Archive | January, 2013

Rilyn Ann: 5 Months Old

21 Jan

Oh, sweet girl! Your 5 month birthday snuck up on me! I blame your sister’s 3rd birthday for that. I realized while setting up for her birthday party that I’d be doing the same thing for you in 7 months and it stopped me in my tracks. Why does time go so fast?

You are just a beautiful ball of smiles lately. Though, you barely cracked one for your 5 month photo shoot. Guess you weren’t feeling it at that moment!  I love your smiles. I love how they take over your whole face. I love how your eyes get big and how you usually have your tongue sticking out. They’re the best! Just like you!

-You’re weighing 14 pounds 13 ounces
-You’re in some 3-6 month clothes, mostly 6 months.
-You love your cereal!
-Still no bottle, but you’re getting better. You react the best to the tommee tippee bottles.
-You have beautiful, curious eyes.
-You are NOT consistent in your sleeping. At. All. I’ll have to write a whole different blog post talking more about it, but you my dear, even after sleep training, are the most confusing baby. I’d really like to see all those sleep doctors try to figure you out!
-You have found your feet and LOVE them!
-You’re working on sitting up. Got more work to do, but you’re in the beginning stages and it’s too cute watching you try to keep your balance.
-You’re becoming more interested in books, but you don’t like to sit for too long while looking at them.
-You want to put everything in your mouth. And I know I said this last month but the same applies this month: SO MUCH DROOL! I keep wondering if you’re teething.
-You love your sister so much! You smile so big whenever you see her!
-You love your jumper!
-You’re now taking two naps a day. You go to bed anywhere from 7-7:30 and wake up around 7:30-8. The amount of times you wake up at night varies between 2-6. It’s a good thing you’re so cute!

We love you pretty girl and can’t wait to see what you discover next!

And Then She Was 3

21 Jan

I can’t believe I’ve been able to hug you, kiss on your cheeks, stare into your beautiful big blue eyes, and snuggle you for three years now. You’ve taught us a lot of things in these three years, but my favorite include: 1) games of peek-a-boo, rereading children’s books, bathtime fun, and Dora the Explorer episodes are more enjoyable to us than nights out on the town 2) you’ve taught us what true happiness is: the smell of your freshly washed hair, your sleepy voice in the morning, and your hand perfectly fitted in ours.

You are such a special girl! At 3 years old, you’re soaking up any and all knowledge you can. You will be smarter than me in just a couple of years, I’m sure of it. Your smile and laugh are infectious and you do NOT shy away from attention! You love reading books, making up songs, and playing games on the iPhone. You are a puzzle champ! I don’t know many other 3 year olds that can put together a 24 piece puzzle for the first time, without looking at the picture on the box, in under 3 minutes.

You’re really into helping, doing things by yourself, and winning right now. You also love to be the one to go in and wake your sister up in the morning or being the first to see her when she wakes up from a nap. Watching you warm up to her has been a slow process, but it sure is sweet now. You love interacting with her!

You’re the best alarm clock. Every morning, usually around 7:30, you crawl into our bed and snuggle with us before we all start our day. I’m beyond grateful that you’ve never been an early riser (please don’t start now), and I love that that’s how I get to wake up every morning!

 

These past 3 years have been the best and most fun 3 years of my life, all because of you, sweet girl! You’ve brought so much joy, laughter, and entertainment to us. You’ve further cemented the realization that I’ve always wanted to be a mom.

We love you, Lakyn Kay! You’re the coolest 3 year old we know, and we’re so glad we get to be your Momma and Daddy.

In Lakyn’s Words: Seeds

14 Jan

Holding her finger up to me: “Momma, look! A tiny seed from my eye.”

She had wiped away some sleep from the corner of her eye.

Food Friday: Mexican Casserole

11 Jan

Like mexican food?

Like the ease of casseroles?

Like having leftovers?

If you answered yes to the above questions we should be friends.

This is one of B’s favorites casseroles that I make and when we had his family over last weekend, I made it for the lot of us.

They declared it a winner!

Hopefully you will, too!

Mexican Casserole
1 lb ground beef
1/2 of an onion, diced
2 cups salsa
1 can (15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1/4 cup italian dressing (Sounds weird, I know, but you can’t taste it, and it’s good. Trust me.)
2 Tbsp taco seasoning
6 flour tortillas (8 inch) OR 12 corn tortillas!
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg (8oz) shredded mexican cheese

Heat oven to 400*
Brown meat with onion in LARGE skillet, drain.
Return meat to skillet.
Stir in salsa, black beans, corn, italian dressing, and taco seasoning.
Arrange 3 tortillas (or 6 if using corn) in the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish. I spray mine with cooking spray first, then lay tortillas so they cover the bottom. There will be some overlapping.
Spread HALF of the meat mixture over tortillas. It won’t completely cover the tortillas, just spread it evenly and don’t worry about covering every inch of the tortillas. It won’t matter in the end.
Add HALF of the sour cream. I drop 6 little spoonfuls. If you want to be all fancy and try to spread them out, go for it. I leave them in little dollops, though.
Sprinkle HALF of the cheese over the top.
Repeat layers of tortillas, meat, sour cream and then cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Uncover dish and bake for 10 more minutes.

Eat, drink, and be merry! Then tell me what you thought if you made it.

That’s an order.

Sorry for being bossy.

…And Life Now

8 Jan

Remember that post I wrote not too long ago? The one that made it seem like we hated our lives and that we weren’t able to handle everything we were dealing with? Totally NOT my intention to make it seem like that. We do not/did not ever hate our lives. Oops!

 Yes, this post is the one I’m talking about.

Well now I’m here to write about how wonderful our life is! We’re still dealing with sleep issues, although they are getting much better, and currently we’re battling a round of head colds. Babies with colds are the saddest thing! We’re still waiting/wishing/hoping for Rilyn to take a bottle, and we’re also still waiting for life to slow down a bit. Will it ever? Really though, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I can exhale.

And inhale.

And exhale again.

Lately, I’ve been trying to open my eyes and take in what a blessed life Brandon and I have.

We’ve got two beautiful girls!

And I’m going to stop there because I’ll get all emotional talking about how wonderful they are; how much of a gift they are.

Now that we’re getting more sleep and dealing with a much more content Rilyn, its easier for us to take a step back and watch her grow. Watch her sweet, curious personality grow. And take in the awesomeness of the developing sister relationship forming in front of us. It’s a beautiful sight.

So beautiful it made the mister cry! Brandon, please don’t be mad that I shared this with everyone! And okay, I cried, too. And I may tear up watching them during the day when no one else is around to make fun of me for being the blubbering mom. But hey, if the shoe fits…

I’ll never take for granted how lucky I am that I’m able to stay home with them. Yes, there are times when I want to pull my hair out. There are times when I feel like I just need a break, but that’s any mom, working or not. Being home with them is exactly where I want to be. Good days and bad.

I love days like today, though, when everything seems right. There’s a napping baby, and a toddler putting together puzzles in the middle of the family room, although she should be eating her lunch (one full of veggies and fruits, might I add)! There’s a load in the dishwasher AND in the washer, and there’s sunlight pouring in through the windows. Our laundry may still be on the couch, begging to be folded. There may be Connect 4 and Candy Land pieces strewn about the house, paint all over the kitchen table from an abandoned art project, a forgotten sippy cup under the couch, a tower of storybooks in the middle of the floor, and so many shoes everywhere I’m sure there must be at least 9 people living in this house.

I may still be in my sweats, no make up, hair pulled back, and teeth still waiting to be brushed (gross!), but it’s days like today that I feel like we may finally be used to life as a family of 4. We’re starting to relax and enjoy the day, AND we’re even thinking about venturing out to eat dinner. In a restaurant. Altogether. Table for 4.

The 4-pack!

The Rat-pack! <— Haha! I crack myself up!

It’s also days like today where I realize just how much sleep can make a difference! Oh, beautiful sleep!

Of course, days like today don’t happen every day. We still have those days, but at least those days are dwindling and we know that days like today are possible! That thought helps to get me through.

And wine.

And a self-imposed 9:30 bedtime.

Yeah, our life is pretty stinkin’ great! Even when we’re up to our knees in snotty kleenex!

Sleep Training

7 Jan

Please let me say that we do not think one way of sleep training is better than another. After weeks of research, we simply chose what we felt would work best for our baby and what we felt comfortable with. We know each family is different and that not everyone agrees with all methods. We do not judge others on how they’ve helped their children learn to become better sleepers, so please do not judge us.

 

 

We’ve started.

At 4 and a half months old, we couldn’t take it anymore and put our baby through torture.

I kid! We do not feel like this!

In all seriousness, our terrible sleeping, difficult, high maintenance baby has handled it better than our easy, laid back baby did. More simply, Rilyn is doing really well.

So far.

We, actually I, as B has been for a while now, got to the point where I was just ready to do this. Weeks of being up every 1-2 hours and trying for 40-60 minutes to put the babe back to sleep will do that to you. There were so many nights where I just felt like she needed us to just lay her down and cry it out, so many nights where I didn’t know what else to do.

We made sure we had a good bedtime routine in place, trying to be as consistent with the time as we could be. Then, after one terrible night including being up for an hour and a half at 2am trying to get an overtired baby back to sleep, we decided the following night would be the night.

We went through our routine and instead of swaddling Rilyn, put her in a warm sleeper and settled in to nurse her before bed. Usually I would nurse her to sleep then lay her down, no burping. Burping her would wake her up and then we’d have to start the whole process over again to get her back to sleep since she associates nursing with sleeping. Read: She thinks she has to nurse in order to fall asleep.

This time, I nursed her, then burped her, then laid her in her crib and told her that it was time to go to sleep and that we loved her. She stared at me. I’m pretty sure she was saying something along the lines of “Um, Mom? What the heck are you doing?”

I then walked out.

Brandon and I had a plan. We would go in at increasing intervals to soothe her without picking her up out of her crib. We’d start at 2 minutes then increase by 2 minutes each time before returning. We also decided that if this went on for 3 hours, we’d stop and try again in a couple weeks.

We braced ourselves for the worst. I was fully expecting to hit that 3 hour limit, but the kid didn’t make it past 30 minutes!

We couldn’t believe it! Could it really be this easy? Was the swaddle part of the problem all along? Who knew! Who cared! She put herself to sleep!

That night she was asleep at 8:33, up at 11, 2, and 6:30. I fed her each time, putting her back down awake and she fussed, not crying, for a few minutes and went back to sleep. I woke her up at 8:30. I was so happy!

She then fell asleep on our way to church but woke up while we were walking inside. Miraculously, after about 30 minutes, she put herself to sleep while still in the carseat when we were inside!

After we got home, I put her down for another nap. This time didn’t go so well. She screamed for 2 hours. After talking with Brandon, we realized that maybe our timing was off and she wasn’t ready to go down for a nap when I put her down. We decided we’d bring her downstairs and try again when she was ready to sleep. I felt a little discouraged.

We tried again later and it was much better. She cried for about 20 minutes and then slept for an hour (normal amount for her 3rd nap).

Last night we went through the same routine and she cried for about 30 minutes before putting herself to sleep. She slept from 8:30-2:30, I fed her and put her down awake and she didn’t make a sound as she went back to sleep! She slept until 7:30!

I feel amazing!

Naps were great today, both about 2 hours long.

I’m hoping things keep following this trend. I’m so surprised she’s done so well with this. We honestly expected this to take a lot longer and for her to put up much more of a fight. Maybe she was trying to tell us all along that she needed us to do this.

So proud of her and so happy to be reunited with sleep!