Friday, July 08, 2016

Oh, the places we went...

So I failed my attempt to blog for each of my children each day for a whole week.  That was a while ago.  In any case, this one isn't about my lack of blogging, but rather a recap of our recent vacation!

In celebration of Mike and my 10th anniversary, we went on an epic road trip.  Originally, we had a destination in mind, Lake Tahoe, where we got married.  The plan several months back was to fly to Reno, spend a few days there and then drive up to Tahoe, take the boat ride around the lake, stay another day or two and then go back home.  A few things changed our ultimate plans, as I'll explain.  One is that the airline times were a bit squishy.  And by squishy, I mean that the direct, non-stop flights from Phoenix to Reno were either really early or really late.  They weren't great.  The second was the price of the flights.  Tag on renting a car in Reno and then paying for the hotels that we really wanted, it started to get a bit pricey.  Since we were already spending money, I idly started looking at ways to extend our trip (do something fun, right?) and started looking at going to Disneyland or Legoland to have some fun with the kids.  Our one week fly to Reno and back turned into an almost two week road trip.

So here we go...

Day 1 was Saturday June 18th.  We intended to leave as early as we could (shooting for maybe 8am?), but we ended up not getting out of the house til around 11.  Oh well.  We still made pretty good time to Las Vegas, which was our first destination!  We drove straight through, which was pretty impressive not to stop for a potty break or a food break.  So we made it to Vegas, checked into our hotel (Treasure Island) and the first stop (a request/wish from Daniel) was the giant Coke bottle.  The last time we were in Las Vegas, he REALLY wanted to go up inside of it.  There's an Outback up there, so we had dinner there.

Day 2, Sunday, the first full day in Las Vegas.  The kids slept in relatively late, thanks to blackout curtains...hooray!  Plans for the day included hitting up the pool in the morning and then taking the kids to Circus Circus.  The pool was a hit, but as an unfortunate parent fail, Laurel got a bit sunburned.  Ouch.  At Circus Circus, we played a few video games and had lunch at the McDonalds there (exciting, I know, but the kids like it!).  We went to the Venetian as well to walk around and bought a few things (toys, hats, know, the important stuff).

Day 3, Monday, a travel day.  Time to check out of TI and make our way up to our next destination, Reno!  This was the longest driving day of our trip, so it was pretty exhausting.  On our way, we stopped to visit uncle Gary for an hour or so in Fernley.  Then onto Reno where we checked into the Peppermill.  The kids were already excited to have a hottub in the room.

Day 4, Tuesday.  Lots of just relaxation and a quick trip out to Target for supplies.  We took the kids to the game room at the Peppermill, which was definitely a hit (and repeated a few more times!).

Day 5, Wednesday.  The kids are still sleeping in pretty well (yay blackout curtains) and the only plans for today were a lunch with one of Mike's former co-workers.  Then back to the hotel, more splashing around in the hot tub in the room and so on.

Day 6, Thursday.  Today the pool was on the agenda!  All of us hit up the pools at the Peppermill and had a pretty good time splashing about.  We met up with another of Mike's former co-workers and family for dinner before returning to the hotel and finishing up the day in the game room again.  Over the 3 days of playing, the kids got to pick out the toys they wanted from the tickets they'd accumulated over the past few days.

Day 7, Friday June 24th.  Checkout of the Peppermill day and onto Tahoe!  It's also our anniversary!  The plan was to go on the 2:30 boat cruise on the MS Dixie (since the Tahoe Queen, the boat we got married on, wasn't's being renovated, and out of it's dock due to low lake levels).  We met up with Gary who accompanied us on the ride around the lake.  The kids liked looking out on the water the whole trip (Daniel the most, Kaitlyn probably next, and Jared got a little restless and wanted to run up and down the stairs between decks.  Laurel was happy whereever!).  At the end of the ride, we went to check into our hotel (Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel) and ordered some pizza for dinner.  Perfect anniversary!

Day 8, Saturday.  Another day at Tahoe!  We FINALLY were able to go on the Heavenly Gondola!  We'd attempted to go on it a few times in the past, but it was shut down due to weather or some other odd reason.  At the top, we went to play on the playground, and let Daniel attempt the rock wall (which he totally rocked!  Up three times in no time at all!).  A ride back down on the gondola and dinner with Gary and Kiara!  They had to leave to go pick up Grandma Stone from the airport in Reno,  We hit up the pool for a little while in the evening before tucking in for the night

Day 9, Sunday.  Check out and departing Tahoe. Our destination was Yosemite!  None of us had ever been there, and we are kind of kicking ourselves that we used to live so close to it, yet we never went!  It was about a 2 hour drive to the park entrance from South Lake Tahoe.  From there, we took the road through to the west side and down to Yosemite Valley (where all the "good" stuff is).  It was a very memorable trip!  It was busy in places, but we still had a few opportunities to get out and get some pictures.  We saw one coyote and one bear while there (exciting, I know, but I honestly wasn't expecting to see much of anything, I suppose).  Backing out of Yosemite, we headed for Fresno for the night.

Day 10, Monday.  Heading out of Fresno and towards Anaheim!  We hadn't told the kids that we were going to Disneyland, and we were really rushing to try and get out of Fresno and on our way!  Traffic was sort of icky in some places, but we made it to our hotel around 2pm!  The kids were still kind of clueless about where we were (Jared kept insisting that we needed to go to the zoo), and it really didn't hit them until they saw a big statue of Goofy in the lobby of our hotel.  We got checked in and headed out to Disneyland (since we were at Paradise Pier, one of the resort hotels, it was a pretty quick walk).  We got to go on the rocket ride, as well as hit up the AstroBlasters.  We were all pretty tired, ordering room service for dinner.

Day 11, Tuesday.  One of the perks of staying at a resort hotel is getting into the park an hour early.  Daniel and I were the ones to get up and head out (the others were sleeping in a bit).  We hit up (Hyper) Space Mountain and Star Tours (and grabbed a few more Fast Passes for Space Mountain) before heading back to get the rest of the gang.  Our plans for the day included a few more rides, like Thunder Mountain Railroad, Autopia, and so on. Making use of FastPass and Rider Swap made it so both Mike and I could ride the ride, and sometimes the kids got to go twice.

Day 12, Wednesday.  California Adventure Day!  We got in early and got our FastPass to the Radiator Springs Racers (that was our goal, since the last time we were there, all of the FastPasses were gone and we never got to ride it).  While waiting for our time (about an hour), we all got to ride on some things in A Bugs Life land/area...Flik's flyers, the Lady Bugs and the Chew-Chew Train.  We did the Radiator Springs Racers (yay!) and got two more Fast Passes for that.  A few more rides (Mater's Junkyard Jambouree and Luigi's thing in Cars Land) and back to the hotel for just a bit.  Mike headed out to get a few more Fast Passes for the Grizzly River Rapids and came back for us so we could head out for a 2nd round of Radiator Springs Racers.  Riding the rapids (Jared went once, then refused the 2nd time) and over to ride Mike and Sully to the rescue (Monsters Inc) twice.  After that, we headed to the hotel again and then prepared to go out to see the World of Color (we'd picked up reserved passes earlier in the day).  It was a tiring day, but worth it!

Day 13, Thursday.  Our last day!  We checked out of our hotel and headed to Disneyland to meet Gillianne and her family!  Before we'd met, Mike took the boys to wait in line for the Matterhorn.  The ride broke down so we ended up needing to go at a later time.  Upon meeting up with Gillianne, we went on Pirates of the Caribbean (all of us did!), and Splash Mountain.  Daniel got his wish to go on the Matterhorn (the boys got to go twice, once with Mike, once with me!), and then on a boat ride in Storybook Land, and ending out the day with the spinning teacups (Mike, Daniel, Jared and Kaitlyn).  We headed for home and arrived about 12:30 am.  Tired...happy...did I mention tired?

We're still recovering a week later...but it was a fun trip!  We showed ourselves that we can do it with our complete family of six!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Challenge Day 2!

Welcome to the weekend, and my second consecutive day blogging!  Blogging every day has the potential to be a little boring in the sense that there's not something exciting going on EVERY day.

Anyway, today was a pretty typical Saturday.  Mike and I woke up to a little bit of kidlet squawking, and came downstairs to find that Kaitlyn (presumably) had scattered corn chips all over the floor.  Sigh.  After doing a bit of cleaning, we prepared to go out to do a little shopping.  Target today!  The past few weekends we've been favoring going to Fry's Electronics (for no good reason other than we're nerds!).  The mission at Target was to get swimsuits for the older 3, maybe pick up a little pool, and check on shorts for the boys too.  And mission was easily accomplished without too much fuss.

We decided to head up to South Mountain (another popular weekend driving destination) to see if J, K and L would nap (mostly geared towards K napping).  We managed to catch a few chuckwalla out again, and snap a few more fuzzy pictures.  Of course, Kaitlyn fell asleep as we were most of the way home.  Great.

Still plotting and planning our epic trip coming up in a few weeks here!  And that's about all for now!  Off to blog for the kids!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Mommy's Little (Personal) Blogging Challenge

I decided sometime last week (mentally) that I was going to challenge myself to doing a blog a day.  Not just ANY blog a day (cue Daniel voice when saying that)...but one for myself AND each of the kids' blogs.  Ambitious!

I managed to do a blog-a-day for a period of time when I was on bed rest while pregnant with Kaitlyn.  At that time, though< I had a lot of time on my hands, and a lot of time to sit and ponder.

In any case, today I'll start!

Today was a pretty good day.  It was the first day of summer vacation for the boys (hip-hip HOORAY for them).  But, on top of that, the girls were home too, since they only go to daycare two days a week.  Mike went into the office today, so I had all four of them home alone with me today.

It actually wasn't too bad with all four of them, since the 3 older ones keep each other company.  Kaitlyn seems a lot less needy when the boys are around.  Laurel is getting better with not needing to be held every waking hour either, and she's kind of content to watch the others too.

Aside from that, we're putting everything in motion for our EPIC summer vacation trip.  I suppose it's more epic for us since it is a road trip (eep!) and we'll be hitting up a few stops and celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.  So far, we've got the Reno leg hotel booked...just need to nail down a few more places to stay and we'll be good to go!  So exciting!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Tubal!

Has it REALLY been over two years since my last post here?  I have a weird addiction to blogs, and I know I've posted elsewhere, but I guess it really HAS been a while!  And now I'm editing to note that I actually started this post over a week ago...eesh...

I actually had to go back and look at the title of this post.  The Tubal!  A tubal ligation, that is.  'Coz I got one.  And I was more excited about it than a sane person should be (maybe).  I can't really pinpoint what makes me the most excited, but I think it has to do with being done having kids, having a family that I couldn't have planned better for if I tried (which isn't to say that I didn't try!) and just knowing that my uterus is closed for business!

So here goes, with all of the TMI (maybe, again) details.  I didn't post this on this blog, but my 4th child, 2nd daughter, was born on one of my favorite holiday's of the year...Groundhog Day!  Laurel Alexis Stone came into the world at 3:33am, a whopping 8lbs, 12oz...not too shabby for being nearly 2 weeks early!

At one of my prenatal checkups, of which there were MANY, due to preterm labor and things, one of the doctors talked to us at length about the different sterilization methods.  I always figured that I'd get my tubes tied when I was done having kids, but there are other ways of doing it nowadays.  I have had 3 Mirena IUDs that have worked out well for me between pregnancies in that they do wonders to lighten periods.  I'd thought about getting one again, but it is still "temporary", and they like to be diligent about having it checked every year, it is good for 5 years, etc etc.  My first Mirena also shifted and they had to use the jaws of life to get it out.  Well, not really, but it was wedged up there pretty far and it took the doctor about 45 minutes to get it out after making sure it was still in there by ultrasound and using a bunch of knitting needles (cervical dilators) to open things up to fish it out.

Back to the talk now.  I considered the IUD again.  Then the doctor talked about Essure, but that sort of turned both Mike and me off when they described the metal coils being in there permanently, the 3 month wait time for effectiveness, how it may not work, complications, etc.  I don't react particularly well to metal in general, as I can barely wear earrings for any length of time these days without my ear lobes swelling up.  And it freaked both of us out that the metal coils would be in there...FOREVER.

Then the tubal stuff.  Two ways of doing it.  One was shortly after birth (mini-laparotomy) and the other was a little more time after birth (laparascopic).  The mini-lap seemed to rely on digging around for the tubes (no scope) and she explained that it could be hit or miss.  The laparascopic one used a scope, had two incisions (but smaller) and possibly shorter recovery time.  So we kind of went for that, and made it officially on the books when I went for my post-partum checkup.

April 26th was the day!  I got to abstain from ibuprofen for a week or two before, and no food, water, etc starting the night before.  The plan was that I'd get up and drive myself up to the surgery center, and Mike would get all of the kids to where they needed to be and meet me up there.  We decided to put the girls into daycare again (a few days a week), and it would be Laurel's first day.  I needed to be at the surgery center no later than 6:30, so I set off around 5:45.  Mike put Daniel on the bus around 7:15.  Then dropped off the girls, then Jared at preschool and was on his way.

Meanwhile, I got to the surgery center about 6:20ish, and checked in pretty quickly.  They called me back around 7 or so, and I went into the pre-op consultation, where they do all of the vitals (check hematocrit, blood pressure, temperature, weight, etc) and I got to sign all of the paper work...yes, I am fully aware that this will make me unable to have more kids. They had me pee in a cup for a pregnancy test (just checking!) and I got changed into a spiffy gown, cap and paper bootie things.  Down to pre-op I went, and they came by to set up the heart rate monitors with stick-ums all over my chest and start an IV.  The nurse who did the IV was AWESOME.  She numbed it up with lidocane (which I can't say I've had before an IV was put in) and the whole thing went in like butter...I could hardly feel anything.  And then I waited.

Lots of people in pre-op for various things.  Of course, everyone is separated by curtains.  It was kind of a cacophony of voices in there while doctors, nurses, patients, whatever talked over each other.  And after a while, everyone got pushed off to where they were going, and I was still kind of waiting.  It was still early though, but I was kind of bored until someone came by with magazines to read.

My doctor showed up and said we could start earlier than 8:30 if everyone was ready.  I think all they were waiting for was anesthesia.  The resident showed up and introduced herself and finally the anesthesiologist arrived and we were good to go.  Although it wasn't too much earlier...I went back about 8:19.

I can't honestly remember what it was like the last time I had total knock-me-out surgery, since I was only 7 or so.  I couldn't tell you what the operating room looked like, and so on.  In any case, as much as I could see without glasses, we got to the operating room, I got to lay down on the table (which seemed super narrow to me!) and had my arms out like I was on death row ready to get a lethal injection.  Then the mask.  And then I heard the anesthesiologist say that she was putting the stuff into my IV to make me verrrrrry sleeeeeeepy.  A few seconds later I was out, and the next thing I know I'm waking up in recovery.

I felt really tired (but I was tired anyway!  I have four kids, remember?) but not too bad on the pain scale.  The doctor came by and said everything went well (which he had reiterated to Mike in the waiting room), although I had 3 incisions instead of 2 (which I come to find out is probably due to my weird anatomy...ha!).  Mike came in and the nurses got him some ice chips and water for me.  Yum.  Just like labor and delivery.  It wasn't too long before I was free to go home!  I got home, slept off the rest of the day and all was pretty good.

Aside from a few days of soreness (there were a few times I had a hard time bending over to get Laurel up for night feedings) and wearing dresses vs pants/shorts, I think I'm healing up well!  Two out of the three sets of steristrips fell off after a week and a half or so, and the NP at my appointment today ripped off the 3rd set.  Voila!  I'm fixed!

And if I get motivated later, I'll post pictures on here...hahaha!