Saturday, November 14, 2015

Meet Cricket

It's been almost a year since Nike died.  That means that I have been without a dog for nearly a year.  Folks, this is a big deal.  So meet Cricket.
Originally, we waited because I was going to have a baby.  We got a few foster dogs to tide us over until we felt ready for a full-time dog.  And a bunny for some fluffy companionship.  But lets be honest...although Dandelion is lovely, a bunny is just not the same.

We were planning to get a puppy.  Because PUPPIES!!!
I mean, right?  Who wouldn't love a floppy, loving, silly puppy?  We were thinking fall, but most likely springtime, to make potty-training less of an ordeal.
I thought we'd get a foster or two (or 5) until our perfect dog came along. But then, I was straight up asked by a lady in my foster group if I was willing to take a Great Dane mix (since she knew I was a fan since I volunteered for the last one). I wasn't going to do it.  Steve was only willing to consider an adult foster if she was potty trained and/or crate trained.

And, she was.  Not only that, but Cricket is great with the kids, doesn't hardly bark, and she may even be ok with Dandelion (the jury is still out on that one).  Since she was supposed to just be a foster dog, I let William pick her name. William picked Cricket because he likes bugs.
Cricket follows me around like my shadow, and wants to be everywhere I am.  It's very sweet.
And in case you were wondering about the bandage, she either sliced her foot before she came here, or the day we got her. 5 stitches.  And then she got spayed two days later.  So mostly she has been recovering since she arrived.
But I have gotten to take her running a few times. She LOVES it.  You should see her gallop across the lawn.  She's like a greyhound. We still have a ways to go with leash work, but it's coming along nicely.
We don't know much about Cricket, other than that she is a Great Dane mix from Nevada, about 3 years old.  Apparently she was living in a trailer, and doesn't like being picked on by other dogs.
Like I said, we were originally going to get a puppy, but we all got so attached that we couldn't let her go. Even Steve likes her, and he's not exactly a dog person.

We're all glad she's a part of our family.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fall Fun

We had some 80* afternoons up until a few weeks ago, so it has been difficult acclimating ourselves to fall. And jackets for our morning walks to school.

Snails, of course, for the boys.
We spent an afternoon at Wheeler Farm for the fall festivities.
It's become a yearly tradition, that I sadly had to miss last year because the smells made my pregnant self overcome by nausea.
We also took advantage of the warm weather and went on a hike. 
We only went a few miles, but I was impressed we even made it there, since it was just me and 4 kids.
Last month, we made it to the zoo for Steve's work party. Super fun.

Halloween activities start tonight! I LOVE fall!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Jane: 5 months

Jane is 5 months old!!! She is such a sweet, happy baby.  She is usually perfectly content to be held (as long as she can see what is going on) and is getting more interactive and smiling more every day. She does occasionally get mildly upset, but usually only when she is tired and/or bored.  She doesn't even cry to be fed unless it's at night.  We all just adore her.

Can you blame us?
I especially adore when she gets excited. Her face lights up and she kicks her little legs.

Movement and Coordination:
Jane has pretty much mastered getting her fingers (and any object in her hands) into her mouth.  She's a big fan of sucking her first two fingers (like Caleb and Lily before her) but always seems so pleasantly surprised when those fingers make it to her mouth.
She has mastered the tummy-to-back rollover, but is still working on the other direction. 

Jane LOVES to sit up...but is nowhere near being able to do so on her own.  Which is funny to me because all my other kids were sitting up at 5 months, or at least could solidly tripod, but Jane has no interest in the tripod position. She is getting better, though, so maybe by next month so we can get started on solids.

Doctor visits!
Jane had her 4 month appointment.  She was 12 lbs, 6 oz, which is the 9th she is staying small and not growing as fast as I'd like to see. I've had to force her to keep eating multiple times and try to encourage her to eat on both sides for a little extra milk.  I also have to make sure it is totally quiet or she won't eat because she wants to check everything out.  And it's close to impossible with 3 other small children, but I've at least tried. Which has made a difference.  When I took her to the urgent care a week after her appointment (she would stop breathing and it freaked me and the doctors out, but it only lasted a day, so she's totally fine) but her weight was up to 12 lbs, 14 oz, which was up to 11th percentile. So that's a plus.

And she got her vaccines.  She's really sensitive to them.  Every time I touched her legs for 2 days after the shots, she would cry in pain.  It's kind of a bummer. And she broke out a little. I'm thinking she's allergic to the Band-Aid adhesive like I am, though it was a mild enough reaction that I didn't get her checked at this point. If you look closely, you can see a faint outline of red from day 2 in the above picture.

Jane seemed to be doing well with sleep so we decided to wean the swaddle.  We tried for a week before giving up. It was a disaster. Naps were terrible, she would wake up 4-5 times a night, and seemed to have a real struggle putting herself to sleep, even though she is perfectly capable of doing so without a binky or crying.   Every so often, she would find her fingers and suck herself back to sleep, but for the most part, it was just a terrible idea for her at this time. We're planning to try again after my half marathon next week, so hopefully an extra month will have her mature enough to handle it this time.

Naps are getting a little shorter (usually a little over an hour in the morning, and a longer one in the afternoon, sometimes a catnap in the late afternoon), and she alternates 3 nap days and 2 nap days.  Which means we are quickly heading toward the 3-2 nap transition.  She has made the nap transitions on the early side every time, so I am not surprised, though I'm trying to hold her off until we start solids at 6 months because 2 nap days mess up our feeding schedule. But the 3-2 is the last transition for at least 8 months or so, which means we can get a little more consistency in our lives.  I'm a big fan of consistency. Nights are still usually 1 feeding, sometimes 2 (especially if it was a 2-nap, early bedtime kind of day), but she is so small and distracted by the day eating that I'm resigning myself to keep to it until solids are well-established (hopefully by 7-8 months).

We also tried Jane out on the baby swings, propped up by blankets.  She loved it.  I loved that all 4 of my kids were entertained by the same thing so I wasn't running wildly all over the place. And no one else was at the park so we dominated the swings. :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Preschool X 2

Seriously, how cute are these two? They have been SO excited to start preschool.  I opted out of traditional preschool when I realized how much money it was going to be (X2!!!).  All I would be doing when they were gone was probably just cleaning and/or hanging out with Jane.  Which is fun and all, but I have a teaching degree.  We decided it would be better to pay someone to clean (after we pay off the van) and I would just do a homeschool preschool.  It has been so easy and fun. 
We are doing a letter of the week preschool. We've currently covered A is for Apples, B is for Bug, C is for Cookie, D is for Dinosaur. We usually do preschool 3-5 days/week for about an hour. We read books, talk about our letter/subject of the week, practice writing and cutting, sorting and patterns, counting, and sometimes even a craft.  

I even got smart and laminated everything so it's easy to re-use for both Caleb and Lily, but William sometimes does some worksheets during naptime. I will probably even use them for Jane. It's been a good project so far. 
I've slacked off a little the last few weeks because I caught a stomach bug AND a sinus infection, but am now on the mend.  I'm excited for the next few weeks for Halloween and Farm activities.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Jane: 4 months

While the boys were gone, I dropped Jane's 4th nap. She does well with longer wake times and would wake early from naps and play, so I figured it was time. Now, we usually get two 2-hr naps and a shorter nap of 30-90 minutes. Life is happier for everyone!
Night sleep has been a little more sporadic. Occasionally, we get an 11-12 hr stretch, but more often, it's been a 5-8 hr stretch, and maybe a 3-4 hr stretch after that. Jane isn't putting on a ton of weight (she's just a shade over 12 lbs), which is normal for my babies, but it means I should still probably feed her at night, no matter how tired I am (I'm very tired). 

Jane rolls over! She is also trying hard to figure out back-to-front rolls, but that still eludes her at this point. Jane is getting better at reaching and grabbing, though she can't hold items for long, and she still can't make her hands do what she wants all the time. She is very frustrated by this.

I'm not sure why, but for my babies 4 months has always been a turning point. They are more social, sleeping better, and life feels a lot easier all around as we are now feeling adjusted. Jane
has been no exception...though in many ways she is my easiest baby, she is also my most difficult in others.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


William is in Kindergarten! He started half-day morning Kindergarten last week and so far, loves it! It makes the mornings a little more chaotic, but let's be honest, they couldn't get much crazier. And Jane usually naps for 2 hours at that time so it gives me a chance to focus on the twins.
 I've been running at 5:30 or 6 to get back in time to feed Jane and get everyone ready for school. William lucked out and has his BFFs, Max and Charlie, in his class with him. He also has several neighbors and friends from preschool in his class, which is super fun. We walk to school every morning with Max, and They walk home together with Max's mom. It's been a great system so far and I'm loving the extra calorie burn due to the daily walk. Plus, those boys can't get enough of each other.
But my favorite part so far is his teacher! A friend fromy teaching cohort up at the U, Sheila, happens to teach Kindergarten at our school and we lucked out to have her for a teacher! William so far is a big fan. And I'm a big fan, too. Mrs. Jorgensen is a FANTASTIC teacher.
William quote of the week: they were playing a game where each child says a food that starts with the same sound as their name. William choose "Wootbeer"! He's had some speech issues and we've gotten him tested (looks like he's ok for now), but it luckily makes for some great stories.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Garff Girls Staycation 2015

The boys went up to the cabin for 9 days. For various reasons, us girls decided it would be more fun for everybody (us included), if we stayed home. Rather than just have it be a regular, boring time, we decided that every day, we would do something fun.  And since it was just us girls, we generally opted to do girly things. :)

Day 1: Pedicures. This was a super fun activity for all of us. Lily has been begging me to paint her nails for ages, but there was never a good time that the boys were occupied to do so.  It's been almost 2 weeks and the color is still there, so not bad for just an at-home job. We also did a barre workout, watched Sleeping Beauty, and mowed the lawn.

Day 2: The Curling Wand.
Even though church starts at 12:30, between naps, baby feeding, lesson planning, and getting everyone ready for church, it seems like we never have time for fancy 'dos. I busted out my curling wand and gave us each a head full of curls. Both Lily and I have naturally wavy hair, but cute, structured curls really enhanced the look. We were darling (if I do say so myself). Jane didn't seem to mind skipping out on this activity.
Day 3: Princess dress-ups and Beach trip.

Lily and I picked out this super-cute Sleeping Beauty onesie for Jane at a Disney Store clearance sale. We couldn't wait for Jane to be big enough to grow into it. This just so happened to be this week.  Right after we got the pink rug for the girls' room.
I had to get in a run that day, so rather than plop Lily in front of the tv and hop on the treadmill, I opted instead to go during Jane's nap.  I can get my baby monitor signal at the park across the street, so I ran 32 laps around the park (4 miles), checking on Jane every 10 minutes or so; Lily just played in the sand.  Lily would probably not have gone in the lake much anyway, so this was as good as the beach at the cabin, minus all the packing.
Day 4: Baby clothes and Princess Puppet show.
We sorted through Jane's clothes to pack away the too-small ones.  Lily found her old zebra pants in with the next size up  and tried them on...they actually fit her skinny body pretty well. We also hit up a princess puppet show at the library and got in some story time afterwards. After dinner and putting Jane to bed, I had our neighbor/cousin Laney over to watch Lily while I went down the street to a neighborhood book club.  It was Laney's first time babysitting, and since she is the only young woman in our neighborhood at the moment, it was my first time leaving Jane and Lily with anyone other than Steve.
Day 5: Book Club and Slumber Party. 
Lily was tired in the morning, so she just wanted to snuggle and nap on the couch during Jane's morning nap. I took the opportunity to finish my book. As I was reading, Lily decided she wanted to read too, so we just sat and read together for a time. It was very sweet.

After lunch, both girls took a 2-hour nap at the same time! I took the opportunity to paint the master bedroom.  Because the boys were gone, I had the option to sleep us in whatever room we preferred. Jane slept downstairs in the Girls' room (Jane sleeps there in the day, in our room at night; Lily sleeps in her old crib when she and Caleb decide to play and/fight instead of sleeping). Lily and I had a slumber party. I slept in her room on Caleb's bed.  It sounds more fun than it actually was. Lily kept talking to me, and even though I was tired enough to fall asleep at 8, because she kept me up, I didn't go to bed until after 10.  And I woke up at 5 and couldn't go back to sleep, so overall was a rough night for me. But Lily went back to sleep at 5 and both girls slept until 7, so that was awesome.

Day 6: Domestic Goddess Training.

Lily spent this day playing with her babies.  She has 1-5 babies that she is always carrying around. ESPECIALLY since Jane was born. She rocks them, pushes them in the baby swing or her stroller, and occasionally can be found nursing them. Here she is shown tandem bottle feeding her blonde babies, Rella and Rose. Cinderella was her first baby, a present for her first birthday. Rose was a baby I got for all the kids the day we found out that Jane was a girl.
I also spent some time mending a few princess dresses that had seen a little too much love. We attempted a Belle hairdo, but Lily's fine hair didn't work much with it.

Day 7: We got cupcakes in the morning with our friend, Cortney, and her 2 girls, Stella and Georgia, and son, Kells. It was a last-minute invite and I had already run that day and mowed the lawn, so I ended up just going in my running clothes since trips between naps are limited to less than 2 hours at this point and we had to squeeze in a grocery run as well.

That afternoon, we hit up The School of Dance open house. Lily wasn't feeling particularly adventurous, so we just ended up watching a hip-hop class and getting dinner at a food truck. In the evening, Cortney came over to stay with Jane, and Lily and I went to a girls' night out with my sister Rosie and sister-in-law, Traci, and their girls, Lucy and Abby. We had treats and watched The Sound of Music. Lily LOVED it.

Day 8: Freezer Cooking Club.

I love freezer cooking, not so much for the meals, but for the time and effort it saves me in the kitchen.  It has literally saved my sanity.  And my favorite part is that I am usually cooking with my favorite people. Occasionally, we allow our kids to help, too (depending on how much mess we feel like cleaning up). We made 10 meals for each family (30 total) and cleaned up the disaster in 3-4 hours.

After our friends left (and during the cooking as well), Lily played with her Little People.  The kids just LOVE these toys, especially the princess castle. We went to our neighborhood carnival for dinner. There was a bounce house, face painting, carnival games and food, and even a live band. This is always a super fun activity and this year was no exception.

Day 9: We couldn't wait for the boys to come home later this day! Lily was particularly feeling lonely for her twin brother, even going so far as to take a nap on his bed while I planned my lesson for Relief Society.
We put some cute braids in our hair, went of to church, and came home to put Jane to bed. And the boys were back before we even had a chance to make dinner!
All in all, it was one of the best "Staycations" I've had, and probably Lily, too for that matter.  I didn't want her to feel like she missed out on the fun at the cabin, so I did my best to make it a fun experience at home because that was the best decision for our family.  Though to be honest, this was definitely more fun than last year, and probably just as much fun (if not more) than we would have had up at the cabin, but without all the work. Though for my boys' sake, hopefully we will all make it up there next year.