Sunday, February 5, 2012

Just 15 a day....

So I read this post over at Suzy Q's blog about how we often don't do tasks because we think we don't have time, and by dedicating just 15 minutes to do something, we get a lot more accomplished then we originally thought possible. I'm notorious for letting things like laundry and dishes pile up because I just don't feel like doing it, and don't think I'll get to finish if I start, so I just don't. I also know I spend entirely to much time on the computer, being equally unproductive. While I may sit down with the intention of editing a batch of pictures, or clearing out by blog roll...I end up getting side tracked and before I know it, I've got twenty browsers open and my eyes are slowly glazing over cause I've been sitting here for way to long, while my kids are doing god knows what. I also know that I should spend more dedicated time with the girls', rather then constantly saying "one more minute" while I try to do any of the above. So I think I need a different approach to my days, and dedicating allotments of time sounds simple enough.

I ended up at 9:15  yesterday morning, shuffled downstairs with the littlest one. I plopped her in her daddy's lap while I went to make my coffee, and took one look around the kitchen and sighed in disgust. I shuffled back into the living room, pulled out my phone and curled up with my coffee and my newest addiction, Pocketfrogs. All the while, the daunting task of emptying and reloading the dishwasher and handwashing the leftovers loomed over me. I.hate.doing.dishes. But I decided this morning was going to be different.  I loaded up the stop watch on my phone and set it to 15 minutes. I could sit and play my game and sip my coffee for 15 minutes, and then I had to get up. Sometimes I just need a motivating reminder that I have things to do, instead of getting sucked into something for hours on end. I'm pretty great at time wasting..........anyway. My alarm went off and I promptly got up and started my chore. I didn't bother setting an alarm, cause it was one of those "got to get it all done" kind of things, I just needed the motivation. It felt better getting up, knowing I had spent that fifteen minutes relaxing and now knew it was time to get up. Sometimes, that's all I need. I did the dishes, AND cooked breakfast, and then cleaned up the kitchen again! All before Noon! AND all on a day when the hubby is sleeping for work that night. Preposterous! This system just might work! Later in the day, I was playing on the computer, and Big A climbed up in the chair next to me with her puzzle and asked "Mommy play puzzle with me" and I replied "in a minute"..this probably went on for much longer then I would like to admit, till finally I decided I'd try my little trick for this too! "Ok, we can play puzzles for 15 minutes, then Mommy gets to play with the computer" Suprisingly, it worked pretty well. I closed the laptop and we did the puzzle a few times, and when the time was up, she happily got down and went to do something else. AMAZING. This might just be the answer to all my problems.

The rest of the day didn't go quite as gloriously, but at least it was a start. Little A seemed a little warm to the touch for most of the day, even though neither thermometer I used said she had a fever. She's not been eating very well, but still drinking a ton. I think her teeth are bothering her, since she just cut her far  bottom left incisor. But she seemed a little more irritable over it then normal, so we just lounged around all day on the couch. I didn't even bother with trying to do anything even remotely constructive.

Then D lets me know that the MIL wants to come by for a visit, today, so I thought about trying to do some tidying before bed...and decided against it. I figured she probably wouldn't even really show up, so why bother? Of course, to my suprise she texts me this morning asking when was a good time to come by. Why is "never" not an acceptable response? I just keep telling myself in two months, we will hardly ever see them again. I mean, not like they have made much attempt to visit since we moved up here. Ninety five percent of the time we have to drive the 20 minutes to visit them, all the while they complain that they never get to see the kids. I just don't understand how they can be so freaking busy they can't make more time for their grand-kids. To say it infuriates me is an understatement. Their loss I guess.

At least I only had to put up with an hour or so of awkward silence and forced conversations. Mary-Anne napped most the time her and SIL were here.

Last night was an another awful night for sleeping. I don't know how to get this baby to sleep in her crib. I let her fuss/whine/cry for over an hour last night (After MIDNIGHT!) and she STILL didn't go to sleep. Ugh.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Disaster afoot...

Today has promised to be a disaster from the start. Little M tossed and turned all night last night. I finally gave up on her this morning after hearing D take his shower after work and passed her off to him so I could grab another hour of sleep before it was his turn. Of course as soon as I got back in bed, Mischief and I got into a fight over personal sleeping space, and the little monster bit me. Not bad, but enough to tick me off so I couldn't go back to sleep. And of course, Little M was super cranky for a good hour before she took a short nap...which was just long enough for me to load up PSE and get inspired but not long enough for me to do anything. I think she might have a tummy ache. By noon, she already had two messy diapers. Really.messy.
Thankfully, Big A seems to have woken up in a good mood. And the ear pain I've been suffering from for the past few days (random sharp stabbing pains) seems to have vanished.
The chicken enchilladas I made last night for dinner were so delicious they even got D's seal of approval, even if Big A didn't want to eat a bite. So we now have one new recipe to add to the dinner menu!

Thank you Pinterest!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Some Quiet Time

The girls are back on a no sleep routine, so I've been keeping my days as lazy as possible. Little M loves to make a bee line for the computer whenever I lift the screen, so instead of fighting her prying fingers and growing my frustration, I've just been letting things sit. It's also been my "time of the month" which leads to such severe cramping, it gift to move off the couch for a few days. I can't even find time to edit my pictures, or scrap. I don't see myself jumping on the Project 52 bandwagon anytime soon. So, if it can't be done with my phone, I haven't been doing much. I have been trying to take more pictures with my phone. I go a few days where I slack in my mamarazzi duties, and forget to turn on the big camera, so I went searching for a fun camera app for my Android phone. No instagram here, but I did find Lightbox. I don't know what features instagram has, but I've been having a lot of fun with Lightbox. I love the Sahara filter! I've gotten a lot of great pictures, and as soon as I get a chance I might post some here in the blog. With my lightbox account, it makes like a little photo journal, which is pretty cool. And I can always share in Facebook right from the app. At least now all the little moments I would miss scrambling for my main camera, I can capture and edit with my phone. If you haven't tried it out, you should!

Big A is slowly getting back on track with the potty training, finally. She took a two month break, after almost being completely trained by Halloween. It was driving me crazy. We had plenty a loud battles over it. Bribing wasn't working, nor sweet talking. She was completely unphased by me just putting panties on her, and letting her wet herself. I was so tired of cleaning up pee. I finally just took candy away from her and told her in order to get another piece (including all her Christmas kisses and reeses) she had to potty. I figured it would either end her candy habit or she would start using the potty again. For a couple of days, she still didn't care and I thought my plan had backfired...but then she would randomly test me by asking for candy.

"No, go to the potty"

"No, I not want to" she would say. Surprisingly she never protested to much when I still said no. And then randomly she would potty and exclaim " I have piece of candy now!"
Well we are on day two of almost nothing but potty, so I'm crossing our fingers she doesn't backslide when we start getting serious about moving.

This last rotation of hubby's days off have been exceptionally lazy. I washed some clothes and got groceries. But that's as productive as we got. We did, however, make red velvet cake balls, bbq chicken nachos, and homemade reeses cups (here). We did a little shoppong, too, and I was able to find an awesome pair of purple pants and a grey stripped shirt at Target for $10 total. I'm in search of clothes that don't make me look like a shapeless blob, but are also cheap since I plan on loosing weight.....soon. I also found the skirt for our Elf on Shelf we will hopefully get next year, for $1 at Barnes and Noble! I'm not a huge fan of Barnes and Noble (long story) so the less I spend in there when we go, the better. Maybe one day, I'll get over my grudge. We used to have a beautiful relationship.....

I took a few minutes the other night to start sorting my digifiles again. Before I went to crazy, I dug out the external and backed up our pictures and my scrapping files. I think I might ditch my current system and try and slim it down, again. Heck, I still have files in huge bulk folders that still need to be grouped by kit. Another huge project to work on!

Anyhow, it's taken me days to write this (so sorry if it seems a bit disjointed!) so I'm going to stop rambling for now and get something productive done!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lazy Days

I declared today, and the next three days, while hubby is working,  Lazy Days. I'm so tired of trying to be productive, while at home with two kids, and I just give up. I can't blog, I can't scrap, I can't surf, I can't do dishes, I can't read a magazine. I can't do anything. I don't know how other mom's with kids this small do anything. I literally feel like I have one on each leg all day long, for every trip up and down the stairs to fetch a diaper, a pacifier, a toy, a pair of socks, a clean shirt.....ugh. I don't see how I'm still so overweight with all the exercise, but I am. Double UGH.

I haven't scrapped a page since..........................................................weeks before Christmas?

And on my hubby's day off, he is just as demanding and needy as the kids are. Thank god the car search is over, because if I had to waste one more minute driving through a car lot, I was probably going to go insane. I mean, I've had three years of sleepless nights, is it really necessary to waste Mary-Anne's car naps on looking at freaking cars?!

All in all, today wasn't to bad of a day. For the majority, there were no breakdowns. Big A got a little touchy over some toys, but we managed to smooth it over. She has to learn to share sometime, right? She just needs some practice, but all in all, she is going pretty good. She loves her little sister, and it's so sweet to see her interact with her all day. She makes funny noises, or tries acting silly when Little M is fussy, or tries to tickle her, saying "tickle tickle tickle". It's so adorable.

Tonight while I was trying to work on my layout for the Scrap Orchard Template MIS, she put on her panda hat and my slip on shoes and said to me, "Look Mom, I'm so cute! Take a picture!" haha, so I did!

Friday, January 13, 2012

A New Car Owner, Twice Over!

Today was exhausting. I've spent more time in car dealerships in the past year then I care to. Upgrading from the Dodge Avenger to a crossover SUV proved to be painful enough. We researched, we drove, we ran numbers, we drove, we researched, we got denied at a few places, and then FINALLY ended up with a vehicle that worked for our needs and we liked. And now our needs have changed again. The hubby has been researching cheap fuel efficient vehicles so religiously my head has been spinning. Honestly, I'm glad the search is over, even if the payment makes me a little queasy. Our car payments now total more then our mortgage. I keep reminding myself there are plenty of families out there with two vehicle payements. This is normal. I mean, if I drove, I'd be expected to have my own car, and would probably be making payments on it. I have come to the conclusion I had a fairly naive concept of how much cars cost. And how much that pricetag equates to monthly. But regardless, today we came home with a Nissan Versa (beep beep!). Our intetions were to just go look at them again. But once we got there, we noticed they were on sale. For a only little bit more then the cheapest, useable used car, we could get a new one today, on closeout for 2011. Instead of holding out and risking not finding anything, we just went for it. Here's hoping this doesn't end up backfireing on us, like it seems all our other decisions do!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I'm Back!

I know. None of you even noticed I was gone. And that's ok. I don't blame you. I'm pretty boring most days.
My test run of Wordpress came to an end today when I realized there really is no way, that I could find, to cheat customization. And I decided that was more important then a flashy phone app. I've been so excited to create new blogwear using the Hopes and Dreams kit by Secret Stash. I absolutely love the look of this kit, and couldn't think of any better way to show it off then to decorate with it. But apparently Wordpress didn't agree with me. I could easily change my background, but I couldn't get any text colors changed, or dividers, and it was really annoying. So here I am. I'm still not completely sure I'm done with the background image, but its a start. I still have to add all my dividers tags, signature (toying around with using the bamboo to make a handwritten one!) and a header image. I won't lie, its probably going to take a while to get it looking exactly like I want, especially with the kids being as demanding as they are, and us getting ready to move.

That's right, we are moving. Again. We "rented" our house out for a bit, in hopes the tenants were going to buy it from us come June. Well, they have decided they don't want to buy it ( I can't really blame them, I regret buying it and want to move out. This is horribly inconvenient, but I won't deny that fact that I saw it coming. We are currently renting a townhouse (that is probably TWICE the size of our house) two hours away from where the house is, cause this is where the hubby works. I won't lie that I utterly despise this town, and that I am BEYOND excited to moving back to our "home" town (we both have lived there for over 10 years, though none of our families live close). I however, am not looking forward to 1) trying to fit in an 800 square foot home. I am thankful there is an unfinished basement and a yard, though. Having no yard is really tough when you have little kids! 2) We JUST traded in our car, a few months back, for an SUV. Due to the amount of negative equity (we've traded a vehicle every year for the past four years....doh..), there is no way to get rid of it now. Our carpayment is cringe worthy. The Rav4 gets pretty good gas mileage (at least, for the twice yearly trips we essentially got it for), it however, does not get good enough gas mileage to make the four hour (round trip) drive it would be making every four days. So this means, find ANOTHER car...that's cheap...and gets good gas mileage. Not very easy. 3) We had planned on taking our tax return and bonus this spring and paying off over half our debt. Now, we have to save that money to cover the cost of maintaining another car, making the payments and gas, and to provide a "cushion" in case things go terribly wrong. Needless to say, I'm pretty upset and overwhelmed by the amount of financial stress this is going to put on us, again, after we were making strides to get ahead. But I guess that's life, eh? I guess there is always NEXT year...and then there is 4) the hubby still has to work two hours away. Which means not only the before mentioned drive but also the fact that he will be gone for four days (and then home for four, rinse, repeat..except for cases of snow, regional visits, inventory, co-worker vacation coverage, you get the idea...where his rotation could be changed randomly). Last time we did this we only had one kid I had to take care of. Now there are two, and I'm a little angst about being a "single parent", even if it is just for a few days at a time. But again, he is on overnights, and we only see him briefly on work days maybe this will work out better. At least when he is home, I should be easier to deal with since I will have friends to see on a regular basis, instead of being isolated at home all the time.

I'm also a little apprehensive about having to learn to drive ( I mean, if we are going to have two cars, by gosh I'm going to be driving one of them!). And in fairness, it's about darned time. I just really feel like that "you can't teach an old dog  new tricks" cliche. I guess it really can't be that hard, right? Anyhoo....enough rambling for right now. I'll be back soon, I promise. I even have a couple of entries to bring over from the other blog, so stay tuned!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sleep struggles of epic proportions

Life has been one crazy rollercoaster of crazy these past few months. I thought Aeryn was challenging in the early months, but I think Mary-Anne is more so. Or perhaps it just feels worse, since I can't nap during the day with her to ensure she stays asleep for more then 15 minutes at a time, like I could when it was just me and Aeryn. If Aeryn and I were having a bad day, we would just nap the day away. I don't have that luxury with Mary-Anne....since Aeryn no longer takes daytime naps.  And I'm not joking about the 15 minute cat naps. That is it. And they probably don't even really total and hour and half of sleep a day. Then it's 1am or so until she falls asleep "for the night". I should be thankful that she generally lets us sleep until 10 or 11, but I'm sure this time would be halved if we didn't co-sleep. It wasn't my intention to co-sleep again. And I'll admit, for the first few months of breastfeeding, and recovering from my second c-section, it sure makes life easier. But I'm kinda ready to have my nights back. I desperately need some quality alone time. And I don't mean alone time with my husband. I need time from ANYONE wanting me to do ANYTHING for them. Period. Dot. Since Aeryn was born 2 and half years ago, I bet I've had three hours of "me time". I went out with friends for lunch, once. And since we moved to this dreadful town where none of our friends live a year ago, I have had zero time to myself. I am going out of my mind. All I'm really asking for is a couple of hours each night before I got to bed, that I don't have to hold a screaming, whining, overtired infant before I get fed up and just go to bed, only to lay in bed for an hour with a screaming, whining overtired infant for an hour before she finally passes out. And it's not like I don't start the "going to sleep" process at 7 or 8. And she will generally  nap for a little bit before 10pm (again, one of her 15 minute cat naps), but after that, all bets are off. Perhaps sleeplessness runs in my family. Aeryn hardly slept, my little brother barely slept as an infant according to my mom. He would sleep for a few hours, then be up for a few hours, all the way until he started kindergarten. I had one cousin that was colicky as a baby, and another that only went to sleep in his carseat, in the car. So I know I'm not the only person that has ever had to go through this, just in my family alone, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating. At least the other members of my family only did this with ONE child (two only children, and my brother is five years younger then I) not with two, barely two years apart. Heck, we have just barely gotten Aeryn to sleeping in her own bed, all night through. For over two years, she woke up every few hours for something, whether it be a drink, her pacifier  or someone to snuggle with. She finally started sleeping for longer stretches, four to five hours, but would wake up and wouldn't go back to sleep unless someone laid down with her. It's only been in the past few months that she has started sleeping in her bed all night on a regular basis, and when she does wake up, she goes back to sleep on her own. I guess I should be thankful for that, right?

You see, I have this terrible secret. I cannot stand the sound of my own children crying. It's like fingers on a chalkboard to me, and after about 15 minutes or so of uncontrollable crying, I come unglued. And heaven help us all, if we are in the car when one of these episodes hit (oh, more stories on that later!) A few nights ago I was having a particularly bad night, Mary-Anne wouldn't stop crying. I had rocked, fed, sang, bounced and medicated (tylenol and mylicon) till I was blue in the face. She had already woken Aeryn up and I had to put her in the big bed. We all cuddled up in the bed, and she would still not stop. She would quieten down long enough for Aeryn to fall back to sleep, only to start again. I cursed at the wall a few times (I'd be a liar if I said this was a one time occurence)...which oddly makes her stop crying and smile for a minute, only to start back up. I have NEVER seen a child FIGHT SLEEP so hard in my LIFE. So I did the only thing I knew to do at that time, which was to throw her in her crib, turn off the lights, shut the door, and go take a long hot shower. It had to be 10 or 15 minutes or so.

I would LOVE to tell you this worked a miracle, and that when I had calmed down and made it out of the shower, I was pleasantly surprised to walk into the bedroom only to find her peacefully sleeping.

No dice.

She was shrieking so loudly I immediately felt bad and was totally surprised child services and the cops were not already at my door. Thankfully, unlike her sister, who would continue to sob for hours, even her sleep, after crying so hard, Mary-Anne quietened once I picked her up, but it was still another hour or so before she went to sleep.

I used to get a small break on nights the hubby didn't have to work, because he was able to walk her about and get her to go to sleep (this never worked for me) and she would actually sleep for a few hours. Not so much anymore. Apparently we are officially in the No Sleep Zone because that didn't even work this week. Last night was the final straw for me, and after about 20 minutes of her uncontrollable crying upstairs in bed, I brought her downstairs, packed her into her carseat and told the hubby to take her for a drive till she screamed herself to sleep. It only took him about 15 minutes to return. I didn't even bother taking her out of her carseat. He carried it up stairs, and put it beside the bed. I left her in there, in nothing but a diaper and a blanket, and went to sleep. She slept in that thing, all night long. From 2am till 10am.

Aeryn also slept all night in her bed, so I was hoping today would move along smoothly. Ugh, no such luck again today. After being up for about 2 hours, she started the sleep fight again. We ate, took a bath, and it was finally rocking that got her to settle down and go to sleep. She is currently in her crib (a miracle in itself) on her side, snuggled between two stuffed animals. It's been about two hours, so I'm hoping this will make the rest of the day go easier...

I know "sleep issues" is one of the biggest stuggles parents have with kids. And it's even worse trying to get advice on what to do about it. I don't know how many people tell me to just leave my kids to cry themselves to sleep. And while this might work for some parents, with some kids, I can't help but think there are consequences to doing this. Not to mention, that even for all my frustration, I really can't let my child cry senselessly for the sake of getting them to sleep. I personally think this is the root cause of insecurities in children, fears of the dark, and other fears and neediness that could just be avoided. My in-laws got custody of their grandson when he was about a year old, and in order to get him to sleep on his own, they would put him in his crib and let him cry for awhile, then peek into his door to soothe him (NEVER entering his room) and get him to go back to sleep..only to repeat this all night long.

He's now 8. He still wakes up alot during the night, needing someone to sleep with him, or a drink, or nightmares or any other various reason. They have to leave his door open, the hall light on, and with a whole trail of stuffed animals guarding his door...just to get him to even get him to go to sleep. And my father in law still goes in there to lay in bed with him on some nights to get him to go to sleep. Yet, my mother in law swears that is what I needed to do with Aeryn. She needed to sleep in her own bed, from day one (her own words). Even though her method had already failed on one child. She medicated one of her own children to get them to sleep (apparently her pediatrician gave her something to give my sister in law, to put her to sleep at night) and let the other one scream themselves to sleep while never going in the room to soothe. 

I tried the "cry it out" method with Aeryn. And it had the absolute worst reverse effect.At about 8 months, for a week or so, I would take her in her room, tell her goodnight, blah blah blah......and she would scream and scream and scream,  I would check on her for a few, calm her down...and we would repeat the whole thing as soon as I was out of the room. IF she did manage to go to sleep, it was only for a few minutes, and she would not go back to sleep. After a few nights of that, she would start screaming as soon as I took her to her room, she would wrap herself around my arms and not let go if I tried to put her in her crib, she would cry so hard she would stop breathing. I WISH I was exaggerating. I don't see how ANYONE could do that to their child. So I quit. It just didn't work for us. And it doesn't look like it's going to work for Mary-Anne. I don't expect getting them to sleep to be easy, but apparently I am awful at it. And while we have some long nights ahead of us, I don't think I could live with myself I just left her to cry it out in the dark, all alone. It's my job to, at the VERY least, try and be there for her, even if that means she is still co-sleeping till she is two as well. 

I really just want getting her to sleep to be easier....I don't care where she sleeps!