Who needs sleep?? Oh wait… I DO!!!

So I have been MIA for a bit (as I’m sure you have noticed). We have been struggling with sleep or rather Zaara has. She has not been sleeping thus keeping me up for hours at night, so I have been going to bed very early which makes for no computer time for me.

I remember when Layth was about 8 months I drew a line in the sand and decided that he should be able to sleep at least 5-6 hours at night and I was not going to nurse him to sleep in the middle of the night anymore. This point has come much sooner with Zaara (it may have something to do with the fact that I have to be up and functioning for Layth at 8ish every day). After we came home from Mexico I put us on a regular nap routine and stopped nursing her to sleep whenever she woke up at night.

At first she rebelled by staying up for 3-4 hours in the night (usually from about 2am until 5am) crying on and off and ensuring no one else in our room slept. This made for a very sleep deprived mommy and daddy… lets just say it was not pretty for a few weeks in our house!! Hubby (bless his heart) finally had enough and elected to sleep downstairs for a week. It has slowly been getting better, Zaara will sleep through most of the night now. When she does wake usually it just takes me to put my hand on her chest and shush her for a few mins and then she will go back to sleep.

I read a lot of books when I was struggling with Layth and this is my opinion based on a collaboration of what I read in the following books:
1. The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg
2. The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley

First, babies need a lot of sleep! At 6 months Zaara should be getting 3-4 hours of sleep during the day between two naps and then sleeping for 12 hours at night! Seems nuts right?? But I believe the saying “Sleep begets sleep” is too true! It goes against our intuition that sleeping for 4 hours during the day would actually make our little one sleep better at night. For those who are interested, at almost 2yrs old Layth naps for 2-3 hours once a day and still sleeps 12 hours at night.

Second, babies need the right balance of Sleep, Food and Activity spaced during the day to sleep well at night. Think of how your day goes? You wake up; Eat breakfast; Activity; Eat Lunch; Activity; Eat Dinner; Activity; Sleep. We should be setting babies up for a similar routine with more sleep mixed in. Like so: Eat; Activity; Sleep Nap; Eat; Activity; Sleep Nap; Eat; Activity; Sleep Bedtime. This is key to teach your baby to fall asleep without being nursed. (This is the whole premise of the “EASY” philosophy in “Baby Whisperer”)

Third, make a bedtime routine! This seems to be an essential component to cuing babies that it is time for sleep. Here is a sample of our night time routine for Zaara at 6 months: Breast Feed, Bath, Massage, Into PJ’s and sleep sack, Story, into crib and lights out. We have been doing a variation of this routine since day one and it works like a charm! I do a shortened version of this before naps too, Into PJ’s and sleep sack, Story, into crib and lights out. I also have a little giraffe that Zaara sleeps with. To get her used to it I wore it inside my shirt for a few days so it smelled like me and I put it between us while she was BF to make it something that she associates with warm cozy feelings. Whatever you choose as your routine make sure you start it early enough so that you are putting your little one to bed between 7 and 8. We usually start our routine at 7 and Zaara is in bed by about 7:30ish. For Layth his bedtime routine looks like this: Bath, Massage, into PJ’s, Bottle and Story, Lights out by 8pm.

Lastly, don’t expect results overnight. (ha ha ha no pun intended) It takes a while for babies to adjust sometimes. The older the baby the longer it will take you to see results. With Layth we didn’t start any naps and daytime routine until he was about 8 months and it took a long time to get him sleeping through the night (12 hours) on his own. But I am very pleased to report that he has been sleeping through the night on his own since he was about 13 months so I can say that in my experience the hard work does eventually pay off so it is worth it to stick to it. With Zaara we have been at it consistently for about 3 weeks and I’m only getting up once a night for about 5-10mins now instead of multiple waking over 3-4 hours just a couple of weeks ago.

The biggest bit of advice that I can offer is don’t beat yourself up if you cave and nurse your baby to sleep! We all have our limits; just do what is right for you and your baby!

Off to bed with me… after I post one recipe 🙂 I have a few videos that are awaiting my editing, hopefully I can get them up soon!

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Baby Wearing Video

I saw this video over at “Greek Momma” and watched it about 5 time and could not stop laughing! It is so cool! I am putting together a post about baby wearing and the different slings/ carriers I have used.

In the mean time Enjoy!

Back from Vacation

Hi all,

Just wanted to let you know I’m back from Vacation. My family and I were enjoying some much deserved R&R in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. There seems to be a common feeling that hubby and I were crazy to go on vacation with two kids under 2. But it really was not too bad. Now this may be because our very good friends came with us and were extra hands when we really needed them 🙂

Here are a few pics for your viewing enjoyment.

View From the Hotel

View From the Hotel

Layth loves the sand

Layth loves the sand

Zaara and I

Zaara and I

Whale Breaching

Whale Breaching

Just to let you know that I have a few video recipes that I am working on and hope to have them up this week.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

This recipe was shared by my past roommate (Nadia Durig) it was her mom’s recipe from when they were growing up. It is a super yummy, simple family dinner. There are tons of flavor possibilities that you can experiment with by changing up the meat you use, changing the seasoning in the meat or adding veggies to mix when you add the pineapple.

MEATBALLS
1lb ground beef (or ground turkey, chicken or lamb whatever you like)
1/2 medium onion diced very fine
3 cloves garlic
Black pepper (to taste)
2 tsp Curry powder
2 tsp Paprika
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce (approx)
1 Egg
1/4 cup Bread crumbs (approx)

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Put all ingredients except bread crumbs into a large bowl. Mix well with your hands. Add bread crumbs gradually until meat starts to stick together. Then form into balls just smaller than a golf ball. Place balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20mins.


SWEET & SOUR SAUCE

3 Tbs Cornstarch
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
Pineapple Juice from 1 can of chunk pineapples (and water if needed to make to 1+cups)
4 Tbs Ketchup
1 Tbs Soy Sauce
3 Tbs Vinegar

While meat balls are cooking make the sauce. Put all ingredients in a saucepan and stir well ensuring that cornstarch is fully mixed into the liquid. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally. As soon as it starts to boil stir constantly until the desired consistency is reached (about 1-2 mins) then remove from the heat and set aside.

Take meatballs out of oven and place in a greased pyrex baking dish. Spread Pineapple chunks evenly over the meat balls. Then pour the sauce evenly over the meatballs and pineapple. Bake in a 350F oven for 20mins. I usually serve these meatballs over Orzo pasta but you could serve with rice, any pasta or mashed potatoes.

Here is a video of my son Layth enjoying… kid approved 🙂

Edamame Cashew Stir-Fry

Here is another recipe inspired by a recipe from Cynthia Saas’ Cinch! book. I changed up some of the vegetables and the sauce to suit my fridge contents and family but it is still a simple, yummy, healthy, stir-fry.

2 Tbs Vegetable oil
1 Small onion diced
2 Medium carrots grated
2 Tbs ginger grated
3 Cloves garlic minced
1 Tbs Soy sauce
2-3 Tbs Water (approx)
1 Red bell pepper chopped
2 Cups shelled edamame beans (frozen or fresh)
3 Baby bok choy chopped
5 Green onions (whites and greens) chopped
1+ handful of Cashews

Heat a wok over high heat. Add oil. Once oil is hot add the onion and cook until translucent (a couple of minutes). Then add the carrot, Garlic and Ginger. Stir well. Mix in the soy sauce and enough water to create a bit of steam to cook the vegetables. Once carrots start to soften add the red pepper. If the Edamame beans are frozen add now and allow to sit on the top of the other veggies to steam for a minute. then stir in. Cook for 2 minutes. Then add the Bok choy, green onion and Cashews. Turn off heat and stir well. Serve over a bed of warm Quinoa or brown rice and garnish with a few extra cashews.

Orange Ginger Salmon

Here is a recipe inspired by a recipe from Cynthia Sass’ book. Simple, Healthy and Delish!

4 Salmon Fillets
Juice and Zest from one orange
1 inch piece of Ginger
2 tsp Sesame oil
3 tsp Rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce

Preheat your oven to 350F. In a small bowl zest and juice the orange, and grate ginger. Add sesame oil, Rice vinegar and soy sauce. Whist together until mixed well. Then spoon over Salmon fillets and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Video Test – Layth

I have been playing with my new video camera and wanted to test inserting it into my blog. My hubby took a video of Layth eating his snack. Too bad he eats the sticker off an orange instead of the orange. My Hubby’s reaction is priceless.

I have some editing to do on a video for making beef curry. I’m hoping to have it up tomorrow if all goes well 🙂