Thursday, July 3, 2014

Traveling With Kids



Happy 4th of July!  As we are approaching our nations holiday you will often find yourself traveling.  If you are like me and have little ones, the thought of traveling can be daunting. 

I came across this pin, which leads you to this site, and to this day it is my most popular pin.  Follow the link for some great suggestions on travel games.  What caught my attention was the photo of the travel snacks. I loved the idea too, and it tells me parents are out there looking for ways to have smooth travel with kids.




So here is our Snack Box: A small box with sections (found mine at Walmart in the bead section for $4-5) and fill with random snacks.  We put a few healthy snacks, and a few unhealthy snacks, a little salty, a little sweet! Let your kids know this is what they get for the trip, and when it is gone, it is gone.








My last trip was a five hour drive with my kids solo.  I tried the suggested snack box and it was a hit with both my kids.  Lil’Miss loved just looking at her snack and had more fun admiring all the goodies, than eating them.  Bean opened his box up right away and snacked on the candies and saved the other items for later.  Right when we got to our destination he fell asleep with the box on his lap and dumped the remainder of the contents! whoops J It served its purpose and I was happy and we refilled with new snacks when we headed home a couple of days later.



We are preparing for our next trip and I will come up with some new fun snacks for their snack box. Lil’Miss has asked several times when she will get her special snack box.  I think she will have fun helping me put them together.


 Here is a link to my post on travel tags for young kids.  I focused on kids who are nonverbal, but this would be helpful for any child.

Sidenote: I use this general idea still when we go to the zoo or out in large gatherings where I might lose my child but sometimes I don’t want to take the time to print out a travel tag, I just take a piece of masking tape and make a bracelet by sticking the tape to itself and then put in on my child’s wrist.  I put my name and phone number and so if my child wanders or get’s lost, they will have a way to find me.

My sister had a great tip as well. When she is out with her kids at large gatherings: zoo, park, ect. She takes a picture of her child, so she has a fresh picture of what they are wearing in the event that they get separated.  I love that idea too!!

What are your best travel tips?  Do you have any blog posts or favorite websites to share, please do so in the comments below.

Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tino's Birth Story


I am not sure I know how to tell a birth story with out a lot of details…. So sit down and kickback if you enjoy hearing birth stories!

So on my blog all of my kids get a blog nickname.  Tino’s due date was Valentines Day, and the hubs wanted to name him Valentino.  It just didn’t fit, code for… I don’t want to name my kid after Valentines day.  So to give some validation to the hubs I told him Tino could be his blog nickname.

This pregnancy being my third, it did not disappoint.  It was similar to my first two pregnancies in that I felt sick EVERY SINGLE DAY of the pregnancy.  I sometimes would wake up hopeful, feeling alright then I would start moving and the horrible nausea would begin. 

My favorite part of pregnancy is the labor and delivery.  I love the anticipation, I love to be able to meet the little being that spent so many months growing inside me.  I love that it means I am NO LONGER PREGNANT and I can begin to feel human again!! J J



It is really hard to keep my spirits up while pregnant, and even harder to keep up with life’s duty as a mom and wife.  As each day went on when I was pregnant I hoped and prayed I would go into labor.  Since Bean was born prematurely I really thought it might happen again with Tino’s birth.  I was torn with not wanting to have a child born too early that would require additional medical care and possible developmental delays and problems, yet I yearned to feel semi normal and un-sick every day!

So when I made it to almost 39 weeks, I think I was doing pretty good.  My doctor was surprised I made it as long as I had.  My crazy body had contractions through a good portion of the pregnancy, but that was typical of my two previous pregnancies.


On Monday February 3rd I had a doctor’s appointment.  I was dilated to 2 ½ cm and 90% effaced.  The doctor stripped my membranes which she claimed they were, “barely there”. The doctor and I discussed being induced the following Monday February 10th and I made an appointment as I left, but I was really hoping the membrane sweep would be enough to put me into labor.  She also told me to come in when contractions were 8 ½ minutes apart, due to my quick labor history.

I had my normal contractions off and on through the day.  I kept busy through the day and cleaned the house and didn’t even time the contractions.  Part of me was in denial, if I didn’t time them, I could rush to the hospital and have the baby right away.

My dad had been watching my kids while I was at the doctors and I told him to keep his phone near by just in case I actually did go in to labor.  The contractions weren’t exactly painful, but more annoying.  They continued on and seemed to be getting closer and closer. It wasn’t until after I got the kids to bed, took a bath and went to bed myself that I decided I better time these puppies and see how close they actually were.

They were four minutes apart!  I didn’t want it to be false labor (again) and be sent home, but I also didn’t want to be in active labor and risk having a baby on the freeway! Since

I had passed my doctors recommended 8 ½ minutes I decided we better call Grandpa to come stay with the kids and get to the hospital to see if this baby was on his way.  I was 50% sure they would send me home, mostly because I wasn’t in screaming pain.  You have to be in screaming pain to have a baby right???

We arrived at the hospital at midnight and they monitored me for three hours before they admitted me.  I had progressed from 2 ½ cm earlier in the day to 4cm when we checked in, but once I laid down, labor seemed to halt.  They told me if things didn’t pick up, they would be sending me home.  I am not sure if it was my sheer determination, or the will of my sweet baby but I was having that baby and I was not going to let them send me home.

Around 2am they took me off the monitors and I began to walk in circles around my room.  I walked, squatted and just kept moving.  The hubs ran home to get some items we had forgotten to bring with us to the hospital and I took it upon myself to get this labor moving.  I wanted this baby to come, and I was going to keep moving until the doctors gave me a go and checked me in to have the baby.

The contractions were getting uncomfortable, but that didn’t keep me from moving. I knew they were going to come back in at 3am to check and see how things are going.  I used that hour to get things moving.  They measured to see where I was at and I was only at 5cm.  Since things were progressing (although slow) they admitted me.  I was so happy!  I was finally going to have this baby!!!



At one point in my life I wanted to enjoy the natural process of labor and have natural childbirths.  Somewhere along the way, possibly due to my agonizing pregnancies I changed my mind.  With Lil’Miss I was in active labor when I got to the hospital and in *screaming* pain.  Well, maybe not screaming pain, but very loud moans that would wake you if you were a sleeping neighbor! I got the epidural as soon as I could, and it took a few attempts at that.  Bean’s delivery I had the crazy idea to go as long as possible into labor before getting the epidural to see if I could handle it and maybe not get it.  I was in tears and the nurses were like, “If you are going to get it, what are you waiting for??”  They had a good point.

This labor I had clearly planned to have the epidural, so I felt a little weird getting it with out any tears or screaming.  I was however quite tired.  I didn’t sleep but an hour or two the night prior due to Lil’Miss up all night with the flu, and then labor isn’t exactly relaxing, so I called for the anesthesiologist as soon as he was available (5am).  Both my prior births I was in so much pain I had a terrible time being able to bend enough for the needle to be placed in the right spot and I had to have the epidural done twice.  This time around it was a whole different experience.  I was smiling and joking with the nurses and doctor, total different contrast.  I was so happy to feel that the epidural was working.

I got what they call a “perfect epidural”.  I couldn’t feel the pain of contractions, but I had control of my legs and was able to move them around on the table, which is totally helpful once pushing begins.  I did have some sensation, but it was not painful.  My legs were dead weight with my daughter and I had to have the hubs and nurses keep them from flopping out of the stirrups J. That was all sorts of fun for everyone!

With the epidural in full swing I finally got a chance to rest.  Not really great rest, but was able to close my eyes between doctors and nurses coming in to check on me.  It really slowed down my labor, which kind of stunk, but I was happy still.



Eventually they broke my water (7:30am) in hopes that would pick things up and things were still going slow so we started pitocin at 10:40am with the hopes of a baby around noon! Sure enough around noon I could feel the baby down in the birth canal.  The nurses kept asking if I need to push, I am not sure I felt the need to push, but I did however feel like I needed to wiggle my hips.  I felt antsy and like the baby was ready to deliver. 

My doctor was “taking out a uterus” in one room “and getting a baby out of a uterus” in another room, so it was going to be a while before she would be available.  The nurses held off checking me at that point afraid if they did a baby might just come right out.

At some point when I was resting a woman came into the room and introduced herself.  I thought she was one of the on staff hospital doctors and I didn’t really register what she was telling me.  Later she came in and told me that she was a resident doctor and she would be delivering my baby.  She was a take charge kind of gal and came in like a whirl wind ready to catch the baby soon coming.

My doctor made it back to check me around 1:30 pm and the babies head was down and in the birth canal.  Everyone suited up and we were on our way.  The room was full!  Two doctors, three nurses, one student nurse, the hubs, my sister and myself.  This wasn’t even a high risk birth like Bean’s.

I am pretty sure the urge to wiggle my hips was my body telling me, it is time to push and get this baby here!  As soon as all the staff was ready I was given the cue to push.  And a couple of pushes later, we had Tino!  Like I said, the most favorite part of pregnancy, the very last moments!  I am blessed that the actual delivery goes smoothly, and I am so grateful I can look forward to that time.

There is nothing to compare to the moment a child is born and placed on your chest.  Tears filled my eyes as I saw this precious child enter the world.  This was the first time I was able to hold my newborn for an extended period of time at birth.  My first two children had troubles so they were whisked away before I got to spend time with them in my arms.









Since it's likely this might be our last baby I invited my sister to come and take pictures.  I wanted to be able to have a photo log of the labor and delivery.  Things worked out that she was able to find someone to watch her kids and she got some great photos.  Thank you!






It is amazing to me how instantly after the baby is out of my body how much better I feel.  After months and months of feeling sick, a relief comes!




I am so happy to have our sweet baby Tino here!  Such a sweet, happy, healthy baby!

I love hearing birth stories.  Do you have a birth story to share? Please post a link to your birth story in the comments below.


Happy Baby Loving!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Unemployment Round Two....

Unemployed  Round Two….



June 30th, today.  Last Day of work.

This is what we were planning for, the news came a couple months back but unemployment wasn’t exactly what we wanted to be plummeting into, again.

Two years ago, almost to the week the hubs lost his job.  We knew his new job was on the rocks, but we thought the issues had all been resolved and we were looking forward to growing in his new employment.  In the last days of his three month probation period we got word that they were letting him go.

He quit a job to take this new job and now they were letting him go, with no real explanation. Frustrating. Not really the position a stay-at-home mom of two, one income family wanted to hear.  But really, does any one really want that devastating news?!

We are frugal and made plans to survive and we got by.  We got a little crazy and moved forward.  We had hard days, we had long days.  We had days of wondering when it would end and when we might find employment.

One of the hardest things for me was adjusting my routine with the kids at home.  We love having daddy home, but when both parents are home all the time, and your job hunting and not working full time, it can take a toll on everyone. But despite the times that were hard it brought us closer together and made us work as a team to resolve issues.

We searched and searched, interviewed and interviewed, we prayed, hoped, acted upon and waited.

We had one temp job about 5 months into the unemployment.  The hubs got a job unpacking boxes at the New Nike Store.  It paid less than $10/hr, but it was a wonderful blessing for him to have a job for a while where he was active and enjoyed working with others. We even we given a mountain of boxes for our move.  Even more so it was a huge blessing to not have to search for boxes at an already stressful time of life.

Several weeks later he got another temp job working for the local hospital in the accounting department. This job paid much better than the box cutting job, but was only for a few months as he covered for a woman on maternity leave. 

Again it was a great boost in many ways to have work.

We prayed and prayed that there might be an opportunity of permanent work ahead. We were specific in our prayers asking that as soon as we ended the temp job there would be a job waiting for us so we could move forward.

We were blessed.  We had a new job lined up that started days after our move back to Boise.  This was a job that seemed meant to be, they were looking for someone with specific experience and skills and he had both of what they were looking for.

A few months into his new job it was apparent there was conflict with those who hired him.  When he was hired there was not a consensus among the partners about adding an additional staff member and it made it an uncomfortable work environment.  It got even hairier when the partner that hired him, just picked up and left one day leaving staff hanging and work undone.  A bit of a mess, and somehow we were plunged into the middle of it.

At this time we came to realize the job we had hoped, prayed for and received was now in jeopardy.  There wasn’t sufficient work to justify keeping him at the firm.  We were assured that they would find work and keep him busy, but even so, the demand had changed and it looked like this job wouldn’t be lasting much longer.

We continued to look for employment and the hubs networked, attempted starting grad school and I got pregnant.  Pregnancy as you have read from other posts, challenges my every fiber.

We have even searched for jobs out of town.  The hubs has interviewed for jobs in four states, seven cities and even more locally. We even thought we were going to be offered a position in LasVegas where there were multiple interviews and contacts, but for what ever reason we were not offered the position.

Even though we still had a job, we knew it wouldn’t last as we hoped it would.  A month and a half ago, we were given word that his job would be ending soon and they were eliminating his position. It wasn’t so much a surprise this time. In fact the hub’s employer has been awesome to work with in helping us network and was good about keeping us on until we had our baby and such.  Since we have endured this before and we have simplified our lives so much, it makes the prospect of unemployment a little more bearable.

Last week we spent time at doctor’s appointments for hubs and the kids to take advantage of our insurance before we lose it.  I was at an appointment for Tino when the hubs text me and called and wanted me to call him ASAP.  I didn’t get the message as soon as he would have liked, but once we were out of the doctor’s office I called him back and he shared the big news. 

His boss had just come in and told him he is not losing his job.  They are making a way working with another firm to contract some of the work they need done.  Again we are grateful, but there is nothing like preparing for destitute and then finding out that you won’t be jobless after all. We are so happy to not be out of work today!

So here we are, still looking for a new job, but looks like we will be employed after all until we can find new opportunities or things can pick up where we are at. Crazy how life can shift and change in a blink of an eye. 

Have you had to deal with unemployment?  What is something that got you through that challenging time? Please share your tips in the comments below!
  


Happily Still Employed!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Baby Who's, Who!!

I thought it would be  fun to do a side by side of each of my kids at birth.  Can you guess who is who??  It is amazing how similar my kids look at different stages.  The first picture they are in birth order.




Who is who??? It is amazing to me how different each of my kids coloring was at birth!! You can probably guess which one is the preemie, which one had the cord twice around their neck and which one had a healthy "normal" delivery.


Now that I put the weights do you know who is who??


The first picture is my most recent baby Tino (typical healthy labor and birth), the second picture is Bean (premature birth at 34 week) and the third picture is Lil'Miss (great labor, but had the cord around her next twice when exiting).  Click on the links to see their birth stories.

Having babies is amazing.  I am grateful for the blessing of children, even if they are running wild and crazy around the house right now as I type.

Have your children all looked alike, or did you look like your siblings at birth??

Have a happy summer day!  Stay tuned for Tino's birth story... coming soon.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Been Out of Touch... I am Back!

Out of touch… It feels like it has been forever since I have blogged.  It kind of has been forever, really.  I announced in my last post that our baby boy had arrived.  He is now a week short of five months.  I can’t believe how quickly time is flying.



Over the past five months I have been focusing my energy on these three little ones and making feeble attempts to get our house back in order from my months of sitting still through pregnancy.  Just when I feel like I am gaining headway, the whirlwind children take over and the house looks like a tornado struck…. Again.  Alas, I am happy to be spending time with my kids and hope to be back to blogging. 

I have been working on lots and lots of projects and my mind always seems to be buzzing with more things to add to my project to do list.  I might just someday actually get around to sharing all of the many things that have been keeping me occupied over the past few months.

The great thing is we are all alive and kicking.

Here are some photos of Tino from his first few months of life!! 
 
Happy Birthday Baby Tino

One Month Old: Sweet Sleeping Baby!


One Month: Sweet smiles!

Blessing Day: Two months old, My cute little man!

Two Months: Sister is great at getting him to smile and laugh


Happy Boy!
Sister is also great at multitasking and taking care of baby brother!

Three Months Old: Handsome Boy!

Not too excited about playing dolls with sister!

Four Months: Growing like a weed!

Little Sweet Cheeks!

Four Months!

Happy Smiles!

This month he started grabbing at toys and grasping objects.  Sister was kind enough to share some toys!

First Food: Sweet Potatoes, he gobbled them up and loved trying something new!

Happy Onward and Upward!