Tag Archives: worrying

Baby Z’s Photo Debut

Today marks 4 weeks since Baby Z’s birth, and this past weekend we were able to get a hold of his newborn photos! 

I love newborn shots because they really do capture a moment in time. These photos were taken when he was exactly 10 days old, and although that was just a few weeks ago, he already looks like a different kid! (It’s amazing what a difference a pound or two makes.) 

Two years ago, we used Plano-based photographer Rachel Cooke when the Little Man was born. (You can see his newborn session here.) 

I was a little nervous about these photos because I felt like I had a lot working against me. I had intended on getting new outfits for us prior to baby being born, and that never happened. Instead I ended up digging through my non-maternity clothes, and was lucky enough to pull 3 matching outfits together. 

Then, the only room with enough lighting to shoot in our house is the nursery; which is perfect. . . for shooting in there the first time. I was a little worried both our son’s newborn photos were going to look identical. 

And of course, the morning of, everyone was having meltdowns. . . 

But Rachel is a true professional!

My outfit choices ended up looking great with the backgrounds she chose in our home for the family shots. 

Although there are similarities in both boys photos, she did an awesome job of using completely different poses, props, and backgrounds for Baby Z’s close-ups.

And as for the meltdowns, she has the perfect touch! The Little Man turned into a model in front of the camera, and Baby Z slept the whole two hours during the session!



I’m pretty happy with how they all turned out. 
What do you think?

Welcoming Baby Z: His Birth Story

This past week, I took a much needed blogging break to welcome our sweet baby boy into the world.

So much has happened this week it’s hard to know where to begin, but I’ll start with simply sharing his birth story with you.

A little background for those of you who are new followers, the delivery of my first son was not a pleasant experience for me. You can read the full story here, but to sum it up in a few words: late arrival induction, 13 hours of labor, giant head & 9 lb baby = 4th degree tear and lots of physical/emotional pain.

Leading up to his delivery, I was extremely nervous about my C-section surgery. I was slightly hoping I’d just go into labor and not have to worry about it anymore, but, of course, that didn’t happen.

Early Monday morning came, and it was time!

We arrived at the hospital around 5:30am, and were shown into the pre-op room where the questions and fluids began. After giving my complete medical history to the nurse, assistant anesthesiologist, anesthesiologist, and blood tech,  by 6:45am, all that was left to do was wait . . . and let the anxiety build.

By 7:15am, they were ready to move me into the OR.

Everything at this point happened very quickly. Epidural went in, Tim was brought into the room, and the cutting began.

There was a lot to the surgery that I didn’t expect. I was told you’d feel a lot of pushing and tugging but what I didn’t realize was that I’d physically feel everything. Although there was no pain or temperature sensations, I felt touch and movement along my skin; down to the scalpel moving across my belly. I also wasn’t expecting it when I began to smell the burning.

After what felt like an eternity (but was more like 10-15 minutes) of movement on the table, tugging, and pushing, at 7:46am, our son was born!

He weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces and was 18.7 inches long; although the doctors and nurses thought he looked larger than that!

Overall, this birth experience was a 100 times better than my first. I could easily see doing it all over again. Even now that I’m 6 days post surgery, I’m moving around and doing things I could never imagine doing after the birth of my first!

I remember the moment I saw him for the first time, I was a little speechless. Based on our last sono the Thursday before, I was convinced he was going to come out looking almost identical to my first son. Jet black hair, chubby checks, and large blue eyes. Although he had those same traits, I don’t think they could have looked any more different. 

I don’t know how it’s possible to love someone at first sight before you’ve had any experiences with them, but both times I saw my sons after they were born, it happened. Sorry to my husband, but these little guys didn’t have to woo me before they captured my heart. 

The Time Has Come! Are We Ready?

Monday is the big day!! 

Delivery Day!! 

For 9 months now, I imagined this weekend as pure chaos. 

Running around trying to make my toddler happy while throwing bags together. 
Cleaning until my hands fell off. 
Finishing all the last minute decor in the baby’s room.

Instead I’m sitting on the couch eating a bowl of ice cream watching The Joe Schmo Show. 

For once, I actually feel in control of a crazy situation. 

The Little Man dancing at breakfast this morning. 
I’m trying so hard to do a better job of releasing control and not stressing over situations I don’t have any control over. So as Baby Date was approaching, I realized I had no control over the outcome of the delivery or recovery time, so there’s not really any point in worrying or stressing about all the things I think “might” happen. 

Instead, I put my focus on what I could change and do to help make our hospital stay on everyone. 

My bag and the diaper bag has been packed for awhile. All of the batteries that need to be charged are on the charging station. The house was thoroughly cleaned a few weeks ago, and each day I’ve been working on just maintaining. 

We’ve overly communicated with the grandparents who will be taking care of the Little Man and what that might look like. 

So, now that we’re less than 48 hours away from our scheduled delivery, there’s nothing in my control to worry about! 

I’ve finished up all the little decor projects I wanted to do to make Baby #2’s nursery special. I even had time to make him a hospital door hanger

I’ve prepared some fun things to do for my soon-to-be big brother of a son, like an emergency bag of new toys for when he’s visiting us at the hospital and a fun big brother gift when he meets his little brother for the first time. 

Now don’t get me wrong! I’m still very nervous for my surgery. With the exception of wisdom teeth, I’ve never had any procedures done before. All I keep thinking is that a C-Section will be different, but it can’t be any worse than my delivery with the Little Man. It can only be equally as uncomfortable or better, and if I can survive that once, I can survive it again! 

Sono taken at 38 weeks, 5 days.
And as a friend recently told me, I just need to keep my “Eye on the Prize!” 

Any fear or nervousness I have about the surgery is nothing compared to overwhelming excitement I have to meet this little guy. . . 

So, instead of running around with my head cut off, I’m going to use the next day and half to spend time with my current family of 3 and enjoy the quiet before the storm. 

Although it might be awhile before I hop in the blog again, feel free to follow along with our progress and new baby adventures on my Twitter feed or on my Facebook page

I’m sure I’ll be too excited to not share photos! 

From Baby to Big Boy

The time has come . . .

I’m 31 weeks and reality is setting in that there’s about 8 weeks left in this pregnancy. And oddly, I spend more time worrying about the child I currently have than the one that’s on the way!

With 2 months until baby #2 arrives, we’ve decided we’d better get moving on transitioning the Little Man from the nursery into his “Big Boy Room.”

He just turned 20 months last week, and although I don’t think I’m ready for him to be in his own bed, I think it’s probably smart to go ahead and rip that band-aid off.

For months now, we’ve been working on his room, and watched as it transformed from a guest room to an empty play room to the room it is now. 


There are fun sports sheets on the bed. We’ve moved the TV out (and most of the toys) so he won’t get distracted. There’s nothing left to happen except put move him in.

But how?!

I keep procrastinating because I keep thinking we’ll do it later, but I know if I wait too long he’s going to get kicked out so the baby can move in. I’ve been told this is the last thing I want him to feel or realize… (because it’s true!).

I’ve also heard that once the baby arrives, he’ll regress in his behavior and sleep habits, so I feel that moving him now and getting him adjusted will only help if there is regression. 

But at the same time. . .

He LOVES his crib!

As you can see, his new bed is kind of like a crib. 

He’s got walls on 3 sides and a railing on the 4th. We’ve put pillows and blankets in. But, he already knows how to climb in, out, and over the railing. What stops him from just getting out of bed whenever he wants?

Do I let him just get out of bed? Do I just put him in there one night and leave him? Do I start with nap time?

I’d love any advice you have because I clearly have no idea what I’m doing and we’re starting TONIGHT!!  

All’s Well That Ends Well?


Wait, no. Not TGIF . . . 


Thank God Friday’s Over!

Today has been one of those days where if it could go wrong…it did. Literally, everything about my day went wrong with the exception of 1 blessing. Well, 2 if I really try and look at things positively. But one of those blessings shouldn’t have happened in the first place!!  

Let me start off by saying, I’ve been dreading today for awhile (as much as I hate to say it) because it’s a MOPS day. I LOVE MOPS, but the biggest problem is that my son doesn’t. Over the last 3-4 meetings, I’ve tried everything to get him to make it through a meeting so that the workers don’t have to come and get me. I’ve tried the drop and run method. I’ve tried the stay and play until he’s distracted method. I’ve tried bribing him with food before we arrive. I’ve tried reasoning and understanding. But every time I’ve gotten a tap on my should to let me know my son’s inconsolable and I need to come and get him. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t focus on the speaker because I’m so tense and distracted by what’s coming. 

I’d basically decided that I was going to give it one more chance before implementing Plan B on MOPS mornings; Grandmas’. Knowing it was coming kept me awake last night. Thoughts of things I could do better were running through my head, and when I woke up this morning, I was determined to give it an extremely positive effort even if the outcome didn’t end well. 

What I hadn’t expected was that my husband would have to leave by 7:20am to be at a meeting in Irving by 8am. And this put a slight kink in my morning plans as I had signed up to bring a breakfast item this morning that required me standing over a stove for about 15-20 minutes right before we needed to leave.

Again, trying to be positive, I attempted to entertain my son while I got the morning going and my baking on. As I began to think, “I can do this; I’ve got this,” I completely lost focus on my stirring hand and ended up splattering my cream colored shirt with a melted brown sugar/butter/cinnamon mixture. Can I just say I have a very limited wardrobe right now and it took me 10 minutes to find the right outfit? In a desperate attempt to not change, I quickly grabbed a wet paper towel and began dabbing.

I decided to let it dry and then determine if a change would be needed, so I continued on with my baking. As I moved onto the next step, I opened a bag of walnuts. Well, I apparently took my inner frustrations out on the bag because they went flying; all over the stove and floor.  

20 minutes later, I’m cleaning up walnut pieces, changing outfits and trying to load everything up into the car. 

The whole way to MOPS, I was a nervous wreck. Not only was I running late, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what awaited me with the Little Man. My palms were sweaty and my heart was racing; anxiety to the max

I will wrap up my morning by saying that this was my first blessing of the day. Although he cried for the first 30 minutes (I’ve been told), he actually did fairly well this time. He made it through the entire morning of MOPS and I was able to enjoy an awesome speaker and some fellowship time with my table. I can’t tell you what a sense of relief that was. I don’t know if it will stick, but it makes it more bearable to attend the next meeting. 

* * * * * 

When we got home, things were going great. He went down for a nap around 1pm, and I was able to have my ritual downtime on the couch with my laptop. It was an extremely productive nap time, and I was starting to really get excited about how long he was sleeping when I began to hear a distant bark out the front door. 

Oddly enough, this bark sounded a lot like the way my dog barks at squirrels when she’s in the back yard. . . 

I remember thinking, “Wow, that really does sound like my dog. . . .Where is Bailey? I haven’t seen her in awhile.” I remember looking over and she wasn’t on her usual chair, so I went into the front room to look for her on the couch. And as I began walking out to the backyard, in slow motion it began to hit me. The Pest Control guy was in the backyard. . . (gasp). . .he didn’t lock the back gate! 

I ran out back and sure enough, the gate was swinging in the wind. That dog barking off in the distance was my dog. I had no idea how long she’d been gone. It could have been an hour. It could have been 10 minutes. But I’d basically accepted that I’d do what I could knowing I’d be at the mercy of someone else hopefully finding her because there wasn’t much I could have done on my own. 

I’ll skip the part about how I was a bad parent and went looking for her, 
but I’ll just add that my son was sound asleep in his crib that he can’t crawl out of,
 and I took the monitor with me. 

On one of my rounds back by the house, I noticed a car had pulled up near our door. As I was pulling up behind them, they were just starting to drive away. When I stopped in front of my house, I looked up and saw Bailey standing behind the glass. 

Long story short, our elderly neighbors remembered the only way to get her to come to you after she’s run away is to entice her with a car ride. They’d caught her when they saw her running around the neighborhood and brought her back, saw the front door open, and let her in the house. Blessing #2

* * * * * 

My evening ended uneventful. And for that I’m glad. I don’t think this pregnant lady could have taken anymore! I can’t tell you how excited I am to kiss today goodbye and say hello to our weekend staycation

A New Design; A Fresh Start (+ A Giveaway!)

It’s Friday night around 10:45pm, and I was laying awake in bed tossing and turning. I’ll blame it on the fact that I’m 24 weeks along and no longer able to get comfortable. Of course, it could also be the Iced Tea I had at dinner. . .or the 2 hour nap I had today. 

Either way, my brain is swimming and I can’t sleep. 

All I’ve been able to think about for the last 30 minutes is a reflection on my week; and boy has it been a rough one. For whatever reason, it always seems like when meetings need to be set or events are taking place they all pile up in one week. Last week, not a thing on our schedule…this week, we had 1 free night to ourselves. Between Tim working late, Mom’s Night Out strategy meetings, and Book Club, our house was a little chaotic after 6pm. 

Then on top of trying to keep the house clean for guests and racking my brain to plan dinners, my son has decided he’s ready to hit the “terrible two’s.” Long gone are the days when I could easily distract him for 30-40 minutes while I prepped a meal or cleaned a room. Instead, I’m now constantly being yelled at or asked with arms held high to “holdit” (which translated means “Hold Me”). One minute we can be laughing and giggling on the floor and 10 seconds later, I’m listening to the worst tantrum in the world because I put a hat on my head sideways instead of forward like he oh so clearly told me to do. (Can you believe the First World Problems a toddler has to face on a daily basis?)  

So, fast forward a week of going, going, going, and having to be challenged at every turn, and by today (Friday), I’m exhausted. There’s no more fight left in me. It will be donuts for breakfast and a Dr. Pepper for mommy to help me make it through the day. 

And to make matters worse, we’ve come to the morning I’ve been dreading all week. . .MOPS.

I absolutely love MOPS, but since our return from Hawai’i, my son decided he wants nothing to do with it! I spent 3 leadership meetings this summer rescuing him rescuing the workers from him at each meeting. At one point, I left a mandatory meeting in tears after they had to call me down to come and get him after only 15 minutes! So you can imagine, our first day back and I’m a nervous wreck! All week, I’ve been dreading what my Friday morning would look like. Would I even be able to attend? Would I have to leave my first meeting and head home? 

I wish I could tell you how relieved I was when I looked down at my watch and noticed it’d been 30 minutes since I dropped him off. But with every person that walked by, I just knew they were coming to tap me on the shoulder to ask me to come and get my son. Even as Pastor Gary Brandenburg began to speak, I found it hard to focus. 

But, it’s truly amazing how God puts you in the right spot at the right time because not only did the Little Man make it long enough for me to hear all of today’s message, but it allowed me to participate and feel a sense of rejuvenation after such a draining week. I feel like He knew what I needed to hear and worked wonders on the Little Man to help me do so. 

Walking away this morning, I felt alive and re-purposed as a mom. I’ve been struggling for awhile to survive the day in and day out’s, and after hearing God’s message, I once again felt clear and focused. I was reminded of my higher calling as mother and of ways to look past the tantrums. I feel as if I was given a fresh start and helped to see my days as a stay-at-home mom as more than just survival, but as being given a reason for being; to help cherish the moments we’ve been given and the memories we’re making. 

You may have noticed a couple of changes. This blog redesign couldn’t have come at a better time! 

I’ve been working closely with Erin Lauray Studios this week to come up with a new blog design that does a better job of representing me in this stage of life, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.  I LOVE, LOVE the new design!!

I’m hoping this renewed, fresh spirit will last at least until my next MOPS meeting when I can get recharged again, but in the meantime, I only hope that each time I look at my updated blog I can be reminded of my updated self. 

And in honor of my blog redesign and memories I’ll be making, I’ve been working with Hallmark to bring you a way to make your own memories with your children through a little giveaway
Remember how much my son and husband loved this new Interactive Storybook Buddy? Well, one lucky reader is going to win a Christopher Can’t Sleep Interactive Story Buddy of your very own (a $34.95 value)!

To enter, all you have to do is leave me a separate comment telling me that you did each of the following: 
For 2 bonus entries, 
watch the following Hallmark video, 
and leave me a comment and “Tell Me” what you need to hear.

On Friday, October 5, I’ll use Random.org to draw one winner’s name that will be announced on Facebook at 12pm CST. 

Best of luck! 

*Hallmark has not paid me for this giveaway, but is covering the cost of the the Interactive Story Buddy prize. Winner will be contacted by email on Friday, October 5th. Winner must respond within 24 hours of receiving email and reply with an address of where they’d like the prize shipped. Open to US Residents only.*

I Reject My Reality

Today is one of those days where I want to run away. I woke up this morning with a cloud just hanging over my head and feeling defeated by life. 

For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with finding my identity and feeling claustrophobic with the world around me . As early as 10 years old, I remember feeling worn out from so many moves and struggling to make friends, that I’d decided that running away to California to become a famous actress would solve all my problems. By 14, it wasn’t California, but New York and I was going to become a successful Marketing professional working in the Empire State Building or World Trade Center. I wasn’t going to marry until I was in my 30’s and then, IF I had kids, I’d have enough money to hire a full time cook, housekeeper, and nanny! 

In high school, I was constantly changing my identity to try and fit in. Literally, I’d be wearing black pleather pants and listening to alternative music one day and putting on my high heels with tight Capri pants the next. My hair was always going from long to short to long again with bangs and no bangs. I wanted to fit in with the crowd that didn’t care and never showered, but was always trying to impress the preps of the band. High School was a disaster for me as I struggled with who my parents wanted me to be and who I wanted to be.

Which is why when I turned 18 I ran away to Oklahoma State University where I was hundreds of miles from anyone I knew. I so desperately wanted college to be the high school experience I never had, and discover who I truly was. But instead of reinventing myself and breaking out of my shell, I made the mistake of going potluck and found myself stuck with an ultra popular cheerleader roommate who was from Oklahoma and came to school with a million friends. Once again, I was that shy little girl, lost in the crowd. . . 

Fortunately, it wasn’t too long into my Freshman year that Tim and I started dating, and I discovered the me that was comfortable in my own skin. And what I found was that I was a shy, caring person who loved t-shirts and jeans. I was confident with myself and where I was going. I began succeeding in school and even graduated Magna Cum Laude. At 22, I was a college graduate, married to my best friend, and starting a career in teaching. I felt like I’d finally become the person I’d always wanted to be. My life was laid out in front of me. 

Then the unexpected happened, after 3 years and some major emotional breakdowns, I realized the path I’d chosen wasn’t for me. I once again ran away in a completely opposite direction. Through a series of random events, I landed in a job I loved, and once again, remembered what it was like to be happy. 

Most of you know what happens next, this is where my blog started. After 2 years of discovering new talents and skills at a job I loved, I felt God calling me to be a stay at home mom. I was having to leave that security and comfort and reinvent myself once again. 

Flash forward 18 months later. . . .

As I started going over our budget last night, it hit me. . . I’m turning 30 next month, living in the middle of suburbia, and contemplating a minivan. I’m 20 weeks pregnant, and currently mothering a toddler who thinks he’s hit the terrible 2’s. My once wonderful life of work responsibilities, travel, (practically) unlimited spending, and free weekends is a memory that is still painfully fresh. Where am I?? Who am I?? 

It was as if the walls were closing in around me and I felt stuck. And in my head, I couldn’t help but wonder what life would be like if I just . . .ran away. 

Well, for starters, I’d be a single mother come January. But besides that, it caused me to want to really think about who I’ve become and how I got here. 

I’m not the perfect mother who can miraculously pull amazing learning experiences from a hat. I’m not the successful working woman I’ve always wanted to be. Instead, I often feel like I’m a mediocre wife and mother just going through life; surviving one day at a time, but not really living or taking advantage of the life God has given me. 

Obviously, I won’t run away. I love my husband and I love my son. I also couldn’t be more excited (and scared) about this miracle that’s about it come into our lives, but I need to find a way to once again discover who I am. But this time, I have to find out who I am with all these limitations. How do you discover talents and skills when you don’t have the time to learn a new craft? How do you learn new interests or hobbies when there’s a child tagging along with you everywhere you go? 

Or is that the point of being a mother? Giving up your self for the life of others. . .no interests, no talents, no time.

I don’t think I can accept that. 

When the Lights Go Out

One of the biggest struggles with blogging is whether to keep my posts real without sounding too much like a “Debbie Downer.” I never wanted to be one of those bloggers who only showed one side and made you jealous or envious of the life I live because let’s be honest, there’s not a lot to be jealous or envious of. Instead I wanted to show you the raw side of being a mom. Not as raw as Jenny McCarthy might reveal, but, nonetheless, honest. 

Lately, I’ve found myself uninspired to write. When I sit down to type about what’s going on in my household, all that comes to my mind is hopelessness and negativity. And who wants to hear that? So, I simply leave Blogger, and move on over to Pinterest to try and drown my worries and frustrations in DIY design tips and ideas.

It occurred to me today that by not blogging, I’m letting myself down. I was so good in the beginning about sharing the positive with the negative, but lately, all I’ve wanted to do is show the positive. 

Is that real life? No. 

So instead of trying to keep up with appearances, I’m going to let it all out. Bare with me if you’re a happy person and hate to hear negativity. I promise I won’t do it often.

Since we came back from New York, the Little Man just hasn’t been the same. Although I’ve been told he had trouble sleeping in the Pack ‘n Plays set up at our parents’ homes, he didn’t ever experience any anxieties or attachment issues with us being gone. Since we’ve been back and life has been more stable, it seems like he’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown. 

His sleep patterns and eating habits were the first thing I noticed that seemed to have changed.  He’s always been a great eater with the exception of teething. So when I noticed he wasn’t eating as much, I naturally assumed he was beginning to get his 2 year molars early. This wouldn’t have been a shock to me considering he’s been an early budder with all of his teeth; however, when I started paying closer attention, I noticed a lot of the other teething symptoms weren’t appearing. There wasn’t swelling, excessive drooling, or biting. I figured he must just be going through a phase. 

The next unexpected change came literally overnight at bedtime. Normally we’ll give him a small glass of milk while Tim reads a bedtime book to him. Once he finishes, he goes right to sleep without any issues and will sleep until 6:30 or 7 the next morning. One night while Tim was getting ready to read his book, he started freaking out about going near his room. He refused any of his milk, and when we tried to put him down he started getting hysterical. When he finally did fall asleep, it was almost an hour later than his bedtime, and we were completely exhausted from all the comforting. 

We thought it was just a one time thing, but he was up bright and early at 6 the next morning. Usually, whenever he wakes up early, I’ll give him a little milk to help him go back to sleep and he’ll almost always get another good hour or two in before officially waking up. But this morning, when he finished his milk, he went ballistic. Almost like he was afraid to be in his bed! 

This continued at nap time, and for the next few days with each bedtime. Nap times slowly became easier on Sunday, but there’s been a few times since then I’ve had to completely wear him out before even going near his crib without crying. Bedtimes haven’t been easy; especially when I tried to go out on Monday night for Book Club. Even though I tried to sneak out at dinner time, he heard me open the garage and started screaming for me. Around 9:30pm, Tim texted me and said he was still awake and had been basically crying for me the whole night. It took 3 tries to get him to bed, and even then it ended in tears before he finally fell asleep. 

Thankfully, last night was a good night, but he was up at 6:30 this morning, 5:40 yesterday morning, and 6 the last 3 mornings before that. It’s been iffy whether he’ll even go back to sleep and when he does wake up, he’s in a terrible mood. 

In general, he no longer wants Tim to hold him unless I’m within eyesight, and if he even thinks I might be leaving, he’ll attach himself to my leg afraid to let go unless he’s extremely distracted. 

I don’t know if it’s separation anxiety or just a toddler stage. I’m not sure if the sleep problems and eating problems are related to separation anxiety or something completely different like teething or growing or who knows what else. My first instinct would be to assume that he was afraid of us leaving again, but he had a few great days once we were back at home before all this commotion started going on. 

I’ve read when some toddlers begin acting this way towards their cribs it’s because they’re ready to transition into different beds, but at 17 months, this seems too soon. 

Fortunately, we’re not traveling anytime in the near or distance future, so hopefully his worries of us leaving for a long time will go away if that’s what this is; however, he starts Mother’s Day Out next week and MOPS the week after that and I’m nervous he’s going to meltdown. 

So, this is what’s been on my brain the last few weeks. Life hasn’t been easy in our house, and it makes everything that much more stressful. I’m hoping there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but right now I can’t see it. 

Hawai’i: Lessons Learned

With our second trip to Hawai’i over and done, I can look back with a little reflection and experience. Having been to 3 of the Islands, I can say that Hawai’i is truly one of the more beautiful places I’ve been, and look forward to one day returning to experience Kauai and Lanai. But until then, there’s a few things I’ve learned that I hope to remember when (and if) we’re able to vacation back to Hawai’i. 

Lesson #1: The Reality of Traveling with Children

Looking back on this vacation, I learned a lot about my new life as a parent and setting expectations. I wish I could say that the trip went so much better than we expected, but it pretty much matched what I thought would happen.

Originally when we were planning our family vacation, it was decided we’d try something big and exotic since it would be the last time it would be convenient for the whole family to travel together. Ideas of foreign countries were thrown around, and we were smart enough to veto taking a toddler out of the country for common parenting and traveling fears, but when Tim and I suggested Hawai’i almost 8 months ago, we had no idea how enormous an undertaking even staying in the US would be. 

I had visions in my head of laying on the beach while the Little Man sat \next to me running his fingers through the sand and playing with toys. Relaxing by the water and occasionally running along as the tide came in and out getting our feet wet. 

HA! HA! HA! 

Instead, we had a child who screamed every time he saw water and wasn’t able to go running in head first. With or without a lifejacket, clothing or no clothing, he was going to get in that water even if mommy and daddy had to go running in after him. And that relaxing on the beach…wasn’t going to happen with a toddler around. Our vacation was work; 24/7. 

Now that we’re home and on firm ground, we’re able to look back and are happy we made the trip as a whole family since we know how important it is to spend time together. And we’re DEFINITELY glad we attempted Hawai’i with grandparents because we can only imagine how much of a surprise it would have been if we’d gone alone. But. . .

For 7 years, we traveled as a couple to destinations around the world. 2 weeks in Germany. Long weekends in Mexico. Car trips up and down the East Coast. Couple trips to Vegas. But never have we vacationed with a child in tow, and after this trip, it will probably be some time before we choose to do it again. 

As we talked on our way home from Hana, Tim and I decided on two things: 
1) Our next vacation will NOT involve children, and
 2) no more traveling across three or more time zones with children. 

Lesson #2: Hawai’i is expensive!

I knew from our first trip that everything is just more expensive in Hawai’i due to the cost of importing goods and supply and demand. After all, it’s a vacation destination so hotels will cost more and restaurants charge more. I remember at one of our “nicer” restaurants on The Big Island, I paid almost $25 for an Applebee’s quality steak. If you plan on eating out a lot when you’re there, you can expect those prices to add up quickly. Not to mention if you rent a car expect to pay almost $4.20 for a gallon of gas! Since most of Hawai’i is seen from the road this too can get expensive. 

This time around we rented a home and tried to prepare our own meals as much as possible. What we didn’t expect were the grocery prices to be inflated too. Throughout the trip we had to change our mind on dishes several times due to cost. 

For example, if you’re planning on heating up some queso expect to pay as much as $8 for a block of Velveeta. Making hot dogs? Try $4.50 for a regular can of Wolf Brand Chili. 

Oddly enough, bananas grow on trees all throughout the island, but if you go to the store and purchase Dole brand bananas, you’ll pay as much as $1.50 a pound! 

Lesson #3: Fresh is always better.
Renting a house created all new experiences for me such as being able to take advantage of the land. The homeowners used the back of their property to grow fruit trees, and as renters we were able to pick as much as we wanted. At any point if we wanted fresh limes, all we had to do was walk out back and pick from among a dozen lime trees. Dragon fruit, papaya, bananas and guava grew throughout the neighborhood. Passion fruit vines and pineapple were just a pick away if you knew where to look. Want coconut milk? With a little effort (and a sharp, sharp knife) you can pull one from a tree and crack one open. 

Fruits grew as organic as you can get and for this reason they tasted better too! Our neighbors sold fresh pineapple each day, and I’ve never had one that tasted so sweet. We were picking limes by the dozens and they were as green and plump as I’ve ever seen in the store. 

After this trip, I’m slowly starting to become convinced that buying fresh, organic produce is the way to go! 

Lesson #4: Toddlers + Airplanes = Crying Parents

Now, I know a lot of you have probably had great experiences with babies and toddlers on an airplane, but you have to admit, no matter how successful the flight actually ends up being, there’s still moments of panic and worry! This happened to me on the way. The flight was relatively calm for both legs and went as smoothly as possible; however it didn’t stop me from nearly having a panic attack before boarding. 

You just naturally assume people are going to judge you and become annoyed with you for having a little one. And you never want to be “those” parents!

I wish I could say the flight home went just as smoothly, but it was a disaster! The first leg wore us out just simply by trying to entertain him for 5 1/2 hours, and by the time we landed in Seattle at 9:30pm, we didn’t have much energy left. We could also tell by the way he reacted the last hour of the flight, he was done too.

Then everything that could possibly go wrong did. From a dirty diaper 5 minutes before boarding to throwing up milk and an hour of crying (him, not me!) uncontrollably in the terminal right up until we boarded. As we sat in our seats, we’d already been identified as the couple with the out of control child, and one passenger even told us so. I was doing everything I could to hold back tears, and had he started crying one more time, my poor husband would have to be trying to console two people on that plane. Fortunately, it was right after take off around midnight that he passed out for the rest of the trip home. 

So. . .that was our family vacation to Maui, Hawai’i! 
And I promise not to post about it anymore! 

If you missed any of it (and are really bored), 
you can go back and read about our week in order: 

Thanks for letting me take you with us on our adventure!

Hawai’i: Our Arrival

I had every intention of blogging about our trip each day we’ve been here, but it’s been a little difficult with the time change adjustment. I was hoping the Little Man would get into the swing of things fairly quickly, but with our event schedule in Hawai’i there’s been no consistency. Nap times have ranged from quick ones while in the car to 2 hours in the late afternoon. And when he has napped, I’m napping too! Blogging hasn’t been on the front of my mind. 

Let me start at the beginning. . . 

Our trip didn’t begin on the best note. Almost an hour after I dropped off our dogs at my parents’ house, I got a devastating phone call from my mom. Our sweet puppy Cooper had fallen into the pool and drowned. 

We bought him just two months after our wedding in 2004, and he’d been a part of our lives for almost 8 years. I think the worst part of his passing is that he overcame so much in the last 6 months, only to parish in a freak accident. It made packing that night an almost impossible task, and caste a huge rain cloud over our trip. I not only was panicking about our upcoming plane ride with a 16 month old, but now had a heavy heart from losing my sweet doggy. 

The plane ride to Maui was relatively calm. Flying 1st Class made the trip much easier as far as giving him a little more freedom, but it was nerve-raking for me because I know who flies Business Class. . .and it’s typically not supportive families. The Little Man did awesome from Dallas to San Jose. The second flight from San Jose to Maui was LONG, but uneventful, with the exception of a slight too-tired meltdown by the Little Man and a few mourning tears from me. 

Once we arrived, it was pretty easy to leave all of the stress and anxiety from the flight behind. 

Our rental home in Maui. 
View out our back door / front yard.

We immediately took advantage of the enormous front yard and stretched our legs by running around and playing tag. 

And we didn’t have to wait too long before we were captivated by the amazing sunset happening outside. 

Our first full day in Maui was a relaxing one. We spent the morning making a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, bagels, muffins and orange juice. Then we headed out the door for the beach in Kaanapali. 

If all goes well, I hope to post more tomorrow of Day 2 in Maui. It involves a road trip at 3am and a visit to a brewery!