5 Month Old Favorites

A 5 month old doesn’t need much. A little milk, somewhere to sleep, love and cuddles and something to play with. That should do it right?. For awhile at least. At 5 months old they are just starting to discover the world and their abilities. The rolling over, sitting up, eating food, playing with toys and being loud is just beginning! Eventually it is nice to have something to entertain them and contain their growing abilities for a few minutes so you can cook supper. These are a few of our 5 month old favorites around here. We use all of these things daily!

All items are linked below!

5 month old favorites

1//Ergo. We love the Ergo around here. Ours is several years old but still works perfectly. We use it pretty much everywhere we go so that we don’t have to lug the car seat around.  If you follow me on Instagram you see pictures of Sera in the Ergo all the time. I even made a hashtag for it —>#serasergotravels

2//Summer Infant seat. We use this in lieu of the more popular Bumbo seat for letting her sit up like a big girl. I got this one so that it can also be used as a feeding chair and transition to a booster seat when she’s older. I liked that it can grow with her. It saves me money and space. It’s a bit difficult to get the tray on but nothing I can’t handle.

3//Teething bib. I picked this up in target because I was looking for a new teething toy. She loves this! She loves to chew on everything and gets drool everywhere. This helps with the teething and with the drool and she can’t drop it a million times. It’s great.

4//Zipadeezip. We love Zipadeezip in this house. I have used them since my 2 year old was a baby. If you want to read how I used it to transition a very swaddle addicted baby to the crib, read here. We use it for every nap and at night.

5//Activity Center.  We got this Oball activity center when the original Baby Einstein one we bought was defective. I wasn’t sure how I would like it but I must say it’s been great. The BEST thing about it and the reason I chose it is because of the assortment of toys on it. Baby’s generally love Oballs in my experience. I love having an activity center to keep her entertained and also to get her off the floor when my big girls are running around being crazy.

What are some things that your 5 month old loves right now ? Let me know in the comments.

Linking up here, here and here!

Bedtime routine with a toddler and a newborn

 Emerald was 19 months old when Alina was born. I knew going into it that having 2 kids under 2 would be no easy feat. I would have to say that the transition was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be but I think that had alot to do with my husband having a 2 month paternity leave (can I get a high-five?!).

 Back to my point. I think that one of the most challenging issues was creating a bedtime routine with a toddler and a newborn. Once Jonathan went back to working nights that made it even more difficult since I was doing it alone most nights. I can remember in those early days how stressful it was trying to time it juuuust right where I would have time to do bedtime with Emma without a hungry or tired Alina interrupting us. I thought we would never figure it out and that our bedtime was doomed to chaos.

I am here to tell you that if you just hang in there it does get easier. As do most things when it comes to having 2 under 2. In the meantime I thought I would share some tips that may or may not help. Some of these may seem pretty obvious or irrelevant to you so if you read this and think, “That didn’t help at all” then just keep doing whatever you’re doing and eventually it will get better.

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1. Have a routine already in place. I can’t stress this enough. I tell people all the time that I am so glad we worked hard on Emerald’s bedtime routine and sleep issues BEFORE Alina was born. Newborns have crazy enough sleep schedules that you don’t need a toddler who doesn’t know how to sleep either. If at all possible, get your toddler in a good routine before the new addition arrives. Having this in place did wonders for our family. It was our safety net. If you’re curious to read  how we got Emma sleeping so well read here.

2. Work your new baby into the existing routine. Along the same lines as #1, don’t try to create a brand new routine once baby gets here. You are going to have a confused and stressed out toddler. It is much easier to work around the schedule in place since newborns are generally flexible in the sense that they won’t notice if their bedtime gets pushed back 30 minutes every now and then but a toddler most definitely will.

3. Pacify the baby before you start bedtime routine. Bedtime is always 8pm at our house. So If I knew that the baby was supposed to eat at 8:15pm I would always feed her a little early so she wasn’t squawking just as I was trying to rock my toddler. Same goes for diaper changes and burping….just get them situated so you know you have a clear 15-20 mins.

4. Include the baby. There were times when I just couldn’t time it right and I ended up rocking both at one time. That’s ok. If you have to bring the baby into the routine by having them lay on the ground on a blanket or in their Rock and Play while you read, sing or rock your toddler then do it. For us this wasn’t ideal in the beginning since babies can be noisy and exciting to a toddler who you are trying to get to bed . But you just have to do what you have to do.

5. Ask for help. If you are blessed to have your spouse home every night for bedtime then that is awesome! Get them involved. I know on the nights Jon was home we would take turns. One would do bedtime routine with Emma while the other hung out with Alina. If you are going it alone then don’t be afraid to ask for help from your mom, sister, friend, neighbor….anyone you trust. Even just 30 minutes to help you get through bedtime in those early weeks will help tremendously.

I hope these helped or sparked some ideas. Of course, they are geared more towards the early newborn weeks. Bedtime now looks much different with a 2.5 year old and a 9 month old. It’s a sister affair with baths together and snuggles together while we pray and do our routine as a family. Those days are coming soon. You just hang in there and don’t stress about it mama!

5 Christmas items kids can interact with and Mommy won’t stress over!

It’s official. The holidays are in full swing around here and from the looks of my Instagram and Facebook feed they are just about everywhere else as well. If you were like me your Holiday decorations were up well before Thanksgiving. If you were holding off until the official Christmas season you are now in the clear and are probably pulling down your boxes as we speak.

Here’s the thing, decorating with little curious humans running around can be tricky. Of course we want to teach our girls that there are certain things we just don’t touch because we said so. But at the same time I want them to know that Christmas is fun and magical! I want them to be able to learn about the meaning of Christmas and interact (aka play) with some fun decorations! I need to not stress over thinking they are going to break every single thing that they pick up! It’s no fun for anyone to have to constantly say “No, put that down!”.

So I went on the hunt and found 5 Christmas items kids can interact with and Mommy won’t stress over.

You’re welcome.

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1. Felt Christmas tree. Here’s an idea. Get your kids their own Christmas tree to decorate and re-decorate to their heart’s content. There are lots of these to be found on Etsy but I really love the look of this white one with bright ornaments. Just stick it on the wall and let them have at it. There is a vinyl version on Amazon that sticks to glass if that works better for your house.

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2. Chalkboard Ornament. I’m really excited about this one ya’ll!  We all know and love the classic glass ball ornaments. But let’s be real, those are not a good idea with kids running around. Even with a kid who knows not to touch, all it takes is one bump or shake of the tree and you have a shattered mess. The solution is this handmade, chalkboard 1D version of the ball. It hangs on the tree but is a chalkboard so the kids can have so much fun writing and drawing on it. It  is smooth to the touch and wipes off effortlessly . You don’t have to fear them dropping it and is a great addition to your ornament collection. You really can’t go wrong and the price is outstanding. Get yours here.

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3. Little People Nativity set.– It’s best to put your glass nativity set up high and out of reach and pull out a fun set like this one. My girls love anything Little People so this one is a no brainer. I love that they could play with it and it can be used as an awesome tool to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. Win win in my book.

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4. Christmas Finger puppets. – I came across these on Etsy and thought they looked so cute! Imagine the bedtime fun you could have making up stories and reading Christmas books with the help of these little guys.

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5. Nativity Puzzle.  – I know, another nativity set. I couldn’t help it. This one is so cool! This nativity can be set up and enjoyed as well as played with as a puzzle. I love how versatile it is. It can go from coffee table centerpiece to kids entertainment just like that. It’s handmade from Cedar so I know it smells amazing. Get yours here.

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Have anything to add? Hope you enjoyed!

How I got my baby to sleep through the night

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I get asked often how I got my baby to sleep thought the night. I’m so convinced that the most difficult issue when it comes to parenting babies and toddlers is sleep. It all comes down to sleep. Your sleep, their sleep…everybody’s sleep. You can see it in the dark circles under the new mom’s eyes or even in the frazzled mom of non-sleeping toddlers. Occasionally you will come across someone who says their baby was an excellent sleeper since birth. Well good for them. I’m pretty sure these babies are the exception to rule. I can’t tell you how many times I googled “How I got my baby to sleep through the night” in desperation only to get so frustrated at reading accounts of people whose babies just magically sleep so well. I hesitated to even write this post for that reason. I can assure you this is not one of those accounts.

I had to work for it and work at it. I don’t have a quick formula or a 10 step plan. If you have a 12 week old that you are wanting to sleep through the night like… tonight then you probably won’t find this much help. I’m just going to tell you what I did with both of my girls that worked both times. The proof is in the pudding and both of my girls sleep 12-13 hours at night without waking even once (95% of the time).

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Emma’s sleep story:

When I was pregnant with my first I read Babywise and thought “Why yes, I would like to give my infant the gift of nighttime sleep.” I tried to implement this plan from the start and spent the better part of her first 5 months stressed and frustrated because she wasn’t sleeping…wasn’t following my plan….wasn’t napping long enough…etc. I wish I could go back to those early days and shake myself and tell myself to reellaaaxxx, take a chill pill,let your baby nap in the swing and go take a nap yourself.

Then we tried co-sleeping out of desperation and that semi worked but not really because I was sleeping so poorly and she was still waking so often at night to nurse. Which made for a cranky and sore mama.

**(Let me just stop and say that I am not someone who expects a baby to sleep through the night before a certain age. I think babies NEED to eat at night for some time and I actually enjoy night feeds…to a certain extent {i.e not every hour})

I was against cry it out from the beginning, my heart could not take it. I knew from reading Babywise that this was what I was “supposed” to do. Instead I continued trying to co-sleep and after several more months of struggling with naps and getting to her to go and stay asleep at night my husband said “enough”. By this time she was 9 months old and I knew we couldn’t continue this way. I was at a breaking point so I agreed to try  a modified version of cry it out.

On the night we chose to start we did our usual bed time routine with prayers, rocking and good night kisses. We put her in her crib and left the room. She cried. Yes she did. She was able to stand up so she spent the better part of 30 minutes standing up crying. We checked in on her every 5-10 minutes depending on the level of her crying. If she had thrown her paci we would pick it up and give it back. After a total of 47 minutes of on and off crying with very frequent checks, hugs, kisses and reassurances from us..all was quiet. She was asleep and guess what??! She slept the entire night. She had NEVER done that. The next day we did the same for naps and night again. She put up a mild 15 minute fuss at naps and a 30 minute fuss at bedtime. Again we checked on her, kissed her, hugged her and reassured her that it was ok to lay down and go to sleep. Again she slept through the night. On the 3rd night would you know that she didn’t cry at all…she laid down and went to sleep for 13 hours. I literally was beside myself with excitement. Of course, I still went in to check on her to make sure she was breathing. She was fine…turns out she just needed her own space.

Since that time she has slept like this and now at 2 years old she still sleeps from 8pm-8:30am and I don’t hear a peep. Now of course we have gone through phases where she will fight it a little more (18 month sleep regression anyone?) or when we took her paci away or if she’s feeling sick.

I think a few things contributed to our success. -Her age: she was 9 months old so it was a little easier to let her cry and I knew she wasn’t hungry. -Our resoluteness: I think she could sense that our minds were made up and this was the way it was going to be.- Her disposition: I do think her disposition had something to do with it. She is a very mild-mannered child and not very stubborn so she didn’t put up too much of a fight unlike her sister (more on that below).

Alina’s sleep story:

This story won’t be nearly as long.

I didn’t read a single sleep help book during my pregnancy with Alina. I had learned my lesson. I let her nap in the swing nearly all the time and at night she slept in the rock and play beside me. I fed her whenever she wanted to eat and didn’t stress about it. We slept snuggled up together often. It was amazing and I will always cherish those days.

When she was 6 months old I knew she was ready . You can read about our struggle with transitioning out of the swaddle here. That was a whole other issue in itself. Once we got that figured out I knew she was ready to sleep on her own. We followed the same plan that we did with her older sister. I knew since she was younger and more strong-willed that I would be going in her room more often and that it might take a little longer. I was right. She cried longer and it took about 6 days. I had a lot of empathy for her and often would go and pick her up until she settled down. Sometimes holding her for 10 or 20 minutes. I would even nurse her sometimes to calm her. I knew this probably went against traditional cry it out methods but I didn’t care. I knew what she needed and I wanted her to know I was there for her. After that first week she figured it out. She began going to sleep on her own and only waking at night if she was hungry which at first was 2 times, then just once and now…she doesn’t wake at all. There was no crying involved in dropping those feedings. I was prepared to let her eat at night for a few more months but she decided she was done. Now she too sleeps from 7pm-8am and is a great napper as well.

I have so much more I could say about the subject of baby sleep. Another day. Today I just wanted to share these stories in hopes that it might encourage someone. If you have any questions or just need encouragement please don’t hesitate to contact me. Sleep deprivation is no joke. Hang in there mama’s! It does get better.

Click here to read what about items I suggest to help your baby sleep better.

Gift ideas for a 9 month old girl

I love brainstorming for gift ideas, I love finding that special something that I know someone would just love! That’s why I am so excited about Christmas this year. I mean, I’m excited every year, but this year is going to be the best. It’s our first year as a family of 4, Emma can actually understand what is going on  (i.e how to open her own gifts), and Alina is mobile enough to enjoy the festivities as well! I just can’t wait to hear the little girl squeals when they open their gifts. I already made a list of gift ideas for a 2 year old so now it’s time to get my list going for Alina, my 9 month old.

9 month gift ideas

1. Baby’s first Bible.  For Emma’s first Christmas we gave her a baby Bible with an inscription from her dad in it so we are making it a tradition for all of our children. I don’t know if this is the exact one we will get but I like the look of it.

2. Laugh and Play Love to Learn Sis. I’ve seen a similar one  around for awhile but always thought it was a little too pricey. Well, now there’s a smaller version for a smaller price! It sings, counts, says the ABC’s and lots of other fun stuff! I like that it is a toy that can grow with her.

3.Bath Toys. Since she’s about to graduate to the big tub and out of the baby tub I thought some new tub toys would be nice. I like these.

4.My first purse. At this point we own about every girl toy out there so trying to find something we don’t have is a challenge. Surprisingly we don’t have a purse. This girl needs a purse right?!

5. Baby Einstein Bendy Ball . This looks like something she will love! She loves balls and this one looks bright and easy to hold onto.

6. Karen Katz BooksWe are a little crazy about these books in our house. My girls absolutely love them. Each page has something you lift to “find” what’s underneath. So much fun for a baby! We have a few already but I am loving this one for Miss Alina.

7. Hootie Cutie. Alina loves stuffed toys and I love how this one looks. I know she will like all the gadgets on this one.

8. Melissa and Doug puzzle. I love Melissa and Doug toys so I really like this puzzle as a beginner puzzle for her.

That’s all the ideas I have for now. Do you have any ideas for a 9-12 month girl? Let me know in the comments.

Top 10 items you need for a new baby

When it comes to registering for and buying items you need for a new baby, the options can be so overwhelming. I know when it was my first time I would often go and just stand in the aisles staring wide-eyed and clueless. Did I need a crib right away or just a bassinet? What brand of car seat should I buy? What about a swing, do I need one of those? So many choices and all the advertisements you start getting in the mail and via email don’t help  matters. How does every baby company automatically know when you get pregnant?

So I have rounded up a list of what I think are the top 10 items you need for a new baby. You’re welcome! Note: I am not including diapers, wipes and food in this list because..well…obviously you need those.

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1.//A swing. There’s a reason I put this first. Hands down the best purchase we have made is this Snug- a-Bunny cradle and swing.  I know some moms are afraid that if they let their babies sleep in a swing then they will never sleep in a crib. I am 100% pro swing. I say use the swing as much as you need to mama. Your babies will be fine and will eventually sleep in a crib. Get a swing. Get one that plugs in and that is very comfortable looking. Use that sucker. If you want to know other sleep items I recommend read here.

2.//Swaddle Blankets. These are my favorite type of swaddle blankets. I’m not crazy about the swaddle me brand or really any of the others. I like these because they are big and you can get a good tight swaddle with them every time. Want to know my secret to swaddling a newborn? Watch here.  Once I started swaddling my babies like this using the Aden and Anais swaddle wraps, I never looked back. Oh and want to know my secret for weaning from the swaddle? Read here.

3.//Rock and Play sleeper. In my opinion you don’t need a crib (right away), you don’t need a bassinet, you don’t need a co-sleeper. You need a Rock and Play. This thing is a miracle baby item. Babies love it because it’s inclined but not too inclined and cuddles them close. Some of the newer models even vibrate.  If you have to go somewhere over night, take it with you in lieu of a pack and play. My babies sleep so good in it, right beside my bed.

4.//A Boppy Pillow. There are other nursing pillows out there but I love my Boppy. Of course I use it the most for nursing to get a comfortable hold but I also use it for when baby is awake and I want to let them kick and look around. It props them up nicely to take pictures too. Please never leave a baby unattended on a Boppy though!

5.//Glider. You have to sit somewhere when you feed, rock, burp, cluster feed and rock some more. Why not sit somewhere comfortable? Do yourself a favor mama and get a comfy glider with a foot rest as a gift to yourself. Put it close to a window and a side table. You will love it and so will your baby. Here’s the one I have and its a bargain!

6. //Long sleeved ,footed sleepers.  I know the question still remains, do I get button or zippered? That’s just a personal preference. I actually like both. Zippered because they are oh so easy to maneuver in the middle of the night. Buttoned because it doesn’t uncover their chest during a diaper change. You decide. One thing is for sure. Get footed because newborn socks are from the devil and get long sleeves, yes, even if it’s summer. Carters makes great sleepers.

7.//Nail Clippers.Here’s the thing. You either buy nail clippers or mittens. And while mittens are cute, I find them difficult to keep up with. I prefer to just clip their nails from the get-go. It gets easier and you get quicker. You have to protect them from scratching themselves somehow.

8.//Diaper bag.  Say what you want but I think a diaper bag is essential. It doesn’t have to be a traditional diaper bag per se but something to carry baby items in. Let me tell you, newborns are unpredictable so leave the house prepared. Whatever that looks like for you. I really like this bag, stylish and functional. Want to know what I think you should pack in a diaper bag? Read here. 

9.//Travel system. The travel system that we have isn’t being made anymore. It’s from Graco, it didn’t break the bank and we love it. I found it extremely convenient to have the car seat that  just snaps right into the stroller perfectly. Graco has cleaned up their act since the big recall, even though we have never had any problems with them in the first place. Here’s a similar one to the one we have.

10.// Happy Baby Wrap. I can’t shout it from the rooftops enough. Get a baby wrap!! I love my Happy Baby Wrap but there are other great brands out there too. I can’t tell you how many newborn cranky meltdowns my baby wrap solved. It’s like magic. Plus they come in amazing colors and styles that make you want every single one.

There you have it! My top 10 items for a new baby. What do you think? Would you add or take something away from this list? Let me know in the comments.

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How to make easy homemade baby food

When it came time to start solids with my oldest child, it never crossed my mind to attempt to make my own baby food. It seems strange now that I didn’t at least try.  We were hardcore store bought puree users. This time around we are in a different financial situation and I knew we needed to save the money by making our own baby food.

So I got started like any good, respectable mother does…I Googled “How to make baby food”, then “How to make easy baby food” . While I found many helpful tutorials and you can probably find lots better than the one I’m about to give you, I thought I would just add my 2 cents since It’s so easy to do. So here you have it, How to make Easy Homemade baby food.

Things you will need:

1. Food of choice (fruit, veggies, meat, etc.)

2. Something to steam the food, can be stove top or microwave

2. Something to blend the food, I use a Nutri -Bullet but anything will work (processor, blender, etc)

3. liquid (breast milk or water)

4. Ice trays

5. Gallon size storage bags

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Step 1. Choose what food you want to make. There are so many out there that are very easy to make. For this tutorial I was making butternut squash and avocado. Some others that are our favorites are apples, sweet potato, banana, carrots. blueberries, squash, peas and pears.

Step 2. Prepare the Food. Depending on what you are making it may need to be prepped. If you are making something easy like bananas or avocado it’s as simple as peeling it. Most others will need to be cooked first. For the Butternut squash I sliced lengthwise and laid face down in 3/4 inch of water and microwaved on high for 8-9 minutes until soft. Apples, carrots, pears and peas can all be steamed or boiled until soft.

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Step 3.  Once the food is cooked drain and scoop into your blender of choice. I use the Nutri -Bullet since we already had it and it works great! A plain blender will work well too. I find it works best if I only fill my container or blender only half way with the cooked food.

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Step 4. Next  Add the water or breast milk . There is no exact science to this, start by adding  a little until you get the desired consistency. At first you may want it thinner for your baby and then thicker as they grow. You can always add more you can’t take it away so use caution.

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Step 5.  Blend! Mash, puree…whatever you want to call it. You can always stop and test it, then add more liquid if needed.

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Step 6. Pour or scoop your pureed food into your ice cube trays. If the consistency is too thick to pour easily I have found scooping with a smaller spoon works nicely. Place your trays into the freezer. Freeze until solid. I usually leave mine there overnight.

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Step 7. “Crack” your ice trays and pop the frozen food into your labeled gallon bags. If they are being stubborn, try a knife around the edge to loosen it or let them sit a few minutes on the counter and try again.  Then stash your bags in the freezer for easy access and feeding.Feel free to mix and match, try bananas and peas or avocado and pears….get crazy!

Voila! There you have it. Easy right?

Interested in trying the Nutri-Bullet? Go Here .

A Day in the Life

8:30am

 I stir to the sound of a little voice and the jingle jingle jingle of a stuffed elephant being played with coming through the monitor on my nightstand. I roll out of bed, stop to brush my teeth and head to the laundry room to start a load of clothes. I then quickly dress myself before I start to get the girls up.

9:00am

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Breakfast time, where Emma usually requests a banana or pancakes which most days are the frozen kind.  A toy or stuffed animal from the crib  is always present at the table. And milk, always almond milk, because it’s her favorite.  Alina sits in her highchair playing with toys or attempting to get a few banana pieces in her mouth.  I fix a bottle and feed Alina while Em finishes her breakfast.

9:30am

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I wipe them down and situate them in the living room with toys to play. I finish cleaning up breakfast, move the clothes to the dryer and sit down to pump. My pumping station is set up where I can see them playing. Emma usually rides up on her car and wants me to push her backwards with my feet. I always do. I talk to Alina and watch her play with whatever she can get her hands on. Today she’s in the exersaucer. She’s not crawling yet so sometimes I just sit her on the floor with a basket of toys.

10:30am

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Time for Lina’s first nap. After laying her down I get Emma ready for the day. She doesn’t care to pick out her own clothes yet. I spray her hair with water and put it in pigtails. I love the little ringlets. Next, we get the clothes from the dryer to fold. She loves to help me fold clothes. This usually consists of her taking each article of clothing out of the basket a few pieces at a time until the basket is empty, then she climbs in the basket and sits. After folding clothes I fix her a snack, usually a bowl of grapes. I let her choose a show to watch. She picks Curious George. Some days it’s Daniel Tiger or Strawberry Shortcake. But usually George.

11:00am

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I sit down to check my emails and various social media while Emma watches her show. Today I get in about 15 minutes in before I hear little sister stirring awake. This was a short nap for her, I know she’ll be sleepy again soon. I watch her on the monitor quietly playing with her stuffed animals and know that she’ll be okay for a few minutes while I finish up. She always rolls her way to the end where her animals are and plays. Her favorite is the elephant that jingles.

11:15 am

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Emma and I go get sister up from nap, which always excites Emma because it gives her a chance to climb on the guest bed and jump. It’s a battle I don’t fight. She loves it. Alina greets me with a grin and a happy exhale. I unzip her from her zippy and we climb on the guest bed with Emma. Lots of bouncing and rolling on each other ensues.

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We head back into the living room to play some more. Some days we use this time to run errands or go outside. Today we just dump the toys on the floor and go for it. They love it when I sit down there with them. They usually both end up in my lap.  Building blocks is a favorite too. I get up after awhile to fix Alina a bottle since she’s getting fussy. I feed her and know that she’s ready for another nap.

12:15pm

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Alina usually joins us for lunch but today she is extra tired from the short nap. Emma and I sit down to lunch. She’s having cheese shapes, cuties, raisin toast and olives. She’s not a big lunch eater. I eat then quickly pump again while she finishes up. We head outside to take the trash out and get some fresh air. I take the monitor in case we stay awhile.  Emma always wants to see the neighbors dogs who bark incessantly at us, but she doesn’t seem to mind. She’s thrilled all the same.  We go and get the mail, stopping to pick up a few rocks.

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We go back inside to pick up toys and fold another load of laundry. Emma is pretty good about picking up toys and putting them back in the basket. She gets distracted by a toy she finds eventually. Today the rug needs vacuuming, so she climbs on the couch and watches while I vacuum.

1:15pm

Dad’s awake! Jonathan works night shift but today is one of his days off so he’s up early. On a work day he would sleep until about 3/3:30pm.  Emma is so happy to see daddy and they go off to the kitchen for their coffee routine where she helps him make coffee. She knows exactly how many cups of water and how many scoops he likes. After this they snuggle in his chair for a bit and get the blocks out again that we just picked up.

2:00pm

Nap for Emma is always at 2pm. Today she chooses a tennis ball and a little people toy to take with her. She always picks a ball but the other toy can vary. I sit down to finish up a blog post and return a few emails as well as chat with my hubby while he drinks his coffee and eats his breakfast.

2:20pm

I Hear Alina stirring on the monitor and feel relieved that she had a good long nap. Daddy goes and gets her and I can hear his singsong voice talking to her and her happily exhaling through the monitor. Some days If I need a break I can get their naps to coincide some but other days it doesn’t happen and I’m okay with that because it gives me one on one time with each of them. Daddy brings Alina to the living room where I have her bottle ready. I feed her then she plays awhile on the floor. Later she wants me to hold her again. So she sits with me while Jon and I talk. She likes to chew on my phone and I usually let her. I take her to the kitchen where I fix her some solids. She loves apples and sweet potatoes mixed together.

3:45pm

Time for Alina’s 3rd nap which is usually a short one. I sit down to pump again after putting her down.

4:00pm

We hear Emma stirring on the monitor. Some days she wakes up grumpy or weepy but today she is in a good mood. Especially when we tell her we are going to the park as soon as sister wakes up. I start gathering things I know we will need for the park. Extra snacks, drinks, a bottle and light jackets.  Alina wakes up soon and they play a bit before we load up in the car.

Photo Oct 22, 1 08 14 PM

5:00pm

Photo Oct 21, 5 53 54 PM

Photo Oct 21, 5 55 33 PM

Photo Oct 21, 6 03 39 PM

We go to our favorite park where Emma immediately heads for the swings. Her favorite is the swing meant for smaller children. For whatever reason that’s the one she likes. Today we talk her into letting Alina swing in that one.  She tries the other swings but then decides she would rather slide. Emma was too busy playing for pictures today.

6:00pm

Tonight we have to stop and get groceries on the way home. I am so glad that Jonathan is able to come with us. I wear Alina in the Ergo while Jon pushes Emma in the big , bulky shopping basket with the race car attached. He never denies her this.

6:45pm

Photo Oct 22, 6 21 40 PM

The girls play a bit outside with daddy while I cook a quick dinner. The days are getting shorter so it’s almost too dark outside.

7:20pm

Photo Oct 22, 5 51 24 PM

Dinner is messy and loud but everyone is hungry from playing at the park. Tonight it’s hamburger patties, black beans with rice and steamed broccoli. Emma devours the black beans and requests ranch dressing to which we tell her no. Alina eats a little of this and that and mostly just makes a mess on her tray.

8:00pm

Bedtime. Tonight we don’t do baths. Usually every other night. So getting ready for bed is a quick affair. Dad changes Emma and helps her brush her teeth while I change Alina and fix her last bottle. We gather in Emma’s room for bedtime prayer. We always do this when Daddy is home. Kisses and hugs all around while Jon settles into the rocker with Emma and I take Alina to her room for her bottle and snuggles.

8:20pm

Photo Oct 22, 10 44 36 PM

I quietly close the door to Alina’s room just as Jon quietly closes the door to Emma’s room. He stops to give me a hug in the hallway. I sit down to pump one last time for the day. After that I take a shower. While I shower Jon cleans up . Usually the dishes, trash and toys. After showering I stop in the kitchen to fix us a drink or snack. Tonight it’s lemonade for me and sweet tea for him. We both sit down in our chairs and sigh. We pick a movie to watch. Transformers. Some nights we watch our shows and sometimes we just sit in silence while we both work on our respective projects. Blog for me and app work for him.

12 midnight 

I make myself go to bed, even though I  wish could stay up longer and hang out with Jonathan. He will be up until 4am or so. Night shift. It was a good day. I put the monitor on my nightstand and hear the white noise from their rooms coming through. I close my eyes and sleep.

It was a good day.

“The days are long but the years are short”

 

 

 


Meal time favorites

mealtime favorites

Most days I feel like we spend half of our day either in the kitchen or around the table. I’m always fetching snacks and sippy cups, wiping peanut butter from bibs and brushing crumbs from high chairs and booster seats. Toddlers and babies can consume a surprising amount of food and make a not so surprising mess doing it. I’ve comprised a list of my 10 meal time favorite accessories. I’ve tried many different brands and models of things but these are what works for us. If it’s complicated to put together or store I don’t like it. I think the easier to clean the better!

Click on the item names below to see where it can be purchased. Enjoy!

1. Snap Bibs no longer avail.//2. Munchkin Bowls//3.Soft tipped Spoons//4. Training Sippy

5.Straw cups//6.Cups for Smoothies//7.Spill proof cups

8. Target Dollar spot Plates //9. Booster Seat

10. Highchair (Similar)

Weaning from the swaddle: My secret weapon

**Update: Since writing this post my daughter went on to sleep happily in the Zippy until she was 18 months. Eventually moving up to a size large. My newest daughter is using them now and we are having the same success. We love this item!

My daughter who is now almost 8 months old was a swaddle baby. I don’t mean she was a baby who enjoyed being swaddled, I mean she was a baby who HAD to be swaddled. You mamas of swaddle babies know what I’m talking about.

It started out innocently enough, swaddling her in the early weeks as moms often do with newborns. It comforts them, keeps them warm and helps contain the startle reflex from jolting them awake and the subsequent wails that follow. I don’t remember at what point exactly I realized that she was addicted to the swaddle. Maybe it was when I noticed that I was the only one who could successfully put her down for a nap. It was because of the way I was swaddling her. I guess you can call me the enabler.

By the time she was 3 months old I knew we were in trouble. I tried the gradual weaning method but that was laughable, girlfriend just could not fall asleep without her arms secured. She was like a crazy ninja with those hands. We tried a few sad naps of going cold turkey without it, too much crying for this mama. It probably would have worked eventually but I personally don’t let my little babies cry that long if I can help it.

By 5 months old she was busting out of every swaddle we owned. Did I mention that she was in the 99th% for weight? You try swaddling that. The only one that could contain her was an Aden and Anais swaddle blanket. And even that was failing us. To make matters worse I couldn’t even move her to her crib yet since she was rolling,so she was still sleeping in the Rock and Play sleeper. She was miserable, we were miserable and I didn’t know what to do.

Enter the Zipadee-zip.

zippy 1

I first read about the Zipadee-zip on one of my Babycenter birthboards that I frequent. I researched it and my honest thought was “The last thing I need is another thing for my baby to get addicted to”. I put it in the back of my mind and about a week later as I was up yet again with a baby who couldn’t sleep because she was miserable. I ordered it. Right then and there, from my phone in the middle of the night. It was shipped SO fast. I was shocked and elated. I put her in it right away and she napped well. Much better than usual.

zippy 2

I was expecting a miracle and while it wasn’t an overnight success it was a vast improvement from what we were used to. I originally ordered her a medium, then went back and ordered a small. After we received the small we were home free. The small was snug enough that she still felt secure. We moved her to her crib and there she has been soundly sleeping for 2 months. She knows when the zippy is put on it’s sleeping time. She has moved to a medium and is sleeping 12+ hours at night with 1 wakeup to eat. She naps 3 times a day for at least an hour. I call that a success!

I thought I would feel frustrated that she is “dependent” on the zippy to sleep. But you know what? I don’t. because it’s not hindering her in any way.  She can roll and move around. She can pick up her paci and put it in her mouth and it keeps her warm. My mind is at ease. Plus have you seen how cute the prints are on the Zipadee-zip website? I know I will have no trouble picking her out cute patterns to wear. Speaking of, I really need to order another one!

zippy 3

***This was not a sponsored post. Just me sharing what really works in hopes that it will help someone.***