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Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

We got to make Thanksgiving dinner at our house for the first time this year. We were especially excited, because we had two very special people joining us-our adorable baby and my mom, who was here visiting. Kelson had to work on Thanksgiving, so we actually celebrated the day after, but it was great just the same.
 We all had our jobs to get ready for the feast. Kelson was on turkey duty.

 Mom had the all-important job of baby holding while I worked in the kitchen with Kelson.
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 We put out quite a beautiful (not to mention delicious!) feast.
 I think we can definitely say that our first Thanksgiving as a family was a success. Sarah even slept almost long enough for me to eat my food, which was very kind of her.
 It must have been a good meal, because everyone passed out during the after-dinner Christmas movie.
We have so much to be grateful for this year. We are loving life here in Hawaii. Mostly we feel incredibly blessed to be celebrating the holidays with little Sarah this year.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Scrub a Dub Dub

We've been having fun introducing Sarah to bath time. Depending on the day, she either loves it or hates it.
Getting ready for her very first bath the day after we brought her home.  Daddy got to do the honors while I documented.

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 She wasn't a big fan of the body washing part, but she loved having her hair wash. I have never seen such a happy baby. By the way she really does have quite a bit of hair. Its just hard to see in pictures.

 After her umbilical cord fell off, we could give her a real bath. She loved it. One time she actually slept through her entire bath. We love our little water baby!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sarah's First Few Days: Hospital & Homecoming

Our first few days with Sarah were exciting and exhausting. We spent two full days in the hospital after she was born so she could be observed for signs of infection, so we had a little while to get used to taking care of her before we went home.
 The hospital brought us steak and chicken cordon bleu to celebrate Sarah's birth.
 Kelson was kind enough to make me a post-baby workout plan: birth to marathon in 6 weeks. Very funny. 
 We were all a little tired.
All dressed up and ready to go home. This was one of my outfits from when I was a baby. She wasn't a huge fan of the whole putting on clothes thing.
 Yep. She's as cute as they come.

 First family photo. 
After about 15 minutes of reading the car seat manual and trying to figure out how to adjust the straps, we finally got her in and ready to go. She went right to sleep.
 Carrying our little lady into our home was so exciting!

All ready for bed on our first night at home as a family. There was slightly less sleeping than we would have liked, but it was still good to be home and away from the hospital.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Home Teaching at its Finest!

On 26 October, less than two weeks from his 78th birthday, Allan B. Kinch passed away early in the morning. If you asked him, this would have been just another 29th birthday (the 48th iteration thereof). As long as I knew him, that's the only type of birthday he celebrated.

Allan and Judy Kinch were my family's home teachers after my mother was baptized and moved to Valley Center, CA. Allan baptized my father, Jim. He blessed my older brother, my sister, and I in church after each of us was born. He baptized my mother when she came back into the church. And he baptized and confirmed my brother, sister, and I. Seems like he did it all. Stay tuned.

After my parents divorced and my mother was left with the three of us children, we needed help. We could not make it on our own. Allan and Judy became our foster parents for a short while, even though they already had children of their own. They became a second set of parents to us, and their children became nothing short of our siblings. Even when we went back to live with our mother after a few years, and many years after their home teaching assignment was changed, they didn't stop there. They stepped in and help our family on so many more short and long-term occasions. I spent perhaps almost half my childhood living with them. I lived with their family for part of elementary school, part of junior high and high school, and for the first years of college.

When I was 19 years old, Allan and Judy helped to send me to Brazil for 2 years as a missionary. And they attended Emily's and my wedding in the Portland Temple.

As the only dad I knew until I was older, Allan taught me some crucial life lessons. Through his example, I learned to open doors for and respect women, to be honest, serve in priesthood callings and in church assignments, to speak in public, what it means to be a Boy Scout, to work with wood and metal and build things, to do work on a farm, to ride horses, to manage an irrigation system, to cultivate good habits, to study hard, and to appreciate math and science. Somehow, I ended up as a Naval Officer just like Allan was too.

Now that I am older and have a family of my own, I cannot help but look back and thank Allan and Judy for helping to raise me and giving me many of the best things about my life. They played and will continue to play an enduring and crucial role as part of my heritage and family. So many formative elements in my life were planted by them, and I appreciate that. They gave my siblings and my family so much of themselves. They were the right people that the Lord used on our behalf at the right time. I suppose that the Lord knows what He's doing when He chooses home teachers.

- Kelson

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Welcome to the World, Sarah Helen!

Monday morning, I was 38 weeks pregnant. I knew that she could come at any time, but I really had a feeling that she would stick out the whole 40 weeks at least. I wasn't having any labor symptoms. I even did my full 2 mile walk that morning. I went to the doctor that afternoon for my 38 week check-up, and they didn't even check to see if I was close. They just said to wait for any signs of labor to start.

Kelson was on duty that day, so I went to bed by myself. I was feeling rather uncomfortable but figured that was just par for the course being hugely pregnant. I woke up about 2:30 in the morning feeling even more yucky but still not like I was about to have a baby. However, within an hour I was having painful contractions every 2-3 minutes and decided I had better do something about it. I called the quarterdeck on Kelson's ship (he doesn't have cell reception in his room) and asked them to let my husband know that I was in labor. That sure made them move fast. Unfortunately, our only car was at home with me, so I had to drive to the base, which is fortunately very close to our house, and pick him up. As I was hurrying out the door, I tried to grab everything I would need. They aren't kidding when they say you should have your hospital bag all packed well ahead of time. I figured I would start labor slowly and have tons of time at home to make myself look presentable and pack all of the needed materials in the car. Wrong. Let's just say that when you are having contractions every two minutes it is very hard to concentrate on packing, and doing your hair and makeup are the last things on your mind. I see all these women who look perfect and put together in their labor photos. They must not have gone into labor in the middle of the night. I looked like a troll doll for the whole day. Oh well.

I finally got everything in the car and drove myself to the base (I also would not recommend operating a  motor vehicle while in active labor-not the best idea). Kelson got us to the hospital, and then we realized that we weren't really sure where the labor & delivery ward was. Oops. Should have thought of that before. We found it, checked in with the very uninterested desk clerks, and got into a triage room. My worst fear at this point was that they would say I wasn't in real labor and send me home. The good news was that I was already 5 cm dilated, so they admitted me right away.

I was hoping that once I got admitted I could have my epidural within a few minutes. Not so. They had to wait for my lab results to come back and check my platelets first. 2 1/2 hours of agony later, my labs came back and my platelets turned out to be really low, so low in fact that they were hesitant to give me the epidural. I opted to take the risk because by this time my contractions were only a minute or less apart and I am a wimp. The picture below was after my epidural finally kicked in and I no longer felt like dying. I went from a crying, miserable troll doll to a happy troll doll. It was a definite improvement.

 By the time they checked me an hour after I got my epidural, I was already 9 cm dilated. They broke my water, and then I read, slept, and generally relaxed while we waited for our lady to be ready to come. Epidurals are wonderful things. Since I was comfortable, we opted to let her progress on her own for as long as possible before I started pushing. That was lovely because I didn't have to spend 2 hours pushing. It only took about 40 minutes. We had one scary moment when her heart rate dropped and they thought her cord was around her neck. Doctors were rushing into the room, and I was generally freaking out. Luckily, it was a false alarm and she came back around just fine. After a little more pushing, our beautiful baby was born at 1:15 PM on Tuesday, November 5th.  Kelson, who was an awesome support through the whole day, cut the cord while they laid her on my tummy. I was the first thing she saw when she opened her eyes, and it was definitely love at first sight for me. I can't believe that the little life I have been carrying around inside of me for so long is here staring up at me. It is a miracle.
 It turns out we needn't have been too worried about her, because she was the picture of health right from the beginning. She figured out how to eat within a few minutes of birth and was just generally perfect. She weighed in at 6 pounds, 8.6 ounces and was 19 inches long-just a little thing. 
 We got to snuggle for a long time before they took her away to do her bath, which they actually did in our room, so we never had to be separated from her. She wasn't a huge fan of the bath concept.
 She also refused to straighten out her feet (which are incredibly long), so she had rather crooked little footprints.
 After 11 hours of labor and three hours of stitching to repair the damage from delivery, having something to eat and drink, some pain medicine, and a perfect little baby in my arms was pretty much as wonderful as life could get.
Kelson was pretty much in love from the first too. He got broken in quickly when they left him alone with the baby for an hour while they took me to the O.R. to get stitched up.
 He made sure to share some his favorite things with her right from the beginning. 
 These included riesens and Welch's fruit snacks. What a good daddy.
I can't express how blessed we feel right now. This little person that we prayed and hoped for so long is here with us. We are parents. That is an incredible concept that hasn't quite sunk in yet. Thank you again for all of the prayers that helped bring us to this moment. 

Happy Halloween!

Our Halloween celebrations started out with the ward Halloween party. We kind of put off coming up with costumes until the last minute. I went as an 8 ball, and Kelson was a Mastercard commercial.

Clever, huh?

 Kelson had way too much fun decorating the door and windows.


This was even more creepy when I walked into the living room at four in the morning and saw a creepy guy trying to get in the front door.


 Jack Skellington was a big hit with the trick or treaters.

 For Halloween night, we made mummy dogs and watched a spooky movie while all of the adorable trick or treaters came.  It was a fun holiday night.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Manoa Falls

There are some beautiful hikes here in Hawaii! Since I'm not really up to any intense hiking right now, we went on one of the easier hikes on the island up to Manoa Falls. It was gorgeous!
When we got to the top, we enjoyed a picnic at the bottom of the falls.
 For our picnic, I bought some rambutans. You pop them open, and the inside is like a skinned grape. I had them in Ecuador for the first time. They have fun fruit here in Hawaii.
 While we ate, we stuck our feet in the water to cool off. We started feeling a weird tickling sensation, and when we looked down we realized that the tiny guppies in the water were swarming around our feet. We looked it up later, and apparently they like dead skin. Weirdest thing ever!