Now, the Letdown

It’s that time after the holiday season that I dislike the most. It’s still dark, cold, and snowy. But now, it’s just winter.

Christmas is over, New Year’s is done. The eggnog is gone. It’s time to be done celebrating and move on to the grind of January.

From this:
lights
Pretty lights!

 

To this:
trees
Only looks pretty until you have to drive in it.

 

Even the holiday lights don’t look the same. They’re still pretty and help brighten the darkness, but each day, there are fewer and fewer up as people accept that the season is over and take down theirs.

There’s no anticipation brewing.

No excitement as we wrap presents eager to see the joy on the receivers’ face when they get them. No expectation of what’s under the tree for us. Not even the anticipation of a few days off of work.

Just snow. Darkness. Cold. And long hours at the day job.

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Sums it up.

 Oh, and taking down the Christmas tree. Because that’s always a fun job I look forward to doing. *end sarcasm*

I wish I could schedule a holiday in late January or early February so we’d have something to look forward to, but it’s really hard for me to get time off before April 15th.

In a few weeks, I won’t notice. I’ll be head down, getting work done as we dig out of the snow and cold to get to work on a daily basis.

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Actual winter footage.

It’ll be the grind of obligations and doing what needs to be done.

And, it’ll suck.

The song about how the singer wishes every day would be Christmas would ruin Christmas, but I do wish we could stretch out the holidays a bit. Maybe exchange our New Year for the Chinese New Year so we have something to look forward to after Christmas. The next holiday on the horizon in Easter if you celebrate it, otherwise, we’re looking at Memorial Day. That’s just too long.

How about you? Do you feel post-Christmas blues? If so, how do you deal with them?

Miserable, Sick, and Unproductive

I recently was miserable, sick and completely unproductive when I caught an especially nasty cold that turned into bronchitis. If you’ve never had it, bronchitis sucks. A lot.

I was nasty enough the doctor kept me home from work for a couple of days so I might actually get better.

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We’ve all been there, right?

I feel like I have been sick A LOT more since having children. I mean, a lot more.

As part of being unproductive, I did a little digging. Turns out, I was right.

“The team found that people living in childless houses are infected with viruses just 3-4 weeks per year. Meanwhile, adding a single child to the household bumps that figure up to 18 weeks—which is 35 percent of the year—and a second to 29 weeks.”

Holy wow was I right. From an average of 3-4 weeks per year to 29 weeks. No wonder I think I’m sick more often. I am.

I also feel like I’ve been a lot sicker, as in the colds I get I worse.

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Me to DH as a sick child climbs into my lap to snuggle

This may or may not be the case for me, but in some specific cases, kids’ illnesses in adults can be a whole lot worse.

So, what to do about it?

Yeah, science doesn’t have much to offer on this if you read the articles. Really, it comes down to hand-washing.

Wash your hands a lot, make your kids wash their hands a lot, hide in a protective kid-free bubble.

Oh, wait, yeah, about that last thing. Maybe not so much. Probably just the racking cough I still have talking.

 

How about you? Figure out any ways to avoid getting sick when your kids are sick? Do you cringe when see another kid with a cold at your child’s daycare? Any tips on avoiding getting sick when your spouse is sick? Or a co-worker? Can’t believe how fast something can go through the office.

 

Five Tools in the Battle Against Eczema

My daughter has eczema. She developed it around three months old, and it literally covered her body. I will not disgust you with pictures of what eczema, particularly on an infant, looks like. Trust me (or, if you don’t, Google it), it’s awful.

To “cure” it, (those of you who suffer from it or know someone who does, are laughing right now), we started with her pediatrician. After failing to get it under control for weeks, he referred us to a pediatric dermatologist She told us it appeared to be caused by an allergy. She referred us to pediatric allergist.

At this point, the allergist had my daughter and me (I was nursing at the time) remove all of the following from our diet for 16 weeks:

  • Peanuts
  • Seafood
  • Cow’s milk (including cheese, yogurt, etc.)
  • Tree Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Wheat

 

Imagine a diet without this for four months. No pizza. No bread. Nothing pre-packaged as most of it has wheat or soy or both in it.

Probably the healthiest I’ve ever eaten in my life, but it meant absolutely no going out to eat. If we went to a friend’s house, I had to pack my own food. But I did it because I’d do anything to make my baby not hurt and itch.

At the end of 16 weeks, there was no improvement. It wasn’t food based.

As we were going through this, I began to research.

eczema1

I read anything I could get my hands on regarding eczema. Reams of it. Some of it was good, a lot of it wasn’t.

 

Here Are 5 Things I Learned

1.It’s All About Moisture. – My daughter’s eczema clears up in the summer and comes back in the winter.  We are fortunate she doesn’t have it year round, and this gave us clues as to what was causing the issue.

Her skin is losing more moisture in the winter, and this is giving the eczema the weakness it needs to take hold.

I tried lots and lots of eczema friendly skin moisturizers. Best thing I found was coconut oil gently rubbed into her skin (dye free, and the scent is all natural). We follow this by slathering her with baby aquaphor.

 

2.Household Cleaners: Most of the cleaners we use aren’t eczema friendly. Goodbye Formula 409, hello apple cider vinegar.

 

3. Dryer Sheets – I learned about dryer sheets, why I shouldn’t use them, and what to replace them with (and that I had to wash out the inside of my dryer). I use these from an Etsy seller. She was super helpful about how the balls were made so I could be sure they were made in a way that wouldn’t further irritate.

dryerballs

4. Detergents – I learned all about detergents, how they worked, and how they could cause eczema. This was HUGE. Detergents are in everything. Why? Because they are cheap and extremely effective.

I found a way to make homemade dish soap for our dishwasher. It works, but it’s not as good as detergent.

I still needed to tackle washing clothes and washing us.

Trying to find real soap (and not detergent in disguise – which darn near required me to get a chemistry degree) was incredibly hard. After a lot of searching, I eventually came across this place.

It’s amazing. Almost anything sold there is safe. Everything I have tried has smelled good and worked. It looks like the owner of the store might be a sufferer himself, and when he couldn’t find the products he needed, he went into business making them.

Nothing here is cheap, but it’s good stuff (and no, I’m not getting paid to say that). As a matter-of-fact, since switching over to these products, my husband no longer gets super -dry scaly hands in the winter.

5. Contact – I learned changing things out for just the little one wasn’t enough.  Any of us that touched or held her had to use the same products or the residue on our skin could inflame her eczema.  I had to wash all of our clothes as I did hers. We all had to use products that were okay for her.

 

We were fortunate. A combination of these techniques worked, and she is mostly eczema free. I just put in another order for the special hand soap as we’re getting low.

She still gets the occasional flare-up, and we have to reassess what might be causing it.

 

If you’ve ever had to deal with eczema, any tips on what you’ve tried? Anything work really well? If not eczema, something you ever spent a lot of time researching when traditional methods failed? What worked for you?

 

 

Time Thief: The Common Cold

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Yeah, I’m kinda a baby about being sick.

Being sick sucks.

Combine the common cold with one of the busiest, most hectic times of the year for me at my day-job, and you have a recipe for a cantankerous person. A cantankerous person with no energy or will to get off the sofa much less write.

I can really see no upside to being sick. You ache. Your ears itch and burn. Your throat feels like you used sandpaper on it. Your back hurts from coughing and sneezing. And your whole face feels like it’s stuffed with so much cotton that you should be sneezing it instead.

Things you took for granted, you now have to think about. Like breathing. Especially breathing.

Doing any task, even small ones, suddenly seems overwhelming. Like getting up to make that third cup of honey-infused tea that people promise will make you feel better. (Hint: they’re lying.) Or going to the bathroom after that third cup of honey-infused tea.

I totally know where I got it from. The “heroes” at work that came in sick because we couldn’t possibly function a couple of days while they kept their germs at home, rested, and got better.

sick2

 

Of course, once the VP of Engineering and the VP of Sales come to work with the Martian Death Flu, or whatever is going around, we’re all expected to suck it up and come.

So of course I did.

Taking medicine rarely helps me. I replace the aches and misery with a lesser form of it, but then I get fuzzy-brained, easily confused, and forgetful.

Concentration is hard with a cold, even if I am taking over-the-counter medicine that still requires me to show three forms of ID, and that makes my day-job very difficult. I’m supposed to be analyzing things and piecing together a coherent picture from disparate data. With a cold, I’m lucky if I can figure out how to piece together a sandwich.

Writing has come to an abrupt halt. Not sure if I should keep poking at it, or just accept I’m sick and leave it alone.

I want to say that anything I do write won’t be worth the electrons spent on it. But that’s not entirely true. It’s just that much harder. And with everything else going on, maybe I’m just going to cut myself some slack, rest and get better.