Friday, March 30, 2012

Styling a Celebrity for Vacation

Recently, my family and I took a cruise vacation together. Planning has always been easy for me and my husband, but, as many of you moms know, adding a strong-willed child to the mix can turn things completely topsy-turvy! 

All I could think about was how relaxing this trip was going to be. I planned for an easy no-fuss wardrobe. So, I packed our bags with a few swim suits, cover ups, shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops…done! My daughter, however, found this unacceptable.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How to Have a Successful Wedding with Three Almost-2-year-olds Included

Earlier this month, a dear friend of mine married the love of her life. Really, it's rare to see two people who truly love one another for who they really are. I was honored to be one of her bridesmaids.

I did have one tiny smidge of apprehension, though. She asked for Sam to be in the wedding, also. He was one of three almost-2-year-olds in the wedding. The flower girl, the daughter of the Matron of Honor (and one of my BFFs) is a week older than Sam, and the other ring bearer, the son of another bridesmaid, is about a week younger than Sam. While all three chidren are sweet, loving children, they are also very much...well, nearly TWO! The other moms and I worried to each other (but never to the bride) about how they'd do.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Joys and Pitfalls of Raising a Teenager

So I must admit that turning 30 did not bother me a bit; however, when my first born baby boy turned 13 last month, I suddenly felt much older. This hit me harder then when he actually started junior high this past August. It seems like just yesterday when the doctor handed him to be and said “It’s a boy!”

This change from child to young man is definitely an experience. My son has a close knit group of 4 friends who all started kindergarten together. They have remained close friends since they were 5. I have watched most of them grow taller and start to build muscle in their arms. We have laughed as their voices have changed at different times and some taking longer than others to grow out of the squeaks. It is still startling sometimes to call home and have to pause for a moment to figure out if I am talking to my son or my husband.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Healthy Mom or Crazy Mom?

Sometimes I wonder if one Mom’s “healthy lifestyle” could be perceived as crazy...

Healthy Mom or Crazy Mom? You decide.

Healthy or Crazy:
To squeeze in a workout, I wake up at 4:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. And I take the stairs whenever possible – no matter how high my destination or what shoes I’m wearing.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Amateur photography

Something about Ava’s rosy cheeks, tiny feet, and chubby little wrists make me wish I was a professional photographer.  I find myself toting Ava and a blanket into the backyard rather frequently for “photo sessions” – none of which produce very good pictures.

In talking to other moms, I am gathering that this is a relatively common phenomenon, and one that compels some new moms to take photography classes and sometimes even launch new careers as photographers. I haven’t gone so far as to take a class or quit my day job, but I will say that the “Camera Roll” on my iPhone is embarrassingly full, and I have done my share of adding to the billions of baby and kid photos strewn across Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and the like (sorry, Facebook friends).

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pump Devotion

I never planned to exclusively pump breast milk. In fact, it really upset me in the beginning that I ended up going this route. But if there’s one thing parenthood will teach you, it’s that best-laid plans often go awry.

At first I was determined to do this for a year. But after a couple of months of feeling chained to a strict 2 – 3 hour schedule, waking nightly at 2 a.m. bleary-eyed to pump, washing bottles and pump parts until my hands bled, and feeling like my life revolved around breast milk, I knew there was no way I’d make it past six months. This was hard work, and very inconvenient! If life would start to get in the way of pumping, I promised myself to let it go for my own sanity and not beat myself up about it. I’d do it for as long as it was feasible and then I’d go with the flow, letting it naturally ebb and switching to formula.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

For Working Mothers

Going back to work from maternity leave was quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, twice.  After spending twelve weeks bonding with my newborn, how could I hand my child over to a sitter to do the job I really wanted to do?! 

I knew before I had my first child that I would be going back to work.  I knew it would be difficult, but I truly didn’t realize how difficult until the time came.  I wasn’t ready for all of the emotions and questions that came with going back to work:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Party fit for a princess

If you ask me, birthdays are a big deal. Until I had kids, my birthday was my favorite day. Now my favorite day is celebrating and reminiscing about the day of my children’s birth.  Since Lily was born each year has been celebrated with elaborate parties. I laugh at myself when I think about her first birthday party. At age one I hosted the event at a bounce house place and invited all of our family and close friends. Her theme was hearts and her cupcakes looked like ice-cream cones with icing whipped way high in pink and white.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Poison Prevention

Spring is officially here and for many that means spring cleaning. One aspect of spring cleaning you may not think of immediately though is poison prevention.  This is a great time to check the household medicines, cleaners, and chemicals to learn the value of poison prevention.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services along with the American Association of Poison Control Centers offer several tips that will help to ensure a safe home environment for everyone.

Monday, March 19, 2012

One year down

One thing’s for sure when you have a new baby at home, just when you think you’ve got settled in to a good routine, something else changes. Elliot celebrated his 1st birthday a couple of weeks ago, and I have to admit it caused me to get a little nostalgic for those good old days of 6 months ago.

I remember those days well. When I would put him in a swing or a rocker and he’d stay right there. When I laid him on the floor and he’d lie there, mesmerized by the ceiling fan instead of trying to pull every book, video game and DVD off the nearest shelf. When the only food option was a bottle and he was good with that. It would never end up thrown on the floor, spit out in disgust or smashed with his hands.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A father, a son and a college basketball tournament

For many college basketball fans, "March Madness" (known better to us purists as the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament) brings memories of great players, shining moments, and school pride. Especially when your alma mater is one of seven with three or more NCAA Tournament titles.

But this year - and for the rest of my life - it also brings memories of my son's birth. And it's something I hope we'll always share.

John will be 1 on Tuesday, and we're excited about celebrating with him, even if he has no idea what a birthday is. A year ago, we had no idea he'd be a "Bracket Buster."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Safe swimming

Wow, hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful weather.  So nice that we'll soon be thinking about swimming - or at least the kids will.

I was at the YMCA at Russell Creek over the weekend.  It's a great place to pick up pertinent information.  As I waited for my husband I picked up a flyer about safe swimming.  This is a focus for the Y.  They provide swimming lessons in many low-income apartment complex pools.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children ages 1 to 4.  That fact is amazing!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mommy Memories

I’ve only been a Mom for 8 years.  I have boy/girl twins and I still feel very, very new to the role.

For example, I cannot believe it is already March. Can you believe only two more months and it will be time for summer break? I just sent them to third grade. Does the time really go this fast? Pretty soon, I will be in my ninth year of mothering, but sometimes, I still yearn for the time of my kiddos’ firsts.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Everyday Healthy Recipe Substitutions

Whipping up healthy recipes may be easier than you think. You can make simple ingredient substitutions to create healthy recipes that don't sacrifice taste and enjoyment.

To create healthy recipes, first look at what's on hand in your own pantry. You may have healthier ingredients available and not realize it. If you don't have the ingredients on hand to create healthy recipes, just make a shopping list for the next time you hit the store.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Catching some ZZZsss

Daylight saving time is here and my sleep cycle is going to be thrown off again. But then again, my sleep cycle hasn’t been the same since my children were born. This time I have a plan.

Before pregnancy, I could sleep through anything. Throughout pregnancy, it was harder and harder to get a good night’s sleep. Once T. was born, sleep was elusive and I was sensitive to every little sound he made. I started a full-time job when he was nine-months old, making a good night’s sleep necessary. But it was elusive, even when T. slept through the night.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I know I've posted before about how overwhelming the boys' sports schedules can get. This weekend was a DOOZIE. We had end-of-season basketball playoffs for both boys (granted, Caleb's was a one-game playoff, but still!), and Jacob's baseball team had a pre-season the Dallas area. So, we had the potential for four basketball games, and a minimum of three baseball games. In one weekend. I admit, I wasn't exactly looking forward to the weekend.

But something amazing happened. I was reminded what I love about the boys playing sports.

Friday night, in a really intense game (though the Tigers were up by quite a bit, it was still very intense), one of Jacob's teammates – the Tigers' leading scorer and a leader on the team, not to mention just an all-around great kid fell. He fell HARD. He fell so hard that he broke his forearm COMPLETELY in two. (Okay, bear with me here, the broken arm is NOT what I love about sports; it is, of course, a great fear I have about sports.) I didn't see the fall because Sam was tap dancing on the stands, but I heard the gasp from the crowd, and turned in time to see him stand back up (not sure how he did that - adrenaline, maybe?) see his arm dangling as if it had a second elbow, and let out a horrific, haunting scream. Of course the game was stopped and he was rushed off to the emergency room. The Tigers went on to win the game, but it was a very subdued win.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Keeping things out of her mouth and hair on her head

As I sat down to write my monthly blog, I immediately thought of two things – how my daughter enjoys cramming things into her mouth and my constant struggle to keep her hair looking presentable. I know those are two varying topics, but you’ll soon see why they go hand in hand.

She never hesitates to put any and everything into her mouth.  As soon as she wakes up, she stuffs her blanket, her hand, or both into her mouth. This stuffing of the mouth is done in between her baby talk, or until she gets restless and cries for someone to pick her up and feed her.  Of course the cycle of putting something into her mouth begins again; this time with food – and that, more than anything else going into her mouth, makes her the most happiest.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sleep tips to help you "spring" forward

Daylight saving time can be a welcomed time of year giving more daylight hours or a dreaded time of year stealing one hour from the night.  And it’s coming up soon. Sunday we will spring forward an hour.

Whatever perspective taken, most people still struggle with adjusting their sleep schedules to daylight saving time.  The end result is more days of being exhausted due to lack of sleep or maybe it’s the lack of hours to sleep.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cooking with Bacon

A 'bacon explosion' seems to be the best way to put it.

Bacon recipes are sweeping the web, and not to mention the slew of bacon inspired products:  bacon ice cream, bacon candy, bacon hot sauce, bacon salt, bacon gum.  I almost spit my water out all over my monitor when I read about the bacon fragrance spray.  Really?  Commonly, fast-food chains boast their double bacon burgers, and restaurants are stuffing, topping, and wrapping chicken, steaks, and seafood in bacon.  OH- and (not-so-commonly) those professional chocolate making people (chocolatiers is the correct term, I believe) are sprinkling bacon bits in chocolate bars like they are toffee or nuts. This is designed to encourage the sweet and savory combo of flavors that seems to work so well.  If your response to the sweet and savory comment is 'EW,’ did you ever dredge your bacon or sausage in your waffle syrup remains?  Not so 'ew', now is it?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Traveling with a Carsick Child

We found out early on that our child experiences motion sickness.  This was not an enjoyable lesson, and causes many nightmares whenever I think of it.  We were able to get this under control, and I’ll tell you how to make yourself and your child prepared ahead of time.

We reside in the DFW area, but my family still lives in San Antonio.  We get down there as much as we can, but that entails a 5 (if traffic is really bad 6) hour drive.  We have flown down several times, but we run into the same issue even though the flight is only 45 minutes.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Dancer Mobile

The Dancer Mobile is a classic Montessori mobile for babies age three months and older. It helps baby work on depth perception and dynamic visual focusing skills. The color contrast, light reflection, and graceful movement of the shapes help grab baby's attention.

This DIY version is pretty easy to put together. Items you'll need:
  • this pattern for the shapes 
  • two pieces of self adhesive metallic paper or hologram paper in two contrasting colors (like dark blue and silver or bright red and silver)
  • scissors
  • a needle or pin
  • fishing wire
  • wooden dowels

Thursday, March 1, 2012

You're a firework

Here's your daily dose of cuteness:

Sometimes, you've just got to belt out your favorite song, even when you've got the hiccups!

What popular songs do your kids love to sing?

Jeanine Andersen is a Marketing Manager for Texas Health Resouces whose daughter loves to sing Katy Perry songs at the top of her lungs.