Hunger in College

I have been, at best, neglectful of this blog. I find myself at times wondering what exactly it is I want this blog to be. What niche I want it to fill. But in light of my inability to decide, I’m going to post the long-form version of a blog post I researched and wrote for work. I expect the shorter, edited version to end up on the blog of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance at some point. However, I don’t know when, and I know it will be chopped down version. I really like the original version, so here it is.

Hunger in College

Going to college is heavy on the pocketbook regardless of your income bracket. With a nationwide cultural and economic shift towards attending college, be it a two-year or four-year program, more and more people are attending college. This means that groups in which food insecurity generally occurs, the poor, are now attending college more frequently, and people with no personal income to contribute to their schooling are able to take out student loans and attend college in an attempt to better their circumstances. Attending college, however, doesn’t immediately change their income and in some cases can even lower it due to being unable to work adequate hours while in school. Add to that the fact that, since the 2008 economic collapse, which caused food insecurity to rise 24% in a single year, food insecurity rates still haven’t returned to their former levels (Coleman-Jensen, Nord, & Singh, 2013). That stark rise in food insecurity meant that households formerly not touched by food insecurity were dealing with it. Some 27% of people experiencing food insecurity make too much money to qualify for SNAP benefits (food stamps) (Resnikoff, Food Insecurity is at Historic Highs and Getting Worse, 2014).

In 2014, 10% of Feeding America’s 46.5 million adult clients were students, including about 2 million who were full-time students (Weinfield, et al., 2014). About 31% reported having to choose between food or school-related items in the last year (Weinfield, et al., 2014). As we make a push for Breakfast in the Classroom across elementary and secondary schools, with the aim to improve grades, attendance, and overall health and behavior, the same hazards to education exist amongst students pursuing their undergraduate and graduate degrees. People don’t simply turn 18 and head off to college and are suddenly food secure. Students are regularly away from home and on their own for the first time, have relatively little disposable income, and, in the case of graduate students in particular, regularly have families to care for as well. In fact, between 2007 and 2010 the number of food stamp recipients holding a doctoral degree tripled, with those holding a master’s degree increasing nearly as much (Wade, 2012).

In response to this often overlooked need, many schools have developed their own food pantries. The oldest college food pantry in the nation, the one at Michigan State University, has been running since 1993, and more than half of their clients are graduate students (MSU Food Bank, 2015). Western Oregon University, in a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior in 2014, was found to have a rate of 59% of students who were food insecure at some point in the prior year (Patton-Lopez, Lopez-Cevallos, Cancel-Tirado, & Vazquez, 2014). In 2011, A Campaign for a Healthier CUNY (City University of New York) revealed almost two in five students on campus had experienced food insecurity in the past year (Freudenberg, Manzo, Jones, Kwan, Tsui, & Gagnon, 2011). Here locally, several of our colleges run their own food pantries. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) opened a food pantry on campus in March, following a survey done by the 4-H Club which revealed 78% of those surveyed did not have enough food for themselves or their household. About 50% said this happened five or more times per semester (Hehemann, 2015). Other colleges with food pantries include the University of Arkansas, University of Central Arkansas, and Pulaski Technical College (Full-Circle Food Pantry) (Food Pantry, 2015) (Bear Essential Food Bank).

For many students attending college, local food pantries, whether on campus or off, are their only source of supplemental nutrition, as most students ages 18-49 are ineligible for SNAP. Stringent requirements within the SNAP program make it more difficult for students to receive SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program SNAP: Students, 2014). Students must not only meet the income requirements, but must be also meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Get public assistance benefits under a Title IV-A program;
  • Take part in a State or federally financed work study program;
  • Work at least 20 hours a week;
  • Are taking care of a dependent household member under the age of 6;
  • Are taking care of a dependent household member over the age of 5 but under 12 and do not have adequate child care to enable them to attend school and work a minimum of 20 hours, or to take part in a State or federally financed work study program; or
  • Are assigned to or placed in a college or certain other schools through:
    • A program under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998,
    • A program under Section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974,
    • An employment and training program under the Food Stamp Act, or
    • An employment and training program operated by a State or local government.
    • Also, a single parent enrolled full time in college and taking care of a dependent household member under the age of 12 can get SNAP benefits if otherwise eligible.

Things such as this make it easy to see why students can struggle under the high costs of living associated with being a college student. Despite attending college to work to improve their circumstances, the very act of attending college can sometimes jeopardize their ability to receive public assistance or continue their current employment. Working full-time while attending college full-time, while possible, can be quite stressful and often times students grades suffer for it. However, many of the students who participate in food pantries on campus have a very strong work ethic and are simply having a difficult time making ends meet.

Bibliography

(2015). Retrieved April 14, 2015, from MSU Food Bank: http://foodbank.msu.edu/

Bear Essential Food Bank. (n.d.). Retrieved from University of Central Arkansas: http://uca.edu/foodbank/

Coleman-Jensen, A., Nord, M., & Singh, A. (2013). Household Food Security in the United States in 2012 (ERR-155). USDA.

Food Pantry. (2015). Retrieved April 14, 2015, from Pulaski Technical College : http://www.pulaskitech.edu/food_pantry/

Freudenberg, N., Manzo, L., Jones, H., Kwan, A., Tsui, E., & Gagnon, M. (2011). Food Insecurity at CUNY: Results from a Survey of CUNY Undergraduate Students. City University of New York. The Campaign for a Healthy CUNY.

Full-Circle Food Pantry. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2015, from University of Arkansas: http://service.uark.edu/foodprograms/full_circle_food_pantry/index.php

Hehemann, W. (2015, March 12). UAPB to Open Food Pantry for Students; Open House Set for March 17. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from UAPB News: https://uapbnews.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/uapb-to-open-food-pantry-for-students-open-house-set-for-march-17/

Patton-Lopez, M. M., Lopez-Cevallos, D. F., Cancel-Tirado, D. I., & Vazquez, L. (2014, January 09). Prevalence and correlates of food insecurity among students attending a midsize rural university in Oregon. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 46.

Resnikoff, N. (2014, April 21). Food Insecurity is at Historic Highs and Getting Worse. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/hunger-the-us-historic-highs

Resnikoff, N. (2014, August 18). The Hunger Crisis in America’s Universities. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/the-hunger-crisis-americas-universities

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program SNAP: Students. (2014, February 27). Retrieved April 14, 2015, from USDA Food and Nutrition Services: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/students

Wade, L. (2012, June 19). The Number of PHDs on Food Stamps Triples. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from The Society Pages: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2012/06/19/the-number-of-phds-on-food-stamps-triples/

Weinfield, N. S., Mills, G., Borger, C., Gearing, M., Macaluso, T., Montaquila, J., et al. (2014). Hunger in America 2014. Chicago: Feeding America.

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Living With Hate

The news has been plagued in recent months with event after event of hate. People killed because of their race or religion, whether it be at the hands of policemen or other authorities or at the hands of established terrorist groups. It makes the world a scary place to have a baby. All I want to do is protect this little person whom I carried and grew for 9 months, and then have carried and indirectly helped to grow since then (indirectly as in she isn’t literally attached to me like the best parasite ever). Some days, it seems like that job will be harder than others.

I weep for the mothers who have lost children, children that I’m sure they wanted nothing more than to keep safe as well. Isn’t that what all moms hope for? For their children to be safe? It’s not the natural order of things in this day and age for a mother to have to say goodbye to her child.

I haven’t said much…or anything, actually, about religion on this blog, as it just hasn’t really been a necessary topic. But Joseph and I are in the process of converting to Judaism, and consider ourselves Jews excepting the paperwork. So Jews*

*formal conversion process in process

The fact that we are Jews* makes some things scarier at times. Anti-semitism is no rarity, sadly. Between the attacks by Hamas, ISIS in general, the April attacks in Kansas City where a gunman fired shots in a Jewish community center, aiming to kill Jews and, while killing 3 people including 1 teenage boy, ironically not killing a single Jew, the multiple recent anti-semitic attacks in France, and the lone wolf attacks in Israel itself. Of course, it’s not just Jews being affected by the terroristic events happening globally, but when you’re part of a group that is targeted, it makes having a child you just want to protect that much scarier.

But we are Jews*. Not by birth, but it’s where we are meant to be. And we count ourselves among the number. It has crossed my mind at times, “what am I doing, bringing my baby girl into a group frequently targeted for violence?”, but in reality, she’d be no safer as not a Jew*. She could grow up to be a lesbian- that would make her a target. Or maybe my baby girl is really a boy in her mind (gender dysphoria). She could some day date a black man or woman. Living in Arkansas, that could make her a target depending on the area. Any number of things could make her a target or make her life more difficult. Just being female could.

But you can’t live in what-ifs. It will drive you crazy. And for right now, I’m doing the best thing I can for my daughter by bringing her up strong in her identity, as a woman, as a Jew*, as a good person. Doing the right thing won’t always be easy. It won’t always be safe. But it will always be right. I will bring my daughter up, and any siblings she may have, to embrace tikkun olam, to work to heal the world. So that maybe someday, maybe in her life, or that of her children, we won’t have to be afraid of some extremist running into a store or gymnasium with a gun and opening fire. Or driving a car randomly into a crowd, or throwing a bomb into a car. Or just going to school.

We as Jews* remember the Holocaust and work very hard to eradicate the idea that it didn’t happen. 6 million Jews dead and 5 million more dead who weren’t Jewish say it happened. Eye-witness accounts say it happened. It happened. We just something like that to never happen again, to anyone.

I hope for my children to grow up in a world with much more peace. I was 10 years old when 9/11 happened. I have friends who are currently serving in the Middle East, fortunately not in combat, but there are so many others who are. Teach children to be accepting, to learn about other cultures, to combat ethnocentrism, and maybe someday the only terrorist-type attacks will be perpetrated by crazy folks.

Autonomy

It’s a strange but marvelous thing to watch my little girl grow up. Day by day, little by little, she leaves babyhood behind and plows straight into toddlerhood. Sometimes plow is a bit more literal than others. She went from lacking the confidence to take more than two or three steps independent of a secure grasp on something to deciding bipedalism was the best method of movement over the course of a little over a week. In a breath, she went from being easily findable via her palms slapping the hardwood floor to coming and going with remarkable silence, barring when her newfound independence elates her too much for anything but proud belly laughs.

 

My baby is growing up. And it’s bittersweet.

 

I wonder when the last night will be that she’ll give me that happy, maniacal giggle as she flies into bed via Air Dada to snuggle and nurse to sleep. I wonder when nursing will be a thing of the past, and I’ll wistfully think of her tiny and snuggled up and rooting for my breast, which is something that when I began breastfeeding I never thought would bother me. I thought I’d be happy, someday when it was over. And on some level I will be. It’ll be a freedom I haven’t had in a while. But that too will be bittersweet. Because it will be just another sign of her independence, of her greater strides as her own person. Even almost 15 months later, it’s a little hard to think of her as separate from me. We’re still largely a package deal.

Being a parent has to be one of the most amazing, and yet most heart wrenching life experiences. I can’t imagine life without her now, but at the same time, it’s a whole new level of exposure. The world can very easily hurt me now. My heart and soul are in this little body that I will never be able to keep nearly as safe as I wish I could. Every car drive and every fall has at least a short heartbeat of terror that something will happen, and she’ll be gone.

But I watch her relish every step, every experience, and I know I would never want her to stop living life just to spare myself pain that may never even come. But it’s a very strange experience. Parenthood is a strange experience. It’s such a wealth of contradictions. But she is brilliant and amazing and the light of my life. And I want everything for her so badly. I want her to always have this pure wonder for life, because it’s so amazing to watch even from the outside. As adults, I think we forget the miracle that is living. Saoirse helps remind me of that.

She’s positively thrilled by her new mode of transit that allows for better ease of carrying the 3 different baby dolls she’s hoarded, the water bottle, and maybe even a block that she’s decided need to come with her across the room to see what’s happening where everyone else is. She doesn’t want to miss a thing. And while her autonomy terrifies me a little bit, it’s the beginning of the experience of life for her. So I’ll treasure every wobbley step, every giggle as she gets going a bit faster than she meant to.

1 year old appointment

A month late, Saoirse finally had her 1 yr old check up. She had an ear infection on her birthday, so we called up the pediatrician and opted to reschedule her well-child visit because, well, she wasn’t well.

Happy in her swing

So here we are a month later. She’s grown an inch since that not-well-child visit for her ear infection, and 2 inches since her 9 month old visit. She’s roughly 27/28 percentile for height according to my chart. So she’s short. No shocker there. I’d be more surprised if she was tall. Her dad is average height, and I’m 5’3″, well within short-girl range. She’s been measuring short since in-utero, when her femur length was the one thing not where the average was for gestational age. Not abnormally, concerningly short, but short.
So basketball probably won’t be her sport in the future. But with a low center of gravity, Judo may be just the thing. And of course, we love Irish dance around here (I danced for 7 or 8 years, her dad was a world championships qualifier, and her 2 aunts both either take or have taken Irish dance).
Her head is still large. It holds all that baby brilliance. Her head was a bit small at birth (which I am not complaining about), but it caught up by her 2 month appointment, so nothing to worry about.

Happy 1st Birthday, Saoirse

On August 30, my baby turned 1. She’s a toddler more than a baby now, really.

And I’m not really okay with that.

But I digress.

We had a pool party at Mills Park, with their awesome, renovated-this-summer pool. It was the last weekend it was open for pool parties, and it was a wonderfully mild day. Overcast, with a chance of rain that held off. Upper 80s, warm enough for swimming to be fun, but not so hot as to make being outside miserable for those who opted not to swim.

It was a Hello Kitty party, so I put Saoirse in the Hello Kitty swimsuit I bought her before we went to San Diego.

Reese (my sister) and Saoirse 

At first, she was a little confused about what to do with the cupcake. And definitely curious about that fire stick on top of it. We’d fed her little bits of cake during the cake pop practice so once we got some of it in her mouth, she realized what exactly this thing was and was up for it. She never did do the whole cake smash thing quite as much as many babies do. She ended up with an ear infection just days before her birthday, so she wasn’t feeling her best, but 4 days of antibiotics had helped quite a bit.

Feeding Daddy some cupcake

Fistful of cupcake and the Hello Kitty cake pops

My sweet baby is getting bigger and bigger all the time. She has 4 teeth now (3 were through on her birthday, with a 4th just visible in the gum line). She loves food, but she also still loves breastfeeding. She’s gotten confident in her crawling skills and will now track you down into the kitchen from the living room, probably a good 20 feet or so all told. She doesn’t do a typical crawl, it’s more of a crab walk or a gorilla walk or something. We have hardwood floors, so I don’t entirely blame her for not wanting her knees on it.

She cruises and has started working on getting down off of things. She does okay with assistance on that front, and will walk around the house while holding on to someone’s fingers, although being carried offers a great vantage point and ease of access to places otherwise blocked by doors.

Saoirse with her sword her daddy made her

She shows us how very not child-proofed our living situation is. She will fight you for some grapes and cherries. Bananas can also result in fingers in your mouth to retrieve the food she wants. That Cookie Monster toy was picked out for her specially by her Papa. It’s a favorite toy now. She grabs it and hugs it tight, and it is the cutest thing.

You can barely see it, but Saoirse had her own rainbow for her birthday.

She’s about 21 and a half lbs now, according to her appointment just before she was one. Due to the ear infection, her 1 year old check up had to be postponed. I wasn’t about to give her shots when she wasn’t feeling her best.

I can’t believe it’s been more than a year now since I went through the life-altering experience of giving birth, mostly naturally, and becoming a mother. It has made such a change in my life, and Saoirse is just so…Saoirse. She’s bubbly, and happy, and snuggly, and loving, and just has such a love for life and it’s offerings. She helps me see all the wonder in the world and in just chilling out with the people you care about. Giving birth to her both showed me how strong I can be, and just how vulnerable we are as humans. I live my life both so incredibly thrilled to have her and innately terrified of forces outside my control. It’s a strange balance. But you learn to embrace the wonder and push out the fear, because you can’t live life scared of what could happen. You miss out on so much when you do that. Being a parent is really wearing your heart on your sleeve, sending a chunk of your soul out into the world where it will do what it will. I love her so much, it’s just crazy.

Happy 1st birthday, Saoirse Flynn. The first of many to come.

Sorry to be AWOL

I got a job in early June, and it’s taken until now for me to really get used to this 8-5 business. 

Also the blogger app is a bitch cause it ate my post. 
But, having little else to do while pumping, we trudge on. 
Saoirse still only has 2 teeth, though it wouldn’t shock me much if she had some on the top by her birthday. But I can’t really tell because she is none too fond of people checking her mouth. I foresee issues when we do that whole dentist thing. Not particularly surprising considered Mama, Daddy, and Papa all hate the dentist with a vivid passion. 

We will shortly be discovering just how vastly not baby proof our house is. She can stand up independently for a few seconds. All instances of that being seen where from a sitting position in the middle of a bed. I can only imagine a real floor would be easier if she ever tried it. Her standing and cruising with support is great. She’s still a fairly slow cruiser, but I’m pretty sure our days of not being followed every where are in the downward count. 
She’s never been much for crawling, just like she never really was in to rolling from her back to her stomach until probably like 1-2 months ago. She gets into position and sometimes goes backwards but forwards is a rarity. Her forward crawl of choice is a strange bastardization of the lowest army crawl that involves dragging her face and torso along the ground with her feet being pushed under her hips to propel her forward. 
It’s awkward. 
But, to calm down all of you occupational therapists out there, she does go backwards properly and forwards seems to occur only when no one is watching and the edge of the bed is nearby. And then she gets pissed cause you kept her from trying that levitation skill she’s so certain she possesses. 

She totally stole these straws from te straw holder while her daddy was gone for like a minute. 

I can’t believe she’s nearly a year old. We’re planning her 1st birthday party, and I’m totally not okay with her growing up so fast. I’m told I have to get over it. I both rejoice in her triumphs when she gets a skill down and grieve a little that tiny baby she was just a few months ago. 

1 day old and ~11 months. 

She’s totally gonna rock the Hello Kitty themed pool party. 
We’ve both come a long way in 1 year. Becoming a parent changes so much about how you see the world and your decisions. She’s a little miracle, even though babies are born every minute. Even though we didn’t have to fight to have her. She’s a miracle. This amazing little person I somehow made. She has such joy for life, and I love being around her. So happy. Being with her makes me happy. 

Dream, baby girl. 

San Diego Zoo

I promised more information about San Diego and here it is!

Before we left for San Diego, I analyzed the options for seeing the big things we wanted to see: the Zoo, the Safari Park, SeaWorld, and I wanted to go to the Museum of Man and the Nat. But what was the best way to do this economically? Individual tickets are pricey (thank goodness for Saoirse being little). I think SeaWorld ran around $60-80 per person, with the Zoo being in the same area. I get what these tickets costs go to, but geez, that’s a lot. I looked into the San Diego city pass and ultimately decided it wasn’t the best fit for us. I finally settled on the 3-4-1 pass, which is a pass that gets you in the Zoo, the Safari Park, and SeaWorld on one ticket. It cost about $150 per adult for a week long pass, which meant for a week (ours ended up being Wednesday-Tuesday), we could go to those 3 places as many times as we wanted. We only went to each place once, but it was still a savings. Also, at the Zoo, that pass gets you as many free rides as you want on the Skyfari Aerial tram, which is a great way to make it from the backside of the zoo back to the front where a lot of the food is. It’s also just a great experience in general. We also invested in the souvenir cups at both the Zoo (we got the panda cup) and the Safari park (tiger cup). They cost $10, but you get free refills the entire rest of the day with a receipt. If you go back, you can get refills for $.0.99 not on the day you bought it. I think refills otherwise are like $1.49 a piece. It’s a great way to stay hydrated. We basically filled it up every time we passed by a drink station. SeaWorld has a similar thing where if you buy a souvenir cup/water bottle you can get $0.99 refills. Not as good of a deal, but we were buying a bottle anyway. But I digress. The Zoo also had some movies going that I believe were included in the ticket price, but we didn’t check them out. Saoirse isn’t much for sitting through movies yet. 
All of the profits from admission tickets to the Zoo and Safari Park go to conservation efforts made by the San Diego Zoological Society. They breed pandas, among other animals. I believe I saw an announcement of a new baby gorilla at the Park. So it’s a great cause for that expensive ticket price to go to. If you live in the area, they have a pretty decent “season pass” I would suggest for people in  certain zip codes. 
The Safari Park has a brand new “Tiger Trail” that just opened May 24. We visited it on the 27th. They have 3 absolutely gorgeous Sumatran Tigers, the smallest of the tiger species. There’s only about 400 of them left, as they have a very small native habitat (the island of Sumatra). The Trail is really pretty, the enclosures are nice, and there’s a pretty area with a waterfall that is somewhat cooler due to being behind the falling water under an overhang. It’s a nice resting spot. The Park also has an area where you can walk into an enclosure of Lemurs. There’s nothing between you and them but a walkway rail. Sadly, it was hot and the lemurs weren’t interested in moving the day I was there. But it’s a really cool idea, and I definitely suggest you check it out. They also have a Lorikeet feeding enclosure. You can buy nectar to feed them and go in what is essentially a giant bird cage (with or without purchased nectar). We didn’t do that (even though it was free without nectar), but it’s interesting. 
We were fortunate to not be affected in anyway by the wildfires that burned a lot of San Diego county just the week before we arrived, including not too far away from the Safari Park in Escondido. But the. Park wasn’t damaged at all, and our vacation wasn’t affected. Honestly, I never saw evidence that the fires happened except in news reports and our cab driver’s comments. I just wasn’t in the right areas I guess. 
We used public transit for almost all of our traveling in San Diego. Joseph’s aunt let us borrow her car to head up to Escondido and La Jolla, which was far more convenient than public transit, though doable. 
Pictures to be added…

San Diego Fun

MyI was pretty sure I posted another post, but apparently Blogger ate it. I’ll deal with that later. 

We had a great time in San Diego. We did many of the major tourist stops: San Diego Zoo, San Diego Safari Park, and SeaWorld. We also frequented Balboa Park, where we visited the Museum of Man, the Natural History Museum, and the United Nations Store and a group of places we called the “house ofs”. I can’t remember the full name, but there’s a House of Ireland, House of China, House of Israel, and more. There happened to be an ethnic food festival there while we were there, so we went and checked that out. I’ll go more in depth to what all we did as I go along. 
Our first full day there, we ventured out with Joseph’s aunt Sherrie. She took us grocery shopping, showed us around and bit, and took us to the sungrubbies.com show room, where we all got sun hats. Let me say, it was wonderful experience, and I definitely recommend sungrubbies.com. They were so kind and helpful. Beyond that, they gave Saoirse a “cool by the pool” book that we plan to read to her at some point. All of our hats are Sunday Afternoons brand. I really recommend them, as we all managed to pretty much avoid facial sunburns and back of the neck sunburns with these hats. 
And come on, if sun protection is this cute, why not be sun safe? (Saoirse modeling the Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat, bought from sungrubbies.com- http://www.sungrubbies.com/product_index_html/product_detail_html/SunhatsAdventureK.htm )
I adore these products at this point and fully attribute our relatively small amount of sunburns directly to the products we bought from sungrubbies.com, because we were spending nearly all of our time outside. The sunburns we did get were courtesy of bad clothing choices (read: putting the baby in short sleeves, thinking you wouldn’t be outside that much-oops). 
I only have experience with the baby version of this hat, but the adjustable sizing (on the back of the head) means it will fit a wide variety of baby head sizes and the chin strap will snap loose with 10 lbs of pressure, so no worries about strangulation by neck strap (the bigger kids version has a toggle strap and less like a helmet as I understand). It comes in blue and pink. 

You can see Joseph’s hat choice in this picture; I took mine off for the picture. 

I’m pretty sure it’s this one (http://www.sungrubbies.com/product_index_html/product_detail_html/Cloudburst-RainSun-Hat.htm), the Cloudburst hat. I know his is good in rain as well. He tried on many, and ultimately settled on this one. If you can stop by a store, such as the sungrubbies.com showroom, and try on a variety of hats, I really suggest you do so. You never know what you might find that you like. We also bought the swim shirts we’re wearing in this picture at sungrubbies. They did a wonderful job of keeping us from getting sun burned in and out of water. 

My hat is seen here. It’s the Sundancer Hat (http://www.sungrubbies.com/product_index_html/product_detail_html/Sundancer-UV-Protective-Hats.htm). I never got sunburned on my face in San Diego. That is 98% because of this hat. I burn so fast it’s freakish, so this is a testament to its effectiveness. I even discovered I have a sun allergy while in San Diego, but that rash never occurred in the areas safely protected by my hat. Buying these hats was easily the best decision we made during our trip to San Diego. 

More San Diego experiences to come…

Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated for posting my opinions here. We just went and bought these items, and I liked them so much I had to share. 

Update

Life has been nuts and now I’m on vacation is sunny San Diego! Joseph (the husband) is a San Diego native so we came here to visit his aunt as well as have some fun. But here’s a general pre-SD update. 

Saoirse’s first tooth broke through good on April 30, the day she turned 8 months old. She pulls up on my shirt and has figured out that that is where the boobs are and pulling down on my cami exposes them. She could roll over onto her stomach if she didn’t hate being on her tummy. She figured out how to roll over from stomach to back at about 2 months old to avoid tummy time. We’ve been putting her on her tummy (she can get in a crawling position fine), but she screams the whole time. She hates it. I figure she’ll either go straight to walking or be a butt-scooter. 
That’s the general update pre-SD. Here’s some pics. 

Hanging out at Easter

Random May cold snap

In Papa’s hat

She loves swings. 

We love Little People. 

Smiley

With Daddy, playing with Ana-Cherie’s doll’s sippy cup. 

Playing at the hospital with Ana-Cherie (A-C had a seizure and between getting the meds right and rehab, she was there about 18 days.)

Passed out the morning of her daddy’s graduation from college

At her daddy’s graduation 

Also at graduation. Selfie with mama (me).