Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sleep training for us all.

For the first few months Charlie was a good sleeper. Meaning that he would sleep about 4-6 hours at a time. The past few months were not so good. He had been getting up every 1½ hours and I had been nursing him back to sleep. This routine really had me in a haze of exhaustion.

Crying it out was not high on my list of things I wanted to do. I had been saying we should try it for probably 2 months but then didn’t because I just didn’t feel ready. I really enjoy cuddling and nursing him to sleep but it finally got to a point that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was crying a lot because I was so tired.

I connected with many friends that had done the cry it out deal for their words of wisdom and support in preparation.  We really want to have the sleep in a better place before my brother and sister in-law arrive so we started this past Tuesday.

Many of our friends suggested that Brandon do the work and I leave the house because I would most likely cave and go pick up the crying child.  I agreed that the crying would be too much for me but didn’t know where to go so I decided that instead of leaving the house I would put on Brandon’s headphones that I got him and turn on the TV (our computer) as loud as it would play. That’s what I did. I shut myself in our room and escaped into the lives of The Real Housewives of New York.

Night one Charlie cried for 25 minutes before putting himself to sleep. He slept for 8 hours before I fed him and he went back to sleep for 3 more hours! The second night he cried for 3 minutes and followed the same routine as the night before. Night 3 there was NO crying. Last night was night 5 and he has gone down with no tears since night 3. We are a work in progress because we still need to work on removing the 2:30am feeding but for right now this is working perfect. We will tackle that feeding down the road.

 This sleep training really brought to my attention the fact that Charlie’s room really needing some decorating. We didn’t prepare a nursery before his arrival in the way that I most likely would have done if we had been living in Minnesota. You know what I mean: paint the walls, put up new curtains, pick out a comfy chair and a crib ect.  Instead we looked around the house at the furniture that was provided and moved items in the 90 square foot room that would work for what we needed. He has a small dining room table as his changing table, (his first changing table was the top of Kirby’s dog kennel) a side table that wasn’t being used as his bookshelf/toy spot, a small chair for me to sit in and feed him (NOT COMFY at ALL!), and a travel crib that my mom bought for him (first sleep space was a suitcase).

So I rearranged the furniture as best I could to create some wall space so that I could put some things on the walls. These are things that we already had of course. I do think that I am going to find a few colorful items to finish off the space. I also am planning to make a rag rug for the floor if and when I find enough sheets. Sheets are not an easy item to find here. I’ll show that rug if I ever get to it!

Tummy sleeping is a new thing.

Katie, Brandon, and Charlie

Monday, July 11, 2016

Charlie is 6 months old.

Charlie has reached 6 months. He is doing what I think most 6 month old kids are doing: babbling all of the time, smiling a ton, starting to realize when I’m not in the room and getting sad about it, eating some solid foods, and making his parents hearts swell whenever they look at him.  Brandon and I think Charlie is pretty cool even though he is not sleeping through the night (this too shall pass).

We go today to get his 6-month vaccines. I’m not looking forward to this one at all.  Charlie is so alert now and I’m imaging his scared little face looking up at me wondering why we are doing this to him…

We have decided that we want to stay in Guatemala longer than first planned. We have listed our Minneapolis house and have had a few showings. There are some interested parties so if/when the lease is signed it will be official that we will be here until spring of 2017 (unless this date gets pushed back too…).

We spent time yesterday with our good friends playing cards and brainstorming on a business idea that we have had for a little while. We don’t think that this idea is going to make us filthy rich (maybe $5.00 the first month) but we want to give it a go so we are going to continue to brainstorm and research.  It’s fun to have something to work on.

Charlie and Colleen are booked and will be here August 4th! We are very much looking forward to these adventurous kids arrival!


Katie, Brandon, and Charlie

Monday, July 4, 2016

Flores and Belize

We have just arrived home from our vacation to Caye Caulker Belize with our friends Jennie and Andy. Jennie and Andy arrived at Lake Atitlan and spent a week relaxing and exploring the area with us. We showed them our weekly grocery shopping routine in Panajachel, took them to San Marcos for cliff jumping, to San Juan and San Pedro for exploring, bed of a pickup to San Antonio for Jennie to see how pottery is done there, and up to Santa Cruz for lunch and more exploring. The weather cooperated and it was an overall relaxing week.

It felt amazing to see familiar faces and to play cards with someone other than Brandon (I know he feels the same way). Charlie fell in love with both Andy and Jennie. They would just look at him and he would crack a huge smile.  Life is very different with Charlie and in my opinion, it takes a special person to want to be on vacation with an infant…Jennie and Andy are very special people.

After a week at the lake we set off on our long journey to Belize with a 2-day stop over in Flores Guatemala. Jennie really wanted to go see Tikal and staying in Flores made this possible. It also broke up the trip. If we would have gone all the way to Belize it would have been a 15 hour bus ride…no fun!

We took a 3-hour shuttle to Antigua and spent the day exploring the cobblestone streets. While sitting in the square Jennie got called cheap for not buying something from a woman. Jennie did not like this at all!  Charlie was very popular with all of the children.

After our day in Antigua we took an hour shuttle to Guatemala City in order to catch our overnight bus that left at 9pm. We arrived at the bus station around 7pm to find that it smelled so terrible of exhaust that we could not wait there. It was dark and we did not know the area very well. We finally found a McDonalds (we joked that McDonalds act as a safe haven and are kind of like the embassy) to wait it out in. 

Charlie did very well on the overnight bus. He slept the entire way. The 4 adults did not get as much sleep so when we arrived in Flores at 5am we were very hopeful that our hotel would let us check in…they did! We all took a nap and then went out in the extreme heat and humidity for lunch. Flores is in the northern part of Guatemala: the jungle. It is hot and humid!

The next day we took an 8am hour-long shuttle to Tikal and spent the day exploring the beauty of the Mayan capital city. Brandon and I visited Tikal during our first trip to Guatemala and it was still impressive to me the second visit.

We got up early the next day for our 5am shuttle to Belize City. This was our first time walking across a border and it went very smooth. We got our exit stamp on the Guatemala side and then walked across and got our entrance stamp into Belize. Then back into the shuttle to Belize City to get on the 45-minute water speed boat taxi to the island of Caye Caulker.

We encountered many people along our journey that commented on how brave we must be to be traveling with an infant. I didn’t feel brave at the time but now writing down all of the different modes of transport we took I do think we are kind of brave. Charlie already seems to have a great joy and sense of adventure. He loves all humans and will give anyone a big smile. Can’t tell you how many times we heard “what a happy baby.” Now I just wish the kid would sleep through the night…!!

Our rental cabin sat right next to a swimming pool. It felt amazing to arrive and cool off in the pool.  The Island is very small and people travel it on bike or golf cart.  We spent the week maxing and relaxing poolside. Charlie did his first underwater swim in the pool; he did well! Brandon, Jennie, and Andy went snorkeling and had a great time.

Brandon and I debated much over how we would get home…fly or take the long bus trek back. In the end we compromised and took the 6-hour shuttle from Belize City to Flores, spent the night in Flores and flew out of their small airport at 7am. We arrived in Guatemala City at 8am and were in our shuttle for the last piece of the journey home by 8:30am. Joke was on us as it was a National Holiday and traffic was terrible. It took us 5 hours to get to the lake!

We are home and Kirby and Jackson couldn’t be happier! Charlie is back to trying really hard to crawl and enjoying new solid foods. 

Next visitors are Charlie and Coleen! They arrive on August 4th!


Katie, Brandon, and Charlie