Wednesday, July 17, 2013

lately [tidbits + pics]

I was recently reminded that I haven't blogged in three weeks (thanks KAYCIE). Life has been busy and hectic and fun and OMG SUMMER. So here's what we've been up to - in bullet point form, naturally.

- Our house is officially on the market! As exciting as it is to plan our future in a new home (details to come on that in another post - I don't want to jinx it), it's pretty overwhelming in a lot of ways. 

First of all, we have a TON of last minute projects to wrap up before we have showings... you know those little things you've been putting off for years... like un-cluttering the empty bedroom and repainting the outdoor stair rail? We've been busting our asses (meaning, Sean has been busting his ass) getting all this stuff done. 

Also, it's a little emotional to think about leaving this place and starting over somewhere else. This was our first home we owned together and we have a ton of memories here. But I'm so excited to start fresh in a home that ISN'T 60+ years old. So yeah, that shiz has been a little crazy. 

- Ronin loves the pool. Granted, we've only been a handful of times, but he loves the water and that makes me such a happy Mama. We spent a few hours at the pool on the 4th of July and it made me so excited to spend his first Independence Day doing something fun. We had a little cookout at our home to celebrate the 4th and sadly, I took zero photos. But trust me when I say we are certainly enjoying our summer so far!

water baby :)

- My Arbonne business has been such an eye opening experience, and I'm really enjoying everything I'm learning about network marketing, our products, and building leadership skills. I'm bound and determined to move up in rank by the end of the year, and it feels extremely empowering to have a goal like that in mind. 

- I have yet to take Ronin's 10 month photos and he'll be 11 months old next week. I also sent his birthday invitations out this week and I may or may not have cried in the parking lot of the post office. This kid is looking more and more like a little boy and less like a baby by the day, y'all. And I just can't. 

Ronin's birthday invite - designed it myself, blocked out the address for privacy reasons, duh.

-  I'm currently reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (author of the infamous Gone Girl), and I cannot put it down. It's been a long time since I was so into a book that I finished it in less than a week. We're reading it for our book club and it's going to be so hard to wait until August to discuss! 

- I'm thinking that we may have a slight intolerance to fruit going on with Ronin - either that, or I'm just giving him too much of it and he can't handle all of the fiber. He's been in disposables for about 10 days because he's been pooping SO MUCH, and he also had a nasty diaper rash that lasted for almost 4 days. It seems to be getting better (the poop frequency AND the rash) now that I've cut back on the fruit at meals, so let's hope that's all it was. 

I just talked about baby poop on my blog. I think I'm officially a mom blogger now? 

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

we sleep trained at 9 months. and we lived to tell the tale!

Let me preface this by stating that we seriously have the easiest baby on the planet. If I knew that we could duplicate his laid back personality and ability to adapt to change, I would seriously have 12 more babies in a heartbeat. Thankfully, this made helping him learn how to self soothe a breeze. I'm aware that many of you probably want to punch me in the face, and that's fine. But remember that my next kid will most likely be a fucking nightmare. And then you can laugh.

I mentioned before that we were following the SleepEasy Solution sleep learning program. We began the crib transition by sleeping in the room with him (on a blow-up mattress) for a week before forcing him to stay in the room by himself. I felt that it helped him to know that we were still in the room with him, especially since he's only slept without us on a few occasions. 

For the most part, he did exceptionally well being in his crib at night. We would do his nightly routine like usual (diaper change, baby massage, jammies, book, song, and rock to sleep), and then place him in his crib and try not to wake him up. He would sometimes wake after his sleep cycle, but was pretty skilled at putting himself back to sleep. Occasionally, he would be pretty upset, and that's when I would just go up to comfort him and go to bed myself. There were a few times that I just brought him to bed with me on the air mattress - I felt it was better to do that than fall asleep rocking him in the glider. I also may or may not have wanted to really soak up those last nights of snuggling and smelling his sweaty little head while he sleeps.

Finally, after a week of killing my back on the air mattress, we decided to start the full program on May 31st. We did everything the same, except that I took the time to tell him while we were doing our routine that we were going to be leaving him in his room all night, and that he was ready to sleep in his crib all by himself. Also, instead of rocking him to sleep, we put him in his crib awake. I just rocked him for a minute and sang "you are my sunshine" to him, and laid him down. As I was walking toward the crib, I said "alright buddy, it's time for you to learn to self soothe. you're a big boy and you're going to do great!" 

Of course, as soon as I shut the door, I could hear him start to cry. As instructed by the book, we went in after 5 minutes of crying. I just walked halfway to his crib so that he could see me and I said, "I know this is hard for you, Ronin, but you're such a big boy now that you have to learn to sleep by yourself. I'll be back in to check on you in a few minutes. night night!" I was in the room for less than 30 seconds. They really encourage you to sound confident and not weary at all, and I think that's important. Babies can totally sense if you are nervous or hesitant and if you aren't comfortable with what you're doing, they certainly won't be either.

Anyway, so there was more crying. Sean did the second check 10 minutes later, and we figured we'd take turns. Oh, and Ronin had also just gotten over a bit of a cold, so he was still kind of congested and his nose was a little runny. The book suggests NOT beginning sleep learning while a baby is sick or teething, but I knew if I didn't start it then, I would just keep putting it off. He wasn't running a fever and had been playing like normal, so I knew he'd be okay. At least... I knew that in the very back hidden corner of my mind. 

After 10 minutes of crying, I was thisclose to saying "fuck it" and going upstairs to soothe him. I just kept picturing his little face covered in snot and tears and it broke me. There is no doubt in my mind that sleep training is WAY worse on Mamas than it is on Dads. Sean assured me that he was fine, that he needed to learn how to soothe himself. I still protested and tried to come up with excuse after excuse as to why we should just "wait until next weekend." At that point, he just flat out refused and didn't try to comfort me because he knew I was being ridiculous. I then found myself crying in the bathroom with the fan on to drown out Ronin's crying. With a beer, of course. 

Sean continued to do the check-ins at the suggested intervals (every 15 minutes after the first two at 5 and 10 minutes). For instance, if Ronin was placed in bed at 8:00 and continued to cry, he would be checked on at 8:05, 8:15, 8:30, and every 15 minutes after that until he fell asleep. On the first evening, it took 56 minutes for him to finally self soothe. It was probably the longest hour of my life. The second evening only took 24 minutes, and by the fifth night or so, he was down to 6 minutes and zero crying. The time it took him to fall asleep dwindled with each passing night, which was wonderful to witness. It made me SO proud.

It was incredibly heart wrenching to listen to him cry, but I knew he was okay. He was only upset because he wanted me to help him sleep, even though I knew he could do it on his own. He first soothed himself to sleep around 4 months, so I encouraged him to do that for a while in our bed. Once he became mobile though, it was impossible to put him in our bed for a nap by himself, so I think he forgot how to do it. 

Do I miss co-sleeping? Yes and no. Obviously, I miss having the snuggly, warm little body next to me at night, and I definitely miss helping him to go back to sleep in the middle of the night by rubbing his back or playing with his hair. However, it is SO nice to have our bed back and not having to prop pillows up along the edge of the bed when I get up to pee in the middle of the night. The freedom of being able to take a nice long shower while he naps is more amazing than I could ever describe. I love that I don't have to worry about making too much noise and waking him up - either at night or during naps, which means I can get things done around the house instead of tip-toeing around and watching the monitor like a hawk. It's so awesome watching him play in his crib and talk to his blankie when he can't sleep. I think it helps him to become more independent, even though he's still so young.

Nine months is a long time to wait to sleep train for some people, but it ended up being perfect timing for us, including Ronin. He adapted so quickly and I think he sleeps better in his own room than he did in ours. He's doing so well in his crib now and it's hard to believe I ever doubted that he'd be able to sleep in there. Buuuuuut I do still nap with him in our bed occasionally when I really miss the cuddles or it's a rainy day and just feeling like snuggling. We are so thankful to have such an easy going baby - if only I could clone him! 

So I wanna know:
What method did you use for sleep training? How long did it take? How many cases of beer (or wine) did you go through during the process? :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Friday loves

this is a fraction of the junk that is in our food here in the U.S. 
- sad, but true. so happy to be a part of a company that bans these ingredients from our products. 

I hope that when Ronin is four, he's half as cool as this girl

"behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she's screwing things up." 
- Jess' awesome take on this quote. 

a baby sea lion jumps on a boat and cuddles. aka my dream come true.

RRQ: nine months!

super late on this month's update. so hard to take photos when dude is ALL over the place. I had to practically hold him down for this picture and he's not even looking at me. oh well. only three more to do! eeeeks!

um, I took a LOT of photos between months 8 and 9. photo overload ahead!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

pure. safe. beneficial.

a few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted on Facebook about wanting to employ someone part time through her Arbonne business. I'd heard of Arbonne before, but didn't really know much about the company or the products. for the past few months, I've been considering working part time to bring in some extra income. our bills are paid, but we really don't have a lot leftover at the end of the month to put into savings, and that has bothered me. so I emailed Angela to inquire about the business, and not only did she welcome me with open arms, but she mailed me a substantial package full of samples and product information. 

as I read through the material, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I agreed with the company policies. along with being carbon neutral and totally green (and not in a trendy way), Arbonne makes an incredible commitment to their customers when it comes to providing the safest products possible. every product offered through Arbonne is the best combination of scientific research and botanic ingredients. I found myself thinking "wow, that's amazing!" about 983 times while reading through the paperwork. 

obviously, I began using the product samples that very evening, and I am not even exaggerating that by the next evening, I could see and feel the difference between the Arbonne RE9 skincare line and my drugstore purchased stuff. my skin felt firmer and seemed to breathe easier within 24 hours. the fact that every single product is made without nasty chemicals or fillers made my decision that much easier. in fact, Arbonne not only follows FDA standards with their ingredients (did you know that the FDA only prohibits 13 ingredients from being added to products that GO INTO OUR BODIES?!), but they follow European guidelines as well (which ban over 200 ingredients). what's even more awesome is that there is a product for everyone - products that provide targeted results, from acne and wrinkles to weight loss and ridding your body of toxins. 

I think the best thing about this opportunity is that I get to work at my own pace, all while I stay home with Ronin. as much as I love the products, it really is about the convenience for me. I can take someone to Starbucks and teach them about the products and the company, and it will be considered "work." Arbonne isn't just about selling products, it's about people - it's about improving the lives of others, whether it be through the products, or the business opportunity that is offered. 

so with all that said, I'm very excited to announce that I've decided to join the Arbonne team as an Independent Consultant. I feel privileged to associate myself with such a reputable company and cannot wait to learn as much as I possibly can. I never thought I'd have my own piece of a network marketing company, but here I am. I attended a local Arbonne Retreat over the weekend and left feeling more inspired than I have been in YEARS. the group of women that surround me within this business are absolutely incredible, and I can't wait to work (if I can even call it that...) with and learn from them all.