Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Four Months!

As of November 17th, Britta was 4 months. I've had this post in the works for a while. Time to post (before she turns 5 months!)!

Britta Alice,
Each month goes faster than the last. I find myself so torn in my emotions...on the one hand, it's so fun to watch you grow and become your own little person. You change and develop every day. It's such a joy. But on the other hand, it's going so fast. You very well could be our last baby...I'm in disbelief that each of these exciting firsts could be the last time I experience them first hand. Moral of the story...one day at a time - both surviving and savoring, I suppose!

It's been another big month...

You were baptized!
What a special celebration! Like your big sister, you had the privilege of being baptized by Grandma. Words can't describe what an incredible gift it is to watch her baptize you girls. It's very emotional for all of us.

While we had a nice celebration, the service didn't quite go off without a hitch. In the days and weeks leading up to your baptism (October 25th), our baptismal font at church was having issues. I LOVE our font. It's HUGE, and always full...with a little waterfall feature. It's really beautiful. Anyways, it was having some issues as we approached your baptism. Grandma kept reassuring us that they were fixing it. However, when we got to church before the service, she came up to us to let us know it had sprung a major leak, and we'd need to go to plan B.

Plan B was a little stand set-up in the front with a simple glass bowl filled with water. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed, but I tried to focus on the most important thing - the baptism itself.

We made it in the sanctuary just in time for the ceremony after getting you fed, changed, and dressed.You did great during the baptism...some tears were shed during the ceremony - but not yours! You were content the whole time.

We had a nice little reception at church after the service - just a little gathering of friends and family for cake and coffee. It was such a joy to look around the room and see the loved ones who support you and our family. You are so loved!

You celebrated your first major holiday...Halloween!
This month brought your first holiday - Halloween. We had a wonderful time celebrating. Before you were born, Grammy found a cute bumblebee costume for you. Leading up to the day I was nervous it wouldn't fit, but because you have been growing like crazy, it was just right by Halloween.

You were so cute in your costume. We called you "BumbleBritta." You got to partake in a few celebrations.
First, you came along on our annual trip to the Crosstown Covenant Church party. The church is just a few blocks from our house, and we've gone the last few years with our friends the Winters and the Olsons. It's awesome - just a couple years ago it was just three kiddos, now between the 3 families we have 7 kiddos! So it's a little crazy, but a lot of fun.

You actually slept through most of the party (in the carrier), which is impressive because it was pretty loud. It will be so fun to bring you next year - I imagine you'll be running around by then!

You also celebrated Halloween at Magna's. She reported that you loved watching the other kids dance around, and were completely baffled by her Minnie Mouse ears. Hee hee.

Finally, we had a great day on Halloween itself. First, we went to a Trunk or Treat event at church - people decorated their cars and did trick or treating in the parking lot. You got lots of oohs and ahhs at how cute and cozy you looked. After the event at church, we headed over to the Getchius' house for pizza and trick or treating in their neighborhood. You slept through most of trick or treating - I liked having you as a little snuggle buddy as we went house to house. Once again, it will be fun to the contrast next year - I'm sure you'll be running around trying to keep up with the big kids by then!

You scared us with a fall...
Oh Britta Girl, you gave us a scare. On a normal night early in November I was getting you ready for bed. Linnea and I were in your room...I was at the changing table getting your pajamas on and Linnea was just behind me on the chair in your room. She needed help to put the foot rest up.

I turned for just a second to help her and turned back just in time to watch you go head first off the changing table. My eyes well up with tears and my stomach ties in knots just to type it now. I hadn't realized how strong you had gotten - you didn't roll...your kick was powerful enough to propel you right off the end of the table.

You fell right on your head on the wood floors below. I have never heard you cry so hard. I picked you up right away and managed to get you calmed down after a minute or so. Once you were calm you just sort of whimpered. I could tell it really hurt you - and probably scared you too. To say I felt horrible is quite an understatement.

We needed to get you checked out to be sure you were okay - so we all went to the ER (I was too shook up to take you myself). It scared me because you were falling asleep, and I didn't know if you had a concussion or something.

Thankfully, you were 100% fine. You absolutely charmed the nurses and the doctors at the hospital. They talked about how sweet and alert you were. They were so confident that you weren't seriously hurt that we didn't need to do any scans or other tests. Thank God!! I don't know what I would have done if you would have gotten hurt. I'm so beyond thankful that you are okay.

You started rolling (with consistency)...
I have to laugh a bit. I took you in to the doctor's office after your fall (they wanted to do a follow-up appointment just to be sure you were okay). The nurse who saw you said to me, "Watch out for this one." She explained that she could tell you are very strong, and very much want to be on the move. She said it likely wouldn't be the last time that you surprised us with your strength and independence.

We are definitely seeing that. You love to kick and move your legs. At a very early age you could get yourself over to your side. This month you started rolling! So far you're just rolling from your tummy to your back, but I'm sure back to tummy is just around the corner. And then, just like the nurse said, we better watch out! There will be no stopping you!!

You've grown and changed a lot too...
We had your 4 month well baby appointment on November 18th. You continue to rock the 95th+ percentile in all of your measurements. Your measurements were: Weight: 17 lbs, 8 oz. (95th percentile), Height/Length: 26 1/4" (98th percentile), 17.2" (99th percentile - big head for big brains I say!).

Dr. Khan said you were doing great! You are growing just as you should be. She told me, "People will tell you she's big, and should can say 'Yup, she's big...but she's just what she should be!" That made me feel good...I'm so glad you are healthy and thriving. People can be a little insensitive, and make comments that can make me feel a little insecure. But what's most important is that you are healthy!

You are mostly in 6 month clothes. 3 months pants are definitely too short. There are a few shirts in the mix that are 3 months or 3-6 months that still fit...but 6 month is better. The 6 month sleepers are already getting really short, so I think I'll big digging out the 9 month clothes soon. I can't believe that you are already wearing that size! Growing girl!

You are in size 2 diapers. They're fitting okay, but starting to get a little tight. Diapers are problematic at night - you leak a lot, so we might need to go up a size so you don't soak through.

You are as observant as ever. It's so awesome to see. When you are awake, you are focused, curious, and observant. I can't wait to watch you learn and grow. Your mind is so active already, little one. It will be amazing to see what you are capable of.

You are smiling a lot more readily now. Grandma and Grandpa were in Israel for 10 days at the beginning of the month. When they came back, Grandma made a comment that your smiles were the biggest difference she saw since they were gone - that they were more regular, bigger, etc. I just love your smiles. They are huge, and come so easily - sometimes just when I look at you or say your name. Daddy and I often comment that you are such a jolly baby.

You are discovering your hands and learning to grab things, and it's. blowing. your. mind. Utter bafflement and wonderment are regular emotions to come across your face. It's so funny to watch - you look shocked (and slightly concerned) by your hands. You're still learning to control them - sometimes you'll accidently smack yourself in the face, or your hands will work against each other - one hand will be trying to get to your mouth, and the other will be pushing your first hand away from your mouth. You'll get there in no time!

Your eating is about same - although now consistently 5 oz. each bottle. Like last month, depending on when you last ate in the night, you sometimes nurse in the morning. You have 3 bottles at Magna's/Grandma and Grandpa's - around 9:00, noon, and 4:00. Then you nurse usually just once before bed.

You're usually ready to get ready for bed by around 7:00. Usually down by 7:30. Bedtime sleep continues to not be great...although I keep trying to remind myself that you are more typical than your sister was. You are always up once - usually twice. Times vary. Since last month it shifted a bit - to earlier...like 10:30 or 11, and then again around 2 or 3. There's not a whole lot of regularity or consistency with it, which is hard for your Type A mama, but I'm managing.

Naps go great at Magna's. You take a nap sometime mid-morning (around 9:30-10:30) for about an hour, and then take a solid nap in the afternoon (usually around 2 1/2 to 3 hours). You also tend to have "car naps" on the way too and from daycare, which I think is part of the reason you don't go to bed super earlier (which I like because I get more time with you!). Naps on the weekend are harder because your schedule varies more. Often you sleep as late as 8:00, so your morning nap is shorter, and usually in the midst of stuff we're doing as a family. The last couple weeks we seem to have missed your nap window in the afternoon so we have to be flexible (which is, again, hard for your Type A mama. I'm a work in progress, and so are you I suppose).

I say it every month, and I mean it more every month. You are a joy. You bring us all such happiness with your smiles and sweetness. I can't believe how fast these last 4 months have going, and how big and strong you are already. I look forward to seeing what our next month brings.

I love being your mama, sweet Britta Boo.

We love you,
Mama (and Daddy & Linnea too)





Thursday, November 5, 2015

Three Months!

I say it every month, and I'm sure will continue to say it for forever, but time is just flying. I can't believe that, as of October 17th, is 3 months old!! A quarter of a year!! Cue the mama tears. I just want to put the brakes on a bit, and be able to savor each moment.

Yes, this is ridiculously late. Yup, she's less than a couple weeks from 4 months, but I want to be sure to document these monthly updates.

So here we go...

Britta Boo,
3 months. 3 months?! It seems like yesterday that you were born...and actually just yesterday that I was pregnant with you. You've had a big month...lots of changes and milestones. More and more we are realizing what a content, peaceful baby you are. It will be so interesting to see your personality take shape! Here's what you've been up to in the last month...

You started daycare!
Probably the biggest transition this month for you (and me...and the whole family really)... I went back to work on October 8th, and you started at Magna's that same day. The combination of you being an all-around rockstar baby, and Magna having some sort of awesome voodoo magic skills means that you have been doing AMAZING!

Much like with your big sister, Magna managed to get you on a schedule right away. You take 3 bottles at daycare (9:00ish, noonish, and 4:00ish) - between 4 and 5 ounces each time. You take a morning nap around 9:45/10:00 for between an hour and an hour and a half. You take an afternoon nap from around 1:00 to 3:00/3:30.

Magna reports you are happy, very chatty, and snuggly for the vast majority of your days there. You are getting better at tummy time each day, and love watching the other kiddos play and interact.

We had a bit of a scare right before you started daycare - you were refusing to take a bottle. I panicked BIG time, but discovered just in the nick of time that it was a temperature issue. You are a bit of a diva, and like your milk REALLY warm (body temperature, thank you very much!). Daddy and I had a date night for our anniversary the week you started daycare, and you cried (LOUD) for Grandma for most of the 2 hours we were gone. You are SO chill usually, but will definitely let everyone know when something's wrong.

Thankfully, we figured it out just in time and you have had ZERO issues with bottles. Wahoo!!

In addition to starting at Magna's, you are joining big sister for what is now "Linnea AND Britta Day" at Grandma and Grandpa's. I think it's a bit of an adjustment to have two to take care of, but they are enjoying it.

You took your first vacation!
We've had a few overnight out-of-town trips before this, but this month was your first REAL vacation. We had planned long before you were even born to take a trip up north. Since I was still on leave we took our usual trip to Grand Marais with Grandma and Grandpa, and then headed over to Bayfield, WI for another couple nights.

Admittedly, it was a bit crazy. Almost a week gone...staying in three different places (we stayed in Duluth the first night)...sleeping all in one room. Sleep was never really great...you had a bit of a cold, and didn't sleep super well in the pack 'n play.

All of that said, we had a really good time. It was so fun to introduce you to all our favorite places up north. We look forward to many, many more years of time up north as a family. I look forward to throwing rocks in the lake with you in a few years.

You started laughing!
This one took me by total surprise! I was "chatting" with you before dinner one night when we were in Bayfield. You were smiling and cooing (per usual), but all of a sudden you were laughing! It happened so fast that by the time I realized what you were doing, it was over! I called Daddy over to try to get you do it again, but I didn't have any luck.

We've had a few more little laughs since then, but not regularly quite yet. It was like a little gift for mama, to have the laugh from my Britta girl!

You've grown and changed a lot too...
You continue to be a big, happy baby!!

We haven't had a doctor's appointment since the beginning of September, so I'm not really sure how big you are. I won't be surprised if you are well over 15 pounds by your next appointment mid-month. You are regularly mistaken for older than you are...which doesn't really surprise me. I think you look older than you are too...not just because of your size, but because of your head and neck control, and level of alertness.

You are still squeezing into some 3 month clothes, but are mostly in 6 month clothes. Pants and sleepers in particular got too short/small practically overnight. It's a bit of a bummer, because I think we'll end up being off the right seasons with the clothes that Linnea wore as a baby. I suppose there are worse things, but it's fun to be able to give new life to old clothes.

You are fully in size 2 diapers... well actually, we found a few 1s here and there and used them to get rid of them - crazy how quickly they went from fitting fine to WAY too small!

You continue to be alert and attentive. Nearly everyone who meets you/spends any sort of time with you comments on that. You are SUCH an observer. Maybe it sounds silly, but you can tell that even at 3 months you are just wanting to take everything in.

Like I said before, we are realizing more and more what a content baby you are. It's rare that you will cry or get upset. When you do it usually means that we aren't feeding you soon enough...or you have a little gas bubble...or are a little overtired. But as soon as your needs are met you calm down. Even when you wake up at night you don't cry...you just grunt and fuss a bit to let me know you're hungry.

It's fun to watch your relationship with Linnea continue to develop. She loves to talk to you and get you to smile - and she's good at that. She loves to lay with you and say sweet and silly things to you. She gets mad at Daddy and I if we "hog" you too much. It's so fun to watch how sweet she is with you. I can't wait to continue to watch you become friends!

You continue to eat well. Depending on when you last ate, you nurse a bit in the morning before Magna's. You take 3 bottles there (between 4 and 5 oz.), and then nurse once or twice before bed.

Your bedtime has moved up again this month...usually between 7:30 and 8:00. It's nice that you stay up a bit later than your big sister did at this age because it's nice to have a bit of time with you when we all get home for the night.

Bedtime sleep has not been as good as it was previously... I'm not quite sure what to attribute that to. You are pretty much always up once, and usually twice. Times vary a bit, but are usually around midnight and then again around 4. Those times are my least favorite times because it breaks up my sleep in a bad way. However, I am thankful that you continue to go back to sleep very easily. You wake up, eat, and are back out without much of a peep. That makes it a bit more manageable.

Naps have become more consistent now that you are at Magna's (yay Magna for helping me get you on a good schedule!). Like I said before you have a shorter nap in the mid-morning, and then a long nap in the afternoon. (It's awesome that you and Linnea nap together in the afternoon!). We can't get you to nap quite as well when you're home with us on the weekends (like I said, Magna has some sort of awesome voodoo magic).

You are so awesome, Britta! You are sweet, observant, strong, and calm. I love learning who you are...I love being your mama...I love watching you learn and grow.

You have brought so much joy to us in your short little life!

We love you so very much, Britta girl!
Mama (and Daddy & Linnea too)



Saturday, September 26, 2015

An Interview with a Four-Year-Old

I have a four-year-old! Crazy! Linnea (for the most part) is SO much fun these days. She's goofy, curious, sweet, and loving, and we love her to pieces! She's got a little edge of sassiness, but she's really SUCH a sweet girl.

I'm a little late with this, but wanted to continue the annual interview I started last year. One thing I've really enjoyed about this age/stage is watching Linnea discover who she is, her likes and dislikes, etc. In case you're curious, our interview from last year is found here.

Here's our interview from this year. (I added my thoughts in italics.) It was very cute - she was quite serious about the whole thing. More thoughtful than last year, and answers came much easier.

1. How old are you? Four!! (She is so proud of this. In the weeks after she had her birthday, she'd tell strangers, "I'm FOUR now." She doesn't really have her Rs, so it's more like Fow-a.)
2. What is your favorite color? Purple and blue (Purple has been pretty consistent. I have expected her to say sparkly something, or rainbow, as she has cited those in the past.)
3. What is your favorite toy? (She had to think about th(is one...) My firetruck (A bit of a surprise, as she hasn't played with it for a while. She got a garbage truck for her birthday that she's played with quite a bit. She also likes to play with play food A LOT.)
4. What is your favorite food? Mushroom stroganoff!! (True story, and both Jeromy and I love this about her because it's so unique. She loves going to Noodles for it, and also LOVES when Jeromy makes it at home. Other favorites are pizza, any type of pasta, egg wraps - our creation...basically just scrambled eggs and cheese wrapped in a tortilla, and fish).
5, What is your favorite snack/treat? Cheez-its (Another surprise. We never really have them at home. She chose to bring cheez-its to preschool this past Friday when it was her turn to bring snack, so maybe it was fresh on her mind. She likes pretzels, goldfish crackers, craisins and raisins. She loves chocolate and ice cream as treats.)
6. What is your favorite TV show? (Lots of thought about this...) Ummm...Mickey Mouse [Clubhouse]. (We've been trying to cut down on TV at home. Not that we think it's awful or anything...it just was getting too excessive for us. I know she watches different shows at daycare, but Mickey does tend to be the one she wants most with us.)
7. What is your favorite movie? Frozen (Yup...still. We haven't watched in a while, but she definitely still loves it.)
8. What is your favorite animal? (Some thinking...) A pony. (Interesting to see the similarity from last year. We did go to the Renaissance Festival again, where she once again rode a pony. I don't know if that's what she was thinking about or not...)
9. Who is your favorite friend to play with? Raia (Again, same answer as last year. This one was a bit of a surprise. Not that Raia isn't a good friend, but they haven't played together in a while. She does, however, very much look up to her and had an adorable "over the fence" conversation with her around the same time I did this interview.)
10. What's your favorite thing to do outside? Play on a swingset (Very accurate. Girlfriend could swing ALL. DAY. LONG. It was the best thing ever when we A) bought her a swingset for our yard and B) she learned how to pump.) 
11. What is your favorite thing to drink? Ice water (What a diva...ha ha ha. Over the summer we started drinking stuff with ice - which we don't do very often. Needless to say, she liked it.)
12. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? My ballerina story...my baka! (I have to laugh about the ballerina story. She just got the book from a church friend and it is her latest obsession. It's a book that looks like a purse and has several stories about little girl ballerinas in it. Her baka is her beloved blankie that ALWAYS needs to be in bed with her.)
13. What is your favorite song? Okee Dokee Brothers (We've istened to their stuff for awhile, but just recently borrowed the CD from the library. They're really great. I don't mind this obsession.)
14. What makes you happy? (She leans in close and almost in a whisper) Icccccceee cream. (That's my girl. Ha ha ha!!!)
15. What makes you sad? (Became very thoughtful.) When people hit me? (I asked her who would hit her and she shrugged her shoulders.) Maybe doesn't talk to me?? (I guess it's good that she can't think of a whole lot that makes her sad.)
16. What is one thing you love about mama? (She gave me a huge hug.) That you love me!!! (Cue mama melt...)
17. What is one thing you love about daddy? Just because I love him... (I tried to get more out of her...I think she basically meant she loves everything..)
18. What do you want to be when you grow up? A "fighterfighter" (Again, same answer as last year. She LOVES fire hydrants and will come running from anywhere in the house when she hears the firetrucks - which is regularly because we live right by the fire station. She loves watching them drive by.) 

Linnea is SUCH a personality, and is coming into her own more and more by the day. It's so fun to watch her grow. She is such a sweet little girl, and we love her to bits!






Two Months!

I'm a bit late in posting this...but better late than never, right? Britta turned 2 months on the 17th. Time is just flying...

Britta Alice,
Time just goes faster and faster. You are now 2 months old, and I've loved watching you learn and grow this last month. We say all the time you seem SO grown up already! I don't know if it's just because you are big for your age, or if you are just that much more alert and aware, or maybe a combination? Either way, there's been lots of change this month...you are really coming into your own.

We love you more and more as each day passes. Here's what we've been up to the last month.

You started sleeping through the night!
It's not consistent just yet, but you've had SEVERAL nights recently when you've slept 7, 8, or even 9 hours at a time! Wow! Rockstar!

The first time you did it was such a surprise. It was the night you got your shots (Sept. 4th). I actually was fully expecting your sleep to be disrupted because I could tell you were sore. But a dose of tylenol in you and you went from 5 hours as your longest stretch to sleeping around 9 hours! Wow! I thought it must have been a total fluke, and it was for a bit but since then you've been doing it again.

Just within the last couple days you've started breaking out of your swaddle, so I've been leaving your arms out at night. Your startle reflex is much less than it was when you were brand new, but you still flail a lot in your sleep, so you haven't been sleeping quite as good as of late. I'm hoping this is short lived.

You started smiling!
I forgot how gradual this comes... Daddy and I (and Linnea for that matter) were watching closely and started seeing little grins the end of August/beginning of September.

As the weeks have gone by they've become more and more frequent. You have very sweet, smirky little smiles. I love it! You are also cooing up a storm. Lots of fun noises. We've started having "conversations" with you. We talk to you, and you'll coo back at us. So fun!

You went to fairs and festivals...
It was a busy month for us in terms of fairs and festivals. We love hittin' a bunch up, and we were excited to take you with this year!

At the end of August you went to the State Fair - twice! You, me, and Daddy went on opening day (WOWZA Auntie Rachel and Andrew were in town, so we went with your WOWZA aunties, uncles, and "wousins"). You did awesome! It was funny because a couple people made comments about how ambitious we were - but we knew you'd do great! You slept a lot, woke up to eat, and observed contently the rest of the time. We went again as a family (with big sister this time) that Saturday, and once again you did great. It was SO fun to do our annual photo booth picture with 4 people this year!

We also love going to the Renaissance Festival. This year we went on Labor Day. It was a beautiful day, and we had a good time. You stayed content in the carrier pretty much the whole time - a mix of sleeping and alert time. We got a little hot near the end of our time there (it was warm in the midday sun), but we managed just fine. I'm excited to take you in future years - I bet you'll have a great time riding ponies and seeing fairies with your sister!

Finally, we made our annual trip to the Monarch Festival. This one is right by our house, which is fun. We had a good time wandering around, and taking in all the festivities.

You took a few more road trips...
You are already well traveled, little one! Last month you went to Eau Claire for cousin Tom's funeral. This month you took a couple more little road trips.

First, me, Linnea, and Grandma took a little day trip down to St. James to meet your great grandma. You did great in the car both ways, and we had such a nice little visit. Great Grandma loves you (and your sister) SO much. We hung out at Great Grandma's place for a bit, went out for lunch, and had a bit of time at the park before heading home.

Unfortunately, this month brought another funeral for our family - which meant another road trip. Great Grandma Mary Grace passed away following her battle with cancer. We made the drive down to Decorah for the service. I was most nervous about this road trip, as it was the longest so far. No need to worry though - you did great once again. We had another hotel stay (which went pretty well, all things considered). The service was very long, but very beautiful, and you did as well as to be expected during it.

You've grown and changed a lot too...
As I said at the beginning, we are in awe on a daily basis how grown up you seem already. It seemed to happen overnight!

I seriously can't believe how big you are already! You definitely got a "head start" (being so big when you were born), but it's still a surprise. I'm trying really hard not to compare you to your sister, because that's really where the surprise comes from (since I'm used to how big Linnea was as a baby).

We had your 2 month doctor's appointment when you were 7 weeks old (September 4th). At that time, you weighed 13 pounds, 13 ounces and 24" long! All of your measurements were in the high 90s percentile wise. Your head measurement was 99.99%! Dr. Khan was SO pleased with what she saw. She said you were right on track with where you should be, and you are moving right along your growth curve. We're so glad you are so healthy! You got your shots. You got REALLY mad, but you did okay - and it led to your best night of sleep (see above)!

Some of your 3 month clothes are getting a little snug. We're in that weird stage where the smaller size is getting a little small, but the next size up is a little big. So you're in a mix of 3 months, 3-6 months, and some 6 months stuff. Some of the 6 months clothes make you look even more grown up. You wore a pair of Oshkosh overalls the other day that looked so cute on you!!

You are still in size 1 diapers, and they definitely aren't too big anymore! In fact, we talked recently about switching into 2s. We're not there quite yet, but I'm sure we'll be there soon!

I thought you were alert last month - but you are SO much more alert this month. That's one of the first things people notice about you. You seem to pay such close attention to the world around you. You are so curious already. There is such a light in your eyes...it's amazing to watch you take it all in

Your favorite thing to watch is ceiling fans. It's hilarious. Wherever we are, if there's a ceiling fan, that's where your eyes will go. The other week you managed to put yourself to sleep watching the fan at Grandma and Grandpa's house!

Linnea is still LOVING her baby sister. I think she's really liking how interactive you are. I'm so excited to watch that continue. I know it's just begun, and I'm confident that you two will be the best of buddies!

You continue to eat well. You nurse every 3-4 hours for the most part. We started giving you the occasional bottle this month - your first on Sept. 12th. It took a bit for you to get used to them, but you're doing alright (which makes mama feel a bit better about having to go back to work in just a few weeks!).

You're going to bed a bit earlier this month. Usually around 9 or 9:30. You continue to do pretty well at night. If you're up you are up once, nurse, and go right back to sleep (there have been fewer "fights" to get you back to sleep. As I mentioned before, we've had a bit of regression - I think at least partially caused by not being swaddled anymore. Even with that, you're a good sleeper, with a mix of sleeping through the night and getting up once. I'm thankful for that!!

Naps are still inconsistent. I try to get you to sleep at least one "good nap" of a couple hours. It varies whether that's in the morning or afternoon. I'm soaking up all the snuggle naps I can get before I have to go back to work .You are such a snuggler and I absolutely love it.  One nice thing about me going back to work (and you starting at Magna's) is that you will likely get on more of a schedule. Magna did a great job doing that for Linnea, and I hope for much the same with you. It tends to make things easier for everyone.

You are doing really great with tummy time. You tolerate it pretty well, and can really hold your head and neck up well. Continuing to live up to your strong name!

What a month we've had! You continue to be a delight in our lives. We are so thankful for you, and can't wait to see what next month brings!

We love you as big as the whole world...
Mama (and Daddy & Linnea too)




Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fall Blogger Exchange


It's hard to believe that August is coming to a close, and that Fall is just around the corner. The weather here in Minnesota makes it a little more believable - it's been unseasonably chilly the last few days.

I'm torn - Fall is my favorite season. Bonfires. Sweatshirts. Crunchy Fall leaves. But Fall also means my return to work. I feel like I didn't fully enjoy the Summer. It went so fast preparing for Britta, and then recovering after having Britta and finding our groove as a family of four. And just like that, it's Fall.

Anyways...I digress.

This Spring I did something I had never done before - a blogger exchange. Read about the experience here. I was a little hesitant to participate at first because I don't really feel like a "real" blogger. I follow some awesome, creative bloggers who post regularly, take and share awesome pictures, and host giveaways and sponsored posts. I wasn't sure I could do an exchange justice. But after some convincing, I decided I'd give it a try. I'm so glad I did! It was a lot of fun to get to know some other mama bloggers, and to give and receive fun care packages.

So when Jess approached me to take part in a Fall Blogger Exchange, I knew I wanted to participate. I may have been a little crazy to jump in so soon after Britta was born, but I knew I could make it work. Granted, I was a bit late in responding to e-mails, and sending out the package, but I think I managed okay given a brand new baby.

The way the exchange works is that each blogger is matched with another blogger. Everyone then puts together a care package to send to their "buddy."

This time around I was paired with Leslie and her sweetie pie little girl Mila. I wasn't following Leslie's blog prior to the exchange, so it was fun to "meet" someone new. To get to know one another a bit, we sent a few e-mails back and forth, and checked out one another's blogs. Leslie and her family seem so sweet, and I was happy to be paired with them!

Armed with a bit of information about Leslie and Mila, my family set off to do some shopping! Although I thought Jeromy might drag his feet a bit (he has a tendency to get impatient with extended shopping, and me being indecisive), it was actually great. He had some good ideas, and got into it almost as much as I did! All three of us had fun thinking of fun things that Mila would enjoy.

Here's a peek at what we chose (complete with a Linnea drawing). Hop on over to Leslie's blog to get the full report...

We received our package right before Linnea's birthday (which I think made it extra fun and exciting for Linnea). It's really cool because especially since this is our second exchange, I think Linnea really "get it." She knew that when we were shopping for Mila, the gifts weren't for her (even though she would have liked to have the things we chose). Then when our package came, she understood that these gifts were from the "little girl" we sent gifts to. So fun!

Leslie was awesome and wrapped and labeled all the gifts - most for Linnea, but some for me and Britta too! Linnea was THRILLED that some of the gifts were wrapped in birthday wrapping paper. She didn't waste any time to dig right in!


Leslie and Mila seriously knocked it out of the park! Linnea loved everything they sent. I did my best to capture her reactions. They were PRICELESS.

First up was a Frozen notepad. For a girl who loves Frozen, and is always wanting to color or do stickers, this was well received.

Next came a Minions art pack - coloring book, crayons, and stickers. My camera wasn't fast enough to get her initial reaction. She LOVES Minions, so she had a huge smile and a little cackle laugh too. She thinks they are so funny! (Sidenote: when she dug into this one, she literally paged through the whole coloring book and admired each picture. Each page made her throw her head back and belly laugh. She then showed me every page with a comment like, "Mama! Look at them. So funny."

Also, mamas - have you discovered these little packs? They are the best. Perfect for purses/diaper bags. They are a great size and have everything you need to keep your little occupied.

MINIONS!

This next one is probably the pick of the box - for me and Linnea. It's a magnetic "paper doll" Elsa. Basically a little wooden Elsa (like a paper doll) with different magnetic outfits to dress her in. Funny thing - we bought Linnea a larger set like this as a "big sister gift" from Britta. Linnea loves it, but it's too big to travel with. This one is awesome because it is easy to throw in my purse to take with us. (Do you sense a theme? Ha ha ha. Now with Britta I am always in need of having things with me to keep Linnea occupied as needed.) This doll came in handy right away when we needed to go out of town that weekend for Jeromy's cousin's funeral. Elsa did a great job keeping Linnea quiet and busy during the service. WIN!


Finally, Linnea got a fun mermaid canvas to color. She was so excited to dig in to this one! Girlfriend loves art.

Not pictured, but equally well received were an adorable outfit for Britta, and a super cute notepad set for me.

We had a lot of fun with this exchange! Thanks, Leslie and Mila for being great "buddies." It's such a cool experience to get to know people in this unique way.

Just in case you were curious, here's a full list of mamas who participated in the exchange:
Amy at Keeping Up with the Smiths
Jess at The Newly
Ashley at Words about Waverly
Sara at Running from the Law
Alisha at Simple Luxury
Bekah at I Prefer My Puns Intended
Jess at Secrets of a Stay at Home Mom
Leslie at This is for Keeps
Becky (me) at B Happy in Today

Thursday, August 20, 2015

One Month!

My Sweet Britta Girl,
Oh my, how are we already a month in?! Your first month has just flown by. It seems like just yesterday that we were waiting on pins and needles for you to arrive, and just like that you've been a part of our family for a month. I just commented to Daddy tonight that it all still seems surreal that you are here, and we are a family of four.

We are adjusting and learning how to be a family of four. There have been a few bumps here and there, but overall the transition has gone so well! You have truly filled a hole in our family, and already brought so much joy in your short life! We love you so much, Britta! Here are some highlights and events of your first month...

You arrived...LATE!
We were certain you would be on time - or even early. Mainly, we thought this because your big sister arrived right on time. You seemed determined to differentiate yourself, and remind us that you were your own person.

After a LONG five days of waiting - each day felt like a year (especially for mama) - you came! Labor and delivery was wonderful. We were so relieved that you came, and you were healthy. Even now, Linnea says how glad she is that you're "out." We all are!

You had lots of visitors...
Everyone was so excited to meet you, and see your sweet face! Of course, the first visitors to the hospital were Grandma and Grandpa, and your VERY proud big sister, and Grammy and Grampy, Gracia, C.J, and Ty.

These last few weeks have been filled with people coming to our house - WOWZA aunties/uncles, some of mama's co-workers, Uncle Ethan, Auntie Rachell, and your cousins, and many other close family and friends. We've had a lot of fun introducing you to everyone!

You attended your first wedding...and your first funerals...
At just two weeks young, you attended your first wedding! Our longtime family friend, Jenny Reiman, got married on August 1st. Jenny and I actually had to be in touch leading up to the wedding - we weren't sure if we'd be able to go depending on when you arrived, and how everything went. But you came without complication, so we went! It was a little crazy, but it went okay (thankfully Grandma and Grandpa were there to provide some extra help).

Unfortunately, your first month also had you at your first two funerals. First, Daddy's cousin Tom passed away on August 9th of leukemia. We drove down to Eau Claire that Thursday for the visitation. It was really quite nice to see lots of family (despite the awful circumstances). For most of them it was their first time meeting you. You did great, and everyone fell in love immediately (I don't blame them).

Going to Tom's services meant staying overnight in a hotel - eep! This made mama very nervous - all four of us in a hotel room! Thankfully, we all made it through without much issue. I was very thankful you are such a good sleeper!

The next day was the funeral. You did great, and brought lots of joy to a otherwise sad day.

The day after Tom's funeral, back at home, you and mama went to our friend Melissa's dad's funeral. He had passed away from lung cancer a couple weeks before. Once again, you did great. We had a nice time seeing our friends the Imbodens (who moved to Seattle a few months earlier), and seeing some other friends we don't see very often.

You went lots of places...
I think that the number of places you went this first month is directly related to you being a second kid. It felt less intimidating than it did with your sister to get out. So we got out and enjoyed summer together.

Right away your first night home we went out for ice cream (it was National Ice Cream Day - so we had to!). We went out for ice cream a couple times this month!

We also went out for donuts, went to lots of stores (Target about a million times), went to the zoo for Linnea's birthday, church a couple times, geocaching a few times, a handful of restaurants, a splash pad/wading pool (to observe your big sister, not participate), the St. Paul farmer's market, and more. Mama was even brave enough to take both you girls to a parade and picnic - on my own - when you were just a week old!Just this past weekend, you went to your first Twins' game! Like some of the other outings, it was a little crazy, and things didn't go perfectly, but we had a good time.  Phew! It's been a busy month. We look forward to even more adventures in the months to come - including your first vacation at the end of September!

You've grown and changed a lot too...
You were a big girl when you were born - and growing every day! When the home health nurse came the Tuesday after you were born (you were born on Friday), you were already back up to your birth weight - the nurse was delighted and impressed by you. A few days later, on Friday, at your 1 week well visit, you had gained an additional 3 ounces! This week I started my "Second Time Mamas" class. While there, I thought I'd weigh you (out of sheer curiosity). You're already around 12 pounds! WOW!

Because you were quite a bit bigger than your sister, we are finding that a lot of clothes that fit her for awhile are not fitting you very well. We've already "retired" our first round of clothes - pretty much all the newborn stuff. You are comfortably fitting into the Carter brand 3 months clothes - without a lot of room to spare! It'll be interesting to see what sizes you land in as the months go by.

You have been in newborn diapers, but we are making the switch to 1s now. You kept blowing out the newborn diapers because they were getting too small! The 1s are still a little big, but hopefully will help to limit the poopy messes!

In the last week or so I've really seen a big change in terms of your alertness. You are awake for longer stretches, and SO engaged and alert during those times. We actually have noticed this since birth - when you are awake you are fully present. Very alert and observant. You have started to coo a bit - you coo the most for Daddy. He whistles at you, which you love! You stare and him and coo away. Although it may be a little early, we feel like you are very close to smiling. You get so close - almost a little smirk. We can't wait for smiles!

Your big sister LOVES you, and has really enjoyed helping take care of you. She thinks everything you do is hilarious and awesome. We tell her all the time that it's just going to get better and better. I'm so excited for you two to be able to play together!

You are eating well (obviously, as your weight gain indicates), and sleeping great - very consistent. So far we've kept you up with us in the evenings. You get a little fussy around 8:00, nurse, and then pass out on my chest for a couple hours (I'm not complaining!). Around 10:30 or 11:00 I change your diaper, get you ready for bed, and feed you one more time. You generally go down without a fight until 2:00 or 3:00. You eat, get your diaper changed, and go back down. Sometimes it's a bit of a fight - I have to get the timing just right. But eventually you settle back down and sleep until at least 6 - sometimes later!

We are thinking we might try to put you down earlier - around 8:00 or 8:30 when you get fussy, but I imagine this will be a bit of trial and error.

Your naps during the day are still inconsistent. I'm trying to get a bit of a routine in place, but for now it's okay that you sleep when you want/need to. We nap together a lot, which is just heavenly!

We comment a lot that you are living up to your name (which means "strong"). You love craning your head around, kicking your legs, and movin' and groovin' as much as you can. I wonder if you'll be an early mover?

We have had such a great month, Britta Alice! You are such a gift, and have brought lots of joy in your short life. We look forward to getting to know you better, and having even more fun in the months to come!

We love you!
Mama (and Daddy & Linnea too)



Sunday, August 16, 2015

Britta's Birth Story

I can't believe it's been a month since Britta was born! Time is flying already!!

Anyways...I love birth stories. I loved writing Linnea's birth story - it was so empowering to put into words what the experience was like, and what my body was able to do. I knew that when Britta was born, I would want to do the same thing - to be able to remember the amazing gift of that day forever.

Like I did with Linnea's birth story, I will warn you here...this is a birth story, and I won't hold back details. So if you don't want to her intricate details regarding the birth, stop reading now.

For Britta's birth story, I back up to the Friday before my due date (I was due on Sunday). I had my 39 week (even though it was closer to 40 weeks) appointment with my OB. I left work that day for my appointment feeling SO certain I would not be back. Looking back, I realize how silly that was. I didn't really have any reason to think that - other than the fact that Linnea came right on time. I guess I assumed that since Linnea was on time, this baby would be as well - maybe even a little early. Ha! Not so.

At my appointment, my doctor and I chatted about how I was feeling (great, actually - though getting impatient), and when we thought Baby Sister would come. She did an exam, and much to my surprise, I was dilated to 1 cm. Now I know this isn't much of anything, but with Linnea I had ZERO progress the day before I went into labor, so I really wasn't expecting to have any sort of progress prior to giving birth.

My doctor seemed encouraged by what she was feeling/seeing, and she was quite hopeful that I would likely have the baby soon...perhaps even by the end of the weekend. Hooray! I left the appointment feeling excited, and certain that Baby Sister was on her way.

Well...my due date came and went without much change. All weekend I was feeling sort of crampy - on and off contractions. Again, not really anything I experienced with Linnea. I didn't know if they were Braxton Hicks, or legit contractions - or something in between. Either way, I'd have contractions/cramps for a bit, and then they would go away. Womp womp.

Monday came, and I grudgingly got up and got ready for work. Seriously, it was painful. When I had left on Friday I had everything wrapped up really well. All of my work for the quarter was done, and in the best place it possibly could be. But Monday was the start of a new quarter, and a whole new load of work. I struggled to know what to do - how much to dig in to stuff, what to focus on, etc. And I had a really hard time focusing. I was on pins and needles, waiting to go into labor.

All week at work was much the same - leaving every day hoping it was my last, only to be back the next day. My co-workers were so kind and supportive - but I ended up answering the same questions every day, all day. I felt like the movie "Groundhog's Day" - the same day, over and over.

By midweek I was actually getting quite anxious. Baby Sister was not moving around as much. I notice this, and start to get paranoid that something was wrong. On Wednesday it got bad enough that I ended up leaving early and going into the clinic to make sure everything was okay. The doctor I saw (who was someone I've never seen - not even the same clinic) was great. She was very reassuring and thorough. We listened to the baby for longer than usual. She explained the sounds and movement she was hearing and feeling. She also checked me - I was dilated to 3! Again, so different for me - to be late, and to have that kind of progression!

That night Jeromy and I talked about a game plan for work. I explained my anxiety and how difficult it was for my mental health and well being to be struggling through work days. We decided that I would work half days on Thursday and Friday, and then be done, whether the baby was here or not (thankfully it didn't come to that!).

On Thursday we attended a closing celebration for Linnea's week at Vacation Bible School. It was hard for me to be there - I had hoped/planned that we would have the baby by then, and maybe even be able to bring her. Instead, I was very pregnant, fielding lots of comments and questions.

On Friday I woke up in the four o'clock hour, needing to use the bathroom. As I crawled back into bed I started having contractions. This had happened most of the week in much the same way, so at that point I just got crabby, assuming it was another false alarm.

But they kept coming. And were quite regular (every 5 minutes or so). And were a little painful (not horrible, but enough that I couldn't really get back to sleep). I woke Jeromy up a little before 6 and told him that today was the day! It worked out great because it was Friday, so Linnea was due to go to my parents (they take care of her every Friday). I knew that we still had a bit of time, so we got up and got ready like any other day (just with some contractions thrown in!). Jeromy and Linnea headed out for my parents' house, and I got into the tub with a bowl of cereal and some juice. Like with Linnea's labor, the tub helped me relax and ease the pain of the contractions a bit.

After a bit, Jeromy came back and started gathering our things. I knew that I wasn't as far progressed as I was with Linnea when we headed into the hospital, but I wanted to go. I was anxious that we'd get stuck in rush hour traffic, and I was worried things would progress faster than with Linnea and we'd risk not getting to the hospital in time.

As we drove to the hospital we joked about how it seemed that Baby Sister wanted to differentiate herself as much as possible - it seemed as though everything was different with this labor! We got to the hospital, and made our way up to Labor and Delivery.

I was so much more at ease this time. Yes, of course I was a little anxious, but I felt a boost of confidence having been through the process before. The nurses were very kind, getting us checked in and everything. When they examined me upon check in (around 9:30 or 9:45), I was a "stretchy 5 with a bulging bag of water (gross! ha ha!)."

The nurse asked about our birth plan. We explained that, as with Linnea, we had a "non-plan plan." Ideally, go without medication/intervention, but open to options as needed. The nurses were very supportive of this.

The hospital had been renovated since Linnea was born, and now included water birth suites. I had considered trying for a water birth, but opted not to (mainly because I'd have to switch from working with my OB to the midwives. I'm sure the midwives are wonderful, but I love my OB). I had asked when we had done a tour a couple weeks before if we could request a water birth suite if there was one open. The lady looked at me funny, but said that one could certainly try. So I did - and there was one available.

We got into the room, which seriously felt like a spa. The tub was HUGE - super deep, and easily long enough for me to lay completely flat in it if I wanted to. Additionally, there was a big, flat screen TV with a naturescapes-type channel - a slideshow of pictures/video of animals and pretty scenery. The accompanying music was beautiful and relaxing.

At that point, contractions were quite regular, and a little painful - but still manageable. Jeromy and I chatted in between them. Our nurse (Kate) came in periodically to check on how everything was going.

I stayed in the tub for an hour or so I suppose, and then decided to get out. I was getting a little stir crazy, and wanted the option to move around more. I got out and dried off, and climbed into bed. Contractions were getting significantly more painful at this point. When I was checked at this point I was a 7/8. We checked in about pain management - if I wanted/needed anything. Although it was painful, I was confident that I could once again manage without an epidural. Unlike with Linnea (when I had minimal pain medication), I opted for nothing - feeling like I was managing things well without any medication.

Kate was super fabulous - very encouraging and calming. She was very positive about how I was managing labor, and empowering - telling me to trust and listen to my body. She also encouraged me to try to "shut down" between contractions to get some rest. At first I thought she was crazy, thinking it was next to impossible, but (much to my surprise) I found that I could. I curled up on my side, focused on the nature music, and drifted off in between.

This stretch of labor was fairly uneventful. Regular, painful contractions. Mostly laying quietly, but becoming more vocal with contractions. Kate coming in and out to check on me, and helping me relax and focus my breathing.

At some point Kate told me she was staying until the baby came, and that I was getting close. She again told me to focus on my breathing, since it was getting a little more out of control and frantic as contractions got worse. She gently told me to listen to my body, and that I could bear down if I needed to. She checked me around this time and I was basically at 10 (with just a tiny bit of cervix left to dilate).

Kate had asked me a few times between 8 and 10 cm if I wanted her to break my water. Each time she explained that it would like speed things up, but also make things more intense. Each time she asked I turned her down. I felt comfortable with the speed of how things were progressing, and didn't really want things to get more intense if I could avoid it.

Fast forward to me around 10 cm. It was just me, Jeromy, and Kate in the room. Things were very quiet in between contractions. Another contraction came and I moaned/breathed through the pain. All of a sudden there was this HUGE pop and gush. All three of us sort of jumped/startled. I had this immediate warmth and wetness all over. I heard it splash on the floor. Jeromy still laughs - saying that it was seriously like someone throwing a bucket of water - claiming that it splashed halfway across the floor. My water had, quite dramatically, broken.

Kate was right - immediately things got much more intense. I panicked a little bit, and started to cry. I had come so far, but it hurt so bad now, and I was scared about what I still needed to do. Kate and Jeromy were there to reassure me - that she'd be here soon. At this point it was probably 1:00 or so, maybe a bit after.

Other nurses and doctors started to come in and prep the room for baby. I was seriously delirious - aware of the action and energy around me, but exhausted and in a good deal of pain. The time had come to start pushing. A resident started me going at first, but I really struggled - I had done this before, but it felt so awkward. I felt unfocused and weak - and unsure of when/how to push, and where I was within the process. After a bit the attending doctor stepped in, which I was so thankful for. She was much more intentional about telling me what to do - counting out loud of the pushes, and telling me which pushes were good.

Each round of contractions came, and I would grabbed the back of my thighs and bear down. The doctor had me push as long as I could at the beginning of the contraction (usually about 15 seconds), take a deep breath and push again. I would get two, sometimes three pushes in with each contraction.

At this point I felt so weak. It took EVERYTHING I had to push each time. Each time a contraction would come I'd start to cry because I didn't want to face it. But each time I summoned the strength within, and pushed as hard as I could. (Side note: later that day, and especially the next I noticed that my arms were super sore. I couldn't figure out why, and then realized it was from holding my legs. My arms got a really good workout that day!)

Maybe it sounds weird, but at this point it was almost an out of body experience. I was quite delirious. I was exhausted and SO hot (around this time I took my gown off altogether because I was overheating so bad). I was making sounds that seemed so foreign to me. Screaming, grunting, moaning, etc. felt like all I could do to get me through each contraction/push. I was oddly aware of myself and the state I was in, but almost felt disconnected - really hard to explain.

From the beginning I had been nervous that I would be pushing for as long as I did with Linnea (2 1/2 hours or so). Kate assured me that would not be the case - that Baby Sister would come much faster. Thankfully she was right, and before I knew it, everyone was excitedly telling me she was almost here. I felt the "ring of fire" as her head came out, and shortly after could feel the rest of her. The doctor announced the time (1:53) and put Britta on my chest. I bawled. Sheer exhaustion. Sheer love. Sheer pride in what I had done.

After a couple minutes, they took Britta to test her vitals and get her measured. Some of the nurses and doctors stayed with me to get me finished up. Another experience that was different with Britta was delivery of the placenta. With Linnea, I have no memory of delivering the placenta. I know it came out, but it didn't hurt and I wasn't aware of it. With Britta, the doctor had to guide me through delivering it - a couple more pushes and some pushing of my stomach on her part. It was a little painful, but short lived. I tore just a bit during the whole process, and needed one stitch.

While this was going on Jeromy was with Britta. When it came time for her to be weighed, he yelled across to me to see what my guess was. On the way to the hospital we guessed her to be about 8 pounds, 5 ounces. I couldn't believe it when Jeromy told me she was 9 pounds, 5 ounces, and 22.25"!! Big girl!

Once they were done with both Britta and I, Jeromy and I each got a chance to meet Britta. She was awake and SO alert. It was surreal to be able to look into her eyes - she was finally here, and she was perfect.

My favorite part of the whole experience came after Britta was born. I got out of bed to get showered off (Rain shower head! Seriously, it was like a spa!). What I really wanted was a bath. When I mentioned that, the nurses told me I could get back into the tub - and then suggested that Britta join me.

So they filled the tub again, and I got back in. They stripped Britta down, and laid her on my chest. They covered her with wet towels so she'd stay warm. She hadn't had her first bath yet, so I got to clean her off- scrub her little head, wipe down her back and legs, wash her tiny toes and fingers. I had tried to nurse her shortly after she was born, but she wasn't really having it. But in the tub she happily nursed well for 20 minutes or so. It. Was. Heaven. I will never, ever forget those sweet minutes with her.

I had been so nervous leading up to Britta's birth - how would it go, how would I manage, would everyone be healthy, would we like the nurses. In those quiet minutes after Britta was born I had a huge wave of relief. I had done it. I was so proud of myself. So thankful for my support team - Jeromy and our awesome nurse Kate. So relieved that she was finally here. My heart was full.

She's here! And perfect, if I do say so myself!

Meeting Daddy...

Meeting Mama...

I couldn't stop kissing her...

My favorite memory of the experience. I may not look it, but this is the face of pure happiness, pride, and relief.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Britta Alice: Behind a Name

I love names. I love the history and meaning of names. I love the nostalgia and tradition behind names. And I love naming babies.

I admittedly get a bit obsessed. I like considering names from all different perspectives, and want to get it "just right."

So I thought a lot about it. And talked to bugged Jeromy a lot about it.

As with Linnea, our name criteria was as follows:
1. Scandinavian (Jeromy and I are both Scandinavian, and we really like honoring the heritage).
2. Unique, but not weird.
3. Fairly easy to pronounce and spell
4. Sound good (obviously) with Carlson
5. No alliteration (this is Jeromy's) - so no K or C names, or names that have the same first letter as the middle name

 It makes sense, I suppose, that many of the names we considered this time around we're ones that we talked about with Linnea.

Quite honestly, the pool is pretty small. To have it be Scandinavian, and not weird... and not starting with a C or K. It's a pretty short list...

Side story...Jeromy and I both got foiled by pop culture. Jeromy has always loved the name Siri, and probably would have named Linnea that, had it been his decision only. I'm glad we didn't, because within a few months after Linnea was born, Siri on iPhones came out.

Although Jeromy might have still used the name for Britta, I vetoed it.  

I got foiled by Frozen. I have loved the name Elsa for a long time. Again, it was a name we discussed for Linnea. But I knew I wanted to use Beth as the middle name...and I found out that Elsa is a form of Elizabeth, so that's redundant. And then Disney had to go and steal the name.

So anyways...no Siri. No Elsa. No K names. No C names.

We threw around a few names...

I was really sad to have "lost" Elsa, because it was a way to honor my sister. (Linnea's middle name Beth does that well). I still wanted to honor my sister through the name, but wasn't sure how to do so.

Then we talked about Alice. Alice was my sister's middle name. Alice was my grandma - my dad's mom - whom I never got to meet. She died when my dad was a teenager. Alice is also a family name on Jeromy's side. We decided on Alice before deciding on Britta.

Through our criteria we narrowed the list down to two - one was Britta (obviously). The other name is one that we really like. But it sounded weird with Linnea. And then we realized that an added criteria this time around was that it needed to sound good with Linnea.

So we both found ourselves leaning towards Britta.

It didn't feel quite right at first... I'm not sure why. But as the weeks went by, when I thought of her, I thought Britta. Britta Alice.

Somewhere along the line I realized that Britta means strong. I love that.

As with Linnea, we didn't actually name her until she was born. Although we knew that we had pretty much decided, we waited. Waited to see it sweet little face. Waited to hold her in our arms. Waited to hear her cry.

And then we happily looked in her eyes, and told her her name...Britta Alice.

This was a really long post to explain how we came up with her name. I told you I'm obsessed. ;-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Introducing Britta Alice!!

She's here!! After a long wait, our sweet rainbow appeared!!

Britta Alice Carlson made her way into this world on Friday, July 17th after a quick and wonderful labor and delivery.

She surprised us by weighing in at 9 pounds, 5 ounces, and measuring 22.25" long!

We've been home since Sunday, and our settling in to our life as a family of four.

Stay tuned...much more to come, including Britta's birth story. Until then, I'll leave you with a few pictures...

Our family of four...

 My two sweet girls...

 So glad she's here!

My little squishy!



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

40 weeks and counting...

I started this post a couple weeks ago, when I had realized it was APRIL when I last posted ANYTHING. Good grief.

When I started writing the post I was in my 38th week of pregnancy. Just a couple weeks away from meeting our newest little love.

Well...fast forward a couple weeks...and a couple days. I am now 40 weeks, 2 days, and in completely uncharted (for me) territory.

My sweet Linnea girl was right on time, textbook, and honestly the best labor and delivery I could ever imagine or ask for. You can read her birth story here.

Anyways...with the exception of these last couple days, I've really been enjoying these last weeks of pregnancy. I feel like everyone asks very tentatively, "How are you feeling?" expecting the worst, but (again, with the exception of the last couple days) I've been feeling really well. I remember feeling like this with my pregnancy with Linnea. I felt so crummy for such a long time with both pregnancies, that it's such a relief to not feel that way! Yeah, I'm a little hot, sore, and have limited range of motion. But other than that - pretty good energy, sleeping fairly well, etc.

I reached the point a couple weeks ago where I just felt "done." When it hit July...and then when we were in single digits until my due date, I'm just ready. And now...2 days late...forget about it....it's SO hard to focus/be effective at much more than waiting for Baby Sister to arrive.

Work has been particularly hard. In my role, I support a specific group of students (anywhere from around 400-500 people at a given time). As I've talked to people this most recent quarter, I've told anyone I've connected with about my maternity leave. That's a lot of people. And while most people are really nice, and share kind words of congratulations, it does get quite old.

This week has been a totally different ballgame, and a million times more annoying. If I would have been done on Friday (as I had expected/hoped), it would have been AWESOME. It was our "quarter end" (our new quarter started on Monday), and my work load was finished up - wrapped up in a nice little bow.

But now...a weird place. The quarter has started. I had told all my student I wouldn't be here...but yet I am. My colleague who is taking over my workload while I'm gone has reached out to most of them...but yet I need to find something to stay busy. I'm (obviously) super distracted. That, and my very kind co-workers are swinging by to say hi, check on me, wish me well, etc. This is very kind, but I have a big team. Needless to say, not much is getting done.

I'm tempted to just say I'm done...but when I don't know how long it could be before baby comes, I don't want to start my maternity leave without a baby, as it would just cause me to lose time on the back end. So I continue to work.

Okay, enough complaining. It's really not so bad. I'm only 2 days past. People have been very nice, and I'm SO blessed to have a healthy pregnancy, a stable job with supportive co-workers, and an amazing group of family and friends who are supporting us.

Here's a more formal update, as I've been doing...let's hope that I've got a baby post soon!!!

Maternity Clothes: Oh yes. I am measuring bigger than I did with Linnea, so it's definitely mostly maternity clothes. Although I had mentioned in several posts on here that I hoped to buy a few more pieces, I never did. So now, I'm pretty limited in what I'm wearing.

I actually have a good handful of non-maternity shirts I can still wear. I'm quite short-waisted, and wear things a bit baggier usually, so it's nice to have those I can still wear.

Additionally, my work place does "casual summer," meaning we can wear jeans, and knee-length shorts all days of the week. This works quite nicely for summer pregnancies!!

Sleep: Sleep is touch and go. I've gotten through a lot of the really bad pregnancy insomnia that I mentioned last time. I'm still up generally about once a night - usually to go to the bathroom, sometimes just awake. But those are generally more short lived.

In these last few days I find it harder to make myself go to sleep - that's sort of silly...I guess it's kind of like a kid on Christmas Eve...just excited, and hard to settle down.

Rolling over is a bit ridiculous these days - it's crazy how much energy it takes me! Sometimes I'm a bit winded after getting situated. Uff.

Best Moment of the Week: Ha! This post is SO overdue, I'm needing to cover the best moments of the last couple months!

I have enjoyed continuing to feel better (for the most part). Especially since this may be my last pregnancy, I'm savoring all the kicks and movement from Baby Sister. Being pregnant is SUCH a unique, odd, amazing gift. I'm really trying to fully embrace and enjoy that (even in these last few days, which is much harder).

I've also enjoyed seeing Linnea's excitement grow. She talks/yells/sings to my belly quite regularly. Recently, she's been trying (quite hard) to convince her sister to come out - she makes up songs, talks kindly, and in one instance yelled, "Baby Sister, get out! You are SO big!!"

It will be SO fun to watch her become a big sister.

I've also enjoyed finally getting stuff "ready." We were so slow to get the rooms painted, furniture set up, clothes washed, etc. All of that is done now, and it makes me feel a lot more ready and relaxed (again...not so much in the last few days...but whatever.).

Movement: Overall, lots of movement. As I've said before, this babe is quite a mover. Big movement. Still sort of shy, in that it's hard to get her to move for other people. Jeromy has felt her a decent amount of times...usually as we're going to bed and are laying quietly for a bit.

In the last week or so, it seems like she's been moving less. It has made me a bit paranoid. I actually called the triage line earlier this week because I was a little nervous. They said everything sounded good, but just to be sure had me check kick counts. The nurse I talked to said I should feel 10 kicks in an hour or two at minimum. Well...I got 10 kicks in about 15 minutes. So I think we're good. I'm getting a little bit crazier each day that I go over...

Food Cravings: As I said last post, these have definitely leveled off. I've actually noticed that I have less of an appetite. I assume that's because I have less space in there for food. :-P

I'm still loving summery drinks - lemonade, iced tea/lemonade, etc.

Food Aversions: Nada, really. I've been eating pretty normally...just eating a little less.

Morning Sickness: Thank goodness this is far behind me! No sickness. If anything, I just need to be sure that I don't eat too much...because that can make my stomach hurt a bit.

Gender: Girl! So excited to have sisters! She's definitely been referred to almost exclusively as Baby Sister, though I'm pretty sure we've decided on a name for her. I can't wait to call her by her name!!

Symptoms: Do crabbiness and irritability count?? Physically, I actually continue to be okay. I feel big, of course, and a little sore/awkward, but nothing awful.

I've had bad swelling in my feet and ankles on and off. Usually my ankles and feet are awkwardly slender, but they have (at times) tripled their size...no joke. It comes and goes, but when it's bad, it's bad enough to cause me to get tingly/start to lose feeling.

I've had a little bit of acid reflux/heartburn, but not anything too offensive.

Thankfully, Baby Sister has dropped enough that I'm not dealing with the numbness under my boobs anymore.

What I miss: Ease of mobility, plain and simple. Especially with the heat this week, everything is harder...walking, stairs, taking care of Linnea, etc.

Also, the things mentioned previously..running/being active, a summery adult beverage, sleeping on my stomach, having clothes fit.

What I'm looking forward to: Meeting this baby!!!! Hopefully very, very soon!

And now, some random bump shots...

38 weeks...

39ish weeks...how did she grow so much in just over a week??!


At a 4th of July parade...8 days away from due date

Approaching 40 weeks...

40 weeks, 1 day. SO READY!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Beginning of 2015 (January, February, March)

I am in complete disbelief that we are halfway through 2015 - much less DAYS (days...not months...not even weeks) away from meeting our baby! To say the year has flown by is a complete understatement.

Also an understatement is to say I've fallen off the blogging wagon. I thought it had maybe been early June...perhaps mid-May since my last post. But no...April?! Good grief.

So here's my attempt to get back on track...at least to a certain degree...

January
  • January was an up and down month in terms of "morning sickness" (aka all day sickness for me), so we sort of took the month one day at a time. Like my pregnancy with Linnea, the sickness just lingered...forrrrreeever. Unlike with Linnea, I ended up on medication, which helped a bit- although I think time was the biggest help. I'm sort of grateful that I felt this way in January - my least favorite month of the year. It was a decent time to just lay low.
  • We managed some good outings... most notable being a trip to the Science Museum (Linnea's first time). 
  • I obsessed a bit about a preschool decision for Linnea (and we managed to make a decision that we feel really good about - woo hoo!!). 
  • The last weekend of the month we took a second annual retreat with our faith group from church. Last year was a little rough - sleep didn't go well. But this year was WONDERFUL! Linnea did so much better with sleep. We all had a great time. It was a great mix of play time, time with friends, and couple time. We needed that weekend - it was very refreshing. I'm kicking myself that I didn't get more pictures, but I thought this one was pretty sweet...

Random photos from the month...
February
  • We hosted our annual Super Bowl party. We did it a bit differently this year - adults only. It was a hard decision, but our house just isn't big enough to effectively hold our friends and their growing families. We had a much smaller group, but we had a great time and it was a super entertaining game.
  • I took a day trip down to Rochester with my besties Kirstyn and Jackie to meet up with other bestie Bethany. We had such a fun day shopping and catching up. I love these girls more than I could ever say! 

  • We had a great Valentine's Day. Jeromy and I are not huge fans of a "traditional" Valentine's Day, so we've really enjoyed making our own traditions as a family. This year we hosted a pancake breakfast at church for our faith group. Super fun! We also had a family date to Pizza Luce, and then Jeromy and I had a movie date in our pajamas. It was perfect! 
  • At the end of the month we found out that Baby Carlson #2 is another girl! I am so excited to have two girls!!
Random photos from the month...



March

  • Early in March we spent the weekend down in Decorah, IA (home of our dear alma mater, Luther College). I'm serving on the 10-year reunion committee, and we had a meeting down there. We had such a good time! We stayed at one of the nicer hotels (had a suite, no less!). Linnea enjoyed the pool in the hotel. What a little fish! We enjoyed a couple of our favorite restaurants in town, and a bit of time on campus. We're super excited to go back down there for our reunion in October!
  • Mid-March we took a day trip down to Eau Claire. Pretty much Jeromy's whole family lives down there. We were much overdue for a visit. We had a really great visit. We started the day off with a geocaching event (it was pi day!) at Perkins with Jeromy's Uncle Jeff. Following that event, we did some geocaching by Jeff's place. We then visited Jeromy's grandparents for a couple hours, then spent the rest of the day (including dinner) with Jeromy's aunt, uncle, and cousin. Jeromy's cousin has been battling leukemia. Although they've ceased treatment, he's doing quite well. It was great to see everyone. The weather was wonderful, and Linnea was very cooperative the whole day.
Linnea and Uncle Jeff at the Pi Day geocaching event..

Geocaching by Uncle Jeff's house...it was such a gorgeous day! (Can you find Jeromy in the below picture? LOL...)

Linnea with her Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Carlson
 
Reading with Great-Grandpa...
  

Linnea and cousin Tom
  

  • The week after our visit to Eau Claire, my dear friend Rachel came into town with her new baby Andrew AND my other friend Kirstyn had her new baby Jack, So we had a major baby weekend! Linnea and I went to Ellsworth, WI for the day (with our friends Jackie and Gavin, and Sarah) to visit, and then Linnea and I stopped on the way home to meet Jack. Hooray! I love watching my friends become mamas. Awesome mamas at that. 
 Meeting Andrew for the first time (this was actually at a WOWZA dinner out, prior to our weekend visit...)
  
Ellsworth (where Rachel is from) is the Cheese Curd Capital of WI...so a trip to the creamery was definitely in order!
Gavin and Linnea at the creamery

Linnea loved helping Auntie Rachel with Andrew...
Reading with Auntie Sarah

Linnea became seriously smitten...



Meeting Baby Jack! This made me quite excited to have a new baby at our house! Linnea was so excited...

  • Linnea got a big girl bike! After having learned how to ride a two-wheel bike (with training wheels, that is) at our Faith Group retreat, we decided it was time for Linnea to have a bike of her own. The bike we got is a bit big, but she's really enjoyed cruising around the neighborhood like a big girl! 

Random photos from the month...