Friday, June 28, 2013

The Tiger Who Stole My Heart

I’ve been bracing myself for children’s television and all the cooky characters and songs that come with it.

I’ve been through it before. I was the teenager who could sing all the Barney songs because my brothers – 13 and 14 years younger – loved that purple dinosaur. Blue’s Clues, Rugrats, Power Rangers. I knew them all. So, I was prepared.

I was not prepared to fall in love with this adorable striped tiger named Daniel. But I did and so did my seven-month-old son.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tech Savvy Toddler

Last week was my dad’s birthday.  I told Preston, age 5, and Emory, age 2, that we would call PawPaw that evening to wish him a happy birthday.  Just then Daddy walked in the room and this became the conversation:

Emory:  Daddy, we’re going to see PawPaw tonight!

Me:  No, Emory, we’re going to call PawPaw tonight.

Emory:  Nuh, uh … we’ll see him on Facetime.

And, Facetime PawPaw is what we did.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Growing up and transitions galore

A time of transition isn’t the favorite time for a Mommy who’s not a big fan of change.

My realization of impending change came in May when I attended my daughter Lily’s preschool graduation. As she stood on the stage smiling with excitement in her mini cap and gown it dawned on me that Lily was growing up. Soon she will be in Kindergarten and you know what’s next: dating, prom, graduation, college, and marriage.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Adventures in Boating

I think I have entered full-out Mommy mode.  We have a boat and enjoy summers on the lake.  It has always been a relaxing way for us to recharge our batteries on the weekend.  Last year, we took Shelby on the boat with us and of course she was still little so she slept through the whole thing.  This weekend we loaded up with some of our friends and ventured out on the lake for a couple of hours. Well, let me share with you how that unraveled . . .

First, just getting to the lake took us almost all day.  By the time we waited for Shelby to take her nap so she would be on schedule and a happy little boater it was after 2 p.m.  I think we actually got the boat in the water with everyone on board by 3-ish.  I really like to plan and I can tell you my planning mojo was completely off course with this outing.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Balancing Your Marriage and Small Children

Having two sweet girls (ages 6 and 3 months) has been such a blessing to my husband and I. They keep us busy for sure. Between gymnastics, horseback riding and summertime fun for our 6-year-old and the new life of a precious baby I find myself exhausted at the end of the day and not much time left. But don’t get me wrong, I LOVE IT!

But there is one other thing in my life that is extremely important and I always want to put before our children, my marriage.  My husband and I have been married for 10 years and I am happy to say that I am more in love with him now than I was the day we got married, but that takes work and is so worth it.

Sometimes we have to get creative to spend quality time together, just the two of us.  It may be something simple and small or a night out but either way it is time alone together. It is so important to have this. Here are a few ideas on spending time with your spouse and managing small children:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Reassuring kicks

Since I saw the word pregnant on the home test I've been excited about our baby, but there was a part of me that couldn't shake the feeling that it wasn't really happening.

Until recently, I daily fought the urge to tell friends and family to be cautiously optimistic but not get their hopes up in case something happened. We had been on such a roller coaster ride of hope and disappointment to get here it was hard to turn my brain off and trust that all was fine. Because it took us so long to get pregnant I had ample time to learn all the ways a pregnancy could go wrong.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A 'gentle C-section' with twins

When Daniela Sanders learned at 35 weeks pregnant that she’d be delivering her twins via C-section (one was breach), her first thought was “this is going to mess up breastfeeding.”

For Daniela, establishing breastfeeding early on was important. Her oldest son, 17-month-old Prater, was delivered through the birth canal and enjoyed immediate skin-to-skin time with Mom at birth.

“Breastfeeding is best for them, it’s healthier for them,” she said. “The sooner you do it, the easier it will be.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

RIP Peaches

Almost eleven years ago, my husband and I decided to adopt a dog. After quickly realizing that our one dog needed company, we adopted Peaches. Both dogs were pound puppies and we were happy to bring them home.

Fast forward a few years, kids, cats, moves and now-dead chickens later, and our family had to say goodbye to our sweet girl.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

5 Ways to Build a Healthier Salad

Nothing sounds healthier than a salad, right?

The truth is that not all salads are created equal, especially not if you add the wrong ingredients. For example, a classic Cobb salad loaded with all the fixings or a standard restaurant chef's salad and dressing can cost you more than 1,000 calories and 80 grams of fat!

Don’t give up on salads — they can be a filling, low-cal option and a great way to satisfy your daily vegetable requirements.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Humpty Dumpty

My plan all month was to write about Father’s Day. I figured there was good symmetry since yesterday was the day itself and I am indeed a Father. It wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I remembered I was going to be on vacation for Father’s Day and Elliot would be spending some quality time with his grandparents. Take that son.

Instead of making up something sappy about Father’s Day I thought I would fill you in on what’s been going on in Elliot’s little world.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Encouraging a child's interests

A Veterinarian.

That’s the answer my daughter gives when asked what she wants to be when she grows up. It’s the same answer she’s always given. Actually, her very first answer was “a big sister to Dasher” (her dog); but when I explained she kind of already was that, and that it looked unlikely she would be any other kind of “big sister,” she decided on veterinarian, and has stuck to it ever since.

So, how does a parent know whether a proclaimed vocation at five years old is based on an innate passion and skill, or just one of those top answers kids give – like policeman or president or doctor?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sisterly love

Having children is definitely a blessing, but having them 20 months apart can be a challenge, too. With that being said, I look at how they interact with one another and a particular quote (which happens to be anonymous) comes to mind: The bond between sisters is sometimes tightly woven, sometimes loosely held, but never broken.

From the minute Miss Nandi saw her baby sister, she was smitten – from the way she looked at her, kissed her, hugged her, said her name (her first attempts at saying Talia were comical) – there was no doubt she adored the new addition to the family.

She wanted to help me feed Talia, so I’d position the bottle in a way that made her think she was feeding her baby sister all by herself. Of course when Talia would dribble milk down her chin, Nandi rushed to wipe it off, looking more like she was trying to beat and smother her with the bib. And when she tried to help burp Talia, I could see the fear in my infant’s eyes – as if she wanted to say, “Please, Mama, get this crazy child away from me!”

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Healthy snack options for busy Moms

Busy!  That’s my excuse for anything I’m have a hard time accomplishing.

I’m a working Mom of two with a one hour commute each way, as I said, we’re busy.  Even as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, sometimes I struggle to provide healthy nutrition options for my kids.  Since having kids, I realize now how difficult it is to get them to eat things that are also packed with nutrition – especially if you have a very picky eater.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Picking a pediatrician

After reading countless blogs, articles, and recommendations for how I/we should go about the selection process, we finally did it.  We found our pediatrician.  What a relief this was to check off my list of 'to-do's' before the girls arrived.

I know I relied heavily on the recommendations of other Mom's/families that went through this selection process recently. Besides. I'd never been a Mom before. How was I supposed to know how to go about doing this?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Country Mom

I recently moved back to the country with my family after living in the city for 30 years. I have twin boys who are 10 and they are having a blast playing in the great outdoors, going fishing and swimming in the lake.

Having grown up in the country, I knew that life’s tempo is slower and that this type of lifestyle is very different, but I forgot what it is like living in close proximity to critters! We live in an unincorporated area with no fences, leash laws or other restrictions, except for the burn ban and water rationing. The beautiful blonde Labrador, Dusty, that lives next door has chewed items the boys left in our yard including shoes, clothing and a cell phone (we got it back, still works). Dusty recently took a pair of eyeglasses out of a cup-holder in our golf cart, and chewed them beyond repair. We have holes in the yard dug by armadillos and the deer and rabbits are eating plants, flowers and grass.

Friday, June 7, 2013

A special birthday gift

Young philanthropist 8-year-old Matthew wanted to make a special request of his birthday party guests: instead of gifts, bring donations for the critically ill babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.

He brought his mom, 3-year-old brother, and the $440 donation to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth this morning and toured the unit with one of the nurses.

"My friends and I did this so the babies can go home and hang out with their families," he said.

 Donations help the NICU purchase things like blankets, preemie clothes and mobiles for the babies.

Watch Matthew's story tonight on WFAA and KDFW during the 5 p.m. news.

For more information on the Birthday Buddies program, click here.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Taking the bite out of the techno bug

Long gone are the days of tea parties, dress up and dolls in our house.

These days, the only thing my daughter seems to be interested in is music and the latest technology that can deliver it to her.

Forgive me if I sound naïve, but I thought I had at least another three to four years before this sort of behavior began. Yet I find myself checking playlists on a daily basis to make sure all apps and playlists remain “kid-friendly”. Doing this has made me realize, more than ever before, how important it is to stay up to date on what is relevant but it has proven to be more of a challenge than I expected.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Things no one told me

It’s funny how once people know you’re pregnant the advice starts flying at you from all sorts of unexpected angles. But even more amusing, for me, has been that the advice seems in many cases to be too late. Now I’m not advocating we start proffering advice the moment a couple gets married, but there are a few things I wish people had told me before I was pregnant.

Sleep now because you won’t later. I’ve found this is the first piece of advice anyone offered this pregnant woman. Um, I’d like to meet the pregnant woman who is getting good sleep because it sure isn’t me. That ship sailed at about six weeks. I needed that advice during the months spent trying to get pregnant. If I’m not up making trips to the bathroom, I’m up because I’m ravenous because dinner didn’t taste good after all, or because I’m so congested I can’t breathe. The nights where I’m so exhausted I sleep five hours straight are pure heaven and you must believe I do treasure those, but it’s not like I’m back to my teenager or college-aged self with the sleeping in.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

You’re a mom? There’s an app for that!

Is it just me or is it ironic that smart phone apps are meant to save you time, but it’s hard to carve out the time to find a good smart phone app?

There is certainly an abundance out there to choose between. In fact, several technology blogs do app highlights on a weekly basis.  So, I thought I would do my own review of a handful of apps that have dramatically improved my life in one way or another! I hope some of these are a help to you and feel free to add to this list – I’m sure there are tons more great, affordable and useful apps out there for moms!

Here are a few apps I use regularly – and all of them were free!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Volunteering at a young age

My son is 10 years old and is at an age where he lives life on demand. I can see the sense of entitlement rearing its ugly head like a freight train racing down the tracks.  While I would like to keep my son in a bubble for as long as possible, I understand that it is not ideal, feasible, or realistic to do so.  Perhaps doing this so far as led to this, but I’m hoping to undo it.

I have loved volunteering since the day I started.  Knowing that your time can help an organization to fulfill their needs that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do is a wonderful feeling.  Finding an organization you are passionate about makes your time all that more special.  As Gandhi has said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  So I challenged myself with finding an organization that would take volunteers as young as my son.  If the list existed, I couldn’t find it.  Over and over again I would call various places to see if there was anything we could do together, and we ran into dead ends.  Couldn’t he at least be of help sorting food in a food bank?  Stocking shelves?  Doing something??