Eleven Months of Quinn Louise - Jenna Kutcher

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Eleven Months of Quinn Louise

Jenna Kutcher 

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Oh, September! 

Pinch me, I’m in shock that the next post I write will be celebrating one year of our sweet girl. I’m honestly so thankful that I do these monthly posts (a reminder for you to document your life, too!) because it truly is the biggest blur. Like how did we get here? I feel like it’s really hit me lately that she’s not a tiny baby anymore and that we’re crawling our way out of the baby zone — forever. Weird.

It’s hilarious because in the course of writing one single paragraph for this post, I watched her storm into the room in her little walker, stretch to the heavens, and then Drew deposited her on my lap to feed her before her morning nap. Now I’m typing to the hum of her white noise in the monitor. That’s life these days, it’s the starts and stops, it’s the juggle and blend, and it’s these constant realizations that time is moving quickly and our girls are growing fast.

Full disclosure: when I write these posts I literally have to pull up my camera roll from the last 30 days so I can remember what we actually did and what was eight months ago vs. what was last week. The fog is real. 

Travel:

Every day, we get asked at least once by Coco, “When are we going back to Salt Lake City?” We mixed work and play in Salt Lake City as a fam and flew there for a long weekend. We’re at an interesting stage for travel in that Coco understands and is excited about everything to do with flying and visiting new places and Quinnie is past that “sleeps on every flight” stage and is a little wiggle monster on the plane! Just when one gets easy, the other one gets tricky — but I’ll always stand by the fact that you can travel with kids at any age, it’s just… different (and your expectations around it have to be different, too!)  My mom came with which is honestly our favorite. I feel like the five of us have such a cool rhythm and flow for travel and I swear my mom just has the most insane innate gift of knowing what we need when we need it!

After my work stuff wrapped up, we got to spend time at the pool which was honestly so much fun! Coco has always been a little hesitant around water and we haven’t pushed her but lately she’s getting really confident and brave and is enjoying swimming a lot more! She could have stayed at the pool all day! We also went to the Children’s Musem and the Salt Lake City Zoo — both of which were amazing and honestly so much fun!

One of my friends Ashlee is from SLC and so she sent along the best recommendations for us and these were highlights! We also got in a date night while my mom stayed back with the girls after bedtime (don’t worry, she took a bubble bath and ate creme bruleé) and we had my friend’s sister come and watch the monitors for us while we did a dinner with my mom in the hotel restaurant on our final night! It was such a great trip and it gets me so excited for the future of travel and making memories with the girls! After the pandemic and staying close to home, it feels so good and exciting to get out again and so my goal is to choose work trips in destinations that will be fun for us all to enjoy!

Solo Parent Time:

This past month we had some hand offs when it came to parenting! After our trip to Salt Lake City, I had two more speaking obligations land on the same week so the day after we got home, I was back on a plane to Orlando and then Chicago! How wild after not speaking on stages for years to have three speaking commitments in one week and in all different cities! Drew rocked his time with the girls and I enjoyed some good rest and room service in the hotel bed (my guilty pleasure!)  After I got back, we sent Drew away on a boys trip! For our eleventh anniversary, I got him a ticket to this amazing retreat that was right up his alley (and slightly out of his comfort zone!) It was supposed to be in the Smoky Mountains and include hiking and cold plunging and all kinds of things he loves.

Unfortunately, it was canceled right before it and so in a last-minute scramble and with determination to still get him a little time away, he went to Waco to visit one of our friends Luke! They had a blast and Luke (and his five kids) kept Drew busy! I really want to prioritize alone time for both of us because I see so much value in it, especially in the thick of parenthood! I had a blast with the girls and loved that focused time with them and Drew got a little break (and a full night of sleep!) It was a win, win!

Our Must-Haves This Month: 

  • This convertible car seat/stroller: I’ve shared it before, I’ll share it again! It’s a godsend for travel, we even just borrowed it to my sister for their first trip as a fam. It makes it easy to travel and helped us navigate Salt Lake City (and the airports) with ease! 
  • This nursing cover: I was backstage at an event and had to pump and with this cute cover, I was able to do it discreetly and without overheating. I even tossed it to a nursing mama backstage who forgot hers and she ordered one on the spot. They are an investment but worth every penny. 
  • This blanket: We got this a while ago and just recently started using it for Coco at nighttime. It’s the same fabric as her sleepsacks and her pj’s and honestly, I want to steal it! It’s the perfect weight for kids’ sleep and it’s now become a bedtime staple. 
  • This nightlight: It’s been a game changer for bedtime and how we are now attempting to get more sleep with Coco (more below!) We’ve had it for awhile but we weren’t utilizing it’s capabilities and changing up how we’re using it has been incredible. 
  • This blackout tent: The amount of times we’ve used this in the last month whether it was traveling to SLC where Quinn slept in a pack and play near the bathroom to a day trip to Nana and Papas! This is 1,000% worth it, trust us. 
  • This personalized song: This is still a treasure and even more so, now Coco will sing Quinn’s personalized song TO her. Like if your mom heart wouldn’t shatter at that cuteness. Create a custom song for a kid in your life and include their name, facts about them, phrases they say, and details that are theirs alone. This has been a serious highlight this year! 

Sleep Update:

Last night as I was rubbing Coco’s back for the third time I paused and realized how quickly these phases are over. I was smiling as I remembered the season where we had to since Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer over and over for her before bed and while I remember those days, they also are a blur. Everything about parenting is temporary. The only constant is change (and I often find myself repeating that statement!)

To say we’ve been in a tricky sleep season might be an understatement but this month we had a few really big breakthroughs! Months ago after a lot of frustration around both nap time and bedtime with Coco, we decided to ultimately drop her nap. We were not smart parents (heed this advice) and we also transitioned her crib to a toddler bed at the same time! In hindsight, I wish we had just dropped the nap and kept her crib up because it probably would have helped a ton. Coco has always loved her crib, would just lay there, never tried to escape and it was a safe little space for her. Anyways, when we went through both of those transitions in the same week, we found that she would wake up a lot in the middle of the night and wander to our room. Our norm has been that she’ll wake up at least twice a night and need me to rub her back and tuck her back in.

Couple that with Quinn usually feeding once at night, I was barely getting any deep sleep and was feeling a little anxious about our nights not knowing how many times I’d be up in the middle of the night. I did what any millennial mom would do and popped to Instagram for help and suggestions! I was connected with a sleep specialist, Becca Campbell, and she hopped into my DM’s with some advice and tips. We implemented it immediately (I’m talking that evening!) and it’s been so transformative for our sleep! It’s still a work in progress and some nights are better than others, but here’s what she recommended for Coco that has helped SO much! 

  • Earlier bedtime: This one felt a little mindblowing since she was going to bed at 7PM but this girl needs sleep and used to take a three-hour nap daily. We start getting ready around 6 now and get her into bed at 6:30PM and it’s totally worked. She was overtired and overstimulated before which meant she’d wake up with a racing mind. 
  • Quality time: Spend some quality time in Coco’s room before bed time like a fun dance party or something high-energy that gets the wiggles out and makes us giggle. We had been doing our night routine in our room since we’d all cozy into our king bed and then put the girls to bed, but doing it in her room reminds her that we are also together in her room and it’s not a place for isolation! 
  • This Nightlight: Program our Hatch light so that it’s red while she sleeps and flips to green in the morning and talk a lot about how that works and how if she wakes up when it’s red, that means it’s still nighttime. (We had one but we weren’t using the colors on it!) 
  • Incentives: Do a fun little prize in the morning if she stays in her room until it’s green (non-food related or quality time centered!) Think: a sticker or if you’re Coco, a dime. The girl has 93 dimes in her collection… and counting. 
  • Teaching the tuck: Teach her how to tuck herself in! This one was a “duh” moment but I always tuck her in with her buddies and blankies and so it makes sense that if she wakes up uncovered she thinks she needs me to cover her. We’ve been practicing her tucking herself in and getting cozy on her own. 
  • Lighting: Keep lights on as we’re getting ready for bed and then turn them off when we leave her room. It signals it’s time to shut down and when she wakes up with them off, she knows she’s already done the routine and it’s time to just rest and she doesn’t need our help to go back to bed. 

The first night, she made it all the way to 6AM, the second night she made it until 6:30AM! Couple this with Quinn sleeping through the night with a little help from one formula bottle before bed to get her belly full and we’ve turned a corner into new territory! It’s been such a game-changer to get more quality sleep and the girls also seem more well-rested which is a win, win! We have had a string of both of them sleeping through the night and then a night or two with a wake-up, but we feel more equipped to handle it and get us all back to sleep quickly. Saying a prayer this lasts and we get some good sleep in the upcoming months! So far, so good, and honestly, any progress feels like a big win! 

Overall this month: 

Flew on by — just like the rest. With our home build moving forward and the girls growing before our eyes, we’re realizing that time definitely doesn’t slow down, not for anyone. I’ve found myself being even more present as we near Quinn’s first birthday. She is growing and getting around and evolving before our eyes. With tiny teeth poking through, her infamous scoot and wobble, and her hilarious joyful noises, this little lady is pure bliss. She’s calm, goes with the flow, and smiles whenever you make eye contact with her sweet brown eyes. 

Coco is blossoming and growing every day. From wanting to chop veggies with dad while he cooks dinner to gaining massive confidence in talking to… anyone who will listen to her. She’s growing in leaps and bounds, surprises us with her thoughtful questions, challenges us and the boundaries we create, and gives us so much love right when we need it. Last night as I rubbed her back and was ready to sneak out of her room she said, “Mommy, guess what?” I was prepared for her to ask about Salt Lake City or if there’s water on the moon but instead she said, “I love you to the moon and back and always and forever.” I couldn’t agree more, Coco girl. Ditto. 

Watch her grow: 

 

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A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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