Monthly Archives: April 2015

Dinner with friends and Zombie Dice.

Two of my favorite things include dinner with friends and playing board games. This is exactly the reason why I love having people over because we get to do both 🙂

Zombie Dice-2 Zombie Dice-1 Zombie Dice-3When we were in Saskatoon, Josh visited Amazing Stories Comics while I was on bridesmaid duty and picked up this fun little game called Zombie Dice.

Its super fun, super easy, and super quick to play! Essentially, you roll 3 dice at a time. Your goal is to get brains without getting shot 3 times. It goes in rounds until someone reaches 13 brains.

Zombie Dice-4This is great with 4 people, but it’s also great with just 2 (Josh and I really love games that play great with only 2 players).

Amazing stories comics zombie diceOne of the best things about this game is that it has a pretty cheap price tag! I think he picked it up for 12$.

April-4 April-3 Amazing stories comics zombie dice

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Our Adventures in Sleep Training: Day 2

Josh and I started our sleep training journey after reading the Sleep Sense Program. We realized our lifestyle was no longer working of having Joseph sleep with us in his bed and taking very short naps (20 minutes).

Our goals are to have Joe having good nap times during the day (2 naps that last between 1-2 hours), having a bedtime no later than 7:30 pm, and to have Joe learn the ability to fall asleep on his own, and to have a culminated sleep of 14 hours.

Here is where we left off from Day #1: he had just finished a 3 hour nap for his 2nd nap of the day!

Here is how Day 2 went down:

Bedtime Day #2

  • Started bedtime routine at 7: snack, bath time, brush teeth, nurse, cuddle
  • Laid him down at 7:30pm. There were a series of pickups when he started crying too hard, until he finally fell asleep at 10pm. He woke up very shortly after, but dad went in and patted his back and he miraculously fell asleep (Yikes! 3 hours to get him to sleep!!)
  • He woke up at 1am (3 hours…yay!)
  • I nursed him and he fell asleep until 4 am (another 3 hours solo!)
  • I tried to get him to go back to sleep without nursing, which didn’t work out at all…he was really I nursed him and he finally went down at 4:40
  • Woke up at 8:20am (another 3 hours!)
  • 9 hours of sleep

Nap #1

  • Started nap routine at 9:45: snack, nurse
  • Asleep by 10am
  • Woke up at 10:50. I waited 5 minutes before going in. I cuddled him and he went back to sleep by 11:15am
  • He woke up at 12pm, but he didn’t wake up crying! He chatted and played in his crib until 12:20 (there is really nothing better than a happy baby)
  • 1 hour and 30 minutes of sleep

Nap #2

  • Started nap routine at 1:50pm, asleep by 2:20pm (I totally let him sleep on me for a few minutes…I’m not ready to let go of the bliss of having my sweet baby nestled into my neck)
  • Up at 3:15pm. Tried to get him back to sleep but he was up!
  • 55 minutes of sleep

Day #2 total sleep: 11 hours 25 minutes

It’s the best.

April-1 April-6 April-7When I was pregnant, and all through Joe’s infancy, we have been dreaming and imagining all the “firsts” we will get to experience with Joe. One of our favourites to imagine is how excited Joseph will be when Josh comes home from work. Last week, it finally happened and my heart couldn’t be any happier. He crawled with all his might as soon as he heard the keys in the door. I could tell Josh was equally excited. He loves his daddy!

I just love all the new things about Joseph. Everyday is a new type of special ❤ Isn’t his face pure sweetness?! I could look at it all day long.

Our Adventures in Sleep Training: Day 1

Here is a recap of our sleep situation before we starting sleep training:

We have a 7.5-month-old little boy, Joseph. Since he has been born, he has been co-sleeping with us. This was more out of desperation than choice: the little guy slept awesome when he was next to us. Anywhere between 9-11 pm I will nurse him, then cuddle him in a chair in our room until he goes to sleep. I will wait until he seems like he is in a relatively deep sleep before we make the transition to bed, which is usually 20-40 min. He will wake up 2-3 more times during the night, but will go back to sleep immediately if I nurse him. He will eventually wake up at 9:30-10:30 am. He will take 2-3 naps during the day, lasting a maximum of 30 minutes. To get him to nap, I nurse him and cuddle him, wait until he is asleep, then try my best to lay him in his playpen without him waking up. Once he wakes up, there is no hope that he will go back to sleep. He has to nap in his playpen, because he hurts himself in his crib. Ever since he started to roll over, he will bang his head on the side because he is desperate to not be in there.

We decided that this was the right time to think about teaching Joseph to sleep on his own because the current sleep situation is no longer working for us. He needs longer naps during the day; he gets increasingly cranky throughout the day because he is not getting enough sleep (babies his age need 3-4 hours of nap time during the day). His nap routine also eats up large parts of my day, which leaves me feeling exhausted and cranky too! He needs to sleep at an earlier bedtime (7pm as opposed to 10 pm!), and me going to bed at 7 pm isn’t a possibility. We would also like the freedom to have Josh be able to put him to bed, or to leave him with a babysitter – which isn’t possible under the current circumstances because he needs his mom!

So…here is our game plan!

  • Start bedtime routine at 7 pm: snack, bath, pjs, brush teeth, story time, nurse, and cuddle (all within 30 minutes)
  • Put him in his playpen and sit by him, offering him words and comfort until he falls asleep or starts to cry hysterically
  • If he does start to cry with a lot of intensity, we can pick him up and cuddle him until he winds down and starts to get drowsy, and put him back in his playpen
  • If he falls asleep and wakes up, wait 5-10 minutes to get him to see if he can settle himself. If not, cuddle him or nurse him as necessary
  • 2 naps a day. Ideal duration is 2 hours. Minimum 1 hour

Here is a summary of how our first day went:

Night

  • We started our routine a little bit late, around 8:30pm. We did bath, pjs, teeth, story time, and nursing
  • I put him in his crib with his pillow, blanket and Ellie (his stuffed elephant) when he was drowsy. He fussed and crawled around in there for 40 minutes. He got panicky as the hour drew near, so I nursed him. He fell asleep nursing, but I didn’t wake him and just put him in his crib asleep (11pm)
  • He slept for an hour, stirred, but got himself back to sleep
  • He woke up at 4 am. I fed him and put him back in his crib asleep. He woke up shortly after, but managed to fall asleep with some comfort from me
  • Woke up at 9:30 am (10.5 hrs)

Nap #1

  • Started showing signs of sleepiness at 10:30 am
  • Nap routine at 10:45: snack, story, cuddle
  • Laid down in crib at 10:50. Played for 20 min then started crying hard
  • Cuddled him until he was drowsy, laid down at 11:15, asleep by 11:20.
  • Woke up at 12:15pm (55 min)

Nap #2

  • Showed signs of sleepiness at 1:30pm
  • Nap routine at 2pm (same as before)
  • Laid in crib at 2:15pm, but did not fall asleep. Tried to stand up, fell over and needed to be cuddled
  • Nursed him, then cuddled until barely asleep
  • Laid in crib at 2:40, fell asleep
  • Woke up a 2:45, but fell asleep on own. Stirred again at 4 and 5:30, went back to sleep on his own
  • Woke up at 5:50pm (3 hrs and 10 min!)

Alright! So there it is…is day #1 of sleep training. It was harder than I expected, but also better. In her book, the Sleep Sense Program, Dana Obalman insists that children will fall asleep eventually if they are in their crib, the parents must possess the will power to “wait it out”. Josh and I were not comfortable “waiting it out” as Joseph was working himself up so much he started choking or flinging himself around that he would hurt himself. In my mind, he does not possess the skills necessary to calm himself down once he gets to that point. I felt it was ok to pick him up and cuddle him in our usual spot as he got into the right “space” for sleep. We were rewarded in having him sleep for the longest stretches on his own that we have ever experienced! I was also really happy with his nap times the following day…3 hours on his own! But even better than the duration, was knowing that he had woken up but managed to get to sleep again without me.

 This is really challenging, but I am happy that even in less than a day we are starting to notice positive effects!

 

Our Adventures in Sleep Training

Up until this point in Joseph’s life (he is 71/2 months old), he has never gone to sleep without me. He has been nursed or cuddled to sleep, and then continues his sleep in our bed. This has worked out fine, until it hasn’t worked. He is actually a great sleeper at night when he is with us, and usually sleeps in until 9:30-10. He is so much more mobile now, so napping in our bed is no longer an option.  Additionally, going to bed at 10-11 with mom and dad is no longer helpful to him; he certainly needs an earlier bedtime and it does not make sense for me to go to bed at 7 pm. Additionally, if I don’t go down to nap with him during the day, his naps last a maximum of 30 minutes, which really isn’t enough time and leaves him progressively more cranky as the day goes on. I do have to say that one of the reasons I became truly motivated to help Joe learn how to sleep on his own is that I would love one day to have a babysitter so Josh and I can go on a date!

I know that Joseph is capable of sleeping for long stretches, because he does it when I am right next to him. But for him, the only way he has learned how to fall asleep is with me. It’s no use getting frustrated at him for not knowing how to sleep on his own if he has never learned any other way. Josh and I must teach him that it is safe to fall asleep and stay asleep on his own.

So why have we stayed away from teaching him how to sleep for so long? That’s an easy answer: I can’t stand it when my baby cries. There are many theories out there on how to get a baby to sleep independently, with or without tears. I know in my heart that it will take at least some crying before he will learn, and I just haven’t felt ready to deal with that.

sleep sense programA couple of weeks ago, a veteran mom who has three kids of her own, shared a book with me that really helped her. I trust her advice, because while I was visiting, her 7 month old was starting to show signs of tiredness. She said, “Just a minute, I’m going to go put her down for a nap.” I was getting ready to make myself comfortable, because surely it would take the better part of an hour to get her to sleep. Literally 2 minutes later she was back down with the baby monitor. I was stupefied. “You mean she can fall asleep on her own?!” I had read about freak babies like that on the internet, but I doubted that they actually existed. I immediately went into defence mode, thinking that some babies are just “good sleepers” and mind would never be able to sleep like that. She shared that she had been like me with her first, and then someone shared the Sleep Sense Program with her. She felt like it empowered her to teach her child to sleep on her own. That is DEFINITELY what I needed. Empowerment. Most of the time I go around feeling like I have absolutely NO idea what I’m doing, and that I’m screwing my kid up and we will NEVER figure this sleep thing out.

I started reading it and got really pumped up about it. Essentially the book was saying that yes, getting your baby to sleep on their own will involve some tears, but it’s ok! The baby will adapt and learn (because thank heavens that is one thing babies ARE good at…LEARNING).  Instead of feeling helpless and overwhelmed by the idea of Joseph learning, I felt ready and empowered that we can do this as a family.

Here are some of the highlights that I knew I needed to try:

– Early bed time (6:30-7:30pm for 6-12 months)

– Bedtime routine that lasts 20-30 minutes

– Having a blankie or stuffed toy as a “prop” to sleep (as opposed to mom) so that when they do wake up in the night, they are able to soothe themselves back to sleep

– Allowing them a chance to go to sleep on their own (aka crying).  She offers 2 methods for this: either staying in the room or leaving the room. I opted for staying in the room.

– Having nice, long naps during the day

Stay tuned for more on how our first day has gone!

 

Mountains with the family

We had such a wonderful trip when we went to Alberta last month. It was primarily a business trip (Josh was working at a reserve near Edmonton, and I was visiting with supporters in Calgary), but we were able to squeak in some sight-seeing while there, which was really lovely.

Before we got to our Banff National Park destination, my friend brought us into the cutest little town of Canmore to get coffee. We stopped a number of people on the streets, and all of them recommended one place: Beamer’s Coffee.

Beamer's Coffee Canmore Alberta Beamer's Coffee Canmore Alberta

Isn’t it just amazing that in some places in the world, you can sip coffee and look at mountains?!
Beamer's Coffee Canmore AlbertaMmm….Americano. Yep. I would recommend Beamer’s.Johnson Lake Banff National Park Alberta

The mountains were still fairly snowy, so we needed to find a trail that wasn’t too icy, which proved fairly challenging! After some stops, we finally found a really well groomed trail at Johnson Lake in Banff.Johnson Lake Banff National Park Alberta CalgaryTrip-59 Johnson Lake Banff National Park Alberta Johnson Lake Banff National Park AlbertaHow much more Canadian can Josh get?! Haha.

Project 52: Mountains

52-week photography challenge Banff National ParkMy trend in these challenges is not so much to focus on photographing specific things but to use a technique. I decided to scrap that for this week’s challenge simply because it’s not every day that I get an opportunity to take pictures of mountains!

Week11-4At the beginning of March, we were very blessed to be able to take a trip to Calgary Alberta for business. Fortunately, I have many friends on that side of the country and was able to mix in a little bit of pleasure as well!

Week11-2We arrived on Friday, and my good friend took us on a drive into Banff National Park. This will have been my third time venturing into the mountains, but it never gets old. They are so beautiful in their majestic raw beauty. Not to mention it was a gorgeous sunny day.

52-week photography challenge Banff National ParkCalgaryTrip9th-10