Our Sleep Success Story!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Besides the occasional (okay, sometimes more than occasional) night waking, Baylee has always been a rock star sleeper since she was a newborn. I get asked a lot what we did to help her get in such a good sleep routine, so I thought I'd just do a blog post to share a few of the tricks that have worked for us! 

First off, we placed an importance on her sleep from day one. Many times I have deemed myself the "Nap Nazi" because it's very rare that I let Baylee go without taking her regularly scheduled nap. As inconvenient as it may be to always have to schedule our day around her nap time, I honestly feel like this made a big difference in her never fighting sleep. She now expects her nap, and actually looks forward to it, because she knows she will feel better when she wakes up. She tells me when she's ready to go "ni-night", and once I put her in her crib she's out for 2 to 3 hours. This is time during the day that I absolutely value as my alone time, and my fellow SAHM's know that some designated "me" time is what keeps us sane! ;)

So, our nap time tips? 

  • Start early. I started with Baylee taking her naps in her crib twice a day (about 1.5-2 hours each) at 3 months old and never looked back. She dropped to one longer nap at around 13 months old and it has been great!  

  • Keep a routine. Baylee knows it's nap time because I do the same routine every day and frequently explain nap time as the time we settle down and go to sleep. She gets a new diaper, her paci, and I put her in her sleep sack and she is ready for her song and goes right to sleep. 

  • Make the sleeping area dark. This was a difficult one for me, because I wasn't sure if I liked the idea of my kid only sleeping in a dark room, but I was desperate to keep her napping longer. So, at around 4 months old we blacked out her window and it has made all the difference. She instantly doubled the length of her naps and now associates a dark room with sleepy time. It's also helpful for night time sleep because it keeps sunlight from shining in her window too early. She won't nap in direct sunlight, but has no problem taking naps in the car or her stroller during the day, so I really don't think the dark room has done too much damage. ;) Another misconception, if you ask me.

It's been proven by pediatric studies that the better a baby/toddler naps, the better they will sleep at night. I know that sounds completely contradictory; I didn't believe it at first either, but now I swear by it. When you encourage your baby to nap you are training their sleep cycles, and an overtired baby will have restless sleep. The average baby over 3 months old and until age 2 or 3 needs about 2 to 3 hours worth of nap time on the daily. When Baylee misses her nap or if her nap gets disturbed, she night wakes often that night and always wakes for the day earlier than normal. 

For night sleeping, we struggled for a long time. I don't believe in "cry it out" (just not my parenting style) so I would give her a bottle and rock her to sleep every. single. night. This was fine when she was tiny, but at around 11 months old she hit 20 pounds and something had to give. I read up on some "no tears" sleep training techniques and put together our own regime. This is what worked for us to get Baylee putting herself to sleep at night:

First, we broke away from rocking her with her bottle. Now, she gets her milk at least an hour before all sleep times so she no longer associates needing milk to fall asleep. After pushing her bottle time back, we worked on putting her to sleep awake instead of having to rock her until she was sound asleep. I would rock her in her dark room until she was just drowsy enough and then give her a kiss and put her in her crib and walk away. The first few nights, she would start crying, so I would go back in, give her a hug and another kiss, and then lay her down and try to walk away again. She would usually get the hint after this, and would whine for a minute (never full crying) and then she would hum herself to sleep. She found her own relaxation technique! I was so proud! By the third night I could plop her in her crib and walk away and only hear the sound of 5 to 10 minutes of humming before she was fast asleep. It was great! I cut back on her rocking time day by day until finally we stopped completely. Now, she gets a song and a kiss while I hold her and then goes in her crib. She no longer has to hum because she's learned to love and trust her crib, and knows that if she really needs me for anything that I will come back if I hear her call for me. It makes me so happy that she learned to go to sleep independently at such an early age, because I think trying to do it at her age now would have been much more difficult.

 I am all about routine and sleep associations before night time sleep, just like with naps. Baylee's night routine is pretty much this:

6:00 dinner 
6:30 bath
7:00 milk and movie
8:00 paci, sleep sack, new diaper
8:15 story time, song, and kisses
8:30 fast asleep

The sleep associations that have worked for us have been a dark room, a fan blowing for noise (pointed toward the wall), her paci (which we will work on weaning soon but has worked soooo well for now so I'm not even mad!) and some kind of sleep sack/suit. We started with swaddling then moved her to Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit when she was around 4 months and started breaking swaddles. This thing was a total savior and it almost immediately kept her sleeping longer. I will swear by them forever! Once she started rolling over, we couldn't put her in the sleepsuit anymore, so we transitioned to the Halo Sleepsacks which she completely loves to this day. They keep her nice and cozy and I don't have to worry about her kicking off her blanket. Recently, I won a Zipadee-Zip Flying Squirrel PJ cover for her and she has been sleeping in it happily every night this week. I think she likes that it lets her have more leg movement, and it keeps her super cozy without making her too hot. We will surely be ordering a few more! 

Working on getting her to stay asleep has been a whole 'nother ball game, but it's getting better. She usually wakes up once a night hungry or thirsty and cries out for her "Miiiilk!" I don't mind going in her room to give her a little drink, because she always goes right back to sleep immediately after, which is something I instilled early on. I never talk to her or turn on lights, so she knows it's not wake up and play time. I silently give her some milk and a snuggle and then put her right back in bed. The whole thing takes about 5 minutes, so it's definitely tolerable, but I know uninterrupted sleep would be much better for both of us. I've tried different strategies, and sometimes she stops waking, but it never lasts more than a few nights. I've decided that she'll eventually grow out of it, so for now it is what it is. :)
I hope these tips help some of you mamas who may be having trouble getting your babies to go to sleep! What are some other techniques or sleep associations that have worked for you?

Until next time! XoXoXo

Our Easter

Monday, March 28, 2016

Oh, Monday...you come too fast! I hope everyone had a nice Easter weekend, even though it was over entirely too quickly! 

We started the festivities on Saturday by dyeing some Easter eggs. This was Baylee's first experience with Easter eggs that aren't plastic, so she was very intrigued. She was as patient as she could be, and so gentle with all the eggs. We only had one casualty, so I call that a win! (And Baylee is allergic to eggs so she couldn't even eat it! Bummer!) I don't think she really grasped the concept, but she had fun helping me put the eggs into all the different cups and got very excited to see what color they would come out.

On Easter morning, we got up bright and early, and showed Baylee that the Easter bunny had brought her a basket full of goodies. She was so excited! I could have watched her empty the basket all day. She would take out one thing at a time, and play with it for a minute before setting it to the side to check out something else. So polite. :) Then once she found all the paper grass she went back into toddler tornado mode and threw that crap all over the house. (I've ran the vacuum twice and I'm still finding it everywhere.) Her favorite things in her basket were her bunny, book, and bubbles. Of course. I even let her eat a peep as a pre-breakfast snack. *Gasp*

Once we emptied her basket, we tried to get her started on hunting for all her eggs, but she wasn't very in to it. I think she was just hungry, because she would find an egg, shake it, open it, then eat all the yogurt dots or crackers inside it. It was pretty hilarious. We talked her through it though and toward the end she started getting the idea. It was definitely time for breakfast after that.

We knew we would be pressed for time to eat and also get ready to go to church, so we stuck to a simple eggs, bacon, and toast breakfast. I couldn't resist the urge to make it at least a little festive, though. ;)

Baylee looked precious at church in her sweet little Easter dress, and she was such a good girl the whole time! I've been so proud at what big girl she's been lately trooping through things that were guaranteed melt-down-city a few months ago. 

After church, Baylee took a nap, and Brian and I attacked the kitchen to prep for Easter dinner and dessert. We had pot roast, garlic parmesan potatoes, and veggies, and a from-scratch cheesecake for dessert. It all turned out sooo delicious. 

It was a gorgeous day, so while we waited for Brian's parents to come up for dinner, we decided to play outside with Baylee's new chalk and bubbles. I love watching her giggle and run outside. :) My Dad got her a bubble machine and she's absolutely obsessed! I love it because I don't have to give myself an asthma attack blowing bubbles for her over and over again. ;)

In all, it was a pretty magical Easter, and I am definitely sad that it's already over! Now, bring on the warm weather...we are ready for some pool time! :)

Until next time! XoXoXo


Peeps Playdough

Thursday, March 24, 2016

If you're looking for something fun that will keep your kiddos busy this Easter weekend, try making some edible Peeps playdough! I found the recipe a few weeks ago, and being a Peeps lover I knew I had to try it. This was Baylee's first experience with any kind of play dough, so I was really excited to see how she would react. Here is the recipe:


5 peeps (any color, and bunnies work best)
4 Tablespoons of cornstarch
1 & 1/2 teaspoons of vegetable oil (or coconut or olive)


In a medium bowl add all ingredients. 
Microwave for about 30 seconds, or until peeps expand.
 Use a spoon to stir until the glob cools off enough to touch it. Once you can touch it, begin to knead the dough.
Place on wax paper and repeat for other colors.

*Notes* You may need/want to add a little more cornstarch while you're mixing if it's still super sticky.
If you want a more vibrant color, add food coloring. I was aiming for the classic pastels, so I didn't do this. 

Baylee had so much fun using cookie cutters to cut out shapes from her dough. (And sneaking tastes of it, ha.) It does harden quicker than regular playdough, so you have to keep kneading it, and it's a little greasy, but other than that, it was so much fun to play with! Mama even made a flower, and Baylee was very impressed. ;)

Best part? You get to eat all the leftover Peeps from the boxes you opened! 

Until next time! XoXoXo

Easter Pictures

Monday, March 21, 2016

We recently did a mini Easter photo shoot with Baylee and her cousin Adalyn. I was so happy with how the shots turned out, that I just had to share them here on the blog!

We went to a gorgeous park and the photographer had the most adorable little set up including baby chicks, bunnies, and piglets...all the heart eyes!!! Baylee was obsessed with the piglets, but she thought they were puppies at first. Once we told her they were pigs she kept snorting at them. Totally hysterical. She didn't want to leave all the baby animals once the shoot was over and cried her eyes out. Maybe one day I can talk Brian in to getting her a pig. ;)

If you live in So Cal and would like to contact this very talented photographer, you can check out her website at janaemariephotography.com

Janae specializes in photography for kids, newborns, maternity, and families and does a fabulous job! Make sure you let her know that Ashlee sent you! :)

Until next time! XoXoXo



St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Did everyone have a wonderful St. Patty's Day? I know we did! It's crazy how the holiday has changed now that I am a mom, though. I remember when March 18th was a day guaranteed to include a green beer hangover. Now, I can barely remember the taste of that food coloring altered beer! ;) Maybe that's not such a bad thing...
 Anyhow, as much as I miss the St. "Party's" Day of yore, I love my life now and being able to "decorate" my kiddo all in green and gold!

We had plans to go to Disneyland on the morning of St. Patrick's Day, so I decided to have our festive breakfast the day before. This year, we had green pancakes topped with whipped cream and Lucky Charms, and, of course, green milk. My smart child figured out that the best part of lucky charms is the marshmallows and picks them out one by one...I can't say I blame her! Also, she dove into the whipped cream on the pancakes without an ounce of hesitation. I seriously love her.

Yesterday morning we got up early and headed down to the parks with my sister-in-law, Jenny, and my niece, Adalyn. Now that Addy has gotten older, it's so much fun to watch the girls interact. They really love each other, and I swear have their own language of babble back and forth.

We took the kiddos to see the Disney Junior show, which is always a hit for Baylee. Adalyn seemed to love it too! They get to sit on the floor or stand up and dance, see puppet versions of all their favorite Disney Junior characters, and there are bubbles and confetti that fall from the ceiling. Toddler paradise much? 

We walked around California Adventure for a bit and then had lunch. I took the slow down as an opportunity to take some pictures of my favorite little girls in their festive green outfits. Baylee's bow is from Harper Blake Bowtique. Isn't it adorable? I'm telling you, I'm obsessed! 

We really planned on trying to find some kind of green treat for dessert, but Disney didn't really have much this year. We settled for beignets, and they were delicious! The girls had fun sitting in high chairs next to each other at the table, but then got in their first fight ever over a coloring page. It was pretty hysterical and Jenny ended up having to tear the page in half so that they could each be satisfied. Oh, dear...this is what we have to look forward to! 

We took our little crabs home after dessert so they could take some car naps. I had every intention of making shepherd's pie for dinner, but once we were home I was too exhausted to go out and buy the ingredients. I talked Brian in to getting teriyaki chicken at Waba Grill instead. (So not festive! Fail.) Baylee enjoyed being out to eat with Mommy and Daddy though, and when we got home we had angel's food cake topped with green cool whip and more of those amazing Lucky Charms! As soon as Baylee saw the cake, she grabbed one of her plastic plates and slammed it on the kitchen table! I think she was ready for a slice. ;)

And now, I don't know if I'm excited or sad that Easter is only 9 days away! I just put up my decorations today, so I'm bummed that I will be taking them down already in a little over a week...but on the other hand I can't wait for some Easter Bunny fun with Baylee!

Until next time! XoXoXo 

Baylee's Easter Basket

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Easter is one of those holidays that is just so much more fun with a kiddo! And even though she's still not really going to "get it" this year, I am so excited for Baylee to wake up on Easter morning and see her Easter basket and find all the eggs that the Easter Bunny hid for her. ;)
In case you need some ideas, here are some of the things that Baylee will be finding in her Easter Basket this year.

This year, I went with kind of a "summer's coming!" theme, because I am so excited for warm weather and to get Baylee back in the pool! She will be having an "Under the Sea" themed birthday party in July, and since it's going to be a pool party, I figured this mermaid bathing suit and Ariel beach towel would be perfect. Also, I got her name embroidered on the beach towel, and it turned out adorable.

I love putting rolled up clothes in Easter baskets because not only are they a great gift, but they make for a colorful space filler. I let Brian pick out her outfit this year and he went with this watermelon shirt and these bermuda shorts. What can I say? The man's taste is improving! ;)

I just ordered some more bows from Harper Blake Bowtique, so if they come in time I will be stuffing them in the basket as well. I am floored by the quality and cuteness of their bows, and I think it's safe to say they will be my official bow "go-to" from now on!

For the fun stuff, I found this Easter egg chalk that is going to blow Baylee's mind. Shes never played with chalk before, so I can't wait to take her outside and tell her it's okay to draw on the ground! I also found a bunny bubble wand and some Disney Princess crayons in the dollar section. I was trying to find an Easter themed book that I really liked, but nothing spoke to me. I came across this "Animals" book, and even though it's not Easter, I fell in love! It has pictures of all different kinds of animals, and I know Baylee will love looking at each page and telling me what animal she sees.

What's an Easter basket without some goodies? I try not to give Baylee any candy, but on this special occasion she'll be getting her first pack of pink Peeps bunnies. I also found an adorable Easter tumbler (similar here) that she can use for her drink at breakfast that morning.

I can't believe Easter is less than two weeks away! What is the Easter Bunny bringing to your littles this year?

Until next time! XoXoXo


Secondary Infertility: First Update

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Well, no baby yet, but I'm finally here with my first update since I posted about our secondary infertility journey. If you missed the first post, you can catch up by reading it here.

When I last posted, I had just had my HSG test results come back that I had a unicornuate uterus and my OBGYN was sending me to get an MRI for further investigation. So, I had my MRI in mid-February and the results were very promising! It turns out that instead of a unicornuate uterus, I actually have a bicornuate uterus. So, I have two sides, but there's a septum in the middle that makes it shaped like a heart instead of an upside down pear like it should be. 

Basically, this type of uterus shouldn't hinder me getting pregnant at all! Woohoo! I will be considered somewhat high risk when I do get pregnant and will probably always go in to labor prematurely, but with doctors help there's no reason I can't have another healthy pregnancy.

I was so relieved to find this out, but also frustrated. We have been trying so long, so what gives? What's the actual reason that I can't get pregnant? I asked my doctor what the next step was, and she explained that she thinks that along with one of my tubes having been blocked (which was flushed out by the HSG test so shouldn't be an issue anymore) that I may be having anovulatory cycles. In other words, my body preps to drop an egg, but never actually does. The solution? Clomid.

I had done my research, so I knew Clomid was going to be her answer. I was so nervous though, as it has a pretty miserable list of potential side effects. I decided that I want this next baby bad enough, however and filled my prescription.

For those who don't know, Clomid is a series of 5 pills that you take in the beginning of your cycle. It works as an estrogen blocker prompting the body to produce more estrogen and hyperstimulating the ovaries. The hope is that the ovaries will then produce, mature, and drop multiple eggs instead of just one so that your chances of at least one of the eggs getting fertilized are higher. (If you're wondering, my chance of twins is only 10% so don't bet on it! lol)

So, I'm halfway through this cycle and the side effects haven't been too terrible, thank goodness. I have had mild discomfort and crabbiness, but so far no nausea which was my biggest fear. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but I'm really wanting this to work. I have baby fever in a bad way, and I am so ready to give my little love a sibling!

Thank you so much for your continued prayers! You have no idea what it has meant to Brian and me to have such an amazing support system. Also, if you're in my same boat, please don't hesitate to contact me. I would love to share our experiences and give each other some hope. :)

I leave you with a throwback picture of my 4 week old baby girl...time, why do you fly so fast? Can't wait to snuggle another squishy someday!

Until next time! XoXoXo


It's My Party!

Monday, March 7, 2016

On Saturday, Brian threw me a 30th birthday party with all my closest friends and family. It was absolute perfection, and I'm so proud of him for all his hard work! The colors were black, gold, and fuchsia and the theme was "30 & Fabulous". It was a great excuse to get a little dressed up and wear some heels!

 We ate BBQ pulled pork (my fav!) with side dishes of potato salad, macaroni salad, roasted potatoes, and baked beans. So delicious! We also had a dessert table with dipped fruit and pretzels...Brian has a career option with Edible Arrangements apparently. ;)

Everything looked beautiful, but the highlight was my cake. It came from the same bakery where we had our wedding cake made, and it turned out gorgeous! It was champagne flavored cake with strawberry filling and buttercream frosting...yum! 


After we ate to our hearts content, we broke out the boozies and mingled a bit. It meant more to me than anyone will ever know to be surrounded by most of my favorite people. Blowing out my birthday candles this year will always be a fond memory that I will never forget.

Baylee, too, had a blast! It was so hard to get a picture of the crazy girl because she was non-stop. I'm pretty sure at least 5 relatives shared their cake with her. Thanks for the sugar high, ya'll! She looked pretty adorable all dressed up, though. :)

 Once the tequila kicked in, it was time for some 2000's hip hop on Pandora and a round of Cards Against Humanity. (If you have never played this game you have got to get it asap! It's hysterical!) We had so much fun laughing and joking that none of us took pictures, but hey...that's what memories are for right? :) 

Thank you everyone who made turning 30 so special for me! I have never felt so loved.

Until next time! XoXoXo