Monday, September 30, 2013

Family Picture Blues

At about the time school starts, our department newsletter gurus ask for summer vacation stories. I’m usually happy to submit mine. Last summer (yes, 2012) was no different, and we’d had a fabulous two-week family vacation to Colorado, so I did a write-up and submitted a few of my favorite snapshots. When the newsletter came out, I was happy to see my story was one of the ones picked to run, until a close friend said, “Julie, do you realize you are not in a single one of these pictures?” She was right. I hadn’t even realized it, but in that entire two weeks, we had not gotten even ONE picture with all 5 of us in it. Usually I was behind the camera, but sometimes one of the boys was the one snapping the pics.

This summer, I vowed, would be different. We took a week-long trip to visit my parents in Galveston. And while I got TONS of fabulous pictures between the half-dozen shutterbugs we had down there, this is the only shot I have that all 5 of us are in.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mastering the Mathematical Monster

Each school year brings something new, and this year is no different for us. Along with beginning at new school, my daughter is also facing new academic challenges that come along with being a fourth grader.

Suddenly she is being held accountable for remembering her assignments, turning homework in on time and with appropriate headings and, probably the most difficult of all, switching classes. Now, I will admit that this is a lot for a kid all at once. But, if we didn’t think she could handle it, we’d never have made the switch.

Thankfully, as the weeks and months continue, things seem to be falling into place for her. She’s made quite a few friends, switching classes seems to be going smoothly, and all she’s getting a grasp on all except …duh, duh, duh…math. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Boy and His Ties

Easter tie

The beginning of the tie phase in our house began this past Easter, when Preston, age 5, declared, “I want to wear a tie to school for our Easter party and to church on Sunday,” and that’s exactly what he did. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

He Did It!!!

I’m so proud of my little man I could burst.

T. wasn’t really excited about any team sports this fall. At our local Y, I saw a brochure about a local kid’s triathlon and asked the boy if he’d be interested. His response? “I like swimming; I like running; I like biking. Yeah.” So we talked about a goal. Since this was his first triathlon, the goal would be to finish. He didn’t have to be first, and it was OK if he was last, as long as he finished.

The triathlon is designed with the kids in mind. No parents are allowed in the transition areas—we are there to cheer them on. The kids are responsible for setting up their bikes, figuring out how they were going to dry themselves off and get on the bike, and how to get their bikes back in place so they could begin the run. It’s a lesson in planning and responsibility.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What my toddler is learning in gymnastics

The other day my mom asked what Shelby is learning in gymnastics. As a follow up to my last blog, she is actually starting to pick up a few skills.  I mean, we have the cute outfits purchased for class and she is really starting to watch her friends on the other trampolines next to her and how they jump.

Shelby jumping:

Then over the weekend she started just randomly tumbling while watching her favorite Elmo video.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dealing with Fall Allergies

I thought fall would never get here this year! It's been a long, hot summer. Fall is by far my favorite season – the changing leaves, cooler weather and pumpkin-spice-everything make my heart happy.

I’m not sure the rest of my family shares my sentiment, though. My boys and husband suffer this time of year with sneezing, runny noses and stuffiness. (Actually they suffer year-round, but fall seems to be particularly bad.) It doesn’t help that the Dallas area recently earned #18 on the 2013 list of top U.S. cities with the worst fall allergies.

Dr. Mudita Shah, allergist on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, says research suggests climate changes have caused nasal allergy during the ragweed pollen season – also called hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis – to last up to three weeks longer than it used to.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Be a role model for healthy self-esteem

It’s 8:45 p.m. (45 minutes past bedtime), and I’m sitting by the bedside of Abby, my 5-year-old, trying to comfort her. She’s crying.

 “I’m not perfect!” she sobs at me. “I have an ugly face, and I always do bad stuff!” 

My heart is breaking. A flood of emotions and questions clouds my thoughts as I try to figure out what to say to her. I just want to make her believe that she is beautiful, smart and loved unconditionally.

I’m confused. Where is this coming from?  Why does she feel this way? I mentioned that she’s only 5 years old, right!? 

I’m angry. Someone must have told her she was ugly or bad, but I’m not going to let them get away with it! 

Wait. Did I do something? Have I done something to make her feel this way?  Am I failing as a parent? 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Potty training is a learning experience for the entire family

When I was a little girl, my parents always told me that the harder you work to achieve something, the more you will appreciate it in the end. Well, I never knew how true those words would be until now. As my husband and I work to potty train our oldest daughter, I think we all look forward to doing a little “potty dance” when she masters the task on her own.

According to her teachers at daycare, she’s a shining star – she goes to the restroom on time and rarely has an accident. At home, it’s another story. Most of the time, we have to ask her, and even poke and prod her to go to the restroom. But when she’s sitting on the “big pot,” as she calls it (she refuses to sit on her training potty), she’s kicking her legs and smiling.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Getting Your Child Involved In The Kitchen

My Little Chef at the Fort Worth Children's Museum
If you are anything like our family our evenings are super busy and fly by. With cooking dinner, homework, family walks and getting ready for bed the evening is over. Other than the family walk I feel like their isn't much family fun time.

I am always searching for ways to have fun with the evening duties with my almost 7 year old, Shaye. While grocery shopping the other day I decided it would be fun for Shaye to make us dinner. I bought everything she would like to create our own pizzas:

•    Pillsbury Pizza Dough
•    Ragu Pizza Sauce
•    Pepperoni Slices
•    Sausage Pieces
•    Mozzarella Cheese

She could not wait to make us dinner and has multiple times since then. We told her it was the best pizza and I promise that Pillsbury dough is wonderful.  I love spending this extra time together in the kitchen and watching Shaye have fun making the family dinner!

Stephanie Abernathy is a Mom of two in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who works at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford. She is wife to Clint Abernathy, administrative director of business optimization and ancillary services at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance.  - See more at:
Stephanie Abernathy is a Mom of two in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who works at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford. She is wife to Clint Abernathy, administrative director of business optimization and ancillary services at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance

Stephanie Abernathy is a Mom of two in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who works at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford. She is wife to Clint Abernathy, administrative director of business optimization and ancillary services at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance.  - See more at:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kids Snack on the Go! Homemade Energy Bars

Okay so you got me – I’m a fraud. Am I a mom? No. But I do have ten rugrats that refer to me as, “Aunt Doodle.” Don’t ask questions, I’m not sure where the nickname came from either. What I do know is, it’s important to keep your kids happy, healthy, and anything but hungry!

Whether you’re running the kids to school, soccer, play dates, or to that thing you really don’t want to go to, a quick snack is what you need! But store-bought energy bars, granola bars, or those delicious Kids Clif ZBars I can’t stop stealing from my sister’s diaper bag, can be so expensive over time. Besides, I’m intimidated when I can’t pronounce half the ingredient list. So, today is the day!

Here’s a fun recipe to make your own energy bars and all with ingredients you may already have in your pantry. Feel free to get creative with the nuts and seeds, and add in your favorite dried fruit (or chocolate chips – I won’t tell!) to the base. I’ve made a note in the method on when to add in any additional ingredients.

Monday, September 16, 2013

What’s the right answer?

Elliot recently moved up to a new class at his school, and one of the great things the teachers do for the parents is place this little white board at the entrance to the class. Every few days they ask a question to the class and post their hilarious responses. Normally the questions lend themselves to comedy – such as “where do you live?” As you might imagine, the answers that the fertile brains of 2-year-olds came up with was something to behold.

This particular day the question was cut and dried, but as you can see, the results are priceless. Every single kid in the class answered correctly…except my son.

As any good parent would do, I instantly saw the comedic gold and began sharing this image with friends and family through text, social media and email. What became funnier that the image itself was the varied responses I received. Each response fit nicely into one of four basic categories.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A letter to my strong-willed unborn child

My dear darling daughter,

You and the quest to have you have taught me so much already.

You’ll figure this out when you arrive, or maybe you already have, but I’ve always been the one who likes to control situations and to plan things out in-depth and your Daddy has always been the one to urge rest and relaxation to be built in. It’s that way whether it is planning out our weekends, a trip to Spain or having you.

Aside from wondering whose athletic abilities you’ll get, one of the things we’ve been most curious about is whose temperament you would take or if you’d be a nice mixture of the two of us. Already, we’ve certainly gotten glimpses of how you might be.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Three ladies, two birthdays, one special day

Josephine, Nyla and Brandi
On September 10th, Dr. John Freeman delivered baby girl Nyla Martinez weighing 9 lbs and measuring 21 inches.

He chuckled to the nurses: “Want to hear something fun? I delivered Nyla’s mom Brandi here, too, 20 years ago to the day!”

Dr. Freeman said he’s been an OB/GYN for 25 years – delivering over 4,000 babies – and has never come across this situation.

“I’ve delivered babies to moms whom I’ve also delivered, but never on the same day before,” he said. “I thought that was kind of cool! It shows how long Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth has been in the community.”

Brandi, who was born weighing almost 9 lbs also, said Nyla sharing her birthday was an exciting and unexpected surprise. Nyla was actually due on September 8.

“We think it’s pretty exciting,” Brandi’s mom Josephine said. “It means double birthday cakes!”

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Go Outside and Play

Playing outdoors is a form of exercise that promotes well-being and wholesome physical development.  But today's children spend a fraction of their free time outdoors.  When my grandson Wes, was younger – around 4 or 5 years old, he would always complain about being outdoors.  It was too hot, or too cold, or too many bugs.  He would firmly and often tell me with an unyielding mind that “I am not an outdoors type person.”

I quickly learned that all children are not naturally drawn to playing outdoors - unlike when I was a kid.  As soon as our chores were done, we were told to go outside and play, which we gladly did.  Sometimes we would stay outdoors all day, coming in only to eat or when the street lights came one.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

To Bow or Not to Bow!

Oh my, having two girls can be the most wonderful experience and the most outrageous experience!

Second week in to the new school year and my daughters were already fighting over who got to wear the new zebra print hair bow purchased at the elementary school’s Spirit Sale. 

Well of course, being the Mom I am, I purchased the bow with the pinstripes, the bow with the polka dots and the bow with the zebra print -- thinking, my sweet girls will just share the bows and switch out throughout the week. 

Little did I know that would NOT happen! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Things I Ordered Online at 3 a.m.

Recently put together a gift for a friend who is about to have her first baby. It was the “Things I Ordered From My Phone At 3a.m.” gift. I thought I would share some of these personal suggestions in hopes of making the lives of future new mommies easier:

•    The car seat arm band thing
If I had it to do over on buying a car seat, I would buy the most compact, lightest car seat I could find that had decent safety ratings. I digress. On our first trip to the pediatrician, I sat in the waiting room, and saw a person across the way with this arm band cushion on the car seat arm. I’m pretty sure I ordered that from my phone, sitting in the waiting room.

•    Vitamin D drops 
While with the pediatrician, he examined Hannah and told me how beautiful she was, and said I needed to give her Vitamin D drops daily. I forget why, but I do remember Hannah liked them, so I would ration them to her in 1/3’s throughout the day for when we laid down for changes, she’d start screaming, and I’d dribble in a few drops in her mouth and change my quiet baby’s diaper.

•    Medicines
I once asked the pediatrician how I would know when she’s sick, that’s how clueless I was. Here’s what I would suggest: saline nose drops, gas drops, and Tylenol (just make sure the box says it’s Acetaminophen for infants). That can get you through 90% of issues in the first few months.
•    Car seat mirror
It is so reassuring to be able to see the baby in the rear view mirror.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Toddler Words

I’m endlessly entertained by the joyful nonsense jibber-jabber of my toddler. It makes my heart so happy.

I think it’s interesting, too, the words they start to pick up (or don’t), and what other toddlers his age pick up in comparison.

Aside from the basic Mama, Dada, Bye Bye, Night Night kind of stuff, here are some of my 21-month-old’s favorite words:

Abinky (his pacifier)
Oh no!
Aw Man!
Oushide (Outside)
Kitty Cat

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Baby Food Making

This go-round of baby food making was fun!  I still have quite a bit of puree cubes left in my freezer, but the OCD Type A personality I am, I always want to be prepared.  Over the last month or so I watched my freezer stash dwindle, and it was making me uptight, so over the weekend I decided batch prep and cook some more for my girls.  Now that the girls are much more interested in trying new foods, getting creative with their puree mixtures was super entertaining.  It is sad, but I’m actually more excited about food not requiring teeth more so than my own these days *sigh*

Grocery List

1 (16oz) package frozen mango chunks: $2.88
1 (16oz) package frozen sliced peaches: $2.66
1 (16oz) package frozen whole kernel corn: $0.98
3 apples: $0.99/lb (on sale); $1.76
1 bag carrots (organic): $1.98
3 medium-large sweet potatoes: $0.88/lb; $3.19
3 green pears: $1.27/lb; $1.51
1 haas avocado (on sale): $0.50/each
4 medium zucchini squash: $1.78/lb; $2.22
3 ripe bananas: $0.52/lb; $0.78
1 (18oz) shell blueberries: $3.84 (bought at SAM’s)
1 (32oz) container plain yogurt (organic): $3.24
Total cost: $25.54

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Is this child overweight?

My son told me a story about a new program at school last year where he had to get on a scale in front of his entire class because his BMI was being measured.  I asked him if it the weighing in occurred away from other children in a semi-private area, and he told me that it did not.  He mentioned to me that when he stepped on the scale, other children made fun of him because he weighed more than most children in his class. My son was teased because of his weight. 

Now, this weigh-in obviously leads somewhere.  At the end of school year, my son was handed a sheet of paper with statistics for his physical fitness comparing the beginning of the school year to the end of the school year.  It compared sit ups, pulls ups, running, and lastly, BMI.  BMI? Wait, what?! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Can you take a toddler to the movies?

Well, the answer is yes. Kind of.

I have two sons – a 5 year old and a 21 month old – and about a month ago, the older one really wanted to see Planes. So my husband and I went back and forth over whether or not our younger son, Jack, could go. He’s only 21 months and we thought he might get overwhelmed or not be able to sit still that long… the list went on and on. I Googled ‘what age can you take your child to the movies’ and got a ton of conflicting answers, but, in the end we decided to go for it.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Did you know you can enroll your child in gymnastics as early as 12 months old?  Well, Shelby just hit 18 months old and with all of the energy and lack of fear that she has I thought this might be the perfect activity for her.

We tried out a local gymnastics center near our house last week.  The great thing is you can go try out a class and see if it is for you before you commit.  So, we arrived about ten minutes early and immediately I knew this was the right place for her.

There was no sitting on the sidelines waiting for class to begin.  She started checking out the foam pit and climbing up the little stairs to jump in it.  Once class began I think the best way to describe it is organized chaos.  And guess what child added the “chaos” to the mix?  Yep, that would be mine.