Saturday, February 19, 2011


I will try very hard for this post to not be political and I ask that as you read it you focus on why I think this is absurd and then you can agree or disagree based on the actual purpose of me writing this, not because it's Democrat vs. Republican...vs. Tea Party (puh-lease!).

I came across an article this morning (Mother's milk stirs unlikely political debate - that really ticked me off! I hope you will take the time to read it and even research other articles if you would like more information to base your opinion on. The "debate" is over the IRS now accepting breast pumps as medical equipment and therefore can be a write-off. (Just that part in itself being an 'issue' is absurd to me). It then becomes more of a "debate" because the First Lady has promoted breast-feeding recently during her "Let's Move" campaign stating that it could help in childhood obesity. According to a few Republicans/Tea Party-ers, the IRS decided to change this part of the tax code just because Michelle Obama has promoted breast-feeding recently even though this has been an issue for the IRS (and others) since at least last Fall when the IRS actually stated breast pumps WERE NOT medical equipment. Numerous people/groups were in disagreement with the ruling including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). All of this to say, what is wrong with breast pumps being considered medical equipment? There are thousands of women who could not get through breast-feeding if it weren't for a pump and if it's for the betterment of someone's health (i.e, the child) how does it not constitute the same tax break as say hearing aids, contact lenses, eyeglasses, etc.?

The issue becomes even more ridiculous when people start blaming the First Lady herself for sticking her nose into 'our' business. Really? Childhood obesity can only be talked about in our own homes? Maybe that's the real problem, because I highly doubt the majority of families with weight issues are sitting around their dinner table talking about what they could do to change their lives for the better...or maybe they are, it's just while eating a huge serving of creamy pasta or a big bowl of ice cream. Heaven help us if someone offers advice or if some state-led or federally-led program(s) can offer kids a healthy start to life or help them lose weight. We should just let them do what they want and govern their own lives because if they decide one day that they're too fat and finally want some assistance all they need to do is find the right surgeon to get a little nip and tuck and then they can possibly write THAT off (seriously...look it up)! And why is it wrong for the First Lady to have a "voice"? Nancy Reagan had "Just Say No" and Laura Bush had a literacy program. Every First Lady has an issue that they speak for so this should not be a surprise or a problem to others.

I find these days that silly things are becoming "debates" between the parties that don't need to be and the real issues are being sidelined or lost in the shuffle. If the real issue is the tax code, then talk about the tax code as a whole and what needs to be fixed, but obviously there will still be medical write offs and I honestly believe this is a legitimate one. I tried REALLY hard to not name names in this post and give my real opinion on some of the people talking crap about stuff they don't know about. But, I ask that if you the reader do not agree with me, please take the time to tell me and why, but please do not make it a party issue and start saying which party is right and which is wrong. I would like this to be a civil conversation...not a moronic one that is played out daily on the cable news networks.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thought I would pass this along...

The 10 Most Irritating, Least Helpful Parenting Tips Ever

by Redbook, on Fri Feb 4, 2011 7:39am PST

I have nothing against friends and family offering advice when you come to them with a dilemma. It's the people who pipe up, unbidden, because they see you with a child and assume you have no idea what you're doing. Too often these people are elderly great-aunts. Fortunately those ladies are afraid of the Internet, so I can rail against them and they'll be none the wiser! Thanks, ladies.

1. "Sleep now, because once that baby comes you'll never sleep again." Technically this is a pregnancy tip, of course, but I'm shoving it in here anyway. Yes, Great-Aunt Hildy, I will sleep throughout my entire third trimester. Because I am part bear.

2. "Sleep when the baby sleeps." Everyone gives you this one — annoying relatives, pediatricians, the cashier at the drugstore where you were buying newborn diapers. Are these people all robots, capable of instantly dropping off to sleep whenever their child is unconscious? Do they not have other things to do, like bathe, or simply relish the rare moments of silence you get when you have an infant?

3. "I think your baby's hungry." Whether you're nursing or bottle-feeding, everyone assumes you don't know how to feed your child. And every time your child cries, whines, grimaces, or squirms, they are going to assume you are starving your poor baby and you need reminders to feed it. Lest you forget! This advice is especially maddening when they turn out to be correct.

4. "Relish every moment of your baby's first years, because they'll be grown before you know it."You mean, time only moves forward? I had no idea! I thought we'd be like this forever and ever! This sort of advice, obvious and innocuous as it seems, always put me on the defensive, as if I had just been carrying my baby under my arm like a football, muttering, "Grow up already, why don't you. Just GROW UP."

5. "I hope you're sleep training that child. Do you WANT him to be spoiled?" Oh, distant relative/person whose aisle I shared at the supermarket, I'm so glad you know exactly my child needs. And that you know, from your years of scientific research, that any child not allowed to cry it out will be a horrible waste of flesh! (See #6 for this parenting tip's counterpart.)

6. "I hope you're not doing that 'crying it out' thing. It's so barbaric. Enjoy your baby all through the night!" Again, kudos to you, whoever you are, for knowing what's best for our unique family situation! I will be calling you at 4 a.m., so you can enjoy our baby as well.

7. "Why are you bringing your child outside when it's so cold out?" It never ceased to amaze me that, no matter what my child's age, total strangers will express alarm and revulsion that I dared expose him to the elements. "And WHY ISN'T BE WEARING MITTENS? He's going to get consumption!"

8. "Your child isn't really sad/angry/injured. He's just manipulating you." There's no doubt that children can push our buttons as if they've had professional training in it, but the notion that my kid's authentic feelings are in fact manufactured to elicit a reaction really chaps my hide. If that were always true, he'd be a pint-sized sociopath.  I'm pretty sure that's not the case.

9. "Schools are just glorified prisons. If you loved your child, you'd homeschool." Oh, if only I loved my child enough to abandon my livelihood, tear him away from the community he so enjoys, separate him from the professionals who have dedicated their careers to childhood education, and forced him to stay home all day with me, where we'd be at each other's throats for hours! If only! Please note: I am not opposed to homeschooling, at all — in fact I wish it would work for us, but it would not.

10. "If I were you, I'd just—" OH NO YOU DON'T. I know where this is going. Listen, unnamed distant acquaintance who last parented in the 19th century (it's true — I often get my unwanted advice from ghosts) you don't know diddly about my kid, and our relationship, and what works for us.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Annie's 4 month stats

Happy Valentine's Day 2011!  A year ago today, in the very early morning hours of which I couldn't sleep since Stephen was on-call, I found out I was pregnant with Annie.  I was pretty surprised because we hadn't been trying very long.  And look at her now...4 months old and reaching one milestone after another - too fast in my opinion.  I am really wanting Annie to stay her small, baby self for as long as possible.  But, after her 4 month check up today I'm reminded again how fast she is growing and once again her stats made me laugh.  She is my chunky monkey and then around 18 mo. she'll slow dramatically and be my petite, skinny girl (just like her sister).

Today she weighed in at 14 lb, 8.5 oz. (70th percentile) and she was 26 inches long (96th percentile).  Her head circumference is still up there at 16 7/8" (90th percentile).  She got the same vaccines she got at her 2 month check up and was a champ once again.  If only that would last.  Ella became deathly afraid of shots around 4 and now we have to sit on top of her just for her to get a flu shot!!  I don't look forward to having to sit on top of both of them at some point in the future.

As for milestones, she can roll over from her tummy to her back, but not vice versa yet.  She can roll over on her side from her back, but not completely over onto her tummy.  (Again, I'm in no hurry for that.)  She is reaching for, glasses, noses, necklaces, hair, etc.  And she loves to exercise her vocal chords - in a good, happy way.  She loves babbling and hearing herself making high-pitched noises.  It's very cute, for now anyway.  She also loves scooting on her back and lately we've been finding her in the morning lying in a completely different direction than we laid her down the night before.  And no, pediatrician friends, I am not taking off the bumper!  :)

We're going to try and start her on some solid food this week, but if she isn't into it we won't rush it.  I haven't decided whether I'm going to try rice cereal first or oatmeal.  I can't remember what I started Ella on first (guess I should look back in my blog).  We don't have any problem with food allergies, so it really doesn't matter.  So, let the messiness begin!!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

I don't know where to start..., I'll start here (and sorry in advance if this isn't very eloquent).  These past few days I have had the curse and privilege to indirectly experience my worst nightmare as a mother and a wife.  This past Saturday, 2/5/11, our area had a little freak snow storm that was not expected by most, if anyone.  We were called to have about an inch or two of snow, mostly coming in the evening.  Well, snow started around 1p and it was falling faster and heavier than predicted.  I was driving it in as it started falling, thankfully not on the interstate, but I was shocked by the intensity and lack of visibility and was nervous as I was just driving a couple miles to a friend's house.  Little did I know at this same time a family was traveling on I-94 where conditions quickly worsened to whiteout conditions.  Apparently they had just pulled to the side of the interstate as they saw cars ahead of them getting into accidents.  Their van was then hit by a semi truck.  A 37-week pregnant woman was sitting in the back seat of the van with her husband and her parents were in the front.  The pregnant mother was transported to a nearby hospital where she died and her baby was delivered, but had no heart beat.  The baby was able to be revived and ventilated.  For the past three days numerous people have been praying for this family and the father (who had minor injuries) and had just lost his wife and now had to stay strong for his little one and pray for a miracle.  Sadly, after three days there was no improvement or brain activity.

Thankfully this family has a deep faith.  The father has been keeping a blog since he found out he was going to be a father last June and he continued to update it after the accident.  His deep faith and trust in God and the way he was able to get through these last few days is absolutely amazing to me.  I can not imagine going through what he has gone through and dealing with it with such grace.  He has praised God every day and was able to sing hymns last night after he took his precious baby off life support and held her while she went to be with her mother and Jesus in Heaven.  

I am well aware that there are tragedies like this every day.  This is not the first time I've shed tears over a patient's story.  For some reason though this particular story and family have really impacted me and my husband.  I've tried to chalk it up to the fact that it's because I'm a mother and wife and again, could not imagine dealing with that type of pain and loss.  It's definitely made me hug my kids a little tighter and say 'I love you' a little more.  But, like I said earlier, this IS my worst nightmare.  If you know me, you know I have abandonment issues and the thought of being alone (for life, not for a few hours...or days) freaks me out to no end.  

This father and husband has amazed me and shown me what trusting God in every situation really means.  I hope I will never have to understand this man's pain, yet I hope I can also learn from this tragedy and not only live every day like it's my last, but also to not sweat the small stuff like I almost always do and remember to praise God in the good times and the bad.