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 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. 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'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 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 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 least to a certain degree...

  • 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...
  • 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...


  • 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 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 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...