Kai’s 2nd Birthday Party!

We still cannot believe our little baby turned two at the end of April. It’s been almost a full month since we hosted a Moana-themed birthday party for him at Normandy Farms Campground.

Michael and I were on the fence about having another big birthday party for Kai, but after speaking with Michael’s mom we were convinced we had to have something for him! He’s been obsessed with watching Moana.  I even got him the soundtrack to listen to while driving in the car.

Why a campground? Our family had recently purchased a small travel trailer back in January to try it out. We had a chance in April, right after my husband, Michael, finished his busy season. Kai and Stanley both loved it!

Invitation

We took some pictures of Kai and made an invitation. I got some invitations printed at a local CVS on 4×6 photo paper, and then I glued them to some colored card stock. On the back on the invitations, I printed out a piece of paper with some information about the campground, directions, and the guest policy.

I also eventually created a Facebook event (to stay socially connected).

Cake

Our initial thought was to create a donut tower for Kai’s birthday cake, since he LOVES donuts!

So, we ended up ordering 3 dozen donuts from Confectionery Designs in Rehoboth, MA.  The owners needed us to place the donut order by Friday, 4/13 to be ready and picked up the morning of Saturday, 4/28. These donuts are so delicious!

These are the flavors we ordered:
6 – vanilla glazed – all green frosting
6- maple bacon – with bacon glaze
6- jelly filled – sugar coated
6- lemon raspberry – with raspberry glaze on top
6- banana cream – chocolate frosted top filled with crushed bananas
6- cinnamon – with a cinnamon / streusel glaze

Total price for donuts: $120.00

We anticipated about 20 people to come, but I wanted to make sure we had enough donuts since we weren’t sure about the cake. But, we ended up getting a large and fantastically-designed cake!

The story: My mother-in-law, Christine, ended up offering the put the donut tower together. Then, she decided she was going to make a cake. The plan was the cake was going to sit on top of the tower of donuts. Well, the cake just ended up being so big and super heavy that the cupcake tower stand wouldn’t be able to hold the weight of the cake.

Here are some pictures of the cake and the donut tower!

Food

Now for the food, we were going back and forth on what to serve. My husband initially wanted to keep it simple by only grilling burgers and hot dogs, but in the end we did neither.

Here are some pictures of the food we served: pulled pork with sweet Hawaiian rolls, seafood salad on croissants, assorted snacks, and beverages.

Kai had so much fun playing outside and seeing everyone! I can’t thank Michael’s family enough for helping us get the leis, paint the Kakamora coconuts, baking cookies, creating a wonderful cake, and helping Kai open presents!

Here are some pictures from the party!

Kai is two! ❤

Mother’s Day blessings

Warning: some pictures in this blog post might be uncomfortable to look at.

Mother’s Day is this Sunday! I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family. I have one son, Kai, who just turned two. And one dog son, Stanley, who recently turned three.

My very first Mother’s Day with Kai back in 2016 was very tough on our family.

It’s still hard for me to talk about what actually happened to Kai. But I think after two years, it’s time to face my fears.

Kai is Born

Kai was born a healthy baby boy weighing in at 9 lbs 3 oz. As first-time parents I was nervous bringing him home from the hospital on our own. But we did it! We got him in the infant car seat and drove home from the hospital! Stanley, our dog, greeted us happily and loved to sniff him and lick Kai’s baby feet.

Breastfeeding was painful at first, but I totally got into a nice rhythm. I didn’t expect him to eat so frequently, but he did!

Off Day

About 8 days after he was born, I noticed he was having an “off” day. He didn’t want to eat, which was very odd for him. I called his pediatrician around 11am after he didn’t eat for a few hours.

He said to keep an eye on him. Sometimes babies have a weird day. I checked his temperature, and he had a slight one. Nothing too high. He just kept wanted to sleep all day long.

It was about 2pm. He had only nursed for about 20 minutes = very strange. AND, he was starting to make these grunting noises.

I called his doctor again, and they advised me to bring him in to get checked out. I waited until my husband came home from work, about 2:30pm. Then we both took him to see his pediatrician.

The nurse took his temperature, and then a moment later, his doctor came in. He was very calm with us, but informed us Kai needed to go to the emergency room at Hasbro Children’s Hospital because he had a 102 fever. That was not normal. Something was definitely wrong with him. He informed us that we may be there for a couple of days or a week while they did testing on him, so they told us to go back home and pack a few clothes and things before we bring him to the hospital.

I was freaking out.

We only had Kai for a week on our own, and I felt so defeated and helpless.

As we were packing clothes, my husband remained calm and was my rock.

Emergency Room

After we parked at the hospital and walked through the stanchions of the emergency check-in, the nurses checked his temperature. I explained what was going on and Kai’s pediatrician already called to let them know we were coming. He had a 103 fever.

We were immediately directed to a room. I guess we skipped the entire line of people ahead of us. There were kids who were bleeding, and we took priority over them!

My little precious baby was lying on this gigantic metal table. They were trying to draw blood and also hook him up to IVs so he could get the necessary fluids he was lacking.

There must have been 5-6 people working on him at once! The phlebotomist was having a lot of trouble finding a good vein. They went in both of this arms, his hands, his legs, and they finally got something in his foot.

The doctors had to put a tube down Kai’s throat to get air into his lungs because they said he was having trouble breathing because he had an infection. We were fortunate to have a really level-headed and young female doctor who did this successfully.

They also needed to do a spinal tap to see if Kai got pneumonia. The doctor recommended we didn’t watch because it might be too much for us. I ended up pumping because I felt so full from Kai not feeding the entire day.

They had to admit him into the hospital, and he was in the emergency room area and was moved to critical care. The night nurses in the section were so nice and caring. They made sure we were all taken care of.

I was very distraught this whole time, and I was super hungry because we hadn’t eaten lunch or dinner yet.

Family Support

I didn’t want Michael’s parents to see Kai in the emergency room, but we had asked them to take Stanley out and feed him dinner at our house. Then, bring us food because we were so hungry and for them to visit us when Kai was all settled into his room.

Of course, Kai’s grandparents were very worried so they showed up in the emergency room.

It was hard for me to watch them react to Kai lying on the table. They were crying, and it made me even more sad, mainly because we couldn’t do anything. I wanted this time to be a private time for our family, but I think Michael was relieved to see his parents there because he was trying to hold it together and be strong for me.

Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help, and I found this time to be quite difficult to reach out to the Lord. I prayed in quiet, but I did not feel comfortable and did not trust in group prayer.

Translation: it’s hard for me to openly share when something goes wrong vs. sharing good news. I guess I thought motherhood and parenthood was going to be flowers and bouquets. One week into it, and our son got admitted into the hospital.

Kai was on the breathing machine (ventilator) with the tube down his throat, and feeding tubes through his nostrils for 3 whole days. I pumped and gave my milk to him. I was exhausted. My in-laws were with us the entire time! They stayed with Kai when Michael and I needed to grab some food or take a walk.

It was really very loyal for them to be by Kai’s side. We are so blessed to have them in our lives. They helped us a lot with our dog son, Stanley, during this tough time.

My sister-in-law was going to fly up from Texas to visit Kai, but we really wanted some privacy. At that point, she hadn’t even got to meet her nephew yet. We didn’t want to have more people visiting Kai to be sad together. I know, it sounds weird, but we didn’t really want a pity party. I never really had to go to the hospital before I gave birth to Kai, and I never had to visit anyone in the hospital before 2016. So, I wasn’t familiar with hospital/family etiquette so to speak. Anyways, Michael and I felt very helpless.

My parents had just visited Kai for a week after he was born. So they stayed back home in NY and didn’t visit Kai at the hospital while he was there. I think it was easier for us and them that they decided to stay away.

Testing

During the course of Kai’s stay, they tested him for a wide variety of infections. But everyday the doctors visited, they had no definitive answers as to what was causing Kai to have a fever and have trouble breathing.

Right after they took him off the ventilator, I felt such a strong sense of relief. I was so worried he was going to have trouble breathing on his own because of the infection.

My Turn

I felt feverish.

I asked the nurse at the station for a thermometer. I checked my temperature and sure enough, I had a fever. I also noticed some heavy and irregular vaginal bleeding. Yes, it was postpartum. It was abnormal bleeding.

After calling my GYN, they told me to go back to Women and Infants’, where I delivered Kai. Michael brought me to the emergency room, and my mother-in-law stayed with me while the nurses checked my temperature. And, the doctor came in, and I got checked out.

They admitted me.

I was getting treated for an infection too. They had to insert an IV and test my blood too. Of course, I had an allergic reaction to the first antibiotic they gave me. So, I was getting hives everywhere and they had to give me Benadryl through the IV. Boy, was I tired after that.

My First Mother’s Day

This was my view on my very first Mother’s Day. I did get a lovely text with a picture from my hubby:)

I did get to go see Kai the next day, thankfully.

At that point, they had to change the IV, and couldn’t find a good vein. They did find one right on his forehead, so they could administer the antibiotics.

Results

They found out Kai and I both had Strep A. I think it was at 39 weeks they found out I had Strep B, so when I delivered Kai they gave me antibiotics through the IV. I guess the antibiotics during the delivery didn’t help Kai and me afterwards.

Kai was in the hospital for just over one week while I was in the hospital for 3-4 days.

We both got discharged the same day.

Back Home

Where we both got antibiotics to take at home. That was such a difficult time in our lives. We are happy to have that behind us, but I do think the hospital visit has made our family stronger.

We are blessed to have such a healthy, happy and smart 2 year old and are thankful for everything God has blessed us with throughout the years.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there who do such an amazing job ❤

 

RVing with the fam!

It’s safe to say our first time camping was a HUGE success! We were surprised at how well our son adjusted to the change. We were away for a total of 5 nights and 6 days and decided to stay at a campground that was about 40 minutes from our house in case there was an emergency.

Toddler

Our toddler was so tired from running around and playing at the campground he fell asleep almost instantaneously.  Also, we typically co-sleep with him, but he surprised us by telling us he wanted to sleep on his own!

Dog

Our Cairn terrier, Stanley, absolutely loved playing at the dog park and socializing with all his little pup pals.

Us

My husband and I hadn’t gone camping in an RV prior to this experience. When we did our road trip across all fifty states, we were in a regular tent or stayed in hotels along the way. We have learned that it takes a little while to set everything up. And take everything down.

In conclusion, we are planning to go to less places and spending more time to savor the experience!

DIY Cake Banner Topper

This year for our son’s 2nd birthday we are going to create a donut tower for his birthday “cake”. I want to add some additional theme-related decorations, but I ended up getting a quote for some customized cookies from a local bakery, and it was going to be between $7-$10 per cookie, depending on the amount of detail.

I decided to make my own cake topper for Kai’s 2nd birthday party. I used a glue gun, a glue stick, some twine, some cardboard from a cake box, some leftover burlap ribbon from Christmas, two skewers we have at home from our BBQ days, and I went to Walmart and picked up a sheet of black foam letter stickers for $2.

I cut out cardboard rectangular/flag shapes and then the burlap strips to match the cardboard. I glued the burlap on the cardboard using my glue stick. Then I stuck a foam letter on each of the shapes. I spelled out “kai is two”.

Then I used hot glue and glued some twine to the top of the cardboard shapes. I also glued the ends of twine to the top of the two skewers and then kept going with the 2nd and 3rd tiers.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ends because I ended up wrapping some extra ribbon around the skewer where I hot glued the twine…but I tried my best.

Here’s how it came out!

Thanks for reading! Happy crafting:)

DIY Stampers

We are in the planning stages of Kai’s 2nd birthday party. I was attempting to paint the words “Kai is two” on these plastic coconuts, but my handwriting is horrible!

So, I ended up using the foam stickers I bought from Walmart and hot gluing them onto some of Kai’s old wooden blocks. I made sure to put the sticker side up so when we stamp, the letters are not flipped incorrectly. The only letter I was able to not flip around and use the sticker side on the wooden block was the letter “o”.

They look a little better than me hand-painting the words. This is how it came out!

Kai’s 1st Birthday Party!

Last year we celebrated our son’s very first birthday. He was born a week or so after tax season, and I had all of busy season to plan his birthday bash!  I had so much fun putting it all together.

In 2009, Disney’s Up was released, and I remembered it being such a feel-good movie. I also recalled it being visually appealing with a wonderful theme and story.

Planning

It takes a lot to plan a child’s first birthday, especially when you have a theme you want. There are so many ideas out there, and it’s so hard to pick and choose what you want to incorporate and what you want to eliminate. There’s only so much a mom and family can do.

In the end it’s all about the child. Yes, he was only one. So the party was really to satisfy the parents’ and grandparents’ wants and wishes for a memorable birthday party for their child or grandchild.

Kai can look back on pictures/stories/videos on his 1st birthday party!

The invitations
We started off by searching for and ordering Kai a pilot’s hat online. I found one for less than $2USD. Downside: it took a month to get here. I used Photoshop and Canva as my design tools and Vistaprint to print the postcard invitations! Here’s how they came out.

The Party!
It took a lot of planning and help from family and friends, but we pulled it off! We lucked out with the weather because our little cape could not have accommodated the number of people in attendance. Here’s a link to our party pictures.

The Guestbook
During the party, we had a welcome table where we asked our guests to sign a ‘balloon’. They were card stock paper circles I punched out. During the party, I took a lot of pictures. One of the pictures just happened to be perfect for the ‘guestbook’.  Here’s how it came out.

2nd Birthday!

Even though daddy did not want to do something this large until Kai turns 5, we are already planning for his 2nd birthday party!

This time we won’t be having it at home. I can’t wait to share more details for his upcoming party:)

Easter menu idea!

Happy Easter everyone! Today we hosted a brunch for our parents. It was nice and intimate. Here’s a menu I used for inspiration as well as the mason jar candy favors for our guests:)

Easter Craft Ideas

Easter craft with a toddler!

Easter is just around the corner! Kai and I have been hanging out at home for the past week since he caught a cold two weeks ago. He was socializing with a lot of kids, so he was bound to catch something.

We took advantage of “home-time” with several trips to visit my parents and vice versa. Then a couple of days ago, I must have caught a little of what he had too! So, I was a little miserable. Thankfully, today we are both doing A LOT better:)

This also gave us the perfect opportunity to work on some Easter crafts!

We painted, and I made some egg-shaped stampers using some potatoes. Then I ran to Dollar Tree and found a pre-cut set of bunny glitter cut-outs that we glued to the cards. Kai loves playing with the glue stick and also painting! Here’s how the cards came out.

This year we are hosting Easter brunch for our parents, so we made a DIY banner too! Kai helped me color the paper with markers and spread the glue on the paper so I could stick the letters on. He also helped me put the spring stickers on the banner!

Here’s how it came out.

Hope you enjoyed reading! Happy Easter!!! 🐣

Old San Juan

Wednesday, 2/21/18
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Docked: 7am
All Aboard: 12:30pm

Our ship docked right in Old San Juan at 7am. Kai woke up right at 6:45am, so I got him dressed. My mom, Kai and I went exploring! My dad slept in.

We brought his stroller and planned to just walk around. As we were getting off the ship, we saw a beautiful rainbow.

Outside, there were lots of people asking us if we wanted a tour. I saw two men just finishing their run. I asked them where Old San Juan was, and they said we are there already. We were right in front of the Sheraton Old San Juan. They asked where we wanted to go. I said we just wanted to walk around and explore the area for about an hour. The older guy recommended we walk to the Old Fort. The other guy let us know that if we are heading uphill, that’s towards the fort and downhill is towards the port. They said going there and back would take us an hour and ten minutes. We thanked them.

And we were off! My mom was nervous and kept asking many people along our stroll where this was, but I just kept walking with Kai. It wasn’t long before we arrived at the abandoned fort. It was overlooking La Perla community which was above the ocean.

It was really bright that morning. Along our walk, we noticed the stores had yet to be opened.  I guess it was early based on PR standards. There were remnants from the hurricane, but it wasn’t so bad. There were some noticeable damage to the buildings, but everything near the port seemed okay. As we made our way back along the cobblestone roads, we noticed more and more stores were opening up.

The whole walk took us just under an hour, including the little stop at the old fort for some pictures. As we approached our ship, it started pouring outside! Thank goodness we were only about 100 ft away from shelter. Boy were we glad we ventured out before the rain.

We went back to our cabin, where my dad was still sleeping. We asked him if he wanted to join us for breakfast, but he said no. So we just went upstairs to grab some food. Kai ate a lot because we went out for a morning stroll.

After exploring the city, the rest of the day went by pretty fast. Kai had so much fun playing in the pool with another boy, who was about 3 years old. The other boy had a small water gun, so they were sharing toys. Kai had a lot of fun spraying the water gun. Although, I don’t particularly like the idea of using a water gun. I know, I know, a bit strange. But, I don’t know when would even be an appropriate age to introduce gun toys at this point. Whether it’s water guns, toy guns, or even those Nerf shooters. I know I just won’t be buying him any gun toys anytime soon. We will see what daddy thinks about this haha.

Puerto Rico was the cruise ship’s last stop! It’s finally time to wrap up our trip. Although we still have two more sea days before we return to New York. Dun dun dun…

Interested in reading more about our cruise? Here is our cruise prepshore excursion plan, days at sea,  and our commute from our hotel to the cruise terminal in Manhattan, along with our NYC adventure.

Antigua

Tuesday, 2/20/18
St. Johns, Antigua
Docked: 10am
All Aboard: 5:30pm

Our plan was to simply go to the beach. We made this decision fairly easily. This was after I found out the photography tour of Antigua was sold out.

The weather today was partly cloudy with some rain and around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since we docked around 10am, we tried to take our time in the morning. We grabbed breakfast and ate outside. Kai loved looking outside and watching all of the little boats go by.

The Journey to the Beach

My 78-year old dad, my mom, my 1.5 year old, and I made our way out of the ship around 10:30am, right after it docked and everything was cleared. Upon arriving at the taxi/tourist information desk, we were directed to wait for more people who were also heading to the beach.

Initially, the taxi driver was going to take us to Valley Church Beach. Then, this family asked to go to Darkwood Beach. The taxi driver we had ended up taking us all to Darkwood Beach. But, we had a mini argument because the other family was told we were heading to Valley Church, while the driver brought us to Darkwood.

We didn’t really care which beach we were going to, so long as everyone agreed on a time to come back on board the cruise ship. At that point, it was around 11:15am.

The family going to Darkwood Beach wanted to leave at 4pm. That was definitely too late for us. We decided to go with the other family and head to Valley Church Beach and agreed to leave the beach between 2pm-2:30pm.

It took less than 10 minutes to get to the beach. And, this one was closer to the cruise port.

When we got to Valley Church, we were directed to a man who gave us a bracelet indicating which driver we had to take us back, along with the pickup time. He also brought us two lounge chairs and an umbrella for shade. The chair rental was $5 each and the umbrella was $10.

Priorities

The first thing I noticed was how many seashells there were! So many. Also, the sand here was a lot more course than when we were at Cocoshell Bay in St. Kitts. We weren’t in a bay, so the water was a little more rough but not bad. The water was very clear, and it was beautiful!

The first thing Kai did was start playing in the sand.

The first thing my dad did was lay down on the chair.

The first thing my mom did was pay the gentleman.

Hold my hand

While on the beach, I took out all of Kai’s beach toys. We were there for a while, and Kai had so much fun playing. Then, a little girl, named Francesca (2.5 years old) from Argentina immediately came over to Kai when her family came to the beach.

She didn’t want to leave his side. Kai would try and “escape” by going towards the water or trying to play with other kids, but all she wanted to do was be with him.

It was so cute.

I stood and played with them most of the time. Her grandfather then came over and played with her while Kai and I were swimming. Then, he had them hold hands!

Too cute.

He tried to let her hand go, but she was very persistent.

Then her mom came over and gave her some snacks. A croissant and some cereal. Her mom tried to get her to take pictures with her family, but she wouldn’t leave Kai’s side. So, I took out some fresh berries and grapes we got from the ship. They shared and she fed him! Kai loved being fed.

The family finally got a few family pictures with the little girl.

Going Back

After she left, we just played a little longer and swam in the water. Kai is getting to be quite the kicker!

Then it was almost time to leave. My dad and Kai had collected some seashells before we left. I also grabbed some sand and put it in a large ziplock bag. I am planning on making some crafts when we return home.

The ride back to the ship was good. It was a fun beach day! I’m glad we went to this beach because Kai found a little playmate. Although if we ever go back to Antigua, I would like to head to Dickenson Bay. That’s where this Russian family we spoke to on the ship went to. The water was calm and the sand fine.

Let’s Sum Up!

Transportation method: Taxi (a group van) – as a group, we had to all agree on a time to go back to the port. There were complications with the driver taking us to one beach when he said it would be another. And, one family wanted to leave really late. In the end, it all worked out:)
Transportation Cost: $8 per person / each way ($16 round trip/person) – Kai was free (under 2)
Location: Valley Church beach
Distance: 20 minutes from port (where our cruise ship docked)
Cost for umbrella rental and lounge chair rental: $5 for umbrella and $10/chair

Total Cost for the 3 adults for the beach day: $48 (transportation) + $20 (rentals – umbrella and 2 lounge chairs) = $68

Cruise excursion for afternoon beach day = $59/person = $177 (for 3 adults)  for 3.5 hours (with umbrella and lounge chair rental)

We saved: $109 by going on our own and not with the cruise ship. The cruise ship only offered an afternoon beach outing. That would have interfered with Kai’s nap time. So, we were happy we went on our own.

Interested in reading more about our cruise? Here is our cruise prepshore excursion plan, days at sea,  and our commute from our hotel to the cruise terminal in Manhattan, along with our NYC adventure.