Saturday, June 26, 2010

My New Toy!!!!!

Happy Graduation to me! Partly paid for by loving parents for my graduation, and partly paid for by my "I want a road bike" savings fund, I happily introduce my new beautiful bike! Thank you SO SO SO much Mom and Dad!

Pepper is also excited about it. In celebration she tried to eat the owner's manual.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Family Pictures

I know, you are all shocked - TWO blog posts in ONE day! Amazing!

My friend Vanessa needed someone to practice her photography on and we were the lucky ones! Thanks Vanessa! Here are a few of our favorites.

Weddings, Grandpas and Such

In the middle of June we headed down to St. George for my nephew Broc's wedding! He married Ashley and they're a cute couple. The sealing was really good and we're happy to have Ashley in the family! We stayed with Howie and JeLynn and had fun hanging out with their adorable family.

Here is Kaelynn at the wedding with her munchkin of cuteness, Emmalee.

The Happy Couple

Yay! They're married! (Check out Pepper's celebration dance at the top)

While down there we stopped by to visit Grandpa Ballantyne. He is so sweet! ...and incredibly hard of hearing. Combine that with a failing mind, a loud voice, and giant sense of humor and you've got yourself quite the fun experience! It was great to talk with him and to hear him say over and over, "What a little precious thing" about Pepper.

The next weekend we went to our friend Joe's wedding to Samy! We love them both and couldn't be more happy for them.

Here are Chloe and Pepper hanging out together! They are little buds and Chloe is teaching Pepper all her cool tricks. Oh, in case you don't know, Chloe is my niece Britt's baby and as you can tell, she is so so cute! Britt and James live in Lehi and we beg them to hang out with us all the time because they are so fun!

We also spent two weekends up in Huntsville lately with Karen and Austin and their fam. We are trying to get in as much time with them as we can before they move to Iowa in a few weeks for med school! We've had fun going hiking, playing soccer, frisbee, pool, football (if learning to throw a football counts!), games, made up games with an exercise ball in the middle of the night... etc!
This is a picture of our niece Meredith's beautiful hair-do that she did on an unsuspecting T.J. in his sleep. There are several more clips in the back that you can't see. I think she has a future in hair design.

We also had a cousins get together at our house a few weeks ago. William and Heather, Tyler and Nikki, Aaron, Maren and Annie, Brandon, Tyson, and Alan we all in our tiny basement! We had a pot luck and just had fun getting caught up on each other's lives.

Yes, this picture is illustrative of Pepper's current stats: 72nd percentile head, 4th percentile weight.

Pepper loves to stand! She loves it so much that she often refuses to bend her little legs (or any joint or bend point in her tiny body), making it nearly impossible, and quite humorous, to put her in her Bumbo or just make her sit on your lap. She is also SO interested in everything around her that she cranes her little head as far as she can to see it all!

She is such a good sweet baby and we couldn't ask for better. She is quite good at putting herself to sleep now, which is so nice. And, lately she has been sleeping for long periods of time at night - making her mother very happy!

Pepper loves her Daddy. She always gives him big smiles and turns to find him when he starts talking. She is "talking" up a storm now and usually chooses to grace us with her words and songs in the middle of my work meetings or during Sunday School. I try to keep her quiet for the sake of others, but I just think it is so cute!

This is just what we see when we go to get Pepper from a nap... Blanket (which did have her swaddled, everything but her arms) kicked off and big smiles. We love it!

Happy girl!

In other news... I am almost done with my thesis! Still! It is such a long process of revisions and prepping the manuscript for publication, but I really am almost done and am getting ready to submit it. Can't wait! Work at Flourishing Families is going well. Pepper does well going with me and I am really enjoying the people as well as all the weekly "tools" that we work on. We have weekly presenters on specific life skills, such as perseverance, zeal, trust, organization, prioritizing, etc. Each week we have to do some sort of project applying the tool to our lives. It has really provided me with a lot of introspection and hopefully is improving my character!

A couple of weeks ago we had a big stake picnic and talent show. One person from each ward presented a talent, and guess who represented our ward? Yours truly. I was really just trying to be supportive and told the activities chair that I could do it if no one else volunteered. As it turns out, I must be the only nice one in the ward. So, I dusted off my clogs, choreographed a routine and danced to Michael Jackson. Thanks to the relatively boring (no offense) performances before me, I was a huge hit and had the crowd loved me! Thankfully none of them were cloggers and therefore my simple steps looked really cool. It was actually so so fun to perform again. I forgot how much I love it! And miss it!

The big news for T.J. is that he submitted med school applications! YAY! He applied to 16 schools and hopes to make it into one of his top 8: Harvard, Stanford, UPenn, Mayo, Duke, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, and Johns Hopkins. Not ambitious or anything...! Many years of preparation have led up to this and it is crazy to think that in a year we'll be off to somewhere like Boston or Philly or Baltimore! Who knows?! As soon as he hears back from schools he will have to complete secondary applications and then wait and hope for interviews and then wait and hope some more for letters of acceptance. Some schools don't tell you yes, no, or maybe until March or later, so it is a long waiting game!

He has also been busy presenting his ER staffing project to UVRMC hospital administration, organizing a student health policy summit on campus, and working in the lab. Oh yes, and reading as much as he can about health policy.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

G, Grandma Orr, hiking and stuff

Pepper is getting really good at grabbing things and it is so fun to see her reach for toys and be more active with her surroundings. Many of the things she grabs go straight to her mouth or get crushed with her death grip. She's a strong little lady and loves doing the Super Baby flight pose. Here she is, asleep, but still grasping her little toy. ha!

We've been pretty lucky this last month to see T.J.'s Dad twice! He's a pilot and had lay overs in Salt Lake. We got treated to yummy lunches and had fun hanging out with G. Pepper likes him because he feeds her chocolate malts! (He got in big trouble for that one!)

We also got to hang out with T.J.'s Mom when she came for Women's Conference. It was so good to see her and have her watch Pepper for a while so I could get some work done. I wish she lived closer! We took lots of pictures on her camera, but none on ours! Dang! But, it was good times.

Yesterday we went up to Sandy to hang out with Lance and Karen and their families. We went on a hike and the kids had a blast climbing and getting dirty. Pepper was the calm one of the bunch and stayed relatively clean. :) We had so much fun hanging out and talking afterwards and I am starting to realize just how blessed we are to have family close and the time for us to move draws nearer.

Pepper liked looking around at everything (she LOVES being in new places and usually refuses to sleep so she won't miss a thing!), but after a while was ready for a nap.

A few of Pepper's favorite things these days are: 1) Daddy. She always gives him big smiles when he comes home and loves to play with him... okay, so "play" is a relative word at this point, but you get the point. She has him wrapped around her little finger already.

2) Tummy time! Okay, maybe she doesn't LOVE it, but she is getting so good at it. She's so strong and holds her head, chest, and legs in the air for a long time, but rarely uses her arms. We keep trying to tell her that those things on the side of her body will help her, but she prefers super baby pose, I guess. The other day she actually did use her arms and she plopped right over onto her back. It scared her so bad she started crying... and we started laughing!

3) Smiling. She is getting so smiley and almost has her laugh. She gives little chuckle-like things, which are so adorable, and is talking up a storm! I love it.

In other news, we're both busy and enjoying the Spring weather, when it chooses to grace us with its presence. I defended my thesis on the 16th of April and am just finishing up some revisions and will graduate in August! I am working for a research project on campus this summer, but it is super flexible, I can work from home a lot, and when I go in I can take Pepper. I really couldn't ask for a better situation, but will still be glad to finally really be done with school and work at the end of the summer.

T.J. did awesome this last semester with a crazy busy schedule of 18 credits, volunteering, work, more volunteering, and a newborn baby. He loves his business strategy major and is excited to be using his skills helping out the emergency room at UVRMC. (More on this at a later date.) He is just writing his personal statement for med school applications and will send in his application June 1st! It is crazy to think that the time for applying is finally here. He is still working in his research lab and reading up anything he can find on health policy.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sisters and Easter

So, as many of you may already know, I have the coolest sisters on the planet. I am so lucky to have so many amazing people to look up to and learn from! We all got together (except we missed JeLynn!) to play before Karen heads to Iowa. Britt and Joc, my oh-so cute and fun nieces came too and we had a blast! We mostly hung out, acted immature in the swimming pool and ate way too much - it was great! We also got to go to the BYU v. U of U gymnastics meet, see "The Blind Side" (which is like the best movie I've ever seen!), and go shopping. The only bad thing about it was that it ended too soon.

For Easter we headed up to Karen and Austin's for the weekend. We love being with them and are going to miss them so much when they move! Dang med school. I only cry most of the time when I think about it! Hopefully we'll be somewhere close in a year when we also head off to med school.
Check out what we got for Easter:

Pretty cute, eh? Pepper is growing up too fast and getting way too cute for her own good. She smiles all the time now and is "talking" up a storm! I LOVE IT!!!

Well, this post is short, but frankly I am just proud of myself for blogging so soon! It hasn't been six months since the last post! Love to you all!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Baby Pepper

Hey everyone! So, as I am sure all of you know since it happened 7 weeks ago and we've talked to you... and been more diligent about adding photos to Facebook... Our sweetest ever baby girl was born in January! She is so adorable and so fun and we are learning how to be parents! Hopefully we are doing an okay job. Here we are with Baby Pepper in the hospital.

Some people have requested the story, so here it is: I had been dilated to a 4 and 100% effaced for two weeks, having been told by my doctor that she was going to pop out any second, which she didn't... for two weeks. So, the morning of the 19th I had my doctor's appointment (Again) and he was shocked I hadn't had her yet (Again). Since I was so far along he said he would induce me a week early, that coming Friday. Since I was group B strep positive, he said that actually it might be best for her to just stay put for a few days so we could have more control over the situation and make sure I had enough time for my antibiotics. Well, I think little Miss Pepper just has a mind of her own and doesn't like to be told what to do. She took that as her personal invitation into the world and I went into labor that night!

I was contracting 5 minutes apart for a few hours, but they didn't hurt much. My doctor had said to go to the hospital if they were regular though, since we didn't know how fast my labor would progress. So, we went... and I was monitored for two hours, contracting 3 minutes apart the whole time, but I wasn't progressing. So, they sent me home. Went to sleep at 2:30 and woke up at 5:30 in major pain. I think I was ready for the epidural right then. But, given that I had just been sent home (that's so embarrassing), I stayed in bed for thirty minutes trying to rough it out. Finally I thought I might be assisted by a warm shower, but when I stood up I felt a gush of blood. It wasn't my water breaking, just some blood. So, off we went to the hospital again. We drove much faster this time! T.J. would speed every time I had a contraction and then slow down in between. It was so funny... well, you know, looking back. I wasn't laughing at that point.

I got checked in immediately when we arrived (around 6:30 a.m.) and I was ready for my epidural. Saint John, my anesthesiologist upon whom I conferred Saint-hood (although if I'd known how quickly she was planning to pop out, I just might have opted to skip the pain meds...) arrived and I was quite comfortable at 7:30. Come 8:50 I was pushing, and at 9:11 a.m. Miss Pepper Ja'net made her grand entrance into the world! 6 lbs. 11.5 oz. and 20 inches long. T.J. was scrubbed in to help catch, but just as the doctor was showing him how to grab they head, she literally just flew out and plopped onto the table! Daddy dropped her. How will she ever trust him to catch her now?!

My labor went really quickly, so I didn't have enough time for even a half a dose of the antibiotics (can't they just give them to you in advance since they know you need them?! Someone should really work on that). Pepper's heart rate was dropping during labor so the respiratory specialists were there for the delivery. She did fine at first, but after a minute just stopped breathing. It took them 20 seconds to get her to breathe again. They were concerned she had an infection, so I only got to hold her for about a minute before they whisked her down to the nursery. T.J. got to go down and be with her for a while, which was nice. I didn't get to see her again until about 4 hours later.

She was worth the wait. :) Here she is one day old and so alert! She has been this way from the beginning, as you can see. She is so wide-eyed and just doesn't want to miss a thing.

Here she is reading her first, but definitely not last, Dr. Seuss book with Daddy in the hospital. She loves reading books!

Now she is 7 weeks and growing so so fast! Her teeny little hands are getting bigger and she is chubbing out. It makes me sad to see her growing up already! But, she just gets cuter and cuter and we can't get enough of her! She is a really good baby and sleeps pretty well once she gets to sleep. Sometimes she just fights so hard though to stay awake. She is awesome though and has only sprayed me with a jet stream of poop once!

Here we are, the Christensen trio, on her blessing day

And giving a little smile after Church. She is learning to smile and it is quite possibly the cutest thing I have EVER seen! The best ones are right when she wakes up in the morning. I love love love it!

With mommy and daddy...

And just being so sweet...

We have about one BILLION adorable pictures of her. It's hard to just pick a few to post. So, you should all just come visit us and meet her in person. :)