Friday, March 29, 2013

Holiday Happiness

I *almost* didn’t go to the Easter egg hunt at Jake’s daycare.

It was hunt #2 for the season (we’d already gone to the one hosted by our church) and seriously, sometimes it feels like there can be an overkill of holiday activities for the kids.

We'd already made the effort to attend one activity as a family and had a great time, and we’ll be doing some fun Easter things at home on Sunday, and we’ll be going to my parents' house after that, so why do we need one more thing? Plus he probably won’t remember if I’m there or not, he’s not even walking yet to be able to pick up any eggs, and {insert another lame excuse here}.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Life Lessons: The pain of being a parent

As parents, we often think that we are the ones teaching the lessons to our children.  The truth is we are all learning together.  While it’s nice to stay one step ahead of the kids, sometimes that’s just not the case.

Last week, our family learned a couple of lessons the hard way.  Honestly, they weren’t new lessons, just re-iterated through an unfortunate accident.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

45 and Pregnant

I was the lucky Mom of four great kids, finished with childbearing and enjoying my 40s.  I went back to school, became a registered nurse and was loving being a Labor and Delivery nurse.  That’s when I got the surprise of my life – 45 and Pregnant!!!

I found out on my oldest child’s 21st birthday when I took a pregnancy test to “rule it out.”  We knew the chance of miscarriage was very high, so we kept it to ourselves for some time.  All we could think about were projections of how old we would be when this baby went to kindergarten, graduated from high school, got married, etc.  We were terrified.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cleaning out after losing weight

Mommy, you’re not that fat.

Yes, those are the sweet, tender words my little six-year-old son told me as he smiled and looked up at my face which was frozen in horror. As you can imagine, it launched me into losing the baby weight I have been holding onto for the past six years!  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Too soon for solids?

Many Moms are starting baby on solid food too soon, says a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Forty percent said they gave their baby solid food before they were 4 months old, with 9 percent starting as early as 4 weeks, according to the survey. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises babies should be fed nothing but breast milk for six months, or formula if breast milk is not an option.

Moms gave surveyors a number of reasons for starting before 4 months, including: “my baby is old enough,” “my baby seemed hungry,” “I wanted my baby to sleep longer at night” and — most alarming to researchers — “a doctor or health care professional said my baby should begin eating solid food.”

So what’s the reason for the wait?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Oh What A Beautiful Morning!

On a Saturday when we didn't have plans and the weather was nice (the combination is rare, right?!), we were able to relax outdoors and just take it easy.

I left the back door open to enjoy the morning air, and my sweet children took it upon themselves to take their favorite items into the backyard to partake in the beautiful day.

Observing a moment like this made me truly appreciate the ability to just "be" and enjoy nature - and how important it is for kids to be able to indulge, too. Plus, if you think about it, what activity done indoors isn't elevated when you take it outdoors? Even brushing your teeth in the backyard under a tree sounds fun! (How often do you get to spit in the grass and not get into trouble?)

What outdoor activities do you and your family enjoy on a beautiful Saturday morning?

Mandy Forbus works in Brand Management and Promotions at Texas Health Resources and is Mom to two kiddos who love the great outdoors.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

DIY pink baby shower

I’m just a little excited about the impending arrival of my first niece.

For one thing I just can’t wait to see my tough brother melt at his little girl’s smile. And another is the girl stuff is just so darn cute. Those two coupled with the fact that I consider my sister-in-law a true sister, I knew the baby shower had to be amazing.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Are we making the right decisions?

I don’t think there is a parent out there that doesn’t question their decision making from time to time. When I’m having a bad day at work or my child is having a rough day at preschool, I question my decision to be a working mother.  Sometimes I question small things, like my dinner selection or the brand of toothpaste I’ve purchased. Other times it’s a big thing such as which elementary school to choose or which after school care suits us best. If only we had a crystal ball where we could clearly foresee the outcome of our decisions, life would surely be easier!

During the Summer 2012 Olympic Games my daughter, Lily, got very interested in gymnastics. She became enamored with watching the girls with ponytails and shiny suits flip and twirl.  Shortly after watching the Olympics she started asking to take gymnastics. Her requests became more frequent and more insistent after a summer vacation with close family friends where she watched our friend do flips and cartwheels with ease.  I found a gym close to our home and enrolled her in a pre-gym class that was held once a week for an hour.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Versatile Yogurt

I love yogurt. I eat yogurt for breakfast.
..and at my morning snack..
..I include it in my lunch, usually..
..and in that afternoon I always have a hankering for some Greek goodness.

In this dietitian’s house we often times will replace yogurt in our salad recipes (how about a creamy potato salad?!), making pasta sauces and soups extra creamy, or a dollop on tacos in place of sour cream.  The tang of plain Greek yogurt is a great mimic of sour cream--cutting the fat and calories and adding protein and healthy tummy bacteria.

This recipe produced perfectly savory and deliciously moist meatballs thanks to a couple heaping dollops of Greek yogurt in the mix.  Not to mention the layers of flavor from homemade roasted red pepper pesto.

Oh. My. Yum.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Two years old

On March 3 we celebrated Elliot’s second birthday. It was quite different from his first birthday, when he had never tasted cake, had no concept of presents, and was coming off a bad cold. This year was fun. Elliot was excited and had such a great time. He was showered with gifts and love from family and friends, and the day couldn’t have gone any better.

For Lauren (my wife) and me it was fun to reminisce about developmental changes that had happened in the last year. Our running joke has been “remember when he used to be sweet and cute” – of course in actuality he still is, but now that his personality is starting to form, we’ve come to the harsh realization that we are raising a “strong-willed child.”

Friday, March 15, 2013

Night and Day

My two big boys are as different as night and day. This is good because each is definitely his own person, and each really seems to know his own mind. It's also bad because, well...they're siblings. And even siblings who have similar personalities squabble sometimes. Polar opposite siblings? Oh the fights these two have.

The way they fight is different, too. The boys' Mom and I have recounted countless "war stories" between the two. Jacob relishes being older and bigger. He's often the instigator, and he remains cool through most of the fight (physical or verbal). Caleb, on the other hand, is a scrapper. He gets mad and his temper flares and he will not back down. No matter how much we try to say, "just walk away; he's only looking for a reaction" it's just not in Caleb's nature if he thinks he's been wronged.

Often these days, the grown-ups' role is more referee than parent. More times than not, we're insisting that they go to separate rooms or threatening to take away electronics or XBox time if they don't just CUT. IT. OUT.  (Or, one my mother will surely appreciate: "I don't care who started it, I. Am. Ending. It!") We've also tried forcing them to work together to work out the issue (or complete the chore), but that typically only results in more refereeing.

With only about 3.5 years separating J and C, they used to really be great playmates. These days, that 3.5 years is a BIG difference. At nearly 13, J is writing papers and juggling pre-AP English, Math, Science, and History classes, middle school band, school and elite basketball, and select baseball. At almost 9.5, Caleb juggles GATES (GT program at the elementary level), rec. basketball, select baseball, and still gets recess most days.

And don't even get me started on girls. Both claim to think girls are silly and - dare I say it? - icky. However, the quantity of text conversations on J's phone between him and girls might give him away on that front. Caleb? Yeah, girls really are just too silly for him right now. He's our black-and-white, cut-and-dried guy. Girls are just silly, giggly beings only worthy of heavy sighs and eye rolls.

I'm certainly  no expert, but I'm sure at least part of the increase in the squabbling comes from the larger-than-the-numbers show age gap. They're in different worlds right now.Part of it, of course, is standard sibling rivalry - both are competitive and stubborn. Both have standard birth order complaints. Jacob is convinced Caleb is babied and coddled (not true) and Caleb is sure that Jacob unfairly gets more priveledges and freedom than Caleb does (also not true).

So, on rare nights like tonight when they agree on restaurant choice (or at least don't come to blows over it), gaming choice, AND movie rental? Those are nights I relish.

How do you handle sibling rivalry? Does separation or "forced" cooperation work better for you?
P.S. Mom? Thank you so much for not REALLY letting Lynne and I fight it out and raising whoever survived. I'm sure you're loving life's sweet revenge on us both now. :)

Julie Daneman is wife to Bryan, Stepmom to Jacob and Caleb, and Mommy to Sam. They are a boisterous, loving, happy interfaith family.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pre-teen embarrassment

Do boys usually become embarrassed of their parents at 12 years old?

Recently I’ve experienced my son acting a little distant towards me. In the past he was very loving and eager to chat when I come home from work.  Now that he is in junior high that is no longer the case. I am a loving, caring Mom so this is hard for me. Is this normal for a pre-teenager to become more private and keep more to themselves at this age?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Never say never

I am sure you have heard the saying, “never say never,” right? Well, I am a clear example of someone who shouldn’t say it and proclaim from the rooftops, “I will never meet our foster daughter’s biological parents; I want to be the anonymous foster Mom.”

While I have met many fellow foster parents who have developed a friendship with their foster children’s biological family, I am not quite there yet. As far as I knew it, I had the option of being anonymous and the biological family members of Amanda’s would not know my name, face, or the car I drive.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Macaroni and WHAT?!?

I consider myself a health-conscious person. I’ve been reading nutrition labels since the sixth grade; I eat more than the recommended serving of fruits and veggies on a daily basis; I always eat breakfast; water is my favorite beverage; etc. So when my children were born, I naturally ingrained in them to enjoy a balanced diet, and I always offer an abundance of healthy choices. Or so I thought.

I was particularly alarmed when I read a news article on two Moms who are bringing to light the harmful effects of artificial dyes in one of the foods my children enjoy – a well-known brand of macaroni and cheese.

I must disclose that pre-packaged foods aren’t a traditional food source in our household – and we do not eat fast food – but I have a weakness for mac and cheese. And the thought that I could be subjecting my precious children to a food product that could have negative effects on their health is alarming! What’s also concerning is that this particular brand does NOT include the artificial dyes in the mac and cheese they supply to other countries…hmmm.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Time for a little help

My year began about 12 hours after I came home from having foot surgery.

It was a surgery I had put off for a LONG time, years in fact. I thought I had prepared well for it. I had a set of crutches, a knee walker/scooter (what a really cool way to get around!) and a temporary handicapped parking pass. I had cooked many meals and put them in the freezer and I had arranged for rides to and from school for the kids.  I downloaded several books to my Kindle, loaded up the DVR with shows and movies that I wanted to watch but never had time for and even bought a couple of gossipy magazines.

I didn’t leave the house for nearly two weeks. I had friends drop by with food and stories to share. I had kids in and out for school and activities. Then, we ran out of milk. And fruit. And meat. And my sweet husband leaves at 6:30 a.m. to drive 45 miles to work in Dallas and doesn’t get home until after 8 p.m.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Mommy Time

Have you ever had that moment when you think to yourself, I just need 5 minutes alone! Whether that be staring blankly at the wall, checking Facebook without being asked a million questions, going to the bathroom by yourself without your 2-year-old banging on the door, your husband asking you questions through the crack, the cat pawing under the door for you or the dog scratching at the door to get in too (because he needs 5 minutes away from the chaos as well).

If you haven’t had that moment, I envy you! The last year has been filled with those moments for this working mother and they have become much more valuable since I decided I would go back to school last May and then found out I was pregnant in August. That’s when I made the decision to make some time for me. Not the kind of time you say you’re going to make…real time. That time that no one can cancel, that no weather disaster can ruin, that no one can take away from me. The only way I was going to get that is if I put money into it. Like any budget conscience mother, if I spend a nickel on it I’m going to get my dimes worth out of it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Meals & Snacks for PCOS

As I’ve blogged before, I personally know what it’s like to live with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), I know what it is like to try to sort through what is best for me, particularly when I was trying to get pregnant.

Many people think just because I’m a dietitian, with all that I know, eating enough "healthy foods" that will optimize my health and wellness with PCOS would be easy. But the truth is it’s the same for me as anyone else.  After diagnosis, I found myself searching through loads of information found on the internet in hope of seeking something credible to go by.  Sadly, there wasn’t a whole lot of "credible" information and I just had to trust my gut to go off of what I know as a registered dietitian.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tummy Time

I’m going to throw a disclaimer out there that if you are looking for an informational blog about developmental milestones, please stop reading now.  This is a tongue-in-cheek look at how babies excel at four months old, and I’m hoping to make at least one Mom out there feel better about how she is doing with tummy time.

During one of my workdays, a conversation with operating room staff turned to babies. One staff member pulled out his phone, and said, “Oh you have to see this video.  Isn’t she cute?”  Let me preface this description of the video by saying his baby is half a month older than my child.  What I saw was unexpected.  This child was happily enjoying tummy time, proudly perched on her elbows, enjoying a video on a mini tablet in front of her.

Wait…what is this I see?  Is she doing her parent’s taxes while she is down there?  Holy cow.  I had some work to do. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

When good birthday parties go bad

When, oh when, did kids’ birthday parties become as complicated and matchy matchy as a full-blown wedding reception?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m guilty of it. I’ve ordered the coordinating paper straws, the Etsy homemade birthday decorations and decided on a non-mainstream theme. There’s nothing wrong with it. Really. But what my five-year-old recently taught me is kids just don’t give a flip about all that.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Life Lesson from a Busy Mom

Sunday night: work a 12-hour shift.

Monday morning: turn in 15-page concept analysis paper on social justice in healthcare, put dinner in the crock pot, then sleep.  Wake up, gather children, start homework, eat dinner, baseball practice for #2 son at 5:30.  I’m tired already, and I’ve only been up for 3 hours!  After practice, baths and bed for the boys, and advanced pathophysiology for yours truly.  By the time I go to bed, I think to myself, “what am I thinking?”

That’s just the first 24 hours of my week, because I am the proud mother of three amazing, crazy, baseball playing, beautiful boys, a full-time night shift nurse, and a grad student working on my nurse practitioner’s degree.  Luckily, I have an amazing husband who fills in for my short comings, but this is my life as I know it.

We have baseball on Mondays and Tuesdays, select basketball on Wednesdays, soccer on Thursdays, and games Fridays and Saturdays.  I reflect on the question I am frequently asked, as well as I ask myself, “What are you thinking?”  And the answer is, “I try not to think about it!”

I know someday that the games will be over, the homework will end, and my family schedule will be empty, and that is what keeps me going.  I realize this too shall pass, and strangely enough, that makes me sad.  So no matter how crazy your life gets, how stressed you are, or how much time you think you don’t have, just remember: someday you will have too much time.

So today, do something fun!  Fill your calendar, and enjoy every minute of it; for this too shall pass.

Carrie White is a nursing supervisor in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Meat: it’s what’s for dinner.

I gave up meat for Lent this year. In past years I’ve done some variation of this (one year I went full-out vegan) because it’s meaningful to me – I have a conscience about eating animals for ethical and environmental reasons. But I haven’t gone full vegetarian because, let’s face it, meat tastes good and in our country it’s just plain inconvenient…at restaurants, at lunch meetings, and at the dinner table with meat-eaters.