Sleep…Who Needs It?!

As I sit here creating today’s post, i’m the usual messy hair, hoodie, no make-up and yoga pants. Frankly, I don’t have time for anything extending beyond that right now…and if I’m being honest, I’m too damn tired to care. I know I’m not the only mother out there whose little one has a wishy-washy sleep pattern… if you want to even venture to call it a pattern. From the moment we brought our bundle of joy home, she’s evaded sleep as much as she can…she laid the ground rules from day one on how she will sleep, when, where, and how long. I, being the new again mother at 31 let her makes the rules. Now I’m kicking my own ass for it.

I can’t begin to explain how i savor every hug, kiss, cuddle, smell, and move she makes. She is a blessing beyond words. BUT….if only she slept better. The first 6 months we tried the pack n play, carseat, crib, bassinet, nap nanny, co-sleeping, the list goes on. I nursed Jaycee for the first year, so co-sleeping often won out due to the convenience it created for nursing. At around 8 months old, I transitioned her to her crib and despite waking 2-3 times a night still she got the hang of it. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. (hold your breath!) The nights started to get easier and the 2 a.m. crib parties slowly decreased.

Then we regress. Damn It i was almost successful… or so you think right?!

Right around her 1st Birthday, we went from a pleasant night of maybe 1 or at tops 2 very short wake up calls to up every couple hours. Not just up, but up, crying, didn’t want to be rocked, cuddled, held, nothing. So…we (as in I), gave up (yes i said i gave up, don’t judge) and once that first wake up call hit around midnight I just took her to bed with me and things calmed down. Back to waking up 2x a night now that we are in Mommy’s bed! Clearly not the best choice, but for the sake of my sanity and needing to look just a tad less zombie like… i made the choice!

So here we are… i have a fun loving, sweet, funny, and full of personality 16 month old. She goes to bed every night between 7 and 7:30. My attempts to keep her up later did not pan out well and she was miserable. So we keep the bedtime the same. Every night like clock-work around 6 or so, she will crawl up on my lap with her blanket and we will cuddle and watch Dora the Explorer and read books until around 7. During this time she usually drinks her cup of almond milk and her tummy is nice and full at bedtime. Come 7, we go to her room and rock and cuddle. Normally, she’s out within 15 minutes. I put her in her crib and she is peaceful as can be. Not to mention sweet looking as ever! Then you can set your watch… around midnight I hear her on the monitor saying “HI”…”Mommy”…”HI”, “HI”….”Mommy”…with an occasional “Peek-a-boo” in there. I usually don’t go in her room unless she starts crying…which within about ten minutes of starting her “HI” fun…the crying usually comes. I’m a sucker for crying! I can’t stand knowing she is in there crying and just laying in bed myself doing nothing about it. I feel like…Why would i NOT go in there and hold her or comfort her?? What would be my reason?? I don’t have one. It just makes me feel terrible. So even those nights when i say “OK..tonight I’m just going to let her cry a bit and see what happens”… I STILL find myself after about 1 minute going in and picking her up. I can’t stop myself. Now let me add, I’m not judging those that sleep train. Frankly, I’ve not ruled it out for myself at this point. I just struggle with making that decision.

I used to be able to go in there, pick her up and rock her for a few minutes and she’d go back to sleep. I’d put her in her crib and then she’d usually wake next around 5. Now…i go in and try that and as soon as i lay her down she’s a mess and crying and upset. So again, we end up going to my bed. Now i realize, I AM MY BIGGEST PROBLEM! I GET THAT! I have a very hard time letting her cry at night. However, I’ve read articles and other mom’s stories where they have sleep trained and it’s been a huge success. To counteract that, I’ve also read those same articles that rebut the effectiveness of sleep training that venture to discuss the “effects” it has on babies. So I’m torn! I’ve read a couple books, listened to parenting advice, and still I’m at a crossroad. I can survive on less sleep than i ever thought I could. I know that now. However, I’d love to sleep more if i was able. I’d love to sleep more if my sweet baby slept more too.

I realize this doesn’t last forever. That’s what i keep telling myself to get thru these long days and nights. I love my sweet baby more than words could express…. I know this is just “one of those things”.  I don’t get mad at her or yell or feel anger about it. She’s just a baby! But i do miss sleep. I just wonder if there’s any reasonable solution to help my baby sleep better. I am certain she’d be even happier if she slept better at night. We’d both be happier :)

So mama’s out there… what’s your experience and what method did you choose or not choose and why?? I would LOVE to hear your feedback on this topic!! Advice welcome too!!!

Yes…I’m THAT Mom

It was just over a year ago, that we sat down with my then newly 13 year old daughter and discussed the rules of her creating her own Facebook page. Our rule had always been that she must wait until she was 13 and at that time we would allow her to have one…pending certain rules be followed. As we discussed the rules, I handed Mady a card from my rolodex. Looking at me with a puzzled face, we are asked “what’s this for?” That my dear, is for your username and password. This allowed us to set rules and boundaries and also make sure they were being followed by periodically logging in to check what’s going on. I was pleased that despite the puzzled look, Madyson created her page and provided us with the information without any hesitations. Yes…we are those parents. The ones that monitor every thing we can. Not everyone agrees with these steps. Some people think we are taking it too far…or invading their privacy. However, we feel it’s the best way to not only keep her safe, but also set expectations and ensure she is making wise choices. I realize we can’t control every little thing…but we can take these small steps to do what we can as parents. And let’s be honest…she’s a teenager living at home….privacy only goes so far.

It didn’t take long after her Facebook page went live for the friend count to pile up and the posts to begin. Not long after Facebook, she then was diving into the Instagram world as well. I’ve seen those “selfies” of girls my daughters age in the barely there clothing, bellies showing, bare skin visible and attitude prevalent. Believe it or not I was once a teenage girl myself. Yes, many, many years ago but still. I know how easy it is to fall into “what everyone else is doing”. If I have any influence on my kids, it will be to be who they are as individuals and pay no mind to what others are doing.

Now I will say that I’ve seen a few “duck face” selfies of Mady on her page….but they aren’t laced with an attitude that can be detected miles away or poor choice in attire. I don’t always understand photos of girls wearing clothes that are inappropriate (in my opinion) for the age. At 13 years old, aren’t the parents the ones shopping with or for the kids?? How does that happen??!!  Back to the “duck face”…Not necessarily a fan of the “duck face” but if that’s the extent of it for Mady then I think we have done pretty good so far!

Madyson has had her Facebook now for a full year. I’ve not had to dole out any punishments related to her use of Facebook or Instagram. So far, so good. She enters high school this fall, so I know things can change. We have some tough years of raising a daughter ahead of us. Don’t get me wrong…she’s a straight A student that’s involved in sports, dance, and cheerleading. But come on…kids will be kids. And whether they are 7, 13 or 18 they are still just kids.

Last night we had our first experience with seeing some “drama” or “hate” come across her Facebook page. Madyson had posted a photo the day of her birthday party saying she was “Ready to Party”. Someone then made rude comments to Mady’s post, then proceeded to post on her own page about Madyson. I will say this….When that Mama Bear instinct kicks in, it’s so hard not to want to act irrational. However, we simply blocked the other girl from Mady’s page and moved on from it. She will not…we will not…return hate with more hate.

I remember the pediatrician saying to me a year ago that teenagers brains take years to develop the part that gives them forethought. That’s why they sometimes don’t make the greatest choices. I’m going to assume that this was what led to the comments being made. It’s all I have to go on really. Even at 33 years old, i will never understand why kids think it is OK to treat each other so badly.

And now..on top of the typical “bad behavior” they also have social media outlets at their fingertips to extend that behavior. Even we as adults know how easy it can sometimes be, or tempting, to post something since it’s just via a keyboard. No face to face contact required, so no repercussions right? WRONG!!! Now if only all the kids and teens and yes some adults could realize that. Words hurt! Whether they are face to face or being read on a screen. Once said, you cant take them back. It’s a done deal. The impression has done been left and isn’t forgotten easily in most cases.

If we can teach our kids one thing about social media it should be to THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK! If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, then you shouldn’t type it either. Being mean doesn’t make you better…it just makes you mean! I know there are a lot of good kids out there that make great choices….i personally know many of them that do. It can be done! It is possible to be wise in your decision making and avoid hurting others.

Now with all this being said, I’m not completely oblivious or looking through rose colored glasses. I know that my daughter too will learn hard lessons along the way. However, i’m hoping that by our rules and our teachings within our home she will be less susceptible to fall into those bad decisions. I must say, having my husband work in the school district adds another element to things as well. Madyson knows that no matter where she is at school, everyone knows her dad. She may not like this so much as she hits high school this fall, but it sure adds some relief to this mama!

Moms and Dad’s out there….being a parent is hard! It’s a 24 hour a day, 365 day a year job. You don’t get downtime. You are always a parent no matter where you are! You have to always be on your toes and ready. It may be hard on us and them now….but they will thank us later for always being there when it mattered! And it ALWAYS MATTERS!

Someone Please Tell Me It’s Normal…..

Today, I read a post from a friend about getting together this Friday night for a ladies night dinner at a local restaurant. Without much thought i replied saying i’d love to join them. Not much sooner after I hit enter, i find myself instantly plagued with a guilt of being away from my kids. Thinking I can’t go…there’s no way I can go because I don’t want to leave the kids long enough to go.

You see it’s like this. I work full time. My kids are either at school during the day or at the babysitter. When my work day is over, i literally can not wait to squeeze my kiddos. I can not wait to go pick up Jaycee and look up and see her toddling as quickly as she can towards me with a big smile and arms spread open. I count down the minutes during the day as i work to hear the school bus pulling in to drop Madyson off each day. This tells me its only a matter of minutes before she strolls in my office and says “Hi Mom!”. I long for these moments every single day. When i’m not with them I miss them. I wonder if they are being good, having fun, learning, and enjoying the day. When they are gone, I am not a whole person. They are the beat of my heart.

When i became a mother for the first time 14 years ago, I was a single mom. I will be the first to admit that I missed far too many things. I worked 3 jobs for a period of nearly 3 years. I literally am overcome with grief when i think about it. I can’t get that time back and it breaks my heart. Here I am now with a family, a home, stability, and support. It enables me to do so many things with and for my kids. Looking back on all of the things i missed years ago, makes me all that more committed to not missing out on anything now in their lives. I mean nothing. That’s where the mother’s guilt comes in at for me a lot.

I will attend every meeting, game, trip, conference and gathering i possibly can for my kids. It’s not optional. I want my kids to look back in 10 or 20 years and remember my presence in their lives.

As much as i adore my children, i do get frazzled. I’m a patient person when it comes to children and i find myself at times at the end of my rope. As i sit here and type this, my hair is a mess, i have no make-up on, haven’t showered since yesterday morning (hell who has time for that!?), and my socks don’t even match! I am my own Hot Mess! My poor husband gets to see me looking “nice” maybe once every week. And don’t read too far into the term “nice”…i simply mean I have on a bra, I’ve showered and my make-up is done. Take it or leave it! My good friend asked me once while i was still pregnant “You aren’t going to be one of those mom’s that never does herself up anymore after having a baby are you?” I of course was like “Oh gosh! No way!” Clearly…I lied! But when i say i don’t have time…i seriously mean i don’t have time! On my list of priorities, mommy is rock bottom. I’m not complaining…don’t get me wrong. I’m just saying I think this is fairly typical….. isn’t it??

When my kids come home at the end of my work day, the last thing i wanna do is be away from them to do “me” stuff. THAT is my struggle. How do you balance filling your heart to it’s capacity with your kids happiness (because that makes me happy too) and still find time for just you…..time to preserve your sanity and clear your mind? I’m serious mamas! I want to know! How do you do it and overcome the guilt from leaving your kids for an  hour or so?? The guilt is what typically convinces me “oh heck, i’ll just stay home”. I’m sure I’m not alone in this am I??

I know this struggle is personal, but I’d like to think….I guess I hope….that there are other mothers out there who feel the same pains that I do as a mother. I love my kids…it is absolutely immeasurable the love i have for them. Sometimes though, I think maybe if i did carve out more time to clear my head that I could be a better mother too them. The stress may not be as prevalent and perhaps I would be more relaxed as well.

I want to hear from all of you amazing mothers! Have you or Do you struggle with this too?? How do you cope with that guilt or overcome it??

Let’s remember…we are all in this together! I’m not an expert, i’m just learning as I go and doing my very best and leading with my heart! I look forward to your thoughts and feedback!

Review: Graze.Com – Snacking Reinvented

As a frequent browser of my Instagram feed, I notice a lot of new and fun home-delivery “boxes” making their way to the mailboxes of my friends and followers. The boxes range from those catered to our babies and toddlers, make-up, mommy stuff and even snacks and food. I decided to have a little fun with these boxes as well and am going to try a few of them out and then review those for you. Based on my reviews you may or may not decide to try them out as well!

Today, I am going to start with the Graze box. I selected the Graze box or several reasons. Being as my first box was free, that was as good of a reason as any. However, in addition to a free starter box, they also offer these boxes at a very affordable rate of $6 per box shipped. The most appealing part of the Graze box for me was that it is a healthy option snack box. Don’t get me wrong, i would love nothing more than a snack box full of chips and chocolate…however, that would defeat my fitness and health goals! So…i stuck with healthy. Not only are the graze boxes healthy, but the packaging and inserts are all 100% recyclable. So healthy and earth friendly… bonus!

With the Graze delivery snack boxes you have two options. You can choose: Option A.) The Nibble Box – All healthy, low calorie snacks with a wider variety of options. OR  Option B.) The Calorie Counter Box – All still healthy options but with the least amount of calories ranging from 50-150 calories. Regardless of your choice, you only pay $6 per box shipped. You can opt to have the boxes delivered weekly, bi-weekly or more often if you prefer.

So let’s get started! I present to you my very first Graze box …

graze11

graze31As you can see, I have a lovely box full of snack options! From top left, clockwise we have: Cherry Fudge Sundae, Cracking Black Pepper Cashews, Summer Berry FlapJack and Herby Bread Basket. The fun part with these snacks, is that once you’ve sampled them, you can then go online to your account and rate them. If you don’t like it then you rate it “Trash” and you never have to worry about seeing that snack again. However, if it makes your taste buds dance, then rate it “Love” and it will be added to your list of favorites.

Cherry Fudge Sundae (brownie fudge bits, cherries, cherry raisins and almonds) 200 calories for the entire snack- Although i thought i would like this one…it ended up getting a “Trash” rating from me. I did not like the brownie bits at all! They were really just little bits of flavorless food. The cherries were too over-powering for my liking as well. I lasted one bite and it truly went to the trash! This one was a no-go for me! I promise you though…it gets better from here!

Cracking Black Pepper Cashews (black pepper cashews, roasted cashews and red skin peanuts) 200 calories for the entire snack – This was a WIN! I am a lover of nuts. Be it a cashew, almond, hazelnut, peanut, or otherwise. The Black Pepper Cashews have just the right amount of “bite” to them with the pepper..not too much, not too little! The other cashews and peanuts are fresh, crunchy and delish! LOVE this one!

Summer Berry Flapjack (Rustic Rolled Oat Flapjack with Berry Infused Cranberries) 230 calories for the entire snack — This was probably my favorite item in the box. I love oats and anything with the “granola bar” make to it. This was a home run! Chewy, not too sweet, full of flavor and just absolutely yummy! I rated this one as “LOVE” and hope to see these whole oats options in future boxes!

Herby Bread Basket (basil baguettes, garlic crostini & oregano rice crackers) 90 calories for the entire serving — I must admit this was a close running for my favorite. I love bread and croutons so i knew i would love this option…and i did! The Garlic Crostinis and Oregano Rice Crackers are to die for delish! If i would have gotten a box with 4 of these I would have been totally happy with that! This was a “LOVE” rating from me as well!

As you can see, overall, this box was GREAT! Had i paid the $6 for this box, i would have been more than happy with that purchase. I am looking forward for my next box to arrive in 2 weeks!!

Now…Wouldn’t you LOVE to try a Graze box too?! And…FOR FREE! Well, with the following code, you can get both your first box AND your 5th box for free! In addition to your getting the free boxes, for each person that signs up with the following code, Graze.com will donate $1 to charity. What’s not to love?!

So, go now and get your first box!! Please visit http://www.graze.com and get yours today! Use code: DAWNP3RZB

I hope you enjoy your healthy snack boxes as much as I am!!!

Until next time,

Dawn P.

The Delivery – C-Section

The best way to describe this experience is WOW! No article or video was going to prepare me for this horrific experience.

Being pregnant with twins I knew the issue of birth by C-Section was very possible. My doctor and I waited to the last minute to decide and eventually it came down to what was best for Twin B (So Daniel I did it for you). The course of action was to have elective surgery as oppose to going into labor. Hospital inefficiencies aside (a totally different blog), there was no mental gymnastics that was going to prepare me for this experience.

I was wheeled into the theater and suddenly it dawned on me that this was serious! My money was able to buy me the services of the best medical team but could not buy me the peace of mind that was very lacking. The situation was aggravated by the fact that the anesthesiologist just could not find the space to insert the spinal epidural and the thought of being put under delivered a fear I have never experienced before. Couple sticks later and we were ready to go, but so was I. I literally wanted to get off the table and run away but the numbness from my chest down meant I was going no where soon.

“Don’t go into the white light”, I told myself…lol! I felt like I wanted to sleep but I refused and as I listened to my doctor talk through the surgery, tears of unknown proportions fell from my eyes and I was just a nervous wreck and it was only the crying of Twin B that comforted me. I was relieved further when I could feel my legs and when I was wheeled to recovery with my twins beside me; it was worth it!

I was told that recovery with a C-Section is hard and I was determined to bounce back quickly. What was clear is that your abdominal muscles are some of the most important muscles in your body…because everything hurt. It hurt just to cough! The pain I knew would be there, but what I was not prepared for was the spinal headaches. It was day two and a headache unlike none I have experienced before literally hit me for six. The pain started in the front of the head and move to the back and down the spine and up again. The pain worsen when I sat…I swear I was going to die! The remedy….Pepsi; now who would have thought!

There is no doubt in my mind that vaginal delivery is ten times better. To date I still feel sticking in the area and there is a general numbness at the site. But when I look at Daniel in particular and the risk he was presented with…it was worth it.

Now I enjoy the thrills!

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