Sunday, March 31, 2013

Beatrice Lea Hanson

It turned out that those 'pre-labor' contractions I mentioned in my previous post were not actually pre-labor, and were in fact labor labor.

Because after I hit publish to that blog post, Nate and I got read for bed. 
Bed for me lasted about 5 minutes until I realized that these contractions were not going to allow me to sleep.

Neighbors and parents were put on 'threat level orange' to be at the ready.
And I labored through the night.
Totally in denial that this was happening, because I had false labor with Matilda, and I was stubbornly refusing to need to need help from anyone in the middle of the night.

But around 3:45AM one doozy of a contraction made me throw the towel in.
Sina was called (THANK YOU!), the parents were on their way.
And we were off to the hospital.

After a very quick, and eventful delivery (of which there were a few swear words yelled out, quickly followed by my apologies for swearing), we were over-joyed to welcome our newest daughter to the family.

Beatrice Lea Hanson
Born March 27th, 2013 
5:23 AM
7 pounds, 6 ounces
20.5 inches

In the moment she arrived I was so relieved.
Yes, relieved to be done with labor.
But more, relieved to be done with the waiting.

The wondering.

The questions, and worries and unknowns in my mind of how having Beatrice would change me. Change Matilda. Change Nate. Change our family.

In that moment, and in the moments after, I was relieved because the answer was so clear.
All of those unknowns were answered with her sweet face. Quiet noises. 

Tiny fingers and curious eyes.

The only change that Bea would bring would be for the better.
Sure we will have bumps in the road. Matilda will have her moments. And I could do without having another four eye-teeth to cut....

But she has been here less than a week, and already I can't imagine a world without her.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Nothing but Matilda

This week has been spent watching a whole lot of basketball, and celebrating a few 'nothin' but net' moments that saved or busted our brackets.

And tonight, as I pause to blog between random pre-labor contractions, I cannot help but to think of nothing but Matilda. I struggle to think about the 2nd baby, and the same sort of hopes and aspirations I was having for the unborn baby Matilda the night before she was born. Rather my mind continues to drift back to this adorable face.

All of the things she has learned in the past year.
All of the things she has taught me.

All of the things we both have left to learn as parents.

Matilda, who has decided she is going to start to try to fill our shoes.

Little does she know there is another little one on the way who will be working to fill her shoes.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

2nd Annual Eggstravaganza!

 Last year marked the first year that Nate and I decided to make an Easter Egg Hunt an annual affair that we would invite all of our friends and 'second' family over for a fun afternoon of hunting, playing and maybe some sporadic adult conversation amidst oodles of kids under the age of 5.

It was so fun, and we couldn't wait to do it again this year. Here is the thing. There was one GIANT thing different between this year and last year (even though the hunt only took place 7 days later)....can you tell what the difference is?

Last Year

This Year

Yes...quite the difference in landscape. On one hand it made finding the eggs easier, but the kids really had to WORK to get to them given how far you would sink into the snow when walking on it. But our friends didn't let that get them down. They brought out the boots, snow pants, and 'carry-on' attitude that all MN must adopt at this point of winter. 

Matilda really liked hunting for eggs after she realized that finding eggs meant she got to put the egg in the bag--which was probably her real favorite part.

And it was fun to see some new additions to our hunt since last year. As more of my friends have babies, this is only going to get more joyfully chaotic each year. Elsie did a good job finding her first Easter Eggs.

And Elena who was only there 'in spirit' last year was already trying her hand at some finger food.

Tillie's good buddy from General Mills daycare, Amanda joined in the fun as well and she was VERY good at finding the eggs!

I didn't get a ton of pictures because let's be honest--last year Auntie Em was on Tillie duty for the whole party which meant I got to run around and take fun pictures, and Nate got to run around and drink beer. This year, with no Auntie Em, the pictures drastically decreased. Combine that with the weather and there really was no chance.

But I did snap this adorable photo of my friend, Steph's, little girl Katy. She seriously has the best 'camera' smile.

It didn't take long for these kids to find the nearly 300 eggs we hid, and I can only imagine in about 2 years when the bulk of these kids are around 4-7 years old. It is going to take them approximately 5 minutes to obliterate all of them.

I can't wait!

Given that I am due in literally 4 days, we dialed back the fun, creative special touches this year, but still managed to do some cute stuff thanks to Pinterest.

Candy-Coated Popcorn
(I may or may not have almost burned the house down popping one batch of this popcorn)

DIY Easter Banner
(You guys should have seen Nate measure and help punch out the stencils. It was impressive)

Goldfish Carrots and Cut-Out Rice Krispies
(Because I knew that Marie would be giving Matilda every possible treat she could...) :)

Easter Chick Cheese Ball
(A last minute, and very tasty decision)

And each little egg hunter got to take home a little parting gift just in case the sugar high wasn't enough to keep them happy in the car ride home. :)

It was such a fun afternoon, and Nate and I were happy that our tiny little house didn't feel tooooo tiny to hold all of the fun. I can't wait to see how this goes next year with TWO Hanson Girls at foot.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wild Week

While Tillie was busy 'studying' jungle animals this week at daycare, things got a little wild for the adults in the house too!

I found out Wednesday morning at my 39 week doctor's appointment that Baby GH decided to take up shop with her head up and butt down. Not ideal for delivery.

Fast forward 24 hours later (and a couple of crying phone calls, lots of disappointment, and some swearing), and Nate and I are in the hospital labor and delivery unit. Things felt VERY real at that point--surrounded by a birthing whirlpool tub, having the monitors strapped to my stomach, and thanking god for really great nurses.

I've always been a huge fan of my Doctor, but the nurse told me before she got there that my doctor was really good at flipping babies. And she was. With a lot of pushing and...well...really lots of pushing....she was able to get our little nugget to do a little somersault and get into the right position.

I'm not going to lie. It hurt pretty bad, but I honestly didn't even let myself think about it because I was really trying to relax so baby could move as easily as possible. Now, we are just hoping that baby doesn't get any ideas to try her gymnast skills by flipping again.

And in the meantime, apparently I am already having contractions but just can't feel them because they were registering on the monitors, so I am hopeful that means labor will be right around the corner. Bigger news is right around the corner!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


"Slow down, you move to fast. You've got to make the morning last"
- Simon and Garfunkel

I am painfully aware how distracted I have been recently. I can't focus on what I really want to, which is taking in every last scrumptious second of Matilda before this baby comes. Between trying to get my desk at work wrapped up and in a really good spot, prepping the house for baby, prepping myself for baby (we are talking dental appointments, eye appointments, hair cuts, and home repairs people!), I can't seem to pause my brain or body to just be with Matilda.

And the really sad thing is, that when I am with her I am exhausted (see all of the above), and my body hurts. And she really wants me to lay down on the floor so she can crawl all over me. Or sit in my "lap" for long periods on end, which is just not all that amazing for me right now. And that exhaustion clouds my judgment and acceptance of those tiny, miraculous moments.

But I try to soak in every moment for what it is. Not with greater expectation or analysis of Matilda, or what we are as a family. This morning as I sat in the middle of the living room with her hat, coat and boots while she ran circles around me, I kept asking "do you want help getting your (fill in the blank) on", which was quickly answered with a "nope."

And so I waited. It wasn't worth the tantrum to force it on her. At least not this morning.  She eventually came around (10 minutes later and a 'well mama is leaving' shout-out).

Her world is so quickly going to change, and my ability (and patience) to wait it out, let her come to her own conclusions, and act on her own accord is going to be limited in the next coming months. So I am trying to let her, let us have these moments--sweet or trying--as they may be.

I want to remember how she snuggles with us in the wee morning hours (because she is our little early bird). Sucking her fingers, and holding onto my ear.

Her 'directing' skills, where she tells each of us where she wants us to sit for dinner, or play-time.

The demands for "baa baa" to be played on the record player.

The way she cringes when steps on anything that sticks to her foot or sock. Or her intense focus when she find something on her hands or fingers that isn't supposed to be there.

Her cautious demeanor in new situations. Taking in the world. Assessing it carefully before she acts. I predict we are going to be in trouble because she is going to have a high BS meter--and will see through any parental tricks we try to pull.

How she says "CHEESE" every time she sees a camera.

 How proud she is when she is helping. Whether it is unloading the dishwasher or folding the laundry (which usually consists of her taking the folded laundry OUT of the basket and putting it BACK in the washer.....suuuuuuper helpful).

Her love of routine and habits. Always following wanting to wash her hands before meals, after potty. Putting away toys after she has played with them. And getting frustrated when things aren't 'just so'...
Her love of a 'change of scene' and willingness to give anyone a friendly hello or good-bye. And her look of confusion when it isn't reciprocated.

Her continued love of books. And most recently, her grabbing her baby doll and reading her baby doll books before naptime.

I will hold onto these sweet moments, and remind myself to slow down and take them in as life is sure to speed up with the arrival of baby. A little less planning, less doing and a little more watching. More capturing. More appreciating.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Make it Work!

It has become a bit of a tradition for my parents to come up to MN for one weekend in the spring (usually nicely coinciding with March Madness) to help us get stuff done around the house that we are otherwise not handy enough to do ourselves.

Due to the impending arrival of Baby GH, we moved it up to make sure we could get a few critical items crossed off the list to make the arrival at tid-bit easier. Dimmer switch installed, railing re-installed, cupboards fixed, furniture completely rearranged, bathtubs and showers re-calked, new shower head installed, new shelves built, and completely reorganized and cleaned out our entire basement.

But perhaps the biggest accomplishment (at least my Mom and I would agree) was the boys decision to NOT attempt to fix our toilet which had a loose screw or something. I can't really describe what is wrong with it, but that doesn't matter. The win is that my Dad and hubby watched a few you tube videos and came to the conclusion by themselves that perhaps that was a little too much for them to take on.

And so we hire a plumber. And our marriage is probably at a much better spot because this 38 week preggo would not have been happy to have no bathroom as I go to the bathroom 3 times a night.

It is always a fun weekend, and we always are left feelings so much better off. Tillie 'helped' get stuff done this weekend. Enjoyed playing with my Dad's tools, folding socks, and putting pretty much anything she can find in our dryer. I love that when Matilda says "grandpa" it sounds like "pop-pop". And I love watching my Mom play with her in any wacky way Tillie might want.

We've got bottles out. Newborn clothes washed. And an infant car seat installed.
I suppose that is about as close as we are going to get to ready for this here WE GO!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Second Time Around

We are closing in the final days before Baby GH arrives. And I am finally ready to say this out loud:

I am so scared of what is about to happen.

It is no secret that I struggled through the first months of motherhood. Matilda was a difficult baby. There were a lot of unknown factors from reflux to food allergies, and a mother who is probably a little too much perfectionist to accept no real answer as an acceptable answer. There was very little sleep for almost 5 months (until Munchie found her fingers...). And there were a lot of long lonely days.

And so as I am less than a month out from another maternity leave with a newborn I still have to meet, I am feeling less 'warm and gushy' and more 'nervous and realistic.' And I am completely comfortable admitting that.

The classic line that almost everyone has said to me at some point in the last 9 months is "this time around it is going to be SO much easier because you are going to be so much more relaxed." The reality about that statement is that it makes me feel worse. Because I don't FEEL more relaxed headed into delivery. So will we have the same problems?

And does that mean the issues and problems we had the first time around were because I wasn't relaxed? Was it really all my fault, and it all could have been avoided if I could have just taken a deep breath and rolled with it? The very intent behind why people say this to me, causes me to feel more anxiety about what is ahead. 

I don't deny that the 2nd time around will be easier in some regards. There are a lot of things that I just will already know how to do.  But every baby is different and maybe I am just wired to suck with newborns.  I am also scared for how this will affect Matilda, and the dynamics of our family. How will I be able to get down on the floor on her demand, so she can dance around me  if I am nursing the baby??

There is a lot in the coming months that I know I can't predict or control, but I learned a few important lessons the first time around that I will be keeping very close.

1) I hate being alone. I am an "E" on the Myers Briggs to almost the 100th percentile. I draw my energy from other people. Being home alone all day drains me. So I will be hunting for every opportunity to surround myself with people that can tolerate a potentially screaming child.
2) It is okay to ask for help. It took me too long to do this the first time, and in some instances I am still struggling to actually ask for help for the right things. I am going to try hard to swallow my pride, my worry about what it will look like, or my aversion to  my imposition on people who are OFFERING to help, and let them in.
3) I have the world's most supportive husband. Okay, so I guess I knew this before we had kids, but it has been reinforced time and time again.

And so armed with these lessons, a little bit of optimism, a whole BUNCH of realism, we get ready to embark on life as a family of 4.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Forced Empathy Building

For the last two+ weeks, Nate and I have lamented many a night about how crabby and whiny Matilda has been. Sure she had a double ear infection and double pink eye, but she got meds so that shouldn't be an issue anymore, right? And yes, her cold has lingered for going on 3 weeks, but it's just a cold. Right?

In the last 24 hours, karma has slapped me with a 'mama-reality check'.
Yesterday, we found out Matilda's ears had actually not cleared, and were still, in fact infected. Onto the stronger antibiotic. And my nagging cold that I was willing, wishing, praying away came forward with full force yesterday and sent me into one very sleepless night last night. And I am totally miserable.

In fact, my ear started hurting.

So today, I went to the doctor at work, and they told me:
"Your right ear is trying really hard to be infected, and judging by what it looks like you are on the beginning front of this infection not the end."


And then it dawned on me. My ear isn't even infected, and I am a whiny, pissed-off mess. I am crabby and tired and uncomfortable, and if someone would pick me up to make me feel better I would probably follow them around until they did too. And I probably wouldn't eat everything they put in front of me. And I would probably wake up crying every single morning, way earlier than is humanly acceptable.

Let's be honest. I practically woke-up crying this morning. (although the term 'woke-up' implies I had actually been sleeping).

Now, imagine having an ear infection for 14 days. Because that is Matilda's world right now. So, while I am still cursing the universe for inflicting this terrible cold on me 3 weeks before I am due amidst trying to get everything possible done around the house, I am also thanking the universe. For bringing me a dose of reality that will hopefully translate into more patience and understanding for the little munchkin in my life.

(*Do you hear that UNIVERSE? Lesson learned. Let's make this cold brief, shall we?)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

10 Years Later

In 2003, this is scene of Nate's birthday celebration.

This was immediately followed by a bar crawl, plenty of beer, a few shots and probably a fair amount of drunk food.

Fast forward to 2013, and the birthday celebration looks muuuuuuuch different. But a prettier picture if I do say so myself.

Happy Birthday to the best husband, Daddy, friend and partner a girl could ask for. Buckle up! I think 32 is going to be one of the wildest* years yet.

*With the term wildest being defined very differently than our definition in 2003.