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Friday, May 31, 2013

Fever Virus or Global Pandemic?

On Friday night, Little Man was sleepy.  He has sleepy nights sometimes if he doesn’t nap well at Gigi’s during the day.  So I didn’t think much of it.  He sat on my lap and let me rub his back and drifted in and out. 

The hubs came in from mowing the lawn and wanted to hold him, so I grudgingly handed over my unusually cuddly baby.  Hubs said, “wow, he’s hot!”  I hadn’t even noticed, because when he’s sitting in my lap I always get hot.  So we went upstairs and used our handy-dandy ear thermometer (may I say this is one of the greatest baby inventions ever?) and the GPS voice told us, “your temperature is 102.3 degrees Fahrenheit.”  

I thought, surely it’s wrong!  So we did the unthinkable and took a rectal temperature.  102.7!!!


Me: “We’re going to the doctor NOW!”

Hubs: “It’s 7pm on Friday, they’re closed!”

Me: “Then we’re going to the emergency room!”

Hubs:  “Really, are you sure?”

Me:  “Yes!  The sheet the pediatrician gave me said always bring them in if their temperature goes above 101!!!”

Hubs: “Ok, ok, so are we going to Children’s or the local hospital?”

Me:  “I don’t know, call and ask!”

Hubs: “Call who?”

Me (and this is a very typical response): “Never mind, I’ll do it!”

After grabbing the diaper bag and strapping Lane into the car seat, I call the local hospital to ask whether they can treat him there or whether I should take him to Children’s Hospital, which is 45 minutes further.  Much to my irritation, I get the following response, “Ma’am, I can’t give you medical advice over the phone.”

“I’M NOT ASKING FOR BLOODY MEDICAL ADVICE, I JUST WANT TO KNOW IF YOU CAN TREAT A 10 MONTH OLD BABY!!!”  (I've been trying to stop swearing and my substitute profanity tends to be British.  Weird, right?)

“We’ll be happy to see him ma’am.”

“THANK YOU!”  This is said with seething sarcasm, which I cannot adequately describe through typed print.

Of course once we get there we have to wait 30 more minutes before we are seen, and 20 more after that before he’s given any real treatment.  Now, I know, I know, you’re saying, that’s amazing for ER wait time!  But if you’ve ever had a sick child then you know that every second is more physically and mentally painful than the last as you watch your baby suffer.

And what was his treatment?  After finding no upper respiratory problems in his chest x-ray and testing negative for strep, they gave him some Motrin.  Not that I expected anything else.  They did thankfully give him a prescription for amoxicillin to treat the cause of the fever, whatever that may be.  The next day I heard that a “fever virus” was going around.  So creative with the names, that CDC. 

I’ve now done a little research on fevers (I included the links here, please read for your own mental health!)  After said research I felt absolutely ridiculous, because I was definitely guilty of believing most of the fever “myths.”  And I call myself an educated woman.  Did you even know there’s a name for that panic you get when your child has a fever?  Fever phobia, the only phobia where the fear is in someone different than the person experiencing the phobia stimulus.  I seriously thought brain damage occurred at 104°, you don’t reach that danger zone till 108°.  In reality, most fevers are a good thing, turning on a child’s immune system so they can burn off an infection. 

Looking back, I probably should have given him some Tylenol, see if it brought his fever down, and brought him in the next day.  Had I been properly educated, I would have avoided a near heart attack, and a scary unknown ER bill amount that I don’t even want to think about right now.  

Today, we went to the pedi for a follow up, and he asks me, "what were they trying to cure with the amoxicillin?  This does nothing for viruses."  Well, let me give you my medical opinion, oh wait, I'm not a doctor!  I don't know why the hell they gave it to him!  So apparently we all must add a line to our mom resume.

Lesson of the day:  Education, it’s not just for kids.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Working Mom Blogs or Lack Thereof

It’s always good to know you’re not alone.  It’s why most of us read blogs, to learn tips and tricks from other people in life situations similar to ours to make our lives better.  So since I’ve been back to work I’ve been desperately searching for blogs written by other working moms.  Thing is, there just aren’t that many.  I believe I can infer the why – if you work full time and you’re a mom, you’re just too busy to write a blog.  Not saying that SAH moms aren’t also busy, but I know when I get home from work, all I want to do is hang out with my baby, not work on my blog.  If I was at home with him all day, I could set aside some time for it, but as it is, I’m still feeling that guilt most first time working moms feel for every minute we are away from our babies that we don’t have to be.  That’s what I’m really looking for in another working mom’s blog, ways to cope with the guilt that’s associated with spending 40-50 hours away from your child.

I’ve also found that a lot of working mom blogs are politically oriented, spending most of their time touting the cruelness of the American laws regarding maternity leave.  From what I’ve read, we are far behind most developed countries in this arena.  While I agree things need to change, I’m more interested with the here and now, and dealing with what we’ve got.  So hopefully I can try to fill this hole in the blog world.  If you have a blog or know of one that fills this gap, please leave a comment, I’d love to read it!

You may ask how I have time to blog.  The truth is, shhhh…I write posts at work.  I have occasional down time and I can’t stand to sit at my computer with nothing to do, so I blog.  Since I’m in the construction industry I don’t have a lot of flexibility to work from home, so I figure I may as well make the best use of my time I can, both at work and at home.

Here are a couple blogs I love:

Ha!  Yeah that’s a great big list isn’t it?  Like I said, I haven’t found many that aren’t uber-political.  I don’t like getting into that because, and I may lose some followers here, but I’m a republican.  Yes, that’s right, I’m part of the 1% of working women that is not a democrat.  Why, you ask?  I’m a southern Catholic pro-life crazy person that actually believes that the financial issues need to be addressed before the social issues.  Slander me if you will, but to each her own, I believe what I believe.  Which makes it EVEN MORE difficult for me to find something helpful to read.  Eek.  So if I haven’t lost you already, leave me a comment on your favorite working mommy blogs.  Thanks!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

"What's for Dinner?"

Oh how I dread this question.  Because although I work all day, it's always the first question I'm asked when I get home.  Sometimes I don't even get all the way home, sometimes it comes as an afternoon text.  For some reason, I am the only one with the ultimate power to decide what to do about dinner. 

I used to love to cook.  No, let me rephrase, I still love to cook, but between taking care of a baby, trying to keep the house from becoming a disaster, and working my little (ok, maybe not that little) tush off to bring home the bacon, I'm just too tired to cook those gourmet meals every night like I used to.  My poor husband, he thought he'd get 5 star meals every night for the rest of his life...and then came babies.  How life changes.  So how do I answer this notorious question?  I have a book.

Recognize this?  Yep, it's a cheap photo album I got for $5 at TJMaxx.  I keep my family's favorite recipes in it.  This way I'm not constantly digging through cookbooks.  That gets really daunting to me.  Plus, I'm a visual person.  I like to see a picture of the food before I try it.  I get most of my recipes from Food Network and Pinterest.  I try them out, and if we love one, it gets added to the book.  I bought some 5x7" index cards at the dollar store as recipe cards and used some pretty file labels I already had to separate chapters.

Every two weeks when I make my grocery list, we look in the book to see what sounds good or what we haven't had in a while.  And if I saw something I really want to try, I'll add that to my grocery list.  If we don't like it, it never makes it to the book (and gets deleted from my Pinterest page), but if we do, I add it, and then I modify it as I want/need.  If you wanted to get heirloom fancy, you could even take a photo of the recipe and put it above the recipe card.

The great thing about a photo album is that the clear plastic protects the recipes from kitchen splashes, and it's really easy to remove the card, make a notation to the recipe, and slide it right back in!  After I've made my grocery list, I write everything I planned to make for dinner on a dry-erase board in the kitchen.  Every night when I get asked the dreaded question, I get to ask a question back: "Did you look at the board?  What sounds good to you?"  They pick, I cook.  No hair-tearing-out.  And in 50 years when my grandkids ask, Grandma, how do you make this?  I can pass down the recipes to them.  Yummy!

Couponing for the Working Mom

Couponing.  I've read tons of blogs about how much money everyone saves going nuts with coupons, going through store ads, comparing prices...but not a one was written by a working mother.  Because the truth is, if you work full time, there's no way you have time to do all that.  And the time you do have, you don't want to spend couponing, you want to spend it with your kids.  So how can you get some of that savings?  Here's what I do.  It's a very watered down version of couponing that saves you some mulah for about 15 minutes a week.

Buy you a little coupon file for a couple bucks from the notebook aisle at Walmart.

Label each tab with categories.  Try to stick with categories by aisle of the store you shop at.  Here's mine.  I use dry food, cold, frozen, toiletry, baby, grocery, and I have a couple tabs for store coupons.

Sign up for your local Sunday paper.  They will try to talk you into getting the Wednesday paper too, but all of the good coupons come on Sunday.  They charge about a dollar a paper.  You will save far more than that, so it's easy to justify the extra cost.

Now yank out the coupons and start clipping.  Now here's the tricky part.  What to clip?  If you follow a few basic rules, you won't spend too much time clipping, and you won't be the crazy coupon lady who takes 30 minutes to check out.

1.  Lose your brand loyalty.  Try the brand that has the coupon.  There are a couple of items that I absolutely have to stick with (my favorite organic milk and Huggies One & Done wipes, there's just no substitute,) but for everything else I try to use what's on sale.  Especially with toiletries.  Colgate or Crest, who cares, as long as your kids use the toothpaste!

2.   This may be the most important rule.  ONLY CLIP COUPONS FOR PRODUCTS YOU USE!!!  Folks, this is why companies do coupons.  They are trying to get you to buy their product.  If you don't already use pre-cooked boneless ham, DON'T clip it.  You'll just end up spending more, and that's what those companies hope for.

3.  Stockpile.  Not everything, don't go all Disaster Prepper, but a few extra bottles of shampoo under the sink isn't going to drive your husband nuts.  Here's why:  coupons come in cycles.  If you want to know what they are, look here.  I don't know or care what they are.  If I see that there are a ton of diaper coupons that month, it's diaper coupon season.  I clip them and stock up on diapers.  I know I'll use them.

4.  Only shop at one or two stores.  I get most of my fresh food from Publix, and I always shop their two-for-ones.  I get cleaning supplies, dry goods, and baby items from Walmart, because even with the Publix coupons, they are usually cheaper.  Make sure you know those stores' coupon policies.  Publix doubles everything $0.50 or less and you can use a Publix and manufacturer coupon for the same item!

5.  Plan ahead!  The more often you shop, the more you spend, because of those little impulse items.  I go every two weeks, and I try my very best to stick to my list.  I make meal plans and write what I've planned for on my dry-erase board.  So the fam still gets to choose dinner, but from the list of what we have, so less goes to waste because I forgot I had that bag of baby carrots at the bottom of the crisper drawer.  I also keep a running list of what we need so I don't forget anything (this also helps cut down on the grocery trips.)

6.  Last but not least, use the coupons to make your dinner list.  Take those coupons out of the file and stick them in your pocket.  So now when you check out, you just hand the cashier a little stack of coupons, they quickly scan them, and you're done!  Make sure you've read the coupon fully so you don't only grab one bag of diapers when the coupon is only good if you buy two.

And that's it!  Headache-free, quick & easy couponing, from one working, busy mom to the next.  Happy shopping!