Thursday, June 28, 2012

Just Like Me!

I am so excited and proud to see that little girls with Alopecia and Cancer are finally getting some affirmation that they are normal and that they are not alone in dealing with hair loss. Recently two major toy corporations have designed dolls that are bald to help girls dealing with these horrible diseases to feel more excepted and "normal". w/ alopecia and cancer get a doll that looks like them! Wonderful!
Mattel's bald Barbie
As a young girl, I felt as though I was the only one who had to deal with being bald. I felt very alone and self conscious about my lack of hair. I felt left out when my friends did each other's hair at sleep-overs and when my sister got to pick out cute barrettes and headbands. It was always frustrating as a teenager when peers would complain about having a bad hair day when all I wanted was a hair day of any kind. It was uncomfortable when playing with dolls, because brushing their hair seemed somewhat unnatural to me. 
The American Girl doll for girls with Cancer and Alopecia
Luckily for this generation of kids, there is far more awareness about hair loss. If Mattel and American Girl are any indication, it is becoming part of the "norm" to be bald and a young girl. Bravo to these companies for helping these little girls feel a little less different, and for giving them reassurance that they are beautiful just the way they are! I am so proud of these companies and I hope with all of my heart that more follow suit and continue the progress being made.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Big Boy Bed Tips

Last night my little guy turned into a big boy. It's crazy that it can literally happen over-night! A couple of months ago, Liam learned to climb out of his crib. Luckily for us, there was one more set of brackets, so we were able to lower his mattress and buy us a little more time. Knowing that he had learned the skills needed to escape, we knew that lowering the mattress would not solve the problem long-term, so we began to prepare for a big boy bed.
We are so thankful that Liam's cousin Aiden out-grew his big boy bed right about the time we were in the market for one. We were also very lucky that the bed fit the Cars theme that Liam had already picked out. Before we got started, we both did a lot of reading about how to make the switch from crib to toddler bed an easy one. I also talked to several friends who had already made the switch to get any ideas that they had.

Here are the tips that seemed to work for us:

*Talk about the move from crib to bed before actually making the transition- We talked to Liam about the move many weeks before it actually happened.

*Let the child help pick out the bed/bedding- Although we were extremely lucky that what Liam wanted fit what we were given, we took him to Target and let him browse the bedding section. He just happened to pick out a sheet set that fit the bed!

*Have the child help with the assembly process- My husband, Liam, and I spent about an hour putting the bed together as a family. It didn't necessarily take that long to put it together, but we took our time and made it fun.

*Keep the crib in plain sight for a bit- We found this to be a big help! A child's crib is the place where they feel the safest, so taking it away the same time that you put them into a new bed can make it scarier for the little one. We left it up in the same spot it's always been.

*Once you make the transition, don't go back- We haven't had to deal with this yet, but I completely understand why this is an important step to follow. Even though we left the crib in the room, we used the crib mattress for the big boy bed. This way we won't be able to easily transfer him from one to the other. It's just as much for us as it is for him.

*Use a nightlight- Liam has never been afraid of the dark, but we were concerned that he would be nervous about the switch so we did it anyway.
*Be consistent- The first time that Liam got out of his bed, we took him back, laid him down, said goodnight, and left the room. The next time he got up, he tried to open the door (we are very lucky he can't yet) and after a failed attempt, went to bed.

*Think ahead- Look around the room and make sure that anything that could be unsafe to a wandering child, is put up or secured. A couple of examples are that Liam's dresser could be a bit unstable if it were to be climbed on, so we secured it to the wall. Also, his changing table was placed under the window. Knowing that he has learned to climb up it, we put it in the closet. Even picking up any toys that they could trip over and making sure that any cords (blinds, monitors, etc.) are out of reach.

*Follow the same bedtime routine- Liam has always been easy to put down. We read a couple of books while rocking, then give hugs, kisses, and say goodnight, we lay him down, turn off the light, and close the door. It has always worked for us, so we followed the same steps to put him to bed. I think that this helped greatly!

*Be positive!- When we discussed the big boy bed we always made it seem fun and exciting. It was always expressed as something that was a big deal and a huge step toward becoming a big boy. By the time the bed actually came out, he was jumping up and down with excitement.

We have only made it through one night so far, but already these tips have come in handy. If things change and more tips are useful, I will be sure to share them. But my fingers are crossed, that this will be one part of parenting that will be easier than expected. Here's to being hopeful!

Sleeping 10 minutes after turning the light out.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Oh, Summer Break

It is only day two of summer break, and Liam and I are loving it! My little guy is and always has been, a morning person. An early riser at heart, Joe and I are lucky to sleep until six on the weekends. However, it is quite obvious that summer break was well needed for the both of us. Since Saturday, Liam has slept in at least until 7am every morning. This is absolutely unheard of! Since the day he was born, this has happened just a handful of times until this week.
His need for some extra Z's doesn't stop there. He has always been a very good napper. A typical nap is about 3 hours. Once again, he is more in need than usual. He has been taking 4 hour naps off and on since Saturday as well. His extra rest has come at the best possible time for me! I too have been more sleepy than usual. I have taken advantage of all of his sleeping in (until this morning, when I just couldn't sleep after 6:30am). Unfortunately for me, I have also fallen into a nap pattern.
I'm so glad that summer came when it did. We both need a break, lots of sleep, and some Liam-mommy time. We have a great deal of exciting plans for the summer, but for the next few days we will be resting, rejuvenating, and cuddling up a storm!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ready to Relax!

In between Liam's birthday party and Memorial Day weekend, our little family had a bit of a quiet streak. It was lovely to relax at home, take little family trips/walks, and actually feel like we were keeping up around the house. Then Memorial Day hit and ever since, we have been on the go! We went to Bend that weekend on our yearly friend vacation. It was so fun and relaxing, but coming home from a vacation is always exhausting. Unpacking, laundry, being tired from the long drive, these were all packed into the half a day we had to get back on track.
The next Saturday we attended my sister's 9th birthday party, I helped celebrate baby Olivia's arrival at Emily's baby shower, then rushed to have dinner with friends. That Sunday we spent the day at the in-law's house celebrating a way-early Father's Day while Liam played with his cousins.
These past few weeks at work have been challenging too. The kids are crazy, the days seem long, and now that there is some sun shining through the windows, it doesn't feel like we should be cooped up in the classroom anymore. Between scoring mounds and mounds of writing tests, finishing up several projects, cleaning and packing up my room, and studying every free second I can spare, even my work days have been packed to the brim.
This past weekend was crazy too! My second round of the Praxis began at 7:30am Saturday morning, followed by my mom's graduation at 10:30am, then lunch with the family. Finally, we got some peace and quiet yesterday, and it was wonderful! We still took a walk down to the fruit stand, then did the usual weekend grocery shopping, but it was calm, relaxed.
This up coming weekend as well as the next, are going to be busy as well. We are attending, what is sure to be, a wild birthday party Friday night, having a BBQ with friends Saturday, and then Joe's third annual Father's Day celebration on Sunday! But once we get through the next couple weekends, we are in the clear for a bit. Some family time is in our future and the calendar is clearing up (for now).