Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to school adjustments

As the first week of school draws to a close, I am wondering if any other Moms out there feel as exhausted and emotional as I do.

I have two children: a sixth grader and a first grader. Back to school this year came with a new set of challenges that make me particularly thankful for a long weekend.

First, my children are in different schools for the first time this year. My sweet six-year-old is on her own at elementary school. Protective older brother isn’t with her at the bus stop or on the bus.  He isn’t there to make sure she finds her way home, or to help her carry heavy stuff, or glare at mean kids on her behalf. (Hey, there are some advantages to having a brother who is the tallest kid in the school!)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Medicine: It’s all in how you sell it

My 15-month-old baby girl hates taking medicine. So of course, Nick and I dread giving it to her.

We’ve tried every which way of delivering the medicine – from squirting it in her mouth with a plastic baby syringe to mixing it with milk to pouring it in her mouth straight from the little measuring cup. Each method has it’s issues. With the syringe, watch out. You may get half of the medicine right in your face. The bottle? Well, babies don’t always finish bottles…so then how do you know how much medicine she took? The measuring cup…similar to the syringe, except the medicine goes down her shirt or on the furniture instead of in mommy’s face.

We also tried those special pacifiers with the tiny little measuring cup attached. One problem: Ava doesn’t take a paci. Combine that with her not liking the taste of the medicine, and that option was a loser.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Baking brings back family memories

One of my favorite things to do is bake – not cooking, just baking!

So, I thought I’d share a favorite recipe with you along with some tips that I got years ago.

Banana bread is a favorite at our house and my recipe comes from my mom’s good friend Betty. Betty and her family would get together with us to visit and the kids would all play, we were all around the same age.  Betty died of pancreatic cancer in her 50’s and so every time I make banana bread with her recipe I think about her and the fun we had as families.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


So, I had this great blog started about traveling with Shelby and how after three trips on an airplane we had it all figured out.  I was going to show you photos of accessories and gear that helped me navigate the airport by myself with her at 2, 4 and 6 months old but that will just have to wait.

Mom friends, I need help with the art of juggling.

I had one of those crazy mornings today.  Shelby had been sick over the weekend with Strep throat so our schedule was a little off kilter this weekend.  Being a planner, I am all about routine and schedule and it works beautifully with our six month old.  But last night she was awake at 10 p.m., midnight, 2 a.m.., and 3 a.m.—just enough that I had to get up and comfort her back to sleep.  Monday morning rolled around and we were up at our usual 5:30 a.m.  Did I mention that strong coffee is my friend?

Monday, August 27, 2012

A page from the baby book: 9 months

Dear Jake,

Recently you turned nine months old. Mommy can hardly believe it. She couldn’t have dreamed up a better baby boy if she tried.

Already you are charming, chatty, smart, and self-assured.

You have untamable hair, dimples to die for, and an infectious, gummy grin that boasts a lone tooth struggling to the surface. Your laugh is downright delicious.

You effortlessly snag admirers everywhere we go. You spend probably half of any given day “dancing” to either music or the beat of your own happiness. You have a glint of mischief in your eye that Mommy knows is waiting eagerly to be realized at a later stage.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Diet help for the kids?

Yesterday my big boys had their pre-school-starting physicals. While Bryan wasn’t able to attend due to work commitments, their Mom let him (and via him, me) know how it went. Both kids are growing like weeds – over 5 feet tall for J and over 4 feet now for C, and doing great on their weight (I don’t know if boys ever care, but because I wouldn’t want my weight disclosed, I won’t tell theirs!). 

However, as part of J’s well-check/physical, they did a cholesterol check. It wasn’t a fasting check, but it’s still something to start with. Here’s the thing…it came back “a little high.” Now, I didn’t ask for translation on exactly what that meant – I would assume if it were dangerously high, I’d have heard more – but I know that it meant that the doctor and J had quite a lengthy discussion about how to start changing that number. I know she told him things like eating more fruits and vegetables, getting more fiber, lean protein, and eating less processed/refined/junk foods – all the things I’m sure we’ve all heard from our doctors about healthy diets with plenty of variety.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kids & Bugs

What is it about kids and bugs?  Preston and Emory, ages four and almost two, are both infatuated with them.  This past spring, Emory found “crunchy worms” (as we fondly called them) and continuously put them in her mouth!!  Any time she was spitting out something with a disgusted look on her face, I would find another “crunchy worm.”  Why in the world would she continue to put them in her mouth?!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When your toddler is an animal

I wouldn’t call myself an expert parent by any means, but I have certainly found a friend in Google and plenty of parenting blogs. If the internet tells me my child’s strange behavior is “a normal expression of creativity” or “something he’ll grow out of” then I believe it. But I have definitely learned to set boundaries on my toddler’s creative side thanks to a certain cat I can’t get rid of.

With growing regularity, my 4-year-old son, Maxwell, can be found walking around our house on all fours as his alter ego: Peaches the cat. This deeply disturbed my husband at first (especially one night when Peaches licked my husband’s leg and purred) but I asked a few mom friends and I read a few online articles, and decided everything was fine; he was just having creative play time, which in my day was called playing pretend.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What happens with Grandma stays with Grandma

I recently had the opportunity to spend a week with my two older sisters and their grandchildren. My oldest sister, Stephanie, started a tradition several years ago — uninterrupted time alone with her grandchildren which she aptly dubbed Camp Grandma (no parents allowed). Now that my other sister Sharon is also a Grandmother, they decided that this summer we should all get into the act. So Great-Aunt Peggy (me) tagged along for the ride.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Disguising your range

When you play in a poker game with the same group of people, over time you may find yourself not winning as much as you used to. If this downswing lasts for a while, you’ll most likely start looking for the reason why. A powerful piece of advice many experts give is that you need to start doing a better job of “disguising your range.” In the game of poker you are presented with the same situations over and over again. Most people have a certain way they approach these situations, and astute opponents can pick up on this over the course of time. For instance, if every time you had three of a kind you always bet a certain amount, your opponents may eventually realize this and call your bet only when they can beat you and fold every time they can’t – which would drastically affect your success in the game.

Friday, August 17, 2012

What’s the best + hardest part about Motherhood?

What is the best part about being a Mom? What is the hardest?

We posed these questions to some of our Mom bloggers last week at our Texas Health Moms blog two-year blogiversary celebration. Here’s a snippet of their answers:

Best part:
•    The smiles
•    The unconditional love
•    Watching them grow up and experience new things
•    The hugs
Hardest part:
•    Juggling work and home life
•    Mommy meltdowns
•    The disciplining
•    Not having enough energy

Our special guest speaker Cynthia Izaguirre, new Mom and co-anchor of Daybreak on WFAA-TV, said for her the hardest part is leaving her twins to go to work.

Check out all the answers in this video:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mommy knows best when setting boundaries

One week before my strong-willed daughter turned two, we went on a glorious beach vacation. Everything was terrific – except that she decided she no longer wanted to sleep in the Pack n’ Play. And she didn’t want to sleep in a bed. And she didn’t want to sleep on a pallet on the floor. She just plain old didn’t want to sleep.

After an hour or so of struggling to get her to relax somewhere, she’d eventually fall asleep holding a book in a chair or a random spot on the floor without a blanket or pillow. I felt like a terrible parent, but at least she was sleeping.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eat your Veggies, Please!

As a mother of two, I’ll admit, I’m no Mrs. Cleaver. Dinner is rarely on the table when my husband gets home from work and I rarely greet him in a dress and pearls. One of my biggest struggles as a working mother is dinner preparation. I’d be lying if I said that my family didn’t indulge in the occasional fast food meal or pizza for dinner during the week nights. While the healthiness of our dinner is very important to me, convenience is equally important.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Big brother paves the way

H. had been mumbling for a few days that she was nervous about starting kindergarten. When I asked more questions, she admitted that she was nervous because she didn’t know anyone and wasn’t sure she’d make friends. The first day of school has come and gone and she had made new friends before the end of the day.

T. tried his darndest to reassure his little sister by telling her how much fun he had in kindergarten. He told her about the playground, about art class, and how nice his teacher was. He also reminded her that he was going to be there too.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hot Dog Heaven

A wise man once said “Pride comes before the fall.”

So true. 

In my last blog, I boasted that I’d nailed it with my awesome salmon factory that yielded many healthy dinners for my family.

I’ve fallen from grace. Big time. I let my kids eat hot dogs and macaroni and cheese last night for dinner. And I’ll be honest. It was one of the most peaceful family dinners I’ve had since bringing home my firstborn four years ago.

Since that day, I have found dinner-planning to be one of the most angst-ridden aspects of working parenthood. I know my stay-at-home mamas feel my pain, too. It’s not hard to put the food on the table. It’s making sure that it’s healthy and well-balanced.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Small changes for children's health

Can you really teach your child to become active and healthy?  You can. And it doesn’t have to be a struggle.  The secret is to get your child moving and eating right.

We all know that Americans are becoming heavier. Unfortunately, this growing trend isn’t bypassing our children. Obesity in children has tripled over the past 30 years. Now diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, typically seen in adults, are becoming more and more prevalent in our children. And overweight kids have a tendency to become overweight teens leading to overweight adults. It’s a vicious cycle.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lamb chops and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, please!

I thought I had some odd eating habits when I was young and single. Years later, I see that description was so far from the truth. Now that I’m pregnant again, I’m amazed at what I crave on any given day.

Lately, I’ve noticed my husband giving me a lot of weird looks; and to top it off, he’ll sometimes scratch his head as he watches me prepare a meal. I can’t help it if I crave a big, juicy pickle and then turn around to eat a few spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Letting Go

I recently read a quote by Anne Frank, a young girl who was wise beyond her years that said: “Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.”

As the Mother of a college-aged son, I have found this to be very true. I think as parents we sometimes tend to try and hold on to our kids for as long as possible. I have talked with other moms who have made the comment that they don’t know how to parent their adult children. My answer to that is — you don’t.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The joy of firsts

As a Mom, we relish in the first time experiences our children take.  It can be from the first breath they take as they are born or their baby first steps.

Over the past few weeks, we have some new experiences ourselves that we have shared together with our foster girls.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Baby Registry

It is that time during the pregnancy that we start to invade the baby stores and start looking at what we want to use for our upcoming addition. This is not an easy task.  The last time I did this, it was 2003, and boy have things changed since then!

With so many sites to offer advice (Pinterest, Facebook, blogs, etc.), I should feel like I can make a more informed decision about what products I should buy.  However, with so many more avenues available, there comes an equal amount of opinions.  Good, bad, or indifferent, how do you and your spouse decide what is right?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Four special deliveries: quadruplets!

Amber at 28 weeks, in the girls' room
Amber and George Shawver tried for four years to have a child. After their fourth round of IUI (intrauterine insemination), they learned they were pregnant – with four babies!

 “Looking at my hormone levels, we thought it might be twins or triplets,” Amber said. “When we found out we were having quads, I kept saying ‘this is so surreal – we really have four babies?’”  

Amber’s maternal/fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Bannie Tabor on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, suggested to Amber that it might be helpful to check out blogs of other quad Moms.

“Reading other people’s blogs helped give me peace of mind,” she said. “Looking at photos helped me know what to expect. For example, it wasn’t as alarming to see the CPAP.”

Amber also joined a quadruplets facebook group where she could talk with other Moms, ask questions, and get an idea of how big her babies might be at delivery or how many weeks a quad pregnancy typically lasts.

“It normalized it for us,” Amber said.

Amber delivered at 30 weeks and 5 days to four healthy babies: girls Rylin Skye (3 lbs 7.7 ounces) and Sydney Raine (2 lbs 5.4 ounces) and boys Harper Stone (3 lbs 1.4 ounces) and Mason River (2 lbs 14.9 ounces).

“The delivery was less complicated than I thought,” Amber said. “Delivering quads is kind of scary because no one knows what’s going to happen. I was hoping for a routine C-section and that’s what it was, just with more people in the room.”

Twenty caregivers were in the operating room, including a care team of three caregivers for each baby from the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.

In her personal blog, Amber mentions she started to panic when the anesthesiologist began to work on the spinal block, but one of her nurses, Mary, helped calm her.

“Mary was so compassionate with me, knowing I was terrified,” she wrote in a blog entry about the birth. “She hugged me while I got the spinal block and whispered a prayer into my ear. It made a HUGE difference for me and then I was ready. Thankfully, the spinal block worked quickly and I found my calm because it wasn’t long before the action started.” 

Amber seeing one of her babies for the fist time after delivery
 The babies are doing well, gaining weight and learning how to eat. Amber and George expect they’ll be able to bring them home on or before the time of Amber’s due date, September 23.

“Having quads is very rare and special,” Amber said. “It’s a unique adventure.”

 Thanks to Amber and George for sharing their photos and story with us!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


“Can you make Lambchok talk? Please?” my daughter asks in reply to my orders to “Go pee pee. Wash your hands. Brush your teeth. Put on your nightgown.”

“Yes, if you hurry,” I say.

“Lambchok” is a Lamb Chop puppet, so dubbed “Lambchok” when my daughter was a toddler. I never had the heart to correct her, so Lambchok he will always be. I once pulled up a video of the original Lamb Chop on YouTube and explained that it was Lambchok’s mother.

Lambchok sat in the corner of my daughter’s bedroom for about a year before coming to life. There was a monkey and a rabbit (who spoke in unintelligible “Lucienese”) who were early favorites. And a unicorn, who’s lost some of her sparkle, is still a beloved bedfellow.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

'It’s all about me!'

Little people are truly amazing, and my little girl is no exception to the rule. Her personality continues to make us chuckle or shake our heads. In this blog entry, I’d like to share a recent visit to my aunt’s house, and I’ll detail the out-of-the-ordinary behavior of my usually affectionate and loving daughter.

Earlier this week, we decided to go over to my aunt’s house, since my uncle from New Orleans was in town for a brief visit. After the normal exchange of hugs, we started updating everyone on various family members and making plans for Thanksgiving dinner.

During the visit, my daughter Nandi is sitting on my lap. A few minutes go by and my aunt’s six-month-old grandson wakes up from a nap. Well, my husband decides to hold the little boy for a while, and all of a sudden, Nandi’s attitude changes. Instead of sitting happily on my lap, she looks at the baby and then at my husband, as if in shock. She then becomes extremely quiet, staring intently at the baby, while casting sideways glances in my direction, as if to say, “Are you seeing what I’m seeing?!”