Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Kindergarten

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.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Jane: 3 months













Jane is exiting the newborn stage! I know lots of people love newborns, but lack of sleep, teaching babies to sleep, round-the-clock feedings, and all the crying that accompanies newborns is hard for me. I prefer when babies get to be more social and regular.
New this month:


-Jane is smiling a ton! She usually still just smiles at me or Steve, but she also likes to smile at her baby monitor camera, and sometimes other people.  She smiles a lot when I clap her hands or bicycle her legs. My favorite thing pretty much all day is her huge smile when I get her up in the morning.

-Nap training, continued. Jane has now pretty much figured out how to put herself to sleep, and usually does so with or without a binky, and almost always within 5 minutes. She still often wakes up after 30 minutes, but will now usually goes back to sleep, often without much fuss. 



-Napping on the go. The Solly wrap used to be one of the best ways to get Jane to sleep...unfortunately, she has reached the point of not sleeping well outside of her bed. Which is good and bad. It means she is sleeping on her own, but it also means we are stuck at home a lot since wake times are only 1-1.5 hrs. right now.

-Jane is now clocking up at least enough sleep for her age, usually 15.5-16 hours a day. I think the main differences have been having her nap in the nursery (it's pitch black and much quieter than my room). Usual bedtimes are 6-7pm and she will sleep for 7-8 hrs, eat, then go back to bed until 6-7 am. Usually she will put herself back to bed after eating without a binky, which is great! AND, she almost always wakes up smiling! My baby monitor reaches across the street to the park, so we spend a lot of naptimes there so it will be quieter for Jane. I've also been stretching her wake times in preparation for the 4-3 nap transition which should be happening soon, judging by her short naps and ability to handle longer wake times. 



-Coordination. Jane has great control of her head, and is working on getting her hands to behave. She has also started to figure out kicking. Jane LOVES to kick in her bouncy chair...if she's in there, she blocks out the rest of the world. She also focuses her eyes a lot better now, too.

-Weight. At her 2 month appointment, Jane was consistent with her other siblings in weight and height. She was 22.5 inches and 10 lbs 4 oz. which puts her around 50% for height and 25% for weight. Jane was my biggest baby, so we thought she might stay bigger, but she is settling into similar sizing as the other kids. She's got cute little arm and leg rolls, though, and super kissable cheeks.



And like the typical 4th child, she is not getting nearly as many photos. But luckily, Caleb likes to take lots of pictures of Jane. As evidenced by this picture, he also likes to cover her with stickers.

                                        




Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Art of William

William has gotten really into drawing lately. I love it. He is so creative in his drawings.

Here is a few of my favorites:

A map

I think this is a submarine.
Dad took the twins camping and William, Jane and I hit up Color Me Mine:
And my personal favorite, the immortal jellyfish. Polyps and all.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Caleb the Photographer

Every time Caleb gets his hands on my phone, he takes a picture (and sometimes more than one). There's usually maniacal laughter that accompanies it. It's too funny. Here are some of his latest:








And my personal favorite, a selfie:



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Jane: 2 Months



Jane is now 2 months and we are finally settling into a new routine as a family of 6. Which means there is a little less chaos. But still probably more crazy than at your house. :)
New this month: 

-Jane now sleeps longer stretches at night!!!! We can consistently count on 5 hours, sometimes even close to 7.5 or 8 in a row. This is HUGE. I feel less tired now than when I was pregnant. And sometimes I even get stuff done.

-Smiling! Jane smiles more now. Mostly just at me and Steve, but occasionally for siblings or other family members.
-Nap training. Stressing over sleep is my least favorite part of newborns. I've been tracking Jane's sleep the last week, and she is consistently 1-2 hours less than she probably should have, with naps almost always only being 30 minutes with a rare longer nap. Once I have her an opportunity to try to put herself to sleep instead of just rush in with a binky, she has done MUCH better... In fact, she is currently on a nap extension going on 2 hours (at the same time the twins were napping!). I think it probably helps her at night too, but she is all business at night and just nurses herself to sleep. This means we almost never leave the house because she naps best in her bed. I'm getting a little cabin fever but need to remember that it will be worth it.
-Improved head control. She's a lot less wobbly. Next month, we'll work on tummy time.
-Recognition. Jane definitely knows me and Steve, and her siblings. Though focusing and head turning is still hard.
-Weight gain! We go to the Dr. next week, but according to my home scale, Jane is over 10 lbs.!!!! She's definitely thickening up and getting some cute little baby fat rolls. Jane was also blessed at our home ward this month.  It marks the first time one of our children was blessed in our own ward. We had lots of family and friends come and it was a great event.
 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Jane: 1 Month


We've survived the first month with a newborn! It's been a rough month (it always is) but not as bad as I've expected. I don't nearly feel as tired or busy as I thought I would. Now, I wouldn't exactly say it's been "easy", just not the blur of craziness I planned for. Which has been nice.

I think a lot of that has to do with the pre-planning I did. I had about 2-3 months worth of meals in the freezer, a fully-stocked pantry, and a lot of the projects were completed.  We've had lots of friends and neighbors drop by with meals and Grandma Garff has taken the bigger kids for a few outings to help out as well. I've also had low expectations for myself for the first 6 weeks in order to adjust and heal and sleep. I've had to force myself to sit down more regularly (since I'm running around so much with the other kids) so I can be sure to recover, but I'm not a big fan of that. I just want to be back to normal! I'm feeling great now, so hopefully almost there (except for wanting to lose another 25-30lbs, of course).

 When I came home from the hospital, I barely felt like I had given birth, my recovery has been EASY. In fact, I went to sacrament meeting the next day. It was Mother's Day, and I thought there'd be kids singing some cute musical number that I wouldn't want to miss, but no such luck. The hardest part has been my SI joint pain. With Jane being turned all funny, it separated my pelvis, which has STILL not gone back completely. Walking even a block that first week was difficult and painful. I've been going to PT, which has been super helpful, but still not back to normal, yet. I have started running a bit (2 miles, 3x a week), but don't want to increase mileage until I am pain-free. Which hopefully will be soon as I regain my muscle and strength.

Jane has been a mostly pleasant baby. She hardly ever cries when she is being held, doesn't take forever to eat, and is working on sleeping better. It has been a challenge getting her to learn to sleep in the pack'n'play all alone, but she is doing much better. She seems like she will be a very happy and easy baby once we get passed this sleep hurdle.

Jane, 1 Month:

-SMILING!!! Started at 3 weeks; crazy, I know, but it's been often enough we know it is a real smile. She even has a dimple!

-Sleeps for 3-5 hours at a time during the night, usually going right back to bed.

-Kind of a spitty baby, but not nearly as bad as projectile vomiting Caleb.

-Loves to stare with her deep blue eyes and make funny facial expressions.

-Loved by her siblings, who are adjusting as well as can be expected. William often is indifferent, but every so often, I can get him fascinated by her umbilical cord, or funny faces. He doesn't want to hold her, but did try to teach her to crawl. Yesterday, he said that Jane looked like a boy because she has short hair. :) 

The twins fight over holding her and can't get enough baby. Caleb picks most of her outfits and they already have a special bond. He talks to Jane in a high-pitched voice that is just darling. Lily adores having a little sister and always wants to hold her.
My favorite thing is when the kids ask if we are going to keep Baby Jane forever. 

I think we will.