Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Our Sleep Story.

When Abbigail was one month old, I wrote this post. Little did I know, we would have a long 9 months ahead of us before she would actually sleep through the night. 

I know a lot of parents have had it and still have it a lot harder than we did when it comes to babies sleep habits. My blogging friend Jess asked me (and other mommy bloggers) to share our sleep story. {Side note: Jess has a little girl who was born a few months after Abbi. They named her Abigail Ann! Same name, spelled different. Awesome right? I think they're destined to be best friends!} So here it is: 

Let me also, preface by saying every baby is different! There is no right way to sleep train your baby. There are many different ways to do so and it's all about finding out what works for you and your baby.  I mean no offense to anyone. If I mention a sleep training method that you used didn't work for us, please don't take it personally. I'm just here to share our story and what worked for us!

Like most newborns do, Abbigail slept A TON when she was first born! It was awesome! Morning and night, that girl was always sleeping! After about a month, Abbi decided she liked sleeping during the day a lot better than sleeping at night. I found a blog post that basically explained Baby Wise. The author said all three of her babies slept 8 hours straight at 8 weeks old and 12-13 hours straight at 12 weeks old! I thought, THAT'S IT! This was going to change our sleep habits! We were going to get Abbi to sleep through the night by using this magical sleep schedule! It was hard! I felt more exhausted from trying to keep her awake during the day, having her scream all day because she wanted to sleep than waking up during the night. AND it wasn't working for us! Abbigail was mad and grumpy during the day because we were keeping her awake and she was still waking up in the middle of the night. Basically, she wasn't getting the sleep she needed!

Something had to change. But I didn't know what to change or where to start! We had some very rare but awesome nights where she would sleep 6 or 7 hours straight and it was awesome! We felt so rested and happy, then the next night she went right back to waking up every few hours. I was at a loss.

As she got older, she slowly started sleeping for longer stretches and starting at about 5 months she would only wake up once. I know, a lot of other mom's are thinking "only waking up once? That would be a dream for us" and it may be. However, for us it was still exhausting. Every morning I would wake up groggy, tired and irritated. I was irritated at my sweet, innocent baby girl because she woke me up during the night. Selfish right? Then I would feel guilty for feeling that way. What was my sleep deprivation doing to me?! {as you can see, my emotions were going crazy!}

My feelings exactly. 
We finally figured out that if we gave her a bottle, she would go right back to sleep. Then it didn't feel so bad! We would put her to bed around 10pm, wake up at 3am, give her a bottle, fall back asleep and wake up for good at about 7am. Not bad huh? I still felt tired, but I think I was a little less crazy. I was getting more sleep!

Now we were creeping up on 9 months old and she still wasn't "sleeping through the night." Over and Over people would tell us, "you just need to let her cry herself to sleep," "She will never learn if you always go comfort her," "she needs to learn how to put herself to sleep." I didn't like it. I didn't like hearing my precious baby scream for over an hour and realize she still wasn't falling asleep. I felt like I was neglecting her. I'm her mom! I'm supposed to comfort her and instead I was just letting her scream. This didn't feel right to me. It wasn't working either.

I took Abbigail to her 9 month appointment. I finally brought up my struggle with her pediatrician. He told me nutritionally, she didn't need a bottle in the middle of the night. Like you and I, if she feels hungry during the night, she can teach herself to fall back asleep, then eat in the morning. He also said part of her waking up once at night was out of habit. She figured out that if she cries at 3am, we will wake up, hold/cuddle her, and give her a bottle! What could be better? This gave me comfort, but I still didn't know which sleep training method to use.

I turned to the internet. (After 4 years of studying child development, you'd think I would know this stuff off the top of my head?! Wrong! I'm clueless!) I read about "no tears" methods and "cry it out" methods. I felt like the no tears methods were telling me to do things I was already doing, and that was obviously wasn't working. Then I came across the Ferber method. It seemed reasonable and people had a ton of success stories, so I decided to try it.

We would put Abbigail down for the night and let her cry for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes we would go in, tell her we love her & that is was time for sleep, put her pacifier in, and leave. Then, we would let her cry for 10 minutes and repeat. Basically, we would go up in increments of 5 before we would go in and comfort her. We would also use this for her naps during the day. We never had to go more than 15 minutes without her falling asleep. I finally felt like we (the parents) were finally in control. It took 3 days for her to totally figure it out and sleep all night with ZERO interruptions. 3 DAYS PEOPLE!!!!

She hasn't woken up in the middle of the night since we used this method and she is usually pretty good about falling asleep quickly when we put her in her crib, whether it be for nap time or bed time. It is divine! {Mental note: start earlier with the next baby!}

And that's our story! 10,000 brownie points to everyone who actually made it through this whole post. Hopefully hearing our success story will give you some hope! For all you moms struggling with babies who won't sleep, know it does get better! Eventually. Keep researching and find out what works best for you and your sweet baby!

What methods have you other moms used? 
How did you get your baby to sleep all night?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

ABC Project: F is for Football.

Did you go to your high school football games? Did you dress up in ridiculous costumes (school colors required), put crazy ribbon in your hair, paint your face, lose your voice screaming, and take an unhealthy amount of pictures that would probably fall under this category?

I sure did! I loved the whole experience! The cheering, the fight song, the student section, the sweet, sweet smell of victory, I loved it all! But I guess all my friends got smart and took down their embarrassing pictures from high school, because I couldn't find pictures of us at a game anywhere! Boo or Yay?! {I can't decide!}

Fact is, I was a big fan of going to football games! So when Drew started teaching seminary this year, He told me he'd like to go to the games to support his students I was 100% for it! Last Friday, we went to our first game! Only this time I didn't wear a crazy costume or paint my face and instead of sitting in the student section, I sat with all the adults? (I'm getting old people! I can see my hands start to wrinkle up as I type! ;)

But guess what? It was still fun! There was cheering, fight song singing, an enthusiastic student section, but no sweet smelling victory. (next time, next time!) We had a blast! It was kinda chilly, so we bundled up! Abbi had a corn dog for dinner (part of the whole experience huh?) and was more interested in the people around us yelling at the refs about "bad calls" than the actual game itself. During halftime, the cheerleaders brought out a big group of little girls, and they did a whole dance routine together. It was adorable! I decided we are putting Abbi in cheer, dance or gymnastics. She has NO say in the matter! ;)

Can't wait for the next game! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

ABC Project: Z is for Zoo.

On Saturday, we we're able to go to the Pocatello Zoo! It isn't a very big or extravagant zoo, it was small, but it was perfect! They had just the right amount of exhibits to keep Abbi entertained and they had a petting zoo and playground. Abbigail was in heaven! {Until she had a major meltdown at the very end because she was in desperate need of a nap!}

One of the coolest exhibits there was the new Grizzly Bear exhibit. It is awesome! It is shaded, which is a major bonus since we were out in the hot sun and the Grizzly bear was pretty active. Abbigail was in complete awe of the bear. She would point, squeal, and say "ooh" and "wow!" She loved it! Until the bear came right up to the glass to say hello and scared her to death! After that, she was kinda over him, so we moved on. 

She loved being outside walking around, all the trees and bushes and she LOVED being with her cousin Daniel! She just adores him! and we kinda like him too! :) At almost every exhibit she would grab on to the fence and put her face as close as she could get it. It was hilarious! We brought the stroller, but it was fun watching her walk on her own and she felt so proud of herself. She is such a big girl! (Developmentally speaking of course, her body is still pretty small!)

At the playground they had a statue of a baby bear cub and I think that was her favorite part of the playground. Drew put her on it's back and her eyes lit up! She was so excited to be sitting on this statue!? She probably would have sat on it all afternoon smiling and swinging her feet. That girl sure keeps us laughing. 

Overall the Zoo was a hit! It is so fun watching Abbi grow up and see her personality shine through! Although sometimes I feel like she is one going on 13, I sure love my girl! I feel grateful for the opportunity to be her mom!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dear Abbi: You Matter.

Dear Abbigail, 

My heart has been very heavy lately. After long, tiring days, your daddy and I enjoy cuddling on the couch and watching some TV together. Shows on television have been getting bad, but more recently we have noticed how hard it is to watch a TV show without it referring to God, sex, or families in a very irreverent and inappropriate manner. It makes me sad. 

Today, I came across this article and it gave me comfort. I'm not alone. The world is telling you, you have to be prideful, rebellious, and immodest in order to fit in and be important. I want to tell you, they are wrong.   

Heavenly Father created you. You are His daughter. You are smart, beautiful, caring, confident and YOU MATTER. 

Please understand you don't have to be a follower. You don't have to change who you are and throw away values to fit in. You can be a leader. You can be an example to others. You can show people that true happiness comes from having a relationship with God. True happiness comes from respecting your body, knowing who you are and where you came from and being a true friend. Happiness comes from serving others, and doing your best everyday to do good in this world. 

I love you Abbi. Always remember who you are. You are a daughter of your Heavenly Father and He loves you. He cares about you and He knows you personally. Rely on Him. Rely on Him always. He will give you courage to stand up for what's right, the desire to be chaste and virtuous and the confidence to be yourself. 

Because Abbigail, - You Matter. 

"Let the knowledge that you are a daughter of God settle deep into your soul, it will comfort you, strengthen your faith, and influence your conduct...Heavenly Father knows you and loves you. You are His special daughter. He has a plan for you"
-Susan W. Tanner

To learn more about what we believe, go here

Friday, September 20, 2013

Five things.

Hello Friends! Happy Friday! We are so happy it's the weekend! Weekends equal quality Daddy time. We sure miss that guy while he is at work during the week. Tonight we are going to support Drew's school at their football game (GO MVHS!) and tomorrow we're taking Abbigail to the zoo! Her first time ever! I'm 99% sure she is going to like LOVE it, but we will see, that girl always surprises me.

Here are five things that made my week a little happier, hopefully they will put a smile on your face too! 

1. This video. Really, at least watch until the chorus... it's ridiculously funny! or maybe just ridiculous?!

*somebody tell me how this video has over 40 MILLION views?!?

2. Giving this little girl baths! I can't help but laugh when she sticks her whole face in the water, blows bubbles and then claps for herself. Yeah, she is pretty awesome!

I guess we kinda look alike. 

3. This Meme. I don't think it ever gets old.

(nope, still funny!)

4. This one needs no explanation.

5. Thinking about dressing Abbi up like a grandma for Halloween. Everyone in favor of this... say 'I". 

And that concludes this random Friday post. Happy Weekend! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dear Abbi: Social Media.

Right now, you are 13 months old. You are sassy and cute and loud and BUSY and I love you A LOT! You and I spend all of our time together! It's the best! You are very independent and you like to learn things on your own at your own pace. But today I want to teach you an important lesson about the internet and social media. You see, I (your mommy) like social media. I have for a while and I probably spend too much time on it. It's fun to post pictures and update friends and family on what's going on in our life. 

But listen closely! Once you post a picture, status, tweet, blog post, etc online it stays there. FOREVER! When you get into Middle School and High School you will go to parties and football games and sometimes put on crazy 80's workout clothes and record yourself dancing. (you think you're really good but looking back you realize you look like you just walked through a giant spider web and you're freaking out trying to get it off.) It's really fun, I KNOW! But FYI, a delete button exists on EVERY camera. You do not have to post every single picture you take on Facebook or Instagram. If you do, you might regret it later. Just to prove a point, here are some embarrassing picture I have posted on the internet in the past years...

Yes, you are seeing this right. I am hugging a giant garbage can. 

Reason #874 you shouldn't whine, someone might take a picture and catch you in the act.
Long story short, think before you post things online.


P.S. If you'd like to comment you can either log in with Facebook or take 60 whole seconds and register with Disquis. Using this system will make it 30X easier to reply to you when you comment on my blog. :) And i like to reply to people it makes me and them feel good!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

ABC Project: P is for Park.

Last week, I made plans with my sister-in-law Stephanie to take our kids to the Pocatello Zoo. It's not a huge zoo, but it would be the perfect size for Abbi. I was sure she would love it! We drove to the zoo, put our kids in the stroller and strolled up to the front gate. We then noticed they were CLOSED! Oooops! My bad, I guess I should have checked the hours online BEFORE we packed up our kids and drive out there huh?

Luckily, there was a cute little park next to the zoo. We L-O-V-E the park! Abbi loves to roam around and she is getting big enough she is starting to enjoy it more. As soon as she could hold her head up, we put her in a swing and she HATED it! Now she is older, and she loves it! NOT!! She screams! What child doesn't like the swing? She is scared to death of it! Little Daniel loved it while Abbi sat next to him crying like we were torturing her. (She is crazy!) But we tried out the slide for the first time and she really did love it! She even went down the little slide all by herself! It was a proud mom moment for sure! But her favorite thing at the park had to be the bark on the ground! She would carry handfuls around just because. Then, she started making a pile on one of the slides. (It was kinda the cutest thing ever!)

I can't believe how big my little girl is getting! I just love spending my days with her!

*I'm trying to compile a list of activities to do with Abbi... At least one activity for each letter of the Alphabet. (i.e. P is for Park) Am I making sense? Any suggestions would be great! 

No but seriously, send ideas my way!

(Also,  the new design is by Erin Elizabeth Design. You like it? She is a busy woman and with good reason! She is stinking talented! My design was well worth the wait! I just love it! Don't you?! Erin is so nice and down to earth! If you are in the market for a new design... Check her out!)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

25 before 25.

Sometimes being a "Stay at home Mom" is hard for me. Don't get me wrong, I love spending my days with Abbigail. I love watching her grow and discover new things! It makes my heart very happy! But sometimes (more often lately) I don't feel very accomplished. I feel like all I do is stay home with Abbi, clean house (sometimes), cook meals and run errands. My days have been very repetitive and discouraging. Am I the only one that feels like this?!?

The other day, I read my good friend Kelsey's post about her 25 things she wants to do before she turns 25. I LOVED it! Seriously, I found it so inspirational! I've decided to change my attitude! Being a stay at home mom is hard work! I should feel happy and proud of what I'm doing. I should feel grateful for the opportunity I have to stay at home and raise my sweet baby girl. I am doing important work! This is where God wants me to be - in the home.

"You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging.Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.”
- Jeffrey R. Holland

If I want my attitude to change, I have to do something about it. I need to "press forward" with a "perfect brightness of hope." I feel like having a bucket list will help me feel more accomplished about what I am doing and will help me appreciate my job as a stay at home mom more fully. So here it is...
25 things I want to accomplish before I turn 25:

1. Read the Book of Mormon (again)
2. Teach someone a new skill. 
3. Have another baby (VBAC)
4. Learn how to take pictures in Manual mode and edit my pictures using Photoshop. 
5. Go on a weekend getaway with Drew!
6. Complete the "insanity" challenge.
7. Buy a piece of furniture from DI or Goodwill, refinish it, and put it in my home. 
8. Take Abbigail to Disneyland.
9. Plant and harvest a garden. 
10.  Learn 10 new songs on the piano.
11. Go to a concert (with Drew)
12. Visit 10 different temples.
13. Family trip to Jackson Hole.
14.  Take Abbi to a local fair/carnival.
15. Pay for the person behind me in a fast food drive thru.
16. Be more social! Make 30 new friends! 
17. Put my degree in Child Development to use (somehow). 
18. Keep my brain active by making an effort to read more books.
19. Learn to sew, then create something. 
20. Run a half marathon. (13.1 miles)
21. Travel to 5 states I haven't been to before. 
22. Learn how to ski.
23. Go to New York with Drew and see a show on Broadway! 
24. Attend the Temple with Drew twice a month
25. Start and Organize my food storage. 

(Thanks to Kelsey for the challenge to make this list)

Do you guys have any goals and ambitions? 
How are you working towards them? 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Oregon Coast: Part 2.

The moment we pulled up to the beach house, I opened the car door and could immediately smell and hear the ocean. I knew I was in my happy place. I am familiar with the Oregon Coast. I went often growing up and I have loved it for some time. 

The beach house my parents' rented was perfect. It was only a minute walk to the beach and it was a dream. There were basically two houses attached. Some slept in the larger house, and we (along with my younger siblings and Grandma) slept in the smaller house. But, we spent the day with everyone else and hung out in the big house. It was a big group of people and quite the party!

Not too long after we arrived, we all put on our matching shirts (parents made for the trip) and headed over to the beach to take pictures! Oh the weather was PERFECT! (all weekend actually.) If you're familiar with the coast at all, you know usually the weathers requires long pants, and sweatshirts. It was 75 degrees and sunny! You couldn't have asked for better weather!

As soon as Abbi saw the ocean, she started pointing saying "wow" and "ooooh". She LOVED it (from a distance.) She never did warm up to the temperature of the ocean. We took our traditional siblings jumping picture, introduced Abbigail to the ocean and soaked it all in.

Oh it was wonderful! After spending a little time at the beach, we headed into Tillamook. In Tillamook, we went to the farmers market and the Tillamook Cheese Factory. It was so much fun! I love going to farmers markets! They are always so colorful and full of personality! I just adore them!

... and I just adore the Cheese Factory as well! I've been quite a few times before this, and Drew and I went when we were on our honeymoon. ( actually this trip brought back a lot of memories from our honeymoon!) At the Cheese Factory, we went on the tour, sampled cheese, at incredible ice cream, and ate lunch at the cute cafe there. {my camera died right as we arrived, so all the pictures from here were from my sister's iphone. Thanks Savannah!

The next day we spent a lot of time at the beach! It was so perfect! The weather was warm enough we could put our swimsuits on and play in the water! So awesome! Again, Abbi didn't like the water, but she LOVED the sand and searching for cool rocks! So she had a good time..

After the beach, some of us went to go see a lighthouse! It was a smaller lighthouse, but still so fun to visit! We also went on a little hike to go see the "Octopus Tree". That was fun too! Except, on the way back down, Abbi tripped and got her first fat lip. Poor girl! She is really tough, and didn't cry for too long, but her lip was fat for a couple days!

After our fun day, we went back to the beach house, ate some dinner and sat on the deck where we had an awesome view of the beach. My Dad played some guitar and Abbigail danced! She loves music!

The next morning we packed up our bags and got ready for our long drive back home! We tried to get one last family picture before we left, but Abbi wouldn't exactly cooperate. So we blew bubbles at her... and it still didn't work. Little Stinker! 

We had SOOOO much fun at the Oregon Coast! A little vacation was just what we were needing and it was perfect! Thanks Mom & Dad! You guys are the best! Can't wait till we can see you again! 

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