still here…barely

conquering bedtime once and for all…sort of

Over the past several weeks we’ve really made a concentrated effort to establish a better bedtime routine. Things are already pretty routine around here, but when it comes to sleep, we had a lot of ground to make up. We found ourselves either walking Noweo to sleep around the neighborhood in our Ergo, or driving her around and wasting precious gas. Sometimes we wouldn’t get her to sleep until 9 or 9:30, and by that time, I was too tired to do anything. She’s been in our bed with us ever since she was born, and she ain’t gettin’ any smaller, so achy mornings were a common occurence. We were losing our nights to our baby, and something had to change. We had to try to let her be independent and put herself to sleep.
We started by making sure she napped by 11am. As long as she woke up by 1, she would be tired enough to sleep at 7:30. At 7:15 we read scriptures and pray together as a family. Then we have some cuddle time and leave the room. We decided Noweo could stay in our bed for now while we taught her to sleep on her own.
Oh the agony of the first few nights. She screamed and screamed and screamed, and after a while, she got herself to sleep. I was so proud of her the first time she did it, and each night got a little easier, and then it got MUCH, MUCH worse. I haven’t heard of that happening to anyone else.
So we ended up compromising, and it’s a compromise I can live with. After our little bedtime cuddle, Keola leaves the room and I jump on the computer and let Noweo put herself to sleep. I keep the lighting low so it doesn’t distract her and so far it’s worked really well. Sometimes she runs around the bed berserk for 15 minutes, but she settles down eventually. I’m able to work while she’s given the opportunity to be a little more independent without losing Mom cold turkey. Win-win.
Fast forward a couple weeks. A deal pops up on craigslist for a toddler bed for $45 including the mattress. Every parent in the market for a toddler bed knows this is a steal so we jump on it. I gotta say, the bed is a little small….or Noweo’s a little monstrous. She seems too big for it, so whenever we get our own place, we’ll probably put her in a twin. For now, we’re happy with having Noweo in her own bed and out of ours (most nights). Sometimes she falls asleep on our bed, other times she falls asleep on her bed. We kinda leave it up to her, but we make sure she ends up in her own bed regardless. Early in the morning she’ll crawl into our bed, and we’re all too happy to welcome her after several solid hours of sleep without getting kicked in the face.
Overall, we’re pretty happy with the results we’ve achieved so far. Keola and I can actually watch a movie without me falling asleep before the end. We’re getting better sleep and Noweo’s growing up a little more. Of all the challenges of parenthood we’ve encountered so far, bedtime has been by far the most stressful and hard to figure out. Of course, eventually we want Noweo in her own room in her own bed every night, but until we actually have another room for her, we’ve finally found a bedtime we can all be content with.
Have you experienced any bedtime obstacles with your kids? How did you conquer them?

first friday, take 2

Last night I once again loaded up the car and headed up to Market Street in Wailuku to participate in Wailuku First Friday, and I incorporated quite a few changes into my booth, so I was just as nervous as the first time to see how everything would work and how the response would be. I took all the advice and feed back I got from the last time I went and it definitely worked out for the best.
  1. I got a fabric tablecloth. The vinyl I used last time just looked cheap.Plus it ripped. I attached velcro to the edges of the table and to the table cloth to keep it from blowing away in the wind. This worked amazingly well. I also used velcro to attach the “SoPupuka” sign to the tablecloth. I’ll probably use more next time. I decided to tape down wording below the sign and that turned out to be the best because it was pretty windy at first.
  2. I added a description of what I was selling. I can’t tell you how many people stopped, read the sign, and came over. Some people kept walking, but the majority of people seemed curious enough after reading what I was selling to come over and have a look. It was important for me to let people know that I was selling something Hawaiian, and I was selling something handmade.
  3. I added two more lights. The sand in the jar thing didn’t work out so well last night. I had 3 different spills (fortunately everything was wrapped in plastic so I could just brush it off.) I needed up taping the lights directly to the table. After that I didn’t have a problem.
  4. I offered a custom boxed set. This was  BIG hit. Some people got a pre-packaged box AND a custom box. I wasn’t expecting that. It took me a while to figure out how I was going to do it, I decided to put a selection in plastic sleeves and tape them down to the table, and then have people tell me what they wanted and I pulled out their cards myself from another box. This kept my cards in clean and in order. I had a bunch of plastic boxes already set up with envelopes inside so putting a custom box together was a snap. I had my “naked” cards grouped together and divided by envelopes, but even then I had a hard time finding some quickly. I need to create a visual way to quickly see what I have.
  5. I only put one of each card set out. I think this added a sense of urgency for people to see that they might not be able to walk away and come back later. I actually sold out of my “Aloha Is…” boxed sets (though I still had unpackaged Aloha cards for the custom sets).
  6. I created an email list, which I got a handful of new contacts from. I didn’t talk about it as much as I probably should have, but I find that I have a lot of information to share about my stuff, so I don’t feel like bombarding people with MORE information. A lot of people took my card.
  7. I created a flier advertising my Zazzle products and displayed the shirt and bag I just received from them. I wore my own SoPupuka shirt.
  8. I added decals, which didn’t sell as well as I had hoped, but they were kinda pricey since my per unit cost was kinda pricey since my first order was small. I might lower the price so I can move them more quickly. The cards were the big stars of the evening.
I don’t know if the changes I incorporated were the reason for greater success last night, or if people were simply in the buying mood, or both, but I am happy with the way the booth evolved and think overall everything was really positive. Next time I want to offer free stuff like stickers if I could get people to wear an “I am SoPupuka” sticker I think that might generate a lot of curiosity. That’s going on my to do list.
I just wanted to send out a BIG MAHALO to everyone that stopped by, old friends and new. If we met for the first time last night, Hi! I’m waving at you!
As always, thank you all for your continued support and encouragement.