Modern Day Pilgrims

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Getting Creative

With the heat (and humidity) of the summer in full swing, we've had to get creative with things to do inside.  There's only so much TV I want Charlotte to watch and her toys get boring quicker than they should.  Oh me oh my.  Since I want Charlotte to learn to self-entertain and don't exactly enjoy her bugging me every few minutes, I needed to think of something new to keep her distracted and be fun! Lately, Charlotte has developed a love for the water cooler.  She found where I kept (notice past tense) disposable cups and started taking them over to the water cooler, filling up the cup, taking a couple sips, then disposing of the remainder on the floor or in the trashcan.  She'll also use cups from her play kitchen if she can't find another cup.  Since one of us will soon break our neck from the amount of water on the floor, I'm trying to discourage her from playing with the water cooler from now on.  Instead, I thought I'd try to get her to play with water in another way.  Enter the inflatable duck tub.  I received the duck tub as a shower gift and thought it would work today as an indoor pool for Charlotte.  I laid down a bunch of towels, filled the duck tub with bath water, and then got out a few of Charlotte's bath toys.  Success!  She was distracted for a good hour and probably will be again after she gets up from her nap.  Here's some pics:

 Inspecting the tub.

I should've known to put her in a swimsuit from the very beginning.  I have no idea why I was dumb enough to think she'd sit next to the tub and play with the toys instead of actually sitting in the tub to play with them.  You'd think I'd know my daughter better!  By the way, if you like her tank top, it's a free pattern from Oliver + S, found here.

 Oh boy.  That is one soggy diaper.

 Charlotte's, lets go put you in a swimsuit.

 That's better!

 This is fun, Mommy!

Of course, this didn't go without complications.  There are still trails of water all through our house - just not from the water cooler this time. I don't think the towels I laid down quite soaked up all the water, either.  And we currently have 4 blankets and one stuffed Tigger on the drying line because Charlotte thought it would be a good idea to swim with them.  :-)  Even so, doing this was worth it and Charlotte had a blast!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Date Picking

Every summer, most wives and kids return to the states while their poor husband's stay here and work.  We did this last summer, but since Charlotte and I recently returned from a 3 month stint in the states, we'll be sticking it out here this summer.  Most wives and kids go home in the summer to avoid the heat of Bahrain and to get out of Ramadan, which begins at the end of this month.  Ramadan is a month long period for Muslims to fast from eating, drinking, and sex.  During Ramadan, it is illegal for anyone - Muslim or not - to drink or eat in public from sunup to sundown.  This includes water.  Considering it's 110 degrees outside, that's just silly and unhealthy since there are still people who have to work outside during this time.  Muslims observe Ramadan to "purge" themselves and to resist temptation.  To them, it's supposed to be a month to teach them patience and humility.  Although, if you really want to resist temptation and learn patience and humility, then you'd think they'd allow non-Muslims to eat and drink in front of them.  If no one's allowed to eat or drink around them, then it's not really a temptation, is it?  People also skirt the rules of Ramadan by sleeping all day and staying up all night.  How this is tolerated or in the spirit of Ramadan, I don't know, but many people do it.  But I digress.  This post isn't supposed to be about Ramadan but what we did last night: date picking.

Since our family will be staying in Bahrain this summer, we won't miss the date harvesting season like we did last year.  We have 3 date trees in our yard alone, plus others around our compound.  I have never had a fresh date before and since they're starting to ripen, we decided to go outside as a family last night and look for some ripe dates.  It was also Charlotte's first time eating a fresh date and she LOVED them.  She kept asking for more even though there weren't too many ripe dates yet.  If you've never tried fresh dates before, they are quite sweet and I think they sort of taste like a honey soaked raisins.  Today, I'm going to "test" ripening dates in our oven.  When they're yellow, it means they're almost ripe, and I read on the Internet that you can pick yellow dates and ripen them in the heat as long as they're not in the sun.  We'll see if the oven does the trick.  If not, we'll have to be patient and just pick them as they ripen on the tree.  Here's some photos from last night:

 Chris reaching for some ripe dates, but our ladder is not quite tall enough for this date tree!

 Charlotte taking an opportunity to ride her bike.

 The date palm tree in our front yard.

 Here are a couple clusters of dates that are unripe and almost ripe.

 Chris obliging me and posing for the camera!

 The green dates are unripe, the yellow dates are almost ripe, and the reddish brown dates are ripe.

 Charlotte loving these dates!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Hidden Truth Behind Vaccinations

Chris and I recently came across some troubling information regarding vaccines and how they are produced.  Perhaps we have been living in a cave, but I don’t think so.  I think this information has been intentionally kept under the radar because of the controversy that would entail if it were fully disclosed to people getting vaccinations.  Unfortunately, this information came to us after we had Charlotte vaccinated, but we are still thankful we’ve learned this information so that we can do things differently for our future children and for any vaccinations that Chris, Charlotte, or I will need in the future.
We found out that most vaccinations are made from using aborted human fetal stem cells to grow the viruses that are used to produce vaccinations.  Since viruses are incapable of reproducing on their own, a living host is required in order for the virus to grow.  Monkey, chicken, and even yeast cells can be used to grow the viruses, but manufacturers are turning more and more to using aborted human fetal cells (AHFC) to accomplish this goal.  The technique of using AHFC has apparently been used for decades, such as when the rubella vaccination was created after harvesting the vaccination from an electively aborted baby that was sent to the Wistar Institute in the mid 1960’s because the mother contracted rubella during pregnancy and passed the virus to her baby.  Rubella in pregnant women can result in miscarriage or birth defects, so the mother aborted the child and the baby’s remains were sent to Stanley Plotkin at the Wistar Institute to help aid in discovering a rubella vaccination, which he had begun working on in 1963.  Unfortunately, this aborted baby was not the first sent to the institute to aid in finding a rubella vaccination.  He or she was the 27th.  This is why the Rubella vaccine is clinically known as RA 27/3, which stands for rubella abortus, twenty-seventh fetus, third tissue extract.  The rubella vaccination is usually combined today with the measles and mumps vaccination, known as the MMR but can still be administered separately.  
In 2005, Stanley Plotkin discussed the controversy that surrounded the rubella vaccination when he recalled, "I have no doubt that (the) rubella vaccination has prevented thousands and thousands of abortions.  From strictly an arithmetical assessment, the good done by the vaccine -- if you are opposed to abortion -- is infinitely greater than any possible harm."  The rubella outbreak in the 1960’s led to a loosening of abortion laws in many states, so even if mother’s no longer abort their babies because they become infected with the rubella virus, they can now abort for any reason at all.  The 1962 - 1965 rubella outbreak resulted in 11,000 abortions (both spontaneous and surgical).  This is an average of 2,750 abortions per year over the 4 year outbreak period, and remember that this number also includes miscarriages.  Today, an average of 3,700 babies are electively aborted in the U.S. every day.  That is a sobering number!  Plotkin may be correct that women no longer seek abortions because of rubella, but his research still took 27 innocent human lives who had no say in the matter and may or may not have had any major birth defects had the mothers carried them to term.  Even if these babies had been born with crippling birth defects, who are we to decide who should and should not have a chance at life?  Fundamentally, the creation of the vaccine was derived in an unethical way and this taints all the science that has come from it.  I am under the firm belief that pro-life people should have nothing to do with this kind of science and should seek to find alternative methods to vaccinate their children (more on alternatives later).  
Chris and I find this discovery so troubling - not only because we believe it is unethical, but also because the CDC and vaccine manufacturers are not truly forthcoming with this information.  None of the Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) we were given at the doctor’s office or the consent forms we had to sign mentioned anything about the vaccinations being made from aborted human fetal cells.  Obviously if we had known, we would have asked if there were any alternatives.  It seems that including this information on the VIS or on another handout would be an easy thing for doctor’s to do.  This way, pro-life people aren’t unwittingly doing something against their morals.  When I first mentioned the AHFC finding to Chris last week he thought it sounded too ridiculous to be possible, probably because he has an undergrad and masters in chemistry and absolutely loves science.  Since vaccinations are made through the science of biology and not chemistry, Chris had never been taught this in school. Therefore, when we did the research, the truth was surprising but undeniable.  
For parents and individuals seeking an alternative route for vaccinations, the Right to Life of Michigan website lists U.S. produced vaccines derived from aborted cell lines along with U.S. produced alternative vaccines that are derived from chick cells, monkey cells, or yeast.  The Right to Life website lists the alternative vaccine name and manufacturer so that you can specify to your doctor which vaccine you’d like for you or your child to be vaccinated with.  Currently, there are no U.S. alternatives for Chickenpox, Rubella, or Hepatitis-A.   The Japanese, however, have produced alternative vaccines for Rubella and Hepatitis-A that were developed from the cell lines of rabbit and monkey kidneys.  These vaccinations are available in the U.K. but the FDA currently has not given them approval for use in the U.S.  Since most American families can’t afford to fly to England for these alternative vaccinations, many pro-life families will have to wait until they are approved for use in the U.S.  The chickenpox vaccination doesn’t currently have an alternative, but since probably everyone reading this post had chickenpox as a child and lived, I personally don’t see that as a big issue.  Chris and I will rest easy at night even if none of our future children get vaccinated for chickenpox! 
For full disclosure, most pro-life articles you’ll read about this issue come across as dramatic and bombastic.  I agree with the end conclusion of what these articles say, but the language and descriptions used can often be counterproductive by alienating moderate, casual or scientifically trained readers.  I’ve tried not to use the same methods when writing this post, and I hope I’ve succeeded.  I had to write this post to let others know what’s going on in the science world in case you were presently unaware.  While the manufacturers and CDC are not forthcoming with this information, you can find several articles on this issue and a list of other non-Internet sources if you look for it.  Please do the research for yourself and you’ll find that what I’ve written is true and please, please share your research with others who are currently in the dark and continue to get vaccinations that contain AHFC without knowing it.  I don’t know if this subject matter is on the cusp of breaking out in the open or if it will always sort of float under the radar as it has since the 1960s, but if more and more pro-life individuals who are committed to the sanctity of human life learn about what’s going on AND share it with others, manufacturers could be forced to stop making vaccinations using AHFC or at least be forced to provide ethical alternatives for ALL vaccinations.  That is my hope and what will hopefully one day be the outcome of all this.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Exercise

Most parents in the U.S. see the summertime as an opportunity to send their kids outside to run around and enjoy the warm summer sun.  Well, that's not the case in Bahrain!  It gets so hot here (at least 106 degrees F) that most children stay indoors.  To help keep Charlotte busy and active this summer since she won't get much opportunity to run around outside, Chris and I decided to buy her a trampoline.  Grandpa and Grandma P had one and Charlotte fell in love with it while we were at their house in May.  She loves it, although it's bigger than the one her grandparents had, so she can fit on it along with other things, as you'll see in the pictures below:

 Notice the baby doll

 And now Tigger

 And her two kitty's and sippy cup

 And a couple BIG blankets!

She truly cracks us up!