thoughts from a college graduate

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Last weekend was incredibly busy...but for the best of reasons! Busy with family coming into town, busy with preparing to move on to a new chapter in our lives, busy with graduation preparation and festivities, busy with the announcement of our baby boy, busy with laughter, busy with family, busy with friends, busy with love. There was too much happiness to squeeze into just a couple of days!

My parents arrived Thursday evening and took me to Grad Fest where I picked up my cap and gown...and of course they insisted on spoiling me with soft sweatshirts and other memorabilia. My mom even won me a waterproof, wireless speaker thing that will come in so handy at the pool this summer! Then, after meeting back up with my sisters and Taraka (my mom's good friend that we have decided is nothing short of my god mother, although I feel that fairy god mother might be more appropriate considering she has been the cause of so much magic in my life), we all went to campus for my last lunch in the Crossroads as a student! I hadn't been on campus for a while, because I have been student teaching this entire last semester, but it was surreal to walk around and think of the 5 years that I have spent calling this place my home and to know that it was all coming to an end so quickly.

I have made so many memories at this wonderful school that have shaped who I am today, and will continue to bless and inspire my future. The spirit and atmosphere that exists at BYUI is one that cannot be mimicked anywhere else. I am so thankful for the social/spiritual/academic education that I have received, and for the friendships that other relationships that have been born on those grounds. Particularly the relationship with that handsome stranger that I met here three years ago, the relationship that blossomed into an eternal marriage with my sweet Kirby Muir.

I remember so vividly one morning sitting in seminary, watching a video on the church schools, so that we could decide which, if any, we would apply to our senior year. When the little TV in the classroom projected the images and little blurb about BYUI I knew, truly, deeply, 100% knew that my future existed at that school. Little me sat there, a junior in high school, trying to hide the fact that tears were streaming down my face. The feeling that I had received was undeniable, and I am so glad that I had the insight to follow through with that overwhelming prompting that I received that day.

Graduation was...long, as it always is. But not a second of it was wasted time. Each talk that was given was heartfelt and powerful. Each name that was called was a student who dedicated their time and finances to getting to this special graduation day. And one thing that I loved, was being the last group of graduates addressed by President Clark.

We soaked it all in, took tons of pictures, then celebrated the night away. My mom and sister made the CUTEST little teacher decorations to adorn the table and surrounding area while we ate some of my favorite foods and relaxed after a long day of walking and sitting. I am so thankful for all that they did and have done in the past few years to get me here.

I owe a lot of people for the help and loved I received throughout my entire college career. My parents first and foremost for their many, many sacrifices, for their love, and for their support every step of the way.

I would not change these past few years for the world. Yes, now I have a degree that I will carry throughout my life, but that is not the greatest success I have earned these past few years. Because of this school I have friends that I wouldn't trade for the world. I have gotten to know professors that have had a lasting impression on my life. I have been able to teach kids that have taught me more than I taught them. I now have the man I was destined to be with eternally by my side and a healthy little angel on the way. I have the life I always dreamed of, and a large part of that is owed to this outstanding university.

Gender Reveal: And it's a...

Friday, April 17, 2015

BOY! We are having a baby boy! We couldn't be happier now that we have proof that this little babe inside of me is indeed a bouncing baby boy. We have always "known" that this little growing human was a boy, before we even started trying for a baby, the boy vibes were hitting us hard.

As we went into the doctor's office for the ultrasound we were asked what our guess was, and we both immediately answered "boy!" The instant that little guy's picture popped up onto the big TV screen in front of us the doctor confirmed our thoughts. We then spent the following hour watching him dance around and give us peaks of his cute little face. It is already easy to see from the way he positioned himself that he carries personality traits from both his mommy and daddy. We were in love instantly. There was not one moment in that room that Kirby and I were not smiling widely or letting little tears of joy slip down our cheeks.

The little slip of pictures we were able to take home has been ooed and awed over every night by a loving mom and dad to be.

I was graduating four days after the ultrasound took place, which meant that my entire family would be in town for the first time in a very very long we decided to put off telling them for four whole days, so we could reveal our baby's gender with a little brunch party and face to face interaction.

So the Saturday morning after graduation we had my family, Kirby's family, and a few friends over for some waffles and a yogurt bar. My parents and youngest sister helped a ton to make it a true success, complete with jars of any candies you could find with pink and blue (carefully separated from the other colors), fresh flowers, and of course the delicious food served on my in laws beautiful baby blue and baby pink china.

We munched, we mingled, we took votes, and then it happened. The reveal! Kirby then brought in the silver balloons that I had stuffed with blue and silver confetti (after he so graciously filled with helium early that morning). He passed one out to each guest while I handed out little tacks.

Kirby and I stood in the center of the room while our loved ones circled about and waited for the count... On the count of three the entire room burst into a cloud of confetti and cheers of excitement from everyone in the room. Then of course the hugging, crying, and love sharing continued even after the confetti had long settled in to every crevice of the room.

We love our little boy and are so happy to have been able to celebrate his upcoming arrival with those we love before we move too far away.

Thank you to everyone who came, and to those who showed their love and support in other ways. We are feelings truly blessed.

Dear Babe, It's Easter

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Dear Baby boy/girl,

        First of all, I cannot tell you how excited your daddy and I are to see you on the big screen at the doctor tomorrow! It has been 4 months since we first saw the little bean that you used to be, sitting there as calm as can be with your little foot sticking up in the air. I know you have grown so much and developed a ton since our last little photo-shoot with the doctor and I can hardly wait to see that perfect face of yours. They say you are the size of a banana right now...but I'm not sure how I feel about that comparison.
        This appointment is going to be extra you know why? We will finally be able to legitimately call you he or she! We both have the same guess, and it has been the same since day one, so let's see how good your parents are at using their parental intuition! But whether you are a boy or a girl, one thing is for sure, your mommy and daddy love you more than we can express and think about you constantly. You are already the highlight of our lives and nothing brings us greater joy than knowing that soon we will be able to hold you in our arms.
        Today was a special day for so many reasons. First of all it is Easter Sunday, the day we turn our thoughts to our Savior and the unmatchable gift of the atonement. He gave his life so that we could be a family for eternity, and now, more than ever, I am unable to express my appreciation for that gift. He was the only person pure enough to give us such a gift. He suffered for us, because he loves us, and through his suffering was able to give us the chance to earn our place in the celestial kingdom through repentance. Because of him, your daddy and I were able to be sealed together for time and all eternity, and you are able to be born into a family that will last long after we have left this life on Earth. I love your dad more than you will ever know, and I already love you with all of my heart, the knowledge that I will always have the two of you by my side means everything to me...because of him.
        This Easter was extra special because it happened to fall on conference weekend. General Conference is something I look forward to constantly between sessions. It is a time when we can hear the living prophet and apostles bare their witness of our Heavenly Father and all that the gospel is. The Spirit that is felt when true witnesses of Christ speak, when members from all over the world join together to sustain the leaders and worship, when stories and thoughts are shared that touch and inspire each heart in a unique way, and when we are reminded of the love that exists in this Church is sacred and remarkable. I can think of no better way to worship our Lord and his redeeming sacrifice than to listen to the incredible servants of his Church and their testimonies of his life.
       Yes, we still had embarrassing amounts of Cadbury Mini-Eggs and Star-Burst jelly beans, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't surprise your dad with an Easter Sundae kit, but that was the extent of our celebrating. We did however create a new tradition that I plan to carry on throughout our lives. You see, your dad has a special and unique love and knowledge of the hymn book. He has songs memorized that I have never even heard of, and can tell you where to turn to find just about any song in the book. So today, we gathered around the piano and sang through all of the Easter hymns (and many more). Easter carol singing is my new favorite I love watching your dad try to make it through a whole song before quitting on me because he has gotten too choked up ;)
       Oh but just you wait, one more miracle happened today that really put the icing on the Easter cake. As your dad and I were sitting silently on the couch, about to head to bed you decided to make your presence known. I had felt you nudge me just a few times before, and it was so subtle that I was afraid I had mistaken a bubble for a kick...but tonight, as we sat on the couch, you were dancing around like a crazy person! Constant kicks and bumps were erupting in my abdomen, so much that I could see my tummy moving where you were pushing on me! It was the most exhilarating moment I have experienced. But the best part of this all is that this was the first time I was able to share your little love nudges with your daddy. As he sat there with his hand on my belly, looking straight into my eyes, we shared our first real moment as a family of three and I will never forget the love that exploded in our that quiet room, on that special Easter day. So, thank you baby, I know you felt how special today was and your addition to the day made it as perfect as can be.

Love you Forever and Always,



spilling the beans about our bean

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

We had kept our baby a secret from our friends and family for 13 whole weeks before we spilled the beans! I don’t think I will make it nearly that long without spreading the news next time around…it was way too hard to hide! We were coming up with excuses left and right, excuses for why I was sick, excuses for why I had to go to the doctor, excuses for why I would order food when we were out with our friends and end up only eating a couple of bites before deciding I couldn’t handle it, excuses for why I wasn’t interested in certain teaching jobs my father in law wanted to hook me up with for next year…excuses, excuses, excuses! I felt like a little liar and it didn’t feel great. Especially when people would ask when we were going to start trying for a baby…I wanted to say “well actually I have had one inside of me for 3 months now” but I wanted to make sure that our family and closest friends knew before the news leaked out and got to them by some other means…and I really wanted to tell my family in person, which was difficult considering that they live in Spokane, Washington and I rarely have a break from student teaching.

When it came to telling the people who really matter (well obviously Kirby was the first I told, as explained in this post) I wanted to do it right. I guess you could say that I am a bit into the theatrics, and I wasn’t going to call up our loved ones and break the news over the phone! So as soon as I had an ultrasound picture I started creating photo books for my in laws and for my parents. These books told the story of our families. Starting with when my parents and his parents were young and dating (those were my favorite pictures) moving up to when they got married and had their own kids. I told the story of the older kids (which is just me in my family) falling in love and getting married to spouses of their own…up until I reached the point where Kirby and I got married. I went on to explain in both books that the family was still missing something…and that Kirby and I had set out on a secret mission, resulting in something magical. Then with the next turn of the page our secret was revealed!

As soon as I received the books in the mail it was even harder to keep to ourselves. I immediately set about planning a “Valentines Day party” at my in laws so that I had an excuse to get the whole family together, then I asked for the Friday before the long Presidents Day weekend off so that we could journey to Washington and give my dad his birthday gift (aka the book). All we had to do now was keep our antsy feelings hidden.

The Muir Valentines Day party dinner was spectacular, full of heart shapes cut into every piece of food I could find! Then was time for “Valentines gift giving” in the living room. I had made little Valentines fortune cookies for the family members so that it wouldn’t seem so odd that we had a present for Kirby’s parents and no one else…then we handed them the wrapped up book.

Kirby stood in the back of the room, recording as they read the book to the family and laughed at the silly pictures of the parents when they were young, and the baby pictures of all the siblings. As soon as the book mentioned that something was still missing Kirby’s brother kind of anticipated the surprise and let it slip that he knew what was coming, but when they got to the end it was still special to introduce their 3rd grand-baby to the family. I was shaking the entire time… the whole room turned to us and we were flooded with love and hugs. Kirby said that he had the hardest time holding the camera still because he was shaking uncontrollably as well! That night took a huge load off my shoulders, it felt so good to share our thoughts and feelings freely with a family that we love.


Then the Friday morning came to drive to Spokane! Before we left I had to stop in at the doctors office for some blood work. Everything was going fine…until we got in the elevator. As soon as the door closed I started to feel very dizzy…my head was spinning and I felt all tingly, so I leaned on Kirby and he held me tight. I watched as the little number above the door changed from 2 to 1 and I let out a sigh of relief. We were there.

The next thing I remember was finding myself slumped over Kirby’s arm, confused as to why my phone, which had been in my hand seconds ago, was now on the floor. The following few minutes were a bit of a blur. I only remember watching the elevator doors open and then close again (Kirby said we were in there through 3 door cycles…oops!) and being so confused as to why we hadn’t left the elevator yet…it felt as though we had been in there for hours! He lifted me up into his arms and carried me to the car…and explained to me that I had full on passed out for a few minutes. (When he tells the story it seems to be quite the comical experience).

 I tried to open a can of almonds that were luckily sitting in the car for the long road trip that we had ahead…but I could barely lift my arms. It was so bizarre to now be fully aware but have very little control over my limbs. He fed me a few almonds and then we were off! First stop, picking up my sister Jessica. I tried to act normal but the first thing she said to me was “what is wrong with your body?” I wanted to laugh so hard but couldn’t quite get it out yet! Apparently watching me try to feed myself was evidence that I wasn’t quite working right. But after some water and an energy bowl from Jamba I was mostly back to normal and we were ready for the trek.

Long story short, we made it to Spokane and everyone was feeling great! I talked my dad into opening his present that very night because I could barely stand it! As soon as he opened the book he was emotional, so my mom read the story to us, while Kirby recorded again. My whole family was so excited to have the first grandbaby join our family! The soon to be grandparents and soon to be aunts were overjoyed. My mom immediately set about planning how she would be able to be in Texas when the baby is born. 

The next morning was Valentines day.  I brought Kirby breakfast in bed…which he ended up taking upstairs to eat with my family…and that’s about as far as our romance went for the day (we planned a late celebration for next month!) The rest of the day was spent shopping for baby clothes…we don’t even know the gender and our little nugget has already been given lots of gifts from grandma and grandpa! I take the clothes out of their box daily just to oogle at how adorable and teeny they are! Anyways. We finished shopping then went on a family Valentines date for dinner at one of Kirby’s favorite restaurants, which also happens to be next door to the mansion we had a reception in. So of course, on the day of love, we had to visit the place that holds such a special place in our hearts!

 {my parents I right?}

 {that balcony above us was the room we stayed the night in for the first time as husband and wife}
{my forever valentine}

(If you know my family you might have picked up on the fact that Mandy did not go home with us, so I showed her the book the night before in her bedroom where we hugged and laughed and cried…she is going to be an amazing aunt!)

The whole weekend was full of love and joy. We love our time spent in Spokane! But, as always, it had to end. So Monday morning we kissed my family good bye and set out on the long trip back to Rexburg to face our responsibilities yet again.

The next day, Tuesday, we had planned a game night with our close group of friends…a game night with a hidden agenda. We started out the night playing catch phrase. After a few rounds, and once everyone had shown up, Kirby started a new round by trying to explain a word… “this is something that happens to women, Madison is this right now, it’s when your belly gets really big…” by then several people had guessed pregnant. But it still took a while to make the connection in all the chaos that he had just said “Madison is pregnant.” After a minute or so of mumbles and quiet discussions over what had just happened it clicked all at once and the room erupted. Needless to say we did not finish the round. Instead we talked about the exciting news and shared our story from the very beginning. I am so thankful to be surrounded by such wonderful and caring friends that keep our lives entertaining!

Actually, one couple that was there for the game night had found out before we even told our family. A week before this night, we were out at McDonalds (of all places) with Ella and Dan, close to midnight (to satisfy the ever hungry husbands) when Ella was looking through pictures on my phone. I had thought that I had made sure there was nothing on there that could give us away…but apparently I had missed one little picture…and with one little swipe of her finger it was out. She asked me about it…and honestly I could have saved the situation but my immediate reaction gave it away. So we just spilled the whole thing…and I kind of love that it happened that way.

Then, of course, it was time for the social media leak!

My sister Jessica took some pictures for us while we were in Spokane to get ready for the big reveal…Kirby thinks I’m silly, but hey, this was probably the most important post of my life! The comments and texts that we received after telling the world about our growing piece of heaven still leave me baffled. I have never felt so loved and supported in my life! 

Thank you all for the kind words and for the love that has been shown to us through the beginning of this process! It feels wonderful to be able to share our joy!
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