Jul 30, 2010

doctor drama update

Cara visited a new pediatrician today.  I chose him on the recommendation of a few friends and because his practice has office hours on weekends.  Very professional staff and caring nurses, clean waiting areas with separate sick and well areas, reasonable wait times (especially since I was worked in today). 

It's a strange thing to switch doctors.  When I called this morning, I originally asked to come in to talk to a doctor without Cara in case there was any paperwork or anything else that would need my undivided attention, but when I mentioned that Cara's previous doctor had ordered some bloodwork from a lab, she told me to bring Cara in for a sick visit so that the new doctor could see what was up.  The bloodwork was to check her iron levels for suspected anemia, which seemed odd since she has not shown any signs iron issues. 

Once we got back to the exam room, both the nurse and the doctor seemed confused about why we were there in the first place.  I explained the whole medical experiment situation to both of them; the nurse seemed more disturbed about it than the doctor did, but they both agreed that if my child was broken out in an unexplained rash, she should be seen by her doctor, which was really my whole point in finding a new doctor for my precious flesh and blood.  New Doc also seemed confused by the bloodwork order; he asked me lots of questions and then finally decided to clear up the anemia thing with a five second hemoglobin test.  One rather thorough exam and a heel prick later (the doc even watched Cara walk; old doc never wanted to see new motor skills), and we were making our 15 month appointment.  And Cara's hemoglobin and iron levels are just fine, thank you very much.

*Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who read my doctor drama rant and offered their advice and referrals.  You have no idea how much better your comments and messages made me feel about the whole situation.

Jul 29, 2010

dinner from the farm

I took the first step toward local, organic eating the other morning by visiting the Matthews Community Farmers Market, and I have to say, I was very impressed.  The market is open on Saturday mornings and Wednesday, mid-day.  The Wednesday market is smaller with fewer farmers but still lots of fresh, delicious produce and meats.  There's nothing fancy about this farmers market; it's muddy, uncovered (drizzled on us a little, but we aren't made of sugar!), and rustic, but those were some of the nicest people I have ever met.  Everyone said "hello" and made a little small talk.  This is the kind of place where, when you ask how much the basil is, the lady (who picked it that very morning) grabs a handful and says "hmm, how about 50 cents?" or, if your baby drops her toy, someone runs after you all the way to the parking lot to give it back. 

my little helpers

We ended up with a pile of veggies, a pastured chicken, and a ribeye for PJ.  The prices for the veggies were comparable with a regular grocery store, except that these were not grown with pesticides or fertilizers, and we bought them straight from the farmer, or in some cases, the farmer's kid.  The chicken was a little more expensive than a grocery store chicken, but not out of reach.

So, that pile of food became roasted chicken, creamed corn, and cherry tomatoes with basil last night and a few quarts of chicken stock today.  I think I'm going to attempt to "fry" some of that okra ("fry" in quotes because I don't think I really know how to fry anything), and maybe the rest of the tomatoes and squash will end up over some couscous.  I also hear that roasted green beans are pretty good.  Oh, the possibilities!

I have been trying to decide exactly how organic/local we need to go.  I would really like to give up most of the processed stuff; it's all made of corn anyway.  I started giving Cara organic milk, and YoBaby is one of her favorite foods, but there are some things that I'm pretty sure we will keep eating.  I'm just not sure we're ready let go of our Cinnamon Toast Crunch yet.

Jul 26, 2010

no more big macs, for real

When I was in my last trimester with Cara, all I wanted to eat were Big Macs.  I know; they're disgustingly greasy, calorie-laden, and nutritionally deficient.  But, anyone who has been in a last trimester understands that you eat what you want and nothing else.  I knew that I couldn't support my Big Mac habit after my alien abandoned ship, so I had the good-bye Big Mac a few days before Cara was born.  I have been so good...not one Big Mac since.

However, I just finished reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, and I'm beginning to have a little Big Mac guilt and regret.  I have never been one to obsess over animal rights or the environment.  I don't even recycle.  Where is my sense of responsibility and awareness??  Honestly, I think that my lack of concern stems from an ignorance of action.  I knew that the beef and chicken in a typical grocery store had been treated with antibiotics and hormones, but I didn't exactly know what to do about it.  I also knew about the excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides on produce, but again, I didn't know what to do about it.  I also didn't know exactly how bad those chemicals are for us.   I have played around with the idea of going organic before, but it is VERY expensive and I didn't have anything to make me feel committed.

If you haven't read The Omnivore's Dilemma, I won't spoil it for you.  What I will say is that I thought I wouldn't make it through a non-fiction, scientific type of book, but Pollan is a story teller.  He describes how he followed four meals from the ground to the table:  a McDonalds meal, a typical organic meal, a local meal, and a meal he hunted and gathered himself.  I expected the industrial McDonalds meal to be produced using questionable methods, but I didn't realize how questionable or unsustainable or disgusting or inhumane those methods would be, methods that will have real consequences for the economy, the environment, and public health.  Pollan also hashes out the ethics of eating animals, and his arguments opened my eyes to why someone would make the choice not to eat meat.  I also feel like I could justify why I will continue to eat meat.

At the end of the book, I felt called to act.  My reasons are quite selfish:  I want to protect and take care of my family.  I guess my sense of social, economic, and environmental responsibility is growing, but it really comes down to what mamas do.  Mamas care for their families.  Just a tiny bit of googling later, and I have found a farmers' market that sells local produce, essentially straight from the farmers, and pastured beef, pork, and poultry. 

I understand that eating locally and organically will require more work on my part.  More selective shopping, more preparing, and more cooking.  I suspect that I will have my hubby building a garden in the backyard as soon as the temperature dips below 100 degrees (legumes in the fall to get the soil ready for the good stuff!).  What better reward is there than a happy, healthy child?

So I guess this is point where I say good-bye not only to Big Macs, but to most of the industrial food system.  It's a grand experiment.  Updates to follow...

the magic kingdom

The most magical place on Earth...really!  We just got back from two whirlwind days at Disney World, and we are sold!  Cara had the best time with her cousins Brooklyn and Evelyn, and they all loved the Magic Kingdom. 

Rather than recap the entire trip, I thought I would condense everything into The Things You Need To Know If You Are Taking Children To Disney, according to me. :-)

1.  It can be hard to entertain children on a 7 (8, 9, 10?) hour car trip. 
There they are, packed in like little sardines.  My mom sat in that empty seat and did a better job of entertaining babies than I ever could have done.  At one point, I wished for a portable DVD player, but I took it back after Brooklyn and Cara got going, playing peek-a-boo and giggling.  No sweeter sounds than those.  Except for maybe snoring...

2.  Be prepared to spend some time on a tram.  Don't unfold the strollers until after the tram ride.  Disney has an amazing transportation system.  You ride the tram from the parking lot to the ticket counters and then the ferry or monorail to the Magic Kingdom.  We made the mistake of getting the babies into their strollers and everything packed onto the strollers straight out of the car, only to frantically pack everything back up to get on the tram.  Bummer. The ferry and monorail both accommodate strollers.  Thank goodness!

3.  Get your hair out of your way.  Fashion rules do not apply at Disney World in the Florida heat, humidity, and breeze. 
Exhibit A:  sweaty, wind-blown mess = no fun for mommy

Exhibit B:  dorky, yet secure = so much better!

4.  Belle is the best princess.  They were all sweet and beautiful, but Belle was the most sweet and beautiful.
Brooklyn and Belle

Cara and Belle

a kiss for Evelyn

an extra hug for Brooklyn, a true princess fan

5.  Even babies will love the rides.  Cara and Evelyn loved every ride we went on.  There were very few rides that had height requirements (at least at the Magic Kingdom), so C and E rode in our laps most of the time. 
It's a Small World, the babies' favorite ride

Overall, this was a super awesome trip.  We'll definitely do it again in a few years after our bank accounts recover.  Here are a few more random, adorable moments caught on digital cameras:

Yes, that is a rainbow behind the castle at Disney World.  Does it get any more magical than that?

Jul 15, 2010

a short rant

I think it's time to switch pediatricians.  I took Cara for her 12-month well baby visit this morning, and I don't think I can go back to that office again.  No one has been mean, but they are not overly considerate, organized, or friendly.  And, I don't trust Cara's doctor.  Oh yeah, and that.

These feelings of distrust began a few months ago when Cara woke up looking like this:
It seemed like just a minor rash, almost like bug bites, just on Cara's arms and legs.  I like to think that PJ and I are not crazy, freak-out parents; we are okay with a little dirt, and we acknowledge that Cara eats Cheerios off the floor without any germaphobic panic.  We called our pediatrician this time since Cara had never had a rash like this before.  He said "no big deal" and "don't worry."  So we tried not to.  But by that evening, Cara looked like this:

And the next morning, she looked like this:

I felt completely justified in freaking out a lot just a little bit.  We called the doc again, and he said "don't worry, don't bring her in" again.  This rash appeared at the end of a round of penicillin-based antibiotics, but this was not Cara's first experience with antibiotics.  It seemed possible for the rash to be an allergy, but not definite.  Here was the pediatrician's suggestion:  Wait until the rash goes away and give her another dose of the antibiotic to see if the rash comes back.  Then we'll know if it's a penicillin allergy.

Really?  You want me (an English teacher) to conduct medical experiments on a child who has slept and fussed and cried in my lap all day long??  You want me to give her the antibiotics again to see if we can close her throat up next time??? 

I broke the "don't bring her in" rule, and I took her to see another pediatrician in the same practice who was appropriately concerned and empathetic.  She showed me pictures of rashes in her books to find how how the rash progressed, and she determined that Cara is probably allergic to penicillin.  I felt better.  Except that this caring human being left the practice the following week.  Hm...

So, this morning, I took Cara back for her well visit.  She's doing great, no ear infections, no snot, no rashes or bumps.  The receptionist yelled out that I had a balance across the waiting room.  Of $12.  No big deal, I guess.  That might have embarrassed some people who are concerned about paying their bills on time, but I let that one go.  While we were waiting on Dr. Brilliant in the exam room, Cara pooped.  So I changed her diaper.  Then she pooped again.  Great.  I decided to wait for a minute or two to make sure she got it all out, but in came the doctor.  I warned him about the poop and changed the diaper.  He didn't flinch when I put it in the trashcan in the exam room, just kept on talking.  He fussed at me for letting Cara have peanut butter, even though she loves it and has had no reaction to it.  No discussion on the peanut butter.  Not until age 3, he said.  Is it really THAT bad?  And I need to keep a better track of how much milk Cara drinks because she needs 24 oz a day.  Where is mom instinct?  If she's drinking throughout the day, gaining weight as she should, and happy, why do I need to try to get her to drink more?

When the nurse came in to give Cara her shots, she said "do I smell a stool?" (Seriously, exact words) I explained the poop situation, and she proceeded to tell me that diapers do not go in the trashcan because the doctors would not want to work in an exam room that smelled like poop.  Where are the diapers supposed to go then?  How can a pediatric practice not have a plan for poopy diapers?  Was I supposed to put it in my bag?  Let Cara hang out in her poop?  Did I miss that lesson in mom school?

I hate that I feel like an idiot every time I call the doctor or go to the office.  That's not normal, right?  I can't possibly be doing everything wrong.  I feel a little overdramatic here, but a pediatrician is a long-term relationship, so I want one that loves me for me and loves Cara for Cara, even when she poops in the office.

Jul 13, 2010

veggie tales and a snuggle

Sometimes Cara gets a little tired, but not quite tired enough for a nap.  She will grab her paci and blanket and point at the TV.  I know what that means.  I put in a Veggie Tales DVD and scoop up my girl.  We snuggle in on the couch for a few precious minutes.  Cara leans in, and I get to take in that sweet baby smell and stroke her hair and squeeze her a few times.  Cara is so busy these days that she rarely slows down enough for an extended cuddle, but I like to think that what she really wants is a little mommy-time; Veggie Tales is just the excuse.

Jul 12, 2010

birthday parties and one year old stuff

Woo Hoo!  Baby Cara turned 1 on July 8!  Happy birthday, baby girl!  Your daddy and I love you more than you can imagine.

Cara was lucky enough to have two birthday parties: one with her adopted aunts and uncles and one with her offical aunts, uncles, cousins, and, grandmamas.

Birthday Party #1 with Melissa, Jeremy, Jillian, and Peter

opening presents!

not so sure...

no, that's not scary at all

I love them all.

yay for cake

Birthday Party #2 at the Beach!

Cara's cousins Ava and Brooklyn and Uncle Larry

she was an old pro by this point

wearing a cute new outfit and playing with her new toys

no!  is my birthday over already?

Cara got so many new clothes and toys for her birthday that I had to do a massive clean-out.  I love washing and hanging up all the adorable new clothes, but I also decided it was time to pack up some of the baby toys.

Cara didn't mind though; she has plenty of new things to play with.

Jul 7, 2010


The other day I was putting Cara down for her nap.  We have a routine that we follow:  close the blinds, turn on the music, turn off the light, rock for a minute.  I sat down to rock my baby, and she wiggled and fussed with her blanket and tried to get comfortable.  After a few twists and turns, she sat up and pointed at her crib.  I laid her down, and she turned over and went to sleep. 

things Cara has left behind:
  • formula
  • bottles
  • baby food
  • crawling
  • rocking to sleep :-(

Jul 5, 2010

happy 4th of july, a little late

Yay for freedom, independence, and a big thanks to the people who preserve these values (especially my little brother, who is spending his summer at Fort Benning, GA to train for possible active duty when he graduates from the Citadel).  And YAY for our dear friends Patrick, Jane, and Camden, who invited us to spend Independence Day weekend with them at the beach.  What could be better??

Camden is only a few months older than Cara, and he is a supercutie.  His mama writes her own blog here, in case you want to read up on just how much of a supercutie Camden is!  The babies were very entertaining.  Here are a few of the best moments:

chasing each other down the hall (Camden is a speed-crawler)

taking a nap on the beach

having a serious conversation

staying hydrated

playing in cabinets

digging in the sand

I know, I know.  They are too cute!  We thought so too.  It's really nice to have friends with kids, especially when you were friends before the kids.  You understand how drastically life changes when you have kids, but you also remember what the parents were like before their lives were consumed with diapers and boogers.

Cara got to experience a lot of really fun things for the first time on this trip.  The beach, the spinning teacups, the carousel, the aquarium...I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

All of these pictures (except for the teacup and carousel pics) were taken by my very talented hubby, who dabbles a little in a side business, in case you are interested!

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