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With everything that’s going on in the world right now, it’s hard not to ignore the cacophony and reality of buzzwords–crisis, doom and gloom, economic downturn, recession, depression.

Times are rapidly changing—unemployment is in freefall, various companies are going belly up, the government is bailing out corrupted financial firms. I even had a heart-to-heart with a cabdriver last night about the stock market tanking. On a good day, cabbies limit the small talk to one question: “Where you going?” (No time for complete sentences.)

It’s hard not to ignore. But, whatever you do, don’t panic.
I’m no financial guru, but things will work themselves out; it has to, right?
It’s the time for frugality. We’re all making cuts; it’s imperative at this point.

For our family, as the price of gas teeters between outrageous and ridonkulous, we’re browsing for a more economical vehicle. We’re planning on traveling home for one holiday, instead of all of them. I spend Friday nights scouring sale pages for the best deals. I buy 3 different newspapers on Sundays, instead of 2—for the coupons. (Aside from the journalistic enlightenment, of course.)
Now is the time to reassess priorities.

…which is why we assessed that our family is always our number one priority. At a time when joblessness is at a high and people are losing jobs byway of layoffs, I’m quitting mine.

But this isn’t the time to panic.

After feeling so broken and defeated after 11 fruitless interviews for 9 different companies, I have to hold it together. As I often tell Jeff, if I crack, who is going to drive me to the crazy house? (There is a possibility of a carpool if anyone needs a ride.)

In all seriousness, even though I’m holding on by a thread, when push comes to shove, there’s got to be a better way. Thanks to Jeff’s faith in me, the stability in his career (not to mention his kickass bosses for acknowledging his sickening brilliance/hillbillyness {those characteristics, at least for my husband, are interchangeable}) and the moral support from friends and family, I’m taking the Leap.

Visualize Jack clapping and flashing that toothy grin.

When my career became a job, and the job became a source of too much anxiety and angst, I knew in my heart that having it all didn’t necessarily mean doing it here. As always, I have lots of ideas and I can’t wait to pursue them.

I’ve been writing a lot of goodbye emails to colleagues this week who, in return, have wished me well on The Next Big Thing. Once I get my act together–hopefully by next week–I will have some exciting announcements about The Next Big Thing.

I can’t wait to share, so please stay tuned!

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BPA is back in the news. U.S. News World & Report published a very interesting article earlier in the week. According to the article, there’s a new study that sheds even more light to bisphenol A (BPA)– the same chemical found in those rigid plastic bottles that’s been quite the hot topic, especially among moms and dads. Apparently, there’s a link to heart disease and diabetes, and as the report reveals, adults may be at risk.

“The study of more than 1,400 people ages 18 to 74, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that those with the largest amount of BPA in their urine had nearly three times the risk of heart disease and more than twice the risk of diabetes as those who had the lowest levels. ”

“Other researchers say there’s enough evidence from previous animal studies to suggest that BPA is harmful to adults.” The article continues to say, Babies, though, are still most at risk. “They’re the most highly exposed to BPA through bottles and formula, so they get more on a per-pound basis.”

Here’s what the FDA says on their site:

Based on our ongoing review, we believe there is a large body of evidence that indicates that FDA-regulated products containing BPA currently on the market are safe and that exposure levels to BPA from food contact materials, including for infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects. However, we will continue to consider new research and information as they become available.

Canada has already banned BPA from bottles and various environmental groups among others are calling for a ban in the U.S. California made news recently by initiating, yet failing to pass the Toxin Free Toddlers and Babies Act. The Toxin Free Toddlers and Babies Act can be read about here and here.

Here’s what CNN had to say:

BPA is everywhere, used to make polycarbonate, a rigid, clear plastic for bottles, bike helmets, DVDs and car headlights. It’s also an ingredient in epoxy resins, which coat the inside of food and drink cans. About 93% of Americans tested by the Centers for Disease Control had the chemical in their urine. There is no safe level of BPA,” declared Dr. Nancy Snyderman, an NBC medical reporter, on the Today show.

So, what do we do about all this information?  First of all, before you go chucking all your plastic containers in the trash, consider alternatives.  With all these reports and new findings popping up, it’s certainly a topic to pay attention to.  In the meantime, here’s a few ways to avoid BPA courtesy of US News and World Report.

1. Buy your tomato sauce in glass jars.

2. Consume frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned.

3. Purchase beverages in plastic or glass bottles.

4. Use powdered infant formula instead of ready-to-serve liquid.

5. Think in terms of moderation.

Obviously, there are a myriad of ways to avoid excessive exposure to BPA, with the most obvious one as limiting consumption of products with plastic packaging.  Some are say #7 plastic is the number to avoid.  #1, #2 and #4 are the plastics that do NOT contain BPA.

For more resources and info. visit. the Environmental Working Group‘s website.

As I shove a handful of Golden Oreos into my mouth for dessert, it’s so fitting that I stumbled across this insightful article from the yesterday’s Times: 6 Food Mistakes Parents Make.

The Times highlights the mistakes as:

  1. Sending children out of the kitchen
  2. Pressuring them to take a bite
  3. Keeping ‘good stuff’ out of reach
  4. Dieting in front of your children
  5. Serving boring vegetables
  6. Giving up too soon

As I quietly tell myself, stay away from the cookies, for all moms and dads of good and picky eaters alike, I highly recommend reading the article in its entirety.

It’s so coincidental that this article should come out just days after a recent discussion with girlfriends about kids and picky eaters.
Spaghetti face
Is my kid picky? Not sure yet–too early to tell. What I do know is, not too long ago, I read that I was already feeding Jack one of the “kid foods to avoid.” Despite the due diligence in trying to feed healthy alternatives and steer clear from over-processed crap, it feels like my learning curve is waning a bit. What else am I doing ‘wrong?’ Sheesh.

On a regular basis, Jack’s diet consists of waffles or oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, steamed peas, spinach, brocolli or carrots and a protein for lunch; grapes, bananas or melon for snacks; and whatever we’re having for dinner, which ranges from pasta to chicken breast to stir fry.

Lately, when I try to introduce something new, the guy has this new thing. If he’s unsure about the new food he’s eating, particularly if it has a new texture, he’ll give a blank look, open his mouth and simultaneously reject the food with a very discriminatory “Eeehhhhhhhhhh.” In slow mo: feed boy, open mouth, looks at mom and releases.

It takes some convincing—often at the his dad’s taste buds expense—to assure him the new food is just as delicious as the peas or pasta.
For the most part however, he’s generally a good eater–sometimes too good. When I take him out of his high chair, before I can grab those pieces of dinner he’s purposefully thrown on the floor…he’ll vacuum them up with his own fingers.

Like Jack, I’m still learning here. I’m so sure I’m not the only one still trying to figure it all out. There are many mistakes to be made, in terms of fostering healthy eating habits. Along with my older brother (who I like to compare to Drew Barrymore’s brother from 50 First Dates minus the lisp and steroids) as someone who habitually hid boxes of Twix in my mom’s grocery cart when she wasn’t looking, um, I’m aiming to fine tune my eating AND feeding habits, in hopes that my kid’s trapdoor release reverses itself or stays shut when the good stuff goes in!

I just finished reading an article in the Times regarding Vitamin D deficiency. It’s not new news, but the article basically highlights some research that reveals the effects of vitamin D deficiency, primarily in exclusively breastfed babies. What really grabbed my attention was that a specific case was written about in a journal about an 11-month old.

Before I impose my own thoughts, I just thought I’d post a few key sentences.

Physicians have known for more than a century that exclusive breast-feeding may be associated with vitamin D deficiency and rickets, and that the condition is easily prevented and treated with inexpensive vitamin drops or cod liver oil. But doctors are reluctant to say anything that might discourage breast-feeding.

Some doctors and public health officials say conditions may be ripe for rickets to re-emerge: more infants are being breast-fed for extended periods, children are drinking more juice or soda and less milk, and they are spending less time exposed to sunlight, which enables the skin to synthesize vitamin D.

The study, published in The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine in June, found that breast-feeding without supplementation was a significant risk factor.

“I completely support breast-feeding, and I think breast milk is the perfect food, and the healthiest way to nourish an infant,” said Dr. Catherine M. Gordon, director of the bone health program at Children’s Hospital Boston and an author of several studies on vitamin D deficiency, including Aleanie’s case.
“However,” Dr. Gordon continued, “we’re finding so many mothers are vitamin D deficient themselves that the milk is therefore deficient, so many babies can’t keep their levels up. They may start their lives vitamin D deficient, and then all they’re getting is vitamin D deficient breast milk.”

As a (shameful) sun worshiper and someone who continues to BF in the evenings IN addition to various meals, my first thought is, whatever happened to everything in moderation?

I apologize for the absence. Lots of stuff transpiring over the past few days and weeks. Lots of stuff going on with me, but I can assure you that both Jack and Jeff are happy, smiley and wonderful.

As for me, well, as always, I’m a mess. My horoscope pretty much sums it up. Today’s horoscope should have been YESTERDAY’s horoscope.

Cancer You might butt heads with someone who has some measure of power over you today and while it might not work out all that well at first, it could turn into something really good and honest in the long run.

Why, you ask? Well, where do I even begin?

Do I start at the part where I packed my Jetta 7 years ago and left Va to pursue my journalism career?
Or do I start at the part where it’s a Dog Eat Dog world out there and that my magazine career is NOTHING like the movies portray?
Or do I just pick up here, the part where I’m a new mom who is running on fumes because the industry is dwindling AND the economy sucks, but is determined to further my career while STILL balancing work and life, who happens to be stuck working somewhere because of the circumstances.

Yeah. That’s where I’ve been, the sucky part.

For quite some time, I’ve needed a change. The hard part is, how does one go about a change when you’re juggling infertility and then pregnancy and then the transition of motherhood.

For all these reasons and more, women of our generation are getting married later and thus, having kids well into their 30s and 40s.

For the most part, my peers WAIT to have kids until they are stable in their career, working at a place that support such things as motherhood and expanding families.

I thought I was there…

Not quite sure what happened on my journey here, but I hit a detour way back. LIKE WAY BACK. And now, I’m faced with a lot of crucial decisions, with the most important one finding a professional balance once again.

Together with Jeff, I’m plotting this next phase in life. Yesterday someone assumed that All I want to do is stay home with my little man, implying that my quest for work/life balance is failing.

OF COURSE I want to be home with my kid. What mom doesn’t? But you know what they say about assuming.

In another tearful explosion at the scene of the crime, I had a revelation yesterday. I’m stuck not because of the circumstances, but because I let one of my priorities down.

I’ve been incredibly unhappy for quite sometime, and for too long it has overlapped into my home life. I may have been a little misguided for quite sometime, but things are changing.

As proven by my relocation 7 years ago + confidence in my craft + the determination to find that balance + the unflappable support system in my husband, friends and family, I’m all about proving some people wrong.

You CAN have it all. Just watch me.

Very interesting. According to various news outlets,

Women can influence the gender of their child with what they eat before they conceive, according to new research that lends scientific support to age-old superstitions about pregnancy.

The study of 740 women showed that higher calorie intake led to a higher probability of a male birth.

The discovery shows higher calorie intake prior to conception can significantly increase the chances of having a son while women on restricted diets are more likely to produce daughters.

“We were able to confirm the old wives’ tale that eating bananas and so having a high potassium intake was associated with having a boy, as was a high sodium intake,” research leader Fiona Mathews, a specialist in mammalian biology at Exeter University, told the Guardian newspaper.

Cereal and bananas, huh? FYI, I don’t like bananas. I wonder where sausage, egg and cheese sandwiches fall in this research .

Happy Earth Day, everyone!
Though our family has made some progress since going green, we still have leaps and bounds to go. Nevertheless, every step–big or small– makes a difference.

Earth Day, to me, surpasses green tv shows being advertised on the sides of city buses. It goes beyond the trendiness of being green for a day. It’s not about buying something just because it says it’s organic or because it says that it’s natural. earth day love

Being eco-conscious is about knowing what all of that means, and how it will effect future generations. A greener lifestyle isn’t just about bringing the canvas bags to the store or buying swirly lightbulbs. It’s about knowing the significance of renewable energy and conserving natural resources.

Many of us enjoy our daily conveniences, but it goes without saying that the toss-away, disposable mindset our society embraces has detrimental effects. Instead of buying big giant plastic toys, disposable consumer goods, toss-away conveniences, think sustainable, reusable and renewable. Being green is often viewed as a costly lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be. In the grand scheme of things, being green shouldn’t be dictated by the almighty dollar.  The more mainstream all of this becomes, it becomes more attainable and more accessible.

Being green, to me, is about making indelible decisions that will impact, and hopefully, influence my child, my husband and our family.

Jack loves greenBeing green transcends the marketing campaigns and self-absorption of years past. As I’ve said before, many of my friends have observed greener lifestyles for some time now.
Best said by Five for Fighting, “We’re all we’ve got on this bouncing ball!”

Al Gore I’m not, but based on your emails, my little corner of the internet seems to be impacting a few. It’s a start. If not for our generation, make smarter, more environmentally-conscious choices for future generations.

Jack thanks you. (with open-mouthed drooly kisses, of course.)

More to come and a few giveaways too.

I’m not sure if I’ve talked about the love Jack has for his transitional cup. In case I haven’t, let me just say this child LOVES this cup. He thinks it’s so great, he will go on a baby hunger strike if we don’t give him his sippy cup while eating his food. (well, as much as a feisty 6 month old can) While we only fill this “magical” cup up with a few ounces of water to go along with his solids, I can’t grasp why he loves it so much. Perhaps it’s the alarming brightness? Maybe it’s because he’s thinks he’s cool when he uses his “wings” to get the water out? Or maybe it’s because of the novelty of this whole new development— I just don’t know.
Well, whatever it is, I’m glad he loves it as much as we do.

Jack hearts his cupThe kid has awesome foresight and he doesn’t even know it. As a newborn, he rejected some bottles we were given. Those bottles are now confirmed to be grouped in the polycarbonate bottles that are creating a lot of media buzz.
And now, as we turn the corner into 7 months, the kid is so enamored by this wonderful transition cup, which happens to be a Born Free BPA-free sippy cup. It’s one of the most highly regarded baby items in our home right now.

My kid’s foresight aside, the terms, polycarbonate bottles and BPA, have been in the news quite a bit these past few weeks. Just last week, The Today Show did a segment called, The Truth About Bottles. The show overviewed the dangers of certain plastic bottles which contain BPA.
That show created so much hysteria buzz, they did a follow up segment the next day to clarify some questions.

This report about Nalgene bottles being pulled made me feel the need to post the stuff I’ve found over the past few months as a new mom. But most importantly, The Times reported today that Canada is at the forefront and is moving toward banning bottles with BPA.

The health minister, Tony Clement, told reporters that after reviewing 150 research papers on B.P.A. and conducting its own studies, his department concluded that the chemical posed the most risk for newborns and children up to the age of 18 months. The minister said that animal studies suggest “there will be behavioral and neural symptoms later in life.”

This talk about polycarbonate bottles and BPA is not new news. Many researchers and blogs have been talking about it for years. It just so happens that it’s permeating mainstream media outlets and now, consumers are starting to pay more attention.

The GreenGuide said:

A 1999 study of polycarbonate baby bottles published in the Japanese Journal of Health Sciences found that new bottles, washed gently before using, leached 3.5 ppb of BPA into water, while extremely worn and scratched bottles leached levels of BPA as high as 28 ppb. Another 1999 Consumer Reports analysis found that BPA migrated from polycarbonate baby bottles into simulated formula when the formula was boiled inside the bottle for 20-30 minutes. And several scientific studies have reported that bisphenol-A can leach from plastic when heated, exposed to acidic solutions or after prolonged use. And baby bottles aren’t the only place BPA is found, a 2007 survey done by the Environmental Working Group found the chemical in formula as well.

HealthyChild.org, a nonprofit organization who are dedicated to protecting the health and well being of children from harmful environmental exposures, say:

Since the late 1990s, there have been allegations that the chemical industry has distorted science to show that BPA poses no threat to human health. The allegations of bias have carried over to the government’s current evaluation.

When we’re bombarded by so many tests, research and reports, what are we, as consumers, supposed to do? While we all try not to over-parent, I do believe its in our best interest to be educated consumers. As the saying goes, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

As the reports and research are flooding in, what does it all mean? I’m no expert here, but my livelihood depends on thorough research. And as always, I need to understand.

My personal research dates back to August 2007, just weeks before the boy was born. There’s a ton of research and reports out there, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed. So what does it all mean? Here is what I found:

What is BPA?

The Center for Health, Environment and Justice define Bisphenol-A (BPA) as a high-volume production chemical used to make epoxy resin and
polycarbonate plastic products, including some kinds of water bottles, baby bottles, and food storage and heating containers. It is also used in the lining of metal food cans and in dental sealants, and is an additive to certain plastics used in children’s toys. The chemical was first developed as a synthetic estrogen and was later polymerized to produce polycarbonate.

How is BPA harmful?

Bisphenol-A mimics estrogen activity and is known as an “endocrine disruptor,” a chemical that interferes with the hormonal system in animals and humans and contributes to adverse health effects. Bisphenol-A also causes a variety of impacts through mechanisms of action that are
probably unrelated to estrogenic properties.environment california

Bisphenol A is a developmental, neural, and reproductive toxicant, Environment California says. From their thorough report, Toxic Baby Bottles, they found that:

* Scientists have linked very low doses of bisphenol A exposure to cancers, impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, and hyperactivity, among other problems.
* For example, in one recent study, a single, low dose of bisphenol A administered to a newborn rat resulted in hyperactive behavior.
* Bisphenol A is most commonly used to make clear polycarbonate plastic for consumer products, such as baby bottles. Through use, this plastic breaks down and leaches bisphenol A into liquids and food to which it comes into contact.

* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found bisphenol A in the urine of over 95% of people they tested.
* Alarmingly, the median level of bisphenol A in humans is higher than the level that causes adverse effects in animal studies.

What do we do?

Environment California says,

Parents have the right to know about chemicals in the products they purchase for their children. In the absence of good government regulations, but armed with the knowledge that some chemicals are a cause for concern, parents can take a few simple actions to limit their child’s exposure to these and other toxic chemicals.
At the store, parents should select baby bottles that are made from glass or a safer non-polycarbonate plastic. At home, parents should avoid washing plastic dishware with harsh dishwashing soap and hot water, which may allow chemicals to leach out of the plastic.

Environmental Working Group makes these suggestions:

Nipple: Start with a clear silicone nipple.
Latex rubber nipples can cause allergic reactions and can contain impurities linked to cancer.
Bottle: Use glass.
Plastic bottles can leach a toxic chemical called bisphenol A (BPA)
into formula. Avoid clear, hard plastic bottles marked with a 7 or “PC.”
Water: Use filtered tap water.
If your water is fluoridated, use a reverse osmosis filter to remove fluoride, which the American Dental Association recommends avoiding when reconstituting formula. If your water is not fluoridated use a carbon filter. If you choose bottled water make sure it’s fluoride-free.

What is being done?

The government said they are investigating BPA in Infant Formula Liners, but much more needs to be done. Most importantly, Canada has banned the BPA bottles. It was also reported in the Times that NY Senator Charles E. Schumer, said in a statement that he intended to introduce a bill that would create a widespread ban on B.P.A.-related plastics. It would prohibit their use in all children’s products as well as any product use to carry food or beverages for adults.

What is safe?

As EWG suggests, avoid clear, hard plastic bottles marked with a 7 or PC. so what baby bottles does that leave? I know Born Free, Green to Grow, thinkbaby Bottles and Medela Storage System are all safe.
The Soft Landing, one of my favorite blogs, has done some great reports. The recently posted Learning Your Way Around BPA.

ZRecs, another of my must-read resource blogs, has a great lineup of safe(r) bottles and cups.

And if you need even more links, here are even more sites that I’ve compiled:

Plastic Chart
Bisphenol-A Free.org
ABC report on BPA
The Green Guide
Breastfeeding Blog
Chicago Tribune’s Julie Deardorff

Mama Knows Breast
Nature Moms
Baby Bargains-BPA Free Product suggestions
Plastic Bottles Suck- Babble
Baby 411 consumer alert

for the Montel show. You might see a familiar face in the audience today.

The show I attended with a friend explored Explosive Controversies, including topics such as the war and illegal immigration. It was extremely enlightening and interesting. I’m glad I had a chance to attend since Montel was recently canceled.

Considering the embarrassing news of a certain governor, the show title is pretty timely.

Last night, I noticed the carbon monoxide alarm plugged into the kitchen socket. I was confused.

Just the night before, it was beeping every 2 minutes as a reminder that it was out of battery juice. I unplugged it yesterday morning and placed it on the kitchen counter, as if it were going to miraculously replace its own batteries.

So when I saw it there all plugged in last night, sans the crazy phantom beeping, I had to ask Jeff if he should be applauded for being the carbonmonoxided.jpgresponsible battery replacer.

I looked at the white box plugged into the wall and cognizantly, yet incoherently asked, “Did you fix the monoxinizer?”

The dude could not stop bellowing with hysterics enough to even look at me.

Finally, he took a breath and said, “What did you just say?”

monoxinizer?” I mumbled.

When the word left my lips that second time, I realized that not only did I botch the word, but I just added fuel to the fire.

“ugh. YOU know what I’m talking about!”

In between the hysterics, he answered, “yes, the flux capacitator is working just fine.”
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