T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Where we are at...

Our newest edition to the family just turned 8 weeks old. How is that possible? The last 2-4 weeks of pregnancy were like an eternity but somehow the past 8 weeks have blasted by. He's great, by the way. So am I.

One quick story from our first week. The state nurse practitioner conference was the same day as my due date. I really wanted to go. I also needed to go since I was short 5 credits for my re-certification. The keynote speaker was THE guru in the NP world- like if you were to say to any nurse practitioner "Margaret" is coming to town they would know you were referring to Margaret Fitzgerald. She's been a NP about as long as I've been alive. She's a celebrity in our field. Well, she was coming to town and I wanted to hear her speak at our conference. Since the baby and I were doing well, I got up super early and headed to the conference when he was just a week old. I was concerned some folks, even her, would not want a baby at a professional conference but I went anyway with the backup plan of leaving if needed. While waiting for her to start her talk she walked to the back of the hall right to me. She stopped and asked if she could admire my baby. She asked about him and said he was the youngest attendee she has ever had at one of her talks and she was honored he was there. I beamed and we enjoyed the two day conference together. He was a great companion! Most enjoyable conference ever!

Okay, back to the update.

We're all doing pretty good. The kids adore their new brother. BB (the youngest of the older kids) has not bonded with him as quickly. She actually prefers to take care of me rather than help with him. Sometimes when I'm up in the night feeding him she will get out of bed and come find me to offer me a blanket or bring my water. Sometimes she just snuggles me and strokes my arm. She's such a loving child. She has her moments but she's pretty great. She, by the way, just turned 3! Amazing how time flies!

BB had a fun Monster Mash theme birthday party with her closest family friends. She had a grand time but totally freaked out when we put candles on her cake and lit them. She started screaming and hid under the table. Otherwise, a pretty good time.

We had the kids' parent teacher conferences in October. Because I had not bottle trained our baby yet we ended up showing up at the end of T's allot time because I could not get our baby to hurry up and finish eating. However, his teacher is wonderful and is a relatively new mom herself (twin 9 month old boys) so she could understand. T's doing great - all As (this is the first year they get letter grades). His areas needing the most focus is math and listening attentively, as well as participation in group work. (I feel his pain with group work - in college I just wanted to do the entire project myself - so much easier than trying to work with others but he needs to learn and perhaps so should I). S's teacher handed us her packet of info and simply said, "She's perfect - you can go." She was joking but S is pretty darn near perfect at school. My question to the teacher is how can we get that kind of behavior and work ethic at home? Her teachers really don't believe me when I say that kid can really push my buttons and give me a run for my money. WOW!

Little W is awesome. He's such a perfect addition to our family. He not the super easy baby S was but a little easier than BB - definitely easier than T. He has his evening fussy time when nothing makes him happy except if we walk with him. He's a great eater, continues to be a decent sleeper. He LOVES his bath time. He LOVES my mom. He loves his vibo bassinet.

I'm missing work. I'm grateful for my time at home but I miss my co-workers and patients and the routine of being at work. I'm sad that is approaching winter. It gets so dark and dreary here in the winter with short days and significantly less sunshine. This time having a baby has been so much easier than the last time. With all the families at our school becoming good family friends I've had an endless stream of meals and flowers and goodies. I gained a total of 22 lbs this pregnancy and I'm down over half of that. I think it's slowing down from all the goodies and Halloween candy we have around here!

Halloween - delightful. The kids had a great time going out with their dad. I stayed home with W and my in-laws and handed out candy. We didn't have as many kids as we have traditionally had. Little BB totally got into it. There was a scary house decorated with people in the windows pretending to be zombies and she kept going on and on about "monkeys coming out of the windows." She doesn't know what zombies are. After they were done and my in-laws left, we went to visit our favorite kindergarten teacher. Costumes - T was Indiana Jones, S was a cat coming out of a pumpkin (that girl can never do anything simple), and BB was a pink princess. All costumes homemade. T's was put together from a variety of things we already had. S - I made her pumpkin out of left over fleece from the Monsters I made for BB's party, BB's dress was S's old princess costume that I made 5 years ago.

We did manage to sneak in a fun outing to our local pumpkin patch with some close friends. That was super fun. We went on the last day they were open and got to see the 700 lb pumpkin be dropped from 4 stories high. Lot of water in that! Becca LOVED riding the cattle train. W just snuggled with me in the pack.

Thanksgiving was delightful. My sister had just flown in from Japan a day prior but with my mom's help she threw together an amazing feast. I just showed up with my army of kids, my husband, and my long time friend whom we had just picked up at the airport (Ms. M). She stayed a few days with us and we crammed as much into our short time as possible. Plus, celebrated T's 9th birthday a couple times.

Lastly and most recently, we celebrated my husband's birthday. It's birthday season around here. Combine that with the holidays and the kids think it's endless celebration time. T is all about Dr. Who this year. He has never seen the new ones but rather the old 1970s ones. My daughter gets a kick out of the go go boots the women wear and T thinks the big hair every one fashions is crazy funny. Still. the enjoy the show immensely. 

So before I have to change this blog posting - again - because it's been 4 weeks since I wrote it - I'm going to add some photos and call it good. 

While having 4 kids is amazing and wonderful and all sorts of adjectives of awesomeness, it's also a ton of work with little free times. So, there's where we are at...

1. My date at the NP conference. 

2-4. BBs Monster Mash party (S and I made the monsters and I made the pinata - little BB found the correct string first try!)

5. One week old snuggles 

6. BB on the eve of her 3rd birthday

7-8. Halloween

9-11. Snuggles with Baby W (it took BB a while to want to hold him so he's quite a bit older and bigger when she finally took her turn)

12. My boys

13. Kissing my cutie

14. Nan was able to get one of his first smiles 

15. More snuggles with my little guy

16-18. Ms. M's visit

19. Our birthday boy aka The Doctor

20. Toothless kids (both lost teeth within 24 hours of each other)

21. Eight weeks - we work hard for those cute cheeks!






















Wednesday, October 19, 2016

He's Here...W's Birth Story...

Warning - very long posting. However, this is our family history so I feel in 50 years the details will be really meaningful.

First - a little back story.

A few weeks before our baby was due I had quite a long day scheduled for us - all the kids needed their dental cleanings and it would be BB's first visit. Her last trip to see Uncle Doc, our dentist, was for mouth stitches so I was not surprised she was not all that happy about her visit. I was big and uncomfortable and just didn't care if she got her teeth cleaned or not. But from there, I promised the older kids a fast trip into the Lego store while BB and I started ahead to get to my office where we could all get our flu shots.

All that day I was just not feeling well. Like I was ill. I felt like I had a fever and my body ached but at 36/37 weeks pregnant, who feels great? So I chalked it all up to pregnancy and being grumpy that day. We went ahead and made it to my office for flu shots and those were a success - working at an allergy office that gives allergy shots every day, my nurses rock and no one else gives as many shots as them. The kids didn't even bat an eye lash from discomfort.

While they collected stickers I talked with one of my colleagues. I showed him my hand which had been throbbing all day. That mixed with the other symptoms I was having I suspected an infection on my hand (which I've never had any type of skin infection ever and I don't like self diagnosing - I always guess the worst scenario on myself). So I asked him for his opinion. He concurred. He said it was the type of infection that really needed antibiotics and that since I was already an established patient of the clinic he would go ahead and send in some pregnancy safe antibiotics.

I started the antibiotics that night and the next morning the hand was somewhat worse and needed to be drained. I took care of that - I had done that many times on other patients during my urgent care rotation. It was not pretty but it felt better and over the course of the day the antibiotics kicked in and the ill feelings I was having started to lift and my hand started to improve. That night, however, my digestive tract revolved against the antibiotics.

I've never taken antibiotics while pregnant. Plus, it was a new antibiotic to me (Keflex). I prescribe it all the time and it's fairly mild for GI side effects but I think since my GI tract is already very delicate during pregnancy (like I take anti-nausea meds every day while pregnant), it put me over. Between the diarrhea, vomiting, and cramping from the other two symptoms, I became dehydrated and started having some contractions.

I contacted the doctor the next day and we worked on hydration. It took a few days for me to bounce back but I finally did just in time to make it to family bingo night at the school. I had been on bed rest for a few days and was anxious to get out of bed and I was assigned a strictly only sitting job as a compromise. (I helped the kids call the numbers - it was quite charming.)

I went back to work and finished up my time with my student over the next couple weeks. I went to my 38 week OB appointment and we discussed induction at just over 39 weeks. He said he was worried I would wait to long to get to the hospital and with the logistics of planning around the other three kids, I may just end up having the baby in the car so we should go ahead and just schedule it early. Plus, he really did not think I would make it to 40 weeks. I was losing weight from not being able to eat due to no space from the baby and the poor baby was crammed in and starting to move less.

I was happy - we were all scheduled for induction October 11 - which I thought 10-11 had a nice ring to it for a birthday. My doctor warned me - be vigilant as I could still have spontaneous labor happen before then and to come to the hospital if contractions were too painful to talk through or at 5 minutes apart.

We had a nice weekend after that - launching rockets with out two closest families of friends. I was pretty tired and very immobile but the end was in sight. I went to work on Monday and all was good. I was slow. The week progressed normally - I had meetings at school and lots of kid activities. The kids had the latter part of the week off due to teacher in-service. That Thursday I took them to the library, lunch with their dad, picked up the dog at the groomers, and we came home where I completed a baby hat for W because the first one didn't match him coming home outfit. I also had a girls night out scheduled with my friend.

That night, my friend picked me up at 7 and we went out for soup, salad, and Carmel apples. She dropped me off at 8:45 and I helped tuck BB into bed. I felt tired - tired from a very busy day but fine. My mom called to check on me. She said, "I just had a feeling you may need me". I told her, "No, I'm fine. Really. I want to go watch some Dr. Who with the kids before they go to bed. I will call you if we need you."

I took my shower, put rollers in my hair, and laid down to watch a show with Hubby and the older kids (about 9:15/9:30). As we were watching these old Dr. Who episodes I had a really painful contraction. About 10 minutes later it happened again. Little S tried to snuggle up to me but I just didn't want anyone touching me. I texted my friend at 9:45 and just asked her to be on standby, just in case because I was having painful contractions but about ever 10 minutes so a long way to go. She assured me she would keep her phone close that night.

Hubby put the older kids to bed at 10 (remember, no school the next day), and I laid in bed, experiencing horrible pain that lasted about a minute very regularly at the 10 minute intervals. At 10:45 pm I looked at Hubby and said, I think you should go get my mom - even if it's a false alarm, I'd feel better having her available just in case. I called my mom and she said she would be ready (she no longer drives).

At 11:00 my husband took off to get her and they were back at around 11:45/11:50. I texted him while he was gone - the contractions had moved to every 8 minutes. I was still trying to lay down but the contractions were getting so painful that I would often wake up and having to stand when they occurred. I assured him, I had to get to 5 minutes apart and I thought that would take more time. I didn't want to be turned away at the hospital nor did I want to labor that much at the hospital. Five minutes apart should give me plenty of time to get there, get checked in, get pain meds, and then have the baby.

At 12:15 am I could not tolerate the contractions any more. They were 6-7 minutes apart but the pain was so intense I had to practice all my relaxation techniques I studied with kid 3.0 (we didn't do classes this time around - I was opting for as many pain management techniques as I could have so why take a class when I've been through child birth 3 previous times). I was also pretty sure my mucous plug fell out during one of the many trips to the bathroom I was needing to have - pretty much after every contraction.

So, we woke my mom up and left the house. We arrived at the hospital about 1:00/1:15ish. The main entrance was closed so we had to go through the ER. I could not walk the long distance from the ER to the second floor so Hubby pushed me in a fancy wheel chair. It felt like it took forever to get there.

Once there, the lady doing the checking in would not do anything for me until I showed her my ID - thank goodness I did not leave my purse in the car! Then she handed us this 2+ page paper to fill out while we waited for a nurse to come get us. She could see I was uncomfortable and I could not sit during the contractions. Finally, she said we could fill out the paper work in the back (my husband could complete it while I gave a urine specimen, changed my clothes, and a nurse hooked me to the monitor for 30 minutes). I used the bathroom and had to have Hubby help me change my clothes. I laid my upper body across the bed and rocked back and forth - contractions seemed to be much closer together since we left and I thought gravity from sitting/standing was the cause. Finally a nurse came in (Carrie) - it was someone I went to school with 16 years ago. It was nice to see her friendly face and she started to try and hook me up. Then she looked at me and asked a couple questions. I was so out of it having been focusing on pain management through relaxation I actually could not make out what she was saying. She repeated herself and then said, "Let's skip the monitoring - I'll do your check." 7 cm with boggy bag. She left to call anesthesia and my doctor. Another nurse immediately showed up and wheeled me away. She said her name was Shannon and was just floating that day because the floor was full. She also did not even know what room we were going to as at some point they were all full but we would find something. Oh, bonus, the hospital had just launched a new electronic medical records program that was slowing things down.

We ended up in room 6, I think. I immediately went back to standing. She tried to hook me up to monitors and had to do so while I was standing. Then she started my IV. First one blew. I told her to stop being gentle and not use lidocaine to numb the area because I was in so much pain, IV pain was the least of my worries. When I'm in active labor like that I also don't like to be touched (my poor sweet husband starts to feel helpless at this point) Finally the IV was in. The nurse said they could give me some pain meds through the IV but if she thought the baby would arrive before 2 hours then there would be no time. I definitely did not think we had two hours and if we had two hours, I'd go epidural all the way. (That's saying a lot because I HATE, and I mean HATE needles, and big ones I hate especially but I was banking on epidural this go round.) Alas, I knew there was no time for meds or epidural. What's left? Nothing.

I was left in the room, standing against the bed contracting about every 2 minutes with 1 minute breaks from severe pain. I was pretty deeply relaxed when I could feel baby pushing down. I looked up at my husband and said, "It's time. You better get someone." He went out into the nurses station and calmly said, "Hello? I think we're having a baby in here." The nurse and the doctor came screeching in and he very, very quickly slid on his suit cover up thing (I think that's the technical name). and he said, "No pain management options but if you push the baby out, you will feel better." That's all the motivation I needed. In my mind I leaped onto the bed and started pushing. (Remember, I was doing my funky hypnobirthing so some of what happened is foggy.) But according to Hubby, it went a bit (only a bit) slower than that. The doctor said I could push and I pushed and out came the head. I heard the nurse say, "You can reach down to touch him." but I was sort of frozen in pain and didn't want to. But I heard my husband say he could see him and that I was doing amazing that gave me a lot of energy to keep going. My water also broke at that moment. I don't think I was in a completely broken down bed because I felt the warm fluid hit my feet. The next push out came the shoulders and then one more easy push and he was out. Six minutes later the placenta.

I have often heard people describe pushing the baby out like they were being torn in half. I did not experience that. To me, it felt so much better to push and get the baby out than to keep laboring and cramping. I may have had that "ring of fire" sensation but it really was not bad, even with second degree tearing. My pushing was not super controlled but my doctor said with natural childbirth it is tough to control the pushing.

Baby also came out really clean because he was in a mostly intact sac for most of the process. He did have the cord wrapped around his neck - twice and was quite blue/purple. He also pooped on the way out. When I was born - I had the cord around my neck once and pooped on the way out. Maybe this kid will take after me?!? He also sucks his two same fingers I sucked as a baby, too.

After the birth, the doctor told me about the tearing and he needed to do some stitches. I looked at him and said, "You're going to numb the area, right?" I don't know if he normally does or not, but the nurse had to go track down lidocane to numb the area before he started. The numbing of the area was awful! I still feel like I felt the stitches and the whole "you're numb in that area following birth" - that was not the case for me. But, the cool thing about natural child birth - I recovered SUPER fast. As soon as those stitches were done, I was up to the bathroom and cleaned up. In fact, the photo of baby and me was less than 30 minutes after he was born and I think I looked fairly decent because I had already visited the bathroom and sponge bathed myself.

Then back to bed to get some pitocen to contract my uterus to ensure no hemorrhage. They really don't mess around when you've had 4 kids. Three hours hooked to that thing! At that point, my nurse started asking my "pre-admission" questions and I signed consent forms.

Total time from first timed contraction to birth 3.5 hours. W was born at 1:57 am. Super fast. Honestly, I was completely surprised that he came early and at how quickly he arrived. The doctor kept insisting he was a week ahead of schedule and I just kept putting it in the back of my mind having these visions of waiting around like I've done in the past. He also kept telling me - give myself plenty of time to get to the hospital. I thought I had. I guess I gave just enough time to get there. I didn't even get to prep the kids before leaving as they were already sound asleep. They woke up to their Nan (my mom) at the house, no parents, and her telling them the baby was born.

As I said, recovery went super smooth and fast. The one thing baby struggled with was temperature regulation. He kept getting cold and his temperature kept dropping to below 98 degrees. So at one point he went to the nursery to sit under a heat lamp for 30 minutes. Otherwise, he was great. Super healthy and happy. Of course, I did not sleep much those two nights I was at the hospital. The nurses tried to give me rest but I was in a hallway right next to one of the nursing stations. It was loud - all the time. Then at one point during a 2 hour nap when they said no one would disturb me I woke up with a window cleaner outside my window. I was on the 8th floor - that freaked me out! But once the grogginess of sleep wore off I was fine. Ironically, I was in the same recovery room that time as I was when T was born.

Early the morning of baby's birth I called my friend who had dropped me off from our girls' night out. She gets up at 5 am to work out. I let her know the baby was born and she was my first visitor coming at 7:30 am. She had seen me less than 10 hours prior and I was very pregnant but not having contractions. She was amazed things changed - literally over night. We had several other wonderful friends and family stop in. It was a great day! But I was tired after 24+ hours of no sleep. I was also quite sore.

We are so happy with our little one. He just fits in perfectly and is so pleasant. The first few nights were tough but once we got him into a rhythm he's sleeping well and waking twice at night (2 am and 6 am).

He weighed 7 lbs 12.8 ounces, 20.25 inches long. Lots of dark hair. He shares his dad's name - just in reverse so his first name is his father's middle name. I really wanted to name him after his dad but we did not want them having the same first name so we were going to call him by his middle name. Then one of my colleagues at work, who does that with his name, said he grew up his whole life struggling with that and it has caused confusion since kindergarten through medical school and still as a partner in his own practice. So, we simplified things and reversed them. My husband is named for his two grandfathers.

The other kids have been wonderful. Our toddler (almost 3) struggled the most. It took a few days for her to warm up to him and she kept checking my tummy to see if he really was out. The other two are in love with their brother. T just wants to pat his head all the time. S has changed her mind and thinks some day she may actually be open to being a mom after seeing how amazing her brother is (she really did not like all the changes I experienced while pregnant - she would keep saying, "Yet another reason I never want to have a baby.") She said the other night, "Mom, it was totally worth it - he is so amazing!" She's my unfiltered child so I know she is in earnest.

There you have it. Birth story and lots of details. Now for photos!

1. Profile pic - 38 weeks.
2. Profile pic - 38.5 weeks - less than 24 hours prior to delivery
3. Just out of the womb and the first time seeing him - he came out very clean because his sac didn't break until his head came out. He was quite blue so they were trying to get him to cry.
4. Our doctor holding him - he's also very clean because of the super fast delivery - the bed was not even completely broken down when I started to push. I could barely speak but I remember saying I needed somewhere to put my feet after that first push. (Side note - our doctor's sister is the kids' vice principal at school.)
5. The nurse's timer and notes - it was so fast she jotted stuff down on her notepad next to a timer - all the computerized charting had to wait.

6. Stop watch on my phone next to my husband's watch with the time. I started my stop watch when I thought the contractions were regular. You can see how fast things progressed. 
7. Being checked out by nursery nurses - he liked the warmer.
8. Measurements - these are my proof - the hospital wrote his measurements down wrong in the chart. The nurses were shocked when they weighed him before discharge and he had gained weight instead of losing it (It was because they recorded it incorrectly - just they insisted not. Just saying - here is my proof.)
9. Baby and me about 30 minutes after delivery. As soon as I was stitched up I went to the restroom and cleaned myself up. Recovery was really fast - one perk to natural child birth. That I did enjoy.
10. Baby's first bath - he likes getting his hair washed.
11. Clean, clean baby.
12. Daddy and son hands.
13. Baby feet - my favorite!
14. Dressed to head home (I really missed being at home - 36 hours at the hospital was plenty.)
15. Older kids meeting him and instantly loving him. He totally recognized their voices.
16. Day 5 snuggles.
17. Just hanging out on his soft blanket being "chill".




















Sunday, August 28, 2016

First Day of School 2016-2017 School Year and Updates

This year T goes into 3rd and S goes into 1st.

We went last week and checked the list to see who they would have as their teachers. T had a big last minute change last year that caused him some stress so this year he did not even want to see the list. after Scouts we took both kids. He said, "Mom, just look at the list for me and I can be surprised at sneak peek." I insisted he see the list. When he did, he was beaming. S got everything she wanted - favorite first grade teacher and her best friend in class. Both were happy campers.

They went the day before school for sneak peek. T was very excited to meet his teacher. He said, "I like her because she has a son named Cooper, which is my favorite name, and she is about your size, Mom" (referring to my petite stature. Yes, we all know if this household I will be the shortest one after the kids are all grown. His teacher just had twin boys in February and he knew that. He told her he was having a baby brother and was super excited about it.

S was also beaming seeing her teacher. She already knows her and was just super excited to officially be a student of hers. She is already loving first grade and is already showing off her helper skills and her super good behavior. Her teachers still don't believe me that she has a "firey" side. She does. Boy, can I go around and around with that girl when she's in a mood. She is stretching my parenting skills and I think I will eventually learn patience being her mom. She is often one of my greatest sources of pride while also one of my greatest feelings of failure as a parent. Some days I'm like, "Hey, I'm rocking this parenting thing. Look at that kid!" The next day I am humbled because of something she did or said which made me feel like an awful parent. I often say it but it bears repeating - parenting is more about my learning and growth than what I will ever teach my children.

Little BB was sad that she did not get to go to school, too, but we had a great day together. She's my little buddy and helper and keeps me company all the time when the older kids are off playing so it worked out nicely. I want to soak up my one-on-one time with her while I can before Baby comes. I don't want her to feel too displaced. She is super special and my own personal sunshine. Everyone that spends any amount of time with her understands that concept of her being sunshine. She is just a happy, goofy soul. She looks a lot like me as a child, too (unlike S who is a clone of my sister). It's nice to have one kid resemble me after all the hard work it is bringing them into this world.

It has been interesting the older kids watching me experience pregnancy. S is convinced she never wants children because she doesn't want to get fat, get big breasts, have stretch marks, have veins, feel ill, get freckles. Oh I get all sorts of fun stuff from pregnant. For the most part, it goes all go back. At least I'm hoping it does like it has in the past. I'm not as young as I used to be so I'm mentally preparing to have to hit the work outs hard but every time she sees another change she says, "More evidence I never want to be pregnant." I remind her that if I had that attitude she would not be here and I also recall never wanting children because they were "sticky, smelly, and annoying". But here I am having a fourth - by choice! So, who knows with that girl.

I'm definitely slowing down and starting to get really grumpy. Seven weeks to go. My labs are all excellent and my weight gain thus far is about 20lbs. I think I'll hit 25-28 lbs total. That's fine. Good fetal movement. There is NO space in my abdomen. Small frequent meals are how I eat. I do have to drink 1-2 cups of green tea a day to keep my blood pressure up (it's low). I cannot tolerate soda so it's my caffeine option and fairly healthy, too. Everyone tells me I look adorable. I so don't feel that way and think they are just being super kind, which I appreciate. It's such a two edge sword - I am happy to be bringing life into this world - a little boy I get to enjoy, cuddle, and watch grow. It will be my last time pregnant and I want to cherish the feeling. However, I am kind of over the pregnancy thing. After four times, I feel I have lived it and cherished it. I am ready to have my body back. I want to be able to play with my kids and chase them and feel energy doing so and not feel like I'm going to pee myself, vomit, or faint. I am dreading childbirth. Been there, done that. I know it's coming. I am just grateful at the end of all of it I get the pleasure of holding this little boy we've all grown to love already.

I have so much to do at work - I have to wrap things for two students who need hours before I go on leave. There's a conference I really want to attend. I have been working on preparations for the baby, too. I bought a few disposable diapers just in case my rental ones don't arrive before the baby does. I think we're going to try half and half this go around. I don't feel I need to be a purest with cloth but I do like saving money and resources with them. Friends have been generously loaning me stuff so I don't have to buy much. I did have to buy a "new" breast pump set up because I gave mine away. It was good to me but it was used when I got it and then it went through three babies I nursed for 2 years each. I'm sure it did not have much left. It will be interesting getting used to a new one. I bet because it's not 10 years old it will work better than my last.

I also purchased a new set of swaddling blankets and "lovey" blankets. I feel each of the kids should have their own since they get so attached. One of my students gave me a "little brother shirt". It's newborn size so I hope it fits but I always try to get a shirt that says something referencing birth order.

Overall, we are doing good. Busy with kid activities and them being in school plus our jobs but we're good. BB has a book that has been teaching her about emotions. When asked "How are you feeling?" She says, "Happy!" Because happy is a feeling. Good is a condition. Well, I'm taking after her. When asked these days with the sad pathetic eyes folks often give me seeing my giant belly, "How are you feeling?" I reply, "Happy". They are not expecting that and I enjoy the surprise. But, indeed, I am feeling happy. One can be uncomfortable and happy at the same time, right?!?

Here are some photos from that first day of school. T said he had to step up his dress code and replaced what I had laid out with a collared shirt. S wanted to wear her dress she got in Maui and little BB had to be like her sister. Last photo - 32/33 weeks.









Saturday, August 13, 2016

Maui Family Vacation

It's been 8 years since I've left my beloved home state. My husband and I were talking and basically we figured if we didn't go somewhere now, it would be quite a while before we went anywhere with baby coming soon. Last year we had talked about the Oregon Coast (one of my favorite trips as a young adult). However, you have to book at least 6+ months in advance and since we decided to go on vacation only 2 months ago that was not going to happen. I wanted the kids to see a beach and the ocean. Living in a landlocked state it is something they had never experienced. I also needed easy. I would be 7+ months pregnant at vacation time.

I did some research and all my life I have wanted to go to Hawaii. Talk about a beach and ocean. However, 8 hours on an airplane with 3 small children, that might be asking a lot. But we decided we'd put the new carpet for our home on hold and do a big family vacation anyway. The kids have never been on an airplane so more new experiences for them!

I had been planning to have my life long best friend come up for a summer visit but when we decided on where we were going for vacation we decided she should go on vacation with us instead of a quick 2 day trip during the summer. Plus, it would be nice to have a 1:1 kid/adult ratio at the beach to help with the kids. She was thrilled to go along. (My kid adore her and consider her a surrogate aunt.)

We did not really do much on vacation other than go to the beach and snorkel. We didn't do the Road to Hana or see the volcano. We just wanted to be at the beach. We went every day. We snorkeled every day. We had shave ice as often as possible. We stayed in a 2 bedroom condo on the beach and cooked our own meals to save on costs (we even shopped at Costco while there - our Costco has better hot dogs - just saying). It was all heavenly. There always seemed to be a rainbow in Maui. Even the rain was warm like the ocean water. We saw fish every day. What an epic family vacation! Well worth the 8 years of waiting to get out of the state.

Funny story - T just started Cub Scouts. He was excited for the major service project of going to the local food bank and serving there. It happened to fall on the week we would be gone for vacation. Not knowing where our vacation was he asked us to reschedule our vacation because "we can go to north Idaho any time we want but I cannot serve at the food bank any time." I insisted we could not reschedule and he was pretty bummed with me. Finally we told him we were going to Maui and he really was speechless - mouth open, no words. I wish I had a video of that moment.

All the kids had an amazing time. They LOVED swimming, body surfing, boogie boarding, snorkeling, diving, building sand castles. EVERYTHING. They were just so happy there. The water was warmer than our neighborhood pool and the salty taste did shock the kids, too. I also never got tired of watching them play on the beach. My 6:00 am wake up call every morning was little BB asking, "Can we go to the beach?!?" Then she would head into the bathroom and change into her swim clothes. The sunsets were lovely but I have to say ours are prettier in Idaho. It was like being on an alien planet with different plants and animals and all that humidity. It was refreshing and recharging but it is also wonderful to be back at home!

And we were not without travel adventures. BB developed a viral GI bug on the way home. Six clothing changes in 24 hours in airports. We flew the red eye home and by the 4th change I was done! 7 months pregnant, tired sick toddler, no sleep for me - I was SO done. Not an apex mothering moment but I've never claimed to be perfect. Traveling with kids is not for the weak, that's for sure. Aside from that and one really amazing screaming moment on the flight from Phoenix to Maui where BB decided she wanted off the plane and the flight attendant felt she needed to calm my child for me and I had to ask politely 5 times to be left alone, BB was actually pretty amazing on the plane. The older kids were amazing. S is born to be a world traveler. She carried all her own luggage and backpack the entire time - no complaints and no questions. She was a machine.

Another fun aspect of our trip - the youngest of hubby's older sisters happen to be on Maui at the same time as us. She and Uncle Doc stopped by our beach, played with the kids, boogie boarded, snorkeled and just had a fun morning with us. That was special for all of us. The kids were so surprised when they showed up and had such a great time.

Here are lots of photos. But these are less than 10% of them. We took SO many. So I narrowed it down to the top 40 or so.

Lots of photos of kids on the beach playing. Little BB LOVED shopping so she often was found in a shop with a hat and trying to match a hat with it. T was almost always in the water. S went to a lei making class with her daddy (very charming). I did a bit of snorkeling myself and there's a photo of me at 30 weeks pregnant. Several photos of the Maui Ocean Center, too. Some photos of my best friend who join us - Ms. M. It was such a delight to have her along.

I will say it one last time - such a great time! Epic Family Vacation!!!