Year in Review 2018

 - by Brittny


This was the year for family trips, it seems. In addition to a beachside camping trip down in Carpinteria followed by a half week in Las Vegas, we also spent an exciting week at Yosemite National Park and Bass Lake and we went to Disneyland for three days in the early fall, as well.

David (14 months) is still growing like crazy. He walks a little here and there, but he much prefers to be held by his Dad. He also speaks much clearer words now, though his vocabulary is limited to Ma-ma, Da-da, and Bye. His favorite things to do are to point at family pictures hanging on the walls of our house, playing dentist with any mouths that are within reach, and dancing to all sorts of music. The funniest thing he’s learned to do recently happens when he’s being held by dad while hugging his mom–he grabs mom by the sleeve and pulls her to Dad over and over so they can kiss. He’s lucky he is so cute, because he is not good at being left alone or sleeping by himself at all.

Maeli turned four and a half in July as she likes to tell everyone. She loved going to visit her Grandma, camping on the beach, and traveling through Yosemite. But by far her absolute favorite trip was to Disneyland back in September. She got to meet the real Anna and Elsa, sit in the VIP section for the Toy Story parade, play Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblasters, and ride the Rocket Ships! Her favorite part of pre-school is snack time, and she loved it when they brought in real-life butterflies to her class. She still attends the same school where her dance class is, and she dances to everything now, especially during the credits of our Friday Family Movie Nights.

Daniel (7) was most excited to see the snow start to fall around home. He loves to play with his neighborhood friends out in the winter and enjoy hot cocoa. It also means he gets to go skiing soon. The bigger boys got their season passes to the humongous Park City resort this season. He’s certainly a speed demon at heart, absolutely loving the time we spent on the wave runner during our Yosemite vacation week. The time spent at Disneyland also scratched that itch, because he got to ride the Space Mountain rollercoaster five times (the other kids gave up their fast passes to accommodate his need for speed)!

Sam’s (9) favorite part of summer was spending the entire day at Bass Lake on a rented pontoon boat. We swam, went tubing, and used the on-board BBQ to cook all our meals. His favorite song that he’s learned on the violin so far is Long, Long Ago. He’s been playing a video game on his 3DS called “Rhythm Thief” that helps him with his technical music skills. He was also really excited to get third place in the Pinewood Derby races this fall. It was unexpected because he waited until the very last minute to put it all together.  

Never one to be left without a project for long, Brittny took the lead on getting the basement finished this fall. She was happy to finally have a dedicated guest room and playroom, and Eric was excited to finally get the home theater and virtual reality room he’d wanted for so long.  Most days she doesn’t know where the time goes as she spends her time in a blur of homeschooling, housework and babycare. However slowly but surely she’s finding routines that help keep everything running, and she loves the opportunity she has to be a stay-at-home mom and has embraced the chaos that comes with it.  In her spare time (if such a thing exists) she participates in a neighborhood book club that she helped to start.

Over the past year Eric has taken the initiative to get a better grasp on his health. Through a combination of intermittent fasting and choosing to eat more ketogenic-friendly lunches, he has lost 30 pounds since last Thanksgiving!  Brittny has been very appreciative that he has been the least annoying dieter ever and doesn’t begrudge other people eating differently from him – he just quietly makes good choices for himself and doesn’t require massive changes for the whole family (which is especially helpful with picky kids at home!). The aging appliances at the house called for fixes to the dishwasher, refrigerator, and water heater this year. Thanks to Google, Eric has been able to make many of those fixes himself and learn a lot along the way. With all of those fixes and working on the basement it was a close call, but Eric was able to finish his classes and just started his last term to complete his MBA by May 2019. A couple months ago someone tried to break-in to the house, and that motivated him to finish his licensing and training for a concealed carry permit, which has been reassuring. At work, he’s hired yet another developer to help offload his increasing workload but still manages to find time to do some freelance work afterhours. Eric’s been called as the Emergency Communications coordinator for the Stake. However, as suspected, he and Brittny are going to remain in their scouting roles (cubmaster & cub scout committee chair) until the end of the program.  

2015 Year in Review

 - by Brittny

Lots of growing and fun in the Eric and Brittny Hansen household over the past year. We are still living in Utah on top of the point of the mountain, loving life and being close to family and friends.

Maeli (2 in January) has been developing quite the vocabulary over the year, but most of it has been complete gibberish. It’s hilarious to hear her say so many different things yet still not be able to understand most of it. She loves to pray for her family by name, especially her “boys”, Danny and Sam. Maeli loves her brothers and always expresses distress when being put down for her nap or to bed without them by calling out “But, the my boys! The my boys!” With good reason too! Her brothers take good care of her and include her often in their playing. Maeli loves everything girly. One of her first words was “shoes” and she still gets very excited to wear different shoes or when we put a “pretty” (hair clip) in her hair. She is very aware that she is the only girl and baby in our family and takes full advantage of it! She is the princess and if you do not bow to her ways – look out! We try our best to keep her in check, but she’s unconvinced. Probably the only thing that will cure her is to be ousted from her throne by a new sibling. No plans yet for that younger sibling, but someday her rule of adorable tyranny will have to be put to an end!

Daniel (4) is as spunky and funny as ever.  He was signed up to go to preschool at the local elementary school this year, however at the last minute we ended up pulling him out.  They changed the laws in Utah to state that all children under the age of 5 who ride the bus must have seatbelts, and our district’s school busses don’t have seat belts.  The only thing that Danny was looking forward to about going to school was riding the bus, so with that off the table, and Sam being homeschooled (more on that later) we decided it wasn’t worth the fight and money to try to make him go to preschool.  Especially when he kept telling his mom, “I just want to stay home with my brother.”  So, instead we got him in with a joy school group in our neighborhood and are homeschooling him for preschool.  We haven’t yet decided what we’re going to do next year when he’s old enough for kindergarten.  Danny played soccer this fall – although this time without his mother as the coach (hooray!)  It was so funny to watch the kids at his age play because they were very good about being polite and taking turns… which isn’t really the point of soccer.  We’d watch the kids play and instead of taking the ball they’d wait patiently for the other kid to lose control of the ball and then jump into get it.  We’d try to tell Danny to get the ball when someone else had it and he’d just look at us incredulously like, “do you not see, someone else has it.  Patience guys!”  It was hysterical!  Danny’s favorite thing to do is to find an electronic device and then go hide out behind a couch, in a closet or in a cupboard (which he calls “his office”) and watch Octonauts or play Minecraft.  He’s also very creative with Legos and spends lots of time making different Lego creations.

This year we decided to pull Sam (6) out of the public school and start homeschooling him.  It was a really tough decision for us – we live in the boundaries for an amazing school with wonderful teachers and kids.  Last year we noticed that Sam was coming home from school every day with blank worksheets – we realized that what was happening is that he would spend a lot of the day at school daydreaming quietly.  Since he was still way ahead of his class, and he wasn’t noisy or disruptive he wasn’t getting anything accomplished but no one was doing anything about it.  We decided it made the most sense to bring him home where his teacher’s number one priority was keeping *him* on task.  Homeschooling is definitely a challenge but it’s also been the right decision. It’s still hard to keep Sam on task, but it helps to have content that is on his level and a mom that’s dedicated to him.  Mom has to keep reminding herself that even when we fall a little behind in our lessons – the lessons we’re doing are a year ahead of his age, so we’re still coming out ahead. Sam played soccer in the fall and has made some real improvement from previous seasons. Unfortunately the league he was in had 2nd graders as well as first graders so he was a little intimidated by the bigger boys. But he really seems to be getting the hang of the game. In Sam’s free time he loves to play video games, read books (particularly the MegaMan comic books) and play “the everything game” with his friends. The Everything Game is basically an imaginative game that includes any character from the various shows, games, books etc that Sam and his friends are aware of.

Brittny really scaled up the amount of work she’s doing lately with homeschooling Sam. On top of that, she still manages to support her list of freelance web clients at night after putting the kids to bed. And on top of all that, she serves both as a Primary teacher for Danny’s class and Chair of the Cub Scout Committee. In her spare time she keeps trying to take charge of organizing more things – Danny’s joy school, the neighborhood babysitting co-op, moderating the community Facebook page, getting involved in the pro-life movement, and lobbying for new legislation for homeschoolers in Utah. She would like to spend more time exercising and writing in her blog, but for some strange reason she never seems to find the time.

Eric recently passed his one-year anniversary working for the Church in October, and it has been a bit of a roller coaster in recent months. He reports to his old Mission President, Elder Perkins, who is now in the First Quorum of the Seventy, and he gets to work on a lot of cool projects like the Gospel Library App, website, and the new Family History Discovery Center. The ebb and flow of work combined with some unfortunate bureaucratic policies make for a somewhat frustrating and stressful experience, but it looks like he’s sorted out a lot of the challenges and is starting to make some real progress. He also enjoys being Cubmaster (getting to work alongside Brittny) and playing games with his kids. He hopes this year’s El Niño weather pattern will make for a good ski season and would love to take any of you out on the slopes if you ever have a chance to visit.

All the Work in Our Family

 - by Brittny

Eric’s and my curtain rod fell down yesterday and Sam noticed it this morning. I asked him if we should put it back up and the following conversation ensued –

Sam: No, just dad should do it.

Me: Why just dad?

Sam: Because dad does all the work in our family.

Me: Uhm, ok, so what does mom do?

Sam: She just sleeps in bed.

Needless to say he won zero points for this conclusion, especially since it was 11:30am and I had just barely woken up Eric, while I’ve been up trying to mitigate the messes our boys have been making since 7:30am.  Which isn’t to say that Eric doesn’t do a lot of work in our family, but I certainly don’t spend my days just sleeping in bed!

Cheating Post

 - by Brittny

So, I know it’s been awhile and I need to catch up on our blog, but it’s not going to happen today.  So I’m going to cheat and just link you to some other things that we’ve posted elsewhere on the internet about our family recently.  I did write a post on my personal blog about some of our recent adventures.  I should start by explaining that my family has a blog where we post our highs and lows for any given day, hence the format of this post.  In retrospect the post probably more belonged on this site than my site but what’s done is done!  You can read it here.

Also, while we were in California last month we got some family pictures taken by the fabulous Mary Tarbet and she posted some of them in her blog.  We still need to go through and pick out which ones we want to get prints of and edited for our blog sidebar and whatnot, but you can enjoy the preview here.

Finally, if you happen to be Danny’s grandma and would enjoy a video of Danny stealing his dad’s soda while asking with a please you should watch this:

Or if you feel inclined to watching him sweep the floor you might enjoy this:

Hopefully that will tide you over until the next time I get around to writing in our blog :)

Baby Flavors

 - by Brittny

Well our poll for everyone to guess the baby gender is now closed.  The results were pretty close – 13 votes for Boy and 12 votes for a Girl.  Of course, the voting doesn’t matter since the baby is what it is.  However, this time the majority was correct!  We’re having another little boy!  We’re excited for Sam’s little brother to join us in April.  Eric has thought it was a boy from almost the moment we found out I was pregnant.  He thinks that the dad has an intuition about it, and so far he’s been right, so I guess I can’t really question that!  Everything looked normal and good with measurements and health-wise which of course is the most important thing.

So, here are some pictures from the ultrasound.  I think the sonographer went through a little bit quicker than usual so it seems like they aren’t as clear as they were with Sam.  They’d had someone come in with a miscarriage this morning which I’m sure threw everything off.  But I’m not upset, so long as the baby looks healthy and normal, that’s all that matters to us.

Tah-dah! It’s a boy!

And, in case you just can’t get enough, here’s the video of the ultrasound.  There isn’t any audio to it so you just have to watch the labels that the sonographer put in.  You also might want to start in at about 1:05 over the part where she just writes in my vital stats.

Naming polls will hopefully be coming soon :)

Our 100th Post! – Poor neglected Sam

 - by Brittny

Ok, so Sam is really the furthest thing from neglected in real life. He’s our only child and living with his parents AND grandparents. Don’t worry, he gets plenty of attention :) However he’s been a bit overshadowed with the house and the baby in the blog. So, in honor of our 100th post on this blog, it’s time for a good old fashioned Sam update. Since this is Brittny posting, just expect that it’s going to be really long, but I promise to at least throw in copious amounts of cute pictures and videos to make it fun to read :)

We took Sam in for his 18 month appointment a few weeks ago. Yeah, we were a little late since he was 20 months old at that point. Unfortunately his 18 month appointment was scheduled in the middle of my sister’s dramatic and 5 week early arrival of her first son. In the craziness a few things got neglected, and Sam’s doctor’s appointment was one of them. It took me awhile to get up the guts to call the office and own up to my spaciness and set a new appointment (I’m a little phone phobic anyways, so that didn’t help). Anyways, we finally got him in. Here are his current stats –

Weight – 24lbs 0z – 20th percentile
Height – 31 in – 7th percentile
Head Circumference – 50 cm – 90th percentile

It was kinda surprising to see his stats down so low. At his 12 month appointment he’d been in the 75th percentile for height and the 30th percentile for weight. Then he dropped off a ton at his 15 month appointment, but that one was right in the middle of when we were super sick in June and he’d lost a lot of weight during that time so I’d just chalked it up to that and I didn’t even record his stats at that appointment because they seemed like such an anomaly. Not that I’m really surprised to see Sam down in the 7th percentile for height, he doesn’t exactly have giants for parents, but it was just so crazy to see it go from 75th percentile to 7th.

But, Sam is doing really well. The doctor said as we were leaving that he looked “perfect”, which is of course what we think, but it was good to hear someone else say it as well :) At every appointment our pediatrician gives us a little piece of paper that has some of the milestones that he should be reaching and things he should and shouldn’t be doing at his age. We were very surprised to see that they were looking to see that he had 10-20 words at this stage. That’s it?! I know people had told me Sam was a good talker but I hadn’t realized just how advanced he really is in that category for his age. I’d guess he has well over 200 words, but I really haven’t kept track at all and I don’t think I could track them all at this point. He speaks in little pidgin sentences with all of the articles, pronouns and other connecting words left out, but that’s apparently well beyond where he should be right now.

We’ve really enjoyed Sam’s talking, and he talks all day long.  The first thing he does when he wakes up is usually to roll over and start labeling all of the parts of my face – “mommy eyes!  mommy nose!  mommy mouth!” etc.  Or he’ll wake up and ask for “juice?” until I ask him, “you want some juice?” and he’ll say “k, ready, set, go!”  I’m not usually yet ready to “ready set go” but eventually we’ll make it up the stairs anyways and get him some juice.  Some of his more fun phrases are “cool dude!” which he’ll say whenever he has a hat on, or sunglasses, or any number of things he thinks are cool.  He also will say “awesome” when he thinks something is awesome.  Recently we’ve taught him to be pinged (a computer term meaning the activity of sending out a request to test the responsiveness of a specific computer on a network).  If he’s doing something that we want to just keep track of him without necessarily having to be in the same room then we’ll leave him alone and then periodically call out “ping!” and listen until he calls back “ping!”.  Yes, we are super nerdy but we think it’s awesome.

We took Sam into Adobe one Friday so that we could enter him into “Nerd Shirt Friday”… he won of course :)

Right now he’s gotten all of his direct objects mixed up so he’ll say things like “hold you” “read you” “nuggle you” rather than “hold me” “read to me” “snuggle me”.  We know it’s pretty typical but we think it’s pretty cute.  He’s also started saying things like “mommy ask you” while signing “please” rather than just asking me for something or saying please.  I’m guessing that comes from me asking him “how do we ask?”, and while the response I’m looking for is of course “please”, I really enjoy his “mommy ask you!”.

I left Sam at the kitchen table to eat his breakfast cereal, thinking there was nothing for him to get into.  I was wrong, there was a salt shaker there, what could be more fun than “shake shake shake!” all over the table?

The best word to describe Sam is busy.  I’ve had people say he seemed like a busy boy since he was about 3 months old.  It’s been true the whole time.  Sam is always doing something or getting into something.  He’s not necessarily destructive (although as you’ll see in the picture below, sometimes he is), but he’s always exploring and trying to find new things and figure out how things work.  Eric’s parents have told me that Eric had a similar curiosity and that it made him a very expensive child.  I absolutely believe it, but if it means that Sam will turn out like Eric, I think it’s a good thing.  We’ve just learned to keep things that Sam’s curiosity could destroy well out of reach, or out of the house :)

This is what happens to your keyboard if you leave your computer with Sam so he can IM his dad while you work on something in the other room.  Yes, all of those keys got pulled off.  And yes, they all did (eventually) go back on.  哎呀.

Sam started going to nursery a couple months ago and he loves it.  Unfortunately our ward meets at 1pm which is a terrible time for toddlers.  It means that nursery is right in the middle of nap time and so we end up with a lot of cranky kids in nursery.  Luckily Sam usually sleeps on the way to church and (if we’re lucky) through sacrament meeting so he’s a little bit better off.  He’s still pretty clingy so we haven’t been able to leave him in there on his own just yet, but in all honesty I think I’ll be a little bit sad to leave him in there when he is ready.  It’s really fun to watch him play in there and have fun.

His favorite part is singing time, in fact I think it’s his favorite part of the entire week.  Sam loves “yugic” (music) and so 20 minutes of singing with props is about the best thing ever.  He knows some words to a few songs and it’s pretty fun to watch him sing them.  He will randomly sing out “Jingle bells jingle bells” throughout the day, and whenever my mom calls him he likes to sing “Nobed” (Once there was a Snowman).  He still loves “5 little monkeys” but he hasn’t quite caught on to the concept that we have to decrease the number of monkeys with each verse.  If we start with 5 monkeys then he wants 5 monkeys for all 5 verses, or if there are 3 monkeys at the beginning then we stay with three monkeys all the way through.

Sam was very proud of himself for getting his coat on all by himself…

One of the interesting things in nursery is that Sam is still kinda shy, but he really likes being with the other kids.  He’s pretty good at playing with other kids and sharing with them.  One of the funny things is that if another kid comes up and steals a toy from him, he doesn’t usually get mad or anything, he just watches them like, “why did you do that?”, and then goes on to do something else.  He’s not too easily ruffled which I think is an awesome quality to have, and definitely not something you can just teach a child if they don’t come that way naturally.

Sam also really likes coloring.  One of the funny things though is that he tends to like us to draw for him rather than actually controlling the crayons himself.  Usually he just wants us to write things on a piece of paper for him.  For a little while he was able to spell his name, but since then he’s wanted us to write other things and so he’s gotten that spelling mixed up. For awhile he was spelling it “S-A-Ow hurt!”, not sure why, but apparently he thought the last letter in his name was “ow hurt!”

This was actually Sam watching General Conference, not Ni Hao Kai Lan.  He was so excited by the choir’s singing!

Sam’s favorite TV show is “Ni Hao Kai Lan which has been fun since it teaches him some Chinese.  I’ve actually been amazed at how many words he’s learned both English and Chinese from the show.  I knew that he could count to three in Chinese but then one day he surprised me with knowing all of the numbers up to 10!  I don’t even know where he got that because I haven’t seen any of his episodes that counted higher than 3, but it must be in there somewhere because somehow Sam knew it.  His other favorite things to watch are “Finding Nemo” and “Journey to the Promised Land” (a scriptural DVD).  It’s kinda funny that his 3 DVDs that he watches he calls “Ni Hao”, “Nemo” and “Nephi”… all “nee”s.

Hanging out, watching Finding Nemo

Oh, and for those of you who have been following our sleep saga with Sam, he’s suddenly become a great sleeper.  I’m not sure exactly what changed but he’s gone from taking mini cat naps and needing someone with him all night long, to taking 2-3 hour naps and sleeping on his own!  Plus he’s gone from needing to be nursed to sleep to just deciding he’s tired and falling asleep.  It’s been amazing!

Oh, and he’s also now weaned, which is something I’d started to think was never going to happen.  I wasn’t in any hurry to wean him, but I’d slowly been transitioning him to a more solid diet after his first birthday.  When we got the flu back in June it really did a number on Sam and every time I’d try go back to feeding him solids he’d just puke them back up.  So I went back to nursing him exclusively and giving him some Pedialyte.  It took a few weeks for him to get completely over it and by then we were in a routine of nursing that was difficult to break out of.  Then we were moving and going on vacations so it was just easiest to keep nursing him since it meant I didn’t have to remember any extra foods or sippy cups, just the nursing cover.  Then as I was thinking about getting things back to normal my sister had her baby 5 weeks early and we spent a few weeks running back and forth to Provo helping her with moving apartments (yeah at 8 months pregnant, yuck) and being in the hospital.

It wasn’t until October that I really had time to work on a new routine anyways.  I was amazed though at how quickly he dropped off the feedings in favor of solid foods except for his feedings that would put him to sleep (naptime and bedtime).  Then he started falling asleep in his high chair while eating lunch, and soon his nap time feeding was gone.  It just took a few nights of him skipping his bedtime feeding for me to decide that he was done with that too.  Suddenly Sam was weaned and neither he or I hardly realized it had happened.

I don’t at all regret nursing him as long as I did.  My mom kept pointing out that he was about the healthiest child she’d seen at that age, and really the recommendations are to nurse kids until they are at least 2 years old – despite our American tendencies to want to wean children at a year old.  But I’m also kinda glad to be done, I was having a hard time keeping up with eating enough for me, Sam and a growing fetus.  I was getting super dizzy and I think it was mostly due to eating for three!  Sam however still will beg for “Moo”, although I don’t think he really expects to get it anymore, so I just try to cuddle with him and/or give him a cup of juice/milk/water when he makes that request.

I was trying to get a picture of something Sam was doing, but when he saw the camera he hammed it up instead, what a cutie!

Sam is really excited for his younger sibling to come.  For awhile he was constantly asking “Baby? Christmas?”, to which we responded that Christmas would be a VERY bad time for baby to come, how about Easter?  He would just get more insistent, “Baby! Christmas!”  Luckily, we’ve finally convinced him that we can have the baby for Easter instead.  Sam likes “playing with” the baby by lifting up my shirt and kissing my tummy, or blowing raspberries or “nuggling” my tummy.  It’s really cute!  Judging from the way he acts with other kids we think he’s going to transition to having a younger sibling pretty well.  We’ve spent a good amount of time with his cousin Skylar and he loves holding him and playing with him.  He’s very sensitive to the baby’s needs as well and will tell us “Baby sad” if Skylar is crying, or “Baby happy!” when he’s about to eat.  We have however had to teach him some basics, like we do not “hi-yah” the baby.  Also, when we’re done holding the baby we don’t just push the baby off mom’s lap, and if you want mom’s attention we can’t just decide that the baby needs to go to sleep so that mom won’t hold him anymore.  There will definitely be some adjustment but it’s nice that he’s at least interested in the baby.

Another exciting development is potty training. We’re nowhere near potty trained yet, but Sam will at least make an attempt to do his “ewws” on the toilet once a day. I’m grateful for every diaper that I don’t have to change. We decided rather than making potty training a stressful ordeal we’d just buy a potty seat and see what happened. We have a reward system that he gets “eats” (peanut butter M&Ms) whenever he goes potty. It’s enough of an incentive to keep him motivated to try! In fact, sometimes when he needs to go to the bathroom he’ll tell me “Mommy, three eats!” which roughly translated means “Mom, I need to go poop” (he gets 3 M&Ms for going poop, 2 for peeing, and 1 if he at least makes an attempt).

I could go on forever about our Sam but I think that’s probably more than most of you want to read so I’ll leave it at that for now.  Hopefully I’ll do better at keeping updated in the future… but it probably won’t happen, so don’t get too excited ;)

Sam’s New Food

 - by Brittny

Yesterday Sam and I were at Costco to pick up a few things.  Of course they had lots of samples out, but I mostly was trying to get in and out as quickly as I could.  However, one sample they had caught my eye – sushi!  I’m a huge fan of California rolls and they had some out on a counter.  I was excited about Costco carrying fresh sushi, and I was pretty hungry, so I stopped to grab a sample.  As soon as I picked it up Sam started saying “rice? rice?”, meaning he wanted some of whatever this was that’s covered in rice (rice is one of his favorite foods).  I thought it’d be funny to see what he thought of it so I let him try it.  Pretty soon my California roll was all gone and I just got a tiny bite of it!  Since it was a hit with Sam, and I really like sushi, I decided to pick up a box of sushi for us to eat later that night.  He didn’t quite attack it at home like he had in Costco unfortunately, but we got some cute pictures of him anyways –

Hooray! Sushi’s coming!

Look, it’s right inside of there…

How do you get that goodness out of that box and into me?

See dad?  It’s not that bad!

I dare you to try to steal my sushi…

This picture in no way reflects my true feelings towards sushi…

But I still managed to get distracted by the dried mango and decided to eat that instead :P

Like I said, he didn’t exactly devour it at home like he had at Costco, but it was still pretty cute :)

Announcement #1

 - by Eric

So, if you follow our family on facebook or twitter you already know that we’ve got some major changes coming down the pipes for our family in the next little while.  But I decided we’d spread the posts out and give each of our fun announcements their fair time share on our blog rather than trying to cram them all into one huge post.  So here’s the first and most important one –

We’re going to have another baby in April!  A few months back Eric and I went to the temple while we were pondering some other questions about what direction we should be going as a family.  As I was trying to listen for guidance on something else entirely the one thing that kept jumping out at me was that we needed to get ready to have another baby.  If you’ve ever seen The Bachelor (it’s one of my family’s favorite movies) you might remember the scene where Jimmy Shannon’s grandpa has his megaphone and yells to him “PROCREATE!”  Yeah, that was basically how I felt walking out of that temple session, like Heavenly Father was yelling at me through His bullhorn – “PROCREATE!”

I’m not going to lie, the idea of having another kid scared me like crazy.  Sam is fantastic and I love him to kibbles and bits, but he is a handful.  He’s still not the greatest sleeper (although getting better), and he has a special talent for getting into everything.  I hadn’t even really considered having another baby yet because I didn’t feel like I’d yet mastered having *one* baby.  So I didn’t want to tell Eric about the impression I’d had because I knew he was better than I am and would say we should do it… and I really wasn’t ready to start thinking about another baby.

Finally, one night while I was trying to coax Sam into falling asleep I made a plea deal with Heavenly Father.  If He would help Sam fall asleep then I would talk to Eric about the idea of having another baby.  Sam fell asleep within 30 seconds of that prayer.  So there wasn’t much I could do at that point but keep up my end of the deal.  As Eric and I were getting ready for bed and I was trying to figure out how to broach the topic, Eric suddenly says “I think it’s time for us to have another baby.”  Apparently he’d been having similar impressions :P  If nothing else it helped me feel more confident that what I’d been feeling wasn’t just hormones or coming from me, so off we went to try to have another baby.

It was a really tender mercy though in that it took a few months for me to get pregnant again.  I was really not excited at the prospect of being in the throes of morning sickness and the first trimester of pregnancy towards the end of July when we were moving and going on vacation.  It was a busy month and a half and I just didn’t think I could deal with all that I had on my plate *and* pregnancy.  I found I was pregnant the day after we got back from all of those vacations and had finished moving.  It was just a little affirmation to me that Heavenly Father truly loves me and cares about the things that are important to me, even if they aren’t important in the grand scheme of things.

I’ve been somewhat more lax in my prenatal care this time around than I was with Sam.  It’s not that I’m not excited about this baby, but I guess I feel more like I’ve done this before and so it’s not as novel.  Whereas with Sam I called the doctor’s office pretty immediately to set up a prenatal appointment, this time around I decided to wait until they’d be able to find a heartbeat to even set the appointment.  Unfortunately this meant that I went in for my first appointment at the early side of when they could find the heartbeat (10 weeks)… and they couldn’t.  So they had me come back a week later to check again… and still no heartbeat.  Finally the doctor ordered an ultrasound so we could know for sure that things were ok.  She wasn’t super concerned that something was wrong, but I think it was a good move to just make sure everything was ok and put everyone at ease.  Of course, everything was ok (or that probably would have been where I started this post) and I got to see the baby. And one of the main perks is that now I have a picture of the baby to post here in the blog!


It was so crazy to me to watch the ultrasound and see that there really is a whole baby in there.  Of course it’s super tiny, but I could see the little arms moving around and the head and the bum.  At 11 weeks I more expected to see a little blob, but it was actually a full human, just super mini.  We’re excited to meet this mini human in April!

Stay tuned as we post the details on our other exciting announcements coming up soon…

Busy Busy Bumblebees

 - by Brittny

Remember how I set a goal to update a blog once a week and specifically focusing on this blog? Guess what, hasn’t happened. Not even a little bit. Sorry, it’s been really busy lately, here’s a taste of what we’ve been doing instead –

  • I built and launched this website and also this website as freelance projects. The designs were done by a guy I work with and both had relatively quick turn-around times from start to finish. I’m really excited to be able to put them on my resume though because most of the sites that I’ve built personally aren’t as reflective of my skills as I would like.
  • Put together this video for Marie (Pearson) Tarbet. Marie and her brother do LDS music and this is my favorite song that they do. I also created their website for them – don’t judge the design, this is one of those sites that shows my skills as a designer (read: no designer skills), I’m in the process of a redesign right now. Marie had put this slideshow together in Powerpoint but didn’t have a good way to get it up on the web. It took a lot of back and forth just to get the right files to us but we finally got them… right as I was in the middle of all my other projects. Originally we’d thought Eric could do it but he’s been busy as well so I finally was able to take it on. It’s my first foray into video editing and I’m pleased with the results. It definitely took me way more time than it would have for Eric, but it was a fun project and although time consuming wasn’t as complicated as anticipated.
  • Sleep training.  See this post for details.
  • Trying to figure out where we want to be come August.  Our lease for our condo ends in August and it looks like our current path will not be taking us to China in the imminent future so we will be needing somewhere to live.  As much as we’ve loved where we’re living and our ward, we really think it’s time for us to put down roots somewhere and buy a home.  So when our lease ends here we’ll be somewhere else.  Hopefully another post in the near future will reveal where that somewhere will be :P
  • Eric was called to be our ward mission leader and I was called to be a ward missionary.  Even though we’d each had significant callings previously (and Eric had two callings!) these callings have proved more time consuming than our other callings.  But we’re really enjoying our new callings and the work that we get to participate in.
  • We’ve also been setting new family schedules and rules.  This has meant that we’re to bed earlier and up earlier (but don’t get “earlier” confused with “early”, bedtime for Sam is 10pm and for us is midnight, and we’re all supposed to be up by 10am).  It’s also limited the amount of media that we’re partaking in which has been such a blessing since it gives us more time to be a family and do other worthwhile things!
  • Watching the funnest one year old on the planet grow into a rambunctious toddler.  There’s a lot to post about this though so I’m going to start a separate post about Sam so that I can get this one up before the end of the night (but I promise I’ll start the Sam post immediately so that should be coming some time this week!)
  • Enjoying my new Motorola Droid!  Eric got a Droid in February and I’ve been jealous ever since.  It only took about a month (during which my phone had been failing anyways) before I gave in and needed to get one as well.  I *love* it.  It’s so great to be able to be connected to everything I need even if I’m away from the house.  This is definitely a blessing since it makes it so that I can go places with Sam without worrying that I’m going to miss an important work email or something like that. 

    However, one of the best things about my new phone is that it’s been easier to take more photos and videos of Sam during the day.  Unfortunately I had some settings wrong or something so the focus has been really off.  So sorry that these are really low quality pictures but hopefully you can enjoy them anyway.  They’re all located in a photo album on Picasa that you can get to by clicking below :)


    Cute pictures of Sam :)

Anyways, sorry for the lack of posts of late, but at least you hopefully now understand what’s been keeping us so busy!  If you can’t get enough of us there are other places we tend to update when we don’t have enough time to write posts here.  You can check out our posts on my family’s highs and lows blog or follow Eric or Sam or me on Twitter.  Or become a fan of Sam on Facebook or read Eric’s tech blog or Brittny’s personal blog.  Even when we’re not updating here, there’s generally still a fair amount to read about what we’re doing ;)

Ferberish Method Part 3

 - by Brittny

To read the comic strips in this post just click on them to enlarge them. I’ve noticed that since becoming a parent Baby Blues has become my favorite comic strip…

I started to write about our adventures in sleep training in another post and realized that it really deserved a post all to itself. This doesn’t really pick up where our last post on sleep training left off. So let me give a brief rundown of what’s happened with sleep training since then.

  • After our sleep training efforts in October and November things got better for a little while. And then Thanksgiving and Christmas came and between all the travelling, shoppping, projects and general upheaval that comes during that time of year sleep  went by the wayside. In the end Sam was still sleeping in our bed, but getting bigger and squirmier by the day.
  • We suffered through a lot of sleep deprivation for the next couple of months before we’d had enough, we finally bought Sam his own bed and decided it was time for him to sleep there. We decided to get him a queen sized memory foam mattress because Wal-mart had a great deal on them (and we know how we feel about memory foam) and we figured that a queen sized mattress would give us a good place to put guests when they come, as well as give us the flexibility to sleep on his bed with him if when needed.

Since then we’ve slowly transitioned him to sleeping in his own bed, although it was a battle at first.  But it didn’t take too long for him to get used to a different bed so long as mom was there too.  We tried a few nights of the Ferber method, but after a few nights of crying he didn’t really get much better about sleeping on his own, and I just felt miserable about leaving my baby to cry, so that went by the wayside.  Plus, he got sick in the middle of it, which meant it was put on hold.

A month or so ago I decided that the next major step was to cut Sam off from nighttime feedings, but allow him to be cuddled, or held or whatever he wanted so long as he was in his bed and not being nursed. That was a HUGE step for us, and didn’t take as long as I’d feared it might. Of course, it still meant that I was in bed with him all night and not getting the best sleep, but at least Eric had our bed to himself and getting decent sleep at night. One for three right?  Plus, not being an all night bar definitely made it so that I could sleep much better, and encouraged Sam to be better about eating solids and other food during the day.

After we got out of night time feedings we started working on him sleeping alone at night. We’ve gotten strict about his bedtime and bedtime routine which has helped a TON. Around 9 or 10pm we change Sam’s diaper, put him in pajamas, read him Good Night Moon, read scriptures as a family and then he gets nursed to sleep. Once he’s asleep I lay him down in his own bed, and most nights it seems like he’s so far gone at that point that I could just throw him into his bed from the doorway and he’d still stay asleep! Ok, so that’s a bit of an overstatement, but he generally is so deeply asleep that laying him down on his own isn’t a problem (this in and of itself is a major change, I haven’t really been able to just lay him down on his own since he was born without a revolt). He’ll usually stay asleep on his own from 1-3 hours before waking up, but it’s usually a quick pat on the back or a snuggle to get him to sleep again. Then another couple of hours on his own before he cries and I have to come in.

The experience at this point is very varied. Sometimes he is super ticked and won’t calm down for an hour or so, and sometimes it just takes some cuddling to get him back to sleep. A few nights ago after an hour of trying me trying to convince him to sleep, and him trying to convince me to nurse him (which I obviously wasn’t going to give into), Sam pushed me out of his bed and proceeded to guide me down the hall, into the kitchen and up to the fridge. When I opened the fridge he pointed to his sippy cup which I gave him. He then snuggled down with me on the rocking chair content to drink some juice and fell back to sleep. If only I’d known that he was really *thirsty* and not just looking for comfort I could have had him to sleep much earlier! Oh well. Anyways, I almost always end up sleeping in his bed with him for the rest of the night at this point, but I don’t mind that too much. He’ll wake up usually around 5 or 6am hungry, so we’ll go out to the front room and lay on the couch and I’ll nurse him and then we’ll get a couple more hours of sleep out on the couch together.

I do have to say though that we’ve had a couple of nights this week where Sam slept through his middle of the night wake up and slept all the way through until 5 or 6!  He’s also been teething this week, poor kid, so I think his waking up also coincided with when his tylenol wore off.

Naps are a totally different battle and we really haven’t figured out how to work through those. He naps great if I let him sleep on my lap – for about 3 hours some days! This isn’t a terrible solution since I can get work done on the computer – although I think “work” usually ends up being “facebook” since with Sam on my lap it’s difficult to get into a good position to type – but it doesn’t allow me to have any time to myself to get things like dishes done. So we’re really working on naptime being on his own in his bed. Unfortunately if he doesn’t nap well during the day, he doesn’t sleep well at night so it’s been a balancing act. This is of course how we ended up with him falling asleep mid-macaroni and cheese in his high chair as shown in Eric’s last post :) I’m still working on being strict about him napping in his bed, but most days he just walks out of his room all tired and cranky and just wanting a hug within 15 minutes of me laying him down. It’s really hard to resist a baby that is cute and wants to cuddle. Oh well one step at a time :)

So, in the end, we’ve still got some work to do but we’ve come a long way.  Thank you so much to everyone who’s been praying for us, it is very appreciated and we’ve definitely felt the effects of your prayers!

For anyone who is interested I found this article about sleep training right after we had started to apply a similar methodology. It was a great article, and I especially liked his idea of deciding what 7 hours of sleep you were most concerned about getting and focusing on those hours and being super attentive to the baby the rest of the time. That has been the principle that I think has helped me most in sleep training. Rather than expecting Sam to sleep for hours on end on his own, deciding that he doesn’t get fed from 10pm – 5am and then being more lenient at other times has helped us to have more realistic expectations.