Transitioning To a Montessori Bed and Nursery (Part 1)

Roman’s sleep journey has followed its own long and winding path.

At 15 months he now naps once a day for 2-3 hours and sleeps through the night for almost 12, most of the time. After months of relying on motion to fall asleep, he will now squirm himself to sleep in bed with us at night and at nap time. In our bed, which we now keep on the floor. With us. He has co-slept, for the most part, since birth, which was not something we had planned for or anticipated in the least, but I must say, for us it felt very natural.

With the new baby due to arrive in less than 3 months, our move to a 2 bedroom home is happening just in time to make one last sleep transition for Roman before her arrival. We decided that the simplest way to transition him to sleeping alone in his own room will be to buy him a mattress to place on the floor, Montessori style, and continue our current routine… except that after he falls asleep we end up in our own bed in our room, and he stays in his. I don’t worry about him waking up alone because this is something he’s accustomed to and comfortable with at nap time. I just love hearing him wake up and play in bed, and seeing his smiling face when he wanders out into the living room on his own. Most nights I put Roman to sleep myself before his father gets home from work, but when we are both home we usually make it a whole family event. We plan to adjust to only one parent at bedtime every night now, since that is how it will have to be when the new baby arrives.

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D’s journey, part 11 – Eating by Mouth

Just like in many aspects of his life, D has come a long way in eating! Let’s start back in the beginning… but first please note that I do not have a medical background and none of this should be taken as medical advice!

A few weeks old / 13+ months old

To recap, due to his brain injury, D couldn’t safely swallow – not even his own spit – which is why we chose to get a feeding tube surgically placed when he was 6 weeks old. Shortly before the feeding tube decision, D did two “swallow studies,” and has had three afterwards to measure his progress. A swallow study (aka modified barium swallow study) is when they give the patient some barium mixed in either liquid or food, and then watch under x-ray video where it goes in their mouth/throat. The barium makes the food show up bright white, and (at least for us) there is a radiologist, tech, and a speech therapist there watching what happens. They take account of:

  • How easily they can manipulate the food around their mouth
  • When or if the swallow reflex is triggered to close off the airway and let the food go down into the tummy – could be when the fluid hits the back of the tongue, seconds after, or never
  • If they let anything go into their lungs (“aspirate”), or go up their nasal cavity
  • If they let the fluid hang around dangerously in the back of the throat

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10 graphic tees and more from Uniqlo

UNIQLO is my go-to place in Hong Kong to buy fun $10 graphic tees for adults, and I would call it something to the effect of a Japanese Gap, but with rights to Disney, Peanuts, and many artists – from Andy Warhol, to Keith Haring, to Michel Basquiat and more. Their children’s section always has great things each season and I’m excited that UNIQLO is now available in the US. They have locations in New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Boston, LA, and San Francisco, and free shipping on online orders of $50 or more. Here are some of my current favorites – and their prices are always affordable. 

Peanuts Graphic Tee  |  Michael Bastian Polos

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An Easy Holiday Recipe: Cranberry Catalina Chicken

This is one of those ridiculously easy, you can do it with one hand, type recipes. But more importantly, it tastes delicious! I make it throughout the year because it is SO EASY to make – who doesn’t like a set and forget recipe with less than 5 ingredients?? However, it is really ideal for holidays because of the cranberry element. It’s so pretty and festive looking, and I often bring it to potlucks because it holds up so well.


  • 8 oz. bottle of Catalina (or Russian) dressing
  • 1 packet of onion soup mix
  • 1 can cranberries (whole or jellied – both work)
  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (that’s what I used this time around, but I’ve also used boneless chicken breasts, and bone-in thighs – they all work – you’ll just have to adjust the time accordingly. About 45 min for bone-in thighs, and 55 min for breasts)

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Coming Out of the Fog

It has been a long summer in the Lion household! We began a pretty substantial home renovation project in April, and shortly after found out we are expecting our second little one (a baby girl, due in February!). To say I have been overwhelmed is an understatement. Combine a super active toddler, a non-toddler friendly home environment (at least without LOTS of redirection), a stay at home momma with morning sickness who gets dizzy when she gets hot, plus the summer in the south, and well, I think you can understand why I haven’t really been able to turn words into coherent sentences lately!

Since April we have basically been in survival mode, trying to keep Little Lion safe, happy, and entertained while I try to keep my dinner down and my spirits up. My perfectionist self has had a lot to come to terms with in the last 7 months, that is for sure.

And now that we are on the other side (save a few small remaining projects, and you know, the impending third trimester) of the chaos, I can see that I learned a lot of valuable lessons during this time…lessons that hopefully will serve me well as I get ready to embark on life with two little ones.

1. What my kids need most from me is ME: Art projects are fun. Trips to the zoo are fun. Playdates at the park are fun. But so is curling up on the couch reading story after story, or sitting on the floor pushing cars around. Little Lion and I haven’t done much this summer worth blogging about, but we sure have spent a lot of time together. And in the grand scheme of things, that is all that matters.

2. Perfectionism is overrated: We have watched more cartoons than I ever dreamed I would, and not long ago I actually reasoned that ketchup really is a vegetable. I have pretty high expectations of myself, but the reality is that when you are in a difficult season of life, these little things really don’t matter that much. Do I want to be the best parent that I can be? Of course. But extending some grace to myself is really important too.

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Splurge and Save: Baby Girl Shower

There are a lot of exciting things about having a girl, and one of them is planning a girly baby shower or sprinkle. I know someone usually plans the shower or sprinkle for the pregnant woman, but I love planning parties, so I’ve started thinking about how to have a fun party to honor our baby girl, while not breaking the bank.


Etsy  |  Paperless Post

There are so many beautiful baby shower invitation options out there, and it was really hard for me to pick my favorites. I love the sparkles on this one from Etsy and the hearts add a nice detail. Since I love Paperless Post, I thought this simple gold heart invitation was perfect for a modern, girly baby shower or sprinkle. This one isn’t free, but compared to traditional paper invitations, it is still very inexpensive.

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Cheap Baby Gear That Lasts

Although Mr. T is more of a “buy the first thing you see” shopper, I’m the planner and the frugal one in our family. The planning side meant that I was typically the one making baby gear decisions! I thought I’d share our favorite frugal finds that have lasted 3 years (and 2 kids) and counting!

1. Basic pack n play - Don’t get the one with all the other options, just get the baby holder! This has been great for when we have guests with babies, road trips, or containing babies either when I needed a quick break or now when I need to stick D somewhere to deal with K. In the early days for both K and D we kept this in our room and had them sleeping with us until they were older (4 weeks for K, 5 months when D got back out of the NICU) before they slept in their cribs, and brought it downstairs for naps during the day.

2. Fisher Price booster seat - We never bought a traditional high chair, and rely on this daily. K even still uses it for haircuts! We’ve packed it up and brought it with us on vacations before as well; it folds up small enough to pop in a suitcase. I love the adjustable height and easy to snap on tray. Other highchairs I’ve used always make me hesitate on how to get the tray on and off!

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