Saturday, June 12, 2010

Great Day!!!

I have been uplifted, inspired, and rested today. I have been inspired to start blogging again from some wonderful women I went to lunch with today. All of them I have recently met here in Colorado, but included me in their fun time. There invitation came at a time I really needed some other women and friends. They all have multiple children (anywhere from 3-5 children) and very busy lives, but still find the time to write in a blog. Along with this small break for just me I had a chance to run a few errands by myself which made me feel rested. Just a little time to myself gave me a chance to just think. Lastly, I got to go out on a date with my husband to an adult session of stake conference and for those who have no idea what I am talking about, a conference that is spiritually uplifting and helps me think about things I can do in my life to become a better wife, mother, and person. One thing they talked about is self mastery and how we do have control of this area in our life but it is up to us to do it. As we have patience in this life and work towards becoming better and closer to our Savior we will have a greater eternal reward. This is nothing new, I have heard this many times, but it came at the right time and day. I am inspired, uplifted, rested and eternally blessed.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

6 weeks on Monday!!

Yes, it will be 6 weeks ago on Monday, Nov. 16th that my mom's kidney transplant took place. My mom and Matt are both doing well. I am very excited to have Matt be able to get back to exercising and riding his bike for his sake, he has missed biking and exercising. I am happy he will be able to help with the kids more, he has done an amazing job the last 6 weeks following the Dr. orders, which included: no biking, exercising, lifting more than 10 pounds. So, he was unable to really lift the kids or let them climb on him, which they love. It will take time for him to build up his energy level to where it was pre-transplant, but at least we hit the mile mark. He has done really well and his body is adjusting well to one kidney.

My mom is also doing well and her body is accepting her new kidney and her lab values reflect that things are going well. I am so happy for both my mom and Matt.

As for the rest of the family, Tristyn is doing very well in school and has been moved up to the higher reading level group. It is so fun to see how much she is learning and her desire to do homework. Matt said they day she got homework to do she came running out of class with a big smile saying "Look I get to do homework now!!!"

Maia and Isaac are really learning to speak better, even though I still think Maia has her own language, Isaac is putting words together to make phrases and some sentences.

Lance is just a good baby and we love him to peaces, he is so happy, and we probably have another "Guy Smiley" on our hands.

The Halloween season has come and gone. We had so much fun with Corn Mazes, train rides, Halloween parties, trick-or-treating, and being together. The kids loved all the activities and now I think Isaac's favorite holiday is Halloween. Matt now has someone to share in his favorite holiday. Tristyn was Cleo Patra, her costume made by Yaya, Maia was Dorothy, Isaac was a pirate, arrrg, and Lance was Tigger. We had a pizza party with my brothers and their families, and my parents, then the kids went trick-or-treating.

As for myself, I have made it through the 6 weeks and I am still here. I was nervous how things were going to go, but we made it. After a brief episode of Swine Flu with Tristyn and Hand Foot and Mouth with Maia, we did make it. Yes, we did have Swine Flu, but we made Tristyn stay in her room for 3 days to get over the fever and then wear a mask the 4th day and no one else got it. Thanks to the help of wonderful family and friends we made it this far. My mother-in-law was a complete life saver, she spent every night with Matt in the hospital and was here while Tristyn got Swine Flu, if it had not been for her those 1st two weeks, I think I would have been in a Loony Bin. Then the ward members helped by babysitting and bringing in meals for 3 weeks after the surgery, we were very well taken care of. It is a huge blessing to have so many Christ like people in our lives. Not to mention our ward members also brought in meals for my parents for 3 weeks too and Uncle George who has let my parents live with him for the last 4 weeks. Yes, we are living with my parents in their home because of unemployment not the surgery, it just happened that way. Isn't it amazing the Lord know what he is doing!! However, we are still here because we are still looking for employment, Matt is working hard to find something. However, we are still in my parents home and they haven't come home yet because we were sick, but now we are healthy and they are still at my Uncle George's home. I do feel bad that we are still here, it has been a great experience being here and humbling the way everything has happened, but it would be nice to have a place we could call our own, thank goodness for such a loving family.

Until next time!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our family loving Lance

Here are a few pictures of the family with Lance. The picture with Matt, Lance, and me was his blessing day, he was 5 weeks old. He is already 2 months old and growing fast. We love him so much and are so grateful for him in our family.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Surgery Update

This will be short and sweet. Both surgeries went well, Matt's surgeon said he has a "cute" kidney, I asked what that meant, if it meant his kidney was smiling because he is such a smiley person. She said, "if a kidney could come out smiling his did." My mom was taken back to surgery when they had just removed Matt's kidney. They stopped at the window where Matt was and held up the kidney so she could see it. The surgery for Matt went well and just as the surgeon would have wanted it. Matt already got up and walked today, he went to visit my mom. That wore him out, then he crashed after that.

My mom's surgery went well and my dad asked the doctor to rate the surgery on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best, he said it was a "10." He said when they connected her new kidney to her ureter it began working immediately and flowing, which they were very happy with. She is putting out tones of fluid, the kidney is working!!! They both have a long road ahead of them, both very tired and in pain, but the surgery went very well and we are off to a good start!!!

On a different note, but something special to us. Today is our son Asa's birthday, he would be 4 years old today. The surgery was changed from October 6th to the 5th, Asa's birthday. His name means physician or healer, there are reason's for everything. The Lord loves us and gives us guidance, direction, and comfort in ways we will see it. He has in the past, did today, and will continue as we listen and let him. We are all very happy with the outcome today. Please continue to pray for them both. They are both amazing people, two of the most important people in my life, both amazing examples of Christ.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Kids All Got New Haircuts

Twas the Night Before Surgery When ...

... all through the house. Not a creature was steering, not even a mouse. Well, that is not entirely true. With four children under six years old, there are actually four creatures making quite a noise in the house. But there noise is what I love and loathe at the same time.

Ironically, the night before surgery feels fairly calm. The weekend was spent watching our church's semi-annual General Conference on television as a family. The messages were uplifting and provided great instruction for living a better life. Today, my mom and I are headed to the Sunday afternoon session at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, and I'm really looking forward to it.

The weekend has also brought a small feeling of missing to my heart. The surgery brings with it limitations that will last 4 - 6 weeks. Limitations like an inability to lift anything over 20 pounds. Which means an inability to hold my children, and strangely enough, I am going to miss that feeling. I'm also going to miss riding bikes, running, wrestling with my kids, and generally, being active. But at least the limitations are temporary and not permanent. I assume these are normal feelings.

All of these feelings add to the experience and present an interesting story. And so, I want to capture these feelings in as they present themselves throughout this experience and plan on contributing to our blog on a daily basis to share how and what I'm feeling. Hopefully, the posts will make sense and bring a unique perspective to donation.

So, I'll see you on the other side.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Surprise! Matt is donating a kidney

Alright, I know I sound a bit coy in the title of this post, but hey ... just take a look at the picture I attached and you'll discover a key insight into my personality. I like to make light of a difficult situation.

A little over three years ago, we all lost a special little boy named Asa Isaac Keller to the repercussions of severe stroke. The experience was my first encounter with death. At least it was the first time I was emotionally mature enough to understand and feel the brutal reality and lost of a loved one. My father's dad passed away before I was born and my mother's father passed away when I was too young to understand what was going on. I guess I could consider myself fortunate for not experiencing such a heart-breaking event until I was in my late 20's, but when my son passed away I wished I could have had the power to prolong such a meeting for several more years. I guess we can't pick and choose how we encounter death.

Needless to say, the emotions our family felt were deep and cutting. But they were also filled with hope and understanding. To the point where the pain subsided and a feeling of invigoration and life transplanted itself in the craters of our hearts. Yes, our family emerged from the ashes stronger and more convinced that life has a purpose and that it is directed by a plan that is much bigger than our understanding.

Not long after Asa's passing my company asked me to attend to some business in Tokyo, Japan for a few weeks. I love the global workplace and accepted with childish eagerness. When I travel I love taking advantage of the cultural nuances and delicacies. I enjoying meeting people from around the world and experiencing the familiar things they call 'ordinary'. I also enjoy experiencing the familiarity of religion in a foreign land. I love meeting people from various religions, but am particularly drawn to members of my own faith, Latter-day Saints. While visiting Japan, I took the opportunity to visit the LDS temple and enjoy an ordinance session in a language I didn't understand. The words were different but the spirit of God felt familiar. I also attended a local Sunday service and met a more established member who was originally from Utah, but worked for a large bank in Japan. We thought it would be fun to have dinner together but were not able to on my first trip to Japan. However, when I returned three weeks later, we did enjoy each other's company over a dinner and felt a bond that seemed longer than the short time we had known each other. One of our closing remarks was an acknowledgment of this particular feeling and posed the idea of maybe knowing each other in a life before this one.

I believe my friend felt this with more strength then I did at the particular time, but I'm convinced he was (and is) more in-tune then I was. I guess that is what a little extra seasoning does. A few weeks after our dinner, his daughter experienced difficulty with her kidney functionality and found herself literally at death's door. I had no idea the roller-coaster ride his family was soon to experience, but what I do know is that the emotions his family felt covered the entire spectrum of human feeling. Thankfully, things worked out and his daughter recently celebrated her first year of life post-kidney donation. What a miraculous and heroic story.

Ten years ago, my mother-in-law (Pat) was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that manifested itself like lupus. I cannot speak for Pat, but, in my eyes, the past ten years have been frustrating as her kidney's have slowly shutdown, and her lifestyle has had to be adjusted to compensate. Eight months ago, the quality and expectancy of her life whittled down to lifetime dialysis or a kidney transplant. Reluctantly, Pat started asking family and friends if they would be willing to be tested as a possible kidney match. Now, I've always been a big fan of zombie movies, and yes, she is qualified to receive a cadavoric transplant, but come on ...

So, I accepted the challenge to be tested. I honestly entered the process thinking I would be excluded from the donation for whatever reason. Take your pick of possible reasons. With such a mindset it was interesting to experience a complete change of heart as the test results returned with the possibility of being an excellent match for donation. How could I be a match? I'm not even blood kin. I don't even have the same blood type. I have three children, a wife pregnant with another child, and I'm a semester away from graduating from school. Oh well, I thought. I'll get booted out of the potential pool soon. Right? No. Each test only promote a clearer confirmation of the previous testing results. I was an excellent match. It was after the first few batches of tests when I knew I needed to get my head straight if I was going to progress.

I reached out to my friend in Japan and explained my situation. He and his wife were incredibly positive and supportive of the steps I was taking. They provided me a wealth of information and challenged me to take my situation to the Lord. I followed their instructions to the letter and discovered peace in the direction the testing was headed. I felt Heavenly Father was testing me and wanting to know if I was willing to sacrifice for one of his spirit children. All of the science I researched indicated a need for only one kidney to function normally, and that the long term result of donation is minimal. Donation would have little impact on my quality or active life style. It would put me out 4 - 6 weeks for recovery. However, I still was facing a major operation with the possibility of the kidney being rejected by Pat's immune system. Before I could make a decision I needed to receive a Priesthood blessing to hear what needed to be done. I asked a very close friend of mine to be the mouth piece of the blessing, and walked away knowing that the Lord's will was to donate if called upon. I was committed to do it.

Two weeks ago, Pat and I completed our testing and I've been cleared to donate. Not one to wait around, we scheduled a surgery date for October 6th. And I feel awesome with my decision.

I've shared a lot about how I feel of the experience in an attempt to provide some insight into my thinking and feeling. However, I do not want to promote any sense of self-righteousness in my explanation. I'm feel humbled to be qualified to donate and be an instrument in prolonging my mother-in-laws' life. At the end of six weeks, I will continue on with my life the way it was before ... just 8 ounces lighter. Pat is the real hero. She has a tough 3 month recovery ahead of her. She will be pumped full of anti-rejection drugs, and immune drugs, and pain killers, and .... The list goes on and on. I read somewhere the cocktail could be as much as 30 pills a day! Afterward, she will have to maintain a lifestyle that promotes the health of her kidney. That means limiting the foods and activities that bring severe toxins into her renal function. She will have to watch her diet, take pills, avoid over exposure to the sun, etc. However, she will not have to be on dialysis, she will regain her stamina, she will live a longer life, and my kids will be able to know their grandmother as they grow up ... a luxury I was not able to afford with my grandfathers. In the end, Pat has the real fight ahead of her, and in the end, she will be the hero that rises triumphant in fighting a terrible disease.

I ramble, but if you have any questions feel free to reach out to me and/or visit these websites. Your thoughts and prayers are always welcome. And I'll keep everyone posted as I progress toward the surgery.

General information on kidney donation:
Information about the kidney surgery:
YouTube Video of Nephrectomy surgery (not for the faint of heart but incredibly informative in a hands on way):

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Those Crazy Kids

Kids are crazy and ours are no different. Tristyn, Maia, and Isaac constantly find themselves swarming around little Lance with the malicious intent of smothering him in kisses and hugs. Tristyn has assumed the "motherly" role. Constantly telling her other siblings what they should and shouldn't be doing around the newborn. Always in command, Tristyn loves updating everyone in the house on Lance's status; whether good, bad, crying, moaning, or sleeping. Maia finds Lance a curious little critter. As often as she can she runs up to him, puts her right index finger near his left eye, places her face as close as she can to his, and very quietly screams, "baby ... baby ... baby!" Thankfully, Lance's nap time is just about over every time she announces his presence. Isaac is a little less gentle (hence Tristyn and Ashley both reaching for him in the posted picture). Isaac believes Lance is a sort of toy. One that moves around, cries, and should be thrown, punched, or smacked with an object. Don't get me wrong. He loves the little punching-bag, but hasn't quite grasped his mortality yet.

Despite all the mishaps. All of Lance's siblings love him and are thankful of his save arrival into this world.

Will a Job Ever Materialize

I've had a number of friends and family ask me recently about the status of my employment, and what better way to update everyone then on our family blog. Sadly, three months of searching has produced very little. Yes, it is shameful to admit, but I am still a freshly-minted unemployed MBA. My search has taken my application around the world and back. With stops in China, Taiwan, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, New Jersey, Michigan, Scottsdale, and San Francisco. Each location it visited began with warm fuzzies and uplifting interviews. Unfortunately, each visit ended in complete rejection and undeniable frustration. I remember knocking on thousands of doors whose owners turned me away on my proselyting mission. The rejection hurt, but never felt as demoralizing having a hiring manager tell you "your a perfect fit, but we decided to go with someone else." If I was a perfect fit, why did you feel the need to select another candidate? Ouch. And so, I'm back to the streets, knocking doors and pleading for work. The posse have asked what I would like to do, and I'm hear to tell everyone that if they could help me score a job in the bicycling industry, I will birth their next child. No joke.

All kidding aside, I'm fascinated with brand and product management and would appreciate any leads the readership might have. I have enjoyed the time spent with my wife and children. It is incredibly difficult adapting to the daily routines of a family but it is also incredibly rewarding. This summer has been relaxing and fun.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lance James Keller's Birth


Lance James Keller was born July 31st, 2009 at 7:20 pm at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah. He weighed 7 lbs. 2 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long. Ashley was able to deliver Lance naturally and in little over 90 minutes. Mother and baby are doing exceptionally well and will be spending Saturday and Sunday resting in the hospital.

A big thank you to everyone who has sent their congratulations!

Pictures of Lance can be found through the link that is associated with this posting. Just click on the title of this post. We will be uploading more information and pictures throughout the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 5th-15th

I just made a big mistake and was not saving as I went and just lost an entire post I was working on, grrrrrr!!

Matt and Tristyn made it safely home from Vancouver, WA visiting family. They went up for Tristyn's cousin Savannah's baptism. She had a great time with her dad and cousins. Matt said after Savannah's baptism she said, "Daddy, watching Savannah get baptized makes me want to get baptized." It is so special to me that a little girl 5 years old can make that choice and that she wants to get baptized and follow Christ. We try to teach her to make correct choices and follow Christ, but hearing her say something like that is very rewarding and makes us grateful we also have family and friends who are trying and succeeding at their teaching. Thanks Dave and Rachel! I am so thankful Matt and Tristyn had an opportunity to be together for a few days, just Daddy and Daughter. Matt said she traveled very well, she is our little traveler, we love and are proud of her.

While they were gone it gave me a chance to just spend time with Maia and Isaac. Even though I still had 2 children, it just seems so much less busy with 2 children, rather than 3, even with them being 2 years old. I love all my children very much and am so thankful and blessed I have 3 with me, but it is nice to have one on one time with each one of them. We had an opportunity to go to the park with my parents one night and I just loved watching Maia and Isaac play. The enjoyment a child gets from simple things like the swing or the slide, running up a ramp, just chasing them is so refreshing and simple. Maia could sit in a swing for 30 min to an hour and be entertained just laughing with her entire belly. While Isaac can laugh and laugh by simply running up and down a ramp to go down a slide on his tummy and backwards. The simplicity of children is such a blessing and refreshing to see their smiles and happiness with just having one on one time with them. All my children love having story time, playing at the park, playing in the sand, being chased across a field, tickleling then, throwing a ball back and forth. The list of simple joys can go on, what makes a child happy makes me happy and reminds me that I need to be like a child. Like Christ reminds us, "we need to be like a child to enter the kingdon of God." Just to see a childs happiness and love for life reminds me of Christ and the finding happiness in simple things is what Christ wants. I love my children, each one so much and each one holds a special place in my heart, all so different, yet so much alike.

Even though Asa is not with us right now, he is a constant reminder to be happy and strive to make right choices, he is where we are all trying to reach, he has reached perfection and will be with Christ. He was so little, but has left a huge imprint in my life to be better, look at life in an eternal perspective. Sometimes I loose that perspective and I loose sight of what is most important, but it is always there sometimes deeper than is should be, but Asa does help keep that perspective closer than it may be.

This week I have also been feeling a bit anxious and the "nesting syndrome" has surfaced. I feel very anxious to get things done, which is a good sign this baby is coming. The problem is that I feel like I am going crazy because of all the things I feel need to be done. I have accomplished many chores I feel need to be done, but still have so many more I think are important. I really have felt anxious so I asked Matt to give me a blessing a while ago and was able to receive it Monday night. It was very special and brought me much peace. I have been feeling like something is going to happen during the birth of this child to me or our son. I am sure part of these feelings are because of loosing a child, my Dr. said that many times mother's who have had multiple children with no complications tend to be anxious because they feel like something will happen now because all the other birth have been without complications. It was nice to hear I am not alone in my feelings, but not nice to have these feelings. So the blessing was a huge comfort when I was told that my delivery who go similar to my previous ones and that the medical team will help meet our needs. That I will be able to hold my son against my chest and there will be a bond of love that we will share and that this child will need at this time in the world, with Satan fighting to get people, my love for my son will help him choose the right and withstand the temptations of Satan in his life. I was reminded how much my Father in Heaven loves me and that I have a spouse who loves me with all his heart and wants to help, I just need to ask. I was told that I have been very sensative in listing to the promptings of the spirit in having our children. That I have listened to the Spirit and not to friends and family about how close and how many children we have. Many family and friends were and are concerned about the closeness in the age of our children, but I would feel strongly about having a child and listen to those feelings. Everytime we got pregnant within weeks. So hearing that my Father in Heaven is proud of me for listening and acting despite the circumstances in our life and other peoples opinions makes me feel even happier that we made the choices we have made in having children. I am so thankful for the preisthood that Matt's holds that he his a righteous priesthood holder. That I can be told and be reminded of blessings from my Father in Heaven and know it is from him, especially when they are things I only know about, have thought about, and maybe concerned about and be told them. I love my family, I love my Savior, I am thankful for this little spirit that will be joining our family, and for all the other little spirits that we have been entrusted with.

Funny Things People Say!!

So a miracle has happened!! It has only been 1.5 weeks since my last post, I was trying to post something on Sunday, but I was not feeling real well. So I am 37 weeks pregnant today and feel like I have ballooned in the last week or so. I have had some funny comments from people I have not had before:

I have to set up a picture for you: I was climbing down the ladder to the bunk bed Tristyn is sleeping in with my belly out front. Tristyn" Mommy, ya know your tummy is going to get so big that soon you will be dragging it on the floor!"
Mommy laughing, "I don't think it will get that big, the baby will be coming before then."
Tristyn, "Okay."

Next I was at my 36 week appointment and things are going well and we are starting to progress and for me that means something, once I start I usually start going. I asked my Dr. if I had dropped and he said, "possibly, but a multip (multiple pregnancies) pregnancy usually depends on her muscle tone." I just sat there thinking I guess he is telling me I have no muscle tone which is why I am so low.

The last one was from a lady at church, someone I have never met and is new. She looked at me and asked how far along I am. I told her I was going to be 37 weeks this week. She said "WOW, you are big for still needing to make it another 3 weeks!" I simply replied, "Well, I guess that's what happens after you have had 3 pregnancies and 4 children, this being my 4th pregnancy and 5th child in 5.5 years." She just looked at me in amazement or maybe like I am crazy.

I have had many people say random things to me about other experiences and just didn't think to much about them. This time I decided to write some done and remember funny things people say. I just have to laugh at peoples comments and really don't care, which is good for me at this stage.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th of July!!

Another 4th of July came and went. Maia, Isaac, and I had a fun 4th of July with my family here in UT. We got to be in a small parade with Leif's family and then have the opportunity to be part of a Flag Ceremony. There was a veteran who spoke and our Nation was honored by children and families sings "My Country Tis of Thee," "My Flag My Flag," and reciting "The Pledge of Allegiance." It was nice to feel some patriotism, remember and honor all the past and present soldiers and Forefathers. This is such a wonderful holiday for me to think about how grateful I am to have the freedom's of this country, to have the resources available, the things that make my life so much easier, the many things we take for granted living in this country. One of the most important parts in my life that I have here in the USA is worshiping the way I choose. We also had the opportunity to spend the evening with my niece Taylor for her 4th Birthday. I did miss Matt and Tristyn as they were visiting his brother Dave and family in WA. They are having a great time and I am glad they went to support my niece for her special baptismal day today.

Today my parents, Maia, Isaac, and I had the opportunity to listen to my aunt and uncle Caleen and Art Jones share their teaching experience in China. I really felt like my family will have an opportunity to live their some day. Matt felt strongly about learning Chinese while at Thunderbird and didn't know why, he just had some strong feelings he needed to learn it. I supported him in learning it and each time I hear about someone living in China for different reasons it sparks interest in me and I too feel a connection with China and the people. I don't know why, hopefully someday we will have the opportunity to find out why.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Here we are again!

Here we go again, months have passed with a lot of excitement and no blogging done, boy am I good!!! So much has happened, but for time sake, just a small update with our family. May1st Matt graduated from Thunderbird and that was a very exciting day. I am so proud of Matt for graduating from such an amazing school. We loved our experience and friends we made. We moved shortly after graduation to Ogden, Utah to live with my parents until we figure things out for work. It has been nice to be here with my parents and have our children be around their grandparents. We have never lived by my parents since we have been married or had children, so this time is nice. We have been able to take it easy and rest a little, it has also been very nice to have Matt be home for a change.

June came and went!!! Looking back it seems like we did a lot, but I can't seem to remember what we did. Except for a couple big highlights and that is Maia and Isaac's 2 year birthday. Yes, they are 2 and I can't believe how fast they have grown. They are such wonderful children and a wonderful blessing to have in our family. From the moment I found out I was having twins I was so excited and happy. In fact, I have had so much fun with these two, I was hoping to have twins again. Yes, Matt loves Maia and Isaac, but didn't want twins again. We are blessed with just one this time and I am still very happy. Anyway, Maia and Isaac are so different, yet love being around each other. They love chasing each other around the house and love following Tristyn everywhere she goes. Tristyn is such a good big sister and loves her brother's and sister so much. She always wants Maia and Isaac to be around and enjoys helping them.

For their birthday we went fishing at a fish farm, it was actually very fun. The only problem is that Maia and Isaac were a little scared of the fish. Maia liked watching us fish, but would step back and turn when we would pull it out of the water. Isaac on the other hand was not only scared but terrified. He actually dove on the grass, screamed, and covered his head with his hands when the fish were close to him. It almost seemed like he was dodging a dangerous weapon. I guess you would have to be there to see how funny it was, I did feel bad he was so scared, but it was very funny. Tristyn loved fishing and got the hang of it very quickly. She was catching fish after fish, she's a little fisherman!

Other fun times were at the Country Club swimming pool with family and cousins. All the kids love the water. Tristyn just jumps in and is really becoming a little swimmer, she is fearless. Maia and Isaac love to be in the water and will play around in the kids pool. In the big pool, they love to go under the water only if they are in our arms. Matt has also taken the kids on walks, the library, and the park.

We also had a great Father's Day. We had a fun breakfast at my parents home with Brandon and Leif's family, our family, and my parents. It was fun to have everyone together and be around to honor some of the important father's in our family.

We are now in July! Matt and Tristyn decided to take a trip up to Washington to visit his brother Dave and family. They went up for our nieces baptism. Tristyn has been so excited to see her cousins baptism. She knows how important and special this is and wanted to share in this special moment. They sound like they are having fun and enjoying time with family. Hopefully, I will have some pictures next time and a post that is in a couple of days or week.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It's a Boy!!

We found out on March 25th we will be blessed with another boy. WE are so excited to have another boy in this family. We love our daughters and their excitement and love for life, however, we really wanted a boy. Infact, Tristyn told everyone from the moment she knew we were expecting that we are having a boy and his name is Lance. We are not sure about the name, but we do like, but she was right, we are having a BOY. Tristyn, is pretty intune with our pregnancies, she always knew Maia and Isaac were twins, a boy and girl before we knew and she knew this pregnancy was a boy. She is an amazing little girl.

I can't believe it is April!!!

I have trying to be better at journaling, but it is not my strength, so we are trying to blog, now it has been a month since I last recored anything. We has a very packed and busy month of March. I had my 31st birthday and it was great, all I wanted was a day off, and I got it. Matt was able to stay home most of day and take care of the kiddos, I went out to lunch with friends, and enjoyed a Latin potluck at Thunderbird. I alway enjoy going to events at Thunderbird and getting to know so many wonderful families from all over the world.

Matt and I also had the wonderful opportunity to got to the Mesa, AZ Temple on the Saturday before my birthday. One of our friends was going through for the first time, Juilo. He is an amazing person, I have learned so much from. His love for Christ and desire to follow him, his example of a father, and love for the gospel. We felt so blessed to share in this special day with him. The spirit and love of Christ I feel when I attend the House of Lord is so peaceful. It is so nice to put aside worldly things and focus on the eternal perspective for a couple of hours. I feel the love of my Father In Heaven and Jesus Christ, I feel closer to my son Asa. I love the opportunities to attend the temple.

On March 14th, Matt entered Tour de Cure bike race. It was fun to see him be so excited and be able to raise money to donate to the Diabetic Association. The kids had fun seeing Daddy on a bike, and were his own fan club.

The next part of March flew very fast. We had a small stay in hospital because of Maia, she has some respiratory distress. Basically, she has asthma and a simple virus attacked her lungs and required her to be on oxygen for 5 days. She was such a trooper, she was so cute letting all the hospital workers do whatever they needed too. The RN's would come in and she'd lift up her leg for her BP, hold her arm out for her IV meds, and lift up her shirt to they could listen to her lungs. The Resp. Therapists would just hand her the treatments and she'd hold the mask to her mouth. In the mean time, I was not sleeping, hence hospital life and sleeping in a twin be with a 21 month old. Poor Tristyn being scared for her sister in the hospital, hoping she will come home. Tristyn remembers Asa in the hospital and knows he didn't come home, so for her hospitals can be a bit overwhelming at times. Isaac missed his Mommy and twin sister, as for Matt. He handled it well, but missed to much school and was feeling a bit burdened with missing school projects, classes, exams, meetings, and job interviews. The hospital stay turned into 5 days rather than 1-2, so for Matt missing so much school at the end left us in need of help. So, his mother came to our rescue. She came down to help us our for about a week. It was so nice because when we came home, then Tristyn got the flu and was throwing up all night, the next day we found out Maia now had an ear infection, and Isaac had a fever and was now coughing and was lethargic. Then the next day he was throwing up and Tristyn was now better, but Maia was still not eating and Isaac was eating very little. I was concerned about Maia from her 10% weight loss and Isaac being lethargic, then he turned very cranky. So there was someone just attending to children every second. I know kids get sick, but a Dad at school all hours of the day and pregnant mother not sleeping for over 5 days and now more can be a bit much. Again, my mother in law truely saved us, it was a huge blessing. On with our sick kiddos, then we found out Isaac had an ear infection. By the end of the second week the kids starting eating again and were happy, now we were happier.

Even though we were in hospital and then had a week of infections, coughs, sleepless nights, throwing up, lots and lots of wash, we had family to help, we came home from the hospital all together, and we have each other. Then it was time to say bye to Nanna!! Thanks Nanna for saving the day we truely love and appreciate you. We are so fortunate to have such wonderful family and friends. I forgot to mention the help our friends from our ward and Thunderbird gave, dinners brought in, blessings being administers, car rides, babysitters, and visiters in the hospital. We truely felt loved and cared for.

That about wrapped up the rest of March!!! Except for a fun filled evening for a girls night out with friends from Thunderbird and a fun day at a spring training baseball game, I will post pictures later.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Trip to China

My trip to China was amazing and reinforced my desire to move my family there. With the difficult global economy its not the right environment or time to head over there now, but it is still definitely in the Keller's plans.

I kept a journal of thoughts, feelings and experiences and have posted them here for everyone to enjoy. I cannot promise that it will all make sense but ...

"Day 1 – Beijing – January 12, 2009
Flying into Beijing, China was anti-climatic. But 30 hours of traveling from Salt Lake City, Utah will do that to any adventurous spirit. Fortunately, curiosity propelled me to shed the fatigue shortly after arriving at the JW Marriott hotel and venture out to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. I found both sites incredibly interesting and awash in history. Books I had read about the Ming and Qing Dynasty rule from the hallowed halls of the City were top of mind as I wandered through the Meridian Gate and into the Outer and Inner Courts. Mysticism titillated my senses as I peered into the Three Halls of Harmony and at the throne in the Palace of Heavenly Purity. Crossing the street from the City put me on ground where modern-day revolutions were celebrated and squashed. I was impressed by the size and surroundings of Tiananmen, but was saddened by the horrible atrocities that occurred in this square during the Cultural Revolution and 89’ Massacre of college students. Interestingly, my feeling of conflict in The Square set precedence for the duration of my trip. Like the feelings of Tiananmen, my experience in China was to be wrought with conflict regarding my desire to pursue a life and career in China. And the feelings started on the first day of lectures when numerous speakers painted drastically different pictures of the present and future of China economics and politics. Interestingly, the messages that percolated to the surface of my understanding were spoken most eloquently by Frank Neville: 1) don’t be intimidated by the mysticism and history of China, 2) don’t check your common sense at the door when thinking about and interacting with China, and 3) don’t be culturally naïve about China but don’t also stress out about mastering China. These three points described succinctly the words of encouragement I needed to hear in contemplating the emotional conflict I feel about the China. It was an interesting first day.

Day 2 – Beijing – January 13, 2009
After a tremendously engaging first day there is nothing quite like beginning day two with a disappointing site visit to an uninspiring fruit juice bottler. Huiyuan Juice Group cordially hosted us for a site visit of it’s bottling plant in an area one hour outside of Beijing. The hosts introduced to Huiyuan via a five-minute video and 30 minute tour of the company’s trophy collection. The only interesting aspect of the business was to learn that the founder, Mr. Zhu Xin Li, created the largest privately held juice bottler in China by leveraging his guanxi in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Such relationships allowed unfettered growth, which eventually led to the 2008 offer from the Coca-Cola Company to purchase Huiyuan. This has led to an interesting CCP debate as the iconic American company attempts to takeover a Chinese symbol of excellence. Despite the economics of the situation, the takeover of Chinese national symbols was established well before the Huiyuan / Coca-Cola deal. In 1979, the CCP’s leading member, Deng Xiaoping, persuaded Chinese citizens everywhere to pursue the glories of wealth. This generated significant advancements in economics and stimulated what is today a thriving tourism market. The Great Wall of China is an amazing tourist destination and one that is awesome to behold. The sure magnitude and gravity of its design and creation is spectacular. My father use to always tell me while I was growing up, “Son, when someone tells you it can’t be done, prove them wrong.” I think the Chinese took such a saying literally as the location of the Great Wall traverses over 4,000 miles of some of the roughest terrain the country has to offer. And that is what impressed me most about the Wall. However, despite its magnificence the Wall is not immune to modern-day attractions and the luge ride down from the Wall was a spectacle to behold as Thundebird MBAs barreled down the course at break neck speeds without any thought to life or limb. The luge and Wall represented another conflict for me. A beautiful and historic landmark in companionship with a cheap thrill to line the coffers of the government. The night ended with an extraneous meal at a Communist Theater Dinner. I describe it as extraneous because nothing could have been more foreign than that experience. The setting, the propaganda, the language, the food, and the reactions of my fellow Weiguarens were simply out of our comfort zones but definitely an experience to be had.

Day 3 – Beijing – January 14, 2009
Day three was another packed day as we prepared to say goodbye to Beijing and make our way to Shanghai. The speakers did their part in explaining the current political and sustainable environment of China. Mr. Mark Duval was particularly impressive as he discussed the various levels of touch-points Motorola has adopted in developing relations with the Chinese government and party. I especially found the following quote captivating from his lecture, “You cannot criticize China from the outside looking in. You have to be in the country and create change from within.” I bring this point out in particular because of the tone I’ve noticed with the Thunderbird group. To me, it seems, there are a number of self-appointed “China experts” amongst us that appear to have figured out China. This is perplexing to me as the more I listen to the messages being shared the more dumbfounded I feel toward the complexities of such a great nation. And the saying, “I may be dumb but I’m not stupid” comes to mind as I listen to the pontificating of our group’s critics. I hope the sentiment changes as we move along our Winterim. Our afternoon concluded with a site visit of computer manufacturer Lenovo. This Chinese darling is an interesting organization. Built from the ground up and recently acquiring global prominence with its purchase of IMB’s laptop business unit a few years ago, Lenovo faces the same transformational hurdles as most Chinese companies. That is to say that it is a company with tremendous operational prowess that will only get them so far in an economy attempting to eat up the value chain. Lenovo, admittedly, has a brand issue. Very few peopleheard of Lenovo before it purchased IMB’s laptop business unit. Vis-à-vis the purchase, Lenovo know faces a strategic dilemma of how to build and manage a global brand. I venture to say the success or failure of this one initiative alone will make or break the rising star of this Chinese company. After our visit, we all packed up and headed for Beijing International Airport to catch flights to the sprawling metropolis of Shanghai.

Day 4 – Shanghai – January 15, 2009
I love Shanghai. Imagine New York City with a multiplier of 10 and you might begin to understand the magnitude of the city. It’s amazing, spectacular, and filled with development. Unfortunately, my desires to explore are on hold until the weekend as today was a lecture day. Despite my cabin-fever mentality, today’s speakers were awesome. It all began with Kent Kendl’s stand up comedic rendition of demonstrating how a person can perform in front of a crowd, spew random nothingness about a topic the crowd is relatively naïve about, and in a normal setting, make a lot of money at. If you guessed Kent’s profession was a comedian or consultant you would be right with both assumptions. Despite such classics as “bull cookies” and “super-wealthy, yellow teenagers” Kent actually relayed a decent message as he challenged us to use the following simple principles in working in China: 1) think strategy before structure, 2) pursue top and bottom line business decisions, and 3) work hard to get deep market insight. Another speaker that strongly impressed me was Dr. Janamitra Devan’s explanation of the Chinese urbanization movement. I was fascinated by his modeling of expected growth concentrations in China. The sheer movement of migrant workers out of the farmlands and into the cities breeds need for massive metropolitan planning for the Chinese government and party. Such planning is unprecedented on the face of the earth. However, the icing on the cake for me was Joab Meyer’s story of graduating from Thunderbird, selling everything, and moving to China with his family. Without even knowing Joab, I immediately felt a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for such a bold move. I felt inspired and motivated to follow in his footsteps and land myself in China until I find a job. The siren call of this great land is tangibly tugging at my heartstrings and my urge to live among the Chinese is becoming more entrenched. Listening to these speakers and hearing their stories of struggle and victory persuades me to at least tempt fate this once. To look into the jaws of this powerful nation and place my head squarely in its mouth in defiance or confidence or stupidity, to see if I can withstand and earn the respect of the people. This place captivates me.

Day 5 – Shanghai – January 16, 2009
Today’s site visits were okay. The GM plant was not overly stimulating as I’ve been to several assembly lines. The Intel visit was a bit disappointing as I was hoping to see more than the reception desk and the inside of a conference room. However, despite the day’s disappointments the alumni dinner and social was entertaining. As the Beijing alumni were almost non-existent, the Shanghai alumni made a better showing. During the course of the evening I met some very interesting Thunderbird’s but really felt more closely bonded to the current students. The revelation I had was that as large and diverse as our alumni network is, the meat of the network is the relationships I’m building today. It’s these folks that I’m going to interact with and rely on in the future. The folks that I graduate with our the individuals I will call when deals need to be made or where groups need to be connected. It was great mixing with the various Thunderbird’s and ties that bind do exist but not nearly to the degree that exist amongst this rag-tag group of people I’ve been experiencing China with over the last five days.

Day 6 and 7 – Shanghai – January 17 and 18, 2009
I will not write much about the days off I had; however, I will mention that the two things that impressed me the most were the wonderful personalities of the Chinese people that came out during my bartering spree through downtown Shanghai and the collective spirituality I felt at the Sunday morning church service I went to with friends. Both experiences left deep impressions of reality where stereotypes had once existed. Off to Hong Kong.

Day 8 – Hong Kong – January 19, 2009
If you could smash the atmosphere of Seattle together with the overwhelming feeling of being in downtown Manhattan you would have Hong Kong. A city situated in the amphitheater of the China South Sea and in the heart of the financial arena of Asian economics, Hong Kong is a definite checkmark of spectacular things I’ve seen in my life. The awesomeness of this beautiful metropolis was validated by the day’s speakers. The theme focused specifically on the importance of Hong Kong’s role in the global expansion of Asia both past and future. However, the speakers were not reluctant to discuss the many difficulties the city faces, and especially, brought to light the difficult in determining the reliability of China’s economic forecasts. Some of the speaker’s did their best to convince us that the economy of the region was not as rosy as the Chinese government wants the world to believe and feels the economic slowdown will impact Hong Kong. However, one particular criticism of the world financial markets was specifically made by the Chief Investment Strategist from Goldman Sachs Asia who said, “The financial market needs commercial banks to stop acting like investment brokerages and China needs to stop incenting the Chinese savings rate.” I thought these points were especially interesting as both observations suggest methods of injecting markets with more liquidity via equity investments and consumer spending. However, another speaker mentioned that such drastic steps are not in China’s nature. The speaker iterated that, “a Chinese policy misstep could be catastrophic for the region and the world.” And Allen Vander … from Edelman consultancy projected that the region would experience a surge in NGO influence, a growing transient labor pool and a stronger emergence of the Chinese consumer. All of these points are fascinating interconnected and could produce interesting results. Only time will tell.

Day 9 – Hong Kong – January 20, 2009
Today we had an interesting visit with a Thunderbird entrepreneur named Nelson Choi. He literally cloned TiVo for the Hong Kong market and gave it the name Magic TV. Nelson’s motto for running a company was that, “you do not need to be an expert just courageous enough to believe in your idea.” And he showed it by taking a $100K venture to $50 MM in five years. Impressively, Nelson was very humble with his accomplishments and genuine in his enthusiasm for the Hong Kong market. Our second visit was in Shenzhen, China at Huawei Technologies. Huawei manufactures telecommunications equipment like switches, routers, servers, etc. and is another darling of the Chinese economy. It’s competitive advantage is its relentless focus on its customers; which sounds crystal clear and captivating when spoken, but when asked to relate how that translated into a business success, the speaker quietly found it difficult to produce an example. Once again a conflict of what China represent to what it really is. A vision of harmony masked by disharmony. This place is a paradox. But I still love it.

Day 10 – Hong Kong – January 21, 2009
My last day on the Winterim. I started this adventure wrestling with the problem of being conflicted and how that mirrored the conflict within China. Today’s lecture from Ambassador Lavin, followed by an outstanding dinner and reception with arguably the best represented alumni group I’ve run into since joining Thunderbird, to a perplexingly long ferry ride in Hong Kong Harbor, has brought me to the conclusion that China is a dynamic consternation. It’s so beautiful, mystifying, and enchanting on the outside. And so complex, conflicted and stupefying on the inside. But despite the contradiction I’m enthralled by its very nature and inspired by Frank Neville’s opening lecture. That is, despite China, with all of its prominence and intrigue, one cannot be 1) intimidated, 2) illogical or 3) culturally naïve when thinking about doing business or pursuing a life this great nation. It is only through feeling the stones as one crosses the river that one can find ultimate success and happiness here. I hope one day I can reflect back on this Winterim as another catalyst in my life long journey to experience China professionally and personally."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Appreciating the Wonderful Moments!!

About a week ago is when I last posted anything and it seems like there is so much to write about, now that I am trying to journal events, stories, and moments in my life. I know many people keep a journal, this is not something I do well at. Therefore, I am trying to journal things special, difficult, emotional, and fun in my family's life. Some experiences may be personal, some may not be, but this blog is a way I can remember and let my family and friends know and remember important dates in our lives. Even though we just started, I really appreciate my sister-in-law, Rachel's comments, her comments keep my trying to keep this thing going.

The "Wonderful Moments" I have been thinking about are the little things that happen on a daily basis in my life, that sometimes I overlook or get to busy to enjoy. I have been thinking about Elder Ballard's General Conference talk in April, 2008 on mothers. He talked about many aspects in a mothers life, but specifically I have been thinking about how he discussed the small moments and to enjoy them while they are here, they will be here and gone so quickly.

The small moments I have enjoyed this past week is going for a walk with my children, and watching Angel Bug ride her bike with a huge smile on her face. Even though she appeared a little tired, she just smiled the entire time, which ended up being about an hour. Her smile showed she loved being outside, just happy to be with her brother, sister, and mother. Angel Bug is such a happy child and brings so much joy to our family, she keeps life active, fun, and full of energy. She is an amazing little girl and is happy most of the time.

More small moments that I enjoyed this week, are watching all three kids play, splash, blow bubbles, and laugh in the bath. We decided to blow bubbles the other night while the kids were taking a bath and one would have thought this was the most exciting thing that has has ever happened in Isaac's life. He was laughing so hard that he was making the rest of us laugh.

Last night, just watching all three kids climb on Daddy was fun for me, (not only did I get a little break), but I enjoyed the time the kids get with Dad. One was on his arm, one on is leg, and one trying to climb on his head. I remember wrestling with my dad when I little and loving every minute. It is apparent to me that my children love wrestling and spending time with their Daddy.

I hope that I can remember to sit back and enjoy those small moments with my family. I started thinking about how fast time has flown since Angel Bug was born, and I do need to remember to take time each day with each child. I know I feel that I received that special attention from my mother and I hope and pray my children will feel the same way I did and do. I know that I was loved and that my mother wanted to be with me. She is a great example and always willing to give ideas of what I can do to help teach and enjoy special moments with my children.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Where does time go?

It is amazing how time just flies right by. When Matt decided to update our family blog (3 weeks ago), I was determined to keep it going, at least once a week. It has been more than 1 week and a lot has happened.


So Tristyn had been sick a few weeks ago and we stayed home from church since she had a high fever. We decided to watch a church movie, and her favorite church movie is, The Testaments, and there is a part that Jesus heals a sick person. She asked me, "do you think he will heal me?" I said, "yes, if you have faith he will, he will." That night she said her prayers and said, "Heavenly Father, please have Jesus heal me and take my fever away." The next morning she came running in my room and asked, "do I still have a fever?" I checked and said, "NO." Then Tristyn said, with a big smile on her face, "Jesus healed me, yeah!"

It is amazing to me how much faith children have and how much we can truely learn from them.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tristyn Rocking Out

Ashley and I captured this video of Tristyn rocking out in our kitchen one night. We didn't prompt or cajole her with money ... she just naturally started kicking it. Afterward, we watched the video and, after laughing hysterically, fast-forwarded to her teenage years and started getting nervous. Oh well, kids keep us young.

Week of January 25th, 2009

Back in Glendale. After a whirlwind adventure to Seattle, Ogden and abroad, we have finally returned home and it feels nice. The fall trimester ended December 10th at Thunderbird and we decided to take advantage of the situation by shipping off to visit family. Our first stop was in Seattle to visit my parents. The snow was incredible and we found ourselves cozying up inside my parent's home for two weeks. As the snow melted, we ventured out to see a number of friends we had not seen since our move to Glendale. It was awesome visiting with our family and friends. After the new year holiday we packed up and flew south to Ogden where we shacked up with Ashley's parents for the duration of the month. After a few days in Ogden, I took off for a school trip to China (posting later with the details) while Ashley and the children stayed at her parent's (posting later with more details). In the end, we really had good visits although 11 days apart was enough. Now, we're home and cracking into our last semester at Thunderbird. Until next week.