Wednesday, October 29, 2008


You know its crazy when the person feeling the best in the house just gave birth a week ago. Seems like our little home has been hosting a bug of some kind. Alec has had no appetite the past few days and for those of you who know Alec, that is a big sign that something is wrong. Well, last night when we checked on Alec before going to bed, we found him laying in his bed with diarrhea all over him, his sheets, pillow and bear. This morning he's been super fussy and devoid of energy. Turns out Chris is feeling somewhat the same. Too bad for him since he has to take the last of his comp tests this afternoon. At least after 2 and a half movies this morning, we finally got Alec to fall asleep. I couldn't resist taking this picture of my sleeping boys. I love them, germs and all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A mother's amendment

Usually, I suppose, the mother has her own version of the birth story. In this case, the father has all his facts right so I feel that no changes are necessary. I will, however, add a few more details based on my feelings to enhance the experience for everyone.

As we were doing the stress tests in the morning, with the possibility of getting a "gel induction," I was feeling a complete 180-degree feeling reversal. Up to that point I only wanted the baby to come as soon as possible. But being restricted to a hospital bed from the very first labor contractions with Chris chasing Alec around the room was not how I wanted to do it. I desperately did NOT want Charlie to come right then. I was thrilled to be able to leave the hospital and start it "my way." I wanted to be at home, take a long shower, get my bag all packed, put Alec down for a nap, arrange the house a bit better etc. However, the contractions never let up enough for me to have the energy to do much. I did get to take a shower and have a bite of toast but basically I was entering the painful stage of labor. So while we were only at the hospital for 3 hours before Charlie was born, the labor had started much earlier. Chris was amazing through the entire labor and delivery. He said all the right things, offered all the right kind of help, support and counter pressure. He was my rock to hold on to, my shoulder to cry and moan on, and the best labor coach ever. We feel so blessed that he was able to stave off the worst of his sickness/cold until after Charlie was born, and additionally blessed to have my mom here to stay at the hospital with me while Chris went home to sleep and get better.

The actual delivery was pretty exciting since it took only a few pushes after my water broke. In fact the Dr. rushed in a minute or so before Charlie was born. Apparently there was another baby born at 5:01 and Charlie was born at 5:05, delivered by the same doctor. Crazy. With Alec, I remember the aftermath/recovery being horrible and so I am pleasantly surprised by how well, albeit still slow, its going so far. I'm definitely enjoying this newborn stage a little more, since I know how fast it goes. Although give me a few more days to finally have the sleeplessness kick in and I'm sure I'll be telling a different story.
We are so happy to be all together and I've absolutely LOVED watching Alec love and accept Charlie into his life with all his cute 2-year-old energy. He laughs whenever Charlie has hiccups, and laughs whenever he opens his eyes, and wants to hold him and hand him to mommy and rub his head when walking by him. Surprisingly, Alec is actually really gentle without us having to tell him to be.My mom left this afternoon, and so now the real fun begins. Thanks for all your help, Mom. I love you.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

O frabjous day!

It is my great pleasure to announce that the baby is here! It has taken me a few days to summon up the energy to perform my fatherly duties of posting this information to the blog, and I apologize to you faithful readers, but at long last, here is the story you have been waiting for!

First, for those of you with a busy schedule, the short and sweet version:
Charles Leland arrived wednesday at about 5pm. He was 20 inches long and weighed 7 lbs 4 oz. Both he and Brittney are doing great.

Now, for the (dad's) full story version:
So the baby (now known as Charlie) was due on tuesday. Tuesday passed without too much excitement, other than a few less comfortable contractions in the evening. We thought, "maybe tonight", but then when we woke up wednesday morning we new that it hadn't happened yet. Wednesday morning we had a scheduled doctor's visit, and so we set out for the hospital (where we see Brittney's OB/GYN) and the visit. Things went ok, but when Brittney told the doctor that she hadn't felt Charlie moving as much as normal a few days ago, he thought it would be best to do a stress test, where they listen to the baby's heart beat for about 20 minutes and make sure it is fine, and that there are "excitations" (I think they called them), where the heartrate rises above baseline by 15 bpm for 15 seconds and then returns. So, with Alec in tow, we got to sit in a special room for 20 minutes while they listened, and Charlie wasn't being very responsive. Nothing to worry about, persay, but also not positive enough that the doctor was comfortable letting us leave. So, he sent us down to Labor and Delivery for a longer listen, and if Charlie wouldn't perk up, thought maybe we should start inducing the birth. So, we headed down to a L&D room, still with Alec, and did the stress test again. (Keep in mind that Dad is chasing/entertaining/keeping from destroying hospital equipment with Alec, while Mom is letting the doctor's listen to Charlie's heartbeat)

By this time Charlie was more awake and passed the test. All morning, and especially since first seeing the doctor (Brittney had him strip her membranes (don't ask me what that involves, I have little idea!)), Brittney had been having fairly regular and growing-in-pain contractions. So, we left the hospital and headed home, but by now Brittney was visibly discomforted by the contractions. We arrived home, fed Alec lunch, put him down for a nap, and by then, the contractions were consistent and painful enough that we rushed back to the hospital. Our good friends and neighbors were kind enough to watch Alec for us for the rest of the evening.

So, we got back to the hospital, got reassigned the same room, and 3 hours later, Charlie was there. The rest of the labor was fairly smooth, as labor goes, but not by any other measure. Being there with Brittney (a huge blessing we are so thankful for, considering that 3 weeks ago I was in China), was a humbling experience. She is truly amazing. I cannot believe what she was willing and able to go through (twice) to have our baby boys. It took almost everything I had to watch her go through so much pain, I can only imagine what it was like for her. All of her distress almost broke my heart, but somehow she made it through. It boggles my mind to think that every person you ever see, someone went through that process for them, and that they were a tiny, helpless baby once. We had great nurses to help us, although we were left to our own devices to work through most of the contractions. I am so glad everything went so well.

Later that evening, Alec came to see his brother, and it was very cute. He wanted to hold him, and kiss him, and see his toes, and fingers, and show us his nose, etc. He was so gentle and kind, it was really touching and special to see as a father. I think Alec will be a very incredible older brother. A thought I had a few weeks ago that made Brittney and me smile was thinking of all the Spirits in Heaven fighting over the privilege of being Alec's little brother. I told Alec this and I am sure he instantly forgot, but it was just a fun image of tons of little kids saying, "no, i want to be his brother", "no, me!", and finally someone reassuring "don't worry, you can all be his little brothers and sisters" (just kidding on that one. I think Brittney is postponing even thinking about more kids for quite a little while).

Brittney's mom was able to come and she has been such a help, our apartment and lives would be quite the disaster if it wasn't for her. Brittney and Charlie were able to come home from the hospital on thursday night, and it has been so nice being home all together as a family.

That is all for now, maybe I will coerce Brittney into posting her version/correction of events in the near future. To all whose prayers were with us, we thank you and are sure they made a huge difference. We have been richly blessed by our Father in Heaven.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Enjoying the Journey

Its easy for me to look forward to the next stage in life and constantly dream about being there and thinking how wonderful it will be, especially as we await the birth of our second child. I've always done this. I'm not sure what it is about the future that always seems much more exciting than the present. Maybe it's the "anything is possible" optimistic view of the unknown, compared to the realistic view of my current experiences.

Recently, I've been reminded to enjoy my life's journey, now. The prophet's latest conference address, "Finding Joy in the Journey," has given me a better perspective. There is so much going on my life right now that gives me great joy, and some of it will be gone forever in just a week or whenever the baby comes. Right now is the perfect and last time to enjoy giving all my motherly love and attention to Alec. Each day he makes me smile and melts my heart with all his cuteness and childish glory. It is deeply fulfilling watching him learn things like pouring water from one cup to another, using a stool to reach the light switch, saying "O-pen" instead of "bee-teen," and running fast with his torso held up straight (super cute, by the way). So here's to enjoying today and creating my own sense of happy contentment every day.

"big tractor!"

watching the construction

playing with Andrew

jumping out in the courtyard

riding the "horse" at the SF zoo

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tribute to an amazing sister

I feel the need to pay tribute to my wonderful sister, Tiffany. I can not put into words how much her visit while Chris was gone has meant to me. I don't think Alec or I could have survived without Tiffany and Andrew's company. It was so fun to spend so much down time together. Usually when we get a chance to see each other, its only for a few days and we pack lots of activities in. I am truly grateful to have been blessed with such a kind, sensitive, warm-hearted, supportive, helpful, compassionate, fun, and companionable older sister. Thank you, Tiffany. We've made a lot of fun memories, and I'm so glad there will be tons more to come. I've gone through some pictures of us growing up and will share some favorites here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day 11 - The final day

We made it! Our 11 day sojourn apart has come to an end. Yesterday, day 10, was long and fun. We just stayed at home since we could watch Conference on the computer. It was our last day with Tiffany and Andrew. Alec is going to miss having a buddy always at home, sleeping in his room and taking baths together. But the best news for today is, CHRIS IS HOME! We are all finally reunited. We dropped Tiffany and Andrew off at the airport and then parked the car and chilled in the airport for a few hours until Chris' flight got in. We watched his plane pull into the gate (the picture from my cell phone below...Chris' plane is the red one), and waited behind customs to welcome him. We first saw him on a TV screen walking down to the arrival lobby, which gave us just enough time to throw our snack in my purse and run to the opening to meet him with hugs, kisses, and tears. I couldn't help shaking from pure joy and happiness that he made it safely home; not to mention victoriously home! We are so blessed and grateful that everything has gone as smoothly as possible.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Victory in China

So, the tournament is over, and we were able to win the gold medal! I am so happy with the way our program performed, and how everything turned out. Tomorrow morning I get to return home to my Brittney and Alec, and honestly, that will be the best part of the whole trip. Farewell China, hello family!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day 9

Wow. It has been 9 days since Chris left. Today was busy. We had conference and some community events to go to. Andrew and Alec have begun to play together really well. Alec has been sleeping much better recently, and his canker sore has practically disappeared. This means Alec has been my usual, happy, wonderful, playful little boy and it is SO NICE to have my old Alec back. I just can hardly wait to have my old Chris back too.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day 8

Today has been a pretty good day. We stayed around home and enjoyed being together. Chris is doing well in his tournament. He's in the middle of playing what could possibly be his last match as I type this. Its late and I'm tired so goodnight all. Oh, and sorry about pictures but my computer won't read my sister's SD card so, we'll have to wait for pictures. Just imagine this in your mind: two cute little boys standing up in the bath squirting each other with squirty fish laughing crazily. It was one of the most precious moments of the week. I have the cutest boy ever.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day 7

Well, Day 6 was so crazy that I didn't write its post until today, but marked the date as yesterday so all the posts would be chronological. Therefore, check below Chris' Great Wall post for it. Right now it is pretty late so this will be short. Last night was SOOO much better than the night before. Alec slept for 12 hours straight. He must have been so sleep deprived. Today we decided to take it easy and stay around home. We played out on the playground, watered the garden, and did some prep work for the EV Book Event coming up this Saturday. The boys REALLY enjoyed watching the construction in our courtyard and we got some cute pictures of them staring at the tractor. I'd love to post pictures, but its too late to figure out how to hook up Tiffany's camera. Alec and I have been really lucky to communicate with Chris as much as we do. I didn't expect too much since we didn't want to pay for a phone card, but it turns out his laptop has a microphone so we Skype every day and get to hear each other. Sometimes, if Chris borrows his partner's laptop we can do video too! So its been nice. Anyways, I need to capitalize on the kid's being asleep and catch some Zs myself. Goodnight, all!

Great wall and summer palace

We finally got our first two official matches of 20 games finished. Against the two-time defending champion, we won 15 of the 20 games, and against another program, we won 17 of 20. So we are doing very well so far. We are hoping to get in at least 20 more games against each of the other teams, so we hope those go as well for us.

Today we had a scheduled excursion with the rest of the people at the conference. We got to go see a jade factory, the great wall, and the summer palace of the dragon lady. Pretty interesting stuff, although it was a long day, and since this week is the big national holiday, there were tons of people everywhere we went, most of them chinese. Also, it was different for me being with a tour group. We had time to ourselves at the wall, but at the summer palace we had to kind of rush through. Not as much fun as touristing on your own, but I wouldn't have made it to these places without the excursion. But, you probably just want to see the pictures, so here goes. A side note, if it looks smoky and smoggy on the far-away shots, it is because it is. The first morning, I thought it looked cool, like mist over the lake, but now that I have been here almost a week and have yet to see the sky or sun, I am a little tired of it. You can't really see that far ever. And it gets old. Anyways, the pictures:

A few cool sculptures from the jade factory

The great wall, where I climbed up.
Looking down from where I got to
Proof I was there, in case you didn't believe me!

A chinese train across the valley, through the smog (for alec)A cool lion at the summer palace

One of the buildings at the summer palace.

By the time we left the summer palace it was dark and late. One of our party got separated from us, and I don't know what happened to him. We left without him, so hopefully he can find his way back to the hotel. Now I am quite tired after many stairs on the wall, and fighting the crowds at the summer palace. Goodnight.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 6

So last night was hell. I don't use that word, but there is no other way to describe it. Alec woke up every 40 min crying and thrashing. He needed me to hold him and be with him for a bit before he'd go back to sleep... sometimes still crying. Half way through the night I had to take him out of his room so he wouldn't wake up Andrew (who is sleeping in the crib next to Alec's bed) any more. I made a bed in my room for Alec, but that didn't do anything except make it hard for Tiffany and I to sleep when he cried himself to sleep. It was worse than having a newborn. I can't think of any way to help him sleep better since there are a myriad of possible reasons for his behavior: his sore on his mouth hurting, preventing him from using his pacifier, his lack of nap earlier in the day, his late/hurried bedtime routine after a CA meeting, having new people in the house, no daddy there for alternate cuddles and loves, his incoming canine teeth etc. I scheduled a doctors appointment for Alec later in the day and when the doctor finally came in to see us, she basically said it looks like an enormous canker sore and told us to numb it and give it a few more days before seeing an ear, nose, throat specialist. So I guess we'll have to wait it out.

In happier news, Tiffany and I took the boys to the zoo today with my friend and her girls for the free zoo day. Although, I guess its only free for the residents of San Francisco, and I guess they are actually making people show proof. So, it wasn't free for us. It was fun to see animals and the boys enjoyed getting out of the house. I'll try to post some pictures from Tiffany's camera soon.