Friday, July 19, 2019

Life Update




Hello to all my blog readers!  It has been entirely too long since I've written anything for this space.  Time (as usual) has been flying and we've been so busy this summer!  My last post was all about sleep training which went really well for the first 3-4 weeks and then unfortunately fell apart and has not gotten much better.  We fight and struggle A LOT about bed still and it's very frustrating.  I feel like I've followed the plan provided by our consultant and been consistent (my life thrives on routine too) with everything and we have made very little progress back to where we were.  We've done it all; weighted blanket, earlier bed time, later bed time, bed rails, bath time before bed, a full belly, diffused oils, white noise, black out blinds, black out curtains, melatonin, CIO, gentle CIO, no CIO… you name it we have tried it.  If anyone has any other tips I'd appreciate it.  I've been really focusing on the plan that we did in the beginning which worked really well—it was basically dinner, bath, brush teeth, book, bed.  However, now Georgia has also developed a hate for bath time too.  SEND HELP!

Since my last post we have done quite a bit this summer so far!  Joe and I got on the bike and took a ride out of town for Memorial Day.  It’s the first time I've been on the bike since right before I got pregnant with Georgia.  It was a great time and the weather was beautiful!  A couple weekends later we celebrated my 33rd birthday.  We have a TON of June birthday's in the family and we had some out of town family home so we had a big party at our house and celebrated.  Two of my best friends also added new babies to our list of June birthdays so I've been soaking up all the newborn snuggles I can as has Georgia.  She loves the babies too.  It's been fun to watch her interact with them.




We also took a trip to the Dells at the end of June, we celebrated Joe's birthday while we were there and had a great time with some friends of ours and their kids.  We stayed at the Wilderness on the Lake (we've stayed there twice now) in a 2 bedroom condo which is perfect for families.  It has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchenette, a living room, and a lanai with a TV, fireplace, and hot tub.  This is our second time going with our friends, they have 2 boys and it works out really well.  My MIL came both times and stayed over on Friday night and watched the kids for us so we could do dinner and get some adult time too. 


This year we only saw fireworks once but it's one of Georgia's new favorite words.  She loved them.  We've been doing a ton of swimming now that it's finally warmed up, we seriously did not get warm summer weather until July and it came in HOTTT.  We also got Georgia a wood play set back in the spring and Joe got that put together for her and she's been loving it.  We are also working on our back patio, it's been a very slow work in progress, in part due to the terrible weather we had for most of the beginning of summer, I cannot wait til it's done.  It's going to be perfect for drinking a glass of wine on while watching G play. 



Speaking of G, she has been growing like a weed.  She is about 34lbs and lost most of her baby fat and is now a skinnier toddler.  We recently switched her car seat to forward facing!  She talks CONSTANTLY, like the girl never shuts up.  She knows sooo many words and it's truly amazing to listen to her.  She will go on and on with some words she knows and some you have no idea what the hell she's saying but it's so fun to listen to her.  Her favorites are "ice cream truck", "garbage truck", "bike", "swimming", "quacky", "baby shark", "ice cream cone", "ketchup", "water tower" (don’t ask lol), oh and "mommy" of course.  We had to take her for her first blood draw last week for a lead screening she was supposed to have done when she was between 12-18 mos. (doctors office dropped the ball) and it was pretty horrific since the phlebotomist accidentally pulled the butterfly out of Georgia's arm before she was done drawing for both vials.  She had to restick her in the other arm and it was awful.  A couple days later Georgia got bit in the face by a dog.  She stepped on the dogs tail accidentally and the dog nipped her and cut her cheek and bridge of her nose.  They are both fine.  It was a dog that we love and trust and the dog felt terrible and was scared after it happened.  Georgia was fine and over it in about 5 minutes but it was a stressful week that is for sure!




Our drywall business has been doing well.  It's been stressful at times but overall we are figuring things out as we go.  I had a post drafted about our decision to start the business but I never hit publish on it.  If you didn't know, last year right after our miscarriage in November Joe decided to finally quit his job and start his own drywall business.  He had done drywall for several years in the past with both his dad and his uncle before getting into the laborers union where he did field tiling for close to 10 years.  He had tossed around the idea for about a year to start his own business doing drywall and he finally bit the bullet and went for it.  Owning a business is a ton of work and a ton of commitment and money, but overall it gives him some freedoms he hasn't had in a long time and it's going well so far!

As far as expanding our family, we are still on hold for that at this point.  It's been on my heart a lot lately but there are two new babies in our tribe that have probably just put me in my feelings about another baby for us.  I really want to have the ERA done but my clinic in Georgia doesn't do them.  I've been talking a lot with an RE that I connected with on Instagram who is located in Chicago and she says that based on my history I'm the perfect candidate for the procedure.  The ERA is endometrial receptivity assay and you basically go through a mock cycle and they do a biopsy of your endometrium to determine if you're getting the right amount of progesterone at the right time for implantation to occur.  The cost is about $2000.  We have 3 frozen embryos left in Georgia.  I've even looked into possibly relocating them back to Chicago which would cost about $750 to get them moved but we would have less travel costs for future transfers.  The hardest part of all of that is that we wouldn't get to see our donor nearly as often.  Having our embryos in Georgia allows us all time to get together and visit with each other and allows Georgia an opportunity to be with her genetic siblings and family.  I’m not quite ready to make any decisions about it yet, I still want to get through the summer and through a few other big financial things (property taxes) before we make any decisions.

Taking a break from treatments has been hard but necessary.  Honestly I thought by now we'd definitely have another transfer under our belts.  Hell, I thought I'd have another baby in my arms too but that just isn't the case.  The thought of the finances alone frustrates me so much, I am so bitter about losing our infertility treatment insurance coverage last year.  But when I think about how much fun we have had this summer and how challenging some of the days have been with Georgia I know we made the right decision in waiting.  She is such a free-spirited, free-thinking, independent little person.  Her emotions are BIG right now and she is extremely defiant.  She marches to the beat of her own drum and in the long run I know this quality will be really important to who she becomes in the future but right now it is exhausting and frustrating some days.  Constant no's from her, sass, not listening, and fighting me on so many things.  I've got a wild child that's all I can say.

I hope everyone who reads this is doing well.  I have to continue to turn off commenting because I get an influx of spam comments and I don't know how to stop them.  If you have any ideas or have a comment or question for me please feel free to email me at babyridleybump@gmail.com

Friday, June 21, 2019

Want the Best for Your Babies? Here's how to do it.

This is a collaborated post.


Whether you’re a new parent or you’ve been at it a while, you’ll find that you always want the best for your children. It’s just the natural instinct that comes with being a parent. And so, you may find that you’re always quite cautious and you’re looking to protect your kids at all times. However, this may not be the best way for you to raise happy and healthy kids. It helps to care and be responsible, but you needn’t be too overprotective. Instead, there are different things you can do to ensure that you raise your kids in the best way. Let’s take a look at things you can do when you want the best for your children.

Provide A Loving Household

First of all, one of the most important things that you’ll ever be able to do for your children is to ensure that you are raising them in a positive home. Because when you’re looking to develop happy and healthy children, their environment is crucial. And for this to happen, you have to be loving of course, but you also need to ensure that they are happy and home, content, and that you’re not always yelling or angry. That will go on to affect their happiness in the future.

Take An Interest

It’s great to be able to give your kids space. They are their own person, and so you’ll not want to overcrowd them or control them too much. However, there is also the issue of too much freedom to be concerned with too. It’ll mean that they have no direction. And so, it’s really helpful if you can be interested in them, in their interests, and what they’re doing or the things they life. It helps to develop a healthy relationship between you.


Focus On Their Future

Another thing that can really help you is for you to make sure that you’re focusing on their futures. It’s important for you to ensure that they’re set up for whatever kind of future they want – whether that’s academically or interest wise! For this, you could look into great programs like the Connecticut STEAM summer camp or get them tutoring. Just make sure that you are observing their schooling and interests, to help them grow and develop.

Make Nutrition A Priority

Of course, you also want them to be healthy too. And it’s easy to give them junk- but it’s not good for them. And so instead, you’ll want to make sure that they do eat some healthy meals, just to ensure that their nutrition is covered.

Enjoy Family Time Together

Finally, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re able to enjoy family time together. Providing a positive and loving household is just the start. You’ll also want to make sure that you raise emotionally healthy kids by enjoying life together as a family. The more supported and loved they feel, the healthier they will be. And this all does go on to support their happiness in the future.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Sleep Training Progress & Success


I want to give a little disclaimer with this as I usually do with these types of post topics.  I am referring to this as "sleep training" however I know that term typically gets associated with the cry it out (CIO) method and this simply is NOT any form of CIO.  We do not leave Georgia unattended to cry for lengthy periods of time.  The longest we let her cry was 2 minute intervals and I was right next to her when we did this.  This is just our personal preference.

In my last post I discussed how our sleep struggles started; what our habits and routine were since we brought her home, and how she became dependent on me being next to her in order to go to sleep.  Overall it has caused a lot of stress and unnecessary frustration because bed time success relied heavily on me and could sometimes take up to an hour so I finally decided to get help from a pediatric sleep consultant.

A few weeks ago Carla and I spoke and she gave us our 17 page plan.  It came full of details about what her sleep space should be like, what her naps and day should look like, how to deal with crying at bed time, and what her routine would be going forward.  She also gave me suggestions (with Amazon links) for certain products that might help the process be easier!  The routine she presented wasn't much different than what we were already doing, but we needed to stay committed and consistent with what she was telling us in order for this to be successful.

We began on Saturday May 4th.  Carla and I had our consult that morning and afterwards I dropped Georgia off at my parents and explained the new routine to them.  No more would they be allowed to put her in the car and drive her around til she fell asleep.  I told them that they would have to lay her down in her bed with the lights off, curtains drawn, and leave her by herself.  I explained that they could be in the room with her but the overall goal was for her to go to sleep on her own without anyone in the room.  I left them to be the first ones to start our new routine and she went right to sleep with just a couple minutes of fuss.  That evening also went surprisingly well too!  

We made a few adjustments and our new routine now looks like this in the evenings: 6:00pm dinner, 6:30pm bath, brush teeth, pjs, light reading or playing with no screen time, 7:00pm bed.  It's not much different than what we were doing before, however we did adjust bedtime to be a little earlier and have really tried to stick to the exact times each night to stay consistent.  Joe has been working really late nights so it's been her and I which can sometimes be a little challenging but overall we got it down pretty well.

Every day we have had success.  We are just about a month in and I cannot believe how well it has gone since day 1.  Georgia is now comfortable laying down in her bed with her blanket and binky without me.  I usually give her a kiss and a hug when she lays down.  I started off by sitting at the side of her bed for a few nights, then to her rocker, then at the doorway, and now I just lay her down and walk out.  I started to tell her I was going to put Frank (our pug) in his bed (which is in our bed, he can't jump up into it) and leave the room for a few minutes.  That was how I began getting myself out of the room before she was asleep.  If she started calling for me or crying I'd stand in the door and make my presence known but never get in or near her bed.  For the first few days I sat right next to her bed, I'd hold her hand, rub her back, tell her I was there but I couldn't get in bed with her.  She'd pat the pillow next to her and say "mama come-me" and I'd tell her I couldn't but I was right there.  It was hard, and it still is some times because I love to snuggle her but it's better for ALL of us.  After a couple days right at her bed side I moved back to the end of her bed, and then a few days later into her rocker, then to the door.  I spent a few days in each spot until I eventually was able to leave her.  

Don't get me wrong there have been some tough nights.  There were some nights she went to sleep in literal minutes and then there were some nights that took 30-60 minutes.  The first night I had to use the timer for the 2 minute intervals of crying, that was the only time I had to do that.  There were a few other nights of some pretty good cries, there were some nights of her asking "where'd mommy go" over and over and over; it was not easy but I was 100% committed.  The going to sleep part for her she got really good at.  She is doing very well with just being laid down in her bed with her blankie & binky, giving a hug and kiss, and turning the lights out.  It's truly amazing.  

The bigger struggle is sleeping through the night.  She was notorious for waking up in the middle of the night and coming into our room.  I'd pick her up and put her in our bed and she'd sleep soundly til morning.  We didn't mind.  We bed shared with her for so long and still love having her in our bed, but it was a habit I had to change and it was hard for both of us.  Every time she wakes in the middle of the night and comes into our room I pick her up and put her back in her bed.  It's tough sometimes getting woken up from a dead sleep and having to get my ass out of bed to put her back but she's been getting better with this too and being able to get herself back to sleep on her own rather than getting out of bed.  We also recently added a bed rail which seems to help keep her in her bed.

For naps she's also doing really well.  At grandma and grandpas (my parents) she now goes to sleep on her twin size floor bed, they have black out curtains as well and have been successful at putting her in bed and letting her put herself to sleep.  At daycare the other two days she has never had any issues going down on her own as that is what she has almost always done since I started taking her there at two months.

For the first two weeks, Carla checks in every morning and she gives some general tips or praise which is really nice.  It was great that she touched base daily and reminded me on some of the harder days that what we are doing is normal and fine.  One Friday morning I had a moment of weakness and let her back in our bed around 4:30am after about 2 hours of her being awake.  She came into our room a few times and I tried to put her back into her bed but she got herself worked up and upset about having to lay down.  Eventually I ended up asleep (or trying to sleep) in the rocker but she never did go back to sleep and continued to try to get out of her bed.  I was exhausted and tired from fighting her so I brought her into our room and she fell right to sleep.  Carla explained that they do sometimes experience a regression and that she is starting to figure out the change and possibly trying to fight it.  It all made a lot of sense and I was really glad that she reassured me that what I did was not the end of the world.  The key to all of this working is consistency so allowing her into our bed was not the best choice, but mama also needed her sleep too. 

Transitioning kids is hard.  Whether it’s a big thing or a little thing, they sure do like and prefer routine (at least my kid does) so making big changes like this all at once seemed pretty daunting to me.  I knew she could do it but I also felt bad putting too much on her at once.  Changing bed time around and taking the binky away for the majority of her day seemed like a lot for her to handle but she's done really really well.  Kids are so resilient, it's amazing.  I know our next big one after we master this bedtime thing will be potty training which we failed at earlier this year. 

I can't even being to tell you guys how much this has changed our lives for the better.  I know it sounds corny and kind of extreme but you if you've struggled at bed time (which I know so many parents have) then you know what I mean when I talk about being frustrated and angry at bed time.  I absolutely HATED going to bed in a bad mood all the time, annoyed and irritated and exhausted from laying in a dark room on a bed with black out curtains, sleepy oils, and white noise.  I felt like the little time I could get for me at the end of the day I was so tired all I wanted to do was just crawl in bed.  Now I am able to sit here and blog for awhile, I started watching a new series (not one that I have watched over and over again) because I actually have time to sit down and enjoy a little adult TV.  It's amazing and overall I feel a huge relief and weight off my shoulders in the evenings.  

What I love about Carla is that she understands that sometimes life happens & that it's not the end of the world if things don't go exactly as planned but she also really tries to reinforce how much commitment it takes on the part of the parents.  Consistency is key and for the first two weeks you may have to adjust some things, say no to certain things, cut things short, etc. in order to make it work but I will say it is SOOO worth it.  I seriously never thought that we would be able to get out of the habits we were in.  I didn't know where to start, I felt I was trapped in that situation and that I would just have to wait for Georgia to grow out of it which she probably wouldn't have done for a few years honestly.  Once again social media proved its worth to me with this random chance encounter I had with Carla.  

If you are at all struggling, even in the slightest bit, reach out to Carla and give yourself and your family some peace.  It is well worth it.  She offers a free 15 minute consultation where you can chat with her and get some initial overall ideas of what she offers and what she suggests.  I know a few of my followers have reached out to her already and have began their own new sleep routines. 

Here's some great info shared by Carla herself regarding sleep:

HOW MUCH SLEEP DOES MY BABY NEED?

I often get asked how much sleep a baby needs, but there is no clear cut
answer. Just as adults need different amounts of sleep to function well,
babies and toddlers need different amounts as well. However, we can use
guidelines based on age to help regulate their sleep needs and make sure
no one is over tired or under tired.
For example, a 6 month old baby needs about 10 hours of sleep overnight.
It is important that naps are taken regularly during the day, and should
account for up to 4 - 5 additional hours of sleep.
Cat naps are not considered naps; babies and toddlers need their naps for
healthy growth and development. If your baby doesn’t nap regularly, it is
important to teach him/her how to connect sleep cycles so sleep is not
interrupted. If a baby does not know how to connect sleep cycles, or uses a
sleep prop, they will wake often during the night, might wake too early in
the morning, and naps will not be consistent.
Another important factor to teach your baby and toddler healthy sleep
habits is to set up a safe sleep environment for all sleep. If you use the
same place for each nap and overnight sleep, your baby and toddler will
start to associate this space for sleep and it will be a happy place for them.
This will also help to alleviate bedtime struggles. Your family will start to
look at bedtime as night’s beginning, rather than day’s end. This will make
bedtime a fun experience to look forward to, rather than dread.
Toddler’s sleep needs are different from a baby’s sleep needs. At 2 years
old, toddlers still need a solid nap of 2 - 3 hours in the middle of the day so
they can recharge their energy. Their overnight sleep should be around 11
or 12 hours, depending on how long their nap is.
By 3 to 4 years old, toddlers will drop their daytime nap, so a consistent
bedtime routine and appropriate bedtime is very important. No one wants
an overtired toddler running around until all hours of the night!
Establishing a healthy bedtime routine and safe sleep space, for naps as
well as night time sleep, teaches babies how to fall asleep independently
and stay asleep. Studies have shown that proper amounts of sleep help
with learning and brain development. Healthy sleep habits and routines will
teach them independence and restful sleep which they will carry into
adulthood. In return, you will have peace of mind while your child is
sleeping and get some well deserved rest, too.
If you have any questions about your baby’s or toddler’s sleep habits and
routines, or have any sleep challenges, I am happy to discuss them with
you. I am confident we can get everyone on a healthy sleep routine.

Sweet Dreams!
-Carla

carla@slumberlandsolutions.com

 
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