Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Truth About Bringing Kids to Work

I have had the unique privilege of being able to bring my babies to work with me ever since E was teeny tiny. I have not only one boss, but two (though one of whom is my mother-in-law so one might expect this), who have me bring babies to work. It is such a privilege and a blessing to have employers who are willing to be that flexible. Aside from the fact it saves us a gob of $$$ in childcare costs, for me, I still feel VERY connected to my little ones while at the same time feeling 'connected' to the world outside of our little family bubble.

I have said it before and I'll say it again. I like my job but I love my kids. If it came down to it I'd chose to stay home with my kids rather than work a 8-5 job. And it did come down to that about 5 years ago.

After E was born it was understood that I'd take her to work and everything was great. We were gone from 8-5. I packed my lunch. She had a pack-and-play at both jobs and a bouncy seat and a host of other baby gear to keep her entertained - now A is lucky I brought him a bouncy seat : ). She slept in the bathroom for her rest time (lights off, fan on). She screamed and probably drove my co-workers insane. I think Nani can attest to that. So for their patience, I am ever so grateful. E nursed. E played. E made us laugh. E got fried rice dropped on her head when I was eating lunch and she was sleeping in the Beco carrier (people laugh when I drape a burp cloth over my babies heads when I eat now, but I have learned). E had one of the most epic gerry-rigged diapers ever that involved a burp cloth and two large paper clamps.

Those were the good days. I think back on those day and I wonder how in the world I did it.

Then E started dropping her morning naps and entertaining her in the office got much more tricky. I knew it wasn't fair for her to be there any more because I couldn't give her the attention and stimulation she deserved. I knew something had to give. Stay home with her? Put her in full-time daycare? I went to one daycare and toured it twice. I cried a lot. Lee told me he'd stand by whatever decision I made. I didn't think I could make a bigger decision (but then I had to decide what to about kindergarten 4.5 years later and I think I cried a whole lot more over that decision than probably anything else to date). I scoured the inter webs for a solution. How could I work and still be with my baby? Being a stay-at-home mom was not what I envisioned for my life but maybe? No, no. I might go crazy. I liked my jobs.

I stumbled across a halfday daycare/mother's morning out/preschool option. There were several but only one that ran year-round. On an hourly basis it was expensive compared to full day programs but I didn't care. This was it. This had to be it. Now, I just had to sell it to my boss(es). I remember that conversation well. I remember being so terrified. What if he says no? Then what will happen? Well, this halfday option was a perfect compromise.

E and I would go in early. I'd leave to take her to school (should we discuss how much of a wreck I was on that first day?, probably not). Then I'd work until pick up time. Then we'd come back to the office for lunch and then she's rest in the bathroom and then we'd leave at 5. Once she started taking shorter naps we worked it out so that I would work from home in the afternoons and I've been doing that ever since (thanks to gotomyPC).

Also around the time E was 9 months old - or maybe she was alittle older my mother-in-law (Jibbe if you have't picked up on that) started picking E up one afternoon a week. Jibbe is devoted to working and making sure things run smoothly at the pool store so it was a big deal for her not to be in the office one afternoon a week. BUT she's got a soft spot for grandkids (as I imagine most grandparents do) and so E and Jibbe would go to lunch and have the biggest time one afternoon a week. This one-a-week Jibbe treat still continues. There is so much discussion over what day it is, and is Jibbe picking us up today and where are we going to lunch etc etc etc. It is kind of a big deal for the kids. And it is awesome for everyone because Jibbe always has a home cooked meal cooked up when 5:30 or 6 rolls around.

But anyways back to my story.

Here is the truth about bringing your kids to work.

It is awesome.

I get to hang out with a baby all morning. A and I have been going into the office since he was about 2 weeks old. Yes ,he is super small. No ,I am not crazy. Right now, A is into smiling and 'talking' and he thinks it is hilarious when I change his diaper. I get to feed him when he's hungry - which means no pumping. All you mamas out there who pump at work and in the car on the way to work - more power to you because pumping is not my thing. I get my work done and he is generally a happy camper. 

Some days though, aren't fantastic. Some days, A doesn't want to take a nap or sometimes the nap is only 45 minutes and I need it to be 2 hours. Some days I worry that he cries too loud - and I really try and keep his noise to a minimum. Some days I want to just do this: 

But instead my toddler beats me to throwing a tantrum. So I pick myself and her up off the ground and move full steam ahead because the clock is ticking for us to get home, eat lunch and for me to get back on the clock. 

Some days I don't know why I bother. Those days when the kids are acting crazy. Everyone has a problem that I cannot solve. A has a massively gross diaper that requires a full change of clothes and I forgot to pack an extra outfit. 

Those days are tough. And God surely steers me though those moments and those days because I'm quite sure it would be much easier to just throw in the towel and stay at home full time or put everyone is full time daycare. 

BUT... These moments 

Make it all worth it. Being able to be home in the afternoon and taking a 10 minutes IT'S SNOWING break to be present with the kids and seeing their excitement and sharing in it. And so many others. 

Sometimes I feel like I am the most blessed mama around because I have two employers who have given me the biggest gift - time with my kids. Time to nurse them. Time to smile with them. Time to correct them. Time to be be with them.

Friday, January 22, 2016

7QTs - From Last Week

This now seems like ages ago even though it was just two weeks ago... 

--- 1 ---
Sometimes I find myself wondering if Lee isn't a modern day Renaissance Man. Some days he does so many things so very well I'm kind of in awe. Here's a sample of what he did a few Saturdays ago:

Made bread for church

And also made bacon, eggs and toast for breakfast as well as started on his so-so-so-so good Pork Soup (One of our church fundraisers is making kielbasa - which he is heavily involved in - and that requires lots of pork butts, so instead of throwing away all the bones he'll roast them and work his magic in the kitchen and make is amazing soup). I don't have a picture of it but you'll have to trust me. 

As he are prepping the soup and I was going to the store to get his necessary supplies (twice since I forgot the garlic) the girls were charged with CLEANING UP the upstairs. It had been booby trapped with Legos ever since Christmas. Putting good little Roomba to work!

The cleaning was necessary because... 

He was making good on his word of a Lego table so the girls had somewhere to assemble and we didn't kill out feet EVERYTIME we went to the chapel. 

Once the Lego table was complete (as if the bread, pork soup, breakfast, and Lego table weren't enough he wrote his homily for the next day since he was on the books for preaching at A's baptism).

And all I could say for myself was - the laundry was done : ) well that and A was fed but you know!


Speaking of the baptism... 

There's A smelling so fresh and so original-sin-less : ) and like Chrism. 

A and Papa enjoying some football after an action packed weekend!

They are so stinking cute!


R had some homework to do for school so we knocked that out...

Thank goodness for stamps and stickers!

M begging to get in on the homework action!

The finished product! 

The huge-est difference between E and R when it comes to this kind of stuff is, R is not begging me to do her crafty homework as soon as she walks in the door the day she gets. If E gets wind of anything craft related she pesters us about doing it until it is done (and she tends to get carried away - nothing can be simple about it). With the nightly page of homework that E comes home with now (not craft related) I have to wonder what R's response to the homework will be in K.

I have told E on multiple occasions when we are going around the block about getting the done that if she doesn't want to do it than she doesn't have to. If she doesn't want to put forth the ounce of effort that is required - then fine, don't do it because I'm not going to sit here and beg you to do it. Well E will eventually buckle down and do it because the thought of not doing the assignment is just horrifying.

I'm quite convinced I couldn't use that kind of logic/reasoning/motivating/reverse-psychology-ing with R because ten bucks says she just wouldn't do it. They are just wired so differently and it is very interesting learning how to parent them. 


Moving on... 

Can I tell you how much M loves A? Pretty much a whole lot. I don't think I've ever seen E or R dote on a baby as much as or as consistently as M dotes on A. M LOVES A so much and tries to comfort him when he's crying, she'll wipe his face if he spits up...

And she has to be RIGHT where he is most of the time. Also, she loves to burp him and it goes something like this

A - {sitting up}
M - BURP AN-DUE, BURP! {while beating his back}
A - {burp}

Gosh 2 yrs old can be such a great age. 


Buddy... Ar-dee-la... Squr-dill

Whatever his/her/they're name is these squirrels provide such entertainment around here. They must watch us and when they see us sit down to eat they come up to the back door. I've been tossing out some stale Rice Krispies (leftover from Rice Cream Pie) but bread crust and other assorted table scraps have made it out the door.

The problem is these squirrels a fearless. They stay right at the door even when we make noise before opening the door. There has been serious discussion over how terrible it would be if a squirrel got in the house


My bookworm... 

We went to the library twice last week because when your child asks to go to the library and you have nothing else on your agenda, and you drive right past it on the way home from school you have to say yes right? We ended up with 14 books each day so our family room has been scattered with library books : ) 

In other school related news... Spelling Words anyone? 

E - Why do I have to say-it, spell-it, say-it
Me - Because Grandpa Joe says so 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A's Big, Bad Birth Story

There really isn't anything too terribly exciting or weird or crazy about A's entrance into the world but here goes for the stack of posterity and all the birth story junkies out there. 

In hindsight it is worth mentioning that I assumed this baby would be a girl. It really didn't start setting into my mind that the baby could possibly be a boy until I was driving to the doctor the week before he was born that, hey this baby could be a boy. 

I was making the weekly treks to Wilson for my appointments and I was pretty much done with being pregnant. I mean the physical side of it - who can really coach a soccer team at 39.75 weeks pregnant.  I had been late to the tune of 5 days, 2 days, and 7 days with the first three so I expected to be late this time around. I was induced with #3 and there is something to be said about the calmness surrounding an induction. There is no race to the hospital, no 2 am phone calls to the neighbors, no water breaking in public - all those things that make a birth story interesting. 

Actually going into labor with #4 was a legit concern for me because I didn't know how fast it would go or anything because I had not been in labor naturally since baby #2. Well I was approaching my due date and the not-so-dreaded induction discussion came about. It was either Monday (4 days past my due date) or Friday (8 days past my due date). Monday seemed like a good day to have a baby plus I was tired of being pregnant plus Nani and I could walk on Sunday plus Chik-Fil-A is open on Mondays. 

So Monday it was. 

Nani and I walked another 6 miles the day before the induction - just like last time, because she's an awesome friend like that. I didn't drink a can full of pineapple juice (because I was actually afraid I might go into labor but also it didn't work last time). I tried some Clary Sage EO but nothing. I was afraid to go into labor before Monday since Monday seemed so planned - and I happen to be a planner.

We got to the hospital after leaving the girls in the capable hands of Jibbe and Aunt Mary and we waited - I didn't get the pitocin until about 8 am and we arrived at 6. At that point I was pretty ready to just get the whole L&D thing over with so I was kind of annoyed I had to wait. 

Anyway, once they got me hooked up, they moved me to a bigger room which gave me a fantastic excuse to beg the nurse to let me take a few laps around the L&D floor. That's the biggest problem I have with getting induced is that I have to be hooked up to the monitor and I cannot walk around. Aside from the obvious gravitational benefits, I think it would help take my mind off the pain but those few laps were all I was allowed. 

Around 9:15 my doctor comes in again to check me and break my water which I was definitely not ready for - because thats's when stuff gets real. I was only 2 cm so I was pretty surprised. The first three were born within an hour or two of my water being broken.

I remember looked over at the isolet and telling Lee - there will be another person in this room when we leave here. Which still is just crazy to me. ANOTHER PERSON! Anyhow, I asked him if he was still okay with the boy names we had picked (not that we'd actually change them because we had picked them out 9 months before) but because they weren't our first or second choice names. 

The contractions started to get a bit more lively and I started praying Hail Marys to get through them as something to focus on during the contractions. It worked fine but I still ended up with the Stayidol and that's where things got interesting. I remember trying to open my eyes during the contractions and saying the Hail Mary but as soon as it was over I closed my eyes. When I closed my eyes I was thinking/dreaming/whatever-ing about 5 rectangles and different objects you can make with them. So weird I know. Lee probably know way more about what happened during that time but I suppose it wasn't terribly interesting. 

I finally got to the near pushing point and my nurse definitely listened to me when I told her I did not want to have to wait to push (and that I wanted something to drink as soon as humanly possible). She helped get me to the 10 cm point just in time because there was another woman on the floor who was laboring about the same rate I was and I delivered first - and Lee credits the nurse. 

I pushed for a few times and then the baby was born... 12:43 in the afternoon if my memory serves me right. I can remember the doctor saying it was a boy and honestly not caring one bit because of the pain I was in. I heard him cry and then I just wanted to get the rest of the birthing process over with. 

I have said it before and I'll say it again. I know there are many women who have this instantaneous connection and happiness with their brand new babies but I need about 5 minutes to clear the adrenaline from my system, get a little less in pain and have my feet back on the bed before I can really begin to connect with the baby. It's almost like my body needs time to process all the physical sides of birth before mentally processing what just happened. 

Anyhow, a boy? A boy! Can you believe it? I don't think I could have, had I not put some serious thought into on that last drive to Wilson. A weighed in at 7 lbs 13 oz - same as M. He screamed for the first two hours of his life. He didn't care much about nursing. He was pretty darn bruised up - the pictures of him being dark blue in the face don't lie.  Apparently he 'barrel-rolled' down the birth canal which means he descended super fast?

The pic probably does bruising the most justice 

I had a while to check out his bruised up face and listen to his healthy lungs while Lee ran to Chik-Fil-A for celebratory sandwiches and CookOut for the coveted Mint Oreo shake - which I did NOT have at all during the pregnancy. It was a very quiet time - not in the literal sense - because I had a bunch of texts to respond to but I didn't answer them.

I was super adamant about keeping every person's mouth sealed about baby details until the girls met baby - this was even before he was born. I seriously advocated for not telling anyone until the girls had met their new sibling; that didn't win out probably because my sister-in-law might have held a grudge for years and we would have ended up telling Jibbe and Aunt Mary something on the phone because they were bringing big sisters to the hospital which then wouldn't have been fair to my parents SOOOO... we told 3.5 people before the the girls met him. 

My vision for them walking in the room was they'd know boy or girl by looking at his blue hand knitted hat that ladies knit and give to the hospital but much to my horror the hand knitted hats have been deemed unsanitary so no blue knit hat?!?!?!? Darn you corporate hospital takeover! So we had to tell them them baby was a boy because there was nothing glaringly obvious about him swaddled up tight with the blue and pink striped hat. 

The girls were generally uninterested. E was very concerned about my IV. R wanted one of my Dum-Dums I got from L&D. M was only interested in A when Jibbe held him (because she and Jibbe are attached at the hip). 

Papa headed to the hacienda when the girls left - which was only a small issue because the fish they brought for dinner was not terribly appetizing that coupled with the fact I got a second wave of visitors so I didn't attempt eating dinner until about 8:30. Needless to say I had a good dinner of graham crackers and Sprite because the nurses actually do have food to give out. 

The next day, Grammy and Grandpa Joe came bearing flowers and cake - that cake was so good I kept eating it even though it gave me terrible headaches because of the chocolate. The pediatrician wanted us to stay there FOREVER. I was discharged 24 hours after he was born but we were supposed to stay until 6 per the pediatrician - we snuck out about 5:40 because the nurses took pity on me. If the bed were slightly more comfortable I think I could be convinced to stay another day but there is absolutely NOTHING do to in the hospital (which kills me)

That's really all there is to say.. see totally uninteresting. 

Post Script - In the days following we were showered with lots of blue clothes, lots of tasty meal, lots of great help (including Aunt Mary stayed for about a week after he was born and that was such a treat). - THANK YOU!

Life continued on just where it left off before A came along. School was hustled to. Soccer was coached. Work was returned to. Order was restored. 

3 months out, it is hard to imagine life without A around : ) 

Friday, January 8, 2016

7QTs - Snow Daze, School Daze

Oh crazy days...

--- 1 ---
The girls has a pretty stellar Christmas break thanks to Christmas, extended sleepovers at both Grammy's and Jibbe's (courtesy of M's nasty, nasty cold virus that appeared 6 days before Christmas and stuck around until the 24th), and going to the Nutcracker:

That picture is most definitely from Dec 27 thanks to some wacky NC warm spell. Grammy, Lee and the two big girls went to the Nutcracker this year. I got to go last year but A has been a cling-on baby so no ballet for me. The Nutcracker is becoming a staple around here which is funny because Lee and I used to go when we were dating and first married but we stopped when E was born. Anyhow, R was super reluctant about it at first and E will likely start discussing the ins and outs of this year's trip in several weeks. 

Another staple around here is becoming the New Year's Day Brunswick stew making. Brunswick stew - or just Stew - is a Southern staple that I had no idea about (much like the corn pudding at Thanksgiving) until Lee and I got hitched. 

Jibbe has a fantastic recipe for it and making it has been a joint venture (mostly her - I just stir and add input) for the past several years. This year Lee was forced to play his hand in the stew making because A is being a cling-on child and wants to be asleep or held or nursing (more on that later). Anyhow, this year was a success and if you know where to get 2 large wooden spoon/paddles let me know, I'm in the market. 

In other weekly news, it snowed/flurried for more than a few minutes this week... 

Grandpa Joe's theory that if it thunders during winter, it will snow within 10 days was proven correct-a-mundo as he might say.  

A wasn't terribly happy about it 

E was thrilled!

I got several - I TOLD you it was going to snow reports from R

They bundled up and ran in the flurries for about 20 minutes sans M because she would have lasted a minute or two in the cold

I think we have a book problem... 

St. Nicholas brought me 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs' and I still haven't read it yet because there are 55 million other books that the girls want to read

Reading with 3 kids is tough - let alone 3 kids plus a baby. Someone is always not where they want to be on the couch and cannot see the book and blah blah, blah blah. On this night E was at AHG (American Heritage Girls), and A was asleep so R and M and I snuggled up on the bed to read. If I did not have to physically put M in bed and they didn't fight - I think I could read to them until I fell asleep. 

So, how was everyone's first week back at school? Because this pretty much sums up ours: 

It has been pretty exhausting with a side of kicking and screaming for us. It didn't help that we had Theophany liturgy at 6:30 one night which included a stop at the school uniform store. Total side note, I got E 3 skirts for the year and one of them was not holding up at all so I called the store and they said to bring it in (totally inconvenient because its an hour away) and it turns out they 'determined' (in all of 34 seconds) that it was a manufacture defect in the fabric sooooo they gave us a new skirt (cool). 

Anyway, getting back to the groove has been interesting to say the least. I think I'm going to shrivel up like a raisin when Lee has to leave for work early. Seriously, I need to find and starting praying for help from the Patron Saint of Mad Dashes Out of the House. 

Anyhow, I'll just blast I WILL SURVIVE every morning as my theme song and we shall power through as usual. 

Speaking of powering through things, little A who is going to be 3 months next week (unreal I tell you) and little A who is going to get baptized and receive initiation sacraments on Sunday (yay!) and little A who I have been warring with over the past 2.5 weeks over this:

The bottle. A kinda drove me insane on Christmas because I could not put him down. It was either him screaming or me holding him. So I got it in my mind that I stopped feeling sorry for him on December 26 and it was time to get on the Bottle Train. 

No small task, I know. 

And I know everyone says you (the nursing mother) cannot give your baby a bottle (the babies can smell you and all this stuff) but I have the past two times with R and M plus Lee isn't exactly the best when it comes to screaming, helpless babies. Case in point, when he opts to make dinner, clean up, and bathe the kids over the 45 minutes it took to get A to drink ONE SINGLE OUNCE from a bottle - I'd take giving the bottle over all that work any day of the week. 

Well A and I battled over the bottle with a noodle-eating-poodle (see Fox in Socks) for a while. One ounce a day. He screamed and cried real tears and I did get sad for him at times but the kid must use a bottle and he finally turned a corner this week. Tuesday I think, he didn't put up a fight at all. Yesterday he tried to but he remembered our truce and took the bottle eventually. 

Nursing him is way easier though. He takes FOREVER with the bottle and I cannot do anything else when I give him the bottle (he likes to be flat on his back on the bed). 


This might accurately describe how I'm feeling this week. 

Getting back to work and school is kicking my tail. Case in point, today (Friday) I'm at work getting this project that's a few weeks in the making and A has a blow out of a diaper. My heart kind of sinks because I realize the outfit he is wearing was actually the outfit I should have put as the spare in his bag which means... he doesn't have a change of clothes. I wrap him up in a blanket, pass him off to the baby whisperer, and trudge out to the van (all the way across the freakin parking lot because PLEASE let's not talk about the parking situation at the office : ) in the hopes of finding an outfit from another day or even a spare set of M's clothes. No luck. 

I return with my head held low because we have another 95 minutes at the office and A has one gross outfit that all I can do is wipe off the mess and roll with it. 

Enter Nani (she's a pro at just about everything) has a change of baby clothes in her car. Imagine that.  A may have given me a weird look as I slipped the very light red (pink, ehem) polka dot onesie on but beggars can't be choosers now. 

So that pretty much sums this week up. I have 101 posts I want to do but this is all I have for now. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

2015 - A Year in Review

So so so much fun and crazy stuff has gone down in the Kibbe Family history books of 2015 here's some of my favorites: 

Survived a week home with the 3 girls when Papa went to CA for a retreat. I had just found out I was pregnant - it was a week to remember : ) 

We celebrated R's 3rd birthday and I was in the throws of the 1st trimester so there are about 2.5 blog posts from that month. I also attempted pancakes with baking soda instead of baking powder and it was awful - then I managed to do the EXACT SAME THING for M's birthday. 

It snowed just about every week it seemed like. We got a sweet video of us sledding down the hill in our neighborhood. I got the dreaded phone call from Lee when I went on a business trip and then succumbed to the fate of the girls when I got home

Announcement of Kibbe Party of Six. M went down in the books as the first kid to go to the ER. I coached two soccer teams. It was a good month

This my favorite picture from this month mainly because I think of R crossing that finish line and it makes me smile. We survived one heck of a week that took not only one, but two posts to tell about it. 

This pic pretty much summed up our summer - no not really but we had an awesome time at the pool.

Fireworks. Beach. It was a great month!

Man this was an epic month. We rehearsed getting out the door on-time for kindergarten. We convinced Papa to go to the beach for a day. We cut off and donated a meter of hair. I survived E going to kindergarten (and I feel like I have been fossilizing ever since). Papa and I went on our first baby moon (of sorts) 

We got into the kindergarten groove. R started her preschool. We waited on baby. We spent a lot of time outside. The girls played soccer. I coached soccer (with the help of some dads who weren't intimidated by a handful of 4-5 yr old girls : ) 

Baby boy Kibbe surprised us all. We took a few fall pics and had a fun Halloween

Linked up to Week in My Life - which always my favorite link-up of the year.


E lost her first tooth. We celebrated Advent. We made it through two school Christmas programs in one night! The Grandmas saved Christmas. And I'm so far behind on posting you have no idea what I'm talking about.