My morning coffee…and my conscience

So, my morning coffee and I have had a running date for a couple of years now. Strangely, I was able to make it through undergrad, med school, and then part of residency before I allowed myself to even take a sip. Residency got me! 32 hour shifts every third day…wait how long??? Yep, work hour restrictions have improved things slightly, but when you’re on an intense surgical rotation, sleep is seen as a luxury rather than a necessity-just a little bit of the craziness that a life in medicine brings. I couldn’t handle the sleep deprivation alone, and so caffeine became my drug of choice. I haven’t looked back since, except when I was pregnant and nursing.

I haven’t looked back, but my wallet has definitely felt the hit from my daily tall, soy, 1/2 caff, 1/2 pump hazelnut latte from Starbucks. At almost $5 a cup, this frequent treat does tend to prick at my conscience just a little. Do I really even need the caffeine it affords? Or, is it simply a habit that I’ve grown to crave.Cup Of Espresso With Coffee Beans

As I was thumbing through a random stack of papers thrown in a pile and left to be sorted some time in the future, I came across an old speech that I had written for a public speaking class while I was a grad student at Johns Hopkins. Reading through my thoughts from several years back reminded me that sipping a cup of water in the morning might not only be healthier for me, but it might also be a way for me to make a difference with my $5. Just for fun I thought I would share it with you.

“As the truck bounced to a stop, the stench of rotting waste mixed with human sewage overwhelmed my sensitive nose. After several failed attempts to disguise my disgust, I was relieved to see that everyone else in the truck had wrinkled noses and putrid expressions. Forgetting that the smell was coming from outside the vehicle, I wiggled my arm toward the rusty window latch expecting to improve the situation with some ventilation. As soon as the window budged open, small, dirty fingers shot through the crack. It was only then that I looked through the smudged glass to see equally dirty faces of children no older than nine or ten grinning at me with cracked teeth. Beyond the grins stood heaps of trash, heaps of trash that they called home.

Although this story was taken from my personal experience in Honduras, mirror images of this example of poverty exist across the globe. Almost 1/2 of the world’s population live on less than $2.50 a day. This level of poverty leads to hunger, disease, inequality, and even death. According to the United Nations, 25,000 people die each day from hunger and hunger related diseases. The majority of these deaths are in children-children who don’t know what it feels like to eat three meals a day, let alone one. Can you imagine? With weakened bodies due to malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, these children are vulnerable…vulnerable to infections and disease.

The statistics are endless. One out of every two children in the world is currently living in poverty. That means 1 billion children. Over half a million children don’t have a true home. 400 million children lack access to clean water and a quarter of a million children do not have access to health care.Unknown homeless kid sitting on the street

When living to the age of five years old becomes and accomplishment, shouldn’t we all start asking questions? The question NOW is….WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THE PROBLEM? It would be easy to point the finger at government, greedy corporations, tyrannical leaders…but what would happen if we pointed the finger back at ourselves?

Each one of us has the ability to make a difference in the life of an impoverished child. A nutritious meal only costs 25 cents in many developing countries. Compare that with the cost of your (and my) morning coffee. All I have to do is cut out the pump of hazelnut in my latte each day to pay for a meal for a child. So, I’m not saying that we need to give up the luxuries that we are privileged to have. All that I’m saying is that maybe we should be more aware of the world around us and the suffering in it. Maybe that awareness will motivate us to care a little more…give a little more…and make a bigger difference so that the wishes of 1 billion children can make it beyond their 5th birthday.”

This isn’t meant to be an infomercial for any non-profit, but just a friendly reminder about how much potential there is for us to make a difference in the lives of others. Tomorrow marks day 7 of my caffeine fast. It’s actually been a lot easier than I expected. I’m not missing my daily caffeine, and if I choose to use my money in a more altruistic way, 20 children won’t have to miss a meal each day. Anyone else want interested in switching to water with me?






When Infertility Comes Naturally…

IMG_1051This month I had the privilege to write another “To Your Health” column for the Hamilton County Family Magazine. The topic…INFERTILITY. How timely and how convenient. No research needed on my part. Check it out at this LINK. IMG_1052




The Magic of Glitter…how to make your photos sparkle!

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Pixie Dust Please!


Not Between My Toes!

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My Favorite Laugh…DSC_0338 DSC_0340 DSC_0343 DSC_0344DSC_0374 DSC_0352 DSC_0356 DSC_0367


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So all you need is a dark backdrop, some bottles of glitter, a cute tutu and a camera (and an excellent vacuum)! Find a local photographer near you and see if they have any Glitter Mini Sessions scheduled, or make a special request. Your Little One will love it! You won’t even have to ask her to smile. Boys can get involved too. Grab a top hat and a bow tie. Let him pretend to be a little magician!

Wardrobe and Styling: The Borrowed Boutique (yep…that’s my online styling and boutique rental shop): Tutu Du Monde Center Stage Onsie tutu, Show Stopper Shorts, Tank, Sweater and Ballet Slippers

Photography: Sweet Plumb Photography

(Safety Note: Please don’t do this with any child who isn’t able to follow directions well. I wouldn’t recommend this for any little one under the age of two just due to the concern that they might put glitter in their mouth or not understand to close their eyes. Also, make sure that you are not pouring glitter directly into their face since glitter does have sharp edges, and if it gets into their eyes it can cause irritation and possibly even small scratches on the surface of the eye if they rub. You never want to use powdered glitter since this can be inhaled and cause irritation to the lungs. Instead, make sure that you are using the large square flakes of glitter. Sorry, to spoil the fun with a disclaimer but don’t want any babies having injuries!)


If at first we don’t succeed…we IVF again

I’ve been quiet for what seems like an infertile forever regarding our journey toward making baby #2. I have been so quiet that I almost forgot our infertility struggle, our pregnancy loss at the New Year, and the inevitable fact that infertility treatments would start again (if only I could forget). Waiting is painfully hard, but when you wait long enough life almost goes back to normal. Busyness partially fills the void, distracting from what could have been. Engaging in normal daily activities, volunteering, working, playing with my precious daughter who overflows with giggles and joy…it’s almost enough to settle into life as I know it. Almost enough until I’m reminded of my longing for another child every time I see a pregnant belly, hear a baby crying, or look at my own daughter.Young woman is swinging on a swing in summer forest.

As much as I initially wanted to jump right back into another cycle of infertility treatments, the delay has made me oh so comfortable with the way things are. Feeling “normal” can be so refreshing to the spirit. For the past month I have enjoyed NORMAL. Every moment hasn’t been fixated on infertility. Every moment hasn’t been spent planning what to do next, checking the minute hand to ensure the exact moment to give a progesterone shot, scanning public places to find a semi-private place to draw up a medication without looking like an addict, or assessing if a sharps container has been installed in the bathroom.Gorgeous happy blonde on a bike ride at the beach on a sunny day

Waiting in some ways has been a relief. A respite. I have allowed myself to push infertility to the back of my mind. But, now my reality returns. In order to fulfill my heart’s desire, I must face infertility head on once more. A life without IVF would definitely be so much easier than what lies ahead…a life without daily shots, hormone swings, sore boobs, a swollen behind so sore with injection welts that it’s hard to sit. Who am I kidding? A life without infertility would be eternally easier, but that isn’t an option for me. Wishful thinking, eternal optimism, and determination won’t change anything. So, this time around, I’m holding onto a child like faith and a positive perspective no matter the outcome. I can only move forward.  The rest is out of my control.




Poison Prevention… 9 life saving safety tips for your innocent child

It only takes a moment…a fraction of a moment…a turned back…an unlocked cabinet…a detergent pod left on the counter…a bottle of nail polish remover sitting next to the sink…or a Tylenol bottle left open in the bottom of a purse…only a moment for the unthinkable to happen. Every day, according to the CDC over 300 children are treated in emergency rooms across the United States due to poisonings. Every day 2 of these children die. And, while you might say that this could never happen in your home…9 out of 10 poisonings do occur at home.

Just last week I realized that my daughter wasn’t her usual noisy self. I had left her coloring at the kitchen table while I started on dinner, but in the two seconds that my back was turned she had snuck into the pantry. I found her crouched on the floor with something in her mouth! I began to panic. What had she found? Thankfully, it was only a girl scout cookie, but she had somehow managed to sneak it from a shelf far beyond her reach. On that same shelf (that I assumed to be baby proof distance) I had my vitamins, over the counter pain killers, and cold medications neatly stacked…all with child proof lids, but still! Heartworm pills for the dog in non-baby proofed punch out aluminum covered tabs were only one shelf higher. Could she possibly reach them too? Wake up call for this mama!Child patient receiving artificial ventilation

Baby proofing a house is hard work. While latches on cupboards are incredibly important here are a few additional tips to make sure that your little one doesn’t get his or her hands and mouth on something harmful. Medications, cleaning supplies, and even makeup can be toxic to your toddler or infant.



While some items stand out as obviously harmful, some aren’t quite as glaring. Everyone knows to keep medications and cleaning supplies away from children, but laundry pods? Yes, these small packets used in the dishwasher and now even the washing machine have introduced a new vehicle for poisoning. They are small enough for a little hand to hold, and they look delicious. Makeup can be equally alarming. Eye makeup remover and many other beauty products can also be harmful if ingested. Even certain plants can be poisonous. Art supplies often contain harmful chemicals if ingested. Keep all of these out of reach and locked away.


This is referring to harmful substance…NOT YOUR CHILDREN! Make sure that all cleaning supplies, medications, and anything potentially toxic is out of reach, out of sight, and locked away from your children. Kids are little Houdini’s. Putting something harmful one shelf level above their reach is not going to cut it! They grow! You forget! And, then one day soon they can reach it or climb to it. Use safety features to lock low kitchen and bathroom cupboards that house cleaning supplies. Make sure that your laundry detergent is on a high shelf that is impossible for your toddler to access. Also be sure to keep all medications, cleaning supplies, and any other potentially poisonous chemicals in their original containers or bottles. This prevents confusion and mistaken ingestion.


Don’t call your medication “CANDY.” It is not candy! Medicine is medicine. It is made to heal, but it can be deadly if taken by the wrong person or in incorrect doses. Calling poison candy is a recipe for disaster and injury!Child Takes Pack Of Pills. Dangerous Situation.

4. EDUCATE Grandparents and babysitters (pill boxes are not baby proof!)

Most likely you are not the only person watching your child 24/7. If your child is going to another home, make sure that the same principles for safety are established in that home as well. If your baby sitter is coming to your home, let her know where you keep potentially harmful substances and make sure that she uses the baby proofing latches appropriately. Grandparents are often on several medications. Make sure that these medicines are not loosely stored in plastic bags, on the counter top, or even pill boxes in their purse. Toddlers love playing with things that open and close. Pill boxes are a perfect little toy. Also, make sure that anyone watching your child has the number for poison control programmed into their phone or in a very visible place.

5. Have the POISON CONTROL (1-800-222-1222) number programmed in your phone and in a visible place

Yes, I am repeating myself! Make sure that you, anyone watching your child, and grandparents all have the number for Poison Control programmed into your phones. Leave the number in a visible place where you (or anyone in your home) can always find it (such as the refrigerator door) or on the door to the garage.


1. Don’t take time to freak out…instead grab your phone!

CALL 911 first if the child is not responding, has collapsed, or is not breathing. You want to make sure that help is on the way as quickly as possible. If the child is awake and responding first CALL POISON CONTROL (1-800-222-1222). Do not call your pediatrician or family physician first. They will simply connect you with poison control or they will have you hang up and call 911. Poison control is trained to tell you exactly what to do depending on what your child has ingested.

2. Have This Information Ready if Possible

    • the child’s age and weight
    • the container or bottle of the poison if it is available
    • the approximate time when the poisoning occurred (your best guess is fine)
    • the address where the poisoning occurred

3. Don’t Hang Up

While you may be tempted to hang up the phone if you are panicking or if your child isn’t doing well…DON’T HANG UP! Listen to the instructions from either the Emergency Room or Poison Control. Their advice is incredibly important and lifesaving. Do what they tell you to do! Every minute counts.

4. Do Not Use Syrup of Ipecac

While many grandparents would tell you that this is the “cure-all” for poisoning, this is not the case. In the past, syrup of ipecac was recommended after a harmful ingestion. This medication causes vomiting. While this may bring the poison out, it may also be harmful in the process. Vomiting up a toxic chemical may lead to severe chemical burns in the throat. It can also lead to choking on the toxic chemical, allowing some of the chemical to move into the lungs and smaller airways.Little girl giving kiss to her mom while working from home

While no parent, grandparent, or caregiver ever wants to think that a child could be poisoned on their watch…it unfortunately does happen. Children are naturally curious, and little ones love to put things in their mouths. Take the steps above to help protect your child. For more information on safety and poison prevention click on the highlighted links above.






Healthy Home-Cooked Meatloaf…comfort food made better

I’m not usually a huge fan of meatloaf, but I like to vary things up in the kitchen. My husband is quite the carnivore so a chunk of meat always gets him excited. While meatloaf is usually loaded with a high fat content, I’m going to introduce you to the Eating for Life: Cookbook version. This turkey meatloaf recipe is quick to throw together, but it does need an hour to bake.

Healthy Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground turkey (make sure that you choose LEAN. So either 97/3, 95/5, or 93/7 Lean to fat ratios with 97/3 being the leanest. Otherwise, your turkey may be just as fattening as ground hamburger. 
1 medium onion, chopped
4 egg whites
1 cup salsa (I prefer Pace salsa)
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 pkg Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup ketchup

How to Make a Good Old-Fashioned Meatloaf…just a little better:

Preheat your oven to 350°FIn a large bowl combine your ground turkey, chopped onion, egg whites, salsa, oats, soup mix and black pepper. Press this mixture into a 9 x 5 loaf pan and spread your ketchup over the top. Throw this in your oven and bake until the meatloaf is no longer pink in the center and there is clear juice.  This will be approximately 60 minutes, but make sure to check. Nothing is worse than raw meatloaf…especially when you’re using turkey! Once it is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before you slice it. Pair this with steamed green beans and a baked sweet potato. Yummy comfort food never tasted so good!