Sleep Deprivation

Ok so I haven’t been sleep deprived in a while. But I have several friends with newborns that are feeling the exhaustion. I am a big believer that sleep, or lack of sleep rather, affects us so much more than we realize! Casper (they have a really unique mattress design and you can read more about their approach to sleep here) has been sharing their tips for getting a better sleep with everyone. When I read this, not only did it resonate with me, but with how our children sleep too! So here are some tips:

  1. Establish a nighttime routine: I started this around 5 weeks with our kids. It’s kinda hard to start too early because they’re still mixed up with their timing and they eat so often! We would do a bath to signal that it was time to relax, swaddle them, and give them a bottle in their room with lights out. We’d put them in their crib, sleepy but awake, so they would learn to self-sooth. More on our sleep training process here)

2. Satisfy hunger: a lot of times babies are simply hungry! But it’s a bit harder to tell how much a baby eats if you’re a nursing mom. I would start pumping as early as possible so I could always give our kids a bottle before bed. In the beginning, before I knew better, Turner would fall asleep while nursing and I assumed he was full. WRONG. He would wake up shortly after, screaming for food! Concentrate on giving Baby a full feeding before bed. And if you can’t pump, keep baby awake long enough to ensure a full feeding.

3. Temperature must be right: If Baby is too hot or too cold, obviously she won’t sleep! In the winter I use this fleece sleep sack, and in the warmer months I use this cotton sleep sack. Now that Gracie’s a little older, we just do her Aden & Anais sleep sack.

4. Sound Machine: This is a lifesaver! We’ve used this sound machine for both kids. Turner still uses his! The great thing about it is, not only does it help them sleep more soundly, but it helps to cover up any noise we might make after they’re in bed. Stew and I actually sleep with a fan and bring one everywhere we go because I can’t sleep without background noise. It would make sense that it’s the same for our little ones!

These were super helpful to me. I hope they are for you too! It made me re-think my own nighttime routine. I’ve always been so focused on my kids’ sleep that I often overlook my own “wind down time”. Let me know which of these you use for yourselves or your kids!

Pumpkin Carving Party

This is our fifth  (or sixth?) annual pumpkin carving party! It’s become quite the tradition in our house. We have it down to a science at this point. The necessities are a spooky menu, a tarp to carve pumpkins on, and friends!

The years leading up to this have been pretty chill. Turner was young so he would just sort of hang out with a friend or two. This year, now that he’s a little older, it was a full on kid fest! We had at least 30 people here and adults were just about out-numbered by kids! It was insane and oh-so-fun! 

I have our menu with pictures below:

Haunted Punch:
(OJ, cranberry juice, scull and cross bone ice cubes, and syringes filled with a raspberry puree). HERE is my inspiration for this drink. You could easily add alcohol. I had a mixer on hand in case anyone was feeling frisky!

Desserts:

Witches Fingers (recipe HERE) and Muddy Buddy (recipe HERE)

Spooky Snacks:
Snake Stromboli, Spiderweb Dip (refried beans on bottom layer, salsa next, cheese, guacamole, and Greek yogurt as the spiderweb), Mummy Dogs

And now for the fun part! We roll out a non-slip plastic tarp (from Lowes) so we could all cut pumpkins and not worry about making a mess. At the end of the night we roll up the tarp and chuck it!

We had a great time! The main difference between this year and the previous years is that we were all cleaned up by 8, yet it felt like midnight! Next up is trick-or-treating with these cuties! Happy (almost) Halloween!

The Pumpkin Patch

This has been the busiest week of my life! Preparing for a hurricane and then recovering from it has been crazy. Not only did we have to prepare our own home but we boarded up the rental homes we manage on Dewees Island! Then 48 hours after the storm hit we had every home back up and running to host guests for a wedding on the island! IN.SANE. I’ve had approximately 5 minutes in the past week where my phone hasn’t rung or a text hasn’t come through with some problem that needed to be solved. It was stressful to say the least! But I’ve recovered and I never want to let work and stress get in the way of my much needed family time! It’s the only thing that keeps me sane!

Saturday morning we went to the pumpkin patch to get ready for Halloween with our good friends (and Turner’s future wife)! It was glorious!

I LOVE Halloween. I love the weather, the decorations, the food, and the festivities! This year, the pumpkin patch was easier than last. Last year Turner was so excited that he ran every which way and it was really hard to keep tabs on him. Gracie was a newborn, so I wore her in the wrap, which was fine, but not nearly as fun as her smiling face this year!

The kids ran around, jumped on the jump castle, fed the animals, got extremely dirty (my OCD self died inside a little bit) and, of course, picked pumpkins.

Fall is my favorite time of year. We have so many fun things planned in the coming weeks! But for now it’s time for a mental break while Gracie naps and Turner is at school. Windows are open, AC is turned off, and coffee is poured! Happy Monday to you!

Beef Bone Broth

Fall is here and this means the kids are going back to school. Like every school year, they usually bring home all the germs that makes the entire family sick. This year I’m prepared! You’ve probably heard how chicken soup is great for the common cold and flu, but have you heard of “beef bone broth”? I actually heard about this from a friend of mine who was going through a detox with her husband who has very sensitive digestion so it’s not foreign to me.

In case you didn’t know, the main difference between bone broth and normal stock that you buy from a grocery store is that the animal bones are simmered in water for a very long time. With this long cooking process, all the proteins from the bones are broken down into a gelatin. This gelatin contains many nutrients and amino acids which helps improve your immune system and gut health. Plus, as it gets cold, nothing feels better than sipping on a hot steaming cup of bone broth (think regular ol’ beef broth but on steroids).

The only problem is that bone broth takes 12-24 hours to make. I do prefer making my own broth, but sometimes if I’m short on time, I use Kettle & Fire’s pre-made beef bone broth. They use high quality ingredients, grass-fed bones, and they’re also non-frozen & shelf stable. You can check them out on their website and if you use the promo code “WATSON15” you’ll get 15% off your first order! I also have a wonderful recipe if you want to try it for yourself! Below is a video that is super helpful as well.

[yumprint-recipe id=’24’]

Hurricane Matthew and NJ Visit

It’s amazing how things fall into place isn’t it? We had a trip to NJ planned to see my dad who we haven’t seen in two years! Before we left we saw this monster hurricane below Haiti. But in our line of work we need to be aware of potential storms heading our way! So we had our plan to board up the rental homes in place before we left. And it’s a good thing we did, because it came right for us! I’m still waiting to hear the status but last I checked it wasn’t as devastating as the weather channel was saying.

Although I was constantly checking my phone for weather updates and experiencing a low level of anxiety at all times, we’ve enjoyed our time here! We stayed with my dad and hit all of our favorite spots! The most exciting being our day trip to Princeton. This is something my dad and I have been doing since I was a kid. Each time we go, there’s a new life event to talk about (moving, college, marriage, babies, etc) and our group continues to grow!

We were all pooped at the end of the day!

While in NJ, we went to our favorite restaurants, saw great friends, and spent time with our families. It was wonderful from start to finish! Turner and my dad were BFFs. They are quite a pair!

So here we are, safe and sound from Hurricane Matthew. We’re just waiting until the roads are clear until we start our 12 hour journey home!