Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stories of Jeff Excell #1

I have spent several hours of several days reading and rereading Lucky Number 8's post archives. I love remembering things we've done and especially the stories to go along with them. Today, while Eli is down for his nap, I have found myself wanting to write a story to add to the archives. This happens frequently. But being home all day with a baby has limited my stories to tales of flat heads and spit up. I have decided to fill my writing urge with stories of the past. Our history. This blog started when we got engaged and has only ventured before that point a few times. I introduce you to "Stories of Jeff Excell" which will hopefully have many parts and take you through a few of the highlights of our dating experience.

August 2007 was an eventful month. I had just spent the summer working for the Utah Junior Golf Association and was headed back down to Cedar City for my second year in college. I decided to room with my friend from high school, MacKenzie, again. When we were talking about where to live, I was very stubborn in my choice of Stadium Way Apartments. I didn't know why I was so set on living there. I just felt really good and strongly about it.

We moved in and met Leslie, Breanne and the other Sarah (better known as Downstairs Sarah). The first night we were there we went to a ward barbeque to meet our church leaders. We quickly noticed our ward was not filled with Stadium Way students, but instead with Cedar City locals. We were reluctant to commit to this ward because we wanted to get to know the people who lived around us. And we could not figure out why our apartment was among only a couple others to be mixed in with this ward.

After returning home from the barbeque, we threw around the idea of sneaking into the Stadium Way ward. I knew the bishops are told to be strict about ward boundaries for this very reason. I didn't want to cause a stir so I suggested trying our ward out because that's where we're supposed to be.

We might have tried out the other ward one week and got kicked out, I'm not exactly sure. But we did end up in the right ward at least by the second Sunday. We sat down and were surprised to see the guy-to-girl ratio was quite even. Maybe we could handle this ward after all. At the end of Sacrament Meeting, one of the members went to the pulpit to explain the two Sunday School options and where they would be located.

Kenz, Leslie, Breanne and I were quite gitty with back to school excitement. We were being obnoxious, loud, giggly, and freshman-like (and sadly, Kenz and I weren't freshmen). In no time, people were swarming the Gospel Doctrine class. The clusters of girls were chasing in the clusters of boys and we didn't really have our eyes on anyone in particular. We couldn't find four seats together so we decided to check out the Gospel Principles class.

There sat three lonely boys. I wanted to turn around because I'm not a big participator in Sunday School. But they spotted us and their excitement for fellow classmates was too hard to reject. The teacher said, "Come on in! Welcome to Gospel Principles. I'm Kyle and since there aren't a lot of us here, let's just take a few minutes to get to know each other a little better."

Nick introduced himself. Then I believe it was Kenz, then me. I said, "My name is Sarah Thomas. I'm from Bountiful. I like to run."
Kyle asked, "Are you good at running?"
"No. I like to run. But I'm really not that good at it."
A voice piped up from the other end of the row, "You like to run? I'm good at running but I hate it."
I thought that was weird. If he was good at running, why would he hate it? I would love to be good at running. The introductions continued. Breanne, Leslie, then came Jeff Excell. The voice from the end of the row.
"I'm Jeff Excell." Leslie interrupted. "Wait. Your last name is Excell? Like XL? Jeff Excell. That's such a cool last name." I remember her going on for a while about it. I was still thinking about his running comment. Kyle started the class.

We continued being loud and immature. At the end of the hour the bell rang and we giggled our way out the door. As I left I thought, "Wouldn't it be funny if one of those guys ended up being my husband?"

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Who's Laughing Now?

My brother heard Eli started giggling and he requested a video. So here's a video full of smiles and giggles from the little cutie. (Sorry about our annoying sound effects. He's easily entertained.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Eli's Determination to Remain Flat-Headed

When Eli's grown and wondering why the shape of his head doesn't match up with the heads around him, I will read this blog post to him. 

There are several ways to combat a flat head. These ways include:
Avoid laying baby directly on back as much as possible
Have flat-headed baby alternate sides when sleeping
Hold baby
Tummy time

Now here's what Eli's been doing to combat the ways to combat a flat head:
Constant back laying - It seems that every week Eli chooses a new position that makes him happy. The first couple of weeks he was pretty mellow and liked being held. Then he only liked being held with his face burrowed into the person holding him. Then he insisted on making the person holding him walk around while he was facing outward. One week at my parents' house, I was trying all his favorite holds and nothing was doing the trick. I decided to lay him down to change his clothes and I got an instant smile out of him the moment he was flat on his back. For the past month, Eli will scream until we lay him down.

Sleep habits - Eli was doing so good at putting himself to bed. We could lay him in his crib wide awake and he would quietly fall asleep on his own. Then we were told to shift him from side to side and ever since then, sleeping has been a nightmare. The past few weeks have included a midnight battle. I feed Eli, then I lay him on his back to fall asleep. Then I stare at him, so tired, dying to crawl back in bed, but I have to wait for him to fall asleep so I can shift him onto his side. His heavy eyes finally close. So I slowly lift half of his body onto a rolled blanket. He wakes up. Screams. It's an endless cycle.

If I do succeed in subtly shoving a blanket under him, when I go to get him in the morning, I see he has managed to wiggle flat on his back anyway, so I can't help but feel all my midnight efforts are in vain.

Hold baby - Eli doesn't really like to be held anymore. Like I said before, he is happiest laying on his back. And it's such a double edged sword. I love that Eli's happy laying down and doing his own thing. I don't want to hold him all the time and train him to always want to be held. But I don't want him to be forever flat-headed either!

Tummy time - We tried that one...then he learned to roll over...onto his back.

In the midst of my constant battle with Eli's flat head, I often wonder, is it really worth it? When I'm waiting for him to drift off at 3:00 in the morning, when I have a screaming baby that would be happy as can be if I just laid him down, when his little neck has had it with tummy time, and I'm not seeing any reward for my efforts. His head is still flat, and I am finding it harder and harder to convince myself it needs to be round. Who says heads are supposed to be round anyway? My dear old dad has lived his whole life with a flat head and he's doing just fine.

So Eli, if you're reading this 20 years down the road, know that we tried.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Do I consider myself a crafty person? No. Heavens no. I lack the attention to detail and the patience for perfection. I hate measuring, making things exact, and trying to create my own color palette. But with a lot of empty walls, and a limited budget, I have been crafting thrifty crafts over the last couple of months. 

When my mom was in town helping us with Eli and also helping us get our house put together, she showed me the art of "grouping." Ever since then, I have had grouping on the brain and every blank wall I saw in my house made me envision picture clusters filling the empty space. It all started with Eli's room. All of these ideas came from craft blogs. I wish I was clever enough to have come up with these myself, but I'm not. 

Eli's room was simple enough. I then saw a huge empty wall in our bedroom and decided to do something with it. Our bedroom has always been a slew of odd colors, so I had a hard time knowing what color of felt to use for the wreath. Blue was kind of a weird choice, but I ended up spray painting those frames yellow and now I actually really like the two colors. 

We got a little spray happy and spray painted around my mirror as well. I had been wanting to paint that mirror for a while, and I guess we can always paint it again if we don't stick with these colors.

Next up: Kitchen. When I saw this dollar store creation on a blog, I knew it would be perfect. I love the way it turned out.

I have loved having little projects to work on in my free time. I just noticed a big empty wall in the bathroom...we'll see what I can come up with next!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Baby is Adorable

Eli is so cute. Maybe I just think that because I'm his mom. But in my humble opinion he's adorable. He cracks me up all day. I could (and do) just stare at him for hours. Here's some of his latest cuteness. I went in his room one night to make sure he fell asleep after I laid him down in his crib. The little guy was using his binky as an armrest. 

Jeff and Eli having a little guy time.

We LOVE Eli's long hair but Jeff decided it's getting a little unruly. He tried to trim it a little bit. He could only manage to get around one ear and half of the back before Eli decided he was done. I guess we'll try again tomorrow.

Today we decided to get out the 3-6 month clothes just to make sure he wasn't outgrowing them before he even got a chance to wear them. I saw a Gerber size chart and 3-6 months was something like 12-16 lbs. After looking through the clothes, it was clear Eli has been wearing really small clothes the last few weeks. In no time we had the new clothes washed and the 0-3 month clothes packed away. 

While I was pregnant, Jeff and I made a trip to Babies R Us. We were there for a car seat but managed to wander into the clothes section to end our shopping. Jeff loved the outfit Eli's wearing in the picture below. He was so eager to pick out an outfit for Eli so we walked out of the store with more than we needed. The outfit is so cute on Eli, and I especially love it because it reminds me of how excited Jeff was to have a little boy. 

And the last evidence of Eli's adorableness is this video of him in the bath. A few baths ago he discovered how to splash. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mr. Inconvenience

Our sweet little Eli. We have dubbed him the nickname of Mr. Inconvenience. We have noticed with our little baby that from the start he has had a life full of inconveniences. We are so grateful he has avoided any serious illnesses/issues and has instead simply lived the life of medical annoyances. Allow me to elaborate:

When Eli was first born, he had a hard time breathing. This was really scary as first-time parents, but it is actually pretty common and an easy fix. Little did we know this was the start of his series of unfortunate events.

While looking at Eli's bloodwork right after he was born, his doctor was stumped as to why his platelets were low. He had never seen this before and said he would have to go research it. After an IV was put in Eli's arm for antibiotics, it was discovered that the low platelets were simply from bruising during the delivery process.

Then comes the Jaundice. A few nights under the lights - another easy fix, another inconvenience. Are you seeing the trend here?

After my burping post, my sister asked me if I thought Eli might have Reflux. Surprisingly, this was not something I had read about on the internet. After a little bit of research, I noticed Eli has a significant number of Reflux symptoms. Last week we noticed Eli had some congestion so we took him to the doctor. The doctor confirmed our diagnosis of Eli's Reflux and said his congestion was likely caused by irritation of the nasal cavities from the milk coming back up. He's now on medicine. Easy fix, no big deal, just yet another inconvenience for the little guy.

Then we had Eli's two month checkup today. The doctor said everything looks good, but he confirmed what several family members have noticed - Eli has a flat head. He recommended having Eli alternate sides as he sleeps to round it out. And if it isn't rounded out by four months, Eli will be wearing a helmet. When the doctor left the room I told Jeff we might as well get the helmet now because with our luck, despite our best efforts, Eli's head will remain flat following the trend of Mr. Inconvenience.

Here were his two month stats:
Weight: 13.7 lbs.     82%
Height: 25 in.          96%
Head: 15.75            45%

Even with Eli's inconveniences, he's a really good baby and we have so much fun with him. He's getting super smiley. He loves to be outside, ride in the car, take baths, and go on walks with us. We love him so much and can't wait to see what other medical surprises he'll throw at us.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


Two years ago today

we went to the temple to tie the knot.

Then we celebrated and ate cake.

Happy Anniversary Jeff! I'm so happy to be your wife! 

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Over Riverton and Through Woods Cross to Grandmother's House We Go

We went up north last weekend for my friend's wedding reception. I had a few things on my to do list while I was up there and one of them was to learn how to make my mom's delicious rolls.

My sister came up for the lesson.

I am pretty sure this is Brooke's favorite place at her grandma's house. She loves playing with the lima beans. Notice her collection on the tupperware on the bottom shelf.

Quote of the weekend comes from Becky after punching her dough: "Eww. It looks like a stomach after having a baby."

Jeff popped in and out of bread class.

The bread masterpieces.

We went to Melissa and Kyle's reception Friday night. Melissa looked so beautiful. One of her decorations managed to give me bunny ears in the picture.

Eli got a lot of compliments on his chubby cheeks.

Eli loved spending time with his grandma while Jeff and I went on bike rides, runs, movies, golf. Thanks for the babysitting, mom!

Here's our Sunday dinner feast. My mom just kept putting more and more food on the table. And I wonder why I always gain a few pounds when I go up north to visit...

Dessert was chocolate covered strawberries. Brooke takes after her mom.

We finished our visit with a game of Cranium and then we headed back home Monday morning. Another fun weekend up north!