Vaccines: Yes, I’m Going There!

Beanie’s annual check-up always gets me thinking about vaccines. So I thought I would share my research with you.

Vaccines are a hot-button issue. But still, they are an issue that need discussion. You need to hear both sides. You need to decide what is right for your family. Then, you need to not marry your decision. Be open to any new information you learn. It’s all right if you would do it differently, if you had it all to do over again. We all are learning. We only have the information we are given. Just be confident that right now, you’re making an educated choice.

For me, vaccines started out as a no-brainer. Here’s why:

Vaccinate Your Baby



My biggest reason was Herd Immunity. Here is some info on that:



I felt it was our responsibility to be immune, for the sake of those who had health conditions that put them at risk. I also wanted to prevent my child from getting these diseases.

Then she had a reaction.

It was her 12 month check-up, even though she was actually 13 months. She got 5 shots, including her MMR and Varciella. In less than a week, she developed blisters up and down her legs. When I took her to the pharmacy to pick up her Prevacid and Axid, the pharmacist said, “Ooh, she has chickenpox.” I looked at the CDC’s handout, and it said 1 in 10 people who get the vaccine get the pox from it. No big deal, though. I’d had chickenpox and survived.

We went about life as usual. We had a cook-out with my parents, followed by cards and festivities with Rob’s parents. I noticed that Beanie was hot, so we took her temperature. 104.9. Rob’s mom, the nurse, gave her some Tylenol and Motrin. She took a nap. When she woke up, her fever spiked again.

Too bad the ER didn’t have their flat screen TV’s yet. It was a long night.

And the next morning, when we had our follow-up visit to the pediatrician, she was very disgusted with the ER docs. Beanie was severely dehydrated. So that was our first visit to the peds ward.

This ordeal was enough to lead me to question our own vaccine schedule. There are a lot of resources on vaccinating, and why you shouldn’t do it. There is another side to the story, and the people who choose this are quite educated.

Read these links, but then come back, to hear my perspective and where I ended up.

Alternative Doctor

Why You Should Not Immunize Your Children

Vaccine Risk Awareness Network

So, where did this place me? I was convinced that vaccines do work, and that it is beneficial for those who can get them, to do so. However, I was made aware of the corporate influences, and was very skeptical of CDC’s schedule–and even the slightly modified schedule our pediatrician used.

In Michigan, there are no mandatory vaccines. You can work with your doctor to set up a modified schedule, then sign waivers (at your child’s school) for any shots that you do not get, or do not get “on time.” But, I discovered, there is a large window for getting the shots, and we don’t even need to sign a waiver with the schedule we’ve chosen.

We decided to spread out the shots, doing only one at a time, with at least a month in between. This will give Beanie’s immune system time to recover. I was not able to find any websites with detailed information about delayed vaccination, but here are some books on the issue:

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations

The Vaccine Book

Blog Post On Dr. Sears’ Alternative Schedule

This is a lot of information to take in. And I had a lot of concern about questioning the doctor, who had been through med school. However, it is important for us to remember our roles as parents. When I meet with parents at school, I always tell them that I might be the expert on education, but they are the expert on their child. When we’re putting together an IEP, they have every right to say, “That won’t work for my kid.”

We ended up finding a new doctor for the Bean, one who will regard us as members of the team. We let him know that we wanted to do only one shot at a time, then he recommended an order in which to give them. I don’t pretend to be a doctor, to know everything. But it is all right to question. It is all right to seek out a doctor who will sit down and discuss things with you. This is your child, and you are their advocate.

Hmmm…Involuntarily Off the Grid?

Well, last week we came home from the boat for a day, and the house seemed rather dark. I looked at the kilowatt wheel as we went by (as I always do!), and the impossible had happened. It had stopped!

We’d done it! We were off the grid!

However, since I hadn’t actually saved up for my Kitchen Queen yet, I reluctantly called Consumers Energy and they fixed the power outage.

But when we came home again, we learned that we were still partially off the grid. For example, the IPod charger no longer worked. OTG!

But we’re even hipper than that. I went to go take a shower, while Beanie was quietly playing, and there was no hot water. “Honey, I think the water heater is off the grid!” I announced. Rob went and checked, and it was! We don’t know if there was a brownout before the power went out, or if the heating element just died on its own.

So, for the rest of this summer, I guess we’re going to have to spend more time at the boat. Then, when we get around to it, Rob will replace the element. But, after that, we’ll replace the water heater.

If we wanted to use less energy, we could switch to a gas model.

Of course, I had other ideas…

Rob was definitely intrigued. We’ll see if we can manage to save up that much!

Off the Grid Tuesday: OTG Laundry!

Well, yesterday I finally unplugged the refrigerators, then ran out to the kilowatt wheel to check my progress. Rob informed me that I’m a dork. But doesn’t everybody wish they had a power meter inside their house?

So, today’s off-the-grid goodness…

One day, while we were exploring the Habitat for Humanity ReStore (which I strongly recommend, by the way!), Rob and I found this:

It’s a combination washer/dryer, that fits on our counter! It will not do large loads, so we will need to do laundry frequently. If we use it on our boat, we will need to make sure we get detergent that does not produce suds. Homemade detergent is great for this. I always keep mine powdered though. It takes up less space that way.

So, if we feel like being on the grid, when we’re somewhere with shore power, we can use this to wash and dry our clothes. No more bothering with the laundromat! When we’re anchored out, the washer is able to run off of our 12-volt battery, through an inverter. We will have to line dry afterward. Luckily, Moonraker has plenty of lines!

An Important Upgrade

With our month-long trip coming up in 2 weeks, we have been working on our boat. Rob fixed the refrigerator, and we will soon be fixing the water system. Last week, Rob replaced the most important fixture:

Yes, marinas do have bathrooms, but now we will have facilities while underway and when we anchor out. Beanie, of course, has her little “chamber pot” (potty chair) that she likes to keep under the v-berth.

There is one important thing you need to know about our new head:

This is the warning sticker that we put on the wall. Please observe that if you put a ham, sausage, a banana, and a newspaper into the head, the boat will sink!

Sunday Supper: Soft Taco Bake

Need a quick dinner? I found a boxed dinner called “Soft Taco Bake,” and it was one of my favorites to make in the early days of our marriage. Then I devised my own, non-processed version.

You need some tortillas, taco sauce, refried beans, shredded cheese, green onions, and sour cream.

First, mix the beans and taco sauce, until it is thick but well-seasoned. Grease a pan (I use a cast iron skillet) with butter, then layer the tortillas, bean and sauce, and cheese. I make about 4 layers. Top with sauce, cheese, and green onions. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and it is warm throughout. Top with sour cream before serving.

Nothing’s Easy!

This morning, after enjoying my coffee, I began my daily routine of tidying up the boat. Everything was looking good, except that we were being overrun by laundry. We do our laundry every 3 days, and yesterday was supposed to be the day. However, things got busy and it didn’t happen.

Beanie no longer sleeps in a diaper, and we set her on the potty at 10:00, so that she can watch Shaun the Sheep and do what she needs to do. She was playing happily, and it was 9:45. So I had just enough time to drop off the laundry.

I drove, as green as that isn’t. The laundry room is across the marina from us, and they have no change machine. So I first had to drive to another corner of the marina, to the gas dock, to get quarters. I got $3, which is enough to wash and dry a load.

So I loaded the machine, inserted the quarters, and it jammed. Chomped right down on my quarters. It would not start, and it would not give me my quarters back. Worried about making it back in time for potty time, I transferred the clothes to the other machine, and drove back to the gas dock for $2 more in quarters. I drove back to the laundry room, fed the machine my coins, and guess what…Jammed again.

Quickly, I stuffed my clothing, slimy with detergent, into my bags and made my way to the office. Which is across from the gas dock. I’m greeted by the gas attendant with a laugh and “More quarters?”

So in the end, I did get my $3.50 back, and while I was there I finally signed the contract for my slip (which I had not gotten around to doing) and picked up a parking pass (we’ve been parking without one all summer). And it turns out that we’re 10 minutes from 3 different laundromats. Looks like we’re going to have a day on the town!

As for the Bean, when I got back to the boat, she was wearing a pretty sailor dress and a pull-up. Her pink sleeper has joined the rest of the laundry.

The Joy of Old Cars

We have never owned a new car. Right now, we’re driving a 1996 Saab and a 1988 Volvo. We have a 2003 Saturn as a back-up. That’s a lot of cars. And they’re old. Here’s why they are saving us money:

–Repairs don’t cost as much as car payments. Sorry, but it’s the truth. If you pay $300 a month in car payments, you pay $3600 a year. We have NEVER spend that much in repairs every year! And that includes the year that we replaced the transmission in the Saab. And if our car needed $3600 in repairs, we would probably just buy another car for less than that.

–We don’t have to get full coverage. Really, we just need to save up $1500 for another car, if the worst happens! Sometimes we opt for limited collision and comprehensive, in case we hit another deer, but that still costs significantly less than full coverage.

–We keep a spare car in case one needs to be taken out of commission. We only insure 2 cars at a time though.

–The Volvo and Saturn are so simple that Rob does most of the repairs on them. While he has been through mechanics’ training, if you’re handy you could do some of the routine repairs, such as changing the belts or brake pads.

–We also work with a garage that will find junk yard parts for repairs, if you want them to.

So, we’re a bit less stylish…But then maybe not. I think the Volvo is so square that it’s hip!