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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sleep Problems

My baby doesn't know how to fall asleep. He's nine months old, and he requires swaddling and bouncing to find dreamland.

As I write, I am trying to block out the sounds of his frantic screams from his crib. You see, I just spent 55 minutes trying to get him to nap. First I nursed him and he fell into a milk coma. Then I caaaaarefully stood up with him in my arms and he woke up. Of course. So then I sat on the exercise ball and bounced him back to sleep.

When the weight of his 23 pounds became too much for my upper body to hold a moment longer, I tried to put him in his swing for a break. He woke up during the transition, so I laid on the floor, gently pushing that swing until he nodded off again. But then Maddie nudged open his door, spilling light into the room. And then Aspen's staccato cough hit us like bullets.

So he is awake. After 55 minutes of trying all the tricks. At that point, it was like a switch went off in my brain and I was so angry. I'm so tired of this. I'm so TIRED. So I put him safely in his crib and went outside to sit on the porch in the cold by myself. I just needed a break.

These hours I spend trying to trick him to sleep are brutal. But nothing works. He won't go to sleep by himself. He never cries himself to sleep. He never gets so tired that he finally nods off. He won't stay asleep after being nursed. I have tried everything.

And during all the hours I spend trying to sleep Linc, Aspen is left to fend for herself. She watches TV, or does preschool on the computer, or gets a rushed bedtime routine and is left to look at books in her bed alone while I desperately try to sleep Linc some more.

The effects of colic make me want to scream. I am so frustrated. I constantly wonder what on earth I'm going to do when he really is too heavy for me to hold. He's the size of an 18-month old. Imagine bouncing an 18-month old to sleep three times a day. My body and my heart hurt so much.

By six months old, Aspen was entering sleep training. She eventually learned to put herself to sleep after being put down in her crib with her binky and her blankie. I would give up the Internet forever if Linc would take a binky or a bottle and just. go. to. sleep.

He's still averse to having Kev put him down, too. The nights that I give up and make Kev put Linc back to bed, I cry into my pillow while listening to Linc scream bloody murder as Kev bounces him in the nursery. I can't imagine I will ever leave the house for my own recreational purposes EVER AGAIN. As it is, I basically leave just to take Aspen to and from school and dance. Sometimes I manage a trip to the grocery store with the kids. Sometimes we make it to the park. But it's brutal.

Kev is working nights this entire week, so I'm in a perpetual state of heightened anxiety all day as I anticipate juggling both kids at bedtime. If I'm lucky, they both sleep simultaneously for about 30 minutes before Linc wakes up screaming and I have to hold him for two hours before I can even think about putting him in his crib and going to bed myself.

I try to convince myself this can't last forever. It can't, can it? He has to eventually learn how to fall asleep. But how?! When?!

I guess it's time to stop wondering and instead get him from his crib. 

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Every Day Photos Guide - Day 2

This photo challenge stumped me. Lindsay challenged participants to photograph a favorite spot in the house or yard.

The thing about our house right now is that there is no space that is just my own. Kev has his garage and a storage room for all his stuff. The kids each have their own rooms. Maddie has her closet under the stairs.

I got nothin'.

So I had to think about where I would go in our house if I could actually get some time alone. I settled on my bed. I miss my bed. I'm sure it's so cozy and comfortable.

Hopefully some day, when the kids are a little older and need a little less from me, I can create a little space for myself downstairs in the guest room. There's a great desk down there I have every intention of using for work. Right now, though, it's more practical for me to work at the kitchen table so I can attend to every beck and call of the family. LUCKY ME.

Aspen's favorite spot right now is, hands down, on the couch watching Netflix. She may say her favorite place is on her carpet playing cars, but her actions speak louder than words. Because I spend so much time trying to get Linc to sleep, Aspen gets to watch a lot of Netflix.

Linc loves to roll around the house and do naughty things like eat drywall crumbs and styrofoam and dog toys and get stuck between the fridge and the wall.

He also loves to be in my lap, but since that's a given I figured I'd photograph something less obvious.

And just for good measure, I leave you with the following photo:

He's so freakin cute I can't stand it.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mommy Selfies

A couple of days into the month of March, I decided to commit to photographing myself with one or both of the kids every day. Some photos from this challenge are better than others, but the point is that there are photos.

I got really brave, and even posted a number of the photos on Instagram even though I'm not wearing make up.

Seriously, this is a big flippin' deal. I'm the kind of person who almost always wears a bit of makeup just to leave the house for the grocery store.

When we were living in West Jordan, I would sometimes go to a 545a Pilates class at the gym. Those days I usually dragged a little bit, and I wasn't always showered and dressed by the time Aspen was up later in the morning. I remember getting her from her crib one day and she asked, "What's that?!" while pointing to my shirt.

I hadn't yet changed out of my yoga pants and gym shirt, so she wanted to know what I was wearing. She was so used to seeing me dressed all the time that she didn't know what was going on ;). That just goes to show how uptight I am.

With Linc's arrival, however, my life is more about survival. I just have to survive each day on little sleep. I don't have a lot of energy to get ready and leave the house, especially since Linc doesn't nap in his car seat or in a stroller. 
So these photos show what I look like most days- no make up, sometimes no contact lenses, and sometimes wearing PJs. It's really hard for me. I miss getting up (feeling rested!), getting ready, and facing a day full of outings. I hate the anxiety I feel when I think about napping Linc around the schedule any given day.

But then I look through these photos. Photos of me being there for my kids. 

And that's what really matters. They don't care if I'm showered (well, sometimes Aspen tells me to get dressed but not often). Aspen has adjusted and no longer asks me every. single. morning. if we're going somewhere that day. She's accepting the fact that I just can't manage it anymore right now. Hopefully some day that will change, but until then I guess she can keep rotting her brain with Netflix.

Just kidding! Kind of.

Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with my personal goal and I'll have another big fat post full of selfies at the end of the month.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Kids are Here

I think I'm pretty good taking candid photos of the kids. I like having so-called regular moments captured, and I hope they'll appreciate being able to look at photos someday and see what their childhood really looked like. I'm excited to be participating in Lindsay's #everydayphotosguide, and to step up my game over the next few weeks.
Photo by Aspen
Photo by Aspen
It's also been fun to give Aspen the camera or my phone and let her walk around photographing things. When we went to Park City in January, she took dozens of photos with my phone in the lobby. I had so many pictures of carpet and chairs and her Rainbow Dash doll. Some of them are really good!

I like seeing her perspective on things. Usually she photographs the same thing a bunch of times, but sometimes we get real gems. Like the Netflix remote.

Photo by Aspen
Photo by Aspen
I'm so happy to be back in the swing of taking everyday photos. Yes, posed photos can be awesome, but they're not always real life.

Real life is catching Aspen petting her brother's fuzzy 'fro while they watch TV, and catching Linc chewing on Aspen's chair (which he managed to flip over without hitting himself for once).

Real life lately is me in old college tees with no make up on, just trying to survive these days of no sleep. Real life is also Aspen doing preschool on the computer in the living room while Linc and I play on the floor next to her.

And sometimes real life is me spontaneously having everyone sit on the bed while I set up the self-timer on the camera to snap a few photos before dinner. It's rare that we're all together in the daylight, so we had to capture the moment.

They're not perfect, but they're real. Kev and Linc accidentally matching, Aspen wearing her crown, the dog distracting Linc from the camera. It's all good.

I'm excited to be back in the habit of taking these candid, every-day photos. I'm so grateful for Lindsay's project, which motivated me to get going again.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Afternoon adventure

Lately, it seems that if I want to leave the house with both kids on an adventure, the magic hour is 3pm. If I'm lucky, Linc has taken an afternoon nap in his crib and not in my lap and I've showered. So some days, even though I'm so tired I could cry, I load up the kids and venture out.

Last week I took them to the farm since it was 70* outside and I felt guilty keeping them in the house.

Aspen decided to make a checklist of the noises the farm animals make, and we had to visit them in order.

It was pretty adorable, except that I ended up backtracking and walking all around the farm to revisit animals we had already passed, but couldn't actually stop and see because they weren't next on the list. HA!

Linc didn't seem very interested in the animals, but I think he was really happy to be outside in the sun. He was pretty pleasant in the stroller.

After all the animals we walked over to the playground and I watched Aspen slide a million times. Linc got ticked I wouldn't let him eat wood chips, so I ended up strapping the poor kid back in his stroller. He's just too heavy to hold!

This mild winter has been so nice, especially since emotionally I've been struggling to get through the day-to-day. Linc's nice sleeping spell has ended and we're back to short bursts of sleep, and lots of screaming. I'm glad that even if I don't have the energy to take the kids anywhere, the warm weather at least allows us to walk around the neighborhood or play in the yard.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Letters to Lincoln, month 9

Hey Linc!

You started pbbftbbffting this month. And saying the "mmmm" sound. It's almost like you're saying "Mama." Winning!

You've also mastered rolling all over the floor to explore the world around you, which means I'm constantly telling Aspen to pick up her teeny tiny itsy bitsy choking hazards. It also means you get new bonks on your head every day because you like pulling things on to yourself (like Aspen's folding chair). I'm trying to protect you, but I don't think you stand a chance!

In addition to the "mmmm" sound, a week or so later you started making the "bbbb" and "vvvv" sounds. It's really fun to hear you expressing yourself and babbling. And when I ask you, "Where's Aspen?!" when she's gone (at school, dance or a friend's house) you look around the room for her. IT'S SO CUUUUUUTE. You love her so much, and we're all looking forward to when you're bigger than her and can sit on her as payback for all the "hugs" she gives you.

Our nights are going much better now, with you sleeping from about 6-7p until 5-6a. Sometimes you wake up screaming around 1030p or midnight and that sucks, but it's usually not too hard to put you back to bed. It's still difficult to nap you, but whatever, I'm going to survive this. I AM.

At 9 months, you seem to prefer savory foods over sweets, which makes me question whether you really are a product of Kev and myself. And you prefer to have me spoon-feed you purees instead of giving you bites of real food. It may have something to do with how you fail to get the food from your hand to your mouth. It isn't easy to taste food when your chubby little paw is trying to smash it through your cheek! I didn't think you were going to grow teeth any time soon, but at the end of February I realized you had something sharp popping up when you bit my finger. Aspen didn't have teeth until she was at least one (I think?) so I'm very surprised!

You roll all over the house and Daddy installed the old baby gate at the top of the stairs about a week ago. Since the majority of our living space is wood floor or tile, you're really good at scooting all around the floor on your tummy. Unlike Aspen, you're also very interested in pulling everything off the bookshelves and we're going to have to do some serious baby-proofing ASAP. I've already stepped up my vacuuming game!

Why do you look like an Oompa Loompa?!
When you see your sister you light up and flap your little wings. She is one of your favorite people and I look forward to seeing your relationship develop. I also look forward to when you're finally bigger than her (which will probably be like, next week) and you can pay her back for all the "hugs" and "love" she shows you. SIT ON HER, LINC!

I started a project this month with you and sister, thanks to some inspiration from OSSS contributor Lindsay. Obviously, I'm really good at photographing you and sister (whether together or separately). I think it's important to capture moments between the two of you, and to document your growth. But I also want to make sure I'm in the picture, too. Literally. I want the two of you to be able to look back and see me. So there will be a lot of selfies of you and me/Aspen and me (and Aspen is getting good at photographing the two of us, too). I need to do it now while the two of you are young and aren't annoyed by my camera :). As hard as it is for me to be a parent, and to feel I'm doing it well, I do love you kids. I am consumed by your well-being and am always thinking of you guys and your needs.

Thanks for taking on the crazy that is our family, Linc.


See Aspen's monthly letter HERE.

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Monday, March 09, 2015


I have a really hard time shopping for Linc. Depending on the brand of clothing, his size is all over the chart. Typically, he's in the 12-18 month category (and yes, he'll be NINE MONTHS OLD this week).

He seems pretty tall for his age, and with his super chubby thighs, I realized he can't wear any jeans (even though they're sooooo cute). I put him on the floor the other day while he was wearing jeans and I noticed he couldn't roll around. At all. He couldn't move his legs! HA! So he has to wear leggings. And boy leggings don't really exist. I refuse to put him in baby track pants because they look so sloppy. He'll have plenty of time to dress like a lazy college student when he is  a lazy college student.

In the past, I've purchased him clothes from the girls' section simply because selection was bigger. Earlier this month I actively scoured the girls' racks at Target to find clearance leggings I could put Linc in without Kev having a cow. I dunno, he's like, not into me putting Linc in girls' clothes? Whatever!

I was happy to find these leggings on sale for both kids so all my dreams could come true and I could match them. Linc's in a size 18mos, and Aspen's in a 5T. It made me giddy when Aspen agreed to wear these pants the same day I had Linc wearing them.

I hope I still have a few more years of coordinating these kids because it's SO CUTE. Also, it's SO CUTE when Aspen asks me to take a photo of her kissing Linc. Even if he's busy chewing on my hair elastic.

And right now Target has some good sales going on:

Girls Toddler Clothing - Save 20% when you buy four, or save 15% when you buy three. Online only, valid 3/8 - 3/14

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Friday, March 06, 2015

Kids are Here (Inspired by Lindsay)

I am exposed to a lot of amazing women through my work with 'Or so she says...' and for that I am so grateful.

This month I edited a post for OSSS by Lindsay, who has her own blog, too. I was so excited for her post to go live because the topic resonated with me. I try to be diligent taking photos of the kids with my dSLR each month to capture their growth and their relationship with one another. I also am working on taking photos of the kids with ME too.

But since projects around the house are slacking, I haven't documented the day-to-day much. I haven't captured the imprint kids are leaving on this house and our daily lives.

When living in West Jordan, I started a little series called "here and there," which reminded me to go about the house and photograph random vignettes that caught  my eye. Or to look around during outings with Aspen and see a small moment worth remembering. Taking that one step further, Lindsay suggests photographing the little (or maybe big) messes and evidences that show kids are here.

So, one early morning (thanks for the 530a wake up call, Linc!) I walked around the house after breakfast and snapped shots of what proves I have kids in my home. Kids who play and create and change the way I live.

I resisted the urge to move anything, and actually photographed things as is so I will remember the way we live.

Ironically, I think the only room in the house that is always clean and looks kid-free is Linc's nursery. I still have control over that room and we rarely play in there (or if we do, it's easy to stash the toys and books in the cloth bins he has and keep the place tidy).

I need to let go of my desire to have an organized home and just give in to the chaos. I think I'll be a lot happier. Either that or just get rid of everything (but not the kids, I swear).

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