Thursday, November 17, 2011

Terrarium Tutorial


Hello friends! Have you ever considered making a terrarium? Well.. if you have, this is your lucky day! I am going to teach you how to make one.

I suddenly became OBSESSED with terrariums over the last few weeks, and I have been dying to make a few. I did a ton of research before starting, because I didn't want this project to fail. (disclaimer.. as I write this, my terrariums are less than a week old, so there is still potential for failure here...)

What mainly inspired me was finding these really cool old glass jugs in my basement. One was an A&W rootbeer jug from who-knows-when, and the other is an old vinegar jug. My grandmother had kept them for some reason, and they are too cool not to re-purpose somehow.  When I started doing my research, I found some really great inspiration on google images. I also found some great websites on how to build a terrarium here:

My other resource was a section of ebay that I think was called the reference section? They had a lot of helpful information too, which I will share with you now!

Open Air Terrarium

Closed System Terrarium
First of all, there are two kinds of terrariums; open air terrariums and closed system terrariums.

Both are low-maintenance when constructed correctly, but the closed system kind are especially low maintenance. You only have to add water once a month or so. This is because the water goes through a little mini water cycle! So cool!

The only problem with the closed system ones is that they often get pretty misty on the glass (mine are already doing this), so you can't always see the plants really clearly. If you don't mind that, then go for it! I decided to try both types, since I already had the containers and enough supplies for three of them total.


- One glass container of the desired size and shape
- Pea gravel (fish tank gravel is perfect)
- Loose activated charcoal (can be found at any pet store)
- Sterile bagged potting soil (from any garden center)
- Live terrarium plants, moss, or seeds that you like
- Decorative elements if desired (rocks, figurines, sticks, etc.)
- Tools to reach inside of narrow neck containers if needed
- Water

Selecting a container:

Your container should preferably be made of glass. This is the best material because water adheres to it very well and creates a great "rain" effect when the water builds up on the inside. Not to mention that it is much prettier in my opinion. It should also be clear or very lightly colored glass. Dark glass, such as most wine bottles are much too dark to allow the plants enough light to survive. If you want a challenge, then choose a narrow-neck bottle. I am serious when I say that it is a challenge, but if you are up to it, go ahead. If you want something easy and quick, I would go for something that has a mouth that is wide enough to fit your hand through.

My two closed system jugs were sweet finds in my grandmother's basement, but you might be able to find something similar in a thrift shop. They hold one gallon each.  I also know that Hobby Lobby has really awesome glass containers that has very intricate lids in which you could create a closed system without the trouble of a narrow neck.

My open-air container was purchased about a year ago at the Ross in Orem, UT. It has a itty bitty chip in the rim, and so they gave me 25% off :) It holds about three gallons. I used to keep a beta fish in it, but it died the day before Evie was born :( RIP Boris!

*Note: If you like the look of the narrow neck containers but don't want to go to all of the trouble of dealing with planting things in them, consider starting your plants from seed. Seeds are much easier to put into the soil in a narrow-neck bottle than full grown plants.*

Selecting plants:

I was pretty stumped on where to buy plants, since it is now essentially winter time in Utah. Most of the nurseries here have closed down for the season, and I knew I certainly wasn't going to find what I needed at Home Depot or Lowes. I looked on Ebay and Amazon, and there are a surprising amount of live plants for sale there, if you are feeling both daring and patient. I decided not to order them online unless I really couldn't find something locally. I called a favorite aquarium store of mine in Draper (, and they said they only sell fully aquatic plants. Boo. They do sell fantastic fish and fish supplies, though. And their store is pretty much just as beautiful and impressive as the Living Planet Aquarium across the street from them.

I went to Petsmart on my lunch break on early this week to get the activated charcoal for the soil layering (more on that later), and I thought I'd just see what they had. They had quite a few "semi-aquatic" plants that are perfect for moist terrarium environments. They only had a few varieties to choose from and they were a little pricey ($4-8 each), but they looked like they were in pretty good condition. I chose these three varieties:

Peacock Fern (7 in.)
Gold Ribbon Plant (4 in.)
Umbrella plant (4 in.)

The good thing about purchasing this way is that there are several plants in each container, so you can split them up between several terrariums if you want.

Petsmart also carried what is called "Terrarium Moss". It is technically "Frog Moss", but it is the coolest thing ever!  It comes completely dry sealed in a plastic bag, and when you plant it and water it, it comes back to life! It is so neat!  It was already starting to soften up and look lively only an hour or so after its first watering. Amazing.

I also went to IKEA the same day for something completely unrelated, and decided to browse their plant section. They have quite a few plants labeled as "Assorted Himalayan Tropicals", all of which looked hearty. I selected one (who knows what the actual species is..) for my open-air terrarium. They also have a great selection of succulents and cacti if you wanted to do a desert terrarium. That might be one of my next projects :)

Just know that if you are doing a closed system terrarium, you should chose plants that tolerate moisture well. Semi-aquatic plants are good, tropicals are good, and so are carnivorous plants. I actually ordered some Venus fly trap seeds on Amazon for my next carnivorous terrarium. A good rule of thumb is to keep like plants together. If you are going to do cacti & succulents, go ALL cacti & succulents. If you are going ALL tropical, use only tropical plants.

One other tip: if you are using a narrow-neck aquarium delicate or floppy plants, like my peacock fern, were really really hard to plant. The gold ribbon plant was the easiest one to put in because it is much more stiff.


Once you have gathered all of your materials, you are ready to start!


Step 1:
Wash your container in hot soapy water.
Clean containers

Step 2:
Layer about 1 inch of pea gravel in the bottom of the container. Using a piece of newspaper as a funnel helps to guide all of your soil layers in.
Newspaper Funnel
1 inch pea gravel layer

Step 3:
Layer about 1/2 inch of activated charcoal on top of the gravel, trying your best not to mix the two together. You can purchase this in the water filtering section of any pet store. It is used in aquarium filters, and a large carton of it was about $12. This whole carton was more than enough for my three rather large terrariums. The purpose of the charcoal is to purify the water as it cycles through your terrarium. Using this will improve your odds of having a successful system.

1/2 inch activated charcoal layer

Step 4:
Add the potting soil layer, making it about 2-3 inches deep.
Soil Layers
Using tools that you make out of wire or chopsticks can help you reach inside of a narrow-neck bottle. I cut up a wire hanger and bent the ends. I also used a long piece of bamboo.
Wire and bamboo tools

Step 5:
Add your plants or seeds to your terrarium.  

Step 6:
After your plants are in place, add about 1/4- 1/2 cup of water to your terrarium. Make sure that you do not add too much water because it will cause your plants to rot. If you add too much water, leave the lid off of your container for 24 hours so that some of the water can evaporate out. You do want it to be a little steamy in there, though, especially if you are using tropical plants.

For an open air container, you need to monitor the moisture of your soil. It needs to be damp, but make sure it doesn't get too wet or too dry either.

Step 7:
If you want to, decorate your terrarium with rocks, figurines, or pretty little sticks. These weren't my first choice of figurines, but it was all I could find that was small enough. I really wanted a tiny garden gnome - but that was pretty hard to find. I may switch them out in the future if I come up with something better.

Yay! You are done!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Whose message is louder?

I've been thinking a lot about song lyrics lately. At my job, my students are constantly asking if I can play their favorite songs while they are working on assignments. I sometimes do, although usually I just play music that I like (this often overlaps with what they like too, to some regard). Because of the standards of our school (and of common professional society for the most part), I have to be very aware of the lyrics of songs. Content must be completely clean to be played in our school. No bad language, drugs, sex, violence, etc.

Because of this, I think I have become hyper-aware of the messages that popular songs seem to be glorifying lately.

I must say though, I am generally pretty open minded about music. The presets on my radio are 3 top-40 stations, 2 country stations, one oldies station, and I frequently dial surf for anything that sounds good at the moment. Lately I have spent most of my time on the oldies and country stations because I am offended by the messages publicized by the top-40 stations. Take for example the lyrics to this song by Hot Chelle Rae:

Let’s get it on, yeah, y’all can come along
Everybody drinks on me, buy out the bar
Just to feel like I’m a star, now I’m thanking the academy
Missed my ride home, lost my iPhone
I wouldn’t have it any other way
If you’re with me let me hear you say

I like it like that!
Hey windows down, chillin’ with the radio on
I like it like that!
Damn, the sun’s so hot, make the girls take it all off
I like it like that!
Yeah, one more time, I can never get enough of everybody
Sing it right back, I like it like that!
(I like it like that, I like it like that)

Till the break of the dawn, yeah, party on my lawn
Whistle as the girls walk by if the cops roll up (so what?)
Pour the cops a cup cause everybody’s here tonight
Call a taxi, pack the back seat
I wouldn’t have it any other way
If you’re with me let me hear you say

I like it like that!
Hey windows down, chillin’ with the radio on
I like it like that!
Damn, the sun’s so hot, make the girls take it all off
I like it like that!
Yeah, one more time, I can never get enough of everybody
Sing it right back, I like it like that!

(for other examples like this one see: Katy Perry "Last Friday Night", LMFAO "Party Rock Anthem")

After working with teens who have gotten into trouble for exactly this kind of behavior; to you I say: are we surprised that some kids think that this is normal behavior? That this is what happiness is? This is not an isolated example. I bet you that at least 75% of all of the top-40 songs right now have at least some of these party-lifestyle-glorifying messages in them. So many of the kids that I have worked with really think this is the way teenagers and young adults are supposed to act. The popular media that has so much influence on youth is preaching that this is fun. This is normal. This is acceptable. Expected even.

Well, I can say that I work every day with the reasons why this type of life is NOT a good idea. I see the consequences, the heartache, the tears, the scars, the brain damage. 

I have been thinking so much about how extremely influential the media is, especially to teens. Now that I am a parent, I am constantly hoping and praying that my influence and my message will be louder than popular media. I want MY standards to be the most influential upon my children. I know this is possible, and I pray every day that I can do it.

I am no expert, but I do believe that involved parents with a loving, kind, nurturing and protecting influence can help kids believe that this type of lifestyle is not one of happiness.  It is one of sadness and darkness. Kids don't know that yet - they haven't lived long enough or experienced enough to understand. You have to teach them. Teach them the right way from the very beginning. Teach them in love, and be there for them to help them grow and understand the way things REALLY are. Consequences and all.  

Trust me, there are consequences for all of our actions. Hopefully we can learn from the experiences of others before we have to make the same mistakes.

I know with the help of God I can be that type of parent. That is my greatest wish in life; to be the kind of parent that will teach my children the right way - and that they will believe me.

Are you surprised that I have been spending so much time on the oldies station? I'm not. This is just one example of the type of messages I hear in those songs:

James Taylor: Devoted to You
Darling you can count on me
'Till the sun dries up the sea
Until then I'll always be
Devoted to you

I'll be yours 'till endless time
I'll adore your charms sublime
Guess by now you know that I'm
Devoted to you

I'll never hurt you
I'll never lie
I'll never be untrue
I'll never give you reason to cry
I'd be unhappy if you were blue
Through the years our love will grow
Like a river it will flow
It can't die because I'm so
Devoted to you

Okay. #offmysoapboxnow

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Making Goals

A couple of weeks ago, Nathan and I sat down to make some goals. We had some things we wanted to improve, and so we put them on paper. Mine are:

1. Read scriptures daily for at least 10 minutes, and use my scripture journal.

2. Do one household chore each day. (at least).

3. Lose 3 inches from my waist by our wedding anniversary. (March 13th).

I think writing things down makes you accountable. So, even though I wrote them in my journal, I thought it would be cool to share them on here and give you updates on how I am doing with them. Yay!

Evie in the Johnny-Jump-Up.
She falls over without the blankets.
So far, I have done great with the chore one. I was feeling really crappy after going back to work that the house was looking like a disaster, and when I came home from work exhausted I didn't want to clean it.  Now, when I have the 1 chore goal, if I get just one thing done I feel so much better. The best part is, if i do one thing, I usually do at least one other chore and things don't get so out of hand. I also don't spend all day Saturday doing a major overhaul cleaning. Yay.

As for scriptures, I have done pretty well.. I have missed only a couple of days so far. I really like using a scripture journal. I just decided to start at Mosiah (one of my favorite books), and read straight through. Each day I would read a chapter, and then summarize in a short journal entry what I felt there was to be learned from that chapter and how I can apply it to my life. It is simple, only takes about 15 minutes, but also keeps me feeling engaged in the scriptures. It keeps the things I need to be thinking about and working on daily fresh in my mind. I love it.

Baby Evie and I go for a walk in the crisp autumn air.
I want my stomach to be flatter again like it was before the baby. One of Nathan's goals was to get a six pack. He said he has always wanted one. So, without making our lives to complicated with diet restrictions, we decided that we would just stop keeping junk food in the house and not have any treats after dinner. We also decided we would try to avoid fast food at all costs. We did make exceptions to this... like when we are out with friends or with family we decided we can still eat treats, but that we should limit ourselves to a small portion, choose the healthiest option, or share one serving. Just from doing this one change, I have already lost more than 1/2 inch! Yay!  A pair of pants that were tighter after the baby are already fitting me more loosely. That was my happy moment yesterday :)

I am also currently in bed (and on the bathroom floor) with a horrible (and I mean H O R R I B L E) stomach bug. Not that I would recommend losing weight this way, but I may be a little smaller after this week of misery is over. Nathan's taking me to the instacare today. Hopefully they get it under control.

I will keep you posted on how our goals continue!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Return to Work

Hi Friends,

Monday I returned to work.  It is definitely not as nice as staying home with my sweetie, but it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be.  Evie is spending Monday and Wednesday each week with Nathan's mom, Sharon.  Then, Nathan has her for Tuesday and Thursday when he doesn't have classes, with the exception of a one-hour class on Thursday morning. During that time My mom takes a break from work on campus and has a little Grandma-Evie walk time.  Fridays, I don't work (usually), and so I take care of her. It is working out perfectly this semester. Hopefully Nathan's schedule doesn't change too much next semester so that it can work out just as well.

The boys took great care of the fish tank
while I was gone.

It is so nice that she is with family that I trust, and that we didn't have to find a daycare. It would have been so much harder to go back to work if I wasn't leaving her with my loved ones.

I went back to a great group of students, too. I was so happy that they missed me so much, and we have been having fun all week doing all kinds of shenanigans.. (and by shenanigans, I mean learning.) Most of my boys who used to cause me the most stress left our program while I was away, and so now I am reaping the rewards of that.  We did get lots of new boys, too, and so I am having fun getting to know them. All of them seem like nice kids, or at least manageable ones!

(A funny side story, I was talking to a casual acquaintance the other day who didn't know that I teach at an all-boys school. She asked me how I was feeling about going back to work and I said something about how all of the boys had missed me. That caused some raised eyebrows until I explained that I only had boy students.. haha.)

In other news, Evelyn had her 2 month checkup last week, and she continues to be in the 90th percentile for everything. She is currently 25 inches long, head circumference is 16.25 inches, and weighs in at 14 pounds and 7.5 ounces.  Wooh! Big girl!  The doc says she is very healthy and strong, too. Good news all around.  The shots were not nice, though. She cried a lot through that. :(

Also, the unanticipated return of the crimson tide surprised me a few weeks ago, only to surprise me again only 16 days later. WHAT? At least that gives me an explanation for why I had a couple days aboard the PMS train. Ugh.. poor Nathan. He certainly didn't miss that for the last 9 months.

I hope everything is going well where you are too!  Enjoy these adorable pictures of Evelyn in her Halloween costume. I giggled for about 5 minutes after putting her in it. She is just so squishy and cute.

Friday, September 9, 2011

This Morning.

This is what my life looked like this morning at 10 am.  Lazy mornings with my little lady look wonderful, don't you agree?


Friday, August 19, 2011

Evelyn at 4 weeks old.

Evie tries out the Bumbo for the first time. Success!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A tribute to a very special lady.

Yesterday, my special little Grandma passed away. She had just turned 98 years old on Tuesday.

Grandma and I at my wedding, March 13th, 2009.

She is one fantastic person. She has always been so generous and giving towards all of her family members, and has helped Nathan and I out A LOT since we've been married. She payed off my car for me when I bought the beetle, and I make payments directly to her so that I wouldn't have to pay interest to the bank. I still have a balance to pay...which I still will. She is a patient person.

She has also let us live in her adorable house for the last year, rent free. She bought Evelyn a brand new beautiful crib just about a month ago when she heard that we were going to put her in an old, outdated, and "unsafe" one.

These are just three of the recent things she has done for us, but there has been so much more.

Just after moving in to her house last August, I found a box in the basement of all of the drawings and crafts that I had made for her growing up. She had saved every one! She had also saved programs from every single production, recital, and concert that I had performed in. On each program, she had written a little note to me, saying what a wonderful job I had done, and how proud she was to be my Grandma. She didn't show these notes to me, but obviously intended me to find them later. I was so touched, and I cried as I read each one.

I spent a lot of time at Grandma's house as a kid. I grew up a block away from them, and would ride my bike up to her house almost daily. She put up with a lot of my silly quirks. For instance, I remember that every single time the power would go out in the neighborhood, I would call her on the phone to see if her power was out, and then marvel with her that the phone was still working while the power was not. Shocking! :)

I remember eating parsnips and ramen noodles (not at the same time) while sitting at her pull-out breadboard in the kitchen. I remember her washing my dirty little bare feet in her big bathroom sink that she referred to as "the basin".

Things I never want to forget about her:
- Her perfect hair that she had done every single Thursday for as long as I've known her.
- Her little neck pillow that she slept on to protect her hair from being smooshed at night.
- The trail of kleenexes that she left behind her everywhere.
- The way she would always tell me "Ohhh, don't get old Katy, don't get old."
- Canned peaches and pears.
- Onion and butter sandwiches.
- The smell of baby powder that followed her everywhere.
- Her plastic wind bonnet, to again, protect her hair.
- Pizzelles on Valentine's Day.
- Her perfect sense of propriety and perfect grammar.
- The way she would underline every important word in her birthday cards.
- Her love and devotion to every single one of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She knew all of their names and birthdays, and never missed a single one!

I love you, Grandma! You are one of the classiest ladies I know!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Birth Story: Evelyn

Hello Dear Friends,

Many of you have been asking me to share my experience with Evelyn's birth. It was an exciting one, I can assure you of that! I have been meaning to write about it ever since she arrived, and now that she is almost two weeks old, I am finally going to do it.

On Thursday, July 21st, we were scheduled to come in to be induced at 9pm. I was planning to go in for my last day of work that day (exactly one week past due.. yes I know I am probably crazy..), but when I woke up that morning I was spotting blood and I was starting to have some contractions. I called in and said I couldn't make it. I thought to myself, "Yay! I won't have to be induced after all!" Alas, by the time the hospital called at about 8:15 pm, my contractions were still only 6-7 minutes apart. When we got there, they ended up inducing me anyway.

Nathan stayed home with me all day that Thursday, and it was such a wonderful last day with just the two of us. We ate Thai take-out, cleaned up the house, took a few home movies, and just lied around the house together.

When we got to the hospital, I was expecting to have dilated a bit more than I had at my last doctors appointment, but I was still just shy of 2 cm. That was a little disheartening.

So, the doctor decided that they would go ahead and induce with a lovely little pill that they put up by your cervix called "cytotec" which was essentially supposed to thin out the cervix and cause it to dilate. They gave me the first dose at about 10 pm.

Shortly after the cytotec was administered, my contractions started coming on pretty hard and fast. I felt absolutely horrible. Labor sucks. I guess that one of the side-effects of the cytotec is that you have lots of contractions with very small (or no) breaks in between. Exhausting! I tried to wait it out, but gave in to an epidural at about 2:30 in the morning.

The doctor that gave me the epidural was very interesting... he was from India, and I could hardly understand his English. He kept saying "Curl up like a mad cat.... like a mad cat... like a mad cat..." It took them quite a bit of time to get the epidural in because I kept having contractions. Honestly, as much relief as the epidural brought, it was really scary getting it. Ugh.

After the epidural I rested a bit easier, and by about 8 am, they said I was dilated to about a 8 or 9. My water hadn't broken, so they brought the doctor in to break it. When he broke the water, they discovered that the baby was floating around in meconium. If you don't know what that is, it basically means that the baby pooped in-utero, and is floating around in it's own feces. This can be very dangerous if the baby breathes it in, swallows it, etc. So, when they discovered the meconium, things started to get a little tense. They were watching me much more closely.

Once the water was broken, the baby's heart rate kept dropping. One minute it would be a healthy 150 bpm, and it would drop down to 60, then 30, etc. It was so frightening! They nurses would come running in, and they would turn me over to try and take pressure off of the baby. Eventually, they actually tried filled my uterus back up with fluid to try and take pressure off of the baby. It wasn't working. The contractions were also coming too close together, and this was stressing out the baby, too. They gave me a couple of shots to try and slow down the contractions. This barely slowed them down at all. I went from having about 4 contractions in 5 minutes to having 3 contractions in 5 minutes.

When they checked me for dilation again at about 10 am, I was back down to only 5 or 6 cm. This was the worst news ever. Not only was my baby in danger, but she was regressing! The doctor said that the amniotic sac, before it was broken, was forcing the cervix open. So once the bag was broken, the cervix was relaxing back. Plus, if I moved from laying 1/4 turn on my right side, the baby's heart rate would drop again. I stayed in that one position for hours.

Finally, after the baby's heart rate started slipping again, I said to the nurse, "I am done. Get this baby out of me. I don't care what you have to do."

She went and found the doctor, and then came running back in with her arms full of stuff. She threw a white jumpsuit and Nathan, started prepping me for surgery, and called the anesthesiologist. He came in (a different doctor now, mr. mad-cat was off duty, thank goodness) and juiced up my epidural. This whole time I had been able to still move my legs a bit and feel a tingling/light pain every now and then, but he pretty much killed off my lower body. I was grateful.

They wheeled me quickly in to the operating room. The efficiency of the whole medical team was amazing. They had my completely dead-weight body on the table in a snap, they strapped me down spread-eagle, set up a partition so that I couldn't see them cutting into me, and got Nathan a stool to sit on by my head.

I was so scared I was going to feel them cutting me open. My sister-in-law had had an emergency c-section as well, and they didn't get her epidural completely working in time, and she said she felt a lot of pain. I told this to Dr. Lind, the anesthesiologist, and he promised me that if I felt anything, he would knock me out. I started shaking uncontrollably (I'm not sure if this was an emotional reaction or a reaction to the drugs), and lovely Dr. Lind gave me something to calm me down. Ahhh... the good drugs :)

Just before they started cutting, the nurse realized I had never signed a consent form for the surgery, and so she asked me "Can we do this c-section on you?" I wanted to say "Are you serious????!!!", but instead I said "yep". They also informed me that the NICU team was standing by to make sure the baby was okay.

Nathan was right there holding my hand and petting my hair while they started the surgery. As soon as the cutting started though, his head disappeared to the other side of the curtain (he wasn't grossed out at all... amazing), and Dr. Lind (who I swear will be sainted someday) kept me informed of what was going on. He also put this warm balloon thing around me that was filled with hot air to help keep away the shivers. He also kept patting my head in a fatherly, comforting way. I love you, Dr. Lind.

It took them about 10 minutes or so to get in to the uterus, and as soon as they pulled the baby out, Dr. Lind told me that the cord was wrapped tightly around her neck. The doctors and nurses counted out loud together as they unwound the cord "1...2...3...4 times around!!" You would think it was some kind of strange tradition. It was 10:50 am.

The baby didn't cry. They rushed her away, and Nathan went with her. Dr. Lind said the NICU team was working on her in the other room. I didn't know what was going on... and at that point I was either so hopped up on drugs or so emotionally exhausted, I couldn't even react. I just lied there and snoozed. A really sweet PCT that had been with me all through the night stood by my head and held my hand while they stitched me up.

At one point, I said to the PCT, "I am just laying here completely naked right now, aren't I?" She said yes, and we laughed a little bit.

NICU team working on Evelyn.

I asked another nurse to find my parents, I knew they would be somewhere in the hospital waiting. I knew that Nathan would be with the baby, and I wanted my mom and dad in the recovery room. I must have dozed off, because when they wheeled me out of the operating room it was 12:15 pm. They had been sewing me up for over an hour!

Someone had found my mom and dad, and they were waiting back in my room for me. I began shaking uncontrollably again, and the nurses told me it was a normal reaction to the drugs. I was shaking so much I couldn't speak and my jaw cramped up. Someone got a hold of Nathan, and he updated us on Evelyn.

She had been admitted to the NICU because she had indeed breathed in the meconium as we had feared, and she was having a lot of trouble breathing. They had her on a ventilator that went down her trachea, as well as numerous other needles and tubes. They also had her sedated. I wouldn't be able to see her until after I was out of recovery and back down in mother/baby on the floor below. We also found out that she was 9 lbs. 3 oz., and 22 inches long!! Big baby!!

Evelyn on the ventilator.

Finally, at about 6 pm, I was able to go see my baby. Nathan, his parents, and my parents had all been able to see her already, and finally they were letting me go. When I saw her for the first time I was very emotional and still really drugged. She looked so sick! The other sad news was that as long as she was on the ventilator and had IV's in her arteries, we wouldn't be able to hold her.

Meeting Evie for the first time.

Thankfully, she was only on the ventilator for just over 24 hours, and they had her breathing on her own. They had sucked meconium out of her lungs, her stomach, and her sinuses. Then they gave her a ton of antibiotics to fight off any infection caused by the meconium. Then they gave her probiotics to build her good bacteria back up. By Sunday, they took out the artery line and allowed me to hold her and breast feed her for the first time.

Holding our girl for the very first time.

The nurse said that if we could wean her off of the IV by the next day by breast feeding her every 3 hours, she might be able to go home with me. Nathan and I stayed up all night Sunday night making trip after trip to the NICU to feed little Evelyn. It worked! She bounced back, her blood sugar was looking good, and she was cleared to go home on Monday afternoon.

Evelyn's identification sticker.

The nurses in mother/baby and the NICU at UVRMC were fantastic. They were so kind, loving, and considerate. I don't know what I would have done without them! I love them so much! They did everything they could to make us feel taken care of while we were there. I won't ever go anywhere else to have my babies in the future.

Evie's nurse Heather who took such great care of her.

Since leaving the hospital, both Evelyn and myself have been doing great. My recovery has been very easy. I didn't even need to fill the prescription for pain medication that they sent me home with, and I am already starting to fit back into most of my normal clothes again. As of her 6-day check up, Evie had put on 4 oz. and grown a whole 1.5 inches! She is a healthy girl! She sleeps pretty well too, so that keeps me happy :)

Evelyn, the most beautiful baby ever born ;)

Thank you everyone for your love, support, and concern. We have felt so much love from friends and family through this whole ordeal, and don't know what we would have done without you!

Happy, healthy girl.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


(It seems like nothing I do is going to help get this baby out any faster. Including cartwheels.)

Well folks, it is July 16th. One day after my official due date. Unfortunately, I didn't get very good news at the doctor's office yesterday.

Apparently, the baby's head is about 4 centimeters higher than it should be right now, which is leading my doctor to believe that this baby has gotten too big to fit through my pelvis. This could mean a c-section on Friday. I blame it on the Ives family curse: Huge heads.

Nathan has the largest head of anyone I know. He has never been able to find a hat that fits him. Even adjustable baseball hats are too small for him on the largest setting. We were at Cabella's a few weeks ago, and Nathan tried on one hat of pretty much every style... still nothing.

Also, all but one of the Ives grandchildren has had to be delivered by c-section. They come out like little bobble-head dolls. Since I myself do not carry Ives blood (nor the Ives' other curse, the dreaded septated uterus), I thought myself free and clear. But, it's not looking that way. It appears that Nathan's genes have dominance in this case.

The plan is to induce on Thursday night over night, and then assess what happens by Friday morning. If things are not going well and the baby still hasn't dropped, they will do a c-section. Awesome. (not)

Yesterday when they told me, I went out to my car, called my sister-in-law Renae, and bawled like a baby. She had the exact same thing happen to her with her first baby. I am not scared to have a c-section, I am just really disappointed that things might not go as I imagined them to. I know it is a little silly, but I've always dreamed of giving birth the normal way, with Nathan beside me coaching me and experiencing the miracle that is the whole process of childbirth. Now, I feel a little robbed that I might not be able to have that.

There is still a chance that everything will go fine, but I'm not holding my breath. I hate having my hopes dashed twice.

Either way, as long as I have a healthy baby to show for it, that is what matters. How she gets here is pretty irrelevant in the whole scheme of things, I guess. I just need to adjust my expectations. And, it looks like I am going to have a whole extra week to do so.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Purse Food

Purse Food: Any food that can be easily stored in a zip lock bag or other small container, and will not spoil if it is carried around for several hours. Nothing too messy either, and best if it can be eaten with your hands.

Examples: pretzels, chex mix, fruit, yogurt (& plastic spoon), granola bars, fruit snacks, crackers, string cheese, jerky.

Purse food is a staple, and always has been since I started college. It is my way of trying to avoid buying fast food, and I have to say that it works quite well.

My shopping list always has "purse food" written on it, and Nathan even knows what that means... hunt around until you find something portable, buy it, bag it, and then grab it when I have to head out the door.

I love you, purse food.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The 40th Week

I have been a very fortunate woman. This pregnancy has been relatively easy, compared with the stories I hear from friends, or about friends of friends, etc. I never got very ill, I didn't require bed rest, and my stats have been extremely average for this entire time.

A coworker asked me today when I was going to start my maternity leave, and I told him that I would start it when I had the baby. He asked me when my due date was, and I said "three days from now". His jaw pretty much dropped to the floor...

Am I that unusual? I know I have been very blessed, but seriously, I feel worse when I have a head cold than I do right now. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty sore when I move, I don't sleep well, I'm hot a lot of the time, and I feel fat as a whale. However, I still feel completely capable, especially to work.

As of now, I don't FEEL like I could go into labor at any moment, although I wish I would! I can't wait for my little girl to arrive!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

This is how life is sometimes...

I found this lovely cartoon on a friend's blog, and I couldn't help but repost it. It struck a chord with me because Nathan and I seem to have this conversation at least once a month. At least. I really need to start taking my pug friend seriously. I think this is something every girl could stand to hear, though.

Lets stop being so critical of ourselves.. you and me both. Ok? Somebody (and probably lots of somebodies) think you are the most beautiful creature they have ever met.

Friday, July 1, 2011

38 Weeks

Hello there...
Here is a picture of my ever-growing belly at 38 weeks:


Today I went to the OB, and it was a good visit.

I am currently dilated to 1 cm, and 60% effaced.
My blood pressure was excellent (thank goodness) at 112/62.
Total weight gain since beginning of pregnancy: 25 lbs. (So proud of this.)

Favorite quote from my 70+ year-old doctor:
"What got you into this mess initially may very well be the thing that gets you out of it."

Excuse me... I have to go find my husband now :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What I Did Yesterday...

The majority of Fridays I don't have to work. It is awesome being a teacher, and having a 4-day work week :) Friday is generally my "get things done" day, where I run errands, go to the doctor, etc.

Yesterday's productive Friday:

1. Bridal/Groomal photo shoot early in the AM up above Vivian Park in Provo Canyon

2. Shower (this should have come first... oh well...)

3. Doctor's Appointment: Currently dilated .5 cm. She said it could still be 2 weeks or so.

4. Shopped for nursing bras. Thank you Motherhood Maternity for measuring me :) I love the customer service at that store. They make you feel like you have a personal shopper!

5. Shopped for nursing undies at the distribution center. Also very helpful customer service :)

6. Shopped for nightgown to wear in the hospital. I totally got a granny mu mu that makes me feel like it's 1950.

7. Shopped for a diaper bag so that I could pack all of Evelyn's essentials for coming home from the hospital.

8. Made dinner for Nathan. Tuna Noodle Casserole.

9. Attended a bridal shower for my friend Nikki. My good friends Charissa and Chalena (sisters) came with me.

10. Came home at 10 pm to find that Nathan had been sleeping for the last 3 hours... nice nap before bedtime I guess?

11. Medicated Nathan for his allergies, and then crashed in bed.

I woke up this morning VERY sore. I'm sure it was from all of that walking when I was shopping. Oh well! This is one of my last productive Fridays to do these things! Only a Friday or two more until I have this baby. Yahoooooooo!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ooh la la...

You know I'm already in line! ;)

Nathan was the best man at his friend Ben's wedding this weekend. It was such a fun wedding! It was a carnival themed reception, and along with a complete sugar rush from all of the treats, I had a ton of fun. I'll post more pictures soon!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thank you, Foreign Aid.

Yesterday was a wonderful day. After suffering for a year without air conditioning in my car, I finally got it fixed. I have been dreading the cost of AC repair, as I was once quoted $700 for a new AC compressor. UGH! Can you see why I stuck it out and waited a whole year? I probably would have waited even longer, except:

a) I am off of work this week, leaving me some free time to get some much needed things done.


b) I really don't want to make my newborn baby suffer the stifling heat of my car in mid-July and August.

So, I called around and ended up taking my little beetle to Foreign Aid in Orem. I dropped it off at about 9:30 in the morning, and around noon they called me to give me the news. Apparently, the compressor was just all full of gunk and needed to be cleaned out and oiled. Also, I had blown a little fuse.

Total cost of parts/labor: $130.

I cannot tell you how happy I was! That is a seriously cheap car repair! Plus, it was ready for me to pick up right away. SO FAST!

The best part is, when I went to pick it up and pay for the repair, they ended up only charging me $95! I even pointed it out to them that they had told me a higher price on the phone, and they had indeed made an error by charging me lower. However, they didn't correct it, and let me have it at the lower price. Wow!

Anyway, I would highly recommend them, and if I need more repairs in the future I will definitely go to them. Happy day! I don't have to sweat my guts out any more!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

34 Weeks...


Here I am at 34 weeks pregnant. Evelyn is getting more and more cramped in her comfy uterus home.. and I am getting more and more anxious to get her out!

A few things:

- The nursery is coming along GREAT. I will post pictures as soon as it is complete :)

- I found out that I will be delivering at UVRMC in Provo. This makes me a little anxious about going into labor at work in SLC...

- I'm on a two week break from work while the boys do their high-adventure trips. I hope they are having as much fun as I am!

- Tonight I am cooking baked potatoes and roasted asparagus. Yum.

I hope life is as good for you as it is for me right now :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

27 Weeks Along


Starting to get a bit uncomfortable...

Monday, April 11, 2011




Monday, March 14, 2011

Anniversary + Belly


Nathan and I had a wonderful weekend celebrating our 2nd anniversary. We went up to Pictureline and bought a gorgeous new DLSR camera (Nikon D7000). Then, we went up to temple square and took some pictures with the awesome new camera.

Later that night we went to the Mayan for dinner. I used to think it was mostly for kids, but surprisingly, the show was very Las Vegas. There were cliff divers, fire dancers, arealists on trapezes and fabric hanging from the ceiling, and lots of fake thunder and lightening :) The food was pretty good Mexican food, but the expensive prices definitely go to the show, not the food. Although, the flan was probably the best I've ever had... I am a sucker for flan! It is definitely not a historically accurate portrayal of Mayan customs and food, but it was a really fun atmosphere that reminded me of the Indiana Jones ride in Disneyland.

There was a "chief" kind of guy in a big head dress and loin cloth walking around from table to table speaking in gibberish, and he had the scariest nipple piercings I have ever seen. Nathan couldn't stop commenting on them... haha. Think large grape-sized steel balls hanging from each little nipple... OUCH. Hahah :P

Anyway, we ended up coming home and watching a couple more episodes of LOST. We've been doing a lot of that lately, but it was what we felt like doing... even if it didn't seem that out of the ordinary or special.

Anyway, Nathan took this picture of me up at temple square illustrating the baby bump at the moment. 23 weeks along!


Clint and I also snapped some pictures this weekend for our graduation announcements. Clint and I are both walking in April, and thought it would be fun to send out joint brother/sister announcements to those who know us both. I look surprisingly NOT pregnant in most of these (yay). However, I didn't turn to the side for a reason! Don't get me wrong, I can see a little prego-chub starting to appear in my face, but I don't think it is that obvious yet.


Watch your mailbox for the real deal!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


A week from today is our two year anniversary. Amazing! Two years already... Even though it feels like it has gone quickly, I still feel like it was a million years ago that I didn't have Nathan around to take care of me :P He really does spoil me, too.

..Especially now that I can pull the "You're going to make your pregnant wife (insert undesired task here)?" Hee hee. Usually this involves taking the trash can out to the street on a rainy night, getting the oil changed in the car, etc. He definitely spoils me.

The pregnancy is going great. I'm starting to feel our little girl kick more and more each day. We have also decided on a name:


I love it. We've known the name all along, and now that we've been calling her Evelyn it is really starting to make it real.

In other exciting news, I am nearly 22 weeks, and I've only gained 7 and 1/2 pounds. Very excited about this. I am hoping to keep my weight gain under 30 lbs. total, but we will see. I'm not doing anything unhealthy to keep it down, just eating and living and working out as normal.

Also, I've invested some $$ in some staple wardrobe maternity pieces, like a maternity denim skirt, black maternity leggings, a brown knit skirt (super comfy), extra long camisoles, and a few other things. They are proving to be totally worth the money. Having maternity clothes really makes a huge difference comfort-wise. I don't feel quite so much like a fat kid in undersized clothing! Heck, I even feel a little sexy in the denim skirt... first time in a little while!

Symptoms I am not sorry to see go:

I'm no longer completely controlled by cravings.
My aversion to salad seems to be easing a bit (my aversion to ground beef has not).
The constant stomach aches are easing a bit as well

Symptoms that I am not minding quite so much:

Looking a little more like a prego, and less like I started hanging out a Krispy Kreme.
Taking a nap after school, and still being able to sleep 8+ hours at night
Feeling the little one moving around in there (very comforting)
Having an excuse to go shopping, and actually having money to do so ;)

Other fun things that happened in the last month:

We bought our first real TV a few weeks ago. A flat screen! The one we were using before whistled really loudly when you turned it on, and sometimes would whistle for 15 minutes - sometimes 2 hours. Needless to say, we never watched TV before. It would be a month or more between uses. Now, we have a really nice TV and have started watching all of the seasons of LOST - one of my new favorites. We just started season 2, so don't ruin anything for me by telling me any secrets!

I've started clipping coupons the way, and I am really getting into it! It is a really cool way to save money and stock up on food storage stuff. My sister-in-law Renae got me into it, and my mother-in-law Sharon and I are doing the clipping and organizing together. Yay!

Well, have a fantastic week! More updates to come!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Two HUGE announcements....

Friday was a seriously AWESOME day. First, we found out that we are having a lovely little....

Girl :)

Also, Nathan found out that he got into BYU! He will be starting their engineering program during the summer, and we are soooo excited. One more step towards being done done done with school. Only four more years to go... heh. It's okay. I can wait.