Newborns Are Scary

Sure they’re tiny and squishy and don’t say much. But newborns are scary, especially the first time around!

My neighbor just had a beautiful baby girl. I texted her and asked when I could drop some dinner (and breakfast and snacks) off. She seemed so grateful! How could I not bring her dinner!? Honestly, when you have a newborn, you don’t know your head from your tail! It’s a blur of crying (mom and baby alike), sleeping, changing diapers, and nursing! The last thing you want to do is figure out what to cook and actually COOK! It’s exhausting and emotionally draining. But, you’re not alone! Every mom has gone through it. There’s a light at the end of the seemingly endless tunnel!

When Turner (my first) was born, I was petrified! I was scared to let him cry, scared to wake him up, scared that I would destroy his soul by doing something wrong. He was born at the end of November, so it got dark early. I got major anxiety as the sun went down because I didn’t know what was in store for the night ahead. I was comforted by reading blogs and books about “sleep training“, knowing that, one day, my child would sleep and life would go back to normal!

So, while newborns are scary, it is so temporary! Once the first few weeks go by, you accept it as your new “norm” and you’re at peace with your new routine. For me, 5 weeks was the magic number. That’s when we had somewhat of a routine down. We were on a solid 3 hour “wake, change, feed” cycle during the day, and we started the bath at night. And, with Gracie, each week that goes by reveals a little more of her personality. Once Baby smiles back at you, it makes all of your hard work worth it (yes that’s her big tongue smile)!

Here are a few things that helped me with both kids during the newborn phase:

1. I started pumping a week after they were born to store up milk for bottles. I introduced a bottle at 2 weeks (ask your pediatrician) as they were definitely not having trouble nursing, so I knew there would be no confusion. This let me go out by myself, go out on a date with Stew, or use a bottle for one of the middle of the night feedings so I could get some extra sleep.

2. I reminded myself constantly that “this is temporary”! Each week that would go by was a week closer to normal.

3. I delegated tasks (much easier the second time around). Hubby prepped dinner while I fed the baby. Mom would help with cleaning up the house/dishes/etc. I hired a cleaner once a month since that last thing I wanted to do was clean!

4. I did things for myself (also easier the second time). With Turner I had trouble napping or taking a bath because I would hear him cry. But, guess what! He’d cry whether I was there or not. So, take it from me….Dad’s got this! Take a bath, paint your nails, turn up the music. Dare I say….go out to Starbucks by yourself and talk to other humans your age! You’re not the only one holding the pieces together.

5. I went out with Baby. Target was my favorite newborn hot spot. I’ll admit, I was nervous to get caught in the store with a screaming baby. But the worst that happens is I go to the car and nurse for a few minutes! Life goes on and you get some retail therapy!

To all you moms out there, new or seasoned, parents are amazing (I was going to say “women” but Stew is quite awesome so I can’t take all the credit)! We are given this little human that we are responsible for nurturing and helping grow! What a responsibility. It’s the most beautiful and difficult task out there. But it is such a gift! Before we know it, our little 7 pounders are almost as big as we are! So, take a deep breath (cry if you need to). You’ve got this!

Thanksgiving and Christmas Decorating!

 I won’t lie to you. I’ve actually had a few Christmas decorations up since the week before Thanksgiving. Ok, fine! I put them up the day after Turner’s birthday party (the 15th). But, we weren’t hosting Thanksgiving this year, so I figured I could cheat a little! There’s nothing I love more than white lights twinkling all over the house! I’ll blame Turner. He’s been asking to get a tree since Halloween! Who am I to spoil a child’s hopes and dreams??

So, Thanksgiving morning, after we drank our coffee, we went downstairs to decorate the tree! I actually liked doing that. It may be our new tradition!

My mom hosted Thanksgiving this year. She lives about 45 minutes away, so we put the kids down a little early for their naps. When they woke up, we got them dolled up and hit the road! I’ve been so excited to put Gracie in her first holiday dress!

It turned out to be a gorgeous day. It was about 70 during the day and dropped down a bit in the afternoon. My mom set dinner up outside. It was beautiful, and the food was equally as wonderful!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’m so excited for this holiday season. It seems to get better and better (and a little more hectic) each year!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

How else would we rather spend our morning other than to get the kids’ vaccines!? Turner only got the flu shot and Gracie did 2 out of 4 (we do a veeeerry delayed vaccine schedule), but it was still a morning of tears and snuggles! Turner limped around the house all morning saying, “Turner hurts so bad”, which was actually quite hilarious to watch! Gracie just slept a lot. We tried to get him to play outside and run around, but he wasn’t havin’ it. Normally we can’t get him to come inside without kicking and screaming! He preferred to sit on the couch with an ice pack and the Ipad. Who is this kid!?

We did manage to fit in some fun things to help keep him occupied, though! We made some cranberry muffins while Gracie napped and had a hot chocolate date, which he loved!

After naps, we loaded up the troops to pick out our Christmas tree! Last year we made the mistake of waiting until the weekend after Thanksgiving (which is apparently a rule or something?!). NEVER. AGAIN. All of the good trees were gone, and it was an absolute madhouse! I don’t do well with holiday crowds, just ask Stewart. So, don’t judge, but our tree is up in the living room before Thanksgiving!

Turner was so excited looking at all the trees. It’s quite possible that he’s as obsessed with the holidays as I am! Tomorrow morning we’ll decorate the tree before heading to Gigi’s house for a Thanksgiving feast! I’m giddy with excitement! Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Things I Love!

Now that I’m a mom of two, I’m looking for little things to make my days run smoother. Getting hit with a sinus infection over the weekend is what prompted this post!

1. After hours clinic– because when a sinus infection hits on Saturday afternoon there’s nothing worse than having to suffer all weekend while taking care of children! Not to mention, I was able to check in online and they texted me when they had a room ready! I was in and out within an hour. Amazing!

2. Drive through at CVS pharmacy– dragging a toddler and giant car seat into the store to get a prescription is overrated. Thank God for the drive through!

3. Big Brothers– Gracie’s not a fussy baby. But we usually are getting dinner ready and eating right around her 6:00 feeding time. So if she wakes up, she wants to eat! So last night we were rushing home, unloading groceries and throwing together some chicken and rice soup when Gracie’s feeding time hit. Turner went over to her, put her paci in and started rocking her seat. BOOM! Back to sleep. You’re hired Turner!


4. Turner’s new bathrobe. Enough said!

5. Eight week smiles- No matter how crappy you feel, this warms you heart and soul!

Happy beginning of cold and flu season! Wash those hands :o)

Turner’s 3rd Birthday!

Although I love throwing a good theme party, I can’t believe this one is to celebrate Turner’s 3rd birthday! I love watching him grow and seeing his hilarious personality unfold, but time is seriously flying! Can we just slow it down for a minute??

This is the first year Turner really picked the theme on his own. Well, actually I picked it, but he has been obsessed with Disney’s Cars movie for a year, so I knew he’d be pumped. Whereas in previous years, we just picked cute boy themes.

I actually found some great things on Amazon. I ordered the paper plates and party blowers. And I found a banner and food labels on Etsy. The hardest part was coming up with the menu. But nothing a little Pinterest perusing didn’t fix!

This is what I came up with for the menu:

  • Race-car Subs (used cucumber and tomatoes as “tires”)
  • Firetruck PB&J (used a firetruck cookie cutter)
  • Nuts ‘n Bolts (mixed corn chex, pretzel sticks, and cheez-its)
  • Spare Tires (used mini chocolate covered donuts)
  • Stop Lights (regular rice krispies treats with m&ms glued on with icing)
  • Antifreeze (lemonade and seltzer)
  • The cake was courtesy of my mom. She’s insanely talented!

Turner had a great time with all of his little buddies. We had quite a turnout and the weather was perfect! It was bright and sunny and a bit on the cooler side. So we sent all the kids out back to get all of their energy out! They had a blast. But I’m pretty sure Turner’s favorite part was the cake with this amazing sparkler candle I found (note to self, don’t try to blow it out)!

We had so much fun celebrating Turner’s special day with all of our friends and family! His actual birthday is this Tuesday, so we’ll have a quiet celebration at home. And by quiet, I mean he will run around like a crazy person singing constantly, because that’s just what he does! Happy birthday my sweet little man! I’m honored to be your momma!

 

 

Sleep Training Round 2

I have had so many questions and comments about sleep training! Probably because the worst feeling on this planet is walking around sleep deprived. I’ll preface this by saying I’m NOT an expert. I just do what works for me! If you’re against sleep training, don’t do it!

HERE is my original sleep training post from when Turner was a baby. He was pretty hard in the beginning. He nursed every 45 minutes to an hour ’round the clock! I would sleep for 20 minute increments at night and seriously wanted to die. By 4pm I would get major anxiety, dreading the night ahead. That’s when my friend let me borrow Preparation for Parenting, by Gary Ezzo when Turner was 2 weeks old. My world changed!

Sleep training sounds so harsh. I prefer to think of it as “putting my baby down for a nap” because 1. she’s tired 2. since she’s tired, she’s gonna cry whether she’s with me, upstairs or downstairs, so I might as well put her in her room where it’s calm 3. I have a toddler who’s quite boisterous and 4. I can’t possibly hold her and get anything done. That doesn’t mean I love her any less or spend less time kissing and hugging her!

Now that I got that off my chest, this post is more in depth as far as my process of “sleep training”. I started from the beginning with Gracie, who is now 6 weeks old. Let me explain. The first week of her life, I focused on giving her a FULL feeding. Something I didn’t know to do with Turner. I assumed when he fell asleep that he was done. Hence the constant feeding! A hungry baby is not going to take a nap! This time, I make sure Gracie’s good and awake and keep her awake throughout the feeding. She nurses for about 20 to 30 minutes (every baby is different).

Once she’s finished eating, I change her diaper (she usually goes while eating) and have our “wake time”. We do things like snuggle, sing, tummy time, and hang out in her play gym. The total time from the start of her feeding until her nap is only about 1 hour.

At that point, I swaddle her and put her in her Rock N Play (in her nursery), awake, but sleepy. I turn her sound machine on and walk out. Now, each baby has a different crying pattern too. I’ve learned Gracie’s. She doesn’t cry right away (and sometimes not at all). If/when she starts crying, she’ll cry for a few minutes and then stop. Then she starts again. If 15 minutes goes by and she’s whaling, I look at her in the monitor. If I see that her eyes are closed, I ask myself if I’m going to wake her more if I go in and disturb her process. If it’s to the point where she needs soothing, I’ll go in and rock her Rock N Play and put a hand on her until she calms down. I usually only have to do that once, if at all! You be the judge of that with your own baby!

Now, afternoons/nights are a bit different. Gracie is on a 3 hour wake/feed/change cycle through the day, but she has that afternoon cranky time like most babies. Our nights are exactly the opposite of what the Baby Wise style of training says to do. But, with Turner, it worked itself out by 2 to 3 months.

We give her and Turner a bath together at 7. We soothe her until she falls asleep (usually by rocking or with a paci), but that nap only lasts for a short time and she’s awake again by about 8 or 8:30. At that point, we bring her downstairs with us while we watch TV. I nurse her and she falls asleep on me. She stays with us until we go to bed around 10. We don’t wake her up. Stew gives her a bottle for her “dream feed” at 10 and puts her down in her Rock N Play in her room and turns on the sound machine. At that point she’s out for the night until I feed her at 5am.

Since she was born, she was sleeping 4-5 hour stretches at night. The past 2 weeks, she’s been giving us 6 to 7 hours at night. So, after that in depth explanation, here is what our schedule looks like at 6 weeks! Keep in mind, these times are more of a guide. Sometimes it’s 2 1/2 hours, sometimes 3 1/2. But it’s pretty accurate for our day-to-day.

Schedule at 6 weeks:

  • 7:00am Wake/Feed/Change
  • 7:30am Wake Time
  • 8:00am Nap
  • 10:00am Wake/Feed/Change
  • 10:30am Wake Time
  • 11:00am Nap
  • 1:00pm Wake/Feed/Change
  • 1:30pm Wake Time
  • 2:00pm Nap
  • 4:00pm Wake/Feed/Change
  • 5:00pm catnap (this doesn’t last as long as the others)
  • 6:00pm Feed
  • 7:00pm Bath
  • 8:00pm catnap (this doesn’t last as long as the others)
  • 8:30pm Feed/Change (this is when she falls asleep on us downstairs)
  • 10:00pm “Dream Feed” Bottle (don’t wake her up for this feeding)
  • 4:30/5am Feed/Back to bed

Some Questions/Comments Answered:

  1. What to do if Baby wakes up before the next cycle?
    1. If she’s content, let her hang out until it’s time to feed. Put her in her play gym, swing, or snuggle.
    2. If you can’t soothe her, feed her and start over with the next cycle. Eventually it evens out.
  2. What if my baby doesn’t stop crying?
    1. This is when I go in and put a hand on her and rock her Rock N Play (definitely worth the investment). That way I don’t have to pick her up and disrupt her. She stops crying and usually her eyes start slowly blinking. This tells me she’s tired. I walk out. If your baby doesn’t stop, just repeat that process every few minutes until you feel comfortable stretching the time out between “rocks”. She will eventually self-soothe.
  3. What about changing diapers in the middle of the night?
    1. This is the only time I change her first (if she smells like Number Two). I don’t want to change her after I feed her, because I want her sleepy in the middle of the night.
  4. What if Baby wakes up after 45 minutes during nap time?
    1. When Gracie does this, I go in and rock her Rock N Play and she usually falls back to sleep. I don’t let her wake up too much and cry it out because I don’t want her to get all worked up.
    2. Also, ask yourself:
      1. Is she hot, cold, or did she poop?
      2. Maybe Baby is actually hungry. How was her feeding before the nap?
  5. When do we go out?
    1. I usually plan our outings during “nap time”. So I’ll feed her, change her and hit the road. She sleeps in her car seat or the Boba Wrap.
  6.  Don’t talk to Baby or turn the lights on in the middle of the night. Nights are business ONLY!
  7. Let your spouse/family/friends help! When Mom does it, baby automatically wants to eat. If someone else does it, eating isn’t always the first option!
  8. Don’t be scared of your baby crying. Babies cry! Make sure she’s fed, warm enough, and dry.
  9. Finally, this is temporary! There’s no set list of steps. This is what worked for me this time! Every baby is different. Enjoy the cries, snuggles, and insanity, because it goes so fast!

 

 

 

Trick or Treat!

This Halloween was the best to date! Turner was so into Trick or Treating and handing out candy. Plus, it was our first holiday as a family of four!

While I was pregnant, I had all intentions of making Turner a Lightning McQueen costume…ya know, the whole make-a-car-out-of-a-cardboard-box type thing? Then Gracie was born, and reality set in. So, we ordered a construction vest on Amazon for $5 and called it a day. He already had the helmet, tools, and belt. BOOM!

I didn’t dress Gracie in a costume, because I knew I’d have her in my wrap during Trick or Treating, so I dressed her in her cute little Halloween outfit that my mom got her and a festive bow from my neighbor! They were quite an adorable pair.

My mom and stepdad came over for Trick or Treating and a chili dinner, our annual tradition! We went out around 5 and hit a few houses. Turner was pumped! It took him a few minutes to realize that he was knocking on the doors to collect candy rather than actually going into houses to hang out.

After about an hour of walking around, we headed home for supper. But not before Turner broke into his first piece of candy of the night!

We all sat on the porch and greeted our “friends” (as Turner called them) to hand out candy. Turner was on candy duty. It was so adorable! He said “HI!” to every kid that came up the stairs and “Happy Hayoweeeen!” as they walked away. We had so much fun! And now that Halloween is over it’s time for Christmas music, right??

Happy Halloween!!