Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Coming to an End

I was just in the laundry room looking out the window of my parents' house when I noticed the sound of the clock tick tocking on the wall. Every second that ticked by meant another second closer to having to go home to Utah. It has been such an eventful week and half and I've loved every second of it. Well, almost. Things like saying goodbye to your brother for two years and watching your twin suffer through labor are never easy. But the goodness that came from and will come from these two events are what we will cherish forever.

I remember thinking during the weeks before coming here how great it would be if Amber had her baby before we came. He could come around March 15th, we would come on the 16th and visit them in the hospital, then I'd get to spend the rest of the two weeks helping take care of them at her house. As I mentioned before, Amber ended up going into labor soon after Brycen's 2nd birthday party on the 17th and little Tayen arrived on the 18th-only hours after Adam's mission farewell. And now I am so grateful that little Tayen timed things the way he did. Amber and Che' got to enjoy one last hoorah of fun at Brycen's party, then Sunday was way full of excitement as we sat in Adam's meeting listening to him speak about being an example, knowing that Amber was just up the road in labor. Talk about chaotic but incredibly spiritual at the same time. We always joked that Amber would be in labor during Adam's meeting. Who would have thought that it would actually happen! Little Tayen arrived one day before his due date and apparently wanted to join us all in his very own unique way. And while I hated seeing my twin go through so much pain and frustration during her 22-hour labor, I am so grateful that I could be there to see the nurses pass him through that window after being delivered by c-section. It was a great experience watching them clean him, take his measurements, and get his footprints. Then to see Che', a first-time daddy, come in with the biggest smile on his face to greet his firstborn son with open arms. Talk about a tear-jerking moment! I'm so glad I got to be there to experience such a wonderful moment. There's nothing like new babies coming into the world.

We've gotten a lot of similar comments regarding that crazy weekend. Things like, "What has been going through your mind during all of this?" and "What are the odds Amber would be in labor during Adam's meeting!" were two of the most common. My dad's answers were always my favorite. First, he would acknowledge how well Adam did on his talk and how excited we all are for him. Then he brought up Amber and how exciting it will be to have a new baby in the family. Then he would round it up with my favorite part: "We're sending one missionary off and bringing another into the world." That always made me smile to hear him say that. What a neat experience to be blessed with a missionary and a new future missionary all in the same week. It's just so fun!

Tyson comes to town on Friday and I'm very excited to see him. He left March 18th after Adam's luncheon and has been in Utah since. This is the longest he has been away from Brycen and I. Even when we were engaged we didn't go longer than a week without seeing each other. It's been tough (especially for him) but we're thankful for Skype. Brycen loves talking to his daddy on the computer. Tyson comes Friday, which means we'll be heading back home on Sunday. It will be so hard to leave. Amber has loved having me in town being only 3 minutes away, and I've loved it just as much, if not more, than she has. I miss my family and I miss being only 10 minutes away from them. It's hard not being able to see them whenever I want. The same goes for Tyson's family. It would be one thing if we had one of our families in Utah with us. But with both of them in Idaho Falls it makes things extra hard. By the time we come back to Idaho Tayen will already be almost 8 weeks old. That's hard for me to accept, I have to admit. I hate that I'll be missing these first few weeks of his life and all of the changes he'll go through. But I feel lucky that Tyson, Brycen, and I are only a 2 1/2-hour drive away in Utah. It doesn't take much for us to come here or for family to come visit us down there. But somehow that doesn't make things any easier.

A few things about Brycen and I that have changed while here:
  • Brycen started saying the words "shoes" and "Adam". He said "Adam" (he actually says "Amam") the day after Adam left when someone asked him where Adam was. He pointed to a picture of him and said "Amam!"
  • My tummy has definitely grown while we've been here. All of a sudden I'm feeling the need for maternity pants.
  • These days I feel SO hungry! It reminds me of the movie "17 Again" when Zac Efron is in the kitchen at his friends' house. He says, "I'm SO hungry (with easy cheese squirting into his mouth)...all the time!" I've been accepting leftovers from others and feeling very excited about it. For some reason food is just wonderful these days.
  • Brycen is pretty much done with his size 5 shoes and that's all I brought for him. One of them is still fitting but nothing else does. Even his size 6 TOMS are too small, but those run small anyway. Time to get this boy some new shoes!
Brycen and I have had quite the eventful week and a half with my family! Other activities have included:
  • taking pictures of Adam in his suit before he left on his mission
  • a family photo shoot with Aaron, Britney, and Boston
  • a newborn photo shoot with sweet little Tayen when he was 8 days old
  • being around when my parents received their first letter from Adam
  • many visits with Amber, Che', and Tayen
  • playing outside in the backyard with Brycen
  • a birthday party for Tyson's sister, Angie
  • late night movie night with Mom, Brycen, and Amy (Brycen lasted through the whole movie when it ended at 1 am. Of course the rest of us fell asleep. We watched "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown" and he loved it!)
  • popcorn and "Puss In Boots" with the Miller cousins
  • a play date with the Sargent kids (some of the Miller cousins)
And things we've yet to do and are looking forward to:
  • seeing Tyson on Friday night
  • Orange Leaf with my mom
  • getting Casino beverages (Vanilla diet pepsi's from the Stinker Station by Albertson's-simply the best!)
  • a visit to Fiesta Ole' (Some of you understand how it feels to live far away from Fiesta Ole' then want it when you come back!)
  • Blast Off! with the Miller cousins
  • getting my hair highlighted by my sister
  • more visits and snuggles with Tayen
  • feeding apples to the horses behind my parents' house
  • Brycen's birthday party with the Miller family
  • an Easter egg hunt with the Miller cousins
  • watching General Conference with family
  • and much, much more!
I feel grateful that I've been able to stay here in Idaho for so long. I really needed this and it's just been so much fun and quite eventful. I'm looking forward to many more good times the rest of the week!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Elder O'Connor

It's official! At 12:55 my little brother entered the MTC.
I love this kid!

His mom sure misses him.
And so does his dad...

...and his sister, as well as his other two sisters, brother, sister-in-law, brothers-in-law, nephews, and others!
But he's ready to go!
Amy said that when they dropped him off he had a big smile on his face and he was ready to go. That had to have made things a bit easier on them. Now I can't wait for them to get back so we can all sit down, talk about the day, and cry together.
I love you, Adam! Congratulations on your call and I'm so excited for you and the next two years! (And thanks for all of the awesome pictures, Amy! These are just the best!)


My parents and Amy are on their way down to Provo to take Adam to the MTC. They left this morning at about 7:00 and it was quite emotional. I'm staying here with Brycen while they head south for the day, leaving Adam at the MTC at 12:55. Amy just took this picture of herself and Adam in the car on their way down. In just a few hours Adam will be off on his own for two years, heading to Australia in just a few weeks. It's amazing how much I miss my baby brother already. But I know he's doing a wonderful thing and he will be so blessed for it. We all will be. I'm really grateful that I'm able to be in Idaho till April 1. Where Amber just had her baby a couple of days ago and my mom is going to need support, I feel like it was all meant to work out. This was by far the most eventful few days in the O'Connor family. Baby coming and missionary leaving all at the same time? Too crazy. But we're all so happy. It has been such a spiritual and uplifting last few days and we're all just so happy. It's times like these that bring us closer together. And to have two big events happen at once has been amazing for our family. We're so happy and we feel so blessed.

Thank you so much for the wonderful comments, e-mails, visits, and phone calls my family has received. We can feel the love of so many of you and we're just very grateful right now. We love you!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Waiting Game

Here we are. It's almost 2:00 in the afternoon, the day before my little brother enters the Missionary Training Center in Provo. My mom has had a Diet Pepsi attached to her hand all day and we've all been on the verge of tears. Adam has been busy today, out to breakfast with a friend and then lunch with another. Last night my dad gave him a blessing and it was wonderful. The tears were flowing by the time it was over. Adam has held his emotions together this whole time, but I think tomorrow may be a different story. But he's so ready to leave. He feels like there's something more he needs to be doing in his life right now and a mission is one of those things. He's excited to go out and make a difference and see a few koalas and kangaroos in the process. He's such a friendly guy and we've always been so impressed with how many different kinds of friends he has. It was fun to see such a variety of people at his farewell and luncheon on Sunday.

My dad decided to take Adam in for a last-minute eye check up today. He hadn't gone in for a check up earlier because he didn't feel he needed to. My dad decided otherwise so off they went to see the doctor. Dad just called and Adam needs glasses to help the astigmatism in his left eye. Did I mention Adam leaves tomorrow? Funny day. It won't be difficult to get the glasses to him in the MTC.

Mom and I are going to go to the hospital to see Amber, Che', and little Tayen then off to the grocery store to get ingredients for Adam's last requested meal: Copycat Pachanga's or Garcia's Pollo Fundido. The rest of the day will be spent visiting with Adam and enjoying that time together. He'll be set apart at 9:00 then off to bed for an early departure to the MTC. I'll be staying home with Brycen while my parents and Amy take him down there. It's going to be an emotional day!

Monday, March 19, 2012

And He's Here!

Our little nephew Tayen is finally here!! I won't go in to too many details about his birth so Am can do that, but I will say it was quite the feat for her. After 22 hours of labor and only being at an 8, her doctor finally performed a c-section last night. Amber was completely exhausted in every way, shape, and form, and let's just say the rest of us were peeved, for lack of a better term. I should say furious because I was! I'm sure Amber will be nicer about the whole thing when posting about her story on her blog because she's more patient than I am, but I was SO not impressed with her doctor. But our little nephew is here and he's safe and healthy. And just the cutest thing in the world! I got to watch him be passed through the window after being born, get washed up and measured, then see Che'come in to greet his new son and hold him in a rocking chair. It was a very neat experience. And I got to hold Tayen after he came to the room! I didn't plan on holding him, but when I got the opportunity I took it. Tayen melts my heart and I'm so excited to go back to the hospital and see him!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What a Day!

I'm in Idaho with my family right now and wow, it's been quite the weekend! We got here on Friday afternoon (Tyson, Brycen, and I ) and spent the evening with Tyson's parents, Dustin and Erika and their kids, and Angie and Steve's kids. His parents bought Jimmy Johns for all of us and we played games. It was such a blast! I love spending time with his family. I laugh my hardest when spending time with his family.

Saturday was a busy one getting ready for Brycen's birthday party with my family, as well as prep for my little brother Adam's mission farewell luncheon today. We baked cookies, made salads, set up chairs, etc. My pregnant twin came over and sat down to visit while Mom and I baked. It was fun to sit and hang out. Tyson spent the day with his mom while we got things ready. We had a small Toy Story 3 themed party for Brycen's second birthday coming up, enjoying pizza and cupcakes. Pictures to come! My siblings were all here and we had so much fun visiting and watching Brycen open his presents-most of which were Toy Story related.

Grandma O'Connor stopped by with my aunts Lisa and Bridget after the party. They came to town for Adam's meeting and stopped by for a visit. They stayed for a half hour before heading back to their hotel. Amber and Che' left soon after that. About 45 minutes later I received a phone call from Amber saying that her water broke and they were headed to the hospital. Talk about timing! Adam's meeting was the next morning at 9:00 and Amber was in labor. Her due date is tomorrow (Monday the 19th) and she has been so uncomfortable the last week or so and ready for Tayen to come. Apparently he wanted to wait till after Brycen's party to start showing any sign of coming!

Mom and I stayed up late waiting for updates from Amber and Che'. Amber was progressing really fast, about a centimeter an hour, so we thought for sure she'd have Tayen by morning. By 3:30 am she was at a 4 and was still at a 4 at 7 am. We all got ready for church with Amber and Che' on our minds. We went to his meeting at 9:00 and it was awesome. I don't think I give my little brother enough credit because he did an amazing job on his talk. He was so confident and didn't even seem nervous. I had the thought to bring my voice recorder to Idaho. It turned out to be a really good idea! We recorded Adam's talk so Amber and Che' can listen to it later. The entire meeting was so wonderful. A good friend of our family's (Bill Bush) played a missionary medley on the piano and it got all of us tearing up. The last speaker was President Ames, a member of the stake presidency and my former accounting teacher at BYU-Idaho. He really pulled everything together well and the meeting was just awesome. So awesome! I can't say that enough. Adam had so many people there supporting him. The place was full, back to the stage. So many family and friends came out and it was so good to see them there. A lot of people approached our family about the current situation with Amber in the hospital and Adam speaking at the same time. Most of the concerns were geared toward my mom's sanity ha ha. I was impressed with how well she kept so calm. I even had a couple of people come up and ask me if I was the one having the baby today. I guess I didn't realize I look 40 weeks pregnant! Good times.

Mom, Dad, and I ran up to the hospital to visit Am and Che' as soon as we got out of Adam's meeting. It was about 11:00 when we got there to find Amber in pain and only at 4 1/2 cm. She had slept for awhile on one side, which caused a lot of muscle cramping in her upper back and shoulders. Her body already has the tendency to cramp up during sleep so this was a pretty crappy situation. The CRNA (John-who is awesome) massaged her shoulders and back a little, releasing some of the pressure. It seemed to help, but she just seemed miserable. We sat and visited with her and Che' till about 12:30 when we left to go back to the house and prep for the luncheon. By that time Amber was at a 5.

The luncheon had a great turnout. I was on cookie duty, filling up the tiers full of cookies and keeping them full throughout. I loved my job! There were over 70 people who came over for lunch and celebrate with Adam. Grandma and Grandpa made shredded bbq beef sandwiches and we ate all sorts of yummy salads and goodies. It was fun visiting with people I don't get to visit with very awesome.

At about 4:45 Am was finally at a 6. It was so exciting to us! Progression was happening! After Adam's friends and all of the family left the house we opened up all of the gifts people had given him. We have so many generous family members and friends and they're all so supportive of Adam.

At about 5:45 we got word that Am is at an 8. I say "is" because that's what we know at this point! It's been 19 hours since she went into labor last night. Poor girl! Talk about a crappy experience. But we're hoping Tayen will be joining our family soon and we'll be going to the hospital soon! Thank you for all of the well wishes!