Bedtime WIN!!

In the past month, something miraculous has happened at my house. I’ve been scared to celebrate too much in case it was just a fluke but I think it is now safe to say that this miraculous event will continue to happen every night.

A little background: My daughter has always been a decent sleeper, so I really can’t complain much. She started sleeping through the night at about 6 weeks old and has continued to do so fairly consistently.

We did have a short phase not long after her first birthday where she would not sleep in her crib and we ended up putting her in bed with us. She would typically start out in her crib but wake up in the middle of the night and be inconsolable until we brought her to bed with us. It lasted a few months. Neither hubby or myself were particularly thrilled with the arrangement but were pretty sure it was a temporary phase. The extra cuddles weren’t all bad, after all, but being shoved to the very edge of the bed by little toddler feet was not great.

Our biggest issues have always been getting her to bed at a decent time and being able to put her to bed awake/groggy and let her fall asleep on her how (without crying).

I’ve tried establishing a good bedtime routine that includes a bath, reading books and rocking in her room but if she wasn’t tired enough, she would just walk away from me and go play with toys and if I forced her to sit with me and rock, tantrums would ensue. So, we typically let her play until she was tired and then snuggle with her on the couch when she was ready until she fell asleep in our arms. I did attempt many times to put her to bed before she fell asleep completely but it only worked sporadically. Typically, she would wake up fully as soon as I laid her down and cry. Then I was stuck rocking her in her dark room until she fell asleep and that typically took an additional 30 minutes to an hour. We were lucky if this whole bedtime routine was finished before 9:30pm–sometimes later.

So, that’s where we were a few weeks ago, snuggling on the couch from about 7:30pm until she was fully asleep in my arms around 9:30pm. When she starts getting tired, she pretty much demands the cuddling or being carried. I didn’t try to fight it–I just did it. I can’t focus on anything else if she’s crying at my feet anyway, she can be quite demanding for such a cute little girl.

This left very little time in the evenings to do much of anything else after supper. I’d come to accept my fate in the world of late bedtimes. At least she’d sleep in until 7am–I had that going for me.

But then–one fateful night just a few weeks ago–we had been on the couch cuddling for a little while, as per usual. She was clearly sleepy. It was about 8:30pm. I was just kind of talking randomly to her and I said, “Are you ready to go night night in your bed?”. She sat right up like she thought it was the greatest suggestion she’d ever heard. I was flabbergasted. I told her to give Daddy a kiss and hug goodnight and she happily jumped into his lap to do so. Then, she reached out her arms to me and I carried her to her bed, kissed her goodnight and laid her down. We didn’t hear a peep from her until 7am. I was in shock. It was glorious.

She has continued to follow this bedtime routine every single night since then. She’ll even go to bed a little before 8:30pm some nights (though it typically leads to an earlier wake up time).

I cannot express just how life changing this new bedtime routine has been. It’s just so amazing. The extra hour or so in the evenings feels like a huge gift. So far, I’ve used that hour to be productive and do some cleaning around the house or I’ve just relaxed and caught up on the DVR or a movie with hubby. I’ve even–get this–been able to read a book on some evenings. I haven’t had time to read since my daughter was born 20 months ago and I missed it so so much. Or, best of all, just have some alone time with my hubby to catch up and relax without having to focus on anything but each other. It’s definitely something we were in need of.

I’ve won the bedtime lottery!

 

 

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Little Reminders

Hey folks, following up on my Weekly Imperfections #1 post from yesterday.

While I thought it was a pretty decent idea to just share some things that I thought would be relatable to other busy moms and women about how my week wasn’t exactly a shining picture of productivity, it actually had an unintended consequence for me…

I  felt great after sharing those things “out loud”.

It was almost like a little weight lifted off my chest. I was letting someone else know a little about what I was struggling with. They weren’t huge struggles, they were actually pretty simple little things-believe me, there are much bigger things I worry about daily, these were baby step admissions. But, I didn’t feel the greatest about them and normally wouldn’t tell anyone at all. But, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone a little bit and I did it and I feel like I’m reaping a few rewards from it today.

When I happened to wake up 10 minutes before my alarm went off this morning, it seemed like a sign that I needed to take those few minutes and actually shave my damn legs! Simply because I’d finally verbalized that it was bothering me. So, I did. Isn’t it crazy how much more comfortable shaved legs feel?

Also, while at my parent’s house last night, I threw my toddler in the bath with my little nephew while he got his bath (my sister and her family were spending the night). I didn’t have her soap, bath toys, hair detangler or jammies with me and it was way out of our normal bath time routine but…who cares? She got a bath and she got to spend extra time with her cousin–she needed to learn that it’s ok to do things outside of our normal routine too…something that’s obviously very hard for her mommy to do.

It seems so small but it’s a good way to get out of your own head and to get out of your routine if you struggle with those things like I do. It was a great reminder for me to keep doing those things more often. So, please, remind yourself to keep doing the small things that help you get through your week a littler easier as well!

And have a great holiday weekend! We’ll be potty training at my house–stay posted for updates on that!

 

 

Weekly Imperfections #1

It’s so easy to get sucked into social media. Both reading it and posting on it. And it’s really easy to forget that people only typically post things that make themselves look good. I’m guilty of this too.

And, frankly, I’m kind of tired of seeing all that perfect shit. It tends to just make me feel bad about myself for not being that perfect. So, in the spirit of keeping this blog real, I’m going to start posting regularly about the random things that I do or happen to me that aren’t perfect.

Because, let’s face it, you guys can probably relate a lot better to the fact that I haven’t bathed my child in 3 days than to a picture of a sweaty, chiseled six-pack (I don’t have one of those, by the way).

Here we go:

  • I haven’t bathed my child in 3 days…and counting. We’re usually an ‘every other night bath’ kind of family but I was seriously wiped out last night so I didn’t get to it. Tonight, we’re going to my parents house for dinner and tomorrow night my stepson has a Football game so our regular bath time won’t be available for some time. Looks like I’ll be bathing my child immediately after work tonight which just feels odd…so it might not happen.

 

  • I haven’t shaved my legs in well over a week. They’re getting slightly itchy but it really seems like a lot of work to take that extra 10 minutes in the shower and that throw off my whole morning routine, which I’m just not willing to do. Looks like I’ll be wearing pants again tomorrow instead of capris…

 

  • I bought a box of those ice cream drumsticks in a moment of weakness and I didn’t want to share one with my toddler, so I gave her one of her own so I could enjoy mine without her begging for it. She’s not really old enough to handle an entire drumstick on her own yet…so it’s like I get one and a half. Ok, I did this with the entire box, not just once. #SorryNotSorry.

 

Let me know some of your imperfect moments this week!

Keeping It Real

harp

I’m failing at balance right now.

This is why I haven’t blogged for a while. Or worked out much. Or met my water goals. Or meal planned much or made the best food choices.

And while I KNOW I need to keep up with these things to feel like my best self–I’ve let them slip and done what was easiest/most convenient/most comforting instead.

So, I’m over here feeling like a sloth of a person. Energy levels dragging. Being less productive at work. Doing the bare minimum amount of housework…

And enjoying the heck out of my little girl.

When I have zero time or energy for anything else–she is the reason I muster up as much time and energy as I can.

And, just to continue to keep it real in this post of honesty–she’s not all sunshine and rainbows all of the time either.

She throws little tantrums and throws her toys and food when she’s upset. She refuses to go to bed before 9pm most nights. She insists on being picked up and carried at the most inconvenient times. She cries and kicks almost every time I change her diaper.

BUT…she also has the most contagious smile. She is learning and trying out new words every day and I have become addicted to her little voice. She plays with her dolls and toys and books in adorable and captivating ways. She has so much love and joy to spread from one tiny little body. Being the recipient of a lot that love and joy is humbling and rewarding in ways I can’t describe.

Life changes in SO MANY WAYS when you become a parent. I think balance will ALWAYS be something I struggle with as a parent. That I may never have it all figured out. And just when I think I’m starting to figure it out, something will change.

I don’t have a big moment of clarity or a brilliant message about parenting to share with you today. But, know that what I share with you all is real and not sugar-coated. And that will always be my goal.

The Time I Fixed My Dryer

Dryer Final

Of all the household chores, laundry is my favorite. I know it seems nuts but I truly enjoy the entire process of sorting, washing, drying, folding, putting away and organizing. The only thing I dislike about doing laundry is the amount of TIME it takes to do it all. Time is something I don’t have a lot of.

So, the weekend before we left for vacation, our dryer broke. It was still blowing air but there was no longer any heat coming out of it. Clothes don’t dry in a dryer without heat…believe me, I tried. Hubby had been out of town for a golf tournament for the weekend and when he got home on Sunday, I delivered the bad news.

Now, I love my hubby. He is fairly handy but is not the best problem solver. And, since he’s never been presented with a broken dryer before, his first thought was to try to find someone to fix it. And, if someone couldn’t fix it, gosh darn it, he’d buy a new one. Since it was Sunday evening, we obviously weren’t finding someone to fix it immediately. As our vacation was less than a week away, timing was going to be crucial to get this issue resolved. We needed to pack clean underwear for Alaska.

Monday morning rolls around, I report to the office as usual and I share my dryer woes with my coworkers. A few of them suggested local repairmen. One of them, bless her heart, very bluntly told me to watch a YouTube video and figure out how to fix it myself. I was instantly empowered. I was going to fix my dryer. And then, for good measure, I’d send my husband an invoice. We didn’t need to hire anyone to fix it…I could do it myself dammit!

Hubby called my cell phone a few minutes after my epiphany to report that he’d already checked with one local company and learned that they wouldn’t work on our Samsung dryer–only brands they sold in their store. I told him not to worry, I had a plan. I was going to fix it myself–over my lunch break.

My lunch break arrived, I returned home. I was on a mission. After a little google research, I learned that the issue was likely with the heating element in the dryer. No problem, I got this. I found a video that showed me, very clearly, how to disassemble my model of dryer. It was not as simple as removing a few screws in the back and pulling off a panel….it was a bit more complicated. This video was like 13 minutes long. But, I was only intimidated for a moment. It was go time. I only had an hour. I started unscrewing screws and carefully setting aside pieces, mentally noting where I laid the screws throughout my laundry room, pausing the video and re-watching parts as I methodically ripped apart my dryer. I was going to have epic bragging rights.

The disassembly has begun:

Dryer 1

She’s worried I’ve lost my mind at this point…

Dryer 3

I was nearing the metal looking box that housed the heating element when hubby called. He must have known things were getting messy. There were several wires coming out of the box and they wouldn’t just pop out. I had not yet found another video to show me how to remove the heating element. Hubby, guessing my plan, had already watched a video specifically on this part of the process. He called to see how things were going. I texted him a picture. He asked if I wanted him to run home. I conceded.

See the metal box on the lower right? The heating element is in there.

Dryer 2

Hubby’s dormant handyman skills awoke as soon as he returned home. He removed the element like a pro. Within 2 minutes, we had located a replacement part on Amazon and ordered it with 1 day shipping. The total cost…$24. We left the dryer in pieces and I returned to work…only 15 minutes late.

Hubby the handyman. Removing the heating element…like a boss.

For the next day and a half, we danced around the dryer parts spilling out of the laundry room into the kitchen, nervously awaiting the UPS man. Would the new element work? Was that the real problem? Will we be able to put the dryer back together? Was I a crazy person? How much would a new dryer cost again?

The part arrived the day before we left. Hubby was already on his first vacation day. I was at work. When I returned home from work, he had reassembled everything and there was a load going in the washer. I got the honors of switching the load to the dryer and starting it….then checking it 5 minutes later to see if there was any heat and…..THERE WAS HEAT!!!

So, we’re basically HVAC experts at this point. I’m considering a new career.

Your lesson for the day: Feel empowered. Show your appliances who is boss.

 

Alaska

Alaska writing

Let me just clear out the dust and cobwebs around this place….sorry it’s been a few weeks since I’ve written anything. Life happened and then we went on vacation. And, since it’s much more exciting to talk about vacation than real life at the moment, let’s just start there!

My mother-in-law has been planning this vacation for over a year now, so it’s pretty epic. She, her three sons and their wives and children (7 adults, 7 children) are in the middle of a 7 day Alaskan cruise!

I am currently writing this as we are cruising slowly through the Tracy Arm Fjord (somewhere in Alaska, glacier pics to follow). Hubby and toddler are napping on the bed with Zootopia playing quietly in the background on the ipad (soundtrack of my life) and I’m sipping a hot macchiato whilst awaiting room service to deliver my lunch. It’s truly amazing. Not every moment has been this serene and relaxing but the kids have all been relatively well behaved and the sights are breathtaking. The shore excursions thus far have been both fascinating and educational. The food….ay yi yi the food! I won’t go into too much detail about the food but I’m enjoying lots of seafood, carbs and riesling…I’ll just leave it at that.

And…possibly the best part of the whole trip….I haven’t had any internet access the vast majority of the time. I couldn’t justify the $100+ for 1 device charge for the week on the ship. I just don’t need internet that much. I’ve gotten spotty service while in the port towns but haven’t had much time to do anything but send off a few quick text messages even then. It’s been slightly painful to disconnect but ultimately fantastic. My attention is focused in the right direction.

**I wrote this a few days ago, we got home at 3am today. Hopefully I can be back to some regular blogging this week!**

Here are a few pictures from our trip. Have a good weekend everyone!

 

Skagway River taken on a train ride up the White Pass & Yukon railroad which was made during the Klondike gold rush in Skagway, Alaska.

Skagway River

 

Daws Glacier in Tracy Arm FjordDaws Glacier

 

Buchart Gardens in Victoria, British ColombiaImage 2016-07-30 16.48.07 (1)

 

My baby girl enjoying the sunshine 🙂Harper Buchart Gardens

Selfish

I’m taking some extra time to take care of myself today because the consequences of not doing so are far worse than inconveniencing a few of my loved ones for a few hours so I can have some alone time that I’m needing.

It feels extremely selfish. But, I’m forcing myself not to feel all the mom guilt this time because I have to stand up for myself and I have to take care of myself…no one else will.

And since my daughter has only one mother–and she deserves a really good one–I’m going to do what it takes to give her one.

So, when you need that extra time to focus on yourself, whether it’s something small like taking an overdue shower or a long walk to clear your head or something bigger–do it.

Only you know what you really need and when you really need it.

Chances are you will rarely find yourself in a situation where someone walks up to you, takes your child out of your arms (or any other responsibility you may be carrying) and tells you to go take care of yourself for a little while. In my experience, I have to initiate those moments myself. No one can read my mind.

Whether it’s getting your workout in everyday, taking the time to prep your meals or putting on some makeup–you know what you need to be at your best.

So, stop ignoring the nagging voice in your head. Make some arrangements, ask for some help, do what it takes even though it may not be convenient and it may really suck asking for help. And, go take care of yourself.

I’m giving you permission to be selfish for a little while.

You will be a better mom and a better person when you’re done.

Heart Warmers

♥These two…

Cousins/Besties at our family’s 4th of July get together. They had a blast.

Harper Millie 4th of July

♥We had quite the summer storm last night. Rain, thunder, lightning and lots of wind. Lots of trees down on my morning walk around the neighborhood. Hubby, toddler and I slept through all of it with no problem. My 10 year old stepson, across town at his mom’s house, was not sleeping well through the storm. He texted my hubby at midnight to ask if his little sister was OK. He was worried about her. It makes my mama heart swell, he is just the sweetest big brother!

♥My toddler has not, up until this point, had really any interest in movies or cartoons or TV in general. I definitely wasn’t complaining. She loves books and occupies herself with toys (or emptying out every drawer/cabinet/cat food bin that she can get her little hands on that is not satisfactorily child proofed).

Until now. We rented the latest Disney movie, Zootopia, to watch as a family a few weeks ago when my stepsons were over and this little girl was HOOKED. I don’t blame her, even I loved the movie. I have a hard time sitting through an entire movie these days. Too much stuff to get done around the house or someone requires immediate attention right in the middle of the movie. Anyway, this movie is all about a city made up of animals and it has the catchiest theme song in the world performed by the fabulous Shakira.

When this song comes on, my child dances with wild abandon. She dances like this is her last day on earth and she will never get the chance to dance again. It is really a sight to behold. When we’re not watching the movie version of the song, she will settle for the YouTube version on my phone. She even pulls out the “Oh, oh,  peas, mommy?” while pointing to my phone. Oh oh is what she calls the song. You’ll understand if you listen to it. How can I refuse?

I’ll try to get a cute video of her dancing for Facebook 🙂

♥I had my official 7 year anniversary at my job late last month. In 7 years, I’ve gone from a single 22 year old fresh out of college to a 29 year old married mother of one. I have grown and changed in so many ways and so has my job.

My manager and coworkers gave me a sweet note, gift card to the movies and certificate for 5 hours of babysitting from one of my coworker’s daughter to show me their appreciation. I don’t even know what to do with myself for 5 hours outside of the house when I’m not working and sans child!! AMAZING!! I work with THE BEST team. The support we all have for each other is so awesome.

♥ I found this article a few weeks ago about our tendency to rush, rush, rush and be busy all of the time. The article points out that rushing is a choice. You can refuse to rush. You don’t have make your way through your errands like  you’re a NASCAR driver.

This article made a light bulb go off for me. It seems so simple but it was almost like I needed someone to give me that permission not to rush around all of the time. I’m trying to be a lot more intentional with my actions. Slowing down helps immensely in that department.

♥The sugar moratorium is starting today! I’m committing to going a week without sugar! I’m a few days late from my goal start date but better late than never, right?! Who’s joining me? Accountability is huge with these kinds of goals!

I’m going to start putting up some Facebook posts to ask if anyone would like to join a free 1-week Accountability Facebook group soon. So keep an eye on my Facebook page for more details!

Sugar Free Zone

Lately

We’ve been making the most of summer over here lately!

Splashing like it’s our job in our splash table.

Splash

 

Resting under every shade tree on our walks. Don’t worry, she’s not overtired, she’s just pretending. We only made it a few blocks and she perked up as soon as we got back to our yard. She just wanted to play with her ball instead–how many toddlers live in my house?

lazy walker

Overtired in the mornings…

tired dog

Getting ready to celebrate this weekend! Hubby’s been having a ton of fun with his freshly installed flag pole. The bottom one says “You Just Don’t Mess With Freedom”. I indulge him, he’s like a kid in a candy store with that thing.

Don't mess

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

An Ode to DQ Ice Cream Cake

dq-menu-cakes_round_02

Source

I don’t know if Dairy Queen is more of a regional chain restaurant or if it’s all over the country. But, in this area, if you have a summer birthday, odds are you’re gonna get a DQ Ice Cream cake to celebrate. And it’s going to make everyone around you very happy.

Now, I’ve never tried addictive drugs like crack cocaine. But if I ever did, I imagine the effect would be similar to eating DQ Ice Cream cake.

If I could hoard that stuff in my freezer for every meal, I would do it in a heartbeat.

If I were trapped on a dessert island and only got to choose one food to eat while I rotted away on that beach, it would be DQ Ice Cream cake.

I don’t think I will EVER get sick of it.

Nor will I ever get sick of basically any other form of ice cream that these clever ice cream geniuses keep coming up with.

And THAT’S the problem. Call it a sweet tooth, call it a food addiction–it’s always been an issue for me.

I can work out twice a day and be meal planning like a boss and eating generally very healthy for 3 meals a day with ample amount of water intake….and a box of donuts at the office and a few leftover pieces of ice cream cake in the freezer at home will derail any progress. I can’t stop at a few bites, I must eat it all until it’s gone. Even if I’m not hungry.

Some people have great success with treats and cheat meals in moderation but that is definitely not the case with me. I am jealous of those people.  I have no middle ground with junk food. It is all or none.

I’m getting a little (ok, a lot)  out of control this summer with sweets so I need to start a moratorium on sugar.

Starting Monday :).

I know, I know it’s awful to prolong this. We’re celebrating the 4th of July  with my family on Sunday, the 3rd and I want to eat some goodies with them. I’m going to set the modest goal of keeping this up for a week. This way, if a week comes and goes and I’m successful (picture me smacking a cupcake out of someone’s hand), I can set a goal for another week. Baby steps!

But, if I’m a total failure, I can start over again the following week. I’m taking this seriously and not planning on half-assing it so the back-up plan is more of a mind game thing for me. Whatever works, right?

But until Monday, does anyone have a birthday this week?

Just kidding!