Halloween Pumpkins

A few weekends ago John and I went to Linvilla Orchards in Media to get pumpkins for our house for Halloween.  I had an alterior motive though because what I really wanted was apple fritters that I didn’t have to make myself.  Yummy!  I love going down to Linvilla because you don’t have to go out into the fields to get your pumpkins, which can be fun but sometimes isn’t the best idea, and there are always tons and tons to pick from. 

John near some of the pumpkins

It was such a beautiful day when we went down there.  High 60s  with beautiful blue skies.  A perfect fall day.

Any type of pumpkin you want, they have it

These are the pumpkins that we bought

Daddy, Mommy, and Baby pumpkins

We haven’t decorated or cut the pumpkins yet, but I’m sure we’ll do that before Sunday.  In the meantime, they’ve been hanging out on our front steps, next to my begonias, which are doing really well in the cooler, wetter weather.

You can see the pumpkins on the steps, as well as Toby waiting for John to get home from work.

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32 Weeks

Well, 32 weeks and 3 days to be exact.  Just finished 8 months.  Only ~8 more weeks to go.

What’s been going on:

Charlie kicks, punches, and rolls constantly.  She’s my little jumping bean!  I love watching my belly move, although John says it often looks like there’s an alien in there.  Which then prompts him to sing “Hello my baby” after the alien scene in Spaceballs.

Spaceballs

Often, the only thing that can make Charlie calm down is Toby laying on my abdomen.  I think it’s the heat of his body that calms her down.

We have 3 more Bradley classes left.  They haven’t been too bad and we have learned quite a bit.  I think I’m more prepared for labor than I was when we started.  Although, if I’m being honest, I’m still nervous of the actual event.  But, I think that’s normal.

The nursery is just about finished.  It should be finished by Friday of this week if I can get my act together.

This week, for the first time this pregnancy, I’ve lost 0.2 pounds in the past two weeks.  How awesome is that!  I am right on track to have gained just about 30 pounds. Hopefully it won’t be too bad to take it off.

For the first time in a long time I’m really looking forward to Christmas.  I can’t wait to get the house all decorated.  I think there’s an underlying motivation for that though.

This is the reason I usually don’t like decorating for Chritmas.  We live with our very own tree elf, aka the cat demon of destruction named Sophie.

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A Hippie Baby

John thinks I’m going to make the baby into a hippie because of the hat and booties I made for her this weekend.

I’ve had this yarn for a while and finally had the perfect excuse to use it.

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Many Reasons for a Lack of Posting

Life has been really crazy lately.  There have been three many reasons why I haven’t been posting a lot lately.

1) My Mac laptop is having several issues, with the most annoying being that the trackpad no longer works properly.  When you try to click it gets stuck and won’t drop icons or words correctly.  So you end up with words in the wrong orientation or items being dragged and dropped into the wrong place.  Super annoying.  Unfortunately, it couldn’t be fixed by just hooking up a mouse, meaning that there was a bigger problem going on inside the coputer. 

The Mac store wanted $200 to just open the computer up and an estimate was that it would be at least another $100 to fix it.  Therefore, we solved our own problem by picking up a new desktop computer (we only needed a new CPU as the old one was from 2000 and in really bad shape).  Grabbed it this weekend and voila, issue solved.  Desktop for work and blogging, laptop for just hanging out on the internet at night.

2) I was in a car accident on October 6th.  Absolutely 100% not my fault.  My SIL, BIL, and I were attending a family funeral (John wasn’t there as he was OOT).  We were stopped in the cemetary, waiting in line to find out where the gravesite was.  I put the car in park and we were gabbing.  A few minutes passed when out of nowhere, the car behind us hit us.  The man’s foot had slipped off the brake and onto the accelerator. 

 Because the seatbelt had tightened, I was told by my doctor to go to the Perinatal Evaluation Center at UPenn.  I spent a little over 7 hours having the baby monitored, but fortunately, everything was fine.  Now I’m just trying to deal with the coordination of the insurance companies and having my car repaired (it’s been in since last Tuesday and hopefully will come home tomorrow *keeping my fingers crossed* as I HATE the rental car – a Chevy HHR).

and 3)  John and I traveled to Pgh a few weeks ago to have a baby shower with my friends and family back home.  It was really lovely and everybody was so generous.  My SIL, Barb, did an amazing job with the decorations.  I don’t have a ton of pictures yet, even though I know my cousin and my aunt were taking pictures.  Here’s one that I do have though:

Me and three of my lovely FIFs

Guess which one is me.  I’ll give you a hint.  I’m the one with the big belly.

Since things have settled down a bit and my computer situation is much more stable, there should be posts a plenty coming.

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On a Lighter Note

If your husband comes home with this book:

The Good Wife Guide

Hit him over the head with it!

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Getting on My Soap Box

I haven’t really used my blog as a soap box.  I haven’t sat here and tried to get you, my readers, to believe what I believe.  But today, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  I recently read this article:

10 Infants Dead in California Whooping Cough Outbreak

and it really got my goat.  It wasn’t the article itself so much.  Nothing in it was new to me.  But what really did bother me was the people that were writing in the comments section.  Same thing happened with this article:

Where Vaccine Doubt Persists

For the first time, vaccination rates in the US are down.  Down!  More people are claiming belief exemptions.  It’s ridiculous.  What happens when people don’t vaccinate their kids?  You’re going to see more and more people dying of diseases that are preventable.  PREVENTABLE being the operative word.

I think here in the US we have gotten to be very complacent in our medical choices when it comes to infectious diseases.  After all, when’s the last time that you saw someone with measles or polio?  Even most newer physicians (be newer I mean younger than 50) will tell you that they’ve never seen a case.  You want to know why you don’t see these diseases?  Vaccinations.  The problem is, these diseases are not missing from the population.  They are still there and people that choose not to vaccinate, or even that choose not to get boosters, or vulnerable to these diseases.

Look at the recent mumps outbreak in NYC and NJ.  A single 11 year-old-boy went to England, where the rates of MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccination are low.  He brought back the disease with him, and sickened over 1500 people with mumps.  The problem is that the MMR vaccine is only 90-95% effective.  There are always people for which the vaccine will not work (want an example, I’ve had the chicken pox vaccine 3 times – still no antibodies, so I’m still susceptible to chicken pox).  So 5-10% of the population is still able to come down with mumps.  In that population of 1500 people who were sick, 80% had been up to date with their boosters.  Bottom line from those numbers – without the vaccine, many thousands more would have been sickened with mumps.  We were fortunate to have no deaths, but mumps causes many other issues including immediate problems like Bell’s Palsy and Deafness and other which won’t be known for years, including sterility (this was a major problem before the MMR vaccine was used).

Yes, some people think that they have a right not to vaccinate their children.  The problem is that when they choose not to vaccinate they are actually not only giving their children and much higher chance of dying from a communicable disease, but they are also potentially harming EVERY SINGLE PERSON that their child comes in contact with.

John travels to southern California a lot, exactly where the epicenter of the Pertussis outbreak is.  As soon as we found out we were pregnant, one of the first things that we did was find out when John could receive a Pertussis booster (I received a Tdap last year when I cut off the tip of my finger, so I had the vaccine last year) just so that we could keep Charlie safe from Pertussis.  I think we were being responsible.  Charlie can’t be vaccinated for Pertussis until about 2 mo of age, so she’d be completely susceptible to the disease, which is often not caught in time in infants (its symptoms mimic things like RSV in infants).  I would be beside myself if she died from something that we could have prevented.  BTW, we also have asked our immediate family members to get their boosters too.

Many people are choosing not to vaccinate because of the “autism” fear.  There has been, to date, absolutely, NO evidence that autism is linked to mercury in vaccines.  Mercury was removed from all children’s vaccines (except the flu) by 2000.  What’s happened since 2000?  The autism rates have spiked.  Another thing, you get more mercury in fish than you do in the vaccinations anyways.  You don’t see parents staying away from fish for their kids!  It’s those fish oils, they’re good for you!  There was only ever 1 paper, documenting 12 instances of children with “autism-like” symptoms in children who had received the MMR vaccines. But what was not documented in that paper was that those children all had a major underlying autoimmune disease.  So, it wasn’t a random study.  Research has proven that certain autoimmune diseases, like the one in the children in the study, can be linked to autism.  So, in reality, it was a paper linking the autoimmune diseases and autism, not the vaccine.  The paper has since been retracted and the scientist who published it has been “disbarred” from science (what’s more, he never disclosed that he was working for a company that was trying to make a vaccine to compete against the MMR vaccine – a clear conflict on interests!).

But even though it’s been retracted, it’s damage has been done.  A certain celebrity who shall remain nameless (but used to date Jim Carrey) being one of the most vocal people to espouse the paper.  That one paper has created this whole imaginary phenomena that so many people choose to believe.  There are no clear reasons that children have autism.  It’s more than likely a multi-factorial syndrome, meaning that there are many different factors in each case.  My personal belief is that you’ll soon see certain foods and environmental factors being linked to autism.  When you see a huge swing in cases of a syndrome, there has to be something that everyone is being exposed to that they previously weren’t being exposed to.  Well, processed foods and certain types of plastics weren’t around in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and you didn’t see the high rates of autism back then.  Personally, I don’t think that this is a coincidence.

It’s funny, before I was expecting I knew a lot about this whole debate (My doctorate is in micro and immunology, so learned a lot about it in my studies, AND I teach this every year, so I keep up with the current news), but it was never personal.  Now it is.  I have a whole additional life for which I am responsible for.  It makes me mad when there are things outside of my control that can harm my child.  Things that could be changed if people were educated.  It really hit close to home in our birthing class.  One set of parents said that they absolutely were not vaccinating their children BECAUSE vaccines cause autism.  I tried to explain my side of the situation, but was told that I am part of the lying establishment.  I had to bite my tongue from saying that I sincerely hoped that their child didn’t die from the irresponsible decisions they were making.

BTW, I do think that there are too many vaccines given to soon, but it’s not a link to autism either.  It’s a practical reason that so many vaccines are given quickly.  So many kids are in daycare that they are being exposed to these illnesses early, before their immune systems are ready, and need help fighting them off.  But, your physician should be able to work with you on a vaccination schedule that makes you comfortable.  If they’re not, find a pediatrician that you’re comfortable with.

Sorry for the large wall of text, but I had to get this out.  It’s really been bothering me, so hopefully this post will be cathartic for my brain.  I didn’t want this to get scientific, but if anyone has any questions that I can answer, you can post them below or email me and I’ll try to answer them as best as possible.

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Grocery Shopping

Yes, I’m aware that I’ve been gone for a while, but there’s a good reason for that and I’ll explain it in another post soon.  For now, let’s just say that life has been quite an adventure lately.

This post is going to be a little different and is the direct result of a phone conversation that I had with my mother.  My mother is completely shocked that I can go to the grocery store and spend $278.03 on a family of 2.  My mother and my father are not big on cooking too often (they say they’ve earned the right to not cook during retirement).  They do like to eat out a lot.  John and I, on the other hand, love to cook and go out to eat, at most, once a week.

So in this post, I’m going to show and list exactly what I bought at the grocery store today – just so that my mom can see what went into an almost $300 bill.  This wasn’t the run in/ run out type of shopping trip.  Instead, it was the pack up the pantry for a few months type of trip.  I spent over an hour in the grocery store and, since John’s at work, had to carry everything into the house without any help.  This *should* be my last BIG pantry stock up before Charlie gets here.

I’ll preface this by saying that 1) We love to shop at Wegman’s.  They have a great selection of foods and have some wonderful store brand items, which allows us to save a lot over name brands.  2) There aren’t a lot of meats on this list because we do use a meat delivery service out of Bristol, PA.  We’re actually just about to place a new order.  The last time we ordered, two weeks before our wedding in June of 09.  and 3) You won’t see many processed foods.  We try to eat as few of these as possible.  This allows us to keep our bills down AND it’s much healthier as well!

So, what did I buy (pictures are from my BBerry, I apologize for the quality):

 

Home from Wegman's

 

Starting to put everything away:

 

Foods for the pantry and/or cabinets

 

 

Some of the foods for the fridge and/or freezer

 

The List:

Wegman’s Whole Wheat Bread (no HFCS), Wegman’s Plain Rye Bread (no HFCS), Wegman’s Mini Multi-Grain Pita, Total Greek Yogurt (0% fat), Wegman’s 8″ Tortillas, Wegman’s Sour Cream, Wegman’s Salted Butter, Wegman’s Large Eggs (doz), 2x Wegman’s Frozen Mixed Vegetables, 2x Wegman’s Frozen Cut Corn, Wegman’s Frozen Broccoli Cut, Wegman’s Frozen Green Beans, Wegman’s Frozen Sliced Carrots, 2x Wegman’s Coarse Ground Canned Tomatoes, 6x Wegman’s Petite Diced Tomatoes, Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Chilies, 5x Wegman’s San Marzano Tomatoes, Hunt’s Sloppy Joe Mix (no idea why I wanted this), 2x Wegman’s No Sugar Added Apple Juice, 2x Libby’s Organic Canned Pumpkin, Wegman’s Soda Black Cherry 12 cans, Wegman’s Soda Orange 12 cans, 1 box each Wegman’s – Ziti, Penne, Rings, Shells, Rigatoni, Linguine, and Spaghetti – Pasta, Wegman’s Apple Cinnamon Toasted Oats (like apple cinnamon cherrios), Wegman’s Rice Crisps (like Rice Krispies), Wegman’s Wide Egg Noodles, Goya 16 Bean Soup Mix Dried Beans, 2x Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, Wegman’s Medium Salsa, Kashi Go Lean Crispy with Toasted Berries, Kashi Strawberry Promise, Wegman’s 10# Unbleached Flour,  2x Wegman’s Sweetened Condensed Milk, Hunt’s Chocolate Pudding Snack Pack, 2x Scharffen Berger Dark Chocolate Baking Chocolate, 2x Vita Coconut Water, Wegman’s 2# Powdered Sugar, Ziyad Tahini, 4x Wegman’s Chicken Stock, 2x Wegman’s Beef Stock, McCormick Mild Taco Seasoning, McCormick Hot Cili Seasoning, Wegman’s Raisins, Hershey’s w/almonds Fun Size Bag (for Halloween), Snicker’s Fun Size Bag (for Halloween), 8lb 90/10 Ground Beef, 3lb Boneless Chicken Breasts, 3 lb Chicken Things (Bone-in, for Chicken Soup), 2lb Chicken Sausage, 3lb Hickory Smoked Bacon, 1/2lb turkey off the bone, 1lb Ham off the bone, 1/4 lb American Cheese, Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Fresh Danish Blue Cheese, Fresh Crumbled Feta Cheese, 2lb Green Peppers, 5lb Seedless Green Grapes, 2lb Baby Carrots, 1.5lb White Mushrooms, Bunch of Fresh Dill, 2 lb Bananas, 1 bunch celery, 5lb grapefruit, 3 lb Golden Delicious Apples, 2lb yellow onions, 4lb Valencia Oranges, 2lb Fresh Strawberries, 5lb white potatoes and 1 Twix bar from the checkout lane (I was hungry).

Non-grocery Items: 2x 4 pack cleaning sponges, Febreeze Shade Refill, Cupcake Cups, Wegman’s Toilet Paper (24pk).

All-in-all, I’d say it wasn’t a bad trip to the grocery store.  If I’m counting correctly, that’s about 123 items.  This should last us a few months, provided that we supplement with some fresh fruits and veggies every couple weeks.  Yes, the total looks huge, but when you figure out how many meals we’ll get out of those groceries, it’s not bad.  You just need to shop correctly.  Our total could probably go down if we’d get rid of the specialty cheeses and ingredients (like Tahini), but we like splurging on those few items.  And if I’m being honest, the few candy items too!

Now, just to go put away what’s left (all of the non-fridge/freezer stuff).

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