Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Beach: With a Toddler and a Baby

Ten things I think you should know before taking a week long beach trip with a toddler and a baby, in random order:

1)  Your children will acquire new, life changing skills while you are on vacation.
    • Night #1 James learned to crawl out of his pack-n-play crib.  This made our lives EXCITING while we were on vacation.  The first night I ended up laying down on the bed next to his crib until he fell asleep.  The rest of the nights we kept him up 1-1.5 hours later than normal so he would be so.very.ready to go to bed when we finally put him there, he would stay.  He did fine at nap time, probably because he was exhausted then, too. (probably from going to bed so late!)

    • Reese learned to sit up independently.  This was actually awesome and helpful.  We put a pillow behind her and put some toys around her and VOILA! Happy baby.
2)  If you think you can take a walk on the beach with your toddler WITHOUT said toddler getting in the water, you are sadly mistaken.
    • Sometimes around 5pm, after baths and before dinner, it was a great time to take a walk on the beach.  We only tried taking a walk with James (in clothes, no bathing suit) once on the beach.  After he got totally in the water, we decided that was a bad idea.
3)  Your children will go to bed later and get up earlier on vacation than they do in normal non-vacation life.
    • Pre-vacation:  Both kids in bed at 7pm, awake around 7am.  On vacation:  Reese in bed at 7:30pm, James at 8:30 or 9pm, both up around 6am. 
4)  If you share a room with your kids, it is harder to ignore them in the morning when they wake up.
    • James was to the right of our bed in a pack-n-play, Reese was to our left.  When Reese would wake up talking at 6am, James was quick to follow suit.  He could reach my side of the bed from his.  This made waking up SO enjoyable.
5)  Nine month old babies LOVE to eat sand.
    • Reese ate soooooo much sand.  Fistfuls of it.  Look closely at this picture.  She has a sand moustache AND goatee.  Yuck, yuck, yuck.  In case you were wondering, it looks exactly the same when it comes out the other end, except it smells like poop.

6)  Related to number five, baby wipes do not do a satisfactory job getting sand off a baby bottom.  That's all I'm going to say about that.

7)  There is no method to the madness of predicting how your kids will handle being at the beach on any given day.  
    • Loved the beach today?  Might hate it tomorrow, or vicey versey.  The first day I didn't know if Reese would like being on the beach or not.  I was prepared to stay a short amount of time and then head back to the house.  Day 1:  She LOVED it.  Played for a solid hour and a half in a sandy hole we dug out for her to sit and splash in.  Day 2:  I was prepared to stay a while, based on day 1.  Twenty minutes in she was over it and wailing.  Of course.  Whatever I was prepared for, she did the opposite!  James was only slightly more predictable.  He was unsure of the water the first day, but warmed up to it quickly and wanted to spend the rest of the WEEK in the water.
8)  Taking a small plastic pool to the beach was a fantastic idea.

    • James played in it a little bit, but Reese played in it a LOT.  She loved it.  We didn't have to worry about little waves overtaking her.  The water is able to warm up a little bit more than the ocean water temperature.  One day we didn't even put any water in it, just kept it in the shade with some towels positioned in it and she played in that!  She also took a nap in the water-free-pool.
9)  Having at least 2:1 adult to kid ratio will greatly improve your quality of life.  (actually, this is true any time, not just at the beach or on vacation)
    •   On our trip was my mom, dad, my sister, and one of my brothers in addition to my family of four.  It was really helpful to have extra adults around to help kid-wrangle.  My mom was kind enough to leave the beach at mid-day, take a kiddo back to the house, feed, bathe and put them down for a nap.  Scott also spent a good bit of time at the house while children were napping.  I got to spend a lot of time on the beach.  My family helped make that possible.  I am so, so appreciative of them!
10)  Related to number nine, family makes all the difference in the world.  For me, that difference is a positive one.  I know that isn't the case for everyone.  I am so very grateful.

What did I leave out?  What did you learn on vacation with kids (of any age)?

Monday, August 26, 2013

"I'm Sad" Update

The short version:  I heart Zoloft.  I feel much, much better.

The long-winded version:

I started taking sertraline (generic Zoloft) at the end of June.  I started with 25 mg for a few days, then 50 mg for a few days, then 75 mg (my recommended dose).  The first few days I felt nauseous.  Not to the extreme I feel when I'm pregnant, just enough to really kill my appetite.  I did take a pregnancy test sometime in the first few days because of the nausea.  It was negative.  When I moved up to 50 mg, I started feeling better emotionally.  Less sad and mopey, slightly more energy each day.  Within two weeks of starting the medication, I felt significantly better.

That's how I would describe myself now: significantly better than pre-medication.  I have energy to do things every day.  I have motivation.  I have my spunk, spark, and sarcasm back. :)  I'm so, so glad to feel like "me" again.  I'm keeping up with my house a wee bit better than I was.  I'm able to meet up with people and go and do.  You know, LIVING??  And blogging.  Lots more blogging.

I can't deny another huge factor in me feeling better:  my husband, Scott.  He's a teacher and has been out of school/off work this summer.  Having him around morning, noon, and night to help out with kid wrangling has GREATLY improved my attitude as well.  THANK YOU, MY LOVE.  THANK YOU.

He's back in school now, but I don't feel anxious or apprehensive about handling me and the kids.  In fact, I took both of them to the grocery store by myself yesterday.  I don't know if I've ever done that before.  Ever.  I wore Reese in my Ergo carrier and James rode in the cart and we all did just fine.

Let's talk about medication side effects for just a minute.  I don't know for sure if any of these things are sertraline-related, but that's what I'm blaming:

  • Difficulty sleeping.  I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.  I toss and turn a whole lot.  Even when I'm exhausted, I just laaaaaaayyyy there for a long, long time before I drift off to sleep.  
  • Not-to-be-named-here sexual side effect.  Feel free to email me.  (baacuff at mac dot com) I'm happy to tell you my tale.  I just think for the sake of my children and husband, I'll not publicize it on this blog. :)
  • Still slightly decreased appetite.  No complaints there.  I've lost a few pounds.  I eat slightly less than I used to.  I consider this to be a huge positive. :)
The plan:  Because of the first two side effects, I decided to drop back to a 50 mg dose.  I've noticed a tee-tiny-slight-improvement since cutting back on the dose.  And, thankfully, still feeling good emotionally.  I talked to my doctor about coming off completely in November.  Reese will be a year then.  Since we're attributing some of this depression to post-partum hormones, hopefully one year post-partum will show significant improvement.  Also, we think my birth control pill (generic Yaz, gianvi) played a role, too. I just switched this month to a different pill (generic Loestrin Fe, gildess).  So sometime in October I will drop down to 25 mg sertraline dose and hopefully come off completely in November.  My doctor says I'll know pretty quickly if I can come off or not.  I guess we'll just have to see!

In the mean time, I'm going to carry on living life.  Not just existing like I was before.

**If you haven't seen the movie Willow (above), I'd highly recommend it.  Lots and lots of quotable quotes in that movie. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Birthmother Connection

This week I was fortunate to have an opportunity to meet another birthmother.  We met up at a coffee shop and chatted for a bit.

Have you ever walked away from meeting someone new feeling just plain excited that you got to meet them?  That's how it was in this situation.  She's fresher into the birthmom journey than I am.  Even still, it was so absolutely awesome to hear someone talk about their journey and just GET where they are coming from.

Adoption journeys, from all sides of the triad (adoptive parents, birth parents and adoptees), are so wildly different.  I enjoyed hearing her story and telling mine.  I hope we can meet up again and continue our birthmother journey together, connected.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Giving Myself Permission

One of a million things I learned from my parents is how to clean a bathroom.  I mean really clean a bathroom.  Up to and including washing the shower curtain, bath mats,  and towels, scrubbing every surface of the toilet, sink, mirror, cabinets, cabinet handles, over-sink-light bulbs, and wiping down the door (both sides, of course).  Vacuuming and mopping the floor goes without saying.  Part of my cleaning indoctrination included the principle of "Don't do a partial job.  If you're going to clean some of it, go ahead and clean all of it."

With a regular shower/tub combo kind of bathroom (not that separate shower stall/jacuzzi tub craziness some of you have), it takes me about an hour to clean a bathroom.  And that's if I'm moving efficiently.

Recently James has been showing an interest in potty training.  He's been sitting on the potty some and has even pee-peed there a few times.  Pretty darn excited about that fact, actually.  (Him, Me, Scott...all of us are excited.)  Putting my son's delicate little heiney on my toilet that was in desperate need of cleaning certainly changed how I felt about the dirty toilet.  Dirty, in this case, shall be defined by, but not limited to, a pinkish-orangey color at and below the water line in the toilet bowl.  Ew ew ew.  Not that James is touching THAT part of the toilet, but still.  (well hopefully not)  I decided I needed to take care of that nasty toilet today during nap time.  Except I didn't want to spend an hour + cleaning my bathroom.

So, today, August 22, 2013, at the age of 35, I gave myself permission to SPOT CLEAN my bathroom.  I cleaned the grungy potty:

and the grungy sink:

and now they are both sparkly clean. (after photos only, before photos would have cost me all 10 of my blog readers...)

This is a big deal people.  If I could truly get a handle on doing small cleaning things routinely instead of every six months deep cleaning for hours, I might actually have a CLEAN HOME.  On a somewhat regular basis.

If you already grasp this concept, bravo to you.  Please invite me over so I can pat you on the back appropriately for your efforts!  If you are still struggling with this idea, "Well I don't have time to clean everything I want to, so I might as well clean nothing..." as I do, hang in there.  Give yourself permission to spot clean.  It's okay.

YOU CAN DO IT. *patpat

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Feeling Special

Last Sunday, Jame and I went to church together.  Yes, Jame.  This is how he refers to himself.  When he sees himself in the mirror he says excitedly, "JAME!"  No 's'.  I love it.  It's an improvement from the "Beans" or "Baynes" he used to call himself.  Not sure why he's dropped the 's' at the end, but whatever.  Toddlerspeak is hilarious, so I say carry on Jame.

We haven't been to church in a whiiiiiile.  The whole family wasn't coordinated enough to go together, so Reese and Scott stayed home.  We were slightly early (1-2 minutes, that's crazy early for me), so we parked in the satellite parking lot and road the shuttle bus over.  You would have thought that riding the bus was the sole reason we were there that day.  Jame absolutely LOVED.IT.  He kept saying BUS! BUS! BUS!  I should have just let him ride the shuttle by himself continuously while I was at church...

When we got into the building and headed toward his classroom, he started clinging a little more tightly to my arm.  As we stood in line to drop him off, his bottom lip started to protrude markedly.  When I placed him on the floor on the classroom-side of the gate (yes, 2 year old classrooms require gates), the tears and wailing began.  I left really, really quickly, so as not to draw out the painful process for him.

Off to church I went by myself.  I don't know if you consider going to church by yourself an outing, but it totally is.  I certainly would have preferred Scott and Reese to be there as well, (Reese in her own classroom), but that wasn't possible that morning.  So I had my own fun little by-myself-surrounded-by-a-whooooole-lotta-people outing.

If you've ever taken a kid to church and dropped them off, you've probably received some sort of claim ticket for them.  Because, apparently, they want you and only you to pick them up after the service.  Weird.  Can't I come back in a few days??  This particular morning I looked down at my sticker which says "Betty Davidson" (don't even get me started about people calling me "Betty") and my kid's number/letter combo: ZB4.  My cousin Jon wrote about this tagging of children at church idea.  He calls it playing "bad kid lottery" as you go through church hoping your kid's number doesn't appear on the screen.

I felt pretty confident Jame would do well in his class that morning.  I felt so confident I sat in the smackdabmiddle of a row. Two-thirds of the way through the service, the bad kid lottery screen lights up.  Imagine a scrolling, red, marquee kind of sign.  That's what it looks like.  First up, some early elementary school kid's number.  *Phew*  The next classroom name to scroll across says "2 yr olds"...................ZB4.

Aw dang.

I just won the bad kid lottery.  I quickly got up, and started making my way out of the row.  The people were kind and understanding as I tried not to step on their toes.  Off to the 2 year old classroom I went.

I can hear him before I get to the door of the classroom.  He is beside himself with grief over being left in that den of wolves to be eaten by those other 2 year olds.  Even holding his beloved giraffe "bankit" isn't helping calm him.  The sweet teacher passes him to me over the gate and encourages me to bring him again.  What a kind lady.  In her shoes, I would have said "We don't take criers."

The MOMENT he is in my arms, he stops crying and smiles.  I hugged him tightly and told him he was going to make it.  I promised.  Together we headed upstairs to the "Family Chapel" (where you can take kids of any age and they can be loud if they want to) for the remainder of the service.  He sat pretty happily on my lap for the last 15-20 minutes.  I just sat there squeezing on him and lovin' on him.

Although I would have preferred he make it the whole service in his class so I could have an uninterrupted church experience, I was grateful for this sweet time with him.  He's not a cuddly kinda guy.  He doesn't spend much time just hanging out in my lap.  From what everyone tells me, I'm going to blink my eyes and he'll be 30, so I better enjoy these rare moments.

I know parenthood can teach a person all kinds of things about how God loves us unconditionally.  I felt like this experience was one of those learning moments for me.  I saw a glimpse of how much God must love me as my Heavenly Father.  When I am beside myself with grief over something that probably shouldn't cause me as much grief as it is causing, all God has to do is just show up, arms open wide.  Suddenly, instantly, my fears are eased, the tears stop.  I feel loved, cared for, assured.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


I feel as though I have arrived as a blogger.  I received my first ever *freebie* in the mail with an opportunity to review something!  Woohoo!!  My cousin has a blog that raised $30,000 in 18 hours to build a kindergarten in Vietnam.  Perhaps I've set the bar a little too low??  Well anyway...

Some people have jobs that require specific uniforms.  Wearing nurse scrubs for my job is a must. I tend to wear solid color scrubs as opposed to fun print scrubs.

This medical scrubs company sent me a scrub top to review.  I chose a ceil blue top with a nice design embroidered on it.

What I loved about it:

  • The detailed embroidery design.
  • The color.
  • The fact that it had useable pockets.
  • The almost-empire waist line.
  • The doesn't-just-look-like-I'm-wearing-a-tent look.

What I didn't love:
  • The fabric.  Too stiff and crunchy for my taste.

Sadly, for me, the fabric was a deal-breaker.  I knew I would not wear it because it felt too scratchy and stiff.  Instead of letting such a great top go to waste, I asked my coworkers if anybody would like to wear it.

Mary (pictured below) decided she loved it!  She didn't have the same hang-up I did with the fabric, so this lovely top belongs to her now.  Thanks for being my model, Mary!

UniformedScrubs is offering a discount to you readers until August 31st.  Use the coupon code "trueblue" to get 15% off of your order!

These folks are all about some social media.  Feel free to check them out...

Twitter: @UniformedScrubs

*I was provided this product to review.  All opinions are my own.*