Martin is growing, growing! He now weighs 21 pounds! He’s learned a lot of new tricks lately. His most exciting one is probably learning to crawl up the stairs. He thinks that’s pretty fun. He also knows how to pull himself up to standing now, which means anything on low tables and on the second shelf of the cabinets is within his reach. Hello baby proofing!

One funny thing he does is climb up the cabinet handles. We have one set of drawers in the kitchen cabinets that has four drawers and therefore four pull handles. He grabs one and then the next and just walks his way up the handles with his hands until he’s grabbed onto the top one. The top one is so high, though, that he can barely reach it and he stands there on his tip toes all stretched out holding onto that top drawer pull. One day the drawer started to open while he was standing there holding onto it and he started to slowly slide backward over his feet until his body was at this slant, like a slash mark on a keyboard with his feet up close to the cabinet and his head about 6 inches away from it. Luckily I was standing right there and pushed the drawer back in before he fell back on his head.

Our experiment with dairy was not very successful unfortunately. I started eating dairy on Martin’s 9 month birthday and by about a week in he was having reactions to it. It was a little hard to know for sure if it was the dairy, because our whole family seemed to be sick the three weeks after I started, but he would be sick and still have dairy reaction symptoms between being sick. So no dairy for me for a few more weeks. Which leads me to the little stinker’s next adventure… I left a cabinet open to let him play with the lunchboxes on the bottom shelf. Well, it was really quiet over there, which means trouble, so I looked over at him and he had gotten a valentine cupcake from the second shelf of the cabinet and spread it everywhere! Pink frosting and cupcake crumbs all over him and the floor. And… cupcakes, of course, have both dairy and eggs in them. So he ate I think about a third of a cupcake, dairy, egg and all. The next morning was kind of messy. But, after a week of cleaning out both of our diets, he’s starting to get back to normal, and luckily he doesn’t get cranky when I have dairy anymore, just all weird in his stomach and diapers. We’ll try eggs in a couple weeks I think.

Martin’s a happy little guy. he likes to play with toys, but his favorite thing to play with is paper. Anytime he finds a paper on the floor he tears it to shreds and eats it. He also really likes throwing things. I try to play the game where he gives me a toy and I say “Thank you!” and hand it back, but when I hold out my hand he just throws the toy. It isn’t working so well. He recently started a game where he shakes his head back and forth and then I copy. He thinks that’s really funny and repeats it over and over. He also really likes it when his sisters do silly things. His sisters really like “Pancake Robot” and have Alexa play it at dinner sometimes and then they dance. Martin thinks this is hilarious and laughs and laughs. Last night they were pretending to chomp a carrot in a really exaggerated way and he thought that was hilarious too.

Martin – 7 months

IMG_2835On his 7 month birthday we discovered three new teeth in Martin’s little gummy smile! Evelyn was playing with him on the ground when she saw them. When we looked we could see three new chompers and it looks like a fourth is trying to break through. That puts him up to 5 (almost 6) teeth!

Martin is pretty proficient at sitting and is getting brave about reaching for things while sitting. Sometimes he reaches so far that he plops onto his tummy. Then he cries because he doesn’t like being on his stomach and someone has to go sit him back up.

He’s a really busy little guy. He grabs at everything. One thing he really likes right now is to be put down on the floor next to a chair or stool. He likes grabbing at the legs and cross bar parts of the chair and pulling and pushing on them. Today he grabbed the cross bar that goes between the legs of our dining chairs and pulled it toward him until he lost his balance and tipped backward. Then he held himself tipped back, but up against the bar until his bum slowly slipped from underneath him and he was lying underneath the chair, still playing with the legs and parts of the chair.


Look! I finally have some hair!

The poor kid really likes his toys, but is starting to get kind of bored with them too, I think. I took an empty body butter container from him recently and gave him a rattle instead and he cried and cried until I gave him the container back. The body butter container was newer and more exciting I guess.

Solid food is going well. He loves oatmeal, rice cereal, pears, and cheerios. He likes corn, spinach mixed with other things, peas, carrots, avocado, peaches, puffs, and pie crust (he stole that one from his sister while she wasn’t looking). He doesn’t like green beans as much, but still eats them sometimes, and he’s decided he doesn’t like beans anymore. The food seems to agree with him too; he’s getting some pretty nice cheeks and a double chin. We’re all pretty happy about that. He and Mom are still on a dairy and egg free diet. The gastroenterologist said we can try one or the other of those at nine months. Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to be interesting…

His favorite things are probably being held by his family, being thrown up in the air and being tickled. We can always count on tickles for good laughs from him. We all love him bunches and he’s really a happy little guy, even when he’s teething. Every once in a while though, he’s just had it:


Martin – 6 months

IMG_2522Martin is 6 months old already, and we have had him around for a whole half a year! He’s such a happy kid. A lot has happened in the last two months.

At his 4 month visit he had dropped in his weight percentiles, which worried the doctor. He had had diarrhea for a couple weeks so they told me to try giving him formula to slow down his digestion and probiotics to try and help the diarrhea. If it hadn’t cleared up in a week, they said to bring him back in. So the next week we were back at the doctor’s office and when we weighed him he had actually lost 4 oz. We started trying all sorts of things at that point and they referred him to a pediatric gastroenterologist.

I would just like to say here that we have one stubborn kid. Both doctors told me to try and get him on a  bottle to get more calories in him and he would not have it. We tried 6 or so different kinds of bottles, three different kinds of formula, and an eye dropper. No go. He screamed and screamed and then after he was done with that, he played with the bottle with his tongue and refused to drink any of it. We went back to nursing every two or so hours, and tried baby oatmeal. After another week he hadn’t lost any more weight, but he hadn’t gained any either.

The gastroenterologist said that he probably just needed more calories and to put oil in his cereal and try to get him to take more formula any way we could. He gave me ideas for making more milk and told me to stay hydrated and eat enough protein. He said, if it wouldn’t stress me out too much, that I could try eating less dairy, soy and egg since those are the most common food allergies in babies. So we tried a million things and did weekly weight checks and he started growing! His tummy slowed down and he started gaining on the percentile charts and hasn’t stopped. He was down at the 3rd percentile for weight when he lost the 4 ounces and he’s now back up at the 46th about a month and a half later. He loves baby oatmeal, and it seems that if I eat eggs he gets diarrhea, so I am currently on a dairy and egg free diet. We can try one or the other again when he’s 9 months.

He’s been a happy baby since I quit dairy at 1 month, but since he’s been gaining weight, he’s been happier even. He’d been happy, but wanted to be held a lot, and now he’s fairly content to sit in a chair or on the floor and play with toys for a while several times a day. And now he has nice chubby thighs and a double chin. We’re so proud!

He learned to roll from his back to his front this month, and he thinks that’s pretty cool because he can reach more toys that way. This last week he’s really gotten good at sitting up by himself. He likes that a lot, and when we lay him down he stretches his head up like he wants to do a sit up and he’d really rather be able to see the world from sitting. He’s a busy little guy, always grabbing and playing. Don’t try eating with him on your lap – your food will soon be in your lap with him.

IMG_2536We’ve started feeding him other foods. He likes peas, oatmeal, cheerios (when he can get them in his mouth), and beans. He didn’t like green beans or squash and we’re still working on pears. He really likes to hold onto a baby carrot and gnaw on it. Don’t take his carrot away unless you are ready to be yelled at. Feeding him is also sometimes hazardous, because sometimes he likes blow mini-raspberries with food still in his mouth.

Martin is very friendly. He smiles at everyone. He loves it when people talk to him and isn’t too bothered by other people holding him. Unless he sees Mom. Then he sometimes gets upset. Sometimes he will go to other people, though, even if Mom is holding him. He likes to look at people and grin at people. He also LOVES to give hugs and slobbery kisses. It’s pretty adorable.

He also got two new teeth! They came in around 5 months and they’re pretty sharp. Just ask his sisters; they’ve gotten their fingers caught in them more than once. So now he can pull hair AND bite! They still adore him though.


We survived the first week of school! And it wasn’t even too painful!

Avery is starting 5th grade this year and loves her teacher. She tells me every day that today was good because she has her for a teacher.



Evelyn is starting 3rd grade. She wakes up and groans “I’m not going to school!” every morning, but she gets there and tells me with a smile that school was “awesome” every day when she gets home.



Hazel started preschool this year. She is doing an online preschool and a home preschool where we rotate between people’s houses. She loves them both.


And here they are all together.


Martin – 4 Months

IMG_2249Martin is 4 months old! He’s growing, but not fast enough for the doctors. Our nurse practitioner is worried that he isn’t gaining weight very quickly.

He’s learning lots of new tricks. He can see people from across the room and gets excited when someone walks into his field of vision. He loves people. He likes his sisters to talk to him and to be held upright so he can see what’s going on. I really think this kid will be happy when he learns to sit because he does not seem to like that he’s stuck on the floor looking up at the ceiling so much. He likes being on the counter where he can see people a little more and the view is different, but it makes Mom nervous to have him up there. So he only gets to be on the counter when I have something that keeps me there for a while. He likes his Bumbo seat and it helps him sit up more, but he often gets distracted by how yummy it apparently is.


Martin has figured out his hands an likes to play with them. He can clasp them together and grab toys with them, but his favorite thing to do with them is to stick his fists in his mouth and gum them. He thinks that’s great, and doesn’t mind at all that is gets drool all over anyone holding him. He has also learned to grab his sisters’ hair, and does so regularly. The sisters do not approve.

He still dislikes tummy time, but he has learned to roll from his tummy to his back! IMG_2244Sometimes he does such a good job of it I can’t keep him on his tummy very well, and sometimes he does such a good job of rolling that he clunks his head on the way over or scares himself.

We have worked on a schedule this month since school is starting. So far we have a good bedtime at about 9:00 and a good wake-up time at about 7:00. Naps are less consistent, but usually there’s one around 8:30, 12:00 or 1:00 and often sometime in the late afternoon or evening. He still has a hard time staying asleep during naps unless someone is holding him. He sleeps well in his own bed at night, though.

Overall he’s a happy little guy, although he does want to be held a lot. He talks and coos and loves pat-a-cake. He hates his car seat but the butterfly toy hanging from it makes it bearable sometimes. He likes it when Avery and Evelyn come home from school because they like to talk to and play with him. He likes to be held over my shoulder and gives me little hugs and pulls my hair out of my hair clip. He’s a sweet little cuddle boy.



Little Martin is 3 months old and growing fast. As you can probably see from the picture, his 0-3 month clothes are getting pretty tight. He has a long, skinny body, so his pants tend to fall down and his tops and sleepers outfits tend to be too short. He may be like some of his sisters who have to wear one size in their tops and the size smaller in their pants.

He’s a happy baby overall; eliminating dairy and any caffeine from Mom’s diet has really made quite a difference for him. He loves to smile and talk to people and just lights up when someone comes to pay attention to him and play with him. He and Mommy often go outside in the evening and have talking time, where they have little conversations and Martin coos. He loves it for half an hour or so and then he’s ready for bed. He has also started laughing, which is so fun! He gave his first really good laughs and chuckles on his three month birthday and so far we have gotten him to laugh by kissing his neck, tickling his sides, and playing patty-cake. Evelyn in particular has been waiting and waiting for him to laugh and is pretty excited to hear him when she’s around to listen.

At two months he weighed 11 lb. 4 oz. and was 23.5 inches. He’s bigger now, but I don’t know by how much. He’s a good sleeper at night, but less so during the day. He goes to bed really consistently at about 10:00 and usually sleeps until between 3:00 and 4:00. Then he sleeps another 3 hours before wanting to eat again. During the day he takes naps, but often wakes up unless I hold him through the nap. Sometimes the swing will keep him asleep for a couple hours.


If there’s anything Martin doesn’t like, it’s tummy time. He cries through the whole thing almost every time. He’s getting strong, though. He can lift up his head and his legs and do an airplane-like move and he can hold himself sitting and standing if someone holds his hands for balance.

He’s a really mellow little guy and we all adore him. Avery says we adore him too much :) His sisters want to play with him always and he’s pretty good natured about it. He even did really well on our trip to Montana to visit Nona and Papa this month.

Also, Martin is really good at getting his hands in his mouth. He likes to gnaw on his fists a lot. Sometimes so much it’s hard to get him to take the fist out of his mouth so he can eat, and other times so much that he gags himself on his own fingers. He’s a silly boy :)

Christmas Letter 2014

Merry Christmas everyone!

The Ivan and Rachel Andrus family finds itself back in Utah this year, and it’s been an exciting year. About this time last year, after much painful deliberation, Ivan took a job with Adobe. He started just in time to do orientation and then get a week and a half off for Christmas. He has impeccable timing, no? He had been contracting for Adobe from February of 2013, but now he works there “for real.”

The new job necessitated a move (Rachel was not amused), and since we were tired of moving (really not amused…) we decided to do a super fast house hunt. We searched and bought a house in about 6 weeks. It’s a newer house in Saratoga Springs, Utah, which is just west of Lehi. So far we like it. The kids are thrilled to have a yard and basement to play in. And neighborhood kids to play with in the yard and basement.

The former occupants of the house weren’t excited about moving out that quickly so we spent the first two weeks of March in a hotel. The kids loved the hotel and still ask to go back, because they got to watch cable TV all the time. Ivan and Rachel were much less enthused after the two weeks. We moved into our house March 18th, and began the frantic unpacking, arranging, buying of furniture and yard tools, etc., that comes with being first time home owners and going from a 2 bedroom apartment to a real house.

Avery was sad to leave her friends and school in Colorado, but adjusted quickly here. Evelyn had her fourth Birthday not too long after we moved in and (luckily) before Hazel was born. She was very excited because we made cupcake ice cream cones. They weren’t nearly as pretty as the picture online, but she was happy with them, so we’re not complaining.

Backtracking to Hazel… Hazel Ann Andrus was born April 27th. She was a big baby (8 lb. 13 oz), and while her weight is a little more normal range now, she’s still very long and so little arms and ankles are always sticking out of her clothes. She’s been a really happy baby, for which we’re grateful. She smiles all the time, and already crawls and pulls herself up on things. She also likes to try to eat EVERYTHING, so she keeps us pretty busy pulling things out of her mouth. We think she’s pretty great.

This Summer we went down to LA to visit Rachel’s grandpa and sister for the fourth of July. We went to the beach, and Avery was in heaven. She splashed and played in the sand and collected shells. We also got to see some of Rachel’s family that we don’t see too often and meet an aunt that we had never met before. That was a fun experience, and we’re happy to have Mei Linh as part of our family.

Avery started 1st grade this Fall, which put her in school all day again. (In Colorado she had all-day Kindergarten, but here Kindergarten is half-day.) Her class is ocean themed and she loves her teacher. They have a pet hermit crab that the class named Hermy. Avery gets to read sea life books and tells us all sorts of things about sea animals. She loves to play with her friends and is starting to get very good at reading. She’s even beginning to read for fun.

Evelyn started pre-school again this year. It’s a home-based pre-school, but we’re not using the joy school curriculum this year. There are usually 6 kids or so and she looks forward to it every week. She’s pretty good at her letters and numbers and excited to start Kindergarten next year. Evelyn is our little firecracker. She makes up all sorts of pretend games with her toys and is very, very friendly. She gives everyone hugs and her primary teachers tell us that she loves to give answers in class. Apparently most of her class is pretty shy.

This Fall we got to go camping a couple times, which was fun. The kids hadn’t ever been camping before and they loved it. We went to Arches National Park for Fall Break and camped and hiked around a bit. It was a beautiful place, even if the kids didn’t like the hiking.

We spent Thanksgiving with Ivan’s family up in Montana. It was a fun trip and a nice, quiet few days. Ivan’s whole family was there, so it was nice to spend time together. While we were there Ivan finished up a big project. He participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year and finished the required 50,000 words in the month of November. He is now officially a NaNoWriMo winner and we’re all pretty darn proud of him. It was a lot of work, and he stuck with it all month (despite negative effects on his sleep). His book is called The Implausible Adventures of Jacqueline and Lonnie, and is based on characters in the stories he tells the kids at bedtime. Unfortunately, none of us has read much of it, because he claims he has too much editing to do on it still it’s really bad.

That’s about it for our year. We feel very lucky to have been able to see family so much this year. We wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a blessed 2015.