Haircut plans

I am WAY overdo for a haircut and also color. I’m embracing the ombré trend accidentally. The good news is that I have a hair appointment scheduled for this weekend so I can actually do something about this.

In preparation for the wedding, I grew my hair out and I never stopped. So many people opt for the post wedding chop (PWC) but not me. I thought about it every time I had an appointment but I never did it. Part of the reason I have been hesitant to cut my hair is because I like to alternate between wearing my hair straight and naturally curly. For my curly hair, long hair seems to be much better. It weighs down the curl to leave me looking a little less like Little Orphan Annie, and more sophisticated lady. I’m terrified of having terrible curly hair. I think it causes flashbacks to when I was a kid with curly hair and no idea how to style it.

But, I think I might be ready for a change. I’m getting so bored with my hair. So the 2 things I’m considering are either bangs or a long bob.

Here’s my bang inspiration:

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And now for some long bob ideas:

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So what do you think?? Bangs or long bob? OR leave it long and no change?

Cloth Diaper Q&As

Lately I’ve been getting a few questions about cloth diapers, so I figured, why not write a new post?! I actually love to cloth diaper (lame, I know), and I love to tell people about it to try and encourage and support any other potential/current cloth diaper mamas.

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7 month old E

You Started Solids, Now What…

I know. I had this SAME question. Breastfeeding alone made washing cloth diapers a breeze! You toss the entire dirty diaper into the wetbag/trashcan and then into the washer without dunking or rinsing anything off into the toilet (read more about my washing routine here). Then, oh but then, you introduce solids and you’re worried that your little dream cloth diaper world is going to be ruined, and you’ll be one of the people that says “I used to cloth diaper, but it didn’t work for me.” I too had that same thought. I googled “how long until poop changes after solids” and a ton of other variations of that same search. But, I was pleasantly surprised. Honestly! Once babies start eating solids, they poop so much less often. No more 5+ poops a day; we’re usually at about 1 or so. And, it’s pretty contained, so I can just turn the diaper upside down above the toilet and flush it away. I find that I have to get closer to my dogs’ poop on walks when I pick up after them, and that’s much more disgusting. For a while I thought I might need a diaper sprayer, but we’ve actually been able to get by without one.

How Did You Convince the Hubs?

This one really depends on what your husband is like, but mine is extremely frugal, and appreciates information so he can make an informed decision. So, I did a lot of research, compared prices, found out when Cotton Babies was doing their buy 5 get one free deal, and talked to him about it (I think it’s going on now). I also told him about how we could use these same diapers for multiple children, AND we might be able to resell them. Also, because we live in Austin, there are some local stores that sell cloth diapers and one even offers free classes. So, I took him to the class and talked to him about the expense of disposables and he was sold. Plus, hello! So cute!! (He didn’t care about that part so much). Convincing him really wasn’t an issue for me.

Working Mom and Cloth Diapering

Being a working mom is tough. Period. Adding cloth diapers to the mix might make it a teeny bit harder, but I don’t know any other way. Yes, you have to wash every other day (or every third day if you can get away with it), but it hardly takes any time at all. Sean and I have a pretty good system down, and we share in the duties. Which I think is key. Doing it all alone would make it more difficult. But, I’ve done it when Sean was out of town for a week or so a few times. So it is definitely doable! But, what works for us is to have him do all the washing while I do all the stuffing. While I’m feeding E for the last time before she goes to bed, he starts the wash process. He then heads to the gym, so I usually hang the shells to dry and toss the inserts into the dryer, but that takes less than 2 minutes. Then, in the morning before work I’ll stuff all the diapers. If I don’t find the time to do this, I can always do it later because we have enough diapers that I don’t have to do this if I can’t find the time in the morning. I wake up pretty early though, and E is still asleep, so I only have to worry about getting myself fed and ready.

Another thing to consider as a working mom is whether or not your daycare/nanny will be on board with cloth. When we initially interviewed potential nannies, I made sure to tell them that we use cloth to make sure they were ok with it. I didn’t research daycare facilities, so I’m not sure if they were receptive to cloth diapers or not. But, I imagine that you could find ones that are. If we had to use disposables while E was away from us, that would certainly not make it worth it. I made sure to check in with our nanny (now my mom) to see how the use of cloth diapers was going. Both our nanny and my mom thought they were just as simple as disposable and had no complaints. Score!

Pockets, AIOs, Hybrid, what?

It’s like learning a new language. I work on policy for the government, so I’m familiar with acronyms and this was yet another instance of that. We decided that pockets were the way to go for us and filled our stash with bumGenius 4.0 and Fuzzi Bunz . But, I actually think if I could, I might tweak things a bit.

See, when we go out of town we always use disposables (unless it’s a quick one night trip), and I hate that we have to do that. But, it’s not feasible to pack our stash, wetbag, detergent, etc, so we don’t. So, if I were starting my cloth diaper stash today I think I’d do a mix of pockets and hybrid diapers, like gDiapers . Hybrid diapers give you the option of using either cloth, or a disposable insert. The reason I opted not to do that originally was because I was afraid that learning how to use 2 types of diapers would be difficult for a future caretaker, grandma, aunt, etc. I figured if I could mimic a disposable as much as possible, that would probably be the easiest route. And, that’s still probably true, but I don’t think I gave people enough credit to learn how to use both kinds. Financially it doesn’t make sense to invest in a second type of diaper right now, so we’ll continue using the disposables when we travel. But, I wish I’d thought of that before.

Why Not a Diaper Service?

I looked into this in the beginning, and I’m sure it’s different everywhere. But, from what I heard here, you had to get the diapers pretty clean before you left them for pick up. Um…if I have to clean them anyway, why not just wash the whole thing myself? Also, diapers are used to catch poop and pee. I am somewhat distrusting about someone else washing the diapers, and maybe not getting them as clean as I would want before putting them on my baby, so I figured I needed to take that step into my own hands. Some people are grossed out at the thought of buying used cloth diapers, but essentially with a diaper service you are constantly diapering your child with used diapers. Lastly, it wasn’t worth the cost. It made more sense to purchase the diapers myself, and potentially have the option to resell them later, or use them with any other kids.

So, there you have it. Any other cloth diaper questions?

 

Advice for New Moms

Ok, and (I hope) not in the annoying way, like “get sleep now” “wait until your kid is here you’ll never do anything,” etc. A really good friend of mine is pregnant and due about the same time I was last year. However, she lives in a MUCH colder climate than I do (Minnesota vs. Austin). We’ve been emailing back and forth about recommendations, must-haves, and the items to skip. When I was writing it, I thought, “hmm, this would probably make a good blog post.” So, ta-da, here I am. I hope my friend doesn’t mind that I’m sharing my info with the interwebs.

Expectations

I struggled a lot at the beginning because Elliott wasn’t the type of baby I envisioned having. I anticipated some walks in the park in her stroller, reading books together, lunch with friends while my baby hung out happily with us, playing with blocks on the floor, etc. And, although we do all of that now, it certainly was not (and is not) the leisure process I’d envisioned. I’ve learned to let it go and that this is her personality and I love her for it. She’s independent, strong-willed, and opinionated. Everything that I would want her to be when she’s older, just something I thought I had a little time to work up to. I’ve read a lot of the books and things that my blog friends do, and I pick and choose from each one the things that I like to do, or things that I think might work for us. And then when something stops working, I try something else.

Schedules

I think it’s hard to be so regimented with a breastfed (or really any) baby in the early stages. At the beginning they are purposely nursing so much to tell your body to make milk for them. I nursed E ALL the time. Plenty of people made comments about it, but it was her way of telling my body she needed milk, and my body responded. Not only that, it was a great way to bond, and it was soothing to her. But, since about 4-5 months, we got on a real schedule and it makes life so much easier. She kind of just fell into it though, and we went with what worked. Of course the schedule is ever evolving as she grows and changes, but for several weeks at a time, we have something that works.
So, just ride it out for the first 3 months as you are in survival mode and do whatever works. We co-slept that whole time, which I never thought we would do. But, I had to let my preconceived ideas and notions go and just do what made the most sense for us at the time. Now Elliott sleeps beautifully in her crib, so those first several months didn’t ruin her.
Must-Haves
But, here are some things that we really loved in the beginning (and some still now):
Beco Baby Gemini Carrier I use this thing every single day. I wear her to the grocery store, at the airport and on walks. She prefers it over her stroller and honestly it’s much easier. Also, I love that it has 4 different holds so it grows with her (front inward and outward facing, side carry, and on your back)
Cradle ‘N Swing: In the beginning, this was one of her happy places, and she still likes this thing and she’s almost 8 months old. We love the one I linked to because it plugs in and doesn’t use batteries. Probably time to put it away, but we haven’t.
Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes: She loved this thing from like 10 days old and still uses it. The lights and music make her happy. Also, she seems to always want you to sing, and this allows us a little break from singing as long as music is on.
Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump: I used this from the very beginning when I was super engorged and I use it 4 times a day now. I didn’t expect to have to use it that early, but I was so glad I had one.
Swaddle: We had both the aden + anais Muslin Swaddle Blanket and a Swaddleme (which I referred to as a legit swaddle for my friend). Please get the legit swaddle. It made my life a thousand times easier because I could never do it tight enough and so she always broke out and woke herself up. I tried in the beginning to just use the A&A blankets and it meant many (more) sleepless nights. I’m still so glad we have those for other purposes, and we use those every day for time outside or just floor time in her room, but the legit swaddle was so worth it in the beginning.
Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine: We both have a white noise app on our phones and an actual machine for her room. She uses it for every single nap and night time sleep. Again, I tried to do without this in the beginning and it was a mistake.

PRI EuroBath: She has always LOVED a bath. It was one of her happy places early on. If she was really upset I knew I could put her in the bath and make her happy. We like this particular tub because it grows with your baby. One side for when they’re really little, and the other for when they can sit up on their own. We still use the little side for washing her hair, and once we finish with that part, we put her on the other side to play.

Soft Gear Changing Mat: I know it sounds weird, but again it was another happy place early on. Now she hates diaper changes, but she does like to sit on it and pull up on her diaper baskets. Probably not the safest thing, but I’m always there. Also, I don’t have this particular changing pad, but its the one I would pick if I hadn’t gotten one for free as a hand me down.
Glider. OMG. We use it ALL the time. Even now. For me, it’s a must have. Be sure to try them out and make sure they’re comfortable if you can. Those first several months I spent hours at a time in it. We have one from Babies R’ Us that is no longer available.
UPPAbaby Vista Stroller For me, this was an item I could have waited on. But, I really think it’s dependent on your baby. However, now we use it often. We have the Uppababy Vista. I got it on craigslist for about a third of what they normally cost and I’m SO glad. So, I want to encourage you to look beyond the travel system. The 2 strollers that I constantly hear that people love are the Bumbleride Indie and Uppababy. The thing that’s awesome about the Uppababy, is that it can turn into a double stroller with an attachable rumble seat, AND it can also have a running board for an older kid to stand on and ride along. So, it grows with your family. They’re on the flash sites a lot too. ALSO, the uppababy could double as a bassinet in the beginning because it has the carrycot attachment. I feel like i’m turning into an informercial, so I’ll stop.
Dr. Brown’s Bottles. Those are the only ones she’ll use! They do have quite a few pieces, but to me it’s worth it. When you’re heading back to work and your baby won’t take a bottle, but she finally takes one with several pieces, you just go with it. They also have a Glass version if you prefer not to use plastic.
SleepSack . That’s all she sleeps in. Love them!! We have three of them, and some are a little warmer than others, so we determine which one to put her in based on the weather. We transitioned from the swaddle directly to these.
BabyLegs Totally unnecessary. But they are the cutest thing ever, and I put them on her whenever I can.
Join Amazon mom. It’s not a product, but again it’s a must. Being able to get free prime and have must need items shipped to you for free in 2 days was awesome. Dangerous, but awesome.
Could-Have Passed On Items
Bouncer. We used it, but it was more because we had it, so why not use it. If I could do it over I wouldn’t get it. She liked the swing more, and if you need to put her down somewhere, that was just as good of a spot. The one advantage the bouncer had was that it was more portable. So, if I wanted to take a shower and have her be right outside the curtain, the bouncer allowed that, but I used it too infrequently to make it worth it.
Feeding items. Cups, bowls, spoons, bibs, etc. Yes, we use some of them now, but for 6 months they were just taking up space and collecting dust. And, as I started looking into feeding practices, I found that I liked baby led weaning the most. Which meant that I didn’t really need many bowls or spoons. And, I almost never use bibs either. I find that it’s easier just to get her naked and rinse her off in the sink. But, I know some people swear by bibs, to me it’s just one more thing to wash and she always seems to get food on her clothes anyway. People will probably buy you bibs anyway. We have about 12 and I registered for 3.
Humidifier: We actually didn’t get one of these, but I was tempted by the cute frog and penguin shapes. We haven’t needed one yet. Granted, I live in a warmer, humid climate, so you might find that you use yours all the time. Her skin does get so dry when we go to Colorado.
Sling/Moby: They seem too complicated. I know some people love them, but my Beco Gemini was the only carrier I needed.
Projection Mobile: I got desperate for sleep and I read that this “was magic for babies” so I bought it. And it certainly wasn’t magic for our baby. It sits in her closet basically unused.
Pacifiers: Our baby didn’t like them, but even if she did, the hospital gives them to you, so Sean and I just kept going to ask a different nurse for one until we collected about 6 of them, which we didn’t end up needing. But, let the hospital give it to you, you’re already paying for it.
Lanolin Yes, you need it, but again the hospital will give it you. Let them provide it! And, what worked WAY better for me was Soothies (again the hospital gave them to us). They’re actually for healing cuts and burns, but I basically just wore them in my bra nonstop for the first few weeks.
Newborn diapers: Again, the hospital gives them to you! Ask for more like we did and you probably won’t need to buy any in that size. We switched to cloth at 2 weeks, but we had more than enough from taking from the hospital.
Phew! I hope this was helpful for you all. And because I can’t have a totally wordy post, here’s a picture of E with her little headband on. :)

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Day in the Life: 8 Months

I always really enjoy reading the day in the life posts. I especially enjoyed them when I was pregnant and when I had a newborn. When E was a newborn, it was helpful to see that other moms were going through similar difficult times (I wasn’t alone!), and if I read the life of a baby that was a little older, it gave me hope that there were some easier (not easy) times ahead. So what does life at lour house look like? Here’s a typical day:

4:00 a.m. Nurse E for about 20 minutes, change her diaper and sing rock-a-bye baby before laying her back down in her crib. My doctor wants me to drop this feeding, but she is still asleep when I leave for work, so I love this time we get to spend together before I go to work.

4:20 a.m.- try to fall back asleep before the alarm goes off at 5, but usually check Instagram, Facebook, blogs, etc for a few minutes.

5:15 a.m.- wake up, feed the dogs, pump, eat breakfast and get ready for work. Lately my breakfast is oatmeal with flax seeds and fruit because I’m trying to boost my supply and oatmeal is supposed to help. Also, stuff diapers or put away bottles that were on the drying rack, sometimes both.

6:30 a.m.- my mom, the “nanny”, gets to our house. I go over anything new to talk to her about and then head out the door. I’ve gotten into a very bad habit of stopping for coffee every morning, so I do that too.

7:00 a.m.-work, work, work

8:00 a.m.- pump. There are 6 pumping moms in my building with only one mother’s room, so we are all on a strict schedule to make sure everyone has a turn. It’s great there are so many of us, but terrible if I have a meeting or something that interferes with my pump time. So, I had to alter my pump schedule with the new job to make it work. But, most of my team gets in around 9, so I like to have at least one pump session done before the rest of the group gets here.

8:30 -11:00 a.m.-work, work, work

11:00 a.m.- pump

11:30- 12:00 p.m.- grab some lunch at my desk. Usually a salad or sandwich and some yogurt.

12:00-2:00 p.m. – work, work work

2:00 p.m.- pump

2:30-4:00p.m. work, work, work

4:15 p.m.- home!! I chat with my mom about the day, and find out what they did and how E slept. Here’s her schedule while I’m away:

  • 6:45-7:00 a.m.- E wakes up
  • 7:00 a.m.- 5 oz bottle
  • 7:30 a.m.- breakfast. This varies, but usually oatmeal or some fruit and veggie combo like sweet potatoes and apples
  • 8:00 a.m.- Stroller ride to the park. She loves the swing.
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  • 9:00-10:00 a.m.- Nap time with Lovey and White Noise Machine
  • 10:00 a.m.- 4 oz bottle
  • 10:30-12:00 p.m.- Play time: Jumper , floor activities like Geometric Stacker, and wood toy throwing mostly, reading, exersaucer, LOTS of singing, practicing crawling (we’re not quite there yet), mostly wanting to practice walking.
  • 12:15 p.m. – Lunch time! Again, a mix of fruits and veggies. She is a huge fan of the squash family. So, butternut, acorn or spaghetti squash and some peas or broccoli or something green.
  • 12:45-2:00 p.m.- Nap time with Lovey and White Noise Machine
  • 2:00 p.m.- 4 oz bottle
  • 2:30 p.m.- another stroller walk and more park time! Sometimes there are other kids there now, and she loves to watch them, but not let them get too close. One little boy wanted to help push her in the swing and she didn’t really want that to happen.
  • 3:15 p.m.- snack time. Usually fruit, like pears.
  • 3:30-4:15 p.m.- Play time again, a lot like the 10:30-12 time slot.

Now I get to hang out and play with E! I usually change quickly out of my work clothes while E cries because she’s so ready to nurse.

4:30 p.m.- Nurse E and talk to her about her day.

4:45 p.m.- play, read, and practice crawling some more. Usually use the dogs as something she should crawl towards because she thinks they are hilarious.

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reading

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 playing

5:15-5:50 p.m.- Dad is home! We all head for a walk with the dogs. E rides in her Beco Gemini , and gets really excited when I pull it out.

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6:00 p.m.- Dinner time. She loves zucchini, spaghetti, crab, sweet potatoes, broccoli. So we do some of that, and then anything else we have left over that we may have had that week. Dad washes bottles and prepares bottles for the next day while she eats.

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6:20 p.m.- Bath time. We brush her teeth, give her Carlson Vitamin D Drops and use California Baby Shampoo and Bodywash.

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6:35 p.m. – PJ and lotion time. We call this baby massage and she LOVES it. Again, we use California Baby Lotion .

6:45 p.m.- Nurse, sing rock-a-bye baby and lay her down with her Lovey and turn on the White Noise Machine.

7:00 p.m.- Wash diapers (every other day), feed the dogs, make dinner, and plop down on the couch to veg out.

8:00 p.m.- Sean leaves for the gym, so I log on to my work computer to make sure nothing is urgent, or close out any other assignments.

9:30-10 p.m.- Get ready for bed and do it all over again!

This is pretty much how things go everyday. When Sean was gone for a week, I felt like a zombie, it’s A LOT to do by yourself, and I am so thankful I have a helpful partner. I am terrified about how daylight savings time will impact all of this, because I have a feeling that E will not be ok with seeing me in the morning before I go to work and then going to my mom. So, we’re trying to slowly shift her bedtime; we’ll see if that will work.

MIA

I couldn’t remember my log on name or password. That’s how long it’s been since I’ve written a post. That’s terrible. I’m not sure how many readers I’ve lost, but I’m sure it’s lots. I miss this little space, but sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad, and in this case it’s both.

The good. I got a new job. Yay! I don’t talk about work much on here, but I am very excited about the new gig. Thankfully my new work is just as flexible as my old work about allowing me to work alternate hours to try and maximize my time with Elliott and lessen my time away from her. I feel very fortunate for that. I still feel extreme mommy guilt about being away from her for as long as I am, but I know that it could be worse. It also means I have to wake up at an ungodly hour everyday to try to work as much as I can before she wakes up, and it means that I’m often on the computer after dinner, but that’s ok. We make sacrifices when things are important. I never knew how working moms juggled every thing, but you just do because you have to and there isn’t another option. It does mean that I have dropped other things (like this blog for a while), but I’ll eventually find my balance.

More good. Elliott is great. She’s a strong-willed, opinionated independent little girl that loves her mama tremendously and I love her fiercely. She shares a lot of my personality traits and a lot of her dad’s looks. And of course she’s got a little of her own quirks too. She’s changed tremendously over the last several months, and it’s crazy that next week she will be 8 months old. OMG. She understands so much more now, and seeing her process everything is just amazing. She’s meeting her milestones and acting like she wants to skip some (like crawling; I think she’d rather walk). If you want to see pictures of her, just follow me on instagram (MintedLife). It seems to be the only form of social media I can keep up with these days.

The bad. Elliott’s grandfather was diagnosed with a terminal illness 2 months ago and the terminal part is creeping up on us. I rushed Sean to the airport yesterday afternoon so that he could be with his dad, mom and siblings and I’m so sad that I’m not with him, but it’s that balancing act. I’m trying to maneuver how to be a good wife/mother/worker and supportive to Sean during this terrible time. It’s awful and sad and I feel like I never know the right things to say. I lost my dad in October when I was 12, and although I know the pain of losing a parent, I don’t know it as an adult with a new baby. My brother said something interesting about this, “as a kid you don’t have as big of a frame of reference, you kind of accept things as they are, and you definitely aren’t as aware of the long-term ramifications of losing a parent.” He’s right. Not that losing a parent or watching them battle a terminal illness is ever easy, but as a kid I know I was shielded from so much of what was happening.

Elliott and I might be on a flight very soon too (our 3rd round trip), but for now I’m going to keep trying to figure it all out, and probably stumble along the way.

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E on our most recent flight to Denver to visit her grandfather (a picture with her dad seems fitting)

VaseOff $50 Amex giveaway

Winner Update!!  Random Generator chose number 11, which is Abby!  Congrats!  I’ll contact you to get your address and ship you the $50 Amex card!

 

So, it’s summer time, and I know that I could use a new pair of something (shoes, shorts, bathing suits, cover ups), so I’m going to giveaway a $50 Amex card to one lucky reader! 

Remember when I asked you all what floral gift design you’d like to see created?  Well, the theme was chosen and it was the perfect floral arrangement for the quintessential summer girl.  Basically, a girl who loves the beach and can’t get enough of the sun, surf and sand. Um…if I didn’t have an infant that can’t be in the sun for more than 20 minutes at a time, that would be me.  Sigh.  Next summer though!

Anyway, so you want to know how to win?  Head over to About Flowers Blog and Like your favorite VaseOff floral arrangement.  Then, just head back here to let me know that you voted by leaving a comment and that’s it!  I’ll randomly select someone for the giveaway. 

Here are your choices:

Bora Bora

Barefoot with Waves

Island Girl

Tranquil Motion

I’m kind of feeling Tranquil Motion.  What about you?  Head over to the VaseOff challenge to vote!!  Don’t forget to come back here to let me know you did to enter the giveaway!

Ferberizing

So, Elliott is 4 months old now, and I’d been gearing up for that age because I knew it was the earliest we could start sleep training if that’s what we were going to do. I bought the Richard Ferber book Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems and read it cover to cover. I know that it’s controversial and many people are opposed to what he recommends. But, I also knew that no one was sleeping at my house and that can’t be normal, so something needed to change. Elliott was rocked to sleep for all her naps, night-time sleep and any time she woke up during the night. She was waking up between 4-5 times every single night, and we’d spend about 30 or so minutes putting her back to sleep before we could lay her back down and hope that she wouldn’t wake up in the transition. And, for naps, she always slept way better if you held her and she would actually wake up if you tried to lay her down. So yes, that means that our poor nanny was holding her for all her naps, and so were we.

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I knew all of this was crazy, but it killed me to think about her crying and being alone in her crib. But, we had our 4 month doctor’s appointment, and my doctor basically said that after 4 months it gets even harder to teach good sleep habits, so if she hadn’t learned them on her own by now, then it was definitely time that I help her do it. I knew that she hadn’t learned them because I didn’t let her. Any time she made a peep, I would scoop her up and rock and shush her back to sleep. So, she never had a chance to even try to self-soothe. I don’t regret any of this though because for a long time she was swaddled, and couldn’t self-soothe since her hands were bound. And, she didn’t like pacifiers at all. So, until she was ready to sleep swaddle-free I didn’t think sleep training was an option. We also were co-sleeping all the time, which I know many people are opposed to, but this is what worked for us. Sean and I were both ready to get our bed back though, and I think that she probably woke up more because of our movement.

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So this past weekend we decided that it was time to start the sleep training. I held and cuddled her extra tight in the hours leading up to bed time. We went through our normal routine of bath time, feeding and reading and then instead of rocking her to sleep, I put her in her crib with her Pink Bunny Lovey, turned on the white noise and walked out. At first she just hung out in there with no crying, but then it started and she was really upset. So, at pre-determined intervals we took turns going in, patting her and telling her it was ok. We went in at 3, 5, 7 and 10 minutes and then every 10 minutes after that. So at the first 10 minute interval I saw that she had a poop explosion. This has never happened, and of course it happened on the first night of sleep training. I got her up, changed her and the sheets and we started over with the intervals. After a total of 45 minutes (including the time before the poop), she was asleep. Of course I cried right along with her and thought about calling the whole thing off. But, I knew that if I did that, all the crying she’d already done would have been for nothing. And, I didn’t want to do that to her. And, honestly I was expecting her to cry for much longer.

Then, she woke up around 12, and we started over with the intervals (3, 5, 7 and 10 minutes). She cried for an hour but eventually went back to sleep. That killed me!  Again, I wanted nothing more than to pick her up and rock her to sleep.  But, I knew I couldn’t do that.  At 3:30 she woke up again and I decided to feed her. She fell asleep while I was nursing her and stayed asleep until 7:15. Amazing!

The next night was even better. She cried for about 20 minutes when we first put her to sleep, but she eventually fell asleep on her own. She woke up at 1:30 and 3, fussed for about 3-5 minutes (no real crying) and then went back to sleep. At 4:30 when she woke up, I went in to feed her. This time she didn’t fall asleep while I was nursing her, but after she finished, I put her back in her crib where she cooed for a while and then eventually fell asleep on her own with no crying! She stayed asleep until 7:45. We were in shock.

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But, it hasn’t all been roses. Of course the crying is hard for me, and I cry right along with her. And, naps aren’t going as well yet. For naps, if they cry for 20 minutes, you’re supposed to end nap time and try again later. We had to do that on the first day, and it was not pretty. But, I know it will get better and we will all be happier and sleeping better.

I also think that you have to try this at the right time. She wasn’t ready for it before this, and if I’d tried it I probably would have been discouraged and put off trying it again for a long time. I know not everyone agrees with the “cry it out” method, but for us it has been a total game changer. Waking up every hour or more throughout the night was making all of us miserable. I was a zombie at work and Sean and I had more than a few harsh words for each other in the middle of the night. No more! So, obviously I’m a fan. I know were only 2 days in, but that’s how dramatically things have already changed at our house. I am a believer.  Did you ferberize?  Will you?

3 Months!

Now that she’s almost four months, I figured it was time for me to update you on her three-month accomplishments, and of course some pictures.  So, this month brought lots of changes as I headed back to work.  But, it also brought lots of developmental changes for Elliott too!  She’s able to do more and more things every single day.

She started blowing raspberries when she was 11 weeks old, and it’s continued and really increased.  You can do it first, and she’ll mimic you.  It’s hilarious and so fun! She’s becoming more and more vocal, especially when she’s nursing.  I just listen and laugh because it’s so sweet.  She also started rolling over back to front (though usually babies do it the other way first).  She gets stuck on her tummy a lot and sometimes gets mad.  She also started rolling over in her sleep, so we let her stay on her stomach if she makes it that way.  Speaking of time on her tummy, she actually likes it now.  She used to hate tummy time, and I would cringe when the doctor asked me how often we were doing it, now I’ll gladly tell her at the next appointment.

And, no more swaddle!  The rolling thing spurred me to try her without the swaddle, and I was terrified it was going to be a terrible night, but she did so well.  We love sleep sacks, especially the sleeveless ones since it’s already so hot here.

 aden + anais Muslin Sleeping Bag

As for night-time, there is nothing close to sleeping through the night going on at our house, but that’s ok, we’ll get there.  She is so much more mobile at night though.  She definitely doesn’t end up where we lay her down, and she isn’t always facing the same direction we put her in either.

She’s also really started to get that hand eye coordination thing down.  She reaches for toys if you dangle them above her head, and she’s recently found her feet and loves to shove them in her mouth.   She’s also so much more sturdy now and will even sit propped up for a while before falling over.

We also went swimming for the first time!  She seemed to like it.  There wasn’t much of a reaction, but we take no crying to mean that she likes something. :)

We didn’t go to the doctor this month, but last month she was in the 90th percentile for height and 75th for weight (she did not get that height from little ole’ me).  We’ll go at 4 months and I’m excited to see where she is.

And, an update on her temperament…things seem to be getting much better.  I think part of it is my confidence, her growing up a little bit, and changing my expectations.  I know that she’ll never be an easy baby, and that’s fine.  We’re learning more and more about what she likes and needs and that makes it a lot better.  And, we’ve been able to get out of the house a little more and for longer periods of time.  She’s starting to really like her carrier, and I can wear her in that for about an hour before she starts getting upset (of course she can’t be tired of hungry during that hour, so we have to time it right).  I just love this girl so much!

Next week we’ll go on our first flight!  I might borrow Oh Joy’s idea of ear plugs and treats for our flight neighbors just in case. :)  Wish us luck!

Becoming a Working Mom

Tap, tap, tappie…is this thing on?  Damn that was a long blogging break!  I just finished my last few weeks of maternity leave and I wanted to cherish every moment with little E, which meant very limited computer time, not that I had a lot before anyway.  So now I’m a working mom.  Wow.  This is hard. 

I thought I’d talk a little bit about going back to work, planning for childcare, and what it actually felt like the day I left her.  So, we are not one of those families that are fortunate enough to have a stay at home mom, and even if we were, I think I’d want to at least work part-time and keep my foot in the door so that I could jump back into a career once E is a little older.  So, we talked a lot about what we wanted for childcare, what would be the right fit for us and what we could afford.  Ultimately we decided that we really wanted to a nanny to watch E at home, at least while she’s this little. 

Yay, we made a decision!  Hard part over, right?  Um…no, now you have to find a nanny.  I asked around on my neighborhood listserv for nanny recommendations, reached out to other moms I knew in Austin, and also searched (and paid for) care.com.  Initially I was really opposed to using the internet because hello, a random stranger that I met on the internet is now watching my child.  That’s way scarier than online dating.  But, care.com does background checks, and has reviews so I actually liked the experience a lot more than I thought I would. 

I ended up interviewing about 6 different girls.  My first interview was in person, and the lady was nice enough, but she told me that 7:30 a.m. was “too early for her” and that “she might be late.”  So, I knew she was out.  After that experience, I decided that it would be better for everyone if I did a phone interview first, so if I got responses like that I didn’t need to worry about inviting them over.  I used a list of questions I found on Hellobee to start from, and we added others we thought were important.  Then I talked to Lauren.  She was sweet, lived about 3 minutes away from us and had experience with infants.  Hooray!  I got a good vibe from her and decided to have her come over to meet us.  I knew right away that she was who we wanted.  She did have an offer from another family though, so it was up to her to decide if she wanted to pick us too.  I realized that it’s so important for the nanny to feel like she fits with you too.  And, luckily she decided that we were the right family for her.  Yay. 

We did a short trial just to make sure that she knew what she was getting into.  I went over everything with her and then left for about an hour and a half.  When I got home E’s eyes were all red and I could tell she was exhausted but was fighting sleep.  Fortunately Lauren did not seem scared away, and told me that she just needed more time with her to learn what she likes and for them to get to know each other.  I really appreciated that she didn’t make things dramatic about how she was crying, but was honest with me about how it went.  

About a week later I had to go back to work.  I decided that I wanted to ease into things, so I started with just half days my first week.  I nursed her that morning and just cried.  I hugged her, kissed her and snuggled with her until she fell back asleep.  Then I had to get myself ready.  Every time I tried to put on my makeup I’d just cry more, so it was a tough morning.  I bought a new outfit to wear my first day back because it always makes me feel better if I can at least try to look cute.  And then it was time for me to leave.  She was still asleep so I didn’t want to bother her, but I hugged Sean and just broke down again.  He assured me that everything would be ok, and that it was only a few hours apart.  I still felt so guilty and sad for leaving her.  I didn’t want to be away from her yet.  She was/is still so little. 

Once I got to work I had a warm welcome back and everyone wanted to see pictures of her, which was good and bad.  I wanted to talk about her, but talking about her made me sad.  About 2 hours into my work day I had to pump.  Talk about awkward.  Pumping at work initially is super weird.  I never thought I’d be sitting topless in an office at work, but yeah that’s happened now.  And now that it’s been a week of pumping, it’s still awkward, but it’s also kind of nice to have that time away.  I don’t do any work during it, I just take that time to look at pictures of E.  I still don’t enjoy pumping anyway and now I have to do it 4 times a day (3 at work and 1 at home before work), but it’s important to me so I’ll keep it up.  And, as she gets older I know I’ll be able to reduce the number of pumping sessions. 

And, everyday it gets a little easier for both of us.  The first day I know she cried a lot.  She nursed for an hour when I got home and slept for 3 straight.  That’s unheard of.  The next day was better and the third day was the best yet.  Lauren said she only cried once she got tired not just because she missed us.  Today is the fourth day and I’m hoping that things will keep getting better.  Next week I go back to full-time so I know that will be a new challenge, and I’m still trying to find my way as a working mom while battling the guilt I feel about leaving her.  It’s so hard, but we’re doing the best we can and trying to figure it all out.

VaseOff Challenge and $50 Amex Giveaway!

UPDATE: Congrats to Erika!  I love the idea of making a bouquet for a little girl. I’ll be sending out your $50 giftcard!!

So, you know I love a good competition, especially one with a great prize.  Can you say $50 Amex gift card?  I love the opportunity to get you all involved anyway that I can.  So, when I was asked to help with the VaseOff challenge, I jumped at the chance.  If you’re unfamiliar with the VaseOff challenge, basically expert florists are challenged to create floral arrangements in a Project Runway-style competition.

Here’s where you come in, they need ideas and suggestions for a compelling July floral challenge based on a gift giving theme.  So, have you ever wondered what floral arrangement would be perfect for a new mom?  Or maybe the hostess of a summer BBQ? Or maybe a thank you arrangement for your petsitter in lieu of cash? So, brainstorm and come up with a creative idea for when you think a floral arrangement would be the perfect gift!  I just need ideas, not the actual arrangement because that will be left up to a group of actual florists.  Whoever I think has the best idea will get a $50 Amex gift card.

Once the challenge idea is solidified, a group of florists will create arrangements based on the theme and you all can vote on your favorite! So, go!  Come up with your awesome ideas so that I can giveaway that $50 Amex gift card. You have until midnight CST this Thursday!