Motherhood Problem #1: Sleep

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I had a friend send me a meme/message today about the “sleep when baby sleeps” saying that you get fed as a new parent. I responded with the question of “what do I do if the baby is sleeping and I want to sleep but the preschooler is still awake and crazy?” Because that was my real life situation.

Truth is sleep is the holy grail of parenting, the key to happiness and success often teeters on the scale of how rested you are. The more kids you have the more you adapt to interrupted and fewer overall hours of your eyes being closed.

Not going to lie, some days I roll my eyes at this whole scene about becoming parents and losing sleep but is it because I was lazy or I’m now just so used to it that, as long as someone isn’t sick throughout the night, I actually think that I am sleeping like a normal human being?!

And let me just warn any not-quite-parents-yet out there that motherhood does start at pregnancy because I remember losing sleep when I was pregnant with Harper and other moms telling me “oh you should sleep now while you can!” What a bunch of shit advice that was. How can anyone forget the immense uncomfortableness of a baby moving inside you, punching your cervix, kicking your ribs, spreading your hips apart mixed in there with the having to pee every 2 hours. From now on I’m just going to tell newlyweds “sleep now while you can because the from the moment you know your pregnant  you’re screwed until they all learn how to get themselves breakfast and turn on netflix themselves.” That’s real advice.

So now to my main point. Sleeping with babies. Everyone has their own journey. With baby 1 we had a crib and bassinet/pack n play combo. I was so paranoid about him breathing I couldn’t put him in another room where the crib was, he hated the bassinet so he slept next to me. Perfectly safely. But then again I never fully slept pretty sure I didn’t enter any form of REM sleep until he was 1. Baby 2, we bought a king size bed because baby 1 kept coming into our bed here and there. It worked alright but now we have 4 people in 1 bed 3 nights a week. Somehow, baby 3 happens and I’m at a loss. I felt that I couldn’t safely sleep with a baby in our bed as long as there was the potential for the other 2 to come in (usually they would sneak in). Also, I was far more sleep deprived now as a mother of 2 already that I didn’t feel my state of sleep was as reliable as it was when 1 was born- basically, I could no longer trust myself to sleep lightly around a newborn.

I started researching (shopping) around for ideas on how to keep this new baby safe and I found the Halo bassinest. Once I found it I felt it was the answers to my prayers from the beginning because it was easy to get baby in and out of, literally could by baby right next to me without them being in the bed and best of all it swiveled so I could get up in the night without scooting down to the edge of my bed. Plus it had a sweet nightlight and vibration and other stuff that I didn’t really use. Overall best baby sleeper ever, I slept thoroughly and safely next to Iver every night, even when he was waking up every 2 hours straight for 3 weeks….we used this until he could sit up on his own, around 5-6 months.

Second purchase I made towards sleep was the dockatot. Originally I made fun of the “baby raft” but in the end it was my best friend and the hardest baby item I’ve ever had to say goodbye to. I’d put Iver in the dockatot and he would put himself to sleep. That baby pillow hugged them just right so they felt safe and secure and I felt safe and secure with him in it because I knew it was snug and it was breathable. Add in the fact that it was his bed when we traveled and it was well worth it’s price tag. I used it all the way until he was 10 months old.

Third thing toward a decent night sleep with baby 3 doesn’t work with all babies but a good swaddle. I was grateful that a friend lent me her Ollie wrap, it was the best swaddle I had ever used because you could really wrap those suckers (babies) in there and it had enough give that they could squirm but it never un-hugged them. Iver was golden in it. We used it until he grew out of it and could wiggle out, probably at around 4 months, which is a pretty long time in the swaddling world.

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the holy trinity of sleeping babies

Ollie wrap+dockatot+bassinest= at least 4 hours of sleep at one time even with a colicky baby that you haven’t figured out is actually dairy sensitive yet.

And now that I no longer have any of these but don’t have to worry as much about anyone rolling onto my baby? I was planning on buying another dockatot (there’s a bigger one) but couldn’t swallow the price on it ($260) so I did a little more research and ended up buying Iver  a sheepskin to sleep on. It is amazing, transfers (what we parents call moving a sleeping baby out of our arms) onto it are very easy and he stays asleep. Though it doesn’t snuggle him as well as the dockatot did it is SO much cheaper and now everyone in my family wants their own because they are so cuddly and comfortable to sit, stand and sleep on.

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dreaming of sheep(skin)

On one final note. I heard the statistic yesterday that the quality and amount of sleep only lessens for women and not for men.  Haven’t these babies heard of feminism?! (as my husband sleeps on the couch just fine right now…. but surrounded by 2 out of 3 children).

swim suits, because it’s cold outside

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I’m not overly excited for winter to be over but it’s that time of year when I start looking forward to spring. I’m gearing up to occasionally open windows and watching my trees bud and bloom. The thing that I don’t really look forward to is swimsuits. This year I had to focus a little earlier on it then most because Harper wanted a pool party for his birthday.

I feel like every woman in America wants to complain about shopping for swimsuits but lets be real, it’s SO HARD to find one that you love. No matter what your thoughts are on your body swim suit shopping generally sucks because it’s never going to be the perfect fit in the perfect color/pattern for your perfect body. Oh and by the way, they are pretty expensive. So to make it simple on myself I just wanted something with solid coverage that didn’t budge and wasn’t totally horrible on my body. Add in the fact that I live in a small town and have to do 90% of my shopping online and here’s what I found:

I love this free people suit, it’s a once piece which isn’t normally me but I bet the top doesn’t budge much! Probably not the best for tall people like me.

I also discovered this little boutique suit shop Desi’s Bikini Boutique that creates many different styles and cuts that surfers swear by, unfortunately I can’t get to Costa Rica anytime soon and without an online catalogue I’m a little lost.

Target doesn’t make the cut this time. Not impressed with pricing, quality or style this year.

I found that the high rise bikini’s are getting trendier, hard to tell if they are flattering without trying them on but some look promising like these ones from Nordstrom and Lululemon (normally I lean towards black but that blue!!!).

 
Ultimately I ended up buying form Athleta where they had a ton of different options for mix and match solids but the quality sounded up to par for the preformance I wanted and best of all, no-hassel, no-cost returns. I wore it to Harper’s party and the bottoms are amazing so far, the fit is perfect and coverage/staying power is exactly what I want (though activity was minimal so far there was still no wedgie). The top is fine, it will do the job coverage wise, though I’ll probably end up with a rash guard as well thanks to my skin cancer caution.

Boy Clothes

I love dressing my little boys and I get compliments on their clothes fairly often so I thought I’d share where I get most of their stuff. Boys are harder to shop for because there is so much less to chose from but that just makes the challenge more rewarding.  All of my kid’s clothes are either extremely cheap (under $10)or a tad pricey (over $30), very little in between because I don’t like to settle. I made two lists, the inexpensive and the not.

Favorite bargain brands:

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My favorite budget brands:

Carhartt: The cutest hats and coats. Carhartt is quality, timeless, functional and well priced.

Sunglasses: I buy them cheap whenever I come across them, Old Navy, Target, wherever. I don’t buy the silly looking plastic ones because they look too kiddy but a cute pair of $5 glasses make a 3-year-old look surprisingly sharp.

Zara: LOVE Zara for kids. They have great prices, cute clothes and free shipping. I refer to Zara as the Euro gap. There is also great resale in their clothes. Downloading their app can be straight dangerous.

Carters: I only buy solid color basics from Carters but they are fantastic in sizing and wear. It’s a given that I have the solid layette set in heavy rotation. The best thing about Carters is that nothing is ever full price, there’s always some % off.

Nordstrom (Rack): The brand pictured is Peek, which I adore for my boys, usually purchased at the Rack but great deals and sales can be found in Nordstrom as well.

Gap: First point is that you will find no better denim for little boys. The quality and the fit are perfect and little boys are hard on their jeans. Second point is if you think gap is pricey then you’re doing it wrong. Gap has amazing sales, especially on their clearance items, last week I bought chinos for Harper for $4, that’s cheaper than Target with a much better quality.

Target: Ah the Mecca. Target is great, Target clearance is better. If something is super cute, great, but if it’s cute and 50% off, greater. The new line Cat and Jack is cute, sometimes, but I’ll warn you it pills easily and the fit is just a little off.

 

Favorite luxury brands:

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Fin and Vince: Cute clothes with sweet little sayings usually. I love buying t-shirts (not white ones) that layer and go well with different items. Also t-shirts are wearable much longer than sized often and if there’s any leak or blowout you usually don’t have to change the shirt, just the pants, making shirts even better than layettes.

Rylee and Cru: Very cute boy clothes often with a more unique cuts and prints. Great wash and wear quality. They definitely fit longer babies better.

Mabo: Made in the US, this is one of my favorite brands. I adore their stuff for tiny babes and the simplicity of their design as kids grow older. Beautiful natural fabrics and designs that are both old-fashioned and modern.

Freshly Picked: Not going to lie, I feel like moccs are on their way out. While the style isn’t the latest, the design and functionality are on point. I splurged on my first pair with Willem and loved them as they really let him learn to walk with their soft soles, kept his feet warm through wind, snow and freezing temps and they stayed on his feet! They also held up really well as he walked on concrete, the leather is very soft but thick. Iver has kicked his off a couple times but they stay better than any other sock or shoe out there. Worth the money to buy at least one pair while baby is learning to walk. These also have a great resale and come in a verity of colors both solids and prints.

Mini Rodini: Love their clothes but they are sometimes a little too loud for me. Most of their prints are animal based so we’ve only splurged on the pajamas and hats.

Childhoods: Cutest little sweats/play clothes ever. Soft and more wearable with every wash.

Bobo Choses: The most expensive but the nicest clothes my kids have ever had. They are made for my kids because the sleeves are long, the bodies are long and the cotton is incredible. I especially love finding some of their vintage items, they wear well and really hold their value.

 

Of course I buy a lot of these past season, on sale or even second-hand. The great thing about buying some of these brands is supporting smaller businesses (including boutiques) putting your kids in softer, less treated clothing and if by some miracle your kid doesn’t ruin it you can often find buyers on Facebook for your used kids clothes, even at a profit to you.

The last tip I can offer is stay clear of any characters or prints. Sure my kids have some paw patrol shirts but only 1 or 2 at a time in the size they are in but over all prints are too busy. Also I encourage them to pick out their own clothes, no use spending money on things they don’t want to wear.

Book 1 of 2017

No, I’m not reading 2017 books but this is the first one I’ve finished of the new year. When it comes to books I like to judge by the cover (no joke last trip I bought all books with black/white covers) and I make decisions fast. I don’t go read reviews and it’s often hard for me to fully read and understand the synopsis on the back. I’m a tad reckless with reading.

VSCO Cam-1.jpgThis book was a little out of my norm. It’s an entertaining read but it was much spookier then I expected! Based on a folk story dealing with bringing back the dead as well as an old local legend. A full on ghost story without feeling too cliche. Interesting enough with intertwined voices, it was extremely easy to get sucked in making it a very quick read. If it sounds like something you’d like, it’s all yours! (the cover is curled and I don’t want it back)

 

 

The Holiday Express

I’m a borderline crazy Christmas person. Having kids creates a new level of magic in that you are responsible for creating it and in return receive the pleasure of watching it all unfold.

This year we finally made it onto the historic 1880 Train‘s Holiday Express. The ride was out of Hill City, about halfway to Keystone you arrive at “The North Pole” and pick up Santa. On the way there they pass out delicious hot chocolate and sugar cookies. I was shocked at how good they were. After Santa boards the train he comes around and talks to each child while handing out silver sleigh bells. The cost isn’t cheap but for under $100 for our family it was a special and you can’t put a price on memories.

Notes/Tips:

  • You can bring food/drinks onto the train, we went on the 4:15 so I knew my boys would need more then a sugar cookie so I brought snacks in containers.
  • The trains are mildly heated, meaning on a cold night you’ll be comfortable but with your coat left on. Remember you don’t get on the train without waiting in line outside and it’s in Hill City which is probably a few degrees cooler than Rapid.
  • The speaker system on the train is awful and with so many kids you are unlikely to hear what they are saying, therefor you’ll want to read (or watch) The Polar Express before your ride.
  • While it’s a great ride for all ages, our 3 year old loved it the most so I’d say if you only plan on going once, wait for that 3-4 age range. Our 5 year old, who loves trains, had fun but was a little unimpressed afterwards.
  • If your family has a busy schedule or you feel particular about the times book your tickets early, as in November or the first week of December.
  • Take the train during the summer as well, it’s a great experience.IMG_0341.JPG.jpegimg_0334-jpgimg_0086
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Oils Saved Me Last Night

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First off, I’m not a huge oil person. My supply consists of less than 10 bottles of a few different brands of essential oils. We use them mostly as aromatherapy in a diffuser but occasionally for headaches, sinus problems and soothing, I am a firm believer in scents being tied to memory so I tend to use a few special ones on my kids blankets and slings.

I’m sharing this because last night I witnessed something miraculous.

Harper has had a wet cough these last few nights, Willem developed it last night as well. I had already been up once to tuck Harper back in after a bathroom trip when I heard him crying and coughing in pain. He cried “my ear, my ear hurts” in between coughs and I sprung into action. First was the cough, grabbed the vicks vapor rub, next was the earache, I measured out some Motrin because western medicine… then I grabbed oils.

Olive oil is my go-to, years ago in my avoidance of a doctor appointment for my own severe earache I called the nurse and she told me to add a few drops of EVOO in my ear. The oil conditions the ear drum bringing the right kind of moisture to it while it gets any water away from the drum. Having gone swimming yesterday I wasn’t sure if Harper’s earache was from his cold, pressure or swimmers ear but in any case the EVOO would only help.

Lavender is an oil that we have never used in our house besides in a diffuser or bath was my miracle in a bottle last night. I had read somewhere on the internet that you could use it to help treat an ear infection and in the middle of the night with a kid in pain you are willing to try many things. While the EVOO soaked into Harper’s ear I did some quick google research. I dropped about 10 drops of lavender EO onto a cotton ball and placed the cotton ball on Harpers ear (not in it, just on top). He immediately stopped crying and was asleep within the next minute! Not kidding. I almost wish for my own earache just so I can feel it for myself. From now on I promise my family we will never run out of lavender.

Lemon was the follow up. Not sure how exactly this one works but after witnessing the lavender working I was fully on board the oil train. Following my google research directions I mixed a few drops of lemon into my hand with a bit of carrier oil, in my case the EVOO because it was next to me and fully acceptable (who needs to go back downstairs looking for coconut?) then starting from where the ear meets the jaw, massaged the oil down the neck.

One of the first things I asked him this morning was how his ear felt. Harper looked at me, touched each ear as if to figure out which one had bothered him to start with, then shrugged me off saying his ears feel fine.

I’m no oil expert nor am I a fanatic but that cotton ball of lavender did something incredible for me and for Harper last night.

Crazy Car Seat Ladies

(I’m going to try to write a few more reviews because I get so many questions from friends about mom stuff like this)

Some people REALLY care about carseats, they obsess over them, wait to purchase the newest models, defend their preference to anyone who will listen. I like carseats, they keep my kids safe and they are fun to pick out. Our past carseats where purchased based on price point, name recognition, reviews, materials and safety upgrades. In the past we have bought: Graco Snugride 30 (before they became super cheaply made), Britax Marathon, Recaro ProRide, Recaro Preformance Ride and Britax Frontier. Some we’ve preferred over others but they’ve all been more than sufficient.
Although the Recaro’s win for ease of hight adjusments.

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We now face the fear of buying car seats yet again, these suckers are not cheap, and this time we have a new dilemma: size. I need to fit 3 car seats in the back of my Subaru XV Crosstrek, it is not a wide backseat and falls into the compact category but I don’t want another car (unless it’s a 4Runner, but I can’t afford a 4Runner). After reading all specs and reviews that I could stomach our search was over fairly quickly. We basically had the choice between a Chicco Keyfit or Graco Snugride for an infant seat and between Diono or Clek for our 2 convertible seats. These are the only choices for fitting 3 across as they are all 17″ at their widest points. I’ve had many a recommendation from experienced moms rave about the Diono, they are versatile, have a very high weight limit, fold flat, and can be used from infancy through booster stage. The Clek has the best reviews, safety specs, a rear facing limit of 50lbs, and can be used from infancy up until 90lbs.

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The baby seat we aren’t worried about, either will be fine. The convertible was a slight struggle, the Diono comes highly recommended from many mothers and has a lower price point, the Clek is more expensive but definitely a sleeker design, both have amazing specs and safety reviews. In the end the choice was made easy for us, basically the Clek doesn’t expire for 9 years thus ensuring these will be our last car seat purchases ever.

One huge downside to all of this is because of where we live I can not see either product in person until we order it. Part of this frustration fuels the desire to open a baby/kids store but I don’t feel the drive for that, instead, I’ll write about it once they come, share my experience for others. I’m sure I’ll have a bit more to say about all of this after I actually have to fit all 3 seats and all 3 kids in, I’m looking forward to it.

If I had to go back, I wouldn’t make any different decisions. This is mostly a learn as you go thing when it comes down to it. Obviously the integrity and safety of the seat is most important but if you can’t afford a $300 carseat don’t assume that your baby is any less safe, as long as you use it correctly (read the manual!). Make sure you are using the right car seat for your child’s age and size, do not be in a hurry to turn them around, move them out of a harness or off a booster. Other things you want to consider are safety add ons, especially head supports and side supports, padding of the seat for comfort, ease of adjustments, ease of installation especially if you will be moving the seat to and from other cars, size of car, and the hight/weight/age limits of the seat as well as expirations of the seats. This is a ton to think about, not everyone does, but when it comes to your kids and your money you might want to think it all over.

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