Monday, April 23, 2007

Hey now, turn off that T.V.!

So you won't hear me get on many platforms or sign many petitions or see me join a lobby group. However, I would like to say this: Before Ella was born we watched T.V. alot. Well, I used to think it was alot but we were actually way under the national average--and we only have one T.V. which puts us in the national average of 19% of American households--the rest all have at least 2 or MORE T.V.s!

Anyhow, David and I decided that we strongly believed and supported the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of NO T.V. at all before age 2, and very limited viewing after age 2. And we really did it. Our daughter did not watch T.V. in her first two years of life. I will tell you this. Our lives are different because of this. We have real family time. Our daughter HATES it when the T.V. is on. This can be hard when we're not at our home, because she especially dislikes it if the T.V. is on in the background, and she's expected to "play" as if it isn't on. She would rather read or play with her babies or her toys. She would much rather listen to music or just have quiet in the background. Maybe her limited television viewing is why at age 2.5 she could sit quietly (only dropping a book twice in soft sections :-)) through an almost 90 minute intermission free orchestra concert last night. Maybe it is why she talks circles around most kids her age. Maybe it is why she loves to read books. Maybe it is why she always will choose going outside over T.V. Maybe it is why she loves to sing and dance. Maybe it is why she doesn't awake from bad dreams. Maybe it is why when she sees other kids playing "rough" (I'm reminded of the kid on the street last night waving his light saber toward her), it really bothers her and she doesn't understand. Maybe it is why she is so cute. Ha ha. O.k. so I'll stop by parental bragging, but there is more to life than television and she is living proof.

So you might think we're strange. You might wonder, what on earth do the Earnhart's do all the time? What would I do if my T.V. wasn't on? My challenge to you is this, just try it. Turn it off for one week. Read about the national turn off your T.V. week here--join in, and see if it doesn't change your life for the better. The fact sheet here is especially good to read. If you decide to take on this challenge, leave a comment on this post and let others know how it turned out for you and your family.

Now I'm not saying Ella doesn't enjoy some things on T.V. In the past six months since she turned two we have allowed her to view a very few select programs. My goal is no more than two 20 minute shows per week. I was frightened when trying to find them. There is almost nothing that is truly benign, and age appropriate for your child to watch. Not to mention the commercials.. We definitely don't do commercials. And we definitely don't do movies/videos--think about how long your child is sitting entranced. If you don't think your child "really" pays attention or absorbs what they see and hear. Think again. Talk to Ella about T.V. You've heard from me what her viewing time and content is. She could recount every detail from any show she's seen. In fact she now see's a picture of a clown with red hair and mouth and says "that clown was on t.v." This is thanks to the immediate segue of a McDonald's commercial at the close of a Nick Jr. show. Supersize me comes to mind...."McDonald's, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken and the Pizza Hut..." So I guess I could do another post on fast food.....anyhow....will save that for later.

If you're interested in my kid's T.V. reviews, with a link to each show, read on......if not, the post stops here.

Here are the handful of programs I have found good for a child: Barney & Friends (I know it's annoying, but it's educational, musical and has nothing bad). Dora the Explorer/Diego (it's bi-lingual, has the kids interact by speaking and actually moving around sometimes--however, we have encountered an episode with a scary witch that didn't go over very well), Blue's Clue's (also annoying in my book--but again it's always educational, and what kid doesn't love a blue puppy that mumbles. Well, if your's doesn't, then try Blue's Room where Blue actually speaks.) Meerkat Manor (This is on Animal Planet or Discovery and is simply an observation project of Cambridge University students observing Meerkat's in the Kalahari desert. It's real and can be kind of graphic with animals getting eaten and killed, etc. But it teaches life for animals in the real world, and who wouldn't want to reach out and pet one of the Whiskers?) Sesame Street (I think this show is comparable to Barney, but still too long and not of much interest to my 2.5 year old). Wonder Pets (Another Nick Jr. show. The three wonderpets have a theme of helping other animals by using "teamwork". It teaches kids to work together, and most of all each episode is recorded with a live orchestra and is almost entirely sung, not spoken! Two thumbs up from the musician mother!) And finally, the occasional sporting event (minus commercials of course) has been on in our house. But even David has REALLY limited this, especially during Ella's awake time, AND overall. Thank you David.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

These are the days...

of Easter bunnies, egg dyeing, egg hunts, wool coats, fur hats, snow, 80 degrees, family visits, lost friends, new friends, old friends and music.
So much has happened since my last post that I'm a bit overwhelmed. We celebrated Easter in winterlike conditions, had a great visit from Uncle Jeff at our house, said our final goodbye's to the Hudson's, took our first roadtrip in a year and half where we celebrated Blake and Karla's wedding shower with them, took in a Cardinal's game (well one of us did), spent time with Aunts, Uncles and Cousins, caught up with old friends the Millican's, and Ella made a new friend, Sophia. We've filed our taxes, I'm playing with a new orchestra and Ella's cutting her last 2-year molar--finally!

Hopefully the pictures will fill in the other thousand words.........

Monday, April 02, 2007

Raney's latest and "Relay for Life"

It is long overdue that I blog about Raney's health. She just saw her Dr. today with the results of her latest scan. Results: Her bones are completely healed and her abdomen too! The main tumor in her lungs has shrunk to about 2 or 3 cm (some of this could even be scar tissue)! The smaller tumors in her lungs are gone! This is the great news we've been continually praying for her to receive. It's probable that she will get to stop her chemo after one more treatment and just continue with the Avastin.
Her blood platelets are running low, so they will do the final chemo later this week. She is definitely looking forward to not having to deal with all the chemo side effects in the near future.

Raney of course continues to be an amazingly positive person in dealing with all of this. She has put together a team for the American Cancer Society's "Relay for Life" and raised over $1,400. Here is the web-page for herself, and then you can link to her whole team's web page from there too: Raney's page. She is also very active in researching the latest news, treatments, etc. for lung cancer and hopes to attend the Lung Cancer Society's annual meeting here in Chicago in June. We would love that!

A few weeks ago she was able to get away to California and Utah for a vacation with her family. Here is a picture she sent of them at Disneyland. Thanks for all of the continued prayers and support for Raney, Chris, Jaren and Conor.