Getting Some Shut Eye: A Guide for New Parents

I didn’t believed my own mother when she told me that the day my first child was born, my sleep patterns would change forever. Like most of her worldly advice, I thought this statement was slightly dramatic and in my pre-parenthood naivety, I assumed that I would still be able to squeeze in my eight hours every night. How wrong I was.

People without children don’t understand that for parents, sleeping is a luxury indulgence that we grab when we can. As a mother of three, I understand the frustration of not being able to get a good night sleep and I can recall many a morning when I could have quite happily curled up on the washing line and snoozed away!
überforderung
That’s why I’ve created this guide to helping parents get the essential shut eye they need.

Routine, routine, routine

It’s drummed into us by the midwife, the online parenting forums and the plethora of baby books on the bedside cabinet. Getting your baby into a routine of eating and sleeping – something you should begin no later than the three month mark – is of the utmost importance and something that will help you get some sleep at night. If your baby has a bedtime, you also have a bedtime!

Ditch the caffeine

For the first six months of my first child’s life, the coffee pot was my friend and confidant. I wasn’t breastfeeding, so would slurp my way through the day to stave off fatigue. Instant, whole bean, espresso – anything I could lay my hands on!

But come night time, I would spend hours lying awake as the caffeine pulsed through my body, even though I craved sleep. Limit your coffee drinking to the morning and early afternoon and switch to decaf or fruity teas the closer it gets to bedtime.

There are also alternations you can make to your diet to help you sleep at night, aside from cutting out the caffeine. Check out this handy guide, created by Woman’s Day, of the top ten foods to get you to sleep at night.

Make use of the spare bedroom

If you’re fortunate to have a spare room in your home, making this a dedicated sleeping zone for exhausted parents where one of you can retreat for a night of solid rest, while the other takes responsibility for the night time duties.

Create a space that’s designed for relaxation and rest. Decorate the room in calm, warm colours and invest in a single memory foam mattress, which are available to order online from Zleeps. Memory foam mattresses conform to the shape of your body for extreme comfort, so they’re perfect for those nights when you’re in desperate need of rest.

Make the most of your visitors

I know they mean well, but the flurry of visitors you receive when there’s a new baby in the house can be something of a nuisance – especially if you’re tired and irritable.
After you’ve made the cuppas and chatted with a visitor who also happens to have children, don’t worry about seeming rude by asking them to look after the baby while you catch forty winks. They’re a parent, so they’ll understand how tired you are and they’ll be delighted to spend half an hour cooing over the new arrival.

My mother was right. Once you have kids, your relationship with sleep will change forever. Even though the days of snoozing until lunch time are over, these tips should help you to get enough rest until your children go to university! Happy sleeping!

How to Do a Yard Sale Right

It’s a pretty big week for my neighborhood. We’ve been planning for our annual neighborhood Yard Sale Extravaganza, an event that, with more than forty household participating, requires all hands on deck in the preparation stage. Yard Sale

This year, I’m in charge of getting the custom yard signs printed up. We do things right in my neighborhood. We actually have a planning committee, and a promotion budget. Everyone kicks in $20 dollars for signs and advertising, and starting a couple weeks before the big day we bombard the county with news of our sale. We don’t go as far as some community yard sales I’ve heard of, with a mailing list featuring custom postcards and email blasts, but still, I was impressed when I moved in with how things are done around here.

All the advertising and planning really works. By 7am on the big day, our street is flooded with people in cars looking for that super bargain. By nine, traffic is insane, and parking becomes an issue. Many of us are sold out by then.

One side effect of the good advertising, and the high foot traffic, is that we always get better prices for our junk then we would if we were operating alone. The average garage sale draws a few dozen people, who pick over the tables looking for that 25¢ steal. We found out pretty quickly that if you have two thousand people tramp through your lawn on a Saturday morning, you’ll generally find someone willing to pay ten dollars for your used toaster.

So, that’s my advice, gang up with all your neighbors, do a little planning, and have a community yard sale all at once. You’ll draw more people, and get more money with a little extra work.

Planning for the Prom

Yes, I know, it’s still only August and my friend Jenny’s daughter Kristi is only barely into 11th grade, but Jenny has already begun to think about what her child wear to the junior prom, in fact, I would say that she’s obsessed by it, every day sending me pictures of various possible dresses from sites like DressFirst.

This is all an indirect result of Jenny being passed over for homecoming queen her senior year. That mild trauma of being named just a princess, instead of the grand, big-deal queen, herself, seemed not to bother Jenny too much in 1989. She graciously took her defeat and went about her business, rarely ever mentioning it again.

But, flash forward to 2013, and something about her daughter being in high school, and being engaged in the great popularity contest that swirls around pretty girls, has awakened a Tiger mother-like response in Jenny. The woman is relentless in planning out Kristi’s eventual triumph as homecoming queen, or prom queen. She’s even picked out a couple of possible homecoming dresses for her girl, which is why we’re on to the junior prom, because much of the shopping for the homecoming outfit has already been completed.

It’s strange how these old things come back around, how what happened to us nearly 25 years ago, can influence our children through us.

SCS Advertisement Joy

Farrah Sofa from SCS

A Leather Sofa from SCS.

Surprisingly, today, I’m not going to gripe, grumble or brag about my own children, but after reading this heart-warming story, as a mother myself I thought I’d share it with you.

A young 10-year-old girl, Amelia Howarth wrote to the ScS head office to inform them how much she liked their adverts and that she acts them out in front of friends and family, so cute! Her mum must have been so proud when her daughter received a behind the scenes tour and a chance to meet the star of the ads, Victoria, from ScS as a thank you.

Lindsey Duncton, ScS marketing manager who noticed the enthusiasm from this excitable youngster, said: “We were delighted to read Amelia’s e-mail and to hear how much she loved our ads.” She is a real fan of ScS sofa ads and decided to write to the company’s Sunderland head office to let them know just how much she liked them, and how she practices acting them out at home for family and friends.

After experiencing all the behind the scenes feature at the branch on Portrack Lane, Stockton, Amelia was ecstatic! She went on to say: “I was really excited to visit the ScS store and meet Victoria from the ads. The whole day was really fantastic and I enjoyed meeting the nice people from ScS. I have shown all my friends the signed script I was given by Victoria and told them all about it. It really is the best day of my holidays and I can’t wait to see the new ads on the TV.” Bless her!

It just makes me think of all those moments my children have filled me up with joy and pride, and for all the other mothers out there I hope this story does too.

Head over to, www.scs.co.uk to discover more about ScS today.

Puddle Jumping

I know, it’s still the middle of winter, much of the country is covered in a blanket of snow, and it’s 50 below in Minneapolis, but I can’t help it, I’ve been thinking about springtime rain boots for kids. In a month or two, the weather will warm up, the snow will be gone, and there will be more puddles than you can shake a soggy stick at. So, you’ll need rain boots, right? And since everything is done online, shopping for children’s clothes is no longer a chore.

In fact, a quick trip to Macy’s kid shoes department website shows that I’m behind the times. Simple rainboots have been replaced by thematic rain ensembles, which to my mind, means more fun in the outdoors.

Fairy Rain Set from Kidorable

For example, I especially love this Fairy Collection set, with rain boots, umbrella, and slicker from Kidorable . In green, it is too cute for words, and is exactly the sort of thing that most little girls will love to death. Look at it! Even the clothes hanger is super cute!

Dragon and Knight Rain Set
For the boys, also from Kidorable, here’s everything needed for a dragon-slaying knight, rain boots, rain coat, backpack/shield and umbrella (check out the handle on that
brolly!)

And if that doesn’t do the trick, there’s also a fireman, and a butterfly, and a ballerina. Puddle jumping just got a whole lot more fun.

My Son Has His Own Sense of Fashion (gasp!)

I knew that the Munchkin needed some new board shorts.   It just so happened that a fairly well-known surf brand was having a sale, so I did a little reconnaissance.

Sure enough, they had a bunch of styles, all at a pretty good price.

I was by myself, and I was tempted to get him the style that I normally buy for him, which tends to be colorful and include some sort of Hawaiian-related floral element. Children Fashion

Because, duh, I’m a girl.

But then I thought to myself that perhaps a nine year old boy would not appreciate flowers on his shorts, and tried to remember that he is definitely at the age where his clothing is being judged, especially by his peers.  Not that there is anything wrong with flowers on board shorts, in my opinion, but they just aren’t really in style in my area of the country right now.

I wound up choosing instead a green-gray  plaid, which also had a very subtle camo element going through the fabric. Normally I despise camo on “civilian” clothing, but ever since my husband took him here, my son has been very pro-military. Which, fine, I’m technically pro-military myself.

He loved them.

He then told me that he was very relieved that I didn’t get him any with flowers, as one of his older friends had been making fun of his other board shorts.  You know, the ones with flowers on them.  And while I am very aware that it was just teasing, and truly kids will tease other kids about pretty much anything, I was glad that for that one moment, I wasn’t THAT MOM.

You know, the one who buys their nine year old boy shorts with flowers on them.

How Soon Is Now

Ah, Teeny Manolo.

My first blog here at the Manolosphere, and the one dearest to my heart.  How could it not be, as I would gripe and grumble and brag about my children?  And how could it not be as I have bonded, commiserated, and laughed with all of you over all of our unique and wonderful kiddos.

But unfortunately, I must say goodbye to all of  you.

You have all been so kind, so understanding, so funny, and so full of sage and wonderful advice.

I shall miss you so.

I hope that at some point, I was able to brighten your day a bit.

I have enjoyed all of my time working for the ever-gracious Manolo, and I thank him for employing me, and giving me the opportunity to meet all of you.  I’ve been writing on teh internets since 2005, and this was by far the best place to be. And I thank you, dearest readers, for actually coming to read what this lowly mommyblogger had to say.

It was an honor.

If you ever feel like adding yet another blog to your reading list, I blog as my (real!) self over here.

 

 

Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl

Of course, everybody knows the Dust Bowl happened.  And you know, the whole Steinbeck thing.

But if someone had asked me if I knew all of the states in the Dust Bowl and exactly why the Dust Bowl happened and how they got the conditions to change, then  I wouldn’t have been able to give a very good answer.  Oh, something vague and in the ballpark, but not very close.

Then I watched this.

I am a huge fan of Ken Burns, and this documentary utterly fascinated me.  But what can I say, I’m somewhat of a history geek.

This is definitely not the feel-good documentary of the year, and some of the tales of loss will crush your heart.  Even my husband, big tough guy that he is, found himself in tears at some points.  However, there was one survivor who had such perfect timing, and who gave us an enormous laugh where we never expected it.

But the fact is, I had no idea that the scale of the disaster was so huge, so all-encompassing, and I feel like I made up a very large gap in my American History.  I also learned something I found extremely shocking regarding The Grapes of Wrath and the genesis of the novel.

This is definitely appropriate to watch with teens, your MMV.

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