Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Birth High

Totally got to watch a baby enter the world today.  Fresh life, there is just nothing better.

I've kinda lost my mojo with my certification process, but being there firsthand (I was holding a leg people!) really lights a fire under me again.

Mama rocked it.  Seriously.  She went to the hospital at 4cm, broke her water, got pit to augment and still she held on and delivered that baby with no drugs.  We had to talk her down off the ledge a couple times, but the first words out of her mouth after she was holding that sweet babe was, "I can't believe I did this! Thank you so much for not letting me give up!".

That's why I love this job.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Situation of Epic Proportions

You might need to sit down.

I know the photo above is shocking.

I believe this may be the first time ever that this has happened in our home.

I had to take a picture.

It lasts longer that way.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Long Trip Tricks and Other Ways To Keep From Going Crazy

*The Great Room Switch is for the most part complete.  All the big work is done and now it's just the mundane moving junk from one closet to the next and the fun decorating and accessorizing.  Because I'm a bit of a control freak and want things to be *just so*, I'm withholding any "after" pics until we are TOTALLY done.  Sorry.  You're just going to have to be ok with that.  :-)


Now, on to the post at hand!

We are about to embark on our annual trek to visit the inlaws.  From where we are, it's a good 20-21 hour drive.  Thanks to TSA pat-down craziness, insane airline fees and the general loose cannon that my 2 year old can be when cooped up in a small space for a extended period of time, we choose to endure this 20-21 hours on the highway, rather than fly the friendly skies.  Trust me, with us on board it ain't gonna be friendly for too long.  At least in the mini-van we can contain the crazy within our four walls.

So we've been making this drive a long time.  At first it was just hubs and I.  Easy peasy.  A few gas station stops for drinks and Peachies (the ultimate roadtrip candy) and we could drive all night.  But now obviously, it's not so simple.  Along the way we've picked up on a few tricks that make the drive go a little more smoothly (and quickly!) so I thought I'd share them with you.  Please note that the following are things we've found work well when we do them.  You'd think I'd learn my lesson and stick with what works, but I'm kinda scattered and often forget from year to year.  So this list is as much for me as it is for you!


1.  Do your laundry and start packing the week before.

You do not want to have to dig through this the night before you leave.  Trust me.
I have a really bad habit about waiting to pack until the last minute.  This is ok if it's just me going on a little weekend getaway (wait, has that ever happened??), but when it's 6 of us leaving for nearly 2 weeks, there's just not enough hours in that last day to get it all done.  Since I'm obviously doing laundry all.the.time. I've found it's helpful beginning about a week before to pull out the clothes I know I want to take with us as I come across them in the laundry basket waiting to be folded.  This way we don't wear them again and then have to run a rush load of last minute laundry at midnight the night before we leave.

2.  Pack the kids' clothing in large ziploc baggies a la the Duggar's.  

Baggies of clothes keep the chaos under control and keep hubs from staring at the suitcase in a stupor when you ask him to get the kids dressed.
Did anyone catch the episode where the Duggar's went to NYC, the whole lot of them?  There was a clip of the older girls packing the suitcases and they were talking about how they organize all the kids' clothing according to outfit and then pack them in baggies.  When I saw this a lightbulb went off in my head.  Brilliant!  So now, as I'm pulling clothes out of the clean laundry that I know we want to take, I put them in 2.5 gallon ziplocs and write the name of the owner on the front in sharpie marker.  Later, when we're on our trip, when I tell the older girls to go get dressed, they can go find a baggie with their name on it and help themselves.  I also make sure to put underwear and any hair accessories and socks in each baggie so it's all in one place and easy to match up.

3.  Clean your house before you leave.  

No one wants this waiting for them while they're soaking up the sun.  
I know, I know.  Like you have time for that right?  I'll admit I don't always do this.  But trust me, you will thank yourself later.  There is nothing, nothing like coming home after a looooong trip to a clean house.  Plus it will make it much easier to relax on the beach knowing there's not 12 loads of laundry and a sink full of dishes waiting for you when you get home.

4.  Pack snacks and meals. 

OK, so this is NOT our stash of food for our trip... but it's the only pic of food I had.  You get the idea.  We don't usually take toilet paper with us... although it's not a bad idea now that I think of it...
Growing up I wasn't really allowed to get snacks from gas stations.  It wasn't so much the fact that it's all junk (although it is) as it was just too expensive to buy something every time we stopped.  I got used to my mom loading up the big ice chest and sharing my backseat space with it.  Once I got married, I discovered that I married a guy who was used to living high on the hog when it came to trips.  Which really just meant that we bought drinks and candy when we stopped for gas and never used an ice chest.  And I loved it.  But we discovered quickly that with 6 kids, we're back in the reality of it just not being a wise financial move.  We have fairly routine snack times when we're at home anyway, so when we're on a trip we try to maintain that consistency.  So beforehand I try to pack enough snacks to cover those times plus extra that I allow the girls to manage on their own.  No trip is complete without a few fun treats like Nerds or Gobstoppers.

5.  Put together goodie bags. 

***I searched in vain and could not find any good pic depicting this.  Use your imagination, OK?***

The dreaded "are we there yet?" must be most abhorred question in the English language.  At least by parents who are trapped in a small vehicle with 4 small children and no end of highway in sight.  To fend off the "ennuis" I try to put together little bags of fun stuff I've gathered from the dollar store or the Dollar Spot at Target.  Usually coloring pads, fresh boxes of crayons, small magnadoodles or etch-a-sketches (can you believe they still make these?!), maybe a small doll, silly putty, etc.  We also have small handheld fans for each of the girls so they can have some climate control and we don't have to listen to the incessant whining about being too hot or cold.  In addition to those small things we also usually bring along a new CD of kids' music and a new movie to watch en route.  Which brings me to... 

Part TWO:  ON THE ROAD!  Check back soon for tips on saving your sanity while driving!

My friends, in this season of roadtrips and vacations, have you collected any good tips or tricks for travelling with kids?  I'd love to hear them!

ETA:  As it was lovingly (right M?) pointed out to me in the comments, I clearly have already gone crazy as I stated above that I have 6 kids.  I'm not editing it because I think this slip is HILARIOUS.  It's already been a long summer folks and we're not half done yet.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Great Room Switch Day 2 and 3 Recap

I am still alive.  Barely.  My poor body is not used to such hard manual labor.  Sniff.  We are slowly making progress.  The problem is that you have to make a mess before you can make it nice.  Right now I feel like I'm living in an episode of Hoarder's.

Painting was very time consuming.  3 rooms + 3 ceilings.  For the record, I was not as opinionated about the ceilings being painted as hubs was.  That was all him.  It looks good though.  I'm glad we did it.  Bonus points for hubs caring.

We had to move the furniture all around to get all the walls.  The Princesses thought this was great fun and I spent most of the second day telling Princess #2 that it was NOT OK to climb up on the top bunk from the back side.  Sigh.  I was really hoping we could unbunk the beds in their new room because I loathe bunkbeds with every fiber of my being.  But alas, I think we have not choice but to keep them bunked.

You can see we ran into issues concerning where to put all of the crap toys that the princesses have.  The closet worked fine for a bit.  I was half tempted to just shut the door and run far away when I saw it.

The living room, although not being painted or changed, became a very stressful place to be.  I'm telling you, I kept waiting for the Hoarder's people to come banging on my door.  Why do we have so much junk?

See what I mean?  This is what happens when home improvement takes over:  things fall apart.  Dishes are unwashed, clothes are dirty, children are ignored.

By day 3 we had removed the Princesses' beds entirely.  And we emptied out the closet.  Unfortunately, most of the crap toys just ended up in the room.

But the closet is cleared.  I'll still have clothes shuffling and toy rearranging to do later, but I'm not planning on doing that right now.  I've got much bigger fish to fry right now.

So, that's it.  Just like the tortoise and the hare.  Slow and steady wins the race.  And lots and lots of patience.  Which has come in handy a few times.  I may or may not have broken a leg off the dresser in Princess #4's room.  I told hubs patience is a virtue.  And I smiled sweetly while he may or may not have  thought a few mean thoughts about me as he nailed the leg back on.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger right?  Oh and happy birthday hubs!


Monday, June 13, 2011

The Great Room Switch 2011

I can't remember if I've mentioned it before, but we live in a relatively small house.  Small for a family of 6 plus one lazy pug.  At the time we purchased the house, we were a new family of 5.  It was by most standards probably too small for us already, but as it was our first foray into home ownership, we took what we could get.  What that really meant was knowing that we are not the "fixer upper" type, we needed a new(ish) house that was move in ready.  And since our budget was small, our house was small too.

But it is our first home, and there's always a bit of sentimentality attached to that, regardless of all the things you grow to hate or wish you could change.

Of course, 2 short years into our journey as homeowners, we were joined by our surprise Princess #4, and suddenly what was too small became downright claustrophobic.  It became a juggling act, to decide where to put things.  And people.

For the past 2 years, the three older Princesses have shared one room, while Princess #4 maintained sole occupancy of the nursery.  It's worked alright, but as toys multiply in the night it was becoming increasingly clear that we needed to find an alternative.  Moving not being an option, nor adding on, we needed to somehow create another room where there was none.

And thus, The Great Room Switch of 2011 was born.

This week, walls will be painted, furniture will be moved and sleeping arrangements will be changed.  And hopefully by the end of 5 very long days, the four Princesses will go to sleep in their "new" bedroom, our former master bedroom.  Our hope is that by moving all four girls into the big room, and us taking one of the smaller rooms, it will free up the third bedroom allowing us to use it as a dedicated office and spare room.

Yes, it is a bit of a sacrifice.  I have my big garden tub and walk-in closet in the master bath.  Not to mention the double sinks.  I'm not looking forward to fighting with hubs over the sink to spit while brushing my teeth.  But it needs to be done.  Besides, it's giving me a good excuse to redecorate my room.  Can't complain about that!

So, for those who might be curious, a few before pics.  Sorry, there's lots.  I plan to document the process and of course take after pics as well.

The Big Princesses' room.  This pic is looking in from the door.  Sorry about the darkness, I am not a photographer!

A look at Princess #3's bed.  When we move the kids out of the crib, we always transition to a mattress on the floor.  Since things have been tight room-wise for awhile, Princess #3 has just always slept on the floor.  She doesn't seem to mind and we don't have to worry about her falling out of bed!

And the girls' closet.  I think this will be my closet when all things are said and done.  We're still deciding where to put that dresser.  The girls really need it for clothes storage, but there's not room in the master closets.  

Up next is the nursery.  This is going to become our office/spare room.  I'm kinda sad to paint over that stripe.  I did that all by myself and I was pretty darn proud of it!

Nursery from another angle.  That dresser was hub's grandmothers and I love it.  I totally want to paint it a cool color and put it in my room.

Princess #4 by her closet.  I think hubs will take over this one.  (He doesn't need as much space as me.  haha)

And finally our room, which will become home to all 4 girls soon.  No comments from the peanut gallery about the mess.  I didn't even pick up for the pictures.  Clothes drying in the corner, laundry waiting to be folded, the computer desk trashed... this is real life folks!

These built in bookshelves are of note.  We're painting all 3 rooms the same gray color.  We wanted a neutral color that wouldn't require repainting if/when we decide to try to sell our house.  So the girls' room will be accented with bright colors.  We're planning to paint the back of each shelf a different color.  I hope it turns out as cute in real life as it does in my head!

And the last wall.  Most of these decorations and such will end up in the office/spare room along with the computer armoire.  We're redoing the color scheme in our bedroom (yellow/gray/aqua - LOVE!) so the red touches won't work anymore.

So that's it!  Unfortunately, taking the before pics is the easy part.  I've got paint under my fingernails, in my hair and between my toes.  We've got about 3 good hours left of painting before we call it a night.  Back to the trenches my friends!  Check back later for progress reports!


Friday, June 10, 2011

The One In Which I Set Fire To The Oven

Disclaimer:  this is NOT my oven.  My fire was not nearly so dramatic.  It makes my story seem more exciting though, doesn't it?

I am really good at holding track records.

Not actual track records, as in, you know, running.  Ha.

But I am quite good at upholding good records.

For example, as a kid, I never got sent to the principal's office.  Perfect student record, check.

As a teen, I never had a cavity.  Perfect dental hygiene record, check.

As an adult, I never have gotten a speeding ticket.  Perfect driving record, check.

And until today, I never set fire to my kitchen.

I guess at least one perfect record had to come to an end.

So, for future reference, if you're broiling fish in a foil covered pan for your family and then later need to broil another filet for your hubs who came home late from work, do NOT use the same foil covered pan you used for the first batch of fish.

The lovely parmesan cheese topping that covered the first batch of fish and melted onto the foil will run a great risk of igniting into flame upon a second trip into the oven.

I'm just sayin.  You know, in case you want to keep your perfect kitchen record in tact.

And if you accidentally find yourself with flames ablaze in your oven, I hope you have a hubs nearby who by some randomness knows to grab the container of salt to douse the flames.  How did he know to do that?  I must have missed that episode of The Cosby Show or something.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Trying New Things

It's 10pm and I've decided to try some new things.  Yes I should be in bed.  Unfortunately my body hasn't figured out that going to bed earlier would make it easier to deal with my early bird in the morning.  Now that it's summer my kiddos are staying up later which mean that "me" time gets pushed later too.

Anywho, back to the new things.

So.  I've been struggling with my hair for awhile.  You might remember when I tried out the awesome updo by the lovely Jhen at From Here To Eternity.  It didn't go over so well with my peanut gallery.  I still do it some, but am always worried that I'm somehow crossing over that line the dangles between "messy chic" and "hot mess".

I'm kind of in love with the long waves that Taylor Swift made so popular.  Yes, I know.  She's half my age.  Still.   Me likey.  But I have no clue how to get my mane to look like that.


AHHHHHHH!  (Insert Hallelujah Chorus here)

Ah Pinterest.  How I love thee.

I immersed myself deeply in hair tutorials and stumbled upon this brilliance:

OK seriously?  How cute is this girl?  I was so not this cute when I was in highschool.

ANYWAY.  So, I'm trying this.  I'm taking hair advice from a girl closer in age to Princess #1 than to me.  I'm ok with that.  I'm armed with my bendy curler thingys (that's the official term) and my slightly damp hair.  I shall let you know how things go in the morning.  I'm not promising pictures.

Meanwhile, I'm also stuffing my face with this tonight:

Oh yes.  You know you want some.  This is more Pinterest brilliance.  You can find the original recipe here.

Now go and try something new.  And tell me about it!


Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm A Cheating Fool

I'm sorry dear bloggy friends.  I've been cheating on you.  Yes, you didn't think it was possible did you?  You could totally break out into Shania Twain right now because I deserve it.

But I'm not the least bit sorry.

You see, I've found a new love.  And you know what it's like with new loves.  They consume you.  They're all you think about.  You just can't get enough.  Day, night, it doesn't matter.

And so, it's not you.  It's me.  I'm in the throes of infatuation and it's taking me away from my blogging duties.  Maybe it's not right, but I can't help it.

You'd understand, if you also had recently just discovered the coolest website on the planet.  One that lets you organize all your scattered thoughts and ideas in one place.  One that lets you mooch brilliance off of perfect strangers out there in the interwebs.  One that allows you to redecorate your entire house, redo your entire wardrobe, cook better than Paula Deen and throw parties that would put Martha Stewart to shame - all without spending a dime.  Oh yes my friends, that is the awesomeness that is

My bedroom is beautiful:

My wardrobe rocks:

My tummy is happy:

There is more, but I'll spare you lest you think I live in total virtual lala land now.  I do actually still do laundry and dishes and all that mundane stuff.  But it's alot more fun when I am thinking about my inspiration boards.  And it's also alot more fun with friends.  Are you on Pinterest?  If you are, tell me where to find you!  If you aren't, you know you want to be, so let me know and I'll shoot ya an invite.  But don't go hogging all the bandwidth ok?  Way too many "server is busy" messages today!

See, now don't you forgive me for cheating?

PS.  Oh look, you can follow me on Pinterest by clicking here!  Easy peasy!  

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