• Awww… cute!

    Oct 9 • celebrity parents, Climbing Up The Slide • 995 Views

    I know a lot of people like them. I’m not a huge fan of the Duggars (I know I wanted – and got – a big family, but that’s just ridiculous!) However, this morning I saw People’s article about the first Duggar grandchild, and I have to repost it, since that is just one CUTE baby. Plus, whether I like it or not, they ARE news, and certainly are a polarizing topic in the land of Mommydom.

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  • Grouchy mom goes grocery shopping

    Oct 8 • Climbing Up The Slide, musings • 999 Views

    Baby J is now over 19lbs (possibly over 20lbs by now, as that was a few weeks ago). Pretty heavy for a not-quite six-month-old who doesn’t sit up, crawl or obviously stand on his own.

    This morning after our weekly jaunt to Storytime at the library, we dropped in to our local grocery store (we’ll call it Joe). I don’t like dragging the infant seat around with 19lbs of baby in it, so as much as possible I leave it in the van. Since Joe has those carts with the infant seats attached, I decided to get Baby J and put him in one. He seems to like the view from up there, anyway.

    Unfortunately, this particular store likes to leave those carts outside, and it’s been raining quite a bit the past few days, so there was a nice little puddle in the bottom of the seat. There were a couple of employees outside unloading pumpkins, so I asked if they had a rag or something that could clean up the puddle.

    “You can go into Customer Service and they can give you a roll of paper towels” one of them replied.

    Now, perhaps this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. However, I’m already carrying 19lbs of squirmy baby and trying to wrangle two active preschoolers to keep them from taking off on me. Plus, with squirmy baby in my arms I’m supposed to take the roll of paper towels back outside and manage to pull of paper towels, while NOT dropping baby on the ground and wipe this out? Out in the parking lot, while making sure that my far-too curious 3-year-old doesn’t take off to go look at pumpkins, or swing sets or who knows what else?

    It just really irritated me, so I did something I don’t usually do. I went to Customer Service, as directed, and proceeded to tell the Customer Service person what had happened. Of course they apologized all over themselves, and I think a manager was there to overhear. They asked who it was, but thankfully the woman didn’t say anything to them in front of me (I would have been mortified) as she took the paper towels outside herself to clean off the seat for us.

    I get that people who don’t have kids don’t always understand, but honestly, you can’t just go inside and get something yourself to help out a mom with a baby in her arms? The pumpkins are THAT important that if they are not put out RIGHT THIS SECOND the entire store will collapse?

    I wanted to suggest that perhaps if they were going to leave those carts outside it should be someone’s job to go out each morning and check that they were clean and ready to go, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’m kind of a wuss like that. Joe, however, does have some kind of contest going right now where if you submit feedback to your shopping experience online you could win $2000 worth of groceries. Now THAT would be a win-win situation (for me, of course!) so I just might do that.

    Back to my quiet, meek mommy ways now. (My husband is snorting if he read that…)

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  • Everyone else is talking about them…

    Oct 6 • celebrity parents, Climbing Up The Slide, divorce, musings • 820 Views

    I am a child of divorce. Not exactly uncommon in my age group. My family really does have it down to a bit of a science, though. My paternal grandparents divorced in the late 1940s, a time when it was very uncommon. My grandfather wanted to go back overseas after the war, to work with the League of Nations (later the UN). My grandmother did not want to take their very young son to war-torn Europe. My father grew up not knowing anything about his father. He was actually 26 years old before he ever saw him again. As my mother puts it, he didn’t know if his father was dead, or in jail, or anything. I believe that he knew his name, and that was it. My grandmother was so hurt by the divorce that she refused to talk about him. In fact it was only in the last few years of her life before dementia took over that I ever heard her speak his name.

    My parents were married for nine years before I was born. 10 months later my father decided that he wanted a divorce. It’s kind of hard not to take that personally, I have to admit. However, after four kids of my own, I also tell all new parents the same thing: the first year after a baby will likely be the hardest one(s) in your marriage. If you survive that, you will likely be fine. Obviously no one gave them that advice. My father has since married three other times, all ending in divorce.

    The one thing that I have to say about my mom (other than how much I love her for raising me completely on her own, since my father moved to the US shortly after they split up, and has been there ever since) is that she never badmouthed my father. In fact, she seemed very hurt if anyone said anything bad about him, including me.

    Which, of course, leads me to the Gosselins. A completely overdone topic, but hey, I’m weighing in anyway because I think they’re just exhibiting a bigger issue. I have never watched an entire episode of their show. I remember seeing them on Oprah once a few years back. I believe I watched about ½ an episode a year or so ago. That kind of reality show honestly just isn’t my thing. I’m more of a “Biggest Loser” or “American Idol” kind of girl.

    They are kind of hard to avoid these days, though. I honestly can’t get over the amount of attention that these people are getting just because they’re splitting up. They certainly never were on the cover of tabloids when they were (playing?) the happy not-so-little family.

    Couples get divorced. It happens. It’s no longer shocking to see a single mom or dad with their kids. What appalls me about this situation is that these parents (moreso Dad, from what I’ve seen, but both are guilty) seem to be more interested in bashing each other publicly than in their children’s welfare.

    Some might say that they’ve never shown much interest in their children’s welfare right from the start, what with putting their kids in a situation reminiscent of the Dionne Quintuplets, but I could see a family who was struggling to provide for their eight kids wanting to make some “easy” money. All they had to do was live their lives, right? So assuming that these two actually had their children’s best interests at heart to begin with, why wouldn’t they continue to do that?

    One of the most important things to remember when a couple with kids split up is that your children share DNA with the person that you can quite possibly no longer stand to be around. If you’re badmouthing him/her, you’re badmouthing half of who they are. Do they not think that their kids know what’s going on? That Mom is accusing Dad of stealing the very food out of their mouths? That Dad is running around with a 22-year-old bimbo and saying that Mom emotionally abused him?

    Even if by some miracle they are actually able to shelter the kids from this right now, and are keeping their opinions to themselves in private, do they not realize that these stories won’t just disappear when all of this dies down? Ten years from now, a simple internet search will bring it all back to the surface again, and they will know, and they will hurt.

    Not all marriages can last forever. Not all of them should. But when you choose to involve children in your relationship it becomes about something bigger than you. You have a responsibility to those kids to protect them from as much of the hurt as you can. How is slamming one of the two people that they love most in the world going to do that?

    All I can say is grow up Gosselins, before it’s too late. I’m kind of afraid that it already is, though.

    On a side note, I don’t particularly like Nancy Grace for reasons to numerous to count, but I have to say, this clip would have made me laugh, if it weren’t so damned sad.

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  • Elimination Communication: Parent-Baby Bonding or Parent Training?

    Oct 4 • attachment parenting, baby, Climbing Up The Slide, toilet training • 1511 Views

    I remember hearing about Elimination Communication for the first time. I admit, my first thought: “Don’t you mean parent training?” I wrote it off as one of those crunchy mom things that I would just never understand, but hey – more power to them, I thought sceptically. It’s one of those attachment parenting techniques that just aren’t me.

    The first up-close experience that I had with EC was when we had dinner with a friend of my husband, his wife, and their baby girl who was 2 months younger than my younger daughter. Their family is very much “crunchy”, but although I might have expected cloth diapers, I didn’t expect to see a five-month old baby wearing underwear. I thought it was kind of cute, but I sure wasn’t about to give up my… well, her diapers. On a side note, our friends now have a son as well, but I don’t know if they continue to use EC techniques.

    The idea still intrigues me, though, so I’ve read about it on and off. There are entire website dedicated to it. Likely the most popular is Diaper-Free Baby. There you can read about techniques such as how to hold an infant over the toilet (which I imagine must be somewhat of a challenge), links to local support groups and an online store in which you can purchase underwear that will actually fit an infant (not readily available at Wal-Mart, I must say!)

    There is also a list of 75 benefits of EC. Now, I have to say, I find some of them a bit of a stretch, but some do make sense. Here’s a sample:

    Reason # 1: Reduces irritation of baby’s skin
    Reason #2: Reduces risk of diaper rash
    Reason #3: Keeps chemicals off baby’s skin

    I think that, in all fairness, counting these as 3 different reasons is cheating a bit, but still, you can’t deny that it is true. No diapers, obviously no diaper rash. For babies who have really sensitive skin, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to try.

    The environmental reasons are also very hard to argue with:

    Reason #20: Reduces the use of disposable diapers, a major contributor to landfill.
    Reason #21: Reduces the use of water and detergents used to wash cloth diapers.
    Reason #22: Reduces the use of disposable wipes used to clean baby’s bottom.
    Reason #23: Reduces use of plastic bags used to individually wrap dirty disposable diapers.

    Some of the other reasons, in my honest opinion, are a little out there, such as:

    Reason #16: Fosters greater security in a baby: “Mommy and Daddy listen to what I am saying and respond to my needs.”

    Yes, babies need to feel secure, but I’m not sure that I believe that they care all that much whether they go in a diaper or on the toilet.

    Reason #53: EC is “family focused.” It benefits the entire family rather than being solely “child centered” like conventional toilet training.

    Umm… how is it family-focused? Perhaps I just need an explanation? To me it seems like you would spend more time focused on the baby’s signals, thus giving you less time to focus on your other children (if you have any) and spouse.

    For the most part, though, the reasons that the site gives do make sense, and the parent testimonials certainly seem enthusiastic (not that they’re likely to put testimonials from family for whom EC didn’t work). I don’t know how it could possibly work full-time with 3 other kids, but the one thing I liked about the DiaperFree Baby website is that they pointed out that you don’t need to practice EC full-time. According to them, it can also be beneficial in the long-term to even try it once in a while. The idea is that using the toilet just becomes second-nature to the baby, so you don’t have to “train” them as toddlers.

    I have to admit, the more I read, the more tempted I am to just try it and see what happens. (Although I can guarantee that Baby J would be still wearing his diapers, I’d just try to reduce the number of them that we use.) I’m curious to hear if anyone else has tried it, and how it went. I am not a crunchy momma by any means, but after four straight years of diapers, and still having my two older kids in pull-ups at night, the idea of reducing the number of diapers we use (and have to change!) sounds awfully appealing.

    I still don’t see EC becoming the norm in North America. Without having tried it, my guess is that most parents don’t have the time, or don’t want to spend the time it would take to learn the baby’s signals. It’s one thing to recognize the signal that the baby wants to eat, or has already “eliminated” but I still question the idea of a baby being able to signal that they NEED to go (especially when it comes to pee).

    I suppose you can’t know unless you try it for yourself, though!

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  • Things I Used to Judge Other Moms for Until I Had More Than One Kid

    Oct 2 • Climbing Up The Slide, Uncategorized • 1500 Views

    I have no bigger pet peeve in parenting than the Mommy Wars. Honestly, we’re running kids all over the place, diapering bums, cleaning up accidents, making lunches, feeding babies… do we not have better things to do than to worry about what every other mom is doing?

    I guess that a lot of it has to do with our own insecurity. We want to know that we are doing the absolute BEST for our children. OUR children will grow up to be well-adjusted, well-nourished, safe, healthy adults. Those OTHER moms will be the ones whose kids grow up to be nerdy, or overweight, or God forbid, in jail or permanently disfigured because of a childhood accident. OUR kids will be Prime Minister or President. OUR kids will be doctors, lawyers, and business tycoons. THEIR kids will be the ones who work at McDonalds and live in their parents’ basement at the age of 40.

    The truth is, though, that we’re all just doing the best that we can, in the best way we know how. Everyone’s situation is different, and every child is different. You can have one child who’s a perfect angel, speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, never gets in trouble in school and always brushes their teeth without you nagging them for days, but your next child could have a learning disability, food allergies, talk back to their teacher or not sleep through the night until they’re twenty-six.

    So, in that spirit, here’s my confession. When I only had one child, or even before I was a mom, here are some of my former judgements.

    1. Your kid is three and doesn’t sleep through the night? Are you kidding me? Why on earth are you spoiling that kid so badly? Cut those apron strings why don’t you?

    Yeah, that’s the way I thought until I spent hours listening to a baby, then a toddler, screaming in the middle of the night while I let him “cry it out.” Fun times. My first baby slept through the night all on her own at 8 weeks old, so I was convinced that there was nothing to this baby sleep thing. Co-sleeping? Wouldn’t DREAM of it! Then my second was up once a night until she turned one, but she too started sleeping through on her own.

    Then I met Andrew. Sweetest little boy on the planet. World’s WORST sleeper. From the moment we brought him home from the hospital he would rarely sleep for more than an hour at a time. He slept in his *GASP* infant car seat for about a month because he would sleep longer in there. I tried sleep positioners, propping up the top of the cradle mattress on an incline… just about everything I could think of. I bought an Amazing Miracle Blanket and lo and behold, in about 3 days he was sleeping through the night. It truly was a miracle, and I recommend them to anyone whose baby is having sleep issues.

    Then he grew too big for his “Baby Burrito” as we fondly called it. I realized with trepidation that we would have to give it up and hope for the best. He was up at least 2-3 times a night after that. As his teeth started to come in it could be back to every hour. I was on the verge of a breakdown. We decided by the time he was nine months old or so that we needed to try CIO. Except that he wore us down. He could scream and scream and scream for hours. We finally won, and he was back to sleeping through the night. For about a month. And then I was back to our late night bonding sessions.

    Fast forward a few more months. He was now about 18 months old. I was beyond exhausted. We had to do it all over again. We got him down to about once a night after more nights of hours and hours and hours, and occasionally he would even sleep through the night. He is now three years old. Miraculously most nights he sleeps through now, but we still have those once in a while wake up calls in the middle of the night. I used to tell people that my 3 month old slept better than my 3 year old, and sadly, it’s mostly true.

    1. Yelling at your kids in the middle of a store? Get control of yourself!

    I think this one is true not only of people without kids, but also first-time moms. When your precious infant is sleeping soundly in their carseat while you placidly stroll through Wal-Mart you wonder how on earth any parent could possibly allow their child to have a temper tantrum in the middle of a store, and what terrible parent actually YELLS at their child in public?

    This is, of course, not something that any mom aspires to. We want to appear calm, cool and collected in public, and truthfully we want that at home, too. However, when you have one kid who stops every five seconds because they’re mesmerized by some bright, shiny object on the shelf, and another who wants to ride in the cart, and then wants to walk, and then wants to ride in the cart and… and then you have one of your little angels pitching a fit because they want the DORA fruit snacks, not the Spiderman ones, you might just find yourself forgetting that there are other people staring at you. “Allyson Petunia, you are in SO much trouble! You think I’m embarrassed by this you are WRONG! I said no, and I MEANT no and if you don’t cut this out I’m going to (*insert idle threat here*)!”

    The sad thing is, despite all of those other shoppers who now think your child is a demon spawn and you are an out-of-control mom who needs CAS called in, an hour later you and Allyson Petunia will likely be cuddled up in bed, talking about what happened and making up. Those judgemental eyes don’t get to see that.

    1. What a dirty face on that kid! Can’t the mom just take TWO seconds with a washcloth? I would NEVER let my child be seen in public like that.

    I certainly don’t aspire to have my kids leave the house with dirty faces, or unbrushed hair, or clothes with stains or rips. Ideally my children would look absolutely adorable every time we leave the house. I love hearing how cute my kids are. It makes my day. BUT, I also am very sleep-deprived and often sleep in the morning until the last possible second before I absolutely have to get up in order to get whichever kids are going to their various places to those various places. Or sometimes I have to get up in the middle of the night, or I go to bed too late. So sometimes we are so rushed that I don’t notice that Andrew has put on the pants with the holes (which I finally hid until I can get around to throwing them out now) or Charlotte has Toaster Strudel on her face. This morning, I admit, in the first week of October, Andrew went to nursery school wearing sandals. With socks. Black ones, at that. Oh well.

    I’m sure there’s more. I may do a part two one of these days! But the fact is that we are all doing the best we can. Let it go! Besides, feel sorry for those moms – obviously their kids aren’t as perfect as ours are!

    Feel free to comment with some confessions of your own!

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  • First Day of Kindergarten

    Sep 21 • Climbing Up The Slide, School Days • 803 Views

    My younger daughter, Charlotte, started Junior Kindergarten this morning.

    It’s hard to believe that she’s old enough, and at the same time it feels like we’ve lived a hundred different lifetimes since she was born. After going through fertility treatments for the second time, who would’ve thought that we would end up with another baby just 13 months after she was born? She wasn’t even two when we left for the United States, and we were back before she turned 3. Now she has yet another younger brother, and in total she’s lived in five different houses in her short lifetime.

    Charlotte is a sweet, loving girl, but also very shy. She’s been waiting very impatiently for the past two weeks while her older sister went to school, for her turn. The first week we did an interview with the teacher. Last week she got to go for one afternoon with some of her classmates, but this morning was the first time that I dropped her off in the Kindergarten yard (AKA “The Pen”) and she was mixed in with all of the other kids from all of the K classes, and had to find her teacher, and find the lineup. She just looked so little to be at such a big school. There were, of course, parents EVERYWHERE and I don’t think that helped. She seemed completely overwhelmed by all of the people and noise.

    That being said, I’m sure that she will be fine. It’s actually lunchtime already there, and she’s probably talking away with her new friends (one of her classmates is named “Karly”, the same as her older sister’s BFF, so she thinks that’s pretty cool) and gobbling down her lunch so that she can play some more.

    I just can’t believe how big my baby is getting!

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  • Joshua Thomas has arrived!

    Apr 22 • Climbing Up The Slide, Uncategorized • 798 Views

    Well, despite everyone assuming he would show up before the scheduled c-section, he stayed in there right until the last second after all! In fact, I said to Matt while we were sitting at the admission desk that I thought he was trying to climb way back up to hide – it was SO uncomfortable!

    I ended up with the SAME anesthesiologist that I had with Andrew, although it went a lot more smoothly this time, only one try to get the spinal in. Unfortunately the surgery was done down in the surgical ward, like last time. I was told that the surgery was done there because it was a scheduled c/s, but I still don’t really know why. Either way, I pretty much burst into tears when they told me it was going to be down there, because I knew I’d be separated from him again the way I was with Andrew (they take the babies back upstairs to be watched by the nurses in the birthing unit, and I had to stay in recovery in the surgical unit – argh!)

    Everything went very well, although I could tell they were having trouble getting him out. The doctor who was assisting leaned on my ribcage so hard that I actually let out an “oomph” because it felt like someone was jumping on me (well, he kind of was). Matt got brave this time, and actually leaned over the curtain to watch as Joshua came out, and saw that he came out feet first, so on top of being a giant baby, he was also breech (I think he might have been transverse, but I’m not entirely sure and I never did ask) so my VBA3C dreams would never have happened anyway! As my dr said, “Between his size and his position, he certainly came out the right way.”

    They took him over to the warmer after they gave me a peek, and as they and Matt were standing there, I heard them start talking about fluid in his lungs, and then they started giving him oxygen which had me completely freaked out because I couldn’t really hear what they were saying, and with the oxygen mask on my face, and my arms still strapped down so that I couldn’t move it, I couldn’t ask them to speak up, either. It turned out to be just one of those fun c/s complications, and not all THAT serious, but still, when I had to be taken to a different recovery area, and all I could do was wait to find out what was going on, it was rough.

    In the end I asked the nurses in recovery to check on him, and they told me he was doing fine, and that he was 9lbs, 8oz. You could’ve knocked me over with a feather (figuratively speaking, since I couldn’t stand up at that point anyway ) since Andrew, who was previously my biggest baby, was “only” 8lbs 10oz. I guess I know now why I was so darned uncomfortable those last few weeks! As of Monday at the doctor, he was 8lbs 10oz, so he’s now Andrew size AFTER losing almost a pound!

    I can barely believe that he’s 8 days old already! He’s lying beside me here on the bed, having a snooze. Last night he actually had one stretch of sleep for 3.5 hours, which had me ecstatic. Really sad, since during the day we almost ALWAYS have to wake him up to eat, but at night he has wanted to be up every two hours! Of course, after that stretch, he then proceeded to want to sleep for about five hours, and we had to eventually put him in the shower with me (his first time, and he LOVED it!) to wake him up after exhausting all other options! Very frustrating since I had to be up almost three hours before we finally got him awake! Really though, he is just SO calm. When he’s awake he just likes looking around, and trying to watch his brother and sisters, who just adore him. He’s none too fond of having his diaper changed, but other than when he’s hungry you’d never know he was there.

    Hopefully soon I’ll be able to get the site up and running the way I initially envisioned it, now. It will take some time, so for a while you’re stuck with only me, but maybe I’ll be able to post a bit more, too. Maybe. With four kids, you just never know!

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  • 15 more days

    Mar 30 • baby, Climbing Up The Slide, musings, pregnancy • 1182 Views

    I have to apologize for the lack of material here. I have 15 days left of my LAST pregnancy, and pregnesia has completely taken over my brain. The fact that I (usually) remember to feed my currently outside of the womb kids, throw in the occasional load of laundry and run the dishwasher before we end up eating off paper plates is a miracle, as far as I’m concerned.

    I went through a “nesting” energy spurt late last week, but I’m not betting on it happening again. At least my hospital bag is now (mostly) packed, and the car seat and bassinette are ready. After having done this three times previously, I’m pretty sure those are the main ones. Anything else we’ll figure out as we go along. I have bottles, though they haven’t been sterilized in hopes of not needing them for a while (ha!), and a teeny sample can of formula. I have one package of newborn diapers, since I’m always afraid of ending up with a giant baby who won’t fit them anyway. I’ll make hubby run to the store for more before we go home, depending on what size we need. If it turns out we need formula, I’ll make sure he picks that up as well.

    Other than that, what does a baby really need? Although us moms like to have matching everything, picture-perfect nurseries, stroller sets worthy of being built by Ferrari and gorgeous little layette sets (that they’ll never wear in the end because they might get ruined by spit up), the baby doesn’t really NEED all of that stuff. Damn it’s fun looking, though 🙂

    So, anyway, I don’t know if I’ll post again before I get home from the hospital, unless I have a sudden flash of inspiration. I’m also hoping afterwards to start getting other writers onboard, but that takes energy, which is something I’m sorely lacking right now.

    Wish me luck, and I’ll be back!

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  • NOT Amused

    Mar 15 • Climbing Up The Slide, Uncategorized • 971 Views

    I have come to the conclusion that amusement parks and the like are NOT the friends of pregnant women. Baby is due in 30 days now (well, c-section is scheduled in 30 days anyway) and I’m huge and uncomfortable. However, that didn’t matter this weekend: we decided to take the kids away for a weekend before he arrives.

    I booked a “family suite” at the Hampton Inn by Hilton at the Falls (can you think of a longer hotel name? Seriously?) and a package that included admission to the Fallsview Indoor Water Park. We also got a March madness package that gave us free admission to a few places. The kids had a blast, but I have to say, Niagara Falls, while one of my favourite kitschy tourist places, is NOT pregnant-woman friendly.

    First off, water slides? Obviously not happening, which SUCKS since I love water slides. They make me feel like a giddy little kid. So, I got to hang around the toddler area with Andrew and Charlotte (and there are no good places for parents to sit, unless on a lounge chair, and I wanted to be IN the water, not beside it) and then in the wave pool. That was LITERALLY the only places I could go.

    Then there were the rides that are abundant in the tourist area. Bumper cars: out. 3D movie rides (some of which I’ve been DYING to go on, and we had free admission darnit!): out. Heck, even the Ghost Hunters ride, which is really very tame and I did go on it, we had to pull one of those stupid bars down, and it wouldn’t go down all the way because of my big ol’ belly.

    I got to go on the SkyWheel, though, which is always fun. Maybe not for my husband, but that’s just revenge for him getting to go on the big cyclone waterslide when I can’t!

    There isn’t much for kids Andrew and Charlotte’s age, too, so the 3 of us kind of got to sit around waiting for Daddy and Emma a lot of the time. They found a few rides (like the kind you find in malls, etc.) that they liked, and I let them waste some tokens on games that they had no idea how to play, but mainly it was me trying to find a decent (read halfway comfortable) place to sit and trying to keep them from running in different directions. Fun!

    The other problem with Niagara Falls for the hugely pregnant is that the entire tourist area is built on a hill. A BIG HILL. Every time I had to walk back up it I just wanted to cry, but I didn’t, because that would just look silly.

    All in all, though, the kids had a blast and so did we. We’re all exhausted, and since it IS March Break I’m very much hoping that they will all sleep in a bit for me tomorrow, but still have decent naps. A girl can dream, right?

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