Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One and Only

One year ago today, Madeleine Elena Picon joined our family. From the very beginning she has made her mark in the world and on our hearts. Whether it was her stunning birth, hours upon hours of her screaming through months of colic, her non stop chatter and incessant concern for her "bebe" or those big ole cheeks, something told us early on that she was special.

She has soften particularly softened my heart and helped me learn to relax and just enjoy the jiggles and wonders of babies.

Though small for her age, she has an incredible energy and excitement about life. Gwen has always been very cautious, adaptable, and easy going but Madeleine knows what she wants, lets you hear it, and sets her limits!

We had two birthday parties for her big ONE. We first celebrated a couple of weeks ago with 3 other babies turning one with Madeleine.

Then today we had chocolate cake that Joseph and I worked on and Grandma Picon was here to celebrate with us. The cake turned out Delicious!!

Happy Birthday Madeleine, and in the words of your father, "Finally!"
We love you!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Okay, so it's been a long time since "the blog" has been updated, we've been busy:) It finally hit me that someone needed to update our blog when I saw in the top right hand corner the tagline: We're just glad it's not summer anymore. Well, it's been about a hundred degrees outside, and so I think it's safe to say that summer is back. Nothing like good ole Texas heat to get you writing again.

Life is good. Of the few regrets I have is the lack of time to stay in touch with people who hold special places in my heart. People like Travis and Jess, Collin and Joy, Nate and Sally, Neil and Amber, Phil and Rachelle, Jason and Teresa, Sis. Spaulding, The Gilberts, Derek and Amanda, Dustin, Jacob, Dallon, Josh, Summer, Nathan and Dilene, Matt and Lindsey, the Walkers, the Summerills, Jared, Rachel Bana, Vivian and Steve, The Clarks. Ann Marrow Lindberg writes: "My heart cannot implement into action the demands of all those to whom my heart responds." I feel like this captures how I feel sometimes. Not that you are demanding my time; it's more like the feelings I have for you demand that I do something about it. While I am hesitant to express public statements of love I think it's appropriate for this situation. It's not ideal, but it works:)

For those of you mentioned in the list above and the many others not mentioned, I want you to know that Catherine and I miss you guys a ton. We think about you, we pray for you, we fast with you, we stalk you on facebook and media outlets in an attempt to stay current on your life stories, and we hope you never forget us. President Kimball points out that God meets our needs through other people. You have been and are those people for Catherine and I. So please know that despite the distance in time and space you continue to add value to our lives, thanks:)

Well, you probably want an update:

I just finished my first year of graduate work. Catherine and I have known that our coming to Austin was inspired but we have never received a "this is why you're here" type of...

Catherine just got back from the temple, gotta go. I'll try again soon...:)


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Madeleine's Birthday Story

Due Date: Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Pain Management Method: HypnoBirthing

Monday, October 18th

12:38 am: Wakeup hungry, head to the kitchen to get a bowl of Cheerios cereal and eat them in bed. As I finish I notice discomfort/pain similar to a contraction. I sit still and think “I am having a contraction.” I put my cereal away, use the restroom, come back to bed and am almost giddy - “I’m having a contraction!” and even have a few chills. I then notice that although I have just begun feeling them they are really close apart - 2/3 minutes.

I poke at Joseph and say, “Hey, I’m having contractions. I’m in labor”

Joseph responds, “Am what?” half asleep still

Me: “I think we should go to the hospital.”

Joseph: “Now? Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes they’re really close.”

Joseph remains growling in bed. I begin packing my bag but stop to focus on my contractions. Joseph wakes up, gets dressed and finishes packing. I remain calm and relaxed doing my breathing exercises during each contraction. Joseph gives me a blessing. We wake up grandma and head to the car.

1:45 We drive to the hospital - I have to tell Joseph to slow down over the speed bumps.

2:00ish we check-in and go to Triage. They check me and I am “at about a 5 or 6” cm dilated so they will admit me. The nurse comments how well I am managing my contractions and lets me take a break to manage them in between paperwork.

3:00 We get set up in our room. They tell me that I can have intermittent fetal monitoring - 5 mins on, 30 mins off because my first baby was healthy. Since I had been monitored in triage they said I could start my 30 mins off monitors and that they would be back in 30 mins to check in on me.

3:15ish - “Joseph I need to use the restroom.” We walk over to the restroom and sit on the pot. Catherine says: “Oh gosh, Joseph!!”. Up to this point she hadn’t made a sound, not even a groan. She does this about another 2 times and says: “The baby’s coming!!” I look down in between her legs and, sure enough, our daughter’s head has popped out and is hanging out of her.

3:30ish- I run out of the restroom to get a nurse (never-mind that there’s a cord I can pull in the restroom). I go into the hall and don’t see anyone and I yell out: “I need help, the baby’s coming!!” I saw one nurse down the hall in another room try and get around stuff to get to us and so I went back to the restroom. I find Catherine standing in a pool of blood holding our daughter in her hands. She seemed to be in shock and so I take the baby. I was so excited and happy to see her.

3:35ish- about five nurses run into our room. One nurse takes Madeleine from me and asked: “Is she breathing? Is everything okay?” Part of me is thinking: “Yeah, everything is great:)” the other part of me is saying: “Wait, you’re the one who’s suppose to let me know if my daughter is breathing and is okay.” Anyway, I get to cut the umbilical cord and the nurses whisk away the baby to get her wrapped up and warm. Meanwhile, Catherine is put in a wheelchair and taken to her bed. The doctor cleans her up, no problems- a couple of minor tears, that’s it.

3:45- The nurse is filling out paperwork and asks with a giggle in her voice: “Hey doc, what’s the time of birth?” Everyone in the room gives their guess and we finally agree, “3:37.”

This was a great experience:) With the exception of the saying, “oh my gosh the baby’s coming,” Catherine didn’t say one word or make a sound during labor. I’ve thought of my wife as a superwoman lately, but after this experience, she has claimed a spot with the likes of Dilene Seaman and Julie Beck. She is remarkable in so many ways that it has left the words of a friend resounding in my ears. When I met Catherine, I confided to this friend that I would marry her someday. He responded, “she’s out of your league!”

Well, that’s the crazy story of Madeleine’s arrival. To all of you reading this posting, we love you:)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Late-night Conversations

Okay so maybe not late-night but kind of. I sleep during the day so when I refer to "late-night" whatI mean is simply, while I am sleeping or supposed to be asleep.

Yesterday after lunch Catherine and I lied down to cuddle but as usual I fell asleep. Knowing that I was tired, Catherine let me sleep. That was about 3ish and about 7ish Catherine recorded the following conversation:

Me: mumble, mumble, mumble
Catherine: What honey?
Me: mumble, mumble, mumble
Catherine: I'm sorry, what?
Me: (annoyed) You should clean the cardboard.
Catherine: What cardboard?
Me: (more annoyed) Sweetheart, from watching the kids!
Catherine: What kids did we watch?
Me: (my head now lifted up & very annoyed) It's all over the bed, you should clean it up!
Catherine: I'm sorry but there is no cardboard on the bed.
Me: mumble, mumble
Catherine: Oh honey just go to sleep.
Me: mumble, zzzzzz...


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Have a Confession to Make..

Okay so I don't know if you've ever done anything you feel ashamed of...

Today I went to help a friend move and afterward his wife bought lunch for those who helped. At first I was excited but when I saw what it was I was less than excited. At first I didn't know how to react, "do I smile and accept their kind jesture?" "do I yell at the top of my lungs and run the other way?" I didn't want to offend them but at the same time I didn't want to compromise my principles. In the end I accepted the jesture and went on my way back home.

On the way home I noticed that I hadn't eaten all day and I was growing hungry. Next to me in the car was my friends jesture of kindness calling me by name, "Joseph, I know you're hungry, eat me." I will admit, at first I was like, "heck no," but that didn't last. I stopped at Walmart and when I got back in the car I couldn't resist the temptation anymore. I did it. I ate a cheeseburger from Mickey D's. I know, I shouldn't have but I hadn't eaten in forever and what can I say, I'm imperfect. A few weeks ago I had a coke and now this. I was reluctant to tell Catherine but the guilt was unbearable. In a way I wanted to admit thatI liked it but the thought of admitting it made me feel dirty. Anyway, when I finally told Catherine she laughed. All that for nothing!

I will admit, even though I did enjoy the burger, I won't be giving up my life-long commitment to staying away from McDonalds. Not that I'm on some weird organic trip or against fast food all together; I just don't like McDonalds and I intend to keep it that way.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lessons from the Master

I don't know if you ever feel this way but I have often gone between being okay with adversity and being frustrated by it. Lately it seems that the weight of personal struggles have taken their toll on me. Not that life is bad or anything; it's just that the internal struggles were at a peak this week. I read Elder Bednar's entry in this month's Ensign and felt bouyed but some things he shared. He said the following:

"In the classroom of mortality, we experience tenderness, love, kindness, happiness, sorrow, disappointment, pain, and even challenges of physical limitations in ways that prepare us for eternity. Simply stated, there are lessons we must learn and experiences we must have, as the scritptures describe, "according to the flesh."

Because of recent struggles my mind has welcomed this truth. I don't know why I am called to bare the struggles that are unique to my life. But I do feel something that leads me to believe that one day I will know. I don't think that this will be the end of my frustrations with the occassional battle but I feel better equiped to approach the circumstances. I am encouraged to face those challenges with faith. Deep down I know that there is a reason and it's not because of some sordid joke or vain design. I'm further encouraged by the Master's perfect life notwithstanding the seemingly insurmountable circumstances He faced.

Can you imagine what it must have been like to have your closest friends betray you and deny you? What can we tell the Savior about feeling tired of doing the right thing for people who don't care? What can we teach Him of the pain of loneliness when He alone had to bear the brunt of our bad choices? You might ask why, as I have often asked. Yes, I know, He suffered so that we wouldn't have to. But sometimes those words lose their meaning and I'm left to rediscover what it must have been like for Him. The reality is that He did die for and continues to live for us.

Something about the hunger He felt, something about the betrayal He endured, something about the humiliation He endured as well as the joy He shared with the faithful, prepared Him for the afterlife. I don't know all of the details but I can see the pieces coming together and I'm beginning to see the bigger picture. Likewise, I know that some day I will understand the full consequence and meaning behind my own experiences. It will be a sweet experience and one that I look forward to.


Monday, June 7, 2010

My Weekend

So this weekend was pretty cool. We had a wonderful stake conference, Catherine made the best lasagna ever (for real) and pretzels, we paid off a lot of our debts, and Gwen got new teeth (pictures will come later, I'm sure). Also, the Winks recently sent us some trail mix and it came in handy this week when I didn't make time to eat before bed. Thanks guys:)

Working the graveyard shift poses interesting problems that I have to deal with. Most people sleep at night and so when I'm out doing stuff, whether that be service or play or whatever, I tend to fall into the trap of thinking I'm on a normal schedule like them. Although I'm getting better I tend to overbook myself and then I remember that I have to work at midnight. This was my Saturday to do list: organize manpower and set up chairs for stake conference, follow up with home teachers to help with moves, play with Gwen, spend time with Catherine, attend leadership meeting, attend adult session of stake conference, find babysitter, eat, shower, oh yeah, sleep before I go back to work at 11:15 p.m.. Needless to say that a lot of that didn't get done. I did help set up chairs, I followed up with HT's, I hugged and kissed my wife and daughter and chatted with them for about 5 seconds, ate some blueberries, showered, and attended the leadership meeting. I did get some sleep before the meeting (3 hrs) but ended up staying home from the adult session so I could sleep some more. I guess that wasn't so bad, we didn't have to find a babysitter and I was refreshed for the general session of conference. Anyway, overall it went better than usual. I'm glad too because the Sunday morning session had a lot to offer and I'm glad I wasn't falling asleep the whole time (that's not to say that Catherine didn't have to tap me on the shoulder a couple of times, I'm human).

Work has been interesting lately, too. I don't know if you've ever heard of employers incorporating a draft for selecting schedules, but on Friday my employer had its annual draft and I got bumped off to the 4-12 shift. Come August I won't be working graveyard anymore. That's good and bad. I'll appreciate leaving the graveyard shift but since I start grad school in September I'm not sure if I'll be able to pull off a job on top of a full load of classes and an internship. I guess I could if I wasn't married, a member of the church, or gave a rats about anything else... The reality is that I probably will end up quiting come September. It's kind of okay, I guess. This last week I started feeling like some of the boys are slipping backwards. I try to work with them but now I feel like their trying to take advantage of my goodness. One of the boys was joking around with me after I had warned them against feeling like I was one of their peers, and I let him know that he wasn't running game on anyone, including me. He stopped but I think they've gotten to comfortable with me so I think I need to step it up and be more aggressive in holding them accountable when they come up short. I'll need to set this pattern before my move to 4-12 when I will be spending 6 of my 8 hours working with them. Anyway, I'll see how it goes this week and keep you posted.