Wednesday, December 17, 2008

At Semester's End

This blog entry* is dedicated, at length, to those of you anxiously awaiting more pictures of Bridgette. We appreciate your loyalty.

*(If you take one quick scroll-through and come close to swooning, please at least make time for the first video of Bri laughing, found near the bottom. It's a keeper.)

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The semester is over, and both mom and babe are chubby survivors! The advent of the end of classes is bittersweet. With a cohort of 10, we have grown close after cooperating for so many hours/ weeks/ months/ years in tight spaces. Bri and I will miss our friends. Some are already dispersing to other states and countries, and we wish them the best.

A few thoughts about the end:

As cumbersome as it was to pack an entire carload of supplies each morning to recreate "home" in the classroom, school did provide baby with an ever-entertaining environment. While I look forward to having an actual routine (imagine!) the lack of routine had a certain charm. Well, if not charm, then at least familiarity. (Is that possible? Can a lack of routine be familiar?) Plus, school helped me avoid the loneliness that seems inherent with the onset of motherhood.

I can also say that school helped us both learn new skills. For example, I'd like to see all of you "experienced" moms try to nurse in a tiny desk. And Bridgette is better than she might have been at sitting up because she's spent so much time at home sitting in my lap while I work at the computer. Just this morning she balanced upright with no support for a little over a minute.

Comment: We've noticed Bridgette almost always leans to her left. We're guessing it's because she has a hole in her side where the muscles are not connected.

Although my classmates have disbanded, school is certainly not over as now I open the throttle on my fieldwork and project, not to mention a certain independent study course. (Rosemary, if you're reading this, I haven't forgotten.)

And now... a great many events have transpired since last I wrote. Those of you who are not deeply invested in the details of our lives should stop reading here.

First, we had a bridal shower in early December for my friend Heather who is marrying in a few days and moving to France. As such, here is a photo of the girls in my cohort, minus Rachel who was unable to attend. I'll throw in a couple more zanies of my classmates in a future retrospective.

Next, Jeff and I spent our first night away from babs since her stay at Primary Children's Medical Center back in July.

The "other" Kelly Johnson kept our Bridgette safe and sound. It was such a blessing to have her help. Thanks so much!

We don't do much yet in terms of family traditions, but we like to take a family vacation each year. Since this was impossible in 2008, our overnighter became our mini-vacation. It was associated with the TGN Christmas party at the Zermatt Resort in Midway. TGN provided the evening's entertainment: food, magic & improv shows, polka performers, salsa dancers, and a casino. We won about $400 on the roulette wheel. Jeff put his chips on the exact right number, twice! After that, the woman next to us put her chips wherever Jeff did. But he lost the rest of the night, and she lost everything. It was pretty funny.

Sleeping-in was perhaps the best part of our time away. We missed breakfast and never noticed. After lunch at an adorable little restaurant, we went to Cascade Springs on Saturday afternoon (by way of a dirt road through snowy mountain pass).

The timing of our overnighter was the best and worst. I needed a break, denoted by truly excessive stress levels trying to get out of the house. However, it was also the weekend before my last week of school. I had so many major projects and presentations to complete that the time away was also one of my major stressors. I was about as high-strung as I could possibly get when we arrived in Midway but fortunately (for Jeff) calmed down after a couple of hours.

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Four other events deserve mention. (That's right. Four. More. Events. If you're bored, I make no apologies. I warned you to stop.)

On Thursday we viewed the Body Worlds exhibit in SLC. The word "tremendous" comes to mind. There's nothing quite like real bodies/body parts plasticized and turned into works of art. I found it inspiring. Frankly, it's amazing that any of us are alive. Did you know that 10 tiny capillaries are not as thick as a human hair? We saw a body suspended in mid-air and made only of preserved capillaries. There were so many capillaries that the body looked like any other - so much detail! Although obviously educational, it also had a health bent that appealed to me. Displays compared the bodies of smokers to non-smokers and the fit to the unfit. There were also some explicit views of organs with tumors, cancers, and hemorrhages, etc.

Jeff's favorite displays were of the digestive system. Ironically, my favorite was a room that contained no bodies. At one point the exhibit leads you through a room full of 50 gallon barrels. I didn't count, but I'm guessing there were 36 of them, since the point was to show you that a single human heart pumps 1800 gallons of blood every day. Amazing! Bridgette's favorite display was everything. I held her in front of me in a seated position and whispered explanations in her ear.

Jeff and I both had birthdays this week (Saturday & Sunday). Because I turned the big 30, Jeff hosted a fiesta for me. It was a casual affair with folks coming and going from start to finish. We celebrated by playing very bad pool (on my part), big-screen movie-watching, and eating a yummy special-order cake with otherwise healthy vegetarian fair. Except for the fruit. Which was spiked. Yum!

We attended an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party on Saturday at our friends the Pew's. A great time was had by all, and we were impressed by some truly tacky Christmas costumes. Having no time to search the racks at D.I., we wore the only sweaters we owned and were grateful that no one wrote our names down in the ugly-sweater vote-off. We also made gingerbread, urm... I hesitate to call them "houses." Perhaps "concoctions" is more accurate. Ours was a teepee, complete with totem pole, chief cinnamon bear, and papoose.

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The fourth event was the last final exam of my school career. My teacher asked us as a group to share 50 different creative teaching methods, then we exchanged touching gifts and had a feast. What a pleasant way to finish the year.

Which brings me to today! I'm obviously catching-up the blog, but I'm also eating cold Spaghettio's direct from the can, and I hope to put up a few decorations. Otherwise, Bri's baby book will have sadly non-festive photos inserted at tab "Baby's First Christmas."

Here's Bridgette getting a hilarious kick out of the dogs. Oh yes, with a great burp at the end.

This is Bridgette getting a kick out of Anthony.

This is Bridgette's first time at the dinner table.

And to end, we're playing.


Tammy and Alvin said...

Congratulations! You are super woman! Way to go making it through the semester. Bri is as cute as ever. I love the laughter and the Christmas dress. It was fun to see Anthony's face in that one video, but I kept waiting for a pan out to see the other people in the room. I wondered if the foot in the background was Ann-Marie's. :)

Enjoy the relaxing holiday!

Anonymous said...

How fun. It's good to see so much of what life has brought you guys recently. And, as always, Bridgette is darling, and she is growing up so fast. One thing though, please explain "spiked fruit."

Love you,

Kel said...

"Spiked" means we bought it conveniently pre-cut and bowled and when we took our first bite we thought to ourselves, "Zippy!"

FYI: We gave Bridgette another oz. of formula this morning, this time lactose free. She is as sick as before and has been throwing up all morning. Poor baby. I'm doing research on specialty formulas now and have been calling both her pediatrician and surgeon looking for some answers. In the meantime, we're doing as best we can with nursing, but time is ticking swiftly on that route.

Anonymous said...

In the hospital, when re-introducing her to breastmilk following surgery, they started with 5ccs. Maybe she'll need to go that slowly with all new foods introduced. It's just a thought. Hopefully, those in the medical profession can give you some good answers, and give them to you soon. Perhaps you will be introducing yet another specialist into your portfolio, like a nutritionist, or gastroenterologist. In the meantime, keep pumping and letting her get fat. She may need both to live on in the future.

Love you,

Chelsea said...

I just want to tell Mama Hoose that Sophie's description of the fruit was "spicy". But the cake was phenomenal!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I would like to hear more about that special cake. So far, all I know is that it was great, but in what way was it great? Please share.

Mama Hoose

theJerm said...

Good job Kelly, nice work and dedication!

123 checkoutourfamily said...

wow, you were one busy person. Congrats on finishing up school. I'm so impressed that you did it all with Bri right there with you.

I love her pics and she's getting so big. She's adorable! Her laugh is contagious!

Happy belated birthday!!!