Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Friday, February 29, 2008

Dance gods

There's a new show on MTV: "America's Best Dance Crew". We have become huge fans of this group "Kaba Modern". They are dance gods. Words can't describe. You'll just have to check out one of their videos... so without further adu... (And for this week's dance go to the MTV web site here)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mike Huckabee on SNL

This was just fabulous. I think it's awesome that he can poke fun at himself like this. "Uh-oh" -I almost died!!!

P.S. I must be feeling better. My brain is playing catch up. This is my fourth blog posting today. tee hee.

My review of Almay Smart Shade

I tried the new foundation- Almay's "Smart Shade". It comes out a white cream with black dots ("color beads") that magically turn into the matching color of your skin. I don't know how it works, but I'm very pleased with the result. Getting a good foundation match is annoyingly tricky and this seems to take the guess work out of it. I'll probably stick with this. Hopefully it will be very profitable and they'll expand to some darker shades for the black females. :) As of right now your choices are light, light/med, and medium.

Update: I have changed my mind about this product. I've noticed that it blocks my pores and causes minor breakouts. Major bummer because it's awesome besides that!!

FedEx "contractors" for how much longer?

In December the IRS finally cracked down on FedEx for their practice of "contracting out" their drivers. (The case is still in court). FedEx has saved a lot of money by not having their drivers unionized. I have mixed feelings about the Teamsters Union. As a former UPS hub supervisor I have seen the dark side of the union... like the fight they put up against decent pay for package handlers because of the massive profit they make over their high turnover (thus keeping the $500 initiation fee, over and over). And the fact that as businesses have gone under in the "unionized pool", UPS is paying large amounts of money funding other company's retirees.

On the other hand, there is something to be said about the protective quality of a union: preventing the exploitation of drivers. And FedEx has been exploiting their drivers. These men and women do all the work of a driver but with much less support. For instance, they are responsible for their own maintenance and rental of "their" trucks. Last year FedEx paid out $253,000 to five MA drivers in order to settle unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

Currently the situation is very much in the air. It's a national issue, being played out heavily here in MA. On January 29th the Teamsters union pulled out of a vote for FedEx drivers to join the union: seemingly a FedEx victory. Three days later though, National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Boston gave the drivers the right to hold a secret-ballot election for a union. I can only speculate what all of that means, but the cards are folding on FedEx's unfair labor practices, and for that I'm glad.

Timmy is funny

I brought Timmy to the last midwife appointment so he could see the birthing center. Yesterday he said to me "You can't swear (at the birthing center- in labor). I saw a sign. No really. I saw a sign." He cracks me up.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Baby Shower!

My baby shower was this Sunday and it was so uplifting. Life's been tough, but it's one of those rare moments that makes it all worthwhile. My guests were a hodge-podge from all different parts of my life: nursing school, China trip, church, relatives. It was so special to be surrounded by love from all walks of my life. It also blesses me to no end that a fourth baby can be celebrated with all the enthusiasm of a first-born. Because all babies are a joy and a blessing. Afterwards I slept for fifteen hours (still recovering from the flu and all). But when I woke up I started nesting and pulled an all-nighter cleaning the house and putting away all Saphira's new clothes. She'll never be able to wear them all. I'm so blessed.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pray for me

I'm really sick with the flu. I appreciate your prayers.

UPDATE: So after a horrible night where I spent much of the time crying for my husband and calling out to Jesus, I went to the doctor's in the morning. My heart rate and blood pressure were both way up. I got 1000 ml. of IV fluid which I really really needed. Timmy brought me some strawberries and blueberries which I ate and the nurse gave me some Tylenol. Those things helped bring me out of the worst of it. It's not over yet though.

2ND UPDATE: Day 6 of the flu and my current status is "death warmed over". It's getting really old. I'll probably go to the doctor's again tomorrow. This isn't unusual for me though. About once a year I'll get "on-my-death-bed"-sick. Bad immune system or something. Timmy's getting tired of it, unsure if I'm milking this or not. I'm trying to explain that this happened all those years he was in jail too when he wasn't around to see it.

3RD UPDATE: I went to the ER, last night, and got a Nebulizer treatment. It helped a little. I also haven't been holding down much food so I've dropped mad weight. To complicate matters my husband's boss has been completely non-understanding so my husband quit today. He was looking for another job anyway, but we were hoping to do it the other way around, ya know? I feel a little better now than yesterday so I'm holding out hope that it's peaked.

4th UPDATE: I wouldn't have believed it. Couldn't have believed it, if I weren't living it, but I think Heather is right. I think this flu is going to last 2-4 weeks. I'm forcing myself to function when I have to: school yesterday, the midwife today (I lost 9 pounds!), clinical (school) tomorrow, and my baby shower the next day. Maybe I'll have some happy pictures to post from that to change up this blog for my patient readers. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

You know me, I can't keep my mouth shut

My son and I are both sick with the flu. But mine is congestion + aches. He's got constant vomiting. :( So, just now, at the toilet as he is throwing up for the umpteenth time he moans "I'm cursed". I comfort him in my mommy voice "I know it seems like that, honey". But then couldn't resist adding under my breath "Well, technically all sickness is from the curse. But you don't need a theological lecture right now."


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Valentine's Day 2008

My almost-11 year old has his first sorta-girlfriend! It's so exciting to watch. A whole new phase in life! She gave him a teddy bear so he wanted to get her one for Valentine's Day too. He won't say her name but the big question is: what race is she?? We have theories on our kids: that Brandon will tend to go for the Asian girls and Wolfie and Dimitri will tend to go for the white girls. Anyway, the whole thing is adorable. Here's the picture he took for his myspace. I'm "borrowing" it. tee hee.

We went to Walgreens to buy Valentines and candy for the kid's classmates and a teddy bear for Brandon's crush. It's two days before payday so we had to wrap all the coins in the coin jar to come up with some money. It totaled $17. When we got there we ran into Timmy's Aunt who we haven't seen in a long time and she gave the boys $10! What a blessing. Our purchases totaled $23 so we couldn't have done it without her generosity. The Lord does provide.

The other crazy thing that happened was when I was in the checkout line I looked over and saw my three year old in the other line prying open a box of medicine. "Dimitri Manasseh!" I firmly called and grabbed him by his jacket. The young woman in line grabbed him too and looked at me angrily and shocked. I looked at her confused. Then looked down at the child... It wasn't Dimitri. "Oh my gosh! I am so sorry! I thought he was mine!" I said. Dimitri walked up and I said "See, he's got the same red jacket" and she said "and the same hair". I was so horrified, but at least she understood.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Why the fair tax isn't fair

The fair tax, or the flat tax, is a proposal to get rid of the current complicated tax code and turn it into a simple sales tax. There are some very appealing qualities to it. Namely the simplicity and the nakedness of it - we all would know exactly how much is going to the government. The legislature could no longer hide taxes like the gas tax.

I have a number of problems with the "unfair" tax however. The biggest problem I have is that the rich would actually be taxed at a lower percentage rate than the middle class because a) all inheritance money would be tax free and b) all money spent or invested in other countries would be tax free c) the poor have to spend their money immediately while the rich can save their money. The rich, therefore can defer taxes at their will.

A closer look at all the promises
The actual tax rate is not clear. Fair tax proponents say it will be 23%, but the President's Advisory Panel on Tax Reform says it will be 34%

Myth: It would simplify our complicated tax code.
Response: The only way the flat tax would get the support to pass into law is if there were some sort of concession to make it more fair for the poor. There are three ways of doing this, two of which would not simplify the tax code at all.  Either create several tiers of "luxury" with different sales tax rates which would create a lobbying nightmare. Or allow different sales tax rates for different income levels, which would mean keeping our current complicated tax codes (necessary for determining levels of income). The third strategy to make it more fair is a prebate (see next myth).

Myth: A prebate will keep the tax rate the same for the poor and middle class
Response: The current prebate proclaimed by fair tax proponents still does not equal out current tax policy for the lower class. Also: A prebate would cause a larger number of Americans to become dependent on an entitlement than ever before. Even though it is merely a replacement for the current policy- there is something debilitating about becoming dependent on a government check.

Myth: Drug dealers and other criminals would now have to pay taxes on their criminal activity
Response: If sales taxes are judged on income, their criminal activity (and taxation status) will still slide under the radar. Even if that is not the case, new and easier ways to elude the government will be created, like buying a $3 million dollar house but only claiming a $1.5 million sale. (Also, if sales tax is determined by income the rich could pay the poor to buy things for them.)

Myth: Used items won't be taxed
Response:  Used items via a store or dealership would have to be taxed at the point of sale, as would ebay, I'm sure. The only question is whether or not you'd have to declare "garage sale" type items or not. It is also notable that the inflated price of new items would naturally raise used prices.

Other concerns I have:

Unless tourists could be rebated, this new 23-34% sales tax will decimate our travel industry.

First time home buyers would be at a huge disadvantage - paying 1/3 more for their home than people who just bought their homes before the switch.


More pregnancy...

I know this isn't the most titillating conversation, but when you're due in six weeks, it's pretty much all you can think about. So I spent all weekend sleeping. Well, I had clinical Saturday morning which really wipes me out. I used to sleep one full day for every two clinical days. But now, in the part time program and the third trimester it's starting to take two full days to recover from one clinical day. I've never slept so much in my life.

Also, the weight just started to come on heavy. I'm over 180 pounds! I was 184 with Brandon. 185 with Wolfie and over 200 with Dimitri (I stopped looking at the end). Oh, and my husband and I have the strangest pattern: whenever I gain weight with pregnancy he gains muscle so he's always been heavier than me (even though he's an inch shorter). He never planned it that way- it just always worked out that way coincidentally. But we think it's just the coolest thing, since he's the "protector". Call me old fashioned.

Her kicks are strong and her limbs are thick. I'm sure she'd be just fine if she came now -with a little Surfactant, ya know. :) I qualify for a water birth in just two more weeks!!!

My mom is planning a baby shower for me. I can't wait to fold and hang up all those pink clothes. I've admired pink clothes for sooooo long. Now I finally get to put them on my baby!


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pregnancy log

It's an unusual pregnancy issue for me... My last baby was over 10 pounds so my abs actually started to tear away from the rib cage- a small hernia, if you will. I talked to my doctor about getting it fixed between the pregnancies but we decided it might make the area even weaker. It hasn't bothered me in a long time, but as I hit the eighth month of this pregnancy I can feel it again. The thing that scares me most is that it would get worse or more painful during pushing, but that didn't happen with the last baby so that's a huge reassurance for me.


Friday, February 08, 2008

The Audacity of Hope

I haven't read The Audacity of Hope yet, but put it on my wish list. I did, however, recently read this quote from the book, which I thought was powerful and wanted to share it with you:

"They are out there, I think to myself, those ordinary citizens who have grown up in the midst of all the political and cultural battles, but who have found a way-in their own lives at least- to make peace with their neighbors, and themselves. I imagine the white Southerner who growing up heard his dad talk about niggers this and niggers that but who has struck up a friendship with the black guys at the office and is trying to teach his own son different, who believes discrimination is wrong but doesn't see why the son of a black doctor should get into law school ahead of his own son. Or the former Black Panther who decided to go into real estate, bought a few buildings in the neighborhood, and is just as tired of the drug dealers in front of those buildings as he is of the bankers who won't give him a loan to expand his business. There's the middle-aged feminist who still mourns her abortion, and the Christian woman who paid for her teenage daughter's abortion, and the millions of waitresses and temp secretaries and Wal Mart associates who hold their breath every single month in the hope that they'll have enough money to support the children they did bring into the world. I imagine they are waiting for a politics with the maturity to balance idealism and realism, to distinguish between what can and cannot be compromised, to admit the possibility that the other side might sometimes have a point. They don't always understand the arguments between right and left, conservative and liberal, but they recognize the difference between dogma and common sense, responsibility and irresponsibility, between those things that last and those things that are fleeting. They are out there, waiting for Republicans and Democrats to catch up with them." --Barack Obama


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Addressing the Housing Crisis *A bright spot*

One (of many) issues I am passionate about is the housing crisis. I am thrilled about this new development in Hawaii, which is why I am supporting them on their website. (Check it out!) A large percentage of the houses are being reserved for low income families. I think it was designed to meet the needs of the resort workers. Hawaii has an even bigger housing crisis than my home state (MA). I would love to move to Pulelehua and am even on their lottery list... but as of right now we don't qualify because we don't currently live in Hawaii. Maybe someday. :) More than anything though, I applaud their efforts to curb the housing crisis. We need more places like Pulelehua.

Monday, February 04, 2008

2 little funnies from my life

#1) During fellowship time after church I mentioned to my pastor that this semester my nursing clinicals take place at a psych ward in a hospital. His response: "Did they name a wing after you?" :) Even I have to admit- that was a good one.

#2) My three year old is easily manipulated by commercials. He wants everything he sees. Usually I just kind of ignore it "Ok, honey, maybe you'll get that for your birthday". But today I stopped and laughed. He said "Mommy, I want that so I can sleep". It was an ad for night time cough and cold medicine. Doh!


Sunday, February 03, 2008

No words. No words.

OK. Maybe just a few:
shock, horror, despair, disbelief, sadness, numb, outraged, anguish, dejected, sick, sorrowful, floored, jolted, mourning, shame, let-down, dismay, upset, scandalize, distress, dispirited, shaken up, broken hearted, downcast, stupefied, unsettled, forlorn, disgusted, bleak, cheerless... and a little bit pissed off.

Friday, February 01, 2008

OK! I give up! I'll take the iron pills.

I've been anemic this pregnancy but haven't taken any iron pills yet. There were multiple reasons:

  • Why take it? I'm always anemic - pregnant or not. Supplementing with iron pills or not. It makes me think that maybe my body is supposed to be slightly anemic, especially since the increase in blood volume during pregnancy naturally brings with it some anemia. I also read that iron decreases immunity- I don't know if that's true or not but it fueled the flame of ambivalence.
  • Laziness/busyness I've got so many other pills to take and if I take iron and multivitamins I want to separate it from the others to prevent interactions. If I take iron I have to try to take it with vitamin C but avoid dairy which blocks absorption... That's just too much work. I'm lucky to get down my medications.
  • Vitamins Shmitamins I eat a healthy diet: plenty of fruits and vegetables and meat. That should be enough!
But... you saw the foreshadowing of this "but" in the blog title... I give up. I think my anemia is seriously interfering with my ability to function. I get out of breath walking up stairs. (I consider myself an athlete). I have near-fainting spells if I ever stand in one place. I am struck with sheer, incredible exhaustion. It just can't be normal. So I give up. I'll start supplementing.

Also, my new midwife gave me a lecture about taking my prenatal vitamins and she made an excellent point. She said that a first time- even a second time- pregnant mom has some reserves for her baby. But when you've been pregnant and breastfeeding for 10 years straight like I have- my reserves have got to be depleted. She's right. I've got to start taking the prenatal vitamins too.
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