Bedtime Routine

Penny on the Patio

Chillin’ on the patio

If you read my post about our last time breastfeeding, you know that I’ve been concerned about changing my daughter’s bedtime routine. (If you haven’t read it, click here.)

Well, we’ve fallen into a fantastic routine now and bedtime at the Simons household couldn’t be easier. This is what a typical night looks like for us:

7:00 Dinner Time

7:30 Playtime on the patio/Walk outside (if it’s not too hot!)

8:00 Playtime in Penny’s room with lullaby music for a zen atmosphere

8:30 Bathtime (we have a song mommy made up…and no, you can’t hear it)

8:45 Brush Teeth (she loves this!)

8:47 Say “nigh nigh” to Daddy and back to Penny’s room

8:50 Turn on the lamp and turn off the light; read 2 or 3 books (whichever ones Penny picks out)

8:58 Grab the lovey and rock in the glider with mommy to a lullaby (usually “Hush little baby don’t say a word…”)

9:00 Kiss Penny goodnight and say sweet dreams (she usually goes right to sleep, but sometimes she talks to herself or her lovey for a while before drifting off)

Ever since we got into this groove, I haven’t had to go back in her room to comfort or rock her back to sleep once. It’s amazing! I’m so thankful that this transition has turned out so well for both of us! I love that she’s happy going to bed and that she is totally independent in comforting herself and getting to sleep on her own. I feel like we really reached a milestone and I’m so proud of her!

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Dear Husband…Why can’t you read my mind?

Maternity Couple

Chris and I during a maternity shoot when I was pregnant with Penelope

Communication. The one thing my husband and I fight about the most.

I want him to recognize when I need some help and do it without me asking.

He wants me to tell him what I want help with.

For some reason I find it really hard to do this. I mean really hard. I think I’m just one of those people who has to do everything myself (*ahem ahem* control freak…) and so when it all gets overwhelming (which it seems to do a little more now that I get tired and cranky more easily) I blame it on my husband, who ends up shrugging his shoulders with a perplexed look on his face and saying, “I’d have helped if you would have told me you needed it.”

An example: A few days we were at the pool with family. I had Penelope in a chair next to me and I was feeding her lunch and trying to eat mine at the same time. My husband had just finished cooking the food and was standing near the table eating some chips. Penelope started trying to get down from her chair (while I tried to keep her there) and she knocked over a bowl of cut-up fruit. For some reason (I’ll blame pregnancy hormones), I immediately looked at my husband and snapped, “You could help you know.” He, confused, said, “I didn’t know you needed help.”

Why can’t he read my mind? More specifically, why can’t he read my mind the second the thought, “I need help” blares through it? Maybe I just need to be more aware of situations that could result in the need for assistance and plan to seek aid before things become critical.

In less drastic situations (i.e. I’ve been handling a fussy Penny all afternoon and cleaning at the same time while he’s been reading peacefully) I know what I want just fine (help with the cleaning or the kiddo!), and I don’t think it’s asking too much for him to know as well. I guess it’s true what they say: women work in subtlety and men are more candid. I’ll just need to find a way to relinquish a little control once in a while and maybe he can take some classes in ESP, and we’ll find our way to the middle eventually!

An Adventure in Menu Planning

A delicious breakfast sandwich from Crofutt's in Bayside, TX

A delicious breakfast sandwich from Crofutt’s in Bayside, TX

Chris and I like to eat (see: Just Water for Me), but we’re also saving for baby #2 and generally trying for more fiscal responsibility. Which means we’re going to be cutting down on eating out and I’m going to have to start being very handy in the kitchen. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but after a long day of work I really don’t want to spend an hour or more getting dinner ready (not that this is often possible with a toddler anyway). So I’ve decided that I’m going to start planning our menu for the week and (if possible) prepping ingredients over the weekend when I have a little more time (the ultimate goal would be Freezer Cooking, but that’s a little hardcore for this newbie right now).

I did a little research on blogs (Organized Home and Simple Mom) and websites (Cooking Light and Fruits and Veggies More Matters) and and came up with a plan for how I want to start my menu planning adventure.

Now I’m sitting with all my cookbooks piled around me and a legal pad and jotting down recipes and page numbers. I’d like to buy as much as possible in bulk, because I know that’s more economical, but baby steps right now. I need to figure out if I can handle one weekly grocery shopping trip and consolidating ingredients and recipes so there’s no wasted food.

My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy (Is that a vegetable?? It’d better not touch my hamburger!) I am a pregnant lady with a kiddo and vegetables are a necessity. I’d love to get him to eat more green things, and I think he secretly would too, but that will be a baby steps kind of project as well. I’m going to try and get at least one vegetable in every meal!

Here’s what I did:

1. Make a List: I made a list of all the dinners we have most often. Then, I scoured the cookbooks and made another list of recipes I want to try. I will eventually create an Excel list of all my recipes and ingredients so I can copy and paste each week.

2. Spreadsheet It: I opened up a doc in Excel and made a table (day of the week, recipe, ingredients) and entered in what dinners I have planned each week and every ingredient I will need. I tried to think about using all of the perishable items so I don’t waste anything (ex. If we’re having hamburgers one night I need to buy buns. Since we only use 2-3 buns for that dinner, I’ll plan on using the rest either for lunches or in another dinner recipe that calls for buns, maybe pulled pork sandwiches.)

3. Interpret It: I went through all of the ingredients I will need for the week and made a grocery list  based on what I have and what I’ll need. I only did the spreadsheet for dinners right now, since breakfast and lunch tends to be easier to wing at the grocery store (this is another thing I will eventually add to my menu planning.

Since I’m just starting this adventure in menu planning, I’m keeping it simple. I’ll keep you all updated on my progress and how the family does with this little project. Wish us luck 🙂

Pregnancy Side Note: So far I haven’t had any aversions, but I’m not ruling it out. I’m thinking I might build in some “just in case” fall back recipes to add to the grocery list so I have something up my sleeve if I cook a dinner one night and suddenly find I can’t stomach it.

Disrupting the Nap Schedule

Penny on Daddy's Leg

Penny on Daddy’s Leg

Do you plan your days around naptime?

I do.

And it has had some interesting effects.

First, I find myself determining where it is feasible to go during the day based on how fast we get moving in the morning. For example, my parents live about 30 minutes away. Whenever we visit, we usually go in the early afternoon before Penny’s nap. This is the naptime math I recently went through before a visit. Penny woke up at 10:15 am and she takes a nap at 2:00. In order to spend a worthwhile amount of time (by this I mean more than a friendly wave as we drive past their house on our way back to ours), we need to be gone from our apartment by, at the latest, 10:45, which puts us at my parents house at 11:15. If we arrive at this time, we can have 2 hours to visit before we have to leave at 1:15 (this gives us enough time to get home and go through our naptime routine so things go smoothly). This means that, on days we are visiting my parents, I’m a complete B from the moment we wake up; I become a crazy, clock-watching, psychopath until my family (including my definitely-does-not-like-to-be-rushed husband) are packed into the car.

Second, I do nothing spur-of-the-moment. At our recent visit, my mom recently suggested that we have Penny nap at their house so we could stay longer. I would LOVE for this to be an option…but…I’m a wimp. My daughter loves her routines and she thrives when everything goes as expected (as most toddlers do, I’m sure). When the routines are disrupted…well, that’s another story. Case in point: a few days ago we weren’t able to get Penny home at 2:00 for her naptime routine (we had appointments and had to pick up a family member from the hospital) so she slept for about 30 minutes in the car. When we got home at around 3:45, I attempted our regular routine, but little toot spent about 30 minutes talking to herself in her crib, playing, and not sleeping. She was FINE the rest of the night. However…the next day I had a tired (and oh-so fussy) pumpkin. It took her a day to get back on track and back to her usual, happy-go-lucky self.

What kind of nappers do you have? I have friends who can tote their kids anywhere and they’re perfectly fine, but I know others whose kids are like mine: naptime is sacred and must not be disrupted at all costs. Leave comments and share your experiences!

Just water for me!

So we had a busy weekend! Some friends of ours came down from Houston and stayed with us for a couple days. When we get together we love to eat and eat like we mean it. We hit up our favorite restaurants and we go home happy. Since we’re not telling anyone about my pregnancy yet, it can be a little dicey turning down that margarita at dinner when everyone else at the table orders them but, lucky for me, Chris stayed dry with me, which made the inevitable excuses a little less lame (“No drink for me tonight…I just feel like water!). We also had dinner with my in-laws last night. Delicious Mexican food and very little time to eat since I have a kiddo who wants to get out of that high chair and GO! I was talking to my husband’s dad (who has twins) and he was waxing envious about Penelope’s sleep habits (9pm to 10am…not bad!) and when I pointed out that he has two to deal with he said “…and that’s a warning!” Well it’s a little too late for warnings now 🙂 It’s definitely weird keeping such a huge thing a secret from friends and family, but it just makes the excitement of finally telling them that much sweeter.