Thursday, February 28, 2013

Junior High Flashback

When I was in Junior High, my coach asked me to run the mile in a track meet once. Once was all it took, and I was never asked to do that again.  I was that runner that came in dead last. The one that everyone was clapping for as I finally appeared around the last corner heading toward the finish line. The support was kind, but more than that, I was embarrassed.   

I wish I could say I love to run, but frankly, I didn’t love to run then and I don’t love it now.  However, now I see it as a necessary evil when I am in my exercising mode.  These days, I can run a mile without wanting to die, but until now I haven’t understood the 5K fitness craze.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Knowledge is power

My Mom recently had a pretty significant health scare; one that resulted in a variety of machines around her once she got home. When visiting with her, I noticed that my kids were very intimidated by the whole thing. Here was their beloved Abuelita, who up to this point seemed healthy and strong, and suddenly she is bedridden with different tubes around her.

They couldn’t escape the room fast enough.

After a brief visit, the kids were leaving with my husband and I asked them to step in to say goodbye. I could tell that they weren’t excited about the prospect—and that they were a bit intimidated.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

NICU blues to thriving one-year-old

On her first birthday you would never be able to tell that Ivey had an unexpected start to life, one that her Dad Chris put to music in a YouTube video.

Ivey was born 12 weeks premature, weighing in at just 2 pounds 5 ounces and small enough her Dad’s wedding ring fit on her wrist.

She spent eight weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano. In the video, her dad recalls fond memories of spending time holding Ivey in Kangaroo Care which helps preemies.

Today, though, she’s a happy, healthy one-year-old eagerly exploring by putting everything in her mouth and crawling around curious about her world.

For her parents, a recent visit to Texas Health Plano was a chance to repay some of the hope and inspiration they drew from photos of NICU success stories that line the halls of the unit.

“We knew she was getting the best care possible,” Chris said. “She’s doing so well because of all these amazing angels who work here. The work they do has an amazing impact on others.”

The family recently visited the hospital on Ivey’s first birthday, much to the delight of her former nurses who took turns gushing over how well she’s doing.

“We couldn’t do it without parents like you,” Veronica Schaedler, supervisor of the lactation support program at Texas Health Plano.

Mom Misty said that without the lactation support that Ivey might not have gotten to go home a month before her due date and that she might not have been able to keep breastfeeding given the challenges of a preemie. “It’s all worth it,” she said.

Ivey's visit to Texas Health Plano was covered by NBC DFW. You can see video of the visit here.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Journal

My 5th grade daughter and I decided to share a journal with one another. At least once a week, I write a journal note to Sarah to tell her how proud I am of her or how much I enjoyed spending time with her that week having dinner or helping with her Girl Scout troop.  She sometimes writes back to thank me for taking her on a trip and just to tell me she loves me.  It is something she can keep as she grows and will be able to look back on and know that her Mom thinks she is a very special young lady and that I love her so very much.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Like a Moth to a Flame

I wasn’t proficient at this “instrument” but both of my kids are!

When Henry was just starting to become mobile he was drawn to the door stop like a moth to the flame. He found every single one in our house and everywhere we went. We had to go around and take all the little white caps off because they were just small enough to be a choking hazard.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

New Adventures

Today was the day I had been dreading for weeks.

The day my daughter started at a new daycare.

See, this over-achieving mother, had the brilliant idea that life wasn’t already complicated enough with going back to school, working full-time, raising 1 child and growing another and that a promotion would be a good idea. With that promotion comes lots of change and that change includes moving my daughter from the daycare facility that has helped raise her since she was 10 weeks old to a new daycare center closer to home to “make things easier.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gold Star Recipe

One of my biggest struggles as a mother is finding a recipe that my entire family will enjoy. When trying to meet all of the criteria (healthy, low fat, kid friendly, quick, and easy to prepare) I am often not left with many choices.  When I finally find something that everyone in the family enjoys and eats, I give that recipe a gold star. Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve broadened by repertoire and I’m pleased to share with you one of my new family favorites.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Nutrition for Pre-teen Girls

The pre-teen age for young girls is a time of change; changes in their body, developing a sense of self, and creating healthy habits. As for nutrition, this is a critical time when eating behaviors are established that often influence behaviors during adulthood. A healthful diet during this period in a young girl’s life can help reduce the risk of:
  • iron deficiency
  • maturation delays
  • weight issues
  • poor bone health
  • poor school/sport performance
We want our girls to have a positive relationship with food and healthful nutrition, which is why it’s important to start helping her form those habits now! Here's an easy recipe your pre-teen will love:

Monday, February 18, 2013

The flu and all that it implies

I’ve refrained from doing an illness-themed post for some time. My intention was to never go back to that topic again. After several months of entries that consisted of me “complaining” about Elliot’s various minor ailments, I felt that I needed to focus on the positive elements of raising a toddler. But that was before the flu hit us a couple weeks ago.

Despite the fact that I have been good about keeping Elliot’s maladies out of the blog, he has been sick quite a bit. He is in childcare and it seems that every little bug or germ he comes in contact with knocks him for a loop.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bread: something to think about

You’ve heard the buzz about bread.
"It’s bad for you."
"It’s fine to eat. Look at the food pyramid."
"Only eat whole grain."
“The more the bread, the quicker you’re dead.”

Oye! What’s true? I’m not going to make that decision for you, but I will share my “bread testimony.”

I grew up on Wonder Bread and Oscar Meyer b-o-l-o-g-n-a. Remember the cute commercial from 1973? That jingle has stuck with me for . . . a few decades.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The tween years

As a Mom of a tween girl can tell you these years can be a challenge. I’m constantly on the lookout for articles and tips from other Moms about how to navigate these tumultuous years, which can be full of landmines even when your daughter is as grounded and kind as mine.

It can sometimes be tough to find time just the two of us where we have an opening to talk about the sensitive topics these years bring. That’s why I was excited to learn about the GiRL (Girls in Real Life) Power event, which was held late last year in Plano, and we had a great time. The event was what I had expected for my daughter -- a day designed to uplift her self-esteem, learn about ways to stay healthy, and hear role models with sage advice on how to handle the tween years of life. What I did not expect was that I took away several key insights as well -- especially from the keynote presenters, DaNae Couch, Miss America and Dana Vollmer, Olympic gold medalist. They delivered excellent keynote presentations around achieving your dreams through hard work, encouraging all of us in attendance to never give up on our dreams.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I did it

I did it.

That's a sentiment that unfortunately has been missing in the journey I'm on with infertility.

This journey has been one with many ups and downs. As I dealt with that rollercoaster of emotion, I decided that I needed to take some time to focus on me. I signed up for a glass blowing class. I tried to exercise my creativity. I've learned to say no. I've learned it's a good thing to find ways to relax and take care of me and that I need to learn to put myself first sometimes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rich in Nutrients and Low in Cost

Shopping seasonal is a great plan to get lots of nutrients while cutting down on your cost of food!  “Seasonal” means it is in season and thus usually less expensive.

Winter squash, members of the Cucurbitaceae family and relatives of both the melon and the cucumber, come in many different varieties. While each type varies in shape, color, size and flavor, they all share some common characteristics. Their shells are hard and difficult to pierce, enabling them to have long storage periods between one and six months. Their flesh is mildly sweet in flavor and finely grained in texture. Additionally, all have seed-containing hollow inner cavities.

Monday, February 11, 2013

An easy dinner my kids will eat. Most of the time.

Like many women my age, I troll Pinterest for recipes and collect them on a board. Specifically, my Food. Yum. Board. Out of 100 or so pins I’ve posted to that board, I’ve tried approximately one of the recipes. It’s called Tortellini Casserole, or something like that.

What I lack in Pinterest-recipe variety, I make up for in frequency. See, after I began making this recipe and adapted it to my kids’ discerning palates, I realized I’d found something special. I’d hate to break my streak here by changing things up with a totally new recipe. So, here’s the casserole recipe, as I’ve been preparing it. Enjoy!

Friday, February 8, 2013

A super-tasting kid's smoothie

My 12-year-old stepson Brendan could be a supertaster. (Someone who experiences taste with a lot of intensity.) If he eats something with even a sliver of spice, he detects it and declares it “spicy.” It’s impressive, really.

But getting him to eat a lot of produce can be challenging. As a growing pre-teen, he definitely needs those vitamins and minerals. We’re doing our best to work them into his diet in ways his taste buds agree with. He loves berry smoothies, so lately my husband has been making him a morning smoothie using:

•    about 1 cup of milk
•    a glob of vanilla yogurt
•    about 1 cup of frozen mixed berries
•    a splash of orange juice, to taste
•    half  of 1 medium banana

“Glob” and “splash” aren’t exactly measurements, but it’s really up to your own personal preference. This makes about two glasses of berry smoothie that he and Brendan share.

When it comes to smoothie ingredients, there are many ways to slice it, but this is what works best for our supertaster. What do you put in your smoothie? How do you work produce into your child’s diet?

Megan Brooks is a Sr. Public Relations Specialist for Texas Health Resources, Stepmom to a 12-year-old, Mom to a 14-month-old, and non-supertaster who will eat just about anything.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Well-Being for Mom

Makala recently took time to blog on a blissful anniversary trip with her husband. She shares a page from her vacation journal here:

I was blessed with becoming a Stepmom ten years ago to two wonderful boys by the name of Josh and Nathan. At the time they were three and five years old and I was and am honored to be part of their lives.  I have watched them reach the ages of 13 and 15 and am excited for what God has in store for them and the outstanding young men they are becoming right before our eyes. 

Right now I am writing this blog from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic as Brett and I are celebrating our ten year anniversary. Next month, we will celebrate our daughter Shelby's first birthday.  Oh how time flies!  Brett and I have always made a point of making time for "us" as a couple but I must say having a new baby has made that challenging. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Wee Blessing

Parents Jessica and Robert Harrell feel very blessed.

Jessica says their journey through pregnancy, birth, and their son’s stay in the neonatal intensive care unit at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth has been stressful – but caregivers have been at their side to help them through the process.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How to Make Homemade Childrens’ Books

I have a long-standing love affair with books – essentially ever since I discovered as a child that I could check out up to 12 Berenstain Bear books at my local library. Big fan.

And that love of books has definitely continued on with my 4-year-old, Max. My husband and I have made an effort to read to Max as much as we can. In fact, there are some books we read so often that Max knows all of the words – and that started a tradition between my husband and son of Max making up his own stories and telling them to us in lieu of one of his books at night. And then, we had an idea: why not make our own books? So we did!

Monday, February 4, 2013

From One Child to Taking on the World

Hello Friends!  How I have missed you all.  So much has happened since the last time I have blogged with Texas Health Moms, and there is so much to catch up on!

So if there are moms out there that only have one child that are planning to have a second, please do not let what I am about to say scare you.  There is a silver lining at the end of this, so please read all the way through to the end.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Five heart-healthy tips for kids

Get outside and play for a healthy heart.
As adults, we focus on things like lowering cholesterol, eating more fiber, reducing our sugar intake, but the truth is our kids should be doing the same. Developing healthy habits as a young age will hopefully help children become healthy adults.  With childhood obesity at an all-time high, it is important that we educate children and help them choose nutrient-rich foods on a normal basis.

February is National Heart Month and today is Wear Red Day, a time we focus on healthy eating to have a healthy heart.  This should not just be for adults, but also for kids.  There are quite a few ways to help your child have a healthy heart happy tummy: