18 December 2013

One Tough Little Guy {Surgery and More}

As a mother, I am constantly aware of the decisions I make in regards to my children's life. I most certainly have their best interest in mind and want nothing more than to make sure that my kids are healthy and happy.

However, I am unafraid to admit that I don't know everything and I very often make mistakes.

Over the past two years, Kev and I have been in a constant battle with infections in Kam's little boy area. We are an avid cloth diapering family and have done so from birth with both of our kiddos. I blamed most of his infections on the diapers, believing we had problems with yeast. After 18 months of constant stripping (sanitizing) of the cloth diapers, multiple trips to the doctors office, and bottles of antibiotics we finally decided that cloth diapering wasn't a fit for Kameron and we quit. In the almost six months since we quit cloth diapering we have had two more major infections. After the last the doctor advised us to quit giving the kids bubble baths and recommended we see a Urologist.

When we first found out we were having a boy the infamous circumcision discussion came up. Kev and I being somewhat ignorant on the topic both agreed that circumcision was what we wanted and never thought much of it again. That was until our beautiful baby boy entered into this world. Only hours after having delivered him we already had pediatricians and doctors bombarding us with what we intended to do in regards to circumcision. It was in that moment that Kev and I had realized unless medically necessary we wanted no part in causing this perfect little person any pain. Being uncircumcised was doing him no harm, so there was no need to fix what wasn't broken.

Well, lets fast forward almost two years.

After a consult with a Urologist we discovered that Kam's being intact was the cause of his recurrent infections. He has what is called a Congenital Buried Penis and that only surgery can fix this problem and stop the infection.

(More information in regards to Congenital Buried Penis can be found Here.)

So here we are, surgery day. At only 23 months old, my sweet boy will have his first surgery. He will be put under, intubated and doctors with with perform a minor circumcision procedure and a somewhat major scrotoplasty to repair his Congenital Buried Penis.

This is how our day went...


:: Just checked in...Let the waiting begin ::

















:: Playroom fun. If only he knew what was coming ::

Our child coach was amazing! She did everything
she could to make him comfortable. 
 


























:: Almost time to head back ::


















:: And now I wait ::

If only I could erase the image of my sweet
 little boy desperatly clinging to me as
the anesthesiologist covers his mouth with
a gas mask. Feeling his body go
limp within seconds and then
 walking away from him.































:: Somebody is awake and doing great ::

Somebody was grumpy. I walked back to find a struggling
older nurse trying desperately to keep my son from ripping
out his IV and trying to jump off the bed :-)


















:: Six hours from the time we arrived, we are finally ready to go home ::
























While I held it together on the outside, for my sweet boy, on the inside I was a mess. I second guessed every moment I was there wondering if I was making the right decision and believing that I was taking the "easy" way out. After the surgery was over, the doctor explained how much he truly needed this and how he will be much more comfortable and a lot happier after today. I really needed that reassurance.

If this whole day and entire experience wasn't long, stressful and traumatizing enough for both him and I, the follow-up rush to the Emergency Room at 8:30pm that night was by far the lowest point in this parenting journey of mine.

That's right folks, the worst mother of the year award goes to me. The mother who accidentally overdosed her son on oxycodone. To make a long story short there is a very big difference between 1ml and 1tsp; like 5x the amount, difference.

1ml  = 1ml
1tsp = 5ml

After the immediate realization of what I had done and frantic calls to his surgeon and poison control; I quickly learned that this accidental over dose was just on the border of not too bad and toxic. I showed up to the ER ugly crying like I have never cried before, second guessing my ability to care for my children, and certain that I would be dealing with CPS in a matter of minutes.

Instead, I spent two hours in the waiting room as the hospital "monitored" Kam. Aside from flushed cheeks, my tough little guy showed absolutely no indication that he had just taken too much narcotic medicine as he ran around the ER waiting room screaming and eating all the crackers and apple sauce he could. After two hours and a quick check of his vitals, I was given a ml syringe for better dosing of his medication and the all clear to take him home. Not wanting him out of my sight, with fear he may stop breathing, I slept next to him in his bed. In those moments before I fell asleep I couldn't help but think how one tiny mistake could change everything. I cried some more as I held my now fast asleep toddler and wondered how I could have possibly allowed this to happen. I pride myself in being a "better" mom than ones who do silly stuff like confuse 1ml and 1tsp.

But I am not.

I am human, I make mistakes and I learn from them. Yesterday was by far the lowest point in my entire parenting journey, but I know that this journey is not a perfect one. There are certain rules we all follow as parents; we don't give honey to our children under one, we avoid foods like grapes and nuts while they are still young, we put all dangerous stuff out of their reach and cover the outlets to avoid electrocution accidents. We can spot when our child is ill, hungry, or sleepy. We feed, love, nurture and provide our children with all the things they need and want.

Yet we still often feel like we have failed them.

I have made promises and broke them. I have used bribery as a way to gain peace and quiet. I have put on a show as a distraction in order to complete something I otherwise couldn't. I have thrown my hands up in frustration; I have failed at parenting so many times.

But each mistake, each failure allows me to grow, to learn. I apologize when I have done something wrong. I admit when I make a mistake; and most of all I learn from them.

I am not perfect. But who is? My heart is still heavy with the events of yesterday, but I know that this mistake is only one of the many I will make. And never again will I make this one!

One thing I do know for sure... I have one tough and resilient little guy!


12 December 2013

{Week 10} Vanishing Twin Syndrome

Today I officially hit double digits in this pregnancy, and nothing has really changed since last week.

::Symptoms::

  • Nausea - I still feel sick most days. While the nausea isn't lasting all day like it was in the past, it is still pretty prevalent and is definitely affecting my appetite. I have come to realize that I have the best appetite and least amount of nausea late at night. Therefore, most of my eating is done at midnight or later. 

  • Fatigue - Fatigue is still kicking my butt. I find myself taking naps in my car during my lunch breaks instead of eating. I still haven't had the energy or desire to start running or working out again, which makes me feel very defeated at times. 

::Cravings::
  • I am still not having much of any cravings. Again, I think this has a lot to do with my nausea.


::Weight Gain::
  • Since last week I have lost two more pounds; bringing my total weight "gain" to -3lbs. Since I was technically considered "overweight" before finding out I was pregnant, this weight loss isn't a concern to either me or my OB. 


Last week I had my follow-up ultrasound from the original one at 7 weeks. My recent 9 week ultrasound, once again, confirmed the due date I had already anticipated. It also showed a healthy, wiggly baby with a heart rate of 163. To the left of this healthy little bean was an empty sac. That's right folks, there were two babies inside this belly of mine at one point. Apparently, this is known as Vanishing Twin Syndrome in which one of the fetuses in a a twin pregnancy spontaneously aborts, usually during the first trimester.

Top picture is our healthy Tatum Tot
Bottom picture is now an empty sac 


Currently I am feeling ok with what has happened. While part of me wonders what could have been; most of me is relieved and so happy that I still have one healthy baby. I must admit I feel like I see and hear about twins everywhere now (outside of the fact that my husband is an identical twin.) Kevin and I have always said that three children was our max, and I have always told him that it would be the universes joke to us to give us twins on our last pregnancy...we came close :-) I am really loving the number 3 though, it is a great number!

Until week 11...here's to hoping for a nausea free and energetic week ahead. Fingers crossed!!



04 December 2013

{9 Weeks} with Baby #3


Well here we are, 9 weeks! Due to the Thanksgiving holiday I missed last weeks update. Don't worry nothing really changed from 7-8 weeks :-)

I did have my first OB appointment last Tuesday and was finally able to see our little Tatum Tot. According to the ultrasound, Baby K is measuring exactly what I had thought; keeping my due date at July 9, 2014. His/Her heart rate is currently a strong 164bmp and as far as the doctor could see everything is looking good. I have a follow-up ultrasound this Friday with an actual ultra sound tech for a better look, but as of right now everything is a should be at this point and that make me happy.



::Symptoms::
  • Nausea - Food is still my enemy. I am averaging about one complete meal a day, and water has become my new best friend
  • Fatigue - I am more tired and exhausted this week than I have been so far. My energy is at an all time low and it is really starting to wear on me. I feel bad for the kids mostly; I just don't have the energy or desire to do much after work. I hope my energy returns soon.
  • Mood Swings - Mood Swings are in full effect! Poor Kevin doesn't even know what to do with himself. If I am not crying hysterically to old India Arie songs, I am angry as shit over the fact that I can't get the wall hook into the ceiling so I can hang up Kaydence's new canopy. It's all kinds of crazy at house right now.


::Cravings::
  • Cereal - It has no real smell so it stomachable for me.
  • Watermelon - It sweet, cold, full of water and oh so delicious...need I say more?!

::Things I know for sure about this pregnancy, labor and delivery::
  • Savor the Moment - My pregnancy with Kaydence was fraught with worry. Due to a pretty devastating miscarriage only months before conceiving her that left me hospital bound for two days while I received blood transfusions due to massive hemorrhaging, I spent most of my first pregnancy wishing it was over. My pregnancy with Kameron was easier. With a successful pregnancy behind me, the fear that crippled me with the first pregnancy was gone. However, being a first time mother of a early toddler caused me to spend much of my time wrapped up in the baby that was outside of me, that my pregnancy with Kam seemed to be a blur. Time flew by quickly and before I knew it I was a mother of two. With this being our last pregnancy, I plan to savor the moments that I didn't with my other two. Realizing that I only have nine short months to grow this baby, to feel it move inside of me, to experience hiccups that aren't mine; I wont wish it to be finished sooner than it needs to be. Growing life is a privilege, an honor, and beautiful process. I don't want to rush this last experience because no matter how uncomfortable I get, it will inevitably come to and end. And when it does it will have been the last time.  
  • I will continue to run - It's my passion. It immediately takes me to my happy place; and now that I have been given the "all clear" to keep going, that's exactly what I intend to do. 
  • I will not let food control me - I allowed myself to gain far too much weight with my previous two pregnancies. Each pregnancy ended with a 50lb weight gain because I allowed pregnancy to be an excuse to over eat. While I am fully aware that I am not one of the fortunate few who have the body type that allows them to slip back into their 3rd grade pants only 6 weeks postpartum while having binged on apple pies ala mode the entire time, I sure could make loosing the extra baby weight easier if I didn't gain double the recommended pounds. I have busted my ass to get to where I am today from where I was two years ago and I will make sure to keep it that way. 
  • If all goes accordingly, I plan to finally have the natural birth I always wanted - This has been a desire of mine for all of my pregnancies; however, pitocin induced labors with both of my kiddos prevented this. That pitocin is no joke. Both of my labors were only 12 "short" hours and for both I made it 11 long hours with no pain medication...then eventually caved to the epidural only one hour before both were born. I do the labor thing pretty well, I am loud and unpleasant to be around but I know that without that pitocin I can manage that pain: I KNOW I can! I am also a master of pushing, never pushing more than five minutes (and that's with an epidural). I truly hope for an induction/pitocin free labor this go around, because it sure would make a natural labor and delivery much easier.
  • Placental Encapsulation - It's happening. I will not be pan searing my placenta and eating it with a side of mashed potatoes and asparagus for dinner; however, it will be dehydrated and turned into encapsulated pills that I will take daily with my prenatal vitamins and fish oil pills. The countless benefits - decreased risk of postpartum depression, increased milk production, pain relief, faster healing, reduction in postpartum bleeding, increased energy, etc - are worth every bit of the gross factor some people associate with it.
  • We will not be finding out the gender of this latest Tatum Tot - With us already having one boy and one girl, I do not have the burning urge to know the gender of this newest one. In fact, the idea of not knowing until he/she is born seems so much more exciting to me. And I look forward finding out the secret of this long awaited surprise in July. I am steadfast and very sure about this choice so no amount of convincing can/will change my mind.
  • Names - Names have been picked and are solid. I am thinking of having some sort of riddle guessing game to reveal the names closer to the due date. I may even include a special prize from Fulloveit Boutique for the winner. Still figuring out if and/or how we will reveal our names. More info later :-)

Well that is all for now folks. Next week we officially hit double digits! Until then...



27 November 2013

No Damsel in Distress

Today I got another "Oh jeeze, your that kind of a parent" stare when explaining to someone (after they asked) that I do not allow my daughter to watch Disney princess movies or play with barbies. This look is something I am used to at this point in my very short parenting journey, as I have come to understand that Kev and I have many parenting ideals that differ from mainstream society. 

I often times don't feel the need to explain the way I parent; However, the last few months have seemed like a constant barrage of questions and insulting comments. 

"You can't protect your child from everything."
"One little movie wont kill them."
"Your children are going to hate you."
"Why is your three year old rear facing?"
"You don't force your children to be vegetarian like you, do you?"
"Your children won't be able to handle the real world if you continue to shelter them."
etc, etc, etc......

While I know I can't protect my children from the world around them, I do know that during this short period of time while I can I plan to give them all of the necessary tools to face the harsh reality of life. And just because I can't protect them forever doesn't mean I need to ruin their innocence now.

One very real fact of life for my daughter is that many mainstream girl toys, TV programs and movies go against everything that I believe in. From the moment she wakes up in the morning to the moment she goes to bed at night, her very young spongy mind is soaking up everything from the world around her. She is learning her gender role from the models in her life, discovering her place in society from the people around her, and creating an image of who she is and who she is "supposed" to be by the images she sees.



I, as her mother, refuse to allow her to mold her self image from the unrealistic body types of Barbie, Bratz, and Monster High Dolls; and I will not allow the pitiful Disney Princess characters help to define her role in society. 

My daughter at only 3 years old is pure. She see's the body images of her mama, her grandma and her aunties and learns how to define these body figures from what she hears. To her, mama's stretch marks are beautiful, they are something earned from the hard work and dedication of growing life; not something to get rid of with creams and oils as shown in the commercials on the Disney Channel. She admires them, she runs her fingers over the scars and creases and always says how she looks forward to having "mama stripes" someday. While most of mainstream society and all Barbies have long flowy hair, Kaydence is seeing the beauty of short unruly hair in her mama.She is learning her role in society from the hardworking people around her. With daddy being home most of the day and mommy going to work, she sees that gender roles are not defined by the anatomy that just so happens to sit between your legs. She is learning to love her herself, flaws and all as Kevin and I remind her everyday how beautiful and intelligent she is. Her perceptions of the world and the people in them are all based on the real life in front of her, not the fantasy shown in movies and on TV. 



So, while I am fully aware that I cannot keep my little girl wrapped in the bubble I have made around her for her entire life; I will make damn sure that when someone finally does pokes their grubby little finger in that perfect little bubble, she will be ready to face whatever comes her way. So that when she finally does watch Cinderella, Tangled, Little Mermaid or Snow White that she is already aware of the real life gender roles (or lack thereof); So when society is highlighting her economic status she understands that she is already rich with love around her and  knows that money means nothing without it; So that when girls in school are wearing makeup at twelve years old and the billboards are showing size 0 models half dressed, she is already secure in the person she is; So that when she has kids someday and she finally earns those mama stripes, she wears them with pride. Because she has already been taught that life is nothing like what is depict in Disney Movies and her body image is not defined by what society deems "acceptable." She will have learned these morals, values, believes and self images well before Disney princess movies and Barbies were able to corrupt her vision and mind. 

My daughter will be no damsel in distress; no Cinderella, no Snow White, no Ariel. 

So all of you "Nay Sayers" who think I am over-protecting and controlling can take your Disney princess movies, Barbie Dolls and opinions and shove it! I've got this covered!


20 November 2013

{7 Weeks} with Baby #3

Today marks week 7 of this pregnancy with baby #3, and the first of my weekly pregnancy updates. I vlogged my pregnancy, labor & delivery with Kameron and I look forward to doing the same with this newest little Tatum Tot!

My first OB appointment is not until next Tuesday, so as of now I am making a good guesstimate as to my approximate weeks. Since my menstrual cycles lately are very regular, I feel confident that I am guessing correctly as to how far along I am.

So, onto the big question...Was this a planned pregnancy???

No. Kevin and I have had many conversations in regards to Baby #3. Having a third was originally never in our plans. We had always agreed that we only wanted two kiddos, enough to replace us and that was it! However, over the last two years Kev and I have slowly began to change our stance. Deciding that in a few years we would love to try for one more, when Kam was closer to the age of 4 and starting preschool. Since the kids birthdays are six months apart I thought that that a birthday somewhere in the middle of theirs (either April or October) would be perfect.

So, here we are two years before we wanted to start trying, with a due date only six days shy of Kaydence's birthday. So much for "plans" right?! :-)

I hadn't taken the news of my previous two "surprise" pregnancies very well. In fact, for both I cried like a baby and told my husband our life was over. He surprisingly handled the news of them well and seemed very excited from day one. I suspected I was pregnant this time on the fourth day of my (usually very regular) missed period. After the confirmation of a home pregnancy test, I knew that I wanted to announce this pregnancy, to my husband and everyone else, differently than I had in the past (i.e. no hysterical crying). So, I packed the kids up in the car and headed to the store in hopes of finding inspiration.

Hubby came home to this while I was passed out in the children's bedroom after putting them to sleep (foreshadowing of what was to come in the next week?).



For Kevin's Mom we invited her over for dinner than proceeded to take a picture of her while telling her on the count of three to say "Sunie's Pregnant...Again." Love the candid shots of her reaction :-)

Micheal thought we were joking, he wasn't buying it :-)


For the rest of our family and the world we did a "Cooking" Pregnancy Announcement Video. Click Here to watch; and a blog Click Here.


:: Symptoms ::
  • Nausea - Holy mother of nausea!!! This is new for me. I vaguely remember this being a small problem in my pregnancy with Kameron, but never have I experienced it this bad; and I am only 7 weeks into this journey!  Currently my biggest trigger is the smell of anything cooked. I can't stand the smell of cooked food! Needless-to-say, it has been a almond butter and jelly sandwich/cereal kind of night in our home for three days straight so far!
  • Fatigue - I was tired these early weeks with both of my previous pregnancies, but I think I am half comatose right now. Every night for two weeks I have fallen asleep while putting my kids to bed at 7pm and have slept through the night only to wake up and muddle my way through the day as though I hadn't slept at all! My energy levels are low and I can only hope that this phase will pass sooner rather than later so I can start running again!

:: Cravings ::
  • As of now I don't really have any cravings. I suspect the nausea has a lot to do with my lack of want for food.

:: Total Weight Gain ::
  • 0lbs! This is big for me. I am known to transform into a whale during pregnancy and I am working hard to combat the excessive weight gain this pregnancy. No weight gain is needed for the first trimester and so far so good! Hopefully, this extreme fatigue fades soon and the doctor will give me the all clear next week to start running again. Fingers Crossed!

Well, until next week...



14 November 2013

{Running for Two} Part 1

(Written November 11, 2013)

Yesterday I ran the National Veterans Day 11k. I originally signed up for this race three weeks ago as a way to get myself motivated and running again. I had been on somewhat of a hiatus, partly due to my busy schedule but mostly due to pure laziness. With that said my last run was a short 6.5 mile run on September 27th. Seeing as though I am only 5.5 weeks pregnant, yesterdays 11k would make it not only the first time I ran in over a month, but also my first run while pregnant. Since finding out I was pregnant 11 days ago I have been doing a lot of research in regards to running while pregnant. Everything has told me that as an experienced runner I am find to continue; I just need to listen to my body, eat healthy, stay hydrated and don't allow myself to become overheated.

So when showing up to the star line on race day I really had no clue what to expect. With this being my third pregnancy, I knew that being barely pregnant meant nothing. In fact, it is these first few months when my body is experiencing the most changes. So I had no expectation of time or even finishing for that matter.

So lets get some things straight. I am an average runner. I always finish right in the middle of all of my races. This is OK with me, I don't mind being average. I never run to be the fastest or to win; I run to participate. I love races, and while I very much dislike running with a partner, I do love the feeling of running in a crowd and being with people who enjoy this sport as much as I do. I enjoy the feeling of staring a race with an end goal in mind and crossing the finish line knowing I have achieved that goal.

Running is my niche. I am good at it and I honestly enjoy it. Yesterdays race only solidified these feelings. From start to finish running for two felt great. I couldn't even tell that it had been over a month since I ran, let alone that there were two of us on this race. While my mind was feeling good about this run my heart rate was screaming something different. I truly felt like a was putting very little effort into this run but my heart rate maintained a whooping 190+ bmp. This is outrageous considering my resting heart rate is a consistent 60bmp (a true runner's heart rate). I scaled back my running to what felt like the pace of a turtle and trusting my mama instincts...I kept going. Having experienced  a devastating miscarriage in the past, I felt confident in my instincts of knowing if something was wrong. I felt good and I knew deep down that baby was well also. I pushed through with ease, and crossed the finish line feeling wonderful.

Post race, I must admit, I was tired. Upon arriving home I was extremely fatigued and slept for 3 hours after a nice warm shower. The effect of growing life and running long distance was clear, I was exhausted!
My first OB appointment is at the end of this months around my 8 week mark. With my high heart rate I plan to take things easy, sticking with walks and the the elliptical until talking to the doctor in a few weeks. But unless told otherwise running for two feels great and I plan to continue throughout the remainder of this pregnancy.


09 November 2013

Halloween 2013

What were the kids for Halloween? 





Meet Little Bo Peep and her (not so lost) Sheep!


Dating Your Kids

Today I had some special one-on-one time with each of the kids. Something that Kev and I try to do often, whether it be taking one of the kids to the grocery store with us or actually making a conscious effort to do something special with each one of them. However, with the hustle and bustle of life it easy to get stuck in a routine. With mine and Kev's opposing schedules these days, it leaves it hard for us to create this much needed one-on-one time. So today was one of those days where I basked in the special time that I was able to create with each child.

Kaydence and I spent an hour at the Library, Kaydence's favorite place these days. We roamed the shelves of the children section sitting and reading books out-loud and adding more and more books to our ever growing pile to be checked out. Kaydence loves reading; but her love for books runs deeper than the words on the pages. I watch her as she smiles when we enter the library and my heart smiles as I watch my three year old run her hands down the spine of books; taking in their feel and smell unable to hide her passion for the pages of paper with stories that take her to imaginary places she'd never dreamt of. She has always listened intently to books and at three is moving into books well past her age level. With the growing age of technology I fear that paper books will someday become a thing of the past and I can see that books are more than words for my girl. She needs to hold, to touch, to feel, to have these paper copies and I make it my personal mission to make sure she will have and abundant collection of classics and new stories in paper versions to keep forever.



My sweet blue eyed boy has croup. His deep "seal" like cough breaks my heart. Kam, unlike his sister, is not a cuddly, sweet sick child. He becomes grumpy and fits become frequent when he is ill. Today I did all that I could to soothe him but he is just plain unhappy and it is heard in his raspy intake of air, his forceful coughs and his grumpy demeanor. So tonight, under the urging of my husband, Kam and I took some special one-on-one time. For the first time ever since having my son, I took a warm relaxing bath with him. I bathed often with Kaydence before her brother was born. It was something that was a part of our schedule. However, when Kam was born the added chaos of having two meant not only did I not bathe with the kids, I didn't bathe at all. I have taken plenty of quick showers with both of the kids, mostly out of convenience and time efficiency; but it wasn't until I sat in the bath tonight with my sweet, sick boy that I realized I had never done this with him. Bath time is his favorite. He could spend hours in the bath splashing, pouring, coloring and playing. As I sat laughing and playing with my sweet boy I realized that I had let to much time go by without doing this. So I soaked up every minute of this first for us, teaching him how to kick his legs when swimming, splashing water everywhere and and just relaxing; just the two of us.



I love these special one-on-one times with my kids. Time spent fully embracing each child and their individual needs and wants. With baby #3 on the way I want my kids to know how much I love all three of them equally but I also want them to know how much I love each one of them individually! It is easy to get wrapped up in the ebb and flow of life, especially when you have more than one child. However it is important to make sure that you date your children, because like your spouse these very different and distinct relationships need their quality time to grow and flourish!



24 October 2013

::Confessions:: Eating Crow

(Written  Friday, October 18, 2013)

::Confession::

I don't like inviting new people into old traditions. It bothers me. I am a creature of habit, structure and continuity (for the most part). 

I want my traditions to be the same. Kev and I have only established a few traditions thus far in our life and while there will be more (this I am sure of) as our life progresses, right now our traditions are limited. The kids will always receive a chocolate orange in their Christmas stocking each year, and wake up to a room full of balloons on the morning of their birthday. Each year we will go to the Lovely Bee's & Tree's for hot cider, fresh honey and a one of a kind Christmas ornaments; and every October our little family will venture to Maris Farms, the best pumpkin patch in all of Western Washington!



And last weekend that is exactly what we did. Fall is my favorite time of the year and nothing says Fall more than a pumpkin patch. So as we drew closer to the middle of the month my anticipation for pumpkin picking and cow train riding grew stronger. Last weekend we dressed the kids up in their pumpkin patch outfits (because I just can't help myself), and headed south for our third annual Maris Farms Pumpkin Patch picking trip...with six extra people. I must admit, I wasn't thrilled at this prospect when it was first presented to me. I loved dearly everyone who wanted to join but my antisocial, tradition loving heart said that this just wasn't right. 























We always go, just the four of us, on a weekday when it is peaceful and quite. There is never any objections to what we want to do and we move freely as we please. This is how it supposed to be and this is how it always has been. So the thought of going on a busy weekend with six extra people pulling us in different directions didn't sit well with me. But the next two weeks before Halloween for us were full, and if we were going at all this year it would have to do now. So I swallowed my pride, bit my lip, smiled as though it didn't bother me, and made Kevin promise that next year it would only be us; the way it should be.

Boy am I eating crow!

The previous two years at Maris was perfect for our little family of 3 and then 4. The kids were babies and and having the run of the place was perfect for them. But this year was different. I now have a preschooler and toddler and with their growing age comes a new found freedom; for them and us. This year was different, it was alive, upbeat and fun; and having our extra family there was perfect. The kids ran and played. Kaydence rode a pony for the first time and Kam took his first ride in the cow train. Kev and I had more freedom to enjoy the farm just as much as the kids, as there were others to keep an eye on our little ones. Kev and I regressed in age and enjoyed the activities and attractions made for children and adults alike. We were kids again, sliding down the underground slide and running back to the top of the hill for more. We ate fruit loop kettle corn and funnel cakes with no regrets, and bathed in giant pits of corn kernels. The company was great, the conversation fun, and the memories amazing. And as we pushed our wheelbarrows of pumpkins back to our individual vehicles after hours of fun I couldn't help but feel a little ashamed of my earlier feelings. I had had such a great time it seemed so silly that I been worried in the first place.


           






                    


























 And at that point I realized that SOME traditions can be just as great with more people and adaptations, you just need to change your perspective on how you view these experiences.



Thank you to our lovely personal photographer, Karen, who captured so many amazing memories for us. We love you bear!