Weekend snow trip

We decided to spend this past weekend enjoying the snow (even though it is officially spring ๐Ÿ˜‰). We headed up towards Lake Tahoe but we didn’t actually need to go that far. A little past Pollock Pines off of HWY 50 we got snowed on. We even found a nice little hill that the kids and I went sledding down. I have to say living in Northern California does have its perks.

Snorkeling in Oahu

There’s a lot of options to chose from and it can be hard to chose which is the best fit for you/family. I typically rely on reviews and of course if the package/company fits our budget. For our snorkeling trip I went with Eo Wai’anae Tours. Our tour came with a meal & snacks. The total cost was $500. I booked it with a discount using a discount code they advertised on their website. The only downside to our tour was that I got sea sick (which of course is not fault of Eo Wai’anae. Now, I didn’t know this going into our tour. The last time I went snorkeling was when I was pregnant and so I honestly thought it was due to the pregnancy hormones causing havoc on me that triggered getting sick on the boat ride. Well, this time around I am surely not preggo, so now I know I get sea sick. Next time around I’ll be prepared with anti-nausea medicine. Anyhow, the Captain and her staff were great and friendly! The Captain would stop the ship if she saw sea life along the way. We saw a baby whale and it’s mum, some sea turtles, and pod of spinner dolphins which we got a chance to encounter up close while in the ocean snorkeling. My husband told me that they literally came within 3 feet of him and that our guide was really nervous because that was a first for her for them to get so close. Because hubby was busy with our 3 older kids, I was on baby duty but the Captain was kind of enough to take baby so I could have some time to snorkel and swim with the dolphins. I didn’t last long though because I started getting nauseous in the water. I ending up puking majority of the boat ride ๐Ÿ˜ฆ and at one point while hubby was in the water with the kids, I started feeling sick while holding Zakiyah, but the Captain came to my rescue and took her until hubby came back on board. Of course this is all TMI, but it just goes to show how kind the staff are.

They definitely have the ohana vibe going strong!

Luau – Oahu style

During our stay in Oahu we couldn’t pass up the chance to attend a luau. We were originally scheduled to do Diamond Head, but I followed my gut extinct and went with Paradise Cove Luau instead and I am so glad we did! We paid for the delux package which pricey but the staff did such a great job of providing VIP service. Our luau experience hands down was way better than the one we attended in Maui. I would definitely recommend Paradise Cove and if in your budget, upgrading to delux is well worth the experience.

My journey

When I decided to go back to grad school (again) it was at the time more about checking off an item that I had on my life’s bucket list. It of course has since than evolved into so much more. A spiritual & emotional journey to say the least. To be honest, I held off the program for so long because I wasn’t in the right emotional and physical space to begin a marriage and family therapy program. From my experience, many of the healers I’ve encountered in my program and in the field have been wounded themselves, survivors of various forms of trauma. They find themselves in the field as a way to help others. It’s really a beautiful thing to see unfold. Which leads me to my next point that it’s so important to process through your own set of demons before attempting to help others. And just in general, to grow as a human being, emotionally. Now that I’m in my practicum component of the program, I’m starting to narrow down my niche. What’s my target population I want to serve. And it’s becoming more apparent as time moves on. I want to help victims of trauma. Help them shed their feelings of unwanted shame and give birth to a person with untapped potential to be the best version of themselves. I came across this article that I found so insightful and thought I’d share.

โ€œThe act of releasing your shame is โ€“ in itself โ€“ healing. So I went back to people I trusted, and I began to talk about what had happened to me when I was younger. Far from shaming me, far from thinking it showed I was broken, they showed love, and helped me to grieve for what I had gone through.โ€

City on a hill

I love San Francisco! The hustle and bustle of the city. This past weekend we decided to take trip to the city for some Mac n cheese! Yup, just to have some Mac n cheese ๐Ÿ™‚ But not just any Mac n cheese… we originally were going to eat at Mac’D but than once I yelped it I came across Mac Daddy and I decided on the later! The kids and hubby liked it so that’s a plus. Mac Daddy was a bit tight in terms of space, but we managed to all fit, we just took up the only table space available. The rest of the seating was at their bar. The waiter was nice and attentive. I really liked their Goat Mac! Once we were done we decided to stroll down the block to Farley’s for some coffee. Cutest little coffee shop and my kids were so awed by the type writer lol (didn’t realize those still existed) surprisingly I still knew how to use one! Hubby admitted that their coffee was pretty strong but than again he did have 3 shots in his!

Breastfeeding Journey

Let me start with saying that just because someone has multiple kids, one never really becomes a pro at being a mother/parent. Every kid is different, with their unique personality and to apply a blanket approach to parenting would be unfair to the child. While some things get easier over time, like what to do when they are sick, or what to expect at developmental milestones, with the advancement of technology and through technology, I have learned new ways in how I can improve my parenting skills, and breastfeeding is not exempt from one of those improvements. With my eldest, I didn’t breastfeed. Honestly, there wasn’t much of a push to breastfeed by my OB or by the hospital staff. There also wasn’t a wealth of information circulating that highlighted the benefits of breast-milk. I also didn’t have support in the hospital with getting her to latch. I was 19 when I had her, so combine all those things together I found myself lacking the confidence, education, and support to successfully breastfeed her. With my son, I wanted to breastfeed. I had learned of the benefits and I was ready to go, but he wouldn’t latch and I didn’t have a lot of hands on support while in the hospital to help me in getting the latching part down. So I expressed my milk for the first few months. Any than, one day, while in the doctors office while waiting, he got fussy and hungry, the bottle of formula milk was cold, and so hubby suggested I offer the breast. And miraculously, he latched! I eventually weaned him off at 9 months after he bit me during a feeding! With my third, I did a combo of breastfeeding, expressing milk, and formula. Now with Zakiyah, I would say my breastfeeding journey has been the most successful. And I would have to say it’s a result of various factors. I struggled with getting her to latch while in the hospital, but my nurses were amazing in helping me in get the hang of breastfeeding again. I mean, it had been 8 years since I breastfeed a baby! They would come in every few hours during the first 24 hours to make sure she feeding and help me with making sure she was latching. When we were discharged, because Zakiyah was borderline jaundice we had to go back everyday to have her blood levels checked. As a result, while in the newborn clinic, I had the additional support of the lactation consultants to help me transition from hospital to home. I also had the power of the internet when it came to other things, like finding ways to increase my milk supply. Up until Zakiyah, I had never known that there were supplements you could take to increase your breast-milk! The fact that my insurance provided a hospital grade breast-pump for the first 60 days for free was awesome. I also got a free one to keep, which I currently use, since I express milk while at work and school. Thankfully, at work, I can shut my door to express my milk, but if you don’t have your own office, just know you have the right to have a space provided to you to be able to pump. With grad school classes in the evenings, I reached out to my university school counselor and let him know I needed a place to pump (closed mouths don’t get fed!) I was able to get a designated empty classroom on the nights I have class. Having a supportive environment and advocating for my needs has been crucial in making sure that when I am away from Zakiyah for hours at a time that my milk supply isn’t impacted.

If there’s any advice I can share, it’s seek help and advocate for your needs! Breastfeeding can be difficult and frustrating in the beginning. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get baby to latch right away! It can take time, be patient with yourself and lend yourself some grace ๐Ÿ™‚

Below are some products I came across during my breastfeeding journey that I found extremely helpful and thought I’d share.

I freeze all the milk I express. I started to finally get a nice little stash and needed better organization in my freezer. I found this milk storage organizer helpful.

When it comes to breast-milk storage bags, they are not all created equal. I really Dr. Brown milk-storage bags & Lansinoh (so far). Targets brand is a cheaper alternative.

I prefer Dr. Brown and Lansinoh because the bags are pre-sterilized (individually sealed) and the bags feel much more durable in comparison to other brands like NUK milk storage bags and can hold up well in the freezer. Even Target’s brand measures up pretty well; they are individually sealed, and a cheaper alternative to name brand milk storage bags.

Because I pump at work, and don’t have a sterilizer, and I’m somewhat of a germaphobic, I picked up the Medela steam bags. After I pump, I wash my pumping gear and place in the steam bags for a minute a half. Super easy and convenient, and gives me piece of mind that my stuff is clean.

If you don’t have access to a microwave, Medela makes wipes as an alternative to cleaning your pump accessories. I used them before switching over to the steam bags.

Dose of Encouragement

To all the folks back in school, whether itโ€™s grad school or youโ€™re going back to finish up your undergraduate degree. Keep pushing and grinding ๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿผ I literally thought to myself today, wtf are you doing Tisha. Like, I really didnโ€™t need another degree, let alone one that has an internship component and licensure requirements by the state. The devil was really trying to get me down. Than I met with a few people today that reminded why Iโ€™m back in school and that you should never give up on a dream. Because if you do, youโ€™re giving up on yourself. So I told the devil to shut up. I ainโ€™t got time for his bs ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿผ #byefelicia

So if you needed a dose of encouragement, here I am. Rooting you on. Rooting us both on. You + me + we got this!

P.s., I’m back in grad school working on becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Shark Fin Cove

A tucked away gem! On a sun shining warm day it’s a perfect get away. Best time to go is during the week where hopefully you’ll miss the crowds. The water is cold even on a 90 degree day, so if you want to swim or boogie board I’d recommend a wet suit. I’ve boogie boarded without one and lasted 30 minutes with frequent breaks in between. I just entered Shark Fin Cove into my google map and it lead the way. It’s located off of Highway 1 in Davenport.

Beach Camping

Is not for the faint at heart! It sounds beautiful and enchanting but there’s a lot to it! I’m also not one for camping in harsh elements so maybe you should take my opinion with a grain of salt ๐Ÿ˜‰

When we went beach camping I was 7 months pregnant! I’d say overall, it was a fun experience but be warned depending on where you go you may find yourself in a sand storm! We went to Oceano Dunes, SRV (not to be confused with Pismo Beach campground but is in the same proximity) last year the weekend of 4th of July & the weather was amazing (for the most part). We arrived Friday evening (bad mistake) because we found ourselves trying to set up our tent in the dark! At the time we went we also didn’t have an all wheel drive or four wheel vehicle so we were limited in how far up we could drive up. Between the sand dunes and the tide is the area where you camp. You can block the wind with your vehicle to help when winds pick up but unfortunately our truck couldn’t get through the sand without getting stuck. We have an AWD SUV now so if went back it may not be so bad. Saturday we got hit with a sandstorm and it sucked! I had my kids, my friends kid, because they went to pickup the ATV’s, and our dogs! We were so miserable because the sand whipped through our tents! There was so much sand in our tent afterwards! I thankfully brought a broom AND and hand held vacuum cleaner lol! Other than the sand storm and getting little bit of sand in our food on occasion (because it will happen) waking up to the sounds of the ocean was pretty amazing! Downside of where we camped is that we had Porto potties and they weren’t cleaned or emptied on a daily basis and considering that it was a holiday weekend with lots of people you would have thought they would be more on it. They did have vault bathrooms if you drove farther down the beach which we used a few times because they were cleaner. The beach was dog friendly and my dog loved diving into the waves. I’m not a morning person but I found myself waking up before anyone else (5ish) and taking my dog Max out for a walk along the beach. My friends prefer this specific campground because of the sand dunes which are perfect for ATVs. The campground isn’t strict either so if you have a large rowdy group it’s ideal. If you want peace and quite and call it a night at 9pm this is NOT the site for you! While I do plan on doing beach camping again it will be with an RV because we have an infant and it can provide much more comfort!

Traveling to Oahu on a budget

7651050304_img_3068So this post is going to be multi-part. I’ll be adding to it as I finalize our trip to O’ahu. We leave in 1 month and will be staying in Waikiki for 2 weeks! I booked our condo through Redawning vacation rentals. It’s in the heart of Waikiki, with plenty of amenities and can fit my whole tribe and it cost $2,000 total. No resort fees and free parking! I’ve booked through Redawning before and had a great experience so hopefully it pans out the same this time around! I’ll keep y’all posted. I’ve also booked our snorkeling trip. I booked it through Eo Waianae Tours, and even scored 30% off our snorkeling package which included lunch & is baby friendly, for a total of $500. Our luau is booked through Diamond Head Lลซ’au. Unfortunately there was no discount. If you guys know of a better option for a Lลซ’au in O’ahu let me know! I do want it to be beach front which is why I passed on the Polynesian Cultural Center. I had originally purchased GoCards sold by SmartDestinations but found I wasn’t saving any money at all. They only allow use of your 3, 5, or 7 day pass on 1 premium activity which sucks because the two main events we wanted was a Lลซ’au and snorkeling. Which after all is said and done, the Lลซ’au and snorkeling trip cost the same amount as the GoCards (each person has to have a GoCard, kids are discounted and my teen is treated as an adult). They did have a snorkeling option that wasn’t premium but it is self guided at Hanauma Bay. I would highly recommend a guided one where you get to go out to sea (hopefully in calm waters) that has lunch & snacks provided. It’s well worth the cost especially if your going as a family with little ones who get hungry and cranky if they don’t eat! So far our trip is just under 5k, which includes airfare, lodging, 2 main activities, and car rental. I would say not shabby considering we are staying for 2 weeks! Our condo does have a full kitchen which we plan on utilizing to help offset costs but we do plan on enjoying the food scene while out there! I plan on updating this post to give you a more accurate reflection of what our total costs were and my experience with the vendors we used, though that may be a separate blog post altogether ๐Ÿ˜‰

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