Sleep is for amateurs

imageHello tired momma and papa. I know that you have already searched pinterest, google, and the entire how-to infant section at Barnes and Nobles and still your baby is NOT SLEEPING. I’ve blocked out most of those early sleepless days but I do remember being so tired that when I actually did laid down to sleep my whole body would convulse because my body was in sleep deprivation mode. You don’t think that you can do it for one more day but you do and then do it the next day, and the day after that. I remember my friends and family telling, “It’ll only last the first four or five months and he’ll start sleeping better!” FOUR OR FIVE MONTHS?! I thought to myself there is no way I can physically make it that long. I swear we tried everything from Babywise to routines to gripe water to sound machines in every possible combination possible.

Here are some things that helped us get Mason to sleep through the night. Every baby is different and these tips might not help but hey its definitely worth a shot.

1) Routine! We do the same thing night after night. Yes our social life is limited to only those activities that fall before 5pm but sweet sweet slumber is worth it. My husband and I think that establishing a bedtime routine was the number one thing that helped Mason sleep through the night. Our schedule is as follows: Bottle around 3-4, Bath at 5pm, quiet play/reading with mom and dad, and then down to bed when he started showing tired signs around 6-7 pm. We change him into a nighttime diaper and dream feed him around 8-9pm and then STRAIGHT TO BED. He wakes up around 6-630 am! Woohoo! I hate to tell you but the first couple of nights that your little one sleeps through you probably will not. You have trained your body to wake up every few hours and its a hard habit to break. I also checked incessantly every couple hours those first couple of night to make sure Mason was still breathing because I could not believe that we had actually made it!

2) Late to bed does not necessarily mean late to rise! Yes you heard right. Making your infant stay up during the day when they are tired is a certain recipe for an overly tired cranky baby. And an overly tired baby is a terror. Babies who are overly tired have a hard time self-soothing and are usually so grumpy that have a hard time going down to nap or sleep.The days that Mason gets good naps during the day he usually has a great nights sleep. Also, he tends to be a happier baby with lots of coos and laughs to go along with that. Now with that said, I do try to limit his afternoon nap and not let it go after 4 or 5 so we can get him to bed at a reasonable hour.

3) Establishing day and night rhythms
Oh how cozy it is all warm and dark in the womb until suddenly and violently your baby has to come out to the real world! Mason had major day/night reversal issues for the first week or so after he was born. If you baby kicks a lot at night there is a good chance that is his awake period and that will continue out of the womb as well. During the day we would open all the blinds and would try to engage mason with stimulating activity and talking. At night we would close the blinds and dim the lights and started our bedtime routine. In less than a week the issue corrected itself!

4) Cry it out?
Beware! Controversial topic ahead! There are tons of books on sleeping and getting your baby to sleep through the night and various techniques on how to get your baby to sleep through the night. I’ll admit it I bought the babywise book. At four weeks I tried to get Mason on the strict babywise schedule of Eat, Activity, Sleep, You time and it be blunt it didn’t work for me at all. I might get the first couple of hours on schedule and then the whole day would be off and then the next and so on. I also tried the cry it out method but I was right there along with him definitely crying it out. However what did work for me as stated before was a bedtime routine and once he was around 3 months when I knew for certain he was tired I would lay him down. If he cried I started letting him cry for about 5 min then go in and shoosh him and pat/pick him up if his screams sounded like they originated from the bowels of hell. Then lay him back down and keep going in at 5,10,15 min increments. As he got older I increased the time slowly. This method for me seemed to work however an infant below 2-3 months of age is not neurologically capable of self-soothing and the cry it out method will not work.

5) Sound machine
We were skeptical at first but many friends told us that they thought that the white noise of the sound machine helped get their little ones asleep. At this point I would have spent a small fortune to get him to sleep. I broke down at Wal-mart one day and said what the hell. And don’t you know the damn thing worked. Now it didn’t get him to sleep through the night but it was helping him to sleep and stay asleep longer. Amen to that!

6) Know your babies sleep signs!
This is key. Like I said before an overly tired baby and if your baby is already crying its too late. When Mason is tired he usually likes to rub his head on things, rub his eyes, yawn, his arm and legs movements tend to get jerkier, and he tends to become less engaged in activity. There are some good videos on YouTube on sleep signs for babies.

7) Cluster feeding hell
Your nipples are sore from your little one constantly wanting to eat for short bouts of time and every time your baby eats she falls asleep! Sleep and feedings are intimately related in infancy however when feeding your infant try to tickle your babies feet, shake their legs, and talk to your baby and try to keep them awake during feedings for a full belly and hopefully longer nap!

8) Earlier transition to crib

Mason started sleeping in his crib around 1.5 months old. He was outgrowing his bedside bassinet but it also helped with his sleeping to be in his own bed in his own room. For one, I wasn’t waking up every time he’d make the smallest peep and a lot of time if he did wake up he would soothe himself back to sleep by the time I got up to get him. I think sleeping separately helped him with self soothing and independence in his own bed. However, I know many parents choose to co-sleep and that is an individual family decision.

9) Utilize your partner!

Welcome to mommyhood Dairy Queen! Even if you are breastfeeding take help if your partner or family and take a night off. Make bottles ahead of time or pump if you need to and take a break. Sometimes you do everything right and you baby will still wake up screaming and you’re going to need a break Momma.

Good Luck all you exhausted mommas and papas out there! Keep your hopes up because one night your little one WILL fall asleep and sleep through the night. Mason one night when he was around 3.5-4 months just all of a sudden started sleeping through the night and has ever since. My husband and I like to think we had some part in that but I think Mason is the real mastermind behind all of it.


Fish Tacos with Mango-Avocado Salsa

Ay yi yi! Grab a marg and enjoy these fish tacos! My husband and I honeymooned on the beautiful Caribbean island of Anguilla. While there we had a phenomenal fish sandwich at a beach bar called Gwen’s Reggae bar. The fish had a spicy but sweet flavor that until now I couldn’t put my finger on it! I had my ah-ha moment and realized it was a cumin and cinnamon mixture! I incorporated these flavors for a light summer dish of fish tacos. Enjoy ya’ll!!

3 Mahi Mahi fish fillets
salt et pepper to taste
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of onion powder
1 tsp of Cumin
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
Bag of tricolor shredded cabbage
Shredded sharp cheddar to taste
Flour tortillas
Sour cream (optional)
Preheat Oven to 400 degrees. Spray pan with non-stick spray. If skin on fish present place skin pan side down. Add spices to fish et rub into meat. Bake 15-20 minutes until fish is white and flaky.
Once fish is done remove skin and use fork to break apart fish into smaller pieces.
To make tacos, lay tortilla down and layer cheese, fish, and cabbage. Top with Avocado-Mango salsa and sour cream if you wish!
Avocado-mango salsa
2 ripe avocadoes-chopped
1 mango-chopped
1/2 red onion diced
1 TBSP of lime juice
1 TBSP of cilantro
salt et pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and serve chilled!



Pre-baby vs Post-baby Life…Sh*t just got real


Pre-baby Hair: I have my highlight and color appointment booked 6 months in advance. Nothing gets between me and this perfectly coifed mane

Post-baby Hair: No that’s not mousse that’s spit-up….from yesterday

Pre-baby bathing: I think I’m going to take a bath and read a book while sipping some wine
Post-baby bathing: Includes either showering with the monitor next to the shower or with said baby in bassinet outside of shower. Peek-a-boo with the shower curtain is a must. Damn it I forgot to shave an entire leg.

Pre-baby Saturday Nights: My heels and I are getting drinks at last call while contemplating what’s next on agenda!
Post-baby Saturday night: My slippers and I are up making a bottle. What’s next on the agenda? A 3am Feeding…..

Pre-baby Drinking: Shots!Shots!Shots!
Post-baby Drinking: The only thing I’m binging on is Netflix marathons. How many episodes of House of Cards can I watch before the baby wakes up again?

Pre-baby accessorizing: My whole outfit is perfectly accessorized from my Jack Rogers to my Lilly croakies
Post-baby accessorizing: What can I wear with my Baby Bjorn without dying from a heat stroke

Pre-baby working out: I have to train every day for that half marathon this fall!
Post-baby working out: I’ve been up since 3am when this kid goes down for a nap I’m running straight to bed

Pre-baby TV line-up: I’m up on the latest world news and have Orange is the New black and True Blood recording as we speak
Post-baby TV line-up: I can’t get that damn “Hot Diggity Dog” song out of my head from Mickey Mouse club house marathon this morning

Pre-baby restaurant problems: You get upset when a crying baby is interrupting happy hour before your enjoy your dinner
Post-baby restaurant problems: You can’t believe it when the restaurant you’re at does not have car seat slings

Pre-baby Parties: Cocktail parties in that little black dress you bought yesterday. All that running is paying off!
Post-baby Parties: You’re invited to every kid’s birthday party from here to kingdom come. It’s funny when someone announces they smell poop and every mother at the party grabs their child for the “sniff and peek test”

Pre-baby Pinterest pins: You pin everything you can find on beauty, hair, workouts and cute appetizers for your next cocktail party!
Post-baby Pinterest pins: Search all of Pinterest for any information on how to get your kid to sleep through the night….and really we wont limit it to Pinterest or blogs. You’ve already researched the internet in entirety.

Pre-baby Life: Perfection is key from your west elm apartment to your perfectly manicured nails
Post-baby Life: You realize there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything. So you can’t sweat the small stuff because there is literally not enough time in the day to worry about everything. And though there are a lot of stressors that come with family life there are also a lot more sweet moments. Enjoy each and every day because they grow up so fast!


Is Sophie la Giraffe worth all your Euro?

We’re talking Sophie la Giraffe…..


Not Sophie la pup (our fur baby)…


Oh sophie with your big doe eyes and rosy pink cheeks are you really worth 20+ bucks?
Sophie has been soothing sore gums since 1961! She is made of natural rubber from the sap of a Hevea tree so she is BPA and phthalate free. Her spots and characteristic smiling face are painted with food paint so she is safe for your little one to nom on. Sophie the giraffe’s black eyes and soft brown spots are supposedly visually stimulating and her long neck and legs are easy for your baby to hold onto to.
Her beginnings started in Europe however she is making more of an appearance stateside thanks to celebrities’ children rocking gums out with Sophie the giraffe in tow. Sophie is so tre chic when compared to her gaudy, brightly colored counterparts.
We found Sophie at Sam’s club of all places right next to the bulk diapers and a Similac formula container that is so big it won’t fit on my pantry shelf. She doesn’t seem so chic on the shelves of a bulk store but the price was right.

My husband was skeptical of Sophie because lord we have 10 other teething toys our dogs are more interested in than Mason. We assume we are on the verge of teething at almost 5 months old with the constant stream of drool, unreasonable crankiness, and of course the chewing and sucking on anything he can get his slimy drool covered hands on. So we decided to give Sophie a try. Honestly, she was a hit from the moment he saw her and it’s been a love affair ever since. He recognizes her immediately now and he has no problem manipulating her from hand to hand and obviously from hand to mouth. He will stick any available giraffe limb (or her head) in his mouth and chew away to his hearts content.
My only qualm (other than the price) with Sophie is that she has a squeaker. My dogs find that Sophie’s soft malleable body is also appealing to chew on and the fact she has a squeaker is a bonus for them. I’m constantly catching them trying to drag poor Sophie off tables because they cant resist getting their furry paws all over her.

In conclusion, my personal experience with Sophie has been a good one. She is pricey considering she is a dang teether but 20 bucks is a small price to pay when it comes to the terrors of teething. This little mademoiselle is staying.



Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler

Did I mention I like cream cheese? Man, two cream cheese related posts in one day. I want to end this fabulous first Father’s Day with strawberry cream cheese cobbler! Check out your local strawberry farms for cheap strawberries by the quart! Don’t forget to top this dessert with vanilla bean ice cream to send you to pure cream cheese bliss.

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup of milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 quarts of strawberries
4 oz of cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter and pour into a 9X13 inch pyrex dish.
In a small bowl mix together first 7 ingredients. Pour directly over butter but DO NOT stir
Add strawberries arranging in a single layer. Spring cream cheese over strawberries
Bake 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and edges are bubbling
Top with ice cream and welcome to heaven my friends




Sausage brownies

Happy Father’s Day to all those awesome daddies out there! Nothing says I love you like bulk sausage. These “brownies” are a favorite of my husbands and he requested them for his first Father’s Day breakfast. Who can say no to a layer of cheesy, creamy sausage mixture sandwiched between a golden crescent roll crust. My rule of thumb with cooking is that if the recipe include cream cheese its a keeper. These little buggers are to die for and to top it off are SUPER easy to make. There are only FOUR ingredients and you’ll be in hog heaven in less than an hour. Now the recipe says that it can serve 32 and I seriously just laughed out loud. I could probably eat a pan myself those silly fools.

Now these sausage squares are not necessarily a healthy food item but it’s Father’s Day so make a batch and watch your favorite dad gobble them down!


Sausage “Brownies”

2 cans of crescent seamless dough sheets

1 lb of spicy or mild bulk pork sausage

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese

1 to 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese ( I dont use quite the whole 2 cups)

Step 1: Heat oven to 375 degrees

Step 2: Unroll 1 can of dough and place in ungreased 13X9-inch pyrex dish; press over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust.

Step 3: Cook sausage over medium heat in skillet until no longer pink. Discard drippings and add cream cheese to skillet. Cook over low heat until melted. Spoon evenly over crust in baking dish and sprinkle with cheese.

Step 4:Unroll second can of dough on top of casserole

Step 5: Bake 21 to 26 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10-15 minutes and nom on daddio!




Dude’s…Embrace for Impact!

imageFor a somewhat semi-formal introduction, I am Zach, Emily’s husband…and for a brief moment or two I will be hijacking her blog to throw in a male’s perspective on the subject of child rearing and well,…..drinking. So ladies, hand over the computer or iPad to your man. Men, pour yourself an Old Fashion and enjoy!

This all started about 4 months into my deployment to Afghanistan where my wife and I agreed that we wanted something more out of life, something greater than our own self worth…a child. Through Skype and Facebook messages here and there (when the internet decided to work) we started picking names and sure as shit, as an omen, the first name we picked was the one we stuck with. We could not find a better name for the remainder of my deployment…no matter how hard we tried. Mason it was!

Fast forward 6 months and BOOM! Reality hits! I am now home, and the wife has a bun in the oven. I hit all the baby books I can find. If you ask me anything about how to fix and/or operate an Army helicopter, weapons, cars or woodworking I can help….screaming, peeing, pooping things that cannot communicate but decide to throw up all over your favorite shirt…not my forte. Men, hit the books. Learn what stages of pregnancy your wife is in and what she is expected to go through, trust me it will help ten fold. Also, being a man, learn to deal with being on the outside. I went to almost every baby appointment with my wife and the majority of the conversation and questions were directed to my wife, and little, if any, toward myself. Granted, I am not the one carrying a human in my gut, however, I still have a vested interest in my son and wife. Books like: The New Dads Survival Guide, by Scott Mactavish, Dude, You’re Gonna Be a Dad: by John Pheiffer, and What to Expect When Your Wife Is Expecting: by Thomas Hill will help one gain a better insight to the emotions and physical changes your loved on will be going through in the following months. Arming myself with all of the learned knowledge I have gained through the books, I begin to actively engage myself in the pregnancy. I talk to the baby at night through my wife’s bulging yet beautiful belly 😉 (Lets be brutally honost people….It’s not thaaaat beautiful, but it helps connect). I help pick out infant clothes and register for random gifts from friends and family for the baby shower. Now guys, I don’t know about you but I truly did not connect with all of this so I decided to do something that I knew would…I built a crib. That’s right, I built a damn crib. Have I ever built anything out of wood before?…HELL NO! But I am real big into tradition and family heirlooms and felt that this was the only way I could contribute to the connection of my child, of which I could not feel kick or move or hiccup (the baby never moved when I put my hand on her belly). The wife had reservations when I said I wanted to build a crib, and I don’t blame her, but being her awesome self and understanding that I needed this, she agreed, She also allowed me to have a large say into how the nursery was made. I think this was the nesting thing coming out from within…. Pictures of my project to follow:




Now fella’s make sure you drink plenty of cool beer on those hot days building this stuff in the garage and think about how much your hard work will be admired by others. (Disclaimer: don’t drink and operate power tools…bad things will most likely happen).
As the pregnancy progresses you, as a man, will begin to make midnight runs for random and odd food choices made by your wife. You will also be buying things that you will learn to hate. Let me tell you about a hellish product that Boppie makes called the Boppie “body pillow”. We own a queen size bed and we bought one of these due to her being uncomfortable at night. This thing takes up the complete space between you and her, so although she feels she is sleeping on her side…she isn’t. She is balls deep on your side and hogging all the sheets making everything on your side hot. But that’s OK because she has a little human alien thing growing in her and if that stupid body pillow helps her sleep at night, well, so be it. Trust me, you do not want to complain about how uncomfortable this stupid pillow makes things for you at night or how it effects your sleep….learn which battles are worth fighting. (This one is not it gents!)

Well life surely has change including no more heavy drinking, no more late nights, and no more going where you please without a thorough plan based upon when the baby last ate, slept, and for lack of better words….pooped his brains out!