Our First Vacation with three kiddos….

Well, it definitely had its moments.  It was a bit tough having three kids in a hotel room with us.  We didn’t know what to do with ourselves once the kids were down at like 9pm.  We sat outside our door on the beach for one night which was nice but it was so cold we couldn’t sit for long.  We stayed at Paradise Pier Resort in a bayside room which was fun to stay on the beach.  We were a bit dissapointed in the room itself.  The only thing that faced the bay was the door.  We did not overlook the bay from our room.  We had to go outside our door to see the beach.  A bit of a let down when you pay so much for a room.

We began our trip to San Diego and headed to LegoLand.  It was fun for Dakota she was able to ride a lot of the rides but poor Hudson could only go on about three rides because he was not tall enough to go on most of them.  So he sat out with Chase and I most of the time.  It was a beautiful day and the park was not too packed.  We left Legoland and went to get dinner and head to the hotel.  We go takeout and then went to our room and ate.  That night the kids were so excited to sleep in the same bed and Dakota could not understand the “hotel” aspect of the trip.  Why were we staying in a hotel, what would we do there??  So her and Hudson were watching us wide eyed from their beds while we whispering a conversation to eachother- pretty cute.  We got some cute pics of them snuggled together in their bed.  Chase slept in his bouncey seat because he caught a cold shortly before we left for vacation.

The next day we got up and went out to the beach and the kids played.  Chase was not a fan of the beach.  He hated the wind.  He would gasp for air every few minutes so I put him in his carseat and covered it with a blanket and faced him inland so he would not get he breeze.  He did amazing the entire trip.  He is about 4 months old and spent the 4 days pretty much in his carseat with all the traveling to Legoland and walking around everywhere.  Then we took a walk after we showered around our beautiful grounds at the resort.  It was very lush and green and had beautiful pool areas.  We went out for lunch and then took a drive around to Coronado and around San Diego and then we went and got some dinner and after dinner we stopped at this little kids park on the bay while I nursed Chase and we saw about 30 boats all lit up lined up one by one taking an eve cruise through the bay and then we saw this monster Army ship come in- you could not even see it until it was right up in front of us, it was so cool.  The kids played on the playground while we just sat and watched all the boats.  That was my favorite part and it was not even planned.  We made a lot of stops for nursing- it is just the season we are in…

The next day we played at the pool (definitely Hudson and Dakota’s favorite part of the trip) and ate lunch there.  We got cleaned up and went on a Harbor Cruise which was hard because Chase was at his end and by now we were so tired of the kids disobeying, we were not able to discipline them as we normally would be consistent at doing so they became very overly tired and constantly melting down.  After Chase settled down the cruise was pretty neat.  I have pics of Dakota and Hudson all snuggled under blankets with Daddy.  We got takeout at Anthony’s (our favorite place on the water) to eat because the kids were pretty much done by that point.  We took it back home and then took the kids out for some smores at the firepit.  They enjoyed that but Hudson decided he did not want a hot marshmallow, he just wanted a cold one- easy enough!  We got them in their jammies and that made for another day.

Our last day we played a bit on the beach and then we went to Legoland and SeaLife Aquarium.  We had another incredible day and headed home.  As we were loading the kids in the car, Dakota asked for the map so she could look at it and see all the rides we went on.  It was to be her souvenier, but Daddy accidently threw it away.  So he drove me back to the entrance and asked me to go get the kids a souvenier to take home.  I went in and we looked through the whole gift shop but Dakota only wanted a bag of cotton candy and a penny that says Legoland on it along with a map of course…. AAHHHHH how easily satisfied our kids can be at this age.  So she made a penny to give to Hudson and we bought Daddy and I some ice cream and Hudson his favorite rice crispie treat and headed to the car to head home.

It was a fun-filled vacation which was very interesting and frustrating at the same time!  Zach and I would often look at each other wondering if it was worth it all the times of meltdowns, tantrums, crying, whining. And…. you call this a vacation?  So Zach decided we weren’t going to travel with our kids again until they turn 18!

The even BIGGER adjustment

Wow!  I cannot believe Chase is almost 4 months old.  He was sleeping through the night at about 7 weeks (7:30pm-6am) and this time around, I was able to educate myself even more with a couple of good books that helped me through the process.  Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and Babywise are my two resources that has helped Chase (By God’s Grace) become completely scheduled and super content! He is definitely a third child.  He sits in his bouncey chair or on his playmat and plays while I do things around the house or tend to the other two.  I am so excited to have three.  The kids are absolutely amazing and have shown no signs of jealousy and I thank God for that!  He began to giggle last week when we were on a roadtrip to AZ to go to Uncle Matt’s graduation and I was so excited he did it for Daddy first!  He smiles all the time at us and my time with him is precious, usually after he wakes up from a nap, he nurses and then after I change his diaper,  he and I have special bonding time together every time!!  I sit and talk to him and he smiles and kicks his legs around and tries to touch my face with his precious little hands.  He coos and talks to me which keeps me truly entertained.  I always thought… been there done that.. but it is truly brand new with each child and just a precious as if it were your first.  I tickle and kiss him to death, I just love him so much.  I truly feel like we still  need one more to complete our family.  Dakota and I joke about it with Daddy all the time…. we need another little girwl in our family Daddy.  Zach would love to adopt but I would love to have another of our own minus the awful pregnancy.  Post pardon has been great, I have been loosing baby weight quickly and gaining sleep quickly.  Now we are at a crossroads of what we should do with little Chase.  He has been in our room the whole time and we are ready to make the move, but moving Dakota and Hudson together would mean Hudson waking up Dakota too early and putting the baby in with Hudson would get him up even earlier so we continue to contemplate what to do…. I had a couple of scary moments this past week.  I got him a little lovey blankie because it relaxes him when I put him down to sleep, he holds it close to his face as he falls asleep but this past week I went in when he was crying harder than usual and he had it over his face.  As I quickly moved the blanket off him and picked him up to calm him down, he was incredibly hard to calm, he was so freaked out because he was having such a hard time breathing.  SO SCARY!  I just think how fragile life is and how I am so thankful he did not suffocate.  My other two- this never happened.  I always read about SIDS but always still kept blankets in the crib.  Well now I know that I cannot do that with Chase.  Every day I have with these kids is a gift and I was truly reminded of that after this happened.  This transition has been such a blessing.  This was the transition I was most fearful about- balancing three.  God blessed my heart and mind as he helped me acclimate by giving me an amazing family to pull me through the adjustment.  Dakota is the biggest helper and best buddy for Hudson as they entertain each other when I am busy with Chase and she loves her little brother and reads and sings and talks to him all the time.  Hudson just in the past weeks will go over to Chase and rub his head sweetly when no one is looking.  He is really starting to not be so intimidated by Chase and know that he needs love and attention too.  They will both calm Chase down when I am cooking dinner.  Daddy is most helpful in caring for the older ones or taking Chase when he is fussy.  He is such an intricate part of caring for all three.  He got 3 weeks off from work when we brought him home and that was such a help and blessing.  Now that he is back to work, he cares for all three of them often so that I can get out of the house or bless another mommy with planning a baby shower or just go get a pedicure.  I am definitely much more at home than I used to be, but oddly enough- God has given me even more grace to deal with the isolation.  Not having family around makes life lonely- I can’t just run to parents or sisters house to just get out and I don’t have others to enjoy Chase, Hudson and Dakota with Zach and I.  I would say I was able to bounce back much quicker with this third and have enjoyed this one the most with no complications or nursing hangups.

What an amazing gift- thank you Lord for easing my fears and anxiety about how will I handle this.  I guess I have handled it well because God is putting new things on my plate in a few months.  Dakota will begin school at Northridge Community, a private Christian School were she will go to school 3 days a week and I will home school her 2 days a week.  When I found out she made it in after the family interview and her kindergarten test, I had such mixed emotions.  I felt like I would be loosing my little helper and poor Hudson would not know what to do with himself without her around and I am gaining the load and blessing of being a home school mommy.  I already feel like I have a heavy load just trying to take care of the three, but now here we go.  I will be crying that first day I take her to school and maybe even a few days after!  She even says.. Mommy you are going to miss me when I go to school, but its okay I will be back..

Dakota and Hudson are best buds and love to play together.  I am trying to teach them to work through sharing and arguing on their own.  I felt so convicted that I did not have “playtime” with Dakota and so I started to use Hudson’s therapy  sessions to have some one-on-one time with her twice a week and that has been going great.  It helps me to stop doing work around the house and just be with her.  As a stay-at-home mommy I would always justify not “playing” with the kids and now I feel much more balanced.  For a while I would ready a book anytime Hudson brought it to me no matter what I was in the middle of.  I realized that just being at home with them did not give me the time I needed with each of them because I make myself so busy with life.  I am also still working on great patience and realized the reason I loose my patience with them is my lack of consistency with first time obedience.  Hudson has definitely been a struggle with his strong will and when he is disciplined it usually escalates the situation so we have learned that each child needs different disciplinary measures for sure.  I press on trying to get wisdom on how to best handle each little bundle of joy and just feel blessed God gave them to us.

I am humbled…

Okay so I need to take some lessons from my daughter… Yesterday her sunday school teacher told Zach that a new mommy and daughter came to our church and she was dropping off her daughter in Dakota’s sunday school class which is hard for any new 4 year old to be in an unfamiliar place and Dakota came right up to her and said Hello and took her hand and began to introduce her to all her sunday school friends and this moved the mommy so much, she began to cry.  It may of been a big step just to come back to church, but the welcoming heart of a four year old could of made her desire to come back again to hear God’s word or maybe even the gospel if she is not already a believer- then…. I realized wow, I did not even say hello to the new girl that came into our young marrieds class.  I am humbled… again….Then today at dance class there was a little girl that was upset because she did not have a pink streamer wand and after the teacher told her they only have so many wands Dakota blurted out… “She can have mine!” and walked over and gave it to her and then walked over to the pile of wands leftover and picked one up.  I was deeply touched, especially as I was driving home yelling at the driver that just pulled out in front of me.  Again…. I am humbled

—-Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:3

Hudson is on his way!!!!

Hudson is two years old and making massive headway on his developmental progress!  I am so proud of this little one!  He began about a year ago showing slow developmental delays in crawling, walking, eating and his speech.  We were having regular appointments with his pediatrician and neurologist because they were following up on him from his Infancy Myoclonus.  He began therapy almost a year ago at about 15 months.  By then he was not crawling, just scooting on his bottom and no speech yet and having a very hard time eating solid table foods.  So we began our journey with the regional center.  There has been such progress that has been made.  He began seeing a physical therapist, Paulina once a week and an occupational therapist, Millie once a week and when he was 18 months he began seeing a speech therapist, Dana and now  Carmela twice a week.  He began to walk in July, he was 20 months when he began to take steps on his own and he has been improving his strength and coordination  since then.  His speech has been the area of most improvement.  He went from not saying any words just pointing, signing to talking and singing up a storm these past few months.  He say full blown sentences and now we know all the things he was thinking for so many months, but just did not know how to communicate them.  The neurologist and pediatrician and recently, a genetisis does not know why he has been delayed, but I praise God that he is improving and has pretty much caught up to where he needs to be in the last year.  I don’t know if I can fully credit early intervention but I do know that many people have prayed for him and I am thankful that the Lord has brought him this far.  Hudson has so much personality that I did not see before, because now he can express himself so much more.  He is going to be a class clown when he grows up.  He makes silly faces and at the most random times and is super goofy.  He loves “money and cheese”  which is macaroni and cheese.  His favorite activity is reading books and loves swinging, blowing bubbles and watching what he calls EIEI oohhh- that is short for Baby Einstein- Old Macdonald.  He of course loves to play with his sister and loves playing with his daddy too.  He is so much more confident now, rough housing, climbing all over daddy, when he was so subdued before.  He still has a sweet temperment and disposition- very mellow, obedient and sensitive.  He is much more sensitive than his sister.  He is a real brute, a thick boy!  Zach and I joke that he will be bigger than Daddy when he is 16 years old.  He is completely different than his sister in size and build.  He walks around and says “cuuuute” thats “cuuuuuute” as he points to his little brother or a picture of a doggie or something of his sisters.  When Zach was his age, they look exactly alike!  Now his new thing is “I need hep, I need hep”- this is I need help and is said at almost every task or play.  I think it is his way of getting attention and adjusting to a new baby and also just his personality.  I think he is always going to need a lot of encouragement and spurring on until he realizes he can do it on his own.  I think for so long he has needed help doing almost everything and now that he has the capability to do things, he is timid, intimidated and scared to do things.  He was once the little boy that we would put in a sandbox or on the grass with his legs straight in front of him and he would win for “babies best abs”  because he would hold his legs up in the air right in front of him to get them off the sand/grass and his hands too until we would lift him out of his misery.  Now he plays in the grass and sand but still have some sensory issues, especially eating.  “Pizza-pie” “pizza-pie” he would ask at dinner time over an over again and I would say no, not today “oh” he would say and ask again.  That and money and cheese are his favorite foods.  He loves balls more than anything, he especially loves basketball.  His favorite sweet treat is “pops”  short for lollipops.  For awhile before Chase was born he found his will and it was strong!  We started with first time obedience training him and he has improved tremendously with his obedience.  For awhile, he would scream and hit his head on the floor when he was sent to time out or if he was disciplined.  We wondered what should we do, the disciplining is actually making him more upset and mad, but now he has mellowed out and knows his limitations much more.  We have hit a bit of the terrible twos with him but they have been short lived days, once the boundaries are set, he realizes what he can and cannot get away with.  He has been throwing tantrums the last couple weeks and I have been working with him on that.  I just look at him today and can’t believe he is mine.  Now having Chase, he is such a big boy and our family would never be the same without him.  He is such a smart, cute  and funny little boy!  We are so blessed to have him apart of our family.

Baby Chase is born!

So wondering why I have not posted in almost a year?  The past year has been interesting with the pregnancy of my third child.  I was sick for the first 5 months of pregnancy, not to mention just emotionally struggling through the pregnancy as well.  Hormones and high dosages of ginger helped me get there.  By the 6th month I wanted to do everything I was unable to do the first five months and towards the end I was so tired from taking care of Hudson and Dakota I never got online except to check my email.  So here I am on the other side of pregnancy in my third week of postpartum.  I went into labor praying my way to bypass my bday so my little one would not have to share a bday with mommy every year and God was gracious and Chase made his arrival February 3rd, 2010.  He came into the world at 10:13am on that morning.  I labored the whole eve before and into the night and finally had him 12 hours later.  I was hoping for a shorter labor and delivery since Hudson was 10 hours and that was from Dakota being 20 hours.  God was so gracious to provide an amazing couple to take care of our kids, we called Mark and Pam over that eve as my contractions started coming stronger and closer together and had full arrangements for Dakota and Hudson for the night until my mom arrived the next day.  Chase William Volker was  a healthy 7.5 lb baby.  I was so thrilled he was not 9.5 lbs like his brother.  I went into the hospital that night and I was at 3cm.  Then they let me labor through the night with a wonderful epidural  and I rested as my body worked.  By next morning I was progressing but not quickly so they gave me petossin to speed things up, but it was too fast so they took me off of it and then I was ready to push.  My postpartum was much easier this time around, I did tear, but with the epidural I was able to still feel my legs so I was up and around a lot quicker this time around.  I was not as weepy and sad with this one. After I had Chase he layed on my chest for 45 minutes just resting contently.  I nursed him right away and he latched on immediately and my milk came in quickly.  He nursed all the time and he latched on wrong so I was pretty sore at first but then he got better and so did Mommy and he has been doing beautifully since then!  I just took him in for his appointment at two weeks and he has gained back to his birth weight and more, so he is doing wonderfully.  Slightly jaundiced, but the doctor is not worried.  He is doing great on a three hour schedule for the most part and sleeping partially through the night, but that differs each night.  I will start to schedule him more after he has a growth spurt which should happen anytime now.  He is a very content baby and this one not having any complications has been amazing !  Zach and I have both enjoyed him much more this time with nursing issues and our newborn Hudson being in the NICU, God was so gracious to bless us with a normal healthy child.  I got to go home from the hospital after 24 hours which was a blessing to walk into our home with Chase and get the kids reactions.  Life has not quite turned back to routine yet.  We had my mom out for about a week, then a couple days on our own and now we have Priscilla out for this week.  I will be back to reality of doing it all myself this next week.  Zach was home for over two weeks as well, so with all this help I am not going to know how to do it on my own.  That is when my weepy-ness will set in I think.  Dakota and Hudson have been truly amazing, showing no signs of jealousy towards the baby, only love.  Dakota will read to him, Hudson will say “wakey wakey baby chase” as I am feeding him and he falls asleep.  He will say shhhhhhhh baby Chase sleeping.  Hugs and kisses to Chase from both Dakota and Hudson, they are amazing big brother and sister.  Dakota is a huge help and a blessing to me as I adjust.  Hudson and Dakota play so well together now that it relieves me some time to spend with the baby when I need to nurse.  This has been a joy and difficult with little sleep, but we realized how big Dakota and Hudson are now and how short this time really is.  I thank God that he has given me joy and bonding time with Chase and pray that I can balance everything.  I pray I will know when to judge when the home is clean enough and my children are played with Chase is cared for and my husband is loved.  God please grant me that wisdom and discernment.  Thank you for this blessing of a new little boy in our family, may Zach and I glorify you as we raise this child to know you.

Bathtime with Hudson

Here was a fun bath…

Dakota’s First Ballet Dance Recital!

So for the past few months we took Dakota to the Parks and Rec to a ballet class.  She loved it and they had a recital at the end of the class.  After her recital she had some special moments with Daddy dancing around the living room.

Picking out the Christmas Tree

So this year we went to Home Depot, you really feel like you live in LA when you have to go to a home improvement store to get your christmas tree…

Hudson spells trouble…

At Nana and Papa’s house, Hudson decided to get into the wipes and took one by one out.  I love the last picture when we told him no more, his little devlish response was priceless…

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