23 December 2014

It's Over!

Tyson got the best news today: HE PASSED P-CHEM!! That stands for Physical Molecular Chemistry. It's the hardest class in Tyson's major and it's been the bane of his academic life for a year and a half. We're so glad he passed so we can just move on! 
Tyson only has SIX classes left before he gets his degree. Next semester he'll only be taking two classes (six credits) since I have five classes and we'll be bringing home a baby. I don't remember the schedule of the other four classes but I know that, as long as he keeps passing all his classes, he'll be done by December 2015. Phew!
I feel like this semester was the low point: we had to do a lot of trial and error with new medications; my pregnancy has been rough for both of us; p-chem is evil and the ONE professor who teaches it thinks it's the crux of the Chemical Engineering major when it's totally not that important; and William broke his leg.
On the flip side, Tyson has a counselor at BYU's Accessibility Center who makes sure Tyson gets extra time on exams and doesn't have to take tests in the Testing Center. There is one professor in the ChemE department who is our new best friend. He is totally supportive and encouraging and we love him. Technically, he's not Tyson's academic adviser but we don't care. We've definitely been taking good steps forward but it has felt like every step has been weighed down with molasses. Or concrete. Passing p-chem is a HUGE step forward and it's such a relief.
Next steps: Tyson keeps plugging along in his program. He has to take the L3 exam which is a cumulative exit test with tons of pressure. Basically, if you don't pass (24/25), you don't graduate. Rough, right? You get three tries to pass. After the first time, you only have to re-take the questions you got wrong. Tyson's got one more time to take the test in February. Over the break we're going to be doing lots of prep for it so he can pass. Once that's over, it'll just be passing the rest of his classes and maybe finding an internship or research position during the summer. No big deal, right? haha
I'm so proud of Tyson. He is tackling the longest (131 credits-not including GE credits) and hardest program at BYU. My major was like...50 credits. He's had to deal with so much and he's really doing a great job. There is FINALLY a light at the end of an extremely scary tunnel. He's brilliant. His mind works in ways I can never comprehend. I love you, Tyson!

Week 33 Ultrasound

This afternoon I had my ultrasound to determine the baby's size since at my last appointment I was measuring 2-3 cm big. Tyson and William got to come and it was sure fun to show William his baby brother. 
Baby Boy Remy #2 is doing good. He's measuring a week and a half big but my due date is not being officially changed. Everything looks good and we got a great shot of his cute little face. The ultrasound tech also pointed out that our little guy has got some hair. I wonder if BBR2 will have as much hair as William had.

Can you see how his hair blends into his eyebrows by his temples? SO MUCH HAIR.
My next appointment is on Monday. I expect my doc will say that everything is peachy keen with my "good-sized" baby and that I shouldn't worry. Tyson kept saying that BBR2 is probably going to be a linebacker. Well, as long as he doesn't come out that way, I'm good.
NOTE: I will try to scan some of the ultrasound photos we have to show how the baby has changed. Stay tuned.

22 December 2014

Pre-Christmas Festivities

This weekend we attended two family parties and had a great time. William got to see Santa (again) and he scored big time in the white elephant gift exchange. He came away from this weekend with five new little cars, two toy planes, a play drum (so he can be "a drummer boy" as he calls it), a toy race car a la Cars, and a toy train a la Thomas the Tank Engine. He's a VERY happy boy with all his cool new toys.
Tyson's Grandma gave us a Campbell's Slow Cooker recipe book that I am stoked to try out. I flipped through all the recipes and they look easy and yummy, an important combination. 
I made "magic cookie bars" for the first family party we went to and they were a hit. If you're interested, here's the recipe: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/202943526934344053/. This dessert is cool because the basic recipe stays the same but you can change up the ingredients to make it your own thing. There's LOTS of variations.
Tyson's been feeling sad that there's no snow here in Utah. It rained pretty much all weekend and was raining again this morning. Right before I left for work I looked outside and, voila! Snow! Tyson looked like a kid on Christmas morning. I told him that he'd better be feeling the Christmas spirit now and that once the snow starts to stick (probably not until Christmas day) I expect full-on frolicking. Maybe I'll capture it on video :)
I sang in church yesterday with the ward choir and had a solo verse on "The Wexford Carol". I get pretty nervous when I have to sing in front of people as a soloist but this time it was fine since I stood right with the choir and everyone else, including my fellow sopranos, "ooo"ed their parts. I wasn't nervous at all and I'm pleased with how it went. I feel like my voice has gotten louder and stronger since I was in the Utah Valley Millennial Choir (UVMCO) last year. I worked so hard to develop my voice in high school and college by singing in lots of choirs and doing voice lessons. But I never felt confident as a singer until I sang with UVMCO. I don't know why that is. Really. But I trained my voice to be more full and I feel like my range is improving with practice. Well, I guess I'm not able to sing higher or lower, but the notes I can sing are more clear and confident. No one in our "new" ward knew I could sing so I got lots of compliments and comments during church. 
We're excited to spend Christmas with Tyson's family and I know my boys are looking forward to the 90% chance of snow we've been promised on Christmas day. I am looking forward to being nice and warm in the house while the boys play in the snow.

15 December 2014

Messiah Sing-along/Play-along

Last night I attended a sing-along/play-along of Handel's Messiah with the Wasatch Chorale and a whole lot of other people. The concert was in a stake center building in Orem by Costco and we filled the entire place! The Chorale sat in the choir seats, the soloists sat in the front pew, the orchestra (volunteers) was situated in that mid-space between the chapel and cultural hall, and then there were more seats all the way to the back of the cultural hall and even some up on the stage. It was packed!
I went by myself and snagged a seat on the second row, right behind the soloists. The program was more like "selections" from the Messiah including seven chorus numbers and six solos. My favorite solo was "The Trumpet Shall Sound" which was sung by the bass soloist and accompanied by the organ and a trumpet soloist. It was awesome! I had never heard that solo before. Here's a video:

The trumpeter last night played what I think was a piccolo trumpet and he was awesome. I've wanted to attend a Messiah sing-along since I moved to Utah and I finally checked that off my list! Since I've been in lots of choirs I've actually learned (and memorized) four of the choruses we sang last night: "And the Glory of the Lord", "For Unto Us A Child is Born", "Glory to God in the Highest", and "The Hallelujah Chorus." The other few we did? They were less known by the audience but we staggered through them with the help of the Chorale and the soloists. Those were "His Yolk is Easy", "All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray", and "Worthy is the Lamb" which is the song that ends the oratorio, not the "Hallelujah Chorus". We still ended with the "Hallelujah Chorus" though because it's tradition.
The great thing about the Messiah is that isn't not actually a Christmas piece. It was debuted for an April performance so the work discusses Christ's greater mission, not just his birth. If you have never listened to the whole thing (I won't blame you; it's lengthy) I would encourage you to at least look up some of these choruses on YouTube. Merry Christmas!

12 December 2014

32 Weeks

I had my 32 week OB appointment this morning and everything looks good. I'm still under my starting weight (yay!) and my blood pressure is looking fine. The only thing off was my stomach measurement; I guess I'm measuring 2 to 3 centimeters larger than what I should be. Conveniently, a preggo lady's tummy is supposed to measure one centimeter for every week she's been pregnant, plus or minus two. This means I should be measuring anywhere from 28 to 34 centimeters, but I'm measuring 36 to 37. My glucose levels were good (no diabetes for me!) so my doc is having me come back later for another ultrasound. I'm actually glad, mostly because I'll take any chance I can get to see my little guy. 
My ultrasound will be on December 23rd: what a great pre-Christmas present! Hopefully Tyson will be able to join me this time since he's been unable to come to the other ultrasounds. What does it mean to measure big? Baby Remy #2 might be in a weird position, or I might have lots of extra fluid in my tummy, or maybe he's going to come earlier than we thought. Knowing my luck with this pregnancy, this baby will suddenly had a due date in the middle of January. (Recap: my original due date was Feb. 28 before it was moved to Feb. 6 so an even earlier due date wouldn't surprise me a bit.)
Baby Remy #2 isn't much of a kicker; he's more a stretcher and roller. I don't mind but that means that Tyson hasn't had the chance to feel the little guy move. It doesn't help that my placenta is right at the front of my stomach so the extra padding makes it harder for Tyson to discern those movements. (I told Nelson about the baby movements and he thought was so weird. I'll have to have Nelson feel the baby move once the baby is bigger.)
I'm pretty excited to only be 8 (or less) weeks out from welcoming this little guy into our family. We sure have a lot to do before he comes though! I have all his clothes washed and folded but I still need to sort them into his drawers, put his other gifts away, and get his new bedding washed (thanks to my mom and sisters for the cutest baby-Lion King bedding set). We can't wait!

08 December 2014

Book Review: Ticker

One of the many perks of being an Amazon Prime member is that I get one free pre-release Kindle e-book every month. Amazon gives me four choices to choose from. I don't always choose a book since I'm not really big into some genres they include (like horror) and sometimes all four of the books have "meh" reviews only. Mostly the books are from lesser-known authors so don't come looking for J.K. Rowling or Nicholas Sparks (gag).
In November I chose to read "Ticker" by Lisa Mantchev. Here is the book description from Amazon: 
A girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count.
When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.
On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings...or is the motive more sinister?
Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.
Now, all this takes place in a steampunk universe. In my mind I kept envisioning the town like "Howl's Moving Castle" with more gadgetry. The author's writing style took me a bit to get used to. She writes a great narrative but some of the words felt like they were picked from a thesaurus just because, not for any great reason.
The characters are witty and well-developed. I particularly enjoyed the quick banter between the main character and her love interest.
Another perk: the book is totally clean. No language. No sex. No gore. Yeah, there's one part that made me a little squeamish (surgery after-effects) but it wasn't even that bad.
All in all, I liked it. The story was intriguing and the steampunk elements added a touch of whimsy. If that is your sort of thing, go for it.

05 December 2014

The Little Drummer Boy

This Christmas season, I've noticed that many people are looking for ways to remember Christ in the midst of all the Santa craziness of the holidays. We haven't set up any decorations yet (yikes) but I have started listening to Christmas music at work and in the car. A friend of mine made a comment about crying to "The Little Drummer Boy" and the next time I heard it on the radio (yesterday morning) I really listened to the words. While the story is not a legit Bible story, the message remains powerful: Christ asks only our best. We know that we cannot be saved through our works and faith alone. We are reliant on Him and the atonement to be purified and sanctified. 
During the madness of this season and the stress of my life, I have been feeling totally unable to accomplish the things I need to, whether that's in my relationships, in my Church responsibilities, or in my faith. Feeling that way is overwhelming. "The Little Drummer Boy" reminded me that I can only do my absolute best and if I do that, Christ will make up the rest. 
And so, here is my favorite version of "The Little Drummer Boy" by none other than Pentatonix, who rock my socks, as it were.

Update: Whenever we hear this song on the radio (not just the Pentatonix version) William starts air-drumming and says "I'm a drummer boy!" It's adorable. I'll try to get a video.