Sleep Training Callum

I'm not good at letting my kids cry it out. And for a while there, letting Callum sleep in the swing or cosleep had been working well. But, his sleep had progressively been getting worse. It had gotten to the point that he was sleeping in 45 minute intervals and it was becoming exhausting, both mentally and physically, on all of us. And once it wasn't working, I knew we had to change it. I just didn't know how...

Then I came across this. It seemed like a rather peaceful way to transition Callum not only from nursing all night long, but also to sleeping in his crib. I know the actual article talks of cosleeping, but I decided I wanted to go for it and quite night nursing and switch him to his crib all at once.

So, we began on a Friday...that way it was ok if it was a really bad night! The first night Callum woke six times. But, each time we got him back down in his crib without nursing him. I was feeling pretty excited about the whole thing after that night. In fact, I was sure it could only get better from there. But, I was wrong. Night two came around. Callum literally cried ALL NIGHT LONG. He was in our arms, just wailing. And I don't think it was over wanting to nurse. I truly believe it was because he wanted to be in our bed. It was awful. But, what I learned was, it was a turning point. Night three, Callum woke three times. Nights four and five, two. Then night six, once.

Each time I go in, I pick him up to calm him down, then set him back in his crib. If he starts crying, I put my hand on his chest and sing to him. Once he calms, I take my hand off, then a minute later stop singing, then walk out of his room. Sure, it's a process. But it's a process that works for us. I don't feel like I am just leaving Callum to fend for himself, and he doesn't scream hysterically, but goes to sleep. I call it a win.

We now have our evenings back again and it's felt heavenly.

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And, just like that, Christmas 2016 is over. It always feels like such build up, then "poof" it's gone. 

We spent Christmas eve with Ian's family. We started with church at 2pm, then headed back to their house. His parents worked on dinner and I found myself driving around a tired and cranky Callum...who never went to sleep, but at least wouldn't cry if the car was moving. Him and I got back just before dinner. We ate with a full view of the presents and full stockings. It was pretty much pure torture for Connor and Isla and they (and I...because let's be honest, their torture always ends up becoming my problem!) were happy when dinner was over and it was present time. We all opened presents. Not too soon after, Callum started loosing it. We packed up the car and changed the kids into their pjs before heading out. 

We picked up some Starbucks and drove through a display of Christmas lights. Both Connor and Isla took turns "driving" us...and by this time Callum had woke. I expected him to be enthralled with the lights, but he preferred nursing. After that, we headed home to get the kids in bed and get ready for Christmas day. 

^^ Just before the kids went in to see their presents. Callum was still asleep. 

^^ Connor reaching to the bottom of his stocking to see what wrapping paper (thus what presents) was his.

After presents, we were planning on going to church. But, plans changed...because Connor started throwing up. Thankfully, after a nap, he was completely fine. And Callum woke and got to join in on the fun. Though he looks incredibly adorable on his ride on toy and truly did like it, his favorites were tissue paper and playing with the bottle of gum that came in Ian's stocking.

My parents and brother came over at noon. My dad helped get the turkey in the oven. Then we all opened presents together. The kids spent the afternoon playing...and never changed out of their pjs. Connor especially seemed to enjoy that. We all ate dinner together. Then we started Finding parents and brother left sometime in the middle of the movie. We finished it, then started getting the kids ready for bed. I started reading the kids the first Harry Potter...Connor got me the illustrated version for Christmas.

It was a really, really good day. Probably one of the best Christmas's I can remember. It was just so relaxing, not running from house to house, but being in our own home, letting the kids play with all their toys. Such fun memories were made. I really feel like this is how Christmas is supposed to be.

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Painting a Nativity

I may be the only person who has never heard of paintable cookies before, but was pretty dang excited when I heard about them. Instead of getting both Connor and Isla one cookie, I went for the nativity set so we could all get in on the action. And I have to admit, it was pretty dang fun. Though that shouldn't surprise me, as I have been pretty into coloring lately...I'm not sure if that makes me sound nutty or creative, haha! Either way, we each got to paint two cookies. I ended up with one of the wisemen and the lamb. Connor immediately called dibs on Jesus, and I was happy to hear that there was actually no fighting over who got to paint what...we shall go ahead and call that a christmas miracle!

And in case you are wondering, the cookies are painted with food dye, so totally eatable...and were enjoyed ;) Now if only I enjoyed baking enough to makes cookies like this myself. Though I'm not sure it's the baking part I couldn't handle, as much as the lines to paint inside.

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On Surviving Christmas

We all know the days and weeks leading up to Christmas can be stressful. And no one wants that, but it still seems to happen. Why is that? Expectations. Sure, many of these expectations are ones we put on ourselves. Trying to make the holidays magical for our children. Trying to find that perfect gift for everyone on our list. But also, many of those expectations are thrust upon us. There is the expectation to go visit every last family member within driving distance. The expectation to show up at every holiday function your kid's school does...and don't forget the freshly baked goods. Let's not even talk about how many times the school asks for donations for things and for some reason they send the note home the day before said donations are due! It can just start feeling overwhelming.

Up until this week, all has been calm in the Grimbleby household. I really have tried buying thoughtful gifts for our family members...and buying those thoughtful gifts early. Said gifts have been purchased, but not a one has yet to be wrapped. Oops. But that's neither here nor there because that has nothing to do with the chaos of this week. School is where that chaos comes in. There are holiday parties, teacher gifts, book fairs, craft fairs, gifts from little friends at school who's mom is obviously more on top of it (thus the feel to reciprocate). And it just starts feeling like a lot. Sure these things are all fun to do...but not all at the same time. And certainly not at the same time as having a certain one year old that is on a sleeping strike. So, you may or may not find me hiding in a corner of my home, sipping on some coffee, while staring at a to do list trying to determine what is truly necessary and what is not.

Other than school, things are pretty simple and calm around our house this holiday season. We have our daily Christmas advent books...which sometimes we forget to do. We've gone to look at Christmas lights one night...but never got around to putting any on the outside of our house. Having categories for the kids presents makes shopping a to wear, one to play, one to read and one (well, I did get two) to share.

I'm looking forward to next week. Nothing on our agenda. No school. No parties. No early mornings. Plenty of time for gingerbread house building, Christmas movie watching and perhaps even wrapping a present or two.

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Callum {one year}

Weight: 20 pounds, 4 ounces
Length: 29.5 inches

Likes: all food...but the sight of bananas make him go crazy happy, legos (yeah, not a good one!), being outside
Dislikes: night time sleep, missing his nap, sleeping anywhere besides his swing or in the car, being hungry, strangers

This past month was a big one for Callum. Huge, in fact. He started crawling...awkwardly, but still gets around quickly. He crawls with one leg in front and more scoots. But he sure can get around. He also is now consistently puling himself up to standing in his crib. And he started being able to go from laying to sitting on his own. Callum also added another tooth, bringing the total count to five. This last tooth was particularly brutal and full of drama...mainly in the form of not sleeping at night. Like I said, big month.

Now that Callum can crawl, he really enjoys exploring. And I have to admit, it totally melts my heart when he crawls into the playroom to play. He thought he was hot stuff recently when I stood him up at the play kitchen to play. He still plays a lot with his little activity table, but is starting to enjoy the little people. And, of course, banging anything together is still a total favorite. Oh, and he somehow always seems to go right for anything he isn't supposed to be playing with that has been left fun!

Food wise, Callum is completely on table food. In fact, I don't even remember the last time he was fed purees. It's been that long. He eats mostly anything. Once he's full, he starts throwing the food off his tray. When he wants more, he waves his hands in the air and screams. His communication skills are great...haha! Some of his favorites are bananas, grapes, oranges, avocado and yogurt. He still is nursing numerous times a day. Really probably four times a day and a few times at night. 

Since I like reading back on the other kids and remembering how things were, because one just forgets the details oh so quickly, I should mention Callum and sleep...or the lack there of. This kid just doesn't do well at night sleep. He is a great napper though. He wakes up numerous times a night. So often that I consider him ONLY waking three times a night a good night. But I am armed with a plan and ready to night wean, so wish us luck! 

Callum loves being around other babies. Usually he doesn't play very nice because he is very handsy and loves to touch them. But he means well...I think. He gets a lot of enjoyment out of watching other babies and kids play. Though he is starting to try to join in the fun. Isla already tries to shut him out of her room and Connor puts things out of his reach that he doesn't want Callum touching. 

Fair warning, there are a LOT of pictures of Callum going at his birthday cake. But I couldn't help it. The kid totally destroyed it and was so expressive in so many pictures. 

Because I can't help myself, Connor at one year and Isla at one year. I can't believe how much hair both of them had compared to Callum! But, he by far is my most smiley and chill baby during the day. 

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Angel Breakfast

^^ I promise that in no way shape or form was Connor being fact, he actually had fun.

^^ Connor went home saying he really wanted a rabbit 

A week ago we went to an angel breakfast hosted by the church where Isla goes to preschool. We went two years ago and it was really fun, so went back this year. The breakfast part was easy, except for Callum choking to the point of vomiting...but all of life can't be drama free! Though there was a full breakfast of pancakes, eggs and bacon, Isla chose to fill herself up on the chocolate chips and whipped cream intended on adorning the pancakes. That seemed a bit right, so no harm there.

Then there was a family craft...which was totally and completely chaotic, as it was Callum's nap time and both Connor and Isla had different visions about how said craft should look. The truly funny part was the kids became totally immersed in a coloring page after the craft, rather than the craft itself.

After the craft was the petting zoo. All the kids were into that. Though I wouldn't let Callum touch, given that his hands go straight into his mouth these days. Isla was really into the chickens, well really all the animals. And Connor only had eyes for the rabbit. He actually did a good job of getting it to come to him, but then other kids would run up and scare it off.

After this part was the family pictures and then a little presentation. Though present for the family pictures, Callum and I didn't hear the presentation. At this point, well past his nap time, Callum wasn't up for such. But he was a champ and made it happily through mostly everything.

All in all, it was a fun morning. A good time celebrating what Christmas is all about.

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Connor: Like a sponge, always wanting to learn more.

Isla: It's refreshing to have another lover of all things christmas in the house. I love the look of joy and awe in her eyes. 

Callum: And just like that, the baby is one. I think it's safe to say he liked his cake. 

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016." 

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