Friday, September 28, 2012

Where have I been?!

Just when I felt like I was on a roll with my little bloggy blog, and finally getting to all the posts that I've been wanting to write about, I get another busy phase. I feel like my life is always like that! That's why this is called my ever-changing life, duh! It's never predictable around here, especially with my high need little love getting cuter and bigger every day.

November's sleep has been easier for the most part since we no longer have to rock her for long periods of time, but since we now cuddle to sleep, her naps are usually spent snuggling close to mommy. And while I could sneak away once she's in deep sleep mode, she doesn't stay in that mode for very long during naps, and sleeps longer if I stay with her, so naps are a no-blog zone. I was getting into the routine of blogging on my non-work days after November is asleep, but those hours are now dedicated to some extra work I've been doing on the side. So I guess that leaves me with 1.) work days after November is asleep or 2.) non-work days while November is having a session of independence (which is what is happening right now!)

In other busy news, the new restaurant Spencer is going to be chef at is opening in just a couple days! He's been CRAZY BUSY these past couple weeks, and we haven't had much time together, which also means LESS help, breaks and time to myself, but I know all this hard work will pay off and the busy insanity will mellow out once the restaurant is open for awhile, and they get a chance to work all the kinks out. I just have to be patient! I'm really excited for him, and excited to taste the food. The Wandering Goose is going to be southern comfort food, and from what I've already sampled, it's going to be amazing. So if you are in the Seattle area, be sure to check it out after October 1st!

I'm really looking forward to writing a few of the upcoming blogs; November's 11 month update, a book review, and elaborating on what it means to have a high-need baby.

I'm also really looking forward to the crazy-awesome-busy events ahead; November's first birthday, the restaurant opening, brewing my first batch of kombucha (I just started the process today!), and the opening of the new Trader Joe's store (my work is moving to a bigger building close to our current location!)

P.s. I am obsessed with catching up with season 3 of the Vampire Diaries on Netflix, so obviously that has also become a HUGE priority in my busy schedule as well!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Feels like fall

The sky was grey and overcast today, and the wind was blowing. Leaves are turning golden, and the air is starting to get that crisp quality. Hooray for fall! I used to be such a summer girl, but ever since last summer where I carried around a growing belly, and then this summer where I carried around a growing baby, I have become one of those total downers who ends pro-summer conversations with my grumblings about how I'll be glad when it's over.

It's not that I dislike summer, or the fun, beachy, outdoorsy activities it brings. It's just that, for one, I really love fall! Fall is beautiful! Not too hot, not too cold; it brings lovely colors, lovely smells, cozy evenings indoors, cozy layers of clothing, cozy snuggling, wonderful holidays (including my birthday, which is also Halloween!). For another, I am looking forward to darker early-evenings.

Why, you ask? Well, it just so happens that these bright, sunny evenings SUCK right now! I forgot to elaborate on this in my recent sleep update, but one of our biggest issues in getting November down for bed at night is the brightness in our room between 6 and 8pm. Our bedroom has a west-facing window and a bright sliding glass door, which makes it brighter in the room at 6pm than it is at any other time of day. And despite blackout/double layer curtains, the room is still is too bright and distracting for my highly alert lil bean on a sunny summer's eve.

Lately, it has been somewhat easy to get her down for bed at night, now that she is used to her nighttime routine, but staying asleep is another issue. I notice she sleeps lightly between 6 and 8pm, wakes frequently, and is harder to get back down if she isn't attended to immediately. Often, I just end up laying in bed with her until the room gets dark. That way if she wakes, she will calm down when she sees me and go back to sleep, or I can nurse her back down quickly. If I don't stay in the room with her, I spend those pre-dark hours feeling like I'm walking on eggshells, nervously glancing at the monitor, hoping I can catch her wakings soon enough before she goes into alert-mode.

Of course, it is possible that her sleep patterns keep her sleeping lightly for the first hour or two, but I feel like she sleeps much sounder after 7:30 or 8, even if she doesn't get to sleep until 7. She also sleeps easier and better to begin with when the evenings are overcast, therefor making the room nice and dim when we start sleepy time. Also, she sleeps better in general when she is comfortable; not too hot, not too cold. She does not like being too hot! I like the fact that I can now dress her in warm jammies and she won't get overheated, or wake up chilly in the morning.

While I am happy to welcome fall, I'm sure after a week or two of rain I will be eating my words, getting sentimental, and wondering what the big deal was with a little bit of sunlight. Isn't that how it always is? But regardless of my fickle mommy-brain, fall is coming. Get out your scarves, sweaters, and blankies. Snuggle close with the ones you love, and let's welcome the changing season with a smile and a warm mug of cider!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

She who must not be named...

I just posted the following in the 'High Needs Babies Support Group' I am in on facebook, and just had to share here too with the illustration above. Silly, I know, but it's always good to turn a bad situation into a laughable one...

Sometimes my daughter is like a horcrux from Harry Potter; if I don't get a much needed break, my irritation builds and festers until I feel like a raging bitch. Then as soon as her daddy takes over I feel better and feel so silly for having been irritated in the first place. Yes, I am comparing my daughter to an instrument of the dark lord.

As you can tell, we are having a 'one step back' kinda night. Poor November is just having a rough time and is having trouble getting back to sleep after waking (can I call it a middle of the night waking if it happens at 6:30pm...just 30 minutes after she fell asleep?!) Ugh. I love the crap out of my baby boo but sometimes mama needs a break! Luckily Spencer is in there right now, giving mama just that.

Expecto Patronum!!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sleep Update 2

You can read about our sleeping troubles, and sleep update 1.

Our journey to better sleep continues! I have heard from many other mamas of high need babies that even their two-year-olds don't sleep well yet. This is both good and bad news; bad news being that this journey could be a very long one; good news being that I'm not alone and November's interrupted sleep is normal AND it WILL get better!

Sleepy Time Success: It has been much easier {MOST} nights to put her down for naps and night time, so it no longer feels like 'one step forward, three steps back' every night; it feels more like 'three steps forward, pause' or just 'one step back' on a fussy night. I think she is getting used to her schedule, and understands when naps and night are coming. That doesn't mean we don't have nights where she fights it, but most nights are OK! She still cannot fall asleep drowsy-but-awake, and I've come to accept that about her as a high-need baby. Lots of other moms deal with rocking their HN babies to sleep for a long time. Of course, we won't give up, and continue to encourage her to fall asleep on her own, but we don't stress it, and don't drag it out; we watch her cues and see what she is willing to do. Usually, the rare occasion where she falls asleep without being rocked happens when she is fully tired (but not over-tired), calm, and happy to snuggle. In these instances, I can sometimes get her to lay her head on my shoulder or chest while I'm laying down, and we snuggle to sleep. It's wonderful! It doesn't happen often, but I love when it does! Spencer is particularly good at this. We still nurse back to sleep for middle of the night wakings, but there are nights where I feel like she isn't waking quite as often (I say feels like because I try not to watch the clock/count for sanity's sake). This isn't saying much, considering she was waking almost hourly when this journey started.

What we have learned/changed: After watching November's 'sleep cues' we were able to more closely hone in on a (mostly) consistent daily routine. She started falling asleep earlier and easier, and then waking up earlier as well. Unfortunately, sometimes she wakes up as early as 5am (gasp!) but most of the time it's closer to six. She always falls asleep before 8pm, and falls asleep between 6 and 7 almost every night. We moved her naptimes, mealtimes, and pre-bed routines to accommodate these time changes (of course we always follow her cues above all else) and it turns out this new schedule also flows much better on days when she is at my mom's, therefor making those days less 'thrown-off.' Here is her new daily routine:

6-6:30 wakey time, changed, dressed, breakfast
8-8:30 nap time
9-10 wakey time
11:30-12 lunch
12-1 nap time
1-2 wakey time
3:30-4 dinner
5-5:15 bath, calm time
6-7: asleep

In other findings, she hasn't become too attached to her owl lovey, but instead associates her super soft blanky with sleep. Works for me! We have streamlined and honed in on a calm time routine. It now starts with a bath, quick coconut oil massage, and jammies (I can't exactly call any of those activities 'calm' but she knows they mean night time) followed by nursing in our bed in the dim room, reading her specific night time books, and then we let her explore the room and quietly play until she shows us her tired cues (rubbing her eyes, shoving her face into my chest, getting clumsy.) Then we do whatever gets her to sleep; rocking, walking, or snuggling...usually a combination of all three!

What we need to improve: We just need to be patient and continue to work toward less night wakings/nursings. I still don't always stay awake during night wakings in order to separate myself from her and move away, but that means I'm falling back asleep really quickly, which is nice! I think we are making great {slow} progress and I'm so proud of my baby girl! We are considering trying to sidecar her crib to our bed to make a co-sleeper, but I'm not sure it will work because she seeks me or Spencer out at night to snuggle closely with. Also, I love her nursery set-up, and don't really want to re-arrange things. But it's worth a shot, if we ever get a chance to do it!

So there we are, still tired, still waking, but overall feeling better! Good night!

Monday, September 3, 2012

DIY Nursery Pennants

I loved making these pennants for November's room. Here's what I did, so you can do them too!

First, gather your supplies. I used scrapbook paper for the triangles, cardstock for the letters, glue, ribbon for trim, scissors, a hole punch, a black marker, and yarn. I had a lot of paper leftover from my baby scrapbook, so I used a lot of that. Her room colors are pink and green with hints of blue, so I chose colors that went well with that theme.
Helpful Hint: If you are using different patterns and colors, like I did, plan which color letters will go on which color/pattern background first, so you can create an overall pattern that is visually pleasing. I wanted to alternate pink and green backgrounds, with the opposite color letters for the 'November' banner. For the 'Tigerlily' banner, I alternated shades of blue, pink, and green with blue letters.

Next, take the scrapbook paper, and fold from one corner to the middle. Fold the excess in, and glue down in back, or just simply cut into a triangle. I wanted my pennants to have some weight and thickness, so I chose to glue down the corners.
Next, draw out your letters on cardstock. You can make a stencil from printed letters, or freehand, if you're good at it. I basically freehand letters for a living (sign artist at Trader Joe's!) so I chose that route. Cut out your letters, glue them the the pennant, and outline in black. Next, glue down some ribbon as trim.
Next, use a hole punch to punch holes for the yarn to go through. I punched one hole at each corner, and then punched two holes close together at two evenly spaced areas to achieve the pattern I wanted.
Thread your pennants on the yarn, and voila!

Ten Months!

Yes, I know this is like two weeks late. What else is new?! Ten months brought a big month of laughter, learning, and goofing off. She's really been showing her personality. She's silly and loves making mommy and daddy laugh. She learned how to make a 'sour' face one day during breakfast, and after realizing it made us laugh, she continued to do it the rest of the day. It is now a regular feature of mealtimes and loves when we do it back at her. She also loves making kissy sounds! Speaking of sounds, her babbling has become much clearer. When she's upset, she clearly says 'mama.' She started babbling about 'baba' a lot, and then moved on to 'dada.' Most of the time I don't think she knows what she is babbling about, but when she was learning to wave, she waved 'bye bye' to her daddy and babbled 'dada.'
We've had a pretty fun, active month! We went to the zoo twice! She had gone once before, but now that she is older and very aware, she loved seeing all the animals. When we went to Woodland Park Zoo, so many animals came right up to the glass! At Point Defiance Zoo, November met a real live Tigerlily-her middle namesake-and tried to eat it...
We went to November's 3rd baseball game, where she got to put all that clapping she loves to do into action...
We met up with my mom, step-dad and his mother and rode the big ferris wheel on the Seattle waterfront. It was scary at first for me, but November thought it was great. She even took a little in-air nursing break!
We've been enjoying the summer, especially at the park and beach. November loves sand!
The next few months are going to be exciting; fall is coming, her first birthday is coming...and I'll let you in on a little preview...November is taking her first steps! More on that in the future, though. Enjoy the rest of the summer!