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Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Numbers Are In

My pal Brittany has inspired me to blog about my journey to get my pre-baby body back. OK, let's be honest--I'd actually like to get the body back to a little before that. 21-year-old body? Still hiding out in there?

Let's just say I've always been a little sensitive regarding issues like this, so it's tough for me to post exact numbers (not to mention pictures). But, again, Brittany has challenged...and I have accepted.

But I'm compromising a bit. Here's what I will do:

Post pictures (as soon as I can find time to take them). And I'll tell you two things:

Baby weight when Catherine was born: 212 pounds
How much I'd like to lose now: 70 pounds

But I'm just not brave enough to tell you my actual current weight or the goal weight (maybe one day). I also don't own a scale, so I'll be working on inches as well as pounds.

Note to self: Find the tape measure that has not been seen since we moved.

So here is The Plan for now.

-Exercise every morning before work.
-Limit sweets to one treat per week.

This might not sound like much, but it's a start. I don't do well with major overhauls all at once; it helps me to be more consistent if I gradually make changes. And I have indulged my pretty large sweet tooth ever since I got pregnant. That habit must be kicked.

I head back to the doctor in a little more than a month, so I hope to have some good results to report by then!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dream Feeding

We've been trying to encourage Catherine to learn the difference between night and day, so we've been doing "dream feeding" overnight. Basically, if she wakes up hungry, you change her, feed her, and burp her--then back to bed. No talking, no playing, etc.

I was burping her last night at 2 a.m.-ish when Jason walked in (he'd been working on a paper) and said, "Hi Catherine!"

I said, "No! No talking! We're dream feeding!" (I might be a bit peevish in the 2 a.m. hour.)

So he waves his arms and says, "I'm not heeeere...you're only dreeeeeeaming..." then quickly backed out of the room.

I love my baby's daddy. :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Vintage Catherine

I promise that one day I'll talk about more than the baby on the blog, but life is mostly revolving around her (and school) right now. I don't go back to work for a couple of weeks, and what I've been reading consists of What to Expect the First Year, Cognitive Psychology, and books about social network analysis. All interesting stuff but not much to talk about for the ol' blog!

So, with that in mind, back to the baby. ;)

I'm so excited that I still have a few of my old baby clothes. Catherine and I have played dress-up a few times.

This was a nightgown that my brother's friend brought me when I was only a few days old...

And this was one of my dresses...



And these were my shoes. They looked like tiny Uggs on her. :)

I also have several baby blankets that my grandmother made, so those are super special. But a couple of friends have also given us handmade ones for her, so she will have heirlooms of her own. We've been so blessed!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Four Weeks and Nine Years

Baby Girl is already four weeks old! People weren't kidding when they said time flies, were they?

Here she is during the last four weeks...
                



Here are a few other things about her right now:
  • She is growing! We're guessing she's at least 10 pounds, but we'll find out for sure next week at the doctor. She's already too big for some of her PJs (even though the jeans are still a bit big), and she's starting to look a little crowded in her cradle.
  • She's starting to reach for things a little bit and get excited about different toys and the ceiling fan.
  • She is also trying to roll over, and she can with a little help. :)
  • She seems to be starting to recognize her name, even though we still call her Baby Girl a lot. (Hard to break that habit after several months of calling her that.)
  • She is eating like a champ! I'm so thankful that, with all the other things that have had such a steep learning curve, this one has been somewhat easy. She is a hungry little booger, though, so we're still working on a schedule.
  • She loves music. Her favorites seem to be She & Him and John Williams music. Both of those do pretty well in calming her when she thinks it's time to eat (and Mom is not quite ready yet).
In other news, this guy is nine years old! That's pretty hard to believe too.

He's not really doing anything new except getting used to his new little sister, and he's been a pretty good sport about her so far.

One of his favorite things to do right now is attack plastic drink bottles and remove their lids, so that is his present this year.

I can only hope Catherine's birthday present will be as simple and inexpensive.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy {Belated} Valentine's Day!

In my defense, it was still Valentine's Day when I started this post. Things take time these days.

Anyway, we always celebrate on February 12 since that's the day Jason proposed. This year we got takeout from Outback and celebrated with our tiniest Valentine.

Side note: Outback has the best salad in town: the blue cheese pecan chopped salad. Try it--you won't regret it.

We were going to do a little V-Day photo shoot in her holiday onesie, but someone decided it would be more fun to make it, um, not wearable for the rest of the day. ;) So we just grabbed this quick shot for posterity. (Don't you love Photo Booth?)


Then we put this on instead and sent photos to her aunts to wish them some love. I think Leslie Knope would approve.




(Can't get enough of pictures of her tiny feet.)




Then I got a little crafty (about as crafty as I get anyway) and lined her bulletin board with leftover scrapbook paper (since, let's be honest, the blog is serving as my scrapbook). It makes for a great place to hang Valentines, appointment reminders, and other fun things!


Hope you had a fantastic V-Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Look-Alike?

OK, time to weigh in. Do you think Catherine looks like Daddy (top) or Mommy (below)?





Investigative Activity: Texting While Driving


A couple of years ago, I noticed that I'm just not as sharp when I'm driving if I'm texting or talking on the phone, so I gave it up. This was kind of tough because I used to use the commute time to work to catch up with family on the phone or make doctor's appointments, etc. But I feel a lot safer now--especially with my new precious cargo in tow. 

That experience made this investigative activity catch my eye, and I was really interested in the results! The simulation (from the link below) was a lot of fun--give it a go!

What do mobile phones, loud radios and DVD players in cars, as well as high traffic, passengers, and other modern elements mean for driver attention to actual driving? See how well you do driving and texting by going to http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/07/19/technology/20090719-driving-game.html. Summarize your performance in a 1/2 - 1 page report, and search through research on driving to support your arguments for or against texting while driving.

In the simulation, my reaction time was slowed even more than the average: .34 seconds slower while texting compared to an average of .24 seconds slower while texting. I also missed nine percent of the gates versus an average of eight percent of gates while texting, and I never saw the gray lady who apparently appeared at some point!

While there were a few non-realistic elements to the game, it was a convincing simulation and measurement. For example, when texting, I do not have to look at the keys on my phone, but I had to pay close attention to what and how I was typing in the game. However, I do not say that to justify texting while driving. Research shows that it is a dangerous practice, and now I have even further motivation to resist the temptation to text if I am driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points out that texting is just one of many distractions, “but, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction” (www.distraction.gov). This corresponds with what we discovered in the text regarding multitasking. “Working on more than one task at the same time not only makes you slower but also increases your chances of making mistakes” (p. 157).

The National Safety Council says texting is also more pervasive than other distractions (www.nsc.org). Perhaps since driving is often an automatic process, many do not consider adding a controlled process like using a cell phone to be a danger—even though the NSC says you are four times more likely to have a wreck if you are using a cell phone (whether hand-held or hands-free).

I was also curious about how texting while driving could relate to our earlier discussion about the teenage brain. The NHTSA says “teen drivers are more likely than other age groups to be involved in a fatal crash where distraction is reported. In 2009, 16% of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were reported to have been distracted.” And another study cited on the site also found differences between the thought processes of drivers under the age of 16. Could this be due to the differences in brain development?

However, for me, the bottom line is that texting while driving is a dangerous practice. Because of driver distraction, almost 5,500 people were killed in 2009. It’s hard to find an argument in support of that.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Investigative Activity: Social Perception


Investigative Activity 6:

Go to http://www.uni-regensburg.de/Fakultaeten/phil_Fak_II/Psychologie/Psy_II/beautycheck/english/sozialewahrnehmung/sozialewahrnehmung.htm. Play with this for a while and consider the implications of social perception and how it may be explained by cognitive perception. Think about a time that this may have impacted you and add a brief (paragraph, poem, etc.) note about that time and what it means to you to your blog. Now write a paragraph about how that might have impacted your learning experience, or someone else's in your life.


Because the full report was only available in German, it was difficult to thoroughly analyze the methodology. However, I did question several aspects of the study. For instance, what were the demographics of the sample? Could the participants’ own appearance have any context effects as discussed in the text and on the forums? Also, would it have been helpful to define attractiveness? Does attractiveness simply mean “sexy,” as one photo was described, or are there other conditions under which we might find someone attractive?

Despite these questions, there are several connections between social perception and cognitive perception. Feature-matching theories could come into play if participants are associating “features of a pattern to features stored in memory.” In this case, this could mean matching so-called attractive features of the computer-generated models with features they have judged as attractive in the past and stored in their memories. Also, if any of the faces were “distorted,” this could have an effect on the perception of the next face viewed, as could the impression of emotion in the models.

If the findings of this study are accurate, however, the implications of social perception are potentially wide-ranging, affecting a variety of relationships and life circumstances. “Attractive” people could have advantages when it comes to achieving success at work, making friends, and simply navigating through life.

There is something that seems inherently unfair about this. We are already inundated with images and messages through television, magazines, and our own inner voices that tell us that being more attractive will also make us more “content, successful, and exciting.” And there is now research to back it up?

In the past, I have struggled with my own self-esteem issues and have placed too much of an emphasis on my appearance. Most women I know have done the same! However, now that I have a daughter, I am even more concerned about this issue. I want to teach her that her value does not lie in how attractive she is, that her worth should instead be determined by her character and by her relationship with Christ.

Overall, the report raised more questions than it answered. As already mentioned, there are questions concerning the very definition of attractiveness as well as issues related to the sample and potential context effects. Also, related to a different kind of context, the study fails to take into account what happens when a relationship is established. Are the effects significantly mitigated when an “unattractive” person proves he is, in fact, friendly and accessible? Do these results carry beyond first impressions?

Even if there are concerns about the study, this is a bias that we can all watch for when interacting with others. We should be cautious about judging someone that we find “attractive” (whatever that means to us personally) to have worthwhile character qualities or vice versa.

Read from the beginning...