Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why I Share My Bed With My Kids

As the title says, I'm a bed sharing mama. If this bothers you, that's okay. Co-Sleeping isn't for everyone.

My kids are hellions. There are days when Avalyn drives me absolutely batty. I love that girl to the moon and back, but she knows just how to get on Mommy's nerves. She's like her big brother in that way. I will tell her not to touch something and she will stare at me as she slowly touches whatever it is again. Just like Keith, and Keith drove me crazy. So, after a long (long, long, long, long) day we need to recharge. Well, I need to recharge, Avalyn could probably keep going and keep testing long into the night. This probably makes people think, "Okay, so she spends all day with her kids AND she wants to share a bed with them? Is she crazy?" I will admit that I can be goofy at times, and my husband sure thinks I'm nuts, but sharing my bed with my kids actually relaxes me (most days).

It's a really nice feeling to get into bed with Avalyn climbing up behind me with her sippy cup and hear her say, "I want mommy bed! Mommy lay down, too. I want snuggles, Mommy!" Avalyn is not a good sleeper. She was better when she was still breastfeeding - thanks to milk coma's - but she's really bad at it now. If this was a gradable subject she would have a "D-". Not an "F" because she does sleep, but it is a huge struggle. It's even harder if I'm trying to put her to bed in her own room. She doesn't do well by herself. Enter bed sharing. Life became easier when I gave into bed sharing. I was dead set against it in the beginning. I had heard horror stories of babies being suffocated by their parents, parents not being able to transition the kids into big kid beds, parents no longer having a place to be intimate... all of the cons. So, I was terrified.

We started this when we were still living in our teeny tiny house. All four of us in 900 square foot box. It was a pretty tight fit in the "master bedroom" as it was. It was an eleven by ten room. We had a six foot long dresser, a queen bed, a two foot long dresser, and a crib all packed into the place. My biggest concern was our bed would be unsafe. So, I looked up how to co-sleep safely. Dr. McKenna's suggestions were these:

"Infants should sleep on firm surfaces, clean surfaces, in the absence of smoke, under light (but comfortable) blanketing, and their heads should never be covered. The bed should not have any stuffed animals or pillows around the infant and never should an infant be placed to sleep on top of a pillow. Sheepskins or other fluffy material and especially beanbag mattresses should never be used. Water beds can be dangerous, too, and the mattresses should always tightly intersect the bedframe. Infants should never sleep on couches or sofas -- with or without adults -- where they can slip down (face first) into the crevice or get wedged against the back of a couch."

This is what my bed looked like.
I was off to a good start. The bed was clean and firm, we don't smoke, Avalyn was always dressed in footy pajama's (she was a no blanket kind of girl, still is), no stuffed animals (well, not with her anyway... just above her) or pillows, and no crevices she could get wedged into or against. We attached her crib to our bed, since we had a queen sized bed at the time and there wasn't really room for her, and put foam in between the crib mattress and railing. This made sure there were no creases for Avalyn to fall into. I also threw a flannel blanket down that went over the entire crib mattress and half of our mattress. This gave her her own space but she was close enough to mommy to feel secure. Even after she stopped nursing bed-sharing made it easy for her to fall asleep securely. 

When I found out I was pregnant with Nicolas, I told Matt it was time to spring for a king sized mattress. We went with a mattress with a memory foam topper. Avalyn was instantly in love with it. I was fine with that. I assumed she would be out of the crib and could sleep in between Matt and me. This did not happen. When Nicolas showed up I was originally going to put him right in the crib (which is still next to our bed in side car position like the photo above), but Avalyn refused to give it up. In fact, Avalyn had been sleeping wonderfully on a cot in our room for a month by the time Nicolas arrived. But once she saw a baby in her bed, the cot was a thing of the past and the crib was hers again.

So, I ended up putting Nicolas in a co-sleeper in between Matt and me. I have a love/hate relationship with the co-sleeper. I love it because he's nice and protected, but I hate it because I have to move it whenever I feed him.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Crafty Little Me!

I'm actually making sales in my Etsy Shop! I'm so excited! And I love what I'm doing. How amazing is that? I love what I do AND I get to stay at home with my babies. Talk about having a full heart. Now if only I had a full pocket book to go with it. Money is still tight and I know what little I make isn't going to make a big difference, but I feel like I'm at least contributing now. Matt is on call for three weeks in a row, trying to bring in more money to keep us afloat, but it's really hard on him.

Here's what I'm selling, in case anyone is wondering.

Anyone else enjoying craft type activities? I sure am!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Little Comparison... Or Two.

I took a few photos this week, and I had to share them.

Avalyn at 8 weeks and Nicolas at 7 weeks. Two years apart, same(ish) pose. And people agree, my mom looks younger in the picture with Nicolas. #BenjaminButton 

Avalyn 11 Weeks 

Nicolas 7 Weeks

Clearly, I will have to take the last picture again at 11 weeks and have the blanket facing the right direction... Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this with her children. I won't stop. I know it. At least I promise not to put Nic in a tutu. Unless he asks. ;)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Ice Cream for Breakfast!

Avalyn has a shirt that says: Ice Cream for Breakfast, and today she used the potty. How are these two things related? Simple! I rewarded her for using the potty with breakfast ice cream.

Now, before you tell me I'm a horrible, irresponsible parent I'll let you in on a secret... it wasn't real ice cream. That's right, I totally tricked my kid and I didn't have to clean up poop. Win! So, what did I give her? You ask. I gave her frozen banana's.

What? How did she miss that it wasn't ice cream? I'm so glad you asked, invisible internet person. It was so simple! I took three over ripe banana's, pealed them, sliced them up, and put them in the freezer overnight. This morning I put together my trusty ninja and put the banana's in it.

Oh, yeah, there's peanut butter there. Just wait.

Mmm... blended into a softy serve(ish) goodness.

Two teaspoons of peanut butter.

Oh yeah, she's so excited she's doing her French Stewart impression. Spot on, Avalyn, spot on.

I added some chocolate, too. Why not?

Avalyn's breakfast ice cream is served!

She wanted me to put the ice cream in each cup. That didn't work out for her.

She really did like it, but this "it's cold" face was priceless.

Mmm... delicious. She ate the whole bowl. This from the girl who doesn't eat fruits and veggies without a fight. Putting this in the win column!

And there are leftovers for tomorrow!
Yes, Matt called while I was taking the picture. Thanks speakerphone!

Want to know what else ripe banana's and peanut butter is good for?

Have any of you tricked your kids into eating fruits and veggies? What tricks do you use? Am I the only one who is super glad to have found the peanut butter cookie recipe that used to be on the giant 64 ounce tins of peanut butter (yey Google!)? Do you put butter on your banana bread? I know I do. The only thing that goes on my banana bread is butter. Nothing else touches it. Mmm... now I need to go get another piece. That reminds me, I need to buy butter...

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Math is Killing Me!

I'm back! I sure have missed blogging almost daily. It's not very easy to find time to blog when there's three kids in the house. Not sure how the pro's do it! But here I am, back and ready to blog!

Let me start by saying Nicolas has been on a pretty good schedule lately!

9:00AM - wake up/feeding
9:30AM - back to sleep
10:30AM - wake up/feeding
11:30AM - sleep
2:30PM -wake up/feeding
3:30-4:30PM - sleep
8:30-9:30PM - wake up/feeding
9:30PM-12:30AM - awake time with five-ten minute cat naps eating in between
12:30AM-4:30AM - sleep
4:30-4:45AM - feeding
4:45-9:00AM- sleep

Nice huh? During the sleeping time I try to spend time with Avalyn and Keith, and clean, and cook, and make things for my Etsy shop. Believe it or not I'm pretty busy during the day. Despite what Matt thinks. He wants me to work outside the house, but doesn't at the same time because he's afraid of the kids. As he should be. ^_~ Money has been really tight so he thinks me working will fix it. It won't. Daycare + gas = spending more money than what I'd make, unless he watches the kids. Which, as I already said, he's afraid to do by himself.

Note to past self: Don't take out student loans. If you can't pay for college outright, don't go. That simple. There's no jobs except minimum wage stuff anyway, so there's no point in going into debt for an education. If only I had done the math nine years ago. 

Minimum wage at forty hours a week: $15,000 per year = (about) $950 month after taxes.
My student loan debt (not including Matt's) $60,000 = $730 month
If I found a job in my field I would make between $10-$15/hour, so let's average $12.50 an hour which would be $1,600 after taxes.
Subtract my loans from that and I have $870. Even if I made $15 an hour and brought home $2,000, after student loans were paid I would have $1,270. Which is better, but at Alfie I made $1,300 a month after taxes. That's without an education! I would make $30 less with a higher paying job in my field than what I made at Alfie. Not that Alfie was a bad place to work (it was actually pretty great), I'm just saying it's crazy how useless college was for me.

I know in the long run (in fifteen years when my loans are gone) it will be worth it, but right now I'm super bummed that we can't save any money for our kids to go to school. Here's hoping when the kids are in school (in five years) the job market will be better and I will be able to start saving for my wee one's so they don't have to worry about going into debt before their adult lives even start!

Did anyone else major in debt? Or were you smarter than me when you were younger and save your pennies for college?