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Sleep Training!


I’m pretty sure I stumbled upon the trick to sleep training.  It may even be the key to parenting, period.  When I say “stumbled upon” I mean my mom told me.  And not only that, I’ve probably been told these things both by my mom and many others for a long time but never listened.  But it got to the point where I was dreading bedtime with my 18 month old and desperate times call for desperate measures (such as taking the good advice you’ve been given repeatedly).  And I’m SO glad I finally listened because this recipe has really worked for us!  

To be clear, we are not sleep training in the sense that River is being moved to his own bed, he still sleeps with me.  But I have no doubt that this method would work for moving a baby into their own bed, or just getting them to bed no matter what you guys do at your house.

Every night it would take me up to 2 hours to get River to sleep after we were already in bed.  He would settle for a little bit and just as I was tricked into thinking he was nodding off, suddenly it was party time.  He would go from laying down taking his bottle to immediately standing on the bed practicing his trust falls and the high-stepping jog in place move from Flashdance.  If I told him to lay down or actually pull him down he thought it was hysterical and this would turn into a game for him. His next move was to climb out of bed to go find my make up, which is his favorite thing to play with.  (I realize as I’m typing this there may be some signs here that one day I’ll look back on and think, hmm, we should have known all along)  Anyway bedtime was always an ordeal and I hated it. 

I would call my mom during the day and have desperate, long talks with her and finally the stuff she had been telling me all along sunk in and IT WORKS.  Not only has it made putting River to bed a breeze, but I feel like a better mom all together and now I’m going to share it with YOU.

Basically there are 3 pieces to this and they are all equally important, they are; schedule, repetition and will.

Now, I know what you’re thinking; That’s it?  That’s your amazing information? Those aren’t tricks!  I hate you!

Just believe me when I tell you doing it this way will give you the result you’re after far quicker than you think, so bare with me.  

Schedule: This refers not only to putting your child to bed at the same time each night, but creating a full regimen before bedtime.  These will be your child’s subconscious signals that not only is bedtime coming, but that it’s time to get sleepy.  These are things like baths and stories, putting on PJs, brushing teeth, etc.  For River and me it starts off with taking the dog outside and looking for the moon, which he is obsessed with.  Also about an hour before bed I start making it dimmer/calmer in the house.  My house is typically lit up like Las Vegas, so I turn off about 42 lights and just keep on 1 or 2.  I also turn down the volume on the TV if it’s on (who am I kidding?) and don’t roughhouse with River, only quiet playing or reading.  This last part is easier said than done when dad’s home, we’re still working on sleep training him.  

Repetition:  As a hypnotherapist I have a fair amount of knowledge about habits, both breaking them and creating them.  Good sleep behavior is a habit, so anyone can get there (even babies), it just takes time and effort.  They say practice makes perfect and there’s a reason for that.  

Neural pathways are the little roads that neurons (nerve cells) travel on.  These are how nerve signals travel to and from the brain.  Like real dirt roads, every time a path is traveled down, it gets deeper, wider, easier to pass through, and we know that energy will take the path of least resistance.  Therefore, doing something repeatedly makes it easier and easier to do until it just becomes “habit” or subconsciously driven.  Meaning you no longer have to “try” it’s just automatic. 

But here’s the best news of all, somehow the lucky number seems to be 7.  For some reason our brains really like this number and if we can push ourselves to do something 7 times, our subconscious seems to be more likely to accept it and absorb it after reaching this milestone. 

So couple this with your schedule and bedtime regimen and remember to stick with it and don’t take a day off.  Keep in mind that every night you don’t stick with your bedtime plan, you are actually reinforcing the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.  

Will:  This is the step that I really feel unlocked a new level for me as a mom.  All babies and kids test limits, it’s what they do.  It’s how they get to know the world around them, and it’s up to us as parents to makes sure the perception of the world we are helping them create not only works for them/us immediately, but in the long run as well.  It’s far too easy to give in and I did it all the time.  But now I realize it’s my absolute duty to follow through, if I say no, I have to keep correcting him until he listens, even if it means prying my fat ass off the couch to go stop him. (Being a mom is hard)

In some ways it’s made me choose my battles, some things I don’t love I’m just going to let fly.  But in those times I have to remember not to say no even once, because if I do, I have to follow through whether I want to or not.  

When putting River to bed, it was always a battle of wills because somewhere down the line he learned he could break me.  I was so annoyed and tired that I’d say f*ck it and just let him get out of bed and go play in his “salon” so that I’d get a break from fighting him.

In order to break this habit, I had to show him that my will is always stronger than his.  If I lay him down and he stands up, I lay him down again.  If he stands up 184 times, I have to correct him 187 times, because if I stop at 186, I’m only reinforcing that he can always get his way if only he keeps trying.  This builds up HIS will and next time he’ll be prepared to stand up 200 times if that’s what it takes.  

So I’m going to tell you now, the first night of this new “sleep training” is going to suck.  If you’re trying to get your baby to lay in their crib, or a child in their own bed, it’s the same thing.  You have to keep correcting them until they finally lay down and stay there and you can’t give up.  Ever. 

I told this to myself the first night, I knew it was going to suck so I mentally prepared to be up until 3 that night.  Fortunately it took way less time than I thought, about 45 minutes until he finally gave up and just laid there.  I sat there next to him kind of in disbelief as he just stared up at the ceiling, and then his blinks got heavier and heavier and he fell asleep about 20 minutes later.  That was HUGE for us.  I’ve literally never seen him do that. 

The second night also sucked, but just a liiiiittle bit less than the first.  I had to lay him back down over and over for about a half hour this time, and then same thing, he laid there for about 20 minutes, blinking, until he fell asleep.  

I should also mention that will is not just about laying him down.  I also don’t engage him at all.  I don’t speak to him, not even to say “no” or “lay down.”  I don’t cuddle him or kiss him or sing to him or pat him on the butt.  Once the lights are out, that’s it.  This is also really not easy to do, but it’s important. 

So every night got a little bit easier.  I was worried when we had a family emergency about 5 days into this and we needed to travel, but I stuck with my 3 rules as much as possible while we were away and it didn’t seem to set him back too much.

Now I honestly can’t believe how great bedtime is!  I lay him down with his bottle (we’re still working on getting rid of that, at this point it’s mostly water but I’d like to get rid of it as a crutch) and he drinks the whole thing quietly and without trying to get up.  When he’s finished he literally hands it to me (which makes me laugh, idk why), then rolls over on his tummy and makes a few little baby babbles and lays there until he falls asleep!  I would not believe it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes!  Actually, the past 4 nights in a row he has finished his bottle, handed it to me, then found my lips in the dark to give me a kiss, then rolled over for bed like we are a married couple.  It’s the funniest thing ever.

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friday favorites!


1.  If I have a motto about dressing babies it’s that comfort is king!  I love babies and kids that look comfortable, cute, and never fussy.  That’s what’s cool to me.  Childhoods Clothing gets it.  So far River only has 2 rompers and a pair of their shorty shorts, but I want everything they have in every size and color.  I love that they come in all types of layers, even short sleeved hoodies.  Which works great in California where even in the summer it always cools down at night juuuust enough for another layer.  

2. Aren’t these pillows just the neatest?  I want a whole mountain range for River’s bed.  I imagine the dreams he would have about being a great adventurer with these surrounding him.  They’re made by Three Bad Seeds and even their tree and animal pillows are just as stylish and cool as hell.  What’s better than awesome looking bedding that works double duty for play time, too?

3.  I couldn’t decide which style of these awesome night lights from Goodnight Light I wanted to feature.  I fell in love with their kitschy baby doll night lights, stayed for the pink pineapple, but am now in a committed relationship with their new cactus lights!  Unique and fun and sophisticated enough to feature in any room of your house, not just a kid’s room.  Think about how chill this would look on literally any flat surface of your house.  (River is lucky his helmet treatment corrected that or he’d be wearing one of these on his head)

4.  I’ve spent WAY too much time indoors this week due to my surgery and I am about ready to kick down the door and flee, meanwhile I can’t even lift up my leg in the tub high enough for the razor to reach it.  But all I can think about is taking River to the beach.  I’m on the hunt for a really good beach umbrella (if you find one let me know), but also on the list was a towel big enough for the both of us.  I’ve had my eye on these round towels from The Beach People for quite awhile just because they’re so cool.  I’ve seen a lot of knock offs since, but the thing I like about these is that they are thick and soft.  A lot of other round “beach blankets” are made of thin cotton, like a flat bed sheet.   That’s uh no good at the beach.  Give me something soft and absorbent and thick enough to be warm if I need to use it as a blanket when the wind kicks up while my moon doggy is still hangin 10.  I can’t wait to park our behinds on this baby as soon as I find the right umbrella and my husband shaves my legs. 

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Hellooo, Nurse!

Nurse Booby


My grandma was smart as a whip and “with it” pretty much until the end of her life, which happened to be just a week shy of her 101st birthday.  In her late 90s she was still reading Russian spy novels, kind of who-done-it murder mysteries where it’s important to keep all of the characters straight, and they all had last names that started with “Zh” and contained 47 letters, random Qs and a hieroglyphic of a bird.  Grandma was a force. 

There were really only a few times you could “catch her slippin” and only in the last year or so of her life.  A couple times while holding my tiny Chihuahua Booger on her lap and stroking his neck she called him a “good kitty” which really could have been anyone’s mistake.  He was actually more rodent than canine.  The other time was when she would repeat the same conversation over and over, even if she had just finished it 5 minutes earlier.  But it was always the same conversation and it always started with her asking me the same question, “could you ever be a nurse?”

She would go on to talk about how she didn’t think it was something she could ever do, and that the people who could were so exceptionally marvelous.  In her 100 years in the planet, with all of her experiences and everything she saw, at the end of her life what struck her the most was that there were people out there selfless enough to be nurses.  

She was a very healthy person.  Other than having her 5 babies, she never spent any time in the hospital up until the end of her life.  She didn’t have many experiences where she needed some of the things that we know nurses provide.  She never needed their quick action in a life or death situation.  She never needed them to change the dressing on a festering sore, or clean her bedpan.  She never needed to lean on them while trying to walk for the first time in weeks or to pull up her underwear after going to the bathroom.  She never needed them console her when she was scared or required one of their magic tricks like getting you to pee for the first time without a catheter after abdominal surgery with the use of a peri bottle. 

Although she never required a lot of what nurses have to offer personally, all these things added to her appreciation of them.  But there was one thing that nurses provide I think she valued most, and that’s dignity.  

Dignity was huge to my grandmother and it’s something that nurses provided for her in a big way at the end of her life.  

It’s not easy as an adult living without some or all of your independence.  It can be very difficult needing to lean on other people or have them care for you.  No matter what your restriction nobody loves asking for help, especially from loved ones.  Nurses not only provide the care, but they do it in a way that preserves dignity.

I’ve had a lot of instances where nurses have saved me. Through surgeries in my life and having my baby and even while TRYING to get pregnant, nurses have been by my side.  My mother in law is a nurse, and when it’s midnight (3am where she lives) and I’m worried about River’s poop or he has hives, she’s the one on the phone with me talking me through it.  After I had my baby, one of my mom’s dear friends who has been a NICU nurse for 30+ years was the one answering my questions and sending me literature and words of encouragement every step of the way.  This past week when I collapsed at my ultrasound appointment it was the nurse Raelyn who was literally holding me up on the toilet and who revived me with smelling salts, called the paramedics and my husband and then helped me get my pants on before 9 soap opera hunk EMTs showed up to the bathroom.  In the ER as I was losing 4 liters of blood in a matter of minutes and I had swarms of medical people buzzing around me and shouting things to each other that I didn’t understand, it was the nurse with the green eyes who kept getting close to my face and smiling and squeezing my hand to tell me I was doing great.  It was this same nurse who I turned to in the operating room moments before they put me under that I looked at with tears in my eyes and told I was scared.  Even with a mask on, I could feel her smile as she reassured me.  She said “you have the best people around you right now, we’re going to take care of you.  I promise.”

I love nurses so much.  Happy National Nurses Week!

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Honestly, this bottle sucks. 


I’m not that into taking the time to give something a bad review, but as a mom I do find its more helpful to other moms if I’m honest.. er, forthright. 

Let me start off by saying I love the Honest Co.  I use many of their home and baby products.  But this bottle can basically kick rocks all the way back to Jessica Alba’s house. 

First off, this sonofabitch is heavy.  Fill it with milk and you may need someone to spot you if you plan to lift it above your heart.  I’m still trying to get River to hold his own bottles, that’s not happening with this thing.  He’d burn more calories than he was taking in. 

The whole bottle is made of soft silicone, which was actually a selling point to me.  I dunno, it seemed cool.  I grew up in LA, we have a love for silicone like Buffalonians do for blue cheese.  But if this thing gets pinched, squeezed, or smooshed it will dump out it’s contents all over your diaper bag, your baby, your shirt, your dog, your life.  I say DUMP, not leak.  Dump is correct.

The nipple and the big honkin’ blubbery bottle have to line up juuuuuuuust so when you screw them together.  Too loose and dumpity doo dah, too tight and the air vents get blocked meaning your kid will work up a sweat trying to get the milk out as the bottle squeaks and hisses and collapses, and when they try to let go half their face will get sucked back into the bottle.  

The to-go lid is ridiculously hard to get off.  Couple that with a squishy, blubbery body and it’s a disaster waiting to happen.  Imagine super gluing a lid to the end of a full water balloon, and then try pulling it off.  It’s something like that. 

As far as nipples go, this one is actually pretty great.  It’s the only reason this bottle hasn’t already been recycled into one of the Kardashians.  River has a really strong suck, has since birth (lucky me).  Getting him to drink from a bottle took a lot of trial and error because all manmade  nipples would choke him with their letdown.  He’ll be a year this month and he’s still using newborn slow flow nipples.  This bottle actually works for him in that regard. 

Bottom line, there are some crucial design flaws with this bottle. It bums me out because it’s cute and I ❤️ the Honest Co., but maybe they’ll figure it out and give this thing a makeover that for once means LESS silicone. 

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friday favorites!


1. Here is something that’s true; Korean beauty products do not fuck around. Here is something that’s also true; Belif Aqua Bomb is one of my favorite things I’ve ever put on my face. It’s beyond moisturizing without being heavy or greasy. And it doesn’t have any sulphates, phthalates or parabens. Lucky you they apparently have it at Sephora now so you don’t have to go traipsing all over the internet like my dumb ass did. 

2. This baby blanket has all the coolness of a Mexican serape, without the Itchy and Scratchy show. The serape blankets I have feel like they have only a slightly higher thread count than burlap. This is super soft and is Sherpa on one side! I found mine at Granola Babies in Costa Mesa, but the one I hunted down on Little Messengers shop looks almost exactly like it! I just think these are so special. I love the colors and how sophisticated and not babyish they are. 

3. I’ve had this app since the day it came out, but I’ve really only been playing around with it recently. It can truly take your photos to another level. I’ve always been jealous of people with Instagram pages that look all cohesive and lovely. I some day hope to get there, possibly right after I find time to shave my own legs. But for now I’ll just smurf around and have fun with it. It takes a little bit to master and really grasp the full genius of this editing app. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very user friendly. I think at first glance it seems like just another filtering app, but the subtleties are where it’s at. I think the key is to play around with filters at very low percentages, don’t over do it. One of my favorite things is that on the A Color Story Instagram page they post user photos with the “recipe” of how they created the look so you can replicate. 

4. I always thought I hated abstract art. But recently I started looking for something to hang in the space above my kitchen table and wanted to think outside the realm of what I typically pick. I realized one day that literally every piece of art in my house is either a portrait of a person or an animal. Landscapes are a big snooze-fest, so I started looking into abstract art. It turns out I still pretty much hate it. BUT, what I don’t hate, I LOVE. It’s very polarizing, but that’s super neat.  I happened upon this artist named Mari Orr in my quest and her stuff is a tiny bit of magic.  I could get lost in her brush strokes, which she highlights singularly sometimes on her Instagram.

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Car Seat Covers!!


This is by far one of my favorite baby items.  A car seat cover is one of those things I never knew I needed but now can’t live without.  They’re especially wonderful when you have a brand new baby and every stranger you pass wants to stick their head right up to this fragile little larva and breathe all over them.  Other than acting as a breath-shield guarding from lethal breath rays, they also protect from sun, wind, and weather.

Since I fell in love with my own (I now have a couple) it’s my favorite gift to buy for new moms!

I have both the Covered Goods multi-use nursing cover and the Milk Snob cover.  They’re SUPER similar.  Both are made from buttery soft, ultra stretchy material. And they’re almost the exact same shape.  The Covered Goods cover is slightly wider and several inches longer, though.


Other than covering car seats on the go, both can be used as nursing covers!  This is awesome because you’re covered 360° all the way around you.  No need to worry about what is peeking out around your sides and back.  This is great news for us busty girls whose unruly boobs now filled with milk are somewhere towards the middle of the alphabet.

The Covered Goods cover can also be used as a shopping cart cover!  (Milk Snob makes a multi-use cover featuring a toggle that can also be used as a shopping cart cover)


Right now River sits up great on his own, but isn’t totally sturdy in a moving vehicle (shopping cart) so I still use my fluffy Floppy Seat with it.  The Floppy Seat is great except it’s not large enough to reach over the handle of Target shopping carts!  Considering I’m at Target like 4 times a week, that just won’t do.

Now that it’s colder, I also use my covers with my stroller when we go on walks!  It doesn’t keep a ton of warmth in, but I put a blanket on River’s lap and it keeps the blanket from falling as we walk.


These things are genius.

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