Wednesday, March 28, 2012

on baby wise and sleep

our precious girl...eleven weeks already. can't believe it.

adjusting to being a mama has been hard but so incredibly worthwhile. i am so thankful to have a husband who supports me working or staying at home, and who encourages me to pursue motherhood and my career. we are both grateful that i can stay home full time right now with Em, since we both believe these are formative months, and it's important that i be the one teaching and bonding with her. she is precious, and i love being her mama.

the very best part of having her is having the peaceful sleep schedule that she has. before she was born, everyone joked that we would never get sleep and it became very discouraging as we approached her birth. this has absolutely not been the case at all, and i am SO thankful for the mamas who assured me that a schedule was both doable and would create peace for our whole family. people often ask me, "how i did it", and i have to say, the Lord has been especially gracious giving us a little one who LOVES sleep, and who is happy and compliant. i am NOT an expert by any stretch of the imagination. i read A LOT before she was born, and sought the advice from mamas who had babies who slept well.

i am so thankful for my friend Cathi, who recommended the baby wise method of sleep training to me. this method has gotten some controversy attached to it recently, and i will say if your child is not gaining weight, is a preemie, or has trouble nursing, this should be discussed with your care provider. the controversy stems from many parents doing baby wise incorrectly; and watching the clock instead of actually reading the book and learning your child's cues. you have to always put your child's immediate needs ahead of the "schedule', no matter what. i believe that there are families who do attachment parenting who have wonderful children and are good parents, but for us, baby wise works. for our lives, we need a schedule. every child is different and every parent needs to make that decision on their own, for their child.

Emmy wakes up at 9:30am for her first feed, then stays awake and plays for an hour, then lays down for a 1.5 hour nap. this cycle is repeated through the day until her bedtime at 10pm, when she sleeps through the night. She wakes from her nap early sometimes, and if she is hungry, i feed her. but normally, she just sleeps right up til her next feed. this cycle has made her into a happy, content baby who is cheerful in the awake time, and puts herself to bed without any crying for naps. she never slept in our bed, and moved from her bassinet to her own crib at 2 weeks old, and has slept there very happily ever since. contrary to public belief, baby wise is NOT about abandoning or neglecting your child (in fact, it's the opposite) when the child is seeing a regular pediatrician, is growing healthily, and parents pay attention to the cues. the articles that have misleading information (and that were forwarded to me about 18 times before we had the baby) are not research based, nor even medically factual. emmersyn is gaining weight appropriately, and is developmentally ahead of her age.

what i am most thankful for is the absolute PEACE that this has brought our family. i know when she will be awake, when she will be asleep, and can therefore enjoy her awake time without being tired or stressed out. it makes me a much happier healthier mama. it also allows me to have about four naps worth of time to get the house cleaned, make meals, do laundry, see friends, and work from home. MOST IMPORTANTLY, she is well rested. her good rest enables her to be alert and happy during awake time, and more able to learn and develop during our activities during the day. she has 15 minutes of independent play per hour of awake time, and we do tummy time and reading and a walk every day. TO OTHER NEW MOMS: you can do this! it's not impossible. it's hard but completely manageable.

Here's the books that helped me:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

why my two month old gets an easter basket

it's no secret that i LOVE holidays. it's sad, really, my love for holidays. i get really excited about stuff like matching outfits (and yes, we will be color coordinated for Easter, in case you were wondering). a silly dream i have had was getting to buy those beautiful Easter dresses for my daughter, and this year, i finally got to! Emmersyn's beautiful Gymboree dress is absolutely gorgeous and has a giant hat to accompany it. (I can't really see a whole lot of her face under the hat, to be honest).

my husband and i got her a little pink Easter basket this year, tinged with yellow and green, and waiting to be filled with all kinds of little girl toys. i know that she is tiny, unaware of what Easter is, and she probably won't care when we prop her up with her basket for photos. but it's about more than the Easter basket. its about parenting intentionally, about creating family memories from the moment she was born.

when we married in december of 2010, the pastor who did our counseling gave us a book to read together called, "Loving Your Kids on Purpose", in order to discuss parenting before we got married and had children. i love this book. while we didn't agree with it 100%, we loved the idea behind parenting with intention, and not "on accident". my husband and i also agree with a lot of mark driscoll's parenting philosophies (though not always his delivery of them), about creating a fun, joy-filled and family centered life for our children. Driscoll says that we need to,
"create an environment where Jesus is celebrated. Salvation is beautiful. It is something to be cherished and rejoiced in. Creating intentional, fun-filled holiday memories can be part of that, particularly at Easter and Christmas, when the birth and resurrection of Jesus are to be rejoiced over with our children. We can leave them a spiritual legacy through this".

Driscoll particularly challenges fathers to step up and make intentional parenting decisions for their children, rather than looking backwards and realizing that it's been too long and now the children are grown. Drew reads to Emmy every night. Does she understand? Possibly, but it's more about creating that environment of learning and love, an environment where her daddy will take time to read to her above all the other things he needs to do. I remember my dad reading to us almost every single night when we were little, and i cherish those memories to this day. We read narnia, patricia st. john books, and little house on the prairie...night after night.
we are by no means expert parents, but we are trying to start early with our Em; setting aside time each day for reading, music, playtime, praying, and time together as a family. She is still so tiny, just eleven weeks, but I know that starting these habits early will help shape the legacy we will leave her when she is grown.

so she will get an Easter basket this year and we will rejoice in the resurrection of our Saviour with our little one.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 2012

Our sweet Emmy Grace is 2 months old! She is so precious, and learning all kinds of exciting things. We have definitely become "those" parents, who think everything their child does is brilliant. :)
Emmy is trying to roll over, and when she plays on the floor, she tries to swing her right arm around to roll over! She hasn't succeeded yet, but she is sure trying.
We have reached the independent play age, and she is doing great. I lay her on her playmat for 15 minutes per every hour of awake time, and she is reaching and grabbing for toys.
She also has "tummy time" for 10-15 minutes a day, and is holding her head up and tracking me with her eyes when I walk around the house. We are so pleased to see her developing and growing so healthily.
Best of all, she is sleeping beautifully. She sleeps from 10pm-7:30 or 8am without waking up once. we start our day together around 9:30, and I do baby wise cycles with her (eat, awake for 1 hour, sleep for 1 1/2hours) all day until 7, when she has a bath before her nap. At ten, we wake her for the last time, swaddle, and have a bedtime story with her daddy, then we all go to bed. I cannot tell you how wonderfully peaceful it has been since she has gotten the hang of her schedule, about five weeks ago. Drew and I are able to sleep 8-10 hours a night, and we all wake up rested and happy! I'm so thankful she is a fabulous napper and sleeper. Doing baby wise is very hard work at the beginning, but well worth the dedication. Now, I have resumed my normal life. I can go out with friends or shopping and she is perfectly happy and content, and sticks to her schedule wherever we are! It makes life so easy with her, and I know it makes me a "happy mama" and not grumpy mama!

I'm about to turn 24 (weird!) next week! Cannot believe I am married with a little one! Drew continues to love his job at Moto-Superstore, and I am grateful every day that I don't have to work outside our home right now. The moments with our daughter are precious, and I would have a really hard time being away from the little for these first months. Though it has been a REALLY hard adjustment being a stay at home mama (and some days, I admit, I don't enjoy it as much as I should), I remain thankful that I get to raise our little, and not leave her with anyone else all day long. I love that she recognizes me now, and smiles when I come to get her from her crib after naps or in the morning. I wouldn't trade that for anything!

We have discussed that I will most likely be going to work towards late summer, for maybe 5-6 days a month, maximum. This will help boost our student loan payments, and still allow me to be home 6 days a week with E. Right now, she keeps me plenty busy, and I have also recently taken on four new clients for Wonderment. I am excited about the growth of my company, as it allows me to contribute to paying down my student loans while still being at home. I love what I do; getting to be a part of these artist's journeys is amazing. We are so blessed to have a weekly date night still, every week, without E. We leave her with my parents, or family friends and she does great. It's so nice to spend time together to re-fuel and keep our marriage strong.

We feel so blessed to be parents, and blessed to have a happy, fun marriage. God is truly so good to us!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Our Emmy

Our little Emmy-bear is growing up so fast!