Thursday, June 30, 2011

This 4th of July, Burst Your Way into Good Nutrition!

With summer upon us, weekends will start to fill up with picnics in the park, outdoor parties, and backyard BBQs. These are great social events for friends and family, but they can be not-so-great on your nutrition. To top the list of picnics and BBQs, the 4th of July is known for its high-fat, high-calorie foods such as fried chicken, hot dogs, potato salad, and baked goods. With some simple substitutions and easy tips, summer outdoor eating can be part of a healthy and nutritious diet!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


At the end of May, I had my first extended sleep-away from Sam (Dreams Come True). Scoff, if you will, that it took me over a year (13 months, actually) to take a vacation without him, or, if you must, shake your head and tut-tut that he was ONLY 13 months and I was leaving him for 3 whole days. (In the interest of full disclosure, this was not my first overnight away from Sam – Daddy and I spent a night away from home the night before we ran the Dallas Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon, but that was barely 24 hours away from my baby, all told. So yes, this trip was the first REAL trip away from my Sammo.)

I was prepared to cry and to miss him terribly the whole time. And you know what? That didn’t happen. Of course I missed him. It was tough when Sam and Bryan dropped me off at the airport and Sam started crying. I know that he really was crying because it was morning nap time (he just recently gave those up) and the car had stopped moving. Still, it’s never fun to leave your crying baby. Bryan assured me he’d be fine as soon as the car was moving, and I had a bag to check and security to get through.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kegel Exercises

Everyone may benefit from Kegel exercises, but women, particularly women who have carried and borne children, stand to reap particular benefits. One terrific thing about Kegel exercises is that they may be done anywhere and anytime and no one will know you are doing them! However, the best thing about Kegel exercises is that they are genuinely effective in improving pelvic floor function and integrity.

Also called pelvic floor exercises, these exercises are named after Dr Arnold Kegel (pronounced “kay-gel”) and consist of alternately contracting and relaxing the “hammock” of muscles that support and hold the pelvic organs in place. These muscles, named the Pubococcygeous muscles, are the only supportive structure for the bladder, uterus, vagina and bowel. The muscles have now become known by many as the “Kegel” muscles.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Keeping the fun in summer

Summertime can be fast-paced. Especially when you have children. Lately, we haven’t seen much of our pre-teen daughter. She’s eleven and constantly moving. Even as a toddler she loved to be on the go. We could be walking out of Six Flags with ice cream in our hands and she’d be asking, “What are we doing next?”

This summer is no exception. The first week out of school, she went to a church camp in East Texas where they have climbing, boating, games, slides … tons of fun. It’s hard to see her go as soon as school is out, but my husband and I sent her with notes of love and encouragement to open each day, and even emailed her via the camp’s website.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wishing more for boy or girl?

Have you ever just wished and hoped that you would have a girl?  Those frilly little dresses and giant hairbows are so much fun! What about a bouncing baby boy? They are supposed to be Mommy’s boys, right? When you have an expectation and dream of having one or the other, it is somewhat disappointing when you find out that your expectation is actually not reality.

This is my third pregnancy. I wanted a little girl so bad when I was pregnant the first time and that is what I got! I was actually surprised and had psyched myself up for a boy because that was my “feeling.” I loved the pink and all of the “girly” things. My Rachel was perfect and I could not have been happier with the boy/girl situation.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

T-Ball and 3 year olds

My husband and I decided this spring to put our three-year-old son, Preston, in T-ball.  Now, we knew that chasing butterflies and drawing in the dirt were to be expected, but we wanted him to learn the fun of sports, make new friends and get a little exercise.

Let me pause while you conjure up the mental picture of more than a dozen three or four year olds trying to stay focused on the game instead of the city park next door.

The season got off to quite the start.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Focus on Stuttering

Have you wondered what the difference is between stumbling on a word and stuttering is? 

Stuttering occurs when a person knows what he or she wants to say but is unable to say it because of blocks or involuntary repetitions of words and sounds.  These events are most often accompanied by anxiety.

Between 1.4% of children two to ten years of age and from .4% to .8% of adults experience stuttering.  The spontaneous recovery rate in children is from 50% to 75% and in adults is less than 25%. Therapy focuses on a variety of treatments from modification of the dysfluencies, to altering speech patterns through various feedback strategies (auditory and visual). 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bad parenting decision #121

The time had come, as it does in every good puppy-parent’s life, to take our dog to the vet to be “fixed.” A few weeks prior, I hinted to my daughter that Dasher would soon need a procedure that would help him want to stay close to home. I figured that might be the best explanation for a four-year-old, not ready to explain that puppies get frisky and make more puppies, who can’t find homes and have to be euthanized.

My daughter had been to the vet before, and took obvious pride in acting as caregiver, never seeming concerned herself, but rather playing the comforter to her little puppy. So the night before taking him for his procedure, I decided to give her a little more information. Not on the “whys” so much as the “what to expect,” concerned that it would be too shocking for her to come home without any warning to find her puppy lethargic, stitched and wearing a cone.

Thus the bad decision.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Back to reality

The first three months of parenthood have flown by. We’ve been blessed to have an essentially “perfect” little boy. He sleeps all though the night (usually 10 hours straight), hardly ever cries and generally seems to be about the happiest person in our house.

Lauren was able to take a full 12 weeks off from work for maternity leave, and somewhere in all the fun times we forgot what a drastic “routine” change we were about to endure when she went back to work.

Before Elliot arrived, we were occasionally teased by friends with the old classic: “Just wait till you have kids.” We’d usually get that feedback when inviting people to spontaneous nights out in the middle of the week or missing a phone call at noon on a Saturday because we were still asleep. I used to laugh it off; now I know exactly what they were talking about!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A typical day with my 3 year old

I awake each morning with the notion that all the stars will align and my beautiful family of four will start and end the day with a full belly, a happy heart and something new learned.

But more often than not my sweet 3 year old decides to throw an egg at my notion of “perfection!”

Olivia has been working diligently at her potty training.  She always let’s my husband, myself, sissy, a neighbor, and/or a random clerk at the grocery store know when it’s time to go potty!  Which we all celebrate with a high five and “you did it” pee pee dance (something to see). 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Food Faux Pas!

At our nine month appointment, our doctor asked us "Is Wells eating finger food and is he holding his own bottle?" The answer was "No and No."

I did not think anything about it. He is only nine months old and has only two teeth. Surely he could not be ready to eat finger foods yet. Could he? He loves his baby food, but surely he is not ready for "solid" solid food. And then the "bad mom" syndrome started to kick in. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dreams Come True

I spent Memorial Day weekend in New York City with my mom and sister. This trip, however, was not just a fabulous girls' trip and quality time with two of my favorite people in the whole world. It was also the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

My sister is a musician. She's an amazingly talented flutist, pianist, and piccoloist. She's also an incredibly talented and devoted teacher. She teaches at San Jacinto College (South Campus), and their community choir was selected to participate in the MidAmerica Productions Choral Spotlight Series at CARNEGIE HALL. Lynne was asked to join them and accompany them on stage. My sister played Carnegie Hall. Let me repeat that for emphasis: My. SISTER. Played. CARNEGIE. HALL. (flawlessly, I might add). I'm incredibly proud of her—really, people are probably tired of hearing about it –and always have been.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Don’t Dial out for Dinner

School is out. Summer is in full swing. And that means long days by the pool or at the park and less time in the kitchen for family meals.  Not to mention it seems easier to keep the kitchen cool without those stove burners boiling when it’s 100 degrees outside. 

So, the dinner bells are ringing, and it seems like ordering pizza is the easiest way of getting dinner on the table in a snap.  Aside from the fact that one can easily consume more than a day's worth of sodium in just two slices, those two slices can increase your caloric bank by 700 calories or more - empty calories to be exact. Making pizza nutritious is all about proportion. It is possible to eat pizza without undoing your hard work at a healthy diet. The best way to enjoy a healthy pizza is to make it yourself, since YOU can better control the ingredients.

Monday, June 13, 2011

No crib in the nursery?

example of the Montessori movement mat area
My nursery will probably be crib-less.

I can’t even believe I’m actually considering this. Especially since only two weekends ago I stood in a baby store with my husband Brian and drooled over an expensive, gorgeous nursery furniture set, crib included.

“You realize that none of this is Montessori, right?” he said to me in the store, squashing my dreams. This took me from zero to frustrated instantly, since I was still feeling skeptical of the Montessori nursery setup he’d been advocating for months.

Friday, June 10, 2011

It takes a village

T. had an extra week off between his last day of school and the day camp started. My mother volunteered to help out during the week and my brother was sweet enough to agree to take my son to Six Flags one of those days. As I got things ready for my son to have a fun day with my brother, I couldn’t help but think about how lucky we are to have family close by and eager to be a part of my kids’ lives.

My mother, father, brothers and a myriad of aunts, uncles and cousins are within a 20-mile radius where I live, many closer than 10. It’s easy to take extended family for granted when you see them regularly. But as an adult, I’ve really come to appreciate the benefits of having them a few minutes away.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Witness to Wonder

To watch a child grow is an awesome experience, affirming the magnificence and creativity of our Maker. From the first little kick in the belly to the jumping of a preschooler, or the first “MaMa” to the first sentence, the progress you witness is exciting, amazing and inspiring.

I recently gave my daughter herself such an experience on a smaller scale. I wrapped a box that anyone guessing would have thought was empty. But inside was a “Butterfly Bungalow” – a little butterfly house made of nylon and netting. The exciting part of the gift, however, was outside the box. I had already ordered the live larvae, which arrived in a little cup with built-in food.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My brain cells are shrinking

My brain cells are apparently shrinking. You see, I am the mother of a pre-teen – an eleven-almost-twelve year old. All you moms out there with your fun and enthusiastic eight- and nine-year-old boys enjoy. Admit it. You’ve been coasting since they were about four. You have all the answers, you are easily loved, the thought of you being any kind of embarrassment never even crosses their mind.

Well get ready.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What do you really need?

When you are a new expecting mom it is really hard to know what is necessary and what is just not worth the money.  I remember when I was pregnant with my first child I thought I had to have ever single piece of baby gear in the Babies R Us catalog.  I quickly found out after my daughter was born that many of those things are not all they are cracked up to be. 

There are many different things that are in the category of “baby gear.”  These are your swings, bouncy seats, car seats, etc.  Obviously you have to have a car seat but we also found that there were some more things that we HAD to have!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Sibling Bond

“You’re not my friend, Mommy,” Preston said one night as he was getting ready for bed.  “I’m not?!” I asked, flabbergasted that my three-year old would say such.  “No, you’re daddy’s friend,” he explained.  “You’re right, Preston.  Daddy is my best friend,” I said, feeling better about the direction of the conversation.  “And Emory is my best friend.”  My heart smiled. 

I’ve been told many times how fun it is to see your children relate to one another and become friends.  However, I have to admit that I didn’t expect it so soon.  Emory is eight months old, and she lights up as soon as she sees her big brother enter the room.  Preston makes a silly noise, and she giggles.  He smells her feet, and she thinks it’s funny. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Saying goodbye to breastfeeding

My daughter turns one year old on June 17, and I cannot believe how fast time has flown! What’s even more crazy to me is that I will soon be finished breastfeeding – for the rest of my life. (We are not planning to have any more children.)

Breastfeeding is truly a rewarding, beneficial-for-baby-and-mom experience. In fact, the pros of breastfeeding are numerous (as you can read here). I admit, it can be challenging at times – especially in the beginning (when latching on can be an obstacle) or if you’re a working mom and you “live or die” by your pump. (I definitely won’t miss touting my inconspicuous, big, black bag around daily!) But I will significantly miss our bonding time.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

No more food pyramid?

The shape of healthy eating is about to change for you and your family. Federal health officials are tossing out the food pyramid and replacing it with the plate!

First introduced in1992, the food guide pyramid has been a symbol of eating right for the last two decades. It’s replacement in 2005 by "MyPyramid” was a less than optimal change with many complaints that it was just too confusing. As a registered dietitian and educator of healthy eating and nutrition, I am welcoming this update, happily saying goodbye to the old pyramid and particularly excited about this new-found idea of the plate. What better way to symbolize healthy eating? Starting with something familiar to the public eye -- everyone, of all age range, can recognize a plate, right?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Kind Word Goes a Long Way

A few weeks ago, my husband, John and I had to take a quick and necessary trip to Atlanta. I say necessary, because trust me, if we could have avoided going, we would've. Not that I don't love Atlanta, but the thought of traveling by air with a baby and all his necessary stuff gave me a tired head, straight up.

But there we were anyway, packed up and ready to check our baggage for John's first airplane ride. Unfortunately for us, we discovered (even after checking several times online) that our flight had been canceled, because of a massive storm system that rolled in. So after arriving early for our now-canceled 7:30 p.m. flight, we found ourselves wandering the airport for another six hours until our new flight boarded - at 11 p.m.