Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Mama Milestone

You'll understand why this topic deserves its own post....



These didn't fit me as of 3 weeks ago, and now suddenly they do. It's a total miracle.

My food poisoning a week ago likely helped on that journey.... as I am now just 4.5 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight.

My Symphasis Pubic Dysfunction has also been horrendous this past month and I suspected it might be due to my hips starting to narrow again. Today's jean fitting definitely confirms this to be the case!

And yes, yes I did take photos to document this most momentous occasion:

Old jeans and still HUGE boobs thanks to nursing. I'll take it for now, as I know that once Eloise weans those ladies will deflate quickly. ; )

So farewell to my bland baggy Mama wardrobe- I can now "shop" again in the normal section of my closet.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Early to Bed....

There's a saying I see over and over again in the baby sleep books that generally goes like this:

Early to bed, late to rise.

Meaning: the earlier you put your baby to bed, the later they will sleep- the thought being that if you put your kid to bed too late they'll be overtired and sleep more poorly.

For over a month now I've noticed that Eloise tends to start rubbing her eyes around 6:15-6:30, and wondered if a 6:30 bedtime was what she was needing.

The baby books are also quick to point out that:

If your baby is already rubbing her eyes you are TOO LATE! You need to put her down before the first sleepy signs begin.

So: we starting experimenting with putting Eloise to bed around 6:15-6:30.

And you know what? If you put your kid to bed at 6:30, then nurse her at midnight AND at 5am, she MIGHT just sleep until 6:45! OR... just as likely- decide to start her day around 5:45am.

Early morning coffee date after a 5:45am wakeup

Hence, I call bulls*** on the baby books.

This sleep training apparently goes both ways, and Eloise is now schooling us.

She's decided that yes, OK, she will go down easily at night and self soothe when placed in her crib. This looks like her immediately putting her thumb in her mouth (no more pacifiers in bed!) and rolling side to side over and over and over and over, essentially rocking herself to sleep. She also miraculously moves herself from one end of the crib to the other; I always lay her down with her head at the top of the crib, and by the end of her rolling, she is all the way at the foot of the crib with her feet against the slats.

Rocking to sleep

So: that part is great and we now have a bona fide self-soother.

BUT: this self soother is pretty determined to eat TWO times/night, and won't hear of it any other way. As evidenced last night with a stand off at 4:45am which resulted in 45 minutes of crying until we finally caved and fed her (having also just fed her at 1am!).

Also? This kid goes to bed JUST FINE when super tired! We can intentionally keep her awake a good 30-60 minutes after the eye rubbing begins, and she'll still happily and quickly pass out for the night.

Hence no more 6:30 bedtimes, as those are hard for us schedule wise AND seem to be telling her little system that a 5:45- 6am wake-up is OK (and who can blame her? That's an almost 12 hour stretch!). I much prefer working toward a 7-7 or 7:30-7:30 sleep cycle, and will see what comes of that.

For now, this determined little lady has us trained to STILL FEED HER 2X/NIGHT, thank you very much. Not quite what I was going for with the sleep training, but alas, it is still MUCH better than what we had going on before said training began.

Stay tuned....

You thought YOU called the shots?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Updates on Sleep Training

Last night was night #5 of sleep training Eloise.

 Never underestimate the ability of these creatures to learn

Overall things are going well, and she is quickly getting the hang of the new nap/bedtime routine. One thing that's been really tough is that by day Eloise has been extra fussy and clingy since we've started the training. I'm not sure if it's because her little system is getting used to the changes OR if it's because my Wonder Weeks app has her smack in the midst of the next big perceptual Mental Leap #5: The World of Relationships. It's hard to think it might be due to the changes at hand, but that doesn't negate the GOOD that these changes are making for her and for our family.

Here's a summary of our 1st 5 days of training:

Day #1:
7:07pm to bed, 7:14-7:28 crying (14 minutes)
11:30-11:33pm crying (3 minutes)
11:50-12:15 crying/complaining (nursed)
1:10-1:50 crying (40 minutes)
2:40-3:10 crying (30 minutes)
7:30- up for the day

Day #2:
7:22pm to bed, 7:34-7:37 crying (4 minutes)
6:30am- up for the day (SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!)

This was also the first day I napped her for her afternoon nap in the crib (vs on top of me). I followed the exact same routine as for night sleep:
11:22 down for nap, 11:24 -11:28 cried (then asleep!)
12:10-12:14 awoke complaining and found thumb, back asleep
1:15 up!

Day #3:
7:30ish to bed (starting this night there was no more crying at bedtime; sometimes a little complaining ensued at the very end of our last song, but once I laid her down she was quiet!)
5am awoke - nursed
7:20 up for the day
(did both morning and afternoon naps in her bed! Afternoon was way off b/c she'd fallen asleep in her swing and Iyla also awoke her).

Day #4:
7:30ish to bed
11:50pm awoke (?!) I think NYE fireworks were the culprit. Decided to go nurse.
5am awoke. THIS ONE WAS HARD- as I opted to let her cry it out vs go in a 2nd time. I'm not sure how long she cried, but she eventually went back to sleep.
7:30 up for the day.

That 5am crying was really hard on me, as I felt responsible for 'training" her little system that around that time she'd be fed (based on the past few days). I spent much time re-reading my sleep training books, and trying to decide if I was to do one night feeding would it be 12am or 5am? Ultimately- I decided from all my research and reading that at Eloise's age she is capable of not eating through the night, and I think one time/night is more confusing to her than helpful (very different than with Iyla, who would always nurse 1x/night at any random time and then sleep through until the morning until she dropped the night feed around one year old).

So: I decided from now on we'd do full extinction, no night nursings.

Which brings us to Night #5 (last night):
7pm asleep in bed
4:20 awoke crying (10 min)
6:20 up for the day

I am so proud of Eloise, and frankly, of myself for getting up the gumption to follow through with this. The HARDEST part is just getting the guts to DO IT, and then sticking to it no matter what. Admittedly I'm already missing the coziness of having her nap on my chest, but teaching her the lifelong skills of self soothing and getting good sleep are important. I have to continually keep reminding myself of those facts.

Once she is through this big Wonder Week (which is a misnomer because this "leap" can be several weeks long- ugh!) I can't wait to see the baby that emerges, well rested and ready to take on the world!

For now, nights are MUCH better but the days have been rough with the extra fussiness & clinging. Funny enough, the one sure thing that ALWAYS calms Eloise and sends her into a calm trance is singing "The Wheels on the Bus." No other song has proven to have the same effect. So weird! And thanks to BC for discovering this, as he's the one who months ago started singing it to her.

It's so amazing to feel WELL RESTED for the first time in over 5 months. Iyla also returns to school tomorrow after a fun but EXHAUSTING winter break, so we are all looking forward to getting back into our daily routines and a sense of balance.

Bring it on, 2017!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Sleep Training- Kid #2

If you've been following my blog you'll know that our 2nd kid Eloise has never been a good sleeper. And by that, I mean she has been an AWFUL sleeper for most of the 5 months of her life. It wasn't uncommon for her to be up 5-7x/night wanting comfort, nursing, & snuggling to get back to sleep.

I was exhausted. I'd get physically nauseous from the fatigue, and was having trouble putting sentences together.

And I DREADED doing any sleep training. This was a baby that by day was the happiest, most jolly little girl around. How could I subject her to sleep training? Would it even work with such an atrocious sleeper?

I spent 2 months doing a LOT of research in different Mama groups regarding sleep training. Specifically interested in stories pertaining to bad sleepers who- after sleep training- miraculously became GOOD sleepers. Those stories gave me hope.

And yet I delayed. Iyla was trained just shy 5 months, and for some reason as Eloise's 5 month marker went by I still didn't feel ready.

But would I ever feel ready?

Then last week I hit my limit. I had a cold that caused a lot of coughing throughout the night, so between being up for an hour at a time coughing and a baby up another 3-4x, I was hardly functioning.

Eloise also started mastering her tripod sit on December 27th, and I knew increased mobility wasn't far behind. Thus IT WAS TIME. She wasn't sick, wasn't teething, wasn't mobile, wasn't in a predictable sleep regression- truly the conditions were ideal. 

Enter Sleep Camp 2016 for Eloise.

I planned to again do the Weissbluth method of "rapid extinction" crying it out we used with great success when training Iyla. I was going to couple this with removing Eloise's swaddle and replacing it with a sleepsack, hoping that free hands would provide her another tool for self-soothing.

I was so nervous for our first night, and ironically developed food poisoning that same evening. Between running to the bathroom and watching the baby monitor, no sleep was to be had on my end. I kept thinking how timely this all was as there was NO WAY I could have been up all night nursing with food poisoning!

One of the big changes I made to Eloise's routine in the training was to give her a pumped bottle of milk BEFORE her bath, instead of right before bed. I'd read that this helps break the association of nursing to sleep, an important step in teaching babies to self-soothe at night. So the new routine would go bottle, bath, jammies & sleepsack, then to her room for 2 songs and a quick goodnight.

Here are my notes from night #1:

7:07pm put down to bed drowsy but awake. Cried for 4 minutes then raspberry blowing.
7:14-7:28 crying (14 minutes)- then asleep!
11:30-11:33 crying (3 minutes)
11:50 awoke complaining. I had vowed NOT to go to her before midnight for a feed (was planning on one feed for the night) so this was a dilemma- and I chose to wait and hope she self soothed back to sleep.
12:15- still crying/complaining so I went in to nurse. I think that was a MISTAKE in retrospect because to a baby, I just showed her that if she fussed for that amount of time I'd come back in. Which leads to the next 2 wake-ups:
1:10-1:50 crying (40 minutes). I fully think this was because she expected me to come back in, poor buddy.
2:40-3:10 crying (30 minutes). This is usually the time of night Eloise was the HARDEST. It wasn't uncommon for her to awake at 3, 4, 5, and 6am wanting comforting.
7:30- up for the day!

She was fussy and sleepy throughout the day, likely due to the fragmented sleep. She did take a 2.5 hour nap on top of me mid-day which helped a lot.

Now on to night #2! Here are my notes:

7:22pm put down to bed, some complaining.
7:34-7:37 crying (4 minutes) then asleep!


BC was on night duty and reported that at 6am he went in to make sure she was still breathing.

Holy s***. This is nothing short of a MIRACLE.

I'm now thinking that the one night nursing I'd been planning on isn't necessary and may actually be more confusing than anything else to her.... so the plan is to just drop that altogether and let this kid (hopefully) continue to sleep through the night.

Go Eloise! The future looks bright....

 The face of a kid after her first time sleeping through the night!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Holidays 2016- Part 2

We had a lovely Christmas celebration! Here are some of the highlights in photos.

We got things started on Christmas Eve day with a cookie baking extravaganza. Iyla and I made batches of gingerbread, sugar, and chocolate chip cookies- she helped the ENTIRE time! She loves to bake with me, which is so sweet. Here we are modeling a tray of our gingerbread men:

Before bed, I told Iyla that it was time to leave a note for Santa. Here's what she wanted her note to say:

She picked out a special cookie and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer before heading up to bed:

I told Iyla that Santa only came when children were asleep, and with that she squeezed her eyes shut tight and said "I'm sleeping!" She was so excited.

I used a special "Catch Santa" app to record the big guy's visit to our home.



This was the scene that awaited Iyla upon waking:

She was so excited that Santa delivered on her new Rudolph stuffy toy!

Then it was time to get down to some serious present opening business. Iyla was so cute- the first couple of presents she opened she wanted to take out and play with for extended periods. It wasn't until an hour or two in that she got the memo that she could open ALL OF THE PRESENTS! Then it was like wildfire to unearth the rest of her loot.

While she opened gifts Eloise played it cool on the rug:

Iyla's doctor outfit & medical kit were a big hit. Here, she gives Rudolph a checkup:

I caught her in mid sentence explaining that he had a "hurt heart." That face!

She then proceeded to rock out with her new ukulele- an Austin girl through and through!

Eloise enjoyed new toys from Grandma:

And then of course I had to make the girls pose for some photos in their darling matching Christmas pajamas:

That afternoon it was time for a costume change, as we were hosting my family for Christmas Day dinner. Our dear friend Andy joined us, and he was kind enough to volunteer to cook up a Christmas feast for us all! It was incredible, complete with a roast chicken, ham, potatoes, carrots, peas, and brussels sprouts.

Andy's sister Sarah sent over some English cracker gifts for our table settings, which were a big hit!

Here, a couple cute photos of the girls and I. The 2nd shot is totally indicative of their personalities!

Iyla was quickly over the photo shoot- her faces are the best:

BC made my cousin Heather a Hankie the Christmas poo cookie (ew):

And Eloise was loved on by everyone:

Here was our best attempt at getting a shot of Iyla and Eloise with 2nd cousin Sammy:

And a few last photos of our Christmas Day festivities:

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Holidays 2016- Part 1

We've been having so much fun celebrating the Holiday season! At 4 years old, Iyla is at such a great age to really be excited about EVERYTHING having to do with Christmas.

The first stop on our Holiday extravaganza was meeting Santa Claus at our beloved Driskill Hotel. The girls were absolutely adorable in their fancy red dresses:

Iyla had some slight hesitation upon first approaching Santa, but warmed up quickly. When asked what she wanted this year, she replied: "another Rudolph stuffy (stuffed) toy!" She already has one, and I must say finding another that was DIFFERENT has been a creative challenge. On my 3rd attempt from I finally have what I hope will work for Christmas morning!

Eloise wasn't scared at all- just very fascinated by Santa, staring at him in awe between nibbling on her hands:

And the official photo with both girls- ha!

 Here Iyla was declaring "I love the Driskill!" Us too, sweet girl!

Then it was off to my company holiday party. Here, a shot of all the Juice Homes kiddos:

Iyla's school had a Holiday potluck lunch on their last day before break, and the kids got to put on a little show for the parents. It was adorable, and Iyla totally rocked the choreography! Here is a short snippet:

 It was also pajama day!

BC and I were able to get a luxurious date night out for a friend's wedding, while my Aunt Sheri and Uncle Vince watched the girls. I lasted all the way until 9pm! ; )

Then it was gingerbread house making time! As we began Iyla exclaimed to me: "I've never made a gingerbread house before!" (Um, yes you have sweet girl- this is your 3rd year! And possibly the first year where you might actually remember the experience).

There was much candy and frosting tasting going on as Iyla designed her house:

I got myself and the girls matching aprons this year for our Holiday cooking extravaganza. So cute!

Santa made some early stops at our house with his reindeer. Iyla has been having a blast "wrapping" her toys presents for us and delivering them with her Santa hat & trusty sidekick Sven:

And here, Santa's sleigh:

Then we were off for Christmas #1 in Houston! Happily both girls snoozed for most of the 2.5 hour drive there:

We took our traditional photos in front of Mimi and Grampy's fireplace. I LOVE this series with both girls- so adorable! You can get a glimpse of Eloise's jolly personality from the photos:

 "You're letting Iyla hold me ALL BY HERSELF?"

 And this is what happens when you ask your dad to take a family photo of you with your iPhone:

 Happily he did better with his own camera and sent me the photos!

 Being silly with his new cookware set

Family photo (minus the photographer, my dad):

And for dessert, chocolate pie bliss:

When we returned to town I ran a brief errand to the chiropractor, and Iyla promptly passed out in the backseat. She was happily exhausted from all of our adventures!

She then went to work on her computer:

 And headed out to a special dinner with her Papa:

While Eloise tried out the jumping seat I pulled out of storage:

Then it was time for our annual family trip to Austin's Trail of Lights! We lucked out with a gorgeous 60 degree day (after rescheduling our tickets from the previous Sunday's 20 some degree cold front!).

Not pictured: the fact that my groin/pubic muscle kept pulling severely during our walk, to the point where I finally had to get into the double stroller next to Iyla- Eloise still strapped to me- and BC had to push us all the mile or so walk back to the car. Oy.

In closing, I bring you Rudolph taking a snooze next to our bed (courtesy of Iyla Grace), getting his beauty sleep with my eye mask.

Rest up little guy- tomorrow's the BIG DAY!