Monday, January 26, 2009

SOUND OFF: Vaccines

I read an article this morning on CNN which got me really riled up and in an effort to keep my BP down, I need to blog about it for a moment. The topic of today's sound off is vaccinations. The majority of new moms are quite well aware of vaccinations thanks to billboards, newspaper articles, tv news segments, and literature from pediatrician's offices. In case you've been living under a rock on Mars for the last 30 years, there are a small number of people who are members of the belief that some of the chemicals used in vaccinations cause autism and are therefore refusing vaccinations for their children so as not to contract autism.

I'm usually somewhat diplomatic, but right now I don't care if I piss anyone off on this subject, so I'll come right out with it: YOU ARE STUPID IF YOU DO NOT VACCINATE YOUR KIDS. Just because smallpox, measles, mumps, and rubella have not been in this country for some time, it doesn't mean those things don't exist out in the rest of the world. A vaccination doesn't mean that the disease is gone for good, it is an insurance policy against contracting the disease. And when you don't vaccinate your kids against them, it allows the disease to be present among the population and potentially mutate into something stronger than the vaccines are protecting against. By not choosing vaccinations, you are carelessly putting your child's life, and mine, at stake. I don't appreciate people putting my child's life at risk, so you can hopefully understand my anger and frustration on this topic.

The article in question is about an outbreak of Hib, aka Haemophilus influenzae type b, in Minnesota. Out of the five children infected with it, three were not vaccinated by choice, one was 5 months old and hadn't received all of the shots yet, and the fifth was a 15 month old who was vaccinated but has an immune deficiency. One of the children, a 7 month old whose parents chose not to get vaccinations, died. I am heartbroken for the parents' loss, but I simply cannot understand why they would ignore the scientific findings and refuse to protect their child.

The debate started some years ago over one specific vaccine and an ingredient used to preserve it's shelf life: thiomersal in the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, and rubella). Vaccine makers use thiomersal as a preservative and it's that item that vaccine naysayers say is the cause of autism in kids.

Autism is a generic term for one of several brain development disorders that are part of what is called "autistic spectrum disorders." The scientific community is still trying to determine what causes autism, but right now, research points to genetics and mutations within the genes. Because the symptoms of autism usually appear during the period of a child's life when they receive vaccinations (the first two years), parents have assumed that it was the vaccinations that caused autism in their otherwise "normal" child.

A study conducted by Wakefield et al in 1998 *SUGGESTS* there is a link between autism and the MMR vaccination. Wakefield and his buddies relied on the stories of parents with autistic children who received the MMR vaccination and did not perform any scientific testing to prove this suggestion. Further subsequent studies, including one by Wakefield et al again in 2000, still do not show any proof of the link. There are more studies that prove otherwise. That's not to say that there still might not be a link, but no one's been able to prove it yet and until they do, I'm going to play it safe and vaccinate my kids.

I don't know how many people read this blog, but I cannot stress how important it is to get your kids vaccinated. I was three when I contracted meningitis. Hib protects against kids getting meningitis, but unfortunately for me, the Hib vaccine wasn't readily available back in 1985 (it wasn't very effective and the next generation that WAS effective came in 1987). Considering the odds of my child contracting meningitis or something else as equally worse versus those of becoming autistic, I will take the chance and have my daughter and her future siblings vaccinated. I can handle autism. I don't think I could handle my daughter's death to a disease I could have protected her from. Don't put your kids or anyone else's at risk—get your kids vaccinated!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Eleven Months Old!

Yesterday Billa hit the 11 month mark. My, how time flies! She's learning new things every day and her personality is really starting to develop. She doesn't have any words in her vocaublary but she definitely has a lot to say. She babbles constantly and we love making phrases out of what she says. I asked her the other night if she wanted milk, and her response sounded a lot like "Heck yeah!" We certainly got a kick out of that!

She's also discovering things around the house which means it's time to step up to the next level of baby proofing. She opens cabinets and drawers and love to open and close doors. She wants to play with everything that isn't a toy and she is fascinated by things that make noise. She loves to dance and squeal and chase the cat. She loves snuggling with mommy and daddy in the early morning for a few minutes before we all get up and get ready. And she definitely loves playing with her friends! She's starting to pitch a fit when I pick her up from daycare and all of her friends are still there.

With her birthday being a month away, birthday season has begun! We have a party to attend this weekend for her friend Jack from daycare, next weekend is Madeleine's party, and the weekend after that is a party for another friend from daycare! Then a free weekend and then it's HER birthday! Phew!

Anyhoo, I'll post some more pictures and videos soon. Things have been chaotic since Michael got his surgery done two weeks ago, but his hand is healing much faster than they anticipated. I am very excited by this because it means things will be back to (relatively) normal sooner than we thought.

Until then,
K & Co.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Blue, blue, blue...

So a word to the wise... do NOT buy cupcakes with bright blue icing and then feed it to your toddler. Why? Because your child will then have bright blue poop. Scout's honor!

This did not happen to Billa of course, because I am an aspiring professional baker, and I try not to super saturate my icings with dye. No, this happened to my friend Kellie. Her stepmom purchased some cupcakes from HEB to celebrate an early birthday for Kellie's daughter Madeleine (I was sick and therefore could not bake). It was Madeleine's brother Cameron who ended up with blue poop. And blue poop apparently stains something fierce. I can attest to the travesty.

You have been warned!!! And yes, this is a shameless plug for my cakes. If you have questions or would like to see what I have in my portfolio thus far, lemme know and I will be happy to show you (I included a couple below of some I've done). I'll be starting a cake blog soon and will let you know when it's live!

Cake for all,
K & Co.

Cameron's 2nd Birthday Cake - Spongebob Squarepants

Conner's 1st Birthday Cake - Elmo (Elmo came off seperately for the birthday baby)

Mathilda's 6th Birthday Cake - Hannah Montana Guitar Cake

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thank God for CSI and BSG!

I actually tried to go to work yesterday and it was a miserable fail... I ended up leaving at lunchtime yesterday and I didn't go in today because I was still so sick. I actually got sort of chewed out for even trying, which was nice for a change, but still odd. Kinda sad when you think about that for a bit... Anyhoo, I dropped the baby off at daycare this morning and came back to sleep the sleep of the dead. I had weird dreams too, which is also partly why I hate being sick. I have weird dreams to start with (just ask Michael) and sick dreams are the worst because they're always awful. The following is an example of a Kelly dream:

My friend Kellie Marino receives a gift which she must return to Walmart. We both hate Walmart and she tells me that I HAVE to go with her: "I can't this do this alone, Kelly!" Dramatics aside, I agree reluctantly. We travel to Walmart in darkness late at night and are forced to park in a parking lot on the side of the store. We are traveling in Kellie's white truck, which she no longer has in reality. We go inside to the chaos and discover that the store has a "flow." You must follow said flow through the store or you get arrested otherwise. Therefore you have to know where everything is, have a list, or go 'round the store twenty times to get all the things you forgot. And there is no lollygagging, which is somewhat fortunate, although in my dream, there are rulebreakers galore. We've taken the kids on this ridiculous journey which means three children under the age of four with us in a huge store, at night, that is crowded. At some point the kids wander off and then return, minus Sybilla. I am wigging out and drilling the kids as to her whereabouts and trying to calm myself. They run off again, but return with her, just dandy. THANK GOD. We continue on our journey and some guy tries to take my wallet from me. I catch him and because I am already in an anxious state of mind and on the verge of a panic attack in this crazy socialist Walmart, I start beating the snot out of this dude (remember that this is a dream people!). Kellie is trying to pull me off of him telling me "It's not worth it, Kelly! It's not worth it!" while I'm pummeling the dude with my bare fists. Security finally drags him away and Kellie distracts me by telling me to go get the truck and that she'll keep an eye out for the kids. I go out to the parking lot and THE TRUCK IS GONE, along with half the other cars in the parking lot. If I thought I had lost it before, I was bat shit crazy now! Eventually we get the truck back and we all make it home safe and sound if not a little worse for wear. (And that is why I never shop at Walmart among other reasons. You'll get arrested for going against the "flow"!! Walmart is the devil! Down with slavery and destruction of small town values!!!)

See what I mean? When I finally woke up after lunchtime today, I logged into work for a bit and then logged off, snoozed a bit and then turned on the telly for some good ol' CSI action. That was followed by dinner making (French toast--thank you to the hubby for helping me with that) and then more CSI, bath time for the baby, and then BATTLESTAR!! There must be some unspoken rule in Hollywood that any show that can be abbreviated by initials or one word must be awesome (at least for a season or two): OC, CSI, BSG, Firefly, etc.

Tonight the Cylons and the Colonial Fleet have returned for their final season. Thank God too, because any longer on the wait and I would have written off the show forever. (Producers worldwide take note: don't make your audience wait too long to see the show) This evening's episode was quite good, although I was a bit let down by who the final Cylon is. I will not reveal anything even though the episode has aired because I know some readers haven't seen it yet. Needless to say, next Friday won't come quick enough.

So there is my day in a nut shell. I'm up so late because I slept so much today but I will be heading to bed soon since I am now yawning.

K & Co.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Puff the Magic Cheesy Poof

One of Sybilla's favorite foods is natural Cheetos. They're organic and all natural, so no electric orange fingers in our house and I don't have to feel bad about her eating junk food. It shouldn't be any wonder that she likes these... at one point while I was pregnant, I ate a whole bag at Kellie's house. Kellie likes that memory because I managed to balance the bowl on my belly as I ate them. One of the few times I was able to do that, come to think of it... Anyway, below is a video I took of her eating said cheese puffs. And yes, that is a cheese puff smile at the end.

K & Co.

Being thick suckth...

YES, the stress has finally caught up with me. I am home sick today with a massive head cold and it sucks. I hate being sick. The nice thing is that daycare is less than 5 minutes away and so we were able to drop her off this morning so I can sleep all day. I've been going going going for so long without really stopping to take care of myself and now I know this is God's way of syaing, "Slow down, girlfriend!" (Ok, maybe not the girlfriend part, but I like to think that maybe God is one of my closest buddies... so He can talk however He wants!)

I'm about to rummage for some food since I haven't since last night. I schlupped the kid off and then came straight home to crash and I just got up a bit ago. I have to do SOME work since I have a big deadline, but I am so thankful my job allows me to work from home remotely in order to do it. Monkey slippers and fuzzy robes for all!

I got up to check my friend Caroline's blog... she's due any day now and I keep hoping that she won't have posted anything because it means Baby George is here! But alas, so far, nothing as far as I know. She did post a memorial about her Daddy, which made me a little sad... he died a year ago yesterday and he was such a sweet man. I'm sad for Caroline that Train isn't here to meet Baby George, but if my beliefs about the Other Side are true, he's already met the lucky guy or gal and sending his blessings to Caroline and Matt.

Anyhoo, I'm gonna go rustle up some grub... more later cowpokes!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Best Job in the World Posted

I was taking a quick break this morning and spotted this on Yahoo! News...

Yes, my friends, that is undoubtedly probably the best job in the world. However, I think it might be MY best job in the world if it were somewhere in Ireland or Scotland. Honestly, I don't know what I would do with myself for 6 months on a tropical island. I think i might get bored, but hey, there's a three bedroom apartment, which means plenty of space for the family and out of town guests!!

Anyhoo, if you want to apply, you have until February 22!


Monday, January 12, 2009

What a week!

It's been a crazy past week! Michael ended up having surgery after all to repair the nerve damage in his thumb. The doc later told me that about 2 cm of his nerves were missing, so he used a vein to repair them. I had no idea you could do that. You learn something new every day! They needed to do a skin graft after all and they took the skin from the palm of Michael's hand to do it. I spent all day Thursday reading every single magazine the waiting room had (quite a selection I might add) and thinking about all of the things I should/could be doing and wishing I had a laptop computer with internet access. I could have at least kept my nerves down by working! Note to self: I should ask for a laptop for my birthday... Oh well, c'est la vie. Michael's hand is in a lot of pain still and Michael sees the surgeon today to remove the dressings and find out what the next step is.

On Saturday, Gigi Judy took Sybilla for a day of fun and shopping so that Mommy and Daddy could get some things done around the house and have some alone time. We figured she'd get tired of her by dinner time, but instead Judy told us to go see a movie and she'd bring her home when we got back! Yes! Score one for Mommy and Daddy :o) We chose to see Twilight, which turned out to be a very good adaptation of the novel, but I felt that some of the technical and directorial choices were poor. Michael disagrees with me on some of them, but personally, I think the reason the director isn't coming back to the second film is mostly due to her ridiculous use of face close-ups. There's only so much detail of one's face that you can handle in a two hour stretch and this movie exceeded my limit. I guess I also don't relate to teens anymore as some of the acting was eye-rolling for me. But despite what I think on the technical stuff, I enjoyed it overall and it was a great date!

The birthday countdown has reached T minus 40 days (or roughly 6 weeks) until Billa is One! I made her birthday invites and they are super cute. You'll just have to wait to see them, ha ha ha! I am so excited about planning her party. It's silly I know, but I LOVE planning themed parties and putting everything together. Now if only I could make a living doing it!

Billa doesn't bother to crawl much anymore and she started figuring out how to stomp this weekend. Mommy and Me tap dance classes, here we come! She's also doing this thing where she moves her jaw in time to music, like she's singing. Her vocabulary is expanding and I like to make sentences out of what she's saying. Sometimes I hear stuff like "I go!" or "Ohboyohboyohboyohboy" and other times I hear "I said dojo, Daddy!" Last night she said something that sounded like "Now I get what I want" when I finally let her have some more food. (She has a really bad tendency towards chipmunk cheeks... she stuffs everything you give her into her mouth and then proceeds to try and swallow it all. Needless to say, the choking and gagging noises freak us out horribly!) I don't know how much she really understands of what we say to her, but she understands 'no' for sure. She loves to pull the DVD's or books off the shelves and when we tell her 'no' she runs away from us screaming with laughter and then runs back to cause more havoc, a look of malicious glee on her face. Little stinker!

Well, that's our week wrapped up! Stay tuned for more!
K & Co.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Feast of the Epiphany, Happy Birthday Mom, and Congrats Jen!

Today is the Epiphany, which means it's also the last day of the Twelve Days of Christmas. For you non-Catholic/Christian types out there, the Feast of the Epiphany marks the day when the Wise Men found the baby Jesus and presented him with their gifts of gold, frankincense & myrrh. This day also happens to be my mama's birthday, so happy birthday Mom! (It also means MY birthday is 4 months away...let the countdown begin!)
As a fun fact, most people are not aware that the Twelve Days of Christmas actually begin Christmas Day and end on January 6th. The song Twelve Days of Christmas was actually created by the Irish as a way to keep the Catholic faith strong during their time of oppression by the English. Supposedly each of the items mentioned in the song is relevant to a part of Catholic culture and tradition, but I have as of yet been unable to find those. I just keep getting distracted but I know my friend Google will help me out...someday...

And in other news, congrats to my cousin Patrick's wife, Jennifer O'Malley Dillon! If you haven't heard me brag about her before, she ran the battleground states campaign for Barack Obama. He has just appointed her as the executive director to run the day to day operations of the DNC and we here in the Guerra household are immensely proud of her. I hope that my cousin and Jen both have the opportunity to take a vacation soon; they've certainly earned it!

That's pretty much it for now until I get an opportunity to post some more pix and videos. Until then,

Happy Tuesday y'all!

K & Co.

Monday, January 5, 2009

One Smart Cookie!

The birthday countdown has begun! It's 48 days (or 6.8 weeks) until Sybilla turns one! Yay! She's definitely come a long way so far and to recap some of the things she's accomplished in 2008, here is a short list!

1. WALKING. She doesn't even bother to really crawl anymore. Before you know it she'll be driving. Eek!
2. DANCING. Sybilla has started to dance to music! The baby doll stroller that Uncle Zander and Aunt Sarah gave her has a little bear that has "sweet strolling tunes" (as per the package) and she bounces up and down to them when she hits the button. She now does it when we play music from iTunes or on the radio and even in stores! I'll have to get a video if I can and post it…
3. BABBLING. Ok, she's done this one for awhile, but now it's starting to take on more meaning. We're working on trying to improve her vocabulary (read: say mama!) and I know she totally understands me when I tell her no because she proceeds to do it anyway with an evil grin on her face and then laughs hysterically over it. [sigh] I'm doomed!
4. PROBLEM-SOLVING. I noticed this when she started pushing everything across the carpet. If it slides on carpet, she's behind it pushing as far as she'll go. But then she gets stuck against the couch or the bar or something else. Then she tries to pull an Austin Powers and moves it around until she's unstuck. She gets tired of it after awhile though and then begins to screech at me, which leads to number 5…
5. THE SOPRANO RANGE. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree and Sybilla's vocal range definitely applies. Like her mum, she too is a soprano, as evidenced by the screeches, howls, and squeals that she emits. Yes, they are ear-piercing. Yes, she enjoys them. And yes, I am praying like hell she finishes this phase soon before my ears bleed and I stab my eyes out with a pencil.
6. CHOWTIME. Sybilla has now decided that SHE wants to hold the spoon when we feed her. Since she can't scoop things out on her own yet, I load it up, hand her the spoon, she slurps off food particles, then hands it back (or drops it, whichever suits her devilish fancy). She also LURVES her some tamales and enchiladas and can eat a whole one of each on her own. I mastered an awesome chili gravy which she and her daddy just adore, so we'll be having enchiladas quite frequently. And some day I will master tamales, but I digress! She is also drinking almost exclusively from a sippy cup which means that don't have to buy any more bottles! Woo hoo!
7. MILK. We've started her on lactose free milk, and she occasionally has some juice, although she loves milk more, thankfully! She had the lactose free at my parent's house a couple of weeks back and ever since, she hasn't wanted formula. Since it's so close to her birthday, we're slowly going through the last of the formula and will then move her completely to whole milk by B-Day. They say you're not supposed to do regular milk until AFTER the baby's first birthday, but Sybilla is 23 pounds, she gets a VERY well rounded diet, and she is drinking lactose free milk, which doesn't have the allergen in it. She's had regular milk before with no issue, but I figure I'll play it safe on this one. My mom is lactose intolerant, so it wouldn't surprise me if Billa is too, but I don't think she is.

So there it is! It wasn't nearly as short as I thought it might be… but oh well! I'll post some more videos and pictures soon!

K& Co.

Friday, January 2, 2009

No, Non, Nyet, Iie

I haven't posted a video in awhile and we have some really cute ones of the little monkey. In between her reign of terror being waged on the book and DVD collections, our little Captain Sassy has time to show us her newest tactics of trouble. This video showcases just what Daddy and I have in store for us when she gets older.

On a funny side note, when I was putting this together, I customarily view the videos in their entirety and take mental notes about what goes, stays and where to make the cuts if needed. Of course Billa wasn't aware that it was her in the video, but she thought it was hysterical and laughed the entire time I was editing the second half. Silly girl...

Happy Friday everyone!

Kelly & the Gang

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year Friends and Family!

Hurray for 2009! It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were all waiting anxiously to see if Armageddon was on our doorstep and we’d be heading out to find the Twinky factory. But Y2K passed us on and now 8 (or 9? math was always a little fuzzy for me!) years later, we are looking at 2009. Michael and I were trying to figure out what we were doing this time last year, but considering how pregnant I was, we were most likely in bed and trying to ignore the illegal fireworks going off in the neighborhood (we were in critical drought mode then and living “in the country” where a burn ban and fireworks ban was in place). This year, we kicked it in our living room drinking champagne and watching Prince Caspian while our the baby slept away in her crib.

2008 was definitely the year of babies! In addition to the birth of our darling Sybilla, many other precious bundles have entered the world and we are thankful for them all. They are a reminder that even thought things are tough, life goes on. It was also a year of change in many ways; jobs, homes, and politics. Where one door closed on my career, another one (much more fortuitous at that!) opened and for Michael too. We moved into a new place and so did some of our friends, marking new beginnings in our lives as young families. And lastly, we've elected our first black president! I know I've said it before, but it wasn't that long ago that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and that MLK, Jr. was sharing his dream. This year is definitely something to be telling the grandkids someday.

As 2008 passes into history, we are grateful to have what we have, be where we are, and to be ringing in the New Year with our little family safe and sound. A new year means new beginnings with new resolutions and new things to look forward to. We hope that in this new year we will be celebrating more good than bad and that we will get to share it all with you!

Be safe and Happy New Year!

Kelly, Michael, Sybilla & last but not least, Gumerry the Gray Destroyer of All Things Paper, Q-Tip, Hairtie and the Occasional Dropped Tamale Bite From the Squealing Two Legged Creature Who Pets Him Most Ferociously and Forces Him Into Hiding on Days Ending in Y


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