Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

What they're up to Right Now

Aaron is 1 year, 8 months, 3 days old.

He is learning new words on a regular basis and becoming a little easier to understand. Won't repeat you when you ask him to say something, but later on you might hear him saying it to himself.

Has a very well-rounded diet just like his brother. Loves Raspberries and blackberries most of all, but will try most everything you offer. Isn't much of a lunch eater. Can eat more dinner than mommy most nights. Would eat cheerios until his belly exploded. Drinks white milk as often as possible. Eats as many sweets as he's allowed and still wants more!

Is starting to fight back when Ian takes a toy or isn't kind to him. His favorite toys are the Thomas The Tank Engines. Calls them Wee-woos. Wants to watch Thomas on tv all the time. Loves being outside. Sometimes wants to go outside just to sit in the grass and look around. Loves the water, playing in the water, being near water, etc.

Will poop and pee on the potty when given the chance.

His medicine is managing his asthma and allergies quite well now, so much so that he's been able to gain 2 pounds since April. (Previously hadn't gained any weight since last fall...)

Is mommy's snuggle buggy. Still prefers mommy to anybody else. Is finally coming out of his shell a little bit and letting others do for him what previously mommy could only do. Has chosen a blankie to keep him secure. Is sleeping 98% of nights all night in his own bed. Has no idea what is coming his way at the end of July.

Is a social butterfly! Just like his brother loves to make new friends on the playground, will play with anybody willing to play (as long as mommy is nearby).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The McDonald's Happy Meal

***WARNING! You might get offended by this post. I really go off about parenting and forming children's eating habits.***

CSPI Threatens Suit over Happy Meal Toys

What do you think?

As I said publicly a little bit ago, I believe it is NOT McDonald's fault that kids are "getting fat" from eating Happy Meals. Yes, of course the food could be healthier in the Happy Meals and yes, McNuggets could have just chicken and breading instead of 45 ingredients (eew... it's true, though, Google it.), but is it seriously McDonald's fault that our kids are eating it so much?

Nobody really seems to care that Disney does the same damn thing with their marketing and when you go to Disney World, look at the kids meals! They are pizza, nuggets, hot dogs, with fries (or apples/carrots), pop to drink, etc. If you looked at the ingredients in the meals, I'm sure it isn't any better than McD's. Oh then there's the special desserts that sometimes come with sit-down restaurant meals, the "bottomless" fries at Red Robin (and the balloons, and the *gasp* ROBIN). Other fast food restaurants have toys too... How is it any different?

I think it is nearly 100% the parents' fault their child is eating McDonalds "too much" or "so much" that it is negatively affecting the child's diet. I mean, you CAN go ahead and drive past. Your child might cry. Your child might scream at you and throw a huge friggin' tantrum, kicking the back of your seat and making your ear drums bleed. Oh well. By the time you get home and cook him some real dinner, he'll probably be over his tantrum... and maybe he'll have even worked up a real appetite for something delicious, nutritious, and homemade.

I'll never lie to you about Team V eating at McDonald's. We do. I do buy Happy Meals for my kids... occasionally.

I mean, maybe twice a month? Maybe once a week in the winter time when we go to the indoor playground just to get out of the house and make some friends? And if you count the indoor playgrounds at Burger King and Chick Fil-A, we eat at fast food places about 3 times a month. If we're traveling, maybe a little more than that.

Fast food is convenient and for the most part, it tastes good. Of course the kids love it. (Except... they don't love it. Unless my boys are starving, they eat way better at home than they do at fast food places...)

Why do we go then... other than the playground?

They love the toy in the Happy Meal. It's almost always a really cute something-or-other from a movie that they've seen or have seen commercials for and they play with those stinkin' toys endlessly!

They eat the food because it is there and I say they can't open the toy or play in the playground until they have eaten it. If it was up to them, they would play/open the toy and leave the food to rot in the little cardboard carton. Because I don't want to "waste my money" I tell them THEY HAVE TO EAT IT.

So whose fault is it? Is it McDonald's fault? Is it MY fault? Could I avoid the entire situation just by not going there? Of course I could! And would my children know any different if we didn't go there? Of course not! Would they continue to ask me to stop at "Donnie's" on our way past? Probably... Would they eventually stop having tantrums about me not stopping? I think so. Would I save money in the long run by cooking our meals at home and buying the occasional toy from toy aisle at the store? I bet!

In our lives, McDonald's Happy Meals are special treats that we occasionally get. Ian would never ask for dinner at McDonald's. That's just not how we do things around here. And if you asked him, "hey Ian, what's for lunch?" He'd tell you: soup, a sandwich, or perhaps a hot dog... and in saying it, he'd mean "at home" not "out." McDonald's is only on his mind if we happen to be passing one, or if I bring it up.

I like it that way.

I'm going to be really pissed if they take the toys out of the Happy Meals. I think that's un-American.

So now, after I re-read this, I realize I didn't really address the "real problem" that is pushing this lawsuit. The perceived problem of kids eating too much McDonald's and forming bad eating habits because of it. I still don't think it's the Happy Meal Toy's fault! How can it be? If your child is eating at McDonald's meals every day or several times a week or enough that they are getting fat from it, you need to reexamine what is really going on in your life!

Are you balancing your child's "junk food" intake with exercise opportunities? More importantly, are you feeding them chicken nuggets at home because that is all they will eat without having a tantrum? Do your children eat so many snacks that they're not hungry for the dinner you cooked? Do you cook "fast food" meals at home because that is all you think you have time for?

Did you know that it can take up to 70 times of introducing a food to your child before he will even taste it? Did you realize that means that you have to introduce new foods to your children in order for them to have an expanded palate? If you only feed your children McNuggets because "that is all they will eat" you are missing the boat on feeding your children.

I know, I've only been a mom for 3 years, and perhaps I've had it easy with my kids and their eating, but maybe it's because we've never allowed our children to "get away" with only eating the "good stuff" on their plates and leaving behind the veggies, fruits, meats, etc. (PS- I'm a total hypocrite. I'm an incredibly picky eater and my children definitely eat a more balanced diet than I do. Should I blame my parents?) I also know that there are just some things that some kids won't eat. It happens. Keep trying. Aside from potty training, it's probably the most frustrating thing that parents deal with...

Anyway, back to McDonald's Happy Meal toys...

It says in the article I posted up above:

McDonald's does use the healthier Apple Dippers in its advertising, the CSPI attorney acknowledged but once the customer actually gets to McDonald's, the apple side is almost always replaced--by default--with nutritionally inferior fries, unless the customer specifically asks for it. It's rarely, if ever, offered at the counter, he said.

Anyway, Apple Dippers are only relatively healthier, Cronin added, and send kids a mixed message: apples are only good if they're paired up with sugary caramel. Ultimately, he said, "They're forming really bad eating habits. Their healthiest meal still isn't good for you."
I think that places the blame SQUARELY on the parents, not on the Happy Meal, right? You know they have apples, so order them. And do like I do...take the caramel sauce out before you hand over the meal and toss it right in the garbage. Ian doesn't even know there IS caramel sauce for dipping. You're letting your child form a really bad eating habit. Just because McDonald's isn't stopping you doesn't mean they are to blame for your kid eating the caramel sauce!

I guess we could look at it this way... if you go and order the healthiest one (which I am assuming is a Hamburger, Apple Dippers, and White Milk, but I don't know that for sure) at least you're introducing your child to APPLES and you are getting them to drink white milk and you can use the toy as a bribe! If there isn't a toy anymore... you can't even do that.

If you made it this far, thanks for sticking it out... and sorry if I offended you. Sometimes it really is our fault, though, and we need own it. And try to change.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What are they up to these days?

I was just going back and reading some old blog posts and realized I haven't written a "what they're doing/saying right now" post in ages! Bad mommy!

Ian is 3 years, 2 months, 5 days old. He is:

*really into the Toy Story series, playing make-believe, video games on the iPhone, playing outside for every possible moment, his daddy, going to orchards/farms, parks, playgrounds, etc. & getting prizes for checking boxes off his potty chart.

*developing his own unique tastes in food. Loves most every fruit & vegetable. Recently started eating "white broccoli" aka cauliflower. Favorite veggie is still asparagus, followed closely by corn on the cob. Eats every kind of meat we offer, still doesn't like fish, would eat a salami sandwich every day for lunch if we let him. Is learning to like peanut butter & jam sandwiches. Isn't as "into" candy and snacks as he used to be. Still chooses white milk over any other beverage. Doesn't like yogurt, hot dogs, or chicken tenders much anymore. Eats cocoa wheats for breakfast regularly.

*Says the funniest things! Can talk quite well & is understood by others (for the most part). Tells stories endlessly. Can say his ABCs & count to 20. Will cross his eyes to make you laugh. Loves to make new friends & enjoys the playground far more when there are other children "friends" to play with.

*has CRAZY temper tantrums on occasion, usually linked to being too tired, and isn't afraid to express his anger verbally. Sometimes will "shoot you with lasers" "pew pew pew" if he doesn't like what you just said or did.

Aaron's is coming!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

34 Weeks = "42 Days Left"

^This was taken Monday night at Heinz Hall, when Roger & I went to see Anthony Bourdain Live!

According to my ticker, there are "about 42 days to go!"

I had my 34 week OB appointment today. I didn't gain any weight again... weird! My doctor was really concerned about my cough, but not concerned at all about the peeing while coughing.

"If you're still having troubles after you deliver and recover, we'll work on it then." Thanks.

She said since my cough is improving, albeit slowly, that they're not going to do anything else unless I get "bad" again. And my lungs sounded clear today. Super! As long as they SOUND clear... then why am I still coughing?!

My BP was good. Measurements are right on at 34cm. Baby's heart rate was 153. LMV kicked the doctor right in the hand while she was measuring me. Hee Hee! As far as the OB can tell, baby is engaged (dropped into the birth canal) head down, facing my spine/left side with her big bum sticking out on my right side. I agree with that assessment, my belly is lopsided. At our last ultrasound that was also the position Little Miss was in. She must like it that way.

I scheduled the REST of my OB appointments today... there are only 5 more. I go back in 2 weeks... and then every week after that.


Where has the time gone!??!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Stress Incontinence, not a "Pretty" subject for today.

Hi family & friends!

I'm just popping on here to ask for you to say a little prayer for me, Ian, and Aaron. Mostly for me, as Ian & Aaron are not as "bad" as I am. (Boy, isn't that the truth, in so many ways...)

It's been about 2 weeks since we started with what I originally thought was allergies... and then it turned into a cold. Just a normal cold, it seemed, until the "traditional" 7-10 days for a virus was coming to a close with no end in the symptoms...

I've literally been suffering with both a head and chest cold for 2 weeks now. And the coughing part is REALLY bad. I don't normally get too deep in the "yucky" stuff on here, but people... I need you to know.

When you've been pregnant for 28 of the last 48 months, given birth to 2 babies and have a 4.5 pound baby pushing down on your bladder, controlling accidental urine escapes is difficult. It's called stress incontinence and it is NO fun. If you've had a baby, you know what I'm talking about. Towards the end of pregnancy, a little cough or sneeze or laughter and, well, you're running to the potty and most likely changing your underpants. If you're lucky, it didn't seep all the way to your pants-pants and you can continue on your day, but if you're not-so-lucky, you're changing the whole outfit. It sucks. Just one of "those" pregnancy things that most ladies prefer not to talk about and it doesn't stop when you've had your baby. You have to work at getting full control back and sometimes you don't! And sometimes... you get pregnant again and start all over.

And then sometimes, you're pregnant for the third time in 3 years and you get a really bad cold. When that happens, forget about it.

Just put a towel on your chair and plan on changing your pants and underwear many times. It's worst at night, when you're laying down and a coughing fit attacks you... there's no stopping it.

It's really frustrating. And it makes you feel really gross. Since your nose is stuffed up, you walk around wondering if you smell like pee. Wearing pantyliners is not a fix, those things don't have any authority against the coughing-fit-induced-pee. In fact, wearing a regular pad doesn't either. You'll probably try depends or poise pads or something, in hopes of not having to change your pants 20 times a day and end up with 6 extra loads of laundry only to find that they are both very uncomfortable and unable to control the problem anyway.

All I have to say is, this baby girl pushing on my bladder better be really stinkin' cute. (Just kidding, of course, I'd love her even if she wasn't.) And if this is the "new normal" for the next 6 weeks and 6 days, I'm toast.

So anyway, please pray for me. Please pray that this cough goes away today. I've been coughing all week and it does seem to be improving, but the peeing-while-coughing is only getting worse.

Also, just so this post isn't entirely about me... Ian and Aaron are both coughing too. They're not as bad as me... and as far as I know, they're not peeing when they cough. Of course they could be, because they wear diapers anyway and I wouldn't know. I'm taking them to the doctor today to make sure THEY don't have pneumonia or sinus infections or ear infections. I've been on amoxicillin since Wednesday. It's about time for us to be over this.


PS- If you were laughing at this post, that's fine. I meant for it to be entertaining. Laughing, although it makes me pee my pants, is a good way to keep myself from screaming into a pillow. That would be bad too, because screaming would probably make me cough, and then... well, you know.


Back from the doctor... both have Ear infections and "probable" sinus infections. Both are now on antibiotics. Awesome.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Attitude Adjustment

I just about LOST IT with Ian a few min ago... he's so tired and really just needed to lay down and take a nap. I'm so tired and not feeling well and really just need him to take a nap. (So I can take one myself.)

Aaron wasn't asleep yet either, so I finally yelled at Ian and told him to go lay down in his room and have an attitude adjustment.

He did go to his room (and slammed the door) and I just stopped in to check on him after putting Aaron in his bed.

He was laying in his bed in the dark, all covered up. He said, "mommy, lay down, I hafta tell you sumpin'."

So I went to his bed and he said, "Mommy. I think you're a really good boy. I'm so proud of you. I love you."


Now, granted, this is very similar to the interlude Roger had with him last night at bedtime (and it must've melted Roger, too... which is why he told me about it. And Roger's version included something about a bumblebee...) But still!

He listened! He went to his room, he had his attitude adjustment! After he said that, I said, "Ian, I love YOU very much. You're my special boy and I'm so proud of YOU!" and he said, "Ok mommy, go take a nap now."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer Series: Mystery Tripping! (Part 1)

About a month ago, Roger put a new appointment on our calendar. "Mystery Trip" it said and I gladly accepted his invitation to join him. What could it be? How exciting!

I decided I liked this idea, and since we have to stick close to Pittsburgh this summer, maybe we could make a "thing" of it and use the idea of "mystery trips" to explore our area even more! Plus it gives us a reason to get up and get going on Saturday mornings instead of wasting half the day just dilly-dallying around. So I put a mystery trip on the calendar too...

While coming up with ideas for the trip I was planning, I thought, wouldn't it be fun, and productive to go pick strawberries? The kids would like it, we'd get outdoors, and we'd have berries to eat and make jam and store for the winter. Total win! On a whim, a couple days before Roger's mystery trip (our first one of the summer) I mentioned picking strawberries. I just wanted to feel him out and see what he thought of the idea.

He got this funny look on his face and I just knew: I had unintentionally discovered the theme of our first trip.

DANG! I ruined my own surprise!

Isn't that funny, though? Roger was planning on taking us berry picking- which is what I was planning on doing the following weekend.

So we braved the mud and the raindrops, praying for the sky to clear off like it was "supposed" to and went to Simmons Farm in McMurray, PA. We forgot the camera. Ian got really muddy.

We "officially" picked 17 pounds of strawberries. We stopped at IKEA on the way home. We had lunch/dinner at Quaker Steak and Lube. We had FUN!

Aaron (& Ian, but mostly Aaron) sampled some of the goods to make sure we were getting tasty berries. He sat in the wagon while we picked and was the only one who didn't get muddy pants and shoes!

And then we made strawberry jam.

And had strawberry milkshakes for dinner. (I'm not joking about this... we really did have them for dinner... we didn't eat anything else for dinner but strawberry milkshakes.)

And now I have to come up with a new idea for the mystery trip for this weekend! Oh Jeez!

Friday, June 4, 2010

32 Weeks

Had my 32 week appointment yesterday. Didn't gain any weight from 2 weeks ago (when I gained 1 pound). The baby's heart rate was 155bpm and my belly is measuring "right on" at 32cm.

Praise God, my blood pressure was excellent yesterday! 120/74. There were some high blood pressure concerns, but it is now obvious that my blood pressure is not sustained high so we're doing fine. I didn't have the kids with me yesterday morning and that makes a huge difference. Entertaining them in the waiting room and exam room while waiting on the doctor is really not a fun job and it shows.

32 weeks. That's insane. Just 2 more months? Wow! I mean, I hesitate to say "we're ready," because I'm not sure anyone is really ever ready to bring a new baby home, but our hearts and our home are prepared. We're just waiting on Little Miss Vandervort to make her debut. (Hopefully not before Roger's next business trip in early July!) July 1st marks 36 weeks for us, the point where my doctors would no longer attempt to stop labor if it began, so we're within a month of that point now.

Won't be long!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

They're coming to take the sign down.


It's official. Our house sale is on hiatus.

We're probably going to put it back up for sale in the fall... either by owner or with a different realty company than we had this year. Our realtor was not our favorite. We haven't been happy with her since the winter, but she's really been ticking us off lately. We dropped the price of our house by 5k right before Easter, and she didn't do anything to publicize the new price. She didn't send out postcards or put a 'new price' sign on the house, nothing. She emailed Roger on Friday and said, "nobody's even called about it in weeks. You need to drop the price." So frustrating.

So we're pressing on with preparations for the baby in the house we currently own. I'm disappointed. I wanted to be somewhere else. But I also know that things happen for a reason and soon, the reason we didn't sell our house in the last year will probably be revealed to us. I'm kinda scared to think about how that will come to pass, but hopefully it isn't a bad reason.

I'm not in charge of this situation and so I'm going to bloom where I am planted. I am going to accept the things I cannot change, and work with what I've been given.

Ian is already signed up for school here in the fall. Aaron is finally sleeping all night in his own bedroom. We have plenty of space. We're going to hopefully do some construction projects and really improve our living space.

It's ok.

I just wish it had ended up differently.

Anyway. Our house isn't for sale anymore. We're not moving.