Random Thoughts: The Sometimes Perspective is Hard Edition

I will be the first person to tell you that I am incredibly blessed.

However, even first world problems are problems, and problems cause stress.

Kate has been sick since Sunday (well, it feels like she’s been sick since 2014 started…). Fever, more coughing, ear aches. Trip to pediatrician yesterday got her a prescription for antibiotics.

Her ears are full of crud. I spoke with her teacher yesterday, and she commented that Kate doesn’t seem to be hearing her well lately. And my MIL had said the same thing the day before.

Kate didn’t go to school yesterday, either, which was stressful because we actually managed to get her up, in her uniform, and to school — late. And the in the school office, she just crumpled. Her ear hurt, she didn’t feel good, so on and so forth.

I couldn’t take the day off work because I had two important meetings — one of which was my review. So, nope, not taking time and not taking my sick child to work (which I have done; she spent the day literally under my desk watching shows on Netflix). So instead I took her home, gave her medicine, and took her to Dan’s office.

My annual review was stellar. I completed 312 projects last year, including a 100-page catalog. That’s a lot.

And yes, I did get a raise. It is minimal, but it is a raise. My boss gave me credit for having the courage to ask. I don’t know if I get this credit because I’m the only one who asked, or if I’m a woman, or both.

Here are things I stressed about yesterday that only prove how lucky I am:

1. Getting to work late, because of sick child. (I have a job, child is not THAT sick, other two children are healthy; why stress?)

2. Caring about getting to work late — this is the societal pull of guilt nipping at me. My job is important to me for reasons above and beyond money. My children are my world, but I can’t be a SAHM. I did it; I was bad at it.

3. My annual review. I’ve been working my ass off, though. This was almost reflexive stress that comes from being in a position of being evaluated. Plus, I would learn the status of my raise. My boss called me brave for having asked.

Aside: My husband, when I told him my boss called me brave, said, “I watched you deliver a baby for four days. This is not your bravest action!” However, he also told me he was proud of me and congratulated me.

4. I also worried about the evening pickup: it varied from our norm because Kate was at Dan’s office and because Flora had soccer practice. I was out of the house for 12 hours yesterday, not counting the 10 minutes I stopped back there with Kate to give her medicine. That’s a long day. But: I have a healthy daughter who likes to play soccer, and a school that offers her the opportunity.

5. My children (Michael and Kate) were not well-behaved little angels at Panera, which is where we went to dinner while Flora was at soccer practice. They weren’t exactly demons, and I did my best to corral them — I can still pick M up! — but it was still a stressful 45 minutes. I worried that people would judge me for letting them watch videos on my phone to keep them quieter. But hey: I can take my children out to dinner, I have a mobile phone.

6. Money. Because I stress about that. That, too, is a reflex.

Do you catch yourself stressing then counting your blessings?

Oh My Kate

For Kate, 2014 so far has been the year of viruses. She has had the endless cough (still has it — it’s endless!), random fevers, vomiting, and on top of all that, she’s currently harboring a double ear infection (probably; scheduling an appointment with the pediatrician later today).

She’s been waking up at night; she is still having separation anxiety (if you ask me — again, she is wholly undiagnosed, which means I’m a mom talking out of my ass); behavior is still an issue, but we’re working on it.

Her pediatrician suspects her waking up is probably a form of sleep apnea. Her tonsils are HUGE, and she snores like a grown man when she sleeps. She’s been evaluated by an ENT. His preliminary assessment is that her tonsils and adenoids are going to have to come out, and ear tubes are going to have to go in. She’s on a course of allergy meds to see if that reduces the crud in her head, and it looks like she’s going to get antibiotics if she has ear infections.

She has a follow up appointment Friday to see if anything helped.

She’s missed five days of school (at a conservative estimate) this year. If we decide to have her tonsils out before summer, she’ll miss at least a week.


Kate had non-stop ear infections once she started full-time in daycare. (M was the same way.) In the year after she turned 1, she had at least ten infections — or three or four really long ones. She caught a break in the summer, because she didn’t have the runny nose endemic to children (and especially to children in daycare). But October hit, and she started right in with them again.

She had ear tube surgery the April after she turned 2. And it was like a miracle. The look on her face was pure amazement. She could *hear* things. The world was full of *sound*. At first she started at every little thing, but eventually she got used to this new reality. Her language development exploded. Within two weeks, she went from her occasional word to complete sentences.

Now, I stand in her room at night, and I listen. Children are beautiful when they sleep, in case you didn’t know. Kate is a vision: her smooth cheeks, rosy lips — open so that she can breathe — blonde hair all around her little face, dark lashes resting on her skin. And then she’ll twitch, her snoring will pause, and she’ll toss or turn, snort, and resume her snoring. It’s heartbreaking. (It also drives Flora straight up the wall. If she doesn’t fall asleep before Kate does, she’ll sometimes go sleep in our room. Even earplugs don’t always help. Kate snores LOUDLY.)

Is it too much to hope that having her tonsils removed would have a similar salutary effect as ear tubes? That taking out her adenoids would be as miraculous? I have no doubt that some of her behavior issues stem from the simple fact that she is TIRED. Being fully rested, and, especially, not being in pain from ear infections or sore throats (more from mouth-breathing than infections, but still) could change her world.


I just want her to feel better physically. I worry about my Kate, worry about how these physical issues are effecting her emotionally. I worry about how missing school is affecting her socially, or if it’s having a negative impact on her education.

Of course, Kate sucks a lot of my bandwidth the way she clamors for my attention. Getting rid of her tonsils and adenoids won’t change that, but at least if she’s rested we can all be more reasonable. One hopes, anyway.

Why I Think It’s Important to Hire a Babysitter (or Nanny)

When Flora was about four months old, Dan and I went out to dinner for my birthday. We left Flora at home with her godparents.

Yes, four months into active motherhood, and I left my baby. For all of two hours.

And yes, it was a little anxiety-provoking. Flora at four months was not the easiest baby. I worried about her crying. I had left a bottle of pumped milk for the sitters. She wasn’t a good sleeper, but she like to be held.

But I also knew I needed to celebrate my birthday and spend time alone with my husband out of the house.

I know some parents don’t leave their children with sitters. Or don’t leave their children over night. I can’t say I understand those choices. Growing up, my parents always had date nights and hired sitters. I don’t recall my grandparents babysitting us, although later when my mother was back at work full-time, her father would occasionally come stay with Dr. Sis when she was sick and couldn’t go to school. We even had a (gasp!) boy sitter occasionally! (Gosh, he was a cutie. He was the brother of one of our regular sitters. Anyhoo, I digress.)

While we still lived in the South Side, we probably mostly asked friends to babysit for us. I worked from home. About once a week, my MIL drove into the South Side so I could run around to work or do errands as needed.

And then we moved to the suburbs. Although we moved to a house next door to my in-laws, I knew that finding babysitters that weren’t my in-laws was important. Dan and I figured that it would be better to “save” his parents for emergency situations (like having a sick child and no PTO at work) and hire unrelated help.

When we first moved into the area where we live now, we relied on word-of-mouth. Dan had close friends who also had young children. They suggested a couple of sitters, a daycare, and an in-home daycare. The sitter they had suggested was a lovely young woman, and she *loved* our kids, but eventually left for college, so we needed to find a new one.

We decided to see if the teenage girl who lived across from us was interested in babysitting. She was, and we paid $40 for her to take the Red Cross babysitting course, and then employed her. She was our regular sitter for a couple of years, when she was 14 to 16. She was pretty okay; she did well with the children; Flora and Kate liked her; when it was time for her to go home, we watched her walk across the yard. Our only misgiving about her was that she texted all the damn time. But it wasn’t a deal breaker.

But she eventually got a “real” job (at an ice cream shop), and, of course, now she’s in college. Plus, after I had Michael, I had misgivings about leaving three children with a teenager. I found two children and an infant to be challenging. I didn’t think our neighbor was up for it.

However, I still needed a sitter. So I turned to the Internet.

I used SitterCity.com, and I would recommend it. They usually have free trials; I’ve also used their paid subscription services, though not for more than three months at any time. [SitterCity has not compensated me in any way for mentioning them in this post.]

Sooner or later, I’ll probably have to return to SitterCity. One of my sitters is earning her Masters degree, and my nanny is looking for year-round, full-time employment as a teacher.

Staying connected with Dan is important to me. Date nights mean a lot to us and our marriage. After all, we were married before we were parents. Additionally, because of Dan’s schedule, sometimes I need that Saturday morning sitter so I can go get a pedicure or bikini wax. Being able to leave my children with people who care well for them means peace of mind for mom (and dad). We have to put it in our budget, and we can’t be all that spontaneous — sitters need to be asked in advance — but the investment in good help is invaluable.

While parenthood is a life-long commitment, the actual direct care of children eventually fades away. Some day, our children will be old enough to be left to their own devices when Dan and I go out. Some day, we won’t need sitters at all, because the children will have flown the nest. While I am sure I will miss them, by employing sitters regularly now, I get to stay intimate with my husband, participate in social outings (with or without my husband), and take “me time” when needed. I’m lucky to have the option to employ babysitters and nannies now.

Related post: The Great Nanny Experiment of 2012

Who’s your babysitter? How did you find her (or him)?

Random Thoughts: The I’m Doing Weekends Wrong Edition

(If you don’t want to read this whole thing, you should do yourself a favor and skip down Mini Meatless Monday, below. The recipes are worth your time.)

Once again, we had a crazy weekend starting Friday evening — when the weather is nice on Fridays (i.e. over 60 degrees), Pittsburgh traffic loses its mind. And I understand. Everyone is stir crazy, and everyone wants to get someplace to hang out. I just wish it didn’t seem that everyone else was trying to get to the same place I was. The Crafton exit, both directions, was a mess Friday evening. So Friday night we pretty much ran late.

Everyone survived, although M got a bump on his lip. I’m still not sure how or when. Being the last baby is hard, yo.

We did a church fish fry (St. Philips: fried cod sandwiches, huge and tasty; mac and cheese, very good; pasta dinner, very good; haluski, divine; coleslaw, terrible); an interactive light show in Market Square — check out the slide show; Flora’s in it! — and a late night stop for milkshakes at Eat ‘n’ Park. I’m not sure we could have had a more Pittsburgh evening if we tried!

Saturday, M had his first playdate. We bowled with a little buddy of his from daycare and the buddy’s mom (whom I also know from Twitter). Flora came along; Kate was on a playdate of her own. It was a lot of fun!

Then I kind of threw my weekend off the rails a little bit. I had thought we would go directly from the bowling alley to Costco, but after being at the bowling alley for two hours, I thought maybe M would want to nap. He did not, although he did hang out in his room for a quiet hour; Flora went next door to check out the chickens; and I cleaned the kitchen.

And then Dan came home with a couch strapped to the roof of the Flex.

Saturday night was Mass, dinner and shopping at the Market District — which was a little chaotic — and then trying to get everyone to bed.

And then Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m., M threw up. He ran a fever all day long, and I kept home from daycare today, too. (He stayed with Bella and Tadone, God bless ’em.)

In some ways, M getting sick was a blessing in disguise. We had been scheduled to go to the nephews’ birthday party (I have three nephews born in March), but it turns out that one of my nephews was also sick. So half of our day got canceled right there. I spent the morning cooking, the afternoon with the girls at SkyZone, and the evening hosting my parents for dinner while Dan cut up our old couch. After dinner, we completely rearranged our front room.

It turned out to be fairly productive, actually. Although I still have a pile of odds and ends to sort through.

Here’s the payoff for staying with me for so long — or for skipping right down to here.

Mini Meatless Monday

Since today is St. Patrick’s Day, I was planning, with my MIL, to do a little St. Paddy’s Day dinner for us and the children tonight. The menu includes veggie sausage (there is no vegetarian equivalent for corned beef, alas), potatoes (okay, fries), roasted cabbage (that only the adults will eat), and Irish soda bread. In looking online for recipes, I found this interesting article at epicurious. I made the Brown Soda Bread recipe, and my MIL made the White Soda Bread recipe. I only have about a fourth of the loaf to share because I hadn’t intended to feed my parents — see canceled birthday party, above — but it worked out well.

I also have had this black bean soup recipe in my little mental recipe box to try. My parents, coming back north after a month of traveling in and around Florida, stopped at our house for a visit, and I served soup, salad, and bread for dinner. All were wins! The soup gets a thick consistency from pureeing two cans of the beans and a can of tomatoes; the bread is hearty, chewy, and flavorful.

Black Bean Soup
adapted from allrecipes.com

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp balti seasoning (the original recipe calls for chili powder, but I used this instead)
1 tbsp ground cumin
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cans black beans (drain 2)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can crushed tomatoes

1. Heat oil in large pat over medium high heat. Saute onion for 10 minutes; add celery and carrots; sauté another 5 minutes. Add garlic, balti seasoning, and cumin and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in vegetable broth, the 2 drained cans of beans, and corn. Bring to a boil.

2. In the meantime, process the other two cans of beans and the tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Stir this into boiling soup mixture, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.

I put this soup together around noon, and after it simmered for 15 minutes, let it sit on the stove. I rewarmed it around 5. It was perfect.

How was your weekend? Did it drive you bonkers if someone wished you Happy St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday?

Ten Things to Consider When Hiring a Sitter or Nanny

1. When do you want your baby sitter to be available? If you need a reliable sitter for Friday and Saturday nights, be explicit about that. If you need the occasional weeknight sitter, you don’t want to hire one that has nighttime classes during the week. Same thing with weekends; if you need a sitter during the day on a Saturday or Sunday, you need to know if the person you are hiring is going to regularly have a conflict.

[Of course, you can hire more than one sitter. We have two reliable sitters, one of whom has also been our summer time nanny the past two years.]

2. How old is the sitter? A high-school age sitter can’t be beat for enthusiasm (or one would hope) and availability. However, a college-age sitter may be more experienced and more responsible — and will probably want more money.

3. How much are you willing to pay? As with anything involving childcare, nannies and sitters can be expensive. We pay from $10 to $15 an hour, depending on experience. Let’s face it, we have three kids, and someone not blood related to them should be well compensated for containing the chaos.

4. What do you want the sitter to do? Aside from make sure the children don’t kill each other or set the house on fire? This ranges from basics (change diapers, feed, give baths, put to bed) to more detailed responsibilities. I ask my baby sitters to help the children clean up the house; if they feed the children, I ask that the kitchen be cleaned. Our nanny helps the children do all the chores I request of them: change sheets, vacuum, put laundry away. I honestly think they listen to her better than they do to me.

So, when I interview a sitter, I always ask about what I call light housekeeping, and give them an idea of what I mean. This is another area that a college age person is better than a teen, generally speaking.

5. Does the sitter have a car, and if so, is she comfortable driving the children? This, again, can be an invaluable asset. If you have date night scheduled, and a classmate’s birthday party invite comes in, can the sitter take the child? During the summer, our nanny took the children to swim lessons, drove them to the park, did all kinds of things. I prefer a sitter that has her own transportation.

6. Ask them what they will do with the children. One of my sitters loves doing arts and crafts with the children. My nanny loves taking them outside, or to places like Fun Fore All. Sure, sometimes they are going to sit and watch a movie. But if you have strict rules about screen time, you want to know what a sitter has up her sleeve to keep the kids occupied.

7. Make your discipline guidelines clear. Make sure the sitter has the backbone to back up her requests for compliance. What will she do when the 3-year-old throws a tantrum? How about when the 9-year-old says she wants to stay up and wait for you to get home? Sitters should be able to be firm. We believe in timeouts and a system of rewards/loss of privileges, and we make sure our sitters have the tools they need to keep the children in line if needed.

8. One of the things I asked my potential nannies was, “Think of a time you had an emergency. What did you do?” That was instructive for me. It’s good to know if a caregiver is going to have a cool head.

9. This seems obvious, but ask about experience. Some sitters only have experience with infants. Some only sit for older children. What are they in school for? Our nanny has a degree in education, and a Masters degree in mathematics. Our other sitter is in college for early education with an emphasis in arts. It’s good to know that they are so interested in children that they want to participate in teaching.

10. This also seems obvious, but ask for references, and then call them. I find calling people I barely know to talk about a person I also barely know (yet) to be nerve-racking, but you have to do it. What ages were the kids when she (or he, rare but possible) babysat? What kinds of things did she do with them? What was she good at? Did she have any weak points? People I talked to about our nanny could not say nice enough things about her, all of which I have found to be true, too. She really likes children, and for some reason, she really likes my children too!

The easiest ways to find sitters are through word of mouth and the Internet. We’ve gotten good baby sitters both ways, and our current regular sitters I found at SitterCity.com (I am not being compensated by SitterCity in any way for this post). They have guidelines there, too, about what to ask, and the people who post there to be employed provide a lot of appropriate information.

I find having sitters to be important for a variety of reasons. And I’ll get into that in my next post!

How about it, parents? Or baby sitters? Did I leave anything out?

Random Thoughts: The Week Without Cigarettes Edition

I have to say, it’s going pretty well.

As far as the cravings, they are not bad at all. I didn’t expect they would be. There have been one or two days this week I’ve thought, “This is the kind of day I would really be looking forward to smoking that cigarette tonight.” But then I know I’m not going to have it, and it doesn’t bother me that much.

I’m not surprised that I don’t miss it more. The last month, I’ve been pretty ambivalent about smoking. Instead of seeing it as something I do for me — which, could it be the stupidest thing I could’ve done for me? — I’ve realized that I didn’t want to do it anymore. I was tired of building it into my evening. Beside which, it’s not a very smart habit. I think I mentioned that.

I will say I am having some trouble calling it a night without my nightly habit. I’ve been getting to bed at 11 p.m. or after for a week — not counting my crazy weekend — and that doesn’t bode well for my mornings. And I need my mornings, primarily because I need my morning workouts.

The biggest plus is that I get to hang out with Dan when he gets home. I’m not focused on finishing up my chores so I can go outside for a cigarette. Of course, that may be part of the problem. Instead of finishing up my chores, I hang out with him with he comes home, make sure he has something decent to eat, chat about our days. And *then* clean the kitchen.

My children’s bedtimes have become a problem again, too. I spend an hour — an hour! — getting my children to bed. And that’s after the whole bath/book/lullaby/bed routine. M regularly gets out of bed while I’m trying to read to the girls (we’re working on The Magician’s Nephew, Book 1 in the Chronicles of Narnia). He asks for water, he asks for medicine (for his ears), he asks for cars. It’s ridiculous. I have a 3-year-old with bags under his eyes because he’s not falling asleep until 9:30 p.m. Flora, of course, insists on reading herself to sleep. Kate’s the only one who regularly passes out, and I’m pretty sure that’s just because she’s spent the evening Expending! All! Her! Energy!

Anyhoo, there are a couple of things I am trying to create that nightly nightcap. One is a cocktail, something fun and different, something to try with my husband. I bought him a bottle of green chartreuse for his birthday (yesterday), and I need a couple other little things so I can fool around with mixed drinks a little. (Mom, don’t worry, I’m talking about one cocktail after the children are in bed.) I’ve been directed to a great website (h/t @thejqs) and a book that I am going to put on my Kindle (h/t @unclecrappy and @thejqs).

I am also thinking about trying to keep my nails polished. I polished them over the weekend — because wedding reception! — and I liked the way they looked. M, on the other hand, disliked it immensely that my nails were a deep sparkly red. He declared them icky. Although he did ask later if I could make my nails blue. I told him I could. His response, “Let’s do that, then.”

Finally, I may just try to dig my knitting stuff out of M’s closet, and relearn that. I bet I could knit a pair of socks in an evening! (h/t @katrinaravioli)

What do you do to keep your hands from being idle?

Random Thoughts: The Don’t Do This Edition

I sound like I’m complaining about the time change on social media, but I’m not. Even with the full complement of hours this weekend, my family still would have it Monday like it was a brick wall. We packed too many things into this weekend, and we are feeling the effects.

Friday: ENT appointments; fetching prescriptions — more prescriptions. Between appointments and prescriptions last week, I spent about $155 on healthcare for my children (Kate and Michael). That’s stretching the budget a bit. After the appointments and lunch, I brought Kate to the office with me, where she was a rock star. She was quiet; she drew; did a little of her missed work; watched Netflix television shows on my Kindle.

I just want her to be well again. She’s had a bunch of viral crap running through her system, plus maybe allergies, plus probably an infection. She’s been a hot mess for a month, and I am just feeling bad for her.

Then Friday night, Dan and I drove to a wedding reception in Turtle Creek. Between Pittsburgh traffic and our schedules, we were only two hours late.

Saturday: Up early — no sleeping in for me! I meant to get in a workout, but instead just managed a cup of coffee, getting laundry next door, and a waxing appointment in Sewickley. I had hoped that we would be able to get on the road to Erie by 11 a.m., but the stars were not aligned. Neither Dan nor I was packed, the house looked like a hurricane hit it, the kids needed baths (how does a 3-year-old boy already have body odor? HOW?). We finally left at 2 p.m. So when we got to Erie, it was a quick change at my parents’ house, and out the door to the reception.

Where we had a blast. I’m glad I didn’t workout because I ended up dancing, mostly with Kate. It was a lot of fun.

And then we came home, got the children to bed, and stayed up drinking and talking. Which was kind of dumb, because we did lose an hour, and Sunday was … Sunday was a little tough. Plus I forgot to eat a real breakfast, and two cookies and two cups of coffee are almost not enough to sustain me through Mass.

We didn’t get to Sunday brunch until 1:30 (God bless my aunt and uncle), and there was more running around on the children’s part (Kate with the dog, and Michael with two little boys, sons of one of my cousins). By the time we left, I was ready for a nap. Thank goodness Dan drove.

Not that I took a nap. I can’t sleep in a car.

Anyhoo, Dr. Sis had traveled to Pittsburgh and Erie for these receptions, too. So she followed us to Pittsburgh Sunday, then I had her drive me to the grocery store to pick up food and beer because we were hosting dinner for Dr. Sis, and one of my cousins and her teenage daughter. Thank goodness for the prepared foods section of my Market District.

So: dinner, cleaning up, managing children, and watching Frozen until 11:30 p.m. That was my Sunday night.

Monday morning was a rough one. The kids didn’t want to move. The girls were 15 minutes late for school (a new record). After I dropped them off, I had to drive back home because Dan had left his keys and wallet in the Flex. Thank goodness he made me coffee. He’s a good man.

The weekend was fantastic. It was filled with fun, joy, love, family. It was also exhausting. Sometimes those things go hand-in-hand.

Just like sleep eating.

Forty Days and Forever

It’s finally time for me to quit smoking. I’m using Lent as the stopping point. It feels natural to me. I have to give up something for Lent, and I have to quit my one-cigarette a day habit.

So. Here goes.

I know I can quit. It’s just a matter of getting through the physical addition. Mentally, I’m finally ready to stop making excuses (“It’s just one cigarette!” “I don’t smoke every night!” “I need something to help me relax!”)

I am a relatively intelligent person. Smoking cigarettes is not an intelligent thing to do.

With the extremely cold weather, I had already kicked the “end of every day” habit. I didn’t want to go outside in negative wind chills — or even temperatures under 30 degrees — to smoke. So I have been skipping one, two, three days. But then I would find myself looking ahead at the temperatures to see if it would be warm enough for me to smoke.

That was a big red flag. Like, I was planning it. “I can smoke again on Thursday because it’s going to be 25 degrees. That’s warm enough!”

Yeah. Problematic.

I also have to admit: Smoking doesn’t make my stress go away. The stress is there all the time. Smoking was a way to avoid it, say, “I’m not going to deal with today any more.” I can find something else to transition into the end of day, to bed. I don’t need a cigarette to read a book.

Speaking of reading, I am also going to try to read a little bit of the Bible each night. I think I’m going to start with the letters of John.

Are you doing anything for Lent? What’s your favorite fish fry?

Random Thoughts: The Well, That’s Just Depressing Edition

1. According to a study in Pediatrics trying to educate people who are against vaccinating their children about the dangers of NOT vaccinating their children made them double-down on not wanting to vaccinate their children. That is, if they were already against vaccinations, giving them facts was unlikely to change their minds.

So, what’s the next solution? I would vote for more stringent laws to make parents vaccinate their children before they can go to day care or school. If they don’t want to vaccinate, then they stay at home and homeschool (many parents who don’t want to vaccinate will take this option). No exemptions, not even religious (what religious groups take exception to vaccination, out of curiosity?).

What about discovering a positive message around vaccines? Such as, “Vaccinating your children *helps* other people who can’t receive vaccines or may have weak immune systems — like your children’s grandparents or a classmate who was treated for cancer.”

Do you think that would work?

Here’s the analysis in Mother Jones.

Vaccines are hot news. Because there have been several recent outbreaks of the measles — a vaccine-preventable disease. So far in 2014, there have been 54 cases of the measles in the United States.

2. And then there’s the article about Fox News and my FIL’s generation. I could identify way too much with this one.

Because of a recent change in my SIL’s schedule, I am spending more evenings at my in-laws’ this month. I’m thinking of asking my FIL to keep the TV off while the children are doing homework. I’m going to do it without saying “Fox News”. Wish me luck! (It’s as much about the noise level and the fact that the kids are very easily distracted from the work they should be doing. Dan and I are forbidding the girls from having their DS’es at Bella’s, too. It’s too hard trying to corral five children and their electronics!)

Interestingly, my parents, who are younger than my ILs (my parents are 69, my FIL is 74), are not Fox News hawks — to my knowledge. They certainly don’t quote Krauthammer or O’Reilly around me. I wonder why my FIL embraces Fox, but my parents don’t. Hm.

Ok, it’s Fat Tuesday. Go out, drink up, eat up, and prepare for Lent (if you’re into that). I hope this post didn’t bring you down too much.