Category Archives: Baby

Baby Shower Gone Awry

It was supposed to be feminine and beautiful. Pink frosting was swirled onto the cupcake tops and pink ribbons adorned the “It’s a Girl!” banner. Pink balloons were hung and purple flowers brightened the kitchen. The house was spotless, despite a 3 year old running around, and there wasn’t even a dish in the sink. It had been a hectic morning, but as the clock approached ten I was somehow ready for the baby shower to begin.

The doorbell rang and the front door was flung open in excitement. In my book, the impending arrival of a new baby is always something to celebrate. I led the guests through the entryway and into the living room near the kitchen, answering questions along the way on how we had updated the house. As I neared the kitchen, out of the corner of my eye I saw something unusual through the sliding glass door. I took a second glance and gasped. Then and there my heart stopped.

Dexter, the neighborhood cat, was outside the sliding glass door, eating a GIANT RAT!

I would have shut the curtains, but it was too late. The guests had already taken it all in, and were thoroughly grossed out. “DEXTER!” I yelled at the cat, who barely noticed me through the closed door. He was too engrossed with his apparent breakfast for the day anyhow. I looked a little closer and realized the rat wasn’t even dead yet. He was having some sort of death tremors. Great. Just great. Seeing the rat’s long tail made my stomach turn. I didn’t even want to think about where this rat came from or how many more there were nearby. The old saying “For every one rat you see there are ten more close by” became trapped in my brain. And of course I couldn’t help but think about the creepy Hanta virus that rats can carry.

I closed the curtains, but the topic of conversation was obviously derailed. Someone mentioned that their dog had brought them a dead possum once, and that had made me feel a little better, even though possums seem practically delightful in my book compared to giant rats. Later on I peeked through the curtains, hoping desperately that Dexter had gotten bored and hauled the rat away. But no, of course he hadn’t. Apparently he was very hungry that day.

It was a little hard to transition from “Look at that nasty rat” to “Would you like some sausage and muffins to eat?” But despite the rat, brunch and cupcakes were eaten and gifts were opened. I think a good time was had by all. But that will definitely go down as the most horrifying and yet funniest baby shower that I have ever hosted. And to my friend whom this shower was hosted in honor of: I’m sorry. So, so sorry. And incredibly glad that you have a strong stomach. I can’t wait to meet your new baby girl.

 

 

 

 

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Our Ongoing Home Reno & Other Updates

Hey there!

Here’s a little update on life for us these days.

House

We moved to our new fixer upper home almost 7 months ago. I joke with hubby that we ought to just dig a big hole in the backyard and start throwing money into it, because it has been one giant money pit! A mold report that came back showing high levels of (non toxic) mold less than a month after we bought the house really pushed us to replace the areas were there had been water exposure (floors, under kitchen sink) much faster than we had originally planned. ¬†And then the snowball just started rolling as one thing led to another. That’s home renovation for you, I suppose!

Here’s a list of some of the things we’ve redone since we moved in:

Tear out back deck (was structurally unsafe).

Deck (removed).

New carpet in family room and bedrooms:

I didn’t really have any “carpet” pictures, but you can kind of see it here.

Removed wall between dining room and kitchen:

Before. (This wall drove me nuts because I couldn’t keep track of the kids!)

After. I love it!

Laminate in kitchen, fireplace room, hallway and master closet:

Closet doors (two sets), screen door, side garage door:

Tile floors in laundry room and kids’ bathroom:

I tried to pick tile that matched the laminate.

Replaced Kitchen counter tops, sink (chipping), faucet & garbage disposal (leaked whenever running):

Before. This wasn’t too long after we moved in.

Before.

After. My inner clean freak is very happy with having quartz counter tops now!

Tile back splash in kitchen (which we had to add because there was a big gap between the counter tops and the wall):

Pulled out melamine desk/cabinets and put in smaller desk area with upper shelving:

Replaced furnace and A/C (yes we wanted to cry when we learned we needed to replace BOTH):

New A/C.

Dishwasher (which died right after the furnace and A/C – more crying, hehe). New dishwasher will be here in two weeks.

Replaced fridge (died on moving day), stove and microwave.

Painted bathroom vanities and kitchen cabinets:

Painted ENTIRE house (including ceilings).

Replaced almost all light fixtures and 2 out of 3 fans (we saved the only one that worked).

Whew! That wasn’t even a comprehensive list. And what’s sadder is that the “to do” list is still a mile long! The bottom line, however, is that we LOVE living here. We love the space (1/2 acre), the neighborhood, the proximity to hubby’s work, and also the fact that we live super close to my in laws! (And as a side note, both my parents and my hubby’s Dad were instrumental in helping us get a lot of the above list completed!)

Kids

Josh & Rachel are doing fine. Josh is just over 3 and Rachel is 20 months. I sure do love them and enjoy my days with them. I know everyone else has adorable/smart/funny kids, but some days I seriously wonder which state penitentiary my kids will end up at–because they can be quite devious! Some days Josh and I really do battle it out. I’m no marshmellow Mom in any sense of the word, so I often have to remember to look for ways that I can answer “yes” instead of “no.” Rachel is very determined and doesn’t give up easily either, but she does have much shorter tantrums, which I am thankful for!

I like to remember the following so please tune out if this is crazy boring (I imagine it would be to most):

Josh wears 3T clothing and wears a an 8/9 shoe. He weighs 31.6# (No joke, he’s weighed exactly 31.6# the last several times he’s asked to hop on the scale!) and a few months ago he was just over 3 feet tall. We took away his paci back in April and it wasn’t a big deal at all (we were shocked! And thankful…).

Rachel wears 18-24 months clothing and is somewhere between a size 5 or 6 shoe. She is only a few inches shorter than Josh. She still doesn’t have to many words, but she’s working on it every day. She’s been in a size 5 diaper for a while. I use Pampers diapers and water only wipes or else she tends to be prone to really bad diaper rash.

Don’t be fooled. They’re wanna-be felons, I tell you! ūüôā

Weight Loss

I wrote a while back about experiencing unintended weight loss. I’m happy to report that out of the 16# I lost, I gained 7-8# of it back and that seems to be where things have settled. I’m not unhappy about it, but I do wish I had a better appetite most days so that cooking would feel less like a chore.

Endometriosis

I don’t really want to go on and on when it comes to this topic. The synopsis is: The endo does seem to be back. Some months are bad and some are okay. I cut out caffeine back in February which seemed to really help with pain levels. I still seem quite unable to get pregnant without intervention (IVF), so that’s a drag. At the same time, I have little to no desire to go through IVF again (not that we could afford it right now after all these home repairs!). I’ve been thinking about my options for when things DO get consistently bad, pain-wise. One option is to see a specialist who would excise all endo (cutting it out, rather than burning it off) and see how far that gets me. Another option would be to do a hysterectomy and also have current endo excised. This may still not alleviate pain (endo grows back easily and hides, so that it can be tricky even for specialists to find) and I still may require further surgeries. In all honesty, I’m hoping avoid any surgeries at all, because the frequent pain I get from adhesions and scar tissue following surgeries is off the charts.

Well I think that covers some of the basics! Thanks for sticking it through the post!

 

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International Flights, Pediatric Dentists, & Weaning

In less than 3 weeks, my 11 month old and I will fly halfway across the world to Australia. She’ll be considered my “lap infant” to save money. We’ll have two flights to get there – a 2.5 hr flight and a 14.5 hr flight. As the days dwindle until we “set sail,” so to speak, all I can think of is:¬†What in the world was I thinking?!¬†Yes, I’m a little anxious about it. Rachel is anything but tranquil these days. She’s prone to screeching at the top of her lungs all.day.long and her chief goal is to get as many places as fast as she possibly can.

Please pray for our seat neighbor on the plane. I really hope they’re a) into babies/toddlers, and b) don’t mind a small human being crawling in their space repeatedly while they’re trying to sleep. (Because who wouldn’t love that?)

Despite the flying part, I am very much looking forward to our quick trip to Australia. My sister and brother in law and their 3 boys ran into a visa snag while returning back overseas last month and actually have to leave their country to Australia for a month while they get visas renewed. Just my sister and the boys will make the trip. So we’ll get to do touristy stuff while Rachel and I are there visiting, and then after we return home the boys will have to do school the rest of the time.

In other news, I weaned Rachel! It happened a little earlier than planned (by 1 weeks) when my milk supply dropped quite a bit and she had been up at night crying a lot because she was hungry. Her diapers weren’t very heavy either, so I decided to bite the bullet and wean her. She immediately took to cow’s milk, which was a huge answer to prayer! She’s been chugging down anywhere from 2-6 oz of milk at a time, and sleeping through the night. However, the abrupt weaning has been really rough on my body. I’ve been feeling really foggy-brained, irritable, exhausted, and headachy. It hasn’t been fun at all. I read that my prolactin and oxytocin levels are plummeting while estrogen and progesterone levels are rising. So my body is one big hormonal mess at the moment and I hope it all gets straightened out soon! Asking the Lord to help me be patient and kind, even though I feel like a disaster on the inside. Only by His Spirit can I do such things.

I took Josh to the dentist last week (I took him because I lost a bet with my husband….just kidding. Sort of.) and experienced unparalleled screaming from that kiddo. No kidding – I was surprised he didn’t burst capillaries in his little eyeballs from all that wild screaming. My ears rang for hours afterward. I apologized to the dental hygienist several times but she acted like it was all part of the 2 and 3 year old dental course. The dentist was a superstar in my eyes after he managed to scrape tartar off of Josh’s teeth (while Josh writhed and shook and screamed with all his might) without drawing as much as a single drop of blood from his gums!

And before I go — I made a big deal about discovering a bean up Josh’s nose several months back. But the truth is, he’s shoved a total of 3 beans up his nose. It’s becoming fairly routine, apparently! I may have to buy my own medical grade suction apparatus one of these days to get those suckers out (no pun intended).

Hope you have a great week! And I hope beans weren’t on your dinner menu tonight. ūüėČ

 

 

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What’s New Around Here?

I am stuck in the¬†midst of the hot, summer slows. Not a lot happening around here these days, other than some play dates, trips to the park, and running errands. We’re doing a lot of staying inside– where the A/C is running frantically to keep us cool 24/7.¬†I’ll be glad when fall comes.

The kids are doing pretty well. Josh is still obsessed with trains, and builds non stop train tracks throughout the entire house every single day. He also brings the tracks to the table and the car. He would sleep with them if I let him. He knows every single Thomas the train character (not because we have them all, but because we read the books to him A LOT). We’ve been at this since Christmas. I have a feeling we’ll still be in train-wonderland by the time Christmas rolls around again.

He also recently shoved another bean up his nose. Thankfully it wasn’t up as high and I got it out right away. What a stinker! He and Rachel love to play with each other and nobody makes her squeal with delight like her big brother. He loves to hide behind the curtains in our bedroom and pop out just inches from where’s she sitting. She LOVES it.

Josh is in his big boy bed now and we recently got a clock set up that changes from a regular night-light color to green when it’s time for him to get up. He knows he has to stay in bed until it turns green. It’s pretty funny to walk in his room in the morning and see him sitting in the rocker, looking at books.

I bought a little potty and have been keeping the idea of potty training extremely low key. I let him sit on it (if he wants to) once or two a day. I put a “Josh’s Potty Candy” — M&M’s ¬†– jar in the bathroom and he gets 1 M&M for sitting on the potty, and 1 for actually going potty. He doesn’t always go potty, maybe about 50% of the time. I honestly don’t even care. I just want him to think that going potty is “fun” and we’ll tackle potty training when he’s older– like 3.

Rachel is 10 1/2 months and is crawling and standing – anywhere she can. She’s a fast little thing and gets around the house in a jiffy! She is stilllllllll nursing (and yes I’m very ready to wean her!) and I’m looking forward to giving her cow’s milk in the next month or so. The girl seems to eat as many solids as I do these days — it’s impressive! Still no words other than “Dada” and of course the cute babbling. Things with her just seem to be progressing so much faster than with Josh. I wouldn’t doubt if she were walking in the next month! She is a very active and determined little girl. I remember reading chapter books to Josh when he was this age and he would still still for about 20 mins while fiddling with a little toy the entire time….

Here’s a few pictures to represent the summer. ūüôā

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Doesn’t everyone learn to do somersaults off of their toddler bed?

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Rachel 9 Months

I’m not sure where the time has gone this summer. ¬†I’m a bit behind (what’s new?), but Rachel turned 9 months old two weeks ago!

Man, oh man. ¬†She is SO fun right now. She figured out how to crawl and is enjoying perusing the entire house at her leisure. I found her today playing with the broom in the laundry room, and sitting on her knees in her room while she fiddled with the garbage can sitting on the lower part of her changing table. Apparently we aren’t as baby-proofed as we used to be with Josh. Either that or she just loves to explore more!

She is my cuddly baby, who loves to be near me. Whenever I scoop her up, her arms fly around my neck faster than I can say “Hi!” (She then proceeds to pull my hair or pinch my cheek, but whatever.)

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We went to Six Flags Discovery Kinddom a few days ago and left Josh with his Aunty and Uncle. But Rachel came along with us (as well as my nephews and their grandparents). We almost didn’t have room for her in the stroller, but we managed to fit her in. ūüėČ

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I wasn’t sure how it would go, but she did great. Slept and ate on cue, even. I’m not sure she even cried while at the park. I brought a quilt and found a (relatively) quiet spot so that I could nurse her and let her crawl around.

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It would seem I only have toys for big brother in my diaper bag right now. She really doesn’t mind…

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After her nap I couldn’t pass up taking a picture of her hair. Kind of hard to see in the photo. But it was cute.

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Speaking of hair, I tried to get a clip in her hair the other day. As you can see, it’s not really my specialty. I put her down for a nap and forgot about the clip until I went to get her up and realized that it was missing. After a moment of panicking (the girl loves to put everything in her mouth) I thankfully found it underneath her crib. After Josh’s bean-up-the-nose experience, I’m a little nervous.

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Grandma had to crochet her a smaller blankie a few weeks ago because her other blankie was pretty big and she kept rolling around in it during her naps until she was caught up in it really tight like a cocoon. This smaller blankie has done the trick and she hasn’t been getting stuck in it.

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My youngest nephew (pictured after this next picture) loves to play with Rachel and the other day I had to decline his request to hold her (probably because I was too busy with other things and unable to sit with him). So he dressed up Rachel instead. As you can tell, she wasn’t very amused.

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He isn’t always denied his requests to hold her…

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All my nephews just love her so much. They love Josh as well and play with him tirelessly. It’s such a joy to watch!

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Rachel with her Aunty. She’ll be incredibly different when they see each other again in a few years (*sniff sniff*).

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With Grandpa in the swing. Rachel’s pretty much up for anything these days. She was enjoying this more than I was able to capture in the picture!

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An update on weaning her: It didn’t happen. My mom came for two days in a row and I left with Josh and just let my mom keep offering her the bottle, sippy cup, or whatever she wouldn’t refuse. By the end of the second day she wasn’t taking anything or even opening her mouth. It. Was. Stressful. And oh, the look Rachel gave me when I walked in the door at the end of those days! She looked so betrayed. Since I was still able to nurse her, I wasn’t at a point where I wanted to let her starve for a few days until she gave in and took the formula. So we picked back up where we left off. It hasn’t been so bad… she’s sleeping through the night and nursing 5-6 times a day. But I do look forward to transitioning her to cow’s milk at a year old.

9 month stats: 17#4oz. 27 1/4 inches at her last drs appt. Just moved into size 4 diapers. Fits in 9 and 12 month clothes, although I keep squeezing her into 6 month clothes because I just don’t have a ton of bigger clothes. Loves solids, and eats 3-4 servings a day. Still not loving the sippy cup, but it’s offered to her (with water in it) with her solids. She has mastered picking up puffs and loves doing that. She is accepting most of mom’s homemade baby food! Hooray!

So thankful for this joyful little person God placed in our care! We love our Little Rachel! (Her Daddy started calling her this when she was tiny and it just sort of stuck, even though she’s not very ‘little’ anymore!).

 

 

 

 

 

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Endometriosis: Is it Coming Back?

It’s 2 am and I’m sitting here wondering: Is the endometriosis coming back? Little by little, the pain has started to return with each subsequent cycle¬†that I have had since Rachel was born. I sat up in bed last night and a very sharp pain in my lower right side took my breath away for a few minutes. The same pain had occurred the day before. There is now a dull ache in my side, almost like my ovary is tacked up against my abdominal wall. It’s a pain I am all too well familiar with.

The other thought I had, which seems much more unlikely, was an ectopic pregnancy. I only have one fallopian tube, and I’m pretty sure it’s mostly or completely blocked, based on the last hysterosalpinogram I had years ago. Although I am high risk for an ectopic pregnancy, it’s seems pretty unlikely that I’d been feeling pain from such this early on in my cycle (I think I’m on CD 25).

I’m tempted to feel frustrated that I seem to have crazy aggressive endometriosis, but miraculously we have two children (despite thinking I would need a hysterectomy 3 years ago). If there’s anything I’m learning these days, it’s that the past does not necessarily predict the future, and despite my best guess– I actually have no idea what God has for our future. I’m learning to stop making assumptions. So I don’t know if this means that more exams, ultrasounds and surgeries are in my immediate future. I don’t know if it means we will be able to have more children. But I do know that God can do anything, and that His plan is always best. (And His plans are usually a complete shock to me.)

In the meantime, I’m attempting to wean Rachel. The reasons for this are complicated and varied, and it’s going about as well as trying to get a lion to go on a vegetarian diet. She wants nothing to do with either the bottle or formula. She just wants to nurse, and it makes it doubly hard for this mama to see that. Weaning Josh was hard and yet still much easier than this, so I am not sure of the path forward from here. We’ve tried just about every trick in the book. I’m warming up formula at the moment that I’m 99% positive she will reject (but like I said, I don’t know the future!). Maybe this time she’ll take it. Or maybe we’ll still be at this in a few weeks — please say a prayer for us!

 

 

 

 

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Going Away

I’m going away. To the coast of California, where there will be fog and cool morning air and a vast ocean and waves to make me think about the enormity of God. And there will be fellowship. I’ll be going with one of my sisters and my mom. (And let’s not forget Rachel!) There will be nice restaurants, walks along the beach, and maybe some antique shopping. It’s a girls’ getaway, and to say I’m excited about it would be an understatement.

Additionally, the hubby and I are set to go on a super fancy date tonight. Thanks to his employer, we have reservations at a restaurant that we would normally not be able to afford. Of course I used the occasion as an excuse to buy a new dress and sweater. This girl can’t wear old shirts and running shorts every day of her life!

Mother’s day is coming up and I have one word: Grateful. Grateful for God’s mercy on me. Grateful for my husband and kids. Grateful that this Mother’s day I am not asking God, “How much longer, O Lord?” Grateful for a getaway to the ocean with people I love. Grateful that I get to take a sweet, happy baby along with me.

And let’s not mince words. I’m beyond grateful that Rachel just started sleeping through the night!!!!

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Rachel, 7 Months

Rachel is 7 month old today!

This little sweetie is such a joy. (I know I’ve said it before!) She is mellow and quick to give a smile.

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Sorry for the low quality picture.

A quick recap of her development:

She’s still nursing about 7 times in a 24 hour period, and now taking two solids a day. She’s gaining weight rapidly! She was 15 pounds even at her 6 month well baby check up appointment. Three weeks later (last week) I took her in for 5 days of low grade fevers (up to 100.9) and no other symptoms. I wanted to rule out a UTI and an ear infection (she had neither, so I guess it was a virus). Anyhow, her weight then was 15 pounds 12 ounces.¬†She finally enjoys solids now and she’s had pretty much all veggies and fruit, although I’ve avoided giving her bananas.

Rachel was sleep trained last weekend. Sleep hadn’t really been much of an issue for her, but I needed to teach her how to sleep unswaddled and in her crib (as opposed to her rock n play). I’m not going to lie, the first night was rough! I was amazed at how long this little girl could cry. But she finally fell asleep. Surprisingly, one night was all it took! She has been sleeping exclusively in her crib and unswaddled since then. If there’s anything I learned about sleep training the second time around (we sleep trained Josh, too), it’s that it’s way easier to cope with the crying when you’ve been through it before and know that progress will eventually come.

She’s in 6 and 9 month clothing. Don’t ask me when this happened. She just got out of 3 month clothing, and flew right out of 6 month jammies. Pants that she was wearing 3 weeks ago are suddenly capris. I had to go buy a ton of (used) clothes for her last weekend because she had no shorts or sleepers that fit!

She loves the jumparoo and sitting in her bumbo chair. Believe it or not she still likes to be in the swing. (I’m probably stunting her development somehow by letting her be rocked in it most days. I should take it out to the garage.) She is sitting somewhat on her own but tips over fairly easily at this point. And forget about crawling. The girl hates being on her tummy and rolls over immediately! Josh did the same thing. I guess she’ll crawl when she feels the need to. At this point she is often very content to just watch me work in the kitchen or her brother play. Like I said… she’s mellow.

I returned back to work about a month ago and I’m SO thankful that she has slept while I’ve been gone. I always feel a little bit nervous about leaving her since she doesn’t take a bottle. I think my husband feels a little anxious about it too. Still, going back to work (very minimally) has been fun for me and I enjoy using my brain in a different capacity.

Today is hubby’s birthday so we are busy today making cards and frosting cakes.

Hope you have a great Thursday!

 

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Rachel Turned 6 Months!

Rachel turned 6 months old a week ago!

I’m amazed that she’s gone from this:

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To this:

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I really love this age and stage. I know the moody toddler months are quickly approaching, so I am savoring this time while it lasts! Rachel is a little sweetheart (Josh was too at this age). She is our little smiley baby who likes to laugh. Occasionally she gets into a screaming mood and is not easily coaxed out of it (ahem… such as her 40 minute screaming stint on the way to Grandma and Grandpa’s last week) but for the most part she’s a pretty happy camper.

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What Rachel is up to these days:

She started solids two weeks ago! So far she’s had sweet potato, oatmeal with breast milk, and pears. Up until two days ago, she didn’t really like any of it. I think she’s finally coming around now to the idea of solid food and is opening up her mouth for a spoonful much more willingly.

She goes to the pediatrician this week for a check up and vaccines, so I don’t know her exact weight. I believe she is around 14.5 pounds. She wears 6 months clothes and size 3 diapers.

She is rolling and very close to sitting up! She sat up for about 5 seconds the other day before tipping over.

She loves to be near me, and will sometimes cry when I leave her. Thankfully she has been taking naps in the nursery at church without any problems.

She is a decent sleeper, although she is still swaddled at night and for naps unless she naps in the swing. She goes to bed around 7 pm and nurses 1-2 times in the night. She takes 2-3 long naps and a few cat naps during the day.

We love you Rachel Noelle!

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We Survived Disneyland With 2 Under 2!

I know, I know. With a title like that, I sound like a privileged brat who doesn’t notice the blessing that’s right under her nose. I mean, how many people are dying to a) Just have children (that was us not that long ago), or, B) be able to afford a trip to Disneyland?

I’m grateful, truly I am. That being said, taking two such young children to Disneyland is no piece of cake. I wrote out some tips below for taking small children to Disneyland that I¬†want to remember in the future. And maybe if you’ve got little kids and are planning a similar trip, this post will be a blessing to you too!

1. In all seriousness: Consider delaying your trip. If your children are like ours — both under 2 years old — then I suggest waiting a year or two. We went to Disneyland because my sister and her family are here for a short time in the U.S. and we didn’t want to miss out on a family vacation with them before their kids are all grown up. That is the ONLY reason we went. We didn’t plan this trip for our kiddos (sorry, kids). At their age and stage, smaller scale trips (like to a train museum or a pumpkin patch) are much more their speed.

2. You’re still reading, so I’m guessing this means you’re convinced you need a trip to Disneyland. That’s great! Now you need to decide if you want to drive or fly. Both of our kids are prone to crying/screaming in the car. Our littlest is 5 months old and nurses every 2.5-3 hours except at night. So 8-9 hours (not including needing to stop and nurse Rachel) of driving to Disneyland seemed like a terrible idea. If your kid loves the car, then by all means– drive! Driving all night is also an option because the kids are sleeping, but probably not a safe option for us. We chose the more expensive route and decided to fly and rent a car. This became stressful when we realized we’d have to bring: 2 port a cribs, 1 double stroller, 2 car seats, 1-2 diaper bags, plus all of our clothes/diapers/burp clothes/sippy cups, toiletries, etc. We spent a LOT of time on the TSA and Jet Blue websites trying to figure out what was allowed as far as liquids, and what wasn’t included¬†in our plane fare (we had to pay $20 to check a bag that was 1 inch too large to be a carry-on). Most airlines have special allowances for babies/toddlers so be sure to check that out.

3. If you fly, have a plan for getting through security with all your items and children. I got picked by TSA for a full pat down (yay, me) and both kids were crying at the time. If we hadn’t had help, my husband would have had to go through security with all our luggage, stroller (which they wanted collapsed) and our upset children while I was away not enjoying the pat down. With help it was still a stressful situation. Without help, I probably would have had my own personal meltdown.

Miracles do happen: Neither child cried on the plane and both fell asleep on the return flight!

Miracles do happen: Neither child cried on the plane and both fell asleep on the return flight!

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4. Which leads me to this: BRING HELP! This is of utmost importance. Invite your family or friends to come along and give you a hand. My parents and little sister flew with us both directions (I asked for this specifically). And although we walked to the parks alone, we were almost always quickly joined by various family members. I don’t know how we would have managed without their help. I’m not kidding. At one point my husband was in line somewhere in the park buying us breakfast, and I was at the entrance of Toon Town nursing Rachel on a bench and verbally talking with Josh to encourage¬†him to stay near me. He was obeying for the most part, but it wasn’t a good situation. Thankfully, a Disneyland worker came up and voluntarily stayed nearby to help corral Josh until my family members arrived.

Grandparents are the best to have along on a trip to Disneyland!

Grandparents are the best to have along on a trip to Disneyland!

5. Have low expectations. My goal was to do half days at the parks. On the first day we went for the morning and then came back to the house for naps mid-day. We returned for a couple of hours in the evening and Josh suddenly snapped and had an epic meltdown– which is crazy high-pitched screaming for 10 minutes (it’s never fun when strangers are shielding¬†their ears from the screaming). We learned from that experience, and the next day we just went for a couple of hours in the morning. Josh had a blast playing at the house and Rachel napped well. After the kids went to bed, my mom graciously baby sat and hubby and I went back for a few hours to enjoy some rides.

 

Hubby and I having fun (sans our children) one evening.

Hubby and I having fun (sans our children) one evening.

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6. Take a good stroller. There’s a ton of walking involved on trips like these, such as: Getting to your gate at the airport, walking from the hotel or house to the park (our walk was 1.7 miles each way), and not to mention walking around the parks. Bring a stroller that has reclining seats so that your children can nap in it. We took a double Bob stroller and never had to collapse it once while at the parks. Don’t be afraid to take your nice, expensive stroller. There are expensive strollers everywhere you look at Disneyland! They are also parked everywhere unattended while people go on rides. Just bring your valuables with you.

(On a side note, Disneyland does rent single strollers for $15/day. We opted not to go that route because we would have had to rent two strollers, they don’t recline, and the word on the street was that they’re hard and uncomfortable.)

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7. Have your diaper bag situation down to an exact science. Hubby and I did. We each took a back pack, and each of us had a ziplock bag with wipes, ointment and diapers for both children. We weren’t sure if we’d always be together at any given point in time, so we were both prepared to change diapers. In my backpack I also had my wallet, spare change of clothes for Rachel, burp cloths, two lightweight large blankets (for swaddling/shade), hats for both kids, spare pacifiers (for meltdowns), snacks galore, sippy cup, nursing cover, sunblock, and water for me. If you’re looking for a nice diaper bag that’s also a backpack, here’s the one I have (and recommend!).

8. Avoid rides with long lines at all costs. For an almost two year old, waiting in line is equivalent to getting your teeth pulled. Stick with rides that have a 5 minute wait time!

9. Download the Glympse and the Disneyland app before you go (both free). I hadn’t heard about Glympse before this trip,¬†but it’s is basically using your phone as a tracking device (when you decide to share your location) so that you and your family members can see where the other is at at any given time. Obviously not everyone wanted to go on toddler rides, so we split up a lot. It was easy to tell when a ride was over or if a person was still waiting in line using the app. The Disneyland app was invaluable because it had live wait times for each ride in both parks. Great information to know before making a trek across the park!

10. Review rides before you go. Make sure they are appropriate for your baby/toddler. I literally watched YouTube videos of rides before we went, because several toddler rides at Disneyland¬†have¬†scary themes!¬†If they don’t have scary content, they are at a minimum very loud and overstimulating. Rachel cried during The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at one point because it was scary and loud for her (Josh did okay). Both did fine on It’s a Small World. Our kids don’t have much exposure to TV (Rachel has none) so we definitely took that into consideration when choosing what rides they could go on.

On the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

On the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

It's a Small World.

It’s a Small World.

11. Even if you’re like us and your child has had a meltdown before even entering the park, try to recover and have an upbeat attitude (not something I’m gifted at). Look around and realize that children are melting down everywhere, at all times of the day. You’re not alone, and you’re not the only crazy one to take such little children to Disneyland. (All I had to do was just be thankful that I wasn’t pregnant at the time, because that would have made the trip about 100x harder!) Perspective is everything. ¬†ūüôā

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