Back on the island...

After a 5 week turned 11 week trip home to California, R and I are finally back on the rock.  

It occurred to me, that if you’ve never spent time on a US military base, you would not be familiar with the time old tradition of Colors. Every morning and every sunset, we begin and end each day by pausing and honoring the flag. When the music plays over the loud speakers, you stop what you’re doing; whether that means you’re taking out the trash, BBQing, driving, jogging, you stop, stand, and pay your respects to the flag. We stand silently while the star spangled banner plays, until it’s over. Every now and again you’ll catch a glimpse of young children playing outside, and on their own, and even if no adult is around, they know to stop playing and stand still. Everyday we are reminded of this.

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On Guam, we say “hafa adai or hafaloha.” I don’t stress out about mass shootings. I don’t freak out about a stranger snatching my child off of the sidewalk. Sure, I’m always diligent and anything can happen anywhere, but moving back home to the states later this year is going to be a huge adjustment for us. There is no Target, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Amazon prime, there are no freeways, and the speed limit is 35mph, island wide (we do however have one Macy’s, a Kmart and two Ross stores). This has been our home for almost 2 years, and I will miss it dearly.

Guam is about 8 miles and only 30 miles long. To give you a better idea, we are little bit larger than Catalina island or a third the size of Maui. There’s something about the sun shining all day and the slow living that will drive you crazy but have you wanting more. It’s hard to find the balance between feeling stagnant and embracing the lifestyle here. I can’t even begin to explain how terribly frustrating it can be at times. Think of the amount of times in a day you think to yourself “I have to run an errand to buy x,y,z.” Now imagine if the majority of the things you need or want are out of stock every time you run an errand. Literally. Or, the item won’t show up for months because it’s on the slow boat to Guam, or they cost a fortune because well... it’s Guam, it’s not like you can drive to another store location. Imagine spending $25 on one small pack of blueberries, one small pack of blackberries and a small pack of strawberries because all of the food is imported. Or going to the commissary and they’re out of most of the ingredients in the recipe you wanted to make. Then the next time you shop, they have those ingredients but not anything else that you need. First world problems.

With all that being said, we have food, a typhoon safe home, and we are healthy. Oh and we have an ocean view. The ocean. I can’t even begin. I’m going to miss hearing the waves break from our front door. The sea life is out of this world. I’m so grateful to be able to live in one of the most beautiful hidden gems on earth. I’ve hated that we are a 15+ hour plane ride from home, but if Guam were closer to the mainland, it wouldn’t be as laid back as it is. There’s no hustle and bustle. Ever. 

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Being so geographically far from everything familiar and 17 hours ahead of the states can be extremely isolating when it comes to keeping in touch with friends and family. There’s a tiny window each day where we are awake at the same time as everyone else in the states. But, it’s been amazing to be able to sit on my front patio, and watch all the neighbor kids play and run freely around the neighborhood without a care in the world. I don’t know if R will ever get to be this care free back home. It just doesn’t exist anymore in modern day America. For now, we will enjoy the remaining time we have left here. I foresee island life again in our future….

P.S. If you’ve never had Korean strawberries, you need to make it happen. They taste like cotton candy.




What is White Noise and Why is it Helpful?

Are you someone who sleeps better with a fan on or the sound of your heater or air conditioning running? White noise is soothing even for adults.

Pictured here is the Rohm- Travel Sleep Sound Machine

Pictured here is the Rohm- Travel Sleep Sound Machine

My husband frequently travels internationally for work. It’s typical for it to take between 12-24 hours to get to his destination, then he usually sleeps for a few hours and has to be up early the next day for work. Recently during one of his trips, he called me to say goodnight and mentioned how terribly he’d been sleeping. He said he wasn’t uncomfortable, he had just been tossing and turning all night. I suggested that he download a white noise app on his ipad and the next morning he reported having slept better! While it’s not a magic solution for sleep it can help give you that extra assistance transitioning through sleep cycles.

So what exactly is white noise?

White noise is the sound created when all the frequencies a human can hear are combined into one sound. White noise can help diminish other sounds such as noisy siblings, doors or cabinets closing, traffic sounds, dogs barking and other day to day noises that might startle a sleeping child in lighter stages of sleep.

“Interestingly, whether or not a sound bothers your sleep depends in part on that sound's personal meaning: researchers have seen that people are more likely to wake when a sound is relevant or emotionally charged. This is why, for example, a parent could sleep soundly through her partner's snores but wake fully when her baby fusses “ (National Sleep Foundation).

For a child, it’s beneficial for them to be exposed to day to day sounds and learn to sleep through them. Therefore, always place your child’s white noise machine at a safe distance from their sleep space and have it just loud enough to drown out daily sounds, this way it becomes more of a sleep aid and less of a sleep crutch.

Most sleep consultants, myself included, speak highly of Marpac’s white noise machines. Marpac created the first Dohm Sound Machine back in 1962! Today, their Dohm Sounds Machines are some of the most popular machines on the market, playing true white noise. They sound similar to a very large fan without the whole dry throat, watery eyes effect that would happen if you were sharing a room with a fan that’s portrayed by the sound coming from the machine.

When do I need to turn off my child’s white noise machine and when should we stop using it?

Here’s the thing, sudden silence is startling. Forget the timer setting and let the white noise machine play all night. While sleep crutches can often cause night wakings, a white noise machine used at an appropriate volume is not something you need to wean your child off of. As mentioned above, always place your child’s white noise machine at a safe distance from their sleep space.

If you’re in the market, click any of the above links or photos and check them out! Or find them on amazon.

Oh, and Marpac offers free shipping and returns.



This post contains affiliate links.

Sources:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/hear/how-noise-affects-your-sleep

To Swaddle or Not to Swaddle, and my favorite swaddles!

I know I am not the only one who has NO idea how to swaddle a baby!

Before my daughter was born, I bought 4 or 5 super adorable muslin swaddle blankets all while I was fully aware that I had no idea how to swaddle a baby!

After I had my daughter the nurses showed my husband how to swaddle our little lady bird, and while he became a pro… I still had no idea what I was doing. I was breast feeding around the clock and was not about to mess with having to fold this corner to that corner while also trying to contain my ninja baby in the middle of the night [if you’ve swaddled a newborn you know what I mean], then panicking over whether it would untangle and wrap around her… and then I found the GRAIL OF SWADDLES:

The Ollie Swaddle

Click photo to purchase your Ollie swaddle

It’s literally THAT easy. Thank goodness for modern baby inventions! However, there are two red flags that come to mind when I think of swaddling-aside from muffling that dreaded Moro reflex- overheating and hip dysplasia. We now know that we should not be tightly swaddling an infants legs due to the increased risk of hip dysplasia or developmental dysplasia. We also want to make sure that while our children are tightly swaddled, they’re not at risk of overheating. The Ollie Swaddle has patented fabric that reduces the risk of overheating.

Pros of using The Ollie Swaddle:

  • reduces Moro reflex

  • you don’t have to deal with your child constantly escaping

  • peace of mind regarding overheating

  • peace of mind regarding hip dysplasia

  • you can choose to undo only the bottom portion for easy diaper changes

Swaddling can calm fussy babies and improve sleep, but please always make informed decisions when swaddling your child. If a child has started rolling over, swaddling is no longer a safe practice.

#safesleepsaveslives

Oh, and I still don’t know how to swaddle a baby with blanket.

Why Hire a Child Sleep Consultant?

The first time you heard or read the term Child Sleep Consultant you might have thought, wait…that’s a thing? Yes, it is, we do exist!

A certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant is trained in child sleep methods and the science of child sleep using biologically appropriate methods to help improve sleep. We help families that are desperately struggling and are motivated to make a change; the families who are experiencing frequent night wakings

DIY Rainbow Rice for Toddlers

DIY Rainbow Rice for Toddlers

While everyone in the states is experiencing winter weather and the Midwest is experiencing a polar vortex, we have been house bound with much milder conditions. We’ve had a ton of rain off and on for a few weeks , which is typical for a tropical climate, but combined with a cold and a lingering runny nose, we’ve been a little stir crazy.

Negative Blood Types and Pregnancy…

Negative Blood Types and Pregnancy…

What’s the deal?

If you’ve found yourself reading this, it’s very possible you just found out that being one of the tiny percentage of people that have a negative blood type, could affect your pregnancy. This can be very daunting to hear. What’s even more frustrating is hopping on google and finding…