Saturday, December 1, 2012

Adventures in nursing

A blog written in hindsight, about my misadventures nursing my first two children.

With Kawika, had I known about the 3-week-old growth spurt, cluster feeding, and the cycle of milk production, I'd have been fine. We had to use a shield because he had trouble latching onto my flat nipples, but I didn't mind and he didn't mind. We were nursing comfortably up until that point where he started cluster feeding. And I panicked, thinking my supply had dried up or he wasn't getting enough, and I started supplementing with formula. After that, my supply really did tank, and then I went back to work and dried up instantly. He did just find on Enfamil. I mourned that loss, more so after doing extensive research on nursing and newborns and realizing what had happened.

Liloa was different in that every nurse and LC we saw (5 total) in those early days agreed that he had a great latch. Our technique was perfect, good job! And we didn't need a shield, even with my flat nipples. But it hurt like... FIRE. Needles. Nails. Cheese grater. And after less than a week, my nipples were so cracked they bled. I had canyons across both nipples stretching onto my areolas. I bled during nursing, and cried, and bled when I pumped, and cried, and all the lanolin, gel pads, ice packs, heat packs, and shields did NOTHING to help. It got to the point where when he'd start showing hunger signs, I'd cry, just THINKING about the impending pain. So I stopped nursing, and gave him a bottle. The Similac was hard on his stomach; he got very gassy and constipated and I felt terrible, knowing I had what he needed and I couldn't bring myself to give it to him because of my own pain. I intended to nurse him again, bring my supply back up, resume that relationship that I really, REALLY wanted, just as soon as those fissures healed a little. 

I tried. I didn't want to wait too long, for fear of supply issues. I took herbal lactation blend supplements, ate oatmeal, and pumped when I wasn't nursing him, to try to maintain some milk. And it still hurt. So. Bad. But as soon as I'd healed a little, we tried nursing again, with a shield this time, and I was back to the unbearable pain. So we took another break, a little longer. During this break, we switched him to Similac Sensitive, and he was a much happier baby, and by the time those huge, deep cracks had healed and I'd gotten over enough fear to try again, Liloa wasn't really interested in nursing anymore. He got what he needed faster and with less effort from the bottle. Thus ended my attempt at nursing my second child. 

In hindsight, I think his latch was good - to start. But then he'd slip down. I don't know if he'd get lazy, or shift around during feeding, but his latch would change to a bad one and I didn't notice. I didn't take him of and relatch him, because I was just so grateful that he was eating at all. And it's so hard to see those things in the middle of that postpartum haze where everything seems blown out of proportion. I was hurting from a third degree perineal tear and episiotomy, and it hurt to sit. Kawika was only 18 months old and needed more of my time and attention than I could give him. Chris had to go back to work, and my mom was... busy? I needed so much more help in that time than I got. 

Maybe next time will be better.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Liloa's Birth Story



Short version:  Liloa Christopher was born on 10/15/12 at 4 pm.  He weighed 8 lbs 12 oz and was 21 inches long.

Long version:  Our due date of October 7th came and went with me being dilated to 4 cm and 50% effaced.  My doctor was sure I’d go into labor on my own, but we scheduled an induction for the 15th (41w1d) just in case.  As it turns out, Liloa was very comfortable and the eviction was served.  We arrived at the hospital at 6:45 AM on the 15th.  The nurses checked me in but then realized that we weren’t on the schedule.  My doctor’s office had forgotten to send over some paperwork so the hospital wasn’t aware that we were supposed to be there.  They put us in a waiting room and called my doctor, who confirmed that we wanted to go ahead with the induction, and then they showed us to a L&D room.  I got into a gown and discussed the plan with my nurse, who was very nice. 

It was a strange experience, going in for an induction.  You’re not already in labor so there’s nothing to focus on, like contractions.   You’re just... waiting.  They started the pitocin drip by 7:30 AM.  I wanted to deliver without any drugs or interventions at all, but because it was an induction, I had to reevaluate my plan.  I had to be monitored continuously, but Liloa kept moving around and the monitors weren’t able to keep a continuous line on his heart rate.  He was doing fine, but every time I’d move around, they’d lose him on the monitor.  Only, they kept telling me to keep moving.  I took walks with my IV pole, one hand holding the monitor in a spot I hoped they’d get a good reading from, and kept getting called back to have the monitor adjusted.  He was OP, or “sunnyside up” so it was hard to get a good reading on him, and then I’d move, or he would move, and we’d lose his line completely, and everybody was getting frustrated but trying not to show it.

They increased the pitocin in small amounts hourly.  We watched the morning news, Let’s Make A Deal, and The Price is Right while I waited to feel something more than these irregular, only-slightly-uncomfortable contractions.  At 10:30 my doctor checked me and I was at a 5, and she decided to break my water.  They turned the pitocin up again. 

By noon the contractions were painful and I was doing Lamaze breathing techniques and sitting on a birthing ball to keep things progressing while managing the pain.  The next 2 hours were intense.  My body had finally got the clue that we were DOING something and started to contract on its own.  Between the pitocin contractions and my contractions, I was in a lot of pain and not able to relax much between them.  The breaks between contractions were short and the pain never went away completely.  Because Liloa was OP I was having some mild back labor too.  Standing and swaying helped me through the contractions.  My nurse tried to get me to lay down for a while, since I’d been on my feet all morning trying to get Liloa to turn, but when I laid down and couldn’t move like I wanted to the pain felt completely unmanageable.

By 1:45 I’d had enough of the cluster contractions.  The Lamaze breathing was making me panicky and Chris (quite frankly) was no help.  He spent most of my labor surfing the internet on his phone and occasionally tossing a “Good job babe” my way.  I asked for the epidural.  The anesthesiologist was there very quickly.  I signed the paperwork and got up on the bed so she could do what she had to.  I had 4 very intense contractions during the whole procedure and was reduced to tears and shaking by the time she was done.  When they let me lay back, my nurse checked me while we waited for the epi to kick in and I was 8 cm dilated.  It was 2:45 PM.

At 3 PM Chris wanted to run home and let the dog out.  We live close to the hospital, and I was in a good place pain-wise, so I was OK with him going.  The nurse told him it was a good time to go, so he left.  The epidural was good; much better than the one I had with Kawika.  I could still feel the contractions and they were still a little painful; they felt like early labor pains, no longer the uncontrollable monsters I’d been having.  I could move my legs with almost no assistance, and I didn’t feel nauseous.  Overall, I was very pleased.

At 3:30, my doctor came in to see how I was doing and decided to check me.  I’d been dozing a little since Chris left at 3 and was kind of irritated that she had come back so soon to bug me.  But as soon as she put her hand down there I noticed that I felt different.  Her eyebrows shot up and she said “Wow!  You’re... 10 centimeters and plus 2 station!  Let’s have a baby!”  The nurse looked at me and said “You’d better call him.”  I called Chris, who didn’t answer, so I sent a text: “Come back, don’t dawdle, we’re ready.”

The nurses and my doctor started setting everything up, chatting about cars and the weather and the recent string of bicycle thefts in my doctor’s neighborhood.  Everyone was suited up and they put my legs in the stirrups just as Chris walked in.  He looked around wild-eyed, took off his jacket, came to stand by my head, gave me a kiss and my doctor said “Okay, here’s a contraction, and, push!!”  He was just in time!

It became obvious pretty quickly that Liloa wasn’t tolerating the pushing very well.  I’d only pushed 3 times through 1 contraction and they were having me shift from side to side, take deep breaths, and push even harder.  After the 2nd set of pushes, my doctor got very serious and I started to feel scared.  They put an oxygen mask on my face and put NICU on standby.  My doctor leaned over and said “Listen, Julie, you need to get him out NOW.  You can do this, he’s almost here, but you need to get him out.”  One more contraction, and I pushed so hard.  I had to hold it for 10, take a quick breath, and push for 10 again, and again, and again... I felt a strange sensation and someone said “Here’s his head.”  I glanced at Chris and he was looking at the baby, looking scared.  I pushed again and delivered his shoulders and body, and... silence.  Half a minute, maybe, while my doctor and a nurse rubbed him and suctioned out his mouth and nose.  I could see he was blue, and not moving much. 

Suddenly he gave a huge cry, and everyone seemed to give a collective sigh of relief.  They put him on my chest and toweled him off a little more, and he was very pink and very noisy.  Chris and I kissed each other, and kissed Liloa, and marveled at how long his fingers and toes were.  His head wasn’t the slightest bit cone shaped, and despite delivering him sunnyside up, he didn’t have any marks on his face from my pubic bone like Kawika did when he was born.

The doctor spent a good 20 or 30 minutes stitching me up.  I realized that I’d been up in the stirrups with her doing her thing down there for quite some time and asked Chris.  He said “It’s bad, babe.  It’s real bad.  She cut you.”  It turns out she gave me an episiotomy to help Liloa out faster because his cord was crushed when he was down in my birth canal and he wasn’t getting enough oxygen.  After the episiotomy, because I was still pushing so hard, I tore.  I had a 3rd degree tear and a hematoma.

But Liloa is perfectly healthy and suffered no ill effects from his birth experience.  Overall, he’s an easier baby than Kawika was, and that’s saying something.  We’re truly blessed!


Friday, October 5, 2012

Almost, almost

39w4d
So close!

I had a checkup yesterday afternoon and it was determined that I am 4 cm dilated and 60% effaced.  What a great start, for not even being due yet!  I had the good doctor strip my membranes hoping to get things moving but all I've seen so far is a slight increase in cramping and low back pain and some extra *ahem* material making its way out.  Of the slimy variety.  Gross.

I have another appointment scheduled for the 10th if there's no baby by then, where she'll probably strip my membranes again and then marvel at how I could possibly still be pregnant.  She scheduled an induction date for the 15th, laughing the entire time.  "There's no way you'll still be pregnant by then.  It would be some freak of nature thing!"  She's the expert; I only hope she's right.  I'm still hoping for this weekend, but a day or two relaxing and finalizing things wouldn't be awful, either.

Coco reminded me that today is the 5th.  And rent is due on the 5th.  I'm not sure my brain has been processing anything other than baby-related news for the last week or so.  I had to check our bank account to make sure we even had enough (we do) and call Chris to remind him to drop off a check.  He said he thought about it yesterday but didn't say anything because he knew today was payday.  Duh, I still would have appreciated a reminder since it had obviously slipped my mind ENTIRELY, as evidenced by the fact that I didn't mention it ONCE during the last week, which is so unlike me.  Men are so oblivious.

Kawika had a GREAT last day at day care, of course.  This week at drop off he hardly fussed at all, didn't actually cry, and by Thursday morning he was happily reaching for his teacher and waving bye-bye to me.  He was happy as a clam when I picked him up and gave his teacher kisses.  I don't know if it's that he finally got used to it, just in time for me to pull him out, or if he somehow knew it was his last day.  Either way it makes me kind of sad.  I almost wish I could afford to keep him there at least a couple of days per week, but if I'm not working, I just can't. 

When I picked Kawika up yesterday I made it a point to clean out his cubby and grab everything that was his so 1) It wasn't in the way and 2) So we could use it.  One of the teachers also handed me a handful of art projects and I thought "Wow, that's a lot of art!"  Well it turns out that it's not his!  Some poor little kiddo named Emese is now missing all of their art.  Don't worry, Emese's parents, it's safely on my garage work bench and I am planning on bringing it back.  I love every stupid preshus random crayon scribble Kawika made on a leaf-shaped cut out that probably held his attention for all of 30 seconds, and I'm sure you want your child's version, so never fear.  It will be returned.  I won't even ask for ransom.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Byron Carol



Rest in peace, grandpa.  You were loved; you will be missed.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Belly, belly

Okay, first, my 38 week photo:


Also, I colored my hair.  Yay, red!  Chris is a little disappointed; he says I look like a ginger.  Whatever, I like it, and if you didn't want me to do it you should have said so when I asked your opinion a week ago instead of saying "Whatever, babe, it's your hair, do what you want."  Because of course my reaction was "Yeah, it is, and I will!"

Now for some possibly-exciting-but-also-meaningless-news:  I'm dilated to 3.5 cm!  Or I was as of yesterday afternoon when my doctor checked my cervix.  I've had a LOT of Braxton-Hicks contractions this last month, and on Wednesday this week I actually went home early because I had so many.  They were not consistent, ranging from 3 minutes apart to 12 minutes apart, but it went on ALL DAY LONG.  It was tiring.  It was uncomfortable.  I went home and laid down and finally fell asleep at 11:30.  When I woke up Thursday, they had stopped.  Then I got another dozen or so Thursday before my appointment.  I've had another dozen or so today.  I don't mind, really.  They're uncomfortable but not painful, and if they're helping with the dilation and effacement, keep 'em coming!

It's exciting to me because I only dilated to a 2 before starting "real" labor with Kawika and he was a week overdue.  To be dilated to 3.5 with a week (and a few days) until my due date... well... that's exciting!  It makes me think that this kiddo will make an early entrance.  I'd really like an October baby, though, so I hope he doesn't come quite yet.

I have it on relatively good authority that he will make his appearance on the 4th.  I will let you know, of course.

In the mean time, I'm getting everything finalized this weekend.  No more procrastinating.  After my Lovely Ladies Lunch, which is planned for this Saturday, I'm going to IKEA for more organizational-type things.  Then I'm getting a pedicure.  Then I'm going to supervise while Chris moves the 2nd dresser out of our room and sets up the pack n play.  Then I'll endlessly organize and reorganize the baby's diapers and pj's so we're ready.  It all sounds like a lovely plan; hopefully it works out that way.

In the mean time, I'm going to try to ignore this cycle of BHC/back pain/BHC/back pain.  It sucks.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bunch of Sickos

The day care funk persists.  Kawika still has a runny nose, though it's not green any more.  He's also developed a chest cough now, as he's not able to blow his nose and I can't keep up with the snot-sucking when he's out of my care all day, so of course the drips made their way down.  The cough sounds awful and he whimpers a little after a hard cough like it hurts him.  Poor baby.

Saturday he was pretty miserable, so we hung out at home together all day.  Mostly he laid on me and whined.

Absolutely pathetic.
 When the baby Advil kicked in and the fever would recede a little, he'd play quietly with whatever was at hand. 

Just before our 2nd shirt change of the day.

I am also infected with what I presume is a modified version of the funk.  My nose is runny and I'm slightly feverish.  My throat has that awful swollen feeling during the day and the obnoxious tickle at night.  I went home early once this week and called in sick the day after.  As that day was already paid for and Kawika is acting normally, I took him to day care to avoid scheduling confusion.  It was nice to be home by myself for a while, but I kept thinking that I heard him down the hall and occasionally felt guilty for not keeping him with me.  I'm at home, why shouldn't I be watching my own kid?

Chris convinced me that it was fine; normal even, to have other people watch your kids while you take care of yourself for a little while.  I think it's karmic retribution that has him stuffed up, scratchy-throated, sweating, and puking today.  Either that or another case of the funk. 

Funk aside, Kawika seems to be getting used to daycare.  Just in time for me to yank him out again!  LOLz.  No really, he only gets upset when I drop him off now.  He's happy when I pick him up and the teachers say he spends less time needing to be held every day.  Yay!  He even made me some art yesterday:

Paint, marbles, bucket: toddler masterpiece
It's obviously pure genius.  I'm going to have to frame it.  I love how it was labeled "Ball," too.  Does it have to be a ball?  Why not an abstract representation of our planet?  Or Kawika's interpretation of a different planet?  Or perhaps an underwater scene?  The possibilities are endless!  Quit stifling my child's creative genius!  Har har.  Who am I kidding?  He probably sat on his teacher's lap and half-heartedly pushed the bucket away so she was forced to finish the project for him.  Stubborn little bug.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Craving

I was really, really craving some fresh fruits and veggies tonight and not really feeling 100% healthy, so I figured I'd hit up Jamba Juice.  They put fruits and veggies together, see, where you can't taste the veggies, and then they can add all kinds of amazing potions and powders to "boost" your smoothie into super-healthy realms.  I convinced Chris to come because he promised me a family outing and also, I'll buy you a damn smoothie, get in the car.

So we loaded up and drove to Jamba Juice.  It's not super close to home, but not super far, either.  I got a Cold Blaster (lots of C-vitamin fruits with Immunity and Antioxidant Boosters) and Chris got something purple that didn't taste as good as mine.  HaHA!  Anyway, it was totally worth it.  Just ask Kawika. 


Yes, chest clip, I know. We hadn't started driving yet.

I sat in the back seat with him on the way home because I just KNEW that if I didn't share he would screech the whole way home.  As it was I could barely pry the cup out of his hands to get some myself.  I think he gave himself a brain freeze though, so that was justified/entertaining.  =D

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day Care Drama

The day care drama continues.

We had a screwy week last week what with the long weekend.  Kawika didn't go to my mom's on Monday, but he went to day care on Tuesday, and by Wednesday night he had green snot dripping out of his nose.  Mom was going out of town for the weekend and couldn't watch him Friday, so I shuffled his day care schedule, moving his usual Thursday to Friday.  He was still sick Friday morning though, so instead of returning him to the center to spread the funk to others, we kept him home.  When yesterday rolled around and we went to the center, he wasn't having any of it.  I couldn't even set him down to sign him in at the front desk; he immediately started to cry.  Poor sweet boy!

After talking to the director, it was determined that he'd likely adjust faster if his days at the center were back to back; since he's really too young to understand the Tues-Thurs pattern, it just seems like he's doing something different every day and it's probably pretty unsettling.  I know my mom needs her Thursdays, so instead of shuffling, I just added in Wednesdays for the next few weeks.  Now he will attend 3 days per week, in a row, and go to my mom's on Mondays and Fridays.  I really, really hope this is better for him and he has an easier time.  I hate picking him up at the end of the day and seeing his tear-stained face.  I just envision him crying all day long when nobody's holding him, which I know they can't do all the time. 

Part of it is his age; he's aware of mom and dad and grandma, and knows that "all the other people" are NOT mom, dad, and grandma, and that's just unacceptable (to him).  Part of it is the constant switching in his schedule.  I'm hoping the consistency of being at the center 3 days in a row will help.  I could tell my mom was disappointed when I told her last night that she wouldn't be watching Kawika today, but I think it's probably better for both of them.  I know she's tired and watching him tires her out faster.  I know he needs to adjust to the day care environment.

Still crossing my fingers for something awesome to happen later this year, like... I don't know.  Powerball?  I suppose in order to WIN the lottery you should PLAY the lottery, but a girl can dream.

Dream BIG

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day - no labor

Well, I didn't go into labor over Labor Day weekend (hooray! and boo! simultaneously).  We did get some quality family time while camping at the coast though.  For the last few years, we've gone to the same campground for Labor Day weekend.  It was Chris's uncle's tradition, really, but it seems he's passed the torch, as he didn't come this year.  Chris and I reserved (and paid for) two camp sites way back in January, which is when you have to reserve them for Labor Day if you actually want a spot.  We expected a few aunts and uncles or cousins to come with, but nobody seemed to be in the camping mood this year, except for us.  Luckily we were able to get a refund for the second site when we checked in.

The sites that we reserved were OK.  Well, one was OK, one was awesome.  We'd never camped at those specific sites before and we seemed to strike gold, since the one that we chose (out of the two we could pick from) was totally awesome. Last year's site sucked, and the year before was just OK, so Chris and I decided that V-9 would be our new spot from here on out.  It's in a great location within the park, decently sized, and you can't really see your neighbors. 


Sorry for the poor quality; it's a share of a share! Speaking of neighbors, though, we actually had some nice ones this year.  The group across from us (the only ones we could see consistently) caught a LOT of crab, more than they could eat, and they brought us a plate on our second night there.  I attribute that to the fact that Kawika was very charming.  Every time one of them would walk over the little hump between their site and the road to use the water faucet, he'd call out "Hi!" like they were long-lost friends.

 
Snuggling the belly

My budding photographer

Chris took a few good ones, too, that I should steal from him.  There's one of the three of us that's just hilarious; none of us is doing the same thing or looking in the same direction.  It's one of those crazy ones that just happen to work because you snapped it right when you did, not a second before or after.  Oh well, here are a few more that I took.





We got good use out of our hiking backpack-style baby carrier.  We took walks to the beach, me waddling along, Chris packing Kawika on his back.  Days were warm and sunny.  Nights were chilly but somehow the three of us fit on our queen-sized air mattress (and Wonton too!) and we were plenty cozy.  Kawika likes camping, as near as I can tell.  He seemed to have fun running around the site and getting into stuff, anyway.  I'm already looking forward to next year, when we'll have TWO little boys.  Oh my goodness, I'm going to have TWO KIDS.

I'd better pack my hospital bag; I still haven't gotten around to that!  ;)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Overscheduled

Wow, what a crazy week! 

Chris started his new business this week: lawn care.  He's been out every day taking care of some long-overdue-for-a-mow properties that a property management company hired him to handle.  I think in a few cases they haven't been mowed in months, multiple.  Chris is coming home telling me stories of weeds as tall as him in a side yard; 3 passes over one lawn just to get it down to a manageable height, and overgrown brambles.  So he's been working his butt off during the day, coming home to eat & nap, then going to his night job.  I'm so proud of him for being motivated enough to handle this; it will help us out so much when I'm on maternity leave with a reduced income.  It just sucks that we don't get much family time right now.

Meanwhile, Kawika has started day care.  He still goes to my mom's three days per week, but the other two he's enrolled in a local center.  He's only gone twice now, and drop off this morning was rough for us both.  I think the first day I dropped him off he didn't realize I was going to LEAVE him there.  We'd visited twice before and I was there with him while he played.  This morning, he knew I was leaving and was NOT okay with it.  I finally just had to hand him to his teacher and watch the sobbing start.  It's heartbreaking, seeing your sweet little baby's face crumple up, the tears start flowing, the chubby little hands reaching out for you... it just makes me sick remembering.  I hope he's cheered up a little.  I hope he has fun with the other kids and interacts and gets to play with new, fun things that will make him forget he was so sad.  I don't have much hope for this, though.  When I picked him up after day 1, he was tired, whiny, hungry, and his eyes were all red like he'd been crying a lot more than they said he was.  I hope this transition phase doesn't last long.  I can't handle more days of crying all the way to work.

I'm exhausted.  I'm almost 35 weeks along now, and very uncomfortable.

Taken at work after I dropped K off at day care for the first time
This baby is running out of room and doesn't seem to realize it.  He's still very active, and it's getting really painful.  He's head down, which is awesome, but that means his strong little legs are constantly pushing out on the top of my belly, and his busy little hands are usually fluttering around behind my pubic bone, which just feels... weird.  His head is usually planted firmly on my bladder, which gets a painful jolt every time he rolls or stretches his legs.

I get a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions.  I think they're doing something too, because it looks like I've been losing pieces of my plug.  I know it can and likely will regenerate at this point, but that doesn't mean it's not exciting nonetheless!  I had a dream last night that I went into labor and didn't have anything packed for the hospital.  I think my subconscious is telling me to get on the ball.

On a happier note, we are going camping this weekend.  It's Labor Day (ominous foreshadowing?) weekend, which means 3 days off work.  I can't even express how happy I am that we are going away as a family to get some quality time together.  I just wanna snuggle the crap out of my boy while I still have extra time and empty arms.

After a pretty successful attempt at feeding himself his own PB&J sandwich
And while he still wants to  =)  He's getting too big, too fast for my taste.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day Care, Day 1

Today is Kawika's first day of real, actual day care.  I didn't really want him to go to day care but it needed to happen sooner or later.  Chris just started his own business doing landscaping-type work.  He had an opportunity (60+ properties just waiting for someone to come maintain them on a regular basis) and took it.  I'm proud of him for his initiative there.  He only needed a little help from me to get the ball rolling, but now he's out there working his butt off during the days, and still keeping the night job.  I'm not sure how long that will last before he's completely burnt out, but that's just how it's going for now.

Needless to say, he can't take Kawika with him all over town mowing lawns.  And my mom, bless her, will be taxed enough watching Kawika the 3 days per week that I pressured her into signing up for.  So Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next 6 weeks, Kawika will attend the day care center that I chose.  I did a lot of research on available options in our area, checked out their licenses and complaint histories, facilities, programs, schedules, and teachers.  I really liked the Christian option close to our house (surprising, as I am agnostic at best), but it was just too much money, and they actually were missing a few of the amenities of the other centers I toured.  The one I settled on is, I suppose, at the low-income end of things.  I don't see that as a bad thing, though.  It's affordable (barely), fairly close to home, has a good daily schedule and a USDA food program.  Their outside play area is fully contained and kid-sized.  The inside room has lots of different stations for different activities.  It may not be in the best part of town, but it's certainly not the worst.

Kawika and I had gone there twice before so he could get a little acclimated.  I talked to the teachers while he wandered and played.  He seemed to enjoy it.  But still... Dropping him off this morning was hard.  I managed to keep it together until I got out the front door, thank goodness, but I've been a mess ever since.  Seriously, I'm tearing up right now just writing this.  But I just called to check in and he seems fine.  He cried for about 10 minutes after I left (saw that coming; the look on his face when he realized I was leaving and he was staying was devastating).  But after the crying he went back to playing, ate a good breakfast, ate a morning snack, and they were just getting ready to go play outside.  He loves playing outside, so I'm glad he gets the opportunity to do that every day, with other little ones his age.

I'm still worried about nap time, lunch time, and this evening.  I don't want him to hate it there, and I don't want him to throw a fit when I take him back on Thursday.  I really hope he has fun and gets used to spending time with other kids.

On another note, we dog-sat for my brother this past weekend.  He has an Australian Shepherd named Zeus.  Aptly named, as he is the god of frisbee.  Or rather, the god of fetch.  That dog will play fetch until he's falling-down exhausted, which we did a number of times.  He only stays exhausted for about half an hour.  It was a definite change, having a bigger, high-energy dog in the house.  Kawika, of course, loved him. By Saturday morning he could say "Zeus" and was snuggling him every chance he got. 

Puppy kisses!

Awwww
Apparently, we need a bigger, snugglier dog.  After Zeus went home, Kawika kept asking about him, then trying to snuggle Wonton, who just growls a little then runs away.  What a turd!  A second dog will have to wait, though.  I think the second baby will keep me more than busy enough for the next year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Daily Horoscope

I have my home page set up with a few personal gadgets.  I like launching one page and seeing lots of different, entertaining things on it.  Incidentally, because my home page is iGoogle, it will be going away next year, but that is neither here nor there at this point.  Next year is next year and I will probably, hopefully, get around to finding a substitution for iGoogle within the next year.  Of the gadgets on my home page, one is a Lilypie ticker telling me exactly how old Kawika is, lest I forget.  I also have local movie times, NFL scores, a random funny quote, a sneak peek of my e-mail inbox, and my daily horoscope, among others. 

Today's horoscope was so inspiring, I wanted to keep it.  So here it is:
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
This is your special time of year to be reinvigorated by the radiant Sun's life force. Although you may start off in a bad mood, your attitude improves throughout the day. Look back over your previous year to take stock in what you've accomplished, re-evaluate your present path, and visualize the year ahead. Blow out the candles in your imagination and make your wishes come true.
 
My horoscopes lately have been eerily accurate.  Most of them have been reminding me to focus on the now while keeping my future plans alive.  Planning for changes to come, looking for opportunity, and seizing openings for growth or personal development.  Perhaps it's true what some people say, that horoscopes will always apply to you if you look for the connection hard enough.  For me, that's not been the case.  Sometimes they're right on and sometimes they're not.  I certainly don't make huge life changing choices based on some guy's interpretation of my astrological chart, but I find horoscopes entertaining, and I like to use the accurate ones as validation that I'm moving in the right direction.

I liked today's horoscope mainly because it was so optimistic.  I've been feeling very optimistic lately; the choices I'm making that are leading to big changes in my personal and professional lives are scary, but they're more exciting than anything else.  I am EXCITED about what's coming.  New baby, new business, new directions.  I have lined up 7 of 10 puzzle pieces to ensure that the next few years of my life are happy, productive, and fulfilling.  Those 7 pieces were the biggest ones; piece 8 is in the works and hopefully will fall in the right way so that I can officially make a decision. The last 2 pieces are just details.  Important details, but details nonetheless. I'm so close!! 

Sorry to be so vague, but until I've got ALL my ducks in a row, I'm hesitant to shout things from the rooftops.  In the meanwhile, though, chew on this:

 
Ooh, a tiny, cryptic picture!!  What do you suppose it means??

Friday, August 17, 2012

Not Bad For A Thursday

We're in the middle of a real PNW heat wave.  The temperatures have been over 85 degrees MULTIPLE DAYS in a row, with yesterday's temperature nearing 100 degrees, and a forecast for the same (if not hotter) today.  UGH.

Yesterday, my friend Kate invited Kawika and me over to her sister in law's house.  Kate and her husband Andrew are house-sitting this week, and Andrew's sister's house has a pool.  A heated, in-ground pool.  This is a rarity here in Vancouver.  At least, I think it's a rarity.  I didn't have any friends growing up who had pools, let alone heated, in-ground pools.  As an adult I know a handful of other adults who have pools.  But who needs a pool here?  It rains 9 months a year and the other 3 we rarely get above 85 degrees, which is totally bearable.  Anyway.  They have a pool.  It is too hot outside. We get to use the pool.  Heck yes!

We went swimming!  After I got home from work, I packed up some swim gear and the kiddo and we drove to Kate's SIL's house for some Popeye's on the back porch, followed by much gleeful splashing, floating, and general watery fun.

Sharky trunks!
 Also, watermelon.  Lots of watermelon, in Kawika's case.  What can he say?  It was good!  I'm not usually a fan of watermelon.  The texture weirds me out and the flavor is underwhelming.  Kate apparently knows the secret to picking a fantastic watermelon though, for this one was tasty, not mealy, and juicy.  I guess the secret for the extra pop of flavor is a sprinkling of lime juice.  Who knew??  I ate two pieces myself.

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom nom nom
I only wish I'd gotten some photos of Kawika actually IN the pool, but I was too busy trying to keep him from drowning himself.  The boy has no caution!  He literally jumped off the edge of the pool into the water with zero regard for what comes AFTER the oh-so-fun jump.  Hint: mouthful of water, coughing.  Followed by accusing glares at momma "WHY DID YOU LET ME DO THAT, MOM?" 

After swimming we had snacks, drank some Gatorade, and packed up to go home.  Good thing he was already in cozy, dry jammies, because he zonked out in the car.  It was only about 8 pm, but he didn't wake up when I got him out of his car seat, when Wonton barked hello, or when I transferred him to his crib and smooched his fuzzy head.  Aahhh, the deep sleep of an exhausted waterbaby! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cleaning Out

Gosh, I need some kind of reminder to come update more regularly.  Not that you care.  Not that you're reading this or anything.  See, I've made up a fake audience in my head; people who read my blog and get upset when I don't update regularly enough. 

"Shame on you," they say accusingly.  "Why start a blog if you don't intend to keep it up to date?"  My bad.  Truth in fact; I'd like to keep it more updated just for ME.  I don't journal anymore and as a result I find that I'm missing large gaps of time in my mind.  I've always had a poor memory, and writing helps me relive my past, even if I temporarily forget it.  Letting all one of you share in the memory-recording is just a bonus. 

Speaking of journals, Chris and I got on a nesting kick last weekend and reorganized the 3rd bedroom.  The one that was going to be a nursery but was doubling as storage/Kawika's play room.  We decided not to turn it into a nursery just yet.  Frankly, we need the storage/office/play space away from the living and family rooms, and Little Dude is going to be in our room for the first few months anyway, so... why not just keep it as-is?  With a healthy dose of reorganization, of course.  Well, we finally went in and just did the damn thing.  Moved the book shelf in, put the books on the shelf and out of the closet, consolidated all of the holiday decorations and gift wrap supplies in a clear tub, stored some of the bigger baby things in the attic that Kawika has outgrown and Little Dude won't need right away, ... We did a lot.  We also went through the last few boxes of "office" type stuff we'd had in the closet, sorting everything into keep/shred/recycle piles, and separating the keepsakes from the important papers we need to keep on hand.

During this process, I came across my old journals and photo albums.  I spent a few minutes reminiscing, then packed them away safely in an airtight tub that will go in the attic. I enjoy reading my old journals (usually, when they're not unbearably vapid) but it felt good to stick them away somewhere knowing they wouldn't be bothered for a while.  It also felt really good to get that closet organized!

I'm still trying to find a solution for Little Dude's clothes, now that he won't have his own room.  I suppose I could still use the closet for his clothes, I just need to get a lot more baby hangers.  A lot.

Making room for the new and getting rid of the old, reorganizing the important and letting go of the insignificant.  It feels good!  Perhaps my nesting fit has manifested in more than one area of my life, since I find myself wanting to go in a new direction professionally, as well as with home closet organization.  Maybe I'm just so frustrated with the aspects I cannot control that I feel the need to change my surroundings so that they're easier to manage.  Whatever the case may be, the thought of the possibilities in front me is thrilling.  I hope to update you all with some very good news in the coming months, but if you could just keep me in your thoughts, I'd appreciate it.  A little good karma goes a long way.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day Trippin

I took a couple of days off work last week.  The weather was beautiful in town so we decided to make the most of it.  We rented a car and went on a few day trips.  One day we went to Seaside, but I don't have pictures of that because it was cold, gray, and rainy.  It was 90 degrees in town!  It should have been more like 75 at the beach, but it wasn't.  We made a short trip of it.  Walked around the boardwalk, checked out some shops, had an early dinner.  It was disappointing, to say the least.  So the next day, we decided to drive up the gorge instead, knowing we'd have much better weather closer to home. 

 We went to the Vista House lookout.  It was beautiful up there!  Kawika was his usual charming self, making friends with strangers and smiling at everyone who walked by.

 

Wonton the adventure doggie!
 Then we drove to Multnomah Falls.  It was very, very crowded and despite driving around for about 10 minutes there was NO parking to be found.  They'd closed the overflow parking lot for some reason, so everyone was creeping around the tiny lot directly in front of the falls, stalking people who miiiight have been walking to their cars.  We decided it wasn't worth the aggravation and drove a little further to the smaller, much less crowded Horsetail Falls.

About 28 weeks pregnant here
 Bonus, you can actually walk down to the foot of the falls and feel the spray off the rocks if you want. Or, you know, if the person holding your leash forces you to.

He was more a reluctant adventurer here

  Poor spoiled doggie doesn't like to get his toes wet.

Aloha!
It was a good trip.  We definitely got the most out of our rental car and enjoyed its far superior (to my car) gas mileage.  Man, I need a new car!


Poor, poor, spoiled little doggie.  =)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My waterbaby

Because I know that all one of you was waiting anxiously for a "Kawika in the bath tub" post, here it is. 

video

He's almost as good as a trained monkey!  Look at this trick!

video

But it's not just the bath that's great, it's ALL water that is apparently amazing.

Who needs "toys" when you can play in the sink?


And if THAT wasn't enough "baby in the water" fun for you, stay tuned for next time when I share the ridiculous number of photos we took when Kawika got into his own personal swimming pool for the first time.  Woo!

Friday, July 6, 2012

July 4th

For the 4th we went to Jason and Mahina's house, and lots of other family came over too.  Kalae and Corinna came with Kanoa and Auntie Puni, Makana was there, and Uncle Wayne brought Grandmama.  It's a rare treat to have Auntie Puni, Uncle Wayne, and Grandmama all together, considering Uncle lives in Seattle and the women live in Hawaii.  I was really glad to spend some good time with Auntie, Uncle, and Grandmama.  I'm even happier because Kawika warmed up to them right away. 

Kawika with his great grandma Edie
A proud moment for me as a mom was when Uncle Wayne got out of his truck and Kawika walked right up to him, put his arms out, and said "Up!"  He'd never met Uncle before.  I would think that it would be intimidating for a toddler to see a huge man he'd never seen before (Uncle is a Kapua in every sense of the word) but it was like he knew he was family.  When Uncle picked him up, Kawika even gave him a kiss.  Mahina, who was watching from the end of the driveway with me, elbowed me excitedly and said "You're raising him right, girl!"  I'm not sure how much credit I can take for that, but it made me proud nonetheless.
Uncle Wayne, Auntie Puni, and Grandmama Edie
We had lots of fun bbq'ing and just hanging out.  Kawika ran around all OVER the place.  You'd think he'd had more than an hour nap that day! 

"Playing football" with daddy

Goofing

Rocking the KARMMA gear and enjoying a little snuggle
 But he really only had an hour nap that day.  I ended up taking him home a little before 9 pm.  The fireworks were just getting started but he was exhausted and I had to work in the morning, so we left.  I shouldn't have bothered; he napped on the 15 minute car ride home and was suddenly raring to go again when we got home.  He didn't go to sleep until closer to 11:30, though I also blame the neighbors and their M-80's. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for celebrating on the Fourth of July.  Team America and all that.  But does it have to be so damn LOUD, like, right outside my baby's bedroom window?  I would totally let it slide if it was JUST that night, but the 5 nights of explosions prior and the 3 afterward really got on my nerves.  Not gonna lie.

All in all though, it was a great day and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I love Chris's family like my own and feel very loved in return when we spend time together.  I'm really, really, REALLY looking forward to visiting them all when we go back to the islands in April of next year.


Friday, June 22, 2012

THNGVB, or, Patience is an Acquired Taste

I was going to make a post about how funny Kawika is in the bath tub, because he's VERY funny in the bath tub.  He loves the bath tub.  He loves the water, he loves playing with the knob, he blows bubbles and splashes his toys around and generally has a grand old time.  He usually screeches when I take him out, even if I've let him sit in there until he's pruny and the water isn't warm anymore.  But instead, I am sharing with you an e-mail that I just received.  My mom wrote it, and it's... well, you'll see. 

As a small side note before launching into this, I hope you've read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Email Subject: Kawika's THNGVBD

My mommy said we were going to Grandma's house.  I love Grandma's house.
When we got there she told my Grandma I was full of beans.  I don't know what that means, but Grandma didn't look too worried.

Grandma made my favorite cereal, I ate quite a lot.  Then she gave me blueberries.  I love blueberries.  Then she gave me a new berry called a raspberry. 
Grandma said it was good.  I took a bite and about threw up.  I gave it back to grandma - right in her face.  She can have it if she likes it so much.

Then we played blocks.  I'm tired of blocks.  We played ABC cards.  I'm tired of ABC cards. We visited the chickens. Grandma brought old berries down for the chickens as a treat, but I wanted them.  Grandma said "no" but I tried to get them anyway and made a mad face at Grandma when she wouldn't let me have them.

I wanted to walk so Grandma put me down and I crunched gravel with my shoes. When I looked up I saw blueberries! I love blueberries. Grandma said, "No those blueberries are not ready yet, they are green."  I don't know what she means, they looked good to me, so I grabbed a whole bunch and yanked them off the bush.  Grandma made the "no no" face and said she needed to carry me now.   

When we went in to wash our hands, I picked up Scooter's dish.  I loved watching the water pour out all over the floor.  Grandma sighed her heavy sigh and used a towel to clean up my shoes, then she cleaned the big puddle on the floor.  She was busy so I decided to go walking.  I thought it would be fun to close the door.  Grandma said, "Kawika Michael, don't close that door."  I giggled  because it was going to be a funny joke.  I pushed the door shut but it wasn't the door, it was the folded up ironing board.  I don't know what an ironing board is, but it pushed the door closed and crashed on the wall.  It scared me pretty bad.  It scared Grandma too.  She said, "you could have been smashed flat as a pancake".  I love pancakes. I don't know why she's so worried all the time.  She moved the ironing board to the laundry room and closed the door.  She really should have thought about that before.

At second breakfast, Grandma made omelets.  I love omelets.  It had eggs and ham and cheese but she also put in asparagus, spinach, peppers and onions.  I don't know what she was thinking.  I ate the good stuff and put the rest on the floor for the doggies.  She made a face and said I was trying her patience.  I don't think I like patience if it has vegetables in it.

I took a drink of milk then threw my cup on the floor.  I forgot I was supposed to put it on the table like a big boy.  The next time I wanted a drink, water came out because Grandma had rinsed the cup.  I tried to take a sip then threw my cup on the floor. Grandma picked it up.  I threw it again, and again and again...grandma said, "if you're all done with your milk I will put it away."  I wasn't done with my milk, I was frustrated that no milk came out of the hole.  I yelled and threw the cup to tell her I was mad about it but she wasn't listening.  When she went to put it back in the refrigerator she got a funny look on her face and tried to take a sip.  She turned and looked at me and said she was sorry, she didn't realize the first time I threw it on the floor it knocked the sippy piece out.  She washed it up, fixed it and brought it back to me.  Silly grandma.  I drank lots of milk and put my cup on the table like a good boy.

When I yawned, grandma said it was story time so we read Brown Bear.  I wanted to turn the pages but Grandma said I needed to slow down.  I wanted to show her how much I loved the book so I grabbed it and gave it a kiss.  Grandma laughed.  Then I decided to see how the book tasted so I bit it.  Grandma said, "please be kind to the book, it's old."  So I gave it another smooch and a quick bite then tossed it on the floor.  Grandma said, "Kawika Michael, I have no more patience left today."  I thought that would make her very happy because I had some at second breakfast and it wasn't very good, but she looked a bit cranky.

We went in for a nap, but I wanted to dance instead.  Grandma played my favorite phonics song on her computer, but she shook her head "no no" when I tried to push the buttons.  She pushes the buttons, I don't know why I can't push the buttons.  She said I was very tired when I yelled about it.  I decided to show her I was not tired so I got off the bed and stomped away.  She picked me up and gave me my blankie and binky - stupid blankie, stupid binky.  I threw them away, then I wanted them back, then I threw them away again, then I wanted them back.  I don't like grandma's singing today, I don't like rocking or swaying, I don't like pat-a-cake and I would really like to pull her picture off the wall, but Grandma says I can not touch it.  I would not settle down, so Grandma said, "I give up, let's try a walk instead."

We went for a stroller ride.  I love stroller rides.  I didn't feel sleepy though, I felt pretty perky. When we got back I decided to play with blocks and noticed Bella outside.  I love Bella.  I decided to use my dog whistle to see how many dogs would come out of Grandpa's office and run on the deck.  I made a magnificent shrieking sound that always makes the dogs bark like crazy.  Grandpa poked his head out of the office and said, "I have a conference call and I'll need it quiet in here, maybe you should take him for a drive while I'm on the phone."  He looked a little cross.  I think Grandma made him eat patience at second breakfast.

Grandma and I went for a drive.  I fell asleep after a little while.  Grandma said I only slept for about 10 or 15 minutes, but it felt like a long time to me.  When we got back I had lunch.  Grandma made my little bunny crackers dance along the side of my tray.  That was very funny.  I tried it too and will have to show my mommy the dancing bunnies. After they dance, you chomp them.  It is VERY funny.  When it was time to go home, grandpa gave me a big hug. Grandma looked tired when she took me out of the car seat, but she smooched my forehead and told me she loved me even when I was full of prunes.   I'm confused about whether I'm full of beans or prunes but either way I hope my daddy is ready to play.

Find somewhere else to put your "clothes," woman, I'm using this!