Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sleep Deprivation

I've seen a lot of facebook posts on sleep deprivation due to babies waking or sleeping with parents.  I've also seen much wishful thinking that this phase will end soon.  I'm here to bust that bubble.  I'm guessing I'm not alone as I write from the perspective of a sleep deprived mom of preschoolers and grade schooler.  And yes, we have been woken up several times by our first grader this past week.  What is going on?!  I was once the parent of a preschooler who slept through the night completely, and babies/one year olds that did not sleep, but we longed and prayed that the day would come.  I want to say that we got more sleep when they were two and three than we do now. 

We have our good nights when only one child wakes us up, but last night was not one of those nights.  This weekend was not one of those weekends either.  First, our oldest came out of bed sleep walking at 10:00 PM, while we were still up in the family room, then again at midnight after we were sound asleep.  Then, at around 12:30, Gavin, one of the twins announces that he had a nightmare, but goes right back into his room, back to sleep the rest of the night after Brian tucks him back in.  Unfortunately, we were not so lucky with Ben.  Here's how our middle of the night/early morning hours went:

The exact times and what happened before Ben's consistent awakenings are a bit fuzzy to me, as Brian took care of putting the boys all back to bed on separate occasions, but I was awake enough to hear and see Ben in our doorway at around 1:00:

"Daddy?" (Waits for Daddy's "yes?" response.)  "I love you."  (Ben goes back into his bed, with Brian's assistance.)

1:30:  "Mommy?"  My response of "go back to bed, please" was not what he was looking for and therefore set him off into an eruption of rather loud fake crying, so first Brian gets up, then I go in and say, "Yes, Ben, what do you want to tell me?"  Ben responds with, "I love you."  Ah, now who wouldn't love being woken up in the middle of the night not once, but twice to hear that?  Me.  That's who.  Sure, it kept me from getting mad at him, but I still need my sleep.

3:00:  "Mommy?"  (Again in our doorway.)  "Yes?"  (I know how to properly respond this time, and immediately get out of bed to tuck him back in, realizing he likely keeps waking up because he's too cold so I add another blanket, hoping that will do the trick.)  "Hug?"  (Of course I hug him and say goodnight again.)

3:15  I hear coughing from Ben, so I get up to make sure he has water.  Ben jumps out of bed, saying he has to go pee, then jumps back in saying he doesn't.  Seeing how we were woken up EARLY Sunday morning with two bed wetters, I risk Ben becoming more alert by coaxing him to go to the bathroom. Willingly, he goes.  I get allergy medicine for him, hoping that will help with his cough.

3:30  Still more coughing and I hear an alarmed "Mommy!" from his bedroom.  He sounds congested and I hope the medicine kicks in soon.  Tuck back in again.  Give him more water.  Back to bed again.

I'm happy to report that the medicine finally kicked in and he (and his brothers) slept through the rest of the morning.  We woke up late, but everyone made it to school and work on time. 

Conversation this morning centered around staying in their own beds, in their own rooms ALL night.  Gavin proudly exclaimed that he only got up once and didn't crawl into our bed.  Yes, that is correct.  The boys like to take turns.  I'm sure it will be his turn tonight to keep this sleep deprivation game continuing on.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet the Board: Liane B.

When we started thinking about having a baby, I started preparing. I typed questions for the birth center we were going to use. I knew which stroller we were going to buy. I found the top three daycares near my office. I was ready for a little baby. As soon as we got confirmation that I was pregnant, I made an appointment with the midwife.

The birth center was so relaxed and personal. I loved the idea of having my baby in a home without sterile medical equipment or hospital noises and smells.  However, the planner in me was anxious about not having an ultrasound until 20 weeks. I had to see that there was actually something inside me. When I was offered the chance to have an NT scan at 11 weeks, I jumped at it. The joke was on me, the planner.

The sonographer placed the
transducer on my stomach and immediately asked, “You are aware there are two?” Um, no, we were not aware. Of course, I was thrilled that I was pregnant. I was overjoyed that the babies seemed healthy. It’s just that hearing that there were two was shocking. Shocking is an understatement.

All my carefully made baby plans went out the window. I found a progressive OB. I read the twin bible, When You’re Expecting Twins, by Dr. Luke. I crammed nearly 3500 calories in my mouth every day. I rested whenever I needed a break. We bought a double stroller. We hired a nanny. I started getting really excited about having twins. And, I had a great pregnancy. I was very lucky. My girls were born at 36 weeks 6 days after my blood pressure skyrocketed. I labored in the bright lights of the operating room with what seemed like hundreds of medical personnel surrounding me. Rowan and Gracen were big and healthy and spent no time in the NICU. I couldn’t have planned it any better. 

Life before twins: I read a few books a week.  I coached swimming, and we played Ultimate Frisbee.  We traveled a lot.  Our last pre-pregnancy trip was sailing around Virgin Gorda.

Life now: I watch a few reality TV shows a night.  We bike to neighborhood parks and OMSI with the girls in tow. We’ve found the girls love to travel.  We hope to make it to Belize someday.

Advice for new families: Take any help that’s offered, and ask for help when you need it.  Be specific about what you need.  Having someone sweep the floor made my day.

Liane B.
2011 FHM Co-President
Mommy to twin girls Rowan and Gracen (3/08) and stepson, Marty (98).

Photo credits:  B&W-Eric Cable
Last-Catchlights NW

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Zenana Spa Winner!

Congratulations to rpipes_nickandliz!!  You are our first giveaway winner!  Please email me at blogger@fullhousemoms.com with your information and we'll mail the $30 gift card off to you.  Enjoy your experience de-stressing at Zenana Spa and Wellness Center!

We plan to have more giveaways in the near future, so stay tuned.  Thanks to all who entered.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Feeling Stressed?

The following information is from Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, Naturopathic Physician and Licensed Acupuncturist at Zenana Spa and Wellness Center.  After reading Dr. Wallace's tips, be sure to enter our first giveaway!  (See below)

  Decompress your stress
Stress is defined as a force exerted when one body or body part presses on, pulls on, pushes against, or tends to compress or twist another body or body part causing a deformation- the tension results in a factor that alters an existent equilibrium. How many of us are walking around each day allowing forces to impact our body and interfere with our normal physiological equilibrium? In my practice it is almost 100%, including myself. As I learn to see the body beyond the obvious physical form we see in the mirror, I am able to see these twists and contortions of peoples’ space and bodies, which then affects their thoughts and emotions. Yes, we still have to work hard, maintain our home lives, feed ourselves and take care of those around us. Sometimes this is an insurmountable task, but what if we learn to merely change our perspective throughout the day. Could changing our outlook affect how our body reacts to stress?
To convince you of the importance, let’s first learn what stress does in the body.
What is stress?
  • Stress can be emotional or physical, happy or sad.
  • In response to stress, our nervous system triggers a response by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol from the adrenal glands, which are essential hormones in the body.
What does stress do to the body?
  • These hormones cause your heart to pump faster and your blood vessels to narrow causing elevated blood pressure.
  • Excessive cortisol also raises blood sugar levels, increases abdominal obesity, increases bone loss, shuts the immune system down, slows wounds healing, causes brain atrophy, thins wrinkled skin, and fluid retention.
  • Emotionally people feel fatigued, irritable, depressed or anxious, have a low libido, insomnia and impaired memory.
  • We are designed for the occasional fight-or-flight response, but the continual exposure to stress in our modern life is now being linked with cancer, ulcers, heart attacks, diabetes, heart disease, skin diseases, and possibly Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Multiple Sclerosis.
Basically, if you have any symptom or are interested in slowing the ageing process, I suggest you learn how to deal with stress now.
• 43% of adults suffer adverse health effects from stress
• 75-90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress related complaints

Your survival kit~ tools to deal with stress

So what to do? Come in and see me. Just kidding.
I do an exercise with my patients, teaching them to be aware of their body and the space around their body. This means that there is an area around you, a bubble at least an arms width all around you and this is your space. This may be hard to do while sitting at your computer, but let’s try. First take a moment to feel your body and imagine that space around you. Now, imagine a time that you felt really good. Take a moment to go back to that time or place and see how your body feels, including the space around your body?
Now imagine a stressful event. How does your body and the space around you feel now? Usually, the space around you constricts and your body feels the effects. So now I have people imagine blowing up the space around them, like a balloon, so they have room to breath and elbow-room to deal with the stressful situation. This works well both in the office and at home with kids. My children have watched me do this and now let me know when they are feeling ‘stressed out’ and need space.
Tools to use for stress:
  • Set an hourly chime on your phone or watch and check in to see what your space/body feels like. Re-establish your space.
  • Drink water and eat a whole foods diet.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods as these substances increase your cortisol.
  • Supplements:
    - Fish oil lowers cortisol
    - B vitamins support the nervous system
  • Herbs:
    I use herbs and other supplements that are specific to each person. Whether you need more energizing herbs to support the adrenal glands or more restorative herbs to relax an overactive nervous system, I recommend finding a practitioner to help guide you.
As I enter my second decade of doctoring, (which really means teaching), I feel the necessity for our whole community to learn how to address our fast-paced, stressful lives. The need is to ensure a healthy body, so that we can spend more of our time and energy on the things we love and truly care about. 

Elizabeth Wallace, N.D., LAc

 Dr. Liz Wallace's Bio

                         *               *               *                *               *               *               *               *               *               *

Here's a package Zenana Spa and Wellness Center now offers to help reduce stress for moms with limited time: 

Express Package             
Feeling a bit worn down? Wanting to come in for some nourishing self-care, but worried about being gone too long? This bite-sized package will feed and replenish you perfectly. First, settle in for a Demi Skin Treatment and sink into a lovely state of bliss while our estheticians rejuvenate your skin using Éminence Organic Skin Care products. Follow that up with a personalized Modified Table Massage Session, focusing on releasing baby-holding muscles like your shoulders and neck. Finish up with your choice of an Express Polish for your hands OR feet while you snack on one of our healthy bites so that you leave feeling fresh and reinvigorated...all before your family notices that you were gone!

Remember, nobody's happy if mama ain't happy. Zenana Spa and Wellness Center exists to help you feel balanced, and this package is perfect for ANYONE with a busy life.
Demi Skin Treatment
Modified Table Massage Session
Express Polish

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Would you like to win a $30 gift card to Zenana Spa and Wellness Center?  Simply "like" our facebook page:  Full House MOMS on Facebook, "follow" this blog, and "comment" below.  (If you need help or have questions, please email Kim at blogger@fullhousemoms.com.)  We'll do a drawing from the names & comments below on Sunday at 5:00 PM to find our winner!  Winner must be a FHM Member. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Q: Spring Party

I really enjoyed chatting with members I'd never met before (or met briefly at past events) and checking in with good friends I've made through the years while on the board.

What was your favorite part of our Spring Party at Out of this World?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Kid Convo

We (well, I) tend to coordinate our boys' outfits, but lately, at the age of 4 1/2 years, they simply dress themselves and we never know what they'll come out wearing.  I recently bought two bright orange shirts at our spring resale for the boys to wear while camping or when we're in a crowded place (think Out of this World or the zoo) so they are much, much easier for me to spot.  So, when I asked the boys to wear these bright orange shirts for the party yesterday, they were more than happy to oblige.  Here's how the conversation went:

B: Look, Gavin, we are wearing the same shirt!

G: Yeah, Ben, that's 'cause we are twins.

B:  Oh, yeah.  So we wear the same shirt.

Me:  We're going to a party where there will be a lot of twins, just like you.

B & G:  (Grinning ear to ear, jumping up and down while holding hands)  We're going to a twin party!  We're going to a twin party!  We're having a party for us!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spring Party

Our party took place at Out of this World Pizza and Play this year.  Check them out here at their Out of this World Website.  What a fun location, for sure!  Craziness all around, but I'm pretty sure all of the kiddos had fun and parents were likely happy that their children were worn out after a full morning of play. With over 140 children and 125 adults, we were quite the crowd!

Robyn, Robin, and Cindy, thank you for your hard work in putting this fabulous event together!

Diapers & wipes collected for Outreach.  Thank you!

Robyn & Robin

Friday, May 6, 2011

In the Muthahood

Anita Renfroe's done it again.  Check out her new video, In the Muthahood.  It's one you'll play over and over just to get the lyrics straight. "I drive carpool, at least 20 times a day," "We're multitaskin', thanks for askin'," and "I'm a mama bear and all the mamas agree, if you messin' with my kid, you straight up messin' with me" are some of my favorites.  I was already quoting/singing this song with a mama friend last night while celebrating cinco de mayo and letting the boys run wild around her house.  Just kickin' back and celebratin' life in the muthahood. 

Her earlier video, William Tell Momism, or otherwise known as The Mom Song, is just amazing, so if you haven't seen that yet either, be sure to check it out as well.

Happy Mother's Day to one and all!  
(Peace out.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Road Trip!

From 25 hour day: Laura's blog

We wanted to take a trip Spring Break this year. We thought we might visit Grandma and Papa, and then maybe take a surprise side trip to DisneyLand.  We had looked into flights, but the cheapest one we could find was $800 per seat. Even though we could have flown with the twins on our laps, the older kids still needed seats. Plus, we still would have needed a car once we got down there. So, we decided to drive to central coast California, skipping the DisneyLand part, with 15 month old twins, a 4 1/2 year old and an 8 1/2 year old. Not only that, but my husband wanted to stay in crappy motels so that the kids could learn to appreciate the value of a dollar.  He stays in nice hotels for his work travel, and therefore accumulates hotel points, which enable us to stay in pretty nice hotels when we do travel.  The kids are used to having amenities and sleeping in Heavenly Beds, which is a far cry from the bare bones but clean places I stayed when I was a kid.  He did some research and found a Motel 6 for $50 per night about halfway down.  We figured we could make it in 2 days.

I decided to combat my anxiety about the trip by planning to completely overpack. We borrowed one of those Thule overhead cargo containers to free up space in the car. I had Pandora radio on my phone. We packed a DVD player, but my kids are readers, and generally pretty good travellers. I hoped that their example would rub off on the twins, but not wanting to take any chances, I also planned to pack plenty of snacks, spare binkies, sippy cups, diapers, wipes, washcloths, and an assortment of toys.  I also decided to bring our pack and plays, because I was a little nervous about the baby bed/floor situation in the crappy motel.  I know bed bugs aren't supposed to be harmful, and luxury hotels can have them too, but that's mainly the mental image I had burned into my brain.

My husband, whose biggest fear is always that I will overpack, figured we could just all pack one big family duffel bag. and that will be enough. My feeling on that was that he was smoking crack and obviously didn't appreciate the anount of planning (toys, snacks, games, etc) that would need to be done in order for this undertaking to succeed....  In fairness to my husband, at some point during trip preparations, he visibly resigns himself to the inevitability that I will overpack, and does his best to help me get everything in the car. Maybe it's because we've had enough trips where he looks at me, panic-stricken with a blown-out diaper, and asks if we have an extra onesie, and I ask him, "What color?" and pull one out of pocket number 8, bag number 4, followed by a Ziploc baggie for the yucky onesie. 

We managed to get everything packed, and hit the road. We drove over 2000 miles with four children. It was long, but we stopped every couple of hours to change diapers and stretch our legs.  I had the older kids do jumping jacks, push-ups and sit-ups at our stops.  We visited the Jelly Belly Factory, and after we arrived, we drove some more to visit an ostrich farm, a luffa farm, Costco, and a Dutch village. It was, all things considered, wildly successful.  The olders just read in the back of the car most of the time. When it was too dark to read, we set up the DVD player for them. The twins did really well also, considering their ages.  It's not like they never cried, but no prolonged wailing. We kept them fed and entertained. They napped. Pandora radio was a godsend- we played the Raffi and Sesame Street channel quite a bit, then more adult music once they fell asleep. We would absolutely do it again. Maybe next time we'll drive to Mexico.

Laura M., FHM Member
See more pictures from their roadtrip at:
Follow Laura and see recent posts at:
25 hour day

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday Q: Three things I wish I had known {before babies}

1)  More expensive doesn’t always mean better.  IKEA high chairs are fabric-free, so there are no crevices where food can get stuck.  In fact, food can sit on the chairs overnight and still wipe clean easily (or be hosed off, if necessary), and they’re only $25.  
Available in these colors now!

2)  Communication is essential – with your spouse/partner, doulas, family, and everyone else who wants to help.  No one can read your mind, and if you try to do it all, you’ll be too exhausted and frustrated to be a good parent, spouse, or employee.  

3)  Transitions are hard.  Swaddle to no swaddle.  Bottle to sippy/straw cup.  Cribs to toddler beds.  Every horrible growing pain never seemed like it would end, but it did, and life got back to a new normal.  Asking other parents for advice can really help, so take advantage of friends and online forums.

Liane B.
FHM Co-President 

What 3 things do you wish you had known before having babies?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bad Bathroom Behavior, oh my!

We don't always want to know what's going on in there.  Do we?

from Tiffany

from Kim
Why do the words "Mommy come look at the bathroom!" coming out of the mouth of one of my 6 year old sons scare me? 
from Shauna