Friday, April 19, 2013

Eerie Silence

Imagine waking up to a SWAT team in your backyard, scoping out your garage and shed.
Imagine waking up to the news that the city is under lockdown, with all residents ordered to lock doors and windows and stay home. 
That's the situation in our area right now. 
Public transportation is shut down. 
Taxi service is shut down. 
Boston is shut down.

The home videos of SWAT teams moving through well-manicured yards are surreal.
The lack of cars and busses on the street is creepy. 
Sirens wail in the distance.
The silence is punctuated by the birds that have returned for the spring. 
But other than that, there's silence. 
And it's eerie.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Parenting After the Blasts

I saw a post on Facebook yesterday looking for parents in Boston to talk about their children's experience with the recent attacks, and how we're dealing with them. So I responded, and got a call from a reporter. We chatted for a while, and as usually happens, I didn't think about what I was saying until the words come out of my mouth. And as I said them, the words made me sad.

HeyMama is a very perceptive kid. She picks up on offhand comments. And asks about them later. She can hear me opening a bag of peanut M&Ms on the other side of the house. And asks for one immediately. After the shootings in Newtown, despite our attempts at a media blackout, she came downstairs early while I was still in bed and heard about the attack on the clock radio. So I knew there was no way to avoid the attacks that happened in our town, just blocks from our church. I had to address it on my own terms.

BestestHusband alerted me to the tragedy. The girls and I had been napping when it happened. His news woke me immediately. I knew people running the race. I knew people who were going to watch. I've never been so thankful for Facebook as I was on Monday, as I was able to check in on people, mentally adding people to my "safe" list. 

When the girls were awake and playing, I told HeyMama the news. I reminded her of the race we were watching on TV that morning, the one with the super fast guy in the wheelchair. I told her that a bad thing happened, that someone used bombs to hurt a lot of people. I told her 2 people (which was true at that time) had died. I told her about the first responders, the police, the doctors and nurses who rushed in to help. I told her about the police and soldiers who were being called in to find the person who did the bad thing, so they couldn't do it again. I tried to draw attention to "the helpers", like Mr. Rogers talks about. Boston was full of them on Monday.

She talked about it a lot at dinner time. Our neighbor, Mr. Jason, is a Boston cop. She talked about how he was helping "catch the bad guy". It was an exciting concept to her. Bad guys are in books and movies. Mr. Jason was chasing a REAL bad guy! BestestHusband told her that the whole event was a sad and somber one. Real people got really hurt. We were very sad for them. It wasn't something she should be too excited about. 

Despite our attempts to keep the media coverage away from her, HeyMama is attracted to it like a... like me to chocolate. It's irresistible, and she can't get enough. And she manages to find it. Shame on the Wall Street Journal for their blood-spattered image on the front page of the paper. Since when was she so interested in the newspaper?! She found it hidden UNDER other sections! Even the tiny images on Facebook were enough to catch her eye. Sigh.

As I discussed with the reporter, this is just the beginning. She asked how HeyMama's perception of the event colored my own. I said that I wish it was as simple as HeyMama thought it would be. At her age, it's appropriate to know that people sometimes do bad things, and the helpers come help and then the bad guy can't do bad things anymore. The event is an isolated one, and when it's over, it's over.

But in our post - 9/11 world, that's not really true. It's another in a long string of senseless attacks designed to maim, kill, and instill fear. This week's was in my own city. Who knows where the next one will be. But as adults, we all know there will be others. There will be more violence, more sorrow, more grieving family and friends. More memorial services. More candlelight vigils. This was the realization that made me so sad when I said it. 

And each time another happens, we will have to help our children understand it. Their age and development will change between each one. They will understand more of it, but also understand less of it. And we'll struggle with helping them understand, because it doesn't really make logical sense to us, either. But we have to shepherd our children into a world where violence shows regularly on the news. And we have to deal with the fact that we can't keep them safe all the time, and we can't promise them that someone else will keep them completely safe, either. How is this concept supposed to make sense to our children? How are they supposed to feel safe? It's so hard for us to stomach, and we're 30ish years older than they are. 

It's times like this that I'm thankful for our faith. Our faith teaches us that sin is in the world, and as a result, there is evil, pain, death and destruction. It's inevitable while we live on this earth. Our only hope is in a Savior who will ultimately win over sin and death. We won't experience this while we live here on Earth. But in the meantime, we know we can find comfort and peace in our faith. Our faith won't keep bad things from happening to us. But we know that a steadfast faith in Jesus and his eternal salvation will allow us comfort when they do. Is there hope for true peace on earth in our lifetime? I don't really think so. But as sad as this is, it's not as devastating as it could be.

So this is how we parent after the blasts. In the midst of the turmoil and fear, we can teach our children to turn with us to our God. "On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other else is sinking sand." I just hoped they'd be a little older before these scary lessons needed to be taught.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Boston Marathon Will Endure

The Boston Marathon has long been known as a premier endurance race, drawing runners from all over the world to challenge themselves to traverse 26.2 miles of hills into Boston's Back Bay. Today, it's known for something different. And a nation is heartbroken to find itself under attack again.

No one is more heartbroken than our local Bostonians. The marathon is a tradition here, for runners and spectators alike. Marathon Monday is on Patriot's Day, a state holiday that celebrates the men and women who fought for America's independence. Bostonians pride themselves in being plucky, being fighters. We fight through 24 inches of snow to shovel out our car. We fight over that parking spot to make sure it's ours the next day. We fight through months of cold dreary winter to make it to the glory of spring. And when that spring finally comes, we celebrate our endurance, line the streets of the marathon course, and cheer for complete strangers. It's an institution in Boston.

Some celebrate it by sharing their water hoses on hot days. Some celebrate it by handing out orange wedges and cups of water from their driveways. Some celebrate by drinking in early-opening pubs before lending their slightly-rowdy exuberance to the crowd. Hey, some bring their booze in "water bottles" to their closest viewing site (not that I'd know from experience, or anything...). But we all celebrate one thing - the joy of accomplishment, the joy of overcoming, the joy of finishing something that's hard. 

I ran a marathon once. The 26.2 miles on race day is only the part of the challenge that others see. It's the months leading up to the race that are the real challenge. There are speed workouts. Endurance runs. Getting up at 4:30am on a hot day to get a long run finished before the sun really comes out. (That's a reason to run Boston in April instead of the Cape Cod in October - summer training sucks!) And then going to work afterwards. (Thanks Melissa for pushing me through those!) But even before my first-hand experience, I cheered. To the point of vocal failure. 

One of my favorite things about the race is that people will write their names, either in black tape or marker, somewhere on their body or clothes. So instead of shouting "Go Red Shirt Guy!", you can shout, "Go Amy!" "Go Gus!" "Go Max, you can do it Max!" And they smile. Sometimes they'll give you a thumbs up or wave. You get to cheer for people. Some of them look like they really need it. Those are the ones you cheer extra loud for. You want the slightly-tubby middle-aged guy to reach the finish line. But you're not convinced he will... The spectators create a wave of sound to push the runners forward. It truly draws the city together.

Another one of my favorite things is the ability to get charity numbers and run to raise money for your favorite charity. These runners are not the ones competing for a medal. These runners are the ones competing to COMPLETE the race. Many are doing it for the first time, many are not life-long runners.  They are pushing themselves to do something hard, and doing it to help others. These are the class of runners that were crossing the finish line when the bombs went off, not the elite runners. These are the runners who had coworkers and family members waiting for them near the finish. The contrast between those hurt and those who did the hurting could not be starker.

The girls and I briefly watched the marathon on TV this morning. We spent a few minutes watching the first wheelchair contestant cross the finish line. We talked about the fact that "his legs couldn't help him walk, but he could use his strong arms to be the fastest guy in the race." This afternoon, some of the worst injuries from the blast were amputation injuries - legs lost. But what the race shows us in its better moments is that hardships and tragedies don't stop people. The human spirit is stronger than the strength of a limb. We fight. We struggle. We overcome. 

The Boston Marathon will be as popular as ever and as strong as ever next year. The bomb-makers hurt people, but they did not hurt the spirit of the event. I grieve for the families of those who died and were injured. I grieve for the runners who lost the chance to finish a triumphant race. I grieve for those who will leave what should have been a joyful accomplishment with an ache in their heart. Evil exists in this world, but it did not win today. The hordes of people running towards the blasts to help are proof of that. The people lining up to donate blood are proof of that. The shared grief of a nation is proof of that. Evil reared its ugly head, but we will continue to fight it. We will overcome it. The Boston Marathon will endure, and its spirit will win.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Ensuring Our Family's Health and Safety, Part 1

I need to start out by apologizing to Jessica Brown Wilson. 
Jessica's one of my old classmates who knew me when I had permed hair, braces, and overly-large glasses. She was always significantly more stylish than I was, to say the least. She grew up to be a mother of two beautiful daughters and a successful lawyer. And she's still significantly more stylish than I am.

I jumped down her throat via Facebook the other day for re-posting something. Something that pushed one of my buttons, villainizing the pharmaceutical industry. (That's a topic for another post someday). The re-post was about using diet choices to keep us healthy and fight cancer vs. relying on traditional cancer treatments. It described current cancer treatments as "barbaric". It's actually correct. BestestHusband spends the vast majority of his waking hours trying to figure out a way to improve upon our current cancer therapeutics. He has described the treatments as "barbaric" before. The re-post offhandedly referred to the providers of current cancer treatments as "parasites". That's the part I jumped down her throat about. I hear it too often. But I should have known better to think that she would aim that arrow herself.

So I apologize for publicly jumping down your throat, Jessica. You feel strongly about finding ways to provide for the health and safety of your family. I do too. I think most of us do. And it's just so hard these days.

There's a lot of information out there, but there's also a lot of bad information. I laughed when I heard a dietician friend say that she liked Dr. Oz for job security. She had a lifetime of work ahead of her, correcting the misinformation he spewed to her clients every afternoon on network television. A fellow mom told about her PhD boss being pressured by the Dr. Oz show to promote one diet over another, even when the data did NOT support it. There are hundreds of websites devoted to special diets to improve health. You could fill dozens of bookshelves with the writings of "authorities" on the topic. But how do you separate the help from the hype?

There's a lot of chatter on my online mommy forum about different things to look for and avoid.

  • Look for a wide variety of fresh produce to provide a wide range of nutrients and antioxidants.
  • Avoid imported produce, because the fuel used to ship them pollutes the environment, and they have inferior nutrients in them.
  • Look for locally-grown produce to support local farmers.
  • Avoid produce grown in soil containing lead. (ahem, that's most of New England, thanks to years of inhabitants painting their homes with lead paint)
  • Avoid simple carbohydrates, they cause sugar spikes that leave you hungry shortly after you eat. 
  • Look for whole grains instead, as they provide fiber and satiety.
  • Avoid grains, because gluten is bad for you.
  • Avoid grains, because our Neanderthal ancestors didn't eat them.
  • Look for meats, because our Neanderthal ancestors thrived on them.
  • Avoid red meats, because they're bad for your heart. 
  • Look for low-fat dairy products for protein and calcium.
  • Avoid low-fat dairy, it's full of other additives.
  • Look for full-fat dairy, it promotes longer satiety.
  • Avoid all dairy. We're the only species that drinks mild past infanthood.

Hmmm... So I asked my online mommy forum to give their resources (preferably evidence-based) to support the diets that they choose for their families. The people who were typically the most vocal about diet were oddly silent, and one even admitted to choosing her family's diet based on word-of-mouth (ie. fads and trends). The ones that did speak up all referred to the same websites:


I haven't had the chance to really pore through the websites and read all of the research links. But at first glance, the info is similar to what my dietitian friends told me when I quizzed them on the topic:  eat a wide variety of foods. But my dietitians added another thing:  eat together as a family.

This last item calls to mind an article written by a former raw diet evangelist. She and her husband were local promoters of a raw diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. Until she noticed that her 15 month old twins were developmentally behind their peers. She immediately began providing cooked foods for her infants and other children. In addition to her infants (who started to toddle once they could actually ABSORB the nutrients from their food with their still-developing digestive systems) catching up developmentally, she observed another type of "catching up":  her family began eating meals together. And meals became an important social part of their day, bonding them together as a family. 

Where is this ramble going? Good question. Food and diet is such a complex thing. We don't yet fully understand everything about the foods we put in our body. There's little evidence that one food, ingested or avoided, will make-or-break our health. But there is a lot of evidence that a variety of foods, especially whole foods (single ingredient items, not PopTarts), combine well for our health. And importantly, sharing good food with friends and family can be good for our psychological and emotional health.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I ramble about other reasons that providing for the health and safety of our families is difficult. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

So Our Neighbor Bought A Bulldozer

Things have been busy around here lately. Spring is definitely in the air, and new evidence is popping up every day. The crocuses have been blooming, the daffodils ready to burst forth, and the tulips are lining up for a show.

And next door? Our neighbor bought a bulldozer.
Yes, a bulldozer.

The new 'dozer.
In our driveway.

When I saw it being dropped off Sunday afternoon, I assumed he was renting it for a while to clear out the back of his property. Because who owns a bulldozer in the city?
Our neighbor, apparently.
The one we share a driveway with.
He lovingly covered it with a tarp after parking it at the end of the driveway.

The dozer wrapped snug as a... bug?

BestestHusband reports that our neighbor plans to clear out some stumps behind our properties before trailoring it up to Maine, where he owns a lot of land. Ok, that makes more sense. Rural Maine needs bulldozers. Residential Boston? Not so much.

The view of the bulldozer from the bottom of the hill, where it needs to somehow get to. 

So I'm curious to see him in action. Because at the end of the driveway is that crazy steep sledding hill from earlier in the winter. The one with an unstable surface made mostly of decomposing wood chips. I'm sure gravity will make sure it gets down the hill. I'm not so sure this well-used bulldozer can make it up again.
I promise to take pictures if I catch him in action...

Hyacinths in the front yard. A more rational springtime development.

Pretty purple star flowers. I have no idea what they're called...

Dutch tulips that BestestHusband brought back from Keukenhof. When they actually bloom, you'll have to look at more pictures.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Reflections on Easter, Part 2

Ok, so it's over a week after Easter. But I can still reflect on it, right?

One of the joys of reading the Bible is that I can hear the same scripture verses year after year, but hear something different in them. Last year, the Easter story impressed on me the stubborn faith of the women who first discovered the empty tomb. They were brave, and their faith was sure.

This year, I've been mulling over Mary quite a bit - Jesus' mother, Mary. Now, we're not Catholic. We do not pray to Mary. But she is an amazing woman who can teach us all a thing or two about submitting faithfully to God's will for her life. 

Easter Sunday, we heard the Easter story from the book of John. Unlike the rest of the disciples, John was present to witness the crucifixion. With him were some of the women, including Jesus' mother:

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her,“Woman,[b] here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
(John 19: 25-27, NIV)

The passage was discussed as demonstrating how Jesus thought of his followers up until the very last moment, making sure his mother would be cared for after his death. But what struck me the most was the fact that his mother was there to witness the whole crucifixion.

Most of the disciples ran in fear and avoided having to watch their dear friend suffer in such a cruel way. But not Mary. Not the other women.

I can't imagine watching my own child be tortured and put to death. What a horror. The pain must be unimaginable. My mind flinches from exploring the concept fully.

But this is a mother's love in action. 

When does a child need us the most? When they're in pain - when they're suffering. And it pains us to witness it. We'd do anything to make it go away. Thankfully, most of us only have to endure the occasional childhood sickness and regular rounds of immunizations. Not flogging. Not being nailed to a cross. But Mary was there for him until the end, when most of the others had run away.

The whole episode emphasizes the humanity, the "true man" that Jesus was. He suffered as we do, and he had family that suffered through and with him. I'm not sure I have any more profound conclusions, just a great deal of awe. And thankfulness for the gift that Christ has given us through Easter - the promise that none of us will have to suffer as he did. Even in our families' worst moments, we have the comfort and hope of eternal salvation that can ease our pain. As a mother, I take comfort in knowing that God takes care of me, just as Jesus took care of his mother.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Homemade Chobani

Last year, about this time, I posted about how and why I make homemade yogurt. Today at work we were discussing Chobani yogurt, and I realized that in the last year, I have gradually transitioned to making Greek-style yogurt. Basically, I use my old yogurt-making technique, then strain off the whey with cheesecloth. Ta-da! Homemade Chobani!

I promised a co-worker I'd share the details. So here goes:

Start with a pot of yogurt. Lately, I've had the best luck with using whole milk (I find it tastier and more filling). And my family now strongly prefers that it's vanilla-flavored. I've started culturing it overnight, wrapped in a bath towel in a pre-warmed (but turned off) oven, so it gets a nice long culturing time. I let it chill in the fridge all day before straining it.

That crater is the cup of yogurt I took to work today. I just couldn't wait. It's full of whey, the stuff we'll strain off.

Try to convince the dog that the yogurt's not for him. Good luck.

Exact a candy tax from the kids' Easter stash, whenever available. This is a seasonal procedural variant, of course...

Set a mesh strainer in a large bowl.

Line with cheesecloth. 

I wash and reuse mine, and store it in a ziplock.

Transfer the yogurt into the strainer. I usually set aside a quart of yogurt before straining because the girls don't truly appreciate the valuable strained stuff as much as I do. Sometimes it's like throwing pearls to swine...

Almost immediately, you'll see the whey start to separate out. Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. The longer it sits, the thicker the yogurt will be. But if you forget it overnight, you'll have yo-cheese. It's tasty, but not much like Chobani.

Check on it occasionally. If you're like me, pregnant and waiting to go to bed, decide enough is enough and just let it strain for just a little while. The results are less dense and creamy, but the bedtime is earlier and the risk of yo-cheese is lower.

If you're a cheapskate like me, save the whey you strain off. Well, at least the stuff you don't spill on the counter while trying to pour it into the bottle. I usually get more than this when I don't spill...
What do you do with whey? Well, you can combine it with a little dollop of yogurt and use it in place of buttermilk. Or you can use to make smoothies. Or, if you're really like me, you can optimistically save it for future use, then realize that you're too tired to bake or be creative in the kitchen and eventually throw it out. Like you would have originally done while making the yogurt. Oh well...

And here's the finished product:  6+ cups of whole milk vanilla-flavored Greek-style yogurt.

I bought the milk for $2.99/gallon, and used some leftover yogurt as my culture. So this batch of yogurt only cost $2.99. Even if I'd spent $1 on a fresh small container of yogurt as my culture, the grand total would be $3.99 for over 48 ounces of yogurt. Chobani is sold in 6 ounce containers, usually for around $1.25/container. So the equivalent amount of yogurt in the store would cost $10. And contain preservatives and shelf-stabilizers that I don't add to mine. I consider the time and energy well-spent!

My hard-working cheesecloth gets treated to a bubble bath after each use. Basically, I'm too lazy to wash it. I just soak it overnight and wash it the next morning.

See? It's not too hard. Enjoy your homemade Chobani!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Reflections on Easter, Part 1

This Easter had its fair share of successes and failures.

My kitchen successfully churned through 19 pounds of ham, 7 pounds of wine-braised beef, and 48 kolaches. 2 dozen eggs were boiled or blown out to be dyed and painted. 3 dozen Easter pecan cutout cookies were baked and decorated. There was a lot of edible joy in the kitchen this year.

It also produced 2 failed chocolate cakes. It was a new recipe, and I failed miserably, even with two different techniques attempted. Imagine trying to fold egg whites into potter's clay. I baked the second attempt just out of curiosity. Not pretty. Still, tasty. Hey, I like chocolate. And I'm pregnant. Of course I ate it anyway.
Pretty dense stuff.

The "Easter Bunny" successfully filled baskets with much-loved gifts. Princesses are always a safe bet, for both girls. A new flowery flashlight replaced a recently broken one for my 4 year old. The jury's still out on the nylon chef's knife I bought my 3 year old. Yes, I bought my 3 year old a kitchen knife. She always asks to help make dinner. A lot of prep work involves chopping things. This knife will allow her to do it. And likely keep her fingers attached. At least I hope so. Stay tuned to see if this gift was really a success or a massive failure...

Look out, world. MeToo will be armed and dangerous.

The "Easter Bunny" failed at finding a new hiding place for the baskets. Despite the elaborate treasure hunt involving gold eggs and rhymed hints, one particular 4 year old raced to where the baskets were hidden last year and lucked out. Hey, let's cut the "Bunny" some slack. She was up past midnight preparing some of the things mentioned in paragraphs 2 and 3. And she's got Prego Brain. And a 4 year old who doesn't forget anything.

The other aspects of Easter were pure successes. The church service was a delight. The brunch afterwards was decadent. The nap after that was absolutely necessary. And the feast hosted by our friends (with a 2 week old baby!) was out-of-this-world, as usual. Even without my chocolate cake. ESPECIALLY without my chocolate cake. I must confess to joining in on some of the wine tasting. It was so, so good. Don't worry, I ate lots of food first and drank tons of water between each taste. Poor third child.

But for a global Easter success, check out this story. Try watching with dry eyes. I can't do it.

Poor Puking Second Child...

I woke up this morning with grandiose plans. I had made lunches last night. (Pre-planning is not a given these days...) I had worked out a plan with my boss that I would go into work for a bit, then go tour the (low-on-my-choice-list) school HeyMama had gotten assigned to. It was going to be a busy and productive day. I was PREPARED! This has a way of setting me up for failure...

MeToo was up early. I heard her padding around upstairs. She woke up thirsty, and was helping herself to some water. I'm so thankful they can help themselves to necessities now, especially with baby #3 on the way. Except when they think a 7am necessity is eating the ears of their chocolate bunny... But that's a post for a different day. She came down to tell me she had spilled something. I couldn't quite understand her story. But that was ok. I was dressed. My hair was ironed. My makeup was on. I was ready to face the day, go upstairs, and remedy whatever the situation was. (Yes, our bedroom is downstairs. The rest of the house is upstairs. This is backwards from every other house I've ever lived in. But we have an actual master suite. I'm ok with it being downstairs, next to our unfinished basement, even if that sounds odd.) I carried her upstairs and into the kitchen to investigate. Nothing seemed amiss. Until I heard the sound. 

Hork... hork.... SPLAT! The glass of water she drank and some undigested carrots made their way onto the kitchen floor. I put her down, jumped back, and managed to escape the splatter zone. Poor MeToo did not. She threw up some more. Today was obviously not going to happen as planned. My day immediately re-organized itself in my mind as I wiped vomit off the floor. BestestHusband asked the question, "So, are you still going to the school tour?" Now, I'm extremely relaxed about sniffles, aches, pains, and the random preschooler medical complaints. "You'll be ok. It's time to go to school." And generally, they ARE just fine. If MeToo had puked in her bed last night, but awoken cheerful and ready to eat a big breakfast, I would have sent her to school. Bugs happen. Germs happen. She probably got it from preschool. So if she feels ok and is behaving normally, I'll send those germs back to preschool. I only work 2 days a week. Missing one of those days is kind of a big deal for me. But not with active puking. There was no way the child was going to leave the house today. I made BestestHusband take HeyMama to preschool. The puker was NOT going in the car.

Poor puking second child. Is it bad of me that my second thought was, "Whew, another day at home to catch up and recover from the last few weeks!"? Of course I feel bad that she feels bad. But it's a stomach bug. She's 3. She's healthy and hearty. She'll puke a bit, sleep a bit, watch some extra TV. The bug will eventually pass, then we'll pump her with some Gatorade and eat a BRAT diet for a day or so. She'll be fine. Chances are good that her sister will show the same symptoms tomorrow, and we'll do it all over again for her. I get some extra time at home to continue to process laundry, sweep floors, and sort clothing that needs to be moved to the basement. The last few weeks have been a hectic time of planning events at church, cooking, hosting house guests, late work nights for BestestHusband, Easter festivity planning, and general pregnancy exhaustion. The house is a disaster. I'm a disaster. Oddly enough, a puking 3 year old is not a disaster. Especially since she has mastered puking into a bucket.

I've been doing this mommy thing long enough not to feel guilty. A stomach bug is not a real cause to worry in our household. So I'm not worrying. I'm not fretting. I am taking the opportunity to get stuff done for ME. Guilt free. And cuddling my pitiful little MeToo, of course. In-between rationing her toast and banana intake. And sorting through clothes that my amazing Clothing Fairy, Jen, sent me from Texas. 

Now my only real worry is my Camelback water bottle. I'm thankful that MeToo is willing to drink water and keep herself hydrated. But does it need to be from my new water bottle? Do I try bleaching the germs off the bite valve? Or just burn it and get a new one?

I hope you all have a puke-free week!