Monday, April 30, 2012

Like mother, like daughter

While pregnant with my daughter, I was shopping for baby clothes with my mom when it occurred to me that I was automatically thinking "this would look cute on a little red-haired girl." Of course, I could not know the color of my daughter's hair at the time. I'm sure there's some extensive research out there that would tell me the psychological reason for my assumption that my daughter's physical appearance would favor my own.

Turns out - while she looks a lot like her father - she does have my coloring. Red hair. Blue eyes. And over the last five years, I've noticed other similarities that seem to be engrained in her genes.

But recently, it's the elective similarities that have caught my attention.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Family time with teenagers

I was so excited to have off a few days for spring break this year and spend time with the kids.  I had been putting in some extra hours at work the first few months of the year so I felt like some quality time with the kids was needed for all of us.  I even put in a lot of effort coordinating my time off with my peers in order to make sure everything at work was covered. 

The morning of my first day off I was so excited.  I was thinking to myself: I am truly game for anything!  If both the kids would have said “Let’s go to Sea World!” or Austin, or even Cancun, I would have tried to make it happen.  I had some extra money saved up and this would have been the perfect occasion to spend it. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Best Part about T-Ball

Preston is four and in his second year of t-ball.  Last year was quite comical with the dirt-playing, butterfly-chasing, flower-picking, oh yeah, and the t-ball hitting.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when he started t-ball this year.  He’s grown in so many ways over the last year.  He now looks like a big boy and carries on big boy conversations.  I suppose I somewhat expected the attention span of the players to lengthen a bit, too, but perhaps that comes at age five!

T-Ball Saturdays have been fun this season.  We all have our favorite parts of the game.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

No more talking or texting while driving

My husband, Nick, was on his way home from a cookout at a friend’s house on Sunday night when a green pickup truck nearly landed on top of his car.

He was sitting at a red light, and the green truck was coming the opposite way, making a left turn with a green arrow.  Without warning, a speeding car ran a red light and plowed into the truck, turning it upside down and sending it rolling toward Nick’s little black Mazda.  Thankfully, Nick was able to act quickly.  He threw his car into reverse and backed up a few car lengths.  The truck flipped three times before landing right where Nick had been sitting.  The other car went into a flat spin and ended up in the middle of a gas station parking lot.

There was no screeching of brakes, Nick said.  Only the crush of metal and glass.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I admit it: I have an easy baby

At the risk of putting a big ole’ jinx on it: 5-month-old Jake is one laid-back baby so far. His demeanor hasn’t nearly matched the horror stories I heard/read about while I was pregnant on colicky babies crying for hours on end and sucking the life force out of their parents. My Mom claims I have to have another baby just so I can realize how easy I’ve got it.

And oh, the smiles! There is nothing better than Jake's smiles at the end of the day. You can get this kid to smile and laugh through is cries, even his hungry cries. He’s been this way from the very beginning, as evidenced by these photos of my Mr. Smiley:

10 days old

Monday, April 23, 2012

Taking the veil of secrecy off infertility

I’ve been debating for 15 months whether to say anything.

That’s how long my husband and I have been trying to have a baby. Trying unsuccessfully I might add. I never dreamed having a baby would be hard. I figured the trying not to have a baby was harder than actually trying to get pregnant. After all you just stop preventing and bam you’re pregnant, right? But in reality one in eight couples experience infertility.

And we’re the one in eight.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Kids and Chemicals


Have you ever noticed how many chemicals we expose our kids to in order to protect them? During the summer it’s sunblock and mosquito repellant. The risk of West Nile and skin cancer seem to outweigh the risks of the stuff we put on them.

But I can’t help but wonder if we’re trading in one thing for the other. As a Mom, I worry about that. From the food we eat to the stuff we put on our skins, very little is natural anymore. It all has chemicals in it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What is a Midwife?

When you hear the phrase, “I see a midwife for my pregnancy” or “My baby was delivered by a midwife” what images come to mind? Do you imagine that the woman delivered her baby at home…in the water…without pain medication? When informing my family that I was pursing advanced nursing education to become a midwife, I experienced similar questioning. I was frequently asked questions about my future practice as a midwife and will never forget one question from my brother, “So a bunch of women have your phone number and then when they start labor they will call you and you will go meet them in their bathroom?” To me this question seems silly and the answer seems straightforward but there are three different types of midwives in the United States who attend around 11 percent of vaginal births both in and out of hospitals so it is not surprising that many people are unclear about the role of a midwife and their scope of practice.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Baptism, birthday and stomach virus...Oh my

Multitasking is my middle name so the idea of cramming a birthday party and a baptism into one jam-packed weekend didn’t faze me.  Of course, best laid plans!

I hosted my daughter’s birthday party on Saturday and later than evening my family and I dined out at a local pizza place.  We were enjoying pizza when my son Logan (11 months old) vomited all over his highchair.  Mortified, my husband and I quickly covered the vomit up with napkins and tended to sick Logan.  I sat with Logan on my lap, who was noticeably feverish and wondered what was wrong with him. Looking back I started to see some signs of illness earlier but still I wasn’t linking everything together. He was very sleepy earlier in the day, he spit up one of his bottles the night before, and he’d had a major diaper blowout.  Worried, we raced home and bathed Logan and put him to bed. The next day was his baptism and to say I was nervous would have been an understatement.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Picture day tears

So it’s picture day at my children’s school. Of course I want them to look nice – freshly bathed, teeth and hair brushed, no leftover breakfast on their sweet cherub faces… I also wanted them to wear something cute! For my 22-month-old daughter, I pulled a pink, orange and white outfit with a big orange bow for her hair. Darling! She was ecstatic to wear her favorite colors and couldn’t wait to get out the door.

For my four-year-old son, I grabbed a blue-striped button-up shirt with his favorite Cars T-shirt to wear on top. …Silly Mommy for thinking it would be so simple for my son!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Parents don't know anything, either

It’s kind of crazy when you think about the fact that kids are born really knowing nothing. From the moment they are out of the womb, they start absorbing everything around them and begin to learn how to exist as a (hopefully) normal human being. Our son Elliot, now 13 months, constantly amazes me by how perceptive he is. He doesn’t talk yet, but that doesn’t mean we are not communicating with him by every action we do. Lately he loves to mimic. If he sees my wife using a lint roller to remove pet hair from the couch, the next time he gets his hands on that lint roller, he goes right to the couch to clean it. In his own way he’s trying to become helpful, which is incredibly endearing.

Friday, April 13, 2012

'Tis the season for water safety

Yahoo!  It’s my favorite time of year and summer is just around the corner.  Lawns being mowed, everyone sprucing up their yards, and getting ready for the even warmer weather!  This weather has made  me to clean up my pool and sailboat for another fun summer of sailing and outdoor activities!  I’ve been sailing for about 35 years, and absolutely love it, but it’s great fun to relax around the pool without the work of a sailboat! 

Of course, with the unseasonably warm weather and summer upon us, lots of folks have the itch to get the pools and spas up and running.  Whether at the lake or at the pool, we always have to remember our safety around the water, especially with little ones around.  Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children 1-14 years of age.  Children under the age of 5 represent 76% of reported deaths and almost 80% of emergency department-treated submersion injuries.  Taking an infant/child CPR class is an important step in safety.   You can go online to find a class like the ones offered at Texas Health hospitals, or go to the American Heart Association for information. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spending Time Together (temporarily) Without Baby Can Be Bittersweet

It’s true when they say absence makes the heart grow fonder. On the other hand, when you’re on a cruise, good times keep rolling like the waves in the ocean! After taking a vacation with my husband, I can honestly say I had the best time of my life; but I missed my baby girl during those seven days, too.

A few weeks ago, we took a cruise to celebrate my birthday and our wedding anniversary. My mom, who resides in Colorado, willingly offered to watch baby girl while my husband and I travelled across the waters. “Now, don’t you worry about a thing! We’ll be okay; you just go on and have some fun.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Paralyzed by Free Time?

Like most working parents, I keep a running to-do list, in addition to a full day-planner-type calendar (plus a large desk calendar and my Outlook calendar at work). Most tasks on the lists (I split them by "work" and "home" down the two sides of a steno pad) are immediate or near-immediate need, and are often one-and-done tasks: order labels for QAS shipment, reschedule hair appointment, etc. I also have some constant tasks on these lists: update weekly status reports, fold laundry.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Snacking for a Healthy Pregnancy

Important steps to a healthy pregnancy include eating a balanced diet; gaining the right amount of weight; enjoying regular physical activity; taking a vitamin and mineral supplement if recommended by a physician; and avoiding alcohol, tobacco and other harmful substances.

I have no doubt you've heard the expression "eating for two" -- but pregnancy is not a free pass to unlimited snacks of cookies and chips.  Since your body is hard at work supporting both you and baby, healthy snacks can give you the extra calories you need and curb your cravings while still honoring the important responsibility you now have for the health and well-being of two, without doubling the amount you eat!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Leaving the poop behind

When I say my life quite literally revolves around poop, I mean it. My husband, Mario, and I both have journalism degrees, so we usually cringe when someone uses the word literally when they really mean figuratively (e.g., “That joke was so funny, I literally wet my pants. Unless you really wet your pants, you mean you figuratively wet your pants.)

But my husband and I have been up to our eyeballs in poop, figuratively speaking, for the last four years, since our first child was born. Even my Easter dessert turned to crap yesterday. It was a recipe I found on Pinterest, and it was something simple enough I could do in an hour with my daughter.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Once a runner

For me, running is not a sport. It’s not a hobby. It’s an old friend who has seen me through all the seasons of my life so far.

At times, running and I have lost touch. But it has always welcomed my return with open arms. That’s the great thing about old friends.

Before baby, I enjoyed signing up for local races to push myself and keep things interesting. I loved taking an hour and a half of my spare time on a Saturday to go for a long run.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Flowers

I am notorious in my family for my brown thumb. Really, it's almost black. My sister is Martha Stewart incarnate (only much, much nicer and prettier, in my opinion). She can grow anything from a pile of rocks, it seems. (She also cooks really well and is quite crafty, but we'll stay focused on the flowers for this post.)

I usually laugh off my gardening challenges by saying that the reason I kill my plants is because, unlike an animal or a child, plants can't whine to or complain to tell me that they're hungry or thirsty. To be honest, I completely forget to water/feed them.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Working on a project

My son recently had a project due that required some research, a presentation and poster board. The smart boy told me about the project when it was assigned. The week before it was due, I asked him if he had thought about what he was going to do for his project.

I’m one of those to-do list people. Knowing something’s due on Friday, I know that I need to do a little each day to minimize my stress. That’s not to say that I can’t procrastinate, because God knows I do that regularly, but I try to meet my deadlines as best I can. T. had one week left to get the project done and I wanted him to see that working on it a little each day would make a difference.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lose a Pound a Week

To lose a healthy pound a week you have to cut 3,500 calories. You’ve probably already figured out the math: that’s 500 calories a day! But you don’t have to deprive yourself or add an hour to your exercise routine to reach your weight loss goals. It is surprisingly easier than you think, morning, noon, or night!

Rise and Shine: At your breakfast meal, exchange your large bagel for the mini version or for something different, an English muffin to slash 220 calories.  Choose a glass of skim milk over the whole to cut 70 calories, and if meat is your thing in the morning, turkey sausage for pork sausage to cut about 125 calories.

Watch those portions. It’s so easy to eat a whole cup of cereal rather than a half-cup serving that many boxed grains are portioned for.  A measuring cup will be your confidant of assistance when learning about this portion control thing.  Measuring out one serving can save you up to 200 calories.  While seemingly "healthy," keep in mind that a cup of granola can set you back up to 600 calories, while a cup of high-fiber cereal has only about 120.  If you are like me, granola in my Greek yogurt is a routine occurrence.  Try Special K’s low fat granola -- excellently portioned at ½ cup (most are only at ¼ cup servings), contains about 190 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of fat per serving.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Round 2

My husband and I are excited to announce that we are expecting our second child later this year!  We are as excited and nervous as new parents would be.  Why you ask?  Well, considering our son will be 9 years old next month, we are pretty certain that raising children has somehow changed in the past nine years.

Yes, you heard that right.  Nine years.  It took us that long to get over the sleepless nights, midnight feedings, and changing diapers.  Funny how your mind forgets all that in the excitement of the second child.