Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School with Nutrient-Rich Lunches!

The lunch bell rings…what is your child eating to refuel his/her body at lunch? There are a variety of less healthy choices in the lunch room such as fried food and vending machine goodies. However, taking a few minutes to pack your child a nutrient-rich lunch could improve his/her mental acuity as well as energy at school. It’s all about what you pack!

Brown-Bag Lunch Basics:
  • Include a grain. Whole grains provide B vitamins, fiber and are a complex source of energy for kids. At lunch, this could be 100% whole wheat bread for a sandwich, whole wheat crackers/pretzels or even a whole grain cereal as a snack.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Maybe Baby: finding support

This is the continuation of Makala Pollard’s series documenting a journey through the ups and downs of infertility and trying to conceive. Follow her story through journal entries beginning last year and leading up to today. To see previous entries click here

Monday, November 22, 2010

When I left off last time I was determined to absorb all of the new terms I heard at my appointment. Here is one thing I have concluded and I would recommend to anyone going through this -- find a support group of some kind. I am lucky in that my best friend works for the clinic and has been around fertility testing and treatment for roughly nine years. I know everyone does not have this benefit, so seek out someone who has been down this road before. It lessens the freak out factor a great deal.

Monday, August 29, 2011

What’s In a Name?

There are so many names out there today. There are last names that are popular for first names, first names that are short for traditional names, and names that really aren’t names at all but have been made to be! So, how important is a name? In my opinion and I would guess many others as well, what you name your baby is the single most important decision you will make for them as a parent. 

I am currently 30 weeks pregnant with my third baby – even more, my third baby GIRL!  Each time my husband and I have fought discussed what to name the baby at length. When Rachel, my first born, was tucked snuggly away in my womb, I wanted to start talking about baby names as soon as I found out I was pregnant and then even more when I found out she was a girl.  My husband…he wanted to wait. It frustrated me to no end that he would not even talk about baby names until I was at least seven months pregnant! I looked at websites and baby books and took Myspace polls (Facebook wasn’t around yet) regarding what I should name my baby. The end result is that we had two names picked out when she was born and we named her when we saw her – Rachel Mackenzie. The other name we had chosen was Lauren Elizabeth.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Maybe Baby: what ifs

This is the continuation of Makala Pollard’s series documenting a journey through the ups and downs of infertility and trying to conceive. Follow her story through journal entries beginning last year and leading up to today. To see previous entries click here.

Monday, November 15, 2010
I'm sitting at my desk having some lovely soup from Panera Bread and trying to process everything my doctor told me this morning. This was my follow up consult about my low AMH test results. I had done a fair amount of Googling so I wasn’t shocked when she recommended aggressive treatment. But of course there was a curve ball. Isn’t there always a curve ball? I’m starting to see a pattern of the unexpected here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Proving us wrong

Transitions are hard. Sometimes they are harder for the parents than the kiddos. 

Preston, 3, and Emory, 11 months, began their WeeSchool program last week at our church. Preston has been attending WeeSchool for the past two years. He was off during the summer, and couldn’t wait to start back again. Emory has been with a wonderful private sitter since I went back to work from maternity leave. As the new “school” year began, we decided to move her into the same program as her big brother. As much as we knew that we would miss her sitter, we also knew that one drop-off and pick-up location would help tremendously. 

Josh and I mentally prepared ourselves for this big move for Emory. At “meet the teacher” I warned her teacher that she likes her bottle extra hot, she still likes to be held to go to sleep, and she is a picky eater who doesn’t like veggies. After sharing her requirements with the teacher, we held our breath and said our prayers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Somehow the summer has flown by and while we’ve had many things to do and see, one of our favorites, bike riding, has been painfully missed in our list of activities. While knee surgery has kept me from actively participating this summer, I have always enjoyed watching my husband and daughter ride together. Last Christmas, at her request, Santa brought her a bike with no training wheels. Unfortunately, Christmas day and a few days afterward were the only times she showed any signs of interest in learning how to ride her “big girl” bike. 

I’ve been told by other moms that this is okay, but I also know that for some reason my child has a healthy fear of falling off her bicycle. To help her overcome this, we have spent many evenings (before the almost historic heat wave) running beside the bicycle while balancing it for her, but to no avail. Despite the fact that she’s never taken a tumble, (Dad has literally thrown his body under the bike to catch it if it even looks like it’s going to fall) she becomes visibly tense and anxious while pedaling.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Maybe Baby: the AMH test

This is the continuation of Makala Pollard’s series documenting a journey through the ups and downs of infertility and trying to conceive. Follow her story through journal entries beginning last year and leading up to today. To see previous entries click here.

November 2, 2010
Okay, a little progress since last time. I think I had to absorb and reflect the news we got at the doctor’s office. You know, nothing ever goes as planned, which you would think I would be used to by now but I still need to process. In case you missed my last entry, they found a fibroid in my uterus and a cyst on my left ovary that needs to be removed.

I think part of the way I start to process things like this is by telling a few close friends. Something about talking about it and getting it out there makes it more real and gives me more clarity. The funny thing is how many “oh, I’m sorry” responses I got. What an odd reaction this was to me. Why are you sorry? They actually found something that needs to be corrected and to me that is a good thing. To me it is better than “everything looks fine” and nothing happening. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

The last morning

A blank sheet of paper. A quiet morning. Coffee. Cat. Spencer upstairs asleep. A morning not unlike so many mornings over the past 18 years.

But it’s the last one.

This is the last morning my son wakes up in our home as a permanent resident. In 24 hours we will be on a plane to California for his freshman year in college. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Maybe Baby: unexpected obstacles

October 25, 2010

This is the continuation of Makala Pollard’s series documenting a journey through the ups and downs of infertility and trying to conceive. Follow her story through journal entries beginning last year and leading up to today. See previous entries: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

Wow, what a Monday. We went in this morning for our evaluation and consultation at the clinic. I will say that reviewing the records was very easy since not much had changed since the last time we were there. I was definitely in a different frame of mind this time -- more relaxed about the whole thing and felt like I knew what to expect. Well, as usual that wasn’t the case!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Two if by air

Travelling is not foreign to my little one.

In fact, he took his first plane trip at 6 weeks of age.

However, a long plane trip for our little mobile, almost one-year-old is new. In a few short weeks, we will be taking Wells with us on one of our favorite family vacations. However, it takes five hours on a plane to get there.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Play Date Panic

As my daughter Lily’s third birthday approached we received a barrage of party invitations. Although it does get expensive to buy birthday gift after gift, I found the parties to be a great way to meet the parents of her preschool classmates.

After several interactions with one of the mothers, Sylvia, we exchanged contact info.  This brought forth Lily’s first invitation for a play date.  As a first-time mother I’d never really given play dates a thought. Of course we have a few friends with kids who have been over but I could not imagine dropping the center of my universe off with strangers.  Panic set in. I wasn’t sure how to respond.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Maybe Baby: trying again, with a little help

This is the continuation of Makala Pollard’s series documenting a journey through the ups and downs of infertility and trying to conceive. Follow her story through journal entries beginning last year and leading up to today. See previous entries: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Monday, October 4, 2010
First let me say thank you to all of you who sent me emails, comments and kind words of encouragement after I shared my four part series, Maybe Baby. I truly did not expect this type of response when I wrote the blog and I am very grateful to all of you.

When the Texas Health Moms project was put on my “list” at work I really felt like I wasn’t qualified to work on it. I mean, I’m a Stepmom and feel like sometimes I’m in the category of “pretend” mom or “part-time” mom and maybe I don’t have the authority to comment on official mom business. Yet, here I was with a project that was intended to reach out to moms via Facebook, Twitter, and the Blogosphere in order to create an online community.

This is where my decision to share Maybe Baby came into focus. I figured I wouldn’t have any “street cred” if I didn’t talk about something that I had lived though that was related to Mom stuff.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Road Trip

Elliot (my 5-month-old son) doesn’t like to ride in the car. And why would he? In his very short life, “car” means getting strapped tight in an uncomfortable seat, turned backwards away from Mommy and Daddy (while trapped in an incredibly hot environment), then being bounced around for several minutes. Lucky for him, up until now most of his car experiences have been of the brief variety. And even so, many times he still takes the opportunity to vocally express his displeasure.

That being said, we still thought it would be a fantastic idea to take him on a nice car ride from Plano to Houston to do the obligatory “tour de relatives.” I really want to write a blog about how when you have a kid, suddenly relatives start coming out of the woodwork, but since my relatives are the only ones that read my blog, I’ve been keeping that one on ice and just crack myself up with how funny it would be.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Where has the year gone?

What Mom hasn’t felt that as they prepare for a first birthday party?

Texas Health Moms has officially reached a year old and we wanted to take a one-day break from our usual posts to say a very heartfelt thank you to you.

We created this blog with the idea that it would be great to hear Moms swapping stories. Why not create a community of women to support each other along the journey to motherhood?

We have been overwhelmed with the responses and the growth of the numbers of our readers. This blog wouldn’t be possible without you and for your support we are truly grateful.

Because our blog is about you and your kiddos, though, we wanted to take this opportunity to ask for you to share photos of your little ones when they were 1 year old -- whether they're trying cake for the first time, making a silly face, or just being their adorable selves! Please post them on our Facebook page today and through the weekend.

Thanks for helping us celebrate!

Megan Brooks, Jennifer Erickson, Makala Pollard – Texas Health Moms founders who all work for Texas Health Resources.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dear Blankie

Dear Blankie,

I want to thank you. You have been T’s constant companion pretty much since he was born. You were the cover that kept him warm. When I first saw you, you were just part of a giant crib set with many pieces. Really, I didn’t give you much thought. You were one piece of a big puzzle.

But somehow you became T’s favorite thing. Ever. I tried replacing you with stuffed animals, rotating other blankets, but each one was greeted with enthusiasm and then quickly put away in favor of you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Present moments

We had a lot of people at the house this weekend. A LOT. My oldest son's birthday was July 20, but because of crazy-full schedules, we didn't have a chance to do his birthday party until this weekend. In many ways, that worked out great, because it was also a weekend that my parents, sister and two of my  nephews could come visit and join the festivities. With all the aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, grandparents, and even great-grandparents, we had 40+ people at the house. (Have I mentioned that we have a large family?)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hidden calorie traps

A new study found that only a measly 9 percent of Americans can accurately track daily calories. That’s a shame, since statistics show people who track calories lose twice as much weight as those who don’t. That’s because if you don’t track calories, you’re likely eating more than you think. Ever catch yourself saying: “I don’t eat very much, so why am I gaining weight?” You may find the calories are actually stacking up against you, and your waistline. Here are some reasons why, and how to kick these habits.

1: Picking and Nibbling
Some folks don’t realize they do it. A few bites of their kid’s mac and cheese, a handful of gummy bears, a piece of chocolate out of the office bowl, a few pretzels…these calories all add up. When tallied, these extra nibbles can add up to more than 1,000 calories for the day!
Instead: Think about if you’re really hungry before you grab mindlessly. If you are, portion your meals or snacks versus eating straight from the container.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sunscreen 101

I was recently with my daughter-in-law at a Frisco RoughRider baseball game.  With the practiced eye of a first grade teacher, she made the observation that not many of the kids or parents were seen to apply sunscreen, although many of the kids did seem to be sporting a hat.

This blistering hot Texas weather encouraged me to do a little search for the current recommendations for summer sun protection for kids.  According the American Academy of Pediatrics the first, and best, practice to reduce harmful sun exposure is to cover up. For example, wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a forward facing baseball cap, wear sunglasses, and choose cotton clothing. A silly hat is fun for young children while sports or school logos may appeal to older kids.  Try to avoid going outside between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. when the sun is strongest.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Babies and tweens

My stepson is very graceful. I don’t mean he dances ballet or walks a tightrope. I just mean he takes things in stride better than I’d expect an 11-year-old to do.

He’s at a tough age – beginning to take the tumble into awkward teenage-hood, showing an obvious interest in girls, getting ready for a school year with increased workload in the coming weeks – and I’m always impressed with how well he handles the toll of splitting time between our house and his Mom’s several states away throughout the year. Having divorced parents isn’t easy for any kid, yet he seems to navigate the situation so well. You’ll never hear him say “this is so unfair!” the way I think my 11-year-old self would have done in his shoes.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hit the door running

William Shakespeare's, Hamlet - "God has given you one face, and you make yourself another."

Ever get so caught up in being Mom, Daughter, Employee, etc. that you never make time for yourself?

When was the last time you left the children with a sitter... and hit the door running!

Recently, my husband and I embarked on a glorious trip.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

'Everything's So Delicious,' Says the Insatiable Baby

Remember (and if you're newly pregnant for the first time, consider this a little bit of a warning) how when you were pregnant, you had a lengthy list of things you would or wouldn't do with this baby? This baby will never sleep with me, not even a little bit. I will never make a bottle with tap water. I will never bathe with this baby. This baby will not get solids until he's at least six months old, because breast milk is the perfect food.

And then the baby doesn't sleep but 3 hours all night and you're exhausted and he's exhausted and you wake up 4 hours later with a tiny infant human laying on top of you when you were certain you were just going to stretch out on the bed. You wake up in the middle of the night and the baby is starving and there is no way you can listen to that for the five minutes it takes to warm up a bottle, so hey, look warm water comes out of taps these days. And then there's the day the baby manages to spit up all over himself and in your hair, and your husband's at work so the only logical thing you can think of is to climb into the shower and hose both of you off at the same time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Little Lingual Chameleon

When my daughter first began speaking, we had the typical concerns of every parent who was ever raised in a rural area and transplanted to the Metroplex. Since my husband grew up in Arkansas and I in Oklahoma, we knew she would definitely have a little twang, but hoped she didn’t have the struggles with the English language that we had to overcome ourselves.

Over my childhood, with a lot of concentration, I learned to meticulously nix words and phrases from my vocabulary such as “fixin’ to” and “aint”. I battled through my elementary English classes learning the dos and don’ts of our crazy language:  Exclude double negatives; Don’t end sentences with those pesky prepositions; “He and I” went to the store, not “Him and me”; “We were here” not “We was here”; “This is she” not “This is her”. The list goes on and on. The one thing I can proudly profess is that my child will never have those battles because we made it a point not to expose her to them early on (except for the occasional hometown visit).

Monday, August 1, 2011

Does separation anxiety ever get easier?

Being a working mom is tough. It is challenging to balance all the demands of work and the needs of your child.  It is even more difficult to manage the emotional roller coaster that comes with leaving your child. For the past 11 months, I think it has been harder on me than is has been on my child. Just recently, my little boy, Wells, has been dealing with terrible separation anxiety.  Everything I read says that this is normal for a 10 – 11 month old. But, does it ever get easier?