Monday, May 31, 2010

Getaway without the kids! (Part 1)

Today, my husband and I are flying to Florida without our two kids to celebrate our 8 years of marriage.  This is our first extended overnight stay without kids since we had kids!  It is probably well overdue and it should be nice to get away.

So ideally…

  • we'll spend quality time together not talking about the kids
  • we'll eat yummy food without worrying about feeding the kids
  • we'll get restful uninterrupted sleep at night

In reality

  • every time I see another toddler or baby I think about and miss my girls very much
  • I will likely call my mom at meals to see how much they are eating and worry in particular about my younger who is used to nursing at night
  • I will probably still wake up at the usual times at night since my internal clock seems to be wired that way

Well, it is probably still good to get away and now that we’ve done it, maybe it will be easier to do it again!

    Well, I wrote that on Saturday while on the plane.  Read on if you want to hear about our travel adventures...

    Pumping on the go...
    First of all, since I want to keep up my milk supply, I wanted to pump every 3 hours to match when my little one normally eats.  Well, while waiting to board the plane I did a quick calculation and realized that it will be several hours of flying... then who knows how long it will take to get the car rental.  Therefore, it'd be best to pump before we take off.  In retrospect, I should have looked hard for one of those family restrooms where I'd probably have more privacy.  Well, I was desperate enough that I just ended up at a public airport restroom.  It was a good thing they have outlets on the walls!  It was also a good thing that it was not so busy.  Perhaps it was weird for the 2-3 folks who have to use the sinks near me but I really didn't care at that point.  However, next time, I'll have to find my battery pack so I can do this inside a stall.  What good is a travel pump if there is no power source?

    Flying with Captain Sully look-a-like
    While waiting to board the plane, the flight captain came through the line greeting the passengers and making small talk.  Someone commented that he looks like Captain Sully!  Many passengers agreed and share the sentiment that it was a good thing to have an experienced friendly pilot up front.  The actual flight was fine except that my husband and I couldn't sit together because the plane was so packed!  This was the first time we were flying together without my kids.  (What a difference it makes to go through security without car seats and strollers and diaper bags etc!)  Now, I know of couples who purposely fly separately to decrease the chance that any mishap would happen and the kids would be left as orphans.  So I did have a conversation with my sister before hand and she and her husband agreed to take my 2 girls if anything should happen.  Well, I happen to believe that God is not done with me yet and there are still some things He wants me to do down here... so I am not one to worry excessively about these kind of things. However, it is always good to have a back up plan just in case =)

    Surprise rental upgrade!
    After we landed, there was a long line to get our Hertz car rental.  While hubby waited, I made another trip to the restroom to pump.  This time I did find a family restroom with an outlet by the sink, so it was a much more private pumping session.  I returned in time to see the rental lady hand keys over with a huge grin on her face.  We were going to drive a camaro... and it was green!  There were no more mid-size vehicles so we got an unexpected upgrade.  To be quite honest, I had no idea what all the excitement was about until we walked up to the car.  Hahaha... this ended up being the highlight of our entire weekend!

    Ooops... how many miles???!
    We hit the road!  Our plan was to drive to this vacation home in Palm Coast, Fl.  It is supposed to take us about one hour I'm told and I'm directed to look at the map to help navigate us there.  We flew in to Ft Lauderdale which is pretty much  at the bottom of Florida.... Palm Coast... yep... pretty much near the top of Florida.  So you know, I just took my husband's word for it that it was supposed to be a one hour drive.  Maybe it crossed my mind briefly that we were driving from one tip of the state to the other tip but I brushed it aside because hey... my husband usually knows what he is talking about it.  

    Since it was lunch time, we wanted to stop by a beach to grab lunch and maybe hang out a bit.  We ended up at Delray Beach and the water was awesome!  How long should we stay?  "Oh, it should only take us about 30 min from here" says my husband.  Really?  Okay... so we chilled at the beach until it was close to dinner time.  Then we get back into our cool rental car... oh and we were getting all sorts of comments by admiring passer-bys which never happens with our kid friendly cars back home.  Hubby plots the gps and tells me the gps is giving him erroneous information and asks me to plot it and check the zip code.  I plot it...  240 miles (4 hr drive)!!  I look at the map.. yep... makes sense to me... man, I knew something was off when I was looking at the map earlier!   Ohhhh... maybe we were supposed to fly to Jacksonville and not Ft Lauderdale airport...  Hahaha... well if we're going to have to drive at least we'll be doing it in a sports car!

    Wow... this is getting way too long... will have continue the rest of the story tomorrow...  there's more!!  

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Vaccine schedules and such...

    My younger daughter is turning 6 months tomorrow!  So we've fallen a little behind on shots because we were trying the "spread it out" method.  It was for no particular reason other than to spare her multiple needles at one time.  Well, here is a recent article that pretty much affirms the safety of the current vaccine schedule.

    Childhood vaccination is a hot controversial topic that is emotionally charged for many folks.  Therefore, I know this will still not convince many parents to immunize their children, let alone vaccinate them following the recommended timeline.  So what is the recommended timeline?  You can read this link for more details on vaccine schedules.  In a nutshell, at the 2 month, 4 month, 6 month visits, it is recommended to receive 5 different vaccines each time.  Sometimes different shots can be combined so there are fewer needle sticks, but at the end of the day, it can seem like a lot.

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Tent camping with a 6 month old and a 2 1/2 year old!

    We just got back from camping at Ricketts Glen.  It is one of the better car camping sites I've been to.  I would definitely go back again... 

    My favorite part of the weekend was hiking the Falls Trail (see description below):

    Falls Trail: 7.2 miles, difficult hiking

    The full loop of this trail is 7.2 miles if hiking both the upper and lower sections. To see most of the waterfalls, a 3.2-mile loop can be taken by going on Highland Trail and the Glen Leigh and Ganoga Glen sides of the trail. The trails follow along 21 beautiful waterfalls ranging in heights from 11-feet to 94-feet. The scenery is well worth the effort, however, the terrain is rocky, can be slippery, and descends steeply on both the Ganoga and Glen Leigh sides. Hikers should take extra precautions with trail conditions, wear proper footwear, stay on the trail, and be in good physical condition.

    I hiked it with my 6 month old in a baby bjorn.  Since we have the older model, it put quite a strain on my back.  The scenery on the hike was definitely worth it!  This is probably my second favorite hike in terms of scenic hikes.  My favorite was a trail we did in Kauai call the Hanakapi'ai Trail.

    So my least favorite part of the weekend was the lack of sleep.  I'm not going to complain because I expected to get zero sleep.  I'm not really sleeping at home anyway because my 6 month old still wakes up every 3-4 hrs so I don't think there was much difference except that I was more stressed about her waking up my older daughter so couldn't really sleep in between her wakings.  Plus it was really cold at night and we didn't bring enough blankets!

    Now, my older daughter had a night terror the second night she camped in the tent.  This is different from a nightmare in that she has no recollection of the event and is often inconsolable during.  These episodes can be triggered by stress or lack of sleep.  So hers was most likely triggered by lack of sleep.  Even though she had a fairly quiet first night camping in the tent, she woke up a couple of times at night and didn't sleep straight threw.  On top of that, she woke up about 2 hrs earlier than her usual wake time and had a shorter nap.  So in any case... I'm sure that was fun for all the other campers around us to hear.

    So that was the third time camping for my older daughter.  We took her to Hickory Run when she was almost 8 months old, then did some camping by a beach last summer.  The funny thing is I probably forget every time how difficult it can be camping with children under two.  When I told my boss that I was camping, his comment was "After what happened last time?"  My response was, "what happened last time?"  Haha.  It's like pregnancy... I forget the challenging parts and only remember the good!

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    A Mommy Devotional

    I was forwarded this devotional through MOPS and really liked it so I thought I'd re-post it here.

    Now, I've been attending MOPS through my church this past year and it has truly been great!  There is always a delicious breakfast and while the kids are playing downstairs, I get to interact with other moms.  There would be videos, speakers, small group activities, and crafts (which I love because I think the last time I made anything was in elementary school!)

    So here's the devotional...


    The Dailyness

    by Ariel Allison Lawhon, She Reads Co-Director

    "Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway." Proverbs 8:34 (NIV)

    Life wouldn't be so hard if it wasn't so daily. As I sit here surrounded by laundry and dishes piled high in the sink, I see more than ever how life wears us down one day at a time.

    Crumbs litter the floor and dirty smudges cover the windows. And I have yet to discover where that smell is coming from. For this mother of four, a simple trip to the grocery store requires an act of God and Congress - attempted only when we are down to powdered milk and Ramen noodles. Not thirty minutes ago a little one-year-old boy clung to my legs, belting out that scream - you know the one, bats can hear it. And I felt my co ping skills slipping away. Not because he was crying but because he cries every day.

    The daily-ness.

    The job of motherhood feels so vast, and frightening, and unending. I am called to raise these children in the fear and admonition of the Lord and yet there are days that I can't seem to get out of my pajamas much less lead them in a time of prayer. I think anyone could endure the temper tantrums of a small child or the rebellion of a teenager or the constant needs of another if they lasted just one day. But the truth is that these things are the stuff of daily life. And when I am honest with myself, they grind down the rough edges of this woman. Because parenting can not be all about me when diapers must be changed, noses wiped and beds made.

    In those moments I force myself to take a deep breath and thank God for this season of life. These children. The privilege of wiping noses and bottoms and countertops. A privilege many women wou ld love to have, but don't. I remind myself that the days are long but the years are short. And one day I will look in the rear-view mirror and see empty seats. The cup that is overflowing right now will slowly drain. The stretch marks will fade. And I will find that a new set of daily struggles has overtaken me. When that day comes I will find the strength to face them as well because God gives the grace, daily.

    The daily-ness.

    As C.S. Lewis once said, "The thing is to rely on God... Meanwhile, the trouble is that relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing has yet been done."

    Your daily-ness is probably different than mine, but it is nonetheless God-ordained. It is exactly what we need to live dependent on His grace instead of our own strength. The One who knows us best, who knit us together in our mother's womb, has allotted these days that are equal parts trial and triumph. And He knows that we will see Him most clearly from a place of

    So today I embrace the normal things. The daily things. Another round of laundry. The ring in my toilet. The dust on my dresser so thick a child could write his name. But even more than that I want to celebrate the important things. A child slowly learning to read. A husband that finds his comfort in my arms. A baby who learns to walk and talk. Because all these are the things of life: some mundane and some holy. And all of them must be received daily.

    Dear Lord, sometimes daily life is just hard. And we're tired. And overwhelmed. But You promised to be our strength and our hope and our comfort. So today we look to You for what we need. Would You meet us in this, our daily-ness, and help us receive Your grace? In Jesus' Name, Amen

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Potty training and port a potties

    How many of you moms out there hate taking your toddlers to a public bathroom? 

    Well, I really struggle with this because I grew up with a somewhat germaphobic dad.  I never sit on the toilet (and if I have to I line with toilet paper) plus I never touch the faucet handle and door handle with my bare hands if I can help it.  And although this webmd article puts into perspective the reality of actually catching anything bad in a public restroom... the advice they give at the end affirms what I already practice.

    So here is a glimpse of me taking my 2 1/2 year old to the bathroom...

    "You really have to go?  Alright... hold my hand... don't touch anything!"  I lead my daughter into the tiny stall and attempt to shut the door and lock it without touching the walls, toilet seat, and toilet dispensor... not an easy job given the tight space.  So if possible I always try to go into the handicap stall.

    "Wait!  Wait!  Don't touch anything!  Let me wipe the seat."  I have one eye on my daughter as I hurriedly pull out toilet paper to wipe down the seat.  Then I line with toilet paper as best as I can with one hand while batting my daughter's hand with my other hand.  "Stop!  Don't touch!  Yucky!"

    Ok.  I help her undress and then I try to place her squarely on the toilet paper.  Of course it never works perfectly and some paper fall onto the floor.  If I remember to, I'd bring her portable potty chair to place on top of the toilet seat (but I don't always remember).  So there I am crouching in front of her in a tiny stall... so close to the nasty toilet.  Ugh.

    "Are you going?  You said you have to go right?  Ok.. mommy's waiting... don't touch!  Here.. hold mommy..."  My daughter looks at me and I look at her.

    "Umm.. are you done?  You didn't go!  Do you have to go?"

    So on a good day... she will go and I'll feel at least all the hassle is worth it.  The frustration really kicks in when she doesn't go.  "All done!"  she'll say.

    "You didn't go!"  I'll say.  "Why did you tell me you have to go if you don't have to go?"  She just looks at me.

    Grrr.  But what can I do?  She is barely 2 1/2.  I then have to lift her off the seat... wipe her... dress her... then to the sink to wash our hands!

    I know so maybe I'm a little too paranoid with the germs in the bathroom thing... but this past weekend, we had to do this whole ordeal at one of those outdoor port a potties!  You know the kind where it doesn't even flush and you can see all the output in the hole?

    So yeah... we had to do it twice.  First time was okay I suppose because she actually went. The second time, it was a nastier port-a-potty with no room for me to even shut the door so I had to hold the door open with my left foot while trying to get her on the toilet seat etc.  ...and she didn't even go!  To make matters worse, there was no running water to wash our hands afterwards.  We had to use hand wipes.  Ugh.

    Next time, I am going to bring our own little potty seat and just leave it in the back seat of my car.  I don't know why I haven't been doing that.

    Starting solids on my six month old

    My younger daughter is almost 6 months and I think it is the cutest age!  She smiles almost every time we make eye contact and will chuckle out loud to peek-a-boo and other funny noises I make.  Where did the time go?  I know I probably spent a lot more time paying attention to every developmental milestone when I had my first.  It is not that I don't want to pay attention.. but it is just that my attention is so split now!

    So I'm getting ready to really start feeding solids.  I think it is bittersweet to start solids because I really love breast feeding her.  It amazes me that she can grow so big and thrive on my breast milk alone.  Now, instead of just the yellowish poop... we'll have to get ready for more smelly poop!

    The usual recommendation is to start feeding one new item for a couple of days before adding a different item.  This is to watch out for food allergies.  It is probably also wise to have some infant Benadryl around just in case.  We were fortunate with our first daughter and she has no food allergies at all.  Hopefully, it'll be the same for her sister.

    Now some say you should start with veggies while others say fruit because fruit is sweeter and taste more like breast milk.  Well, I decided to go with sweet potato since it is a veggie but also sweet.  She seemed to like it.... the peas not so much.  However, it really does make me a little sad to be spoon feeding her solids, so for about a week or so, I stopped all together and went back to breast feeding only.

    See, my favorite part of being a mommy is cradling my baby in my arms as she nurses contently.  Every now and then, she'll stop, look at me, and throw me a huge grin.  Oh.. despite all the craziness and sleep deprivation I'd have another kid just to experience those moments over and over again.

    Sigh.  But they will all grow up.  My older daughter is barely 2 1/2 years old and I already get teary-eyed sometimes when I think about how she'll be walking down the aisle one day in a wedding dress!  Yes.. I am quite sentimental...

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Sickness and Sleep

    So we know that lack of sleep can make one susceptible to colds.  Here is an article from last year that talks about this.  It is no wonder I am sick again!

    How do moms stay healthy?  Kids bring home germs all the time from nurseries etc and moms get much less than the recommended 7-8 hrs of uninterrupted sleep!  I'm also exposed to sick people all the time at work so it is amazing that I have sick free days at all!

    There are a ton of articles online about how to avoid colds etc.  Seems the consensus for the most part include these:

    -  wash hands often (avoid touching your nose, eyes, mouth...)
    -  get lots of sleep
    -  exercise regularly
    -  eat right
    -  avoid sick people

    Alright... got to catch some zzz's...

    Sunday, May 9, 2010

    Happy Mother's Day!

    Happy mother's day to all the moms and grandmoms out there!

    Saturday, May 8, 2010

    Oh no... not more contaminated vaccines!

    Oh here we go again.  Just this past March, the FDA announced finding contamination the rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix.  Now, the FDA announced they found more contamination in the other rotavirus vaccine, Rotateq.    If you read the CNN article, they say that the benefits still outweigh the risks and they still recommend giving the vaccine.  Ha... good luck convincing my patient pool...

    Well, I have to admit that our office doesn't even carry the rotavirus vaccine so mute point.  However... this certainly will not help me convince patients to get vaccinated.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    The alternative to Children's Tylenol works!

    Well, wouldn't you know it!  Here I am blogging about this Tylenol recall and tonight I walk home to see my two year old sitting on grandma's lap with her face all flushed and her eyes glazed over.  "She feels really hot, " my mom reports.  "And she will not eat anything."  Picking her up, I can tell already that her fever is over 101 and sure enough her axillary temp was 101.9.  Good thing we asked my mom to pick up some Rite Aid brand Acetaminophen!

    Being a mom to a sick child is heartbreaking.  I see sick children in the office all the time.  It is one thing when they are sitting on their mommy's laps and I have to check them out.  It is another when my child has her arms wrapped around my neck and is unconsolably sobbing and whining over every little thing.

    It is one thing to know as a physician that we have to push fluids.  It is a whole other challenge when my sick child is refusing to drink anything I am offering her.  I know she must be feeling very sick for she even refused a popsicle tonight!

    Well, I gave my daughter the Rite Aid brand acetaminophen.  It is a good thing she likes to take medicine.  I can only imagine the further challenge of having to force medication on a child who refuses to take it!  After only about 30 min, the fever broke and my daughter was almost back to her normal, active, talkative self again.  She even said she was hungry and allowed grandma to feed her little.  So at least we know that Rite Aid brand Acetaminophen works!

    Another link about the Tylenol/Motrin/Benadryl recall...

    Hey.. so here is another interesting article on CNN about the recent medication recall.

    Alright, so we definitely need regulations especially since these medications are given to infants and young children!  But this will be another blow from an economic point of view I'm sure...

    I suppose they are trying to damage control as much as possible and avoid panic... but I'm suprised at how little I'm hearing about this from patients point of view...  I suppose that is good...

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    Children's Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, and Zyrtec Recall!

    As some of you may have already heard, McNeill is recalling several products including Children's Tylenol, Motrin, and Benadryl. My husband already blogged about this at his site. Click here if you want more information on this.  Here is the CNN article as well.

    I think the crazy thing is that these are well known brands being recalled and they are made in the United States (not China)!

    Last night we went through our medicine cabinet and found around 3 bottles of tylenol and 2 bottles of motrin. My husband called the contact number (888-222-6036) and was told that we'd get vouchers to buy new products and we're to throw away the ones we currently have. What a pain!

    So on the McNeil website, it says:

    McNeil Consumer Healthcare is initiating this voluntary recall because some of these products may not meet required quality standards. This recall is not being undertaken on the basis of adverse medical events.

    However, as a precautionary measure, parents and caregivers should not administer these products to their children.

    Well, too late. I have already given these products to my child since this has been a pretty sick winter. So as a mom, this is aggravating because of course you want what is best for your child and it is never fun to find out that you might have given a product that potentially could be harmful.  As a physician this is also problematic because I recommend tylenol, motrin, and/or benadryl to my pediatric patients all the time! They are supposed to be safe for infants and safe for breastfeeding. Well, I suppose the telephone calls and parent inquiries will start flooding our office as soon as this news is out.

    Now looking at it from the other perspective... at least there are quality standards. I think sometimes we take things for granted in this country. We're always expecting the best outcomes with zero side effects. Nothing wrong with that per se but there are so many things not in our control. At the end of the day, we have to trust that organizations like the FDA is put there to watch out for our best interest. This is why I think it is pretty brave and risky to take a ton of herbal supplements that don't get put through the same kind of scrutiny. But that is another topic for another post...

    So if you happen to have some tylenol, motrin, benadryl etc sitting in your cabinet and not sure if you are affected by the recall you should check out these websites:

    1)  FDA Press Release
    2)  McNeil Product Recall Information

    Give them a call or email. There may be a super long wait time. You can contact your physician as well.  They will probably direct you to the websites above or to call the hotline.

    At the end of the day, I'm sure my daughter will be fine even though I've already given her who knows how much of the tylenol and motrin that is being recalled.  I assume they are fixing the issue and future products will meet the standards.

    I suppose you can buy alternatives like Children's Advil by Wyeth instead of Motrin or Rite Aid brand Children's Acetaminophen instead of the brand Children's Tylenol... but who knows if they may get recalled in the future.

    So it is what it is...

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    Back home

    It is somewhat anti-climatic.. yet a little sweet to be back home and getting back to regular routine. That is probably why someone came up with the phrase "home sweet home"!

    Feed... bath... sleep routine... now both kids sleeping in their respective rooms. My husband and I are now both sitting in bed with our respective laptops checking email, facebooking, blogging... Ahhh... back to normal. *grin*