Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Family Vacation 2015

One of our goals is to take a family vacation every year. . . Well, that seemed quite impossible this year because of three little people schedules, a baby that hates the car, and mom that finds it difficult enough to handle Walmart all together--let alone traveling.  So for our vacation, we went to exotic Salt Lake City, Utah. 
Day 1
We potty trained Taya about two weeks ago.  She did a fantastic job.  Like only 2 or 3 accidents total.  I had promised her that if she went on the potty then I would taker her to the city and visit the princess store (Disney).  Now my kids are quite sheltered.  We only visit the mall a couple of times a year, and really don't leave a 20 mile radius other than going to grandma's, so this whole trip was a bit over stimulating for them.  Taya walking into the Disney store and instantly found the play castle that they have there.  At the front of the store they had their swim suits and dolls.  She found a brave doll and said that she loved it. .  .  .  That was until she saw that they sale princess dresses.  She instantly throws the doll on the floor and says, "I hate toys.  I need an Elsa dress."  :) My little diva.  She will pick clothes/shoes over toys all the time.  I sure love my tiny. 
The only problem with this dress, is that it is so big and poofy, and NOISY.  She of course refused to take it off for the rest of the trip.  Which meant she slept in it.  She and I shared a bed, and oh wow, she is a mover in her sleep.  Plus the Elsa dress, and yikes, it was not too restful of a night.  Plus she is a cuddler.  She insisted on holding my arm, laying on my face, snuggling my back, all night.  Most moms at this point would make her change into PJ's and sleep in separate beds... but I couldn't... she owns me:)
In the evening Milo got to go to the planetarium with Chris to see a space show.  He loved it.  He even got to pick out a toy rocket after, and he thought that was amazing.   The planetarium was also super busy and chaotic.  He did kind of look like a deer in the headlights coming out of there, but absolutely loved it. Milo has the most infectious smile and laugh.  It makes it so fun to make him happy.  

Then it was chicken nuggets and off to the pool.   We always have so much fun swimming as  family.  This was the first time that I let Crew get all the way in the water with the kids.  He loved it.  Milo would go under the water and then poke his head up.  Crew thought that it was amazing.  He would giggle and giggle every time that Milo would come up.  Milo loved being the entertainer, and played with him until he was light headed from holding his breath.  Taya is not pictured in this swimming section because she had to keep going to the bathroom... like I said we are new at this potty training thing, and apparently the pool was a new experience.
By then everyone was wiped out.  We put Crew to sleep (in the hotel bathroom) and let the big kids do treats and a movie.  Jurassic Park was on TV, and thanks to grandma Bird's exposure, they love that show.  We ate doughnuts in bed and snuggled all together.

Vacations with kids are so much fun. . . but with that said, I always feel like they are so much work that I need a vacation after our vacation:)  So, that is exactly what we did.  The next morning we dropped Taya and Milo off with grandma and started round 2 of our vacation. 
It was almost an adult vacation, except we had to adhere to Crew's schedule... which actually didn't dampen our fun.  We had to take naps and go to bed early.  Chris and I really lived it up.  Every day we ate continental breakfast (usually twice), then did some shopping, worked out at the hotel, ate dinner somewhere fun, including 2 taco carts, and then had dessert and a movie at the hotel.  It was so fun!  I loved being able to just walk around the city with Chris and have some time to actually talk to each other.   Our life together is a bit crazy.  We signed in for 3 kids under 4, and we love it, but it sure is busy right now.  It was so fun to get some time for just us (well, just us and Crew). 
Crew loved the city.  He was content on my hip, and loved looking at the buildings and being the only child for once.

  I even let him have some ice cream for the first time and oh boy, he was in baby heaven.  He latched on it like it was a bottle, and it was so hard to pry it away from him. 

He also go ahold of my Jamba.
and we took him swimming at hot tubbing at least once a day.  He really enjoyed being catered to!
This was such a fun break for our family.  It wasn't California or Hawaii, but felt so glamorous even though we were only 30 minutes from home.  Hopefully next year we can go somewhere with sand, but if we just end up downtown again, I'll be thrilled.

Monday, March 2, 2015


My ward had a Women's Conference a couple of weeks ago.  It was wonderful.  It truly helped me recharge my commitment.  One of the classes was called building your testimony while navigating grief.   Two sisters who lost their mother to conference were the speakers.  They had some amazing experience and were awesome examples of followers of Christ.   I was so relaxed, and childless, and I remember the thought, "wow, I wish that I had experiences like that.". . . then I thought, "wait, wait, wait, what am I wishing on myself here?"  I wrestled with myself for a couple of minutes.  Trials are testimony builders. . . but with that said, isn't it so nice when your life is seemingly trial free? Now I in no way had a trial anywhere comparable to those two sisters, but I came home to find my faith builder waiting for me. 
Crew had croup during the last week of January.  We got the steroid shot, and other than being exhausted, we survived.  Then on the Saturday of the conference he was super fussy.  Sunday was a joke, and by Monday morning I had to take him in.  Double ear infections and RSV.  Now I vividly remember RSV with Milo.  I remember him crying and choking and gasping for hours, and I would wrap him and bobble him and cry too.   Crew's RSV seemed so much different.  His nose wasn't really snotty, he just acted like he felt terrible.  He couldn't sleep for longer than about 20 minutes, even though he was so tired.  By day 13 of RSV, he seemed to be getting worse, not better.  On Valentine's Day, he started having so much trouble breathing it was scary.  Through the night he couldn't stop coughing.  It was so confusing, because his nose was 100% clear.   I hadn't had to even wipe it once that whole day.  But in the night you could hear the tightness in his chest and throat.  He literally couldn't stop coughing.  I'm saying like at least every 15 seconds he'd have a coughing fit.  He sounded like he had smoker's lung.  I kept thinking he's already on antibiotics, he doesn't have a fever, no congestion, what in the world could be wrong?  So at 4 in the morning I headed to the 24 hour clinic.  From there they sent me to the emergency room.  I can't even begin to explain how exhausted I was at this point.  It had been over 20 days of no sleep, not only no sleep, but Crew is high maintenance.  If he's not feeling well, you have to be bouncing to keep him happy.  I mean like full squat bouncing 24 hours a day, even while nursing.  I was a teary zombie, with noodle legs, and unwashed hair.  They made me pin him down to flush his nose.  Then they drew blood.  It was so so sad.  Crew is usually very opinionated, but by time they poked him, it was like he was too exhausted to even put up a fit.  He just whimpered and cried this weak, raspy, quiet cry.  Just watching his quivering bottom lip was enough to send me over the edge.  Poor little baby.  Then they sent us for chest xrays.  This was also not pleasant, but we survived.  Finally around 8 a.m. they decided that he had bronchitis, RSV, and some type of atypical infection in his lungs.  His oxygen levels were high enough that they let us go home, with some high dosage meds and a follow up apt.  By then I was seriously at the breaking point.  When your kids are sick you would do anything possible to make them feel better.  I knew that we had done everything possible, and had to just ride it out.  However, I honestly didn't know how much longer I could make it.  Physically I was a wreck.  I'd been surviving off of high doses of peanut butter fingers and hot fudge sundays.  If I chose to take a shower, that meant that Crew would be crying on the floor and it worried me that he was going to get too worked up and not be able to catch his breath- so it was easier not to.  Mentally I was fried.  Like pregnancy dumb x100.  All of my energy was going into stressing over how to help him.  I was so short with Milo and Taya.  They had been surviving on high doses of Little Mermaid, and Goldfish crackers.  Honestly, I think that we rented 5 redbox movies in 3 days, just so I could try to keep them occupied while I struggled with Crew.  Poor little things were neglected, but I couldn't do anymore than I was doing.  Every night I went to bed exhausted from the day, disappointed that I hadn't been a better mother, and nervous about how I was possibly going to make it through the next day.   
Well after what seemed like forever, peace restored to the house.  The supercharged antibiotic that they gave Crew worked wonders within a couple of days, and finally for the first time in 3+ weeks I saw him start smiling again.  It was like having an entirely new baby.  You could tell that not only was he feeling better, but he was super excited because during those terrible couple of weeks he had developed and got stronger.  All of the sudden he could grab and manipulate things, he was strong, like almost strong enough to sit up by himself, he could roll over and push up like he was a muscle man, and oh boy was he ever so excited to be able to eat again.  We're talking nursing, baby food, pancakes, macaroni, everything and anything he could get his little mug on.  It was amazing.  It made my heart so happy to see him healthy again.  It made me feel complete to have at least one arm to play princesses with Taya, and tractors with Milo. 
Those couple of weeks seriously kicked my butt.  I cannot explain how excited I am to see an early spring and end to cold season.   Trials are funny things.  After they are over, you can so clearly see your foolishness and desperation, but oh man, in the thick of it you feel like you are downing and there isn't possibly any good that can come out of so much difficulty.
Sometimes it takes a long time to understand why/how a trial strengthened you.  This time I must confess, that I can see a glimpse of why Heavenly Father wanted us to go through this.  I have always loved Crew.  Like all 9 months, every movement on the ultrasound screen, and I was absolutely smitten as soon as he was born.  But I must confess, some of the excitement about a new baby had worn off by #3.  Don't get me wrong, I was proud, in love, and thrilled to be his mother, but I didn't even realize that something was missing.  Having to hold him so close for 30 days.  Pleading with Heavenly Father to help strengthen his body and let him rest. Wracking my brain to make sure that I had done everything possible to make him comfortable. All of these things led to this amazing, new, and different bond.  He demanded the center stage, and that first smile after so many restless nights absolutely warmed my heart and soul.  I am SO happy that February is over!!!  But I am also so grateful for the trials and blessings that February brought to our family.