Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas

 I hope everyone's holiday was as great as ours! Here are a bunch of pictures from the last week or so, not necessarily in the right order. This was the first time that I have lived in a circle of friends that are constantly delivering treats to each other, so Christmas deliveries were ultra special and in great abundance. I made these cute baskets out of paper, lined them with homemade glitter covered snowflakes and nestled reindeer droppings (truffles) inside.
 Ethan running out of his room to see all of his present was honestly one of the happiest moments of my life. We got it on video but just need to figure out how to transfer it to our computer. Anyway, one of his favorite gifts was this wooden car tower. It only took him a couple of tries to figure it out and he's been hooked to it ever since. :)
 Jon got something he's been eyeballing for a year now, an exercise bar! He was really excited... we'll see how much he actually uses it.... tee hee hee.
 It's Jon's family tradition to have a cracker and cheese candlelit dinner on Christmas night. This was the first year that we did it all by ourselves and I thought I did a pretty good job. Among all the types of cheeses was a large package of cheese curds from Idaho sent by my mom. YUM! Although, they weren't as squeaky as I remember growing up. Notice there are three places at our table.... that is because...
 My mom came! She knocked on our door at 10am Christmas morning wearing a santa hat. What a great surprise! I was so glad to have some family with us to celebrate Christmas. We had a great weekend, wish she could have stayed longer. Speaking of not having family around for Christmas, it actually wasn't too bad. It's because we are surrounded by wonderful people that brought the Christmas spirit in abundance. Christmas Eve we party hopped, first to the Goldstein's. They have a B-E-A-UTIFUL home right in the middle of Candy Cane Lane (will explain that later in the post). It was packed with people all smiling, munching on yummy food and chatting by the multiple fireplaces. The second place we went to was the Moeser's house. This family is a mix of families, all happy and full of tradition. Festivities included a talent performed by each member of the family, a play depicting the real reason for the season, a gift passing game, and a find-the-almond-in-the-pudding game. We had so much fun, what a great family. It made us think about the traditions we want to start with our kids.
 I need to get a better picture, but I gave myself bangs! I love them. They frame my face so well and honestly, they look like they cut 5 lbs off of me. Sweet!
 Ethan fell asleep on the recliner one day while watching his shows. A couple minutes later he semi-awoke and decided he was going to get down, got half way off and then fell fast asleep again. He stayed like this for a good 20 minutes.
 He found the white chocolate chips. Here he is offering me one and saying "Mmmmm."
 Aunt Ranee, my Grandpa Bob and Grandma Katherine, and cousin Tyson and family came down to go to Disney! Here is Kendra (Tyson's wife) and they're little girl, Molly, who is a absolute doll.
 Whenever Ranee comes into town, which is pretty often, Ethan is obsessed with the suitcase that sits in our living room. He name for Ranee is now "wheel" which he pronounces "ee-wall". Isn't he so handsome in this picture?
Candy Cane Lane. It's a small area of Torrance that is famous for its Christmas lights. Throughout all December, the streets were packed with cars and pedestrians checking out the Christmas lights. Ethan LOVED it. This is my Grandpa Bob, him and Ethan we instant buddies. :)
Overall it was a great holiday season! We were spoiled with gifts and friends and family. I got a gift card to a spa, oh am I ever so excited for that! We also got passes for a segway tour of Long Beach, we've always wanted to ride segways, so we're looking forward to that.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

uber cuteness around our house

 Jon has mastered the art of bouncing a baby while playing his video games. In fact, he now bounces while he plays even when he's not carrying Corryn. :) This makes me giggle.

Meet witchy Corryn. Lately every night she comes to visit us, sometimes for just a little bit and other nights for a good couple of hours. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to her permanent departure.

 This is the Corryn we prefer. :) Isn't she just so sweet?

 She is super good at sitting in the bumbo for her age. Ethan has also gotten over his shyness and has learned to give her kisses, usually on the leg.

 Ethan's favorite tv watching seat.... Corryn's bed. :) He gets in there all by himself.

 He loves to help mom, he was a great carpet cleaner.

 "This is for you, Mom! Because I know how much you love cleaning me off."

It's been raining non-stop for about a week now and Ethan has cabin fever. I finally let him just soak himself. He can say "rain" now. A warm bath followed. It was a good day. :)

Be prepared to melt with cuteness. First video is Ethan. He found the garage door opener and get really excited whenever he hears the sound of the garage door. He thinks it's his Dad coming home. :) Second video is Corryn. Colds were passed around at our place, starting with Corryn. She didn't have more than a low-grade fever and a sore throat. She's lost her voice... which honestly was kind of nice, put a damper on witchy Corryn for a couple of nights. :)  

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Letter of Thanksgiving

I've been wanting to say thank you to a lot of people lately but finding the time to make dozens of cookies and write bunches of thank you notes has been hard to come by. Plus, I really want these people to know just how sincerely thankful I am, much more than a thank you card's worth. And so, I am going to write this letter to everyone, omitting names, listing the wonderful things we've been blessed with this year and just how grateful I am for them.

To start, please know that we are not poor. Not anywhere near poor. And I'm not writing this in hopes of getting people's attention to just how little we have. We have a lot and are not "in need". That being said, the loads of free things we've been blessed with and favors that have been done for us this year are GREATLY appreciated and most definitely needed.

Our long sting of miracles started when we arrived in LA in February. With only a small amount of money left from our starting bonus and a U-Haul full of all our belongings (which fit in a 10x10 foot storage unit) we started the search for an apartment in the second most expensive city in the US. This was the FIRST place we toured. After the tour we ran into members of our church just outside of the office, what are the odds of that? We were then guided just a hundred feet around the corner to the bishop's house. It was then that we knew we were meant to live here. Just one problem, the rent would be half our income and applications were usually rejected for that reason. We were approved... by another member. Wow, Heavenly Father really does look out for us. Time went on, we found out we were expecting and knew rent was going to break the bank with all the upcoming expenses. Again, we were looked after, found a cheaper unit within the same complex and were moved with the help of the men in our ward within 2 hours of one day. Quite a miracle, eh? Wait, there's more... lot's more.

Many of you know that we only have one car. Thank you, thank you, everyone who has given me and my kids rides to doctor's appointments, the farmer's market, and play dates. Also, I am super thankful for my great friends that come to visit me during the day, often bringing a treat and their kids along. I cannot tell you how vital that socializing is for me. Speaking of socializing, my absolute favorite time of the month is Book Club and Girls Night Out. Not only for the chat but for the food. Ha, this may sound funny but it's true, I LOVE free food. I love food so much that if the TV weren't on Ethan's channel it would be on Food Network all day. That's one thing I can't wait for when we move and get a pay increase, the chance to go out and eat more often. Nowadays we grab McD's maybe once every two weeks and go to a restaurant on a date maybe once every 2 or 3 months. That's it. That's all we can afford. I CRAVE food that's not made by me... and so I seriously look forward to GNO and Book Club.  :) Thank you, thank you.

Before becoming a mom, I was a very artistic person. I majored in painting at BYU and was in the Women Chorus there as well. I spent my entire day painting, sculpting, studying artists, singing, and playing the piano. Every article of clothing I owned had some kind of paint on it. To go from breathing art to being cooped up in a small apartment with a baby all day was quite the challenge. I'm used to it now but I now face the fact that I'm slowly losing my artistic skills that I spent years and tens of thousands of dollars to refine. These days any chance I have to show my talents are super appreciated. This is why I love my calling. Playing the piano for primary may not sound so grand or as classy as singing in one of the country's best university choir programs, but it fills my music void and brings me a lot of joy. I couldn't ask for a better calling. I was also given the opportunity to design a park mural for a service day our stake was putting on. It felt great to be painting again. I'm grateful I'm in a ward that (as funny as this sounds) is not overloaded with musical or artistic talent. In Utah, I hardly had a chance to shine, everyone and their dog could perform. But here I'm bombarded with opportunities, and for that I'm eternally grateful.

Are you ready for this? 100% of Corryn and Ethan's clothing and toys have been given to us! No joke. We have been flooded with hand me downs and gifts. Not only clothes and toys, but strollers, beds, and high chairs. This has been such a great weight lifted off my shoulders, not to have to worry about additional unforeseen costs like kids clothes. Speaking of clothes, Jon and I haven't shopped for ourselves since Ethan was born. Well, that's not entirely true. I bought a pair of maternity shorts, one maternity shirt, a nursing bra, and 2 undershirts. So far (with upcoming medical bills, this may not be true much longer) we have been able to stay completely out of all debt while living here. (Minus Jon's school loans which we're chipping away at.) We're pretty proud of that. But in order to achieve this we do not buy any clothes, shoes, or fun things. Why am I saying this? Because the other day I was given 5 pairs of very gently used shoes, including super sexy high heels and wedges and nice running shoes. I secretly shed a tear, I was SO excited. Having two kids with in the last 18 months has left my body pretty mangled and it's easy for me to get discouraged with my misshapen body and outdated and ragged wardrobe. These shoes are my secret splurge. They bring a smile to my face and when it comes to thinking about my body, having a smile on my face is a very big step. :)

To all those who are going to read this: I hope you find yourself in here somewhere and see just how happy you have made this family. This Thanksgiving, I thought of you. I am so thankful that we listened to the Spirit whisper that this was where we should live. I couldn't think of a place I rather be than here with all of you. I love you. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Corryn Smiling

Look at how chubby she's gotten!!! Sorry it's so low quality, it was taken with a cell phone.

Also, here's a picture from Halloween. Ethan was Micka-Mouse, Corryn was Minnie, and Jon and I were Black-Eye Peas. :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Flashback to a week before Corryn was born

A week before Corryn came, Aunt Ranee was here and I also had a baby shower thrown for me by my most wonderful friends! Here are some pictures from that week.
We visited the fabric district in downtown, I could spend days there, seriously.

I started making aprons as thank you gifts for the wonderful ladies that were throwing my baby shower. I'm using my great grandmother's super old sewing machine. It doesn't have a foot petal, it's a thigh petal... I had never seen that before. I actually ended up piercing my finger completely through, had to remove the needle myself and later received a tetanus shot... yeah, I only got one apron done... after that I was scared to touch the machine. I'll open it back up one of these days...

The baby shower was great! The decorations (Shauna) were so cute. The food (Karalea) was AMAZING, as always. And the party went really well. In fact, Kristen's (the host) husband drew charactures  (sp?) of all in attendance, what an awesome idea!! Thank you everyone who came and also everyone who gave gifts.... I am STILL trying to write all the thank you notes... Corryn came a little sooner than expected and I've been trying to find time... soon, very soon.

Shauna, my dear friend, made all the decor. She also lent my her nice sewing machine after my traumatic experience with the cast iron beast.

Karalea, the master of all things crafty and yummy, devoted days to prepare us a wonderful lunch and treats. The party was 50's-ice cream inspired and homemade ice cream sandwiches were on the menu. YUM!

Kristen, the sweetest person you'll meet, who has three lively little ones, opened her home to a parade of women and threw a great shower. Her husband also gave up an entire Saturday to sit and sketch us, amongst a lot of really important and time consuming projects I know he was working on.

Aren't I so blessed?!?!?! :)

As of late

(This was written weeks ago... I'm just now getting back to it.)
It's been a couple weeks since the last post, what a crazy last couple of weeks. I'm sleep deprived to say the least but I've also had some really fun experiences recently. First of all my mom came to visit for 2 weeks (SO MUCH HELP) and we made a list of things we wanted to do while she was here. Most days we stayed home and she would take Ethan to the park and let me nap. Since we only have one car we would occasionally take Jon to work early in the morning so that we could have the car during the day. This would mean that Jon would be without his nap place during the day. That's right, Jon goes out to the car and naps during his breaks. You may think this is normal for a dad of a newborn, although he doesn't take care of Corryn at all during the night... but the truth is he's always napped during his breaks. Even on days that he gets a full 8 hours of sleep at night. We're just sleepy people I guess, we love our naps. Thanks Jon for be willing to not nap during your breaks so that my mom and I could use the car to get out of the house.

Some of the things we accomplished while she was here:
Dragonfly Thai- Get the mango and sticky rice, incredibly yummy. Seriously, so good.
Corryn's Blessing Dress- Someone gave us a super cute white dress but it was a 2T. So my mom took it in. (I'm still too scared to touch a sewing machine after piercing my finger. My nail is almost completely healed from that, by the way.)

Swimming at the Beach- I swam in the ocean for the first time since moving here! It was only my second time swimming in an ocean ever, first was at Daytona Beach on our honeymoon. I forgot just how incredibly salty it tastes. Almost revoltingly salty. The waves were pretty big and we had lots of fun jumping them.

Ethan's 1st haircut- We sat him in the kitchen sink and I just went at him with the scissors. It looks cute but I really do miss his long wispy hair... it will grow back.

We also made daily visits to Yogurtland.

My mom watched both kids and Jon and I were able to go on a date. We ate outdoors at the Cheesecake Factory, which is actually really cool. Heat lamps, inches away from the boats and Christmas lights... very romantic atmosphere.

After my mom left Aunt Ranee came for a week. :)
Ethan's trips to the park- Ranee loved taking Ethan to the park... Ethan loved to swing... for like hours. What a great Aunt to swing him for hours. :)


Disney!- Can you believe I braved Disneyland when Corryn was only about 3 weeks old? It was SUPER packed. In fact, during our whole day there we only rode 3 rides. This was Ethan's second time riding Pirates, last time he was 10 months old... he didn't like it all that much this time. Aunt Ranee got us year passes, so we're super excited for our future, hopefully less crowded, visits.

Birthdays- Jon's birthday was first, I got him a wetsuit off craigslist and we went to the beach to watch him boogy-board. For Ranee's birthday we got Yogurtland and had the best steak all of us had ever had at home, Alton Brown's recipe.

Alright, that's it for now. Next posts include Jon's parents come to visit and Corryn's blessing. :) 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

First Days Home and a Hospital Stay

First of all, I need to to jump forward to right now and then I'll jump back. Being in this hospital room with Corryn has been a bittersweet experience. It's just me and her. No Ethan, no Jon, no visitors. Don't get me wrong, I'm super lonely, bored and I want my husband and baby boy. But I've gotten to know Corryn and she's gotten to know me. It's nice. When I first saw her in the incubator I was a little freaked out and my heart sort of broke. I couldn't hold her whenever she whined and even when I did hold her, she was covered in cords and band-aids. It's a sad feeling to tend to your sick child. But, honestly, mine wasn't that sick. The most disheartened thing I've to deal with while I'm here is listening to the sick children in the rooms next door. Their wailing, their deathly coughing and moans in pain. It breaks my heart. I don't think I could do it, I'm not strong enough to be that parent. Not even close. Gah, why do bad things have to happen to little children? I can understand them happening to good people, but little children.... why? :(
Okay, okay, rewind.
Because I was recovering so well and Corryn was eating well, we were allowed to go home a day early. Hallelujah, because our recovery room was small, cramped and very hospitally. When came home and life was good. Corryn slept most of the day, in fact she was sleeping 22 hours a day. I was a little worried about this but since she was also feeding well, I didn't think much of it. I had loads of energy. We went out a couple times and I was up and doing chores the moment I got home. I didn't even need to take naps during the day. This energy, I know, is not going to last long, but I took advantage of it while I could.
Ethan's reaction to Corryn: He didn't was to acknowledge she was there. He wouldn't come within a couple feet of her, and there was no way you could get him to touch her. He loves her though, there's no doubt about that. Every time Corryn would squeal or start to cry, Ethan would look at her, get huge alligator tears in her eyes and then cry too. He's scared and worried for his little sister. It's cute now, when there's two adults home to tend to him, we'll see how he handles this when it's just me and Corryn, no extra hands to hug him. He has just started to actually look at her and say baby. My heart melts whenever this happens.
The weather was HORRIBLE the two days we were home. The entire time we have lived in LA, over 6 months now, it has never gotten about 82 degrees. The two days we were home with a newborn in an un-airconditioned apartment, it got over 100. This meant for a hot and very sleepy newborn, a whiny and lethargic toddler, and sticky and cranky adults. There was one point where I actually called the bishop in hopes that there was someone in the ward that had AC and a guest room where Corryn and I could spend the hot hours of the day. Sister Owens offered her place to me, but I didn't end up going there, thinking that the weather was going to cool down a little.... which it did... but only by like 5 or 10 degrees. Phew, those were a challenging couple of days.
When Corryn was 4 days old, she had her first doctor's appointment. She weighed in at 5lbs 10oz. I wasn't surprised she had lost weight, this is normal, and she had been sleeping non-stop since she was born it seemed like. The doctor sent us over to a lab to get Corryn's bilirubin levels tested since she was looking a little yellow. Sure enough, just an hour after we got home from the doctor, I was called with the results and orders to be admitted to the hospital for a couple of days for jaundice treatment. Her levels were 19.5, high enough to stay at the hospital. We quickly arranged for Ethan to go the the Goldsteins for the next day since my mom was flying home and Jon was going to work and couldn't get out of it. Jon came home from work, gave Corryn a blessing and then we were off.
Welp, that brings us to the present. Corryn is doing well, her levels are down to 13 now and we get to go home tomorrow. Yesterday I had to primarily bottle feed her, so I spent most of my time pumping and then feeding, over and over again. I actually got the least amount of sleep yet that day. Today is a lot better, I'm able to nurse her and I've gotten the hang of tending to all her cords. Mostly, I'm SUPER bored and I'm really anxious to take her home and see what kind of baby she actually is. I feel like she hasn't had a chance to start developing her personality yet since she slept through the hot days at home and is now sleeping her all her tanning treatment.
On another note, my mom has been wonderful. She has taken Ethan under her wing and taught him a lot of new tricks while she's been here. He now has his own toothbrush and likes to brush his teeth. He can FINALLY wave bye-bye. He's been saying "hi" for a long time now but has refused to say goodbye... just part of his personality I guess. He's also getting better at using a fork while he eats. In fact, when we don't use a fork, he ends up just throwing his food on the ground... it's a pretty frustrating process that he'll hopefully get over soon. Here are a couple pics to look at until the next adventure spurs another post.

Corryn's Birth Story

It's 3am and I automatically wake up because this is usually the time that Ethan will stir in his sleep, sometimes ending up in get up for a minute with mom to pour a small bottle. I hear Ethan start to make little noises through the monitor and start praying that they don't develop into a cry, I was really tired. I start to think to myself, "What if my water broke now? What would I do? I'd be going into labor, my toddler would be crying and my bags would not even be fully packed." It was the last thing I needed to do, I had completely nested and organized everything to the max. I had even hand crafted a super jazzed up "Ethan's Essentials" card for the family that was going to take care of him while I was in the hospital. Why, just that night I had stayed up til 1am making a mobile for Corryn out of paper with my super crafty cricut. This is how bored I have been and also how much of a neat freak I have become.
Anyway, I thinking this and then all the sudden I feel a small gush. "What the heck, don't pretend your water is breaking and pee the bed instead, Tara." "Wait, is my water breaking?" Another small gush. "I definitely didn't force that..." I nudge Jon and tell him I think my water has broken. He doesn't believe me. I have him turn on the lamp and then I sit up. Big gush. Yep, it broke. As I hobble over to the bathroom I start realizing the reality of this situation and I get really excited and honestly a little worried. I always knew that Corryn would come early. I just knew. But 4 weeks? Would there be complications? I then tell myself that I can't worry about that, that I need to be optimistic and happy about today. I then start remembering my crazy hard recovery time with Ethan and also the emotional roller coaster that seemed to follow for months after wards and then I start worrying again. "Gah, there's no time to worry, I need to pack and get Ethan off to the sitter's and get to the hospital as soon as possible." Jon was immediately asking "Do we really have to go now? Can't we just wait until morning?" I tried to explain to him the science behind water breaking and he also called his parents and chatted with them until he was convinced that we really did need to go to the hosp soon.
I packed up Ethan's stuff, woke him up (sweet boy) and we were off. We dropped off Ethan at the Richard's (thanks again) and he was automatically in heaven with their old dog and large exercise ball. I knew it was going to be a great day for him. Surprisingly, I wasn't too heart broken to separate myself from my baby boy. I was imagining that I would have huge separation anxiety and be torn between my wonderful boy and the our new arrival. It's true, your love isn't divided, it just doubles.
When we got to the hospital, my doctor, which I really like by the way, let me eat breakfast. It was nasty stinky eggs and flavorless oatmeal, but I didn't care, I was just excited that I was allowed to eat. Oh, by the way, I was a 3 at this point. Soon after that, I was put on petocin to get the contractions going since my water broke and we wanted to keep things within a 24 hour period to prevent infection. I went quite a while until I decided to get an epidural, I was dilated to a 7 at this point and the contractions were very intense. Receiving the epidural was the absolute worst part of the day. They were trying to get it in between contractions, which were only about 60 seconds apart at this point. The anesthesiologist put it in and then spent a good 2 minutes shifting it around, OUCH!!! Couple that with the fact that since he was taking so long I was experiencing contractions and wasn't allowed to move one inch and I was in hell, I thought I was going to pass out. Just for a couple minutes though and then it was over, the worst part of the day was over. The epidural worked great, it was so light that I was able to have complete control over my legs the entire time. I was standing and walking normally within an hour or so of delivering. It was also so light that I was able to feel Corryn being born, I felt every lump and bump as it travel through me into the world. This was SO different than birthing Ethan. I was so drugged up with Ethan that I couldn't even tell I was pushing and my legs were seriously dead, walking was out of the question super difficult for days afterwards.
So the epi was given at 10am, by 11am I was a 10 and now just had to wait for my doctor to arrive. It was really hard not to push for the next half an hour, but I would just breathe through the contractions and I was good. Doc arrived at 11:30am and asked me to do a test push. Her eyes lit up as she told me that the head was already starting to come out with the one push. They hurried to put up the stirrups and put down all the sheets and stuff. Breathe in, push for ten seconds, exhale. Breathe in, push for ten seconds, exhale, the head is out. Breathe in, push for 3 seconds, she's here!! That's it! I couldn't believe it. Seriously? One set of pushes? That's awesome. I attribute this to 3 things: 1. I'm awesome. 2. She was small, especially in comparison to almost 9lb Ethan. 3. I had a super light epidural and could really feel how I was supposed to push.
When Ethan came out, he was taken away to be wiped off and then hooked up to the CPAT for an hour so I barely got the see or touch him. With Corryn, she came out and was plopped right on my chest and stayed there for a good 5 minutes while Jon was able to cut her cord. In all her yuckiness, she was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Her eyes were open and she held my finger. So beautiful. I hope I never forget that moment. She weighed in at 6lbs 2oz, 18 inches long. She has long fingers and toes and a beautiful full head of dirty blonde hair. She has my ears and Jon's nose and Ethan's cute bottom lip.
I didn't tear at all and the epidural wore off quickly, recovery was a joke, so easy. In fact I didn't need any medication, not even tylenol for the first day or two. I eventually took a Motrin, for the cramps, which were honestly nothing more than what I would expect during a normal period. I can't believe how easily my body took to pregnancy and birth, I'm truly blessed. Now, the question was, how easily would my body take to producing milk.
With Ethan it took a good two weeks to come in and it was a stressful and painful experience. I bought a pump right off the bat this time and was stocked with Fenugreek (amazing herb). I'm happy to say that I was producing full blown breast milk by day 3, WAHOO!! In fact, now I'm able to store some and still satisfy her actually pretty big appetite. Store?!?! That's something I could only dream of doing with Ethan. Corryn latches on great, the only thing is that she's super sleepy, so getting her to nurse longer than 3 minutes is a challenge. But anyway.... I'm going to address that in the next post.
There you go, there's the birth story. Next post will be coming home from the hospital, the first couple of days at home, and so forth.... stay tuned, I promise it gets juicy. Let's just say, I'm typing this now from a hospital bed....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Corryn Rachel Evans

Welcome baby girl, four weeks early but healthy as ever! 9/25/10 11:41am 6lbs 2 oz 18 inches. Beautiful head of light brown hair. Looks like she's already been the the salon for highlights! :)