amazing mom contributor, family, parenting, summer camp, Uncategorized

Before and After Kids—Camp Experience

I admit, before I had kids, my thoughts about parenting and raising kids was set in stone. It is always easier to think your way would be better than others.  Then reality hits and you actually have kids and things are not how you imagined it would be.

Recently, my two oldest sons spent a week at summer camp. I highly encouraged, ok ok, made them go… since they had no inclination to go themselves.  Eric and I talked about the wonderful experience and how much fun they would have and the friends they would make while at camp.  Eric and I both had the opportunity to go to summer camp when we were younger and talked about what we did and how we would go back if we could.  Of course, they still dragged their feet and feigned sickness as the day came closer.  And when the time came to drop them off, I was sad because the drop off was so “sudden.”  No chance to walk around the camp, to see their cabins where they would be sleeping, the cafeteria, where they would be eating or the beach where they would be swimming.  I didn’t have the opportunity to give them a hug.  Eric hurriedly ushered me awaits saying  “I didn’t want the camp staff thinking I was “that mom.”

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While they were gone, I thought about them; were they having fun? What did they eat? Did they sleep ok?  I would get teary eyed when reading the email Eric sent them.  It also made me think about what I used to think before I had kids.  I have to admit; pre kids- I may have been judgmental towards parents; thinking how could they send their kids off to summer camp. How could they send their kids away?  Didn’t they want to spend time with their kids?  I wondered if their children were affected by spending all this time away from their parents. Were they traumatized knowing their parents didn’t want to spend the Summer with them.  Obviously, my times away at camp were forgotten during my judgement. 😉

When we picked up the boys, they talked about how much fun they had. They were able to go swimming, canoeing, played games and they even said how much they liked singing camp songs!  My boys said the food was good and was impressed by showers where pull down ropes made the water come out.  They both spoke about the friends they made. 

The oldest had the chance to go canoeing and then spend the night in the woods in tents. He talked about how gross the boy’s outhouse was so they all used the girl’s outhouse.

The conversations and shared experiences did not end there. The boys sang the camp songs to their siblings and talked about their counselors and recited all their names.

The best part; they admitted they want to go back next year.

(Yes! right decision made by Eric and myself!)

As they talked, I thought about how wrong I was thinking parents were selfish for sending their kids to summer camp. With kids of my own, and having to work during their summer vacation, I realize summer camp is not only a time for kids to have fun, make new friends and enjoy new experiences.  Summer camp is an opportunity for parents to work. Not every parent has the luxury being able to take their summer off to spend with their kids.  Parents have to find alternatives to school, and childcare has to be made so parents can work and pay the bills.  Summer camp gives parents a sense of peace of mind knowing their kids are safe and having fun.

My eyes have opened now and I offer a heartfelt apology to all those parents I judged before I actually had to walk in your shoes. Summer camp is a great chance for kids to have fun and experience summer like a kid. 

If you get the chance to send your kids to camp, please do.

Your kids will thank you for the memories.

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By : Kristine Walton

Wife/Mother of 5/Registered Nurse

Contact Kristine @kd_2426@Hotmail.com

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family, pregnancy, Uncategorized

A Different Kind Of Perfect

As a mother of 5 children, I look back and realize I never had a plan on how many children I wanted. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I thought about child bearing as most people with common sense do.

Kids are expensive.
How will we pay for college?
I’m too old to have kids.
What about work?
Our house isn’t big enough.

And the list can go on and on. If I had thought about all those things and planned ahead, my life would not be as adventurous, as noisy, as joyful or as loving as it is now. I could not imagine my life without having my 4 boys and my baby girl.

It’s true when people say the hardest transition is going from one child to two. It’s like you’ve become used to the daily routine but the second child is thrown in the mix, and life has somehow become chaotic multiple times over. When I learned I was having another son, I will admit I was a little disappointed. You always hear how perfect having a boy and girl is–and who doesn’t want perfection? I should have already learned perfection doesn’t exist when I entered my home. Toys, baby things–who know there could be so MANY baby items?! I found out I was pregnant again shortly after my second son. I was that 1% that breastfeeding was not an effective method of birth control. I’m not going to lie when I say I was stunned and a little scared. And then I found out the baby was a boy. I did cry during the ultrasound. And then he came along and couldn’t be more loving. After finding the 4th baby was yet another boy, I told my husband, he failed his wedding contract to give me a little girl. I had decided that we weren’t meant to have a girl. Boys were in the stars; which was fine because I was not a girly girl. Make up? Dresses? High heels? Jewelry? What were these things and how are they used?! My favorite outfit were scrubs.

Our family, our boys were fun, loving and loud. Quite often dinner somehow never happened, laundry was abundant and there was always an errand that was always put on hold. My home wasn’t perfect and did not look perfect. But who am I kidding?! I looked like a hot mess. But did I? Because most days, I didn’t even look in the mirror. I realized this when my coworker politely asked me if my skirt was inside out and horrified I quickly went to the bathroom and redressed in the light. I don’t even know when I last showered. I gave up on going to the bathroom by myself.

I would go to parties and watch my boys be boys-loud, rough, running around, beating each other with whatever they could find but laughing the whole time. I would then watch the girls sitting quietly, coloring and playing with dolls. I thought, how nice, I bet that house is quiet.

One week before Eric was scheduled for the big snip–a vasectomy; I found out I was pregnant! Dear Lord, I’m about to have 5 boys! I’ve already read all the blogs about “moms of boys” how having boys were a special blessing. Yes, if that blessing was watching your kids be daredevils and jumping off things that make your heart stop and wrestling and playing so hard that they say it hurts. But you’re laughing and it hurts?! At my ultrasound, I found out the baby was a girl. I didn’t believe it. My family and friends were ecstatic. When I delivered, the first thing I did was look between her legs. YES! A girl!

Gianna has added a whole new dimension to our family. She is the ultimate girl but who also wants to wrestle with her brothers. She still runs around, climbs, jumps and is the loudest in the family! She bosses her brothers around, they in turn tease her but they watch out for her and attend to her needs. Eric is wrapped around her little finger and with a kiss she can get him to do most anything. For me, as a mother who has a girl, there is a relationship that is different than the boys. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them all the same. But a girl makes you a little more gentle, a little more patient, and a little more self aware of being a woman. You teach her how girls should be treated. You teach her to accept her body type because you accept your extra lumps and bumps. She learns that being cute or pretty is not enough. Girls are also smart, funny and strong. Girls can conquer the world. My daughter will know that she can be a wonderfully powerful force and nothing can stop her in this life.

 

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Kristine Walton ,RN, BSN

Wife/Mother of 5/Registered Nurse

Contact Kristine @

kd_2426@Hotmail.com

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labor and delivery, pregnancy, Uncategorized

Amazing Pregnancy Lessons for #2 from a Mom of 5

My first pregnancy was perfect. My labor experience came straight out of a text book.  My delivery was a breeze.  Because I did what I was supposed to and everything came out fine, I thought, “Ehhh, I can let go a little bit.”

 

My first indulgence was drinking my beloved Coca Cola. Now I didn’t go hog wild, I drank 1 20oz bottle a day.  My child is now 10 years old and he is probably the most hyper of my kids.  So my immediate take away Lesson #1. When the nurse and doctor recommend not eating or drinking something during pregnancy, listen. There’s a reason why there are diet and food restrictions. They tell you to limit caffeine. Now I know why.

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I also didn’t eat as healthy. I ate more junk food.  I did gain the recommended weight gain of 25-30 lbs but the difference came in my baby’s birth weight.  My first baby weighed 8lbs 5oz and my second baby weighed 7lbs.  A significant difference.  Lesson #2. The foods and drinks you put in your body affect your baby’s development and health.

 

I found it harder to take naps with a toddler at home and still working 12 hour shifts. I found myself being tired more easily and probably a little bit more irritable–or so my husband says.

Lesson #3. Learn to take naps.  If you have a toddler, take a nap when they nap.  The chores can wait.  Remember, you’re making a baby and that takes energy.

 

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One day, my water broke. I was confused. I wasn’t have contractions, how can my water break? I called my doctor (her number was again posted on my fridge).  She told me to go to labor and delivery and be evaluated.  It was determined my water indeed broke and I won a stay in the hospital. I asked if I could go home until I started having contractions.  I was told,”No, your water broke and we need to monitor you.” Lesson #3.  Once your water breaks, you will probably be admitted to monitor the progress of your labor.  If labor does not progress after 24 hours, the chances of an infection increases.  Your baby was kept safe inside your uterus protected by the amniotic fluid and your mucous plug.  Once those walls of safety are gone, bacteria can more easily enter and cause an infection.  I started walking once again, hoping to start my labor.  When I had a cervical check, I anticipated 6-7 cm, the nurse told me I was an outstanding 3 cm!? WHAT?! I told my husband, we’re going to be here forever!

 

I started walking, again. I started feeling those twinges but nothing that told me I was anywhere close to delivering. This time, I was able to eat dinner alongside my husband.  Unlike him, I wasn’t overly thrilled.  My nurse came back and monitored my baby with a Doppler.  Lesson #4. If you are having a low risk pregnancy, your baby can probably be monitored with a Doppler that checks on the baby’s heart beat to make sure it is not too slow or too fast.  You don’t necessarily have to hooked up to those huge monitors and be confined to bed.

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It was getting close to 12 hours since my water broke. My nurse said if my labor doesn’t start soon, I would have to be induced.  She suggested using a breast pump.  Yes! The same breast pump you use for pumping milk.  She said the nipple stimulation can start your contractions.  I used the breast pump for 10-15 minutes each side.  Afterwards, I felt my contraction!

Lesson #5. Again, listen to your nurse.  She knows what she’s doing.  I was checked again and still 3 cm dilated.  It is now 3am!!  I predicted I would be in labor for another 6-7 hours.  Sad face emoji.

 

As my contractions continued, they became stronger. So strong I wondered how I did this medication free with my first one.  I was confined to being balled up in my bed.  I was on the brink of giving into the relief of pain medication when my nurse came back at 5am to check me again.  She came back up proclaiming, “Oh my! You’re already 10 cm! I need to call your doctor!” The doctor on call came in and told me my doctor was on her way.  I said, “I feel like I have to push.” The nurse said, don’t push yet.  Excuse me?!  How can I not push when I feel this huge urge to push?!  I was told to breathe.  So I breathed.  It did help.  If you’re breathing, you literally can not push. Try it. Lesson #6. If they say you’re not ready to push yet for whatever reason, breath.  HeHeHe. Puff puff puff. Whatever is easier for you.

 

My baby came a little after 5am. Eric was able to cut the umbilical cord this time.  Again that feeling of overwhelming love.  Again, Eric held his second son throughout the night. 

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When our first son came to visit the next day, there was a gift for him from his baby brother. Lesson #7. It is a cute idea to give a gift for your first child from his sibling.  It lets your first child know, they will not be left out with a new arrival.  Let them help in a capacity that is appropriate for their age.

 

Breast feeding was painful. What was I doing wrong? I endured the pain.  Pain that made my toes curl with each feed.  I started bleeding. I wanted to give up.  Then I called the lactation consultant.  She told me to come in so she could see what I was doing.  She cringed when she saw me.  I put my baby to breast and felt the familiar pain.  The lactation consultant, without breaking the latch, adjusted my arms and miraculously the pain instantly disappeared. I looked amazed because she explained what was wrong.  I could have cried because I didn’t have to give up and it was so easy when I had help. Lesson #8.  Get help with breastfeeding.  That’s why there are nurses and lactation consultants–they there to help.  Know community resources available for breast feeding help and/or support.

 

 

 

Though my second pregnancy experience was not perfect and there were a few hiccups along the way, I learned to accept help. I learned how to manage 2 young boys, maybe not perfectly. They were beautiful, lovable boys.  They were my sons.  I was enjoying my life and I didn’t even know my third one was coming soon.

 

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Kristine Walton, RN, BSN

Wife/Mother of 5/ Registered Nurse

Contact Kristine @ kkd_2426@Hotmail.com

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family, Uncategorized

Wednesday’s with the Waltons

“Introducing the Walton’s.  The Walton’s will be sharing their adventures of 2 quirky no-nonsense parents and 5 adorable children; one who is a real princess. Stop by on Wednesday to read about their adventures on parenting, pregnancy and raising 5 children”

*Disclaimer- as a mother of 1- I may disagree with some of her statements image

 

Being a full time working mother of 5 children, I have very little empathy for parents who complain about their hectic, chaotic lives with 1 or 2 children. Please, come to my house with 4 active boys and a girl who truly believes she is a princess.

Enter the Walton house where 5 lovely, rambunctious children will greet you at the door with their laughter, if you’re lucky, or their screams of madness if you come on a bad day. But picture our day at 6am when the kids are waking up, slowly and begrudgingly.  The princess somehow found her way to my bed and is stretched out the long way across my bed looking like a cat in a window bathing in sunlight.

In my own bathroom, I have to maneuver around kids and husband. Am I irritated? Yes. Yes I am.  But let me point out that the boys have a bathroom of their own.  I don’t want 10 toothbrushes, 3 tubes of toothpaste with no tops and toothpaste residue on my counter, sinks and mirror! Can I scream on the inside?  The princess is running away from me trying to hide her comb because “combs are mean.”  She starts crying because, “This is torture! I’m just a kid!” and her daddy is the hero because he patiently holds her hand through this process and all I can do is roll my eyes and allow another internal scream.

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I’m getting lunches, helping kids find matching socks in our version of Mount Rushmore of Lost Socks. I have a glimmer of hope that the other matching pair will be found somehow, somewhere.  I swear my kids who normally can’t sit still are moving like snails stuck in molasses.  And it’s only 6:25am.  My husband now has the kids for school. And I can relax and go to work.

Homework, dinner and bedtime can be a night that never ends. The kids have chores after dinner and no matter how long they have had this job, every night they act like it’s brand new to them.  One turns the vacuum on but then stands there for 10 minutes hoping we’re not paying attention and then turns the vacuum off.  Yes, son, you need to move the vacuum around to pick up the food that has fallen on the floor.  Another son, moves things around on the dining table and when asked if the table is wiped says, “yes.”  Why is there still food on the table?  The reply, “no there isn’t.” Son, I’m looking right at it!  ALL this has to be wiped clean.

Taking a shower is a battle of wills, which I refuse to let them win. Being the first one to take a shower is like asking them to pull out their fingernails.  Why? Why is it a punishment to be the first one to take a shower?!  At 8pm, I excitedly tell them “Bedtime!” I’ve even danced a jig while saying it.  But the night doesn’t end like a fairy tale.  I can still hear laughter, talking and the pitter patter of feet running upstairs.  A friendly, “Go to sleep, you have school tomorrow,” comes out my mouth.  Then a more stern, “GO TO BED!”  After an hour, I have to strain and hold my tongue with all the power I can muster not to scream, colorful expletive words young children should not hear.   And the day starts over at 6am the next day like a modern day Groundhog’s Day.

So parents of 1 or 2 children, this is a typical day for me, a full time working mother of 5 children. If I don’t say or offer to help out or show you empathy like you thought I might, it’s because I have 5, FIVE children ages 5 to 12 years.  Let me say it again.  FIVE.

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Contact Kristine Walton @ kd_2426@hotmail.com

Kristine Walton: Wife /Registered Nurse/Mother of 5