Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Road Trippin'

We just took our first "vacation" as a family of 5. I had to put that in quotation marks because anybody with kids knows that trips with small children are not at all relaxing, nor are they a break from the reality of life. Kids don't stop fighting or having meltdowns or projectile vomiting or blowing out diapers just because they aren't at home. After a LOT of togetherness...9 days to be exact...Rick and I came home exhausted to the core. The final leg of the road trip we began to seriously question our sanity, but we persevered and we made it! We survived! At one point I contemplated opening my car door and jumping out into the freeway, but I didn't! We rolled into the driveway and resisted the urge to light a match to the disaster that our van had become and instead unloaded all 57 suitcases and trashbags full of dirty laundry. Boy did it feel good to be home. It was definitely a Trip and not a Vacation, but we made so many special memories and had a ton of fun.

 I have a gajillion pictures to share so I'm sure this will have to be broken down into several posts. We drove up to Arkansas, then on to Missouri, back down a different route through Arkansas, and detoured to Dallas before coming back home to Houston. We broke up the trip a lot and visited several different towns. When it was all said and done, we ended up staying in 5 different hotels/cabins. This is what I would do differently next time. We thought it would be a good idea to break up the drive as much as possible, but loading and unloading all our crap into and out of that many places was a lot of work!

Day 1 - Houston, TX to Hot Springs, AR

We left the first Saturday of our spring break. I of course waited until the night before to pack, because I am a Very Smart Woman. I have this weird OCD tendency to need every single piece of laundry folded and put away before I can start packing before a trip. Even just an overnight trip. I'm a weirdo. Anyway, having every single piece of laundry folded and put away is not an easy feat in this house these days. I actually enjoy doing laundry and typically wash at least 1 or 2 loads every day, but even doing that I still never seem to catch up with Pukey McPukerson living here and doing her thang all over all of us all day long. I also had this great idea to make fun travel binders for the kids with maps and fun activities for them to work on while we were on the road. Because like I said, I am a Very Smart Woman and love to volunteer for projects I have absolutely no time or energy to complete. But I did it! I pulled an allnighter and GOT 'ER DONE. I had to pack for 5 of us for 9 days plus all the other crap a baby requires so it felt like I was packing to move into a new house. I finally finished up at 3am and unsuccessfully attempted to get a couple hours of sleep...but my mind wouldn't stop racing because I had about 8 lists running through my head. Oh well, sleep is overrated sometimes. Nothing like a little adrenaline to start off a road trip!

proof that they loved each other before we left

We loaded up the van and rolled out at 6am...and then didn't even make it 10 minutes before our first pit stop for a potty break. Because my HUSBAND forgot to go before we left the house. Even the kids were rolling their eyes. ha! What was just supposed to be just a quick stop so he could use the restroom and grab a coffee turned into all of us going inside to eat breakfast at Chickfila at 6am because the kids were upset he was going inside and they couldn't. And I didn't really feel like starting our vacation with tears. I figured it was their vacation too and I wanted them to hear a few more yeses and a few less no's. We let them play on the playground while we waited for our food and they thought it was the coolest thing ever since it was "midnight" and they had the place to themselves. This set us back 30 minutes and before we were even out of the parking lot Harper was already asking "why didn't we just fly in an airplane again?" lol. Such a diva.

But once we got back on the road we made it 4 hours before stopping again. Not too shabby considering our start. We stopped at what I'm certain is the nastiest gas station with the nastiest restrooms in all of America. The kind of place where you feel like you need to shower after leaving, even though you made sure not to touch any surface with your bare hands so you wouldn't have to cut them off and leave them behind. Even Harrison commented on how disgusting they were, and that says a lot! Hahaha! They actually had a handmade sign on the wall with a printout of a person standing/squatting on top of the toilet seat with a line drawn through it and next to it was written, "poop inside the toilet, not outside of the toilet." I mean, really. Nasty, nasty people. ANYWAY, I fed Hadley in the car and she barfed all over the parking lot and then laughed about it as if she knew she was redeeming our gross bathroom experience.

don't worry mom, I've got your back

The travel binders were a big hit so I'm glad I didn't feel like I wasted my time. I wanted us to embrace the road trip wholeheartedly and do all the cheesy car games and jam out to the radio...mission accomplished! They didn't even ask to watch a movie the entire first day in the car, which is a pretty big deal with those two. We headed on to Texarkana before stopping for lunch and stretching our legs.


We found the cutest little bakery and cafe to have lunch at. Thank goodness for smart phones. What a vacation game-changer. GPS, Yelp, & Trip Advisor were our best friends since we had a very loose itinerary and wanted to stay flexible since we were traveling with a baby. I didn't even have any kind of agenda or itinerary planned out until the day before we left (Very Smart Woman) so a lot of travel decisions were made on the go. We had our doubts about how much we'd actually get to do, but honestly, Hadley was probably easier than the bigs! It's so nice when they can't argue or complain yet ;)

Harrison's brunch that he was very excited about. "Mom, I get to have TWO breakfastses!"
star-shaped sandwich excitement

After eating lunch, we crossed the state border and had to stop at the welcome center for a picture. We've taken the kids' pictures at every state border they've been to and hopefully I can continue the tradition until they're grown. This was obviously Hadley's first trip out of Texas, but the other two have been to Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, Florida, and now Arkansas & Missouri. 7 states in under 5 years...not too bad! Growing up, my family wasn't able to travel much so I'm thankful that we've had the opportunity to do so. We just got their passports in the mail for our upcoming Mexico trip and they were so excited open the envelopes and see their photos.



We drove on to our first adventure. We kept it a surprise since we weren't sure if the weather was going to cooperate and we didn't want any disappointment if we had to skip it. It's no secret that our Harpie Harp is such a girly girl. She loves anything and everything shiny and sparkly. She once circled 90% of a jewelry catalog to give us Christmas gift ideas. So when I saw that there was a place you could mine for diamonds I knew we had to make it happen. She squealed when we got there...however I'm pretty sure a giant muddy field wasn't exactly what she had pictured in her mind when I said we were going to a diamond crater. HA! Either way, they both had fun digging through the mud and finding little treasures. We didn't find any diamonds, but we did discover an indian arrowhead and some lava rock which was pretty neat.


seriously? THIS is your idea of diamonds??

this one couldn't wait to dive into the mud

never too young to be introduced to diamonds
it didn't take her long to embrace it and get to work digging for jewels




Hadley and I found an arrowhead

she was so focused...

....and he was not :)

After hosing down and cleaning up and feeling reeeeally thankful I packed our rubber boots, we continued our drive to Hot Springs. Kirby is the nickname Rick gave me when we got married since my initials became KRB. It's also the name of our company. So along the way we had to stop and take a picture in front of this city limit sign:



The drive through Arkansas was really beautiful. It was nice to be among the hills since we don't have those in South Texas. The kids threw up their arms and laughed like we were on a roller coaster every time we got to the top of a hill.

weeeeeeee!!

It was already dark by the time we made it to Hot Springs. We found a hotel and lugged up all our stuff, and then walked next door to a restaurant called Bleu Monkey Grill for dinner. After 12+ hours on the road, a refreshing adult beverage sounded pretty lovely so I ordered the signature drink that the server suggested. And then they brought this gigantic blue margarita out. It was seriously the size of a a fish bowl. There was no way I could drink all of it so I did what any other smart person would do...discreetly poured the rest into a to-go cup to drink back at the hotel :)




We headed back to the hotel and I had to laugh at my kids.  If a TV is on in the near vicinity, you can pretty much guarantee that they will be zoned out to it with their mouth hanging open. They are just like their dad, ha! (but for real).  Apparently Hadley got the gene as well. :)



A long but successful day.

Monday, March 21, 2016

4 Months

Hadley is 4 months old!



At her 4-month checkup, she weighed 14 lbs, 9 oz. and was 24 1/2 inches long (75th percentile for both).

She is wearing 3-6 month & 6-9 month clothes and a size 2 diaper.


So, Hadley, what have you been up to this month?

Last month I was right when I said you'd be rolling over any day. 2 days after you turned 3 months old you officially got all the way over! You were very proud of yourself, and I have to say, so was I. You may be baby number 3 but your milestones are still just as exciting to your momma. You have rolled over both ways, but you are still trying to figure out getting from your tummy to your back. Most of the time you flip over onto your tummy and then get frustrated after a few minutes. I roll you back over, and immediately you flip back onto your tummy. You don't like to hang out on your back any more and scoot yourself all around in circles. You remind me so much of your brother as a baby...so ready to be on the go.




You are constantly sticking out your tongue. You love it. One of your favorite things to do is mimic others. Your brother and sister make you laugh so hard when they make silly faces at you and you make silly faces right back at them. Most of the time these days you are flashing huge smiles but you also still sport your "intense" expressions from time to time. :)


he loves to make you laugh

don't eff with this one, clearly. LOL



Your reflux is so awful. I think you may actually take the trophy out of all three kids. After feeds, we don't even mess with burp cloths or even receiving blankets anymore. We keep it classy and burp you over the sink or outside of the car if we are on the go. It's a lot. I actually measured it for a while because I was worried you weren't keeping enough down. You average 2 oz. of projectile spit up immediately after each feeding, and then you continue to spit up for about 2 hours afterward. We double-bib you and you still go through several outfits a day. But thankfully, it doesn't bother you at all! You reek most of the time, but are happy as a lark :) Your doctor was concerned about the amount at first, but since you are still packing on the pounds and aren't in any pain, he classified you as a "happy spitter." That title gets you 2 or 3 baths a day but I'm thankful we don't have to put you on any meds.





We are still exclusively nursing. For a while I was worried you weren't getting enough milk since a lot of it doesn't stay down. And you only nurse for 5-10 minutes tops. But I guess you are just efficient and guzzle it down fast because you have stayed in the 75th percentile and always seem content. You don't like to use the nursing cover and are a distracted eater, so that has made nursing on the go a little interesting. With 3 kids I can't always duck into a bathroom to nurse so there have been times I've been a little uncomfortable out in public, but at least it doesn't take you long. You did have your first bottle this month and had no issue at all, so I could always go that route. I just hate pumping! You are starting to show a little interest in food and your doctor gave us the green light to introduce solids, but I'm trying to put it off for as long as you'll let me.






You have had a little sleep regression. You are now waking up once or twice at night. I think partly due to a growth spurt and partly because you are uncomfortable in your rock-n-play. You love sleeping with me and I've been bad about pulling you into bed when you get fussy and getting in some sweet baby snuggles for the rest of the night. You are still in the in-between stage of needing to be in your crib since you are fast outgrowing your rock-n-play, but still too young for my comfort to have you across the house. Naps have also gotten tricky this month since you aren't on a schedule. You used to just snooze away in your carrier, but not so much anymore. I'm not sure how this is going to play out as you get older. Harrison's school doesn't have buses, so I have no choice but to pack you up to pick him up every afternoon which is always a fun hour-long process. The white noise app on our phones is still very much a priceless resource.

you always sleep with just your right arm up like this :)

Your dad put his phone in the bottom of your car seat (white noise) and when we got home you were hugging it :)

What else? You chew on your hands and toys constantly and act like you're teething, but I still don't feel any coming through. You love nomming on your Sophie giraffe. You started sucking your thumb and I'm hoping that habit doesn't stick. You are really starting to get interested in toys and reaching for things nearby. You found your feet this month. You think it's the funniest thing ever to see your reflection. Our routine is to burp you over the bathroom sink so you can laugh and talk to yourself in the mirror. It makes me laugh, too. You are a silly girl.






Hadley...you really are just the best. There is nothing like having a sweet baby around the house. It's impossible to keep this goofy smile off of my face for long. You make my days so bright! I am beyond grateful to God for lending you to us.












Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Day Before Hadley

I love that we got to pick Hadley's birthday. She was born on Harper's half birthday, so they are exactly 4 1/2 years apart. 3 is my favorite number and both girls were born on the 3rd. And Harrison was born on the 2nd, which means that their birthdays make up mine: 3-2-3. I don't know why this makes me so happy. Probably because I'm a huge nerd and love numbers. But hey, it's the little things. :)

I had high doubts that I was going to make it to my c/s date. The last couple of weeks I was having so many contractions and tons of pressure and felt like I was going to go into labor at any moment. Clearly after 3 kids I still don't know my body very well or what it's like to go into labor on my own. Ha!

In hindsight, I am so thankful that I didn't have her any earlier. As miserable as I was at the end, it was a huge answered prayer for God's protection. The 2 weeks leading up to her birth were extremely stressful for our family. Harrison missed almost a week of school due to strep followed by mild pneumonia. Just when he was finally better, Harper came down with the exact same thing the following week. She had a high fever for 6 days and her doctor said that if she wasn't fever free for 48 hours before Hadley was born, then she would have to be quarantined. Which would have been devastating for her and for me. She had been counting down the days until she could meet her baby sister for months and the thought of her not being included in that day made me so upset. She was still sick, but thank goodness her fever finally broke 3 days before she was born so we were out of the contagious window.

The day before Hadley's birthday was a whirlwind. I had my pre-op appointment at the hospital and then Rick and I grabbed a quick lunch. We knew it was going to be the last "date" we'd have for a while so we savored the peace and quiet :)



And it was extremely fitting that I lost my entire lunch in the car an hour later. I didn't really make it a habit to take pictures of my vomit, but I felt extreme joy through the defeated tears knowing that this was the last day I would have to carry these fashionable barf bags with me and I felt compelled to document it. I'm sure Rick felt just as joyful that we were at the end of this journey after being trapped in the car with me while I heaved up my lunch. Lol. What a sexy way to end our date. Good riddance, miserable pregnancy! 


After lunch, we picked up Harper from our friends' house and took her to her follow up appointment with her pediatrician. She was finally acting like herself again after a week of being sick so I wasn't really worried.



Or at least I wasn't really worried until everybody else was. Her oxygen saturation wouldn't go above 90. That's a good way to get expedited to see the doctor right away, in case you were wondering. He came in and was not his normal joking self at all. I got the same sinking feeling I got last time she was hospitalized with RSV and pneumonia. He listened to her lungs and said they sounded very bad. He sent her for an immediate chest x-ray. I couldn't be in the room with her since I was pregnant so I'm so glad Rick was with us. I sat outside the room and just prayed and prayed that she wouldn't need to be admitted. I couldn't even wrap my head around how that would even work. I couldn't imagine my sweet girl in the hospital and me not able to be by her side. It would have definitely not been the birth experience we had all been eagerly anticipating. I was so anxious and worried and if I'm being honest, MAD. After such a difficult 9 months for our whole family I just felt like COME ON! Throw us a freaking bone already! Not the most honoring way to talk to God, but hopefully He appreciated the authenticity?

The chest x-ray confirmed pneumonia. After more breathing treatments in the office her lungs sounded a little better. She had already been on a round of antibiotics for the strep, and he also wanted to give her oral steroids, a shot of antibiotics and a z-pack to really try to knock it out. He knew our situation and that we were having a baby in 14 hours so he wanted to avoid hospitalization. He was also encouraged by the fact that she was acting normal. She was laughing and jumping around and I honestly had no idea she was as sick as she was. He said to monitor her closely, check her oxygen sats, and do breathing treatments every 4 hours.

I think that day was probably one of the most stressful of my life. My anxiety and racing thoughts were all over the place. I was worried about Harper. I was nervous about Hadley's birth. The kids were staying the night with my mom and for some reason I always have irrational anxiety when they aren't home with us at night. Rick could sense I was a mess and swooped in and took over before I completely derailed. He ordered me to get dressed and get in the car, and then he took me here:


Yep, that is my husband, getting a pedicure. He normally wouldn't be caught dead in a nail salon. This is such a good testament to his character and how lucky I am to be his wife. Instead of letting me stay home with my destructive thoughts he provided a great distraction and exchanged them for a pretty awesome memory together on the night before our Hadley Claire was born. I cherish this man and am thankful that he loves me so well!
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