10 Questions with Dr. Stephanie Liu

Each month, we play 10 questions with one of the Alberta’s most interesting mamas. This month we hear from Dr. Stephanie Liu who completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary and subsequently completed a Masters of Science in Clinical Nutrition at Columbia University in New York City. Her medical school and residency in Family Medicine were completed at the University of Alberta. Currently, she practices community family medicine and acute care at the University of Alberta Hospital.

Five months ago, she started Lifeofdrmom.com, a website providing families with medically credible parenting and health advice. Dr. Liu is wife to Graeme, an ENT surgeon and mommy to Madi, her sweet and spunky toddler.

1. What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job at the University of Alberta Hospital?

I practice inpatient family medicine at the University of Alberta Hospital and have a community family medicine practice in south west Edmonton. I love both inpatient and community medicine and find them both very rewarding for different reasons. In my  community family practice, I am fortunate to develop a long term relationship with my patients over months and years. The physician-patient relationship is so important to ensure that patients can meet their long term health related goals. In inpatient family medicine, it is extremely rewarding to help a patient return home to their friends and family after a critical illness.  In both settings, I work with an amazing interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals

2. Why were you inspired to start Life of Dr. Mom?

I think it’s hard as a parent to determine what is credible medical information and what is inaccurate (and possibly dangerous!) information online. Some topics that I searched for as a new mom were sleep training and infant feeding.  It is frightening how much misinformation there is out there. I wanted to create a resource that families can trust when they are trying to find information about parenting, child health and maternal health. By providing medically credible advice and also my personal perspectives, I hope that families can feel confident in their parenting choices knowing they are backed by science.

3. What sets your blog apart from the other parenting blogs out there?

I really enjoy reading parenting blogs.  I like to read and learn about other parents experiences and advice. However, I find the advice in many blogs is based on opinion and anecdotal experiences and not on research studies. I try my best to provide advice based on credible research studies.

4. Which three words best describe your parenting style?

  • Playful

  • Realistic

  • Attentive

5. What’s your favourite kid-friendly destination in Edmonton?

Parks by our house when the weather cooperates.  It is great being able to walk to a park after work before dinner, or on weekends.

We like McDonald’s play areas and Sweet Pea Café and Playhouse.

6. You can recommend one book to Alberta Mamas readers. Which title do you choose?

I  read How to Walk by Thich Nhat Han – it’s a series of books about mindfulness. I became interested in mindfulness after Madi was born;  I’m trying my best to live in the moment and appreciate those special moments. It’s too easy to become focused on work or other things.

7. It’s Sunday morning. How are you spending the day?

My husband and I try our best to not work on Sundays unless we’re on call for the hospital. Graeme normally makes breakfast – he makes really delicious buttery scrambled eggs (he uses way more butter than me), and then we go to the park or go swimming.

8. Who has been the biggest influence on your life and why?

My mother. She balanced running her own company while also caring for her family. She showed me that you can have it all – a beautiful family life and a career as long as you don’t expect perfection from yourself or others.

9. What’s your best advice for new parents?

Similar to what I learned from my mom, I think it is impossible to be the perfect parent or family.  When I try to be perfect I get grumpy and lose sight of what’s important (quality time with family). I used to think that I had to avoid screen time, teach madi non-stop and make healthy meals all the time. I now realize that I’m happier when I let her watch a little YouTube (in moderation), just hangout with Madi instead of trying to teach and go out for fast food (in moderation) when I’m too tired to cook.

10. Who would you nominate for 10 questions and why?

Erin Manchuk is a clinical pharmacist that I met while working at the University of Alberta Hospital. We became first time moms around the same time and got to know each other better after we had children. Erin is a great colleague, mother and friend who overcame postpartum depression and she is also the editor of my blog Life of Dr Mom. I love how open Erin is about mental health and really enjoy listening to her perspective on life and parenting. Listening to my patients and Erin’s experience with postpartum depression has made me realize the importance of mental health advocacy. For that reason, many of my posts on Lifeofdrmom.com discuss mental health topics.

Kirsten Clark is a high school English teacher, a reader, a writer, a runner, a podcast junkie, a lover of good food, and, most importantly, a mom. She lives in Vermilion with her husband and son, a curious and energetic toddler, who keeps his parents on their toes!  Connect with her on Instagram @kirstenlanae.

In Lifestyle, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized on
May 20, 2019

I Left On a Solo Trip and Nothing Happened

This week I got to go to Quebec on an amazing holiday with Chevrolet Canada. It was everything a solo trip should be. Carefree, I got to meet some amazing people, and I ate all the food.

Chateau Frontenac

Meal of choice when solo dining

Photo: Lucas Scarfone Photography

Photo: Lucas Scarfone Photography

We got to leisurely drive the new Chevrolet Blazer through rural Quebec and participate in traditional activities like making paper while learning more about the history of the region. The new Blazer looks amazing with it’s bold exterior, the technology is state of the art (the navigation got us out of a jam when the road we needed to be on was covered in fallen trees because of a storm), and even the base model was so well equipped. Plus it was a lot of fun to drive!

Photo: Lucas Scarfone Photography

Photo: Lucas Scarfone Photography

Photo: Lucas Scarfone Photography

Photo: Lucas Scarfone Photography

Photo: Lucas Scarfone Photography

While I was gone for the 5 days I didn’t worry about the kids once because guess what? Dads are parents too.

They are not babysitting.

They know they have to feed the kids every day.

They know that they have to get them to school and that they need to be fully clothed.

They know there are music classes, sports, and other activities to get them too.

They know all of these things.

They just may not do things the same way as us as mothers so we worry. We set them up for disaster by micro managing from afar. We call and check in because we miss our babies and we ask if they have been eating ok? How are their poops? Are they reading enough? Is the homework done? What has screen time been like? How many times a day are they hearing words of encouragement?

I’m not kidding. I have heard all of these conversations from Moms away from their kids. Especially the poop thing. Why as Mother’s are we so invested in another humans poop? But that’s a whole other blog post.

Now during these five days away did the boys eat a vegetable every meal? Probably not. But my husband works full time and the boys are in the thick of baseball and lacrosse right now so meals, even when I am home, are a little off these past couple of weeks. Did they wear what I think they should have worn to school every day? Again probably not but dealing with a picky 7 year old that hates buttons on his pants means picking your battles. Did they get some extra screen time? Probably. But my husband knows how obsessed our 10 year old is with Pokemon right now so they had a boys night and went to see the new movie even though it was a school night. But guess what was the first thing the boys wanted to talk to me about was? How cool Dad is that he took them to a movie on a school night. They are creating these memories and spending time together while I am away.

Of course I helped as much as I could before I left by stocking up on groceries so he wouldn’t have to do that on top of everything else in their busy week. I made sure the laundry was done and bathrooms were clean. I made lunches for the first day I was gone the night before to make their morning easier. Little things to help out.

But I didn’t worry. It was 5 days. He is an amazing Dad and the boys love when they get one on one time with him. I came back home late this weekend, hung out with the kids for a bit because they stayed up to see me and sent them to bed after hearing all about the cool things they did with Dad. We put them to bed then I sat and enjoyed a cocktail my husband made me and listened to his stories about how cool a crock-pot was to use while I was gone.

 

Box Social Event PlanningDeanne Ferguson is the owner of Box Social Event Planning. When she is not planning fun, family, friendly events she is finding the yummiest food for the Edmonton Home and Garden Show Food Stage. She loves her #cocktailMonday dates with her husband and chasing around her two boys. You can find her at @DeanneFerguson on Instagram and @BoxSocialYEG on Twitter. Deanne was invited by Chevrolet Canada to participate in this event. All opinions however are her own. 

In Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized on
May 13, 2019

Vision Health: What You NEED to Know!

Eye health has always been a huge priority in my family. My mom, as a young adult, was diagnosed with an eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. Over the last 20 some years her vision has progressively declined and she is now legally blind. There is no cure for this, but thankfully clinical trials are ongoing. Advances and new discoveries over the years in all areas of eye health have made early detection of serious eye diseases possible. Regular eye exams by a licensed Optometrist are essential for everyone, regardless of family history.

Read more

In Explore, Lifestyle, Random Thoughts on
May 10, 2019

What is the best age to travel with baby?

Is traveling with a baby hard?

If you’re a new parent, thinking about traveling with a newborn or infant is probably the furthest thing from your mind. Many new parents assume their days of travel will be put on hold when the baby arrives. Obviously, there are many reasons for this, with the major ones being the amount of care and attention a baby needs! Any parent can attest that the sleepless nights, endless diapers and mammoth amount of gear that a baby requires are enough to make taking a holiday to seem like an unattainable dream.

Of course, there are many other reasons why new parents will put travel on hold, and not everyone is in the position to take their baby and fly off to an exotic destination! But for those of you who believe that taking a baby on a trip is too hard, there is hope!

If you are thinking about going on a vacation with your baby, you are likely wondering what the easiest age to travel is. After all, babies change so quickly! Every day, week and month bring many developmental milestones, so to pinpoint the perfect time to travel can make your trip much more relaxed!

So, what is the best age to travel with an infant?

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In Parenting, Random Thoughts on
May 8, 2019

The Butterfly Effect

This is not an easy post for me to write, but in light of recent events, I feel compelled to share a part of my story and some of my coping mechanisms…. So here goes. I’ve been described by some people, as a person who has a lot on her plate. They’re not wrong, it is a lot to juggle.Taking care of two young boys, caring for a mother who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and early onset dementia,managing the household and having 2 bigger dogs to contend with, holding down a job ( or sometimes 2 jobs) and having a husband that works in and out of town does have me mentally and physically exhausted at times. My emotions get the best of me. 

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In Parenting on
May 6, 2019

When The Kids Get Sick

Some might not put the disgusting childhood illness known as hand foot and mouth disease and mini vacation in the same sentence, but here I am. We live somewhere in between being minimalist and slow living, yet a busy season of life really picked up this past year and I feel like from the beginning of school to now has gone by in a flash. We are busier than we have been over the past year and trying to take things slow has gotten so much harder, not just with the extra activities, but feeling the outside “do it all” pressure from the outside world creeping in as well. 

I do often get caught up in the mundaneness of the stay at home mom life. The kids play with the same toys each day, the schedule doesn’t vary too much except for adding random outings here and there in between appointments and preschool, and I find myself checking my Facebook News feed to have nothing change every hour (or 5 times an hour) which is more often than I’d like. 

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In Lifestyle, Parenting, Recipe on
May 5, 2019

Sick of Making School Lunches? We’ve Got You Covered Until Summer Vacation!

It’s May and I don’t know about you guys but I am sick of making school lunches and the kids are tired of their lunches. But don’t worry we’ve got you covered with a list of easy, quick and fun lunches to carry you over until summer vacation!

  1. Wraps – The easiest transition from boring bread. Some favourites in our house are: banana and sunflower seed butter (school safe and same taste as wow butter without all the sugar), ham and cheese, jam, and cream cheese and cucumber.
  2. Crackers and cheese – Add pickles (if you’re kids are into it!), sausage, and their favourite crackers to make an easy lunch.
  3. Breakfast cookies – The kids will get a kick out of being able to eat cookies for lunch and you’ll feel great knowing they will be full and ready to take on their afternoons. There’s so many great recipes on Pinterest or you can check out the ones we love to make (and are SO easy to adapt to taste) here.
  4. Cereal – Keeping with the breakfast theme, send individual packs of cereal with them to school for lunch! Keep it simple and let them eat it dry or send some milk in a thermos.
  5. Leftovers – This one is best if the kids have access to a microwave but is such a time saver if you can make it work!
  6. Pizza Roll Ups – This is a little more prep but can be made ahead in big batches and can be kept in the freezer until you want to use them. Get pizza dough (make it yourself or pick it up pre-made at the store), roll it out, lay down your favourite toppings, roll it up (think cinnamon bun rolling), slice into even pieces, lay out on a lined baking sheet and bake. So easy and delicious!
  7. Muffins – Cram them full of good, healthy ingredients and they won’t miss their sandwiches at all AND they will stay full until the end of the day.
  8. Mini Pancakes – Make the night before to make the morning easier, add some fruit and the kids have a fun, easy lunch.
  9. Pita Bread and Hummus – The EASIEST lunch for those days when you just don’t have time. Bonus if you have those individual packs from Costco. Even a two year old can pack this easy lunch!
  10. Let Them Choose – Give them parameters (has to include all the food groups for example) but them let them go wild. No restrictions. It is always interesting to see what combination they come up with!

We hope some of these give you inspiration to get through the school year! We’d love to hear what your kid’s favourite lunches are. Share below!

Can we also agree that the cute shapes, googly eyes, and over the top bento boxes be done for the year? No one needs that pressure right now. Save it for September Karen.

 

Box Social Event Planning

Deanne Ferguson is the owner of Box Social Event Planning. When she is not planning fun, family, friendly events she is finding the yummiest food for the Edmonton Home and Garden Show Food Stage. She loves her #cocktailsMonday dates with her husband and chasing around her two boys. You can find her at @DeanneFerguson on Instagram and @BoxSocialYEG on Twitter.