Carseats. And carseat safety. I've gone totally maniacal. It all started with my quest to find the best convertible carseat for the triplets when they outgrow their buckets. I've always been a die hard Britax fan. Forever. Love Britax. But the newest safety tests had issues with the safety of the Britax Marathon in the forward facing position. Now, they didn't fail. Just raised some questions. Enough so that I decided to shop around a bit before buying Britax again.
I found perfection. Sunshine Kids Radian XTLS. In the "Flora" pattern. LOVE IT. LOVE. love love love.
It surpsasses ALL safety test and more. It is THE BEST seat you can buy as of today.
It's narrow enough at the base to fit 3 across in a vehicle. HUGE plus for us with 5 in carseats. And at the top, see those "wings" ? That's to protect their heads. On the Britax, it's kind of flimsy and doesn't stick out very far.
The BEST part about these seats? REAR-FACING FROM 5-45#. Yep, FORTY-FIVE POUNDS. And, useable to 80#. This is the only carseat we will ever have to buy!
The newest recommendations are that a child stay rear facing for as long as the weight/height on the seat allow, whichever comes first. Rear facing is vitally important. A child is so much safer rear facing in any type of accident.
So, we now have 5 brand spankin' new Sunshine Kids Radian Carseats. In Flora. Again, LOVE.
I also had 3 Certified Car-Seat Safety Technicians come out to the house Sunday to install them. Properly and in the best way for ease of use for us. We are still driving the Sequoia which only seats 8 so when 5 of those seats are utilized by carseats, we needed to be tenacious in the seating arrangement. It was so cool to have such knowledgable people to ensure my kids' safety!
Matter of fact, I'm thinking of taking the Carseat Tech classes sometime soon. Might as well share and feed the addiction!
Now that Madeline is getting ready to graduate (YIKES!) I've been doing alot of thinking. MY BABY IS GRADUATING. My baby is at the age Aaron and I were when we were dating. My baby will be 18 next month.
When I got pregnant with Madeline, Aaron and I were just dating. Madly in love, and talked of marriage and kids and all that, but not there yet. We didn't even get engaged until she was 6 months old. Within 7 months, I had a baby, a husband and all of my hopes and dreams answered. I was 19. I was the luckiest girl in the world. I never really thought about parenting. I knew you fed a baby, changed her, loved her and took care of her. But PARENTING was not something that I thought about. I was focused on being a MOM. So poor Madeline became our learning tool.
I breastfed Madeline. For about 9 weeks. Everytime I would nurse her, within minutes she would be screaming. I turned to my mom for help. My mom said it was something I was eating so I cut out all dairy. It continued. I quit. Bottles and formula. SOY formula. Everything inside of me said this wasn't right, but, I still did it. NOW I KNOW DIFFERENT. The problem was over-active letdown. When Madeline ate, the milk let down so fast, she ate too fast, causing a stomach ache. All I had to do was to redirect gravity and lay down to nurse her and it would have been fine. Guilt much? Yep. Madeline was also fully vaccinated. I mean, who doesn't vaccinate their kids? That would be irresponsible. Right? Man, the government brainwashing DOES work. Until you get older and wiser.
Along comes baby #2, less than 2 years later. Joseph. Oh, he was a needy little thing. Always wanted Mommy. Always on the boob. So much in fact that he was weaned by about 7 months. Bottle for Joey (and he loved that damn bottle. Had it until he was 3!) And he had to be held. All the time. So, we venture to Portland and discover a Moby wrap. The answer to our prayers. But once we got home, it was not as easy as it looked. I thought I had him all wrapped up so good. I go to show my mom how it looked. Thinking I was all smart and cool, I bend forward and say "Look, I can even have both hands now WHILE I carry him". Well, obviously, he wasn't in real good. He kinda fell out of the wrap. Well, not all the way out, but enough that is scared the hell out of me. I never wore him again. Vaccinated? Yep. (Even after he had a reaction of inconsolable crying after a round of vax's. Duh me! )Circumcised? Yep. This is my biggest guilt. BIGGEST. So big in fact, I can't really even go there yet. Maybe someday I can blog about it, but for now, the guilt is too fresh still. Almost 16 years later.
Almost 4 years later. (Yep, it took us 4 years after Joey, I told you he was needy) Baby #3. Sweet little Noah. The.best.baby.ever. Calm, sweet, quiet, perfect. Breastfed for almost a year. (see, I'm getting longer and longer here ) Noah too, full vaxed and circumcised. He was an amazing little boy. In fact, he was so amazing, that.....
Baby #4 is in the works. Again, less than 2 years later, Miss Juliette is here. Good baby. A little babywearing going on when she was a bit older (the backpack and Bjorn thing) breastfed for 14 months! I was so proud of that. Again, fully vaxed. ( I'm a slow learner it seems)
I am getting to a point here. As I'm having these babies, and raising them, I'm learning. With each baby. Learning a new trick. It seems that things change so much, even with what you know now, it will be different tomorrow, or next week or next year. When Madeline was born, babies slept on their tummies. Now, the tummy sleeping could be deadly. EVERYTHING CHANGES.
Mommy-hood is full of guilt. If I could list all my guilts on a piece of paper, it would probably go around the world. Twice. You live and learn. You do and learn. You try and fail, just to succeed the next time 'round. Raising a child is kind of like that.
A full 6 years later, Annabel is born. This is almost the turning point for me. I grew up. I wasn't just wanting to be a Mommy. I wanted to PARENT. I wanted to learn from the things that I regretted with the older 4 kids (babywearing, cloth diapers, breastfeeding, vaccinations, etc. etc.) I researched things. I questioned things. I thought for myself and my baby. I learned to trust my instincts.
Annabel changed the way I Mommied. I became a parent. She was fussy, I wore her. All the time. She was breastfed. For 18 months. She was very selectively vaccinated, only getting a select few and very spaced out. She has yet to get her MMR's. I'm not sure when/if we'll do those until they separate them. She wore cloth diapers. She slept with us, still does.
Along comes Delilah. Same thing. Breastfeeding, cloth diapers, no vax's, co sleeping. I finally felt like I was doing it all right. Just the way I wanted.
Then, WHAM! Triplets. What?!! That thought lasted only a minute. Why change everything I've worked so hard to learn and do? Why? Because having multiples changes the rules. Tests you more. Stretches you farther, physically and emotionally than you ever thought possible.
Babywearing? ?Do-able, but not easily. By the time you strap a baby on your back, another is hungry.
Cloth diapering? A must with 3. Not only are disposables expensive, that's alot of diapers for the landfills. No thanks.
Breastfeeding? A challenge. I learned that I am much more stubborn than I thought. At 5 months old, these babies are exclusively breastfed. No bottles. No formula. Just boobs.
Vaccinations? No thank you. My babies are preemies, and you want me to shoot them up with what??!!! I'll pass.
And had these babies been boys? No circumcising here. If they were born with skin there, WHY do we feel the need to take it off? Really?
Co sleeping? The more the merrier!
So, my parenting/mommy-hood has come full circle. I always knew what I wanted and where I wanted to be from the beginning, it just took me 18 years to get here. And I'm hoping, that in my journey, that my older kids didn't suffer too much while I was learning.
So to Amy who posted this on my Facebook:
"Nicole, I wish I had met you before I had my kids. I feel like I walked into everything so blind. Things would have been so different."
You do your best with the knowledge that you have at that time. I can't change 18, 16, or even 12 years ago, but I can learn from it. Whether it be mistakes, or successes, you take it with you and remember it. And learn from it. Soon, you'll see an evolution in your life too. It may not be how you expect or what you think it will be, but it will happen.
So, I got the Bumbo's out yesterday, (yes, I know they are a recall, but in my opinion, unnecessarily. Just like the GOOD old school walkers. People need to learn that these items are not babysitters, babies still need supervision, don't recall them and make the rest of us suffer because your baby got injured, albeit accidentally, when you weren't looking. Ok, rant over)
The girls loved them. It was a whole new view of the world! Rosalie did the best at maintaining an upright position, but the other 2 worked really hard.
A day late. Sorry. Day Five got a bit rushed, with packing, Easter, breakfast and travel. But while I'm on the subject, our last day was perfect. Aaron and I decided to make the kids a huge breakfast since we wouldn't be doing Easter dinner, we did Easter Breakfast. Eggs, cinnamon rolls, waffles, fruit, whipped cream, bacon and juice. The kids loved it. Then we had to pack and leave. But Annie declared all day how this was "The Best Easter Ever" so I think we did ok. :)
First off, The Fairy House and the Fairies. I think they look SO CUTE. Madeline, Annabel and Delilah did a great job.
So, now, for Day Four. Saturday was FUN. Aaron bought a little disk sled at the minit mart in Sunriver. Amazing how much fun 5 kids can have with a $10 sled. 5 kids from age 15 down to 2. Best $10 spent all weekend. Aaron and I watched, mostly, from the window. And laughed. Alot.
No pics of the boys. The little slope wasn't dangerous enough for them, so they went to the park to sled. I didn't get to follow for pics.
We woke up to a TON (well, it's a TON to us) of snow. About 6" total fell during the day. It snowed on and off all day long. The girls loved it.
Aaron, Noah, Juliette, and Joseph went to Mt. Bachelor to go snowboarding. Madeline, Annabel, Delilah, me and the Trio stayed home and did crafts and played in the snow.
We made fairies and fairy houses. I can't take the credit for the idea or the actual crafts though. It was all Madeline. She brought all the things the girls would need to make their fairies. Annie was in heaven. She had such a good time. And it was so fun to watch the 3 of them interact. I basically just gave ideas here and there, since I was feeding and holding babies.
Madeline took the girls out to hunt for "stuff" for the houses. Madeline realized as soon as she woke up that maybe they should've hunted for leaves, pinecones and branches the day before. When there was no snow.
Annie couldn't wait to do the fairy dust (glitter) just like Tinkerbell.
Well, true to "us" Aaron woke up today with a very stiff neck. We are not sure what it was from. Either sleeping weird or he pulled something. So he's walking around looking like Quasimodo. Hope it feels better soon.
This day was mostly just a hangout day. Aaron fixed a big breakfast. The kids went back and forth to the park.
The girls found enough snow to make a tiny little snow baby.
The older kids took a bike ride into town. We played board games. Watched a little TV. Ate some more. Madeline made brownies. Then we got brave. We bundled up the trio and put them in our new stroller and headed to the park for a nice walk.
They did really really good. And Aaron got to try the new stroller. We both agree that it rocks.
Every year we go to Sunriver for Spring Break. We rent a house and just hang out and reconnnect as a family. We limit the video games and computer time. No cell phones are allowed unless it's an incoming call. It's awesome. This year will be a bit trickier with the babies being so young, but it's our family.
I'm starting this blog post a day late, as I thought I would update at the beginning of the following day for the previous day. Make sense? So, this post will be all about yesterday. Yesterday we travelled.
Caravan'd is more like it. I drove the Sequoia with the trailer and Aaron drove the Jetta. (Hot Donna can suck it, long story, maybe I will blog it one day)
Juliette had a Dr. appointment before we left and Aaron had a ton of errands to do (bank, paycheck, buy lift tickets from Craigslist) so Aaron, Delilah and Juliette left before us. Oh yes, and Bella too. Bella finally got to ride shotgun. She was in doggy heaven, front seat with her head in Aaron's lap.
We left a bit later, so as to meet up with them around Sandy. In my car was Madeline, Noah, Annie and the triplets. (Joseph went up yetsterday with a friend)
The ride up actually went great. Made it all the way to Redmond before we had to make a potty stop. Annie had to go BAD. Really bad. But she made it. Thankfully. And we had to feed the trio. We stopped at the country's biggest Walmart. I kid you not. It was huge. Everyone who had to pee went in, then we decided to go ahead and get some food for the stay while we were there. Aaron and Lilah shopped while we waited in the car(s). I figured if we all went in, we would wind up on http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/. (Seriously, check it out. It's fuuuunnny stuff)
The house is beautiful. Small, 1300sf, but that's kind of the point. We use a rental company and we try a different house every year. So far, I like this one the best. It's updated and close to the park, which is a big plus for us.
So, typical of life within our family, we are not even all in the door and someone is hurt. Seems Madeline slipped going down the stairs and either tore or pulled the Extensor Digitorum Brevis in her foot. No, we didn't take her to the ER, I just Googled it and figured it out. Basically, when her foot slipped off the step, she over-extended her foot to compensate for the slip and either tore or pulled the tendon in the top of her foot. It's bruised and squishy. Gross.
The best news? SNOW SNOW SNOW! Joey took the little girls out to play and wear them out for bed. It worked.
Bedtime went smoothly. Babies all went down fairly nice with Princess Gwendolen sleeping through the night. Again. ( 8:30pm to 7:00am, this baby ROCKS) This was also our first attempt at co-sleeping with the Daddy. It went ok, I only caught Aaron's elbow from knocking into one of the babies heads once. I'm such a light sleeper that I can sense when Aaron even changes his breathing patterns, so no worries about the babies getting hurt, I'm on it.