Monday, March 31, 2014

Sleep training, taking the pacifier, and what our day looks like

This is long...You've been warned.

When Noah was Emily's age we had NO structure to his day at all. I just kind of winged it and hoped for the best. It wasn't until I read the book Good Night Sleep Tight that I realized that his crazy day was probably the biggest cause of his sleep issues. I noticed the other day that I folded the page in the book for 9 month olds. That means I didn't sleep train him for 9 months. That sounds crazy to me now. How did I manage to not sleep at all for 9 months?!?

Since Emily was about 2 months old I've been kind of molding her to sleep well. This time around I KNEW how important learning to sleep is. Think that babies just go to sleep if they're tired? Nope. Sorry. SOME do. Their parents are extremely lucky and the rest of us are extremely jealous.

In the first few weeks you are in survival mode. You just do whatever needs to be done to get that baby and yourself to sleep. Emily, like Noah and many other babies, would only sleep if we held her. This is fine for a while but eventually something has to change. I was able to get her to sleep tucked next to me on the couch and then on the bed just laying beside me. She occasionally slept in the swing. Noah was a BIG swing sleeper! So much so that I bought a swing when I flew to visit my parents just so he could sleep in it...I'm an enabler. Anyway even though I loved having Emily sleep with me I was also ready to have my space back and be able to sleep without worrying I'd smush her or something. So began the process of getting her into the crib. I started with naps and then we worked on bedtime. She definitely woke up more in the crib than she did in the bed.

The reason being that when she was in the bed I kept a hand on her pacifier at all times WHILE it was in her mouth. Sounds crazy huh? The things we do for sleep... In the crib if the paci came out she woke up and cried. It had to go. I just took it away. She was about 3 months old. I felt awful but I knew it was for the best. It took about 8 loooong days and nights before she stopped crying for it. She slept SO much better without it and still does. At about 4 1/2 months I gave it back to her during car rides and she gets to have it during her bedtime routine but it does NOT go in the crib with her. I don't want her falling asleep with it and then wondering where it went in the middle of the night when it falls out. Sometimes she doesn't even want it during the routine and that's fine with me.

To get her to go to sleep without me putting her to sleep was a struggle. Previously I would rock her until she was OUT and then pray a lot that she would stay asleep as I put her in the crib. I couldn't really do the "shuffle" like the book says. If Emily sees me she assumes I'm there to pick her up. When I don't she just gets angrier. So I would lay her in the crib and do checks. Every 5 or 10 minutes depending on how upset she was I'd go to the cracked door and just say, "shhhh night night" a few times. After about 8 days I was able to lay her down leave the room and she would fuss a little bit for 5 minutes and then be asleep. I'm okay if she cries some because I know she's fed. She's had a nice soothing and loving sleep routine. She has a clean diaper. She's just tired and needs to sleep.

A few weeks ago I really wanted to get her to sleep for longer stretches at night. She was still waking up every 3 or 4 hours to eat. She never ate much though so I knew it wasn't from being hungry. I decided not to feed her until at least 2 am because she has gone 9 hours without eating at night before so I KNOW she is capable of going 7 hours without a bottle at night. If she woke up before it was time to eat I would just shhhh her like I did when trying to get her to fall asleep on her own. This worked pretty quickly. It only took 4 days. She now sleeps until 3 am.

Emily's schedule:
 (I'm sure a lot of this is boring you to death but I really want to remember EVERYTHING! There are so many things that I wish I had documented about Noah and now it's too late.)

7:00-7:30 Wake up (bottle)

9:30- 10:00 Nap (30 minutes OR 2 hours. If she takes a short nap in the morning she takes a long nap in the afternoon and it works the other way too. Long morning nap means short afternoon nap.)
Wake up - Solid food and bottle (soon I'll move her breakfast solid feeding to 7am but for now this is easier.)

12:00-12:30 Nap number two (30 minutes OR 2 hours)
Wake up - bottle (We'll start doing solids at this time for lunch as well.)

3:30 Nap number 3 (30-45 minutes) I'm hoping that soon I can get her to take two LONG naps instead of one long and two short
Wake up- Solids and bottle

6:30 Getting ready for bed: Bath, pajamas, bottle, stories, and song
We always read 3 stories ending with the same book every night. It's a Sesame Street book called Nighty Night. I sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star a few times and then lay her in the crib. At nap time we just read the one Nighty Night book and sing before I lay her down. We do all of this with Mr. Lion  (it's a Taggies lion) who she sleeps with. She likes to rub the blanket part of him while she goes to sleep.

7:00 In bed and asleep by 7:15

Wakes around 3am to eat and goes back to sleep until 7am

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I'm so glad that she's sleeping well now. I'm also happy I didn't wait to work on this as long as I did with Noah. It makes it easier to plan things when I know when she is going to be tired or hungry. I can take her places with out an epic meltdown occurring.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Today I was not my best self

I wrote this a few months ago when I was having a really tough day. It was really hard for me to find balance. Somehow I've figured it out. I think finally being able to sleep has helped a lot. Going from one child to two is not easy. Especially when their needs are so different. I'm glad things have fallen into place and I can breathe deeply again and relax. 

Today I was not my best self
Today I had no patience
Today I was easily frustrated
Today I yelled too much
Today my fuse was short
Today I felt defeated
Today, I just wanted today to be over
Today I felt like a crappy mom
Today I was overwhelmed
Today I did not play fun games 
Today I did not sing silly songs
Today I cried
Today I prayed for mountains of patience and peace
Today I felt I should carry the weight on my own
Today I was tired 
Today ended with heavy shoulders and a sad heart.

I don't deserve this version of myself and neither does my family, but sometimes "today" just happens. 

Tomorrow will be a better day

Thursday, March 13, 2014

PANIC (Book Review)

Image via Goodreads - Panic by Lauren Oliver
"Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most."


I was a fan of Lauren Oliver's as soon as I read Delirium. That led me to read Pandemonium and Requiem. When I found out she was writing Panic I knew I had to get my hands on it as soon as possible. I have to admit at first I had a little trouble really getting into the book. I just kept thinking why on earth would these kids do these really dangerous incredibly stupid stunts just for money. I feel a little bit torn. While there was a lot of suspense throughout the book, particularly in the last few chapters, I still struggled to find it believable. Even with that you will still be glued to this book. The story just keeps you wanting to know what is going to happen! Towards the end of the book I was enjoying it more and more.  The book definitely commands your full attention. Lauren does an excellent job of making her characters seem real. You care about them. You want all of them to win Panic because they ALL have a great reason to be playing. 

The twist at the end is great. I sat on the couch saying, "WHAT?!? No Way!!!" If you can get over the unrealistic challenges and just try to enjoy the characters and what they are playing for then I think it's worth reading. I'm glad I read it!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


I feel lucky. I feel blessed.

My house is quiet. My little family sleeps.

How did we get here? Married for ten years. Little boy. Baby girl. Happy home. This is everything I wanted. I'm finally taking  a moment to let it all sink in. THIS is MY life. How did I get dealt these cards? I am amazed. We got married so young. Right out of high school. Joey joined the Army. We spent almost our whole first year of marriage away from each other. Then we had Noah. Deployments once again separated us and made me a single mom. We had a lot of problems after that second deployment. I don't really know what happened. Slowly over the years pieces of our happy relationship were just being chipped away. We separated. There were divorce papers. I lived with my mom. We passed Noah back and forth. There was fighting. There was a lot of sadness. That was the hardest time of my life. By the grace of God we were able to pull it all back together. Be better for each other. Recommit ourselves to really loving and liking each other.   There were new stronger promises made. There was happiness and laughter again. After a while we wanted a baby. We hoped. We tried. Tried. Tried. I cried. Cried. Cried. I didn't know it at the time but at my appointment to discuss fertility options I was in fact pregnant. It was just too soon to tell.  Just a few short weeks later I was blessed with a positive pregnancy test. We were having a baby. Finally. Then we found out we were having a baby girl. Emily. I knew she was a girl. I knew we would name her Emily. When Noah was about 3 he drew pictures of our family. Always including a little girl he called his sister Emily. That was 4 years before she was born. After she arrived I felt whole. This is it. THIS is my family. We are complete. We are happy.

Now I sit in this quiet house. My family sleeps

I feel so lucky. I feel so amazingly blessed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring is coming. Isn't it?

SPRING! This is what I want to see. Green! Green! Green! Unfortunately the world outside is covered in a white slushy mess. The snow is melting buuuut we have 3-8 inches on the way tonight. The temperature is going to take another dip too. Can you feel my excitement? No?  I'm so over winter. Soccer starts soon and I'm wondering how exactly the kids will play in this....

The calendar says Spring is coming. My body is telling me it's time to open windows and enjoy the outdoors. The view outside my window says otherwise.

What do you think your Spring will look like?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Emily ~ 5 Months

I don't know how my days seem so very very long but time still passes so quickly. Every time I sit down to type an update I can't believe she's this old. Next month she will be half way to one year old!!! That kills me. I love watching her grow and learn new things but at the same time I want her to stop. Just stop it already! I can tell once she's bigger I'll need to borrow someones cute tiny baby to hold and cuddle for a little bit. Holding a sweet smelling baby is the best feeling in the world.

Emily is full of laughter these days. She's starting to voice her opinion about things. You better not take a toy away from her until she is absolutely finished playing with it! Don't turn the page of the book too quickly. She might not be done looking at it yet!

She is learning that the things she does can cause a reaction in us. She makes this puppy panting sound that always makes us laugh. She likes to make pretend coughing and choking sounds to get us to run in the room. We are then greeted by a big smile as if she's saying, "Look! I made mom appear again!" The other night I was rocking her before bed and she would lay her head on my chest, lift it up, stare at me, and just start laughing. Of course then I would laugh too. It took a long time to get her to sleep that day. It's all the little cute moments that I want to remember. She really is the sweetest baby. I just want to snuggle her all day.

Sleeping - She sleeps pretty well. She goes to bed around 7:30 and wakes usually once at night to eat...sometimes twice. Naps are still a crappy 30-45 minutes long.

Likes - Making us laugh! Any toy that makes noise. Grabbing EVERYTHING especially mommy's hair. Saying mmmmmmm. Bouncing when we help her stand up.

Dislikes - Naps.

Nicknames - Snuggle Bunny, Mickey Mouse (I have no idea why I call her that lol), Princess

New Things - Still only rolling from tummy to back. Pushing up really well when on her tummy. LOTS of new baby sounds. Spent the WHOLE day out of the house and she didn't cry even once. I was VERY happy about that.

Right now she weighs 14 pounds and she is 25 inches long. She is quickly outgrowing her clothes =(

That's all folks!!!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

BETA - book review

Image via Goodreads

BETA (overview from Goodreads)

"In a world constructed to absolute perfection, imperfection is difficult to understand—and impossible to hide.

Elysia is a clone, created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen year old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of teenaged clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to be created.

Elysia’s purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air there induces a strange, euphoric high that only the island’s workers—soulless clones like Elysia—are immune to.

At first, Elysia’s new life on this island paradise is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne’s human residents, the most privileged people in the world who should want for nothing, yearn. And, she comes to realize that beneath its flawless exterior, there is an undercurrent of discontent amongst Demesne’s worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care—so why are overpowering sensations clouding Elysia’s mind?

If anyone discovers that Elysia isn’t the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When Elysia’s one chance at happiness is ripped away from her with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she’s always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive."

I had really high hopes for this book. I was however disappointed. The first parts of the book were boring for me. There isn't a whole lot happening. It wasn't really until the last few chapters of the book that I started becoming really interested in the twists and turns of the story. I think some of my dislike for the book comes from not being able to relate to Elysia. Which is understandable. She's a clone. She's supposedly soulless. Throughout the book she does become more and more human like. Towards the end of the book I did find myself liking her a little more.

The book takes place on Demesne. It is paradise. One thing the writer did really well was make Demesne believable. You can really picture what this place looks like. The major conflict in the book is that some of the clones seem to "awaken". They are starting to make their own decisions. They are beginning to want. They are forming a resistance called the Insurrection. Since this is the conflict in the story you would think there would be a lot of time spent on it. There isn't. I kept waiting for something big to happen. Most of the book is spent following Elysia while she hangs out with her "friends". We see the teens on the island do raxia over and over again. Raxia is a drug that basically makes the teens relax and happily go to sleep. We're involved in Elysia's love life, if you could call it that. She thinks she loves this guy because he is "aesthetically pleasing". It just seemed like there was a whole lot of nothing going on for a very long time and then at the end you're rushed into excitement in hopes that it will make you read the next book.

I most likely won't. I would have enjoyed the book more if it had focused more on the clone rebellion and less on Elysia's clothes, diving abilities, time spent playing video games, and love of chocolate.

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