Monday, April 29, 2013

mama confessions: adventures in sleep training

One of the biggest challenges of new mamahood for me has been sleep training.  

Someone gave us the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth when Cormac was about two months old, stating, "This book changed our lives." 

I am always in favor of an instruction manual, so I gladly accepted the book and it literally got me through the first year of his life.  I devoured that book, poring over each section/stage and hanging on every logical word the doc wrote.  It has been my life preserver.  You don't know how many times I would read a chapter {over and over and over} and feel a sense of peace wash over me, thinking, "Okay, he is normal." or "No, I am not mean for doing this." 

Not that it hasn't been hard.

You don't know how many times during the period where we were training him to self-soothe {aka putting him in his crib awake and letting him cry/fuss before falling asleep} that I balled tears of mama guilt and sat on the back step with a glass of red wine, praying when I went back inside the house he would be asleep.
But I am so, so, so glad we stuck it out.  Some disagree with "crying it out" method but the logic laid out in this book was what I needed. I needed a schedule-baby who gets good naps. Cormac is not happy when he doesn't get his nap, and it is a lose-lose for everyone. I needed naptimes to be dependable and bedtime to be reasonable and straightforward. I adore hanging out with the kiddo all day, but also need my personal space.  And time at night with Hubby.  We have always done early bedtimes {between 6pm when he was younger and 8pm now}and he has always done great with it and slept until around 7am (sometimes 8am) consistently for as long as I can remember.

Soon enough he was falling asleep on his own, with barely any fussing.  {By soon enough, I mean it took a couple months.  But every baby is different.}

Then, in the past few months, we got to the sweet spot of napping where, he would go down with no fuss right at 1pm and sleep consistently for three hours. 

Now the challenge has begun again.  A week ago we started putting him down in the "big boy bed" - which we had set up a week or so before in his room just so he could get used to it.  We had been talking to him about it, and about how the baby would be sleeping in the crib.  He seemed okay.  Then we moved the crib into the {now painted and with furniture!!!!} nursery and he has seemed totally okay with that.  He didn't cry, and whenever he sees the crib he points to my tummy or otherwise ignores it.
He loves his big boy bed!  He just does not love staying in it.
The first couple nights he was fine and all went smoothly.  He went down, and not a peep.  Naps were equally non-dramatic, although I broke my own rule and laid there with him for five minutes while he fell asleep.

However, now he has figured out he is no longer confined to his crib.  He can escape.  As soon as we leave the room when we put him down awake he jumps right out and pitter-patters to the door (which sadly cannot be babyproofed due to the old age and how it was installed) and comes to find us.  If we are downstairs he stands at the baby gate and wails, "Maaaaaah!" 
He gets up earlier.  He wakes up at night and requires soothing.  His naps are not quite as long most days.

Hubby and I are feeling a bit more tired these days.  Plus, we are working really hard to finish up a bunch of projects to be ready for baby number two.

And I am ready to pop, so that doesn't help.

So there is my confession - toddler bed transitioning has been HARD.  If we didn't have a baby ready to make an appearance any day, I would have kept him in his crib at least another year. 

That is all.

(Oh, and I spilled water on my laptop - so that accounts for my lack of recent posting!)

Happy Monday!  :D

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

four websites...and a little mamarazzi goodness!

Every morning I get up {sadly a lot earlier now that we are transitioning Cormac to the 'big boy bed'...but more on that soon...} make my cup of coffee, and settle in at the kitchen island with my Mac to peruse the internet.  
So for this week's linkup with Lauren and Tiffany at Life.Love.Lauren and Austin Family Diary here are my four must-check daily websites...

I'd like to say the first website I check is something really intellectual,'s Facebook.  I don't even know why anymore, as I get less and less pleasure out of Facebook, particularly since they started notifying me every time one of my friends breathes.  But I DO love to look at pictures of the ever-changing lives of my family, good friends, and heck, even aquaintances and learn the important news of weddings, moves, jobs, and, of course, babies.

Then I will check my email, which was Hotmail, but now is somehow Outlook.  I delete all the crap and read the one email that looks interesting or is actually personal, then it is off to...

Pinterest!  Gotta obsessively see what is creatively inspiring my friends, and what project/recipe I might actually try today.

Last but not least is Blogger, of course.  I love blogs, just as I love blogging.

Linking here...
The Austin Family Diary
*  *  *  *  *  *

And here are some mamarazzi shots of "Mac" as he now refers to himself.
Doing what he does.
Always with messy hair.

"Mah, I'm pretty sure this periscope needs to be hosed out."
future fireman/calendar model - Mr. April   

"I love watching PBS Kids at lunchtime with you, Mah.  Actually, I could care less that you are sitting here with me.  And I have no idea what I am eating.  I just keep grabbing and putting in my mouth."  Occasionally he will let out an animal noise, since the show we watch has farm animals.

"Bah-Bahs!  I love bah-bahs!"  
(First time he has been able to blow the bubbles by himself!)

The face I got when I asked him to smile on Easter morning.
"Well, why did the Easter Bunny give me flatware?"

The face I got after I said, "Um, don't smile quite so big for this one." 

And finally, his first Ipod experience.
Which he stole out of my gym bag.

Did I mention one of his first words was "Ipad?" 
Also recently added to his vocabulary - "Int-net"

Hey, don't judge.  He also says "book" a lot.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

{five, er, six favorite old photos}

The girls at Life.Love.Lauren and Austin Family Diary host a fun link party each week...and I am finally getting around to participating again!  This week's "Tuesday Topic" is Five Childhood Pics...

1.  Easter matchy-matchy.  Even when we were too old to dress exactly alike, my mother always made sure my sister Heidi and I coordinated our Easter outfits.  This was our nautical year.  I particularly enjoy our poofy-bangs, crimped hair, and the snooty expressions on our faces...including our dog's.

2. Ballerina halloween costume.  This is me dressed in my halloween costume when I was three.  It is actually one of my sister's old dance costumes.  I never took dance.  I am very uncoordinated.  But I look like I sort of know what I am doing, right?

3. Me and my Mama in Chicago.  This will forever be one of my favorite photographs of my mom holding me as a baby.

4.  Playing in the leaves!  Um...for those of you that don't think my son looks like me at all, and he is simply the spitting image of his Dada, check out that face and compare it with the one directly below.

Yep.  Pretty sure there is some resemblance there.  :D

5.  Matching Halloween cheerleader costumes.  Did I mention that my sister was the coordinated, athletic one?  Clearly I was never a cheerleader, but I love this shot.  Why did I get stuck with the huge pompoms?

6. Family in a Fantasy Suite.  What do you get when the only room available at the hotel your family loves to stay at every year is a fantasy suite called "Pharoah's Tomb"???  This picture.
the home video we have of this is even better.
Well, there you have it.  
Five (plus one bonus) of my favorite childhood photos. 
Thanks to Tiffany and Lauren for hosting these link parties!

The Austin Family Diary

Friday, April 12, 2013

preggo vlogs #7,#8 and #9

Wow.  Kind of forgot about documenting my pregnancy on video, er,  Photobooth.

But did a new one recently so I will now play catch-up and share the last three.

Here is 'the one where it is new year's eve and I'm having a wild night...with elmo' - aka 19 weeks.  I seem pretty happy in this video, and like I can move around pretty easily.  Wow - those were the days!  (Now I am in the waddling hippo stage, where I make old lady noises when I sit down or stand up.)

Here is 'the one where I am all by myself...and loving it.'  This is at 23 weeks.  Wow, that feels like forever ago.  I like how I think I look really big here.  That always amazes me.  When you are pregnant you always think your bump looks big, no matter what week you are in...until you get bigger and then you look back and rolls your eyes at your younger self for saying your bump looks huge.  'Cause it doesn't.   But I digress.

And finally, the present.  'The one where there may be construction workers thinking I am crazy' - 34 weeks. Ignore my messy, wet hair.

I am now off to get the kiddo up from his nap so we can meet up with Hubby for a Friday Ikea date - YAY!  We are going to get Cormac's 'big boy bed' and cubby bookcase and who knows what else.  Thank God for two SUVs.

Monday, April 8, 2013

the renovation : painting original trim white...and a doorway opened!

We debated for quite a few months as to whether or not we wanted to paint the original trim in 'the dream home' white...or keep it in its natural, original state.  1859-style.  

It was hard.  
We didn't hate it.
But we didn't love it.

In the end we decided if this was really our long-term home we wanted to love it.
So why settle?  We like white trim better.
So white it has become. 
Well, the downstairs.  
Upstairs will happen eventually.


Absolutely no regrets.

The moral:  It is your home - you should LOVE it.
We are keeping the doors the natural color, as well as the trim inside the windows and around the giant double doorframe between the front living room and kitchen.
So, you purists out there, breathe easy.
 We are keeping some 1859 character.
Here are some before and after photos.
(Keep in mind the walls have not been painted yet - the only thing that has changed is the trim color and we removed the picture rails in the living room.)

Looking down at the doorway to the nursery 


And from the hallway through the newly opened doorway - our house is now officially a single family home - not a 2 unit!  Hurrah!

The beginnings of a nursery! 

And a look back through from the nursery...

Front living room

Stairway and hallway trim

like the dusty handprints on the handrail?  I long for the day when my house is renovation dust free!

Front doors {BEFORE}


Doorway from living room to foyer 


Living room {BEFORE}

...and {AFTER}

The kitchen {BEFORE}:

All that is different in the kitchen is the white trim...but I think it makes a huge difference!

I just think everything looks happier, bigger and brighter.

I can't wait until we have time to paint the front rooms upstairs...
but with this baby coming, 
that might be awhile!

More progress to come soon -
hardwoods in the kiddo bedrooms get installed this week!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

{32 week bumpdate)

Home stretch.
The Braxton-Hicks contractions are in full force.  Last night I seriously thought I might be going into labor.  My huge belly would become one giant, distorted rock for about a minute at a time last night from 9-10pm.  then I reminded myself that BH contractions are not labor.  They don't hurt.  Well, they feel really, really uncomfortable when they are this strong...but absolutely nothing like real contractions.
This is all kind of exciting to me!  I love knowing that my body is preparing itself for labor.  However, it is also freaking me out because the baby has no nursery.  Well, the painting is done.  The walls are pale gray (same as last time) and the trim has been caulked, repaired, sanded, and painted a gleaming white.  Oh, and Hubby even repainted the ceiling.  Now we just need: flooring, light fixtures, window treatments, furniture, decor...  
I'm sure it will all get done...but I still kinda want to cry.
{Last pregnancy's 32 week post!}

Rants {the crappy stuff}:
  • Dressing myself is just not fun.  
  • Aching back and hips has begun from sleeping on my side...despite my trusty pregnancy body pillow.
  • I'm tired.
  • My hips/pelvis have shifted into "baby delivery mode." 
  • I am starting to doubt my belly button will ever return to a somewhat normal state.
  • Leg vein issues.
  • Stretch marks????
  • Restless leg syndrome.  I've always wiggled my feet a lot, but throughout this pregnancy I've actually felt discomfort from this.  It is particularly bad in the evening.
Raves {the happy stuff}: 
  • Cormac singing to the baby.  Singing for him is yelling "Dada Dada Dada!" to the tune of Baa Baa Black sheep...but I'll take what I can get.  
  • NOT getting up to pee as much in the middle of the night.   Is that weird?  Last pregnancy by this point I peed like eight times a night.  This time, even sometimes I wake up and sometimes feel like I maybe should go...I don't want to wake myself up fully and risk never going back to sleep.  I maybe go once a night.  Pretty sure that is not healthy and I will be in diapers by the time I am forty.   
  • Naps.  Cormac now sleeps three hours in the afternoon.  I consider this a fabulous sleep-training victory, as well as an amazing excuse for me to: take a nice hot shower and then have enough time for a long nap.  
  • The fact that I can now say, "I'm getting close!" Because let's face it, eight weeks sounds really, really, really close.    
  • The nursery is painted!!!!  Flooring goes in next week!!!
Weight gain: 29 pounds.  Exactly like last pregnancy.  Midwife (a different one than said I should only gain 25 total!)  said unless I gain ten pounds in a week she is not concerned.  Phew.
Nausea:  Nope.
Skin:  Linea nigra getting darker.  No stretch marks - according to the midwife.  (I can't really see under my tummy.)  Although I think I see some around my belly button???  Praying my eyes are playing tricks on me.
Boobs:  I won't go into detail...but these babies are ready for baby.  They're not afraid to show it.
Cravings:  Dutch apple pie.  Made one.  Yum.
Aversions:  Nope!
Exercise: Still working out five days a week.  Mostly elliptical now, 45 minutes a day.  Less intensely.  If I go too hard I later feel like the baby is going to fall out. (Yep, I went there.)  Pilates had to end, sadly.  I was afraid I would fall on my tummy using the sliding disks and injure myself/baby.  But I am still doing a lot of the yoga poses said to be good for stretching the pelvis and a lot of squat/lunges with weights on my own.  
Dreams: Lots of vivid new ones about pregnancy/babies.
Clothing:  Nothing fits.  Still too cold for mu-mus.  For these Easter photos I kind of forced myself in a dress and sandals, despite the rain and chill to the air.
Heartbeat: 138 at 30 weeks.  140 at 32 weeks
Baby movement: Lots and lots...even though supposedly baby is supposed to be sleeping more now, due to his/her giant growth spurt.  The midwives haven't even mentioned doing "kick counts" - which I think is good because what pregnant mama wants to stress about that and fill out a little chart every day????  Um, not me.  Baby moves.  Frequently.  He/She is fine!
Gender speculation: I am pretty much decided it is a boy.  I've stopped buying girl clothes,  or referring to baby as a girl at all.   I am that certain.  I even asked Cormac what he thought, and he said very clearly, "Boy!" and he will only say the boy name.  This is all very compelling evidence, I know.
Baby names: Same story - both boy and girl are 100% decided.  I particularly love our boy name, so I am pretty pumped that my gut says it is a boy.  It is probably about as unconventional as Cormac...maybe slightly less. Hubby feels: Excited!  He is probably a little more positive that we can survive having two young kiddos than I am.  He asked me the other day if I felt a strong connection with the baby.  After thinking about it a bit, I said, "I think it is easier to feel a bond when you know the gender."  It is one of the only things that can help you know your baby while in the womb.   I am still really glad we are waiting, as it is a LOT more exciting!!!  However, not knowing if baby will be wearing cute dresses or Cormac's hand-me-down tie onesies makes it a little hard to imagine a personality and dream of the future with babe.  Gender will make a huge difference, I feel.  Hubby specifically says he kind of dreads having a girl - thinks the diaper changes will be harder and the teenage years will be more worrisome.   We shall see!
Bump progress: 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

easter joy

Easter Sunday means...
church filled with joy
new life
new clothes
easter baskets
hunting for eggs
reese's pb eggs {that I stash in the freezer and enjoy the entire week...}
wearing sandals no matter how cold it still is
and...a great excuse for an impromptu photo shoot before church...

this expression is why I now have forehead wrinkles

Was a beautiful day.  Sure, the kiddo was sick with a nasty cold.  Somewhat cranky.  Didn't get a decent nap due to a royally messed up schedule.  Spilled on his new white dress shirt before we even got to church.  Kept wiping his nose on his tie.  Finally had to ditch the tie.
sick kiddo ready to gather eggs, etc.
I love how everything about my son is so pale he glows. #mylittleangel

Still - despite the cough and runny nose and crabbiness, had such a great time with family and was, as I said, a beautiful day.

Christ is risen!