Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Our Sleep Story

When Abbigail was one month old, I wrote this post. Little did I know, we would have a long 9 months ahead of us before she would actually sleep through the night. 

I know a lot of parents have had it and still have it a lot harder than we did when it comes to babies sleep habits. My blogging friend Jess asked me (and other mommy bloggers) to share our sleep story. {Side note: Jess has a little girl who was born a few months after Abbi. They named her Abigail Ann! Same name, spelled different. Awesome right? I think they're destined to be best friends!} So here it is: 

Let me also, preface by saying every baby is different! There is no right way to sleep train your baby. There are many different ways to do so and it's all about finding out what works for you and your baby.  I mean no offense to anyone. If I mention a sleep training method that you used didn't work for us, please don't take it personally. I'm just here to share our story and what worked for us!

Like most newborns do, Abbigail slept A TON when she was first born! It was awesome! Morning and night, that girl was always sleeping! After about a month, Abbi decided she liked sleeping during the day a lot better than sleeping at night. I found a blog post that basically explained Baby Wise. The author said all three of her babies slept 8 hours straight at 8 weeks old and 12-13 hours straight at 12 weeks old! I thought, THAT'S IT! This was going to change our sleep habits! We were going to get Abbi to sleep through the night by using this magical sleep schedule! It was hard! I felt more exhausted from trying to keep her awake during the day, having her scream all day because she wanted to sleep than waking up during the night. AND it wasn't working for us! Abbigail was mad and grumpy during the day because we were keeping her awake and she was still waking up in the middle of the night. Basically, she wasn't getting the sleep she needed!

Something had to change. But I didn't know what to change or where to start! We had some very rare but awesome nights where she would sleep 6 or 7 hours straight and it was awesome! We felt so rested and happy, then the next night she went right back to waking up every few hours. I was at a loss.

As she got older, she slowly started sleeping for longer stretches and starting at about 5 months she would only wake up once. I know, a lot of other mom's are thinking "only waking up once? That would be a dream for us" and it may be. However, for us it was still exhausting. Every morning I would wake up groggy, tired and irritated. I was irritated at my sweet, innocent baby girl because she woke me up during the night. Selfish right? Then I would feel guilty for feeling that way. What was my sleep deprivation doing to me?! {as you can see, my emotions were going crazy!}

My feelings exactly. 
We finally figured out that if we gave her a bottle, she would go right back to sleep. Then it didn't feel so bad! We would put her to bed around 10pm, wake up at 3am, give her a bottle, fall back asleep and wake up for good at about 7am. Not bad huh? I still felt tired, but I think I was a little less crazy. I was getting more sleep!

Now we were creeping up on 9 months old and she still wasn't "sleeping through the night." Over and Over people would tell us, "you just need to let her cry herself to sleep," "She will never learn if you always go comfort her," "she needs to learn how to put herself to sleep." I didn't like it. I didn't like hearing my precious baby scream for over an hour and realize she still wasn't falling asleep. I felt like I was neglecting her. I'm her mom! I'm supposed to comfort her and instead I was just letting her scream. This didn't feel right to me. It wasn't working either.

I took Abbigail to her 9 month appointment. I finally brought up my struggle with her pediatrician. He told me nutritionally, she didn't need a bottle in the middle of the night. Like you and I, if she feels hungry during the night, she can teach herself to fall back asleep, then eat in the morning. He also said part of her waking up once at night was out of habit. She figured out that if she cries at 3am, we will wake up, hold/cuddle her, and give her a bottle! What could be better? This gave me comfort, but I still didn't know which sleep training method to use.

I turned to the internet. (After 4 years of studying child development, you'd think I would know this stuff off the top of my head?! Wrong! I'm clueless!) I read about "no tears" methods and "cry it out" methods. I felt like the no tears methods were telling me to do things I was already doing, and that was obviously wasn't working. Then I came across the Ferber method. It seemed reasonable and people had a ton of success stories, so I decided to try it.

We would put Abbigail down for the night and let her cry for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes we would go in, tell her we love her & that is was time for sleep, put her pacifier in, and leave. Then, we would let her cry for 10 minutes and repeat. Basically, we would go up in increments of 5 before we would go in and comfort her. We would also use this for her naps during the day. We never had to go more than 15 minutes without her falling asleep. I finally felt like we (the parents) were finally in control. It took 3 days for her to totally figure it out and sleep all night with ZERO interruptions. 3 DAYS PEOPLE!!!!

She hasn't woken up in the middle of the night since we used this method and she is usually pretty good about falling asleep quickly when we put her in her crib, whether it be for nap time or bed time. It is divine! {Mental note: start earlier with the next baby!}

And that's our story! 10,000 brownie points to everyone who actually made it through this whole post. Hopefully hearing our success story will give you some hope! For all you moms struggling with babies who won't sleep, know it does get better! Eventually. Keep researching and find out what works best for you and your sweet baby!

What methods have you other moms used? 
How did you get your baby to sleep all night?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dear Abbi: YOU Matter.

Dear Abbigail, 

My heart has been very heavy lately. After long, tiring days, your daddy and I enjoy cuddling on the couch and watching some TV together. Shows on television have been getting badbut more recently we have noticed how hard it is to watch a TV show without it referring to God, sex, or families in a very irreverent and inappropriate manner. It makes me sad. 

Today, I came across this article and it gave me comfort. I'm not alone. The world is telling you, you have to be prideful, rebellious, and immodest in order to fit in and be important. I want to tell you, they are wrong.   

Heavenly Father created you. You are His daughter. You are smart, beautiful, caring, confident and YOU MATTER. 

Please understand you don't have to be a follower. You don't have to change who you are and throw away values to fit in. You can be a leader. You can be an example to others. You can show people that true happiness comes from having a relationship with God. True happiness comes from respecting your body, knowing who you are and where you came from and being a true friend. Happiness comes from serving others, and doing your best everyday to do good in this world. 

I love you Abbi. Always remember who you are. You are a daughter of your Heavenly Father and He loves you. He cares about you and He knows you personally. Rely on Him. Rely on Him always. He will give you courage to stand up for what's right, the desire to be chaste and virtuous and the confidence to be yourself. 

Because Abbigail, - You Matter. 

"Let the knowledge that you are a daughter of God settle deep into your soul, it will comfort you, strengthen your faith, and influence your conduct...Heavenly Father knows you and loves you. You are His special daughter. He has a plan for you"
-Susan W. Tanner

To learn more about what we believe, go here

Thursday, September 12, 2013

25 Before 25

Sometimes being a "Stay at home Mom" is hard for me. Don't get me wrong, I love spending my days with Abbigail. I love watching her grow and discover new things! It makes my heart very happy! But sometimes (more often lately) I don't feel very accomplished. I feel like all I do is stay home with Abbi, clean house (sometimes), cook meals and run errands. My days have been very repetitive and discouraging. Am I the only one that feels like this?!?

The other day, I read my good friend Kelsey's post about her 25 things she wants to do before she turns 25. I LOVED it! Seriously, I found it so inspirational! I've decided to change my attitude! Being a stay at home mom is hard work! I should feel happy and proud of what I'm doing. I should feel grateful for the opportunity I have to stay at home and raise my sweet baby girl. I am doing important work! This is where God wants me to be - in the home.

"You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging.Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.”
- Jeffrey R. Holland

If I want my attitude to change, I have to do something about it. I need to "press forward" with a "perfect brightness of hope." I feel like having a bucket list will help me feel more accomplished about what I am doing and will help me appreciate my job as a stay at home mom more fully. So here it is...
25 things I want to accomplish before I turn 25:

1. Read the Book of Mormon (again)
2. Teach someone a new skill. 
3. Have another baby (VBAC)
4. Learn how to take pictures in Manual mode and edit my pictures using Photoshop. 
5. Go on a weekend getaway with Drew!
6. Complete the "insanity" challenge.
7. Buy a piece of furniture from DI or Goodwill, refinish it, and put it in my home. 
8. Take Abbigail to Disneyland.
9. Plant and harvest a garden. 
10.  Learn 10 new songs on the piano.
11. Go to a concert (with Drew)
12. Visit 10 different temples.
13. Family trip to Jackson Hole.
14.  Take Abbi to a local fair/carnival.
15. Pay for the person behind me in a fast food drive thru.
16. Be more social! Make 30 new friends! 
17. Put my degree in Child Development to use (somehow). 
18. Keep my brain active by making an effort to read more books.
19. Learn to sew, then create something. 
20. Run a half marathon. (13.1 miles)
21. Travel to 5 states I haven't been to before. 
22. Learn how to ski.
23. Go to New York with Drew and see a show on Broadway! 
24. Attend the Temple with Drew twice a month
25. Start and Organize my food storage. 

(Thanks to Kelsey for the challenge to make this list)

Do you guys have any goals and ambitions? 
How are you working towards them? 

Friday, September 6, 2013

What Matters Most.

In the routine of life, we often take our families—our parents and children and siblings—for granted. But in times of danger and need and change, there is no question that what we care about most is our families

Indeed, nothing is more critically connected to happiness—both our own and that of our children—than how well we love and support one another within thefamily.

As your leaders, we call upon members of the Church everywhere to put family first and to identify specific ways to strengthen their individual families.

We should not need a hurricane or other crisis to remind us of what matters most. The gospel and the Lord’s plan of happiness and salvation should remind us. What matters most is what lasts longest, and our families are for eternity.

("What Matters Most is What Lasts Longest" - M. Russell Ballard 2005)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Our Love Story: Our Big Day

Being apart from Drew and going to school at the same time made the {123} days between the day we got engaged and our wedding day feel like an eternity! On August 18th my parents drove to Inkom to pick me up. They had a hotel reserved in Logan (about an hour away) and I was going to stay with them that night. I said goodbye and goodnight to Drew. The next time I would see him, we would be walking into the temple to be sealed to each other for forever!

I woke up EARLY that next morning. My awesome cousin Kim (also my hair dresser) stayed in Logan the night before as well and was so gracious to wake up at 5 in the morning with me and get me all ready! 

I arrived at the Logan Temple with my parents and waited for Drew. All the nervous/anxious feelings went away as soon as I saw him walk up. The Holy Ghost confirmed to me once again that I was doing the right thing. I was supposed to be marrying Drew. 

The temple was absolutely beautiful! We were surrounded by close family and friends as Drew and I promised to love each other for forever. Our marriage can be eternal! I know that if we follow the God's Commandments and honor the covenants we have made with each other and with the Lord, we can be together forever - even AFTER we die! What a happy thing! We said yes and just like that I became Ashley Wright. Drew's Wife. I married my best friend! That peaceful, joyful, happy feeling I had at that moment stayed with me throughout the rest of the day! It was simply perfect. 

We came out of the temple and were greeted by SO many family and friends. Gosh we are blessed! We spent the next couple of hours taking pictures! My cheeks hurt from smiling so much, but I just couldn't help it! This was the happiest day of my life. 

Our photographer did such a great job at capturing the pure joy and love we were feeling that day! We can't thank her enough!

And that was the beginning of our life together. On August 19th, 2011 we became a family. I chose to marry Drew and that has been the best decision I have ever made. 

... and just because we have some awesome shots of people while they were waiting for us to come out, you get to enjoy more pictures...

(Photography by Maria Wood)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Our Love Story: Engagement

After a week of being apart, (the hardest week of my life) On Friday (April 22) I rode the Salt Lake Express shuttle down to Pocatello. Drew picked me up at the bus stop. Seriously, I remember it like a movie scene. I waited in line to get off the shuttle, I saw Drew, we both smiled and started running (almost in slow motion) towards each other then embraced in a loving hug. Can you see it? After our romantic movie scene, Drew took me to dinner at Wingers. If you remember from this post, we went to Wingers on our first date. Wingers will always have a special place in our hearts. {totes presh right?}Dinner was great! I'm one of those people that orders the same thing every time we go out to eat. I find something I like and stick to it. I know, boring, but I always enjoy my dinner, so there. 
After dinner, I thought he was aimlessly driving around, but I found out later he was really stalling. We drove around neighborhoods in Pocatello looking at house after house. He actually worked on one of thesubdivisons doing excavation work, so he was pretty proud to show me what he was done, and I was happy to see it! I was proud of him, and I just liked being with him. We love driving around looking at houses... we dream about what our future house will look like. On our way back to Inkom, he took the back roads home and drove up the mountain near his house. We sat at the top and watched the sunset. (I know, another movie scene, right?)
While we were watching the sunset, he started telling me how much he loved me and how he didn't ever want to live without me. He said my name and I looked over and that's when he got down on one knee and opened the ring box. He said, "Ashley, will you marry me and be my eternal companion?" I was speechless! I didn't say anything for a good 30 seconds. It felt like a dream and all I could do was smile. Finally, a YES came out!  He was about to put the ring on my hand then I realized he was holding the wrong hand. So I whispered, "That's the wrong hand" (He was a little bit nervous). But he put the ring on my finger and voila, we were engaged!

We made our way down the mountain to his parent's house where they were waiting to congratulate us. Of course I called my parents and told them the news!

And just like that Drew went from being my boyfriend to my fiance...

It would be a long 3 months and 28 days until we would be married. In the meanwhile I went to school up in Rexburg, driving down to Inkom every chance I got. Don't tell my Mom, but sometimes I would even skip class to go down. I was young and in love, give me a break!

... All I could think about was the day I would be sealed to Drew and become his wife, Ashley Wright.


  {Photography done by Maria Wood! She's the best!}

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Our Love Story: Dating Part Three

... So you see, my brother and sister had just recently gotten married (NOT to each other) but one right after the other. I'm talking two weddings in three weeks! Yeah, it was kinda chaotic! But I vaguely remember my mom telling me I wasn't allowed to get married for a while, or maybe I just told myself that to give my poor mom a break from weddings, either way, I didn't want anyone in my family to find out about me and Drew because I was afraid! I liked this guy A LOT and new it would turn into something serious. I was afraid of what they would say, afraid they wouldn't approve, etc. That lasted a whole two days I think...

I remember we went to devotional (with the whole gang) and Drew and I held hands during the WHOLE THING! He still has his notes from the particular devo and you can barely read it because in order to hold my hand, he had to write with his left hand. My brother was with us, and that's when he saw. I figured it was time to come out with it.. I called my mom and downplayed the whole thing BIG TIME!

Me: "So Mom, uhh.. there is this boy named Drew.. and I think I like him."
Mom: "Oh really? Does he like you?"
Me: "I don't know.. but he asked me on a date..."

Yeah, Sorry Mom, I kind of lied to you, I KNEW I liked Drew a lot and he DID like me a lot... But now, over two years later.. I'm sure all is forgiven.

Drew and I went on our first date to Wingers on January 18th 2011. It was flawless. The conversation flowed the entire time. There was just something about him. I couldn't take my eyes off of him. He made me laugh, he listened to me, and I couldn't get enough of him. After dinner, we drove home and sat in his car and talked for hours.. We never ran out of things to say. It was awesome!

We saw each other everyday. Officially we went on another date a week later, and before we left I told my roommate that "tonight is the night." Drew was going to kiss me on that date. We went to Gringos ( a Mexican restaurant in Rexburg), drove around awhile, then went back to his apartment complex and did homework downstairs in their lounge area. We were all cuddled up "studying", no really I think we actually were doing homework. Or at least we were trying to..  He wasn't acting like he was about to kiss me, so I started to kiss him on his cheek every once in a while....

...this is where our story differs. He says I kissed him first, but since I'm the one telling the story, I'm right! I drew you a picture..

You know that awkward crack between your cheek and your lips.. Yeah, that's where I kissed him, and I don't consider that our first kiss. Shortly after that controversial kiss, he actually kissed me smack on the lips! I was speechless! For wanting and planning on kissing Drew that night, I wasn't expecting it...

After that date, we went on plenty of other dates! That whole semester was one big party! We went on a couple double dates with our good friends Matt and Brielle, bowling, roller skating (and before you ask, yes we were surrounded my middle schoolers), movie theaters, down to Inkom, dinners, homework parties, etc. Not to mention, since we were across the parking lot from each other we saw each other every waking second we could.

As fun as that winter semester had been, it had to come to an end. I was going to school year round, so I would be returning to BYU-I for the next semester.. But Drew wasn't on track. He was moving down to Inkom to work. (Inkom is a little over an hour away from BYU-I.) But before he moved, he came with me to Washington to meet my family, Where, ahem... he asked my dad for permission to marry me! Of course my Dad said yes. I know it was hard for him, I'm absolutely, without a doubt, his favorite child.. so he was pretty sad to be losing me.. right Dad?

After an amazing week in Washington, we drove back to Idaho. We went on our last date before the move. After dinner, we came back to my apartment, talked for a minute and then said our goodbyes. Drew gave me a hug and a kiss and left. I was in tears...