Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Baby's Sixth Sense

Eli just woke up from his nap because he had a hefty burp that was interfering with his comfort. I burped him and sat in our rocking chair to try and put him back to sleep. Within seconds of sitting down, his little arms and legs began flailing followed by a scream Mary Murphy would be proud of. I tried rocking him to soothe his 4-month old troubles, but his rage only grew with each sway.

I stood up and peace fell on our apartment. Eli instantly melted into my arms, his red cheeks faded and his blinks got longer. I walked around our apartment until his eyes shut. Then I thought, "Oh, I rarely hold Eli while he's sleeping. I just want to hold him for a little bit." So I made my way back to the rocking chair.

Before sitting down, I realized the risk I was taking. At church I am often found in the back of the chapel pacing Eli to sleep. When I try to sit back down with Jeff, Eli will not allow it. He always knows when I sit down and he always throws a fit about it.

As I stood in front of the rocking chair, I was preparing to outsmart Eli. I swayed front to back in rocking chair fashion. Eli showed no movement. I gracefully lowered myself to a seated position while synchronizing my sways with the rocking chair sways. Just as I was getting ready to pat myself on the back for a job well done, my little rascal popped an eye open. And screamed.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Goo Goo Gargle

You never notice how loud your kid is until you take them somewhere they are supposed to be quiet. Like church. 9:00 church is tough for us because that is Eli's most awake part of the day. Eli has recently started screeching when he's awake. He's not mad. I think he's just discovering his voice in the form of screams. If he isn't screaming, he's gargling. I think I did this to him. I made funny noises with my mouth and thought it was so cute when he would try to copy me. Now all of his attempts to copy me have evolved into one loud baby gargle. Our poor ward members heard this all through church yesterday:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

An Eli Explosion

Jeff, Eli and I went out to eat tonight. We went to a buffet. We went somewhere Jeff had been craving for a while so I let him go and get his food first. While he was getting his food, I sat and stared at Eli. Eli sat and stared at me. Before long he gave me his best gummy smile with a little giggle. Our waitress filled our glasses and told me how cute my baby is. (She thought he was 10 months old.) 
Jeff got back so I quickly got my food. When I returned to our table, I began to eat my dinner like a savage animal. As I broke from my food to chug my water, I thought about the way I was eating. I wasn't on the verge of starvation. I didn't love the food. Why was I eating in such a frenzy?

Then I looked at peaceful little Eli. Our land mine. You see, one moment he is the ideal child with only sounds of happiness coming from his mouth. Then, without warning, we have an explosion of anger. An untamable scream. A tiny baby temper tantrum with a whole lot of temper bottled in a tiny baby.

So I am forced to scarf my food. And shower at lightning speeds. And constantly prioritize vacuuming, laundry, dishes and making beds because if my land mine goes off, time stands still until I figure out what his problem is.

Then I also realized this is how it all starts. I always hoped to be as selfless as my parents in the rearing of my children. Before having kids I couldn't really comprehend the concept. But as I now rush through my cleaning, getting ready and eating, hoping to finish before a baby tantrum, I realize this is what it's all about. Without my knowledge, my life has evolved to take care of my precious little baby. Temper tantrums and all.

So while I'm quickly scrubbing down my dirty house in five minute increments, I do it with a smile hoping Eli's land mines transform me into the selfless mother I strive to be.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stories of Jeff Excell - The Hitchhiker

This is one of my most favorite Jeff Excell stories.

At the start of every school year I'm all gung-ho about being involved in every activity I can possibly be involved in. One Monday night rolled around and I found myself quite enthusiastic to go to a ward family home evening game night. I think Leslie and Breanne were out of town so Kenz and I ventured out on our own that night.

We walked in and saw the familiar face of Jeff Excell. We also saw the familiar face of Jeff's crush at the time, Kami. They were sitting next to each other with a couple other girls. There were two empty seats on the other side of Jeff so I chose to sit next to the love birds in an effort to sponge up some new juice on the aspiring couple for our matchmaker bishop.

Since Jeff was starting to regularly sit next to us in sacrament meeting, I understand how Kami got the wrong idea when I went to sit next to Jeff. She left the table shortly after we got there. As she headed to the snack table, I was excited to hear the latest developments in their relationship. Jeff was vague with the details. He had been in the ward long enough to know that if you want a relationship to last, you give as little information as possible to fellow wardies.

Jeff, Kenz and I made our way to the snacks and then I said I had to go to the library to do some homework. We said goodbye to Jeff. I dropped Kenz off at home and made my way to the library.

The most ideal place to station yourself in the library computer lab is somewhere with an empty seat on either side of you. This allows for optimal sprawl space and gives you a better shot at avoiding being stuck next to some creep hysterically laughing at lame YouTube videos. I found three empty seats and claimed my territory right in the center of them. I got to work and was impressed with my diligence.

Until someone sat next to me. Now it's a funny thing when you're on a computer in the library. When someone sits next to you, you can't look at them because, if by chance they are looking at you too, that makes for a really awkward situation. So when someone sits next to you, the best thing to do is to continue working on whatever you were doing and pretend to be unaffected by the personal bubble intruder.

Unless that someone starts talking to you. Which my someone did start talking to me. Then it is acceptable to look. Jeff Excell! All intrusions are forgiven if your territory is invaded by a friend.
"You didn't tell me you were coming to the library, too," I said.
"I just remembered I had an assignment to finish up," He claimed.
I watched Jeff check his e-mails, check Facebook, read sports articles. Not once do I remember him working on any assignments. While he was on the verge of hysterically laughing at semi-lame YouTube videos, I started in on my homework again.
" much longer are you going to be here?" He whispered.
"Um...I don't know. I just got here."
He continued YouTubing.
Five minutes later he tried again, "Are you almost done?"
"Why do you care how much longer I have?"
"I need a ride to my car."

I chuckled to myself and decided to finish early to give the stranded Jeff Excell a ride. We walked out to my car and talked about our default subject - Kami. I should have realized Jeff wasn't being vague about Kami to avoid ward juice, but rather because this is the day he will admit he became interested in me. It's not the greatest idea to talk about one crush with another crush. I also didn't put it together at the time, but Jeff's car was only two blocks away from the school. Very walkable if you ask me.

After I dropped Jeff off, I raced back to my apartment eager to tell my roommates about the Jeff Excell sighting. As I walked in the door Kenz said, "That was fast."
"I know. Guess who I saw."
Kenz, "Jeff Excell?"
It was pretty easy to guess that if there was a sighting in the library, it was probably going to be Jeff. "Yes! He made me finish early so I could give him a ride to his car."
Kenz started laughing, "Oh Jeff you think Jeff Excell likes you?"
Me, "...No. He likes Kami. We talked about her in the car."
All accusations of Jeff having a crush on me were instantly forgotten. Jeff Excell was just a library computer lab personal bubble intruder who needed a ride to his car.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Eli - The Celebrity Impersonator

Whenever people see Eli the first thing they comment on is his abundance of hair. As I was looking through pictures of the last three months, I have noticed Eli's abundance of hair has done an abundance of celebrity impersonations. 

Our first is Screech from Saved By The Bell. Screech's hair is "ugly pretty" as Tyra Banks would say. A sort of tamed unruliness.

And then comes Donald Trump. What three-month old doesn't aspire to have hair like this successful businessman?

Watch out ladies! Eli's got the Zac Efron sweep.
These next three are all David Beckham inspired by his famous mohawk. 

And finally, Eli's hair in its most frequent form: The Kate Gosselin.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Stories of Jeff Excell - Sacrament Meeting Distraction

I was in a ward my freshman year of college that had at least seven girls to every guy. They actually had to pull boys from outside our ward boundaries just so we had enough Priesthood holders. That ward led me to believe men should be added to the endangered species list. When one of those endangered species would venture out of his natural habitat to sit with a group of girls, it was a big deal. Me and my roommates never had the honor of sitting next to a real-life college boy our freshman year. Instead, we jealously watched our fellow lady ward members woo the select boys while we dreamed of a more fruitful future for our love life.

As you are probably starting to suspect, Leslie was a big part of the blooming of my relationship with Jeff Excell. Leslie loved boys. Boys loved Leslie. She is fun to be around and easy to talk to so people are drawn to her. If she would have been in our ward freshman year, I am certain she would have been involved in one of the groups of girls every other group of girls was jealous of because it's highly likely she would have had the attention of every boy.

So when Jeff Excell walked into Sacrament Meeting one Sunday and sat next to Leslie, who was sitting next to Breanne, who was sitting next to Kenz, who was sitting next to me, I stared in awe. I looked around. I saw the familiar looks on several of the boyless groups of girls. I couldn't believe Leslie's bond with Jeff Excell had finally made me be one of those girls sitting with one of the select college boy species.

Because my sophomore year ward was not near as boy-deprived, the groups of girls really weren't watching in a jealous rage like I imagined. Looking back, I realize people were probably watching with eager eyes because sophomore year ward was all about the juice. Any new ward hookups were frequent topics of Ward Counsel. The Bishop thrived in singles wards because he loved hearing all the details of ward love connections. The Bishop's love for juice on ward romances carried through to the ward members so everyone was especially aware of who sat next to who in church - ready to report to our Matchmaker Bishop who would be next down the aisle.

I guess all the eyes on me made me feel pressured to bear my testimony on that Fast Sunday when Jeff sat next to us for the first time. The First Presidency of the church had recently changed and I said something about them. Then I was scared I said the wrong thing so when I got back to my seat I asked Jeff if what I said was right. I also asked Leslie if my voice was really low. I was quite a self-conscious college student. They both assured me everything I said was fine and that I didn't sound too much like a man.

Halfway through the meeting I saw Jeff passing notes with Leslie and Breanne. Then a note came my way. I was surprised. Not only did I have the honor of being a part of the group of girls sitting next to a boy in Sacrament Meeting, that boy was even paying attention to me. This was a fruitful dream come true.

Now, it just so happens that Jeff was searching through the pockets of one of his suit jackets this week and found the very note he wrote me on that Sunday. (Can you tell we don't get his suits dry cleaned very often?) I have scanned it into my computer for your enjoyment.

I feel it necessary to note that Jeff is the one who drew that heart around his name with an arrow through it. It is also important for me to note that I have yet to discover my crush on Jeff Excell at this point in our story. Jeff was just a fun guy who was slowly weaseling his way into our lives one Sacrament Meeting at a time. Although we were oblivious to it, ward suspicion of a romance between Jeff Excell and one of the girls from Stadium Way 49 began to arise.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Day With Eli

Eli has fallen into a nice routine in the last couple of weeks. I love knowing how to plan my day. It usually starts with a thumb-sucking baby in the morning who is happy as can be. He is most giggly and smily first thing in the morning. 
Then he gets a little time with Jeff before Jeff goes off to school for the day. This time usually involves Jeff's favorite trick with Eli: folding him in half while being so proud he's "already sitting." 
Eli gets to be a water baby every other day for his bath. I think Eli is super cute right after he gets out of the bath. I just can't resist a clean little baby cuddled up in a ball of towels making this face:
Our newest favorite activity is spending hours doing laps around our apartment like this. Eli likes to be held now. And over the last week he hasn't let me put him down. Whatever it takes to round out that little head of his I guess.
And of course we get to see a lot of this throughout the day: 

Friday, September 10, 2010

What I Do With My Degree

I was showing Jeff pictures I had recently taken on the camera. When he saw this picture he said, "Looks like a baby from GQ." After he said that my creative juices started flowing and I couldn't resist turning the picture into a cover for our imaginary Baby GQ magazine.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


It all started with Charlotte's Web. I was in about third grade and so excited to read a book that was not assigned in school. My mom told me this book made her cry when she was little, so I decided to give it a try. I only made it halfway through. I was interested, but for some reason, I put the book down and walked away. Never to return to it again.

I have done the same thing with countless other books. In fact, I successfully passed Honors English without reading one book in its entirety. My sister, who is an avid reader, loved to joke about the fact that I was incapable of finishing a book. I tried several times to love reading, but I felt like it was a waste of time even if I did find the books interesting.

College came and that was four years of skimming many textbooks. I think my reading skills drastically improved from reading all the textbooks forced upon me. However, when I had free time, the very last thing I ever wanted to do was read.

So I graduated. And I kept hearing all this talk about libraries, books, keeping my mind active. I decided to give reading another shot. I started with The Scarlet Pimpernel - a book I was supposed to read in 8th grade. I loved it! Then came Mutant Message Down Under. I was intrigued! I started The Hunger Games and found myself aching for sleep but actually unable to put the book down. Who is this girl I've become?!?

But the moment I knew I was truly converted to reading was today at 8:03. I realized I was in book limbo. I just finished The Hunger Games and I had nothing waiting to be cracked open next. I glanced at the clock and thought, "Dang. I bet the library's already closed." After some quick internet research I found it didn't close until 9:00. Before I knew it I was out the door on a mad dash to the library.

I pulled up to the library and I think my heart skipped a beat. My new love. I walked inside the book sanctuary and sighed at the now familiar smell of worn pages. I quickly walked over to the Young Adult section. (My mom makes fun of me because I haven't matured to the adult books yet, but one step at a time.) I was so proud I was able to find my book in less than a minute. I checked the book out and handed over my library card. Yes. I said it. My name is Sarah Excell, I own a library card, and I can finally finish a book!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Nebraskans Make A Visit

I finally got to meet my 7-month old nephew last weekend! 
Evidence of the many chocolate covered strawberries that were made:
Jacob insisted his family be dressed in blue for BYU game day.
Eli and Logan! They are only four months apart. 

Luckily we happened to bring something blue for Eli to wear on Saturday. Otherwise I don't know if Grandpa Thomas would be holding the little guy...
Emma loved making fat jokes about Eli. Every time she saw him we heard something along the lines of, "Oh. He IS big, isn't he." "He must drink a lot of milk." "Eli looks strong." "Natalie was a big baby when she was little, too." She could only hold him for a few minutes because he got too heavy for her. She cracked me up.

Go T-Birds!

I was so happy to hear my grandparents were going to be joining us for our Labor Day festivities.
The festivities included the typical homemade ice-cream. Here's Brooke licking the bowl clean.

It's fun, it's challenging, it's exciting, it's Sequence. (Natalie and Brad - we're officially obsessed.) (Grandma - you are still on my black list.)
And finally, proof that Jeff was in fact there, but this was the only picture taken of him.

It was a super fun trip up north to see so much family.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Stories of Jeff Excell - The First Library Run-In

Many a Jeff Excell story happened in the SUU library. I spent much of my sophomore year legitimately doing homework there while Jeff spent much of his library time mixing and mingling with everyone he knew.

Time went on after that fateful Sunday when we met. I don't know the details, but somehow he became pretty good friends with Leslie. They hung out a few times and I didn't really pay too much attention to it. I do remember her telling us he was 25. Kenz and I ran up to our rooms laughing at Leslie for not realizing he was probably one of those super seniors in desperate search of a wife. Leslie and Jeff had a bond right from the start, but I was a little hesitant to be overly friendly with a 25-year-old.

Leslie's obsession with Jeff's last name never died. These were common phrases from Leslie, "I was texting Jeff Excell today and..." "I saw Jeff Excell at school today." "Jeff Excell asked me to give the prayer in church." On several occasions we would be talking about him and if someone just said Jeff we would look confused and ask, "...who?"
The person would have to clarify with "Jeff Excell."
We knew no Jeff. We knew him only as Jeff Excell.

We quickly realized Jeff and Leslie were just friends and Jeff was not the wife-hunting type. Leslie would tell us about Jeff's crushes and we learned he had eyes for another girl in the ward. It wasn't me. It wasn't any of my roommates. After I heard about this crush, I thought they would be cute together and enjoyed watching Jeff try to make his moves on her during church. We will call said crush Kami.

One night, Kenz and I were at the library. Kenz said, "Oh look! There's Jeff Excell!"
"Is he with Kami?!?" I said, eager to secretly watch their romance bloom in the library.
"I don't think so. He's coming over here."
At this point in our story, Jeff and I hadn't really talked other than our introductions in sunday school. Kenz and I were sitting behind computer desks and we could only see Jeff from the waist up. Kenz had seen Jeff around the library several times before this incident, but this was my first encounter with him.
He came over and said hi.
Kenz said, "Jeff Excell, you're in the library a lot."
"I love it here. It's like a party every night in the library." (These aren't exact words, but close.)
We noticed Jeff was in basketball attire and had a backpack on. I'm guessing the backpack was more for the sake of appearing like he had a reason to be in the library besides just socializing. Jeff must have noticed I was looking at his clothes. He pulled one foot up to where we could see it and he had on a high blue sock. Then he lifted up the other foot and he had on a purple sock.

He said something funny like, "Are you judging me because I have on two different colored socks?" I didn't even see his socks until he lifted up his leg. I laughed and decided Jeff Excell is kind of funny. We said our goodbyes and then I watched Jeff ping pong from person to person in the library. I became a little more intrigued with that 25-year-old and his mismatched socks.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Got Milk?

Here's Eli at one week and three months. My latest question for the pediatrician is: Can babies get stretch marks on their cheeks?