Baby K!

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Nope! Not me having a baby this time, but my brother and sister-in-law are! Enjoy this first post by Kristi, I’m so excited for another new niece or nephew!

Bumpin’ for the First Time – First Trimester

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Brett and Kristi sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love….then comes marriage…..then comes morning sickness….then comes bizarre and vivid dreams….then comes sore boobs and constipation….THEN comes a baby in a baby carriage. That’s how this this limerick should go. They conveniently left out the hardest part, SURVIVIING THE PREGNANCY! I’m not sure if it’s because we’re taught as little girls that when you grow up you’ll get pregnant and then POOF, you have a baby (as if no effort is involved). Or maybe I’ve just been blissfully naive to the strong women in my life who have also trudged through the early stages of pregnancy without complaint. I couldn’t appreciate it until now.

So let’s talk about some of these symptoms that nobody really broadcasts because they are so embarrassing and uncomfortable. Weird dreams, excess discharge (yuk!), headaches, sore boobs, saliva, tons of saliva, CONSTIPATION….. those are manageable, right? Let’s add a couple more. Fatigue. Such a peaceful word. Not when you’re propping your eyes open at your desk or rolling down your windows in traffic to try to stay focused. How about morning sickness? Now we’re gettin’ to the good part….. that sick feeling you have ALL day long, knowing that you may not be able to hold back puking, but you still must carry on with your normal day. So, you decide to stuff plastic Target bags (which you now have to pay for in California BTW) into every nook and cranny that you come into regular contact with because it actually relieves your nausea a little to know that it won’t happen all down your work clothes. All of the side effects take a backseat however, to the emotional toll. When you’ve been through a miscarriage, visits to the doctor can bring anxiety. Waiting and praying for a sustainable pregnancy, and having those prayers answered, was an emotional roller coaster that no one could prepare us for. So despite all the obstacles, we’re beyond grateful.

Ok, it’s not all bad in early pregnancy…. You get that excitement of seeing one of those sticks you have been peeing on for years actually work! Accompanied by that smile you can’t take off your face. And that feeling of butterflies and racing of your heart when you get to tell your biggest fan (baby daddy) that you guys get to go on this awesome journey together! You get to see adorable babies on TV and in advertisements and day dream that your baby will be that cute (even though he/she will always seem that cute to you). And through the hardest time of the first trimester, when all you want to do is lay down on the couch, even though that doesn’t give you true relief, you get to hear other mothers cheer you on “hang in there, it will get better almost magically in the second trimester”.

Managing the roller coaster of the first trimester is all worth it, right? This is a statement I know in my heart to be true…. And something I remind myself of daily.

Dear Husband and Boys…

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I’m stealing this idea from my buddy, Elaine.

Dear Husband and Boys,

This is a gentle reminder (in my public space of the internets) of what I may like for Mother’s Day.

1. No fart/poop/pooter/pee talk for one day.

2..THIS bird art from West Elm.

3. THESE sheets from Anthropologie.

4. Any thing in the sparkly blue, white or silver family from THIS company. Wrenn Jewelry.

5. A laptop.

Thank you in advance.

Love, Mommy

Tanor’s on Exclusively Pumping

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Kelly wrote this post for me a looooong time ago. I am just getting around to posting it, but the information in this is so good.

There are tons of opinions on breast feeding. Tons. Overwhelming at times, I thought Kelly’s story was interesting and one you don’t hear about to often on the internets. Enjoy.

My first daughter was born at 31 weeks and 5 days gestation. That’s over 8 weeks early. Two months left on the egg timer. That sealed her ticket to a lengthy NICU stay, and began my love affair with my Madela Pump.

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My second daughter is due February 11, and I can’t decide if I’m going to exclusively pump EP again this go around. So to help me decide, here are 11 things I could remember that I needed to be reminded of before I decide:

1. It’s all about the beginning. At first everyone understood why I was pumping. My preemie couldn’t suck swallow and breathe. Oh and I couldn’t take her home. Hell, with half the NICU staff I had to practically beg just to hold her, so pumping while sitting bedside was how I parented for two months. It was all I felt I could do.
2. It’s all about other people’s opinions. Wait, what? This is my list, and it was important to me. After we came home I had more than one person ask why I didn’t just start nursing. Because everything was normal, right? She was home, clean bill of health, just pick up where you would have been if she was just born! Simple, right? Yeah. Except she had no idea what to do with this thing that looked nothing like a bottle. Find a cheerleader. Mine still mentions in amazement that she can’t believe I did it for so long. Makes me feel good.
3. It’s all about circumstance. There are many, many reasons why people pump to begin with. Baby driven, anatomy driven, I won’t get into that because I can’t possible name them all and I don’t want to forget someone. Mine was baby driven. But it turns out my body produced “rocket fuel” (neonat’s words, not mine) to compensate for my tiny baby. And boy is she huge now, so something worked out in the long run. I could see results, and I liked them.
4. It’s all about time management. Want to schedule a haircut appointment? Guess who is going to want to eat in the waiting room with dad? No problem-o, you being the genius that you are scheduled your appointment for right after a pump session, so dad has a bottle ready to go.
5. It’s all about the booze. Yes, I enjoyed a cocktail (or several) far more often than some of yay nursing friends because I knew my schedule and felt like I could control it better.
6. It’s all about the math. Want to obsess about how many ounces per feeding your baby is getting? Who needs a baby scale and to count wet diapers, the bottles have labels!
7. It’s all about ME time. Pumping gave me 15 minutes 8 times a day to myself. I have never read more, or dominated more levels on candy crush saga in my life. On one hand, I needed help watching the older baby while I pumped at home, but It Also gave me a state mandated break at the office a couple times a day, which I won’t complain about either.
8. It’s all about baby time. Between pumping a bottle and feeding said bottle, it seems like you are constantly in the feeding mode. Unless you get a hands free bra like this one. Then you can do both at the same time.
9. It’s all about the dishes. Dear Husband and I got in more fights about washing bottles than any other single sleep deprived new parent issue. I felt like all I did was wash pump parts. Quick tip: store your pump parts in the fridge in between pumping for the day. Saves you from having to wash them each time. Which is especially good if you out work with all men and you don’t want to use the break room sink to tidy up.
10. It’s all about the money. If you need a pump to go back to work anyway, you can’t even subtract that from the cost of formula. Whenever I had a bad day, I went to Target (which is usually enough itself to pick me up), and cruised down the formula aisle. Ain’t no one be able to afford that.
11. It’s all about you. Honestly. There are examples ad nauseum on the inter web device about how breast milk is best and blah blah blah. No parent wants to do something that’s not good for their baby (duh); choosing formula over EP is totally legit. So you have to want to keep up the routine for whatever reason you decided is enough of a reason for you.

UPDATE:
It’s still January and guess who is here! One month left to go and the preeclampsia came back, and came back fast. I’m writing this update at 3am spending more time staring into the sweet little eyes of my week old daughter, as hidden by my giant sized left boob. I mean breast. One month early earns a “triple feed protocol” at my hospital, and the Mag that kicked my ass last time meant the pump will again be part of my life. That and I will go back to work to make some chedda in three months. But I’m not gonna lie, I’m glad I get to have an option this round.

Rachel is Getting Married – Venue

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Reading others thoughts about wedding planning is so good. Why do I love it so much? I LOVED my wedding, but would I like to plan another one? Hell yes I would.

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The day Cass and I got engaged we had already been questioned on where and when the big day would happen. Of course we didn’t have any plans that day. We didn’t start seriously planning until January really. We discussed doing a destination wedding, we both like to travel but my mom thought that my 89 year old grandma that lives in Montana would probably not be able to travel very far.

I had been thinking that I would like to do a wedding in the mountains. I looked into the Silverthorne Pavilion it was pretty reasonable to rent. I also started looking into the Donovan Pavilion in Vail at the suggestion of a friend of mine.

Cass was on board with the mountain wedding plan. His first request in the planning was not to do it in Denver proper. I agreed because I didn’t want my family to have to have people staying at their houses along with being involved in the wedding. I thought that by choosing the mountains, that people who live in Denver can stay the night or drive home that night if they wanted.

I researched the prices and also started looking on Pinterest for weddings held in these locations. I emailed both places to check on their rates and availability for the dates that I wanted. I was getting a lot of ideas from Pinterest, some people are so creative!!

Some friends of ours are getting married in September and they had chosen the Donovan Pavilion as their location. They mentioned that most of their 2014 dates were booked. I emailed the Donovan Pavilion and the date I wanted was open I almost put a deposit down that day.

The woman that I was dealing with was really nice and suggested we come up and look at the venue. I set up appointments at The Silverthorne Pavilion, The Donovan Pavilion and by my brothers suggestion the Four Seasons in Vail (he lives in Vail and works at The Four Seasons) He said they had very competitive prices and their wedding coordinator sent me some information. I read over the info and decided that I would go look at the Four Seasons just to see it but that it was pretty much out of the question because it was pretty pricey.

The day we drove up to see the venues it was a Saturday and it was snowing. That combination meant that the traffic on I-70 to get to the venues was crazy bad. We left Denver a little before 8 am to get to our 10:30 appointment at the Silverthorne Pavilion. We did not make it. I called the woman there and let her know that we would be late. She was booked up that day so she wouldn’t have time to show us around. She did say we could come and look around on our own and she gave us some information. The venue was a nice basic space, they provided tables and chairs. It was a little strange though because from the pictures on the website you don’t see that it is actually located in a strip mall right by a fly fishing store. There is nothing wrong with that it just looked like a stand alone building from the pictures online.

We decided that we weren’t that interested in the Silverthorne Pavilion after that, they didn’t have a space for the bridal party to be before the ceremony and they date I wanted had actually been reserved but not fully reserved. If we really wanted that date we would have had to challenge the other couple to either pay the deposit and fully book the date or they could give it up and we would put the deposit down.

Our drive to Vail after that was really smooth compared to our drive to Silverthorne. We went to the Four Seasons and had some lunch and met with the wedding coordinator. She showed us the ballroom which we thought was beautiful and was set for a wedding later that day. She showed us everything that was included in the price we had seen from the materials she sent. It was starting to look like a pretty good deal and a whole lot less work. We were talking about with the other venues having to make multiple trips to the mountains to decide on different vendors to use and then choosing the linens, plates, silverware etc. I had told my mom that I did not want my family and friends to have to do a bunch of work on my wedding day. I know they would be more than happy to help but I want them to have a good time and enjoy the day without having to worry if the caterer showed up.

We knew that if anything went wrong at the Four Seasons they would do all they could to make it right. We also looked at the Vail Interfaith Chapel to have our ceremony at. I have been to a wedding there and it was beautiful.

We went and looked at the Donovan Pavillion which is owned by the city of Vail. It was a beautiful location but was a blank slate. They had tables and chairs and that was it. I have been thinking I wanted a mountain wedding for a while but other than that I didn’t have a specific vision of what I wanted the room to look like. I don’t have strong opinions on linens or silverware.
On our drive back to Denver my parents and Cass and I all decided we really liked the Four Seasons and pretty much decided that is what we were going to book.

We did everything in one day but I’m glad we did it that way. The venue includes all the food and booze along with the cake. It includes the tables, linens and silverware . We still have some choices to make but not nearly as many if we booked a different venue.

We have more things to plan but our next big step is getting the guest list finalized and sending out our save the dates.

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(Photos from Four Seasons Vail website)

What I Am Doing:

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Watching: Not much really. Survivor still continues to be my favorite reality show ever. Which reminds me, should I have a “Reality Roundup” on the blog? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Reading: Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. I heard its great and I LOVE his other books.

Listening: Summer by Calvin Harris. Great song.

Making: A Kiki to be auctioned off at a charity event. Details coming soon.

Feeling: Excited for our little husband/wife weekend getaway to Hawaii at the end of May.

Planning: An end of the year teacher gift for Cam’s teacher. We adore her.

Loving: Shaken iced black tea from Starbucks.

Casey is THREE

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Boomer,

Daddy and I are so lucky to have you. You fill our days with laughter and smiles. Here are just a few of the things that we love about you.

1. You are smiley and hilarious. I wish we could constantly have a video camera on you, because you are hysterical. You have funny facial expressions and you try them out on us, just trying to make us laugh.

2. You love your binky and Kiki. We do not go ANYWHERE without them. You have a little spot on your Kiki that you rub on your nose and on Mommy’s nose. We affectionately call it “spot”. Frequently, I will wake up to cute little noises and “Spot” getting rubbed on my nose. Adorable. Unfortunately, binky is getting ready to leave, cross your fingers that goes smoothly.

3. You are going to be my artist! I am so excited. You will sit down and color, paint or decorate with stickers for a long time. After you draw something, you always tell me what it is. It’s usually some sort of animal.

4. You have solid opinions about what you are wearing. I wouldn’t necessarily call you a fashionista though because your opinions are usually between different train or animal tshirts.

5. You are a player and tinkerer. You will play with anyone that asks, but you are also so good about playing by yourself for long amounts of time also. While you play, you are constantly trying to figure out how things work or taking them apart just to put them back together again. Your favorite things to play with are any types of transportation toys. Trains especially, but planes, cars and trucks take a close second.

6. You love to explore. By foot or car. You love to see the ocean daily, you love to watch the trains at the train station, we love to drive downtown and see the boats. You love to look for bugs and animal poop (boys, sigh). You love to point out pretty trees and flowers to me. Every day, we go and look for snails in our yard, just so we can see where they are. It’s possibly one of my favorite qualities about you.

We love you so much Boom. You are a ray of sunshine in our life on a daily basis.

Love, Mommy and Daddy

Collin is THREE

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Dearest Collin,

Daddy and I have come up with a list of just a few of the things we love about you most.

1. You are smiley and affectionate. You love to rest your head on our shoulders when we hold you. You like to give me kisses all the time, even your funny open-mouthed kisses. After we get you dressed, you ask us for a hug every single time. We love it.

2. You love to read. You also love reading with us. Your three favorite books are: Hug Time, Nighttime Ninja and Pigeon Wants a Puppy. You love these books so much, that you could basically read them to us if you wanted. We hope you always love reading as much, because let me tell you, there are some good books awaiting you (Harry Potter anybody?)!!

3. You are stubborn. You want what you want, when you want it, and if that doesn’t happen, we will hear about it. While this can be very frustrating at times, we want you to always fight for what you want.

4. You are emotional. When this trait mixes with the stubborn trait, watch out, because it can get ugly. But, we do love that you clearly wear your feelings on your sleeve. We also value and appreciate the empathy you have for others, especially your brothers.

5. You like a solid routine. You function so much better when you know exactly what is going to happen next. One of the funnier “routines” you have is when we pull back into the driveway. You always want to stay in the car and “watch a minute?” Basically, you want everyone out of the car before you so you can watch a little extra DuckTales or open the door yourself.

6. You are adventurous and physical. You will climb things and jump right off with no warning. Every morning, you like to be carried down the stairs, and you will jump into our arms from almost four steps up. Crazy. You lead the way on all of our hikes and run the entire way. Daddy and I think that you are going to learn how to ride your bike first out of all the brothers (shh, don’t tell Cameron).

Collin, we love you so much. You are such an awesome kid who puts us through the ringer daily, but gives us solid amounts of love each day too.

Love, Mommy and Daddy

P.S. You also have the most nicknames in the family: Collie, Collie Bear, Collie B, Collis Wallace, Collis, Collie Kid Vicious, Stone Cold Collie Robert and C-Bob

Craft Time with Maria: Easter Edition

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This is the twins birthday week, but I wanted to get in a quick Easter craft before Sunday. Maria has this cute idea, and I think we are going to try it Saturday night for some cool afternoon treats on Sunday.

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Looking for a way to get your kids eggcited about Easter? Get them to help you make these super fun and easy Easter Egg Popsicles. Enjoy!

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Materials:
- Plastic Easter eggs (around $1.00 per pack)
- Kool-Aid or your choice of juice
- Lollipop or popsicle sticks (around $1.99 for a pack of 25)
- Tape
- Small nail or phillips screwdriver
- Pipping tip or something similar to use as funnel

TIP #1: If you have or can find plastic eggs with holes on only one end you’ll save yourself a little trouble!

TIP #2: If you’re making a trip to your local Michael’s, Joann’s craft store or Hobby Lobby and have a smart phone, try downloading their free apps! They almost always offer 20% – 50% off coupons that you just have to show at checkout!

You’re not going to need your Kool-Aid or juice yet but if it’s not pre-made make it now.

First, grab your small nail or phillips screwdriver and puncture a hole in the bottom of your egg for your popsicle stick. Use light pressure or you may create a larger whole than you want or completely crack your egg into pieces like I did a few times. Maybe it was my Hulk strength. You’re going to want to make this whole in the center of the already existing tiny holes in the egg. One of the existing holes will allow the air the escape while you use the other to fill the egg.

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Grab your popsicle sticks and poke them into the hole you’ve created. I found it easiest to open up the egg and stick my fingers underneath where my popsicle stick was being inserted. This allowed me to control the pressure I was exerting on the egg without breaking it further with the stick.

When you insert your stick in right, without breaking the egg, you may notice that you’ve really only bent the plastic. When opening up your egg if you notice a star shape around the popsicle stick, you’ve done it right! ( If we’re being honest, I only got the star shape a few times, oops! )

​** Before moving on to the next step make sure to get out any plastic that has ​fallen inside of your egg

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If you have eggs like mine that have two holes on each end, first decide which way you want the egg to sit on the popsicle stick. After choosing to have my eggs sit right side up, I taped off top of the top holes (the narrower end of the egg) with my normal scotch tape. Then while holding your egg shut, tape around where the two ends of the egg connect, sealing it closed. I suggest rolling one end of the tape so that once you’re ready to peal the tape off you can easily find where to start.

Once you have a carton full of your taped and hole-y eggs, grab your piping tip or funnel and fill each until almost full.

Heres really where you can get your kids involved. While you hold the pipping tip or funnel, I bet your kids would love to pour in their favorite Kool-aid or juice. You may have a make a few reminders about pouring in the liquid slowly so that it has time to drain down into the egg but in the end your kids will be even more excited about seeing how their popsicle eggs turn out!

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Pop your eggs in the freezer until firm. I froze mine overnight but if you make them the day of the event you need them, allot yourself at least 3 hours of freezing time.

After pulling your eggs out of the freezer you may have some spill over coming out of the holes near your popsicle sticks but just wipe them away with a napkin or tissue. Now you’re ready to take the tape off and enjoy your popsicles.

When you’re ready to eat them, let them sit our for a minute or hold the top part of the egg in your hand to warm it up and then you can open the egg. You can take the popsicle completely out of the plastic shell or you can just carefully open the top and eat right our of the shell. Once you reach the bottom, the eggs easily slip out.

Guest Posting: Moms Make it Work

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Today I am guest posting at Julia’s Life in Transition blog! Sooooooo excited! I am posting the same post here, but check it out over on Julia’s blog HERE!

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Hello!  I am Jenn, a stay at home mommy here in sunny Southern California!  You can find me blogging at The Kearney Good Life or Instagramming at kearneygoodlife.  I have a husband Rian and three boys.  Cameron is 5.5 and Collin and Casey.  Twins who will be 3 on April 17th!  We just moved to SoCal almost 4 months ago and we are loving our new lifestyle to say the least.

I would like to thank Julia for letting me badger her into letting me do this.  A few things I thought and typed out were eye opening and cathartic.  Thanks Julia!

What is your background story? What was your career/schooling before you became a mom? And now where are you?

I attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO and got a BS in Marketing.  Towards the end of my junior year, I also realized that I really would like to be a teacher.  Luckily, there are business and marketing classes for high school students, so I could combine my degree with teaching. I added that part to my degree and took an extra year of teaching classes.  I got a job right away at a high school in the suburbs of Denver.  I also met and started dating my soon-to-be husband that same year.  I was happy in love, but not so happy at work.  I loved teaching, but I didn’t necessarily love the school I was at.  I only taught there for one year and then decided to make the change to a high school in the suburb I had grown up in.  It was a little more diverse and I loved that.  I worked there for the next seven years.  At that time, I also decided to get my MBA.  I still loved business and teaching, but went the business route just in case I wanted to use that degree again.  It also bumped up my paycheck at school by quite a bit.  I did it at night, and loved it.  I “graduated” one week before our wedding.

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Rian and I got engaged a year after we started dating, and got married (2006) a little over a year later.  He works in the financial real estate industry, and at that time he was an internal wholesaler.  He was very up front from the start of our relationship, telling me that he wanted to be a wholesaler in the industry.  This meant, traveling and possibly moving.  I was 100% on board with this.  I love that he loves to push himself at work, and to achieve higher goals for himself.  Right after we got married, we wanted babies.  We started trying immediately.  The path to parenthood for us was not easy.  I did not get pregnant.  When I finally did, it ended in miscarriage.  I was then diagnosed with PCOS (see what that is HERE), and started seeing a fertility doctor.  It was hard.  Not as hard as what many people go through, but still hard for us.  I had another miscarriage and then finally got pregnant in October of 2007.  We were so thrilled.  It was everything I expected and more.  By then, Rian had moved to a new start-up company.  He was doing the same job, but there was a better potential for him to get a wholesaling job, but in the process, he took a pay cut.  I knew that I would still have to work, which at the time was fine.

Cameron is Born 118

Cameron was born in June 2008, and I got to take the first three months off of teaching and then went back part time!  My high-school was on a block schedule, so I only worked every other day, but always Wednesday.  One week MWF, the next TWTh.  It was AWESOME!  Additionally, my sister was taking care of Cameron for the first year (I still count years by the school calendar.  When will that end?)  So it was ideal.  I did cry the first day dropping him off, but I was also more comfortable calling my sister every hour to see what and how he was doing.  I stayed part-time for the rest of my teaching career.  The next school year, 2009-10, my sister got a job, so I did have to take Cameron to a daycare.  I thought I was more prepared to take him because I had already done it with my sister.  Wrong.  I cried and cried.  I remember walking in to school the first day and running into a very good friend.  He asked what was wrong and I couldn’t even get words out.  Cam stayed at that daycare until October, when his provider just decided to quit daycare altogether.  Weird.  But things happen for a reason and we found the most amazing daycare lady.  We still keep in touch with her to this day and call for advice.

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Fertility affected me.  As it should.  It’s heartbreaking and ugly, and I wanted to give it a big kick in booty and get pregnant again and say “take that stupid ovaries”.  We started trying again when Cameron turned 1.  It wasn’t pretty.  I went through many, many treatments.  I felt gross, gained a ton of weight and had to give myself tons of shots.  Yuck.  Also, Rian finally got a wholesaling job and was traveling!  YAY!  He had a very small territory, and his company did not mind if he stayed in Colorado.  Cameron turned two. Things weren’t looking good.  I was getting desperate.  Then it happened.  I got pregnant.  With triplets.  WHAAAAT?  It was 2010, I was still teaching part time, Cam was part time at a daycare, Rian was traveling.  At my 8 week ultrasound (you get a LOT of early ultrasounds at the fertility clinic), we found out that we had lost one triplet, but still had twins.  We were sad, but still so grateful that the twins were there.  It’s was a very strange high and low experience.  During the first few months of my pregnancy, I knew it was going to be different.  I was large.  I was working part time, but closer to full time.  I was working every day now, but every other day was a half day.  Crazy schedule I know, but I liked it.  Then, I had some bouts of pre-term labor and my doctor recommended I stop working earlier than we had thought.  The twins were due at the end of May and it was only mid-January!  I had to use up all of my maternity leave before the twins were even born.  I needed it though, I had two more pre-term hospital stays before the twins were born.  I was put on light bed rest in the middle of February and then strict bed rest in the middle of March.  The twins made an early arrival in mid-April at 5 weeks early.  Get this.  Casey was 7 pounds and Collin was 6lbs 3ozs.  Not kidding.  Five weeks early and more than 13 pounds of baby.  No wonder they wanted out of me!

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It was at this point we decided that I needed to stay home with the boys.  Cam would still go to preschool part-time in the mornings, but Rian was traveling and starting to make up for my missed income.  However, we did not realize how much traveling he was doing until the twins were six weeks old and he had to go on a trip.  I hired my college aged cousin for the summer to come help me out during work trips, thank goodness.  She would help me drive Cam to school, go with me to the twins physical and occupational thereapy appointments and spend the night on nights when Rian wasn’t home.  It was life saving.  Still with that help, I am still in a fog about it.  I don’t remember a lot of things and every picture of me, I look exhausted.  I was.  It was hard.  But, I found help for myself, and Rian was great when he was home letting me take little breaks when I needed them and letting me sleep in on weekends.  My cousin went back to school in August, and I hired a former student to help me!  By then, the twins were almost always sleeping through the night, so I didn’t need help at nights anymore, but I did join the bowling league with my Mom and her friends on Wednesday mornings.  After bowling we would go to lunch.  It was great.  Sure, I was one of the youngest girls, and I wasn’t the best bowler (I got better!), but it was fun and a little, much needed, three hour break.

Rian’s company finally let us know we needed to move to his territory.  So, we packed up and headed to Omaha.  He covered a large territory in the mid-west and we had family there, so that’s where we chose.  We didn’t live there long though.  Not even two years.  Rian was traveling even more now.  Unfortunately, Omaha doesn’t have the largest airport, so getting from point A to B, usually added point C and sometimes D.  He was gone almost 4 days of the week every week for 7 weeks and then a week spent at home working.

Looking back, I almost think it was harder than when the twins were newborns.  I didn’t know anybody besides my sister-in-law and bro-in-law and they both have time consuming jobs.  So I was on my own most times and didn’t have bowling dates to look forward to anymore.  Being home with your kids by yourself for four days straight is hard!  I give so much credit to single parents, because, holy mackerel is it hard.  I would get tired,  Really tired, and found myself snapping or losing my temper more than I should.  Also, when Rian was home, I didn’t want him to leave our sight.  I didn’t want to lose one minute with him.  Rian and I decided to put the twins in an early preschool program a few days a week.  Cam was going to preschool part time as well, so towards the end of living in NE, I did get a few solid hours to myself every other day!  Awesome.  So worth it to me.  During those hours I would clean, watch tv, take a nap or do what I like to do.  I have a little Etsy shop where I sell my crocheted blankies (Kearneyville Kikis) and that was a great time to do that type of stuff.  Also, right after we moved to Nebraska, I did volunteer with the March of Dimes, and stayed in touch with one of the people there who had also went to CSU.  I started getting more involved with volunteering and even temped for them when all of the boys were at preschool!  I loved it and especially loved the event planning that I helped with.  It was a nice to see in myself that I actually do like working, that I was good at it and that I was helping people while doing it.

Last September, Rian was offered the same wholesaling job, but in Southern California.  He would only cover SoCal and Hawaii, and would ONLY TRAVEL ONCE EVERY 7 WEEKS!  We jumped on it.  Moved in December to the Encinitas/Carlsbad area of San Diego.  We went to the beach on Christmas!  We have found a great school for Cameron, the twins are on the waiting list, I am still staying home with them, but there is less stress.  We are happier.  Rian is home.  We can eat dinner together.  We can play outside together.  Now we just need to find a babysitter so we can go to the movies…

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What are the best parts of your situation? What are the biggest challenges?

The best is that I can stay home with my boys.  They are so funny and awesome.  I do try to keep a little structure while Rian is working and Cam is at school:  reading, playing, outside, snacks, etc.  I don’t kick myself if we just end up going to the beach or park though.  Cam will start kindergarten in the fall and the twins will be in preschool.  What will I do with all of my free time?  I have tons of options.

The challenges are the same as many SAHMs.  Finding time for myself.  Most of my me time is after the boys go to bed.  Like I said earlier, I am a crafter.  I have a little Etsy crochet business, and I scrapbook the heck out of my kids lives.  So I am busy most nights.  Also right now, Rian and I are working on the balance of us time and me time.  It’s a challenge, but it will get better!  We are also challenged with Collin, the older twin.  He has some sensory issues, which for him basically means not being able to calm himself down if he gets mad.  The twins are two, will be three in two weeks.  We all know the terrible twos, but the really terrible threes are worse.  So picture this.  Collin acts naughty, gets told no, has an epic temper tantrum and then goes into bad sensory processing and can’t calm down.  It can take up to 30 minutes sometimes!  This can also happen multiple times a day.  We have been working on it, and it is getting a tiny bit better, but man is it hard.

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Is this how you expected it to be pre-kids?

Yes and no.  I always thought I would be a SAHM.  Always.  I just always thought roses and rainbows, and its not.  I have three kids.  Twins.  It’s hard.  I get tired, grumpy, hungry and some days if I have to talk about what “number” I put in the toilet one more time, I will lose my mind.  But, I have cuddly. loving, smart, handsome boys and I totally expected that. :-)  Somedays are so great.  At the end of the day I think that this is what I thought my life as a Mommy would totally look like.  Some days, I have to remind myself that no one is perfect including myself, Rian and my kids, and not every day has to be the best day ever.

Is this your ideal situation? If not, what is?

Ideally, we would win the lotto jackpot, buy a huge house in a Southern California beach town and start a non-profit we could run from our home.  But if that isn’t in the cards, than this situation is pretty ideal.  :-)  I get to hang with my kids everyday, see my husband (almost) every night and we are together as a family.  It’s an awesome life for us.

Do you see yourself making a career change (whatever that means) in the next 5-10 years, or is this current set up staying put for the long haul?

I do think I will be making a career change.  I think that I will enter back into the work force in some capacity with a non-profit.  I really still enjoy working with and teaching kids, so maybe a non-profit along those lines.  I do think that I will wait until the twins are in school full time before I do this though.  Non-profit work is obviously not the highest paying industry, and living in California, daycare costs are through the roof!  I would DEFINITELY be spending my entire paycheck to keep the twins in daycare.

How do meals work in your family? Meal planning? How often do you grocery shop? Who does that task in the family?

Rian is the cook.. THANK.  GOODNESS.  I cook a few meals here and there, but he mainly does the cooking and he enjoys it.  I finally convinced him to see the light and join Pinterest, and now we are having new awesome recipes all of the time!  I am so thankful for that.  I obviously do most of the breakfasts and lunches during the week.  What I find most helpful is meal planning.  Nothing to crazy and specific, but if I write down lunches for the week, and go to the store on Sunday, than it is much easier for me to get a healthy and balanced lunch together.  I have noticed that if I don’t do this, I get lazy or busy running errands, that it just becomes easier to go grab lunch for the boys while I am out.  So, I have recently been working on the lunch meal planning and shopping.  It has really seemed to help.

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How do you handle mommy guilt?

My guilt comes out differently now that I am a SAHM.  Some days I feel so guilty because I think, “I want to go back to work so bad.  I could drive my car without having to listen to Frozen a thousand times (boys like it too!), I could eat lunch at my pace, I could work!”  Then the daydream is over and I do feel guilty.  I truly wish I didn’t, but I do.  I have a great partner in life that reminds me that I am a good mom and all we can do every day is try to be better than the last, and if we’re not, start over again tomorrow.

Also, Cam and I have started a new nighttime talk.  We talk about our day and everything we did.  We then ask each other what was the best and worst part of the day.  I am always so humbled and happy by Cameron’s answers.  He will say things that made him happy are swimming lessons, family walks with our dogs, playing games together, etc.  His not favorite things?  Not seeing where the snail they were following ended up, getting smacked in the head by the door, not getting two scoops of ice cream and only one, his brother pootered on his leg, etc.  Never “Mom, you were grumpy” or “You didn’t listen to me”.  I always think, thank goodness I have these amazing kids that help remind me that I am not doing that bad.

Tips on how you make this work for you?

Get enough sleep.  Meal plan for busy meal times (maybe all of them).  Take deep breaths.  Find me time.  Get enough sleep.  Laugh.  Play.  Don’t take things to seriously.  Get enough sleep.

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