We’ve Moved!

wagonWow, I haven’t updated in forever.  It took awhile to actually get settled here in the DC Area.  It also was a long process that required my husband to travel across the country twice.  Thankfully, the move was made easier with the help of movers who did pretty much all of the packing and unloading.  Then we needed to get an additional car so that I wasn’t going to be stranded at home with kids most of the week (oh the joys of suburban living).  But for the most part all the kids have adjusted to our new home, the time zone, and, for Oliver, his new preschool.  We also have done a good amount of unpacking, although there are still a few stray boxes I can’t be faced to deal with right now.  Hopefully, we can enjoy the rest of our summer and I can do some regular posting!

We’re Moving!

MovingI’ve probably mentioned this in passing in previous posts, but we are moving back to the East Coast on Saturday.  It’s a bit bittersweet–I’ve met some incredible people here, and it’s hard to leave a city and home where my son and daughter experienced so many firsts.  This is where my son learned to crawl, walk, eat, talk, goes to preschool; this is where my daughter was born.  And now we pack up and will experience other firsts in a somewhat foreign land.

My husband got a job offer that was too good to say no to (even though he did at first!).  It also means that we get to move closer to family and friends.  That will help our family a lot, especially to give me get a break here and there from the kids.  So it really is for the best that we leave this city, that we’ve called home for 2.5 years, behind.

Thankfully the majority of packing has been outsourced to a full service moving company, so I won’t have to deal with that business.  Regardless, don’t be surprised if I don’t update for awhile as we adjust after the chaos.

24 Week Postpartum Weight Update

IMG_4410So I’m 24 weeks postpartum, and let me tell you the weight loss isn’t as easy as the first. Granted life is just more hectic now juggling two. It’s just more of everything–more tired, more work, more sleepy, more obligations, more more more. You name it, it’s just more of it. And whoever tells you that breastfeeding makes you shed all that weight is a liar! I lost more weight with my son, whom we supplemented, than with my daughter, who is exclusively breastfed.

I’m sure it’s a combination of a lot of things.  I haven’t been as vigilant about working out like I did with my first.  That goes along with the tiredness of wrangling two.  I also don’t play soccer anymore like I did with the first, even though I wouldn’t count that as enough exercise to shed the weight.  But anything helps right?

Anyhoo, it is taking me longer to lose weight than I expected.  No one tells you that about your second.  With the first I lost a lot of weight, and fast.  And then I lost the last of the baby weight once I stopped breastfeeding, which was like another 5lbs.  This time I stalled at 15lbs.  But Sammy is close to developing a routine/schedule, which means it will be easier to figure out the working out business.  Let’s hope I lose that extra weight in the coming months!

P.S.  I hate selfies done in a mirror!!!

Sleep Training

So I know this isn’t the most popular of subjects with parents, but we sleep trained our eldest doing the cry it out method.  It is heart wrenching, but its long term benefits totally outweigh those moments of horribleness.  Our pediatrician said it was fine to do so since he was gaining weight and meeting all his developmental milestones.  He didn’t need to eat at night since it was quite apparent he wasn’t eating, just nursing for comfort.  So we sleep trained, and I couldn’t have done it without my husband telling me to be strong and let him cry a little.

For those that think I am torturing my child, you don’t leave your child in a dark room to cry for hours upon hours until they fall asleep.  We lie our baby down half awake, give a kiss, and say goodnight.  If they cry, we go in at a minute to console them and say it is ok, another kiss, and then another goodnight.  If they cry again, we’ll let them cry for 2 minutes before we go in.  We do keep doing this, adding an additional minute to the last crying fit until the baby falls asleep.  We never let it go past an hour because at that point it is abundantly clear the baby is not quite ready for sleep training.

Anyhoo, we are doing it with my daughter right now.  Though it isn’t hard to get her to fall asleep (no rocking or holding, just needing to be next to her), it was making my son upset.  Here I am next to my daughter half asleep, holding her hand, and next to me is my son yelling, “C’mon Mommy.  Come play on the floor.”  So I decided it was time to sleep train.

I know my daughter was ready for it because she is gaining weight and is meeting her developmental milestones.  And it just seemed like she needed that extra nudge to get her to sleep on her own just because all she really needed was someone to hold her hand.  I felt like this extra push would be a good thing for her, and it has.  She no longer cries when we put her in her crib at night after 2 days of training.  Naps aren’t quite there yet, but we just started yesterday.  And when she is crying, the crying fits are no longer than half an hour and she is asleep.

It feels good to have her be able to fall asleep on her own, but also sad at the same time.  It just means I can use that time I usually spend on putting her to sleep with things that are more productive, like playing with my son, cleaning, etc.  But it’s just sad cause she is growing up.

Sleep training is definitely not for everyone.  Please don’t interpret this as something I recommend for everyone.  This is merely a post to say it works for our family and if you want to read someone who’s done it successfully and is happy about it, then yes, that’s us.

Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit

baby_merlins_magic_sleepsuitThe last week we’ve put Sammy in the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit.  I noticed that when she woke up in the middle of the night she wasn’t hungry (only nursed to sleep), but was half way out of her velcro swaddle.  A mom in my mom’s of 2 group swears by the sleepsuit, and so I thought why not.  And guess what?!  She now sleeps between 8 and 10 hours straight!!!  Milking an extra 2 hours is definitely well worth the $40.  Although sometimes her wake times fall at an awkward time where I think I should probably just stay awake (I’m talking 6am).  My only complaint about the product is her hands are ice cold, but her hands would probably be cold in a sleep sack too.

It’s not quite a swaddle in that she can move her arms or legs.  When Sammy is trying to fall asleep she will move her hands to play with her pacifier.  But when she is finally asleep the suit does muffle any movement she makes with her arms so that she doesn’t accidentally smack herself in the face and wake herself up.  She now wakes up when she makes deliberate moves with her hands to rub her eyes.

It definitely is a great product to transition away from the swaddle instead of cold turkey.  We went cold turkey with my son, which eventually worked for us after we did a bit of sleep training.  But I am hoping that we have instilled good sleep habits with Sammy that no training will be required.  Ultimately we are going to have her in sleep sacks, but I think she still likes the cozy feeling a swaddle provides.  And this product gives her that.  So far so good in our household.  Let’s hope she keeps it up!!!

Alcatraz Trip

alcatrazSo we (and by we, really me) decided that we were going to pack up the kids and go to Alcatraz. There was an art installation by Ai Weiwei that was in its last week at Alcatraz, and so I managed to find tickets for the first boat out on a Saturday–which is 8:45am!!!  I was a bit hesitant about going with an infant and toddler, but it was actually pretty easy (mostly because no one had a meltdown).

The whole place is actually handicap friendly, which means you can easily take the stroller.  We actually kept Oliver in the stroller most of the time because it was a lot of walking, and I knew that he would get tired of walking.  From the dock to the prison is a pretty steep hill for young kids, but it was probably the safest for Oliver to walk so long as you let your fellow travelers go ahead of you.  The prison has way too many people milling about and it was just easier to keep Oliver in his stroller.  So if you do ’86 the stroller, just be prepared to shield your child from the stampede as he/she slowly saunters about.

There is no food on Alcatraz!!!  There’s a snack bar on the boat that sells hot drinks and then junky food, like hot dogs and nachos.  It’s probably safest to pack some snacks for your wee ones and yourself.  You also aren’t allowed to eat in the prison, but the people there didn’t mind Oliver munching away when he was in his stroller.  You can eat by the dock, and there are benches to make it more comfortable.  You can only drink water in the prison; all other drinks must be consumed outside.

I kept Sammy in the Ergo, which was super easy.  If baby wearing is still comfortable for you, I highly recommend doing that as it just eliminates navigating a stroller through a crowd.  It also meant that Sammy could just easily take a nap whenever and where ever without me missing a beat.

However, I did have to pause my audio tour to feed Sammy.  You could technically try feeding the baby in a jail cell, which would make for an amusing photo.  But there are many people trying to take photos of themselves in these cells, so it’s best not to monopolize the time with your feeding session.  I fed Sammy in the library; we sat on the bench closest to the wall so that she wouldn’t be so distracted by the hoards of people coming into the library or walking down the halls.  The cafeteria also has many benches.  Outside the prison, there’s a few benches when you go through the warden’s office, although that area is pretty busy because you do have a great view of San Francisco from there.  There’s also a bench at the entrance to the prison and then the benches by the dock.

As for the prison itself… it’s great for the adults, not very valuable for young kids.  I kept telling Oliver this was the place where bad people used to live.  But he didn’t really care.  We also brought Oliver’s Leap Frog laptop with him to keep him occupied.  Ordinarily this would be problem, say in a museum.  But since your Alcatraz ticket comes with an audio tour, no one got distracted by the noises coming from his toy (from what I could tell at least).  He did walk around a little bit in the prison, once for a photo of him in solitary confinement and then another point because he was tired of being in his stroller.  But again, it was easiest to keep  him in the stroller because of the crowd.

The first boat that leaves for Alcatraz is 8:45am, but you have to show up 30 minutes early to sort out tickets and wait in line to get on the boat.  I believe the boats leave every 30 minutes.  The 8:45 start time was super early for us, but it worked out in the end.  It just made for a very long day.  For an adult, you will spend at least 2 hours on the island, but you should probably tack on an additional half hour to an hour to that when you are with children.  Because my husband and I have already done Alcatraz in the past, we just did the parts we enjoyed.  So we were able to make it back to the mainland in time for a noon lunch.

Alcatraz is definitely doable with young kids.  Just make sure you are very prepared and take your time while you are there.  I know that sounds counterintuitive as a parent because you are just anticipating that meltdown.  But if you are well prepared you can prevent the meltdowns and actually enjoy your tour!

The 5th Leap

IMG_4295We are in the midst of a Wonder Week, and while it isn’t so bad as when Oliver went through his, it leaves me really tired. On top of that there’s just the daily duties like laundry to do. Baby wearing is helpful for a lot of parents out there. While I don’t mind wearing Sammy, she does not sleep if there’s a lot of bending over, like picking up toys.

I felt bad wearing her and eating because she would be covered in crumbs. But now that she is bigger, she can fit in the Ergo. So I use the hood to cover her while I eat. Haha, but seriously it works!  When she was smaller I used the Boba wrap and a Maya ring sling, which definitely did not have anything to protect her pretty head from crumbs!

IMG_4291Other times, she only falls asleep when I hold her.  And then I am held hostage and only hope that the remote control to the TV and my fully charged iPhone are within arms length.  Any unnecessary movement will wake up Sammy, and then all bets are off.

Our night sleeps have now gone from 7-8 hours to 5 hours, which is nothing to complain about compared to others.  But when you are used to a good stretch of sleep, it throws you for a loop.  If you haven’t invested in coffee stock, you should totally look into it cause that’s what gets me through the mornings.

Ahhh, the mommy life.  One day it will get better, I know it.

P.S.  Did I mention we are moving across the country next month?  No packing being done by this mama!!!

Second Thoughts About Potty Training

So Oliver has done really well with the potty training.  Do we even still call it that?  Almost three weeks in and I have to say I miss diapers.  I know it is a huge milestone, especially towards independence and big kid-ness.  But to be honest, it’s A LOT of work.

I guess I romanticized potty training in my head.  I imagined that he would be going on his own with no supervision.  That he would just do his business like you and I, and it would be no big deal.  But the truth of the matter is that he still needs to be constantly reminded to go to the potty because Lego is soooooooooo much cooler than sitting on the potty.  He still needs to have an adult wipe his bum.  We need to make sure someone gets him to the potty as soon as he wakes up or he will just pee in the bed because he doesn’t know how to open his bedroom door to get to the bathroom.  And he monopolizes our only bathroom as if he were a teenage girl.

I guess it doesn’t sound so bad, and in the long run we don’t have a college-age child in a diaper.  But it’s more work than I thought, especially when you put an infant into the mix.  One day I won’t have to worry about bowel movements–and that day will be GLORIOUS!

Flying With Tot

IMG_0006So we recently flew to the East Coast and back with our toddler.  This is a big deal since we now have to pay for his seat and he can finally collect air miles!  Although it is annoying that the price of his seat is the same as an adult.  But that’s another blog post.

Anyhoo, if you’ve ever flown with children, you know how annoying lugging around a car seat is through the airport while wrangling your child and hand carry (no matter how light your try to pack).  Thankfully we bought a CARES Harness, because lets face it–that lap belt barely keeps an adult in their seat, let alone a small child.  The CARES Harness was really easy to install, doesn’t take up room in a hand carry (it fit easily in my purse), is super light, and most importantly it is FAA approved!  My toddler didn’t mind either–to him it was like putting him in his car seat.  My one complaint about the contraption is that my son ended up sliding through the bottom since there’s no fastner in the crotch area to keep him up-right.  Otherwise we were really happy with it.  So if you are flying with your youngster any time soon, I highly recommend getting this product!!!