Friday, August 30, 2013

Happy Breastfeeding Awareness Month!

Of course I am writing this in the last days of August trying to squeeze it in before the end of the month. But I have been thinking about it all month long, I knew I wanted to blog about it but couldn't seem to find the motivation to sit down and do it.

Now I am currently not breastfeeding, but both of my kiddos nursed for about 13 months. So I've got 26 months of experience under my belt and it wasn't always easy. Lucy, my second baby, was easy because she was born and then 30 minutes later after laying skin to skin she wiggled herself down and BOOM latched on and she pretty much stayed attached for 13 months; it was her favorite. I had heard that newborns would do that but let me tell you they really do! Give that baby a chance and they will figure it out!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Onesie cupcake tutorial

What is it about baby showers that makes us want to turn baby gear into baked goods?

If you don’t have the time or energy to put together the full-blown diaper cake, a quick and easy alternative is a batch of adorable onesie and sock cupcakes. These take a few minutes each.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Mother’s Wish

From learning how to walk, ride a bike, date without parental supervision and drive, it has all led up to this day.

The transition to young adulthood has been difficult to watch as a single Mom, but I hope I’ve done it with love and support and have not been too smothering.

Last week was the most difficult to date.  It seems that the speed limit on the road to adulthood has been increased.  My son, who has barely gotten over having a bed time, turned 16 and received his driver’s license on the same day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Getting Back in Shape

One of the hardest things to do after having your baby or babies is getting back into shape.

A celebrity give us this idea that it is so easy and happens quickly after giving birth, but most recently we have seen from Kate Middleton that celebrities are just like us. Celebrities still leave the hospital in maternity clothes, still wear maternity clothes in their family pictures, and yes they do have to work at it to lose weight. I know big shock!

It is very unrealistic to think that after a few weeks you will bounce right back and be in your size 6 jeans. It took 9 months for you to put on that weight, so no need to stress about it days after giving birth.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Cord clamping: to delay or not to delay?

It seems the questions facing pregnant women on what they should eat, how they should behave and what should happen in the delivery room never end.

One day caffeine is the root of all evil in pregnancy and the next who knows if it has an effect. Some doctors say to avoid sushi others say use your judgment. And don’t even get me started on the whole where to have your baby and with what pain management options debates.

So I have to admit I groaned, loudly, when I saw headlines that weighed in on when the cord should be clamped in the delivery room? My third trimester brain is too flooded with details I don’t really want to be considering about delivery and now I need to ask my doc when she plans to cut the cord? Really?
Apparently it’s not as new a discussion as the recent headlines would have you believe.

Early versus delayed umbilical cord clamping has been a source of controversy and debate in the OBGYN field for many years, said Dr. Sheri Puffer, an OB/GYN on the medical staff at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. A quick primer on umbilical cords: at the time of birth, the infant is attached to the mother via the umbilical cord which is part of the placenta. Separation of mom and baby happens when the cord is clamped and cut. Dr. Puffer – who’s also pregnant with her first child – said there are no guidelines currently stating if early (less than 60 seconds after birth) or delayed (greater than 1 min after birth) cord clamping is superior. The timing is up to your provider and their clinical practice.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Little Prayer Warrior

Growing up, when an ambulance passed us with its lights on, we immediately prayed.  My mom tells a story about how my grandmother heard sirens and began praying for whomever the ambulance was going to help.  As it turns out, she was praying for my grandfather who had a stroke.  He ended up living many years after his stroke.

Consequently, we teach our children to do the same.  Emory, who is nearing age three, is my little prayer warrior.  She takes the job of praying very seriously, especially praying for sirens.  Thanks to her, many people receive extra prayers when they are hurt. 

“Momma, will you pray for those sirens,” she asks in her sweet voice.  I pray for them and often turn it back to her, “Emory, will you pray for them?”  She ever so sweetly bows her head and says, “Dear Jesus, please be with the sirens and whoever they are going help.  Amen.”  

Whether those sirens are passing us on the highway, on the news, a TV show or in a Curious George book, we stop to pray for them.  It’s almost comical when we pray for the ones in the books or TV shows, but I’m proud of the lesson she’s learning in the power of prayer.  I’m also grateful for the reminder she’s teaching me in knowing that our God is so powerful that stopping for a moment to pray can change results in a heartbeat.  

Julie Swink works in Brand Management and Promotions for Texas Health Resources and is a Mom of two.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Road Trippin’

This weekend I took Sam to League City (a suburb of Houston) for a little Grandma and Grandpa time. (Plus, Grandma, Aunt Lynne Cookie, and Mommy had tickets to see Wicked – woo-hoo for girl time!).

Sam is a seasoned road-tripper by now, but each trip brings some new enlightenment.

Here are a few nuggets from this weekend:

•    Any thought (yours or his) can be interrupted at any time with, “I see train tracks!”

•    Inside voices do not exist in cars.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Grilled Chicken & Roasted Vegetable Pasta

It’s the middle of August and the heat of the summer is making me wish for the crisp air of the Fall season to hurry up and make its place here in Texas.

Football season is starting, I’ve noticed my local grocer pulling out the Halloween décor and pumpkins- makes me really crave a good bowl of chili or a deep plate of pasta to warm my belly.  Not so much when the temperature gauge reads 101.  Doesn’t mean I can’t have some pasta, though!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The truth about taking a two-year-old to a baseball game

One of the many things social media has done to young (and inexperienced) parents such as me is that it has given us daily access to compare what we are doing to pretty much everyone else we know in the world.

I like to consider myself a realist when it comes to what Elliot can and can’t do and a skeptic to about 90 percent of what I see on Facebook. We see friends with kids younger than Elliot claiming to take their children to full-length movies, elaborate trips to Disney World and Six Flags, children’s museums and numerous Rangers’ games. They all post idyllic pictures, much like what I posted at the top of this blog, and it looks like the perfect situation.

While I marvel at what I see on Facebook, I take it with a grain of salt. Much to my wife’s chagrin, I am staunch in my stance that I will not force Elliot into any of these elaborate adventures until he proves to me that he is capable of sitting still for more than five minutes at a time. But thanks to a perfect set of events, on Saturday night we found ourselves at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco.

Now I am going to tell you what it is really like.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Toddler Toothbrushing

One of Jake's many reactions to the "big boy" toothbrush

In all seriousness: how in the world do you brush a toddler’s teeth?

When we used just the little brush you slip on your finger, we had little-to-no problems. In fact, sometimes Jake really enjoyed it.

But now that we've recently graduated to the "big boy" toothbrush, every night after bath time I brace myself for his reaction to me pulling it out. It’s roulette.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lordy, lordy—I’m turning 40!

In a couple of weeks, I hit a couple of big milestones. The first is that I turn 40. The second is the 10-year anniversary of the death of my younger brother Fred.

Give me a second and I’ll tell you what one has to do with the other.

My brother died unexpectedly of an aneurysm around the date of my 30th birthday. The two are forever linked. But my brother’s death is also tied to one of the happiest moments of my life: We discovered we were pregnant with T. a few hours before we received the dreaded phone call.

My brother was a great guy. He loved life and loved participating in things that made him happy. He was a great friend and sibling who was there for anyone who needed him. He could see the best in a situation and made sacrifices to become a better person. (Don’t get me wrong—the man was not a saint. But even Mother Theresa had bad days.)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Things Never Change

My mother always said that God has a sense of humor, and lately, I’m beginning to think that is true. I can’t believe I’m quoting my mother.

I am mom to a college senior, Willie. He is a joy in my life. He’s studying to have a career in criminal justice, and also plays college football. I am so incredibly proud of him.

Before Willie left for college, I remember the house was never quiet. I attended all sorts of activities that he was participating in: football, track and field, youth drama and various church activities – you name it, I was there!  Our family was always busy. And being busy means there were always additional kids at the house. I never minded because I was helping my son and could be a positive impact on his life. And let’s face it; it was nice being the cool mom!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Finding {Food} Balance

Being a new Mom to eight-month old twins I’m loving every minute of it, but I’ve found that my personal health has become short changed and even though I preach proper nutrition all day long, all that seems to fly out the window once I walk through the door at home in the afternoons.  I have to remind myself that a balanced diet is a cornerstone of health and if I’m not healthy, how can I take care of my sweet babies?

A few things to remember when seeking nutritional balance:

Women should enjoy a variety of foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat dairy and lean protein. Nutrient-rich foods provide energy for women’s busy lives and help to prevent disease.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A reformed planner?

My friends and family know I'm a planner. I'm such a planner that for our wedding I had spreadsheets organized and tabbed according to the day of the wedding week and the person responsible for the tasks. It still amuses my Mom to tell tales of that spreadsheet.

There's not much more satisfying to me than checking items off a to do list. I enjoy researching and planning. I do best when completely informed.

That's why it is so strange that when it comes to thinking about a birth plan I couldn't be less interested. I have no desire to read the labor part of the baby books. I don't have a vision for how the birth will go other than that I want my daughter to arrive safely, I would like pain medication and I want to do skin-to-skin as immediately as possible. That's it. That's my birth plan. We are going to attend a childbirth class so I'll soak up some info I suppose. But the bottom line is I know she will come out somehow and ultimately how that happens is more in my physician's control than mine. And I am perfectly happy with that.

Friday, August 9, 2013

An adorable little fashionista

Looking at my firstborn mature at such a rapid pace (far faster than I would like), I often wonder where she gets her sense of fashion and her amazing memory.

If you ask my parents, they say Nandi looks and acts the way I did as a child. My husband’s parents tell us that Nandi looks like him, but her demeanor is a mystery to them. Personally, I think she looks like both of us, but that personality is definitely little Miss Nandi’s, and hers alone.

When she turned two years old, all of a sudden Nandi had an obsession with shopping. Shoes are always top of mind, sandals, to be exact. If it looks as if I’m reaching for my purse or my keys, she’ll say, “Mama, we go shopping?” And no matter the destination, she’ll ask, “Wear my sandals?”

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Mother's Take on Breastfeeding in Public

{Disclaimer from the blogger: I am in no way pushing breastfeeding over formula feeding. While I am an advocate of breastfeeding, I fully believe in and support every Mother’s choice in feeding her baby.}

I’m not usually one to get on my soapbox or really publicly have an opinion on “controversial” issues. I HAVE opinions, often pretty strong ones, but I save them for close girlfriends or my husband or my Mother (not always my Mother since our opinions often differ).

But, the  topic of breastfeeding in public and acceptable ways to do it has been coming up more and more lately and I absolutely have an opinion on it, particularly arguments against breastfeeding in public that center around other children's reactions to it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Letting go

As the days led up to Amanda leaving us, I started to slowly collect all of her belongings and send them to her Aunt Samantha.   As the items were being sent to Samantha, she would place them in Amanda’s new room so that there was a sense of familiarity.

Anytime we have a foster child leave us, packing their items is always very difficult for me.  Packing their items is something that I have always done alone. Even though my husband has offered to help, I refuse to let him. Packing their items is my way of going through my range of emotions privately and saying my final good bye in an informal way. It’s a moment I have to reflect upon what accomplishments and struggles we have faced and to somehow search for closure on this chapter in my life.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Keeping the Me in Mommy

Don’t be distracted by this smiling, happy child… or else you could get burned.

No, really.

Last weekend my husband and I packed up our two sons to go to a friend’s pool party at noon. The morning of the pool party consisted of us adults running around getting the boys dressed, packing extra swim diapers and snacks and milk in a cooler, finding the pool toys, floaties and sunblock and trying to solve the omnipresent ‘nap’ issue  we face when our day involves a mid-day event.

Bags and coolers packed, we piled the boys into our car and headed to the pool party. About halfway there I realized I forgot to pack my contacts and sunglasses, so I could avoid wearing my glasses in the pool. “All well,” I said to my husband. “No biggie.”

Monday, August 5, 2013

From Homemade to Everyday

You may remember an earlier blog of mine that covers how to make homemade baby food. Well, I’m glad to say that we have moved on from homemade baby food to our little munchkin eating everyday food along with the rest of the family!

Our little princess is the best little eater we could ask for. She is willing to try anything and everything we put in front of her, and squeals for more.

This is a stark contrast to our first born who was, and continues to be, a very picky eater. He is thrown off by textures, and does not favor change. That could be partly our fault as we were young first time parents, and had zero clue as to what we were doing. Now that we know that babies are pretty resilient, my husband and I made a pact to give this baby anything and everything she could handle.  So far, it has worked!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Riding a real estate roller coaster

My husband and I have been riding a not-so-fun roller coaster for the past several weeks and dragging our poor boys along for the ride.

Earlier this week we had a contract signed by potential buyers for our house, which has been on the market since May. Full asking price, minor concessions, one catch: be out in two weeks. After careful consideration about the tight timing, we agreed.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Planning Ahead

Babies, I LOVE them, the smell, the tininess, the feel, everything!

Remind me of this when I complain of being sleep deprived…again. We are expecting our 3rd baby and after we got over the initial shock and denial we became very excited and still are.

As some of you know I have a 3-year-old boy, Henry, a 1-year-old girl Lucy and am expecting another girl in November! This will put almost 18 months exactly between Lucy and her little sister. They’ll be close not only in age but hopefully as really good friends one day.

Now some people look at us and think we’re crazy, and that’s cool because I KNOW we’re crazy. I have been asked “was this planned?” quite a few times which I didn’t get a lot with Lucy. Hm.