Archive for February, 2006

Stomach Bugs and Popsicles

My daughter has had the stomach flu for about two days now. It is always difficult when kids this small feel ill. We want to know where it hurts and how we can help and, unfortunately, they can’t tell us. My husband and I have kept to all the tried and true tricks of the trade: Applesauce, Pedialyte, crackers, popsicles and lost of rest. She has really enjoyed the popsicles - it is really about all I can get her to take. If you have it in you (though, with a sick baby, it may seem a bit unrealistic) you can make your own and then you don’t have to worry about anything (sugar and other unwanted fillers) making them worse for the wear. If you combine the right stuff, other than assisting in rehydration, you can actually help aide your wee one back to strength and health. For example, yogurt is extremely beneficial in phase two and three of a stomach bug. Once they are well past vomitting but still don’t have much of an appetite the yogurt is easy to digest, bulks up their loose stools, has been shown to prevent diarhhea (all those little helpful active cultures) and gives them calories for strength. Including it in the “recovery” popsicles may be a good leap back to a happy and feelin’ good baby.

Posted in Parenting, Cold and Flu Remedies, Herbs and Natural Remedies | 3 Comments »

Year of the Soccer Mom

This weekend, I crossed a threshold that I wasn’t sure I would ever be crossing. I am now a partaker in the weekend, rush-hour life of youth sports. My son had his first soccer meeting this past Saturday. The only thing that eased the fright of the loud chaotic room of kids running amok was the absolute look of eagerness and exuberance on my son’s face. The parents were a mixed group: half who looked liked this overkill of kid-crazy (imagine a Chuck E. Cheese playroom on speed) was something they had gotten accustomed to after several years and then there were the ones that looked more terrified of this strange universe than if they were being charged at by a mad, flame snorting bull . I would fall under the latter category, in case you weren’t sure. I sort of just backed myself up against the wall, wide eyed, and watched and listened and smiled and nodded a lot.

I like to think of myself as a good parent. I pay attention and listen. I read stories and am an active participant in my kids’ interests. I balance it with my life, making sure not to exclude my wants and needs. I feel I have found an equilibrium. However, and I am not sure if this is a shortcoming yet, I can’t get into the “spirit? of the active-child lifestyle. I like that we sit around and read books and eat home-made cinnamon rolls on Saturday mornings – followed by a leisurely walk after our nap. I like that we have time spent sitting around parks and libraries, telling stories and making up games. Not to make it all about me but, I am not quite ready to let that go. But I think I have to. Seeing the look on my little boy’s face this past Saturday makes me realize that he is ready to be a bigger part of the world. He is ready to get out there and make a mark – and in order to do that, he musn’t be exclusively sitting about eating cinnamon rolls and taking leisurely walks with his parents. His excitement is, really, all I need to get over the fact that in order for him to find his way that he has to break away from our cozy family time. And him realizing his independence and finding his passions in this world is, ultimately, the highest form of gratification for me. We’ll sneak the cinnamon rolls in later.

Posted in Lifestyles, Concerns and Expectations, Sports | No Comments »

Why I Drink Organic Milk

Organic MilkI’m someone who loves milk, but I don’t like the way modern farmers raise and milk their cows. Most of the milk that’s sold at the grocery store comes from cows that are injected with hormones to get greater milk production, and their environment and food are often sub-standard. That’s why my wife and I go out of our way to buy organic milk. Not only does it taste better, it’s better for our bodies — and the cows.

I recently spotted this information on the side of a Horizon Organic milk cartoon. It came with a blurb about their growing family farms that adhere to their strict organic milking process. I was surprised to find out the strict criteria family farms have to meet in order to be a part of their network of organic dairy providers.

How Do You Raise an Organic Cow?

Learn more about Horizon Organic and organic milk.

Posted in Health, Healthy Eating | 1 Comment »

Rotavirus Added to Bulky List of Childhood Vaccines

NPR reports:

Two new vaccines may be added to the regimen of childhood immunizations. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested this seek that all children ages 2 to 5 get flu shots. Research shows young children are among the main spreaders of the flu.

Also recommended is a less-familiar vaccine against rotavirus, the leading cause of severe gastrointestinal illnesses in infants and young children.

Read and listen to the full story.

Posted in Health, Health Care | No Comments »

After the Dust Settles

I have recently read a book review in the Nashville Scene that has sparked my interest. Book reviews, or any review for that matter, are things I typically don’t take much stock in. It is pretty unusual that I even read this one. I find that word of mouth and the NYTimes Bestseller list (which is only minorly falliable in my opinion) are my best references for which book to pick up next. The book in the review, The Good Life, follows two Manhattan-ites through a post 9/11 tale which seems to defragments all the typical formalities and social constructs that are so inbedded in New York culture. While the review doesn’t really commit to whether it is a well written or exceptional novel - it does imply that there is some heavy cultural deconstructivism at work:

The Good Life

While 9/11 was, clearly, a national tragedy, it was also a major anthropological event within the constrained New York City that McInerney has, for most of the past two decades, chosen to explore—a geography that includes Manhattan south of 95th Street; parts of Long Island and Connecticut; but not one block of the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island or, God forbid, New Jersey. McInerney (who long divided his residence between Nashville and Manhattan but is now back in New York full time) is not so much concerned with New York, the American city where people are born, live, and die, as he is with New York, the cult society where scores of acolytes from Middle America compete for initiation. As with other cults, it is hard to get in, though escaping can be harder still. In a Jan. 31 review in The New York Times, critic Michiko Kakutani dismissed many of McInerney’s characters as “jaded hedonists,? but in a sociological sense they are no more hedonistic than were Mead’s Samoans—they are simply trapped within the hedonistic norms of the society they have embraced.

I think that, while I have learned to never trust a reviewer, I may have to take the plunge and see how this book turns out. I’m a sucker for deeply investigated cultural dismantaling. I’m certain this is the beginning of a slew of books about post 9/11 tales and rather than being skeptical, I think that I’ll take a chance for a change.

Posted in Lifestyles, Daily Living, Mental Environment | No Comments »

House Thinking : A Room-by-Room Look at How We Live

Salon.com has an interesting interview with Winifred Gallagher about her new book “House Thinking. Winifred is an environmental psychologist who explores how we interact within the environment of our home. Here’s an excerpt of the interview:

What got you thinking about “House Thinking”?

House Thinking

When I was working on “The Power of Place” there was an enormous concentration — which there still is — on how our internal neurochemistry can affect our behavior. And that seemed to me to be very lopsided. I believe that the environment, and not just the social environment but also the physical environment, has a big impact on behavior. And science up until the turn of the 20th century thought that too — it was so-called geographical medicine. Doctors would tell patients afflicted with melancholy (which we call depression) to go to a sunny place to feel better. It actually works.

Our culture doesn’t look at the effects of the environment on behavior. We talk about social relationships and neurochemistry. But it’s not just my opinion that environment affects behavior. There’s real solid research from environmental psychology, from psychiatry, from design, architecture, cultural history. A Roman doctor in the second century said, “Melancholics are to be laid in the sunshine, for their disease is gloom.” The American Psychiatric Association didn’t recognize seasonal affective disorder until the ’80s, but the ancients recognized it and knew how to treat it. We can actually do much more to improve the quality of our lives for little or no money.

Posted in Lifestyles, Home and Garden, Mental Environment | No Comments »

ABC’s Supernanny Looking for Blended Families

Our friends at Stepfamily Talk Radio sent this information our way:

Jo FrostAre you and your ex sharing custody? Are the rules between the two households different? Are your stepchildren having a hard time adjusting to your new family dynamic? Do you and your ex-husband or ex-wife have completely different ideas on disciplining your children?

Supernanny Jo Frost can help you!

If you’re interested in applying, simply send and email to cohnmerk@comcast.net. We’ll connect you with the folks at ABC-TV’s Supernanny.

If a family gets selected to be on the show, the production crew visits them for two weeks. Jo Frost and the crew come to give you and your family hands-on advice, but within your normal routine. Supernanny wants to give you tools to deal with the frustrations you meet in the course of the day. The show’s producers may ask for a couple days off work or school depending on when Jo is in your house, and for that inconvenience the makers of Supernanny offer a stipend.

Posted in Parenting, Blended Families | 2 Comments »

My Feet May Wander Nashville but My Heart Lives in New Orleans

It’s the beginning of Mardi Gras and I am so pleased to see New Orleans making their way back toward the routines that make the city great. There was a lot of doubt and debate as to whether or not commencing with the Mardi Gras festivities would be a good idea. I can recall hearing a lot of news coverage with irrate locals who felt, rightfully so, that it was an insult to their situation - that was about three months ago. Though, over time, everyone has jumped on board to support the festivies and can see how it will help, tenfold, to bring back the Big Easy.

Our family has always been in love with N.O. My husband and I courted there - spent any weekend we could walking about in Audobon Park, breakfast at Camilla Grill and afternoons spent eating pastries at Le Madeleine. My husband had art shows on Julia Street on White Linen Night and we spent late evenings out with our friends who will be New Orleanians until the day they die. We were married at Holy Name of Jesus on Loyola’s Campus (where my husband went to undergrad school) and had our entire family there for the celebration.

Being an army brat, I have never had a place in which I felt at home - until I met New Orleans. I will always be in love with that city and I am, like a proud child revering her parents, elated to watch it come back.

CELEBRATE! Enjoy some king cake this week!

Posted in Lifestyles, Vacation and Travel | No Comments »

Schizophrenia, Aging and Art

Cornell University has an intriguing section of their website that looks at schizophrenia, aging and art. The site captures the art of William Kurelek during his early onset of schizophrenia.

william-kurelek.jpg

It also highlights Louis Wain, who experienced late onset of schizophrenia. One of the key features of Louis’ experience with schizophrenia involved the abstraction of his “cat” paintings. Over time, his depiction of cats became abstract — almost fractal — until they barely resembled cats at all.

louis-wain.jpg

More art examples, references, and information on schizophrenia and art can be found at their Schizophrenia, Aging and Art website.

Posted in Lifestyles, Arts and Crafts, Mental Health | 1 Comment »

It Doesn’t Grow On Trees…

Since we don’t have a lot of it, we find it important to talk to our kids (mainly our eldest) about money — specifically regarding the important means of aquiring and the careful decision to spend it — while still not bombarding them with financial stress or worry (they’ll have plenty of time for that in about twenty years). I Have found a great article on iVillage entitled “Kids and Money.” The article looked at different parental views on how to address money with their children. Some of the key quotes included:

“Why in the world would you put added stress on your children about the family budget? Our children have grown up knowing that sometimes we have to wait until payday for purchases. That’s as much of the financial situation that they need to know as children. That is what school-kids are — children.”

“My family was poor when we were growing up but we never felt like we were going to end up on the streets. We did hear, “that’s too expensive,” and we wore second-hand clothes. We always felt secure about having a roof over our head and having warm food in our belly. It is important to teach children the value of money, but it isn’t necessary to include them in the family budget.”

“My kids have known about our finances since they were little so that they could understood why we couldn’t do some things. My 18 year-old son has worked since he was 15. He has his own car, keeps up the maintenance and helps pay the insurance on it. He has learned how to handle his own money.”

They have several more kids and money articles that are astute in helping your kids see that there’s a lot more involved than just sticking a card in a machine and taking out as much cash as you want.

Posted in Parenting, Money Management | No Comments »

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