Highwater Jamboree

After having our second child, I felt the need to update our emergency plan. We’ve had a plan since finding out our neighbor’s house burned down; this happened years before we bought our home. It helped us see the urgency in having a plan because you never know when an emergency will occur. The first thing we did was get food that was easy to carry but would provide what we needed. Then we tasted it to see if we’d actually want to eat it; totally unnecessary but it definitely wasn’t something you’d overindulge in. Next we packed dog food, rain smocks, flash lights, batteries, etc. We never bought the water we needed nor did we get a few other essentials but we felt it was a good start. Plus we weren’t entirely sure where to go from there. So we researched, made a plan then did absolutely nothing until…

I receive an email from the City of Sacramento about the second annual Highwater Jamboree – Flood Prep Exposition. This seemed like perfect timing but I was surprised as I didn’t realize there was a first. Anyways I read the email, clicked on the link and decided we definitely needed to attend. While I went for information regarding how to prepare for natural disasters common in our area, I knew my toddler would love all of the emergency vehicles.

Sacramento Police Department Helicopter

The morning of the event I told my son we had a surprise for him. He was excited but didn’t really know what was going on as we didn’t give him much information. As we drove to the event, I explained a little about what he could expect. I let him know we’d be going to an event to show us how to be prepared for emergencies. I compared it to popular shows he watches then let him know we would be seeing similar things. Finally, we arrived but there was little to be excited about because we parked far away. After walking for a bit, he saw the vehicles.

Truck used for maintaining the city drains and sewer systems; don’t remember the name…
Fire Truck!

Each vehicle had an attendant. The one above showed him how they use a camera, on what looked like a remote controlled car, to see inside the pipes. The attendant/ operator also explained how another item (looked like a small space rover) worked as well as giving a brief kid friendly explanation of the pipes on display. He went on to tell him the importance of keeping the drains clear of leaves and trash so water can enter the drains and be safely transported away from the streets.

Bulldozer
Hubby and son inside a backhoe loader
City Sanitation Vehicles
M.I.C – Mobile Incident Command

My son’s favorite was a toss up between the bulldozer and the excavator. My favorite was the M.I.C. I was able to speak with the officer inside to get details on what this is used for, where it goes and why it is important. I’ll post two views from interior and one video showing the exterior to my YouTube channel Journey to Mommy (links at end of post). I do state in the video that I don’t mention names or show people because I’m a firm believer in privacy. Please note no one asked me not to show them or mention names; this was a choice I made. Once we finished viewing all the vehicles, we went to the tents. All the tents had different information on various agencies that help before, during and after an emergency.

The City of Sacramento Office of Emergency Services tent stood out the most. It was a one stop shop for preparation. The attendants asked about who was in my home and what elevation I was at. These questions are important as having a pet, small children and/or elderly would change your preparation needs. The elevation is important because flood zone versus non flood zone dictates whether or not you should plan to stay in your home or leave. Both require different planning. These were things I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. Below are all the pamphlets I received. If you don’t have a plan acquiring these would be a good way to start as well as checking out your city website to see how they operate in case of emergency.

Diet?

With all of the updates I’ve given regarding my diet, you think I would’ve stuck to something by now but you’d be wrong. My problem is the same as a lot of others. I start something, am super excited, something comes up, I’m thrown off then whoops. I get derailed, down on my lack of self control then I start the cycle all over again. Well this time is different because I won’t give up. In the words of a cool Instagram meme I’ll just yell “Plot Twist” and keep on going. This won’t be perfect, pretty or pleasant but I know it will be worth it because health.

Going forward, I’ll be making short weekly videos about my diet week rather than the same old blog posts about what I did or didn’t do. The videos will be faster seeing as how I’ll be cutting out the desire to add pictures or any other window dressing. I’ll be talking about how the week went which will include hits, misses and whatever in between. I also post product review videos. In about a month, I’ll be redoing the MyChelle Perfect C Pro Serum. I loved it but didn’t finish because I got pregnant. Yes, I could have continued but I didn’t as my skin is unusually nice when I’m pregnant so I didn’t think the review would be fair. However with a toddler and an infant I feel this will really put the serum to the test.

Hopefully you’ll join me weekly on YouTube to see diet related videos as well as an occasional review 🙂 It’s Journey to Mommy and the picture on YouTube is the same one I use here. https://youtu.be/ZT8y9dqsFGs

Help Wanted

The picture above was only edited to include a modesty paint splatter because I chose to put it there. Besides that nothing has been done to the photo. Why do I have such an honest picture? Well I had an experience a few months ago that I thought should be accompanied by a picture for context. I was going to make this a pity party post but after having time to think about it decided to make it a teaching moment.

A few months ago I gave birth to a healthy baby. While everything turned out okay, I hadn’t been feeling myself due to things out of my control namely hormones. It had been a while since I had gotten out of the house without my little ones so hubby took me out for a midweek date. Everything started off great. Dinner, adult conversation and planning for the future. Then we decided to extend our evening by going to the mall. First I went to a makeup store to buy a liquid concealer along with two impulse buys. I was on a high because I really wanted the concealer but couldn’t justify buying it as I don’t wear makeup regularly. However my hubby is awesome and he was trying to spoil me per usual. The second store WAS my favorite. Just to clarify I am intentionally leaving out the name but I will say it was not Bath and Body Works. Now the story…

I was really excited to go to my store as I usually get to spend a decent amount on fun but completely unnecessary bath products. I went in with the intention to replace a skincare item and to get a few new bath balls. I walk in (see image above) with a huge smile on my face and no spending cap! Now I would never go too crazy but I was happy with the dollar amount I set for myself. I walk in the store but for the first time no one offers to help. Please note the store was in no way busy; there was maybe three customers not including ourselves. I figured someone would get to me when they were done however no one approached us. Then an additional associate walks out from the back and still nothing. I thought maybe they are changing places with the cashier but again wrong. I decided to say what I was looking for just in case they all assumed the other associate helped me but again nothing and one associate even avoided me. To reiterate small store, not busy and I am very hard to miss as I was dressed in a bright color. Right as I see an associate headed my way I smile and begin to form the words for the description of the items I’m looking for when she continues walking to help the customers that just walked in. At this point I am crushed because I have no other reasoning as to why I haven’t received assistance. Even my husband was annoyed to the point of wanting to complain.

So we go to the candy store next door in an effort to pick me up so I could work up the nerve to go back and give them a second try. The candy store was equally empty and the associate immediately greeted us and asked to let them know if we needed any help or had questions. This is all I wanted but didn’t receive at the previous store. We were greeted so nicely in the candy store I nearly cried. I was hormonal, still dealing with post delivery things and happy to be out of the house and that gutted me. I eventually walked to the back of the candy store so no one could see the tears forming. Now my husband was upset because I don’t cry easily. I explained to him that I haven’t dealt with that much profiling in YEARS. I thought “that stuff doesn’t happen where I live” because it is so diverse. Well I was wrong. Once I got it together, we brought our purchases to the front, made a few impulse buys, thanked them for their great customer service and left.

As we left and passed the offending store, my husband asked if I wanted to go back to complain. I declined. I was so sad that the thought of doing anything else gutted me. What if I went for dessert and the same thing happened? What if the way I looked put people off and that is why I wasn’t helped? Maybe my attitude seemed XYZ? Well by the time I arrived home I was still emotional but I started thinking. I didn’t do anything wrong. I am the same person I always am when around others. I smile at the very least and speak when at my best. I could have looked better but I was dressed the way I felt comfortable and in what could fit my post baby body.

The lesson I learned was to treat every customer like they matter. Don’t pick and choose who you will help. If you are at work in the customer service business and said customer has not been rude, violent, etc then you should give them the same customer service you want to receive. Or at the bare minimum ask if they need help. I don’t expect anyone to bend over backwards or go out of their way to help me. But what I do expect is common industry standard courtesy whether or not you think I have the money to be there. Because your actions might not have direct consequences but knowing you changed a persons day should matter. I consider myself a decent human trying to raise decent humans. I hope my children’s actions never cause anyone to feel the way I did that night at the bath store when Help was indeed Wanted…

Labor and Delivery Nurses

This is my Thank You letter to the amazing strangers that played an important role in our life.

Nurses Gift
We gave one to everyone who helped us: nurses, midwife, pediatrician, etc

To Nurses Helen, Jennifer, Rachel, Megan and Midwife (CNM) Susan with a special Thanks to Jamie who was with us for our first child,

You probably won’t remember us but I’ll always remember you. I was terrified with a nervous calm once I found out I would be going to Labor & Delivery the same day as my last NST (non stress test). I had an overall understanding about being induced, most of which I found out the day before, but the details were a mystery. You all played an important part in easing my fears, answering all of my questions and encouraging me.

No one pressured me to get an epidural. If I wanted an epidural you wouldn’t question me or make me feel bad about my decision. No one scared me about the intensity of contractions with pitocin. You told me what to expect with an induction including the pills and pitocin. No one made me feel like a baby when the pain finally took over. You all encouraged me and told me I could do it. You reminded me I could adjust the lights, have more pillows, move around or whatever else (within reason) would help me feel comfortable. You even answered additional medical questions that didn’t have much to do with labor and delivery.

The pain put a smile on my face because I knew it meant I’d meet my baby soon but I was still in pain. I was adamant about using the bathroom and rather than saying ‘No you’re too close’ our midwife reminded me the pressure could be baby trying to come and I should let her know immediately if I felt a bulge. Thankfully it wasn’t but right after she ASKED if she could check me. We were having issues with the baby monitor so a physical check was done. She warned it might be very painful, confirmed my consent to check and proceeded. This was it. The moment arrived.

I truly appreciated the bedside manner of everyone that surrounded us. I loved that despite losing it towards the end everyone was wonderful, reminding me I could do it, saying my reaction was perfectly normal and helping me cope pain med free. Post delivery they were having trouble getting bleeding to stop so pills were given (not orally…), stitches were quick and there was continuous intense pushing/ massaging on my abdomen until the pills kicked in to slow the bleeding. Though everyone was working fast, I was informed every step of the way because part of my birth preferences included being informed on what was going on. All in all the experience was great and I would give them all referrals if I could. But I can’t so hopefully this letter reaches one of them (or another awesome medical professional) to inform them of the positive impact they had on this mommy.

Thank you,

Journey to Mommy

My Simplified Delivery List

Motherhood Maternity Dress (snaps down the front and along the top for easy access)
Avia Socks
Mesh undies from hospital 😉

After my second delivery, I have a better grasp on what to bring to my particular hospital. These are items I found useful but this is by no means a list for everyone as your list will vary based on where you choose to give birth and what is available. For instance, my hospital provides diapers, nipple balm, plain cloths that you wet with water as wipes, tucks pads, numbing spray, extra pads (not a full pack but a few) and we both received gowns (sleep sack and nursing gown featuring hospitals logo) as well as other goodies.

  • Camera or Phone with chargers!!
  • Comfy Gown
  • Socks (to match gown)
  • Supportive nursing bra
  • Preferred pads (hospital pads are huge and don’t have wings)
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste (later discovered hospital had this too…)
  • Skincare (facial wipes and moisturizer)
  • Makeup (tinted moisturizer, chapstick and brow pencil)
  • Hair supplies or protective hairstyle (thankfully went to get hair braided day before so only needed a head scarf!)
  • Going home outfit for myself and baby
  • Additional: snacks for your support person, medical card/ insurance, book/ tablet/ something to keep you occupied if you’re there for a while, nurses gifts (if applicable)
Maternity dress from Target
Crocs courtesy of MIL (mother-in-law)

I’ll probably do a video at some point but this was my quick list. I hope someone finds this condensed list helpful!

Salad Appreciation

I finally found a vegetable that agrees with myself and baby. It is the Ready Pac Bistro Santa Fe Style salad sold at Costco. It contains romaine lettuce, white meat chicken breast, roasted corn, four cheese blend, tortilla chips and salsa ranch dressing. Occasionally I throw away the chips but the salad is delicious. However the delicious salad is not actually what I appreciate. It’s the man who bought the salad that I appreciate.

Well as you’ve read above this salad has worked out very well for me. I have had trouble this pregnancy making sure I get enough calories. I’m overweight/ technically obese so I wasn’t too worried about it. My OB was persistent about reminding me to get enough calories so I tried to start making my calories count in the way of being nutrient packed and this salad seemed like a convenient way to make that happen. Well Monday was Costco day and that salad was at the top of the list! We arrived and immediately set about getting everything on our list including 2 fans that we bought because they were on sale. Finally we get to the salad section. We both looked everywhere and hubby even checked behind things in case someone dropped one. But nothing… All the other salads were there just not the one I wanted. We finished our shopping and went to checkout. The whole time I was trying to figure out how to get my salad while holding back very irrational tears. We got to the front and I flat out asked when the next shipment was expected only to be told they’ll be unpacking it tomorrow. Without missing a beat, hubby says we’ll be back tomorrow.

The entire ride home I was sad and trying not to cry because seriously it’s a salad not an organ or vital medicine. As I tried to talk myself out of crying, hubby assured me he felt my pain and would understand if I cried. Finally, we’re home and he tells me he’ll unload the car so I can go inside. He finishes up and asks if I want ice cream which I found odd since I was too full at dinner to have dessert. I said no but he could check for creamer if he liked. He took off to the store and I didn’t give it much thought as I knew he just wanted to make me feel better. A while passed and I started to get worried. I figured maybe he stopped somewhere and would refrain from harassing him for a few more minutes. Right as I was checking my phone, he shows up with TWO packages of salad bowls which makes a total of 8 bowls!! I couldn’t contain my excitement. I immediately turned off my show and gave him the remote so he could game.

As most people, especially pregnant people, know this is not about the salad. This is another thing that shows me he loves me in a very physical way. He didn’t have to get off work, go to dinner (his food didn’t defrost at all because it was a frozen ball of chicken), go grocery shopping, unload the car then turn around and drive to two different Costco locations just to get the salad I wanted. ALL RIGHT AFTER WORK on a Monday!! His level of appreciation and love is, in my opinion, the kind I wish for everyone especially hormonal pregnant people. He could have let it go, bought the ingredients for the salad or just waited but he didn’t. He actively went out of his way to make me happy and for that I was extremely grateful. I don’t usually post on our anniversary and I don’t need a holiday to tell me when to appreciate him because everyday can be a special day. Every day can be an opportunity to show love, respect and appreciation for the man I love. And this is one of those days.

Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

WAHM – One Year Anniversary

As I mentioned a while ago, I am now a Studio Manager/ Personal Assistant. I started off putting in a lot of hours in the studio so I could get the lay of the land. Slowly I started transitioning to 90% of my time being from home. Since getting pregnant, it’s more like 100% of my time is from home.

I had a romanticized version of what working at home with a toddler would look like. I thought, this will be the best thing ever. There was going to be perfectly scheduled time for everything and I’d have wiggle room whenever I needed it. I could earn money from home while being with my little man. What could be better?! Well… this isn’t a scary story but there are a few positives and negatives that were unexpected. I’ll name them and elaborate if necessary.

Pros of being WAHM

  • Commute is awesome
  • Dress code is at most casual at very least kid friendly
  • Watch him grow and learn new things
  • Can be there when he’s sick
  • Can work when I’m sick unless I lose my voice
  • Pregnancy related nausea & vomiting don’t interrupt my day too much
  • Frequent bathroom breaks without anybody caring
  • Can control food smells because it’s only myself and co-worker (toddler) during lunch
  • House is maintained because I can wash clothes while on a call or clean during my break

Cons of being WAHM

  • You work longer without realizing it because you’re at home and can check/ respond to work any time
  • No adult co-workers to chat with throughout the day
  • Toddler meltdowns can make phone calls very stressful
  • Not having a dedicated office space is tough
    • Distractions are common
    • Must move all work items at the beginning and end of the work day
    • Not having a proper desk and chair puts stress on the body especially while pregnant
  • Overeating
    • You are getting snacks for your child and you are right by the refrigerator

SeaQuest – Folsom, CA

It has been raining a lot in Sacramento, CA. We went from barely any rain to what feels like daily showers. I am not complaining because I love the rain as it is the best for my allergies and asthma. However, as the work from home mom of a toddler, it is getting tough. I have a hard enough time trying to safely entertain him as it is; he prefers the thrill of jumping off of and climbing onto things that aren’t made for that purpose. So I made it a point to find something fun for him to do on Sunday (3/3/19).

I was inspired when I saw a local radio personality post about SeaQuest on their Instagram. I did my research and planned the trip. Once I mentioned it to my husband he reminded me that he told me first and wanted to go.

On Sunday, we ate breakfast then headed to Folsom, CA where the nearest SeaQuest is located. Upon arrival the building doesn’t look like it could contain an aquarium or really anything with animals but looks can be deceiving. We ran into other parents who confirmed we were indeed at SeaQuest; so my first word of advice is to find others who can point you in the right direction. I’ll include a list of suggestions/ helpful hints at the end of the post. Once we finally checked in, the fun began. I don’t want to ruin it or make it sound too fun but we enjoyed watching our son go from section to section exploring the land and sea creatures. We also plan on returning during off peak hours to enjoy the other things employees told us about as we visited the different areas. Enough writing, below are a few pictures we took along with my helpful hints/ suggestions. Please note I took more pictures however I don’t want to ruin the experience by showing everything.

Entering from the right going towards Fantasy Caves

Helpful Hints/ Suggestions:

  • Arrive Early
  • Buy Tickets Online ($2 discount as of 3/3/19)
  • Wear good walking shoes
  • Visit during off peak hours (we were told weekdays esp 4pm – closing)
  • For check-in, prepare to wait in a long and somewhat confusing line
  • You can touch some of the aquatic creatures but make sure to wash your hands before and after for the safety of creatures and yourself
  • You can pay to feed or hold the creatures
  • https://folsom.visitseaquest.com/

Car Shopping

I bought my dream vehicle on 12/31/18!

Let’s back up a little. My old car still worked and I had no plans of buying a car until my Chevy was dead. I’m not the type to upgrade simply because I want to or can afford it. I only upgrade when I’m forced to (breaks or isn’t worth fixing). However we were in a car accident and the insurance company totaled it. We had a feeling it was going to happen so we started seriously looking up vehicles that were both practical and orange.

The search was narrowed down to Ford Edge, Ford Escape or Toyota Rav4. As soon as we physically looked at the vehicles, we knew the Escape was out because it was a little too small for our needs. Then the battle began. Ford or Toyota? This was one of many questions on my mind for weeks with no clear answer. I agonized over the decision because I knew this would be the car I kept for hopefully the next 10 years. Finally we found it. An orange Ford Edge with lift gate, power everything and an amazing sound system (allegedly). But by the time we wanted to check it out, it was gone… The search continued.

Fast forward a few weeks and I left it all up to my husband. My reasoning was he enjoyed haggling and is into cars anyways so I might as well let him do his thing. We took a test drive for both so I knew the color would be the deciding factor. Well he came through. We had to travel almost an hour but he found it. It was orange, power everything and it had a sunroof. I would’ve been happy with the first two but the sunroof sent me over the edge and I knew I was in love. We left our son with my mom and headed to the dealership. It started off strange because no one was there. We eventually found a wonderful salesperson who was great and did everything he could to help us unfortunately no deal. We even went back but it was over what we wanted to spend by $500…

I was heartbroken and the only thing that could fix it was tasty food! We headed to a restaurant so I could talk and eat my feelings. I told my husband, while also telling myself, that it was okay and I trusted his judgement especially since he was right about the flooring (that’s another story). As I tried my best to eat my feelings and not cry, my husband smiled and said I already have a replacement I just didn’t want to drive that far. My eyes lite up as he showed me the pictures. He asked if I wanted him to call and I said yes! Everything was worked out before we went so the next day everything went smooth. I couldn’t believe I was getting my dream car at a price we could afford. I was in total shock when, after hours of waiting, I was handed the keys. It was late and we had an over 2 hour drive ahead but I was determined to get a picture with the giant bow. With pictures taken, I was off to drive my dream car home all by myself with husband and son following behind.

The drive home was the most emotional ride I’ve taken next to bringing my son home from the hospital. I laughed, cried and felt incredibly grateful. I realized a new level of trust and appreciation for my husband and the life we’ve built together. After the honeymoon glow, vacations, first child, first home, job changes, financial ups and downs and car accidents, it was the car buying experience that has taught me the most about love and trust. Leaving the first dealership felt gut wrenching but trusting my husband and proving it by following his lead turned out way better than I imagined and solidified what I already knew… My husband is amazingly perfect for me.

Gardein: Classic Meatless Meatballs

I’ve bought Gardein products before (with my own money) and plan on going through all the items they have at my local stores. When Social Nature gave me a voucher for a free item, I was thrilled! I could’ve picked anything but I already tried the Mini Crabless Cakes and Seven Grain Crispy Tenders, I figured I’d pick something different.

I chose the Classic Meatless Meatballs! They’re delicious, crispy and filling. I cooked them in my airfryer on 400° for about 18min. I realized after the fact that this was way too long. So avoid my mistake and make sure you don’t overcook it. I’ve included a picture of the nutritional facts and ingredients so I’m not going to go over them. In case you’re trying to avoid it, I would like to point out that this product does have soy and wheat. Below are just a few ways I used them.

Tortilla, cheese & homemade tomato sauce
Spaghetti & Meatless Meatballs
Loaded Fries