Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Leap Day birthday

Lamar and Larvetta Brown with baby Lori
Larvetta Brown’s baby girl was due on March 9, though her husband Lamar predicted she’d enter the world on Leap Day.

“I really didn’t want her to have a Leap Day birthday,” Larvetta said. “I was hoping for either February 28 or March 1!”

But baby Lori Renee Brown was born at 1:03 this morning at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, weighing 7 pounds, 15.3 ounces, and measuring 19 inches long. No matter what day she arrived, the important thing is that she’s happy and healthy, Larvetta said.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Breastfeeding and weight loss

Although you have had your baby, your nutritional needs have not really changed as long as you are breastfeeding.  You will need about an additional 500 calories more per day while you are breastfeeding.

During pregnancy you put on a few pounds of fat stores that you will burn while breastfeeding, just another advantage of breastfeeding.  Despite what you eat you will make milk, however if you do not eat a balanced diet you may find yourself becoming very fatigued.  The baby will get what he needs and you will be the one to suffer. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cat in the crib

Coco the Cat knew there was something special about Ava's nursery almost from the moment I started decorating it. Problem is, until we brought Ava home, Coco thought it was her room. Imagine her shock and dismay when we brought home a six-pound baby and subsequently locked Coco out of "her" beautiful little kingdom.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Vacation Planning

This year, my husband has a milestone birthday. It’s the type of milestone birthday where some people buy little, red sports cars or other large, rather silly purchases. Luckily, my husband isn't requesting sports cars or other frivolities. Know what he wants for his milestone birthday? A family vacation to his beloved Colorado. Sign me up!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Be careful what you do

“Be careful what you say and do; your children are watching you!”

I have heard this phrase many times, but leave it to my 17 month old to prove it true.

My husband, Josh, was driving one day and was sitting at a stop sign patiently waiting his turn.  He “kindly” hollered, “Go! Go!” to the person who should be going through the stop sign.  Emory, our little back seat driver, also hollered, “Go!” with as much emphasis as Daddy.  We burst out laughing as we realized that little ears hear so much and can repeat what is said at a very early age.  I was just glad Josh didn’t say, “Go, idiot!”

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Discipline comes in many forms

On the way to work one morning I was listening to a popular morning DJ discuss the pros and cons of spanking. This topic ends up being very controversial when you really start delving into it. Some parents are big believers that if you "spare the rod, you spoil the child" while others can't even imagine raising a hand to their child.

Rather than look at the argument from the perspective of pro- or anti-spanking, I want to pose another question: What's working?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The End of “Actually”

My daughter turned eight years old last month and along with her new age came this new sense of omniscient wisdom.

As her mother, I have always encouraged her to believe in herself and exercise her self-confidence, but never thought my words would be used against me. The battle of the wills, as of lately, is proving to be more than my patience can handle.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Because my wife and I both work full time, our 11-month-old son spends many of his waking hours in the care of others. We had never formally discussed how we would handle the inevitable developmental milestones that were sure to occur while we were toiling away at work.

Several weeks ago my wife had picked up Elliot from school and was entering our house loaded down with him, all the accompanying baby paraphernalia as well as some work she’d brought home. Right after crossing the threshold, she realized she’d clearly had too much in her hands, and in an effort to avoid a catastrophic fall, she lowered Elliot to the ground while simultaneously stumbling to our dining room table to set the rest of her items down before they all went flying.  It took her a second to notice that Elliot was just standing there, right where she put him, on his own two feet, looking at her.  This was a huge deal! He’d pulled himself up plenty but never stood unassisted. She quickly called me to tell me the good news. She informed me that she thinks he is about to start trying to walk.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Go wild with oats

Can your whole family benefit from National Heart Month?  Yes!  Heart Health is not just for adults; it is actually important that you teach your young children how to eat healthy at a young age.  Eating heart healthy, nutrient-rich foods will help keep your family healthy, in the proper weight range and hopefully reduce their risk for disease later in life.

So this February, go wild with oats!  Oats are a whole grain rich in soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber can improve your overall health in a variety of ways:
Fiber slows down digestion and thus gets you full faster and keeps you full longer
Eating foods rich in fiber keep blood sugar and energy levels stable over the course of the day
Fiber helps lower total cholesterol by binding to fiber and excreting out the body with it

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Finding Childcare

Makala's new addition, Shelby Faith Pollard
With our baby girl on the way in March, I began to search out childcare options in late October/early November.  To say this was an interesting exercise is a gross understatement. I joined a website that specialized in finding providers and posted the “job” to see what type of applicants I would get.  Oh. My. Word.

There were many, many 17 and 18-year-olds who applied.  I’m sure some of them would have been fine, but I had clearly stated on the job posting what my age range was and that was a little too young for my comfort level.  I even had one email/apply and tell me she was looking to “get” two babies and was pregnant with her own.  Delete!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Battling ear infections

I am a working mother. This means that during my work day my children attend a daycare “or school” in our case. My son Logan has been attending daycare since 3 months of age and since that day, he has been sick. Now I will say that my children attend an extremely nice and clean childcare center. Due to their curriculum, it is considered a school and not a daycare but no matter what you call it, my kids are in the confines of small rooms with other children and they are exposed to germs and illness.

My daughter started daycare at 6 months of age and at that point began getting sick. After taking about 9 different antibiotics and never really healing from ear infections; she had a Myringotomy (ear tube surgery.) Once Lily had ear tube surgery, she was a new child. No more ear infections and really little to no illnesses.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Putting Our Arts into Valentines

In the past couple of months, I suddenly realized that John and I could start adding more to our daily routine of books and playing outside and singing and dancing. And so we began taking tentative steps to add painting and coloring in our repertoire.

And I'll be honest, the mess was what made me hesitate at first. Will he eat the paint? Will he end up with it in his hair and all over his clothes? Our first foray into finger painting was a piece of cardstock stuck in a Ziplock bag, with some gel food coloring added in. I shut the bag, and handed the whole thing over to him. He had fun, and we had a masterpiece.

But then I realized that if I'm supervising him, there's really no way he'll eat paint, even if he wanted to. And babies? Well, they wash. So do clothes. So does hair.

In other words, I relaxed a little bit and decided that this would not be the first time John did something that had the potential to earn him a midday bath. The next time we went to the store, we picked up some washable, non-toxic finger paint, and some really neat crayon holders perfect for the palm gripping toddlers do when they color.

All set with supplies, I then looked around for something that would protect his clothes. Turns out, the answer was in Daddy's old t-shirt pile, and Mommy's bathroom drawer. An old t-shirt, with an alligator clip at the back of the shirt's neck to gather up excess material did the trick perfectly. I put John in his high chair, and added globs of paint to a piece of cardstock (which holds up better to little hands who LOVE to crumple up paper), and my little artist took off, running his fingers through the paint. He made three masterpieces that day.

So for Valentine's Day, we decided to make some cards. We loaded up cardstock with paint in shades of pink, purple and red, and John began creating the art we'd need for our cards. When he was done, we let the work dry, and then I did my part - cutting hearts out of the painted paper, and affixing them to the front of another piece of cardstock folded in half. On the inside,  I wrote, "Happy Valentine's Day," and then John signed his name (with some help, of course!)

It was such an easy and fun two-day project that I can see us doing more later - because who wouldn't love a card made by two tiny hands covered in paint?

Bethany Erickson is the wife of Texas Health Resources web editor Tom Erickson and Mom to a growing boy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Saying I love you

Since early on in our dating days my husband and I have tried to find fun ways to say I love you.

I would imagine it probably started with him drawing off “Annie Hall” and saying he “lurves me” in the early dating stages.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Ten ways with tilapia

Nothing is better than the firm texture and mild flavor of tilapia for a variety of cooking methods. Whether pan-fried, broiled, or baked, wrapped in a tortilla or with a sauce (savory AND sweet!), tilapia has the ability to absorb the flavors of spicy marinades, creamy sauces, and even the most subtle of seasonings.

Plus, a 6-ounce fillet only has about 125 calories and about 1 gram of fat -- nice!  So, I came up with 10 easy ways to prepare tilapia, giving you no excuse for getting at least one of the recommended two servings of fish each week. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Are those teeth?!

Our baby girl has always had a hearty appetite, and we braced ourselves for the possibility of that appetite increasing even more once she had a few teeth. Well, a few weeks ago we noticed something different about her smile – two tiny, adorable teeth at the bottom of her mouth!

At almost nine months, she’s a little comedian, and she doesn’t even know it. When she eats, she looks like a little old woman gumming her food.  And you’d think she was a contestant in a food race, with her chubby cheeks working overtime.  As soon as she swallows, she’s ready for more. How do we know? She opens her mouth with her tongue hanging down past her lower lip, of course! But she’ll let us know when she’s full, too. When Nandi starts spitting out her food and flashing us a goofy grin, we know she’s had enough.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Empty Nest Syndrome

I’m a Single Mom!

How many times have we heard that term used? Raising your children with minimal support is difficult whether you’re a single mom or dad. I was a single mom working as a registered nurse and each day was challenging. Some days it was overwhelming trying to juggle my work schedule with car pool, after school activities, homework assignment, and projects. The list can go on and on. Finding down time for yourself was not easy back then.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Baby Shower Fun

My baby shower was the last Saturday in January and I am pretty sure there is no way to sum up the blessings we received on that day but I’ll try.  The men vacated the premises and there was a slow build of females that began to arrive at our house.  By the time we really got the party started there were about 25 women and five kiddos in the place.  You can imagine the noise level of that many women in one spot- it was swimmin’ in women as my pal Jeanine would say!

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Kid Being a Kid

My son is an only child.  With that being said, he spends most of his time, while out of school, around adults.  I have noticed that this tends to make him seem more mature, and he tends not to use his imagination as much.

I have tried to be the “cool” mom and suggest certain fun, imaginative things, but he would rather shoot hoops, or play his PSP, or help me cook.  Don’t get me wrong, I love when he helps me cook (it actually gets done a lot faster!), but I start thinking back to when I was a kid and I needed to use my imagination to play.  My sister is 6 years older than me, so she wasn’t interested in playing with mud; she had people to talk to on the phone!  My parents didn’t entertain me.  Most weekends were spent either playing outside with the neighborhood kids, or acting out a play in the living room using my mom’s clothes as the wardrobe.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Survivor – Times Two

I am a Mother of four teenagers.  I have two biological daughters, Ashleigh (20) and Adyson (13).  I also have a step-son, Whitt (19), and a step-daughter, Lizzie (13).  All four children live with my husband and me.  My husband, Matt, is a respected 20-year veteran of a local police department.  I am a teacher of Pre-Kindergarten five-year-olds.  I, like most Mothers/wives, have many “jobs” on a daily basis – wife, Mom, daughter, maid, chef, taxi driver, laundress, educator, care-taker, cheerleader, and many other jobs.  To say the least, I am very busy.

Have you ever wondered what your purpose is in life?  What God has planned for you?  I know, without a doubt, that God has plans for me in this life.  I have survived not one, but two major medical scares in my adulthood.  I survived so I could use my experience to educate others about heart disease in women.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

This year I resolve to save more money. Really.

It isn’t until the first time I saw a significant savings in my grocery bill that I realized the true value of coupons. When you save a dollar here and a 50 cents there, it just doesn’t seem worth it.

Then I met my hero. Whose name I don’t know, by the way. She was shopping in the same aisle as I was and had the phenomenal notebook with coupons lined up in baseball trading card holders. I stopped her and had to ask her about her system. She gave me some tips and shared how much she had saved on her last trip to Tom Thumb. I went home and tried it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Easing into cloth diapering

Jake in his cloth diaper.
Days into new motherhood, I felt chaotic, stressed, sleep deprived, and emotionally wrecked from putting so much pressure on myself to make breastfeeding work out the way I’d intended.

I was sort of having a breakdown when my eyes wandered to elaborate stash of cloth diapers we’d purchased while I was still pregnant, bright-eyed, and in love with the idea of saving money/helping the environment/adorning baby’s bottom with cute prints. And I thought daggers at my ambitious crazy former preggo self.

Cloth diapers?!?!? What in the world was I thinking? What made me feel like I could pull of such a thing? Clueless fool!