Thursday, March 20, 2014

Second trimester and prepping for Italy!

Do you like how creative my titles are these days?? I know, you'll never guess what this post is about, so I'll go ahead and tell you. I'm going to talk about how things are going now that I'm a few weeks into my second trimester. And I'm going to excitedly tell you about our travel preparations for Italy!

So...first thing's first. Baby stuff. I'm 16 1/2 weeks pregnant now...the second trimester energy has kicked in, thank goodness! I still occasionally need a nap, but that has more to do with the fact that Charlotte is teething and not sleeping well (getting bottom molars and top cuspids at the same time...ouch). Nausea has eased quite a bit, which is huge! I threw up yesterday, but I also woke up with a pounding headache (must've slept weird) and attribute my morning puking episode to that. As long as I don't go too long before I eat breakfast in the morning, I'm good. And I still take a half of a unisom at night to keep the queasiness at bay in the morning. Done with the B6 though. My last puking session before yesterday was a little over 2 weeks ago, so I think it's safe to say I'm pretty well in the clear now. SO thankful it didn't last as long this time as it did with the girls (sick with both until about 25 weeks). Could it be that it's a little man in there with my sickness going away so much faster?

I started feeling this little bean move just before I hit the 15 week mark, which sounds crazy early...but I felt Eden at 15 weeks and I think Charlotte was closer to 16 or 17. But I'm feeling pretty regular little taps and thumbs throughout the day now, so I know it was indeed the bean I was feeling so early on. Movement with this baby has been so different and interesting...both my girls sat really low. Their movement was all down in my pelvic area, and this baby's movements are much higher and closer to my belly button. One more reason to think maybe it's a boy?? (Can you tell we're sort of hoping for a boy? Haha)

I am not even 17 weeks yet and I already feel like my belly is huge. Definitely feels much bigger at this stage than it did with Charlotte...and I didn't pop out with Eden until 20-22 weeks. I hope I just got round a little earlier this time since it's my third pregnancy and that I'm not in for a giant baby! But it's definitely obvious that I'm pregnant. In that weird stage where regular jeans no longer fit and are totally uncomfortable but my maternity jeans are still a little too baggy in the hips. So I live in long shirts/tunics and leggings or dresses and tights. Or tees and yoga pants around the house.

We are finding out this baby's gender. We have our 20 week ultrasound scheduled for April 14th! It will only be a week away when we get home from vacation! Pretty darn excited. And I think we'll probably follow the same thing we did with Charlotte...not go public with names until after baby is born. I think we'll wait to pick his/her "for sure" name until we see his/her little face. I really loved doing that with Charlotte (we'll have narrowed down our options to a handful of names that we'll pick from, most likely).

And now onto the thing that is dominating my thoughts 24/7 right now...ITALY!!! We leave in NINE days, people! NINE! We will technically be gone 9 days because of the time difference, but will only spend 7 days in Italy plus a layover in London on our way there. (Funny how that works, huh?) We've got our hotel booked for 5 days in the Tuscany region and 2 days in Rome. We felt like the Tuscany region had SO much to explore (we're renting a car for this portion so we can get around to all the cities...we're particularly excited for Florence), so we're spending the bulk of our time there. Two days in Rome will be a little tight to cram everything in, but we felt it would be enough time to see the major tourist attractions (the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Pantheon, Colosseum, etc). We prefer to spend most of our time in the less touristy more relaxed areas seeing the landscape and exploring. We want it to feel like a vacation, not like a huge guided tour to cram in as much as we possibly can. I have a feeling we'll want to go back. We debated taking a train up to Venice for a day, but I think we'll wait for another time (hopefully). We had to weigh the cost of doing that for one day versus being able to bring some special things back to remember our trip by...and we decided we'd rather be able to bring some special things home. (Hopefully some art and a ceramic piece...fruit bowl or something...and maybe some leather shoes. How do you go to Florence and not bring home some leather good of some sort?) Oh, and SO excited for the coffee. SOO excited. We live in the Seattle area, the coffee capital of the nation, but I know what we've had here will be nothing like the coffee there. (We have some dang good coffee here too, and NO I'm not talking about Starbucks. Starbucks is not real coffee. Sorry if you like Starbucks. It's ok if you do. You just can't call it real coffee. Real coffee is an art. It doesn't come out of automated machines in 20 seconds. And I'm officially getting off topic, so I'll stop.)

Honestly, I haven't even thought about London. Haha. We'll have about 12 hours there, so we definitely want to sight see. I guess we should hurry up and figure out what we want to see in that short time! I think what I'm most excited for on this trip is the food. Specifically the gelato. And I've heard nothing but amazing things about the gluten free food availability in Italy. Some things I've read online say if you call in advance and make a reservation at the restaurant you want to eat dinner at and let them know you need to be gluten free, they'll prepare an entire meal specifically for you. Isn't that crazy?!

I'll be instagraming it up while we're over there (handle is amberhansen), so follow me there if you want to see pictures. I don't plan to post many here (it's a hassle and I'm lazy). I'm a bit protective about my instagram since I mainly post pictures of my kiddos (my account is private), so if you request to follow me, follow it up with an email letting me know (coreyandamber[at]gmail[dot]com). Otherwise I may not recognize you and won't approve you.

As they say in Italy...ciao!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Announcement!

I know I'm not on here much anymore (you can read about why in this post). I don't really plan to change the frequency of my blogging at this point. I'm just going to post the occasional big updates. I've really enjoyed being more unplugged and less tied to my computer. I've enjoyed reading or being productive during naps and after bedtime rather than feeling like I have to get on the blog and post some random update to keep people reading. I don't know if anyone even reads this anymore, so I might just be updating a forgotten website...but that's ok. It's still fun to chronicle life's big events.

So, all that to say...



There you have it! We're expanding our family size from 4 to 5 this September. I'm pregnant with baby #3!

For those wondering, I thought I'd knock out a couple questions I know will come up (that is, if anyone is reading!)...

Did we plan this pregnancy?
Nope. Not even a little bit. In fact, we were done, done, DONE. It actually came as quite a shock. But sometimes God's plans are not the same as our plans, and we are very thankful for that. It took a couple days for the initial shock to wear off and for me to wrap my mind around this big change of plans, but we're all fully on board and very excited now.

How long have we known/how far along am I?
I took the test late on Christmas Eve (it was past midnight, so it was technically Christmas day). I will be 13 weeks pregnant when you all read this. We always wait until after the first ultrasound (to make sure everything is going well and is on track) before we go public with our announcement.

When is baby's official due date and how old will the girls be?
This baby is due September 1st. Eden will be almost 3 1/2 years old, and Charlotte will have just turned 2 (on Aug 23rd). I think the spacing is going to be perfect.

How am I feeling?
Depends on the day. I'm definitely in the middle of the debilitating pregnancy exhaustion phase, which is really hard with two little kiddos running amuck. I experienced some mild and very bearable morning sickness early on...but at about 11.5 weeks it kicked into high gear. I kind of got my hopes up and thought maybe I wasn't going to be crazy sick this time like I was with both the girls, but it just waited to rear its head until later in the game. It took me about 2 weeks to figure out a regimen of meds that worked to control the nausea. I was on the verge of having to head to the ER because I couldn't keep any food or water down for a few days. I went through 3 different prescription meds that didn't work. Now I'm taking a Unisom at night and vitamin B6 during the day, and that's helping a lot more than anything else. I'm glad to not need a prescription. I'm not 100% by any means...I still battle queasiness throughout the day and have to force myself to eat a little bit every couple hours so my stomach doesn't get on empty (which is when the nausea is worse), but I'm able to keep food down when I do eat. And liquids...which is even more important. I'm already experiencing a little round ligament pain...which is weird this early. Not really having any cravings this time...I'm sure they'll come when I get over the queasy stage (which is hopefully sooner rather than later!). I have plenty of aversions (mostly sugar and chocolate). That's about it. Nobody said knitting a life together in your womb was an easy task, but it's a noble one, I think. And it's all completely worth every moment of throwing up and exhaustion and pain. I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Did we know I was pregnant when we planned our Italy trip?
Yep! That's actually why we planned it! Originally we were supposed to go to Ireland in September. Corey has a business trip planned, and I was going to go with him and we'd stay longer and make a vacation out of it. But seeing as how this baby is due in September, that's not an option anymore. And we really wanted to get away just us before this baby came. We won't be able to leave the baby for at least a year or for a good length of time, so we figured it was now or never (ok, not never, but not for a WHILE). I'll be about 18 weeks when we go, so I'm hoping I'll have that second trimester burst of energy going for me and maybe I'll be over the nausea by then...or at least it will have lessened. Fingers crossed... And I won't be so huge and uncomfortable that I can't enjoy walking around the city seeing things.

Do our kiddos know?
Yes, we've told them. Charlotte is only 18 months, so she's pretty clueless. But Eden is pretty excited. If you ask her "what's in mommy's belly?" she excitedly replies "there's a BABY in mommy's belly!!!" She goes back and forth on whether she wants a brother or sister. I think Charlotte will be in for a rude awakening with this little one makes his/her debut. She's the baby...she'll have been the baby for 2 years...and she very much enjoys and soaks up all the perks that come with being the baby (not that we treat our kids unfairly or show partiality, but let's be real...you do treat your youngest one a bit different than your oldest). I think it'll take some adjusting for her.

So there you have it! Happy to finally share with you all. We waited quite a bit longer this time to go public with it. We just sort of took our time telling everyone for some reason. I don't anticipate doing any sort of weekly pregnancy updates this time around. I just don't have the time (or maybe it's more that I don't care to make the time?). Maybe an update every month or two. I won't just leave you in the dark until his/her arrival.

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014

2014 is going to be a big year for our family.

Corey will be transitioning into a managerial role a work. (So proud of him!) This will require some training, but I'm hoping to accompany him for some of it.

We have a big trip planned for spring...to Italy! We'll have an overnight layover in London before we head to Rome and then Tuscany. No kids allowed. Just the two of us...we haven't gone on a real legitimate out of town vacation just us since our honeymoon 5 1/2 years ago, so we are very excited! The best part? The hotels, plane ticket, and rental car won't cost us a dime! We'll only have to pay for food and any recreation (museum admission, shopping, etc). Corey has racked up so many points with car rentals, hotel points, and airline miles with all his travel that our entire trip will be paid for using points!

There's more about things I'm hoping to personally change and accomplish in 2014, but that's a post for another day!

Excited for what this year brings. 2013 was a great year...difficult in some aspects, but wonderful still. And I'm betting 2014 will only be better.

Happy New Year, friends!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Polar opposites

Hello blogland!

It's October 14th...and it's been a little over a month since I wrote last. And I still haven't missed it. But I don't want to disappear altogether, so here I am.

Eden has croup at the moment, and I'm about 70% certain that despite my best efforts, Charlotte is also coming down with it (kind of inevitable when those sisters try to swap spit every chance they get...from sharing cups to kisses to sticking their fingers in each other's mouths...). Thankfully Eden really doesn't seem to actually feel all that bad. She's pretty much her normal self...she just doesn't have a voice and has this awful sounding cough. Hopefully if Charlotte does get it, she'll be just as chipper as Eden has been!

Life has been good. It's gotten busier. Corey has been traveling again a bit. I'm in a women's midweek bible study plus our hosting community group. And I started serving in the children's ministry at church. I'm in the 3 years through PreK class at our early service...and let me tell you...whew! That's quite a class! I thought Eden was high maintenance at 2 1/2...but wow! I was wrong when I thought getting older meant getting easier. That being said, I really love my kids. They're a blast. Lots of chaos, but so much fun! I've made some good buddies in class. It's fun getting to know other parents too.

It's really fun watching Charlotte get older and develop more and more of a personality. I forgot how fun this age is...she's almost 14 months. She's going to be the one that keeps us up at night. Forever. I can just see it. She's already fiercely independent. She officially refuses to let me feed her with a utensil at all. It must be her way or the highway. At all times. It doesn't matter how frustrated she gets with herself because she can't master a particular skill yet. She will just keep trying and trying and NO she doesn't want your help! Little firecracker, that girl. Stubborn and motivated and strong-willed. And a spitting image of her mama (I'll have to post a pic of us side-by-side). She's also a daredevil. She will, without a doubt, be the first with stitches or a broken bone or in the ER for an injury. She can't sit still if her life depended on it (she got that trait from her father). She has the attention span of a flea. She can only sit through 2 seconds of a story before she's done and wants to do her own thing. Charlotte has an issue with people invading her personal space. She likes to play alone. She is drawn to music in a way that makes me think she'll be musically inclined. There is nothing shy about her. She and Eden are complete opposites. In fact, I'm not sure they could be MORE opposite. Maybe the opposite nature of their personalities will cause them to compliment one another and get along really well as sisters? Yeah, who am I kidding. They're probably going to hate each other from middle school on. And then once they move out and have their own separate lives, they'll be best friends. They already drive each other nuts. Eden is my snugglebug who thrives on affection and attention. She wants help with everything even if she's capable of it by herself just because she wants the companionship. She doesn't know how to play by herself...never has. Not since she was born. She is a little bookworm. She is happy reading. All.Day.Long. She likes to be the center of attention but doesn't like to be put on the spot, if that makes sense... She literally needs to be touching me at all times. I cannot sit on the couch or floor without even a centimeter of space between us. Her feet must be tucked under my leg. Or her arm must be resting on me. Or she must be holding my hand. Or just flat out sitting on top of me. She doesn't seem to be artfully inclined. A book or her favorite movie can hold her attention for hours. But bring out a coloring book and crayons? She's done in 5 minutes and tells me to finish coloring for her. She loves all things kitty still. Total cat obsession. She may end up a cat lady (though not while living here...I'm allergic and Corey hates them). She's also a wonderful sister. She can get a bit too affectionate for Charlotte's liking most times...she wants to hold hands and snuggle and kiss and hug all the time. And Charlotte wants to be left alone. Eden loves to help me in the kitchen. That seems to be her favorite activity right now...helping me cook or bake. Charlotte just likes to eat. But she's also not really old enough to be up at the counter helping stir or mix or measure things.

It's a lot of work having two girls. And it's also a lot of fun. I really dread some of the times to come (particularly the teenage years where they'll no longer think I'm the coolest person ever). But I am also anxiously looking forward to many of the times to come... not that I want them to "hurry up" and grow up. But I am excited to do life with my girls. They are such a blessing to me. I love how different they are because they bless me in different ways (they also drive me crazy in different ways...haha!).

Alright, it's late. Time for bed. Goodnight!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Time

Hey all.

Well I just took a two month hiatus from the blog. And honestly...I didn't miss it. Not even a little bit. (Don't worry, I'm still reading all your blogs...just not posting on my own right now.) I'm not exactly sure what that means for my blog? I don't think I'm going to quit blogging altogether. But it was admittedly beginning to feel like more of another chore/item on my loooong list of "to-do's"...so I just stopped. I figure if I don't absolutely love doing something, it's maybe not worth my time right now. Because time is precious. And we never know how much we have left.

God has been speaking to me a lot lately about simplifying my life. Not overcommitting myself. Not wasting time doing things I don't thoroughly enjoy. Putting more effort into having a few really great friends rather than being spread thin and just having a bunch of surfacey friendships. Not having so much stuff in our house. Not spending my money on so many things that aren't beautiful or useful.

So that's what I've been doing the past couple months. We did a major house overhaul. Got rid of a TON of stuff. We took the Tsh Oxenreider approach and didn't keep anything that wasn't beautiful or useful. And as hard as it was...it felt REALLY GOOD. I did things like sell my wedding dress (don't worry, I tried it on and was immediately convinced I did not need to keep it). And got rid of a bunch of unnecessary kitchen gadgets (because let's be real...when we have a good kitchen knife, do we really need an avocado slicer, a pineapple slicer, a strawberry pitter, etc?). I threw out/got rid of some stuff I never thought I'd get rid of. It was very freeing. I've always been a bit of a packrat. But it's so stressful to be a packrat! You have so much to sort through to find something, so much to clean around, so much stuff taking up so much space.

I'm trying to be more intentional about living and how I spend my time. So, my friends, I will likely not be blogging much anymore. Maybe a quarterly update or so. I don't plan to delete my blog. But I just don't enjoy it enough that I want blogging to be a big deal in my life. I'd rather spend time in the moment remembering details, creating memories, and experiencing things with my little family than be stressed out about taking pictures for the blog or finding time to write a post. It's not worth it to me.

Thing 2 (our affectionate nickname for Charlotte) is up from naptime, so I better sign off. I'll try to get a few pictures/kiddo updates up before the end of September, but I can't make any promises.

And again, I'm still reading your blogs, so I'm not off the blogosphere completely. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Yard progress

Hey all! I've been trying to get back in the saddle with my "other" blog...the project/house/decorating stuff one. Trying to keep the personal stuff separate. Check out the post I did on our yard progress with the house right here. Also, I've got a house tour post coming up tomorrow (on the other blog). Nothing super exciting. Just a look at what it looked like when we first moved in. I'll be posting Eden's room redo sometime next week.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Charlotte: 10 months!

I know this picture is blurry, but I love it anyway. She was SO excited to find big sister's big girl cup!


Clothes: Same as last time: Size 4 diapers (she could still fit in size 3 since she's a skinny little thing, but I accidentally bought size 4's at the store, so that's what we're going with!), and 9-12 month clothes. Also, size 3 shoes. She's such a hard one to dress...she's built exactly like me. She's long and skinny. Most 9 month pants are too short for her, but 12 month pants just slide right off her tiny little waist. She's in 12 month onesies and pjs...she wears a lot of dresses or onesies and leg warmers these days because that's the easiest way to dress her. Another issue is her feet. Also very long and very narrow. Again, just like her mommy. Seriously, this child could not be more my mini-me. We're basically twins. So anyway, pretty much no shoes stay on her feet because they are so narrow. So she is usually just barefoot with the exception of some robeez-type shoes from Target. Those are the only ones that will stay on right now.

Food: Nursing every 2.5 - 3 hours during the day and going about 9 hours at night now. Still won't take a bottle. Or sippy. Or any form of breast milk unless it's coming from my boob. Period. So we won't be able to leave her for an extended period until she's weaned. She eats most times we eat...so 2 or 3 times a day. She is doing so much better at eating. She gets most of what I give her in her mouth now...at least until she's full and starts playing/throwing food on the ground. She is still only eating vegetables and fruit, brown rice, beans, lentils, rice or buckwheat soba noodles...she's had a little bit of chicken. And some coconut cream. No nuts, eggs, wheat, dairy, or soy yet. I'm avoiding all allergens until she's closer to 18 months just with our family history (now that Eden and I are gluten free and mostly dairy free) and with her sensitive skin and eczema. She's not picky at all - except that she hates purees. She loves everything I give her. The only thing she's been hesitant on are raspberries, but she just needed to adjust to the fuzziness/tartness. After a little initial hesitation, she loved them. She's had strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon, peaches, banana, apples, cherries, zucchini, cucumber, red bell peppers, yams, carrots, peas, broccoli...there might be more that I'm not thinking of. She basically expects me to share everything I eat with her and whines/gives me dirty looks if I don't!


Sleep: This area has by far had the most dramatic change of everything. My Charlotte, the one who never slept and woke 3-5 times a night since birth...is now sleeping through the night!! Praise Jesus! Literally. I do a happy dance on a pretty regular basis. And she's taking usually two 1.5 to 2 hour naps a day...sometimes a third hour long nap later in the day (around 5ish) if we're having a pretty long day (if she woke up a little on the early side and we have community group or family dinner where she goes to bed later than the other nights). That third nap is the key to getting through the night when she has to go to bed late. Otherwise it would be torture. Why the dramatic change in sleep, you ask? Or how maybe? Sleep training. She was sleeping SO horrible that it came to a point where nobody in the house was sleeping. She was screaming in her crib and didn't know how to self-soothe (she doesn't use a pacifier or her thumb/fingers) and wanted to nurse to fall back asleep...but would scream again the minute I put her down. But she didn't sleep well in our bed either...she'd be too restless because she needed her own space. I was literally up 5 times or more a night with her. I was averaging 3-4 hours of sleep. Corey was exhausted. Eden was exhausted (all the scream sessions and going back and forth through the house would wake her). We had no choice but to do something. I had a couple friends who experienced something similar with one of their children (they also have a strong-willed and stubborn child), and both ladies told me the only thing that worked for them was the cry-it-out method. Both said they hate that method, but NOTHING else worked, and they tried it all. And they told me it was so worth it. I had also tried everything else. With Charlotte, there's no in-between. It's her way or the highway. Going in to comfort her without nursing her was worse than just not going in. So that's what we did. It took about 4 nights. I would feed her a bunch at night before bed (every 1 - 1.5 hrs) to make sure she got enough. Once I put her down, I didn't go back in (not even once) to get her until 6:30 or 7am (or whenever she woke up...but I wouldn't go in before that time). The first night was horrible. She was up every 20 or 30 minutes and screamed for about 45 minutes. The second night she only woke up once but screamed for two hours. And it just gradually got better. Now, about 2 weeks later, she's sleeping until about 5am. She wakes up for an early morning feed (which is perfect since my boobs are usually killing me) and goes back to sleep until 7:30 or 8. It's amazing! I feel like a million bucks now in the mornings compared to before. I forgot what sleeping in my bed alone all night felt like. Or what it felt like to get a good solid 6 hours (since we don't go to bed at the same time as her). Haven't had this good of sleep since...a long time ago. I slept horrible while pregnant and Eden was teething...probably haven't slept like this since before Eden started teething. Wow. That was almost 18 months ago.

Activity: She has two teeth now (bottom) and is working on her top two. She's standing on her own just fine. She's ridiculously close to walking. She can totally walk on her own but is too timid still. She goes nuts and gets crazy excited when she holds our fingers to walk. She will push Edens car (the kind you ride on...not a little toy push car) and walk doing that. We don't have a walker, but if we did, she'd be cruising all over the house with it, I'm sure. She's started climbing. Even more so than Eden did at this age...in order to keep up with Eden, I'm sure. She tries to climb on all the furniture. She loves using me as a jungle gym. 
She LOVES bath time and water in general. She is starting to enjoy going for walks and swinging at the park (she typically hates being strapped down or restrained in any form so the stroller was a scream fest for a while). 

Personality: I know I say it every time, but she is so fiercely independent and determined. She is so much happier now too though. And she's got her two bottom teeth, so she gives the most adorable two-toothed grins when she's excited. She just wants to be big. Like her sister. Like...yesterday. She gets upset sometimes that she's too little for certain things and can't keep up with Eden. She's pretty fearless. She cries a little less than she used to. I'm trying to ignore her cries now when she gets hurt (obviously not when she's really hurt...but a little bump here and there), and she'll usually get over faster and move on. She tends to be a bit of a wimp (opposite Eden who never cried about anything at this age unless it was a pretty good injury). And I noticed that she would stop and wait for me to look at her before crying. Same thing goes with things between her and Eden. I try to make sure Eden shares and doesn't just steal her toys all the time, but typically Charlotte only cries/whines about it if I get on Eden for it (she can tell by my tone that Eden is in trouble). Welcome to sisterhood/sibling rivalry, Charlotte. Haha. She's a ridiculous wiggle worm. She never sits still for anything (got that from her daddy). I can't even read her a book because she thrashes and throws herself all over the place. Eden LOVED reading by this age. Just so weird how opposite they are. 




Sisters playing legos...as Eden eyes Charlotte's toy...right before she steals it. Haha!

Standing girl.


Eden got a little post-nap treat...and Charlotte is actually licking the crumbs off the floor. Life of a second child, I guess. 

Swinging at the park! (Yes, I know she's in backwards. The sun was right in her face the other direction.)



fell asleep in the ergo while I grocery shopped. Can't say I hate it!

The girls and their daddy on Father's Day. And yes, that beautiful water and scenery  It's only 5 minutes from our house. I will never tire of living here.