Thursday, March 29, 2007

Today it is snowing!!

It's a good thing though, we really haven't had much moisture to speak of. I love spring snow, it never sticks around, just makes everything look pretty and then melts in a day!

We have not made a house decision yet. The place we thought we would love was.....well, it was really nice, but lacking two really important things. First of all you can't access the backyard directly from the house, you would have to go through the garage. I don't know who thought that was a good design, but it really won't work for us with two little kids. And it is lacking A/C or a swamp cooler. That just won't do, we are a hot blooded family!

So we are still looking, nothing really struck us on Tuesday. I am going to meet Karen in a little while and see some homes that are not in Parker but are west of here and closer to James office. They are primarily older brick ranch homes which James and I both just love. So.....we'll see!

Here's a few photos. The first one is Gracie wearing one of my old dresses. I wore that dress when I was a flower girl in my aunt Judy and uncle Bill's wedding. I am so glad we tried it on her because I thought it would be too big, but it ended up almost not fitting her!! Apparently I was even skinnier than she is!!! Anyway, it was just adorable on her as you can see!

I decided to take a picture of myself today too, because I am having a great hair day, and those can be few and far between!!

And here are a couple of Gracie and Dominik from last week at the zoo!

None of Ian today, I guess he's been hiding!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Crazy, Crazy, Crazy!!!!!

That is, in a nut shell, how I describe life right now.

You all know that we have been going back and forth and back and forth about staying here or moving into a larger home. Well, last week we decided to put our condo up for rent. We definitely cannot sell it, the market just won't do us any justice in that, but we can rent it out and have someone else pay our mortgage while we get a place with more space. So we have written out a couple ads and are in the process of finding a renter.

In the mean time we got our pre-approval for a mortgage for a second home! I can hardly believe I am even writing the words second home. Never in a million years would I think that we would be owning two homes, at least not this soon! But it's working out so we are going to go for it. We are actually going out in just an hour with the my friend Karen, our real estate agent, to look at some homes. We have one in particular that we really like but are looking at 6. As soon as we get someone to put a hold deposit down on this place we will likely be making an offer on a new place. We will be staying in Parker and we will probably be very close to where we live now.

So, please send out prayers for a good renter, because that's going to be pretty important. And hopefully we will get someone soon, so we can make an offer on something we will see today and not have to go out looking again! If all goes well we will hopefully be in a new place by the end of April!!!

The kids are handling the insanity pretty well so far, Gracie is very excited because she is convinced she can have another dog as soon as we have a yard. I have been telling her we couldn't get another dog until we had yard and I can see that has translated in her mind to "The minute we have a house with a yard mommy is going to get me a puppy!" I guess we'll see, her birthday is coming up........ Otherwise she's just Gracie, cute and sweet and funny as ever. She's such a good kid! She's really trying to include Ian in what she does and is learning to be patient with his baby/toddler behavior. They are becoming fast friends, I can't wait to see what the next few months will hold, I think their relationship is really going to blossom.

Ian is also doing well, he is teething one last molar and then will have his eye-teeth to go. He's really not a bad teether though so it hasn't effected us too much. His favorite word these days is "uh-oh" He says it no matter if he drops something, throws something, or just sees something on the floor. It's really cute!! He is also following Gracie around everywhere and mimicking her behaviors, it's so funny. He is growing up even faster than she did thanks to her example. It's amazing how fast time has flown by. He loves books and cats right now, and is big into learning animal sounds. Before long he'll be talking a mile a minute.

I'll try to get some pictures up later today, but I make no promises since I don't know what else might happen!!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another article worth reading.

Here's an article written by one of the lead researchers for the HPV vaccine. You know the one, the one that the commercials and the media and every outlet possible have erroneously labeled a "cancer vaccine". Please read what she has to say. It's important to be informed about this stuff and how it could affect us and more importantly, how it will affect our kids.

LEBANON, N.H. — A lead researcher who spent 20 years developing the vaccine for humanpapilloma virus says the HPV vaccine is not for younger girls, and that it is "silly" for states to be mandating it for them.

Not only that, she says it's not been tested for effectiveness in younger girls, and administering the vaccine to girls as young as 9 may not even protect them at all. And, in the worst-case scenario, instead of serving to reduce the numbers of cervical cancers within 25 years, such a vaccination crusade actually could cause the numbers to go up.

"Giving it to 11-year-olds is a great big public health experiment," said Diane M. Harper, who is a scientist, physician, professor and the director of the Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Research Group at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire.

"It is silly to mandate vaccination of 11- to 12-year-old girls There also is not enough evidence gathered on side effects to know that safety is not an issue.

"Internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field, Harper has been studying HPV and a possible vaccine for several of the more than 100 strains of HPV for 20 years - most of her adult life.

All of her trials have been with subjects ages 15 to 25. In her own practice, Harper believes the ideal way of administering the new vaccine is to offer it to women ages 18 and up. At the time of their first inoculation, they should be tested for the presence of HPV in their system.

If the test comes back negative, then schedule the follow-up series of the three-part shots. But if it comes back positive?

"Then we don't know squat, because medically we don't know how to respond to that," Harper said.

Harper is an independent researcher whose vaccine work is funded through Dartmouth in part by both Merck & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline, which means she is an employee of the university, not the drug companies. Merck's vaccine, Gardasil, protects against four strains of HPV, two of which cause genital warts, Nos. 6 and 11. The other two, HPV 16 and 18, are cancer-causing viruses.

Merck's vaccine was approved last year by the Food and Drug Administration, and recommended in June for females ages 9 to 26 by the Centers for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Glaxo has stated publicly that its vaccine, Cervarix, which protects against the two cancer-causing strains, should be on the market by 2008.

As the director of an international clinical trial for these vaccines, and as author of lead articles about the vaccines'effectiveness, Harper has been quoted widely as saying this vaccine could have enormous potential to eradicate the great majority of cervical cancers.

Not tested on young girls.Picking up on this, but before the trials were even completed, major news media and women's advocacy groups began trumpeting the vaccine as an answer to cancer of the cervix.

Once it was approved by the FDA and ACIP, Women In Government (WIG), a non-profit organization comprised of female state and federal legislators, began championing Merck's vaccine in their home states, with many of the ladies introducing legislation that would mandate the vaccine for 11- and 12-year-olds.

In Indiana, Sen. Connie Lawson, R-Danville, introduced such a bill in this year's General Assembly, but in the face of strong opposition, it was reduced to an education/information-only bill that requires data collection on any Hoosier girls who do get the vaccine. The bill is now awaiting a hearing in the Indiana House.

So far at least 26 states are reported to be considering some form of legislation requiring the new vaccine for younger girls. In February, Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry bypassed his legislature and mandated it for all 11- and 12-year-old girls in his state.Monday, The Associated Press reported that New Mexico's governor, Democratic presidential contender Bill Richardson, is set to sign a bill requiring sixth grade girls in his state to get the vaccine.

The idea is to inoculate them before they become sexually active, since HPV can be spread through sexual intercourse.

But that idea, no matter how good the intentions behind it, is not the right thinking, Harper said. The zealousness to inoculate all these younger girls may very well backfire at the very time they need protection most, she said.

"This vaccine should not be mandated for 11-year-old girls," she reiterated. "It's not been tested in little girls for efficacy. At 11, these girls don't get cervical cancer - they won't know for 25 years if they will get cervical cancer.

"Also, the public needs to know that with vaccinated women and women who still get Pap smears (which test for abnormal cells that can lead to cancer), some of them will still get cervical cancer.

"The reason, she said, is because the vaccine does not protect against all HPV viruses that cause cancer - it's only effective against two that cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers.

For months, Harper said, she's been trying to convince major television and print media to listen to her and tell the facts about the usefulness and effectiveness of this vaccine.

"But no one will print it," she said.

The rest of the story

According to Harper, the facts about the HPV vaccine are:

• It is not a cancer vaccine or cure. It is a prophylactic - preventative - vaccine for a virus that can cause cancer. "Merck has proven it has zero percent effectiveness for curing cancer," Harper said. "But it is a very, very good vaccine that prevents types of HPV responsible for half of the high-grade cervical lesions that cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers. For the U.S. what that means is the vaccine will prevent about half of high-grade precursors of cancer but half will still occur, so hundreds of thousands of women who are vaccinated with Gardasil and get yearly Pap testing will still get a high-grade dysplasia (cell abnormality)."

• It is not 100 percent effective against all HPVs. It is 100 percent effective against two types that cause 70 percent of cervical cancers.

• The vaccine only works if the woman/girl does not have a current vaccine type related infection (in other words, the vaccine only works when the woman/girl does not have HPV 6, 11, 16 or 18 - the viruses that Gardasil targets when she receives her first vaccine shot).

• The vaccine doesn't care if the girl/woman has been sexually active, Harper said. "HPV is a skin-to-skin infection. Although the only way to get cervical dysplasia is through an HPV infection, and HPV is most often associated with sexual activity, HPV is not just spread through sex. We have multiple papers where that's documented.We know that 3-year-olds, 5-year-olds, 10-year-olds, and women who have never had sex have been found to be positive for the cancer-causing HPV types."

• Therefore, for example, if a girl is positive for HPV 16 when she is inoculated with the vaccine at any age, she will not be protected against it later, Harper said. "That means it's a failure and those people are at risk for getting the HPV 16 and 18 cancers later."

• The only way to test for the presence of HPV is through a vaginal swab - which is inappropriate for young girls, she said.

• So what happens if the girls are vaccinated anyway, not knowing whether they were carrying the virus at the time of their inoculation?"They will not be protected if they were positive for the virus at the time they are vaccinated," Harper said.

• That is why it is important to note that the vaccine has not been tested for efficacy (effectiveness) in younger girls, she said.Instead, the effectiveness was "bridged" from the older girls to the younger ones - meaning that Merck assumed that because it proved effective in the older girls, it also would be effective in the younger ones. The actual tests on the younger girls, ages 9 to 15, were only for safety and immune response, Harper said, and then only as a shot by itself, or in combination with only one other vaccine, Hepatitis B. It has not been tested in conjunction with any other shots a girl receives at about age 11, Harper said.

• So far more than 40 cases of Guillian-Barre syndrome - a dangerous immune disorder that causes tingling, numbness and even paralysis of the muscles have been reported in girls who have received the HPV vaccine in combination with the meningitis vaccine. Scientists already know that sometimes a vaccine can trigger the syndrome in a subject. "With the HPV vaccine, it is a small number but higher than is expected, and we don't know if it's the combination of the two, or the meningitis alone," Harper said.

• In the end, inoculating young girls may backfire because it will give them a false sense of protection. And, for both young girls and women, because the vaccine's purpose has been so misinterpreted - and mis-marketed - Harper feels that too many girls and women who have had the vaccine will develop a false sense of security, believing they are immune to cancer when they are not, and failing to continue with their annual Pap exams, are crucial to diagnosing dysplasia before it can develop into cancer.

Keep getting pap smears

The message to consumers, Harper said, is don't stop getting Pap smears just because you've gotten the HPV vaccine.

"This vaccine is good, and it will save a huge number of lives around the world," Harper said. "But an important point is that, if women get the vaccine and then not get their Pap smears, or decide to get them infrequently, what will happen in the U.S. is that we will have an increase in cervical cancer, because the Pap screening does a very good job.

"That's my main diatribe. We don't need mandatory vaccinations for little girls. What we do need to ask, though, is how long does it last, and when do you need a booster?"

Message for governors

For the governors of the states in this country, Harper has another message. One has to do with the fact that vaccinating little girls now is not going to protect them later. Since it can take a decade or more to even manifest itself as dysplasia, the HPVs against which this vaccine works may infect a little girl at the age she needs the vaccine most - meaning she will have to have a booster at the right point in time or she will not be protected. And, remember, it won't work at all if she was positive for the virus when she was inoculated in the first place.

Merck knows this, Harper said. "To mandate now is simply to Merck's benefit, and only to Merck's benefit," she said.

Merck was required to put together a database on the efficacy in children before Gardasil was approved, Harper said. But instead, the company put together four study sites that "are not necessarily representative, and may not even have enough numbers to determine what they need to know."

Since she doesn't personally have access to the money Merck and GlaxoSmithKline pay for her HPV vaccine research, Harper doesn't know exactly how much either has paid Dartmouth for her work.

The trials are expensive, between $4,000 and $5,000 for each patient, she said. With over 100 patients in her study, some big bucks could be in the balance, should Merck or Glaxo become upset with her for making these comments.

Why, then, would she risk speaking out like this - at a time when her words very well could influence legislation across the country, and prompt legislators to drop the mandates? Isn't she afraid of losing her funding?

"I want to be able to sleep with myself when I go to bed at night," Harper said. "My concern is still, let's get women's health better. It is still a good vaccine. But let's be honest. Don't over-promise."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

An article really worth the reading if you or anyone you know takes antibiotics.

I have a friend that was diagnosed with this as a result of the antibiotics she had after he first baby was born by c-section. Scary stuff.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A few shots!!
Here's a before of the sink:
And after:

And a few from the park yesterday. The weather has been soooooooooo wonderful, warm and sunny. I am so thankful! I know there is always the chance of a cold spell and more snow but for now it is warm and we can play outside and I am so glad!!!!

I should add to this, Ian is out of his little wrist brace too. After being in arms for 4 days straight while sick his wrist was able to heal up really well. The doctor at the ER said one or two weeks would be all it would take and he was right!!!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Well, it's been quite a week!

Since I last posted:

I went and had a manicure and pedicure, a gift for my birthday that I hadn't used 6 months later!! It was very nice.

We installed a new kitchen sink. It's 9 1/2" deep and beautiful stainless steel with a new faucet and sprayer. I love it very much. Unfortunately the plumbing wouldn't match up because of how far the sink dropped and there wasn't anything we could do about it, the exit pipe had to be completely changed out. For that we paid a plumber. We didn't want to, but we weren't about to mess up the plumbing permanently!! So it took til Wednesday, but now I have a brand new beautiful kitchen sink!

Ian has Roseola. Apparently it's going around, I know of two other kids that have it, one of which he was with last Friday. Or I suppose he could have picked it up in the ER last Thursday. So he had a 103-104 fever Monday through yesterday and this morning has a beautiful head to toe rash. I'm just glad it's over, I could barely set him down for 4 days and I am physically and mentally exhausted from it.

So that just about sums it up. We plan to have a quiet and restful weekend. I hope you do too!!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Ian's newest accessory:

Oh yes folks, he fractured his wrist. Monkey boy decided to climb up on top of a child's table while we were playing at a friends house. Then he either fell off or was pushed off by his little friend who was standing up there with him. I'm not sure which. I had no idea he could or would climb up on top of a table like that, we have a table and chairs at home and he hasn't done that. Needless to say I will have to keep a closer eye on him since he is apparently going to be a climber!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Many raffles for a family in need.

If you feel so inclined please take a look at this link and see if there is anything you would be interested in purchasing raffle tickets for. These auctions are to benefit the baby of a mom that is on my favorite parenting board.

Baby Lily is one of a set of triplets that was, believe it or not, born at home last October. Unfortunately in the middle of February Lily became very ill and has been in the hospital ever since. You can read her hospital update pages and view pictures here if you want to join carepages. Her carepage name is LilyMathis.

There are many wonderful natural child and family products being offered for auction to benefit Lily and her family. Please take a look and give if you can.

You can pass this link on to others you think might be interested as well, the more support the better!!!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Zoo

We went to the zoo yesterday, it was a really nice day that actually felt truly warm! I am so glad spring seems to be on it's way, the temperature here is supposed to be in the 50's and 60's the rest of the week! Yipee!

Can you see the lion?
This beautiful guy met us almost as soon as we walked in the zoo.
Gracie the cow girl.
Ian the cowboy!
The cheesy grin, Gracie's new answer when you ask her to smile. She's on top of the Hippo statue here which she learned how to climb herself and she was very proud!
Handsome little guy by the hippo statue.

Just walking along.

This one is actually at home this morning but I thought it was too good to leave out.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Just a few pictures.

I have an entire post with tons of pictures saved on my other blog writing program, but I just can't get it to work with the new blogger for some reason. So I will just put a few pictures up here today!
Here's a couple from our trip. If you are looking for pictures from the mini-reunion I put them up on the class web site. There are just too many to wait for blogger to load them.
Here we are on the plane on the way to Chicago.
This is Gracie with Grandma Peggy showing her how our little DVD player worked!
And here's Ian at my Grandparents house. I don't know how I didn't get pictures of both my grandparents and the kids. I can't believe I didn't!!! I swear sometimes my brain just doesn't work.

This picture is from Ian's first haircut. This is the before:

This is the after:

I know, you might not think it looks all that different, but I sure do!! I only had them do just a trim of his bangs up above his eyes and a slight trim all around. I'm just not ready for him to have a big boy haircut yet. He's my baby!!!!

And finally a couple shots from our big outing this weekend, the Wiggles concert. It actually wasn't nearly as much fun this year, we should not have brought Ian. He just didn't want to sit still and we spent more than half the concert trading places so he could play out by the concession stands! Oh well, now we know, no more concerts for him for a year or two!! Gracie enjoyed it though, especially once she had some lemonade and popcorn!

Here are the Wiggles in all their glory! We got a chance to meet Sam, the Wiggle that has taken Gregs place and he was really good!! (I know this pictures looks weird, Ian dropped our camera in Chicago and now sometimes it has lines through the pictures or the pictures make us look all white like ghosts. It is really frustrating cause a lot of pictures aren't coming out right now.)

And here's Ian outside the concert watching a swim meet that was going on. The concert was at DU so we got to see swimming and also a La Crosse game while attending the concert.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Cloth Diapers

I have never blogged of my love of cloth diapers so I think I will today.

I have used cloth since Gracie was born. I ordered her diapers while she was still in my belly and I was so excited to use them!! The only time either of our kids use disposables is when we travel and lately at night because I over bought pull-ups (Gracie still wears a diaper at night although it is dry a good amount of the time) and diapers for our trip. I decided before she was born that I would use them because I just thought it made sense. It's a lot cheaper than disposables in the long run, and in today's day and age cloth diapers are amazingly simple and cute!!

I currently use Fuzzi Bunz, and they are the diaper I recommend to anyone that is going to do cloth. I have used Chinese prefolds with many types of covers, Little Lambs, Kushies all-in-ones, a few diapers made by WAHM's, and Wonderoos. Basically I have used every variety of diaper that is available. The problems with most of them is that they are either bulky (prefolds and covers), they are not the best quality and leak (Little Lambs and Wonderoos), or they retain a horrible stink after awhile (any all in one diaper I have tried). But Fuzzi Bunz are different and wonderful and I love them!!

They are very simple. They are two piece. The diaper piece is the outer cover with many snaps for adjusting at the leg and waist, and the inner fleece lining that is oh so soft. The second piece is the insert, which is a microfiber terry material. It slides in from the back to the front between the cover and the fleece lining. That's it. As soon as that piece is in it's as easy to put on as any disposable diaper. Here's a link if you want to see them in person.

I love doing cloth for a lot of reasons. First it is so economical. There is an initial investment but it pays off quickly. Second, my kids very rarely get rashes. Like Gracie had maybe 5 and so far Ian has had two very minor ones. So not only do you save money on the cost of diapers, you also don't spend money on tons of diaper cream. Third it is earth friendly. Sure I guess I use a little more water doing two extra loads of laundry a week. But I wash without even using detergent now, so I am not sending chemicals and pollutants back out with the water. And I am not filling a land fill with human waste. When you think about that, the amount of human waste that is in landfills, it's really very gross. A child from birth to potty training will go fill what amounts to the space a large vehicle would take up in a landfill. And all of that is full of human waste. Every kid. One whole vehicle. Yuck. And then there's the chemicals that are in the diapers which are really not earth or body friendly. Fourth, it's just plain cute. There are so many colors and prints you can get now, and the diapers close with velcro or snaps, there are no pins to mess with. It's simple and adorable. I love letting my kids run around with just their diapers on!!

I think the cloth diaper revolution is catching on, I see more and more kids wearing them these days. Most of my friends kids wear cloth, but I admittedly hang with a pretty crunchy crowd, so that's probably why. Cloth diapers are getting to be so user friendly though, I honestly think that more people will be using them as time goes on. I think every new parent should at least give it some consideration, and if you want advice on the subject I'd be happy to give it out!!!

Thursday, March 01, 2007


"Yes Gracie"

"Ian needs his own tea party"

"You mean his own tea set?"


"Why can't he just play with yours"

"Because it's impossible."

"Oh really?? Why??"

"Because the policeman said so."

"Oh really......"

"Yes, and it would be dangerous"

"Hummm, why is it dangerous?"

"Because he spills my water."

"Oh, so Ian needs his own tea set because he spills your water and it is dangerous?"


"OK, well, we'll see if he wants his own when he can talk."

"OK Mommy, thanks."