Tuesday, December 15, 2009

five-ish months


Oops! I knew you turned 5 months last Friday. But I kind of forgot that I was supposed to do this. I mean, it's the holidays and we're busy. Forgive me.

Ah, five months. Such a sweet, sweet age. You're smiling and laughing and "talking" at everything. Adorable. Just today, you were sitting in the exersaucer and I told Jack to entertain you while I ran some laundry downstairs (sometimes it feels like laundry is all I do all day, Leah). When I came back up, you were CRACKING UP at whatever he was doing! And he was just drumming on some of the toys on your exersaucer. But you thought he was freaking hilarious! Your laugh is such an amazing sound. And you're quite stingy with the giggles. Please keep them coming.

You have officially graduated to your new car seat! You probably would have technically fit in the infant carrier until you turned one, but there was no WAY I was going to carry you around for another seven months. Not when you're already pushing 18 pounds and breaking my back. I love you, but honey, you're kind of heavy. Now, I still have to carry you, but it's much easier with just you in my arms! So, this new car seat is kind of a big deal. I pretty much fell in love with it before you were even born. I'm kind of a nerd, but it's great. It will keep you rear-facing up to 40 pounds! Amazing! And 5-point-harnessed to 65 pounds! Amazing again! But you don't care. You care that it's brown and pink and super cute.

Unfortunately, you have your first little cold right now. Just a crusty little nose. Lovely. You're also sneezing and Jack is coughing, so I'm really hoping it doesn't get worse for you. You've already let me know how much you despise my wiping your nose. And all of this congestion junk is making your already terrible nighttime sleep even worse. So I'm a little tired. A lot tired. Leah, I'm losing-my-mind tired.

Christmas is next week! Your first Christmas. Pretty exciting! Except that it will just feel like any other normal day to you. We, your brilliant parents, have taken advantage of that fact and purchased really practical gifts for you. A new car seat. A few new cloth diapers. Some clothes. I am really looking forward to a few years down the road when you are as obsessed with some girly disney princess or something as your brother is with Spiderman. Shopping will be more fun. :)

Well, I've been working on this on and off for a few days now. And it's 10:30 and you just woke up. So I think I'm going to be done now and go cuddle you. It's just about my favorite thing to do.

Love you,

Monday, December 07, 2009

Whoa! Scary.

I bought something called Earth Balance at Cub last night. It's a vegan "buttery spread." :) Anyway, I took a stick out of the package today and couldn't help but noticed the little stamped date on the end of the box.


At first glance, doesn't it look like this stuff is going to be good for another 200 years? :) But clearly, it must mean September 22, 2010. Then I realized that it's already weird that it's good for another 10 months. But I'm not going to think about that for too long. Instead I'm going to enjoy the fact that I can make a semi-normal dairy-free cookie!

Monday, November 30, 2009

My sweet boy

I was walking down the hall after putting Leah to bed and noticed something odd in Jack's room.

Yeah, he's in a laundry basket. I grabbed the camera and took this. He caught me, though, so I made him pose for this one:

Reading in a laundry basket. Crazy kid. He told me it was comfortable because he added a pillow. Well, I hope so, because 15 minutes later, he was out cold.

Don't you just want to eat him up?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bad news.

I reintroduced dairy on Thanksgiving. It was glorious. Especially when I realized the only thing I could have eaten was the turkey. :) So I continued to eat normally--not totally indulging on dairy, but not avoiding it either. I've been meticulously checking Leah's diapers and they've been fine.

Until this morning. If I was inspecting so closely, I probably wouldn't have even seen it. But it was there. Two little streaks of blood. Just like they looked a month ago when they first appeared.

Shoot! It's totally worth it, but I'm bummed. :(

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful for Thanksgiving

A month ago when I embarked on this dairy-free journey, I immediately thought about the upcoming holidays and what I'd have to eat. Well, more accurately, what I'd have to MISS. Like, everything. Sure, there are dairy-free substitutes for LOTS of things, but it's just not the same. I have absolutely no holiday traditions involving soy milk and dairy-free "buttery spread."

Well, at Leah's 4-month-appointment last week (which was also technically her follow-up appointment for this dairy-free business), the doctor was very pleased that the blood in her diaper left so quickly and hasn't been back. He said that, combined with the fact that she didn't have any other symptoms (more fussy, hard tummy, etc) meant that this probably wasn't a dairy issue. So he said I could go ahead and reintroduce dairy if I wanted and just take it from there. If the blood stays away, we're fine. If not, then the problem is most definitely a dairy issue.

So I could have reintroduced dairy last week when we got the green light. But I didn't. I am waiting until this Thursday to reintroduce. That way I can eat totally normal Thanksgiving food. No fake milk, butter, or anything. I'm excited.

Of course I'm thankful for more than just Thanksgiving food. Like my wonderful husband and beautiful, healthy kids. And a warm, safe home. And so much more.

Happy Thanksgiving, blogworld!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

four months


WHAT? You're FOUR months? Who on EARTH let you turn FOUR MONTHS? Seriously, this is all just going so fast. But I'm loving every moment of it (well, most every moment), so don't stop. I'm sure you're just going to get cuter and more irresistible.

I was just telling someone the other day that I looked back at some pictures from our trip to the cabin this past August, and you don't even look like the same baby! You were so tiny (well, it's all relative) and looked so much more like a BABY. Now you look like a little GIRL! And you just keep growing. You seem to outgrow clothes in a matter of weeks. Which is probably good because they're all terribly spit-up stained by then anyway. :) Yes, you are definitely following in your brother's footsteps with your spitting up. I'm just hoping you outgrow it around six months like he did!

I had the depressing realization yesterday that I haven't had a decent night's sleep in four months. Let's do something about that, shall we? Like, I don't know, stay asleep longer than three hours at a time? Please? Pretty please? More sleep might just make me an even BETTER mom! Oh, whatever. You'll get there. And I'm sure pretty soon I'll miss your cuddly little body next to mine in the middle of the night when you decide you want to stay in your crib all by yourself.

This month marked your first Halloween! You weren't impressed. You were a very cute little pumpkin! But you hardly stayed awake to witness much trick-or-treating. I think next year will be much more exciting!

Now we're getting excited for your first Thanksgiving. Not that it will be much different than any other day for you, other than some extra guests. And you'll get to watch us eat all kinds of yummy food. Sorry, we can't share it with you just yet. You're staying on the same diet for a couple more months. Speaking of which, we're conducting a little experiment. You seemed to have a little intestinal distress, so I'm cutting all dairy out of my diet. The distress seems to have disappeared, which makes me a little sad because the dairy-free diet kind of stinks. The doctor would like me to try reintroducing dairy in a few weeks, just to makes sure that, and not just a small tear, was the cause of some blood in your diaper. So, in the next few weeks, could you PLEASE decide that you DO like dairy and that your intestinal system CAN handle milk products? Because, seriously, it's in everything. Hot dog buns. Hot dog buns, Leah!

I think you're becoming more aware of your brother. I'm not sure what took you so long--he's been cupping your cheeks and kissing your face since the day you were born. And every time you wake up from a nap, he wants to come give you a hug and a kiss! But now you're really responding to him--smiles and laughs--and it totally makes his day! "Mommy, Leah smiled at me!" I mean, we ALL get excited when you smile and laugh. It's priceless. :)

Until next month, sweet baby! Love you lots and lots.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Got milk?

Nope. It appears that Leah has a milk protein intolerance, so I've cut dairy out of my diet indefinitely. Or really, for as long as I want to keep nursing. And since the alternative is feeding her a SUPER expensive formula, I'm going to deal with the dairy-free diet.
Automatically, I thought, "Wow, I'm going to miss milk. And cheese. And yogurt." But then I realized just HOW MANY things have milk products in them. The great thing is that since milk is such a common allergen, it will be listed in bold underneath the ingredient list with any others (nuts, wheat, etc). So it's usually pretty easy to spot something I need to avoid. And I'm starting to get used to what I can have. For instance, some brands of spaghetti sauce have dairy and some don't. Some taco seasoning has it, some doesn't. Duncan Hines (cakes and brownie mixes) is about the only brand without dairy. Oreos don't have dairy. :)
Now, I love chocolate, but I never realized how much I count on a piece of chocolate (like a Dove promise or a few chocolate chips) after dinner. Well, most chocolate has milk. Even dark chocolate has "milk fat." (Sounds lovely, right?) But today at Target, I found this:
And it's awesome. No milk or milk fat or anything else dairy. Love it.

Monday, November 02, 2009

You know you live with a 3 1/2-year-old boy when....

This is a shelf down by the cat's food and water bowls. I found this set-up when I went to feed Lucy yesterday morning.And yes, that's some weird all-black Spiderman. Likely a Happy Meal toy at some point.

I do love this kid's imagination. He's definitely ALL boy. And I adore that about him. Although sometimes I wonder--amid the sword-wielding pirates and web-shooting spiderman--if he'll still be the sweet, compassionate boy who will be gentle with his sister and still hug his mom when he's thirteen.

But then he'll go and do something like this

and I decide that he's actually a pretty well-balanced kid. ;)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pet peeve

I hate when companies use incorrect grammar. You know, like the express line at Cub that allows "10 items or less" instead of "10 items or fewer." Well, I've got a new one, and I just can't believe it every time I see the commercial. Outback Steakhouse's new slogan is "Live Adventurous." Seriously. I kind of cringe. Mostly because, to me, it makes the company sound uneducated. Not that I pick my steakhouses based on their education level, but it's annoying. But also, having taught middle school reading and tried my darnedest to instill correct grammar into their little heads, it bugs me to see stuff like this. Because they're going to take anything "advertised" as correct. Bummer.

p.s. If you're driving yourself crazy trying to figure out what's wrong with the slogan, click here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Why didn't anyone tell me?

My little "blurb" under my picture to the left still said something about baby #2 making its debut sometime this summer. Yup, that has passed. Baby #2 is now a beautiful 3 1/2 month old darling girl. :) Glad I fixed it! And a new picture for good measure.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One year ago....

I woke up, peed on a stick, and saw two pink lines.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mmmmm.....snow in October.

Actually, I think it's quite depressing, but Jack loves it. He is pretty sure it means it's also Christmas, so that's a bummer. :)
We took a little trip to Once Upon a Child yesterday to get boots and snowpants. Jack has outgrown his gear from last year. Then we came home, put Leah to bed, and played outside. He was in his GLORY and didn't want to come in. In fact, when Leah woke up, I said he had to come in with me. He settled for continuing to play on the deck and raked the snow and leaves off. Crazy kid.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

three months


Look at me! I'm actually writing your letter ON your three-month birthday. Not a few days later. I can tell you're not impressed. Well, I am.

You're three months! Or, as I said to Mimi today, you're halfway to solid food! That sounds even weirder. You can't be one fourth of the way to your first birthday! It's going too fast! Slow down! Actually, you just get more delightful every day, so keep going. Your newest delightful feature is talking. Not that you're carrying on actual conversations with us or anything, but the sounds you make combined with your facial expressions are just to die for. You're so responsive, and I can tell you are actually trying to tell us something. It's just so sweet. I got to experience your first laugh a few weeks ago (you've been stingy with them since then, however), and it was the most amazing sound ever! It made my day. Of course, I couldn't replicate whatever I did that made you chuckle, and even if I could have, you probably wouldn't have found it funny again. You're fickle like that. :)

Sleep. You still don't like it, but I think we're getting somewhere. And we have MIMI to thank for it. All it took was Daddy and me going to a Twins game and dropping you and Jack off at Mimi and Poppa's house for the evening. Mimi miraculously got you to fall asleep on your own, on your belly, and you stayed that way for over three hours. You probably would have stayed there even longer if we hadn't gotten you up to take you home. But it's definitely started a good trend--you go down awake for naps and at bed and only fuss for a little bit. Your naps are starting to get a little longer too, which is nice. I just hope they start to affect your nighttime sleep because I'm tired. Although, I do secretly love bringing you back into bed with me when you wake up very early in the morning. It's cozy, especially now that it's a little chilly in the house. And you wake me up with that intoxicating chatting I mentioned. Oh, I could just eat you up!

I'm feeling kind of guilty for not getting out and enjoying a lot of warm summer days (all eight of them) because now it's FREEZING. I am still holding out hope for a nice, warm Indian summer. I won't hold my breath, but it would be awfully nice. Then we could enjoy our brand new stroller! Or maybe we'll just have to break it in next spring. :(

You certainly don't enjoy being in the car. I'm considering getting your next car seat soon, even though you won't need it for a few more months. Maybe you'd just like being a little more upright and seeing the world outside! But seriously, do you have to scream so loud when we're driving to Target? I mean, it's not like I'm going to leave you in the car. And it's not like you're just being crabby and the car ride is ill-timed, because as soon as I have you out, you're all, "Oh my GOSH, thank you for saving me from that God-forsaken vehicle!" and you stop whining and even offer a smile. Whatever, kid. It could be a lot worse than an '05 Honda Odyssey, let me tell you.

Well, my dear, it's another month in the record books. Er, the baby books. We have so much to look forward to in the next few, so I know you'll keep us on our toes! But thanks for everything you've already brought to our family. You're a beautiful girl.


Monday, October 05, 2009

My favorite boy

Around 3:00 this afternoon, I ventured into Jack's room to let him know he could come out. Well, he had fallen asleep, so I let him keep sleeping. But before I turned around to leave, I noticed something on his face. Oh, dear. He'd been coloring a Spiderman picture before getting in bed and it appeared he decided to take the red marker to his own face.

I had to leave the room because I couldn't stop laughing. Then, of course, I grabbed the camera to document it. When he finally did wake up almost an hour later, I said, "So, what did you do to your face?"
"I colored. I want to be like Spiderman in my picture."
Of course you do, buddy. Of course you do. :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

two months

Sweet Leah,

Okay, I'm unfortunately continuing the bad habit I started last month. You actually turned two months last Friday, but now it's the following Thursday and I'm just getting to this. What can I say? Life with two kids is busy. Wonderful, but busy.

We had your two-month well child doctor visit on Tuesday. You passed all the tests with flying colors! And you hated the shots. It was so hard to watch! Much harder than I remember it being with Jack. Not that I love him less--I actually think he didn't cry as much. But I also don't remember THREE separate vaccines with him. Poor baby. (Although Jack wasn't in the clear this time--he got a flu shot and screamed just as loud as you did). You weighed in at 14 lb 11 oz (atta girl) and a lanky 25 inches long. Seriously, I just make babies that refuse to be on the charts. But I like them that way!

My favorite thing about you right now is your smile. In fact, just this morning, you woke up and started making some noises but not fussing. So I dozed for a couple more minutes and got up. When I peeked over the side of your bassinet, I was greeted with the widest grin from you! You actually smile with your whole face! Your mouth starts to grin and then opens wide, and your eyes are so bright. Then your whole body starts to squirm with happiness. I love it! It makes waking up after a difficult night a little easier. Although, last night wasn't so bad. We were in bed by 10:00, and you woke up at 2:00 and 5:00. Yup, that's a good night. Bad is when you go down at 9:00 and wake up at 10:45, 12:20, 2:00, 4:15, 6:05, and 7:30. Yes, we've had nights like that as recently as last week. Let's not do it too much more, though, okay? It's hard to even think about functioning the next day.

You're also starting to have lengthier awake times during the day. You actually seem amused by your bouncy seat and swing, as opposed to just enduring them while I shower or make lunch. You continue to prefer the Moby for sleeping during the day, which I don't mind right now. Sure, you'll need to learn to sleep in your own bed eventually. Like when I don't feel like wearing your 30-pound body on mine. But until then, I think it's cozy.

You experienced your first Minnesota State Fair a few weeks ago. You weren't impressed. Actually, you slept through nearly all of it. In the Moby. My favorite part about bringing you was taking advantage of FM 107's "Lactation Station." It was a huge tent full of rocking chairs and fans with a couple of changing tables. So nice! And much better than trying to nurse you in the bathroom or in front of half of our state's population. It will be fun when you're older--Jack really enjoyed the animals, merry-go-round, and a great big corndog. :)

I love you, sweet baby. You're growing entirely too quickly, but I'm enjoying you so much. Just keep those smiles coming and I'll be fine. :)


Monday, August 31, 2009

And so it begins....

It's what I like to call "the great post-pregnancy hair loss experience."

For some reason, when you're pregnant, all of those extra hormones in your body do something to "hold on" to the hair on your head. I've always been one to lose a good handful of hair when I shower (just ask my dad, who used to take apart the shower drain at least once a month to clean it out), so this phenomenon is actually a welcome pregnancy side effect for me.

Well, when you're done being pregnant, it still takes a while for all of those hormones to leave your body. But once they do, watch out! Your body makes up for the fact that it hasn't let go of hair for a good 10 months and you think that you might go bald if you keep brushing. Apparently I am shedding hormones like crazy now, because I'm also shedding hair. Combing through my hair after my shower this morning, I almost got myself tangled in the mess. I thought, "My gosh, what is with all of this hair?" Then I realized that around the two-month mark is about when the hair loss started with Jack, too. I actually had a hair cut around Jack's two-month birthday and my hairdresser commented on how much I was losing. Yikes!

Luckily, I have plenty of hair to stand losing a bit every time I shower. And now that I know I'm not going crazy, I'll just have to be careful not to plug up the shower drain. As it turns out, my dad the drain-cleaner doesn't live here!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

one month

Dear Leah,

I'm not off to a great start. You turned one month last Tuesday, the 11th. And here it is the following Sunday, the 16th, and I'm finally writing this. It's not a great first impression on my part. I'm sorry. Please don't hold it against me--I promise to be on time with your two-month letter. Really.

So, one month ago (or thereabouts), I was holding a brand new baby girl in my arms after a long wait. You were 9 days late (not super fun, but you're worth it) and wouldn't come out until I labored for nearly 28 hours (again, quicker would have been great, but you're worth it). You were the most beautiful baby girl I'd ever seen (I can't say that you were the most beautiful baby because your brother might read this some day....). Actually, you looked quite a bit like Jack, except that you came out with a head of hair. Surprise! Where did that come from? Beautiful.

It was really nice to get home and start figuring out our new life with two kids. Of course, as soon as we were home, I was kind of wishing for the hospital again. You would too--the nurses down the hall are a godsend. ("Sure, take her to the nursery tonight so I can finally sleep"). But we did get used to life at home after a while. Oh, who am I kidding--we're still working on it. Jack in particular. "What? I can't just be noisy whenever I want and smother my sister with kisses when she's sound asleep?" Poor kid. He didn't see this coming. The idea of a baby sister was a bit of a novelty. But really, he's great. You will be fantastic friends someday.

Fair warning, blog readers: I'm going to say breast.
So, I thought we were set with this breastfeeding thing. I mean, it's enough that I'd already successfully nursed a baby, but you were a champ of a nurser in the hospital. You latched on right away and I was so grateful that it was going well. Then we came home. And my milk came in. And holy mother of God, I was pretty sure I was going to die. I won't go into detail ("Too late, Mom") about the pain, but it really was like nothing I've ever felt. You could not latch on without me crying or screaming (I may or may not have sworn once or twice--I apologize). Luckily, I'd had such a great experience with your brother, so I knew it could be better. So Daddy and I went to see the wonderful women at the Breastfeeding Center at Methodist. And God sent an angel/lactation consultant named Diane. She immediately fixed your latch and I nursed without pain. It was amazing! I was ecstatic! Your father wanted to saint Diane! And then we got home. And seriously, it was like you knew that Diane wasn't sitting there anymore. We did everything she told us to do and had very different results. Painful results. So we endured through the weekend and went BACK to the Breastfeeding Center on Monday. Diane was there again. "We're back," I said, almost in tears. "Oh, this is why we're here!" See? Angel. She helped me again. This time it wasn't SO terrible once we got home. But I knew I was just going to have to give it some time. And I have. And darling, I think we've got this down now.

I cannot write this letter without mentioning my favorite baby product of the last month, the Moby Wrap. Mostly because you're in it right now, allowing me to write this. I honestly don't know what I'd do without this thing! I certainly wouldn't get anything done during the day, and getting you to sleep would be quite the chore. And you LOVE it. You just get right in and settle down. Most of the time--sometimes it takes a little walking around and coaxing ("REALLY! YOU LOVE THIS THING! SETTLE DOWN!) to get you to stop crying.

The Moby was particularly handy this past week when we traveled to Pine City and spent a week at a cabin with Mimi, Poppa, Sean, and Andrea. Which leads me to why this letter is late. I guess I could have brought our computer and spent some time in the one hot-spot cafe in the county, but I preferred sitting by the lake reading (with you in the Moby, of course). The week was really fun. You mostly just slept, but everyone else had fun lying in the sun, fishing off the dock, and kayaking. Maybe next year you'll have more fun!

Oh, and you're smiling! So fun! I have yet to catch it on film. Mostly because I don't want to stop talking to you and making you smile long enough to find the camera. But it's so fun--it makes you so much more interactive. Especially fun in the middle of the night when I'd really rather not be waking up to change your poopy diaper!

Well, my dear, happy one-month birthday (or close enough). I really can't believe it's already been this long, but I'm so excited for the coming months and watching you grow. You are a very special little girl! God knew we needed you (not that Jack isn't special and precious--you're just a nice balance). :)

Love you so much,

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Is it weird?

I can't bring myself to remove "Julie" from my list of blogs.

But is it weird that every time I click on all of those links looking for updated posts, I also click on Julie's? What am I expecting to see? That she's updated her blog from heaven? Maybe I just need to see her face sometimes.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

birth story

I happen to have a few spare minutes (that's a big deal with an infant and a 3-year-old, by the way), so I figured I could share the story of how Leah entered the world. You know, in more than one word. Usually when people ask me about the experience, I just say "long." And it was. But we'll get there.

My due date was July 2. When my weekly doctors' appointments started in June, my nurse practitioner checked my cervix, found that I was already dilating and effacing, and said, "Oh, I don't think you'll make it to July." Awesome! I'd love to have this baby early. Like before this Minnesota summer gets really hot. Well, I made it to July. I made it to my due date. I even made it to the 4th of July, which was really the only day I didn't want to give birth. I mean, who wants to share their birthday with the country? I had a weekly appointment on July 6, at which time my doctor performed a non-stress test and scheduled an induction for the following Monday, July 13. REALLY not a route I wanted to have to take (mostly because I was planning on a natural birth, and my confidence in that dwindles at the very mention of pitocin). Anyway, since I had to work until I went into labor, I just kept trucking in, my very presence answering the ever-present "you're still pregnant?" questions. But I hung in there. All the way until July 8.

July 8 would have been a great day to have Leah. Not only would her birthday have been 07-08-09, she also would have shared her birthday with her Poppa (my dad). But that didn't happen. Not even the tiniest hint of a contraction. However, I woke up on Thursday, July 9 at about 5:00am with more than just hints of contractions. I was pretty sure these were the real thing. And I was excited! I went to the bathroom and came back to bed and told Dan that he probably shouldn't go to work because I was pretty sure I was in labor. He took Jack to daycare and came back and made me some toast. I had started timing contractions and was just watching TV in bed. Well, by mid-morning, I was only having a couple contractions an hour. We decided to go for a walk. Rather than get things going again or speed things up, the walk seemed to stop things all together. Great! So I think I took a nap. A few hours later, I started to get contractions more regular again. Okay, here we go! Nope, they stopped again after a while. Dan picked Jack up in the afternoon and we all took a little trip to the Maple Grove Farmers' Market after supper. We went on with our evening and I went to bed convinced that I would, indeed, need that induction on Monday.

Then I woke up at about 2:30 am on Friday, July 10. This time I was confident that these were the real thing. :) I started timing contractions again, sent Dan downstairs so he could actually sleep, and watched the hilarious middle-of-the-night television selection. Luckily, these contractions actually stayed pretty consistent and some were pretty intense. Yay! Maybe this is it! Dan took Jack to daycare again, with plans for my parents to pick him up (you know, in hopes that we'd be at the hospital or something). Well, although the contractions stuck around all day, they never really got bad enough to go to the hospital. They would be between 3 and 6 minutes apart, varying in intensity. I was sure I'd be doing this for a while, and I was a little discouraged. Finally, around dinnertime, things seemed to pick up. I was needing to really concentrate during contractions and they were finally getting closer together. At about 7:00pm, I had been having contractions 2-4 minutes apart, lasting 45-80 seconds, for about two hours. So, we decided to head to the hospital.

I was a little nervous about getting to the hospital too early. With Jack, I was only at 2 cm when I arrived and STILL at 2 cm about 6 hours later. Depressing! This time, we arrived at the hospital at about 7:30 pm, got up to OB triage, and got settled so the nurse could check me. I was at 4 cm. Okay, better than 2, but I was hoping for at least 5. Due to the shortage of nurses and rooms not being ready, we had to walk around for a while. After about an hour, I really just wanted to sit, so we went back to our triage room. It wasn't much longer before we had our own room, which was lovely. We met our awesome nurse (Erin), one of the on-call OBs, and a great attending. The nurse and the attending were around quite a bit, and they were great at distracting me between contractions. During contractions, I found it most comfortable to rock in the rocking chair. Dan was fantastic support, and we had an awesome playlist going on our laptop.

At about 11:30 pm, my nurse decided to check me again. I was at 5-6 cm. This was my first clue that I was in for another long labor (oh, did I mention that Jack's was just over 30 hours?). Dan called my mom, who wanted an update before midnight and then not again until the baby came. We continued to labor and things got more and more intense. I was sure I must be dilating really quickly, and hoped I was nearing transition. My nurse checked me again at about 4:00 am and I was at 8 cm. Progress! Slowly but surely. I decided to have them break my water, hoping to speed things up a little. (Unfortunately, they found that I had meconium--baby poop--in my fluid. It would require a couple extra people at delivery to make sure Leah didn't aspirate any of the fluid). All breaking the water did was make the contractions nearly unbearable. It's amazing what a little cushion of amniotic fluid can do! The intensity had me convinced that I must be close to complete, so I asked my nurse to check me again around 5:00 am. Unfortunately, I was at ALMOST 10 cm. There was just a lip of cervix left. Piece of cake, I thought. I'll get rid of that lip in no time. False. at 5:30 or so, the lip was still there. I was clearly frustrated, and in pain, so my nurse offered to push it back during a contraction while I started pushing. It sounded brutal, but if it meant getting to 10 cm and ACTUALLY pushing this baby out of me, I was for it. Yeah, brutal doesn't even come close. I'm pretty sure I thought I was going to die. But it worked! And my little girl started descending almost immediately.

"I have Erin Bennett ready for delivery in 352." A more perfect sentence had never been spoken by my beautiful labor nurse. :) In came the on-call OB, the attending, at least three pediatric nurses, and two more OB nurses. It was quite the party. I started pushing and she started coming pretty quickly (I joke that my gift after long labors is quick deliveries). Once she crowned, I slowed down the pushing a little bit. Then all of a sudden, her head was out, and with one more push, all of her was out! Seriously, the most amazing feeling in the WORLD! Official birth time was 5:53 am. Due to the fluid issue, Leah was clamped, cut, and whisked away before I even had a chance to look down and see her. They brought her to the warming bed and started working on her lungs. Basically, they wanted to get as much as they could OUT of her lungs and mouth and everything before she started crying and breathing. So while they finished with me--placenta, a few stitches, etc--Dan went between me and Leah, giving me updates and taking pictures. Finally, they were done with both of us and I got to hold my sweet girl! My sweet LITTLE girl, at 9lb 13oz. :) She beat her brother by 5 ounces! I guess that's what an extra week in the womb will do!

And what timing she has--she just woke up. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Leah, in pictures

Posting a few pictures is about all I have time for. :) So without further ado, a few shots of Leah's first (almost) two weeks of life!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Leah Margaret

July 11, 2009
5:53 am
9 lb 13 oz
22 inches
practically perfect in every way

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Yes, I'm still pregnant

I'm not even a week overdue, and I'm overwhelmed by the number of people (in real life and in computer life, thanks to things like facebook) who are shocked that I'm still pregnant. So here's my little public service announcement moment for everyone:

"A 'normal' pregnancy lasts anywhere from 38 to 42 weeks."

I had my first "post due-date" doctor's appointment yesterday. Little did I know that would mean my first-ever non-stress test! The nurse took all my vitals like normal and then had me get on the exam table. I got hooked up to one monitor for Leah's heartrate and another one to keep track of any contractions I might have. I also had to hold a little Jeopardy-buzzer-type-thing and press the button every time I felt her move. Before she turned anything on, the nurse asked if the baby had been active recently. I said it had probably been about an hour, so she gave me a tiny can of orange juice to wake her up. I was skeptical, but WOW did it ever work. In a matter of minutes, she was going bananas. So the nurse left, and I got to listen to the heartbeat, watch the little machine spit the graph paper out, and press my button over and over and over. My doctor (actually, nurse practitioner, but whatever) came in after a while and watched the graph paper with me. She was very pleased with her heartrate and movement ("well, she should just crawl right out of there if she's moving that much!"), but bummed that I wasn't having any contractions. Then she uttered the dreaded word: Induction.

Crap! I don't want to be induced! But she said once we hit 41 weeks (which I'll be on Thursday), then we need to at least set a date. And since the non-stress test is "good" for a week, she thought it would be easier to schedule induction for next Monday rather than another prenatal appointment with the non-stress test. (The truth is that she would have let me come in today to be induced, but she's very sweet about my wanting to avoid it, and Leah looked JUST fine after the test, ruling out any medical need for induction).

After unhooking all of the monitors, she checked me for dilation. I've been about 1 cm for a month or so, and just recently started effacing. She was VERY pleased to find that was closer to 1 1/2 cm and still quite soft and 70% effaced. So pleased, in fact, that she said she was quite certain that I wouldn't need my induction date. I hope she's right.

So now my job is to get this baby out before Monday! It is nice to know that regardless of how or when she comes out, I'll have her by next week at this time! But until then, YES, I am still pregnant. :)

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Dear little Leah,

Congrats, darling! We've made it to your due date. People said it couldn't be done! Actually, I think a lot of people are just really anxious to meet you and figured you'd feel the same way and come early. But you didn't. :) And I'm really okay with that. You'll come when you're ready. (but this weekend would be great).

Speaking of this weekend, I have to let you know that Saturday is the fourth of July. Now, you are free to come whenever you want, and Saturday would be a fine day to be in labor. Just know that for the rest of your life, you'll share your birthday with the date that marks our country's independence. And that isn't all bad--fireworks on your birthday! (That's more than your brother can say!) But I can pretty much guarantee that your birthday party might not get to be ON your actual birthday very often. But really--it's totally your choice.

People are constantly asking me how I'm feeling. And understandably so--it's not exactly super comfortable to be pregnant in the heat of the summer. But this week has been heavenly! We even turned off the AC. And I'm trying to enjoy these last days of carrying you inside instead of outside. (As one friend put it, "This is the easiest she'll ever be to take care of!") Being pregnant is a very special thing, and I've had a great nine months with you. It started with a little more nausea than I had with Jack. And the heartburn has been a little more intense than the first time. But I know that once we meet you, that stuff is going to seem so small in the grand scheme of things. It's a tiny price to pay to bring a new life into the world!

I remember when we found out that you were coming. I promised myself I wouldn't take a pregnancy test too soon. But one night, I just had a feeling. So the next morning, I did what I promised I wouldn't do and lo and behold--two pink lines! I was shocked. And so excited. I think your dad was taking a shower, and I told him as soon as he came upstairs. It still took a little while for it to sink in--I think I took two more tests that week. But it was true--we were having another baby. We decided not to share the news right away. We told Mimi and Poppa and Gigi a couple weeks later, and nearly everyone else by way of our Christmas card.

Of course, for a few months you were an "it." But we knew that we wanted to be able to call you "he" or "she." Well, we had our ultrasound in February and you were not exactly cooperative! In fact, you sat in your little butt with the cord between your legs for the whole thing. I love that you're modest, but really. Not even a peek? Of course, everything else in the ultrasound looked fine. But we were kind of bummed! Luckily, we learned from our clinic that we could go to Argosy University for a FREE hour-long ultrasound because they teach ultrasound technology and need test subjects! Hooray! So a month after the first one, Dad and I trucked down to Eagan and got to see you again. You were so beautiful! And you were a SHE! (For the record, the technician from the first ultrasound did give us about 70% girl, but to me that was about on par with "Well, I'm pretty sure it's not a puppy!"). So we officially named you Leah. How wonderful to have something to call you!

You have to know that your brother is SO excited to meet you. He already loves you so much--he kisses and hugs my belly and tries to feel you move. He even took it upon himself to also be pregnant for a few months. It was complete with complaints about his heartburn and telling me that his baby was kicking him. Too cute. Now, I think Jack is pretty sure you're going to come out ready to play baseball and build things with legos. So don't take it personally if he's a little disappointed at first. I'm sure he'll also love holding and kissing you. ;)

We've spent the last few months getting the house ready for another family member. Once we knew you were a girl, we felt the need to add a little bit of pink to the bedroom that you'll eventually share with Jack. We filled your half of the closet with dresses and put sweet little onesies and socks and diapers where they needed to go. I packed our bags for the hospital (and one for Jack to bring to Mimi and Poppa's house). Needless to say, we're ready. But if another week is what you need, then take it. We'll be here when YOU'RE ready.

I love you, sweet girl. I can't wait to see you and hold you and kiss you and feed you. You are already so loved by so many people. We know that God is blessing us so richly with the gift of you.


Monday, June 29, 2009

A tribute of sorts

In light of the fact that we've had four celebrity deaths in less than a week, I feel the need to pay my respects to at least one of them. And since I have a really great oxyclean story, I'm going with Billy Mays.

When Dan and I got married, we inherited a lot of furniture from my parents, including their cream-colored couch and loveseat. One evening (sometime in the first year of our marriage), I was gone and Dan decided to relax in the livingroom with a full glass of cranberry juice. As soon as he sat down, he hit his arm on something and the full glass of cranberry juice spilled all over the side of the cream-colored couch. Dan proceeded to freak out. He called my parents. My mom answered. He asked to talk to my dad. "Duane, Erin's going to kill me. I just spilled cranberry juice all over the couch and I don't know how to get it out." My dad, not knowing either, gave the phone back to my mom. My mom coached Dan through making a solution with oxyclean to try to remove the cranberry juice. Dan hung up, made the solution, and was feeling pretty confident as the red faded. But wait! It started turning green. Everything that had been red was now green. I'm sure the freaking out was off the charts. (And as much as I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall, I'm kind of glad I wasn't around).

Lucky for Dan, the green was just a temporary chemical reaction and the whole stain eventually did disappear. Like magic! Poof! And in plenty of time for me to be none the wiser. But, of course, Dan had to share the story with me. It was too good to keep to himself. And we both decided that we could make one heck of an oxyclean commercial. And really, I've been sold on the stuff ever since!

Thanks for selling oxyclean to the world, Billy Mays. You and your off-the-charts enthusiasm will surely be missed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

What I have to look forward to

I have referenced a favorite blog of mine, Dooce, a number of times. Well, we were pregnant together until a couple of weeks ago. She gave birth to a beautiful little girl on June 14. She just has such a lovely way of putting things into words, and I particularly liked this little gem. I'm soon to join the ranks of those who have succeeded in bringing a second child into their families. And while I can't WAIT, I am also trying to be realistic about how interesting it will be for some time. :)

"I think the best way to describe what it's been like to bring a second child into the family is to imagine having a jazz band blasting an improvisational set in your left ear while listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Christmas carols in your right ear, and there you are, a drummer in a rock band, and you're on stage in front of 30,000 people trying to keep the beat to an acoustic version of 'God Save the Queen' by the Sex Pistols."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

One week and counting

To my due date, that is. To actual delivery? Who knows--it could be tomorrow or in three weeks. Yeah, I'm hoping it's not three weeks. But I just have a feeling I'm in this one for the long haul. It feels much different than when I was about to have Jack. I was actually okay with going late with him--the longer I went, the less time I'd have to come back to work for at the end of the school year. This time, I am much more anxious. I just want to meet her. I want to see those feet that have been kicking me for months. See that little butt that sticks out of my belly when she's shifting positions.
The good news is that I am progressing, at least a little bit. I've been having contractions - not very painful and certainly not consistent - for a couple weeks, and I am 70% effaced and dilated to 1 cm (as of Monday). I wish that meant something, but I could very well walk around like this for a while!
In produce news, Leah weighs about as much as a mini watermelon. Yum! :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Paper or plastic?

I just have to share my experience at Target this afternoon.

We were on our way home from my grandpa's 80th birthday party, and I had decided that I would leave as soon as we got home to go grocery shopping. Well, within 5 minutes on the road, Jackson fell asleep. So we decided instead to stop for groceries on the way home--I would run in and be really quick, and Jack could keep napping in the car. Dan dropped me off at the door and went to find some shade to park in. I was instructed to call him when I got in line so he could come get me.

I went about my shopping, really quickly, and proceeded to find a lane for checking out. It was rather busy at the lanes, but I managed to find a seemingly short one. I pulled in and called Dan. "Honey, I just got to the check-out, and I'm the second person in line." Well, with the person who happened to be the first in line, I may as well have been the eighth in line. She didn't have a ridiculous amount of stuff, but she had a few key items that needed a head cashier's help (like two really expensive Norelco trimmers). Paired with an uber-slow cashier, it was starting to get painful. I kept adding my things to the belt as there was room. And then I just watched, becoming immediately aware that this cashier wasn't even trying to move things along. Scan, pause, bag. Scan, ponder which bag to put item in, bag. Scan, pause, bag. Lift filled bag as if it's the heaviest thing EVER and sigh loudly.

FINALLY, the scanning was complete. Then, the best part. Woman-who-was-first-in-line pulled out her STACK of coupons. Honestly, and I do mean honestly, she had at least 30 coupons. Oh, at least. I wish I had counted. And of course, not all of them were easy to scan. She had a couple coupons for her expensive trimmers, and just like the trimmers themselves, the coupons needed Ms. Head Cashier. (By this time, I'm telling people who get in line behind me that they should probably pick a different lane--this one is taking a while).

FINALLY, the woman in front of me is done (after slowly getting the rest of her crap into her cart) and on her way. My turn! I push my cart to the credit card reader and slide my check card as Ms. Slow Cashier rolls my watermelon across the scanner. She puts it in a bag and sighs loudly again as she practically drops the bag on the platform for me to take. "Oh, I'm so exhausted," she says as she apparently decides to take a break from scanning for a minute. Sorry, lady, I can't have you doing that. "Edith, I'm kind of in a hurry. Could you keep scanning please?" Then my phone rings, which I don't realize right away because I got a new phone this morning and I'm not used to the ringtone yet. Of course, it's my poor husband wondering why the heck I called 20 minutes ago (no lie) and am still not outside. "Don't even ask. I'll *hopefully* be out in a minute."

In the meantime, 'hurry it up, Edith' has apparently been translated as 'get this woman's crap into bags as quickly and haphazardly as I can and get her out of my lane.' Again, I couldn't let it go. "Could you please be more careful and stop throwing my things into bags?" That one drew looks from the couple in the next lane. :) She finishes her "scan and drop" method, presses a few buttons and mumbles something (I'm assuming the total) toward her screen. I handed her my ONE coupon (free deli cheese when you buy deli meat!) and let her take care of it. I had already scanned my card, so my receipt popped out and she held it toward my general direction in her left hand as she began scanning the next woman's items with her right hand. "Thank you," I tried, but Edith was done with me.

I exited the store, having spent twice as much time in line as I did actually shopping, and unloaded my bags into the van. I tried to explain to Dan what just happened, but I was still processing it myself. Of course, Dan wants me to call and complain, but having been a cashier at Target, I know that complaint won't go anywhere. Edith will keep doing her thing, and those of us who have the privilege of going through her lane just have to learn our lesson.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I don't have much to write about

Truth be told, I am mostly writing so that the first thing someone sees when they come to my page isn't a naked cross-section of a pregnant woman. :) You're welcome.

Not much new on the pregnancy front. I mean, I'm still pregnant. I guess that's something. I am making some progress--dilated to about 1 cm (for over a week now) and starting to soften (but still pretty thick). She's still quite high, so I spend a good amount of my free time at home sitting on a big exercise ball. It's supposed to open your hips to allow for the baby to drop. Although, Jack never really noticeably dropped. And I also never dilated before I was actually in labor with him. So this "progress" (or lack thereof) doesn't mean a whole lot to me. I have decided that when it's not pouring rain outside at night, I am going to try to walk for at least a little while. I'll do whatever I can! (Well, nothing crazy. I'm not going to down a glass of castor oil or anything. Unless we're having this conversation in a month).

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Well, no wonder

No wonder the heartburn is through the roof.
No wonder I can eat about half of what's on my plate.
No wonder I can't climb a flight of stairs without feeling like I'm going to pass out.

Truly, I couldn't have found a way to say it better than this picture. Enjoy. :)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

This shouldn't be so exciting

When I was pregnant with Jackson, I toyed with the idea of doing cloth diapers. Well, I ended up using disposables. Which is just as well, because he ended up in daycare, and I don't think that would have worked too well. This time around, I really wanted to give it another shot. Plus, I have a couple of friends who have cloth diapered their babies since I had Jack, and they had many words of wisdom for me. Amy in particular has been a fantastic go-to. :)

Well, after a couple months of checking out different systems and covers and everything, I finally made the leap last week and placed my first order. Now, we do have some disposables to get us through the first few weeks (because I think it's just depressing to think about getting used to a new baby AND having two children AND doing cloth diapers all at once), and since Jack was a fairly big baby, I decided to skip the smallest size of cloth diapers. But with what I got, we should be pretty much set for the first year. (Except that I'm sure I'll find some ridiculously cute covers that I just HAVE to get....)

Here are the diaper covers I got, which will work with a prefold (think classic burp cloth diaper) inside.

I am super excited about using them. But what's really sad is that cloth diapers have found their way into my dreams the last couple nights. I have woken up and thought, "Seriously? I was dreaming about diapers?" Pathetic. :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This might save me

Lemonade popsicles. And Edys popsicles aren't your run-of-the-mill popsicles. They are heaven on a stick. Honestly, I think these were made for women who are pregnant in the summer. This just might be my ticket to making it another six weeks. :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

UPDATE: the "guys upstairs"

If you read my post about our field trip last Friday, you know that our trip to Schuler Shoes led us to their corporate off (aka "the guys upstairs"). I had to fax them a letter about our event and charity and everything and wait to see what they would offer. I thought maybe a couple coupons (I've gotten Schuler Shoes coupons in race bags before--$20 off $100 purchase) would make their way to us sometime before race day. Well, to my delighted surprise, waiting in my mailbox today was an envelope from Schuler Shoes with two $50 giftcards to their store! I am overwhelmed by generosity. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

They're here!

The sandals, that is. And they're fabulous! Unfortunately, we're not all wearing them today. Annie-Claude isn't sold on the color and size of hers. And Vicki is out all week spending time with her new granddaughter. Aaahhhhh.....comfortable feet. :)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Friday field trip

A co-worker and I took a long lunch today so that we could pass out some flyers for the upcoming race we're organizing (shameless plug--read more about it and register here: runwithjulie.blogspot.com). Anyway, in our short time out, there were a few notable highlights:

* As we arrived at Potbellys to eat lunch, we walked past everyone eating outside (a crowd we would join as soon as we got our food). There was a couple with two dogs, and the dogs were eating ice cream. They each had their own little dish with a scoop of vanilla. So cute! The dogs were adorable and obviously in their glory.

* We stopped at Panera to post a flyer on their Community Events board and asked to speak to a manager about possibly donating bagels for post-race food. Without batting an eye, he agreed to give us 100 free bagels the morning of the race. Rock on!

* At Noodles, we asked the manager if we could have some "free meal" coupons for our raffle. He went in the back for a second, and then came out and said he'd be right back because the coupons were in his car. So in case anyone wants to know, the manager at the Maple Grove Noodles keeps the coupons in his car. :)

* At Schuler Shoes, we handed a flyer to an employee and asked about possible donations for our raffle. He explained that we'd have to talk to the "guys upstairs" about that. Alissa and I assumed that meant that we'd have to go through corporate for donation requests (direction we'd already gotten from The Finish Line), so we thanked him and started to leave. Another employee who had heard our exchange said, "No, upstairs is this way." Oh, there's an ACTUAL "guy upstairs." So we went upstairs, laughing the whole way, and got the name and fax number of the person we'd have to send our request to.

Overall a successful outing, with many more stops to be made this weekend and next week. The race is (gulp) a month away!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Brown sandal story

Disclaimer: This is probably funnier if you know the people I work with.

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I've been looking for some sandals with good support. My co-worked Annie-Claude has some Skechers sandals that she LOVES, and I kept saying that I should get some, but I never did. She likes them so much that she tried to get another pair last year before the store stopped carrying them, and she has toyed with getting another pair online even though they are nearly twice what she paid for them at Kohl's last year. Well, on Monday morning, I decided to finally make my move (again, after my unsuccessful shopping trip on Sunday). When she came in the back way through our office, I called her over to my desk and told her to show me which ones they were on the website. I found them, added them to my cart, and went to check out. She asked if I had googled any online coupons. I hadn't, so I did. The best one we found was for 25% off if you bought more than one pair and used a mastercard. (We also joined some VIP club and got free shipping). She said that she really wanted to get a pair in a different color and that we could use her mastercard! So I added her pair to the cart and entered the promo code. Voila--down from $44 to $33. Well then Vicki peeked her head around the corner of my cube and asked what we were working on. Annie-Claude turned around and said, "We're ordering sandals!" Vicki was intrigued and wanted to see them. She was even able to try on Annie-Claude's pair. "I want some too!" So we added Vicki's to the cart. Before we checked out, Annie-Claude jokingly announced to the rest of the office, "Anyone else?" Julia and Alissa came over, and Julie ended up ordering some too. It was hilarious!
So, in the next week four of us will have identical sandals. And you better believe we're all going to wear them on the same day and be cute!
The funniest part is that when I went to look for a picture, I learned that they only have "olive" left--no brown or black. We must have been just in time. :) So here they are in olive--not nearly as cute as brown or black, though.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Yeah, I'm gonna be THAT mom

So, I'm finding myself in need of some supportive sandals. Sandals because it is (thank you, Jesus) becoming sandal weather. Supportive because my feet hurt after walking around in flip flops for any length of time. I found a pair of brown sandals (which is actually a very funny story and maybe my next blog topic), but I still wanted to find something in black. I didn't have too much luck shopping last weekend, so I've resorted to shopping online. I had heard of a website called shoebuy.com--tons of brands and free shipping both ways (in case of a return). So I entered all of the information of what I wanted--something that came in my size, black, sandals, slides. That still turned up over 800 results, so I had some fun sifting through the pages. I think I found something that will work. It's by Bass, which I've never owned, but it seemed to get good reviews for support and was only $50. (I could have spent mega bucks--there was one pair that was $225--ON SALE down from $450). However, before I found the Bass pair, I came across this one.

Seriously--who WEARS these? I mean, besides the woman whose primary source of income is from an illegal profession.... I can't even imagine. The platform in front is over 4 inches, with the total height of the heel over 8. That would make me 6'6". No thanks! I'd probably be better off in the flip flops.

Friday, May 01, 2009

I married a rock star

I didn't mean to make myself laugh when I typed that title, but I did. A few years ago, Julie and I had a funny back-and-forth on our blogs because I'd had a dream that she had married a rock star. :)

Okay, back to the actual rockstar that I married. His name is Dan, and yesterday he got some very good news and consequently made me a very happy woman.

But let me back up. For the last year or so, he's been preparing himself for the next level position in his current place of employment, Ameriprise Financial. He shadowed various employees, took part in informational interviews, and went through a development program geared at this specific position, Regional Sales Director. The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind, as a few RSD positions opened up and Dan prepared for and interviewed for one of them on Wednesday of this week.

Dan knew that they wanted to make a decision pretty quickly, and he was certain he'd know by the end of the week. I talked to him at least four times yesterday (Thursday) and asked every time, "Have you heard anything yet?" And every time, he'd say that they hadn't announced anything yet, but that he'd definitely know by Friday. We went to my parents' house last night for dinner, and I drove to the bus stop near their house where I pick him up. He got off the bus with a bouquet of flowers and a back of goodies for Jack. I started to think something was up. When he got to the car with huge smile on his face, I asked when he had found out. "Oh, 8:00 this morning." Stinker! He went on to inform me that he had told everyone else during the day, and they all knew he was keeping it from me. Did I mention he's one hilarious rock star?

One definite perk of the promotion is the pay increase. It's enough to make up for the salary that I'll be losing in June, so I won't have to figure out some way to work from home (most recent plan was doing daycare). I can just be a mom! And that makes our little growing family very excited. :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My new favorite snack

Fresh mozzarella on toasted sliced of baguette. It was a random grab at the grocery store the other night, but I've fallen in love.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's all in the numbers

12 - My hemoglobin level last week. In the third trimester, they like to see it between 11 and 14.

121 - My glucose level after the awesome glucose screening last week, involving downing 12 ounces of thick, flat fruit punch, waiting an hour, and getting my blood drawn. If the number was over 140, I would have had to go back for a 3-hour glucose tolerance test. Probably involving more yummy drinks.

30 - Weeks along I am, as of this Thursday.

10 - Weeks I have left. Do the math, people. The most exciting thing is that next week, we're down to single digits. :)

75 - Milligrams of Zantac I'm currently taking twice a day. It's been okay until now. I'm think I might have to spring for the 150 mg pretty soon.

23 - Pounds I've gained so far. At 30 weeks with Jack, I'd gained 50, so I'm quite thrilled with the 23.

16 - Approximate number of inches of my sweet girl.

3 - Approximate number of pounds of same sweet girl.

4 - Number of days I'll be working every week in June. Using up some PTO and taking some time to get things done before Leah comes.

45 - Average temperature this weekend in Duluth, where we'll be escaping for a few days. At least we picked the hotel with the awesome indoor waterpark!

Okay, back to laundry. :)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Where am I?

Oh, just growing a human in my uterus. A little girl who now weighs over 2 pounds (or as much as a Chinese cabbage) and is almost 15 inches long. Wild!

Actually, it's holy week. I work in a church. Enough said.

But the bulk of my craziness is done now, so I'm just here to say hello. And to show you my debut youtube clip. It's of Jack, of course. But really....enjoy. :)


And blogger is being stupid and not letting me link. You'll have to copy and paste into a browser. But it will be worth it. :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

3 years

Dear Jackson,

This morning when you woke up, I went into your room and said, "Good morning! It's your birthday!" and you said, "I'M THREE!" I think you're pretty excited to be three years old, although you might be confused. At one point today, you asked if you were going to be two again. I said that you would never be two again. Then before bed, you asked if you would wake up tomorrow and be four. Gosh, no. I mean, time is already flying entirely too quickly! Let's just be three for a while. :) We celebrated by spending the morning at the Children's Museum with Corinne and Eli (along with Corinne's friend Shelly and her daughter--your new friend--Lily). You got to meet Grover and Elmo and see Clifford, which you've been asking for the last month or so.

So, three years ago, I was a brand new mommy. On Tuesday, I mentioned at work, "Three years ago today, I went into labor with Jack." Someone said, "Isn't his birthday on Thursday?" Yup. I went into labor on St. Patrick's Day and a mere 30+ hours later I got to meet my boy! But it was obviously worth it.

I'm not sure where the last three years have gone. Even the last year. I saw some pictures of you from last summer, and you look so much younger! We got you some new clothes for your birthday (because you needed them and we're practical) and boy, did you need them. But now you look so big! You're a boy! My baby boy is long gone. But the fine young man who has replaced him is quite pleasant too! I'm hoping this new size of clothing lasts a while, but I'm not holding my breath. You are definitely growing right now--evidenced by the quantity of food consumed at each meal and by the occasional "my legs are hurting me." Poor kid. Darn growing pains.

You're quite excited about the addition of baby Leah to our family this summer. However, I'm pretty sure it's going to completely turn your world upside down. Or maybe it's just that I'm positive that it's going to turn MY world upside down. So if you can just keep your positive outlook on the whole thing and keep reassuring me that we're not going to go absolutely crazy, I'll be fine. Now that we know she's definitely a "she," we've begun spiffing up the room a little bit. I didn't want to completely overwhelm the room with pink, since it is still YOUR room too, so I think there's a nice balance of pink and yellow and some more green. You are absolutely fascinated with the size of baby Leah's diapers. And you insist on calling them pull-ups.

Speaking of pull-ups, you've been successfully potty-trained since around Christmas. We've still got you in pull-ups overnight, but you mostly wake up dry. I'm impressed. You made this way too easy on us. And don't even get me started on the big boy bed. We moved you a couple of months ago, and you've taken the transition like a champ! You actually CALL us to come get you in the morning. Maybe you just haven't yet figured out that you can get out without me. :)

Probably the biggest growth this year is in your language. You are quite the talker. It's very interesting to have actual conversations with the same person who was having trouble with individual words not too long ago. And man, you make for a funny conversationalist sometimes. Last week in the car, you were asking me something and continued with, "Why? Mommy, why?" I continued to say, "I don't know," but you KEPT asking "WHY?" Finally you said, "NO! I say 'why?' You say, 'because.'" Oh! Thanks for letting me know. A couple of nights ago, we came home to cat puke on the stairs. You are usually one to help with hairballs--just give you a paper towel, and you're good to go. Well, this was a little different, but you still insisted on helping Daddy. You each had your paper towels, but before you could even begin to clean it up, you kind of gagged. Daddy, afraid you might add to the puke, sent you upstairs to me. With the most unforgettable look on your face, you said to me, "Mommy, that was kind of yucky for me."

We're pretty sure you're the next DaVinci or Monet. The preciseness with which you color is unbelievable. Seriously, I had kindergarteners when I taught who didn't come CLOSE to coloring this well. You're actually quite obsessive about it, but we're still ridiculously proud. :) In fact, we gave you some spiffy retractable crayons for your birthday (yes, we gave you something other than clothes--although all you asked for was a Thomas cake).

Oh, Jack. Sometimes I can't believe how lucky we are to have you and how much I love you. We might have a few more kids, but you'll always be my first, and I think that's pretty special. Sara Groves says it well: "Beautiful child, right from the moment you were born, you opened up my heart, my world, my beautiful child." You certainly have--I'm so thankful for that. And you are so beautiful--inside and out. Bless you this year, sweet boy.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Baby Leah

Well, it is indeed a GIRL! Or it's still a girl. Or something.

I went to Argosy University in Eagan (yeah, not exactly next door) for a free hour-long ultrasound done by students learning ultrasound technology. The experience was pretty hilarious, actually. I had an instructor and two students. The instructor started and got us some good pictures to take home. She also confirmed the gender. Then the students took over. They are learning "extremities" this week, so all they focused on were legs, feet, arms, and hands. Well, it seems Baby Leah was making up for last time. At my 20-week ultrasound, she had sat on her butt with the cord between her legs the entire time. This time, she was SUCH a mover that they couldn't get certain shots they needed. She would even kick the probe, which both students thought was hysterical. When the technician was still taking a look, the baby did a complete flip. She said, "Well, I WAS just looking at her profile...."

What was funny was how quickly Dan and I realized that these were, in fact, students. At first they just watched the instructor and seemed totally professional and like ACTUAL ultrasound technicians. Then one student took over and suddenly had tons of questions. "Is this a good enough picture of the femur?" "Would this be the right or left tib/fib?" "Does this one show the connection between the hand and arm well enough?" It was cute.

There was another ultrasound going on at the other end of the lab, and we all overheard their instructor say something about how the baby was giving them such great shots and how they could clearly see both feet. I said, "Don't be jealous! I bet mine is making you laugh more than theirs is!" :)

Now, on to choosing the middle name. I'd love your opinions. We've got it narrowed down to Margaret, Michelle, and Renee.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

And we're viable!

I am 24 weeks today, which is the official point of viability. I guess I never paid attention to that when I was pregnant with Jack. All it means is that if I were to give birth now, the baby has a pretty high rate of survival, so the hospital would do whatever it takes. But I'm not planning on giving birth anytime soon. :)
I skipped the produce comparison last week because it was kind of lame. It was the weight of a mango. This week it's the length of an ear of corn. It's actually about a foot long, and I think that would make one LONG ear of corn. Anyway, that's what it is. And just over a pound. And it's a mover! My second ultrasound is Monday, so I can hopefully call it "she" with a little more confidence. Or "he" for that matter. No more of this "it" business!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sweet Ruby

Apparently Ruby wasn't a very photogenic cat--I had to search for a decent picture. And it's kind of hard to see her because she was so dark! But get a kick out of my chubby baby boy. :)

I love the story of how/why we ended up with this cat. I had found a cat online and was going to see it in person at an adoption fair in a pet store in Richfield. My mom decided to join me and ended up falling in love with this sweet, chocolate-brown cat. So I left with Maddie, as expected, and my mom left with Ruby. Well, the cat already living in my mother's house had a thing or two to say about Ruby's arrival. And after a mere 24 hours, it was clear they couldn't live together. So we got Ruby! Maddie and Ruby were fabulous friends until Maddie unfortunately passed away a year and a half later, at which point we got Lucy. Likewise, Lucy and Ruby became great friends too. Cats are easy. :)

Ruby had always been prone to congestion, and she was very sneezy. But on Monday night, when she started meowing more loudly than usual and breathing through her mouth because her nose was so stuffed up, I decided she probably should be looked at. So on Tuesday morning, I made an appointment at the vet and took her in. On Monday night, Dan had researched her symptoms and seemed to think she had an upper respiratory infection. So I was kind of expecting to leave the vet with some antibiotics. Well, the doctor found other stuff. First of all, she noticed Ruby's terrible teeth (which, oddly enough, have always been a problem) and said that most likely the infection had spread to her sinuses. This problem alone would have been easily remedied with some pulled teeth and antibiotics. Well, then the doctor decided to feel around Ruby's abdomen, and Ruby was clearly in pain (meowing, struggling). She said she could definitely feel that Ruby's spleen was enlarged, and there was some sort of mass on her pancreas. To find out what was wrong inside, they needed to do a number of bloodtests and x-rays, amounting to $300. After talking more, we came to the conclusion that whatever was happening inside wasn’t good, and even if we spent all that money to get some answers, we would most likely come to the conclusion that putting her down was the best option. So we avoided the tests and just put her down. Not an easy decision, especially because she was so young, but the doctor assured us that she was really not doing well. Whatever “fixes” could have been done would have been very short-term anyway.

So now we're a one-cat family. And that one cat is a little out of sorts. She saw me put Ruby in a carrier and leave with her yesterday. And she knows that I came home alone. Jack doesn't quite get it. I told him that Ruby was sick and the doctor couldn't make her better, so she got to go be with Jesus and Morgan (my parents' dog that was put down in November). He just looked at me sweetly as I explained it and nodded his head. I said, "We only have one cat now." He said, "Yeah. Just Lucy now." Then this morning he said something about Ruby being with Jesus but coming back when she gets better. I think I got the point across the second time, but we'll see. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two for one

I'm a slacker, so I'm giving you two weeks' worth of vegetable-fetus comparisons. First, a carrot.

Baby Bennett was the length of a carrot last week. I'm not sure if that includes the green part. And as of tomorrow, (s)he will be the length of a spaghetti squash!

We're a bit hunkered down right now--just waiting for spring and the promise of fewer cold and flu outbreaks. I was on antibiotics last week for a sinus infection and ear infection. Jackson brought a stomach bug home from daycare over the weekend (he was kind enough not to share it with us, though). I've had a headache for two weeks. And the fact that we're supposed to wake up to 4-8 inches of snow does NOT help any of this. :)

We are having another ultrasound on March 16th to determine if Baby Bennett is, in fact, a girl. It will be wonderful to know with a little more certainty, since Jack is already calling her by name and talking about how well he will take care of her. Including making macaroni and cheese for her when she's hungry. Oh, what a helper. :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

He seriously cracks me up


Dan: Peeing, Jack.

Jack: "Oh. GOIN' POOPY TOO?"

Dan: No, Jack.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

This is how Jack is celebrating:

He is leaning on his valentine box, "reading" one of his valentines, and eating a sucker. And yes, he's naked from the waist down. Love that boy!

Meanwhile, the other love of my life is the length of a banana this week (head to heel--yay!). And my heartburn is through the roof!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's a....

fairly uncooperative fetus.

As soon as the technician squirted the gel on my belly and brought up the image on her screen, she said, "Oh, your bladder isn't very full." Interesting. I was supposed to drink 16 ounces of water. I drank at least 24, plus half of my water bottle on the way to the doctor's office. She said, "Well, maybe you were dehydrated and the water went somewhere else." Seriously? Water does that? Anyway, I didn't start out well. She very bluntly explained that being able to see the gender of the baby is very much dependent on how full the mother's bladder is. Wow, what a way to start!

So, the tech proceeded with the boring stuff. Looking at all the parts of my uterus, finding different things on the baby, measuring everything she could get her wand on, etc. We quickly found out that our little one was breech. It sat on its butt the whole time--with the umbilical cord between its legs, no less. So the tech kept doing other things, hoping it would eventually move. It didn't.

Don't get me wrong, this was one adorable baby. Playing with its toes, sucking its thumb, and apparently talking to something in there (or just opening and closing its mouth for no reason). But I really wanted to find out what it is so that we can stop saying "it." :) The tech got all of her necessary stuff done and decided to take one more look at the crotch. "Well, there's definitely not anything hanging down, so I'm inclined to think it's a girl. I'd say about 70% chance it's a girl. But don't start buying pink." She moved the wand around a little more. "Yup, here's the cord, right between the legs. There are definitely three lines (that's what they look for in a girl--use your imagination), I'm just not sure they are "the" three lines." She ended by saying she was 80% sure it's a girl. "Okay, you can buy pink. Just keep the receipts."

So, I was a little bummed. Not because I wanted one gender more than the other--I have many reasons for wanting both. I just wanted to know with a little more surety than what we left with. I see my doctor next Tuesday for an ultrasound follow up. My first question is how much an extra ultrasound costs. :) Yup, I'm ridiculous! I know that insurance only covers one. And I have NO interest in one of those private 3D ultrasound places--they kind of creep me out.

So, it's (maybe) a girl!

p.s. By the end of the ultrasound, the tech said, "Oh, your bladder is plenty full now!" But it obviously didn't matter. At least I did everything I was supposed to!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

It's a guy

This morning, the three of us were lying in bed, and I said, "Jack, guess what we get to find out on Tuesday?! We get to see if the baby in mommy's tummy is a boy or a girl. What do you think it is?"

After a moment, he confidently said, "It's a guy." Dan and I about lost it, and I immediately had the image of the baby coming out with a mustache or a goatee.

So, stay tuned for Tuesday's news. There may just be a guy in my belly. :)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

You say tomato....

I say, "What's the difference in size between a regular tomato and an heirloom tomato?" The size of my baby this week is that of a large heirloom tomato. And this is the best picture I could find. When I sold cookies at the farmers' market, the guy next to me had a variety of produce, including some pretty amazing-looking heirloom tomatoes. I'd rather have a picture of one of his. :)

In other exciting news, baby's arms and legs are now in proportion to each other and the rest of its body. Its kidneys are producing urine and the hair on its head is sprouting.

Most exciting is that starting next week, I can stop referring to it as "it." On Tuesday, we have our ultrasound and will (hopefully) find out if "it" is a "he" or a "she." Very exciting.

Big boy bed continues to go well. Although, after a few days, Jack stopped calling for me to come get him in the morning. The last two mornings, he has come out himself and announced, "I had a nice nap." :)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

I'm so spoiled

Or maybe Jack just remembered what a terrible sleeper he was in his first year of life and is now deciding to make up for it in his toddlerhood.

We're entering this season of change, and I guess I just braced myself for a much harder transition. For one, there was potty training. I kind of had it in my head that I wanted him to be trained by the time he turned 3 (which will be in March). But his daycare provider assured me that he was very ready. So I just had to wait for a chunk of time that I was at home with him, which happened to be over Christmas. We spent a couple days naked (well, Jack was naked from the waist down--I was fully clothed), a couple days just in underwear (again, Jack--not me), and then added pants. He did so well. We had a couple very minor accidents, but he totally got the concept right away. We're still in diapers at night, but I'm really okay with that. For a couple weeks, he was waking up dry almost every day, but that hasn't lasted.

Then there's the concept of a big boy bed, which I mentioned briefly in my last post. Again, I really wasn't planning on transitioning him out of his crib yet, but we happened upon a free toddler bed a couple weeks ago. The original plan was for Jack to move downstairs (into what is currently a playroom) once the baby needed the upstairs room. But I decided I really wanted them on the same level as us, so I'm at least attempting to have them share a room. So my parents took Jack for a few hours yesterday while Dan and I tackled the mess that is our house. I emptied Jack's closet, threw away a pile of stuff, rearranged some furniture, and set up the toddler bed. Jack came home and was beside himself with excitement. Still, I thought, "This will pass. The excitement will fade once the reality of bedtime sets in." After dinner, we always set a timer so that Jack knows when it's time to get ready for bed. Usually, it will beep and he'll say, "No! 5 more minutes!" Last night, it beeped, and Jack said, "Oh! Time for bed!" and promptly marched into his room. We did our routine, said goodnight, and tucked him in. I fully expected to see him come waltzing out 10 minutes later or hear from him in the middle of the night. Nope. At 7:00 this morning, I hear his usual "Mommy! Mommy!" I went into his room and he was just sitting on the edge of his bed waiting for me to get him. He proceeded to tell me that he had fallen out of the bed, but I'm pretty sure I would have heard something on the monitor. (Although, I asked him to reenact it later and it was quite hilarious).

Now we're doing the first big boy bed naptime. He's not asleep yet, but I'm not giving up. As long as he takes a break and rests (and gives me a break in the meantime), I'm fine.