Monday, January 23, 2012

Sitting UP!

Kylie's latest project is learning how to sit up. She's made a lot of progress in just the past few days. We had an unfortunate accident last week where she bumped her head pretty hard, and cried without consolation for about 5 minutes. I imagine we have many more incidents ahead over the next few years. The other night I decided to sit her up inside one of her Boppy pillows and it worked wonderfully, offering her a bit of support, but also insuring that she won't smack her head on the ground if she really loses her balance. Now in addition to tummy time, we have several "sitting up" sessions each day. It's so exciting to watch this little girl learn, grow & develop each and every day!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I Used to Collect Shoes & Handbags

These days I find myself collecting Fisher Price Little People sets & accessories with the same enthusiasm that I used to look for a deal on shoes or purses. I guess it's part of becoming a parent, and I'm loving every minute of it! We've accumulated quite the collection, and still working on a couple more specific pieces to complete it. When I was a kid, we had almost all the old, original Fisher Price Little People stuff. My favorite thing was to set up a little "town" in the living room and play for hours. The only thing I enjoyed better was when my mom would sit down and play with me, too. I was talking to a friend the other day and realized that the Little People play sets include a lot of "boy" stuff. I guess I like all that kind of thing since I grew up with all brothers. I want Kylie to be able to enjoy her dolls and princess toys, but I'd also like her to have the opportunity to embrace her tomboy side too, if she wants! I feel like I got the best of both worlds growing up, and I'd love nothing less for her.

Lately, I've been trying to take advantage of our location in Salt Lake and the plentiful opportunities of "second hand" shopping, which will not be available once Bryan is in school again, since we'll be living in a little, tiny college town. The plan is that all this loot is going to be boxed up, and then pulled out for birthdays, Christmas and other gift occasions while Bryan is in graduate school. I know that some of you may recoil a bit at the idea of giving your child a used toy for a birthday or Christmas, but Bryan and I have absolutely no problem with it whatsoever. First, kids (especially when they're very small) don't know the difference. Second, if I can get a Fisher Price play set that's in great shape for $1 at a thrift store, I'm not willing to pay $25-$40 for the cardboard packaging it comes in at WalMart, Target, or Toys-R-Us. It's just not worth it to me. I'm glad that Bryan and I think the same on this subject, since we've saved tons of money on baby and kid stuff already in our married life together. 

Our Collection of Little People play stuff
In various trips I've been making to thrift stores (I love garage sales, but life has been too busy the last couple of years to allow me any extra precious time on Saturday mornings!) I've been able to find almost complete sets of farm, airport, school and other fun stuff. I've been finding the play sets & buildings themselves for about $1, and the little vehicles and other accessories for .50-.75 cents. I only get the stuff that's in great shape, which means that all the sounds and lights work, etc. Once I get the toys home, I wash them up with baby wipes, then spray them down with lysol, just for good measure. The one thing we have discovered is that it's very difficult to find the actual little people figures second hand, (in all my travels and searching, I've only ever found one little people figure at a thrift store!) so we've taken to eBay and been able to find some deals on a good variety of different characters. All told, we've spent under $100 for our whole lot of Little People play stuff. I can't wait to start pulling it out and spending lots of quality time on the living room floor with Kylie over the next few years!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Some New Year's Goals

So this is the time of year when everybody is thinking about goals -- or at least they were two weeks ago, haha! Well Bryan and I are no different. We believe goals are important because they are how we measure progress and hold ourselves accountable for working towards them. We also think it's very powerful to write things down and put them in a place where you can see them. Since we've been married, we've tried to do this, and have felt like we were making progress in some ways, but in other ways we have felt stuck in a rut at times.

Our main goal when we were first married was to become debt-free and stay that way. We determined that we would not buy anything more on credit or payment plans, and that if we didn't have the cash for something, we didn't really need it. We began to try to fully embrace the old pioneer adage, "Use it up; wear it out; make it do- or do without!" so often quoted by President Gordon B. Hinckley (one of my heroes!) This has been difficult at times, but we've reminded each other of our main goal whenever one of us was feeling weak, (and I confess, I'm most often the weaker party...I like pretty, shiny stuff.)

This effort is probably obvious to anyone that's ever visited our home and watched a movie on our 15-year-old monster-box television set with the microscopic screen. A new TV has been a temptation to both of us -- especially during the "crazy deal days" of three-day-holiday weekends. But we've resisted. We've also had major obstacles in the form of medical expenses not covered by insurance, but we've also seen major blessings from Heavenly Father as we've done our best and tried to live by true principles.

Happily, once in awhile amidst all the struggles and challenges of life, we get a payday - a moment or event where you're finally able to realize some of the progress you've made. We had one of those earlier this week as we sat down and looked at our full financial picture and were delighted to discover that we will be completely debt-free (except for our mortgage, but more on that later) by the end of this year! Obviously, over the next six or seven months there's still a lot of work and sacrifice required to reach our goal, and we're not there yet-- but it's finally materializing as something attainable and within reach! And, we're to the point where our assets are finally greater than our liabilities -- that is if you're not factoring in our mortgage...but I feel like if we can continue down this path, we're doing really well for where we are in life.

We got bit by this bug when someone gave us a copy of Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover as a wedding gift. Check out my post from October 2009 as proof! I read through it in a couple of days and then wanted to read it with Bryan. We read through it together on a road trip one weekend after being married for one month. We felt like it had an incredibly powerful message that was so different than everything else we're told in society, and that Dave's plan, based on Bible principles of honesty, personal finance, hard work, thrift, and ultimate freedom-- spiritual and otherwise, was something that we wanted to use as the base of our financial life together. While we haven't always been great at following the plan, it has helped us to be aware of WHAT WE WANT MOST, when we are bombarded with the thoughts and feelings of WHAT WE WANT NOW.

As for our house, well, we feel blessed that we are in a better place than a lot of people considering today's economic climate. We were able to take advantage of refinancing into a lower interest rate on a 30-year fixed loan, and have considered even going to a 15-year, but we've got to see what the future holds for us as far as school. If we get accepted to the program Bryan wants, we will probably sell the house. This means that we will most likely take a hit, but in comparison to a lot of our friends, we feel blessed that the hit will be relatively manageable. Also, as much as both of us have loved living in Utah, it's not the place where we want to be long-term (GASP!) So we are looking at our options for getting back to our beloved Northwest!! We would love to settle down and start building a life in Oregon, Washington or Idaho, so selling the house will eventually be a necessity anyway. We'll see how everything pans out, but that's what we're working towards.

Over the last 12 years in my own life I have had moments where things have just not gone well, in spite of my best efforts. This includes the area of finances, so Bryan and I realize that while we have been working hard towards our goals, we have also been abundantly blessed by Heavenly Father, without whom we could not be successful. In sharing all our excitement on this, we realize that there are many people out there who are working just as hard, but still feeling buried. There is hope! I would recommend Dave's book to anyone-- no matter where you are with money. As we move forward into the new year, we have a renewed commitment to the plan -- and actually ending the year DEBT FREE!! And dang it, after all this hard work and sacrifice, if the world ends in December I'm gonna be ticked!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Neck-Less Giraffes

A few months ago I got a few little giraffes for Kylie's room at our work apartment. I've tried to make it cute and kid-friendly with little stuffed animals & pictures of a Noah's Ark type theme. Anyway, when I showed the giraffes to Bryan he was quite put-out about the fact that the giraffes had no neck. He argued that since that was the one distinguishing feature of a giraffe that it didn't make any sense to have these little toys around - maybe he was worried that Kylie would become greatly confused about giraffes? I don't know. Anyway, fast forward to December when I found Kylie her "big" Christmas gift - a set of little stuffed toys and rattles at Costco. I was with my friend Victoria and we both thought the little orange cows were cute. When I got them home and showed them to Bryan, he took one look at the box and set it down, saying, "You bought neckless giraffes!"

On closer inspection, the back of the box did specify that the gift set was made up of giraffes, a detail I hadn't noticed in the store. Anyway, Kylie got the set for Christmas and has seemed to have fun playing with all the little toys. Her favorite however, is a little stuffed giraffe that plays music if you pull it's tail. She smiles this huge smile whenever you give it to her, especially if it's playing the music. She's swinging in her swing right now with it tucked under her arm. I snapped this picture of her last week - I think in spite of the missing neck, Kylie's happy with her Christmas gift!

Isn't that the cutest little grin, ever??

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe it's 2012. I've been reminded lately that I haven't blogged in quite sometime, and it's probably true. I think Kylie, (who will be six months next week) was two weeks old the last time I posted I guess it has been awhile. Our family has been happily busy with the extraordinary and mundane tasks of daily life over these past six months. We absolutely love being parents and have settled into a really great routine with baby Kylie. I think she is a really good baby, and that we've been lucky with sleeping habits and colic, etc. Things couldn't be better. She is into such a phase of discovery and development that new things are happening almost everyday and Mom & Dad are having a hard time keeping her challenged. She wants to be standing up almost constantly when she is awake, and really hates having to lie down (even on her floor gym) for more than a few minutes at a time. Thank goodness for all the cool developmental toys out there!

Kylie playing in her Bumbo chair

As for Mommy and Daddy, we're doing great and moving forward with our lives. New Year's is always a great time for introspection and self-inventory, so we've been doing that lately. We realized the other day how far we had come together when we took a look at our financial picture and how it has improved since we got married. Turns out two-and-a-half years can make quite a difference when you've got goals and you're busy working towards them. I'm grateful that Bryan is such a hard worker, too. He's been working two full-time jobs almost the entire time we've been married, but we've always tried to keep our goals as a couple at the forefront and we realize that with the sacrifices we've been making individually and as a couple, we've made significant progress. We're so excited about this new year and the opportunity it holds!

Monday, January 2, 2012

I Try to Avoid Corny Food

Actually, I love corn -- especially popcorn, corn chips, tacos, and the like. Unfortunately while on Lyme treatment about a year and a half ago, I began to develop a corn allergy that has progressed to the point where I have to avoid it all in it's entirety. Sad, sad tale! Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who loves to cook, and he has taken to developing all sorts of recipes substituting other ingredients in place of corn syrup, corn starch or corn meal. It's been an adventure, but we've discovered that I can eat almost anything, as long as we make it ourselves. Aren't I such a lucky girl to have a husband like that?

The breaded sweet & sour Bryan made me for New Year's Eve

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bryan's Latest Home Project

Bryan has had a couple weeks off so that he could be around to help me after having the baby. It's been great since I have had a bit of a rough time with getting over post-partum pre-eclampsia. He has been wonderful doing almost 100% of nighttime baby duty, (and there has been ample amount to go around.) In spite of taking care of the baby and I, he decided that while he was home he needed a project to keep from getting bored.

While wandering the aisles at our local Lowe's, he came upon some tile that was on clearance, and decided that would make the perfect project to provide him with a baby duty distraction during the day. heard that right. We have a two-week-old baby and my husband is currently tearing up the kitchen floor to replace it. Last night as he moved our refrigerator into our living room, I was momentarily thinking that perhaps I was crazy to have agreed to let him start this. But he has done a fantastic (finished) job on all our other projects, and I trust him. So have at it, my dear!

Here are some of the BEFORE pictures:

He's just finished up the trim this evening, and I'm glad since he's barely slept or ate for the past two days. He tends to have tunnel vision when he's working on a project. It looks so great, though. As you can probably tell from the "before" pictures, our little kitchen really needed the face lift. The floor was pretty bad. Now it looks FANTASTIC! Great job, honey!! You are amazing.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Welcome to the World, Baby Kylie!

Disclaimer: if you have never had a baby, or are squeamish about such things, you may want to skip the following post and just browse the pictures.

As we waited at the hospital Wednesday evening, we ordered dinner and brought out the Canasta cards to pass some time. We had registered for the cards for our wedding but hadn't ever pulled them out until I was put on bed rest a few weeks before Kylie was born. Then suddenly Bryan and I had lots of fun competition with them. We reintroduced his mom to the game also, so while we were at the hospital waiting we decided it was a great way to focus on something other than the clock.

I was supposed to have my third & final dose of cytotec at 7pm, but because I was having a lot more cramping than contractions, they decided to wait one additional hour and gave it to me at 8pm instead. This was in the hope of calming things down a bit and hopefully getting some actual contractions started. Unfortunately waiting the extra hour seemed to do the opposite, and on the monitor we could see that everything had slowed down to almost nothing. Around 9pm the nurse came in and explained that they had scheduled for an obstetrician to come and break my water at midnight, which would hopefully get things going. She said that I would probably start on pitocin after that, and that we would probably be having a baby later on the next morning.

We settled back into our very serious game of Canasta, and I was enjoying the competition and feeling really comfortable. While we played, we kept our eyes on the StorkBytes monitor, which monitors both the baby's heartbeat and also mama's contractions. As we periodically kept our eyes on the monitor, everything still seemed pretty quiet and uneventful. Around 9:45, just as Bryan was about to "go out" and win the hand of Canasta, (remember his winning hand?) I happened to sneeze. Bryan remarked that we should check out the monitor to see if it picked up the sneeze, and it had. Just as we were looking at the monitor I felt a gush of fluid and blurted out that I thought my water had just broken. Halfway through that sentence, I felt another huge gush and told Bryan to call the nurse.

He did call the nurse, who answered the call button saying something like, "I'll bet you're wondering where your baby is...I'll be right in." Bryan didn't even get a chance to tell her that my water had broken. It just so happened that when I sneezed the monitor must have moved off the baby, so it couldn't pick up the heartbeat anymore. In the midst of everything going on, we hadn't noticed that but the nurse had and thought that was why we were calling. When she came in Bryan told her that my water had broken, and I think at first she didn't believe it, telling us that a lot of women think their water has broken but they are disappointed to discover that it's actually still intact. As I climbed out of bed and she saw the puddle I had left behind she was surprised. This was about the point that I started getting really nervous, since I had always heard that breaking the water is generally what really gets labor going.

Turns out that was what really got my labor going, since by 10pm I was having pretty serious contractions that were coming very quickly. The card game was forgotten about, and as I tried to get comfortable Bryan put on my Pride & Prejudice DVD, which I had packed thinking that the 5-hour A & E version of the movie would take up a lot of time and give me something else to focus on. But within 20 minutes of my water breaking I was uncomfortable enough that the nurse asked me if I was ready for an epidural, and I said YES PLEASE! Turns out the anesthesiologist was really quick, and in what seemed to me another 10 minutes he was in the room placing it for me. Incidentally, Pride & Prejudice never made it past the main fact the music was really getting on my nerves as I tried to sit still while the anesthesiologist placed my epidural. After it was in, I had Bryan turn the movie off, since I just really had no desire to pay any kind of attention to a movie at that point. I think placing the epidural was the hardest part of my labor (besides the pushing) but not because of the needles. I don't have any problem with needles. It was just very difficult to sit still through the intense contractions while he got everything placed. Once it was over, I was thinking what a wonderful thing pain meds are! I know there are a lot of women out there who have done natural childbirth -- but I have always maintained that it's 2011, and I have nothing to prove to anyone! It was really wonderful to be able to just lay in bed and be comfortable. I felt pressure with the contractions, but not one bit of was fantastic.

Right after I had the epidural, the nurse checked me and I was dilated to a 4. My body was making progress, but still had a ways to go. By midnight Bryan and I had decided that perhaps I should try to get some rest right now, since it was going to be a long morning. We told his mom to head home and try to get some sleep, and that we would call her if anything happened. We turned the lights down, and tried to settle in for a little nap. No sooner had Bryan laid down, than I felt the sensation of something leaving my body. I told him he needed to check and see what had just happened, since because of the epidural I had no real sensation from the waist down. He jokingly asked me if I thought it was the baby. Hahaha. He called the nurse immediately when he realized it was a huge blood clot. When the nurse came in she said, "Oh my heavens!" She checked me again and said I was dilated to an 8. None of us could believe it. When she disappeared into a closet and reemerged with a cart full of tools and dressings, Bryan asked her if I was going to have the baby soon. Um, yeah. She explained that she was going to call the midwife, because I was just about ready to go. As soon as the nurse left, I asked Bryan to call his mom to come back. It had been less than 45 minutes since she had left the hospital, and we felt bad that we had sent her home but we had no idea that things would progress so quickly.

My midwife Gretchen arrived around 1:30am and I started pushing. This phase of labor was a bit of a blur and remembering it makes it seem a little like a dream. The lights of the room were turned down, and since it was the middle of the night it was dark outside, so all of this contrasted with the bright lights they had set up at the end of the bed. After the first few pushes, I was exhausted. Bryan and I had talked previously with the midwife about our concerns with my ongoing fatigue and how that might affect labor. Bryan was particularly concerned about it, and his concerns turned out to be valid, as I had a really hard time with pushing. As each contraction would finish up and I was finished with pushing for a minute, I was totally exhausted. All I could do was lay my head back with my eyes closed and try to breathe the oxygen slowly. It was really hard for me and got really scary as Kylie started to have trouble. Each time I would have a contraction, her heart rate began to drop dramatically and she was in distress. They kept telling me that we needed to get the baby out, and that I needed to try as hard as I could. This of course scared me and I was praying for the strength to keep going. When we weren't making significant progress, and OB was called in so that if they needed to use suction they could. When the doctor got there, she had some suggestions that seemed to help make the baby more comfortable and luckily within a short time she was able to be delivered at 3:03am on July 21st, 2011. I've always heard people talk about what a spiritual experience the birth of a baby is, but I'll be honest. I was so exhausted all I remember feeling was relief that she was out and that she was OK. I heard the doctor ask Bryan if he was ready to cut the cord, but I was too tired to lift my head up and watch. I was just really glad that she was out now and would get the help she needed.

As soon as Kylie was born, the NICU team started working on her at the little station in our room. I'm really glad that Bryan was there and was able to stay with her the whole time. He also got some amazing pictures of the baby and some of her first expressions as her sweet little face looks shocked, confused, and just plain mad. Bryan and I were talking about what a baby must think of the entire labor & delivery process after spending months and months in a warm, comfortable bath of amniotic fluid. Kylie looked like she was pretty ticked.

While the NICU team was working on her, I was trying to listen to what was being said, but I couldn't hear very well. There were a total of seven medical personnel in our room at this point, so there was a lot going on. I was worried, but I think the fact that I was so tired took some of the edge off. After they had worked on her for awhile, Bryan asked them if they could bring the baby over to me before they took her to the NICU. Good job, daddy! I was glad he asked about that, because I was anxious to see her!

I had no idea what was happening, but after they had been gone for about an hour, Bryan called me from the NICU saying that everything had gone really well, and that they had cleared the baby to come back and spend the night with us in our room. I was really excited because I wanted to see the little munchkin and of course, finally be able to hold her! I had really hoped to be able to do skin to skin right after she was born, but it didn't work out with the trouble that she had breathing. Obviously, I'm glad that the team was there to take care of her - I had just imagined things happening differently and so I was a bit disappointed about that side of things. But not to worry! I got to have my moment as soon as Bryan brought Kylie back...then we were finally able to snuggle and snap our first pictures together as a family.

Welcome to the world, Kylie LaRee! Life holds so much happiness, so many wonderful experiences and so much love for you...we are overjoyed that you came to our family, and that we get to be your parents. We can't wait for all the amazing experiences we will be able to share together! We love you, baby Kylie, you have made our family feel complete!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Odyssey of an Emergency Induction

After several weeks of escalating complications, non-stress tests every three days to check on baby, and multiple trips to LDS Hospital's Labor & Delivery for monitoring in case I needed to be induced, by Sunday July 17th I was feeling really tired and sick. I had had a worsening headache (the worst of my pregnancy) for four days and couldn't kick the waves of dizziness. My blood pressure also seemed to be getting higher each time we checked it and I was really feeling like a balloon with all the swelling that was happening. Because I was being a bit stubborn, I didn't want to go to the hospital on a Sunday night, but Bryan and his mom talked me into getting an appointment to be seen first thing in the morning.

The earliest appointment I could get on Monday was at three in the afternoon, and as soon as we had arrived and they had taken my blood pressure they sent us back to the hospital -- to Labor & Delivery to be monitored. Most of these visits lasted for four to six hours. But this time we were only there for an hour and a half. The baby looked great and they felt I was stable enough to go back home. We did have one home work assignment, however. I was supposed to do a 24-hour urine sample to check for protein in my of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia. They had gotten several readings where my protein was +2 (above the limit for determining pre-eclampsia) but I had also had several where it was within normal limits. So the 24-hour was supposed to be much more accurate in determining what was really going on. It was a simple but somewhat disgusting process of saving & refrigerating everything I peed over a 24-hour time period. YUCK. Not to mention that at 35 weeks pregnant YOU PEE A LOT!! The test would start at 5pm Monday night and we would drop the sample off to the lab at 5:30pm Tuesday night. Let the fun begin!

On Tuesday, I went with my wonderful mother-in-law (who had accompanied me on most of my hospital visits, too) to my regularly scheduled appointment with my midwife Gretchen, who was very reassuring and seemed to think that everything was going great. At one point she even mentioned that perhaps we could make 38 weeks. For the last several weeks we had known that the baby would probably need to come before 40 weeks, so our goal had been to make 37 weeks, considered full term, but minus the last few weeks where baby has time to put on a few pounds and really finish maturing. Obviously, every day makes a difference and I wanted our baby to have as much time as possible to be as healthy as possible. But feeling the way I had been feeling was starting to take a toll, and the thought of being pregnant two more weeks made me want to start crying right then and there. Ok, I'm willing to concede that the hormones may have had something to do with it as well. I had one glimmer of hope as we were leaving the appointment and Gretchen told us to be prepared that this baby may come in the next couple of days...but because of the earlier  discussion about making 38 weeks, I didn't really think anything of it. So we went home and later that day we dropped off my urine sample to the lab.

We were really looking forward to Wednesday, (July 20th) because it was the first day in several weeks that I didn't have any appointments or tests scheduled. We had planned a leisurely day and even had steaks marinating for Bryan to grill up that evening. I had slept in and was feeling spoiled as Bryan's mom fixed me an omelette for breakfast in bed. Technically, I didn't have any other option as I was on strict bedrest, but any way you cut it, breakfast in bed is pretty I waited for breakfast, I got a phone call from Gretchen around 10:30 which was short, sweet and to the point. After saying hello, she simply said, "Well, come on in. You're going to have a baby today." I asked if there had been protein in the sample and she said it was really high. So we got off the phone and I started to get things ready to go. We already had most things packed, but I wanted to shower and grab some last minute stuff. I called Bryan at work to tell him what was going on, and then I started to feel really nervous as I got ready to go. It was a combination of nervous excitement in the pit of my stomach really.

We arrived at the hospital at about 12:30pm, and got settled into our room for the duration. I knew that inductions could take awhile, a very long while, so I had told Bryan to just stay at work and I would keep him posted throughout the afternoon. The expectation was that we would be having a baby sometime the following day, so I figured we had plenty of time. The induction started with something called cytotec, a small white pill that dissolves between your lower lip and gum that helps to soften the cervix. I was supposed to have three doses each three hours apart to help get things started. I was happy that they didn't want to start me out on pitocin until everything was good and ready. I had heard some horror stories about it, and so I wasn't really happy to have to use it at all. As I was explaining the process to Bryan over the phone, he wanted to know why they weren't just giving me the pitocin right off, and said I should ask for it...I guess he was anxious for the baby to get here! Before he left work around 5pm, he called to ask if I needed him to pick anything up for me. He also asked if I wanted him to get the car come to the hospital. I guess maybe he was a bit more nervous than I had given him credit for. :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Place for Friends & Family

We finally finished our guest bedroom this weekend. We painted, hung curtains & bought a queen-size bed. It's all ready to who's coming to visit??

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day 2011

This year Bryan got to celebrate his very first Father's Day! We began the day with German pancakes, Bryan's favorite breakfast. Then he got to open his presents. I tried to do good with his gifts, since he always does great things for me, but he's not the most forthcoming about what he might need/want/enjoy. I think I did pretty well, since he seemed pretty excited.

He got a large toolbox, a tool bag, a couple of specialty attachments for his power drill, a new pair of flip-flops and a wok (he loves to make stir-fry, and he's really good at it!) Afterward he said he was pretty happy at the opportunity of adding a new holiday to his yearly schedule...especially one with presents! We took a couple of pictures together after church, since we wanted to show off the baby bump (we were 32 weeks today.) Bryan is going to make the best dad, and it was so fun to celebrate his first Father's Day!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Childbirth Education

Bryan and I signed up for childbirth education classes this month. We had hoped to take them at LDS Hospital, since it's the closest to our house, and it's where we're planning to have the baby. However, nobody mentioned that classes fill up months in advance, and so by the time I got around to registering us the last week of May, all the classes at any hospital in Salt Lake were booked up through the end of August. The baby is due August 14th. You do the math...a lot of good a childbirth education class will do us when the baby is a couple weeks old!

As I was beginning to panic (slightly) I spoke to a wonderfully kind woman at the hospital education center who suggested I try checking with McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, since she thought they still had some spots available. It's about an hour away, but since we were only registering for one marathon 8-hour Saturday class, it wouldn't be that bad. I know not everyone opts for these kinds of classes, and truth be told...the baby is coming whether we're educated or not, but it's very much my personality to want to find out everything we can about it. So I called up to Ogden and we were able to get in!

The morning of the class we had to leave early and on our way, we realized that we hadn't brought directions, and neither of us had ever been there before. I'm going to blame this on pregnancy related brain-fog, since it's never happened before. Anyway, we arrived for our class a half-hour late, but we figured all we missed out on was probably introductions. The class covered everything from pregnancy symptoms & complications, tips on how to stay comfortable, to natural, epidural & c-section childbirth, what to expect for recovery in the hospital, the first week post-partum and caring for a newborn. The best part of the day may have been Bryan having to wear a 40-pound empathy belt (an awkward vest with velcro down the back with a huge belly and boobs, designed to help increase your partner's awareness of the discomforts of pregnancy.) Unfortunately, it was one of the rare occasions when we didn't have our camera, so no photos exist of the event. All-in-all, we had fun at the class, and we feel a bit more knowledgeable about all things pregnancy & baby. We know that the actual education still lies ahead, and we're looking forward to it whole-heartedly. We absolutely can't wait!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Baby Shower!

My baby shower was on Saturday, and we had so much fun! My friend Victoria had offered to throw it for me, (thanks so much Victoria!!) and Kristen and Mary helped out with activities and refreshments. We had the shower at our house, which was nice because it gave us an opportunity to show off our little nursery...though still not finished, it's coming together!

Victoria & I pose with the balloon bouquet
There were lots of yummy treats, and we also had a lunch of taco soup, clam chowder & salads. In keeping with our fairytale nursery theme, there were plenty of frogs there that day! Mary made here famous cake balls, the chocolate confections drizzled with white chocolate, and we also served yummy cupcakes topped with chocolate frogs that Victoria had made.
The refreshment spread in the diningroom

The gourmet-looking cake balls compliments of Mary

Victoria found this little porcelain frog...perfect!

Most of the festivities were held out in the yard on the beautiful, sunny day

Bryan's mom and sisters Jenaye & Lacey joined us via skype
Showing off the baby bumps with cousin Ali
Bryan's favorite baby gift so far  


Monday, May 16, 2011

The Chair Project

So this last week my Grandma and I were shopping at Ross, and I saw some really cute upholstered chairs for kids. I've always thought they were cute, and since I'm working on a nursery, it was fun to see that they had some that would go perfectly in the nursery. At least that's what I thought until I saw the price -- $60. Obviously, more than I would be willing to spend on a kid's I enjoyed looking at them, but had no further thought of actually getting one.

The next day, Grandma and I were doing one of our favorite things, visiting the local DI (a thrift store) when I noticed that they had an upholstered kid's chair! It was not much to look at, covered in stained and worn out denim, but I could see the potential. It's actually a cute little rocking chair. It was only $5, much more in my willing-to-spend price range. After a visit to the fabric store, (that happened to be having a mega sale,) I was able to come home with a couple yards of upholstery fabric (usually $21.99 a yard) for only $3.50 a yard! All-in-all the chair wound up costing a cool $12.00.

I considered reupholstering it, but then decided to go with a slip cover, which will be much easier to throw in the wash when things inevitably are spilled on it. I love how it turned out, and even though the baby won't be using it for a couple years, it was totally worth it!! Here are the before and after pictures:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Nursery Update!

So here are a few peeks at the progress we've made on the nursery. This past Saturday Bryan got so much finished. All-in-all, we've basically replaced the whole room. I wanted it to have a real nursery-feel, with an emphasis on storybook or fairytale theme. We've still got a few things to do, but I'm really happy with how it's coming together.

We haven't got our nursery furniture yet, and there are several things in there right now that won't be in there once the baby is here. The bassinet will be in our bedroom, and the swing will find a home in our livingroom. For now, it's been a nice central location for all-things baby.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

I was excited about this Mother's Day, because it's the first that I actually officially get to celebrate as a mother (or mom-to-be!) Bryan got me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a wonderful card. I'm not going to share the card, because it's personal, but I will say that I'm one of the luckiest girls in the world when it comes to having a husband that writes the sweetest notes and always picks out cards that make me cry! Ok, I'll admit, making me cry right now is really not that hard! But it was a wonderfully sweet card and I loved every word of the card and his hand-written message.

I also got a card from the dogs, which basically talked all about how I meet their needs when they're hungry, in need of affection, etc. Inside it basically said that we make a great team. It was really cute, and also included a hand-written message reading something like, "arf, bark bark, woof grrrr, woof woof." It was signed Tailor & Quincy. It was really fun.

Here are my beautiful Mother's Day flowers, which included the same gorgeous orange lilies we had at our wedding, two beautiful red roses and some other wonderful spring flowers. Ahhh, I love my husband!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Candy's 37th Birthday!

This year's birthday was one of my best birthdays EVER! The day started at around 5am, when I woke up and tossed a bit in bed trying to get comfortable. Bryan woke to my stirring and pulled me in close, whispering "Happy Birthday!" I was impressed that he had the presence of mind that early in the morning to remember my birthday. After a couple more hours of sleep, the day continued with spa pedicures, lunch with my friend Victoria, then an afternoon of shopping.

When he was done with work, Bryan brought home my favorite takeout and flowers, as well as some other goodies. We ate dinner (complete with sparkling cider and stemware, of course!) out on the porch and enjoyed the perfect evening. We also took some pictures of the baby bump to mark the occasion...even though I feel fat, swollen and generally deformed, we do need pictures for posterity. :) After dinner, he surprised me with a little cake complete with some improvised tea-light candles since we didn't have birthday candles. I'm sure the wish is still good, right?

When I opened my presents, I loved that one of them was a little 12" wooden mirror that came from a thrift store. I was a little confused at first, but then Bryan told me to open the card. Inside, he had written a poem that I won't share here, but the jist of it was about how this was a magic mirror that reflected the image of the most wonderful woman in the that the sweetest thing EVER???? My next gift was a beautiful ceiling fan/light fixture for our bedroom. I've been wishing for one for over a year...and now that I'm prego and summer is fast approaching, it's the perfect gift! I was sooo excited about it, and the best part was that it came with the promise that it would be installed the next day! As one last surprise for me, I got a coupon for pre-natal massage, a massage technique specifically for pregnant women. The biggest surprise was that he had studied prenatal massage technique, and proceeded to give me the most wonderful (and relaxing!) hour-long prenatal massage. I was SUPER impressed by his effort with that. After working in the spa industry for over a decade, I've had a lot of professional massages to compare it with. He did a great job! Is my husband the BEST, or what!!!??

It was an amazing birthday, and I'm so excited for this coming year...we have so many wonderful things to look forward to, not the least of which is having our first little baby! Life is so wonderful, and while it's not always perfect, I feel so blessed. My life has changed so much over the last few's completely different than it was three years ago. But I wouldn't trade any of it for what I have right now! I'm looking forward to another wonderful year!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Nursery Stuff...Crown Molding!

We were so excited that my brother Matt was going to be in town for a short visit! While he was here, he graciously shared his expertise with us by helping us install crown molding in the baby's room. He brought all of his pro tools and he and Bryan had the job done in under an hour. Thanks so much, Matt!! We love you and REALLY appreciate it!

We enjoyed the rest of the evening by having dinner and just spending time together. I love my family so much, and wish they lived closer!!