Why I Won’t be Sleep Training My Baby

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Sleep training can be a tough topic to discuss since we all have different thoughts and experiences associated with it. I have friends and family members who’ve done the CIO (cry it out) method and have been very successful and I’ve had others (like myself) who haven’t been able to sit through the cries. I want to make sure to say that I respect every mothers’ decision to parent their child in the way that they want and see fit. This post is not about right or wrong, it’s just about what I’ve chosen for my child and what has been working for us. 

A little back story (don’t worry, I’ll keep it short not to bore you):

Emma wasn’t the worst sleeper in the world when she was a newborn, but she definitely wasn’t the best. I remember waking up every two ours with her for months. It was utterly dreadful and, frankly, I was turning into a monster. The lack of sleep was bringing out sides of me that I never knew existed and let me tell you, they were NOT pretty. Once she hit months three and four, it got a bit easier. I had transitioned her into her crib and she was only waking 3-4 times at night and I was able to put her down in about 30 minutes. The problem was that once I was up, I couldn’t get back to sleep for another hour or so. I’ve always been a very light sleeper and had similar issues before being a mom.  She hit month five and I decided to try the CIO method. I bought the book by Dr. Richard Ferber and began to read like a mad woman. It even had a nice chart to use during the training so you can log in your time spent listening to the cries. I buckled down and decided to try it. I won’t get into too much detail, but I will say that I spent an hour straight crying my eyes out with her to the point where she began to throw up. That’s when I threw in the towel. I decided it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t strong enough. I felt a huge sense of guilt and failure.

Everything I read and heard told me that doing this for my child would only benefit them and that you needed to, “give them the gift of sleep”. I love my baby like any mother does and of course I wanted her to have that “gift”, but it just didn’t work out. I read thread upon thread of success stories on all my Facebook mommy groups and the guilt just kept sinking in. I felt so bad for putting her through that sort of stress that night that I decided to bring her to my bed and have her sleep with me. Now, it wasn’t the first time that we had co-slept or bed-shared, but it was the first time I got to snuggle my girl to sleep. I remember her holding on so tight to me, like she needed my love in that moment and thats when I decided that I would never deprive her of that. Now a days, she starts off in her crib and when she wakes around 2 am, I bring her to our bed and sleep till morning. She gets a full 12 hours every night and I get some much needed rest as well. My husband doesn’t mind it much since he values my sanity. There are some nights where she sleeps in her crib uninterrupted till morning and always sleeps through the night in her Pack n’ Play with her DockATot when sleeping over at her grandmas. I know what you’re thinking…”Try putting her in the Pack n’ Play at home…maybe she doesn’t like her crib”. Of course I’ve tried that. I’ve tried everything!

Theres a huge stigma with co-sleeping and bed-sharing in the Armenian culture but I hope that that will change with the new generations to come. I feel like these early years are meant for attachment and love so why should I deny her (or myself) of that? Some will say, “Yes, but co-sleeping will put a distance between you and your partner” and my response to that is, 1. Worry about your own marriage, 2. If you’re so concerned with my marriage, Ill reassure you by telling you that we work hard for our relationship and ALWAYS make sure to spend alone time together weather it be on a weekend getaway or just a date night while Emma stays with her loving grandparents.

As she ventures off into toddlerhood, I will watch her to see when she’s ready and thats when Ill try to have her stay in her room all night. It might take until she’s 5 or 6, and if thats the case, so be it. Thats what I signed up for as a mom. I’ve dedicated my life to her and I know that one day, she will refuse to sleep next to me and that my heart will break a little, but until that day, I will soak up every single cuddle and hug I could get! 

You do you mama. Whatever works for someone else doesn’t have to work for you. We are all trying our best and as long as your little one is happy and healthy, thats all that matters!

 

Balayage Beauty!

Like many women in their 20’s, Ive been to A LOT of hair dressers. I’ve gone from light to dark many times and managed to fry it during the process. It sucks because you go to these supposed professionals with excitement about a new change, yet you leave with 60% of your hair chopped off since they burned it! Ugh, so frustrating! I’m so happy about my recent experience with Chris Pedroarena at Ballagio Hair Salon in Crystal Cove, CA that I had to blog about it!

I was at a Banana Republic one day and saw a girl with the prettiest hair. I stalked her for a little bit and summed up the courage to ask her who she goes by and quickly jotted down the info. A few months later, I decided I needed a change and that was the first time I met Chris. I have to mention how professional he is. When you sit in his chair, you get the best vibes and you just know that you’re in good hands…LITERALLY! He uses only the best products and works at such a great pace since you know how important that is for us moms. He has many years of experience and is also great at cuts and styling. I learned my lesson and will continue to see Chris for all my hair styling needs. Go ahead and check him out if you’re in the LA/OC area!

Here you can see the before on the left and the afters on the top and bottom right.

Armenian Teething Party

    It’s a time honored tradition in the Armenian culture to throw a party for your little one as soon as they cut their first tooth. An “Atam Hateek” or “Agra Hadeeg”, depending on the dialect, is a celebration of babies first tooth. “Atam” or “Agra” meaning tooth and “Hateek” or “Hadeeg” meaning kernel. Other than it being a fun celebration, it’s also a future profession prediction party! All the guests gather around the baby as he/she sits in front of a variety of toys that symboloze possible professions. Before baby is allowed to pick one of these symbolic toys, we place a piece of tulle above her head and sprinkle a bit of cooked barley for good luck. These kernels of barley are supposed to represent healthy teeth. After this is done, baby is encouraged to chose 3 of those toys that have been placed in front of her. For our party, I decided to order some chocolates from Chocolate Pops by Alice that were molded in the shape of:

  • Pencil (Teacher, writer)
  • Basketball (Athlete)
  • Book (Scholar, author)
  • Sewing Machine (Fashion Designer)
  • Violin (Musician)
  • Stethoscope (Doctor)
  • Scissor (Beautician)
  • Paintbrush (Artist)
  • Microscope (Scientist)
  • Computer (Techie, blogger [haha!])
  • Ballet slippers (Ballerina)
  • Gavel (Judge)
  • Prescription bottle (Pharmacist)
  • Clapperboard (Movie Star)
  • Lady Justice Symbol (Attorney)
  • Money Sign (Wealth)

 All of these represent possible future professions for Emma. Our little darling picked 3 of these chocolates: Gavel, sewing machine, and a basketball!! She’s going to be a judge who plays professional basketball and designs couture dresses on her days off (insert hysterical laughing emoji!). It’s really all in good fun and the main purpose of this tradition is to send baby lots of  luck on her teething journey. After all this is over, the guests help themselves to cooked barley which they garnish with cinnamon, chocolate candy, walnuts, raisins, sugar, and cooked flour. Making the Hateek (also what we call the cooked barely) is a teedious task which has to be done the day before and involves boiling and drying for the perfect consistency. Since Emma cut her first tooth around 9-10 months of age, I felt it unecessary to do two big parties. Instead, we performed the Hateek tradition at her first birthday celebration. I am so thankful for my family and friends who were there to support Emma on her special day! Here are some photos from the teething ceremony:

This beautiful Tulle was also bough from Chocolate Pops By Alice!

Emma and her gavel!

 

Emma chose her future professions with a little help from Minnie Mouse!

 

These beautiful baskets were done by Chocolate Pops by Alice!
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Emma’s First Birthday

This past weekend, we celebrated Emma’s first birthday. It was such a bitter sweet moment. Ive been in a funk all month just thinking back and reflecting on her first year of life and my first year of motherhood. Ive learned more about myself and life in general in this first year than I have in all 27 years Ive been on this planet. To someone who isn’t a mother yet, this can be hard to understand. Before I was a mom, I didn’t get why people were so obsessed with their children and why motherhood was so important. Of course, I knew that it was a big deal, but always felt like there were other things in life that could come close to it. For example, your husband, your family, your personal quest for self-realization, but I soon learned that there was NOTHING (literally) more important than this role. In the first year I have been the most vulnerable, scared, happy, sad, excited, all at once. Its been a crazy roller coaster ride thus far and I cannot wait to see what the second year has in store for us. I love watching my girl grown and Ive never looked to the future more optimistically than I do now. She is the air that I breath and I can’t imagine what I did before her. I pray she stays healthy and happy for many many more years to come! 

Here are a few highlights from her big day! 

  • Venue: LaLa Land Indoor Playground
  • Desserts: Sugarspoon Bakery
  • Catering: US! (yes really!)

This beautiful cake, along with all the desserts, were made by Teni, owner of Sugarspoon Bakery.

My Little Family
Emma’s Grandpa surprised her with a Minnie Mouse appearance!

Cake Smash Tips and Tricks

With emma nearing her first birthday, I jumped on the cake smash bandwagon. How could I not?! Its so cute to see little babies covered in cake while enjoying sugar for the first time. I don’t want to go on and on about it, so here are some tips and tricks that can help you plan ahead and be prepared.

DO’s

  • Get a great photographer- Unless you’re an experienced photo taker and have an amazing camera and editing skills, I would highly recommend a wonderful and experienced photog. In my case, it was a no brainer. I had worked with Christina and her husband Andy for our maternity shoot and I trusted their experience and talent. Another great thing about having a professional photographer is that they usually bring props. You’re probably going to be in the middle of planning your little ones first birthday party and having less to do on the list with help with all the stress. If you’d like to contact Christina, you can do so at Info@chasingpleasures.com.
  • Have someone amazing bake your child’s cake. In our case, we went with Teni from Sugarspoon Bakery because, well, SHES THE BEST! I mean it people. You won’t find a more professional baker than her. She’s amazingly sanitary, skilled, and everything I’ve ever ordered from her has tasted like heaven. I asked for a pink ombre style which is hard to do and she nailed it! I also asked her about which frostings she recommends and was told that whipping cream is good because it stays soft and its easier for babies to smash into. Buttercream was not recommended because if left in the fridge too log, it can harden and thus become though for little fingers to dig into. I’ve also heard that buttercream can be quite slippery so stay away if your kiddo can stand and walk. Here is a link to the Sugarspoon Bakery IG https://www.instagram.com/sugarspoonbakery/
  • Get your outfit in advance. Most of these typical cake smash outfits are found on Etsy and are handmade. Unless you want to invest an extra $50 for rush shipping, give it a good 3 weeks. For our shoot, I was feeling super crafty and decided to make Emma’s tutu. I had a lot of fun and saved a ton of money as well. A similar tutu on Etsy cost $70 (although I saw a few cheapy looking ones for around $25-$30) but mine cost $4 and took about a hour to do. If you’d like a video on how to make one yourself or would like a blog post about it, please leave a comment and I’ll get one up ASAP.
  • Have tons and tons of baby whips and paper towels on hand for clean up. It gets real nasty folks. Don’t forget to bring an extra change of clothes for baby.
  • Have a backup plan! Our original plan was to do the cake smash session outside at a park, but once  year it rains in LA and that was the day it decided to happen. My backup plan was my moms house since she has the space and lots of good natural  light. It all worked out in the end and I was happy to have something I could fall back on.
  • Make sure that you schedule a time where your baby has napped and is happiest. If you have to bring a favorite toy or snack for bribes, do so. If baby is sick, reschedule. No one wants to catch your kid’s cold and you don’t want crappy photos anyway.
  • Have fun!!!! We had such a blast. I sang a million “Wheels on the Bus” versions and made all kinds of strange animal noises, but they all paid off!

Don’t forget to pin this last photo <3

Tiny Prints Christmas Cards

     Tiny Prints has been my go-to for all things invites, birth announcements, and holiday cards. This year, I decided to make two different cards since it’s Emma’s first Christmas. We used Tiny Prints for Emma’s birth announcement in January as well and I love the quality, customer service, and designs to name a few. Their website is so easy to use and you can even submit your sample to one of their designers to make sure that all is well with your design. They have tons and tons of styles you can choose from and I don’t know if thats a good thing or a bad thing since I literally wanted every single design. Here, I’ve included a digital catalog for you to view TINY PRINTS CATALOG. Its important to pay attention to cut off dates as well so I’ve included them here CUT OFF DATES. 

I think its so important to share the joy of Christmas with all your friends and family. Its hard to keep in touch sometimes with such busy schedules, and sending a Christmas card is a sweet way to say that you are thinking of them during this wonderful time. Tiny Prints has been such a joy to work with, and I can’t wait for Emma’s first birthday invitations to be made through them as well! Here are some promotional codes to take advantage of TINY PRINTS PROMO. I hope you enjoy your Holiday cards as much as I have! Merry Christmas!!

This post was sponsored by Tiny Prints. All opinions are always my own!

Christmas Photo Shoot Session with Velvet Violet Photography

     Do you guys ever see those give-aways on Instagram and think, “Gosh I never win these things”? Me too, except this time, I WON! I was so excited when I was chosen to have a complementary photo session with Kay Anchante from Velvet Violet Photography. We choose to make it a Christmas session so that we could have professional pictures for our Christmas cards.

     We had such an amazing time with Kay. She is not only a skilled and talented artist, but also a wonderful person all around. She made us feel so comfortable and at ease and I feel that its so important during a photo session because you want to look your best. I have a huge level of respect for women who are juggling motherhood, womanhood, and a self made business. She specializes in contemporary lifestyle portraits of women and and the ones they love. Her professionalism was outstanding and I was seriously so in love with every single shot! 

naregiveaway-7

     Not only did she do this session for us, but she also educated me on the Do’s and Don’t’s of photography. One of the biggest things I learned was to NOT POST SCREENSHOTS! Even if you screenshot a high resolution photo you think looks amazing, the second you take that shot, the quality depreciated immediately! Can’t believe I never thought of this! She also taught me that photography is a skill beyond the common “point and shoot” idea. She meticulously takes the time to edit her shots to get the maximum effect. A lot of photographers just give you a C.D. with your unedited raw pictures but whats the point in that? I could do that myself! The next time you’re shopping for a photographer, make sure you ask the right questions.  Kay is having an amazing Black friday/ Cyber monday deal here:http://www.velvetvioletphotography.com

Emma’s Presidential Greeting

presidential-greeting

Having a baby is one of the most amazing moments of ones life, so why not have the President of the United States send your baby a greeting?! When I found out that President Barack Obama and his lovely wife Michelle would send Emma a greeting with their well wishes, I jumped at the chance to have one because I thought it would be such a great keepsake! Of course, they aren’t the ones who are actually writing and sending these post cards, but it’s still so awesome to open your mailbox to see a letter from The White House addressed to your little one. It takes a few months to be processed and sent out, but its worth the wait. The guidelines state that you can only receive a greeting within one year of the baby’s birth. Here’s where you can get yours: 

Baby’s Birth Greeting

Shop Amazon’s Holiday Toy List – Parent Picks

Down Syndrome Awareness Month


MomisdrawingOctober is Down Syndrome awareness month, so what better time than now to tell you about my experience. I was 12 weeks pregnant then and totally clueless. I was so excited to be pregnant. A few months back I had a pregnancy end very abruptly and at that point I was just happy to be this far along. We had heard Emma’s heartbeat at 6 weeks and it was loud and strong! I could say that that day if forever stored under the “best days of my life” mental file. I trusted and loved my OB so when she told me that I had to go to a different office for a routine first trimester screening, I happily obliged. All I knew was that they would be checking for chromosomal abnormalities. I wasn’t nervous or worried. I didn’t even take my husband with me. I just got up one day and went to the office, excited that I would get to see the baby in the ultrasound.

The lovely ladies called me in and I practically skipped all the way to the ultrasound room. My tech was very sweet. She began the ultrasound and assured me that the babies heart was good and her stomach and intestines were all in its place and all that was left to do was to measure the nucal fold behind Emma’s head, right where her spine was. For those that don’t know, children with chromosomal abnormalities usually have higher levels of this fold. During the screening, they measure that and combine it with blood tests previously taken by your doctor. After they have all the information they need, they put it into a system that generates a probability for T21 (Down Syndrome) T18 (Edward’s Syndrome) and T13 (Patau Syndrome). Once my tech was done, she assured me that her nucal fold level was very low and that that was great news. At that point we were done and I took my sonogram pictures and went back into the waiting room.

A few minutes later, the tech, along with the receptionist came to call me in. I knew something was wrong at that point. They had very sad faces! They sat me down and said that “I tested positive for T21, Down syndrome”. I was shocked to say the least! The tech then explained that I had a 1/49 chance of having a baby with Downs. Her exact words were, “So basically 50/50”. Now, for someone who’s in utter shock, my math was not on point! 1/49 is not 50/50, but of course that’s all I could focus on. After that, they became very business like and began to quote a ton of dollar amounts that I needed to pay in order to meet with a genetic counselor. I sat there staring into space. Like the whole world had stopped for a few minutes. I then decided to leave. I politely said no thank you and that I would like to consult with my doctor before seeing anyone else.

I stormed out and called my sister and husband and of course my doctor. I cried in my car for a while and all I kept thinking was 50/50! It took my doc a whole day to call back and we talked about my options and we decided against an amniocentesis (where they insert a huge needle into your belly to retrieve amniotic fluid for testing). This would have been the most accurate 100% form of testing, but posed a small, 1% chance of miscarriage. This life within me was so incredibly precious I couldn’t live with myself if I lost her. Another option we were given was to do a simple blood test that would be able to tell us if there were any chromosomal issues and also tell us the sex of our baby. We chose this option since it posed no threat to Emma. It’s a fairly new type of test and only has a 98% accuracy rate. It was good enough for me! We went in on a Friday, had my blood drawn and had to wait 1-2 weeks for results. By that time, 3 days had passed since my initial visit for the screening. Each day that passed, while we waited for the results, was like a million years crammed into one day. I was afraid. I was afraid for her future, for my future. For how she would have to live in a world that isn’t very accepting of people with special needs. How she would possibly have to deal with a slew of health issues and if I was strong enough to be a mom of a child who needed lifelong care. I was extremely ignorant of people with Down’s syndrome and that made it worse because I only thought the worst. I now know differently. I see Insta friends with beautiful babies who happen to have Downs and all I get from them is that these children have brought more joy and love then anything else. It’s true that they are more alike then different. I wish I knew these things back then.

After a week, I got a text message from my doctor telling me that all was ok and Emma had a typical chromosomal count. We held off on knowing the gender so that we could have a reveal party. I was so happy I cried! I called my family in tears and told them that everything was going to be ok. The thing is that it was going to be ok anyway. I now know that having a child with Down syndrome isn’t a deathly diagnosis. It’s a tough one for sure but there are far worse things that can happen to you as a person. In some ways it’s a blessing and a calling from God.

I carry a bit of guilt with me now. I think of how blessed I am to be Emma’s mom and sometimes I remember how ignorant I was with what I thought I knew. We live and we learn though. I’m hoping that by sharing my story, I can help another Momma who’s in the same shoes as I was back when I revived such news. These are the things we sign up for as mothers. From the moment we conceive, we are faced with choices and options and worries and joys. It’s a roller coaster for sure but there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t thank God for blessing me with motherhood.

If you’d like to donate to the National Down Syndrome Society, you can do so here: http://www.ndss.org/Ways-to-Give/Ways-to-Donate/

THIS BEAUTIFUL DRAWING DEPICTING A MOTHER WITH HER CHILD WAS DRAWN BY @MOMISDRAWING

 

Pumpkin Patch 2016

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      So, If you know me, then you know that I hate the summer time! Yes, thats right…I hate the sun! Unfortunately, living in southern California really puts a damper on my love for cold weather and rain. With it officially being Fall, I was so excited to welcome all the pumpkin loving, PSL drinking, and sweater wearing, but what I was most excited for was to finally take my little one to a pumpkin patch. Last year, I was super pregnant with Emma during this time of year and I longed for the day that I would be able to have her in my arms while running through a field of pumpkins, and since God is so good, I finally had the chance to make this dream a reality. 

       We planned to go on a friday hoping that it wouldn’t be too crowded, but of course it was filled with field trips and schools of children running a muck! Before hand, I thought about what I would dress Emma in and after a million different outfit choices, I decided to keep it simple with a really cute fall floral onsie from Old Navy, along with some adorable brown moccasins, also from Old Navy. Since Emma has become infamous for her head bows, I had to snag a cable knit style from Baby Bling Bows (can find it at Nordstrom). 

    We visited the Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch which was set up so nicely. Admission to the park was $3 and admission to the patch was free. There was a lot of activities for older children, such as face paintings, carnival games, and a haunted house. The only thing Emma was really able to participate in (exept for all the picture taking) was the train ride. It was so sweet to have all three of us crammed into one seat on the train while cruising around the park. We got to see some turtles, peacocks, and even went through a haunted tunnel. All in all, Emma had a great time. It was a day I will surely never forget!