Thursday, February 26, 2009

Showshoeing in Park City

Maya got new snowshoes for her birthday and we have been dying to try them out ever since.

I needed to drive up to Park City to pick up Maya for the weekend from Scott's place so we decided to find a trail in the area.

Jill had other plans with Noah, and Emily was still feeling sick so it ended up being just Maya, Scott, and myself on our trek.

We hiked to some old mining buildings at the top of main street in Park City. There was fresh snow and plenty more fell during our hike.

Maya did a great job although she liked to get her feet crossed up and spent a fair amount of time trying to get back on her feet in the deep powder.

The old mining buildings were pretty interesting. There was lots of old equipment covered by snow.

Maya was excited to bring home a small piece of core sample for her rock collection.

Here are the rest of the Snowshoeing Pictures.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bald Eagles at Farmington Bay

I found a few photography groups in the SLC area that had some interesting activities coming up.

The first one that I decided to act on was Photographix which is a group based in Davis County (North of Salt Lake).

They were having a field trip to Farmington Bay off of the Great Salt Lake that I decided I would join in.

The reason?

Bald Eagles.

There were at least twenty eagles in the area that we were watching.

But most of them were just a bit too far away on the ice.

I was having major lens envy as I looked to my left and right at thousands and thousands of dollars worth of camera gear.

We spent a bunch of time trying to staying warm as we waited for the sun to rise and the eagles to do something interesting.

The seagulls would catch a fish then an eagle or two would chase down the seagull and steal his catch.

Then the eagles would intimidate each other until the winner escaped with his stolen breakfast across the frozen bay.

I had to crop a lot the shots pretty severely in order to focus on the birds instead of the vast nothingness.

Therefore the quality of pictures is not very great.

Again, more lens envy.

The one I would like to get is only $5,800.

I'll be lucky if I can save up for the $1,400 alternate.

Dare to dream.

Here are some more pictures of the birds at Farmington Bay.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Maya's 8th Birthday!

Once again (4 years in a row) we celebrated Maya's birthday (last month) at Bouncin' Off The Walls.

Everyone had a blast and there were no major injuries this year.

There are plenty of more pictures here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

1st 3 weeks

I thought I would give a highlight of the first 3 weeks of being a mom to perfect Noah. But as I am still trying to finish thank you cards I thought I would send out a big THANK YOU to all of our loved ones for their excitement, joy, support and love for us and Noah. Many of you are far away which I hate but you are close in our thoughts and hearts. I can't wait for you to meet Noah.

I am a bullet point person so here are some highlights.

1- It amazes me how I can feel completely obsessed with this little person who really doesn't do much. I can't get enough of him and only because I know I have to share do I allow Corey and Maya to hold him. :-)

2- Noah is slowly becoming more alert. He still sleeps a lot but each day he is opening his eyes and staying awake a little longer. Too bad one of these times is typically between 3 and 4 am.

3- I can survive on little sleep. It is great not having the pressure of going to work yet as Noah and I are working on extending his feeding schedule. He likes to eat about every hour which can become pretty tiring. I was reluctant to introduce the pacifier but it has become my friend as I try to extend time between feedings. Last night he actually went 2 1/2 hours a few times. whoo hoo!

4- Clothes that fit are hard to find. I do love the gerber newborn onesies. They fit the best but finding ones that have long sleeves is difficult. Also it amazes me how different the sizes are with clothes. He has so many cute clothes but he doesn't fit into any of them yet. I struggle because I can't wait for them to fit but I am not ready for him to grow.

5- We are very blessed that he is not a big crier (yet that is). He likes to groan and he looks so cute when he opens his mouth and turns his head everywhere when he wants to eat. It reminds me of baby birds in their nest sticking their little beaks up waiting for the worm. It cracks me up.

6- He makes the best faces right after he is done eating. He looks so content, even smiles a little. That is one of my favorite times. His eyes are open, he smacks his lips, sticks out his tongue etc. Just really cute stuff. I tell ya, when they don't do much you need to appreciate the little things.

7- We started doing some tummy time during the day. I have to admit I am not sure how to entertain the little guy yet. My songs are a little dumb and he knows what I do everyday because it is always with him. But he seems to like tummy time. I was very impressed with his pilates ability as he lifted both his head and legs up off the ground at the same time.

8- Nursing. I just have to vent and or give advice to my friends who have not yet had a child. I wish someone would have discussed this with me. We are getting the hang of breastfeeding. I have needed to be patient and it truly is a learning thing between you and the baby. However, no one mentioned that you really do need a whole new wardrobe. It made me laugh when on one of our first nights home and I wore my nightgown. Then when it was time to feed him I realized I had to pull up the nightgown all the way up. It was too bunchy and I couldn't see the baby so I had to just take it off. It was in the early hours of the morning and I was freezing. I realized I needed some button down pajamas. I also have realized I don't have many button down shirts and layering shirts is out of the question. Yeah they mentioned nursing bras but I am now enlightened to the concept of new clothes. Don't know what I am going to do at church when I wear a dress. So complicated. :-)

9- Cabin Fever- It is a good thing Noah is cute and that I am enjoying being with him or I would truly go crazy. Being in the house all day every day is definitely a challenge. I had all these plans to accomplish projects around the house but I am lucky if I get dressed, clean the dishes and care for the baby. I find I need to sleep because it didn't happen during the night and I don't have the energy or desire to start a project. Hopefully over the next few weeks the weather will become a little warmer and I will have some more energy.

10- SOOO cute. Did I mention that Noah is absolutely adorable? He is now 7 lbs, went down to 6 lbs 11 oz when we left the hospital. He is so easy, cuddly, lovable and fun. It will be fun to see how he changes over the next few weeks. I will keep you posted.

Hope this didn't bore anyone.

Here are some more pictures.

Prepping for the Beach

Noah's vanity is already showing through as seen here as he is getting an early start for this summer.

The Kneeland clan has reserved a beach house in Destin, Florida and Noah is not about to be caught with a bad burn because his skin was lily white.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Noah has Arrived!

A week ago Monday, Jill went home early from work with really intense back pains. She had similar pains last month and the heating pad and massage pad did the trick. But this time the pain just kept getting stronger with no breaks. This led to vomiting, which led to her calling me to come home early, and progressed to us heading to the hospital to figure out what was going on. Jill was really not enjoying the drive at all.

So fast forward a few hours - We were in the women's center triage room, nurses and doctors coming in and out, and Jill was writhing in pain. They put her on the monitors, poked and proded and asked lots of questions. After a full 1000ML of IV fluid the pain was finally subsiding a bit. Around this time she was also having occasional contractions. They diagnosed her as having a kidney infection which was causing all the back pain. They gave her a strong antibiotic in her IV and also gave her some pain meds. Everything was settling down and they told us that she would need to stay overnight for observation.

The pains had now changed from back pains to contractions. The resident doctor was a bit concerned that the contractions were now a bit more regular and decided to check her out again. When we arrived they first evaluated her as being dilated to about a 1 and now she was about a 3.5-4 and about 70% effaced. And they noticed that it appeared that her water had broken. A quick test determined that we were indeed going to be moving over to the labor and delivery room instead of just staying overnight for observation!

At this point things started to accelerate pretty quickly. The contractions were becoming much more regular and much stronger. Jill was now getting concerned that she would not be able to get the epidural she really wanted and sent me on a mission to find out what was going on. Soon, we changed rooms and nurses and the epidural was in place. Jill was now much calmer and not even noticing the contractions anymore. This girl loves her pain meds!

The nurse was prepping the room for the delivery, made a quick assessment of Jill, and said, "I better go get the doctor right away!" It was about 11:30 PM and she was actually suggesting that he may be born before midnight since everything seemed to be progressing so quickly! The doctor on call (not Jill's OB/GYN but his colleague) was already at the hospital. He also made a quick assessment and said, "One or two good pushes is all you will need to do!"

He was pretty much correct, I think Jill actually pushed 3 times. Little Noah was in a big hurry to be born. It was interesting to me that the doctor's and nurses were so calm and casual as the doctor unwrapped the cord from around his neck, suctioned out his airways, then nonchalantly unwrapped the cord a second time!

I cut the cord then Noah was cleaned and evaluated for several minutes. They suctioned out 13CCs of fluid from his lungs. The NICU nurse also checked him out to make sure he was not struggling too much to breathe. They also checked his blood oxygen levels and his glucose levels to make sure that they were in the right range.
He continued to be closely checked throughout the hospital stay and only needed one supplement of formula in order to boost his glucose. Noah also had to perform a car seat test to make sure that his blood oxygen levels would stay up while he is buckled-up. Apparently, early babies sometimes constrict their airways or blood flow since their neck muscles are underdeveloped.

The next three days was spent trying to get the hang of breast feeding, checking mom and baby's vitals, trying to get lots of rest, and visiting with family and friends.

We came home on Thursday then went back in for another bilirubin test on Friday and Saturday. They delivered a light bed on Saturday that Noah had to stay in all the time. Sunday his blood test showed that his levels were coming down and Monday's test showed that he had improved a lot and now could stay out of the bed for a day. Tuesday's test looked really good and he no longer needs the bed.

That is everything so far, and probably way more detail than you wanted.

Stay tuned for more excitement...

Here are some more pictures.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Snow Caving

I got the opportunity to help out the scouts on a winter camp out. Matt and I thought we were going as support on Thursday to build the snow caves, but it turned out that we were the only adults with the four scouts.
We went up to The Spruces camp ground in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
We hiked in a ways to find a good spot, Matt and I with our snowshoes and the boys trying to not make too many post holes in the snow. We spent about 3 hours piling the snow for two caves and started digging out one of the caves. We had to go shortly after it got dark.
Friday we gathered again with the boys along with two more blazer scouts and three leaders. The work began again on the caves. Four boys slept in one, Matt, Jaden and I slept in the other, one leader had a tent and rest slept wrapped up like burritos in tarps.
The meals of evening ranged from tin foil dinners, chili, a Quizno's sandwich, and I had black bean tamale pie (freeze-dried). It was actually one of the best freeze-dried meals I've ever had.
I had to wake up early in order to go to our second child birth class.
The ironic part is that I did not sleep much at all. The cave was warm but I just could not get comfortable. When I slid out of the cave at 5:30 in the morning, it had snowed a couple of inches and was still snowing. The weather was really nice, never dipping below freezing. Which is not best conditions for snow caves. They settled and melted a bit during the night.
The overnighter was a lot fun and I'm gald I had the chance to help out.
Here are some more pictures.

Three+ Months in Three+ Minutes

Sorry we have grossly neglected our public. I know you have been diligently checking in every day or two desperate for new news from us and you all see are those same old pictures from Southern Utah. I know they are nice and all (if I do say so myself) but what you really want is some verbiage so you can sneak a peek into our ever-so-exciting lives and satisfy your voyeuristic tendencies.

Well, here you go...the last three months (plus) condensed into a few paragraphs and several pictures. Just follow the links if your visual thirst is not quenched enough.

When we last left our adventurers, it was autumn. The leaves were changing, the weather was fabulous, and Jill was no longer able to hide the fact that she is (as her mother referred to her) "Great with Child". I think she was pulling off the cute mother-to-be quite well, even if she had had a few moments when she had stated that "I'm Done!". I will try to convince Jill to elaborate on her 'Adventures in Pregnancy' in her own post and will move on with the re-cap of months gone by.

Carving Pumpkins
October ended with the family carving pumpkins and enjoying some fine food. I decided to create a dutch oven meat only chili that (if I do say so myself) turned out pretty darn awesome. I made a huge pot so that it would last a couple of meals, but no such luck as it disappeared very quickly. Here are more pictures of the pumpkins.

Training in Seattle and Chicago
I was finally able to go some long awaited training for work. I had two training sessions outside of Seattle and one outside of Chicago. I did not get to do any site seeing while I was in Seattle but in Chicago I was able to catch a bus and the L-train to meet up with our friends from Baltimore, Shana and Adam. They gave me the quick tour of the city at night then we enjoyed some great Chicago style stuffed pizza at Giordano's. Here are a few more pictures of Chicago at night.

Melvin and Ellen Going

My Grandpa Going (my mom's father) passed away. I grew up living next door to my grandparents and in the house that he built. It was actually the same house that my mom grew up in. We always a great big garden that my grandpa took care of.
His professional life included the Navy and building churches and temples (including the DC temple) for the LDS church.
My step-Grandma, Ellen, went back to New Zealand with her daughter Georgie. We will miss her greatly even though it is probably the best situation. Here are more pictures of the funeral.

Lexi's Blessing
Little Alexia was blessed by her dad, Curtis.
The event was held at Jeff and Kendra's since they have the party house.
Of course the Wii somehow was turned on during the visit. Here some more pictures of the family.

Aunt Judy's 70th Birthday
We drove down to Manti to celebrate the 70th birthday of Jill's aunt Judy.
It was good to visit with a bunch of Jill's relatives that live in the southern part of the state.
Here some pictures of the birthday party.


We were lucky enough to be invited to spend Thanksgiving with Rick (Jill's cousin) and his family. They are fun to be around and we really appreciated the short amount of time we were there. We had a second feast with all the Burk's, hosted by Jeff and Kendra.
The food was great and everyone had fun lounging, puzzling, playing outside or playing with the Wii. Maya went to her Grandma Haynes' for her third feast of the day. Maybe she actually ate something there! She can be such a picky eater sometimes. Here are some pictures of Thanksgiving.

Zoo Lights
Maya and I picked up Izzy for a Thursday evening diversion. The Hogle Zoo was all decked-out with animal themed Christmas decorations. We had a lot fun even though it was a bit cold. More pictures.

Christmas in Utah
We had our our annual Burk Christmas Eve party a bit early since we were going to out of town. We had great food and lots of fun. The kids exchanged their gifts then the adults exchange theirs white elephant style. More pictures.

Christmas in Texas - (Jill's Section)

It would take probably 5 pages to describe all the fun times we had in Texas for Christmas. What you need to know is that it was crazy, hectic, loud and a ton of fun. Those who know my family understand that silence or down time is not an option.
Our five days were filled with fantastic food, driving around to see Christmas lights, the girls taking Maya out for a pedicure and manicure, a surprise baby shower, going geocaching, playing flag football and enjoying lots of great food.
We can't forget the fierce competitions with Kneeland Olympics, decorating rice krispie houses and a lot of Wii. We feel so blessed that the entire family was there. We don't know when that will happen again.
We treasured the chance for Maya to meet her Kneeland cousins for the first time and they all got along very well. She was found shooting some guns and sliding down the stairs and the boys were found playing dog which even included spending time in the real dog cage.
Holly and Chris were great hosts who spoiled us all rotten. We can't thank them enough for opening their home and planning all the fun. Here are more pictures from Texas, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

New Years
We both got sick after Texas and I ended up in bed for the entire week. I am still struggling with a nagging cough. So our festivities were very sedate.

That should fill in the gaping hole of neglect and get you up to speed (at least up to the new year which was over a month ago!).

We will try much harder to update more consistently.