Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Diet Revolution?

Probably not. But it's interesting information, nonetheless :)

I recently saw a news article about a professor who ate junk food like Twinkies and snack cakes for two months and lost a whopping 27 pounds! Seriously?? If you're like me, you might feel like that's kind of what you've done your whole life (ok, maybe since college) and yet you're not exactly watching the pounds disappear. Well there's a little more to this "diet." The professor did eat junk food, but his overall caloric intake was drastically less than when he ate normally. The point of his experiment was to say that maybe it's not what you eat, but simply how much, that impacts your body weight.

Intrigued? Well, how's this... not only did the professor lose weight, but his cholesterol and triglyceride numbers improved as well. I don't know about you, but this sounds appealing. The guy ate some junk every 3 hours instead of a normal meal. He did eat some vegetables in front of his kids so as not to set a bad example, but for the most part it was all the things we're told to avoid like the plague. And after two months he was in fantastic shape! I imagine he was also craving some seriously crunchy salads, I know I would be. Double-plus for this diet!

If you read the article I linked, you'll see it's mentioned that the long-term impact is questionable although his short-term numbers all looked good. While it sounds like a lot of fun to eat junk and lose a crap-load of weight, the logic behind it - simply calorie counting - seems to prove that there are better ways of doing this. If you're just counting calories wouldn't you get to eat more if you chose lower calorie foods? I mean, I love me some junk food just as much as the next person (ice cream, anyone?), but I feel like the volume of food you would get to consume if it's all super calorie-dense would actually be kind of disappointing. I wouldn't want to stare at the clock counting down to my next tiny little Twinkie while listening to my stomach growl. I'm thinking there's a good balance in there somewhere between total junk and all lettuce.

Anyway, with the holidays and New Year's resolutions just around the corner, those of you considering something to do with your weight or eating healthy can take this info and do with it what you will. For me, I think I like knowing that (for the most part) it all comes down to calories! I suck at eliminating one kind of food or another. It just makes me want that food more. Knowing that I can bank some calories and save up for Christmas cookies and pie and still be ok, kind of makes my whole holiday season. I've never tried counting calories (so tedious), but maybe I'll just begin loosely paying attention and see if I notice a difference.

Whew-- so that's one previously promised post (say that 10 times fast!) down. Stay tuned for the report on my natural cleaning experiment coming up next!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Not Me! Monday

It's been a while since I've done one of these. And what better way to return from a short hiatus than with a "Not Me! Monday" post? I don't even know if MckMama does these anymore, but what's to say the tradition can't continue here? Nothing that I know of! Here goes....

  • I have never been walking through Target wondering how my foot got wet, and then realized it was my own Dr. Pepper splashing out of the cup holder on my diaper bag!
  • I've never discovered that I had spilled my ice water in bed at 1 a.m. by feeling it suddenly in the seat of my pants. Such a thing would require changing my bed down to the mattress in the dark. I've never been in such a predicament. Nope, not me!
  • I certainly would never judge a mother in the grocery store for fighting with her toddler (not even old enough to talk) to get her PDA back so she could mark something off her grocery list. Nope, I'm 100% judgement-free.
  • I would definitely never eat three mint fudge-covered Oreos on the 5 minute ride home from the grocery store just because it had been so long since I'd had them last. Please. I'm not pregnant! (really, I'm not)
  • I do not put my baby's winter hat on her even when it's not that cold out just because it's ultra-ridiculously adorable and people always tell me how cute she is when she wears it.
  • Lastly, I am not looking forward to this Christmas more than any other simply because I'm excited to buy things for my own baby. What kind of Christmas spirit is that? Not mine :)
Ahhhhh, that feels better! How about you? Got a few things you don't need to get off your chest? Any hilarious things you haven't been up to lately? Go ahead and unload in a comment. We won't judge... :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Two Hours

That's how long my baby usually naps, twice a day, every day.

That's also how long it has taken me to get my baby to nap every single day this week. And at that, she has slept for a max of 40 minutes. My rule was when we had cried longer than we slept, it was over. Time to get up and move on.

So that's what happened to all those fun blog posts I had promised you at the end of my last one. I still want to write them, so hang in there. Yes, hang in there, as in right now is not when that's happening. Sorry. But I do have something fun to share with you in this post! So don't despair :) We're also getting ready for our first big trip with a tiny one in tow. We're headed 3/4 of the way across the country to celebrate Thanksgiving with some relatives. We leave on Tuesday, so I've actually spent this past week trying to get everything together, organized, ready, and cleaned before we go. Doing all this with a 6 month-old who doesn't want to nap? Ick. It's been challenging. I feel like all I've done this past week was nap time and packing.

And when she would go to bed for the night, I was working on a fun new undertaking of mine. Have you ever been to the briar.claire Etsy store? Well they have some of the gosh-darned cutest little baby hats and accessories and I'm in love with them all. However, I realized it would be a little unreasonable to buy everything from that store, and since I used to crochet when I was a little kid... why can't I do it now? A little hat can't be too difficult to make, right? Some of those little flowers glued to a hair clip? I can totally do that! I haven't done any hats or flowers yet, but I did do the following, seen here on my blog for the first time ever....

What is that? Why yes, it is a tiny sweater for your coffee/cocoa cup!! Go ahead: ooooooohhh, aaaaaahhh! They are incredibly stylish and adorable, and would make darling gifts for the holidays.

Think you want one? If you email I will be happy to get one right to you for $5.

I can also make them in pretty much any color. I have pink and purple right now, but if something else suits you then just let me know in your email and I'll make it happen! Eventually I might open a store on Etsy when I get to making things other than cup sweaters :)

Ok, signing off as my tiny napper has awoken. Check back for those other fun posts sometime after Thanksgiving. I doubt I'll be blogging them while we're away.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What I Love About Sundays

My sweet...
er, furry....
plain goofy...

...great big family :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

6 months

What can I say? I have a very happy 6 month old :) We were playing one of her favorite little games when I took these pictures. Basically if you turn your head away from her then turn back quickly, she thinks it's really funny. Sometimes I'll say something when I turn back, or make a funny noise or a funny face. I think this day I was saying "oh my goodness!"

So aside from smiling and giggling and being in love, here are some things my sweet tiny girl is up to these days...
- She has been sitting up unassisted for about 3 weeks now.
- She has her two bottom teeth, finally! They took a long time to come through.
- She babbles, sings and squeals all day long.
- She is absolutely fascinated by our dog. Sometimes she looks at him and just squeals, even if all he's doing is sitting there.
- She is in a very good nap/bedtime routine. She takes 2 usually 2 hour naps every day and sleeps for an initial stretch of about 6 hours before she wakes up at night. Yes, she still wakes up at night. We're working on it, but there are several reasons why it's going to take us a little longer.
- She still loves to sing and dance, it always makes her smile.
- She sits in shopping carts and restaurant high chairs now and LOVES it.
- She is more and more aware of other kids and babies so she has really started interacting with her cousin Cara who is 4 months older. It's so sweet, and now she has 2 new younger cousins that she'll be playing with once they're big enough.
- She also likes playing "where's the baby?" We'll sit her lovey on top of her head and she will reach up to pull it down.
- You saw my previous post on food and cereal. She ate her oatmeal yesterday like she actually liked it, so I'm remaining optimistic that she will stick with it.
- No signs of crawling yet, but she does love to stand (with our help, of course)

I think that covers most of it for now. If I get a chance, maybe I'll do another 24 hours next week. I have several new topics lined up though, so check back soon! Here are just a few-
- When strangers ask...
- A revolutionary new diet I'm thinking about trying
- Some current event news items
- My attempt at all natural cleaning

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Miracle

I just want to briefly share a miracle story, though I won't go into too much detail out of respect for the individual the story is about. I just feel very strongly that this story demonstrates God's power in our lives and shows that even if we have plans for ourselves, God's plan will always come through.

I know of a young man who tried to end his life recently by shooting himself in the head with an AK-47. Sounds like a plan with little chance of error, right? Well, he is alive. Two factors foiled his seemingly fool-proof plan. First, even though he was able to get his family out of the house, his dad returned and was there to call for help immediately. Second, he was unable to reach the trigger of the gun without the barrel slipping sideways. He miraculously didn't hit a single bone in his head, but only damaged his cheek and teeth.

So there you go. If you can shoot yourself in the head with an AK-47 and only hit your cheek, God wants you here. Please pray for this guy and his family as he still has a long road ahead. While you're at it, go ahead and thank God for whatever obviously important things He has in store for his future.

Monday, November 8, 2010

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Try, try again!

About a month ago, on our tiny girl's 5 month birthday, we gave her rice cereal for the first time. She did a great job with the mechanics of opening her mouth for the spoon and swallowing the cereal. After that night though, it was all downhill. She grew increasingly less tolerant of being spoon fed and I was dumping increasingly larger quantities of pumped milk. At the end of about 2 weeks, she would just look at me when I put the spoon up to her mouth and if I was able to trick her into opening up, she would just sit there with the cereal on her tongue and her mouth wide open. Sometimes she'd babble or blow bubbles sending the cereal flying back in my face. Eventually she was waving her arms and turning her face away when I'd try to feed her. I decided it was time for a break.

I waited two and a half weeks hoping she would kind of forget about that experience and start fresh. When I introduced the rice cereal again, it was received with the same arm-waving and head-turning + squirming and screeching to make the point extra clear. This baby was not going to eat rice cereal. I decided to try oatmeal instead and her first go at it is what you see above. I won't call it a smashing success. I think she was more excited for the spoon than the cereal. But there was no arm waving or head turning, or screeching and squirming. And best of all, she finished the whole bowl without any complaints! I remain cautiously optimistic.

Have any of you had struggles getting your baby to start solids? Any ideas or solutions? I really don't want feeding time to get a bad wrap with her and become a struggle for the long haul.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dinner Table Conversation

I was watching the Today show the other day and the topic that an expert was discussing was how to have conversations with your family at dinner. Yes, an expert on how to have a conversation with your family. She offered some real cute little ideas like collecting stuff from your pockets in a bowl on the table and talking about the stuff on Friday. Another suggestion was for each family member to take turns talking about the best and worst parts of their day.

A couple of things struck me about this:
1. There is cause for a segment like this on the Today show.
2. There are paid experts out there on how to have a dinner table conversation with your family.
3. Where did we go wrong? And by "we" I mean the U.S. population.

If you know me at all, you probably know that I would have fit in nicely in the 1940s or 1950s. That, to me, is quintessential America (minus the civil rights infringements). I'm talking about mothers and fathers who stayed together, who were involved in their kids lives, knew their kids friends and their parents, who made hot dinners that weren't out of a box. How did we get so far away from such a great place without ever leaving? Is it any wonder people don't know what to talk to their kids about at dinner? They are removed from their kids' lives. Not only are they busy with careers and running a household, but they don't know who their kids are friends with or what they do in their free time. How do you start a conversation with someone you barely know? It's awkward, right? Add on top of that the complication of kids being kids and seemingly starting with that famous teenager 'tude earlier and earlier. Now we have "tweens" you know- kids who aren't teenagers, they just roll their eyes like it.

In all truth, every family is different. Some parents really try and get nowhere with their kids. I understand that. Society is a different place now than it was in the 1950s. I get that too. Kids are growing up with a totally different set of challenges now than 60 years ago.

The bottom line that I see here is that families function differently today (on average) than they used to. Parents are busy, kids are busy, and the time that used to be spent with family has been allocated for other things that have taken higher priority. I think the impact of that has made itself apparent if you watch the news, or the Today show.

I grew up with a single, working mother and we ate dinner together every night at the table. We even had conversation. We still do. I honestly feel like that made a difference in how I turned out and what I value today. This is not to say that families who ate dinner in front of the TV in silence all turned out to be serial killers. I'm curious though -- how did your family do dinner? Do you think it made a difference in who you are now?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Just a Portosystemic Shunt

What the what??

I will explain. My pup saw a doggie internal specialist yesterday to figure out why he is having seizures. After a thorough physical examination the doc said he looked, felt and sounded perfectly healthy. Then they shaved his belly and did an ultrasound. What the doctor determined is that he has something called a portosystemic shunt. In simple terms this is a blood vessel that doesn't really belong there and has been channeling blood away from the liver. In fact, my dog's liver never formed properly in the first place. The problem this causes is that toxins are not filtered the way they should be, and the ones left in his system go back into the blood stream and eventually to the brain.

Treatment involves switching to a low protein diet (aka $$$ food) and continuation of the antibiotic and other medication he is already taking which helps absorb the toxins in his digestive tract. All-in-all, very doable. As you can imagine, this came as a huge relief.

As I stood at the reception desk in the vet's office today the other receptionist was talking to someone about the costs and process of putting their dog to sleep. I couldn't help but say a little "Thank You" that it wasn't me she was talking to. After his second seizure on Monday, I was seriously trying to prepare myself for having to put my 4 year old dog to sleep. He went from 3 seizures in 2 weeks, to 2 in 2 days, to 2 in the same day. I really felt like this could be it for him. I know different people look at pets in different ways. I'm not someone who lets my dog sleep in my bed or have his own room in our house, but he is part of our family. I would be heartbroken to have to part with him under any circumstances and I really pray that when that time comes it's not because of a decision I have to make. Thankfully, for now, I'm out of the woods and my furry little guy is going to be ok.

Thanks to all of you for your thoughts, prayers and kind words :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One Sick Puppy

This is my puppy dog. He is a 4 year old Schnoodle (Schnauzer/Poodle) and he's really cute.

He's also really sick.

About 3 weeks ago when my sister-in-law was taking him outside, he started shaking and then threw up. We thought he must have eaten something that didn't agree with him since he's always sniffing around in the kitchen for any tiny thing that might have fallen on the floor. A few days after that, I was walking down to our basement and he followed me. I thought he wanted to go outside so I called him to go out. Instead of running to the door like usual, he turned and went back up the stairs. When I got upstairs he was shaking and going to the bathroom on the floor. At this time I suspected that something was wrong. Well, sure enough a few more days after that we were standing in the kitchen and out of nowhere he began shaking, twitching and acting like he was trying to bite or chew on something in mid air. That's when I knew he was having seizures.

That was a Friday. I called the vet right away and scheduled an appointment for the following Monday. He went in and had blood tests done, and then didn't have any more seizures all week. The blood tests came back with some high enzyme levels that led the doctor to want to do some more blood work. So we went back on Friday of the same week and he had a bile acid test done to check his liver function. Over the weekend he did fine with no seizures until Sunday afternoon. He had another one when we were visiting my in-laws. It was really disappointing for me because he hadn't had one in over a week and I guess I was hoping he wouldn't have any more.

If I thought that was bad, on Monday morning (yesterday) when I was home by myself, he had the worst seizure yet. This time he not only started shaking and twitching, but he lost his muscle tone and his bladder. So he fell down on the floor and made a big mess. I was able to kneel beside him and pet him to try to keep him calm. It was scary though. I called the vet to check on his liver tests and the doctor wasn't in yet, so I had to keep waiting. I decided to run some quick errands to pass the time. The doctor called while I was out and it wasn't good news. His liver tests showed that his liver is not functioning normally. The doctor kept asking if it was possible that he had eaten any chemicals, but I explained that I'm home with him all day in a townhouse. He follows me around and goes outside in our 20x20 back yard only to potty and comes right back in the house. I stand at the door and wait for him. Either way, she was certain that the liver problem is what is causing his seizures, and of course wanted to do some more testing.

I was upset at this news, to say the least. I was really hoping and praying the liver tests would be normal and he would just be able to go on some anti-convulsant medication and we could move on with life as usual. No such luck. When I got home, I let him out of his crate and within 1 minute looked over to see him seizing again. It was bad, and I lost it. It ending up being a huge mess from him losing his bladder and the baby was crying while I was trying to help him. I decided to call my husband and ask him to come home and help me. We ended up going back to the vet right away where he had to have x-rays of his abdomen. The x-rays showed that his liver is abnormally small. That can mean a variety of things, so we are seeing a specialist tomorrow for him to have a more in-depth exam including an ultrasound to try to figure out what's going on.

In the mean time, the vet prescribed him a medication that will take care of what she believes is causing his seizures. She thinks due to the liver not functioning properly, he has a buildup of ammonia in his system and that is getting to his brain and causing the seizures. The medication she gave him helps absorb the ammonia and lets him get rid of it instead of it staying in his system. Today was a good day. He was his usual happy, playful self. Now we're just hoping and praying for answers from the doctor tomorrow.

If you don't hear from me for a little while, it may be because I'm dealing with a very sick puppy. I will do my best to update you on his condition though.