Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Toddler Bed

I thought Sweet E was ready for the toddler bed.  Okay, I didn't really, but circumstances have sort of forced us into this transition (we are getting ready to move into a hotel for 2 months before our military move).  We knew she'd be sleeping on a toddler cot at the hotel so we wanted to transition her to the toddler bed now in preparation for that.  

It hasn't been as awful as I thought it would be except for naptimes which to be honest have not been that great in our house recently.  We have a LOT of change going on right now.  We sold our house, traveled to VA to find a house, are having a baby, moving to a hotel.  I know Sweet E knows something is going on, but how do you explain to a 2 year old all of those things?  

So basically Sweet E only will fall asleep at night if someone sits in her room until she falls asleep.  I sort of am okay with this.  I don't want this to be our habit forever, but with everything that is happening I feel like she might just need the extra support right now.  

Naptime she wants to get out of her bed and play.  Yesterday she did not take a nap at all, only woke up once during the night, fell back to sleep relatively quickly (with mommy half asleep in the rocker), and stayed in bed till almost 6:45 this morning.  Mommy needs to get stuff done during naptime plus I NEED that down time during the day and sometimes I just need a nap, too!  

I just ordered her a tot clock so I am hoping that helps get her on a better sleep schedule.  

What's your best tips for transitioning to the toddler bed and helping your toddler stay in bed?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Birthday Party Prep

When Baby Peach turned 10 months i thought it was time to start thinking about his first birthday party! I made a trip to Hobby Lobby for inspiration. (Thanks to major traffic on 25, I missed Stroller Strides and found myself with some extra time. Lemons into Lemonade!)

I won't bore you with the crafty details (you can read those over at Peach Stitches.) I'm pretty excited about planning the party - even though it means my little one won't be so little. In an attempt to put everything I make for the party to use, I'll be using some of the decorations in BP's big boy room.

Here is a photo preview of some of the goods...

Friday Favorite: Books Baby Loves

Photo by Forever Mine Photography

I'm clearly on a book kick. I blame the spring snow. The days are getting longer, but I still have to stay inside. (My Georgia roots make it impossible for me to truly enjoy the snow from anywhere other than inside, under a blanket with a book.) Luckily, my little guy loves to "read" as well. Books are our go to car activity and we spend at least 45 min every day with him finding his favorite books on the low shelf or in the library bag and bringing them to me to read. He loves to flip the pages, sometimes so fast that you can't read all the words and instead are lowered to the level of just making the animal sounds. He also finds books hysterical. He opens them, laughs and slams them shut. I guess it's funny, if you think about it.

Here are the books that are capturing my 11 month old's attention this week:

Noodle Loved Bedtime, Noodle Loves the Farm, Noodle Loves get the point he loves the Noodle books. In case your wondering, Noodle is a panda bear that loves a lot of things. The books have lots to touch and feel and the last page always has a mirror.

Pat the Bunny by: Dorothy Kunhardt.
Ironically, he jars the page where you pat the bunny. He loves peek a boo with Paul and smelling the flowers....and there is a mirror. He likes that too.

Heads & Tails by: Matthew Van Fleet
These cute books feature animals and their amazing heads and tails. The book has plenty of fun moving pieces that baby peach can't operate on his own yet, but he  thinks it's funny when you do.

Peek-A-Boo Forest
This is his favorite car book. Luckily the rhymes are simple to remember so I can spout them from the front seat as we drive. "Who's hiding behind that spruce?"

Note: A huge thanks to Forever Mine Photography for capturing some of our favorite family moments. Such as reading Pat the Bunny together as a family. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Out and About

Little Peach and I continue to be out and about around town as much as we can.

Getting out has really helped us make friends. I say "US" because it is important that little peach has someone to play with and that I have someone to talk with. There is nothing better for a friendship then sharing in experiences. I have found myself in a wonderfully supportive large group through Stroller Strides. I love that this group is comprised of so many moms. Or group has a Facebook group where we can share information on upcoming events or get advice. I also have a smaller group within this group who all have kids around the same age. Our kids play well together and at the same level - amazing. We have been setting up weekly play dates with this group. This is so good for little peach. His social skills are refining as he learns about playing gently with others, and alternates between taking toys and having toys taken from him.

Getting out has built my confidence immensely as a mom. I have had great days out and total disasters and I have survived them all. Little peach has thrown a fit in the middle of Target and I survived. He has screamed the whole way in the car to an putting and I've survived. Blowouts, wet diapers, throw up - I have survived it all!

Getting it tires us both out. Little Peach has never been a better sleeper. I know he is exhausted from all the playing but it makes him sleep well for naps and at night. He falls right to sleep without a fuss and will even engage in a little quiet independent play in his crib with a book. I want him to learn to value quiet downtime as much as playtime. He seems to like the change in routine.

I've had to relax a few of my standards. When we are at a play date or at an activity little peach gets some more processed food then I would give him if we were having lunch at home. These things are helping me be more relaxed and helping baby peach be more flexible.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Love Letter to My Library

Dear Local Library -

I'm sorry we were apart for so long. I moved to a land far far away (see Out of Edwards), where we lost touch. Then, in August, we were reunited!

I knew we would be fast friends when I was able to choose the design on the front of my freshly laminated library card. I, of course, chose brightly colored hot air balloons.

In those years we were apart, you had grown and changed. Yes, you were still filled with books, but now you had an iPad app so I could check on books from my phone and place them on hold. (A necessity with a wiggly one in tow.) You send books straight to my kindle, audiobooks to my iPad, and three free songs a week!

The events you've planned have dominated my calendar. We started at Baby Time, but soon we were too mobile. We spent a week attending the regular story time - but that was way over our head. That's when we discovered Toddler Time - a wonderful collection of songs and stories with no requirement for sitting still. We've petted dogs (at the library each week for kids to practice reading to) and chickens, built Chinese Dancing Dragons and even fed the ducks behind the Monument branch (just ask at the desk for duck food.)

Just when I thought I couldn't be more attached, I found your collection of board books. Little Peach could hardly contain his excitement as he pulled all the books out of the bin. I've had to place an artificial limit on how many we get each week.

It is not all about Little Peach though. You provided most of the Oscar nominated films for after the baby is asleep date night movies, in addition to some classics and documentaries. I'm slowly winding down my Amazon book wish list filled with cookbooks, chick lit, parenting books and sewing books with each visit.

My husband has even found a few books to read. He is the first to admit his initial attraction was due to your proximity to our local brewery and the promise of a lower Amazon bill, but now he is addicted to your online offerings. He even says your audiobooks make his commute more productive.

Have I mentioned your self check out lanes? Love those. Seriously.

With warmest regards,
- Mama Peach

P.S. if you want to know what I'm reading, head over to Peach Stitches and check the side bar.

PPS. Okay, a few of my fellow bloggers have asked when I have the time to read. I've found more time to read now than ever before - mostly when little peach falls asleep in his car seat, stroller or other inconvenient place. I pull out my book and read!

Unloading all our Library Books! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ma Chauffeur’s 5 tips to a successful first flight (at least with my 7-month old)

By the time February rolls around every year, I’m a Michigander who yearns to see and feel the warmth of the sun.  In order to boost our vitamin D levels, my husband and I decided to start a new family tradition – an annual winter retreat to Naples, FL! 

I don’t know how many of you moms worried about your first flight with your LO (or still worry if you haven’t taken your first flight yet), but after sleep training then 5-month old B in December, I seldom worry about any new experience with him now.  I worried more that I would forget B’s SPF 50 sun tan lotion and birth certificate than how he would handle his first flight. 

Despite my worry and to my surprise, during and after the flight we received many compliments from the crew and other passengers that B was extremely well behaved so without further delay and in no particular order, (although my husband may disagree), here are my top 5 tips to our success on our first flight.  

#1. A bottle of water.  We heard having something to drink upon lift off and landing was critical to popping ears.  I planned to breastfeed B to help pop his ears, which I eventually resorted to, but since he loves to do anything “adult” do and we’re practicing drinking out of “big boy” cups, he was fascinated with a bottle of water for longer than I expected. 

#2. A boppy.  Some parents told us their LO sleep in a front body carrier on their flight, but B is not a fan of any carrier and hates to be confined.  (You can only imagine our shock when B was hours old that swaddling was completely out of the question).  I had to be creative as to how he was going to sleep on my lap.  Praise to the high heavens that what I thought may work, actually worked and my mother’s intuition kicked in!  B felt most comfortable sleeping on our boppy on his back with both arms and legs extended far out in all directions.

#3. My boob. On the flight to Florida, there were a few seconds when B started to cry.  After being kept up past his nap time, exhaustion set in.  His fascination with the bottle of water ended and I panicked. Was he going to cry during the entire 3-hour flight?  I quickly whipped out my boob and B was home sweet home.  As soon as his crying started, it stopped, and he slept through touch down upon our arrival in Florida.

#4. Reading B’s cues. I knew I had to make B as comfortable as possible since this was a completely new experience.  Upon take off, when he looked at me like I had 10 eyes, I explained what was happening.  When he started to cry, I fed him so he could go to sleep.  When he woke up in a panic from his sleep, not knowing where he was at, I positioned him in the other direction on the boppy, fed him again, and he slept the remainder of the flight. The flight attendant even commented he looked so relaxed and peaceful.

#5. My husband. He stood in the aisle with B until he was required to sit down.  He entertained B for the longest game of peek-a-boo that I’ve ever seen. He shielded wandering teenage boy’s eyes when my boob had to make an appearance for breastfeeding.  And he told me I was doing a great job keeping B as comfortable as possible.  I must say so myself, he is husband and Dad of the year in my world!

From one mom to another, I hope you find one of my tips help you in your first successful flight with your LO.  PS – And after worrying about B’s birth certificate, they never asked for it. 

Naptime aka The Universe's Cruel Joke on SAHM

To give you a little background my now 2 year did not sleep for the first year of her life. People who said sleep when the baby sleeps risked getting punched in the face by me. She didn't nap, she didn't sleep at night, and it didn't help that my husband was enjoying his 15 hours of sleep per night during his vacation in the desert.

Now I realize that naptime is really the universe's way of saying f**k you to stay at home moms. It's payback on behalf of all those women who have to work everyday while we stay eating bonbons, watching reality tv, and getting fat. (and God help you if you tell me that your child naps for 5 hours every afternoon)

I think for a large portion of stay at home moms we approach naptime with the same trepidation we might use when trying to kill a spider in our home. You know it's something that needs to be done and yet you dread it with every fiber of your being. Dread mixed with unbridled optimism that today will be the day that your child naps.

Today we had to run to Walmart to return this crappy humidifier (fair warning do not waste your money on a Honeywell humidifier. I don't know how a company who makes pretty much every single piece of an airplane including the engine can NOT make a simple humidifier. I may never fly again.) Because our sweet sweet daughter had been up since 5:30am she fell asleep in the car on the way home at 11:30am. Not only on the way home, but actually on our street. I thought this is great. I'll just sneak her up to her crib and she'll take a nap and I can eat lunch and have 5 minutes to relax and get things done.

I'm sure my other SAHM's can relate to that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when, after you've congratulated yourself on successfully getting your child into the house; getting her shoes off; getting her jacket off; getting her into the crib; and getting yourself back downstairs, you hear not 30 seconds later that tiny voice on the monitor. Mommy, mommy, *singing*, *singing*, *talking to stuffed animals*, *playing* and you know that You. Are. Screwed.

So I get Em up and feed her lunch and eat my own lunch, during which she has a massive poo (ya know the kind you can hear), and I know I have to change her diaper and that there's a good chance I'm gonna throw up on her. So we head upstairs around and it's now 1pm and I put vicks in my nose and inhale a baby wipe (it was THAT bad y'all) and gag and try not to throw up and finally get Em into her crib.

Where she cries, and plays, and whines, and wants to go potty, and on and on and on. Around 2pm I try laying down with her. hahahaha And the thing is that she is soooo funny that I have a hard time not laughing (even though my soul feels like crying for the desperation I feel at needing a break from my child).

Around 2:30 my phone, which is downstairs, starts ringing...and ringing...and ringing. Em, like her daddy, is very concerned about me not answering my phone so finally I go down to see what the emergency is. I return some phone calls (and tell the hubby that if he comes home and asks me what I got done today there is a good chance he'll be punched in the face) and as I'm on the phone I can hear Em running around upstairs and I realize there will be NO naptime today...for the second day in a row.

No naptime. I feel like I've just learned that there is no Santa Claus.

Now I'm sure all you working moms are thinking "oh poor baby, gets to stay home and play with your child all day. Boo hoo." And yes that thought has crossed my mind as well. In my defense I did get FIRED during my pregnancy and I also went crazy after the baby was born (literally crazy, like had to take medication crazy) which would've made returning to work at that time challenging considering I worked with the mentally ill and 4 months after said baby arrived my husband deployed to Afghanistan's not been all fun and games over here in our household. But yes, I do thank God every day for my blessings and the ability to stay at home...even when I want to run screaming naked into the yard.