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August 2006 posts

What's gonna work? Teamwork!

School for the big kids started yesterday.  I've enjoyed the relative quiet in my house for nearly two days now.  Except for one thing.  I am starting to miss the :sniff: Power Rangers. (STD, Emergency, I've got the penicillin!)

Now - it's all Noggin, all the time.  I have my favorites:Pho368x157maxruby


But, *she who must whine* has other tastes sometimes - and doesn't want to sit through another old episode of Blues Clues, like I do.  Now I have to listen to:

Pho368x157wonderpets "Weememba what you said abow meaty-oahrs?"

"Teamwoik, the final fwonteih."

From Noggin.com,

"WONDER PETS! chronicles the adventures of three singing classroom pets - Linny the Guinea Pig, Ming-Ming Duckling, and Turtle Tuck - as they travel the world helping other young creatures.

In every episode, the Wonder Pets receive a call on the tin-can phone in their preschool classroom from an animal who needs their help. They quickly assemble their Flyboat from toys they find in the classroom and they travel together across oceans, into space, and even back in time to save the animal in trouble. Like real preschoolers, the Wonder Pets have no actual super powers, but they do work together as a team to overcome adversity and achieve great success.

WONDER PETS! features "photo-puppetry animation," an original style of animation created for this series. This technique allows animators to manipulate photographs of real animals, creating a truly bold and striking look for the series.

Each episode of WONDER PETS! is a mini-opera; the dialogue on the show is almost entirely sung. The music on WONDER PETS! is written by some of Broadway's top composers."

Ming-ming on The Wonderpets has a speech delay.  Fine, I'm all about embracing differences.  I bet the child in real life is just adorable with her speech impediments, and has probably already worked through them.  The big kids have asked me, "Mom, why would they want to teach kids to say words the wrong way?"  I'm sure that my four year old has not learned her vocabulary and enunciation from The Wonderpets, because she's been very, uh, vocal for several years.  Does she notice the speech delays on the show?  I don't really know, she loves it.  I asked her, "Do they sing everything on this show?"  She tells me, "Yes, every part is a song, it's great."  She loves those freakish photo-realistic animals. 

I suppose a speech delayed duckie is better than young adults clad in spandex being very violent, right?

Food Blogs

From food blogs to food porn!

Food Blogs — Culinary Chronicles for Every Nutrition Niche
By Sharon Palmer, RD
Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 8 No. 4 P. 38

Online food discussions are exploding in popularity and redefining the way information is disseminated. Learning about these blogs may help you retain control of your clients’ nutrition education.

Welcome to the new century, a digital age that has opened our eyes and search engines to the blogosphere with its vast quantity of subjects for bloggers to dissect, lampoon, and brood over. In the world of blogs, it almost seems that the more obscure the subject matter, the more highly it is regarded. Dave Young’s Branding Blog (www.brandingblog.com) posts an Obscure Blog of the Day, choosing sites such as Water Blog, which waxes profusely on the qualities of the familiar liquid stuff.

Whether you know it or not, blogging has firmly sunk its teeth into the food and nutrition realm. Since food blogs first carved out a niche on the information superhighway, a blog has been invented to hash over just about every micro-aspect of food—from Burrito Blog (www.burritoblog.com) that hopes to analyze as many burritos as the blogger can get his hands on to The Garlic Dude (www.garlicdude.blogspot.com) that focuses on, you guessed it, garlic. These blogs have captured people’s interests. With often hilarious tales of restaurant meals, comments on nutrition articles, and personal diaries of gourmet pursuits, once a reader gets addicted to reading blogs, it’s hard to quit. And blogs are fast becoming a new form of journalism, feeding the public’s ever-increasing thirst for knowledge, whether or not the information is accurate.

“The world of food blogs is growing exponentially, with all sorts of new blogs popping up every day. Food blogs will continue to shape the culinary world by pushing it to work harder and ever fresher,” says Molly Wizenberg, the founder of Orangette, an award-winning food blog.

So are you ready to learn blog-speak? You’d better start, as your clients have probably already learned the language.

What Blogs Are All About
A blog, deriving from the term Web log, is simply a Web site that is usually focused on a particular area of interest in which items are posted regularly. These posts can include text, images, or links. Blogs often use a conversational tone and discuss experiences or viewpoints. They are often online diaries or journals in which people post poems, complaints, and daily experiences. They can be in the form of cultural, topical, educational, collaborative, or directory blogs. Blogs are set apart from traditional Web pages, forums, or newsgroups because they allow for easy creation of new pages with the aid of automated templates, and they usually allow for the blogger to invite discussion from readers.

Blogs can be hosted by dedicated blog hosting services or run using blog software on regular Web hosting services. For less tech-savvy bloggers, server-based blog systems allow people to create blogs without having to maintain their own server. Feedback systems allow visitors to post comments about various blog entries.

The term blog was first coined by Peter Merholz in 1999 and was quickly accepted as both a noun and verb. Blog usage spread after 1999, becoming more popular with the arrival of blog tools that made blogs more than just Web sites. By 2001, the first mainstream American blogs appeared, such as AndrewSullivan.com, which blogged on politics. How-to manuals started appearing and schools of journalism began taking blogs seriously. After all, Dailykos (www.dailykos.com) received up to 1 million visits per day during peak times, displaying just how mainstream blogs had become.

In 2005, Fortune listed the eight blogs business people could not ignore, and now Newsweek hosts a Blogwatch column each week. MIT started the Blogdex project to gather and review data on thousands of blogs. Blogging has become a form of instant access to important news events.

Eating Up Food Blogs
It’s only natural that the many facets of food would be fair game for blogs, spinning out blogebrities (yes, a common term in blogging vernacular) in the world of gastronomy. Food blogs dissect the microcosm of cuisine, delving into recipes, restaurant reviews, specific foods, and often the minutia of the blogger’s every mouthful. At KIPlog (www.kiplog.com/food), a directory includes an astonishing variety of food blogs. Food Blog Awards soon emerged in which blogs were honored as the “best” in various categories (see sidebar).

“I started Orangette because I love to write. I also came from a family of food lovers and cooks, both professional and otherwise,” says Wizenberg. “In the summer of 2004, I traveled to Paris to do research for my eventual PhD, and after many days spent walking the city in search of the best baguette, picnicking with friends, lots of champagne, writing long letters, and soaking up the smells of the markets, I decided to leave graduate school and focus on food and writing, my long-ignored twin loves. A friend suggested that I start a blog as a place to store my writing and a showcase of sorts for editors, and so Orangette was born.”

Orangette (www.orangette.blogspot.com), the winner of the Best Overall Food Blog Award 2005, gets roughly 1,500 readers per day from just about every walk of life and from all over the world. “My readers come to Orangette not only for a recipe or a juicy photograph, but also because they know that I will take them by the hand and tell them a story,” says Wizenberg.

And it’s not just inspirational writing that lures readers to food blogs. The self-deprecating, wickedly funny writing style of many food blogs has become legendary. Winning the award for Best Food Blog – Humor for 2005, The Food Whore (www.thefoodwhore.com) has the byline, “Gracefully turning tricks since 1999.” Get a taste of the humor that The Food Whore dished up in a recent post:

January 5, 2006

I am doing this for the kind lady who e-mailed me concerned that my guacamole might look like hummus. I can assure you, it does not. But a few weeks in the refrigerator can make a dish of hummus look a lot like guacamole. Anyway. Everyone has their way. Here’s mine. Peel and remove the pit from a couple of ripe avocados. Mash well and hit with a few splashes of fresh lime juice. Add in a few shakes of Tabasco sauce, a little kosher salt and a nice shake or two of chili powder. For good measure, I add a few TBS or so of chopped cilantro. And that’s it. That’s my guacamole. One time I added chopped tomato and was nearly beat over the head with a bag of chips. Apparently I broke some guacamole rule. *Sigh*”

— Source: The Food Whore

See how easy it is to get sucked in? Working as a partner in a restaurant and catering business, Kris (who prefers to be known on a first-name basis due to privacy), The Food Whore, reports, “I average about 3,000 hits per day, and that number grows each day. I’ve been referenced in a few magazines and online publications. I’ve been approached by a book publisher who’s interested in my work.”

In the world of food blogs, no food issue is left behind, whether it’s chronicling the details of living an organic life in a junk food world, as does the blogger of Organic Oasis (http://organicoasisblogspot.com), or exploring a local slow food movement in Bay Area Bites (www.kqed.org/weblog/food/2006/01/review-slow-food-guide-to-san.jsp). The Food Museum Blog (http://foodmuseum.typepad.com/food_museum_blog) is a melting pot of food issues and serves as a forum for news, views, and discussions about food history, growing, marketing, cooking, food safety, school lunch reform, genetically modified organism foods, diet, and nutrition.

Even mighty organizations such as the National Restaurant association (NRA) have ventured into blogging. The NRA show blog was a huge success, as attendees were able to search for real-time updates during the show. During the week of the NRA show (May 21-24, 2005), the blog received more than 10,000 page views and was the most heavily visited news section on the Web site.

Blogs Go on a Diet
When it comes to diet and nutrition, it seems like everyone has something to blog about. These blogs seem to be growing in popularity, as they comment on everything from a personal battle with the scale to nutritional supplements. “Interest in blogs of all sorts is increasing, and diet blogs are no exception. There is only so much information and commentary about narrow, special interest topics in the mainstream media, and blogs are one way that people can satisfy their thirst for daily information about their own specialized interests. In the case of diet blogs, people on a diet can use them for daily motivation and inspiration as they try to eat healthfully,” says Mark Schrimsher of Calorie Lab, Inc (www.calorielab.com). CalorieLab Calorie Counter News is a blog offshoot of the Web site’s main function of providing basic calorie and macronutrient data to people on a weight-loss diet.

At Nutritionguides.net, a network of nutrition and diet information and articles is at the reader’s fingertips. In Health Diaries (www.healthdiaries.com), readers can view the latest nutrition news, nutrition tips, and personal health stories—finding reliable statistics on obesity right next to an article promoting colon cleansing to resolve issues such as protruding bellies and frequent colds. The Health Blog (www.thehealthblog.com) provides a variety of nutrition information on the edge—from stories of coloring additives in foods made of crushed cochineal beetles to alkaline food charts.

Weight loss tribulations are exploited in blogs as well. At Lose the Buddha (www.ejshea.com/buddha.htm), the blogger claims to be “still fat, still pissed off, still using the wrong deity since 2002.” As the name implies, Carbwire (www.carbwire.com) covers all low-carb diet issues, while Big Fat Blog (www.bigfatblog.com) hashes over a variety of weighty issues—from weight-loss programs to fat acceptance.

“Most diet blogs are personal journals of an individual weight-loss journey. Other sites, such as Diet-Blog.com, tend to provide an ongoing commentary on everything about weight loss and diet. The idea is to keep people informed and thoughtful about these issues and hopefully provide some answers along the way,” says Jim Foster of Diet-Blog.
Some blogs, such as GreenBarley.com (www.greenbarley.com), cash in on supplements. Other blogs highlight bodybuilding and fitness, such as Faith Sloan Bodybuilding and Fitness Blog (www.frsa.com/bodybuildingblog).

Blogging Dietitians
Even dietitians are getting in on the blogging act, adding the title of blogger to their resumes. Cheryl Koch, RD, is featured in a health expert blog provided by John Hopkins Medicine. Koch serves as director for the food and nutrition program at John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center but also posts comments for discussion on the health blog, Eat Right, Stay Fit. Recent posts by Koch include effective ways to make a New Year’s resolution for weight loss. CalorieLab also features articles written by RDs, including a recently posted article on understanding trans fat labeling written by Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN.

Lisa Tracy, MS, RD, a dietitian at an outpatient medical facility in central California, started her own blog, A Dietitian’s View (www.roadtonutrition.com), just for the fun of it. “I started to write little blurbs on various topics, but they sat in ‘My Documents’ folder on my computer. Friends and family would ask me about things they had read on the Internet, and I knew there was a lot of misinformation out there. I felt like I had a lot of useful knowledge in my head to share, but I just wasn’t sure how to present it to the public.” Eventually, Tracy designed a Web site to provide nutrition and fitness information to the misinformed.

Elaine Magee, RD, hosts the blog Healthy Recipe Doctor on WebMDBlog (http://blogs.webmd.com/healthy-recipe-doctor), with timely topics such as “French Women Do Get Fat,” which reviews the best-selling book, French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure by Mireille Guilliano. WebMD asked Magee to be a part of their health professional blog team. “I think the purpose is to entertain readers while giving them quality health information,” says Magee.

Some dietitians are really thinking out of the lab jacket by putting out blogs such as Fat Dietitian (http://fatdietitian.b-logging.com) that asks the question, “What’s a dietitian to do when she’s fat?” Fat Dietitian provides a diary of a dietitian struggling with her weight, complete with a link to the American Dietetic association. Crazy Dietitian (www.crazydietitian.b-logging.com) provides a diary of a nutrition student struggling with issues such as inferiority.

A Lot to Learn
“I don’t think many dietitians know much about blogs,” says Tracy. “More and more people are turning to the Internet as their main source of information. Many of my patients come in to see me with printouts from the Internet on their medical problem.”
With a public information overload, there’s no doubt that dietitians need to stay in tune with the latest diet trends on the Internet.

Schrimsher says the search terms readers use to find his blog indicate what they are interested in. Did you know that the public has a fascination with topics such as the Shangri-La Diet, Proana (the pro-anorexia movement), and famously obese people?

We all know that not everything on the Internet rings true, and blogs are certainly no exception. Tracy cautions that many blogs have information written by nonprofessionals that are merely stating their opinions. “People need to understand that most blogs are simply a way for someone to voice their opinion or start a conversation about a specific topic. Look for ‘about’ pages or disclaimers on the Web site to learn more about the writer. Blogs allow anyone to become a journalist. If you can figure out how to create a blog site, your words and opinions can be seen by the whole world. Some people use blogs to make money from advertising that is placed on their Web site,” says Tracy.

“Diet and nutrition blogs often perpetuate misinformation, contrarian medical theories, and even conspiracy theories about food and nutrition topics, and these blogs can become an echo chamber, self-reinforcing each other,” warns Schrimsher.

But blogs can also offer positive rewards for dietitians. Magee reports, “This is an opportunity to get casual and personal with the public. It’s a way to communicate on a plethora of timely topics. I think it works for dietitians who are comfortable doing this, but not all are. As a nutrition writer who is trying to get the word out about my books so they can reach and help as many people as possible, getting traffic and reaching people is the bottom line. Blogs are one way to do this.”

Even though The Food Whore has shied away from advertisements to keep the site as uncluttered as possible, Kris admits that there is plenty of revenue to be made from advertisements in popular blogs. “Estimates show that revenues range from $300 a month up to $4,000 and way beyond, depending on the popularity of your site.”

Many view blogs as an untapped opportunity to better inform the public. “Blogs provide readers with a timely information source that is outside mainstream media and is combined with a personal application. There is also an opportunity to use humor and to even build a sense of community,” says Foster.

But there is also much room for improvement. “Bloggers need to be concerned about accuracy because there is nothing to prevent an aggrieved company or individual from suing a blogger who has said something to harm them,” says Schrimsher, who suggests that the “Briefing on Media Law” in the appendix of the associated Press Stylebook should be required reading for bloggers. Schrimsher claims that he has had incidents such as a publicist complaining about unfair portrayal of a client’s product and a reporter who believed her article was depicted as unfair and inaccurate. Schrimsher predicts, “The Wild West era of blogging will give way to more professionalism.”

Let’s hope dietitians are the nutrition professionals ready and waiting to ride the next wave of information technology.

— Sharon Palmer, RD, is a freelance food and nutrition writer in southern California.

What Is a Blog?
A blog is a Web site in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog, or adding an article to an existing blog is called blogging. Individual articles on a blog are called blog posts, posts, or entries. A person who posts these entries is called a blogger.

— Source: Wikipedia

And the Winner Is…
The 2005 Food Blog Award Winners
• Best Blog Covering the Food Industry: The Food Whore, www.thefoodwhore.com

• Best Blog Covering Wine, Beer, or Spirits: Vinography, www.vinography.com

• Best Chef’s Blog: Eggbeater, http://eggbeater.typepad.com

• Best City Blog: David Lebovitz, www.davidlebovitz.com

• Best Food Blog Humor: The Food Whore, www.thefoodwhore.com

• Best Food Blog Photography: Nordljus, www.nordljus.co.uk/en/index.php

• Best Food Blog Recipes: Chocolate & Zucchini, http://chocolateandzucchini.com

• Best Food Blog Restaurant Reviews: Becks & Posh, http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com

• Best Food Blog Theme: Gluten Free Girl, http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com

• Best Food Blog Writing: Chocolate & Zucchini, http://chocolateandzucchini.com

• Best Group Food Blog: Too Many Chefs, www.toomanychefs.com

• Best New Blog: Delicious Days, www.deliciousdays.com

• Best Non Blogging Food Site: Epicurious, www.epicurious.com

• Best Overall Food Blog: Orangette, www.orangette.blogspot.com

• Best Post: Meat Comes From Animals, Deal with It or Eat Vegetables, www.tigersandstrawberries.com/?p=96

Another anemia treatment trial

Since I was allergic to the iron infusion in the form of Dextran or InFed, the hematologist has set up another type of infusion.  I will be going back to the hospital for a dose of Ferrlecit next week.

FERRLECIT is a different form of parenteral iron indicated for the treatment of iron deficiency anemia in adult patients and in pediatric patients age 6 and older undergoing chronic hemodialysis who are receiving supplemental epotin therapy.

FERRLECIT represents a first line drug therapy option for chronic hemodialysis patients with iron deficiency anemia and can be used for both repletion and continued therapy. Iron is critical for normal hemoglobin synthesis to maintain oxygen transport. Additionally, iron is necessary for metabolism and synthesis of DNA and various enzymatic processes.
Why does iron deficiency anemia occur in chronic hemodialysis patients?
The etiology of iron deficiency in chronic hemodialysis patients is varied and can include increased iron utilization (e.g., from erythropoietin therapy), blood loss (e.g., from fistula, retention in dialyzer, hematologic testing, menses), decreased dietary intake or absorption, surgery, iron sequestration due to inflammatory process, and malignancy. The administration of exogenous erythropoietin increases red blood cell production and iron utilization. The increased iron utilization and blood losses in the hemodialysis patient may lead to absolute or functional iron deficiency. Iron deficiency is absolute when hematologic indicators of iron stores are low. Patients with functional iron deficiency do not meet laboratory criteria for absolute iron deficiency but demonstrate an increase in hemoglobin hematocrit or a decrease in erythropoietin dosage with stable hemoglobin/hematocrit when parenteral iron is administered.
How effective is FERRLECIT?
FERRLECIT has been shown to improve anemia outcomes in chronic hemodialysis patients receiving supplemental erythropoietin therapy. In an open-label, multicenter, randomized comparative study, FERRLECIT produced a mean increase in hemoglobin of 1.0 g/dL 2 days after completion of a 1-gram course of therapy administered over 8 sequential dialysis sessions. [4] In same FERRLECIT study, mean serum ferritin levels increased 320 ng/mL 2 days after completion of therapy, but remained below the K/DOQI-recommended limit and mean TSAT increased to >20% 2 days after completion of therapy.
How is FERRLECIT dosed?
The recommended dosage of FERRLECIT for the repletion treatment of iron deficiency in hemodialysis patients is 10 mL of FERRLECIT (125 mg of elemental iron). For initial repletion, most hemodialysis patients receiving supplemental erythropoietin therapy will require at least 1000 mg of FERRLECIT delivered intravenously, divided (125 mg) over 8 sequential dialysis sessions. If target hemoglobin/ hematocrit is not achieved after this initial course, K/DOQI recommends administration of a second 1000-mg course.[20] When iron stores are replenished and continued therapy is desired, FERRLECIT should be administered at the lowest dose necessary to maintain target levels of hemoglobin, hematocrit, and laboratory parameters of iron storage. Periodic monitoring of laboratory parameters of iron storage may assist in recognition of iron accumulation. FERRLECIT should not be administered to patients with iron overload.

How is FERRLECIT administered?
FERRLECIT may be diluted in 100 mL of 0.9% sodium chloride administered by intravenous infusion over 1 hour. FERRLECIT may also be administered undiluted as a slow IV injection (at a rate of up to 12.5 mg/min). Most patients will require a minimum cumulative dose of 1.0 gram of elemental iron, administered over eight sessions at sequential dialysis treatments, to achieve a favorable hemoglobin or hematocrit response. Patients may continue to require therapy with intravenous iron at the lowest dose necessary to maintain target levels of hemoglobin, hematocrit, and laboratory parameters of iron storage within acceptable limits. FERRLECIT has been administered at sequential dialysis sessions by infusion or by slow IV injection during the dialysis session itself.

How is FERRLECIT different from iron dextrans?
FERRLECIT is sodium ferric gluconate complex in sucrose injection and it does not contain the dextran moiety of the iron dextrans. In a post-marketing safety study, FERRLECIT was administered to 144 patients with known sensitivity to iron dextran, 34 of which were classified as anaphylactoid. Logistic regression analysis did not identify cross sensitivity between FERRLECIT and previous iron dextran sensitivity in the incidence of all adverse events. Thus there was no demonstrable cross-reactivity between FERRLECIT and iron dextran.The  only life-threatening suspected allergic adverse event (0.7%; 1/144) occurred in a patient with a history of multiple drug allergies, including anaphylaxis to iron dextran.
What are the contraindications?
All anemias not associated with iron deficiency. Hypersensitivity to FERRLECIT or any of its inactive components. Evidence of iron overload.

Big fun.

Appy Hanniversary.

My oldest daughter asked me yesterday morning, "Where are you going for your anniversary?"  I told her, probably nowhere, since it's Monday, a workday, and we really didn't make any plans.  I probably should have made at least dinner plans, because then spending my anniversary in the birthing unit triage would have been more of a disappointing evening.

I mentioned the other day that I've been having lots of contractions, especially in the last few days.  Yesterday, I found myself pacing because they were actually starting to hurt.  Once I noticed that I was hanging over a windowsill because of a contraction, I called the OB's office.  I went in, had a Fetal Fibronectin test done, and scooted up to the hospital for some fetal monitoring.  The FFT came back negative, which means I'm unlikely to give birth in the next two weeks.  It's like eight weeks too early for any of that business, thank you.  The nurses kept me on the monitors for quite while, and they did see lots of contractions, though they were mild and didn't get more painful.  The fetus seems fine - since she was beating my uterus senseless with some serious movement.  Bob was watching the monitors velcroed to my belly, and the baby was making them shake, rattle and roll.  I wondered even if what I was feeling might have been "the move" from breech to head-down.  Her heartbeat got lost twice, as she moved away from the monitors, and my belly seemed softer in the upper area where she was lying.  I'll never know if it was it, since we didn't have an ultrasound.  I am still feeling mildly crampy, but there hasn't been anything else beyond what was bothering me before to suggest a problem.  Unless something shows up on the urine culture, I just have to get used to be being uncomfortable.  I'm going in for a re-check on Thursday for the results of the culture and to see if anything has changed for the worse.

It looks like we have half of a name.  At least a possible middle name.  That's progress, right?  I figure if she's perhaps coming a wee bit earlier than a full eight weeks from now, we should pick a name, and maybe start getting some things together?

And, yeah, it was our anniversary.  Seven years - whoa.  (Well, seven years married, many more years actually together before that.)  The nurse on duty last night said to us, "You guys look so young, it's like you're having your first."  I just laughed.  Bob says to her, "I'm getting old, I'm almost thirty."  Her voice got real quiet, and she tells us that there are some moms on the floor that are thirty, thirty-seven, forty, and so-on, just having their first babies.  She's all like, "But, just think, when you're that age??"  I'm all, "Yeah, I could be a grandma."  ::shiver::

Do you take this woman to be your chubby bride?



I don't have any photos of us together, because it's usually him or I holding the camera.

Happy lucky seven year anniversary.  :)

Belly-aching. Literally.

Preggo-update time.  I'm 31.2 weeks right about now.  Little old ladies are giving me knowing glances, and two old men wished me luck with my "new family" just today.  Oh boy.

The leg pains are mysteriously gone.  The fetus must have shifted enough that I'm not feeling as much sciatica pain as before.  I haven't woken up with the pain that makes me want to pull my leg off in at least two weeks.  This is good, I like less leg pain. 

Instead of leg pain, we're belly-aching.  I'm all of a sudden very noticeably pregnant - I'm sporting a watermelon, a sort of squareish watermelon, but it's out there.  I am officially doing the pregnant lady shuffle, which is much like the fat lady waddle, because it's very similar.  I've slowed down considerably, even when I try to go fast, something hurts or slows my pace.  I'm having tons of painless contractions, all day long.  I have had a few episodes of slightly uncomfortable contractions or pressure - but I can generally stop them with rehydration or laying down to sleep.  Since they stop, they're just practice, and aren't doing anything.  Which, is good. 

The fetus seems highly active right now, lots of beating me up internally, though I haven't felt The Shift yet.  I fear she's getting too large to turn - and I have this feeling she's going to be bigger than previous tenants.  My last baby was 8 lbs. 12 oz. at 38 weeks, had I gone to 40 weeks she may have been about 9.5 lbs.  I wish I knew how big a baby could be before they just can't turn around anymore, but it's probably got to happen within two weeks or so... right?!

I'm not dead - but I am an Auntie again.

First, I'm an Auntie again.  My SIL's baby was born today - and everything seems fine, everyone seems healthy.

Lots of hair.

In love already.

In other news, I went for my Dextran Iron Infusion today - and wouldn't it figure - I had an allergic reaction. No iron for me. The test dose went well, I didn't feel any side effects, other than my uterus deciding to play tricks on me and start contracting slightly uncomfortably for the time I was in bed at the hospital. Once the doctor deemed that the iron was "safe" since I didn't react to the mini-dose - the full infusion started. Then, I got hives. The nurses immediately stopped the process, flushed the IV's and gave me anti-histamines. They waited till the anti-allergy meds sort of wore off, and sent me home. I won't be allowed that sort of meds ever again. So, I guess my blood will just have to suck for the time being. Anyways - long day - I'm beat... more later.

Complication of Gastric Bypass - MIL Update

My MIL went to the hospital this morning due to the side-effects she's been having, vomiting, not really eating, and a general sense of being clogged.  She's been absolutely miserable.  I didn't get the details, she seemed groggy from whatever medication they gave her.  The doctors used a camera and decided that her stoma was too small - and food therefore wasn't passing, and she was starving.  They stretched her stoma to an acceptable size, and sent her home.  I'll update with details when I talk to her.  She's bound to be happier if she can get some food into her - and that she's having another grandbaby tonight/tommorrow!

*Update:  The woman is eating, and not puking.  Hooray!  She had eggs, two, for breakfast today... Miracle cure. 

I Ron.

I had a check-up today with an OB at my midwives' office.  She was clearly unhappy with my last blood draw, and got me scheduled for parental iron infusion via IV, like, tommorrow.  I've been sitting, waiting, for weeks, for this.  I'm not looking forward to it, since it can cause problems, but the doctors have been telling me for months I'd need to have it done, but noone ever passes the message along to each other.  The OB today opened my file and immediately suggested it - and a few hours later another doctor is calling me to tell me to be at the hospital at 8am tommorrow, sharp.  According what I've read online, I can expect the IV infusion to last anywhere from 1-8 hours (have no clue?!) and the doctors will give a very small test dose first and wait an hour to assure that I won't go into anaphalactic shock and drop dead.  This is done at the Outpatient Center at the hospital, just in case shock occurs, and they're prepared with whatever meds they need to reverse the allergic reaction.  I assume, too, that if I were to drop dead, they'd be running my butt up to the ER/OR for an emergency baby removal to save the fetus, because she's just nearly big enough to make it at this stage.  My health care proxy cannot get out of work tommorrow, he's in a mandatory training, so I'm going alone.  The kids will be with extended family - whom are on baby-watch waiting for my sister in law to give birth tonight or early tommorrow morning, as she's being induced right now, but they really can't be at the hospital with me.  I believe all will go well, and if there is any indication of side effects with the test dose, it's a no-go.  I'll check in tommorrow night with details - since this is apparently a common thing with gastric bypass patients, the IV infusions after surgery, and during pregnancy.

Help Me Jeebus.


My son is obsessive about being in control of the remote control for the television.  This isn't just here at home, he'll try to gain domination over anyone's remote.  If you can't find the remote - he's probably placed it in his bed, generally under the pillow, safely tucked in.  Most times, we're stuck watching Power Rangers S.T.D. ("It's S PEE Dee, Mama!" until he digs the remote out of a hiding place, I find it, or we shut down everything until he brings it back and nobody watches anything.  He'll record every episode of the chlamydia crew onto TIVO and then watch and rewind during the shows, so we're seeing a lot more Power Rangers than we need to.  I don't know where he got the idea that he's the King of the Remote - maybe it's because he's the only boy here and the girls have allowed him to do it for so long?


So this morning, I've been trapped on CBN.  How CBN got on my screen, I'll never know.  Maybe it was the healin' power of Jeebus comin' through the screen to touch me. 

Turns out the kid didn't hide the remote.  He walked away, got involved in something else, I didn't see the remote right away, waited for him to come back since I wasn't actively listening anyway. (I was making breakfast and fiddling around)  Then came a point, I just couldn't take it anymore.  For $20.00, I too, could help.  When the 700 Club first came on - I didn't really know what it was, it sounded a lot like a news program, which I wouldn't mind watching, normally.

I watched a story about a high school valedictorian who had the mic shut off because she started spewing about how Jesus got her where she is today.  From CBN:

"Valedictorian Brittany McComb is on stage to deliver a speech, which highlights God's influence in her life. But when she tries to mention how Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, all of a sudden her microphone goes dead.

Is it a faulty outlet? A power surge? No, the school pulled the plug...literally!

John Whitehead heads the legal organization representing McComb. He said, "She had the microphone pulled, something that only happens in totalitarian regimes."

McComb knew the microphone would be shut off because she had to submit a copy of her speech to the school. They warned her not to read her version or they would cut off her microphone.

CBN News obtained a copy of the speech. The school cut out this part: "God's love is so great that He gave His only Son up to an excruciating death on a cross so His blood would cover all our shortcomings, and our relationship with Him could be restored…" They cited that as 'identifying a particular religion."

They also didn't like the part where she wrote "that is why Christ died." They also crossed out a part where they believed she was proselytizing. She wrote: "I can guarantee 100 percent, no doubt in my mind, that if you choose to fill yourself with God's love rather than the things society tells us will satisfy us, you will find success, you will find your self-worth."

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind, but for now, don't do that in a public school setting, mmkay?

Anyways - we're safely away from the Bible Network and back to the loving arms of Nickelodeon where we belong, so it's all good.

But, before I go back to the Fairly Oddparents, perhaps?!

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Who was obviously so not the valedictorian.

Death By Carbohydrate.

We have a wedding shower to attend tommorrow, and I've been cooking a few things to bring, including some simple cupcakes.  I had put the batter in heart-shaped foil cupcake cups, which overflowed.  I guess this is what happens when someone who doesn't cook much anymore tries to bake a batch of freaking cupcakes.  Otherwise, my Death By Carbohydrate contributions to the party came out well.  I made a double batch of Emerils' Four Cheese Macaroni & Cheese (my staple mac & cheese recipe), Pasta Salad & Chex Muddy Buddies (don't ask). Tommorrow morning, the only part of the contribution that I should actually eat, I'll finish the Deviled Eggs.

The wedding shower is for my husbands' brother and fiance - who are getting married very close to my due date.  Bob's already threatened them that I might very well go into labor during the reception, breaking my water on the dance floor.  Bob's the Best Man - though he's mentioned that they may need a back-up.  I told Bob that it's alright if he's not there during the entire labor and delivery process, you know, it's been done three times before pretty uneventfully - technically without his help, right?  It's highly unlikely to happen that very day, but, it's kinda funny to think it might.  My sister in law is within a week of her due date right now, and I told her it would be funny if she went into labor tommorrow, during this wedding shower shindig.

His brother and I are exactly the same age - about one month apart - and it's funny to think they're just starting out, getting married, just bought their first place, and we've been doing this for years.  Our seventh wedding anniversary is next week - (yes, we did it backwards considering my daughter is nearly nine).

I'm seriously wasting time here - so what else?  Uh, we did get a crib, after an unsuccessful trip to Babies-R-Us.  My four year old deemed that "cribs are dumb" and got very cranky in the store, so after buying no baby items at the baby store, we ended up at IKEA and bought an assembly-required crib that was $200 cheaper.  It's not like my babies ever use cribs, like, ever, but I figure we need to at least try to use one, once in a while.


Obesity Epidemic on Dateline NBC

On TV right now - Dateline NBC

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14365261/

In the face of a growing obesity epidemic with vast medical and financial implications for generations of Americans, several advocates, nutritionists, and lawyers are now working to take the fight from the food court to the court of law. They want to sue the companies that make and market some of America’s favorite foods in order to curb expanding waistlines. So, is food, as one lawyer says, the next tobacco?

In an upcoming report, “Food Fight,” airing on Friday, Aug. 18 (8:00 PM, ET/PT), “Dateline’s” Stone Phillips asks: are we overweight because we are not trying hard enough, or are we overweight because somehow the food and marketing industries have eroded our ability to just say no? Pitting personal responsibility against corporate responsibility, Phillips explores the subject from the courtroom, the supermarket, the drive-thru, and even the lab: looking at the latest developments in brain imaging science suggesting some of us may actually be addicted to fattening food.

But if “the hamburger made me do it” sounds like a big fat joke, the food industry isn’t laughing. In fact, they’re fighting back. And they’re changing. Included in the hour-long report are rare television interviews with one of McDonald’s top leaders, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of McDonald’s USA, Don Thompson, and Kraft’s Senior Vice President in charge of Health and Wellness, Lance Friedmann. Both companies are leaders in their fields and leaders in innovation. The industry candidly opens up about what can be done and what is being done. How best to convey calories in the Fast Food world? And what is the most responsible way to market food to kids?

When Phillips asks Kraft about its responsibility for the national epidemic, Friedmann’s answer is one that would have seemed unheard of coming from the industry just a few years ago, “Obesity and trying to address it, we believe, is a shared responsibility,” adding, “we think we can be part of the solution.” When Phillips brings up the controversial use of licensed cartoon spokes-characters in marketing food to young children, Kraft’s Friedmann replies, “this is probably the next frontier. We’re going to be looking at this.”

In a rare TV interview, McDonald’s Thompson speaks out about the initiatives taken by the Golden Arches to combat obesity. “I don’t think [our founder] had in his wildest dreams that today we’d be selling more than 300 million salads a year. I don’t think he would have thought we’d be selling apples, you know, 54 million pounds of apples in the U.S. alone.” In addition, Thompson addresses the famous 2002 lawsuit that is still pending, in which two girls from the Bronx, N.Y. sued the company for making them obese. When asked about McDonald’s responsibility in the face of obesity, Thompson answers, “It is not up to us to define what is a part of a person’s diet. However, we want to make sure that the choice is there.”

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14365261/


We went camping again and I forgot to blog.  It didn't occur to me because the kids actually had a bit more fun this time, and it was a shorter trip.  Anyway - we're home - we're all alive.  I had an ultrasound on Monday right before we left.  I'm still having a girl, who apparently has a large head.  This is not suprising, as I have three very big bean heads sitting here.


She's measuring average otherwise, but I don't have any indication of the weight.  The placenta has shifted entirely and is no longer a risk.  She's still in the wrong place, not head down, but entirely sideways.  I've got a head on one side and feet on the other.  While laying down, my belly appears square.

29 weeks pregnant.

The high-risk OB who's been giving me the ultrasounds was clearly happy with the results this time.  His only worry right now is my blood, because it still stinks, and is only going to get worse.  My current hemocrit levels are quite low - and he says that he'd like to get me some iron IV infusions soon.  He mentioned something about a critical level - and if I were to go any lower at my next visit with the hematologist it will be absolutely necessary.  I'd rather not have to deal with a blood transfusion the day of the baby's delivery - which is likely at this point if the blood levels do not increase.

In other news, my mother in law has been having some side effects of her gastric bypass and is absolutely miserable.  She said yesterday that if she knew about "anything like this" she'd have never had the surgery.  I don't know how serious any part of her symptoms are, or if they're just more intense because she's older.  Some of the things she's experiencing are things that Bob & I also had, but she's on her own and doesn't have somebody in her house also going through similar issues like he or I did at the time.  She has lost quite a bit of weight, but has been so sidelined with the side-effects that she's not seeing the results of the weight loss yet.  I told her things will get better very soon, and she'll be thrilled, soon.  Not now, but, soon.

Okay, the husband has a few more days of vacation left, and we're supposed to be getting things done - and nesting of sorts, since he's not off again until the birth.  We're headed up Babies-R-Us later today to see if they've got the crib I picked out actually out for display, and maybe pick a few things up.  I've got most everything we need listed on the Target Registry - but much of it isn't carried in the store locally?!  I would like to see some of it in person before I buy it, you know?! We of course kept nothing, since we weren't having any more kids.  We have to rebuy every little thing.  (Except boobs, I suppose I kept those, since I refuse to pay hundreds of dollars for stinking formula.)  Okay, listening to Bob on the phone with our health insurance discussing the potential size of the bill that we're going to receive after the fetus is born.  What fun! 

"I wanna go hoooome."

We're home.  The cat is happy. (Happy = sleeping on me right now and won't move.) The end. Nothing exciting about coming home, except hearing a seven year old beg to listen to "Home" by Michael Buble.

Pics will be uploaded to Flickr tonight if I can find my plug to get my batteries charged here on the laptop.

I've got an ultrasound on Monday - we'll see if the still unnamed fetus is still right-side up.  She needs to be upside down.  I felt some serious movement today, but I don't think it was a full baby turnaround.  I don't know how late in pregnancy is normal for a baby to switch from breech to head-down and ready to shoot out - but we're going to run out of uh, womb.  I'm trying to remember when my daughter turned, since she was also breech, but of course I didn't blawg back then, gawd, how would I remember anything?!

I've figured it out.

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I've had an epiphany.  Vacation = more bonding & time than anyone needs.  We never spend this much time together in one spot, ever, even if we were at home on vacation.  That, and the fact that Everything Costs Money.  Bob had put a budget on this week - I want to say it was $100 a day per day for "activities."  Well, that was blown out of the water on the first day, and we're really not doing jack.  I am blown away by the amount of cash some folks drop in this place.  I met a Dad of four or five kids the day before yesterday in line while making reservations for a dinner show (which cost us $50.00 for cold pizza)  He went into detail about how he asks his brood to save up all their change all year long for this camping trip - and Daddy will match the funds.  This year - the kids saved a bundle - to the tune of like $600 each - and he matched it times four or five.  This was just for their personal spending money, for weenies, arcade, etc.  We told our kids they were limited to $10.00 a day.  That's it.  (Of course, that was for them to buy something special, or to go to the arcade, or something extra, not counting normal meals or anything like that.)  Let me tell you - that doesn't fly here.  Everything costs.  I took the kids to go to a Free Craft this morning - which included - a Foam Plate, Glue, and Foam Bits to stick on the plate.  By the time we got here (about five minutes into the session) all of the bits of foam were gone aside from a few choice dinosaurs and some random stars in orange and red.  The kids ask me what they're supposed to make with "this?!"  We make decorated meat plates, why?  I don't know.  But, conveniently located next to this Free Craft?  An Arts and Crafts Session with a hired artist where you can choose to paint ceramics or wood of your choice, or make a tye-dye tee shirt!  I snuck the oldest to paint ceramics since the other two got involved in watching a puppet show nearby.  The ceramic that she really wanted was $35.00, but after seeing that I had only a $20.00 bill on me, she caved for a small bunny that she could paint as a gift for her new baby cousin coming very soon.  We sat and painted this bunny, when she noted that the ear had been re-attached with superglue.  I brought this to the attention of the woman in charge of the painting, and she assured me that this bunny wouldn't lose his ear again, and that the paint would cover the *obvious* crack.  Um, okay.  I asked to switch, and she says "no."  We paint the bunny, he breaks... this woman reglues the ear, blaming the break basically on my child.  I'm not in the mood to argue especially in front of the kid who's already upset that this gift is already broken, so we finish the $10 dollar broken bunny.  He is sorta cute - but... he's a broken bunny. 

28 Weeks.

Update time.  28 weeks pregnant today.  This means I've got approximately 10 weeks to go before delivery, since I generally give birth at 38 weeks.  Though, it may be later, (like a full 40 weeks) than earlier this time, since my blood pressure is good and that's what always did me in in previous pregnancies - the high blood pressure, tachycardia and symptoms of preeclampsia.  Maybe since I'm smaller this time around, I won't get those issues.  My blood pressure at my last visit was 100/60, whereas in previous pregnancies it hung out around 150/90 and higher. 

As for other issues, I've still anemic - the hematologist sees me once a month for a blood check and a B-12 injection.  My levels haven't increased, though they're at least maintaining at the very lowest the doc will allow before intervening.  She has suggested an iron infusion right after the baby is born, because I'm likely to get more anemic after blood loss like birth.  I still feel like a wet sponge at best most days, no energy at all.  I get what I need to get done, but I have to stop a lot - and many things get done half-assed and I have to remember to go back and finish things.  I start things with the best of intentions, and I fizzle out and get so sleepy I don't finish, or I actually forget.

As for other side effects, I explained my horrendous varicose veins, and we're ignoring them, just can't do anything about them until I'm at goal and ready for removal surgeries.  Also, the super sciatica has kicked in full force.  It feels as if my rear end is going to uh, crack, and split and my legs are both going to shoot off in separate directions.  I find myself pacing around to keep the pain away, but it's getting worse each day.  Hooray.

Update:  I had an OB visit today, just a quickie.  Baby sounds well, her heartrate is just fine.  She's still breech, but I knew that, I can feel it.  I am waiting for the big move - it's getting cramped in there, and I don't really want her to get stuck rightside up!  I'm measuring 29 weeks, my blood pressure is a-okay, no protein in the urine, little weight gain.  These are good things.

About this stage of preggo -


*PS - just flip that baby the other way, and it's a good facsimile.

From The Childbirth Connection:

By your 28th week of pregnancy, your baby is about 16 inches long and weighs 3-1/2 to 4 pounds. The skin is wrinkled but will become less so as more subcutaneous fat, the layer of fat just under the skin, is laid down in the next few weeks. Fine downy hair, called lanugo, and a waxy white protective substance covering the skin, called vernix, are present on the baby's body. The baby's eyes are open. The eyebrows and eyelashes were formed in the fourth month. The baby sucks its thumb and its taste buds have developed. The baby kicks, stretches, and moves frequently in the uterus. These movements, which are readily observable to others, are often keenly felt by the mother. Some mothers may find that the pressure of the growing uterus against the stomach by this week causes heartburn. The fundus, the top of the uterus, is now about one-third of the distance between the umbilicus (bellybutton) and the xiphoid cartilage. Constipation may also occur due to uterine pressure on the lower colon, as well as hormonal slowing of peristalsis (the process of excreting waste). Uterine growth combined with increased maternal weight gain contribute to a recurrence of fatigue similar to that during the early weeks of pregnancy.

By the 28th week, changes in the breasts prepare them for lactation. First colostrum, then milk, is produced by the grape-like clusters of tiny sacs (alveoli) deep within the breast tissue.
Clusters of alveoli form lobules, which consolidate to form 15 to 20 lobes. Each lobe connects to a lactiferous duct. As the ducts extend toward the nipple and areolar areas, they widen into the lactiferous sinuses. These sinuses (or milk pools) release the milk through 15 to 20 tiny nipple openings when the baby nurses.

The baby's organs and systems are quite well developed by the 28th week of pregnancy. If born now, the baby would probably survive but would need intensive, specialized care. The final two months of gestation are important for further maturation of all body systems and organs. Full term gestation best prepares the baby for a smooth and healthy adjustment to life outside of your uterus.

The baby's organs and systems are quite well developed. If born now the baby would probably survive but would need intensive, specialized care. The final two months of gestation are important for further maturation of all body systems and organs. Full term gestation best prepares the baby for a smooth and healthy adjustment to life outside of your uterus.


I really don't have anything to report, so here's a generic blog post.  Today it's going to be hot, though tommorrow will be hell on earth hot.  Our plans?  Swim.  Today we're headed to the pool once the clouds pass.  We're waiting on a quick thunderstorm, and then the heat will roll in.  Tommorrow will be hotter than any weather we ever have here, so our plans?  The pool, (again).  The kids have all week home, so we're booooooored and trying not to spend any money since school is starting in 29 days and everyone needs new clothes and supplies within the month.  That translates to sticking close to home and keeping busy without killing each other.  In the pool, at least they're slightly distracted with the fear of drowning that they don't try to maim each other for at least a few hours.  Next week, we're vacating.  Whee.  It's always fun and difficult at the same time.  As long as it's not insanely hot and humid, I think we'll be fine.  I'm starting to resemble a duck, with the always fun sciatica that's now effecting both legs and my lower back.  This may be why I'm craving the water, since nothing hurts when you're in the water.  I tried to at least make something physical out of wading yesterday, I stood as deep as I could and did modified jumping jacks and arm circles for a very long time.  I taught the kids how to somersault and handstand in the shallow end too, which is something I'd never dare try out of water.