Moving from Hawaii to the Mainland: Part Two

In my last post I discussed the reasons behind our move from Hawaii to the Mainland. In this post I want to help any of you that are considering doing it. 

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Moving to another state is quite difficult in itself. Imagine moving across the pacific ocean! I had many questions about moving and I wanted to share my experiences in hopes that you don't make the same mistakes as we did!

Getting a Job: Many people will not move unless they know that they will have a steady source of income when they get there. This is not only a smart idea, it is a must!! I know there are some people out there who are able to find a job extremely quickly but trust me, everything will work out so much better with a job lined up. 

If you have a family, I highly suggest securing a position before planning your move. Once you have received a job offer make sure that what you are being paid will be enough for all your bills. Research local prices. Everything from groceries to how much it will cost you to have internet and rent if you plan on renting. Much of this info can be obtained through Google search. A really great website is www.city-data.com . You can find a wealth of information there from local people and people who have made the move. Just be careful if you find posts that are old as the prices will not be up to date. If you need to, call for prices and checkout online grocery store ads to plan your budget. 

Many people ask how you go about getting a job out of state but I will save this topic for another blog post because this one is a bit lengthy as it is.

How do I move my Stuff: Sell as much as you can! Everyone I have spoken to that has made the move across the pacific ocean always say that they regret hauling everything. Not only is it extremely expensive, you probably don't need it all and can find it much cheaper on the mainland. It can cost thousands to move all your things depending on where exactly you are moving to. 

We held garage sales, sold things on Craigslist, sold things at the swap meet and gave away a bunch of things to family and friends. Some of our stuff is still back there but for the most part we were able to purge a lot of it by selling it. The money that you earn from selling your stuff will be very useful when you move, as you will need to furnish your new place.

How to ship your things from Hawaii to the mainland: We shipped our things through parcel post mail and brought as much luggage as we could on our flight. It is much cheaper to add on pieces of luggage to your flight rather than mailing it, so take advantage of how much luggage you are allowed. If  you do choose to mail some things, do so with parcel post with USPS for everyday household things that you don't need immediately. While it will take longer to get there, you get a cheaper price. I don't suggest shipping your electronics this way because it will be sitting on a boat for a while. For our computer I shipped my tower by using a packing/mailing company. They pack it for you so that it will not get damaged and mail it for you as well. I am so glad I did this and did not do it myself because it gave me a huge piece of mind. My computer is my lifeline for my business so I didn't mind spending the money to get it shipped. I spent about a 100 dollars for this service and my computer tower arrived in 3 days safely! Make sure to shop around because I called a few places and the prices were drastically different depending where you go. (I also made sure to backup my entire hard drive on an external drive and cloud service)

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You could also hire a company to pack your household items but I decided to do it myself. Make sure you buy a heavy duty box for shipping. I made the mistake of not and while my items did arrive in tack, the boxes looked like they were dropped off a building. Make sure to pack that baby up and tape, tape, tape! It took about a month and a half for my parcel post boxes to arrive. I paid about $40 to $45 a box and the ranged from 16 to 20 pounds. 

Shipping your Car: This process gave me the most stress but it doesn't have to be the same for you. If you do choose to ship your car you have a few options. Horizon Lines, Pasha and Matson are the main names you get when looking to ship a car from Hawaii to the mainland. We chose Matson and it cost us about $1100 to ship our Kia Soul. There are services that will bring your car to your door but we opted to pick it up ourselves at the Long Beach port and drive it to the state we would be living in. 

To ship your car it must be an great condition. I paid to have it detailed because they don't allow any dirt and debris under the hood as well. They are pretty strict so make sure it is spotless! You're allowed to leave your car seat in there as well which we opted to because it's another thing that I didn't need to ship separately. Be aware that you're not allowed to pack your car up with personal belongings and ship it. It must be completely empty. If it's not stock then you need to remove it. Even after market stereos are not allowed. Luckily I never made any modifications to my car. 

You can sign up and pay for everything online. Expect to spend about 2 hours at their facility when dropping your car off. It is not a fast process. But who knows, maybe you'll get lucky and it will be a fast day. It's about as painful as going to the DMV so bring something to keep you occupied. I have to say that all the workers at the Honolulu port were extremely nice to me and helped me when I looked completely lost. There are two buildings and the first one is off to the side. After you get your paperwork checked out you will be instructed where to move your car. You then wait to have your name called in the next building. When your name is called they will look over and inspect your car with you present. If there is anything that needs to be addressed they will let you know then and there. If you are good to go they will give you the OK and you will be able to sign off. Make sure you have less than 1/4 tank of gas as well as this is another rule! 

After your car has been accepted they will load it to the boat and ship it to your destination. You receive the name of your boat and an estimated arrival date. You're able to track everything with a phone app or online on their website. Now here is where everything went wrong for us...

Before shipping, I had read that you need to keep track of your car because the call they give when your car arrives is just a courtesy call. Not everyone receives one and it's your responsibility to make sure you call and find out the details. I was promised that my car would arrive no later than 14 days. I did not need it there quickly but the guy who did my paperwork assured me that there is no way it will arrive later than 14 days. 

I tracked it for the next week and it still had the same date of arrival. I went ahead and purchased my plane tickets so that I would be at the port within a set amount of days so that I would not be charged a fee for it being parked at their port.  A few days later I received a call from Matson stating that they were not able to ship my vehicle in the boat they had originally told me they would be shipping it in because there was no room. They also said that it would be arriving a few days later than the original date. They gave me a new boat name as well. Nothing in my tracking was updated at this time. I was confused and pretty upset as I had already made all my plans. I called them back and they told me the other person who called me was mistaken. My car should arrive on the same date but just on a different boat.

I arrive in California the day my car was supposed to be at the port and planned to pick it up the next day to give them time to unload my car just as the women had told me to do. My tracking stated that my car was available so I called just to make sure. They tell me that my car is actually not available and that I would have to wait over the weekend and come back on Monday because they needed more time to unload my car. I had already made plans to check in to my new apartment in another state that weekend.

It was not a happy time! We drove our rental car from Long Beach to our apartment. We signed our paperwork and stayed in our new apartment for the weekend because it was cheaper than staying at a hotel in Long Beach. We then drove back to Long Beach, picked up our car and drove back again to our new apartment. It was one of the worst and longest weeks ever. I would never ever use Matson again. While the people who work at the Honolulu facility were amazing, something is wrong with the process and logistics used in shipping their cars. I was given different answers by so many people. While waiting at the Long Beach port I overheard someone else experiencing the same thing happening to them that I had just experienced. So, goodluck with the car shipping! If I could do it all over again I would have chosen another company or just sold my car and bought one here instead to save the stress! My car did arrive with no scratches so I will give them that. Again, everyones experiences are different, I'm just sharing mine. 

Favorite Products for My Non Dairy Family

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Here are my favorite products that help me create yummy non dairy food for my oldest daughter who has a dairy (and egg) allergy.

Yonanas: One of the things that is so hard to see her miss out on is ice cream! Yes, we are so lucky that there are so many non dairy ice creams available now, but this machine is awesome when you want to make something healthier for them. 

All you have to do is get your frozen fruit and thaw it out for 10 minutes or so. Drop it in and it pushes out yummy "nice" cream made of fruit!

My daughter absolutely loves this machine not only because of what it produces, but because she can easily help me use it and watch it being made! The clean up is very easy as well as the parts easily com apart.

Strawberry, banana and chocolate chip Yonanas!

Strawberry, banana and chocolate chip Yonanas!

Coconut Milk: First off, my family was already huge coconut milk lovers. After many years, I've realized that this is a staple for creating creamy foods without the dairy in savory and sweet recipes. I always make sure I have some in my pantry to make everything from frosting to "alfredo" pasta.

Daiya Cheese: This is one of the only fake cheese options that my daughter loves. I don't know how they do it, but it melts and stretches just like real cheese! It may not taste exactly like cheese but they do achieve a nutty flavor that comes very close to it! We buy the slices so I can make grilled cheeses and we use the shreds for pizzas, mac & cheese, pastas, etc..

Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips: There is really no substitute for chocolate in some desserts. These chocolate chips are amazing! We add them in everything from cookies to our morning oatmeal. You can honestly not taste much difference compared to regular chocolate chips. I was also just at Target today and saw that they make boxed cookies now as well! 

Earth Balance Butter: Many times recipes will call for butter and there is no good substitute for it. This stuff taste almost exactly like butter and is great for making cookies from scratch and thickening up sauces with flour. Earth Balance also makes a lot of other great dairy free/vegan food products from mac & cheese to cheddar squares.

 

Some of the links on this website are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. 

Gassy Baby Remedies

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I got lucky the first time. My first daughter never had any gas issues. She'd drink her bottle like a champ, let out her burp and she was done. I never understood why parents always had to have burp cloths with them because she never spit up. I was fooled into thinking all my babies would be like her!

Baby #2 came out with not just feeding issues but she was very gassy! For her first month I wondered if she was even getting anything down because she'd spit up so much of her milk and sometimes projectile vomit what seemed like her entire bottle. 

It was very frustrating! This world of gassy babies was new to me but I learned a lot on how to handle her gassiness through these past months. Here are some of my tips and favorite products for a gassy/colicky baby:

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Bottles
We started off using Advent bottles because I had read so many great reviews on them. My daughter did not do well with this bottle! Not only that, they leaked everywhere. I tried every method to get them to not leak from what I read online but nothing worked. First time moms, don't go out and buy a bunch of the same bottle. Buy one and see how it goes because you'll end up with a bunch of unused bottles like me!

My first daughter used the Playtex VentAire bottles and as much as I loved them, I didn't like the bottom design of the bottle. It twists off and air is released this through the bottom when your child drinks. If you are using a bottle warmer with this bottle, be ready for leaks in your bottle warmer! With the vent being at the bottom, many times my whole bottle would leak as it was being heated. Eventually I stopped heating the bottles up which solved this problem but I lost a lot of my precious breast milk in the beginning because of this. Another downer is that it has a lot of pieces to clean! All in all a great bottle for gas, but not if you need to use a bottle warmer or hate washing all those pieces.

I don't know what took me so long to switch to Dr. Brown's Bottles but I'm so glad I did! Once we switched to these bottles my daughter was significantly less gassy. Truth is, there are a lot of parts to this bottle just like the Playtex VentAire bottles. Trust me though, cleaning all those parts is worth it when your baby isn't being colicky the whole night. A lot of people complain that this bottle leaks. Yes, it CAN leak but only if it isn't properly dried. All of the pieces must be completely dry before you put it together. If not, it will create a pocket for milk to leak through. I bought a bunch off Amazon so that I always have dry bottles on hand while I wash a batch.

Probiotic Drops
I had read in the baby forums that many people were using probiotic drops to help with their gassy/colicky baby. I eventually purchased the Mommy's bliss probiotic drops to see what all the fuss was about. Let me tell you, this thing isn't cheap! It is cheaper than some other big brands out there but get ready to fork over $20.00 for 0.34 oz of this stuff. While this product didn't stop the spit ups and the gas, I did notice that she stopped spitting up as often after we began using this everyday. 

What helped the most
The best thing that I did to help her gas was to feed slowly and burp often. I'd let her drink a little, burp and let her relax. Then we'd go back to feeding and burping, relaxing until she was done. I noticed when she would gulp down the whole bottle without stopping once, that is when she would vomit everywhere. We also had to be very careful when we burped her so that we didn't put too much pressure on her stomach  because that would cause her to spit up. Another great thing was having a rock n play. It is slightly tilted so that would help when she would sleep and not cause the milk to come back up.

My little one is almost 4 months old and hardly ever spits up now. Those products and methods I mentioned above saved me some sanity in the first few months. I hope they can help you too! Remember that some babies digestive systems are not as mature as others, so don't get too crazy trying to buy every product out there. It just takes some time for some babies to get the hang of drinking and digesting their milk.

Some of the links on this website are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. 

Emmie's Birth Story

2017 had just ended and I was still pregnant. My due date was December 31st and I thought for sure that she was going to be born early. I mean I could feel as though she was going to fall out of me for weeks when I went on my walks! While I was sad she had not arrived yet, I was happy that she was full term and healthy.

Ready to pop!

Ready to pop!

New years morning I couldn't fall asleep even though I had spent the day cleaning. The entire day I had an amazing surge of energy and deep cleaned the house. Yes, even behind the couch and all the baseboards! Nesting was at its peak! I stayed up to see my husband come new years eve since he had to work a late shift. We watched some shows for a few hours and went to bed. At around 4 am I felt a cramp. It was not like my braxton hicks, it was like a period cramp but just a bit more uncomfortable. 

With my first birth, I never felt the contractions in the beginning. While I was hooked up to a monitor the nurse asked me if I felt anything. I looked at her strangely because I honestly felt nothing. She said I was having very strong contractions and she just couldn't understand why I was just laying there not in pain! Only until they had given me pitocin a few hours later is when I understood what a true contraction felt like. The only idea of a contraction I had was that they were very hard, close and extremely painful thanks to pitocin. The contractions I was having new years morning were slightly uncomfortable but they kept coming back. I used my handy dandy app to count the minutes in between and sure enough, they were each about 5 minutes a part. 

I wanted to wake my husband up but I knew he had to get up early to go to work. My goal this birth was to labor as long as possible at home so that I wouldn't need to get any unneeded procedures or drugs at the hospital like my first birth.

The hours went by, I watched youtube videos in bed as the contractions grew stronger. My husband woke up to go to work and I told him I had been having contractions all morning long. He began freaking out and wanted to call into work sick. I told him I'd be fine and I could possibly be in labor for the entire day so he may as well go in. He only works 15 minutes away so if he did have to leave it wouldn't be that long of a drive back.

I got up and made myself a sandwich because I knew it'll probably be my last meal for a while. Hubs went off to work and I got cozy on the couch after having a nice hot shower.

By 8:30 am the contractions started to get very intense and much more painful where it was hard to talk. I now regretted sending my husband off to work. Should I just ask my neighbor to take me to the hospital?! I called my husband and he insisted he come home and we all go down to labor and delivery together. I make a quick phone call to the hospital to let them know I was on my way. Luckily I live 8 minutes away from the hospital!

By 10 am we were checked in and I was trying my best to answer the nurses questions as the contractions came on stronger. She checked me and I was at 6 cm which meant I was allowed to stay! The last thing I wanted was to be told to go home!

I transferred to my birth room and was so happy my midwife was there. It was not her day to be delivering and it was a holiday, but she came in anyway! I was so thankful! After getting hooked up to the IV and monitors I labored for a few hours. By 1 pm I was at 8 cm and my midwife broke my water.

I was hoping that it would move things along a bit but it took a while. After my water broke the contractions were almost unbearable. I was experiencing back labor and let me tell you, it is the worse thing ever! I mean nothing about labor is easy, but add back labor and all hell just broke loose. Did I mention I had a cold so I couldn't breathe well. All the nurses were telling me to breathe as I was sobbing, "I can't! My nose is plugged!!"

I honestly felt like I was going to pass out half and hour into the back labor. My midwife kept asking if I felt pressure but I didn't know what was happening, it was a blur. My body was spazing out and my mind was slowly failing me. I screamed for my husband to tell them to get me the epidural. Of course he tried to convince me otherwise. 

I finally convinced everyone that I needed the epidural unless they all wanted me to pass out. They said they would get the anesthesiologist but they didn't know how long it would be.

Well, my body was having other plans at this point. The pressure that my midwife kept asking me about came on suddenly. I screamed at my husband to get the nurses but before he could leave the room they already knew and were running in. 

My midwife quickly broke me the news that the epidural was going to be a no go. I was too far along now and baby was coming out any moment! I was more relieved than upset that I couldn't get the epidural because I knew it would all be over soon.

Three pushes later our little Emmie was born. They put her on my chest and the first thing I said was "She's so tiny!" I forgotten how small newborn babies are. She was perfect and I couldn't believe what just happened. My husband kept telling me I was a "champ" and he could never do what I just did. I honestly never thought I could do what I just did. 

Hello baby! The moment they put her in my arms.

Hello baby! The moment they put her in my arms.

While I didn't have the birth I wanted, when does anyone really? Birth stories are awesome and amazing to read because they can be so spontaneous and crazy. If you are a first time mom reading this, just know that everything will happen for a reason. You got this, and even if you don't, there are such amazing nurses, midwives and doctors who will help you through it. Each time I've given birth I've been so lucky to have such supportive people in the delivery room with me.
 

All Hope Is Not Lost, Finding Out I Was Pregnant With Baby #2

The birth of my first daughter traumatized me. For years I swore I would never have another child. I had a 3rd degree tear with my first and the recovery took months. From her birth to her eczema and allergies, I didn't think I'd have enough in me for another baby. 

Fast forward a few years after Maia's birth and I felt like something was missing in our family. I grew up with a sibling and wanted the same for her. However, I didn't want to bring into the world another little one for the sake of my daughter having a playmate. Then it happened. The same feeling that I had felt when I knew that I wanted to get pregnant the first time came over me again. Something felt missing in our family and I knew it was time to try for another baby. 

Getting pregnant with my first took almost a year, so I expected it to take some time this time around. We tried for a year and I still was not pregnant. I was charting and actually putting effort into it since my biological clock was ticking. A few more months rolled by and nothing. Each pregnancy test I took, I was slowly losing hope. I finally told myself that it just wasn't in the cards for me. I told my husband let's just get a dog and stop trying. I didn't want to be pregnant after this year because I wanted to concentrate on my business since Maia would be going to Kindergarten soon. If it was meant to be it would have but it just wasn't happening, so I gave up. I cried for days to myself alone over the whole situation.

A few weeks after the talk I had with my husband I was just feeling "off." No throwing up, nothing really. I just didn't feel like myself so I decided to take one more pregnancy test. I had a ton that I had ordered off Amazon so I figured, why not? 

A few minutes after taking the test there were 2 pink lines. Is it possible!? I took 2 more and they each told me I was pregnant. I didn't know what to feel. We had already adopted a dog and I had come to terms with never giving Maia a sibling. Doesn't the world work in such strange ways? Thrill finally filled me and happiness followed. I couldn't wait to tell Maia and my husband!

The actual tests. Of course I had to document this moment!

The actual tests. Of course I had to document this moment!

I ran out to the living room and told her that I had a secret. She was so excited when I told her she squealed, "I always wanted to be a sister mommy!" We planned to tell my husband with a card made by her. It was sweet, he came home from work and she handed him her card. He opened it in shock. We all screamed in excitement as a family.  I'll never forget that day when all hope was not lost. I guess sometimes this world knows what is best for you even when you may not.

That awkward part of pregnancy where you just look like you ate too much and have a food baby.

That awkward part of pregnancy where you just look like you ate too much and have a food baby.