Friday, March 30, 2012


Andrew's putting in a few extra hours over the next few work days as his company sets up a new office in the Springs. As a thank you to him for all his hard work, I made him one of his favorite treats: buckeyes.

It was my first time using that recipe, and these are the best buckeyes I've ever made. The recipe is a keeper! I sent him an email with this photo, telling him some peanut buttery goodness awaits him for when he gets home tonight:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Whole Grain Cinnamon Swirl Muffins

I love attempting healthier versions of baked goods. Some work out, and some don't. Thankfully, this Pinterest pin that my friend posted did work out:

I substituted apple sauce for the mashed banana, and I also substituted oat flour for the whole wheat flour because that's what I had on hand. They made the whole house smell cinnamony good, and they had a great cinnamon flavor as well. The whole grain flour made them a little dense, but it was easy to ignore that for the amazing flavor and aroma. Best of all, my toddler gobbled them up. I had to give him half a muffin at a time because he kept asking for more.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


About a mile north of our house is a Starbucks right at our main reservoir. We can stop for a cup of coffee and take a stroll, and I love it.

Today was the first time Oliver walked around the whole thing himself. It's a mile around, and he usually wants to be held near the end. I was so proud of him for walking the entire thing. He's such a big boy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Banana Nutella Fudge Pops

I have to share this success pin from Pinterest:

Admittedly, I don't really like bananas, and these banana-based fudge pops were too "banana-y" for me. They were a big hit with my husband and toddler, though, and their texture was perfect--fudgey, gooey, and melty.
I halved the recipe and got four pops. Oliver seems to have lost two of the sticks for my popsicle molds, so I made two of them in silicone cupcake molds and used a wooden popsicle stick in them.

We ate them after they were in the freezer for only three hours, so it's possible they're not as gooey if left overnight. I'm not sure, but they were the perfect, healthy treat on a warm spring evening.

I plan on making these for my husband and kids all summer long!

Friday, March 23, 2012

We Won!

I just had to share my excitement because I can think of almost nothing else:
My husband and I each won tickets to the UK! We can fly anywhere, anytime this year.

I am
so excited because a trip like this is something we wouldn't be able to afford to do on our own.
It is a little bittersweet, though, because I cannot even fathom leaving my kids for multiple days. I just keep reminding myself that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and the kids will be in good hands with their grandparents. Urg, it's pulling at my heartstrings. Part of me wants to fork out the $1,000 we don't have to take the kids with us (Jo would be free, but Oliver wouldn't). It just seems silly to spend so much money to subject the kids to 14 hours of travel each way, only to drag them along on castle tours and what not.

I'm so excited. I'm so excited. But how am I going to leave my babies?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

He's Sick, She's Sick, We're All Sick

We've had almost no break in illnesses in our household for three months now. I've had two bouts of severe mastitis as well as the stomach flu. Andrew had a bout of H. pylori and a medical procedure that called for three days of strict bed rest. Oliver had a nasty cold and a day of the stomach flu. Jo even caught a cold last month! I don't deal well with being sick or caring for people who are sick, so I've just been chugging through, waiting for all of these viruses and infections to end.

Yesterday, Oliver's eye started to swell shut. It was so swollen, the inner tissues of the eyelid actually swelled up and covered the white of his eye. I rushed him to urgent care. After checking for trauma and scratches, they determined it was an infection. We later found out it was caused by a sinus infection.

Here's my brave little man. I took this photo after the swelling began to go down.

He really was brave for the doctors. He was stoic through all the drops and pulling and prodding of his eye. He even entertained Jo in the examination room, and he didn't cry once. He absolutely amazed me.

Oliver is my current role model. I'm trying to be as tough as he is, but I'm really, really hoping this is the last illness I have to deal with for a while.

I normally just clean the house with natural products like lemon juice, vinegar, and baking soda, but I'm going to go crazy today with strong antibacterial cleansers. I just want this sick phase to be

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Glimpse at the Terrible Twos

I'm really starting to get what makes the Terrible Twos so terrible. If your child hasn't entered this stage yet, allow me to give you a glimpse into a morning with a two year old:

Oliver: I want banana.

Me: What do you say?

Oliver: Please.

Me: OK, you may have a banana. (Peels banana)

Oliver: No banana!

Me: OK, no banana.

Oliver: *cries* banana!

Me: You want a banana?

Oliver: No banana!

Me: Fine. No banana.

Oliver: *cries* I want bananas!

Me: What do you say?

Oliver: No!

Me: Say please.

Oliver: No! No bananas!

Me: OK. All done. No bananas. (I put the peeled banana on the table)

Oliver: Bananas! Banana!

Me: Oliver, would you like a banana?

Oliver: No!

Me: OK, well, I'm going to put this banana on the chair with your water. You can eat it if you want to.

Oliver: *cries* No bananas!

Me: (I walk away. I start to write this blog as Oliver contemplates eating the banana).

Oliver: (Oliver takes the banana and sits on a chair). I want banana.

Me: You can eat it if you want to.

Oliver: No banana! (He throws the banana)

Me: OK, that's it. You're getting a time out. (I put Oliver in time out for a minute). You got a time out for yelling and throwing your food. You cannot throw food. No throwing food.

Oliver: (takes a bite of the banana, looks at it, and throws it. It breaks in two). *cries* Mommy, fix it! Mommy, fix it!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

100 (Attempted) Ways to Entertain a Young Toddler, Day 71: Car Wash

Like most of the country, we've been enjoying a few days of warm weather. I decided to make the most of it and took Oliver outside to do a little car wash. I filled one bowl with soapy water and another with fresh water. I grabbed a spray bottle with a vinegar-water mixture for the windows, and we headed outside.

Oliver looked really excited when he saw me rinsing towels. It was everything a toddler could hope for:

I showed him how to wash the car. He looked so interested!

But, when push came to shove, Oliver didn't want to wash the cars. He wanted to spray the vinegar-water into the bowls:

And soak the rags in the water and fling them about:

It wasn't what I'd planned for, but Oliver had a great time. After we (I) finished washing the outside of the cars, he climbed into the passenger side to push buttons and play with the air vents while I cleaned the interiors.

Of course, I had to keep an extra close eye on him, since our cars are parked in a lot. It was a good time, productive time, and a good way to spend a warm afternoon. If you don't have a toddler, I highly recommend getting one to help with your car cleaning. Your toddler probably won't be able to help much, but he'll make it a fun time.

Our "car wash" gets an A-.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tag! 11 Things

Here are a few rules to the game:

- Post these rules
- Post a photo and eleven random things about yourself
- Answer the questions provided by the one who tagged you
- Create eleven new questions for the people you tag
- Contact those you choose and let them know they've been tagged

I was tagged by my friend Sam from The Peanuts Gang.

A Photo of Me Today:
Eleven Random Things:

* I sing all the time, even though I'm bad at it. I make up songs as I play with my kids, I sing real songs but change the words to make them funny, and I sing songs as they're actually written. In public, I don't sing, but I do hum.

* I love numbers. I taught myself simple addition before I started school by reading my brother's homework. Math has always come very easy to me.

* I never spend more than 15 minutes to get ready for anything (minus shower time). Usually, I just spend five minutes to brush my teeth and put on mascara. If my hair doesn't dry in a good style on its own, I just stick it in a pony or weave it into a quick braid.

* My husband and I basically never fight. We've been together for over nine years, and I've never even heard him raise his voice.

* I hate telephones. The sound of them ringing stresses me out. I have a cell for emergencies, and I keep it off, sometimes going weeks without turning it on. I have the ringers of our home phones turned off, too, so the only way I know if someone is calling is if I happen to see a phone light up. Usually, I don't answer and just let it go to the machine.

* I smile most of the time. I'm a happy person, but I smile even when I'm not happy. I'm smiling as I write this.

* I'm one of the most opinionated people I know, but, to be fair to myself, I'm not afraid to change my opinions, and I genuinely try to understand other people's point-of-view.

* I don't believe in a higher power, but I do believe that people are mostly the same and mostly good.

* I wish I got to see my brother and sister more often.

* My proudest accomplishment is the half marathon that I ran with my mom in 2009. I didn't run the whole thing, but I did run the first 8 miles straight.

* I really dislike clutter and stuff on the counters and tables.

Sam asked these questions:

1) If you could bring back one television show, what would it be? Hmm. Maybe Mary Tyler Moore or Roseanne.

2) How many books have you read since January? None. While I enjoy reading, I haven't read since the birth of my second child in November.

What’s your favorite go-to dinner? I'd have to say penne primavera. It's easy, healthy, and delicious.

4) Where is the coolest place you’ve ever visited? Definitely Belize. I've traveled a lot, but that was the most unique, fun, and romantic.

5) Have you ever been out of the country? If so, where? Yes, my international travels include Canada, Mexico, The Bahamas, Belize, Guatemala, Germany, The Czech Republic, Italy, and Austria.

6) If you could only shop at one store for the rest of your life, what would it be? I don't really like shopping much, but I like that I can get everything I need at Target, so I'll say Target.

7) If you were throwing a kid-themed party for yourself, what kind of theme would you have? Probably a Wizard of Oz party theme. I adored that movie as a little girl, and it would still suit me today.

8) How many pairs of shoes do you own? Four. I have two pairs of running shoes, one of which I wear most of the time (Seinfeld style). I have a pair of slip-on sneakers for warmer weather, and a pair of snow boots. I'll probably buy a pair of flip-flops soon for our upcoming beach trip, as my last pair broke.

You are on the internet – what’s the first site you type in? All my regular sites are on my bookmarks bar, but I typically open Gmail, Facebook, and Reddit when I go online.

Which professional sport has the cutest athletes? I have no idea--maybe football, but I don't really watch football.

11) What’s a goal you have for this year? I want to get our popcorn ceilings scraped and painted.

My Questions...

1) What Disney movie makes you think of your childhood?
2) What's your favorite national park?
3) You join a book club. What book do you recommend the group reads?
4) What's your favorite US state to travel to?
5) Someone comes to visit you from out of town. Where do you take them to eat?
6) If you won $4 million in the Lottery, would you still work?
7) What Olympic sport is your favorite to watch in the summer? Winter?
8) What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
9) Do you enjoy cooking? How often do you cook?
10) Did you ever imagine yourself where you are today?
11) What's your proudest accomplishment?

Tag! You’re it!

Itayi from Tawana
Patti from Play Adventures
Meghan from Klassens
Lisa from Lisa Kitto Photography
Megan from Miami
Sammi from Sammi's Blog of Life
Laurie at Photog Manifesto
Kelly at Beautiful Life
Linda at Linda's Eye View
Andy at The Clumsy Tuba
Raymond from Raymond's Kitchen

Friday, March 9, 2012

100 (Attempted) Ways to Entertain a Young Toddler, Day 70: Oliver's Grocery Store

Today's activity was inspired by my cousin-in-law's post on her blog. You set up play food, real food (if you're brave), or empty containers for your child to put in his pretend grocery cart. Then, you have your child take the items to check out.

Oliver got a grocery cart for Christmas, and I don't think he's fully understood what it's supposed to be. Today, I set out all of the empty containers I've saved, and I told him we were going to do pretend shopping at Oliver's pretend grocery store. I have to be careful and explain that it's pretend, or else he'll get upset that we're not going to the real store.

I had to explain to him that the plastic cart was a grocery cart. For some reason, he didn't see it. Once I told him to put the groceries in the cart (that's what I tell him at the real grocery store), he got into it.
Oliver had to stop and fix the lid before continuing to load his grocery items in his cart. His grocery items consist of an empty Eggo waffles box that I taped shut, an empty box of macaroni and cheese that is taped shut, an empty container of Ovaltine, an empty milk carton that was rinsed very well, and an empty container of Greek yogurt. I really liked my cousin's idea of organizing the food by food groups, but I don't have enough to do that yet. Be sure to drink your Ovaline, Oliver! Man, that's my second reference to A Christmas Story in as many days.Then, it came time for check out. I pretended to scan his groceries, and I put them in a sack. I don't have a play cash register, and I'm embarrassed to say that I don't even own a calculator. I dug around in my wallet and found an old "Perks Card" from when I worked at Starbucks. I gave it to Oliver and had him slide it along the couch to check out. He loved it!

This was such a good game for Oliver. I have a feeling a lot of toddlers in his age range will enjoy this activity. You can teach food groups by sorting the food items by food group.  If your child is a little older than mine, you can teach math or money by incorporating a toy cash register. This is a great activity for a wide range of ages. I give "Oliver's Grocery Store" an A!

Apple Chips

I'm a sucker for making things, and I also like to eat. I really try to make mostly healthy things, although it doesn't always work out that way. For example, all week long, my husband has been leaving me hints to bake him a cheesecake (he loves when I make this one), so I finally bought the ingredients yesterday.

Because I'll be indulging in cheesecake this weekend, I've been avoiding all junk food this week. It's not easy. Thankfully, a friend came along and pinned these apple chips:

My mother-in-law had given me an apple peeler/corer/slicer because she knows I like to make apple butter in the fall. I actually hadn't used it yet because I thought it would be a big hassle to figure out how to use it and clean it. Yesterday, I decided to dig it out because I had no idea how to go about coring an apple without slicing it lengthwise.

It was a breeze! I stuck my apples onto the end of the pokey, and I let Oliver crank it. It cored and sliced the apples for me (I chose to keep the peel on). OK, so I messed up one apple while trying to figure it out, but then we cored and sliced five apples in less than 5 minutes.

Here's the aftermath:

Clean-up actually wasn't too difficult because I opted to spray it down full-force with my kitchen sprayer, and then I set it out to dry.

I didn't have any parchment paper on hand, so I baked the apple slices directly on the cookie sheets. Some stuck a little, but it wasn't bad. I sprinkled cinnamon on the slices and baked them at 275 for 45 minutes. I flipped them, sprinkled a bit more cinnamon, and rotated the cookie sheets in the oven because the back ones were cooking faster than the front ones. After another 45 minutes, I had to pull them out because some were burning. Most still weren't done and were very chewy. Only a small handful had any crispiness to them. In spite of the texture thing, they were so good. I couldn't eat just one and ended up eating like half of them. Plus, they made the whole house smell great. Here's how they looked:

I'm definitely (definitely) making these again, but I'm going to work at the recipe to try to get them more dehydrated. I think they would have turned out even better in a 200 or 225 degree oven, even if that means they would need to cook a lot longer.

Apple chips. You should make these. I hope you have fun playing with this recipe!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I can't put my arms down!

Oliver used to be all about helping me get him dressed. Now that it's no longer new and interesting to him, he's no longer interested in helping. Sometimes, I literally have to hold him up as I put his pants on. This morning, I had to toss him over my shoulder to hold up his weight as I desperately tried to wiggle his legs through the pant legs of his overalls. I was half-grunting and half-laughing and very near tears from muscle exhaustion when I decided I needed to blog about this motherhood experience.

I tried to think of a good comparison for my blog post. Is it comparable to hog-tying a pig? Perhaps. Then, I realized words couldn't do it as much justice as this scene from
A Christmas Story can. Truly, getting my toddler dressed every day (and before and after he goes to the potty) is
exactly like this. This classic movie always made me laugh, but now that I'm a mom, it's funny on a whole new level. I am most definitely Ralphie's mom in this clip:

Joanna, how are you four months old?

My beautiful baby girl is 4 months old today. While I'm glad she's getting old enough for things to start getting easier, I'm also a little wistful that she's growing up.

Joanna is still smiley and easy-going. She likes to be held a lot but doesn't protest too much when I put her down to go use the washroom or prepare dinner. She loves watching people and smiles at everyone. Oliver is her favorite person to watch. She also is very responsive verbally when people talk to her. I love whispering to her just to hear all of her cute coos in response.

She's still not very good at holding objects. This is quite the change from when Oliver was a baby, as he never really had a time when he didn't hold things. Jo will hold an object if I put it in her hand. She still has her grasping reflex. She understands how her arms work, though, and will bat at dangling items. A couple times, she's managed to grasp the rings in the bouncy chair, but I think those occasions have been mostly accidental.

She also doesn't show much interest in looking at things. I remember how Oliver wanted to explore everything at her age. He wanted to see the vacuum cleaner and coats and kitchen utensils and hairbrushes. Jo likes some things--the mirror and the toys on her exer-saucer--but she is not driven to explore all of the objects in the world around her. At least, not yet.

As far as rolling over goes, she's reached that milestone twice! Twice, she's rolled from back to front. It's not a regular thing yet, though. She found her feet earlier this month and enjoys grabbing them. Jo's also discovered thumb sucking. I read back on Oliver's 4 month update and noticed he did this, too. He outgrew it quickly, and so I'm kind of hoping Jo's the same way. It was nice not having to worry about pacifiers and thumb-sucking habits!

Joanna hasn't tried solids yet, but I made baked sweet potatoes the other night. I decided to make one for her, too. I pureed it with a lot of my milk and froze it in cubes for her to try soon--maybe this weekend. Speaking of milk, she nurses about every 2-3 hours during the day, and usually in much longer stretches at night.

Night. Wow. Jo decided to wake up every hour, all night long this month. I wanted to die. That's not true, but I really did fantasize about me getting injured and hospitalized so that I could finally get some rest. Sleep deprivation does crazy things. Well, we've been working on her sleep, mostly using the Ferber Method. For the past four nights, she's slept in her Pack 'N Play with her arms unswaddled, and she's been sleeping in a good 6 hour stretch. Ahhh, much better.

Here are Joanna's current likes and dislikes:

*Seeing Daddy when he gets home from work
*Being held by Mommy, especially facing outwards
*People smiling and talking to her
*Looking at the camera
*The Bumbo
*The toys on her exer-saucer
*White noise

*Being put in the car seat
*Stopping in the check-out lane at the grocery store

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

100 (Attempted) Ways to Entertain a Young Toddler, Day 69: Shadow Puppets

I few weeks ago, I'd made some shadow puppets for my Pinterest Challenge. The other night, we finally got around to putting them to use! I apologize for the photos. When I kept the flash off, the images were very blurry. When I put the flash on, it lit up the wall so you can't see the shadows on the wall!

Oliver was interested in the shadow puppets, but he couldn't quite grasp how to make them work himself. He saw the shadows on the wall (we just turned the lamp on in our bedroom at night. We didn't need to move it or anything). He wanted to do it himself, so he took the puppets and put them on the wall, like this:

So, the shadow puppets didn't really worked out like I hoped, but he still had fun. Here's one of the images that actually turned out OK:

Oliver then wanted to grab the puppets, so Andrew tried to hide them behind the pillows. There really was a shadow on the wall (lol!), you just can't tell because I used the flash:

It was fun for Oliver, but the fun didn't last long. Plus, all he wanted to do was grab all the puppets out of our hands and put them on the wall. I decided to save these and take them out again in a few months when maybe the whole thing will work out a little better. I'm pretty neutral on this activity. It took a decent amount of time to make those puppets because of all the cutting, but it was cheap to do. I guess I'll give this a C+, but I think this activity will be worthy of a higher grade when Oliver is older.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Treehouse Discovery

Yesterday, I took the kids to Treehouse Discovery in Highlands Ranch for a MOMS Club meet-up. The place is a little on the pricey side ($10/kid/day) unless you decide to invest in a membership ($60) to go all the time.

I was very pleased with the place. It's only for children 8 and younger, but the oldest child there was probably 5. There are wooden play sets for kids to climb and slide. There are also little scooters to ride around, tons of various toys and puzzles, and a costume dress-up area. There was very little plastic. Although there was a TV for parents to watch, the sound was off. I loved how bright and simple it was. By that, I mean it wasn't obnoxious at all, like one might expect from a kids' place (think: Chuck E Cheese).

I don't think I'll be making the drive there in the summer months, when I can just as easily go to a nearby park for free. I think it would be a great regular destination for the winter, though!

They also offer some classes. I'm very interested in taking Oliver to Chinese Storytime. It's for kids ages 1-5, and it's designed to get children exposed to the sounds of Mandarin Chinese. The cost is $15/session, but if you pay for the class, you get to play on the equipment afterwards for free.

Here are a few snapshots of our morning there:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Family Sleep Deprivation

Oh, my! This past month has been brutal. Until today! It's 3am, and I can't remember the last time I felt so good. I'm giddy!

You see, Joanna is quite different from the way our little Ollie Bear was. Oliver was, well, a nightmare as a baby. I love the little guy, but all he did was scream all the time until he was about four months old or so. Getting him to nap during the day was a struggle. Between the hours of 7am and 7pm, we were just miserable. The only peace we got was at night. He woke up a couple times at night, but he'd always go straight to sleep after he ate. He'd eat, I'd burp him, I'd put him down in his crib, and things were good.

Jo's had the opposite problem--for this past month, anyway. Her first couple of months, she was a pro sleeper. She'd give us 8 hour stretches. She'd sleep 13 hour nights, getting up once. It was amazing. She's a happy baby, too. She rarely cries and throws fits. If she's upset, it's because there's something wrong, like a wet diaper. We can't believe how easy she is as a little one, at least as it compares to those first few months with Oliver.

Recently, though, she's struggled to sleep at night. I'm not talking about a few rough nights. Basically every night for a month, she's been waking up every hour or so. It has been killer. During the day, she's this adorable, cooing, smiling baby. At night, it's--well, it's not good.

It all started when she started breaking out of her swaddle at night. She'd wake up, bust out of it, and cry. I'd get up, reswaddle her, and put her back down. Over the period of a week or two, I started utilizing bad habits just to make things easier. I'd nurse her to sleep and transfer her to her bassinet (and, later, the Pack 'N Play) asleep. She stopped learning how to put herself to sleep at night, and she continued to break out of her swaddle, crying.

We decided it was time for sleep training. You don't typically use sleep training (like our favorite Ferber Method) until six months old, but we didn't know what else to do. We didn't want to use it to get her to sleep through the night or anything like that (4 month olds aren't ready for that yet). We just wanted to use it to teach her to sleep unswaddled.

It didn't work.

When you use the Ferber Method, you let your baby cry, but you go to your baby every few minutes (there's a set schedule) and soothe your baby with your words and touch. If your baby doesn't go to sleep after an hour has passed, you stop using the method and wait a couple more weeks to try again. When we used this method on Oliver to teach him to sleep unswaddled, it worked in less than half an hour. With Jo, she fought it for the entire hour. Brutal.

We let her continue sleeping swaddled, us waking up every hour or two to reswaddle her. I decided to try a technique that hadn't worked on Oliver--putting Jo to sleep with one arm out of the swaddle. It was very hard to get her to sleep (hours!), but once she did, she slept for a three hour stretch. That felt like a miracle. The next day, she slept for nearly a five hour stretch. I thought the problem was fixed!

It wasn't. Jo started to wake up again every hour or two, all night, every night. What was wrong? We didn't know. It led to a lot of tears of frustration and desperation. We just wanted to be able to get a stretch of sleep--even three hours, just to complete a single sleep cycle. Nope.

I tried putting her to sleep with both arms out of the swaddle. That didn't work. One night, about a week or so ago, Andrew swaddled her up out of desperation. She didn't break out and slept for about six hours. Oh. My. God. I felt like a new woman.
Screw it, I thought. We'll just let her sleep swaddled until she's a teenager.

The next night, she woke up hourly again. Cry.

We decided to try the swaddle thing one more night. If she was going to wake up hourly, then there was no point in swaddling both arms in.

Well, that night, I was laying in bed, and I heard some quiet cries. When Jo just fusses, we let her fuss, on the chance she decides to put herself back to sleep. We wait to see if those fusses turn to cries or not. I had to use the restroom, so I got up and did that. On my way back, I decided to peak at her.

She was face down.

It was the single, scariest moment of my life. She wasn't just sleeping on her stomach. Her face was down, into the mat of the Pack 'N Play. I tipped her shoulder, and she immediately started screaming. I've never been so happy to hear her scream, and I started crying with relief. I was shaking and told Andrew what happened. No matter what, she needed to have at least one arm free. First, that would make it harder to roll over from back to front. Second, if she did flip, at least she'd have use of her arms to be able to push her head up and to the side for air.

We used the next few nights to teach her to sleep with both arms out of the swaddle. There was very little sleep happening. I started to get short with Andrew during the day, and he started to stay up with her downstairs for a few hours to give me a short stretch of sleep until he couldn't stay awake anymore.

He started to worry how the lack of sleep was affecting his job. He worried he'd fall asleep behind the wheel.

Saturday night, we decided to try sleep training again. We shipped Oliver over to Grandma Colleen's house for the night. I moved the Pack 'N Play to the living room to give Joanna her "own" room. At 7pm, I nursed her and plopped her into bed, both arms out of the swaddle. She cried. We soothed her every few minutes (3 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 7 minutes). She fell asleep. An hour passed, and she woke up. We didn't pick her up. We soothed her every few minutes again. An hour passed, and we did the same thing. Another hour passed, and we did it again. Twice, I changed her and nursed her, but for the rest of her wake-ups, we didn't pick her up. Finally, at 4am, she fell asleep for a stretch and slept until 7:30am.

The next day, yesterday, we made the decision not to let her nap in her Rock 'N Play bassinet. She sleeps in there too well, and we didn't want her to get her days and nights switched. So, for her naps, it was back in the Pack 'N Play. None of her naps were more than an hour. We knew she had to be really tired, but she wasn't caving. She wasn't going to put herself back to sleep.

...until last night.

Thank you, Joanna. You've done it! You've learned how to put yourself to sleep again.

Jo was very tired at 7pm. I swaddled up her legs but kept her arms out. I nursed her and put her in her Pack 'N Play. She started to cry. We used our method, and she fell asleep in about 15 minutes.

It's 3:30am now. My breasts are full of milk and ache a bit, but I feel incredible. I slept from 8pm to 2am. Six hours of sleep. Straight.

I couldn't go back to sleep at 2am. I worried about Jo. Was she on her stomach again? I had to go check. Nope! She's sleeping flat on her back, arms down at her sides, just snoozing away.

Every night won't be like this, I know. She's probably making up for all of the sleep she lost over the past couple days. Here's the thing: I don't mind getting up to feed her and change her when she needs it. One, two, even three times a night, I'm all about it. Here's a fresh diaper, here's some warm milk, here's your crib. But I physically cannot handle getting up and walking or rocking her back to sleep every time one of her sleep cycles ends. Actually, that's not fair. To be honest, Andrew (he's such a saint, I swear) does most of the nightly work. He needs to sleep, but I really need my sleep. I think it's genetic. At 60, my dad still sleeps 8-10 hour nights and naps on his days off. When I was 18-20, I still needed to sleep 14-16 hour nights. When pregnant with Oliver, I needed to sleep all the time--all day, every day. I only wanted to wake up for a few hours a couple times a day. I couldn't handle staying awake through an 8 hour work day, and I remember trying to get my shift shortened to get more sleep (that didn't work). At 29, I typically don't function well on less than 9 hours of sleep. Before Jo was born, I'd need to get a 12 hour stretch of sleep a couple times a week. That entailed going to bed right when Oliver did at 7pm and sleeping through until 7am the next day. This nonsense of waking up every hour or two just hasn't sat well with me.

I know, being a parent of a baby comes with sleep deprivation. I get that. If Jo wasn't sleeping tonight, I'd be pushing through it. Somehow, we've made it work and have gotten through night after night of no sleep. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I'm so, so, so, so happy that the sleep training has worked. At least for tonight.

Thank you, Joanna. We're coming up on 4am, and you're still snoozing. There's going to be an end to our sleep deprivation. I've never been so happy in my life.