Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Just so everyone knows...

It's been a long time since I last posted. Life was crazy leading up to my big Civil Engineering Exam at the end of October and it hasn't slowed down since then.

I have a lot of posts to catch up on from the summer and recent holidays, but before all that, there's one thing I'd like to make sure all our friends and family (that I don't see everyday) know.

Long story short Brad, Connor, and I are moving to Utah!

Brad found a new job with Boeing in Ogden, UT and we are moving there in 1 week. We will be living in West Haven, just west of Ogden across I-15. Crazy, unexpected, and definitely unforeseen until 4 weeks ago. This was a very quick decision, but it wasn't without deep thought and consideration for all our options. We REALLY love living in El Segundo and had planned to be here for at least the next 5 years to finish Brad's Master's Degree and 2 year work commitment, but because he will be able to finish all that in Utah (because he will still be working for Boeing) and because we will be able to buy a house, this is a good decision for our family right now.

We are so sad to leave my family, all our friends, and this beautiful area, but we are so excited for the opportunities that await us in Utah. Not to mention, all of Brad's family is in Utah and I will have several aunts, uncles, and cousins close by, as well as my grandparents a short drive away in Idaho.

Thanks to everyone who have supported us in this big life alteration. Endings are sad, but beginnings and change are exciting. This offer is open to any of you who will be in the Ogden, UT area - if you ever need a place to stay, you are all welcome in our home.

To all our friends and family in Utah, get ready to play! Here we come!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's been a great summer...

There were so many fun and noteworthy activities we did this summer. Many of them I blogged about already, but some of them slipped through the cracks and I failed to blog about them. So here are some of the activities I missed. We had a great summer and are sad it's now over.

In April (10-21) when Connor was nearly 6 months old, he had his first swim lessons at Richmond Street Elementary School. It was more to get him used to and comfortable in water (and to get out of the house) than actually teaching a 6 month old to swim. We signed up with my friend Becky and Connor's friend Kevin, who is a couple months older than Connor. The swim lessons were twice per week (T/Th) for 2 weeks. Our instructor's name was Moses. We had a great time.







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With El Segundo's free Beach shuttle during the summer months, how could we not visit the beach?! We visited El Porto in Manhattan Beach several times during the summer with friends and had a great time.



Connor didn't like how cold the water was. That ended our swimming in the ocean for the day.
LeeElle and Cohen. Cohen was fearless. He loves the water!

Amy Jo and some of the kiddos.

Connor loved playing in the sand.

Our entire gang on the way home from the beach. We filled the entire shuttle!

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August 8-13 Brad, Connor, and I drove up to Utah to visit Brad's family and for the Jeppson family vacation at Scofield Reservoir (near Price, UT).

Before driving down to the reservoir, we spent a few days at the Jeppsons' house and visited Brad's grandparents at their house.





This was Connor's favorite toy while we were there. A toy cash register that Brad used to play with when he was little.



On Monday night (Aug. 9) while we were in Utah we went to a Bee's game in Salt Lake and saw our friend Amy Jo and her cute daughters Ashley and Taylor. Ashley, who is 4, was the star of the game when she sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" for the 7th Inning Stretch. She was great!






Later in the week, we drove down to Scofield. All of Brad's immediate family and most of his extended family on the Jeppson side was there. Most of the family camped in tents by the water, but we stayed in a mini motel with Brad's grandparents so Connor would be warm enough. It was FREEZING at night, but very nice during the day. We went boating, water skiing, tubing, wave running, motorcycling; we played games and told stories; and I was able to get in some studying for my PE Exam coming up in October. Some of the time I was the one to stay behind to watch Connor so I studied while he took naps. We had a great time, and it was fun for many of Brad's cousins to finally meet Connor.

This is Brad's little cousin Ryan. He and Connor were inseparable - they were so adorable together!




Brad's cousin Nick and his fiance Fabiola (Fabby), and Brad's Aunt Jan holding Connor.

This is Ryan's older sister and Aunt Jan's daughter, Alyssa. Connor really loved her too.




Brad's cousin Matt, Alyssa and Ryan's older brother, also had fun playing with Connor.


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My El Segundo ward has some very athletic people. Many of them (including my bishop) signed up for the El Segundo Summer Slowpitch Softball League and asked me if I would play with them. My bishop's son Scott and Scott's wife Emily put the team together. It was a blast!! We played 10 games and ended up placing 2nd out of 6 teams. We almost had first place, but we lost our last game to the best team in the league. But we almost had them! The final score was 10-7 and the tying run was on base! It was your typical 2 outs, bases loaded, but we couldn't make it happen. Ugh. It was great, though. I always love me some good softball games!


My bishop is on the left. Scott is the one with blond hair on the right.




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This summer was so much fun. Now the next 2 months will be devoted entirely to studying for the PE. The test is at the end of October and the closer it gets, the more nervous I become. So you probably won't hear from me much before then...

Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Twenty-Something

Twenty-five to be exact. My birthday was last week on Sept. 1. Long story short, it started out ordinary, then got a little better, then turned to crap, then got better again. You can stop reading now if you are satisfied with that, but I want to document all that happened.

I woke up and went to work. Nothing work-related went any better or worse that usual - meetings, paperwork, report-writing, etc. Ordinary.

Brad called me at work to wish me a Happy Birthday, sweet, and some Facebook friends posted their happy birthday well-wishes on my Wall. Thanks everyone! A little better.

I went home and Connor did his usual drop whatever he was doing and run (walk) over to me for a hug and kisses. Love that. We played, ate lunch, and drove Ady to her apartment in Orange (her car broke so she was driving our truck, she got hers fixed, returned the truck and needed a ride home). Connor slept almost the whole 1.5 hour car ride, waking up only 10 minutes from home. (Side note: He's going through a phase right now that I don't think will pass any time soon- he doesn't like to be inside for any long length of time. He gets bored quickly and, consequently, becomes fussy and trouble-seeking.) So since he was awake, I decided to make a trip to Michaels to look for Young Women invitation supplies. Mistake #1.

I put him in his umbrella stroller, thinking that would keep him somewhat happy for a little while because he loves stroller rides. Wrong. As soon as I stopped to look at paper, he wanted out. Fine. There was nothing on that isle that he could really hurt or get into, so I turned him loose. In a new place he is good about staying next to me so he just played with the swinging metal price tags on the paper trays while I found the paper I needed. He followed me into the next isle where I was looking for brads and, wouldn't you know (although I'll never understand why), they put rows and rows of stickers and trinkets on the 0-2 ft level. Naturally he wanted to get into those so I held his hand and kept him just out of reach of the displayed items, knowing I didn't have much time until he would start protesting. Well, "not much time" was about 20 seconds. He started fussing, went boneless, and sat down on the floor. I, trying to be the I'm-not-going-to-put-up-with-this-behavior parent, let go of his hand and said (rather calmly), "Ok, you can sit on the floor and cry then," and walked 2 steps away. Well, if you remember this post from a couple weeks ago, you remember he can stand up on his own now. The first boneless tantrum was because he couldn't have what he wanted, but it didn't take him long (in fact only once) to figure out that if he went boneless and sat on the floor I would let go of his hand, which is what he wanted in the first place. I didn't realize what he was doing until he did it twice more - my kid is already smarter than me. So when he did it a fourth time, I tried to stand him back up with the hand I was holding but he wouldn't put his feet down. There was an older lady at the end of the aisle watching with amusement (she was quite literally laughing) as I held my 10-month-old suspended in air by the hand with his feet and legs held straight out in front of him saying, "Connor, stand up. Put your feet down, stand up." After 10 seconds of this, I just picked him up and held him - which he really didn't want. After being stiff-armed and screamed at, I determined it was a good time to leave. I hurried to the cash register, paid for the items I managed to pick up before all this started, and we left. This was the downhill turn in the day.

When we got home we started playing with some toys. I had just checked my email and set my laptop back down on the floor (Mistake #2). I walked over to his toy bin to get more of his toys out for him and he dashed behind me straight to the computer and knocked it over (we stand the laptop up on its side so it doesn't overheat). It killed the laptop. It froze and wouldn't restart, though I tried several times. I was sick the rest of the day thinking that I just lost all the pictures, videos, and journals from the last several months (fortunately we backed everything up on our external hard drive in April). And, on top of that, Connor was bored being inside so he was fussing and whining. I should have left the house again and went to a park or something, but I was just too tired by this point.

Brad had to work late that night so he got home right at 7 when it was time for me to leave for mutual. I remember saying something along the lines of "have fun with that" and walked out the door. Fortunately, mutual was a blast. My friend's husband is a lifeguard at the beach so he took all our young women on a tour of the Lifeguard Headquarters on the Hermosa Beach Pier. Very cool and interesting! We had fun talking to the lifeguards on duty, hearing all the stories, and seeing the trucks and gear they use to save people. Our refreshments that night were cupcakes (my favorite kind - fun-fetti cake mix with rainbow chip frosting!) made for me for my birthday by one of my young women. I love these girls! So the day was getting better. Then we walked back to my car to go home and there was a nice happy birthday present from the cops on my windshield - a parking ticket. Sigh. Happy freaking birthday (minus $50).

I dropped my girls off at their houses, and ended the night opening my presents from Brad. He got me a 16 GB camera card (so our card doesn't fill up so fast from all the video I shoot), another camera battery (because I'm always complaining that the only one we have dies when we are out and we can't charge it - it doesn't take regular batteries), and tickets to see Young Frankenstein at the OC Performing Arts Center in a couple weeks. At least the day ended on a very good note.

I just went to bed after that so nothing else could go wrong.

Thankfully, that day wasn't quite the disaster I thought it was since Brad has been able to get all the files off the computer, but now we're in the market for a $400-$500 laptop. That, plus the parking ticket, and all the presents Brad gave me made for one of the most expensive days we've had in a long time. Happy birthday to me...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cute Fall Pictures for a Great Price!

I just found this blog through a friend's blog. This photographer is doing mini fall photo sessions (in Long Beach) for just $20! You get 15 minutes of picture time and 10 edited photos on CD. You can't beat that!

Here is the link to her blog post about it. Take a look at her pictures - very cute! Several of my friends from Long Beach have been her subjects in the past. (There is also a link to her page on the right side of my blog.)

http://sarahhullphotography.blogspot.com/2009/08/pumpkinfall-mini-session-fyi-sign-up.html

I'm planning to go on Friday, Oct. 8th in the afternoon. Anyone care to join me?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 Years Strong

I must give Brad the full credit for this year's anniversary. I, admittedly, FORGOT!! In my defense, I was aware that it was coming up within the week and I never forget the date, I just hadn't consciously nailed down the day. During church the Sunday before our anniversary, I agreed to feed the ward missionaries on Thursday - which just so happened to be our anniversary. I realized my mistake before leaving to go home a couple hours later (because Brad asked me what I wanted to do on Thursday), but Brad caught it before me and fixed the situation without me knowing.

Then he proceeded to plan our celebrations for Thursday (including a babysitter for Connor) and kept me completely in the dark. He asked our friends Sean and Ginger to watch Connor, and they are also the people that agreed to feed the missionaries for us that night - thank you, thank you!!! After Brad got home from work, we headed toward Long Beach, stopping at a grocery store to get sparkling cider and gold fish (I was hungry and we planned to eat dinner after). He took me on a gondola ride through Long Beach Harbor because he knew I loved the one a few weeks before in Vegas. It was a romantic, hour-long boat ride at sunset (even though our gondolier didn't have a great singing voice), and it was fun to see all the ridiculously expensive houses on the water and hear all the history of the area. After our gondola ride we called Sean and Ginger to make sure Connor was doing ok, and he wasn't. He has been clingy lately. So we drove home, put Connor to bed, and made ourselves a nice pasta dinner at 9 p.m. It was a fun night.




This is the most expensive house sold on the water to date. It sold for $13.5M and - get this - it's a SUMMER HOME for the owners. That means they have another house (maybe several!!) elsewhere to live the rest of the year!! Where do people get all this money?!

This is the house that inspired Barbie's Dreamhouse.


Breathtaking.

The traditional and modern gifts associated with the 5th wedding anniversary are wood, representing strength and a solidified relationship, and silverware, representing connectedness. Both of these represent our relationship very well at this point in our marriage.

Brad and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple 5 years ago on August 5. In the last 5 years, the two of us have completed 6 years (combined) of school, lived in 5 apartments, held 7 different jobs, been on countless vacations and weekend getaways, and added one new member to our small family. We've had a lot of ups and a few downs. Because of most of our experiences together (and in spite of a few others), our relationship is stronger than it's ever been.

In these 5 short years, nothing has brought us closer together than Connor. We love him. He is a compilation of both of us and we love teaching him, playing with him, and watching him grow. He brings so much more happiness into an already happy home.

Happy 5 years to my best friend Braddy! Wood is known to be long-lasting, so here's to many more years together!

Monday, August 23, 2010

PUPPPs

One of my friends was asking about some of my pregnancy/birth stories and I sent this to her. I thought I would share to see if any of you had a similar problem with your pregnancies.

Oh boy do I have some pregnancy/birth stories to share!!! I think PUPPPs is a good place to start. No, not the cute, brown, furry kind. PUPPPs (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy) is a rash that very few women get, usually late in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, and the cause is unknown. One study has shown that male fetal DNA can be found in skin biopsies of the rash and, since 70% of women with PUPPPs give birth to boys, a new hypothesis is that male fetal DNA acts as a skin irritant. PUPPPs is also usually the worst with your first pregnancy, but usually goes away shortly after birth. However, for some unlucky few (we're talking 1 in thousands), it can last up to 1 year postpartum.

Meet one of the unlucky few.

During my pregnancy with Connor (my first pregnancy), I noticed by belly was starting to get itchy half way through my 3rd trimester. I just chalked it up to the fact that my skin was stretched more than ever (and was still in the process of stretching) and was, therefore, extremely itchy. While that may not have helped the situation any, that wasn't the real reason.

Immediately after Connor was born, within the first couple hours, my legs got so itchy I literally couldn't stand it. The bed sheets were like torture because they made my legs and feet itch so bad. I asked the nurse what was happening and she said sometimes that happens when the epidural is wearing off and that it should go away within a day or so. And it did. Until a week later.

1 week postpartum, my shins and thighs started to itch uncontrollably and were covered with pea-sized to quarter-sized, raised, welt-looking bumps. Within 3 days it had spread to my calfs and the soles of my feet and the itch was unbelievable. I've had mosquito bites, poison oak, and other similar rashes/bites, but this surpasses them all x1000 and until you've had PUPPPS you can't even imagine how itchy you can get. None of the lotions or hydro-cortisone creams I had helped at all and it was only getting worse as time went on, so I called my doctor (and the only reason I waited that long was because this began on a Friday night so I had to wait out the weekend).

I saw my OBGYN and she recommended I see a dermatologist because she didn't have any idea what the rash could be (which amazes me because she sees pregnant women all day every day!). The dermatologist also shrugged his shoulders the first time I saw him and sent me home with a stronger prescription strength hydro-cortisone cream and told me to take Benedryl for the antihistamine. Neither worked at all, and the Benedryl just made me groggy. I went back to the dermatologist several days later and he said he thought it might be PUPPPs - a very rare pregnancy rash that he's never actually seen on a patient and never heard of lasting this long after birth (this was 2 weeks postpartum). He also said there's really nothing that can be done except wait for it to go away. He prescribed some even stronger creams and lotions anyway, none of which helped in the slightest, and said it would most likely clear up in a week or so. I didn't think I could last another week as I was starting to (quite literally) scratch my skin off - I was making myself bleed.

I went home immediately and started reading about PUPPPs online and found several online posts from some women that said they had PUPPPs too. The longest any of them said they had it was 6-8 weeks until I read a comment on a post from another girl who said hers lasted 1 full year. A YEAR?!?! I was horrified. I hoped and prayed that mine would stop in a couple more weeks.

1 week, 2 weeks, 3 more weeks (so 5 weeks total) went by and there was absolutely no relief, although ice helped a little (I just left ice packs on my legs until my skin was numb of all feeling). The itching was worse than ever and trying not to scratch was IMPOSSIBLE. I was waking up several times a night because of the INSATIABLE itch. All I could do all day long was scratch and, of course, that helped it spread. Never before in my life have my legs, stomach, sides, arms, and neck itched so badly, and the worst of all were the soles of my feet and the palms of my hands. At one point (I think about 6 weeks into it) I didn't care if I bled and, in fact, I kept itching more thinking that if I could get it to hurt, it wouldn't itch anymore, or at least not as bad - that's how bad it was. I knew pain would be better than the itch, but that didn't make the itching stop either.

2 months came and went. It turned into 3, 4, 5... and here I am, 10 months later, and I'm still itching. Fortunately, it has gotten immensely better. The worst of the itching peaked around 6-8 weeks for me and, slowly, the itching subsided for longer and longer periods of time. I started only itching a few hours a day, then only a couple times per week. Now, at 10 months postpartum, I go through an itching spell about once every 2 weeks and it usually only lasts for about 30 minutes to an hour. I'll keep you posted about whether or not the itching stops at the 1 year mark...

Needless to say, pregnancy does some pretty crazy things to your body!!! Did anything like this happen to anyone else?

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's Official

So, a few posts back I posted videos of Connor taking several steps on his own, and not crawling. He doesn't know how to crawl, like most babies, so he isn't able to move over to something, pull himself up, and then let go to walk on his own. When I said I didn't count the first 2-3 steps he took on Father's Day, it is because Brad and I have had to set and balance him on his feet then let him go, and he would do a controlled fall toward the other of us, taking 2-3 steps in the process. If he had crawled, pulled himself up, and walked even 1 step before falling, I would have counted it. But he didn't. I counted his first steps (on July 9) when I did (even though we still had to set him on his feet) because the 15 steps he took that night were much more than a controlled fall. They were actually very balanced and coordinated, and he did it several times in a row. He has been getting better and better ever since.

Well, I thought he would eventually have to learn to crawl to a chair, pull himself up, and then walk to become a true, independent walker. I guess Connor is as stubborn as his mom - he proved me wrong:

video

It's official - he has skipped crawling entirely. He stood up on his own from sitting for the first time on Friday, August 6 while I was trying on clothes in a Target dressing room. Naturally when I needed him to sit still, he walked on his own. That is just like him. He still doesn't know how to crawl, so maybe he will learn when he's 2 and pretending to be a dog during playtime?? Either that or he'll be one goofy-looking dog inch-worming his way around the house.

I have the happiest boy now that he is fully and independently mobile. He grows more confident every day and is now independently walking almost everywhere. The only reason he doesn't walk everywhere we go now is because he is easily distracted and we are still working on "come here" and "follow me." However, now are starting the tantrums when we say he can't go somewhere or touch something. I thought these weren't supposed to start until they were 2?! Or, at the very least, 1! Childproofing is in full swing...

Bonk!

Connor got his first real owie while we were in Vegas. He was walking between Brad and Uncle Brandon. I was working on the laptop when Connor unexpectedly walked to me, tripped, and hit his eye on the corner of the computer. Brad and I didn't think he hit that hard until we saw a tear drop twinged with blood roll down his face. We were SO SCARED!!! But (thankfully) it turned out to just be a cut at the corner of his eye. His eye swelled up immediately and I totally thought he was gonna have a black eye. But it turned out that it looked the worst right after it happened. It actually healed fairly quickly - it was gone within 3 days. I'm glad kids are resilient.


About 12 hours later:

Then while we were in Utah for the annual Jeppson Family Vacation a couple weeks ago, we were picnicking at Bridlevail Falls when he lost his footing, scraped his cheek on the metal picnic bench and slammed his head on the concrete pad below (I heard the thud, ugh). This was taken a couple days after so the bruise on his cheek had mostly gone away.


He's also fallen in the tub and pretty much everywhere else in the house too. When he's walking and he starts to lose his balance as he gets close to an object he pulls what we call his "brace for impact" face. He's gotten several goose eggs now that he's started walking for real, and I'm sure there are many more to come. He is, after all, a boy...