My Family

My Family

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Asbestos Awareness


You have heard the words. You may have seen the commercials. But do you really know about asbestos? Asbestos was a popular mineral used in manufacturing and construction because of its sound absorption, its strength, resistance to fire, and because it was cheap. It was a great insulator in buildings and electrical work. It was used in ship yards, textiles, houses, buildings, schools, etc. File:Epa 450 2-78-014 march 1978 asbestos comparison.JPG

By the end of the 19th century, people started noticing ailments associated with the use and exposure to asbestos. in the 1920's, asbestosis was described in literature and by 1950's, a study was published linking asbestos to cancer.

Asbestos effect.jpgLet's get scientific here. Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by prolong exposure to asbestos fibers. An occupational hazard to put it mildly. The fibers get trapped in the lungs and the tissue scars over it, thickening up the chest wall. The scarring makes it difficult to breathe and for oxygen to properly get into the blood. There is no cure for asbestosis. Doctors can help you manage your symptoms.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer (Yes, CANCER) that develops from cells of the mesothelium, or the protective lining in the body covering most of the organs. The most common site is in the pleura, which is the outer lining of the lungs. It can also happen in the lining of the abdominal cavity, the sac around the heart, or the sac that surrounds mens' testis. Mesothelioma can develop from exposure to ONE FIBER OF ASBESTOS. Symptoms may not appear for 20 to 50 years after exposure. That is a very scary thing! So the cancer may have been developing for years before you know it, and the cancer may be aggressive before it is diagnosed, making for a poor prognosis. Early diagnosis is more favorable, but even then, prognosis may be 5 years at best.

My uncle passed away from mesothelioma. My aunt watched as the cancer ravaged his body. At the end, he was hardly able to walk or talk. It was such a sad sight. No body should have to die like this. No one should have to watch their loved one go out like this.

Many veterans today are dealing with exposure to asbestos. Families of men and women who worked with asbestos were also exposed. The workers would come home with asbestos fibers on their clothing, children played with mom or dad, or all the clothes were washed together. Fibers were transferred, thus potentially exposing everyone in the house.

If you live in a house built before 1978 or if your kids go to school in a building built before 1978, there is a great chance it has asbestos in it. HOWEVER, that does not mean you have been exposed. As long as the asbestos is in tact, not messed with, etc, the fibers do not get out. Regulations are in place for abatement (removal of) of asbestos in schools when needed and where warranted. I worked with regulations and monitoring of asbestos removal in Louisiana for four years. Areas are sealed off, the material is kept wet or encapsulated so fibers can not escape, air monitoring is conducted before, during and after, and the waste was double bagged and properly hauled off. It is very important to know if your house had asbestos in it before you begin remodeling. General contractors can not remove asbestos. Only properly trained companies can do this.

Federal regulations for use of, exposure to, and handling asbestos did not begin until the 1970's. So anyone who worked with it prior to had exposure. Asbestos is still not completely banned in the United States. There are many regulations on what can and can not be used, but it is still allowed in some instances. Visit the EPA's website to learn more.

Let's back off of the scary now, ok? How about a survival story? Heather is a survivor of mesothelioma. Visit her site to learn her story. Share her story. Asbestos Awareness Week is April 1-7. Pass on the information. The only way to be prepared, to prevent exposure, is to be educated. The website is a great place to start looking at information on mesothelioma, asbestos, exposure, etc.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day

With all the brouhaha going on today, all the girls gushing over gifts from their guys, flowers, candy, dates, etc, I sit here and smile. My husband is not one of those poor fellows struggling to decide how to impress his girl, how to surprise her, how to surpass last year, how to beat the crowd to the last bouquet of flowers because he waited until the last minute…


Years ago, maybe. But now that I am married, older, maybe wiser, I think that I would be more offended to receive flowers on Valentine’s day just because everyone else is doing it. I would rather him show me love every day. Or get me a token on any given Wednesday just because. Though, I don’t need a token, card, flower, candy to prove his love for me.  They are nice things and appreciated surprises when they happen throughout the year.


I don’t see why women insist their guy give them something on this day. Like it is owed to them. Why should you receive something on one specific day? How about a small gift after you tell your husband you are carrying his child, or better yet, after you deliver that child. Or maybe something when your first child starts school. Or other accomplishments. Or how about just because it is any given day that your guy wants to remind you he is totally, completely in love with you. Why do we celebrate one day a year to parade our love around in a show-off way?


No, this is not coming from a woman scorned or sore because I didn’t receive anything. My husband did give me a bouquet of dark chocolate bars. Even though I definitely appreciate them, and appreciate the gesture, I told him he didn’t have to do it. Then he laughed and said “That’s why I gave them to you on Wednesday (Feb 11).” Smart man.


We don’t really know much about the saint we are supposed to be celebrating on Valentine’s day. Not much is known about Saint Valentine. There are two historical stories that are similar, but different, about this Saint. One is said that he was imprisoned for helping and marrying Christian couples when it was a crime. So I can comprehend the connection of the celebration of love with Saint Valentine. I don’t know. I am just over the big balloons, stuffed animals, over-priced flowers. I will be stopping by the store to pick up some chocolate because I am a girl who likes chocolate. It is good for the soul.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Suffering is joy

So one of the books I am trying to keep up with is another devotional called Small Steps for the Catholic Mom. Each day, it gives a thought, prayer, and act. Friday’s topic was on suffering. The act for Friday was to think about one suffering in my life and offer it up to God. 

I am still having a hard time trying to think of what in my life right now would I consider as “suffering.”
The dictionary defines suffering as ‘pain that is caused by injury, illness, loss, etc.: physical, mental or emotional pain.’ The thought from St. Peter Julian Eymard, "As the result of sin, the virtues have become painful to us; we shrink from them because they mean humiliation and suffering. You do not want to be humiliated? Humiliation is an honor, suffering a joy, because Jesus Christ has placed in them true honor and true joy."

I don't feel I have any true sufferings as defined in the dictionary. Pain from illness, injury, loss... Loss... There is my pain. Miscarriage. The loss of a baby. How have I forgotten? Well, not forgotten. I saved those special days in a file, and tucked it inside deep. That time that I had prayed for and finally saw the positive pregnancy test. Those sweet few weeks when a baby nestled deep in my womb. Then after a few questionable days, the dark realization that my dream was lost, the warm feelings ripped from my heart. 

That loss nearly broke me. And I never gave that suffering to God. In my small world, closed off from others, I held it against God. I had prayed for that baby for months, and it was taken away.  "How could you do this to me?" I thought. "Am I not good enough?" I was so angry and sad. I stopped going to church. I turned away from God in my own stubbornness. I was cold towards my husband and our daughter. I was falling in a dark hole...

But somehow, my friends were able to help pull me out. They helped me to see that I was not alone in the loss. They opened my eyes to see the many other women (some I was close to) that had shared the same pain I did, and the others who had not yet been able to feel the joy I held, if even for a short time. It was hard, but I came around. In the worst day, I found out God had answered my prayer. I was pregnant again! And now I hold a beautiful 3 month old chunky little boy. 

I never offered that suffering to God. I posted about it, but never gave it up. So today I offer it up. There is a reason that my baby went to heaven too early. I may never know it. But God is the almighty, my protector, my strength. The saying "God never gives you more than you can handle," is false. God gives us hardships. But he wants us to give those hardships to him, to depend on him for help and nurturing. Only God can completely fill those holes in our hearts. So I give up my suffering to God, for he will bear it for me and through Him, I will have joy. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Nightmares and Congestion

Did you know babies can have nightmares? Sweet little innocent babies can have nightmares! Two nights in a row, H woke us with the most heart wrenching cry. Each time I quickly swooped him up hoping to calm him. The first night, I called his name after what seemed like an eternity. It was really only a minute or two. His eyes popped open and he had a confused look on his face. 
The second night he cried and cried for about 5 minutes then stopped. Each time, the cry was not a normal "I'm hungry" or "I'm gassy" cry. It turned into almost a scream cry, but it wasn't even his "I hurt" cry. We concluded he must have been having a nightmare.  About what?? What could this sweet boy dream that upset him that much??

Last night he fought an never ending congestion. We keep passing it around. Hearing Jeanne cough at night is hard enough. Hearing my 3 month old cough is terrible. We have the humidifier going, j use nasal saline on him, I put Vick's on his chest and feet. I guess it just needs to run it's course. Any other suggestions!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Parenting is hard

Let me start by saying no, no one ever said it would be easy. But with all the opinions out there, the sideways glances, and don't let me forget the "I did a much better job" looks people throw around, I can see why some people choose not to have kids!

On Christmas Eve, I hauled my two little ones to Mass as Shawn prepared dinner at home. After Mass, some guys walked past me saying, "That baby is freezing."
I replied, "I am trying to hurry," but in my mind I was thinking, "Jerk! Here I am with two kids, struggling to keep them warm while it's 20 degrees outside as we walk across the lot in the dark. Here you are judging me. Thanks for offering to help!"
Not that I would have taken it. He was a stranger. But what happened to chivalry?

Here is my beautiful baby boy napping. He looks like an angel, but all I can think is "Should I take his pacifier out since he is sleeping. Don't want him to get spoiled." As if!! Babies can't be spoiled. At least not at this age. But don't tell the older generation that! They insist you take the pacifier away, let the baby cry, don't hold it so much, etc, because you will spoil baby otherwise. 

Don't even get me started on sleeping arrangements and when/if to let baby go back to sleep on his own. No, H is not in the bed with us, but he is in a sleeper next to my bed. Jeanne was the same as a baby. I moved Jeanne to her room at 3 months. Then for three more months, I stumbled in there every time I heard her cry or to nurse her. At 6 months her pediatrician insisted I stopped nursing in the middle of the night because Jeanne was old enough. So I did. I am not ready to put Hunter in his crib yet even though he is 3 months. He and Jeanne will share a room. It will be hard enough calming him in the middle of the night, much less trying to get Jeanne back to sleep if he wakes. Plus, he has only napped in his crib a time or two. He doesn't sleep very long on his back. He sleeps better on his stomach. The thought of him being in there on his stomach will not help me sleep, so I'd rather keep him in my room a little longer, or until he sleeps for longer periods of time! 

The previous generation thinks baby should be in their own bed from day one. But they don't realize that their grandparents probably co-slept with their parents because that is all the space they had. Why are they in such a rush to let go of the baby stage??

The people who are the worst about opinions are other moms! They alone could make you feel like you are doing a terrible job and make you wonder if you are cut out for raising kids to begin with! I have learned to tune out others' opinions, but I am sure this is hard for a new mom. Breast vs. formula is the hardest argument. I personally promote breastfeeding if at all possible. But as long as you are feedin your baby, and your baby is happy, it doesn't matter!

Ok. Rant over.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sleep and stupid sayings

I'm sure you have heard this saying "Make sure you get sleep now before the baby comes..." You will hear it more towards the end of pregnancy. Such a stupid saying. You are getting up several times a night for the bathroom. How is that good sleep? And it doesn't matter how much you sleep before baby gets here. It's not like your body stores the sleep away for later when you need it.

Here is another one "Sleep when the baby does." Sure. It works if your baby is a good sleeper. And mine kinda is. But seriously, I feed him at 10 PM. He sleeps 10:30-2. I sleep 11-2 maybe, if I fall asleep quickly. Then another feeding. Then maybe sleep 3-530 (not this morning bc I couldn't fall back asleep. Then another feeding. Then in the day time, he will take 30 minute cat naps. Don't sleep much then. Stupid saying. Ok that's my rant for the day. Lol

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


So we have been adjusting to the new baby and big sister for 2 weeks now. We can only go one day at a time. Jeanne is doing good, wanting to help a little more than she needs to. We have to remind we daily about certain things she can't do. But overall, I think she is doing good with him.

For the last week, Hunter has had the fussy period each evening from ~5-10, varying each night. He is hard to calm, wanting to nurse constantly, and is hard to get to sleep. Last night, he nursed every hour-hour and a half. He would then act like I was out of milk (though it was not), and pull off getting mad. I was at the point of having Shawn fix a bottle of formula when he finally fell asleep. He won't even take a pacifier. I was at my wits end. I was certain we would be switching to formula full time today. 

I had a list of reasons to switch, including the fact that he cracked my nipple already, he fights one breast and prefers the other, I am tired of being the only one to feed him, and I hate the pump. 

But of course, my reasons to continue nursing outweigh those negative reasons. I know that nursing is the best option for us, so I will work through the rough patches. Having my husband by my side encouraging me is very helpful.