Saturday, August 23, 2008

Those pictures I promised

Friday, August 22, 2008


After the success of Sunday, we again turned our faces to my Aunt and Uncle's house, and the glories of the pool and the cousins. (Sorry about no pics yet, my hard drive is running short of space, to soon be remedied). It was to be a fine day of fall gardening, relaxing in the pool, and playing with cousins. The perfect adventure.

We tool down the road in good time, stop for breakfast, then stop for gas at the 1/3-way point. We have to cross the Potomac on 301, and I want to be sure we have a nice potty break before crossing into the world of Southern Maryland- it will be a good half-hour before we reach more civilization after leaving the little corner and the safety of its WaWa. We pull out, and toodle down the road. All is good.

Now, there are two ways to get to my Uncle's house. There is a rather straightforward way up I-95, then cut over to 301 from there, but it requires a ride over the Wilson Bridge, a total nightmare, and not a lot of places to stop quickly if Joey feels unwell, which he has been doing more of lately. The longer but pleasanter way is down 301 over the Nice Bridge, with plenty of place to pull over, even the shoulder of the road is reasonably safe if need arises. It's also much prettier, with more to point out to the boys, and plenty of family history to talk about along the way.

Toodle, toodle, toodle. What are all those cars doing up there? Why are they stopped?

Oh, no. Accident on the bridge.

301 might be great if you have to pull over, but turning around? Not so great. Now, better than if there was a problem on 95; but there are other ways to get up the 95 corridor, such as route 1. But once on 301, getting back to 95 is an hour venture, plus we'd be back to the start of our journey. Yeeps. Eeps. Erk. Once on 301, you are stuck on 301. There are not parallel roads to turn on to and skirt the disaster. besides, the disaster is the Bridge. On either road, no "alternate route" in the world will help if the bridge is down. There isn't a close alternate bridge.

So we are stuck. For an hour and a half.

Also, 301 at this point sits right next to Dahlgren. For my non-locals, Dahlgren is a military installation that works on missiles and other fun technologies of destruction. Hence, the area is a cell phone dead zone. I can't even call to tell my Uncle what has happened, and why we are running late.

And I have my poor mom with me. Now, this Uncle is my father's brother, but they've been so insistent in asking about her that she decided to join me for the visit. Also, I have two small boys in the car.

And one of them has decided he needs the potty. Now.

One of the good things about having small boys is their keen ability to pee in a cup. A large-sized McDonald's cup, specifically.


I hopped out of the car at one point and fetched our crayons and coloring sheets form the back of the van. That bought us some time. We sang songs. We read books. I did some needlepoint. We finally got across the bridge.

First item up for bids was getting a potty for Mommy, who had to drink a very large McDonald's soda in order to provide a cup for other necessities. Then we had to pull over and let the boys run for a minute, as they were going INSANE. Then we still had another hour to drive. Oh, and now it was after noon, and lunch awaited us at the end of that further hour- an hour and half late eating does not make for happy boys.

Yes, it was a joyful ride. One babbling away, the other demanding silence and any toy Joey put his hand to. Mom didn't say much. It was hard to hear one's self think, which is required to form conversation.

But at long last, we arrived, and there was much rejoicing. And much swimming in the pool, despite it being C O L D. And much running of the cousins. Not much gardening. And a smooth ride home, with Andy sleeping most of the way.

But oh, the adventure!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Jump In Measles

Looks like there has been a jump in measles outbreaks this year- up from the normal one per yea, to seven already. The majority of the cases are in unvaccinated children.

I especially "liked" the part about doctors being frustrated about people questioning vaccination due to info from television shows. If you don't vaccinate your kid because of something you heard on a tv show, please keep your kid away from my kid. Even vaccines aren't 100% effective, and your kid getting a disease vastly increases the chances of my kid- even with vaccinations- getting sick.

Last Day: ESY

Today is my son's last day as a kindergardener. In one week, he will be a first grader.

Wow. I'm the mom of a first-grader.

How did that happen?

I sent him off with his backpack and his snack, in the shirt he picked out himself this morning. He put on all his clothes himself. He got his own water from the fridge this morning, after he was done with his juice.

My baby is getting all growed up!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

When life gets you down...

Just tell it all to Steve.

Or post a comment. I'm happy to listen, too. :)

The Beloit List

The Beloit College Mindset List is out.

And once again, I feel old.

Monday, August 18, 2008

New Designs

The holiday season will soon be upon us. By special request, especially by my aunt, I have a new series of designs for the shop. I have Family, Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, and Uncle up. If you guys want something else, just let me know and I'll tweak it and get it up for you!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Issues of Food

Joey is getting a little round. There is no getting around it: I suck as a nutritionist. Trying to take control of what Joey eats has been elusive. His love of mac and cheese does not help.

Joey normally eats both breakfast and lunch at school. The teachers use these meals to help Joey with important skills. He must ask for a tray. He must stand in line. He must communicate with the lunch ladies. He must offer his card to pay for his lunch. He must learn to eat different foods. I could go on.

So I looked up the rules about food programs in Virginia, and what is supposed to be served, because to be honest, it all looks like junk food to me: poptarts, chicken nuggets, spaghetti, potatoes, muffins. How many carbs are they supposed to be pushing on my kid?

The school lunch program is required to provide 1/3 of my child’s daily recommended intake of protein, certain vitamins and minerals, and calories. No more of 30% of the calories can be from fat, and no more that 10% of saturated fat.

The school breakfast program is to provide ¼ of these things (INCLUDING PROTEIN… how do muffins provide protein, exactly?), including calories.

All of this is based on the federal dietary guidelines. According to those guidelines (2005), Joey should be eating 1400 calories if sedentary, 1400-1600 calories is “moderately active” and as much as 2000 calories if “active.” So my first question is: how are they defining school children? Are they feeding them as “sedentary” or “active”? Because folks, it only takes 100 extra calories each day to gain 10 pounds in a year. A 600-calorie difference is huge. It is the difference between him being able to eat dinner and not.

To complicate matters, it isn't calculated daily; it is calculated as an average over the course of a week. One day that lunch could be 1000 calories, as long as over the course of the week there is a lunch with, say, 300 calories.

Let's look at a week of food from my child's school. Finding specific nutritional information about these meals has been elusive, so the calorie and carb count you see is my best guess based on nutrition information I found about similar foods available to the general public. The only information I have about the food being served is all it is listed here, so I cannot assume any of the foods are "diet" (ie, sugar-free, fat-free, etc.) unless it specifically lists the food as such on the menu. Also, I noticed they allow Joey to have chocolate milk, and he usually chooses that, so the "milk" is for chocolate milk.

The Menu: (Calories) [Carbs]
Breakfast Pizza (420) [41.5] {** “School” pizza can be as high as 530 calories!}
Chilled Juice (90) [23]
Milk (160) [25]
Total: (670) [89.5]

Chicken Patty on Bun (380) [44]
Lettuce & Tomato Cup (4) [1]
Steamed Broccoli (30) [6]
Vanilla Cream Cookie (250) [37]
Milk (160) [25]
Total: (824) [113]

Daily Total: (1494) [202.5]

Blueberry Pancake (240) [46]
w/Sausage (85) [0] {**Some sausages can be 270 calories per serving!}
Orange Wedges (62) [15] {**Assuming this means fresh oranges}
Milk (160) [25]
Total: (547) [86]

Hot Turkey/Bacon Sub (400) [47] {**This could be as low as 300 calories, as high as 600 calories!}
Seasoned Corn (67) [16]
Fresh Fruit (65) [20] {Bananas are much higher}
Apple Turnover (260) [34]
Milk (160) [25]
Total: (952) [142]

Daily Total: (1499) [228]

Ham & Cheese Croissant (280) [29]
Fresh Fruit Cup (65) [16]
Milk (160) [25]
Total: (505) [70]

Hot Dog (240) [18] {**many brands are higher, depending on the filler used}
on Bun (110) [20]
Potato Wedges (147) [31]
Chilled Peaches (80) [10]
Sherbet (120) [28]
Milk (160) [25]
Total: (857) [132]

Daily Total: (1362) [192]

Bacon & Egg (184) [0]
on English Muffin (189) [30]
Chilled Juice (90) [23]
Milk (160) [25]
Total: (623) [78]

Deep Dish Pizza (478) [57] {**Assuming it is cheese only.}
Tossed Salad (15) [2]
Green Beans (7) [1]
Choice of Pudding (130) [21]
Milk (160) [25]
Total: (790) [106]

Daily Total: (1413) [184]

Chicken Biscuit (170) [18]
Apple Juice (90) [23]
Milk (160) [25]
Total: (420) [66]

Grilled Cheese (200) [40]
Smiley Fries (160) [24]
Fruit Jell-O (70) [17]
Choice of Muffin (180) [22]
Milk (160) [25]
Total: (770) [128]

Daily Total: (1190) [194]


As you can see, my guesstimates seem to be OK, as we are consistently getting around 1400 calories per day, and about 170-200 carbs per day. Friday was the only exception; perhaps they are using a more caloric brand of chicken biscuit or cheese sandwich than I used.

Therefore, the school is assuming ALL of their children are 1. male (girls need about 200-400 fewer calories per day) and 2. active, otherwise I would have no room to feed Joey snack or dinner. We are supposed to send in a snack of a juice-box and food item every day. Normal choices would put this snack at about 100-200 calories; I have chosen more in the 30-calorie range, due to the joys of diet drinks and diet jell-o.

But wait. Is my child really active? He gets PE three days per week, and recess every day. So about an hour of his school day, maybe an hour and a half, is active, assuming he is actively participating- which, I noted in my visits, he spend a good deal of his recess time rambling about the perimeters, not running, climbing, swings, or other "active" activities. Many afternoons are taken up with therapies, not running. Let's say Joey is "moderate." He is allowed 1400-1600 calories per day.

So on many days, he may have consumed all the calories he needs before he ever reaches my door; at best, he needs no more than 200 calories at dinner. Yikes.

If I feed him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner- and nothing else- that is 300-350 calories. I could skimp it to about 250 calories. Double yikes. Skinless chicken breast with broccoli? There's 200 calories. If there is no butter on the broccoli. And he gets only one serving. And nothing else.

No wonder we're having a problem.

Hint to folks screaming about obese kids: try feeding them less at school! Just because there are kids who don't get food at home doesn't give you the right to stuff my kid full of sugar and calories. Have a kid on the free lunch program? Then provide their snack, too. And give them the extra calories there. Not at breakfast and lunch. For breakfast and lunch, assume "sedentary." Its also a good idea to assume there will be food awaiting those sedentary kids at home. Assume mom would like to make cookies once in a while. Or serve mashed potatoes with dinner. Or even peas.

So I think we're going to talk to the teachers about packed lunches, where I can control the calorie count. PB&J with carrot sticks and a sugar-free dessert, eaten with his beloved chocolate milk, is only 500 calories. A hard-boiled egg, piece of fruit, and his beloved chocolate milk is only 300 calories. Plus his 30 calorie snack- that's 850 calories. Even at "sedentary" I can feed him a nice 550-calorie dinner (still light!), and be all good!

The Prompt Meme

I picked this up from, of course, Maddy.

You write the reaction you have to each prompt- don't change it. I think it is cheating to read mine first, so here are the prompts:

1. My ‘ex’ is still…..
2. I am listening to….
3. Maybe I should….
4. I love………..
5. My best friend(s)……….
6. I don’t understand………..
7. I’ve lost my respect for………..
8. I last ate………….
9. The meaning of my display name is……..
11. Someday………….
12. I will always…………..
13. Love seems to be……….
14. I never ever want to lose………….
15. My mobile phone is………..
16. When I woke up this morning……..
17. I get annoyed at/with……….
18. Parties………..
19. My pets………...
20. Kisses………..

And here are my answers:
1. My ‘ex’ is still….chasing bears.
2. I am listening to…Joey giggling. He’s chasing the cats.
3. Maybe I should… save the cat. Or get Andy up.
4. I love……….Allan.
5. My best friend(s)……… is stuck in the house today .
6. I don’t understand……….why Beau doesn’t call.
7. I’ve lost my respect for……….Cheetos. [You wanted my first response…].
8. I last ate…………last night.
9. The meaning of my display name is…. I’m Joey’s mom. It was chosen before Andy was born.
11. Someday…………I’ll mulch the garden.
12. I will always………….be chubby.
13. Love seems to be……….a squishy boy. Any age.
14. I never ever want to lose…………. my keys. [My sanity is long gone.]
15. My mobile phone is……….lost.
16. When I woke up this morning……..I was thinking of buying a present for the daughter for a high-school friend who just recently tracked me down. [She’s probably the only person from my actual high school that I ever really cared to hear from again.]
17. I get annoyed at/with………stupid people in stores.
18. Parties……….are a vague memory.
19. My pets………..are cats. One of them is diabetic like the rest of us.
20. Kisses……….are awfully sweet when they come from a boy (any age) first thing in the morning.

Give it a go. It's fun.

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

My husband is gonna laugh his butt off when he sees this. He thinks daisies are daffy.