Saturday, August 27, 2016

Summer O Fun Week 13.....The Grand Finale

Well ya'll. This is it. The last Summer O Fun post. We made it through our 13 weeks of sheer crazy. And we went out with a bang. 

Two of the most "intimidating" outings on our Summer Bucket list were Klyde Warren Park and the Children's Aquarium at Fair Park. Mainly because both of these places are in downtown Dallas and 
1) I HATE HATE HATE trying to park down there. I'm used to the suburbs where I usually park with a space between me and the next person. AND 2) The morning traffic rush doesn't end until 9:30. We MUST be back in Plano by 12:30 for Greyson's nap. Because all Moms know by NO MEANS SHOULD THE CHILD FALL ASLEEP IN THE CAR!!!! THAT IS A TOTAL WASTE OF 2 PRECIOUS HOURS.

So anyway, I just didn't know if we could reasonably squeeze in these activities. 

First up was Klyde Warren Park. My neighbor went with us, who has an 8 month old and 2.5 year old. She's brave ya'll. We loaded 'em three deep in her minivan and hit the road. She parallel parked the thing LIKE A BOSS. (Actually, her last name IS Boss.)The park was actually SUPER easy to get to, but perhaps that's because she was driving. ; ) But if you're from Dallas-it was really easy and right off 75. It was the PERFECT day for it. We had this random week of overcast weather and highs in the 80's. Just enough to give you a taste of sweet freedom. 

This park is absolutely DARLING! It is literally built on top of a freeway in the smack dab middle of all the towering skyscrapers. What a view! 

There were lots of neat things for the kids to play on. Our buddy Patrick enjoyed the big boy climbing stuff. I'm just counting the days where G is big enough to get stuck in this thing and I have to SpiderMan-it to get him out.

G enjoyed the new age Merry-Go-Round.....

And quicker than two shakes of a lamb's he had bailed off into the splash pad portion of the park. I had his swimsuit in his bag, but there was no time.......I just let him go for it. 

There was also the neatest tree house that we went up and down and round and round......

So even though it was too little too late, I had to switch Greyson to his swim clothes and we hopped over to the other side of the lawn for some food truck fun. 

We had a Mac-n-cheese BBQ slider, a Mashed Potato and Gravy Chicken slider, and tater tots. YUM. Greyson was really more interested in the pigeons.

This was a PERFECT play and lunch date! We had had so much fun! It was so neat to be in the middle of the big city. (But I was still happy to return to the suburbs with my attached garage.) We told Patrick it was his job to keep Greyson awake, so every 3 minutes for the next 30, we heard "WAKE UP GREYSON!". Buddy did his job well. 

Later that week, we went with some more friends to the Children's Aquarium at Fair Park. It is literally on the Texas State Fairgrounds, so we strolled right by the big Ferris Wheel and the Cotton Bowl Stadium. So cool. 

This one is much smaller (and much cheaper) than the Dallas World aquarium and geared for little kids; everything is low to the ground so they can see. Sweet Everett is almost 4, but I love how little kids have no sense of age difference. He just talks to Greyson and Greyson just talks his toddler gibberish back.  

An awesome feature they have is two outdoor tanks, and one is full of stingrays that you can pet. Greyson was right up there with the big kids getting in on the fishy fun. We were all a total mess afterwards. 

He loved the albino gator.....

Pretty pointless trying to attempt to get a picture these days......

Those two big outings left us pretty wiped out for the week. Plus we had to start gearing up for......drum roll, please....MOTHER'S DAY OUT! He only goes one day a week, but 5 hours in a mom's life is like 12 in a regular person's life. 

Greyson's new backpack and lunchbox came in so we hit the mall to get his name on it.

The TRAC-TOR and the CHOO-CHOO that rides around the mall is always a must. 

On Friday, we headed to meet Greyson's new teachers. I can't believe this is already his second year at "school".  

I had all the back-to-school nostalgia emotions, so we hit up McAlister's afterwards for a little mother-son lunch date. And oh my goodness, they have the most amazing kid's menu!!!! A TON of options for 99 CENTS!!! That big ole salad and the cheese pizza that you see....99 CENTS! 

We had such a fun time, I'm thinking maybe I should make this a tradition each year after Meet the Teacher. 

I was gonna try to extend the Summer O Fun for ONE MORE week and knock out the last few things still on the list. But after school officially started back, it just feels doesn't feel like summer anymore. (Despite the fact that it's still SWELTERING.) Football starts next week, and Bible study soon after that, so we've got a whole new schedule. I'm going to do a re-cap, but I have to say that we had such a blast this summer. I'm happy to return to a routine, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer O Fun Week 11 and 12

I'm still catching up on our weekly posts.......Week 11 and 12 had me like WHOA. 

The morning after we got back from Mississippi, we were out of clean clothes, groceries, and energy. So this is what breakfast looked like. #donutsforthewin #onlyShipleysinthishouse

And this was us pretty much the rest of the week trying to catch up.......

We did hit the gym a few times to recover from the SOUTHERN comfort food I indulged in for 8 days. I also hit up the Dallas Moms Blog's watch party for the Bad Moms movie. My partner in crime, Jorie, joined me. The movie was funny, but I'm pretty sure we had a better time chatting in the parking lot afterwards.  

By Friday, I was ready to hit our bucket list. We got all ready to head to Sensory Fun, hopped in the car....and NOTHING. Ole Faithful had nothin' to offer. Dead as a doornail. This has been about the fourth hiccup that the Camry has had in the past month. She knows she's about to be replaced and she's on strike.

So on Saturday while we got ourselves a shiny new alternator, we went to IKEA to get some things for Jeremie's office. IKEA stresses me OUT, but these two seemed to have fun.

The next week we finally got our stuff together and checked some things off our list. Including what will probably go down as the best play date we've ever hosted....our Olympic Play Date. You can read about it here.

After a LOOOONG nap that afternoon, we hit up Sonic for our drive-in date. Greyson LOVES to "drive" the car, so I let him sit in my lap and drive while we ate our burgers and fries. 

On Friday, we gave Sensory Fun another shot, and fortunately, the car started. This is the cutest play place in McKinney that does sensory class for babies up to 5 years old. On Fridays, the have "Messy Play", which is all the messy Pinterest activities that you don't want in your home. Greyson didn't take so much to the Messy Play area, but he had a BIG time with all the other toys and things to do! We will definitely be back! 

We officially ended the Summer O Fun last week, so if you're totally OVER it (because I kinda am), the end is near. We did go out with a bang, so just one more post!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sleep "Training"

Oh my. Sleep training is such an opinionated topic amongst the mommy hood. But, KNOCK ON EVERY PIECE OF WOOD IN AMERICA, Greyson is a great sleeper, so I figured, what the heck, I'll share what we did.

I put sleep “training” in quotes because honestly, I don’t think it was anything we did. I think we got lucky. Of course we tried methods, but I’ve talked to a ton of other moms who’ve tried the same thing and sleep is still just a tough concept for their little ones. I bet my second one is gonna really show me whose boss.

I hadn't read the first word about sleep training before Greyson was born. (Actually I didn't read any baby training books and had changed one diaper in my whole life. ) I know there are a ton out there and I certainly solicited lots of advice from friends who had gone before me in the  black hole joyful journey of sleep training.

Let's face it, no matter WHAT your hospital experience was like, I’m convinced everyone comes home utterly (no pun intended) exhausted.  Next time, I'll sign whatever it is to decline the hourly vitals checkups. I mean, I'm still alive people, leave me alone. And NO ONE is gonna pull the guilt card on me about sending my child to the nursery. I will physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (and financially) pour over this child for the rest of my days, so the 48 hours that I spend in the hospital is not going to make or break our relationship.

I'll never forget the first night we brought Greyson home from the hospital. Of course I was nursing him every 3 hours. But I remember putting him into the bassinet and crawling into bed with Jeremie thinking we were all just gonna sleep like a happy little family until the next feeding. Lawd have mercy. We had two problems: 1) He wanted to "cluster feed"...aka....nurse ALL NIGHT LONG...(it's a thing, Google it), and 2) He freaked out when we tried to lay him in the bassinet because, think about it, he'd never laid on his back before. 

By 4:30 a.m., I had totally lost my mind and went upstairs sobbing and handed the child over to my mom and mother-in-law.

That day, we went on a mission and purchased these:

Summer Infant Swaddles. For those of you who think swaddling a baby is torture, consider this: they've been all snug and balled up in the womb for 9 months and now they've got these flailing little limbs. I've read that for them, it's like a falling sensation. Don't say you don't believe in something until you're sleep deprived and desperate. 

I know there are several brands of swaddles out there, but these seem to be the best fit for G. They were snug and didn't ride up over his face, so I didn't worry about him getting smothered. Greyson was 6 pounds when he was born so the Preemie size actually fit him perfectly. We used these all the way up until he was a year old. They even make kinds where their arms can be out when they start to roll over.

We also noticed that G seemed to be calm in the Rock 'N Play when the vibrator was on. I LOVE the Rock 'N Play, but of course was nervous about letting him sleep in it. (Can't say that didn't end up happening though several times...again...desperation).  Anyway, Jeremie found this Summer Infant  Vibrator on Amazon and it was the BEST $15 we spent. It vibrates for about 15 minutes and turns off but can easily be hit from the side of the bed of the baby begins to stir ; ).  It REALLY seemed to comfort G. It attached to the side of the bassinet perfectly.

Finally, Jeremie got an old iphone of ours and downloaded some soothing worship music. And listen....G would sleep with that phone right by his head and it really seemed to sooth him. It also served as some good comfort for mama in the tough moments. ; )

Here was our result after our Operation Sleepy Baby:

We decided to combat this back sleeping issue from the get go. So even though it was tempting for us (especially the grandmothers) to hold him while he napped, we swaddled him up and put him in the bassinet for most naps. Once we felt like he was getting used to his arms and legs, I was more casual about letting him nap in the Rock N Play since it's so easy to move from room to room. Plus I weaned off of swaddling him during naps so he’d start to learn that the swaddle meant “official bedtime” at night.

I want to be clear-even though we tried some strategies, the first two weeks are sheer survival mode. Days run into nights, there’s no differentiation, and quite honestly, it was depressing for me. And even though I knew Jeremie was exhausted too, and working so hard at his job, I would get frustrated watching him “get ready for bed”, for a full night’s sleep with me not knowing what my night would be like. 

About the time Greyson hit 9 pounds, which was around 3 weeks, the doctor gave me the green light to let him sleep however long he could stretch it at night...four..five….even six hours! I almost squealed with delight! She did encourage me to continue feedings every 3 hours during the day so his little tummy would be full for a longer stretch after the “night/last feeding”.  Whatever stretch G did during the night, it seemed like we always fell at 6:00, 9:00, 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 feedings. There was a short window where I was pumping and J would do the night time bottle, but at 8 weeks, G dropped the bottle like a hot potato, so it was back to all nursing for me. 

In regards to establishing the “night/last feeding”, I would literally set the stage. I laid out G’s pajamas, his swaddle, the books we’d read, turned on the lamp for soft light, turned off the big light, put MY pj’s on, etc. In my head, it was bedtime. Looking back I think this really helped to train G what bedtime looked liked.

Around 3 months, we started thinking about moving G into his crib. My sister-in-law had a super awesome suggestion of first moving him across the room, which I’m so glad we did. It was totally different just not having the bassinet right beside me. After about a month of that, we kicked him to the crib and he did great. (Of course, the monitor helped tremendously.) It seemed like we were in somewhat of a routine, and around 3 months, I remember having the thought: “I might live through this.”

THEN….4 MONTHS. The 4 month sleep regression. It’s a thing. Google it. In fact, I did. And when I started typing “4 month”…you know that predictive search…it immediately popped up “4 month sleep regression.” It was like newborn days ya’ll. And I don’t have any fairy tale advice, you just gotta get through it. I’m sure it’s something very scientific and medical, we’ll blame it on a growth spurt, because EVERYTHING can be blamed on a growth spurt, right? Or teething.

One piece of advice the pediatrician DID offer was to NOT nurse immediately before I put Greyson down. I was doing his pj’s, swaddle, nursing him, and literally putting him straight into bed. She said you have to break their need to nurse to go to sleep. So I switched the order to feeding, pjs, swaddling, stories/singing, THEN bed. (I mean think about it in adult terms, we don’t put our pj’s on, crawl into bed, and eat supper last, right? Even though that sounds perfectly heavenly.)

At 5 months, Greyson got better, but seemed to still be waking up OFTEN, so I knew he wasn’t hungry! Since it was suggested to wait until 6 months to do the Cry It Out Method, Jeremie did some research in the meantime. That research-loving man of mine.  He found this thing called the "Camp Out Method". I didn’t sit in a chair next to his crib, but essentially, it’s about soothing the baby as SOON as they start crying to help them sooth themselves back to sleep. This was a mental and physical dedication folks. As SOON as I would hear G, I’d book it upstairs into his room and rub his back or sing. After a couple weeks, I noticed I had to go in less and less.

At 6 months, the pediatrician gave me the green light to let Greyson cry it out.  When I asked her just how long I was supposed to let him cry, she said “Let’s just say I let my child cry for and hour and half." I respect her and her kid doesn’t seem emotionally damaged, so I figured we’d give it a shot. She also suggested giving him a “comfort item” in his crib, so we picked up a stuffed lamb (“Lambert”)  at Kroger that day.  Lambert has been a comfort ever since.

 And that night, I put him down, and immediately left the house to take Manny on a walk. Jeremie is stronger than me and could put up with the crying. Shockingly, G didn’t cry any longer than 20-30 minutes for about 3 days. And just like that, he was sleeping for 10-12 hours. Yes, Please, and Thank You. I understand that CIO isn’t for everyone, and doesn’t work for everyone. When that photo of the mom lying IN her little girl's crib started floating around Facebook, I felt a little guilty. For about half a second. Every baby is going to fight sleep. Heck, I still fight going to bed so I can watch just ONE more episode of Friday Night Lights. ; ) 

Of course Greyson has weird nights where he wakes up randomly for different reasons. But in general, he's a great all night sleeper, and he’s slept LOTS of places…..multiple hotels, walk in closets, offices, etc. Whatever method you do use, I can vouch for a routine……baby’s can feel it and wherever you are, they can trust the routine! 

I also WILL recommend the common advice of  "sleep when the baby sleeps". At first, I felt like I had to get all this junk "accomplished" during G's naps. After a couple weeks of sleep deprivation, I was like BUMP THIS. Listen girls. You're hubby will appreciate you 50 times more if you are well-rested than if the dishes are done. That's what paper plates and your closest girlfriends are for. It's a season and you will get back to all the things you used to do. In the early weeks, I would even go to bed at like 6:30 to make sure I caught a couple hours sleep before the next feeding.

GOOD LUCK if you’re in this season, and trust me that it doesn’t last forever. You WILL sleep again, Mama.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Summer O Fun Week 9 &10....Down In Dixie

I realize that I'm like 3 weeks behind in the Summer O Fun posts. But, seriously, what happened to the last 3 weeks???.....

So I'm just gonna back up and play catch up. 

Half of Week 9 was spent packing for our annual Mississippi trip. Seriously. I'm such an early and nervous packer. I don't know why it takes me so long. It's worse when you're packing for a kid too. But, contrary to popular belief, Mississippi is not a third world country. So Jeremie was finally like: "Katie, if you forget it, you can buy it." This comes from someone who essentially throws some clothes in a bag and just surprises himself when he gets to his destination. 

I asked G what he wanted to take to "Sippi" (as he calls it), and he loaded up his TRAC-TOR. Like Father like Son I guess.
Jeremie didn't join us this year so he could stay behind for work. If I didn't know better, I'd think he intentionally shipped us off for 8 nights of utter silence. Fortunately, our airport/flight experience was incredibly better than last time. It was exactly nap time and G was a WILDMAN while we were waiting at the gate, so I was nervous. In fact, when our flight landed, the lady sitting next to us commented on how good G was on the flight. She said "To be honest with you, when I saw him at the gate, I was like: Oh I hope I'm not sitting next to them. But, he did SO GOOD!" I appreciated her honesty (because let's be real...), but I'm still not sure if it was a compliment or not. ; )

Our first stop for the week was "Nona and Papa's". (Jeremie's parents.) I try to split our time in half so all the grandparents get equal time. I could be staying out in the shed, I know it's really about Greyson. Fortunately, Nona took lots of pics of his time there, and made this darling collage. Because most of my time was spent floating around the pool reading. #thankyou #mamasout

And every afternoon when Papa got home from work, he'd take G for a "RIDE" (which is now G's favorite word) in the Ranger. 

Auntie Amy joined us at the pool that weekend so she could get some G time. He thinks she is just a big toy! She is truly the baby whisperer.

We also got to see our Cousin Judah and play at the pool with him. It's so funny, Judah doesn't understand how young Greyson is and just wanted him to "swim" so bad!

We did let him take G for a very supervised ride in the Gator. I'm thinking these two will be TROUBLE down the road.

I joke about our parents only caring about G, but for real, Jeremie's parents consider me their own and we had a great time chatting and laughing after G went to bed. 

Next stop was "CC and Pop's" for more country, rides, and fun. Between the REAL TRAC-TOR, the four-wheeler, and the zero-turn lawnmower, Greyson was in HEAVEN. I think he wore Pop out. 

My mom, who is the MASTER party planner, whipped together a little pancake breakfast for some of my family. 

So we got to visit with my grandmother, aunt, and my cousin with her darling little chunky monkey, Weston. 

We got to pick watermelons out of the garden......

And play toolman.......

And wear CC's glasses everywhere......

And of course I shared some gut-busting laughs with my parents. The below picture was not contrived or planned. I had randomly found the Davie Crockett hat in my dad's utility room and put it on because I thought Greyson would get a kick out of it. (He actually was terrified.) Anyway, I totally forgot about the hat and started working with my Dad on different ways he could arrange his deer heads, turkey fans, guns in their new rec room. We clearly couldn't hold up everything and back away to see what it looked like, so we held up what we could and had my mom take pictures. Let's just say that my dad RARELY has a shirt on when he's working around the house. Between that, my floral shorts, racoon hat, and wall decor, we DIED LAUGHING when we looked at this picture!!!!

And so then my dad thought I should do a photo shoot with his prized gun, a Russian rifle he's named Rosa. (His newest gun's name is Lt. Dan.)  

We just couldn't deal. We were laughing so hard. Those are the best moments with my parents, the unplanned, totally raw ones. 

We ended the week with a pizza/slumber party at my Grammy's house. As most of you know, our Big Jack passed away in March, so he was dearly missed. He would have especially loved Greyson "driving" his treasured Ford truck. 

We loved our slumber party; Greyson played "cashier" with Grammy and danced to her Elvis CD. And of course there were banana nut muffins for us the next morning. We were on an EARLY flight back to Dallas, but managed to get a Four Generation selfie before we left! 

We had a blast and it's fun to imagine all of G's memories he'll make about his "summers in the Sippi".