Taking Care of Two Kids

Overwhelmed doesn't even begin to describe my feelings of lately.  I had no idea it was going to be this challenging.

The old adage "sleep when your kids sleep" only applies if they both sleep at the same time.  My kids appear to tag-team the sleep thing.
Koa is too small and new to be out and about in the windy/chilly/drizzly weather of Waimea.  But Ikaika is too big and energetic to be confined to our small apartment all day.
Ikaika has also phased into the "terrible twos" overnight.  Nothing says frustrating like having to interrupt breastfeeding 6 or 7 times in order to put a toddler in time out, again.
As if I didn't have enough to worry about, I also seem to be having a periodic life crisis.  This is the time when I start to wonder what I'm going to do with my life and reflect on how I haven't done enough and how everyone else is so accomplished and here I am, enjoying life but not really contributing anything of value to society.  Boo hoo.

Of course, I was spoiled for the first month.  I had Mr A home for several days until my mom swooped in and took over helping.  Now I'm struggling to hit my stride.  I need to figure out the rhythm.  Ikaika and I had a good thing going - we had a schedule that worked for both of us and was fairly consistent.  Koa threw a cog in the wheel and I haven't been able to quite figure out how to balance it all yet.  A two-year-olds needs, a newborns needs, the needs of the house, the needs of my husband and - MOST IMPORTANT - the needs of myself.  Good lord, it took me 4 hours today just to figure out how I was going to get dressed and eat!

Let me say this - I have learned from the experience of others that it is necessary for mommy to be somewhat selfish.  If I'm not taking care of myself, how can I take care of everyone else?  If I don't take the time or make the time to rest, eat, and treat myself I am going to end up a hot mess of frazzled nerves.  I'll be screaming at Kaika, not making enough milk for Koa and bitching at Mr A every time he walks through the door.

On that note, I am going to go enjoy my hot tea and hop on the stationary bike...after I make Ikaika some lunch.


Don't Leave Us, Oma!

I am totally overwhelmed with life right now.  Without going into gory detail - it's just nuts.  I so desperately want the next month, the next week, to be over and done.  Looking back, there is no way I would have survived the last two weeks without my mom here.  Ikaika surely wouldn't have survived.  Luckily, mom was here and everyone made it out alive.

I don't want to take her to the airport tomorrow.  I want to kidnap her.  I want to give her a small corner of our house and have her live here forever.  I think my dad should understand.  I've begged her to stay and she refused.  I am sad.  But life, overwhelming as it may be, must go on.


Waipio Valley and Lunch at Tex's, Honokaa

Fabulous day today.  We went to beautiful Waipio Valley lookout - valley of the kings!

Isn't this gorgeous?  One mile of black sand beach!  Of course, the valley is sacred, private and remote.  So we didn't hike down or around or anything.  But the lookout itself is enough to take your breath away!

After, we went to a little nearby artist co-op, got some ice cream, saw some local crafts, and did other things that Stranskys like to do. 

Mr A picked some guava growing on the side of the road and we juiced it after the Vikings game.  He also somehow got Ikaika to get near this beast!  It makes me think we should have made more of an effort to get to the horse show at Waikoloa Stables this weekend...

Then we ate lunch at Tex's in Honokaa.  We go there periodically for malasadas or manapua, but the burgers were just as fantastic!

There is this cute little botanical garden directly behind the drive-in.  It had all the plants labeled, which was great and grew a huge variety including sugar cane, puakenikeni, lemons, bananas, and Queen Emma lily.

We also hit a great rummage sale in Honokaa town (got Ikaika a helmet and protective gear for under $2!), but anyone who knows my mom would have probably already guessed that we went to at least one today.


Suddenly So Cute!

My mom, who thinks all newborn babies are squooshy and gross, said she found Koa surprisingly cute today. 

But what's up with my kids having no eyebrows?  Weird.

Sick! Mastitis! Breast Infection! Terrible!

Yesterday I was soaring high with a fever of 103.6!  Holy smokes!

Although my boob was a little sore, it wasn't excruciating or anything.  Tuesday I was running a small fever and the other boob was hurting - but that's the same boob I'm having a hard time getting the baby to latch onto so I thought it was probably just because I had been treating it like a ball of silly putty while cramming it into his mouth.

Alas, no.  Turns out I did have an infection.  I begged the doctor to suggest something other than antibiotics but she pointed out that if it became an abscess...well, that word alone got me scooting to the pharmacy.  She also told me that I shouldn't mess around with a fever that high.

Now I am feeling much better.  My concern with antibiotics is, of course, yeast infection or severe irregularity.  But, almost more so than that, I'm worried about the baby getting thrush.  So I have to eat lots of yogurt and take probiotics.  Good thing I have that handy dandy yogurt maker :) 


Making An Ipu and Other Fun Stuff

Since my mom is here for two weeks I've been super lazy about updating.  Although you would think I would just be blogging like crazy since she is doing a majority of the work around here...

Last weekend we went to the Establishment Day Festival (bicentennial - yay Hawaii!) in Kawaihae.  We made an ipu for Koa.  Other than that, we've just been watching a whole lot of ESPN.  Ikaika apparently prefers it to Barney.

In fact, just today he constructed the entire sentence "Oma, please, more football highlights".  My mom has introduced him to NFL.com and his thirst can not be quenched.


Kekoa's First Bath

 Yes, he is a week old today (in my defense, they bathed him at the hospital).  I just noticed today that he smelled like rotten milk.  Gross!  So, into the sink he goes.

Clean, swaddled, and cozy.  All ready for a snooze!  Goodnight.


"Hi, Toa!"

A little brother bonding time...


Koa: Now with Eyes Open!

I am hoping for a brown eyed baby - but so far that's not looking so promising.  They say babies eye color can't be determined until around 6 months and, even after that, it can change over the course of several years.  I asked the pediatrician at the hospital whether he thought Koa's eyes were "light" or "dark" and he said "dark".  He's seen more baby eyes than I have, but I'm still not convinced these eyes aren't light. 

My older sister and I both have light blue eyes, which is weird since our parents have dark eyes (granted, my mom's are hazel).  People used to think we were twins based on this feature alone (we really don't look alike in any other way).  Light eyes are more of a commodity here in Hawaii, but I still think brown eyed boys are so handsome!  And it would be a nice change of pace to see something a little different around the house. 


Post Delivery Check Up

Koa went in for his first check up today. 

All the nurses and doctors kept calling him Curtis, which of course is his name, but is not supposed to be his identifying name.  I have to fill out all the paperwork with his legal first name so it's going to take a lifetime of correcting people.  Sigh...  Well, the name wouldn't have "worked" any other way (Kekoaokamakua Curtis Arrayan?  I think not!) so my hands were tied. 

He's 6 whole pounds!  The doctor was very surprised.  She said most babies don't gain back their birth weight for another two or three weeks.  It helps to know that despite the frustration with breastfeeding, at least he is still eating well.

His weight is only in the 10th percentile and his length is the 26th.  So much smaller than his brother.  He also has major eye boogers but doc said that was probably just a plugged tear duct and nothing serious. 


Two Kids: Day 3

It's now the third day of having 2 kids instead of 1.  Mr A has been spending lots of time with Ikaika and taking him everywhere so I've had time to bond with Koa and get feeding/sleeping/diapering established. 

Breastfeeding is absolutely no easier this time around.  In fact, I would say its been more difficult.  I already have scabs and Koa isn't as ambitious about a bottle so pumping hasn't exactly been my saving grace. 

Sleeping has been alright.  He's a 5lb midget, so he's been sleeping a ton.  I've decided that it is more important for me to sleep than it is to make sure he sleeps in a bassinet.  Therefore, he's been sleeping in bed with us at night.  I have to admit: I like the snuggling.

He fits premie diapers like a glove so I guess I have to stop making fun of my mom for buying them.  Diapering little babies like this is frustrating because they get dirty so often but they aren't "that" dirty.  It's such a little mess!  I've been able to catch a couple poops in the sink - yay EC!  He finally got rid of his sticky black newborn poo today so it's been more manageable.   


Happy Birthday, Koa!


...or just Koa for short...

born August 6, 2010

5lbs 14oz
19 inches


Later That Night...

OK...fairly certain I am now in labor.  Contractions are about 3 minutes apart.  This started around 930pm.  It's now half past midnight.  I am the only one awake (Mr A and Ikaika are both struggling with head colds so I figured I would let them snooze until it got super bad) because I can no longer sleep through the contractions.  I can't even really lay down anymore.  I drank a protein and a glass of water.  I'm wearing my brother-in-laws baseball team shirt (Albion hometown talent!) and some shorts.  Thinking I should probably pick out something different to put on, just in case.

I'm watching this uber ridiculous show called Platinum Babies.  Goo...  What a bunch of schmoes.  Granted, this is coming from someone who never even bought a crib - but seriously, how much dumb shit can you buy for a baby?  I can't even believe there is a market for some of this stuff!

I'm a little concerned about what we are going to do with Ikaika.  If I have to go to the hospital in the middle of the night (hopefully I will since I can't sleep) we will probably end up taking him with us.  I have a friend in town who said she would watch him, but that's easier to orchestrate during the day.  Mr A said he would just throw on the Ergo and backpack him in the hospital.  I hope I either go into super active labor soon or this just goes away so I can get some sleep!


Pregnancy #2 Update: Awaiting Labor

Went in for a check up today.  First of all, I'm measuring at 32 on the belly, which is on the low side.  After checking the amniotic fluid (and determining it was plentiful), the doctor concluded that I must be having a tiny baby.  Good news!  Then she looked "in there" and told me I was 3cm dilated and 50% effaced.  Basically said my cervix is ready whenever this kid is. 

I asked about sweeping the membranes.  I did this with Ikaika and went into labor a day later.  Of course, I was a week overdue so who knows what actually started the whole labor thing, but it couldn't hurt to just nudge this boy along.  Doc said fine so we went for it.  Now...I remember this being uncomfortable, but I don't remember it feeling like someone was trying to remove my internal organs!  HOLY SMOKES!  That was so painful!  I was laughing hysterically because if I hadn't done that I would have screamed.  Or cried.  Or both.  She must have been entertained because, well, I asked for it! 

I have no clue if this will bring the baby out any quicker but the contractions that were uncomfortable yesterday have become downright painful tonight!  They aren't regular or super intense but they are different and I'm going to take that as a good sign of things to come. 

When she finished the membrane sweeping she told me, "now you are at 4cm".  I gained a whole centimeter in like 30 seconds! SCORE!

Top 5 Favorite Baby Products

I got a request to do a post about my favorite baby products.  I've done a similar post in the past but we will start fresh with a Top 5...

1) The Ergo Baby Carrier

I've said it before and I'll say it again - this is the best carrier out there.  Easy on the body, babies love it, Hawaii-based business - what's not to love?!

2) Dr Bronners Baby Mild Liquid Soap

Just check out the ingredients list (taken from their website).  Nothing even remotely questionable and its sudsy goodness will keep baby squeaky clean.  A $15 bottle might last you their entire childhood.  This soap is also great for washing bottles, nipples, baby clothes, etc!
Water, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol
** None remains after saponifying oils into soap and glycerin"
3) Dr Browns Bottles

My kid was super gassy when he was an infant and these bottles did the trick.  I like the little cleaning brush that comes with them, too - works like a charm for sippy cup spouts.

4) Shaklee Multi Vitamins (Incredivites)

Shaklee is the only vitamin we would ever allow in this house.  The vitamin world is a scary place of uncontrolled, largely unregulated mass production.  Shaklee vitamins are made in their own facility, strictly tested, and manufactured at low temps to preserve bioactivity that science simply can not recreate.
I would argue for the importance of supplementing kids diets, and not just the picky eaters.  Once my kid stopped breastfeeding we started mashing Incredivites into his food.  Now he eats them with his breakfast and he begs for them throughout the day (probably thinks they are candy).  And, unlike a lot of children's vitamins (including the uber popular gummy variety), they don't contain anything that would contribute to tooth decay. 

5) Blue Sucky Ball Thing
Oh man, I love this thing.  There are fancier varieties out there but nothing comes close to the classic original.  Any and all runny noses should be approached with this tool.  It prevents raw, red noses from constant wiping.  It can remove a gallon of snot with just one squeeze. I might still be using this when they hit kindergarten.


Baseball Season

I heard Ikaika talking to himself this morning so I went into his room to wake him up.  He was laying in his bed, staring at the ceiling, muttering "baseball, football, baseball, soccer ball, baseball..."

Does he dream about this stuff?  Is it the poster above his bed?  Why is it that my kid can't sit through a full episode of Barney but he can watch 45 straight minutes of Sportscenter?  ...I think this is my family's doing.


Could This Be Your Kid?

My aunt sent me pictures from our recent trip to the northwest.  She took Ikaika to the carnival at her kid's school so Mr A and I could have a date (THANK YOU, by the way!) 

My aunt's husband is part Native American, my husband is part Native Hawaiian.  It makes sense that our kids would look similar.  But seriously?  These kids look like brothers! 
This might also have to do with the fact that 75% of my kids clothes used to be her kid's clothes...

Of course, out of everyone in the family, my aunt and I probably look the most alike.  Granny loves to tell the story about when we were younger, after swimming, we would wash our hair and mix it together and you couldn't tell what was hers and what was mine! 


Week 39 Belly Update

G-Diapers as an Alternative

Mr A likes using disposable diapers.  I don't know if he "likes" it so much as it is convenient and he would rather not deal with feces.  But, either way, throughout Ikaika's infancy, we have ended up regularly using 'sposies for going out or bedtime.  I desperately want this to stop. 

I'm so grossed out by the thought that when I die those diapers are still going to be in a landfill somewhere, no exaggeration.  It seems like such a huge waste for such a small amount of convenience.  I also find that, because of this guilt, when I use 'sposies I tend to leave me kid sitting around in a "sort of wet" diaper a whole lot longer, which isn't very nice.  I also find that disposable diapers STINK and we end up having to take out the trash every day.  Boo!

So, I've been looking into alternatives.  Something that could bridge the gap between cloth and disposable.  Gdiapers hit my radar during my first pregnancy (I lived in Portland, Oregon - things like that were hard to avoid).  I never gave them much attention because they seemed too expensive to me.  If I can make my own diapers from shirts or get a box of prefolds for $20 off craigslist then how could I possibly justify spending $50 for 120 diapers?  Then, when money got real tight and Costco tempted me with 200+ diapers for $35 on coupon...sigh...

Well, now I'm on my second kid and I already have a sizable stash of cloth dipes.  I also have a better idea of how and when I use disposables.  I am ready to try Gdiapers.  I found some Gpants at a yard sale a few months ago and just bought some inserts on the cheap from craigslist.

Gdiapers are flushable (I swear), compostable, biodegradable, and/or just plain disposable (but unlike Kirkland's they won't still be around for my kid's first day of school).  The system is a pair of cloth pants with a liner and the flushable insert that goes into the liner.  I've read about people using these with a small cloth diaper in place of the insert.  They seem well suited to the system we already have in place.

The inserts are about $50 for 120 (size small) or 160 (size medium/large).  It seems like so much, but then I remember that Seventh Generation chlorine free dipes, which I prefer to buy, are $15-20 for a pack of about 40.

How much have I spent on Ikaika's diapers?  It's almost impossible to say.  I would estimate around $500.  Being that I don't need to spend any money on cloth diapers for the new baby (except maybe to replace a few worn out covers), I feel like I can splurge a little on things like Gdiapers. 

Can I make it through the next two years without having to succumb to the temptations of disposables?  Is Gdiapers the answer to my prayers?  Only time will tell...