Picking Pumpkins

Friday, October 29, 2010


Thursday, October 28, 2010
In honor of the Giants in the World Series
my boys have been bearded in the awesomeness of San Francisco Giants' pitcher Brian Wilson. 
Go Giants!

then I did Dan and Me too...

Welcome Baylee Gene Wilson!

Our good friends, the Wilson's welcomed their second baby girl a couple weeks back. 
They named her Baylee Gene and big sister, Kylee Jo is proud as can be. 
We are so happy for you guys!
You can view her amazing "birth day" captured here
Tom actually delivered baby girl
so amazing and inspiring


Banjo doesn't say much....yet
Maybe its because Nicky talks for him or he is happy staying silent
We've been patiently working with him and have seen some progress
Over the last 2 weeks, he has added some new words to his vocabulary
His new words are:

If you notice, mostly words about FOOD

Another Adventure of Nicky and Kylee Jo

Nicky: I'm faster than you, Kylee Jo
Kylee Jo: I gonna catch you and then kiss you
Nicky: I like your cupcake shirt
Kylee Jo:You have frosting on your face

More Adventures here, here and here

Happy 2nd Birthday Haylee!

One of Nicky's "girlfriends" turned two this past weekend and we went to her cupcake party to celebrate.
Her mama, Tara (also of Life is Sweet Photo Boutique) is super creative and talented. She created a sweet day, complete with a make your own cupcake stand, that was a hit for everyone. Sprinkles and frosting EVERYWHERE. (more on that later)  Each kid got their own personalized apron too. Brandon wore his around like the foodie he is.
Happy Birthday Haylee!! xo

Beer Belly

Monday, October 18, 2010
Brandon likes his "beer" as much as Mommy does!

WWF Wrestle Mania

The boys have started to realize that they are well... BOYS
and lots of wrestling matches have popped up at our house

A Rare Smile

Friday, October 15, 2010
When your mom takes 20 thousand pictures of you, you develop and aversion for the camera.
And smiling.
And saying cheese.
So I rarely get a picture of Nicky smiling at me.
But I did get lucky and capture this a couple weeks back.
I love it.
He looks so grown up, carefree and happy.
Happy Nicky

A great idea

Last night I had a great idea for a post, but now I forgot. Until then....Happy Friday!

Dear Brandon - 15 months

Monday, October 11, 2010
Dear Brandon,

You turned 15 months on October 10th and we celebrated with a wellness check. You do very well at the Dr's. You "talk" to everyone and are growing well on the chart, a perfect curve, but you are chunkier than you are tall. You weigh 25 pounds (55%), height 30.75 inches (45%), head 47.7 cent (50%). Your little feet fit into a little size 5 shoe and 12 - 18 months clothes are starting to get tight. You knew mommy had her hands full with Nicky, so you sleep 7 - 7  for me and you can nap almost 3 hours a day. You have the most perfect smile and the blondest silkiest hair. No haircut yet...maybe next month.  Your eyes are amazing -  still a stormy blue grey and you have 16 sharp teeth. You love to laugh, play, and kiss. You do this special little butt dance on me, and never do I feel more loved and treasured. These are the little things a mom holds on to. You do have a little temper and you are starting to show a preference for daddy. You are very agile, and like to stack blocks, ride tricycles, and climb. You can moos when we say cow, and kinda woofs when we say dog. You can point to your head, knows shoes go on your feet, and can throw away garbage. You pick up the phone and says Hi. You still are not talking much, but you make your presence known. You can say mama, dada, up, hi, more, wawa (for water or chocolate. ha), and occasionally you will throw out a thank you or naked. We took you last week to have your hearing tested to make sure you weren't partially deaf from all the ear infections and you passed. There could be some delay if your ears where blocked for periods of time, but they do not predict any delays in development. We continue to work with you, and we've seen an increase in your vocabulary and mumblings even in the last week. These last 15 months have been crazy but worth it. lI love you, Banjo.

Abusing Child Labor Laws

Wednesday, October 6, 2010
A year ago, we requested that you not report us to the Department of Labor for violating child labor laws. We've made significant progreess, however our children continue to fight us on the Fair Labor Standard Acts, which means they would like a bump in their hourly pay.  
To good news is that they are cooperating and wearing the provisions we provide.

September Birthdays in Abelingland

Last week we celebrated 2 birthdays in Abelingland
Daddy turned 32 (on Sept 30)
Zeusy Peusy turned 2 (on sept 25)

Day Out With Thomas the Train

Tuesday, October 5, 2010
This weekend, the Abeling's drove an hour to Burnet to spend the day with Thomas the Train. It was a beautiful weekend, high 80's and the boys were in good spirits. But when we arrived Nicky refused to go on the Thomas, did not want to have any pictures taken, (as usual), wanted to jump out the train window (he actually told us that) and refused to sit with his friends Jack and Michael.

Brandon, as always, happy to oblige and graced us with his dazzling smile, as he sat with the big boys. It was not until we found the "gift store", a massive money pit for parents that Nicky perked up. $80.00 later, we left with 3 mylar Thomas the Train balloons, packs of stickers, tattoos, two whistles, those stupid rubber band bracelets, and some new trains.

 Here is Dan waiting in line to check out.
Looking super duper thrilled.
I can see many more of these in our future

Light at the end of the Tunnel - Part 2

Monday, October 4, 2010
So here are the results of our Sleep Training.  Our goals was to move bedtime up to 7 - 730, have him asleep by 8, and keep him in bed all night long.

For the last 3 weeks I have stuck to the Sleep Sense program with some variations. I did not have to make a reward chart, because counting to 3 worked for us. If he did not get into bed by the count of 3, I would walk out of the room until he got into bed. If he followed me, I'd hold the door closed and quietly ask him to tell me when he was in bed before I went into his room. After a a couple rounds of this on one night,  he stopped crying and following me out of the room.

Slowly Nicky was able to get into bed without much fuss, just a little crying and would lay down for me quietly. if he was not quiet, i would count to 3, give him a warning and walk out. he usually laid down before I made it out of the room.

I spent the first 4 nights sitting, not laying, by his bed until he fell asleep. Then I moved my blanket (rather than a chair) to the middle of his room. He did not like this at all. He fussed and asked me to pat him or hold his hand, or cried for Daddy. He would also scream that he had to go pee, or poop, or the monsters were coming. I held firm, ignored his requests, and told him its time to sleep. I did this for 4 more nights. When I got back from San Diego, I did this for 1 more night. Last Tuesday, I moved my blanket out of the room. I left the door open, and told him I was right outside. He surprised me and did not get out of bed, but he whimpered a lot and cried a bit. He must have fallen asleep at some point, but I had already gone down stairs.

By now, I felt like we made HUGE strides with the bedtime part.  I was able to walk out of the room while he laid awake in bed and he would stay quiet and eventually fall asleep. Now we had to tackle the night wakings. Every night, Nicky was waking up about 3-5 times. I knew the next time he woke up, I would have to walk him to bed, kiss him good night, and walk out the door. This was going to be hard.

Last Wednesday he went to bed like a good boy, I was downstairs by 7:30pm (Yay Nicky!) and I then waited. I was so nervous and anxious, not knowing how long he would sleep, how many time he would get up. But I was determined to make this work. At 1:00 he woke up, I went upstairs, he turned around, I walked him to bed and he was fast asleep even as I walked out the door. It can't be this easy :)

Now it is 2 am. Nicky is up and crying. I walk him to bed, and kiss him good night and I walk out. He follows me screaming. I hold the door shut for 2 minutes as he screams. My heart breaks with every cry. After 2 minutes I go back into his room, and walk him to bed, and head back out. He follows me out again. I hold the door for 2 more minutes. I do not have a stop watch so I probably repeat the 2 minutes 2-3 more times, before I run down stairs, get my iphone and really start counting. Then we do 4 minutes, and then 6 minutes, and then 8 minutes. Not sure how that all adds up to 4:30, but around 430, I'm on my 10 minute hold, he starts to get quieter and the pounding stops. Soon I hear him slump against the door and I know hes on the floor. He is quiet and its 430, so I leave him. I go to bed. He doesn't get up until 730.

That was miserable. But again, I am determined to get him to sleep.  The next 3 nights are incredible. After almost 14 months of waking up EVERY NIGHT, Nicky sleeps. Not 1 peep. Nothing. Now its been 4 nights.
And he has gotten 4 "rewards" (aka Thomas the Trains) for sleeping through the night. 

Last night we had a small hiccup. At 6 am this morning, Nicky called out to me, and I went up there, and as I was kissing him, Roxy walked in and woke him up. So I had to leave and repeat the 2 minute door hold. He went right back to bed after that.

This morning when I went to get B and N up for school, I found Nicky asleep on the floor outside of Brandon's room. I have no idea when he went there or how many nights he has been doing it, and I can't tell if its so sweet or if my heart could break anymore.

All I know is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I already feel better and less stressed. I can come downstairs before 8 pm and enjoy my nights with my husband. I know HE CAN sleep through the night and all it took was commitment, a drastic behavior change from us, some tough love, and persistence. I know this is just the beginning to sleep for all of us.So congrats to my little Nicky. I am so proud of him. I am so proud of ME.

Plea for Help - Part One

 Below is my desperate plea for help almost 3 weeks ago. We HAD to get Nicky to sleep. I emailed a "sleep expert" after I bought her program called "Sleep Sense". This is what she said....
From: Dana Obleman [mailto:support@sleepsense.ca]
Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2010 3:26 PM
To: Victoria Abeling
Subject: RE: Nicholas - 28 months - won't sleep

Hi Victoria,

Please see below in blue.

From: Victoria Abeling [mailto:vabeling@vmware.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 9:34 AM
To: support@sleepsense.ca
Subject: Nicholas - 28 months - won't sleep
I am not sure even where to begin to explain what’s going on? I just know I need to speak with a professional and get help. My son is 28 months and for the last 14 months (since my second child was born) Nick has proven to be the most challenging, frustrating and inconsistent child.

I bought your gold program and I have to admit I haven’t done EVERY single thing, but we’re at a point, were we cant keep trying something and waiting every 2 weeks to see if it will work.. We’ve done most of the methods described in your guide to some variations, but nothing is working. Its been 14 months of no sleep. Or interrupted sleep.

I have 2 sons; Nicholas is 28 months old and we have a younger son Brandon - 14 months. We have problems with Nicholas, and it started after Brandon was born.
He has always been a challenging child. Very needy, high maintenance. He is extremely smart and developed early. He walked at 9 months, speaking by a year, full sentences by 18 months including counting to 20, knows all his shapes, animals, colors, etc…and potty trained (except at night)  Wow, sounds like a smart boy! 
As I look back to pinpoint what has gone wrong I think it started when Brandon was born.  Yes, this is very common.  It makes sense that it interrupted his routine and security.  Yes, you are right. 
 For the last 14 months, we’ve struggled with getting Nicky to bed. Our bedtime routine is as follows. We all eat dinner together, followed by bath, then play time in the playroom, Not a fan of playtime in the routine. I'd move it to the first step, then bath, then books, then bed.  pick out some books, and bedtime for Nicky was between 7 – and 730. Its slowly been pushed back to 730- 8. By the time we are DONE, its past 9 pm, we are tired and exhausted and anxious to see what the night will bring.  Yes, that is getting too late. 

Lately Nicky does everything possible to break routine, to fight us tooth and nail. He wont even step in his room despite all our efforts. He wont put on his PJs, read a book, or even go in his crib/toddler bed willingly. Ok, let's start here with the routine. 
Make a list of bedtime routine activities
Into bed
make a box for a sticker after each activity. Also set a timer for 30 min. Tell him that if all activities are not completed in the before the timer goes off, then again, there will be no stories.
Tell Nicky that he must co-operate on each step, in order to get his sticker. If at any time in the routine he does not co-operate and get his sticker, then there will be NO stories, and he will go directly to bed. Stick to this rule like super glue, no extra warnings.
Then make a reward chart for sleeping through the night. Tell him that if he sleeps all night without calling for you, when his clock says 7, (indicating morning time) he can have .... ? something good. Make sure you have a digital clock with the minute numbers duct taped so all he can see is the hour.
Once he is in bed, you are to sit in a chair by his bed. If he does anything apart from laying quietly, you will give him one warning that if he does not co-operate, you will leave. Give it 10 seconds, if he is not co-operating, you do not say a word, but calmly get up and walk out of the room. Hold his door closed for two full min.
 After the 2 min, go back into the room and sit down in your chair, he doesn't co-operate, give your one warning again, give it 10 seconds, get up and quietly walk out for 4 min. Do it over and over until he is asleep.
Do this for 3 nights. Do the exact same thing in the night. Do not give in to any demands, no matter how trivial they seem. 
On bedtime 4, 5, and 6, you move to the middle of the room, and follow above plan to the letter
ON bedtime 7, 8 and 9, move to the door, same rules.
On bedtime 10, move slightly out of view, maybe he can just see your legs, same rules.
On bedtime 12, move more out of view, (just around the corner) same rules. If he comes out of his room, one warning, then close the door, for 2, 4, 6, 8, min. As many as it takes for him to stay in bed.
Do the same thing for any waking in the night.
  Once we get him in his room he hangs on to us for dear life, like a spider monkey begging us not to go or to lay down in his room. Peeling your son off of you when he cries for you to stay with him, is heartbreaking .  Yes, I can imagine!  I know what he is doing too. And we are obviously not doing something right.

 If we stay in his room to help him calm down, he just starts crying and screaming as soon as we leave. He does fall asleep eventually, usually takes between 15 - 25 minutes. If we stay in his room, we have to constantly tell him to close his eyes and go to sleep, and finally he drifts off.
2 weeks ago my husband converted his bed to a toddler one, despite my requests and our pediatrician’s. I flet that if we could not get him to sleep in a crib, why would he in a toddler bed…one tat he can GET OUT OF!   Yes, I completely agree! 

Nicky thought it was a novelty and exciting at first and we were successful getting him into bed and sleeping through the night for the first 6 nights. However, we still had to lay with him until he fell asleep – that usually takes between 30  - 60 minutes.

But now he wont go into his room again, once we get him into bed, usually through bribes and pretending to leave to make him get into bed, he will lay there sobbing until we finally can calm him down and we stay there till he falls asleep.

But that’s when it gets worse…. In the middle of the night he climbs out, he  opens the door, comes downstairs 2-3 times a night and fights us, screaming, claiming he has to poop,  is sick, has to throw up, needs food, water, watch TV, read a book, go outside, just to stay away from the bed. (He wont sleep in our room, btw.)  Sounds very tiring indeed. You may not give in to any of these demands. Just take him back to bed, give one warning, then (without talking) leave for 2, 4, 6, 8, min or however many it takes before he goes back to sleep. 
We tried the Good Night Light, and it terrifies him. He hates it. I hate that every night he is so upset before bed. that can't be healthy. I just cant understand why he wont go to bed after all this time. he knows its bedtime and he will go to bed for a babysitter.  Ok, then you know he can do it! It's just a terrible game for attention, and it sounds like you play it...  When we put him down he is so upset that his hands get sweaty and he screams that he is scared and the room is "yuck" - how did he get so traumatized?  When the boundaries are not absolutely black and white, most toddlers will push and push until they find the boundaries. To me, it sounds like he has worked himself into a "habit" of having a fit at bedtime for various reason, most likely do to some insecurity around the new baby, but the baby is no longer new, so it's time to stop feeling guilty about that one...
You have got to stop this terrible cycle by making your rules very clear, very simple and very predictable. It will take work, but for everyone's sake, this needs to be done. 

I almost feel like we did it to him. everyone said to let him cry it out. so we did. and as a result he is terrified of bedtime. Or something? The dark?  Well, start again, just like I've outlined. It will be the easiest possible way for him, but you must not give into any form of bad behavior. He co-operates, and you stay, he doesn't and you leave. It's ultimately his choice. 

A year ago, he followed routine and went to bed. it seems like he has fought us at every bedtime step until we have no more steps and now we have no routine and he runs all over us. and here we are over a year later.
i dont know what else to do. its not fun for anyone in this house, including Dan and I. we blame each other. no one seems to understand and they look at us like we are enabling it. and everyone says to let him cry. it just feels beyond that and after all this "crying" he’s no better. 
I can understand how difficult this must be for everyone, but it's not hopeless, I promise.
 It will take absolute commitment and total consistency in order for it to work. 

We’ve been taking to sleeping on his floor, just so we all can get some sleep. Basically out of desperation and exhaustion. Where do we go from here? 
Follow the above outline for one full week, and then send me an update. We may need to tweak a few things depending on his choices.

Hang in!

 Dana Obleman 

the results coming....

Primrose Fall Class Pictures!

Friday, October 1, 2010
So Smiley, my Banjo!
Nicky's typical pouty face
No Smiling Zone
 More class pictures here, and here

And this was Nicky's school picture from last fall that I never posted. 
(Brandon wasn't at Primrose yet)


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