn't rolling in her grave over this -- may she rest in peace.

My mom is the BEST!

Seriously. She whipped together a Halloween costume for Andrew. She picked up some fleece fabric and sewed it (sew awesome! Hah!). She put boning in the bottom so that it flares out a little. It has a hood to go over his head. She just swung by my work and dropped it off. I love my mom so much!

I will have pictures soon of my ghost and my little calf. We have a Halloween costume party at work tomorrow (which I am not dressing up for, because I don't have anything besides the slutty bunny costume I have from four years ago and it's totally not appropriate for a nursing home let alone a non-drunk environment) and the kids are going to come visit me at work tomorrow to show off their costumes. Then, we will go to my mom's on Halloween and go trick-or-treating with the kids (mine plus the 4-year-old niece).

What costume can I whip together for myself without having the supplies to do so? Any ideas? LOL . . . I've always said I am boring like a librarian, so I could just be that!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy 8 months, Baby Girl . . .

It's been so bittersweet. I still remember her birth like it was yesterday. I had that little baby in my arms and I looked at her with wonder and awe, and although I had already been a mom, it was still so amazing. I remember laughing to myself, saying, "I don't really know you yet!"

Well, it was so much fun getting to know her. I remember that night, she would not sleep in her basinette in the hospital and she kept grunting, despite being fed and changed and warm. I picked her up and snuggled her in with me in the bed and she slept five hours straight. I remember waking up the next morning and gazing into her beautiful blue eyes and thinking that she was just so perfect. I studied her, taking in all her features and commiting them to memory, telling myself that I would never forget this moment. The way she tucked up her little legs into a "frog sit" was just so cute! I thought her legs were never going to unfurl. I nicknamed her "Squeaker" because of the little noises she made when she was so small.

Over the months, she changed very quickly, and I welcomed all the milestones. Her first smile melted my heart. The cooing came shortly thereafter and it was such a beautiful sound. I loved when she became more aware and started interacting with her older brother. She so much just wants to copy what he does.

In eight months, she went from a tiny, precious, quiet bundle to a crawling, cruising, giggling, squealing girl who kicks her legs in excitement when she is happy -- but she is still my precious "Squeaker" and I can still gaze into her beautiful blue eyes and feel the love that is mutual.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blah.

That's how I feel today. This weather doesn't help.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Comforts . . .

Now that our "Indian Summer" days are faded and fall is officially upon us, I tend to think of the comforts that make me happy -- the little things in life. In no particular order, I love the following comforts . . .

Long, hot baths in the morning -- mainly because when I get out of bed, it's cold, and if I lie in the tub, I don't have to fully awaken before beginning my work day . . .

My mom's homemade meals -- need I say more? Hot dishes are something that we like to make up here in the Midwest and they are the epitome of "homemade yumminess". I was an odd child who wouldn't eat bread from ages 4 - 18 -- and even now, I cannot eat a slice of bread plain, or God forbid, a bun (gag! Long story behind that but we won't get into it now). My mom would make a point to make my favorite meal for my birthday, porcupine meatballs (which is hamburger and rice made up into big meatballs and then you can have either mashed potatoes or dumplings -- the sauce over all of this is tomato sauce mixed with rice. It's a variation of stuffed green peppers, also delicious)!

That feeling when it's Friday afternoon and I know the whole weekend is ahead of me . . . which takes me to my next bullet . . .

Sleeping in on the weekends!

Warm pajamas (and yes, socks to bed -- there's no other way to do it)!

Watching a good romantic comedy (like the best movie ever, my favorite, Love Actually) and letting the troubles of the real world melt away for 2 hours and 15 minutes . . .

Driving in my car and singing along to all my favorite songs . . .

When my house is all the way clean (it gives me such a peace of mind) . . .

The holidays with my family, especially the 2-3 weeks leading up to Christmas -- we have so many awesome traditions, including blasting Manheim Steamroller while we decorate the tree, making light conversation and bringing up memories . . .

Warm fall days where I can still wear long sleeves, but the sun is shining so it warms me just enough so I'm not cold . . .

When both of my kids are by me on the couch so I can give them both kisses without moving much (that makes me sound really lazy, but it's really just nice to have both kids nearby) . . .

To counter that last one, when both kids are sleeping so I can have some "me" time before I go to bed . . .

And finally, big hugs. I love to hug and be hugged! :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Worst boss story!

On one of my forums I'm on, we were talking about "worst bosses". I realized I have never shared this story here, so bear with me (if you need something to distract you today or you just plain want to know). Here goes!

I worked at this small company my first job out of college. It was really just until I found something in my field. Anyway, I was the Administrative Assistant and it was all men besides me.

The owner, my boss, was a jerk. He wasn't from here -- he was from India, and I am not stereotyping here, but he was SO rude to his wife. She was an anesthesiologist and very smart, but he would yell at her on the phone and talk down to her so bad. She was basically the one who kept the money in the business because she had such a good job and he treated her like dirt. In fact, I can't even remember some of the horrible things he said to her because I tend to block that stuff out of my mind (just the way I have survived all these years -- anything my dad would say would go to a "non-memory" part of my brain and eventually be washed away). He basically called her stupid. His daughter, his only child, was going to medical school and I remember him saying, "she'll never make it". Now you have an idea of what kind of asshole I worked for here.

One day, I was having a conversation with two of the techs who were sitting at their desk, doing their business on their computers. It was just happy, "Friday" conversation, and let's face it: I talk to anyone and am almost always in a good mood. My boss walked in (there was this main area, and we were all off to the right in this big room), slammed the door, and yelled, "LET'S GET BACK TO WORK!!!!!!!" I gave the guys a bewildered look (like, "WTF"?) and finished my shift -- I had 5 minutes left, so on my way out, I slammed the door as hard as I could (in my mind, I wanted the door to break the walls and fall down).

As I was walking home, he drove by (picture a pissed 22-year old me walking, with a sad man slowly driving next to me in his BMW) -- he rolled down his window and said, "let's talk about this", and I said, "no, really, it's okay! I just want to go home now." -- He thought I had quit, but I really was just pissed he talked to us that way and I was trying to prove a point by slamming the door (yay me!). He kept pestering me before finally going away, but it was a very awkward moment!

A few times, he got into loud arguments with the vice president. They'd shut the door (it was a flimsy household-type hollow wooden door, because this office was so ghetto), and yell at each other, like I couldn't hear right through the door. I thought I was going to have to call the police! Also, the VP tried to get me to give him back rubs because he had some surgery and his neck hurt (WTF?)!

I was only there 4 months when I found a job in my field (graphic art), so I put in a two-week notice. He begged me to stay three, and promised that he would pay me the full two weeks' vacation, even though I had only earned 4 days. The agreement was so that I could stay on to train the new girl and that 3 weeks was more than generous.

I trained the new girl on and stayed until she was comfortable in the role. I asked her if she wanted me to make out an enevelope with my new address (I had just moved) so that they would have it to send my last paycheck. She said, "oh no, that's fine -- I'll take care of it".

Payday comes and goes and I never received my check. I called and the owner put me on speakerphone and had the new girl in there too and they both denied that I said I tried to give them my new address! How unprofessional. They told me to wait another two weeks and if it didn't show up in the mail, to call back.

It never came, so I called again, and when that paycheck finally came, he only paid me for four days of vacation pay. I called him up and he denied it. I told him, "well, I guess I just trusted you and should have gotten our verbal agreement in writing". So, I sent him a letter stating that it was very unprofessional what he did, and got a letter from a lawyer in response to that stating that they didn't owe me anything.

Jerk! Last I heard, he had sold the business and "retired". Thank God!

My boss now is amazing and has never treated me with disprespect! He would cry if I left -- LOL! :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday randoms . . .

Last Saturday, Elise said "mama" for the first time. She only says it when she's crying and since she doesn't cry very often, I haven't heard it very often, but it is crystal-clear when she does say it. I remember Andrew doing this same thing with his first word, but of course, he was always crying. ;)

Today marks two weeks, and Andrew is 100% (I would say) healed from his surgery now. As of last Thursday night, he no longer needed pain medication and he didn't complain about his throat anymore. He is sleeping silently now and I have to check and make sure he's breathing because he's so quiet. The behaviors (hyperactivity) haven't really changed yet, but I would imagine that some of those are habit now. It's really the least of my concerns at this point in time -- we are both just glad he got through the surgery and recovery period okay.

We got a new home phone, and there are no monthly fees. It's called Ooma and you pay $230 upfront, so for those of you taking notes, that's about 6 - 7 months of home service. As long as the company continues to stay in business for 6 months, you're winning. We just bought a home phone to hook up to this little box that then hooks up to your modem (router? whatever -- the little thing with the flashing lights). We had done some research and Magic Jack got really bad reviews, but people seemed to like Ooma. The reception is crystal clear and we have used it to call and receive calls from both cell phones and land lines. I would highly suggest looking into it if you want something with unlimited minutes, long distance, caller ID, and voicemail. We got it because I just have a Tracfone and paying per minute, while cheaper than a plan, isn't realistic when my hubby wants to talk to his brothers for a half hour - 45 minutes at a time. So, we stepped back into time, back to the early 90s, when cordless phones were cool.

I celebrated 6 years at my job yesterday and it doesn't seem like it's been that long. I really like it there and hope to stay employed there for as long as I can. Everyone I work with is awesome, I love the hours (8-4, Monday through Friday), the pay is decent, and I feel rewarded with what I do. My tasks are varied so it keeps it from becoming mundane. With Human Resources, once you get about 5 years in, that's really good experience a person could look elsewhere to move up, but I really don't want to go anywhere so I'll stay right here, thank you (especially in this economy).

I guess that's about it. My life is so boring!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Deep thoughts for Monday...

Do you believe in soulmates? Do you think there is one person for everyone, or do you think that multiple possibilities exist? Share your thoughts.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Uploads from today

We had fun outside with the camera today, and I did manage to get one shot where Andrew was smiling. He's not a fan of the camera these days, so it's a struggle!

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And, for the outtake. Look at Andrew's face. LOL, classic!
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Friday, October 15, 2010

My name is Sarah.

S-A-R-A-H. Yes, it has an "h" on the end. My mother named me. My sister-in-law, who has known me for over 13 years now, continues to spell it without the "h", even in replies to e-mails and on Facebook when it's right there in front of her. On our wedding card or other cards, etc., she always spells it "Sara" -- we even lived with her for 6 months back in the day.

It bothers me when people don't notice little details like that. I am very observant and heck, it bothers me when people spell other people's names wrong!

How should I approach this? Should I just let it go? How do I nicely approach this after all these years? I don't want to come off as a bitch, but it bothers me that she doesn't take the time to care.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Elise can pull herself up to the couch!

This happened for the first time yesterday. This post is mainly for my records. :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday randoms

I find that I much prefer staples over paper clips, because I like how secure they feel. I find myself stapling everything at work to keep it organized and together and I actually feel a sense of uneasiness if someone hands me something with a paperclip, or God forbid, just loose! I am so Type A it's not even funny . . .

This weekend, the hubby and I watched Julie and Julia and we both really enjoyed it! I do not like to cook, while my husband does; therefore, he does most of (okay, all of) the cooking around the house. Plus, he's home and has the time to do it and really has a passion for mixing ingredients whereas I am all about the sandwich and making things that don't require measuring cups, mixers, sauteeing, stirring, or more than one bowl or pan. I really liked the dialogue of the movie and the characters were interesting. It was neat how it went back and forth between the 1940s and the present. I can't imagine living back then, and furthermore, in Paris. She was an interesting character, Julia Child -- definitely what I would call flamboyant. The present scenes took place in New York and it made me realize how it really is a different world there than here. I find it to be incredibly romantic and exciting, although I do like that here where I live, I am just a jump on the Interstate way from my work and any other store I want to go to. It's 5 minutes to basically anywhere -- maybe 10 if I go downtown. I think my life would be different if I lived somewhere else, especially if I had grown up there. My family would be different than it is now because we would be impacted by our settings. I can't imagine us anywhere but here. Do you ever think about that? Picture your mom living anywhere else and it just seems wrong? I have such a Wisconsin pride, it's not even funny. It is fun to visit other places, though. I had the same feelings about Florida when we were there in January of 2009 -- what a different world. The population is much more diverse than here, and the whole culture is just different. And they all seem oblivious to the fact that there are palm trees everywhere and they are wearing shorts in January. They are so lucky to be able to do that! I think that if a lot of them visited us during our coldest month (January), they would probably think that we are all frigging nuts -- which, I won't argue.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Time for an Andrew update.

Well, it wasn't easy taking him in on Wednesday morning for his surgery. He was happily playing with the toys they provided him in the room, especially the ball popper. He was laughing hysterically and putting things in there that weren't even balls.

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That was fun. The balls were going all over the room. My mom also showed up to be there for Andrew, and for us, and it was great (because afterward, she really helped by grabbing things that we needed as I was lying in the little bed with Andrew).

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My mom, left, Elise, and me:
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When they gave Andrew the Versed, that was a little strange because he started acting a little silly, woozy -- drunk, basically. It was strange to see my little 3-year-old under the influence of a narcotic.

About a half hour later, they had me gown up and we took him back for the surgery. They laid him on a bed and strapped him in and as they put the mask over his face, I just held his hand. Surprisingly, I kept my composure. I gave him a kiss and told him I loved him and he was out within a minute. I walked out and we waited.

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The procedure took a half hour. The surgeon/ENT came back and told me it went well and he had minimal bleeding. His tonsils and adenoids were both a 3, so pretty big (this is on a 1-4 scale).

A little while later, the nurse came back and said she was wondering who would be able to help when Andrew is restless. "You mean, thrashing?", I asked. "Yes", she replied.

I went back there and I could hear someone crying/screaming, but it didn't even sounds like Andrew. It sounded gargled and different (because of his throat being numb). I got into the bed with him and held him but he was basically delirious. They said kids wake up from the procedure very confused and that this was normal. I just held him close to me and kissed his head and pet his hair while the two nurses helped keep his arms and legs still (very tough to do when he's so strong). He was very scared and asking if he could get down. They told me that he couldn't because he would just fall as a result of the medicine. Eventually after about 15-20 minutes, they gave him some morphine down his I.V. and he fell asleep in my arms. We were wheeled back to the original room where I continued to hold him.

He eventually woke back up and would not take a popsicle or any fluids. They eventually gave him some through his I.V.

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He was just so miserable. They said we'd be there for 1-4 hours, and we were there for the maximum time, mainly because he wouldn't take anything in. Just before we left, he threw up all over the place.

Andrew is getting his I.V. out here. I just loved his little hospital outfit -- it had tigers on it and was a little too big for him:
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It's been a rough 3 days for us. Andrew will not take the oral antibiotics or the pain medication (Tylenol + codeine) so I've been giving him Tylenol suppositories (I called the nurse advisor and that's what she suggested). He threw up two more times on Wednesday so I pretty much said "enough is enough" with those stupid prescriptions.

The meds wear off about an hour before I can give them again and Andrew cries and says, "I need you, Mom" during that time and it's especially bad at night because he's been spiking a fever.

We got him to eat some ice chips on Thursday morning, a day after the procedure, and that was really the first time he took anything. Then, he ate some soup for lunch (yay!) and some homemade mashed potatoes and gravy for supper.

Surprisingly, this kid has not wanted popsicles! He normally loves them in the summer but I have not had much luck now. He did take most of one yesterday. He will not willingly take ice chips, but if I set a cup of them next to him on the couch, eventually he'll snack on them.

Thursday evening, he actually ran down the hall a few times and picked on his sister.

At night, he makes all these sounds because he has so much fluid back there -- he had the end of a cold when the procedure was done. For the first couple of days, he wouldn't even swallow his own saliva.

I have a feeling he'll be back to his old self in no time. It's just rough to think of how bad his throat must hurt right now and I pray that this surgery does fix his sleep issues. Most of his time now is spent on the couch watching his Penguins of Madagascar DVD.

Thank you all for your positive thoughts. We really appreciate them!

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Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm back!

I apologize, not that anyone reads my blog anymore these days -- LOL -- I think I lost a lot of my readers after my pregnancy, but that's okay. I have always stated that this is a place for me to record my events so I can refer back to them in one place since I'm not good at jotting stuff down at home.

Life got a little busy and crazy and I didn't have time to blog -- all good and exciting, but nothing I'm going to blog about today. :)

One of my last posts mentioned Andrew's surgery, or potential surgery. I just wanted to update that we had his appointments with the pediatric neurologist as well as the pre-op with the surgeon. They both feel this is the best thing for Andrew.

His behaviors (what would be described by most, conservatively, as "high energy", I have described it myself as "out of control"). Most kids should wake up, full of energy, but there are times that Andrew just lies down on the bathroom floor before/after I put him on the toilet. Sometimes, he will wake up after a nap and fall right back asleep.

His snoring has been going on since about 18 months, not that that in itself is a problem, as it's not continuous, but I have been reminded by Andrew's pediatrician that snoring is not normal under any circumstances (I suppose if one had a cold, that would be an acceptable time to snore). The other issue is the fact that my my mother, my husband, and I have all observed Andrew stopping breathing in his sleep. I watched him cough once and didn't see his chest move again for 22-24 seconds -- during which time he did not struggle or anything. The neuro believes that Andrew could have a mix of obstructive sleep apnea (his big tonsils) and central sleep apnea, which would put his diagnosis as a mixed apnea with possible OSA. The best route of action is to take the tonsils and the adenoids and see if he sleeps better. Should he continue to have problems, we would do a sleep lab study, but the neuro said that it would be crazy to attempt to do one on Andrew if we didn't have to -- they actually glue the sensors on the scalp and all that and Andrew (whose behaviors were observed by the neuro -- and I do think that he was the wildest child he had ever seen) would try and rip them off and it'd be too crazy.

In about 90% of kids, the surgery alone fixes the snoring. The best potential outcome is, Andrew will get better quality sleep and not be so probelmatic during the day.

He also talked to us about redirecting Andrew when he wakes -- take him back to his room and put him to bed in there. I have been caving and letting him come lay by me because I am already waking with the baby when she needs to eat -- combine that with the fact that I have to get up early and go to work = I have always just done what's easiest so that I can function during the day too.

So, we're set. The surgery is Wednesday morning -- 2 days from now. It will take approximately 30 minutes. They will gas him to sleep (this part makes me so nervous), and then put in his IV and tube. He will be in recovery for 1-4 hours during which time they will watch for bleeding (a risk of 4%, pretty rare) and make sure he gets enough fluids. I have off work Wednesday through Friday and then we will also have the weekend. Andrew will be on a popsicle/liquid/soft foods diet.

I pray I am making the right decision. Ultimately, it's an elective surgery with no guaranteed results. I described his sleep behaviors as best I could, but I hope that I painted the right picture so that the doctors could agree. The neurologist did say that this surgeon does a great job and that he doesn't "willy-nilly schedule surgeries". Apparently, this used to be a lot more common of a procedure than it is now, but Andrew appears to be a good candidate.

Oh yeah, and Andrew pretty much got kicked out of the room because he was that disruptive during the appointment. The neurologist was trying to talk to me to go over Andrew's history and Andrew was throwing toys, screaming, throwing tantrums, and trying to get out of the room. Thank goodness my husband was with and could take him out of there. Let's say that while this is a pediatric neurologist, it didn't appear he had many patients that were that out of control because I could tell his patience was being tried. He is a smart doctor, though, so I liked that he was able to give me a lot of information and make me feel comfortable about my decision.

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In other news, Miss Elise has been crawling all over the house for over 2 weeks now. She is pretty fast, and knows her favorite spots to seek out. She is very playful. I love to play peek-a-boo with her when she's in her crib. I hide down and she will peek over her crib bumpers and kick her legs and squeal when she sees me. She's very different from her brother at this age, who was just more needy of me and less playful. He never liked toys, whatsoever, until he was able to enjoy books.

She turned 7 months on September 27th -- we did start solids just the other day -- avocados first (we skipped the cereal -- I don't feel it has a lot of value and the iron tends to bind kids up).

Other than that, no new news. I am enjoying the change of seasons -- I love the brief time of year when it is cool but not too cold -- still beautiful outside and enough to enjoy the weather until it's time that we up here enter the dreaded winter.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fate!

Yesterday was a strange day. Well, the evening was, at least.

Andrew was acting up and tantruming (that's not out of the ordinary) and my husband was trying to cook supper (definitely not out of the ordinary) so I decided to take the kids for a car ride and I went to Target, even though I had nothing to really get there. I pulled in to a parking spot by the carts and I got out of the car and decided to walk out of my way to the other side of the cart corral to get one that could fit both kids in it (maybe -- Elise is just starting to be able to ride up front but those big plastic ones are still probably above her level). Anyway, I pulled the first cart out and noticed a checkbook in the bottom of the cart underneath the seat. I debate whether I should leave it there or take it to the service counter. I think, well, I better take it in just in case the wrong person finds this. I open it up to see who it belongs to and it's my brother's! No way! I read the names twice (my brother's and his wife's) and couldn't believe it. I called my mom and told her and she said it was just fate. I think it was. Later on I talked to my sister-in-law who said her purse tipped over in the cart and she thought she had everything. Thank goodness the wrong person didn't find it!

The second thing that was weird. Later last night, after the kids had gone to bed, DH and I were both on our laptops. We do this frequently -- watch the news and then The Office reruns while we play on the internet. DH was saying something about "dropping a deuce" and the very post I clicked on on one of my parenting forums, just as he was saying that, was a mother talking about her son "dropping a deuce". The words came out of my husband's mouth just as the post appeared on my screen. Random and weird phrase and definitely taboo, but wow!

Then, not 15 minutes later, I clicked onto a news story and it invovled Woodman's (which is a grocery store based in Wisconsin) and, you guessed it -- as I was opening that page, DH said something about Woodman's.

Three weird things in one day. I am buying a lottery ticket today for the Powerball. I never gamble -- I am not a risk-taker, but I may as well. It's just $1, right?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I am alive, folks!

Life kind-of took hold of me and I've just been so busy with everything: home, work, and elsewhere. I'll give you a quick update.

For Andrew, we are not ready to take the step and sign him up for surgery until we know he needs it. I called to get him into the sleep lab, but they said they "don't normally do those on kids". Anyway, they sent me a sleep survey to complete so I've been doing that every night -- I keep track of the time he goes to bed, how long he sleeps for, whether or not he gets up ("up" is if he is awake for more than 2 minutes in a 1/2 hour period), if he snores, whether or not he takes a nap during the day, if he talks in his sleep, etc. He does all these things; however, I don't know how in the world I am to track all this when I need to sleep as well! I cannot do it and I don't know how this "log" is going to be accurate. I am to bring it with to the October 1st appointment he has with the neurologist (not sure why neurologist, but that's where they have me taking him). From what I can gather in my research, most children who undergo this surgery (tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy for sleep apnea) have already undergone a sleep study in a sleep lab. Our clinic has the aforementioned lab so I don't know why they won't just have him go there, but I would imagine it boils down to money. So, we wait. This is, after all, an elective surgery --yet, if it will improve his sleep quality we want to get it down. However, putting a 3-year-old (and one that weighs just 31 lbs, at that) under general anesthesia is a big deal and neither of us want to do that unless it's going to help.

What else is going on? Elise has been crawling for the past 2 weeks -- actually crawling on not just scooting! She also sits (not tripod sitting, but sitting straight up and not tipping). She's doing very well for 6 months. We are still delaying solids -- in no rush and if you look at the girl, you will see she's not starving or anything (I love that people try and push me to do solids, like I'm in any hurry to make her grow up)! At this stage, solids are more for practice than nutritional value, and the more "good stuff" (i.e., breastmilk) she continues to receive, the better. I do plan on going 2 years with her like I did with Andrew, if not a little longer (another taboo subject. However, the World Health Organization recommends 2 years and beyond as long as mutually desired).

Saturday night, I have a mini-class reunion (12 years) this weekend at a local festival in my hometown (which shall remain nameless -- I don't want weird random locals finding my blog -- I try and keep this private from people I know "in real life" -- yes, you people are amongst the elite who get to read this, so feel special!). I am pretty excited. My mom is going to watch the kids for 2-3 hours so we can go have some drinks (my hubby more than me -- I'll have 1 or 2 so I can be the designated driver and feed my baby when we get back). Social Husband is quite different than Everyday Husband. He is normally quiet (unless he knows you, then he won't shut-up), but when he's under the influence, he's really funny and he dances and makes everyone laugh. I got to witness this at the wedding I was in a few weeks back. Quite the party that was.

I got my birds (two cockatiels I have) a HUGE new bird cage and it arrived today. It weighs 95 lbs., so very heavy duty. I ordered it because Andrew keeps getting into their cages they have now and I'm sick of cleaning seeds off the floor and those cages are more rinky-dink. The new one measures 24W" by 24D" by 33"H plus it has a playtop that adds even more to the height -- including the stand, it's 5'8", which is how tall I am. Pretty fancy! And it should be for $270. Anyway, my girls will then move to the living room. Because I will now have a ton of room, I am looking at taking in 1 or 2 more (female = no breeding) birds and I'm going this weekend to look at birds this lady is re-homing. The one I'm most excited about is a 1-year-old cinnamon pearl pied who is very tame. I like being a "bird person" because we don't have to deal with dog or cat fur, we don't have to clean shit out of the yard or take care of a litter box, and birds are very easy to take care of. Plus, they're adorable and like their heads scratched and mine even like to snuggle. I have been a bird owner for almost 20 years; in fact, my older tiel is almost 17.

My grandma has been admitted to the hospital with blood clot in her leg -- she is expected to be there 4-5 days (either through tomorrow or the next day now) -- she is receiving Heparin via IV and will be sent home on coumadin. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. She was admitted to the hospital on her 72nd birthday, of all days. She has Alzheimer's (end stage) so it's a sad situation all around. However, she's going to recover from this -- I am confident she will be okay. It's hard seeing your grandmother go from this sweet, smiling lady who gives tons of kisses to a confused (still cute) lady who doesn't know you anymore. Alzheimer's runs in our family so if you are looking to donate to a cause, please think of the Alzheimer's Association!

Last but not least, my mom and I are looking, once again, for the medallion for another local festival (which also shall remain nameless for security purposes) -- this is for the BIG celebration that comes to town every year and spans 2 weekends. People come from afar to stay in this town and drink, eat brats, and be merry -- but mostly to drink. The medallion search is so much fun and we do it just for the fun of it, but it would also be nice to receive the prize: $500 cash plus other prizes.

So, that's my brief update that turned into quite a wordy one. Have a great weekend!