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Why We Sleep Clock

The sleep clock entered our lives a month or so after our foster kids came bursting through the door like the whirl-wind you might imagine (and a whole lot more I promise you couldn’t dream up — because we didn’t/hadn’t/couldn’t — which is probably the reason the chaos hit us so hard. Emotionally and Physically).

Among the lengthy list of “stuff” (i.e. behaviors) we had to navigate with these two little ones were sleep issues.


Issues that differed between the two.

For one (9 months old) it was a matter of waking in the night and then holding us hostage the remainder of the night because he simply refused to sleep if he was put back down.

For the other (21 months) it was screaming fits that you can’t imagine, for hours, about bed and nap-time. Not staying asleep. Then inability to convince her that is, in fact, still the middle of the night and too early to get up for the day (cue next screaming fit).

Screaming that continued to torment me in the very few hours I did get some shut-eye. Screaming I heard in the rare moments it was quiet in the house. Screaming that still haunts my dreams from time to time.

The struggle was unreal.

A new family. A new environment. Uncertainty. Confusion. Fear. Lack of schedule being part of your history.

Naps? What are those?

It’s hard to really know what all contributed to this fight – but it wasn’t a fight we could relent on and simply let be.

It was one of those things that we simply had to dig in and figure out because…

Kids need sleep.

We ALL need sleep.

For the one a little sleep training went a LONG way and it wasn’t long before we had him sleeping mostly through the night.

For the other, I had to get creative (beyond simply enduring the 2-3 hour screaming fit — which — I did — because there wasn’t any convincing or soothing that little thing to sleep. She was pissed and scared and sad and she wanted the world to know. I’m not sure about the world, but feel confident our neighbors got the point).

And I remembered a friend of mine talking about a sleep clock she had purchased for her son. A way to keep him in his own bed until an appropriate time to be getting up (i.e. waking her up).

Her son is a lot older than my kiddo but I figured anything was worth a try.

So I ordered a sleep clock.

It took a while for things to catch on: blue means sleep, yellow means wake up. It didn’t do anything to squelch the screaming fits on the front end of the night (or naps). But eventually it helped a great deal with understanding what time of day (or night) it was for a little one unable to tell (or really understand) time.

No more arguing the facts – if the clock is blue, it’s still sleepy time.

We had some fits for a few weeks but eventually she got the gist: she wasn’t getting out of bed until the clock face changed to yellow.

And now?

Both kiddos have sleep clocks.

It doesn’t help get them to sleep. They both continue to boycott the idea.

BUT, it keeps them in bed. Both on the front and back ends of the day.

And this has been monumentally helpful in the morning when I’m here alone attempting to get myself and 3 littles, age 3 and under, ready and out the door.

When they’re all awake at the same time I run the risk of losing all control with kids getting into things they shouldn’t, fighting with one another, etc.

I got a nice taste of this “losing all control” the very first morning after the baby was born and I was flying solo getting the crew ready and out the door. It took nearly 3 hours, start to finish, before I was back home post drop off at the babysitter and so exhausted (because, honestly, my body wasn’t physically ready for that yet) I spent the rest of the day on the couch crying thousands of tears and wondering if I might just die.

So their wake (i.e. get out of bed) times are staggered allowing me to get and stay in a rhythm. I have time to get one up, dressed, teeth brushed and hair combed before situating him in the family room with some toys and a “show”. Then just enough time to unload the dishwasher or start some laundry before the other, who can do a few things a little more independently while I get the baby ready, is up and at ’em.

Before I know it, we are out the door in what might even be described as a semi-organized fashion

When I first embarked upon this idea I was skeptical. Mostly because of their ages, and honestly, their temperaments too.

But staying consistent and a LOT of repetition has paid its dues BIG TIME and made opportunities for absolute craziness in the morning much more manageable.

If you have little ones, I highly recommend considering a sleep clock. Here’s the one we have: My Sleep Clock

It’s simple to operate, setting wake times for week days and weekend days as well as nap duration. We don’t currently use the nap function or the music/white noise functions but the opportunity is there.

The clock is battery operated and doesn’t come with a cord to plug-in but there’s the option for that as well: Sleep Clock Power Adapter

I tend to think the clocks eat up batteries a little more quickly than I would prefer, but there’s an energy saver function that I’ve found helps a LOT in this regard.

Is sleep a struggle in your house? How about the morning routine? Might your family benefit from the addition of sleep clocks?



Affiliate Disclaimer:  I receive a small compensation for products you may purchase via an affiliate link on my blog. THANK YOU for supporting my blogging journey in this way!  BUT, the opinions on the products are my own. I NEVER recommend, or link to products that I am dissatisfied with.

Movement Monday: 10,000 an Arbitrary Number? And, Fitbit

I’ve always wondered where this rule of 10,000 steps per day came from. Because we, as humans, are not robots and come uniquely, wonderfully and specially made. How on earth can we expect a simple rule of 10,000 steps to fit for everyone?

This is the same for the rules of “8 hours of sleep”, or “2000 calories per day” and so on.

The simple truth for these simple rules is that this is not a “one size fits all”.

Some people need more or less sleep than 8 hours. Some people need more or less than 2000 calories. And 10,000 steps seems like a shot in the dark as everyone has differing fitness abilities.

10,000 might really challenge some on the daily and encourage things like taking the stairs or parking further out in the parking lot from the doors. But for others, 10,000 steps are logged by early afternoon. Still for others, who have maybe lived a more sedentary lifestyle for much of their lives, 10,000 is an unattainable goal (and therefore one folks are more likely to give up on).

I got to Googling to get an idea of where “rule of 10,000” got in the mix.

Maybe you will find this as amusing as I did…

10,000 steps hit the scene as a marketing strategy. Sometime around 1965 a Japanese company began manufacturing and selling pedometers that in Japanese had a name meaning “10,000 step meter”. It is further believed that the name was chosen because the Japanese character for 10,000 looks kind of like a man walking.

What I was unable to find is any scientific research specifically validating the rule of 10,000 as a guideline for the masses.

So there you have it!

I gave up on the rule of 10,000 long ago.

It was actually during a time when I worked a desk job and while I parked at the back of the parking lot, and got out for walks during my breaks twice a day and tried to squeeze in a bit of exercise before or after work hours, a vast majority of the time I simply couldn’t hit that 10,000 mark.

Here’s what made more sense for me (and maybe will for you as well):
1) assess how many steps are logged during an average day, doing routine tasks
2) set your goal out a little higher than that to encourage additional steps in the day
3) re-assess and adjust goal (i.e. once you begin parking further out in the parking lot that becomes part of “routine”. In order to encourage adjustments that lead to additional steps the goal must also be adjusted)

Orrrrr, scrap the goal of steps all together because maybe you achieve your fitness goals via swimming, cycling or other means of activity!

In full transparency: my daily step goal is 8,000 steps. Some days that comes easy and I end up logging in excess of 10,000. Other days it’s a struggle and I fall short.

And I keep track of my activity via my FitBit Blaze (<– Affiliate Link)

I appreciate that I can customize my goals and different details relating to health can are (or can be) tracked including stairs, miles, calories burned, heart rate, minutes of activity, how many active days a week I’ve had, how many hours I’ve been active in a day (250 steps or more)….plus water and food intake as well as women’s health details and sleep.

It’s nice to get a little buzzing reminder of how many more steps are needed to dub the hour “active”. It often gets me up and moving when I may not have gotten up to log a few more steps otherwise.

The market is FULL of fitness trackers with so many different tracking abilities. I’ve only ever used a FitBit but I’m curious, do you wear a fitness tracker? Which is your favorite…and why?

Oh and before I go….we started the 30-Day Standing Abs Challenge yesterday. It’s not too late to join in the fun (and give me a shout in the comments below if you are participating so I know to check in with peeps as the month progresses)! See details in This Post and jump on the bandwagon….no boring crunches going on here!

Happy Labor Day!



Affiliate Disclaimer:  I receive a small compensation for products you may purchase via an affiliate link on my blog. THANK YOU for supporting my blogging journey in this way!  BUT, the opinions on the products are my own. I NEVER recommend, or link to products that I am dissatisfied with.

Photo Cred: Photo by Andres Urena on Unsplash

Movement Monday: S is for September…and Standing Abs

I came across this standing abs workout many years ago in a magazine (Women’s Health Magazine <– you can find the workout posted online at this link, which includes a video of the moves in case pictures just aren’t your thing).

Intrigued with the idea of taking crunches off the table as part of an abs workout, I tore out the page.

Not because I have anything against crunches per-se.

But because crunches alone don’t give the whole core a good workout.

And because sometimes I simply just don’t wanna with the crunches.

I’ve come back to it time and again over the years.

I’m feeling the need to add a little somethin’ to my strollin’ the baby through the neighborhood routine, and in the spirit of sharing, I thought I might invite you to a Standing Abs Challenge for the month of September.

(September is just around the corner, if you can even believe it. I’m still in denial but attempting to push through…)

It’s simple – just follow the exercises per the reps/sets schedule.

We’ll start off slow and increase over time. Starting on Sept 1st!

If you miss a day, you be the boss of you and decide how you want to handle that.

Some suggestions:
1. Skip that day and keep plugging along with the workout as per schedule
2. Work through a “rest day” to catch up
3. Double up the following day to get all the reps/sets for the 30 days in

You also be the boss of you and make a decision on the amount of weight you are going to use (and maybe you start off with one weight and adjust).

One disclaimer: I am not an exercise science professional, nor am I a physician. I’m sharing both the exercise moves as well as the ‘schedule’ from other sources (Women’s Health Magazine, and Popsugar.com) and inviting you to join me as I take one step further in increasing my active lifestyle that I’ve been absolutely transparent about being a struggle for quite some time. You should use your judgment about what you can/can’t do as far as exercise is concerned in your life, and consult your physician if you have questions about your health and exercise.

With all that said, who is ready to join me?

Here’s the schedule:

And the moves (remember, these need to be done on each side):

Seriously, if you’re up for joining, give me a shout in the comments section below so I know if I’m going this alone (with is totally okay) or if there are others out there I can cheer along and check in with along the way!!

Oh, and before I go, chances to register for your chance to win some free trail mix are running out! See this post for how to enter!