6 Tips That Helped Us with Sleep Training

Tired moms and dads out there have their work cut out for them trying to find anything on sleep training their babies. There are so many methods out there now and some of them contradict each other that you just never know which one to follow! I am by no means an expert on sleep training, but I now have 2 kids (ages 4 and 19 months) that sleep 10-12 hours at night so I thought maybe I can share with you my experiences in hopes that it would maybe help you.

Please remember that every kid is different and that you’re the expert when it comes to your own child. Here are some sites that may help you if you would like to do further research (I am not affiliated with any of these sites, I just found them helpful when I was perusing before I decided to write this):

  1. The Bump
  2. Baby Center
  3. Parent

Every Kid is Different!

 

Here are my two lovely little boogers. They are the joys of my life… most of the time. Just keepin’ it real. Sometimes they can be a real pain especially when they decide to throw tantrums at the same time! But I digress… this is about sleep training after all.

Although controversial, I did the Cry It Out Method with both of them. Very different experiences from two very different kiddos. We started the CIO method with Ella at 8 months and the first night was a nightmare. She cried and whined on and off (not straight through I promise) for 40 minutes before she fell asleep. We started with Isaac at 6 months because he was sleeping long stretches already. He whined for 15 minutes and then fell asleep.

Ella doesn’t like to sleep. She doesn’t nap at home but will nap in daycare for some reason. She would always “fight” it when it’s time for bed. After the 1st week of the CIO method, she would no longer cry but she would play and roll around in her crib until she finally went to sleep. She still does that now. She’ll look at books, roll around, and play with her stuffed animals before finally sleeping.

Isaac seems to like sleep. He’s a great napper in the afternoon. We’ll put him down in his crib, and most of the time he won’t cry and just go straight to napping. Sometimes, he will cry 10-15 minutes, and then nap. At night, he will stand up and walk around in his crib, yell for Ella (if she’s not in the room), and then sleep. Unless he poops, then he’ll bang on the edge of the crib and that’s when we know the little man needs his diaper changed. I don’t know how that happened. Technically, he trained us to come when he bangs on the crib ;-).

Anyway, both of them seem to be doing well. At least it doesn’t seem like they hate us for leaving them in their beds while still awake. They do share a room now. Once Isaac slept through the night, we put them in the same room. It seems to work well for them because they seem to still like each other. We open the door to two smiling little ones in the morning unless Ella runs into our room first yelling “IT’S WAKE UP TIME!!!”

6 Tips for Sleep Training

Desperate for sleep when I was a first time mom, I did some research online for tips on sleep training. There are a lot out there! Here are what I found most useful for our family.

  1. Schedule: I read early on that having a good sleep schedule helps kids go to bed. So even before we tried the CIO method, I was already so anal about scheduling naps and sleep time for both kids. Since I worked full time, their day care actually helped put them on a good nap schedule. From 0-3 months, I read that they should really not be awake longer than 2-3 hours. So once they woke up at 7 am, I put them down for a nap at 9am. Earlier on, they would have longer naps in the morning (9-11am). Then awake from 11am -2pm. Then nap from 2pm to 3 pm or 4 pm. Then awake for 2-3 hours, and then we start their bed time routine. Later on, the morning naps decreased and the afternoon naps increased. Either way, there was a 2-3 hour period of wakefulness in between the naps and sleep times. It seemed to work for both kids.
  2. Bed time routine: I read that this helps cue the babies that it’s time to sleep. So we would bathe them, put on jammies, pray with them, read 1-2 short books, turn the lights off, sing a couple of songs, then put them in their beds and stay with them for 5 minutes (longer when sleep training them, we pretty much stayed with them until they were drowsy), then leave the room. We only came back in if anyone cries hysterically. Ella seems to have nightmares once in a while. That’s when we would come in and soothe her.
  3. Setting up the environment: Dimming the lights, and turning on the white noise. We never did the white noise for Ella because we just didn’t know. But it worked like a charm for Isaac. White noise machines are like magic, man. Since they share the same room now, Ella also seems to like it. It also helps drown outside noises and since they sleep pretty early (7:30ish), there’s still a lot of noise outside sometimes.
  4. Wubanubs Pacifiers: This is genius really. I mean only if your baby likes pacifiers. But these pacifiers are attached to very small stuffed animals which makes it easier for them to grab as a baby. Or easy for you to find if you decide to go in and give them the paci. Of course, this would only work if your baby likes pacifiers.
  5. OK to Wake Alarm Clock: When Ella was old enough to get a big girl bed (around 3 years old), she would sometimes wake up at 4 am to pee and think it’s morning time. She would then come into our room and yell “IT’S WAKE UP TIME!” So I read about this clock where you can set it to change the color of the light to let your child know when it’s time to wake up. Ella seemed to like it and would go back to bed until the yellow night light turned green. Then she would run to our room and yell “IT’S WAKE UP TIME!!” 
  6. Stop Comparing: If you’re not gonna read anything else in this page, this is the one thing I would like to tell you. Stop comparing yourself to other parents. Everyone has different stories. You’re going to drive yourself crazy if you compare yourself to other parents. Who knows? They’re probably lying anyway and is also as sleep deprived as you are. Just kidding. Maybe. Ha! But for real, you do what you need to do to get sleep for you and your baby (babies).

That’s all I got. You can read about the different methods in one of the links above. There are tons you can choose from. Choose what works best for you and your family. Try them all if you must. In the meantime, take a deep breath, you’re doing just fine and if things are really hard right now, know that it will get better. You can do this!

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

 

(all gifs are from giphy.com)

Mac & Mia Review

Shopping for kids clothing can be a bit overwhelming for me. It’s hard to bring Ella and Isaac to the store and have them try on stuff because by the time we pick out their clothes, they don’t necessarily want to try them on. When we do make the trek to the store to find them outfits, I want to buy everything and they don’t want to try on anything! Does that happen to you guys? No? Just us? Enter Mac & Mia – children’s boutique clothing right at your door!

About Mac & Mia

Ok, so I figure I should tell you a little bit about what this service is before I go into my experience. Mac & Mia is basically a clothing service to find awesome outfits for your child without you having to go to the store. Once you get to the site, you will be asked a couple of questions about your child’s size, preferred style, etc. so that your stylist (that’s right people, you get your own stylist ;-)), will have something to go on when they pick out pieces for your order. This is like the kid’s version of Stitch Fix.

How much is it? Every time you request a box,  you pay a $20 styling fee. If you buy 2 or more items from the box, the $20 fee will be applied to your total order every time you order! AND get this, for your FIRST order, they give you a $20 credit… so if you buy 2 or more items, you’re essentially going to get $40 off! I’m just saying, that’s worth it if you think about it ;-).

Why I Like Mac & Mia (Pros)

The Deal: Y’all! I’m from the Philippines and Filipina Mamas LOVE great deals! When I heard about the $20 sign up credit and the $20 styling fee being waived (if you buy 2 or more items), I was like “I’m rich! I got $40! I quit everything!!” 😉 Just kidding on the quitting. Don’t lie, you know you got a little excited after reading that too ;-).

Your Own Stylist: Ok, so I may not have the best sense of fashion. We are lucky that we have friends and family who will steer us the right way when it comes to the kids clothing. So having their own stylist is a good thing for me ok!? It also sounds cool like, “oh Ella’s stylist thought this dress would look great on her.” Ha! What’s also nice about it is that you can try on different styles that you may not have thought of trying in the first place.

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High Quality Materials: All the pieces that I received in my first box felt very well made. Ella is rough on her clothing. She may be a girly girl because she loves dresses, and bows and stuff, but girl is not afraid to get down and dirty (and we love that about her!). So this is nice because we know that it will hold up when she’s being cray ok?

No shopping: Yes, sometimes I like picking their outfits. But at other times, it’s so nice to just have someone else do it for you! When I opened the box, it was kind of nice to be surprised at what our stylist (see? that sounds nice doesn’t it? haha) picked for us. We didn’t have to go anywhere and Ella was only too happy to oblige in trying on the clothes because she didn’t have to wait too long or get distracted by other things in a store. Look at her work it in the following photos! Ha!

Free shipping: Yassss, free shipping! If you don’t like some of the items, they give you a shipping bag and you just drop it off the nearest UPS and you’re good to go!

It’s not a subscription: You can get 1 box and 1 box only. It’s not a subscription where you have to do it monthly or else you have to cancel. You order a box when you feel the need for inspiration in clothing, and then when you don’t feel like it, you don’t have to! That’s pretty cool.

Are There Cons?

The only con I can really think of is that the $20 styling fee cannot be waived if you don’t purchase 2 or more items. So if you don’t like anything in the box at all, that’s $20 down the drain. But that’s the service you pay for. And honestly, I feel like there’s such a good variety in the box that you won’t have trouble picking 2 that you like.

My Verdict

This is definitely worth a shot. I mean, like I said, with the sign up bonus credit of $20, and the $20 styling fee getting waived (if you pick more than 2 items), it’s a great deal! You can also earn more credit if you get you refer a friend! So really, the first box is such a great deal, who wouldn’t want to try it?

If you do decide to try Mac & Mia, click here to get that first $20 credit! Yes, with that link, I get credit too. But even if I didn’t, I’d still tell you to try at least the first box because of the great deal! You’re stylist will be Lisa and she’s pretty awesome if I do say so myself! She’s very responsive to questions and believe me, I asked many questions! Gimme a break! I’m new at this!

If you do give it a try, let me know how you liked your first box!

And as always, thanks for reading and have an awesome rest of the day!

 

(all gifs are from giphy.com)

Things I Wish I Knew About Pregnancy/Post Pregnancy

Before I got pregnant with my first child, I think I had tunnel vision on what it was going to be like – during pregnancy and after. I read snippets of books and blogs about the miracle of birth and how the first time you hold your child, he or she would be the most precious thing you’ve ever set your eyes on.  No one told me about some of the not-so-wonderful part of it all.

Don’t get me wrong. Being a mother has been such a great experience for me and I would not trade it for anything else. I just wish I knew about everything else that came along with the pregnancy and right after it, so I wasn’t so much “deer in headlights” and overwhelmed with things I didn’t know would happen.

So here it goes. Pull up a chair and sit back and relax. This is gonna be a long one!

During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, it’s expected that your stomach will get larger and maybe even your breasts. But ladies, like for real, there are other changes that can happen. Everyone is different of course, so this may not happen to you. So just consider these fair warnings.

Swollen legs and feet – when I got pregnant for the first time, I was a practicing physical therapist in an outpatient orthopedic clinic. I was on my feet all the time but at the end of the day, I would stand in one place to do my paperwork. My circulation wasn’t great to begin with, so my legs and feet were huge by the time I went home – I mean major cankles ladies!
Don’t worry: I found that walking around helped to increase circulation which helped bring fluids back to the heart and decrease swelling. I also found that drinking a ton of water helped to decrease swelling. I know that sounds weird, but drinking water will flush out your body and decrease fluid retention – yes girl, you will pee a lot! It’s ok though! It’s a good thing!

Back, Hip, and Pelvic Pain – to account for a growing belly, ligaments tend to loosen up in your pelvic area. This can cause you to have pain in the hips, pelvis, and low back.
Don’t worry: Core and Kegel exercises helps increase support. It’s important to keep working on the muscles that are holding you together because your ligaments are like “bye felicia” at this time. So work on tightening the core and pelvic muscles to help give you extra support at this time.

Hemorrhoids – ok, so this is embarrassing but it has to be said. Sometimes, it happens ok? I am 5’1 and some change and my first baby weighed in at 9 lbs 11 oz when she was born. There was a lot of pressure down there while she was still in my belly. Couple that with the constipation that pregnancy can bring about (yay hormones, thanks you’re awesome….), hemorrhoids are sure to happen!
Don’t worry: eat foods with lots of fiber to help decrease constipation. Fair warning that that can bring about gas. So yeah, farting or swollen veins coming out of your anus? You pick. I picked farts. Also, if hemorrhoids do still occur as in my case, Preparation H helps with the itching and could help decrease the size of the hemorrhoids.

Emotional changes – as if women didn’t already have the monthly emotional changes to deal with when we are not pregnant, let’s just go ahead and make it unpredictable during pregnancy. Because why not?!
Don’t worry:  It really helps to surround yourself with people who can encourage you and be there for you during this time. Lean on them for support and they’ll help you get through the tough times. Oh and chocolates, lots and lots of chocolates!

After pregnancy

I don’t know about the other moms out there, but when Ella came out into the world, I was a little more drugged up than usual because I had to get a C-section (she would not come down the canal people!), so I wouldn’t say that I looked into her eyes and it was love at first sight. Here are some things I did not know could happen after the baby is born.

It Could Take A While to Feel Joy of Motherhood – is this bad that I’m writing this? Like legit, when I first saw Ella I was like “whose baby is that?” in my head. For some reason, I imagined a perfectly bathed newborn who was not swollen or red, thank you very much. Ella was swollen, and red, and hairy! Is that mean? Sorry, but for real, I was like “whoa.”
Don’t worry: some people don’t experience this at all and has the whole “love at first sight” type of thing. But don’t worry if you do experience this. Hormones plus drugs can make the brain and emotions get all wonky.  It’ll get better and you’ll be that mama bear in no time!

“Sleep Like A Baby” is a false statement – I don’t know what baby they were talking about in that saying, but not my baby. Nope. For the first week, every hour, you can be sure Ella was up. Then maybe every two hours for two weeks after that. The first month is pretty much a blur because there was no sleep involved. Cat naps maybe. But sleep? what is that?!
Don’t worry: After the first month, unless you have a colicky baby, you can get maybe 3-4 hour stretches at a time. Just keep going and hopefully their sleep duration will get longer and longer. By 6-8 months, both my kids were finally able to sleep 10-12 hours at night. So there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! You can do it!

Post “baby blues” is a real thing: yes, I knew that post-partum depression could be a real thing. The doctor defines that as no good days. But what if I had a good day every 2-3 days. They don’t necessarily count that as “depression.” But it’s real. If hormones were crazy before pregnancy, they’re even crazier after pregnancy. Couple that with no sleep, then it’s just the time of your life isn’t it.
Don’t worry: I think by Ella’s third month, my hormones finally settled and I was getting longer stretches of sleep. This is when I finally felt the “joy of motherhood” as they say.  Just hang in there ok? One, you got no choice, you got a baby. And two, with support from people who you trust and love, it’ll get better!

Bleeding Right After Pregnancy: I don’t know about others, but I kept bleeding for weeks after Ella was born. I’m talking like “oh yay my period is lasting like 4 weeks” type of bleeding.
Don’t worry: it’s normal. The doctor explained it in this way: I had 10 months of building up the lining in my uterus, so the body will take time to clear out that lining as well.  It’ll eventually stop and your period won’t come back for a while. Unless you’re like my friend whose period would still come monthly during and after pregnancy. No break for her.

Physical Changes: Ok so yeah, your boobs get real big… and hard. Like you need to pump that milk out because no joke, it hurts when it builds up. Not only that, but sometimes the ducts in your breasts can get clogged. And wooooooo it will huuuuurrrrtttt. There’s also a chance of mastitis, where your breast tissue gets inflamed and infected because of a clogged duct.
Don’t worry: If it’s not infected, massaging your breasts while breastfeeding or pumping will help unclog the duct. Heat compress and warm showers can also help. Frozen cabbage leaves right on the boobies can help decrease inflammation and engorgement. But ummm, you will smell like cabbages. Just wanted to warn you. Do you want engorged boobies or smell like a cabbage? Slap that cabbage right on there! Ok be gentle, cuz it hurts!
If infected, you’ll have to probably get antibiotics to help get rid of the infection. But it works real fast so you’ll feel better within a day or two.

More physical changes: The shape of your breasts/nipples may also change. I mean let’s be real, if it’s getting sucked on/pumped every hour of every day, yeah it’s gonna change! And it may hurt! I saw my friend breastfeed her baby and no lie there was a small piece missing from her nipple. No joke. Ouch.
Don’t worry: They have creams for your nips to help decrease chaffing and pain.

Even more physical changes: My feet got half a size bigger. I don’t know if my swelling just never went down or what, but my feet definitely is a half size bigger after Ella.
Don’t worry: Shoe shopping heeeyyyyyy!! After all that, you deserve it mama! Have. At. It!

So there is it folks! Just wanted to make sure you were well-read on what could happen during and after pregnancy. Again, everyone is different, so you may not experience any of these. If so, good for you! If not, just wanted to let you know that it’s ok! You’re not alone! Surround yourself with good, supportive family and friends. I promise that will help the most during the tough times.

And lastly, please don’t take this article the wrong way. I love my babies! They are my life. But pregnancy is just not for me and just thought I’d share some of my experiences to let you know it’s ok! You’re not alone! And to hang in there, because you will get through the tough times.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome rest of the day!

(All GIFs from this page are from giphy.com)

Pop Beads for Toddlers Review

Ella, our spirited, vibrant, vivacious 4 year old, loves to play dress up. She loves dresses and purses and shoes and accessories galore! Mainly, she loves making bracelets and necklaces and the like. But the biggest problem has always been her frustration when it’s time to tie the ends of the bracelets/necklaces. She’s always been pretty independent and hates it when she has to stop a project to ask for help. Enter pop beads!

(Disclaimer: this review is not sponsored)

No Strings Attached and Endless Possibilities!

These pop beads are so great! No strings needed. The beads are a bit larger than the usual beads so these could also be a great stepping stone for increasing your toddler’s fine motor skills! And of course, they snap together! So easy! Another great thing is that they also come with rings and bracelets where you can snap some of the beads on and off. The possibilities for a 4 year old are endless.

Ella loved putting bracelets and necklaces together and have already tried to “give” them to her grandma and great-grandpa. She, of course, wanted them back so she could “keep it safe” for them. Ha!


Fair Warning

I would definitely keep this away from toddlers who still love to put things in their mouths because this could definitely be a choking hazard. Isaac, who is 1, loves to play with anything his sister loves to play with so we really had to keep an eye on him when these beads were within his arms reach.

Final Thoughts…

If your toddler loves to accessorize, I would definitely recommend these pop beads. They are super easy to put together and to take a apart. Such a simple and ingenious idea! Wish I thought of it myself! 😉

 

Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!

Spring/Summer Eye Look

Perfect for a girls night out

Disclaimer: I am not a make-up guru. I love make up and I watch youtube videos and try to imitate the art of make-up. Most of the time, I don’t get it right. But once in a while, I end up liking the end result.

Disclaimer number 2: Apparently, I’m supposed to say this when I write stuff that mentions brands of anything. So this blog is not sponsored in any way shape or form.

Ok, now that those are out of the way, sometimes, mama needs a girls night out. And sometimes I like to play with make up to set up my mood for said #gno.

So I took some inspiration from a youtuber named JaaackJack for this fun eye look. It looks nothing like what she did (hence the first disclaimer), but I did end up liking the result so here it goes.

Here I am with my “face on” already so it makes it look like i have somewhat clear skin with rosy cheeks like the elves from The Santa Clause (anyone? anyone?) 😉

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You’ll then need the following for the eyes: eye primer, pink, green, blue, green-blue, silver, tan, and a light matte eye shadows, eyeliner, mascara, and eye brow liner/filler.

First, prime your eyelids. I use a concealer usually because it does the same thing. It makes the color last and stand out better. So, for this colorful look, you definitely want to use some kind of primer. Put that baby all over your lids up to just below your eye brows.

Then I usually start with the transition shade (tan-ish shade) at my crease. Here, I used the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette in “Raw Sienna.” Using a fluffy blending brush, I started on the outer eye and went along a little bit above my eye crease, all the way to the inner corner but darker in the other corner.

Then I used “Love Letter,” the pink shade from the same palette to put in the outer corner of my eye. Here, I stayed on the crease line and outer 3rd to outer half of my eyelid. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look right after this step, the blending later will help a ton.

Next I used the Urban Decay Heavy Metals Palette for the colorful part of the eye. For these, I used a flat eye shadow brush. I started with the color “Mullet” for the inner part of my eye.

Then I used “Amp” to put right next to “Mullet.”

Next, comes “Dive” to put next to “Amp” and it should also connect to “love letter” – the pink that is in the outer corner of the eye.

To make the eyes pop even more, I took “Glamrock” on a smaller brush and used it for the inner corner of my eye.

OK! Still with me? Time to blend. I took a light matte (ish) shadow (“Tempera” from Modern Renaissance Palette) on a flat brush and put it right underneath my eyebrow. Then I took a light fluffy brush, took a little bit of the pink color (again, I used “love letter” from MRP), started on my outer corner, did a few circular strokes on the outer corner and then brought the color inward right above the blues and green to blend the top of the colors together. I only did about 2 strokes inward so that the colors don’t get too muddy and focused on blending the outer corner the most.

Now it’s time to make your eye pop even more. Take the same colors you used on the upper lid and line your bottom lid, then use the pink color to blend right below the blue greens for a more finished look.

 

To finish off the eye look, I used my favorite eyeliner (currently the Illustrative Eyeliner from Emcosmetics) and lined my upper lid. I did a very thin wing because I wanted to keep the focus on the fun colors. Then I went ahead and tried to fix my brows – I used L’Oreal Brow Stylist Shape & Fill. And lastly, mascara – I used Maybelline’s The Colossal Volum’ Express. So here’s the final eye look in different lights (indoor vs. in the car vs. outdoor).

Tip I watched from youtube: To make this eye look more fierce, start with your eye look before your face makeup. Use tape and line it from the outer corner of your eye to the outer tip of your eye brow to  make the outer “V” of your eyeshadow look sharper.

Anyway, this was LOOOONG! Hope it was somewhat helpful!

Thanks for reading and have an awesome rest of the day!