Sunday, September 27, 2015

Aloha {Part Two}

Ah, Wednesday. Glorious, Wednesday.  There was a planned group tour to go to the USS Arizona memorial but when our meeting leader said, “arrive 1-2 hours before tour time,” “no backpacks,” and “there will be a short 25 minute video prior to the tour,” all I could think was “red flag, red flag, red flag.”  This is horrible but I was envisioning my happy Camden at this somber place excitedly yelling, “Mommy, wook!  There’s a boat down there!”

Instead, we made it a family day and had as much pool and beach fun as we could stand (after we had our coffee, of course).  If you follow me on instagram, you are well aware that I over-grammed my heart out on this day, setting my personal record for posts.  And guess what, I’m not even sorry!  I felt like I was taking advantage of getting to capture some memories of our trip.  Let's face it, Ryan was having a hard enough time on his own - he wasn't at all worried about snapping pictures.  

After a busy morning, we retreated back to the room for a snooze-party before embarking on the hour drive to Paradise Cove in Ko Olina, where our entire group was attending a luau.  Like I said before, I was really worried with how Camden would do at this event.  I figured he would be entertained enough, but I just pictured him absolutely melting down.  The luau was four hours long for goodness sakes.

I think it was during our snooze-party that my sister-in-law, Cara, text me about a huge earthquake off the coast of Chile and a tsunami warning being issued for Hawaii.  Fan-frigging-tastic.

He was thrilled to get dressed in his Hawaiian best, but I promised dancing and fire throwing, so he agreed to tag along.

There were a ton of activities that you could do while waiting for dinner to start - spear throwing, kayaking, Polynesian tattooing, bird handling, and hula lessons.  We threw some spears, listened to the musicians while watching the kayakers, and the boys got tattoos from the pretty hula ladies.  Ryan got a Mike Tyson (I mean, Polynesian tribal) on his face.  Obviously.  Because where else would you get a tribal tattoo? And Camden got a sea turtle on his arm.  Zoey was fast asleep in the Ergo and stayed that way for almost the entire luau.

The show started after dinner and Cam was pretty much captivated.  He sat next to me on the lap of my co-worker's wife, Margi, and behaved far better than I would have ever imagined - insisting that all of my co-workers around us participate in the clapping and hollering of "aloooooooooha!" when prompted by the master of ceremonies.  

There were some amazing dance performances and Cam's new favorite thing - the "fire man" (the man spinning and twirling the blazing fire sticks).  A co-worker of mine was brought up on stage by the main hula girl, told to take off his shirt, wear the coconut bra and grass skirt, and dance.  I heard Cam tell Margi right before the "fire man" that he was getting tired, but she said his little body perked right up when the guy came out and started his routine.

We fled as soon as it was over and got the kids into their car seats.  I had asked my boss if we could drive our own car versus riding the tour bus with everyone else just in case we face a meltdown and needed to excuse ourselves.  Camden immediately leaned up against the side of his car seat and was asleep before we left the parking lot.  Zoey, on the other hand, woke up from her peaceful-Ergo-slumber all happy and smiley for about six seconds and then cried the whole drive home.  Thankfully, there was no traffic and we got back to the hotel in about 20 minutes.

Thursday meant back to the work and daddy duty grind for me and Ryan.  I survived death by presentation and a late side-meeting, and Ryan survived the day by taking the kids on walks around the resort.  I took the babies to the pool as soon as I got back to give Ryan a break.

Friday gloriously arrived and we got done with our meeting early.  I raced back to the hotel so we could soak up what was left of our "family vacation."  We spent two hours at the pools and beach before eating a ridiculously expensive lunch.  That's what we get for eating at the resort, I guess.

My co-worker and his wife had offered to watch the kids so Ryan and I could go have a much needed dinner date and we jumped at the offer.  We left the kids and practically ran to the Yardhouse and started reminiscing how we were there just over six years ago celebrating our engagement.  

We met back up with Jody, Margi, and the kids just in time to watch the fireworks show being put on by our resort.  Cam was clinging to me for dear life but loved the show and kept saying "they go boom in the sky!"

Saturday morning came and of course it was the first morning the kids slept past 7:00am local time.  We got all our crap packed up and headed to the "school bus" and airport.

Both kids were kind enough to poop before we got on the plane.

Zoey fell asleep right when we got on the plane but woke up when we were taking off and was not happy.  After that little episode she was fine.  Her brother on the other hand went through periods of being fine/quiet/easily entertained to bouncing off the walls and driving me within an inch of my sanity. Cam wasn't terrible by any means but this was by far our most exhausting flight with him.  No doubt he was just "done" being contained and ready to be a free wild beast.

We made it home safe and I cannot tell you how amazing it felt to be able to put the kids in their own bedrooms and close the doors behind me.  That sounds awful but staying in one room with four people is not super fun.  I think we were all very happy to be home. 

I lost count of the number of Japanese women who stopped and pointed and tried talking to our blonde haired, blue eyed boy.  At first I didn't really get what the fuss was over, but then realized that in Japan - they probably don't see too many little blue-eyed blondies.  So many women (mostly European) also came up and touched his face/cheeks and I about died because I didn't know what to do but was thinking, "stop touching my kid, crazy lady!"

This "vacation" wasn't really a vacation at all - more of a trip, if that makes sense.  It was easier and harder in ways that I didn't expect.  Easier in that the kids did amazing and harder in that Ryan and I were not communicating very well and struggled.  At the end of the day, even though it was really hard - I am so glad they came with me and we were able to share the trip and experience together.  I know Zoey won't remember but am hopeful Camden might some day - even if it's through pictures. 

s still talking about the "fire man" and walking around the house saying "aloooooooooha," so I'm hopeful.


Take Luck,

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Aloha {Part One}

Aloha.  We survived.

I agonized and agonized over two things in preparation for this trip.  The first was what to pack for our week-long stay.  I didn’t want to over-pack, but also knew we wouldn’t be able to do laundry and didn’t want to spend a fortune buying things once we arrived.  So, I packed everything but the kitchen sink in three bags.  One bag was for Ryan and me, one was for Cam and Zoey, and the other held the rest – beach towels, diapers, Cam’s puddle jumper and boxes of favorite snacks, and Zoey’s water carrier and beach tent.  The second was sleep.  I have a tendency to obsess over the kids' sleep even when we're at home so you can imagine how much anxiety it was causing me considering the time change and that we'd all be sleeping in one room.

We left from Seattle on Saturday evening.  There was an early morning direct flight and an evening one, and I thought the later one would help the kids adjust to the time change better.  Camden did great on the six hour flight, despite not sleeping a wink.  He discovered the Fruit Ninja app on the iPad and was hooked.  I'm sure the plane loved his squeals after slicing each and every watermelon. Zoey did well too – smiling, eating, and sleeping as she pleased.

We landed in Honolulu at 8:30pm local time (11:30pm on our bodies) and Camden started to lose it while we were waiting for our luggage.  Of course, three bags and one car seat came out instantly, but we were standing there waiting and waiting for what seemed like forever for the second car seat.  It got to the point where all the other passenger bags had been retrieved and I was standing there looking at Ryan like, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”  An employee must have noticed my WTF body language and told me they had pulled it off the conveyor belt and set it aside for us at the opposite end of the baggage claim.

I managed an “Oh, thanks!” but what I really wanted to say was, “That would have been nice to know 15 minutes and one toddler meltdown ago!”

We literally schlepped our luggage to the rental car shuttle area and waited for the “school bus” to take us to Budget.  Both kids were crying while I signed our paperwork (and in the process had a miscommunication and got charged big money for an upgrade), and I’m pretty sure I sweat a few pounds off my bod while trying to secure Zoey’s car seat while wearing her and standing out in the humid Hawaii air.

During the 20 minute drive to the hotel, Camden promptly passed out despite Zoey crying the entire ride.  I got us checked in and we said “hell yes” when the bell  service offered to bring our bags up for us.  Cam had woken up when Ryan got him out of the car and he caught his 12th wind as we got into our room.  The room had a king size bed, pull out couch, and crib/pack-n-play but Mr. Camden was not super thrilled to be sleeping in an unfamiliar place in an unfamiliar bed.  I was exhausted and not willing to fight that fight so he crawled into bed between Ryan and I and passed out.

The details are a bit fuzzy now, but I think the kids woke up around 4:30am local time (7:30am on our tired bodies) so we kept them quiet and contained for as long as possible and then fled the room in search of coffee before touring the resort grounds to get a lay of the land.  The most perfect pool (of the five at the resort) was right by our tower and we didn’t waste any time putting it to use.  

After swimming for quite a while and checking out the beach, we went back to the room for naps and to get ready for my Sunday night work meeting.  Of course I worried about how the kids would do/act with the time change in general, but I was most worried about how they (ahem, Camden) would act when they were tired and we were around my co-workers and our customers.  Normally, he’s a little social butterfly and eats up attention – but I just didn’t know what to expect.  Like everything else, I set my expectations really, really low, came armed with everything possible to keep him and Zoey happy, and hoped for the best. 

He did fine at first – happy to sit with me and just take it all in.  Then we brought out the activity book, and he quickly was “over” that and wanted to be constantly held, so then it was time for the iPad.  Thank the lord for the iPad and Bubble Guppies episodes.  We lasted about an hour and half total and bolted before Camden started a fire (not really, but I'm not discounting it from the realm of possible).  Zoey was losing it too and I knew if I fed her she would be fine – but I was not at all comfortable trying to nurse her in front of my co-workers and customers (whether it’s right or wrong for me to feel this way - I felt it would be unprofessional), so we left and went to a restaurant where I felt it was more appropriate.  By that time we were all exhausted and just “done.”
Monday morning came bright and early.  To make a long story short, I was gone from Ryan and the kids for 11 hours from the time I left the hotel to the time I returned (thank you, endless presentations and Honolulu traffic).  Ryan took the kids to the pool in the morning but stayed too long and ended up having two very tired and hungry kids on his hands – one of which had chafed in-between his legs and was scream-crying the entire walk to the elevator and our room.  

He survived the rest of the day and we had dinner at one of the resort’s restaurants when I returned (and paid out the behind for it).  Our bill included a $12.50 fruity frozen cocktail that Ryan had ordered (not paying attention to what it cost, just wanting to consume alcohol) and ultimately gave me to drink.   You’d have thought for $12.50 I would be feeling pretty good afterwards, but alas – I remained stone sober (and that’s saying something because I hardly ever drink alcohol).

Tuesday morning I think he wised up a bit and watched the clock a little better in order to avoid cherub meltdowns.  I think it was this day that he said Zoey fell off the bed while he was making her bottle.  No idea how it happened but he said Camden ran to him in the bathroom, hysterical, saying “Baby Zoey fell off the bed!”  Ryan felt horrible and that incident just fueled his already overwhelmed fire.  I don’t think he got Camden down for a nap this day either, so it probably won’t surprise you when I say that when I returned Tuesday from work/meetings, I hadn’t even put my bag down before Ryan ran out the door for a beer and some alone time.   Camden and I enjoyed a gourmet ABC Store meal consisting of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pineapple, and Doritos.  I gave the kids a bath and they both fell asleep without so much as a peep.

Lordy, I'm exhausted just writing this all out and I only got to day three.  And it was so boring, I'm sure you are now asleep.  Wednesday was a big and fun day for us, so I'll start on that positive (and more exciting) note next time.

Until then.  Aloha.
Take Luck,

Monday, September 7, 2015

Taking Stock / 04

It's been a heck of a lot longer than I thought since my last Taking Stock.

It was totally worth the wait, I'm sure.

Making: lists upon lists of things I need to pack for our trip to Hawaii.  So far it includes almost everything but the kitchen sink.

Cooking: chicken fajitas and trying not to make out with my crock pot.

Drinking: water, water, and more water.  And some Mother's Milk tea.

Reading: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wanting: time to slow the eff down.

Looking: at Honolulu's weather forecast and drooling.

Playing: dinosaurs, dragons, and sharks with my little love.  All consist of us chasing each other around the house yelling "RAWR!"

Wishing: my pants didn't give me a muffin top.  

Enjoying: any excuse to wear yoga pants because... see above.

Loving: seeing Zoey smile her big, gummy smile.

Pondering: what to put on my Christmas wish list.  I'm the worst so I have to start thinking extra early.  

Considering: starting 5am weekday-wake ups so I can get a workout in before work but then I think "eh, better not."

Watching: my babies on the video monitor.  One is asleep and one is hoarding blankets.

Needing: to workout.  For the sake of my sanity.  And my muffin top. 

Wearing: yoga pants and a t-shirt.

Following: Harry Potter or Game of Thrones fan theories.

Noticing: I'm slightly obsessed with Harry Potter and Game of Thrones fan theories.

Admiring: other people's abilities to not obsess about their kids' sleep.   

Sorting: fall and winter clothes for the kids.

Buying: reusable swim diapers for Hawaii.

Getting: pathetically excited for Fall TV.  Hello, Grey's Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder.

Bookmarking: potty training tips.

Disliking: that Camden's third birthday is just three months away.  Someone hold me.

Feeling: all the feelings.  What else is new?

Snacking: on Aussie Bites.  All day long.

Coveting: baby headbands and pretty much everything at lolabeanjewelry.

Wishing: Camden would potty train himself.

Helping: myself to Brookside Dark Chocolate-Covered Acai & Blueberries after Zoey goes to bed.  I have to reward myself for surviving the day somehow.

Hearing: this on repeat.  It's my shower jam.

{photo credit: Pics & Paws Photography}

Take Luck,

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Back to Work

Back to school. 
Back to school, to prove to dad that I'm not a fool. 
I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight. 
Ohhhh, back to school. 
Back to school. 
Back to school. 
Well, here goes nothing. 

I couldn't help but hear Billy Madison in my head as I headed back to work this past week.  I had a lovely 12 weeks of maternity leave that spanned the summer and in a way, it felt a little like going back to school.  Just without the new school supplies and I was carrying my breast pump into work instead of a fancy new backpack.

I had been feeling all the feelings in the weeks leading up to my return to work.  I worked from home for the three weeks prior, so I felt like I was mentally back in work mode, but I was able to stay in my yogis and snuggle with my sweetheart all at the same time.  The thought of taking her to daycare and spending my days in the office away from her, was making me feel all sorts of sadness and guilt.

We did a daycare dry run last Thursday so I could leave Zoey and the providers could get to know her a little bit.  I was holding onto her as long as I could and telling Ms. Debbie all I could think to share and she said, "You go enjoy your morning, Lauren.  You are smiling so big - you must be looking forward to a little break."  My response included the bursting of the lump that had been rising in my throat and "I'm smiling so I don't cry."  And just like that, I lost it and had to hand her off as I ugly-cried my rear end down the hallway and out of the house.  

And I ugly-cried for the next two hours.  

It's sort of funny to me because I thought the second time around (going back to work and leaving my child in a child care setting) would be easier.  For the record it was not so much easier in any way.  There were so many unknowns and fears/worries I had when leaving Camden - how can I fully trust someone to take care of my child, would he still know I was his mommy, could I manage and balance a career and family, is me being a working mother the best thing for my family?

Even though I know that I can trust Camden and Zoey's daycare providers (and the fact that they're together helps a ton), I know she will still know I'm her mommy, I can (sort of) balance a career and family, and (despite my hatred for paying someone to help raise my kids) being a working mom is the best thing for our family - I was a hot mess of tears over leaving her.  I know it's a totally normal feeling, but I swear I felt the sadness was eating me up in a way it didn't before.  She was the exact same age as Camden was when I went back to work, but I kept feeling like she was too little and young and still should be depending on me, her mommy.  

The more I thought about it - I realized the reason I was feeling so much more sad was not just because of Zoey, but also because chances are real good that "this" part of my life - the pregnancy/newborn/maternity leave/new baby bonding part, is over.

Anyway, boo-hooing aside, the first week went as well as it could have gone, despite how quickly I was reminded just how much I hate pumping.  The daycare ladies were very supportive on the first day and sent tons of pictures and updates.  As much as I loved seeing my girl completely happy and content, the pictures also stung a little.  I know I'm a broken record, but I want to be the one making her smile and giving her snuggles.  Cam too, for that matter!

When we got home Monday afternoon, I just sat on the couch smelling, talking to, and staring at Zoey.  I couldn't get enough of her.

I made it to Wednesday before feeling like I was drowning in the adjustment to "the new normal."  This week I felt like I was in a constant rush - rushing to get myself ready in the mornings, waiting until the absolute last minute to wake the kids before heading out the door, wishing my work day away, rushing to pick them up and spend as much time as possible with them before bedtime, getting as organized as possible for the next day, then falling into bed.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  I know it'll get easier as we go along, but the physical and mental exhaustion was heavy. 

When I went back to work with Camden, I felt like my breastmilk supply started diminishing almost immediately and I am hell-bent on doing as much as I possibly can to keep that from happening this time.  My goal each day at work is to drink 96 ounces of water and three giant cups of Mother's Milk tea, while squeezing in four 15-minute pump sessions.  So basically this week I felt like if I wasn't pumping or doing work - I was peeing.

As sad as I was to go back to work, I'm incredibly thankful for my wonderful supervisor and co-workers, family, and friends who encouraged me.  I truly lucked out going back to work when I did because I get a long weekend with Labor Day, and next Saturday we all head to Hawaii for a work trip.

Hawaii with my little family on my third week back to work?  It could certainly be worse.

Take Luck,

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Weekend in St. Louis {Part Two}

So, where was I?
Ah, I blubbering my eyes out to Anna's father-daughter dance song and we fled the wedding reception before our children melted down into hysteria. 
Sunday morning was quiet, and again, it felt like all of a sudden it was time to get dressed and ready for church. 
Back in June (I think?), we had a FaceTime date with the Webb's and to our surprise - they asked us to be Rory's godparents.  I'm pretty sure I had to pick my jaw up off the floor because I was so surprised and honored.  Tears were shed, for sure.  They were able to arrange Rory's baptism for this weekend so we could be there and not have to make a separate trip.
Camden wasn't so interested in sitting through mass, but tolerated the baptism ceremony decent enough, as long as he was being held by his Grandma Chris.  Not pictured is Zoey who is screaming her head off in the background because sister was hangry.  Bless Ryan's Aunt Cindy who was trying to give her a bottle of formula.  I am pretty sure Zoey was thinking "Who the eff are you and what the eff is this?!"

Again with my love for getting pictures of the kids with their great-grandparents.  This is Ryan's dad, Danny's mom, Midge.  She reminds me (physically) so much of my Grammy that sometimes I catch myself staring at her and then feel a little ache in my heart. 

Four generations of Peters!  Not pictured is Camnado.  I think Grandma Chris had taken him to run stairs (I mean, burn off some energy).  

We made it back to the Webb's for Rory's baptism reception.  Cara is seriously superwoman and the hostess with the mostest.  After Zoey took a little nap and I got all our crap packed up, it was time to visit and take more pictures before heading to the airport.   
I love this of Zoey Bear with Great-Grandma Carol. 

Grandma Chris and Grandpa Danny with Zoey, Camden, Liam, and Rory.  Cara pointed out to me that Liam is wearing two different shoes and I sort of love it.  I suppose that's life when trying to wrangle four kids under the age of four.  At least he's wearing shoes.  My tornado child is shoeless.
A Peters, Schwartz, and Webb group shot.  This picture is going up in our house somewhere, mark my words.  

And just like that, it was time to head to the airport.
With the baptism, reception, and needing to leave for the airport, there was no way I was going to get Camden down for a nap.  I was terrified for what awaited us, but we weren't in the car for three minutes and I looked over to see him slumped over in the car seat.  The poor kid slept the 30 minute ride to the airport, through check-in and security, on Ryan until we boarded the plane, and for the first few minutes after we got seated.   

The siesta meant he was awake for the entire flight, but he was super quiet and easily entertained, so I didn't complain. 

I fed Zoey as we were taking off and then she slept the rest of the flight.  I was worried about how her ears would handle the descent and landing pressure changes in Seattle because I always have a hard time, so like a moron, I woke her up to change her and latch her on.  She did just fine and fell back asleep.It had been several hours since she ate and I didn't want to have to feed her before leaving the airport or have to stop on the way home. 

We got our bags super fast, and an airport employee was kind enough to load all of our luggage and car seats onto his giant luggage cart and help us to the shuttle pick-up island.  It was way past Camden's bedtime at this point and I think he was borderline delirious.  Delirious or not - he didn't overlook that he got to ride the "school bus" again.   

Zoey slept through the whole ordeal and Camden fell asleep about 20 minutes after we left the airport.  By the grace of God he was dead to the world and stayed asleep while I transferred him to his bed.  Zoey on the other hand, was bright eyed and ready to party when I brought her car seat inside so I fed her and prayed that she would sleep until some lovely, late hour of the morning.
I literally fell into bed and said, "We survived" before promptly passing out.
This was a crazy, but wonderful trip.  We were happy to be able to celebrate Anna's wedding and absolutely thrilled that we got to be a part of Rory's baptism.  It is truly an honor to call that sweet, chunky baby our godson.  Thankfully, we don't have long to wait before seeing our favorite Webb's again.  They'll be making the trip to us in a few short weeks. 
Take Luck,
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