April Must Haves

April Must Haves

What a glorious time of the year!

The sounds of tweeting birds accompany my morning latte, the grass is greening and the trees are sprouting, and the weather is becoming warmer and warmer by the day!

April is a wonderful month and my optimism over the coming of Spring has prompted a new type of blog post- a must have products for the month.

I want to share a few products that I simply can’t live without!

April Must Haves

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  1. Oil of Olay Complete Face Moisturizer olay

This product keeps my face in check all day and prevents chapping from the random colder winds of April. Olay also packs an SPF protection of 15 which is great for my faces’ reunion with the sun!

2. Trader Joes’ Milk Lotion milk

This product is heavenly; it is smooth on my skin and has a wonderful Vanilla scent. It even has one of my favorite essential oils, Ylang Ylang, infused in the serum. This is great for freshly shaved legs and dry hands that might still be suffering from winter. It is sold at Trader Joes and paired with a Milk Bubble Bath… which isn’t pictured because I’ve already used all of that…!

3. Cinnamon cinn

I love cinnamon so much that I buy the industrial sized portion at Costco. Cinnamon is great from warding off ants to enhancing flavor, but cinnamon has several health benefits as well. I put a sprinkle in my coffee, my Shakeology, and it also tastes great on cooked green beans and brussell sprouts!

4.  Sunglassesshades

Not much explanation needed here… the sun is coming back and its fun to celebrate with a new pair of shades! These were $10 at Old Navy :):)

5. Meyer’s Clean Day Lavendar Hand Soap meyer

It may be April but cold & flu season is still looming, so hand-washing is obviously still a must. I love the lavendar scent of Meyer’s hand soap because not only are your hands getting clean, lavender is a mood elevator!

6. Clean & Clear Morning Burst clean

Keep those pours clean and wake up each morning to this deliciously smelling face wash. It smells so good I want to drink it! The cucumber helps reduce puffiness you have when you wake up and the cleaning beads make my face tingle.. Mmmmm

7. It’s A 10 Leave-in Product 10

Spray this stuff in your hair post-shower and then blow dry and your hair will be silky-smooth and shiny all day!

8. Caffe Latte Shakeology shakeo

Can’t go a day without my daily dose of dense nutrition! I’ve been drinking this liquid gold since January and have seen improvement in my energy, a reduction in junk food cravings, and weight loss! Shakeology packs all my essential vitamins and nutrients and also has gut-loving pre and probiotics! Caffe Latte is the newest flavor and it is delish!

9. Beachbody Portion-Control Containers (21 Day Fix)containers

Summer is right around the corner! Eat what you want, but keep your portions in check with these color-coded containers! And you don’t have to mess around with counting calories!

10. Norwex Dust Mitt dust

I just dusted my entire upstairs in 10 minutes! Who knew spring cleaning could be so easy? Norwex is a reputable company that sells chemical-free cleaning products that make house cleaning quick and easy! (I am not a Norwex distributor)

Happy Spring, y’all!

Until next time,

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A 2016 Journey

A 2016 Journey

The internet is chalk full of ‘diet’ programs. In a country where unhealthy habits in regards to food is unprecedented, everyone wants a way to shed the pounds. Programs promise big results that come easy which is alluring to someone who still wants to eat whatever they want, but still wants to see results.

I’ll say it right now, I’m guilty of said unhealthy habits. I sort of feel like it just snuck up on me. In high school I was an athlete and basically I could eat whatever I wanted and never see a pounds difference. I’m talking Lay’s Potato Chips and Coca-Cola classic (not diet) every day! I’m not even sure I knew what a calorie was until I was forced to learn about it in freshmen health class.

Even in my early 20’s my metabolism continued to be kick-ass and my diet was loaded with carbs and sugar. Vegetables and I were certainly not besties, but it didn’t really matter because I always maintained my size 2 figure.

Then I had my twins at age 25. I remember after I had the twins I was so confused as to why I wasn’t shedding my baby weight. This might sound ludicrous, but it is a true testament to how little I understood about nutrition. 

Two years later I had my littlest guy and I remember looking in the mirror post-baby and thinking, man… I really need to DO something about all of this. I don’t even recognize myself and I certainly don’t feel good about what I’m seeing. 

Losing weight, though, is difficult. It requires discipline, perseverance, and an ability to see beyond what you want in the moment to what you want in the long-term. And living in America doesn’t really help. It is impossible to go anywhere and not be flooded with images of unhealthy foods that appeal to our cravings. Even staying home can be difficult, you can’t commercials and ads… “4$ for 4 items at Wendy’s” etc. 

Most of us are busy, too. This often doesn’t lend to healthy eating. Fast food is convenient and easy. If you finish work and don’t get home till 5, the family is hungry and you’re exhausted, hitting that order on PizzaHut.com is pretty dang easy. Healthy eating takes a little more preparation and discipline. And Pizza is GOOD!

Our food is so full of carbs and preservatives it is no wonder we are swarmed with so many health issues today. Brain diseases are especially prevalent and it is no secret that brain health is directly tied to gut health. When you think of all the changes that MUST be made in our culture, it can be a little overwhelming. 

I’ve tried a few different things to lose my baby weight. My youngest son is 2 now, so the excuses are borderline absurd and I’m not really sure I can label my extra pounds as ‘baby weight’.

I have three kids though, it is absolutely my job to make sure I’m healthy for them, that I’m leading by example, that I don’t eat out every night and then remain on the couch the rest of the evening. My kids need to see ME make health the forefront of my life, or what message am I giving them? 

Of course, as a human, there will still be nights that we order pizza and evenings where we binge House of Cards (NOT with the kids)- but this can’t be the norm.

I feel so lucky to have discovered Team Beachboy, and more importantly the 21 Day Fix. Straight up, this program is just eating healthy, whole foods in the correct potions, and working out 30 minutes a day. That’s it!

There are no pills, no fiber flushes, no chemicals, and no gimmicks.

I started the 21 Day Fix two months ago and I have lost 16lbs and 22inches. 

The weight loss is great, but I’m more excited about how I feel now. I feel more energized, less dependent on caffeine, and happy. I’m starting to recognize my reflection and am truly enjoying who I am becoming. My kids will have a more confident, energetic, happy mother than one just trying to get through the day in a sluggish stupor.

Some nights I just want cheese fries or a soda. And some nights I indulge. But my body is recognizing ‘crap’  now and not as agreeable to these foreign invaders anymore. 21 Day Fix is becoming a way of life and it is spreading through my family. My kids used to make snack requests for things like chips and fruit snacks, but lately they’ve been asking for yogurt and apples. 

I haven’t totally reached all my goals yet, but I’m not worried about getting there anymore.

15 Reasons 2015 Has Been the Best Year of My Life

15 Reasons 2015 Has Been the Best Year of My Life
  1. Duke basketball won the National Title & Georgetown actually made it past the first round of March Madness.
  2. The ability to celebrate my sweet ‘baby’, Vincent, turn 1 in a basketball-themed birthday party on an unusually warm day in March.
  3. Making a career shift to the Instructional Design field. A move that gave me confidence in my own abilities, the reassurance that following your dreams is always possible, and an opportunity to live out my core belief that “we must always change, renew, and rejuvenate- otherwise we harden”.
  4. Celebrating my 24th year of best friendship with Gina.
  5. Celebrating my favorite holiday- the 4th of July, in my favorite spot- my parent’s back yard, with special guests from Colorado!
  6. The constant support of my family, especially my husband, in my pursuit to obtain an MBA. Anything involving mathematical equations takes me a loooong time, so his sacrifice does not go unnoticed 😉
  7. My brother earning a 35 on his ACT and his numerous accomplishments that were the result of years of hard work and dedication to his goals and his dreams.
  8. Attending my first Instructional Design conference in Madison, Wisconsin and officially eating cheese curds for the first time.
  9. Celebrating my grandparent’s 60th year of marriage with the entire family in Colorado.
  10. The several opportunities for nights out with either JR or friends.
  11. Stella Artois, who joined me on many of those nights out 🙂
  12. My parents. They will always make the list.
  13. A trip to see the Atlantic Ocean, feel the warmth of Florida in the middle of winter, and an endless supply of fresh seafood.
  14. Celebrating my sweet Dominic & Giovanni’s 4th birthday with a Dinosaur cake, a selfie stick, and family all around!
  15. Spending another year with my main man- JR. Thankful for him every single day.

The Meaning of Creativity?

The Meaning of Creativity?

My thoughts are running deep tonight, guys.

Tis the season for Elf on the Shelf. Yes, everyone today seems to be doing the Elf thing. The message of Christmas probably should not be so Orwell-esque… but my soon-to-be 4-year-olds love our Elf, Dickie.

Tonight after the boys went to bed, I was moving Dickie to his new resting spot and searching the cabinets for something to add to Dickie’s pose to make the kids laugh in the morning. Social media has truly instilled a high expectation of insane-Elf-staging, and the pressure is getting to me!

I found some star sprinkles in the cupboard and got to work on making Dickie especially mischievous, and I heard my husband comment, “Ah Mrs. Creative must have a plan!”.

My immediate response was, “Oh my gosh dude, I am NOT creative”.

Without hesitation he responded, “Yes, you are”.

And his comment really made me think.

You see- I have never considered myself the creative type. Even in elementary school I would consistently attain straight A’s in all my subjects- except for art… I’d always get a B there.

 I am the type of person who likes to check things off my list- I do not spend a lot of time “doing” something, I just want it to be “done”. This mindset does not allow enough time to generate the all-elusive creativity. I consider myself highly productive but definitely not creative.

I was always envious of people that really knew how to take their time and produce high-quality works of ‘art’. People that could ignore the checklist and focus on a task for as long as it took to become perfect. I look up to these people and admire their clearly creative thought process.

I suppose in my head I have developed my own working definition of creativity to be along the lines of ‘people that take the time to essentially perfect their craft’. People that will take 6 months to find the perfect couch for their space; or people that coordinate their Christmas tree to perfectly match ornaments to tinsel to wrapping paper.

I am certainly not this person. I didn’t get an ‘A’ in art and I usually take the first thing available without thinking twice about other choices I may have.

But, am I creative? Do people see me that way?

My husband clearly does.

This little comment, “Yes, you are”, made a huge impact on my entire creative thought-process and I felt that perhaps my working definition was completely inaccurate. Maybe creativity is not about the amount of time you spend doing something. Maybe creativity is not producing the perfect product. Maybe creativity is not the prefect couch or the perfect Christmas tree. Maybe creativity isn’t defined by Elf on the Shelf perfection, either.

Could creativity perhaps be signified by originality? Thinking outside of the box?  Doing things the way you want to do them? Am I simply exhibiting creativity by writing this blog? Is ‘drive’ considered creativity? And thus, is anyone who is driven by their passion creative in some way?

My art skills are poor and my house decor was hastily decided upon. My Christmas tree is a mess of ornaments and regardless of my intentions, my Elf is simply sitting on a plain shelf today.

But the little comment my husband made, “Yes, you are” has completely invigorated me. It has given me more drive and more confidence and a discovering of my creative-being. When he made this comment he probably had no idea the thought-process he sparked in my brain, but maybe having new thoughts every day is a form of creativity? Perhaps my way of ‘checking’ things off the list is a form of creativity in itself?

This little comment from my husband is perhaps one of the greatest compliments I have ever received. I’ve always searched for my inner-creative self, and him giving me the attribute of ‘creative’, simply deemed by my drive to do as much as I can each day, to continually pour all my energy into my passions, is deeply rewarding.

Until next time,

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World Prematurity Awareness Day

World Prematurity Awareness Day

December 29, 2011.

I remember the day so clearly; as if it were just yesterday.

I woke up completely miserable. This miserable feeling was familiar; waking up in misery had been routine for the past 3 weeks. When you are almost 35 weeks pregnant with twins basically nothing you do is comfortable.

Not that I wasn’t thankful to still be pregnant with my first babies. Back in week 24 of my pregnancy my doctor had warned me that I wasn’t consuming enough protein and we would be lucky to make it to 32 weeks.

Fast forward 10 weeks and I had successfully drank 10,000 Ensure shakes and made it nearly 3 weeks past the coveted Week 32.

Okay, 10,000 is a lie- but I will never drink another Ensure shake again as long as I live.

My pregnancy had been difficult from the very beginning. Weeks 6-12 of my pregnancy were a nightmare. I was so sick I could barely get out of bed. I lost at least 15 lbs and couldn’t even shower because any shampoo smell made me sick to my stomach. Life was pretty much a ‘get out of bed, go to the couch, binge watch HGTV, then go back to bed’ routine.

I wasn’t shocked when I learned I was having twins- this explained the dramatic symptoms I was having (I literally had every pregnancy symptom in the book). Also- my mom and my dad are both twins. So even though they say that twins aren’t genetic, I beg to differ.

In Week 16 I found out I was having identical boys and was over the moon! I had always wanted a son and I already had my boy  names planned and had bookmarked the Ralph Lauren baby boys clothes website on my computer.

However, we also discovered at this time that the twins were mono-di twins. Mono-di twins are very high risk because they share a placenta. That means that my one and only placenta was going to have to nourish both of my baby boys until I gave birth. Single babies have a placenta all to themselves and doctors can normally see the wear and tear on the placenta by week 40. Yikes!

My pregnancy became pretty dramatic starting in Week 20. Not only did I have to see my OB every other week, I also had to see a high risk doctor every other week. By Week 28 I was seeing each of these doctors every single week. Basically- I should have moved into the hospital.

At Week 30 I was put on a modified bed rest because my blood pressure was high and I had severe edema. I went to work in the mornings and then was told to spend the afternoons laying on my left side. Yes, the left side. The right side is apparently not as conducive to growing children.

Every week I didn’t deliver the twins was a blessing.

As I got ready for my ultrasound on that 29th of December, I remember having a strange feeling. It was a Thursday and I had always had a feeling that I would deliver my twins on a Thursday. My bag was packed and in the corner of my bedroom- we knew that it could be any day now. Still- I was only 34 weeks and 5 days so it was too soon. Most likely my boys’ lungs wouldn’t be ready to conquer the outside world.

We had been monitoring the boys’ growth via the ultrasounds for the past few weeks. It was important to make sure that each baby was still growing. These ultrasounds were intense and would normally last 1.5-2 hours because we had to measure every single part of each baby. A lot of times the babies were so cramped and twisted together that it was difficult to take measurements.

This specific Thursday, the doctor said that we were not going to have a growth ultrasound.

As soon as the doctor left the room, I told my husband and my mom that this was weird- that I felt we needed to check the growth of the babies.. that it had been too long since the last growth check. Personally, I am very non-confrontational and I normally keep anything that irritates me to myself. But- as soon as the nurse came back in the room I basically demanded we check the boys’ growth. I just had a feeling.

And I am SO glad I spoke up.

Fast forward an hour, Baby A hadn’t grown in 2 weeks and Baby B, who had always been smaller, was now much larger now- at least a pound.

The doctor gave me the option of delivering that day or the next day and something told me that it better be today.

And thank goodness, because I found out later that if we would have waited any longer, I could have lost both of my boys.

As I waited for my emergency C-Section that was scheduled at 2pm, I didn’t feel nervous. My husband had brought my overnight bag as well as my computer so I could play games and relax. I just felt that my boys would be fine and we would all be home in a few days.

I could not have been more wrong.

Dominic Joseph was the smaller baby. He came into the world at 2:22pm at 3lbs, 6oz. Dominic was the one who hadn’t been growing. But- he was born breathing on his own! This was great news!

I didn’t get to hold him. I don’t know what his APGAR score was. My husband didn’t get to cut his cord. He was quickly shown to us and then rushed to the NICU.

Giovanni Richard came two minutes later at 2:24pm at 4lbs, 2oz. Giovanni was not breathing on his own- so much like Dominic he was also quickly rushed to the NICU.

I briefly got to see the boys after I left recovery on my way to being wheeled up to my room. They were attached to every wire imaginable and Giovanni had a tube down his throat to help him breath. I wouldn’t get to hold Dominic until the next day and Giovanni the day after that.

It is really hard as a new mother to not be able to hold your babies right away.

In the next month, my husband and I experienced every high and every low of emotion you can have. The boys were little and they needed a lot of time. They had developed Twin-to-Twin Transfusion syndrome- basically the placenta was giving Giovanni all the nutrients and Dominic was getting very little to nothing. This was bad for both boys. Giovanni was so pumped full of blood and nutrients from the placenta that he literally had too much blood and stayed red in color for over a month- it is actually how we told them apart for the first month! Dominic was so white and skinny he had to have a couple of blood transfusions.

The boys had to be fed by a tube and eventually taught how to suck and feed themselves. Most babies that are full term are born innately knowing how to suck, but the twins came too early to learn this in the womb.

Each night the boys were weighed and we prayed they would gain weight. We prayed that they would keep improving and we prayed each day might be the day we take them home.

This happened less than 4 years ago- but our time in the NICU is blurry. I think I have repressed it all because it was the most difficult time in my life. The what-if’s were mind-numbingly controlling:

What if I had been better at eating more protein?

What if I had not demanded the growth scan?

What if the boys didn’t gain weight?

What if the boys always stay little?

The hardest thing I have ever had to do was leave my babies in the hospital and go home each night- for a month. I would sit in their empty nursery, freshly painted and decorated and baby-ready and I would cry for hours.

I truly felt that I had failed them.

Dominic came home first and Giovanni followed him 4 days later.

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November 17th- World Prematurity Awareness Day,  always brings my mind back to the days in the hospital with my little 3 & 4 pound babes.

We were so lucky to deliver at a hospital with a state-of-the art NICU and nurses and doctors that were truly committed to helping our babies grow.

Dominic and Giovanni will be 4 next month. They are still little guys- their 20-month old baby brother only weighs 5lbs less than them- but they are happy and they are healthy and they are perfect.

Until next time,

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How a Busy Mom Spends Quality Time with her Kids Everyday

How a Busy Mom Spends Quality Time with her Kids Everyday

There were many nights that I would put my kids to bed and realize that I hadn’t had a true connection with them all day.

I know how that sounds- it sounds awful.

I am their mother; I should be the person who knows them the best; the person that learns the intimate details of each of their lives everyday; and the person that is closer to them than anyone else in the world. It seems that each day I turn into the person constantly telling them ‘no’ and telling them what to do and when to do it; but never truly connecting with them.

After all, I have spent so much of my life dreaming about being a mother- what would my kids be like? What would they inherit from me? What silly little personalities would they develop? There is nothing more satisfying than watching your child grow and discover and learn.

But the truth of the matter is- I am super busy. I work full-time, I am a graduate student, and I am a full-time mom and wife. My kids are in childcare a good portion of the day and I stay busy so that I can provide for my kids- I want them to have the best life imaginable!

I am not making excuses for my lack of connection. Once I came to the realization that my kids’ childhoods were passing by and I was barely noticing; I felt a profound sadness. In trying to provide a better life for my kids and trying to get everything done every single day, am I taking away what they need the most? Their mother?

I realized that I needed to make the most of the time that I have with my children every single day. Sometimes, work needs to be put aside and school can wait; at this point in my life, my kids are my greatest investment.

I started doing 4 little things each day in order to generate a greater connection to my kids. Since making these weekly changes, my relationship with my sons has grown substantially and I feel like I am able to fully experience their childhood while still maintaining my job and other obligations that come in my busy life!

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quality time

How a Busy Mom Spends Quality Time with her Kids Everyday

Dinner as a Family Every Single Night

This one is important and it is why I put it first. Dinner time is always a great time to connect with your kids. I can remember only a few instances growing up that I did not have dinner with my mom and dad and my brother. Dinner was always the time we could talk to our parents about our day and hear about their day, and basically discuss whatever we wanted. I know that this can be hard to do with varying schedules and work and activities and the numerous other daily life obligations, but once you make dinner an obligation and you force the other stuff to wait, you are on your way to making daily dinner a habit.

My boys look forward to dinner now. The moment we get home from school/work, they start asking me (every 5 minutes!) if dinner is ready yet. My 1 year-old, Vincent, even likes to help me make dinner. He will grip the spatula with me and help fry up the chicken or he will carry the boys’ plates to the table.  Dinner has become a family event.

The best part about the whole thing is that I am learning so much about my kids. They tell me all about their day- who they played with at daycare, what they ate for their snack, who is going to whose birthday party- the important things in a kids’ life :)! And in turn, my husband and I tell them about OUR days. They do not understand everything, but this conversation teaches them to articulate, to listen to other people, and to be respectful as they learn to interact with others.

Even if we only have 20 minutes for dinner because we are having an especially busy day, we make a point to all sit down together for that 20 minutes. Whether you have 20 minutes or 2 hours, your kids will remember any quality time that they spend with you.

Turn the Radio Off

My commute to and from my kids’ daycare is about 10 minutes. These commutes used to be somewhat quiet rides- I would have the radio on with a morning show in the background or an audio book or a podcast playing, and the kids would look out the window quietly. Now- I make it a point to turn off all noise and instead talk to my kids all the way to and all the way from daycare. Really, I turn the radio off anytime I am in the car with my kids. You wouldn’t believe all the things I have learned about my kids during this time! I almost look forward to getting in the car each morning and sometimes even take the scenic route to daycare just to squeeze in a few more minutes of quality-kid conversation.

I ask the boys what they are going to do that day, who they want to play with, what they see outside the window, what color they are wearing, what they want me to make for dinner, and so on and so forth! The question opportunities are endless! Sometimes we will sing songs together or play little games of trying to spot certain objects out the window. I also encourage the boys to talk to each other. If I ask Dominic what he wants for dinner, I then tell Dominic to ask Giovanni what he wants for dinner. Not only am I connecting with my kids and learning more about them, I am encouraging their language skills and teaching them new words and how to express themselves. This is so much better than any audio book!

10 minutes of Active Time Together

I am a firm believer that staying active makes a kid happier and healthier. My kids always get plenty of active time. Even during the cold winter months I like to bundle my kids up and make them run around outside. Even playing chase around the house gets the kids off the couch and running around! Most of the time- my kids play with each other.

One day, I had 10 minutes of free time while dinner was cooking and decided to join my kids on the trampoline. We played ‘mommy monster’, one of their favorite games. It is an easy game- I chase them and growl :)! Not only did I get a little exercise, mommy monster became a hit! That night as I was folding laundry, my Dominic came up to me unprompted and gave me a kiss and said, “love you mommy monster”. There are no sweeter words! I realized that playing with my kids, even for 10 minutes, can have such a profound impact on our relationship. In addition- I am showing the kids that being active and exercising is important, even for a mommy monster :)!

Read Together Every Night

Reading is so important. The best way to demonstrate this importance to your kids is by reading with them every single night. In turn, you are spending quality time with your kids while essentially building their brains and teaching them numerous things. We read one book a night. My kids are still young, so the books do not necessarily have to be long books, but the boys look forward to their book each night. We rotate which kids gets to pick out the nightly reading and we do not put any guidelines on what they can pick. My husband and I rotate reading each night, but whoever is not reading sits on the bed with the kids and actively listens.

After the book, we always asks the kids what happened during the book and which character they liked best. Quality time + reading comprehension is a win-win!

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While there are numerous things that you can do with your kids to build your relationship and foster a strong sense of family, these four things: dinner together every night, turning the radio off, 10 minutes of active time, and reading together every night are really easy things that you can do each day that will have a profound impact on your relationship with your kids.

I go to bed every night feeling like I have made the most of my day with my children; like I know who my children are, who they are developing into, and how I can have a daily impact on them.

Until next time,

Erica

5 Tips to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night (By 12 Weeks Old!)

5 Tips to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night (By 12 Weeks Old!)

It has been the same story since I was a kid- if I do not get 8 hours of sleep each night, I will inevitably get sick or turn into a real version of The Walking Dead. That last part is obviously an exaggeration, but you catch my drift. And even worse- anyone that has to deal with the post-crappy sleep Erica will definitely regret that they even know me. Let’s just  say this: I am a girl who loves my sleep.

When I found out that I was going to have twins (my first pregnancy!), one of the first thoughts that came to my mind was OMGosh- I am never going to sleep again!

I know that a lot of moms can relate to that sentiment.

How on earth am I supposed to take care of two babies if I am not rested? Personally, this just would not work for me. In addition, I am not a stay-at-home mom and I planned on keeping my job- which at the time, was that of a middle-school geography teacher. I could not imagine staying up all night with two babies and then going to school at 7am and teaching hormonal adolescents until 4pm! YIKES!

I am someone who Googles and researches to the extreme when I have an sort of worry or issue. The market for Baby Sleep Tricks is flooded with a ton of contradictory information that can be difficult to navigate. Someone is telling you to “not spoil your baby” while another someone is telling you that it is “impossible to spoil a baby”. I borrowed tricks and tips from several different books and articles and blogs- but I ultimately found my own method that worked best for me in getting my babies to sleep through the night.

4 years later, I am a happily-rested individual who is working full-time and has successfully sleep-trained 3 boys to sleep through the night by the time they were 12 weeks old. My method has been so effective that my boys have never experienced sleep regressions, difficulty sleeping when they are sick or teething, or difficulty adjusting to time changes or seasonal changes.

I want to share 5 of my main tips in hope that they will work for you as you begin the process of sleep training your baby! Remember, all of these tips take time and I generally believe it takes a week or a new method to transform into a habit.

*I want to note that I read a lot of resources on the subject and some of my tips are variations of sleep training methods that are already ‘out there’. However, any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author. All information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Living Generation Millennial makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information. 

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Baby STTN

5 Tips to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night (By 12 Weeks Old)

1.Wait Until the Time is Right– Babies who are younger than 8 weeks really cannot be sleep trained. First of all, they are too little. Second of all, they are still used to being awake at night and sleeping during the day. When they were in the womb, your movement during the day essentially rocked them to sleep and your lack of movement at night kept them up. This is the time to cuddle up your baby and give them comfort and love :). It is important that your baby eat and grow during the first 8 weeks of their lives; it is a strange new world for your baby! I did not start the sleep training process until my boys were at least 8 weeks old, were eating 28-32 ounces a day and weighed 10lbs. Some sources will say that you can start sooner than this, but these are the numbers that worked like a charm for me!

2. Feed on a Schedule & Use the Bonus 5th Feeding– I know this can be a highly debated topic; whether to feed on demand or feed on a schedule. As a mom, you have to choose what is right for you; this is no proven correct method!

However, I found that feeding on demand will bring your baby to sleep harmony so much faster. And if you are like me, this is the ultimate goal! I stated above that I do not sleep train until at least 8 weeks old, but I will say that I do try to make good habits happen before the baby is 8 weeks. My boys’ eating schedule looked like this:

  • Every 2 1/2 hours their first 2 weeks
  • Every 3 hours from weeks 3-8
  • Every 4 hours when I started sleep-training (in this case, after 8 weeks)

So, my boys were typically eating at 7am, 11am, 3pm and then 7pm when they would go to sleep for the night. That was just our schedule, you have to adjust for what works in your family.

Now, that bonus 5th feeding comes into play. I noticed that my babies would be hungrier in the evening so oftentimes I would add a bonus 5th feeding in between the 3pm and the 7pm feedings. This feeding would generally have less ounces than the other feedings but allow the babies to get to 7pm and not be hungry. Your 4-5 feedings per day should add up to 32 ounces. If you are breastfeeding and you do not know how many ounces your baby is eating- you could try to pump for a day to see how much you are producing and that would give you good insight into how much your baby is currently eating (this is what I did). If you are exclusively breast feeding and not pumping, you probably have a good idea of when your baby is full anyway. For my boys, 32 ounces was the amount of milk that they needed to make it through the night. If your baby is not able to drink this amount of milk spread between 5 feedings, you can adjust the timings between feedings as it works for your baby. The important thing is that you stick to the feeding schedule that you set & and you do not let a feeding last longer than 30 minutes.

3. Don’t Rock Your Baby to Sleep, Use White Noise Instead!– I rocked my babies in the first few weeks of their lives because I was just SO excited to be a mom and have sweet little babies to rock- but never rocked them to sleep. Nor did I let a swing rock them to sleep. My babies all slept in their cribs the very first night they came home from the hospital. It is important for the baby to learn to sleep in their crib right off the bat so you do not have to make this adjustment later. My boys always loved their crib because they had never slept in anything different. This was their own personal space from the beginning. Swings and bouncy seats are great for soothing a fussy baby, but I never recommend letting your baby sleep in them.

Instead of rocking my babies, I invested in a sound machine to play white noise for my babies as they went to sleep. Babies do not like quiet environments and logically that makes sense! They just came from a noisy womb.

Our sound machine worked like a charm in getting our babies to fall asleep and stay asleep!

4. Early Bedtimes- My twins are 4 and they still go to bed at 6:30pm. Over the years, this has been met with varying opinions, and oftentimes people cannot believe that I put my kids to bed so early. But they are kids- and sleep is good for kids; it is the time that they grow, heal & re-energize.

I realized when my babies were young that the earlier they went to bed, the longer they slept-in and the better they slept throughout the night. My youngest son, Vincent, started out with a 7pm bedtime, but he kept waking up earlier than his ideal first feeding. Once we moved his bedtime to 6:30pm, he easily slept until 6:30am the next morning. I have offered up this tip to several of my friends in the past- if your baby keeps getting up early, put them to bed earlier. It has ALWAYS works like a charm.

5. Be Consistent- Babies can sense when they are able to dictate the schedule. But this baby is joining your life and becoming a member of your family, it is important that they adapt to that family. You must be consistent in your feeding routine, your early bedtimes, and your resistance to rocking your baby to sleep. If you allow yourself to break your own rules- even once- your baby will expect this in the future.

For example, if your baby simply won’t go to sleep at night and you think, “I will just rock them this one time”, the baby will come to expect this comfort every single time. I cannot stress the importance of training your baby to fall asleep without you! Learning to self-soothe is an important skill!  I love my children very much and that is why I want them to be sleep-self-sufficient. Now, whenever one of my 4 year olds gets a cold or my 1 year old is teething or we are faced with Daylight Savings Time, there are absolutely no disruptions in their sleep because they have learned to self-soothe.

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These tips should work for a baby of any age! If you are reading this and thinking- well shoot, my baby is already a year old!- it doesn’t matter! It is NEVER too late to start sleep training your baby!

These are my top 5 tips for getting your baby to sleep through the night. I hope that they can help you and bring you some much-needed rest!

Until next time,

Erica

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Halloween + Star Wars + Survivor

Halloween + Star Wars + Survivor

I would have to say that Halloween was pretty epic this year. The kids dressed up as Star Wars characters:

Dominic- Storm Trouper

Giovanni- Darth Vader

Vincent- Chewbacca

Spooktacular (and Star Wars)
Spooktacular (and Star Wars)

With the new Episode VII coming to theaters on December 17th- Star Wars was basically seen everywhere. Normally I strive for original costumes that you are not going to see pop up mainstream. However, the kids being Star Wars characters was a victory for my husband and I. Prior to July when I ordered my kids’ costumes, neither child was interested in the movie. Fast forward three months and we are eating Star Wars mac & cheese and Star Wars cereal and we will only wear clothes that have a giant Darth Vader or Storm Trouper on the front and we are making sure our breath is fresh with Yoda mints. It is pretty wonderful. This is considered a personal victory in my household. I will never get tired of Star Wars, and now that Disney has taken over the franchise, we will never living a world where we don’t see at least one Star Wars related item/mention each day. Fine by me.

This is also the first year that JR and I tried to get on Jimmy Kimmel’s “I told my kids I ate their halloween candy” segment. We have been waiting for the day that our kids were old enough to be tricked by Jimmy’s genius plot. I have always secretly hoped that when we did this, the twins would respond sweetly and not throw a fit- I’ve tried my best to raise them as sugar-free and polite as possible. However, this certainly was not the case. There were tears; there were attempts to slap JR and I; and there were reprimands that we were only allowed to have ‘one piece’ (which from a 3 year old is hilarious). We didn’t make the show this year; but we are pretty committed to pulling this prank on the kids every year.

JR & I did not participate in the Star Wars theme. First of all- adult costumes were pricey. Second of all- my main love right now is the show Survivor. I convinced JR to be Jeff Probst and I of course was a sole Survivor. The costumers were put together an hour before trick-or-treating and I got a twitter reply from Jeff Probst himself (after tweeting him a picture of our costumes)- so I consider our Survivor costumes a success as well.

I can only hope that next year’s Halloween will be this epic.

Jeff Probst & Sole Survivor
Jeff Probst & Sole Survivor

Until next time,

Erica