29 May 2010

JUST a mom.


After my super Zoo day last weekend, I've been thinking that I'm pretty good at this whole mom thing. But, is that even anything I should be proud of? I'm JUST a stay at home mom after all. Hell yes it is something I should be proud of! I might not have any other influence on the world. I might not provide a steady added income to my household. I don't get up every day and head off to do something that makes a difference in the lives of others. It's an accomplishment if I am even out of my pajamas by 1 pm. But, really I am happy and proud to be what I am. Why must some people talk down to me about "what I do" like I am worthless? What I do, and what countless other stay at home moms do is hard work and has more of an influence on future generations than a lot of people think! No offense to any veterans out there, but I get more joy out of being a mom than I did the whole time I was in the Air Force.

I woke up today at 5:30 am, left the kids in bed at Amanda's, and ran nine miles to train for a half marathon that has motivated me to raise $750 for a great cause! That is a huge accomplishment for me. It's not just the running or the fund raising, but it's a big deal for me to even get out of bed that early on a day in which I don't have to wake up with four kids! It's not that I need praise for what I'm doing, but I would appreciate it if people wouldn't make me feel badly about it! After training this morning, I was met with the dissatisfaction of another runner who has just started to train for the Nike Women's marathon in San Fransisco this fall.

I don't even know her name, she didn't introduce herself directly to me before she asked me why I wasn't going to do the Nike marathon. I told her that I had barely been able to make the practices for this training season due to the kids, Brad's schedule, and TNT's rules against training with a stroller. I added that it would be hard for me to fund raise the amount required to do that race with Team In Training because the fund raising minimum is much higher due to the required travel. She asked me what I did. I told her I was a mom. She said, "So, you're just a mom? You don't do anything?" She said it in a way that made me VERY defensive. She said it like she couldn't understand how some unemployed homebody couldn't find time to fund raise or train. I think I wanted to be mad, but instead I was embarrassed. I was sitting right next to an almost 80 year old man who has completed countless marathons and other races with TNT because he lost his daughter to Hodgkin's Lymphoma when she was 18. I felt like complete crap for saying, "I can't fund raise that much," and "It's hard to train with my schedule," right in front of him. But honestly, it WAS hard to raise $750 this time around...and without a job I don't even have coworkers to solicit donations from!!! And, it HAS been hard to train having four kids eleven hours a day, and a husband that is forced to work a disgusting schedule! I am PROUD of what I HAVE done, but she took that all away and my pride just disappeared.

In my embarrassment, I started spouting out justifications.

"Well, I've been watching my sister's kids too."

"My husband's schedule barely allows me to train, much less travel for a race."

"Half of the required fund raising for that race is just to cover air fare and lodging anyway, when I could fly there and stay there for free."

I didn't even bother mentioning that I have NO desire to run 26 miles EVER. I felt like an idiot, because none of what I was saying sound like a valid reason to not raise more money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Then, this woman said, "So your husband is in the military? Can't he help you raise money?" You know, since he has a job and has so much more worth than me this was a totally valid question (gag me). I explained to her that it is against the rules to solicit for donations in his work place, due to the rank structure (lower ranking folks would feel pressured into it by the higher ranking folks and what not). She then took on a weird tone of voice and said, "Well, the military ought to do something for this. They are not exempt from these diseases, you know." I thought that was a very awkward thing to say. Duh! No one is exempt from these diseases! And half the people involved with Team In Training are affiliated with the military, so I don't know what her deal was. If any one of those people thought that they were exempt or even didn't care, they would not have been there! I was there! How could she make me feel like I didn't care when I was there? She was there too, so she can't be all bad. But, I don't think running marathons for charity is something someone should do if they are just going to make other people feel like crap for not doing it. I'm sure she had some good intentions, and maybe she was just using some strange technique to try to motivate me, but I felt very judged and left with zero desire to follow in her footsteps.

Everyone else I have met through Team In Training has been amazing. Even if they think I am annoying and that I talk too much, they pretend like they like me anyway. They have made me feel welcome even though sometimes I don't exactly feel like part of the team due to my absences. They make me feel like they appreciate what I have accomplished (even if it doesn't amount to much, it amounts to something). There has been no guilt or pressure to sign up to train for another race with them. This one random woman was able to make me feel so guilty with her small judgments. I should have just been able to brush them off, but instead I tried to defend myself to her. That failed. I'm pretty sure that when I was done trying to defend myself she thought even less of me. Ugh.

Oh, well. Besides Brad's schedule, the fund raising, the travel, the distance and my busy or not-so-busy mom life, I now have another reason to NOT train with TNT for the Nike Women's Marathon. And, I don't even know her name.


I can still donate my garage sale proceeds to LLS and make difference without begging all my face book friends for money for the next 6 months!

By the way, it's not too late to donate for the Hibiscus Half Marathon! :D

26 May 2010

The Empire Doesn't Have A Chance

JibJab is always fun. I wanted to put myself and Brad in the movie, but it needed three boys (one of them black) and one girl...and what do you know? This just worked out perfectly for the kids! I love Trevor's Lando moustache. :)


22 May 2010

Ack!!! Centuate The Positive :)

Have you ever had one of those rock bottom moments? Whether it be over something serious like not being able to pay the mortgage this month, or over something trivial (though not seeming so trivial at the moment) like someone saying something rude to you at work in front of your coworkers and clients...we all get that feeling. Sometimes it lasts days, sometimes it only lasts mere seconds. I think we should all be very thankful for those times, those times that give us something to hope for, and essentially no where to go but up. I had one of those moments today. I just wanted to give up and go home. I'm going to tell you about it, but first I want to address a question about karma.

How is karma supposed to work, really? Yeah, I know the part about "what goes around comes around", but I need more specifics than that. For example, if someone does something bad, but later in the same day does something good...does that cancel the bad thing out? Or, do they just have a little bit of bad karma AND a little bit of good karma due to them? A couple of days ago, I accidentally cut a guy off while I was pulling into the Burger King drive through. He was in uniform and probably on his lunch break. I didn't really have anywhere I needed to be, except to bring lunch to Brad, so I felt really bad. There is my bad karma. But, then I bought his lunch. That should earn me some good karma, right? I don't think that my buying his lunch canceled out me cutting him off, though. I think today gave me what was coming to me...good and bad (but thankfully not in that order). :)

The day started out okay. It always seems to start out better when I shower the night before, so I don't end up in my pajamas until nap time. We all woke up around 7:30. The kitchen was clean, and we were planning on being gone all day, so instead of dirtying dishes we had a nutritious breakfast of Pop Tarts on paper towels. Yum. I changed and fed Sam, packed some sunscreen and snacks, got the three older kids to the bathroom and dressed, and we were out the door by 9:30. We stopped at the ATM and took out $60, then we were on our way to the zoo!

As we drove through Waikiki, past the beach, I noticed there was a surfing contest/event today. The beach was covered with tents with sponsor logos, and there were tons of people with boards out on the water. All I could think was, "How fun!" It didn't cross my mind that this would make the parking situation at the zoo troublesome. THEN I turned to go park in the free public parking at Kapiolani Park, and found out that there was a military appreciation picnic (huge event) going on there, and the ENTIRE parking lot was closed for VIP military personnel. This parking lot has like 400 spots, and they were 80% empty! Grr, right? So, I get to the zoo parking lot and circle for at least an hour. It is an oval, one-way parking lot. When someone sees someone arriving at their car to leave, they stop and wait for them to load the kids, etc. The one way lane is too narrow for anyone to pass, so each time someone stops to wait for a spot, everyone has to stop and wait for five minutes. I must have circled that lot at least twelve times, and it took at least five minutes each time. I was totally fine and patient, even with Trevor saying, "I'm ready to go to the zoo, Aunt Amy!" every three minutes. I was like, "Me too, Trevor!" Then I heard, "Mommy, hurry, hurry, potty." I finally gave up on the zoo parking lot and circled back around to see if the Nazi's were still reserving a million empty parking spots for VIPs that didn't seem too interested in attending their event. They were. I kept telling Jocelyn to hold it. We kind of pulled over at to ask some guys in uniform, who were turning people away from another small parking lot, where we could park. One of them told me that there was a big lot about a mile and half down the street and that there were shuttles. (LOW POINT OF MY DAY) That's when my "moment" hit. Tears, yes real tears came on strong. The thought of either making Trevor and Parker walk that two miles, or getting four kids, a folded up double stroller, a lunch box and a diaper bag onto a school bus was so unappealing that I just wanted to turn around and go home. But, turning around and going home would mean a van full of disappointed kids who patiently thought that the previous hour and a half was just a part of the adventure required to get to the zoo. Thankfully, my tears worked wonders. Those tears turned my whole day around in about 10 seconds. Yes, my rock bottom moment lasted all of ten seconds. It was only uphill from there.


The guys let me into their parking lot and were really nice about it. I was almost embarrassed about having to cry to get my way, but I didn't have time for shame. We had some zoo exploring to do. I got the kids out of the car, and changed Parker and Jocelyn's clothing. The poor kids just couldn't hold it long enough. The fact that they peed in the car seats was even a good thing because I needed to wash the covers anyway. I had extra shorts and underwear for both of them, and thankfully I didn't need the spares later in the day, so I didn't let the pee damper my newly found optimism. We got the stroller loaded up, sprayed on some sunscreen, and walked down the street to the zoo. As we walked in the gate we saw a sign that said: "Military appreciation: free admission with military ID". Score! We were then told that it was also endangered species awareness day, and that there were arts and crafts, games, and prizes for the kids. We walked past the monkeys and the Galapagos tortoises and checked out the endangered species tent. The kids made key chains, colored animal masks and got to play some fun games. We went to see the tigers and the crocodiles, then sat down at a table in the shade to have a snack. (HIGH POINT OF MY DAY) There was a woman at a nearby table yelling at her almost toddler for screaming (not something I judged her for because I've been there, done that). But, in the time it took for this woman to fish around in her diaper bag for a bottle, some powdered formula, and a water bottle...mix it...and feed it to her daughter, I sat down a four year old and a couple of two year old kids, each with an unwrapped string cheese, a box of raisins and a water bottle...grabbed my hooter hider, fed Sam some boob juice, changed his cloth diaper (with my new cloth wipes and hiney spray), buckled Sam back into the stroller, cleaned up the other kids, tossed the trash and walked away while she was still feeding her daughter the bottle. Yes, I am totally bragging. The woman was watching all of this with a look of disgust on her face...and it made me feel so good! Ha. I know that sounds horrible. And, I know I am not a better mom than most people. BUT, there are moments when I feel like I am the best, and the kids just do what they are supposed to...and I love for other people to witness that, and envy me! Hey, I'm human!

I had forgotten all about my parking debacle, and was strutting around the zoo like super woman after that snack experience. The funny thing is that Melynda called me on our way to sit down for snacks, and her ring tone is "Superwoman" by Alicia Keys. That was my theme song today! We saw a few more animal exhibits, then crossed the street to Kapiolani Park to check out the military appreciation festivities. Hello FREE LUNCH! Woo hoo. We ate free hot dogs, pizza and ice cream. We played some more fun games at the Hawaii National Guard booths and picked up some brand new free DVDs and books from the USO. The kids were being so good, I couldn't believe it. After milking the military appreciation picnic for all it was worth, we headed back to the zoo because we had yet to walk through the African Savanna area (my favorite part).

Tangent (big surprise, right?)...
Most of you already know that I have been watching my nephews, Trevor and Parker, every week day from about 6:30 am to 5:30 pm, while my sister Amanda works on the Air Force base filling a reserve position for four months. Well, this week is a big, joint service exercise. Brad and Amanda are both working 12+ hour shifts from Wednesday to Wednesday. The kicker is that, while Brad is working 0430 to 1730, Amanda has to work 1700 to 0600! ICK! This means that the boys are living with me 24/7 for the week so that Amanda can work all night and sleep all day. It's actually been kind of nice having the boys here all the time because I don't watch the clock for 5:30 to arrive, we just do whatever. Usually I enjoy my weekends of having only two kids, but Brad and Amanda are both working all weekend, so I am enjoying the extra company. Talking to Trevor is much more like talking to another adult than talking to Jocelyn. :) Okay, now that I got that explained, on with the day...

We were done at the zoo around 3:00. Amanda called to let us know she had just woken up. We got some Dippin' Dots (the only thing I paid for all day), and headed to Trump Towers, where Amanda is staying, so that she could see the boys for a while before she headed to work. Trump is just a few blocks from the zoo, so it was maybe a five minute ride. Jocelyn and Parker both passed out.

After hanging out with Amanda, we stopped by the Hale Koa parking garage because I had an expired electronic monthly parking pass to return. I guess there was a deposit that I was unaware of. They gave me ten bucks back (technically it's Amanda's ten bucks, but I'm keeping it)! Awesome!

I got the mail as I pulled into our cul-de-sac, and I had a package. Yay! It was the four diapers that I got for CHEAP on diaperswappers a couple days ago. They got here fast! AND, the chick included $50 worth of inserts with the diapers that were not advertised on the lisitng. HUGE SMILE. Brad pulled up right behind us in the driveway. He helped me get everyone out of the car, and bring the car seats in so that I could wash all the covers. I quickly folded the clothes in the dryer, put the clothes from the washer into the dryer and put the sheets from everyone's beds into the washer. I bathed all four kids individually. They were too filthy to put them all in the tub at the same time. The water would have turned brown. The three big kids played nicely in Jocelyn's room while Brad fed Sam dinner and I took a nice long shower. I came down and folded more laundry and put the sheets in the dryer. I prepped some steaks and some chicken nuggets, with mac and cheese and croissants for dinner. We all sat down to eat and I just felt so good about my day. Grilling steaks outside and microwaving chicken nuggets on a paper plate means less dishes. :) We cleared the table and the kids watched me and Brad battle it out at Tetris for about twenty minutes. We had beds made with clean sheets, diapers/pajamas on, teeth brushed, books read, songs sung, and everyone asleep by 8:30 (including Brad).

I came downstairs at 8:30, after tucking Brad in (if you know what I mean), did the few dinner dishes and put the car seat covers into the dryer. When I sat down in the chair to type this up, I just felt amazingly blessed about my day. The clean kitchen, clean living room, sleeping kids, and the sound of the dryer going behind me in the laundry room all just brought me this feeling of accomplishment.

If you would have asked me at 11:00 today how the rest of my day was going to be, I would have surely spouted some pessimistic blah blah blah. I might have had a rock bottom moment today, but I didn't dwell on it. Thank God I was able to move on and stick it out, because it was so worth it. So many good things came along to completely overpower the negative and just push it all out of my memory. Heck, I even made it home with $5 more than I left with. I love that it is possible to have a great day without spending any money (unless you count wasted gas). If I would have found a spot in the zoo parking lot, I would have had to pay a meter! So, things worked out the way they were supposed to. I got my little bit of bad karma back...followed by a lot of good karma. Life is good. So good, in fact, I came up with this retarded little poem just now.

We had lots of fun. I got some sun.
We walked miles around the zoo, and colored key chains too.
We ate free food and ice cream. No, it wasn't a dream.
The kids behaved. I even shaved.
It feels good to be me. Perhaps we made baby number three?


I forgot my camera, but in addition to my pathetic car picture I snapped these with my phone:


Some of the junk we came home with:


My OBB Marathon diapers!!! These diapers can cost up to $30 EACH. The inserts are $6-$10 EACH. AND they are going to stop making them! I got all 4 diapers, all four bamboo hemp inserts, and all three micro fiber inserts for $35. These are the best cloth diapers I've used, but I only own two of them because I can never find them in my price range (even used). So, yes, Sam will be wearing more pink. Score:


*Sigh* :) Clean sheets await me!

20 May 2010

The Flux Capacitor is Set

These old MySpace blogs are from less than three years ago, but it is crazy how much has changed in that short amount of time. 'Before I had kids' just seems like SO long ago! I forgot these even existed until tonight when I was talking to a friend who works with kids, and it made me think of this one...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me...give me some worms!

I found this paper in my classroom today:


I do not know who wrote it, but I have an idea. I sat the whole class down and told them what I had found. I asked them all to share if they hated anything about me. Nobody had anything to say. I explained them that if they have a problem with somebody, the best way to solve it is to approach the person and let them know. I said that it didn't just apply to me but to their fellow students, as well. A few students asked to see the handwriting so they could tell me who it was. I told them that it didn't matter who it was. What matters is that someone got their feelings hurt (me) and if the person who did write it wanted to apologize, there would be no punishment. I encouraged them all to be open and share what they think would cause someone to write it. Not a single one of them had a thing to say. Hmmm. That was the most quiet 10 minutes I have experienced in that classroom in over five weeks of teaching that class. Finally, one little girl raised her hand and said, "Mrs. Hayes, I didn't write that because I love you." Then they all raised their hands to tell me that they loved me.

I guess it is not such a bad thing that one of them hates me. I am pretty sure that means I am doing my job. I am not there to be loved. I am there to enrich their little minds with knowledge. If they hate me for that, so be it.

But, I still want to cry. The funny thing is that one of my students cried today because someone hurt her feelings. I told her to not care about what that person thinks. I also told her that crying would only make them feel like they had won in that situation. Yet here I am, wanting to cry because of what a seven year old thinks of me as a teacher. Boo hoo.

Man, I can't wait to see what high school students have in store for me.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Thorn in my side....

Current mood:boastful, yet humbled
Category: Religion and Philosophy

I posted this as a bulletin, but then I was instructed by a blog savvy friend that I should post it as a blog. So, here it is. :)

Well, I was having a great day until I went to Church. Not that I am blaming the horrible last hour of my life on Church, but it just fits! The first half of the service was worship songs and prayer requests. Then the sermon started. The pastor was reading out of 2 Corinthians 12. As soon as he started speaking about how we all have thorns that God won't remove, I felt like someone stuck a big thorn in my side. It feels like it is still there. Yup, pretty sure it is kidney stones. It's about time for another. :( But, then on my way home, while I was trying not to run over any mopeds while coping with my pain, I realized my gas light had been on for some time. Now, I can't just pull over anywhere and get gas. I have to get it on base. I barely coasted, 15 kilometers below the speed limit, from the gate to the gas station. I put 7 dollars and change worth of gas in because I just wanted to go home and find some pain killers. As I was driving up the steep hill to my home, the car started shaking and wouldn't accelerate. It made really loud metal on metal grinding noises that drew stares from pedestrians. I finally got into the parking lot without the car exploding. I looked at the receipt and learned that I had just wasted 7+ dollars on diesel gasoline! Grrrrr! As I started cursing to myself...I started to think about the lesson in purity I should have learned at church this evening.

This is me boasting about my weaknesses. If we didn't have things like this happen to us, God wouldn't be a powerful and perfect God. We are separated from him by our weaknesses, yet his grace is sufficient for us. Instead of thinking He is punishing me for being impure, I have decided to think this is just His way of telling me that I am human. I make silly mistakes (to err IS human afterall), and that reminds me to try harder to be more Christlike in the things I can control.

Seriously, it is hard for me not to curse out loud when I am in severe pain and I have just pumped a bunch of diesel gas into my car...but I didn't. Yay. Boast, boast, boast...I am weak.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Things I learned in Sydney...

Current mood:enlightened
Category: Travel and Places

I learned that the toilet water really does flush in the opposite direction when you are south of the equator.

I learned that a baby koala's first solid meal is it's mother's stool. Gross, I know, but it provides the baby with the bacteria needed to be able to digest the tough eucalyptus leaves that it will be eating for the rest of it's life.

I learned that "Aussies" is actually pronounced "Ozzies".

I learned that I shouldn't expect an English speaking cab driver in Sydney any more than I would in Tokyo.

I learned that Kangaroo meat is pretty tasty.

I learned that hardly anyone really dresses up for the opera. Whatever, we looked good!

I learned that it is freaking expensive to live in Sydney! A ticket to the movies is $15.50. I am used to $3 at the base theater here! After popcorn and drinks it costs at least $70 for two people to go to the movies. (Brad and I saw 3 movies while we were there).

I learned that Australia has their own version of the movie "To Wong Fu, Thanks for everything, Julie Newmar." It's actually the original, and it's called "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert." Melynda and I saw it as a live musical at the casino and it was hilarious!

I learned that Aussies like our music much more than we like theirs! Sorry Kylie.

I learned that I cannot tell the difference between a British accent and an Australian accent.

I also learned that Australians cannot tell the difference between Americans and Canadians, so I didn't feel so bad about the British/Australian thing.

I learned that my husband missed me more than I thought he did.

I learned that climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge was not worth $172 per person! Can you say monsoon?

I learned that I am capable of blowing a couple grand in just a few days...Oh wait, I already knew that!!!!!

Stay tuned for "Things I learned in Hong Kong..."


Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Current mood:pregnant: sleepy and barfy
Category: Blogging

Here are the rules to the game -- once you have been tagged, you must write a blog with ten weird, random things, little known facts or habits about yourself. At the end choose at least 5 people to be tagged, list their names and why you picked them. Don't forget to leave a comment that says 'you've been tagged' and tell them to read your latest blog.

1. I like to brush my teeth with hot water.

2. Unlike Kylie, I have never had a cavity. :) *editor's note* This has changed as of 2 months ago. :(

3. I own over 50 pair of heels that are 4" or higher, 10 of which I packed to come to the states for only 2 weeks.

4. I love my husband more than he thinks I do and I secretly feel sorry for every married woman I meet because my husband is better than theirs!

5. My toenails grow unusually fast and I have to trim them twice a week.

6. I still want to be a back up dancer for Britney Spears.

7. If I had a terminal illness and the 'Make a Wish Foundation' was going to honor my dying wish, I would want to host Saturday Night Live.

8. Just yesterday I lost a bet to my sister because I thought Ronald Reagan was still alive even though he died over 3 years ago.

9. I am in shock that I am leaving number 8 as it is because it is extremely embarrassing for me to admit that I was wrong about something bearing that level of national importance.

10. I have lost 5 pounds since becoming pregnant.

I am tagging Jen D because I think she will actually do this and because I want to see if she will actually list anything that I don't already know.

I am tagging Kharisa out of curiosity because I think there is a lot more that I don't know about her.

I am tagging Amy number 1 because I feel like it...and I miss her.

I am tagging Erika because I am hoping she has some secrets that she wants to share with the world! Plus, she is a witty gal.

I am tagging Amanda because I think of her everytime I see my default photo and I am looking at it right now. haha.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Current mood: ecstatic
Category: Life

I had my first pre-natal exam today. I could have had it earlier, I just really wanted Brad to be able to come for the first ultrasound(for those who don't know, Brad's back for a couple weeks). Anyway, we went in for the exam and he told me he was uncomfortable because had never witnessed a pap smear before. Great! I mean, it's a good thing he hasn't witnessed any other pap smears, but if that makes him 'uncomfortable,' then how is he going to feel when I am pushing a baby out of my vagina!!! I guess we will see.

We finally got to the ultrasound part of the appointment and he got really excited with a big grin on his face as soon as our baby came up on the screen. The baby looked like it was dancing. I kept laughing. When I would laugh the picture on the screen would disappear. I kept trying not to laugh, but you know how that goes. Then the doctor turned the sound on and we could hear the heartbeat. I started laughing again and it made a loud, awful sound on the doppler, so the doctor turned the sound off. I do not know why I couldn't control my laughing. It's not like it was funny. I was just so happy and excited that laughter was the result.

Well, I am healthy and the baby is healthy, so we are happy! Oh, and I got a new due date...April 1st, seriously. :)

-Amy(and Brad and the Baby)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

You dog!

Current mood: exhausted
Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes

I spent quite a bit of money at Babies'R'Us.com today. I purchased registry items for 4 expectant mothers...and then of course updated my own registry(hint*hint). Anyway, they give you the option of sending a free greeting with the items. It's not a card or anything. It actually shows up on the packing slip. It's free, though, so why not? I typed in messages for the first three orders without a hitch. Then I went to my sister Jodi's registry. I selected the things I wanted to get her and added them to my "cart." When I got to the message part, I typed in the following:

"Team Serrano, You lucky dogs. Brad and I are so jealous that you are having twins. Congratulations. With all our love, Team Hayes"

When I hit the 'submit' button, the website responded as follows:

"We cannot process you order. Your greeting contains foul language."

I was like... "Wha..?"

I didn't know what was foul about it. Dogs? Jealous? Twins? I guess "ALL our love" could be taken out of context. Seriously, though... what if I had said, "I hope little Susie likes books about dogs." or, "Johnny, Your parents wouldn't let me get you the puppy dogs that you wanted, so enjoy this crappy toy from Toys'R'us." Oh wait, crappy is probably considered foul...especially when using it to describe the product you are about to purchase from their website.

If I wanted to relay a foul message to someone...I wouldn't be buying them stuff online. I feel that my freedom of speech has been violated here. Who do they think they are? What if I had a really funny inside joke that I wanted to express on a package like this? They shouldn't be able to take that away from me.

I guess they haven't robbed me of my freedoms altogether. Tomorrow, I am going to mail Jodi and Dean a post card that says "DOGS" all over it. At least the U.S. Postal Service knows better than to tell me what I am free, and not free to say!!!! I won't let Babies 'R' us get me down.


Hmmm. I used to keep my blogs much shorter. Maybe I should try that again. Someday. :)

Flying With Kid(s)

I have done quite a bit of traveling since I started having kids, and some people ask me...how do you do it? Well, many other military, space-A flying mommies out there have perfected this task as well. After a few flights, you have a system worked out, and the whole travel-by-plane-with-kids process becomes quite easy. At first, I would accept help from strangers in a second, but now I'm like, "No thanks! You'll mess up my balance if you take one of those five bags from my right arm!" Ha. Okay, that was a bit of an exaggeration.

Having flown both commercially and military with kids (by myself) multiple times, I must say that I prefer military flights. They are free, which is awesome, but more importantly, I will never have to fly with a lap baby on a military flight! Each child having their own seat makes life so much easier (and ALMOST worth the cost of an extra ticket on a commercial flight).

Anyway, I'm going to attempt to explain my process here.

#1 Have a luggage set that connects. Or, just take one suitcase (One suitcase would be ideal for commercial flights that require you to pay for extra baggage--for military flights I'm allowed 2-70 pound bags per person, including both kids...so I could check 6 suitcases for free if I felt like it). I have never been a light packer, so I have to have the connecting luggage. Big suitcase for me, little suitcase for the kids (toys, books, clothes, shoes, diapers, blankets,kid toiletries, etc).

#2 Stack stuff on top of the luggage. That handle that pulls out of your suitcase is so handy! I hook car seats to it while not in flight. The carrier car seat hooks on like so:

And a bigger carseat hooks on like so:
This is the $55 Cosco car seat from target...so easy to travel with because it is super lightweight. If you have a heavier, more expensive car seat regularly, I'd recommend buying this one just for travel...it's just easier handling and comes with the case you see in the picture. If your car seat doesn't have any kind of case, you can hook it around the suitcase handle by using one of the straps, like so:
...then use the car seat to hold even more stuff! :)

#3 use a backpack instead of a diaper bag or purse. If you want a purse or diaper bag for your destination, pack it. I usually put my wallet, phone camera, snacks, toys/books, bottles of water/juice, diapers, wipes. blankets and changes of clothes for me and the kids in the back pack.

I walk into the airport like this (imagine Sam and Jocelyn in the stroller):

After I check the bags and the stroller, I look like this (except that I might not look that at ease because I will have an extra 20 pounds in the car seat that I am carrying and be spouting bribes to a 2 year old to stay right next to me if she wants some fruit snacks) Some people might prefer a child leash in this situation, but I just can't bring myself to do it:

I highly suggest using a carrier car seat for children still under the weight limit, because it is just easier than carrying a child AND a car seat separately after the stroller and bags are checked. Of course, if you only have one child and are traveling with them on your lap, then you would check the car seat, use a baby carrier, and this wouldn't apply to you. But for those who fly with car seats, I have even found ways to hook a car seat to my backpack effectively.

It can all look quite overwhelming when you see how much you plan on traveling with alone (car seat(s), stroller, suitcases, backpack, KID(S)), but once you have a system in place, it is quite manageable.

When Jocelyn was seven weeks old, as soon as we got her passport we hopped to Korea and back which was SUPER easy because Jocelyn had her own seat on the plane, I only had one kid, Melynda came with me and that helped a lot, and it was only a <2 hour flight. Then, in the month following our return from Korea, we hopped from Tokyo, to Korea, to Okinawa (stayed the night), to Guam (stayed the night), to Hawaii (spent a week in Hawaii with Brad while his ship was there), to California. Then we bought a ticket to Nebraska and spent a total of 11 hours on the ground in California (enough time to consolidate into one suitcase and drop everything else off with Kylie) before heading to Omaha with nothing but a backpack, a baby carrier and one suitcase (oh, and the baby). I left the car seat, stroller, and big suitcase in Kylie's car, and flew with Jocelyn as a lap baby (which is easy with a 3 month old, but not exactly recommended with a 13 month old--been there, done that on an eight hour international commercial flight and never doing it again). We stayed in Omaha for a week, then flew commercially back to California for the Tjerrild Family Reunion, then got on a military hop back to Japan. I had to deal with evicting the renter in our house and hiring a lawyer while I was in Nebraska, and I was taking classes online full time, but I still managed, lugging my books, heavy dinosaur of an old laptop, and the breast pump in addition to my normal stuff. So that wasn't too bad. I think that maybe the fact that all that airfare (Japan to Korea to Okinawa to Guam to Hawaii to California to Nebraska to California to Japan) only cost me $400($200 each way from CA to NE and back), made the travel so much more enjoyable.

But...now I have TWO kids. I got my first solo travel experience with them when Sam was about five weeks old...and it went quite well! We hopped back to California for my brother, Burt's wedding, looking like you see me in the above photos (exactly the same unfortunately because I haven't even lost ONE pound since Sam was five weeks old).

We will continue to have kids, and that will make the 'single parent' flying process a little more difficult as time goes by. That is why I am hoping to be stationed in San Diego after we are done here in Hawaii. It should be easy enough to throw four kids in a minivan to drive to Grandma's while Brad is at sea for months at a time. It will definitely be easier than taking four kids on a plane by myself. By the way, I have seen it done! I was stuck over night in the terminal at Travis AFB, with a woman trying to hop back to Hawaii with her four kids before school started. Her kids were six, four and half, almost three and fifteen months. I thought she was amazing, and her kids were very well behaved. I think that whole experience was a glimpse of what I will be like in a couple more years. :) Hehe.

Anyway, I am looking forward to some potential KIDLESS travel this summer! The plan is to hop to California, rent a car, drive to my mom's and spend a couple days with her, leave the kids, then fly to Texas BY MYSELF (really? *big guilty smile*). I plan to spend a few days in the San Antonio/Boerne area, hanging out with my Aunt Janny and Uncle Mike, and then see my cousiniece Jessica graduate from USAF basic training! I'll head back to California, retrieve my children (I have never before spent 24 hours away from either of them, but that's not because I'm one of those mom's who can't handle being away from their kid for that long, I just haven't had many chances), then head to Silliness (Salinas) for a week or two until it's time to go to Bass Lake for the Tjerrild Family reunion! Brad will be flying in for that week, to join us at the lake, but he will be flying back alone, and I will be flying back with the kids. But, no big deal. I've got it under control. :)

I'll leave you with this public service announcement:

Don't let your kids try to put a car seat in it's carrying case. It could be dangerous to their health. :)

16 May 2010

Future Husker Cheerleader?

Sixteen more years of practice, and she will be the best Cornhusker Cheerleader ever. "Start 'em early!" :)

I wish my blog would cut off the left side of the video, instead of the right side! If you click the link in the top left corner, it will take you to youtube, and you will actually be able to see Jocelyn in the frame. :)

14 May 2010

13 May 2010

Ah Doh Rah Blay

I haven't been keeping up with updating recent photos of the kids, here or on Facebook. So, here are a few from the last three weeks or so. :)

Sam and Jocelyn in matching diapers, being cute.

He made the 'poop face', so I sat him on the potty for a little bit.

Cutie cousins.

"Where's your belly?"

Yummy! First time eating solids.

Story time with Aunt Stacey.

Daddy/Daughter Rock Band.

Happy Joey face.

Trevor helping Jocelyn put her sparkle shoes on.

Don't know how he managed this, but it looks like he wants to go shopping!

Jazz hands!!!

Secure in his manhood.

My sweetie pies.

Crawling lesson.

Just chilling.

Sleep posing.

In step at the zoo.

More zoo time, with my favorite thing at the zoo!

Pictures from today:
Brother and sister...he tries to eat her shoes, so she gives him a pacifier.






Sam, just being a stud. Brad said, "Hey Sam, the 80s called and they want their shirt back". I'd just like to point out that I got this outfit (shirt, pants, and shoes) for $7.50 at The Children's Place yesterday. Deal! And, I think it looks good on him!