Thursday, April 30, 2009

Eco Friendly Thank You's

Big events seem to garner big carbon footprints lately, and in an effort to stem some of this, I opted to send online thank you's to those who I thought would be receptive to the idea. And they very much were (receptive that is!). I did send paper thank you's as well to many attendees, but overall, what do we do with invitations and thank you notes at the end of the day, or month, or year? Toss 'em, if we're lucky at least we're tossing them in the paper recycling container. So, I wanted to direct others to a good source for online thank you's. Hallmark Online Thank You Cards offer many excellent (and free) options. Of these, the ones I utilized were "Never Ending Thanks," "You're Awesome," "Baby Shower," and "Many Thanks." Another option found on this page that I utilized as a user for the first time was the one listed "Flower Thanks" which indicates that you can add a photo. This is through a program called Smilebox which I was introduced to through a parent group at school which utilizes these as a different way to send reminders out to families and teachers utilizing pictures and captions. The ability to import a picture specific to the event makes the card even more personalized for the recipient. Another option is to email/share a scrapblog that you create. This can be a bit more time consuming, but offers many options for personalization and creativity. Check out this example. So, save some paper on thank you's and birthday cards and don't forget about Evite when planning your next event. Save money, time...and the Earth!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pre-Natal Update

We had our doctor's appointment tonight and got some clarification about the current position of the placenta. Right now, it is 3 millimeters away from where it needs to be for a safe delivery. It is 1.7 cm from the cervix and it needs to be 2 centimeters away, so we're very close and anticipate no issues. The next ultrasound is scheduled for two weeks from now and we'll get an even better idea then. On other news, baby's head is down - does that normally happen already? Though, I'm pretty sure she's still moving and grooving all over the place at this point, or was her flipping what I felt the other night, hmm? Either way, that's more good news. She's so smart already - she knows the way out of here! And last, I'll be getting the glucose test some time this week or next, whenever I can make it to the lab, really. Other than that, we've still got business as usual in the Zschunke house. Busy, busy, busy. Things will slow down soon when school is done...right before they speed up when baby arrives.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Week 28

A day late and a dollar short...with posting this one. This weekend we had record breaking heat with temperatures in the mid 90s! So, naturally on Sunday we went for a hike in Livezy (a part of Fairmount) and then went for a walk (complete with an ice cream cone - yum!) in Chestnut Hill. I also made my first purchase of shorts to recognize the occasion of a heat wave occurring in the same month that started out with snow. What are the chances of that in PA? Honestly though, I love summer-like weather, so I'm enjoying this - at least right now. We'll see how I feel when the "real" summer gets here I guess. As for last week's day of sciatica, that's all it was - one day. Again, I feel truly blessed to have a better understanding of pregnancy symptoms without having to deal with a full blown case of them. And once again, I'll knock on wood as I'm sure that now that I've put this down in print, it will rear its ugly head. Baby continues to be-bop around inside her current home and others have been able to feel her kicks as well. Our doctor's appointments are now spaced every two weeks so we'll be visiting the doctor's again this Wednesday. I have more posts planned (if I get to the computer for such frivolous fun) for paraben free sunscreen and online thank you cards, a way to save time, money, and the earth by using less paper. Stay tuned.
Now you see me...
and now you don't (well sort of - a girl can be delusional).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Day

"I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees."

Who speaks for the trees these days? I'd like to think I do, but I still do use a good bit of paper being a first grade teacher. I stress using both sides and recycling, but still. We read today in Scholastic News about a school in Arizona that won an award for being the greenest in the nation. One day, I envision schools where we compost, recycle, grow our own food, stress packing in re-usable bags, and go paper-less as much as possible. It certainly does change the school environment, but I'd say for the better!

Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Week 27

Baby is still the size of an eggplant for one more week, though judging by today's new symptom of sciatica (sp?), she sure does know how to throw her weight around! Next week will start the third trimester, and yesterday (4/19) was exactly three months from Baby's due date. I just can't believe it!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baby Shower

Today was my family and friends baby shower and boy, was I surprised!  The shower was at Cafe LaFontana in Hatboro and I thought I was meeting up with my sister - in - law for lunch.  As it turns out, she was playing in a concert today in Millersville (I hope everything went well there too).  Everything was beautiful and it was so nice to see so many friendly faces in one place.  The food was fabulous too.  Everyone was incredibly generous and sweet.  This baby is going to be so well dressed and well read!  Oh, and if anyone needs any baby shower gift bags, please call me before purchasing a new one - I have quite a selection now sitting in the baby's closet and I'd be happy to share.  I want to thank everyone for coming and being a part of this special day.  And, another pleasant surprise was waiting for me when I got home.  Jeff and his friend Seth put the crib together and it looks awesome!  

I'll add some pictures tomorrow from the shower- as well as this week's belly picture.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cradles to Crayons

This morning, I had the awesome opportunity to volunteer at a site located right here in Horsham called Cradles to Crayons.  It is literally within walking distance of my home (seriously, I know because I walked there!), and I didn't even know it existed!  A fellow Shippensburg alumni suggested this as a project for the alumni association and organized a group to participate and help out there.  The mission involves collecting donated items (clothing, toys, school supplies, materials, etc), sorting them, and distributing them to children in the 5 county area (Philadelphia, Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, and Delaware) who live below the poverty line for free.  The work stations are organized in such a way that it makes it very easy to help.  During the course of the morning, I checked clothing for quality (no holes, stains, etc) and sorted it according to age group.  With my fold down experience from the GAP, and my penchant for organization on the shelves, this was an ideal task for me.  Then, on to the toy area where you get to test out toys (make sure they work), clean them, check for missing parts, and sort them into appropriate age groups.  I took on the job of counting 1000 piece puzzle pieces and I actually counted one puzzle that was not missing pieces, but had magically acquired more - it had 1027 pieces.  I look forward to (hopefully) encouraging others to try this out through group trips in the future as well as stopping by during the volunteer hours that fall on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month.  If you're interested in more information on this worthwhile volunteer opportunity, check out the link above.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Week 26 Ultrasound Photos

Look at that perfect button nose! And a smart brain too :)

Yapping away again...we're not going to sleep, are we?

Playing peek a boo - thanks for giving us a peek, baby!
If you look closely, this is baby's face (eyes, nose, mouth) with her arms on either side of her head - that's actually her right elbow up near the top and a strong heartbeat.

Ultrasound Sound Off

We had our 26 week ultrasound last night to check on (speaking of...) the placenta positioning. A condition called placenta previa occurs when the placenta is blocking the cervix, and for those of you who are unaware, that would really get in the way of traffic when it comes time for baby to make her big move. Right now, the placenta is still considered low-lying, but not creating a traffic jam just yet. When the placenta is low-lying, the doctors like to keep a close eye and hope for some upward movement. So, I'll be headed back under the wand in 4 weeks at 30 weeks for another ultrasound and Mama (my mama) is excited because she'll get to witness this one as well. This is not all bad...really. There is no danger to baby and the worst case scenario is that I would have to get a c-section instead of having a natural birth. I've talked to lots of people where the placenta was initially low-lying and did make "the move" to get out of the way and allow for a natural birth and, of course, that's what I hope for. At the same time, I resign myself to whatever will be as this is just one of those things over which I don't have control (no matter how hard I try :) On the super-positive side, baby still has a healthy heartbeat and a great smile. Pictures will probably be coming tomorrow and we have another dinosaur shot. She (oh yeah, she's definitely a she, without getting into too much anatomical discussion and embarrassing my poor fetus) looked to be yawning at first, but then appeared to be chattering away - again, I wonder where she gets that trait??

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Plant a Placenta Tree

WARNING: NOT for the faint of heart. Jeff R. - you will probably appreciate this. Planting a tree might be nice, but where? We aren't in our "next house" yet where we'll plan to stay for considerably longer, but I don't imagine Jeff Z will appreciate having this in the freezer in the meantime. Decisions, decisions :)

Afterbirth Ideas

Monday, April 13, 2009

Guilt Trips Galore

Permanent Damage

Because mothers didn't have enough to worry about already.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Week 26

Baby is continuing to kick through the day and night, just a preview of what's to come, I think. Baby is still the size of an eggplant through the 28th week. We have an ultrasound on Tuesday, so hopefully we'll have some more baby photos to post after that.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Where is Spring?

I am a warm weather gal through and through and I really can't wait for the warm weather to be upon us...for multiple reasons this year, I suppose, as that will also signal that we are that much closer to baby's arrival!  My "spring break" seems to be getting colder and rainier each year.  Typically, we try to get away, even if for a short time, but this year and for the foreseeable future, that is not really in our best financial interests, so a stay-cation it has been.  I feel that a lot was accomplished this week, including relaxation at times.  Now, with the return to work on Monday, blogging time may become more scarce, but I'll do my best to at least post once a week and perhaps more if there is more exciting news to share.  For example, this Tuesday will be our 26 week ultrasound and appointments will be more and more frequent after that: every two weeks, and as we approach baby's arrival, appointments will come every week.  So, stay tuned!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Doctor Decision Day

It has been a busy week full of baby decisions and today was no exception. We had our last scheduled pre-natal pediatrician consultation today. This week, we met with four different pediatric practices and each had pros and cons. To start the search, I asked anyone in the area with kids who they use/like/don't like in the world of pediatrics and narrowed down that way. Of the four that we met with, I had an idea from the start of the one that I would like the most...and I didn' all. Overall though, each had pros and cons and at first, I went with my gut, then I doubted myself, then I went with my big topic, then I doubted can see where this is going. So, just now...I made a chart. I plotted out each of the points that I asked about and gave each practice a plus, a minus, or an equal for topics which the answers were virtually identical. With that handy chart, I counted up the pluses, and ranked the docs. Certainly not a scientific method, but one that was slightly more encompassing than my thinking of just one topic and its sole importance. For, if that were truly the case, I would have only had to ask one question and as any of these doctors (and my husband) can tell you, that was not the case. So, rather than dwell on those that didn't make the cut, let me tell you about the practice that we chose and why.

Margiotti and Kroll Pediatrics got pluses from us in all of the following categories: distance, website/brochure, specialties, evening and weekend hours, same day sick apps, well visit scheduling flexibility, response time after hours, parenting techniques, office and waiting room cleanliness and aesthetics, wait time, staff, friendliness and communication, and parking. Margiotti and Kroll would have been too far for us even recently, but they have added an office in Warrington that is both convenient, and as a new office, not too trafficked with other patients. As it is a new office, it's aesthetically nice and clean. On staff, they have 4 doctors, 2 nurse practitioners, and 2 physicians assistants, as well as a lactation consultant, educational pyschologist, and a nutritionist. They offer ample evening and weekend hours, and this was the only office where we heard that you could schedule well visits with as little as 24 hours notice. Now, knowing myself - that's highly unlikely, but still - good to know. Also, a highly accessible, interactive, and informative website make the practice all the more appealing. In this technological age, it was surprising to me how many practices don't have operating websites and interfaces for parents who will likely end up at an online source that may not be trusted by their pediatrician in a panic.

Now, you may be wondering about my "big topic." Vaccinations. Tricky business. I am an advocate for spacing out vaccinations in an alternative schedule than that which is endorsed by the AAP. I am not indicating that I plan to not vaccinate. Much to the contrary, I plan to get all the same vaccinations, just a little more spread out so that 5 aren't being administered in one day. Now, I know that there is evidence to support this practice and to indicate that there is no harm. But, what's the harm in spreading them out a little? Each shot gives a little bit of that sickness and when you're getting 5 at a time, that's a lot. I'm more than willing to come in more often in order to achieve this goal. Two of the practices we visited were happy and willing to accommodate this, and one was not at all flexible on the point. M and K were supportive of the AAP schedule, but recognize that ultimately parents make the decision. While I don't want to be seen as "that mom" this is an area that I feel pretty strongly about due to both my background working with children and families with their own stories that claim to have been affected by vaccines and my own research and reading. I am not a doctor, and I recognize that. I understand why doctors feel strongly in the way that they do, and I respect that.

If you are interested in more of the nitty gritty details, or are conducting your own search of pediatricians, and would like some of the leg-work, post a comment or email - I'm more than happy to share what I can to make anyone's life a little easier.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Diaper Decision Day

So, today was intended to be diaper decision day, but there are SO many options! I've taken into account advice I've gotten from others and I think I've got it narrowed down. Any feedback is greatly appreciated! I'm planning to do a hybrid between g-diapers and cloth diapers with covers. I've heard that Fuzzi-Buns and other pocket diapers can leak, so I'm trying to stay away from any leak-ers, though I do realize this is also going to be an inevitably messy process. So, I think I'll do regular plain-old cloth diapers as the all-in-ones and pocket diapers are also a good deal more expensive and I've been reading up on a process called elimination communication (a friend uses this method, so I'm not totally alone :) that I'd like to try which would make the investment in more expensive diapers a silly one indeed. So, I'm narrowed down to Bumkins Covers and Bummis Covers which are available at Green Mountain Diapers , Katie's Kisses , Baby Bunz , Baby Works, and Diaper Safari. Of those sites, Baby Bunz seems to have the best deal for the covers and Baby Works wins for the biggest rip-off. All the prices were relatively comparable, and when it comes down to it, I may have to weigh if I can get all items on one site for the best overall price inclusive of shipping. I'll certainly keep you all posted as I know you're on the edge of your seats about this. Taking another look at my list, surprisingly Bumkins covers were available at both Diaper Safari and Baby Works for less than their home site...interesting.

On to wipes! Baby Bunz also found the lowest price for flannel wipes at .82 each once the prices and quantities are broken down. The highest price for wipes was found at Green Mountain for the premium wipes (I guess the name is fitting then) at 1.39 a piece.

And, as for actual diapers - Baby Bunz, unfortunately, did not have the best deal on actual diapers. That one goes to Diaper Safari where it broke down to 1.25 a piece.

I hope that this comparison proves helpful for others and if you're interested in more of the nitty gritty details, just post a comment or email me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It Must Be Me

Last week, I had plans to attend Chris Jordan's "Running the Numbers" a Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation event, but Chris had a medical emergency (I hope everything's ok) and instead was replaced by Jerry Linenger, an astronaut and environmentalist. Still pretty cool - but different. Chris Jordan was a speaker that I didn't have a lot of background knowledge about, but was looking forward to learning more about and hearing his message. Dr. Linenger's planned speaking topic: A View From Above of the Water Planet: A Unique Perspective on the Environment and its description sounds like it would match the audience well, but either Dr. Linenger deviated from his plan, or simply didn't feel that he had enough time to present his speaking points. He did discuss living in a closed ecosystem and told a few stories about getting into and being in space, but did not address as indicated in the description how to address change in our environmental policy and how to be environmental stewards. In fact, he did mention something that sort of bothered me. He witnessed a volcano erupting in the middle of the ocean and the ash and dust spewing over a huge area as opposed to the small black blip being created by a coal plant. Now, in my opinion - one we can control and one we can't. One - we understand the impact, the other we don't. That volcano's eruption may very well have a positive impact on the ecosystem around it, but the coal emissions being created, which could be SEEN FROM SPACE, no matter how small in relation to a volcanic eruption, do not. Not on the people who live in the surrounding area, or the people who work in the plant. Granted, they have a job...a job that may/will kill them. I understand that Dr. Linenger was asking members of the audience to look at the big picture, but I strongly disagree with the point I believe he was trying to make with this particular off hand comment.

With that said, I felt badly about the last minute switch, because I feel that he is a valuable resource and had adults or the parents of children with a strong interest in space known he would be coming, I feel the turnout would have been much stronger and he would have felt, perhaps, more comfortable as well.

Now, this is not the first time something like this has happened. I also saw James Carville and Mary Matalin through HHEF, but about two years prior, I planned to see Morgan Spurlock and he was cancelled and not only that, a national news story emerged! I can't wait to see who's coming next year.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jeff!

Check out all the fun I had creating some home-made gifts for my hubby.

A scrapbook page from Scrapblog Poetry Blender

ImageChef Word Mosaic -

Word Art from Image Chef

Image hosted @

Hockney-izer at Big Huge Labs

Image hosted @

Press Pass at Big Huge Labs

Image hosted @

Puzzle Maker at Big Huge Labs

Image hosted @

Warholizer at Big Huge Labs

Image hosted @

Trading Cards at Big Huge Labs

Image hosted @

Photo Mosaic at Big Huge Labs

Monday, April 6, 2009

Earth Hour

Earth Hour happened, quite some time ago now...but I wanted to get back to that. My sister was in town, and March Madness was midway through, but still, I insisted upon no power for one hour. Ha - that rhymed! Sheila, Jeff and I played Racko by candlelight and truly enjoyed each other's company, not that we don't always. Then it was back to reality...clothes to wash, dishes to be done, and basketball scores to catch. But, I'd like to make Earth Hour an event that occurs more than once a year in our home.

Back to Better Blogging...Catch Up

Hello! I've been bad about updating in a timely fashion, but with spring break this week, I'm hoping to post one a day that will catch up some events that have happened over the past two to three weeks and encompass this week as well. Though, I'll try not to put up more than one a day. That's my usual catch up faux-pas. I put up everything in separate posts, but all in one day, so I'll try to avoid that...except for two today, of course. So, stay tuned!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Week 25

Baby is now the size of an eggplant! Getting pretty big now...

All dressed up with somewhere to was one of my college roomate's, Melissa's, wedding shower in Bedford PA. Baby has been kicking more consistently. This morning saw the return of some morning sickness, but it really was isolated to the morning. The way I figure, if I had one day in the first trimester, I can have one day in the end of the second trimester. I'll keep you all posted as to whether that is the reality or not, but in the mean time I'll plan to take my prenatal vitamins at night instead of in the mornings. Still, with that said, I've had a pretty good run.