Monday, September 5, 2011

August Update

I have to admit that I love Rob adding some posts every now and then, he is a lot more interesting at it than I am. I think my posts are a little more mechanical. With that said August was an awesome and eventful month. It started with a week long camping trip at Lake Tahoe with my entire family. (Rob couldn't come...that was a big bummer!) My youngest brother had just gotten back from his mission and it was really good to see him along with everyone else.
The week was fun an relaxing with the normal things, sailing, canoeing, hikes, playing on the beach, campfire stories, bears ransacking the camp, etc. Really bears came one night when we forgot to put a cooler away and they ate everything during the night! My dad shined a flashlight at them and they climbed up the trip right by the tent Lydia and I were sleeping in. The next morning I found a big chocolate chip cookie that had somehow been smuggled into the tent under the sleeping bag! I was very relieved that the bears decided against eating that. The next night the bears came back and I could here them breathing right outside my tent for about 20 minutes (no exageration) I was horrified that there might be another cookie hiding in my tent. If that isn't enough to scare a pregnant lady alone in a tent with her daughter while I heard the bear breathing something bumped my tent twice!!!
On a happier note Lydia had a blast with all her cousins and was an angel on the plane flights.
Rob and I had our 7th Anniversary and Lydia her 3'rd b-day, and I my 27th b-day. All which were fun and exciting events.
We survived an earthquake on Lydia's B-day and a Hurricane later that month that left us with no power for 12 hours (half were in the night) We were lucky to not have to deal with any flooding or extended power outages like others around us.
The other days were filled with the norm. cleaning, work, errands, and playing at the apartment pool.
The final hoorah for the month was when Rob's Dad, Steve came to visit for just under a week. We went to NYC one day and saw some sights, including the top of the empire state building. Showed Steve around Princeton, and then took a weekend trip to Boston. Can I just say that I LOVE Boston! It is a really nice city. It was a lot of fun.
Now we are trying to get back into the normal swing of things etc. With the exciting news that Lydia starts Preschool on Friday. 3 days a week for 3 hours. She is so excited and it will be good for her, as well as for me when the new baby comes. The cool part about this school is that it is right by Rob's work on the campus to where she can see his work window from her playground, Lydia keeps on telling us how she is going to scare Daddy while she is on the playground by saying 'BOO!'

current Lydia'isms: In love with barbies, dolls, fairies and pretend. Liked to cut things with her scissors, is singing a lot of songs to herself, is constantly asking us to tell her a story.

current Pregnancyisms
I am borderline obsessive compulsive with my plans for what I want to have done a taken care of before the baby is here. Luckily my family has been tolerant of my 'projects' and has not tried to persuade me that staying up till midnight to make Christmas stockings is not in the least bit odd for this time of year.

baby got her second ultrasound, all is good but again they were not cooperative with letting us know for sure the gender. It is a most likely girl with a small chance of boy.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lil' Lyd turns 3

Like every other parent raising kids, I can't believe how fast my little girl is growing up. This weekend magnified that thought as we celebrated Lydia's birthday number three. We had a little party for her right on the grass next to our apartment. A family from down the street came over to celebrate with us. They have three kids close to Lydia's age and she was so excited to have them over. She talked about it all week and come the day of her party, she couldn't talk about anything else.

This was actually the first day of complete sunshine for the entire week (luckily, the thunder and lightning didn't carry over from the previous 4 days). As part of the party, I made a pinata (if you tilt your head and squint your eyes it looks like a butterfly). Eventhough Lydia was scared to hit the pinata (she didn't want it to fall on her head), the pinata was actually her favorite part of the party. I think a close second to the pinata was receiving a gift from her friends that attended. She got a baby Ariel disney doll. As soon as she got it, she learned that baby Ariel loves to swim in the bath tub. To our surprise, Lydia immediately left the party to go take a bath with her new baby doll. This effectively killed the party.

Later in the evening, Lydia came down with a strong fever. All she wanted to do was lay down and sleep with me at her side. Selfishly, I didn't mind one bit. This gave me some time to let my thoughts slip away into the past as I reminisced about the last 3 years. True, raising Lydia has had its share of troubles and sacrifices (I don't think I have slept through the night more than 20 or so times in the last three years). But none of the trying moments came to mind. All I could think of was how wonderful and rich life has been with Lydia in our family.

To my dearest Lydia, happy birthday!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Why I Love New Jersey

(written by rob) Someone pointed out to me that, in my last post, I was being too negative about New Jersey. So, lest anyone think that I/we don't like New Jersey, here is a blog to the contrary. Speaking for myself only (Jen and Lydia are still out of town), I love this place for its rich history. So here are some photos of historic places/landmarks near our home (and, for better or worse, some thoughts to go along with them).

The photo above is something I ride by everyday on my way home from work. We actually live in Kingston, not Princeton (even though we have a Princeton zip code). To make it a little more confusing, Kingston is not a recognized town in New Jersey, so we actually live in the South Brunswick Township...or something like that. At any rate, the Kingston "village" or whatever you want to call it was founded around 1675 when the British King was still in power (hence the moniker). The road behind the sign was around for much longer, it was a road used by the Lenni Lenape Indians, early settlers and dutch fur traders, and eventually by early British settlers during colonial times. As you can imagine, a lot of cool history took place in Kingston.

I ride by this place (seen in the picture above) everyday on my way to work. It is the Kingston Presbyterian Church Cemetery. This is perhaps my favorite historical site of all. You are probably asking what is so cool about an old graveyard. Well, something very important happened here during the revolutionary war. On January 3rd 1777, General Washington and his troops made a middle of the night escape from Cornwallis in Trenton, New Jersey to surprise attack the British in Princeton. Despite a few wrinkles in their plan, it worked. After defeating the British in Princeton, General Washington and his troops marched up this way as they exited Princeton so as not to be caught by Cornwallis and his large British Army who were trying to catch up with them after they fled Trenton. Anyway, General Washington was faced with a dilemma in this very cemetery. Should he continue up the road (leading behind me in this photo) or should he head to the road on the right and settle in for the winter. It was freezing outside (it was early January) and he and his troops had been up all night marching to Princeton for their successful surprise attack. Up the road about 30 miles lay a British pay chest of about 70,000 pounds (probably a lot of money back then) and, in his mind, if they could get to it, this just might end the war. Heading to the road on the right would no doubt prolong the war. In this very spot (now a cemetery), General Washington counseled with some of his officers (now referred to as the "council on horseback") and, ultimately, he decided against marching his cold and tired troops to the pay chest and headed into winter quarters. EVERY time that I go by this place, I am reminded about Washington's decision to be patient even when you are so close or you are tired and want struggles to end. I also think about how important it is to LISTEN to those close to you (yes, I really do think about this every time I ride by).

Ironically, 6.5 years later General Washington would return to the Kingston area within a few miles from the cemetery to live at Rockingham (see photo above). This is the front of the house (and is supposedly the actual house, though it has been moved three different times so I don't know how much of this house is the original). This is where General Washington stayed at the end of the war as they awaited final word on the treaty of Paris, and this is where he announced his retirement from the Army. Every time I come here I always imagine Washington walking out of his front door. I would love to strike up a conversation and I almost always envision it involving a discussion on how bad both of our teeth are. I don't know if he had a personal dentist back then, but I would assure him that dentistry hasn't changed all that much and that he would have to go all the way to a place called Seattle to find a really good dentist (Dr. Andrew Lewis is the only good dentist I ever had). I would finish by telling him thanks for being a Bad-A.

This is Jen, Lydia and I in front of Nassau Hall on the Princeton University campus ( see the picture above). As part of the surprise attack on Princeton, the continental army actually fired cannon balls at this building in order to the get the British troops to exit and surrender. Apparently, you can still see the structural damage from one of the cannon balls on the building. I have looked and I can't find it. I guess I must not be a true American.

Finally, this is a picture of the Princeton football stadium that I ride by every day on my way to the chem lab (you can actually see the chemistry building in the background to the left (blue glass building). The point of the picture isn't to discuss in any way, shape or form Ivy League football (the Pac-12 and Mountain West will always be near and dear to my heart). The old stadium that once stood here (Palmer Stadium) housed football games as early as 1914. Knute Rockne and his Notre Dame teams played here. Jesse Owens also ran on the track that once stood here. In fact, his triple jump record (from 1936) stood until the stadium was torn down in 1997. I find it inspiring to ride my bike where old legends once roamed.

Thanks for New Jersey for such rich history!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

It all started 7 years ago...

Our family that is. Like so many others who watch portions of their life pass by on the time scale of years, I too am amazed at how fast this all goes.

I started this blog over 4 years ago with the idea to chronicle some of our life for those who care to read about it and to have an online repository for thoughts, experiences, and photos. However, I soon found myself creating moments or staging photos so that I could "blog" about them. The notion that I was creating fake moments to boast about was a bit of frightening realization and it was in direct violation of my number one rule of "keeping it real always." So I stopped writing in this blog. Anyway (if you are still reading this, thanks!) to make a long story short, Jen took over and is trying hard to revive our blog as we start a new chapter in New Jersey. She also keeps asking me to write something, but I keep opposing because of the reasons above. However, Jen and Lydia have traveled back west for the week and I am left to an uncomfortably quiet home. There is no laughter of a three year old, no one to roll their eyes at me when I make snide remarks, no smell of amazing food, no hugs or high fives, and no sense of completeness that comes from hanging out with my team. This all serves as a reminder of how much I appreciate and love Jen and how much my family means to me. So to satisfy Jens request to blog something and to detract from the quietness in our home, here is a post from me.

Seven years ago, Jen and I walked out of the Jordan River temple sealed as husband and wife. Here is a photo that I could find of that moment. When I look at this photo, a couple of things come to mind. First, I am extremely fortunate that things have turned out well for Jen and I. I could honestly say that, having gone through the past seven years together, we would be all smiles walking out those temple doors if we were to get married all over again (with each other, of course). Second (and maybe I am being to harsh on myself), but I think that I was the bigger wild card out of the two in the photo above. Jen did take a chance on me and I sincerely hope it is paying off (if anything, she learned what REAL food is from our adventure in Seattle).

Lastly, I look at Jen above, who is cheesing it up in the photo, and think about some of the things that she has taught me over the years. From introducing me to simple things like Dave Matthews, good food, theater, and enjoying nature to more profound/complex things like achieving balance, seeing past the mistakes of others no matter how messed up, and never, never, never underestimating what she is capable of. I think Jen is often underestimated for what she can do. Sometimes, if I watch closely, when she is getting underestimated she gets this look on her face or sound in her voice that she is going to take the underestimation and use it as fuel and rise to a whole new level. In other words, if Marshawn Lynch has a beastmode, Jen Oslund has a Bad-A mode. I love it when Jen goes Bad-A on situations/events. It is fun to watch and it is inspiring. Finishing her first half-marathon despite years of knee problems and her coach (gasp! me!) quiting on her was Bad-A, giving natural birth to Lydia despite the attending physician pushing an epideral on her was Bad-A, leaving friends and family for the East coast in return for a sleepy town, fewer friends and crappy food and never complaining on top of it all...has been one of her finest Bad-A moments.

Jen, the best teammate in the world, here is to seven great years and counting!

Monday, July 25, 2011

July in Jersey

This has been a hot month. We were pretty worn out from June so when the 4th of July came up we kept it low-key. There were fireworks at the Princeton Football Stadium that we went to. They were fun to watch. Lydia was scared of them again but I got her to stop crying sooner this time around. (Thanks again to fairies) at the end of the show they must have forgotten to light a couple fireworks and they went off at a weird time. Lydia actually saw them this time before she could hide. She started a nervous laugh and said how it was silly the fairies surprised us. And again like last time she was adamant about calling the 'fairies' to thank them for the show, which over the phone she talked about them like she was watching and enjoyed it....go figure.

On the 4th we decided to follow the tracks of the Revolutionary soldiers and see a site where the battle of Monmouth occurred. It was cool to walk along the same trail by the same fence and up to the same house it all happened. We were the only ones there.

On the way home there was a peach orchard that we stopped by and picked some peaches.

The middle of the month was fairly uneventful. Errands, housework, library visits, our weekly visit to the farm, exploring some new parks, etc. Our favorite thing has been the pool that is a part of the complex. There have been some really hot and humid days here and the pool has aloud us a way to get outdoors.

I got to celebrate my 27th b-day early due to a family vacation Lydia and I will be going on. Rob took Saturday off of work and we went and saw kids play in the park (the little mermaid). I especially loved how they used Justin Bieber as the prince's statue! We then walked around Washington Crossing. We made some Baklava that I have been dying to try for my cake and had a small party for FHE on monday.
It was a lot of fun and was thoughtful of Rob and Lydia.

Favorite Lydiaism's of the month:
When Lydia cuts with the scissors she is so concentrated that her mouth will open and close with the scissors without her knowing.

She has starting making up her own stories (which are fun to listen too) each story consists of the phrase "and one day" at least 15 times in a louder and drawn out voice. love it.

Oh and for those who have been asking for a pregnancy shot here is one (I was going for a catalog shot but it came off studio ;D......

Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Life

(Belmont Horse Races)


(Glass blowing workshop at Asbury Beach, Lydia got to make a mural, Anika and Alyssa got to make a blown glass thing)

(Avalon Beach)

(Monmouth Battle reenactment)

(Lydia makes 'soup' while I am in the bathroom. Note that she got all ingredients on her own into the bowl and even chopped the potato with her kids knife, scary but secretly I am a really proud mother.)

The month of June was full of adventures. Chad came down with Anika and Alyssa for a week and then the girls stayed for another two weeks after. We did all sorts of things including: NYC, Philly, Two beaches (there was a whale at the first one!), Monmouth Battle Reenactment, Girl Party, Cooking class, chuck-e-cheese (my first time there),visits to farms, fireworks, ghost tours, fishing at the canal, Belmont horse races, and Rob and I going on a date....yes a real date to the Princeton Art Museum (free with an AMAZING collection)
I have started swimming laps again since the pool at our complex is open, Rob is working like a mad man but keeping his cool. Lydia loved having her cousins around. Child is most likely a girl, but they can't say anything for sure because the child was uncooperative during ultrasound in that department so it is only a guess but I am 24 weeks along with the expected due date of Oct. 31.....what are the chances they actually come out then??????

Current Lydia-isms
Loves fairies especially Silvermist (water fairy) and Iradessa (light fairy). Those fairies have helped Lydia though some tough times, aka loud fireworks that scared her until we told her we though Irradessa must be helping to make them. Going to bed, it turns out fairies leave a little treat in a fairy stocking if you fall asleep by yourself (she though of it, not me). She calls them on the phone (thanks for those who help with that one ;D) and is currently wanting to skype tinkerbell to find out where she is because she hasn't found the fairy tree around our house (any volunteers??? She does make fairy houses.

Also She is potty trained fully. Other than the slight detail of we had her pee in the trees while fishing, she liked it so much that she is constantly asking to go to the bathroom in the trees at home, she has gone poop in her emptied garbage can and in a empty yogurt container than she then buried inside one of my herb pots (another plant bites the dust) clever but not gonna work.

Funny things.....burped and laughed really hard saying "I farted out of my mouth!!!",

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lydia in May

Thought that you all might enjoy some pics.
We had a week of rainy weather. I got desperate for some indoor activities to keep us from going crazy. Finger painting was a big success. Lydia loved it and keeps asking to do it again.
Clean-up wasn't as bad as you might imagine from the pic

Other activities have included dress-up, making bread, and barbies, and building with blocks (yes there is a lot of 'girl' in her)

For now the sun is out and we are in the 80's-90's. F
For Memorial Day Lydia and I went to a pancake breakfast and parade by the Princeton campus. We picked up Rob from work and went to a Revolutionary War Re-enactment at an old battle ground from the war. On Monday we went to a ward picnic at a park.

As for the new kid in the oven here is a picture at 16 weeks. I go in on the 14'th to find the sex of the child (plus all the other stuff =D)

We also went to Philly when we first got here. Here is a family pic at where they signed the Declaration of Independence