Weekend snow trip

We decided to spend this past weekend enjoying the snow (even though it is officially spring 😉). 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 😦 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.

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 🙂 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 🙂

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.

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 😉

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!

Let it Snow

My favorite time of year to visit Lake Tahoe is by far winter! It’s a 2 hour drive from where we live and we pass through the city where in my in laws live so we get a chance to fit in a visit with them too. Tahoe is also beautiful during the summer but in the winter when we get good levels of snow it transforms into a winter wonderland! I’ll never forget last winter when we spent every weekend up there in December and January.  The snow levels along parts of the highway were 20ft high with some people pulling over to go skiing! This year I didn’t get a chance to spend as much time that way because we just had Zakiyah but the snow isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so we do plan on heading back that way soon! These photos are from last year and our recent visit from Thanksgiving weekend.