Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas Card this year (with the name blurred out) - I'm completely in love with P's expression. He was looking at my mom who was trying to distract him while my dad took the picture.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! I can't wait to see my little man's face on Christmas morning as he rips into his gifts and then gets to play with the wrapping paper, boxes and ribbon!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Jolly Ol' St. Nick

Preston met Santa last weekend. I think the pictures say it all.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

There are really no words. Just praying for all the families affected by this horrible tragedy.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sweet Dreams

Disclaimer - I know sleep training is a touchy subject. I am not a sleep expert, a baby expert or a doctor but I'm sharing our experience in case it helps anyone who is dealing with sleep issues. I talked to our pediatrician about starting sleep training and I also read several books on the topic so I felt educated and informed before we started. Every parent should handle their babies sleep habits how they see fit and do what works for their family - every baby is so different and I believe a babies personality and temperament is a big factor in sleep and sleep training. 

This post will also be full of gratuitous pictures of my son sleeping!

So I will start by saying that Preston has always been a good sleeper. We totally lucked out on that one - it was nothing we did or didn't do from the beginning...he just slept well pretty much since we came home from the hospital. Of course, there's always times when he would be fussy and wouldn't want to go down for a nap or at night, but in general, baby boy likes to sleep! (takes after his momma on that one!)

Since we didn't have any sleep issues and P started sleeping through the night on his own around 8 weeks, I honestly didn't think we would ever have to sleep train. Why would we need to sleep train a baby who is such a great sleeper? Well pretty much exactly at 4 months, Preston decided to go on a sleep strike. They call it the "4 month wakeful period" or "4 month sleep regression". Whatever you want to call it, it hit our house HARD. I think really we had been spoiled with such great sleep that it made it really hard for us all (Preston included) to deal with and we had a difficult time with the lack of sleep.

I didn't feel comfortable with sleep training at 4 months (some books say you can start that early - again, personal decision) so we just sort of dealt with the multiple wake ups each night. He wasn't waking up to eat (he dropped his night feedings around 8-9 weeks) - it was mainly a development thing. He could do so much more at that point (roll, scoot, etc.) and he couldn't really get himself back to sleep when he would wake up. Our routine was to go in when we would hear him wake up, soothe him, put his paci back in, rub his head and settle him down. We would go in as soon as we would hear him (typically he'd just be "talking" at that point, not crying) because we didn't want him to get to the point of crying. Some nights we would do this 1-2 times and some nights, we would do it 5-8 times.

After a full month of this (and us feeling like zombies), I downloaded 2 sleep books to my Kindle - "Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child" and "Solve your Child's Sleep Problem" I read both and I liked aspects of each of them. They both have a lot of similarities in terms of the techniques - the Ferber books is a bit more clinical but I was glad that I read both books. I also talked to my pediatrician, who agreed that since Preston wasn't waking to eat and had met several other developmental milestones, we could try to get him to self-soothe to see if that would get him to sleep through the night again.

So right after he turned 5 months old, we dove into sleep training. I was nervous, scared and honestly, sort of dreading it. This is the general plan that we followed:

* Stick to a bedtime routine and earlier bedtime. We start bedtime around 6:00-6:15 most nights. He gets a bath every other night. After the bath, we do lotion, overnight diaper and pj's. He gets his bedtime bottle in the chair in his room and during the bottle, we read 2-3 books. We turn on the music on his sound machine (he's starting to recognize that music is "bedtime music" so he associates it with going to bed).

* After the bottle is finished, we do a few minutes of cuddling, but we stopped rocking/bouncing him until he is asleep/drowsy. That was the biggest thing that we changed - we now put him down pretty much wide awake. He's usually in his crib by 6:45-7:00pm each night.

We did a graduated soothing method - 5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc. So after we put him down, if he starts to cry, we wait 5 minutes before going up to soothe him. We don't pick him up if we have to go in - we typically rub his belly or head and sometimes put the paci back in if he needs it. We stay in his room for 30 seconds. After that, the next time he cries, we wait 10 minutes and repeat the soothing. If needed, we would then move to 15 minutes before going in.

The first night we tried it, he cried for 5 minutes so I went up, soothed him and got him calmed down. But then after I left, he started crying again and I was getting upset (we turned the monitor all the way down but you could obviously still hear him crying - I almost had to go outside). However, he only cried for another 8 minutes - literally I was standing on the steps counting down until I could go up and he stopped and fell asleep. So the first night, we had a total of 13 minutes of crying with having to soothe him one time. And guess what - he slept through the entire night that night with ZERO wake ups. It was crazy and totally unexpected! We all woke up with big smiles on our face that morning!

The second night Jake had to work late, so I was on my own and REALLY nervous. I did our routine and put him down. He cried for 3 minutes...and then stopped and was fast asleep! I didn't have to go up at all - I seriously stared at the monitor and couldn't believe that he soothed himself so quickly. Again, slept through the night and woke up at 6:00am the next day super happy and smiley!

By the 3rd night, he didn't cry at all after we put him down - he rolled around in his crib, talked a bit and went to sleep. And he slept through the night without waking up once again.

The biggest thing is so much happier he is now in the mornings - he wakes up in such a good mood because he's not sleep deprived anymore. Actually, we're all feeling much better and most rested, which is important for all of us!

It's been about 6 weeks since we did the sleep training and P does wake up sometimes in the middle of the night, but we do the 5 minute, 10 minute soothing and most the time, he's able to get himself back to sleep fairly quickly without us having to go in. Bedtime is very easy now - he doesn't cry and gets himself to sleep within 5 minutes most nights. We also do the same thing for naps on the weekends and he is taking 2-3 good naps (about 1.5-2 hours each) so I'm calling sleep training a success!
It was hard and I think if he had cried for longer than just the 13 minutes the first night and 3 minutes the next, I probably wouldn't have been able to handle it as well. But the biggest thing I took out of it was that self soothing is possible and it does help to put him down wide awake so he's able to fall asleep on his own. Obviously no one wants their baby to cry, but in a controlled manner and done correctly, I think it can help and definitely was a positive thing in the long run for all of us.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Slow down little boy!

Crawling is no joke! In the last 3 days, Pres has learned to go from sitting to all fours and then takes off crawling. Not really ready for this!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Baby Essentials 3-6 months

I decided to do another baby essentials post because I love finding out about cool and useful baby products on other blogs, so I wanted to share what P is into these days. 

Mesh Feeder

We got one of these from a friend who's daughter "outgrew" it and I didn't think much of it. Then teething started kicking out butt and I decided to try putting an ice cube in it to see if that would help P's sore gums. He LOVED it - I think the combination of the cold ice plus the texture of the mesh feels amazing on his gums. He gets 1-2 ice cubes a day in this thing and get so excited when he sees me pull it out and open the freezer. We haven't tried any food in it, but I plan to put grapes into it soon so P can chomp on them.

Zip Up Footed PJ's

I know people have different preferences on zipper vs. snaps for jams. We are a zipper family. It just so much easier, especially when he's wiggly or super tired and about to have a meltdown. The only downside is that his whole lower body and belly has to come out to change his diaper (vs. the snaps that you just open the bottom of), but we still prefer the zipper ones for their ease and quickness.
Carter's bramd zip up Christmas jams
We especially love the Stretchies from Children's Place because they fit P well and hold up - plus they are normally always on sale and have cute prints. I went a little crazy ordering Christmas ones.

Crane Humidifier (we have the dog one)
Unfortunately, P has had a nasty cough this month, combined with a stuffy nose. We started using the humidifier at night and it really helps to keep his nasal passages moist so that I can suck out the snot (using our Nose Frida - LOVE LOVE LOVE that thing! Gross, but so effective!). It's quiet, easy to fill with water and adorable.

OXO Tot Sprout Highchair

It's a pricey highchair (I started a "highchair fund" to budget for it) but I LOVE it and P spends a lot of time in it and seems to love it too. I wanted a highchair that was easy to clean and didn't have zoo animals or some other sort of gaudy baby print on it.
This is his first time in the highchair
We have the green one and it matches our dining room/living room decor perfectly - Ha! The foam pads are velcro so you can easy remove them to wipe or rinse them down.
The typical scene when Preston eats - his "shadow" waiting to help him clean up any scraps!
The tray is easy to get on and off with one hand and fits into our sink to rinse off as well. It's just a great highchair. The only downside is it a bit heavy since the bottom is wood and it doesn't fold up, but that doesn't really bother me too much.

Preston isn't impressed with the broccoli, but he loves the high chair!
 Playtex Lil' Grabber Straw Sippy Trainer Cup

We gave P a sippy cup around 5 months and I literally bought Target out of every single cup they had so we could find one that he would like.That turned out to be pointless because the second we handed him this straw sippy cup, he was in love! We don't even use any other cups really because he just loves the straw one so much. I was surprised that he knew to suck and got some water even the first time that we tried it.
He takes his sippy VERY seriously!

I've also heard/read that the straw sippys are good for mouth/jaw/tongue development because they use different muscles and teach them how to suck. Literally, the sippy cup might be his favorite thing right now - he is totally obsessed!

HALO Sleep Sacks

 Now that it's almost winter and much colder, we love the fleece sleep sacks for nighttime and naps. In the earlier fall, we were using the cotton ones. P has learned that when we lay him down in his crib and start to zip him into one of these, it's sleepy time. In the mornings, I normally find him chewing on the ends of the sleep sack, which is pretty much the most adorable thing ever. We have at least 6 sleep sacks and I wouldn't mind have a few more - because of the chewing, we don't tend to use them more than 1 night before they need to be washed!

Skip Hop Hare Brush and Comb Set
It looks like Preston doesn't have much hair, but that's only because his hair is white blonde - he actually has quite a bit! And it's super crazy and all over the place (the sides are really long and stick out like Albert Einstein hair. And the top is still coming in so it stands straight up and looks like a huge cowlick)
Evidence of the crazy side hair! Albert Einstein!
Even though his hair is really fine, we found that brushing it several times a day (usually first thing in the morning and then after his bath) really helps to keep it from looking too crazy. This brush is really soft and SUPER cute - I love seeing it sit on his shelf. Total splurge item, but we love it.

The past few months, Preston has really started to take an interest and shows a preference to certain toys, so here's my list of toys that are P tested and approved!

Puppy Tails Book - he loves rubbing the tails all over his face and the crinkle noise that the book makes

OBall - easy for him to grab onto and it's helping him with crawling because he is constantly chasing it when it rolls away

Fisher Price Soothe and Glow Seahorse - He gets mesmerized by the glowing tummy and loves to grab on to the fins on the sides of the seahorse

Baby Einstein Take Away Tunes - He recently started loving this toy - he loves the beads on the handle and pushing the button to play the different music

Bright Starts Grab and Stack Blocks - His favorite thing to do with these is to have me stack them and then he attacks it and makes them fall. Such a boy already!

Sassy Crib and Floor Mirror - Pres likes to look at himself in the mirror. Like, alot. He just loves this mirror, plain and simple.

Any other baby items that we should know about??

(Disclaimer - I was not compensated for these reviews or given any of these products - these are just things we use and love on a daily basis!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

6 months!

(Is it wrong that I'm proud of myself for getting his 6 month post up 4 days after his birthday? Ha!)

So just like that, my tiny baby turned 6 months old on the 1st. And he's not my tiny baby anymore. We were dealing with a small cold this week, so I took him to the doctor and he now weighs in at 17lbs exactly (still 50%) and is almost off the charts in length at 28.5" (98%). If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we purchased a convertible carseat on sale (Britax Marathon for $139!) on Cyber Monday and plan on moving him into the big boy seat after the holidays - I can't believe he's only 1.5" away from being too long for his infant seat.

After my freak out over how I couldn't possibly have a baby who is half a year old, I did Preston's monthly photo shoot and had to recruit Jake to help me with keeping this little man from moving all over the place so I could actually get some good shots. The theme of month 6 - ON THE MOVE! Our running joke is that P is into "rock and roll" as he basically can't sit still or in one place for more than 3 seconds at a time. He's either rolling across the room or up on all fours, rocking like crazy.

And then right at 5.5 months, he took off and actually crawled for the first time! We had a few weeks of belly scooting leading up to that but one night when Jake was working late, P decided he REALLY wanted to get Spencer who was chewing her bone in the living room. So he just decided to crawl over to her. Cue me screaming and calling Jake to freak out to him. He still probably scoots more than he crawls at this point, but having a crawling baby is crazy!

Likes: Crawling/scooting, sitting up and playing with toys, eating (we are LOVING BLW!), putting everything in his mouth, his exersaucer, trying to pull up on things (mainly me), Spencer the dog (BFF's for life, I swear), grabbing our faces/hair, going on walks and just being outside in general, Sophie the giraffe, his sippy cup, puffs

Dislikes: naps at daycare, diaper changes first thing in the morning, sitting still, laying on his back, burping (yes, still)

Milestones: Ummm pretty much everything! It's just mind boggling how fast he learns and does something new. This month he mastered sitting up, continued scooting, started crawling, started drinking from a sippy, eaten about 8-10 different kinds of foods (we'll be starting with more variety now that he's 6 months). Every day is so fun because we never know what he will do next!

Personality: I've really noticed this month that his personality is starting to develop more and more. He's a pretty intense little guy - he is very determined and will stare at a toy or object tying to figure it out for a long time. His curiosity is crazy - basically he just wants to be in the middle of everything and experiencing everything he can. He loves to babble and "talk"to us and his toys. In the past week, he has gotten SO smiley (which makes me happy because we used to have to work really hard to get him to smile) He also seems more aware of us and interacting with us when we talk and play with him. You can tell he understands some things we are telling him and wants us to show him and teach him about certain things. He may be staring to recognize his name a little bit too because he will turn his head if we say "Preston". It's just so awesome how much fun he is!
His crazy hair on the sides of his head cracks me up!
Diet/Food: He typically eats 5 eight ounce bottles a day and then we try to feed him real food twice a day (breakfast and lunch - he's wiped out by the end of the day so we don't do food at dinnertime). The foods he's tried so far are: sweet potatoes (loves), butternut squash (eh), broccoli (really not a fan), green beans (sort of eh about them), cucumbers (loves - mainly the coolness on his gums), carrots (eh), pears (OBESSSED - hands down his favorite), bananas (loves), avocado (likes it, but he may have had a reaction, so we are holding off for a few more weeks) and pureed peas (on a loaded spoon that he feeds himself - LOVES!)

He also eats puffs like crazy - he's not great at picking them up yet, but loves to try and is so excited when he gets one in his mouth. He's also obsessed with his sippy cup. We ended up trying a few different kinds and he took to the straw sippy the best. So he has water in a sippy and daycare recently tried putting some formula in the cup and he was able to get down almost 6oz at a time. So we're working on formula in the sippy more often (at least for daytime feeding - I still want him to have bottles in the morning and at night)

Sleep: I still need to write up my sleep training post, but let's just say - we are back to being a well rested household! Sleep training is no joke but the end result was well worth it. He typically goes down between 6:30-7:00pm and then is up for the day between 5:30-6:00am with no middle of the night wake ups (except in rare instances, which is totally fine with me!). His napping is still sort of random - especially at daycare because he hates to miss out on anything. On the weekends, we follow a very loose EASY (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You/Mom) schedule and can usually get 2-3 pretty good naps out of him.

This month has seriously been one of the most fun and exciting in my whole life, just watching how much he's learning and discovering. He seems so big and grown up to me, but at the same time, he still will let me snuggle and cuddle him every once in a while too. I can't wait to see what the next few months have in store for us! Love you little man!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mom Style

I loved my maternity clothes - is that weird? Who doesn't love jeans with an elastic waistband and being able to wear yoga pants daily with no judgement? I also liked belting sweaters and cardigans over my bump and adding cute accessories so I felt good even when I was big as a house.

But I am pretty happy to have my "old" body back...or really my new "mommy body". It's a little different than it was before and that's totally ok. I doubt I'll be rocking a bikini at the pool this summer, but I'll be hunting this spring for some cute tankinis to chase Pres around the pool with.

Since I was pregnant over the winter and was in maternity clothes this time last year, I've been on a major shopping spree for cute holiday outfits for Christmas and all the holiday parties we will be attending this month. I want to look put together (working from home in my pj's has me craving getting dolled up on the weekends when I can!) and stylish, but still comfy to chase my now-mobile baby boy around.

Here's a few things I've purchased lately that I'm really loving for cute holiday looks:

The Britta necklace in Red (Bridier Baubles) - this basically dresses up any outfit and I love the red!

I'm wearing this GAP dress belted with tights for Jake's work holiday party in a few weeks - love the color and fit!

GAP plaid ruffle button down - for Christmas day with jeans and flats

This GAP sweater is great because you can dress it up or down - the stripes of the sleeves are sequined! Good for a more casual holiday party with jeans

LOFT cable knit sweater - super comfy and soft. The color is a great neutral and it also has a slight sparkle which makes it great for night time

I'm wearing this AT Loft top with a black skirt for my work holiday party

I got these grey cords for $19 from Old Navy and I've already worn them a ton - great for when you need something besides jeans but don't want to be super dressy

This silk button down from Old Navy is super comfy and longer so it looks great with skinny jeans

What are you wearing this holiday season?

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