19 November 2012

Have 16 months really passed us by?

What a difference a year makes!
Today Sloan is 16 months old. Her hair is growing like wildfire as are her verbal skills.


Here are a list of the words I have heard her use:

Ball, Hat, Dog, Don (her granddad Beeman), Papa, Dada, Mama, Ellie, Sock, Shoe, Fish, Turtle, Frog, Duck, Happy, Jesus, I love you, All done, Me, Sloan, Nose, No,  Help Please, More, Thank You, Truck, Car, Block, Hello, Bye Bye, Water, Rock, Book, Milk, Door, Juice, Up, and Down. She knows Ring around the Rosie, and will say "Ashes Ashes", and "Fall Down". She knows Open and Shut. Trash. Yuck. Cow and MOO. Cock a Doodle Doo.

During a FaceTime chat with Mimi and Grandpa Sloan, Sloan took her ring stacker apart and put it back in order. I was so proud.

She loves to wear hats, play with her dolls and animals, as well as little people. She loves my closet, especially putting on my boots and carrying my purses. She also loves to brush her teeth and would likely do it 10 times a day if we let her. Sloan has 12 teeth now (eight front and all four one-year molars).

She likes to feed herself with a fork:

She likes to climb on anything such as kitchen tables, but she responds well to SLOAN GET DOWN, most of the time. :)

Every night we have a dance party where we listen to the music channel.Every evening after dinner she grabs the remote, points it to the TV, and starts dancing. This is her way of telling us it is time to dance! She also likes to twirl around, "get low" and shake her arms and hands while dancing.. She tries to jump, and in my opinion, toddlers just before they learn how to jump are the cutest things and i will try to make a video soon!

Sloan is also very funny. She likes "slapstick" humor, such as, me hitting myself in the face. Me falling on the floor. She will hit herself in the face and laugh. She will rub food into her hair and laugh.  The other morning when i was asleep, she put a pacifier in my mouth (well she tried, i sleep with my mouth closed). She found this hilarous!

Looking for ninja turtles:

Feeding her friends 

Giving the lion a pacifier

Washing her hands. She goes to her toy sink and makes a Shhhhhhh sound to emulate running water! She also fills up pretend cups with water and bakes the best meals!

18  months has always been my favorite age, and we are really in that time span now. I LOVE this baby girl with all my heart and am seriously enjoying every little moment!

18 November 2012

Reasons to Rant

Every now and again i rant about food and what i put into my body. I rant about what I feed my baby. I rant about what you feed your baby. But i do it with good reason.

Have you ever seen Forks over Knives? It is a good place to start, and it hit home with me.

Here is the thing, I still believe in moderation. I still lack self control, after all, I am  human, but i still cannot escape the ramifications of indulging in a less than pure diet.

From as early as I can remember, I have had a sweet tooth. Hell, I like all food, but especially sweets. In college when the cafeteria was an all you can eat dessert buffet, I was quite overweight. It just tasted so good to me, i had to have it. And lots of it.

As i grew older, I had an issue with my bowels. IBF is likely what it might be called. I call it painful bloating and blockage. And that is putting it mildly. My college roommates mother  (a nurse to a proctologist) once gave me some pills that she swore by and they had no effect on me. By the ripe age of 24, I had my first colonoscopy, a procedure saved for most people on their 50th birthday and yet I was not even halfway there.

After repeated trips to a proctologist, I ultimately underwent the knife, only to discover in recovery that I was pregnant with Sloan. Nothing like a pregnancy to undo any benefits of a hemorrhoidectomy. Yeah, try googling that and not getting sick!

What's my point?

What I put into my body has a direct effect on what comes out of my body, or in my case, doesn't come out.  My proctologist kept urging me to eat more fiber. But my diet consisted of so much fiber I was going to explode, and a lot of good it did to me, so I finally decided to go another route. I listened to my sister who dedicated her life to helping people get their nutrition right. At first I thought she was a fanatic, and at times, I still do. But she helped her youngest child who has severe food allergies thrive, so I knew she was onto something. Plus the logic in all of this is irrefutable.

The fact is, i can eat all the fiber I want, but as long as i shove processed foods, especially refined flours (read: BREAD) into my body, Foods that stick to your insides like glue and are very hard to digest,  I will still suffer.  So I took a food challenge as detailed in this blog post, and noticed the differences immediately. I had already cut out dairy due to the fact it made Sloan spit-up every time i nursed her if my milk contained dairy, and now, anytime i eat ice cream, cheese, or anything full of cow byproduct (aside from steak) my stomach wrenches in knots. And even beef doesn't always settle well with me.

It has amazed me how much my body and health have changed ever since making this life change in my diet. A simple change such as eating whole food.

My husband is still not on board  but he is making good progress, and choosing healthier options some of the time. I have to constantly remind myself that I am not in control of him, only myself and what i put on the table for my family. I still deviate from time to time, and when i do, i suffer.  What a difference in life, my weight, and my health these life changes has brought. After all, I am merely eating the way God intended all along.

Is that so bad?

09 November 2012

TRIX is NOT for my kid!

The other day I dropped Sloan off to school a bit late and it was an early snack day (due to playground scheduling).  Much to my surprise, the children were being served KIX cereal. No wait, i said that wrong, TRIX. Maybe it was Fruity Pebbles. It was rainbow colored and fruity smelling, but I assure you, this contained NO fruit.

What is a mom to do? I send in Sloan's snacks due to her dairy allergy (as well as my reticence to blindly let her eat whatever they serve when there is no menu for snacks). I also have a note that she is not to eat the snacks being served in school and I will send in my own for her.

Call me crazy and overprotective, Call me whatever you want, But i know people that are adults, and REFUSE to eat healthy food. Somewhere along the line, they were "trained' to eat fast food. They are allowed to eat french fries, hamburgers and chicken nuggets as staples, and refuse to try a salad or eat a vegetable. Call me extreme. I don't really care.

We lead by example and what we do, our children will do.  We create a cycle, a viscous life cycle that can either do good or harm. The choice is ours. And while we do the best we can, do we ever sit back and think about something so minor as food and how it really effects everyone and everything around us?

What is my point here?  Is this really about the trix?
Yes and No.

Some of my in-laws bought into these diet shakes and i thought about trying to sell them to make some money. Who doesn't want to make money and what better way to make money than to have a skinny person sell you a diet/health shake right? It's all a big pyramid scheme, but I thought for a second I might want to give it a shot, You would never use an overweight personal trainer or dietitian (WOULD YOU?) and  you wouldn't buy a weight loss program  from someone who is at an unhealthy weight.

So after observing weight loss in my relatives, I seriously thought about buying into this scheme. Ok, maybe i just inquired, but to me that is serious! Unfortunately, I also began to grow a bit apprehensive. So i gathered the info and checked out the ingredients, and was quite alarmed. I even fact checked with my nutritionist sister to make sure I wasn't being overly dramatic. So I also went to my trusty friend GOOGLE and found some very good links to support my apprehension.

Here is how it works:
The program asks you to drink a 90 calorie meal replacement shake, full of fillers and basically low-caloric fluff (chemicals), and suggests for weight loss, you take this drink twice a day to replace two meals. But it is ok, you can add fruit to it to add bulk (how much fruit does it take to really increase the calories?) Then you are allowed to eat whatever you want for the third meal. I have seen results in the same way that anyone who stops eating two meals a day would exhibit. People that typically eat out 2-3 times a day, now only eat out once a day have lost weight. Imagine that. Are you shocked? As my dear husband pointed out, anyone eating only one meal a day will lose weight. I added, yes and your stomach will shrink and you will eat less for the other meal. Replacing high calorie restaurant food with a liquid replacement void of the butter/oil and sugars you find in a restaurant. Have you ever had an anorexic friend? Because I have, and eating one meal a day is borderline anorexia..

Rather than taking the time to teach our children healthy eating habits, Are we really teaching them to skip meals, replace them with chemicals, and then carry on for one meal a day eating whatever they like. Where is the discipline here? Where is the education on being healthy? I don't see it. Rather than fix the problem (poor nutrition) we mask it with a quick fix (skip meals, take vitamins)... But i only see a band-aid for a bigger problem. And while i am proud of these people for losing weight, unless you make a real life change, you're only delaying the inevitable, and perhaps exacerbating or creating other health issues down the road. What if you knew someone who lost weight on this product, and months later discovered a heart condition. Could this be a coincidence?  Shouldn't weight loss  be improving your health, not destroying it ?  There are no coincidences, are there?

A quick fix diet is never healthy  nor does it sustain. Trust me. I have lost weight countless ways, and the ONLY way I have ever kept it off, is by changing my lifestyle, habits, and eating practices.

Back to the TRIX,  Who in their right mind thinks that it is OK to serve this crap to babies ? Are you out of your minds? Why not give them a high caloric natural grain like granola? Or rice puffs? Or oatmeal. Why on earth are our babies being served this crap in a place they are cared for, and why hasn't anyone said anything to stop this? Maybe i am over-reacting, but I really don't think my child needs to even know that sugary cereal exists. I am hoping she has forgotten about the Halloween sucker we allowed her to eat. The longer we can encourage (force?) her to eat healthy, the more lasting the impact we might have on her choices. So for now, I send in her snacks, and while it creates more work for me, I can sit at my desk, and not worry about what they are feeding her. Hopefully this cereal isn't a regular occurrence for the other children who do eat whatever they serve in the school, but it makes me question the person making these choices for the kids.

The  bottom line is that the children who I have observed to be overweight, eat like crap - Processed foods, full of sugar, starch, fats, you name it. If i can teach Sloan to make good choices, I hope she can avoid a struggle with the scale!

I feel better after having talked to a few of the mothers from my child's school. They agree, TRIX IS NOT FOOD! That's my rant for today. I will likely step on toes and frankly, i don't care. Because if you don't care about what you put inside your body, neither will your children. The alarming increasing rates of cancer, disease and obesity are enough to make me stop and ask, if you don't take care of yourself. Who Will?

I may not be perfect, but my backup plan for my child will never be sugary cereal. Sure we have allowed  her to eat things that make me cringe and she most certainly has shoved some very questionable things into her mouth. But at the end of the day, it is about how we teach her on  a day to day basis. And i want her to know that I am going to teach her to make good choices.
Next year we plan to let the Switch Witch come and take all her candy and replace it with a toy. this year, her candy has been hidden and will not be given to her. Out of sight, out of mind! (i haven't decided what to do with it yet)

06 November 2012

Simply Said, What i DO...

One of my favorite things about being a minority in the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is that I am often given the opportunity to talk with middle school students about the importance of math in the real world. I have heard so many times "Why do we need to know this, we won't use it in the real world."  Wait, why am i a minority you ask? Well, because it is a male dominated field. What that means for me is that I feel as though there is a little more job security since a woman like myself is few and far between.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Last week I had this opportunity again. My job was to present a lesson to three separate middle school classrooms. What i really want to do is excite the children about school so that they can CARE about school. I never really cared but I was smart (sounds a bit arrogant said that way) but it is true. I made good grades and exerted minimal effort. i was never a straight A student, but i was labeled AG and I tested well. I am fortunate that way. But many students struggle in school, and I feel as though if the right person believes in them, encourages them, and offers a little guidance, you might just reach someone and impact the rest of their lives. As I have said before, had it not been for the poor salary, i'd be a teacher.

For my presentation, I had to open  by telling the children a little about myself.

"Hi, my name is Jennifer Beeman and I work in the Advanced Analytics Division at SAS. My job title is Advanced Analytics Tester, but what that means in real terms is that I write code and try to break things. How many of you have ever used an iphone or computer and the game or screen you're playing just freezes or goes back to the home screen???"

(Nearly everyone raises their hands)

"How does it make you feel when that happens?"


"That's right, you get frustrated don't you! Well one thing I do as a software tester is I try to break the software and make it crash"


"Well, if it crashes BEFORE we send it out to the customer and I can prevent it from crashing for the customer. By doing that, i keep the customer from being ANGRY FRUSTRATED or MAD"


"here's something else I do. Everyone has a calculator in front of them, What if you enter 4+4, what do you expect to get"


"ok, so what happens if the calculator tells you the answer is 9 ?"

(It's WRONG)

"That's right. But what if you are allowed to use the calculator for your test and you don't bother to question whether or not the calculator is giving you the correct answers. You TRUST the calculator right? So if your calculator tells you 4+4=9, and you use this same calculator for the entire test, what might happen?"

(YOu DO BAD) (remember this isn't an English/Grammar lesson)

"Exactly! Part of my job is also to make sure that the software gives the customers the correct answers. Just in the same way you trust your calculator to give you the correct numbers, our customers trust SAS to give them the correct numbers. My job is to solve complicated algorithms and formulas to ensure SAS does just that: Ensuring the numbers do not lie! Essentially, I get paid to break things! Doesn't that sound cool?


In a follow up survey, many of the children from our lessons remembered me! They were asked to fill out a survey of the 20 volunteers and they needed to list anyone they knew in the STEM field. There were multiple children to write, Jennifer breaks the code! And with my chest puffed out pretty big, that makes me feel pretty darn good!

On a side note, I have noticed lately,  that there are "educated" adults who have trouble with simple mathematical calculations as well as computing the simple passing of time in the measurement of "days". It sure does make me proud that I can read, write, and perform simple as well as complex computations with and without my calculator.  My goal for Sloan is to excite her about math and technology, and ensure she can do the same!

DID YOU VOTE? Better yet, do you get the message from this picture?

05 November 2012

Weekend Recap!

 I didn't think we were going to make it to tailgate/ attend the homecoming game due to in town guests but we made it! Though replace the word tailgate with, Brunch at a restaurant pre-game!

 Grammy and Granddad Beeman were in town too! The game was a BUST. NCSU played the worst I've seen in 10 years ! We played one of the worst conference teams and forgot to show up! YOu know how teams play all the bad teams for homecoming to ensure a win.... Well, we didn't score until the fourth quarter and then missed the extra point. What a lousy game! but we had a wonderful time and Sloan did too! She even gave a few howls with the wolf!

Taking a nap during the game was the smartest move! The game  was about the same as watching Grass Grow! I have never been as bored at a football game. There was no excitement in the air. The team just plain stunk! And i am a big fan of my Alma Mater as some of my earliest memories are from attending NCSU football games with my parents.

Sloan was WIPED out after the game. i think her face in the picture as we exited the stadium says it all.
The next day we resumed life as normal! Church, Lunch,  Nap Time, and then soccer time! Sunday Funday as i like to call it.

Sloan has so much fun at the field. She often gets (her head) stuck in the net!

Someone is showing the promise of curly hair??? 
Happy Monday!

01 November 2012

The Morning After:

 Sloan ate an awesome dinner last night. FOUR servings of PEAS! She was one hungry cow! I think because she knew she needed the energy to march up and down the street (and all the steep driveways!)
All ready to go Trick or Treating, her daddy stayed home to pass out candy. At first Sloan was a little apprehensive. But once she got to ring a few doorbells and realized she was getting "goodies" added to her pumpkin, she caught on (quickly), often grabbing handfuls. She also didn't want anyone to put the candy in her bucket. Since fine motor skills as well as a sense of  independence are being developed, Sloan wanted to place each piece of candy individually into her bucket, all by herself!

Our homes are on hills, so the houses on one side have steep incline up, the houses on our side have a steep incline down (until you reach the bottom of the cul-de-sac). I wasn't expecting to make it down the entire street, we live on the 100 block so i expected to round out the 200's, visit Mr. Potter (a colleague) on a side street to say hi to him and his doggies, and then back home, but we not only completed the entire street, but also the cul-de-sac that shoots off from ours.

 About six houses in, we ran into the neighbors!
They were nearly done, and we were just getting started, so we took a pic, and off we went!

Sloan started warming up as we continued. She enjoyed petting all the neighborhood dogs. She enjoyed looking inside houses with out dogs, as if to say, Where is your dog? (she really loves doggies, all appropriately called Ellie) She loved carrying her bucket, and at one point I had to ask for a grocery bag so that I could dump her bucket out since it was getting so heavy. (she would NOT let me hold it for her). She also enjoyed diving into the candy, hands wide open, but she also listened when neighbors told her, pick one, she would pick just one. BUT when they said, grab more, she went for it! She also knew when it was time to turn around and go to the next house, and she would say BYE BYE and off she went. 
Several times i asked her if she was ready to go home. She shook her head NO. Do you want to go get more candy, She shook her head YES.
By the time we made it to the end of the street, I had Sloan saying (to no one in particular) Happy Halloween! She Moo'ed for one family. She said bye bye to several, and she actually said Happy Halloween and  Thank You (sounds like Da Du)  to the last couple of neighbors.
She stopped to sample a lollipop along the way, but i was able to limit it to just one dum-dum!

Ultimately, I was carrying Sloan from doorstep to doorstep, so her only job was ring doorbell and look cute. I think this is how we made it as long as we did. My arms sure are sore today! But the baby did score! Now to hide the candy and only give it out in small limited portions (like one a week). I can't have her thinking candy is an every day thing!
Not bad for a one year old huh?