Hawaii trip and our most precious souvenir!

I've mentioned our fifth anniversary trip to Hawaii a few times - but did I mention we died and went to heaven for two weeks in September 2010?! It felt like we saw every inch of Maui and Kaua'i by foot, helicopter, horseback, and car!   But in between the horseback riding and the relaxing, I actually blogged! My blog 'The Silent Traveler' was a great way to remember every day and detail of our trip.  (I later used the blog posts and pictures to create a snapbook photo album.) It also allowed our family and friends to travel along with us - virtually of course. I have even used it as a guide book for friends who've followed in our footsteps to the beautiful Hawaiian islands.
Pregnant, but didn't know it yet

So I thought I'd share it on the this blog, too - just in case you're thinking of taking an anniversary trip - or maybe to give you a reason to take one.

PS Our most precious souvenir was delivered nine months after our return.


The best digital cameras for kids - New Mama Approved

Nikon D3000 - great for shooting kids
If you're like me you have one of those convenient point and click digital cameras that you can stick in your diaper bag, purse or hubby's pocket on a family outting. But if you're like me you also have a whole bunch of pictures taken a good second or two after the 'money shot' or at least your kid's smile.

We really started to realize how many shots we were missing when my now 3 year old daughter started moving and grooving around the age of 1. So with her and our five year anniversary trip to Hawaii in the back of our minds - we decided it might be time to look into a better digital camera. We wanted a digital camera that could snap pictures almost instantly to avoid that dreaded delay.  We settled on the fact that we wanted a DSLR - a beginner level SLR - in layman's terms 'one of those big cameras with the lenses.'


Baby Hydrocele...A big problem for little boys

Hydrocele - ever heard of it? Yeah, me neither. Well, that is until my son's 1 month doctor's appointment when the pediatrician looked at his 'jewels' - for lack of a better term - and then said matter of factly 'you know his testicles are about 2-3 times larger than most boys'.'

As I sat there with the words ringing in my ears and wondering why in the world my husband had never mentioned it - the doctor continued to press, poke and prod to the point that I quickly snapped out of my trance enough to wonder if all this poking would prevent me from becoming a grandmother someday. Before he could assure me that no it wouldn't impact reproduction I had already formed a million questions.

Ending the Dream Feed - An Update on my success (and stress)

Just wanted to let you know that I have updated the post on ending the dream feed. We are officially done. It was painless (well for him)...not for my boobs.

Anyway - here's the update and my main takeaways for knowing when a baby is ready to end the dream feed.


Getting a toddler to sleep later - The Green Light clock to the rescue!

If your toddler is an early riser, like many, there is hope. Dream on if you think the answer is teaching them to how to use the DVR remote so they can be safely entertained while you keep snoozing. We found the answer a year and a half ago or so in the 'green light.'

My three year old lives and well...sleeps by what she calls the 'green light.' I've caught her telling her baby dolls about the green light. I've even witnessed the daddy in her doll house setting the green light.  In other words: the green light rules in our house.

The actual name for it is is the Ok to Wake! Children's Alarm Clock and Nightlight.  Here's how it works: you simply pick the time in the morning (or nap) that it is okay for your child to wake up.  Set the clock and the wake up time. When the clock strikes 7am or whatever time, the clock will illuminate green...letting your child know it is okay to wake now and get out of bed.

When you first start using it, set the wake up time for about 15 minutes after your child is currently waking up. Then, gradually move the wake up time back until the desired time. It may take a few days for your child to understand the concept, but once they do they'll realize that if they wake up and the green light's not on they should either go back to sleep or at least stay quietly in bed. 

We have used the Okay to Wake clock almost exclusively for morning wake ups. However, if my daughter is giving me trouble at nap time I will set the clock for an acceptable time and say that at that time her nap can be over. Most times, by the time the light goes on she's fallen asleep anyway.

You can also set the light so it stays on for an extended period of time - if you don't, it goes off after 15 minutes. This presents a problem if say you set it for 7am and your child sleeps until 7:20. They will wake up and see the light is not on and may stay in bed. (Not that that's a bad thing, but when you're first trying to establish the clock make sure the light's on when the child wakes up.)

By the way, the clock also comes with a changeable pink front plate for girls who insist green just won't do!


How to stop the Dream Feed...ouch

So I've decided it's about time to stop the dream feed. If you're not familiar with the dream feed it's the 10 or 11pm feed (either bottle or breastfeeding) that some people offer their babies to help them sleep through the night.

But how do you know when it's time to eliminate the dream feed and exactly how do you stop the dream feed when you decide it is time to phase it out? I couldn't remember when my daughter stopped the dream feed so I checked the trusty blog and it turns out she was about 5 months....which is about the same age my son is now.

But how exactly do I go from giving him a 5 or 6 ounce bottle or nursing on both sides to nothing and expect him to sleep 3 more hours? Here's the thing I nurse him at 7pm and then usually the dream feed at 10...then he doesn't get up again until 7am to eat. So as you can see cutting out the dream feed is expecting him to sleep 3 additional hours without eating. But I think he's ready because he's been eating solids for a good solid two weeks and he's getting plenty of calories during the day.

The last thing I wanted was for him to wake up at 3 or 4am hungry and demanding to be fed b/c that would likely start his middle of the night wakings again. So instead of stopping the dream feed cold turkey I decided I'd gradually wean him. Instead of nursing him on both sides at 10pm last night - I just nursed him on one side. I picked the left side where I always get less milk when I pump.

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