Thank You, Daddy

Dear Kerry,

Fatherhood has brought out the best in you as a person and a husband and made the bond of our marriage so much stronger. I’m so thankful for the love and devotion you give to Clara and the love and support you give to me. When she was in my tummy, I would talk to her and tell her she was going to be a wonderful person like you…kind, selfless, loving, giving, caring, intelligent, funny, and strong, yet sensitive.

I love you so much,


PS. Since Clara hasn’t exactly learned to write yet, she wanted me to help her thank you for Father’s day…


Thank you, Daddy, for helping bring me into this world.




Thank you, Daddy, for holding me close.




Thank you, Daddy, for supporting me.




Thank you, Daddy, for holding me up.




Thank you, Daddy, for letting me grab on to you.

Dec. 2010



Thank you, Daddy, for putting me to sleep.

Jan. 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for building a foundation for me.

Jan. 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for being by my side.

March 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for sharing your TCU spirit with me.

March 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for taking me to music class.

April 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for laughing with me.

May 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for taking me to my first Ranger’s Game.

Sept. 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for teaching me to love animals.

Oct. 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for wearing my Halloween costume.

Oct. 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for eating my Halloween candy.

Oct. 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for drumming on pumpkins with me.

Oct. 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for playing nosie with me.

Nov. 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for buying healthy foods for me.

Nov. 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for spending time outdoors with me.

Nov. 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for rough housing with me.

Dec. 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for all of the kisses.

Dec. 2011



Thank you, Daddy, for experiencing new sights and sounds with me.

Feb. 2012



Thank you, Daddy, for getting dressed up with me.

April 2012



Thank you, Daddy, for reading me stories.

April 2012



Thank you, Daddy, for letting me pick bluebonnets.

April 2012



Thank you, Daddy, for creating backyard adventures.

April 2012



Thank you, Daddy, for playing on the floor with me.

April 2012



Thank you, Daddy, for the dress up clothes.

May 2012



Thank you, Daddy, for building me a table with an exploration bin.

May 2012



Thank you, Daddy, for teaching me to love nature.

May 2012



Thank you, Daddy, for being my buddy.

May 2012



Thank you, Daddy, for holding my hand.

June 2012


Thank you, Daddy, for loving me.

I love you more than you can ever imagine.

Happy Father’s Day 2012.



Homemade Play-Doh and Pebbles

I recently took out some play-doh I received as a party favor to see what Clara would think about it. Sure enough, she ended up putting it in her mouth. It occurred to me, what the heck is in this stuff? Since all of the ingredients are not listed and it was made in China, I sought out an alternative and found some recipes for homemade play-doh with natural food dyes. Foods such as raspberries, blueberries, and turmeric work great!

I started out with blueberries. Isn’t this a pretty color?!

The next step was to see what Clara would do with it. She proceeded to carry it to the table, so she could stand on the chair and squeeze and poke it. I should have known.

There were some decorative glass pebbles in the center of the table that she beckoned for, which added a whole other dimension to this activity.


When she dropped a pebble on the table, it made such a glorious sound that I grabbed a glass jar to add to this sensory experience. Since she also liked the sound of the glass jar against the table, we moved to the carpet to avoid the sound of breaking glass. She loved to drop the pebbles in the glass jar, so I thought we could count the pebbles too.

Of course little crumbles of play-doh dropped on the carpet. It was time to clean up the little pieces. Great for finger dexterity!

I’d like to carry it around now mommy… whoa, this is wobbly!

Back to the table!

How about some squatting/balance practice.

Overall, this activity lasted for well over an hour. She was so focused the entire time and napped for about 3 hours that afternoon. It must have worn her out! She explored a lot in this activity, from decision making to exercise, physics, dexterity, sound, counting, to cleaning up. Phew! That’s a lot of stuff to get out of play-doh and pebbles!


Car Seat Safety 101

Every time you get behind the wheel, can you say your child is in the safest possible position and buckled in the seat properly? Would you bet his/her life on it? Have you read your car seat manual front to back and the owner’s manual to your car? Who does? Even if you had the time, with all of the details that go into installing a car seat properly, it can be an overwhelming amount of information.

Did you know that unintentional childhood injury is the leading cause of death and disability for children ages 1 to 14? Not to be Debbie Downer, but injury and death can occur due to mistakes, short cuts, and bad choices made when installing a car seat or when buckling your child in. Safe kids is a national organization formed to educate parents about safety. One of the FREE services they provide is car seat checks and installations. The hands on experience with an expert who has been trained to install and teach you about car seats is invaluable.

We took our infant car seat to safe kids before C was born, for both cars, and when she graduated to the bigger seat. I’m so thankful that my husband does not have an ego when it comes to seeking guidance from an expert. At our appointment, Officer Lonnie gave us a mini education course about car seat safety, explained how our brand of car seat worked with our car model and made sure we understood how to properly install it ourselves. As an officer, he has witnessed many car crashes throughout his career and volunteers his time every week to this organization in order to prevent tragedies he has seen. He is so passionate about this cause and so are the many other volunteers that work with SafeKids.

Here are some key points:

YOUR CHILD SHOULD BE REAR FACING FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. It is SO.MUCH.SAFER. Our car seat goes up to 40 lbs rear facing, then 70 lbs forward facing. That could mean she might be 4 years old before having to face forward! She can learn to sit criss cross applesauce. As officer Lonnie puts it, “broken necks or spines are much harder to fix than broken legs”. He gave us a simple physics lesson to explain how a child is far better protected when rear facing in an impact. Another point was made that having legs dangle off the front of the seat can also cut off circulation. Children might in fact be more comfortable rear facing. They are flexible and can bend their legs!

I’ve heard friends say their child doesn’t like to rear face or they like to be able to see them. This justification doesn’t make sense to me when your child’s safety is on the line. But I’m sure they just don’t understand how much safer it is or they would make a different choice. That’s why I think car seat education is so important.

WHEN POSSIBLE, PUT YOUR CAR SEAT IN THE CENTER SEAT, NOT THE SIDE. It doesn’t take a rocket science degree to figure this one out. In a side impact, even 1 foot difference can be a life saver. Sure it might be a bit of an inconvenience to load your child in the center, but again, at what cost? Here’s where it is a bit complicated. Most cars, even new cars, don’t have the latch system in the center seat. Manufacturers are only required to put two sets of latches in. In an assembly line situation, it’s easier to put them on the side. Thanks car industry! So, you have to use the seat belt instead of the latches. Perhaps a bit more work when installing. But! the payoff is so worth it! When a second child comes along, of course 1 of them will have to be on the side and 1 in the center, unless you have a limo. HaHa!

MAKE SURE THE HARNESS IS TIGHT ENOUGH AND IN THE PROPER POSITION. The shoulder straps should be at or below the shoulders and the chest strap should be right at the nipple line or underarms. When checking for tightness, you should not be able to pinch any material together just above the chest strap. Buckling them in is NOT enough. It must be tight.

These 3 points are pretty universal. But, there are even little details such as not adding anything to your car seat, like pads, toys, seat protectors, or even those shades that stick on the windows. All of those bells and whistles you can buy have not been crash tested with the car seat. And, things fly in an impact. Even more importantly, when actually installing the car seat, there are so many variances depending on the brand of car seat and the make/model of your car. That is why it’s important to have an expert check and/or teach you to install it properly.

It’s so easy to do. Just call and set up an appointment. They have them weekly in your area. You can never be too busy to make sure your child is as safe as they can be in your car!! If your heart is set on facing your child forward before they have to according to their weight, I hope you will consider making an appointment and turning your child back around!

If I Can Grow A Person, I Can Grow A Veggie

The jury is still out on this one, so I probably shouldn’t get ahead of myself. There are no veggies yet, but we started a square foot garden yesterday and planted seeds and a few transplants. Now it’s Water, Watch, and Wait. A Wish probably wouldn’t hurt either.

I hate to admit that I’m somewhat of a control freak, although I’m working on NOT being one. Ironic, I know. Luckily I have an understanding and patient husband. We also communicate very well and openly and love each other despite our individual faults or maybe even because of them. Needless to say, I really hate that I can’t “control” what the seed is going to do or know what will become of it. It’s one thing trying to control life in the moment, but trying to control the future… now that takes Super Powers!

I guess I don’t have super powers…shucks.

So I bought the square foot gardening book that a friend recommended and I’m so glad I did! The author, Mel Bartholomew, makes it all seem so easy. He lays out the process in a clear and entertaining fashion and really sells you on the idea of square foot gardening. It seems to be a fool proof, guaranteed success. Great for a control freak (I hate saying that). Do I have to be a freak? Why not a control goddess or something? Since I want to control the perception of whoever is reading this, I want you to know I’m not THAT much of a control freak. It’s just a small part of me. Really though…I’m just trying to be funny. HaHa! (nervous laugh)

Anyway, my main inspiration for this garden is that I want Clara to grow up eating fresh, homegrown vegetables. I also want it to be an activity and project we share together as a family. Plus, I’m already partly a granola mommy, so I might as well take some more steps in that direction! But don’t worry honey, you can always count on a smooth underarm.

Turkey Veggie Meatloaf: Deelishus Dish

Pre-ketchup and baking

When I was a kid, meatloaf sounded like eating garbage. I But I also didn’t like chocolate. Crazy kid I was.

Anyway, I’m always trying to find yummy and healthy meals that the toddler will eat, the husband will scarf, the mom will feel good about, the freezer will freeze, and will work with substitutions.

Turkey Veggie Meatloaf does just that.

I’m not an exact measurement kind of gal, so here’s the gist:

Cook chopped garlic, onion, and green pepper (or yellow or red) in EVOO.

Toss together shredded zucchini (or squash), shredded carrots, garlic, onion, green pepper, bread crumbs, shredded parmesan cheese, one egg, and your favorite spices. *In this picture, there were some things I didn’t have on hand, so I traded some frozen broccoli(boiled first) for carrots, mozzarella for parmesan and yellow pepper for green pepper.

Mix in 1lb of ground turkey(or ground beef). You have to mix it with your hands, so be prepared to dig in!

Form into a log in an oven-safe dish or pan. Squeeze ketchup on top and spread it out to cover all surfaces.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for an hour. Mmmmmmm… makes the house smell good.

I have to thank my sister Sallie for this recipe! “Thank you Sallie!”

Ooops! Ate some already!


To Be A Kid Again

Daddy and Clara on the train

Swimming in the pool, playing in the park, watching animals at the zoo, riding roller coasters, jumping on a trampoline, and discovering new sights, sounds, and smells are all magical when you’re a child. I remember feeling excitement and anticipation at the thought of these activities as a kid.

We took Clara on her first train ride this weekend. When the three of us do things together as a family, I feel like a kid again with so much happiness and pure joy in the moment.

It was a cold, breezy, but sunny Sunday afternoon in February. While passengers were boarding the Forest Park Miniature Railroad, Clara held my hand as we walked from the engine to the caboose waving to people in the train cars. “All aboard!” said the conductor as we hopped on next to Daddy, squished together to stay warm and cozy in one seat.

As we started to move, I noticed the wonder on her face as we began this new adventure. The cold wind from the Trinity blew on our faces as families on bicycles rode by. “Look!” I would say. “A bicycle!…a doggie!.. ducks!…a waterfall!…a bridge!…a park!”. Who knew all of these things could be so exciting? Mommy and daddy were just as thrilled as she was to point out the sites that passed by. And to top it off, passerby’s waved with big smiles, bringing such joy to the present moment.

Just when things couldn’t get any better, the train stopped for a popcorn break. She was too busy watching the sites to see us “sharing” the popcorn until the very end when I gave her a few small pieces of salty goodness. As the train curved around the bend to go back to the depot, we could finally see the rest of the train and wave to the other passengers. “Choo Choo! Choo Choo!” She’s heard that sound before in songs and books, but now she can associate them with the real thing!

I am so thankful to share these special moments as a family and to experience life as a kid again.

Diastasis Recti Rehab: Week 3 to Week 4

Something is very funny

I have been cracking up for the last half hour! In preparation for week 4, I watched the video to learn the new headlift exercises. Week 3 was pretty uneventful other than really feeling the burn in my transverse and lower back. But this week is going to take a lot of brainpower. As I listened to the instructions on the video, I realized I needed to write some things down.

This strikes me as hilarious and gives me tired-head all at the same time:

In order to engage the transverse, you must remember 5 things about this muscle…Let me teach you the 5 step headlift… There are 4 things to remember before starting the headlifts…It is important to make sure you do the first 3 steps of the headlifts correctly before lifting your head… There are 2 ways for you to know if your transverse is in or out…There are 3 places you need to hold the splint when doing the headlifts…There are 2 visualizations in the headlifts. The first 3 steps are called pelvic stabilization. These 3 steps must be done correctly before doing the last 2 steps of the headlifts.

Bhwaaaahahahahahhahahaha! My head is swimming…

I sure hope I can remember all of that!

In week 3, although I did my exercises, I got a little lazy with steps 3 and 4 of holding in my transverse and getting up and down/picking things up correctly. Also, the splint would ride up to my ribs above my belly button constantly and I would have needed to adjust it with every movement. Since I don’t sit still all day, I’m not sure how effective my splinting was this week even though I adjusted it throughout the day. I’m thinking I might need to order a smaller one. Seems like it would be easier to wear two instead of having to hold the second one for the week 4 exercises anyway.

I really hope this program is going to work for closing my diastasis! I am doing the best I can. One thing for sure is my transverse is getting stronger, my posture is much improved, and I notice my back hurts the next day if I did any slumping the day before. So, I am still building an awareness and seeing results that encourage me to keep going.

Book Review: Baby-Led Weaning By Rapley and Murkett

Eating a Steamed Carrot at 6 months

Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater. I read this book when Clara was about 5 months old. I had heard so much mixed information on introducing solids and wanted to make an informed choice on how to do this with Clara.

Say No to Purees:

The idea behind BLW, while relatively new in our “modern” society, is actually a very “old” concept. In a nutshell, it’s a no-puree, non-spoon feeding method. Your baby is ready to explore food when she can sit up on her own, reaches for food on your plate and can bring it to her mouth. Readiness is important both developmentally and for their digestive systems. Your baby knows intuitively what they are ready for.

Babies are born with a “leaky gut” so that milk can move freely through the digestive track. Introducing solids, especially grains like cereal, before this gut has closed can lead to health problems such as digestive issues and allergies. It’s hard to resist when people give well-meaning advice to give your baby cereal so they will “sleep” longer. Not only does “filler” take away from nutrition their body needs from milk, but research has found that cereal does not help your baby sleep longer. If someone has found it to help with sleeping in their own experience, it is usually a coincidence.

Spoon-feeding VS. Self-feeding

A self-feeding baby learns to be in control of her food and learns to judge what and how much her body needs. You have to allow time with a self feeding baby. It’s easy to be in a hurry to fill up your baby when spoon feeding, shoveling it in to make sure baby gets enough. Spoon feeding by nature is much faster because there is no chewing, tasting, savoring or exploring. It takes time for your body to feel full. Eating fast can lead to a habit of overeating, not something we want to teach our kids. Also, milk is the most important source of calories and nourishment for the first year of life. When a baby fills up on solids, they are taking in less milk. Solid foods are really not needed until much later, but there is always that pressure to move on to the next stage.

After all, the tooth is the original food processor and an important part in the digestive process! Blenders are obviously a modern invention. Many babies don’t even have molars after the first year of life. Are we meant to eat “solids” so early?

What did I do?

At the same time I ordered BLW, I also ordered Super Baby Food by Yaron which is like a pureed-food encyclopedia. Completely Opposite. Can we just say, this indecisive mama was even more conflicted about how to proceed. I decided to give BLW a try first and hoped to not even go the pureed route. I tend to be drawn toward the road less traveled anyway. However, during my BLW experiment, a few things came up that led to me going the other direction after a few weeks.

I was afraid of choking. Rapley provides safe guidelines regarding this. She also argues that choking is less of a problem with BLW than spoon feeding because babies develop the chewing skill much sooner. She explains the difference between choking and gagging. Gagging is not harmful and the baby learns sooner how to handle food. However, when you see your baby gag for the first time, it’s a scary thing. It really just made me anxious and I didn’t want to have that kind of energy around Clara when she was eating. I started to question this route I was taking.

I was concerned about not implementing the 4-day wait rule for food allergies. According to Rapley, the 4-day wait rule really applies to babies younger than 6 months. But, nevertheless I had also heard that waiting to introduce certain things could keep a child from developing food allergies. If she had a reaction or sensitivity, I wanted to be able to pinpoint the offending food.

I was cooking things separately from our meals. One of the stated pros of BLW is that you can let them eat off of your plate. I eat healthily, but not perfect and I wanted her first foods to be in their purest form with no salt or sugar or processed ingredients. I wanted her to have just steamed veggies and fresh fruits. Although I cook a lot now, I still wasn’t cooking much yet and it was just a pain. It seemed easier and faster to puree my own foods in bulk and freeze them.

In the end, I think I’ll chalk up these 3 concerns I had when doing BLW to being an inexperienced first time mom. My instincts tell me that this way is best, but I didn’t know anyone else at the time who did BLW, so I doubted myself. It’s funny how looking back, I treated so many decisions I made as ridiculously significant that now seem rather insignificant. I know myself pretty well and that probably won’t change much. But, at 16 months, Clara is extremely healthy and eats well. So it all worked out!

Gumming an apple at 6 months

Getting Creative With Buckwheat

Have you heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”?

Of course.

Have you heard the saying, “When life gives you buckwheat, make pancakes“?…

Of course…               not.

Buckwheat pancakes taste like grainy cardboard. Syrup helps. But, I haven’t put syrup on Clara’s pancakes before. If I did, she’d probably just dip her finger in the syrup and suck on her finger. Then she’d have a squish fest with the pancake, shaking out milk from her cup on top to make a soggy mess that would end up on the floor and not her tummy.

Not gonna happen!

I’ll put it off as long as possible anyway, for the same reason I haven’t given her apple juice. Why would she ever want to drink water if her cup could be filled with something sweet? I’ve always been anti-juice, even before having a kid. There is no good reason to drink the stuff and there are many good reasons not too. That’s another post though.

Food Coma

So when she tried a buttered buckwheat pancake with no syrup, she slowly pushed it back out with her tongue as if to say “bleck!”. I don’t blame her. I enjoy eating almost anything and have an open mind when trying new foods. But, grainy cardboard? Really? Nah.

Committed to my non-syrup pancakes, I got creative to make a nutritious topping for them. I grabbed some organic applesauce, plain yogurt, and cinnamon. She loved it, buckwheat and all. This picture should speak for itself.

Diastasis Recti Rehab: Week 2 Conclusion

My diastasis is as wide as my guitar neck

I am impatient. I want my diastasis to close NOW.

I checked my diastasis this week and it is still 3 fingers wide. I told myself not to check it this early so as not to get discouraged. It’s probably too soon for there to be any noticeable change. But it was like thinking,”I’m not going to eat that reeses peanut butter cup”, which of course makes it much more enticing. Man I love those things. Mmmmm…

I did get discouraged when I checked it yesterday.

However, I have enough insight about myself to realize that maybe I wanted it to still be 3 fingers wide. It would give me a reason to say, “this is not working. I quit”. I pouted for a day, skipped my evening exercises, had glass of wine and melted into the recliner to catch up on American Idol…WITHOUT the splint. Don’t tell Julie Tupler I took the night off.

After the enthusiasm of starting a new work out or resolution wears off, I have to find motivation to keep me going. My tummy’s appearance after the diastasis closes is not enough. In fact, my mummy tummy will never be the same because of how my skin stretched with my pregnancy. This is not about making my tummy look better. At this point in my life, it doesn’t really bother me. I have a beautiful child to show for it and I will have more.

Why is it important to close my diastasis?

Closing my diastasis is about supporting my back to eliminate pain, supporting my organs for proper digestion, getting rid of my umbilical hernia, and strengthening my core for my structural health and future. And most importantly for me, it’s for comfort and positioning during my next pregnancy and labor. If I don’t close my diastasis before my next pregnancy, I could have more back pain and it could affect the positioning of the baby. Also, my 3-finger diastasis could turn into an entire hand or two hands wide if I don’t take steps to close it now. YIKES!

Here’s to week 3! Perseverance, patience, and posture.