Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

This past weekend we celebrated Memorial Day.  We had a really fun weekend.  We went to Wheeler Farm and saw all the animals.  It was a bit chillier than we had expected, and it started sprinkling a little while we were there, but it was still fun.  Ryder enjoyed everything a lot more than the last time we went there (he was only about 4 months last time).  We went on a wagon ride around the farm, and it's actually a lot bigger than I had thought.  Ryder loved the animals.
Riding on the wagon

Watching a duck

Checking out the bird pond

Ryder really loved this bunny.  This one was the only one that was awake and hopping around out of all the bunnies.  Ryder was trying so hard to touch it!  While the bunny was hopping around, he had the biggest grin on his face!
We also went to Trafalga in Lehi with my family (except Chantelle had to work).  It was also, bigger/nicer than I had expected.  Ryder was still too little to do most of the rides.  He was able to go on the merry-go-round though, so we took him on it a bunch of times.  I think he liked the ride, but his expression was so serious!  Kevin rode on the go-carts and got the slow one that wouldn't start at first.  It was a fun, but cold, day!

Ryder on the merry-go-round

Ryder watching the go-carts with Colby.  Ryder LOVES cars and probably could have been happy standing here watching and pointing at the cars for a couple hours!

Kevin and Logan in line for the go-carts

snuggling with momma (Ryder has been way more into snuggling and giving loves the past couple weeks.  I'm definitely not complaining!)

All wiped out from a fun day!  
(and of course he has his race car, can't go anywhere without it)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Year Ago Today

 A year ago today, we found out that we would finally be able to take our sweet baby Ryder home from the hospital the next day.  It was the light at the end of the tunnel that we had been waiting for but it also seemed too good to be true.  I can honestly say the ten days he was in the NICU were the absolute hardest days of my life.  The first time I saw him in his isolette with cords hooked up to him and an IV in his tiny hand, I started crying because he was so little and helpless.  I hated being seperated from my baby and only getting to hold him twice a day for a couple minutes.  All I wanted to do was to be his mommy, hold him, and tell him I loved him and everything was going to be alright. I was constantly worried he didn't know who I was. An already hard situation was made extremely frustrating because the doctors and nurses at the NICU treated Kevin and me so rudely.  It was like pulling teeth to get any information out of them on how Ryder was doing.  The nurse that was assigned to Ryder for the majority of his stay in the hospital always treated us as if we were in her way and a nuisance for coming to visit our baby every chance we could.  It was a very emotional period that's for sure.  My heart goes out to parents who have babies in the hospital for much more serious reasons and much longer stays.  What a difference a year makes!  I can hold and kiss my big one year old whenever I want and I will never take that for granted!
Finally going home!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kevin's Robot Competition

On April 19th, it was the Design Day for the Mechanical Engineering program at the U of U.  For Kevin's mechatronics class, they had to build a remote controlled robot that could play basketball by getting the balls into scoring boxes using whatever method they could come up with.  The robot had to be able to start the competition by fitting inside a 15 x 15 inch box.  They started this project in the Fall of 2010.  It was a really difficult, intense project.  They had to build the entire thing from scratch AND program it to work.  Kevin and his group pretty much lived at the school working on this thing.   There were 34 groups to start off.  32 made it into the actual competition on April 19th.  Each round was 3 minutes long and there were always 3 balls in play at once.  It was a single elimination competition and they basically just had to score more baskets than the other team to move on.  Kevin's team absolutely blew everyone else away!  Their robot was amazingly fast and efficient.  Most rounds, Kevin's robot would have already scored at least 5 times before the other team even scored once!  Kevin drove the robot during the fourth round, which determined if they made it into the final round.  He did great and they moved to the final round.  They ended up winning the whole competition and coming in first out of 34 robots!  It was very impressive!  They even had their robot do a little victory dance after they won, haha.  Ryder and I were there cheering Kevin's robot on, along with his mom and sister.  It was really fun. 
The robot used a "claw" to pick up the ball

Making a basket in a practice session

Kevin's team, Sean, Ray, Brandon, and Kevin, with their robot

The finished robot

The robot during round 3

They were showing the competition live on a projector screen since there were a lot of people there

Happy after winning a round 3

We're number one!

Their poster talking about the robot

Ryder eating some lunch with Grandma and Aunt Brianna

This is the playing court

Kevin getting ready to drive in the 4th round

The Champions!

Kevin was also awarded a scholarship at a lunch that day from a company called Washaki Energy.  He was one of two undergrad students to receive a scholarship from them.  He has since received another scholarship from the school.  Those will definitely help us out a lot!  That week he also got his acceptance letter for the graduate program for Mechanical Engineering at the U of U.  At the end of the semester, he got his grades back and he got 1 A- and four A's!  That is a 3.97 in a semester taking 17 credits of which none were elective classes, all were core classes. That's so awesome!  I'm so dang proud of my hubby and how hard he works.  It's hard during the semester because he really does spend more time at school than at home and I hardly ever see him, but it's all worth it in the long run. He is an incredibly driven, hardworking man and I'm so thankful because I know he does it for me and Ryder.

Now that school is out for the summer, he has started meeting with the professor
 who he will be working with on his Master's research.  He is also currently looking for an internship for the summer.  He has applied at a bunch of places, so we will just wait and see now.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ryder's First Birthday

Friday, May 20th was Ryder's first birthday!  It is so crazy to me that it has already been a year.  Yet, in other ways, it feels like he's been around forever.  It was so fun to be parents celebrating your child's birthday.  When we got up on Friday, we took Ryder out to the hallway to see the birthday banner I made.  He loved it!  He was jabbering away and trying to grab it.  Then, we went to see his presents.  He crawled right over to them, but wasn't interesting in opening them, even when we showed him how to rip the paper.  So I "helped" him a little.  One of the presents he got is a little car that makes noise and actually moves when you shake it.  Ryder LOVES that car.  The whole morning he was just zooming all over with it.  It was so cute. 
The banner

Opening presents

Playing with his new car

For breakfast we had pancakes, which Ryder really loved also.  We were going to go over to Wheeler Farm that afternoon to see the animals, but it was raining, so we decided to go to the aquarium instead.  If you go to the aquarium twice, you have already paid for a year pass, so we just bought the passes.  The aquarium was really cool!  We had never been, and it was a lot nicer than I expected. Ryder loved looking at the fish and would follow them along the tank with his finger.  They have a sting ray pool where you can pet the rays.  Ryder couldn't reach but he loved to splash in the water.  That night he opened a present from Grandma and Grandpa Briggs.  It's a little musical push walker that is supposed to help him learn to walk.  He was having so much fun with it!

Sitting on a frog at the aquarium

Watching the fish

Following the fish with his finger
Petting the sting ray
Just chillin in a canoe at the aquarium
The sign at the front of our neighborhood.  They did a terrible job, but our message was "Ryder is One"
Ryder's new walker toy
Ryder with G and G Briggs

On Saturday, we had his birthday party.  It was cowboy themed.  I made him a little cowboy vest and bandana bib. The party was great.  We had bbq pulled pork, baked beans, rolls with cinnamon butter, salad, chips, and lemonade.  Then, Ryder opened his gifts with some more help from me.  He loved everything he got and would start to get mad when I took one toy away so we could open the next one.  Kevin and I, and my parents, went in on a super nice tricycle for him.  It has a bunch of things you can take off to adapt it for when they get older.  It starts off with him just sitting in the seat riding with the parent pushing and steering.  When he gets older, it will be just a regular tricycle that he can pedal and steer.  He LOVED it.  Kevin took him around the yard and he had so much fun.  We are definitely going to put it to good use going on walks this summer!  After opening gifts, we had cupcakes.  I made a larger cupcake for Ryder to eat.  He actually didn't really get that dirty while eating the cupcake.  He sure loved it though!  It was a lot of fun to watch him get to dig in to something he's never had before.  I got the frosting recipe from my Aunt Kim, and everybody raved about it.  It was so delicious!  It tastes like you are eating really nice vanilla bean ice cream, but in frosting form.  It is definitely my new favorite. Thanks for the recipe Kim!  Tonight we had a yummy Sunday birthday dinner for Ryder.  Jeannine made homemade lasagna and it was delicious.  He got a couple more gifts from Kevin's grandparents and Aunt Carol and Uncle Bruce.  He sure is getting spoiled :)  It's been a great birthday weekend. 

 The cousins in their awesome outfits!

 Opening presents

 Ryder's new tricycle

 G and G Nelson

 Ryder's cake


 Digging in!

 Messy fingers

 He loved it!

All smiles :)

I love my little boy more than I could ever express!  I made a slideshow of pictures from his first year, and pretty much every time I worked on it I started bawling because I can't believe he's growing up so fast and has changed so much in one year!  It's exciting and terrifying all at the same time.  He's the boy who made me a mom, and I am eternally thankful that I am the one who got to have him :)