I’ve Moved: Visit Loudoun Proud

I’m no longer updating this blog.  Please check out my new blog, “Loudoun Proud: My Life in Suburbia” at locoloca.wordpress.com. 

Hope to see you there!

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Update on Kidney Transplant – Great News!

I’m happy to report that my friend’s two-year-old daughter, whose kidney transplant from her father went horribly wrong when the kidney was damaged during surgery, received a healthy kidney from a deceased donor last week.  The toddler is doing great; her medical team says they’ve never seen a deceased donor kidney do so well.

The sad part of this story is that the kidney is from a nine-year-old child who obviously lost her life.  This child and his or her family have given an amazing gift by donating these organs.


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Egg-Free Waffles

Looking for an egg-free waffle recipe?  Just use Bisquick with the following substitution: 1 Teaspoon baking powder, 1 Tablespoon water + 1 Tablespoon vinegar (added as the last ingredient) = 1 egg. 

You can make them vegan or dairy-free by using soy milk.

You won’t be able to taste the difference!

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Kidney Transplant Gone Wrong

My friend’s two-year-old daughter was scheduled for a kidney transplant last week.  She is a miracle baby who barely survived birth following a placental abruption.  She’s now a sunny toddler with a smile from ear to ear.   

The girl’s last major physical challenge is her kidneys, which only operate at about 25%.  This makes eating and growing difficult.  She has been on dialysis for the last year until she was big enough to receive an adult kidney.  Her father was a good match, and they scheduled the transplant for May.  A large hospital in Philadelphia, two hours from home, was the nearest choice where the surgeons were excellent and the family’s insurance was accepted. 

The transplant was going to be rough.  There were dozens of tests and multiple trips to Philly leading up to the surgery.  The dad’s incision would go from his belly button to the small of his back to harvest the kidney.  He would be unable to work or leave the house for six weeks post-surgery.  Under no circumstances could the girl get sick, so the family kept out of public places prior to the surgery and expected to be completely quarantined for six weeks after the transplant.  After the surgery the girl would need to make the four-hour round trip to Philly twice a week for six weeks, then weekly for six weeks more.  For the rest of her lift she would need to travel there monthly. 

Of course there were risks involved in the surgery.  The girl could reject the kidney.  The girl or father could have a reaction to the anesthesia.  With immunosuppressants pummeling her immune system, any kind of infection could be devastating for the girl.   

Each element of her treatment had potential danger. Nine percent of the participants in the pilot study for the girl’s drugs developed cancer, although the doctors assured her parents that this type of cancer was “very treatable.” 

Despite a thorough understanding of the associated risks, no one expected what actually happened:  the father’s kidney was damaged during removal.  A week later, the doctors are saying that this appears to have been due to human error on the part of the transplant team.   

The first kidney transplant was performed over fifty years ago, in 1954.  16,905 kidney transplants were performed in the US in 2004.  That’s forty-six a day.  There has been plenty of time and opportunity to work out the kinks.  And after all the tests, meetings, preparation, quarantines, and prayers, this specialized transplant team damaged that beautiful, healthy, perfectly-matched kidney.  Unbelievable. 

In part, this is so hard since it was unexpected.  The family was prepared for the worst, but not for this kind of mistake.  And what about the sheer waste of this effort and sacrifice?  The dad has lost his kidney – involving six weeks of recovery where he can’t drive in a car or pick up either of his daughters (they also have a one-year-old)  – for nothing.  Considerably less than nothing, really. 

The family is in a tailspin trying to figure out what to do next.  Can they trust their transplant team?  If not, what are their options, since the next nearest choice would be farther than driving distance.  Should they consider non-related living donors?  Should they go for grandma’s scarred kidney, which was the only other related match? 

The family is absolutely amazing.  The day after the surgery they were already looking forward and trying to come to terms with what they saw as God’s will.  They aren’t focusing on anger, but rather on solutions.  I thank God that they have this faith; I’m not sure how they would cope without it.  To be honest, I can’t believe how well they are coping with it.   

A mutual friend remarked that we only live truly in the moment at two times in our lives:  when we are newly, head over heels in love, and when we are grieving.  We, the family and friends of this precious little girl, experienced that last week.  I could practically hear that community’s gasp when we read the family’s blog the night of the surgery.  It literally took my breath away, and then brought me to tears.   I couldn’t think about anything else for quite a while; I was “in the moment” in the worst way.

We are strangers, many of us, but we are united in support for this family and love for this little girl.  The safety net that we have woven together is incredibly strong and inspiring for all of us.  We grieved together for the bad news of this setback, but now we look forward hopefully to the next step towards recovery.  I hope to have better news very soon. 

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Call for Kindergarten Teachers

I need your help! 

I’m interviewing kindergarten teachers to find out what advice they have for parents.  Kindergarten varies tremendously from school to school and state to state, but I think that there are some universal truths that apply to teaching kids this age. 

Here are some sample questions:

n      What do you want parents to know?

n      How do boys and girls act and learn differently at this age?

n      How can parents help kindergarten teachers?

n      What are some common developmental stages at this age?

n      What is the hardest thing for kids to manage when starting school?

n      What are some of your best teaching tips and tricks? 

If you are a teacher and wouldn’t mind chatting with me for a few minutes, I’d love to interview you!  I’m hoping to talk to at least a hundred teachers, and talk to someone from all fifty states. 

If you’re interested, please write a comment and I’ll get in touch with you. 

Thanks very much!!!

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Baby Fashion Gifts Blog

Here’s a great site for high-end products for moms, babies, and toddlers.  http://babyfashiongifts.blogs.com/baby_fashion/  

I wish I’d read about the Bebe Au Lait Nursing Cover a few months ago when I was exclusively breastfeeding!  Those Baby-Gami swaddle blankets look great too – so cute!

Don’t forget to check out new products even if you’re not a first time mom.  There are some great new products that have come along in the four years since my first child was born.  Time flies!!

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Sticky Fingers Bakery

The Sticky Fingers Bakery in Washington DC is a great resource for vegans or food allergy sufferers.  They specialize in sweets, and they just opened up a Vegan Café with sandwiches, coffee, and free wi-fi. 

Everything at Sticky Fingers is vegan, and thus egg and dairy-free.  Here’s the info from their site:

• 100% vegan (contain no animal-derived ingredients)
• Dairy/lactose-free
• Egg-free
• Cholesterol-free
• Lower in saturated fat
• Made with heart-healthy soy
• Sweetened primarily with evaporated cane juice
• Made with non-hydrogenated oils

Check out www.stickyfingersbakery.com  

Sticky Fingers is located near the Columbia Heights metro.

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Recycling – List of Things To Recycle

I was curious about what I can recycle via my neighborhood’s recycling program.  Turns out I could have been recycling a lot more than I have been!  

Many communities in Northern Virginia, like mine, contract their recycling out to CSI Disposal and Recycling Services.  This includes Reston, Leesburg, and Loudoun County communities like Lansdowne, Cascades, and Countryside.  You’ve probably seen (and heard!) their big red trucks.  http://www.csidisposal.com/   

With CSI, residents put their unsorted recyclables out for pickup.  CSI staff then manually (yes, a human being does this!) sorts through the recyclables, discarding the trash that can’t be recycled. I didn’t realize how many things could be recycled. 

I called CSI and a very nice woman gave me the following list of recyclables:

  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Plastics – #1 and #2 only (look on the bottom of the container)
  • Metal food and beverage containers, like aluminum cans
  • Paper – newspapers, magazines, loose paper, junk mail, etc.
  • Cardboard, like packing, cereal, and shoe boxes, and milk cartons

The city of Leesburg has a great detailed list of do’s and don’ts for recycling.  The CSI rep said that their rules are the same at every site, so the Leesburg site should apply to anyone whose neighborhood uses CSI. 

Here’s the Leesburg site:  http://www.leesburgva.gov/Services/Trash/recycling/ 

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Summer Tips: Swimsuits, Razor Bumps, and Sunscreen

Here are a few tips to celebrate the start of summer. 

1) Land’s End has “slenderizing” swimsuits designed to make you look a size smaller.  I went with the “Control Separates Swim Mini” since I need some extra help this year, only six months after my third C-section.  The “Hi-neck Slender Swimsuit” did a good job on my mid-section, but the solid color didn’t do enough to camouflage.   

Sears has a Land’s End section in their retail stores.  They have several suits, but not all the styles and colors that I wanted.  If you don’t find what you want there you can order at the Land’s End kiosk in the Sears store to avoid shipping charges.   

2)  Use Tend Skin lotion to prevent razor bumps.  My OB/GYN recommended this to me, and it really works (if you remember to use it.)  Use it at least once a day and you won’t get ingrown hairs.  You can find it online, at Sephora, or at high-end spas. 

3) I highly recommend continuous spray sunscreen.  I prefer the transparent, no-rubbing-required kind; the lotion kind requires rubbing and can be drippy.  Wal-mart has the best deals; you can find it for under $7.  My kids have very fair skin, so the continuous spray saves me about three minutes per kid per day!

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On Crocs…

My kids and I love our Croc shoes.  My two-year-old daughter and I have purple ones and my four-year-old son has sea blue ones.  Yes, technically they are ugly, but what they lack in style they make up for in personality!

 I like that the kids can wear them without socks, thus reducing the amount of time I spend hunting for, putting on, and washing socks.  With three kids this time and effort can really add up! 

They are also easy to clean.  Last year I bought Serena some huarache sandals that smelled horrible by the end of the summer.  My sweet little angel had feet that smelled like a turd wrapped in burnt hair, to quote Anchorman.  Crocs are bacteria and odor resistant, and you can wipe them down with bleach. 

One word of warning:  I was told that they are top shelf dishwasher-safe.  They even mention this on the Crocs site:  http://www.crocs.com/consumer/news_details/208194/.  I did this and they came out at least one half size smaller, so watch out! 

I bought our Crocs at Nordstrom for $24.95.  They’re the same price at www.crocs.com, but you avoid the $8 for shipping.  I also found kids’ Crocs at Dick’s Sporting Goods, but they were $5 more and they didn’t have the sizes and colors that I needed. 

p.s.  If you decide to order from Dick’s, note that their website is www.dickssportinggoods.com.  I thought it was just dicks.com and got a nasty surprise.  My son was with me, and I just about had a heart attack.  Thank God they had a warning page saying that it was an adult site.

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