Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ecklund Family Update

Wow!  It's been a LONG time since we've written a post.  It's been a long time since I'VE written one (this is Matt).  So, what have we been up to?  I could say "not much" but to us it seems like a lot.

1. Jess is "in a family way" or "in the way" as it used to be said.  Exciting!  Little Baby is due around the beginning of June.

2.  Abby started Nursery at Church a few months ago.  The first few weeks were tough dropping her off, but she has gotten WAY better at it.  Now, after the closing prayer's amen, she yells "CLASS!!!"  She just loves going to nursery. Probably because they have marshmallows...

3.  In May of this year Jess officially walked at her college commencement/graduation ceremony.  She finished classes last December - and Abby and I are SOOO glad!  It was tough doing that with a single car and a baby that was still nursing.  Abby and I had to go with her to make everything work out better.

4.  We paid off ALL of our debt!!  It was all student loans and took about 21 months or so to pay it all off.  It was really hard, but probably one of the best things we could have done for our marriage and family.  That's a place I never want to be again - loaded with debt.

5. Abby is growing up so fast.  She is still small for her age, but is really bright!  At 22 months old she has learned the basic colors, a lot of the alphabet, and can count from 1 to 10 most of the time.  Sometimes she counts 1, 2, 3, 96.  It's just her silly self! She has really come a long way with her vocabulary and can understand some complex instructions (ie do this then that and you will get ___).  As you can tell, I'm a proud dad!

6.  I am still working for my church's IT department.  I've been on a project that is going a little slowly, but I've been learning a lot.  I've actually gotten to take some advanced Linux training courses and will be doing an F5 training in January (on load balancing).

So, as you can see, we haven't done a whole lot - about 6 things this year.  So maybe it's more than that... We had a garden plot this year and learned a little more about growing vegetables.  We got a lot of tomato and zucchini.  Jess made a yummy salsa with our tomato and we froze TONS of shredded zucchini.  We will probably have to start making zucchini bread loaves as gifts for others.

When we get some more pictures of Christmas celebrations we will post them.

Merry Christmas and love from,
Matt, Jess, Abby, and Baby

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Almost DONE!!

I am only two weeks away from graduating with my bachelor's degree!  (insert applause here---just kidding!)  I cannot even express my excitement, joy, and relief for December 14th when I will officially be finished with classes.  It's been a wonderful learning experience for me going to school while giving birth to and raising my sweet baby girl, but I am in no way disappointed that that stage of life will be over very shortly.  :)  I'm so looking forward to being able to focus on my little one and wonderful husband as well as manage our house a little better.  I also wouldn't complain if I'm able to find a little more time to myself for things like, oh I don't know...maybe sewing little dresses, dusting off the violin, and whatever else suits my fancy.  Mostly I can't wait for the freedom from school and homework.  It will feel great to have accomplished this goal I've had for what sometimes seems like forever.  Anyway, that's just a quick update for now.  I'll post a real one once school is finished (then maybe I can become a better blogger too---endless possibilities!) so just hang in there for that update complete with photos. :)

P.S.  Abby took her first real steps last Monday.  Eeep!  We'll have a 2 1/2 ft. tall tornado on our hands before long!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer Fun

I will never be a good blogger.  End of story.  BUT I'll go ahead and do a short post about a few of our summer highlights.

The months of June and July basically sped by, and I can't believe we're already to August and our baby girl is almost six months old!  It reminds me of that song by Kenny Chesney "Don't Blink".  That pretty much sums up how I feel about this summer--I've done too much blinking! (or too much school...)  Anyway, our summer has been full of fun activities and the normal stuff too.

We had a family reunion at the end of June and got to see a lot of family that we haven't seen for a long time. We camped over night and just hung out with the Nuttall side (my mom's family) for a couple of days.  Matt and I really enjoyed it, and Abby didn't do too bad for her first time camping.  She LOVED being outside with everything there was to see.  The only problem was that she was so excited about everything and it was so hot that it was hard to get her to take naps.  She got a little fussy a few times, but all in all it was a fun little outing.  She also got plenty of attention from all of my little cousins which I think she enjoyed.

We went down to Manti again for the fourth of July and then took advantage of the long weekend and went camping with my family.  It was pretty fun!  We tried our hand at dutch oven cooking for the first time, and also got rained on.  We went on a short hike and played in a stream with pretty little waterfalls.  This was a little bit of a harder camping trip because we'd just gone camping the week before, and it was quite a bit colder for Abby.  It was still lots of fun though!  I think we've decided we'll have to make a habit of camping in the summer time.

My summer classes just finished yesterday, and I'm SO relieved to be done for a few weeks!  I'm nervous for next semester when I have twice as many classes, but thankfully it will be my last.  I've had two night classes on campus this semester two nights a week.  Matt and Abby have been making the 45 minute drive with me to Salt Lake and hanging out while I'm in class.  I'm excited to have more time to complete unfinished projects and play with Abby, not having to worry about school stuff during the day.

Little Abby wishes with all her might that she were mobile.  She can roll over from her tummy to her back, but she hasn't figured out how to go from back to tummy.  I'm guessing part of the reason is that she really doesn't care for tummy time so why on earth would she purposefully roll onto it?!  She much prefers sitting to laying down at all actually.  She's become quite the pro in just the last few weeks, and it's been so fun to watch her notice so many new things from this new vantage.  I have a feeling that she'll be more motivated to learn how to scoot before too long, because she's starting to get really frustrated when she sees something she wants that she can't get to.  She wants to grab EVERYTHING in sight!  She has earned the nickname "Grabby Abby" for this very reason. :)
Abby is also working on her first tooth!  We've been expecting it for almost a month now, and it's finally popping through.  Abby has been drooling and gnawing on things like crazy.  Now she'll have something to show for it!
I wish we had some recent pictures to show of Abby's new skills, but our camera isn't working at the moment and hasn't been for a few weeks.  So yes, unfortunately I've missed capturing all sorts of adorable candid Abby photos.  Oh well.  There will be more, and hopefully we can get our camera fixed and working before too long.

Well, we're looking forward to what the rest of the summer brings.  (Hopefully it'll bring some nice cool weather so Abby and I can go outside and play or take walks for more than 15 minutes at a time.  The heat is a killer lately!)  We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer too!

Beginning of Summer!

So, I just remembered that I've had this post written for at least a month now, and it's just been waiting for me to add pictures and post it! (Busy and distracted, perhaps?) Anyway, here it is...

We're so glad that warm weather and sunshine are here to stay!  We've had quite a lot going on as of late so I'll attempt as brief of an update as possible.

First, Matt is officially a Utah State graduate and has now not only completed his coursework, but has also had his day of recognition for all of the hard work he's done.  We watched him walk and receive his diploma (well the cover at least) the first weekend of May.  He looked very handsome and distinguished wearing his cap and gown with his hood. ;)  Matt's dad was also able to fly out from Florida for the special occasion which was lots of fun!

Matt's up there on the top row waving--not the best quality picture, 
but all of the other better ones are on Matt's dad's camera. 

Abby and Grandpa Carl--best buds! 
(until the fussing begins that is... ;) hehe)

For memorial day we went up to Logan to visit my aunt Heidi, her husband Jeremy, and their little 2 1/2 year old daughter Isabelle.  It'd been a while since we'd seen them and it was so fun to get together again!  Isabelle was especially excited that we were bringing "Baby Abby".  She even told me over the phone not to forget to bring her with us. :)

 We were all playing dress up.  Isabelle had fun putting her stuff on Abby. :)

The rest of the weekends in May we kept busy by going down to Manti for Mother's Day and going to a car show with my family to watch my dad play in his band.

Our little Abby is getting bigger and cuter all the time!  (Everyone is always telling us that too!)  She still looks pretty little compared to a lot of babies her age, but she's healthy and strong.  Here are some recent pictures:
 Sleepy girl--she loves that thumb! 

 Just woke up. :)

 Hanging out with Daddy during Mom's class and learning
 how to hold her own bottle!

She started eating cereal and LOVES it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Our New Arrival

I figured it was time to post about our new baby that she's eight weeks old! It has been such an amazing journey preparing for her arrival and bringing her into the world. We feel so blessed to have her in our family, and we love her so much already!

The month of February was dedicated to preparation for when we would meet our baby girl. Every weekend (if not every day) we were making sure that we had all of the essentials covered so we'd be ready whenever Abby decided to make her debut. We made list after list and checked each one twice to be sure. :) We were released as ordinance workers in the Oquirrh Mountain temple so as to give a few weeks of preparation time before Abby arrived.

At the end of January, we had enrolled in a third trimester child birth class at the hospital to help prepare us further and give us some useful information. Initially I was the one who really wanted to go so that I could have as much information as possible about what to expect in every detail. Going to the class really helped put my mind at ease and helped me to prepare mentally and emotionally for the big day. Matt ended up liking it too. It was divided into four sessions and was held on Monday nights so it became our FHE activity for a few weeks...not quite four though. We took a "final exam" the day that we were supposed to go to the last session of our childbirth class. :)

On Sunday, Februaury 12 we went to church and were told that it would be our last week as nursery leaders (nursery callings are a little hard to keep when you have a new baby). I had just finished taking my midterm exams a few days before, so those were out of the way and there would be nothing too major due for a couple of weeks. I had already decided that this coming week would be a pretty ideal time to have our baby. (I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it the full 40 weeks, but at the same time I didn't want to get hopes up too high.) That night we decided that we should probably finish packing all of the main stuff into our hospital bags just in case. I'd noticed over the last few days that "practice" contractions were getting more regular, but I hadn't bothered to time them or anything yet. While we were packing Matt suggested that I start telling him whenever I had a Braxton Hicks contraction so he could help me time them and know what was going on. I did this, and we were finding that they were definitely starting to get more consistent and closer together. At about 9:30pm they were consistently about 20 minutes apart, and then by midnight they were more like 7-10 minutes apart. They still weren't painful though, so at that point we both decided to just go to bed. I figured that if they were actually doing something to cause progression I'd wake up.

Even though we went to bed, I had a really hard time sleeping. I may have slept for a few minutes, but my contractions were close enough together that they were really obnoxious (although not painful yet) and I couldn't relax enough to get some good sleep. At about 2:30am I started feeling some cramping pain with the contractions and I remember thinking, "Is this what real contractions feel like?" I wasn't sure so I kept trying to sleep unsuccessfully. I kept track of the contractions on a notepad by my side of the bed. I finally decided to get up just before 3:00am and go eat some cereal and continue timing the contractions. I figured I might as well do SOMETHING since I couldn't sleep. I looked up a few things about labor signs and how to tell if it's "for real". Contractions kept getting closer together and stronger, and they didn't go away with walking or changing positions.

I finally decided to go back into the bedroom at 4:30am and wake Matt up, "Matt, just so you know we're going to need to go to the hospital sometime today. I'm going to get in the shower and get ready." Matt came in to check on me a few times while I was taking a shower, and then I decided to soak in the tub to help my body relax a little more if possible. Matt brought some of my favorite scented candles into the bathroom, and he sat and timed each contraction and helped me breathe through them. At this point I was in a fairly good amount of pain every 5 or 6 minutes. We decided it was time to finish grabbing the last minute things for our hospital bag, and head out. I think it was just after 6:00am at this point. I got out of the tub, got dressed, and started putting my hair up and out of my face. In the few minutes it took to do that, the pain and pressure of the contractions had GREATLY intensified!

After a couple of pretty hard contractions Matt and I were both decided that we needed to go to the hospital NOW. The only problem was that we still had a few things to pack, but I was finishing up really slowly because I'd start doing something and then another really hard contraction would come and I'd call foe Matt to come help me get through it, stopping the packing process temporarily. At this point I remember feeling like that was absolutely all I could do. I was too tired and in too much pain to keep going. I said to Matt, "I'm gonna have to get an epidural when we get there. I can't keep going like this!" I wasn't sure I could go natural as we'd planned. With the contractions coming now about every minute or two and lasting for a minute it took us quite a while to actually get out the door and to the car. The same was true when we got to the hospital. We had to stop a couple of times in the parking lot, in the hall, AND in the elevator to get through contractions.

When we finally made it to the desk to check in it was 6:55am. We told the receptionist that we were ready to have our baby and we needed to check in and have a nurse check me. (It was a little difficult to tell the receptionist my name and info in the middle of a few more contractions!!) We waited for a nurse to come for what seemed like an eternity to me. Matt was a wonderful help talking me through the discomfort and reassuring me that I could keep going and was doing a great job. I could never have given birth without him and his support!!

The nurse eventually got there and proceeded to check and find out how dilated the cervix was. Up until this point, I'd been telling myself that we'd come in and get checked and they'd probably tell me I was dilated to a four or five. Even though I was in more pain than I'd ever experienced I figured it would still have to get worse. The nurse said, "I'm not feeling the cervix." She kept feeling around trying to find a head and said,"This doesn't feel like a head. It almost feels like fingers or toes to me... " She told us she was pretty sure the baby was turned the wrong direction and we'd probably have to have a C-section, but she'd go get another nurse to check and make sure. the second nurse came in, checked me again, and said, "Yep, that definitely feels like some kind of digits." The two nurses left the room to get equipment for an ultrasound to see where the baby's head was since it obviously wasn't down where it should have been. While they were gone Matt asked me, "When a baby is breeched isn't there a way the doctor can help them change position so you don't have to have a C-section?" I'd heard that before, and I thought we'd talked about that briefly in our child birth class. We decided to ask the nurses about it when they came back in. When we asked them a few minutes later the nurse looked at me and said, "Oh! It's too late for that--you're fully dilated! We have to do an emergency Cesarian right away."

Before too long I was whisked away in a wheelchair (still having painful contractions mind you) to the operating room. Because they were in a hurry they had to do a spinal block which goes a little further into the spine and makes the anesthesia kick in almost immediately instead of having to wait 15 min. or so like with an epidural. This was probably the hardest part because you're supposed to hold very still while they put the needle in. It made my contractions five times worse not being able to move during them. I was also resisting the incredibly strong urge to push at this point, and that WAS the hardest part! Again, I was so glad to have Matt by my side helping me. I was more than grateful and relieved when I couldn't feel anything anymore. The operation only took a few minutes. But, it felt like a long time to me. Besides being anxious and excited to meet our baby girl, I was beyond exhausted and also really cold because of the anesthesia and the cool temperature of the operating room. Even though I was shivering uncontrollably during most of the operation, I had the hardest time staying awake for my own child's birth! Matt was alert and asking the doctors questions while he watched them cut me open. I for one was glad that I didn't have to see that, but Matt loved it and thought it was really cool.

Our sweet little daughter was delivered at 8:12am on Feb. 13th. Matt was the first one to hold her while the doctors stitched me up. Abby Jean weighed 6 lbs. 3 oz. and measured 17 1/2" long. It was such a miracle to see her for the first time and hear her cry. :) I was able to stay awake long enough to see her and watch the nurses do a few tests a couple of yards from the bedside where I was still being stitched up, but after that I gave in to the sleep and was in and out of consciousness until we were about to leave the operating room.

Once Abby and I were both cleaned up, the nurses handed me our baby girl and we were wheeled into another room where our little family was left alone for a precious few minutes. Despite being tired, Matt and I held our tiny child in awe at the events that had taken place and our new responsibility. It's amazing how you can love someone instantly, and that love has only continued to grow stronger. We wouldn't trade our Abby Jean for the world!!

Abby is now 8 weeks old. It's been a wonderful and often tough time of adjustment for all of us, but we're slowly working into a schedule and getting back to normal life. We love our new addition, and watching her grow has been so fun! She's now weighs somewhere around eight or maybe nine pounds. (We'll find out on Friday when we take her in for her two month doctor appointment.) She's also started smiling a little on purpose and cooing occasionally. We're excited for her to move into this next stage of more interaction. Parenthood is incredible and very rewarding. We couldn't be happier! (except maybe if we had a little more sleep...;)

Friday, December 2, 2011

6 months down with 3 more to go!

So...I don't really want to talk about how LONG it's been since I last updated this! Sorry, but this will be kind of a longer post. We've been a little busy to put it mildly. I know I won't be able to catch up on most of what's been going on in our lives, but at least there will be a new post and pictures! :)

Our minds are filled with baby, school, temple, and Christmas! We just got back from a wonderfully long Thanksgiving weekend with my family in Manti, and now we're trying to re-adjust back into normal life.

My little brother made himself a Thanksgiving "mini pie". He was pretty proud of it, 
and I thought it was probably the cutest pie I'd ever seen and had to take a picture. 

Near the beginning of October we were called to be ordinance workers in the Oquirrh Mountain LDS temple. We've been working there on Tuesday nights from 4:00pm to 10:00pm for the past couple of months. It has been such an incredible blessing! It's amazing how it brings the spirit more abundantly into our home and has already blessed our marriage more than I probably even know right now. I have definitely felt the positive effects of being ordinance workers! On Tuesday, I was talking to a few of the sisters as we were eating a snack in the lunchroom of the temple and they were commenting on how blessed we are to 1) be members of the church and 2) have the blessings of the temple so close to us, and that 3) only a handful of members who have the blessings of the temple are able to be ordinance workers. It really got me thinking about what a privilege it is to be working in the temple and especially at such a young age. I have already learned so much and made some connections I might not have made if it weren't for my service there. So many of our fellow workers have said, "What a great way to start off your marriage!" I couldn't agree more, and I know I am only beginning to grasp the true blessing that it is.

Here were our Halloween festivities:
 Some delicious and adorable candy corn sugar cookies

 Here I am carving our Jack-O-Lantern, cleverly named "Jack". :)

 Jack in the making.

Here we are with the finished product. 

 Don't forget to notice his teeth...they took a while!

 Here's Jack all lit up on our porch.

 These little pot pies were our Halloween dinner. We also 
watched "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" that night.

This is Jack in his old age. We both thought it was hilarious that 
his teeth were gone and he was all wrinkly like a really old man!! This
picture was taken not too long before his burial (or trip to the dumpster).

Matt is just about to finish his MBA!! We are SO excited! He'll be all done with classes in 8 days. This is part of what is making our lives a little crazy. Originally, Matt was going to take one class this fall and then save the other one for the spring. He found out though, that instead, he'd have to take two classes this fall. (I can't remember all the exact details of why he has to do this--I suffer from pregnancy memory loss! He'd be a better one to explain all of that.) Anyway, both of his classes started in October and go through the beginning of this month. So basically he's taking two MASTER level classes at once in HALF the time of a normal semester while still working full time! He has been working very hard, and is definitely a hero in my eyes. When we first found out about this change in plans, we both decided that it'd probably be for the better since we have a baby coming in the middle of next semester. (I could just picture me going into heavy labor/needing to go to the hospital while he was in class or taking a final or something! Maybe that's just me being pessimistic...) Things have been crazy for both of us, but we're nearing the tail end of it now, so we just have to hang on for 8 more days!
My classes are also winding down, and it feels good to have one more semester almost finished. Three more to go for me! I'm planning on taking 2 classes in the spring, 2 in the summer, and 3 in the fall. Then I'll be done too! Hurray!!

Our baby girl is growing fast now! It's so exciting to feel her kick, squirm, and get hiccups. We've decided to call her Abby (still haven't thought much about a middle name, but she'll have one). We've started collecting lots of baby stuff to prepare for her arrival. Yesterday I spent a ton of time (too much) looking at different prices for baby supplies, researching cloth diapers (I hear they're not too bad, so we're thinking about doing that), and dreaming about our little one and wishing I knew exactly what day she'll decide to come. I guess I'm a little too much of a planner when it comes to certain things. I always like to know what's ahead, but I suppose this is one I'll just have to accept someone else's timing! :)
For the most part I'm feeling great! I DO have my downer days, but thankfully Matt is here to comfort me when that happens. I've been loving the energy that has returned to me over the last few months, and I'm hoping that it doesn't disappear too quickly during the last part of this pregnancy. I had the glucose tolerance test a few weeks back, and they called me to tell me that my glucose levels were elevated (who knows how much--they didn't say) so I'll have to go in for another test. This one will be a really long one--four to five hours! I'm really hoping I don't have gestational diabetes!
Here are a few of the fun things we've collected so far for the baby:
 My sister and I decorated these letters when they were visiting 
Matt and  I in August. Originally they were going to 
spell "baby", but we like it this way too! :)

 This was an adorable gift from my father-in-law. Abby will be able to
 wear her UCF onesie and matching socks to support her daddy's school! :)

 A friend of my father-in-law made these for us. I'm so excited to use the tiny hat
 and little fuzzy blanket! They even match the colors we chose for Abby's room!

 This cute little bassinet was given to us by an angel family in our ward. 
They also gave us a crib and refused to let us pay. We're very blessed!

My mother-in-law got us these books to read with Abby.
 It will be so fun to read these with her!

"Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat..." Talk about Christmas sneaking up on you! Here I am thinking about baby and school stuff, and Christmas is just around the corner! I've got a few different projects that I've been trying to work on and finish for Christmas during the minutes that I don't have school or housework. Now is when I really have to get going at full speed. I'm sure it will all come together, I'm just not sure how together I'll be by the end!! We're planning a trip to Oregon with my family. We'll be having Christmas with my grandparents on my dad's side. We're all very excited (except for the long drive)! Matt and I still haven't put up any Christmas decorations, but we're getting in the mood with Christmas music. We've also started reading the book of Luke. We'll read one chapter every day until Christmas.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of what things are like around here. We're both happier than we've ever been and are excited for the things life holds in store for us in the future!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Beginning of a New Adventure

Once again, I'm sorry to all those who've been expecting a new post for weeks now. Honestly, besides being busy with other things, sometimes I just plain forget to update the blog! 

This summer is going by pretty fast already. We've been down in Manti a few times for the Manti pageant, a family reunion and July 4th, and we've also started bringing my younger siblings up here one at a time to stay with us for a few days by themselves. It's been a fun experience so far and has helped Matt and I be able to bond a little more with the extra one-on-one time with them. It's also been great for me to have company while Matt's at work! 

I've finally decided on transferring to University of Utah to finish my bachelors degree. I was working on Elementary Education at Utah State, but I've decided to switch to Human Development and Family Studies. This is something that I think will be very fitting and helpful in the future, and it'll also be nice because you can actually do the whole program online if need be. Right now my plan is to go to U of U for the fall semester and then I'll probably switch to online after that. As of right now I'm still waiting for an acceptance letter....I wish they weren't so slow! There were a few issues with having the transcripts under the name "Boylan" and applying to U of U as an "Ecklund". Anyway, I won't bore you with the details, but it's been a little frustrating. Of course, from my own experience of transferring in the past there are ALWAYS complications of some kind. Gotta love it!

So a few weeks ago we found out that we're expecting a new addition to our little family! YAY! We're absolutely thrilled and are excited to find out if it's a boy or a girl. (I'm only 7 weeks along though, so it'll be a while before that happens.) We're in awe reading about how the baby is developing each week and how intricately the whole ordeal works. I enjoy seeing what the professionals compare the baby's size to each week. Last week we affectionately referred to our little one as the "little lentil bean", but this week it's the size of a blueberry. We're hoping and praying that our "little blueberry" continues to grow and develop as it should. It certainly seems to take a lot out of me--already! (along with all the pregnancy hormones and such) Anyway, I'm to the point of nausea and constant munching to keep from losing my food. I haven't actually thrown up yet, but there have been times when I certainly wished I would! All in all though, pregnancy is good  so far. I'm working on lessening my complaints and remembering that all of the discomfort is for a good cause and will have a wonderful result. :) 

Well, that's our life at the present. We're embarking on a new adventure and all sorts of changes. We couldn't be more excited! Life is wonderful!