Thursday, January 7, 2016

Orange Rhino

What better reason to resurrect and dust off the good ol' blog than to share with everyone my resolution for the new year.  I hate to even call it a resolution.  I don't do resolutions.  This is really just something I want to change and it just so happens to fall on the new year.  I figure the more people I tell about this change I'm making will just be more people to hold me accountable, ask me how it's going, etc.

I've turned in to a yelling mom.  

There.  I've said it.  I'm not sure when it happened.  Maybe sometime between kid #2 and kid #3?  Not sure.  But, my default when stressed, annoyed, frustrated, tired, etc. is yelling.  When kid #1 needs homework help and kid #2 won't touch her dinner she JUST asked for and kid #3 just wants my lap--all this after a day of working, coming home to a house that isn't clean and piles of laundry.  All I can manage to do is yell my responses, bury my head in my hands and hide my face.  Then, I look up--kid #1 is un-phased, she's used to the mean mom, kid #2 is looking at me like a deer in headlights and kid #3 is still begging to sit in my lap and wants me all to himself.  This has been the scene in my house most school nights.  There are so many scenarios I could tell you about but I'm afraid you will think worse and worse of me.  Times when we've been at Target and Molly was not keeping up due to stopping and looking at something that caught her eye--I snap.  When Emma works so hard on her homework and all I can seem to focus on is her handwriting and how it needs to be better--I snap.  I'm gonna stop now.  You get the point.  

The night I decided to stop yelling, I was laying in bed after a day of yelling and snapping and was scrolling thru Facebook.  This image was in my feed:

It was like a smack in the face.  The pit that was already in my stomach from feeling guilty about the day, turned in to a pit of not only guilt, but sadness, regret, pain--you name it.  I was replacing the sad face of this child with my children's faces.  Y'all, it rocked me to the core.  It was that moment I knew I had to change.  I wanted to change.

I'd heard of the Orange Rhino Challenge in the past and decided to look it up.  There is a book, an app, printables, support groups--you name it!  It was created by a mom who was a yeller.  The challenge is to not yell at your kids for 365 days (or however many days you chose).  I have rallied with a few other moms who also wish to stop yelling and we've created a safe place to share our struggles, accomplishments and to support one another.  The web site,, has these printable coloring pages for the kids to color.  I'm printing them out tonight and will be talking to my kids about my new goal.  I plan to humble myself before them and apologize for being a yelling, sometimes scary, mommy and ask for their forgiveness.  I'm going to tell them how from now on our house is going to be a peaceful place where we won't use yelling to say what we need to say.  The creator of this challenge also broke down the different levels of yelling--yelling if a kid is in danger and to get their attention is ok, just so y'all know.  My goal is to talk to my kids like I would talk to a stranger on the street.  I would never imagine yelling at a stranger on the street--and how much more important are my kids to me than a stranger on the street?

A few days after committing to this challenge, I looked in Emma's prayer box.  This is something she got for Christmas and I love the idea!  It's a sweet little box for her to write down prayers on paper and to keep them in the box.  Never did I imagine the impact it would have on me when I bought it for her.  This is what I saw when I looked in:
"I pray that I will not get in trouble today."

Another rock me to the core moment.  I honestly believe this was God's icing on the cake.  It was Him showing me that I'm making a good decision and that everything will be okay.  My kids are my most treasured possessions.  My investment in them, their happiness and their self-confidence is one of the most important investments of my life.  God gave me these three little souls--not to break them down but to build them up.  I will do everything in my power to do that and to never be the yelling, scary mom again. 

As far as accountability, I give any of you who made it this far permission to text, message and post on my wall "Orange Rhino!" as a reminder.  In fact, I ask that you do it!  The more Orange Rhinos I see the more often I will be reminded why I'm doing this--to see more of those sweet smiles in the picture above instead of deer in headlight faces. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Henry is ONE

Poor third child.  I think I've blogged about Henry three times in the past year.  His birth story, 8 weeks and 4 months.  I was talking to my younger sister the other day (there are three of us and I'm in the middle) and she pointed out our baby books.  Our older sister's was filled out in detail, mine a little less but still some substance and her book--apparently she filled it out herself when she was 5ish.  Poor third child. 

It's not for lack of interest in his development and milestones.  It's just that I'm a mom of three kids ages 7, 3 and ONE.  With workschoolhouseworkhomeworkdinnertimenursingbabygrownupjob and only 7 days a week to do all the things.  **Henry, if you're reading this 20 years from now please know, just because I didn't document every detail of your first year in this blog doesn't mean I love you any less than your sisters, m'kay**

Moving on...let me break it down for you.  Here is a snippet of Henry aka Buddy aka Bub aka Hank aka Hank the Tank aka Smoosh aka Little Baby Boy (that is what Molly calls him).

"mamamama" and "dadadada" but I don't think either are in context.  He babbles a lot but for the most part, he grunts.  Such a man, amiright?!

Henry loves to feed himself, dive bomb off the sofa (only when under the watchful eye of daddy), get to his hands and knees and rock, pull on the dogs fur,  pointing, playing peek-a-boo and playing copy cat (where he does something and we copy--cracks him up!).  He is almost clapping and will mimic the signs for 'more' and 'all done'.  He will also pull himself up to his knees.

not doing:
Henry is following the foot steps of his sisters and is less interested in gross motor skills.  Baby boy could feed himself the tiniest piece of food at 5 months old (fine motor) but crawling, fuhgeddabouditHe's done a few knee shuffles forward but he does not see that as a way to get around.  He's got a pretty impressive reach when he is trying to get something he wants.  He will also not take steps when holding our hands.  Again, the whole gross motor thing.  He has better things to do.


We feed Henry everything we are eating.  He will pretty much try anything but has his preferences.  His most favorite food ever is frozen blueberries.  They are messy, but my boy loves them!   Other favorites are cheese, yogurt, apple sauce and sliced turkey.  Notice there is no mention of vegetables.  He is not a fan.  He will eat olives and carrots occasionally.  We have made the transition from formula (started supplementing him when I went back to work) to milk.  He does still nurse.  Honestly, I'm sort of over the nursing...but he still seems to really enjoy it and want it.  Also, it's mostly in the evenings and at night time.  Molly pretty much weaned herself around 13 months.  I assumed Henry would do the same.  I'm okay nursing him for a little longer but I'm close to ready to be done.  I will probably let him nurse as much as he wants through this cold and flu season and then really work on tapering the nursing sessions down.  As it is, it's just a few times a day.
He is solidly in 18 month clothes.  We have some 24 month and 2t clothes that are in rotation that aren't terribly big on him.  He is big...but I see him slimming down in the face and belly (see collage below).  He wears size 5 diapers.  I have no idea what size shoe he wears.

eh....what can I say about the sleeping.  It's not horrible, but it can be better.  He goes to bed between 7 and 8 in his crib.  Some nights he wakes by midnight or 1am and comes in to bed with me.  Other nights he will sleep until 5am and then come in bed with me.  Once in bed with me, he nurses off and on but mostly sleeps.  I've started offering him his paci instead of nursing and that usually keeps him content for a while.  I would say, on average, once in bed with me, he nurses 2 times before we are up for good in the morning.  He wakes up between 6 and 7 am.  If it weren't for those middle of the night nursing sessions, he would probably be weaned.  But, I'm too lazy to try to change that up right now--so he gets the all you can eat buffet at night if he wants it!  And y'all, don't come at me with, "oh, you need to stop that", "you're creating a bad habit", "you will never get him out of your bed", "he is using you as a pacifier", etc.  All that may be true...but you know what?  I don't care!  Tim and I get our alone time one way or another and it just doesn't bother me.  I'm fine with it.  I went through this exact thing with Molly...and you know what?  We survived.  So for now, I nurse and snuggle and soak up this boy because next thing I know he's gonna be big and opinionated and will want to rough house with daddy and will think girls are gross!

As for naps, I think he is working on cutting his afternoon nap.  He has started falling asleep later in the morning and in turn not being sleepy enough for his afternoon nap.  Overall, he's a good sleeper in my opinion.

He has 5.5 teeth.  Two on the bottom and 3.5 on the top.  The half on top has been like that forever.  He seems to handle teething pretty well.  There are some days where he will be fussy and I totally blame the teeth, but for the most part, he takes teething in stride. 

I seriously can't believe he is ONE.  This past year has flown by.  I literally remember everything about the day and night leading up to his birth (holy OUCH!).  I look back on his first eight weeks of non stop crying and don't get twitchy and anxious, but instead smile that we made it through.  Our family grew in so many ways with the addition of this little man.  He is the last baby and we are moving on to life with a toddler and growing these kids up!  I get so excited at the thought of our family of 5 and what the future holds.  I don't make it secret that Henry was a BIG surprise--a very welcomed one--but a surprise nonetheless.  Every life is a gift and a blessing and we are so thankful for our Henry Arthur!

Happy birthday, sweet boy!  Mommy, daddy, Emma and Molly love you so much!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sweet Bella B

I've always been a dog person.  Growing up we always had dogs and/or cats.  I don't think I've ever lived in a home without an animal.  Fourteen years ago, when Tim and I were freshly in love and living together, we decided it was time to expand our family.  We spent weekends visiting the local animal shelters looking for just the right dog.  That's when we met Duke.  He was a wild, sweet, energetic puppy.  After having Duke for about a year it became clear he needed a friend.  He would get pretty anxious when Tim and I would leave the house and that resulted in tearing apart the sofa and getting in the trash can.  I wanted a baby puppy.  We got Duke when he was around 6 months old so he was big.  I wanted a small puppy with that sweet puppy breath.  Every Sunday I pulled the classifieds out of the News & Observer (*gasp* there was no Craigslist back then) and looked for free puppies.  I came across an ad one Sunday for free lab mix puppies.  That's what we were looking for so (with much convincing from me) Tim and I were off to check out this litter of puppies.  When we got there the puppies were all outside running around.  I would have taken them all, but there was this one...I think she picked us out instead of the other way around.  This sweet black-faced, fuzzy, clumsy little puppy ran straight up to Tim and I could tell then he was sold. 

We named her Bella.

We brought her home and she and Duke were best buddies from the get go.  Duke immediately stopped acting out.  Besides the potty training, Bella was the best little girl.  She had these quirks that were so endearing to Tim and I.  She had to have a ball in her mouth to go on a walk, whenever one of us would come home, she would pick up a shoe and bring it to us to greet us, she would do what we called "clean" with her nose--if there was some dog food on the ground she would rub it with her nose and push it all in to a pile.  She was the most lovable, soft, good-smelling, high maintenance dog around.  Up until having kids she slept in our bed with us. Usually up above Tim's head between him and the headboard.  She loved to play catch, go on car rides and swim.  Although she had only been a few times, she loved the beach.

And then we had kids.

Bella welcomed home each and every baby we had.  She was always so sweet and docile with the kids.  She never tried to be the alpha dog and was always very submissive.  Life got busy and our focus and attention was more towards the kids than the dogs.  But Bella was always there to greet us at the door--up until the last year or so--with a shoe.  She was always ready to walk when she heard the noise of her leash--until she couldn't hear anymore.  When we would walk into the room we would always hear the *thump, thump, thump* of her tail--until she could barely see anymore.  She was a constant companion.

And then the cancer took over.

Bella had a growth and it was clear to the vet it was cancer due to how fast it was growing.  It was too big to remove plus it wasn't recommended on a 12 year old dog.  She was not given a certain amount of time to live so we took it a day at a time.  This past year Tim selflessly took care of his pup doing things that would turn my stomach.  He treated her with dignity up until her last moments.  He proved to me that his big ol' daddy heart goes beyond his human kids and fully extends to his fur babies.  He carried her frail body up and down the 12 steps to our house to use the bathroom.  He bandaged her tumor when it would bleed.  He cleaned her when she would have accidents on herself...all of this while still hugging her and telling her what a good girl she is.

And then she was gone.

I'll never forget the day.  It was my birthday, actually.  I went home for lunch.  Tim was home watching the kids.  Bella was in her spot in the kitchen sleeping.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  But once I got back to work Tim started messaging me telling me that Bella wasn't walking or eating.  He was offering her all the yummy stuff from the fridge that she would normally flip over and she wasn't eating.  He knew it was time.  He later told me that she had been telling him with her eyes all day that it was time.  I came home for work to stay with the kids and Tim took her in.

And just like that...our companion for 13 years, a part of our daily lives, a living breathing part of our pack was gone.  How do you explain to a 3 and 6 year old that Bella isn't coming back from the vet with daddy?  How do you look at her spot in the kitchen and not expect to see her?  It's funny how use to something you get and not even realize it.  Bella was just always THERE.  The days following Bella's death were filled with tears.  This is the first time our family has grieved together over something.  This is the first time I've lost something very, very close to me.  Bella was a part of mine and Tim's lives for 13 years.  We've been together for 16 years.  The majority of my relationship with Tim has had Bella in it.

It's been over a week since we said goodbye to our sweet Bella B.  The dog food is lasting longer, there is half as much fur for me to sweep/vacuum and the house only smells a little like dog instead of a lot.  I don't expect to see her when I walk by her spot in the kitchen.  I have a picture of Bella in a silver star shaped frame that had gotten buried under kids artwork and other miscellaneous stuff over the years.  I'm glad I was able to find it because it's sitting front and center on our side table in the living room now.  I smile every time I look at it.

Honestly, as much as I hated battling the fur, I would take the fur any day if it meant having her back.  She was the best dog our family could ask for and we miss her so much.

Until we meet again Bella B.  We can't wait to play ball with you in Heaven.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

Henry : 4 months

Can I bottle this baby up and keep him this way forever?  Seriously, Henry is a pure delight these days.  The first eight weeks were tough, but, Henry has done a 180' from that fussy baby we had in the beginning.  He went from being our fussiest baby to probably our most content and happy baby.  I consider the baby he is now as my reward for those first eight weeks :)
He has this bouncy chair that we call his "man chair".  He will sit in that chair completely relaxed watching the business of our household.  He will occasionally yell at a passer by, but for the most part, we are guaranteed some time to be able to get things done when he is in his man chair.   He has started to reach for the toys that attach to his chair.  He reaches for anything you put in front of his face.  He's getting pretty good at his hand/eye coordination.  Whatever he grasps he doesn't hold on to for too long, but long enough to get it in his mouth one good time.

The Man Chair

Here are some highlights on Henry right now:

Wearing:  Some 3-6 month clothes but 6-9 fit him the best.  He is in size 3 diapers.
Eating:  He is mostly breast fed.  He gets some supplemental formula on days I work (3 days a week) because I just can't pump enough for what he wants when I'm away.  He's been a monkey lately with the nursing.  He will be contently eating then all of the sudden he will pop off, look up and me and smile so big...then latch back on as fast as he can...wash, rinse, repeat several more times.  He is so cute!
Saying:  Coo, Goo, Guh, Gah, Oohh :)
Doing:  Like I said above, he is getting really good with his hands.  He grasps things and brings them to his mouth.  He loves to shove almost his whole fist into his mouth.  He getting better about staying up on his elbows during tummy time but tires easily.  He has rocked up onto his side from his back but we don't have a roll yet.  Honestly, I don't expect him to roll anytime soon.  Neither of his sisters rolled too much.  My babies are just not concerned with the gross motor skills.  While laying on his back he moves/kicks his legs so fast.  It looks like he's running in the air.  He also bangs them down on his chair.  He has also just started to get the hang of jumping in his jumper.  I think that's going to be big fun for him.

Sleeping:  Henry is an amazing sleeper.  Just a few weeks ago he started sleeping through the night.  I was pretty shocked but am going with it!  Molly didn't do this until she was a year old.  He goes down between 8 and 9 at night and usually sleeps until around 6 in the morning.  He takes two solid naps during the day and one or two cat naps here and there.

Here's Henry's official 4 month stats:
Weight~17.3 lbs
Head Circ~43.8 cm

And to compare:
Weight~17 lbs
Head Circ~41 cm
Weight~16.10 lbs
Head Circ~39.5 cm

A few things Henry loves are:
his mama, sisters and daddy
his Mooma and Doodad (they watch him while I work)
being talked to and having a "conversation"
holding your finger
when you touch his toes to his mouth
when you move his arms around and make him dance
looking in a mirror
going for a walk
watching the world from his man chair
bath time
mama snuggles (when I nurse him)
being in his carrier (most of the time)

Henry smiles if you just look in his direction.  He's always ready to talk.  He won't complain when a sister smooshes his cheek with a kiss or hugs him a little too tightly.  He doesn't mind the occasional head band or accessory when Emma and Molly are playing dress up.  He is the happiest, sweetest little love who will gaze into my eyes, grab my face and pull me in for a kiss whenever he gets the chance.

Henry Arthur, God knew what He was doing when He loaned you to us.  You have filled our house with so much joy and have completed our family.  We love you so much, little guy!

Monday, April 7, 2014

8 week synopsis

My, how our lives have changed in the past 8 weeks.  It's been 8 weeks since Henry joined our pack (we're a pack now...all five of us).  A few words to describe the past 8 weeks would be:


I thought going from one to two kids was hard...but that was a walk in the park compared to going from two to three.  At least we had a home to go home to this time instead of a hotel (with Molly).  But it was during a winter storm.  Nothing is ever easy when it comes to bringing home my babies apparently. 

Henry is probably my fussiest baby.  At first I was determined to find an answer.  Was it something I was eating, gas, reflux, not sleeping enough, colic, forceful let down, eating too much...?  Was it the difference between boys and girls?  Could he sense my anxiety building when he Just. Wouldn't. Stop. Crying?  But whatever I tried and worked one night wouldn't the next.  My few standby's have been gas drops, Gripe Water and shower running in the steamy bathroom.  One of the first nights home Henry was fussing.  And wouldn't stop.  I was trying to snuggle Molly on the couch (which is our THING) and she got up, left me and went and snuggled Tim in our room!  I cried and cried :( Of course at that moment I was convinced I ruined everything and my "normal" was gone.  How would I ever make our home feel "normal" with a fussy newborn who demands all of my attention, a middle child who has fallen through the cracks and a six year old who seems even more distant from me because we've added yet another kid to the pack and she is basically fending for herself? 

The first few weeks were HARD.  I'm not going to sugar coat it.  Looking back I can easily see the way God provided for me JUST when I needed it.  My husband taking the baby when he Just. Wouldn't. Stop. Crying.  My mom coming over and cooking dinner.  My sister stopping by after school drop off and holding Henry so I could do something without a baby attached to me.  My in-laws taking the girls overnight or out on quick "dates".  Dear friends bringing over meals. Midnight chats with my sister in Japan and her reassuring me that everything will be okay.

Eight weeks in and I actually feel like I can say we are turning a corner.  The house is staying a little more clean, the girls have gotten some dinners that aren't cereal, everyone is getting bathed a little more frequently (including me) and Henry is giving us some happy, awake, content stretches.  I am starting to see what life with three kids will look like for our family.  It helps when you set your goals and expectations pretty low for the day.  It also helps to wear your baby so your hands are free to help with homework and make dinner.  Slowly but surely I'm getting my groove back. 

As for Henry--he is the cutest little thing I've ever laid my eyes on.  Like I said, he is having more alert stretches where he loves to look around and watch what's going on (usually his sisters).  He is giving us some adorable smiles and cooing.  He's a mama's boy but will contently sit with daddy for a few minutes.  We are working on establishing a better nap routine and in just the past week he's started sleeping by himself in his pack and play for a few naps.  Sometimes he will go up to 2 hours for a nap which is awesome.  Today is actually my first day back at work and I'm reentering the world of pumping at work--it's a labor of love I tell ya!  I'm lucky to have an employer who is very accommodating.

The past eight weeks started out a bit bumpy, but I feel everything evening out.  It feels good.  I'm actually thinking I can do this!

*Henry goes in for his 2 month check up in a few days.  I can't wait to see how much he weighs.  I feel like he's doubled in size!  Stay tuned :) 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Henry's Birth Story

I downloaded Blogger on my phone just to get this birth story on "paper" while the details are fresh in my head.  

This story starts on Monday, February 10th.  I had been having cramping during the morning but it was nothing painful--just uncomfortable.  Around two in the afternoon I decided to call the nurse and fill her in on what I had been experiencing.  With my history of fast labors she thought it would be best for me to go to the hospital and get checked out.  I felt sort of silly going because I did not appear to be in labor.  No pain, no heavy breathing...nothing.  Once there it was discovered I was dilated to 3cm.  They told me to walk around the birthing hall for an hour and come back to get rechecked.  I did that and no change so they sent me home.  I got home around 6:00 PM.  I was still cramping but it wasn't any worse.  We had a normal evening and I figured we would be seeing Henry soon but not that night.  Around midnight the cramping got a little more frequent and intense.  After texting my mom and sister, they convinced me to go back in.  I woke Tim and told him.  He was in charge of calling his mom and getting her to our house to stay with the girls.  For the second time (while in labor-first with Molly) I drove myself to the hospital.  Back in triage and the cramping is ramping up a little.  Enough for me to need to focus on my breathing through them.  My mom got there before Tim and she and I chatted while listening to pandora.  When I first got there I was 4/5cm.   They gave me a birthing ball to sit on and decided to recheck me in a bit.  

*side note: I've lost all concept of time around now.  I just know the specifics of the nitty gritty of the delivery.  That's coming up.

When they rechecked me I was at 5cm.  They decided to admit me due to fast labors and a winter storm on the way.  We made our way to the labor and delivery room.  At this point Tim was here too.  I hopped back on my ball while nurses did a few things.   The doctor came in and asked if I wanted them to break my water.  This was new to me as my water broke on it's own with both girls.  I was all for this as I know once my water breaks things move pretty fast....little did I know....

I was still at 5cm when she broke my water which happened at 2:26am.  

Oh my dear.  The pain following the water breaking was unbearable.  It's pain I had never experienced before--even going all natural with Molly.  I was begging for meds.  Thankfully my nurse could tell what was going on and put me off.  

2:36am they check me and I'm complete.  I dilated those last 5cm in 10 minutes!  I continue to beg for meds, tell everyone how much it hurts, tell my mom to "shut up" (I don't even remember this), and basically act like some possessed crazy lady.   

They tell me to start pushing.  After 4 hard/long pushes, Henry was born at 2:47am!!

So from deciding to leave my house at midnight to when Henry was born it was 2 hours 47 minutes.  From when my water broke to delivery was 21 minutes.  

February 11, 2014
Henry Arthur
8lbs 6oz

I can't explain the emotions behind this labor and delivery.  The 21 minutes up to his arrival were the hardest 21 minutes of pain I've ever experienced.  When he came out the emotions were overwhelming.  

We are adjusting to being a family of five. It has only been 4 days (3 of which were winter storm days) so it will be a while before we find our groove.  

I'm just thankful he is here and healthy and LOVED by so many...especially his sisters.  

*I apologize for any typos.  It was hard doing this all on my phone. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How we beat lice--(knock on wood)

It was the Friday before Emma's first full week of Kindergarten.  Emma asked me to straighten her hair and I reluctantly agreed to.  As I was pinning up her hair I noticed these white specks scattered throughout her hair.  I tried to pick them away but they were stuck to the hairs.  I had her stand by the window where the sun was shining and I inspected further.  As I was parting her hair and looking at her scalp, I saw a BUG....a BUG! go running through her hair!  It was a good size--close in size to a tick.  Off to Google I ran.  I did an image search and typed in "lice"....

Up to this point, my only dealings with lice have been when I got it when I was little.  I remember my mom washing my hair with this special shampoo and having me sit in the bath tub while she combed through my hair with a special comb.  I only remember her doing it one time...and that was that.  Not a horrible memory.  The image results returned lots and lots of images of lice and nits.  In my head I was trying to convince myself that it was something else.  School was about to start and I did not have the time to deal with lice.  After consulting Google, I consulted my mom-friends...because they know everything.  I was basically told to put Emma in a bubble along with everything she has come in to contact with and to not let her out for two weeks (not really, but that's what it felt like).  LOTS of my mom-friends had dealt with lice and I took what they told me to heart. 

Being the amateur lice treater I am, I ran to Target and got the Target brand of Nix (the name brand was all sold out).  I also stopped off at Trader Joe's and got some tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner. 

Once we got home I followed the directions on the Target brand Nix and treated Emma.  I used the plastic nit comb that was provided and combed through her pretty little hairs and that was it.  I was feeling pretty good about myself.  ....until I started reading online and being told my friends that this stuff doesn't kill the eggs--just the live bugs.  I was told to NIT PICK (hahaha--I will never look at that expression the same way again) each and every nit out of her hair until I didn't see any.  That one missed nit would start the whole process all over again.  And that plastic comb that was provided in the kit did NOTHING to pick out the nits.  Nits are basically cemented to the hair shaft and the only way to get them off is to use your nail and pull it off. 

I felt defeated.  She had a good amount of nits in her hair.  How was I going to sit there for an hour (and expect her to sit there for an hour) while I went through her hair layer by layer picking out nits?! 

A few of my friends (and a pinterest search) told me about the Cetaphil treatment.  It is explained here.  It was developed by a doctor from Stanford University.  The Readers Digest version of the treatment basically is you get some Cetaphil (it must be the Gentle Skin Cleanser):

Get yourself a condiment dispenser and pour the Cetaphil in it.  Apply the Cetaphil to the dry hair in this pattern:

being sure the top of the bottle stays in contact with the scalp the whole time.  The point is to saturate the scalp and all the hair with the cleanser.  Once you feel the scalp and hair are fully saturated, you comb out the excess cleanser and.....ready for it?......this is the fun BLOW DRY the cleanser on the hair.  You have to blow dry it completely.  This takes a LONG time.  Once the hair is dry, leave it for up to 8 hours and then you can wash it out. 

Emma was the first to receive this treatment.  A day or two after seeing the bug in Emma's hair, I ran my nit comb through Molly's hair and what do you know a louse came out.  A very small one....but a live one. guessed it, Molly got the exact same treatment.  I did do the Target brand Nix on her initially to kill any live bugs and then I did the Cetaphil treatment.  An hour and a lots of marshmallows later, Molly was treated. 

That night I had Tim look in my hair.  Guess what--nits.  At this point I was ready to chop off all my hair and hide in that bubble some of my friends referred to...but I couldn't.  Let me tell you, treating hair that is almost halfway down your back with Cetaphil and then blow drying it is not easy.  Once it was dry, I put it in a bun and prayed that this would work.  While I didn't find any nits in Tim's hair, I also treated him just to be pro-active. 

Between Cetaphil treatments I combed through the girls hair every-single-night.  The comb I ended up getting was this one:

It got great reviews on Amazon and it really does work well.  The first week I nit picked every night.  After the initial nit pick, I would only find between 3-6 total on the girls.  I think they were probably ones I missed and not new ones.  I was also washing with the tea tree oil shampoo and spraying the girls with this spray while they were away for the day--especially at school:

After the first week, I was not finding any more nits in Emma's hair and before the second treatment I think I found 2 in Molly's.  When the next Saturday rolled around, everyone got the Cetaphil treatment again.....and the Saturday after that, again.  So, three Saturday's in a row everyone was treated with the Cetaphil and in between they were combed out and sprayed with the repel spray. 

I have only been nit picked twice--by my mom.  It's impossible to nit pick yourself and it is helpful if you have somebody to do it for you.  The neat thing about this treatment is that the Cetaphil is supposed to kill the nits as well as the bugs.  So if you do the treatment correctly-once every 7 days for 3 weeks (minimum), you should be good. 

Once I stopped finding nits in the girls hair, I started brushing them out every other day...and that's where we are now.  The girls are nit free.  I need to be checked again by my mom and Tim is looking pretty good as well.  As far as the bedding, toys, stuffed animals, etc.  When I first saw the louse in Emma's hair, I spent that afternoon stripping the beds and washing everything in hot water.  I ran all the pillows and stuff animals through a cycle in the dryer on high heat.  I vacuumed the sofa and washed the covers for the cushions.  The lice treatment kit from Target came with upholstery spray so I sprayed the beds, sofa and car seats with that.  I re-washed everything a week later....and then a week after that.  Basically my Saturdays were treating hair and washing bedding, etc. 

For my first lice experience--dare I say it wasn't horrible.  For some people, their personal experience was the end of the world.  I'm thinking I caught it pretty early.  I've heard of people being terribly infested with hundreds of live bugs...thankfully we weren't there yet.  There were nights I did not want to comb out the girls hair--but I did it.  Like I said, one little louse could start this whole process over again. 

I hope this post is helpful to somebody who is desperately searching for a way to get rid of lice.  I know there are about a million home remedies out there.  It can be overwhelming....but this is what I did and what (seemed to) work for us.  Best of luck in your lice-killing adventures!