Saturday, May 30, 2009

Almost... There...

Pete is almost done with studying for Boards!! I cannot describe how excited I am... yes, I know-- he's starting rotations and he won't be around then either, but this Boards Studying is killing me.  

In other news, my little sister is coming to nurse me back to health tomorrow.  I'm having an ulnar nerve transposition surgery done on Monday and Katie is coming to hold down the fort (A.K.A. keep Caleb from causing too much damage).    I seriously don't know what I would do without her :)  Yay for poor college student siblings who can be bribed into doing horrible things with the prospect of free food!  Katie is headed to London in a few weeks to spend a term studying abroad in Europe, so I don't really feel too badly for her... just a little.  

Then on Wednesday Pete takes his Step 1 :)  We'll be heading down to my parent's place to drop Caleb off that night and from there we will be hopping on one of these:

 Which will hopefully land safely and securely here:

So that we can stay here:

For four fantastic days and three wonderful nights.  

So yeah, Boards is hard-- but somehow, we manage to survive :)

PS... 'member how I mentioned the power of the world wide web in organizing a Memorial Day Picnic?  Apparently the WWW is powerful in many areas, such as finding incredible deals to places such as *ahem* Puerto Rico.  Thank goodness Al Gore invented the internet!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Memorial Day

For Memorial Day Pete and I decided to have some friends get together and have a cook out.

Side Note: Funny story. I was out of town Friday-Sunday and Pete was getting a lot of questions at church about the cook out on Monday. Of course he had no answers so he told people to ask me about it. As I was emailing some people back, Peter started reading the email which contained the subject line: Memorial Day. "Ohh" He exclaimed. "I couldn't figure out why you were having a cook out on Monday. It's Memorial Day! I thought you were just figuring that you would be bored on Monday.... now it makes sense." I kid you not. Even worse? This kid is in the NAVY people! Of all holidays he should at least know this one! Boards is really starting to rot his brain. End of Side Note.

So, yeah, we used the glory of the world wide web, sent out an email to some friends and told them to bring a side and we would bring the hamburgers and hot dogs. It was a good lesson to me in making things easy. I didn't go out of my way to do anything special, but it still turned out great! Everything went really well thanks to our good friends Julie and Brent

(another side note: they have a daughter named Aubrey and I always always always refer to them as Brent and Aubrey-- like my friends from Freshman year-- and Pete looks at me like, why the heck are you talking about their daughter.)

who saved the day with their grill! We were about to load our up into the car to head over to the park when we realized that it was chained to our front porch and we don't know where the key is... oh well. That's what happens...

Anyway, we had a great time! Thanks to everyone who came out to spend the day with us!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Costs of povery

Believe it or not, he's still alive! A Post from Pete:

There is an interesting article in the Washington Post today about poverty. It takes the stance that you have to be rich to be poor. When you are "rich" you can drive to cheaper grocery stores, have access to banks to avoid check cashing fees, you have washer and dryers... When you are poor, you have to pay to have access to luxuries such as washers and dryers, etc. When you are Rich, you can save money by driving to Costco, when you are Poor, you only have the expensive corner store. Studies have shown that groceries are close to 30% more expensive in Poor neighborhoods because no one can afford to drive to a cheaper store (no competition).

One of the things that I have been thinking a lot about lately that is addressed in this article is "Food Deserts." I was driving by a corner store that claimed to be a grocery store in an economically depressed part of north Philly. On the awning it listed things that it describes as groceries, "Candy, ice cream, snacks, cheese stakes." There was no mention of bread, milk, cheese (except in a cheese stake) or eggs.

There is a coming epidemic of Obesity and Type II diabetes in this country. I am not suggesting that obesity is limited to poor urban environments or that all Type II Diabetics got that way from diet problems, but its pretty hard to avoid these health problems when you don't have access to proper nutrition. Since Type II Diabetes comes partly from eating foods high in sugar, it's not surprising that there are much higher rates of diagnosis in communities that only have access to processed foods. Type II is no joke-- it results in blindness, amputations, loss of sensation in limbs and just about every other health problem you can think of.

It is no secret when driving through north Philly you see more fast food than grocery stores. When driving through Ardmore, (a rich suburb of Philly) you see places like Food Source (think Whole Foods meets Nordstroms) and only the occasional fast food restaurant.

I don't know what the solution to this problem of poverty and access to food is. There are never easy solutions to poverty because it has so many facets. What I am growing to realize more and more, is that there are 2 separate worlds (perhaps 3 if we divide rich, middle class, and poor). The Rich have Food Source, the Middle Class have supermarkets, and the Poor have corner stores.

The same breakdown of Rich, Middle Class, Poor can be seen in almost every other aspect of life

*Investment banks, neighborhood banks, check cashing
*No interest loans, normal loans, loans with interest rates approaching 1000%
*Boutique doctors offices, family practice docs, Emergency Room
*Mercedes, Toyota, City bus
*Harvard, Temple, Community College
*Early retirement (to a nice, warm, tropical climate), 65 retirement (to your kid's spare bedroom), Walmart Greeter
*Melting Pot, Friendly's, KFC

I guess the biggest obstacle to change is the fact that the Rich are the ones making the decisions about the programs and policies that affect the Poor. I would submit that there is very little that these 3 classes know about the way the other ones live.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Don't Sweat It

Here are some pictures from Caleb's Sweat Test at CHOP.

It was pretty easy-- they shocked his skin (just a little) and then placed a special paper on both his arms. They wrapped his arms in heated blankets and 30 minutes later they took the paper and sent it off to be tested. We should get the results back this week!

I know this was supposed to be the last test, but they decided to go ahead and do both an upper and lower endoscopy. That'll happen on Friday. THAT should be the end!! Yay!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Only the Bad

Today I saw a man wearing maternity shorts. He was about 65 years old, and had a serious beer gut. Note to self: Maternity clothes are never the answer to a clothing crisis.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Only the Good

*all pictures taken by Danica Nelson Photography
I feel like lately we've had so many posts about the things going wrong with Caleb that we are in desperate need to have a post all about things going well for the kid.

About three weeks ago, Caleb started saying his first words. A little bit of a late bloomer, Caleb all of a sudden started saying five words at once. One day he walked over to Charlie, pointed to him, and said "Baby." Except that he says it with this hick accent so that it sounds like bebe. It's pretty cute. He also says, buhbye, uh-oh, all done, all gone, hi, ball, book, mimi (I like to think this is his way of saying mama, but it might just be blabber) and dada. Along with a lot of his own language, which must make perfect sense to him since he uses the same "words" all the time.

Caleb is full on running these days. It's so cute to see him toddle after his ball (his favorite). He loves to play fetch, which makes him more and more like a little puppy, but it's his game, not mine :)

One of his other favorite things to do it play hide-n-go seek. He started doing this last week at the hospital. He would hide behind the machines and I would come around and surprise him. We play this for about 30 minutes each day and he is always shocked to find me, even though I hide on the stairs 100% of the time.

Caleb also LOVES to read books. We brought down his book shelf into his playroom so that he could play with them more. While this has cause endless hours of putting books away, it has also brought many smiles. I'll come into the room and he'll be sitting there, surrounded by books, holding one of them (usually upside down haha) and blabbering to himself. It's so cute to see him "reading."

Mostly though, he loves to play. His favorite playground equiptment is the slide and his favorite toy is a ball, which he'll kick for you if you ask him. He's out of control when it comes to dancing (I'll have to post a video sometime, it's crazy funny) and he will jump on command. He loves to point out other "babies" who are usually two to three years older than him. He's starting to go down stairs properly and is pretty proud of himself when he can pull it off.

All in all, he's a rather normal toddler. He makes us laugh and we can hardly stop ourselves from giving in to his rather insessent demands, which usually revolve around oreos. He may not look like me, but he sure is my son!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


We found out after the Enema on Thursday that Caleb has "extra loops" of bowel. Apparently this is causing the bleeding and other GI problems. We're not really sure what this means yet, but we're going to finish the "full work-up" and then we'll discuss our options at that point. For now, Caleb is doing just fine and seems to be adjusting to his daily medications really well.

Thanks to those of you who have been such great friends while we try to sort this whole thing out. We really appreciate everyone's concern and support!