Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shaylin in One Year


1 month old

2 months old

3 months old

4 months old

5 months old

6 months old

7 months old

8 months old

9 months old

10 months old

11 months old

1 year old

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Good Eater

A lot of parents have to deal with picky eaters.  So far, we're not those parents.

Shaylin has been a good eater since we first introduced solids at 6 months old.  We started with rice cereal which quickly needed to be thickened.  She didn't care for it to be thin & soupy.  Her first "real food" was bananas which I smashed up.  But then it caused a lot of constipation so I tried less constipating foods - pears, peaches, carrots, peas, green beans.  Basically every baby food I gave her, she gladly ate it.

Here are some other foods (not pureed) she's tried & liked:

mashed potatoes
green beans
stuffing (or dressing, whatever you call it)
sweet potatoes
beans (pinto, lima, black eye peas)
biscuits (especially Red Lobster's cheddar bay biscuits)
ground beef
grilled cheese
cream of wheat

I'm probably forgetting something.  The point is, this girl loves her food! 

But there is one thing she hasn't liked - oatmeal.  She's eaten the Gerber kind & I thought if I'm going to eat oatmeal myself that I could just make a bigger batch for both of us.  But every time I've given it to her she has a look of disgust on her face & turns away. 

But I guess if she'll eat everything else I give her this isn't a battle worth fighting.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Have you ever had a cut that was so deep that it's left a scar?  I have one on my right index finger from opening a tuna can about 10 years ago.  I also have chicken pox scars that are little white dots.

But then I have scars that nobody sees.  Sometimes I don't see them.  But most days I'm reminded of them.  Lately they've been showing up a lot.  But these aren't physical scars.

I'm talking about the emotional scars from my miscarriages.  They have weighed heavy on my heart lately.  There really hasn't been a day that's gone by since May 2, 2007 that I haven't thought about them in one way or another.  Sometimes it's because I realize a due date of one of those babies has gone by, or the anniversary of when we lost a baby has come.  A lot of times it's just seeing my little girl because I realize just how blessed we are to have her.  Two years ago I had just about lost hope of ever having a baby.  And now we're about to celebrate Shaylin's first birthday. 

Sometimes the reality of what we went through hits me.  We lost six babies.  Six.  I don't know what it is but there are just times when that hits hard.  Like when I scheduled our birthing class last year & the lady on the phone asked if it was my first pregnancy.  I said that it was my 7th pregnancy but first healthy baby.  I couldn't even finish that sentence without chocking up. 

These scars also have been made me afraid of the future.  It's no secret that we want as many children as God will give us.  And as much as I want to be hopeful that future pregnancies will go as smoothly as my pregnancy with Shaylin was, I can't help but be scared.  A friend once told me that once you go through one miscarriage you will always be scared, no matter how many babies you have.  And even though I didn't have any complications with Shaylin I will still be high-risk.  I always will be. 

I know that God is in control.  If He allows us to have more babies, then it will be a blessing.  But if He chooses to close that door, then we will still be blessed because Shaylin is already more than I thought we'd ever get.

These scars are ugly.  And sometimes painful.  But these scars also remind me of what God has brought us through & how He can answer prayer.  And for that I will gladly wear these scars.

Friday, January 14, 2011


We started the weaning process this week.  I thought I'd have to wait till Shaylin was actually 12 months old but have been advised that that's not necessary.  She'll be 1 in less than 2 weeks so it's close enough.  Besides, it's still going to take a few weeks so she'll still be getting some breast milk past her birthday.

There are a lot of emotions that go into this.  I mean, it's the end of an era.

For one thing, I'm excited because this means I meant my goal of breastfeeding through the first year.  The first few days were rough & there were some other rough times, like mastitis.  And then in the summer when my supply was suffering I really doubted if we'd make it to a year.  But I'm so happy that I stuck with it.

I'm sad to be losing this bounding time with Shaylin.  I realize that mothers who bottle-feed still bond with their babies.  But this bond was very special for me.

I've been nervous that Shaylin won't handle weaning well, or that I won't for that matter.  I've also been nervous about hormone changes & physical discomfort. 

Now that I'm weaning this also motivates me to be more consistent in eating better (I type that as I'm eating marshmallows out of the bag!) & working out.  Breastfeeding has been my easy calorie burner.  They say you can burn 600 calories a day.  Really helps with losing the baby weight.  So now I won't be burning those calories which means I need to find other ways to burn them.

So far we've dropped one feeding.  There are 4 more to go.  Shaylin is still learning to use a sippy cup.  Her main issue is she doesn't know to hold her head back.  I've tried one of the cups that has a straw & she didn't know what to do with it.  But we will keep on persevering.  My goal is to have her completely weaned by the end of February.  I don't think that's too unreasonable.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Secret Santa

I've been meaning to post about this for a while but haven't had the time.

On the Wednesday night before Christmas I was at church.  We were having a pizza party with the kids & just sitting & talking.  One friend comes inside with an envelope & says it was on my car.  It has my name drawn real pretty on it & on the back it was "Please open now".  So I did.

Inside was a gift card to the runner store where I buy all my running gear, a 20% coupon for the store (good till Christmas eve), & a letter from "Santa".  Here's what it said:

Dear Shelly,

I had to send some of my elves to handle this important matter.  I know that you wanted new running shoes for Christmas, but Santa, as you can guess, is not a runner and could not pick out the right shoes.  I also can not have the elves make these shoes for you because we have already been the subject of copyright infringement on electronics and I would rather not begin a new one with Nike or New Balance.  I have enclosed a gift card to your favorite running store, The Runner  Use this and the coupon I had the elves create to buy ideal running shoes for you.  I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Santa Claus

Immediately I thought it had to be Jeremy.  Not that many people even know of this store & I couldn't think of who else would be so generous.  The gift card was for $75!  But I didn't recognize the signature.  So I thought he must have had someone sign for him.  So I went home after church & waited for Jeremy to call when he got off work.  I even considered being sneaky & not saying anything to see if he'd mention it.

So 9:00 rolls around & he calls.  And one of the first things he says is that he found an envelope on his window.  What?!  Who is doing this?  His had his name drawn on it but his said to not open till Christmas.  So now I was really confused.

For the rest of the night it was all we could talk about.  Someone was trying to make our Christmas really special.  But who?  At one point I even suggested that Jeremy made his own envelope to throw me off but we laughed it off.  By the end of the night we could only think that his parents were behind this.

So the next day we dropped Shaylin off with Jeremy's mom so we could finally shop for her Christmas.  It was the first chance we'd gotten.  And we also went to the Runner to get my shoes.  But before we left my father-in-law showed off his new walking shoes, which he purchased at the same store!  This had us more convinced that it was them.

Finally Christmas morning rolls around.  After all the presents had been unwrapped, we finally got to Jeremy's envelope.  Finally, the secret would be out & "Santa" would be revealed.

Here's what Jeremy's letter said:

Dear Jeremy,

You have been working extra hard to provide for your family and I wanted to give you something that you and your family will enjoy together.  But unfortunately the stores are sold out, and my elves are not allowed to reproduce electronics.  So here is a gift card for the new Playstation Move Bundle.  I know you will enjoy it.  I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Ho!  Ho!  Ho!

Santa Claus

The gift card was for Simon Malls but it didn't have an amount.  So at this point we look at Jeremy's parents, waiting for them to fess up.  My mother-in-law says she doesn't know what's going on, but I could tell my father-in-law was holding back. 

And then Jeremy says it was him all along.

I was shocked.  He really did go as far as to make an envelope for himself to keep me off track!  I'm very impressed.

The mall gift card was actually just leftover from a friend.  It's has 68 cents on it.  It was this friend's wife who first gave me my envelope.  And the pretty drawing on the envelope?  The ladies at work helped with that.  And the Santa signature was done my Jeremy's lead, who was decided to have the best "Santa handwriting". 

When anyone asked what I wanted for Christmas, I said I wanted new running shoes.  So I was fine with just getting money towards them.  Good shoes aren't cheap & this would help.  But Jeremy was afraid I wouldn't get enough to cover it.  And he didn't want to just take me to the store.  He wanted it to be fun.  But he's been so busy working that he was afraid he wouldn't be able to find a way to make Christmas special for me.

You see, back in September Jeremy took on a part-time job, on top of his full-time job.  It's not because we're struggling.  We've been trying to become debt-free for a while & this will help us finally achieve that goal.  We made this decision together that he would work & I would continue staying home so we could keep Shaylin at home with me.  Some may not agree with our decision & that's fine.  It's for a short time & will benefit our family down the road. 

So with him working 60 hours a week he hasn't had free time to go shopping.  Then he came up with a way to add some fun to Christmas.  His dad has been known to do things like this but this was all Jeremy's idea.  But his dad was very impressed with his son. 

I'm thankful that I have a husband that works hard for our family & who's thoughtful & wants to give me the very best.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wanted: Good Beef Stew Recipe

I have been on a quest for a good beef stew recipe.  Every one that I've tried just isn't quite right.  There always seems to be something missing.  I've tried going simple using one of those McCormick seasoning packs.  I've tried a lot in the crockpot, including last night.  It turned the potatoes to mush & the meat wouldn't fully cook & it was starting to stick to the side of the of the crock.  I saved the leftovers hoping to salvage it but when I dished it out for lunch I just couldn't get myself to eat it.  There was no broth.

So I'm asking for your best beef stew recipe.  I'm willing to try stovetop instead, as much as I love cooking with my crockpot.  It's perfect stew weather right now but now I just need the perfect stew.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Running - my history & some tips

Lately I've been getting a lot of questions on how to get started with running or how to enjoy it.  After a few personal messages the idea was brought to my attention to actually post a blog about it.  Of course!  Why didn't I think of this yet? 

Let me first preface this by saying that I am NOT a professional trainer.  I am simply a woman who was never good at any sport (being on the volleyball team in high school doesn't count as being "good"), got tired of gaining weight from up & down hormones, needed an outlet for the emotional distress of multiple miscarriages, & stuck with it.  So don't assume that I know everything & don't hold it against me if something goes wrong. 

Back in the summer of '08 I started running, with the help of my husband.  Earlier in the year he completed his first marathon, a great accomplishment for someone who's lived with asthma his whole life & was told he'd never do something like that.  Yeah, I'm proud of him.  I had tried running a couple years before but gave up & I know why, which I'll get to later.  I was upset about the weight I'd gained after 4 miscarriages & wanted to do something about it.

So here's what I did to learn how to run.  No, not everyone just knows how to run.  I would run for 2 minutes, then walk 2 minutes, run for 2 minutes again, walk 2 minutes, & so on & would do that for 30 minutes.  After a while (maybe a week or 2 later) the 2 minute run got easy so I increased the running time to 3 minutes, still walking only 2 minutes.  Then I increased it to 4 minutes, then 5.  Eventually I was able to run for 30 minutes.  Then my goal was to run for 3 miles without stopping.

I still remember the first time I ever finished a 3 mile run without stopping.  Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" was playing on my ipod.  Yeah, I know that's cheesy but that's what happened.

Then I picked a 5k race, Ft. Worth's Turkey Trot.  I honestly can't remember my time but I know that I never walked the entire race. 

After that I did a half marathon & another 5k.  Then I got pregnant.  I missed running while I was pregnant but there was no better reason for my hiatus than the blessing of my little Shaylin.  **side note**  Yes, I know most runners can continue running through most of their pregnancy.  But with 6 miscarriages there was no question that I had to play it safe.  And I will do the same for future pregnancies.

After my pregnancy I started back the same way I first learned to run, with my 2 minute rule.  I started at a very slow pace, 13:57, but I didn't know what to expect having given birth 6 weeks prior.  I was fortunate enough to have no joint issues but that's not to say that other moms won't.  So take that as a word of caution.

I ran a 5k around 3 1/2 months post-partum & soon after started training for a marathon.  I kind of broke a running rule with this one because most recommend running for a year before training for a marathon.  But since I wasn't technically a newbie I ignored it.  It wasn't easy & my time isn't record-breaking, but the feeling I got crossing that finish line is something nobody can take from me. 

So there's the history behind my running.  Will it work for everyone?  No.  You have to find what works for you. 
So what other advice would I give to someone who wants to start running?  Well . . .

1.  Go to a runner store.  Not Dicks, Academy, Sport Authority, or other chain sports stores.  Sorry if you work for these places; it's nothing personal.  The associates there may or may not be runners.  In my opinion they're just trying to make a sale.  So they'll push whatever their managers tell them to push.  At a runner store they take care of you.  You can go in with your old shoes (if you have any) & they'll study how you wear them down.  They'll see how you stand & check your arch height.  And then they'll find a shoe that is designed for you.  You really can't just pick a shoe because you like the color.  It may not be what will help you run your best.  I remember the first time I bought real running shoes.  It felt like I stepped into pillows.  I had also been dealing with knee pain & it immediately went away.  While there you can also shop for other essentials like socks (the right kind really do matter), shorts or pants (or tights!), & tops.  And sports bras, which brings me to my next point.

2.  Buy a good sports bra.  Ok, so I'm obviously speaking to the ladies.  You will want a high impact bra.  No other will do.  And especially if you are breastfeeding.  I've gotten some decent ones at Walmart & Target but my favorite one is from my runner store

3.  What you listen to, if at all, is up to you.  I have to have music that's upbeat.  I've got about 5 hours of music on my ipod shuffle so too much to even bother to list.  But it ranges to 80's to new stuff to even Gaelic music.

4.  You've gotta keep your water intake up.  Most people (talking even non-runners) don't drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, which is 64 oz.  If I don't drink enough water I tend to have cramps in my calves.  And if you're going to run outside with any heat you really gotta be on top of your water.

5.  Potassium helps with calf cramps, too.  If I can't have a banana everyday, I take a potassium supplement.  Never have a problem then.

6.  Stretch, stretch, & stretch some more.  Stretch before you run & again after a run.  If you're just starting to run for the first time, you'll be sore for the first few days.  So stretch throughout the day.  Sometimes you might even need to stop during a run to stretch.  For me it used to be during the first mile.

7.  Women runners are more prone to knee pain so glucosimine will become one of your best friends.  I've actually been slack on taking it & now that I've been increasing my pace I feel the need for it.

8.  You will have to find a balance between pushing yourself & over-doing it.  That's a line I still have trouble seeing.  I tend to go easy on myself to prevent injury.  You don't want to hurt yourself just to beat a time or whatever reason.  But you also don't want to constantly allow yourself to not push harder.  One of the coolest things about a marathon is how it's an example of what the human body is capable of.

9.  Runner's World is a great resource for all things running.  There are great articles for newbies & help for injuries.  That's where I got my marathon training schedule.  You can also create one for other races.

10.  Start with an easy pace.  One of the biggest mistakes new runners make is they try to sprint, not jog.  They don't feel like they're really running if it's a slow jog.  Well, ya gotta start somewhere.  If you keep trying to run faster than you can, you'll burn out, get injured, & quit.  That's what I did a long time ago.  It's been a "slow & steady win the race" kind of mentality but I've gone from a slow jog or 13:57 to my latest average pace of 10:26. 

The best thing about running is that you are your only competition & you are on a team of one.  Running isn't about winning or losing.  It's about trying.  And no matter what you accomplish you can be proud of what you did. 

A race isn't like other sporting events.  There is no booing.  I mean, why would you boo or hiss at the guy who came in first place at a marathon just because he beat your friend.  He just completed a marathon!  And that guy will then cheer for your friend & all the other runners.  In fact, I would recommend before you even run a race to just go to a race, any race, & be a spectator.  Cheer for the runners.  Many will thank you.  I can't tell you what it did for me when I got to mile 17 of my marathon & the group of people there were cheering for me as if they personally knew me. 

So there you have it.  My little running lesson.  I don't claim to know everything but I try to help where I can.  Never say you can't run.  I thought I couldn't either.  If The Biggest Loser can get morbidly obese people to finish a marathon (although I still think they're wrong in doing it), then anyone can try for a 5k.  And if you do a 5k, then try for a 10k.  And then set your sights on a half marathon.  And then maybe even a full marathon.  I did it 8 months post-partum.  It really is possible.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Crab Dip (in the crockpot)

I made this for New Year's eve & it was a big hit.

1 lb. crab meat (don't use imitation crab; that stuff is nasty & I'm sure would change the recipe)
3 blocks cream cheese
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
1 can Rotel
1/2 cup milk

Cut up cream cheese & put in crockpot on high to melt.
Add wing sauce, rotel, & milk.
Break up crab meat to look for shells & add to crock pot.
Mix well.
Cook on low for 2-3 hours or on high for no more than 2 hours, stirring often.
Serve with crackers or whatever you like.

I cooked it on high since we were in a hurry.  The leftovers were actually better because we just reheated it in the microwave.  Just seemed better lukewarm that hot out of the pot.  I enjoyed it with Townhouse crackers & Jeremy preferred it with tortilla chips.  Either way, it's really yummy!