Monday, January 17, 2011

7 years ago

7 years ago, our son T. was born.  It was a cold wintry day.  It followed a major Green Bay Packer playoff game. We watched this fateful game at cousin Sarah's house, eating chili made by cousin Jake, and listening to my SIL alternately reading a magazine and yelling at the Packers.  The Packers lost.

We came home, crawled into bed. I read an entire Nancy Drew book before I went to sleep (I was desperate for something to read).  I woke the next morning, about 10 min before the alarm was supposed to  ring, saying "Either my water broke, or I just wet the bed!"

Not sure it was my SIL's yelling or Jake's "birthin' chili" that got things started.

It's now birthday time again. The Packers won their playoff game this year, and they will play "da Bears" this coming weekend. I am not a football fan, at all, but I know that there are enough Packer and Bear fanatics in the area to make up for that.

T. had a good birthday.  Here are some photos of him blowing out his candles.  They were trick candle, and he did figure out that if he spit a little on them, they would go out. Good thing it was just the 4 of us at this party!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Update-Injury Prevention

So I did get a Nerf gun for the birthday boy. Did you realize that an ENTIRE length of a Target toy aisle is dedicated to Nerf guns. It was a very overwhelming experience.

And a few aisles over, I found some winter sports helmets. I bought two. They say for ages 5-10, but we'll see if they fit. My kids have pretty big heads.

a (sort of) hostage situation

After almost 9 years of living here, I was called to perform my civic responsibility at jury duty.  I was a "reserve juror," which meant that perhaps my services would not be needed. But, alas, when I checked the reserve message juror, I was told to report to Children's Court at 9 am on Monday. Total bummer because Monday is my day off of work, and Monday morning is my designated long run time (7 miles this week).  The upside is that Children's Court is near my house instead of downtown, parking is way better, and I like children.

A TPR (termination of parental rights) case was scheduled to start Monday, requiring a jury. Fortunately for us, after 2.5 hours of waiting, the two parties apparently reached a compromise, and the trial was off.  We got to leave at noon.  However, we were to return the next morning for another case that needed a jury. I really debated sneaking in my run, but a friend was watching my daughter. I couldn't show up at her house, all sweaty after she so kindly took my daughter. So instead, I stayed at her house for an hour while girls played and we ate lunch.

Day two of service, I arrived early to park, get through security, and stake out my space in the jury room.   We waited. And waited. And waited. Finally at nearly 11, they told us that they were planning to choose a jury today. The process would take 1.5-2 hours, but that we would not start until after lunch (can't work past noon in county offices).  Aaaaaack!!!!!!!  So we waited some more.  And about 30 minutes later, the jury manager-lady announced that she would call 37 people (of 54) who needed to stay to be screened. The rest would be dismissed. She called those names one by one, and each individual began lining up around the edge of the room. 1, 2,...15, 16,...19 (more than half!),...28, 29, ...32, ... and finally 37.   To turn up  the heat (and my heart rate), the woman had to stop halfway through the list to answer a phone call.

The odds were slim, but I made it out. She never called my name. Until the very end, when she handed me my letter stating that I had completed my service. I was free! Free! FREE!

I don't think I was ever so happy to go to work!  My patients were happy to see me.  And the night was complete after viewing the one-night-only premiere of "The Hood to Coast" movie. (really cool, but the R.Bowe team kept me crying my eyes out!)

I didn't get my seven miles yesterday exactly how I wanted to, but I did run for 70 minutes on the treadmill last night while watching the dramatic conclusion of "Eclipse."  It was a slow 70 minutes, not quite 7 miles, but the longest TM time I've ever logged.   (It wasn't too hard while watching Edward and Jacob) (yeah, I know. I could practically be their mothers. I still love that sh*t though)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Child Safety and Injury our house

Hello and Happy New Year!  One of my resolutions this year is to be a better blogger. (oooh! say that five times fast!)  I think that mostly includes more timely posts.  I often have great (well, at least somewhat interesting) ideas in my head, driving around in the minivan or laying in bed, but when I get to the computer. Poof! Gone.

Anyway, let's move to the topic on hand.

As a pediatrician, I feel that I am quite child safety and injury prevention conscious.  Besides helping kids with illness, part of my job is to help PREVENT injuries, illness, etc.   So even when parents come in for a "meet and greet" prenatal visit prior to the birth of their child, there are things that can be discussed.  Are there smoke detectors in the home? Is the water heater set at 120 degrees or less? Have you installed your car seat, and have you considered having it inspected by someone (usually through your local law enforcement or fire fighting agency)?  You may do all the Consumer Reports research to pick the safest car seat, but if it is not installed or used correctly (this is VERY common), then how does that protect your child?

Once the baby is born, there is much more to discuss.  Sleep position is very important.  Back to Sleep has decreased SIDS deaths by more than 50%, yet we still don't understands SIDS completely.  How many mothers have woken at night and creeped into their babies rooms to ensure that they are still alive and breathing? I'm totally guilty, although it really sucks when you accidentally wake them up. The next two months are fraught with concerns of falls from bouncy seats on tables or counters, then worrying about reaching for sharp objects and rolling at 4 months.  Many babies are crawling at 9 months and have the ability to pick up small objects easily.  The home is then a myriad of choking and strangulation hazards.  Pulling to stand presents the concern for falling out of the crib if the mattress is not completely lowered. 12-18 months leads to increased danger of stairs, climbing, and finger foods. High risk foods, such as hot dogs, should be cut into slices, not coins.  Grapes should be quartered.  Did you know that marshmallows are choking hazards? Read the back of the Kraft Jet Puffed Marshmallow package:

"Choking Warning. Eat one at a time. For children under 6, cut marshmallows into bite-sized pieces. Children should always be seated and supervised while eating. "

At this point, we've only made it through one year of life!  What about fire, burns, sharp objects, bike safety, stranger safety, bullying, sexting, drinking, drugs and sexual activity???!!!  Pregnancy brings so many fears and worries, but it doesn't get much easier once you make it to term.

So, yeah, I may get a little crazy here and there.  I have had some choice foul language while installing car seats, trying to get the seatbelt tight enough so that there is not more than one inch movement in any direction. We live in an older home, and my son has had multiple blood tests for lead poisoning. All normal.  I still frequently cut up their food at ages 4 and 6. If they eat a hot dog on a bun, I slice it down the center.  I love grapes, and so do my kids, but I rarely buy them because they make me nervous. My son would be the only 1st grader with cut-up grapes in his lunch.  Yeah, it's to the point where my 4 year old has said to me, as I lean over to cut her food, "Moooom! I won't choke!"

One of our good friends is a medical examiner. A pathologist. He does autopsies for a living. He once did a case where a foam Nerf bullet was lodged in a child's windpipe. This was a cause of death.  Totally freaks me out.  On one hand, I think to myself, "This cannot be happening on a widespread basis. The Consumer Protection Agency would have put out warnings and these Nerf guns would be recalled!  There is just as much chance that some other unspeakable or freak event could occur at any other time."  But the other part of my brain says, "Heck no! No Nerf guns with little foam bullets in our house!" And that is our current situation.

But....what did the little guy ask Santa for this year and last year? What does he want for his birthday next week? What toy do all the other first grade boys have?  A Nerf gun.  He doesn't want much else.  Santa broke down and got him one video game for the Wii.  He got too many Legos for Christmas. He doesn't want action figures, Bakugans, Hot Wheels, or Transformers.  His birthday is less than a week away.

I've got some major thinking to do. But I think I may do it.

However, the next time we go sledding, those kids are wearing helmets.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Today I reached "Lifetime" at Weight Watchers.  I have been working toward this for the past 14 months. Looking back at my weight, I could have been done with this back in April.  In fact, I weigh only one pound less than I did in April, which is kind of funny to think about.

But the winter months are always easier for me. Life is more routine, scheduled, less social, and there seems to be more time to plan my eating and exercise. Summer is more hectic. We go to our cottage most weekends, and it always seems to be a "we're on vacation!" attitude.  It's not good to bring chips or treats every weekend!  More socializing, more cocktails, more s'smores.

Before I started WW, I took Glamour magazine's "Happy Weight" quiz online. My happy weight was 145.  Whoa! I thought.  I want to be in the 130s. You know, like I was in my early to mid twenties.  Before residency. Before children.

Weight loss wasn't difficult, but it takes time, planning and commitment. I readjusted my goal to 140.  Then I hit a plateau in March, 6 months after starting.  Stuck in the low 140s. Eat less, then eat more. Did not work. I was also increasing my running at this time, and wanted to be sure to fuel adequately.

It seemed like no matter what I did, I could not get to 140.  I got a little sloppy over the summer with portions and choices.  I gained a little weight, then easily dropped back down to 143. To stay.

So I started to think about this. What is 3 pounds more? Can anyone notice? Would I notice? If it is so hard to get to 140, how hard will it be to stay at 140? So I chose 143. And today I am 142.

This is MY happy weight. I have a normal BMI. I have more energy.  My physical fitness level has not been this good for a long time. Maybe ever!  I am just a couple of years away from 40, and my body has carried and birthed two children. It's never going back to where it was in my 20s!

Do I regret continuing as a paying WW member for the past 9 months? No. I really don't. It was 9 more months to focus on good choices, portion control, and understanding my  hunger cues (fatigue and stress).  This was not a diet.  It was a lifestyle change, and the more you do something, the easier it gets.

Well, I am headed to the TM in the dingy ol' basement to bang out 3.5 miles. Yeah. It's 10 pm. What am I thinking??!!  Have a good night!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Magic

I have been thinking about this post for a while, but I need to make a better effort to get it out of my head onto the computer!!!

The holidays are upon us.  My kids are now 6 and 4, and this season has been PURE MAGIC for them.  First, T. understands tradition.  Last month, John and I debated celebrating Christmas at our cottage up north.  Santa would know where we were. That wasn't a worry. But a couple days later, T. said to me, "Mom, I think I just want to have Christmas here."  When I asked why, he said, "I don't know. Because that is how we have always done it. " "Like a tradition?" I replied.  And he said, "Yes, like it's our tradition."   How sweet is that!

I had to work the weekend after Thanksgiving, and my husband and kids thoughtfully put up the tree, decorated (the front) of it, and strategically placed the rest of the decorations around the house. I'm still tweaking things.

When I put some lights out front, T. and C. found three more strands that worked.  They thoughtfully brought them outside to be hung. We don't look like the Griswalds, but it is definitely brighter than my usual monochromatic decorating scheme!

We have decorated sugar cookies. We made a gingerbread house. Two My Little Ponies have moved in.  We made the clay ornaments in the Family Fun magazine. We made a snowGIRL.  Note the skirt.

We have piles of presents under the tree that are amazingly still wrapped, although several are for the kids.  T. asked his dad to take him to Target to pick out presents for C., John and I.  After about a week of C. shaking her gift and dragging it around the house, she seems to have forgotten it.

We talk about Jesus and His birthday. We light an Advent wreath made from shredded wheat and glue each Sunday. We talk about people who need presents, food, shelter and clothing.

We have had lots of discussions about Santa and St. Nick.  How they get in the house. Is St. Nick alive or is it his spirit that comes?  In all his first grade wisdom, T. did point out that saints are dead. Yup, must be his spirit.

It has been a joy to watch them marvel at the holiday season.

A couple of weeks ago, we had our first snow. I went out for my first snowy run of the season. I left at 3:45 pm. Not dark, but as I was out for the 3.5 miles, the light was dimming. People were turning on the lights on their homes, trees were lit through the windows.  In the glow of the lights, the world under a fresh blanket of snow, to be outside running, it was MAGICAL.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Germs, germs, germs

With the winter season, along with the snow and the decorations and the holiday cheer, also comes all our little friendly viral illnesses. Upper respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, pharyngitis, bronchiolitis. And sometimes they invite their bacterial friends, that lead to little parties in your bodies known as ear infections, strep throat, pneumonia.

The average child gets between 6-10 colds (viral upper respiratory infections) per year.  This is your typical stay-at-home child.  A child who attends daycare will get 8-12 colds per year. Most URIs last 7-10 days, but can linger up to 2 weeks. So, therefore, a child who attends daycare may have some combination of runny nose and cough for 6 months of the year.  I cannot tell you how many times I ask a parent, "How long has the congestion and drainage been going on?" and then they snort and laugh and say "For months!"

There is good news to this. Over time we develop our immune system.  When we are young, all these illnesses are new to our bodies. When we fight an infection, our immune system has to start from scratch to develop antibodies to fight the illness. After the illness, we do have lasting antibody memory.  The next time we get exposed to the same or similar illness, we are better able to fight it off.  What might be a full force 10 days of congestion and cough in your 18 month old may be just a few days of mild congestion in you.  Kids in daycare, although they are sick more frequently in the early years, tend to have less illness when the become school age children than those who stayed home.

I think some of the best ways to stay healthy are adequate sleep, nutrition and hydration, along with frequent (but not obsessive) handwashing.  Although studies do indicate alcohol-based sanitizers are more effective than soap and water (if your hands are not visibly contaminated with bodily fluids), I prefer soap and water.  Using sanitizer before and every patient just does not FEEL as clean to me. Also, my hands get very dry in the winter, and that stuff STINGS!

So this brings me to the main point of the post. In the winter, how crazy do you get about staying home and away from crowds?

When my kids were younger, we avoided the hands-on children's museum in the winter, McDonald's playlands all year round, and any other possibly heavily germ infested surfaced. Now that they are older, they get sick less frequently, they are less prone to ear infections, and they are both in school with 19 other potentially infectious classmates each.

When I took my kids to a local indoor inflatable playplace about 1.5 weeks ago, I prided myself on how far I had come.

Until 36 hours later.

That's when they both woke at 3 am (within 5 minutes of each other!) vomiting. And everyone was up the rest of the night, except for the dog.

I'm not saying we couldn't have gotten this elsewhere (door handles, grocery carts, school, playground, swim class, etc), but it seems pretty suspicious to me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Running Update

Besides writing about my work and my family (and how they overlap!), I also want to write about my running. Since March, I have been starting to read some blogs of other mother runners, and I have found them to be entertaining, informative, and inspiring. I think tapping into this whole community of mom runners has a lot to do with my continuing to run.

So a quick recap of the past year:
October 2009-I joined Weight Watchers to lose 20# of post baby weight (my baby was then 3 1/2)

December 2009-Starting walking on the treadmill. Got way too boring, so added little intervals of running.
My plantar fasciitis of my left foot started up (hadn't been a problem for past 1.5 years).

Jan/Feb/March 2010-Signed up for the Chicago Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K. Was running 3x/week, up to an incredible 5 miles! Saw my regular doctor. She gave me a big blue splint to wear on the left at night.  Left heel pain getting worse, so I got new stability shoes (next version up of my then running shoes). Still limping with walking and running (but still running!). Got a pain of Dansko clogs that several friends swore by. Super cute, but did not solve the problem. Discovered the "Run Like a Mother" book. Loved it! Made me laugh, made me cry, totally inspired me!

April 2010-Finally (after spending $200+ on shoes that did not solve the problem), I saw a sports medicine physician. Xrays normal, no stress fracture! Went to see a sports PT. Deann was awesome! Apparently my left calf/Achilles really tight compared to my right and normal people. My left calf also very weak. She videotaped my running. Both hips weak and excessive rotation of my legs...wasting energy. Started stretching exercises, ice massage for my foot, and some simple strength moves at home. Deann felt I was predisposed to plantar fasciitis, and it would probably always bother me off and on.

May 2010-Ran a 5K and a 10K.  My 5K time was 30:54, a total PR for me. I really kicked it into high gear at the end, and my HR got to the 190s. Not the best idea, was totally dizzy and nauseous for that last sprint and after.

June 2010-Had unplanned surgery. Could not run for 3 weeks. Considered not starting up again, but I had signed up for a marathon relay with two friends for Team in Training, so started back up in July.

August/September 2010-Following a half marathon training schedule for the marathon relay. I was signed up to run the third leg, 7.5 miles. However, we weren't sure who would be injury-free enough to take the middle leg, 11.7 miles, so I wanted to be prepared. Unlike the 5K or 8K training schedule I followed, this required me to run 4 days a week. This has been really hard for me. Four days a week makes me very achy.

October 2010-Ran the relay! So much fun. I picked up at approximately mile 19. Chip time from mile 20 to 26.2 was 1 hour 3 seconds.  And hey! Guess what?  My plantar fasciitis is gone! I can imagine a little twinge here and there, but nothing like it was earlier this year.  The rest of October, I was on no particular running schedule. It was dark in the morning and dark in the evening. I tried the treadmill, but I felt tired, slow, and short of breath.

November 2010-Next race is the Disney Princess Half Marathon on February 27.  We are taking our first family trip to Disney World!  I mapped out my training schedule. Nothing fancy. Thus far, I have used Hal Higdon's beginner training plans, and this seems to have worked for me. I put it all on my calendar, and I started this past week. I also made some peace with my treadmill. It is in the unfinished basement next to the washer and dryer. I put a fan up and hung some pictures and old bib numbers to look at.  I had a few successful 30 minute runs last weekend while my husband was gone hunting. I am going to try to run outside (or at the indoor track at the Petit Ice Arena), but it's an option.

My shins are a little sore, and my current shoes have about 400 miles on them.  I have been really hesitant about new shoes since all the foot difficulties I have had.  Last night I went to Fleet Feet,  and they fit me with a new pair of shoes. I switched from Asics 2130/2140 (stability) to Saucony ProGrid Glide 2 (neutral). The Glide 3's felt terrible! Something was rubbing the back of my heel! I also tried a pair of Mizunos (not cushioned enough and felt lumpy under the outer part of my foot), New Balance (too hard on forefoot), and something else I can't recall. I settled on a Brooks Ghost 3.

And that's where I am now. I'm going on a year, and I think it's going to stick with me.
I have lost 20# with Weight Watchers, and I have maintained it!  After the Princess Half, I am going to do the Door County Half Marathon in May 2011.