Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Our Miracle: Braelyn Noelle Gundersen!

She's here! Our little bundle of joy has made her grand entrance. She was born 8:00 am sharp on December 28th. She weighed in at 7 pounds 12 ounces and 20 1/2 inces long. She is absolutely adorable! We could use everyone's prayers as she has to stay in the hospital for a few days because of a reaction to a medication. We know that she will be okay, but any extra thoughts and prayers would be helpful. We'll keep you updated.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Busy, busy, busy!

Okay, so I feel really lame . . . like people are going to think that I just stopped blogging ever since we found out we were going to get a baby. I promise that's not the case. Here's the lowdown of excuses for the blog absence:

1) It's the end of school and there is so much grading!

2) Two of my coworkers/good friends had babies in the last month so school has been even more crazy than normal . . . is that possible?

3) Ben got a new job and has been in Rochester, NY for the past week. Hallelujah! It's nice to be employed.

4) Ben's parents came for Thanksgiving and we had a blast. I've never seen so many crafts finished all at once. Kaye = Queen of Crafts. In three days we made pinatas, burp clothes, and a quilt . . . well, I guess I should say that SHE made. I wasn't too much help, but they all turned out to be so adorable.

5) Back to Ben; he has the computer so I can't download pictures and blogs are always lame without pictures. Oh well, pictures will come later.

6) We have a baby coming in TWO weeks! Count that, TWO WEEKS!!!

The last month has been absolutely amazing. I love our birth mother more and more everyday. She helped me go shopping for some baby essentials at Target over the weekend. Then we took a much needed stop at In n' Out Burger. Yummy!

My friend Katie threw the most amazing baby shower ever with the help from my visiting teachers at church. Thank you Rachel and Misty! So many people came to help me celebrate. I was so proud to show off our birth mother because again, she is so amazing!

Ben and I have been so blessed these last couple of months, and I hope those blessings continue to roll in. =) I can't wait for December 28th. What an amazing Christmas gift!

Oh, and the official name will be Braelyn Noelle Gundersen. Love it!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Baby's Room!

I'm almost done with the baby's room, and it's been so much fun to decorate! I don't want to brag . . . but how ADORABLE is it?! =) Ben has helped me so much, mainly by being patient while I ask him to hold curtains and pictures up. Haha! I think secretly he loves it because he gets to be a part of it. He feels special. So, here are the pictures of baby girl Gundersen's nursery.

I'm going to put one of those changing pads on top of the dresser for a changing table. That way, she can still use the dresser when she gets older.

Sancho is just hanging out in the baby's room. I think he might be a little jealous, but he'll be a good big brother.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Beginning of Baby's Room!

I love our baby girl's room so far! I spent all day doing the stencils on the wall. It took about 9 hours with breaks here and there to finish ONE wall! I'm only doing two walls, though, so it shouldn't be too bad. I just have to dedicate one more day. We're going crib and dresser shopping this weekend, and Ben is ecstatic about it. Okay, so that's a lie, but I'm going to have some fun. I'm thinking a dark brown for the crib and dresser. My friend Katie has a glider she is going to give me that I can use with our ottoman. I'm going to spray paint the glider ivory and then use sandpaper to give it the "distressed antique" look.

I love the Cinderella carriage! A friend of mine spotted it at an antique store over the weekend. It has a little opening where I can put burp cloths (isn't there a nicer sounding word for those?)and pacifiers.

Yay! It's coming along, and it will be ready in no time. That's good because literally we have almost no time. =) This is the perfect way to have a baby, though. I've never been the one for much patience!

Our Story . . .

So I think it's about time to write about our miracle story before it becomes all jumbled in my head. Trust me, there is so much going on that that's bound to happen. I've been meaning to write everything down since we made our decision so that I can recall exactly what happened.

I'll start from the beginning. We got certified about two weeks ago. As soon as we were certified, we decided to enroll on this website called Even though we were working through LDS Family Services, we wanted to expand our options, and this is a well known website for birth mothers to look at adoptive couples. It took us another 5-6 hours to get our profile set up and going. The website will not publish your profile until they have received your certification and payment. I had our caseworker fax over our certification right away, and I was going to mail payment. I got the envelope all ready with a stamp and everything and then thought, "Why mail it in, I'll just fax a payment form." So, I faxed the form and by 1:00 that afternoon we were up on the website.

You can imagine my surprise when that same day I get a phone call at 4:00 in the afternoon from a birth mother in Philadelphia. She had seen our profile and was very interested in us. We talked for a while and answered her questions. I asked her how she had found our profile, and she explained that our profile was one of the random four couples that had popped up on the home page (they're always rotating couples) and she clicked on us because of my name. She had never heard Brielle before besides her little niece. Anyway, she talked to my caseworker and we were going to go from there, and call each other with anymore questions.

All this happened on Tuesday. On Thursday I got a call from my caseworker asking if she could take our profile down so that no other birth mothers could look at us. We had received an interested email from another birth mother but told her we were already working with someone. I told my caseworker that we hadn't received a definite for sure yes yet, so please keep it up. She asked me to talk to our birth mother and get a definite answer because it wasn't fair for other birth mothers to see us and think that we were available when we're not. So I emailed our birth mother in Philadelphia and asked her what she thought about us taking our profile down. Sunday came along and I hadn't heard from her. I decided to call her. I explained to her the situation with my caseworker and asked if she was confident enough in us that we could remove our profile. She told me that she was 100% confident gut feeling wise, but knew she still had questions on the logical end. We set up a time for the following Wednesday for her to call and make a final decision. Until then she asked us to keep our profile up because it wouldn't be fair to us to take it down quite yet without a final decision on her end.

Tuesday rolls around, and I am anticipating this call the next day. I was about to leave school, and I checked my email. We have another email from a birth mother here in Phoenix! Her email was so upbeat, happy, and positive. There was just something about what she wrote that made me want to get to know her. I called my caseworker crying, not knowing what to do. She read the email as well, and agreed that she sounded amazing. I decided to call her and meet her that night. I told her from the very beginning that we were supposed to receive an answer the next day from our other birth mother, but that we would still like to meet her. She was so excited to meet us also.

Ben and I went to dinner with Jana (our birth mother) and our caseworker. We talked and talked! It was so much fun. I loved her from the beginning. She brought ultrasound pictures of her little girl, and she let us feel her belly. Jana is so hilarious, spunky, outgoing, and just awesome. At the end of the dinner she pretty much told us that the ball is in our court because she knows that we have another decision to make.

Ben and I talked for a long time that night deciding what we were going to do. We both really liked Jana. She was so real to us. With our other birth mother, we hadn't even seen pictures, ultrasounds, nothing. Jana just seemed so excited to use us. Still, we came to the conclusion that we wouldn't make any decisions until we had our phone call the next night. I did decide to email our other birth mother to tell her that we had met with someone else, but that we were still anxious for her phone call so that we could make the best decision. I didn't want to be keeping any secrets from either Jana or our other birth mother.

Wednesday rolled around, and we sat on the couch for about two hours waiting for our phone call. It never came. I called her twice and left her a message. At that point we thought that she was upset we had met with Jana. So again Ben and I talked and we both decided that Jana was perfect and she was the one that wanted. We didn't even want to wait to see what the reason for the missed phone call was. We just felt so good about having Jana be in our lives. We called her right away and asked if she would let us raise her child. She said yes!

The next morning I wrote our other birth mother and told her that I wished we could have talked so that we could explain our decision. There wasn't anything "wrong" with her, but there was something "right" with Jana. I suggested some friends of ours for her to look at, that would make excellent parents as well. That evening at 5:00 my phone rings and it is our birth mother from Philadelphia. She started off by apologizing for not calling the night before, she had simply forgotten. She was watching the World Series game with some friends. We began talking, and I suddenly realized that she hadn't read my two emails telling her that we met with someone else and had actually chosen them. I had to break it to her over the phone. She was very upset, and I felt so awkward. I didn't know what else to do for her but suggest our friends again. I asked if there was anything we could do for her, but she replied no. I felt awful, but I knew that we had still made the right decision.

I came home and told Ben everything that had just happened. He couldn't believe it. He also thought that we still made the right decision. It was so weird. Even though we felt so bad for her, we felt so good for us. We knew that what we had chosen was right. Later that night when I was checking my emails, there was an email from the girl in Philadelphia. It was a really hurtful email that questioned our character and integrity because we hadn't waited for her call. She said that she was thankful she found out what kind of people we were before it was too late. She also responded that there was no way she would consider our friends if they were anything like us. I was devastated that someone could be so hurtful, especially when they had broken their promise and not us. Our agreement was to keep our profile up until we talked to her on Wednesday, and she missed that appointment.

I wanted to write back some fighting words, but I though about it and knew that she was going through a really hard time. She was emotional, scared, lonely, etc. I waited until the next morning when I could really think about it, and wrote her a heartfelt email about how much we cared about her and how much we hope for her. I hope she reads it, but you never know. I wanted her to know that we were committed to her, but there was just something that was right about Jana. I told her that we had even bought two one way tickets to Philly, I had bought bedding for the nursery, I had bought baby clothes, we had told our friends and family that we were adopting her baby, and we had turned away two other birth mothers. In the end, we just had to make the decision that was right for us.

And this is where I say how grateful I am for our Heavenly Father and the guidance that he gives us. I couldn't even imagine being placed in this same situation and having to make that decision alone. Life really does work out for the best when you have the guidance of the Spirit on your side. I love that we can receive revelation for ourselves concerning our own lives. I love that Ben is a worthy priesthood holder that strives to do his best everyday and lives honestly. I can't wait to see him be a father to a beautiful baby girl. I'm also grateful that Jana can be so brave. I admire her for making what will be the most difficult decision of her life, but the right one. We will always love her for that.

Tonight we are taking Jana out to dinner with her roommate. I'm excited to know a little more about her life. I want to know all the things that make her her, so that when our little baby girl grows up I can share with her how amazing her birth mom was. Well, we'll continue to keep everyone updated. This was a long story, but a story worth telling over and over and over again!

Friday, November 6, 2009


It's official. We will be the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl this December. Her due date is December 22-31. It's going to be a scheduled c-section, so we pick the date. She will be born here in Phoenix. Yay! We are so excited. It is a long story, but we will post this weekend.

We just want to say that we feel so blessed. Thanks to every one's thoughts and prayers. We know they helped.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Best Halloween Yet!

So after much fretting about what to wear for a Halloween costume this year, I finally came to the consensus that I should be a pageant mom. I just think that they are so funny. That show Toddlers and Tiaras does such a good job at showing how crazy those women can be. As I was telling Ben about my plans for a costume, I realized, "what better pageant daughter to have than Ben?!" He totally embraced the idea, and let me dress him up just like a little pageant girl. We had a blast at our party in our hilarious costumes. Thanks Shawn and Ashley for putting together such a fun night!

The back of my shirt says, "My daughter is prettier than yours!" and "Shake that thang!"

The tough guys and the sissy pants.

All the beautiful women in our costumes. Everyone did such a good job dressing up!

The boys and their costumes. Ben finally took off the dress and wig after a couple hours. Now he just looks like a creepy transvestite with makeup on!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Yay!!! I don't know if I'm about to cry, laugh, smile, scream, whatever! We just got a call from our caseworker that we are now certified by the state. That means that a birth mother can actually choose us now. This has been such a wonderful journey, but now I feel like it is for real.

I know that everything happens on a larger timeline than we can see or understand, but I sure hope that we find our baby soon. I can't wait to experience the joy and happiness that so many of our friends and family have. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as this roller coaster ride begins. Arms up!

Halloween Costumes . . .

Help me!Why is it so hard to come up with a creative Halloween costume? Seriously, I feel all this pressure! Haha, I'm a 26 year old working woman who is worried what I'm going to dress up as for a Halloween party! Ben and I love dressing up, though, so we look forward to Halloween every year.

I thought of a couple funny ideas for costumes. The first one is a pageant mom. I could stuff pillows in my clothes, wear old fashioned glasses, mess up my hair, and wear no make up. You know how pageant moms look. They're all living vicariously through their daughters, trying to make them look all pretty so they can feel pretty themselves. Then I could pin a picture of my 25 year old looking four year old on my shirt. By the way, I am obsessed with the show Toddlers and Tiaras. Ben will sometimes watch it with me, and it makes him so mad. He will literally talk back to the women on the television for exploiting their daughters. I think it's hilarious to see how worked up he gets. I do agree that those women are somewhat crazy. I find it more creepy than cute when little girls are shaking their booties in what looks like miniature stripper outfits. Why do I still watch the show then? It's still very entertaining!

So, another one I thought of is to wear a big cardboard cut out of a house. I could hang it upside down. Get it? I'm dressing up as OUR house. Haha! Okay, maybe I'm the only one that thinks that's funny. Hey, if you don't laugh at it, you just get depressed.

A friend of mine suggested a trophy wife. That could be good. I could get some gold body paint and hang a plaque around my neck. Ben already knows that I'm the perfect wife, though!

Well, who knows! I still have two days to think about it. We'll definitely take some pictures to let you know what we decided. Ben's on his own for figuring out his costume. My brain is too tired trying to think of my own. Any suggestions?

Monday, October 19, 2009

So Long, Farewell . . .

It was finally time to say goodbye to our old washer and dryer. Yes, it was a sad day . . . okay, now I'm over it! Seriously, that dryer squeaked like a banshee every time we used it. We can't really complain, though. We bought the set three years ago when we first moved to the house for $50. How can you pass that up when you're a poor couple just graduating from college buying a totally overpriced first home? (We couldn't have predicted that last part, oh well) So we've happily done our laundry in the squeakily cheap dryer ever since. We thank our friends greatly who just moved and sold us their nearly new set for such a steal. The joy of quiet laundering!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Let's Go Coyotes, Let's Go!

Ben loves, loves, loves hockey! He coaches a little league roller hockey team where we live. One of the fathers of the kid's gave him some free tickets to go to the opening home game of the Phoenix Coyotes. We went with some friends of ours and had a great time. The game was a "white out game" because that is one of the colors of the team. They handed out free t-shirts to everyone that came to the game. I got an x-large. Wahoo! It'll make a great nightgown at least.

We'll definitely take any other free tickets that come our way!

Attack of the Killer Fridge!

Some good friends of ours quickly moved out of state for a new job opportunity. The leave was pretty unexpected and they didn't have much time to pack up and go. I got a phone call about a week later to see if I could do some extra cleaning around the house, and to empty out the fridge. Wow! I came face to face with a monster! I'm telling you, that fridge was crazy. The power had been off for three weeks, and there was definitely a smell and a few abnormal growths inside to prove it. All in all, it was a pretty funny experience. It separates the men from the boys. Apparently I am a man and Ben is a boy because he couldn't take it. He almost barfed. Eww!

I had to be fully armed before I went on the defense with this fridge! Full on mask, gloves, and BLEACH cleaner!

Something growing on the top shelf!

Leftover Bajio's salad. Anyone hungry?

The fateful end for Mr. Chunky Monkey ice cream.

Yay! The job is done, and the fridge is back to its beautiful self. We're glad we could help out our friends in their move. Plus, I always love making funny memories, and this is definitely one of them!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Vegas Baby!

Finally, a well deserved vacation! After seeing my family for two days, we headed off to Vegas to splurge. We really enjoyed ourselves. We stayed at the Belagio, which was so relaxing and beautiful. They have this awesome conservatory garden in the middle of the hotel. They decorate it with all kinds of flowers depending on the season. They had just put up their autumn decor, and they had these real 1,000 pound pumpkins. I would love to carve one of those babies!!!

We also got to relax by the pools in the morning. Yes, I said pools, not pool. They had about six pools and two hot tubs to choose from. It was kind of chilly for swimming, but it's never the wrong time for a dip in a hot tub.

We had a blast going around to all the different shops and hotels. If you can avoid all the crazy men handing out naked pictures of women on the streets, Vegas can be quite fun!

Our hotel. Wahoo! This is where the fountain show was every hour. They have these amazing fountain shows every hour. You could hear the water blasting from almost a mile away.

Once again Ben loves food, so what do you expect his favorite part of Vegas to be? The buffet, of course! This is our lovely breakfast buffet the last morning there. Oh, and this is plate #2 for the wonderful hubby.

They have the most gorgeous floral arrangements in the lobby of the hotel. Autumn colors are my favorite!

Modeling at the Quicksilver store!

Wow! Ben totally picked out this outfit and boy what a stud! I have to say that Ben is soooo hot!

There is a reason that I'm not a model, besides the whole being 5' 1''!

Ow ow! Love the kissy face on Ben. Isn't that how the girls usually pose nowadays?

The night life!

The view from our hotel was great. The Paris hotel was right across the street, and it was fun to look at the Eifel Tower each night.

The Conservatory (the garden in the middle of the hotel).

Okay, so this was trippy. The eyes of the tree would move back and forth like they were following you. And if that wasn't creepy enough, the tree would start talking out of nowhere. Weird.

A model size Belagio with little fountains. The whole conservatory smelled so good, like pumpkin spice. It totally smelled like the holidays.

Another creepy, but cool, monster tree.

Do I resemble the scarecrow? that good or bad?!

Ben lounging at the pool. I wish I were back there right now!

The fun mirror room at the toy store in Ceaser's Palace. It reminds me of the 360 mirror on the show What Not To Wear. I think my outfit would have passed Stacey and Clinton's test!

Yay! The Lion King! AMAZING!!!
This was by far the coolest show I've ever seen. We loved it! All the actors moved like they were actually animals. It was really artistic. The music was wonderful. Everything was magical!

Well, Vegas had to come to an end, but we loved it there. We stayed the perfect amount of time, the weather was great, and the company was lovely!

Grandma's Cabin and Zion National Park

Ben and I got to go see my parents last weekend at my grandparents' cabin in Duck Creek, UT. We had so much fun. My grandma is a game fanatic and so am I! We stayed up late playing Wizard (a card game) and Farkle (a dice game). Apparently my sister-in-law Diane renamed the dice game "Sparkle" because it sounds nicer. Farkle sounds too much like, well, fart. Haha! Too funny! We also got to play a few games of horseshoes out in the back. I don't plan on giving up my day job to compete in horseshoes any time soon, but Ben on the other hand...

Besides hanging out at the cabin, we took a day trip out to Zion National Park. That is one of the most gorgeous scenic drives. We hiked up to Emerald Pool, which was mostly just a mud hole, and Weeping Rock. The Weeping Rock constantly has water dripping from it, and supposedly the water is 1,200 years old before it drips out. My mom refuses to believe that the water is that old because scientists don't know anything, right? Instead she believes that someone is standing at the top of the rock with a hose spraying 24/7. Hmmm...makes sense! Okay, she doesn't really think that, but she kept joking about it.

Looking out over the deck of the cabin. It is really beautiful up there. It's so nice to get away in nature and not have to worry about anything!


Ben is a horseshoe master! I don't know where he learns these useless and random skills, but they provide for good entertainment. I could not throw the horseshoe anywhere close to where it was supposed to land until I discovered that I have better aim granny style. After that discovery I made FIVE ringers!

So pretty! Almost as awesome as the Grand Canyon (my favorite national park).

I felt like we were getting professional pictures taken here. We asked a random lady to do us a favor by taking our picture. She made us pose and took the picture from five different angles. She was so serious!

Weeping Rock
You can kind of see the water drops behind Ben...but not really. Just pretend because it was really pretty in real life.
We had so much fun! Thanks mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa. We loved spending the weekend with you!