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.

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Baby Frankenstein

Originally uploaded by jen_rab

Wheee! It’s Friday! Even though I’m working from home and pretty delirious from taking care of a stuffy baby all morning while trying to work, I am excited about this week (finally) being over. After all the emotions from the beginning of the week, I can finally focus on Jack’s first birthday next week! We’re all excited to go home for the weekend. I can’t even remember the last time we were there? July?

Better late than never, but I’m definitely in party planning mode. While my other friends started planning their kids’ parties before they were even born, I’ve surprisingly been pretty slack with this. Normally, I’m all about DIY party events. I guess with oh, quitting my job, I’ve been way too distracted to focus on what sort of icing Jack should devour.

Anyway, more about the party stuff later. Even bigger news: Jack has a new trick! It’s the baby Frankenstein kind of trick! He still doesn’t want to be bothered with walking, but he’s trying. I tried to catch him in motion the other night, so please excuse the mess and dark video. Oh, and the ball? Yeah. The baseball is a permanent fixture for him right now. We’re hoping this foreshadows a future hall of famer and retirement plan.

I haven’t done Wordless Wednesday in awhile, so I thought this week would be a great opportunity to share an image that my friend passed along to me.

on track

on track

Read the rest of this entry »

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!

Written 2 years ago, this was originally posted on an older blog and my Myspace blog.  Even 7 years after 9/11/01, my sentiments remain the same.

**

I continue to walk in stride, sometimes stumbling to keep up with the Rat Race. All of us in the Race continue to look straight ahead, dodging all eye contact and rarely, if ever, looking up at the buildings above us.

Five Seven years later, and it’s apparent things are strikingly different.  Though things change and lives are forever affected, it’s still apparent that many things will stay the same.

Despite the sadness and ongoing apprehension that is imminent, it’s often the mundane aspects of the City that bring comfort, and even a sense of relief.

Since 9/11/01, I am reminded by how much life has really changed.  Every now and then, when going to or coming from work, the hum from a helicopter from above is louder and more prominent.  The sirens from firetrucks and emergency vehicles garner a look out the window or turn of the head– just in case.
Unlike before, my work calls for more coverage on security issues.  Our safety in all respects is something that we, as sometimes complacent citizens, now find a necessity and crucial terms.  When loved ones call from home, their voices still reverberate a sense of uneasiness, especially when NYC issues arise in the news.  But above all of the mundane routines, a train ride into the WTC is now chilling, a walk around the WTC site is thought-provoking and a brief pause in front of St. Paul’s Chapel, scurrying to the 4/5 train, speaks volumes, regardless of how many years have passed.

I was just a clueless Va. transplant five seven years ago.  Living in Jersey City, in an illegal apartment no less, I was about a mile away from the WTC site.  I had new roommates (from Va.) at the time.  When the first plane hit, I got a knock on the door while I was in the shower.  My roommate, I thought, was being annoying and impatient.  When I got out of the shower, a few minutes before 9am, mom called me.  She seemed anxious and worried and told me to turn my tv on.  Since I was a penniless intern back then, I didn’t have cable.  Since the local channels’ towers were broadcast from the WTC, I had no reception on my local channels, either.  I immediately turned on the radio and heard Guiliani say, “if you don’t need to be in NYC today, please stay home.”  It was then, when I heard that a 2nd plane had hit the other tower.  Speaking to mom, the ever-optimist, I was convinced that these planes had to be a freak accident.
After several minutes of listening to the radio and to mom’s voice, I knew that not only was this a major catastrophe, I was also 350 miles away from my comfort zone.  My cell phone had no service, my landline rarely connected, my dialup internet barely got online, and so, my family and friends, all of whom were in Va., were frantically trying to reach me.  My roommates at the time, had only been in NJ/NY for a week.  Because they were newer than me, they weren’t used to the separation and detachment that went along with being a transport.  They immediately wanted to leave town.  I was the only one with a car.

Because we had no idea what was going on, with limited phone service, no tv and intermittent radio connection, crisis mode was in full effect.  I was terrified of the unknown, but for once, I wasn’t thinking of myself.  Because we were close enough, we could see the towers fall.  Because we were close enough, we could see the smoke billow from the site.  And because it seemed all too surreal, we had to walk down a few blocks to get a closer look.

Our view from Jersey City, just blocks from where we lived.

We saw for ourselves, the destruction and uncertainty of 9/11.  I was conscious of the fact that the U.S. would “go to war.”  But I was terrified of the fact that there could possibly be another attack. After all, the plane that was diverted and ended up crashing in Pa., left from Newark, just 11 miles from my apartment.
After finally getting in touch with Jeff (who was still living in Va.) and my family, I decided to do what I thought was best during this time of uncertainty.  I had to go home.  If anything was to happen, I wanted to be with my family.  Even though I had roommates that I’d only known for a week, I was really alone up here.

And so, we piled into the Jetta for what was possibly the longest ride to Va.  The roads going south on the Turnpike were the emptiest I’d ever seen.  Yet, the Turnpike going North was packed, but with only Emergency Vehicles.  It was truly surreal and mindnumbing to see this parade of Emergency Vehicles reporting for duty.  It’s a site that I’ll never forget, but one that touched me in many ways.


After the 9/11 attacks, it was apparent that people could come together in crisis.  It was apparent that we are all bound together because of one underlying factor:  our freedom as Americans.

People will always ask, “where were you on 9/11?”  I always say the varied versions of the same thing:  “I was an intern, living right outside of NYC, getting ready for work, when my mom called to let me know the news.  I never made it into the City that day, but I drove 6 hours to go home- just in case.”

I’m well aware that my existence was unsubstantial in comparison to the multitude of heroes that saved others that day.  While I was driving home to seek comfort, there were hundreds of firefighters, police officers, emergency servicemen and women and regular civilians who helped others find comfort in this time of need.  It’s said 20,000 people were saved that day.  And while we should never forget the lives that were lost, we should always remember how many heroes prevailed because of this catastrophe.

After finding the solace that I searched for in Va., the smoke still billowed from Ground Zero a week later.  Nevertheless, I anxiously and adamantly returned to NYC.  Though I made the trip alone, I returned to my new home, and realized that I’d never be alone in this wonderful town ever again.

I took this pic about 2 weeks after the attacks.  The smoke was still billowing.

And my favorite photo of the Tribute in Light Memorial taken on Sept. 9, 2004 by the Coast Guard.

And one of my favorite covers of the Village Voice.

**

I know I’ll never forget.


Jack loves to read

Originally uploaded by jen_rab

Speaking of sharing, I thought this was too cute not to share. Jack adores books and reading. And like the bibliophile I am, I love watching him “read” so intently.

I heart that he hearts books 🙂

Many apologies on the lack of posts lately.  Things have been crazy.

Actually, crazy is an understatement.

With things being rattled at work for my beloved–in a good way–Jeff’s on a rocket ship, as my friend describes, which means I’m a single working mom during the week.   So, besides taking the bus to another town to pick up my sometimes uncooperative boy who can only nap once at daycare and waiting for a cab to get us home before bedtime, while simultaneously calling Jeff and whining that “this waiting for cabs and buses is BS,” I’ve had my plate full.

But such is the beauty of life, right?

I’ve been busy lately…busy thinking, busy plotting, busy reading, busy cuddling, busy coping
Basically, all kinds of busy.  Well, besides busy blogging or busy party planning that first birthday extravaganza that everyone else thinks is necessary (for our kid.)

(Have I mentioned that my kid eats shoes?  Obviously, he doesn’t know any better which is why in my book, my shoe-eater doesn’t “need” a party with coordinating centerpieces.  Free flowing parties with family and a few friends?  Now that’s my idea of fun.  Different strokes for different folks, I guess)

But I digress…

It’s been awhile since I’ve stepped outside of my own glass-accented corridor to see what’s going on around in the blogosphere, nevermind my IRL friends and family.  (like I’ve told a few friends why I’ve been MIA–my head’s so far up my ass, I have no idea which way is up anymore.)  Throngs of men, women, from moms to dads to students, in a spectrum of occupations and interests are now blogging.  I recently wrote an article on how blogs, or rather, web 2.0 technology has changed the informational landscape.  And, it truly has:  everyone is sharing.

When people ask why I “put things out there,”  I kind of shrug my shoulders in that “Why not?” kind of way.  Jeff and I have discussed how in the past, generations before us kept everything private and disclosed.  While yes, privacy is certainly important for everyone, don’t we learn early on in life that everyone gets something out of sharing?

I started blogging for a million reasons, pretty much the same reasons why I chose this career path in the first place.  But above all, writing, like it’s always been, is a platform for me to share, express and release.

Speaking of sharing, I stumbled upon this story via Maegan’s blog via one of her commenters.  Sadly, a blogger named Stephanie and her husband were in a private plane crash and were severely injured.  Unlike many other bloggers, Stephanie, a young mother of four,  besides her day-to-day musings, wrote about how she was blessed every day.   She celebrated the beauty of life, above all.  It’s said that while she’s facing a long road to recovery, her children are being cared for by her family,.  She and her husband are doing well considering the circumstances.  Since I first read about it a few weeks ago, the story has been on the Today Show, as well as spread throughout the blogosphere.  Many people have started fundraisers, auctions and benefits.  Though difficult circumstances, it’s a beautiful story and one that’s truly touched me and put things into perspective.

Again, such is the beauty of life.

****

I’ve got plenty more to share, so stay tuned!

On September 5, 2003, my parents’ house was riddled with hot pink roses, pearlescent papers inscribed with my favorite quotes, trays upon trays of food–not to mention countless giggling out of town guests.

On the day before our wedding, as various finite details were attended to, I sat on our desktop computer, perched upon a tv tray, finishing our wedding programs in my grandmother’s old room.  As if wedding planning didn’t consume my life already, we planned our wedding from 350 miles away, laden with a lot of mounting pressure.

vowsagainI wanted nothing more but a picture-perfect wedding day, just like any bride.
After almost 2 years of planning, not everything came together the way I had envisioned:  Red plastic cups for beer, margarita glasses instead of martini glasses, roses inexplicably displaced from centerpieces, electrical outages in the art center’s kitchen.

Perhaps a foreshadowing of our journey ahead, our day was imperfect and turbulent at times, but it was still a gorgeous day.

Absolutely gorgeous.

For 5 long minutes, in front of 250 of our closest friends and relatives, Jeff serenaded me as we danced our unchoreographed first dance.  (Ok, so he mouthed the words and we might have swayed around in circles. “Serenaded” sounds much more romantic!)  Our surroundings were muted and time stood still.  I cried for joy and like he does today, he wiped my tears.  I still remember so much of our wedding day, but our dance was byfar my favorite moment.

Like I’d known all along, with idyllic moments like that as proof, I made the best decision of my life to marry this man.

The  pork loin that was never served or the frat party-like cups. or the blurred career trajectories or any meaningless fodder…none of that matters.

one fine day

Our gorgeous son and long Sunday family afternoons are my stand-still moments.  They’re the moments that make us 5 years strong.

Happy Anniversary, babe!

**

Even though our anniversary is on Saturday, I was feeling nostalgic today.  Surely, I’ll be doing glamorous activities like scrubbing the tub and doing laundry–in my wedding tiara, of course!  🙂

Eleven months:  not quite a baby, not yet a little boy.  Or is he?

My heart is breaking at the thought of Jackson turning one in just a few short weeks.  I remember this time last year when I was anxious, but busy tying up loose ends at work before I went on maternity leave.  This year, I’m still tying up loose ends and anxious for a million more reasons.  It’s certainly bittersweet to think about how fast this year went.  We had so much fun this year, but that’s not to say it wasn’t a bumpy and hellish ride as well.

Though he may be sleeping like an angel right now, but trust me, he sleeps like crap–like 3 a.m. wails at decibles no human should be able to hear. Despite efforts to try to rectify this early on, bad habits prevailed and mama got the sleepless end of the stick (too.)  We’re working on it, but again, what works for one kid doesn’t always work for ours.  I’m a night owl anyway; sleep is so overrated.

11 months

Appearance-wise, if I may, Jack has blossomed into such a handsome little dude.  He’s smiley, vibrant and if you can imagine, he’s loquacious just like his dad.  He loves to flash that mouth full of teeth (working on 9 teef) every chance he gets.  His hair is so much lighter than I would have ever envisioned it to be.  His skin is like porcelain, but not quite as fair as Jeff, yet not as tan as me.  Those big beady brown eyes, they light up with every familiar face he sees.  Jack is still quite tall for his age.  I’m assuming he’s in the 90s as far as percentile goes.  When Jack towers over some of the kids at the park, other moms and dads kind of stare in shock when they realize my “big kid” doesn’t know how to walk yet.  I’m pretty sure his weight is hovering in the high 20s, but thankfully, his clothing size is about the same.  24 and 2T fills his closet for the most part, but after summer is done, we’ll officially retire those tight little 18m t-shirts and pjs.

Jack still loves music and dancing.  He dances every chance he gets and continues to sing very loudly at church, too.  Not that we sit him in front of the tv all day, we do watch one show together as a family.  Aptly titled, Jack’s Big Music Show showcases all aspects of music to the preschool crowd.  Though it’s only engaging to our kid for 7 minutes at a time, Jeff and I enjoy it just as much.  Buddy Guy, Cheryl Hines and even Jon Stewart have made cameos.  Actually, when I’m having another one of those crappy days at work, all I have to do is think, “Come on everybody give your foot a tap…Come on everybody give your hands a clap.  Look everybody is my dog Mel, Ruff, Ruff, Ruff, Ruff, Ruff” and all I can see is my kid dancing and clapping to the show’s intro.  The joy that this blue puppet, his friend and dog bring my kid is positively priceless.

As I said, Jack still isn’t walking, but he does have a myriad of other milestones to mention.  His communication skills are becoming more and more cohesive.  We’ve been doing our best to keep up with the signing, so as of today, he knows the signs for drink, eat, more, sleep, hot and bye bye.  He is beginning to understand more and more commands beyond no-no, such as “please give this to mommy.”  That’s not to say our little boy doesn’t test our limits.  He loves to make messes and shove things in his mouth every chance he gets.  When we don’t “get” him or allow him to do something (like stand on the wipes container) he throws these minor meltdowns–the ones where he flails and buries his head in the carpet.

At this point, I mean besides his own shoes and dirt, Jack likes to eat almost everything.  I usually try to make a variety of meals and have made a point to tone down the spice levels, so that Jack can enjoy whatever we’re eating.  He loves to feed his daddy whatever he’s eating, whether daddy likes it or not!  We go to restaurants maybe once or twice a week and Jack knows the drill.  For the most part, he’s become a great eating companion, well besides the throwing of the sippy cup when he’s done.

While we’re excited for this next milestone, I’m definitely not ready for my baby to become a full-on big boy.  I’m ready for the new developments, just not ready for this time to be done…well, besides the whole not sleeping thing.

I’m working from home today and I had a crash course on what it’s like to be a WAHM.  It’s literally like working in the trenches, but with a smattering of little kiddie smooches.  Besides hurdling over mounds of board books to relinquish tiny papers and a random bean(?) out of the boy’s mouth and fishing out a plastic spoon shaped like a shovel from my bra while simultaneously trying to write a cohesive 1,000-word article before noon, I dig it.
Jack's favorite new thing
Pun totally intended 😉