100 Things To Do Instead of Play On Your Phone

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Today is the first official day of summer for the teen, and this will be the first summer that I watch her and the Tot. There are some unique challenges that come with keeping a 10 month old and a nearly 12 year old entertained. First off is the whole napping thing. I’ve finally got the Tot to take some what regular naps and to take them in his bed instead of in the baby carrier, however, his natural nap time is late morning. The teen loves to sleep in so as soon as she wakes up, the Tot goes down for a nap and we can’t get out of the house till about 2. So I’ve got to find ways to keep each of them occupied at home while the other one is sleeping. When we finally do get out of the house, I’ve got to make sure that we are going somewhere that is interesting to both kiddos. Well honestly, every place is interesting to the Tot but I’ve got to come up with places where it won’t be a pain to have him there. And on top of all that, there were volunteer hours to fulfill and summer camps to sign up for.

With all that in mind, I created two lists of summer activities, one for the Teen and one for the Tot. You’ll notice that the one for the Teen is considerably longer, it’s not because I love her more it’s just that a majority of the Tot’s day is still made up of eating, pooping, napping (or fighting a nap depending on the day) and throwing things across the room. I share these lists with you below, feel free to use them for your own family and tell me what you did. And if there are any activities you think we’ll love, tell me about them!

100 Things To Do Instead of Play On Your Phone

Things To Do At Home Alone

  1. Read a book or magazine
  2. Read a poem
  3. Walk the dogs
  4. Write a letter/email to your pen pal
  5. Make a collage for your room
  6. Make dinner
  7. Practice batting
  8. shoot hoops
  9. play with the Tot
  10. play the Wii
  11. Watch a movie you’ve never seen before
  12. Do some scrapbooking
  13. Do your summer homework
  14. Write in your journal
  15. Write a letter or journal entry in Spanish
  16. Play online math games
  17. Learn a magic or card trick
  18. Take pictures and play with picture editing software
  19. Decorate your room
  20. Do a painting on canvas with acrylic or water paint
  21. Go online and find instructions for paper airplanes. Test them and see which one works the best
  22. Add things to your joy jar
  23. Make your own board game
  24. Mix and Match painted rock faces http://teachbesideme.com/mix-match-painted-rock-faces/
  25. Make a homemade lava lamp http://slsmithphotography.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/06/lava-lamps-summer-fun.html
  26. Make paper flowers http://spoonful.com/crafts/10-pretty-paper-flower-tutorials#carousel-id=photo-carousel&carousel-item=4
  27. Do a craft with Duct Tape http://www.bystephanielynn.com/2012/02/45-creative-duct-tape-crafts-projects-saturday-inspiration-ideas.html
  28. Learn origami
  29. Write a letter to people in the persecuted church https://www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/write/
  30. Make a time capsule and bury it in the backyard

Things To Do At Home With Friends

  1. Gather a few random props, then write and perform a play using all those props
  2. Make edible playdough
  3. Have an at home day spa with facials, manis and pedis
  4. Go swimming
  5. Wash Brianna’s car
  6. Make bleach or tie dye t-shirts
  7. Host a food drive and collect food for a local shelter
  8. Go on a scavenger hunt in the neighborhood or the mall
  9. Bake a tasty treat
  10. Play jumprope or chinese jumprope
  11. Play board games
  12. Choreograph a dance to your favorite song
  13. Hide something in the house and make a treasure map for your friends to find it
  14. Draw with sidewalk chalk
  15. Make homemade icecream
  16. Host your own backyard Olympics with events like three legged race, water balloon toss, hula hoop contest and limbo
  17. Have a Christmas in July party. Decorate cookies, make gifts, sing Christmas carols and draw a poster board Christmas tree
  18. Play freeze tag, tv tag or regular tag
  19. Have a shaving cream fight
  20. Cover your extremities in shaving cream and have a partner toss cheese puffs on you. Whichever team gets the most cheese puffs to stick wins
  21. Play outdoor tic tac toe http://www.aturtleslifeforme.com/2011/06/wrapping-up-school-year.html
  22. Have your friends bring some of their clothes and accessories over, mix and match to make new outfits and have a fashion show.
  23. Make bouncing polymer balls http://chemistry.about.com/od/demonstrationsexperiments/ss/bounceball.htm
  24. Do the milk, soap and food coloring experiment
  25. Do the melting ice experiment http://artfulparent.com/2012/07/melting-ice-science-experiment-with-salt-liquid-watercolors.html
  26. Dancing Oobleck experiment http://www.housingaforest.com/dancing-oobleck/
  27. Experiment with some new hairdos http://www.byrdie.com/easy-summer-hairstyles-2014/slide5
  28. Go around the neighborhood and collect canned and boxed food to donate to a local food bank
  29. Play steal the bacon
  30. Play Farkle
  31. Play hurry and eat the candy bar http://oneshetwoshe.com/2014/05/8-family-games.html
  32. Write inspiring cards to kids that are in the hospital
  33. Organize a swim for MS fundraiser
  34. Play charades
  35. Have a water balloon/ squirt gun fight in the front yard

Things To Go Out and Do

  1. Go for a hike to take pictures
  2. Go bowling
  3. Have a picnic at Irvine Regional Park
  4. Go to the beach to swim or play volleyball or fly a kite
  5. Go to the park
  6. Do a beach clean up
  7. Ride the orange balloon at the Great Park
  8. Visit Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach
  9. Kidnap Grandma Carol and take her to lunch
  10. Go to the softball fields to play kickball
  11. Go to the tennis courts at Brianna’s house to play tennis
  12. Visit Bowers Museum
  13. Visit the Nixon Library
  14. Go on an alphabet tour. Take your camera and take pictures of things that start with each letter of the Alphabet. Or take photos of the actual letters. You can journal them and create a book, or print out the letters that spell your name and hang them in your room
  15. Go to the Santa Ana Zoo and photograph or draw the animals
  16. Wade through the tidepools at Tablerock Beach in Laguna
  17. Go to Big Air Trampoline park
  18. Go to Knotts Berry Farm
  19. Go to Knotts Soak City
  20. Bring a camera to Fullerton Arboretum and take cool nature photos
  21. Tour Heritage House Park in Lake Forest
  22. Go to Boomers for mini golf, laser tag, arcade games, go karts or the small water park
  23. Go to Zoomar’s petting Zoo
  24. Explore the San Jaoquin Wildlife Sanctuary
  25. Have lunch and go shopping in Downtown Orange
  26. Go to the Long Beach Aquarium
  27. Visit the Queen Mary
  28. Balboa Fun Zone
  29. Paddle Boarding in the Dana Point Harbor
  30. Have tea at the OC Mart Mix
  31. Go to the  dollar book store for new books
  32. Go to a park and play frisbee golf
  33. Volunteer at El Toro Library
  34. Go fishing
  35. Go to a Farmers Market

 

Things to do with a 9-12 month old

  1. Play with edible playdough
  2. Put pipe cleaners through the holes of a strainer
  3. Stick his toys to the floor with duct tape and have him help me pull them off
  4. Put different types of toys and household items in a box or bag and have him pull the items out
  5. Paint on the sidewalk with water and paintbrushes
  6. Bubbles
  7. Put scarves in an old tissue box and let him pull them out
  8. Play copycat. Do simple motions and have AJ copy, or copy what AJ is doing
  9. Play catch. Roll the ball to him and encourage him to pick it up and throw it back
  10. Play hand over hand. Put your hand down, then AJ’s on top, then mine, then his. Then move my hand on top of his, his on top of mind, etc
  11. Put him on a blanket and drag it on the floor
  12. Let him rip apart an old magazine or catalog
  13. Play peek a boo
  14. Read a story
  15. Play with ice cubes
  16. Play with tupperware, wooden spoons and plastic ladle
  17. Swim
  18. Crank up the music and dance around the house
  19. Shine a flashlight on the wall or floor and have him watch it and chase it
  20. Build a simple fort and let him play in it or read stories in it
  21. Play with stuffed animals and have them talk to him

 

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How We Came To Be Parents

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Watching people react to the news that we were pregnant was one of the most amusing things I’ve ever done. There were the criers, most notably my mom, sister and one of my best friends, all of which had been waiting for this day since Mr and I got married. There were the realists who said, in the kindest way possible, “why in the world did you allow yourself to get pregnant while being poor and living with your parents?” There were a few doomsdayers, who told us to enjoy our pre baby life while we can because everything would suck afterwards. And there were a few who were afraid I’d be a horrific pregnant person and possibly a crazy mother and therefore made mental notes to stay away from me until they were sure I’d be tolerable.

The most common reaction, however, was utter and complete shock. When we told our bible study group, their jaws literally dropped and they were all speechless for about 30 seconds. We were the couple that was never going to have biological kids. If we decided to have kids at all, we would adopt. I had zero desire to be pregnant and Mr was convinced that we would never be able to afford kids anyways. So that one year when 60% of our close friends had babies, we congratulated them, showered them with gifts, and smothered their babies with kisses, all while thinking “we are so glad that isn’t us.” So, at the end of the year when we announced that we were pregnant, its understandable that the most frequently asked question was “how did that happen?”

I usually answered that question with a funny quip like “well, we didn’t know you had to wear a condom EVERY time.” But, there’s a lot more to the story. I felt, and still feel, very strongly about adoption, specifically adopting out of the foster care system. My mom was raised by both a foster family and her birth father and I had several friends growing up who were in and out of the foster system, or who were adopted. Mr didn’t have a strong desire to be a parent at all (for the record he now loves being a dad and is fantastic with our son) but he supported my decision to adopt. We really did not think that we would ever have biological children.

As I began to think seriously about adoption, I wanted to make sure it was a desire that came from God and not myself.. I felt that God was telling me to go off the pill in 2012 and put our family planning in his hands. I talked it over with Mr and he supported my decision so I quit taking the pill. However, we were living with my parents at the time and had no concrete plans or the financial means to move out. I felt it would be irresponsible to practice zero birth control whatsoever, so we used family planning and condoms. Looking back, I realize this may have been a lack of faith. God asked me to put our family planning completely in his hands and that’s what I should have done. But God is gracious, and faith often comes in baby steps, so God worked with what I gave him. The whole year went by and then November rolled around. It was a crazy month where we just weren’t as careful as we had been, and on December 8th, we found out we were pregnant.

Looking back, everything worked out perfectly. That year was jam packed and we got to do lots of exciting things on our own and as a couple. Without knowing it, it was our last hurrah before parenthood. It left us satisfied with our newlywed, young adult life and ready (or somewhat ready) to move on to the next chapter. Living with my parents during pregnancy and during the Tot’s first few months of life turned out to be a huge blessing. It was so nice to have extra help and company during those rough months and to have my mother as an ever present source of guidance and encouragement. And after our time there, God used Joe’s dad to bless us with a home we could afford to buy. We certainly didn’t see that coming when I went off the pill. Plus, another set of friends had babies in 2013 and its been so cool to raise our kids together. I think that at this point, if I didn’t have a child, I would be getting the baby itch big time.

And what about adoption? We still feel strongly about it and are still planning to adopt in the future. I don’t think God gave us the Tot as a way to discourage us from adoption, but rather to prepare us. There is a reason why kids start out as babies that don’t understand things, can’t talk back and don’t remember. It’s because parents make A LOT of mistakes that first time around. A little baby will bounce back from those mistakes much easier than a 5 year old who has experienced emotional and physical trauma. I feel that since we have been raising our own biological child, we are much better equipped to deal with the challenges of raising an adopted child. Of course I’m sure we will continue to make a ton of mistakes with any future children. But hopefully next time we’ll make a fewer and we’ll be better at repairing the damage from the ones we do make.

 

 

Young House Crap

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Have you ever read the blog Young House Love? It’s written by this husband and wife who started fixing up their home and blogging about it. Their blog got super popular, they wrote a book, its a like a whole thing. When Mr and I started working on our condo I had visions of our life being just like Young House Love. DIY is like crack to Mr, so he would organize all these projects and I would happily help him out, all while taking photos and blogging witty comments. Then we would become famous and our awesome blog would pay off our condo, so then we could rent it out and buy a bigger house and perform bigger DIY projects and everything would be magical and awesome.

Ya, that’s not happening.

As it turns out, I’m HORRIBLE with DIY projects. I mean, I’ve always known they weren’t my forte, but good grief do I suck. Part of the problem is that I have a blind minds eye. You know how some people can just look at a space and picture everything that should go there. I cannot. I see nothing with my minds eye, ever. This infuriates Mr to no end because it always doubles his workload. He can’t just say “hey what do you think of this?” He has to find a picture or draw it out, otherwise I just stare at him blankly and then ask if my post baby butt can still pull off these jeans. Or worse, I pretend like I know what he is talking about, agree to it, and then immediately hate it once it’s done.

Another issue is my tendency to create more work for Mr. For example, the other day I was hanging shelves in the bathroom but I put the anchors in the wrong place.We had to take them out and replace them, leaving two gaping holes in the wall that we will have to fill and paint over. I feel like that one greek god sentenced to eternally roll a giant rock up a hill. The projects are never ending.

Here are the holes I was telling you about. I would also like to point out that as soon as I got up to take this picture, my son started crying.

Here are the holes I was telling you about. I would also like to point out that as soon as I got up to take this picture, my son started crying.

Then there is the perpetual indecisiveness. I’m not usually an indecisive person but for some reason, making any sort of decision about our humble home takes me forever. It took 3 months to decide on a living room paint color. That’s more thought than I put into deciding what college to go to. And Mr is no help. He is one of those people that researches the death out of things. I think we’ve come to a decision on something and then he watches another YouTube video and gives me an entirely new option that wasn’t even on the table early. “But this might be better,” he says. Honestly, I don’t care. Even if our original decision is going to kill us all, we are sticking to it because I will loose what little mind I have left if you force to make yet another decision. JUST DO WHAT I SAY, MAN!

Of course what kind of parent would I be if I didn’t blame some of this on the kid, right? As I sit here blogging, he is happily playing with his toys. But if I were to get up and, heaven forbid, try organizing my room or the kitchen, he would start to pitch a fit. Apparently toys are only meant to be played with when mommy is within a two foot radius. Otherwise they become garbage. Plus, he just creates a lot of extra work. I have to feed him a million times a day, grocery shop to get the food to feed him a million times a day, work a full time job to pay for the food that feeds him a million times a day, change his diapers, read him stories, fight with him about naps, and wash his adorable little clothes. And after all that I’m supposed to muster up the energy to repaper the kitchen cupboards? No Thank You.

So, our life is nothing like Young House Love. It’s more like Young House Fall Asleep On The Couch When I should Be Washing The Windows. And yet, I honestly couldn’t be happier. We are homeowners! That’s incredible! And even though its been a slow process, we’ve actually made a lot of progress on the condo and we love everything we’ve done so far. More importantly, I get to build a home and life with my two favorite people.

And to show you that I’m not just full of cynicism and do have very positive feelings about the house, I will share photos of my favorite room in the house- the bathroom!

Hobby Lobby for the win!

I love these decorations. Hobby Lobby for the win!

grey and yellow bathroom

It took us FOREVER to find a vanity that we liked, that wasn’t huge and that fit the weird piping in the bathroom. It was worth the wait, we love it. And no, that white patch on the wall isn’t some sort of artistic statement. Mr had to patch the wall and we haven’t painted over it yet. Might as well wait till we do the holes

I don't know if you've ever searched for a grey and yellow shower curtain, but let me tell you, they are not easy to come by. I would have preferred a little more yellow but couldn't find one that I loved. I do like this one a lot, it looks nice and it will work until that magical day that I find the curtain of my dreams

I don’t know if you’ve ever searched for a grey and yellow shower curtain, but let me tell you, they are not easy to come by. I would have preferred a little more yellow but couldn’t find one that I loved. I do like this one a lot, it looks nice and it will work until that magical day that I find the curtain of my dreams

Catching up with the Xander House

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I cannot believe how long it has been since I have blogged. I had planned on being this awesome, witty mom blogger who wrote 2-3 blogs a week, networked with other mom bloggers and got paid to advertise products on my sidebar. Now look at me. Its been months since my last post and I don’t even have a custom URL yet. Where did I go wrong?

Well let me tell you.

First of all, this working mom gig is so much harder than I thought it would be. I’m lucky enough to be able to bring AJ to work with me three days a week. This is fantastic for mother/baby bonding. Not so fantastic for work productivity. But somewhere inbetween the daily struggle that is nap time, diaper changes, nursing every 2-3 hours and rotating him to various play things every 20 minutes, I’ve managed to find time to blog for work, maintain our Facebook page, manage the building of another web site (I thought those days were behind me but I just can’t get away from it), complete numerous copy writing projects AND make sure my favorite 11 year old gets her homework done, kindly tell her when her when she needs to wear a bra with certain tops, and coach her on how to deal with her first boyfriend. Yay me!

Just as I was figuring all that out, the Mr and I decided to buy a condo. Because really, life just isn’t exciting enough with two full time jobs, an infant and the daily struggle to keep your marriage sane. So why not throw a condo in there. Not just any condo, but a condo that needs a lot of work. All new floors, new counters in the kitchen, a completely revamped bathroom and paint in every room. And that’s just the stuff that has to get done before we move in. There’s a whole list of things we’ll need to be upgrading over the next two years. It’s insane to buy a fixer upper at this point in our lives, but Joe’s dad blessed us with an offer we absolutely could not refuse. So here we are, in the middle of an escrow that keeps getting pushed back, working on every single spare minute and hoping that we get everything done in time to host our annual Easter celebration in our new place!

Plus, would you believe that even in the midst of all this craziness laundry keeps piling up? And my and the Mr’s stomachs still demand three square meals a day? And that damn bathroom keeps getting dirty. And don’t even get me started on the dog. Luckily we’ve got my parents to help out with a lot of these things, but the fact is that life doesn’t stop just because we are raising a baby and fixing up a condo.

So why haven’t I been blogging? Because I can barely find time to sleep, much less type out a coherent thought. But I took Facebook off my phone, which will free up an embarrassing amount of time, so lets see if I can’t get back into the swing of this blogging thing. Because honestly, mama wants a new washer and dryer and could really use some side bar advertisers to help pay for it 😉

Aside

Refiners Fire. My heart’s one desire is to be holy. Set apart for you my Master. Ready to do your will.

This is a song we use to sing in church when I was a kid. The idea of a purifying fire has been brought up multiple times in my church experiences. I never really got it. I mean, I understood it in my head. A fire hurts but it cleanses. If you want to be purified in a relaxing way, go to take a bath. If you want the purification process to hurt like hell, walk through the fire. While I’ve experienced difficulties in my life, experiences that have helped me grow and gotten rid of crap in my life, I wouldn’t really qualify them as fires. That changed August 17, 2013. The day I became a mom.

Please don’t misunderstand. These last 4 months have been the best of my life. And from the outside, there doesn’t seem anything particularly “firey” about being AJ’s mom. He’s very healthy, happy and content. He’s not a great sleeper, but we’ve managed to function. He doesn’t cry incessantly for no reason. He’s a great baby. He’s easy. And yet being his mom has been the hardest job I’ve ever had. I’ve never felt so insecure in my life, and I was the girl that ate lunch in the bathroom freshmen year of high school. I’ve never experienced so many dramatically different emotions all at once. I consistently feel empowered and hopeless, joyful and depressed, excited and scared all the same time EVERY FREAKIN DAY! I’ve never functioned on so little sleep. I’ve never thought about one topic so intently and for so long. I usually become interested in something, get really excited about it for a couple days, maybe a couple months, and then I loose interest. But I have been obsessing about this baby boy from day one and I don’t think I’ll ever stop. It’s amazing but also exhausting.

And the thing is, being a mom isn’t even the hardest part of my life right now. It’s being a mom AND being everything else- a wife, an employee, a Christ follower, a friend, a Sunday School teacher, a blogger, a housekeeper. If all I ever had to do was take care of AJ then I don’t think I would burst into tears every other day. But I have to take care of him and balance all my other roles. Of course, I love my other roles. It’s not like I want to stop being a wife or quit my job, although I wouldn’t mind giving up the role of housekeeper so if someone wants to take that from me, be my guest. It’s just that I like to be good at everything, and I can’t be good at everything all at once. That’s a hard fire for me to walk through.

I once read a book called Sacred Marriage (it’s phenomenal and I highly recommend it).  The basic gist was that marriage isn’t intended to make us happy, but to make us holy. I think the same can be said of parenting. It is a happy job, but being happy as a parent, or making your child happy, should not be the primary goal. Striving towards holiness, with your partner and your kids, should be the goal. So the next time I change AJ and he immediately spits up, poops and pees on himself, I will smile. When he wakes up screaming in 1-2 hours, I will smile. When I’m slathering on a million different ointments for rashes and dry skin that just won’t clear up, I’ll smile. Not because I’m pretending to be happy, but because smiling reminds me to be patient, loving and joyful. It reminds me that my walk through the fire isn’t about my happiness, but rather its about growing in holiness and, along with my husband, teaching my son to do the same.

Walking through the fire

Just An Extra Hour of Bodily Fluids

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It’s 6 am. I’ve been up since 2:30 am. This is my story.

Yesterday was the end of daylight savings, which for parents is pretty much the worst day of the year. Not only does it mess with your kids sleeping schedule, but it adds an extra hour to the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son, I love spending time with him and I love every second of every 24 hours of every day with him. But 24 hours is enough. I don’t need 25. Because for me, it wasn’t an extra hour of sleep, it was an extra hour of spit up, poop and very demanding yells to be  held. Mama don’t need that.

Okay so daylight savings was rough. And to top it all off my usually fantastic sleeper of a baby has been regressing in his sleep patterns and that night was one of the worst. So I woke up with him at 6 and started counting down the hours till naptime. We went to church, picked up lunch, and by 1:30 it was time for us to hit the hay.

My glorious hour and a half nap came to an abrupt end when the dog decided that the nursery floor was the perfect place for her to throw up. Seriously!?! As if I don’t have enough bodily fluids to deal with, now I have to deal with this? Again I repeat, momma don’t need that. The baby was still asleep so I dozed for a few more minutes. When I got up with him I couldn’t find the barf, so I’m assuming the dog ate it, which is so gross but at least I don’t have to touch it so whatever. That dog is honestly at the bottom of my priority list and is the most annoying aspect of my life right now. But that’s a story for another day.

Not 10 minutes later I’m changing AJ’s diaper and he pees all over his face and then poops all over the changing table. Its at this point I start looking for this kid’s parents because I am done. Then I remember that I am the parent, and the other parent is at work, which means I’ve just got to buckle down and deal. So then we start the long stretch until bedtime, which involved copious amounts of spit up. Not projectile spit up, thank goodness, but the kind of spit up that just dribbles onto everything including the purple pants I was going to wear to work tomorrow and don’t have time to wash between now and then. Oh ya, did I mention that maternity leave is over? So this Sunday Funday is occurring before reality check Monday. Awesome.

So the baby goes down at 9:30 which is perfect I’m ready for bed myself so after talking with the hubs for a bit I settle in for what should be a 4-5 sleep stretch. NOPE! That blessed baby wakes up at 12:30. So we move to the nursery futon so that for the rest of the night he can sleep beside me and eat with minimal amounts of effort on my part because I really need some sleep at this point. Things are going quite nicely until 2:30. Now to truly understand the horror of this next part of the story, you need to know two things. First, the wall that the futon is against has the bathroom on the other side. You can hear everything that goes on there. Second, you need to understand that I abhor vomit. I would rather have any other temporary illness other than vomiting. And I HATE it when others throw up. Having said that, what sound do you think I woke up to at 2:30? Nursing brain (aka my sister) was THROWING UP! ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? OF course I wasn’t made at her, poor thing can’t help contracting whatever weird illnesses the hospital gives her, but I was definitely angry at the events of the day. Dog vomit, baby vomit and now this? Stupid.

So I move baby and myself back into me and Joe’s room, because there is no way in hell I’m going to risk hearing dear sister expel more demons. But I know, even then, that my chances of sleep are slim to none. The baby has another three hour stretch, during which i dose off but don’t really sleep because I’m to afraid of waking up to the awful sound of vomit. At 6 he was super fussy and wouldn’t go back in the bassinet, so we ventured back to the nursery where I’m currently sitting with headphones cranked up because, seriously, I can’t handle the vomit. In fact, I’m so paranoid that even though I’ve had to pee since midnight, I refuse to use the bathroom. I’ll wait until 7 when my parents wake up and I can use there’s.

So there you have it folks. I’ll need a crap ton of chocolate and tea to get through this day. And I’ll be praying that this sickness of nursing brain’s is only a 24 hour bug, or else Joe and I are getting a hotel tonight. Now, if only I could find a night sitter….

10 Tips for Birthing a Giant

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Those of you who know me know that having a huge baby was always a fear of mine. My husband was 12 lbs when he was born and I would regularly tell people that we were adopting so that I didn’t have to birth his giant spawn. When I actually did get pregnant, his siblings assured me that all their babies were normal size, so mine probably would be too. It was a nice thought, but it was wrong. My perfect, wonderful, amazing giant of a son was born 1 oz shy of 10 lbs and was a whopping 22 inches in length. Granted, its not as big as 12 lbs, but I’m smaller than his mom so I think proportion wise it evens out. Anyways, I wanted to share the story of birthing my giant and instead of doing it in a boring long narrative (which STFU Parents has informed me is not cool) I’ll simply share with you a few tips I learned during the birthing process. I don’t get graphic, but I do mention the V-word a couple times so if that makes you uncomfortable, you should probably skip this post (I’m talking to you, dad.)

Tip #1- Don’t ask how big the baby is. Knowing that will just freak you out. If the baby’s size is a concern, the doctor will tell you. If you’re still concerned, simply ask if the baby’s size is measuring healthy. Under no circumstances should you ask for a specific size estimate at any time, not even during labor.  About halfway through my pushing process the midwife pushed on my stomach and realized that my son’s feet were much higher than normal, indicating that he was, in fact, a giant. My sweet husband saw her face and said “It’s a big baby, isn’t it?” She answered with a look that said “We’re gonna need a bigger vagina.” Thankfully, though, I was unaware of all of this until after the fact. Had I known, I probably would have just given up and demanded a c section. When it comes to baby’s size, ignorance is bliss.

Tip # 2- Eat. They don’t let you eat in the hospital until after the baby is born, so before you go in eat, eat some more, and then eat one more time. Giant baby’s don’t just slip out of your lady hole. They are a long time coming and you need your fuel. Of course if you’re like me you’ll barf it all up within the first 9 hours of labor, but I’m pretty sure some nutrients still get to you.

Tip #3- Get in the tub. If I had to birth my giant over again I wouldn’t be in such a rush to get to the hospital and would have spent at least another hour in my tub at home. I was having contractions 4 minutes apart for two hours before I went in, but I still would have waited longer. When I got to the hospital they were worried about my blood pressure so they made me stay in the bed. I would have much rather been at home in my bathtub, which was the greatest natural pain reliever.

Tip #4- Get a good partner. Birthing a giant is definitely not something to do alone. Get a good birthing partner, or in my case, a birthing team. Joe was awesome. He was super encouraging, always telling me how awesome I was, and the whole day he asked what he could do to help me (and sometimes he didn’t have to ask he just knew what to do.) He was always calm and positive. He was my rock in every sense of the word. My mom and my sister in law where also awesome. Towards the end they had to physically lift my shoulders off the bed for every contraction.  And of course, all my nurses and my midwife were absolutely the best.

Tip #5- Ask for more meds. If you decide to go without drugs, more power to you. But if you ask for the drugs, don’t be afraid to ask for more. When my epidural started wearing off I thought I was just going to have to tough it out the rest of the time. But my sweet angel of a nurse came in, saw that I was a wreck, and immediately called the anesthesiologist to up my dosage. Since I was only 7 cm at the time, the extra meds helped me get some more sleep before the big show.

Tip #6- Find a focus point. Again, this goes back to the point that birthing a giant takes freaking forever. I wouldn’t have gotten through three hours of pushing if I didn’t have something to focus on. I had brought visuals just like our lamaze instructor recommended, but what ended up being my focus point was AJ’s health. They were concerned about his heart rate as it was elevated during the entire pushing process, and I used that as my motivation to keep going. Every time I wanted to give up I just told myself  “you have to keep going. You have to get him out so his heart rate will go down.”

Tip #7- Yell. In your labor or lamaze class, they are going to tell you to be as calm as possible. They are going to tell you that yelling will only deplete your oxygen and make things worse. This is probably true, but there will definitely be times in the birthing process when yelling will be worth the wasted oxygen. For example, if your very smart and capable midwife somehow forgets to use numbing cream before she cuts your lady bits. That’s a true story folks and that was definitely a yelling moment.

Tip #8- Speaking of oxygen…get the oxygen mask. Have you ever been doing an intense workout and realized you weren’t breathing? That was me the entire three hours of pushing. Luckily sometime during hour 2 the nurses gave me an oxygen mask and it was a lifesaver. It not only reminded me to breath but it helped me relax in between contractions, since I wasn’t one of those lucky people who fall asleep in between contractions.

Tip #9- LImit the visitors, increase the icepacks. After you birth your giant, you’ll be exhausted and in indescribable amounts of pain for days. Seriously, sitting, standing, lying down….it all sucks. Don’t torture yourself by entertaining guests. Those moms you see with a room full of family, hair all combed and their makeup done? Trust me, they just sneezed out a 6 pounder. Your lady bits, on the other hand, just went through freaking Vietnam so don’t push yourself post partum. Don’t be afraid to tell people to postpone their visits. Don’t be afraid to ask for more ice packs. And be sure you take home a ton of ice packs, numbing spray, pads and whatever else the nurses offer you. You’re gonna need it.

Tip #10-  If at all possible, avoid having a giant. While genetics would have prevented me from having a tiny baby, I’m pretty sure he would have just been a normal 8 lbs if I hadn’t gorged myself on watermelon the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my son and would go through that whole process all over again for him. He’s healthy, happy, a good sleeper…I really couldn’t ask for a better baby. But if we are crazy enough to ever forget the condoms again, you can bet your booty I’ll be restricting the sugar intake towards the end because birthing a 2nd giant would be just plain insanity.