Pre-baby days, I used to enjoy the occasional DIY project. Now I enjoy the idea of them, and certainly love to torture myself by scrolling through Pinterest images of amazing repurposing of old items, toys and costumes for kids, parties, etc. Sheesh! Who has the time for all of that?!?! I'm lucky if I sweep up the dust bunnies before they outgrow my son! #MotherOfTheYear!!
But, sometimes you just need a few simple ideas to make it seem a little less overwhelming. So I'm happy to bring you the great blog of a new mommy friend of mine - Life is Made with Katie Miles. Check out her Five Fun Projects to Do With Your Kids this Winter, featuring things like making a prince or princess crown or kitty/puppy ears, and painting gingerbread men. How fun!
Katie's blog is sure to give you great ideas for anything from throwing a movie night party to cooking a fabulous dinner, and she even teaches classes in NYC and upstate NY on embroidering, crafts, etc! This stay-at-home-mom and "domestic artist" has a BFA in Painting and Fibers (is that a thing!? wow!). "Life is Made is the result of love for the outdoors, recycling, creating beautiful things, and being committed to the philosophy that life is only as good as the things that you make. " Well, I made a stinking cute baby, so my life is pretty good at the moment ;) But hopefully I'll find the chance to try some of Katie's projects soon!!
I'll skip to the chase - sleep training in a one bedroom apartment is impossible, or nearly so, at least for me! I searched the web high and low for sleep training guides focused on families in small apartments forced to share a bedroom with their little one. And you know what, I couldn't find a single one. Sure, I found the occasional question on a sleep training forum, with a few suggestions such as "put up a barrier so baby can't see you", etc. But I'll tell you, it's not easy and for us it just wasn't happening.
Baby wakes up for whatever reason: transitioning between sleep cycles, a loud truck rolled by, the neighbors dog was barking, you name it. Baby wakes up just enough to start crying and stand up in his crib. Then he sees you, or if you have the barrier up or are hiding under the covers, he still knows you are there. Thus begins the process of getting himself so worked up that eventually he's dinosaur screaming (you know, where it's all guttural high pitched screaming from the throat, that sounds like he's in excrutiating pain). Maybe you are deteremined to let him cry it out. Commence torturous moments or even hours, if you have the will and heart of coal. Maybe baby gives up and lies down, but is up and at it again in 5 to 30 minutes. You finally cave, thinking something must be terribly wrong with your baby - he's hungry, teething, has a poopy diaper, is gassy, had a night terror, sees dead people, who knows!?!?! it's the middle of the night and you're exhausted and you're scared your child is crying for a real reason and you've been ignoring him! Worst mother ever!!! So you pick up your screaming child and the SECOND you pick him up out of the crib he is the most quiet and peaceful thing you have ever seen. Your mind suddenly switches from terrified to angry - YOU BIG FAKER!!!! But he's angelic and sweet and so you cuddle or nurse him and he's back to sleep in no time. Finally you put him back down in the crib, maybe he protests with a few cries, maybe not. But he's back to sleep and you know the cycle will just repeat in another hour or two.
Welcome to the #ZombieMom Zone.
I've been here for about 7 months, since my perfect little sleeper turned 5.5 months and decided he would no longer sleep 11 hours through the night, would no longer find comfort in sucking his thumb, and would begin torturing his parents on a nightly basis. #ZombieMom Zone is not just uncomfortable, it's dangerous. Your ability to reason and to have patience of ANY sort whatsoever are out the window. It's not healthy for you or your family or the world. The longer you remain in #ZombieMom Zone, the deeper you go until you don't even remember what it's like to function like a normal thought processing human being. Every cry of your child in the night sends you to the edge, making you remember the words of your discharging nurse after birth warning you about shaken baby syndrome: "no baby every died from crying - do not even go near that crib if your thoughts are anything other than warm nurturing ones".
I used to bring him into bed with us, but I broke that habit with our last attempt at CIO sleep training a few months ago (that attempt did help - he's now a great napper and goes down at night usually without crying at all, it just didn't help with not waking up every couple of hours!), and don't wan to start the habit again or confuse him with sometimes allowing it and sometimes not. I love co-sleeping actually, but my biggest fear is baby will fall out of bed in the middle of the night. He's really restless and does acrobatics all over the place. Co-sleeping is not conducive to me getting a good night's rest, unfortunately, so it's out of the question.
Yesterday I analyzed our living room and realized there is a spot by the window that I can fashion a makeshift room for Kenzo. If I put the sound machine in there, and we are super quiet when are going about the rest of the apartment, he should be able to sleep in there...
So, our plan was not to go to Kenzo unless he was crying for at least 20 minutes. How did it go??
AMAZING NIGHT OF SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!
I put him down at 8pm. While we were still awake and working in the kitchen, Kenzo woke up and cried for a minute or two at 9:45 and again at 11pm. There were a few more times during the night were I heard him cry very quietly for a minute, but it was the kind of cry you could tell he wasn't really awake, and thankfully he just laid himself down and went back to deep sleep. He didn't really wake up until 6:45am. Hooooo-freaking-rah!!!!!!!!!
I'll still put him down in the bedroom in his crib for naps, so I can get stuff down around the house without tip-toing around, and then we'll continue the nighttime sleep in the living room. I really hope last night wasn't a fluke and this is the solution until we move to the new home in 2 months and he gets his own for real room! Also hope this cold-turkey night weaning doesn't land me with another bout of mastitis! Eeeek!
Stressful? Yes. Wonderful and memorable and lots of fun? YES! Our Winter ONEderland triple first birthday party went off without a hitch, well, for the most part!
As I mentioned in my previous post, Gymboree only gives you 15 minutes of set-up time. So it was a challenge to say the least but we had about 10 adults to get it done - a few were on babysitting duty and the rest were unpacking and climbing ladders and taping and arranging like mad! But we totally pulled it off, phew! Check out our party room spread (vender credits at bottom of post):
After setting up, it was time to PLAY! We had just over 15 babies/kids in attendance and it was a zoo, but made me realize there was NO way we could have done it at one of our teeny tiny Brooklyn homes. Despite the minimal setup time allotted, it was really nice to have it at a play gym where the kids could go wild and we didn't have to worry about them breaking our stuff! The parachute and bubble session at the end of the party was definitely my fave - the kids were loving it, and I was loving that ^_^
The party room was a bit tight when it came time to chow, but we managed!
Oh my, could we look any more disheveled? haha! But how cute are our little ones sitting in their big kid chairs ready to (let their mama's) blow out the candle!
Here is our amazing cake, nothing short of a piece of art! Made with love by Theresa of Grandma's Heavenly Goodies in Bay Ridge. The gorgeous masterpiece before, and the hideous butchered aftermath! LOL!
We had to get a group shot at the end, and were able to corral most of the babies. These mama's (Bay Ridge Baby Mamas) have been in our lives since Kenzo was about 3 months old, it's so cool to watch them all grow and start to become more interactive and play together! I know some will move out of the nabe, booooo, but it'll be cool to see who stays and which kids remain friends into their elementary school days and beyond!! Can you imagine if Kenzo ends up marrying one of these little ladies in 25 or 30 years!?!?!
Cleanup was a bear, but it actually went really quickly! But look at the amount of presents!! Wooooohooooooooooo!! We have some awesome friends!! Well, those are for 3 babies, but still! We ended up having to take a taxi home because we couldn't carry everything! Still haven't gotten around to opening up anything yet, will do it this weekend so daddy can enjoy seeing Kenzo's excitement! Good think we're moving to a bigger place in a couple of months! Turns out a toddler needs bigger (and more) toys...
So how'd we do it? Who did we use and recommend?? Here's my list:
Save the Date, Invites, & Welcome sign courtesy of beccagoldrubin DESIGN
Cake courtesy of Grandma's Heavenly Goodies
Birthday Suit & Hat courtesy of Little Stitchin Lu
Birthday Banner courtesy of Paper Heart Company
Snowflake Pom Poms courtesy of The Shower Planner
White snowflake cupcake wrappers courtesy of Crafty Grandma 17316
Mini blue snowflake cupcake wrappers and drink stirrers (which I used for the fruit shish kebabs) courtesy of Dill Pickle Picnic
Glitter felt snowflakes and snowflake table confetti courtesy of Pear Creek Cottage
Everything else we got from Party City!
A BIG BIG BIG kudos goes out to my fellow party planning moms - they worked so hard, created some awesome food / art, and helped me get through this monumental event without too much emotional trauma! Thank you Rose & Shira - I love you girls!!! ^_^
I am a planner, a researcher, a super organized kinda gal. I have to say that since having a baby things have gotten crazier but I do my best to stay on top of my game. I planned my destination wedding all by myself. I planned a 10-country world tour for hubby and I all by myself. Easy peasy. But you know what is throwing me for a loop?? My baby's damn first birthday party!! HA!
One problem is Pinterest, and Facebook. They put so much freaking pressure on us to make the cutest most adorable and memorable party ever. You know what? It's just not freaking possible to live up to those kinda standards! Well, not for 99% of us anyway. Yeah, there is a new "1%" and they are the people who are pinned time and time again with their amazing decorations and kids storage ideas and photo ops. Ugh. Hate them. Down with the 1%!!!
I'll get off my soap box and instead talk about how the party prepping is going. First of all, I'm not in it alone, thank god!! We're doing a triple birthday party with 2 baby friends of ours - they all had their bdays between Christmas and New Year, so our theme, OF COURSE, is "Winter ONEderland". On the one hand, planning it with two other moms is cheaper and easier, it's also harder in some ways because you have to have decisions discussed and voted on, and divvying up tasks is a task all on its own! LOL! But, getting together to work on the crafts and stuff is a blast, once we get over the stress of planning and being surrounded by squealing or tantruming toddlers!!
This week we worked on a few big items: the snowflake pom poms, the birthday banner, and our photo doilie display!
I got the snowflake pom poms from a great Etsy shop called The Shower Planner (like them on Facebook, check out their blog, and follow them on Pinterest!). Everyone knows those cute pom poms, you see them at baby showers and stuff like that. Sure, they're a pain in the butt to make, but they are great cheap decorations. Well, PHC sells those and they come with these awesome snowflakes that hang down from them!! They were not too tough to put together and came out really cute!
Next we worked on the birthday banner, which we got from Paper Heart Company (like them on Facebook!). They have digital designs which they can personalize, and then you print then, cut them out, hole punch them, and string them together... a bit of work on your end, but they come out great!
We also worked on a project for highlighting each month of our babies' first year. We thought doilies worked with our theme, so decided to throw photos on doilies and string them together...
The big day is this Sunday, so will definitely do a post afterwards with photos of how everything looked set-up (we have FIFTEEN minutes to set up the room... WHAT THE EF GYMBOREE!?!?!?! Grrrrr that is probably where 95% of our stress lies...). Wish us luck! Hopefully we can do what we can do and then just have FUN at the party!!
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)