Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2016 in Review

2016. What can I say? We, like the rest of humanity, are happy it's over. But it wasn't ALL bad. Much like Jennifer Anniston's "The Rachel" hair-do, it just had a lot of extreme highlights AND lowlights. But we're just going to focus on the awesome shall we?

Maxwell & the Evolution of Dance

Maxwell picked up crawling after 2015's Christmas break and was walking by April (at 10 months old!)  Once he started, he couldn't be stopped. He truly has no fear, with the exception being umbrellas and the fleeting internet sensation, "The Chewbacca Lady." Maxwell is truly a child, gifted in movement. it was only natural that he'd turn to dancing.

First came the "Donkey Kong raises the roof." An enthusiastic but primitive dual arm swing that he learned from us helping him "conduct the music" when at church. Then his booty got bouncing and we'd find him holding onto couches for support and twerking it out to Adele. As his balance improved he experimented with a gleeful pelvic thrust. This quickly evolved into the walk backwards into your legs laughing and bumping you with his booty and wiggling all over like Baloo the bear and the palm tree. He leaned into that wiggle and tried the other direction- a dramatic swooping, side-to-side which he finished off with a low, full-body head bob. If he get's really riled, he'll shriek and run up and down our hallway with just one arm swinging. We got him a little bluetooth speaker which he holds over his head and sometimes just on one shoulder like a boombox as he lets the music take control of him. We bought the one that was both shock absorbing and waterproof with adult only button control, planning for every type of toddler mayhem except for one major oversight: The classic sneak-it-in-the-trash when Mom's not looking, which is what we suspect happened to the first one.
Other than that, 2016 was the year Maxwell went from baby to toddler. Towards the end of the year he transitioned out of his aggressively trying to kill himself phase. Not only can he climb up crap but he can get himself down. We are very proud. However, our oven does remain knob-less and our toilet seat booted shut. We all lost privileges in that one. All Animals are "dog!" and dogs are the doggiest of them all.

On a more serious note, the thing we are most proud of Maxwell this year is his healing from his birth brain injury. Max no longer needs seizure suppressors and monthly EEG appointments and has passed beyond the dangerous watch period where the more serious repercussions would have manifested. We're very relieved to no longer have that fear looming over our heads! We'll probably do a few check-ups here and there to make sure he's doing well but we feel very blessed that the only thing we've had to deal with were hospital bills.
It took the entire year for bills to come in, get sorted through insurances, contested, redacted, go back through insurances and finally, just in time for Christmas, fully paid off. We officially own our child now. We like to say that he is our favorite, most expensive thing.

January-June, in which we find that making too many good choices if made at once is a bad choice.

Great choices:
  • Working full time (Tricia)
  • Being a full time student (Adam)
  • Being a parent
  • Law Review Journal (Adam) 
  • Working Part Time for a clinic (Adam)
  • Traveling the World (Adam) 
  • Having friends 
  • Community involvement & service opportunities
Bad Choices:
  • Doing all of those things all at once. 
We were so worried about depriving ourselves of great opportunities we started missing others, such as... eating well, or at all, living in a clean house, bathing. 

Anyhooz, life was nuts, maybe even Hellish but all the things we were doing were really great. It's like Death by Chocolate I suppose. And we had a balance set, even if it was the type of balance demo'd in those insane rock art pieces people leave on beaches.  
Adam would take Max for the first half of the day while I worked, and then go to his afternoon classes. I finished my work day while Maxwell took his afternoon nap. Adam would come home around 6 and play with Max or take him to get any groceries or minor errands we needed for the next day while I got dinner together. Then I'd put Maxwell to bed, we'd eat and and Adam would study while I did any housework needed. Then go to bed and start over. Weekends I'd run errands while Adam wrote papers for Law Review and then we'd work on our church service commitments: teaching primary kids and then Adam was the new president of the teenage boys organization. It worked but there was little room for error, like getting sick. which you can imagine, happened to us a lot under these circumstances. 
The reality check came in April when I was asked to be on a panel for the Law school to advise other spouses & partners on life logistics and general Chicago survival tips.  I found myself being able to say, "oh yeah, we're doing that" to waaay too many inquiries. Feeling dazed with this sudden realization we went home and bought tickets to Costa Rica. (another great choice.)

We dialed back. In June we got a friend to help out with Maxwell during the day and in July I stoped working and took over the childcare/housecare that Adam and I were splitting. 

Adam spent the summer working for a law firm in the heart of Chicago. Although working probably isn't the right word for it. Unless you count getting schmoozed at nice restaurants and hanging out at ballgames with clients "work." But it all paid off. He got an offer to join their firm after he graduates and passes the bar. And then they'll really work him. What really sold him was the jar of his favorite candies they had waiting for him on his desk on his first day. It's good to know Adam's soul can be bought for exactly one bag of sour watermelons.  
Fun Fact- Sidley Austin is the same firm Michelle and Barack Obama worked at when they met. I hear they tried to get him with the chocolate turtles. 

There was almost a two month gap between his Summer at Sidley and the new school year so we just played a ton. It was awesome. Then when school started up again for Adam, he was in his last year, had a job secured and was no longer doing law review so life was pretty chill. Basically we spent the second half of the year recovering from the first half of the year. We visited friends and family and were lucky to have friends and family visit us!

I interrupt this blog post for a quick and shameless plug for Chicago... Sure, we'll cram you in our 2br apt on a super luxurious air mattress but there's a LOT to be done, seen and eaten! So come visit!
Culture and Entertainment. Hamilton on Chicago Broadway (It was incredible!) Also top notch comedy shows like Second City and Improv Shakespeare! 

Pizza. Good pizza.
Not that crappy stuff you're eating, trust me. And this is just one of the places. There are more.
And not just pizza, Chicago likes to eat. 
Cubs games at Wrigley Field! (2016 world series champs!) 

Ok, back to our adventure highlights! 

Spring Break: ISRAEL
Overlooking the Dead Sea
A group came to Adam's school looking to take a few students on an expenses-paid vacation to Israel including amazing food and adventures to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Mesoda, The Garden of Gethsemane, The Gaza Strip, Spice Markets, The Mount of Olives, swimming the Dead Sea, and traveling the Judean wilderness via Camel to a Bedouin tent experience. Adam talked about it all weekend after hearing about it, incredulous and saying, "Why isn't everyone jumping on this?!" I said most people, like me, probably thought it was an obvious organ harvesting ploy. If he could prove he was legit and safe, he had my blessing to go. He ran with that response and had an awesome Spring Break vacation in The Holy Land (without us) and happily came back with both kidneys. 
Some men go to strip clubs when away from home, Adam went to the Gaza Strip. Not sure which one Tricia would have preferred.

Summer Vacation: COSTA RICA
Adam & Max to the left
It was a much needed vacation and Maxwell had a lot of fun too. Rainforests, beaches, smoothies, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, whales, dolphins, turtles, toucans, crocodiles, monkeys, scorpions, exotic waterfalls, zip-lining, and taking a cuddle nap with Maxwell in a hammock on the beach in a lime tree. 

Maxwell providing theme music with his coconut maracas.
Home life: CHICAGO

Maxwell was "Max" the king of The Wild Things for Halloween and it was adorable. 

Oh and Pokemon Go happened. Yay. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2015 in review

Well, ok, this time it’s my own fault. Well, maybe I can blame it on the baby I had. Yep, let’s go with that one. 

2015- The Highlights:

For Valentines Day we got to find out if it was a boy or a girl. It was a boy; I cried. Adam gloated. I felt bad and cried because I had cried. It was a vicious cycle. 

We named him Maxwell and started to get excited for him. We took apart my home office and turned it into his nursery. It was space themed and I painted planets for his wall. 

As true 90s kids, we did indeed include Pluto.

The end of both our 3rd trimesters approached (Lawschool at UChicago is split in three and the phases coincided almost perfectly with my pregnancy.) Adam was in his first year of lawschool so his third trimester was  a little more rough than mine, but I believe I had the harder final. 

We lived life on the YOLO, Adam and I working during the day, me with video editing and Adam with the writing competition to get on the Law Review, and partying in the afternoons. July 3rd, and a full week over our due date, I turned my last projects over to my coworkers and headed off to the lakeshore for a day in the sun with friends. That afternoon we thought, hmmm we can go to bed early incase the baby comes tonight or… we can watch the Sandlot! guess which one we did. 12:30am we crawled into bed after s’mores, movie and a night with friends. At 1am, just as I drifted to sleep I started contractions. 

A Few things I learned from pregnancy:
  1. They always tell you that a woman’s water almost never breaks all at once like in the movies. watch for a slight trickle. Yeah, well sometimes it does all at once in a big startling sploosh while trying to pee in a medical cup. I thought I exploded my bladder. 
  2. Watermelons are the most delicious thing. Many innocent melons were sacrificed to my unborn child.
  3. The pregnancy pillow is a magical cloud of happiness but may bring marital disharmony.  
  4. Full length mirrors may be handy so that one doesn’t go 8 months thinking they escaped stretch marks only to realize they were all below the equator where one can not see. 
  5. The song, “Beast of Burden” hits a little too close to home. 
  6. People in elevators fear you and spend the entire ride living out a fear scenario in which they get trapped and have to deliver your baby. They secretly hate you for putting them in that hypothetical position. 
  7. pretending to break ones water while their husband gets ready for their law school finals is not nice. his words, not mine. 
  8. epidural. 

Long story short (you're welcome)-The birth didn’t go that well. Our baby and I were both injured during the birth. Maxwell spent some time in the NICU for seizures and a brain injury but recovered very quickly.

After 21hrs of labor (4hrs of pushing,) I saw an actual human come out of me! This probably shouldn't have surprised me after 9mo of mental preparation but it was still pretty shocking. I don't think I ever fully grasped the reality of it until that moment. My first thought when they lifted him out was, "Wow. Broad shoulders for a baby."  I yelled out to him, "THANK YOU FOR COMING OUT OF ME!!!" He needed immediate medical attention to clear his airways but soon cried out from across the room. The tension broke. Then I broke. I cried--hard; from relief, exhaustion, surrealism, and at how badly I wanted a sandwich. 

Our NICU days as a new family:

Being over-term, our baby was by far the largest in the NICU.
Walking down to his nook at the very end of the ward felt a lot like,
duck duck duck GOOSE!  

Maxwell spilling out over the NICU bed. 
I asked the doctor what meds they had been giving him. Valium, Hypnotics, and other sedatives. I thought he was just a trooper, really he was just flying high the whole time. 

After two weeks we miraculously got to take him home seizure free.  
In an effort to compensate for his rough entry into this world, Maxwell was a super awesome, and as far as we could tell, easy baby to deal with. Not to mention super cute. I mean, look at this kid. :) The second half of the year was us trying to figure out parenting, loving on this cute, cuddle bug, and enjoying the holidays. Here's the snapshot version:

so cuddly
Max's baby blessing in a tux my mom made. I made his bowtie and his grandma made the blanket. 

Want some ham with that neck-cheese?

Dobby our house elf in a pillowcase and a single sock. Halloween.
Traveling to see family during the Christmas holiday!

:) Baby it's cold outside. 
Checkout the drumsticks on that 17 pounder! Thanksgiving
Following us with only his eyes. completely immobile in his snow suit.
Maxwell playing baby Jesus in the cousin's nativity. 
For more cuteness, see my Instagram ;) 

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 In Review

So I've not been that good at the blogging thing. This time it's not been so much me as it has been the fact that google bought out blogger and it wouldn't let me log in with my non-gmail account until just now. Lame. But hey, it's an excuse and I'll take it.

Yesterday was New Years. As I lay sprawled on the couch enjoying a well earned Netflix binge and entire bottle of Martinelli's apple cider to myself, I thought pensively about the last year. Man what an incredible year. The thing that makes it so, at least for me, was how different it was from my other years. This last year was really the first time that all of our previous preparations and plans were finally put into play. Adam and I are big time planners and schedulers, maybe to a fault, but there you have it. It's a strange feeling knowing the time for preparation has passed and now is the time to do all the things. The choices have all been made. Whoa.

#1: Law School & Career
At the turn of last year two big things happened: Adam was accepted into the University of Chicago Law School and I was offered a permanent position at my company to work remotely from home when we moved to Chicago.

#2: The Move
Since we knew where we were moving to so far in advanced, we flew to Chicago in April to visit the school and scout out housing. This ended up being a great choice because we scored a pretty spacious apartment and met a bunch of awesome people before we came up.

#3: We had finally saved up enough money to buy a real car
We loved our old manual car but we were very excited to move up in the world in this small (to us, HUGE) aspect. The upgrade from our '97 all manual, power steering, leaked in the rain, had no radio, Honda Civic to our '09 Toyota Corolla was like swapping the Flintstone's car for a spaceship. We fixed up the Honda and passed it on to my younger brother who was moving up in the world from a bike. The car let us do all the fun traveling we never trusted our other car to do before. Thus...

#4: We actually had a real summer!
It was our last summer, no homework, job applications, school applications, test etc. Just work in the morning and whatever we wanted to do in the afternoons. It was amazing. We also realized it was probably the only time that would ever happen to us. We bought a gym membership to our local rec. center and ACTUALLY WENT several times a week (um yeah, we were awesome.) And every other weekend we did a camping trip somewhere in Utah where we went on a progressively harder or longer hike.

Some of the Highlights:

Stuart Falls, UT

Angels Landing, UT

Goblin Valley, UT
Arches, UT
Little Wild Horse Canyon, UT

#5: We went on an adventure.
Knowing where you're going to be 5 months from now has it's advantages. Ok, it only has advantages. We loved it. Anyhooz, we were able to nab a spot reservation for Havasupai! Havasupai is this magical bright blue waterfall system at the beginning of the Grand Canyon that feeds into the Colorado River. The water is clear and perfect and tingles when it hits your skin. This trip was like the dangling carrot for us. Well, for me if we're going to be completely honest. Adam was already in pretty good shape but for me it was the motivation necessary to get in better shape and fix my knee injury up. We hadn't told anyone this but in addition to it being the last real vacation before lawschool and real life, it was also our "baby-moon" bribe to get ourselves (again, mostly me) in shape before trying to start a family. (ˈbābēˌmo͞on Noun: That last fun thing you do before your life gets bogged down by the complications of having small children depending on you and your general lack of sleep and disposable income and energy.)  
Havasupai was amazing. It was seriously, so much fun. And yes, we backpacked the 17 miles in and out of the canyon to get there. I wish I had taken a picture of this but after a week camping, Adam's hair had gone straight and mine curly.

#6: We got to visit a ton of our family and friends
We packed as many family and friend adventures in-between our weekend hikes as we could and it was awesome to see everyone that we did!

#7: We decorated
Since we weren't going to be transitional like every year/half-year before this time, we actually bought a couch and some bookshelves. A real couch, not a futon. (Any of you who were/are college students know how big a deal that is.) We painted some walls, and bought a bunch of glass jars for my spices in the kitchen. We even threw out the mismatched hangers and got all matching ones. Whoa.

#8: Adam grew a beard
Having completed an LDS mission, school at BYU, then working at the MTC, Adam finally got a chance to let his facial hair shine.

#9: Adam started School
He's loving law school (so far, he's only had one trimester so that can all change very soon. They call them "quarters" not trimesters, but there are three of them so...)  This is his really his first time going to school for classes that are specifically in the field of his interests so it's a big and refreshing change for him.

#10: I got pregnant
It actually happened. It's still hard to wrap our heads around but it's real. I hit my second trimester and am finally edging off the morning sickness phase. Sadly, I had 10 airplane rides during my first trimester. I never want to see another airport or ginger-chew again. However, I am pretty well stocked up on those little vomit bags they stash in the seats and bathrooms on the plane.

Adam found out via surprise dinner Fortune Cookie,
"You will make a great dad this summer!"

We truly had a very amazing year.