Monday, November 16, 2009

Just things

So yeah, life just keeps days just melts into the next. I have thought about blogging for a couple weeks, just haven't found the time until now. So in my customary list style, here goes:

1. We recently had family pictures taken, and they turned out REALLY nice. Josh Bishop, a friend of ours and photographer extraordinaire, took them for us and did a fabulous job. We will print some out and give them out around the holidays. Or if you want one and know my email address, you can email me and I will email you some.

2. I have a dry and sarcastic sense of humor, which enables me to get along with my husband quite well. However, sometimes I am not as funny to other people as I think I am in my head, and I have recently had to apologize for something I said when someone took it the wrong way. I don't mind apologizing for hurting someone's feelings, but damn. Come on. Would I really say something like that if it wasn't a joke? Seriously people, lighten up.

3. Trinity is officially one. She is also officially walking, which means I am officially a try-and-keep-all-those-things-out-of-my-reach mom again. We also discovered she is allergic to tomatoes, and possibly to cottage cheese. The latter is puzzling, though, because she can handle other dairy products. She has an appointment with the doctor Friday, so maybe he will have some insight. Wayne thinks I am crazy, but I think she has 6 words: hello, thank you, mama, dada, Bubba, banana.

4. Riddick is potty trained. He sleeps through the night without a pull-up and doesn't wet the bed. He still has accidents on occasion when he is playing and just forgets to go. He loves to pee on trees, and will do so in all types of weather. I have decided that Trinity will be potty training soon because she is a great imitator and I refuse to wait until she is three to start. Despite the advances on the elimination front, we now face challenges in the night fears arena. Riddick is not afraid of the dark I don't think, but he will not sleep all night in his room because he hears sounds in the basement that scare him. So most nights, Trinity wakes up around 2 and we go out to the couch to find Riddick there. Which means I have to actually be awake and sitting up to feed her. Which means I am still as sleep deprived as ever.

5. Wayne shot a deer on the first day of opening season, which is great for our food budget! Kathy and David let him process the meat at their place, which also saved us a ton. Thanks Kathy and David!!

6. After many months of RNA extraction problems, my advisor finally broke down and let me get an RNA extraction kit. However, one problem in getting good RNA stems from me letting other people touch my samples and ruining them (yes, I am positive it was not me). It turns out that RNA that is in homogenized tissue doesn't like to be thawed more than once, so trying to get RNA from these already-once-thawed tissues because the original samples were degraded is the devil. Luckily for me, I have back up tissue samples that have never been thawed that I can use with the kit. Thank goodness for good study design and lots of samples.

7. Knitting and crocheting have completely absorbed my "free" time. It is that time of year again where I find myself making gifts like crazy. For some reason I always make things for other people and nothing for myself.

8. I will probably not give my name as a tutor for Genetics next semester, although it has been a great refresher since I had a genetics course more than 10 years ago. I actually learned some things, too, so that was nice, but tutoring is a major time suck that I don't think I want to deal with next semester.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Olive oil progress/other updates

I have been putting olive oil on Riddick's legs and feet everyday for about 5 days now, and his feet and the spot on the back of his leg are looking much better. We will not be going back to that dermatologist for his follow-up appointment.

Other news in my life:
1. Trinity slept through the night three days last week. This was nice and completely spoiled me, for she has not repeated this since Thursday night. She has two teeth on the bottom and has that scrunched-up nose smile going on and it is totally cute.

2. Upon suggestion from Wayne's Aunt Olivia, we started having Riddick drop pennies in a glass jar every time he goes pee in the potty. We started this over the weekend. The first day he had several accidents, but we kept letting him put the pennies in the jar. He really loves doing it. The second day he had a couple accidents, but not nearly as many. Yesterday he had no accidents. All hail Aunt Olivia for the great idea!!

3. I am really tired of working on the current project. I am really tired of only being able to work part-time. I am ready for this project to be done, and it is really close, but now I have problems with one particular process that would go really quick if I didn't have to troubleshoot it. As in I could be done in one or two days with the damn project if I didn't have to figure out what is going wrong with the last process. Additionally, I really need to figure out how to get more time in the lab, because I simply cannot read at home, and reading is a huge part of my career.

4. Wayne and I are slowly doing P90X. We have to get in better shape to do the whole thing the way you are supposed to do it, but we are getting there. Wayne has already noticed a difference in his stamina. Yay for exercise!

5. We got new phones. We love them. As soon as I figure out how to get to all the websites I need to get to, we are getting rid of Mediacom. Yay for saving money!

6. I am still working on cloth diapers. I am actually trying to get some made for a friend who just had her baby. They are in a tough spot right now financially, and I thought I would get theirs done first since I can actually afford to buy disposables still. I have the material all cut out for three diapers, I have one mostly done, but I really need to get on this.

7. I think from now on my posting will be in this format. It is just easier.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yes, I am finally posting/Frustration with the dermatologist

I know. I know, I know, I know. It has been FOREVER since I posted.

It is kind of hard to remember to write stuff when you have two little ones on the go. Trinity is crawling and pulling herself up on everything and getting into everything. Research is crazy right now. Plus I am tutoring and playing softball, so the blog kind of gets left out of the picture. But I am posting now, and I am at least TRYING to keep up.

Here’s what happened today.

Riddick’s skin isn’t getting any better. He has red, itchy, scaly patches on the back of his leg and on top of his foot that just won’t heal. So I finally broke down and took him to the dermatologist.

I told her what his problem was, and that although he has never officially been diagnosed, I thought he has eczema. She agreed.

She asked me what I had been putting on it to try and relieve the problem. I told her we had used over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, which didn’t work. Lotions didn’t work, they just made his skin red. Olive oil may have worked if I had applied it on a regular basis. I then told her I was a graduate student in an endocrinology lab and I have been following Environmental Working Group’s studies on chemicals in personal care products, and that I was concerned about a lot of the chemicals used in those products, like parabens and phthalates. She then asked me if I had tried mineral oil, and I told her I have not tried it because mineral oil was listed on EWG’s website as potentially harmful in animal studies. Then she put me on the spot and asked me what specifically were the concerns, and I couldn’t remember off the top of my head. This then apparently made her think I was just another looney toon mom, because her body language and facial expression totally changed.

This is why doctors frustrate me. Instead of THINKING for themselves, they just toe that MD line, and treat diseases the way everyone else says to treat them, and alternative treatments that aren’t pharmaceutically based are the devil, and Ph.D.’s (or soon-to-be) don’t know anything about medicine.

She gave me Cetaphil and Vanicream to try, in addition to a prescription hydrocortisone cream. Sorry, but those things have lots of chemicals in them, and steroid treatment is no good. They may not have immediate side effects, but I am not going to add to my son’s chemical body burden and cause effects that won’t be seen until he is an adult (yes, people, this happens).

So what am I going to do? We are going to make a regular thing out of the olive oil. I have heard that shea butter works well for moisturizing and healing, so I may get some of that. I have also heard that honey, baking soda, and Epsom salts help with eczema. So I am going to try the olive oil first, maybe some honey. We may try baking soda in the bath.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Some random things, in no particular order

We moved. Still in Columbia, just a different duplex with more space in a better neighborhood. We still have piles of stuff all over the house. I like that we have more space, a fenced backyard with a huge tree (shade!) that Riddick LOVES to play in, an eat-in kitchen, space for a craft area for me downstairs, and more cabinet space. What I do not like is the set-up of the upstairs living room, the fact that our queen box springs do not fit downstairs where the master bedroom is, having to get rid of ants, and not having a dishwasher. The landlord says he will put in a dishwasher in a couple months, so here’s to hoping. It is too late now to change, and we are NOT moving again until I graduate and we buy a house. Then we will pay movers to move it.

Riddick is speaking in 4, 5, and 6 word sentences. Yay for language development! There are still a lot of pronunciation issues and words we do not recognize, but he is getting more and more clear everyday.

Trinity is almost crawling and pulling herself up on things. She can get around by doing her little butt-scoot, rolling, and moving backwards. She also slept for 7 hours straight Friday and Saturday nights, but not last night.

I recently finished another cloth diaper, and I think I like it better than previous “prototypes”. My friend Katy and I are going to make one together, complete with pictures so we can blog about it.

I do not like the taste of plain cream cheese, but I think the prices for flavored cream cheeses are ridiculous. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before, but I bought some plain cream cheese (store brand, super cheap) and mixed it with some sugar and vanilla…and I had cheesecake-flavored cream cheese. Which is wonderful for breakfast on graham crackers and bagels with a great cup of coffee.

I am still working on Trinity’s baby blanket. I had two pink squares done, only to realize I knitted them one row short. I have yet to decide what to do with these squares. I think I should have enough yarn to replace them with correctly knitted squares, but I won’t know until I get done with the other pink squares. I think I can give her the blanket as a graduation gift…

Wayne loves the new place and likes to grill outside now that we have a little privacy. He grilled 4 out of 7 nights this past week, and he is a grill MASTER.

Kelsey, my sister, is coming to visit soon!

Wayne and I are going to start the P90X workout this month. It may be a slow, painful death for me, but I will try my best.

My brother is going to Korea. For the third time. Potentially with his wife and child, but we won't know for sure for a couple months.

Things I have recently discovered:

Ants do not like cinnamon. I read this on the internet and decided to try it yesterday morning. They refuse to cross any cinnamon barrier. We tried Terro recently, but I am too impatient to wait for it to work, so I killed all the ants in the kitchen yesterday and did the cinnamon thing, and it worked marvelously.

Riddick only likes fireworks if he can play with a flashlight at the same time.

Trinity likes fireworks, but jumps every time she hears a loud one.

It only takes 2.5 beers for me to be “lit” and only 4 for me to forget where I took off my wedding band. This is also known as being a "lightweight" or a "cheap date".

Monday, June 15, 2009

Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner

I did it. I finally took the plunge.

My Yes To Tomatoes conditioner finally ran out over the weekend. I went to the kitchen to get the apple cider vinegar, which has been patiently awaiting its chance to show its stuff.

I mixed the vinegar with water in a 1:4 solution (read: 1 part vinegar, 4 parts water, total 500 ml using 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup) and put it in the empty conditioner bottle.

I have two criteria for the apple cider vinegar conditioner:
1. It cannot leave my hair smelling like vinegar. Period.
2. It has to actually work…I need to be able to comb my wet hair without serious knotting, and it has to leave my hair soft.

So I was ready.

After my baking soda shampoo was rinsed, I grabbed the conditioner bottle. Now, the instructions for apple cider vinegar conditioner say to only use it on the ends of your hair, not on your scalp. Ok, whatever. If you have short hair, this isn’t really practical. So I just poured some all over my head, and rinsed.

I towel dried my hair and was ready for the first test: can I comb it easily? I found that yes, I could comb it easily. The conditioner did part of its job. The next test was to blow dry it to see if my hair was soft after using it. During the blow drying part, I could smell, ever-so-faintly, apple cider vinegar. I thought it was going to be a short-lived relationship. However, once my hair was completely dry, I couldn’t smell any vinegar at all. And my hair was soft. SUCCESS! I think next time I will just rinse a lot more to make sure it is all out of my hair so I don’t smell any vinegar when blow drying, I was kind of in a hurry yesterday when I did this because Wayne was taking me shopping for a summer dress.

This is one of the most economical changes I think I have made, and NO chemicals to deal with! The bottle of apple cider vinegar was $1.18 at Wal-mart, and that was the 16 oz bottle. I got the small one just in case it didn’t work, then I wouldn’t have a bunch of vinegar around that would be barely used. And since I am diluting it, it should last awhile. The REAL test will have to be in the winter, though, when I need conditioner to keep my hair from getting all static-y.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Double standard

I got (indirectly) called a hippie at a barbeque on Memorial Day weekend because I am making cloth diapers and wipes, and making a rag rug from the scraps of material for the diapers and wipes. One person asked me if I was going to start using an outhouse like a hippie after I mentioned these various projects. Everyone laughed, even me, because it was funny. It was only the next day that I realized what had really happened.

I reflected on this situation and, like I always do, thought about a question I should have asked my accuser: Would you call your grandparents hippies? Because I am only doing things they had to do in their lives.

Disposable diapers, disposable wipes, disposable nursing pads…these are all relatively recent inventions. But a lot of people don’t stop to think about what their grandparents did, and even some of their parents, did. I was cloth diapered as a baby. Our parents were cloth diapered as children. Disposable diapers only came about in the 40s, and then it was a luxury. Generations past used only what they needed, reused what they could. That is what I am trying to do…not only is it more economically sound, it is more environmentally sound. So now there is a double standard: when our generation does this it makes us hippies, but when our grandparents and parents did it, they were just doing what they had to do because there were no other options.

I fear that this lack of planetary/environmental awareness is rather pervasive in my generation, and this makes me sad for my kids and the planet they will inherit.

A busy start to our summer

I love summer. There are always so many possibilities. There’s baseball, softball, and great weather. Plus, there are special events, like graduations, birthdays, concerts, barbeques, parties, weddings, family reunions, festivals...

So here’s what went down last week.

Monday, May 18 was Cody’s, our nephew, 8th grade graduation. We were the last of our family to get to the middle school in Centralia (we are usually the last to arrive anywhere), but they saved us some seats. As we waited, Trinity got fussy and wanted to nurse, and of course that was only moments before they started the procession, so I couldn’t see Cody because I was sitting. Cody got a couple of academic awards, though, and when he walked up to receive them I could see how handsome he looked! He seems so grown up now, as I am sure his mother would completely agree. The 8th grade band members also performed a song with the rest of the band, and they sounded great (much better than the rest of the band performing Pomp and Circumstance without the 8th graders).

It was a very to-the-point ceremony, lasting about 45 minutes, which was great because it was getting warm in the auditorium and Riddick was getting restless. Speaking of Riddick, he went to the ceremony wearing underwear and told Wayne twice that he had to go potty, and did not have an accident! Woohoo!!!

Afterward we all went over to the pool hall and had a dinner that was truly amazing. To steal a phrase from Katy, my sister-in-law is a domestic genius. I wish I had half the cooking talent she has!

On Wednesday, May 20 it was my birthday. Wayne’s parents bought us tickets to the Willie Nelson concert. My sister-in-law came to babysit and brought a Pyrex dish variety pack for my birthday present, which I LOVE because the dishes are glass. She also brought me some scissors that work great as a seam ripper (I’ve already tested them out!), and a magnetic pin holder so I don’t have to worry (as much) about dropping pins on the floor. Anyway, we went to the concert and had a great time. Willie puts on a fabulous show!

Saturday, May 23 we went to a wedding. It was interesting. A Catholic priest came to a Presbyterian church and split the ceremony with the Presbyterian preacher (?). It was a nice ceremony nonetheless, and I hate to make fun, but I have to. Apparently at Catholic weddings, the priest raises his right arm to bless the couple, and everyone in the audience follows suit. In this particular ceremony, the priest did that, and a lot of people in the audience did the same. Except that the people who weren’t Catholic were also doing this…with their arms straight out…like Nazis…as the priest was giving the blessing. To see this en masse at a wedding was absolutely hysterical.

In other news for that day we went to a BBQ after the wedding. It was quite enjoyable, even if I did have to hold Trinity 2/3 of the time. Everyone brought a side dish and the food was all good.

Sunday, May 24 we went to my dad’s for another BBQ, this time with my brother and his family. My brother was assigned another tour in Korea (this will be his third tour in Korea, and he has been to Iraq twice), and wanted to visit before he has to leave. We hope this time he will be allowed to take his wife and young son with him, but I am not sure if it will happen or not due to the escalating situation with North Korea. Anyway, we all had a pretty good time, once again, good food. I learned about a recipe for dump cake from my dad’s fiancĂ©, Rena. How could I have not known about this wonderful concoction? It is so delicious and EASY! I am totally going to try it out. Also, I learned that for some reason, Riddick does not like to go pee in the potty at my dad’s. I have no idea why.

Monday, May 25, Memorial Day, was our day to finally rest. I think I did a load of laundry. Maybe picked up a few things off the floor. That was about it. It was a fun, crazy week and we were exhausted, but it was a great start to the summer!