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Why I Decided Against CIO (Cry it Out)

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Cry it Out is one of those topics you will come across, and will end up making a decision on, when you become a parent. When I was pregnant I was the kind of mom-to-be that researched everything. Twice. I quickly realized that you can find anything to support the decisions you make as a mother. If you are pro scheduling there will be tons of articles. If you are against CIO, again plenty of articles to support that frame of mind. I learned I had to make the decisions I felt comfortable with and not base them on what others were doing. What works for me, may not work for others, and vice versa. As I read these articles I could feel myself being pulled towards not allowing my daughter to cry herself to sleep. I have always been a sensitive and “feeling” based person. The second anyone starts to cry (in real life or on the television) I tear up right alongside them. I will over think things but always end up going with my heart. So when it came down to it, I knew a schedule, and in particular Cry it Out (CIO), wouldn’t work for me. The stress of hearing my baby crying herself to sleep would be a much worse fate than losing some sleep myself.

I truly believe my miscarriage started my journey as a mother. It was from then on I vowed to cherish every moment of my sweet children’s lives. I truly believe most, if not all mothers have this goal, and for me it just meant letting my baby lead our schedule. As a stay at home mom, I have the opportunity of doing this and as someone who has dealt with insomnia since the age of 13 I had a lot of practice with sleepless nights!

Early on I read an article on Nursable called, “The WIO (Wait it out) Method”. It had my name written all over it. I knew it was exactly how I would handle the sleep situation with our daughter. Basically I would wait out her rough sleeping times and go to her however many times she cried throughout the night. I have both nursed and rocked her to sleep.  It’s definitely not for everyone. It can be exhausting, and draining, but it has also been very rewarding for me. I am sure CIO moms would say the exact same thing about their technique! Blair was an amazing newborn and at just 6 weeks old started sleeping 7-8 hour stretches at night followed by a shorter 2-3 hour stretch. I thought we had it made at night! During the day she was the queen of power naps. She never napped for longer than 30 minutes but it was something I could deal with. Then when she turned 12 weeks old chaos ensued. She started waking up every one and a half to two hours throughout the night.  I honestly thought I was going to lose my mind. My confidence in myself as a mother and the decisions I had made wavered. I re-read the WIO article and decided then and there to expect my daughter to wake up and to attempt to cherish those moments. A few nights later I was rocking Blair back to sleep around four am and I started to sing one of my favorite hymns. She instantly looked up at me and gave me the sweetest smile. She then snuggled into me and fell asleep. This is such a small moment, but for a baby who normally has no time for cuddling, I drank it all in. Babies will not wake up all night forever and I knew one day I would miss our late night cuddle sessions.

So far this method has paid off in the nap department. My little power napper has now consistently taken all of her short naps and put them into three 1-2 hour naps. She has, in a sense, put herself on a schedule. Even better is the fact that I never had to wean her from the pre nap rocking. She did it on her own. One day I was rocking her and she was getting very fussy so I set her down in her crib. She flipped over on her stomach, talked to herself for a little bit and went to sleep! I was amazed. The time I have on my hands now is incredible! I can put makeup on, clean our house, and cook dinner all while she is napping! There are plenty of times I choose to nap instead, because let’s face it motherhood is exhausting, but I theoretically could do all of those things!

One thing I think is genuinely important is having a supportive husband whether you decide against CIO or you decide you are all for it! There are many nights when I cannot go rock her because if I do she automatically thinks she needs to eat. Regardless of when I last fed her. This has lead to some unfortunate overeating and throwing up episodes. So my husband will go in and put her back to sleep. Luckily for him this only happens in the early part of the evening. She generally only wakes twice to eat now. The fact that he is not only on-board with this decision but also agrees with me makes it so much easier in my times of weakness. He is there to support me when I am tired and remind me of why I have chosen this parenting route. IMG_20140804_163209 I will suggest embracing the beauty in reevaluation. Blair is only six months old. Right now this works for me. At 12 months old if she still isn’t sleeping through the night I may reevaluate my non scheduled lifestyle. (I personally can’t see me deciding to CIO but you never know!) Parenthood is about being flexible and being willing to change when something isn’t working for you and your family!

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Temples

This month our testimony Tuesday topic is on Temples! Here is more information on LDS Temples.

As I was thinking of this subject, the fact that I get to be with my husband and daughter for eternity naturally entered my mind a lot. As I was thinking about this I started to wonder how early in my life do I have memories of the temple? I don’t have many but I can clearly recall two instances as a young child that I really thought about the House of our Lord.

The first was when I was about 6 or 7 my dad had left me in the car to go in somewhere. I was siting in there and started singing the primary song, “I love to see the temple, I’m going there some day. To feel the Holy Spirit, to listen and to Pray…” I remember stopping at, “To feel the Holy Spirit” and imagined myself going up to the temple and touching it’s walls. I imagined the wall and my hand glowing as they met. Obviously this isn’t what happens but in my young little mind going to the temple and physically feeling the spirit would be a glowing and huge event.

Fast forward to April 30, 2011 to when I was able to do my own temple work. My hands may not have physically glowed but my testimony did. My eyes were opened to the love and beauty of God’s plan. I had that burning desire to never stray from His loving embrace.

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The other memory I have is from when I was 8 years old. I was looking through a calendar of Temples that my grandma had when I fell upon a picture of the Manti, Utah temple. I instantly fell in love. I ran through the house until I found my grandma and showed her the most beautiful building in the world! She gathered me up on her lap and told that one day I could get married in that building. That was my new goal. May 6, 2011 that goal was accomplished when I married my best friend there.

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These experiences have showed me how important it is to foster a love for temples in young children. To teach them how beautiful and sacred the work is that we do within their walls.

I testify that temple work is one of the greatest things we can do on this earth. It is the earthly house of God. We go there to do work for those who have gone before us, to receive guidance in our lives, and to receive peace and rest from the hustle and bustle of the world.

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Mothers: A Plead for Empathy

I have been writing this post in my head long before Blair was born. It usually turns into a major rant inside my head (or out loud when I am discussing this topic with the husband) but I am going to rein myself in and remain calm.

Becoming a mother is the most beautiful, terrifying, exhausting and humbling experience I have ever gone through. While a lot of moms out there did have encouraging things to say to me, a very large amount also harped on the negative, dismissed concerns and overall made parenthood sound like the worst thing that could possibly happen to you. The thing is most of the time I am sure this is not how they were trying to come off. Unfortunately many people feel the need to “pop the bubble” you’re living in.

My pregnancy was not easy. The last ten weeks the right side of my body had completely given up. I had to use the walls in our apartment (Thank goodness we live in such a small place!) just to get to the bathroom or the couch. I once got stuck on the ground for over two hours waiting for Garren to get home because I could not put ANY weight on my leg. I couldn’t crawl, or stand up. It was actually pretty scary. Trying to sleep was a disaster because just turning over in bed would send searing pain down my leg and through my pelvic region. Plus my restless leg syndrome was at an all time high. I would spend 3-5 hours at night sitting on my yoga ball crying and trying to relieve the pain. I will admit I complained a little bit (ok a lot) about the lack of sleep I was getting and instantly got laughed at with such comments like, “You think you can’t sleep now, just wait until the baby comes! Then you will really never sleep again”, or “Enjoy the sleep you are getting now, there will be even less when baby comes”.

Here’s the thing, most women are well aware of the fact that babies are a 24/7 job. We don’t necessarily need you to tell us that. Also it confuses me how all women suddenly forget the pain and general uncomfortable state of pregnancy once they had their baby. I am six months (tomorrow!) postpartum and still have nightmares of those sleepless and painful nights. In fact I slept about 100 times better when my daughter was a newborn than I did pregnant. Cuddling a sweet baby whom you love more than life is always preferred over searing pain.

So next time one of you friends or relatives complains of sleepless pregnant nights tell them how sorry you are or better yet, tell them it will be worth it! Tell them all the pain will be worth that precious baby, instead of diminishing their pain and telling them they know nothing of sleepless nights.

(Ok maybe this is already turning into a rant. Oops)

The other thing that tended to bug the husband and I was whenever we would tell people what we had done the weekend before they would automatically respond with “Go out now while you can! No more date nights when baby comes”. I personally just don’t understand why we constantly tell people all of the things you wont be able to do once you become a parent. What about all the things you can do? Having a child brings such simple joy to your life. Garren and I can sit and watch Blair take in the world around her for hours at a time and never get bored of it. We have not let having a baby keep us from doing fun things. In fact we  love bringing her with us! It just adds more love to our memories. Tell mommies to be the things you love about being a parent! Yes all moms will have worries so answer their questions honestly, but don’t forget to tell them for every sleepless night comes countless smiles, for every dirty diaper comes the wonder of seeing your child sit up by him/herself for the first time!

Finally with parenting comes a lot of decisions to be made. Where will baby sleep, bottle or breast, cry it out or tear free ect. What works for you may not work for other families and that’s ok! Share your advice when asked, and rejoice with moms when they find something that works for them! A mom choosing to breastfeed is not in any way threatening your decision to bottle feed and just because a mom did the cry it out method of sleep training does not mean you are less of a mom because you didn’t.

I plead with all moms to support and love each other. Bring back love and optimism to motherhood and embrace diversity!

Out to lunch with family and my girl :)

Out to lunch with family and my girl :)

 

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Our Love Story: Part 2: High School Best Friends

If you missed Part 1 you can read it here.

The beginning of Junior year I had two different friends with crushes on this guy named Garren (Including my best friend). I had never met him before but it turned out I had Math 1010 and Chemistry 1010 with him. We started hanging out with him and his best friend Trevor around this time. We had a lot of common classes so we all ended up having “study”sessions together. I don’t recall a lot of studying going on and I usually ended up studying alone once the session was over, but we always had a good time.

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We look like babies. This was senior year. I can’t believe it’s been 7.5 years!

Over time Garren developed a crush on Kendra and Garren and I developed a friendship. I had my first heart break that year from another guy in our class and both Garren and Trevor were there to tell me it was his loss. It was from then on that our groups of friends became one group. They were who we hung out with on weekends. I started to crush on Trevor so it all worked out.

The summer between junior and senior year was so fun. I hung out with the guys a lot because my girlfriends were out of town frequently. I loved getting to know Garren. He was the kind of guy I could just sit and talk to for hours. Around this time my dad said something about me dating Garren and marrying him some day. I rolled my eyes and told him, “Garren is like my brother. I could never date him.” (Oh if ever I could take back a sentence.) My friend ended up breaking his heart that summer. We were such good friends that I was afraid this would come between us so I did the only logical thing! I set him up with one of my other really good friends.

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So this picture is an inside joke, but Garren and I went to a dance together and in the group photo he has his arm around me but isn’t touching me at all. I will have to scan it in. THis is me making fun of him.

Let it be known that Garren dated AND kissed all three of my best friends (two were even my bridesmaids later on). While I did date his best friend off and on we never kissed.

My heart was broken by yet another guy senior year and Garren was so patient letting me cry to him and telling me one day I would be with someone who would know just how special I was. (Yes he honestly said things like this to me)

 

155865_1521579277296_5988577_nThe night before I went up to BYU we sat on his driveway talking about the way things would change but how our friendship wouldn’t suffer the distance. We visited each other a few times that first year of college, and I, of course, traveled down to Cedar to go to his farewell before he left on his mission. I was seriously dating someone at the time, someone I thought I would marry. He would often ask questions about Garren and I always thought his jealousy was so funny and misplaced! I love how little I knew about my future.

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The majority of our time spent together was us laughing. Still is :)

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I just love this picture because I have loved these kids for so long! Now they are my nieces and nephew!

 

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Baby’s First Email

When I was pregnant I was constantly on pinterest looking at the cute little crafts, reading ways to promote natural labor and decrease pain, and of course, reading as many parenting articles as I could get my hands on. I came across an idea to set up an email address for your baby when they are born. Throughout their life, on special occasions or memorable moments you write them a little email, attach a few pictures, and then at the age of 18 (or whatever age you see fit) you give them the email address and password.

The moment I read this I knew I would be doing it for each of my children. What a special (and relatively easy!) gift to give your child! I started out with telling Blair how excited we were when we found out we were pregnant. I have sent subsequent emails about her birth, her first holiday, her blessing and so forth. I imagine as the years go on there will be less emails sent each year, but I love how quick and easy it is. I imagine her saying something super funny or cute in the future and just  sending a little email off to her about the experience. I would have loved reading such things about myself! I also think I am going to have family write her an email on her first birthday, her eighth birthday (when she is baptized) her 12th, and then her 18th before I give her the password.

I am careful to limit myself because I want it to be special. Not something she opens up and is overwhelmed to find 150 lengthy emails. They are usually short, sweet and to the point. I always attach pictures as well because I am sure one day she will want copies of some of them.

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I love finding ways to connect with my daughter. What are your favorite traditions you have started since becoming a parent?

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First Food

So we have already established that Blair hates the binky and the bottle. I was planning on waiting til 6 months to start Blair on solids but decided to give it a go (in hopes of her sleeping longer than 2-3 hour stretches at night) at 5.5 months. She is not a fan! We have tried oatmeal and bananas so far. With oatmeal she gagged every single time we tried to put it in her mouth and would eventually throw up. With the bananas she would gag the first few bites, and then just look like we were giving her the world’s grossest food and turn her head any which way to get away from it. We are now to the point where she will not let us put it in her mouth. It doesn’t matter how hungry she is. She will wait to nurse. Stubborn little soul!

I guess she just isn’t ready yet! We will keep trying but we wont push it. We want to do things when she is ready! Clearly we are meant to learn a little lesson on patience.

Here is a video of her first feeding for your enjoyment!

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2nd Take

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Our Love Story: Part 1: Two Big Moves

I have been reading a lot of blogs lately. (Late night nursing sessions leave a lot of time to read!) Many blogs will have the authors love story within their posts. I went back to my blog and read the “our story” page. Since it is so condensed, I thought I’d better do a few posts to do our story justice. So welcome to part one ;)

In 2003 Garren’s Dad was offered a job in Cedar City, Utah. I don’t know the exact details of the move but Garren’s mom did tell me that he is the reason they ultimately decided to move. At first they didn’t want to move him when he was just about to start high school. He had a very good thing going with his wrestling team and they weren’t sure he wanted to move. That all changed when they asked him and he said YES, they should in fact move. He didn’t have any LDS friends and he could tell high school would be miserable without good friends.

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Garren transitioned smoothly

Meanwhile, a slightly less mature me was throwing the temper tantrum of my life when my parents declared we were moving AGAIN. This would be the third cross country move to a place filled with mormons. Now don’t get me wrong. I WAS a mormon at the time. However we were not active at the time (and there were very few times in my life that we actively went to church) and none of my friends were LDS. I was popular and loved all of my friends. I was just about to start high school (I was in 9th grade at the time but in PA 9th grade was in the JR high) and the thought of moving had me convinced I would die. Plus they were moving me to, what I called, a truck stop in Utah.

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I had a harder time

Garren and I moved to the same little city in Utah with in 8 months of each other and started school at the same high school. We wouldn’t officially meet for another year and a half but it’s the start of our story.

I have never believed in coincidences, but if I did, this would be my favorite one.

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