Hi friends! To all you awesome pro-vaccine folks out there I thought I'd share my collection of some of the funniest and/or most informative infographics, pictures, memes, etc as a follow up to my last post :)
Here's a quote I love that reminds me of all those anti-vaccine advocates out there, I think it's by Ricky Gervais?
"You are not entitled to have an opinion about a fact"
Hi friends! I recently did a Guest Post on Blissful and Domestic about "A Day in the Life of Her", basically detailing a typical day in my life. If you're interested to read it you can find it HERE.
In other news, we just recently completed a CF Clinic so I thought I'd do my annual "CF Maintenance" post. If you want to see past years you can find them here (Year 1/ Year 2/ Year 3). This actually should be a pretty easy post as Charlie is on the least amount of medication at the moment in recent memory! Pretty awesome!
Charlie's Current Cystic Fibrosis Medications and Treatments
Gene Type: Delta F508 (∆F508) homozygous
Age: 3 years and 11 months
Weight: 41.8lbs (95th percentile, up 4lbs from a year ago)
Height: 42.5 inches (95th percentile, up 2.5 inches from a year ago)
Weight to Length Ratio: 77th percentile!
Bacteria Cultured: staph aureus, pseudomonas aeruginosa, Stenotrophomonas maltophilium Breathing Treatments (2x per day)
3 puffs Albuterol
2 puffs Flovent
1 vial of Pulmozyme, nebulized, mornings only
20 minutes Vest physiotherapy
Um. That's it. WHOA. This is totally crazy, just 4 months ago we had TOBI, Pulmicort (we now use the Flovent inhaler instead, so it's 2 less nebulizers per day), steroids, and IV antibiotics in addition to everything listed above. Now we barely have to do anything, it's totally awesome. We have so much more time and way fewer nebulizer pieces to wash.
Charlie is still incredibly picky and isn't very inclined to eat much so thank god for Pediasure 1.5, which he has twice per day (and even more so, thank god insurance pays for it). Somehow he's still managing to eat enough that he's not losing weight although I have no idea how lol. He hasn't gained much weight in the past 6 months but he's just such a big kid that it hasn't made much of a difference with his BMI. He's just so big, I can always pick him out of his preschool class or camp group because his head pops above all the other kids' :)
Charlie has had negative cultures for over a year with no signs of Pseudomonas so they have taken us off TOBI and moved us back into the CF1 clinic (no MRSA/no pseudo/etc group of CF patients). I'm completely shocked that he actually cultured negative for that long but quite pleasantly surprised! Of course now that we've gotten the pseudo and staph eradicated he's testing positive for a new bug - Stenotrophomonas maltophilium. This is apparently not uncommon for CF patients to culture and it hasn't been shown to cause a decline in lung function, etc so our Dr reccomended we leave it untreated at the moment. If he shows signs of coughing or increasing infection we will start him on antibiotics but for now we'll just let it hang out.
Charlie is very compliant with his breathing treatments. His vest has logged 511 hours of physiotherapy on it since it arrived August 2012. That equals out to 2.2 treatments per day for the last 2 years! It's more than 2 per day because when he's sick his treatments go up to 4X per day.
Hi everyone! I'm here today to do a quick post on a question I've been hearing a lot lately:
"I understand why we need a polio and smallpox vaccine, but why are we bothering with a chicken pox vaccine? I got the chicken pox when I was a kid and I was just fine! It's so mild they used to have chicken pox parties! It's just big pharma making up vaccines that we don't need to take our money"
There are a couple points in this question that I'd like to clear up.
Chicken pox is not always mild
Prior to the chicken pox vaccine 4 million people were infected each year, resulting in over 10,000 hopsitalizations, and 100-150 deaths (cdc.gov). That means that over 10,000 cases of the chicken pox were serious- complications from chicken pox range from infection of the blood, bone and skin to pneumonia to encephalitis. In 1995 the chicken pox vaccine was introduced and the cases of chicken pox hospitalizations and deaths decreased 90% (cdc.gov). Perfectly normal babies and children can go from 100% healthy one day to hospitalized with a life threatening infection the next day. I reccomend reading this story of a perfectly healthy 13 month old child who spent 7 days in the hospital battling the chicken pox because she wasn't vaccinated yet. There's no way to predict whether your child will have a mild or a serious case of chicken pox- so don't play with fire in the first place.
In addition, if your child gets the chicken pox they can pass it on to those who are unable to be vaccinated, like immune compromised or elderly people. While you might think the chicken pox is mild to your child it is most certainly not mild to an immune compromised cancer patient or an elderly man with pneumonia or a newborn child. Therefore preventing the disease in the first place is the most fail safe way to keep the other groups of people safe, after all, it's not their fault they can't get the vaccine themselves.
Big Pharma saves lives
I know it's super hip to hate big pharma at the moment so very few people are going to agree with me on this one, but I'll say it anyways. Big pharma isn't out to get you. The creator of the chicken pox vaccine was a virologist who was so moved by watching his daughter suffer from the chicken pox that he decided to create a vaccine against it. As I mentioned above, chicken pox can be deadly and have serious consequences so it's really not quite so unreasonable for a pharmaceutical company to create a vaccine for it.
On to the money aspect. If you have health insurance (and you probably do) you're not paying much out of pocket for this vaccine, I bet the max co-pay most people ever pay is $40. I looked up the price to buy the vaccine outright and it's only $94, so it's quite reasonably priced. Do you know how much a 3 day long hospital stay costs? When Charlie was there for 3 days and 2 nights back in March the bill was $22,000. Spending $94 to ensure you won't be spending tens of thousands of dollars later due to chicken pox complications makes a lot of sense to me. So is big pharma really taking all your money? Because it seems to me that vaccines actually save you A LOT of money. Try thinking about your vaccinations as an insurance policy. Sure, insurance policies cost money for something that only MIGHT happen (like a car crash or a house fire) but you still need the protection having insurance offers you, even if you may never use it.
Chicken pox parties are basically an unsafe and unreliable form of vaccination
The idea of the chicken pox party I suppose worked back when there wasn't vaccination because what you're doing is basically trying to control "vaccinating" your child against the chicken pox by exposing them. You control the timing of the first exposure to the chicken pox virus and then they're effectively immunized against it- somewhat similar to a vaccine. Of course now that there are vaccines, why would you do this? The vaccine is predictable and safety is guaranteed. Bringing your child around some random kid with chicken pox (and who knows how virulent of a strain it might be?) is a completely risky and unreliable way to prevent getting the chicken pox in the future. The vaccine is considerably safer than purposely exposing your child to the live, virulent strain of varicella.
Some people might tell you that naturally contracting the disease confers better immunity. The current chicken pox vaccines available are 98% effective at preventing the disease, which is a pretty darn good statistic in my book. The 2% left that still contract chicken pox have a milder form of the virus and easier recovery. Seems like a no brainer to me.
Why risk your child's comfort and health?
This is the one that completely baffles me. Most children with the chicken pox recover in one week (cdc.gov) but why let them be sick for 7 whole days at all if it's preventable? Being sick is the worst, especially when you're a kid- why inflict unnecessary illness on your child? Being sick with the chicken pox is 98% preventable (and 2% of cases are less mild with the vaccine) so the fact that people are choosing illness over a safe and quick vaccine is mind boggling to me. Compare the side effects of the vaccine to the side effects of chicken pox and I'll choose the vaccine any day.
The second point here is that your child's health is a gift. When you don't vaccinate for a preventable illness (like chicken pox or the flu, etc) you aren't protecting that gift. Vaccination is a way to protect your child's good health and keep it that way. If you're a parent of a child with a chronic health condition, like myself, you know how lucky those parents with healthy children are. Therefore seeing parents refuse to vaccinate their healthy children looks an awful lot like throwing their precious good luck down the toilet. So don't be like them, protect your good luck and your healthy child and vaccinate them! Not only will it keep your child safe it will protect your community, too!
I think it's safe to say that the 4th of July is definitely one of my favorite holidays! For as long as I can remember I've gone to the beach, participated in the annual bike "parade" and decorating contest, played in the sun all day, and returned to the beach at night to watch the fireworks. It's always so fun and we've done it every year with Charlie, too.
Until this year! Charlie and I were planning on spending the night at my parents beach house in Old Saybrook July 3rd for a fun change of scenery and to help get his treatments done before the bike parade and then WHAM! Thunderstorms forecasted ALL DAY on 4th of July. Wicked bummer. Luckily the 4th was on a Friday this year so we just postponed the party until Saturday.
In the meantime I at least needed a cookout if we couldn't go forth with our other plans so I begged and whined and eventually got Robbie to grill during a thunderstorm. A charcoal grill. But he managed to do it!
Grilled chicken, kielbasa, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, bacon potato salad and caprese pasta salad. Think we had enough food for 2 people and a 3 year old that won't eat? LOL. It was totally overkill but delicious and we brought leftover salads to the party the next day.
Robb and Charlie getting ready to do s'mores, in the rain, under an umbrella. No excuse to not have s'mores on the 4th of July :)
The only marshmallows they had at the store were giant ones so we had the biggest smores EVER. DEEEEEELICIOUS!
The next day was the 4th of July so we headed off to the beach house for a party! Here's a rare picture of my hubby and I together! He lost his glasses in the ocean earlier that day, poor guy!
We spent the day at the beach with family and friends having fun and enjoying some of my dad's amazingly amazing home-smoked pork ribs. I hate ribs usually but his are SO GOOD- no barbeque sauce needed :)
After all the fun we headed down to the beach at sunset to watch the fireworks. Charlie's Aunt Peggy (top middle picture- not to be confused with my mom, who I also call Peggy haha) got him glow necklaces and bracelets, he looked so cute! And no that's not my corvette, but I sure wish it was- Charlie and Robb do too, come to think of it ;)
It's kind of hard to explain just how close the fireworks are to where you sit on the beach. Probably dangerously close, most people that haven't grown up with it leave pretty shortly after they start because they get nervous. I mean people are lighting fireworks about 20 feet away from where we sit (if that). These are fireworks put on by the neighboorhood but they are legit (people with beach property in CT tend to have a lot of spare money to spend on awesome fireworks, evidently haha). They're the best fireworks EVER and I've never seen a professional show that looked any better than the ones at this beach. But it's slightly terrifying how close they are. We were all covered in ash and bits of cardboard by the end of the show, if that gives you an idea. There's quite possibly no better setting for fireworks than a beach at sunset.
No zoom here, just pointing the camera straight up. So beautiful!
So that was our awesome July 3rd, 4th! I even took off my first full weekend in almost a year so I had that Sunday off too, then Monday and Tuesday was my normal weekend and I didn't go back to work until Wednesday! It was a great vacation- I just love Old Saybrook!
Hi everyone, I'm here to share my last NM DT layout with you all :( I had to step away from the Noel Mignon Design Team which is such a HUGE
bummer. I love her kits and having the accountability to get some layouts done
every week, but I just couldn't squeeze it in with my schedule anymore- it became too hard (TWSS).
I still will
scrapbook so that won't change - it just might be less frequent. I hope you like this layout I made using the Balboa kit in the mean time :)
I have one hell of a time with my design process sometimes. I'll get so torn between what I'm doing and what I envision that I tend to stalemate. A LOT. This layout was one that came together through a lot of trial and error, but finally I got through all the errors and was able to make a nice layout (IMHO). Thanks to MME for the supplies; here's my slow and annoying process for your enjoyment :)
"OK I like how this is shaping up. but I hate the diagonal stripes on the end. The stripes MUST be in the middle. obviously."
"OK this looks better. I like the stripes in the middle, but now I'm starting to think the right hand side is way too empty. Let's start piling shit on"
"OK. I piled way too much shit on"
"OK, after removing the gold circles it still looks too busy"
"OK, after removing the gold flourishes it still looks too busy. And that black flower chipboard piece is too black for what is supposed to be a soft layout. I hate this layout. I'm going to bed."
"Eureka! Remove the extra shit, schooch everything up so there's still negative space but NOT too much and anchor the journaling card with a doily. Fuck yeah brother"
Boo-yah! Took a couple a days but eventually my mind and my hands caught up with each other ;) Does anyone else obsess like a crazy person about their layouts?? No, just me?
Hi everyone! Charlie and I had a great time making 3 batches of fresh strawberry jam a while back so I thought I'd share how to do it for anyone interested in giving it a go. I love to can, and I used to can all the time back before Charlie was born. However I haven't canned for quite a while because I've been nervous about the heat and how grabby Charlie was. Now that he's almost 4 I thought he could definitely help me this year so we gave it a go! We picked a LOT of fresh strawberries and then made jam the next day. I'll try and share where Charlie helped too, that way anyone with little kids around can make it as well :)
Here's what you'll need to get started
Mason jars (I chose a larger size because my husband eats jam like a fiend), a strainer, and a big bowl
A jam canning kit, a potato masher, and a cup measure. There are lots of canning kits out there nowadays, I bought mine 5 years ago and still love it.
A small saucepan, a big pot, and a pressure canner or a big sauce pan. I love my pressure canner (I've had it for almost 7 years!) because I don't have to worry about something boiling over, it's really big and can fit a lot of jars, plus I'm able to can things besides jam, like salsa and chicken stock.
Rinse your strawberries and then cut them in to quarters. Charlie used a butter knife to help here but loved doing it, and he did a pretty decent job too! They'll all be mashed later so it doesn't matter if they turn to mush ahead of time. While you're doing this fill your pressure canner with water and heat on high. Put your jars in the pressure canner ensuring they are below the water line. Also fill your small saucepan with water and bring to a light simmer. Add the lids for the jars and keep an eye on the water so it doesn't evaporate away. Make sure this pan isn't boiling, or else the glue in the lids could dissolve away.
Mash 'em up! Use a potato masher or the flat side of a spoon and mash those strawberries into a liquid-esque state. Charlie wasn't great at mashing but he loved pretending! Measure out 5 cups of mashed strawberries for one batch of jam.
Add your strawberries plus a teeny tiny pat of butter (1/2 tbsp) into a large saucepan and heat on high. The butter supposedly helps with the foaming but my jam is usually foamy and I don't give a care.
Once the strawberries are boiling add 7 cups of sugar (yikes! I know it sounds nuts, but also keep in mind most people only use a little jam at one time) and one packet of DRY (NOT LIQUID or it won't set) pectin.
Bring to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil vigorously for 1 minute- use a timer to make sure you're getting the timing down correctly. For this part I made Charlie wait far away since hot + sugar = pain. Turn off the heat and skim off the foam (if you care, I don't) and then prepare your jars.
Grab a jar from the hot canner and empty the water back in to the pot. Place on a dish towel
Use a funnel to ladle your jam in to the jar, leaving about 1/4 inch headspace at the top (don't fill too high or your jars could explode)
Wipe down the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel to ensure there's no jam that could prevent the lid from sealing. Grab a lid from your small saucepan and place on top of the jar.
Use your jar clamps to hold the jar while you twist on a ring top.
Place jar back in the pressure canner and repeat until all jam is used up. Place the lid on the pressure canner and bring water to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes and remove jars from the water to a clean dish towel (there will be some popping noises).
After your jars are cool press the lids on each one to ensure there is a good seal. If the lid pops up after you press it than the jar didn't seal properly. No worries though, just put the jar in the refrigerator and eat it like normal! All the other jars can be stored in the pantry.
And voila! Easy peasy strawberry jam! We love this stuff at our house- give it a shot :)