Baby Sleeping Essentials- Best Items for Sleep Training Baby

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

I am going to be the first person to admit that having two kids, has been the hardest thing I have ever done. Mainly, because I wasn't prepared for the fact that my kids were designed to be different. From the day Gunner was born I had it in my mind that I would do everything the same way I did with Ainsley, because why not, she turned out great. Truth is, they couldn't be more opposite, and everything that worked for Ainsley, down to the type of bottle she took, simple didn't work for Gunner. 

Ainsley has always been an amazing sleeper. Always. By 3 months old she was sleeping through the night. She is 4 and a half and still takes 2-3 hour naps every day. So I always assumed that if I just did everything the way I did it with Ainsley, Gunner too would be an amazing sleeper. WRONG. There were days I didn't know how I was going to survive on such little sleep, especially when Chris deployed when he was only 2 months old, and I had to be a single parent for a few months. The only way I can describe the first 6 months of Gunner's life in regards to his sleeping habits is, non-existent. The kid didn't sleep. He would get up 5, 6, sometimes 7 times a night. We would always start out in his swing, then he would always end up in bed with me, and then I couldn't sleep. It wasn't good for anybody. 

I kept asking for advice on what to do, and finally it was Chris who brought the hammer down. Once he got home, he said enough was enough, and moved Gunner to his crib once and for all. We agreed we were going to begin only giving him 1 bottle at night time around 1-2 am. And, anytime he cried, he had to cry for 10 minutes before we would go in there. Within a few nights he was sleeping longer and longer. He would wake up a time or two, cry for a few minutes, and then go back to sleep. It was a game changer for us. I finally had my bed back to myself, he was finally sleeping through the night, and everyone was much happier. While it sounds like we just started putting him in his crib, there was a lot more to it than that. 

Before we moved him to his crib, I started doing research on the best methods for sleep training, and the best items that helped. What I am about to tell you is what worked for us. It very well may not work for you. I spent the first six months of his life trying so many different things, until I finally found a few items that helped be game-changers in Gunner's sleeping habits. 

These are the items that I personally have had success with in helping in the sleep training of our 6 month old:

1. Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit

Gunner started using this around 3 months old when we quit using swaddles, and still uses it to this day. I honestly don't know what we are going to do when he grows out of is because he loves his sleep suit. It is weighted so it definitely helps soothe them, and also keeps them warm so you don't have to worry about baby getting cold if you choose not to let them sleep with a blanket (we don't.) Do I think this suit is magic? No. By itself it didn't do squat for Gunner's sleeping habits. But paired with everything else, it definitely helps him sleep. 

2.  Lavender Essential Oil and Diffuser

I am going to be honest and admit to you that I was not a believer in the whole essential oil fad. I can't tell you how many people told me to try this and I just brushed them off because I thought they were crazy. Hear me when I tell you this: The first night I bought this oil and a diffuser and put it in his room, was the FIRST night he slept all night. I even tried an experiment where I left the diffuser off, he woke up 3 times that night. If the diffuser is on, he sleeps anywhere from 10-12 hours. I would absolutely recommend trying this to everyone, but until you know if they are allergic, make sure you keep an eye on their breathing, etc. 

3.  Owlet Monitor

Okay so, this one is probably more so for me then him, but is so so important. When I was pregnant with Gunner I had heard about the Owlet, but said numerous times that I would never pay $300 for something like that, and that a video monitor would be sufficient. It wasn't until someone in one of my mom groups lost her baby to SIDS that I finally decided I couldn't put a price on my baby's safety, and that SIDS can literally happen to anyone at anytime. So I began researching the owlet and learned that it has already saved over 10 babies lives who likely would have died from SIDS without it. They also offer monthly payment plans with 0% interest so that it can be more affordable. I know $300 is a lot of money to shell out at one time, and I think it is amazing that this company tries to make such an amazing product affordable in a way that it get into the hands of more parents. In a nutshell the sock goes on the babies foot and it monitors their heart rate and oxygen levels. If the levels drop below a certain threshold and alarm sounds on your phone and on the base station to let you know something is wrong. If the sock is on incorrectly or falls off, the alarm will also go off to alert you. Why do I think this is important for sleep training? For starters it gives you piece of mind. Well rested parents are just as important as a well rested baby. Before I got this monitor I was constantly getting up and checking to make sure he was still breathing. Now I can pull the app up on my phone and it tells me his heart rate and oxygen levels so I know he is ok. It also tells you when they are moving, which can help you determine when sleep training, when to go in and check on them, or when to leave them to try to fall back asleep. I really cannot say enough good things about the owlet, and I encourage everyone, as soon as you find out you're expecting, try to put back $10 a week, and by the time baby gets here, you can gave an owlet paid for. It will literally be the best $300 you spend on your baby, I promise. 

4. Crib Wedge

This last thing is something that we also used for Ainsley and it worked well for her. The crib wedge allows their head to be elevated, which is especially important for babies with reflux, and also has padding on the sides to help them feel more secure. As Gunner becomes more active in his crib, we will likely have to stop using it, but for now, it helps keep him in one spot and he likes the security of having something touching him. 

So those are the top 4 recommendations I have if you are thinking about sleep training your baby. We started sleep training right around 6 months and feel it was a great age to start teaching Gunner how to self soothe and sleep on his own. He will 7 months in a few days and I can tell you, all we have to do now is lay him in his crib and he puts himself to sleep. We don't have to rock him or feed him or soothe him. He does it all on his own. 

I hope this is able to help someone who may be on the same struggle bus that I was. If you also tried sleep training, did any of these items work well for you? 

The evolution of a door

Monday, November 6, 2017

I have always dreamed of having a mansion sized walk in pantry, but when you live in a 1700 sq. foot house, I quickly realized that was not going to be happening. 

So I DIY'ed, a small scale, dream pantry.

First, let's take a look at what our pantry door looked like over the last 2 years...

When we first moved in:

When I decided I wanted to be bold: 

When I decided less was more:

And now, my dream mini-pantry:

I found this door for $50 at a local antique shop. It was the perfect shade of blue, just enough to add a subtle pop of color to the space. We then decided to DIY a sliding rail for it using plumbers pipe, and casters for the bottom so we didn't have to install a track. I also purchased new baskets so that it would look more organized, and ordered a "Pantry" decal to go on the glass (I took this picture before I put the decal on!). It looks amazing and so much more eye catching that the plain jane door that was up there. I know it is nothing fancy, but it definitely makes me feel happy seeing this space. The whole project (baskets and all) was less than $125 and made a huge statement in this part of our house. 

You can find the link here to the tutorial we used to hang our new door. 

I will share more details soon about how I organized the pantry inside, but I couldn't wait to share this door with you all. Who else loves sliding doors but not the price tag?

Miniature Coke Floats-Dollar Tree Find

When we moved to WA state, I always cracked up because everyone would refer to the Dollar Tree as the Dollar Store. If you are from the south, you most likely know the Dollar Store as the Dollar General Store, and the Dollar Tree is the Dollar Tree. So when I talk about the Dollar Tree on this blog, I mean the actual Dollar Tree, where everything in the store is $1 or less.

I love going to the Dollar Tree from time to time. When we need dishes, it is the ONLY place I go. You will not find good quality dishes that cheap, anywhere else. So yesterday I was on the hunt for some new bowls, and I came across the most adorable miniature coke glasses for .52 cents a piece! My first thought was how cute they would be for Gunner's first birthday party, and then I thought, why wait until then! Why not make coke floats for Ainsley to enjoy, and even add a bit of holiday flair to them for Christmas! 

I was able to get everything at the Dollar Tree, except the ice cream! The glasses, straws, coca cola, and mini candy canes all came from the Dollar Tree! What a cute idea for a holiday party, or just to enjoy with your kids on Christmas Eve! 

You can even add a little candy cane to the glass to spruce it up a little more for the holidays! Or if peppermint isn't your thing, you can always leave it off. 

This is her 3rd float since 8 pm last night. She loves that the glass is just her size! 

Has anyone else found any good Dollar Tree finds lately! Please share if you have!

A Little Update

Monday, October 30, 2017

I have been such a terrible blogger ya'll.

We decided back in July that I would not return to work and would become a stay at home mom to A&G. IT IS MORE WORK THAN 2 FULL TIME JOBS. I have never been so exhausted in my life. Don't get me wrong, I am loving it, but phew I feel like there is no time in my day for much anymore. If I am being honest, I maybe get 3 -4 showers a week. I am ashamed of that fact, but by the time I get both kids to sleep, a shower is the last thing on my mind. 

This past week one of my best friends from our time in Washington state came to visit, and it made me realize the importance of me time. And I got to thinking about what is it that I enjoy doing for myself? I want to start reading books with a warm cup of cider. I want to start taking more candid photos of my kids. I want to blog more because I enjoy it so much. I just want to breathe more ya' know. 

I have been working part time, which does take up more time and energy than I thought it would, but it is also nice to get away a few days a week and interact with adults. There is only so much Sophia the First talk I can stand. So between staying home and taking care of 2 babies, keeping the house clean, cooking, grocery shopping, trying to get my photography business off the ground, being a wife, and working part time, maybe just maybe I can start finding some me time in there every once in a while. 

So that is why I have been MIA, but I am really going to try hard to do better. I have so many projects I want to share with you all that we have done in our house.  But for now, how about a few updated family photos!

Summer Front Porch Styling

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Our front porch has unfortunately been neglected since we bought our home. At first I tried sprucing it up with a red coat of paint, but ultimately we decided to replace our wood door with a craftsman style front door.  We had it painted a light grey and it just never brought the wow factor we wanted. 

So this summer, I decided it was time to put a little bit of effort into our front porch. I started by painting the door a light black/dark grey. I then ordered magnetic address numbers for the door, and bought a stylish ribbon to add to my boxwood wreath to make it pop. Also, we decided to add ferns and some colorful flowers, to make it pop, and put little American Flags in them as a little 4th of July decor! 

We are preparing our house to sell next spring and landscaping is something we have definitely slacked off on. Hoping this is the start of finding motivation to get the outside of our home spruced up! 

Who else did some summer porch updating?

Ainsley's Big Girl Room Remodel

Kids rooms are my favorite to decorate. They are so fun, and so easy to incorporate colors and fun patterns into. After completing Gunner's room, I knew I had to update Ainsley's space too while I was on leave. Her room was just bland and I wasn't loving it. 

Here is what it looked like before I started:

And here is the after: 

A few episodes of Fixer Upper, and seeing this amazing comforter designed by Joanna Gaines, got my wheels turning and inspired me to make some simple changes! I eventually want to put crown molding around the top of her walls for extra oomph, but that will have to wait until little man gets a little older and doesn't require my attention 24/7. 

I started by painting a white accent wall. It was easy and simple, and made a bold statement in her room. These shelves were a DIY project. I got all of the supplies at Walmart for under $25 and took less than 20 minutes to make. I will post a tutorial soon for those who would like to make them!

I almost wasn't going to use this chalkboard, because it is so big, but then it occurred to me that it probably has more functionality than just being a piece of decor. I had C hang it so that Ainsley could use it to draw on, and I think you can see how much she is enjoying it! 

Almost everything about her room is second hand, down to the comforter. I was able to find it new without tags, for much cheaper than retail on a Matilda Jane Buy, Sell, Trade site. Also, to make it less expensive, I used my own shams. The white quilted shams I had from a previous comforter we bought. The blue pillowcases were less than $5 at Walmart. We already had the black stripe and tan birth stats pillow, so that meant all we had to purchase were the 2 pink ones for $10 each. 

Her bed frame I actually bought on a yard sale site and it was originally white. I knew I wanted the frame to be black to pop against the wall I painted white, so I bought two cans of black spray paint and spruced it up! Her monogram was also something we already had left over from her baby nursery. I had been holding onto it not sure what I wanted to do with it and finally decided to repaint it and hang it back up once I saw how dainty her comforter was! 

Her room is pretty small, and with her bed being a full, it takes up a lot of space. This girl loves to dress up, so I bought this child size coat rack at Home Goods a few months ago, and painted it to match her room and hung all of her dress up clothes on it. Love the little pop of color it adds to her room. You can see the original post for the  $20 dress up center here

Items List:

Bed: Yardsale
Dresser: Yard Sale
Floating Nightstand: DIY Project
Chalkboard: Yardsale 
Curtains: Pottery Barn Kids
Unicorn Head: Target
Book Ledge: DIY
Dress Up Center: Home Goods
Table and Chairs: IKEA
Pillows: Walmart, Target, Parris Chic Boutique

We have been hard at work the last few weeks doing some house projects! Cannot wait to share more with you soon! 

Gunner's Birth Story

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Gunner is 7 weeks today, and it has taken me this long to sit down and write out his birth story. Not because I didn't want to, but because having two kids has kept me on my toes! Luckily daddy is watching Gunner for a bit so I can type it all out. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017. 

Chris was gone out of town all weekend, about a 3 hour drive away. I had been having contractions a lot but I thought they were just braxton hicks. On Sunday, I decided to download an app on my phone to time them. Sure enough they were coming every 4-5 minutes and lasting 1-2 minutes. I decided to lay down and drink some water and see if anything changed. It didn't. So I made a phone call to L&D where they advised me to come in for monitoring to see what was going on. I called Chris and told him I was on my way to the hospital to be monitored and that he should probably go ahead and head back into town just incase anything happened. I was only 34 weeks 3 days at the time, and I wasn't anticipating having a baby that early. 

Once we got to the hospital they got me hooked up to the monitors and told me I was indeed having contractions but that they weren't "progressing" me as my cervix was still closed. The Dr. decided to do a Fetal Fibronectin swab, which has a 99% accuracy rate of telling them if you will go into labor within 2 weeks. This test came back negative, and since I was not dilated they decided to give me two shots of terbetuline (not sure how it is spelled) to help stop the contractions. After a couple of hours, the contractions finally slowed down to about 5 an hour. They released us to go home, and put me on bed rest for a few days. 

I took a couple of days off work the next week so that my contractions could calm down. I kept having them but they were not frequent or as painful so I didn't worry too much. On Saturday, April 8th, we had my baby shower. While I felt fine, I had a few little contractions, but mainly the swelling in my feet was unbearable. 

That night we went home and were exhausted. We even let Ainsley sleep in our bed and didn't even bother bringing the gifts in from the car. 

Sunday, April 9th, 2017.

I was awoken about 7 am. with strong cramps. I decided I was too tired to move and rolled over to try to get more comfortable. I felt a gush but thought I must have just peed on myself. I finally got up to use the restroom and noticed the fluid just kept coming and that it had a pink tint to it. I woke Chris up and told him I was sure my water broke and we needed to go to the hospital. I have never seen someone get out of bed so fast in my life. About 30 minutes after I woke up and we were on our way to the hospital my contractions started becoming intense, where I had to breathe through them. They were about 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute. All I could think was how clearly that swab that they did on me the week before was not 99% accurate because here I was only a week later, in active labor. Once we got to the hospital my mom had met us to take Ainsley home and wait for news on what was going to happen. I wasn't sure if they were going to deliver the baby, or admit me and try to keep him in a few more days, since I was only 35 weeks and 3 days. I was dilated to a 1 and the test confirmed my water had broken. Within 20 minutes of getting to the hospital my Dr., who luckily was the one on call that weekend, came in and said we were having a baby in about an hour. They prepped us on what would happen if the baby did need extra support, the anesthesiologists came in and made sure we were ready to go. It was less than an hour from the time we arrived at the hospital, to the time they were wheeling me back for the spinal. As they were wheeling me back I started having intense back labor contractions and was so ready for the spinal. The anesthesiologist was having the hardest time getting my spinal to take. After 45 minutes, and him telling me he was going to try one last time and if it didn't work I was either going to have to do an epidural, or be put to sleep, it finally took. At 11:19 a.m. we welcomed Gunner to the world, weighing exactly what his sister did, 6 pounds 14 ounces, and 20 inches long. He was perfect. He had no issues, and we were so relieved he was not going to need any Nicu time.

I was thrilled when I saw how much dark hair he had. I kept telling everyone how I hoped he would have a head full of dark hair, and he did! 

After 3 nights, 4 days in the hospital, we got to come home and start life as a family of 4. Even though this little guy came quickly and suddenly, we couldn't be happier that we got to meet him over a month early. 

Welcome to the world Gunner!