Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Sleep Question

Photo taken April 3, 2012. Two and a half months old.

I remember how exhausted I was when Ella first came home from the hospital.  All she ever wanted to do was sleep.... on someone.  We held her so much in the first day or two that the nurses told us she wouldn't fall asleep in her bed in the nursery, because she just wanted to be in someone's arms.

In some ways, I loved those precious moments with my daughter, but in other ways, I just wanted her to learn to sleep on her own.  And then finally, she did.

For a long time, Ella would get very fussy and tired during the day, screaming without end, and going almost full days without napping.  And then we got on a daytime schedule - eat, play, nap, eat, play, nap. It works well, she naps longer, and she isn't crying as much (because we can tell when she is tired).

That being said, we still haven't mastered the night sleeping.  Ella is just a little over 3 months old and still sleeps in bed with us (I know, I know - we said we would never do it, but it just worked best for us).  Her naps during the day are in her own bed.  We swaddle her during naptime and bedtime because she flails around and wakes herself up if she isn't swaddled.  Our bedtime routine goes something like this and starts somewhere between 9:00 and 10:00pm:

1.  Feeding
2.  Bath
3.  PJ's
4.  Book
5. Prayer
6. Swaddle
7. Put down, lights out.

Dave and I go to bed usually about half an hour to an hour after she does.

She usually wakes up about 2 times in the night to eat.  She eats laying down, and I just wait for her to fall asleep until I go back to sleep.  She usually wakes up for the day around 8:00am.

I have read that babies at 3 months should be able to sleep though the night, and I would like for her to be able to do that.  I would also like for her to sleep in her crib at night.

We have established a bedtime routine, and we have a daily nap schedule - the only thing keeping her up at night is her eating.  I need some ideas on how to proceed though.  Should I wait a little longer until she is slightly older to try to coax her into sleeping through the night?  Has anyone tried any methods for getting their younger (3-6 months) babies to sleep that long? I have looked at the Ferber method and at SleepSense, but don't want to buy something and commit unless I know it works.

We are also okay with moving her to her crib to sleep at night, but I don't want to have to be walking to her room to feed her twice a night for the next two months or so if she isn't really old enough to sleep through the night yet.  We are prepared for some bad nights, if we can feel confident we will see some results in a couple of weeks.

So if you have any advice or can share what worked with your child, it would be greatly appreciated!

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Trio of Mess

It is dark, cold, and rainy outside today.  It is just a gloomy day - one of those curl up by the fire, with a blanket and a good book kind of days.  But because I have no fireplace, and am between books, I am instead writing this post while little girl is napping.

The view outside my window.  It's gross out!

I am in the middle of two projects right now, and because I want to show them to you when I am done, I am going to write about three quick things today instead of one big one!

The Blog
My blog used to give me headaches.  Too much pattern and design and I didn't know where to look.  So in an effort to simplify things in my life, I have changed the design to a lot simpler and (I think) sleeker.  Let me know what you think.  But if you don't like it, don't worry!  I'll probably get tired of it and change it again soon.  Also, check out the "About Amy" section at the top of my blog- it's new!

I'm a Gardener

My very useful plant! After about 1 week of growth!

I found this idea on Pinterest.  I am not really sure that it has to do with mess, but it was a great tip, and I wanted to share it with you!  

I tend to a cook a lot of asian dishes.  I really like Thai flavours, so many of our dishes end up with an asian flare (I go through a lot of Hoisin sauce!).  One of the ingredients that is frequently called for in the recipes I use is green onions.  I am not a big onion person, but I like the extra little kick that green onions bring to a dish.  And I am lucky that they are pretty cheap, but I was constantly having to run to the grocery store for a $0.99 item.  So I started growing my own!  This project will take you about 2 minutes, and it will cost you anywhere from $0 and $2.

First, you want to take your green onions and cut them down to the top of the white/light green parts.  I forgot to take a picture of this, so bear with me.  Once you are done, place them in a mason jar and fill the jar with a reasonable amount of water (make sure the roots are covered, but not the whole thing).  In a matter of days you will notice sprouts and you will have reusable green onions.  No more running to the grocery store for them again!  Just make sure they are left in a place with lots of light!  You may also want to switch out your water every once and a while so it doesn't get stale.

The Secret Project

I am working on a top secret project that I can't wait to share with you all.  It is a big project, but I think it will help streamline our life a lot.  Here is a little pictorial hint!  I am hoping to have it done next week so I can share it with you then!

Can you guess what I am working on?

I hope you all have a great week!


P.S. - If you haven't had a chance to vote on what to do with my laundry room area, check out the sidebar and vote now!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Laundry Room Dilemna

I need to be brutally honest with you right now.  My house is far from perfect, and I don't do a very good job at keeping it clean.  But having a messy house stresses me out.  I am constantly in this conundrum between not having a clean house, and really truly desiring for it to be clean.

I tell myself that my house is constantly messy because I have no time.  But let's be honest - mostly my house is in the state it is in because I am lazy.  If I constantly kept up with it, I am sure that my house would look better and I would feel better.  But I put off cleaning until it gets to the stage where it is so messy that I have to clean it, but I never want to.

Don't believe me?  This is what I am looking at right now:
Sorry for the blurriness, I don't know what I was thinking when I took this!

But although my laziness is a major culprit in this issue, I think there is another culprit that is equally to blame.  Ever heard the saying, a place for everything, and everything in its place?  I could live by this motto.  There are some things that have a specific place to go, and I have an exceedingly easy time putting these things away, because I don't have to rummage around and find a place for it, or throw it somewhere only to have to deal with it later.

So I am going to be trying to organize my house piece by piece to ensure everything does have a place.  And I am going to bring you on my journey with me.  I will need your help in order to decide how I should organize and decorate these spaces!  Every Monday (hopefully), I will have a new organizing blog post.  Sometimes it will be projects I have done, and sometimes it will be projects I am thinking of doing and need your help with.  So please, join me and help me organize my life!

There are a couple of other factors that affect these projects as well.  First, as I work on these organizing projects, I will be primarily home with our beautiful daughter, so I rarely have long periods of time to devote to a project, but rather I can only work on things in short intervals (usually while she naps).  Secondly, Dave and I do not own the house we live in, we are renting it.  Our landlords have given us a ton of freedom to do with it as we please, but we definitely do not want to be sinking a lot of money for very little return.  Finally, we are on a tight budget.  I have a limited amount of money set aside every month for 'home improvement', and so anything I do needs to be extremely cost effective!

The Laundry Room

The first area that I have decided to tackle is our laundry room area.  Our washer and dryer are in a dark (hence the awful photos) corner of our basement, slightly out of the way.  The washer and dryer are pretty old, but have worked well for us.   I have also been hanging some of our clothes on the line to dry in order to save electricity.  This works well, but means I need to be even more organized in getting them out to the line, and bringing them in before I forget about them and they are rained on.

There are two shelves above my dryer.  These shelves have been, for the most part, pretty cluttered.  They held my laundry detergent(s), bleach, stain remover, lightbulbs, some cleaners, our iron, our steamer, some dryer balls, dryer sheets, and lots more.  Recently I switched to using soap nuts as our laundry detergent.  This has worked well for us, it means that I am not worrying about what chemicals I am washing our clothes in, and it also means that I can use the same laundry detergent to wash all of our laundry (Ella's diapers, her clothes, our clothes, bedding, towels, etc).  It has decreased the number of bottles I need to have available at all times.

This weekend I cleaned those shelves off.  I forgot to take a before picture, but I hadn't touched the top shelf when I took this picture.  Just take the mess on the top shelf, multiply it exponentially in your mind and you have what the bottom shelf looked like.

I got four glass jars for the bottom shelf, and two small baskets for the top shelf.  I had originally bought the baskets for 7$ a pop at Zelllers, only to find almost the exact same ones at the Dollar store for 2$ - so I returned the ones from Zellers and saved myself 10$.  The glass jars that I got were 2$ each as well (I miss when everything at the Dollar store was actually 1$).

Bottom shelf - Soap Nuts, Baking Soda, Borax, Soap Nuts
I am not done yet though.  Half of the mess from the shelves is still on my dryer.  I need to figure out what to do with the following things:

1) Bleach.  I want to put this in a soap pump container.  Does anyone know if this would destroy the container?  It would be nice to be able to just squirt a couple drops into the washing machine when I need it!
2) Stain Remover.  I am not quite sure how to hide this one - it is a bright pink bottle, so I might just have to live with it!

The blocks in blue are going to appear very soon.  I have some nice frames that I am going to frame these instructions in and hang up!

Your input

This is where I need your help.  If you have any insight about the following things, leave me a comment:

1) What to do with my bleach
2) What to do with my stain remover
3) How to further organize my little bins (note the one on the left isn't really organized), and it will get pretty messy if I leave it like this!

You can also help by voting in one of the polls!

1) Vote on whether I should paint the back wall of my cupboards, leave it bare, or paper it so it will look like this (not necessarily this paper):


2) I want a place to store the laundry that I don't wash all the time, but that I need a place for when they are dirty and I get new ones (like dirty towels, dish clothes, table clothes, hand-wash only clothes, etc).  Should I use a wooden system like this one:

Or a hamper system like this one:
Thanks so much for your help in advance!  I can't wait to hear what you all think!  You can vote in the polls in the right sidebar!