Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentimmmes Day!

Dan and I celebrated our 5th anniversary last month. It's crazy to think that only 5 years ago we took each other's hands, I took his name, and we got ourselves hitched. Since that gloriously freezing day we've had quite the ride. 2 babies, loads of trips, a few heartaches and a lot of fun. So for this Valentines Day I'd like to commemorate my valentine. He is my one and only and the most amazing husband a girl could ever want. 
Dan and I met at a party in April of 2007. I went on a whim with a guy I really didn't want to go out with. I decided to make the most of it and struck up conversation with a cute skater-looking boy. He was funny, and we ended up swapping YouTube videos on his laptop for an hour or so. He got my number from the guy I was with (what a stud) and called me up a few days later. We got together for Mexican food and talked for 5 hours that first outing. I knew something good was going to come of it. 

A week after we met we both headed off to Europe. I was going to live in Spain for 2 months on a BYU study abroad. Dan was going to tour around with a friend. We emailed back and forth while we were both having our European experience. I printed off all those emails after we'd been married and still have them. 
When I got home in July of 2007 we met up right away. Our first kiss happend 3 days after I'd been back in town and after that we were together 24/7. I always think back on that summer with such fond memories. It was a good one. We went on so many adventures together; camping, hiking, Sliders marathons, late-night 7/11 runs. It was wonderful.

Once Fall hit we both started feeling a little more serious about things. We didn't really know what to think other than we loved each other and wanted to be together all the time. In October of 2007 I was at a sort of crossroads; I was either going to move to Colorado to live with my brother's family while he was in Iraq or Dan and I were going to get married. When I put it to Dan in those terms he suggested I should move to Colorado and we could see how things went while I was gone. Having tried a few long-distance relationships before I told him if I left we were most likely not going to stay together. A few days later, after a long discussion, we both felt like marriage was what we wanted.

 It was an amazing and stressful time. I wanted to get hitched before my brother left for the Middle East at the beginning of January. We both felt like we didn't want to wait until the next summer so we set a date that was less than 2 months away. Our families were thrilled...if not a little stunned. A few days after we had set a date Dan and I were walking to his car to go out to lunch. He stopped me, pulled a box out of his pocket, and officially proposed. I let him pick out the ring and I was so happy when he put it on my finger. Things were official!

We were married for time and all eternity on December 20th, 2007. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Dan looked so handsome; he shaved for the wedding and it was the first time I'd seen him all smooth! The day we got married it snowed and snowed and snowed. It was epic. Our reception was still a blast and we saw so many friends. 

I've always been amazed that we knew each other for such a relatively short time before we tied the knot. I can honestly say I've never in my life met another person with whom I am so compatible. I remember telling someone after we got married that I knew Dan was The One because I always felt so comfortable around him. Our personalities have always just clicked. 

It's been 5 years now since that cold December day. Each day I learn new things about my husband that impress me. He is, without a doubt, the best father I have ever met. He is patient, kind, understanding, and above all else, loving and tender. 

Dan has been present and very involved in both the births of our sons. With Eli he was able to see him come into the world and saw him take his first little breath. When we went through all the drama with Sammy and had to have a c-section Dan was there with the doctors checking him out and making sure he was ok. He gets up in the night when someone is crying. He plays on the floor with the boys for hours. He loves them and they worship him

I can't imagine what my life would be like without Dan. A few months ago we took a long road trip to see his family. On the way home we had a few hours where Sammy was sleeping and Eli was watching a movie and there was peace in the car. I was amazed that even after 5 years Dan and I spent that time making each other laugh so hard we were crying. 
To end my long, sappy ramblings I'd just like to say this; marriage is hard, and can be a struggle sometimes. Trying to mesh 2 people's personalities, interests, goals, and priorities takes time and patience. I am so eternally grateful that I hitched my wagon to a man who is willing to work on things together. There are hardly any problems we've encountered that we haven't been able to overcome with discussion, laughter, and love. 

I love you my valentine! Here's to many many more. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sleepy Time

I often have new moms ask what sort of advice an old sage like me (three years at this gig and going strong!) would have to give. I usually tell them the best piece of advice someone once gave me "You are your child's mother. You will know what is best even when everyone else has a thousands things to say about what you are doing".  If they don't like that, I launch into a 20 minute lecture on the importance of sleep and scheduling for moms and kids.

I am a BIG believer in sleep. I like it a lot. I like sleep for me, I like it for my kids, I just like it. When I don't get sleep things don't go right in my life. I'm cranky, I'm slow, I make stupid mistakes. When my kids don't get enough sleep they tend to take after their mom. In the Garfield house we've sort of established a system that sleep (for the kids at least) is the most important part of our day.

We have them on a very tight schedule. Every night both boys are in bed by 7:30. Every day they are both down for naps at generally the same time. We have a bedtime and nap-time routine that work pretty well for us. There haven't been many nights where we have had to go back in and put someone to bed again.

There is a lot of controversy over "crying it out". I think its a little silly, to be honest. We love our kids, we want what's best for them, and part of that involves a good night sleep for everyone. Around 4-6 months with both our boys we've let them cry a little at night to get back to sleep. Anything longer than 20 minutes or so and we go in check up. It just seems practical to me. Both our boys have slept 12 hours + a night by about 8 months. I'm not saying we're amazing parents, or that we're better than people who don't let their kids cry a little at night. We've just found a system that works really well for our bunch. Also, our kids are NOT allowed in bed with Mom and Dad passed about 4 months. This works very well for us as well. Eli has never asked to sleep in our bed and I don't think he will ever even consider it an option.

With that said...hearing your kids cry NEVER gets easy. NEVER ever. Right now I'm dealing with an Eli who won't take a nap. He is exhausted. He's so tired that he WON'T go to sleep. He needs sleep so so bad, but he just won't go down. Even now, after 3 years of doing this, I'm on the couch silently weeping while my son screams for me upstairs. If I go in there it only lets him know that crying gets a visit from Mom. That just prolongs the nap even more. So I have to sit here and listen to Clair de Lune for the 4th time through and hope that he doesn't remember this when he gets big and resents me (he'll have plenty of other things for that list I'm sure...).