Monday, February 28, 2011

Matters of the Heart

February is National Heart Month and I would be remiss if, as a health care employee, I didn’t do my part to spread awareness. But awareness, as you all know, begins with being aware. Because you don’t commonly find adults in their twenties sitting around talking about heart disease, the realization of being at risk had never crossed my mind.

After receiving a wake-up call at my yearly well woman exam, I decided that I had some tough decisions to make. Faced with turning thirty this year, I have been in deep thought about my life thus far and ultimately what type of example I want to be for my daughter. How will I make her aware of all the inevitable health disparities of our ethnicity? Most importantly, how will I teach her to overcome these pitfalls?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ava's Symphony

 I think my quizzical looks probably said it all.

The conversations would go something like this:

“How far along are you?”

“23 weeks.”

“Girl or boy?”


“Oh, have you felt her kicking yet?”

Enter: Quizzical look.

Behind the look I’m thinking to myself, “Have I felt her kicking? What does kicking feel like? Could she be kicking and I just don’t know it? Is she not kicking when she should be? The pregnancy app said she should be kicking. I don’t think she’s kicking. Should I be concerned?”

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Proud Mommy Moment

In a recent meeting at work, the group was asked to share what motivated and inspired them.  I knew that my answer was “my family,” but I just couldn’t think up a story to explain how they inspired me.  It wasn’t until I got into my car and started home that my inspirational story hit me like a ton of bricks.  It was a story that I swore I would never forget and yet when asked on the spot, I couldn’t recall it.  I share it with you now with the hopes that I will truly never forget it.

When pregnant with child number two, my husband, Josh, and I focused on child number one.  We really wanted to share with Preston, then nearing three, what it meant to be a big brother - the responsibilities he would have, the sharing that was about to start happening, the abrupt change in his life as he currently knew it.  Josh and I wondered how Preston would handle a new baby sister.  Would he want to hold her?  Would he want to pick her up by the neck like he picks up baby kittens?  Would he beg us to send her back where she came from because she cried all the time?  Would it even be possible that he could love her??  We weren’t sure what to expect, so we tried our best to prepare him.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Training for two

Santa brought a puppy to our house Christmas morning. A super cute, adorable Schnoodle that Santa himself named “Dasher” after his lead reindeer.

Our daughter is almost four and she has been begging for a puppy for some time now. I always thought we’d probably get a dog someday, but thought “someday” would be a little farther down the line. Thanks to a couple of dog-loving colleagues, I began considering the earlier timeframe. And as soon as I started researching online and looking at all those little puppy faces, I was - of course - a goner.

As anyone who has ever had a puppy knows, training begins immediately. Crate training, puppy-pad training, No Bite! training… And if you have small children in the house, you’re not just training the puppy, you’re training your child as well.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Heart Healthy Snack For Mom & the Kids!

Snacks can be tricky as many kids like bite-size foods that are typically high in sugar and low in nutrients.  However, snacking can be healthy if you choose the right ingredients!  In honor of National Heart Health Month, let us introduce you to peanut butter balls…a delicious, fast, on-the-go treat for you and your kids.  Whether for a mid-morning mom snack or a quick, healthy bite for the kids between school and practice, peanut butter balls will fill you up with quality nutrition and give you long-lasting energy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The final countdown

We are down to mere weeks, and—like it or not—Lauren and I are going to be parents. I think we’ve got the toughest part out of the way—we’ve settled on a name for our son.  Unless the sonogram was wildly inaccurate and we end up with a baby girl, his name will be Elliot. There’s no family significance to the name; we just liked the way it sounded. That and I have a minor man crush on Detective Elliot Stabler on Law and Order SVU. I’ll deny that had anything to do with the final decision, but if you were going to name a child after a TV character, he wouldn’t be a bad one … right?

As any good parents would do, we’ve been trying to equip ourselves with as much knowledge as possible. I’m officially bordering on information overload! We’ve taken hours and hours of classes at Texas Health Dallas, where we’ve learned everything from how to time contractions to giving your baby CPR. I’ve changed diapers on dolls, given them the Heimlich maneuver and learned how to identify a wet diaper without taking it off. I know all the different phases of breast milk, for crying out loud! I now hold degrees from Lamaze, “Basics of Baby Care,” “Baby CPR and Safety” and “Breast Feeding Basics.”

Friday, February 18, 2011

Want to play?

I remember the early days with my stepsons when they were dabbling in sports. Soccer was popular choice and always so cute to watch. My youngest stepson, Nathan, played in the three/four-year-olds group and it was extremely entertaining. Of course, some moms had to be out there with their little ones to get them to play. And of course dad was on the sideline yelling out commands with the rest of the excited parents. Fast forward to current day and Nathan is now 11 years old with absolutely no interest in sports.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Snowmaggedon activities

Texas weather is fairly unpredictable. That is one reason I like living here. You never know what you are going to get.  For the past several weeks, we have had weather that has ranged in temperatures from 75 to 15 degrees. The cold weather is novel, for a few days, and then it is nice to go back to the warmer temperatures.  However, the cold weather leaves new moms with the question of how to keep their child engaged and occupied when the weather does not allow us to venture out.

When we had 15 degree temperatures, we did not go anywhere. I was terrified of the cold weather getting my little boy sick and I was not up for slipping and falling on the ice. After a day of this, our little one began to go stir crazy. And we did too. It is hard to be holed up for too long. Don't get me wrong, it is fun and cozy for a day, but gets old after a while. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oh Dear...We're Going to Be Bringing a Baby Home

There is a word - and this will date me a bit - that used to be uttered by the Saturday Night Live character Linda Richman when she became overcome with emotion. That word, verklempt, was exactly the word I'd use to describe how I feel when I walk into the nursery these days.

For a while, the room now designated the nursery was our guest room. As we began our wedding preparations almost two years ago, it became a landing pad for various wedding paraphernalia. When we came home from the wedding weekend with carloads of that same stuff, it landed in the room again. But when we found out that we were expecting, and determined that this was the room that would make the best nursery, for a while, it became a hodgepodge of both wedding stuff, luggage, AND baby stuff.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I finally heard the laughter

Amy and children
It was about eight months ago, but the memory of when I finally heard the laughter is as vivid as if it occurred yesterday. But before I share more about this memory, I have to share how this journey began.

In May 2010, my husband and I made one of the most important decisions of our lifetime. After months and months of toying with the idea of me leaving the workforce, we finally made the very emotional and heart-wrenching call for me to end my 13-plus career as a corporate communications/public relations professional. We felt this was the best time to provide our family with what we so desperately needed - more time at home and relief from the everyday hustle and bustle of the work-and-family balancing act that every family is all too familiar with.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Risk Taking

Here’s a picture of my granddaughter, Allie, at age 10 months sledding down a very slight grade in Atlanta during the heavy snow that covered most of the country.  Is this safe or not?  We want our children to experience life, have fun, but to what degree?  What is safe and what is not?

You may have a different idea from me. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Time's running out!

Reace and family
Watching the Super Bowl this past weekend, my best friend and I got into a conversation about “the next child.” We were discussing the realization that we are quickly approaching the age where the decision to have another child is quickly being taken away from us. It always seemed to be a vague option, hanging out there like the trip of a lifetime we aspire to take one day. Still in the realm of possibility. But the window of opportunity is quickly closing.

Neither one of us is in a rush to get pregnant again. We are both happy with our families as they are. But the questions linger. The “What Ifs?” sometimes take over our thoughts. And we know we are running out of time, assuming of course that we could still get pregnant.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What kind of parent will I be?

Chandra and Dad
As I thought about what to write my Dad in his birthday card before I mailed it off to Colorado, I felt the familiar kicks and punches from little Nandi - the little one growing inside my belly. It brought a smile to my face as I rubbed the lower portion of my abdomen and thought about everything my father has done for me, and continues to do for me to this day. But as I rubbed my stomach with Nandi moving this way and that, I paused and wondered, "What kind of mother will I be?"

I'm sure my parents asked themselves the same question before I hit the scene years ago, with emotions full of excitement, concern and love. My Dad (and Mom, too) has always been my protector, my faithful cheerleader, my role model. My parents attended every track meet, every orchestra performance - no matter the weather or the day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An Open Letter to Winter Weather

Dear Winter,

Hi. You're pretty. But no offense, but I'm getting tired of you. Call me fickle if you want, but you've really put a cramp in my style lately. I don't mind snow, really - it's nice to look at and it makes any room feel warmer when you look at it from a window, but I believe you've overstayed your welcome.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Help! I don’t feel like a mom! How infant massage helped me bond with my baby

Melinda and daughter
I was so excited for the arrival of my first born child. The nine months went by so dreadfully slow, anticipating the day I would finally hold my daughter in my arms. I had been preparing for her, praying for her, thinking of little else as I went through my days in pregnant bliss. I had all of the skills that a new mother should have. I had been to the child birth and parenting classes. I had babysat since I was 11 years old. I had worked with children for years, and even had a degree in child development! I was ready to be a mom.

Remembering the day she was born still brings tears to my eyes. My long anticipated treasure, perfectly formed and gorgeous (if I do say so myself) was finally handed to me, as my husband snapped photos.  Barely dried off, I held her on my chest and nursed her for the first time. Wow! I couldn’t believe that I was a mother!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hoarder's Heaven

My 11-year-old son has reveled this past week in what I can only describe for him as hoarders’ heaven. No school due to snow/ice + Super Bowl in Dallas + NFL Experience event = Free football cards! And more importantly, the holy grail of his penchant for collecting, FREE AUTOGRAPHS. I’ll begin with this photo to give you an understanding of our obsession with football cards:

Friday, February 4, 2011

The last summer vacation

Brendan, Brian and me at Laurel Falls in TN

Call me crazy: amid ice, snow, and some of the coldest temperatures North Texas has seen in 15 years, I am thinking about summer vacation. Just humor me for a minute.

Actually, we’ve been scheming about taking a summer vacation for about a month now. It’s possible this could be our last summer trip together as a baby-free family of three (you never know what could happen in a year) so it’s got to be a good one.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Getting through RSV and more

Seven-month-old Arley
My seven-month-old daughter is running fever and just isn't feeling well, so I take her to the doctor. To my surprise, in addition to the fever, she's got RSV, an ear infection in one ear, fluid in the other ear, and the thrush I thought we'd already treated was worse!

Boy did I feel like a bad, sad, overwhelmed mommy.

How can her sweet little 17-lb body handle all that! And how did she get so many ailments in 11 days?! (I'd taken her to the doctor almost two weeks prior and she was in pretty good shape.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Running out of time

Beginnings of a baby blanket
A few months ago, I began knitting a baby blanket. I stopped at a craft store, picked out the yarn, and began working on a blanket for this baby.

Only, things kept getting in the way. Extreme exhaustion. Really good shows on TV. Naps. Other commitments. So now, with around two months or less left, I find myself with about four inches of baby blanket, which probably won't do much good.

In a way though, this baby blanket is a metaphor for how quickly this pregnancy has gone. There have been times I felt like I'd be pregnant forever - and thus have plenty of time for this blanket, and it really does seem like just yesterday I was making a run to the drugstore for more pregnancy tests. But last week, a trip to the doctor reminded me just how quickly I will be bringing home a baby.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Are you really eating for two?

Carla Morrow, CNM
Did you know in general pregnant women only need an extra 300-350 calories a day to support the growing baby? The need for extra calories doesn’t even come into play until several months into the pregnancy so in the early days many won’t even need to up their calories. That definitely doesn’t jive with the “eating for two” mantra we’ve all grown up with.

So what’s a pregnant mom to do to sort out her nutritional plan while pregnant?

Let’s face it. Almost no one likes getting on the scale. And knowing someone else – even a medical professional – sees your number makes it even tougher. Add in pregnancy hormones and some possible guilty feelings over succumbing to last night’s craving and weight can become a sensitive topic.