9.24.2011

orange infused nursery

It has been a bit of a stressful time in the Arnold household! A fabulous past time that has taken my mind off of everything is decorating. Thankfully, since I have redone every four rooms there are in our house, I've been helping a few friends with interior design. 

Mommy-to-be Keeli had a beautiful paint scheme by Behr picked out. Cool blue, winter colors that are glamorous and modern. The scheme in Vintage Chic by Behr with one color swapped out for a charcoal gray. The colors will be offset by a popping white molding. 

I was moved by a large painting that Keeli's sister did for her niece. I immediately wanted to infuse a little orange into the room. A little sunshine for a what was a winter room.  

1. I love DIY name decals. For this one, I mocked the orange pom poms by doing a circular orange painted decal with the baby's name in white above the molding
2. IKEA light fixture is very playful and modern
3. A must-have baby toy giraffe, but also adds to the modern look and brings in the orange. Great book shelf items
4. The mommy-to-be has a matching Pottery Barn crib set in a light wood that warms the room
5. Keep the bedding a simple white and then just add colors with a blanket
6. With white bedding, you can also have fun with some Pier One pillows
7. Lounge glider from Babies R Us with a Pier One ruffled orange pillow
8. Storage is always a must, therefore add cute fabric tubs for toys and books
9. Inspired painting by baby's auntie
10. IKEA white bookshelf 
11. DIY tissue pom poms add a really fun corner to the room. Put some white lanterns
with it and it will pop!

9.20.2011

studying her sleep

I've been blessed from the beginning with Audrey's willingness to sleep - and sleep a long time. She was a up-every-two-hours newborn, but once she was in her own crib which was at 3-weeks-old and when I started formula feeding at night with rice cereal, she was sleeping almost all the way through the night. 

Since then, she has consistently slept for ten to fourteen hours at night. That includes, for the most part, taking two hour to two hours naps. Tired girl, I guess. 

Lately I've been having the most difficulty with my 15-month-old. She has started to fight bedtime, scream like she's never screamed before and only want Mommy (putting to bed is usually a Daddy job). 

There has been a few nights that I have to lean over the crib and spend a good chunk of time tracing her face softly with my finger to calm her down. In most cases, she will still start screaming when I leave. The kind of cries that are making her gag. 

Furthermore, she has always been an active dreamer. Mostly, what looks like she is suffering from little nightmares. They will sometimes wake her up, but usually she'll just moan and whimper and make some expressive faces. 

Yesterday, I actually brought her in bed with me to cuddle after Daddy had already gone to work. She was sound asleep and started making some dreaming noises. Then, in a deep sleep, she puts her hand up and points to the ceiling and says, "Clock." This has been her new word/object for the last two weeks. After repeating it three times, she began snoozing again. 

It was such a deep sleep that I was laughing so hard right next to her and it didn't wake her up. 

Something else, Audrey sleeps best when her bottom is up in the air. When Daddy or I check on her and she is sleeping with her bottom up, we know she'll sleep in.

After researching and reading that Audrey's sleep position, separation anxiety and dreaming are very typical for her age, I decided to share what else I found.

6 to 12-Months-Old

Typical Sleep Pattern: By age 6 months, most babies sleep a total of 11 1/2 to 15 hours of sleep a day (between nighttime sleep and naps) and are capable of sleeping for long stretches at a time. Naps start evolving into two naps per day, but may stick to three shorter ones. 

At 9 months, babies typically sleep 11 to 14 hours a night and nap twice a day for one to two hours at a time.

If your baby isn't yet sleeping at least five or six hours straight, you're not alone. Many babies still wake up at night for feedings in the 6- to 9-month stage — though most are ready for night weaning, if that's what you choose. But babies this age don't necessarily wake up because they're hungry. From 9-12 months, they are almost positively not hungry.

Reaching major milestones in cognitive and motor development and with separation anxiety starting at this age may start to wake your baby up again at around 6-months-old. 
If you want your baby to sleep independently, she needs opportunities to practice this important skill. Instead of nursing or rocking her to sleep, let her practice falling asleep on her own by putting her in bed when she's relaxed and drowsy. 

Tips at this age: 
  • Start a really consistent bedtime routine
  • Encourage baby to fall asleep on her own
  • Put her to bed earlier - you may see she will sleep longer and better! 

1 to 2-Year-Old

Typical Sleep Pattern: With getting busy, most toddlers sleep 10-13 hours of sleep a day. Whether all these hours are slept at night or split up between nighttime sleeping and daytime naps is up to you. Toddlers may still nap or may stop napping. At this age, if they are tired, they will go to sleep. Sometimes, rest/quiet time is just as beneficial as an actual nap at this age. 

Separation anxiety, teething pain, active dreaming and active crib time (i.e., crawling out of the crib) is very common starting at one. 

Dreams and nightmares can begin to affect toddlers, who have a difficult time distinguishing these from reality. Be mindful of any videos or books he or she sees just before bedtime, and keep the content mild.

By now, you should have a good going-to-bed routine (i.e. established time, bath, book, etc...). Now, rules need to be enforced since toddlers will learn to start pushing it and testing your discipline strength.

Decide how many drinks of water you'll allow and how many times you'll retrieve the toy that's thrown out of the crib in defiance of bedtime.

If your toddler awakens in the middle of the night, just as when he or she was younger, you'll want to quietly and quickly provide reassurance that everything is OK and you are close by. But too much interaction can backfire, so keep your nighttime "visits" brief and boring for your toddler.

Tips at this age: 
  • Keep sleeping times darker and quiet. Once a sound-proof newborn will now not sleep well with loud conversation or other loud movement around the house. 
  • Stick to the consistency and make the rules.
  • During cold months, dress the toddler warm since they will almost never stay covered with blankets.
  • Be careful what she is watching or reading, this may affect nightmares.

always sleeping...









Above information found from Babycenter.com, Dr. Sears and KidsHealth.org.

9.19.2011

motoring full-speed ahead on the road of life

There we were, driving in our new SUV with the windows rolled down. Audrey was in her car seat, munching on Cheerios. I was snapping at Chris' every touch to turn up the volume and remind him “to keep it down for the baby.”

He sighed, looked at me with a gravy-thick pout and said, “I'm just an SUV dad now, huh?”

Both of us stared out the large, sparkling windshield and momentarily drifted away. Drifted to a time where we would blast Def Leppard and I would cozy up next to him in his pickup after a spontaneous date night. A night when we were still awake at 10 p.m.

I thought about the recent selling of my five-speed Honda, which I'd had since high school. Bumper stickers, CD mixes, old pictures attached to the visor and a travel makeup supply were replaced with a car-seat viewing mirror, a large selection of snacks, a DVD player that plays Clifford on repeat and a “Baby on Board” sticker.

I went back to the day we went car shopping. The salesman just looked at us and knew — a young married couple, toddler and snack pack of Cheerios. “Mini van?” he asked. “No!” we both barked. “SUV,” I said.

We talked cargo space, child safety locks and extra seats for the kids for hours.

Audrey's tantrum snapped us both back to reality and I turned around to hand her more Cheerios. I could visualize all the back seats filled with children screaming, “Are we there yet?” I could see annoyed teenagers with their iPods plugged in and cell phones at hand. Soccer teams and play-date car pools.

“Yep, SUV dad and soccer mom,” I finally replied. “A lot can happen in two years,” he said.

We celebrated our second wedding anniversary this month. In the past two years, we've done about everything a couple could do. We got married, bought a home, had a baby and, recently, upgraded to the family-friendly automobile.

Being a parent can consume your life. It is the biggest blessing, but at the same time, you don't have a moment to say goodbye to the magazine subscription of Cosmopolitan that was replaced with Parents and Good Housekeeping. Goodbye to your quiet hours of sipping coffee in the morning, replaced with cartoons and cleaning bananas out of hair. Goodbye to the spontaneous date nights that didn't require finding a babysitter. And goodbye to the little race car that was replaced with a seven-seated four-wheel drive.

I never imagined that Cheerios would start running my life. They are in my purse, my car, my diaper bag, my house and every house that Audrey visits. They are in the cracks of the couch, corners of the house and even in the lawn.

While it may be in my motherly nature to make these lifestyle adaptations with ease, my tough logger of a husband has had to find his soft side.

When Chris pictured his future family years ago, he probably didn't imagine carrying a pink diaper bag, cleaning poop out of the bathtub or driving an SUV to the tunes of Disney.

We've both had to make changes, say goodbye to things of the past and proceed down the path of grown-up life.

But we can still get a babysitter and easily snap back into the rugged logger and city girl couple that we are behind Mom and Dad, turn up the music, cuddle up in the dirty pickup and maybe stay up until 9:30 p.m.

Nothing could have prepared us for transforming into the SUV dad and soccer mom, but now that we're here, it isn't so bad.

“At least I didn't get the mini van,” I chuckled to him. 

You can also read this online at The News-Review.

 
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