All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!


BIG Boy Changes

Bryson has been an amazingly easy kid to put to, and keep in, bed. He tells us when he’s tired, asks for naps and bedtime, and sleeps 10 hours each night and 1.5-2.5 hours each day. Hottie has been suggesting for months that we convert his crib to the toddler bed so that he can get himself out in the mornings and I’ve refused because, “why would we do that? He doesn’t climb out yet.” I said we’d convert the crib once it became a necessity.

It’s become a necessity!

Two mornings in a row, he’s shown up beside my bed asking to, “snuggle buggle in your bed.” I had him show me how he climbs out and he’s quite nimble, but I don’t want him slipping and falling off the rails in the dark (5:45, good god). So… I braced myself for hell and converted his crib.

No hell. No hell at all.

He napped there for 2 hours and went to bed tonight without a problem. At this point, the only problem I foresee is that there is no guard rail because I broke it today while putting it on. So, the floor is covered with pillows in case he rolls out. He stays pretty put at night, so I’m betting 50/50 odds where Matthew would have been 99/1 odds that he’d fall out (the kid has always rolled around all night long)! ūüėĀ

Hoping hoping hoping I’m right!


Matthew’s Room Is D.O.N.E.

So this is embarrassing, but this little project has been started for well over 1.5 years, and it’s been hanging over me.¬† I sold all of my craft stuff in February because there’s no point in hanging onto things that don’t interest me anymore, but I kept this project because I knew I wanted to finish it.¬† This was the final touch for Matthew’s room and the wall above his bed has been so bare compared to the rest of his room.

Until now.

It’s done… and I LOVE it!

Finally... it's done!

Finally… it’s done!

I stood in his room to see his reaction.¬† It was almost as awesome as his excitement over the Halloween decorations yesterday¬† ūüėČ

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Another Night of Painting!

This one is for Bryson’s big boy room, which isn’t even close to being started but the theme is planned.

“Things that Go.”

This will include cars, planes, trucks, trains, etc.¬† The boy loves, loves, LOVES everything that goes, and he is our favorite “thing that goes!”

Plane Sept 21


This is my 8th project in less than a year, all with the same gal.¬†¬†I just love working with Marcy because she is a retired art teacher who is also a very successful artist here in the area.¬† Her art sells for thousands of dollars a piece, so I really feel that I’m learning a lot every time I go and paint with her!¬† I noticed tonight that I was doing a lot of the work on this painting before she got to instructing the technique, and I was spot-on.¬† I AM LEARNING!¬† I have another one scheduled for later this month for our wild Halloween decorations – we LOVE Halloween around here!

Here is a gallery of what we have in our house from my painting adventures so far… only one piece is not hung yet and that’s just because it needs a “clear coat” applied to it before it goes up in the guest bathroom.

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Emotional Limits

You’d think that after selling every last piece of baby gear, that I’d no longer have any emotional attachments to the past.

But I do.

I was inventorying the nursery decor that will be sold when we convert the nursery to Bryson’s big kid room, and I’m having a hard time imagining handing those things over to someone. The perfect mobile, the original artwork, the deer prints, the garland I made from leftover first birthday decor, the bookends shaped like animals. My heart is in each of those items.

I’m keeping them, most of them, and putting them up in the kids’ reading nook. My heart can’t take letting them go right now. I know my emotional limits.

For now, they stay.


The Moose!

I’ll start by saying that I’m not 100% thrilled with how this turned out. It’s cute and all, but I didn’t use enough paint for the sky and I forgot to paint a tiny part (oops – I didn’t even notice it!). But I am happy with it, even if it’s not perfect. ūüėČ

I will get it hung this week in my big kid’s room. When Matthew saw it, he exclaimed, “it’s a moose! A moose on the loose!” Ha ha!



The Monday Snapshot – I Can’t Quit!

It’s official… I’m hooked on this painting thing. It is so calming and so fun, I feel like I just got out of a great therapy session. I could do this once a week.

Matthew loves all sports and has quickly latched onto the two big Iowa teams. Iowa is his all-time favorite, but Iowa State is right behind the Hawkeyes. I went to Iowa, Hottie went to Iowa State. Because I furnish their rooms, he has a couple of Hawkeye decorations up that are quite bold and noticeable. But being the good Iowa girl that I am, I support all Iowa teams and only cheer against Iowa State when they play the Hawkeyes and honestly, I could care less who actually wins that game every year. So, it was time for some Cyclone power in Matthews room so I went to a painting session tonight to take care of that.

I can’t wait until he sees it in the morning!

(That’s my friend, K, who came with me. She painted hers for her husband for Christmas. Mine was supposed to be for Christmas, but I’m no good at holding surprises!)


If You Don’t Try, You Can’t Succeed… Or Fail

I’ve droned on and on and on and on about Matthew’s sleep, and our challenges with it, on my blog.¬† I kept a very detailed account of our experience with the Fer.ber method after trying everything else to help him sleep.¬† I’ve vented about naps and his attempts to stop napping altogether.¬† I’ve talked too much about bedtime routines taking¬†¬†too damned long each night and my frustration with having to lay with him for 30-60 minutes each and every night until he falls asleep.¬† To say that Matthew has been a challenge in the sleep department is an understatement (until you talk to someone who’s had a more difficult time with babies/toddlers and sleep, but it’s all relative).

It’s true that Matthew sleeps, usually uninterrupted, for 9-10.5 hours each night.¬† That’s a great thing!¬† But the truth is, 9-10.5 hours of sleep just isn’t enough for a kid his age (well, 10.5 hours is enough, but he rarely gets that much).¬†He doesn’t go to bed until 8:45 and then I’m in his room until somewhere between 9:15 and 9:45.¬† I’d love to put him to bed at 8:30 and walk out after tucking him in, but I don’t think that’s in the cards for us.¬† He just isn’t ready to settle down at 8:30 unless he’s had no nap, which is not an option in this house.¬† He now¬†wakes up between 7:00 and 7:45 each morning, which is a huge improvement from the recent days he’d wake up at 6:00.¬† Holy hell, those were hard mornings – and they lasted for months and months and months.¬† I am now awake before him which means I’m a rested, happy mom when he wakes up.¬† I make a point to rush to the hallway to get him (we keep a gate up so that he can’t accidentally fall down the stairs if he walks in his sleep) and I always flip on the lights and celebrate the morning.¬† When he was getting up at 6:00 AM, there was nothing to celebrate.¬† HA!

Just recently, Matthew started making bedtime a bit easier on his old mom.¬† Instead of laying with him for 30-60 minutes each night, that dropped down to 15-30 minutes each night.¬† I was more than happy with this, and honestly, I do love snuggling with him.¬† When he dropped down to only needing 15-30 minutes of my time, he also started shushing me when I’d try to sing to him.¬† I don’t remember the exact last time I sang to him, but I do know it was when B was out-of-town on one of his work trips.¬† I bet it was almost a month ago now.¬† That makes me sad, but again, I’m out of his room after no more than 30 minutes, so I’ll let the shushing slide!¬† The one thing that he’s been doing that bothers me, though, is pushing me aside after a snuggle or two.

Matthew loves to pull my arm over him and tuck it in really tight under his left shoulder.¬† He’ll turn onto his left side but I sure better keep that arm under him (not easy)!¬† If I move my arm – we start all over.¬† Lately though, he only lets me hold him for a bit before literally tossing my arm off of him while saying, “no!”¬† REJECTION!¬† He’ll go so far as pushing every part of me far away from him so that not even a finger of mine is touching him.¬† I was offended by this at first, but then thought, “are we on our way to him wanting to go to bed without me?”

Cue happiness.

And sadness.

I ignored the thought for a long time, only mentioning it once to B that maybe Matthew was moving in the direction of really putting himself to sleep.¬† This all started when he began napping in our bed – when prior to that – I had to rock him to sleep before putting him in the crib.¬† As I look back on it now, I’m thinking that moving him to our bed for naps, where I just sit next to him as he drifts off, started teaching him sleep independence.¬† Each and every nap gets easier, to the point that it doesn’t even matter what I put on the TV (super low volume) as long as it’s not a cartoon.¬† I keep it kid-friendly, but honestly, he doesn’t care anymore what’s on.¬† The minute the TV goes on with something that has to do with construction trucks (that’s my go-to theme), he settles down and drifts off within a few minutes.¬† Nap time has never been easier.

And now bed time is way easier.  Go figure!

So getting to the point of this post.¬† I only mentioned once to B that maybe Matthew was getting ready to go to bed by himself because of his independent actions each night.¬† I said that once we’re back from our Colorado trip after Christmas, that that’s when I’ll push the issue of getting him to go to sleep on his own.¬† The conversation was over with a plan in place.¬† But I kept wondering each and every night if I could have left the room earlier, after he rolled to his left side after tossing me aside.¬† But I’ve not had the guts to try.

Until tonight.

Last night, there was a bit of an accident in our house.¬† I had hung up some glass prints of Matthew from his 1-year-old¬†session above his closet and they’ve been there for a month or so.¬† I hung them with temporary nails just to be sure on the spacing before putting the screws in the wall that came with the prints.¬† However, the nails seemed to work just fine and after opening and closing the closet doors several times to check stability, I figured the nails would work.¬† B came home from his trip to find the prints up and was OK with the nails since I said I tested them.¬† He did say that screws would be better, but meh, if nails work, they work.¬† They worked – until last night when I was getting clothes out of the closet for the next day and the biggest print (16 X 24 or so) fell on my face – splitting the bridge of my nose open.

It was a pain, and shock, like I’ve rarely known (much like when I took a¬†water ski to my nose several summers ago) and I wasn’t even sure what had happened.¬† I just held my face and cried, literally cried, for B.¬† He told me not to look at it and to get dressed (I was in my jammies).¬† I listened to him and didn’t look until I heard him on the phone with someone, asking them to come to the house so he could take me to the ER for stitches.¬† Then I looked, and I sobbed some more.¬† My face, my face, my face!¬† I couldn’t stop sobbing.¬† HA!¬† Anyway, the neighbor ended up taking me to the ER (no stitches, just a butterfly bandage) leaving B at home with both boys – awake at bed time.

When I got home from the ER, B told me that he left Matthew in the room, resting but awake, because he was worried about Bryson.¬† WHAT?¬† He said that he stayed in bed.¬† WHAT?¬† He said that he didn’t cry.¬† WHAT?¬† He said that he watched on the monitor as he tossed and turned, but didn’t move from his pillow.¬† WHAT?¬† I chalked it up to it being B, and not his beloved mom, leaving Matthew and him being OK with it because, well, it wasn’t Mom.

But I also figured I’d give it a try tonight because if this was our window of opportunity to do this without a struggle, then why not try?

And try I did.

And I (we) succeeded.¬† I laid with Matthew for 10 minutes exactly (that gave him time to tuck my arms around him, and then toss them off of him!), tucked him in, said goodnight, and walked out.¬† Not a peep.¬† I quickly grabbed the monitor and saw his little eyes glowing in the night vision view.¬† But he didn’t move much, aside from a flip from side to side.¬† Within 20 minutes, he was asleep.

It was that easy!

How could I have not read the cues sooner (like a few weeks ago)?¬† Why did it take an emergency to figure out how to put my kid to bed?¬† I suppose it doesn’t matter – because all that matters is that for two nights in a row – Matthew has put himself to sleep without even attempting to get out of his bed!

I tried, and I succeeded!

(Unlike how I tried to securely hang those pictures, and failed.)

It took a painful injury to convince me that my son was ready to go to bed on his own!

It took a painful injury to convince me that my son was ready to go to bed on his own!

My hope is that this is my LAST post about Matthew’s sleep habits.¬† Let’s all cross our fingers!


When He’s Awake

I realize that I have been the most boring blogger of all time lately.¬† I looked back on the last few weeks of posts and saw what I feared – that¬†most of what I’ve been blogging has been about Matthew’s naps – or lack-there-of.¬† There were four posts in a row that touched on this challenge – and three of those four posts were solely about his recent ditching of naps.

Sleep is a major source of stress¬†for me.¬† Back when Matthew was 9.5 months old, we (I)¬†finally decided to try the Ferber method with him because nothing else worked.¬† We tried it all.¬† And when I say we tried it all – I mean – WE TRIED IT ALL.¬† I tried every gentle sleep solution book on the market, and all they did was make his sleeping worse.¬† The Ferber method took a full 14 nights, but it finally worked.¬† I could put him in his crib drowsy but awake at night (but never for naps) and he’d sleep through the night for 10+ hours each and every night.¬† He rarely woke up in the night, and if he did, it was for a good reason (sick or teething).¬† Then, just as we were about to welcome Bryson into the family, I decided Matthew needed to be moved into the new room and queen bed so that the crib could be freed up for Bryson.

Biggest mistake ever made.

Well, maybe not the BIGGEST mistake ever made, but it was a big one.¬† ūüėČ

I have to lay in bed with Matthew until he’s asleep or he’ll get out of his bed and rip the tree decals off the wall.¬† It would take anywhere from 30-90 minutes to get him to fall asleep, even when he was tired.¬† I didn’t mind it the three weeks before Bryson was born, but after he came home, I didn’t have that kind of time each night.¬† But it did not matter – I still did it anyway.¬† We kept Matthew up a bit later at night so that he may be more tired and the routine decreased to 30-60 minutes.


All the while, Matthew was taking 2-3 hour long naps each and every day in the crib without fail.  He was only sleeping 9 hours at night, but making up for it with his naps.  It was great!  The only problem was that I had to rock him fully to sleep for his naps.

Then, on September 17th, Matthew quit napping in the crib (we never transitioned naps to his bed since I don’t have 30-60 minutes during the day to coax him to sleep).¬†I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the beginning of him not napping anymore unless I did something major to fix it.¬† I tried napping him in his bed and that was a disaster.¬† By September 19th, he was done napping.

Or so I thought.

On the 20th, I tried one last time to get him to nap in his bed or the crib and I was beaten and screamed at, the entire time, keeping my cool.  I took him to our room and put on a construction truck video and told him to have some quiet time.  He fell asleep.  He fell into a DEEP sleep.

Today is the 27th, and Matthew has napped in our bed for¬†6 of the last 8 days.¬† He’s sleeping beside me right now as I write this.¬† I have to wake him each day after 1.5-2 hours (I never let him go more than 2 hours anymore).¬† It’s not ideal, but it works for us.¬† It works for him.¬† The only times he hasn’t napped is when I’ve kept him up deliberately because I need him to fall asleep quickly that night (like when B is out-of-town).¬† His bedtime sleep routine (after books are put away) takes 5-30 minutes depending on the length of the nap earlier in the day.¬† I will admit that the best nights are those that follow no nap – he is asleep and I’m out of his room in 15 minutes.¬† But I won’t complain about 30 minutes on a nap day – no way!

So this brings me to Bryson.¬† I swore a while back that I would not make the same mistakes I did with Matthew.¬† I refuse to have another baby/toddler who needs me to fall asleep at night.¬† I have been thinking about this, and thinking about this, and thinking about this… as I’ve been rocking Bryson to sleep, letting him sleep in the rocker beside our bed (instead of the crib),¬†and letting him fall asleep with us in our bed while nursing him when he wakes up at night.¬† GAH!¬† Have I learned nothing?!

The funny thing is, though, that I did none of those things with Matthew.¬† He was out of our room and in his crib at 5 weeks old, I had him fall asleep on his own for every nap (until he wouldn’t), and I followed all the sleep rules, even if they didn’t make sense to me.¬† And he’s terrible at putting himself to sleep.¬† Bryson was great at putting himself to sleep, but he’s starting to need more help.

And I’m starting to be more firm.

I will not nurse him to sleep for naps – NEVER!¬† That is how everything started going downhill with Matthew.¬† I remember it.¬† I remember telling B, “well, that worked great – I’m going to do that all the time!”¬† What a mistake that was.¬† I won’t sing and rock him to sleep at night like I did with Matthew.¬† When it’s time to establish a bedtime routine, I’ve told B that I will sing first, then he’ll read books and put him to bed.¬† I am not going to be a crutch.¬† I won’t have my second child napping beside me in my bed when he’s 2 years old.

I have started this post over and over again in the last week or so, and as I was rocking Bryson today, Belle’s post popped up.¬† I started reading it, and I then suddenly stopped what I was doing and put Bryson in his crib.¬† I patted his bottom as he drifted off.¬† I watched him wake up, and put himself back to sleep again, several times on the monitor.¬† He was fully up after an hour – but I won’t complain about 60 minutes in the crib.¬† It’s all about establishing good habits, and I have to thank Belle for reminding me of that as I was drifting down a bad sleep path with another child.

To be fair, Bryson is a GREAT sleeper!¬† He only wakes up once a night to eat.¬† I feed him around 8:00 and then usually wake him for a “dream feed” around 11:00 or 11:30 before I go to bed.¬† He then sleeps until around 3:00 AM when I feed him once again and put him back to sleep until he wakes around 6:30 or 7:00.¬† I didn’t wake him for a “dream feed” last night and he woke up at 12:30 and then again at 5:00.¬† We are getting very close to the “dream feed” lasting all night for us (11:30 – 6:30/7:00).¬† We never experienced this with Matthew, so this gives me hope that we won’t even have to use Ferber for Bryson.¬† But I’m not holding my breath.¬† I know this can change in an instant.

I’ve loved my snuggle time with Matthew, but it’s not something I can do again if it causes Bryson attachment issues at bed time.¬† I will just have to snuggle Bryson extra during the day.

When he’s AWAKE!

(My afternoon in pictures… 1.5 hours of semi-silence!)


THIS Moment in Time (#19)

I’ve been doing a secret project for Matthew’s room. I did mention this on his room page, but only as a progress item for my own record keeping. I haven’t told many people about it (URL or IRL) because there was a huge chance it would be a complete failure.

But it’s not a failure!

B came up with this idea to cover the window above Matthew’s main window. Window coverings ranged from $250 (for something stupid looking!) to $800 (for something functional and attractive). Neither of us was willing to pay either of those prices, so B asked if he could cut some plywood and if I would paint a mural on it.

I said yes! So we’ve both done our part (his part involved geometry to cut the perfect size, so I think his part was harder even if much quicker than my part – HA!) and it’s turning out better than we both thought it would!

I have more painting to do tomorrow, but here it is as it dries tonight! I’m taking quick pictures after each step/night so that this little labor of love is documented properly!


Everything is Temporary

My outlook on parenting has been pretty laid back.¬† I don’t get bent out of shape about many things, and have mellowed,¬†as a person, since becoming a mom.¬† The same thing happened to my younger sister.¬† She was wound up as tight as a clock before having kids, and once she had her first one, she just relaxed.¬† I remember being shocked by my little sister’s transformation – and here it’s happened to me now.¬† But I’m not so shocked by it this time.

My outlook on everything parenting-related is that, “this is temporary.”¬† Breastfeeding woes?¬† They’re temporary.¬† A baby who wakes multiple times a night?¬† This will pass.¬† Food strikes?¬† Give it a week or so.¬† Tantrums and fits?¬† It may take a while, but this too shall pass.¬† A refusal to eat dinner?¬† Represent the food later in the evening.

So far, this outlook has worked wonders for me and my sense of calm.

When we went into transitioning Matthew to the big bed, I told myself that whatever happens, however long it takes me to get him to sleep each night – that it will pass.¬† The first night was rough – I had to lay with him for an hour or maybe even longer.¬† The second night dropped to 35 minutes and I thought I was rocking it.¬† I was wrong.¬† That was temporary¬† ūüėȬ† The next night jumped up to 45 minutes and most nights after that took about 40-45 minutes to get him to sleep.¬† (I am staying with him until he’s asleep because I just don’t want to have the fight about him getting out of bed.¬† I want him to think that when he goes to bed – that it’s not an option to get up and wander around his room.)

Last night went really well.¬† I was shocked, but I thought it was temporary.¬† Tonight went even better!¬† I think we’ve turned the corner to a much better, much faster bedtime routine.¬† The last two nights, Matthew has welcomed bedtime stories with B (he used to cry for me every time).¬† B is having him sit beside him verses on his lap, and Matthew seems to enjoy that.¬† The last three nights, I’ve been taking his big blankets away after we sing because they were distracting him (covering himself up, then taking them off, then covering up again, etc.).¬† He is more settled this way.¬† The last several nights, I’ve encouraged him to lay on the pillows instead of me, and we’re both more comfortable.¬† Matthew falls asleep laying beside me, not on me, and he doesn’t need to face me or touch me to fall asleep.¬† We’re getting so close to me being able to lay him up on the pillows and walk out the minute his little eyes shut.

I was only in Matthew’s room for 21 minutes tonight.¬† Before this transition, I was in his room with him for 13 minutes each night (I know this because of our singing routine).¬† I will happily spend 20 minutes with him each night going forward¬†if he’ll let me!¬† Matthew was asleep at 8:55 – just 17 minutes after B walked out of the room.¬† He hasn’t been asleep at 8:55 in over a month!

And.. Matthew’s still sleeping through the night.¬† I’ve only had to go in to calm him down (AKA keep him in bed) twice in the nine nights he’s spent in his room.¬† Sure, I went in to lay with him at 5:40 this morning to keep him in bed, but that has only happened twice as well.¬† He’s getting¬†up earlier than we’d like (6-6:30), but if we can get him to sleep at 9:00¬†each night, I’m OK with that.¬† It’s a give and take.¬† As long as he gets 9 hours of sleep each night, and 2-3 hours of nap time each day, I don’t really care what time he gets up in the morning (well, I do care because before 6:00 is not acceptable).

Everything is temporary.  That outlook gets me through the tough times, and helps me marvel in the great times!  I need to remember this in two weeks when we bring a new baby into this house!