Thursday, July 30, 2009

BUSY!

I'm busy! Super busy! Extraordinarily busy! I need at least an extra 6 hours in every day for the next week. I also need to get over being overwhelmed and get crackin' on a to-do list that is long on tasks and short on time. That is all.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Gift of Skepticism

I'm a skeptic. Always have been. I'm quite certain it's driven every guy I ever dated (including my wonderful husband) crazy. I know it drives my mom crazy (but she'll just claim I got it from my dad). It's not uncommon for me to tilt my head, squint one eye and say, "I love you and all, but I'm gonna have to look that one up." I don't think this is a bad trait to have. Actually, I didn't realize I was so "bad" until it came to my attention that there are people in the world who believe commercials. Like, REALLY believe them. If the glowing box in the living room says xyz pain reliever is the best, well by george, we need to buy it, because THEY (who is that all knowing "they" everyone always talks about?) said it's the best. And we all know research studies funded by commercial interests are amongst the soundest studies out there.....can you hear my eyes rolling???

Being a skeptic, email forwards (and now, facebook forwards) really eat at me. We all played telephone as kids--where you whisper something once and only once to your neighbor and they whisper to their neighbor until you get all the way around the classroom and the last kid announces that the secret was, "blue goats wear underwear at breakfast" and we all had a big laugh. Email is a giant game of telephone. Either someone makes up something ludicrous to begin with or it gets suddenly changed along the way until it is in no way shape or form the way it started out. Talk radio is like a big game of telephone as well. I've come to the conclusion that the more pissed off your talk radio personality is, the less likely they are telling the truth--really. fact check it. One person spouts off their less than informed opinion to their audience, half of those people go home and try to relate the relevant points to friends and family, who try to relate the relevant points.....well, you get the idea.

So what's a true skeptic to do?? Well, first of all, never get your education from one source. Never. You wanna be a lactation consultant? (for an example from my own life) You need to mentor under more than one lactation consultant. Your profession requires continuing education credits? They need to be from more than one organization/conference. You see something in an email forward that makes your blood boil? Fact check it. You want to know how well a medication works? Try (if you can) to find a study that doesn't have corporate sponsorship.

Here's a starting point: Google. Yup, good ol' google. Does it give you a definitive answer? no. But if you immediately see 20 pages popping up verifying your fact, you know you're on the right path. Conversely (and usually), you'll see 20 pages referencing things like "urban legend" and "myth". Next: Snopes. Snopes covers a good majority of the email forwards that go around. They have annoying pop-ups, but good information. When politics are involved: Fact Check can give you a decent run down (hint: NO ONE tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth). Things concerning your right to bear arms (because I'm in Texas, and believe me, it comes up A LOT): Gun Law News keeps a pretty decent list going of proposed legislation as well as if it's already dying in committee or actually going anywhere (not that we should be complacent, but nor do we need to send out hyperventilating OMG! emails).

Don't get me wrong, there are sources of information that I love that fit my lifestyle well, but they are biased. Heavily biased. As long as I know that and remember that, I'm okay. Whenever there is a topic that riles me up and gets me mad or frustrated at someone or some entity, it's worth purposely going to the other end of the spectrum because the truth probably lies somewhere in between. I can pull out someone from my own little group of friends that thinks CNN is too conservative and someone else who thinks FoxNews is too liberal. EVERYONE has biases--the best way to moderate your own and make sure you haven't gone off the crazy gullible deep end is to seek a second source. Please do so before putting me on your forward list ;-)

Just another Tuesday...

Tuesday nights, our local Chick-Fil-A does "kids eat free" and has a fun activity for the kids as well, so we usually go. Here's how tonight went:



This is after we cleaned her up, but before they came in to fix it. We stopped at an urgent care clinic on the way and we were told it needed stitches (which I could've been convinced of, but had a hard time believing), so we left there and went to the ER, where we were told it was a clean cut and could be glued as long as we would help hold her really still during and immediately after so the glue didn't get in her eye.


This is after it was fixed, and we got home and changed her and all that good stuff.

Yeah, $100 copay for the ER...kid's certainly didn't eat "free" tonight ;-) Would've loved the $25 copay at the urgent care, but I couldn't imagine holding her still for stitches. If it was going to come to that, I would've preferred the ER, where they have the means to tie her down if necessary. For the record, we were playing a game of peak-a-boo and she slipped and fell. Luckily, Josh and I are both pretty okay with blood, so it wasn't a huge deal, but I heard from my friend later that we pretty much put a stop to all activity in the chick-fil-a for a little while.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

You know you're a lactation consultant when...

I'm an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). If you are thinking about breastfeeding, or you are breastfeeding, or someone you love is breastfeeding and you find yourself in need of assistance, I highly recommend finding an IBCLC to work with. Unlike various other "specialties" (breastfeeding nurse, lactation specialist, "the one who knows all about nursing", friends, grandmas, a large portion of nurses and doctors, etc...), an IBCLC has extensive education specific to breastfeeding. This is what we do and we've spent YEARS studying this small subset of information. The exam to become an IBCLC is only offered once a year and for 2009, it's tomorrow. In honor of that, I've compiled a short list:
You Know You're a Lactation Consultant When...
  • ...you get very excited over poop. Specifically, yellow poop with "seeds"
  • ...people regularly send you emails with pictures of their baby's poop
  • ...you've just about memorized what an 8% loss is for every birthweight from 6.5 to 8.5 pounds
  • ...you understand, and have an opinion on, the "yeast vs. bacteria" debate
  • ...you know that adoptive moms can breastfeed
  • ...you also know that (while uncommon) it is possible for men to breastfeed
  • ...you start to feel like you just might be more anxious than the mom eagerly awaiting baby's birth date
  • ...you find yourself staying up late waiting for just one more call or one more email from a client
  • ...you grieve and rejoice over every setback and achievement of countless preemies
  • ...you have a collection of photos of babies that don't belong to you
  • ...you've learned the supreme importance of supporting a woman in reaching her goals, not your own
Good luck to everyone sitting the exam this year!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Driest in the Nation

Well we're just on a record making roll, now aren't we? Apparently Texas is the driest state in the nation! Highlights from the linked article:
  • 77 of our 254 counties are in extreme or exceptional drought and no other state has even one county in one of those categories
  • In the San Antonio-Austin area, there have been 36 days with 100+ degree temps this year (average is 12)
  • Lake Travis in Austin is down 54%
  • The Edwards Aquifer (San Antonio) is in the midst of its driest 23-month period since recording began (in 1885)
Here's the drought map. Our county is in the "extreme" area, but the "exceptional" area is just one county over:


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Karmic Goodness!!

Three months ago, I turned in $20 someone had left at the grocery store. Today, I left my wallet at that same grocery store. Since I vividly remember walking out of the store with it, I must have left it on the cart outside. This was around 11am. At 11pm, I tried to pay for hotel reservations online and realized the wallet was gone. I've never lost a wallet before (well, as an adult) and was really really kicking myself. The grocery store's open until midnight, so I called, got grilled on description, name, etc...and was told my wallet was there!!! I went to pick it up and everything is still it in and in the place I left it! Of course, I'll be watching my credit and checking accounts MUCH closer for a while just to be on the safe side, but it certainly appears as though one monumentally good citizen turned it in undisturbed and a string of employees throughout the day left it undisturbed. What goes around, comes around.....woo hoo!!!

In all fairness and honesty, I must admit that a while back I had some diapers on the bottom of my cart at Target that I forgot to pay for and given a weak moment (when it was over 100 degrees and I already had both kids strapped in the car), I didn't go back in and pay for them. So I'm still a little on the negative side of things karma-wise. Though, those diapers did give Sedona diaper rash, making them only barely usable, so maybe that's my payback for that? And I've checked the bottom of my cart ever since!

Whoever you are, thank you fellow citizen!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Home Cookin'

I was planning on making red beans and rice for dinner, but when I got to the pantry, I found out we were out of kidney beans. The new plan was pinto beans and cornbread. It was like a little piece of my childhood on the dinner table. I'm officially naming beans and cornbread as my "comfort food from childhood". "We" probably ate chicken and dumplings more often, except that I never liked that one ;-)

If you know anyone that works with babies or wants to work with babies and might be interested in a Lactation training, send 'em over to my website. I had a training scheduled for Alexandria, LA August 10-12 and it was so popular that all the spots filled up and my waiting list kept getting longer, so we've added another training in Natchitoches, LA August 7-9. The trainings are normally $350, but thanks to the fabulous host, The Central Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition, the fee for this training is only $250. That includes lunch each day, light breakfast, snacks, 200 page book and the opportunity to win some of the books from the reading list as door prizes. It's a great deal, I tell ya! Even better, we JUST finished revising the manual (as of yesterday) so the presentation and materials are chock full of the most recent research out there. I only have 5 spots left in Natchitoches, get 'em while they're there!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When it rains, it pours!!!

We tied our record for consecutive days with no measurable rainfall.....56 days. Then the heavens opened up. We had a very short, intense storm Sunday evening that still recorded as only a trace of rain. Then last night, a real doozy came through. The recording equipment at the airport's weather station got knocked down, so they don't know official rain fall amounts yet, but from looking at the doppler, they are estimating 5 to 7 inches, and the storm only lasted two hours. Lots of hail (reports of baseball sized a few miles away) and winds up to 60mph. There were a few funnel shaped clouds, but apparently no damage that looks like it was from a tornado, so there is a little controversy brewing about whether anything actually touched down or not. Last night the backyard was pretty flooded (the ground was WAY too dry to handle that much rain that quick), but it was nice to still see some moisture on the ground this morning. They're predicting more rain/storms tonight and tomorrow. I know we're extremely behind on our yearly rainfall, but I'd like to avoid getting it all back in two days!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A review and a review request

Wanted to update on the Roomba! I'm loving it! I've been running it every morning and the floor is SOOOOO much cleaner. We have not set up the lighthouses yet (that direct it to finish one room before moving onto the next) just because we didn't have batteries for them, so it's not super efficient at the moment, but it gets the job done. The only slight frustration we've had was concerning dumping the trash bin and cleaning the brushes. Word of warning....you do need to read the directions carefully and follow them. Each time you empty the trash bin, you have to take the brushes out and clean them and also take off three little pieces connected to the brushes. At first, this seemed like a serious hassle, but then I came to my senses---it takes all of 2 minutes (maybe) once a day, which is WAY less time that it took me to vacuum. The first 3 days or so, I wasn't cleaning the brushes because I was so excited to see the roomba in action, I didn't read all the directions. Sierra and I both have long, curly hair and the parts I didn't clean got completely bound up with hair and wouldn't turn. Easy to fix once I realized what the problem was and from here on out, I'll maintain it properly. They do make a roomba for pet households, but the dog hair hasn't been a problem (we don't have any carpeting though, maybe the pet one would be better on carpet). The only other thing I've had to be careful of is the power cord for the computer. The roomba does a pretty good job of disentangling itself, but I still don't let it run when I'm not around because I don't want to risk it pulling my computer off the counter top. Over all, I'm very happy with it. I feel like the house is cleaner AND I have less to do---not a combination that comes around too often!!

And now I need a review from you......anyone ever tried The Grocery Game? I found out about it years and years ago. I never signed up because it costs money and I shop using the exact same principles they use, so I figured I was doing a pretty good job on my own. I spend anywhere from $150-$200/month to feed a family of four (now that Sedona's eating full servings of food). I recently discovered they do a free trial now though, so I'm considering it. If I could spend the same amount, but get more food, that would be great. My main questions are does it really save money (if you already matched coupons with sales and stocked up at sale prices) and do they do a lot of matching store and manufacturer coupons (which my local stores won't let you do). Also, you pay $10/8 weeks for the first store you pick and $5 extra if you want to add on other stores. I tend to do most of my shopping at HEB because they're cheaper, but Kroger does the better rock bottom sale deals (when you combine good sales with triple coupons, etc...). I can't decide if I'd want to do Kroger, HEB, or both. I'm almost certain I'll do the free trial when we get back from a vacation we have planned, but I'm always skeptical about spending money to save money. Any insight?

Friday, July 17, 2009

More weird weather

We've kept up our hot, dry streak. It's been over 100 every day this week (actually our "below 100" temps for the last month or so have still been in the 98-99 range). Right now? It's 74. That wasn't a typo......74 at noon, in July, in Texas. Friends 10 miles away claim they got rain this morning, but not here. The official weather report says 0.00 inches of rain, which means it'll be logged at a "trace". Since May 24, all we have had is a trace of rain. I think we might just make it two months without any actual precipitation. The local gardening show that comes on every week talked about the drought yesterday. They said that at this point, even the people with rain water collection have run out of it, so everyone is watering with city water, which is really high in sodium. Apparently, now we are killing our plants by watering them because the sodium builds up in the soil. The recommendation was that if (for instance) you water 1 hour at a time, you need to water 2 hours once every 2 or 3 weeks to help wash the sodium away from the roots.

We have completely given up on our garden....it's done for the "spring" we are reorganizing and will probably do some fall planting at the end of august.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Roomba, roomba, room-ba!

I. Got. A. Roomba! A few weeks ago, we cleaned out for a garage sale and as part of that, we had some Waterford crystal to get rid of (hubby used to work for them years and years ago). We ended up listing the Waterford on ebay and made three times what we expected to get!!! We also had a 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath and Beyond, so last night we ran down there and picked up a roomba! Yay Roomba! I am not a good housekeeper. I'm beginning to believe I never will be. I just can't get motivated to do something that's just going to have to be done again the next day. To me, there is no sense of accomplishment and it's just depressing. Unfortunately, we have a dog that spreads hair and two small children that spread crumbs. In an ideal world, the whole house would be vacuumed every day. In reality....well, I could give a lot of excuses, but it just doesn't get done. NOW!!! I can program my Roomba to vacuum everyday for me! This morning, I answered work emails and gardened while vacuuming. ahhhhh........

Monday, July 6, 2009

The one where I get judgmental...

This has been festering in my edit list for a while, but it just kept getting longer, so I figured I'd go ahead and post it and then let it go ;-)

I try my best not to be judgmental. I spend an awful lot of time helping new families adjust to life with a baby and everyone of them makes some choice at some point that wasn't the choice that was right for me, so it's important for me to remember that their choices don't have to be my choices and that's okay. I admit, there are a few things (I'm sorry, but leaving your baby on the floor of Chick-Fil-A??) that I think are just wrong, but when there's gray area, I remember how much I value my freedom to make my own choices and do my best to extend respect to others when they make their's.

Lately, I'm kinda in a funk though. I make it a point to expose myself to things I disagree with (because I strongly believe that an idea that can't stand up to opposition is not an idea worth having...you should always challenge yourself to learn more and learn where other people are coming from). I was listening to some rather challenging talk radio a few days ago and really, some people are just.....what's the word? Oh yeah, bat $h!t crazy. Does it make it better if I disguise the swearing with punctuation? I listen to this same station 3 or 4 times a week and sometimes they come up with something that I can honestly think to myself, "you know, they have a point there." Other times, I want to gouge the radio out of the dash with my fingernails (so I give up on challenging myself and change the channel). Then there is that ever widening distinction between friend and acquaintance. And those people I'd really really like to keep in the friend category, but really, if I'm ALWAYS the one making contact, you can tell me you love me all you want and it starts to sound a little hollow. Let's see....there are the people who were completely normal up until about a year or two ago and have just completely gone off the deep end and the ones who will be wondering in about 12 years why their teenager dresses that way and never realize it's because they already burned through the "teenage-y, push the limits, skimpy" clothes at the age of 4. There are the people that should never ever have kids, but get pregnant at the drop of a hat and those that honestly think it makes no difference whatsoever if you boot a perfectly fit parent out of a child's life. Oh, and the people who honk because you actually wait for an opening before pulling out into traffic or have the audacity to drive the speed limit (sorry buddy, those are my kids in the backseat and I'll continue taking my precious time). Or the people who check the maximum number of movies out of the library, but never take their children (and their horrendous grammar) upstairs to visit the huge section of kid's books. And there are way too many parents who feel no need whatsoever to try to instill a sense of empathy in their kids---I honestly can't think of a more important life skill. As far as I'm concerned the development of character and morality hugely rests in a person's ability to put themselves in another person's shoes. Your kids shouldn't steal all the blocks because they can, they should refrain from doing so because it would make them sad if someone did it to them. And lastly, irresponsible adults in general. You get quite a bit of lee-way until you're 25 or so...then you need to shape up.

I need a serious injection of positive energy because these people are driving me up the wall and I'm gonna blow on someone who doesn't quite deserve it someday soon. If it wasn't so dang hot, I'd be packing up the family for a long, secluded weekend in the woods...somewhere without cell service or campsites.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Relief?

I just checked the weather. Found this little gem of a record report:
Another high temperature record was set at College Station this afternoon. The Mercury rose to 104 degrees. This breaks the old record of 103 set in 1939. The temperature has reached or exceeded 100 degrees 15 times this Summer. College Station has not received measurable rain since may 24th (0.35 inches).
Luckily, we are forecast to have highs in the low to mid 90's all next week. I may just have to break out the long sleeves. As a true friend of summer, I feel I am justified in saying this heat wave/drought has just been too much. As I have been proclaiming for the last week, now it is just stupid hot. It's freeze an entire bottle of water and it melts in less than 30 minutes hot (not exaggerating). It's sleep nude, with no covers, with the fan and the a/c on and still change sweaty sheets in the morning hot. TMI? hmm....oh well.

We spent some time out in the heat today for a good cause. Our friend Max was a beneficiary of the local Red, White and Blue Charity Extravaganza, so we went out to show our support. Sierra didn't quite get what was going on at first, but by the end, we were ready to leave and she was dragging us back to the fence to watch more of the burn-out contest. Grandpa would be proud ;-)

My camera batteries didn't last too long, but here she is checking out one of the cars (oh, okay, and asking if she can eat all of that popcorn)


And here's Max, Veronica and James (and Holly, but you can't see her) handing out the awards for the car show.

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