Five On Friday 4.18

Time to link up with DarciAprilChristina and Natasha for Five on Friday!

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Passover started this week, and we headed to have Seder with my sorority twin Bekka and her family up in Gaithersburg. I haven’t seen Bekka in months, so it was amazing to see her, and Abbie got to experience her first Seder…even if all she did was play with yarmulkes and eat matzoh.

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{TWO}

We’re going to a wedding next weekend, and while we’re there, Chris’ brother and his wife are going to babysit Abbie for the first time.  They’re coming over this weekend for a practice run since they haven’t put her to bed before – this way they’ll know what to do next week, and Abbie will be a little more comfortable.

{THREE}

I broke down and decided I’m going to need shorts this summer. I’ve historically stuck to skirts and pants in the summer, but now that Abbie likes to run around everywhere and LOVES being outside, I need something easy and comfortable to run around after her in. I ordered a few pairs of these ones from Old Navy and am hoping they fit well! I haven’t worn shorts in years, so it’ll be a change for me…and I better stock up on some self-tanner or my super pale legs will blind someone!  I also grabbed a few tees and a fun dress I hope will fit!

Spring/Summer 2014 Mom Style

 

{FOUR}

I want to thank everyone for being so supportive of my #32for32 project on Wednesday. I loved doing it, and I hope the people who found those pennies had a little bit of a brighter day because of the luck they found.

{FIVE}

Abbie is fighting a cold right now and it’s no fun.  I hate when she’s not feeling well, especially since she can’t really tell me how she’s feeling.  Thankfully, her Citrus Lane box arrived today to cheer her up, and we watched lots of Mickey Mouse tonight and I’m hoping she feels better soon.

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Hope you all have a good weekend!

Sleep Chronicles: Kate’s Story

Today I have the pleasure of introducing another mom to you in the sleep chronicles – Kate from Life with Noah.  Kate’s a Canadian mom (she lives on Prince Edward Island…where Anne of Green Gables took place.  So cool!) to 17 month old Noah with baby number 2 due in June.  I think you’ll need to update that blog title soon, Kate!  Read her story below!

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Hi there Sleep Chronicles readers. My name is Kate and I occasionally blog over at Life with Noah, formerly Awaiting Baby O’Brien. I am a full-time working Mama from up north in Canada, am Mommy to my adorable 17 month old son Noah, and am currently 29 weeks pregnant with baby#2 due to arrive in mid-June. Yes, my husband and I are just a little crazy..but feel we really hit the jackpot the first time around and are so excited to give Noah a little brother or sister so close in age.

Leading up to Noah’s birth, I read every darn book about babies, breastfeeding, and parenting in general. Being a total Type-A, I figured you could never be too prepared. Well nothing prepared me for the life of a newborn…and their sleeping habits. I am happy to be here today to share our story with you all. Thanks so much for having me Jess!

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Noah was born 11 days overdue, at 8 lbs 7 oz on November 14, 2012. He was a go-getter right from the start, as big babies normally are. Overall, labour and delivery went perfectly for us (other than being overdue). We planned on breastfeeding, and shortly after he was born he latched on like a trooper and we successfully breastfed to a year.

It took Noah exactly 9 months to the day since he was born for me to say I felt confident he was consistently sleeping through the night. Nine very long months. The journey to getting to that point has not been easy. We’ve had many ups and downs along the way. But I never lost hope, and knew that eventually he would get the hang of things.

Let me do a little recap of our journey to a full-nights sleep:

First 6 Weeks – the first 6 weeks of Noah’s life he spent in the napper of the pack n play. We swaddled him and tried just about every swaddle blanket on the market, but he hated being confined and also hated sleeping on his back. He never really slept well in the pack’n’play, he was very hard to settle and was always grunting and moving around in his sleep. It was super frustrating and hard for me to sleep as I was constantly peering over at him to be sure he was ok. He woke every 2-2.5 hours to eat overnight and tended to use me as a human pacifier for many nights those first few weeks.

1 to 3 months - When Noah was 5 weeks we took a family ski trip to the States. We brought the pack n play with us, but he never spent a night in the thing. He still was having a hard time settling at night and we were exhausted.We had brought our Fisher Price Snuggabunny cradle swing with us in the back seat of my Jetta (hilarious first-time parent move), and thank goodness we did. We started putting him in the swing at night, and miraculously he started sleeping better. After the trip we returned home and started using it at home as well and he started sleeping in stretches of 5+ hours at night. We had found our temporary solution. Everyone kept telling us, do whatever you need to do to get some sleep. I had immense Mommy guilt that I was doing something horribly wrong to my child by leaving him in the swing overnight, but at the time we were so sleep deprived, we really didn’t give it a second thought.

First ever nap in his crib…it lasted 10 whole minutes.

3 to 6 months- A week after Noah turned 3 months, I was talking to some Mommy friends with babes around the same age, and from our conversation I realized the time had come to move Noah out of the swing and into his own room. It was time to start some good sleep habits and break the bad ones. Up until this point he was spending half the night in the swing, the other half in the pack’n’play next to our bed. Also around this time, our swing motor broke. So it was now or never.

These few months were rough months in the sleep department. Noah hated to be swaddled and fought it like crazy, but couldn’t sleep unswaddled either. We ended up buying a transitional swaddle, the zipadeezip and it was a lifesaver for us. I was determined to get Noah out of the swing at night and for naps, but it was difficult. We started a bedtime routine at the same time every night…which included bathtime, sleep sheep, zippy and rocking chair. At night he would start out in the crib, but was still waking frequently. So in my dazed state, he’d finish off the wee hours of the am in the swing. We started off putting him in the crib for one nap a day, but he wouldn’t nap long. Then I’d cave and put him in the swing for nap #2 just to get a nice long nap out of him so that I could nap too.
At 4 months, still loving his cradle swing.

Around this time he also became dependent on his soother, his wubbanub. He would wake in between sleep cycles (every 45 mins or so) and not be able to get back to sleep without his soother. I think this dependency was a result of the swing, he was so used to the swing putting him back to sleep that he couldn’t get back to sleep on his own without some mechanism…we had created a monster! He was not yet old enough to find his soother on his own and pop it back in, so every 45 minutes or so my husband and I were running in to his room when he would fuss to pop the soother back in before he REALLY woke up.

One night during this time my mother came for the night since we were exhausted. She slept in the spare room with the monitor and was up at least 6-8 times with Noah overnight. I think she was shocked at how bad a sleeper he was. Fragmented sleep isn’t healthy for anyone, I don’t know how Noah managed to be such a happy baby despite his terrible sleep habits. As a result of our desperation, we tried letting him CIO once or twice around 4-5 months. It was horrible, he cried over an hour on multiple occasions and we were all in a tizzy. I decided that I wasn’t ready to do that again, so we abandoned that idea. We also tried dream feeding, but it never seemed to make that big of a difference.
Noah in his Zipadeezip sleep sack!

6 Months – Noah was 2 weeks shy of 6 months when we started him on solids and after starting we noticed a big difference in his sleeping habits right away. He also figured out how to find and pop his soother in on his own not long after that. He went from waking many times a night, to waking twice a night. He also started going to his crib awake and putting himself to sleep.

Things continued to improve, we cut his 3rd cat-nap out and his naps started lengthening from 3 short naps, to 2 long naps a day. By 8 months, he was occasionally sleeping through the night and was napping 3-4 hours in the day.

At 9 months, he was consistently sleeping through the night and was taking 2 two-hour naps, at 9 and 2pm every day. He was much better rested from a good night’s sleep, which in turn, made for better nap times I believe. We were also much better rested, which makes for a happier Mama and Dada.

At 17 months, Noah now sleeps from 7pm-7am every single night. It is glorious. He puts himself to sleep still, but does enjoy cuddle time in the rocking chair before bed. He still sleeps with his soother (that’s another hurdle we will have to cross at another time) and he still sleeps in his zippy. My husband and I love our evenings together after he goes to sleep and I no longer have to go to bed at the same time as the baby to ensure I maximize my sleep as well. We had a small regression around 11-12 months when Noah’s molars made an appearance, which was also around the same time I went back to work after my year of maternity leave and Noah was starting daycare. But that lasted only a few weeks. Those newborn days seem so far away…but it is time again for us to prepare for many sleepless nights as the arrival of baby #2 approaches.

Overall, it’s been a long road to get to where we are today with Noah’s sleeping. And for all you mommies out there with babies that don’t sleep, trust me, it will get better and know that there are other babies out there that don’t sleep well. You are not alone, and this too shall pass. In those first few months, just do whatever you need to do to get a bit of sleep whether that be the swing, a soother, or co-sleeping. I kept telling myself I think it was almost a blessing in disguise having a bad sleeper as our 1st child, that way, if we are blessed with a second child who turns out to be a great sleeper, we will really appreciate it!  Thanks for having me Jess!

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If you’re a mom who’s interested in sharing her child’s sleep story, please let me know – I’m always looking for stories!  Email me at jess@beingmrsbeer.com.

32 For 32

Every year April 16 brings back a range of emotions – terror, sadness, and worry…and hope, love, and support.  In remembrance of the 32 Hokies we lost 7 years ago today, I thought I’d do something a little different.  It involves pennies.  32 of them, to be exact.

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I wanted to do something small today to pass on the love, support, and spirit of Virginia Tech.  I went through a range of ideas, my favorite being 32 random acts of kindness, but I knew I wouldn’t have the time for that in a normal work day.  Last night, it finally hit me.  Pennies are good luck, right?  I’ve always picked up the heads up ones.  I turn over the tails up ones for someone else to find.  They’re a small thing, but doesn’t it brighten your day when you find a lucky penny?

So that’s what I’ll be doing today – 32 pennies for 32 Hokies.  I’ll be wearing orange and maroon all day, and I’ll be leaving heads up pennies in random places throughout my day for others to find.  Look for them on my instagram, or at the hashtag or #32for32.

“Do not let the deaths of these 32 victims be in vain. Look into your hearts and see what it teaches you, and how you may be better because of what we have gone through. And know that when the bodies are in the earth, when the media has left, when others have moved on and life resumes its course, that for us, there is only one emotion left: Love. Love for this university, love for the people who died on April 16th, 2007, and love for those who are left behind.” ~William Neal Stewart, ’87 (via TechSideline.com)

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The Time I Made my Daughter Sleep in the Bathroom {guest post}

Baby sleeping in the bathroom?  Yes, it’s true!  You’ll want to read today’s guest post from Jessica Lynn Writes…
 

I realize the title of this post sounds a little dramatic and, well, not very nice, but before you call child services on me (seriously, please don’t), I have a very good reason. But before I get to that, let me share a quick snippet about me and my family. (Seriously, this is the shortest version I’ll probably ever share!)

Hi, I’m Jessica, not to be confused with the other lovely Jess whose blog I’m taking over today. I grew up in New Mexico, fell in love with a boy, married him, packed up my things, and moved to Georgia. He’s in the Air Force, so when they decided to send us to Italy for a couple years, it’s not like I could say no, so we packed our things again and moved overseas. So, there we were in Italy with copious amounts of wine at our fingertips, so we did what everyone else there was doing: we drank the water wine and had ourselves a baby! Four months after she was born, the military sent us back over the pond. Back in America, we spent three months living out of hotels, before moving back to Georgia for a second time.

Which brings me to our sleeping tale. (You can read the whole saga here) In a nutshell: we all walked around in a very sleepy haze for the first seven months of her life. My daughter fought nap time and night-time sleep so hard that I’m pretty sure she was the number one champion of not sleeping in the entire world. We finally discovered that she especially disliked sleeping whenever we were in the same room as her. Once we got her into her own room, everything changed and she started sleeping through the night. I’m pretty positive I heard angels sing the first time I slept for more than three hours at a stretch.

At this point, life was good. She was sleeping well, and even started being more independent, so we decided to go on a trip. A couple months ago my husband and I went on a cruise (with our 11-month-old baby in tow) for our anniversary. We were all extremely excited…until we got on the boat and had a minor freak out about where our she was going to sleep. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, then you know the rooms are the size of a toddler’s shoebox; there’s barely room to walk around, let alone space to set up a ginormous pack ‘n play!

After we tossed out the idea of letting her sleep outside on the balcony (we’re not that crazy, but we did think about it), my husband came up with an excellent idea: the bathroom.

So that’s exactly what we did. Every night, when it was time for her to “go night-night,” we moved the shower curtain completely out of the way and set the pack ‘n play up in the bathroom. It fit very, very snug, and it was perfect. It was better than perfect, actually: it was genius.

We did a modified version of our night-time routine (forgoing bath-time, for obvious reasons), and when it was time for me to put her down, I’d walked over to her “room,” turn on her sound machine, turn off the lights, place her in her bed, and shut the door. And you know what happened after that? She slept. She slept all night long. Genius, I tell ya!

Of course, I can’t promise this will work for your little one if you cruise, but it worked for us and I’m so, so thankful for it. If you’re interested in more tips for cruising with a baby, check out this post, where I share more things that worked well for us on that trip.

Have you ever had your child sleep in a crazy place for the sake of everyone’s sanity?

This Week’s Menu: 4.12 – 4.18

Just popping in for a second to show off what’s on our menu this week!  We plan ours according to our Weight Watchers week (Saturday to Friday), so that’s why it starts with Saturday!

Saturday: Pan-fried tilapia, parmesan couscous (from a box), and roasted brussel sprouts.  Tilapia is just breaded and friend in a little bit of canola oil, and brussel sprouts are roasted with some salt, pepper, and olive oil for about 30 minutes at 450 degrees.

Sunday:  Burgers and sweet potato fries.

Monday:  Passover Seder – my sorority twin Bekka invited us to come up and have Seder with her family since she’s in town from Texas.  I’m so excited to see her and for Abbie to have her first Seder.

Tuesday:  Pesto Chicken, Risotto (you guessed it, from a box!), and steamed broccoli

Wednesday:  Homemade Pizza (sorry, I’m not keeping Kosher for Passover)

Thursday:  Glazed Salmon and Haricot Verts (new recipe from Cooking Light)

Friday:  Jump Up night!

What are you having this week?

Jessica Lynn Writes