Monday, December 31, 2007

Carson's New Tricks

Carson is CHUBBY!!! Check out the size of these thighs. He currently weighs in at 9.5 pounds, which means he will double his birth weight at only 6 weeks of age!

I thoroughly enjoy the thought of my fat stores quite literally going to Carson.

His new tricks include:

1. Sleeping a little longer. Last night he ate at midnight, 4:15, and then 8:00. Not bad.

2. Enjoying baths. Instead of crying when he gets wet, now he just gets really wide-eyed and looks kind of excited, almost like he's having fun.

3. Holding up his own head. When you hold him on your chest or over your shoulder, he always kind of arches his back and lifts his head way up. He doesn't yet love tummy time, but he does lift his head and turn it over quite often.

4. Looking cute. Thanks to Reid and Michele for the cutest outfit ever!!

5. Talking. Ok, not with words, but he does coo and make cute noises a lot more. I've had bad luck catching them on video, but here's one attempt:


We had a wonderful Christmas, despite our not being able to travel to be with family. Thanks to modern technology like the webcam, we still felt like we were right there with my family in VA and Rick's parents in the DR! And we still had our quiet, special Christmas with our perfect, innocent baby boy, not unlike the baby born so long ago in Bethlehem. Having just given birth to Carson, I had a new perspective on how Mary and Joseph may have felt. Labor and delivery of my baby was not easy for me... it was so painful I had flashbacks of the event every time I tried to sleep during the weeks afterwards!! If it was that hard for me, imagine how Mary's experience must have been, she being so young, without a hospital, doctor, midwife, mother, or even a bed. I imagine she had moments of intense fear and pain. But I also imagine that she sought a divine reassurance that all would be well, and that she relied on her faith. And as wonderful as it felt to finally hold Carson, I imagine that Mary's joy was even greater as she held the Son of God in her arms.
Randy Travis sings a Christmas song called "Labor of Love" that helped me to reflect on Mary's example. Some of the lines are:

"It was not a silent night. There was blood on the ground.
You could hear a woman cry in the alleyway that night on the streets of David's town.
And the stable was not clean and the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace with tears upon her face had no mother's hand to hold."

"It was a labor of pain, it was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark with every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love.
For little Mary full of grace, with tears on her face
It was a labor of love."

What a miraculous event we celebrated on Christmas day!! I am grateful that Mary was so brave and full of faith so she could be an instrument in God's hands to help bring our Savior into the world.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

no more finals!!

Rick took his last final yesterday, and Christmas break has officially begun!

Occasionally Rick has trouble staying awake while studying. In order to combat the fatigue, he likes to study outside in the cold. Yesterday, he sat out on our balcony in freezing cold weather, in short sleeves!! He came inside only when the wind started blowing the freezing rain onto him. But it was worth it... Rick did well on all of his finals and should get all A's!!!!!

During Rick's freeze-out, I waved to him from the window. I was making gingerbread cookies.

And Carson sat there on the couch, looking quite perplexed as to why Daddy was out in the cold.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Anybody need some more pictures of Carson?

Somebody is having a little trouble falling asleep after his 3:00 a.m. feeding, so here's a tribute to the little guy.

Friday, December 14, 2007

'Tis the Season To Be...

Last night, as Rick studied and baby slept, I was left with a few moments to muse. It suddenly hit me that
I'm not pregnant anymore! Yes, I do realize that during the past 3.5 weeks my body has changed, and it's quite obvious that Carson is now living and breathing without being connected to any part of my anatomy. But last night I just happened to remember a few things that I LOVE doing which are difficult if not impossible to do with a 40-inch waist: gymnastics!!

This involved as many handstands and back walkovers as I could manage in our tiny living room. It felt so liberating to stand on my hands and have my center of balance back!! And Rick was quite impressed by the amount of time I could hold a handstand.

Now, I really did love being pregnant. I felt great the whole time, loved the anticipation, feeling the baby move, baby showers, and cute maternity clothes. But I also love NOT being pregnant! Here's the kicker: I realized that, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven." We get to enjoy so many different seasons of life!! Each season has its rewards, and its trials too. If we can focus on the opportunities, not the limitations, of each season, each one will be joyous and wonderful. I have had my season to study, and study my brains out I did! Rick and I have had seasons to work, to play, to be a part of sports teams, to play the piano, to fall in love, to be a missionary, etc.

Those were all great, but right now, this is the season to love and hold my baby, even if that means dragging myself out of bed every 2 hours to do so.

And I will love every minute of it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

GROWING baby!!

As of Tuesday, Carson had gained 1 whole pound since leaving the hospital! That's 16 ounces in 9 days! We are SO glad he is such a good eater; a true barracuda. :)

Carson is also growing mentally. He has black and white flashcards, as well as black shapes that adorn his bassinet to accommodate his developing vision. He studies them intently.

I think Rick looks too young to be a dad in these pics. Sometimes we say we are babies having babies. (Also, Rick just got his 2nd acceptance to med school... Medical College of Wisconsin.)

And I am doing... ok with the whole never-sleeping-more-than-two-hours-at-a-time thing. Carson has been eating even more often today, like every 1.5 to 2 hours, so a growth spurt is probably coming. We look forward to more chubs and to him growing into all his clothes!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

We miss Grandma.

Just a few of the things that my mom, Carson's grandma, did for us last week:

1. Organized the ridiculous number of plastic grocery bags we had stuffed under our sink.
2. Kept me company during the lonely, late night feedings.
3. Made me take naps.
4. Made me eat cheese with my saltines to get "more protein."
5. Gave Carson his first bath.
6. Pulled everything out of our freezer and fridge to organize... several times.
7. Cooked dinners and washed dishes.
8. Put up a new shower curtain and got rid of our smelly old one.
9. Stocked our fridge and pantry, including hummus and pitas.
10. Stayed with Carson so we could go out to dinner for perhaps the last time in a long time.
11. Left me a present to open the day she left. (A kit to make a gingerbread house!)
12. Taught me how to pack a diaper bag.
13. Significantly reduced Carson's bilirubin count by holding him just right in the sunlight. Or is she teaching him how to ride a horse?

When I accidentally sat on Carson's head this morning, he was probably thinking, "Oh boy, it's just me and her now! Where did grandma go??" We are grateful for my generous, caring and very organized mother.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


We are PROUD to announce that Richard Samuel James Otto has received his first acceptance to medical school!! The wonderfully large envelope arrived yesterday from Memphis, Tennessee, birthplace of Elvis and Justin Timberlake. Rick says that the University of Tennessee has a great teaching hospital and a world renowned children's hospital. I'm not totally sold on living in Memphis, especially after speaking with a couple of current students there who are also Tennessee natives with thick accents. One student kept telling us to watch out for all the "crumb" in Memphis. After several attempts to understand him, we finally figured out that he was warning us of the CRIME!
It's such a relief to know that he's been accepted! We may still receive more acceptances and then be able to choose where to go, but at least we know we won't have to go through the whole application process next year. Yay!!

"No, not Memphis, daddy!!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

baby pictures galore!

Here is the latest from cute Carson! I'm not such a good photographer, so when Rick gets back in town from his LAST interview, we'll have some better pics and videos.

So, I know that Carson is only one week old, but he really smiles!! This video only captures a good smile at the very beginning, so watch carefully. We'll try to get better ones later. (And his nose is NOT big like it looks in the video.)

Just another little clip of Carson in the Boppy pillow.

...and some pictures! A brief review of his whole week-old life so far.

Proud mom and dad right after delivery! I am happy to say I kept my goal of going all natural for the delivery...NO drugs!! The smiles are before we knew that Carson's blood sugar was "critically low" and that he would need to go to the NICU.

I had no idea they would stick and IV through his HEAD!! Here it is. He was on the IV for a couple of days, and we gradually weaned him off of it to feeding from me and a tube through his nose, and finally to just milk from momma! By the end of his stay at the NICU, Rick and I were doing pretty much everything to take care of him. We would go down there every 3 hours to change him, take his temp, feed him, etc.

The cute boy after taking off all his monitors and tubes... he's ready to go HOME!!!

And now he is home with us!! He's doing his cute smile thing in the second pic.

It is truly a miracle that Carson came at just the right time. Had I gone into labor a week earlier, they probably would have tried to postpone the labor, which would have been horrible because no one knew that the placenta wasn't working. Had Carson stayed in me, he may not have made it much longer. He is our perfect little baby that came at the perfect time, and we are so grateful.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Baby Update

Baby Carson will be released from the hospital TOMORROW!! He's been completely off his IV and feeding tube for a whole 2 days now and is doing so great. He surprised the doctors by being an amazingly voracious eater, which has caused the quick recovery. (And I have discovered a new talent of having an extremely abundant milk supply. :)
We'll have to be very careful to keep him germ free since he is so tiny, but we are happy to bring home a healthy baby!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Our Baby

Carson Samuel James Otto was born on November 20th at 7:43 am. He looks like a little Ricky! We couldn't believe how tiny he was when he was born (an ounce shy of 5 pounds), but they said he looked so good and healthy. Unfortunately, he didn't come home with us today. He will be in the hospital for a bit more, and we appreciate everyone praying for him to be so strong to be able to come home.
It's amazing how much love we can feel for such a tiny little boy!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Big Belly!!

Happy 37 weeks! The baby is officially full term.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ricky's Journey to Medical School

Rick is out of town for yet another medical school interview, and I am finding no good reason to go to bed when the prospect is cold and lonely! If anyone is interested in an update on Rick's application status, here you go.

We completed the first step over the summer, the standardized AMCAS application that gets sent to all the chosen medical schools. This includes GPA, MCAT score, descriptions of extra-curricular activities, and essays. Then, each school asks for a detailed secondary application, letters of recommendation, and a fee. If they still like you after that, they'll invite you to interview. (YOU pay your way there!) Finally, they'll notify if you're in, if you're not, or if they're still considering you on a waiting list. Phew!

Rick is in Milwaukee for interview #7. He is currently on the waiting lists of Saint Louis and Georgetown. We hope to hear back from the U of WI and U of TN very soon!!

I am so proud of Ricky for working hard over the past 4+ years to have such a strong application. He has a talent for balancing school, work, volunteering, sports, and family that continually amazes me!! (I consider myself slightly unbalanced, which is why I had to marry someone so balanced.) He is doing well in school this semester despite having gone out of town 7 times, and I am surviving as well!! I decided he deserved a post for his hard work.

Isn't he cute??

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Last night I endured yet another cold, lonely night without Rick, who was at a medical school interview. BYU-TV kept me company while I worked on our family Christmas cards. On TV, Sharon Larsen was giving a talk. She told a little story about a phone conversation that she had with her dad. She went on and on to her dad about how busy she was and all the deadlines and tasks she had to meet and accomplish. He listened to her tirade and then said, "You know, Sharon, it doesn't take much to keep some people busy." Her point was, of course, that she was filling her life with so many "important" things that she was forgetting about the really important things.

Now, this got me thinking. I graduated from college 3 months ago now. When I was in school, I spent a ridiculous number of hours per day studying. I also worked part time, volunteered, etc. I was busy! I assumed that once I graduated, I would have all the time in the world to catch up on all the other things I'd put off when I was studying.

Here's the big surprise: life has NOT gotten any less busy!! I am currently working doing research and also babysitting a few hours a week. Life should be so simple! But somehow things always pop up that require my full time and attention, leaving me getting about the same amount of sleep and down time as I had when I was in school. Weird!!
The moral of the story: I've recently learned that we can't live our lives just waiting and hoping for a time when we're not so busy!! We'll always be busy; we just have to make sure we are busying ourselves doing GOOD things. (Or, not just good, but even better, and then the BEST things!) I think it's also important that we leave time to recognize God's hand in our lives. (For example, on Sunday morning as I left the apartment for a meeting, I just had the feeling I should leave the door unlocked. Turns out neither Rick nor I had our keys with us, and we would have been locked out! I wasn't too busy to realize that I had had a little help with the thought to leave it unlocked.)

Just a little thought... now, on with our busy lives!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What's in a name???

I am having major second thoughts about the name choice for our baby boy, due in ONE MONTH AND ONE DAY!!
We've called him Carson for about 8 months now, we both really like the name, and I've even personalized things like his baby journal with the name Carson. HOWEVER, I keep feeling more and more like the name is just too popular! It was ranked 87th according to last year's social security index. And in 2003 it had already peaked at 90th. (See It seems like everyone has a nephew or cousin that was just named Carson. I do NOT want him to have 3 other Carsons in his kindergarten class and on his soccer team!!
My second choice was Easton. The hubby doesn't really like that one though.
The other name I have been thinking about a lot is Weston. (I guess I have a strange thing for cardinal direcitons.) It only ranked 380th last year. And, an added bonus is that Weston is a family name on Rick's side; it was his great uncle, who was a good, honest, hard working farmer.

It's just very hard to break out of the habit of calling him Carson!!
Please help!! I'm sure I will seriously consider and over-analyze all comments posted with regards to the baby's name. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Recent Accomplishments

I hope this isn't a prideful post, but I feel the need to share a few recent accomplishments that have occurred in my little life lately:

1.) For those of you who haven't tasted my mother's famous Christmas Ribbon Salad, you are seriously missing out. It's always been a favorite of mine, and a while ago I decided I needed a between-Christmases dose of the good stuff. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how precarious the process of making the salad actually is. You have to let each layer set up just enough before you add the subsequent layer, lest that first layer's liquidity invade the second layer's space. (See white layer rising up above red layer, to the left.) Also, the salad fills a 9x13 pan right to the brim, so unless you can hold the pan exactly level, it WILL spill when you go to put it in the fridge. This DISASTER occurred in our fridge about 2 months ago. I cried; Rick took pictures.

So what is the recent accomplishment, you might be asking? Yesterday, I scraped the LAST of the JELL-O residue out of my fridge!!

2.) I don't know if this counts as an accomplishment, but I think the resultant pictures are hilarious. I've never had a cavity in my life... until recently. In my defense, the dentist said that there's no way I could have prevented the little crack on the surface of my tooth; the sealant just wore away. I had to humble myself enough to admit that I needed my first filling, and fill that tooth they did. It wasn't so bad... and the funny feeling of my numbed mouth was cool enough to be worth the pain! Enjoy the pic of my mutated face!

3.) The final accomplishment: the baby's room is finally cleaned and organized enough to actually house a human being!! It took Rick's being out of town for 2 nights to motivate me to do the dirty work. When he was gone, I had no desire to go to bed alone, so I stayed up all night and filed or got rid of EVERY SINGLE loose paper in our home (previous to the room being designated as the baby's its job was to hold the papers, tests, and schoolwork of probably the past 10 years of Rick and my lives), scrubbed clean the filthy rocking chair we bought used for only 20 bucks, and organized all the baby's clothes and supplies. It's no Pottery Barn baby's dream room, but it will do!

My next project is to paint both a shelf for his room and letters that spell out his name. The baby's name will be Carson, but the craft store was out of the letter "S," so I only have the letters C-A-R-O-N. While I was organizing the room, I happened to look down at the letters on the floor, arranged randomly. To my amazement, they spelled a new word! We're looking forward to welcoming our little Acorn to our family. :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

How Times Have Changed...

I set out today for my daily dose of "exercise," which lately has become no more than a brisk walk carefully planned around potty stops at least every 10 minutes. I am proud to say that I did keep jogging or doing the elliptical machine at the gym until I was 33 weeks pregnant, but this past week it has become time to cut it down to a walk. A combination of discomfort, mild contractions, and the stares of onlookers prompted the change. Anyway, today's walk was a little different. For one, I was with my friend Hyrum, the cute four-month-old baby for whom I sometimes care during the day. (He tried out our new stroller and loved it!) The other difference was that I had been walking for about half an hour when I felt my blood sugar suddenly plummet; it was past noon and I had forgotten to eat anything since my bowl of cereal this morning. Having experienced the less-than-pleasant effects of intense hunger many times before, and desiring that my unborn child NOT experience the same, I decided that something had to be done. I thought about purchasing a package of crackers or something from the nearby gas station, when I spotted a familiar red shack up ahead. J-Dawgs! Now, I am not a typical hot dog eater. Nor am I a typical spender of over 99 cents on fast food. However, a J-Dawg is NOT a typical hot dog, and today I felt like I deserved something special. (For those of you unfamiliar with Provo, J-Dawgs is a hot dog stand at the southeast corner of campus that opened up a couple of years ago and serves the most amazing Polish dogs with a special sauce that can impress even a hot dog hater like myself.) So, Hyrum and I got in line and got our J-Dawg. He watched while I consumed, and we were on our way. 20 minutes later, I rushed into the Creamery on 9th for yet another emergency potty break, and the smell of waffle cones wouldn't let me leave without purchasing a small peanut butter trails ice cream cone. After resolving to work an extra hour this week to make up for my careless spending spree, I began pondering my calorie (im)balance during today's hour of "exercise." Normally, the purpose of exercise is to burn calories, which I did during my walk, probably about 300 of them. Now, J-Dawgs doesn't advertise the nutritional information of its products, but I would venture to guess that my Polish dog plus bun and sauce weighed in at about 600 calories. And I wouldn't be surprised if my ice cream added another 400 on top of that. Welp, simple math shows that my outing today earned me a grand total of 700 calories!!
8 months ago, I would have been horrified at my behavior, resolving to eat only fruit and cereal for the next 24 hours. But today, I felt proud. My, how times have changed...

Watch out... this could me be on my next walk!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween!

We are not huge Halloween-celebrators in the Otto household. (As a matter of fact, I've skipped right to Christmas and have our tree up!!) I think it may be because my past efforts to celebrate Halloween have resulted in costumes that made me feel silly and a queasy stomach from an overdose of candy corn. I also happen to think that most Halloween activities are neither uplifting nor wholesome. However, this year Rick and I did have fun at our ward Halloween party. We even dressed up... do pajamas count?

This is our friend Ai and her cute son, Kyoji.