Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dear Sleep-Deprived Mama, You are not alone.

It's probably the number one question friends, family, and total strangers in Target will ask you when you have a baby.

"Is he sleeping through the night yet?"

And if your answer is no, it's a dreaded question.  There are many things that can make you feel like a failure as a mom...and if you don't have a "good sleeper" it can be emotionally tough. Not to mention the toll that a lack of sleep has on your brain and body.

I knew realistically that when I had a newborn, my usual 8-10 hours of sleep would be interrupted.  I would be waking up for feedings for several weeks.  I  That's going to be a tough 10-12 weeks.  Haha.  Silly me.  That was cute.

I read BabyWise when I was pregnant.  Piece of cake, right?  I assumed that since I read the book, my child would follow what the book said would happen if I followed steps A, B, C.  When what I read didn't match up to real life, I went on to read other books. I realized that book after book contradicted itself.  I wanted someone to tell me the right way to fix my problems.  I talked to other moms.  I talked to my pediatrician.  No one had THE answer.

It's normal to wake up every 3 hours until age 1.
He's waking up every 3 hours?!
My daughter slept through the night at 6 weeks.
My daughter woke up twice a night until she was 3.
Let him cry it out.
Crying it out can damage his emotional psyche.
He's hungry.
He's definitely not hungry.
He's just spoiled.
He needs mother's comfort.
You should co-sleep.
Co-sleeping is child abuse.
He's probably too cold.
He's probably too hot.
He's teething.
Give him Advil.
Advil is poison.
He's not sleeping because you don't give him rice cereal.
Rice cereal causes leaky gut syndrome.
He needs crib bumpers.
Crib bumpers are so dangerous.
He needs a night light.
He needs complete darkness.
He needs to be swaddled.
Swaddling causes hip dysplasia.

After buying a crib vibrator (yes...they make those), organic sheets, melatonin, essential oils, a magic sleep suit, Zipadee Do Da Blanket, and every white noise machine and app on the market...I accepted the fact that Leo wasn't going to sleep through the night and neither was I.  6 months had passed and I needed to cope and quit being frustrated and angry.  Instead of groaning, punching my pillow, and waving fists in the air...I accepted it.  He woke up, I nursed him, he went back in his crib happy and sleepy and I would get another 3-4 hours until he woke up again.  I'll continue this and then in time, one night, he'll just sleep through the night when he's ready. Right??

Then Leo turned one.  Surely now.  He's 12 months.  C'mon.  It's going to happen.  This is getting freaking embarrassing.  I'm going to be like that mom on the cover of Time Magazine who is nursing her 7 year old.

15 months.  It was time.  TIME TO SLEEP!  I mean...the kid eats like a teenage football player at this point.  He eats 3 solid meals a day, plus breast milk 3 times a day.  He can eat an entire avocado in one sitting.  He definitely is not starving.  His growth chart is on track.  He's completely happy and healthy.  I knew I only had one thing left to try.  Cry.  It.  Out.  I knew it would be excruciating.  Leo is strong-willed.  He doesn't give in easily.

I committed to not nursing at night no matter how hard it was.  It took 3 nights of torture.  He woke up many times crying.  Sometimes crying for 1-2 hours with varying levels of volume and intensity.  It took 3 nights of praying, crying on both our parts, and very little sleep.  Then it happened.  The 4th crying.  We made it.  Just when I wanted to give in, I realized it was working.

We've now gone 2 weeks of ups and downs.  I haven't slept well at all and I've had massive anxiety, but I didn't give in and nurse him after bedtime once I decided to give it up.  Last night, for the first time in nearly 16 months, I slept for 8 solid hours without either of us waking up.  It's the most amazing feeling on Earth!

To any mamas reading this...this is NOT an plea to let your babies cry for hours at night.  It's just my story.  And to let you know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  There are many other mamas up at all hours of the night praying, cursing, crying, bouncing babies, nursing babies, hiding in the pantry eating cookie dough, or laying there in their beds holding their breath in hopes that little noise they heard will go away and won't turn in to wailing crying.  You are not alone.  Keep the faith and press on with what your gut tells you is best for your baby.  XO

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Love is Alive

Exciting things are happening with Billy's non-profit, Steps of Faith Foundation.  Things with celebrities.  And I probably find celebrities way more exciting than the average person.  ha.  What? Yes.  I admit it.  But I know how to play it cool, don't worry.

SOF had their first Nashville fundraiser at the restaurant/private club The Standard. It's an amazing, huge, old mansion that has has dining rooms, meeting rooms, private lounges, bars...and literally...a hidden wardrobe to Narnia.  I'm not kidding.  We got VIP access for the night.

Wynonna Judd (!!!) was so kind to lend her golden pipes to this event.  She has a special connection to our cause because her husband, Cactus Moser, lost his leg in a motorcycle accident.  Cactus is on the SOF board of directors and is an amazing testimony of where prayer and positivity will take you after tragedy.  They are an awesome couple.  And those SONGS!  Her new ones are fabulous and the old ones really stand the test of time.  It was such an honor to see her perform in such an intimate setting.  I was a total nerd when I met her and got sweaty when I told her I was a big fan.  She was incredibly sweet to me anyway. Warm fuzzies all over.  We have been singing in our house ever since.

Love is alive          
and at our breakfast table
every day of the week
Love is alive 
and it grows every day and night
even in our sleep...

Invite by Simply Smitten Designs on Etsy.  

Makena Pendant Necklace by Stella & Dot.  Shop with me here!  

We were also ECSTATIC to see our pals Jason and Olivia on NBC's Hollywood Game Night.  Jason was able to play in the final round of the episode and chose Steps of Faith as his cause. What?! It was so exciting to hear the name of the foundation and what they do on such a big platform like this.  Some very kind people across the country heard about the foundation on the show, found the website and sent donations.  Very cool stuff.  Click here to see a video of Jason behind the scenes mentioning SOF.  See the full episode here!

Photos courtesy of Hollywood Game Night on Facebook

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Leo Turns One

When you become parent, every other parent tells you that time flies when you have a baby.  And it gets really, really annoying. But they're right.  And then you realize…you are now that parent that says it to your pregnant friends.  ha!  It IS hard to believe that it's been a year since we had our tiny, fragile Leo and now he's such a big, strong, smiling, funny, smart little boy.  He loves to play with toys that make noise and music, eat leaves and tiny pieces of paper off the floor, rock back and forth to Stevie Wonder, make beats on his high chair tray, take dirty bottles out of the recycling bin, empty the office trash can, rip up important documents, unplug power cords, change the channel to CSpan on the TV, chew on straws, make funny noises, play Peek-a-boo, push buttons on Daddy's laptop, say Da Da when he's happy, and Ma Ma when he needs something. 

People that know me…know I LOVE a good theme.  January themes are hard!  Snowmen?  But I found inspiration for this Airplane Themed Birthday Party on Pinterest and loved it.  Then I started pinning away and getting grandiose ideas of remodeling our house.  It's a lot of pressure to try to be Pinterest Perfect.  I had many projects in mind that I was sure I would have time to do (i.e. gluten-free Cloud Sugar Cookies) that either completely bombed or I ran out of time for.  It's just not realistic and I my poor tortured husband convinced me at midnight (after folding 40 paper airplanes) that it was time for bed.  OK.  You win, Stupid Pinterest.

Once I let go of the fact I couldn't pull off a donut tower with Leo's face taped onto toothpicks…I relaxed and had fun.  I loved having our first "kid party"!  We had 4 couples and 8 kiddos come over to play and celebrate with us.  It is so wonderful to have friends in Nashville that feel like family.  Thank you Sullivants, Knowles, Mitchells, and Chaffers for being in our lives!

The thing about Leo's birthday that I toiled over the most was his cake.  I know it's tradition to let kids have their first taste of sugar on their birthday…but I just couldn't do it.  He's never had sugar (other than fruit) or any grains. He also has an egg allergy.  I did a lot of researching on gluten-free, vegan, paleo, sugar-free blogs and still couldn't find a cake that didn't have something in it I wanted to avoid.  So I concocted my own.  It's not pretty…and it's not sweet…but it looked like a cake and did the trick.  ha!  Leo loves bananas and will pretty much eat anything that you put in front of him at this stage in his he enjoyed it.  And mama was happy.  (See recipe and other links below)

Leo's Banana Smash Cake Recipe
grain, gluten, egg, dairy, sugar, and nut free

Preheat oven to 375
Grease cake pan with coconut oil

1/2 cup organic coconut flour 
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup organic coconut oil 
1 banana
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 Tb. potato starch 
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Melt coconut oil.  Then put coconut oil, banana, applesauce, lemon juice, and vanilla in blender to puree'.  Add to dry ingredients and mix on low speed until smooth.  Bake in small round cake pan (I did 2 thin layers but you could also do one)  for 20-25 minutes until firm on top.  Texture will be more like a muffin, not a fluffy cake.

11 ounces of Culinary Coconut Milk (aka Coconut Cream)
1 Banana
1 tsp vanilla
1 drizzle of local honey (optional)

Blend until smooth in blender and put in refrigerator for at least 1 hour until thick.  Ice cake within 1-2 hours of serving.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy!  We love you to pieces!

Theme Inspiration:  The Vintage Pearl
Paper Airplane Wall:  Printer Paper & Duct Tape
Paper Airplane Onesie:  Dirty Hippie Studios on Etsy
Party Invitation:  Room 1117 on Etsy
Round Helium Balloon:  Shindigs & Celebrations
Instagram Prints:  Printicular iPhone App (prints to Walgreens)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Summer Breeze...Makes Me Feel Fine

"Yacht Rock" is a mythical genre of music that includes soft rock hits from the late 70's & early 80's.  For people of my includes songs you know but didn't really know that you knew.  Ya know?  They were the songs that your parents listened to on the radio when you were a kid.  Think Michael McDonald, Linda Rondstadt, Kenny Loggins, Christopher Cross, Hall & Oats.  Songs that make you want to sip a Pina Colada on a large boat, perhaps.  But...also make you wanna sway, and groove.  There's some funk behind the smoothness.  haha...How's that for a description?

Billy and I actually have a Yacht Rock cover band called Summer Breeze that we started about 5 years ago.  Don't laugh!  Cover bands can be cool, people.  :)  The band that includes some of our closest friends who also happen to be exceptionally talented musicians.  We all originally lived in the KC area but now we are spread out to Nashville, KC, and Texas.  Now we play once or twice a year plus private events.  It has evolved into such a fun thing.  We actually have fans!  Fans who love yacht rock jams, wearing captains hats, and coming out to sing and dance their hearts out to songs like Rosanna and Rich Girl.

We just had our best show yet.  We had an after-Christmas show on December 28th and it was awesome to have so many friends, family and fans come out.  Our audience has outgrown our beloved Record Bar in KC, MO so we have relocated to the amazing Kanza Hall in the suburbs.  Our great friend Jason (who you might recognize from film & TV) happens to be a big yacht rock fan as well.  He loves to sit in with us for a song or two (and throw in a little Nate Dogg rap) when he's in town for our shows which makes it an extra special treat for us and the audience.

Here are some great photos by p.binder photography.