Friday, April 29, 2016

Life jackets, voting and the Synod on The Family

You may not think the above title makes any logical sense, but my almost three year old may have made have come up with a good idea of dealing with this election year.

My son really didn't want me to go vote.  He was adamant he didn't want to go.
I asked him why he was so worked up and he said he really didn't want to wear a life jacket.
I explained I was voting, not going on a boat.  "Mommy's going to help pick the next president in the White House" which then made him want his Lego White House.  "President" to him just means an awesome house with a cool basketball and tennis court.  Crisis averted by re-direction.  When I got him buckled up in his carseat, he said "go to community garden or library but no boating!"    When we got to the middle school where we vote,
he had a look of relief and said, "there is no boat or water here"

But maybe he was thinking along the right lines.  Sometimes I certainly wish we  had life jackets to get through this election...

Times seem uncertain now, sometimes even our religious beliefs and Church seems to be in uncertainty..

I was part of an interesting discussion regarding the synod on marriage and the family, and many of us were trying to sort through what the media said, what the Pope actually said, and the stalwart doctrine of the Catholic Church.

One member of the group put it well when he said Pope Francis' comment along the lines that irregular marriage does not deprive people of sanctifying grace, (which some seem to think that this makes divorce and remarriage no longer a sin in any situation) does not turn Catholic teaching on its head but is more like an endpoint.  Every one of us makes mistakes and there is never a point where anyone, including myself, makes a mistake that forever cuts them off from God.

A great resource on Pope Francis' document on marriage is the following; 12 Things to Know and Share on Pope Francis Document on the Family

"No need for panic.  The boat of Peter may be in turbulence.  But it will never sink.  It will always arrive at its shores because Jesus is in it."

From John Olorunfemi Cardinal Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Nigeria in "Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family.  Essays from a Pastoral Viewpoint."  Ignatius Press.  San Francisco 2015.   A beautiful book discussing the Synod on the Family as well as mercy.

That is a good reminder for everyone.  No need to panic.  While I wish I had a life jacket to get me through this next election year, I'll try to focus on the fact that God will see us through this, just as He always has.

The above is a picture I took from the Ring of Kerry in Ireland in 2007

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ticks, mosquitoes, Zika and more

It's that time of year... Actually in the Mid-Atlantic, it's kind of year-round, but this is the time we and our pets spend more time outside and notice the annoying critters more.  Ticks, fleas and mosquitoes! While I'm a veterinarian and like most animals, these insects are not included.

Ticks transmit many different types of disease: Lyme disease is probably the most well-known, but there's also Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichia and more.  There's even a rare condition transmitted by ticks that makes people have a severe allergic reaction to meat.  My husband has decided based on that fact alone that he hates ticks.

Preventatives for dogs and cats have gotten better through the years, it started with Frontline and now there are tons of different products on the market.  My favorites are the new ones, the pills/treats that taste similar to heart worm preventative and are effective against fleas, ticks and mange : )  It makes a veterinarian happy.

There's also a great product that I have been using the past five or so years which is a permethrin.  This is marketed under different brands, but it prevents fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.  It wants me to hang extra close to my dog on walks.  They actually make the same thing, permethrin which you can get at REI.  This product IS NOT to be sprayed on humans, like Deep Woods Off.  I don't like the idea of Deet on my child, or strong chemicals, but with everything and more that is coming out on Zika virus and my knowledge of what the mosquito, tick and even flea vectors can transmit, makes me want to have strong protection.

The permethrin from REI is meant to be sprayed on clothes and will last a couple of months.  I actually found out that permethrin is EXACTLY what the US military uses for all of their uniforms when they are being deployed to tropical locations.  The service member who shared this with me said that when they are spraying the uniforms, it is rather interesting to see a whole field of uniforms drying in a field.  The compound is not something you would want to spray on yourself and is actually lethal to cats, but once it dries it is a "tight binding molecule" meaning it won't bind to or rub off on other things, including your skin.

Let me share a few facts about Lyme disease and disease transfer in ticks that I have just had cause to answer in the past week.  Ticks do not fly.  They do not have wings.  They actually have heat sensors and jump towards heat.  That is why on people they are typically found in warm, moist areas after they have climbed there on your skin.  In dogs and cats, we typically find them on the paws, armpits, groin and head because these are the parts that have the closest contact with the ground and leaf matter.  Also, it takes up to 6 months to show signs of Lyme disease and other tick borne diseases.  This means that if you find a tick on you today, it could take up to 6 months to have symptoms.  In people, they have a typical "target lesion".  Dogs and cats don't have this.  Dogs present with lethargy, anorexia, limping and fever as the more common signs.  Cats rarely get Lyme disease or other tick borne disease (they are pretty good at getting ticks off of themselves before they get disease).

There is actually a laboratory where you can send ticks to get Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tested for tick borne diseases.  This is not very common and due to pressure on trying to keep healthcare affordable, etc, it is not popular among the human medical community, but it is something you can look into if you are interested.

Besides fleas being totally disgusting and causing severe enough anemias that dogs and cats could need blood transfusions, they also can transmit diseases to people, including Bartonella which I will talk about further in another blog.

On another note... I never thought I would be accused of being a thief and certainly not by my two year old.  Last night, as I was getting ready to give him a bath, he was really procrastinating.  I told him that too.  I know I will probably hear that word again from him at some point because I tried to explain it to him.  He doesn't like toe lint or toe jam in the bathtub.  So we try to clean it out of his toes before he gets in.  It works on his fine motor skills and I don't have to do it, so I'm glad cleaning it out is a skill he has learned.  Last night though, he was taking his time and very slowly performing the task.  Mommy, in a rush, went ahead and started to try to help him.  He then shouted out, "Stop!  Thief!"  I wasn't sure I heard him correctly so I continued to try to help him, "Stop thief!  My toe jam!"  Later on when I was trying to think where would he have learned this phrase, my husband reminded me it was in his Charlie Brown book when Woodstock's nest got stolen.  So I guess he was using it appropriately and I guess I am a toe lint thief...

Friday, April 22, 2016

Judging: Breeds, People and Cats

I have had the pleasure the last couple of weeks of working at a clinic where the vets have been out as long as me or slightly longer.  We practice similar medicine and all have strong internship training.  It's also been enlightening to see that some of my coping mechanisms and "jaded" point of view are not alone.  As I saw a veterinarian about to get on the phone with a difficult client and she said, "deep cleansing breath,"  I thought how those words so often came out of my mouth.  I was talking with one of the other doctors today and we were discussing that we really don't have as much patience as we used to.

We used to be idealistic young vets who wanted to save everything and we worked hard to educate the clients.  We discussed how we have just seen so many people who don't follow directions, and most of the time it's not money or finances.  We vets are kind of bleeding hearts and are most of the time willing to bend over backwards to help people.  We were talking about the people who you look through their whole chart and they have been told multiple times what to do to help their animal and they just don't do it.  Or they have the money to treat their pet, and they just choose not.  I told her how I really appreciate the clients who turn to their children and say, "Well, I guess we are going to have to put off that Disney vacation this year, because Fluffy is sick and we have to help her."  I have heard that a couple of times and it actually makes me feel better to hear that they care that much.

I was talking with the doctor and said, "sometimes I just don't have the energy to educate."  I used to rely on my pre-law background and power of negotiation to try to get people to help their pets.  But sometimes it's the best I can do to just not have an honest face.  I had a client earlier in the week who didn't follow simple instructions and her pet was at risk of a serious complication from surgery and she continued to say she wasn't going to follow the instructions because it was inconvenient.  I didn't lose my cool... But I wanted to.

One coping mechanism the other doctor and I shared is that we do sometimes judge people.  It makes us feel bad, but when you only have so much emotional reserve, you have to choose who to use it on.  We both felt bad about judging, but it does allow us to conserve our resources and focus our energy on the clients who really do seem to care about their pets.  I know I'm not supposed to judge, I try not to, but I do think it's a coping and survival mechanism.

I judge every day with the pets that come in.  I fortunately have not been mauled by a dog or cat.  Some of this, I'm sure is a blessing from God, but some of this good fortune is also due to decisions I make.  I categorically do not trust most small dogs.  Dachshunds and Chihuahuas I do not trust.  They tend to have what I call, "Napoleon Complex".  They will wag their tail, lick at you, nuzzle you and then try to bite your hands and fingers.  Not all of them are like this, but enough are that I just carry a general wariness of me.  I'm on my guard.  I don't muzzle all of them.  Often, owners don't like muzzles, but I don't think they necessarily see it from our point of view.  The muzzle actually doesn't restrict the pet from biting.  It just gives us a little extra time for our reflexes to move our body parts out of dangers way.  If I was a small dog and a strange human with a white coat started touching me, especially if I was in pain, I would bite them.  I get it, I don't argue with it, their reasoning is logical.  It's just not safe for us, so proper precautions are necessary.

The larger dog breeds, Shepherds, Rottie's, Pittbulls, I generally don't have a problem with.  I know some veterinarians who refuse to see Shepherds or Shepherd mixes.  They can sometimes be a little neurotic, but generally these large dogs give you warning if they don't like you.  After 20 years of working with dogs, I have learned to read their sign language, their ears, their tail, their eyes, you often get a clue as to how they feel before they go after you.  I think they are naturally not as unpredictable or as bitey as small dogs because they are not as threatened.  They basically know they can beat you up if they wanted to, so they will have more tolerance.

It's interesting how the big dogs get such a bad rap, my theory is that it's because the big dog bites always cause serious damage and are reported.  So many of the small dogs will bite their owners, their children or others and are never reported.  The true incidence of dog bites is much more than reported, but the small dog bites are typically not something people go to the doctor for.  I've been bit 3 times by small dogs, twice required a doctor and antibiotics and one bite did nerve damage serious enough I couldn't feel a finger.

Cats are similar to what I said about small dogs.  You need to respect them.  I find out often less is more and many of them have a "short expiration date" as I call it.  I will strategize what needs to be done, get all my supplies out, have a contingency plan and prioritize what are my most important objectives before I get the cat out of the kennel if I'm concerned.

Yes, I do judge.  Often I'm wrong.  I try not to judge and keep an open mind, but sometimes judging is what keeps your hands and fingers attached to your body.  My judgement sometimes includes humans and it's not always a pretty picture.  Sometimes I wonder where this world is going and I look over at my son and see, God hasn't given up on us yet, neither should I.

I also look at my dog and cat.  My dog, a 60#  possible mix of some of the above breeds and my 6 pound cat.  I have no doubt my dog would battle to the end for my family and I and my cat would be the commandant leading him into battle.  While feisty isn't always appreciated in the exam rooms and presents one side of judgement there, their qualities can be appreciated by the families who love them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Garden update and words of wisdom from a toddler

So, our garden has been a lot of hard work this week.  My husband and I have gotten a lot of yard work done and my neighbor friend and I have gotten a lot of work and a workout from our garden.  This is our first year (as mentioned previously) at our community garden.  I had a grandmother who was a borderline-professional gardener (she fed her family through times of economic difficulty) and my other grandpa was an avid gardener who loved gardening and recruited his grandkids for tasks.  The eulogy I gave about him was actually "Grandpa is a gardener with God".  I still keep red geraniums annually in remembrance of him.

My mom was also a huge gardener and I remember the many hours she spent in the garden and her giving me a small plot to plant of my own.  We then moved to a different house and between school and not wanting to fight the grass and weeds of what used to be a sheep pasture, I didn't really garden much for twenty years.  I even didn't really keep houseplants.  I seemed to kill them pretty easily.

Between courting my husband and going with him on a "date" to Lowes and a nursery to start patio gardens for both of us, then getting married and moving to a house, each year I have tried to add a little more.  Probably most of my success has been due to the composter and my husband's ability to remind me to do things; such as; "water the plants".

Last year, I crammed as much as I could into our small yard and my patio Veg Trug (a cool planter that I crammed tomatoes, cilantro, green beans, kale, basil and thyme into).  I have recruited a friend with a fellow toddler who is an extremely intelligent and hardworking person.  I was smart to recruit her!  I found out just how smart I was when she came equipped with a graph sheet of paper to plan our garden, after doing a ton of research.  She also used to be an engineering manager.  So, she did a great job at figuring out our fencing.  Our fence is about 7 feet high and is a fairly loose netting with 4 big posts.  We are hoping it will keep out deer, rabbits, squirrels and coyotes.  I hadn't realized it was in a coyote area until my husband pointed to a sign just the last time we were there.

Two weeks ago, we finished the fencing, and brought a couple bags of fertilizer down.  Last week, we tilled by hand (it had been tilled by the community, but you know weeds...).  My friend had worried about the soil quality, but I had said to her, "if the weeds grow so well, hopefully other stuff will grow well too!"   With my mom helping to watch the two toddlers, we got a lot done last Tuesday.  We also were able to place the landscape cloth that was recommended to us so that we wouldn't have to weed every day (maybe just every other day).  We chose cloth over plastic in the hope that it would help with letting rainwater get through to the ground.   I planted some potatoes and my friend planted 2 more types of potatoes, 2 types of garlic, radishes, valencia onions and carrots.  I came back on Saturday and planted marigolds, beets, finished off the potatoes and 2 tomato plants (I was told by local experts, April 15th is the magical date in this area where things you plant should hopefully be safe from the frost).

Saturday morning, I took my son out to the garden and he was pretty excited to go.  His grandma gave him a tool set (which my friend and I actually ended up "borrowing" from him pretty often).  Being out with the sunshine, birds singing and fresh air put us both in a good mood.  I was hoping that because the fence was finished, he would just stay in the fenced area with me.  Yeah, right.

He wanted to go to all the neighboring gardens, pull their flags and run around.  I tried to keep him out of some of the neighboring plots (most of these are so far uninhabited).  Reason did not prevail.  Finally, after my pleas did nothing, I put down what I was doing and told him we were going for a walk.  He enjoyed that, but then periodically would try to break into other people's fenced in gardens. I don't remember just what I said, but I told him we can't go on other people's property.  He eventually said, "Carry me- I'm tired!"  I told him, "That's the point of this walk, I'm hoping this will tire you out enough you will stay in one place!"  We made it back to our plot and he stayed around for a while until his little toddler friend came.  Then he periodically would run off.  I think this served as a "grass is greener" moment.  My friend complains about her daughter being clingy and I wish my son was a little bit more clingy!

Thankfully, my husband came and entertained the kids and let us get a lot more done and finished.  My husband filled me in later that my son had said, "I wanted to go into other people's community gardens, but that was not appropriate."  I had to laugh at that, apparently, my son had been listening to me- he just didn't want to follow what I was saying!  I don't remember saying anything about appropriate, but I was pretty sure that sounded like me.

See picture below of what we finished last week:

It may not look like much, but under that black cloth is tilled earth and there's over probably 150-200 seeds planted.  I will keep you posted how this all turns out.  This week I'm thinking I will plant 3 jalapeƱo plants and keep nurturing my tomato, pepper and tomatillo seedlings at home (not courageous enough to try to plant my seedlings before May comes) and my friend and I are going to be intensely watering the plants as we are supposed to have a pretty hot and dry week.  Hopefully our investment will pay off.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Of Food and Men...

I've spoken about food before; food allergies, recipes, growing food (I will be uploading pictures of our garden as it develops).  Today I'd like to talk about the people who don't realize where their food comes from and the poor who live in a food desert.

Food is such an interesting topic.  I have had a couple of conversations this week where I referred  back to Michael Pollan's book: In Defense of Food.  It's a very interesting book, with lots of references and it basically talks about how the Western diet isn't really that healthy (probably not a huge shocker).  Many of the things we've been told about low fat, low cholesterol foods doesn't really equate to good health.  Real butter, real cream and gelato may actually be better for us than their low fat alternatives.  His book is a good read and it discusses how the basics- meat, produce and dairy are really pretty healthy for us and it's the processed and synthetic foods we have to look out for.  There's actually a lot of information out there that women and men who have fertility issues could be dietary related to LOW fat foods.  The reason being is fat is a precursor for a lot of our hormones and is necessary as a building block.  When we remove fat from foods and replace it with a filler, or something to improve palatability you are actually making it less healthy.   You may disagree with some of the above, you can't disagree with the fact that fat tastes good!

I've also noticed from what he wrote, but more importantly from my conversations with others, how people really don't understand where our food comes from.  Our food actually comes from gardens and animals.  Yes, that latter part you may not want to think about, lest you become a vegetarian.  It's the truth though.  Farmers and our forefathers lived with this fact long before our major grocery stores were around.  Many people think meat comes from cellophane factories where it grows under growth lamps.  Check out this article: Woman tells farmer to buy meat from Whole Foods, not use his cow.  It is an interesting story that hopefully is not a commentary on what our society thinks.  She is actually protesting a farmer using his own cow to feed his family and that he should  "go to Whole Foods and buy antibiotic free meat there" instead.  I don't need to provide a commentary on the dichotomy there, do I?

On another note.  Have you heard of the Arabbers?  In Baltimore, they are a historic part of the city that is endangered.  As many people left Baltimore post-World War II, they became a predominantly African-American group of horsemen who went about cities in the East Coast and particularly Baltimore, selling fruit and vegetables to people who had limited access to these fresh products.  The Arabbers have had people trying to run them out of town on various charges, including neglect of the animals.  Even the State's expert witness, a veterinarian, said there was no evidence of abuse or neglect, but these people who bring an important and relatively unknown service to some very poor areas in Baltimore may be run out of town for developers to come in.  I would love to write more about this issue, as I find it intriguing and not something many people are aware of.  Besides, their service, as well as community gardens, are important for all classes, rich and poor, to have access to.  Please read more if you are interested and as time allows, I may do more research into their cause as well.

Read more by clicking on these links:

Photo from Baltimore Sun

Plight of the Arabbers

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Gift of Self

As I'm trying to spring clean, get organized and get goals and priorities accomplished, I read a neat item about giving the gift of self.

It was a woman who was basically saying sometimes as a wife and mother, you can feel like you are giving, giving, giving.  Giving up your bed in the middle of the night to a child with a nightmare.  Giving up the joy of sleeping in occasionally, giving in so many different ways.

One way is an obvious way that we all think of, which is the gift of self in sacrificing for others.    What this author was talking about though, was something beyond the gift of self in doing laundry, changing dirty diapers, etc.  She was instead talking about the gift of your sense of humor, observations and other unique gifts you can offer (like laying under the clouds and looking for shapes) or in my case, being so awful at baseball that even my two year old knows it.  These gifts can sometimes be much more valuable than the everyday sacrifices we have to offer.  Sometimes, in order to give these gifts, we have to realize that, with the season in our life we are at (especially with small children), not everything will always get done, or always be done perfectly, and that is ok.  There are more important priorities in life.  This week, I will focus more on this.  Not everything in my life has worked out in the way and timing I would have liked it, but I like to think that's because it's giving me opportunities to do other things along the way.  Last week, I finally got to do an act of charity that had been on my mind for a while and when I was honest with myself, I knew I wouldn't have done it if everything had worked out the way I wanted it.  Guess that's another example of "Thank God for unanswered prayers."

As a followup from last week, I found a possibly refreshing way to utilize my veterinary degree and at the same time got encouragement from a nice client with a very generous token of gratitude.  That much-needed gift wasn't all, as I also received an adorable flower arrangement from a friend with an even more important piece of encouragement.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Every job has its moments.

Every job has it's moments.  Whether it's teaching, being a veterinarian or a mom, there are moments of all of our vocations we could do without.

I would be fine with never expressing an anal gland again, or never wrestling an aggressive dog or evading an angry cat.  My old body and joints would be fine with it too.  At first glance, I would also add never changing a diaper again.  On that one though, I would change my mind as I thought of it.  My son is growing up so fast!  Yes, I do want him potty trained, but I don't want to give up the cuddles and snuggles- the innocence that goes with this season.  He is entering a new stage in his life and yes, I'm happy with the natural progression, but especially as I helped sort through baby clothes last week, nostalgia swept over me.  Yes, my husband I hope to have more kids.  Yet as with many things in this world, that is a gift and we realize children are not to be taken for granted.

That same feeling doesn't go with veterinary medicine for me right now.  I was at a continuing education conference today and one of my fellow veterinarians commented, "Becoming a vet was the worst decision I made."  While that is a sad case and I don't completely share her feelings, it started a conversation among the veterinarians.  Many of them are now government veterinarians.  They said how they had a moment when they just couldn't do any more anal glands or deal with any more difficult clients.  In some ways, I told my husband, I wish I was in human medicine.  At least human doctors can be rude.  While that probably sounds awful, it just relays some of the pressure we have on us in this profession.  My husband has come to agree with me that he would trust some veterinarians better than some doctors, we have a solid medical education, but the most difficult part of our job is not the medicine.  It's the people.

People like to order everything online (I'm an Amazon junkie too, there's something about getting what you need in your pajamas).  But getting veterinary advice online?  That can even be deadly.  People are changing their expectations of all the service industries.  While we like to think of veterinary medicine as a healthcare industry, it's the service part of our jobs that pays the bills.

There are emotional highs of saving people's pets and building long-term bonds with people. Unfortunately in this day of, "the millennial mom will eat you for lunch" as one of my veterinary publications put it, the human relationships are the hardest.  I don't have to fake my love for a cute puppy.  I do have to fake it for a dog/cat that wants to kill me or an owner who is rude, won't listen and is difficult.  As one veterinarian I heard said, "Is our profession evolving or devolving?".  I don't know the answer to that question.  I do know that mental health, burnout and the suicide rate among veterinarians are frequently becoming a topic.  I'm not sure if it's an epidemic, but I wonder if in this era of Dr. Google and an ever-changing society I am going to recognize my profession in 10 years.  On the one hand I don't see myself as a small animal practitioner in 10 years, on the other, maybe I will look back at this time with nostalgia.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Spring is maybe arriving?

Well, the clothing sale was a hit and we earned over $450 and acquired a ton of donations for the crisis pregnancy center, so there's a little update from last week.

The weather is getting better and both cats and dogs are in full-blown allergy season (as well as myself).  Everything's blooming and looking wonderful and I'm excited to get my garden started with my friend.  It's kind of funny.  We are both medical professionals and it was humorous to see us using our math and reasoning skill from our medical professions in planning out our garden.  Below is a picture of the garden with some stakes in it.  Hopefully we will get more work done this week.  We've had some beautiful 70 and 80 degree days and it looks like we are going to have a couple of days of freezing weather.  We will have to taper back our excitement until the weather improves a bit.

I also used wisdom from one Saint, which kind of goes along with another Saint's wisdom.  What is this wisdom, you might ask?  The one piece of wisdom, which came from Blessed Mother Teresa is stop worrying about the poverty on the other side of the world.  Worry about what's in your neighborhood/family first.  The other piece of advice is from St. Zelie.  Her advice was meant for a sulking teenager, but who says you can't use it for a 35 year old in a funk?  St. Zelie's advice
I'm not sharing the details, but I was in a funk earlier in the week, and while the circumstances leading to that funk have not changed, or improved and probably won't be resolved for a while, I let myself be utilized to do something good and that has taken my focus off of my problems and reminded me my problems are "first-world" problems.  O
thers have harder and heavier crosses and when I help them carry theirs for a little bit, it's enlightening to know that my own is not that heavy.

Friday, April 1, 2016

A Clothing Sale

My mom was a wonderful PTA parent and organizer.  I was quite active in high school and even college in managing organizations and events.  In this season of my life, I have no interest.  I am already feeling stretched and overwhelmed.  My family comes first over organizations in my over-scheduled schedule.

While my son's daycare is a WONDERFUL place, they require these things called "co-op hours".  That means every month you need to put in at least 3 hours of volunteering.  My husband and I have done laundry, sold Christmas ornaments and cleaned toys to fulfill these hours.  I even have gone to watch infants for a couple hours (not really a chore, but hard to schedule).  Part of me doesn't understand how we pay the equivalent of a college education for childcare + are required to do volunteer hours.

Last month, we got a notice that somehow, we were still behind in the number of hours.  Both my husband and I are fairly proficient at math, so we couldn't figure out how we could be 6 hours behind, when we thought we were ahead.

We couldn't remember the exact punishment for falling behind on hours, but we were pretty sure it involved fines and possibly losing a spot in the daycare.

I tried to think fast of how I could come up with some volunteer hours.  Meanwhile, it's spring cleaning time and I'm trying to organize things and clean out the house.  I had previously talked with the center's director about a clothing/toy sale for kids to swap their clothes and toys for the next size up.  I e-mailed her the idea and she said, sure, go ahead, and why don't you do it 3 weeks from now?

I have now learned how to conference call (not much opportunity to do that in veterinary medicine).  I've also remembered the joys of flyers and e-mail promotion and found out many other things particular to my son's daycare.  Those days of organizing dog washes, blood drives and more are coming back to me.

Hopefully we will get plenty of toys and clothing and gear.  Hopefully, parents won't have have to buy brand new snowsuits next year and can save a little money and we can also clean out our closets.  The proceeds of the sale are going to go back to the school for enrichment activities and any leftover gear and clothing will be donated to a local pregnancy center.  I will let you know next week how it all goes.  Fortunately, there are other parents who also found they were behind on hours.  So, I have a fair number of volunteers who want to put AS MUCH time as possible into this.  Oh, and as an update.  My husband and my math skills are still fine, we had the person re-audit our hours and we were 5.5 hours ahead.  So add on this experience and we should hopefully be able to at least cruise through summer : )