Friday, August 31, 2007

Shake Your Booty

My parents and I took Sam and Lucy to the mall on Wednesday. The place was almost deserted, so they let him run free of the stroller while Lucy and I ambled along behind them. Sam L-O-V-E-S to dance, and whenever he hears music he immediately starts breaking it down. Well, since the mall was so quiet he could hear the music playing in every store. He'd run from door to door, listening for the beat. He'd dance for a few seconds at each shop before he run looking for the next tune. My father managed to capture a bit of this insanity on his camera. No one in our house is big into dancing, so I guess he picked up these moves at Baby Loves Disco!


Click here for details on this PBN Blog Blast. Free shoes, people!

Friday, August 17, 2007

As If I Don't Divulge Enough...

Lora has tagged me for the '8 things' meme, so without further ado...

The Rules:
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.

2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.

4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

The things, in no particular order:

1. As a youth, I was in a theater group that consisted of all females. Since I was the tallest, I always had to play the male lead.

2. I hate dogs. Sorry, but it's true.

3. Because my mother made me dust our entire house every Saturday for the first 18 years of my life, I only dust my own home quarterly. It can get kind of gross sometimes, but I don't care.

4. I used to have a tattoo of a ladybug on the nail bed of my big toe. You know, the one that is missing a toenail. Unfortunately, the tattoo artist didn't go deep enough and the entire thing fell off in the shower about three weeks later. I have one little black spot to remind me of my stupidity.

5. I like big butts, and I cannot lie.

6. I occasionally let my inner sancti-mommy out when I need to vent some frustration, and I don't want to dump on someone I know and love. For example, this morning we took Sam to the Little Jumping Bean again, and this 4 year old punk kept pushing on him and even on SSIL Allison. She kindly asked him to stop, but he was all about the rough housing. His mother was parked on the couch with her nose in a magazine, and she only got up once, and that was to buy him two bags of candy and a sprite. At 10:45 in the morning. I might have made a passing comment to her about how her son was making it difficult for other children to enjoy the activities. I'm a bitch, what can I say?

7. It's incredibly easy to knock me up. I wouldn't get too close if I were you.

8. I have several 'special cups' that I must use when I'm drinking water. And you all about how I love me some water. They are big and plastic and hold a great deal of liquid. My husband thinks this is hilarious.

There you have it. Eight things. I'm not sure who to tag, because most everyone I know has done this already or was already tagged by Lora. If you haven't and you want to, by all means jump in! I'm sorry, but I'm not up for digging through archives to figure out who's been tagged!

Love, Amy

Friday, August 10, 2007

Family Fun Time!

Since we've been living in Atlanta, family time has taken a hit. We don't have a dining room or a proper table, so we don't eat together. Sam eats in his high chair and after he goes to bed we eat at the coffee table. We used to take walks together almost every day. When Sam was very wee, SOB would carry him in the bjorn thingie. Then we started strolling him around. Once he got to walking, we would stroll him to the park and let him play all crazy-like. But now? It 107 degrees every damn day, and I can't go outside for more than three seconds without collapsing into a molten puddle of progesterone. At this point, I consider it good family time if we go to the grocery store together.

I'm hoping that once we move (and we have a fun new kitchen!) we'll start eating more meals together. Sam is getting older and we can eat more of the same foods, so meal prep won't be as complicated. And the baby will be on the tit exclusively until sometime in early 2008, so her meals should be a cinch to prepare. By the time the weather starts warming up again, we can resume our family walks to the park, too, since there is a playground nearby.

And maybe, just maybe, Sam and SOB can start playing boy games together. Like catch. And Phantasy Star II. Or, if we're lucky, Boogie!

This post is brought to you in conjunction with Parent Bloggers Network & EA's Wii-Boogie, a family gaming experience. Shake it. Sing it. Create it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

My Baby Can Read, Can Yours?

Previously on The Cheese Says....Mmmmm, we reviewed the Starter DVD and the Volume 1 DVD in the Your Baby Can Read program. If you read (or re-read) my original review, you might recall my initial skepticism. And then how that skepticism was shattered in the face of a baby that would clap when shown the word 'clap' on TV.

Well, We're still going strong! Recently the people at Your Baby Can Read and the Parent Bloggers Network provided us with the Volume 2 DVD and yet more word cards, both of the regular and sliding variety. And the verdict? Sam still loves them! The songs, the kids, the cards. He loves it all. We're still operating on the same routine of watching the disc during breakfast. On weekends, we try and review the Starter DVD and Volume 1. With the help of these videos, Sam can easily identify over a dozen body parts, make multiple animal sounds and sing along to several different songs. He loves to play with the cards, and flip them around to see the words on front and back. The only trouble we've had is with the 82 double sided word cards. These aren't quite as durable as Sam's age (17 months) requires. This mistake was learned at the expense of the word 'Happy.'

While I don't think Sam is truly reading yet, I have noticed some changes since the last review. Now when we read books to him, he seems to be following along with his eyes. In some books that only have a line or two on each page, he will actually point to the words with his finger, kind of like how they do on the videos. I've tested him a few times by reciting the text from future pages before I actually turn to that page, and he will find the appropriate page for me. Also, he will often point insistently to a word he recognizes until I say it. Honestly, I find this nothing short of amazing.

Also, as much as I hate to admit this, my kid loves the TV. Dear old dad gives into his adorable requests for Sesame Street all too often, me thinks. But the Your Baby Can Read program has helped keep the peace around here on more than one occasion. As long as these DVDs are playing, I don't get nearly as pissy when I come home to find that daddy has had the TV on for hours.

As a final testimonial as to how much we enjoy and utilize these DVDs, let me tell you that before PBN contacted me about reviewing the Volume 2 DVD, I had already ordered a copy at my own expense. That's right folks, I was more than willing to part with my own dough in order to continue Sam on this program. Luckily, I have a friend who I turned on to the Your Baby Can Read program, and she was more than happy to take the extras off my hands! I also intend to show these programs to Numero Dos once she makes her presence known. Which she better do soon if she knows what's good for her.

Truthfully, I couldn't be happier with this program, and I would have never heard about it if it weren't for the PBN peeps. I'll make sure he thanks you, along with Dr. Robert C. Titzer, Ph.D. when he's receiving his (first) Nobel Prize.

Monday, August 6, 2007

You Know Your Kid Is Narcissistic When...

Sam's favorite 'story' to 'read' at bedtime is the photo album I made of the first year of his life. Guess who is prominently featured in every single photograph? This little ham!

The kid, he loves himself. Most kids his age do. So the idea of putting his face in an actual story book that we could read was almost too good to be true. But ImagiTales and the lovely folks over at the Parent Bloggers Network made my dreams a reality when they offered me three personalized children's books.

I got to work building my ImagiTales on a lonely Saturday night. The first step, and by far the most involved, is finding a digital picture of the little one (and yourself or spouse in some cases) that works well with the process. This means that the subject is looking squarely into the camera. The ImagiTales web page offers the advice that both ears should be showing. A toddler who rarely sits still for the camera is rarely photographed head-on. Actually, most of my pictures are of the back of his head. Still, I managed to find two that would work.

Once you upload the photo to the site, just follow the easy instructions on how to outline the head. Word of warning: the instructions are easy. The task, not so much. This was, for me, the most difficult portion of the program. It involves making an outline of dots around your kid's head and hair. The more close together your dots are, the finer the cutout will be. If you have even a hint of perfectionism in you, this step could take you hours. The site advises you to 'just take your time and enjoy the process,' which I may have been able to do if I had the liberty to enjoy the process with a glass of wine. But once I got the hang of it, I was able to add several heads to my 'faces library' in a reasonable amount of time.

Once I had all my faces in order, I set about making some books. There are several titles to choose from, and each comes in a Beginner version and a Standard version. Even though Sam's been religiously watching his Your Baby Can Read dvds, we went with the Beginner version. I selected I'm A Big Brother, Nature Things and My Body. After a few minutes inputing names and pronouns, the books were ready for proofing! This part was really quick and easy, so once you have your 'faces library' in order the process is pretty effortless.

As soon as you're finished, you get to see a proof copy of your book. Read it very carefully. I did not. Somehow I accidentally replaced the word 'sister' with the word 'sleeping.' One page reads, 'Daddy and Mommy hold the baby because my little baby sleeping is so little.' Another says, 'I read my favorite book to my baby sleeping.' What can I say? Pregnancy has ruined my brain.

After you verify that all of the words you entered were correct and the genders you assigned are right and proper (I also accidentally made Daddy a she on one page) you are finished! You can buy an E-book of your ImagiTales for $2.95 or a paperback version for $9.95. If you purchase a paperback, you get the E-book for free, by the way. The E-book is nice if you have a lot of folks you'd like to share with. Or if you've used a particularly funny picture of your spouse in one of the books, you can email it to all of his friends and family!

The books arrived in a very timely fashion. The site says to allow for one to two weeks, but I think ours came even sooner. More importantly, Sam ADORES these books. At bedtime, he wildly gestures to the shelf where we keep them, and as soon as we finish one he starts calling for the next. He loves to point to the pictures of himself, and when we read My Body, he even points out his real life parts as we read. We do have to keep them up on a higher shelf because they are a bit flimsy, and Sam is a ripper/shredder when it comes to paper pages. But if your kids are a little older (or have more respect for fine works of literature) then this shouldn't be an issue.

Overall, I think this is a great product. And since you can make your first E-book for free, you should really click over to the ImagiTales homepage and find out for yourself. I can't wait until Sam is grown up and we can pull these out to embarrass him in front of his prom date. He loves them so much now, I hope they last that long!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Steal This Post!

If you haven't heard about IBC from WhyMommy over at Toddler Planet, read on, and steal away!

We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of breast cancer?

I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.

Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.

Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

There is more than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.

Inflammatory breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.

You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.


P.S. Feel free to steal this post too. I’d be happy for anyone in the blogosphere to take it and put it on their site, no questions asked. Dress it up, dress it down, let it run around the place barefoot. I don’t care. But I want the word to get out. I don’t want another young mom — or old man — or anyone in between — to have to stare at this thing on their chest and wonder, is it mastitis? Is it a rash? Am I overreacting? This cancer moves FAST, and early detection and treatment is critical for survival.

Thank you.