Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Wrap-Up

Christmas was relaxing for us this year. We stayed home and started some of our own traditions. With the economy the way it is right now, it was a good year for Ryan not to be asking for time off, but next year, I'm crossing my fingers for Mexico!

Ryan worked most of Christmas Eve, and Trenton and I helped a resident with her fire alarm for a couple hours... But once Ryan got home, it was party time! We dressed Trenton up and took him to a children's mass at our local Catholic church. It was great to reflect on Christ on that special night and to return to our Notre Dame roots with a Catholic service. :) We hope to make a Christmastime mass a Nielsen family tradition for many, many years to come. Plus, everyone at mass just ate Trenton up!

On the way home we drove around looking at Christmas lights and even got caroled to from our car. Then we made peppermint ice cream (not as good as Sally's!) at home before the missionaries appeared unexpectedly. We spent the next couple of hours visiting with both the elders and sisters and doing everything we could to reach Christmas Island by phone. Finally we got through and arranged to have the missionaries come back over the next night to talk to their families. Ryan remembered what it was like trying to get through to Las Vegas while he was on his mission in Chile, and he was bound and determined that we would get a hold of our sweet missionaries' families. Thank goodness his persistence paid off!! We really enjoyed spending time with the missionaries over the holidays.

On Christmas morning, Trenton woke at about 7:15, so we came out to see what Santa had brought. Let me just say - Our families spoiled us big time! I think we got more gifts for not being with them than we would have had we been together! Thank you, everyone! Our gift to Trenton was a handful of Spanish story books, as I've been reading to him in Spanish every day.

After we opened our gifts, it was off to IHOP for pancakes! Then we went on a coastal drive before returning home to relax for the rest of the day.

Here's Trenton coming out on Christmas morning. I think he missed the excitement. :) Maybe next year...

And this is Trenton and I in our Christmas jammies. You can't tell, but his say "My First Christmas" on them. Thanks for sending these, Mom!

By the way, happy 101st post!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Santa was good to us this year...

Many thanks to both our families! More details to come.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Three Years Going Strong

Happy anniversary to us! Today marks three years since Ryan and I tied the knot.

For posterity's sake, the following is where life has taken us in the last three years.
  • When we were first married, I took the bus from Provo to downtown Salt Lake while I interned at the Ensign. Since we've always shared a car, he drove me every day to the bus stop before the sun had even risen and in the freezing snow/ice. Then he was faithfully waiting for me every day when I got off. Knowing him even better as I do now, I realize how much effort it probably took for him to wrap up his studies or conversations with professors or friends every single day at the same time. And looking back, I can hardly ever remember waiting for him. Even the bus driver was impressed! Thanks, honey!
  • We took a weekend trip to Denver once, just for fun, and spent a week camping in the Canadian Rockies. In both places, we found natural hot springs to relax in. Now that's how travel should be done.
  • We graduated from BYU at the same time. Ryan decided to skip out on his college's ceremony and join me for mine instead. He knew how much I wanted to hold hands while we walked across the stage. :)
  • Next it was off to Palo Alto for the summer, and what a blast that was. As you may remember, we lived in the weirdest little sublet in which, by the end, we had lived with two girls and a guy. Interesting, to say the least. But we also did every fun thing we could think of while we were in California, including visiting practically every beach within driving distance. I think we'll always remember that summer as the most carefree time of our married life.
  • Next it was Notre Dame. The first thing I think of when I remember that year is ice, freezing rain, snow, poooorly plowed roads, and more potholes than I could have imagined. The next thing I remember is all of the wonderful friends we made there. Those football games were wild, by the way. Go ND!
  • And now here we are in beautiful California, with a chubbly little fellow smiling at me from the swing as I write this. We love everything about living here. And nothing can compare to the joy of being a family forever.

I don't want to paint a fairytale here, so I hope I'm not too bold in saying that being married is one of the hardest things I've ever done. I've begun to see one reason the Lord sends us to the earth in families—so husbands and wives can be each other's refiner's fire! That is the blessing I never really expected to come out of marriage: two imperfect people who love each other deeply but clash against each other occasionally will hopefully someday make for two smooth stones! (Does that make any sense?)

Anyway, Ryan is a good man, everything I was looking for. He supports me without question in anything I want to do. And I mean anything. He is a worthy priesthood holder who loves the Lord. He is a tender father, and down the road, when parenting gets tough, I know I'll be thanking heaven every day because I have a rational, wise man to help me raise our kids.

Words don't mean as much to Ryan as they do to me, (I better go iron his shirts or something!) but I still hope that reading this helps him know that I couldn't imagine my life without him. I love you, babe. Happy three years!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Chub's in the Tub

Too big, you say? I agree. He has officially outgrown the sink. The fact that more water ends up outside the sink than in it by the time we're done makes me think maybe it's time to move on, but I'm dragging my feet. Our guest bathroom has only a shower, so Trenton will have to bathe in our bathroom, which has a tub complete with glass shower-like doors. The doors and the proximity to the toilet will make it tricky and uncomfortable to bathe him there.

Which brings me to my point—Does anyone have any ideas to make bathtime easier? I'm considering buying one of those brightly colored baby bathtubs. Maybe I could set it in the guest bathroom's shower and fill it with the detachable showerhead? But how soon would he outgrow that thing?

I also heard about a baby bath gadget in which the baby sits snugly the whole time. Anyone know where to get one? Maybe it would extend the use of our glorious kitchen sink!? Any ideas will be much appreciated!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Deck the Halls (Literally)

Our house is singing with Christmas cheer! AND Santa came early this year: Grandpa and Grandma appeared, bearing gifts!! It was so great to see them, especially since we won't be making it home this month. Thanks Mom & Dad and G&G for sending the gifts. We are one spoiled family!

Here's Trenton, anxiously anticipating the big day! (Thanks, Mary, for the darling onesie!)

And here's Trenton trying to get a head start. He's a mischievous little guy...!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tis the Season!

Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. I decided this year that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I loved reading online about various Turkey-Day recipes in preparation for the big event. And I thoroughly enjoyed puttering around in the kitchen all morning with Trenton chillin' in the bouncer on the kitchen counter.

But the best thing about this day is the opportunity to reflect on all that we've been blessed with. For some reason my thoughts this year frequently turned to my little African friends, thousands of miles away. The ladle of porridge the kids pass around at school is a world different from the meal I enjoyed yesterday. I hope I can teach our children to value what they have and to give whatever they can.

For more about our Thanksgiving feast, click on over to my cooking blog. Love you all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Three Blogs in One

1. Remember this? Entitled, "The First of Many Father-Son Naps."

Here's the second in the series.

Only this time, one of them isn't sleeping... ("Busted! Dad, you are sleeping on the job!")

2. pandora.com is changing my life! I'm probably way behind, but Ryan just showed this to me the other day, and now I can't stop listening. You just put in a title or an artist that you like, and the website starts playing tons of other similar songs. It's so much better than radio because it's all songs you like, and there are no commercials or obnoxious DJs! Plus, it's free!!

3. I hope you don't mind how incredibly much motherhood is on my mind. It's the biggest thing that has ever happened to me, so I can't help but write about it. I LOVE taking care of my child. I enjoy feeling needed, even when it gets tiring. I enjoy talking to him all day long. I enjoy changing his dirty diapers with him smiling up at me. I feel my love for him growing every day, and I can't think of anything more amazing than experiencing that.

Lastly, an article came to my inbox the other day compliments of babycenter.com, and I had to share parts of it.

Things that change when you have a baby:
  • You respect your parents and love them in a new way.
  • Where you once believed you were fearless, you now find yourself afraid.
  • You believe once again in the things you believed in as a child.
  • You think of someone else 234,836,178,976 times a day.
  • Bodily functions are no longer repulsive. In fact, they please you. (Hooray for poop!)
  • You look at your baby in the mirror instead of yourself.
  • The sacrifices you thought you made to have a child no longer seem like sacrifices.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My TV Junkie

Is it bad that my boy loves TV? He's a big fan of Oprah and the Food Network, just like his mom. It doesn't matter what we're doing, if the TV goes on, he's craning his short little neck so he can see it. ("Ooooh, flashing colors!")

Here he is waiting for a diaper change and twisting his whole body so he can catch a glimpse. (Note that the onesie he's wearing is size 6 months, almost twice his age!)

He's such a ham these days. If I make too much eye contact while I'm feeding him, he loses all interest in the milk and starts smiling his little heart out. This is us before church started... ("Milk? Yeah right, Mom.")

The number one thing people comment to me on is the swaddle. (If it's time for him to take a nap, even if we're out and about and he's in his carseat, he's swaddled.) The number two thing people comment on is that he knows his mommy. Naturally, I love it when people say this. It's such a good feeling to see him look for me when he hears my voice.

In non-baby related news, I'm ecstatic that the holidays are here! I bought a four-foot tree and a few decorations, and I'm having a hard time making myself wait till the day after Thanksgiving to put them up. I'm going to try to hold out, though, because it builds the suspense! It's almost time to break out Josh Groban's Noel CD. (Yes!!!)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thank Goodness for Weekends

What a great weekend. It was our first weekend in who knows how long without any Proposition 8 activities, and let me just say, I was excited! I haven't decided whether I was more excited that it passed or that it was over... Well, actually, I think the latter wins. (It's OVER!!)

I realized on Friday night that I hadn't been anywhere in the car since we got home from Utah on Sunday night. That's a whole week without leaving my stroller's reaches. Man, was I itching to get out.

Saturday started off wonderfully because without me even knowing it, Ryan took care of the baby for an hour before I woke up. I didn't even hear a peep! I woke naturally at 8:20 (Did you hear that?! 8:20!) to find Ryan walking into the apartment with our chunker in the baby backpack, content as can be. (Life got so much better, by the way, when Trenton started holding his own head up. That's a huge milestone for Mom.)

Then we spent the WHOLE day out of the house, exploring our area, which was divinely wonderful. Thanks, Ryan, for helping me stay sane and reminding me that yes, there is a big world beyond our apartment! Phew!

I'm posting this last picture as a farewell to summer! We'll have to save these adorable shoes for our next little boy, now that fall is finally on its way to CA and now that our little guy is looking less and less little. (I swear he grows visibly every single day!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Home Again Home Again

While driving to the Salt Lake airport, we were seriously tempted to "miss" the exit— "Ooops! Guess we'll have to stay a few more days!" But after much debate, we decided real life couldn't wait for us, so here we are, back in California.

With both our families in Utah, our quick trip was jam-packed with family togetherness. (We're sorry we couldn't see everyone while we were there. Maybe future Utah trips will have to be a couple weeks long... :)

I went to one day of the Association of Personal Historians conference held in SLC, and we spent two nights with each family. Trenton just ate up all the attention! I started to miss my baby, since I was so rarely the one holding him! :) What a blessing it is to have such tight-knit families. Ryan blessed Trenton (similar to christening) at his parents' beautiful home in Provo. Thank you for everyone who came to share our special day.

Trenton LOVED the airplane! As soon as we got on, he started smiling and wouldn't quit!

He also loved being cuddled by Grandma Julia, who tried to never let him go. :)

He stretched out and relaxed for ages in Grandpa Gregg's lap.

I was so lucky to have my brother, Corey, fly up from Arizona for the occasion. Ryan always says Trenton looks like Corey. Can you see the resemblance?

The lovely Rachel, now an aunt six times over!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Utah, Here We Come!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Life has settled into nice routine, which is why I haven't blogged in a little while—not too much to talk about! One interesting thing did happen to us, though, in the last week. The bishop paid us a little visit last Saturday and released us from our callings and gave us new ones. We were surprised because we've only been serving in those capacities for a few months.

(Members of our church volunteer to help out in tons of different ways. I'd been working with the teenage girls in our congregation, and Ryan had been working with the Boy Scouts.)

On Sunday Ryan was sustained as the new ward mission leader and me as a ward missionary. I'd never pictured us in these roles (and for some reason, especially not at our age), but we're excited to get involved in this new capacity.

Ryan is busier than he's ever been, and between managing the complex, his long work hours, his CPA studies, our new baby, and now this new calling, I feel like the Lord is really stretching us. I know many of you are juggling a lot more than this, but for right now, I think I have just about all the balls in the air that I can handle. It's amazing how when you think you've got all you can handle, the Lord tosses you another ball, and before long, without even knowing, you're ready for another ball. I'm so grateful for the help He sends when I need it and for the confidence He blesses us with when we're doing all we can.

All in all, I've never been happier or more fulfilled. We are blessed beyond what we deserve. I mean, just check out this handsome little chunker heaven sent us!

Friday, October 17, 2008

All Smiles

Our baby is starting to fill out! And he's smiling up a storm.

See Rachel's blog for the read "large and in charge" shot.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Not a newborn for much longer...

Wasn't Conference wonderful? I think my favorite talk was Elder Anderson's talk on not knowing everything but knowing enough. I love this time of year. It hardly feels like fall yet in California; October seems more like an extension of summer. But this afternoon after Conference we drove out to the coast, and we passed gorgeous pumpkin patches tucked away in a valley. It finally felt like fall!

At our doctor's appointment on Friday, we found out Trenton weighs 12 pounds now, putting him in the 80th percentile for weight. He's getting chubby! He's starting to burst out of his newborn onesies, which actually makes me a little sad! But I'm excited to see the changes in him, like the double chin he's developing and the more frequent smiles he's rewarding us with.

Trenton was a trooper today for our little photo shoot! (Sorry I'm in so many of them!) Enjoy!

I love this last one. He looks like an upsidedown Superman.

And his expression in this one--Ah! I love this kid!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Erica's Pantry!

I've been wanting to start a cooking blog for ages, but until now, time hasn't allowed it. Hopefully the little guy will give me just enough time to share my cooking adventures with any of you. I'm always looking for healthy, practical and, every now and then, elaborate meal ideas, and this will be my place to share what I find! Hop on over and let me know what you think!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Few Updates

Trenton is finally starting to like his baths! Today, trying to get a smile out of him, Ryan and I had our heads close together, about ten inches from Trenton's face while he was in the bath. We were cooing and talking to him, saying things like "Give us a smile" and "What a beautiful boy you are." I wish I could have seen the scene as an outsider. We laughed at the doting parents we've become.

This is a video of Trenton stretching when he wakes up. Watching him stretch his little arms and legs is honestly one of my favorite things to do!

It's been a great week. The young mothers in our ward get together once a week for Park Day and quite often for mothers' luncheons. Here's a picture of Trenton and I at the park with my dear friend Amber and her darling daughter Chloe.

Amber and her husband, Peter, were so kind to volunteer to tend Trenton while Ryan and I went out on Friday night. So Friday was a big day--our first date without the babe! I only committed to being away for an hour, and I still had to try not to tear up when I said goodbye to my baby. (How dorky am I??) But honestly, it was immensely refreshing to have a little time with just Ryan. Thank you, Amber and Peter! We owe you!!

Then today we met Mark and Debbie Holt and their daughter Brook down in Mountain View for dinner. Brook ran in the Stanford Invitational and won the whole thing! And she's only a sophomore! I met the Holts through their daughter Kimber, the FIRST person I met at BYU and one of my dearest friends. I went to Africa with the Holt family and absolutely love them all. They have been so good to me over the five years I've known them. Here's me with "Madre," as all the kids call her. It was so great to see you, guys!

All in all, it was a fabulous week. Life is good.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Good Life

Here's a video of Trenton and I playing. If you listen closely toward the end, you'll hear his cute horsie sounds (hence one of my nicknames for him - "my little pony). So cute!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Baby 101

Just found this on Cougarboard.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Good Life

"Ahhh, this is the life."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Falling in Love with Trenton

I am falling in love with our sweet baby. For the first month, I have to say that I kind of felt like he wasn't quite mine; it felt more like I'd be giving him back to someone soon. (Hopefully I'm not the only mom who felt that way!) I of course loved him immediately, but at about five weeks is when I started falling IN love with him. And he finally feels like he is my little boy!

He is the cutest baby in the world! He makes different sounds now, and his cries are varied. Learning to interpret his cries and meet his needs accordingly is satisfying. And his new facial expressions crack us up! I took him outside the other day when there was a slight breeze, and he kept blinking and using his tongue to feel the cool air.

And the biggest news: He smiled! After I nursed him the other day, I held him up to look at me and was surprised at how much eye contact he was making. I started talking to him and smiling so huge that my cheeks hurt. The next thing I new he opened his mouth up wide and turned his little lips upward. I got three smiles in a row! As you can imagine, I was ecstatic! ("He does love me!") Then today he smiled twice for his daddy.

And look how strong he's getting? He holds his head up really well (unless he's tired, and then he's a bobblehead). I sat him up on the couch yesterday and was so impressed with how long he stayed there, just chilling upright. Of course, he is only six weeks old, so it didn't last forever...

Thanks Kimber for the darling outfit! He's so cute and cuddly in it!

Six weeks is a fun age. I love being the mother to this sweet baby boy!

And by the way, he slept from 9pm to 4am last night! Seven hours! Go Trenton!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Celebrating Sleep!

Trenton is celebrating in this picture (and so is his mom!), because last night he slept for six straight hours! He slept like a rock from 10:30 to 4:30 and then from 5:10 to 7:10, giving Momma a grand total of 7 1/2 hours of sleep!!

When I woke up to nurse him at 4:30, after having gotten 5 1/2 hours of uninterrupted sleep, I felt like a new woman! (As opposed to the zombie I usually feel like at that time)

I know I can't get my hopes up, though, because it won't last, but for today I'm relishing being well rested.