Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
On the ambulance, I didn't have the opportunity to run outside into the fresh air when I was hit with something bad. The first time it happened, I was chatting with a patient who was the CEO and founder of a local nation-wide company that sold cutlery. It was a routine transport and he felt fine--even promising to send me a pair of scissors when he got back home. During our conversation, I felt the nausea creeping up, so I just gently said "excuse me one moment," grabbed a puke basin, silently filled it behind him, and threw some drying chemicals and a towel over the bucket so no one would know what happened. Except for my partner who saw the whole thing and started laughing. He was male, obviously. I never got the scissors.
Other calls were worse, like the time I had a 16-year-old girl with a head injury who had made it all the way to the receiving hospital 1.5 hours away without puking. Then, as we're just about to the parking lot and I'm giving a radio report, she starts in. The radio report quickly ended as I grabbed a bucket for her and I to share. I had never, ever, thought I would break the cardinal rule of sharing a bucket for bodily fluids with a patient. There is just something seriously wrong with that picture, but when you're pregnant and it's coming up...
This pregnancy, my nausea isn't nearly as severe. Actually, none of my pregnancy symptoms are, and it's quite heavenly. I have a desk job this time and a short commute, so the gallon ice-cream bucket I keep in my car for those pregnancy problems hasn't even been used (I learned about the bucket after hitting my steering wheel and entire front dash one late night). I don't have to hug a disgusting porcelain bowl while waiting for calls, and I haven't had to throw up in front of anyone this time. No partner has had to hand me a towel after I've had to run to the side of a parking lot, and no one has laughed at me as I gag while cleaning up the back of a rig.
It's a beautiful thing, working while you're pregnant. The constant trips to the bathroom, trying to stay awake during boring meetings, finding clothing that allows you to go out into public...and the nausea and vomitting that can appear anywhere and everywhere. Thank God we can learn to laugh about these moments and catalog them away in our memory to share with our children when they're teenagers, giving us a hard time about something ("you have no idea what I went through to have you..."). And thank God it's women that have to go through this, because I don't know too many men who could live through 40 weeks of gut wrenching symptoms!
Take courage, pregnant women who must brave the world. Those babies are worth it in the end, and you can always move your car to another parking spot so as to leave the evidence behind when you go grocery shopping (just in case you forgot your ice-cream bucket).
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This was a difficult decision and one that I've spent almost two months laboring over. Having finally made this decision after much research, though, I am also finally at peace. Working as a Paramedic in NY, the first word out was that I would be mandated to get the vaccine since all healthcare workers were being mandated. I didn't know too much about it at the time, and before I was even able to get vaccinated, a passionate nurse in Rochester blew the whistle and got the NY government to recant on their decree for involuntary vaccination.
Shortly after this, I was given word that there would be a "secret" clinic for EMS workers in the county to get the vaccine free of charge. It still wasn't available to the public, or to pregnant women, and I still hadn't made a decision even up to the day before the clinic--then I got a respiratory flu type thing and so my decision was made for me. One week later, the clinic was offered again, but I had been sick to recently to receive the vaccine.
The next time I was offered the vaccine, I randomly got a stomach flu (maybe this is God here?)...and thus couldn't get it. Yesterday, for the third time, the vaccine is being offered again to me, this time through my "regular" desk job. I signed my name on a paper stating that I was interested, and then did some serious research on the topic to help me really decide.
After spending hours on the Internet reading everything from how it's absolutely necessary for pregnant women to receive to how it's a consipracy of the government to control population rates (by causing abortions of the fetuses), I decided to call the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and see what they had to say on the matter. I told them of the huge amounts of personal stories I was finding online linking the H1N1 vaccine to miscarriages/pre-term labor in every trimester, and asked what statistics they had been putting together from themselves receiving these reports. I asked if they could really recommend that pregnant women get the vaccine, and if they would put out a warning if it seemed that there were an unreasonable amount of miscarriages happening within hours of women receiving the vaccine.
The CDC told me that they didn't really have any solid research yet to indicate the safety or risks of the vaccine to pregnant women, but that "in a time of national pandemic, it is recommended for pregnant women to receive it." To me, that says "we don't really know, but we figure that you'd better just get it." They told me that until the vaccine and reports of adverse effects among pregnant women have been able to be studied, they will not release any statement to the public--they will even NOT warn pregnant women to be careful about receiving the vaccine EVEN IF the CDC was receiving a lot of reports of miscarriages and pre-term labors linked to the mothers receiving the H1N1 vaccine!
Upon researching the media and government pressure for pregnant women to receive this vaccine because of the supposedly large amount of pregnant deaths associated with getting the Swine Flu, I found out that while 6% of deaths occuring from H1N1 have been from pregnant women, none of these women received early anti-viral treatment and all ended up dying from pnemonia (a complication of H1N1). Pregnant women are also representing a statistically larger population of hospitalizations due to H1N1, though I couldn't find any solid information on trimester or health history for these women.
Looking at the history of the H1N1 vaccine that was given during the 1976 pandemic of Swine Flu, one can see that it obviously wasn't tested enough and was given to people before it was determined to be safe. Again, we rushed to an "in times of a pandemic, we should all get the vaccine" attitude. As a result, we can now see that there were deaths and complications associated with receiving the vaccine, including Guillain-Barre Syndrome (a severe nervous system disease)! We don't, however, have information about pregnant women during that time. The good news is that this current vaccine is being studied by the NIAID, including for effects on pregnant women in their 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Unforunately, the long term effects won't be known for many years, and women in their 1st trimester aren't being studied as natural causes of miscarriage are more likely to occur before 14 weeks.
The last thing I considered before making my decision was the ingredients used in the H1N1 vaccines. I won't go into too much detail here, but even some of the "safe" versions for pregnant women include mercury, formaldehyde, eggs, and sucrose. Not to mention the other billion ingredients that I don't even KNOW what they are. Yeah.
So these are the reasons and the research behind my decision to not receive the H1N1 vaccine. I may look at things differently if I wasn't pregnant, but it appears to me that it's just not a good idea for me to get the vaccine right now. There are pregnant women whom I respect whom have chosen to receive the vaccine, and so far, everything is just fine for them. I think that whether or not to receive this vaccine is a difficult and personal decision for anyone since there just isn't research supporting either side of the argument.
My best advice? Decide what is easier for you to live with. Will it be easier for you to not get the vaccine, get H1N1, and lose your unborn baby as a result; or will it be easier for you to get the vaccine and lose your baby (or have him or her suffer serious consequences later in life) as a result? For me, I'm at peace with not getting the vaccine, but given the same information, another woman may be at peace only if she does receive the vaccine. Either way, we are mothers doing what we think is best for our children--and no one can judge us for that.
H1N1 Vaccine and Miscarriage:
H1N1 Vaccine and Guillain-Barre Syndrome:
Reporting Adverse Effects from H1N1 Vaccine:
H1N1 Vaccine Study for Pregnant Women:
H1N1 Vaccine Ingredients:
Monday, December 21, 2009
What is going on with my blog layout, you ask? I'm not sure, either! The deal is that while I do spend much less time on my blog than I'd like to, I still want it to look professional. My research shows that the "header-entries on L-two columns on R-footer" layout is the most respected, especially when you offer advertising. I attempted to create this sort of layout (Blogger doesn't readily offer it) a while back but ended up with a real messy I-don't-know-what-I-just-did sort of layout. Until now....drumroll...a big thanks to Lawny Designs for creating an easy peasy tutorial that told me how to pull of such a feat.
The next "design" thing on my list is getting a decent background, fixing the links up top that you notice are now all clustered together in a little heap, and updating my graphics to match everything. gulp. My background on blog designing is rather limited, as I don't really know any CSS and must rely on the copy-paste method. Thankfully, back in my Jr. High days, I taught myself a good deal of HTML so that I could hack into other peoples' websites and mess everything up for them (oops, did I just admit that on the WWW?). Since technology is forever moving on and I have no graphic design training, I'm pretty slow in figuring out this blog design stuff.
So if anyone wants to do the rest for me, you just let me know and we'll work out an advertising for service deal. :-) Until then, please bear with me and be patient as I get through making all of the changes! On another note, my fabulous cloud widget has dissapeared since I added that extra column on the right. Does anyone know how to change that? What about my newly dissapeared "spell check" feature of Blogger? Without that, you may be in for some serious decoding...;-)
Friday, December 18, 2009
- "From Switzerland: The Pratt Family," a spoof of The Sound of Music created for and performed by Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett in 1962 on their TV special Julie and Carol Live at Carnegie Hall
- A live recording of "Edelweiss," sung in German, from the historic first production (2005) of The Sound of Music in Vienna
- and a soaring cover version of "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," sung in Swedish (as "Sök dig till bergen ") by Tommy Körberg, best known to American audiences for his vocals on the concept album of Chess.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I wasn't expecting to be pregnant. In fact, I thought I had stopped ovulating due to breast feeding. The only reason I took a test is because I was offered a FT ambulance job and just thought to myself "I'd better take a test just to make sure that I won't have to quit my new job in 20 weeks and be jobless." Was I ever in for a surprise when I saw two little blue lines on that stick! WOAH! When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, LoveBug, I waiting 9 days until I could tell my husband in a special and unique way. This time, I started screaming for him to get his butt into the bathroom and verify what I was seeing.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Shower Cleaner $4.99
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I often help the extra-business that comes with Christmas by doing my shopping throughout the year and particularly during the AFTER-Christmas sales. I have a cupboard where my gifts are organized by the type of gift (wedding, baby, adult Christmas, kid's Christmas...) along with organized wrappings (either bought on sale or recycled from gifts I myself have received!). This makes gift giving during this time of year pretty easy and stress free--and I get to avoid the overcrowded shopping malls which I so intensely despise!
This year, though...a little different. My cupboard is not as full, probably due to having a little one and thus less money and less time to snag deals up throughout the year. I'm finding that I'm spending more than usual (on a CREDIT CARD nonetheless, which is a huge no-no in our book!), and have had to find new ways to give nice gifts without making myself homeless or missing work to go shopping. If you're in the same boat, you might find the following options good ones as well!
What are your other ideas for having a low-stress and frugal Christmas? I need some birthday and baby shower gift ideas, too, so send them my way!
#1 Gifts in a Jar http://www.craftbits.com/gifts-in-a-jar
While you can buy some fantastic books with instructions, photos, and cards to attach for your Gifts in a Jar, this website provides a variety of recipes for food, drinks, bath products, and other things to make. Gifts in a Jar are easy to make, great for everyone, and quick to spruce up by adding some fabric and ribbons to the lid! My idea is to make "breakfast gift baskets" for family this year with mugs that I bought on discount during the summer and Gifts-in-a-Jar for pancakes, muffins, and hot cocoa!
#2 Discounts and freebies. My favorites this season are:
Fashion Playtes; this website allows girls to design their own clothing--and then have it mailed to them! It's so fun that I actually designed a shirt myself...now if only it would fit! I used the code
ONE20 for $20.00 off a $35.00 gift certificate. The only catch with the gift certificate is that you have to have a minimum of $35.00 to use the $20.00-off code and it has to be your first purchase.
Jillian's Drawers is a natural parenting store that's currently having a 12-Days-of-Christmas sale. I didn't know about it until day 3 (I think it's day 5 now?), but I snagged a bunch of diaper inserts for 50% off as soon as I found out! Each day, they're choosing different items to discount. They aren't always 50% off, but there's a lot of great products coming up and they'll hold out shipping your items until the end of the sale so you can combine your orders from each day if you ask them to!
Holey Donuts; first, if you didn't already enter my contest for Holey Donuts, then you need to--and QUICK because it will be ending soon (includes a bunch of pastries AND $150.00). Next, you should educate yourself about this company because it's genius, very tasty, and an awesome gift for, well, most everyone I know! This company makes low fat donuts and cinnamon buns with no artificial sweeteners and then ships them frozen to your door step! I've had the pleasure of trying these pastries and they are delicious enough that my husband has eaten them all while I'm at work. :-\ Seriously, they taste great and you don't have any guilt from eating them. They're constantly having fabulous sales, have a "box of the month" club you can buy, and will also hold off on shipping until Christmas-ish time. Here's the most current promotion:
buy 3 assortments, get $7 off code= LF7
buy 4 assortments, get $10 off code= LF10
buy 5, get FREE SHIPPING code= 5FRSH ... 5 box maximum order
Remember to hit "recalculate" after you enter your discount code
#3 Giveaways with few entries. I may be ruining my chances to win by sharing this with you, but here are some good options:
Caching Family Blog is holding a contest for a $30.00 gift certificate to TurtleTurtle. It ends on Saturday and so far, no one has entered (until I do in a moment!). Awesome for anyone who is pregnant or has a little one!
My Contests. I can't enter them, so please do enter away. :-) They aren't inundated with people, so your chances are excellent to win something at this point!
Prizey is a collaboration of blog giveaways and contests. I submit my listings there, and wish I had lots of time to spend entering other contests I find there! I could drool over a lot of the stuff that someone's going to win...
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Rinse Aid - Never having used a rinse aid for my dishwasher before, I wasn't sure what to expect from this product. However, I found it to last a long time and it did help to minimize water spots on my dishes!
*Blog about this contest (2 entries)
Monday, December 7, 2009
SKOY Cloth is...
- 100% biodegradable (testing has shown it will break down in 5 months from beginning composting)
- Absorbent (15x its own weight!)
- Re-usable (one will last for the equivalent of 15 ROLLS of paper towels)
- Clean (can microwave to sterilize or throw in the dishwasher or clothes washer!)
- and Fun… (comes in a variety of colors and prints--including for Christmas)
Made from 100% biodegradable natural cotton and wood-based cellulose pulp, SKOY cloth is a chlorine-free product using water-based colors and inks. They were first designed almost ten years ago by two stay at home moms who were sick of the 2.5 million tons of paper towels that fill up our landfills every year. Since their beginning, SKOY cloths have been featured on O, The Oprah Magazine, Reader's Digest, and numerous other publications and radio/TV shows!
The Basics: SKOY Cloth sent me a free sample pack of 4 cloths. When dry, they're stiff. When wet, they act like a chamois to clean up spills and scrub down messes. I haven't had any tears yet, and even though I've been using them for months, they are showing no signs of decay.
The Good: They save a ton of money and are easy to clean (I throw them in the washer and dryer)! Very absorbent, and I also love the fact that they're manufactured with humane and green practices and also made of fully biodegradable materials.
The Not-so-Good: SKOY Cloth suggests throwing a wet cloth into the microwave to kill bacteria. Frankly, the steaming and temperature of the cloth concern me because 1) I don't want to start a fire, 2) I don't really like using microwaves, and 3) I don't want it to be too hot to touch. So I recommend the dishwasher or clothes washer for cleaning. I did let one sit next to my sink wet for a while, and sure enough, little spots started to form (mildew? mold?). Microwaving left them looking about the same. I threw it in the wash after that, and though the spots are still visable, I don't worry about anything growing on them. :-) Just make sure you wash them regularly!
Buy Them: You can buy a 4-pack for $5.99 directly from http://www.skoycloth.com/ . They even have a regular shipping service that will send you 8 cloths for $11.98 every 3, 4, 5, or 6 months!
Win Them: SKOY cloth also provided me with a 4-pack to give to one of my lucky readers. To enter, please first click on one of the SKOY links in this website to support them. Then, let me know something interesting that you learned from their website! Please include a valid email address in every entry. Contest ends December 23, 2009 at 12:00pm, EST.
* Follow me publicly on Blogger
* Subscribe to me via email
* Blog about this contest (2 entries)
* Sport my button
* Spread the word by Technorati-ing me, Stumbling, or otherwise promoting Life More Simply!
*Tweet about this contest with a link (1x/day)
*Share your favorite cleaning tip
*Comment on another one of my posts (tell me which one)! (max of 5 entries)
Good luck and be blessed!
Friday, December 4, 2009
- Location of your readers
- The length of time that people are spending at your site
- Path of entry, exit, and everywhere in between
- How many visitors are new, returning; also how often they're returning
- What search engines people are using to find you
- The key words that people are searching to find you
- Number of total hits at any given time, as well as trends associated with this
- Number of unique visitors
Knowing this information can help you tailor your writings to appeal to the most people (for instance, I continue to post monthly "special days" since this is one of the top search ways I'm found), find out where you're losing people (I seem to have a following of people who will check to see if I'm having any giveaways, and if not, they leave!), determine what topics you're writing about that interest people the most (just see what pages they spend the most time looking at!), and it can help you find out what other sites are giving traffic to you.
The second way in which knowing your website's statistics is helpful is when you're looking to do any product reviews or offer advertising space. Many companies determine whether they want to work with someone or not partially based on that blog's traffic statistics. I'm commonly asked where my readers are located, and how many hits I receive per month.
The two best stat counters I've found for blogging and websites in general are Google Analytics at http://www.google.com/analytics/ and Stat Counter at http://www.statcounter.com/ . Both of these services are free and provide an in depth look at how your site is doing. For the beginner or general blogger, I'd recommend using Stat Counter. It provides an easy to read summary of your basic stats--numbers related to page loads, location of visitors, and traffic sources among other things. The graphical illustrations are easy to understand and can provide you with information that's quick to read. If you're hoping to find a deeper analysis of your site, then Google Analytics is for you. This site will provide you with details of all of the statistical analysis as well as comparing your goals and current statistics to all of your past ones.
I am registered at both Google Analytics and Stat Counter, but generally turn to Stat Counter since I normally just need a quick overview of things. If you have a blog or website and aren't already registered at one of these places, I think you'll find it to be worth your time and effort. The information you'll glean can be priceless in building a better blog!
Holey Donuts is a small company that makes and sells--you guessed it--donuts! That's not all though. They also make a variety of cinnamon buns and donut holes. The neat thing about this company is that all of their products are low fat, taste awesome (I can attest to the cinnamon buns!), and don't include ANY artificial sweeteners or trans-fats.
At first, they seemed to good to be true. In fact, I was a little skeptical until I received a box of frozen pastries in the mail yesterday. Once I actually tried their Jumbo Low Fat Cinnamon Buns, I was hooked. Unfortunately for me, I have been gone to work during the day and my husband has been left back at home...eating the cinnamon buns! I'll be doing a full review and giveaway for Holey Donuts in early January, but wanted to give you a head's up on a fantastic give away that they're going right now:
Here's another sweet piece of the deal: comment here and let me know that you entered...and I'll give you an extra entry into the giveaway I'll be doing in January! Come on, who wouldn't like to eat home made cinnamon buns and donuts without the guilt or extra calories?
December 1 Eat a Red Apple Day
December 3 National Roof over Your Head Day
December 4 Santa’s List Day AND Wear Brown Shoes Day
December 5 Bathtub Party Day
December 6 Mitten Tree Day AND Put on your own Shoes Day AND St. Nicholas Day
December 7 Letter Writing Day AND Pearl Harbor Day
December 9 Christmas Card Day
December 10 Human Rights Day
December 11 National Noodle Ring Day
December 12 National Ding-a-Ling Day AND Poinsettia Day
December 13 Violin Day AND Ice Cream Day AND International Children’s Day
December 15 Bill of Rights Day
December 17 National Maple Syrup Day
December 18 Bake Cookies Day
December 19 Look for an Evergreen Day
December 20 Go Caroling Day
December 21 Humbug Day AND National Flashlight Day & Look on the Bright Side Day
December 23 Roots Day
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 Boxing Day
December 27 Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day
December 28 Card Playing Day
December 30 National Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda) Day
December 31 Make Up Your Mind Day AND New Year’s Eve
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Trim the width of both pieces to 33" (or 22" for a preemie sling)
Sew the fabrics
Turn fabric right side out (it should make a big sleeping bag).
Iron the fabric around the edges so that it lays flat, then sew 1/2" along both long ends and the short end that you already sewed together. This will keep the fabric from rolling into itself.
Now comes the tricky part. Be sure to take your time with this part or you'll be in trouble!
Fold the unhemmed short edge of the fabric down 1/2" and iron. I like to fold down the "outside" fabric, as shown below.
You're finished! Check the length of your sling, fold up and stitch into place any excess. This can either form a pocket or just add a nice thicker tail that's great for wiping up any messes. I also like the contrast it creates to have the opposite fabric against the front fabric.
I suggest only using fabrics that are 100% of a particular material. Mixed fibers tend to stretch more (do NOT buy a stretchy fabric as it will not be safe!), and are also less fire resistant.
The rings that I use to make my slings are purchased from www.slingrings.com. They have undergone rigorous safety testing and come in a variety of beautiful colors. One can use aluminum or nylon rings, but I will only use the metal kind as I have more faith in them and like to use as little plastic as possible anyway. The great thing about Sling Rings is that the colors won't wear off, and they're safe for babies to chew on, too! Don't purchase rings from craft stores--you won't know how safe they are or are not.
When choosing the appropriate sized ring to make your sling, I recommend using the "medium" size from Sling Rings. I've used both the small size for a single fabric sling, and the medium ones for a double fabric sling such as what these instructions are for. The medium size is more comfortable, provides security, and allows for easy adjusting.
A big thanks to www.slingmemommy.com ! They are where I first found directions to make my ring sling. The directions in this tutorial are based off of theirs which can be located for free on their website.