6.28.2013

Seriously Zoe, Go the Fuck to Sleep

Breastfeeding: check. Sleep? Not so much...

Zoe and I have managed to get breastfeeding under control, hooray! We've done a few more on the go feedings and I've felt comfortable enough with her latching and our groove that I've tried out some more holds with success (I was practically getting carpal tunnel). But the next challenge? Getting Miss Fussy Pants to sleep. Oy vey.

It seems like we can get her to sleep pretty well about half the time. Pretty well means waking up for a feeding twice (usually around midnight and another around 3 or 4). I will gladly take that schedule. I've had sleeping problems for the past couple of years (and at other times throughout my life) so I'm no stranger to getting crappy sleep. And I've grown somewhat accustomed to it. But on bad nights Zoe decides she either needs us to entertain her or just flat out WAILS from 10:30-4am. It's like clockwork. Oh my god. Earlier this week it happened 3 nights in a row and I thought I was going to go insane.


Oh, that's hilarious, huh Zoe?

I was seriously going crazy and Chris and I really buckled down to try and figure out what the hell to do.

There are a TON of ideas about what you can do to make your baby sleep better and we sorted through many of them to figure out what was best for us. Of course, we're still trying this strategy out, so we'll see how well it works.

1. WEAR THE BABY

This one I read about in our beloved baby book. The idea is that the first several months outside the womb for newborns is like a "4th trimester." Because of this babies can be overwhelmed by all of the stimulus going on in the world when they've been safe in your belly for 9 months. By carrying baby you're simulating being in the womb again and it's comforting for them. They hear your heartbeat, your voice and just like being close to you. The only bad thing is that she's a fucking little heater and it has been HOT this week so I've probably sweated off about 4 pregnancy pounds. So, I guess that's actually a good thing...

2. Cue feed.

The idea is that because baby is close to you by being held all the time they are more stimulated to eat when they want it (because they're so close to your boobies) and so you feed when baby wants to feed. By doing this she doesn't get disrupted out of sleep and all fussy to eat. If she sleeps longer than 3.5-4 hours we wake her up to eat. She's already hit 10 pounds (1 pound over her birth weight at 3 weeks), so she's definitely turned into a good feeder.


3. Keep her awake closer to bedtime.

This one is a little challenging. How do you keep a newborn up? We try to move her around a lot, "play" with her as much as possible with a 3 week old person, and generally try to be exciting enough to keep her awake closer to when we go to bed.

4. Create a nighttime routine.

It's amazing, but apparently their little tiny brains can already make associations of what a nighttime routine is and what that leads to. So we've started getting ready for bed around 9 and feed her, go for a nice evening walk at 9:30, and start trying to put her down for bed at 10. She seems to like it, and it's nice for Chris and I too.


5. Make nighttime feedings just about feeding.

During the day now I keep the lights bright, have the TV on, talk to her, etc. And at night we keep it dark, I stay quiet and we just get the job done. Babies hopefully start to learn the difference between night and day - I can play after during the day and at night mom and dad really want me to go to bed.

So far this strategy has worked pretty well. We've only really buckled down with this strategy for the last 3 nights, but each night we've done it has been an improvement, hooray! The first night she only woke up twice, I fed her, and she went to bed within an hour. The next night she fussed till about 2 am, then went to bed till about 7. Still fussy, but fussing till 2 is WAY better than fussing till 4. And last night was magical. It took her a decent amount of time to fall asleep because we didn't finally get her down till about 12:30. But then? She fucking slept all the way to 7am. It was fucking amazing. Now, I know we'll have lots of backslides and it will continue to be trial and error. But it at least seems to be improving things, so that is awesome.

But along the way we've gotten pretty good at soothing her. Well, I'm not sure how "good" we are at it because she still wails. But generally we can get the wailing to stop, it's just the challenge to get her to SLEEP. Here are our top soothing techniques.

1. Swaddling

Zoe is fucking Houdini and can get out of any swaddle we put her in. So we finally got so pissed off that we bought these velcro ones. They're like a little baby straight jacket. I feed her at night, we imprison her in her straight jacket and lay her down to sleep. It works sometimes. But it usually works to at least calm her down when she's screaming, so that is much appreciated.

2. The exercise ball

Who would have thought? Our friends said this worked for their daughter and it can generally get her to stop crying about 85% of the time. We just hold her and sit on the ball and bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce. It starts to hurt your back after a while though...


3. Walking

I apparently cursed myself by being really active while pregnant because if we sit with her for too long she gets really pissed off. It's actually pretty humorous because she'll start crying and then after you walk for 4 steps she stops. We take about 5 laps around the house and she's completely calm, we stop and the crying starts again. She knows the difference between just bopping back and forth and actually walking too which is also pretty hilarious.

4. White noise. The louder the better

We go to bed with white noise going every night now. And we leave it on alllll night. And when she's really upset, playing it softly does not work at all, it has to be LOUD. And then she calms down pretty quickly. I can't tell which is more frustrating though - a screaming baby or the sound of a vacuum cleaner played forever.


5. The Happiest Baby on the Block

Seriously, this guy is a genius. His video was recommended by 2 friends. I have no idea how he figured these things out. Putting her on her side and rocking her while "Shhhhhhh"-ing works about 2/3rds of the time at night to calm her down. She might not sleep, but at least the crying stops. And putting her in a swing works about 1/2 the time. Sometimes it's magical, and other times she is not entertained by it at all. But hey, 1/2 the time is something.

Hopefully she continues to improve on her sleep patterns. I have no problem waking up multiple times to feed, but waking up multiple times to her wailing for hours was making us completely lose our minds and is not fun.

What about you, sleeping or soothing tricks and tips?

6.26.2013

Closet Progress - Because Breast Pads have to go Somewhere

We've made some serious progress on that awkward closet. It wasn't really a priority before and we were figuring we'd finish it off later down the line, but now that Zoe is here there are extra diapers, breast pads, wipes and other baby goods strewn about my office


We decided finishing things off in the closet would be nice because it would get this stuff out of the way. Originally we had planned to build the shelving for it


But, shocker, we decided against building anything in here. Gasp! I know. We just wanted it to go faster and building things ourselves would take a while. Plus, this closet is so small and we figured it wouldn't really add much to have custom cabinetry/shelving in here.

Before we installed/purchased shelving though Chris trimmed out the inside of the door and added the baseboard


Then we went to buy the shelving for it. Normally I hate buying things at Ikea, but this seemed like a good place for it. The closet is so narrow I wanted to find a simple cabinet for the far nook where we were going to build 2 drawers. I surfed Ikea online and we settled on this guy for $20

ANTONIUS Frame and wire baskets IKEA

The wire baskets clocked in at $2.50 each, so the whole thing cost us just over $30 with tax. Which is honestly just about the same price we would have paid for wood and hardware to build a cabinet. Want to know the hilarious thing? This EXACT shelving unit is at the Container Store and costs over $100 because they just brand it differently. Seriously, it's the exact same. Same hardware, same assembly, etc. What a racket.

Anyway, we bought that for the far corner and then just standards with shelves for the really shallow 6" shelves immediately to the right when you open the door


Chris worked on installing it while I worked on day job work


Zoe didn't seem to mind the loud noises too much in the beginning


We put these on our registry to help not deafen her before she's 1 with all the power tools. She got a little pissed off after wearing them for about 5 minutes, but it was more because they made her really hot, rather than the noise (of course that's completely my assumption because her ears were all hot and sweaty after I took them off when she started crying).

The standards went up and the shelves went in



The shelves are about 7" deep or so because we cut them just slightly more narrow than the available space so that they could overhang the door trim to give us another 1.5 or so inches of space


And despite how shallow they are, they actually fit a TON of stuff




The best part? Now all the extra diapers, wipes, etc. are all out of the way and organized.

And the far nook in the closet is ready to be organized too. We added the little Ikea "cabinet"


We still had room above for the closet rods and shelf


Usually I leave 30-36" between closet rods to hang clothes, but we put them closer together in here because it's a kid's room and so we could fit a shelf above (and they needed to be at a low enough height so that you could actually reach the upper rod)


Once all the shelves and hanging rods were in I reorganized a bit according to what we use the most and we were able to call the project done!

The right side immediately after you open the door



And the left side



Finished project. Hooray!

6.25.2013

The Coreopsis is Back to Life!

Ummm, the coreopsis have returned from the dead. Astonishing. The original one I split from was looking like this a couple of weeks ago



And now it looks like this


And the one that I transplanted after splitting that looked full on DEAD?



It is rising from the dead!


It's a miracle! Who knows if it will full on come back to life, but the fact that there are 3 flowers on it is pretty exciting.

Want to know what else is exciting? Shasta daisies that are nearly 4 ft tall


Not exciting? The arbor vitae was looking like it was on its way out a few weeks ago


I think it has full on left the station


My dad and step mom were over the other day and she said if we could find the receipt we should try to return it because it was guaranteed for a year at the nursery we got it from.

The nice thing though is that really besides the arbor vitae, the rest of the front yard is looking pretty damn beautiful in all the summer sun




Our veggie gardens in the back are slowly coming along as well. Veggie garden 2.0 isn't really doing great


The peas have died, the beans look like they might, and only one bell pepper and watermelon have survived. Oh well. It's not like I have time to tend to the plants very much at the moment anyway.

The other veggie garden?


It's growing - we have tomatoes!



And we might have some squash soon as well


And lastly, the dwarf meyer lemon and orange we planted last September...


They're pretty happy


We even have some little lemons


Yay for summer and lots of growing :) I can't wait to enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of our labor :)

6.24.2013

The Gate Falls out of Level

Last year as we were finishing up landscaping the front yard we installed the original gate on the front of the house


But in the last year one of the wing nuts broke and the gate has fallen out of level


See on the right side how much closer it is to the ground? As a result it always swings open and stays in this position


We've been trying to check off little things off of our to do list with Zoe being so little - tackling things that don't take too long so we make sure to have lots of snuggle time :) This has been on Chris' to do list for a while so last week we got to it.

We removed it from the wall


And that's when we discovered the broken wing nut


So we brought out a new one and shoved it in the holes we had already pre-drilled last year. This time we also put on a nice, thick bead of PL Premium because we figured it couldn't hurt to add some extra strength


Chris also decided to add some thread lock as well


I held it in place while Chris re-installed it


And then he added PL Premium to the sides as well (again, we figured it couldn't hurt)


Lastly, Chris put some shims under the gate to make sure everything dried and held in place overnight in an attempt to make sure it got set in a level position


Now? It's closing correctly and is finally level again


Let's just hope it stays that way.