June Recap

Wow, I just noticed that it’s been over a month since our last blog post. With our Facebook status updates, this blog sometimes gets forgotten so let me fill you in on what all has been going on in our world!

As noted in the last post, Liam played T-Ball for the YMCA and for the most part, he enjoyed it. The temps during June were over 100° most days so it was a bit miserable for the kids (and the adults). Each Saturday, we usually had two back-to-back games and by the time the second game started, Liam was ready to be done. One of the coaches dunked the kids’ caps in ice water during the breaks to keep them cooled off. It was fun but at the same time, we were all kinda happy to see the season end. It should definitely be moved to a winter sport in this area! It didn’t end without an injury though—during one of the games, Liam was charging for the ball and collided with the kid who was running to third base and somehow the kid’s check bone hit Liam in the corner of his eye. There was blood & tears but after we got the bleeding stopped and an ice pack on it, he was ready to go back in a finish the game.

Liam T-Ball Injury

June was also a month of sadness for us. My Mom passed away suddenly, but very peacefully on June 8th. It has been bittersweet losing her. She had been in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s for the past couple of years and she would’ve never wanted to live like that, but on the other hand, you’re never ready to lose your parent. Every Sunday we’d go visit her and even though she no longer knew any of us, Mom lit up everytime Liam was around. Losing his “G-Ma” has been particularly tough for him. He has a lot of questions about death and worries about getting old. Telling him that she had died and breaking his heart was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Mom

I’m so very grateful for all of the support we received from family & friends during this difficult time. For those of you that may recall, I also lost my brother about the same time last year so June has not been a good month for us the past couple of years.

The one good thing about all the extreme heat that we’ve been having is that it has made for some really nice days in the pool. Liam is getting so good at swimming that I think he will have it mastered by the end of summer. I still make him wear a life jacket for jumping off the diving board and swimming in the deep end but he has been doing a lot of practice without it in the shallow end. He’s just a little fish in water and if there was any doubt about how much he loves it, I think this picture says it all:

Liam diving

So that should about cover it for getting our blog up to date. As we say here in Texas, stay cool & hydrated!

Sunscreen Sundries

sun scale
Summertime is in full swing and you’re probably having lots of fun in the sun but there’s nothing more sure to spoil your fun than a nasty sunburn. So, in addition to reminding you to Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap as you prepare to head out the door, I thought I’d also share some interesting sunscreen trivia & info:

  • The ancient Greeks used olive oil as a type of sunscreen, although it wasn’t especially effective.
  • The first effective, mass-produced sunscreen was invented in 1944 by airman turned pharmacist Benjamin Greene who was looking to protect World War II soldiers stationed in the South Pacific from the sun’s harmful rays. Greene tested the sticky, red substance which he called “Red Vet Pet” on his own bald head. After the war, he refined the formula and sold it under the new company name, Coppertone.
  • Sunscreens work by either blocking or absorbing ultraviolet light. Opaque minerals like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide physically block or scatter UVA (the “aging” rays) whereas chemical blockers like avobenzone and Mexoryl SX absorb UVB (the “burning” rays) and dissipate that as heat. You should select a sunscreen that combines these two approaches for a broader spectrum of protection—look for one with at least 7% of one of the physical blocker ingredients (zinc is better!) and an SPF of at least 30.
  • SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, was introduced in 1962 as a measurement of a product’s ability to block out the sun’s burning rays. Note that more is not necessarily better with SPF. Stick with a product with an SPF of 30-50. Sunscreens with an SPF of 70, 90, or even 100+ certainly sound impressive, but they’re only marginally better, if at all.
  • The FDA has proposed a “star-rating” system to identify the level of UVA protection found in sunscreen, with 1 star indicating low and 4 stars indicating the highest UVA protection available in an over-the-counter product. The proposal also mandates that sunscreens which do not provide at least a minimal level of UVA protection must bear a “no UVA protection” marking on the front label near the SPF value.
  • Researchers suggest the most effective protection is achieved by generously applying sunscreen 15–30 minutes before exposure, followed by a reapplication 15–30 minutes after the sun exposure begins. But you also need to reapply every 2–3 hours and after swimming in order for the sunscreen to remain effective.
  • There’s mounting evidence that sunscreens containing retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) should be avoided because when used topically, this ingredient may actually increase your risk of skin cancer. For more info on this and much, much more, be sure to check out the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide. (Link updated for 2012.)
  • Cover up! Although UV rays can still penetrate them, using a wide-brimmed hat and clothing made of tightly-woven fibers can significantly boost your sun protection. And don’t forget to use sun-blocking lip balm and UV-protectant sunglasses!

Bonus trivia: Hippos spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in water to stay cool. But while the water prevents the lumbering mammals from getting overheated, it doesn’t offer much in the way of skin protection. So the hippopotamus produce their own sunscreen! They secrete a highly-acidic, blood-red, gelatinous, oily fluid from glands underneath the skin that protects them from UV rays and insects.

Productivity Is At An All-Time Low!

We finally closed on the sale of our old house and work continues at Kirkwood Manor with painting and other minor improvements.  However, our productivity has taken a nose-dive with the arrival of triple-digit temperatures and an all-inviting swimming pool tempting us every time we look out the window.  As you can imagine, the pool is winning!

We promise to post more house progress photos in the near future, but for now we’re beatin’ the heat!

Liam and Crush

Rob and Liam Swimming

Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap

Sid the SeagullIn 1981, the Cancer Council Australia launched their very successful Slip, Slop, Slap skin health campaign.   Ads featured the program’s mascot, Sid the Seagull who encouraged people to "Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat" when going out in the sun to reduce the risks of skin cancer.

The slogan was later extended to Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap or "Slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen, slap on a hat, and wrap on some sunnies" to also promote the use of sunglasses.   (Even though this very effective campaign has resulted in far fewer incidences, Australia still has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.)

It might seem a bit early to be talking about summertime skin care here in the middle of May, but with the forecast already calling for triple-digit temps, it’s pretty appropriate.   So as you gear up for outdoors activities, remember the "Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap" slogan to protect yourself!

Sadly, despite best intentions, many of us will still end up sunburned at least once during the Summer months.   If you find yourself looking rather lobester-esqe, head over to WiseBread for some !