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About Upptacka

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    Hive Mind Level 2 Worker: Nurse Bee
  1. I love the suburbs. We found a quiet and safe subdivision surrounded by wetland and woods. So we have the perfect mix of peace and quiet and privacy, while still having nice neighbors, an active homeschool community, plenty of activities for the kids, great schools and recreation programs, reasonable access to shopping, and plenty of awesome parks, playgrounds, beaches, bike trails and hiking trails, nature centers (all within biking distance or a short drive). I could go on and on. I could never live in a big city -- it stresses me out. We have tried rural, and while I loved the space, we felt too isolated. I actually got quite depressed. I think size is relative to the norm in your area and what you are used to. 3000 sq ft is very average in my area. Smaller homes are much more common in the older neighborhoods in the city, and of course there are plenty of huge (5000+ sq ft) homes throughout the suburbs. I think around 2700-3000 sq ft (finished space, basement included) is perfect for our family. We could live with smaller if we had to, but we are all introverts, and having some space within the home is nice. It is actually really difficult to find a home less than 2200-2400 sq ft around here, where most of the homes have been built in the last 30-40 years. The majority of homes in my area are around 2500 sq ft, not including the basement (so if the basement is finished, it would bump total sq footage up to 3200+ sq ft).
  2. LOL! Most of the eye charts in the office I worked at used those charts, too. I would say 50% of the kids would just give me a blank stare (understandably), 40% would call it a house, and the other 10% would give a random answer. We never put any weight into their responses for that image!
  3. I think it is good you are being proactive. Seeing the optometrist won't be a wasted appointment. He should be able to measure her refractive error and prescribe glasses if she is significantly farsighted. And then you can follow up with the ophthalmologist in August.
  4. Agree. I am hoping to keep my 9 year old in her 5 pt harness for as long as we can. She very rarely sleeps in the car, but she still slumps and fidgets and would never be "properly positioned" with a seat belt 100% of the time. So I have more peace of mind having her in the 5 pt. We also have a close friend who was paralyzed from the waist down when she was in a car crash as a child (she wearing a seatbelt, but the shoulder strap wasn't positioned where it should have been due to her size). So we will ride out the 5pt harness as long as we can, even though the majority of her friends moved to boosters years ago.
  5. Oh, I will also add that an eye exam with an ophthalmologist (MD) is usually covered by health insurance. You can check with your policy to make sure. In my area, you pay to see an Optometrist (OD) either out of pocket or via a separate vision coverage plan. I wouldn't bother seeing the pediatrician for this. They would be able to check and tell you if her eyes are straight or misaligned, but a pediatrician won't be able to tell you why. It sounds like you are noticing enough to be concerned, so I think I would just go for the full eye exam with the MD/ophthalmologist.
  6. I would start with an ophthalmologist, not an optometrist for this concern. If you are noticing the eyes aren't "straight" it *could* be strabismus, which can be an eye muscle issue. In some cases (generally constant strabismus which can't be corrected with lenses), surgery is recommended to correct the muscles. The eye has muscles on each side, and if one is too long or too short, it can align differently than the other eye. Strabismus is important to address, because it can lead to double vision and/or amblyopia, aka "lazy eye" -- particularly if it is always the same eye turning in or out. Amblyopia is more of a brain issue. Basically the brain begins to "ignore" or suppress the image in the weaker eye (or the eye that is giving the brain a conflicting image because it isn't focused straight). Strabismus and amblyopia are different things, but they often coexist. Strabismus is commonly due to a refractive error, typically being farsighted in one or both eyes. The resulting "eye turning in" is called Accommodative esotropia. If the eye is very farsighted (farsightedness typically increases in early childhood), it can appear crossed when trying to focus. The crossing can be corrected with glasses and/or patching to strengthen the weak eye (if there is a weak eye), to prevent amblyopia. You really need a thorough evaluation with an ophthalmologist (pediatric ophthalmologist if you have them in your area), to determine if the eyes are straight, and if not, why. They can determine if it is a refractive issue, a convergence issue, or a muscle issue. Or a combination of. Her eyes will need to be dilated, so expect a lengthy appointment. For what it's worth, none of the ophthalmologists I worked for would ever recommend strabismus surgery for anything other than a muscle issue unable to be corrected with lenses. In other words, a refractive issue didn't exist, glasses (or anything else) would not help the alignment, etc. Also, strabismus surgery is not merely cosmetic. Even adults having the surgery (at this point it is too late to correct any amblyopia) benefit from improved depth perception and stereopsis. Their visual acuity (reading letters on the eye chart) doesn't improve, but having both eyes aligned can make a big difference in basic daily functioning (try flossing your teeth, opening a car door, cooking, etc with one eye closed). But in the vast majority of cases, the strabismus was a refractive issue to begin with, which was resolved with glasses and possibly patching. I would bring her in sooner rather than later; the longer you give the eyes the opportunity to suppress, the more difficult it is to achieve "normal" binocular vision.
  7. I love labor stories. I have had quick and intense labors. My first was a 3.5 hour labor (from my water breaking until birth, although it was 2 hours from my first contraction until delivery). I am not sure exactly how fast my second labor was, because I may have started contractions in my sleep. But I woke up a little before 2am, felt two strong contractions, rushed to the hospital (I was warned it could be a fast labor given my first labor was relatively fast), and she was born at 3:01. My husband (he was parking the car) entered the room as I delivered her on the bed with the nurse. My third labor was predicted to be at home, with an even faster labor than my second. But it turned out to be my longest labor at 4.5 hours. It was a dream......nowhere near as intense. The pain was very tolerable; I hardly felt like I was in labor. I wish all women could experience a labor like that one.
  8. I fell in love with photography at her age. I think it is great that you are encouraging this! It can get to be an expensive hobby, but it doesn't have to be. And you don't need much to get started. I highly recommend that she read "Understanding Exposure" (Bryan Peterson) and also her camera manual (whatever it ends up being) before she even starts playing with the camera. I am partial to Nikon, but I think you will be able to find her something within your budget. She doesn't need the newest model, either. PM me if you are interested in a Nikon d90......I treated myself to a fancy new camera last year and I never use my d90 anymore. So I need to sell it. It is about 6 years old. I haven't even researched what an appropriate asking price would be, but I would give you a great deal on it if you are interested.
  9. Our favorites are: Click clack moo Down on the farm Napping house Baby bear sees blue (my youngest learned her colors thanks to this book!)
  10. "Cold rural" adds another element that I would have a hard time adjusting to. I know some people love it, but being rural in a cold and snowy climate can feel very isolating. I am used to the city snow plows clearing the streets fairly quickly after a storm. And in the Twin Cities area, the kids and I enjoy having lots of indoor things to do when it is too cold to be outside. Museums, indoor parks, climbing walls, water parks, nature centers, etc. In a cold climate, I would really miss living far away from things like that.
  11. I live in Minnesota. As much as I hate January, the rest of the year makes up for it. I love our seasons and all the things you can do outside. Things are pretty affordable here (compared to friends I have in other parts of the country), people are friendly, lots of family friendly things to do, schools are excellent, and great homeschool community/opportunities. 4 wheel drive is nice, but not necessary. I have driven a front wheel drive van for many years, along with countless others here. I truly love it here, but I understand this climate isn't for everyone. If I didn't enjoy winter (skiing, skating, sledding, snow-shoeing, stuck inside doing puzzles during a big snow storm, etc), I wouldn't want to live here. If you are looking at particular areas in MN, let me know.
  12. Our plan sucks, and we pay a high deductible on top of a high monthly premium. My husband works for a small company and has earned significant raises over the past 3 years, but they get cancelled out by concurrent rising health care costs. Despite his pay increases, his paychecks are actually continuing to get smaller year by year. Sigh.
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