March 30, 2011

LETDOWN's looking like this coin flip is leaning towards tails instead of heads.  My hormone levels aren't doubling and are pretty low.  I have zero pregnancy symptoms.  Hope is dwindling.

I have an ultrasound next week to peek in the kangaroo pouch and see, but I am not optimistic.

But Julia was so right: it's much easier to handle the letdown when you already have a squirmy kid to cuddle.

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March 21, 2011


I nearly just typed "Last week was Baby Grok's birthday."  But it's actually been three weeks.  How time flies.  I had every intention of commemorating the event here, but I didn't get around to it.

I'm not sure who still checks here, but if you do, there's news today.

I'm pregnant again.

Last week I took five negative pregnancy tests.  I was pretty bummed out and getting fairly obsessive again about cycles and luck.  Today I took two positive tests.  Don't know why that is, but it is.

It's wonderful.

Obviously, the same probability applies this time around too, and I still have a coin toss chance of another miscarriage.  But I remain happy that we made it past the getting-pregnant step and now just have to focus on the staying-pregnant step.

And I find this quite humorous: I nursed Baby Grok for the full year and had been slowly weaning her.  We had just taken the step of cutting out her nighttime nursing, and I was happy that I'd now be able to have a guilt-free glass of wine with dinner.

I had two nights of wine.


Fingers crossed and prayers offered that I don't get any more wine for another two years...

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February 11, 2011


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January 31, 2011


I have to write a post about a post I was going to write because I don't grok.

At a press conference on Friday, President Obama said the following:

The people of Egypt have rights that are universal, that includes the right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny.  These are human rights, and the United States will stand up for them everywhere.

My first thought was that the president was nuts, that Egyptians don't have these rights.  Or at least they haven't secured them.  I was going to write a long post about how these rights are indeed human rights, inalienable, endowed on us.  Our Constitution does not give us these rights, it simply enumerates them.  Our government does not give us these rights, it is there to protect them.  And that our Constitution begins with "We the people" because it is unique.

So I looked up the Egyptian constitution and was surprised to read that it too begins with "We the people."  I read further about freedom of speech and opinion and individual freedoms and just got more confused.  Why was the president saying that Egyptians have these rights when clearly they do not?  And how can all these rights be enumerated in their constitution when it doesn't appear that they actually have them?

So where's the disconnect?

Was the president being lofty and speaking in idealistic generalities about humankind, or was he specifically stating that Egyptians are guaranteed these rights by their constitution and are being denied them unjustly?

And how can Egypt have a constitution that guarantees its citizens a "democratic, socialist state" and then have the same leader for 30 years?

I really don't grok.

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January 10, 2011


I've been busy chasing after the baby.  I've also discovered it's hard to use the computer when she can crawl over and start slapping the keyboard.

Plus I just don't have anything good to say.

I hate posts where bloggers explain why they're not blogging...

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November 03, 2010


A European friend of mine was saying recently that she doesn't really understand how American government works because it doesn't make sense to her that our "parliament" could be of a different political party than our president.  She wondered how anything would ever get done.

I tried to explain that the Founders of the United States intended it this way, that our system was created under the assumption that government works best when it governs least.

This result from last night, it should ensure the least amount of government.  That's a good thing.

It's a win for the country.

Now leave us alone.

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Via AirForceWife, these are really funny...

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October 30, 2010


I barely follow politics lately and try not to let it work me up anymore because I can't waste energy right now being depressed about the direction of our country, but this open letter to Rush at Hillbuzz (via Amritas) got me all pumped up on dorkosterone.

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October 22, 2010


I heard about this secondhand so perhaps I'm missing some nuance, but did Juan Williams just get fired for expressing basically the same thoughts that Barack Obama attributed to his typical white granny during the greatest speech on race relations since Martin Luther King?

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October 08, 2010


How utterly pathetic is it that this man has to share the Nobel Peace price honor with the likes of Al Gore and Barack Obama...

Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights" — a decision which produced a bitter reaction from the Chinese government.
Unlike some in China's highly fractured and persecuted dissident community, the 54-year-old Liu has been an ardent advocate for peaceful, gradual political change, rather than a violent confrontation with the government.
Liu Xia said she hoped the international community would now press China to free her husband, adding that the country itself should "have pride in his selection, and release him from prison." He is serving an 11-year sentence for subversion, which was imposed last year.

She said she had not expected her husband to win. "I can hardly believe it because my life has been filled with too many bad things," she said in an emotional telephone interview with Hong Kong's Cable television.

I could almost cry reading this.  This man is the reason the prize was created, not do-nothing douchebags like Gore and Obama.

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October 03, 2010


If this were Facebook, my status would read:

Sarah Grok wants to keep blogging, but when she realizes she spent the baby's entire morning nap and part of the afternoon one writing the previous post, she kinda wants to throw up.

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Via The Corner, I had to laugh at this NYT article about the Tea Party Movement.  I think the author is pretty ignorant of her subject matter.  It would be as if I tried to write a professional article on the environmental movement; I am not a part of it, I am fairly contemptuous of it, and I really haven't done the grokking necessary to understand why its followers behave the way they do.  (But I'd like to think I could do it better than she does because I've done it before.)

Her thesis is that "long-dormant ideas" and "once-obscure texts by dead writers" have shaped the movement.  (I find it amusing that she considers Hayek to be obscure, but I digress.)  She says of authors like Hayek and Skousen, author of The 5000 Year Leap, that:

They have convinced their readers that economists, the Founding Fathers, and indeed, God, are on their side when they accuse President Obama and the Democrats of being “socialists.” And they have established a counternarrative to what Tea Party supporters denounce as the “progressive” interpretation of economics and history in mainstream texts.

All told, the canon argues for a vision of the country where government’s role is to protect private property — against taxes as much as against thieves. Where religion plays a bigger role in public life. Where any public safety net is unconstitutional. And where the way back to prosperity is for markets to be left free from regulation.


I think she's attributing parts of the movement to these books when really she wants to attribute them to Glenn Beck, but that dead horse has already been beaten, so she focuses on the books he promotes on his show.  I admit that I am out of the loop these days, but I have watched some Glenn Beck lately and I must say that I am impressed with his new approach to bettering America.  My summary of it is that he is moving away from pointing out how much Washington stinks these days and is instead truly trying to encourage Americans to "be the change you want to see in the world."  His plan calls for self-reflection and self-improvement, with a focus on "faith, hope, and charity."  He wants everyone to commit to becoming a better person, and once we're all better people, we will have better people running for office as virtuous candidates for whom we can vote.  We are a nation of individuals, and we will be a better country once we are better individuals.  It's a long-term strategy, something quite interesting to promote nightly on a news show.

Glenn Beck does encourage people to strengthen their religious devotion on the way to becoming a better person.  If the NYT wants to characterize that as "where religion plays a bigger role in public life," um, OK.  I think that's a negative oversimplification of what he's proposing from a journalist who wants to scare readers into thinking he is advocating the blurring of church and state, but maybe I'm nitpicking.  I think the scare tactic of saying that "any public safety net is unconstitutional" is more egregious though.  It's funny because it's technically a true statement, but by not explaining it, the article leads readers to conclude that Tea Party folks are Scrooges who are out to screw the poor.  I have never heard anyone say anything of the sort: they resent the safety hammock, not the net.  And Glenn Beck regularly encourages his following to tithe, either to a church or a charity of their choice.  He wants people to be more charitable, not less.

I just thought the article was an interesting example of someone who is obviously writing outside her level of understanding.  It's a window into the mind of someone who's trying to be objective while writing about something she clearly thinks is simultaneously hokey and dangerous.

It wasn't as bad as it could've been, but the undertone of contempt was clear.  And I bet she thought she was being fair and balanced.

The most interesting part of the article was this, in my opinion:

Doug Bramley, a postal worker and Tea Party activist in Maine, picked up “The Road to Serfdom” after Mr. Beck mentioned it on air in June. (Next up for Mr. Bramley, another classic of libertarian thought: “I’ve got to read ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ ” he said.) He found Hayek “dense reading,” but he loved “The 5000 Year Leap.”

“You don’t read it,” Mr. Bramley said, “you study it."

Across the country, many Tea Party groups are doing just that, often taking a chapter to discuss at each meeting.

I think this would've made a much better thesis.  Glenn Beck is prompting postal workers and regular folks to read substantive books.  I read Hayek last year and found it dense as well; the fact that Glenn Beck's viewers are devouring these intellectual tomes and creating book clubs to discuss them is phenomenal.  People are setting aside their Harry Potter and Twilight for Frederich Hayek!

But one would have to be less contemptuous of Tea Party people to write that story.

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September 26, 2010


Reading this new Mark Steyn makes me really miss being in the loop...
Mollifying Muslims and Muslifying Mollies

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September 16, 2010


Evidence that our priorities are completely out of whack...

In the USAA Magazine this month, my husband noticed a section on buying a car.  It was adding two cents to common buyer claims.  And to the claim "I just need something to get me from here to there," this financial advisor said, "Really? Can you truly be happy with no frills [...] Deep down, you don't want your car to reveal that you're on a tight budget."

And that, dear readers, is part of the reason America is going to hell in a handbasket.  Because financial advisors tell us to pretend that we're all ballers.  Don't buy a cheap car you can afford; people might think you're living within your means!

Terrible advice.

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September 03, 2010


Just this morning, I thought of something I wanted to blog.  I told my husband, "Shoot, if I keep blogging, this is exactly what I'd say..."

I have been looking into educational books for my kiddo and I was intrigued by the "Who Was" series.  They are way above her level for now, but I was investigating them to see if they have a PC agenda or if they're good biographies for her to read someday.  And I noticed something funny about the list of books.  Here are some of the people they cover:

Albert Einstein
Queen Elizabeth
Mark Twain
George Washington
Leonardo da Vinci
Neil Armstrong
Hellen Keller
Barack Obama

One of these things is not like the other.

What on earth is in the Barack Obama book?  I mean does he possibly stack up to Edison and da Vinci?  The only presidents in this series are Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Kennedy, Reagan, and...Obama?  Wow, that's some prestigious company he keeps.  Especially since there is no benefit of hindsight whatsoever.  The book was published before he'd even finished his first year as president!

I'd really love to know what's in the Obama book.  Once upon a time there was a boy who lived in Indonesia and Hawaii and then went to law school and then was a community organizer and then a senator and then president.

The only thing the man has done is get elected.  And triple the already-too-awful national debt.

And somehow that stacks up to Mozart and Helen Keller.

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September 02, 2010


Yesterday was my baby's six month birthday.

Motherhood has, in many ways, been exactly what I expected.  It's tiring, it's grueling, and it's repetitive.  It takes up every minute of your day and every thought in your head.  Much of my free time is unfortunately devoted to researching problems: annoyingly short naps, night waking, nursing strikes, etc.  Other moments are spent researching more fun things, like baby food recipes and age-appropriate toys.  But thankfully, at six months, there is indeed free time.  I do get about four or five hours to myself every day.

I just have to prioritize those hours.

Half that time is spent with my husband in the evening.  I still get to knit and wind down before bedtime, which these days is 9:30.  The other half is during the day, and it gets split between research, housework, and relaxing.

And while blogging used to be one of my favorite hobbies, it's just not at the top of my priority list anymore.  I barely make time to follow the news, much less form an opinion on it.

It should come as no shock to you -- seeing as I have written only 30 posts in the past six months -- that this blog is winding to a close.  And the thing is, I hate when blogs peter out.  I never know if I should keep checking in on Rachel Lucas or if she's done.  I hate that.

So I was all ready to write this post last night and close up shop...and I checked my email first.  And there was an email from a lurker who said she misses me...

And I took pause.

The only thing keeping me here anymore is all of you.  All the people I've met and the sharing of ideas I've made a tiny contribution to over the years.  I hate to not share anymore.

It's quite painful for me to quit.

Even moreso after I went back and read this post and its comments.

I was very ready to hang up my hat yesterday.  At peace with it even.  But now that it comes time to do it, I can't quite bring myself to it.

But I also hate to leave this blog hanging too...

I have to sleep on it.

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August 10, 2010


Today's amen goes out to Pat Sajak.  (Yep, THE Pat Sajak.)

Let’s assume that a third of the world’s population really believes mankind has the power to adjust the Earth’s thermostat through lifestyle decisions. The percentage may be higher or lower, but, for the sake of this exercise, let’s put it at one-third. Now it seems to me these people have a special obligation to change their lives dramatically because they truly believe catastrophe lies ahead if they don’t. The other two-thirds are merely ignorant, so they can hardly be blamed for their actions.

Now, if those True Believers would give up their cars and big homes and truly change the way they live, I can’t imagine that there wouldn’t be some measurable impact on the Earth in just a few short years. I’m not talking about recycling Evian bottles, but truly simplifying their lives. Even if you were, say, a former Vice President, you would give up extra homes and jets and limos. I see communes with organic farms and lives freed from polluting technology.

Then, when the rest of us saw the results of their actions—you know, the earth cooling, oceans lowering, polar bears frolicking and glaciers growing—we would see the error of our ways and join the crusade voluntarily and enthusiastically.

How about it? Why wait for governments to change us? You who have already seen the light have it within your grasp to act in concert with each other and change the world forever. And I hate to be a scold, but you have a special obligation to do it because you believe it so strongly. Then, instead of looking at isolated tree rings and computer models, you’d have real results to point to, and even the skeptics would see the error of their ways and join you.

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July 23, 2010


When I was registering for a baby, I was definitely sweating the small stuff.  I was looking for someone to tell me how many pacifiers I needed to buy and which brand and how many spit rags and so on.  I got lots of good advice, but now I have my own trial and error wisdom to pass on to others.  Since I knew several pregnant ladies who were coming up right behind me, I started emailing them with tips that I thought would be helpful.  I thought I'd consolidate all that info here.

I know, remember when I said that everyone recommended under-the-belly maternity pants to me and I hated them?  I know this advice might not work for everyone, but I consider it a starting place.  Sometimes when you're looking at a wall of bibs in the store, you just want some sort of recommendation of where to begin so you don't waste money reinventing the wheel.  I came to find that I personally like terrycloth bibs the best, so it was frustrating for me to later have a friend see me putting a bib on my baby and say, "Oh yeah, those are the only way to go."  I wish she'd shared her knowledge with me before I spent lots of money buying other types of bibs.

So here are my tips:

** I LOVE my Itzbeen.  I like being fastidious, and it's been great.  Also, you will lose your mind when the baby is first born.  I couldn't remember when she last ate to save my life.  I also constantly forgot to take my own meds.  So keeping track on "the clicker" (as we call it here) was priceless.  This actually warrants its own post.

** I love the Swaddle Me blanket that R1 got us.  We went out and bought a second because we used it so often, and when she outgrew those, we bought the bigger size.  It's great, and she still likes to be wrapped in it.  In fact, we're now having trouble weaning her from being swaddled.

** And here's a tip: All the shampoo and the thermometer and stuff...go ahead and open it all ahead of time.  We gave our daughter her first bath and she's sitting in the water and I'm struggling to open the damned seals on all the liquids.  Shoulda done that ahead of time.  Also, with the pacifiers, get some and open them and boil them ahead of time.  There's nothing more annoying than sanitizing a pacifier while baby screams.  The Avent and Mam brands are our kid's favorite.  Everyone talks about Nuk, so that's what I had, and she doesn't like the shape.  Your baby may or may not like the shape of whichever one you buy, but I'd spend the money to boil a couple and get them ready ahead of time.

**  Burp cloths.  A lot of them.  And different styles.  In the beginning when my milk supply was ridiculously too much, we made a huge mess every time.  Whenever I sat down to nurse, I made sure my baby had a bib on.  And I ALWAYS had two burp cloths nearby: a thick absorbent one (like a cloth diaper) for over my shoulder and a thin one to wipe her mouth and my breast, as milk gets everywhere.  I recommend ones like these because they don't have an edge to them.  They can wipe right at her lips and mouth without being awkward.  So I'd get several of these; I keep them all around the house so I don't have to go looking for them.  One thick one and one thin one in every room I might possibly feed in.  Once I got my milk supply under control, we dribble and spray a lot less.  But I still have spit cloths everywhere, because she went through a vomiting phase and now she just spits up and burps like every baby.

** Also receiving blankets.  I have used both the Boppy and the Brest Friend to nurse and I put a blanket over the pillow and under her to catch errant milk...or vomit.  So blankets are everywhere and they can double as burp cloths in a pinch.

** So yeah, we had a major vomiting issue.  I hear it's not uncommon.  A crucial thing is waterproof pads, like these.  We have these everywhere too.  I had a crib-size one under my fitted sheet to protect my mattress (I put this there at the end of my pregnancy in case my water broke in bed.)  I nursed in bed at night when our girl was still in our room and she barfed several times in my bed.  But even if it's not barf, I leak and she leaks.  In fact, I have the big one under my bedsheet and then a smaller bassinet-sized one that I lay on top of the sheet when we nurse.  I have many of that size and use them everywhere: lay one down to change her diaper (because the first time I didn't, she peed on my comforter), one in the bassinet, one in the Pack and Play, one on the sofa where I nurse (because there's been barfing there too).  And then I have the little tiny ones too that I use to protect her sleeping wedge from barf.  So yeah, waterproofing is essential.  In fact, I gave up and went straight to a full-sized fitted rubber sheet that I put over the sofa after she barfed on it the third time...  And I eventually bought an inexpensive waterproof mattress pad for my bed after her diaper leaked on my husband's side where the crib-size pad didn't reach.

**  I use waterproof pads, which are essential, but they need to be laundered.  I have them all over the house, and unless you want to buy so many of them that you can replace them frequently without doing laundry every's another tip.  I bought disposable waterproof pads too, like the "chucks" that you get in the hospital.  They are the Assurance brand and can be found in the store near the Depends section.  The pads are big, like 2 ft x 3 ft, so I cut them down into four equal rectangles.  Then I put one of them under baby's bottom while changing her diaper.  Thus her whole body is lying on a cloth waterproof pad, but her behind is on a disposable pad too.  That way if you get an explosive poop or if your baby manages to pee while you are switching from the yucky diaper to the clean one -- which amazingly happens quite frequently -- then you can just throw away the disposable pad instead of having to wash the whole cloth pad.  And if baby doesn't mess on the disposable pad, I keep it and re-use it for the next time.  I've only used one box of Assurance pads so far in her entire life, so I consider it money well spent to avoid extra laundry and to avoid having to buy a boatload of cloth pads.

** In lieu of a baby book, one idea that my mom did on her third kid was just get a blank calendar and then write the milestones in.  Like just write in the box for the day "first smile", "slept through night", etc.  That way you can go back and see the timeline, but it doesn't take as much effort as an elaborate baby book.  I do this and write lots of notes, because you will easily forget when your kid slept through the night, etc.  I write down her sleep habits most days because after three bad days, it can easily feel like weeks since she's slept well and I have to go back and look longingly at when it was that I last got four consecutive hours of precious sleep...

** CVS drugstore makes a generic version of clear Desitin that I like.  At my Walmart all I could find was the white stuff in a generic version, which works fine but it gets everywhere.  The clear stuff is better, especially during the summer when they are wearing shorts.  It's also less thick and pasty.  Anyway, it's a little money saver if you normally buy generics.  It's $6.49 vs $7.99 for Desitin.  And I've already used three bottles of the stuff in two months (though I am a fanatic about preventing diaper rash; the doctor even complimented me at her appointment that she has no signs whatsoever of any rash.  But I change her diaper constantly and put ointment on every time...probably a little overkill, but oh well.)

** Charmin Sensitive with Aloe is the only way to go at the end of pregnancy and beyond.  When you're wiping as frequently as you have to at the end, and especially if you have an episiotomy, that is the only toilet paper for your sore lady bits!

** Don't buy too much of one size diaper.  I took advantage of a good sale and got 360 size 1 diapers, and I didn't make it through them before she grew out of them.  Just be mindful that bulk isn't always economical...and I change her diapers pretty frequently.

** For what it's worth, I like this nursing bra.  It has lots of support for being so inexpensive.  And don't buy too many bras while you're pregnant.  My ribcage got enormous while pregnant and I went from a 36 to a 42!  But I shrunk back to normal once the baby came out.  I have also dropped a cup size since the end of pregnancy.  I just took nursing tank tops to the hospital and wore those so that I could learn to nurse without lifting a shirt.  I thought that worked really well.

**  I got tired of sitting cross-legged on the floor with the baby and having a sore back, so I recently bought one of these Back Jack chairs.  I am hoping I like it for sitting on the floor playing with her.  So far I think it will help with my back pain.

** And finally, my bib tip.  At this age, I have discovered that I prefer terrycloth bibs.  My gal is a drooler, and she goes through at least four bibs a day.  She soaks them!  The plastic-backed ones or the "waterproof" ones that Carters makes are OK for keeping her clothes dry underneath, but they don't soak up much slobber and they are pretty stiff.  Cotton ones that generally come with outfits are acceptable, but they don't soak much either.  The terrycloth ones soak up a good deal of slobber, and they are soft enough to wipe her face with too while she's dribbling.  But the waterproof ones are the way to go for longer car rides, when she's just sitting in one positon, drooling and soaking her front.

Good luck!

Posted by: Sarah at 10:28 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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If there's one baby accessory I can't live without, it's my Itzbeen.  So much do I love this item that I will do an unpaid awesome review of it.  And I've gotten two other moms to buy them as well.

I have heard this product referred to as anal or controlling, but I think that's a misunderstanding of how I use the timer.

I love this paragraph at ThinkGeek:

It is sometime in the middle of the night; you and your new wee one are awake. Once again, it’s feeding time! But you can't keep your eyes open without toothpicks, and the only thing which will keep you awake is watching The Lord of the Rings (extended version, cast commentary on, naturally). Even as Aragorn is defending the Hobbits from the Ring Wraiths, you are fighting a battle of your own called deprived sleep infant stage. Eventually, your significant other will have the next set of duties and will ask what time the last feeding was. Unfortunately, "Right about the time Aragorn set that one dude on fire" will not work as an answer. Enter the ItzBeen Baby Care Timer.

After I had the baby, I couldn't think straight.  At all.  I was in so much pain and in such a daze of sleeplessness that I couldn't tell you my baby's name, much less when she last ate.  But all I had to do was click the button each time and we were tracking.  No need for guessing.  No need to use my brain.

The obvious reason I love this timer is that it prevents me from having to think, or do math against the clock.  I don't have to remember when she ate or when we started the feeding or which side to nurse on next or when I changed that gross diaper or how long she's been napping, or all of these things in tandem.  I just click click click all day long.

The less obvious reason I love this timer is because it really helps me troubleshoot.  If baby is crying, I can see she just ate two hours ago, so it's not likely she's hungry yet.  So I can try something different.  Or I see that it's been an hour and a half since she woke from her nap, and I'm pretty sure the crying is because she's getting sleepy again.  It has really helped me take note of her quirks and patterns.  I love it most for that reason.

And we have had the funny conversation in our house where my husband is holding the crying baby and asks me what's wrong with her.  I look at the Itzbeen and say, "According to my calculations...nothing.  Nothing should be wrong with her."  Heh.  In that case, she's probably just bored.

I love this item.  Seriously.  The only thing I would love more is if it could be made into a wristwatch so that I would always have it on me.  I get my exercise trekking back and forth across the house to fetch my Itzbeen.

Oh, and the company is great too.  My original Itzbeen went on the fritz when baby was 3 1/2 months old.  Some of the digital numbers weren't showing all their lines.  I shot an email to the address on to ask about a warranty, and they quickly mailed me a brand new one as a replacement.  So I recommend this product even more because of their fantastic customer service!

And right now I can see that my daughter is 58 minutes into her morning nap, so I probably don't have time to start watching LOTR, as I now have a funny hankerin' to do.

UPDATE:  Amy pointed out something in the comments that I ought to have mentioned.  The Itzbeen is only around $20, so it's an affordable gadget.  It's been worth every penny for me!

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July 12, 2010


A link via Amritas:  Winner’s curse in the 2010 elections

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