Tuesday, November 22, 2011


It was good news and it was bad news.

The good news was that I figured out one of the major triggers of the migraines that I have been battling for years. The bad news? It's chocolate.

You can all weep for me here.

It wouldn't be so bad if it were just an additive or preservative commonly used in chocolate, but no, it's the cocoa itself that seems to be the problem. That means my favourite healthy chocolate fudge recipe is out. It means my evening tryst with a square of organic 85% dark chocolate is very much out. A small amount of cheap milk chocolate is fine, but really, what's the point? I loved the good stuff.

It's at this point that I wish I were allergic to boring things like penicillin or brazil nuts. My husband is allergic to turkey, which is a bit annoying around Thanksgiving/Christmas but really not too much of a burden when you consider he can still eat chicken.

Me? I'm allergic to two things: strawberries and chocolate. Oh the humanity.

Ok, I'm over it now. Done complaining. And really, I whine and protest but in the end I'm so relieved to have finally discovered the trigger for those vicious headaches. I don't know if that's the only cause, but I haven't had one since giving up chocolate.

And in the end it just makes me more thankful that I'm a Christian and have the hope of heaven set before me. To be in the presence of God the Father will be amazing... and to eat chocolate and strawberries at that great feast will be such a joy!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dresser Solution

My dresser gets messy. I don't know about your house, but in my bedroom for some reason I'll pick up the floor, make the bed, clean off the nightstands and then toss everything onto the dresser. Clutter happens. We don't have a closet in our bedroom, so the two dressers are full of clothes, with no room for any "stuff" in the drawers. So it all goes on top. I don't wear a ton of makeup, I don't have much fancy hair stuff and don't wear much jewelry, but somehow it just spreads itself all over and makes a mess. I was tired of it. I would clean it up and straighten everything, line it all up neatly, and it would stay like that for approximately 20 minutes.

I took a couple of before pictures. This is what my dresser looked like. Messy, huh?

Here's both dressers. I thought about at least shutting the bureau drawers before I snapped the photo but then decided to just leave it as is. More authentic that way.

And what, you ask, was the solution to this problem? A simple wicker basket I picked up at Superstore. It was half off, though still overpriced at $10.

I might have been able to find something cheaper at Value Village, but when every stop while shopping involves unbuckling a toddler, putting on my Ergo, unbuckling a baby and strapping him into the Ergo, going into the store, trying to keep the toddler from grabbing or running away while you're trying to pay, then back out to the car, strapping both kids back in... let's just say I'm currently a big fan of one stop shopping.

So I bought the basket, brought it home, cleared off items that didn't belong on the dresser in the first place but had been buried under stuff that DID belong there, and tossed everything into the basket. I didn't organize it or even try to make it all neat, I'm just being realistic here. I have no aspirations that the basket will stay neat and clean, all I want to do is make the dresser itself look a little more uncluttered. So here's the result:

Ahhh. So much better. An uncluttered space makes the room look ten times more put together. As long as I pick up the floor, make the bed, and sweep everything off the top of the dresser and into the basket every day, I feel like the bedroom is neat. And a neat and tidy bedroom makes a happy Mommy. And a happy Daddy, too!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Few Items

A while back I read a tip from a blogger that suggested every time you go to order something online, do a quick Google search to see if there's a coupon or promo code you can apply to the purchase. I thought, Huh, that's a good idea... and then never did it. Until today! I was ordering a Christmas present for my sister and figured why not. Turns out I found one, and got free shipping out of it. Saved myself $7.50, just with a few strokes on the keyboard. I'm now a believer, and will probably never buy anything online ever again without checking first for a coupon.

Oh, the present was for this sister:

Isn't she pretty? TOO pretty if you ask me. She's going to hate that I posted this picture. Her name is Ariel and someday I'm going to have a little girl and name her Ariel after her. That's Ariel as in "Are-ee-ell," like in the book of Isaiah, not Ariel as in "Air-ee-ell" like the mermaid. Poor girl has spent her whole life correcting people and now I'm going to doom another little girl to a life of correcting others.

Hmmm... that not-so-great photo of my sister inspired me to look through my picture folder and I'm finding some other not very attractive pictures. Let's see...

My parents! Phew, that's a bad one. They're much more attractive than that in person. Take my word for it.

My son! This is Eli. I can't even look at this picture without bursting out laughing.

And just to be fair...

Let's allow chubby, greasy-haired Mommy to make an appearance. AURGH! Ihadababytwomonthsago! Ineverhavetimetoshower! Itsabadcameraangle!

Sorry you had to see that.

Until next time something pops into my head...



October 30th through November 5th is National Vaccine Awareness Week in the US. Our health care systems may not be identical here in Canada, but our vaccination schedule and number of shots given are virtually the same as in the States.

This isn't a popular topic. I don't really like posting about super hot topics, I don't like conflict! But this is something that I've really struggled with, and I'm not sure I really have all the answers yet. Are vaccinations safe? Are they safe for everyone? Are they truly effective? Do they really do what they say they will do? Is there a better way to prevent diseases? I don't have all the answers yet.

Eli is a fully vaccinated, healthy and happy two-year-old. I never noticed a single reaction from him after any shot. No rashes, slight fevers, nothing. He wasn't even fussy! At the hospital when he was born, I was presented with the option of giving him the Hepatitis B vaccine. The nurses were very careful to tell me that it was my choice. I was confused and unsure what to do. The nurse was able to give me a little brochure of information about the disease, and it sounded unpleasant. I wasn't offered any information about the actual vaccine itself, but I opted to go ahead and let him have it. So Eli had his first vaccine at only a day old.

As the months went on and he was given more and more shots I started looking into it a little more. I read articles on both sides of the argument, carefully perused the Government of Canada's website, and tried hard to educate myself. All this while I kept taking him back for his vaccines right on schedule, but as I learned more it got harder to go through with every time. At his last appointment at 18 months old I almost backed out I was so conflicted. It's so hard to see your child in pain, and vaccines are no fun. The only reason that mothers are able to do it is because they "know" that they are doing what's best for their child. At that point though, I wasn't even sure I was doing what was best for him anymore. Letting him have those last two shots was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Then after they were done, the nurse informed me that he was going to have to come back again for a third chicken pox vaccine. It seems they were finding that two shots to prevent the chicken pox weren't working, so now children needed three. I threw up my hands in frustration and told her no. It was the first vaccine I declined.

When Theo was born, I knew right away that we weren't going to be giving him the Hep B vaccine. For starters - Hepatitis B is not a disease that Canadian infants are even exposed to. Secondly I was no longer comfortable with giving a child a vaccine when they were only hours old. I assumed this would be no big deal - after all at Eli's birth they had been very careful to inform me that the decision lay in my hands. To my surprise, when the nurse came to take Theo for his first bath she told me "And he'll get his Hep B vaccine now too." I told her that we wouldn't be getting that shot, and her lips immediately tightened. She told me that she would bring a form that I needed to sign stating that I declined the vaccine and that the baby's doctor would have to be informed. When she brought the form, I saw that it was not vaccine specific but rather a general form stating that I was refusing a treatment. Part of it even said (I don't remember the exact wording) that by signing I was acknowledging that my choices would probably lead to sickness and death. What!

In retrospect, I should have put my foot down and refused to sign the stupid thing. However, in my tired post-delivery state I took the easy route and just signed it. Next baby I will not consent to sign something ridiculous like that. I don't want to be obnoxious or difficult (did I mention I really don't like conflict?) but I feel guilty that I even put my name down on that form, since I obviously didn't agree with what it was saying.

After declining that first vaccine, the time for him to get his first round of regular immunizations loomed closer and I started feeling panicky. I read tons of articles - both sides of the argument of course - and the more I read the less I was convinced. Here's the hard part - I'm not convinced vaccines don't work. If I was completely sure the whole thing was a scam or a conspiracy then that would make the decision easier. But I think they do work, or did work, I'm just not sure that they're safe or that they are the most effective way of protecting ourselves against diseases.

In the end, Theo hasn't had any shots yet. He's only five months old, and I may choose to have some late, or I might just wait and leave the decision up to him once he's an adult. As a parent, the best I can do is make the choices that I think will keep my children as safe and healthy as possible. For me, that means no vaccines for now. In the future that might mean limited vaccines, I don't know.

Ultimately, I just don't want to turn my children into test subjects for a practice that has not been sufficiently tested to prove that it's safe. Sure, Cory and I were both vaccinated as children and turned out fine. Eli has had all of his to date and has had no problems whatsoever. But I'm not going to keep injecting my kids with something that has severely damaged and even killed other people and just hope that it turns out OK. It's not a risk I'm willing to take.

Obviously I'm no scientist so I would encourage you to do your own research and reading on this subject. A lot of people use the delayed vaccination schedule promoted by Dr. Sears in his book "The Vaccine Book."

What bothers me is the assumption that only ignorant conspiracy-theorists don't vaccinate their kids. On the contrary, the people I know who don't vaccinate are the ones who are the most well read and well versed on vaccines. People who do vaccinate often know little to nothing about what is being injected into themselves or their children. I would put myself into that category when Eli was first born. Half the time I had no idea what needles he was even getting! It was once I started familiarizing myself with vaccines that I started to have concerns. Everyone, no matter which side of the debate they fall on, should be able to make an intelligent, informed decision about vaccination. 

A great place to go for information is the National Vaccine Information Center's website. For us Canadians, the Vaccination Risk Awareness Network is another great resource. Of course the Government of Canada's website has lots of info supporting vaccines.

One of the main reasons I'm writing this post is to tell you about the documentary that is available to watch for free right now, just for this week. The film The Greater Good can be streamed in its entirety on Dr. Mercola's website right now. Cory and I watched it together and it was very informative. While the movie is certainly trying to raise a lot of concerns about vaccination, it also had experts on the pro-vaccine side of the debate weigh in.

This post from a blogger that I follow does a great job of articulating why she does not get the flu shot, which is one shot that I've never gotten and never will!

Ultimately, you have to make your own decision about vaccination. I just hope that you aren't like I was and just blindly follow the pack.