December 14, 2017

Kip's Picks: Bedtime

Sharing some more of our favorite baby products today. Not sponsored or affiliate. Just things we love that have worked well for us.

Kip's Bedtime Picks

Well, Kippy is a pretty good night sleeper. Has been from the beginning. I remember the week that Dan and I discovered he wanted his bed time to be around 7 pm. We had both assumed he would wake up in 3-4 hours ready to feed but he went until 1 or 2 am those first nights. As we adjusted to that I would get up and pump at 1 am and leave out a bottle of fresh milk for the early morning feed (which Dan did quite frequently). Before we knew it, 5 am was rolling around and the bottle was untouched (we ended up tossing a lot of liquid gold those first weeks, sigh). Kip just transitioned himself into sleeping through the night with no effort on our part. We counted our lucky stars but didn't think it would last. But here we are, 4 months old and he will go all the way till morning, sometimes only needing some help to put the pacifier in his mouth. Edit to add, we've had repeated nights this week of 2:30, 3:30, and 4:30 wake ups. He isn't crying or hungry, just awake and chatting in his bed. I attribute this to the dreaded 4 month sleep regression. Oh Joy.

But, don't be too jealous, the kid won't sleep longer than 30 minutes consistently for a daytime nap unless he is in a stroller, car, or carrier. By the end of the day we have a very fussy and overtired baby.

I believe that each kid is different and what one family does for their "routine" just simply doesn't work for some other kid or family. There is no way of knowing if you'll get a good sleeper or one that struggles. And, I don't expect any of our future children to respond the same way Kip did/does. But, I'm hoping the next one takes longer naps...

Anyways, some of the products we've used with Kippy have seemed to prove helpful with bedtime. I think they create somewhat of a sleep association for him. So when he senses them his brain knows it's bedtime. All the books says things like bath time and books can help cue a child for sleep, for Kip, it's the sound machine and his Love to Dream swaddle, and pacifier that do the trick.

The AVANTEK white noise machine is amazing. Even Dan and I love it for our own sleep. Mandy got this sound machine for her birthday this year. Three days later, Kippy was born and by the end of the month I had ordered one for us too. The thing about this machine is the volume and the timer. The white noise needs to be LOUD. Most of the baby nightlight or sound machines marketed for babies just aren't loud enough. We got a cute little owl nightlight with a white noise feature and that thing is worthless since you can barely hear the rushing waves at its highest volume setting. The AVANTEK machine, on the other hand, has lots of volume levels and lots of white noise sound options (waves, running water, whooshing, even sirens (what???). It also has a timer. You can turn it on and have it run unlimited or you can set it for 2, 4, 5 hours. If you set a limited timer when the clock starts running out, the sound slowly fades away so you aren't startled awake by a sudden lack of noise. It's amazing. For Kip, whenever we turn it on you can visibly see him settle down a bit, ready for sleep.

The Love to Dream Swaddle Up find was a total accident. We actually saw these at the Baby Show we went to back in May. I thought they were ugly and passed on buying them. Then when Kip was born, Dan and I struggled to wrap Kip in tight enough blanket swaddles and he managed to kick out of every other swaddle we tried. I was also really paranoid about the extra fabric near his face with a lot of the swaddles and I would constantly check him in the night to make sure the fabric wasn't covering his nose. Then a friend asked if we wanted to try the Swaddle Up that her baby outgrew, I said sure. The first night Kip hated it. My mom thought it was too tight so we took him out of it. The next time we tried it he fell asleep and the night after that and the night after that. It came to the point where I would feed him and he would seem fussy and then I would put him in his swaddle and he would immediately calm down. Soon, just the act of zipping him up would nearly put him to sleep. And I have to say, he looked pretty cute in a little starfish.

The great thing about this swaddle is it keeps the baby's hands up by their face which is apparently very soothing for them. Second, it is tight through the body which is also comforting. NO extra fabric to worry about, no kicking out, no wrapping or velcro. Just a simple zipper that can be opened from top or bottom (for easy diaper changes). We love it. They also make a transitional size for bigger babies which allow you to unzip the arms to have their hands free when they begin to wiggle and roll. It basically becomes a sleep sack but still fits snugly around the body for that added swaddle comfort. We transitioned Kip about a month and a half ago into the arms free option and he didn't seem to notice the difference.

And, no sleep aid suggestion is complete without an ode to the pacifier. Ugh. I didn't want Kip attached to a Paci but in it went on the first night home from the hospital and he has been hooked since. He was a STRONG sucker from day one. In the hospital he sucked on my finger and I was shocked at how tight his grip was. The pacifier was inevitable and while I don't love having to put it back in his mouth constantly, it does help soothe him. If he happens to wake in the night, or wake up too early for the day, we can typically just put the Paci back in his mouth and he will go back to sleep.

Hope these recommendations are helpful! Sweet dreams! 

December 12, 2017

Kippy || 4 Months Old

On Sunday, Kippy turned 4 months old!! So much has changed in those 4 months. On the day he was born it was HOT outside and 4 months later, there is snow on the ground and it's freezing cold! We are deep into the holiday season and it's so much fun to experience so many firsts with him. Every day is something new!

Kipling at Four Months
Weight:  14 lbs. 4 oz.  (13 lbs. 8 oz. last month)
Height:  25.5 inches (25 inches last month)
Personality: excited and curious


Super excited:

Being held and walked around. He is very curious and wants to explore
Chewing on his hands (sometimes he goes too far and gags himself)
"Talking." He really found his voice this past weekend and coos repeatedly
His jumper gym
Bath time and splashing
Stroller and car rides
When Dad reads to him
When Mom sings to him
On Aunt Mandy days when she walks in the door to greet him 

Diaper changes from mom (he just can't be bothered to wait to be fed)
Being interrupted during a feed for a diaper change (we gotta do it as soon as we hear it or he ruins an outfit)
Being put down for a nap
Being set down anywhere when he wants to be "walked around"
Being left alone in a room

Size 2 diapers
6 month clothing (most are too big but he is too small for 3 month now)

Things I want to remember about Kippy at four months old:
Your tiny, but loud grunts in the night
Your sweet little voice when you coo
Seeing your eyes staring up at me and your big smiles in the morning before I pick you up
The way you reach out and grab my hand in the middle of the night when I put your pacifier back in your mouth
The way you get suddenly panicked when you realize you're hungry
The way you open your mouth in an open O, like a baby bird signaling you're ready to eat
The warm snugly naps you got in the carrier on my chest when we were in Kansas
How rosy your cheeks get when you nurse in the morning
How you close your eyes when you nurse
The way you clasp your hands together

At four months, you've had your first plane rides, first Thanksgiving, first visit to Kansas, first time seeing dogs up close, first time meeting Dan's side of the family, first snow storm, first illness, first night without the swaddle sack, first time "crying it out" for nap time, and first real giggles. You were dedicated at church, went to your first birthday party invite, and first attempts at rolling over (not quite there yet). His hair is starting to grow in and it's light blonde, like we expected!

Kip is still a champ at night and still awful at naps. After we got back from Kansas, he had a rough week transitioning back to naps in the crib as opposed to the carrier. As a result, we typically only get one 30 minute nap in the morning, a 30-40 minute nap after his later morning feed, and MAYBE one more 30 minute nap in the afternoon. He is so overtired and fussy by early evening that we often put him to bed at 5:30/6:00. He is already experiencing some 4 month sleep regression and waking up at 2:30 and 4:30 ready for the day. We can typically get him back to sleep by just giving him the pacifier. It just occurred to me, Kip only ever nursed in the middle of the night once. Around the time he started latching he also started sleeping through the night. Sort of melancholy about that. He is still sleeping in the pack n play by our bed but we intend to transition him to his room after Christmas travel.

This month, I'd like to say we really figured out the feeding. But we didn't. My supply still swings wildly upwards at times and that still causes issues for Kip. I've donated over 1,800 ounces of milk (that's 14 gallons) and we still have our mini freezer filled. It's insanity. I still have to pump twice a day regardless of how much I feed Kip or pump at work. If I don't pump twice then I get engorged during they and my let down overwhelms Kippy and milk sprays everywhere. Despite these issues, Kip doesn't seem to mind too much and he is growing and gaining rapidly. It's still rough and sometimes I dream about being done with breastfeeding but I'm going to try my best to get him through flu season, at least. One year is my ultimate goal. We've come a long way since 2 months so I'm grateful for that progress. He gets 5 oz bottles every 3 hours when he is with Mandy or Dad and I try my best to nurse him every 3 hours on my days but he usually wins me over a little early.

Kippy is becoming more and more engaged in his surroundings and starting to play! He loves looking around and being "walked around" the apartment to the various rooms. He still loves staring at his mobile and especially loves his new jumper gym. He has started grasping toys and bringing them to his mouth and he loves chewing on his fingers and fists. He still hates when I read to him but he loves when Dan does (ugh! stinker). He lights up to the sound of voices and smiles big when you engage with him. He loves splashing in the bath and flailing his arms and legs like a windmill when you lay him on his back.

Love you SO much little monkey! Stay tiny and sweet for me, ok? 

December 11, 2017

Weekending it

This weekend we had our first snow of the season and Kippy's first snow ever!!!!

We took him outside for about two minutes so he could see it and we could get a picture. He seemed both curious and uninterested. And we literally did nothing else the entire day.

Well, except look outside at the snow.

And snuggle with Daddy

On Sunday, we went to church early so Dan could help with set-up and welcome team. Kippy and I hung out, enjoyed worship, missed the sermon, struggled with naps, went out to lunch with friends, and before we knew it, the day was over. Also yesterday, Kippy turned 4 months old!!! Come back tomorrow for his monthly update.

This weekend went by incredibly fast and I don't feel like we have much to show for it. I'm feeling bummed that the Christmas season is nearly over! Can you believe that Christmas is only two weeks away?

December 8, 2017

Peeks from the Week

We are still trying to adjust Kippy on a nap schedule. It's not working out very well. Sigh. I mean, we are super grateful he sleeps well at night, stays asleep, and goes down easily. But, day time sleep is our nightmare. When I'm home with him on Mondays and Tuesdays, I have to have him cry it out when I put him down (Dan and Mandy can get him down without tears - gahhhh!). And, no matter what, he will only sleep for 30 minutes. 40 minutes if you're super lucky.

HOW DO YOU ENTERTAIN a baby for several hours when they won't sleep and you can only feed them every three hours? By the afternoon he is a hot mess of near constant fussing. And so now his bedtime is 5:45 pm. For real, he will go to sleep for the night before 6 pm. That means, when Dan or I are at work, we don't see him when we get home. That makes me sad.

My maternity leave officially ends at the end of the month. We were super blessed and grateful that I was allowed to split my leave and use the time to work only three days a week for the last two months. It worked really well for us and I enjoyed having the best of both worlds: stay-at-home mom for two days and working mom for three days. But, that window is closing and I'm suddenly realizing the plight of so many working moms. The choice between your job and family. Finances and your baby. It's really, really hard.

Fortunately, I saved enough vacation days that I can use those to get Mondays off through March. After that, I have to have another conversation and I'm completely torn. I can't bare the thought of only getting one hour with Kip a day (when I nurse him in the morning) and I'm heartbroken that some moms don't even get that much. There is only one other mom in my department and her "child" is a grown adult. So, I'm left in an environment where no one really understands being a new mom and while it's still generally supportive I don't feel like anyone gets it and I'm having a hard time advocating for myself.

But, I'll stop rambling and get to important business. Pictures of Kippy!

Snow might be arriving tomorrow and Kip turns 4 months old on Sunday. WHAT in the world? Happy Friday!

December 6, 2017

Santa, I KNOW HIM!

The weekend after Halloween, Dan and I drove to New Jersey to hang with Mandy. We went to the mall to go to Cheesecake Factory for lunch (cheesecake is really excellent for your milk supply). Anyways, we were strolling the mall and I told Mandy that I didn't want to take Kip to meet Santa this year because I didn't want to deal with the lines and germs. She agreed.

Then we turned the corner and there was the Santa set-up. And NO LINE whatsoever. I didn't even realize Santa would be at the mall before Thanksgiving. Is this a thing now? So we quickly changed our minds, headed over to Old Navy, picked-up a festive outfit, woke Kippy from his precious stroller nap, changed him quickly, and handed him over to the sweetest Santa. We waited 30 seconds while Santa was exchanging sign language with a deaf boy who was just standing in the area. So nice. Then Santa sat in his big chair and held Kippy with such confidence. 

They took about 6 different shots and we all tried our hardest to get Kip to smile but he was just blank face. At least he was content and not crying. We were allowed to pick one of the shots for printing.

The pictures were overpriced, naturally, and kind of out of focus but I'm so glad we did it because now I want to have framed Santa pictures for every year. 

Kippy looks like a little old man with no neck. Hehehe. And he is already SO much bigger now, just a mere month later. But look at the way his little hand is resting on Santa's cuff! Gaaa. Little cutie. 

December 5, 2017

Christmas Decorating Details

Linking-up with Andrea for Show and Tell Tuesday: Christmas Decor!!!

I love sharing our Christmas decor and peeking at all the other festive homes as well! Our apartment is small and we only have one large tub to store ALL of our Christmas decorations so I try to keep things simple but equally festive.


This year we downsized our tree. Dan and I got a 6 ft. tree with flocked branches right after we got married. We enjoyed that tree for just two Christmases. We shipped it off to live with Terri Mom in Kansas when we started fixing the second bedroom to make room for baby. The tree took-up half of the closet space in that room so it had to go. BUT! I know it will live a full and happy life with Terri Mom and her huge house filled with Christmas trees. It's living its best Christmas destiny.

Anyways, Mandy spotted a cute 4 ft tree in a tiny box at Hobby Lobby and we decided it would be the perfect fit. AND it is!! Bonus, all of our ornaments still fit.

We haven't picked our family ornament for the year so I'll have to show that later.

I've mentioned this before, but one of the best ways to add decorative touches with minimal space is table runners. I have one on our "TV sideboard" and one on the long ottoman. Add a snuggly festive Christmas blanket to the couch and you've got a lot of festive "pop" with minimal effort and items.

Also on the sideboard, I added a Merry Christmas garland we found at Target this weekend (it's a little big) and Aunt Judy sent Kippy one of the adorable Little People nativity sets and it fits perfectly on the second shelf. I know that will get a lot of play in future years.

We picked-up new stockings at Hobby Lobby this weekend (50% sale!) and grabbed another reindeer stocking hanger for Kippy.

I made a Christmas bucket list and hung our Christmas card ornaments from years past. I had to reorder our cards this year because apparently I didn't look at the photo I chose very carefully because it was pretty bad. Ugh, mom brain. You can see a sneak peek of Kippy's Santa photo in the red frame but I'll do a full reveal of that cuteness later!

I styled the shelf above our dining table (cute garland made by Mandy) and added a red tablecloth and green runner to the table.

And that's it. We don't decorate the other rooms and I only have some festive dishtowels in the kitchen. Even though it would be fun to have Christmas in every room we don't have storage space and sometimes too much makes me feel cluttered so this is just right for us.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas decor in years past:

December 1, 2017

Peeks from the Week

Happy December!!!

Can you believe there is only 30 days left in 2017??? Crazy.

I hope December doesn't fly by as fast as November did because I honestly don't know where November went.

Even though the month went fast, this week felt super slow. Since we got back from Kansas Kippy had a hard time adjusting to sleep. He cried for most of Monday and Tuesday wasn't much better. We are trying really hard to get him on some sort of nap schedule and having him sleep in his crib in his room during the day. Things got progressively better throughout the week.

He is also recovering from his first little virus that he must have caught while traveling. He seems totally unbothered by it so that's good but still a little sad he is sick. Mandy took him to the Doctor today.

But in his world, all is well. Marmee (my mom) got him a bouncer toy as an early Christmas gift. At first he had no idea what to do but now he lovesss it. SO cute to watch him in it.

Funny, I was insistent about not getting one of these things or crowding the apartment with kid paraphernalia before he was born. But, it is pretty cute and he loves it.

He also worked on his sitting skills...

And holding his own bottle...

Tomorrow he'll be in college. Sheesh! Slow down kid.

Happy Friday!!!!