Carmen Girls

July 24, 2014 – Overcast, 64°, Sunrise 5:13 am, Sunset 10:58 pm

I met Rachel and Laura when we were in a sorority together; we really became friends our Junior year when we all lived on the same floor. It was so easy to just pop down the hall and hang out – plus M was studying for a semester in Germany, and they were kind enough to sympathize with me and keep me company! The two of them were friends with Meredith, and she and I were acquaintances because of Rach and Laura, but didn’t really get to know each other until we lived together in Chicago (on Carmen Ave).

Graduation 2004

Graduation 2004

 

The first year out of college I was sort of looking for direction of where to go. M had moved to Alaska, and wasn’t ready for me to move with him yet. Somehow this idea hatched about Chicago, things fell in to place very last minute, and I got the chance to move to Chicago and room with the girls; I lived there for one year. I always say that is my one “regret”: not getting to live with the 3 of them for another year in Chicago. Granted, I moved to Alaska to be with M, we got married and have 2 beautiful boys…so I use regret loosely. But I wish I could have some how done both – got the guy and still had another year with the girls!

Chicago roommates

Chicago roommates – 2004

They are still 3 of my closest friends, and it’s hard to believe it’s been 10+ years! We have shared a lot of life…

 

Lots of pictures sitting at tables and eating, Meredith’s favorite :)

All the Carmen gals – 2005

They were there for me when M deployed; we enjoyed a girls trip to Florida.

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St. Pete Beach – 2009

When I was living in Oregon and pregnant with J, I flew home for my baby shower, and not only did they all drive to attend, but helped to host it.

Pregnant with J  2011

Pregnant with J - 2011

 

And the reason I’ve been reflecting on these beautiful friendships is because 2 weeks ago we all got the chance to be together for another wonderful life moment and celebrate Laura and Kris’ wedding!! I was honored to be a bridesmaid for Laura, and it felt so full circle; we have all been bridesmaids for each other’s weddings.

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She was a stunning bride, and though I didn’t have the privilege to meet the groom until wedding weekend, I could immediately tell how perfect the two of them are together! They put together a wonderful wedding weekend, you could feel the love and see how excited all their friends and family were to be there and help kick off this beautiful marriage! Thank you for including me in The Best Day Ever. 

Mr. & Mrs.

Mr. & Mrs.

And thank you girls – you are amazing women, and I am so blessed by our friendship. Chicago was such a short season for me, but it has had such a lasting impact!

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Caterpillar Encore

July 3, 2014 – Partly Cloudy, 70°, Sunrise 4:30 am, Sunset 11:36 pm

It’s beautiful here today! We’re expecting more of the same for this holiday weekend (we’re excited but some Alaskans think is hot; some of M’s coworkers are calling it a scorch-fest), and looking forward to celebrating with friends. Tomorrow we’re watching the parade (J can hardly wait to see the firetrucks) and going to a friend’s for a barbecue, and I even have our cute coordinating red-white-and-blue outfits picked out! We won’t be staying up for the fireworks though…they don’t go off until 11:20 pm, and even then the sun will still not have set.

Now that we have a lull in visitors, and the hustle and bustle of N’s birth is behind us, I thought I’d backtrack and share how we decorated his room. I mentioned in this post, about J’s new decor, that we were keeping the Hungry Caterpillar theme for the new little one. The only real change this time around is we own our home and can paint! Keeping with the gender neutral theme, we picked soft shades of green and yellow. It’s just enough of a change to make it feel fresh for N, but there’s also something very sweet about using the same items that we used for J when he was a baby. And thankfully painting the room was one item on our baby-to-do-list that we accomplished before M left for Boston, otherwise I’m sure it would not have happened!

And don’t mind the crying child in the photo, he was just unhappy that naptime was being postponed so Mama could do a quick photo shoot :)

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When we first moved in, this was our guest room. Originally I thought we would get rid of the queen bed to make room for the baby, but my husband was not a fan of that idea. So we decided to keep it for awhile, and it’s actually worked out great. Our bedroom is downstairs, and the boys are upstairs, so on the nights where N just hasn’t wanted to settle it’s been nice to have a bed to crash in up there. Avoids me falling down the stairs in my zombie state.

J’s still in his crib; he hasn’t tried to climb out ever, we’re going with containment as long as possible – or at least through the summer. So this is a new crib for N, identical to J’s so they could look nice together in a shared room down the road. The front railing can come off to transform into a toddler bed, so we felt like having 2 was not redundant.

IMG_7139When we got pregnant back in September, I was still rocking J to sleep most nights. I looked on Craigslist and checked out a few new rockers, but none were as comfy as the one I had made over for J originally. Then with my growing belly, and his growing body, we stopped fitting in the rocker together so that naturally ended the rocking to bed and made it easier to move the rocker into N’s room. Though J did have a mini melt down when I started moving stuff over to the baby’s room. He told me he did not like his trucks anymore and that the baby should have his trucks. He would keep the caterpillars!

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Still haven’t taken the tag off the crib, the little things that slide with #2

And the caterpillar clock is back up (thanks Laura!). It had stopped working a few months back when it was still in J’s room. But with just a little messing with the battery connection it came back to life. It’s neat to have things from friends in N’s room. They may have been originally bought for J, but I like that the love is passed on. I also have the baby shower invite from J’s shower, thanks to Austin Mama herself, hanging up as well.

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And this guy just keeps getting cuter! Starting to smile and ready to flirt just in time for a dear friend’s wedding, where Austin Mama and I get to meet up and celebrate one of our best friends!! Can’t wait!

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10 weeks – where is the time going!?

 

One month

May 29, 2014 – Cloudy, 57°, Sunrise 4:41 am, Sunset 11:14 pm

Warning – this post contains an absurd number of cute baby photos!!

N is 5 weeks old! In many, many ways, we are still learning who he is; but it is already hard to imagine our family without him. The initial adjustment was not as hard as I thought it would be. Having M home for 3 weeks was amazing for all of us. And overall it’s still going well, but now it feels like we’re a little bit more into the grind of it all. “Oh yeah, I am going to be up 2-3 times a night for the foreseeable future, and I’m still chasing a 2.5 year old, and I have to grocery shop, and at least keep a walkway open through all the toys in the family room!” Thankfully grandparent reinforcements show up next week :-)

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Not a huge fan of his photo shoot

Our little man is still little, though you can tell he’s filling out from that first week. J was born in August, and early on he just wore onesies, so I had lots of tiny onesies. It’s still cool enough here though that N needed a few more layers. The first week or two he looked pretty ridiculous!

camera 434During those first 3 weeks with M home, we got around to some of the items on our baby list that were suppose to happen post-Boston, pre-baby…like assembling the crib. (We didn’t even have it when N was born, it had been ordered, but arrived the day we came home from the hospital!)

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J continues to adjust well. He’s definitely more needy these days, not always happy about waiting “his turn” when I’m helping N. He wants to be a big boy and help me with everything, and at the same time wants me to help him with everything like I do for N. But he continues to love on N; always wanting to cover him up with a blanket so N is warm, and J’s favorite thing is to lay cuddled up next to N. The other day we were all snuggling in the big bed, and J asked me to tuck N in tight right next to him…then he told me to leave the room; he just wanted to hang out with N. Makes me so excited to see their relationship grow!

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My two boys on Mother’s Day

Measuring to see how big N is

Measuring to see how big N is

Our furry child continues to adjust too. He’s such a great dog, and so easy going with the boys. He knows his ranking fell a little bit more – but thankfully doesn’t seem to mind! :-)

IMG_6453We’re certainly not into a routine yet, but we are starting to get more of a rhythm. N was very sleepy the first few weeks, we barely saw his eyes! Now he’s starting to be alert more of the day, his eyes are starting to focus on our faces, his tiny hands are starting to grab (mostly my hair, reminds me why I cut it all off with J!). He loves to be held, burps like a full grown man, and continues to steal our hearts!

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We have re-mastered the swaddle!

Love the forehead wrinkles

Love the forehead wrinkles

His favorite spot

His favorite spot

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Ahh…

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Choo!

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What do you mean I'm too little for peanut butter and pancakes?!

What do you mean I’m too little for peanut butter and pancakes?!

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1 month - and just getting started!

1 month – and just getting started!

And just because it’s Alaska – here is the mama and baby moose that paid us a visit this week!

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God’s Timing

May 9, 2014 – Sunny, 63, Sunrise 5:28 am, Sunset 10:26 pm (so much nicer to wake for nursings when only one is really in the dark!)

This is a story about God’s perfect timing, the Boston Marathon and the birth of N, all rolled into one.

Last June M qualified for the Boston Marathon. We were pumped and began planning our trip to cheer him on. Then in September we were thrilled to find out we were expecting bundle of joy #2. The bittersweetness, though, was that I could no longer go to Boston to cheer, because I would be 37 weeks pregnant. After praying and talking things through we decided that M would still go to Boston to run, assuming everything was going well with the pregnancy. It would be close, but not too close…

As marathon week drew closer I began to get more nervous. I was still all in favor of M going to Boston (he had trained hard for 16 long weeks of the Alaskan winter, he deserved a shot to toe that starting line!), it just felt closer to our due date than I was expecting; three weeks seemed like a good buffer of time when we looked at it on a calendar way back when. We continued to talk about it, but ultimately decided to trust. This pregnancy was always in God’s timing, and we wanted to continue to trust in that timing. We made our back up plans, but decided to stay the course.

M left for Boston on Wednesday night, and J and I settled into a very low key week. Though my nesting list tempted me, I spent nap times catching up on Downton Abbey, rather than checking off projects! We had a great week, our only hiccup being that J got sick on Easter morning and we didn’t make it to church.

Monday was race day and thanks to online tracking, I was able to get real time updates of M’s pace as he ran the course. The race started at 10am, which was late for East Coast, but 6am here in Alaska. Between being 37 week pregnant, and having to pee every couple of hours, I wasn’t sleeping anyways, so all the texts, alerts and updates were a welcome distraction!

Approximately mile 13

Approximately mile 13

At about 8:30 I got up to stream the finish line live, as I knew M’s goal was to make it under 3 hours. Well he ROCKED it and finished in 2:59:35. I didn’t actually see him cross the finish line live, but as soon as the alert came in with his final time I started crying. He had accomplished his goal, and ran the race that he wanted!! The support and cheers from all of our family and friends was overwhelming too. Lots of people sent us Facebook messages and text congratulating him on an incredible race. In celebration J and I went out for doughnuts. I figured M had put in the hard work, we would eat the calories for him!

Boston Marathoner!!

Boston Marathoner!!

Backtracking just a bit, before M left for Boston we had mentioned to my OB that I was having itchy feet at night. I didn’t think anything of it, but M  had researched and it was a possible symptom of cholestasis – high levels of bile salt in my blood. The OB wasn’t too concerned, it sounded mild enough, but said we could run some tests just to be sure. The first test was to check my liver function, and that came back fine. The blood work would take 10 days, but seeing that my liver was normal, she said I was fine, and M got the all clear for Boston.

Back to race day – While J and I were out enjoying our doughnuts, my OB called and left a message. This was a little odd, as I didn’t have an appointment until Friday. Well, turns out my blood work had just come back and it tested positive for cholestasis. She was calling to have me come in and schedule an induction for later that week. Thankfully, because my liver was still doing what it should, she said we could wait until my husband got back in to town. My head started to spin a little bit, yes we could wait for M, but now instead of having 2 weeks to get ready for Beluga, we were going to have 1 day. M was coming home Tuesday night, and induction was scheduled for 6am Thursday (I would be 38 weeks). Quite a change of plans! And I had to relay all this info to M 4,500 miles away. Nothing like draining yourself physically and emotionally running a sub 3 marathon, and then finding out your pregnant wife is going to be induced in 2 days!

We both had a bit of a restless night Monday, but ultimately all we could do was trust. That had been the plan since the beginning, and we knew we took a calculated risk when M went to Boston.

Tuesday came, and I was just counting down the hours until M got home – which was quite a few since his plane didn’t get in until 11pm. I had gone in for a non-stress test on Monday, to check on the baby, and when they monitored me I was having a few contractions. They had been so mild I hadn’t noticed, but now that it was brought to my attention I could feel them occasionally on Tuesday. It was a pretty uneventful day. I called a few friends and family, filled them in on the new plan to be induced on Thursday, and washed all the newborn clothes I hadn’t gotten to yet. I packed a hospital bag for myself, and an overnight bag for J. Knowing I was going to be induced made planning for J much easier actually, and I was thankful for that.

I was texting and talking with M as he caught his connections across the country, getting closer to home. His last flight was from Salt Lake, and he asked if I could have some dinner ready for him when he got home. He had had tight connections and hadn’t gotten to eat much. J and I took a little walk around 6:30…it was the first time a contraction was uncomfortable. We cut the walk short, and came in for some dinner and bath time. I called our friend who was on standby, just to give her a heads up that I was feeling my contractions a bit more. She asked if she needed to come over. I told her no, but I would lay down and see how I felt after I got J to bed, then call her back. Finally at about 9:00 I laid down on the couch to see how I felt. Watching the clock, I realized my contractions were pretty regular – about every 5 minutes. They were uncomfortable, but not very painful, so I hadn’t really noticed their regularity. Now that I was tuned in though…this could be something. I called our friend back and she asked again if she should come over. I truly didn’t think at that point that I was going into labor, but better to be safe than sorry if things should intensify, so I said yes, maybe it would better if she came over.

At this point I was still planning to pick up M at the airport at 11, I even had a poster and balloons to greet him with.

Didn't mean for this to be so literal!

Didn’t mean for this to be so literal!

I figured we’d go to the hospital, get checked out just to be safe and then they would send me on my way. When our friend arrived around 9:30 though she immediately started coordinating our other friends to watch kiddos and take care of airport duty. My contractions were getting stronger though, I was having to pause and breathe through them now. I did still manage to make M a salad and pack a dinner to take with us, because I figured if I was really going into labor he was going to need some fuel to keep him going too!

It wasn’t until we were getting in the car, around 10:00, that it hit me – we’re having a baby tonight!! And though things were happening all of a sudden, I was never worried that M wasn’t going to make it. I knew his plane was landing soon. He would be a little blindsided, as the last time we had talked all was normal, but it never crossed my mind he wouldn’t make it.

I won’t go in to all the details, but when we checked in to the hospital around 10:30 I was already 4-5 cm. This was quite a surprise to me; with J I had had contractions for almost 24 hours before we finally went to the hospital, and I was only 3 cm when we checked in. I guess 2nd babies do really go faster!!

For being such a whirlwind night, there were quite a few funny moments. I had sent M a text saying “on the way to the hospital” while he was still in the air. When he landed he sent me a text to let me know he was on the ground. So I texted him again “at the hospital”. Then he sent me a text “Drive by or coming in?”. I thought this was a strange response to at the hospital. Turns out his phone has gotten backed up with texts a bit, so after he texted me he was on the ground, an old text of mine saying “Yeah!” had come through first. So he still thought we were there waiting to pick him up. Then his phone caught up with texts and he saw the messages about the hospital. The next text I got from him was “Wait. What? Come to the hospital? Go time for Beluga??”. Thankfully then, I was able to actually call him and catch him up to speed on everything!

Once I had talked to M, and knew he was on his way, there was even less stress. He was coming, it was only a matter of minutes and he would be there, ready for the arrival of Beluga. Again, I really didn’t grasp how much quicker things were going with this labor. Looking back, the timeline that played out was pretty amazing! M’s plane landed at 11:06 pm, he arrived at the hospital at about 11:50 pm, and a short 45 minutes later N was born – at 12:38 am. Fast and furious, and in God’s perfect timing!

Straight from the airport - luggage and all!

Straight from the airport – luggage and all!

It really took us a few days for our emotions to catch up to reality, whoa -we are now the parents of two little boys!! And it is certainly a week that we will always remember, for a number of reasons!

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And we could not have done it with out the support of our wonderful friends!! My only thought when the contractions started to get real was to call K, thankfully she thought ahead and coordinated friends to stay with J while she and I went to the hospital, and for someone to go pick up M. And all of our friends have continued to love on us as we’ve adjusted to being home as a family of four, even gifting us with a Great Harvest gift basket, which you know is right up our alley!!

Our boys

Our boys

Whoa! There are two of us!

Whoa! There are two of us!

We are so blessed and thankful!

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