Surviving Covid- Sort Of

I don’t know about all of you, but Covid was ROUGH in the Cereal household. I was on a train on my way to Canada when I found out that the university I work for was going to shut down and move to entirely remote work. I got on the next train home and started frantically preparing my faculty members on how to quickly modify their classes. The next two weeks were a complete blur, and when I started to come out of that, I had to scramble to get them desks and iPads and all the supplies they would need to be successful at remote school. I also had to run around and find everything I would need to be able to successfully work from home. Pretty much all of March was intensely serious and scattered.

By mid-April we had hit a bit of a stride. The kids’ schools were doing the absolute best they could and my faculty was kicking butt teaching remotely. I was exhausted nearly all the time, but I didn’t really realize how much it was affecting me.

When the kids’ schools let out for summer in June, everything got worse. The kids had zero respect for my need for quiet during work, and mid way through June, I started my PhD program. I was also asked by my dean to take on additional work for another department. I accepted, knowing that it would be essential for my career trajectory. My days were spent on zoom meetings, and juggling two kids who were bored and tired of being cooped up at home. In July, I started feeling super tired all the time, which I attributed to Covid and school and work and everything.

September rolled around and the kids’ school announced that the year would start virtually. I was prepared for a year of at home school, and I came up with a solid schedule that while the kids were in virtual class, I was in my meetings and making sure that work was handled. I was basically trying to fit an entire day of work into a four hour block. I would often get back onto my computer in the evenings to try to do as much more work as I could. And then Oregon exploded with intense and widespread fires. For an entire 10 day period, the air quality was so bad that we couldn’t leave the house. The sky was blood red and there was ash all over everything. It was scary and incredibly depressing.

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Covid Vaccines for Kids 5-11

Yesterday, Pfizer and BioTech asked the FDA for emergency use approval of their Covid vaccine for kids 5-11. A tentative meeting has been scheduled for October 26th, with a ruling that could come as soon as Halloween. A 1/3 adult dosage has been proposed for kids 5-11, with 28 million children in the eligible age group. The Pfizer vaccine for kids 12-15 has been approved since May of this year.

There is a vaccine side effect of note predominantly affecting young men ages 16-29, who developed heart problems after receiving their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.

The study, conducted in Israel, estimated that nearly 11 of every 100,000 males in that age group developed myocarditis, inflammation of the heart, a few days after having been fully vaccinated. That figure is higher than most earlier estimates.

Boys between 16 and 19 years of age had the highest incidence of myocarditis after the second dose, according to a second study in the journal. The risk of heart problems in boys of that age was about nine times higher than in unvaccinated boys of the same age.

The absolute risk is still very small, and the condition temporary. And studies have shown that Covid-19 is much more likely to cause heart problems compared with vaccination. (via nytimes)

Females in every age group didn’t appear to have any increased risk for myocarditis. As a result of this rare side effect, some countries are suggesting only one dose of the vaccine for kids 12+ to provide partial protection.

All of these concerns, as well as the data on myocarditis, should inform a national conversation about the wisdom of offering one dose versus two shots to adolescents, some experts said.

“There hasn’t been enough discussion about the potential harms of vaccination, because everybody is very, very sensitive about hesitancy and doesn’t want to give any fuel to anti-vaccination campaigns,” Dr. Cowling said.

In the United States, in particular, many public health experts have been reluctant to voice concerns about the vaccines, Dr. Gellad said: “No one wants to introduce any doubt that kids should be vaccinated. But I think there are ways to talk about it that will appeal to people who are hesitant.” (via nytimes)

Charlie will turn 12 this December and Olive just turned 10. If the vaccine for kids 5-11 is approved by October 31st (we will arrive in the US a couple days before Halloween), we will get our kids vaccinated. How would I feel if Charlie were 16 instead of 11 and at a higher risk of getting myocarditis? I understand why some parents may be hesitant, or want to wait a little while.

But cases are still extremely high in the US and I want to protect my parents who we’ll be staying with. We will still wear masks, avoid indoor places, and try to be as safe as we can. But knowing that we are protected from serious covid by being vaccinated will give us a lot of peace of mind.

If the Pfizer vaccine for kids 5-11 is approved this year, will you get your kids vaccinated?

My Final Angiogram


The Mayo clinic has a great reputation, and for good reason. Every time I have gone there the experience is impressive. It’s super efficient and top quality. The doctor who wasn’t involved with my case this time, but who did my last procedure there, stopped in to say hi when I was getting prepped for my angiogram. It felt comforting amid the cold air and beeps of all the machines


For those of you who haven’t followed my story and medical history, here’s a documentary short (which when I’m not taking care of my kids and navigating a move, is what I do for work).

I was conscious for the entire procedure, which involved sending a tiny camera up through a major artery in my hip and then snaking up into my brain to take a look around. 

This meant I could watch the screen they were using to see inside my brain as it was happening. Eventually the doctor doing the procedure turned to me and said, see? That’s where the AVM used to be – and you can see here that there is no longer any malformation.”


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A Pandemic 10th Birthday

For their birthdays last year, both kids had two of their close friends over for a very small party. This year we’ve been much stricter about quarantining, so it was just our family for Olive’s 10th birthday. We had planned for the kids to go on a 4-hour horseback riding lesson, but a big storm forced us to reschedule. I wanted to do something special since our initial plans were canceled, so I came up with the idea to give Olive her first bouquet of flowers. Amazingly the first and only floral shop that opened just before the pandemic was still open. The only flowers available were lilies, roses and carnations, but I think they did a lovely job. Olive absolutely loved it and it was a great start to her birthday.


Afterwards it was time for presents. We got Olive a bunch of small things including candy, chocolate, slime, and art supplies. She loves all things tiny and loved having so many little surprises to open. We can’t get any of these things locally, so even jelly beans and Airheads are a special treat.


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The Different Levels of being an Immigrant

Mrs. Bee’s parents are first-generation immigrants. They came from South Korea to America in the early 80s with $50 in their pocket. Bee is their child, so you’d think that she would be a second-generation immigrant. But she was born overseas and then moved to America as a child… so she didn’t immigrate by herself like a 1.0 but also wasn’t born in the US like a 2.0. Koreans have a word for this: ilchom ose, which literally means “1.5.” Bee is definitely a 1.5, although there are different levels:

There’s a 1.5-generation scale: [sociologist Rubén] Rumbaut, who studies immigration as a professor at UC Irvine, came up with sub-categories to describe who arrived at what age.

According to the scale:

  • Those who arrived between ages six and 12 are the truest 1.5s
  • Those who came at age five or younger are “1.75s,” closer to the second, with little or no memory of their native country.
  • Older youths who arrived between ages 13 and 17 would be “1.25s,” more likely to have an outlook similar to the first generation.

Source: Gen 1.5: Where an immigrant generation fits in

Bee came over when she was under 5 years old, so according to this scale she would be considered a 1.75. But there are a few factors that bring her closer to a 1.6:

  • She didn’t speak any English upon arriving, so she had to learn it here.
  • She lived through the process of her family’s assimilation. She grew up eating Korean food and her family spoke Korean at home.
  • Her parents started a family business with Korean clientele, and the entire family (including the kids) worked there from a young age.

So where do I fall in the scale? As a half-breed, I live between the categories. I was born in Taiwan and lived in Korea and Japan before moving here when I was 3 1/2 years old.  So technically I am a 1.5…  but not really as my dad was born and raised in America. But my dad was so quiet and my mom raised us on her own a lot… so we were raised mostly as the children of immigrants. One wrinkle to my immigration story is that my mom didn’t have the full immigrant cred that Bee’s parents have.

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13 Easy Apple Recipes

I loved going apple picking every October when we lived in New York. We would always get hot apple cider and apple cider donuts too, then bring home more apples than we could eat. We usually made apple chips out of our excess apples. Recently I made apple sauce for the first time and was surprised at just how easy it was. I made a big batch and froze them in portions, and they defrosted in the refrigerator beautifully.

With October and apple season upon us, here are some quick and easy apple recipes using shortcuts like sandwich bread slices, puff pastry, crescent rolls and box cake mix!

sheet pan applesa
Sheet Pan Caramel Apples via The Craft Patch

Easy Microwave Apple Crisp in a Mug
via Yellow Bliss Road

Baked Apples via Stay at Home Chef

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Link Roundup – October 4, 2021

I just blinked and it became October. What happened to September?! October is my favorite month though, so bring on October!

Here are some interesting parenting links from around the web this week!



Boppy Is Recalling 3.3 Million Loungers After 8 Babies Died via Buzzfeed

More U.S. parents are willing to vaccinate their children, a survey finds. via New York Times

Pfizer and BioNTech submit data they say show shots are safe in 5- to 11-year-olds. via New York Times

What You Need to Know About Merck’s New Covid Treatment Pill via New York Times

Manufacturers allowed baby food contaminated with heavy metals to remain on shelves, lawmakers say via CNN

Daycares in Finland Built Their Own ‘Forests’, And It Changed Kids’ Immune Systems via Science Alert

Children Born In 2020 Will Experience Up To 7 Times More Extreme Climate Events via NPR

We Did the Research: Masks Work, and You Should Choose a High Quality Mask if Possible via New York Times

Run, don’t walk, to get your flu shot, infectious disease expert says via CBC


What’s Missing From Back To School This Year? The Time To Heal via WBUR

California to Mandate Covid-19 Vaccines for All Students as Soon as Next Fall via New York Times

CDC Director Approves Booster Shots for Teachers, Reversing Panel’s Decision via Education Week

For Parents ​of Disabled Children, School Mask Wars Are Particularly Wrenching via New York Times


I’m a working mom, and I’m exhausted. This is all the invisible work I do. via Insider

Where Is My Mother’s Safety Net? Social Security rewards long careers and high pay, all but guaranteeing that parents who focus on child-rearing receive the smallest payouts. My mom is one such parent. via The Atlantic

‘No Time to Be a Child’ During the pandemic, teenage girls took on more caregiving at home, extra shifts at work and the burden of organizing racial justice protests. In many instances, it upended their lives. via New York Times

A World Without Children: A generation facing an intractable problem debates whether to bring a new generation into the world. via The Atlantic

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