Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Never Say Never - Sleep Training

I am that parent that swore up and down that I could not let my child cry it out. Not let me say first I hate that term and I think there are much better ways to say you taught your child how to fall asleep on their own. I do not feel one bit that I let my child cry it out. I taught my child how to go to sleep on his own.  I did not set my child in his crib and let him cry it out until he passed out. We did checks and it worked for us!

We were really struggling with Zander's sleep. If you read the last update I did for him, 11 months, we had started the sleep training but I was not ready to share our experience with it since we had just started. In his 10 month update he was still getting up multiple times a night and right up until we decided to start the sleep training we were holding him for a lot of the night. Matt and I both knew that we could not feel rested enough while holding him every night. It just wasn't possible. We were zombies! Something had to give.

He had been sick and teething and we finally got a break so we decided to dive right in. If you have been reading for awhile you know we tried with Kinley and it was a big fat fail! We tried multiple times with her but she kept on screaming and would never give up. I spent many nights sitting on the stairs crying. It was awful and I just couldn't commit to sleep training her. Thankfully she eventually got better at sleeping and at 13 months she finally started sleeping through the night. Here is a sweet baby picture of her! Awww I miss those days!

Zander has always been steps behind her developmentally so I knew it would be a long time if ever before he figured things out on his own. I felt it was crucial for us to teach him he could fall asleep on his own and go back to sleep on his own. I was not necessarily wanting to give up nursing in the middle of the night but I sure wasn't opposed to it either. Who would complain with more sleep and less wake ups. Not me!! I knew what would work for us and I took one night at a time. I had no clue how he was going to respond to me not nursing him or us not going in when he wakes up. Up until we started sleep training him we rocked him or I nursed him every night and every nap. These are the intervals we used.

Night 1: I wanted to feed him about 30 minutes before we were going to put him in bed. I was already nervous about this feeding because he gets so distracted and does so much better in his dark quite room, but I went with it. He had a really crappy feeding and like I knew did not nurse well. He did have a decent dinner so I was hoping that would hold him over. We put on his zippy about 30 mins after he was done and read a few stories on the couch. After story time he kissed everyone and him and I headed into his room. I turned on his sound machine and held him close. I told him I loved him several times, and sang him a quick song. I put him in his crib and he screamed his head off. I shut his door and walked out. It was awful I am not going to lie. I felt like the worst mom ever! Just one night I put him in his crib without nursing, no wonder he was freaking out! I went and colored with Kinley and turned on some Disney music and watched the monitor. I also set the timer because we decided Matt would do checks with him in hopes to reassure him. The first check was 3 mins in, the second check was 5 mins in, the third check was 10 mins in and then any checks after the 3rd was 10 mins. He eventually laid down 45 mins after I put him in his bed. He did not scream his head off the whole time but he did cry on and off. He woke up 3 hours later at 10:45 and I decided to feed him. Surprisingly he went right back to sleep after I put him in his crib. He was up again at 12:20 and we did the checks again. This took him a little longer. He didn't lay back down until 1:45. He then woke up at 5:00 and I fed him and put him back in his crib. He cried for 17 mins and then got up for the day at 715.  WE SURVIVED NIGHT ONE!

Night 2: The second night he did better overall but it took him 50 mins initially to lay down. He didn't wake up until 1235 and I fed him. He went right back down and was then up again at 220. We did intervals and he laid back down at 245. he was up for the day at 615 when I fed him again.

Night 3: The third night it only took him 22 mins of crying off and on until he laid down. I was shocked we were seeing such great progress already with him. He woke up at 1025 and I thought that was too early too feed him. He laid back down at 1035. He was then up at 1150 and I fed him. He cried when I put him back in bed but only for a min. He then woke at 250 and cried off and on until 310. I fed him at 545 and put him back in bed and he cried but laid right down and got up for the day at 645.

Night 4: The fourth night it took him 8 mins to lay down after I put him in his bed. He did cry the second we entered the hallway before I even got to his room but it didn't last long. He woke up at 820 cried for a min and laid right back down. I fed him at 210 and he went right back down and was up for the day at 610

Night 5: The fifth night he did not really nurse before bed. He wasn't interested. It took him 13 mins to lay down. He didn't really cry much just took him some time to lay down. I fed him at 1155 and then he woke up at 6 for the day.

Night 6: This was the first night I did not feed him in the middle of the night. The sixth night it took him 12 mins before he laid down. He woke up at 1030 and laid back down by 1034. He also woke up at 330 but laid down within a few mins. He got up at 610 when I fed him.

Night 7: He didn't really nurse on night 7. It took him 3 mins before he laid down initially. He woke up at 950 and laid back down at 953. He was up a few times throughout the night but not for more than a few mins. I feed him at 445.

Night 8. He had a really good nursing session before bed on night 8. He cried for 6 mins on and off before he laid down. He didn't wake up til 630 for the day when I fed him.

After night 8 he has been pretty consistent. On night 10 and 11 I would say he went through his extinction burst. He woke up a few times and seemed to cry a little more on those nights. Night 12 he was back to only taking about 10 mins to fall asleep and then me feeding him around 530. He stopped crying when I would put him in his bed and rolls around his crib to get comfy. He rarely cries when I put him to bed anymore. He will occasionally wake up in the middle of the night but goes back to sleep usually in 10 mins.

Top 4 Tips:

1. If you are going to do it...commit and keep on going. Night 2 Matt got really sick and I had to keep going the next week alone. It was hard but I know we couldn't turn back.

2. Don't do it until you are mentally ready. It is not easy listening to your baby cry for any amount of time so prepare yourself.

3. Follow your gut. Do what works for you and your family. We followed Ferber's sleep training interval chart but if I felt I needed to feed him I fed him. I went with what felt right for our family and Zander.

4. Have support!! It is not easy and I am the biggest softie when it comes to my kids so this was not easy for me! I have a lot of support and I am so thankful for that. I would not have been able to do it alone!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why We are Mocc Crazy and a Giveaway

If you know me you know I love moccs from Freshly Picked. They were Kinley's first shoes and she still wears them today! They are actually her choice of shoe when I tell her to go get her shoes on. Zander owned 2 pairs before he was even born and continues to own multiple pairs of Freshly Picked moccs. They really are the best!

It was very important to me to find a shoe that could grow with Zander and a shoe that was comfortable for him to start walking in. He can wear them indoors and outdoors with no issues. They are soft soled that form to his feet, making learning to walk easier for him. They are not clunky or heavy like hard sole shoes making tripping and falling easier. You know when they are first learning to walk there are many tumbles and falls so having a soft sole shoe is very beneficial for children learning to walk.

If you have not seen the selection Freshly Picked offers go check it out. They come in so many designs, colors, and textures. So many options! I am warning you though good luck picking out just one pair! There is a mocc to go with every outfit and they are always adding new designs. Even though Zander is not walking yet, I like for him to have shoes on when we go places, especially since it has been colder. I love the moccs for summer as well because he can wear them without socks and his feet won't get too hot. They are the cutest shoes ever! Who said mamas can't match their boys! I love this color!

The moccs are super functional and easy to get on and off. They have fit both my kids feet really well, with or without socks. Zander loved to chew on his toes when he was smaller and would frequently get his feet up in his mouth but was not able to pull his moccs off which was great! They stay on and do not come super easy!

It is no secret I love shopping small business. One of the top things that draws me to small shops is the customer service they offer. Freshly picked does not disappoint with customer service. They are prompt with answering emails as well as their social media accounts. I once ordered the wrong size moccs and had no issues exchanging them. It made life much easier on me!

I asked my husband what he loved about Freshly Picked moccs and he said ummm, they are just awesome. So there you have it. Simply awesome!

If you do not own a pair of Freshly Picked moccs I highly suggest getting your little one a pair or two! They last forever and I promise you will not be disappointed, though it is not my fault if you become addicted :) Though if you are still unsure enter the giveaway on my IG page for a chance to win a pair! Leave a blog comment for an extra entry and tell me which pair you would choose if you won!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

First Birthday Invites

It took me a long time to decide on what to do for Zander's first birthday. I love planning the kids birthday parties, but finding the theme is always tricky for me. When I came across decorations for Brown Bear Brown Bear I knew that was our theme. I was so excited!

Finding the perfect invite is my favorite part. It is the first impression of the party and I want something that when I look back at I will love as much as the first time I saw it, so I'll be honest I am picky.  I also love saving birthday invites in the baby book to look back on and eventually give to the kids. We have used Tiny Prints in the past for Christmas cards and Kinley's birthday invites so I knew I wanted to use them again. I have never been disappointed with the quality of their products, shipping or customer service. They are always exceptional. They also have so many choices to choose from so you really can't go wrong. They did not have a Brown Bear Brown Bear themed invite but they did have a create your own design option. Perfect!! I found the perfect design on Etsy and uploaded it to Tiny Prints. It was so easy.

Did you know they have personalized stamps as well?!! I thought that was the coolest thing! You have to go all out for first birthdays right? Again, so many options to choose from. I knew I wanted something simple but classy. I loved the simplicity of the blue "1" with a little message on the side.

I had our return address printed on the back of the envelopes which saved me tons of time. I highly suggest it! You can also choose to load the shipping to addresses on their site and have them printed and then mailed to you. All I would have to do was stuff them and get them in the mailbox. I chose to address them myself because I ran out of time to upload the addresses onto the site but I think this is a great option to remember for upcoming cards I order. Then they will be saved in all one place.

Tiny Prints is always offering deals on their websites. Currently you can get 20% off birthday invitations with code MARINVITE20 or 25% off birth announcements with code MARBA25 for all my pregnant mamas out there! I promise you will not be disappointment with the quality of whatever you order from them!

Thank you Tiny Prints for Zander's birthday invites and stamps. I love them so much and can't wait to order our next cards!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Zander - 11 Months

Oh buddy we have less than a month until you turn the wild one! You have been such an amazing blessing to our lives I don't know what we did before you. The birthday party planning is in full effect and your invites are going to go out soon! Tiny prints sent us the cutest invites and stamps! I can't wait to address them and get them in the mail.

This past month has been a little crazy. everyone has been really sick! Thank goodness I didn't catch anything. We all know there are no sick days for moms so I am glad I dodged it all.

Stats: There is not an 11 month check up but we were at the doctor when you were 10.5 months old and you weighed in at 18lbs 14oz. They didn't do your height because it was a sick visit. You have had some major issues with your ears and been on medicine a few times in the last few months. You then spiked a really high fever that stayed for 4 days. I am so glad you are finally feeling better. You now have 5 teeth with a few more making there way through soon.

Sleep: After a terrible start this month with sleep we or I gave in to sleep training. With the sickness not going away we held you for sleep most nights which meant mommy and daddy really did not sleep. Once your fever broke we knew we had to go with the sleep training. I could not do the sleep training with Kinley but was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel if we stuck with it so I knew I had to be strong and go with it. Wouldn't you know Matt got very sick on night 2 and I was on my own. Anyway all the sleep training is for another post, but I am happy to say we are all sleeping much better and I am so happy I was able to see the end results. We are still working on your naps. You still sleep in your crib with your zipadee-zip and about 7 binks. You are still taking 2 naps a day ranging from 30 minutes - 2 hours. Overall I am very happy with the progress we have made when it come to sleep this past month.

Eat: You are giving me a run for my money with nursing. You are not interested about 90% of the time. I have had to increase my pumping sessions to make up for the times you won't nurse. I hate pumping!! You love solids and eat just about anything. The only thing you really don't like is eggs. You love all meat, especially chicken and turkey sausage. Yogurt is a definite favorite as well, though I wonder if it is giving you rashes. We still do some pouches with you since you love them so much and I know it will fill your tummy. You are still doing awesome with the 360 cup. I am still pumping twice at work but will hopefully go down to one shortly after your first birthday unless you continue to not nurse. You are just too busy and do not want to take the time to work for the milk, you take a bottle with no issues. I really do not know how much breastmilk you are getting during the day, we just go with it.

Play: You are into everything! Your sister is not liking it too much! You want to do everything with her and be apart of everything she is doing, you follow right behind her. You are standing and walking along furniture and standing on toys. Total boy you are! You still love walks in the wagon and playing at the park. Now that you can move a little more you are loving exploring and eating everything! We really have to watch you! Bath time continues to be a favorite for you and you scream and arch your back when we try to take you out. You would probably stay in there forever.

We are getting your 1 year pictures taken at the end of the month and I am feeling very emotional about it. I seriously can't believe you are going to be 1! I want to relive your birth over and over. It was truly amazing.

Well buddy. I am soaking up these last few weeks before they officially call you a toddler. I won't be calling you a toddler anytime soon! We love you so much! Happy 11 months!

Other Monthly Updates:

10 Months
9 Months
8 Months 
7 Months
6 Months
5 Months 
4 Months 
3 Months
2 Months
1 Month 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

SnooZie Mat Review and Giveaway

Have you seen the cutest sleep mats EVER!?? I was so excited when Sleeping Baby reached out to me to review their new SnooZie Mat. I love their products so much! You can read more about their Zipadee Zips here on the blog. Zander is a huge fan!

Let's talk about how amazing the SnooZie Mats are. Kinley goes to preschool and they have to have a nap mat to sleep on. The Snoozie Mat is perfect! It is also perfect for sleep overs at Grandma and Grandpa's house, or just lounging around watching TV. I think it would be great to have the mat personalized with their name if you want them to use them at school.

Kinley does have a nap mat for school but she loves the pillow on her SnooZie Mat. It is also softer and more cozy then the nap mat she has currently. She was so excited when I told her she could use it for school naps. It is machine washable so I wasn't too worried about it getting dirty from all the toddler grime that she comes across at school.

It also has been perfect for sleepovers at Grandma and Grandpa's house. It rolls up so she can carry it like a backpack and do things herself like she likes to do. If you have met my 3 year old, or probably any 3 year old, you know they are all about doing things on their own and rarely wants help. I love that she is able to carry this on her own, one less thing for me to carry as well! Win Win!

They have 4 different designs that are currently available, Pearl The Mermaid, Timmy the Tortoise, Choo Choo the Train and Parker the Princess. You can see them all here. Aren't they the cutest! I knew the mermaid one would be the perfect choice for Kinley. She loves the colors of it and the mermaid tail. It even has a built in pillow. She also loves using the SnooZieMat for when her babies sleep when she feels like sharing it :).

I see another SnooZie Mat joining our family as soon as Zander gets a little bigger. He will want to have one for school and sleepovers too!

Thank you Sleeping Baby for another amazing product! We are in love! Go visit them on Facebook, Instagram or follow them on Twitter for some amazing giveaways they do monthly. Now is your chance to win your own SnooZie Mat.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hello March

I am so excited for March. It is one of my favorite months. Mostly because it is my birthday month but also because the weather usually starts to get nicer. We have had some amazing weather the past few weeks and I am loving it, though I hate watching it through an office window. We should not work 5 days a week with weekends only being 2. They really need to switch that!

We had a rough month of February. Both the kids were really sick with a high fever for 4 days and Matt has been sick for over a week now. I am ready for March!

We have some exciting things coming up this month which I am looking forward too! I can't believe I will be turning 35 and Zander will be celebrating his first birthday in just over a month. How in the world? I wish I could relive that moment over again and again. His birth was seriously the most amazing experience ever.  I can not decide on what to do for my birthday! I have been throwing around ideas; winery, dinner and drinks, top golf. Any other ideas?

On another note I am looking for some spring/summer recipes. Please share what you have! I need to add some new meals into our rotation!

Hope every had a first day of March!