Paul had to go out of town last week for the first time since we've had Zoe, and he couldn't have picked a more challenging week! First of all, I decided to join several of my co-workers in doing P90X, which is a very intense 90 day workout program. The workouts are about an hour long 6 days a week, and change every day. The very first day was shoulder and back (think push-ups and pull-ups), the second day was plyometrics (different varieties of jumping squats) the third days was arms, fourth was yoga, fifth was more pull-ups and arms, and the sixth was kenpo (kickboxing) with abs on days 1, 3 and 5. Oh yeah, did I mention it's super intense?
So, since I have not really worked out in awhile, I was INCREDIBLY sore Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, which was a problem because I have a 6-month old baby who weighs probably 22 or 23 lbs. My noodly arms could barely pick her up out of her crib, and my abs were so sore that I could barely roll (literally roll - I could not sit up like a normal person) my poor achy body out of bed at 2am to feed my poor 22lb hungry baby who seems to cry very, very extra loud at that hour. I was actually afraid that my biceps might just decide that they were uninterested in working and poor little Zoe would drop to the floor. Thankfully they held out enough so I could feed, bathe and dress my 'little' Zo-Zo without incident.
During that week two assistant superintendents from our district were visiting my school, and both came to my classroom. I could barely walk properly and had to ask one of them if our principal had explained the new fitness group the faculty had started so she wouldn't think something was seriously wrong with me.
Last was also the week that soccer started. Sophia is already in dance on Tuesdays, and normally Paul picks up Zoe on those days so I don't have to bring her into the small boring waiting area at the dance academy. But, last week I had to bring Zoe, and of course it was 'Bring your Friend to Dance' week, so there were extra parents, not enough seats and the 'air-conditioning' was blowing a cool 85 degrees or so. I was sweating just sitting there, and poor Zoe had to sit on my lab and was sweating and had little red hot-cheeks.
Then, on to the very first Soccer practice for T and S. They are on the same team, which is good, but having never been a 'soccer Mom' up to this point, I was very unprepared. My friend was going to watch Zoe so she wouldn't have to sit out in the 90 degrees and 80% humidity, but she hurt her shoulder pretty bad in P90X that day, so I brought Z with me. She was sweating up a storm in her very hot stroller that had a near-flat tire (so I looked pretty lame pushing it across the grass), but she seemed to have lots of fun watching everything. I almost forgot to bring water and then I left it in the car, and I didn't have any fancy soccer-Mom chairs like everyone else, so I got to sit next to the fireants in the grass. You only have to learn that lesson once. Thankfully there was one other Soccer-Mom-Virgin there, so we sat on the grass together like big dorks. I barely had enough time to get there on time, and the kids were so excited, and soccer socks/shoes/shinpads take alot of time to put on so they wore their shinpads on the outside of their socks and looked a little like nerds, but we'll plan better next time. I also forgot bug spray, but thankfully one of the other very experienced Moms let me borrow some of hers. In the end, the kids had so much fun that they can't wait to go this week, but it was mildly stressful for me. At least now I know what to expect.
Once we got home from soccer, I had to put the baby to bed, give everyone snacks, baths and put them to bed, and it was all much later than normal, so everyone was just a bit crabby. Then they were a bit crabby again in the morning because we all had to get up so early the whole week so I could get everyone to school so I could get to work on time (I have to be there at 7:30, so we had to leave by 6:55 or 7am at the latest). It was exhausting and we were all totally worn out and tired by Friday night, but thankfully Paul made it home around 9:30pm on Friday just in time for me to collapse with some earplugs in so I could get many hours of sleep in a row!
What a week! I also managed to feed everyone, do laundry, make bottles, clean bottles, make bottles, clean bottles, take out the garbage, find a new lawn service, get to the grocery store and keep everyone safe and relatively happy - nothing short of a small miracle in my opinion! Yep - motherofthreehood slapped me in the face this week, but I like to think I slapped back!
First, I love roadtrips. There is so much to see along the way that you totally miss when flying places. Roadtrips are, however, significantly more difficult with children. Most especially with a 4 month old.
Second, I actually thought to myself before I left "I wonder what is going to happen this year" because something always happens to or at our house on our vacations. Three years ago our house flooded while we were in CA, two years ago God had a little mercy on me because Paul was out of town working the Phoenix mission from May to August, last year we had a smoke detector/house alarm problem (it wasn't that bad, just annoying for our house-sitter and us once we got home and couldn't turn it off).
I had no idea that this year's problem would join us on our trip. So, here's the story of this year's vacation . . .
We left our house on June 29 in the most wonderful car for families ever invented: the Honda Odyssey. We packed stuff and more stuff and then some stuff that we really didn't need and STILL had room! It was awesome. We headed for our first stop: Mesa, AZ. We drove 2 half days and one full day to get there, but it was a much needed leisurely drive since the addition of little Zoe. We arrived in Mesa and stayed for a couple days with my brother, sister-in-law and 2 nieces. The kids had tons of fun together and we visited an olive oil mill and the museum I used to work at. It's easy to forget how dry it is there. Sophia's head was itching a bit, and I assumed it was from the dryness. Then we headed for California.
We got to Paul's parents house just in time for July 4. We went to the Pacific Palisades parade and then off to Paul's Aunt's house in Malibu to enjoy some yummy BBQ and fireworks with friends and family. The kids were EXHAUSTED!!!! Then my brother and his family came for a couple of days and we went and showed them all the wonderful LA/Hollywood sights. We even saw Pharrel Williams (a rapper, apparently none of our friends know who he is . . . ) pull out in front of us while driving along Sunset Blvd. Well, at least Lindsay (my sis-in-law) and I are 98% sure it was him . . . It it always fun to enjoy LaLa Land. Sophia is still itching at this point and we all thought it was dry scalp. I even commented that I wanted to get some head and shoulders for her.
No time for shampoo shopping, though, we were off to Anaheim for my cousin's vow renewal ceremony. We got there just in time to get ready and head on to the party bus to the ceremony and dinner. We had a great time with family we hadn't seen in a long time, and they even ended the evening with marshmallow roasting and s'mores on the beach! We went back on the party bus, and Thomas talked to one of his cousins for the ENTIRE one hour drive!! I mean he did not stop talking the whole time! He was a total hit!
The next day was Disneyland!!! We got all the kids (my kids and my nieces) ready (Zoe was staying with Paul's Mom during this time) and headed over on the shuttlebus! It was also my birthday so I got a little button that said it was my birthday so people could wish me well all day long. But, as it turns out, Disneyland is NOT the happiest place on Earth for toddlers. I think they had fun, but it was a bit overwhelming. There were SOOO many people, long lines and many of the rides were pretty scary for 3 and 4 year olds. But, they found a few they liked and we did the best we could.
CHAPTER 2: LICE
Sophia had really been itching her head pretty bad all day, and as we stood in line for the Autopia ride it just came to me that she might have lice. I've never had any kind of experience at all with lice, so I didn't know anything about it. But, I did see a bug in her hair earlier, but just thought it was a little gnat or something. We rode the ride, hooked back up with my brother, bought a couple things and headed back around 5:30pm. Paul immediately went to the store to get some lice shampoo, and the rest of us sat at the hotel's free happy hour and researched lice on the ipad. Ugh.
Paul got back and I treated Sophia's hair and tons of little dead bugs came out of her hair. It was sooooo gross, and I had to have housekeeping come and change the bedding and clean the bathroom because they were everywhere. I then spent the rest of my birthday sitting with my brother and sis-in-law eating Bucca take-out, drinking wine and being frustrated. Paul put the kids to bed and then had to drive to San Diego for work. He left at 11pm instead of the planned 6 or 7pm.
The next day I went to pick up Zoe from my mother-in-law's house and then headed to my Grandmother's in Stockton. I kept checking Sophia's hair and I didn't think I washed it good enough, so I did another treatment the following day after we got to my Grandmother's. The next day after that I was checking my own hair and found a bug. I almost had a nervous breakdown!!! We had already been washing everything like crazy, and now I was worried about the baby and my 95 year old Grandmother. I treated my hair and combed it out for 2 hours, and thankfully it was no where near as bad as Sophia's. Everyone knew Sophia had it, but I had to let Lindsay know that I now had them too and she should check the girls.
I should note that I don't know where she got the lice. Both kids had been at the YMCA kid area almost daily for 2 weeks and a drop off daycare for 1 day a few days before we left. I'm thinking it was the drop off daycare place, but I have no way of knowing. They've been there before lots of times. Apparently lice is VERY common because everyone has been telling me their lice stories, and the pharmacist told my sister-in-law that the lice shampoo just flies off the shelves. That made me feel a little better. But only a little. It still sucks.
She checked the girls the next day and they BOTH had them!! What a nightmare! She was already home in AZ, so treated the girls and washed everything too. We continued to wash, wash and wash some more. I thought the washing machine was going to die.
The same day I discovered my lice (Thursday), my cousin fell at Costco and broke her foot really bad. She was about to have a wedding reception for 110 people on Saturday and now she had to visit the orthopedic doctor, who put her in a non-walking cast for 4 weeks!!! So, she wheeled around her party like a champion and we all had tons of fun!
On Friday, Thomas got stung by a wasp. Super awesome.
Monday after the party (Paul joined us Saturday for the party), the Niles clan packed up the swagger wagon for the more than 2000 mile drive home. We stopped in LA for a day and a half, AZ for a night, and then headed home. We took a slight detour to White Sands Nat'l Monument in NM where Paul got pulled over for speeding and thankfully did not get a ticket(!!!), and Carlsbad Caverns. Both were awesome, although the kids were a bit scared of the cave. I've always wanted to go there, so I'm really glad we made the trip. We made it home on July 24 just in time. Zoe cried for the last 2 hours of the trip or so - she was totally done with sitting in her carseat!
Overall, we had alot of fun spending time with family and taking some scenic drives. I am now a scholar on lice and certainly have added a many more stress-caused gray hairs. But, I hear that lice don't like color treated hair . . .
View my photos here: http://ani.smugmug.com/
Amazingly we did not get a picture of the 5 of us together, so I"m still waiting to replace the blog photo with a a pic of all of us. Soon I hope!!!
Thomas and Sophia have been going to Vacation Bible School at St. George in Houston, and have been having a great time! They really put on a nice production, and it's been all week in the mornings. So, Zoe and I have been shopping, running errands and visiting with my 80 year old Great-Aunt LaSeema.
It has also been ridiculously hot here. It's been in the 90's here, which is not bad at all, but when you combine that with 85%-90% humidity, it's absolutely disgusting. I have been straightening my bangs only to have beautiful wings sticking out of the side of my head 30 seconds after walking outside. It's hopeless. Another fun side effect of the heat/humidity is that it's way too miserable to go outside and play, and so the kids seem to only know how to get in to trouble inside. They've been fighting, arguing, not listening and have been generally crabby in the afternoons. There is something about the late afternoon hours that brings out the crankiness in kids, but it's worse when the weather sucks. So, Thomas got all his toys taken away the other day, and Sophia had some of hers taken away, but in the end it's all a much worse punishment for me than for them. Again, it's hopeless!
The last thing is that Paul has been working late recently to finish up some grants he needs to write before we go out of town. So, I've been home with 2 cranky toddlers and a poor baby girl who's got a stomach bug and a very sore butt. This leads to absolute SCREAMING every time I have to change her diaper and then one or both of the others decide to cry about something totally insignificant in order to get some attention. Needless to say, I've been a bit frazzled. Paul came home last night around 9pm all jazzed up about Nebraska's decision to move to the Big 10, and all I could do was muster a little grunt before collapsing from exhaustion. On a normal day, I would have wanted to stay up to watch Sports Center and read/discuss everything I could about how this will affect the future of NU football. But, week 12 of having three kids has left me very, very tired!
One thing I did, that I'd like to share is I signed up with www.e-mealz.com. They create a week long menu for dinner, provide instructions and a shopping list for everything you need broken up by section in the grocery store. This has saved me unbelievable amounts of time so far, we haven't gone out or gotten take-out (so it's saving us money), and I don't have to think about anything! I've been loving it and would highly recommend it for anyone low on time!
I am just happy that the year is over. Having a long term sub really messed up the atmosphere and momentum in my classes, one of which is physics and should be fairly rigorous. Oh well. Apparently sub guy thought I was too hard on the kids or something. Oh well.
On top of that, Paul watched the Zoe in the mornings when I returned to work, so that meant I had to rush home right after school at noon to relieve him so he could go to work. That also meant that he worked quite late (10 or 11pm) many nights leaving me to do bathtime, dinnertime and bedtime with all 3 kids. It's not impossible, but it's also not particularly easy. As a result of that, I didn't get much done at school, and then by the evenings I was extremely exhausted.
So, during this past week Zoe went to daycare. I've had to stay for tutorials in the afternoons, I have graduation practice this afternoon, and it was just too much if Paul was interested in working at all. Thankfully, Zoe has done GREAT, and everyone there loves her. I like the school, and the kids like it, so that made it easier for me to bring her. She will go there in the fall, so it's been fine. I've also been able to get alot done this week like cleaning and preparing my classroom for the summer and next year.
At any rate, the past few weeks have, for me, been a little like herding cats. Chaotic, busy, and I feel like I"m running in all directions all the time. Grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking (or trying to anyway), bathing the kids, doing laundry - it has been a challenge to figure out how to balance it all with the baby around the house. Thankfully she likes the sling, so I can carry her in it and still have 2 hands to do stuff, although she's growing out of it, so I'll have to figure out what to do when that happens. I"m looking forward to the summer, and being a little less stressed. We have to work tomorrow (YES, A SATURDAY, UGH), so my 'relaxing' summer will start on Sunday!
I know I need to plan better and get more organized in my meal planning and grocery shopping, so I hope I can force myself into a good routine. Lately that has been difficult since Paul works late after watching Zoe in the mornings, so I just eat whatever and do my best to get all the kids fed, bathed and put to bed. The last thing I want to do after all that is clean up a messy kitchen!! My goal is to try to figure it all out once school is over and our schedules aren't so ridiculous. Any suggestions on making this work well would be awesome!!
Anyway, I started my endeavour last week and today I was down 1.8 lbs, but we just went away for the weekend to a wedding filled with yummy food and drinks, so I don't know how long it will take before that catches up with me. Oh well. Today is a new day and I'm starting fresh!! I'll keep you all posted on how things are going, and I hope by writing about this here, it will keep me even more motivated and accountable! And so the journey begins . . .
And, what makes it really bad is that I am physically EXHAUSTED!!! I am so, so tired from feeding the baby in the middle of the night, getting up early, working and then figuring out how to fit in laundry, dinner, cleaning, grocery shopping, yard work, and the list goes on and on! Paul has been working late because he's watching Zoe in the mornings so she doesn't have to go to daycare. So, that means I've been doing dinnertime, bathtime and bedtime all myself (not every single day, but often), which I think most parents would agree that those are the most exhausting and least fun parts of a toddler day. And, to top it off, Zoe is not as easy as Sophia was. She likes to be held most of the time, although I'm trying to get her used to lying in her crib for naps. So, that means I get to do all of the above while carrying a baby in a sling! I'm actually getting pretty saavy with the sling, and I was able to actually bathe Thomas and Sophia while holding Zoe in a sling and giving her a bottle. Thankfully, this current situation is just temporary until the end of school , but in the meantime I am so tired that I can barely keep straight what day it is and what I am supposed to be doing.
I know that it will be better in the fall, and I am really, really lucky that I love my job! I"m really lucky that it's part time, and that next year I get to teach Earth and Space Science. I'm hoping Zoe will be in a more regular routine by August, and I"ll be less tired. However, for now, I'm just barely making it, but I"m glad I can see the light at the end of the school year tunnel!
After reading and listening to many people talk about the iPad, Paul thought it might be pretty cool. I was slowly coming around, but we really didn't have a need. That is until the wireless card on my laptop overheated to its death and we discovered it would cost around $400 to fix. We also learned that Compaqs often have this problem and shorty after the wireless card dies, the motherboard dies. It's almost 4 years old, so I guess it's time. Anyway, we decided this was the perfect excuse to buy the iPad, and Paul even went to the mall at 8pm last Thursday only to discover they were sold out. He called the next morning and the store had recieved a shipment, so he headed over to pick it up and we were proud owners of a 16 gig iPad by noon.
I must admit it's pretty cool - much cooler than I thought. Here's WHAT I LIKE:
1. Quick on/off - it's turns on in a second and off in a second. The laptop took several minutes to boot up, so if I wanted to look something up quickly, it wasn't going to happen in less than 5 minutes.
2. Long battery life - enough said. I've never had a laptop with a battery that actually worked.
3. APPS!!! - The apps are really cool, although I really haven't fully explored them. Paul has been finding all kinds of cool things. So far, I have a calendar and calorie counting app. Paul has found much more interesting things like a magazine reader (download issues of mags you like), Pandora (which I really like), weatherbug, ABC (to watch shows), Chipotle ordering, and several others.
4. Portability - it's so easy to carry around. If I want to look up a recipe, an actor on imdb, check my e-mail, facebook, etc. I can do it quickly (see #1) and anywhere I want (bathroom, kitchen, outside, baby's room, etc.). And, it's so light and small, I can easily check things anywhere while doing other things like feeding a baby, walking around, cooking, talking on the phone etc. YOu just can't do that with a laptop.
5. Screen quality - it's very sharp and clear. Great for TV shows and pictures.
THINGS I DON'T LIKE AS MUCH:
1. Internet is limited - there are some features on the internet that don't work as well. For example, I can't chat with online friends on facebook. We have a desktop, so it doesn't really matter that much.
2. You can't print - there is no print feature, so I can't print anything from the web. Hopefully they will fix that in the future.
3. You can't do 2 things at once - Windows is really great for that. For example, I can't listen to Pandora and do anything else online like facebook or searching for things.
4. The Keyboard - it's pretty good, but I'm old fashioned, I guess, and I like my keyboard for fast typing. I can type pretty well with the touch screen keyboard, but it wouldn't (in my opinion) be so great for doing something like writing a blog. To its credit, it is big and pretty accurate when touching it.
5. USB - there is no USB port, so I can't do things like upload photos from a camera or install any other kind of software. But, I don't really think it's supposed to fully replace regular computers.
The iPad serves a particular purpose, for us at least. We used the laptop mostly for using the internet and checking/writing e-mails. So, for that, it is great. If we are watching a movie and want to know who that familiar actor is, we can turn it on and look up imdb.com in a matter of seconds. I can quickly check e-mails, facebook, weather, airplane status, recipes, etc. from anywhere in the house very, very easily. We still have our desktop for word processing, photo storing and editing, document storing, etc. We can take it on the road and use it easily anywhere there is wireless. So, overall we love it so far! I give it a 'B' because I think there are some things that can be improved, but hopefully that will come with time.
Well, we made it through that day and the five days since, and each day is a little easier. The kids returned to daycare, and were a little upset about it the first day back, but have since returned to their normal selves. They do much better on a their normal school schedule - they enjoy their friends and activities at school, especially when the alternative is a tired Mommy and crying baby at home.
Zoe is doing great so far. She is very different from Sophia already. She sleeps 3-4 hours at a time at night, and loves to be held and carried around in the bjorn. I am still breastfeeding, but have been supplementing with formula, especially when we are out and about and I can't easily feed her. She was having a hard time with the initial formula I tried, so I tried another kind for fussiness, and finally we hit the jackpot with soy formula. She never vomited (thankfully!!), but would just cry for an hour or 2 after feeding her and seemed constipated. It's extremely difficult to have a baby who just cries and can't be comforted. I feel for every mother with a colicky baby. She's happy and Thomas & Sophia are sweet and gentle with her. They push her on the swing, give her kisses and yell at me to feed her when she cries (You've got to feed her, Mommy!!!).
I am slowly recovering and feel better each day. I"m still sore and am not supposed to lift anything or do anything strenuous for another week, which is difficult, but I can definitely tell when I've done too much. My 6 week appointment is next week, so hopefully I"ll get the OK to start working out again. I'd really like to fit back into some of my clothes so I don't have to buy new stuff for when I go back to work in May.
We are surviving, and are really glad to know that this will be our last go-around with a newborn. Our eyes are heavy, our house is messy, but we know it won't be forever. We are outnumbered - someone always wants something, needs something, is having a crisis or needs a diaper change and between the 2 of us we are just barely keeping everyone satisfied. I"m sure we will eventually find a good balance, especially as the kids get more independent, but until then we are taking it a day at a time. And, above all, we are ecstatic to have the three most beautiful children anyone can ask for, even if it's leaving us a little googly eyed and delirious!