Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Year in Review

This last year has been a good one.  Jessica and I recently celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary and took the opportunity to go see Fiddler on the Roof at Sundance.  It was an enjoyable play with a talented cast including our mutual friend Jay.  The green apple suckers from the gift shop consummated the evening to make it a most delightful anniversary celebration.
It is great to be married to such a wonderful person not to mention her high level of endurance when it comes to watching Levi.  She doesn't even need a break after a few hours like I do.  This last year with Jessica has indeed been a gratifying one.  Here's to many more!

Reviewing the last year couldn't be complete without giving an update of Levi, our one year old son.  He is a happy boy who usually has his head bruised due to his insatiable curiosity.  Just yesterday he tumbled down the stairs pell mell while pursuing me out to the garage.  Levi's interests include: playing with plastic outlet covers, eating, crawling up the stairs, biting, smiling, biting and then smiling, pointing at interesting things, pointing at seemingly uninteresting things, sitting on something that is elevated (toy cars, toy trains, chairs etc.).  This last month I have noticed cognitive change in Levi. His problem solving skills and memory have increased.  For the first time I have thought, "I better be careful in what I do around him.  He seems to be watching."

He also very much enjoys swimming.  He loved going to the Provo Rec Center on his first birthday. 


I graduated for college and it only took me 9 years!
It was only fitting to climb to the most majestic point in all of the Wasatch Front to celebrate my newly experienced triumph.  Here's a few more pictures, just for education's sake:
It was lovely to synchronize graduation celebration and the yearly Lone Peak hike.  I think Zach's 'Murica theme was his most comical yet.  I had a hard time holding the camera still from all of my chuckling.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


I know it has been a while since I graduated from BYU but I feel like my college graduation is important enough to go back and blog about. 

When it came to graduation I thought I would be more excited than I was. For me after giving birth walking for my graduation seemed anticlimactic. Graduation ceremonies were three weeks after I had Levi. At this point I wasn't feeling up to going out in public and my body was still recovering. However, I  will only graduate once from BYU so I might as well make the most of it. So I went to my graduation. Luckily since I walked in August there weren't to many other people walking. So the whole ordeal wasn't to long.

One of the many perks of my father being the University Photographer is that I get some great pictures with some pretty amazing people.

This is me with the Dean of the Marriott School, Dean Perry.

President Samualsen

Marilyn Berrett from the Department of Dance
Elder Rasband

I made Levi a BYU outfit for graduation!

I am officially a college graduate. I received my degree in Recreation Management and Youth Leadership with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation and a minor in Contemporary Dance!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

10 Ways to Hold Your Baby

In an effort to promote awareness for all the babies' daddies out there I have created the following instructional tutorial complete with pictorial demonstrations on different ways to hold your own human responsibility.

1. The Standard One Arm Hip Hold
An easy hold that keeps your arm feeling energized while distributing baby's weight across your own orthopedic structure.

2. The Football Hold
Secure infant while stiff-arming any unwanted well wishers. 

3. The Puppy Hold
Grasp firmly by the scruff of the onesie and lift with mammalian maternal care.  

4. The Two Arm Rock-A-Bye
Effective hold for rocking baby to sleep.  Recommended when patience for crying is wearing thin.

5. The Chest to Chest
Constant victory chest pump for engendering such a champ.

6. The Reverse Cradle
All the benefits of the Two Arm Rock-A-Bye with the added perk of full baby vision which decreases fussiness. 

7. The Pride Rock Presentation
Sure way to impress admiring onlookers.  Great after blessings.

8. The Front Facing Chair Lift
Secure hold that satisfies baby's curiosity and protects holder from erratic kicking.

9. The He Just Spit Up; Hold Away from Your Shirt Hold
Maximizes distance between regurgitated curdling milk from your own button up.  Gives holder time to think of an appropriate clean up solution. 

10. The He Smells Bad Requesting Assistance Hold
When you can't do it on your own hold baby away from person until you can call for back up. Sometimes you need a tag team clean up crew.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Levi Clarke Shepherd

A new era has begun for Nathan and I. We have recently entered the realm of Parenthood. Here is how it all began...

Thursday July 25, 2013
Around 1 in the morning:
I woke up very uncomfortable having early labor pains. I didn't want to bother Nathan so I just tried to find a comfortable position to sleep in. I drifted in and out of sleep for the next few hours. After a while I realized that I was indeed in labor, so I got my ipod and started to listen to my hypnobabies tracks in hope that I would become more comfortable.

4 am:
Nathan woke up and found me in bathroom trying to deal with my pressure waves (contractions.) For the next few hours I continued to listen to my hypnobabies tracks and Nathan timed my contractions.

7 am:
After Nathan had diligently timed my contractions I was having contractions every five minutes, so we decided to head to the hospital. When we got to the hospital they checked to see how dilated I was. I was only at 2 1/2 cm and after staying at the hospital for an hour I only progressed to 3 cm. The hospital decided that they weren't going to admit me. So Nathan and I headed home.

I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon having contractions and trying to get comfortable.

3 pm:
Nathan decided that it was safe for him to go to his class. I meanwhile was still having contractions.

4 pm:
I called my mom and had her come over because I was bored and I felt more comfortable when someone was with me. My mom started timing my contractions and they were about three minutes apart.

6 pm:
Nathan decided to leave his class early and he stopped by Zupas to get me some food. This was the last thing I ate for many hours.

7 pm:
We made our way back to the hospital. After they checked me I had progressed to 5 cm! At this point they said that I could stay. After getting comfortable in our room Nathan and I decided to walk the halls. That didn't last very long because I wasn't very comfortable walking.

The next few hours I spent having contractions, trying to get comfortable, and eating popsicles.

12 am:
At this point I had only progressed to 6 cm and my water hadn't broken yet. My doctor wanted to break my water to speed things up. I was very hesitant for this to happen because I knew once my water broke my contractions would become more intense. Even though I had been preparing to have a natural birth using hypnobabies techniques I was very uncomfortable. I was having a hard time relaxing and my contractions felt more like pain then pressure. I told the nurses my concerns and they began talking to me about my pain management options. They said that I could have a drug that would take the edge off of the contractions, get and epidural, or have both. I opted to get both! Can I just say that the epidural is heaven sent. After 24 hours in labor it was the only thing that could help me relax. After the epidural they broke my water and I was able to rest for a couple of hours.

4:30 am:
The nurse came in and told me it was time to start pushing. The first hour of pushing was uneventful. I couldn't really feel anything (which was great) so it made it difficult to push. After a while though the epidural began to wear off and I could feel enough pressure to push.

6:35 am:
The nurse, resident doctor, and I were all wondering when my doctor was going to get to the hospital because Levi was getting very close to coming into the world.

6:45 am:
My doctor finally arrived at the hospital and was very surprised to see how far along I was.

7:04 am:
Levi Clarke Shepherd entered the world! It was such an amazing experience. It is hard to describe the feelings that are involved in child birth. It was a very humbling, and empowering experience. When I was able to hold Levi I couldn't believe that he was mine. He was so perfect! Levi was 6 lbs. 10 oz. and 21 in. long.

Nathan and I feel so blessed to have Levi in our life.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Acclamations for Alta

The last time I visited Grandma Alta, my 98 year old great-grandmother, she demonstrated her keen alacrity and sound poignancy in a conversation with my father, her grandson.
Alta: "How are those little grandchildren of yours?"
Mark: "They sure are growing fast."
Alta: "Grandchildren tend to do that.  They grow like weeds."
I appreciated her complete grasp of the irony of situation.  She told her 58 year old grandson how fast grandchildren mature.  Generations became moments to me while in the presence Grandma Alta for the last time.  This experience demonstrated that although her physical being had somewhat deteriorated, her lucidity did not decrease in the slightest.  I recall “immaculate” and “lush” among a few of the last words I had with her. Grandma Alta was always as clever as she was kind.
Perhaps it was Grandma Alta’s intelligence that had such a salutary effect on her life.  Her prowess in dialogue and her complete lack of diffidence made her an enjoyable conversationalist and endeared her to all those with whom she exchanged words.  Her jocular nature couldn’t help but fill you with mirth.  I never left Grandma Alta’s house feeling angry or frustrated, but on the contrary, because of the location of my interactions with my great-grandmother I am still convinced that Fairview Utah is one of the happiest places on earth. 
One of my fondest memories of Grandma Alta was hearing her patriarch, and fortuitously, her neighbor and relative, pronounce upon her a patriarchal blessing.  It was a unique experience to hear the patriarchal blessing of a 95-year-old lady.  Much of what was said was the narration of an already well-lived life.  Much of what was said was a paean to her assiduousness in following the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Perhaps some might think that receiving a patriarchal blessing at the age of 95 is a bit belated.  To those who follow that line of logic I would say the following: you did not know Grandma Alta.  She did not need a patriarchal blessing to remain faithful.  She had an innate indefatigability of doing what is right.  This sacrosanct document is more for her posterity to reassure us that one can successfully lead an upright and honorable life.  The memory of our grandmother does much to inspire us into following her righteous example. 
There is no eulogy adequate enough to describe Grandma Alta’s significance.  There is only one phase that comes closest to heralding her prominence.  Alta Osborne’s comeuppance is no less than exaltation in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom.   
            In an effort to never forget the profound effect that my great-grandmother had in this world and in my life, my wife and I have decided to give our first-born daughter the name Alta.  May the posterity of Alta Osborne be half as magnanimous as she was.
Nathan E. Shepherd

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Impossibility of the Brick Oven Pizza Challenge

I have always perceived the idea of a food eating challenge as sacrosanct; the winners quite deserving of our adulation and respect.  I have highly revered these super humans capable of consuming large quantities of food, notwithstanding their voraciousness.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery and on Thursday, August 2nd 2012, I imitated the avidity of the Great Ones.  

Brick Oven, located in Provo Utah, offers an insurmountable challenge: You, along with a friend consume a pizza with a diameter of 29 inches and an entire decanter of root beer within a one hour period.  This is no modicum; a 29” pizza is equivalent to four 14” pizzas.  My friend Zach and I decided we would rise to the occasion and, mathematically speaking (A=(pi)(r^2)), each consume 330 square inches of pizza and one liter of root beer. 
The rules of the engagement were as follows: the two of you have one hour to eat and drink all that is brought out, you have one hour to do so, you may not leave the eating area, and your pizza must have four toppings.  Zach and I, the both of us not being too terribly fastidious, ordered, olives, green peppers, and onions to meet the requirements while dividing the forth topping between mushrooms and pepperoni on each half.
I don’t know if the unruly din or cavalcade of Brick Oven workers arrived at our table first but the voluminous monster appeared ex nihilo under our noses.  The clock began!  What ambrosia!  What wonder beheld our taste buds!  We took to our task with alacrity and devoured half of the pizza in less than 20 minutes.  It must have been an awe inspiring tableau; half of the rations vanished with less than one third of the time allotted having past.  The manager himself said that this was an unprecedented pace.  It seemed as if we had found our rhythm, a cadence contributing to the evaporation of that mass of food (no doubt aided by our new found mantra “Don’t stop till’ you get enough” provided by the background music of Michael Jackson). Little did we know that just as marathon runners hit a wall at mile 18 or 19, so too do pizza eaters collide into a similar barrier at 200 square inches.  With each bite our disposition increased in consternation.  Recalcitrance replaced readiness as our pallet became more and more petulant.  With each perfunctory bite the remnants of the massive giant became decreasingly tantalizing.  Perhaps volition for victory and one and half pounds of cheese result in an internecine outcome.  The crux of the whole matter isn’t necessarily the quantity of food consumed, but the unsupportable tang of dough and sauce and cheese.  To put one more bite into our mouths was to trigger our gag reflexes (verified by our request for buckets from the obsequious restaurant staff).  Utterly nonplussed at our powerlessness over the few pieces of pizza remaining, we ignominiously sat at our table as the one hour time limit expired.  Which was more deleterious: failure to complete the eating challenge, or the thousands of calories seething within our stomachs?  I daresay the not the latter.       
While our pride may have been piqued this experience was not all together futile.  What a great opportunity for us to get the gang back together and contend for prominence in the feasting arena.  Friendship was further forged, camaraderie was further fortified, and after it was all said and done, our situations were ever more soporific.