The #AsLongAsYouCanStandIt Challenge

I recently got back from a 3 night/4 day trip with my family. It was wonderful in many ways. Minus sleeping arrangements… apparently it’s not a good idea to have four people sharing a hotel room without another room to shove the sleeping baby in. We could get away with this with one kid… kind of. But I guess these days we will have to shell out for a suite even on shorter trips. Between my husband’s snoring (sorry, hunny) and the kid waking up the baby and baby waking up the kid, there wasn’t much restfulness going on on this trip which I suppose is to be expected at this juncture. But there was a lot of eating and drinking and not much working out. Riding bikes and walking, yeah. But sweaty exercise, not really. I did get to the gym one day, but, felt rushed, per usual and didn’t do my best.

Having a kid who didn’t sleep for the better part of a year who continues to be tough upon every milestone and a energetic 5-year-old… and a husband who travels and my love of food and wine and inability to workout at a moment’s notice… has seriously taken it’s toll on how healthy I feel (or don’t feel). Not to mention, I’m still nursing a baby which although they SAY burns up a ton of calories, it also makes me hungrier and groggier, sometimes. Yes, nursing burns calories. But it also can make your body hold onto extra weight because it knows you are still feeding another human. THIS IS WHAT I’VE READ, OKAY. Let’s not argue. Just let me have my believes that my body is not doomed. BTW… this is about as body-UNpositive as I’ll get. I am totally on board with respecting my body as wonderful and amazing having housed two babies, even if it’s not in prime, tip-top condition currently. But with that being said, I’m needing some extra energy and to feel lighter and healthier. I figure a lot of parents out there may be feeling the same, so I hope we can do this together.

I decided I’m going booze-free for 30 days (this doesn’t mean you have to chose this challenge in order to participate, btw. I don’t know why you would unless you need red-wine-detox as badly as I do). Here’s my regret face after I posted this on Facebook yesterday on the car ride home.

This... is gonna suck.
This… is gonna suck.

The challenge will run for 30 days, starting TODAY, April 13th, 2015. Here’s what it will look like:

1) Pick your goal or goals. For example, my goal is going to be to attempt not drinking for 30 days (yikes) and eat clean(er). I also want to get to yoga or the gym 3 days/week. That one is SO much harder than it sounds right now with a baby that won’t let me out of his sight and screams bloody murder when I try to leave him at the gym stay-and-play. They should call it stay-and-scream-until-we-call-your-mother-on-the-intercom-who’s-crying-because-she-doesn’t-get-to-workout-AGAIN.

2) Post an inspiration shot (or MANY) on Instagram or FB and tag @TheMediocreMama (make sure you are following) and hashtag #AsLongAsYouCanStandIt. OR post on Facebook to The Mediocre Mama fan page and hashtag #AsLongAsYouCanStandIt. These photos will be your entries in the challenge. I’ll be posting tons of pics so you can follow my example. A note about this postings- they do not have to be “LOOK HOW GOOD I DID TODAY!” although those posts are fine, too! But I’m looking for REAL inspiration. Like, “ugh, here’s how much I want wine today and this happened that was crappy and DAMMIT ALL TO HELL!” Tell your struggles, your story, whether it’s work, kids, traveling hubby. What makes this challenge tough for you but why is it important for you to feel good and be your best you?

3) For extra entries, share, share away!! Always tag @TheMediocreMama and use the #AsLongAsYouCanStandIt hashtag to document your challenge.

PRIZES: I’m going to pick three winners. The person who inspires us the most with his/her or her genuine, real life struggles/accomplishments will get a $50 TARGET GIFT CARD! The more you post, the better your odds. I will also pick two other winners with prize packages to be announced at a later date.

Remember, you don’t have to go for a full 30 days- this challenge is shaped by YOU. What do you want to get out of it? It could be as simple as “I’m going to watch less TV” or “I’m going to put my phone away at 5 PM.” It could even be “I’m going to be more mindful” or “be kind to myself.” This is YOUR challenge. Just be sure to document it and hashtag away! Now get going and let me know you are participating by commenting on this post or on Facebook. Get a friend to do it with you so you can encourage one another to stick to your goals. Complaining encouraged!! Good luck!! #AsLongAsYouCanStandIt

Review: Soft Star Shoes

A few weeks ago, I was cruising through Target while the baby growled at me from the carrier and my daughter yanked things endlessly off the shelves and begged for toys, clothes, books, shoes, cheez-its. In all of her begging and pleading, I ended up throwing one crappy pair of flip flops into the cart, knowing they’d end up in a giveaway bag fairly quickly, but… the things we do to save our sanity.

Anyway, we got home, she promptly put the flip flops on and ran around the backyard. In about five minutes she was complaining that they hurt and in ten she had a blister between her toes. “Maybe you just need to break them in?” I said. But, no. They were hard, plastic, blister-makers and she was finished with them before Spring had even sprung.

So about a week later, I came across a company called Soft Star Shoes. I started cruising their website and had to have them for the kids, although they make adult shoes, too! The company graciously sent me a pair of shoes for my 10-month-old son and 5-year-old daughter. I was pretty pumped because as an almost-walker, my boy needed something soft and comfy and obviously, my daughter needed some summer kicks that didn’t give her blisters and me migraines!

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Soft Star Shoes- sandals and moccasins fresh out of the box!

A couple of days later the shoes arrived and OMFG. Just as they appeared on the site, they were the sweetest looking (and feeling) things ever. My daughter has barely taken hers off. Can you blame her? They are ADORABLE.

I absolutely love that her pink sandals velcro around her ankle and she doesn’t get tripped up on them like regular flops and that they are super comfortable. They will be perfect for the coming months of back-yarding, beaching, pooling, etc.

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The baby moccasins are the perfect first shoes. Not only are they cute as hell, but when I put my hand inside I went “WHOOOOA.” The soft lining feels awesome! Definitely not going to hear any complaints out of baby about these kicks!… and that’s pretty amazing because he complains about pretty much everything else. ;)

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Both of these pairs of shoes have become our every day shoes. They are easy shoes to slip on the baby when I can’t find socks (I CAN NEVER FIND SOCKS!) and any shoes my daughter willingly puts on without me asking her 2329813 billion times are an A+ in my book! The shoes pictured here are currently priced at $30 (for the moccasins) and $48 (for the child sandals). For hand-made premium-quality shoes and just how loved I know they will be, I’d say they are each worth that price tag. They are definitely worth it for the first shoes my son will wear on his little baby feets and learn to walk in. And we could easily go through three crappy pairs of sandals for my daughter this summer that break, fall apart, cause blisters or get thrown off a bridge (woops). I’m glad we’ll just have these cuties to get us around the town.

I’m so happy to introduce you to this amazing company. Go check out Soft Star Shoes for yourself or the kids. You will be so impressed when they arrive and your little ones will likely love them so much you won’t have to hold them down and shove their feet into them while they knee you in the crotch or anything like that.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this product review and the opinions here are 100% my own. If you wish to contact me about a product review or a sponsored post, email Sarah.bregel@gmail.com. 

Why I love honest moms

I have a high-needs baby. There is no way around it. He is the apple of my eye, as is his five-year-old mile-a-minute sister. But this kid is far from easy-going. He doesn’t like many people besides me. He doesn’t like getting his diaper changed and he hates bottles. But on the list of things he doesn’t like, sleep is number one.

My not-so-newborn absolutely hates sleep and will fight it at all costs, until I’m crying in the basement, letting him scream for just a few minutes so I can do the same in private. At seven months, he is now in the throes of separation anxiety and I, a not-religious-in-the-slightest person, am finding myself talking to God on the regular, hoping He will send me a lifeline.

My husband and I have thrown our hands up and given each other blank stares, not having any idea what else to do. I have swaddled, nursed on demand, laid on my bed for two hours (or more) not moving a muscle while he napped. I’ve begged my daughter to please play quietly. I’ve made her cry by snapping at her. I’ve let the baby scream so I could give her a much needed hug. I’ve also felt worse about myself as a mother and a person than I ever thought possible.

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Continue reading at Mommy Nearest… 

***for curious followers, this post was written several months ago for Mommy Nearest. So if it doesn’t all add up… that’s why! Also, this picture is five years old. OMG. I’ve aged… but it’s cool.

5 Qualifications you should have to become a parent

Dear Applicant,

Thank you for expressing such an interest in this position! It is truly the opportunity of a lifetime and your enthusiasm will surely be of the utmost importance when venturing down this new path. Below is a list of the five most important qualifications your future client/s will require on a near constant basis for the next 18 years or more. Probably more. We should also mention this is really a job that never ends. But don’t worry, it has many wonderful benefits, as you’ll soon find out.

1. A go-getter attitude is key

You must be willing to stop what you are doing and go get things approximately 180 times a day, including but not limited to: books, dolls, dresses, snacks, paper towels, baby wipes, diapers, bottles, pacifiers, crayons, paper, cups of water, more snacks, clean undies, wash cloths, stickers, blankets, hair brushes, lost socks, lost shoes, band-aids, tissues and much more. Note: A gym membership doesn’t come with this position, but it is unlikely that you will have time to exercise with any consistency anyway. This level of activity, though, will help you to feel energized which this position demands at all times.

dude whatevsss

Continue reading @ Mommy Nearest… 

Review: Well-Rested Family

My son, Tener, who is now nearly nine months old was never a fan of sleeping without a nipple in his mouth. (Note: Please resist the urge to say “well what man wouldn’t love that?!” This joke has been told again and again. Somewhere around my 95,387 straight day/night awake it lost it’s hilarity.)This baby was/is very latched on in every possible way and even though I consider myself to be a pretty hands-on, attachment parent-ish type of person, this level of latched on was getting… pretty rough.

Not only did my son want to sleep with a boob in his mouth and only with a boob in his mouth, he needed complete and utter silence to sleep for more than like seven(?) seconds. No distractions whatsoever. Let me be clear- COMPLETE AND UTTER SILENCE AND ZERO DISTRACTIONS IS A JOKE WHEN YOU ALSO HAVE A 4-5 YEAR OLD SPECIES FLINGING HER BODY AT YOU EVERY TIME YOU ASK FOR QUIET OR SIT DOWN.

In essence, my son was almost never sleeping, not during the day or the night and it was bad. Real bad. No, he wouldn’t sleep in the car either or wrapped in his ergo/moby wrap/any variation of baby-wearing devices. Yes, I tried them all. Tenny said, via hysterical sobs, “GIVE UP AND GIVE ME YOUR BOOB.” And for lack of a better option, I gave up trying any other means again and again. But then co-sleeping became an endless game of nursing non-stop all night and flailing and rolling and nursing and waking cranky and with red, pathetic eyes every damn day (the baby, not me!… well, yeah, me too). And all hell broke loose. After about 4.5 months of age, this kid wanted to see and do everything regardless of his exhaustion. Some babies people were just built that way. Wouldn’t you know it, I’d birth that kind of human. I’ve always liked to do things the hard way, I guess (damn, stubborn Aries trait!).

Enter: Dawn Braun, gentle sleep-coach extraordinaire and the well-rested voice behind “Well Rested Family” of the Annapolis, Maryland (and surrounding) area. I contacted Dawn who uses the techniques based on the book “Good Night, Sleep Tight” by Kim West, aka, The Sleep Lady when I was absolutely on my last leg, my last bit of patience, energy and had cried all my tears. Tenny was about 7 months at the time and I’d been awake consistently for about three months. I was admittedly, nervous and unsure about any type of sleep-training, even something with the word “gentle” in it. To me, sleep-training seemed unnatural. Babies weren’t meant to be good sleepers. They were supposed to be close to mom all night. They weren’t supposed to be easy. It was an is my feeling that babies need comfort from their parents when they are brand new into this would the same way that they need food. It is as basic a need as any. Sleep training of any kind didn’t really seem natural, but I knew something had to give. Nothing that was going on with my son’s sleep really seemed all that natural, either. He was waking constantly, never sleeping for more than 10-15 minutes and I was losing hope and getting seriously overwhelmed.

Dawn Braun, "Well-Rested Family" with her well-rested family... don't they look rested?
Dawn Braun, “Well-Rested Family” with her well-rested family… don’t they look rested?

After talking to Dawn during our consultation, I started to think of sleeping as a skill and one that I would help him learn to embrace and hopefully be able to use for a lifetime. Some of us come by this skill easily, some of us don’t. One good thing about Dawn, that makes her an excellent sleep coach, is that she was willing to work with what I was comfortable with. I credit most of our success to this fact. If Dawn had tried to push me to let my baby cry too long or had given us other techniques I didn’t feel comfortable with, I probably would’ve quit before we started. But I never felt I was doing anything to scar my baby during the course of our training and I never felt pushed, either.

The process was pretty simple. Because Tener wasn’t really comforted by anything other than nursing and we had no real way to get him to sleep and stay asleep, we had to get over this hump to start. We were allowed to hold him, rock him, comfort him in any way we could (which my husband was much better at given his non-functional nipples) but he had to find sleep on his own so that he would learn how. I began nursing him downstairs rather than in his room, then Marshall would take him upstairs and begin a bedtime routine. It only took a couple of nights before Tener caught on that he wasn’t going to be nursed or rocked completely to sleep and he started sleeping better almost immediately. After the first night, it got better and better but I was nervous for when it would be my turn to put him down. I kept a sleep log and checked in with Dawn via phone/text/email so she could help us navigate the days/nights.

Turns out, once the system was in place- nursing downstairs, then going up to start our routine, he didn’t resist me as much as I expected. While we would definitely go back in to re-rock and soothe, we started to have confidence that he was going to get to sleep and it started happening easier and quicker. Full-disclosure- my baby still wakes up in the night and when he does I nurse him back down. I actually really like this because I’m allowed to nurse him to sleep in the night and I get my fix. We also still rock him before bed and comfort him as needed. This program has varying degrees and admittedly, I didn’t want to tackle the full-scale “sleep-training” program but you totally could and should, if you want to!

With Dawn’s help, we did what we felt comfortable with and we have a pretty damn good sleeper to show for it. He still doesn’t sleep on the go, wrapped or in the car or whatever, but he sleeps. And that is an amazing gift. He currently takes two good naps a day and wakes (on average) twice a night. We had regressions (which scared the crap out of me because I thought we were back where we started) but Dawn assured me that these can happen, especially on the verge of developmental milestones (like crawling). But with each regression, we got back to our routine a little easier and a little faster.

Some babies are just tough. Some babies just fight sleep and will keep fighting sleep because it’s their nature and they won’t do anything else until they learn how. If you’re struggling with sleep, if you’re losing your damn mind, I urge you to get help from a gentle sleep coach. It has changed my life in a very short time and I’m happy to recommend Dawn (isn’t it ironic that that’s her name? The Dawn of a new day? The bright, sunny, well-rested morning?) to anyone and everyone who asks. She will absolutely help you create a program that works for you and doesn’t make you hate yourself. I’m even more a believer that you don’t have to let your baby scream relentlessly now than ever. There is a better way.

Mamas… papas, take care of yourselves, guys. You’re important, too.

Good night, sleep tight.

Find Dawn’s page at www.wellrestedfamily.com or on Facebook.

This is a sponsored post. I received a discount to Well-Rested Family sleep-counseling in exchange for documenting my experience on this blog. All opinions are 100% my own. If you wish to contact me about a product review or a sponsored post, email Sarah.bregel@gmail.com. 

What would you do if you had the house entirely to yourself?

Simple as it may seem, to most parents, having the house to themselves for an entire afternoon is a rare and exciting opportunity. We asked some hardworking mamas and papas around the country what they would do if this happened to them. The results were clever, hilarious, but mostly, just plain true. Read on to hear all of their answers and then chime in with your own response!

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Continue reading at Mommy Nearest… 

ZIPADEE-ZIP REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

As you all know, major sleep issues hit my family hard in recent months. But apparently, I’m not nearly as alone as I have felt since entering NO SLEEP LAND. I always knew the world was filled with sleep-deprived parents, but man, I felt like the depths of my baby’s sleep issues were the worst I’d ever heard. It seems a lot of you are in my same boat, though, and while it makes me feel a teeny bit better, my heart goes out to each and every person who confessed to me, either publically or privately, that they are in their own personal sleep hell. It truly is so hard and I am so sorry. You know I feel your pain.

Anyway, apparently I’ve also been sleeping under a rock (or tossing any turning under one) but I didn’t know about a product called the Zipadee-Zip by Sleeping Baby Inc. until very recently. What is a Zipadee-Zip you ask? Well I’ll tell you. It’s a wearable blanket that aids the swaddle transition and is safe for baby to roll in. Now, my uber-alert Tenny never wanted to be swaddled in the first place. But I thought, we’re tried everything else, might as well try the zippy! Note: The Zipadee-zip goes up to 24m but there is also a hands-free option called “The Flying Squirrel” for bigger (12m+) babes.

A Cozy Fleece Zippy that is great for sleeping if you live in a cooler climate.  These are great with just a diaper underneath.  They also make great wearable blankets for stroller, car and baby carrier rides as a baby can easily be buckled in while wearing one. Retails for $38.95
A Cozy Fleece Zippy that is great for sleeping if you live in a cooler climate. These are great with just a diaper underneath. They also make great wearable blankets for stroller, car and baby carrier rides as a baby can easily be buckled in while wearing one. Retails for $38.95

While I was worried about T not having his hands free in case he wanted to suck his fingers (something he’s never done before, at least while trying to get to sleep) he didn’t seem to mind having them under his zippy. He could still move around and get comfortable. We typically put him in a big purple sleep sack that used to belong to his sister, but sleep was really hit or miss in that, too. He woke up a lot and I worried about how much he could really move and shift in it now that he’s a pro-roller. A lot of times, he seemed frustrated in the sack, so something more movable for this guy seemed like a pretty good solution.

The first night Tenny slept in his Zippy, miraculously, he did his longest stretch ever! Now I don’t want to be deceptive. We have also been working with a gentle sleep coach, but still, he’d been waking 2-3 times a night on the regular. So when I was pretty blown away at this change. No, actually… I thought it was a fluke. Now, he has routinely been waking up only once a night to nurse then going right back to sleep while wearing his zippy. It’s pretty amazing. While I can’t totally explain it, I think it has to do with the fact that his arms and legs are snug inside his zippy so he doesn’t wake himself up as much, but he can also move and shift around when he needs to.

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A well-rested Tenny after napping in his Zipadee-zip!

So without further ado, I’d like to give one of these amazing sleep-helpers away to one of you all in hopes that it will help your baby and you sleep!

All you have to do to enter is: 

1) Like The Mediocre Mama on Facebook and leave a comment either here or on Facebook about why you (or someone you plan on giving it to) need a zipadee-zip! 

2) Share this page directly from the blog OR via the giveaway link on Facebook. 

3) Like Sleeping Baby Inc- home of the ZipadeeZip on Facebook. 

GIVEAWAY CLOSES FRIDAY, 2/13/15 AT 9 AM. 

Now everyone can’t be a winner… BUT if you head over to Sleeping Baby Inc., you can enter the coupon code “SLEEP” for $2 off a zippy of your choice anyway!

Find them on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and be sure to like them on Facebook to enter their monthly giveaway!

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this product review and the opinions here are 100% my own. If you wish to contact me about a product review or a sponsored post, email Sarah.bregel@gmail.com.