Friday, October 29, 2010

Creating calm from chaos with a family calendar

Ever have one of those days where everyone is going to be in a million places at once? Last night was one of those evenings. My dear husband (DH) had a quarterly meeting with the Kiwanis on Thursday evening, leaving me to get both kiddos. T. had baseball practice at 6 and both H. and T. had “Thursday School” at church at 7. Grandma’s apartment complex had a family event from 5:30 to 7:30, and somewhere in there I needed to probably serve a non-McDonald’s meal. Oh, and I had a few errands to run too, including picking up costumes for today's costume mania.

I’m tired just remembering it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A 13-pound surprise

Justice Mansfield, 13 pound bundle of joy!
On Saturday morning, Bobbi and Mike Mansfield were in for a BIG surprise.

Still ecstatic from the news their beloved Texas Rangers would play in their first World Series game, the Fort Worth couple experienced a first of their own: son Justice was born at 8:36 a.m. weighing in at 13 pounds, the heaviest baby ever delivered at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth.

And he was three weeks early.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's Time!

If you have been anywhere around Arlington, Texas within the last week or two you know what "It's Time!" means. Our beloved Texas Rangers are going to the World Series. Leading up to this historic win, you started to see banners all over the city that said “Go Rangers, It’s Time!”

Now, I will confess to you that I am not a big baseball fan, but of course when the team kept winning and people around me, on the news, on Facebook and everywhere else kept talking about what a big deal this was, I did start to pay attention. One thing I did know was that my youngest stepson, Nathan, is a baseball fan.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Making Halloween healthier

Ideally, we would convince every house to only offer healthy treats for trick-or-treating, but let’s be realistic. Remember dreading the house that always gave away the toothbrushes or raisins every year? Bring on the chocolate!

Before we think about taking the fun out of this age old Halloween tradition, let’s try turning the focus from the joy of an extreme sugar-induced coma to something a little more fulfilling.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Shoes make the outfit!

It's best to leave those heels at home this Halloween.
Still finalizing Halloween costumes for this weekend?

Picking out the perfect costume for Halloween should include the right footwear, according to Dr. Russell Pendleton, podiatrist on the medical staff of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Boy or Girl…wanna bet?

In the days leading up to my wife Lauren’s 18 week sonogram I was determined to win our bet on the gender of our baby.

Unfortunately, in coin flip situations like this I usually guess wrong at an alarming rate. In fact, at different times in my life I’ve threatened to go with the “George Costanza approach” and just do the exact opposite of what I think I should do. It worked great for George, why couldn’t it work for me?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What's for dinner?

I have a certain number of things I must get done on the weekends in order for my week to start well.

That list includes catching up on laundry, buying groceries and cleaning the house. If I manage to get all of these done by the time Monday rolls around I am in a good frame of mind. I have always said that if my house is out of order then my whole week will be out of order, and that isn’t good for anyone!

However, one thing that always seems to pop in my head on Monday morning while I am driving to work is “what’s for dinner?”

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wine in the pantry

I have had a number of “Back to the Future” moments lately that have been a bit disturbing. (If you’re too young to have heard of “Back to the Future” just shut up.)

Here’s the thing. My son is 11 – a tweenager, preteen, whatever. Basically, the big scary parenting-a-teenager years are fast approaching.

And, in some strange twist – perhaps in preparation for those years – I have found myself reverting to teenager-like behavior. After years of firm, single mom parenting, I find myself racing to my bedroom and slamming the door, begging to see inappropriate movies and, pathetically, drinking in the kitchen pantry.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Healthy Bites: Pumpkin Protein Cookies

Here's a healthy cookie twist!

More than just a decorative Halloween candle holder or a pie filling to be eaten only once a year, pumpkin is one of the most nutritional foods available year round. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and low in fat, both the flesh and seeds of the pumpkin provide many health-boosting nutrients. Check out some of the nutrients in pumpkin:

• Alpha-carotene
• Beta-carotene
• Fiber
• Vitamins C and E
• Potassium
• Magnesium
• Pantothenic acid

Monday, October 18, 2010

A baby story

Whitney Wells, now 13 months old
Would you give birth on national television?

A little over a year ago, first-time parents and high school sweethearts Katy and Jimmy Wells were brave enough to invite a national television show into their lives and into their delivery room at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital.

A film crew from The Learning Channel's "A Baby Story" show documented the young Arlington couple's journey through the last few days of pregnancy and the roller coaster of labor and delivery.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Five years ago

Not long ago, I never would have imagined I’d be where I am today: happily married to the man of my dreams for 10 years and the mother of two healthy, unbelievably adorable children.

We got married at 19 and 20, and we knew we wanted to spend several years together before we started a family.

After five years, we decided it was time. We got pregnant right away – it was Halloween 2005 – and I made an appointment with my OB/GYN as soon as I possible.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Traveling (and Music Festival-Going) While Pregnant

Now that I've reached the so-called honeymoon trimester, I find myself with more energy, and a whole lot less nausea. And it happened just in time, too - my husband and I had three-day passes to last weekend's Austin City Limits Music Festival.

We first tried a test-run of sorts by going to Waco for a football game the weekend before. I did fine on the car ride (with the exception of declaring myself ravenously hungry and needing a drive through NOW) to the game, and aside from the score, I did well during the game, too. The heat was a bit of a factor, but knowing my limits helped me know when to high-tail it to some shade and grab a cool drink.

So we decided we could do the festival. Three days. Outside. Using Port-A-Johns that thousands of other people used to varying degrees of success. That's how much better I am about the morning sickness - I braved a very communal outhouse.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to babyproof?

I never knew that my home was a baby danger zone.

But several months ago, a good friend and her very mobile and curious one-year-old baby visited us and she informed me that my home was not "babyproofed." Whoops.

If you've never lived with an infant, you tend to not consider these things. But if you do live with an infant, you very quickly become an expert on the subject, sometimes inadvertently by trial and error (or so I've heard).

So for the sake of any other clueless hope-to-live-with-an-infant-someday gals like myself, I thought I'd compile a list of the best ways to babyproof your home, straight from the experts.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pregnant and not sure about the flu shot?

Dr. Kristen Vallery
There is a very simple answer to the question, “I am pregnant, should I get the flu vaccine this year?” The answer is “YES.”

Pregnant women have a higher risk of complications secondary to the flu than the rest of the population. One study showed that out of 10,000 pregnant women in the third trimester, 25 will be hospitalized for severe complications including intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, intubations, and even death.

There are many benefits to getting the flu vaccine during pregnancy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A perfect ten

You could call Elijah Perry a perfect 10.

He has an unforgettable birthday: he was born on 10/10/10 at exactly 10 a.m., weighing 10 pounds, with all 10 fingers and 10 toes, to Mom Melanie Perry (whose birthday is September 10).

Melanie, a 31-year-old nurse, lives in Crowley with her 29-year-old husband Michael, a math teacher at Temple Christian High School in Fort Worth.

"I never expected to have a 10 pound baby, let alone a baby with so many 10s!" Melanie said. "It's been a really special day."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Quilting lessons

pieces of unfinished quilt
Dear (still-just-a-twinkle-in-my-eye) Baby Brooks,

I thought you should know your baby quilt is coming along just fine.

I’m really having a blast piecing it together and imagining the finished masterpiece. It will be like a work of art I’ve put all my blood, sweat, tears, and dreams into. But I do have to admit, this sewing business is a lot tougher than I thought it would be.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny walked into a bar….

My son recently lost another tooth that had been loose for quite a while. He was thrilled to get rid of it because he knew the Tooth Fairy was going to leave him some loot.

Last time, the tooth fairy left him money and a note asking him to take really good care of his teeth because she wasn’t going to reward bad tooth brushing habits.

I was talking with a friend who brought up the fact that we don’t encourage the mythical Santa Claus at our house, yet we encourage the Tooth Fairy. How could that be?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Breast or bottle?

Dylan, in his costume, and Arley Rae hang out.

With my first child, Dylan, somehow I missed the memo to start offering him bottles of breastmilk between four to six weeks of age. So, at seven weeks, my husband gave him a bottle and my son never wanted to nurse again. Even still, he continued to receive my breastmilk exclusively until his first birthday. My breastpump and I became very close – I never went anywhere without her!

So when my second – and final!!! – child was born on June 17, 2010, I was determined to make her a switch hitter.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Breakfast tips: feed your kids and YOU!

Alarm rings, kids won’t get out of bed, you forgot to iron your clothes for work, dog is barking…eat breakfast? Yeah right!

This is a typical morning for many families in the United States. They run out the door without fueling for their day. So what is the problem? A nutrient-rich breakfast is key to helping people feel energized, stay focused and feel less hungry later in the day. Research shows that people who eat a complete breakfast typically manage their weight better and children think better, problem solve more efficiently and stay focused on their school work.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Detergent for DIY Moms

Although it started out as an experiment for us, back when we were just a couple and kept running out of laundry detergent, now that we're expecting a baby and all its dirty laundry, I'm really glad that we have been making our own laundry detergent for about two years now.

I get teased - not as much now, but in the beginning, a lot - about being some kind of Ma Ingalls, making my own detergent when you can buy it at the store. But let me tell you - this detergent is extremely easy to make, extremely gentle and hypoallergenic, and much, much cheaper than store-bought. Plus, one batch makes about 3 gallons, which can last a lot longer than most detergent. And since it's liquid, and low-suds, my friends with HE washers and front loaders say they've had no problems.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Texas Moms: Jennifer McGehee

Paul, Jennifer and Molly McGehee
Jennifer and Paul McGehee hope newborn daughter Molly will grow up to share their love of horses.

They have 30 of them, after all, on McGehee Ranch in Lipan, Texas, where Paul is ranch manager.

They also have 425 cows. (They seem to accumulate, Paul says.)

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s wonderful!” Jennifer says of ranch life. “We hope she has an interest in it – she’ll be immersed in it!”