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Monday, April 13, 2015

It is your birthday.

The week of my birthday, I was depressingly busy. I was covering some shifts at work, shuttling Aspen to and from school and dance, registering Aspen for kindergarten, and basically just not sleeping because LINCOLN.

So I got really excited when I noticed a wide-open schedule on Thursday, and the possibility of staying home in my PJs all day was reeeeeally appealing. On top of that, Katrina offered to take both of my kids that afternoon so I could do anything I wanted for a couple of hours kid-free.

But then one of my coworkers asked me to cover for her, and since she's going through a rough time right now I couldn't bring myself to turn her down. I know how hard it is to get coverage so I sucked it up and said I'd take her shift the following morning. I hoped and hoped and hoped Linc would sleep a little better and I wouldn't have to take him to work at the time he was ready to go back to bed. Of course, that's exactly what happened. I got up with him at 530 and he was up for the freakin' day. AWESOME.

So I dragged both kids to work for a few hours, worked late, and then spent the rest of the day trying unsuccessfully to nap Linc in his crib. When I finally gave up and dropped the kids at Katrina's, I felt amazing. I was so relieved to have more than five seconds to myself for the first time all week. I drove my birthday check to the bank, cashed it, and then promptly spent all of it on myself (and dinner).

I wandered around ROSS for the first time in a year and it was the most wonderful thing in the whole universe. I could look at everything! I could touch everything! I could talk on the phone while I shopped! I found this amazing rug and a few other pretties and some clothes.

Since it only took an hour to shop, and that was with some stalling (holy cow, everything is so much faster without kids), I told Katrina I was going to watch an episode of Parenthood before picking up the kids. She offered to feed them dinner so I took my Cafe Rio home and ate dinner by myself while watching a show. It was so luxurious! I didn't have to share or get up 100 times to get anything for anyone else.

Kev had the following day off, so he got to be on Lincoln-duty while I took Aspen to a play date at the park. It was such a beautiful day I accidentally got sunburned. It was so nice to spend a couple of hours with our friends outside in the glorious weather. And after a staff meeting later in the afternoon, I finally cashed in my Christmas present from Kev- a massage!!

Bouncing Linc and holding him for hours has done a number on my body. It felt so good to have a massage therapist work the kinks out of my neck and shoulders and back. I was so refreshed afterward I didn't want to leave. I could definitely handle having a massage every week.

The highlight of the week, though, was a moment I happened to catch at the park. One of our little friends got hurt and ran crying to her mom. I noticed Aspen look up from what she was doing, and saw concern cross her face. She left her activity and walked over to her friend, asking her if she was okay. Seeing her have such empathy and concern for another person made me feel like I'm doing something right.

Thank you everyone for your messages and gifts and love last week!

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Letters to Lincoln, month 10

Hey little dude-

Going into your tenth month, you started dancing to music. Whether it's Aspen's toy piano, or the opening credits to "Parks and Recreation," you wiggle and jiggle in delight. There's also the hand-wave, which is very cute.

Just after you hit 9 months, you began stacking your toys. While I feed you, I still give you something to play with on your tray, and it's the wooden rings you love to drop so much. But, lately, you've been stacking a couple of them first. You also enjoy stacking some old blocks of Aspen's, and your satisfied laugh afterward is priceless. You laugh so heartily that you stretch your legs and point your toes.

Three new teeth popped out in the last month, which I'm going to blame for your terrible sleep patterns. It has been so bad, especially since Dad was working swing shift the week they broke. He came home at midnight to find me sobbing in your room, so sleep-deprived and miserable because it was the third time I'd tried to go to bed that night without any cooperation from you. Lincoln, we love you so much. You're such a joy when it's not time to sleep. Dad says you're like a vampire; harmless in the day, deadly in the night. HA!!

This last month you also began to understand waving hello and goodbye (and not just waving to music). And if I say "all done" you try to sign it with me. That looks just like a wave, too, but I know what you mean! You also mimic "uh oh" since Dad says it every time you throw something off your booster seat when he's feeding you.

You still love taking baths and playing in the water. You also have been drinking from a cup for a couple of months now, and you get so excited when I bring one to you. 

I took you and Aspen to work with me a few times last month and the girls all go crazy over you. They sit on the floor and hold you in their laps and you're so big you dwarf them! We're talking five and six year old girls. But all that matters to me is they're holding you so you don't cry while I clean up craft projects and toys and play with other kids.

You're not crawling yet, but you're seriously rolling all over the house. At dinner one night I put you down in the living room, and by the time Aspen and I were halfway through our meal, I could hear you down the hall in my room. You'd chased the big exercise ball all that way.

This month I borrowed your Uncle Seth's big exercise ball so I can sit and bounce you on that instead of the edge of my bed. It has been such a lifesaver because it's more effective at helping you sleep, and I can use it in your room in the dead of night without waking your Dad. People comment on how much weight I've lost, and I'll tell you the secret- have a colicky baby who never learns to sleep on his own and you will lose millions of pounds via nursing and bouncing him for hours every day and night.

To help with the bouncing addiction, I caved and ordered a rather complicated looking jumper for you. I wanted to get a Johnny Jump Up, but those only hold babies up to 24 pounds. You, my son, have been 23 pounds since you were 8 months old. So I had to upgrade to something with a greater weight capacity (HA!). I hope you'll love it and get hours of use out of it and maybe fall asleep in it? Yes? One can hope.

We all love you to pieces, Lincy Lou.


See Aspen's monthly letter here.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Easter Weekend

Kev had to work Easter Sunday, so we gave Aspen a basket and did a small egg hunt on Saturday. She loved going around the house to search for eggs.

On Sunday I took the kids out for some pictures in their coordinating outfits. I was a little sad I didn't have an excuse to buy them some Sunday clothes, but since I don't go to church with the kids by myself and Easter Sunday was General Conference anyway, there was no reason to get Easter outfits (church is during Linc's only nap when I have a chance of putting him down). But I was able to find stuff in their closets to match them up real good Sunday afternoon. Aspen had piled on the accessories beforehand, but I managed to talk her into only leaving on the headband, which she placed just so.

This is my FAVORITE photo. It's seriously the gem from our little photo shoot. Linc was so upset about the grass on his bare feet. It was awesome. He refused to let his fat little legs touch the grass, and he kept his feet elevated as much as possible. The wind was blowing the long grass and the blossoms and leaves onto them and he was simply disgusted. I laughed so hard when I went through the photos afterward.

Seth, Sophia and Jose came over mid-afternoon and we tried to watch some Conference. Aspen has been a bit of a nightmare lately and she will say no to everything. No to playing with toys in the living room while we watch Conference. No to playing in her room while we watch Conference. No to watching Conference with us. No to reading books coloring art projects snacks games puzzles EVERYTHING. I just wanted to lock her in her room by the time the last hour of Conference rolled around.

Sophia had planned a surprise birthday celebration for me and it was so much fun. I never get surprises on my birthday! She made a lactose-free cake and brought it over, plus my new rainbow birthday crown.

I asked Kev if he wanted to give me the present I had purchased for myself, so I got to open my new TOMS (which I purchased via Zulily a few weeks ago). Later that night he asked what else he could get me, and I told him we should spend his day off finally hanging the box of art that's been sitting behind the couch for almost two years. So, hopefully we'll get that taken care of this week!

Sophia gave me this sign, which is PERFECT. I am seriously going to put it on my door when Linc is napping. It has been so frustrating lately that visitors keep stopping by unannounced and ringing the bell/knocking during times I'm trying to sleep Linc. It's not the knock or bell that wakes Linc, it's Maddie. She goes ballistic when someone comes over and then Aspen starts yelling at Maddie to be quiet and that's what wakes Linc. I already disconnected my doorbell and couple of weeks ago, but that doesn't stop people from knocking, of course. So I'm very happy to put this little wooden sign to use.

She also asked some of my friends and other family members to share some nice thoughts about me for my birthday. It was great to hear encouraging words from loved ones.

It was so fun to end the night with family, and to enjoy the beautiful day together. We had a delicious roast with veggies, took a walk around the neighborhood, played in the backyard, and I even managed to stay up late enough to watch a movie with everyone! Of course, I regretted that when I was up with Linc for two hours in the middle of the night but oh well.

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Monday, April 06, 2015

My little sister's wedding

Back in January, my sister got married! Although it was a little chilly, it was a beautiful day for photos to capture the memories of the day.

Like I mentioned before, she had so many friends who basically put her wedding together for her. I'm so grateful for the wonderful people in her life!

The little girls wanted to be very INVOLVED in the whole thing. You couldn't keep them out of a picture for anything.

Sophia and Jose with our siblings and parents.
Friends and family.
Immediate family from both sides.

When Shutterfly was running one of their free book promotions, I was able to put together an album of some of the best wedding photos and have it mailed to Sophia and Jose. That was one of those things she was stressing about; getting things printed and preserved so they could enjoy them. And she agonizes over the details and it probably would've taken her weeks just to pick which photos would go where. I was like, BAM. DONE. It made me feel better about basically being useless during the reception and wedding.

The wedding colors were coral and gold, and Aspen happened to match pretty well with one of Sophia's friends. Aspen also loved that she and her cousin Leilani happened to have matching camel-colored jackets. Because really, the day was all about her ;).

Now Sophia is getting ready to graduate from BYU and we all have our fingers crossed she'll apply for the teaching job in our neighborhood. HOW AWESOME WOULD THAT BE?! She should take our feelings into consideration and at least apply for one of the three in our district.

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Friday, April 03, 2015

Mommy Selfies

I remained pretty successful with my photos in March. I think I missed a few days near the end, but overall I'm so glad I tried this challenge for myself.

Hopefully I won't completely fall out of the habit of photographing myself with the kids. Hopefully they'll indulge me and let me do it for years to come :).

I like that many of the photos aren't posed, and some of them were even taken by Aspen. She loves the camera.

And with Chatbooks, I love that I can get these photos printed into little books so we can actually look at them. It's awesome not having to worry about creating Shutterfly books, or ordering prints and then organizing them.

So here's to being in the picture. Literally.

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Thursday, April 02, 2015


A few weeks ago, my older brother came over for dinner on a night Kev was working swing shift. I didn't tell Seth I was flying solo when I invited him over, so you could say I maybe tricked him into coming over for food and staying to put Aspen to bed for me. But what are siblings for if not to be manipulated into doing chores for you?!

It was one of those nights I was having a really hard time getting Linc to bed. I've explained what the process entails, and it can take over an hour to be able to literally put Linc down (either in his crib or swing). That time weighs heavily on me because it means Aspen is often up past her bedtime while I'm with Linc (even when I stagger their bedtimes). Also, I'm struggling to let go of the guilt I feel about leaving Aspen to her own devices for long stretches of time while I deal with her brother.

But that night, as I heard Seth helping Aspen stay focused to brush teeth, put on jammies and look at books in her bed, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. My perspective shifted for a few moments and instead of crying about how hard it is to sleep Linc, I let my imagination fast-forward. I truly hope I can help my kids develop a relationship that resembles mine with my brother. I hope they'll talk often, and hang out together even when they don't have to. I hope that if Aspen ever crashes her brother's car, he'll forgive her instantly and be able to laugh about it 10 years later. I hope they'll cook for each other and go to movies together and take road trips and have sleepovers and dog sit for each other.

After both kids were in bed that evening, Seth and I sat in the living room together to talk for a couple of hours. He said I'm doing something for my kids that our parents couldn't do for us. Well, technically, it's what our dad wouldn't do. And because he wouldn't, my mom couldn't. Because our dad wouldn't work to help support the family, and he wouldn't fulfill the role of stay-at-home-parent either, we were just kind of taking care of ourselves and each other while growing up. And guess what. It didn't ruin me or my childhood (obviously, I had bigger problems as a kid than worrying about someone being home to make me a snack after school).

Yes, it's hard being with the kids by myself most of the time. Yes, it's hard to function on so little sleep. Yes, it's hard that Linc won't sleep unless I do a magic song and dance. Yes, it's all so very hard. Some days it doesn't feel worth the effort. But I'm doing what works best for our family, and I'm trying. Even if I fail, at least I'm trying.

After revealing what I felt like was a dirty little secret, I received a number of supportive responses. Lindsay emailed me and described her experience with her own son. I cried as I read her words, feeling such a kinship with her. We haven't even met in real life yet! But she said she gets it, and she explained how she understands the exasperation, the fatigue, the guilt... all of it. I was so uplifted as I read her email in the middle of the night, two hours into holding Linc and praying I could sleep sitting up. She gave me hope that some day Linc will just outgrow this. That some day I'll get out of survival mode and have a life again.

I've come to terms with the fact that Linc won't be sleep trained by me. He doesn't need a different kind of swaddle or white noise or night light or diet or temperature control or routine or Ferberization or delayed-response or pick-up-put-down or more food before bed or less food before bed or any other sleep training method you can throw at him. He just needs to be ready. As hard as it has been to accept, my gut tells me it's the truth.

And as Lorelei stated after reading my post, it's sometimes really hard to just get through another day. So thinking of this going on for months is very overwhelming. Lindsay's son started sleeping better by age two. That's a long way off for me at this point. I try not to think about another year and three months of bouncing Linc to sleep on a ball (oh, my aching back). Hopefully before then we'll graduate to something less grueling for my body. He's such a busy kid already that maybe he'll start wearing himself out so much during the day he'll fall asleep if I just lie down with him for a while. I don't know. The point is I'm trying to talk myself out of the desperation I feel when it's time to put Linc to sleep.

At play group this week, Hollie reminded me that when I'm done with this stage, at least it will be done. And I will have spent countless hours holding my little baby while I could. And that's something to keep in mind, too. I will never do this again. Once I get past this stage with Linc, it's done! No more! That's such a relief to me.

So for now I'll keep bouncing on that dang ball and counting to 100 over and over again in my head to keep myself distracted from how hard it is. And some day it won't be so hard.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Target REDcard

The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

I've posted about the Target REDcard before, but I just wanted to give it another shout out in case you don't know how awesome it is.

My favorite thing about the REDCard is that it can be used as just a debit card with rewards. While there is a credit card option, I don't currently have it, so I never have to worry about paying off the balance every month. And using it as a debit card means no interest racking up, either.

The REDCard automatically saves you 5% every time you use it, and it offers free shipping when you shop online too. That's ALL THE TIME. No minimum purchase required! Additionally, you get an extra 30 days for returns when you make your purchase with your REDcard. Sweet, eh? Not that anything I ever buy at Target needs returning anyway.

Check out some of the current deals at Target happening now, and other ways you can save daily:

Free $5 gift card when you spend $25 in the Easter Shop, valid 3/29 - 4/4

Save with Cartwheel for Apple – Sign Up Now

Save with Cartwheel for Android – Sign Up Now

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Tic tic boom

For over two weeks now, Aspen has had a cough. Not just any cough, but a single, staccato, tic-like cough.

After a few days, it turned into something productive so I figured she was just getting a cold. But then the yucky stuff went away after like, a day and the tic cough came back.

I know I should feel badly for her because she has to cough like this, but I really feel badly for me. She has no other symptoms and doesn't even seem to notice that she's pushing out a sharp cough every few seconds. I, on the other hand, am acutely aware it's happening and it's to the point it feels like a screw driver is being driven into my ear with a hammer.

I tried a honey medicine and then a stronger cough medicine, as well as a steady stream of cough drops and water. I took dairy out of her diet for a while to see if it causing the cough to be worse, but it didn't make a difference. She has a humidifier in her room and she drinks water all day long.

Finally, I took her to see her doctor. When he heard the cough, he thought it sounded forced, and we talked about it possibly being a tic. He noticed a slight irritation on her throat, so he suggested she take an antihistamine to see if it alleviated her desire to cough. He said it could take the edge off a bit, and I joked that perhaps I should swallow a bottle of Benedryl to help me take the edge off. After a few days on it, I didn't notice any difference. So I stopped giving it to her because I didn't want to unnecessarily pump her full of meds.

I'm sure part of the problem is that I'm sleep-deprived and easily irritated, but OHMYGOSH. Listening to that little barky cough all day every day is pretty much more than I can handle. We've talked about other ways she can clear her throat, and her doctor told her if she doesn't try to stop coughing, the tickles will never go away. She doesn't seem too concerned.

Of course, if she was really sick I'd do everything I can to make her feel better. But after meeting with her doctor and confirming it's not illness, I feel just a wee bit justified being so freakin annoyed.

But like all difficult things in parenthood, I'm hopeful it'll pass soon.

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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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