I don't ever want to have another episode again and I definitely don't want to have any more while I'm pregnant.
I'm honestly not sure if the baby could make it through another one.
Anyways, after being sent back to my primary doctor again (which was so frustrating) I was referred to an Endocrinologist.
It was totally a God story how they even got me to be seen so quickly but I went for an appointment last Wednesday.
And the scoop is...
they still think I have Carcinoid Syndrome.
It's pretty much the only thing that could explain all of my symptoms.
However all the tests I have done to detect the Carcinoid tumors (that cause Carcinoid syndrome) have come back negative.
The Endocrinologist thinks since the tumors are so tiny they are just hiding and being missed.
He wants me to re do the crazy radioactive Ocreotide scan BUT I can't do it, or any other test for that matter, until after I have the baby.
So in the meantime we just have to wait and pray that I don't have any more episodes before the baby comes or if I do that they are very mild.
So that's where we are.
Kind of back at square one with another long road ahead of us.
But again, God is good and in control.
This is just another thing we give over to Him
and wait and trust that even when no one knows what's going on He does.
Even though we don't get it
this is all a part of His perfect plan.
And in the midst of the uncertainty there is comfort in that.
This morning I sent Mackenize off to her last soccer game and her end of the year party.
And I was mad.
I want to be there so bad!
I hate missing out on life and I hate not being able to be there for my kids.
And I hate that bed rest affects way more people than just me.
And I could go on and on about all of the reasons why bed rest sucks.
And part of me really wants to
but instead I'm choosing to be grateful and thankful for all the good things in my life right now.
I want to dwell on those things instead.
Because when crazy uncontrollable things happen
we get to choose our response to them.
And instead of being bitter I want to be grateful.
So here are the things I choosing to be grateful for.
-A precious baby that I'm on bed rest for. I'm so thankful that he's still on the inside and that he's growing bigger and stronger each day.
-My husband who has been serving me and the kids so sacrificially this past month and a half. He has been such a trooper and even finds ways to go out of his way to bless me. I'm one lucky lady!
-All the friends and family that have been helping with the kids! 3 kids isn't a small task. I know it's tiring and they have been going out of their way to keep them entertained and alive. We are so blessed by the people God has surrounded us with!
-Little, pretty reminders of the outside world.
-Friends that have stopped by for a visit or my favorite...game night! And friends who bring yummy treats.
-Leggings and Uggs. The best bed rest wardrobe ever.
-These three cuties that keep life from being anything but boring.
Camping with kids can be intimidating and maybe even scary.
But I promise you it is so easy and best of all fun!
And I'm gong to prove it to you.
Yes, you will feel like you are packing the entire house into your car.
Yes, everyone will get dirty.
But I promise you will have a blast and make tons of memories that will make the dirt and the craziness worth it.
So worth it!
Here are a few of my tips for camping with kids (we are by no means experts but every time we go we learn something new).
1. Tips for the Drive
Leave early in the morning.
And I mean early..like still dark outside.
We usually shoot for 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning (with lots of coffee in tow).
The kids are always super excited when we wake them up and usually stay awake for a bit but since it's still dark outside (and we enforce a strict no talking rule and remind them that it is still night time) they go back to sleep.
With sleeping kids in the car and no traffic you can get a good head start on your camping adventure.
Once we have gone a few hours and the kids are awake, we usually stop for a quick breakfast and potty break and get back on the road before traffic starts.
Our favorite breakfast stop is donuts.
Pack a Backpack for Each Kid
A long road trip can be torture for anyone...especially if you have antsy, bored or crying kids in the car.
I usually pack a back pack full of toys for each kid and give them something new every hour or so. That keeps things somewhat exciting.
A portable DVD player is also a life saver.
And my personal motto is...
When things start to get crazy...bust out the snacks.
Food has a way of working magic with kids.
Get Out of the Car for Lunch
Oh and we always make sure to stop for lunch. We usually just go to a fast food place (preferably one with a jungle gym type thing inside) to stretch our legs and fill our bellies.
And after lunch we try to find a park close to the freeway and the place we stopped to eat (this is where the maps app on our iPhone comes in handy) to let the kids get out and play for a bit!
This really helps to let the kids get their wiggles out and to make it through the rest of the road trip.
2. Your kids will get dirty.
I repeat your kids will get dirty.
Try not to freak out!
Don't fight the dirt. embrace it.
Only baby wipe/wash them off before...
meals, naptime (if they nap) and bedtime.
Otherwise you are fighting a losing battle.
Choose Your Kids Clothes Wisely
Also I only bring clothes for the kids that I'm not super attached to.
That way if something gets ruined beyond repair I'm not worried about it.
I also buy tennis shoes (just for camping) from the thrift shop before each trip (or I use their old shoes that are on their way out anyways) because their shoes will get reallllly dirty.
BUT with that said I have always been able to get out camping stains, crazy dirt/grossness from the clothes we bring camping.
You would be amazed at the magic of Oxyclean.
Keep the Kids Out of the Tent
Also we do not under any circumstances let the kids inside our tent unless they are going to bed.
This helps to keep the dirt, etc. out of the tent.
3. Go with the flow. Relax and have fun!
I have a tendency to freak out when things don't go how I expected them to.
In these moments I have to tell myself to calm down and enjoy the adventure.
-When you plan on keeping the baby out of the water and then decide to let her just put her feet in and then she comes out soaking wet.
-When you find your kids eating rabbit poo.
-Or getting roasted marshmallow in their hair.
-Or when you find out the trail you took the stroller was not meant for a stroller.
-Or a squirrel eats through the side of your backpack.
Silly stuff like that :)
4. Ditch the Car Toys
Remember all those fun toys you brought to entertain the kids in the car?
Leave them in the car.
Bring some fun outdoors toys instead.
We love to bring the kids bikes and scooters for them to ride around the campiste.
A ball, frisbee, horse shoes, bocee ball or some fishing poles would also be fun to bring too.
You are looking for things that will help you enjoy the outdoors!
I specifically remember this moment from our camping trip 2 years ago.
We went down to a little stream by our campiste and the kids had the greatest time collecting, sorting and throwing rocks into the stream.
It was one of the first times I thought...being outside is way more fun than real toys or a TV!
This year the kids spent almost all of their time on this giant log by our campsite playing with sticks and rocks and their imaginations (it also helps to go camping with friends! The more kids the more fun!)
5. Camping with small kids (and babies) is made so much easier with a few key items (with links).
We always bring a pack n play for the babies to sleep in but if you have a crawler it also helps to have an extra pack n play that you keep in the campsite to let them nap in, play in, etc. It also comes in handy to stick the babies in while you are trying to set up your tent! We have found that when it's in the middle of the action (in the campsite with everyone either cooking or playing around) the babies are more likely to be content in there.
I would never think of bringing my nice stroller camping. You want something that is built for off roading and that can get dirty. We recently got this bike trailer that also turns into a stroller and LOVE it! A lot of hikes are stroller friendly and pushing a stroller is much easier than carrying a kid (or 2) on your back.
Bag Full of Kids/Baby Essentials
Bandaids, Neosporin, Tylenol for you and the kids, allergy medicine, Vicks Vapor Rub, Aquaphor (I use this stuff on everything), diaper rash cream, tweezers, fingernail clippers, moisturizing lotion, lots of chapstick (it can be really dry in the mountains), sunscreen, bug spray, and all of your usual toiletries. *Make sure you keep this bag in your bear box not your tent!
Our favorite camping spot is Yosemite and the best way to see Yosemite is on a bike!
Last year we saved up so we could get bikes to bring to Yosemite and I'm so glad we did! The kids love riding on the bikes and we were able to see and do a million more things than we would have been able to do with 3 small kids.
In case you were wondering how we loaded the kids up we put...
Aaron, me and the 2 big kids sleep on cots and Madelyn slept in the pack in play and we still had plenty of room.
Next year will will have baby number 4 with us so we have thought about getting a blowup mattress for us, letting the 3 biggest kids sleep on the cots and the baby in the pack n play.
*The cots are nice because they are more comfy than sleeping on the ground and you can store all of your bags/suitcases underneath them.
7. Make Some Special Camping Traditions!
We want camping to be fun!
Over the past couple of years we have created some camping traditions...things our kids look forward to when we say the word "camping"!
Some of our camping traditions are...a big homemade breakfast (eggs, bacon, pancakes, toast...the works!), hot chocolate with breakfast for the kids, picking out a special walking stick to play with/take on hikes, playing with flash lights at night, and of course eating lots of campfire treats!! We have tried Smores (extra yummy with cinnamon graham crackers or Nutella instead of chocolate), Mexican Smores, and my favorite Banana Boats!
We also always go camping with a group of friends which makes everything way more fun! I think all of the adults favorite times are around the campfire after the kids are in bed. Sometimes we play board games or just hang out and chat but there is something about being in nature, under the stars, around a fire with good friends that can't be beat!
The kids also love going on vacation with their friends!
Hope this little post has convinced you that camping with kids is not only possible but fun!!
And if you are still hesitant...give it a try!
I promise you won't regret it!
*And as always feel free to email me with any questions you may have!