Fighting the Inevitable

What do you get when you mix an ever-studying, stressed husband, a cranky baby that won't sleep, and a worn-out mama who can't perform basic daily responsibilities....?

I don't know, but whatever it is, it is not fun.

Needless to say, the past couple weeks have been CRAZY.  Right as Tony was putting his studying into high gear for his big test, Audrey decides that she's going to start waking up at 5am every day.  Usually Tony and I take turns when things like this happen, but I wanted Tony to get as much sleep as possible so I was on wake-up duty full time.  It was SO hard.  I didn't understand why Audrey was waking up so early then getting cranky an hour later.  I did all of my research online about how to get her to sleep more and decided I needed to move her bedtime earlier, and make sure she wasn't getting cold.

It worked!  For one night...

I was at a loss, frustrated, tired, and things seemed to be falling apart.  Every time I turned to Google for help, it all said the same thing:  sleep begets sleep, earlier bedtime = longer sleeping.  So why wasn't it working for Audrey?  One last time I typed in "help baby sleep longer."  Wait a minute....baby?....what if I try.....*gulp* TODDLER?  So, reluctantly I changed baby to toddler and found loads of new information.  What's this?  When a toddler isn't sleeping well you make their bedtime later because they have more energy?  Wait....maybe Audrey only needs one long nap instead of two short ones?  Okay, FINE.  Apparently the whole sleep begets sleep thing is a BABY thing, not a toddler thing.

So, two nights ago we kept Audrey up until she was showing signs of being sleepy (mostly because we were at a family party).  She ended up asleep at 8:45pm.  Yesterday morning she woke up at 4am because she was hungry (she didn't get her bedtime snack/milk because we were out) and went right back to sleep after a drink of warm milk.  She woke up again at 8:30.  Yeah, that's right...8:30!!!  I was certain it was a fluke.  Because she slept in, I knew her nap time would be pushed back, regardless of it was going to be one nap or two that day.  She fell asleep after lunch at 12:30 and slept until 4.  Then, last night, at 8:30pm, she asked to go to bed.  SHE ASKED.  After our bedtime routine she snuggled in her bed and went right to sleep.  NO complaining whatsoever!  Usually she cries for a good 10 minutes before falling asleep.

Do you know how long this chick slept last night?


So, I've given in.  I was really trying to avoid getting rid of two naps for as long as possible because I felt like I got so much done during those times.  Plus, it means she's doing that whole "growing up" thing, which I've always been kind of bitter about.  But I've found that the one longer nap is actually really nice.  We get our errands done earlier before it gets unbearably hot, and then I don't have to worry about them during the day.  I also have time to sit alone and do whatever I want AND clean/do whatever needs to be done.  It's been a lot better than I had anticipated.

So, my TODDLER is now a well-rested girl and so am I.  I'm so glad we finally figured things out because I was worried about all of us.  I had almost forgotten what it was like to get a full-night's rest!


"Me" Time

This last mother's day was wonderful.  I got to spend quality time with my family and Tony made dinner.  Because we were a little tight on cash at the time, I got an "IOU" of sorts.  Tony gave me a list of four-star hotels he thought were acceptable and told me that in the near future, he wanted to send me away for a night of me doing whatever I want.  A night without poopy diapers, meowing cats, messy rooms, waking up at random hours of the night to calm a scared baby, etc.  A night to go shopping without worrying about Audrey pulling things off the rack and waiting for the big fitting room to fit the stroller in.  A night where I didn't have to time my shopping around how long I thought Audrey could last. I was thrilled!  I think Tony could see the wear motherhood was putting on me and it was so sweet of him to give me the night off.

Let me set one thing straight before someone gets their undies in a twist here.  I L-O-V-E being a mom.  It is the most beautiful and rewarding thing I've ever done with my life, and nothing makes me happier than my cute little Audrey.  As all mothers I'm sure know, sometimes it wears on you.  Sometimes you have bad days.  Day after day after day of the same thing can be maddening, and there's nothing wrong with that.  I wouldn't trade being a mother for the world!  Everyone needs a day off every once in a while, right? :)

So, I ended up choosing a hotel in Salt Lake, allowing me to shop 'til I dropped at City Creek.  I had been wanting to go there for quite some time, but two of the three people in our home don't really love shopping and the 45 minute drive didn't seem worth making those two people go.  It was a perfect opportunity!

I got to my hotel last night, changed, and headed over to the trax train to go to the mall.  At first it was awkward for me.  I saw a lot of little kids there, and it made me miss Audrey.  I haven't been to a mall by myself in over a year and it was like I had forgotten how to shop.  It was weird not pushing a stroller.  I was getting frustrated and couldn't find anything I liked.  I was tempted to just go buy Audrey some clothes :)  Eventually I got myself a smoothie (it was HOT outside) and sat down with a mall directory and planned out which stores I wanted to visit.  City Creek is huge, and I think the overwhelming amount of stores was part of my frustration.  After I did that I started to loosen up and I was a shopping queen!  I found so many cute things and I had so much fun.  I did text Tony probably 20 times asking what they were doing.  You can't take the mom completely out of me, haha.  I also got some strange looks as I sang the Disney Junior theme song as I browsed.  I didn't realize I was singing it out loud until another girl said to me, "I get that song stuck in my head all the time, too!"  How embarrassing.

I picked up some dinner to-go from The Cheesecake Factory, went back to my room and ate in my PJs on my king-sized bed and watched TV.  It was great.  After a nice, long, uninterrupted shower, I went to bed.  I was a bit nervous that I wouldn't be able to sleep but I knew Audrey would be okay, and that helped me fall asleep quickly.  I had planned on sleeping in since I wouldn't have to be up with Audrey, but housekeeping knocked on my door at 8am.  Seriously, housekeeping.  Checkout is at noon. 

I'm finally home, but have yet to see Tony and Audrey.  They are on a daddy/daughter hike right now.  I love that they got to spend some quality time together, and it was sure nice to recharge my battery and remember what it was like to be Hollie instead of only "mama". (again, not that I wish to change that.  Just nice to remember that I'm a human still.)  I'm so excited to see both of them and give them both a big bear hug.  Tony said Audrey asked for me a lot last night.  It was our first night apart...well, ever.  She did great and she'll be fine, but I'm really excited to see her. :)


The Things My Daughter Plays With

I've had to go crazy with the baby-proofing lately.  At first I was (stupidly) hoping that Audrey would not be interested in opening kitchen cabinets and drawers and I wouldn't have to drill in the stoppers.  Well, as you probably guessed, that didn't work out.  The stoppers keep her from completely opening the drawers but she somehow still digs out random kitchen gadgets that she's become quite fond of.  When I worked as a nanny, I always thought it was so interesting the things the little girl I cared for would carry around or "collect" but now I'm getting my own taste of that quirky behavior.  Here are some of Audrey's new pals:

She can always be seen carrying one of these items around as she walks through the house.  She rotates through them pretty frequently so I can't say she has a favorite.  She is currently napping with her ice cream scoop right now.  Luckily the things I have in my lower kitchen drawers are all pretty safe things.  The baby-proofing is more for keeping my sanity than for safety :).  If she could open those drawers all the way we would constantly have the entire contents on the floor. 

It's so fun/funny to see Audrey's quirks starting to come out.  Another new "thing" she has is that she will not eat if there is an open container on the table.  For example, if I for some reason forget to screw on the lid to the peanut butter jar she points and says "mama" until I close it, then proceeds as usual with her lunch.  The other day we were helping our friends move and they graciously ordered pizza for all of us.  Audrey wouldn't eat hers until the boxes were shut.  I suppose being a tidy person is a quirk I can deal with.  Let's just hope she carries it over to cleaning her room when she's older.


Dieting Can Be Fun

Tony and I started the Game On diet with my parents four weeks ago.  It's kind of a competition that gets you eating pretty "clean" food.  We always get a day off, so that's nice, but we've really enjoyed this new lifestyle.  We feel better and we're being better examples to Audrey. (If you want more info on it, you can ask me, or go to the website.  There's a whole book on it as well.)

You can't have any refined or processed sugars on this diet, only naturally-found stuff, so when the sweets craving hits you're kind of limited to fruit or yogurt.  I was determined to find something we could have that was a delicious treat.

Insert these little angels:

Property of Live Learn Love Eat
Sugar-free, oil-free pumpkin bread muffins!!  I have to admit I was skeptical.  I wasn't sure that these would taste like anything but they are DE-LICIOUS.  Audrey couldn't get enough of them!  She was shoveling them in as fast as she could.  They're a healthy option, full of vitamins, and fulfill that sweets craving I've been having this weekend.  I'm excited to have these for breakfast in the morning!

(I did make some changes to this recipe.  I used whole wheat flour instead of spelt flour, because it's what I had on hand.  I also omitted the ginger because we're not big fans of that spice.)

It just goes to show you that you can eat yummy treats while on a "diet"!


Go! Go! Go!

...is what Audrey says as she zooms through our house, WALKING.  This past Monday I was recognizing that Audrey has been more than ready to walk for quite some time so we spent the entire day working on getting her courage up.  The trick that got her walking was having a parade.  I started marching around the living room, singing, telling her how much fun I was having and suddenly she wanted in!  She crawled over to me, used my shorts to pull herself up, and started marching around with me.  Just like that!  She squealed with delight at her new trick and loved marching around playing follow the leader.  I was so excited for her to meet this milestone and we timed it perfectly so that we were parading when Tony walked in the door.  When he came in, she WALKED right over to him.  His jaw hit the floor, he looked at me and said, "she's walking?!?" It was really fun to see his surprise.

Now that Audrey can walk it's all she wants to do!  Most kids still prefer crawling once they learn to walk because it's faster, but not this girl!  I tried to pick her up this morning to get her to her room to play faster and she looked at me and sternly said, "no! no! no! walk! walk!"  It's made things a little more interesting (and difficult!). For instance, at the mall yesterday Audrey insisted on holding on to the basket of the stroller and helping me push.  Our mall trip lasted about an hour longer than I had anticipated :).

I'm so proud of Audrey!  Here's proof that she can walk walk walk!


Big Changes!

This weekend Tony signed up for classes at UVU.  They are prerequisite classes that he needs to take before applying to Utah State for a Computer Science Master's program.  I am really excited for Tony to go back to school because he seems excited about it and it will open up nearly endless possibilities for his career.  I was helping him make his schedule for the fall for these three classes at UVU, and realized that we're not going to see Tony much anymore!  It's going to be a big change in our lives, and a couple days a week Audrey probably will only see her dad in the mornings (she'll be in bed when he gets home).  It's going to be totally worth the sacrifice, though, and we'll learn to work out a schedule to spend as much time together as a family as possible.

Tony will take longer than a typical student getting a master's because he will continue to work full-time at his job.  He'll probably take more like 3 to 3 1/2 years instead of the normal 2 to 2 1/2.  I'm glad he is taking his time so that he won't get too overwhelmed, and also because he realizes he has a family to spend time with. He's also decided to do the program that does require a thesis.  With his English background he was interested in it, and I think it will be good for him to defend a thesis.  He'll rock it. 

He takes the GRE in a few short weeks and has been studying every weekend.  I have all of the confidence in the world that he'll do great.  I'm so proud of him for taking this big step!  I'm also a little jealous that he'll be back in the school scene again.  I won't be jealous of the tests, though! :)  I loved going to classes in college and love learning.  Maybe he can teach me some advanced, master's level PHP?

Way to go, Tony!  You're our hero!