Friday, November 18, 2011


Things have been AWESOME around these parts where sleep is concerned.

Somehow, a switch has been flipped in Cole's little brain and he has suddenly discovered that SLEEP IS GOOD!

He has been sleeping 12 hours straight at night (I KNOW! SO COOL!), a 1.5 hour morning nap, and a 2 hour afternoon nap.

I know.  it's AMAZING.

Here's our secret:

An early bedtime. Like REALLY early.  Like take what you think is an early bedtime and subtract an hour from that.  I know, I know - it's so counter-intuitive.  "I want my baby to sleep later and longer, what are you doing telling me to put my kid to sleep earlier?!"

But I read A LOT of baby sleep books.  At least 10.  And even in my sleep-deprived state I noticed one consistent piece of advice in put your baby to bed earlier.  As adults, we underestimate just how much sleep babies need.  We underestimate just how early babies (and kids) naturally get tired - especially if your baby is a morning-baby like mine is.

Cole goes to bed at 6 pm.  Which can be incredibly inconvenient at times.  But IT WORKS!  He falls right asleep and sleeps a solid 12 hours. 

Which means I'm a whole new woman.  I hardly know what to do with myself.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


My little mister just ADORES walking out to get our mail.  It's one of the highlights of his day (the other highlight being the ten seconds when he discovers I forgot to put up the dog's water dish).  If I ask him if he wants to come with me to get the mail, his whole face lights up and he scrambles for the door, saying "Mai! Mai!"

And the only thing sweeter than taking him to the mailbox is watching Daddy walk with him to the mailbox - Chris slowing his long strides to match Cole's toddling steps.  Cole's face lit up with excitement as he looks up at his dad.

 my boys, going to get the mail.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The best thing I ever made

Cole has been doing OUTSTANDING on the sleep front for the past few weeks (knock on wood).  Part of it, I think, is our continued routine and early bedtime...but part of it may also be this very cool sleep sack I sewed for Cole last month.

I don't know about you guys, but our house can get pretty freezing at night.  And unless we want to spend $500 a month on heating costs, that's not going to change.  Chris and I usually stay warm and toasty under our down comforter (best.invention.ever), but my little man is a...shall we say, ACTIVE sleeper and blankets just do not stay where they're supposed to stay.

Last winter, we were given a couple soft and warm sleep sacks which were awesome, but Cole has since outgrown them.   And I thought, since I love my down blanket so much, why not use one for a sleep sack for him as well?  I found some sleep sacks online that were down-filled - but they were $130!!!  ONE HUNDRED THIRTY DOLLARS!  ::gasp::

Hence my motive for making one.

And just in case you might want to make one too, I made a mini-tutorial for you all:

I had a older down-filled throw that I used that worked perfectly for the front and backs of the sack. (If you don't, check thrift stores and Black Friday sales.) I took one of his old sleep sacks to use as a pattern and just traced around it with a thin Sharpie, making it wider and much, much longer.  I wanted him to have plenty of room grow big and tall.

Now, you COULD just stop right there and cut your down blanket right then...if you want an explosion of feathers.  In the interest of avoiding a million hours of vacuuming, I stitched with a small stitch along the line I drew, then stitched 1/4 inch along the outside of that line, like this:

Then, when I cut in between the two stitched lines, I had a small explosion of down, instead of a huge explosion. 

I traced the same pattern again on the second half of my blanket, but cut the neck a little deeper scoop since it would be the front.  I also stitched a line down the middle, to be used for snaps to close the sleeper up.

Next, I decided I wanted to use some ultra-soft fabric (not sure what it's's a super soft polyster mix from JoAnn's) as an extra top layer.  I traced the top of the down blanket onto the soft fabric, allowing for the front snap seams.
Then, I pinned the extra middle edges of the soft fabric over the front down layer, leaving an overlap for the snaps:
Then, I put the back down blanket layer, the soft fabric layer, and the top down layer and pinned all around the edges, making sure to not pin the arm holes or the neck hole.  I stitched all around:

After I flipped in right side out, I used simple store-bought binding for the arm holes and neck hole, then hand-stitched on the snaps...and voila! A warm and snuggly sleep sack for WAYYYY less than $130!
The extra long sack leaves him plenty of wiggle room:
Just look how pink his cheeks are! Soo warm and cozy - and truly the secret to some of the best night's sleep I've had in 18 months!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A shy child?

I recently read an article in a parenting magazine discussing shyness in children.  The article went so far as to describe extreme shyness and discomfort in public situations as a social anxiety disorder.  It discussed how parents can use various techniques to "change" their child's shyness.

I always was (and still can be) very shy, so this article caught my attention. But it got me to thinking - when do we, as parents, go from helping our children overcome "obstacles" to outright changing a child's personality and natural tendencies?

Not every child has the same personality - shy vs outgoing, introvert vs extrovert, loud vs quiet - and that's a GOOD thing!  We can't have a world full of loud, outgoing people all trying to outdo each other - the quiet people balance it out.  People are not meant to all have the same strengths, traits and personalities.

I notice that Cole has some shy tendencies.  He gets nervous in new places.  He can get overwhelmed.  He tends to be slightly clingy in different situations. 

So here's my conflict: should I treat his shyness as a "problem" that needs to be fixed, or should I simply accept that as part of his personality?  Many articles and research in the parenting field treat such personality traits as weaknesses, but I'm not sure I agree.

I want to encourage my child to be whoever he feels most comfortable being, rather than playing a part or trying to change themselves to please someone.  I want him to have an honest view of himself, of his strengths and weaknesses. I don't want to try to change his personality.

What do you think?  Is shyness a problem or a personality trait?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pony Ridin'

Grammy bought this ride-on pony this summer for Cole.  Last week, for the first time, he figured out how to get on and push himself around:

I just love watching him figure things out on his own!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy 11-11-11!

This lady gave birth on 8-8-08, 9-9-09, and 10-10-10.

And no, she's not pregnant, so there won't be a 11-11-11.

SO cool.  I told Chris we should start trying for #2 to coincide with a possible 12-12-12 birthday...sure wouldn't be hard to remember the birth date!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Persistence, thy name is Cole

Cole is one of the least easily frustrated people I've ever known.  He is focused and persistent and rarely gets defeated.

This afternoon he was playing with some blocks.  Stacking and knocking down. Sometimes he'd manage to stack them all up...sometimes he wouldn't be quite so successful. 

But it didn't matter.  He didn't need help.  He wasn't upset or frustrated if he didn't succeed.  He just tried again.

And if it worked, he'd sit back and admire his work.

Then knock it down and try again.

It got me to thinking - when do we as adults lose this ability to try again?  To not be knocked down by mistakes, but to just work harder?

Just one more way my 17 month old son is teaching ME how to be a better person.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Juggling lesson

Cole is apparently passing his love of potatoes onto his dad - Chris started juggling these potatoes the other day in front of a VERY captive audience:

I love how he tries to "juggle" too...hmm, wait a minute, that MAY turn into an issue.  Reminds me how my sister used to chuck her shoes across the room in imitation of Mr. Rogers (who would toss his shoe from one hand to another like this).

Hopefully he hasn't inherited my coordination (or shall we say lack thereof).  Cause I'm pretty sure Cole's juggling is better than what I can do.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I jinxed it.

Ok, so Cole? You know how every time we're in public and you catch admiring glances from other people and those sweet old ladies ask how you're sleeping?  And I always say, "Well...he doesn't really sleep...BUT! he's an awesome eater!  I mean INCREDIBLE!  Like he eats anything I put in front of him!"  And then I'd yawn blearily in my sleep-deprived state, but think hey! at least he's a great eater!

That was literally two weeks ago.  But apparently in the span of two weeks you have decided to become a picky eater.

Yup.  All those awesome foods you ate no problemo?  Not so much anymore. 

Mealtimes have now become strikingly similiar to feeding my parent's dog Ginger - who only eats one pebble at time which has to be coated in just the right amount of certain human food and needs a two minute break in between pebbles. 

Not that I'm feeding you dog food.

But that's how you are right now.  But worse.  Because one day you'll be all over the ham sandwich and then the next I'll put it in front of you and you'll look at me like, "What IS this sludge, woman?!"  And then you'll chow down meatballs like they're going out of style so I'll buy a Costco bag of them and serve them up to you and you THROW THEM and then you scream.


So meanwhile, you're living on yogurt, hummus, and oranges.  At least for today.  Tomorrow you'll probably hate them all.

You sure know how to keep this mama on her toes, little mister!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


In an age where bullying is all over the media, it's so nice to hear about a story like this. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

17 months

Dear Cole,

Now you are 17 months old - almost a year and half!

Some fun and awesome things you are doing right now:

     - Every once in a while, you'll say "Whoa!" Like if you drop something or get into something you're not supposed to.

    - Reading is still one of your very favorite things to do.  At least thirty times a day you'll pick out a book, bring it to me, take my hand and lead me to the couch, where you'll pat the seat invitingly. You love reading so much that sometimes you'll even hold one book and have me hold the other one so we can read both at the same time.

    - Music is also one of your favorites.  You've starting singing along in a high-pitched, tuneless sort of way which is positively adorable.

    - You give out kisses so frequently now! Several times a day, you'll get a very serious look on your face and plant one on me - sometimes on my lips, often on my arm.  There is nothing more sweet than getting one of your sloppy kisses!

   - I am blown away by your intelligence.  I know, every parent says it...but in this case, it's true.  You can identify SO many animals - elephants, penguins, tigers, lions, owls, cats, dogs, cows, horses, donkeys, flamingos, frogs, ducks, chickens, bears, all their sounds.  You can point to all your body parts and follow two-step directions.  Yes, you're a genius.  You must take after your mama. :)

Oh my darling boy, I know I sound like a broken record, but I have to say it again (and again and again).  You are the joy of our lives.  You bring us so much laughter and joy.  We love you with all our hearts and cannot imagine our family without your smiling face.

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