Friday, November 30, 2012

November Rain

I am so glad this is the last day of the month.  November has been absolutely awful.  The entire month lost to a virus.  Never before have we experienced such a sickness that could take down the entire family for so long.  

This all started on Halloween when Kristina and I took the girls to the Mall for Spooky Storytime and playtime in the germ harbor indoor play area.  In replaying the day, I realized I forgot to wash Sidney's hands before eating.  Then Halloween that night with a visit to Google and trick-or-treating and candy eating. 

The next day Sidney's began to act a little funny.  She wasn't sleeping well and occasionally she'd cough.  By the weekend, just in time for my Mother & Cindy to visit for the King Tut exhibit, Sidney was actually sick.  She had a chesty cough and a slight temperature.  

Cindy returned to Portland while Mom stayed in Seattle for few days since Ken went to California for work.  Cindy caught the bug and suddenly I'm wasn't feeling very well either.  Later we would learn Mom also caught this nasty bug too.  

There was so much coughing.  The rare times Sidney gets sick don't involve coughing so I was unprepared for this.  I felt so bad at night when I could hear her down the hall.  It kept her awake a few nights and there's nothing to do at this age except provide warm water with honey & lemon (if they'll drink it) and a vaporizer.  Activities were wiped off our schedule: all playdates, preschool and evening commitments cancelled.  So we were going stir-crazy. Soon, Calvin was not his normally chipper self and coughing with a very congested nose.  This was scary because it shook his whole body and if he had been eating, he spat up--sometimes projectile.  We tried to keep him comfortable with a vaporizer and sleeping upright in his bouncy seat. 

I called the advice nurse just to make sure we were doing everything we could for Calvin.  While on the phone with her, she could hear him coughing and the frequency he was doing it.  She became concerned and encouraged me to go to Children's ER.  I took him by myself and the only thing they did was industrial suction his nose & sinuses.  He did not like it but finally he could breathe so feeding from a bottle wasn't a problem.  He took close to 5 ounces as we were sitting there waiting to be discharged and I was so thrilled he was eating.  Just as I was readjusting and going to burp him, he coughed and spit up EVERYWHERE.  In epic proportions.  I had a spare outfit for him but not for me.  The doctor acted like no big deal and kept talking to me all the while I'm giving him a look like "a little help here?"  Anyway.  Bulb suction and vaporizer with sleeping in an inclined position was the advice. 

You know what's worse than having 2 sick children?  Having 2 children who insisted on coughing directly into my face so I became sick as well.  You know what's worse than that? Having to get up in the dead of night and do multiple feedings in that condition.  Mary Poppins and Winnie the Pooh were on heavy rotation so that I could keep Sidney occupied downstairs and I could eek through the day.  

Things rebounded a little by mid-month and we started to feel more like our old selves.  We had guests over and outings which improved our spirits.  But we teetered on the brink again (except for Calvin who was notably improving.)  Sidney still had the cough.  Ken, who had avoided getting sick when the kids & I had it worst, began to feel a tickle in his throat.  I also felt a tickle in the throat again.  I brought in the big guns of Dayquil and high-dose Ibuprofen for my very, very painful sore throat.  (A 3 am run to the ER one night when it was at it's worst confirmed it was NOT strep.)  Misery.

And a healthy holiday was not to be: "have sickness, will travel."  Two nights before we left for Thanksgiving, a massive storm hit Seattle and dumped so much rain.  One of our clean outs backed up and our basement took on water.  It affected the corner of our carpeted family room.  We discovered this within an hour of a WSU dinner I organized at a restaurant downtown, but I had to run out to Aurora Rents before it closed to get industrial blowers, a dehumidifier and wet vac.   All while still being sick, delirious and hopped up on Dayquil.  I did make it to the dinner though--late. (We had to leave all of that equipment running with the heat up high while we were out of town and have the neighbor check in on it.)

 Days later, we journeyed to Portland for Thanksgiving and enroute to my cousin's house (where we were going to stay) she called me to let us know their water supply had tested positive for E.coli so we'd have to buy or boil all the water we used.  She was even on the local NEWS for it.  But at that point, I was thinking of course this would be our luck.  Might as well add one more thing.  The water tested fine the next day and the boil notice was lifted. 

In just these last one or two days, we are finally feeling normal and not "sickly."  Because Novembers, as a rule, suck.

Monday, November 26, 2012

If it's Christmas, that means one thing: Pizzelles!

Behold: Mom, Angela and I in our yearly tradition of making the Italian Christmas cookie.  Thank you Ken for taking such artful pics.
Pizzelle Making

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Baby Care Products and Baby Massage

Several years ago, I began to shift my lifestyle to include more organic foods & products and stop buying things made with or covered in harmful chemicals.  With food, it has become pretty easy to figure out what is what.  With cleaning and body care products, it's a lot more difficult and the list of ingredients with exotic names is intimidating.  Come to find out, some of the standard ingredients in store-bought body care products (preservatives, fragrances, cleaning agents) are known to disrupt the endocrine (hormone) system, cause allergies, affect fertility or even cause cancer.   So now when I'm evaluating products that I use on my kids, I go to even greater lengths to make sure what I use on them is safe, bio-based and chemical free.

The brand Seventh Generation has been around for awhile and we use their household products like laundry soap, toilet paper, paper towels, bathroom cleaner, dish soap as well as diapers.  Now they've come out with a line of baby care products that is non-toxic and composed of plant-based ingredients including olive oil, known to be good for moisture retention.  This is the first complete line of USDA-certified bio-based baby care products.  It's gluten-free, tear-free, non-toxic and has no synthetic fragrances, phthalates or parabens.

We've had the pleasure of getting to use some of the products already.  Pictured above is Sidney taking her first ever bubble bath using the Wee Generation Bubble Bath.  She loved it.  Also we tried the  Foaming Shampoo & Wash which is super convenient as anyone who bathes a child knows.  Ken used the Diaper Cream on Calvin which seems very effective and the Baby Lotion has a slight hint of citrus scent and is moisturizing without being greasy.  This lotion is a perfect product to use for baby massage. 

When Sidney was a wee babe, we practiced baby massage on her and are looking forward to practicing some on Calvin as well.  It has so many benefits for the baby like calming them and helping them feel more bonded to their care giver.  You can start doing it when baby is just 3 weeks old.   If you've never tried baby massage, it's a really nice way to bond and connect with baby that helps soothe and promote a positive well-being.

Here are five tips for Baby Massage from Tina Allen at the Liddle Kidz Foundation:

1. Choose the Best Time and Place
Creating the best environment for massage is an ideal way to give yourself, and baby time to relax. Choose a familiar place that is warm, quiet and with few distractions. The best time for massage is when baby is awake, healthy and happy. Some babies prefer the morning, while others prefer the afternoon or before bedtime.

2. Be comfortable
Relax, enjoy and have fun! Position yourself so that you are comfortable. Be sure baby is safe and placed on a soft area. Keep in mind, babies roll and become slippery when using oil. Be sure your hands are warm and clean before you begin.

3. Choosing Massage Oil/Lotion
While it is not required, using oil can help make massage more enjoyable for some babies and parents. Olive oil and Grapeseed oil are some of the best choices for infant massage. However if you choose to use lotions be sure to choose a non-toxic option, like Seventh Generation baby lotion - which contains olive oil as a main ingredient.

4. Ask Permission
Infant massage can be a wonderful tool for increasing your communication. Massage is not something that parents do to their baby, but rather with their little one. Listen to your baby. She will give you the signals to let you know she is enjoying massage, or when she is all done for now.

5. Know When Not to Massage
Never provide massage for your baby without permission (when sleeping, crying or fussy).  Avoid massage when he is ill, has a fever or infection. If he has broken skin, rash or bruising.  Wait at least 48 - 72 hours following immunizations. For tummy massage, wait 30 minutes after eating. If he has any special healthcare needs seek further guidance as to what would be the safest approach.

Check out for more resources and information on Baby Massage.

Here is a video on baby massage from them as well.



What: Join us for an informative party to discuss the importance of using truly pure and natural baby care products! We’ll tell you how to identify the safest product ingredients and those ingredients to watch out for. 

WhenThe party will be on Monday, Nov. 5, at 10am PT.

Where: Use the #7GenBabyFest hashtag on Twitter!

Hosts: Follow @theMotherhood, @SeventhGen, @CooperMunroe and @EmilyMcKhann

Prizes: There will be a giveaway of prize packs containing full sets of the Seventh Generation baby personal care line.  (Approximate retail value of $50 each)