Embrace

Embrace.

Every morning for the last six weeks or so I have been walking my daughter to school. It first began because of a change in our situation that caused us to only have one vehicle. We used to have two, so this sudden change in circumstance forced me into walking to drop off and walking to pick up my second grader.

After the first week and a half of walking or so, I took on this sort of- positivity challenge if you will. I’ve heard and read about so many instances where people started saying affirmations thus changing their perspectives and ultimately drawing those things which they spoke out, into their lives.

At this point in my life I am already beginning to change my thought patterns, questioning “Why NOT Me?” Why can’t I be successful in my endeavors? Why can’t I make a million dollars? Why can’t I travel the world? Why can’t I buy a big home or write a best selling book? Other people can and do these things, so why not me? With these thoughts already in mind I decided that every morning that I walked my daughter to school, not only would I be getting the exercise I desperately need, but I would listen to something positive. A podcast, A YouTube video or an audiobook. Something uplifting was going to penetrate my subconscious through the medium of my phone and a bright green set of beats. 

I will be doing a series of posts on this journey soon but in the meantime I wanted to share with you what happened on my morning walk today.

Like many women (survey says approximately 90%),  I have insecurities relating to body image and a pretty tumultuous relationship with my body. My biggest obsession is my soft, squishy belly. I always think of this area of my body in a negative way. Of course, once upon a time, I sported a nice set of abs. Never a super six-pack but a “nice” mid section, according to the “media standard.” The so called “bikini worthy” body – whatever that means.  I have also had thin thighs and a nice ass, if I do say so myself. Over the years however, things have changed. I currently am about 30lbs heavier than I am used to and I feel every bit of it. More so, I have four children now and adjusting to this life of mine hasn’t left me with much time for anything else. 

Like many others, I never give praise to my soft belly for that which it has endured. I never express any gratitude for it’s function. I take for granted it’s ability to stretch beyond my wildest imagination and back. I don’t own the scars it dawns as the “mama bear marks” that they are. No. All of my communication surrounding this area of my body has been negative, harsh, and abusive to some degree. This area of my body that houses my life giving organs, the home to my second chakra, the seat of my emotions. This area that protects my major organs and digestive organs. Somehow, when I think of my stomach in this way, being so overly obsessed with how “bad” I think it looks when I stare in the mirror (because I am comparing myself to some past version of … my self) seems awful petty.

Everyday I have been repeating very meaningful “I AM” affirmations to myself through out my day. I listen to the “positive stuff” during my walk each morning and I have to say, things have been looking or rather feeling, up. Not even that my physical circumstances have changed drastically because they haven’t. However, the way I feel about myself, my circumstances and my life in general is over all way more positive. 

Today much like every other day, I find myself sucking in my stomach whenever I walk by or am near people.  I have been doing this for so long it is almost like an instant reflex. It just happens. Today, I was consciously aware of the very moment I felt the need to pull my belly button in to my spine. Except this morning something different happened. This morning, almost simultaneously as I pulled in my navel a stream of questions came to me in a quiet stern voice and said ” Who are you doing it for?”, ” Why are you ashamed and afraid ?” And “How does it all feel?”  and then I had a remarkable transformative moment… the voice then said in a powerful and commanding tone,

“Own it!”

“Change is gradual. Mercy is grand! Have mercy, and own it.”

So I let go.

I released the tension I used to pull my belly button in to my spine and I kept on walking. I let it all just hang loose. 

I wanted to take a moment to answer the questions that came to me this morning because questions lead to clarity:

Who are you doing it for?

 I truly had no idea because was I really sucking in my stomach for me? Perhaps it was for the cars passing by. The fact that maybe someone would see me and think I looked (gasps) fat! When I think back to this occurrence, in hindsight, it was all very ridiculous and has been for years. The reality is, no one cares. And if someone out there does care enough to call me or think I look… fat, well then damnit,  good for them! LOL. I had become so accustomed to “pretending” my stomach was flat that I routinely tensed up in order to suck it in and for what? To pretend to be “skinny” for people I don’t even know? REALITY CHECK MOMENT.

Why are you ashamed and/or afraid ?

Because I gained weight. Except, when I really detail this question, even when I was a reasonable weight I still felt like my belly was an issue. A problem area. This really all happened after I had my first baby. I gained a lot of weight and it didn’t fall off right away, or really at all. Every time I lost any weight and started to feel good again Pregnancy adorned me and the process started all over again. I think I have never truly had time to heal from any of the previous distorted body image issues before tacking on new ones with each pregnancy. Plus, there is this huge social platform that tells us what is and what isn’t beautiful. A big, soft, bulging mid section doesn’t exactly classify me as “hot stuff.” Yet then the question remains, to who, and why do they matter? 

How does it feel? 

This was a big one because the moment I continued to walk, belly un-sucked, I was able to observe the feeling. It felt… jiggly. LOL.  Although it was slightly uncomfortable, I was reminded in this moment of feeling just what it means to truly be present. What it means to fully embrace something. In this moment, I embraced my body for what it was right here in the now and I was at complete peace about it. I didn’t care who drove by, I knew that what I looked like on the outer was a reflection of what was going on on the inner and my inner was bursting with acceptance and confidence. Somehow I felt better than before. 

I truly believe that in that moment of the release, when I let go, everything changed.

I walked the rest of the way to my daughters school and all the way back home completely un-sucked. I didn’t die, nobody screamed “fat ass” out of their car window as they passed by. I survived and I actually felt really good about myself.

So in turn, I ask you the same three questions today. Apply them to any area of your life that you need to more readily embrace. Ask yourself, who are you doing it for? Finding out the why is the only way to cultivate forward movement. Why are you ashamed and/or fearful? What shame lies underneath  your actions? Guilt? What is the ultimate fear? Last, How does it feel? Think of this on a three fold level. What does it feel like physically? To the body? To the mind- mentally, to the heart- emotionally, when it comes to the feeling. How does it feel to sit in those feelings? 

Then embrace and move forward my SUNshine! 

Drop me a line. What do you need to embrace? Or just say hey 

 

Late Night Post…

I’ve been sitting around contemplating what to blog about since the moment I created a blog. The crazy thing about it is, I truly believe that, I have a lot to say. The problem is that I am in no habit of writing. Which I’m convinced it is definitely going to take a habit to blog regularly. I used to write. I used to write almost daily, then somewhere, I fell off. 

Writing is something that usually requires very little thought for me. I am kind of weird I guess because often I think as if I’m reading a book. I’m not sure if that even makes sense but that is how it happens. I think I have this notion that I must be “in the mood” to write in order to get something “good” on the page.  I wish like hell it were that easy but I have other things going on daily that don’t exactly allow me the freedom or flexibility to write whenever I’m “in the mood.” 

I am a wife, a mother of four children who demand my attention from the moment they step out of be till the moment they are peacefully sleeping like angels and it’s quiet again. Except, when it is finally quiet all I’m usually ready to do is knock out or binge watch something on Netflix. Writing goes to the back burner and the process repeats itself the next day. Eventually so many days go by and I realize 

I haven’t posted a blog in days, weeks, months… 

So here we are, it’s 11:44 on a Sunday night. The house is quiet. My babies are asleep, my husband is watching some strange movie and I am laying on the couch. I really want stalk my favorite people on Instagram and knock out but here I am. Typing this blog post because well, 

I haven’t posted a blog in days… 

Now that I have posted a blog… Good Night favorite friends. 

XX, 

Addie

A Perfect Mother’s Day

This year I wasn’t sure about Mother’s day. Probably in large part to the fact that I’ve currently been dealing with my own personal issues with my mother. We have never really had the closest relationship and this year she really said some things that hurt me. I am not sure if she is aware of this fact as we haven’t really spoken much since the said incident occurred.

Due to the fact that I have been keeping my distance, I had a hard time deciding what to get for her as well as contemplating if I was even going to go over to her house for any portion of the day. Somewhere around Thursday or Friday leading up to Mother’s day the guilt started to set in. I had to put my big girl panties on and realize, that no matter what I might be feeling, it is mother’s day and I was not going to “leave my mom hanging’.”

I started my day out with Preston coming into my room to sneak me a gummy bear. At the time I had no idea what he was doing, or where he even got the gummy from for that matter. I ate it anyway though, yikes, and then he left the room. Next I was greeted with a cup of delicious coffee. MaKayla brought it to me but I am pretty positive my husband made it 😉 I hung out in bed for a while and then headed into the living room. There I found a beautiful gift basket filled with goodies for me. I really didn’t need anything for Mother’s Day. While I love the idea of being showered with gifts of appreciation, I sort of feel like I do about Valentine’s Day when it comes to this holiday.

Very superficial.

 

I called my nephew to see if they already had plans at my mom’s house. He said no, so we came up with a game plan. I decided I’d stop by the store and pick up some things to make her lunch. I figured, we could eat, chat and I could clean up and head home in time to be ready for my own Mother’s day plans. I had a reservation at Chateau Le Green, (by the way, that’s our home).

For lunch we ate Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches and homemade steak fries. I also made her a side salad. She was the only one who ate one of those.

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Green Peppers and Onions
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I used Flap Meat by the butchers suggestion. It cooked up really nice.

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She definitely enjoyed her meal and was happy to see us.  Over all it was not quite as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. I had never made Philly cheesesteaks before so I am pretty proud of myself too.

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Mom’s side salad.
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Philly cheese steak

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We got back home around 3 o’clock. I spent the rest of the day relaxing and stalking my favorite people on social media. I tried to get all my kids outside so we could take a picture. A totally unique experience when you have four children. We managed to get a photo.

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Testing out the photo spot.
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After several tries this is what we got.

 

My wonderful husband and kids went all out for dinner. My husband continues to amaze me with his skills in the kitchen. I seriously wish he would just be the one to cook every meal, every day. Everything he makes is literally the shit! Score for a man that can cook. Sammiah made me a cute menu and they set my place at the table. MaKayla of course helped dad out in the kitchen.

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The Menu
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MaKayla set the table
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😉
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Hubs working’ it out in the kitchen.

 

They started with the appetizer which was avocado egg rolls with a cilantro lime dipping sauce. I love these avocado egg rolls from BJ’s restaurant. Hubs definitely put it down. Looks like I won’t be needing to go out to get these anymore. They were so good.

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Sammiah served me.
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Avocado Egg Rolls
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Home made Avocado egg rolls with cilantro lime dipping sauce. 

Next, A beautiful southwest salad was placed in front of me. It was a pre made salad. The kind that have all the toppings + dressing. It was actually really good and I will be eating this again for lunch one day.

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Southwest Salad
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😉

At this point, not only Am I totally impressed but I am anxiously awaiting the main course. My husband doesn’t eat shrimp so he made himself a steak instead. This was absolutely fantastic. I am not sure where he found the recipe but this will be going in the book of must make meals because I need to have this pasta again. It was a tiny bit spicy but as Bruno mars says “That’s what  I like.”

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Shrimp scampi Pasta in a lemon butter sauce.
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Amazing Mother’s Day dinner.
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I ate just about every drop. So good, so full.
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Hubs steak dinner.

They didn’t stop there. We can’t forget about the desert. The girls made chocolate chunk brownies with vanilla bean ice cream and fudge.

This whole meal was heaven.

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Yum!

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I spent the rest of my evening relaxing. No dishes, no cleaning up, no chasing little people. Simply just relaxing.

This was the perfect mother’s day. It was chill and peaceful which was exactly the intention I set for my day when I first woke up. I felt very much appreciated by the ones I work hard to care for each and everyday. Thank you so much my beautiful babies and my handsome husband. Momma definitely was pampered and fed well!

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Relaxing with my feet up.
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My cards.

 

I hope all of you mommies had a wonderful day as well.

Until next time my friends…

 

xx addie

 

Refrigerator Organization

Today was Grocery Store day! Yay!

Not!

Most of the time going to the grocery store is the highlight of my week. As a stay-at-home-mom, work at home mom, whatever you want call me, I don’t get out much these days. So you can imagine when I get out to run errands, I get excited. Except for on that one day of the month that I do my big grocery store trip.

 

Usually at the beginning of the month we are in desperate need of groceries. While meal planning, grocery lists and keeping track of the things we love to eat has been a help when it comes to making things stretch, the beginning of the month haul is usually fairly large.

Today I was fortuanate enough to be able to ride alone. This happens far, few and in between so I took full advantage. I walked up and down each aisle slowly gathering the things on my list and maybe several things that were not. My outting lasted all of about an hour and a half. I stopped and grabbed a midnight mint frappuccino from Starbucks and then headed back home.

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I had a bunch of stuff in the fridge that needed to be cleared out. So I took out all of the old food, tupper ware containers with leftovers  and practically empty soda and water bottles.

While I dreaded doing it, every month when I do a large grocery haul I clean out the refrigerator. Today I ended up taking everything out so I could wipe down all the shelves, walls and the other grossness that was in the door shelves.

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This bottom shelf had a lot of yuck on it. Mostly from things that dropped or spilled and no one cleaned it up. 

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After cleaning everything out I felt creative like perhaps it was time to change things up a bit. So I searched Pinterest for some refrigerator organization ideas. I found a few pictures that really resonated with me and that I thought would be practical for my fridge. I changed the placement of the shelves to better accommodate how we store food. I was originally using a “bin system” putting things into plastic bins. This was definitely working for a while but I still thought there was a better way to store things.

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My little “booger nose” Preston. He has a cold and keeping his nose clean is seemingly impossible right now. He was a great helper with putting the groceries away.

Once I put everything inside I was instantly in love. I think having the shelf that holds all our our drinks in the middle makes way more sense than keeping them on top. Now we can clearly see everything that is on the shelf.

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I decided to put the kids cold snacks down low where everyone can reach them. Even Preston. I am not sure yet if this is a good idea or not lol.

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I organized everything else in the best way that made sense. I really do love the way it all turned out and it is much more organized than it was before.

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The next drawer up from the bottom I am using to store all of our bagged produce.
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On the very bottom shelf I have a bin for any meat that will be cooked in the next day or two, bread and bottled water.

 

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The very top shelves house the eggs, salsa, cream cheese and left overs tupperwares. As well as more produce and bagged cheese.

I also cleaned the inside of the freezer however I didn’t move any of the shelves around. I think we are going to stick with this way for a while.

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This is the before of the freezer. 

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After I put everything back inside. 

Thanks for stopping by!

xx addie

 

Cleaning A Filthy Stove

The last year and a half of my life has been a huge transformation period for me. It all sort of came about after I got married but really kicked into high gear after we found out we were pregnant with our daughter, making baby number four.

If anyone knows what nesting during a pregnancy is like, then you understand when I say I was ready for everything to be clean and tidy and…well, “perfect.” Except, I lived in a home filled with clutter, junk and a whole lot of unnecessary things I did not love. Unnecessary things that truly had and served no real purpose in my home or life but I will save clearing clutter and minimalism for another post.

Skip forward to present day, well, let’s just say to 2017. My home is clean (most of the time- let’s remember I live with four children and a husband lol), it’s tidy, fairly organized (this is definitely still a work in progress) and over all a happy and peaceful place to exist.

In the last month or so, I have been spring cleaning. One of the things that was on my list to tackle was the kitchen. Of course, getting to all of those places that I normally let slide during my daily routine clean up. My stove, while looking absolutely cray, was not on this list. I know, shame on me. However, in my defense, I really did think that getting off any of the rusted and burnt on grime was impossible. Especially considering that I clean it daily after use with “miracle spray.”  In hindsight, I was clearly not putting in the elbow grease required. This, coming from the woman who thought I had to throw away a glass baking dish because whatever I cooked in it at the time had crusted and stuck to the pan.

I mean, shit. I thought it was a lost cause.

I never cleaned the stove as a kid. Never had to. As my mom would tell it, I  “wasn’t raised in the kitchen.” I never realized how much of a hindrance this was to my life as a wife and mom until I became a wife and mom. And the one solely responsible for keeping the stove clean. I can admit, I would half ass it in the kitchen the same way I half assed it in other areas when it came to cleaning.

I recently posted a video on my Growing With The Green’s channel and I received a comment from a viewer. The comment stated that I needed to clean my stove. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should be offended. The reality was, the stove looked a mess and I am rather surprised this is the first time someone had made mention of it. I told this viewer that I didn’t think the “stuff” would come off and if they had any suggestions, I would be very open to trying them.

I hated that this “stuff” was on my stove top. I tried buying those aluminum inserts that you can put under the grates but none of the square ones ever fit my burners correctly. The viewer suggested baking soda and lemon to remove the “stuff.” Of course I skipped right over to handy-dandy Pinterest to see if I could find a recipe or guide to whip some up. I had all of the ingredients already except for a Brillo scrubber ( I’m probably pretty sure that isn’t what it’s called but… oh well!). So I ran out to the 99 Cent store to pick some up.

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Alright! Here we go…

I mixed together in a bowl the baking soda and lemon juice first.

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I poured it all over the stove top and let it sit for about an hour. In my opinion that might have been too long. I didn’t read anything specifying the amount of time to let it sit so I did what I thought made sense.

Next, I sprayed on the Vinegar, Water & Dawn “miracle spray” and I started the scrubbing process. Let’s just say, I under estimated the process. If you are interested in seeing what I did, just click here to head over and check it out. It took me probably an hour to scrub most of the “stuff” away.

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There was a lot of black stuff that I am assuming had been burned onto the stove top. It was not budging with just the Brillo so I used a butter knife assuming I could scratch it off. This took quite a while as it wasn’t easily scraping off. I wouldn’t recommend doing this if you have a newer stove/oven or if you care if it gets minor damage. There were small silver scrape marks which can be seen more clearly here. I plan to get a new stove in the near future so the scratch marks aren’t a big deal to me. Plus, compared to all the “stuff” that was on there, I will settle for a few barely visible scratch marks any day.

Two hours later, on two separate days, it was finally clean!!! I have to admit the thought of quitting crossed my mind about a thousand times. Especially when I got down to the last little speckles of black “stuff” that just wouldn’t come off. To be honest, I was getting pissed off, however…

I did not do all of that to end up with a stove top that wasn’t clean and sparkling and free of the “stuff.”

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It felt like a mini miracle. It has been a really long time since I have seen this thing so clean. You know, not to toot my own horn but… toot toot!! The feeling of accomplishment is real y’all! I also have made a #selfpromise to never let it get that bad again. Not ever~

So there it is there. Baking Soda & Lemon + Vinegar, water and a drop of dawn soap (miracle spray) = The cure for a totally filthy stove top.

Until Next Time Favorite Friend…

xx addie

Morning Musings

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For the past two weeks every morning I have been walking  my daughter to school. This is something I used to do quite consistently before the busy hectic mornings of having four children.

Before, when there were just two of them and even when baby number three was in the oven, I loved to take a morning walk.  I would walk the big girls to school and then walk to our local park to walk the paths for about an hour and then walk home.

Of course things changed a bit when I found out we were expecting baby number four. Since my pregnancy with Preston (baby #3) ended early due to PPROM, during pregnancy number four I took extra precautions to keep her in. Like cut out exercise.

Now that we are settling into a more structured routine, now that Penelope is nine months old and now that I am adamant about exercising again, we’ve been taking our morning walks . The thing I love now is that I have a great camera. Now that I have the Sony A5000 (which I purchased for my YouTube videos). Literally since I bought this camera I feel like I am a photographer. Of course not a professional, well, in my head I am but seriously I have really been enjoying capturing the moments I am in.

The last few days I have taken my camera out with me on the morning walks. To simply just capture what I see. Whatever I think is beautiful, ugly or just merely eye-catching I snap a pic no matter what it is. I also listen to something inspirational, spiritual, positive or simply just affirmations every morning while I am on my walk. I don’t know but it has sort of been getting me into a “good vibes only” sort of mood and has been a great way to start my days.

This morning I listened to a video by Justin from the You Are Creators YouTube channel. I really love this channel because it has a ton of very motivating content. I also took some pictures along the way.

Today’s Thought: My words have immense power. My thoughts form my spoken word.

Today’s Intention: Act as if I already have all that I desire.

Today’s Goal: To be mindful of my posture. As a dance and movement instructor I know that our body speaks a language all its own that is more powerful than the spoken word in terms of how we think. The body language of someone who is confident is much different from the body language of someone who is afraid, nervous or lacks confidence.

Today’s Affirmation: I always have more than enough to take care of the things I need and want.

Today’s I AM: Successful.

I am Successful.

Here is a look at some of what I captured this morning! Enjoy

XX

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Headed out for this mornings walk.
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I have really been attracted to yellow this Spring season.

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I hate this bush next to my house. It has grown tremendously and is out of control. It is not on my property like though so I don’t try to cut it. It actually looks gorgeous in this picture though.

Sleep Training?

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See that beautiful girl?

This is Miss Penelope Rose-Lynn. She is our last baby. There are four of them. Ages 12, 8, 2 and Penny who is 9 months old. My first daughter slept in her crib since we brought her home from the hospital. I can’t recall ever having her sleep with us nor do I recall anything special we did to “get her” to sleep this way. It was something that was just… always.

My second daughter was breastfed. Unlike my first born, who wouldn’t ever latch and we ended up doing formula after three long months of pumping. MaKayla (baby #2) had a crib, beautiful bedding, the whole nine but having a four year old and a newborn was not giving me much sleep. Of course that was to be expected. What I didn’t expect was the convenience that co-sleeping while breastfeeding provided. I mean, baby cries, you pop it out everyone is happy. Mom can still sleep, baby can nurse and were all legit.

Until, you want your bed back.

Transitioning MaKayla to her crib was a challenge. We started that around nine months also because at that time we had just moved into a new house. I can’t quite remember when she was finally in her bed, every night but it took a while before it happened.

Then comes baby number three. Six years later.

Preston was born premature so he spent the first six weeks of his life in the NICU. That was a really difficult time for me so of course when he came home I wanted to give him all the love and attention I feel he lacked being hooked up to machines 24 hours a day. He had to learn how to nurse since we spent a lot of time bottle feeding him in the NICU. Once he learned though, he fed like a champ and then came the constant co-sleeping. Again, convenience.

Now let’s talk about Miss Penelope. She has co-slept with us since she was about three months old. That was about the time a swaddle just wasn’t doing it for her anymore. Now here we are six months later and she needs me to sleep. She wakes to comfort feed two to four times a night! I just don’t know if it is doing more harm in the long run than good in the present moment.  Is it convenient to be able to just lean over and let her suckle until she falls back asleep? Hell yes! Especially since I have four children. I don’t get to bed until 11 pm most nights and I am back up at 6 am (I wish it was earlier but I just can’t). I need to be able to sleep. Peacefully.

I won’t even begin to mention my marital life. I presume we are all adults here right? Well, all I will say about this is that, I think my husband and I are ready to have our bed back.

Sleep Training? I have heard of it, I have read about it and I spent a lot of time on Youtube watching videos about the process. I will first start by saying to each his own. I judge no one as I wouldn’t understand why someone would judge me. Every family should do what is best for them.

Tonight I started sleep training. My goal is to get Penelope and Preston to bed by 8 pm and in their own beds. I really don’t know what I am in for at this point.

We started the night out with bath time for Preston and Penelope followed by a good rub down with some night time lotion and pajamas. Preston got to wind down on the couch with daddy for about 15 minutes while I breastfed Penny. At 8 pm I put them both in bed, turned on some lullaby’s and left the room. The crying began immediately. Both of them. Preston still cries and talks to himself and rolls around for almost an hour every night so this is nothing new.

I set my timer for 10 minutes. If she cried that long my plan was to go back in the room, calmly tell her it was night night time, lay her back down (with her bottle) and walk out again. The timer went off and sure enough I had to do this. Twice.

On the third round of 10 minute intervals she fell asleep with three minutes to spare. So in all it took approximately 27 minutes of crying tonight before she knocked out. It is clear the key to this is going to be consistency. Oh, and probably a lot of patience and coffee.

Night one… Check.