Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dallas Texas

Brett just had an interview for a Post Doc position at South Western in Dallas Texas. He had a great time. He really likes all of people in the lab where he would be working and he thinks that he will be able to learn a lot from his new boss. The day after Brett returned home to Birmingham, Richard (the name of his new boss) emailed Brett and told him that they would love to hire Brett on in the lab. Richard knew that Brett had to finish graduation first, but he was happy to have us join them in Dallas ASAP. After some discussion and prayer, Brett and I decided that it would be wise to accept this offer. Everything about it seems really great. . .except for the location. I'm not thrilled to be so far away from family, I was hoping to be a little closer to either Virginia or Utah, but we've been surviving for the past 5 years, I suppose we'll be okay for a few more. The experience Brett will get will really make him more competitive in the job market and we might as well make these gradual steps while are family is still so young.

So now it is official . . . .
Dallas Texas, here we come. (in May :) )

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Introducing Madelyn Grace Pickett

Madelyn Grace Pickett

Born: January 8, 2010
Weight: 8 lbs 10 oz
Height: 21 inches

Brett and I went to the hospital at 6 am Friday morning. Luckily the doctor let me induce a little early--Maddie wasn't actually due until the 12th, but I dont think I could have lasted another night as large and uncomfortable as I was. In the hospital, I was hoping to get going and have the baby in time for lunch. It didn't go that fast but it was still a relatively smooth delivery. We chatted with the nurse and hung out until the contractions got serious--around 2 in the afternoon. I did have my greatest, most high scoring game of Bejeweled ever while I was waiting, so that was pretty exciting. Maddie was born around 3:30. I hardly had to push at all. . .maybe 5 times. I think that she was just as ready to come out as I was to get her out. :)

Emmeline and Mabel were so excited to come and visit us in the hospital that evening. They each brought Maddie a little gift. Emmeline chose a pink rubber duckie and Mabel chose a soft little pink butterfly. They were both so sweet and loving with their new little sister.

My time in the hospital sped by without a hitch and I was very excited to get home. The only setback was, like both Emmeline and Mabel, Maddie had a bit of a jaundice scare and she had to stay in the hospital an extra night to be on the lights. It was hard leaving the hospital without her, but luckily it wasnt for long. They let us bring her home the next morning.

I am so excited to have another beautiful daughter. Heavenly Father has truly blessed me and I am thrilled to have my family grow.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Go Ahead Brett"

On January 4, Brett met with his graduation committee to present his work up to this point and petition that he be allowed to graduate in May. He has one paper published and several others submitted and he has met every other requirement necessary to graduate. After his meeting, his committee gave him the "go ahead" to start putting together his dissertation so he can graduate in May. YEAH Brett.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Laura's Top 10 of 2009

#10. YMCA

In January of 2009 we joined our local YMCA. They gave us a discount based on Bretts income (otherwise we wouldn't have been able to afford it.) It has been so great for us. They offer free childcare while you are working out, so the girls go play while I participate in various aerobic classes. My favorites are bodyJam and Kickboxing. I also went to water aerobics while I was pregnant. Throughout the spring Emmeline took swimming lessons and loved those!! and of course we enjoyed utilizing the swimming pool throughout the hot Birmingham summer. (okay, we've enjoyed the pool the entire year!! It's a favorite activity of the girls even during the few cold weeks of winter. It's lucky the Y has an indoor pool. :) ). Here is a picture of the girls playing in the lockers and one of Emmeline in her swimming class.

# 9. The Library

We have enjoyed the library ever since we moved to Birmingham, but this past year we really made the most of it. We went to a special class every other Thursday called Rhythm and Rhyme. There we listened to stories, sang songs, and danced to music. Both Emmeline and Mabel loved it. We also went to the library a lot this summer. I was feeling so sick from being pregnant and it was so hot out side, we took advantage of the library's summer reading program and participated in all of their free activities. One day a cow came to visit, another day the kids got to decorate the sidewalk with chalk and have otter pops. Those were just a few of our favorite summer library activities.

# 8. UAB Starting my Masters Degree

In the Spring I enrolled in a Masters program at UAB, studying history. I took 2 classes that semester, The World Post 1945 and Historiography of the American Revolution. I enjoyed both classes!! I loved being a student again and stimulating my mind with things other then that which would excite 3 year old little girls. (dont get me wrong, I am a fan of tea parties, parks, zoos, princesses, etc). I even enjoyed writing my end of term paper. That shows how much I was aching for more adult learning. I was excited for my summer classes too, but then I got pregnant and sick and decided to take a break. I am still planning on finishing my degree but I'll take it slow, a class here and a class there. I'm not in any hurry. I just enjoy learning amid being a mother of young children.

#7. Joyschool

This fall I started a joyschool with 3 other gals. They all have little boys, so Emmeline was the only girl in the group, but she loved it!! We each took 1 week during the month and prepared a two hour class on Tuesday and Thursday. I think I was super lucky because the holidays always ended up on my classes and we had a halloween party, thanksgiving lesson, and christmas party. Throughout the term we took several field trips including visits to the zoo, the police station and the fire station. It was great for Emmeline to play with some of her friends each week and on days when I wasnt teaching, I was able to run errands and spend one on one time with Mabel. Overall, it was awesome. The following pictures are of the kids at the fire station and of the kids doing yoga. When Emmeline came home from that lesson she had to show me all the new moves she had learned. Very cute.

#6. Our "New" Car

I have loved our little blue Kia Spectra. It has been a great car for my family for the last 6 years. However, Brett and I were wondering how we were going to squish another car seat in the back. In the fall, Bretts mom decided to buy herself a new car and in the process sold her old car to us. It has been great for the girls to have more space in the back, and there will be plenty of room for the baby's car seat to be added. It is funny because Brett used to drive this car when he was in highschool-so it really isn't new to him, but it is to me. Yeah for "new" cars and yeah for family who will help us obtain them!!!

#5. Couponing

In the spring my friend Michelle Norris gave me some helpful tips and websites to get me started using coupons. After trying it out, I found that it cut my grocery bill in half. I used to shop at Wal Mart for everything and get mostly only Great Value items. I thought that was as cheap as it was gonna get. Now I shop at a regular grocery store (Publix) and buy name brand items and spend half as much as I did before. It is awesome. It is also fun. Although it can take some time, it is kind of like a game--a treasure hunt for the good deals. I've also had fun earning and using ECB's at CVS. I had no idea that I could get free (or almost free) deoderant, toothpaste, body wash, etc. It is awesome. In case you're interested, a couple of my favorite sites are:

#4. Primary

For the past 4 years I have served in various positions in my wards primary presidency. This has been a huge part of my life and I have enjoyed it so much. I have helped put together some fun activities throughout the years. This year we had a Book of Mormon Time Machine, a Luau, a Daddy/Daughter Date and a Mother/Son Date and of course our annual Halloween Trunk or Treat/Carnival. This December I was released and a new presidency was put in place. Even though I knew it was coming for a long time and even though I do believe that it is important for me to serve elsewhere for awhile, being released was much harder then I thought it would be. I didnt realize how much of myself I had put into the primary and I felt like part of me was being cut out. I think it was also hard because I was so hormonal with my pregnancy, I just couldnt deal with things very well. But no matter where I am called to serve in the future, I will always love primary and be grateful for the many opportunities and friends made while I was serving there. :)

#3. My Little Sister Lydia's Wedding.

In October my little sister got married to Devin Stienberg. They were sealed in the Washington D.C. Temple and had a lovely fall themed reception at my parents house in the evening. It was neat for me, not only because my little sis was gettin married, but I got to help with a lot of the planning, decorations and food preparations. I even got to make the cake (with the much appreciated help of my other littler sister Lucy). I thought that everything turned out absolutely beautiful.

#2. Being Pregnant.

Although this was not particularly the most pleasant experience of 2009 (I was sick most of the summer and to big to move most of the winter) it certainly dominated most of my year. And even though I wasnt comfortable for most of the year, I knew that eventually, this would lead to a wonderful, life changing blessing--my third daughter.

A couple of things pregnancy brought with it this time around: 1) a love for nuts--especially honey roasted peanuts (which I've never really cared for before) and cashews, but oddly any nut would do. 2) a love for certain smells. Especially new tires, bleach, and lemon dish detergent. Oh, life's simple pleasures. :)

#1. My Wonderful Family.

I love my family so much. They are my whole life. So the number 1 greatest thing of 2009 was Brett, Emmeline, Mabel, and baby on the way!!