Sleep Training

We decided to start sleep training Jordanna on January 27th. It had become increasingly difficult to put her down for a nap or bed. She didn’t always want to lay her head down while being held to go to sleep like before, and she started pushing away and moving more, due to her growing awareness of everything around her.
Well, Friday night January 26th, she decided she didn’t want the swaddle anymore. I had already started swaddling with one arm out to get her transitioning out of it before rolling. When she slept without the swaddle that night, we decided to go for all of sleep training.
I read multiple blogs and advice about this before training her, and my husband was on board with helping and trying it out.
So, the nap time came for Saturday morning, and we said ok. We are going to do the bedtime routine and then put her in her crib. Our routine consists of closing the blinds/curtains and singing her Jesus Loves Me. Let me tell you; that nap time didn’t go well. We used the sleep training technique, where you go in every 10 minutes to let her know you are there and sing and rub her belly/ pat her and then leave. After an hour and 10 minutes of crying, I decided to get her up. I fed her, and then I put her in the carseat and we drove to Target. She was asleep within two minutes of leaving the house. Some key things to note here were that we never went back to the old way of putting her to sleep where I would carry her, shush her, bounce a little to get her to go to sleep, and it took 15-25 minutes. One blog I had read said to do what you have to do to get them to sleep other than going back to the old associations. So we went to Target, and then I got a sound machine. This has been the best sleep cue for us. The first nap time I tried it, I put on a song, but quickly realized that both my husband and I can’t sleep to music and she didn’t like it either. We now use the ocean setting, which has really helped.
Also, we chose to pull the plug and do all nap times and night times the same way. Knowing our child’s personality, she would get confused if we didn’t go all in.
The first several days were rough. It is horrible hearing your child cry and knowing that it is for her good in the long run to train her early. There times when both Raymond and I would be sad. She did start getting the hang of it by the 3rd day. She was fully sleep trained by the 6th day. If you plan to sleep train, know that your naps and scheduling will probably be off.
On Monday morning nap time, I remembered something about Jordanna. She loves to feel things. Every time she is nursing, she always wants to feel and play with my shirt, and she likes holding her burp blankets. So, I remembered we have this knit blanket, and I let her have it, while I watched on the monitor. This has been her key security to falling asleep. During the first couple nights, I let her fall asleep with it, and then I switched it out to the burp blanket, so that it is more breathable and not as big. But, now she wants only the knit blanket. After 10 days of watching her on the monitor, I’m confident she knows where she wants it. She moves around her crib with it. It is a 28X28 breathable blanket with large holes, and I have ordered a 14X14 security knit blanket that should arrive this week.
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I do realize that this isn’t recommended by hospitals, but I think you have to take the right measures and know your child well. We also coslept several nights, when she wouldn’t sleep as a two week old, except near her mom. When I think about how both Raymond and I slept with blankies as babies and kids, she probably is the same way. And, when I go to bed, I need my covers and like to hold a blanket in my hand. Would I prefer that she hold a thinner muslin blanket, yes, but she won’t take it. It is her personality – every since she was born, she has known what she wants and will vocalize it. I’m embracing it and love seeing her develop.
A friend gave me this verse, as I was working through this.
Psalms 4:8 “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
As of today, she falls asleep within 15 minutes most naps of putting her down. Bed time is pretty easy and takes less time. And, since she has learned to sleep on her own, we have done very well with Sleep, Eat, Play routine and getting full feedings in. It has been a very good change.

Key things that helped in the process:
Raymond and I both were on the same page with what to do
Raymond and I both knew the bedtime routine to repeat
We were open to modifying sleep cues (adding the sound machine, reading a book before singing, and breathable blanket)
We never went back to the old way… if she had trouble one nap, we put her in the car seat and drove

So if you are on the fence about sleep training, I highly recommend it. However, you have to commit to it and not confuse your child. Do it when you will be home or have time to go drive if needed, etc…
The rewards outlast the painful 5 or 6 days.

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Cozy at home?

One thing that I have enjoyed since becoming a family of three is time together at home. We did lots of traveling all the way through July 2017, so being at home has been nice.
I had been told that when a couple first gets married, it’s so nice to be at home. You just want to cuddle and watch movies. For us, we didn’t experience that. We were very busy. We had a lot of house projects to do, people to see, places to go, and we hardly watched a movie our first year and a half of marriage. Well, I’m glad we did all that before having a child, because right now, we have watched more movies, cooked a lot more, and had the “in home date nights.”

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It isn’t that we are afraid to go out with our child, it’s just not the right timing with a newborn. We did go out some this fall, but with the cold winds and winter we have had, it has been nice to be home.
We even changed around our house and made one room into a cozier feel, where we can hang out and watch a movie, if we choose to.
We also are in this new stage of life with bed time being super important. We are mostly home by 7pm, if we do go anywhere. It’s important for me to maintain the routine of bedtime with our child.
So, if you are in a stage of life without children, our advice to you would be go and do and see and have many adventures. They don’t stop with children, but it is very different. Our adventures don’t consist of the weekend get aways anymore; they are mostly local or in the middle of the day. Our next big adventure will be to North Carolina. We haven’t stopped traveling completely, but it is limited.
We took a day trip to Des Moines during the Christmas break and that was an adventure, but we also planned ahead and made sure we had everything we needed for the baby. (It also included me nursing Jordanna in the parking lot of Toys R’ Us) Haha.
So, enjoy being cozy at home this winter, or enjoy the adventures of traveling and going many places. Say yes and be open to new things and experiences.

Making Peace with Prickly People

This new year, I have decided to focus more on relational development, understanding more of myself and others, and also to be present (not thinking only of what will happen in the future, but cherishing the current day). With becoming a parent, it motivates me to be the best version that God created me to be and work on any issues that would prevent me from loving Jordanna the best I can.
Recently, I finished reading the book “Making Peace with Prickly People” by Deb Potts. Previously, the books I read about boundaries and relationships were written by males. I liked reading a female’s point of view. This book does a great job of talking about who God is, who I am, the different personality types of people (choleric, sanguine, melancholic, and phlegmatic), and how to love myself well and love others well.
I had not read about these personality types before, and Deb did a great job pointing out different people in the Bible that God used that all had the different personality types.
I love the NIV version of the Bible, when reading the love verses in I Corinthians 13. It hits home a lot when it says, love keeps no record of wrongs and love is not easily angered. These are things I continually have to ask the Spirit to empower me to do.
The main thing that really resonated with me in this book was when she talks about forgiveness and making peace with people. She lists three things that you must practice and do, when you truly have forgiven someone.
1) I promise not to bring the subject up again in our relationship.
This is so on point with not keeping a record of wrongs.
2) I promise not to bring the subject up with other people for the purpose of slander.
She talks about how bringing a situation to a mentor or close friend for the purpose of wise counsel is good, but how when we just want to vent or rehash the situation, it is a way of getting back at the other person passively.
3) I promise to avoid bringing the situation up with myself.
This is another way to passively hurt the person and allowing toxic memories to fester does not help our thoughts or help us to love the other person.

This book helped me refocus on the fact that I am responsible for me, for my thoughts, and for loving others well. I’m so grateful to have this mindset in the start of 2018.
So, what are you saying yes to this year? Are you reading beneficial books? Are you loving people well? Are you harboring unforgiveness? Choose to say yes to living a joyful, fruitful life… we are all works in progress.

The Miracle Of Life

As we have just gone through Christmas and celebrated the miracle of Jesus coming to earth, I thought it was time to share miracles and things I was in awe of from pregnancy and giving birth. When I went through the last trimester of pregnancy and the process of birth, everything was overwhelming with all that was happening in my body and then seeing the child that was formed and grown in my womb. As I was learning about post birth happenings, I just couldn’t get over how everything was fit together and how God created the process. It was so fascinating and so amazing. Several women had told me that after giving birth, I would be more astonished at the miracle of life and the process of how God creates life. So, I have decided to put together several things that were so fascinating to me – some are awing moments. Some are hardships I went through. This is pretty real with giving birth and nothing to be afraid of with how God created women and this process.
During the last trimester, a woman wakes up continuously to empty her bladder – sometimes four times a night. This is to help prepare for the many times the baby will wake up. I also had times, where I would be wide awake at 3-5 in the morning.
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When the water breaks, fluid continue to keep forming the whole time in labor to continue to nourish the baby.
When the baby is born and begins to nurse at the mother’s breast, uterine contractions happen to bring the uterus back down to it’s original size (I had no idea this happened, and it is a cool feeling, yet a painful feeling at times too. Say what? I am supposed to try to start feeding this child, while I’m having intense uterine cramping at the same time? But it is just like God to create this to help healing)
After or during nursing, a mother feels very thirsty. It is to prompt the mother to drink more to keep producing milk for the baby.
Jordanna Hospital
While all these are amazing things, plenty of hardships also occur with birth. Everyone told me about the baby blues the first two weeks. I would say that title is inaccurate. I wasn’t blue about having a baby. I loved my baby and didn’t want to hear her cry ever. I think that period should be called the Recovery Blues or the Hormonal Blues. It is very real. Hormones are all over the place, and many days I just started crying and didn’t know why. Or, I would be talking about something very normal and just cry and cry. I didn’t feel like myself at all, and I wondered if I would ever go back to normal. Yes, things evened out eventually.
Another hardship is healing from birth. This intense process happens and if you have an epidural like I did, you don’t know what is happening to your body. I’m very grateful for the epidural. However, you feel all the after effects. Everyone says 6 weeks for healing. I can for sure say now that I wasn’t healed until 14 weeks after birth. It wasn’t anything I did or didn’t do, but it was just the time my body needed. I was wondering if I would ever feel like I would pre birth. Yes, it has happened, but it just took more time.
And, as I have watched my baby grow, I continue to be in awe at the process of creation. God chose that one sperm and one egg to develop and grow and become this awesome child. He knit her and chose her genes, looks, DNA, everything… And He knows the number of hairs on her head and has great plans for her. Birth is quite the evidence of our Creator. He is so creative and does far more than I could fathom. How great is our God!
Jordanna and me

Gingerbread Cutout Tradition

One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is to make gingerbread cutouts. This recipe is healthier than most and uses unsweetened applesauce. I use gluten free flour, as well. Every time I make them, whether people want a healthy cookie or not, they always are a big hit.
This year, my husband joined me in this tradition, and it was his first time making cutouts. He thought it was such a fun time cutting out and arranging, but mostly he loved taking photos and documenting our date time at home together.
One thing we have learned being married and now having a daughter is to take advantage of quality time together, have fun, and pretend you are on a date even if you are still at home.
We had a joyous time doing this, and even had Jordanna inspecting them!

Recipe:
Ingredients:
¼ cup butter, softened
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/3 cup dark molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
¼ tsp ground cloves
Preparation:
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, and applesauce until smooth. Add egg and molasses, and mix well. In another large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and spices. Add to sugar and molasses mixture, stirring well. Divide dough in two; cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Add frosting, glaze, or more decorations when cool. Makes 30 cookies.

Enjoy the photos!

Cookies Raymond and Me
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Cookies with Jordanna
Jordanna is curious and wonders when she can help!

Is it the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

This time of year can bring many mixed emotions for different people. It is said to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” but that may not be true for us all. For me personally, I am enjoying Christmas this year more than I have in a long time. I’m loving the lights, the music, reading the stories, and reflecting on Jesus coming to be with us. Maybe it is because I’m a mom now, and I can identify more with this miracle and Mary’s side of things. Maybe it is because this year, it is really low key, not busy, and I’m really enjoying just being present and with our family of Raymond, Jordanna, Max, and me.
But, I did not always enjoy this whole season. Many people loved the Christmas break and time to be with family, but in my past single years, I sometimes dreaded it. I was always with people and loved my time on Christmas, but there is more to the season. There is the week between Christmas and New Year’s, when the majority of people are enjoying time with their kids and family. That wasn’t me for a long time. I did enjoy parts of the season and tried to live in the moment, but let’s be real. We were created to be dependent and love and be with people. I prayed and had such a strong desire to be married and have a family for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I lived up my single years. I traveled, I continued my education, I met a lot of people, but the holidays always brought mixed emotions. Maybe you can identify as a single person, whether you’ve always been single or are now single again after the loss of your significant other, and you just desire to share life with someone.
Since I got pregnant, and God gave us the gift of Jordanna, I have become more aware and have a soft spot in my heart for those that desperately want to have children, but haven’t been able to yet. I know several people that would love a child and would provide a loving home, but God hasn’t granted their desires yet. I continuously pray for them. Maybe you can identify and just desire the gift of child.
So, if you are enjoying the season, keep enjoying it and pray for those who have mixed emotions. If you are having mixed emotions, try to focus on the good around you. If you are feeling lonely, seek out people to be with. One of the best things I learned in my single days and even use now is to initiate conversation and be the first person to introduce myself. If you are desiring a child, my heart goes out to you, and I would love to pray for you. Feel free to send me a private message. I don’t know why God has certain timing, but I will tell you part of my joy this season is because I’m with the best man that God had for me, and I stayed true to what I desired in a relationship and family. Don’t give up hope. Believe the best. Stay true to your convictions and desires. Try to focus on the positive and choose joy.

Traveling

During the month of November, we were able to see lots of family in New York and Wisconsin. Yes, we did take pictures of everyone, but that would be a lot of pictures filling up this blog post. So, here are the grandparents and great grandmas on my side of the family. It is so cool to see 4 generations. Although we weren’t all together in one spot, it is great to have these memories. It is quite a site to see grandparents and great grandparents interact with Jordanna. They sure do enjoy grandbabies!
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When we went to Rochester, NY, we flew. Yes, we braved it and flew with an infant. It really was a pretty good experience. Jordanna had just starting finding her voice, so that was fun. We only had trouble on the last flight, which had already been delayed 1.5 hours, so understandably, Jordanna was overtired and ready for her own bed.
Some tips while flying with an infant that we learned:
1) Bring the car seat and stroller to the gate to check at the gate. It is so easy to put your infant back in the car seat and stroller right when getting off the flight (we have the Graco click connect, where the car seat clicks right into the stroller).
2) If you are traveling with your infant and spouse, make sure you are sitting together. It’s nice to have help and be together, during the flight.
3) Put the car seat base in a suitcase and check in checked baggage.
4) If you are breastfeeding, look at airports and research online what each airport offers and where. All airports we were in had nursing pods, family restrooms, or areas to breastfeed, except for La Guardia.
5) Have different types of layers for the infant – airports and planes all have different temperatures. We found that Jordanna was overdressed in the beginning.
6) If your diaper bag has several different zipper pockets, have all diaper stuff in one pocket (sometimes you just need to quickly get the diaper, wipes, and changing pad).
7) Have the infant chew on a pacifier during take-off, if the infant isn’t nursing or drinking.

So, if you or someone you know is flying over the upcoming holidays, feel free to share these tips.
Be safe and enjoy the season.
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