Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

So much to be thankful for this year ...

Our beautiful newborn baby boy, Aden, who's the sweetest, most cuddly baby I've ever known. My heart is filled with love for the new little man in my life. I'm thankful for his safe delivery into my arms, for his health and for every three to four hour stretch of sleep he gives me at night.

Grateful for this little munchkin. Tory makes my heart so happy and I cherish every day we spend together. She's smart and funny and always keeps me on my toes. Love this little girl to the moon and back.

I thank my lucky stars for bringing this man into my life. Andi's my soulmate, my sounding board and my favorite person in the world. No one gets me like he does. No one makes me laugh the way he can. I love him more than words could ever express. Also? He takes the best selfies.


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, despite the day sneaking up on me a bit. I haven't quite settled into a new routine since Aden arrived. I'd normally be cooking up a storm and doing fun holiday art projects with Tory, but I haven't stepped foot into the kitchen or on Pinterest in days. No problem since Andi's mom and aunts pulled together a fabulous feast for Thanksgiving dinner at his Grandma's house on Thursday.

Great-Grandma Marion meeting Aden for the first time 

Cousin Laura and Aden

Lindsay and I

A Thanksgiving feast to feed Andi's great big clan

After Thanksgiving dinner, we drove up to the lake cabin for the rest of the holiday weekend. It was so relaxing having nothing pressing to do. We worked on little house projects, went for drives around the countryside, decorated the cabin for Christmas and best of all, spent time together as a family of four.

Frozen Pipe Lake

This was also Aden's first trip to Wisconsin. (The first entry in Aden's Places Book)! Unfortunately due to the time of year, he didn't make it outside much (to and from the car with a blanket draped over his car seat was pretty much the extent of it). But! We did enjoy many hours of cuddle time in front of the fire inside the cabin. Aden loves to be warm so he was in heaven cozied up in my arms or laying in his bassinet.

Saturday night, Andi and I decided to take the kids (kids!) to the "Can't Wait for Christmas" show at the Pipe Dream Center. First of all, I felt pretty brave that we even attempted an out-of-the-house Christmas activity, at 8:00pm no less, so soon after Aden was born. We've come a long way in our two years as parents, I'd say. Bravo! Andi and Heather. Second, we drive by this music venue on the way to the cabin and we've always wanted to check it out. The Christmas show seemed like the perfect opportunity. We'd heard the music programs at the Pipe Dream Center were "interesting" [read: weird] from some of our cabin neighbors, so Andi and I thought it'd be an adventure if nothing else.

Just goes to show, it pays to take a leap and try something new. The "Can't Wait for Christmas" show was awesome and it was even free! We sat in the back as not to disrupt others in the event our little kiddos started to melt down and we had to split. Tory and Andi stood in the back and swayed to the music while Aden slept in my arms. It was so fun and the perfect way to kick off the holiday season.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tory Meets Aden

Tory visited Baby Aden at the hospital on the afternoon he was born. It was love at first sight for this little girl.

I wanted Tory to come to the hospital, but I was a little apprehensive how she'd react given her age and the presence of the new baby. Would she be jealous? Scared? Upset leaving us behind at the hospital when it was time to go home? Andi and I prepped Tory as best as we could beforehand, letting her know we were going to the hospital to bring Baby Aden home. She seemed to understand what was happening and has been very interested in all things "doctor" lately, but you never really know with a two-year-old.  

I'd heard somewhere it's best if the new baby isn't in mama's arms upon meeting the older sibling for the first time, so Andi was holding Baby Aden when Tory arrived. She walked in looking adorable in her new Big Sister shirt and pigtails, carrying her baby doll and Minnie Mouse into the room. Upon arrival, Tory immediately walked over to Andi, held out her arms and said, "Tory hold Baby Aden?" She recognized Baby Aden immediately and was so excited to meet her little brother.

We let Tory hold Aden for the first time. It felt so surreal to see my two babies together. Tory did a great job and held him gently before moving onto more interesting things ... her Big Sister present.

Tory loved the baby boy doll Aden gave her and was especially excited about the diaper bag with pretend baby wipes inside. She spent the remainder of her visit tucking the baby doll into the hospital bed blankets and changing its pretend diaper. 

Now we're at home, Tory's adjusting well to sharing her life with a sibling. Truthfully, she's more interested in her new "big sister" presents, like the Doc McStuffins doctor kit Grandma Janie and Grandpa Jim bought her, or the countless Minnie Mouse toys and activities she's received. 

I wondered how Tory would respond to seeing me nursing Aden. The first day I was home, she kept peeking her head underneath my nursing cover and said, "Baby Aden eating Mommy boobie?" I had to laugh because I'm not even sure where she heard the word "boobie." Definitely not from me. She hasn't inquired about Aden nursing since.

We've had some potty training regression in the last few days. I think most of it had to do with all the excitement around our house; namely my parents staying with us and visitors coming and going. It's just different than our normal routine. Since Andi went back to work yesterday and things are slowly turning back to normal, she seems to be on the right track again. M&M's help, of course.

Andi's been a big help with Tory since Aden's birth. He's taken over Tory's bedtime routine for now with little resistance from Tory. Surprisingly, now that Andi (or a grandparent) has been putting Tory to bed at night, she's miraculously started sleeping through the night ... or very close to it. Little stinker was playing Mommy big-time and was probably capable of it all along. Aden's cries at night don't even seem to bother her. 

My favorite part of seeing Tory with Aden is her commentary toward him. She repeats phrases I say like, "[It's] alright, Baby Aden, [it's] alright" when she pats him on the back, or tells him "almost done" when he's getting his diaper changed. There's a step stool permanently perched at the changing table because Tory insists on holding Aden's hand while he's laying there. During breakfast yesterday, Tory noticed the baby swing had stopped swinging so she got down from her seat at the table and walked over to gently give him a nudge. Alright, she actually laid on him in the swing ... but she's trying to be helpful. I'm anxious to see the relationship between sister and brother develop in the upcoming weeks, months and years. For better or for worse, now they've always got each other.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Aden's Birth Story

... and she loved a little boy very, very much - even more than she loved herself.  -- From "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein

Monday, November 18, 2013
5 days past due date

Monday, November 18 started as an ordinary day. I woke up feeling completely normal - well, as normal as one feels at 40 weeks, 5 days pregnant - with no labor contractions or discomfort. At my doctor's appointment the Friday prior, it was determined I'd be admitted to the hospital for cervical ripening at 6:00pm Monday if labor didn't progress on its own beforehand. I'd received a Bishop score of "6" and ripening was needed before induction could even take place. After my appointment Friday, I left the doctor's office feeling fairly disappointed my body had done little to progress labor on it own. By Monday, however, I'd come to terms with being induced. 

9:00am - 4:00pm
Typically, I have a weekly babysitter scheduled on Monday mornings and use the time to run errands, go to appointments, buy groceries, etc without Tory in tow. Since Andi had already started his paternity leave from work, we decided to keep the babysitter and enjoy one last morning together - just the two of us. We ran a few errands around town and went out for lunch at Bacio. Later that afternoon, we came home and completed a few last minute tasks before leaving for the hospital. I unsuccessfully fought Tory to take a nap and packed last-minute toiletries in my hospital suitcase. Andi's mom, Janie, arrived around 4:30pm to stay with Tory for the night. Still no signs of labor, Andi and I snapped a quick picture and left for the hospital to start the induction process. 

With rush-hour traffic, it took nearly an hour to arrive at the hospital. I was a nervous wreck the entire drive. Andi and I made small talk on the way, intermixed with comments of reassurance, promising each other everything would turn out okay. God had a plan; we just needed to trust in Him. 

We arrived at the hospital, parked our car and rode the elevator up to 3rd floor. Despite having pre-registered for check-in, we were still required to complete some entrance paperwork before a nurse ushered us back to Labor and Delivery. There was a bit of initial confusion as the hospital staff thought I was my OB doctor who's also 9 months pregnant and scheduled to deliver at the same hospital next month. Here for a scheduled induction! No c-section for me, please!

Our initial Labor and Delivery nurse, Emily, settled us into a birthing room. I changed into a hospital gown and Andi unpacked some of our belongings. The nurse hooked me up to the monitor and performed a cervical check to determine my progress. My cervix was now dilated 3.5cm and earned a Bishop score of "7." On the monitor, I could see very mild contractions registering and I felt a tightening sensation across my stomach, but nothing painful. The nurse said I was likely in the early stages of labor already and questioned why I was brought in for cervical ripening given this was my second child birth and already so close to required Bishop score of "8" for induction. By this point, my nerves had settled down immensely. Surely they wouldn't send us home now after I'd already been admitted to the hospital and settled into L and D? Ready or not, Andi and I were hours away from meeting our son.

The doctor on duty reviewed my chart and agreed with the nurse -- no cervical ripening was needed. Usually, the hospital doesn't like to start inductions until morning, but Dr. H thought it seemed silly to send us home. (I agreed!) He ordered the start of Pitocin and said labor should move quickly since this was my second time giving birth. It was only a matter of determining if Aden would be born yet that evening (Monday, November 18) or early morning November 19. The doctor and nurse were making friendly guesses and the doctor seemed to think Aden might make his entrance before Midnight. Surely not, Andi and I thought. We both anticipated his arrival by 8:00am the next morning, given the entire induction process took about 12 hours start to finish when Tory was born.

A new Labor and Delivery nurse, Kristin, came on duty. Kristin would remain our primary nurse for the rest of our time in L and D ... or until 7:00am, whichever came first.

After IV prep and fluids, the Pitocin drip was administered. Contractions began to intensify almost immediately, but weren't unbearable. I made it clear to Kristin, our Labor and Delivery nurse, I intended to have an epidural for pain relief and asked how long it would take for anesthesiology to arrive. It's not that I wasn't able to handle any labor pains, but I wanted to enjoy Aden's birth as much as possible. The hospital floor was fairly quiet that evening Kristin said, so an epidural would be a 20-40 minutes wait once I called for it.  

Andi, RN Kristin and I patiently waited for the Pitocin to do its job. My pain level was about a "4" at this point; meaning, I felt the contractions, but they were tolerable. In conversation, the nurse mentioned the baby's umbilical cord might be wrapped around his neck given the way his heart rate was elevated. Um, what?! It's no big deal, the nurse said, and happens in quite a few births. While nice, Andi and I both thought RN Kristin was quite the chatty nurse. She made several comments throughout our stay in Labor and Delivery which were not at all comforting to a lady in the process of giving birth.

As contractions continued, Andi and I decided to try to get some rest. I was a little nervous laboring into the evening as we're usually fast asleep by 9:00pm most nights. Obviously, adrenaline would carry us through the birth and post-care, but I knew Andi and I would both hit a brick wall at some point. I called my mom and sister to update them on our progress. As I settled in, I rolled to my left side to become more comfortable. RN Kristin said the baby was much happier on my left side as evident by the return to a normal heart rate rhythm on the monitor. I found this interesting as all along in this pregnancy, I was most comfortable laying on my left side. It must have had something to do with the cord positioning inside the womb.

As I lay in bed, half talking with Andi / half reading a book, my water broke! I felt a huge baby kick and pain all at the same time. I wasn't sure if it was my water breaking at first as my water had to be broken by the doctor with Tory's birth, but the nurse confirmed it. As soon as my water broke, contractions started to heavily occur. I felt three painful contractions in a row which kicked my pain rating up to a "6." RN Kristin checked my cervix and said it was thinned and I was dilated to "4." Andi could see the pain on my face and encouraged me to ask for the epidural now before I became too uncomfortable. RN Kristin agreed, I might as well get it now and be comfortable. 

The anesthesiologist administered the epidural. I still felt a small amount of pain for about 20 minutes afterwards. The anesthesiologist said the medication was doing its job and had me move in a series of positions to centralize the drugs to the pain source. Overall, I immediately felt much better than I had just a few minutes beforehand.

The anesthesiologist stayed by my side to ensure the epidural worked correctly. I continued to breathe through contractions every few minutes. They were coming quickly now and I felt every one, but the pain was tolerable, thanks to the epidural, and mostly concentrated in my lower pelvic area.

Thirty minutes later, my epidural was in full effect and I felt wonderful. Andi and I made small-talk with our nurse, Kristin, and somehow landed on the topic of her internship experience as a Labor and Delivery nurse in Uganda. The stories she told made us realize just how fortunate we were to deliver our baby boy in a quality hospital with skilled doctors and nurses. Her stories kept our minds occupied and soon I was dilated to "6." RN Kristin began prepping the room for delivery. Everything was so low key in the room. You'd think Andi and I would have sensed Aden's near arrival, but with the atmosphere around us so peaceful, we really thought we had a few hours ahead until any action began. 

RN Kristin advised us to get some rest while we could, so Andi and I settled in once again by reading our e-books and relaxing in the darkened room. The monitor showed development which RN Kristin said was a good sign. It meant Baby Aden's head was compressing during a contraction and he was making progress coming down the birthing canal. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dr. H stopped into the room to check my progress. He assessed my cervix at an "8" and said baby's head was very low. All of a sudden, I was famished. I hadn't eaten dinner before we left for the hospital and denied any food there because I didn't want an upset stomach as I labored. I started to dream about my first meal after delivery.

Suddenly, I felt lots of pressure to push. Dr. H casually said "let's have a baby" as he readied his tools for delivery. RN Kristin was still at her desk outside the hospital room. Andi and I glanced at each other with a smile as if to non-verbally say to one another, "Okay, here we go! Let's settle in for a few hours of pushing." The doctor pulled my caterer and, seemingly annoyed, called the nurse on the call button saying, "Um, we're having a baby in here." RN Kristin rushed right in a moment later. Dr. H sat on the bed and gave me a quick refresher on how to push. I pushed three times.

With the fourth push, Aden was born. I briefly saw the doctor unwrap the umbilical cord around Aden's belly. As the nurse wiped him off, Aden cried out and then stopped as he was laid on my belly. His skin had a purplish color and concerned, I asked immediately if he was alright. Dr. H said he was perfectly fine. (His Apgar score was 9/9, losing a point only for color). Andi and I were both so surprised how quickly it all happened. We both looked at one another, then at Aden in overwhelming disbelief. 

I held Aden against my chest as the placenta was delivered and I was stitched up. I still felt the effects of the epidural, so it wasn't painful. Andi looked at me anxiously and I asked if he'd like to hold Aden before I brought him up to nurse. The room was so peaceful as the doctor and nurse cleaned up around us. It seemed like we were the only three people in the world. Andi handed Aden back to me and I began to nurse him. I felt a bit rusty and asked RN Kristin if I was holding him correctly as Aden was struggling to latch. She half-glanced my direction and said everything looked fine. Aden was coughing and gagging on mucus and saliva he'd swallowed on his way out of the birthing canal. The doctor tossed me a blue bulb sucker to clear out his mouth. I tried to suction Aden's mouth for relief. Aden struggled to latch on with more coughing, sputtering and suctioning.

A bit later, RN Kristin weighed and measured our baby boy. Aden was 7 pounds, 11 ounces and 21 1/2 inches long at birth. Aden's weight was exactly what I expected it to be. All along, my OB and the delivering doctor estimated him to be around 7 pounds. I was surprised by Aden's height, however. Neither Andi or I are very tall people and he's 2 1/2 inches longer than Tory at birth. Aden wanted to be bundled up right away and cried as the nurse undressed him for measurements. 

As we waited for the post-partum unit to call with a room ready for us to be transferred to, I was suddenly overcome with exhaustion. I could hardly keep my eyes open. Also, my epidural was starting to wear off and while I wasn't in any pain yet, I was practically itching my skin off (a side effect of the medicine). I was still hooked up to the blood pressure machine so I could be checked every 15 minutes and the constrictive band around my arm was driving me crazy.

Thirty minutes later, we were finally transferred upstairs to our post-partum room. I probably could have walked, but I opted for a wheelchair ride upstairs because I was so sleepy. Once in our new room, Andi and I were introduced to our the overnight nurse, Cary. She was so sweet and comforting. RN Cary got us settled and then said she'd take Aden to the nursery for a bath and a check-up so Andi and I could get some sleep. I was surprised (and grateful!) to hear she'd keep Aden for the next three hours until his next feeding. She reassured me without me even asking that she'd bring him back if he needed me and she'd be sure he didn't get a bottle or pacifier since I'm breastfeeding. As tired as I felt, I was also starving, so RN Cary brought Andi and I buttered toast to get a little food in our stomachs.

By the time Aden left our room and Andi and I got settled in, it was 3:30am in the morning. I was seriously exhausted. I laid my head on the pillow and fell right to sleep. Andi curled up on the couch next to me and tried to sleep himself.

I woke up to the sound of RN Cary's voice telling me it was time for Aden's feeding. I felt like a million bucks having scored three uninterrupted hours of sleep. Andi, unfortunately, didn't look so refreshed and said he wasn't able to fall asleep at all. I gazed at Aden in my arms and still felt so surprised he was here. My baby boy! It all felt like a dream. I nursed Aden for a second time and was in awe of how much he looked like Tory. From my memory, they looked almost identical at birth. He definitely has (Andi's mom) Janie's chin, as does Tory. Perhaps my mom's nose and Andi's eyes/forehead? Aden nursed better the second time, but was still coughing up lots of mucus and saliva. RN Cary said it would probably be 24 hours or so before Aden was able to rid himself of all the extra fluids he took in while being delivered.

A new shift change of nurses came into the room. We were introduced to RN Melissa and the room was filled with some commotion as Aden and I's vitals were checked and staff changed positions. Both Andi and I were still so tired and desperately wanted to catch a few more winks of sleep. The hospital floor was noisier now with the daytime shift arriving. Our hospital breakfast order also arrived - scrambled eggs, hash browns and cereal - our first meal since delivering and we were both so hungry. It wasn't exactly the meal of my dreams, but I didn't care. Andi's sister, Lindsay, sent us a text message saying she'd like to stop by to see Aden before going to work. 

Lindsay and her boyfriend, Kyle, arrived to our room. Aden's first visitors! They brought us delicious croissants from Lucia's and visited with us for an hour or so.

During Aden's third time nursing, he finally caught onto latching. The coughing and spitting saliva seemed better.  

After Aunt Lindsay and Kyle left, Andi and I decided to get some rest before the grandparents and Big Sister Tory came to visit later in the day. Just as we closed our eyes, Aden began to cry so Andi rocked him in the rocking chair while I slept. It was a nice chance for Daddy to get some one-on-one time with our baby boy, though I'm sure Andi was beyond tired. 

I woke up about 45 minutes later to nurse Aden. Melissa, the RN on shift, checked my breast feeding progress and determines it successful. I was surprised at how little attention the nursing staff paid to my breastfeeding technique this time around. In one way, it was nice how "hands-off" the hospital staff was unless we specifically asked for something. I felt a bit rusty breastfeeding because it'd been over a year since I'd done it, but it quickly came back to me. Aden seemed to get the hang of things with every session. 

Andi left to grab lunch at a nearby restaurant, buy parking tickets for us and our family to use and buy treats for our hospital staff. We had such excellent care during our stay, we wanted to do something nice to show our appreciation. Cookies from The Salty Tart were just the thing. While Andi was gone, Aden and I spent our first one-on-one moments together. I continued to be amazed at my son as I held him in my arms.


... and so, our life with Aden Andrew began. Later in the day, Grandma Janie and Grandpa Jim brought Tory to the hospital to meet her baby brother for the first time. My parents, Nana Candy and Papa Al, also arrived from Nebraska later in the day. 

We continue to marvel at this miracle before us. Aden has been such a sweet baby from the minute he arrived into the world, and we couldn't feel more blessed to have him as our son.

Aden Andrew
November 19, 2013
7 lbs. 11oz. -- 21 1/2 inches long

Friday, November 22, 2013

Aden's Home

Andi and I brought Aden home from the hospital Wednesday. So far, life with two kids has been a smooth transition, thanks to all the help we've had at home. My parents are staying with us until next Tuesday and Andi's home this week as well. There's plenty of attention to go around for Tory and extra hands to hold the baby.

Aden is such a sweet baby and things are so, so much easier this time around. I feel like I'm a lot more relaxed about everything and I think that helps. With Tory, I remember sticking to a strict two hour feeding schedule and over-analyzing every little thing. With Aden, I'm just letting him dictate what he needs and when. It's a lot less stressful. In these first few days, he seems to be cluster feed in the mornings and evenings and sleep decent stretches mid-day and during the night. Of course, my tolerance of little sleep has increased over the years thanks to all those broken hours of sleep with Tory, so I've probably got a better outlook on it all.

Nursing's going very well. It took Aden about 12 hours to learn to latch but now that he has it figured out, the boy loves to eat. He likes to be wrapped tightly and held close, calms easily and only seems upset when his clothes or diaper is changed. He's been on two car rides thus far (home from the hospital and to the doctor's office for a well-child check) and both times, fell fast asleep in his car seat. Maybe we won't have a car seat-hater on our hands this time! Oh, man, how nice would that be?

I can't get over how much Aden looks like his daddy. I can't decide if it's because he's a boy, or if it's truly the resemblance of the same eyes and chin I see. Tory looked a lot like Andi when she was born and I see a lot of her in Aden's features as well.

I know it seems obvious, but I'm amazed at how much love I have in my heart for this boy. It's like an entirely new chamber has been opened and I'm swimming in affection for him. Last time with Tory, I remember being so lonely up feeding her at night, but this time (so far) I actually enjoy the quiet, quality time Aden and I spend together in the middle of the night. I'm sure sleep deprivation will take over eventually, but for now I'm just in awe of this miracle before me.

Okay, now time for some pics ...

I've got notes of Aden's birth story typed up and as soon as I find some spare minutes, I wanted to get it all documented here. Tory's adjusted very well to having Aden at home and I want to jot down some memories of their first meeting as well. More to come ....

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Welcome Aden Andrew

It is with great pleasure I announce the arrival of our son, Aden Andrew, born November 19th at 12:34am. Aden weighed 7 lb. 11oz. and measured 21 1/2 inches at birth and while he looks like a chunky monkey in his first photos, he's actually quite long and lean with a crown of light brown hair.

Our labor and delivery experience was an exceptional one and I'll be typing up details soon so I don't forget a minute of his special day. So far, everyone who meets him is absolutely smitten. Andi and I both agree he looks very similar to Tory in her newborn days and resembles both of us in many ways. 

We're being discharged from the hospital Wednesday morning and I'm anxious to start our life at home with our new baby boy. He's just as sweet as one boy can be and frankly, I'm still a little shocked he's mine. 

Welcome Aden Andrew video

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Waiting Game (cont.)

Oh, hey there! In case you wasted your entire weekend sitting idly by the phone awaiting news of our little man's arrival, I regret to inform you he did not make his appearance into the world this weekend. We are STILL waiting for one baby boy to show up to the party over here.

Friday was my 40 week doctor's appointment and let's just say, I was a teeny bit upset afterwards. I learned my body had done little to progress labor along the last few weeks and to say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Of course, the emotions of being 40 weeks pregnant and ready to meet my son finally caught up to me. I held back tears on the drive home from the doctor and tried my best to reassure myself that I won't be pregnant forever. But dang it, as I watch the days past our "expected due date" tick by on the calendar, it's hard to listen to reason, you know? Andi came home from Tory's music class late Friday morning and I said screw it, let's go to the cabin! And we did. (Yes, we're nuts but spoiler alert, not that nuts because a Certain Baby Boy never did show up this weekend).

So, Andi, Tory and I threw some clothes into a suitcase and hopped in the car in route to the lake cabin on Friday. Honestly, I felt perfectly fine and had maybe two contractions all day Friday. That's even after my doctor stripped my membranes at my appointment Friday morning, so clearly nothing was progressing labor-wise. I get it; I make waaay too comfortable of a home for my babies and they never want to come out. (To be honest, I'm a little nervous if this baby boy turns out to be as attached to his mother as his sister is/was. Help!).

We bought some new kitchen appliances for the cabin, so we stopped at Menards and picked those up on our drive. I told Andi, I draw the line at hauling a refrigerator up two flights of stairs to install it. (An inside joke between us as Andi once convinced me to help him carry a queen-size mattress across a busy street when I was hugely pregnant with Tory).

Our visit at the cabin turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. (Actually, no, I doubt my OB would have been behind me skipping town at 40w4d pregnant and driving 1 1/2 hours away into rural Wisconsin, but whatev's - it's fine!). We relaxed at the cabin, completed some projects on Andi's cabin to-do list and best of all, took our minds off (not) having a baby.

Andi and I decided we were probably pushing our luck, so we drove back to the Cities Saturday evening. On the way home, Andi talked to his mom on the phone and she volunteered to keep Tory overnight so we could have an evening to ourselves. Of course we jumped on the opportunity to have one last kid-free night (in our own home, no less!). We dropped Tory off at Grandma's house, ordered take-out and were in bed by 9:00pm. Bliss!

Still no baby Sunday (and hardly any contractions or discomfort on the labor-side of things), so I finally broke down and put up my Christmas decorations. I felt guilty for taking down my harvest decor before the Thanksgiving holiday arrives, but I had the time yesterday and I definitely won't have the time in a few weeks, so.... Plus, my parents are coming to visit tomorrow and they've never seen my house decorated for Christmas in all the years I've lived away from home. It's fun and festive, it occupied my mind while I wasn't having a baby yesterday, and my house smells like Christmas. No complaints here.

Today's Induction Day. These are the last few hours Baby Boy can make his arrival before I'm admitted into the hospital tonight at 6:00pm. The nerves of it all are finally starting to hit me. I'm having a baby today (or likely, tomorrow or Wednesday as inductions take some time). Andi assured me last night "everything will be fine." Heh. Easy for the guy holding the camera to say.

Honestly, I know they'll be fine. God's watching over us and I know I've got the prayers and good wishes of many family and friends across the world thinking of us. In a few short hours, we'll be holding our baby boy in our arms and all this waiting stuff will be a distant memory.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Waiting Game

Hey, there! Still pregnant. Is anyone surprised?

I experienced a few contractions this morning around 4:30am (nothing progressive) and later when I reported the news to Andi, his eyes bugged out of his head. Based on our baby track record (with Tory being eight days overdue and now being overdue with this one), I think we're both planning for induction with the hope Baby Boy decides to surprise us.

I'm actually fine with the waiting thus far. I had my due date circled in pencil; meaning, I never thought Aden would be born on time anyway. I have experience on my side this time knowing I won't be pregnant forever. I've also been through a successful induction so I'm not nervous if that's how things end up. Basically, I realize nothing about a baby's delivery is in my control, so I'm just taking it day by day. I'm feeling good this time around, which helps me keep a positive attitude. I'm moving around without much discomfort, getting some sleep and not stuck working out of the home somewhere. Things could be much worse.

Funny enough, even at Age 2, Tory is growing antsy to meet her brother. I keep finding her baby dolls stashed in Aden's gear around the house. It slays me every time I stumble on a doll comfortably resting in the baby swing with a dish towel laid over the top of it. Such a mother hen, that little girl.

Baby taking a snooze in Aden's crib

This afternoon, Tory and I were laying on my bed and she said, "Tory hold Baby Aden?" She lifted my shirt up to expose my belly, then said, "Tory find him. Oh, no! Baby stuck."

Yep, kiddo. Aden's stuck all right.

Don't worry, we'll see his beautiful face soon enough. I'm equally excited for that very moment.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fall Family Photo Shoot

If there's one tangible (or rather, intangible?) thing I value most, it's photographs. I'm lucky to have a husband with an interest in photography as he captures many beautiful images of our every day life together. Though, while Andi has the skill and all the fancy camera equipment, sometimes it's nice for him to actually be in our family photos. He tries to show me how to use his camera and I like to think I'm getting better at it, but he's probably reading this and saying, "um, no, always blurry."

That's why I think it's worth the money to hire a professional photographer at least once a year to capture our family together. We've used our friends, Bee's Knees Photography, for a few years now and they're fantastic about letting us voice our photo shoot suggestions and location ideas. In September, we met up with them for an afternoon photo session to document Tory's second birthday, with some family shots of the three of us together and a few maternity pics thrown in for good measure.

Looking back on this September day, I have a few regrets -- both things in and out of our control. For one, the weather was super windy, cloudy and cool the afternoon of our session, so we're all faking big smiles and enjoyment in most of the photos. I would have dressed us differently for the weather, but we met up with Bee's Knees on the drive home from the cabin on Sunday afternoon. In hindsight, this wasn't the smartest idea since Tory had been cooped up in the car for 1 1/2 prior and we were limited to the clothing we brought with us. Tory was less than interested in smiling or taking pictures that day so it took a serious amount of M&Ms to get her to cooperate. As I look back on the photos now, I see that Tory's clothes were too big on her (she teeters between 18M to 2T and it's hard to tell sometimes what looks best). I don't love my choice in maternity wear either. My scarf photographed too long, my skinny jeans too tight on my legs and my brown boots weren't tall enough up my legs. Our clothes don't look horrible, but just not my favorite choices. But! None of these things had anything to do with Bee's Knees or their quality of photography. Despite all my personal gripes, we still walked away with some cute family photographs.

Look at that scowl ...

Possibly the only Tory smile we captured all day ...

"Who wants a M&M?!" (x1000 begging cooperation from this girl).

Love this one. Andi is always teasing Tory, so it captures their relationship perfectly.

One other thing we missed amongst all the commotion was a photo of just Andi and I together. We are still a couple, of course, though sometimes it feels like all we do is chase after Tory. We have a newborn photo shoot for Aden scheduled with Bee's Knees in December so we'll have another chance for family photos next month. This time, I think I'd like to be in the comforts of our home (away from the weather!) and I'm hoping for some sweet shots of our family of four together. (EEK!! Family of four)!