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Plano Mom, Rachael tells us about her Exponential Life

An Exponential Life

Kids are loud, crazy, messy, adorable little monsters. But something happens when you have more than one. Everything grows at an exponential rate. I have four little boys – oldest almost 7, a 5-year-old, a 22-month-old, and an 8-month-old – and nothing is just 4x [fill in the blank]. It’s more like 40x. Everything is bigger.

And that includes…

ILLNESS.

Take a journey with me to a time not so long ago. Last week.

It actually started the previous week I came down with what I thought was just a severe sore throat. I didn’t go to the doctor because, well, #momlife and who has the time or money for that anyway?

So, I’m kicking butt, as we moms do, and was diligent in not kissing the boys – which was really hard because I’m that mom that smothers her kids in hugs and kisses.

plano moms rachael and son

 

Anyway! I’m doing great, on the mend, things are looking up. Until Friday night, when… I accidentally kissed my oldest on the lips.

I then sealed my fate with, “Oh, I’m sure it’ll be fine!”

I KNOW!! What was I thinking?! Murphy and his law immediately knocked on my door.

And so the tale of Exponential Sickness begins.

Saturday:

Oldest wakes up congested, but I figure it’s just allergies. We go to the first soccer game of the season and he’s a little sluggish, but he’s moved up an age level – we figured it was just the larger fields. Buuuut then we get home and he’s on fire. 104 degree temp. Commence cold shower, meds, and rest. Fever comes down. Ok, cool. We got this.

Sunday:

Still sick with fever, though not nearly as high. No church.

Monday:

Doctor’s appointment reveals oldest has strep. YAY! Start antibiotics. Doc says he can return to school on Wednesday.

Tuesday:

Second oldest comes home from school and sleeps for 3 hours. Has a low grade fever. Go to doctor for strep swab. It comes back negative. “It’s just allergies with a severe cold on top,” says Doc, “but we’ll send off the culture to be sure. I’m sure he’s fine!”

Meanwhile I’m over here like:

rachael plano momsAt this point I see the writing on the wall. There’s no sense in denying it anymore. We’ve been infested and it’s only a matter of time before more of my tiny comrades fall.

Wednesday:

Everyone to school on meds.

Thursday:

Mommy goes off to a meeting and two youngest stay with sitter. I text her and she hits me back with “Sorry, I was changing #3’s blowout.” Another one down.

Naptime. Sweet silence. Until the phone rings. “Hi Rachael. Calling because #2 has a 103 temperature.”

[Heavy sigh] “Okay. I’ll be there in a bit. I have to wake up the babies.”

Change disgusting diaper and off to get Bubba. And then I hear it.

Heave SPLATT

My poor little toddler has thrown up all over himself and the kitchen floor. Mom Mode activated! I turn to get the paper towels and Lysol wipes and I hear it again.

Heave SPLATT

And then, my sweet little angel, starts walking through it toward me. Panic Mom Mode activated! “STOP! Do. Not. MOVE!” I lift him up and over, run to the backyard, strip him down, wipe him down, cover him in hand sanitizer, and start cleaning up. I call the school to let them know I’ll be longer than expected when I look into the living room.

Y’all. The world slowed down. My heart stopped.

With his chubby little hands, the toddler grabbed the baby’s cheeks and gave him a big, sloppy, toddler-style kiss. Directly. On. The. Lips.

I scream “NNNOOOOOOOO!!!” as I hang up the phone and leap, yes LEAP, toward them. Now, I’m neither small nor spry so for my big booty to move so quickly, well it was something.

I finally get to the school where they won’t even let me enter the building. They essentially open the door just wide enough for my son to pass, quickly close it, and wave at me safely behind the glass.

He throws up on the living room floor that evening.

Friday:

Three youngest stay home. Toddler throws up all over the couch. I call the doctor for the toddler to be swabbed. “I was just about to call you. The culture came back positive.” Me:

rachel plano moms a

We all load up, go to the doctor for the toddler’s swab. It comes back negative. Obviously, I was skeptical.

Saturday and Sunday we took it easy and everyone seemed to be on the mend.

So now we’re halfway through this week and doing great. Number 1 is almost done with his antibiotics, #2 is back to his normal self with the help of good ol’ amoxicillin, #3 just had a 48-hour bug, and miraculously, the baby never caught anything.

Like I said. Life with more than one kid is exponentially bigger. But no matter how hard last week was I would NEVER trade it if that meant I couldn’t experience the exponential love and joy and craziness of my little crew.

But dear sweet, baby Jesus PLEASE don’t let the hellscape of multiple illnesses befall this house again!

rachel plano moms family

This post was written by Plano Mom, Rachael Armstrong. This insight into her thoughts and journey of life as a Mom is written in her own words. 

Why Dara chose a Private School for her Daughter – a Plano Mom’s Story

I feel like if you tell someone in North Texas “My child attends private school at…” people will look at you as if you have spoken a foreign language.

The schools in North Texas are superior for the most part so why on earth would anyone consider anything else? Needless to say I was not interested but my husband felt that we should consider it for various reasons. I can be very stubborn so I got the opinions from those I value most and together we decided to book some school tours.

dfw private school plano1

I remember saying “This is the dumbest most obnoxious thing we’ve ever done. It’s a complete waste of our time.” When I walked in the school we immediately noticed the security features in place and we were greeted by the most lovely front desk person you could meet.

As we toured the school I began to fall in love, it was how I remembered school and what I wanted for my children. It was warm, friendly, colorful and the kids were excited to learn, very polite and best of all shamelessly loving God.

The very last thing the admissions rep said to us was “I hope you see that our school is diverse, we have a director of diversity here and we work very hard to include all backgrounds.”

This was a big deal for us because because it showed she wasn’t afraid to address the concerns minorities may have. It was a long quiet walk back to the car but when Carl (my husband) asked me how I felt and what my thoughts were I gave him a defeated look and said “I love it”. I cannot believe I had been so naive and so wrong which means others could be too.

Going into this we wanted strong academics, a school that was competitive within TAPPS, PreK – 12th, diversity, not too far from home, parent involvement, a good lunch menu (I have a picky eater) and a school that could help increase our child’s faith.

As we toured other schools I learned that the DFW area has several school options to offer such as parochial, university models, single-sexed, Montessori, private with online options and special needs schools.

dfw private school plano

Our daughter (centered) and two schoolmates

Once we applied and were accepted I did what most moms do these days, I went to Facebook. Only I couldn’t locate a FB group that included DFW families enrolled in private school or seeking info on it, I mostly found school specific groups. I needed to learn more so I created a group called DFW Private School Families for those in private school or considering it. We have managed to build an online community where we can discuss thoughts, concerns, misconceptions and remain supportive of one another as well.

The things things group members often want others to know are not everyone who sends their kid to private school is rich or anti-public school.

Most parents in the group are working two or single parent homes and all are making a sacrifices of some sort daily.

If you were to ask me what to look for here’s what I’d tell you;

  • One of the biggest myths is that private school teachers aren’t accredited but this is not always true. The school itself often cannot receive a lot awards or accreditations if the teachers aren’t.
  • Private schools can offer various financial options to help with affordability.
  • Look for security measures such as lockdowns and definitely bullying prevention.
  • Staff tenure, private educators sometimes make less than public educators so you want a school where the teachers want to stay.
  • There’s no STAAR testing so how do they assess your child’s academic growth?
  • The curriculum in any school you consider should be challenging but homework shouldn’t consume your child’s life.

If you’re truly interested in a school you should attend the schools open house and ALWAYS tour during the school year. This wasn’t the original plan but we like where it’s headed.

This post is written by Dara K. Tilghman, a Mom of 2. She has spent hours researching Private Schools around DFW and has some unique insight to share with Plano Moms. Her Facebook group is DFW Private School Families. Follow Dara on Twitter

For more another guest post about Home Schooling, click here

Meet the Sherwins – a local family of Twins & Triplets

“You sure have your hands full!”- it’s a phrase we have heard countless times and we will probably continue to hear forever. The truth is, though the words have become monotonous they couldn’t be more true. We absolutely do have our hands full – literally! We have been blessed with a very unique family that is composed of my husband and I, 2 year old twin girls, and 3 month old triplets! It’s an interesting situation that often makes an “ordinary day” feel much more like a circus act.

After the triplets were born, they spent 10 days in the NICU learning how to eat and grow. The NICU experience was unfortunately not new to us, having spent 13 days there with their older sister Keona, one of the twins. It was during this second NICU stay that we got our first glimpse of what a challenge we were facing to care for the needs of 5 littles ones under the age of 3.

Since we’ve been home we have definitely been busy! Everyday brings at least 3 loads of laundry, 30 diaper changes, 6 hours of pumping, 21 feedings (or more)- Almost 100 oz. of milk, multiple outfit changes, and constantly revolving task of washing bottles and pump parts. All of this in addition to caring for our twins: 3 meals and snacks, potty training, conflict resolution, play time and crafts, bathing, reading books, and the list could go on and on. The twins have earned the term “twin-adoes” as they quickly leave a trail of toys in their path.

Luckily, the twins have blossomed into the MOST incredible big sisters. They are constantly putting pacifiers in babies mouths, helping with bottles, and giving their siblings hugs and kisses. The most important (and favorite) part of our job is getting 5 times the snuggles! Though we do have a big family with a LOT of needs, it is incredibly important to us that each individual child gets as many snuggles and kisses as possible. Luckily, we have been blessed with an incredible “village” of friends and family that have stepped up in a big way to help us achieve that goal. Often when people hear of our family dynamic they quickly call me “Super Mom”. Super tired? Yes. Super busy? You bet! Super blessed? Absolutely! But the truth is that I could never do any of it without my husband and my village.

When we first found out that we would be having triplets, the very first thing that I said to my husband, Robbie, was that we were going to have to be the absolute BEST version of ourselves. All we can pray for is that each day we will continue to better ourselves and our lives for the sake of these 5 little miracles. As the days go by we will continue to learn each child’s personalities/likes/dislikes a bit better, we’ll learn little parenting tricks to make our lives a bit easier, and we will work into a routine to help keep consistency in our home. Most importantly we will give these children every drop of love that we have in our hearts.. and then some.

In our 3 months as a family of 7, we have braved to get out of the house a few times. Getting 5 kids under 3 years old ready for a trip out of the house is stuff reality TV shows are made of! I can only imagine the spectacle we are running around the house collecting all of the things we need for even the shortest adventure out of the house. While we are out, I wish I could take pictures of the looks on people’s faces when they notice us! “Wait, you have twins AND triplets?!”, they say in disbelief. Yes, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

The phrase we hear the most often, sadly, is “I’m glad that it’s you and not me!”. Before you feel sorry for us though, please understand that though it may be five times the work, we also get five times the snuggles, kisses, laughs, memories and love. We may be outnumbered, busy and tired but if you think our hands are full, you should see our hearts! We fully believe that God does not give you more than you can handle, and for some reason He trusted us with these five beautiful souls.

The Sherwin family circus is officially in town! If you would like to join us in our adventure, please follow us at www.sherwinfullhouse.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sherwinfullhouse.

Take a Cheap Staycation to Winstar Casino

I don’t know about your summer break but I feel like ours has been flying by. We’ve been so busy with activities and before it was all over we wanted to take a little getaway with our kids.  We needed something close to Dallas area and something that wasn’t too pricey. We ended up going on a cheap getaway to Winstar Casino! Come check out how I managed to get a free room for my family for 2 nights 🙂

take a cheap staycation winstar casino with kids

And before you ask or think badly, no, we did not take kids into the casino part, we only stayed in the resort/hotel part! This was a totally cheap getaway and fun for everyone. Would you believe me if I say that I got our 2-night hotel room totally FREE? Well, I did! A free hotel room! How did I do it? All I had to do was sign up for a player’s club card.

take a cheap staycation winstar casino with kidsAbout 2 years ago I went up with my husband for a day trip (just us) to try our luck and Winstar. We had never been there so we signed up for player’s club cards. It took just a few minutes and then we each had $25 free gambling money on the card, an added bonus! Since then, every month I get vouchers/discounts in the mail for free rooms. The nights are very exclusive and are only during the week (Sundays-Thursdays) so summertime is the perfect time for this to work!!

Summertime is the best time to take kids because that is when their resort style pool is open! This was our free entertainment for the days and the kids had a great time. My 4 year old loved it. My 9-year-old did get a little bored because there were no rides or things she’s used to doing! But all things considered, it was a nice pool with a great pool bar and full service for adults.

I took snacks, breakfast foods, and drinks to save us even more money. The kids had a fabulous time just lounging in the hotel room in pj’s and people watching from the windows. We ordered room service one night and they thought that was the best.

This was a totally doable staycation getaway that was super close. We made it to Winstar in about 90 minutes or less with no traffic and it was fun to get away from Dallas for a few nights. We were definitely not the only ones with kids at Winstar. It was packed with families just like us.

Have you ever taken kids to Winstar? This would also make a great Mommy/Daddy getaway or a Mom’s Night Away too! What is your favorite staycation idea? Check out our top staycation ideas that are close to Dallas.