Sleep Training 101

I’m a big believer that sleep training is all about the baby and no one knows the right time to start better than the parent. With Emerson we coslept and didn’t officially sleep train until he was about 14 months old. With Eloise I’m feeling like it’s time to get her on a schedule. Up until about a week ago we were bouncing her to sleep for every nap and holding her the entire time. Which is so nice to get all that cuddle time, but I’m just too busy during the day to consistently be holding a baby and tethered to the couch.

Right around the time I was thinking about starting to sleep train, Lauren, the Owner/ Sleep Consultant at Sleep and the City, put out a call for moms with infants 5-12 months to try out her new sleep guide. I’ve actually been following Lauren for over a year and love her Instagram (you can follow her here) because she’s always giving out awesome advice, so I had to jump on the opportunity. Stars aligned, am I right?

I was able the read the entire guide in two sittings, which is great considering my days are occupied by two toddlers and a baby! I’ve started slowly implementing the techniques in Lauren’s guide and in just one week I’ve seen a huge improvement. Specifically with scheduling, I was able to get a good outline for when I should be putting Eloise down to nap/ feeding her/ letting her play. Eloise is now napping on her own in her crib! Which is totally amazing and really frees me up to take care of other things around the house, not to mention finding time to blog. I’ve seen a dramatic change in Eloise’s behavior as well. Before the guides we were waiting for her to get tired, but by that point it was already too late and because we missed the nap window she wouldn’t sleep soundly and was just grumpy all the time from lack of sleep.

I was also really impressed with the way it was all explained. I’m very analytical and not a big fan of, “do it this way just because.” The sleep guide really broke down the biological reasons for following a sleep cycle making it more than just a ‘do it my way’ guide.

I would definitely recommend that any of my sleepy moms friends download the Infant Sleep Survival Guide (here.) I’m so happy to see Eloise sleeping better and obviously ecstatic that I’m no longer up three or four times a night.

 

Thank you so much to Sleep in the City for giving me this opportunity to review The Infant Sleep Survival Guide!

First Baby vs Second Baby

I knew when we found out I was pregnant for the second time that our life was going to change, but I had no idea how much I would change as a Mom. Now that Eloise is almost 8 months old and Emerson is 2 I realized how different my parenting style has change just in the past few months. Here are a few examples of how things have changed in the Kenny household.

Self-care

Baby one: Wait until someone else is home, ask them to watch the baby while you shower and brush your teeth. Instruct that person not to put the baby down for any reason. Give list of emergency numbers and the name of all urgent cares in a 5 mile radius. Demonstrate to them the bounce in which your baby most prefers to avoid any unnecessary crying. Do not dry or curl your hair for at least six months, I mean what if there was a freak accident and the curling iron flew through the wall into the other room and burned your baby?! Also, wait at least six months to see your hair stylist because you would miss your baby too much.

Baby Two: Brush your teeth while simultaneously bouncing baby on hip, also help your toddler brush teeth at same time, should take about 10 minutes to complete this task. Shower with both babies in the bathroom with you. Here are a few different shower senerios. Toddler sitting on potty with baby in the shower getting cleaned with you. Baby in bouncer while toddler plays in the shower. Baby in bouncer toddler on the bathroom floor definitely getting into something dirty. Curl your hair while your toddler watches Disney Jr on your bed and your baby is in bouncer at your feet. You WILL burn yourself at some point because you’re paying more attention to the kids than to your hair. Don’t book an appt with your hairstylist ever again because kids are expensive and take all your money.

Doctor Recommendations 

Baby One: Make an appointment for the six month check up the day your baby turns six months. Goes into the doctors office with a list of questions and follows everything the doctor says. After every appointment you report your babies weight and height along with what percentile they are in.

Baby Two: Consistently a month behind on shots. When the nurse asks if you want to know your babies percentile you just say no because hearing another number and trying to remember is literally pointless at this point.

Play/ Sleeping/ Eating 

Baby One: Plays with all new age appropriate toys. They are never ever left alone in a room and don’t actually get much use of of their toys since they’re almost always in someones arms. Gets two to three outfit changes during the day to make sure all of the clothes they were given get worn. They are either held during their naps or laying on the bed while you nap with them. They start eating some solids at six months, but only foods that are organic and homemade.

Baby Two: Gets lots of floor play time. Mostly playing with items like diapers, wipes packages or toys that are for much older kids. They wear their siblings hand me downs, even if they’re a girl wearing a onesie that reads ‘tough guy.’ They nap when they can, but lets be honest no one is keeping track of their sleep schedule. As far as food goes they’ve been eating Mcdonalds french fries since 4 months old and have never looked back.

That one Time I got Thrown up on

This post has been sponsored by the JoLayle. All opinions are my own.

I think that every Mom has a story of a time their kid threw up on them. It honestly felt like some type of initiation when it finally happened to me.

There we were, Nick, Emerson and myself. Leisurely strolling the aisles of Home Depot, filling our cart with all the essentials for a beautiful outdoor space. Emerson was a little fussy, but what else would you expect from a 14 month old? he starts coughing and throws up a little on his shirt. It was my first time ever seeing him get sick and his little face just looked so pitiful my heart broke. My first instinct was to comfort him, so I grabbed him out of the cart to hold him against my chest, and that’s when it happened. All down my shirt, into my bra and all over the floors. Nick was frozen and horrified unable to really help because I mean, what could he do. ‘We need to go NOW’ were pretty much the only words I could come up with. We literally left our cart in the middle of the aisle (sorry Home Depot!) and booked it to the car.

Once we got to the car I took off my shirt and threw on a cardigan, which was the only thing I could find in my trunk. We made our way to the DR and ended up all being sick for a few days, but I learned a super valuable lesson, ALWAYS KEEP EXTRA CLOTHES IN YOUR CAR.

Ever since that fateful March day I have kept a fully stocked emergency car bag. Here’s a little peak at what I keep in my car so you can prepare yourself.

  1. Diaper and wipes for both babies.
  2. Extra clothing for each family member
  3. Blanket

I keep all my supplies in the JoLayle Diaper Caddy which I’ve become obsessed with. This is the third diaper caddy I’ve been through and it’s my favorite. It doesn’t look like a baby product, and the quality is amazing. As the kids get older I’ll be able to continue using the caddy and change out what i need in my emergency bag. (Hello potty training.)
You can order your diaper caddy here on Amazon and if you have Prime you’ll get free shipping!!

DIY Salt Dough Ornaments

I’ve been on the hunt for fun Christmas traditions, but with two little kids it has to be easy, inexpensive and not make a gigantic mess. After a little Pinterest hunting I discovered salt-dough hand prints and was super surprised at how easy they are.

It took one cup of flour, one cup of salt and half a cup of warm water. All ingredients I had sitting in my pantry. I mixed up the dough, rolled it into ornament sized circles and pressed they tiny hands in.  I thought the handprint would be the easy part, but I had to do it over a couple of times because there has to be a lot of pressure and babies aren’t super corporative.

After I was happy with their hand print I took a straw to cut a little hole for string. Then I put them on a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven for about three and a half hours. After they were done I wrote their names and year on the back and used festive twine to hang it on my tree!

It was super fun to make these and I can’t wait to look back on them in the years to come and see how little their hands were!!

Staying away from Sugary Drinks

I’m definitely not a health nut, but I do try to make sure I’m giving Emerson nutritious foods and starting him off with good eating habits. I let him have a piece of chocolate after dinner occasionally and have even been known to let him have syrup on his waffles in the morning.

I think moderation is a good word for the amount of sweets he’s allowed. One thing I’ve really kept him away from is sugary drinks. He doesn’t drink anything other than water and prince juice and I’d like to keep it that way as long as I can.

As he’s gotten older it’s been harder and harder to keep him away from the ‘good tasting’ drinks. Recently I’ve started giving him fruit infused water and it’s been a big hit in our house. I’ve been using the Twistshake sippy cup which allows me to water and the fruit of my choice to make infused water! It’s so much cheaper than buying flavored water from the store and as an added bonus I know exactly what is going in it!

I’ve been following the Twistshake company for a while, but I thought they only made baby bottles. You can read how the company started here, but basically they created an awesome bottle to help moms avoid the formula clumping up and logging the bottle.  Anyways, after the company reached out to me I discovered they make  way more than just baby bottles. I’ve fallen in love with the toddler sippy cup for a few reasons. 1. It can make infused water (duh!) 2. It doesn’t leak so I can give it to Emerson in his crib and not worry about him waking up covered in water, 3. it doesn’t use a straw piece, which is great because Emerson knows how to open his cups and is always hiding the straw.

Because Twistshake is awesome they have offered a discount to all my followers! If you order you can use to code BUSINESSOFBLONDE30 and you’ll get 30% off your order! Thank you Twistshake for sponsoring my post today.

Cooking with my Toddler

Recently, Emerson has been showing tons of interest in the kitchen and specializing in ‘cooing’ aka cooking. My first instinct as a mom is to keep him away from the kitchen so I can keep him safe. However, my ultimate goal is to raise strong, independent and capable children and letting him help is a great way to give him some ownership.  Our step-stool is the perfect height to get him up to the counter. We let him master climbing up and down on the step-stool with our supervision on the carpet before we moved it into the kitchen. Also, for safety reasons, we keep it folded up when we’re not around to monitor him.

I just love watching him try to copy what I do! It’s like I get a window into his little mind when we’re cooking and I can see him think things through and recall what he’s seen in the past. I know his fine motor skills are improving and he’s gaining the confidence to eventually do things on his own. Some of him favorite tasks to help with are stirring, cutting (with a butter knife) and tasting the food (of course!) He’ll actually get annoyed with me when I try to help him stir anymore! 

There are some additional benefits to having him help me. I have noticed a difference in his eating. Like most toddlers, Emerson will love something one day and hate it the next. The more involved he is with helping with the cooking process the more he is willing to try new foods. It’s also given us an opportunity to have some bonding time, something that has been more difficult with the addition of Eloise. Lastly, I can keep a close eye on him while simultaneously making a meal, instead of trusting him to play with the toys while I cook in a different room. 

It’s definitely not always picture perfect when he helps. Each task takes three times as long and I’m always on edge because there are so many way he can get hurt. We also get our fair share of meltdowns whether it’s because I won’t let him touch a hot pan or because we’re all done and he wants to keep cooking. But overall I love the quality time we get together and really hope he continues to be ‘moms little helper’ as he gets older.

Do your kids help in the kitchen? What’s your favorite meal to make together? Ours is cheesy scrambled eggs!

Favorite Christmas Pajamas

 

One I Two I Three I Four I Five I Six I Seven I Eight I Nine I Ten

Christmas pajamas are a must in my house, so I decided to round up some of my very favorites this year. Now that we have Eloise I really want to get the kids coordinating pajamas each year to wear on Christmas eve. I mean, let’s be real, I’ll probably end up buying them a few pairs of new pjs because they’re so stinking cute!!

The holiday season is always the time of year I’m thankful for the house we have. When we were looking for a house I really wanted a fireplace, but told myself there was no way we could get one within our price range. Then all the stars aligned and God brought us the absolute perfect house, ideal location, in budget, and yes a FIREPLACE! We even have a beautiful mantel to hang all of our stockings from. I can’t wait to light a fire and snuggle my babies all season long.

Does your family have any traditions that involve pajamas?? Comment and let me know!

 

Favorite Shops Started by MOMS

Happy Wednesday everyone! I thought I’d do something a little different today and round up some of my favorite shops. Want to know the best part of the post today? Every shop I’ve listed was started by a mom to help support her family. Recently, I’ve become passionate about shopping small and helping out other moms or businesses that are local. I love knowing exactly where my money is going and who it’s supporting!

I’ve rounded up some of my favorite baby/mama shops and they were all started by moms.

Declan + Crew

Declan+ Crew is known for their ‘posing for the mamarazzi’ shirts, but everything they have is amazing. In a closet full of shirts I always find myself reaching for their stuff.

Sincere Elephant 

Started by a teacher, turned stay-at-home-mom, turned work-at-home-mom they have my all time favorite nursing cover! I have this buffalo check print which is perfect for fall/ winter. They also have the cutest banana bibs ever!

Freshly Picked

I’ve been in love with this company since I first saw them on Shark Tank! I will admit I was skeptical about the price tag on their leather moccasins, but now I’m obsessed. We have one pair for Eloise, plus we used them as shoes for Emerson when he was first learning to walk and got compliments on them all the time. Since they have a super thin sole they are ideal for new walkers!

Fawn Design 

My all time favorite diaper bag company. Started by a mom who couldn’t find what she was looking for so she made it. Faux leather bags that can be worn as shoulder bags or as backpacks.

Little Poppy Co

Started by not one, but two mamas. Little Poppy Co is an awesome subscription service for girl moms. You get three bows in the mail each month and they are so adorable! I haven’t signed up yet, but once Eloise is a little older I know this is going to be amazing.

Mom Hacks: Diaper Bag Edition

Happy Tuesday! Today I’m sharing my favorite hacks for making your diaper bag lighter and easier to navigate. I used a huge tote-style bag with Emerson and felt like I was always diving through my bag to find what I needed. After a few modifications I finally have a system I love.

Diaper Bag I Pouches I Sophie the Giraffe I Nursing Cover

Backpacks are everything. I have two favorites, my Jujube Be Right Back and my Fawn Design. I have been using my Fawn bag more regularly since it can be either a backpack or a shoulder bag. PS you don’t have to wear the backpack as low as I do. I gave up keeping the straps tight since Nick always needs to loosen them.

Find items that work double (or triple duty.) Less is best and finding items that do more than one job is key. My favorite item is my Sincerely Elephant nursing/ car seat/ high chair and shopping cart cover. It’s lightweight and cuts down on the amount I have to lug around.

Multi-use  Cover I Carseat 

Separate by child. I have two separate pouches within my diaper bag. They both have a pair of socks, change of clothes, diapers and wipes. It makes it so easy if I need to change just one kid, or when I drop them off at Sunday school I can send them with just their little pouch.

Wipes Pouch I Diaper Pouch 

 

There you have it, how to pack the perfect diaper bag! What are your must-haves?

Encouraging Language in Your Toddler

I’ve never considered myself to be the parent obsessed with milestones. However, after our 18 month check up my doctor suggested taking Emerson to a speech therapist. I was scared and almost embarrassed. I blamed myself for not reading to him enough and was afraid we might discover a bigger problem. Before spending lots of money for a private speech therapist I decided to do a little research and see if there was something I could do from home to encourage his language skills. I am happy to report that it’s been a few months since that 18 month check up and even though he’s still not at the ‘average’ language level for his age we’ve seen significant progress and he’s even starting to say a few words. If you’re concerned about language, but it’s too soon for you to go to a speech therapist here are a few things you can try at home:

Get some books. I would recommend The Speech Teacher’s Handbook to anyone wanting to encourage language in his or her child. It had helpful information on milestones, and made me feel so much better about where Emerson was in his development. Since implementing the strategies in the book I’ve seen a big improvement and he’s starting saying words like ‘more’ ‘hat’ and ‘ball.’ You can get a copy of The Speech Teacher’s Handbook here on amazon!

Teach your child sign language.  didn’t want to be that pretentious parent always bragging about her baby who knew sign language, but it became necessary for us to be able to communicate. He picked up sign language so easily and it’s helped him be able to communicate with us what he wants.

Don’t compare child to other kids. It’s been difficult for me to see friends with children much younger than Emerson with a much larger vocabulary. I just keep reminding myself that children develop at different speeds and he’s so young there is plenty of time to catch up.

Determine if there could possibly be a hearing problem. Sometimes your child can have trouble hearing and if they can’t hear you they definitely can’t copy your language. If you think your child is having trouble hearing, talk to your doctor to discuss next steps.

Make time to read together or listen to audio books in the car. My pediatrician had me start listening to children’s audio books in the car in addition to reading together during the day. This helps Emerson hear small easy to copy words and get comfortable with the way they sound.

Invest in some flashcards. Flash cards are a great way to teach your child different objects. I’ll set out two or three pictures of different objects and ask Emerson to point to the table or the fork. Eventually I’m hoping he’ll be able to say the words, but for now I’m happy to see he’s able to understand the name of objects.

Get your child socalized. This is probably a strong factor in why Emerson has been a little behind on his language. He doesn’t spend much time with other children so he doesn’t get to hear them talk or use their words. We’ve started taking him around other children as much as we can. Most public libraries have a story time or toddler program that’s free. The park is a great place to meet other kids, as well as gymnastics, swim, or sports teams.

I’ve also been encouraged by a number of parents I’ve talked to who had late bloomers when it comes to language. It seems to me it’s more common to have a child early or late than actually hitting every milestone on time.