My Hulk Boy

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Three is a funny age. You always hear about ‘terrible twos’ but I dare say that whoever coined that phrase hadn’t parented a three year old, yet. H is hilariously unpredictable. Most of the time he is our happy, enthusiastic, curious, adventurous, rambunctious little boy. He enjoys doing good, he follows rules and he is kind.

But every once in a awhile lately he turns.

He goes from that sweet boy explained above, to a little Hulk. (fitting thats his favorite Avenger right now) He explodes with rage. He screams and starts kicking and punching. He gets mean and mad and there is no calming him down.

I’m truly at a loss right now to know how to control these outbursts, while still allowing him to be himself and let him know its ok to feel things and express how he feels. You know? But at the same time, its not ok for him to kick and punch me all the time, right? Oh, the joys of motherhood. As frustrating as it can be I honestly wouldn’t trade it for the world.

He is a great boy who I feel very lucky to be able to witness grow up and learn more about each day. This is fun. It really is.

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E’s Ears

I’m not sure if you know this or not, but my sweet baby E has had a rough go when it comes to his little ears. In his fourteen months of life, he has had twelve ear infections, most of those happening since August/September-ish, and most of them being double ear infections. We also found our pretty recently that for a while now, both of his ear drums have been ruptured. Isn’t that awful? You’d be floored to hear this if you know him or have seen him recently though, because he’s just so happy still. But it definitely now makes sense why when he was ticked, he was ticked. The pain tolerance his little body has is absolutely incredible. During a recent discussion with E’s ENT (ear nose and throat doctor), he told me that the pain he must have been feeling was so excruciating it would send a grown man to the Emergency Room. That shattered my mom heart. I had no idea. I mean, I knew it hurt, but I had no idea it hurt that badly.

We finally got him into the ENT a little while ago where they told us E needed tubes (no shock – thats why we were there). Thats also where we learned about the double rupture. Poor baby. So earlier last week, he finally got his tubes put in, along with a small exploratory surgery just to check out his ears and make sure there isn’t anything else to be concerned with. Good news, everything looks great. I’m so grateful for modern medicine and for doctors. I’m especially for doctors who make your children feel special. I was so impressed with all the doctors and nurses we talked to on E’s day of surgery. They all got down on his level and talked to him – something that social little boy really loved. It made me feel even more comfortable and confident.

Recovery has been pretty good, all things considered. The first few days involved a lot of blood and a lot of ooze, but thats all stopped now. He hates the ear drops we have to put in multiple times a day with a passion, but those are almost over with. We are so excited for a pain-free baby who hopefully hopefully hopefully won’t have to deal with anymore painful infections anymore.

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What I Hope My Kids Learn from Disney

Dear Kids,

You come from a family of Disney obsessed people. Your great grandpa started this journey, passed it to Grammy, she passed it to her kids (one of those is me) and now I’m doing my part to make sure you guys all have a special place in your heart for Disney and all its magic and wonder. I don’t know how the Disney-love will translate in your own lives as you grow up. I don’t know if you’ll find yourself saving your money to take another trip to the park or if you’ll be to every Disney movie on opening day, if you’ll have Disney decor throughout your home or if you’ll be more of a quiet and reserved fan. I’m aware of the possibility that you may not all be as Disney-crazed as some of the rest of this family, but as I said before, I just hope there is always a special spot inside of you that respects Disney and is able to identify the magic it brings into our lives.

Because Disney magic is raising you. You’re being built by Disney Magic. When I think of all the ways I want you to grow up and all the ways I want to be a good mom to you all, I find myself thinking of things I’ve learned from Disney. As silly as it sounds, its 1000% true.

Disney can teach you to dream. Disney can give you hope. Disney can remind you that there is good in the world and that most people are good. Disney can help you find joy. It can help you cope when you’re sad. It can teach you lifelong lessons and it can implant song lyrics into your mind that you’ll never forget. It can be a source of happiness. It can be a safe place you run to, to get away from reality. Disney can be a refuge. It can help you feel carefree when you are feeling weighted down. It can create magic in a regular day and a regular moment. Disney can help you embrace who you are and the unique, special individual you’re meant to be. Disney can help you change your point of view and look on the bright side. You’ll find things and characters you relate to. You’ll have moments in Disney Parks you reflect on for years and years.

Disney is a part of your childhood, I pray you always think of that with a smile on your face and are thankful for your Disney roots.

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Love, mom

Sleep Saga part 2

*read part 1 here

THE FIRST NIGHT

You guys. I am beyond shocked. I set my expectations very, very low for our first night of sleep training. We decided to start even though we didn’t have the sound machine yet. I found a free (kind of lame) sound machine app that I used in his room, but it worked well enough. I was buckling up for hours of crying, from both me and him. I was prepared to feel heartbroken for him and I was prepared to quite possibly give up and go in and grab my sad baby, deciding we’d try again later.

But guess what? E did amazing. Its like he was as ready as we were.

WHAT WE DID 

  • At dinner, by sheer luck, E ate awesome. He always eats really good, but this time he also gobbled down an entire thing of baby food! That very, very rarely happens with this little man. He had a good start on a nice, full belly.
  • Around 8 we did bath time and I’m not ashamed to say I used the Johnsons sleepy time body wash and shampoo – I’m a desperate mom!
  • Then we put lotion on him, got him in his pajamas and we read some books together as a family in the boys bedroom.
  • Prayer time!
  • Then Wild Man and H left the room (we are having H sleep in our room while we get E comfortable in their shared room).
  • I turned on the sound and nursed E until he was almost asleep, but not entirely.
  • Then I laid him in his crib, turned off his lamp and shut the door.

He immediately burst into tears and he screamed. My heart broke. But guess what? He only cried for about 25 minutes. I was fully expecting hours. He cried for 25 minutes then fell asleep until 2, but only cried for 5-10 minutes. Then he did the same thing at 4 and woke up for good around 8!

NIGHT TWO

We did the exact same thing as far as nightly rituals go as we did for night one. E took about 20 minutes to fall asleep. Between the hours of 2 and 4, life was rough. I had to go in and nurse at one point because I was hurting so badly (i have woken up with watermelon-like boobs every morning since sleep training) but it was just the soothing he needed to fall back asleep. Then he slept until 8.

NIGHT THREE

The sound machine came today! No more lame sound app! Night three was Halloween night. I knew our schedule may be a little off, so I wasn’t sure how our night time routine would go. The boys have been sick for the past week and this was a particularly bad day for E. So around 8 I just quickly put him to bed because he was so, so done. No bath. No books. Just bed. I turned on his sound machine, nursed him until drowsy, laid him down and…no crying. None. He just laid down and SLEPT ALL NIGHT LONG! He slept from 8:30-8:30. This is the first time in his entire life that he has slept through the night. I am beyond amazed and proud.

NIGHT FOUR

Without going into a lot of detail – night four was exactly like night three! Another amazing night of sleeping all night long! 8:30-8:30. I could get used to this.

THE REST OF THE WEEK

Ok, so I really believed at some point E would decide he hated his crib. But we are now a week in and I really have nothing negative to report! He is sleeping like a champ! He is sick and also teething, so I thought sleep training would go out the window but it really hasn’t. He still sleeps basically through the night. The last two nights I’ve been going in to nurse him once and sometimes give him some medicine just because like I said, he’s sick. But overall, E gets five stars, two big thumbs up and lots and lots of praise. This boy was ready to sleep in his crib!!

ONE WEEK OF CRIB/SLEEP TRAINING IN…

Pleasantly surprised. Shocked. Very happy. Very well rested (well mostly, I keep on waking myself up without the help of E?) I’m glad we did this.

I swear by the sound machine. He is instantly soothed by it. I love our owlet monitor, it gives me peace of mind. I love my baby for being such an awesome sleeper.

Next step? Putting H back in there room and seeing how they both sleep in their room together!!

 

 

Sleep Saga part 1

I’m not gonna lie, I’m hoping that in the future this saga will have a happy ending. I don’t care how many ‘parts’ there have to be to this, but I am determined that sometime soon (oh i hope, i hope, i hope) I will no longer have to be worrying about this so much. What is this you ask?

SLEEP TRAINING MY (ALMOST) 1 YEAR OLD

I have been scouring the internet for success stories, amazing advice and tips and tricks and I’ve found quite a bit. I’m ready to start. I’m ready to share my story step by step in hopes that maybe somewhere along the day I sleep deprived mom can find my blog and learn something from my experience and feel motivated and pumped up to get her baby to sleep better at night.

CURRENTLY

So where are we right now on day one of this? We are in a very frustrating, overwhelming and sleepless spot, thats where. My dearest, darlingest little E is a wonderful tiny human, but a terrible, awful sleeper. Right now he wakes up 10-15 times a night – maybe more. Sometimes he falls back asleep quickly, but sometimes he doesn’t. 99.9% of the time he has to nurse to fall back asleep. Because of the frequent middle-of-the-night-wakes, he sleeps in between Wild Man and I in our bed (don’t shame co-sleeping here, parent-shaming is a no-no on this page) which has been just fine for months and months, but lately…its time for a change. He’ll be one in a couple of weeks. Its time he learns how to sleep in his own room, in his own crib and its time he learns that he doesn’t have to nurse all night long (seriously, thats what he wants – the second my boobs gone, he’s livid).

What I don’t need is any comments telling me that I’ve brought this upon myself and created this little non-sleeping monster. This is exactly what I did with H and he’s an amazing sleeper. But clearly, every child is different. With H, around 8/9 months old I got him totally comfortable and happy in his crib/bed. I’ve tried with E – its just not working. He’s stubborn and persistent. He will scream all night long until someone holds him. Until he’s nursing. Because I’m so tired at night, its easier not to fight it and just let him sleep in our bed all night – nursing what feels like every 30 minutes. But I just can’t do it anymore. I need my bed back. I need to not be nursing all night. I need to have my baby sleep in his own bed and sleep all through the night, which is something he has never ever done in his life, just so you know. I am ready. I’ve been patient for nearly a year but that hasn’t worked. Its time to buckle down. I’m going to be persistent. I’m motivated. I’m going to get E crib/sleep trained. Boo-ya!

THE PLAN

Last night I ordered a sound machine off Amazon. It should be here tomorrow or the next day. So much of what I’ve read has said that a sound machine is a must. I’m banking on this to help us greatly. I’m debating if I should start the sleep training tonight or if I should wait a day or two until the machine comes. Either way, I’m excited and hopeful for this.

I’ve read a lot of ideas and I’ve literally made pros and cons lists of all these different techniques I’ve found. Here is what I, as of now, have planned to do.

Bedtime is at 8:30/9. Before bed we’ll have a bath, then a snack/small meal to ensure his tummy is full, then we will read books, read scriptures and say a prayer (with an emphasis on E’s sleep schedule) and then I’ll sit in the chair in his room and nurse him until he’s either almost asleep or fully asleep. *I’m not sure if I should make him be all the way asleep when I lay him down – I’ve read that its good to put them in their crib awake, but drowsy so they learn to self-soothe, which totally makes sense. We’ll see what I end up doing. I’ll keep you posted. Then I will lay him in his crib, tell him that I love him and goodnight, make sure the nightlight is on and leave the room and shut the door.

I am 100% sure he’ll scream and cry. At 5 minutes I will go in and comfort him. I won’t pick him up, but I’ll lay him back down, pat his back, sing to him, whatever. Then I’ll leave again. I can go back in every 10 minutes as needed for the remainder of the night.

I’m anticipating not sleeping at all the first few nights because if I know my son (and I do), he’s not going to fall asleep without a feisty fight. But everyone who has tried this has said to stay strong and not cave and all the sudden it will click and your baby will figure it out. I’m banking on that.

MY PREDICTION

Full disclosure, I’m not sure how I’ll do the first night. I’m going to feel guilty and sad. I’m going to feel terrible for E while he cries alone in his room. But I’m also going to feel good, because I know its time. Its past time.

I think he’s going to fight it hard core. I’m not sure if he’ll really sleep at all those first nights. Its going to be a struggle. Its going to be hard. But I am wanting to put in the work.

However, if we start this and it just feels wrong and uncomfortable I am allowing myself the freedom to quit. Its possible this isn’t the right technique for us. If I feel that way, then we’ll start back at square one and find a different way to sleep and crib train. In the end, its whatever is best, safest and ok-est for E.

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Wish us luck as we start this journey! I’m nervous, sleepy and excited! I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes! Stay tuned for the Sleep Saga part 2!

The Great Disney Stroller Debate

A lot of the time when people are asking me about advice on their upcoming Disney trip, they ask me what kind of stroller they should bring. Do you bring your big one you use at home that is significantly bigger? Or do you bring an umbrella stroller thats much smaller?

My vote?

The big stroller.

And heres my top five reasons why:

  • You really won’t move through crowds that much faster if you have a small stroller such as an umbrella stroller. I hate to break it to you, but if you have a stroller (of any size), you’re just not going to be zipping through the park as quickly as you would sans stroller. IMG_5508
  • The storage is beautiful. Our stroller has a big pouch in the bottom and we utilize that space so dang much on our Disney vacations. We stick our sweatshirts down there, souvenirs, bags, blankets, leftover food, water bottles, etc. You don’t get that luxury with a teeny stroller. IMG_1274.jpg
  • Your little one is more comfortable in a big stroller. I love that when my boys fall asleep, I can recline them a bit, or know they have a little more wiggle room so their sleep is a little deeper (and heavens knows that little ones need those naps while in Disneyland!). IMG_8596.jpg
  • The cupholder/top storage. Ok, this is just assuming your big stroller has a cupholder and a little extra space to store things up top. I’d lose my mind without that. Thats where we keep drinks (obvs), Fast Passes (when you still needed the paper ticket), easy-to-reach snacks, pins, cel phones, sunglasses, etc. Half the time what I wear to the parks don’t have pockets, so this is something especially important to me. IMG_5162.jpg
  • A bigger stroller often times can also become a double + stroller. Its so nice to have it all just in one spot. When everyones loaded, its great to have everything we need (mainly our children) right there in one stroller – one spot. I especially love our stroller because we have a little connector piece that we bought that a third child can stand on called a glider board! (H loves to switch from his seat to the glider).

I don’t know guys. If you ask me, you just can’t go wrong with a big ol’ stroller. You know what the say – go big or go home!

Also, if you’re interested in the stroller we have, you can find it here. I LOVE it. Yes, its a pretty penny, but its absolutely worth it.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Buddy!

Two years ago our worlds changed forever and for the best when our sweet baby H was born – making us parents and making us the happiest we have ever been! I always, always knew I wanted to be a mom and was constantly dreaming about the day that those dreams would come true. I had high, high expectations and knew I’d love it. But wow. H exceeded those expectations by so much and I love being a mom much more than I ever could have imagined I’d love it. He has always been so easy going and calm. He is genuinely good and as he’s got older, he actually tries to do good too. I am forever smitten by this precious boy and am forever grateful that he is my son and I am his mom.

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Wild Man and I are already happy people but when we had H he brought a joy to our family we never knew we were so terribly missing. He was truly the puzzle piece that completed our little starter family that we weren’t aware we so needed. He has given light to our bummed out days. He has been a constant reminder of whats actually important and what should be a priority and what should have a lot of our attention. He is our pride and our joy.

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Being this sweet boys mom has given me so much purpose and so much knowledge. I guess in my mind, motherhood would just be me teaching my children, but I had no idea just how much I would be learning from him – even when he was teeny tiny. I think the greatest thing he has taught me is about unconditional love. He showed me parts of my heart that only he could have. He showed me a new side of myself that I never could have found myself. He has also taught me a lot about self-love. I easily can feel like a not-so-great mom, but the way he treats me and loves me no matter what has helped put things into perspective and helps me realize I’m doing a good job and he loves me and thinks I’m a great mom.

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Happy Birthday to our big, new two year old! These past two years with you have easily been the best two years of my life and I’m grateful to know that my life will always be good and have positivity in it because you are my son and I am your mom. You are my light, my happiness and my reason. Thank you for being you and creating a new, wonderful life for us. Have the best, happiest, most magical birthday, buddy. No one deserves it like you do. I love you to infinity and beyond – forever and ever.

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xoxo

ceeceesparkles