Friday, January 24, 2014

Being rash about a rash

Back around New Year's, we were in D.C. if you recall visiting LL's sister and family, I broke out in a rash around my shoulders, chest, upper back and lower on my neck. It was a pimply kind of rash, very odd. Naturally the investigation into what was causing the rash. For Christmas I had received new undershirts and LL washed them and used softener, which I normally do not use. All of our laundry products are unscented and dye-less, so it shouldn't have mattered, but it was very much an example of Occam's Razor. However, re-washing the shirts and changing to other shirts didn't change the rash. It was a bit better in the morning and much worse at night. It didn't itch.

Could it be bedbugs? Could my inlaws have bedbugs? Naw, they are pretty meticulous and why would they only bite me from my navel to my neck? Plus they were pimples, not bites.

Two possibilities down. They have dogs, could that be it? I am indeed allergic to dogs, so possibly that was the answer. I settled on blaming the dogs.

Due to the weather, we only had three days at home before I headed out to Arizona for a softball tournament. The rash didn't get better, but guess what? The family I was staying with ALSO had dogs. Clearly it was the dogs at this point.

That was two weeks ago. Upon my return, my rash was not getting better. If anything, it was getting slightly worse. To the internet!!!

What could have been the problem? Here's the thing: while at my inlaws over New Years, we drink a bit. And we don't just drink beer or wine. No, we drink caipirinhas. If you haven't had them, they are made with Brazilian rum called cachaca (pronounced ca-shaza) which tastes like gasoline, an entire lime and about a half a cup of sugar, yeah, it's that bad. However, after you mix in the sugar and lime, it's awesome (but what wouldn't be). So last year in an effort to reduce my caloric intake, I started using Splenda instead of sugar. Seemed like eight packets would do the trick. Cool!

So this year I did the same thing. Three or four days of drinking those added up to quite a bit of alcohol....and Splenda. I also use Splenda in my coffee, three packs, three times a day. So all totaled, I was consuming roughly 40 packs of Splenda a day while on vacation. When back home though, I was only having coffee, 9 packs a day or less. However, we make our decaf ice tea with Splenda as well (about a half of cup per pitcher), so who knows how many more packets I was getting by drinking two to three glasses of ice tea a day.

But could Splenda be the culprit? I mean, prior to D.C., I had coffee and ice tea in comparable amounts to what I was having post vacation. The internet told me that Splenda gets washed with chlorine and there is some residual in the product. Normally harmless I'm sure, unless you have 40 packets a day. Apparently the body tries to expunge the chlorine through the rash. So I've cut out Splenda for the last few days and the rash is going away. Fascinating stuff.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Everyday it seems like Marissa learns something new or does something new or interesting. This prompted two thoughts: I should really keep a journal or log (or possibly a blog?) of these events and wouldn't it be cool to have her grandparents keeping a similar journal?  So, obviously, I will try to document those new discoveries here. The second item, the grandparents journal, is really something I should design and sell. What I've seen has missed the mark and is mostly about the grandparent. What I'd like to see is something that yes, talks about the grandparents' lives prior to the baby, but also their interaction with the baby. So an entry might begin like: "I haven't seen you in a few weeks and you're so much bigger this time! You're standing on your own and eating so much......" something along those lines. Seems like that would be cool.

The latest things Marissa is picking up on are verbal. Standing on her own is old hat now and she can do that without any problem. Yesterday I tossed her blanket into the crib while we were playing on the floor in her room and she crawled across the room, pulled herself up and reached between the slats to grab her blanket and pull it out. She also grabbed a blanket from INSIDE the crib in the middle of the night.  That girl.....

So she's been saying "Baa, Baa." as in Baa, Baa Black Sheep. She's also been saying something resembling "peek-a-boo" when one of her toys says it. Stacking cups inside each other and putting these egg shell pieces together are two other skills she's getting better at every day.

It's really fun to watch.....and I'm glad I'm documenting it too.

This last one really cracks me up. It looks like she's in the middle of cabbage patching. Ha! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A little catch up

It's been crazy around here with only 3 days at home from our NYE trip before I headed to AZ for softball. We went 5-0 and won the tournament there and I was named to the all tournament team for hitting over .700. Not too shabby for 47. Instead of staying with the team (10 people in a house that sleeps 8), I stayed with some childhood friends who also lent me their car! It was great. I took them out to dinner on Friday as a thank you in advance.

Oh, and we got to play on Wrigley Field at Big League Dreams in Phoenix. Four of our five games were there. 

The big news though is Marissa's development this last month. She's gone from not being able to crawl two days before her 9 month birthday, to pulling herself up at will by her 10 month birthday. She stands, sometimes unaided, for as long as she wants, which is usually dependent on how long it takes her to get into something she shouldn't be getting into.

She's also making various animal noises when you ask her "what does a ........say?". She can do lion, dog, snake (really!) and turtle. Yeah, that last one is a bit odd, but there's a story behind it. LL's parents have a picture of a turtle eating leafs which they took down in the Galapagos. So when they were showing her the picture they made a chewing motion with their mouths and Marissa does the same. It's adorable.

Marissa was a pretty good traveler, despite two 4 a.m. wake up calls. 

She loves to play on the table that Joisey Ken gave her for Christmas!

And here is Marissa with her cousin Aaron. 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

2014, the year ahead

So many things are afoot for me in 2014.....literally when you consider one of them is that Marissa should be walking any day now. That means all sorts of things, not the least of which is replacing some furniture with more baby friendly stuff.

LL and I will also start working on second bundle of joy, whose arrival could take place before the end of the year.

In the spring we will revisit our wedding destination for some r&r, though we don't have any other trips on the horizon.

My new real estate venture will start to take shape in Q1 as I learn the blocking and tackling aspects of the craft while providing my new partners some guidance on growing their firm and generally trying to be a successful business. It should be very rewarding. There's still some CPE I need to do before April, but that should be interesting and possibly even enjoyable.

As always I look forward to another year of helping my consulting clients.  They are great folks with whom I enjoy working and there are some good things happening at all of them.

Softball will be more enjoyable this year as we've removed some less desirable players.  Hopefully the new group will click and softball will return to being as fun as it should be, which hasn't happened for a few years now. It's been fun, don't get me wrong, but there have been one or two bad apples that seem to spoil the bunch. It's tough to merge teams and get rid of the people with huge egos who put themselves above the team. We'll try again though.  Plus our 40 and over team should have another good year after going 16-2 last year.

Hopefully I'll be completely healed from my abdominal strain which would be nice for both softball and golf.  At the end of last year, I really couldn't golf as well as I would like because I couldn't twisted and rotate through the ball.  Hopefully that problem will be behind me this year.

It should be an eventful and interesting year!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Hello from Chiberia!

This morning's trip, while early, went off without a hitch. The flight was at 7:20 and with all the trouble, I thought getting there a full two hours early might not be a bad idea, so that meant getting up at 4:30. Ugh. Anyway, it all went off without a hitch this time. Heck, at Midway, where it was -15 degrees and the windchill was -40, we were able to wait INSIDE for a cab. They had an employee outside relaying to another airport employee that a cab was available and what size (we needed a larger one with the carrier, stroller and bags). It worked pretty well!!

Now the catching up much to many people to call. And Friday I go to Arizona for softball!!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Are we residents yet?

The continued snowfall in Chicago has left us stranded in Maryland for a third straight day.  Now our flight is scheduled for 7:20 in the morning, but it's going to be -52 windchill in Chicago with a high temp of -15.  Not sure how well planes do in the cold, but that's crazy.  Here's hoping we can actually get home, but I'm not too optimistic. Still, it could be worse....a lot worse. How? Let me tell you:

1) The Bears lost last weekend in the final minute of the game to the Packers on a blown defensive coverage on 4th and 8 for the Pack. Had they won, there would have been a playoff game in Chicago this weekend. That means I would have had to, at worst, drive home on Friday. LL and Marissa would have flown by themselves whenever we actually get out. Not fun for anyone. 

2) It's very feasible that we could have been rebooked on a non-direct flight to Chicago on Friday and then been shut down in whatever city we were in at the time (Columbus, Milwaukee, Houston, who knows?).  

3) We could have been just on a trip and not visiting relatives, which would have led to at least 3 more nights of hotels and car fees. 

4) We could be sick. For the first time in a month+, all three of us are actually healthy as are our hosts. Very fortunate there.

So lots of positives, not to mention that we actually ENJOY spending time with our hosts.  Marissa is doing very well with the trip and has enjoyed meeting her cousin, aunt and uncle. 

Friday, January 03, 2014

Cold and snowy

There is so much that I want and need to do, but alas, we are stranded in DC with LL's wonderful sister and brother in law. Midway airport was closed down today, when we were supposed to fly out from BWI, so obviously our flight was cancelled. We are booked for tomorrow at 6:25 a.m. which no one is happy about, but it was either that or Sunday morning at the same time. Ugh. When we finally do get home, we'll be welcomed by anywhere from 12-18 inches of snow that will be turned to ice no doubt. Monday, the temperature is going to be -7 for a high. A HIGH!! It'll be warmer in Barrow Alaska.

No pics to post as I haven't figured out how to upload effeciently without my desktop. That's okay though. Lots of pics to come though rest assured.  Marissa met her cousin Aaron for the first time and we took a bunch of pics. Marissa is still a bit of a bull in a china shop when it comes to grabbving things, people, pets, whatever, but she means well.  Aaron is on an oxygen tube along with feeding tubes so there's lots of things for her to tug on that would cause problems.  All in all though, she was very good with him and had her first real up close experience with dogs. After being overwhelmed initially, she has taken to making a high pitched barking sound to identify the dogs when she sees them and always tries to touch them, however indelicately.  She was gleeful to realize that they would come running to her in her high chair if she were to drop food to them.

Congratulations to LL for winning the college football family competition, The Caipirinha Cup, named after the drink we down in copious amounts while watcing football games. Against the line she dominated with a 7-4 record, while her sister and I tied for second at 5-6 and her b-i-l garnered only two wins. On to the NFL challenge!!

I'm excited about many things for 2014. More on that in my next entry.