And We’re Back

Hey everyone! It has been awhile since one of us posted anything on here. The last few months with an infant provided some of the most challenging and rewarding experiences. There were times I thought I wasn’t going to make it as a new dad. But there is something about seeing a mini-me laying on the floor babbling to himself that makes me say, “Awwww! Okay, I’ll keep him one more day”. Like father like son I suppose πŸ˜‰ Our lives continue to be full of adventure. Hope has been having some success with her Etsy shop. Check it out! I am in the second semester of the Master of Public Administration program. I am excited to be traveling to Costa Rica soon to apply what I have been learning in my international community development class. We will try to stay in touch more often. Have a great day and don’t forget to #entertheadventure

Awesome views at #antelopeisland

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Giving Good Gifts

When I was 8 months pregnant I attended a conference. The opening session of the conference was packed. Fortunately I had gotten there early enough to get a good seat. Unfortunately about 30 minutes into the presentation I needed to use the bathroom, one of the joys of being 8 months pregnant. I was irritated, knowing that my seat would be taken once I left. When I returned from the bathroom the room was even more packed than before. Every seat was full and there were about 30 people standing in the back. Tired and hugely pregnant, but not wanting to miss the captivating speaker, I joined the people standing in the back of the room. Standing was even more uncomfortable than I had anticipated and I was feeling more and more irritated by the second. After standing for maybe 10 minutes or so a man came up to me and offered me his seat. I was incredibly relieved and grateful. That small act of kindness from a complete stranger made my day.

Over the last 6 months I have been the recipient of small acts of kindness like these that have made such a difference. There was the manager at the grocery store who insisted he help me unload my cart when I was enormously pregnant, the woman who rushed to open a door for me when she saw me pushing my stroller, the person who returned my cart to the store when my baby was screaming, Β and many others. These acts were simple, but someone saw that I was in need and they helped.

These complete strangers have made me want to be more kind, and I think that is the biggest difference that these people have made. Too often we focus on the bad in the world, but we can do something to make sure there is more good. Since seeing what a difference small acts of kindness can do, I have been trying my best to look for small kind things I can do for others. I have also made a goal to be more accepting of Β the kindness of others, because I believe that is just as important.

I can’t help but think that by being kind to others we are in some small part doing the work of God. In the Book of Mormon I read in Moroni 10:18 “. . . remember that every good gift cometh of Christ.”

Halloween

I can’t believe we are already this far into October, as such I have been thinking a lot about Halloween. Now that my sewing machine is fixed I have been adding some fun Halloween items and other things to my Etsy shop, Creations By Hope. I’ll be adding more in the next few days, so check back often.

Don’t mind the cute pictures of my adorable bib model.


Baby Blessing

A few weeks ago we had Porter’s baby blessing. This was a sweet experience and rare opportunity to have all of our family together. Joe’s dad was even able to make the trip, which is something he hasn’t been able to do since our wedding. We are so grateful to have Porter in our lives and that he is officially ours in the records of our church. Even though he pooped on his white outfit and popped off some the snaps, lost one of his shoes, and Β whimpered through the blessing, it was one of those moments we will always cherish. Thank you to everyone who made the journey to share this moment with us. All photos were taken by my mom.

Our Family

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Porter’s Birth Story-The Short Version

Midnight:Β Contractions were getting to be consistent and closer together.

2:00 a.m.:Β Called the hospital and they told me to stay home for a few more hours. I watched The Incredibles while Joe unsuccessfully tried to sleep.

6:00 a.m.:Β We headed to the hospital and successfully beat rush hour traffic.

7:00 a.m.:Β After some skeptical hospital staff checked me I was dilated to 5 cm and admitted to the hospital.

2:00 pm.:Β My water broke with a loud pop, I was dilated to 9.75 cm.

2:30 p.m.:Β Started pushing

4:10 p.m.:Β Porter was born!
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Porter’s Birth Story-The Long Version

Just before midnight the night before Porter was born I woke up with contractions. Actually I had been having contractions off and on all day, this was the point that I finally gave up on sleeping. I hopped in the tub and started timing my contractions. They were 5-7 minutes apart. Around this time Joe woke up from me continuously running water in the tub trying to get the right temperature. He reminded me of some of the breathing techniques we had learned in our birth hypnosis class, which helped tremendously.

Around 2 a.m. contractions had been 4-5 minutes apart for over an hour. Since this was the point we had been told to come to the hospital, I called to see if I should come in. The nurse told me that since this was my first pregnancy I could labor at home for a few more hours or until I couldn’t handle it. I was grateful that I made this call before heading in. Joe tried to get some sleep and I put on a movie.

At 6:00 a.m. we decided to head to the hospital. Joe didn’t believe I was really in labor but decided we should go to the hospital and check and that we should do it before rush hour. Once at the hospital we got lost trying to figure out where to check in, even though we had taken a tour. When we checked in I was irritated that we had to wait in line and there were no chairs. Eventually we got placed in a triage room and I was connected to all sorts of monitors. We waited for about a half hour until a skeptical nurse came to check me. She looked at me and I’m sure she didn’t believe I was actually in labor. She asked me if I had been checked at all. I told her that I had been 2 cm dilated the week before. She seemed surprised, and was even more surprised when she checked and I was dilated to 5 cm.

I got admitted to the hospital at about 7 a.m. After being hooked up to monitors and started on an IV (I was GBS positive) I got in the tub for a while. I tried a few different techniques I had learned in our birth hypnosis class, but the thing that I stuck with was ratio breathing. Over the next few hours I continued to dilate steadily. As contractions got more intense I started to do some rocking motions through contractions. I also started thinking of the contractions as waves, I knew that if I made it to the peak of the contraction I would be just fine. Joe was incredibly supportive. He got me water and ice chips, let the nurses and doctors know of my preferences, gave me verbal encouragement, and helped suggest different techniques from our class.

A little before 2:00 p.m. Joe and I heard a pop and my water broke. A few minutes later it was time to push. Pushing was the most intense part of the experience. I pushed for about 2 hours total. At the very end Porter’s heart rate was dropping and they used the vacuum one time to get him out. Immediately after delivery Porter and I both had some minor complications so we didn’t get to have delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin after delivery. Joe was able to escort Porter to the nursery for monitoring and an hour later we were reunited as a family of three.

Unmedicated childbirth is the most difficult thing I have ever done, but wouldn’t have done it any other way.

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Sometimes When You’re Pregnant…

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Your belly looks like a basketball. People also like to mention this a lot.

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You get to look like a druggie. No I did not take up IV drug use but was being tested for gestational diabetes. Thankfully with the longer, much less fun test my results were in the normal range.

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Your belly is the perfect shelf for your water bottle. Hands free hydration!

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You get to buy fun little outfits like this one. Our little man is going to be well dressed.

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You get excited by the passage of time. Each week seems like a huge landmark. You may also get very skilled at finding different ways of counting down to your due date. Right now I have a little over 8 weeks or about two months or less than 60 days til my due date.

Recent Happenings

We’ve been pretty busy for the last few months, spending a lot of money fixing our car, working two jobs, mourning the loss of my grandmother, set backs at work, etc. In the midst of all the chaos we have been able to fit in some fun things.

Months ago I bought tickets for us to go to the One Republic and Sara Bareilles concert at the end of August. It was a blast, we even stayed through the whole thing (though we were late enough we completely missed the opening band) which is something we don’t usually do. We usually leave a little early to beat the traffic. I was most excited to see Sara Bareilles, but I was surprised at how fun One Republic was live. I felt it was money well spent.

Sara Bareilles and One Republic Concert
Sara Bareilles and One Republic Concert

Since Labor Day is a Monday holiday it meant that Joe and I had a whole day off together, which doesn’t happen often. We took advantage of the day by attending a breakfast in our new ward and meeting lots of friendly new people. Then we went to Ikea and bought lots of as-is furniture, the benefit of which is that it is already assembled. The main event of the day was a drive to Mirror Lake in the Uintas. We had a pleasant picnic in the cool weather and took a stroll around the lake. On the way home we also checked out the beautiful Provo Falls.

Provo Falls
Provo Falls
Mirror Lake
Mirror Lake

We’ve also enjoyed exploring our new neighborhood. There are sunflowers growing everywhere. One day we decided to check out a huge park a little ways away from our apartment. We were surprised that there is a network of short running/hiking/biking trails along with a stunning view of the valley.

Sunflowers
Sunflowers
Sunset at the park
Sunset at the park

Because Labor Day is a Monday holiday and Joe’s day off is on Monday it meant Joe had an extra day to take off. He chose to take a Saturday off to spend with me and we went hiking with some friends. We went up Big Cottonwood canyon and hiked the Brighton Lakes trail.Β It was perfect hiking weather.

Hiking with friends
Hiking with friends

Finlandia

In high school I was part of a regional youth symphony. Every year we participated in a music festival at Abravanel Hall, home of the Utah Symphony. It was one of my favorite performances of the year because watching the Utah Symphony perform as a child was the inspiration of my dream to become a musician. One year we performed Jean Sibelius’s Finlandia in its entirety. The entire piece is beautiful but the most well known is the hymn part which has been adapted to be played on its own and is one of Finland’s most important National songs. I was excited to play this piece because I am 1/4 Finnish and my Finnish grandmother was there that day to hear me play. I proudly played out the part of the flute melody that most people know as the hymn “Be Still My Soul.”

My Finnish Grandmother was always encouraging of my talent as a flutist. She passed away a little over a week ago. Shortly after I got the call that my grandmother was not likely to live much longer I remembered a conversation I had with her a few months previous. I had played my flute at my brother’s missionary farewell and she and my other grandmother were joking about me playing my flute at their funerals. My Finnish grandmother got fairly serious (which is unusual because she loved to joke) and told me she wanted me to play the flute at her funeral and she even knew what she wanted me to play, Finlandia. As soon as I remembered this I got online and searched and searched for the perfect arrangement.Β 

A few days later as my family got together to plan my grandmother’s funeral I found out that she had specifically written in her plans that I was to play Finlandia at her funeral. I was honored. As I played at her funeral service I was overcome with emotion. I was saddened that I won’t see her again in this life, comforted by the knowledge that I will see her again, slightly frightened that the high A I was going to play would be egregiously out of tune, pleased that I could honor my grandmother’s wishes, and proud to be 1/4 Finnish.Β 

Graduation X2

The end finally came, I finished my Masters degree and graduated for my second time from the University of Utah.

Graduation twoThis time I hope it feels more final. Last year after I graduated with my Bachelors degree I returned to school to begin my Masters only two weeks later. This time I’m not planning on going to back to school, at least not for a while. Joe knew how hard this last year was for me and made a medal to commemorate my efforts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was excited to have lots of family at my College’s convocation. I even got my sister, my niece and nephew, and one of my brothers all of whom had to travel quite a distance to be there. I know there were other people who wanted be there but couldn’t, I felt of your support too.

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I don’t know what I would have done with out such a loving and supportive husband.

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It was a great day. It was especially great to gather after the convocation with many of the 20+ people from my domain who I spent so much time with this past year.

My nephew Cooper and his family came all the way from Colorado to celebrate with me.
My nephew Cooper and his family came all the way from Colorado to celebrate with me.

Later that day even more friends and family gathered for more celebration. I was especially grateful to some of my good friends from high school who traveled about an hour to be there. They stayed the entire length of the party and helped put everything away when it was over.

Jenny, Camille, Jennica, and Mikaela, you are the best!
Jenny, Camille, Jennica, and Mikaela, you are the best!

Thank you to all the friends and family who have supported me in my education and helped celebrate with me this last weekend. I couldn’t have done it without you!