Summer Bucket List 2013

Last year’s Summer Bucket List post was one of my most popular on TBP, and still gets traffic. I knew I definitely wanted to do it again, not only because of popularity, but because Clark is so interactive right now! So, without further ado, here is our Summer Bucket List for 2013. I’ll periodically post pictures of some of the things we do. These may not apply to you, and some of them are very, very simple, but my goal this year was to take pleasure in the small things in life and to stop and enjoy these moments that we all skim over in taking them for granted. Click on the image for the high-res version. I hope you enjoy our list!

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Meet Colin

Hi guys! Things have been busy in our household this past week. We are now officially a family of four! I can’t believe that this time has finally come. As before with Clark, I’m going to share Colin’s birth story. If this isn’t your cup of tea, you might want to navigate to another post. However, if it is, prepare for a teary-eyed, joyful celebration of our newest son.

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Last Tuesday, I started having fairly regular contractions around 9pm but because of some fun insurance complications, I wanted to go to work the next day. I was 39.5 weeks along but I was determined to ignore them. About 1:30 am, I moved to the couch, hoping that the change of position would slow/stop the contractions. They did temporarily, and I felt relieved and went to sleep.

Until 2 am, that is. I woke up because I heard and felt a resounding pop inside my body. You know when your joints pop and make a loud noise you can hear from the inside? That’s what it sounded like. I can’t describe the feeling, but it was really weird. When my water broke with Clark, I didn’t feel a thing except the gush. I hopped off the couch just in time to save the leather lol and yelled to my husband, “My water broke! I’m hopping in the shower!”

Ten minutes and freshly washed hair later, we were scrambling in excitement to wake up our toddler, make sure we had all our items, and call my parents. My mom laughed when I greeted her with, “Happy early morning wake up call!” to let her know it was time to meet us and get Clark at the hospital. We had to bribe him in the car with jelly beans but he was really very agreeable for being woken up and transported in the middle of the night.

As we went off to the hospital, I realized that I probably needed to time my contractions which were picking up in intensity just slightly. I was pretty surprised to see that they were only three minutes from the start of one to the start of another — things didn’t progress that fast with Clark, and definitely not without Pitocin!

My parents met us in the parking lot and took Clark to their house so my mom could get him settled in and head back to the hospital. Even though things were obviously progressing, it took almost an hour to get through evaluation and into a room, but by that point, my midwife had arrived and my contractions were still picking up. I was breathing through them and trying to settle in just in case the labor was going to be long since it was only 4 am. I was 4 cm and 80%, which made me hopeful that I wouldn’t need any meds to help the labor progress this time (and the added pain that goes along with them).

At 5 am, Christy sat down with me to chat about my last birth and reconfirm what I wanted for this birth, feeding me Popsicles and rubbing my legs as my contractions started to make me pause during the conversation. It was so refreshing to sit down and have personal attention from her, and it kept me super calm. At 6 am she suggested I get up and walk around, and even though I wanted to conserve my strength, I got moving about 15 minutes later.

It only took one lap around L&D to send my body into high gear — by the end, I was leaning all of my weight onto Mom and Jason and really trying to focus on not succumbing to the pain. I almost didn’t make it back to the room because the contractions weren’t letting up, and I couldn’t get back into bed. I laid across the foot of the bed as my mom called Christy to let her know about the contractions. Granted, it was only 6:40 by then. When she checked, I was 6 cm and progressing quickly, so she encouraged me to hang in there as it wasn’t going to be long.

The next part was the hard part. I can still remember it very vividly, although parts are fading as they inevitably do to help us move on and have more babies later (gotta love biology). The contractions were strong at best in between the earthquakes that were progressing my labor, and I had to play a massive psychological game with myself to get through them without pain medication. I wanted to give in so bad, but it was too late and I knew it was almost over anyway. I was sweating so bad trying to deal with the pain; Mom and Jason were pressing cold compresses on my neck and forehead to try to help me keep calm and focus.

My head was a battlefield; I thought I was bawling but they said I looked determined and in control. I kept going between I can do this and I can’t do this. Christy kept telling me that I was doing it. It was so painful and overwhelming. At 5 minutes to 7, Christy checked and I was at 9 cm. She told me that I would be ready to push after the next contraction.

That’s when mentality changed. I was in control of this labor? I could choose to push? I could end this pain and move on? As soon as that contraction was over, I started pushing. It only took 5 or 6 pushes and he was out.

Colin was beautiful. He was healthy, crying, and all mine. She places him on my chest within a minute, where he stayed for the next hour. He was there when Jason cut the cord, he fed within 20 minutes with a perfect latch, and I experienced something new: instant bonding. Could it really be possible to love this child so quickly? Bonding didn’t come easily with Clark and PPD was a monster I had wrestled with. Don’t get me wrong, Clark and I are incredibly close now, but it took awhile for my head to understand what my heart knew.

So, at 7:04 am on Wednesday, my 8 lb 4.3 oz, 20.25 inch long preciousness was born. Things have been so different and easy. I was up walking around and getting dressed two hours after Colin was born. I have felt terrific with just ibuprofen and I’ve had a fast recovery. Colin is feeding so well. Who knew breastfeeding could actually be manageable?

We are now a week out and I feel like we have been a family of four forever. It isn’t easy getting things done by any means but it works. Clark is adjusting fairly well, we are sleeping in nice 3-4 hour spurts at night, and MawMaw is here helping fill in the gaps as we learn how to navigate our new lives. I really wouldn’t change a single thing.

Camping with a Toddler/Baby

My son isn’t a true toddler yet. He won’t be two for two more months and still needs a lot more watchful of an eye than the typical two or three year old, but we are insane adventurous and decided it was high time for a camping trip!

You are going to kill me, though. I barely remembered to snap a few pics before we had packed up most of the gear to go home!

Sigh.

I’m actually more mad at myself than anything. But there will be more trips and I will take tons of pictures because I will be better prepared. Hopefully, haha.

Overall, camping was really great! I tried to plan for just about everything that could possibly be needed, and for the most part, that planning paid off. So, without more blathering, here’s my review of what happened and what could have gone better.

Our site was huge. Our friends actually pitched another tent to the right (your right, not the table’s right) of the picnic table and we had a ton of chairs and picnic blankets set up. We could have probably fit another two huge tents in our space! Oh, and to give you an idea of how truly gigantic our site was, keep in mind that our small-looking tent is actually 18 ft long x 11 ft wide x 6ft tall. Yeah.

Those field spots next to the bathrooms may look nice, but your kid (and all the other kids) will cry at some point, so find a more isolated spot to keep those middle-of-the-night parental cringes to a minimum. You know, the ones you have when your kid throws a fit at the grocery store or yells in the middle of church? There was a campsite on our right about 100 ft away and the park road was on the left about the same distance. It was perfect – we didn’t annoy the people next to us (and vice versa) and the road noise was minimal during the day, nonexistent at night.

Figure out your child’s comfort items and BRING THEM! For us, this was the box fan. That’s why you see a ridiculously long extension cord from the top of our site to the tent. Next time, we’ll probably just bring our small portable generator (it’s only about 1.5 ft x 1 ft x 6 in) so we don’t have to worry about cords. Having the fan was a LIFE SAVER. Clark didn’t want to go to bed on time, but when he finally did succumb to sleep around 9:30, the boxfan lulled him right to sleep just like it does at home! The only time he had trouble with sleep was when came to bed, and then he wanted to lay in between us and went back to sleep.

Our sleeping arrangements were a different story. We’ve had the same trusty Coleman air mattress for 6 years, and  now it’s a little… deflated. By the middle of the night, we adults were on the ground while the toddler in the middle was comfortably lofted on the remaining air. Blah. It made the next day packing up and going home SUPER hard because we only slept about three hours each. Def exploring new options that don’t rely on air holding us up for comfort.

YES. We’re old lol. It actually hurts us old people to sleep on the ground. Haha.

Prep as much of your cooking/food ahead of time. I did a lot of this, but some of it I had to prep at the site and I was kind of frustrated at myself because they were easy fixes. For example, I could’ve skewered the chicken at home and saved myself A LOT of time, or filled the campfire cones and wrapped them in foil. The food wasdarn good, though, and we made way too much. Oh, and make sure to have plenty of grab and go drinks and snacks for the babe. You’ll need them.

(PS – see how two skewers are missing over half of the chicken? That’s because I dropped half of the chicken all over the ground. Boo.)

Even if you don’t usually use it anymore, take the pack ‘n play. It was so ridiculously helpful and stress-relieving to be able to stick the tot in the pack ‘n play with some toys and know that he was within arms reach while we could get set up much more quickly. I’m not a set-him-and-forget-him kind of mom but there are times that it is okay. It was equally amazing when we were packing up on three hours of sleep.

Overall, though, it was an encouraging trip! Clark was amazing — much better than we expected, actually. We won’t likely be camping for a single night again and we definitely won’t be camping until we find some kind of sleeping mat for us, but we can’t wait to head out again!

One last pic – Clark playing in the “sand” (pebbles, really) at the lake’s beach. What a cute kid.

Any other great tips for camping with a toddler/baby? I’d love to hear them!