There and Back Again, Thanksgiving 2016

Though it has already been quite a few weeks after Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving is now old news, I am still happily blogging about our yearly trip up to Virginia. Because Virginia is quite a ways away from Louisiana, and we don’t often have the chance to get up there as often as we would like, I treasure each visit as much as possible. The best moments of the trip were not captured by photos. Sometimes the best memories come from living in the moment and not interrupting it for a photo (if we had a personal photographer who followed us around that would be pretty cool though. Therefore, in the absence of photos here are a few highlights of our trip (albeit sentimental) beginning with the day before we hit the road.

 friday

This journey begins almost two weeks ago. The night before we left, Ross and I attended a wedding in New Orleans for our dear friend Katie. This was a big deal for us (not like it wasn’t for everyone either though, especially the bride and groom). We’ve been graduated and married for over three years now, and we have had to miss wedding after wedding of our friends from college, so this was the first wedding of a college friend that we’ve actually been able to attend! AND it was our first night out since last winter, and certainly the first time I left Rainer for that long.

It was such a lovely treat driving out at night to New Orleans with just my husband for company in his cozy, little Fiat that I never get to ride in. Plus I was wearing a dress that I hadn’t worn since before we were married. It surprisingly still fit me and I LOVED that I didn’t need to worry about nursing in it. It’s the little things y’all. Aside from the awesome date night opportunity, the wedding itself was absolutely beautiful in every way. There was such joy throughout the night, and Ross and I had a wonderful time catching up with out of town friends.

saturday

The next morning we didn’t leave town until 11am. It was a crazy week y’all.

Though we originally intended to stop for the night in Atlanta, we ended up canceling our hotel reservation in order to drive as long as possible before all four of us had a melt down. Rainer slept ok as long as he had his pacifier (which he doesn’t actually use outside of the car), but Lúthien would cry and complain from her head wobbling up and down and then in turn wake up Rainer. There were several times in the course of the drive where both kids were crying and screaming and Ross and I turned to each other and just laughed at the hilarity of it all. We eventually quit and stopped around 1am.

sunday

img_4504-1

Waking up on a Sunday morning in Belmont was magical. Though I have spent four years of my life there, I felt as I was seeing Belmont with totally new eyes. Dawn opened us up to the incredible beauty of a North Carolina Fall. (I had forgotten just how colorful Fall actually is!) Walking around campus together felt like a dream. It had only been a year since we visited with a friend, but this time was altogether different. Last year it was winter, the students were away, the trees were barren, and we were running late for Sunday Mass. This time around the campus was at the height of its beauty, the students were present though still inside their dorms, and we had some time to explore our old haunts in peace. There is something incredibly fulfilling and beautiful about bringing your children to a place you still call home during a season that you fell in love. All four of us sat together in the grotto and it was such perfection.

img_4511

A few other highlights of that stop include nursing on the floor of the narthex during Mass (something I could have never foreseen in my years there as a student), walking up and down and again up and down downtown Belmont looking for a restaurant with an open table (roadtrip exercise + sightseeing + food searching), and finally finding somewhere (new) to eat with awesome food.

img_4510

monday 

img_4514

Monday was our recover day, and it was a pretty quiet day as far as quiet days go for our family. Ross and I left the kids with my eager and excited parents while we went on a grocery and coffee date. Again, it’s the little things: Walking with your husband and getting to hold his hand when you usually can’t because you’re both carrying kids…Actually getting to sit down and enjoy a hot cup of coffee instead of taking a cold sip every few minutes.

tuesday

Tuesday was our busy meet up with friends day. In the afternoon, we left the kids with the grandparents again – I promise they didn’t babysit the entire time. We drove into Williamsburg with Josh Garrell’s Home as our soundtrack while we enjoyed the peace of the drive. Williamsburg is picturesque in the Fall. After picking up my sister in the older campus of William and Mary, we met our sweet friends Corinne and Chiara for lunch. Ross was the man of the hour, since our friend Chris was unable to make it. Regardless, it was such a delight to all be together and it’s a shame we weren’t able to visit longer.

We finally arrived back home with just enough time to spare to hang out with the kids for a little while and then put them to bed. And then we promptly left to go meet up with my best friend and her fiance. It was our first time meeting him and seeing them together, and I loved it. After 13 or 14 years of friendship, it brings me such satisfaction and peace to see her with the right guy, the perfect one for her.

wednesday – sunday 

Joseph and Anna were back home for their Thanksgiving break. We did normal Thanksgiving week things…grocery shopping the day before Thanksgiving (of course) and relaxing together. Or if you’re like Ross and you kind of run your own business, you make up for lost time and you work from home (or your in-law’s home). 😉

img_0496

Then of course there was Thanksgiving Day and all the yum yums. My grandmother and Uncle came in from out of town. And we were also able to meet my sister’s boyfriend for the first time. Good, good company.

img_0539img_4520

15203151_1430140006999580_5422234802290973696_n

img_0566

The rest of the visit was filled with great food, wonderful people, and lots of pie. Our visit concluded Saturday morning when we left in the morning with my brother Joseph in tow. We dropped him off at his dorm in North Carolina after a good lunch together and some fresh air by his apartment building.

img_4532img_4526

The rest of our road trip is all a haze. We were wiped out and just tried to make it through the miles. You know the typical.


All in all, we had a wonderful time away for the week. In case it wasn’t already obvious, I finished this post throughout the course of two or three weeks. But hey, that’s Advent for you. 🙂

Happy Gaudete Sunday! .

 

 

Advertisements

Hobbitry Homestead: Past and Present | Fall 2016 |

Probably around this time last year, I intended to write a post giving a little tour of our very humble homestead. I probably should have, because last autumn we had just reached our peak (in only the two years we’ve lived here) and since then things have reached a standstill. Regardless of our slow progress, please humor me as I relate our current state of affairs! 😉

IMG_2721

humble beginnings (circa May 2015)

When we first found this home, we automatically fell in love with the property. We live on 3/4 of an acre, but it feels a little larger than that because our property is narrow and long. When we moved here, instead of maybe painting or undergoing minor renovations to the inside of the house, we instantly began to work on the outside. First by laying the bed for our first vegetable garden, purchasing our first chickens, building our first chicken run, and planting our first fruit trees.

11116945_375311715985404_8775089_n

sowing seeds

11192745_751852251601177_1243084125_n

building the chicken run

11205783_373653626157278_1517456548_n

the day we moved the first flock of chicks outside

Within the past year and a half, the homestead has been through quite a lot. Some of our blunders include…Losing our first flock of chickens to a mean decapitating raccoon. I still remember the shock when my husband told me that morning. (They were the most beautiful breed with have had so far too!) We have gone through four roosters. Two were lost to the raccoon, two were lost to us because they were too aggressive. Two meat birds escaped by accident and never came back. And then of course, there are your typical gardening blunders that everyone runs into if they have a vegetable garden (squash vine borers, frost, wild rabbits eating young plants, crops shooting to seed too early, etc). With each set back though, we have been able to learn much more. Over here we truly do learn as we go.

11428104_1762347050658705_240459276_n

Jean Lafitte, our 3rd rooster, still a little teenager here

Writing about all these gardening specifics makes me sad…why…well ever since I became pregnant and started to [temporarily] work part time last Fall, the garden has fallen by the wayside. You see, our homestead would not be alive were it not for the stamina, enthusiasm, and resourcefulness of my husband. If he wants something done, he gets it done. He mainly oversees the animals, and I [used to] oversee the garden. We work together, and we just get excited about different things. However, with the pregnancy and the part-time job, I slowed down – which was necessary and good. I focused more on lesson planning and soaking up my time with my toddler, soon to be big sister.Unfortunately [and not a surprise] the garden gradually went dead soon after Rainer was born. But thankfully, our rabbits [again, my husband’s work] have been flourishing.

img_1607

One of the last harvests, this past May

 

At the height of our garden days, we had healthy blueberry bushes, producing lemon trees, and an annual vegetable garden of all sorts of greens, herbs, and veggies that would make its way to the dinner table. Since then, we have had to get rid of the blueberry bushes, my lemon trees have been struggling, and our vegetable garden is no more. On the plus side, the guava tree that we thought was killed by frost has grown back and is just as healthy as it was last year. Our fig trees are beginning to produce, our apple tree is strong, and our front porch herb garden is growing wonderfully. Our feijoa bushes might be struggling a little bit though.

11356845_479122542254212_831443816_n

Guava tree guild in its infancy

The animal side of things is still looking good! We have 6 hens at the moment, and they are probably over a year at this point. In the Spring, we plan on getting some chicks to eventually replace them. Last winter Ross started our first meat bird operation, which we might do again once we have a better set up to raise chicks.

12822551_149369135452142_719328037_n

Last Spring

11910503_425827100934708_1178113756_n

newly built chicken tractor last fall

This past spring we introduced rabbits to the homestead, which so far has been more economical and efficient than raising our own meat birds. When we first began, both Ross and I were a little hesitant. Rabbits are much cuter than chickens, but in the end, it’s really not all that bad. It is much more fulfilling knowing exactly how the meat on your plate was raised and treated throughout its life and knowing that you had a hand in it.

img_2799

Scruffy the Rabbit, one of the Papas

Now that I am finally at a comfortable rhythm with these two kids, I am really eager to get back at work in the garden. I plan on preparing a new bed, this time closer to the backdoor for easy, quick access. There is also a lot to be done with the existing fruit trees, but I’m working on one step at a time. There are many more goals and dreams to move forward, but for now, it is a blessing to take a step back and see far we have come. Most especially, I love that we have our two littles who can enjoy the yard.

img_1770

This used to be our main garden. We are now clearing the area completely.

img_4237

Ross built that gate from scrap wood, using his own design. There are muscadine vines on each side.

For those of you that do garden, what are your favorite things about gardening? What is your strong suit?

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 4 – Let’s Redirect

Linking up with Kelly for this week’s quick takes! 

Ok, I know I’m not the only one who has been dismayed all week long at the state of practically everything in our country now. Therefore, here are a few things to inspire and/or distract.

one

My friend, Hannah, wrote this post essentially about the sanctity of mundane household chores, which really struck a bell with me (is that even a saying?). For the past two weeks, my attitude has fallen into “I just need to get through this and that,” so the simple reminder that we can love through all things helped change my tune. Also, I loved how she related her experience of dishes and laundry – in that she usually only has 3 minutes of perfectly folded clothes and a shining kitchen counter. It is so true! Oh the irony of working so hard for a few spare minutes of cleanliness!

two

Teresa, offered a short and sweet reminder that the best thing that we can do is – as Mother Teresa hearkens – “to go home and love your family.” This also something that I have been striving to actively focus on – my family is my ministry, my children are my ministry, making sure the household is still running is my ministry. Drying those tears, changing the stinky diapers, even cleaning the kitchen floor from a broken bowl filled with my leftover gumbo is my ministry.

three

img_4420

I cannot remember the blogger who wrote this, but a few months ago someone wrote about how now is the perfect time to re-read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Beauty is our greatest inspiration, and Tolkien’s writing is transformative. My husband re-reads the Lord of the Rings every year, and this year I’ve decided to join him. Last week, I finished The Silmarillion (for the first time!) and was absolutely blown away. (Yes, I am aware of how ridiculous it is that I have a daughter named Luthien, and I am just now finishing The Silmarillion, but that is not the point). Throughout the book there is constant tragedy after tragedy, but despite everything there is always hope and good always prevails even in the most seemingly hopeless circumstances.

four

This excerpt from Wendell Berry that keeps popping up:

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

five

img_4442

Yesterday I took both kids to the library for only the second time since Rainer was born. I used to take Lu all the time when I was pregnant, so it’s been such a while. Hallelujah, it went so well! And now I might begin to take both children to the babies and toddlers’ storytime on Tuesdays, fingers crossed!

six

We are starting to make time for family prayer, which we really haven’t done before other than bedtime prayers. At the moment, we are just praying one decade of the rosary. I really want to make it a habit early on, plus we need that as a family. ❤

seven

Lastly, I just started reading Little Women for the first time! Gosh it is too adorable, and the characters are already so endearing. I’m really trying to eliminate all the noise that netflix and social media provides and begin a habit of reading regularly again. So it’s Little Women and (re-reading) The Hobbit at the moment!

That’s it. This was probably my quickest quick takes ever. Have a great weekend y’all.

Peace,

Dot

Savoring the sweet moments

It’s a Monday afternoon. Both kids are sleeping at the same time. Outside it is raining for the first time in weeks, and I sit on the couch surrounded by piles of laundry to fold – including clothes that were folded but then scattered by the toddler. There are dirty dishes around the kitchen, but there is a chicken stock simmering on my stove for our soup tonight. I have a cup of coffee by my hand that has been microwaved approximately 3-4 times today. And I thank God for these quiet moments and the comical details of my life.

Last night we had a simple Sunday night at home as a family. Normally we usually go over to my in-laws for Sunday night dinner – which we love, and is such a treat – but we ended up staying at home due to my mother-in-law being ill. We had a quiet, restful, and productive day. The children napped, we napped. My husband and I cooked all three meals together.

After dinner, a simple and nourishing meal, we just sat around the table satisfied and giddy. Rainer gave me the hugest smiles and kicked as hard as he could in his bouncer, while Lu enjoyed her Sunday treat of ice cream. Ross and I just marveled at the sweetness and beauty of the moment.

Life is never always like this, and it is such a gift when you can take a step back and take delight in your children and delight in each other. I know that I’m going to miss these days of little children and sticky fingers and drool covered cheeks.

Thank you, Lord for the beauty, the mess, and the joy.

img_4411

7 Quick Takes, Vol 3 | life lately |

I have not done one of these in forever, but I’m feeling the blogging itch. Don’t expect anything incredible.

one

Last night for the first time in what feels like MONTHS (because that’s the reality), I got together with some friends for a girls’ night out. It was my first time leaving both kids with anyone other than Ross and my mother-in-law, so I was a little nervous. By the time the babysitter got to our house, I was then so excited that I just got my stuff together and left without finishing getting ready. (I realized later that I never put on any make-up, but whatevs). ANYWAY, our time together was so blessed, and I came out of it feeling such gratitude. Also, I probably had one of the best glasses of red wine I’ve had in years.

two

Finally at some point in this week, I began to truly feel confident as a mom of two. Because of the nature of my husband’s job, he is often gone at night and I have dinner and bedtime on my own. After two nights in a row, I had a moment all of a sudden where I realized – hey, I think I really know what I’m doing this time! Things aren’t easy, but I’m grateful for finally feel more comfortable and confident because for a while I absolutely haven’t felt that way.

three

This rarely happens, but on Wednesday night Ross was home from work early and done for the day. I was out with the kids on a random errand aka desperate need to get out of the house. He called from home and suggested that we all go out to eat for dinner (we never do this on our own). Two hours later we found ourselves at a really neat restaurant which basically served Asian-Cajun-esque food. The menu was really interesting and the food turned out to be even more interesting. We ate outside and the weather was gorgeous. Once it hit 7pm though we ended up rushing through our food to get Mr. Fussy home to sleep. All in all, it was refreshing eating out (spontaneously) together, especially after me and the kids dining in without dad the previous two nights.

four

Here in Louisiana the highs are still in the mid 80s, but if we’re lucky – like last Saturday – we might get a low of 55 in the morning. img_4334I had left the house for a couple hours – at the suggestion of Ross – for the alone time. I think we’re going to make it a regular thing because I had forgotten how much better I feel afterwards. Anyway, coming home to the sight of both kids in sweatshirts and my husband in a flannel gave me all the butterflies.

five

While I was out I decided to do something that I can never do with both kids…and I just browsed a consignment/antique store for fun window shopping…alone…I hadn’t done that since college. I actually found some really interesting dining room chairs and a bench, (which we might consider if we didn’t already have a big list of things to consider), and I took a picture of this lamp because hey…it’s a fox and isn’t that fun. img_4305Lu actually has an antique elephant lamp in her bedroom, which looks amazing. I thought that maybe this might look neat in Rainer’s room, but…hmm….

six

I have been on the fence for a long time about buying a bumbo. I’ve seen both negative and positive things about it, but like most things, I’m sure you just need to use them in moderation. We ended up purchasing this Summer Infant seat, which is similar, but much cheaper and multi-functional, and on sale for $25!

img_4355

seven

We STILL have no idea what we’re going to be for Halloween…oops. I was ALWAYS last minute with costumes growing up, and I usually went with whatever my ballet recital costume was the year before. When we go back to Virginia for Thanksgiving I have every intention of going through mine and my sisters’ old dance costumes and bringing them home (dress clothes up for Lu!).

That’s a wrap. Not too exciting, but hey, it’s Friday and that’s great!

Peace.

Linking up with Kelly!seven-quick-takes-300x300

Party of Four, 5 months in

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a baby update, and I’m due for another one. Lúthien’s been a little overshadowed by her brother on the blog though, so this counts for all of us, really.

Here we are 5 days in…

img_7425

And here were are about 4.5 months in…

img_4144

It has been such a natural fit, being a family of four. There are so many sweet, sweet memories of just the three of us, but Rainer just adds more depth, love, and joy to our lives. I still cannot get over just how much in love I am with this little guy.

img_4050

highlights

1. Sleep Training

One of the biggest game changers in our day to day life has been successfully sleep training Rainer, which was something new to me. When I add up all time it used to take me (by the end, around 4 months) to get him to go down for a nap and how long I would wear him, I have about an extra two hours to my day. Not only do I have extra time to get things done around the house, but there is a much ordered sense to our day now, which has helped me tremendously. Rainer sleeps much better now, more soundly, and longer. My friend, Ali, was instrumental in helping me feel confident and comfortable beginning sleep training.

2.  Lúthien turned 2

Lúthien turned two last month, and we had a long drawn out birthday celebration for her with multiple birthday parties. One little party was with her Mimi and Pawpaw, one tiny party with me and her because Daddy had to work all day on her actual birthday (we celebrated with cookies), one tiny party with the four of us (and leftover cake), and then one big party with friends. Whew! It sounds like a lot but the 2nd and 3rd were really just us sitting around the table singing “Happy Birthday” and eating sugar together. She can almost sing “Happy Birthday” by herself. Both sets of grandparents got her a playground and a picnic table for the backyard, because she previously didn’t have anywhere to hang out except for the backdoor stoop.

img_4087

She had two butterfly birthday cakes, one from each set of grandparents. She likes butterflies JUST a little bit.

And her big birthday celebration involved another butterfly, some sunflowers, and pumpkins.

img_4122-1

We kept the party pretty simple, and for some reason the weekend we host her birthday parties is always the weekend everyone is out of town (timing, I guess?), but it was still such a sweet afternoon.

 

3. Brother/Sister bonding

img_4153

These two have increasingly become cuter and cuter together. Rainer may have initially been a “surprise baby” but as the months pass by, I realize more how they really needed each other and I am so grateful. Lúthien is very much like me: introverted, sensitive, shy. Having a brother around as a companion, even if he’s only 5 months old, has been so beneficial for her. And the feeling is certainly mutual. Rainer takes such delight in his sister. He often has one out of two expressions on his face, either a look of fascination or joy. When his sister is around, the joy runs over. My heart melts when they giggle at each other. Rainer’s giggle is ADORABLE. It’s a loud, happy squeal.

developments

Rainer is a pro at rolling onto his tummy now. He started tummy to back, but now he really just prefers to roll back to tummy. He has yet to do multiple rolls though, that’s only happened maybe once. He also prefers to be on his tummy when you put him down, he will never last long on his back. A few days ago, she slept right on top of his hand leaving the most hilarious marks on his face.

img_4302

We’re still using our bouncer every now and then, but I think we only have a few weeks left with it. I moved Lu out of it once she tried leaning out and forward, and while he hasn’t tried that yet, he’s just getting so big! They are both in the same diaper now. Lu was in 4’s for a while, but she still fits well in 3’s. In fact, she almost fits better in 3’s, so I have them both in 3’s. It’s pretty hilarious. Rainer has huge thighs, so they are a perfect fit.

He is more and more social. He can spot me far away across the room. He will not take a bottle, but I’m hoping to work towards that before we have a night wedding in NOLA in November. He has become more deft with his hands and holds toys well. I feel like we are finally getting into a comfortable groove with nursing. He’s no longer overly particular about how/when to nurse, now he’s just trying to keep up with everything around him when he nurses. If sister or daddy are nearby and talking, chances are he’ll come up over and over again to watch them. What’s nice though – thanks to nap training too – is that he is becoming much more predictable with nursing times. Before then, it was almost always a guessing game with him.

As far as Lúthien goes, I’ll just say that she is a talker when she’s just home with Ross and I. She talks (I believe) quite impressively and clearly for her age, routinely speaking in sentences. One of the sweetest things to watch develop in her is her imagination too. Last week she was making “avocado salad” in the kitchen. She loves to put her baby dolls down for a nap and pretend to read to herself.

Growth

At his 4 month check up, Rainer was 16.6lbs but by now he must be pushing 17lbs. He’s over 25in tall. Overall he’s in the 75th percentile across the board, his sister on the other hand is in the 15th percentile (except her head is 95th!). I’m pretty grateful for that since now their size difference isn’t so huge.

As far as clothes go he is still wearing some 6mo onsies, but because of a lack of things to wear, I’ve moved him into some bigger hand-me-downs and new gifted clothes, and they are starting to fit him well. He’s wearing 6-12mo and 9mo regularly now. For pants, I can barely get 3-6mo over his insanely huge thighs, hahaha!

img_4300

sleep

Again, I posted about sleep earlier. For naps, he usually takes three 3o-45min naps during the day: morning, afternoon, and late afternoon. He goes down at 7pm at night, will generally wake up twice to nurse around 12am and 4pm, and then wakes up for the day around 7am.

Lúthien hasn’t changed much at all. She still takes a 1.5-2 hour nap and goes down for the night by 7:30pm.


Aside from the joys and the details, there are always old and new struggles in my boat. I wouldn’t change a thing though, honestly. These kids are forming me too.

img_4334

Peace.

From Co-Sleeping to Sleep Training | my story

*disclaimer: Because I am really not qualified to give any type of advice, I avoided not going into details. I’m just here to share my story!

thoughts 

Two weeks ago if you would have told me that I was going to sleep train Rainer, I would have laughed. We never did sleep training with Lúthien, and though I wouldn’t have called myself “anti-sleep training,” I did not believe that it was a good or beneficial thing for a baby to undergo. I had glanced at articles seen on facebook every now and then, reading about the risks of sleep training. My attachment parenting book that I used to refer to as a first time mom, put “cry it out” in a very bad light. And honestly, I probably judged parents who sleep trained a little bit, “How dare they let their baby cry!” However, in my head sleep training looked a lot like leaving your baby to cry for hours at a time until they passed out (which it does for some). I had also heard that there were different methods to sleep training, but I just dismissed them as silly and over-controlling. Little did I know that there were good reasons for parents to sleep train and sleep training can actually be incredibly beneficial!  I do not believe that sleep training is for everyone, but now on the other side of things, I can attest that sleep training is not as terrible or scary or cold as I thought.

10632458_546873562081245_594371384_n

Early days with my first born

10693415_744276155620672_1773525541_n

When you are a first time parent, in many respects you have no idea what you’re doing. You learn as you go. With our firstborn, we really benefited from many aspects of attachment parenting and I do not regret anything in that regard. We co-slept from 1 month-5 months. In the beginning I had never planned to co-sleep, but it ended up being the best thing for us at the time. Once she had hit 4 month sleep regression, she began to wake up more frequently at night; and as much as I loved co-sleeping, I missed the alone time with my husband.

Once we transitioned her to her crib, she immediately began sleeping better at night, waking up only twice versus 4-5 times. It was as if all she needed was her own space. Our nighttime routine was just as long, if not longer, but I treasure those moments with her in the dark, rocking her to sleep in the rocking chair. Like many 5-7 month olds, she was not a very good napper (which often drove me crazy), but she eventually grew out of it. All in all, now she is pretty good natural sleeper.

background

img_3316

IMG_3595

The first 4-5 months with Rainer looked about the same. We began co-sleeping at night pretty much from the beginning. I also wore him in the sling or the ergo for many of his naps, just as I did Luthien. And just like her, he hit the 4 month sleep regression and started to wake up more frequently at night. During the day, when I would try to rock him to sleep he actively tried to fight sleep – and boy did he fight it.

What eventually pushed me to consider sleep training was NAPS. When Lu was an only child, it was not such a big deal for me to spend 30 minutes trying to put her down for a nap that would only last 30 minutes. Yes, it was pretty frustrating at times, but fast-forward to two kids, repeating the same routine is not as realistic when there is a 2 year old with needs too. Though I tried to wear Rainer for as many naps as possible, I also have a legitimate neck/spinal problem that is aggravated by too much babywearing.

Last week I was eventually pushed to the limit and feeling pretty burnt out, so I reached out to my friend who has three children. Her youngest is the same age as Rainer, who they just started sleep training. I knew that they had had what seemed to be a positive experience with sleep training in the past. After doing some more research on sleep training – the benefits, what it looked like, personal success stories, I knew that I wanted to start but I was pretty anxious.

training

My first experience with letting Rainer “cry it out” was almost accidental. I didn’t plan to start when I did, but things were so chaotic trying to get both kids ready for bed that night, that I just needed to leave him awake in his crib. (My husband is not always home during bedtime on weekdays, so I’m often solo). So…just like that, we started sleep training. I went in every few minutes to comfort him (but not pick him up) and I wouldn’t stay longer than a minute. He fell asleep just within 25 minutes. It was not easy, and it was pretty nerve wracking that first time, but Luthien kept me distracted for half of that. Because I wasn’t completely prepared though, and Rainer’s bed was still in our room, we co-slept that night beginning at midnight when he woke up to nurse and I brought him in bed. I usually don’t check the time in the middle of the night, but out of curiosity I did…he woke up every hour and a half that night. 

During that first night, I was able to have a great conversation with my friend, Ali, who basically coached me through what they do with their children. It was so reassuring hearing from someone who has come out on the other side three times. Now it has been four days since we first began sleep training and Rainer went to bed just within minutes of me putting him down drowsy but awake. The progress of the past few nights have looked like this (note, I differentiate between fuss and cry)

Day 1

Fussed/Cried 25 minutes

Coslept beginning at 12am, he woke up every 1.5 hours

Woke up around 6:30am

Day 2

Fussed 25 minutes

Up at 1am and 5am to nurse

Woke up around 7am

Day 3

Fussed 15 minutes

Up at 12am and 4am to nurse

Woke up around 6:30am

Day 4

Fussed 25 minutes

Up at 1am, 3am (I probably could have let him go back to sleep on his own), 5am

Day 5 

Fussed on/off for 7 minutes

Up at 10:30pm, made a little bit of noise, fell back asleep

Up at 12am and 4am to nurse

Up at 6am, made a little noise, fell back asleep

Woke up around 8:20am

Day 6

Barely made a sound

Up at 11pm, made a noise, back to sleep

Up at 12am to nurse

Up at 4am to nurse

Up at 6:20, he probably could have slept longer but he had a blow out (haha!)

——-

I should note that on days 5 and 6, I began nap training. Ali explained to me that the sleep consultant they worked with years ago said that we use different parts of the brain for nap and night sleep. Because of this, that’s why it’s a little harder for babies to nap long. Nap training has been a bit harder than our night training with Rainer, but today we’re going on our second day and already it has been positive. The first time we attempted nap training, he did not go down after 40 minutes, so we quit and tried again later. That has been the worst of it though. He has progressively been getting better and better.

If you’ve actually read this through, congratulations! I honestly just wanted to share my relief and excitement and amazement at how much better he is sleeping because of sleep training. Just like his sister, it seems that he loves having his own space. And in addition to that, just by giving him a little bit of independence, I am a little saner and he’s sleeping better too. It wasn’t the incredibly brutal and cold process that I pictured. I will confess though, I was pretty sad the first night I went to sleep without him in the room. It was basically our first night “apart” EVER. That didn’t last too long though, seeing as he woke up to nurse pretty soon after that. There’s my baby! 🙂

We’re still in the process, but I am looking forward to a new week of a more ordered, happier, and well-rested home. It’s pretty incredible how much more time I have at night now, and how much more time and energy I have to put into my day. I may come back and update this a little when we are through, but for those of you who are scared to sleep train and feel like you are interested…do some research, talk with people who have had positive experiences, and maybe modify as you see fit. I am not an expert by any means, I only have my own (so far) 5 day experience. And for those of you who are not drawn to sleep training at all, that’s totally ok! Do what is best for you and your family. ❤

14719047_173500849768868_4143563745991327744_n1

today

Peace,

Dot

Follow my blog with Bloglovin