Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Daily Crossword: All About Joseph

I can't sleep. Too many things are going through my mind. Tonight, however, my thoughts are not about what I have to do tomorrow, nor am I worrying about somebody or having an anxiety attack about school. Tonight, the thoughts running through my head were all about the sweet man laying next to me, snoring away and hogging the bed. So, tonight I have to write about him. I just have this incredible urge to write down everything I'm thinking about because I don't think I've written it all down like this before. And the feeling is so strong within me.

I remember the day he proposed to me so clearly. It was Halloween and my dear cousin Ashley was visiting me at my apartment. I knew Joseph had the ring. I also knew that he was probably going to officially "pop the question" that day, because we were planning a trip to his parents' house for that evening, and it would make breaking the news to them ever-so-convenient. Still, as the day wore on I became anxious that he would propose to me while we were dressed as a zombie bride and groom for the holiday and, to me, that was a little less than ideal. I tried to put the idea aside and suggested that we all go to the canyon for a drive. (Actually, Joseph cleverly implanted the idea in me and somehow convinced me it was my own.) So, we went for a drive and ended up in a pretty place with a little trail. We all decided to hike for a bit and got out of the car. Ashley said she had to stop at the bathroom, so I said I'd wait, but as soon as she was gone Joseph grabbed me by the hand and tried to get me to go up the trail with him. I thought he was being so rude, leaving Ashley by herself! I know that you know where this story is going but, I swear, I somehow had no idea. Even though I had been thinking about it all day, I had no clue that Joseph was about to ask me to be his wife. He convinced me to go by telling me we'd be back in just a minute, so we hiked a bit until we found a pretty little spot to sit down. It wasn't until he had me sit on that rock that I realized what was about to happen! Suddenly I felt anxious. Joseph sat down beside me and told me he wanted to ask me something, at which point I'm quite sure my face turned very red. He pulled a little brown box out of his pocket and opened it, revealing the most beautiful, most perfect solitary diamond ring in the world. He asked me to marry him. And I said yes. I think I yelled it, actually.

And our wedding day, what a marvelous day. I only had eyes for him; he only had eyes for me. And I'd never seen a more handsome man. Our first anniversary is in less than two weeks. I can't believe it has already been a year, yet I can't believe it has only been a year. It seems like Joseph has always been here with me because it's hard to imagine my life without him.

He's the smartest person I know. He's the most generous, loving, capable person I've ever met. He is my best friend and the person I love more than any other in this big, wide world. He is the most beautiful and radiant person I've ever seen. He always has time for me and I know that I am his best friend, too. I have so much comfort in knowing that he loves me and always will. Our sweet Oliver is so lucky to have the best father in the world, and I know all of our children will adore him. He does so much for me and our family and I could not be more blessed. I tell him often (though not often enough) that I am so happy he picked me. He always says he's so happy I picked him too. I can tell him everything, and I do. He does the same for me. I trust and love him with all of my heart.

Joseph, thank you for being the best husband and companion a girl could ever hope for. You are the most precious part of my life and every day I spend with you is absolutely beautiful. I love you.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Recipe: Alfredo Casserole

I had this idea the other night, so I tossed together some ingredients and it turned into a delicious casserole!

-16 oz. wide egg noodles
-1 or 2 jars alfredo sauce
-Parmesan Shake 'n' Bake
-1 can chunk chicken breast

Preheat oven to 350. Boil the noodles for 7 minutes. Put the boiled noodles into a glass casserole dish. Then stir in alfredo sauce--use 1 jar or 2 depending on your preference. Shred chicken chunks with forks. Stir shredded chicken into noodles and sauce. Sprinkle one packet of Parmesan Shake 'n' Bake over casserole. Bake for 20-25 minutes and enjoy!

Yields 1 family-sized casserole (we have many, many leftovers, but only two of us had any.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oliver 2.5, the Latest Version

This boy grows so FAST! Every day he is doing something new and surprising us with it. Changes from the last month include:

  • Sleeping 10-11 hours each night. Sometimes he wakes up around 6:30 but a binky in his mouth usually puts him back to sleep for another hour or so.
  • Big boy bottles! Oliver graduated to the bigger bottles today because he needs about six ounces per meal now, instead of four
  • Talking--a LOT. He squeals and "goos" and is learning new sounds every day. One of his favorites is "mmmmmmah!" (which I'd love to say means he wants me, but it's probably just an easy sound to make.)
  • Laughing. He still doesn't do it much but he definitely does it. Things that make him laugh include many of our weirdest voices, when we blow raspberries for him, and when we tickle his tummy with our faces.
  • Sitting up. Of course he doesn't do this on his own, but it is his favorite position and if we are cradling him he usually tries to pull himself up to a sitting position.
  • Sleeping in the crib! Last night, we declared Oliver bouncy chair-free (at least for sleeping in) and he slept in his crib. It was a very proud night for all of us.
We definitely lucked out with this kid. He brings so much joy into our lives. Besides, who could ask for better than a baby who sleeps for 10+ hours each night?

In other news, the kind that's about the less-interesting members of the Shull Family, Joseph and I have just been keeping up with school and work. Joseph's birthday was last Friday. I made him a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and marshmallow fondant, and we went to Sizzler for lunch. The next day we took a trip to Boise and had a good time with my sister Krissi and cousin Amanda, going to Tucano's and looking at houses. We have our eyes on one particular development, the Coleman Homes. We are looking at our steps to getting a mortgage. We won't be moving to the Boise area until we have our AA/AS degrees, which should be next Spring, but we want to start early so we will be prepared when the time comes. We are very excited for Oliver to have more room to grow and learn and explore.

Today, a crazy little hand-fed (I'm assuming) squirrel jumped on Joseph's back. We had seen it earlier as we were leaving from the grocery store, and it had danced around our ankles. I had even freaked out about never being "so close to a squirrel in my life!" and I'm guessing that, by saying that, I jinxed us. Anyway, when we were heading back into the apartment with our small child and delicious-smelling groceries, the hungry, vicious (again, I'm assuming) squirrel showed up behind me out of nowhere. Joseph yelled, "It's behind you!" and I screamed. The squirrel then proceeded to dance around us some more, and in a flash ended up on Joseph's back. It scared Joseph so badly that he dropped his coffee and the groceries he was holding. I was screaming as I ran inside to get Oliver to safety. The entire time, our maintenance man was watching us and laughing. When I came back out, the squirrel had come off of Joseph's back, but was entirely ignoring Joseph's threats of coming at him. Joseph had to throw rocks for the squirrel, who thought they were food and chased after them. This trick saved us from rabies today, but I intend to get a can of mace for future trips to the car and back :P

This squirrel looks pretty similar to the one who wanted our groceries, only a bit less ferocious.

Besides wild animal attacks, this month has been a lot of fun. We have more than enough good times to keep us the happiest little family on the block (or at least in the rabid-squirrel-infested apartment complex). :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oliver's First Month and Birth Story

     Our little Oliver has already grown so much in the five and a half weeks since his birth. At his one-month checkup, he weighed 9lbs. 8oz., and was 21.5 inches long! He is still in some of the lower percentiles, but he looks huge to us. I'm sad that he's not so tiny anymore, but it is so fun and amazing to see him grow. He has been having a little bit of a problem with vomiting, but the doctor thinks it's just a sensitive tummy/relux thing that he will grow out of and isn't a big deal.

 Our friend Melinda designed this onesie for Oliver

     He has been sleeping well during the night, usually only getting up once in the middle of the night, and then in the morning when Joseph goes to work. A few times a week, though, he will actually sleep for up to 7 or 8 hours, which is great! Joseph has been back at work for a few weeks now, so during the day it's just Oliver and me. It's really nice to spend so much time alone with him.

A sweet moment with dad after a bath    

 Oliver gave us his first REAL smile last Saturday! And what a precious little smile it was! I haven't been able to get much from him since, but he definitely "talks" a whole lot more now. He can also hold his head up really well, and he loves to be propped up so he can look around.

Just being a total cutie after bathtime
With Aunt Krissi and cousin Maddox

     I can't believe how fast this is all happening. Now I definitely know what they mean when they say that they grow up too fast!

Oliver's Birth Story
     It was four days past my due date and I couldn't have been more frustrated that I hadn't gone into labor on my own. I was excited for my appointment with the OB that morning, because we had discussed the possibility of inducing my labor that day. But when I got there, I got discouraged. All my blood tests and vitals were normal, and it may sound crazy, but this totally disappointed me--my doctor had told me he'd induce me if anything didn't look normal. So, after getting poked and such by the nurse, I waited for the doctor to come in to tell me I'd have to wait another week to finally have this baby. I even started crying and whining to my mom (who'd come with me because Joseph was at work) about how I'd be pregnant forever. But when the doctor came in, he gave me the best news ever--that I had a check-in time of 3:00 at the hospital because I was going to be induced THAT AFTERNOON! I think I freaked the doctor out with how ecstatic I was. I thanked him about thirty times before we left.
     As we were driving away from the doctor's office, Joseph went on his lunch break and called me. He asked how it went, and I told him, in as sad of a voice as I could, that we had to wait another week before I'd get induced. I met up with him a few minutes later, and couldn't contain my smiles and tears as soon as I saw him! I told him I was sorry, but that I had lied...and that we were going to have a baby today!!!
     Joseph took the rest of the day off from work, and we went to Chili's with my family. I was so nervous the whole time. I couldn't believe that in just a few hours I was going to be a mother. We went home to finalize the hospital bag and clean up a bit, and then we headed to the hospital!
     When we finally settled into the room, some of the excitement wore off. We were finally at the hospital, but there was no all we could do was wait! My family came and brought us food. We played Phase Ten and ate junk food until I wasn't allowed to eat anymore. The nurse told us it would most likely be late the next morning that the baby would be born, and when my doctor came to see me, he predicted it'd be within four or five hours. So we didn't know what to expect, and that made the waiting even worse. 
     After being on Pitocin for a few hours with little progression in my labor, a new doctor, the one who would deliver Oliver, came in and told me they could either wait it out and see if the Pitocin would finally get me to 10cm., or she could break my water now and probably speed up labor. We decided we couldn't wait much longer, so she broke my water, and within seconds I was having VERY strong, painful contractions and begging for my epidural. After the anesthesiologist finally came, it was only about an hour later that we were ready to push.
     Because of how Oliver was positioned in my belly, they expected me to push for about three hours. But I was determined! After an hour and fifteen minutes of pushing as hard as I could, I had a tiny, warm person on my belly, screaming and grasping at my fingers. He was finally here! When they took him to be weighed and measured, dried off, and tested, I remember thinking, I'm a mom! I couldn't believe it.
     After the nurse gave him his very first bath and dressed and swaddled him, she gave him to me so I could breastfeed him. This was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I stroked his beautiful cheek and told him how much I love him. About two hours after he was born, the nurse wheeled us both to our Mom and Baby room, where our little family would spend the first of many sleepless, wonderful nights together.
Introducing Joseph Oliver Shull
Born January 8th, 2011
2:01 a.m.
7lbs., 9oz.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Year, New Baby

Joseph Oliver finally arrived at 2:01am on January 8th, 2011 at a perfect 7 lbs., 9 oz., and 19 inches long.
Oliver getting checked out by the nurse a few minutes after birth.

Our first couple of weeks with baby Oliver haven't been as perfect (sunshine, cupcakes, home-cooked dinner on time every night) as I'd imagined. Don't get me wrong! I am thrilled to be a mommy. But I'm definitely looking forward to getting more sleep. I've kinda zombied my way through the past couple weeks. I'm taking my ability to be writing a blog post as a good sign. I think it's getting easier to sleep in hour-and-a-half intervals. And it gets easier to soothe a screaming baby once you get to know him a little better. We're doing good :)

Oliver is two weeks old now. He's had high bilirubin levels at his last two doctor appointments so we have to go back this week to get his heel poked again. I cried the first time they poked his heel, and the second time I had Joseph hold him instead. Way too sad :( We have to go without daddy this week, so hopefully I can hold up and not cry this time.

We love being parents and couldn't be more proud of our handsome, smart boy. Here's to a happy new year with a happy, healthy baby!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Waiting...and Waiting

Christmas came and went. And (estimated) 8-pound Oliver is still in my belly. I don't know why my body won't just start labor already, but I'm getting so frustrated! I can hardly move, I can't sleep, and I can barely breathe a lot of the time because I have a huge bowling ball shoved up against my lungs! Two weeks ago I was thinking they might induce me for high blood pressure. I thought for sure I'd have him by now. I'm officially 39 weeks. It feels like all I do is complain these days.

But, you know what? I know when I meet my snuggly, warm baby boy that I will forget every single bit of discomfort and unhappiness I've felt throughout this pregnancy. I know that when I hold him in my arms there won't be even a tiny bit of regret. I can't wait to meet this little guy. Everything I'm going through right now is worth it because, at the end of it, I will have the most precious gift of all.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What's Happening In December

Joseph and I are officially done with classes. This week is FINALS WEEK! And after those we will be officially done with school FOREVER. Or...until January 18th. But I like to imagine it's for forever. Tonight, our school is having a "late-night breakfast" where students can go get free breakfast food and study for finals from 9pm-2am. Free food? I'm so there. And tomorrow they're giving out free Jamba Juice. Seems like they know how to encourage us.

Oliver is coming soon, and that's hard to believe. In fact, I don't think we do believe it. It feels too surreal. I am on "moderate bedrest", which means I can only get up to go to the bathroom. I'm really not sure what straight-up bedrest is like, and it's not something I'd want to find out. Anyway, the doc put me on it because I have higher-than-usual blood pressure, and there is a worry I will develop preeclampsia or PIH. We have been checking my blood pressure at home, and it seems to be going down, so I will be okay to go take my finals. But if the symptoms get worse or don't go away, there is talk of induction this week, which I would welcome with a big, fat "LET'S DO IT".

Christmas is almost here! Joseph already got his present. I hate the idea of early Christmas presents, but it was on a Black Friday sale...and he picked it out. It's a new computer. He got to build it and he's very proud :) I could have made him wait until Christmas to build it, but that would be just cruel :P He's been really excited to build a new computer, so I'm happy he could do it. We still have a list of people to buy for. I'm hoping to get the shopping done this week! I love buying and wrapping presents; it's the best part of Christmas for me! But this year I'm obviously focusing on very different things, like finally buying a crib mattress and going to the fire station to have them set up Oliver's carseat the right way. The best Christmas gift we could get this year is our little baby in our arms. And for me to not have to pee every flipping five minutes.

Here's to getting through finals, a wonderful Christmas, and our very-anticipated Olive!