Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Confession #22: Sleep WILL come

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Lianas first nap. Oct 5, 2010

When my daughter was born on October 5th 2010 (13 days after her due date), I was overwhelmed with joy, relief, and fatigue. The first night she slept 6 hours straight through, for which I was grateful. Little did I know that I wouldn’t enjoy that kind of sleep for the next 18 months.
Liana is a wonderful little girl. I have watched her grow from a smart, inquisitive infant to a smart inquisitive toddler who loves music, cheese, books and her parents. I would quickly say that God has blessed us with a wonderfully easy child, sleeping aside. Her ability to adapt well to change has allowed us to fly with her to Washington state, Hawaii and the Dominican Republic. She picked up on nursing perfectly, for which I was so excited. She started rolling over, sitting up, crawling, etc. way earlier than I had anticipated. As parents, my husband and I couldn’t be happier with the child that God brought us. Even with lack of sleep.

One year later, Liana still loved to nap on me. Oct 2011
It’s not like she was a vampire sleeper. From the moment we took her home from the hospital she knew that day was for playing and night was for sleeping. The only problem is that come midnight, 3 am and sometimes 5am, she would wake up and only fall back asleep if nursed or held. At first this, of course, wasn’t a problem at all. It was the story of most newborns. I wasn’t worried, overwhelmed, or concerned. I was just enjoying my baby. After 3 months, and no sleeping through the night, I was still not concerned. Months passed and the lack of sleep started taking its toll on me.

I should mention that since the day she was born I have been taking classes online trying to work on my BA (which I will finish in two months. WOOT WOOT).  Sometimes I find myself staying up way passed my “bedtime” trying to get homework done. Combine that with getting up three or four times a night and waking up around 6am, it can really start taking a toll on even the strongest of people (of which I am not one).  

So with that said, her first birthday came around and I found myself doing Google searches, checking out library books, and asking friends how to get my, otherwise perfect, daughter to soothe herself back to sleep. I tried many different things and nothing seemed to really work. I tried letting her cry it out; that was miserable for the whole family. We tried having my husband go in to her room in the middle of the night; that was miserable for the whole family. The list goes on. We figured until I am done with school, we really can’t do anything that will potentially make this situation worse for weeks on end. So we have just been living with interrupted sleep.

Liana can sleep anywhere.
Here she is sleeping on Jhonn
while visiting the Dominican Republic.
And then it happened. Last Saturday was a really busy one for me. I was getting picked up at 6am to go to Pleasanton for a Summit meeting for my MOPS group. Afterward, the ladies I traveled with went out to eat. By the time we got home is was nearly 4pm. My husband and daughter we off taking advantage of the sun by hiking. With the house all to myself I cleaned up a little and got ready for work. My first day back at work since coming back from the Dominican Republic. My family came home right as I was leaving for work. And by the time I got home from my shift, Liana was already fast asleep. It felt weird not seeing her for a whole day, but I knew it was only one day out of many. That night I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow (if not sooner).  At 3:45 am I woke up and realized I hadn’t heard Liana all night. So I went in to check on her. She was snoring soundly.  I went back to bed and woke up again at 5:30am. She was still snoring soundly. At 6:10am Liana came dancing into our room and was very excited to see my face. And I hers, even though I was still tired. She crawled into bed with us and slept another 40 minutes or so. I couldn’t believe it. My 18-month-old finally slept through the whole night! Does this mean I need to leave in order for my daughter to sleep? Man, I hope not.

Daddy reading her a book before bed
So that’s our story. Will it happen again? I am only praying it does. Let us hope that this is the start to a wonderful relationship between my daughter and sleep. Now if only I could learn to sleep through the night too….

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Confession #21: I challenge you to 469 days of facebook (more or less)

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I was on Facebook today and it dawned on me that some of the names that came up on my news feed I haven't talk with in years. Are they really my "friend"? I mean, it's not like I don't like them or anything, but I highly doubt that all of the people on my list of friends (of which I have 469) are reading my random updates or the hundreds of photos I post of my daughter (a day). I wonder how many of them even remember we are friends? I wonder if they all remember who I am? It may seem like a stupid question but my husband and I have traveled (36 countries and counting) and moved (12 times since 2005) a lot and most of our friends come from all over the world. I don't think it is necessary to go through an delete all the people I don't consider "true friends" but something must be done. But what? (read on).
So here is what I have decided to do. I am going to go through my friends list, one person at a time, starting with the first person (Aaron). For each person I will have to come up with something to post of their wall/status/photo. It seems easy enough, but some of these people I haven't interacted with in years, so finding something that doesn't seem weird, might take some thinking. Each day I will pick someone new and if I go a day (gasp) without checking Facebook, I will have to do two the following day to make up for it.
The object of this is to actually interact with everyone of the 469 people who have access to my Facebook profile, photos, and info. But I am also interested to see how many of those people will keep the conversation going. Will they write something back? Or just hit "like"? Or will they not do anything at all? How many of them actually read this blog? Only time will tell...
So, you in? I challenge you to do the same. If they are your "friends" then you should have no problem interacting with them online. Then why am I so nervous?
I am not going to post on everyday. Cause lets be honest, that would be super boring. But I will give you the highlights from time to time.
Wish me luck.
At least I don't need shoes for this.

Update: I just finished writing on the wall of an old classmate from high school. I viewed "our friendship" and I hadn't interacted with him in over 2 years. It was hard to come up with something to say. Finally I settled on commenting on a photo of his daughter eating ice cream on the same bench I used to eat candy from when I was a kid (that's pretty much what I wrote). Smooth right? Or something.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Quick craft fix: Crayon Rolls and Flannel Boards

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I got together with a couple friends the other day. The idea was that our kids play while we do some crafts. Some days are more successful than others. This particular day was great. We managed to finish two crafts. A flannel board and crayon rolls.

1. Flannel Board
Making the board is super easy. Just take an old piece of cardboard (any size) and a piece of flannel that is about 3 inches (on all sides) bigger than the cardboard. Lay the flannel, right side down on a table and place the cardboard on top of it. Heat up a hot glue gun. Glue down the extra fabric. Make sure to pull the fabric tight so it wont sag. You're done with the board. Seriously, you are.
Now for the more time consuming part. You now need to cut out different shapes, animals, people, etc. I always have tons of felt laying around and my friend, Erin, was kind enough to cut out trees, mountains, rivers, flowers, etc for all of our boards. My daughter loves it!

2. Crayon Rolls by Make It and Love It

Erin said she wanted for us to do flannel crayon rolls so I search my pinterest board "She's Crafty" and found a pattern. This pattern is really simple and easy to follow. It took us less than 2 hours to finish three rolls. We used only flannel, which makes sewing really easy. And also makes the product supper sturdy. I love how they turned out.

So if you need a quick craft fix, consider these. Or check out my pins on pinterest for more inspiration. Just remember to kick off your shoes and have fun!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Confession #20: Shh don't tell anyone, but I'm just winging it

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 Well, a friend of mine recently, after seeing my facebook update on how well my daughter is doing with potty training, told me I should write a potty training blog. Honestly, I laughed. I don't know what I am doing when it comes to parenting. My husband and I was constantly asking ourselves "Was that stupid?" or "should I have said that?" So the thought of me knowing enough to write about this subject just seems ridiculous. Nevertheless, I found myself here, blogging.
I want to just make it clear that I am no expert on this subject. I am a mother of only one 18month old and I myself am a younger sister, so I didn't get much training until now. Everything that I say it just my opinion. Nothing more. Take it, or leave it.
First time on the big toilet
I had been playing with the idea of potty training my daughter since she was able to walk. But didn't really put much effort into it. Let's be honest, I was too lazy. All I really have done for the past few months is let her get used to her little potty (with and w/o clothes). And I also let her come with me most of the time I go to the bathroom. Not may favorite part of parenting but I believe it has helped. I always remember to say "pee" while I am peeing. My thought here was that she might associate the sound of my pee with the word "pee."
Over the following months Liana (my daughter) has gotten pretty good about saying "pee" every time she sees me go to the bathroom. She showed a lot of interest in it so I started sitting her on her toilet when I am going. Most of the time she would just sit there, and say "pee" but nothing would actually come out.
Then about a week ago, she did it. We were on our potties, like normal, and I heard it. She did too and right away yelled (at the top of her lungs) "PEEEEEEE." She was super excited and proud of herself. When she was done she looked in a saw the pee. And gave me the biggest smile ever. We dumped the pee (which was just as exciting), washed our hands and I gave her a high five. I then tossed her diaper in the hamper (I use cloth diapers), replacing it with underwear.
Liana at 6 months (Crazy what a year can do)
Since that day she has gone in the potty more often than not. She lets me know she needs to go (sometimes after the fact) and runs to the potty. She doesn't really know how to pull her underwear off yet so I still need to help her. But she is using the toilet. Today she wore the same diaper the whole day until she went number 2 (something that hasn't happened in the potty yet). I was half tempted to put her down for her nap in her underwear. But don't want to get ahead of myself.
So that is my story. It really isn't anything I have done or anything. It's just my daughter. She is just done with diapers.
I should mentioned because I use cloth diapers, they don't wick like normal diapers. Some people say this helps with potty training. Who knows. I don't. All I know is that my daughter is one step closer to adulthood and I am one step closer to saying "I miss my baby!"
Now if only I could get her to sleep through the night....

(no shoes were worn in the making of this blog)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Confession #19: I can sew (mail felt tutorial)

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It's no spam
 Felt Envelope Tutorial

My daughter (18 months) loves checking the mail with me or my husband, so that got me thinking: if only I could make some mail just for her. And since I have TONS of felt in my craft closet, it was only natural to make them out of felt.
felt is such an amazing thing. Hats off to whoever invented it! I made these for my busy bag exchange group on Facebook but I wanted to share it with everyone on here as well. So, relax, kick off your shoes cause you've got mail.

What you will need:

Lots of felt in different colors (at least 4 different colors, an 1/8 of a yard each four be plenty)
A few inches of either gray or white felt for the stamps
Sewing machine
thread to match the felt colors
4 small dot Velcro pieces


Tracing with recycled paper
1. Take a piece of thick paper and cut out a 12inch by 5 inch rectangle. Cut one end of the rectangle so that it resembles the top flap of an envelop. This will be the pattern you will use to trace your envelops.

2. Lay the pattern onto one piece of felt and trace and cut out. Repeat with all four colors. Try to trace with a marker that will not leave a dark line or when you cut it out, cut the ink off so it wont be shown.

Sewing on the stamps
3. Cut out small squares for the stamps and sew each one onto each envelop with a zig zag pattern. This will give your square a more stamp look. I used a dark brown thread for this to make the edges pop.

4. Cut out the little shapes for your stamp. I used stars, hearts, circles, and triangles. But any shape works. Cut the shape small enough that it will fit inside your stamp square.

I wonder who it's for?

5. Once you have the stamp sewn on, I added some wavy lines in the middle to make it look like the letter was addressed to someone.

6. Sew the shape onto each stamp by tracing the shape. I used thread that matched the shape. yellow for the yellow star, pink for the pink heart and so on.

7. You are almost done! See it's super simple. Next you want to fold your envelops so that it is in the shape of a normal envelope (see photo below).

Four beautiful envelops. 
8. Once you fold it, all you have to do next is do a straight stitch down each side of the envelope.

9. Now all you need is is place the Velcro where you
you want it and press it in really well. You can add a stitch or two to each one to hold it better in place. But I skipped this step and they have help perfectly. Your envelops are now done!

10. The last step is to cut out matching shapes. I cut out 1 star, 2 hearts, 3 triangles, and 4 circles. That way my daughter learns matching shapes, colors, and numbers.

32 finished envelops. 

I made these for my busy bag exchange group so I made a total of 8 sets, one for my daughter and one for each member of the group. It look me about an hour to finish one set from start to finish. Well worth it!
Liana was super excited to play with these. She decided that they were a good place to cut her Matchbox cars.

What is a busy bag exchange you ask?
Weighing the mail
Good question. First off, a busy bag is something that your child can use to self entertain so that you can make dinner, do the laundry, or (in my case) make more busy bags. They are all homemade (see my pinterest board for more ideas) and usually pretty creative.
The idea of the exchange is that you get in a group of 5 or so other moms with children the same age as yours. You come up with an idea (like the felt mail) and make 5 (or 6 if you want to keep one) sets. You mail them out to each member of your group and wait until busy bags start coming in the mail! It is super exciting. It feels like Christmas sometimes. I am completely addicted!!
Well, more on busy bags later... I will be posting soon with 10 wonderful busy bag ideas in the weeks to come. Hope you enjoyed my tutorial and have a wonderful Easter.
He has risen!