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Easy Immune System Boosters: Staying Healthy in a Germ Factory

Building immunity

Despite my continuing dependence on adrenal steroids to stay alive, I normally fancy myself as being pretty healthy. I mean, my work involves literally sticking my face in other people's faces (once they're under anesthesia, in order to secure their airways). People like me who work in a hospital just assume that they are exposed to all sorts of pathogens on a daily basis. While I've suffered the occasional virus that probably came from work or the gym knock me down for a day or two, usually things normalize again pretty quickly. But this winter, things were very different. Having a toddler in daycare during the winter definitely changes the wellness dynamic of the whole family!

Apparently we're not alone. Friends have told me, "I've never been as sick as I was my first winter with a child in daycare." I hear, "Every time they change classrooms you'll get deathly ill." I have also heard, "It gets better once they turn …
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Lessons from my Daughter: Listen Closely, I'm Trying to Tell You Something

She's 14 months old now, and she tears it up all over the house. Climbing on furniture, getting in and out of her wagon, falling down and making messes as she goes. But we've been waiting to hear some words from her. She babbles quite a bit and we make sure to foster that, but we've been at a loss for hearing English coming out of her mouth. Lots of children say a few words around one year old, but some wait a longer period. I'm not worried per se, but honestly I've been hoping for better lines of communication.

But the other day, I noticed something. She and I had both been quite sick, passing some sort of virus back and forth between the two of us and her daycare class. I was feeling particularly miserable, just basically sitting around and doing very little. She exhibited increased energy and playfulness, and in the process she made concerted efforts to say the words "ball" and "bubbles". In addition, when I was getting ready for bed, I sat d…

Working On Me Again

Pretty light for a deadlift, but you have to start somewhere
Fitness and nutrition have played a significant role in my life since my days in Arizona as an undergraduate, a skinnyfat 19 year old who had only ever played music (not sports) as a kid, trying to impress a very tall athletic ex-volleyball player. (I'm now married to that guy!) In over 20 years, I've been a climber (still am!), a step aerobics queen, a runner, a triathlete, a yogi, a snowboarder, a P90X-er, a lifter... done vegetarianism, veganism, eaten paleo and IIFYM bodybuilding style. I didn't do these as fads to lose weight; they mark specific times in my life that involved a certain way of eating and/or a style of movement. To say that thinking about these things is a big part of my life would be an understatement.

But something was different right after I gave birth. Thoughts of self-improvement were pushed out by infant caring and feeding. Also, pregnancy and childbirth and a good couple years of IVF li…

PB Top Posts of 2016

Our Christmas postcard this year
After the major events of 2015, this year has been about adjusting to the addition of another whole person to our family. I'm not going to lie, it has been challenging to morph the activities of our daily lives as she grows up, from 24/7 needs to crawling to walking and getting into everything. It's been a beautiful progression to witness, but just when you think you've figured something out, she changes again!

With all the child rearing activities, I didn't post as many times as I would have liked to this year, something I will definitely be working on for next year! This list provides a short trip down the 2016 memory lane with the most popular (by pageview) posts of the year:

5) It's a virtual tie between two Lessons From My Daughter posts: one about body love and the other about looking beyond material things

4) A post about long walks and how good they are for relaxation and productivity

3) Results of my sugar detox experiment

Is Upgrading Always Worth It?

Moving is fun... or is it?
Upward mobility. We're geared to seek it as goal-driven professionals, as Americans, as humans. Our innate sense is to improve our circumstances, otherwise we run the risk of becoming weak and irrelevant. In modern circles, though, this evolutionary holdover has morphed into a ridiculous constant upgrading of our stuff.

There's a misconception that upgrading will make us happier. In fact, there was a 2010 Princeton study with a large polling group that found people's happiness did not increase further as they advanced to incomes beyond $75,000 per year. This has been re-analyzed multiple times and put throughdifferent cost-of-living lenses, but the general result is the same: more is not better. The book Happy Money also points out that after the initial excitement of a new car/bigger house/shiny material purchase, people's happiness level when encountered with that thing tends to fade over time. The original situation prior to the upgrade pr…

Lessons From My Daughter: One Year Old

Lots of growth for both of us this year
Unbelievably, one year has passed since our daughter joined our little family. When thinking about what to say on this milestone day, I feel the way I feel when I unexpectedly win an award or recognition: speechless. I've read some beautiful pieces dedicated to writers' children on their birthdays, stuff worthy of literature... Well, I've got none of that today. Obviously I love to write, and although I'm an introvert at heart, I normally don't have trouble expressing myself when I need to. But I write today simply to say that having and raising this girl has changed me in more ways than I can describe.

She makes me want to be a better person, and yet every day I'm still failing in some way. I need to be more positive, more mindful of what I do and say and of the expressions I let cross my face. She seems to know if I'm upset because she'll correspondingly cry. The other day she crawled into our fireplace (which …

International Travel With Baby

(Yes, she rode on the scooter. My mother will likely have a heart attack when she sees this picture. 
Baby's face is hidden to protect the innocent.)
Our first real vacation as a three-member family is now complete! We had a great time in Kalymnos, Greece for the majority of October. In fact, the post I just linked in the first sentence was inspired by our last trip to the same destination in 2012. Things were definitely a bit different this time, mainly due to the addition of the baby. We still met my criteria for an "ideal vacation": long enough period of time, minimal logistics required, lots of physical activity, and rich social interaction. However, on this trip we did hire one scooter to open up transportation options a bit more, in terms of both climbing crags that we could visit and locations where we could purchase amenities/etc.

The internet is awash with detailed tips for international travel with babies and toddlers, and I'm ashamed to say that I didn…