Thursday, April 21, 2016

Moving on up

In my last post, I said Hannah won't be moving up until she's about a year or so old. Well, the teachers and Principal thinks she's ready so, I've agreed to let her go.

For the next couple weeks, she'll do an introductory transition where she spends some time in the other class but, returns for naps.

She's been with the same teachers since she started there at 8 weeks old. This is a big moment and I'm proud that she's ready for it so early. I think it's a good thing for her to be around the older kids. As it is now, the youngest baby in her current class is just two months old. The difference between Hannah and a baby that young is the difference between an orange and a banana. They're both fruits but, otherwise, completely different in every way.

The new class currently has 4 students and she'll be the youngest & smallest but, I'm not worried about her. She's going to do great in there.

And, the other great news is, her bestie is moving up with her! Sweet Harper is older than Hannah but, they two of them are good friends and I really like Harper's mom.

Going up to this new class means having to wear shoes everyday. (And, like proper besties, Hannah & Harper spent time trying on shoes together yesterday.)

I'm prepared!

Here's to all new adventures for Hannah & Co!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The art of the (not so) humble brag

Ryan is about to turn 6 and nearly every night, we still have our cuddle time. He'll curl into my lap and we just sit together. I love this so much that I ache for it on the evenings he doesn't want to cuddle.

On Sunday he was tired & cranky and hurt himself walking down the steps. This brought on the tears so I picked him up and held him for a bit. When I put him down I wondered if that was the last time I'll have picked him up. When I put him down, was that it? 

I doubt it, he's still young and small enough that I'm sure the occasion will arise again but, we're getting so close to the day where I will put him down for the last time. Will I remember it? And, how many more evening cuddles do I have left?

James and I met with his Kindergarten & Speech teachers yesterday and they had some wonderful things to tell us about him. They both say he's very sweet, smart and wonderful to be around. They both mentioned how much he likes to talk about and write about his little sister. He has some focus issues that we're all working on (he's a day dreamer and also chit chatter like me) and he's easily distracted. 

I'm hoping these little concentration lapses are something he will outgrow but, in the mean time, we have to reinforce at home how important it is to listen & focus. As they say, Kindergarten is the new 1st grade.

As for Hannah - whoa!
I've written many time about how close she is to walking. She's climbing steps and standing without holding on to anything. I don't know how long it will be before she decides to take those first steps but, I'm guessing it will be between 9 and 10 months. It could be tomorrow - it wouldn't surprise me - but, probably not quite that soon.

We got a sheet from her school letting us know that they're going to start preparing her for the next class up which means putting her on a bit stricter eating & sleeping schedule. She won't move until she's about a year old so, there is time to get her used to that class schedule. 

I love her teachers and I will miss them so much when Hannah moves up. Those ladies are wonderful with the babies and they adore Hannah. I love walking in to be told they were arguing (lightheartedly, of course) over whose favorite she is the most. The bond they form with the babies is incredibly sweet.

But, like in all things, her and her friends have to move upward and onward. 

I talk an awful lot about how amazing my kids are. I can go on forever about how damn smart Hannah is and my goodness, Ryan is the most photogenic kid. 

Perhaps I've perfected the humble brag (sometimes, I leave out the humble altogether) but, I'm a very, very proud mom. The newness of Hannah has brought out my demonstrative nature even more. 

And, I'm perfectly okay with that.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tell me something I don't know

Yesterday I took Hannah to the pediatrician to have a rash looked at (it turned out to be nothing).

While there, Hannah did a bit of showing off and was cruising around the waiting room.

In the patient room the doctor said "I believe she'll be walking at 9 months!".

I nodded and agreed but, was thinking how we're not even close to being baby proofed enough for a walking Hannah.

Time to get crackin'! 

PS: (17lbs 8oz)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

How do you take a cloud and pin it down?

Hannah turned 8 months old yesterday and I thought a lot about her personality as it's developed so far. The words that come to mind include brave, curious, tenacious (but, impetuous), determined and incredibly clever.

In other words, she keeps us (Ryan included) on our toes. Always, always, always on the move!  It would not surprise anyone who knows her if she were walking everywhere this time next month.

Hannah weighs just shy of 17 lbs and her appetite shows no signs of slowing. She's completely off puree foods and eats whatever we eat along with her bottle/sippy cup.
At day care, she eats from the school menu with just a few substitutions.

As for her milestones, we looked through the list last night to see what she should be doing at 8 months. The fact is, everything on the list was achieved weeks, if not moths, ago. She's well ahead of the curve.

All of this is wonderful and the three of us are extremely proud of Hannah.

My in-laws visited over Spring break and they had a wonderful time with the kids. Just like us, they were smitten with our little whirlwind.

Happy Spring everyone!

8 months old!
Easter 2016 (Ryan would have nothing to do with the giant bunny)
Hannah & Ryan watching the geese

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hannah the daredevil

My husband alluded to it a bit in his most recent blog post "Running before you can walk".

Things Hannah thinks she can do that she can't (shouldn't!):
Climb on the ottoman
Stand up without holding onto anything
Tackle the cat
Pull the entire contents of daddy's end table down to the floor
Eat a porterhouse (and the bone)

Okay I exaggerated the last one... a little.

(I fully expect Hannah to climb Everest by 1)

How many times did my heart skip a beat this weekend?
Too many to count.

How many years did Hannah take away from my life with her antics this weekend?
At least ten.

I dropped her off at daycare this morning and practically yelled "good luck, suckers" as I ran out the door.

I forgot my keys in the rush so went back to the classroom where Hannah was standing there smiling mischievously.

"Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world".


Watch out world, Hannah is mobile!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Airport kisses

A few years ago, Guiliana & Bill Rancic received some negative press over their decision to put marriage before children.

The offending statement:
"We put our marriage first because we want to be the best role models for Duke possible, because our relationship is the first relationship he's exposed to... so if we're kissing and dancing and loving each other, it can only benefit him."

The thing is... they're right.

Too often, the relationship between husband and wife becomes lost when you have kids. And, nearly every time, that causes the marriage to become dysfunctional.

I'm certain we all know a couple who brought kids into an already rocky marriage. It never works long term and that couple inevitably will become part of the "1 in 5" statistic.

We hear so much about work/life balance which is so important. It's necessary for a healthy mind, body and family.

But, what about marriage/kids balance? It's just as important.

I've been guilty of putting my kids first. They rely on us for, quite literally, everything. By the time I'm home from dealing with unreasonable demands on my time at work, it's time for us to take care of the kids.

I'm often (okay, almost always) ready for bed before Ryan.

So, yes, it's hard to find the left over energy to be an affectionate spouse.

And, having dealt with the death of a child and then the very long process of conceiving again, I'm also guilty of treating my children as near enough to Greek God(desses).

But, it's true, it doesn't serve them well to not put our marriage first.

I've started to see more and more how it's affecting James and I. Rushed mornings makes us forget to pause for a moment and give a real hug that says "I love & appreciate you and we're in this together".

I remember, before the kids, James and I were separated for months at a time while waiting for his Visa to come through so he could move here.

When he would pick me up at the airport, we had movie scene worthy kisses. We were so happy to be together again.

Its led to me to ensure we exchange "airport kisses" as often as possible. It helps us connect again. It helps us remember we are more than parents... we are partners.

Guiliana and Bill weren't saying they love each other more than their son. The love is entirely equal. But, it's okay to steal a few minutes for just the two of you. In fact, it's okay to steal an entire afternoon (or weekend!) to keep the marriage strong.

Because, if the marriage isn't strong and you're worshiping your children more than your partner, it's doomed.
Maybe not today or tomorrow - but, without a doubt, someday.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Half a year already!

Hannah at 6 months old:
Weight: 15 lbs (28%)
Down from 32% at 4 months
Height: 25 3/4" (48%)
Down from 61% at 4 months
Head: 16 1/2" (32%)
Down from 41% at 4 months

Still tall and slim but, the margin is evening out more now.

She's eating solids and, I do mean solids. I haven't removed the puree's yet but, I'm feeding her more and more regular food (just keep it soft).

I guess you could say I'm working on modified baby led weaning. I'm over puree's and I want Hannah to have real food. She has a tooth (another is about to pop) and she's ready for it. She's been absolutely brilliant so far with eating what I've given her.

I'm well into the planning of her first birthday party. It won't be a huge affair but, it will be special.
Ryan's birthday is before Hannah's but, we have his birthday down to a science, it practically runs itself now because we do it at the same place every year.

I'm having a lot of fun planning a girly birthday party. After five years of boy parties, I'm in heaven!

Ryan is still being a wonderful big brother. Last night he got down on the floor during tummy time and shared his iPad with her. She was captivated by the game he was playing.

This morning she woke up in a grump but, when Ryan came around, she got a huge smile on her face. The sibling love is mutual. I hope it stays this way and we don't have to deal with too much rivalry in the future!

We had planned to let them stay with their aunt this weekend but, the forecasted weather has made us have to postpone. It's a shame because our house needs a deep clean and it's so hard to do with the kids around.

Like I told my aunt; no biggie, it might be fun to be featured on Hoarders - I mean, they bring in a cleaning crew - score!

Happy Valentines Day my friends!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Ryan & Hannah

I'm certainly not above tooting my own horn - or Hannah's & Ryan's for that matter - but, I try not to be too obnoxious with the boasting.

With that, I am about to fail miserably.

Toot, toot because here I go!

She's been battling RSV this week which is not fun. However, she's been a champ and has never lost her smile (or appetite). She's taking the nebulizer really, really well and she is taking the amoxicillin with no trouble at all thanks to a special medicine pacifier I found (it looks like the worlds tiniest bottle).

I'm warning you now world, our little girl is a feisty one, she will not be stopped.

Her teachers are routinely telling us that she's advanced for her age. They do new things with her and say to each other "look, she can do it!" or "look at what Hannah is doing" when she tries something new on her own.

It's one thing for a parent to suspect her kid is a little above the curve but when the teachers tell you, well then, you know you were right.

One of the mommy's told me she calls Hannah "super baby" because of the stuff Hannah can do.

All this and a beauty, too?

Well, yes as a matter of fact.

Carter's has asked to use at least ten pictures of her already. One they used on Instagram and stayed tuned to your email because Hannah will be appearing in your inbox sometime soon (assuming you get Carter's emails that is)!

I bought her tons of bows and such before she was born thinking I'd have her in a new one everyday but, the truth is, she doesn't need all the adornments. She's so pretty all the fluff just isn't necessary.

I still pull them out for special days and special outfits, of course.

We once worried that he would never talk and now we can't get him to not talk for even a moment. His vocabulary has exploded since starting Kindergarten. He read a sign to James in the car yesterday completely on his own.

His favorite activity is building Lego sets. He can now work on sets for ages 8+ with minimal help. He's asked for some more advanced sets that's for 10+ & 14+ but, he's not ready for those yet. Not to mention, we're not ready to pay those prices.

He's a budding artist and I'm seriously impressed with what he can draw. James' dad and sister are quite good artists and that's clearly where Ryan gets the talent from (I draw a square with a triangle on top and call it a house).

He's always been the smallest in his group of peers but, I've noticed that gap is closing. He's still incredibly slim but, James was too as a child. It's a matter of time, I think, until his weight starts to fill out a bit, too.

He's an excellent (and so proud) big brother and he is crazy about his little sister. He's so sweet and wants to play with her all the time. He asks to hold her and asks me to take pictures.

We're so proud of Ryan's tenacity and creativity. He's a great role model for Hannah and I'm confident their bond will last into adulthood.

Until next time, stay safe and warm if you're in the path of the big snow storm coming (as we are)!

Friday, January 15, 2016

About Time

Before I get into this post, I want to say that I am in no way disparaging women who have gotten pregnant via IUI, IVF or any other way that required medical assistance. 

In the end, I don't believe it matters how your baby came (or comes) to you, as long as you get the baby.

I tried 5 IUI's myself and was starting the process of IVF when I fell pregnant with Hannah. 

I'm not speaking on behalf of the infertility community, TTC over 40 community or any other group. Though, I suspect that infertility unicorns will definitely feel where I'm coming from.

So here goes...

I started to write here because I needed a place to document my frustrations with month after month of failed attempts to get pregnant.

I documented all my failed fertility treatments and the sorrow that came with every miscarriage (three in 2014). I wrote about how we were starting to have the conversation with Ryan about the virtues of being an only child.

I was losing hope.

We switched doctors because we wanted to use the best in the area when it came to IVF. Even that doctor told us that we probably didn't have high chances of a successful IVF.
That. Was. Crushing.

I remember crying in the office feeling so full of despair.

The next month I was pregnant. I was pregnant and it happened 100% naturally. On our own, no medical intervention.

Now, looking back, it happened when it was supposed to. Hannah was the one all along. We didn't know it but, she was going to come in her own good time.

A doctor didn't sort through my eggs to find the best ones and then sort through James' sperm to find the best ones and force them together in a dish under a microscope.

Hannah is here because, despite huge odds, I released a good egg and one of James' "boys" were able to break into it at exactly the right time.

This is nothing short of miraculous.

It was supposed to be Hannah and that's why all the other attempts failed.

Of course, had I known, I could have saved us a lot of money, tears and medications that treated my hormones like a roller coaster ride.

But, I had no way of knowing that Hannah was there, waiting for the timing to be right.

I'll never know what made that month the right month. But, I do know that I'm so damn happy that it happened the way it did; naturally and at a time when I was convinced I was a fertility failure.

Hannah didn't need us to create her in a lab - she just needed time and for us to be patient. Because, she was always going be our daughter... we just didn't know it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Likes and dislikes

Hannah is five months old and is becoming more and more independent (!). In some ways it's heartbreaking because it's going by so damn fast.

However, she's smashing through milestones so quickly and we can't help but be amazed.

I threw out the What to Expect the First Year long ago so, I don't really remember when certain milestones are supposed to happen. We pretty much rely on the doctor to tell us if she's on target or, we'll go back and look at when Ryan hit milestones to see if Hannah is on the same trajectory.

Her teachers are a good barometer, too. Recently when I picked her up, they told me how she's the youngest baby but, can do everything the bigger babies can do and even some things they haven't done yet.

Basically, that's her compared to four other babies in her age range but, it's still nice to know that she can hang.

As I said, her independence is really showing. Her teachers have a hard time feeding her because she wants to feed herself (bottle and spoon). Bottle, okay sure. Spoon... well, slow your roll kid. That's just a giant mess that mommy's not ready for. She grabs the spoon out of my hand and what I get back is a sticky spoon with pears and slobber all over it. Not at all delightful.

She took to puree's fantastically. Her very first taste was sweet potatoes and she made a face that said "what's this crap?". The second spoon full was "alright, I admit, it's pretty good" and by the third she was grabbing the spoon like a fiend who couldn't get enough of those wonderful sweet potatoes.

With that being said, it's obvious she prefers pears to sweet potatoes. We're sticking with those two for the time being.

Moving on to what she likes and what she really doesn't like...

Sucking on her toes
Sucking on everything that comes remotely close to her mouth
Her new teething lion - she bites into that like it's a battle... only one can come out alive
Grabbing mommy's hair (and refusing to let go - seriously, she has a death grip on my hair)
Feeding herself, thank you very much

Having her face wiped (who can blame her?)
Having her nose suctioned (again, who can blamer her?)
Being alone for more than ten seconds (hey, where did everyone go?!)

I love seeing her personality blossom and her experiences shape her understanding of things around her.

She's got fantastic and loving caregivers at school and it warms my heart (and my mind) so much to see how good they are with her, and all the babies. The women are so sweet and patient and even noticed (before we did) when she was ready to move up a nipple size on her bottles.

I could post an entire book on how wonderful Christmas was for both of my kids. Suffice it to say Santa and family (and friends) were generous to them both and, above all, they were (and are) surrounded by a tremendous amount of love.

We don't have a huge family, but, it's a tight and loving family - on both sides of the Atlantic.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, too.

I'm already composing the next post but, I'm waiting on events to unfold before I hit publish.
The truth is, I hope that post comes later than sooner but, it's not in my hands.

For now I'll just say I'm wishing you all a happy and safe New Years!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A December day in London that changed my life

A couple days ago, my husband wrote a blog post about the day we met. He did this in his usual British sense of humor using colorful words and phrases that make me cringe.

But, the bottom line message was so sweet and loving that it really touched me.

The thing is, I have been composing a post about my husband in my head for a couple months. Never really putting a solid theme or construction behind it.

In celebration of having met him 8 years ago, today is the day I put thoughts into words and words onto paper (well, blog).

Our first face-to-face meeting was in London in 2007. I was there with a couple friends on vacation because there is nothing more wonderful than London at Christmas time (and, umm... Spice Girls. But, I'll get to that).

However, our story starts about 18 months before that meeting.

We initially "met" online. No, not a hook-up website or dating website. Nothing like that. We had a shared love of soccer. I was one of the few Americans on this forum and I used the word "soccer" so, James put two-and-two together and thought "American". So, it was my Americanism that made him PM me.

We talked as friends for the next 18 months before we met. We were both in the dating game and would talk about dates, friends, soccer... just chitchat you'd have with any friend.

Sometimes we'd go long stretches without talking at all. Sometimes we'd talk well into the early morning and he'd get up and go to work without having slept because he was chatting to me.

He talked me off a few relationship ledges, too. He was there for me when I needed him. I knew he was a good guy but, I never thought of him as anything beyond a long distance friendship.

And then, the Spice Girls announced a reunion tour.

Hell. Yes.

Sure, I could see them in the United States (and did). But, what better way to experience an epic event (I mean, Ginger was back!) than right in London?!

So, I convinced Paul and Jen that we should head to London.

I sent James a message that I'd be in London in December - want to meet up?

Well, he tells that part of the story best (and, err... graphically) so, go check out his link.

After we met in person, I liked him right away. I started to think of him differently. We met up a few more times after that initial date.

Then Paul and I headed off to Belgium for a few days. While I was in Belgium (LOVE Belgium, will definitely take the kids there some day) I was texting James the whole time. I was falling for him.

From Belgium it was back to London but, only long enough to catch a plane back to the US.

When I returned home, I invited him to come visit. And, he did. Five months later we were engaged. We discussed where we'd live. USA or England? It had been my dream for quite some time to live in England and James was happy in England. He lived very close to his parents, owned a house, managed a soccer team and had friends he'd had since he was a toddler.

But, moving so far away scared me more than it scared him. So, he agreed to come here.

The next 18 months was filled with immigration paperwork, invasive interviews, thousands of dollars, a ton of trips to England and, finally, a trip to the United States embassy where James was approved to move to the USA.

He sold his house, nearly all of his belongings, walked away from a job where he was well paid and had a company car, said goodbye to family & friends and boarded a plane to a new country that he had only visited twice before.

He did something huge that I hadn't been brave enough to do and, he did it for me.

I suppose many would wonder if, had he insisted on staying in England, I would have moved there?

Yes, I would have. England feels like home to me and James' parents and sister had given me a wonderful welcome to the family. His friends were funny and also very welcoming so, I would have been fine, even happy, in England.

But, again, I wasn't brave and he was. Which is funny because, between the two of us, I'm definitely the more adventurous, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, carpe diem type of person.

Eight years, three kids, four cats, four addresses & some devastating events later... here we are.

James is a loyal husband who loves his kids and his wife. He works hard for his family and is ambitious in a way I've never been. He excels at his job, is well respected and his future is pretty well mapped out at his company.

I can't tell you how proud I am of him.

He moved to the United States on a wing and a prayer with no job lined up and had to work at Target for about two years just so he'd be able to contribute. It mattered to him.

He was a stay at home dad during the day, a Target supervisor at night and he did it all extremely well.

Even now, he still does the family laundry, nearly all the cooking, school drop off's... you name it. He's a hands on dad and I love him for it.

My life took a direction I never even had considered that day 8 years ago.

Now, I can't imagine it being any other way.
And, I'm pretty sure I really do have the best husband ever.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Fabulous at four months

Some quick stats and facts

Weight - 12lbs 13oz - 32%
Height - 24 1/2" - 61%
Head - 16" - 41%

Rolling over is a nothing event these days because, she's been doing it so long. She's practicing sitting up by herself but, can't keep her spine straight enough for that for more than a couple seconds. She absolutely hates to be laying down unless she's ready for a nap. When you lay her down, she tries very, very hard to pull herself up.

She can stand for long stretches of time holding on to our hands (or something else solid). I'm seriously impressed with her stamina.

When on her belly, she tries to scoot forward but, we're quite a while away from actual crawling. Instead, she gets around by rolling to where she wants to be. The teachers at her school like to point out how far she'll go when they put her down on the play mat.

Bottom line, this kid likes to be on the move! We'll be investing in baby gates very soon.

She's a good sleeper over all but, has nights here and there where she'll wake up and cry for a few minutes. Most of the time we wait and listen and she'll fall back to sleep. There have been a few occasions where we get her up for a feeding.

I recently read an article about the 4-5 month sleep regression and how they're now getting more REM sleep at this age but, when they cycle out of REM, their brains aren't quite developed enough to keep them asleep (an adult will easily continue to sleep after REM is over).

The article went on to say the best thing you can do for your baby is to give them time to self soothe back to sleep.

So, that's what we're doing. Thankfully, she really is a good sleeper so, there hasn't been very many totally frustrating nights. I hear horror stories from friends like "my kid didn't sleep through the night until she was 3".

We weren't sure what to expect. Ryan was an exception, in that, he slept through the night at 6 weeks. The kid has always chosen sleep over eat. We knew it was unlikely that Hannah would be the same way.

And, she wasn't. But, she did start sleeping through at about 11 weeks and, that's not bad! I won't go so far as to say she values sleep over food, though.

Not. Even. Close.
This kid loves her food.

We've been given the okay to start rice cereal in her bottle. Not sure about that yet, though. I'm going to do some research and really put thought into this before we make that call.

With Ryan, it was an easy decision. He was a small baby (4th to 5th percentile) and needed to fatten up (he never did). So adding a little extra to his bottle wasn't a big deal for us.

Hannah doesn't have this problem so, I don't think we're in a hurry to add anything.

In other news

We're in full out "deck the halls" mode. The tree went up as did the stockings. Hannah has her first ornament and we have a new family ornament, too.

I'm so excited about this Holiday season. I can't even say how long it's been since I've felt the spirit of Christmas like I do this year.

We're going to see Santa Claus this coming weekend and going to the nearby drive-thru light show a little closer to Christmas.

Ryan is talking about this light show non-stop. He asks me every day how many more days until we can go. He remembers it from last year and, I don't blame his excitement. This park has a truly spectacular set up.

'Tis the season!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My favorite baby products of 2015

The Dairy Fairy Rose Handsfree Pumping bra: I love this pumping bra, I really do. Before receiving it, I was pumping one side at a time. I asked my friend at work, who is pumping too, what she did and she said she double pumps but holds them in place. Now that I have this bra, I actually look forward to pumping at work. It's comfortable, well made and comes in all sizes.
Full disclosure: I did not pay for this bra. It was sent to me by The Dairy Fairy. However, I highly recommend it.

Spectra S2 hospital grade double breast pump: I was thrilled when I learned insurance would pay for a double breast pump. I had a hard time deciding between this one and the Medela PISA and I went back in forth for days before finally settling on this one. I'm so glad I did. After reading all the reviews, I decided to break out of the Medela sheep line. Please understand, I have nothing against Medela really. The Medela pump I used with Ryan was pretty crappy and turned me off pumping entirely. But, I know they're the biggest breast pump supplier in the USA and it's the go-to pump for millions of women. But, I wanted to see if there was an alternative. The answer was yes and it actually had much better reviews than the PISA. So, I went for it. It turned out to be an excellent decision.

Sarah Well breast pump bag: It's a great idea with average execution. I love the concept. The Spectra S2 is a very tight fit into the side pocket where the pump goes. But, the Spectra is a bigger pump. I can deal with that. I'm not thrilled with the main compartment which is where you would carry your wallet, keys, etc. There is too much loose fabric. True story: I tossed my credit card into this bag after using it one day. The next day I couldn't find it. Anywhere. I searched the bag, my husband searched the bag. Even the compartments where there was no way it would be, like where the pump is stored. Nothing. We assumed I lost the card and we cancelled it. As we waited for a replacement, I went into the bag to grab something out and there was the card. Not the fault of the manufacturer really. But, the point is, there is way too much loose fabric. The better design would be for that part of the bag to have a false bottom and thus completely separate from the pump storage section. But, I do use it for work everyday as a purse/pumb bag. It's stylish and decent quality.

Dr. Browns bottles: We've already gone through at least four different bottle brands with Hannah and finally settled on Dr. Browns. Bottles are such a personal choice so I won't spend much time on this. These are the best we've used ourselves, so, our bottle search is over.

Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up floor seat: I can say that I love this so much better than a bumbo at this stage of Hannah's infancy. It encircles the baby so they don't slump forward like they do in the bumbo before those back muscles become stronger. Hannah easily sits in both now with no trouble but, I still prefer this chair because she can sit in it much longer with no fatigue.

Fisher Price Rock N Play sleeper: Link is for the specific one I have which has been discontinued. Hannah pretty much slept in this exclusively for the first 12 weeks or so. We tried to put her in the bassinet and she hated it. This is the only thing she'd sleep in. I like it better than something similar we had for Ryan because it's higher up off the floor which means less bending over to pick up baby.

Sorelle Verona Panel 4-in-1 convertible crib: Currently on sale for $100 off. I am so in love with our crib. It's absolutely gorgeous and doesn't look like your typical crib. It looks like a headboard and a footboard with some crib features on the sides to make it a crib. And, there is a reason for that - that's exactly what it is. This converts into a full bed (not twin - full) with the rails conversion kit. It's nice enough and quality enough that Hannah can use it throughout high school and even well beyond. Funny story: This is not the crib we had on our registry. We had another Sorelle crib that was only $199. My in-laws bought the crib on our registry but, BRU delivered the crib in the link. It sat in the bedroom for a few weeks and we didn't notice it was the wrong crib until much later. When we did realize, we decided to just keep that to ourselves. #sorrynotsorry

Angelcare movement and sound monitor: We used this with Ryan, too and bought a new one for Hannah. We love it but, it does take a few nights of adjusting the sensor pad and sensor sensitivity to get it right in order to eliminate false alarms. Once you get the combination right, it's peace of mind.

Summer Infant color video monitor: This is the model we have and we got it for $60 at the Summer website on clearance. As you can see, it's discontinued and the replacement model is much more expensive. With that being said, Summer video monitors are some of the less expensive ones on the market and mine works perfectly. I wasn't sold on buying a video monitor at all but, when I saw it for $60, I couldn't pass it up. Very glad I did because, it's a great gadget.

Infantino baby carrier: The cost of baby carriers can be what I consider, outrageously pricey. A carrier should not costs nearly as much as a low end crib. That's why I love this carrier. It was less than $30 and gets the job done. I find it comfortable & easy to use. Now, some people get very preachy about these things. The design is bad for the baby's growth or bad for their hips, etc. The thing is, I've used it so infrequently and for such a short time that it's unlikely I've damaged her bone structure in any way. Are these people having their kids live in the baby carrier?? I admit I haven't used it in a couple months. It was good during Ryan's t-ball season and I used it at home from time-to-time while on maternity leave. I'm not sure I see myself using it again soon (at all, perhaps) which is exactly why I didn't want an expensive one. And, for the record, we had a super expensive one when Ryan was a baby and James and I both hated it. It was cumbersome and heavy and we felt like we were being dragged forward at the shoulders. It ended up being donated to Salvation Army just so we could make it someone else's problem.

Fisher Price Rainforest deluxe gym: This was a gift and we've used it a few times. Hannah likes it and we plan to start using it much more now that she's so much more aware. I see it's $43 on Amazon and I want to say we saw it for $70 at BRU. I would never pay $70 for any play gym like this. $43 is more reasonable but, we likely wouldn't have bought one at all. However, it was a very nice gift and I think we'll get a lot of use out of it. It's an adorable design, plays music and has lots of attachments for baby to play with.

Bright Starts portable swing: Another gift that has turned out to be extremely useful. We had one of those big fancy swings for Ryan and it was terrific. We still have it in fact. What we don't have is all the space it requires. We had decided to forgo a swing completely but, we received this and, it's great. It's small, folds up compact and is powerful. Hannah uses it daily now and loves it.

Zippyz footed pajamas: These pj's are a great idea and well executed! What makes them unique is the top half is buttoned and the bottom half is zippered. Why does that make a difference? Well picture your baby on the changing table, please. Now picture being able to unzip the pj's from the waist down only. The top half still comfy and warm while you change the diaper. True, the same could be said for snap pj's but, we all know pj's with twenty snaps are the design of very evil people. The last thing you want to be doing at 2AM is trying to line up snaps, especially around the leg area, right? So, that's where this product comes in. They are pricey, though. Would I have paid $30 for one pair? Probably not. I'm surprised Gerber hasn't caught on to this great idea and started making something similar. I will say these are super soft and great quality.

The Paper Shamrock Butterfly Months Stickers:  Instead of getting what everyone else was using from places like BRU or Target, I searched for months stickers that were unique. I ordered these but, this seller has loads of adorable designs and can personalize them with a name. It seems every baby I see on facebook and instagram are using the same generic stickers so, I really like that I have something you won't see on a hundred other baby pictures. In my opinion, the price is reasonable, too. Go check them out.

HowiesHobbies Bumbo covers: Let me tell you what I LOVE about this shop owner; she sent me a link to a website that sells fabric, told me to pick out what I like and she'll make the cover for me. So, you don't just have to choose from what you see in her shop. Delivery is currently about 2-3 weeks she tells me, which, in my opinion, is very reasonable given that it's so close to Christmas. She's been extremely responsive to my inquiries, made some suggestions and I now have something special on the way. I can't reveal here what it is because, I want it to be a surprise to my husband.
While looking into Bumbo covers, she was also the one only one who has them reasonably priced (in my opinion, at least).

I've listed here two Etsy sellers that I've worked with but, I have many more that have done great stuff for me. I'll do a separate post about those another time.

So, there is my list!

Do you have anything you love and want to shout about it (or, hate and still want to shout about it)? Tell me in the comments!

PS: I'd like to ask again that if you see an advertisement on my website that is of interest to you, feel free to click! I don't know how anyone can resist the cute Carter's ad that screams 50% off!

Monday, November 16, 2015

My day with Ryan

I took today off to volunteer in Ryan's kindergarten class and, it was so much fun! If I could go back in time and know what I know now, I'd want to be a kindergarten teacher.

This week Ryan is the "Star Student" which means he gets to talk about himself to the class, be the line leader and bring a special toy on Friday.

Last night we were working on his Start Student poster. This is where he gets to write about his favorite things. Interestingly, for his favorite movie, he chose Star Wars, (which he's very into at the moment) a movie he's never seen.

James tried to convince him to write Wall-E or Cars or The Nightmare Before Christmas. All these are movies we've watched with him a thousand times at his request. But, no, he wanted to write Star Wars.

James told him as long as he's making stuff up, why not say his favorite book is War & Peace and write his name as Ryan, 4th Earl of Hampshire. I like it so, henceforth, Ryan is 4th Earl of Hampshire. I must remember to write the Queen informing her of his new position. I'm sure she'll be all too happy to write a Royal decree.

Our day started in the usual way, which is to say, frantically. Getting two kids up, dressed, fed and out the door. But first, Ryan wanted to play with Hannah.

Next, I walked Ryan to school which is something I absolutely love. Ryan talks quite a lot on these walks. And, he is still okay holding my hand!

In the classroom is where I really got to see Ryan shine. I believe he acted a little different with me being there but, it was super cool to see him in his element doing everyday school activities.

This happens to be the Scholastic Book Fair week so, I went to the library with the kids and helped Ryan pick out books to buy.

After school it was time for the dentist. Not Ryan's favorite thing in the world (is it anyone's favorite thing?).

It went quickly though, and the dentist said he had a "true Hollywood smile". No cavities and his molars have come in. She said that doesn't usually happen until six to seven years old. She also was able to determine which two teeth he'll lose first because they were already a bit loose. 

He's growing so quickly and I'm amazed at my clever and handsome not-so-little-anymore boy.

On another note:
I've been meaning to write a baby gear review post for ages. I owe it to a couple vendors and that will definitely be the topic of my next post.

Until next time...

Friday, November 13, 2015

And that's why he calls her "Wiggles"

Early on after we brought Hannah home from the hospital, James started to call her "Wiggles" because she was so active.

That is showing itself in abundance these days.

She did it! she rolled from her back to her front, on Veterans Day (exactly 15 weeks old). But, I missed it. I was very disappointed at first however, she still put on a show for me so, all is well.

She's loving life in her crib because she's really able to stretch out and move around. She's sleeping on her side mostly. But, what amuses me the most is how she uses her crib space.

For instance; last night I put her to bed with her head right, legs left. I woke up in the night to go to the bathroom and noticed her head was left and legs right. I woke up James to asked if he had moved her after I went to bed. He said nope, he hadn't been in there.

When I woke up this morning, she was in quite another position with her head at the backboard and her legs through the slats at the front of her crib.

Her teachers tell me she is loving tummy time and does a great job with it. They've decided she's strong enough to put her in the bumbo, too. That wasn't a big deal to us as we've had her in the bumbo for ages. Though, we do prefer the Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up seat. Or, at least, I do. I think James prefers to use the bumbo.

I have asked the teachers to move her onto her back in the crib when she rolls over to her tummy. I'm not ready for her to sleep like that yet. She prefers to sleep on her side which I am perfectly okay with.

Ryan started walking at 10 months old and I have a feeling Hannah will be around that time, too.

Speaking of Ryan; he's loving Kindergarten and doing such a great job. He did his first PALS testing and did very well. The goal is to get a score of at least 29 and he scored a 77. Not bad!

The adjustment to Kindergarten life is still something he's settling into. He's extremely grumpy and tired when we pick him up late afternoon. He's irritable and easily set off into tears. For instance, if he's working on a complicated Lego structure (his very favorite thing to do) and a piece won't go into place, he bursts into full on angry tears.

Parents of his friends have reported similar stories so, we know we're not alone in what I call the "Kindergarten meltdown".

He's had a lot of big changes so, it's no wonder it's taking a while to adjust. Starting school (and getting homework), becoming a big brother, changing bedrooms... that's a lot for one so young. His responsibilities at home have increased, too. He's always been in charge of feeding the cats and a few other little chores. But, now we've given him a chore chart with seven daily responsibilities.

Some days he's really into it and other days he drags his feet. Exactly what you'd expect from a five year old.

But then, we're all learning to adjust to being a family of four. Hannah is only three months old and it's new for us all.

We'll get there.

By the way...
You might notice I've decided to monetize my blog (by allowing ads). Believe me, I won't become rich from this as I only get a couple hundred view of each blog update.

But, if you see an ad on the right that is of interest to you, please click on it. Every click gets my family a few cents (you don't have to buy!).

(Right now, for me, it's a Carters ad with a super cute baby wearing a Christmas outfit. So of course clicking on that shows me their new holiday line of adorable clothes. Half of which I've already bought...)

Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Adventures with the video monitor

When Ryan was a baby, he rolled over, front to back, for the first time, while he slept.

We put him to bed in his crib on his back. When we woke up in the morning, he was sleeping on his stomach in the fetal position.

He had rolled over and we missed it.

We sent the kids to stay with my Aunt this weekend in order to get the "nursery"* ready so both kids could move into their own beds. Ryan has been co-sleeping with us for well over a year and Hannah has been sleeping nearby in her bassinet.

The time was right for everyone to take their places back into their own beds.

James and I installed the video monitor on the wall and the sensor pads under her mattress as well as all the other bells and whistles worried parents buy.

Sunday night, we put her to bed and turned on the video monitor. She was already asleep when we put her into the crib so, there wasn't much to watch.

Last night though... last night was exciting.

Once again she was already sleeping when we put her down but, she woke up. She woke up and pitched a fit when she found herself in the crib.

We gathered around the video monitor to watch. In her anger, she was working hard to roll over onto her stomach. We were cheering for her as we watched; "There she goes! She's doing it!" She was so close - more than halfway in fact - before she lost her balance and went back onto her back.

It didn't happen and she eventually drifted off to sleep. But, it's coming soon.

On another video monitor note, Ryan teared up when he saw Hannah was crying. He told me that Hannah didn't like to be up there alone and she's scared. This made him very sad and, since he had tears in his eyes, I gave James the monitor to hold (so Ryan wouldn't have to see it) while I talked to Ryan about all this.

He was projecting because, it's him who hates to be in rooms alone. Other than the kitchen and living room, he has a paralyzing fear of being in a room alone.

His concern for Hannah was completely legitimate in his mind. And I sympathize so much with him and I'm also proud that he's protective of his little sister.

This isn't the first time I've had to tell him to be a kid and leave Hannah's safety to mommy and daddy.

Hannah's teacher told me Ryan stopped by recently and they turned her around so he could see her through the window (older siblings aren't allowed inside the infant room).

I'm worried we might have a slightly neurotic son on our hands.

Hopefully it's something he'll outgrow but, in the mean time, his love for his sister is just about the most endearing thing I've seen.

One day James and I will leave this world (hopefully and very, very long time from now) and Ryan & Hannah will still have each other.

*I hate calling a kids bedroom a "nursery". This isn't 1920 but, that's the term most moms use so, whatever.
(Yes, I am a anti-bumpers mom)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hannah at 3 months and some Halloween, too!

A bit about Hannah: Hannah is now three months old and such a happy baby. She smiles all the time, she giggles and babbles and makes us all smile from ear-to-ear. 

She's sitting in her Bumbo perfectly and is so close to sitting on her own. She tries to pull herself up to a sitting position from laying down because, unless she's sleepy, she hates to be laying down. She's such a curious little girl. 

Rolling over is mastered, no problems there and she's determined to get moving. It's going to come early like it did for Ryan I suspect. 

She will hold her own bottle providing it's the 4oz bottle. She doesn't have the strength just yet to hold onto her 8oz bottles. 

We were at Children's Hospital in Washington D.C. a week ago to talk about the hemangioma on her lip. The doctor said laser surgery wouldn't do the trick so we have a topical gel that we apply daily. The hope is that this gel will stop it from growing until it fades away on its own as they usually do. 

If it continues to grow, we'll have to get more aggressive treatment. We will return to the doctor in January and, in the mean time, send her weekly pictures so she can monitor growth (or, hopefully, lack of growth).

As for Halloween...
Hannah managed to make it through the entire trick or treating evening with her big brother. Half was spent in the stroller and the other half in her Uncle Jeff's arms or Aunt Maggie's arms. 

Quite frankly, I'm feeling like a million bucks these days. My kids are happy, healthy and gorgeous. 

Christmas is coming and I can't even begin to describe here how excited I am. I'm very carefully picking out some new house decorations and trying (probably unsuccessfully) to not go overboard. 

It's November 2nd and I can tell you the Christmas spirit is alive and well in me already.

Arts & Crafts & Costumes

The Nightmare Before Christmas inspired costume

I'm so cute it's spooky!

Not a costume, just a fact :)

I managed to fit in a much needed haircut

Monday, October 19, 2015

Luckiest mom ever. Seriously, it's true.

I don't know how, or what, I ever did to deserve this but, ladies & gentlemen, these are my kids.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Two months down, a lifetime to go

Hannah is nearly 11 weeks old and now at day care while I work. 

My darling girl isn't a newborn anymore. She's a big girl with an insatiable hunger who enjoys babbling to us. She smiles at her big brother and really is the sweetest little baby ever. 

She has adorable dimples, gorgeous blue eyes and hair that hints at being strawberry blond. 

And, totally adored by her family, of course. My in-laws flew over for a visit and I'm pretty sure Hannah never left the arms of family for an entire week. Day & night she was cuddled and fed by either her Grandmother, Grandfather or her Auntie.

She's well into wearing 3mos size clothes now so, all her NB clothes are out the door to a friend soon. I feel like it has all gone by so fast. 

Between working and being a mom to a baby and a 5 year old, my life is pretty busy. That makes it hard to come here and write as often as I'd like but, I'll try to get back into the swing of things in the coming months.

I'll definitely be posting pictures around Halloween because Hannah has a great costume that was completely Ryan approved.

See you soon!

Friday, September 18, 2015

A letter to my children

Dear Ryan & Hannah,
You have changed our lives, for the better and, forever.

You are both so beautiful that, at times, I'm shocked you're mine. I have to pinch myself that it's all real. But, you are mine... ours! We get the distinct honor and privilege of being your mom and dad.

Sometime we'll get things wrong. Sometimes a little wrong, sometimes hugely wrong. Your mom and dad are human and we will make mistakes. When we do get it wrong, try to remember that everything we do is out of love and concern for you and also that we do mostly get it right.

We have so many hopes and dreams for your future but, one of the big ones is that you remain close throughout your life. That you will love and protect each other as best you can.

You might have noticed that daddy has a different accent. You'll learn all about his home country, England, as you get older and I want you to be proud of that part of your ancestry. I want you to be proud to be half English. One day soon we'll take you back there and I know you'll fall in love with England.

But, I want you to be a proud American, too.

As you get older, we'll tell you a little more about the brother you never got to meet. You'll likely never feel the bond towards Nathan the way daddy and I do. And that's okay. But, we want you to know he was an important part of our lives and changed mommy and daddy.

You see, we might be a bit more protective of you and it might make you annoyed at times. We lost a child and it changed us.

I will always have to remind myself to not be a helicopter parent. I'll always want to hover in the background waiting just in case you stumble. I promise to do my best to back off but, forgive me if I find that hard to do. I'm already cringing at the idea of handing over car keys and letting you drive off alone for the first time.

(Warning: I might be hiding in the trunk)

Most of all, we promise to love you and offer all the support possible.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Hannah at 6 weeks

Hannah is six weeks old today and she's a wonderful little girl. She eats like a baby twice her age but, the doctor said she's not overweight. She has mostly outgrown her newborn clothes and has moved on to 3mos sizes. 

Weight: 9lbs 9oz (46th%)
Height: 21.25 (39th%)
Head: 14.75 (46th%)

There is one small hiccup; she has a hemangioma (benign tumor) on her lip. We see a specialist soon to decide what's to be done. In most cases, they end up going away on their own. We'll know more about her specific situation after we see the specialist. 

Otherwise, she's wonderful and perfect. She's sleeping longer at night which, for her, means getting up only twice. She sleeps for about four hours straight overnight. 

I return to work in two weeks and it's causing me a little anxiety. I know she'll be safe where she's going as it's been where Ryan has been for two years. 

Still, I can't help but worry about her.

Speaking of Ryan...

He started Kindergarten last week. His teacher is sweet, young and enthusiastic.

Here is a picture of him walking to school on the first day with his friend.

My husband has been blogging our family life for five years and recently moved it to blogspot.
He's very funny so go check it out here!

Until next time, Hannah and I will catch you later.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Time is flying by

I can't believe Hannah is nearly 4 weeks old.

There is so much to tell and it's hard to organize all my thoughts and everything that's been going on but, I'll summarize as best I can.

Hannah is up to 8lbs 7oz and is very close to being too big for newborn diapers and clothes. This is a huge difference to Ryan who wore newborn until he was 3 months old.

As for our "birth story", it's not really all that interesting to be honest. We showed up at the hospital at 7:30 for a 9AM scheduled c-section.

Everything went pretty much the same as with Ryan (and Nathan) to start with. Once they had me numb from the waist down they let James come in. One big difference between this delivery and the other two; I didn't throw up a single time. Hoorah!

I'm not sure how long it took to get Hannah out, it felt like quite a while. Once she was out, this is where things were very different between Ryan and Hannah's delivery.

Difference #1: Right after the doctor pulled her out she held her up over the screen for me to see. She was covered in muck and her face was all screwed up in a scowl. It was scary and hilarious at the same time.

Side note: A few days before she was born I was joking with a friend saying Hannah was going to come out looking like a Mandrake from the Harry Potter movie. Damn if that's not exactly what popped into my head when they showed her to me at that moment!

They took her over to the scale and I heard her crying (I don't think she cried before that moment). I remember James and I looked at each other and a sigh of relief came from us both.

The nurse told James to come over and he took pictures while they checked her out.

Different #2: Once she was wrapped up and handed to James, he was allowed to bring her over to me to be held up to my cheek. When he put her cheek to my cheek, she turned her head to me. She knew I was mommy. We were able to stay like that for a long time. A nurse took our camera and took pictures of the three of us like that and then of just Hannah and I cheek to cheek.

With Ryan, after he was weighed and wrapped up, they scooted him and James out of the OR to the recovery room to wait for me. I was able to get a quick look before they left me but, nothing more than that.

This new way is much, much better.

I was in the hospital for two nights. After that, I was ready to get the hell out of there. I don't like hospital beds. I find them to be as comfortable as sleeping on a pile of bricks.

A few random notes from the hospital stay:

I had quite a few family and friends come visit but, the one that sticks out the most (of course) is Ryan. When he came into the room my Aunt was holding Hannah* and I was laying in the bed.
He waved to her and it was the sweetest reaction ever.

*The day I came home from the hospital Ryan asked me if there was still a baby in my belly. I said "No Ryan, you can see Hannah is here". He said "then why is your belly still big?" Wow, thanks Ryan.
I decided to ignore that and said "The doctor took Hannah out of my belly". He said "No, Aunt Maggie took Hannah out of your belly".
We guess he assumed that because, when he met Hannah for the first time, Aunt Maggie was holding her.
(And, for the record dear son, I lost 6 pounds during my pregnancy AND dropped another 20 -and counting- after she was born)

We've settled into our home life quite comfortably now.
I suppose I was expecting an experience very similar to Ryan's first weeks at home but, it's been quite a big difference.

Ryan was on formula and breast milk to start and slept through the night early on. Hannah is on breast milk exclusively and wakes up 2-3 times a night to be fed.

Having a baby that wakes up a few times throughout the night is hard. James is back at work now so I get up with her overnight on week days. It pretty much means I spend a good portion of my day in a drowsy fog.

Usually her and I take a nap later in the morning or, sometimes, in the afternoon. But, most weekdays I'm only getting about 4 hours of sleep over night (sometimes less) and maybe, if I'm lucky, a two hour nap later in the day.

My in-laws (MIL, FIL & SIL) are flying over from England tomorrow. We're very excited to have them come. I love my husbands family and always look forward to their visits.

On Hannah's due date we attended a baby shower in her honor at James' work. It was such a special thing they did for us and I was overwhelmed by the generosity of his colleagues. It was even more special because Hannah was there for her own shower!

We're having a "Sip & See" this coming weekend, too. The few people who haven't met Hannah yet will be coming for the occasion. I have to say, I prefer baby showers with the baby being there. The one my work had for me before Hannah was born was lovely but, I love being able to show off the honoree. This has all been for her after all!

I return to work on September 23rd and Hannah will go to day care. She'll be at the same place Ryan has been for the last 18 months and I trust them but, I know it will be hard to leave her there at first.

Ryan starts Kindergarten in a week but, he'll be at that day care after school so, it's nice knowing that they'll be there together.

I'm sure there are other things I meant to write about while composing blog updates in my head over the last couple weeks but, it's 3AM and Hannah is sleeping so I think I will, too.

Until next time, I leave you with this:

Big brother & little sister

Monday, August 3, 2015

Introducing Hannah

Hannah Claire was born on 7/29/15 @ 9:51AM weighing 7lbs 13oz and 20" long via scheduled c-section.

She's absolutely perfect.

I'll write more soon about her birth and how things have been since coming home.

For now, here are a couple pictures of our sweet daughter.

Do I even care that I'm being stitched up?

Mommy & Daddy holding Hannah

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Six days to go & Ryan gets a nasty virus

This has been a pretty awful week (so far).

On Monday Ryan's school called saying he was lethargic and complaining he didn't feel well. So, James runs along to pick him up and by the time I get home, he's out of it.

Once he stirred I took his temp and it was 101.7. Gave him so ibuprofen to bring down the fever and that's been what our life has been like ever since.

His fevers spikes, ibuprofen brings it down, wears off & we start over again. This fever comes along with a bad cough and some diarrhea. Awesome.

Last  night we got him to the doctor because his fever peaked at 103. He has Adenovirus - whatever that is.

No medication can be given, it just has to run it's course which is 5-7 days. We're on day 4.

Last night I finally got some decent sleep - 7 hours maybe. I feel like a walking zombie still, though.

This morning when I took his temperature it was 102.6. I really don't even need a thermometer anymore. When I felt his back I knew it was over 102 and, I was right.

Just the poor kids luck, too. He has a friend who is in town for two weeks only from Saudi Arabia and we had a play date planned for Saturday. I'm not at all convinced he'll be okay in time. But, we'll see.

I've had to fib to Ryan this week and tell him that school was closed because he was getting upset about missing the field trips. No, I don't expect I'll be getting a "Mother of the Year" award any time soon.

As for Hannah...
On Friday her estimated weight was already at 7lbs. She was very active during her NST so, no concerns with her.

My own weigh-in had me having lost 2 pounds this pregnancy. My doctor was quite pleased with that and offered a "great job" congrats for it.

My final NST is tomorrow and my final OBGYN appointment is Monday.

I expect next time I update this blog, I'll have pictures of Hannah to share. My energy is waning tremendously and I haven't opened my MacBook at home in at least two months.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Two weeks to go

I intended to write a bit last week about Nathan but, it was a hard day as it is and, adding to it, James & I came down with some kind of stomach virus.

The day came and the day went. Between throwing up and sleeping we both thought a lot about our son and I was able to have a proper cry for him. I love and miss him so much - I can't even describe the piece of me that feels missing even three years later.

It's still incredibly emotional so, I'm going to move on now...

My NST's & BPP's are all going well and Hannah is doing great.

Her mommy... not so much. I have Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction which is causing a great deal of pain. Oh my gosh the pain! It actually reminds me very much of the first several days after a c-section when your pelvis hurts and it's hard to walk. Or stand. Or sit. Or... you get the picture.

I'm also being monitored for Pre-eclampsia. This is a new development just in the last few days. On Friday there was some protein in my urine and my blood pressure was a little higher than usual.

We returned today and there is still protein in my urine and my blood pressure was even a little higher so, blood work was done. I will get those results pretty quickly and then we'll see where we go from there.

The doctor said 37 weeks is full term so, if needed, we'll get her out early.

There is a strong part of me that is ready to deliver her on Wednesday. That part of me is growing with each painful step I take.

But, two weeks is barely more than one week so the other part of me says "suck it up, buttercup".

As it stands, I'm scheduled for the c-section on July 29th @ 9AM at exactly 38 weeks.

I made the switch from Lovenox to Heparin and it has been another miserable experience to add to the list. The Heparin needle is twice as thick, the liquid feels twice as thick and it's twice a day. I seriously hate the Heparin and can't wait to be done with it and back on Lovenox (which isn't until post delivery).

Ryan is still marking off the days on his calendar and is very excited about meeting his little sister. He talks about her all the time and has started asking for two of everything so that "Hannah can have the other one".

I'm tired folks and I'm not sure when I'll write again. I hope to update at least once more before delivery day but, we'll see if I manage it.

Please keep my family in your thoughts.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

This is the month I have my baby!

(Okay, OUR baby. I mean, James did have a hand in it!)

I'm 34 weeks today and, in exactly four weeks, Hannah will make her debut!

Remember my last post when I said I want to remember and enjoy every minute of this pregnancy and not rush it?

Yeah, I take that back.

Since she's moved to head down I feel like my pelvis is supporting the weight of a bowling ball. It's uncomfortable and painful.

Sitting hurts. Standing hurts. Laying down hurts.

I don't get a lot of sleep at night because I just can't get comfortable.

I'm boiling hot all the time and find it difficult to cool down, especially at work.

Speaking of work... my office chair is pretty much torture. I have a back cushion and a butt cushion on it but, they're not helping.

My point?
Let the last four weeks fly by!

Ryan was asking nearly every day when Hannah was coming so we made him a special July calendar where he can cross off the days. I think this visual will work better than us trying to explain weeks/days to him.

It's now hanging on the fridge and today he got to make his first "X" on it.

As for my weekly appointments, all is well with Hannah. She's still passing the NST and BPP with no trouble and, at last check, was measuring pretty big.

We do another size/weight check at 36 weeks and that should give us an idea of what to expect at birth.

Finally last weekend we started to actually prepare for her arrival. I think James and I both felt like we'd put a jinx into motion if we started too early but, the time had come.

James went into the storage area in the basement and started to pull out some stuff we needed to inventory so we'd know what was left to buy.

He put the bassinet together for me (under slight protest). The thing is, this bassinet was bought brand new for Nathan and it was put together well in advance of his arrival.

However, we can't live in Nathan's shadow forever. We have to move forward and know that while it was intended for our second son, our first daughter will be the one to use it. And, that's okay.

Speaking of Nathan...
Monday will be his third birthday. Or, "Angelversary" as many parents in our situation like to call it.

Three years. Wow.

I'll write more on that Monday.

Lastly, I have to say how proud I am of the USA Women's Soccer Team for their outstanding win against Germany last night. It was a nail biter for me and had my heart pounding but, we did it! We're going to the final on Sunday and I'm so excited!

Today I'll be supporting England against Japan in hopes of a USA v. England final. The showdown in my house will be epic but, even James said that England has already well surpassed expectations and, if they do make it to the final, he knows USA will be the better team.

With that being said - GO USA!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

32w 6d - So very proud of my girl

Today's BPP & NST went so much better!

AFI went from 8.8 to 16.8. Hannah was plenty active for the BPP ultrasound and was practicing her breathing very nicely.

She even cooperated for the NST which showed to be reactive. Everything is perfect.

And, she's even moved into Vertex position, finally!

I can't even express what a relief all this is. She's beautiful and perfect and in five short weeks, we'll be bringing her home.

As for me, well, I'm hot all the time. It's summer so to be expected but, I just can't cool down enough to feel comfortable, even inside.

At home and work I have a fan blowing on me all the time. In the car I turn the AC up as far as it will go. I'm huge and uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, being hot all the time also means I'm not sleeping very well. I wake up feeling sweaty and gross.

Also, my back is starting to hurt a lot. At home I move from the sofa to the La-Z-Boy and back again several times throughout the evening.

I'm feeling Hannah down quite low now (a result of her position change I suppose) which means I feel dragged forward more than ever. I'm sure this is causing the more severe back pains. I walk as fast as your average 90 year old these days.

However, none of it matters. I'm taking in everything I can the last month of this pregnancy. I want to remember and enjoy it all.

I'm 40 years old and, next month, I'll have two kids. I think that's perfect and I can hang up my TTC cape for good.

So, I don't want to let a moment of this last month to go unnoticed. After Hannah comes, I'll never again know the feeling of being kicked from the inside. Of smiling and rubbing my belly when my baby is hiccuping (which is every day now).

I'm savoring as much of it as I can.