Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Life Hacks from a sleep deprived mom of 3

Sleep deprived mom of 3 here.  I have been thinking lately about the ways I have made life easier, more bearable or just survived the addition of a needy newborn to our family.  Most of them are total common sense but they have worked for us and might just work for you too!  My friend Mari and I have been exchanging ideas ever since we exchanged pregnancy stories 9 months ago.  We decided to blog our ideas to help other moms of 3 (or 4 in her case!)  Here's my best ideas so far.  

Every Sunday morning, I make 5 lunches.  I made both kids lunches for Mon, Tues, and Wed.  I put them in the ziplock bento boxes.  It's nothing fancy.  Its usually pb&j or turkey wraps, goldfish, trail mix and always carrots or broccoli.  Lincoln gets half a sandwich so that's how I tell them apart.  I make 5 because Jackson goes everyday while Lincoln is only Mon, Wed.  I put all 5 stacked in order in the fridge and they boys are responsible for grabbing their own lunch and placing it in their lunch box.  They are also required to empty their lunch box and place the bento box in the sink upon return home.  

I like to call this double-duty dog bed.  I was making changing table plans and all of the traditional changing tables were too long and bulky for my space.  That's when I happened upon this idea,  Dog bed/ pillow. I bought one from Marshalls that works perfectly and is just the right size!
This one may have been Mari's idea but having the nursery upstairs requires changing materials downstairs.  I have 2 changing stations.  One in the living room and the other in my bedroom for nightly changings.  Nobody's got time to run up and down stairs to change diapers however, it does sound like a great "get fit" plan now that I think of it!

Back to boys and the feeding frenzy!  The boys are responsible for choosing their own snacks for school also.  These are the bins I have for snacks.  One also has breakfast bars, granola and pop tarts in it for grab and go breakfast days.  They still have to ask permission to eat these "snacks" but they are mostly healthy choices that I don't mind them having.
Snack bins courtsey of IKEA and Rubbermaid!
At bedtime every night, I lay out the boys clothes.  When they get up in the morning, I expect them to be dressed down to their shoes before they come downstairs.  It keeps me from repeating "get your clothes on", "get your shoes on" mantra before breakfast.  They actually like the responsibility of being ready as soon as they come downstairs.  I like not having to hear myself yell the same thing over and over.

Most mornings, I also lay out their breakfast.  They can always grab a bar or pop tart but on the mornings I want them to have a more proper breakfast, I lay out the bowls, spoons and even the cereal.  I have been known to put the cereal in the bowls even.

I have been adamant  about the boys helping around the house and with the new baby.  One of the biggest things I've been trying to teach them is to notice when people might help and step up to help out.  When the car seat stroller combo came into play, I started insisting they open the door for me (and for everyone else) for that matter.  Lincoln has embraced this duty and now usually remembers to hold the door for me when we go places so I can get his sister and all of her gear inside.  I try to instill that I should go BEFORE them and not just follow after.  I also tried to help them help me by standing on the outside of the door rather than going through it and attempting to hold it that way.  It just shows more respect to allow me to go first.  We have plenty of manners to learn but it thrills me to see them picking up on a few.  Another one we are teaching at our house is once I sit down to the table for dinner, I don't get up to get anyone anything.  They were bad about requesting  more water/milk or additional food or desert and I had not even eaten yet.  We try to eat together and my errand running was preventing that.  Now they know if I am seated, they will have to get their own water or wait until I'm done to make other requests.  

What are some of your best life hacks for multiple children?  I'd love to have a few to add to my life.  Anyone have tips on getting out of the house by 8am?  I still don't have that one mastered!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

deFoors Do the Rodeo

We had been hearing about this since our announcement of  moving to Houston.  It's a big deal around here.  Think: state fair meets PBR + nightly top 40 concerts for a whole month.  That's what they call the Houston Livestock show and Rodeo.  If you had 2 days, you might see it all.  We had the better part of an afternoon and barely scratched the surface.  It was the first time I had left Lillian and I only did so because there is no one else I would let keep her in the significant future so I had to take the chance while I had it.   My Mom and Lillian stayed home and rocked and we rocked the rodeo!  We went close to lunch time so our first stop was to feed the masses.  We had 4 giant corn dogs.  They were actually delicious!  Our mission was to eat weird and fried foods and we were off to a good start!
Next up was Jason's choice and he picked chicken fried bacon.  Yes, that's right.  The verdict was that it wasn't that good but we ate it anyway.  It WAS bacon afterall.
The rides that used to thrill me now just freak me out.  Something about becoming a mother made me more hesitant about thrill rides and with every child, I have become more of a chicken.  I think it has something to do with feeling responsibility.  Some people call it getting old.  I prefer to say gaining wisdom.  Lincoln was in rare form and hardly cracked a smile even while riding his choice of ride.
Then we happened upon the Mutton Bustin'!  We had been dying to sign Lincoln up for this event.  If you haven't heard of it, it's the event where 5&6 year olds sign up to ride sheep bareback until they are bucked off.  It's like toddler bull riding, without the bull!  It's the cutest thing to watch.  Half of the contestants come up crying and the other half barely make it out of the gate before they bail.  The whole idea is to just lay down and hang on!  Here's the video we got of Lincoln's ride.  My favorite is the photo collage.  If you look very closely, you can see a tiny shoe atop the sheep as he runs across the arena.  That tiny shoe would be Lincoln!  He did a great job, hit the dirt and stood up with a smile.

He even came out with a little dirt under his collar and a special blue ribbon for participation.  He was actually in 3rd place in scoring out of about 20.  The girl that won ran all the way to the other end and was thrown into the fence.  She hit her head so she deserved the win.

His dad made a big deal about his ribbon and then it suddenly got more special!  We were all glad he did it and can't wait to get him signed up next year!  Look at that pride!
Oh!  All the sheep had hilarious names such as Baaaarack Obama, Sheepless in Seattle, Mutton down my shirt and Miranda Laaaaaambert.  They were really creative!  
There was a mock farm and Jason was really into milking the cows.  He looks like a pro.
The livestock show was really interesting.  If we had time, I would have spent more here.  I really enjoyed the "birthing center" where they house pregnant cows and pigs.  It was all too familiar, to think about giving birth in such a public place (aka the birthing bench) but hearing about their birthing processes and the newborn calves was really cool.  We also saw pigs and her piglets.  We learned that piglets nurse in their birthing order and they go back to the same spot each time.  There is also less milk as they go down, hence "the runt" gets less milk.

We also saw a chick hatchery.  One had just cracked it's beak out of the egg.

It had been at least an hour since out last fried food so we went in for round 2.  We were a little shy of trying something crazy so we got a funnel cake and a plate of crazy ribbon fries.  They were both delicious and filled out cholesterol quota for the rest of the year.  

Jackson ran out to meet the Rodeo Cowboy mascot.  I'm telling yall, this rodeo is a BIG deal.  It's officially the largest livestock show in the World!

Jason and Jackson took a spin on the Gravitron and Lincoln and Jason went through the "scary fun house".

On the way out, we found where we SHOULD have stopped for snacks.  By that time we couldn't even think of consuming another fried delicacy.  But look closely, deep fried Nutella, Brownies, Pop tarts and Cookie dough...Oh My!  Jason's only regret was that he was too full to try the deep fried chocolate covered pickle.  Oh, yes, it's a real thing.

I did ride the ferris wheel with them.  I won't say it didn't scare me a little but if he's honest, it might have had Jason a little spooked at first too.  It was HIGH!
The deFoors had a great afternoon exploring the Houston Rodeo.  Next year, we will have a longer day and a bigger plan to cover more ground.  Maybe even a little PBR action and a concert if we are lucky!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Loving Lillian: week 1

Sleep deprived mom of three here again, bringing you the best I can remember about the first few days home with Baby Lillian!  If you've read my birthing story, then you know that it was a crazy fast but easy delivery.  I'll admit, I think my pain tolerance is pretty high and I've always said, I can do anything for an hour so now I've proven it!  Either way, within an hour after delivery, I was up walking around and ready to get on with it!  I would have absolutely gone home the next morning but they needed to keep the baby for insurance money I'm sure!  My mom arrived in record time from Hobby airport and drove me and Lillian home on Thursday.  We stopped on the way home and I picked up a salad from BRIO.  They have the best sliced steak salad.  Any time I choose a salad over pasta dishes, you know it's good!  Jason was satisfying his fatherly craving and got a papa murphy's pizza for him and the boys.  The little lady had a few neighbors as visitors and slept pretty well for a newborn.  She took to eating and sleeping like it's her job!  
On Friday, I was optimistic that I could attend a church consignment sale.  I MAY have an obsession with kids clothes and finding cute and cheap clothes for the boys is harder and harder as they get older.  Girls clothes seem so much easier to buy and buy A LOT of!  I have many of Allie Gray's clothes which are all cute, sis has good taste!  I also have bought sizes up to 3T for her which Jason thinks is crazy!  Maybe it is but she is destined to be a well dressed baby!  So, mom and I went to the sale and I went in while she babysat in the car.  She came inside briefly to help me make a few decisions and this is the "girl portion" of what we walked away with!  Seriously, why are girls clothes so stinkin' cute?

I have done a WHOLE LOT of THIS.  I seriously want to hold this baby all the time.  And she likes it too.  When she is not easily consolable at 5am, I put her in bed with me (I know bad mom!) and she is SO happy!  Jason and I figure she won't sleep with us when she goes off to college so what can it hurt?  And if she does, Jason said that was EVEN better!  ha!!
 We have captured lots of sweet smiles and yawns.  Why are newborn yawns so cute?  She might be a bit ticklish.  She smiles and does it pretty often.  So often we've caught it on camera several times.  I hope it's an indication of her disposition!  After Lincoln's grumpy baby self (he's still a grump sometimes), we NEED a happy baby!  Because the weather was nice, she also got a neighborhood stroll for some Vitamin D.  A little jaundice makes for such a pretty skin color!

The weekend was uneventful.  She rode along to a garage sale with mom and I and slept the whole time.  We took another stroll around the neighborhood anticipating the colder weather this week, we had to take advantage of the vitamin D time.  We also started our photo sessions.  Little bit didn't know this would be the first of FOUR sessions.  That's what happens when you are a perfect model and your nana is a photographer!  

Sunday we did venture out to Jerry Built Burgers.  Man that place knows how to make burgers and fries.  They use truffle oil in lots of things and I'm a sucker for anything truffle!  I had to make a quick target run and she stayed in the car for that. I also grabbed a much needed NAP since all the sleep interruptions were starting to get to me.  

 On Monday, we had our Dr. check up and she checked out perfectly.  A little jaundice to speak of but sister was already back to birth weight in 6 days.  She takes her eating pretty seriously.
 I wouldn't have survived week one nearly as well without my mom being here.  I may need a refresher course on laundry and dishes after she leaves.  I also need a tutorial on how to bathe my newborn.  It's been over 4 years since I last had a go at it!  I've felt great, better than after any other delivery.  I even made it to the gym one day for a walk on the treadmill with incline!  I'm SO thankful to have her.  She is more helpful that she can possibly know!  

We have made somewhere in the 700 range of photos of her and this cell phone image might still be my favorite!  She looks like a little pocahontas and those LIPS.  I just want to kiss them and hold her.  Which is what I'm about to do.  Until next time...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Fast and the Furious

I need to get the birth story of Lillian down before it completely escapes my sleep deprived mom of 3 mind.  If you want the short version without all the details here it is:  
It was FAST.  As in less than 2 hours from the very first indication to holding my baby.

I was FURIOUS.  I did not get the epidural (or ANY drug stronger than an ibuprofen) which wasn't just IN my birth plan it WAS my birth plan.  

That completes the short detail-less version of the story.  From here on is the the full version.  Proceed if you wish.

Tuesday February 25th began with me being 39 weeks.  I had a routine doctors appointment that day but first we walked Jackson to school, the long way around.  When I got home I hung up both boys weekly laundry and wrangled Lucy into the bath.  I knew her sister would be coming soon and wanted her to be fresh and clean to meet her.  This feat is normally not a small task, at 39 weeks, it's really interesting and possibly humorous but Lincoln was the only witness and he didn't laugh...much.  I had decided to put my hospital bags in the car because if this visit went anything like the last doctors visit with Lincoln, I could go straight to the hospital.  I got Lincoln on his way with the neighbors and I headed out to Target.  No trip alone goes without a visit to Target so I walked in and ended up purchasing 5 12-packs of soda on sale.  My doctors appointment was relatively uneventful.  I already had an induction date for Thursday so this was just a routine check.  He had me at 4cm and 70% effaced but I think that was on the conservative side.  Either way, I asked him to do a membrane strip and he did.  It wasn't painful at all.  I hoped it might help speed things along since going in Thursday was a game of "chance" .  I was 3 of 4 elective spots that could easily be bumped.  He sent me on my way and said see you Thursday or before. I had decided that I needed pink nails when I meet my baby girl so I went to the nail salon for a quick manicure.  After I got them done, I picked Lincoln up from his play date and came home to start preparing dinner.  Once all the makings for spaghetti were complete, it was time for Jackson to be home.  I hadn't gotten my exercise in that day so I put them both in the car for a trip to the gym. (It was 4:30-5:30)  I spent an hour on the treadmill walking and watching parenthood on the kindle.  It makes the treadmill walking bearable and I don't notice the incline when I watch something.  I do love the funny looks I got while walking on the treadmill THAT pregnant.  I can always tell when they didn't notice from behind and then I get off or turn around and see it register on their face.  

Before dinner, I helped Jackson work on his "weather" poster because we would be a little busy the end of the week.  I got dinner on the table about 6:30 and that's when I noticed the "trickle".  It wasn't a sure thing at first so I kept up the dinner service and Jason got home.  After the third "trickle" I was about to sit down at the table to a LARGE plate of spaghetti and I told Jason, "I don't want to alarm you but I'm pretty sure my water broke."  He asked what exactly that meant for us, did we need to hurry?  I said, no, no hurry.  I wasn't having any regular contractions but you have to go to the hospital when your water breaks so we would definitely be going in tonight.  He and the boys ate their spaghetti.  At that realization, I decided to forgo the spaghetti and eat peanut butter cheerios instead.  It just seemed like a better choice.  After I was done, I began packing the boys bags to send them to the neighbors house for the night.  I also had to pack their bags for school and their lunches.  I got pjs for them down and asked them to eat so they could shower.  By the time I had those things together, I had started having some measurable contractions.  I had escalated from "no big hurry" to "GET in the shower NOW" and when I dropped them off at the neighbors I scurried to the car and told Jason to GO!  We live about 20 minutes from the hospital and I noticed the clock right away (It was after 7:30) and I was having contractions easily every 5 minutes and they were increasing in intensity pretty dramatically.  We were getting close to the hospital and ran into a bit of construction traffic.  It was an extra long red light and we decided this was a case in which running it was proving necessary.  

He dropped me off at the front door because parking is pretty terrible there and I made my way between contractions to Labor and Delivery.  I approached the desk and announced I was there to have a baby. It was 8:04 at   I was handed a pencil and some scrap paper to answer a few questions and then sent to the "laboring bench".  This is a special bench.  It's right in the middle of the L&D hallway and it has a special sign above it that claims it's reserved for laboring mothers.  My contractions had moved into the every 3 minutes range.  I was NOT impressed with the service to this point.  It didn't seem to occur to them that I was ACTUALLY in labor.  I didn't need to go to triage, I needed a ROOM to labor in. I sent my sister THIS photo to show my disapproval of the "laboring bench". After sitting on the bench for what seemed like an eternity, I was ushered to a triage room for a cervical check.  When she discovered I was already past 5cm, she called in and told them I WAS in fact in labor and needed to be admitted.  Imagine that.  I could have told them that, um, 20 minutes ago.  
With my hospital gown and NOTHING else on, she wrapped a sheet around me and between contractions, I made my way to room 266.  I knew waiting on them to get a wheelchair for me was null. I made it to the bed before the next contraction hit but things certainly didn't slow down.  I immediately made my request for an epidural known.  I knew I needed the IV first so I was begging them to get the dang IV started. The sooner the better.  It was about 8:30-8:35 when we entered the room.  They had to put orders in and draw blood, blah, blah, blah.  Jason was at my bedside, I had been using his hand for "focus", aka squeeze it as tightly as I could.  I was starting to sweat.  I had brought my stroller fan and I needed him to hold it IN MY FACE.  I replaced his hand with the bed rail.  He should thank me now as I really took it out on that bed rail!  My arms and shoulders were tremendously sore the next day.  Jason said, "It's from you gripping that bed rail."  I didn't know I had used it to that degree.  This is about the time the details start to blur to me.  I know at some point I looked up at him and said, "I'm not gonna get an epidural, am I?"  He calmly put me off, just like the nurses had been doing. 

 I had been watching the clock and realized my contractions were nearly constant and I was feeling quite a bit of pressure.  The nurses were hurrying around, doing the beginning tasks of admittance and finally one walked in with the IV fluids.  Staying still for her to put the IV in was ranked in the hardest things I had done to date.  It was placed in at 8:50.  I asked once it was in if they could give me ANYTHING else, because the epidural was clearly taking too long and I was desperate.  She strongly suggested I not take anything else because it would transfer directly to the baby. I may have growled a "FINE".  
 8:56 I am in pretty immense pain and Jason looks down to see a HEAD crowning.  The last thing I hear is him saying "Nurse, um, NURSE!"  When she looks over, there is a buzz of activity that kicks into action.  They yell precept, PRECIP!  6 other L&D nurses rush in and they bring with them the Precip cart and the precip warmer for the baby. I'm thinking this is kinda like the crash cart but for deliveries.   Precip is short for precipitous.  The Websters definition of precipitous is:  happening in a quick or sudden way.  done too quickly without enough thought or planning.
I don't know about them but I'd been PLANNING on an epidural for 9 months and it wasn't happening.  They tossed some gloves all around and one of them gave me the "push" command.  It wasn't necessary.  Pushing isn't something you can actually control at that point.  Not pushing isn't possible.  One more push and at 9:01 we had a baby.  Caught by my faithful L&D nurse on call. There was no time for removing the end of the bed or those silly stirrups.   I had said all along, I didn't need a doctor for much.  I had done this before.  I didn't mean it literally.  But then again, his only job that day is to catch the baby and he missed that by more than 20 minutes.  Again, the time before and after is SUCH a blur, even for Jason but they let him cut the cord and me catch my breath while they wiped her off.  I got to hold her right after they weighed her.  It was enough to put a smile on my face where there had been a permanent scowl due to the lack of epidural.  I was pretty shaky afterwards and told them they could bathe her while I got my self together.  She never had to leave our room.  I took some time to let my family know that she had arrived and I was going to live and let the nurses live after not getting the epidural.  When it was all said and done, I was quite happy to have had a short enough labor to not need an epidural and being able to get up nearly immediately after having her was the greatest feeling.  I didn't even need the IV after delivery and they took it out.  
I think it goes without saying that I was IN LOVE at first sight.  How could I not be!  Look at this sweet angel.
I spent the rest of the night (and nearly every second of the week following) holding her and snuggling just like this.  I NEVER want to put her down.  She took what I knew about being spoiled and tossed it out the window at 70mph!  She is perfect and we ALL think so.  We've got it BAD!
I wasted NO time playing dress up with her.  I had 6 outfits and 7 headbands on her before the clock struck midnight.  Jason finally just turned the light out on us.  My dreams had come true and he knew it!  
Look at those precious wrinkly feet!
We got a little bit of sleep and awaited my moms arrival. She was already planning a flight for Wednesday morning.  She just needed to secure her own transportation to get to the hospital.  She got there in record time.  She wasted no time getting to see this baby!  

The GREATEST hospital bag.  (by stella&dot  But really, a great and big bag to hold everything for a 36 hour stay!  Mom brought the decor for the baby crib but if you think she laid in that thing, you should think again.  She thought there was pins and needles in it and would screech if we put her near it.  

The boys finally met her Wednesday afternoon.  Jackson was smitten with her right away.  He's always loved babies.  Lincoln liked her but was a little weary of her.  His first comment was "her head is really tiny!"  
 Look at that giant paci.  I HATE those paci's and wouldn't you know it's the ONLY one she will consider taking.  I'm still pushing the other kinds but she gags on them.  

deFoor family of FIVE.  At night in the bed, I still whisper over to Jason, "We have a GIRL!  We have THREE kids.  We now have to request a table for FIVE!"  Neither of us can still quite believe it.  

I have no doubt she's going to be spoiled.  She's got these two, her daddy and me.  She doesn't have a chance.  
Tiny little baby feet with the longest newborn toes I've ever seen.  She didn't get her feet from me.  I have Flintstones feet.  These toes belong to her father for sure.
This smug little guy is getting used to being easy and moving a little more slowly around baby sister.
I made my departure ASAP on Thursday morning.  I was ready to leave on Wednesday but they said she had to stay until the doctor released her.  I could have told them she was perfect but they don't listen to me!

I didn't want to leave without having my picture made in front of the laboring bench where she almost met the world.  If I had sat there 10 more minutes, we might have had a situation.  
I was surprised that they let me walk out.  Not that I wasn't capable but I've always had to be wheeled out even if I felt like walking.  This time, the nurse walked me to the door and handed me my baby to take home.  I took her and RAN!  I was happy to be free and even happier to be toting this little baby doll!

I am SO in love.  Jason is SO in love.  The boys are completely smitten with her.  I hold her most of the day.  When I can't use both hands I wear her.  
It's possible she may be the most photographed newborn on the planet.  
Life is better with her in it!