First off, Brielle is feeling much better this evening. She drank pedialite all day and then before bed I gave her a diluted bottle of formula and she went right to sleep. (See my earlier entry from today to hear about her sickly morning :-( She's also got a bottom tooth coming in and now a top one coming in too, so in general the poor thing is having a bit of a rough life right now!
Since I'm not in the mood to start my Etsy sewing quite yet I thought I'd tackle some of your burning questions from my post earlier asking for topic suggestions. You asked, I'll answer! (Be warned, it's practically a whole book I wrote :-P)
I had multiple people request more funny kid stories, but alas nothing fun to share today. Hopefully once we're all feeling better.
Another questions was "I'd love any tips or thoughts you have on having two little ones and how you adjusted." Well, let's see here. First off, my experience is very different from someone who has two kids more spread out in age. As much as I love (and wanted) my kids close in age it's definitely got unique challenges and keeps you on your toes! Looking back at when I only had Raya I think to myself "why didn't I appreciate how easy that was at the time?!" ...b/c it was easy, compared to two. Now every little thing is so much more complicated. Just going to get groceries is an ordeal. How will they both fit in the cart? How will I still have room for groceries? Going anywhere is hard actually. Trying to get them out of the car and into a building is sometimes a nightmare! I have to get Raya out first and then teach her to stay right by me while I unload Brielle. Sometimes she tries to dart out into traffic, or pushes the button to shut the automatic van door on me haha. Then I have to carry Brielle and still hold Raya's hand, which leave absolutely no free hand for me to do anything, open doors, etc. haha. Definitely tricky! There are many times a day when they both want held/cuddled at the same time and so there is always one unhappy kids feeling left out. And with Raya essentially a baby herself she doesn't really understand how to interact with a baby so every day is a battle to keep her from accidentally smoothering/hurting the baby, giving her toys she could choke on, etc. She can only help very minimally with Brielle so oftentimes its like having twins--busy busy! Definitely suggest a good double stroller and a moby wrap (or something similar) for baby #2 because the most important thing is trying to free up your hands :-) I always tell Lee though that while I can't say I like having them so close in age when they are *this* young I do look forward to them being so close in age when they are older. I often daydream about having 3 kids who are like 4, 5, and 6 years old and how fun that'll be!
Next question was What about boys when the girls are older? Yikes! Scary to even think about haha. With as stinkin' cute as they are though I'm thinking we will be dealing with this sooner rather than later haha. My personal opinion on dating is that you can date when you are old enough to drive. I have no intention of being a chauffer driving my girls and their boyfriends around and having them "play" the dating game at age 13 or 14. I always chuckle when kids that age say "we're going out" because I want to say "where the heck are you 'going' to? You can't drive!" :-) So yeah, I"m thinking around 15/16 years old they can start going to dinner/movie dates etc. and before that I'm totally fine with them having a friend (who's a boy) over to our house to hang out--where I can somewhat supervise them....or even going over to a boy's house (if I know and trust his parents to supervise). I"m not a super protective "you will never date until you are 18" sort of mom because I truly believe the more you make boys/dating "forbidden" the more they are going to want to do it and sneak around behind your back. I *hope* to be a pretty reasonable mom in that regard. Daddy says "I"m teaching them how to shoot, and I have big guns" LOL
Next questions was about making your marriage work while having kid(s), how do you find time for the "adults" etc., how do you split up house work, cooking, taking care of kids, etc This is a loaded questions haha. First off, I don't believe your marriage is ever quite the same after you have kids. I'm not saying it's worse at all, just different. As much as you can try to make time for eachother the kids still end up taking center stage much of the time, and so I like to think of it as making the family work. As far as splitting up the housework we do a general inside/outside thing. Lee does everything outside (mowing, snow removal, spraying for bugs, watering flowers, garbage, etc.) and I take care of most of the inside stuff. When I was working we divided dinner duties up by day. He usually was in charge of dinner 3 days, I was in charge 3 days, and then one day (friday or saturday) we ate out. This worked pretty well, although we had a rule that the person cooking was totally in charge of the menu so sometimes I wasn't exactly thrilled with what he chose to cook, but at least we had food :-P While dating we cooked together a lot but especially once we had Raya we really needed just one person to cook and the other took care of her--and since I really only saw her for a couple hours after work before she went to bed I didn't want to waste a lot of time cooking! As far as childcare duties Lee isn't a baby person so much. Yeah, yeah....lots of women hate that. Whatever. It's no use getting worked up over---I just make him do more around the house to make up for me doing more baby stuff. However once Raya was no longer a baby (He starts to "get into" the kids when they are about Brielle's age now--and interactive) then he does more. Currently he's often in charge of Raya while I take care of Brielle. He does great with Raya and she loves doing stuff with him. Today he took her to the park and she helped him outside in the yard. That allowed me to get stuff done inside and give Brielle some 1-on-1 attention. It works for us!
-Anything you miss about working outside of the home? Not much, but like most stay at home moms I *do* miss the adult interaction. It's not like I had time to party and chat with my coworkers all the time at work, but I did have adults conversations at least at lunch, etc. I'm really looking forward to moving this week because I know a lot more people back home and I hope to get out of the house more--plus free babysitting available from the grandparents :-)
Do you think you will take vacations with the girls? Do you think you'll ever take vacations just the two of you and leave the kids behind? I've always been more fond of shorter day trips or maybe a one night overnight--longer vacations tend to drain me and I wish I could be home in my own bed :-) So I think the shorter trips (like a weekend camping not far away) are probably more up our alley, but I *do* have some bigger trips in mind for when they are older. I definitely want to do Disney, probably when they are early elementary age and can enjoy/remember/appreciate it. I also want to take them out west to Yellowstone because I remember going there for a family vacation in middle school and it was so cool. And Lee and I went there for our honeymoon too. That's definitely a trip to save for the middle school years though because it involves lots of driving and sight seeing. I also like zoos and we've taken Raya to the MN zoo and mall of america before. We actually had a trip to St. Louis planned for after Labor day but ended up cancelling it because we felt we had too much going on with the house selling right now....but we had planned to take them to a Cardinals baseball game and the zoo and Grant's Farm and the children's museum. That's probably on our schedule now for spring. In general traveling with small children isn't the most enjoyable. I like to think of vacations and a time of relaxation and kids greatly hinder that, especially at this age! First you have to pack up your entire house practically, then plan all your activities around naps (we have our kids on a pretty flexible schedule, but they can only handle so much), and then trying to do naps in a hotel room is hell because the parents end up sitting in silence staring at eachother while the kids sleep, so as not to wake them LOL. And then the unpredicability of kids---you could have a super cool day planned and then your child decides to be a grumpy brat and pretty soon you're just wishing you could go home!! Now that we are moving back home though I do think we'll take more short trips and leave the kids for a weekend with my parents here and there. We have done that in the past with Raya, but I don't like to leave my kids overnight before age 1 (moms, do you agree that leaving a baby overnight is just too hard?!) I"m not sure Lee and I really have a burning desire to vacation anywhere to exotic though. I hate spending money on lavish vacations because then the vacation is over and you have nothing to show for it so to speak. I'd rather just go camping or something and save my money to do home improvements or buy the kids stuff, etc.
Anything that surprised you about having kids? Anything harder or easier than you thought? Biggest challenge of having kids? Probably the biggest surprise was how much you love your own kids! I always have liked kids, and knew I'd obviously like my own....but oh man, once you have your own kid you truly become obsessed with them LOL. They (to you) are the cutest, smartest, funniest, most lovable kids ever and no one will ever be able to tell you differently! Just thinking about parents who have lost a child for whatever reason makes me so upset. I can't imagine wanting to live after something like that. Just horrible.
The fact that EVERYTHING about your life changes is the hardest thing. People like to say having a dog is good practice for a kid, but when was the last time you could kennel your child and go out to eat or to a movie? LOL. There is not a single thing about my life pre-kid that has stayed the same post-kid....thinking back to my life before Raya is crazy because I hardly even recognize or relate to life without kids. But to me that's definitely not a bad thing! The easiest thing was probably labor/delivery of both girls. Both of my labor's were very different, but in general I think I had built it up in my mind to be this god awful experience and I couldn't even wrap my brain around it! (I guess still today I still have a hard time thinking about the fact that I actually birthed humans haha)....but overall both births were so cool and really not as hard as I expected.
Ok, that's it for now!!! Hope you all enjoyed my little novel. You deserve extra credit if you read through all that :-)
If you want to ask me your own questions please check out this entry and leave your suggestions!!!