Friday, March 21, 2014

Flashback Friday: the selfie before the "selfie"

I have been seriously annoyed lately with the sudden popularity of the "selfie". Everywhere I look celebs are posing for selfies and people think it's cool. Dude, I was rocking the selfie years ago. (At least high school, but that's as far back as pictures on my computer go) In fact, I would like to think I perfected it. And even more annoying, back in the day when I was a professional at posing for selfies, it was viewed as self centered and dumb. 

So today, for flashback Friday, I wanted to post a few of my favorite selfies, some of my best friends are included too (all circa the college years). Enjoy. And remember, I was doing it first. 

In Cahoots bathroom shot

Probably another lovely In Cahoots shot. Good Lord look at my eye shadow! ha!

st patty's inspired selfie

Mexico selfie

Typhoon Saloon selfie

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

mommy confessions: getting a baby to sleep through the night ~ our story

When I imagined what it would be like to have a baby, I knew there would be some sleepless nights, waking to feed the newborn 2-3 times (prob more). We purchased a pack n play which would go in our room so we could easily get up and tend to her as needed. I pictured her sleeping there for a few hours in a row, waking up to eat, then easily going back to sleep (as would I). We would also enjoy napping together during the day.

And then she was born. And then we took her home the same day. And then we experienced "the first night". Ahhh! Let's just say there were a lot of tears. From me, from her, and probably a few from Harley. We all wanted to go to sleep, but for some reason I could not get Charlotte to calm down. I nursed her, changed her, swaddled her (that did not last in the hot temp), rocked her. Matt tried, my Mom tried. It was rough, like bootcamp, but with a baby. 

At some point she eventually fell asleep and I gently put her down in the pack n play. And then I tried to go to sleep. Tried being the key word there. I just couldn't relax. And I was so scared she would stop breathing in her sleep. I even got up and touched her tummy to make sure she was still alive. Big mistake. I woke the dragon. Commence more crying. 

The next thing I did was something I said I wouldn't do, but it just felt right.....I put her in our bed. I slept on my side, never moving an inch, and she slept right beside me, snuggled up like my little spoon. And we slept, pretty darn well actually. Of course she woke a few times to nurse, but nursing in bed is actually pretty easy. Insert boob in mouth and we both go back to sleep. My arm hurt the next morning from laying on it all night long, but at least I was able to sleep at all. Being sleep deprived really is torture. You literally cannot function. And after staying up all night the day before in labor, I was in desperation mode.

Eventually I recovered from the lack of sleep (maybe? were these dark circles there before sept 2012??) and we got into a nice little routine. Bedtime around 8-830pm, for both Charlotte and myself. Sleep 4 hours or less, nurse, repeat until 7am. I really enjoyed co-sleeping with her. And I know Matt did too. (But it sure was a full house! Matt, me, Charlotte, and Harley!) After experiencing it first hand we truly believe it is safe and exactly what she needed at the time. And we definitely wouldn't change anything that we did. It was very beneficial for her and me. 

one of the few times she was successfully swaddled

But then 11 months hit. And she started wiggling in her sleep, a lot. So much so that we found it impossible to get a decent nights rest. Every time she would move I would wake and it seemed like forever before I was able to doze back off. By the time 7am arrived I was an angry sleep deprived Mama. And Matt was only slightly bette off. Frustrated and at wits end, we decided to try that whole crib thing. We spent a good chunk of change on it, might as well get some use out of it right?!

One night in August we took the plunge. We put her to sleep in the crib and let her cry it out until she fell asleep. She cried for 45 minutes. It was heartbreaking and sad and very hard not to go in and cuddle her. But she eventually fell asleep, and when she did she stayed asleep until 3am. And the next night she only cried for 15 minutes. Each day it got less and less until there were no tears at all (most of the time). And as for that 3am wake up call.....for a while we went in and rocked her back to sleep. Matt and I took turns, so at least one of us got to sleep well. We wanted her to know we were still there for her. But after a few weeks we let her cry it out at 3am and within 20 minutes or less she was back asleep on her own. She has slept through the night in her crib since. I think a lot of that is due to Matt putting her down at night. She can't nurse so she just goes right to sleep. Yes she still occasionally wakes up and squawks for a minute or two, but those are fairly rare. And if she gets really upset then we know she is sick (and obviously go in to her). 

Now, not every baby can handle the CIO method. Some will cry for hours or until they vomit. Luckily for us Charlotte was able to get over her sense of abandonment and put herself back to sleep without too many hard feelings. I still get kisses and hugs in the morning so she forgets easily. And we are all happier. It is amazing what sleeping for 7 hours straight can do for a person. We can also enjoy our evenings without being stressed and worried about when she might wake up and need us.

Our saving grace in this whole process.....a sound machine! For all those new Moms, soon-to-be Moms or perhaps Moms struggling to get their little ones to sleep through the night, get a white noise machine. I don't know why I had never heard about one before I had Charlotte. Thankfully at around the 2 month mark my sister-in-law told me about the Sleep Sheep which worked wonders for nap time. The only problem was it would turn off after 45 minutes. We tried sneaking into her room to "reset" it, but half the time it woke her up. Fail. 

napping with the sleep sheep

So when we transitioned her to the crib at night we got the Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine (Matt's brilliant suggestion) which plays a variety of sounds all night long. Ocean waves is Charlotte's favorite. It is awesome and I seriously don't know what we would do without it. It is a MUST HAVE for all new babies!!! 

Harley looks huge! 
Remember, as annoying as it sounds, every baby and situation is different so do what you think is best! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

happy 18 months Charlotte!


Happy 18 months!! Wait what??? You are 18 months old already?! 

It is hard to believe that this little baby.....

Is now this little toddler.....

You have grown and changed so much in the past 6 months. You now weigh in at 25lbs 10oz (70%) and are 32 inches tall (60%). Every day you speak a new word or learn a new skill. I am amazed at how smart you are. And honestly, a little scared (especially of the teen years). You are going to challenge us every single day. 

miss attitude

At your one year birthday you were starting to say and understand more words, and since then your vocabulary has grown to well over 50 words. Probably more when I count all the sign language you know and the words you can understand but not say just yet. You mumble and repeat everything I say, trying out the words yourself, or at least the first syllable. And I think a lot of your verbal skills are thanks to your Baby Einstein books that Chris and Brandy got you. When we first opened them you were 3 months old and they looked so advanced I thought it would be a very long time before you were interested in them at all. Then we started looking at them around your first birthday and now you know 90% of the pictures in the books. You love to look at the pictures and find whatever mommy asks for. And if they happen to be animals, you love to tell me the noise that animal makes. I think snake is my favorite, sound....not animal.  

You are also very very musical. You love dancing, a lot. To almost anything too. 
listening to the iPod and dancing

We will typically turn on the music in the living room rather than the TV and spend time dancing while we play with your toys. We can't wait for you to start singing. Oh how adorable that will be! You are also very fascinated with musical instruments. You recently got to play with a piano at Sara and Peter's house and a harmonica at Rachel's.

I think there will be music lessons in your future. The talent is in your blood, your Grandma was a music teacher and your Dad is pretty talented with the guitar and singing. I am so curious to find out what you will love most when you get older, dancing or playing music.

Last month you started taking gymnastics. It is more of an exploration on the mats and equipment rather than a structured class, perfect for kids your age. You love it. You are so brave and will try pretty much anything. Walking across the beam, swinging from the bars, jumping on the trampoline. You even learned to do a somersault! And you give yourself a round of applause afterwards. haha. 

And after class we head over to the park, where you play with your friends for an hour and then it is home for nap time.

here are some of your friends at My Museum for Keira's birthday party!

Speaking of sleep, you have come a long way in the past 6 months. You go to bed at night and we never have to get up anymore (unless you are sick). 

Here you are sleeping with us one night when you had an ear infection (your first)...

And you are pretty good at putting yourself to sleep too. Many many times we have put you down when you are tired but awake and you can (eventually) go to sleep on your own. And today you actually told me you wanted to go down for a nap. You made the sleep sign and started to drag me to your room. I couldn't believe it. So we sat together in the rocking chair until you fell asleep. It was a good nap day.....unlike the other day when you did this....

Apparently you did not want to be in your crib anymore. Some kids chew on the crib when they are teething, you did it because you were angry. I just hope you never do it again. 

You are a pretty good eater. You still nurse (hope to quit that before we move), but you eat a lot of solid foods. You will try almost anything, but fruits and sweets are you favorite. 

You are also a big pasta lover. Here you are at macaroni grill enjoying spaghetti.....

The older you get, the more and more of a helper you become. If you spill your food you will help mommy pick them up. And you love to help feed Harley every day. I am also working on getting you to help clean the house.....

helping Mommy sweep

taking out the trash
helping mommy cook

I have also started teaching you to give Mommy a back massage....genius! You are not too bad, just need to work on getting you to massage longer than 10 seconds. :)

You are also a full on runner now. No more casual walking for you. Everywhere you go, you run. Especially if I don't want you to, then it is funny funny because Mommy is chasing you! And when you run, you remind me of Phoebe on friends, arms and legs flailing about. It is very entertaining to watch. 

Here are a few more adorable pictures from the last few months....

playing in snow for the first time

learning to drive

exploring the beach, even if it was really cold outside

More beach time (this time it was warm)
pony ride!

loving on mr H

the whole family
We love you so much Miss Charlotte! You are a wonderful little girl and we feel blessed to be your parents. Seeing the world through your eyes has taught us to slow down and enjoy the little things. And that nothing is better than a good dance song or a day at the beach. Happy half birthday!!

Mommy and Daddy

Friday, March 7, 2014

weekend at Casa de Hicks

A few weeks ago we got to spend the weekend with my sister and her bf near SF. They were originally supposed to come to our place, but due to a miscommunication and a busy dog schedule, we ended up going there instead. The drive wasn't nearly as long as I remember it being (thankfully). And we got to cross two things off our bucket list during our trip: spending a weekend at their place, and seeing Alcatraz. 

We arrived on Friday afternoon, ordered in pizza, and just hung out. It was nice and relaxing. Perfect Friday night. Saturday we enjoyed the warm warm weather by lounging outside and playing at the park. 

snacking away
the boys lounging  

At the park she started chasing bubbles with a few other kids. This was so adorable and kept her busy for at least 30 minutes. She had a blast!

where did they go? 
I'm gonna get that one!
Peter just purchased a baby grand piano and Charlotte had a great time learning to play it. Now I don't have an ear for these things, but even when she was just banging around on the keys I thought it sounded pretty good. It is pretty obvious we have some sort of a musician/singer/dancer on our hands. I see music lessons in her future. 

Grandma and Rachel even came over and we all went to dinner together at a delicious Sushi place. Yummy. It was not Charlotte's best night, Matt had to take her out of the restaurant and keep her occupied while we finished up and paid the bill. A tired toddler in a restaurant = a handful.

On Sunday Matt and I had a little daytime date: a trip to Alcatraz. I had been to Alcatraz a few times when I was a kid, but Matt had never been before, and I really wanted him to see it.  We were planning on taking Charlotte with us, but Sara volunteered to watch her while we were gone, which was awesome! They stayed home and cleaned and played with dogs and we had a whole day to ourselves. 


Golden Gate Bridge

on the ferry ride

the main cell block

we did the audio tour

a typical cell

matt, in the hole

the view the prisoners saw

taking a quick bathroom break, don't mind me

the final stop, the dining hall

the view of the city from Alcatraz

what a great day to go!
It is so fascinating to go to Alcatraz and see where these criminals lived. And to think some people escaped! While the distance doesn't seem too far to get to the city (Matt thinks he could easily do it), I know the water is super cold and could contain sharks. I highly recommend seeing Alcatraz if you get the chance. (I hear the night tour is awesome too) But make sure to book your tickets weeks, even months in advance. It is very popular and fills up fast! And since it is right down the street from Pier 39, you can do what we did, go and enjoy a lovely lunch after playing tourist. :)

We took off for Monterey early the next morning. It was a wonderful little weekend away. Thanks Sara and Peter for playing host/ess! And hopefully this won't be our last trip to the city. We want to get away one more time to SF, see a baseball game, and maybe even catch up with some friends before the big move.