Sam Stats

 - by Brittny

So I have a few posts that are backed up right now but since I took Sam in for his 1 year appointment today I thought I would post his stats for everyone while they are fresh in my head.

Weight – 21 lbs. 4 oz – 30th percentile
Length – 30.5 inches – 75th percentile
Head circumference – 48cm – 90th percentile

So basically we have a tall skinny kid with a HUGE head. Where did that come from? Last time I checked Eric and I were both on the shorter end of the spectrum. Oh well. But everything’s looking good. He’s growing well but could probably use being fed more solid foods and less breast milk. So that’s what we’re working on.

One interesting thing happened at the doctor’s this morning. Eric wasn’t able to come with us and since I don’t do well with needles I was left with the conundrum of whether to stay with Sam to support him and risk passing out, or to leave him and feel like I’d abandoned him. I was debating between the two until I was sitting with Sam in the doctor’s office just thinking about the needles and started getting a little woozy. I decided it was best for everyone involved if I let the nurses do what they do best with me out of the way. Of course, Sam wasn’t a fan of being left behind and started crying when I left the room. He screamed a lot and I felt really bad about leaving him. What was interesting though was that the nurses said he didn’t really fuss for the shots – just for me leaving. I felt a little bit better that at least he wasn’t upset by the shots, but really sad that he felt abandoned. I’m definitely going to make sure that Eric can come next time!

Christmas Eve 2009

 - by Brittny

I know I’m a bit late to be jumping on the blogging about Christmas bandwagon, but it’s been pretty busy around here up until now so you’ll just have to deal with the fact that I’m a little late and back-dating this post :P

Did you know that Christmas is made specifically for little kids? There is nothing that will get you into the spirit of Christmas like having a baby in the house – even if they’re too young to understand what’s happening. It was so much fun having Samuel around for this Christmas. He’s adorable and we love having him.

We trade off which family we spend Christmas with each year and this year was a year with the Hansens. That was nice because it meant that we didn’t have to go very far! Mom & Dad Hansen are on a mission in Salt Lake City so we got to be with family without having to travel.

We started off on Christmas Eve at Eric’s brother Mike’s house having a traditional family dinner (you can read about my culinary escapade for this meal here). It was so much fun to have lots of family together. Especially with lots of little kids running around. Sam wasn’t real sure about having so many new faces around, especially since he’s definitely going through the separation anxiety phase. However, randomly, the one person he took too immediately was his cousin Bruce.

This isn’t from Christmas Eve, but it was the best picture I could find of Sam and Bruce hanging out together

I’m not sure why Sam picked Bruce to be his best friend, but he would go immediately for him and give him hugs and just loved being around him. Totally atypical for Sam, if any one else tried to approach him he was extremely wary of them and definitely wouldn’t let them hold him or touch him. But it was really fun to watch them bond.

After having dinner with the family and spending the evening with them we drove home to get ready for bed. My family has a tradition of getting new pajamas for each person and wearing them for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. So we got new pajamas for Sam –

I don’t think he was as excited about his cute Christmas pajamas as I was, but I thought he was adorable! Since we couldn’t be with my family this year we called them up on Skype and webcammed the rest of Christmas Eve with them. We even watched my mom’s seminary Christmas lesson via Skype! It was a fun way to get to include them in our Christmas.

We then worked on cleaning up some of the mess from making so many trifles. Eric rocked Sam to sleep and started the movie Tuesdays with Morrie. I’d read the book before but never seen the movie, and I thought they did a great job with the movie. It was a great way to spend Christmas Eve, all in our pajamas, on the couch, watching a really great movie.  Thanks Eric, that was a great idea!

After the movie was over it was much later than we’d intended up staying up (it was about 3am), so we all went back to our room and went to bed.

I’ll post about Christmas day and the rest of our Christmas adventures later…

Christmas Eve Trifles

 - by Brittny

I’m way behind on my blogging, but I figured I’d jump back in by sharing my Christmas Eve culinary adventure.

We started our celebrations with Eric’s brother Mike’s family on Christmas Eve. I was in charge of making a dessert for the meal and I decided to make trifle. I should note that Mike’s wife Marianela is an *incredible* chef, so I’m always a little bit daunted when bringing a dish to her house. However, trifle was going to be a slam dunk. It’s my favorite Christmas food (my mom is originally from England and trifle is a traditional British dessert so we make it every year) so I was excited to be able to make it for my in-laws. It’s super easy and I’ve successfully made it on my own every year since we’ve been married and with my mom every year for as long as I can remember.

If you’ve never had trifle before it’s a pretty simple dessert. You take pound cake and cut it into small cubes and put it at the bottom of a dish, add some fruit and then pour liquid jello over it. Put it in the fridge to let it set. Then make instant pudding and pour that in a nice layer on top of the jello, let that set. Top it off with whipped cream (we always make the whipped cream from scratch because it’s much better that way). Our favorite one to do for Christmas is to make it with raspberry jello (with frozen raspberries in the jello) and pistachio pudding. It looks really nice and Christmas-y all put together because you have red and green and white, and it’s really yummy.

This isn’t exactly how my trifles usually look, but it’s the closest picture I could find

Eric told me that there could be as many as 30 people at dinner and I had no idea how that translated into how many trifles I’d need to make. I decided to play it safe and made 7 (yeah, even for 30 people I went way over board, but I like trifle and I didn’t want to run out). I also wanted to make sure I had plenty of time for all the layers to set up properly so I made sure that I woke up early in the morning to get them started.

Unfortunately, my jello would not set. I had my trifles in the fridge by 10am with the jello waiting to set up and by 3:30pm the jello still wasn’t set (I even used the quick set method which was only supposed to take 30 – 90 minutes to set up). In desperation I cleared out space in our freezer and tried to get them to freeze set up. It sorta worked, at least enough to pour the pudding into them (luckily pudding sets up much faster). Unfortunately the jello still wasn’t super set so all the layers got mixed together. I was pretty upset since I’d spent all day on them and they didn’t turn out right. Luckily they still tasted good. Of course, the 30 people we thought were going to be there, was actually more like 15… and most of those were under the age of 12. So we still have about 5 trifles in our fridge… although it’s probably time to get rid of them now.

In case you were wondering, what I think happened was that I added too much water. Not more than the directions call for, but since I added frozen raspberries in with the jello, I’m guessing that the raspberries melted, adding extra liquid which kept the jello from setting up. Oh well, lesson learned for next time!


 - by Brittny

Yes, I am fully aware of how belated this post is. Christmas took a lot of my time in December so I’m just getting around to blogging about Thanksgiving. Oh well, better late than never right?

For Thanksgiving this year we were with the Andersons down in California. Since we’d just had our first bit of real cold and snow here in Utah we were really excited to head to a warmer climate :)

As those of you who have been following our blog know, Eric had been working an awful schedule of 6pm – 2am. Well, after Daylight Savings Time ended his schedule changed… to 7pm – 3am. As much as I had hated his schedule before, this was worse. We slowly got so mixed up that we were going to bed at 8am and waking up just in time for Eric to go to work. It got us all wacky. But just before Thanksgiving I’d had enough. It just wasn’t working for our family and it was making it hard to make it to church on Sundays. More importantly, the reason Eric was on the night schedule was to take Chinese calls and he’d only received one… since August. Since this was pretty ridiculous I proposed to Eric that he offer to switch to a normal schedule and just stay on call during the nights so that we could get our schedule all worked out.

When Eric went to get approval for this change we found out that he was supposed to have switched to working 5pm – 1am rather than 7pm – 3am, which would have been a totally different story for our family. However Eric’s manager approved our proposed solution we were able to start making that transition over Thanksgiving. Eric’s last day working the super late shift was Thursday the week before Thanksgiving.

This was such a blessing because it meant that we were able to be starting to be on normal hours while we were with my family. Plus, it meant that we had all of Thanksgiving break to transition before Eric went back to work. In retrospect, I’m really glad that Eric got the time change mixed up because otherwise we never would have made the switch to him being on call at nights and that really was a good change to make.

Anyways, our drive down was actually pretty good. We drove down with Taylor and Ryan Lockwood (my sister and brother-in-law) after a trip to Tucanos – a little bit belated for my birthday, but we wanted to use my birthday club free meal before the end of the month! Sam slept pretty much the whole way, which we attribute to a lot of prayers on the part of my family.

Our time in California wasn’t super eventful. We spent some of our time letting Sam chase around my dad’s chickens. Yes, my dad now has chickens. And no, my family does not live in a particularly rural part of Southern California. But earlier this year he got it into his head that he wanted to raise some chickens in our backyard. So, he built a chicken coup next to our Sport Court and found a website where he could get mail order chickens. As Dave Barry would say, no I’m not making this up. Apparently you can order chickens and they throw them into a box right after they hatch and overnight them to your house. And then you have chickens. It’s been really funny to watch my family’s adventures with chickens. For example, one day my mom came into the front room to find all of the chickens laying on the floor staring at the blank TV. They’re as bad as her kids!

Anyways, we also spent some time going to the beach where we got some really cute pictures of Sam. The whole album is here but I thought I’d include a few highlights –

Serious Sam
Sam took this sand stuff very seriously, actually this is a very common look on his face

I want it!
Sam really wanted to get in the water. No surprise there! He loves the water!

I think we can safely say that Sam enjoyed the beach

We spent Thanksgiving just at home. I think that’s the first time we’ve had a Thanksgiving dinner without having a bunch of other families from the ward or neighborhood or extended family there. While we always enjoy having guests for Thanksgiving, it was nice to be reunited as a family. It’s weird to think that our immediate family is now getting big enough to have an “extended family” Thanksgiving with just us!

One cool trick that Sam learned for Thanksgiving was how to gobble. Eric would put his finger up to Sam’s mouth and wiggle it back and forth to make Sam sound like a turkey. It was pretty funny and totally appropriate for Thanksgiving. Sam really enjoyed it too and liked showing off his new trick.

For the most part our time in California was pretty low key – which isn’t to say it wasn’t fun. It was a lot of fun but we spent the time just hanging out and enjoying family rather than doing big things. In my opinion that’s the best kind of vacation. We played board games and nerf guns and Wii and visited together. Hooray for family!  I have a bunch of video that I’m working on editing down to a reasonable posting length, but I’ve decided it’s just time to get this post posted and we can work on the video later.

Our drive back to Utah was as successful as our drive to California. Sam slept really well almost the entire way. Re-adjusting to normal life the next day was no picnic, but it was worth it for the fun we had in California. Thanks Anderson Family for a fun time together!

Wow, I guess it’s November now…

 - by Brittny

I swear once upon a time I thought that once I was a full-time stay-at-home mom I’d have lots of time to keep up with blogging. Turns out, I was wrong. I don’t even have time to keep up with dishes! Go figure. I guess Sam takes up more time and attention than I had counted on. But I love every minute of it, even if you don’t get to see much of those minutes…

Anyways, I figured it was time for a quick update on October… ready Go!

At the beginning of last month my family came up to Utah for General Conference and to celebrate my dad’s 50th birthday! We had a lot of fun with them just hanging out and going up to my grandparents house. I wish we lived closer to them because I truly love spending time with my family, but of course, our future plans are more geared towards moving to the other side of the planet. Oh well, it just makes me all the more grateful for Skype! Here’s a fun picture of my dad reading a story to Sam and my cousin Nicolas –

He’s reading them my favorite story from when I was little The Piggy in the Puddle

You may have heard that Adobe purchased Omniture and a lot of people have wondered what that has meant for Eric. Basically it doesn’t change a whole lot as far as the day to day goes. Eric was presented with an offer from Adobe that pretty well matched what he had at Omniture so nothing real different there. Unfortunately we’re still waiting for the new girl to finish training so we can get him on normal hours. If my estimations are right that should be before the beginning of the new year, but no guarantees on that. We are still looking at moving to China but things have been put on hold with the acquisition, so we’re still here in Utah for the forseeable future :)

Halloween was pretty uneventful for us this year. Eric was stuck at work from 6pm – 8am on Thursday night (yes, I am counting down minutes until he’s off this stupid schedule) so, needless to say we didn’t make it to the morning portion of the Omniture Halloween extravaganza (they go ALL out every year, it’s a blast). We did make it for some of the afternoon, but Sam was pretty tired so we didn’t stay long.

On actual Halloween we were still recovering a little bit from Thursday/Friday’s late night. However, Eric and I were able to leave Sam with Taylor and Ryan (thanks again guys!!) while we went to the temple. What better way to celebrate the day of the dead than by serving them? It was a really nice way to spend that evening together. Sam’s been having separation anxiety lately which has made it more difficult to spend time with just the two of us, but it definitely makes it all the more special when we can.

Of course, we did dress up for Halloween. I was feeling rather uncreative so I bought a witch’s hat and paired it with some black clothes and called it good. Eric decided to go as a Mac that had crashed, although we didn’t really have time to expand on that costume either so we just made him a shirt with this on it:

However, we did have some fun dressing up Sam. We had wanted to dress him up as a puppy because he does a lot of puppy-ish things. He likes panting, and making little whimpering sounds that really sound like a puppy. And the way he crawls after us just reminds us of a little puppy. However, I had a hard time finding a puppy costume in his size (seriously, I kept finding them in sizes 3-6months… and 12-18months… and he wasn’t going to fit in either :( ). So finally the week of Halloween I found a monkey costume at Walmart that was really cheap and decided that it would be good enough. Then that week Woot had a woot off. At the end of the woot off they sold woot off monkeys… and we knew that we had to modify Sam’s costume a little…

Spiderpig, spiderpig, does whatever a spiderpig does

Thanks to Taylor for her help finishing off the cape so that he could have a woot cape to go with his costume :) If you want to see more pictures of Sam in his Halloween costume we have a whole album of them on his facebook fan page.

My birthday was the day after Halloween and since it was a Sunday it was a pretty quiet event this year. Sam and I went to church in the morning (Eric was sick from so little sleep during the week so he didn’t make it), and then we had some friends over for dinner in the evening. It was really fun though! Taylor and I made Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo that was absolutely amazing. Seriously, if you are looking for a good recipe, I can’t recommend that one highly enough. It was our first attempt at fettuccine and the only thing I was sad about was that my tummy wasn’t big enough to hold more. Taylor also made me a raspberry cake with chocolate filling. I’d been excited for it since she made it for her birthday back in August… if that gives you an idea of how good it was :)

Eric gave me a sewing machine for my birthday – so that I could make the aforementioned woot cape :) I’ve had a couple of mending projects but I’m now looking for some simple holiday type projects to work on. Simple being the operative word since I really don’t have much sewing experience, but I really want to make use of my new machine! If anyone has any suggestions please let me know!

As far as Sam goes (and we all know that he is really the reason most people read our blog :) ) he’s growing up fast! He’s 8 months now. He crawls like a maniac and is starting to stand on his own! I would guess that he’ll be walking by the end of the month at this rate, but I may just be an overly proud first time parent :) He is very talkative – especially in Relief Society when I’m trying to keep him quiet. Does anyone have any good recommendations for how to teach an 8 month old to be quiet in church? He’s not crying or mad so I don’t feel like taking him out of the meeting is necessarily the right option, but he jabbers loudly (and sometimes makes happy yells) that are a bit disruptive.  If I take him out of the meeting it seems like that just teaches the wrong lesson that if you make noise you get to leave the meeting. The only thing I could come up with is covering his mouth or saying “shh” but that doesn’t seem to do much. Am I being over-ambitious to try and teach this to an 8 month old? Anyways, he’s super cute and we’re so grateful to have him in our family!

For the most part things have been pretty quiet. Sam and I are getting a little stir crazy so if anyone is looking for a friend let me know! We’re still working on not mauling other children but Sam seems to get a big kick out of being around other kids, and I’m getting pretty good at keeping him from pushing them over or poking their eyes out :)

Splish splash

 - by Brittny

Sam LOVES taking baths. He has loved the water from the first time we gave him a full bath after his umbilical cord fell out. This past week he discovered that if you hit the water with your hands… it makes big splashes! It’s been a lot of fun for him.

When you combine this new discovery and love of the bathtub with Sam’s increasing mobility… you get the following picture:

Although, he might want to talk to his Uncle Jayson about what happens if you jump into the bathtub when you’re not ready for bathtime…

"You have Tortellini?!!"

 - by Brittny

Most of you don’t know the background to the title of this post, so I’ll need to back up a little bit and give you a Hansen Family history lesson…

Once upon a time, in a land far far away… or possibly just in Provo about 2 1/2 years ago…. Eric and I were engaged. Since we enjoyed spending time together, we would get together after classes every night and make dinner together. One night Eric was over at my apartment rummaging through my freezer for something we could make. Suddenly he pulls out a bag. With a look on his face that could mean that we’d just told him today was Christmas, he says “you have tortellini?!” This was how I discovered one of Eric’s favorite meals. He was so excited about it that at that moment I REALLY wished that the tortellinis in his hand were mine. Unfortunately, they were in fact my roommate’s. However, you can bet that with a reaction like that I made sure to buy tortellini on my next grocery trip, and pretty much every grocery trip since.

Fast forward to today. Last night I once again made tortellini for dinner. Which meant there were leftovers for my lunch today. I made the mistake of making that lunch while Sam was hanging out in the front room with me. The following is what ensued…

Sorry the pictures aren’t the highest quality… Sam wouldn’t go more than a foot away from me and the tortellini.

Yeah, Samuel is definitely his father’s son :P

The Ferber-ish Method

 - by Brittny

Warning: Holy novel post Batman! Yes, this is one of my ridiculously long posts. Sorry. If you want the short version – we’re working on sleep training Sam with my own weird methodology, but it seems to be going well. If you want to know more… read on :) And no, there’s no rhyme or reason to which picture is where. I felt like if you were to read a post that was this long you deserved to get pictures, so I found lots of pictures of Sam sleeping and just threw them in. If sleep training was less exhausting for me then I might have ordered them… but it is what it is.

So for anyone who’s been following my status on Facebook for the last couple of days, you know that we’re in the fun phase of sleep training with Sam. I felt like I ought to explain what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and how we got here.

First some background. When Sam came home from the hospital, he wouldn’t sleep in a crib, a bassinet, or ANYWHERE other than on someone’s chest. I’ve had people say that we just needed to discipline him to do it or whatever, but luckily I had other people who were there who can verify that I wasn’t just crazy… he would not sleep if we put him down. Since we couldn’t sleep if he didn’t sleep, we started just sleeping with him in our bed.

Don’t be confused, Sam is sleeping with his Grandma at the hospital in this picture, not his mom!
We’d actually talked about it before Sam was born and decided that it didn’t bother us if our kids were in our bed sometimes. We’d decided to have his bassinet in the room right next to the bed and didn’t plan for him to be in our bed all the time, but if he ended up in our bed sometimes – no big deal. So even though he was in bed with us more than anticipated it wasn’t like we’d gone from absolutely-no-way-he-was-in-bed-with-us to sleeping with us every night.

The first few months I just got used to doing work with Sam in the BabyBjorn and Eric would cuddle him to sleep each night and sleep with Sam on his chest. Then when Eric switched to working a ridiculously late shift I enjoyed having Sam sleep in our bed because it meant that I didn’t have to go to bed alone. Sam was happy, I was happy, Eric was happy. In fact, we had grown to enjoying Sam in our bed. He wakes up so happy in the mornings and he’s just so dang cute and fun to cuddle with!

At first we had problems with Sam sleeping through the night. But after a couple months I discovered that it was easiest for everyone if I just kept him in bed to nurse him rather than going out to the couch. It kept Sam from waking up too fully, and I didn’t have to wake up as much, and it didn’t wake Eric up at all. Recently we’d gotten to a point where Sam would go to bed with me at night while nursing, and he’d wake up around 7 or 8 am. I think he may have latched on a couple of times during the night, but since I still got to lay down and sleep… who cared?

So, if everyone had been happy with our previous arrangement why are we going through sleep training? The problem is that recently Sam has become much more mobile and strong. Before I’d been able to contain him on our bed by building fortresses of pillows around him. However, he’s gotten strong enough that he can move those pillows out of the way, and he’s fast at getting from the dead center of the bed to the edge. After he fell off onto the pillows I didn’t want to keep him sleeping in our bed anymore. It’s too scary to hear the faintest cry and have to sprint across the apartment hoping you get there in time.

Also, while he’d gotten better at napping in his crib at least once a day, that seems to have gone by the wayside with our recent move. Which meant that he was only napping during the day if I was with him, or if I left him on the bed by himself. Which meant I was napping instead of getting stuff done, or neurotically checking the baby monitor while he slept alone. Neither of which were great solutions.

So, I started doing my research on different sleep training methods. Obviously, I’ve been more into the attachment parenting methods (co-sleeping, wearing the baby etc) so I was naturally drawn to the non-CIO> (cry it out) methods. The introductions all corresponded to what I believed – I “don’t like the idea of leaving [my] baby to cry alone” and I do think it seems like “a betrayal of the trust your baby is developing in adults and the world around him”. I want Sam to know that I love him and that I will respond to his needs, and leaving him to cry it out didn’t seem to jive with that. So I figured I’d look into the different methods and see what was out there. If nothing else, it seemed like I owed it to Sam to make sure I was doing the very best thing for him.

However, what I discovered was that I’d already basically used Dr. Sears’ method of co-sleeping and just loving and nursing the baby to sleep. Obviously that left me where I was so I looked at other methods. The Baby Whisperer had a solution that seemed reasonable, that you put the baby down and pick them up every time they cry, until they finally fall asleep. However, moving Sam to a crib results in immediate awakening. What’s worse is that even if he had only slept for 5 minutes… if you put him down he would wake up and be awake for at least another hour, despite the fact that he ought to have been sleepy. All that would have happened with this method is that I would have gained exceptionally strong arm muscles and still had an awake baby. Lame. I’d also already kept sleep logs and tried to slowly work towards sleeping in the crib, but that obviously hadn’t happened, so Elizabeth Pantley’s: No-Cry Sleep Solution was out.

No worries, we haven’t dyed Sam’s hair black, this picture is from a few months ago when his hair was darker :)
So I decided to look into the cry it out methods. I was pretty sure I was going to hate what I read, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. I had totally misunderstood the Ferber method (what is commonly known as the Cry It Out method), as most people do. For those of you who don’t know much about the Ferber method let me explain to you what it is and what it is not. It is not that you take your baby, put him in the crib and leave him to cry until he finally passes out and goes to sleep. In fact, Dr. Ferber himself has never referred to his method as a Cry It Out method.

Dr. Ferber’s method is this (if you were wondering I got this information here) – you start with a loving bedtime routine. This can include cuddling, baths, bedtime stories, feeding etc. Once your routine is finished you put your baby in his crib and leave the room for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes you come back and comfort your baby with pats and soothing words and whatever you want – except for taking the baby out of the crib. Then you leave the room for 10 minutes and come back again to soothe the baby in the same manner as before. You repeat the process in 15 minute intervals for the rest of the night until the baby sleeps. The second night is the same routine except you start with 10 minute intervals and work up to 20 minute intervals. The third night, and any subsequent nights, you start with 15 minutes and going up to 25 minutes. According to the article I linked to “Many children start sleeping well at the end of this three day schedule. If not, most will begin to respond by the end of one week.”

Since the Ferber method wasn’t the cruel baby abandonment method that I’d previously believed it was I decided it was worth a shot. However, the reason this post is titled the Ferber-ish method is that I did it with my own modifications. Dr. Ferber would likely not recognize the methodology I used, but it’s what I felt was the right thing to do (and my biggest belief in parenting is that the experts have a lot of good ideas… but the parents of the child know best). I still didn’t like the idea of leaving Sam alone to just cry – even for short intervals. So I decided instead that I would stay in the room with him while he cried so that he still knew that I was there. Also, I totally broke the rule about not picking him up when I comforted him. Patting him just makes him madder and I wanted to help him calm down, so I would pick him up for a couple of minutes between the intervals. Finally, we decided that we’d have him learn to sleep in his playpen rather than his crib, since he likes to play with his crib mobile sometimes and I wanted him to associate wherever he was sleeping with sleep only. Plus, his playpen was easy enough to put in our own room which made it a little bit easier of a transition for him.

So, how is it going? Well here’s the report so far:

Night 1: At 8:30pm we changed Sam into pajamas, read him a story and gave him a final bedtime feeding. At about 9pm I put a pillow on the floor next to the playpen so that I could show Sam how to lay down and talk to him softly, and sing to him, and pat him gently between the times I was allowed to pick him up. Then, into the playpen he went. He wasn’t too mad at first when I laid him down and wanted to play. However, when he realized I wouldn’t take him out, he slowly worked himself up and got pretty ticked. But I sat there diligently with him while he cried and tried to show him love without caving in.

At 11pm I decided to feed him when I took him out so that he wasn’t so hungry that he fell asleep and woke up a few minutes later needing to eat. So we fed and changed him (good thing too! He’d made quite the mess in his diaper, which probably wasn’t helping things) and then put him back in the playpen to cry some more. During one of the next intervals when I pulled him out I cuddled him and prayed with him and cried for him (he of course, was happy right then.. mom was holding him and he wasn’t in the playpen!).

At 12:15am Eric came home to Sam still screaming away. After another couple rounds of screaming Eric suggested that it might be better if I wasn’t in the room so that Sam didn’t feel like I was neglecting him, even though I was right there (especially since at this point I was so emotionally exhausted that I was just sitting in the room and saying “shh, i love you” every so often). So I put Sam down for the next interval and came back out with Eric into the front room.

Eric had to stop making his after work snack for a couple minutes to hold me while I cried (thanks love!). I hated having to sit there and listen to this baby that I love so much cry! But he needed to learn to sleep on his own, and in a crib so I wasn’t going to give up (especially after already sitting through three and a half hours of crying). So after I had my little cry, I decided to look up some more information to just be sure I was doing things correctly. I found out that I’d had the intervals wrong. Oops! Instead of stopping every 15 minutes like I was supposed to, I’d stayed at 10 minute intervals.

So I went back in once more at 12:45am with a resolve that after I put Sam down I wasn’t going back in until 15 minutes were up. I cuddled that baby and calmed him back down. He was so cute once he got calmed down a little bit, and then started smiling with a look on his face that said “hahah! I won! She won’t put me back in the crib now!” It was really cute in a sad sort of way, since I knew that he, in fact, had not won and was going back in the crib. So I came back out to the front room ready to endure another 15 minutes of crying before being able to cuddle my baby again. However, before 15 minutes were up… it was quiet. Could it be?! My Sam had actually put himself to sleep?! Yup! And asleep he stayed in that playpen until 4:30am – which may not sound that great, but that was a good five and a half hours without being fed and sleeping on his own in a crib.

Unfortunately, when he woke up at 4:30am I was too tired to deal with the intervals so I just brought Sam into bed with me, fed him, and let him sleep with us until he woke up for reals at 10:30am.

Day 2: So, Sam got up at 10:30am and I wasn’t going to push my luck to make him take a nap any sooner than necessary, since I didn’t want to sit through hours of crying to get a not tired baby to go to sleep. Finally around 3pm Sam was getting pretty sleepy so I decided I would feed him before putting him to sleep. I was searching the house for my iPod so I could listen to the Ensign while I fed him. While I carried him around he started to drift off, so I gave up and just put him in his crib (he had eaten within the past couple hours so I was feeding him more to top him off than because he needed it). He cried for about 3 minutes… and then he was asleep! I couldn’t believe it. I walked around the playpen and just stared at him, expecting him at any minute to wake right back up. Finally, I left the room… and went and did some dishes. I didn’t hear another peep out of him until 4:30pm! That may not sound amazing to many moms… but for me, that was heaven. So I got him up, fed him and we went about our day.

Around 8pm he was acting pretty sleepy so we changed him into pajamas, read him a bedtime story, and fed him one more time before bed. He fell asleep while eating and I figured I was in for it when I laid him down when he’d just been nursing (that’s usually what happens). Wrong again! He laid down and made one single peep of “hey, what’s going on here?” before being fast asleep. That was at about 8:10pm and I didn’t hear another sound out of him until 10:30pm. Of course, then he woke up and it took a diaper change and an hour and a half of cuddling at intervals and praying to get him back to sleep by midnight.

I do need to add in that a big part of my methodology is prayer. Not just the prayer I offered with Sam, but specifically – Kyle prayers. My little brother has been praying for Sam to be able to sleep ever since my family’s recent visit to visit us. I know that Sam is getting the sleep he needs because our Heavenly Father is aware of him and mindful of our prayers. It’s also through my prayers and the prayers of others that I came up with the methodology that I did. I’m so glad that Eric and I have the Lord to help us parent… His ideas are better than ours :)

Also, I want people to know that I wouldn’t change the way we’ve slept with Sam for anything. Getting to cuddle with him every night was such a blessing, and I know that I’m going to miss it a lot. It was a great way to keep everyone in the house happy and well rested and I don’t regret it for a second. But, it was time for Sam to learn to sleep on his own, so that’s what we’re doing.

I feel like it’s been a good start (well miserable, but good progress-wise) but this is over. I’m sure that tomorrow won’t be as good as today, but it’s a start! I also know better than to endorse my sleep plan as the one way cure-all method, but it definitely seems to be a good Samuel Hansen sleep method! I’ll keep you all posted on how it goes from here!

The Best Two Years

 - by Brittny

Ordinarily in the church hear the phrase “the best two years of my life” associated with a mission. Had my life gone according to my plans, right about now I would be coming home from a mission. However, the Lord had better plans. Even still, today that phrase can definitely be applied to the most recent two years of my life. Last Tuesday marked two years since I married the love of my life, Eric Hansen. The days and months (and now years!) that have followed truly have been the best of my life. I am so blessed to have married such a wonderful man.

I had wanted to go through and pick out the highlights of our married life, but it was harder than I thought. Every day has been a highlight. Like one of our favorite Relient K songs says, “Every day I spend with you is the new best day of my life”.

Our celebration has been a little spread out as it’s been a busy couple of weeks helping with my sister’s wedding (more about that later) but we did find ways to celebrate. Eric got me a new cell phone that’s like the one he has (you can read his full review of the phone here). I’m really excited about it because it has made a lot of things much easier. For example, I now have all of my scriptures and church manuals on my cell phone, rather than trying to fit them all into my diaper bag. Also, I can now use my cell phone to do things while feeding Sam, rather than trying to find weird ways to maneuver around him to work on my computer. I’ve had a lot of fun with it. I wasn’t able to get Eric anything nearly so cool, but I did get him something that he really wanted. A shirt with this logo:

For those of you who don’t get it, it’s a joke from a game called Portal. Throughout the game the computer keeps promising the player cake if they succeed. However, if you look on the walls there are messages written by previous players that say “the cake is a lie”. So, when we found this shirt on Woot’s Shirt site we thought it was pretty clever. I also made us a nice dinner the day after our anniversary. Later this month we’ve planned a little one-night getaway for the two of us and Sam is going to spend the night with his Hansen grandparents in Salt Lake.

I’m not going to lie, I’m already feeling nervous about leaving Sam for a whole night. Not that I in any way doubt my in-laws ability to take care of our baby – seriously, they successfully raised 9 kids and Eric’s dad is a neonatologist (newborn baby doctor)… I think they can handle it. But, I’m kinda attached to this little guy, it seems so weird to just leave him for a whole night. At the same time, I’m totally looking forward to just getting to be with Eric for that time. The longest we’ve been away from Sam since he was born is 2 hours while we went to the temple. I miss just being with Eric, so it will be awesome to get to spend time with him.

Anyways I just wanted to say thank you to my dear Eric for the best two years I could have ever asked for. Thank you for two years of growing together. Thank you for being my very best friend. Here’s to many more “best two years” to come :) I love you!

Not so routine…

 - by Brittny

These past couple months have marked a lot of changes for our family’s daily routines. The biggest change is – Eric finished school at the end of April! This past semester was pretty rough since he was working 32 hours a week and taking 15 credit hours in addition to having a baby and everything else that happened! It didn’t help that his classes started at 9am each day (and 8am on Thursday) and he didn’t get off of work until 10:30pm. He’s probably one of the few people who can start working full time and feel like he’s getting a break :P You can read Eric’s thoughts about this switch in his blog here.

Eric is finishing up his last two classes Independent Study before the end of July so he can graduate officially in August. It has been SO wonderful having him around more often! We’ve gone through a couple different iterations of his schedule as he’s made the switch from 32 to 40 hours per week. Before school got out his schedule had been 3pm – 11pm on Sundays and then 5pm – 10:30pm Monday – Thursday. When he made the switch to being full time they just had him take the same schedule Monday – Thursday that he was doing on Sunday (3pm -11pm). We had definitely gotten into a routine with that, albeit a strange one. We woke up every day around 1pm and spent most of our time just getting ready until 3pm. Then I’d make dinner and drive it over to Omniture. Sam and I would hang out at work with Eric until he’d finished dinner (so he didn’t have to take dishes back on his scooter) and then drive back home. When we got home I’d try to get stuff done with Sam in tow (usually not as much as I’d like). Eric would get off work at 11pm and then go to the gym with his co-workers for a couple of hours. He’d come home around 1am and we’d watch some TV until we’d settled Sam down to sleep… and we’d go to bed. It was a rather strange schedule and not real productive, but it was the routine we’d gotten into.

A couple of weeks ago Eric’s boss asked him if he’d be interested in changing schedules again so that he could be more involved with Chinese clients (which is the whole reason he’s there). When Eric first proposed this new schedule to me my heart sank. It initally sounded horrendous. The schedule they proposed was 6pm – 3am Sunday – Thursday. I was excited that Eric would get a chance to work with Chinese clients more since that’s what he wanted to do… but the hours just seemed dreadful, and our schedule was already messed up enough. I thought about it though and we decided that we might be able to work the change to our advantage. For starters, Eric was able to shorten his shift slightly because I make him dinner before he leaves and send him with a “lunch” so he doesn’t need the extra hour for a dinner break. Somehow getting off at 2am seems a lot more reasonable than 3am. Plus, since we can have dinner before he leaves, Sam and I don’t have to spend the night going back and forth to Omniture, which gives me more time to get stuff done. Finally, I have Eric at home until 6pm! We still don’t generally get up until noon, but we can actually get stuff done. Grocery store runs, going to the gym, doing dishes. It’s so much nicer to have that solid block of time in the afternoons to get things done. It has made a big difference for us.

The one sad thing with the change is that I tend to fall asleep before Eric comes home. Even though 2am doesn’t seem that late (to me) to be awake, when I’m home alone I just can’t seem to stay up. I’ll usually wake up when Eric comes home… but it’s only enough to say hi, goodnight and fall back asleep. This also means that we’ve lost our TV watching time, which I have mixed feelings about. I’m really glad in a way because I was starting to feel a little bit media-overloaded. On the other hand, we’d been watching Battlestar Galactica and haven’t had a chance to watch it since. But I think this is good, we can now spread it out and enjoy it much longer.

I started watching Battlestar Galactica with Eric when I found myself stuck in the living room feeding Sam while he was watched. Unfortunately, I started watching with him during the last few episodes so I found that I was constantly asking him questions (“What’s a cylon? Why are there two of the same person? I don’t get it, what’s the big deal with that song? Ok, one more time, what’s a cylon??) but was really interested in the show. So, once the series ended Eric got the DVDs from Netflix and we’ve been slowly going through them. It’s an interesting show and not as geeky as I would have thought, much more of a drama than a sci-fi. The sad thing is since I watched the last few episodes I have spoiled a lot of the surprises for myself.

Anyways, back to our routine changes… Our other big change is that I started working for Axis41 again. They are allowing me to work from home, which is such a blessing. I ended my maternity leave about a month early so that I could test out balancing working and being a mom before I felt like I had to be committed 100% to being back. I’m really glad that I did that because it’s given me some time to adjust how I do things. I’ve finally settled on working for them 2 hours a day while Eric is at home and able to take care of Sam. Of course, he usually takes care of Sam by staying asleep and cuddling with Sam, but it makes a HUGE difference for me to have that dedicated time to get work done.

I loved this picture of Sam and Eric! It looks like Sam is giving Eric a big hug :)
So, that’s what we’re currently doing with our routines. Samuel, of course, is still working on settling into a routine. His naps and feedings still seem sporadic, but I think they’re getting more regular. I really need to monitor them closely for a week or so to see what the patterns are so I can make sure that I’m encouraging them rather than discouraging them. Luckily, he doesn’t seem to have any problems with our night-owl schedule and can sleep during the night pretty well. He’s slept through the night a few times, but since it’s so convenient to just feed him and get him to sleep longer I tend to just feed him in the middle of the night if he starts to fuss at all. I probably *could* just give him a pacifier and put him back to sleep… but I’m too lazy :P