Sunday, April 28, 2013

15.2 and super sleeper
All 15 lbs. and 2 ounces of her!

She's sleeping like a champ - all night.  She has been doing pretty consistently from about 8:00 to about 6:30 (or 8:30-7:00 or 9:00 to 6:00-ish).  Love it.  I attribute that to some sleep training and a little bit of luck.  We have used the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Weissbluth to help with sleep training.  A friend in Oklahoma gave us that book when Nathan was about 2 or 2.5 (?) years old.  We were letting him stay up until about 10:30 or 11:00pm AND laying down next to him to put him to sleep.  It got to the point where it was taking over an hour to get him to sleep.  We tried a strategy in the book (holding the door shut and letting him cry), and within a few days he was going to bed by himself, at an earlier hour too.  The interesting thing was it seemed like they slept longer the earlier we put them to bed (the book talks about that too).  We didn't know soon enough what we were doing with Nathan, but with the others we sleep trained them at about 3 months old to sleep through the night.  What a difference a full night's rest makes!  I'd say we have been pretty successful.  You might doubt or shy away from sleep training, but the cry-it-out (with a little soothing) has worked for us.  Now Savannah will probably wake up in the middle of the night tonight...  and I need to stop blogging and go to bed.  

Do you think we should start buckling her in the swing??

It was funny to look over and see her chewing on her dress.  So ladylike.  But she does have 4 brothers, so what can you expect?  She's destined to be a tomboy anyway.

Family OUT evening...

We try to do a family home evening (FHE) once a week, which is usually just a short lesson, song, prayer, activity, and treat on Monday nights.  (Many times it is a brawl that begins and ends with prayer, as I once heard it called.)  :)  

This one was a family OUT evening, and I think it was Savannah's first official hike. We went to one of the boys' favorite spots.  They call it their secret spot... so I can't tell you where it is!  (Actually, I could tell you the name of the place we went hiking, but I really don't know how to explain where the "secret spot" is...)  Anyway, the boys like it because the hike is pretty short and they get to throw rocks by a small waterfall.  

We saw lots of lizards along the way.  It's amazing how they can blend in so well with the rocks and trees.  

The boys got a kick out of listening to the frogs, although we never saw them.  We could only hear them.

And I had to include one of the things I enjoy about hiking... the wildflowers.  I love seeing all the different kinds.  Many of the wildflowers are not polished and pristine.  Some are a little withered and bent.  Some of them are really colorful and some have a more delicate hue.  Some grow in large patches and some seem to pop up in random places.  I think they're all beautiful.  I love roses and tulips and other flowers like that, but the I think the wildflowers have a simple beauty.  You sometimes don't even notice them, but as you look at them closer, they are so pretty.  Maybe they remind me of myself.  I am less of an elegant rose and more of a pretty wildflower.  And I know plenty of elegant roses and pretty wildflowers too - all simply beautiful.  
If I am lagging behind on a hike, I'm probably stopping to take a picture of the wildflowers.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Christopher Columbus, boys in tights

Nathan had a biography presentation at school this week.  He had to choose someone, read about, and prepare a little speech for his class in costume.  The IN COSTUME part was my homework...  
I think the teachers were setting us up to fail on this costume thing, with no fabric store in town and only a couple week's notice.  I checked our closets first and really couldn't find much.  Next stop was the thrift stores in town.  They didn't have much of anything - no puffy shirts or vests or shiny clothes.  But I finally did end up finding this black jacket and a long brown satin skirt.  I wasn't sure what I'd do with it, but it was only $2, so I bought it.  I ended up cutting arm holes, using that fabric I cut for shoulder straps, and turning the bottom of the skirt under to shorten it.  You can see the zipper in the back is now in the front, making it look like a vest or something.  I cut the sleeves off the black jacket and sewed puffy sleeves onto a white button-up shirt.  We already had the hat, necklace, belt, black shoes, and tights.  Nathan made a cardboard telescope.  Not too bad, huh? I never imagined that my 7th grade sewing class would be so useful... that may have been my most useful class!  :)  Does he look like what you think Christopher Columbus looks like?  Maybe?  I hear that he did have red hair too.  

We did tell the other boys that they had to choose Christopher Columbus for their 3rd grade presentations too.  I'm seeing a lot more projects in the future...

Nathan's presentation was in the middle of the day, so he had to be able to get his costume on by himself.  That wouldn't have been too hard if it weren't for the TIGHTS.  Who knew it was so hard to get tights on?  I had to coach him through it.  I think it took 10 minutes for him to get them on.  I didn't realize how hard that was if you hadn't ever done that before.  (I never thought I'd be teaching my boys how to put tights on...ha ha.)  Nathan said it took him about 15 minutes to get everything on at school!  But everyone liked his costume, and he did a great job (so I hear) on his presentation. 

Guys, be glad that you don't have to wear dresses and tights anymore!


We are attempting a garden this year, since we have plenty of space for one.  Alex started these plants inside from the seed.  He planted squash, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and watermelon.

Then he enlisted the boys help and transported them outside.  You can see that Weston was a big helper in his cute rainboots...

Well, I'm not sure we'll actually have a garden left in a little while.  This critter is eating our garden.  He already pulled the watermelon plants right through the ground.  And I am sure he has buddies.  I can see why people do the raised garden beds.  

Doesn't he look like he's smiling?  He must be really happy that we're feeding him so well.  He poked his head out of this hole and didn't seem too scared of me.  I got angry thinking about him eating our garden, so I grabbed a board and thought about trying to whack him over the head.  You have seen those whack-a-mole arcade games right?  He was just sitting there looking at me.  I wanted to try to get him, but I just couldn't do it (probably wouldn't have been able to anyway).  But he must have sensed something was going on because he then filled in the hole and I didn't see him again.  We'll have to figure out how to get rid of these gophers...     

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'll stay with the sheep

One of my friends shared this on her blog, and it really touched me, so I'm posting it too.  It was in the December 2012 Ensign, called "I'll Stay with the Sheep."

A few years ago in December, I took my four young sons to watch the dress rehearsal for our stake’s production of Savior of the World: His Birth. The evening’s performance culminated three intense months for our family: my husband was portraying Joseph, and during the past several weeks of rehearsals, we had missed him.
Many times during those weeks of preparation, I had envied my husband’s role. A starring role seemed so much more exciting and important than a behind-the-scenes babysitter. I wasn’t proud of my feelings. I wanted to support my husband serenely, to bear with cheerfulness and patience the demands on his time. I knew many others who bore heavier burdens routinely—not for a matter of months, but for years. I prayed often to overcome my self-pity and my aspiration for a more visible function.
Heavenly Father answered my prayers more abundantly than I expected. Perhaps His sweetest answer of all came that night at the dress rehearsal. At the conclusion of one scene, the shepherds hasten to meet the Messiah. These shepherds have waited their entire lives for their Savior’s arrival, and now they anticipate the unspeakable honor of greeting Him at His birth. But amid the scurry to embark on this journey of a lifetime, one shepherd remains still. His grandson calls out to him, “Grandfather, aren’t you coming?” His answer teaches a great lesson: “I’ll stay with the sheep.”
As I listened to these words at the dress rehearsal, in that moment I felt the love of the Savior encircle me. My supporting role, which had once seemed menial, took on a greater significance. I knew my Heavenly Father wanted me to devote myself to the spirits He had entrusted to my keeping, just like that shepherd who stayed back so others could go see the Babe of Bethlehem. My children needed me at home more than I needed to be the one in a starring role on stage.
I put my sons to bed that night without the applause of an audience, but my heart held all the serenity, cheer, and patience for which I’d prayed. Though vain ambition might whisper, “Sheralee, aren’t you coming?” the Savior of the world had given me the peace to reply, “I’ll stay with the sheep.”

Friday, April 5, 2013

Easter weekend

We had a nice weekend.  The Easter bunny came on Saturday morning, followed by a brunch and egg hunt at a friend's house.  In the afternoon, we did another hunt in our backyard (this time Weston participated - he didn't in the morning).  We also colored eggs.  We got most of our un-spiritual fun things done on Saturday.  :)   You can see our Easter baskets didn't have anything spiritual either... mostly ugly Hobbit toys.

On Sunday, we got all dressed up and went to church.  I tried to take some pictures, but the boys didn't cooperate very well.  We got a few good ones though.  It was a little rainy and overcast outside.  

In the afternoon, we made resurrection rolls, along with pigs in a blanket.  The boys were impressed by the marshmallow disappearing (like Jesus' body not being there in the tomb).  The pigs didn't disappear!  :)  They didn't have any spiritual application.  We just made them because they're yummy.  We had a nice dinner: rolls, green beans, ham, and vegetable soup.  We had a store bought chocolate pie for dessert.  Yum!

In the evening, we watched a few of these Bible Videos.  Here is one:

Later in the week, we enjoyed this giant chocolate Easter egg.  

My visiting teacher brought this and chocolate covered strawberries.  Thanks Vivianne!

more spring break fun

All of our kids are required to go camping before they are 1 year old.  Savannah was lucky to go at 3 months old...  she did great!  The boys were really obnoxious, but they had a fun time, so that makes me happy.  (Is it worth it?  All the effort to go camping... whew.  I guess these are the things they'll have fond memories of.)

(Savannah discovered her tongue recently.  Hence the funny picture.)

Forts. Sticks as swords.  Wrestling.  Such boys.  At least I have a cute girl to keep me company.

mmmm.... smores.  It IS worth it!

Savannah slept in the pack 'n play all night, but came next to me for morning snuggles.  

Here you can see the picture taking process...
(Weston's thoughts: "I'm out of here. I've got better things to do.")
And there they all go...

This pretty bird was nearby while we were eating lunch.  It just stayed there for a while.

Morro Bay & Hearst Castle

We did a little traveling on Saturday with Jane and Jim.  We stopped at Morro Bay for lunch.  Then Jane, Jim, Savannah and I went to the Hearst Castle while Alex and the boys played at the beach. 

The castle tour wasn't super impressive, but I enjoyed it.  The history of its construction and use is interesting.  It was primarily used by Hollywood and political elites.  (Check it out on Wikipedia.)  I thought it was a little expensive for what we saw, but I enjoyed just doing something WITHOUT THE BOYS.  We did the Grand Rooms Tour.  Savannah slept in the carrier nearly the entire time we were there.  

This dining room was the inspiration for the mess hall in the Harry Potter movies. 

The pools were one of my favorite things - it would be fun to swim in them!
I really LOVED all the flowers on the grounds.  So pretty.

We had dinner at Marie Callendar's.  We didn't realize it beforehand, but kids eat free on Saturday (with an adult entree)!  Worked out perfect - the boys got their meals free, which included a slice of pie.  Sweet!

Jane and Uncle "Bim" visit

Alex's brother Jim and his aunt Jane came to visit a couple of weeks ago.  They were here the weekend before Nathan and Jared's spring break.  Jim was probably tired of playing Legos with the boys and Owen constantly asking him to play.  He probably also didn't enjoy holding Savannah, but since Grandma sent an "I love my uncle" shirt, the picture was pretty much mandatory.  (Enjoy these Fay!)  Jim may not enjoy the chaos, but the boys sure love "Uncle Bim".  We're glad Jane and Jim came to visit.   

Weston was so cute in trying to say Jim's name.  The first time it came out something like "Coco Bim" and then he got the uncle part.  But he still can't say "Jim" - it comes out "Bim".  I tried to get him saying it on video.  He started talking about our house.  I think he wants Jim to come back!  (Weston did cry when Jane and Jim left.)  

I'm not sure, but I think Jane may have enjoyed her visit a little more than Jim.  The chaos is probably overwhelming for everyone though.  Jane came with gifts - more Legos, movies, and an I-Pad with games on it.  Thanks Jane... just what we needed.  :)  She always brings the best gifts and knows how to spoil us.  Jane is good at providing us with plenty of "motivational tools" for disciplining and bribing.  :)

Here are the true S* girls (S* not by marriage). And Savannah remained true to character with her concerned look... (I must look funny, since I'm usually the one behind the camera. That must be why she gives that look.  What's with the eyebrows Savannah??)    

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

big talkin' 3 months old

I think Savannah will be a big talker (like Nathan and Owen).  She loves to make sounds.  If only we knew her language...  

She has rolled over a couple of times, but we haven't caught it on camera yet.  I think the rolls are mostly by accident.  She is pushing up on her arms and arching her back.  Occasionally she arches and falls to one side, thus the roll over.  

Savannah has a roll over fan club (Owen)!