The Livingstons

The Livingstons

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I'm a College Graduate!

Well, everybody, I am done with college! I am SO excited! And I did it right in time before this little baby will be joining us. It couldn't have worked out better.

I finished my Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Brigham Young University. I finished in the top 10% in my class. I worked my butt off these past 4 and a half years. It wasn't easy. Teaching is not easy! But I did learn so much. 

I think the number one thing I learned from my college experience was how to be responsible and work hard. Of course, I learned a ton of stuff about young children and how to teach, and I'm so grateful for that knowledge, especially because I am about to become a mother. But I really have valued learning how to work hard, and I know that when you work hard, you are rewarded. Maybe you are rewarded financially. Maybe you are rewarded with a sense of pride. Maybe you are rewarded with good grades. Maybe you just learn amazing things, and that's your reward. No matter what, you are rewarded for your efforts if you work hard.

I have had a lot of life changes happen as I've been in college. I moved to Idaho. I met the man of my dreams and got married at 19 years old. I moved to Utah. I worked hard to get into BYU. I changed my major I think 3 times. I have had to learn how to take care of myself financially (obviously Greg and I did this together). I have learned such valuable knowledge about young children to understand how to teach and raise them better. I got pregnant. And now I'm going to have this baby in a couple of short weeks! So much has happened, and I'm not even 23 yet! I am so proud of myself! I definitely could not have done everything without the support of my amazing husband and God's help.

And there will be more huge life changes coming soon as well. Not only will we be having this baby soon, but once Greg graduates in April, we are planning on moving down to Orange County, CA. We are beyond excited! Not only will I be able to be with a lot of my family, but we are pretty sure Greg will be able to get a good job. It's going to be great!

A couple of days before I finished school, Greg and I went on an evening hike. It was beautiful to see Mount Timpanogos during the sunset.

I am 36 weeks pregnant here. I'm almost two weeks past this point now.

Me on my last day of school. I was in the preschool. You can tell I was pretty excited (even though this picture was completely staged).

The night I finished school, Greg took me out to a Japanese grill, which was SUPER yummy and fun, and then we came home and celebrated with some sparkling cider (my favorite!) and our favorite little snack (it's kind of a tradition when we celebrate to have that snack). It was so fun! 

So now that I have been done with school for about a week, I have to say that I'm not exactly sure what to do with all of the extra time I have. I'll be honest (and I know this sounds crazy), but I have been a little bored, since a lot of my friends have been busy with finals or work, and Greg has been gone most of the day every day this week. I don't know what to do with myself! I've been making lists and coming up with things I can do to get ready for the baby, like making freezer dinners, cleaning the house, making sure I really do have everything I need, figuring out how certain baby products work, etc. I'm sure all of this time for myself will be truly missed when I have the baby.

Because I've had all of this time to myself, I've had a lot of time to kind of freak myself out about having the baby. Don't get me wrong, I'm SO excited! But I'm also a little terrified of giving birth (maybe a lot terrified). I'm also super scared about bringing the baby home and my life completely changing. Any advice, moms?

Well, life as I've known it is going to change soon with this baby. But I am so glad that I finished school before having a baby. I am so proud of myself. I worked so hard. I totally deserve to be proud of myself. My life really is so great!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Baby Shower

I had my baby shower on November 1, 2014. It was AMAZING! Wave put it all together, and she did such a great job. She is awesome! We had it at Grandma Sisco's house in Orem, and I was so excited about everyone who came to support Greg and me with our little precious girl. I was overwhelmed with happiness and love for everyone that came. It meant so much to me to have so many people there. Diane and Grandma Sisco helped Wave a lot with the preparation and food. It was so nice of them. Wave's mom, Heather, is amazing too! She helped make these DELICIOUS cake pops- they were seriously so cute and so yummy!

Here are some pictures of the people who were there.

And here are some pictures of me opening some gifts!

My friend, Jessica, made this blanket with her mom for our little baby. It's so awesome!! I just love it!

Diane made these cute little party favors. They are bags of popcorn that say "Ready to pop!" on them. 

A cute little sign that Wave made that says "Katherine." That's what we are naming our baby- we will most likely call her Kate. 

We played a game where everyone had to guess how big around my stomach is and then cut off a piece of string and see if they were right. So we were measuring all of the strings to see who was closest to the actual belly. 

My wonderful Sara. I just love her to pieces.

Here's the food Wave put together. There were some yummy chicken salad sandwiches on croissants, some fruit, and some salad. It was delicious!

Here's a close-up of the amazing cake pops Heather made. She made red velvet, chocolate, and lemon. She is so awesome. I just love her so much! 

Wave and me. I love this girl so much! She is such an amazing friend and sister. I'm so glad we are family! 

A few weeks after the shower, I got down to business and washed all of our baby's clothes and other stuff she will be touching with her skin. I swear, she has more clothes than I do (possibly a slight exaggeration). But she for sure has more clothes than Greg.

We only have about 5 weeks left! We are so excited (and nervous), but mostly excited!

Thank you to everyone who came to the shower and has been so supportive of our little family! And thank you to those who have sent us packages and adorable gifts :) We are so grateful!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Student Teaching and Baby Thoughts

I only have 7 weeks until I graduate!

7 more weeks of teaching. 7 more weeks of college.

And that means 10 more weeks until our little baby girl is due. That just blows my mind.

Here are some of my thoughts on my life recently.

I have been EXTREMELY busy. When am I not? I have absolutely loved student teaching, but it has been a very crazy and nonstop experience. I have loved the things I've learned and have enjoyed the time I had with those little cute 6 year olds and my mentor teacher, Cortney. I have had the best experience as a student teacher, and I will miss these past 7 weeks like crazy.

That being said, I am also excited that this past 7 weeks is over. I know that sounds like a complete contradiction, but it's true. I loved it, but I am ready to move on. 

The part that I will not miss about this past 7 weeks is the dreaded Teacher Work Sample. 74 pages, about 17,000 words, and many long hours later, I have finally turned it in to the department for review. I have never written or done anything like this before, so I am actually extremely proud of myself for the hard work I put into it. But it was the absolute worst.

My next 7 weeks of college consists of me being in the BYU Preschool as a student teacher. It's going to be a VERY different experience than the one I just had. The BYU Preschool is the complete ideal: 3-4 teachers in the classroom at all times, 20 students, seemingly limitless resources, seasoned and amazing teachers... I have some mixed feelings about it, but I'm sure it will be a great experience.

I will say one thing about this whole student teaching experience. I've talked to a lot of people, especially other teachers and faculty members, about my pregnancy and teaching. I've had a lot of people ask me what my plans are after student teaching and having the baby. It seems like a lot of people (not everyone) kind of just look at me being pregnant and assume that I'm just jumping through student teaching hoops to graduate. It's true, I do just want to get through this and graduate and have my baby. But let me just say, after this first 7 weeks of student teaching, I had such an amazing experience. I can say with 100% absolute positivity that I WANT TO TEACH. Whether that happens one year from now, 5 years down the road, or more, it doesn't matter. I'm not going to just forget about my degree and move on. I desperately want to have a family, and I'm so excited to be pregnant and have this little girl in January, but I definitely want to be a teacher as well.

Anyway, enough about that. Let me fill you in on this pregnancy of mine.

I am just about 30 weeks along. I think my favorite part about the pregnancy is seeing my stomach completely shift to one side because of how she is moving around in there. We've been very busy trying to get ready for her. Last weekend, I got a nice rocking chair for pretty cheap, Greg went and picked up an awesome jogging stroller (Diane got this for us), changing table, and high chair. A few weeks ago we got a baby dresser from my aunt. My mom and grandma have gotten us a really awesome Pack and Play for her. We have gotten some really cute clothes from some women from my home ward and from some family members. We've gotten an awesome baby carrier from one of my good friends. Not to mention all of the countless things my amazing sister-in-law Meagan has given us: bottles, a pump, maternity clothes, tons of baby clothes, blankets, etc. Things are really coming together. 

There are lots of things that have been great about this pregnancy, but let me tell you some struggles I've had. 

I never realized how uncomfortable it is to have another human being living inside of your body. I'm starting to kind of get over it, honestly. I am excited to meet our little girl, and I am very ready for my body to stop being physically shared with her. Pregnancy is a very special miracle, and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to carry this little one, but it's no easy task. Sleeping is uncomfortable, I have to pee every 5 seconds, and I have aches and pains in my back, legs, and abdomen. Not so fun.

I also never realized how much my changing body would affect me emotionally. Obviously, I knew going into this that my body would change: my abdomen would get bigger and I'd gain some weight. Mentally I knew this, but emotionally, it's been hard. I haven't gained a ton of weight, just the normal amount you are supposed to by this point, and my abdomen isn't huge yet. But I am noticing the weight gain and changes. It's hard to see other girls or women who are skinny and beautiful and then look at my own body in the mirror. I try not to have pity parties about it because I know these changes are normal, but it's really hard for me for some reason. I guess I just need to remember the little miracle that I have the privilege to carry and be a mommy to.

I've realized how much people like to comment on your body when you're pregnant. Normally, I am not super bugged by it, but I guess it depends on my mood. People don't say mean or offensive things (like "Wow, you're really getting big!"), but they do like to say things to me about how my body looks. I think my emotions are just on overdrive sometimes. I'm already pretty self-conscious about my body, and even if someone says something not offensive, I still start to think about my body and get emotional. Haha. I am such a baby.

Here are some really awesome things about this pregnancy: 

It has flown by. I have been so busy with student teaching that the past 8 weeks have come and gone so quickly. That's been nice.

I feel this baby kick ALL the time. She is so active! I usually just love it; it makes me feel reassured that she is just fine.

All of my tests and screenings have come back completely normal. This also makes me feel really reassured that the baby and I are and will be ok.

We have had so much help with our preparation for the baby. Most of the help has been financial (people getting or giving us important essentials for the baby). We really haven't had to buy very much stuff yet, and we have most of the most important things.

Despite all of the aches and pains that I've been feeling, I would have to say that I have been pretty lucky this pregnancy. I've heard of women feeling sick their entire pregnancies or just getting really big or their feet getting swollen or getting bad stretch marks. I am lucky enough to not really have any of these symptoms. That doesn't mean it's been easy, but I have had it a lot easier than other women.

I do have to say that even though I am very excited to have this baby, I am EXTREMELY nervous. I sometimes get sad about how much my life is going to change and how hard it's going to be to have a child. But then I just think about how much happiness she will bring Greg and me and just how cute she is going to be, and I realize that it will be all be worth it. It will be hard, but I'm sure I will be so happy.

Well, those are some of my thoughts on my life lately. It's been crazy and exciting and busy and awesome, all at the same time. 

Here are some pictures of some things that we've been up to these past few weeks.

A few weeks ago, my parents came to Logan to see some of Ann Marie's games. We were fortunate enough to be able to go up and visit them and Ann Marie for about a day. They sure came at the perfect time; the fall leaves were absolutely beautiful. We all took a drive up through Logan Canyon. Ann Marie showed us some really pretty areas, and we took some cool pictures. It was really fun!

Ann Marie being a dork.

I sure love my dad!

I love how vibrant the colors are in this picture.

I love my little sis!

A great photo bomb.

I love my mom and sister!

Greg shook some trees to get the leaves to fall. It was awesome.


We also went to the Utah State homecoming football game together. It was fun!

I really do love to be with my family so much.

Here are some picture of some baby stuff we've gotten. This is the dresser that we got from my aunt Debbie. My grandma's mom got it for my grandma when she was little, and then my grandma used it for her daughters. Then she gave it to my Aunt Debbie, and she used it for her daughter. Now, she's giving it to me for our little girl. We are very excited to have it. We painted it gray with the drawers mint (as you can obviously tell).

Here's the Pack and Play my mom and grandma got us. We just love it! It comes with a baby bassinet on the top and a small changing pad.

Here's the high chair we got.

And the changing table for when the baby grows out of the one on the Pack and Play.

A couple days ago, we carved pumpkins with Shaun and Wave. It was fun!

And here are the finished products. Shaun and Wave did the Olaf one, I did the Little Mermaid in the middle, and Greg did the Boba Fett on the right. It was great.

Here are some pictures of my two awesome classes who I got to student teach. There were two groups, each had 32 first graders. I just love them to pieces! This is the first group.

And here is the second group.

Life is wonderful, despite how hard it can sometimes be. I'm very grateful for the life I live and for the blessings I have been given. I really do have an amazing life.