Friday, July 29, 2011

I’m a student of cloth diapering

Photo credit:
Last week my husband and I took a “Cloth Diapering 101” class. We’re going to give this method a whirl, despite the cringes and “More power to ya!” responses this decision seems to elicit from others.

I’ll be honest: money is the biggest motivator for us -- in one Mom's experience, she spent $4,000 on disposables and pull-ups for one child versus $800 on cloth diapers -- but there are plenty of great reasons to choose cloth over disposable. They’re better for the environment and they don’t expose your baby to chemicals. Supposedly (according to Moms who use them) soiled cloth diapers don’t stink as badly as soiled disposables, they help your child potty train faster, they don’t cause diaper rash, and they‘re better at preventing leaks and blowouts. Yes, the diaper washing process can be gross. But from what I’ve gathered about caring for an infant, I expect gross to become as commonplace to my routine as brushing my teeth no matter what diaper I choose. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Six Hours. Really??

Wow!  Packing for vacation with a three- year-old and a ten-month-old is quite a task!  We’ve packed for an overnight stay before, but we’ve never packed for a week in another state.  That is, until now.

Prior to having children, Josh and I would plan a trip, pack a bag, and go.  Now, we plan a trip, pack the house, load the car, second guess what we’ve packed, add a few more things, cram the bags in a little further so the door will shut, and then go.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dining Without Disaster

I recently saw news coverage of a restaurant owner in Pennsylvania who banned children younger than six from his restaurant. Apparently, he was fed up with unruly toddlers disturbing the peace of his customers who were dining sans kiddos.

As a mother of two-year-old twins who enjoys the occasional childless dinner, I could argue both sides of this issue. I’ll admit the last thing I want to do when I’m out on a rare adults-only date with my husband is sit next to the family whose toddler is wreaking havoc on the restaurant. That’s what I’m trying to escape, hence the date.

But, most of the time, I’m sitting at the table everyone is avoiding. They get one glimpse of my two toddlers and whisper to the hostess to not sit them within 10 feet of our table.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A hole

I have 8-year-old twins, and when they were younger, I think I was a little intense. Don’t most moms have those moments when you want your child to be the perfect child?  I wanted to make sure my kiddos, B and G, knew right from wrong, that they were respectful, and a swear word would not go into their ears and out of their mouths, ever. Until they started school, once they entered kindergarten, they met new friends and some of their friends were older, let’s say, first and second graders.  

First and second graders have a much larger vocabulary and I found my kiddos were bringing home words we did not say at home.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Baby Is Sleeping ... Through the Night

Knock on wood, but for the past six weeks, John has been sleeping through the night. That's right - from about 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. or so, John sleeps soundly, save for the amazing nocturnal gymnastics that can move him from one end of the crib to the other.

How did this happen? While I'm not delusional enough to think it was all Tom and I, it did take some work - and a plan. But I also know we were lucky - really, really lucky. In fact, I'm pretty sure our current blissful state of restfulness is about 80 percent luck and 20 percent us.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Finding Your Voice: What to Tell People about Your Infertility

At a certain point, well-meaning friends and family will probably start to ask about your plans to start a family. Though you can try to dodge the questions, these situations will keep coming up. You and your partner should talk about the best way to address your struggles to conceive.

In most cases, you will want to provide some information about your infertility to close family and friends. During this journey, it’s important to have a good support system. The people you care about will want to be there for you, so let them offer you love and compassion as you try to conceive.

Having a game plan will help you and your partner be prepared to handle whatever comes your way. Consider these questions:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Teething trauma

Several weeks ago, I was grocery shopping in Target with a screaming child. Not normal behavior for my 10-month old. What in the world could be wrong with him? Several different women in the store stopped and asked: "Did your child fall and hit his head?" or "Did you spank your child?"  Really? No, I did not spank my child, and, no, he did not fall and hit his head.

He was not having a normal fussy moment. He was screaming and squirming in pain. I put on my "Dr. Mom" hat and began ruling things out.  Could it be his tummy? Probably not since he has not eaten anything strange. Is it the hot Texas heat that is taking a toll on him?  No, his cheeks are cold. After ruling out many possibilities, we discovered it was his teeth. Yes, teething caused all of this. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The working mother’s dilemma

I have always been career focused. It began in college when I started my first real job with a salary. I married at 22 and my husband and I both had a goal of working hard, playing hard, and living well. Shortly into my career I began traveling for work. I was on the road three to four days and week and covered a territory of six states. Later on I changed jobs and then my husband and I built our dream home.  During the early years of our marriage we were often nagged, and even harassed, with the big question, “When are you guys having kids?” After settling into our new home the baby bug finally bit me. I was in pharmaceutical sales at the time and called on OB/GYN offices.  Being around pregnant women and newborns each day helped catapult me into motherhood.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Eating for two

I hear time and time again from other women that their favorite part of pregnancy is eating without guilt.

I have to say, I agree +100.

I have found the past five and a half months extremely liberating. That might seem like an odd word to use, as my belly continues to bulge week after week and I find it increasingly difficult to lift my heftier self off the couch/bed/floor after playing with the dog. But it’s the truth. I have made a certain wonderful peace with my body and with food that I don’t know could be accomplished without this baby growing inside of me.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The first time away

Elliot is just a shade over 4 months old and Lauren and I recently spent our first nights away from him. I was lucky enough to have won a poker tournament earlier in the year that gave me a free entry in to the World Series of Poker “main event.” Winning this entry meant I got to spend 5 days out in Las Vegas pretending to be a high roller, which is great for me, but hardly a place to take a little baby.

Getting the opportunity to play in the World Series of Poker is unquestionably a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience for someone like me. The entry fee for the World Series of Poker is a staggering $10,000; needless to say this is not something I would have been using my own money for.  Had I won the event, it would have netted me right around $9 million. Since you’re reading this blog, I’m sure you’ve deduced that the $9 million did not quite pan out this time. However, just having the opportunity to compete at that level was incredible.

Friday, July 15, 2011

From Boys to Young Men

Boys now
Let me preface this blog entry by saying our family dynamic was changed on the morning of June 15th. I received the phone call no one ever wants to receive – that my husband had been in a motorcycle accident and when I asked if he was OK he replied “no.” I can’t tell you the thoughts that raced through my head as I tried to get to the scene of the accident, but I can tell you that I did exhale just a little bit when I was able to see him and see that he was “OK”  I use the term OK loosely. Brett suffered a plateau tibia fracture and a broken sternum.  After two surgeries, two hospital stays and many follow up visits with the doctor, we are finally on the road to recovery.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wreaking Havoc

Don’t you just hate those awkward positions your kids put you in? There’s the classic “hey, he’s fat” comment to the overweight man. Or the “why can’t that lady walk?” question about the woman in the wheelchair.

As they get older the stakes get higher. There’s the baseball that breaks the neighbor’s window. Or the shove that results in the other child (who really wasn’t being very nice) needing stitches.

These situations are just not easy to handle. How much do you apologize for your child’s mistake? How much do you PAY for your child’s actions – especially if it was just an accident?

Well, I’ve got a doozy for you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Healthy eats for the grill

All this gorgeous (and warm!) weather inspires me to fire up the grill (and throw on the tank tops, flippy flops, and pull a ponytail!) No matter what you choose--meats or veggies, fruits, and even dessert--creating bold and flavorful food without a lot of added fat and calories can be achieved with your BBQ grill.

Anything grilled has a unique, smoky flavor, and not to mention that it’s one super-quick cooking method. So, forget those hot dogs and store bought beef patties and make room for yummy and deliciously healthy grill mates. I love to play around and sample different kinds of foods--from meats to vegetables, to vegetarian dishes and with the beautiful array of summer produce in my grocery store, I can’t help but add a few more servings of fruit and vegetables to my daily plate. Fruit and vegetables provide the body with lots of vitamins and minerals (especially potassium, dietary fiber, Vitamin C, & folic acid), phytochemicals and antioxidants. Compared to people who eat only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts—as part of a healthy diet—are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases. These diseases include stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and even heart disease. To find out your personal fruit and vegetable needs check out I need 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of veggies every day! Help get that extra serving with this tasty grill recipe.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The oddest places I've ever breastfed

The other day I was laughing with a couple of friends about the strange and creative places we've had to pump or breastfeed our babies. For example, I've pumped in the restroom of a movie theater, a hotel, and a restaurant; in a co-worker's office; at the house of friend of a friend of a friend, whose bridal shower I was attending; in the car (I was the passenger - not the driver - and we were travelling on a busy highway); and at the House of Blues in Dallas upstairs in the VIP room. One time I even pumped in an unoccupied interview room while I was attending a focus group session. I had been assured no one was around (it was about 9 p.m.), but the giant double-glass window was a little creepy!

On past road trips, we pulled over numerous times so I could nurse my baby. The oddest spot was when we pulled inside a stall at a manual car wash. I didn’t realize there was a video camera in the ceiling until we were almost finished. Yikes!

When you're in a public place and your little one is hungry, a Mom's gotta do what a Mom's gotta do. We asked Moms on facebook and twitter to share the oddest places they've ever pumped or breastfed, and here were the responses:

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Terrible…14 months?

Okay, you experienced Mommies out there, you can start shaking your head and chuckling now. But I really thought that the terrible twos wouldn’t hit until, well, two! Okay, I’m not really that naïve. I knew that tantrums and general “toddler-ness” (read: willfulness, “I do it myself”-ness, etc.) could start before age 2, but I did NOT expect my 14 month old to start throwing tantrums, toys, and punches just yet!

Friday, July 8, 2011

That book everyone is talking about

I have to admit, when I first read the #1 best seller about how one parent struggles to get their child to sleep, I was laughing so hard I was crying.

Because which parent has not been frustrated? I don’t know about you, but I have no illusions—my children are dear to my heart but they are not perfect. I’m not perfect. My husband is not perfect. So together, our little family is a perfect storm. I mean, how many times can you tell your child that pillows are not chew toys or that the dog really does not appreciate being carried around? That yes, I meant no when I said no and if you ask me one more time your life is about to change.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sharing some sweetness

On a hot Saturday afternoon this June, we invited our family over to celebrate Arley Rae's first birthday. The theme was Enchanted Forrest, and the plan was simple: eat cupcakes and ice cream - and don butterfly wings.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Explaining life's mysteries

With temperatures as hot as they have been, I find myself thinking about the inevitable return of icy weather. This past winter certainly produced some of the strangest weather patterns many of us have ever seen. Through it all our family tried to make the most of days when we were able take bike rides together and walk through the neighborhood to count the leaves growing back on the trees.

This all proved to be plenty fun, but it made me realize how mysterious the change in seasons can seem to little ones. There are so many new things changing right before their eyes and they are sometimes left without explanation.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Where Do You Go for Advice?

Just a couple months after finding out I was pregnant, I began dipping a toe in the waters of baby message boards. There are a plethora available - BabyCenter, The Bump, iVillage, and more.  Add in social media, where those sites also have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, and soon you can become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of advice out there.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Beating the heat with water fun? Stay safe!

Will your family be lounging poolside or enjoying the lake this fourth of July? Have fun, but always keep safety top of mind while near water to avoid tragedy.

Just yesterday the local news reported that a two-year-old boy from The Colony drowned at a pool party. Nationally, nine people drown each day, according to the USA Swimming Foundation. With plentiful lakes and many homes having pools across North Texas, the summer months can be a scary time for parents.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Nesting Stress

I’m halfway through my pregnancy, and I’ve noticed there are three things people love to ask about the most: do you know what you’re having (yes, a boy), do you crave anything weird (no, mostly Chipotle burritos) and have you started buying things for the baby yet (nope, I’m too scared).

I’m having mixed feelings during this nesting process. While I’m excited about preparing for my little man, I’m also feeling a bit overwhelmed by it.  It’s just…all the bouncers and boppies and bassinets, the doodads and diaper genies. All the things I need and all the things I don’t even know I need. It really kind of terrifies me.