Alice is 7 months old!

MORE than half a year old! It’s so ridiculously cliche to start by talking about how quickly the weeks have passed (ESPECIALLY since being back at work), but it’s just oh-so-true. I can get lost in looking through the photos on my phone, wondering how my little, snuggly, mushy newborn turned into a sassy, stubborn and sweet little babylady. And I know it’s only going to get more intense- higher highs, lower lows, bigger struggles, bigger obstacles, and even greater joys in her discoveries, new skills and blooming personality. I hope I have the stamina and emotional strength to keep up with it all, because sometimes my love for little (big!) Al is almost too much for me to handle. We love that girl like WHOA, and the changes and growth are just so crazy fast these days. It’s all so much more intense, more fulfilling, more challenging, and more amazing than I could’ve ever imagined.

Enough of the babbling, here are the details;

Eating/Nursing: Surprise! Alice is still a good eater. Five breaks for milk a day (7, 10, 1, 4, 7)- nursing while I can, but lots of bottles (of breastmilk) during the week days. She doesn’t seem to mind which it is, as long as she gets her milk! She is still solely on breastmilk, and I’m still committed to pumping and nursing, but I’m not going to lie and say I don’t think about the days when running from meeting to pumping to meeting to pumping isn’t my typical work day. It can be hard to find the time, and sometimes I resent the fact that I have such busy days and have to spend at least 2 of my waking hours either nursing or pumping (that’s a lot of time when you have lots to do), BUT, I do love the time with Alice and the pros still outweigh the cons. So I continue to nurse and pump!

We had a bout of sickness at the beginning of the month (Alice got about 10 people sick with a 24-hr stomach flu, and I even had to go to the ER because I was puking blood. OYE. The little babes might seem innocent, but once you send them to daycare they become vicious virus carriers!), but anyways, while we intended to start solids around the beginning of the month, it ended up being mid-month. I would say we are loosely following baby-led weaning–letting Alice feed herself and explore new foods (banana, whole nectarines, “fingers” of cucumber and carrots, tortilla strips, etc), but also spoon feed her food to get her used to different tastes and swallowing (and, that is all that daycare will offer to babies her age).

We don’t feed her every day, she usually probably gets one meal a day, but if she’s not around when we’re eating (aka she’s sleeping), I don’t necessarily go out of my way to feed her. She doesn’t need it at this age, I’m running with the mantra, “Food before one, just for fun!” It’s cheesy, but it takes the pressure off. We are slowly but surely introducing new things to her, and if we are looking for an “activity” on a long weekend day, we will put her in the high chair and let her explore a new food or two.

Sleeping: Not a lot of change here. I was just thinking the other day about how we haven’t had to go to Alice in the middle of the night for at least two months (so lucky of us, we know!). And when I realized that, I felt like I should be more rested than I am – I have no excuse! She typically sleeps 11 hours at night, usually 7:30ish – 6:30ish.

Her naps, however, are all over the place- she sleeps well at home and during her days with nana, but sometimes I get reports from daycare that she took 2 10-minute naps, or days like today when she DIDN’T NAP AT ALL! When you are a 7-month old and are spending 8 hours at daycare with 10 other kids, you should be napping, Alice! The teachers say they try and try- rocking, singing, more rocking- but it’s seriously like she doesn’t want to miss out on any of the action. They say she is in a good mood all the time- playing with the other kiddos and talking and flapping her arms and throwing toys around, but she just doesn’t want to sleep. Every day when I pick her up, she falls asleeps immediately upon getting in the car. In fact, she’s often asleep before I even back out of the parking spot! And then on the weekends or days at home, it’s like she has to catch up- taking at least 2, 2+ hour naps and loving every minute in her quiet, dark crib:) Not sure what we can do about this- it seems to work for her for now, but I do wish she slept more at daycare. Hopefully she will, in time.

Doing: Alice has gotten so much stronger this month. She sits up easily and rarely topples over any more. She can bat at things and reach for things while she’s sitting up- it’s pretty awesome to set her in front of a pile of toys and watch her go for the ones she wants. She has two little baskets of toys on her play station on our floor, and it’s amazing how she can grab the basket, lean it over so she can look inside, and then grab what she wants (it’s also amazing how quickly she can empty that thing! When is the right time to start teaching the concept of “cleaning up?!!”). No real signs of crawling yet, she seems to be pretty content to just sit up and watch everything going on around her with wide, wild eyes. Though she has just started to rotate while sitting (she can do a full 360), and she is starting to turn to one side, fold a leg in, and place both her hands on the ground.

At daycare, it has been fun to watch her around other babies, she can finally “fight back” with some of the older kids that like to mess with her and now she’s the one mauling the little newborns. So proud. She has one favorite friend at daycare, Avery, and sometimes when I sneak in there to check on her, Avery and Alice are sitting on the mat, facing each other, and literally handing a toy back and forth and squealing in delight. Cutest thing ever, man.

She also talks a ton, and the squeals of last month have turned into actual syllables: lots of “da, da, da” and a few (very few) mamamama type-sounds. She’s always babbling about something, and it’s still what we wake up to every morning. She also discovered the whisper-voice, which is hilarious to watch her test it out and try to figure out why her voice is so quiet. She also does this “shhhhhhhshing” sound where she pushes the air through her gums- maybe it makes her teething mouth feel better? Who knows, but it’s funny!
She has also JUST started the whole separation anxiety thing- she used to not mind, or notice, when we left the room, but now she will start screaming if we do so. It’s flattering for about 2 seconds, and then. . . not so much:)
She’s also just starting to understand “anticipation” and she LOVES peek-a-boo. At first she looks terrified when I reappear, but then dissolves into giggles. It’s priceless. We have – at minimum – three sessions of peek-a-boo per day. Her favorite is when she’s sitting on the bed, and I duck under the edge of it and then pop back up in different places. And, she’s now mastered the jumper, she proudly jumps up and down, up and down, and it makes me wonder if that exersaucer is going to collapse!
All in all, Alice is doing new things pretty much everyday, and truly growing stronger and more independent and silly by the minute!

Wearing: 6-12 month, 12-18 month (she was 21 lbs at 7 months!)

Nicknames: Kiddo, Honeybear, our gal Al

Outing Highlights:

  • MPLS pride festival
  • Travail Street Party
  • Pediatrician for 6 month check up
  • Bryan’s cabin
  • Mall of America
  • Emergency Room :*(
  • Sandcastle for dinner
    Gottleafs for mussels cook out
  • Erik and Elissa’s dinner
  • Minnetonka cabin
  • Megan and Matt babysit
  • Lafayette club with Nana
  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts with Nana
  • Busters for dinner!
  • Weekend with nana and papa while mom and dad go to Gottleaf’s cabin
  • Time with mom while dad is in San Francisco
  • Hiawatha swimming pool
  • Walk with Rachael and Neil

Feeling: We are definitely more in the “rhythm” of having us both working full time and Alice in daycare, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. As far as parenting and caring for Alice, I think we are certainly more confident- the hard part is planning our days and prioritizing and figuring out how to get everything done that needs to get done, but also make time for fun, outings, each other, and focusing on the good stuff in life! Some weeks it feels like all we are doing is rushing from home to work, getting home from work, taking Alice on a walk, feeding her, putting her to bed, doing more work, washing bottles, cleaning and doing laundry, doing more work, getting some sleep, and then waking up and doing it all over again! Huzzah. Bryan continues to be the calmer, more relaxed one of the relationship- reminding me to calm down, focus on the positive, and just do the best I can. Easier said than done, but I’m a work in progress. And seeing Alice smile every day makes all the craziness worth it- every day with her is like Christmas x1000.









































































Alice is 6 months old!

June. The month of a return to reality: mom goes to work, Alice goes to daycare. AND, the month that Alice turns HALF A YEAR old, which is enough to make a grown man (or mom) cry. Also note that while I wrote her 5 month post yesterday (which made it super late and likely inaccurate), I’m getting this one written on her actual 6-month birthday, so three cheers for me! I have learned that so much changes and changes quickly in just a few days in baby time, so it’s best to just sit down and write these as close to the day as possible.

Eating/Nursing: Take one good look at our gal Al, and you’d probably assume she is a good eater. And with that assumption, you would be . . . correct! It must run in the family, because Alice is never one to turn down a meal nor forget a meal, and besides some instances of distractions (I’ll give you one hint: TILLY!) during breastfeeding, she continues to rock the boob. But with daycare in the picture now, she is also taking more bottles- probably at least one a day, and sometimes up to three if I have meetings that won’t allow me to get down to nurse her. And yep, you heard that right- Alice is actually in daycare 3 days/week in the same building where I work, so if my schedule (and wardrobe choice) allows,  I can run down and nurse her during the day. It’s a pretty sweet set up, and I have learned that nursing is much easier than pumping (so many parts, so much cleaning, so much “moooooo-ing” of those darn machines). Alice eats about ever 3 1/2 hours still, which means she eats 5 times a day, usually around 6:30, 10, 1, 4 and  7. If she is having a bottle, it’s usually about 7 oz, and if she is nursing, it takes about 10-15 minutes total.

Also, I was getting a little more nipple soreness due to her teeth combined with more pumping, but it seems to have gone mostly away now. Phew.

No solids yet, but she has her 6-month appointment this Tuesday where we plan on talking to our ped about it, and will likely get started with some avocado, banana, etc. over the 4th of July weekend. She certainly seems ready- watches us intently while we eat, grabs at my cup or food if it is within reach, and she is a champion sitter. All signs that she is probably ready to get started! We are planning on taking the “baby led weaning” approach, which basically means you feed them what you are eating, and allow them to feed themselves. We’ll see how it goes (definitely messy, that’s for sure).

Sleeping: Still a champion sleeper at night, and getting better at napping! She usually goes down for the night around 7:30 pm, and is usually up right around 6:30 am. Happy as a sleeping little clam in her crib, and we still wake up to her talking or squealing at herself. Good times:) Napping is getting a bit better- she usually has a longer morning and afternoon nap, and then usually sleeps on the way home in the early evening, so one more small nap. On the weekends, we usually put her down about 2 1/2 hours after she wakes up, and then again in the early afternoon when she starts to show signs of sleepiness. She still doesn’t have a strict schedule, but I can start to see it loosely falling into place. We shall see, and for some reason it’s not yet something I worry about, probably because she is such a fantastic nighttime sleeper, and generally in a good mood when she is awake.

Doing: SO much this month! Screaming/squeeling while playing has taken on a whole new level (she really likes the sound of her voice), she rocks the exersaucer, and new this month: Sitting! It’s so fun to watch her sit and play with toys, and I think she really enjoys the perspective compared to lying on her back. She can see so much more! She loves flapping her arms and kicking her legs (sometimes she gets toooo excited and it makes her fall over, but she is usually super stable!), and her hand-eye-coordination is super fast. I swear she has Spidey hands – she grabs everything faster than I can stop her and it goes straight to her mouth.

She also loves walks, people watching (so observant, like her mom!), lots of attention, grabbing hair, belly raspberries, grabbing her feet, and standing up (with assistance, of course).

Wearing: 3-6 months (but it’s tight), and lots of 6-12 month.

Nicknames: Kiddo, Honeybear

Outing Highlights:

  • Wednesday’s at Nana and Papas
  • Freehouse brunch
  • Lake Minnetonka cabin
  • First boat ride
  • Minnehaha Falls work party with Bryan
  • Cousin Laura’s graduation party
  • Walk with Abby and Cade
  • Brits for World Cup soccer
  • Al Vento brunch
  • Minnesota Landscape Arboretum with cousins Lucia and Soli
  • Lake Harriet walk
  • Swimming at the Hiawatha community pool
  • Olive Garden for dinner

Feeling: In all honesty, June was a tough month for mom and dad. I have had a tough time adjusting to working momhood, and Bryan has had to deal with my tough times of adjusting to working momhood. It’s just a really hard transition to make- I spent 8 years working- something that has always been important and valuable to me, and then I spent 5 months with this amazing, reliant, growing baby girl, and THEN I had to attempt to combine these two big parts of life, and it is difficult. I feel like I’m not a great mom, nor am I a great employee, and I’m certainly not a great wife (poor Bryan)- basically that I’m stretched too thin- how am I supposed to be able to do ALL those things well, when they are all such big and important responsibilities? Obviously people do it, and I am slowly but surely learning how to be more gentle with myself and not beat myself up over everything. I’m also trying to be okay with a messier house, a more hectic morning, and certainly less time for things that were previously a bigger part of my life. I think I was so happy during maternity leave because Alice and I were able to do a ton of fun stuff- but now all that extra time is taken up with work (and stressful work) and it really feels like we are just constantly rushing from one thing to the next or getting ready for the next day, catching up on work, etc. The work weeks go by so fast because they are so hectic- and the toughest part is that we really only get 2 hours (or less!) at home with Alice at night since she goes to bed so early. Most nights it’s some play time, a family walk, then eating, a bath and bed! Oye. I know it will get easier with time, and it already has to an extent, but it’s still a very different lifestyle and one that will take awhile to adjust to. I know it’s the right choice for me to be working right now, and truthfully, I think daycare is really good for Alice, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. So please send strength, patience and positive vibes that I can keep a good outlook on this, and try to focus on all the GOOD in our lives and not the struggles. Alice is a true gem and such a blessing, and I can’t imagine a better spouse or dad than Bryan. and THAT is what really matters.

Oh, and one other article that really hit home with me. So well said.

Q. What’s your opinion about whether women can have it all?

I don’t think women can have it all. I just don’t think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all. My husband and I have been married for 34 years. And we have two daughters. And every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother, in fact many times during the day you have to make those decisions.

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Alice is 5 months old!

May, Alice’s 5th month, was all about new adventures, big celebrations, and cherishing every last day of my maternity leave. I think it’s safe to say we made the most of it, and our little Al gal continued to grow, thrive and somehow, become more lovable every day.

Eating/Nursing: We started the month with a 4-day trip to San Francisco for mom and dad, which meant that Alice went 4 days without breastfeeding. Luckily I had built up quite the supply of breastmilk and Alice doesn’t seem to mind having bottles, so it went about as smoothly as you could expect. I had to do a LOT of pumping, which isn’t really easy while on vacation (I pumped in the airport bathroom, the wedding venue bathroom, etc), but I was committed and it turned out just fine. I did have to “pump and dump” quite a bit which is pretty traumatizing, but my goal of the trip was not necessarily to keep all the milk I pumped, but rather to keep my supply up. I had this weird fear that I wasn’t going to be able to pump while on vacation, or that Alice would “forget how to breastfeed” after my return, but luckily all my fears proved to be unnecessary.

During days that we were at home, Alice would usually nurse right when she woke up (6-7 am ish) and again at 9:30ish. I would usually pump once in the morning too (6ish oz), and then we would head to the YMCA, and i would give her the bottle around 1. Then she would nurse again around 3:30/4ish and 7ish. SO, she’s eating 5 times a day- mostly all breastfeeding, but sometimes a bottle or two thrown in there. Bryan would also sometimes do bottles right before bed, just so I could get a break from breastfeeding and they could get some bonding time. I also always pump right before I go to bed, so as to make sure I go to bed “empty.” I have heard of people who get up in middle of the night to pump, but I can say that I not ONCE did that and it never seemed to be a problem. I’m certainly “full” in the morning, and sometimes it’s uncomfortable to lie on my stomach as morning approaches, but nothing that seems to imply that I need to get up in middle of the night to pump. No thanks!

Sleeping: Alice continues to be a rockstar nighttime sleeper- doing great in her crib, and conking out from about 7:30 pm – 6:30ish am every night. She did have a few nights of unrest during this month (from the travel/change of schedule and sleeping in different places, combined with the “4 month sleep regression” where supposedly their sleep cycles change dramatically), but again, it was nothing extreme nor concerning nor difficult to handle. We usually wake to the sound of her talking to herself on the monitor, which is pretty much the sweetest thing ever. It’s impossible to be in a bad mood or overly tired when you wake up to a smiley, eager-to-eat adorable babe every morning!

And while Alice continues to be a great nighttime sleeper, her napping continues to be. . . unpredictable. Sometimes I would feel like she was getting into a routine- a long morning and early afternoon nap, and one short evening nap, but the next day it would be completely different. I’m not worrying too much about this, as I figure that with daycare starting in early June everything will change anyhow, so I mostly just follow her cues- if we see her rubbing her eyes or fussing, we will put her down, and she still falls asleep in her carseat and stroller at times as well. A work in progress!

Doing: Interactive to the max, a lover of attention and activity interspersed with moments of observation and skepticism. Alice still loves walks, people-watching, eating/gnawing on anything she can get her hands on, and smiling at our (somewhat funny) antics. She’s still not a fan of tummy time, has rolled over a couple of times but certainly doesn’t do it consistently, and still spends quite a bit of time with the activity gym. New this month is the “exersaucer,” which we also call the “circle of neglect!”- ha. She didn’t like it at first, but it starting to better control herself in it, and thus enjoy it a bit more and spend longer amounts of time in it. Her hand-eye coordination is improving by the day, and anything she can reach she will shove in her mouth. It’s so fun watching her expressions, and watching her react to seeing and tasting new things.

Also, while we were busy running through the month at a million miles a minute, apparently Alice was busy growing teeth. The week leading up to my sister’s wedding was a busy one and Alice was somewhat fussy (and chewing on her hands, drooling, etc), and sure enough, the day after the wedding we noticed the two little white teeth popped through! DOH. Right at 5 months and there they were!

Wearing: 3-6 months

Nicknames: Honeybear, Kiddo

Outing Highlights:

  • Mom and Dad to San Francisco, so Alice spent the extended weekend with Nana and Papa
  • Nana’s 60th Birthday (Alice stayed at home with Lia when we all went out to eat- she can celebrate with us next year:)
  • First plane ride to St. Louis
  • Meet cousins Cecilia and Annie
  • Annie’s Baptism
  • Lake Calhoun walk
  • Another Twins Game
  • Mom’s 32nd birthday (Copper Hen cake, Sea Salt)
  • Brunch at Boneyard
  • Hudson with dad
  • Sandcastle dinner
  • Playdate with Katie Land and her two daughters, Tilly and Irma
  • Lia and Andy over for dinner
  • Swings at Lake Nokomis
  • Cade’s 1st Birthday party
  • Birth of cousin Soli Alma Cedarleaf-Dahl (5/28)
  • Bridal Luncheon at Lafayette
  • Aunt Megan’s wedding!!

 Feeling: May went by WAY too fast, Alice  grew way too much, and I feel like I was too busy to really appreciate it all. But I’m working on it- constantly trying to keep my focus on what’s important when raising Alice and not getting caught up in the moment with things that won’t matter a few years from now. Just enjoy the NOW, try to cherish every smile, raspberry, giggle and grunt, and be thankful for the amazing little daughter we have. Indeed, indeed.










































































Alice is 4 months old!

I’m a little (okay, a lot) late with this one since the beginning of May was so busy (mom and dad to San Francisco, and the whole family to St. Louis), but at the end of April Alice turned FOUR months old and just as with the months past, I’m in awe of the changes and growth, as well as how my love for her continues to grow every darn day. Motherhood is just so fulfilling to me. #thankful

But on to the updates!

After one gratuitous photo, of course:)


Eating/Nursing: Pretty smooth sailing with the nursing in month 4. Alice definitely has her groove, and the struggles of the first couple of months are a distance memory. She is nursing like a champ, and happy to take bottles whenever needed. In fact, she was 15 lbs and 14 oz at her 4-month appointment (92%), so she the proof is in the pudding: the girl likes to eat, and does it well! I think month 4 was a pretty sweet spot as far as supply and demand- I was able to keep up with her demands, and also pump about an additional 6-8 oz daily to store. Now that we are nearing 5 months old, I’m noticing that she is eating a lot more, and thus I am not able to pump as much. Hopefully my body will catch up with hers (and I am able to continue pumping when I return to work in a few weeks- but that’s a different topic for a different day).

Her spitting up is also slowing down a bit- it definitely peaked around 10-12 weeks, and she still has her moments of spewing, but noticeably less than those crazy couple of weeks. The bad news is that the spit-up has been replaced with a different bodily function, for it has been the month of blow-outs! I think part of the reason was that I was resistant to move up to size 3 diapers (I HATE wasting them, so I insisted that she get through the pack of size 2s before we bought the bigger size. Bryan informed me that it was only about $5.62 worth of diapers, but I was determined. It was only after a morning of 3 outfit changes that I finally accepted the fact that it was time:)

I’ll write more about our vacations in the next post, but overall Alice did GREAT. It’s somewhat traumatizing to dip into your freezer stash, but that’s what I built it up for! I’m not against formula at all, but I would really like to nurse/pump as long as I can (6 months? 9 months? A YEAR?), because it’s F.R.E.E. So I’m doing everything I can to stay dedicated and positive, and protest my supply. Sometimes I feel like it’s all I think about, and I know everything will change with my return to the working world, so we are just taking it a day at a time. All in all, however, I am pleased with how we have done to date. High five, Alice! And Bryan, for putting up with my obsessions and worries.

Oh, I should also note that I am STILL using the My Breast Friend when I nurse at home- it’s just so comfortable. I’m obviously happy to nurse without it when we are out and about, but if I’m home I strap it on. I think some people only use it for the newborn phase. Not me!

Finally, we got the go ahead from our pediatrician at her 4-month appointment that we are free to start solids, but most moms I have talked to wait until about 6 months. I also want to do some research on baby led weaning (sounds VERY intriguing), not to mention the fact that we need a high chair. I don’t see what the rush is to get started with that, but I’m sure that in June or so we will begin the adventure (and say good bye to only modestly smelly poos).

Sleeping: Right around 3 months, we moved Alice from the bassinet to the crib. While it was certainly nice to have her in our room at the beginning, we knew it was time as she was starting to outgrow the thing, and pretty much sleeping through the night, and I was ready to more easily access my sock and underwear drawer:) The first week of the transition was pretty tough- she was up every couple of hours, I think just out of concern for where she was! We were firm with not feeding her during these times (she had been going all night without a feeding for weeks, so she certainly didn’t need it), and usually just went into pacify her. And sure enough, about a week after the transition, she was back to sleeping through the night like a champ.

I also think we did a pretty good job of making her nighttime routine comforting (props to Bryan for that, as he always does bedtime and Alice loves it). After I nurse her, usually around 7:30/8 pm, they go in the nursery, change her diaper, put on her sleepsack, read two books, SING twinkle, twinkle and then HUM twinkle, twinkle, turn on the sound machine and put her down in the crib. She is always awake when we put her down for the night, but she usually just babbles herself to sleep. So cute to hear and see on the monitor. She also rarely cries in the morning- we usually wake to her talking to herself, and she is often in a totally different position than the one we left her- no rolling over in the crib yet, but she does an impressive amount of rotating!

The other change to note is that her bedtime keeps getting earlier and earlier- at the beginning of the month her last feeding was around 9:30, but now it’s closer to 7:30 and she is almost always in bed by 8 pm, and during the month she was up around 6 am (though now we are making it to 7 am quite often!). Basically, she is an excellent nighttime sleeper to date. KNOCK ON WOOD. I know things like rolling over, teething, etc. will change that, but we will take what we can!

Her naps are still disorganized and unpredictable- perhaps her segue to daycare will help remedy that? I could probably be a little more strict with it, but I think that up until about 6 months it’s okay to just let them do their thing. She certainly likes to nap in her carseat or stroller, as opposed to her crib, during the day.

Doing: The biggest thing we noticed this month is how interactive and alert Alice is, and what a little (BIG) personality she is developing! And so much more talking and screaming!

She’s still loving the activity gym, but instead of quietly lying and observing, with a few intermittent grabs, she now OWNS that thing- like a mini-Godzilla. She kicks and grabs and shakes and screams, and rolls on her side and then the other side, and usually ends up squirming so much that she is OFF the mat. Her hand eye coordination is still a work in progress, but she will eventually get things in her mouth, and everything heads in that direction- whether it be toys, hair, earrings, fingers, your face, whatever! She’ll gnaw on it.

She didn’t roll over until about 4.5 months (so more on that next time), but she lies on her side all the time and rolls back and forth. It’s amazing how much she can move, even without rolling, and this is how she rotates around in her crib, off the activity gym, etc. Towards the end of the month she also started testing out some of the “vertical” play options for babies: the bumbo, the johnny jump up, and the exersaucer. She was hesitant at first, and didn’t last very long with any of them, but every day she seems to enjoy them more and more. You know when she’s done, however, because of the massive back arches and screaming (why is that starting already?! Am I in trouble? Oye).

We continue to LOVE walks- she is a good observer like her mom and loves just staring out at that big bright world. We have also started placing her directly in the stroller (instead of in her carseat attached to the stroller), and while I miss being able to see her, it’s obvious that she loves the new perspective- and the stroller is much lighter and easier to push!

Other likes: being held in a standing position, any song/game that involves moving her arms (wheels on the bus, how big is alice, random dance moves), sing-alongs, fake coughing, chewing and kissing, baths, and watching Tilly run around like a crazy dog when we let her out of her crate upon arriving home.

Dislikes: Getting her nose sucked with the nosafrida (she is conditioned to open her eyes really wide and shut her mouth and start kicking when I approach her with it- actually quite entertaining), the process of getting in or out of her car seat, napping in her crib, working out a poo, tummy time, smiling for the camera (she gets SO serious when it comes out!)

Wearing: 3-6 month, and even some 6-9/6-12 month pieces. She’s a solid lady:)

Nicknames: Kiddo, Honeybear, Al Gal, Big Al (might need to stop this one once she understands:)

Outing Highlights:

  • Minnehaha Falls walk
  • Dad day while mom is at Onalaska wedding shower
  • Mall of America with Krista Decatur and baby Lacey
  • First trip to Home Depot
  • Lunch with Iuli and Joanne (mom’s colleagues) at Town Hall Lanes
  • Erik and Elissa babysat while mom and dad went to Bunkers  to listen to Megan’s wedding band
  • March Madness party with Abby and Cade
  • Rachael and Zach’s housewarming party
  • Wayzata walk and Ben and Jerry’s free scoop!
  • First Twins Game
  • Visiting the Easter Bunny at Southdale
  • Visiting dad at work
  • Walk with Lia, babysitting with Lia
  • Lunch with Rachael at Turtle Bread Company
  • Megan’s wedding shower in Orono
  • Southdale walk and dinner with Stef Cossalter
  • Nana babysitting
  • Mom 10K and brunch at Wise Acre with Simon-Millers
  • Walk with Abby
  • Orono visits
  • Gam and Pappa visits and pizza parties
  • Lucia’s 3rd birthday party
  • Christine Scott and Emilia visit

Feeling (mom and dad, primarily): Our 3rd month was definitely easier in a lot of ways- sleeping through the night, nursing much better, and a baby that actually gives back with smiles and sounds and other hilariously adorable antics- but also tough in a way because the newness of everything has kind of worn off. I”m not sure how to best describe it, so sorry for being cryptic, but there have been lots of attempts to figure out our “new normal” and realizations that this (awesome) kid is with us for the long haul! We obviously love her more and more each day, but that’s not to say that everything has been a flawless transition.

Overall, we are absolutely loving the parent thing, and doing our best to be the best parents we can be (while also being good friends, daughter/sons, employees, spouses, etc)- lots to balance.

I’ll also write more about this next time, but I’m a blabbering mess every time I even THINK about going back to work and dropping Alice off with RANDOM PEOPLE every morning, so send me lots of strength and good vibes if you could. I know I’m not alone in the venture, and like everything it will get easier in time, and I certainly don’t think being a SAHM is the right choice for me or our household, but it is still going to be a very rough transition for me.

So for now, I’m going to go enjoy my last couple of weeks at home. And you enjoy these pics of our sweet girl. LOVE HER.

Oh, and so I don’t forget if/when we have another baby: I’m still losing SO.MUCH.HAIR. Cripes.










































































Two birthdays.

Last year on my birthday, I made an impromptu doctor appointment to check on what I was convinced to be a severe case of double breast cancer (fatalist, I know).

I left flabbergasted, with this:



A much better diagnosis.

And this year on my birthday, I’ve got this bundle of awesome.

Life is good.





Two ways.

Alice demonstrating her two favorite finger-eating moves: the double-finger finagle and the thumb+pointer gnaw.


Alice is 3 months old!

Last Friday, Alice turned 3 months old- which means she is out of the 4th trimester! I also think it’s the unofficial end of her being a “newborn,” which does make me somewhat sad, but is also extremely exciting. She is growing and changing so much, and has transformed from a fragile, sleepy newborn into a chubby, smiling, babbling BABY! It’s incredible and overwhelming all at the same time, and it’s true that time is officially flying when this little lady in our lives.


Eating/Nursing: Ever since we got over that awful cold at around 6 weeks, Alice has continued to eat like a champ. Most days she eats around 6 am, 9 am, noon, 3 pm, 6 pm, and 9 pm, with no feedings in middle of the night. I think she might eat more during the day than many kids her age, but I think that keeps her sleeping through the night as she has been doing since about 6 weeks old. So we’ll take it. My favorite feedings with her might be the 6 am and 9 am ones, as she is so hungry and happy and content from the long night of sleep. It’s a quiet and special way to start the day.

We still haven’t had to supplement with formula at all as my supply has been great, and while I do prefer to breastfeed since it’s more efficient (and the bonding!), I also like the break of having Bryan give her a bottle, so we probably do that about once a day. I also try to pump at least once a day, so I can continue to build my stockpile in the freezer for our upcoming vacation (which I don’t even want to talk about yet- while I know it will be good and fun for Bryan and I to get away alone, I am going to miss Alice SO much!). I’m not really sure how much she is taking in at each breastfeeding session, but we have increased her bottles from about 3 oz last month to 4-5 oz this month, and she can easily guzzle them down! Growing baby. Also, we don’t know her official weight, but we do know that she was 12 lbs 4 oz at her 2 month appointment last month, and when we tried to weigh her on our scale last week, it appeared that she is approaching the 15 lb mark! Eeek. We will know for sure at her 4 month appointment at the end of the month. And based on the rolls on her arms and legs, those cheeks, and her growing belly, I hope she isn’t packing on TOO many pounds!

One other thing is that I feel like she has started to spit up more the past 3 weeks or so- nothing alarming, but definitely more than at first. I don’t know if it is the larger quantities that she is consuming, or the fact that she is so much more active (the KICKING on the playmat is insane!), but we have been trying to be more diligent about burping, and keeping her upright after she eats. Sometimes we put her down on the playmat too soon, and she spits up and it literally soaks the whole back of her head! Not fun, and I don’t think regurgitated breast milk is the best hair conditioner:) I’m going to ask the pediatrician about it at her next appointment, but I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. Just something to note!

Overall, breastfeeding is definitely getting easier (I have even mastered pumping in the CAR!) and I’m proud of how it has provided what our girl needs to grow. The next couple of months will be interesting as we add in vacations, big events, and my return to work, but I’m just going to continue to work my hardest to keep it going, but also not beat myself up if I’m not able to do it as long as I’d like.

Sleeping: Our little sleeping champ! Her napping during the day is still mostly “disorganized” and unpredictable- as soon as I think she is falling into a routine, it changes. I swear she has sleepy days and awake days, which vary based on what we are doing/have done. I would say that most week days, when Bry is at work and I’m at home with her, look like this:

  • 6 0r 7 am: awake to nurse, and then we read some books or have quiet time, but she gets pretty drowsy again pretty quickly.
  • 8-9ish: nap
  • 9-10ish: eat again, play, get dressed, bath, usually head to YMCA (she naps in car)
  • 10:30ish-12:30ish: usually awake at YMCA daycare
  • 12:30ish: eat
  • 1-3ish: long afternoon nap (and my favorite time for running errands, getting stuff done around the house, etc)
  • 3:30ish: eat, play for a bit
  • 5-6 pm: cat nap
  • 6:30ish: eat, play a bit
  • 8-9:30ish: nap
  • 9:30ish: last meal of day, put down for the night.

Again, this varies a bit by the day, but I’d say that she still sleeps at least a little bit between each feeding, and definitely has a longer afternoon nap (1-2 hours), sandwiched by shorter ones in the morning and evening (30 min-1 hour). She usually goes down for the night around 9:30, and has been waking up around 6. Amazing! We are aiming to move that bedtime up over the next couple of weeks, and are also trying to implement more of a nighttime bedtime routine- rocking her in her room rather than out in the family room (too many distractions), talking in low, quiet voices leading up to it, rubbing her back, etc. She also JUST moved from her bassinet to her crib over the weekend, which I will write about next month. Poor girl was literally touching the top and bottom of the bassinet, and I was ready to have my side of the bed back. So while I was sad to see her leave this stage, it was definitely time to get her in the crib!

Doing: Is it normal to be extremely excited when your child starts to discover her hands and begins to stuff them in her mouth and grab things? Because I am. This kid is so fun, and I feel so lucky to be able to spend my days with her (for now!) and witness all the new developments and growing personality. Her smiles are bigger and so much more frequent, and her entire face lights up when she really gets going- exposed gums and all! Both Bryan and I almost melt every time we see it, and I’ll never forget the first real BIG smile she gave us- Bry and I were sitting next to each other on the couch and Alice was on his lap facing us and we were “talking” and she just gave us the biggest, greatest smile ever and I almost died. Sweetest thing ever. And speaking of talking, Alice is really starting to ramp up her chatting- squealing, squeaking, and squacking all day long. I love to have “conversations” with her and sing alongs- quite entertaining for the both of us!

And as mentioned above, Alice has discovered her hands and it’s so fun to watch her stare at them in fascination and then quickly try to jam them all in her mouth, which sometimes ends in frustration or self-inflicted pain/surprise and tears, but she is working on it! When she is really tired she also tries to suck on her hands and fingers, and while she used to just stare at the animals on her activity gym, she now grabs them and hits them and keeps them swinging! A huge change from last month. She also loves to kick her legs, and has almost total head control which is really nice because we can carry her or sit her in our lap without having to worry about too much bobbing.

She is also so much more attentive in her car seat and when we are out and about- she loves watching the other kids in the nursery at the YMCA, sitting on the bench with me at Nickolodeon Universe in the Mall of America and watching the rides, and while we always try to avoid it- she definitely catches the TV if it is on and she is awake. The past week or two she has also begun to recognize Tilly- and a little lick to the toes will make her smile!

Her favorite “activity” at home is definitely still the activity gym- I have a nice system of links and toys down where she can reach them, and she can last for an hour on that thing- just kicking and talking and grabbing away.

Wearing: 0-3 month BARELY, and lots of 3-6 month clothing! It really is true- they grow so fast, and I swear she has some pieces that she only wore once or twice. Note to self when I’m trying to practice self control when buying her clothes.

Nicknames: Kiddo, Honeybear, Big gal pal Al, our girl

Outing Highlights:

  • Avi’s (Ashwood) 1st birthday party at the Shoreview Community Center
  • Brunch at Erik and Elissa’s with Lucia and Hazel
  • Baby-wearing barre class with mom at Blooma
  • Lunch at Pepitos with Nana and Papa’s Carleton friends
  • Our last Amma new mom’s class
  • Pizza Luce lunch downtown with mom’s old co-workers
  • Hosting a hockey night at our house
  • Happy Hour with Matt and Megan at Toby Keiths
  • Pizza night at Rachael and Zachs
  • First walk outside!
  • Play class with dad at Amma
  • Visit to great-great grandma Ruth
  • Hosting mom’s childhood friend, Margo, for dinnr
  • Celebrating Gam’s 70th birthday with family brunch
  • Adam’s cabin night
  • Dinner with Mileusnic’s in Orono
  • Minnesota Zoo with Cossalters
  • Visit to General Mills to meet mom’s coworkers
  • Hanging with dad while mom hosted Megan’s wedding shower
  • Visit from Abby
  • First trip to Ikea
  • First trip to Lafayette country club for dinner with nana and papa
  • Kershaw’s March Madness party

Feeling (mom and dad, primarily): We obviously have our days, and there are times when I am feeling sleep deprived, stressed or overwhelmed (or all of the above), but for the most part we continue to do really well with the new responsibility, love, decisions, sacrifices, emotions, etc. I’m much more confident in my mothering, and find myself googling things less and less. I’m learning that as soon as you think you have something figured out, things change again, so I shouldn’t spend so much time worrying or trying to figure things out. As moms, we just have to trust our gut and do our best, and in most cases that will suffice.

On a different note: post-partum hair loss is a real thing! I swear I didn’t lose one hair during my entire pregnancy, and now I nearly clog the shower drain with every shower and I don’t even want to brush my hair because so much comes out. Huzzah. It’s also time for me to start exercising more and eating healthy, as it turns out breastfeeding doesn’t give you permission to eat whatever you want. Bummer, but understandable:)

Bryan, as usual, has been great at listening to my worries, helping me problem-solve and calming my fears, and is truly an amazing dad. I think one of the things that I wasn’t prepared for was the joy it brings me when I see Bryan and Alice bonding- it’s pretty much the sweetest thing ever (and how I wish I could be a fly on the wall when they are home alone- not because I want to hover, but because I want to hear/see their bonding!). Sometimes it’s tough when he gets home from work because he doesn’t necessarily want to immediately jump into baby duty, but I often want a little break. We have found that discussing the evenings plans makes it better for both us (I’ll go on a jog now, you cook dinner while I nurse, then I’ll give the last bottle and put her down, etc) as we aren’t taken by surprise and know what to expect for the night. We are both looking forward to when we can spend more time outside, even if it’s just sitting on our deck, in the evening. Bryan is also the expert at putting her down at night, which I am so thankful and appreciative of.

Alice is such a perfect addition to our family, and as I like to call her: “pure joy.” We feel so lucky to have our best gal Al in our life, and I don’t think we take a moment for granted. What fun adventures (and obstacles) lie ahead! Which reminds me, I have been meaning to share a quote that I saw when I was pregnant and wrote down, as it is proving to be extremely truthful:

What children take from us, they give. We become people who feel more deeply, question more deeply, and love more deeply.

Indeed, indeed.

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Can’t get enough of it.





Alice’s Nursery (finally!)

Tilly would like to officially welcome you to. . .


Alice’s Room!


For those of you who might be new here, this room used to be the office/wardrobe/catch all room, as seen here and here.

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Looking back, it’s quite the transformation and it was truly a labor of love, so I hope you like it! I imagined it as a nursery for many years, and now, every time I walk in I can’t believe that we have such a special room in our house. It was also therapeutic for me to put this room together and was a huge part of me getting excited for and falling in love with our little girl before she entered the world.

Before we look around, note that I did put together a “mood board” last summer, with the criteria that I didn’t want anything too girly or too boyish, too theme-y, or too “baby-ish.”


Now, the photobomb tour of what actually came out of this.

I like to think of the room as having three areas: the sleeping station (where Alice is yet to actually sleep since she’s still in a bassinet in our room), the changing station (where we change things like diapers, clothes, and then more diapers and more clothes), and the reading/rocking station (where we attempt to read books to a somewhat distractable 10 week old, and where we attempt to rock to sleep a somewhat resistant 10 week old).

So, let’s start with the soon-to-be sleeping area, which is actually the one area where I still have a project left to complete. Can you tell what is missing from the below?


A crib skirt! Because every crib needs a skirt, right? I have some fabric that I want to use, but have yet to actually sit down and get it done. In time, in time. Anyhow, skirt or not, the crib is a simple Graco from Target. We vacillated on spending more money on a nicer one, and even considered taking a hand-me-down from family, but in the end decided to go middle-of-the-road with the Graco Lauren. I have yet to report on the quality since, as mentioned above, Alice is still in a bassinet in our room. We do use it as a swaddle station of sorts right now, and so far it seems fine. We did spend a little more money on a mattress, but again, I can’t quite report back on that quite yet!


The black and white tapestry is something that I’ve had for years, and truthfully, I have NO idea where it came from. I just read that newborns like black and white patterns so I put it up right before Alice was born, and I swear she noticed it on day one! The other nice thing is that it’s lightweight, so I don’t have to worry about a huge or heavy piece falling on her in the crib. That would not be good!


The mobile is a totally awesome gift made by our very talented sister-in-law, and the little cross was also a gift from a family friend.


The curtains were also purchased a couple of years ago on mega sale from West End, but were just sitting in our basement until I realized they would work well in the nursery. We also replaced the bamboo shades with the faux-wood blinds that we get for dirt cheap at Menards (and also have in our bedroom and dining room). I think I might have to sew some black out fabric on the back side of the curtains, because even with the blinds and curtains closed, it’s not as dark as I’d like it to be in there. And I imagine that as Alice gets older and more aware, this could be an issue!

Oh, and to the right of the crib we have a simple folding hamper from Target. It’s not the fanciest thing, but I like it because the material is wipeable (which has proved useful numerous times. . . I won’t go into detail as to why!). I also have some under bed storage bins under the crib which hold some clothes that Alice doesn’t yet fit in- again, I hope to cover that up with the crib skirt soon.

On to the changing station, where we spend a LOT of time (so.many.diaper.changes).


The dresser/changing table was a find at the Cottage House last summer- I bought it on a whim, before we knew whether we were having a boy or girl, and it kind of became the piece that the rest of the room was built around. I think I paid about $75 for it, and it came already painted an finished in that fun turquoise color. I loved the height, the storage capacity, and the simple shape. Looking at it now, however, I think it’s good we had a girl because it’s somewhat feminine.


The top is pretty simple- a changing pad with a cover (we have two, and we also have about 9 of these, which are needed and changed often!), a bin with diapers, wipes and the “toiletries” that we use often: Butt paste, calendula lotion (LOVE this stuff), Aquaphor and saline drops. The basket has some shoes and fun little stuffed animals. . . and Sophie!


The drawers are filled with clothes, socks, hats, more toiletries, nooks, hair stuff, and more! I’m already putting some newborn and 0-3 month stuff in storage, which is so sad. It’s true: they grow so fast. But onward we move.


Above the dresser/changing table is an ikea wall shelf with some photos and a few framed pieces that I threw together. The dogs are actually wrapping paper, and the “it was always you” print was a free download (and I added the two dogs). The gold vase was clearance at Target, the twig is from Madeline Island, and the owl silhouette is from Patina, I believe.


Oh, and the touch tone wall hanger is one of my favorite pieces- I got it from Land of Nod (I actually used a crate and barrel gift card that was left over from our wedding!). I also got this, which is yet to be used, and some of these for the closet. On the wall to the right of the dresser is a framed piece of paper from Papersource, and two twig frames that I got for $1 each at Flamingos. Oh, and the lamp was one that used to be in our bedroom- I think it was originally from TJmaxx.

Continuing around the room, we are now at the reading/rocking station! It looks rather busy now that I see it in photos, but in person it’s one of my favorite corners of our house.


The little white side table also came from our bedroom, and it’s filled with some of our parenting resource books and topped with some toys (including one of my favorites: cordy the pig!). The little duck figurine is also from Flamingos, and the frame was a gift from my mom.


The chair was a gift from my parents- it’s the Charleston glider from Target and so far we LOVE it. It’s much more reasonably priced than similar models, and both Bryan and I find it super comfortable and most importantly, EFFECTIVE in rocking Alice to sleep. I imagine we will continue to spend more time here as Alice grows and we read together more and more. Oh, and the pillow was again something that I already had- I got it at Urban Outfitters many years ago and always thought it would be cute in a nursery (it’s actually based on Where the Wild Things Are!).



Speaking of reading, how great are these shelves? I knew we wouldn’t have room for a full bookshelf, but didn’t want to use a picture rail because it wouldn’t be deep enough. These were just what we needed, and while they don’t hold hundreds of books, they are plenty deep for a good collection (3.5 inches deep), and we can always rotate books in and out as needed.


The gallery wall is a collection of fun pieces: the “climb every mountain” print from Etsy (placed on a piece of paper from Papersource), “you are my favorite work of art” which I made with mod podge, paper and little florets that I made from an old gray sweater, the feather print (which is actually a gift bag- hence the handle!), an owl note card from a friend, and the white owls from a thrift store. Also, the curtain holds are actually wall hooks that I just nailed horizontally instead of vertically.


And finally there is my felt garland- the bigger round pieces are actually a coaster set from the clearance room at Anthropologie (I just used a hole punch to sting them), and the triangles are simple felt from the craft store.



The closet isn’t anything too special- some cube shelves filled with blankets, swaddles, bibs, extra sheets, towels, etc, and plenty of little hangers for her many (TOO many) little clothes!     dogbaby

A few other things: I often hang toys from the touch tone wall hanger- Alice LOVES looking at them while getting changed, and the rug was also bought with leftover wedding gifts cards from CB2 (I didn’t see it online anymore!). The wall paint is Silver Drop by Behr, and the new ceiling light fixture is this one.



I hope you like it, and thanks for visiting!

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Alice is 2 months old!

At 2 months old, I’m already so sentimental about how quickly she is growing and changing. If this is how the rest of her childhood is going to be, I’m in trouble! Alas, here are some of the highlights (the ups and the downs) of the last month.


We had her 2-month appointment last week, so I have her stats:

Weight: 12 lbs 4 oz – 72nd percentile

Height: 1 ft 10 in – 60th percentile

Head: 15.8 in – 93rd percentile

Eating/Nursing: I’m diligently continuing to breastfeed Alice- month 2 was a bit difficult since she had a really bad cold around 5-6 weeks, which combined with the typical fussies of babies that age, made for our toughest weeks yet. She was very congested, which means that while nursing she really couldn’t breathe, which obviously made eating hard! We spent a lot of time attempting to nurse while bouncing on the yoga ball, and a nursing session that usually lasts about 15 minutes would take an hour because I would have to stop and calm her down, burp her, and then we’d try again. It was exhausting and emotionally draining, but we persevered and she is doing so much better now! Rarely does she get worked up while nursing, and if she does, we just pause for a bit and then hop back on the horse. She is also really good at dealing with fast letdown (typically in the morning), probably because she is just bigger and stronger now. She eats about every 2.5-3 hours during the day, and the past couple of nights has gone 6-7 hours between feedings! Thus, I try to stock them up in the morning (feeding every 2-2.5 hours sometimes), to make up for the long stretch of sleeping at night.

I also continue to pump whenever I feel like I have extra supply (again, typically in the morning) and if time allows, and already have a pretty good stock in the freezer. Also, if I have plans and know I’m going to miss a feeding, I will pump beforehand so Bry has a bottle on hand. That way, we can build up the stock for vacations and for when I return to work. So far, it is working well for us, and Alice seems to have no problem at all with bottles. Let’s hope it continues! I’m trying not to have any expectations for how long I will breastfeed, but hoping to make it to at least 9 months. We shall see what the summer looks like when I return to work, etc.

Sleeping: At the beginning of the month, and especially while she was sick with her cold, Alice was sleeping a lot during the day and still getting up every 4 hours or so at night. But the past couple of weeks have been fantastic- she is sleeping from around 10:30 pm- 5:30 am, and just this morning made it all the way to 6:30! So, we typically get a 6-7 hour chunk of sleep at night, and during the day it’s still a little haphazard, but I’ve started to notice a longer morning nap, and then lots of cat naps throughout the afternoon. Another thing we have noticed is that she is starting to get more distracted with what is going on around her- we used to be able to rock her in the family room with lights on and sometimes even the TV, but now we have to either rock her in her dark room or put a light blanket over her head so she can’t look all around and forget to fall asleep. So far, the blanket trick has worked really well.

I often reference this timeline of baby sleep and have found that Alice is pretty spot on with where most babies are at her age. We’ll take it, and overall we feel really well rested and happy. She is still sleeping in a bassinet in our room, but we plan on transitioning her to her crib in the next couple of weeks.

Doing: She’s turning into a real little person with a real big personality! The amount of smiles and coos is growing everyday, and it melts my heart every darn time. I think her first smile was around 5 weeks, but truth be told it still could have been related to gas. But now they are real, and reactive to our antics, our voices, or our big over-the-top expressions. She’s also really into her tongue- moving it in and out and all around during her smiling and talking sessions. Speaking of talking, her coos and squawks are getting louder and longer everyday, and I love chatting with her during diaper changes, while she is in her rocker, and pretty much any other time. I have also started singing to her lots (which isn’t pretty), because I swear she “sings along”- or else she is trying to drown me out! Either way, it’s awesome and adorable. She is also a pro at tummy time and holding her head up, and according to the pediatrician, she holds her head up like a 4 month old! I think it’s because Bryan has been an adamant tummy time proponent from day 1, and upon returning home from work always asks if we have done our TT sessions for the day! She also loves her activity gym and can be content under it for 30 minutes at a time just kicking and talking and grabbing and smiling, especially since we added this black and white wimmer ferguson mobile to the mix. She LOVES that thing, along with Freddy the Firefly. Is it normal for babies to smile at inanimate objects? Because sometimes she will flash a huge grin at that thing! Another neat thing is that she is starting to track our voices- she will turn her head to wherever we are talking from, and watches us as we walk in or out of a room. She also still likes butt pats, bouncing on the yoga ball, her rocker chair, staring at the gallery wall in our dining room, and pretty much anything that involves lights, contrasting colors, or movement!

Wearing: 0-3 month, and even some 3-6 month items are starting to make it into the rotation! Much of her first month was spent in the long sleeve onesies, so I’ve been having a ton of fun the past couple of weeks dressing her up more often. Lots of stripes and polka dots! Having a little girl is just so fun in this regard, at least until she starts making decisions on her own and having an opinion on what she wears (though I do look forward to that, too!).

Nicknames: Kiddo, Honeybear, our gal/our pal Al, Sweet thang

Outing Highlights:

  • Fat Lorenzos pizza night with the Nolan-Kramers
  • Superbowl girls night in Uptown
  • New moms class at Amma every Tuesday
  • Nana and Papa babysat while mom went to the dermatologist
  • Dinner in Orono with the Cossalter and Decaturs, including baby Lacey
  • Dinner with Lia and Andy at Parka
  • Finnish pancakes at Aunt Judys and Uncle Toms
  • Pediatrician visit (twice in one week during her cold!)
  • Audiology test (she passed!)
  • Town Hall Lanes with Rachael, Zach and Neil
  • Visit from Abby, Ryan and Cade
  • Chatterbox dinner with mom and dad
  • “Help” the Simon-Millers move into their new house
  • Aunt Megan babysat while mom and dad went to Andy Shermans bday dinner
  • Picked up nana and papa from the airport after their 2 week trip to Maui
  • 2 month appointment with Dr. Bailey

Feeling (mom and dad, primarily): This month has been all about settling into routine and getting used to the new normal. The bleary-eyed first four weeks are behind us and it’s been nice to come out of our cave. Bryan and I both LOVE being parents, and spend a lot of time talking about how awesome Alice is and how we have the coolest kid in the world. So far, we are pretty proud of how we have handled the transition, and continue to try hard to retain our social life, sense of self, personal hobbies, etc. It is pretty crazy how significantly your life changes when you have a child, but for the most part, we don’t really even think about all the things that we are no longer able to do (maybe because we don’t have time!). As mentioned last month, parenthood is extremely confusing and challenging, but also totally rewarding and worth every moment of stress. Sometimes Bryan and I get caught up in the moment and have little disagreements, but soon after we realize what happened, forgive each other, and try to talk it out.

I have also found that as Alice gets older and more engaged in the world around her, that the days at home get loooong, so we are trying hard to have some sort of outing everyday. I think that as the weather gets nicer, this will get easier and easier. I also find that if I do get out of the house during the day, I’m in a better mood when Bryan gets home and we are more likely to have a smooth evening.

All in all, being a mom is pretty much one of the most fun things in the world. To be honest, I’m a bit shocked at how much I like it – but that’s another post for another day. For now, I think this concludes our update, so on to photos!

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Alice is one month old!

The little lady turned one month old last week- how is that possible?

I’m going to try my best to do monthly updates, so despite the fact that they will likely be a little late, know that they will come sooner or later! And I will also break them up into sections so it’s easier to manage, and to track her changes month over month. I can already tell how quickly time is going to pass and how much she will change each month (let alone each week), so I will do my best to be diligent with this!

There will obviously be photos, too:)


Eating/Nursing: The first couple of weeks she was eating round the clock every 3 hours, but since she is gaining weight so well, we no longer wake her night. On a typical day, she eats around 7 am, 10 am, 1 pm, 4 pm, 7 pm, 10 pm, and 3 am. So, about every 3-3 1/2 hours during the day, and sometimes a 5 hour stretch at night. It’s getting longer every night, so I’m hoping it will soon be 6 or 7 hour stretches!

Nursing definitely has its ups and downs, but overall we are doing A-OK. Lots of soreness and experimenting with positions the first couple of weeks, and recent difficulties with a fast letdown and oversupply, which leads to some choking and coughing and screaming, but we do our best to work through it by taking breaks, burping more often, and letting her work out the gas and poos when necessary. I have a love/hate relationship with nursing- it’s awesome to know that I am giving her nutrients straight from my body, and it’s certainly cheap and flexible, but it also can be pretty emotionally draining, and knowing that right now I am the only one who can feed her can be pretty overwhelming and at times, lonely (no one else knows what this is like, it’s up to me and me only to keep this child healthy and growing, etc). Obviously the pros outweigh the cons for us, so we will keep trucking along despite the tough days.

I also started pumping about 2 weeks ago, and try to do it once a day- usually in the morning- and our stock in the freezer is already getting pretty big. It’s nice to know that I have the freedom to leave the house for longer than 2 hours if desired, and am looking forward to doing so more often. At first we were worried about how she would take her first bottle, but in typical Alice fashion she took it like a champ and made us wonder what we were so worried about in the first place.

Sleeping: She still sleeps between every feeding, though the last few days she has been up for nearly 2 hours in the morning and early afternoon! Definitely becoming more awake and alert everyday, and in general, she is awake for about 30 minutes or so after eating during the day. As mentioned above, if we feed her around 10 or 11, she is only up once in middle of the night (usually around 3 or 4) which is super duper fantastic for everyone- diaper changing dad, nursing mom, and growing baby alike. She is still in the bassinet, which we move into our room at night and into the living room during the day. We also use a swaddle at night, but during the day we are a little more lax and frankly, I’m fine with her not sleeping as deeply during the day because I think it makes her sleep better at night! That may or may not be right. Alas, I’m not in a rush to get her into her crib, but we will probably start thinking about it at 2 months. We are also fortunate that Alice sleeps just fine in her car seat and doesn’t mind when we lie her down after she has fallen asleep- I’ve heard some stories about babies that won’t sleep in their car seat or only sleep if they are being held- eeeek!

Doing: It’s been so fun to watch Alice change and grow since the day we brought her home. Favorite activities include: tummy time, hanging on her activity mat, gazing at windows, sun streaks on the walls and Freddy the Firefly, reading and singing with dad, stretching, holding eye contact, being a “squirmy worm” on the changing table, relaxing in the sink/bathtub, receiving butt pats, bouncing on the yoga ball, tooting and coughing at the same time (that’s talent, right?), sticking out her tongue, squeaking and cooing, listening to our voices, and doing her best to process the world around her! I swear she recognizes our voices, and I can tell she wants to smile but just hasn’t quite figured out how to respond to our antics. So soon, I can just sense it! And considering I almost cry when I see her smile from gas, I have a feeling the real thing will leave me a puddle on the ground.

Wearing: 0-3 month clothing. Favorites are her star sweater, owl onesie from Diana, smartwool socks, zutano brown booties, and lots of onesies:)

Nicknames: Kiddo, Honey bear (or honey hornet when she is mad), Baby gal Al

Outing Highlights:

  • Midtown Global Market to pick up her birth certificate
  • First dinner out: Longfellow Grill on Jan. 11th
  • Orono dinner with the Mileusnics
  • Mall of America (three times so far, once for Great-Grandma Jane’s 75th birthday)
  • New Mama class at Amma in Edina
  • Rainbow Chinese, Fat Lorenzos Pizza
  • Aria in downtown Minneapolis (to help Aunt Megan with wedding planning)
  • Aunt Megan’s apartment building in St. Louis Park
  • Rachael and Zach’s for a pizza party with Neil
  • First babysitter: “aunt” Abby while mom went to the doctor
  • and hosting LOTS of visiting at the house during her first month

Feeling (mom and dad, primarily): Really well, despite the most massive life change and record setting polar vortex that held us captive much of January. Parenthood is a crazy journey that we are only just beginning, and while it definitely comes with a huge bucket of challenges, it’s also pretty awesome to have such a massive mutual love for something that we created together. We are doing our best to settle in to our new normal, to communicate, give each other space and time to do things on our own (skiing for bryan, walking for me), and respect each other, question each other if things are unclear, and focus on honesty. It’s been messy and beautiful and rewarding and frustrating, but most of all, amazing. While I have definitely had a few moments, I’m mostly surprised by how mentally stable I have felt through these first weeks, and hope that it continues to go generally well. Bryan is a top-notch partner-in-parenthood, and Alice is just the perfect little addition to our family with Bryan’s somewhat receding hairline, my furrowed brow, her inquisitive blue eyes and those increasingly chunky cheeks and chins and solid thighs! Being a family of three is a pretty awesome gig for all of us,  I think, and we can’t wait to see what the next month brings.























The Special Story of the Much-Anticipated Arrival of the Amazing Alice (and a LOT of photos)

Hello! Our daughter is here (and actually, she is four weeks old today)! So please help us welcome Alice Annikki Dahl, born wide-eyed, rosy-cheeked and thick-haired on Dec. 28 (9 days ahead of her guess date) at an admirable 7 lbs 4 oz/19.5 in. She appears to share the same hearty appetite as her parents, so we expect her to add some beef to those bones in no time.

Update: At her two week doctor’s appointment, she was already up to 8 lb 10 oz, which was incredibly exciting to me because it meant all the work of breastfeeding was paying off (that’s a whole other story, though). The nurse even said “you must be making heavy cream!” I’ll take it. I have yet to weigh her since, and things are definitely not 100% smooth sailing (over supply, too fast of a letdown, crying, choking, etc), but we are persevering and sticking with it best we can.

In other news, Alice is already wondering why it’s so cold out here, why baby socks aren’t better designed to actually stay on baby feet, and most significantly: what’s the big deal with sleep, anyway? But we are feeling blessed and totally smitten- having so much fun getting to know her, staring at her for extended and unnecessary amounts of time, and adjusting to a family of three.


And now, The Details:

Disclaimer: This is going to get really long, because our path to Alice’s arrival was quite a long one, and she is one of the biggest accomplishments of our life. I don’t want to forget any of the details.

Her birth was kind of like WHAM! It takes you by surprise, slams you in the face, and leaves your forgetting anything negative or tough that really happened in the last 9 months (including the adventurous 72 hours before her birth).  And man oh man was it worth it all- she is here, and healthy, and oh-so-loved, and I would do it all a millions times over again if it meant bringing her to us. So if you’d like, feel free to settle in, get comfortable, and prepare to read over 5,000 words about how she joined this world.

Monday, Dec. 23: Scheduled 38 week doctor’s appointment. The previous week my blood pressure had been a little bit high, I had certainly started to retain more fluid (mega cankles) and I think I gained about 7 lbs in a 2-week period (and here I had naively thought that weight gain slowed at the end of pregnancy. Not the case for me!). But, my urine was still clear of protein and the doctor didn’t seem worried. This week, however, my BP was higher than before, and I was +2 on the protein-in-urine scale, which is not good. We left the appointment with direction to keep an eye out for pre-eclamptic symptoms such as headache and upper abdominal pain, and Bryan headed to work while I headed to the grocery store.

But hold it right there, because on the way home from the grocery store, I got a call from the doctor saying that she had reviewed my charts again, and given the weight gain, etc., she wanted me to go straight to the Maternal Assessment Center (MAC) at Abbott for extended blood pressure monitoring, that afternoon. I asked if I should, you know, pack my hospital bag and she casually said it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Enter: Round 1 freak out. Here I thought that I had just wrapped up work and Christmas shopping, and had two full weeks to finish up projects around the house, spend time with family and friends, and rest and relax before her arrival. Silly me, and the first of many “you don’t have as much control as you think you do as a parent” moments.

After frantically throwing some stuff in a bag and attempting to pick up the house a bit (I did NOT want to come home from the hospital with a baby to a messy house- it could get messy once we got here, but a peaceful, comfortable abode is really important to me and my sanity), I headed to the MAC and called Bryan on the way. He was going to finish up a meeting and head there to meet me. The afternoon was pretty uneventful- I lied on a bed with a blood pressure cuff, which went off automatically about every 15 minutes. I truly think that over the course of the week to follow, I probably got my blood pressure checked at least 100 times. After about 3 hours of this, and alternating feelings of being terrified and excited, the doctor came back in. And she dropped, “you meet the criteria for induction.” Followed by a couple comments about either a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day baby.


Enter Round 2 freak out. Of course all we wanted was a healthy baby and a healthy mama, but this took us by surprise and frankly, shocked us. The doctor made it clear that it wasn’t something we MUST do, but based on their updated criteria for recommending induction, she had to give us that guidance. We spent about 30 minutes discussing our options, and in the end decided to head home for the evening and come back in the morning for more testing. The doctor seemed relieved that we didn’t jump to the induction right away- she encouraged us to head home and get some sleep and pack and enjoy one more night as a couple. I also thought that perhaps my blood pressure and protein could reverse itself- that tomorrow everything would be just fine (naïve, as pre-eclampsia is almost always a progressive issue, and the only “cure” is delivery). Alas, we headed home- hugged, rested, worried, and anticipated what the next day would bring- and did our best to get a good night sleep.


Tuesday, Dec. 24: Merry Christmas Eve! Off to the MAC bright and early, and immediately got hooked up to the blood pressure machine. My numbers weren’t much worse, but they surely weren’t much better. The doctor sent us home around noon, with direction to collect my urine for 24 hours so they could get a true read of what was happening there. So off I went with my gallon jug, my toilet funnel, and hopes that we were going to have a festive Christmas after all. I was also given direction to lay very low, which is easier said than done during family holidays! But we had a nice Christmas Eve at my parents- I wasn’t as energetic as normal, but hoped that it would all pay off. I was able to spend a bit of time with Mike, Jacque, Cecilia and Annie- who were all in town from St. Louis- but not as much as I wished! The highlight of our evening was definitely when Cecilia insisted that we all play ring around the rosy in the family room. Alas, instead of spending the night at my parents, we headed home for another night in our own beds, since we didn’t know if it would be our last.


Weds, Dec. 25: Merry Christmas! Once again, we headed to the MAC first thing in the morning- to drop off my jug-o-pee, and to get some more BP monitoring. Again, the numbers weren’t better, but as the doctor stated, they weren’t alarming. She ordered my jug to be tested that afternoon, and said she would call that evening with the results. So we again left the hospital relieved and optimistic that Baby Dahl would stay put for awhile longer, and headed to Houlton for the Dahl Christmas festivities. I, again, tried to be as calm and “zen” as possible, which again, is not easy with 20 people in one house celebrating the season! It was a great afternoon though- full of love and laughter and FOOD. We headed home around 6 pm that night, with hopes of relaxing in the basement with a movie and some popcorn.

WELL, baby Dahl had other plans. Around 7 pm I got a call, from my doctor’s office, and immediately upon hearing the doctor’s voice (you know that if you get a call from an actual doctor on Christmas Day, it’s not just a courtesy call!), that it was serious. She calmly informed me that my protein was all the way at 1000 mg, and anything over 300 is considered pre-eclamptic. This was it- we had no choice but to go in the next morning for induction. Enter Round 3 freak out: THIS WAS IT! I couldn’t help but cry off and on throughout the rest of the evening- worried about what the next couple days would bring, worried about the little baby girl inside of me who was going to be forced to come out before she was ready, and mourning the end of the life that Bryan and I knew and loved so much- the life of just a young(ish) couple and a dog living a social and fulfilling life in Minneapolis. We knew we wanted to have a family, and we wanted it so badly, but it was still really scary to think about how drastically, and how quickly, our lives would change. As always, Bryan was a rock and such an optimistic, comforting force. We were going to HAVE A BABY! It’s FINALLY, finally happening! Game on.

Thursday, Dec. 26: Up and at ‘em bright and early after a so-so night of sleep- we headed to the hospital for an 8 am admittance. Let me tell you what a weird feeling that is- to park your car and head inside, knowing that the next time you come out there will be another PERSON in your family. Strange and fascinating and amazing. But anyways, we got checked into our nice labor and delivery room around 9 (and I stared in awe for about 5 minutes at the infant warming bed in the corner- our daughter would be in there shortly!). The doctor came in awhile later, and after a quick cervical check revealed that my body definitely wasn’t going into labor on my own, she decided to start with a drug called cervidil, a vaginal insert for cervical ripening. It’s basically looks like a long tampon that the doctor inserts so that the medicine rests right against your cervix. They leave it in for 12 hours at a time, up to three doses (so it could be at least 36 hours before we were even ready for Pitocin). Thus, Thursday was pretty uneventful- we spent our time talking, reminiscing, anticipating, watching movies, and trying to rest as we knew things would pick up in the next couple of days.


Around 9 pm that night (right as we were about to finish The Heat) my blood pressure started going up. . . at one point it was around 170/90 I believe, which is not exactly ideal. So, as much as I wanted to avoid an IV, and drugs, I had no choice but to get a port put in, and get started on magnesium, which is used to prevent seizures when BPs get high in labor. We didn’t want seizures! This is when things started to get scary for me- the magnesium is a strong muscle relaxant with awful side effects, and the “loading dose” that they started with left me feeling horribly hot, nauseous, groggy and blurred my vision. Around this time they also removed my first dose of cervidil since it had been about 12 hours, and while I had made some progress (dilated to a 3 and about 70% effaced), it was clear I would need another dose (at least). Needless to say, we never finished The Heat. . .

Friday, Dec. 27: Today started around 1 am, after my “loading dose” of magnesium was complete (thank goodness), and they were able to insert round two of cervidil. Same story, different day. Friday was a little less relaxing than Thursday- I was feeling less-than-stellar on the magnesium and also had to get started on fluids since I couldn’t eat or drink (a rule I broke a couple of times). The bummer about having an IV and magnesium and fluids, and constant fetal monitoring and such, is that I was pretty much tethered to the bed- if I had to use the restroom I had to ring my little nurse button, get their help to disconnect everything, and hobble with my IV pole over to the bathroom, and was often monitored.

One thing about labor is that your modesty quickly flies out the window- which was solidified throughout the night as I labored completely naked in the bathtub, and frequently got out, walked to the bed, totally wet and moaning and rolling my IV pole. NOT something I would have predicted I would do, but duty called.

Okay, back to Friday afternoon. Around 2 pm, they took out the second dose of cervidil, and unfortunately I was again not quite ready for Pitocin. This was rather disappointing, as I was ready to get “real” labor started. The doctor didn’t want to do another dose of cervidil, so she recommended a “mechanical ripening” method, which is just as brutal as it sounds. I have a hard time explaining it, but essentially, they insert a long rod with two deflated balloons, each about the size of a peach, into my cervix. One ball is placed on each side of my cervix, and then the balls are filled with fluid. The idea is for me, or a nurse, to TUG on the rod every 30 minutes or so, and the idea is that the balls will gently open up my cervix and help me reach the dilation number needed to start Pitocin. So there I was, lying in the bed with monitors on my stomach, IVs in my arm, and inflated balls in my cervix. I did my best to pull on it with authority, as did our nurse. Around 8 pm that night, one of my favorite nurses of our hospital stay, Danielle, came on duty, and she informed us that she is known for being aggressive with the balls. She said she likes to “pull and hold for awhile.” So there she was, pulling and holding on the ball (which just felt like some minor pressure to me) and out popped the balls! Success for the mechanical ripening method. The doctor came in and said I was dilated to a 6, and we could start Pitocin to get the contractions going. At this point I was starting to feel some pain and pressure in my back, which had me nervous about back labor, but the doctors said she was in the right position so as not to worry. I should also probably mention that at no point did we ever discuss a C-section (something I really didn’t want), but it was always a thought in the back of my mind- what if I went through all of this, only to have it end in a C-section. I also worried that with such a long induction, that I wouldn’t have the energy to power through when it mattered most- pushing and such, but I tried really hard to remain optimistic, and trust that my body and my baby would know what to do. Basically, I tried to free myself or worry or fear, and have faith that we would make it out okay with a healthy baby and a healthy mom. That’s all you really can do, right? Okay, so Pitocin started around 9, and we again tried to “rest,” which was becoming harder and harder.

Saturday, Jan. 28: Around 1 am, my contractions started getting really strong, and I knew it was time to call our doula, Katie. The contractions were coming faster and furious-er, and I began to doubt how I would persevere the pain and pressure. It’s not that they hurt that bad at this point, but I knew that if it hurt this bad this early that I was likely totally screwed and would end up getting an epidural so I didn’t have to endure such extreme pain for what could be 10 hours or more. Hell no!  But again, I tried to push out these fearful thoughts, and listened to our doula as she guided me through different positions of dealing with the contractions. I did some on my hands and knees on the bed, some draped over the yoga ball, and some standing next to the bed with a leg on a chair doing pseudo-lunges.

Around 3 am I thought that the bathtub sounded lovely, and luckily, we had some great nurses who were willing to let me give it a try. I felt very lucky that they allowed this, as with my drugs and BP issues and such, I feared they would insist I stay in the bed. Looking back, there is NO way I would’ve gotten through the night without an epidural in the bed. So, I got connected to the waterproof monitoring system, dragged my IV pole into the bathroom, removed my tank and skirt, and sat on the bench in the bathtub. Bryan and the doula alternated spraying my back with warm water during contractions, but eventually they got so intense that I wanted to be IN the water, so we filled the tub and in I went. I remember feeling such relief hitting the water- it lightens you enough to ease the pressure of contractions, and the lights were all off and Katie had brought some electric candles and scents that made it a somewhat (all things considered) relaxing environment. Bryan was sitting on a stool right next to me, the whole time, and I loved the warmth and strength of his hand holding mine. Katie, the doula, was sitting just next to him, and gave me great direction and encouragement for dealing with the contractions. I felt so fortunate to have such an awesome “team” (Alice included- she was champ the whole time- always had a strong heart beat, and would always give me a little kick of encouragement when I needed itJ). I also started making some sing-songy sounds with each contraction, and would try to “lighten” my pelvic floor and let each contraction “float away.” Sounds strange, but it works. I also remember getting really uncomfortable when the tub water cooled off, so multiple times Katie and Bryan would work together to drain the water while simultaneously refilling it and splashing the warm water up around me. I would sometimes rest and close my eyes between contractions- and I think I probably even fell asleep a few times. Things were going well.

I have a hard time remembering all the details around this time, but Katie took notes. Around 4:45 am I started to feel rectal pressure- I think I asked if I pooped about 10 times- I thought “I had to have pooped that time!” but I don’t think I ever did (as far as I, or Bryan, know at least!). It seriously felt like I was going to poop out a bowling ball- gross, I know- but the best way to describe it that I can think of. I was convinced Alice was going to come out of the wrong hole! And as for contractions, well, they hurt. I’m not sure how much I should write about the pain, nor do I really know how to do it justice, but in short, it was blinding. It’s unbelievable pain and pressure that is hard to even fathom. Far different than I had predicted, and I knew it was going to be unbearable. But somehow I beared it. I think at that point, I felt like I had so little control over the type of labor I was having, and the drugs I had already been given, and if there was a drug that I could potentially avoid, then I would try to do it. I also heard some pretty bad stories about recovering from an epidural, and knowing that I still had 24 hours of magnesium after delivery, I wanted to avoid any additional recoveries needed. I think I only mentioned an epidural once- I whispered in Bryan’s ear around this time that I didn’t think I would be able to make it without one- but our plan was for me to ask for it, to the doctors, myself. And besides my one whisper to Bryan, it never came up again.

Around 5:15 am I had to get out of the water (I would hop out as quick as I could and scoot over to the bed, as I did NOT want to get stuck in between the two with a contraction. The nurses were all amazed at how quickly and dutifully I would follow their direction!). At this check I was only 7 cm, but the head was lower. I was a bit discouraged, as I felt like I had some intense contraction and yet was only a 7. I was fearful of what the next couple of hours would bring, but again, tried to be calm. Katie wrote in her notes: “Katie is just SO amazing at this- she stays relaxed, she keeps her eyes closed, she breaths with a nice soft jaw, she does everything suggested to her- she’s a true pro,” and “Katie is really good at being honest about her needs and stepping up to the task, despite her discomfort.” She also wrote, not surprisingly for those who know me: “doesn’t like being touched!” Ha.

By 6:15 am, the contractions started getting REALLY intense, but I was soothed by the creaking and clicking of the pumps (weird, I know) and kept feeling my stomach and knowing that our baby girl was going to be here soon and it would all be worth it. I tried to talk to her as well, knowing we were in this together. From Katie’s notes, I said “you guys, these are intense,” around 6:45 am, but she wrote that I was acting like a completely relaxed and champion birther, and even that “it’s something to witness.” I tried a few contractions on the toilet and standing with Bryan in a “slow dance” position, but nothing was as soothing as the tub, so I always ended up back in there.

At 7:45 am I was talking about how tired I was, and I could tell that the baby was getting lower and lower with each contraction- a lovely part of labor that they call “transition.”

A little after 8 am I remember feeling for her head, as I was certain she had to be low and ready! Another line from Katie’s notes: “Katie’s breathing is so nice and soft- sometimes it sounds like a song. She throws horsey lips in there from time to time to get through really rough patches :)” She then wrote that at around 8:30 am, I started to sound really “pushy.” And I certainly remember that! With each contraction, I would feel like pushing so hard. I knew I had to get out of the tub soon, but was NOT excited about dealing with contractions on my back in the bed.

I eventually made it to the bed, where the not-so-cool nurse Susan started making a huge ruckus fixing my cords, cleaning the room, turning on the bright lights, and generally making me as uncomfortable as possible in what was a really intense situation. My contractions were SO strong, I was starting to get scared, and the doctor took forever to arrive, despite the fact that Katie said I was likely ready to start pushing. Upon arrival in the bed, my BP also started to get higher- it was around 170/112- so I had to start getting some meds (they just added it to my IV pole) to make it through the rest of labor. Finally, around 8:45, Dr. Gibeau arrived, and informed me that the baby was “right there” and we were going to start pushing and have a “nice, peaceful birth here.” They adjusted the bed so it was ready for the birth, turned on the bright spotlight, and helped me get my legs up in the stirrup.

And I began to push.

Bryan was directly to my left, about hip level, and to his right was Katie our doula, then a nurse, and ready to catch at the end of the table was the doctor. Not-so-cool nurse Susan was to my right, but I avoided looking that way as much as possible. At first I didn’t really know what I was doing with the pushing- I was putting too much energy into my legs and my yelling/screeching- when instead I needed to deepen my noises and pull on my legs with my arms so that I could push in my pelvis. It took a couple tries to get it right, but eventually I felt like I was getting the most out of each contraction and really moving her out. What a weird, and amazing, experience. I remember being so exhausted in the short break between contractions, and fearing the next one, knowing it could be even more intense than the previous one, but also being comforted by the doctor’s words that I was doing great and she was coming down fast. And Bryan was amazing and so comforting, I was squeezing his hand as hard as I could as I contracted my entire body and turned purple with each push, and I know it was an emotional experience for him too. Together with our doula, they made the most perfect support team for me.

Sidenote: I’m pretty sure Bryan saw EVERYTHING and isn’t freaked out at all by it. I know it’s not for all men, but I think it’s often an unnecessary fear by both sexes that once they see your parts like that they’ll never see them/it the same again. What they get to witness is f*&king amazing and it’s also so different from how they normally see you. He was blown away by what he saw and I’m pretty sure his respect for me sky rocketed up. To see Alice come out of me and to hear the sounds that came out of my mouth (tribal) – I mean, I’m pretty much a goddess to him these days.

Anyways, around 9:30, the doctor said she could see the baby’s head (and hair!), and asked if I wanted to feel it. Talk about another weird and amazing experience- reaching down and FEELING your baby’s head. Wow. I definitely remember feeling the “ring of fire,” and heard the doctor ask for KY Jelly or something and she began massaging and stretching my skin around the baby’s head to make the exit a little more smooth. Not an enjoyable feeling, but I appreciated her efforts to reduce my potential tearing as much as possible.

Soon after, the doctor said the next push could be it, so when the next contraction came, I pushed with all my might, and out came Alice Annikki. Poor Bryan got splashed with amniotic fluid, and I continued to push until she was fully out, screaming, with a cute little cone head of light brown hair and a pink chubby body. All pain was gone; only pure relief and total surrealness was felt. She looked nothing like I had pictured, but everything I had ever wanted and nothing short of amazing. You just can’t believe that moment is actually happening. You see it in the movies and all of your friends and family tell you about that moment, but until you experience it you really can’t fathom it’s actually happening.  I loved her from the moment I saw her. Some of the quotes that Katie had in her notes from those first minutes of having her on my chest: “I can’t believe we did this, you guys! It was so hard, but so worth it! Look at her skin, and her little nails!” Overall amazing incredibleness that is kind of hard to process at the moment, or even in the days after, but now it’s one of the coolest memories of my life.


As for the post birth, I was extremely fascinated by the placenta (I even made our doula take a picture of it, which I will do a favor for you all and NOT post here), I had to get a catheter because my bladder decided to stop working for awhile, and I only got a few stitches. Overall, I am amazed at how good I feel only three weeks later. The human body is amazing, and I have a whole new respect for mine and for all the woman out there who have gone through the experience.


I wouldn’t say I won the labor lottery, because it was a long road and not exactly what I had planned, but I am proud of how it played out and how I handled it all, and of course what matters most is that I am healthy and Alice is healthy. And, I would punch myself in the face if it ever came off that I was bragging about having a natural birth- yes, I felt like a bad ass- but so is every single woman who has ever felt a real contraction or heck, ever gotten pregnant and delivered a baby. Every birth story is different, and no matter how it happened, it’s ALL a feat. Solidarity now to all moms out there.

In sum, Alice is here- she is healthy and perfect and lovely and loved- and we are extremely lucky and dare I say even blessed.


These days, I’m focusing on hanging out with the most super awesome and amazing Bryan and Alice, and a dog named Tilly, trying to prioritize the important stuff right now: enjoying their company, keeping her fed and warm and clean, exploring the world around us, and enjoying our transition to a family of three (+ dog).  The joy and happiness is overwhelming, and when I think about the path we took to get here, I can’t help but feel overly lucky for where we landed. I know we are just barely into the throngs of parenthood, but so far, so good. It’s amazing how quickly, and how significantly, your life, priorities and outlook can change when those little ones enter your life, and I just can’t get enough of our sweet little gal.

And now, a collection of photos from her first four weeks.







Birth Plan.

Mine will look a little something like this: 

  • Be educated and be flexible.
  • Surround myself with experienced advisors and loving advocates.
  • Give myself the grace to do what feels right when the time comes.
  • Keep in mind the end goal: A healthy baby. (the hardest part comes later- the beautiful, lifelong struggle of raising a healthy, happy, non-asshole:)
  • Remember that “control” is nothing but an illusion… it’s okay to make a plan or have a general direction, but after that, you gotta go with the flow. (aka the aforementioned flexibility)
  • As Bryan and I would say, “Safety First!”

All in all, be myself and do the very best I can.

The sitch.

I’m a visual person, and it turns out that I am now totally, 100% out of photo storage on this blog, which means I can only post words.

I don’t always do well with words- I need some visuals to support them!

My options are either to stop blogging, blog without photos, move to a new URL, or pay to add more storage to this blog. I think I’m going to go with the last option, because as much as I would rather not have to pay for it, I do like the idea of having all my blogging in one place (even though many of the posts on here make me cringe).

And, I need to show you guys photos of our nursery progress (the room used to look like this and this– some good examples of “what was I thinking”) as it is looking somuch better now, and even though I don’t know baby girl yet, I think it will suit her well.

So stay tuned.

Also, I am nearly 33 weeks pregnant. Emotions and excitement and fear are in full effect. But most of all, excitement. She kicks and bends and gets the hiccups, and I just can’t wait to see her and meet her and get to know her. 

See also, here. Melllllllt.

This and that at 30 weeks pregnant

What scares me about having a baby girl: Once the little girl phase is over, there’s that whole business of trying to raise a young woman in a culture that isn’t always kind to females. I fear I’ll want and expect too much from her. That I’ll care too much about making her be the things that I wasn’t as a teen and young adult: confident, ambitious, self-aware. I don’t want her life and her choices to be improvements on mine- I want her to be her own person. This article is awesome. Must print it out, and remember it!

Baby Gear Progression: We were gifted this rocker and this carrier/stroller duo (though I also want this one by summer),  I ordered (and framed) this print, we got one of these for those early weeks, my awesome aunt gave us this, and I’m gathering quite the collection of cute clothes, including this and this. I’m considering these for the wall behind the crib, and I’m hoping to do wall shelves like these behind the rocker.

Baby Knowledge Progression: We finished our Blooma birth class and got a ton out of it, including evidence-based practices for normal, safe birth, commonly suggested interventions & what they’re used for, hands-on comfort to support my birthing body (Bry was a pro), how to make the most of your labor support team and support for breastfeeding and bonding with baby. The benefits being:

• A deeper connection with your birth partner
• A calm, confident mindset for pregnancy
• Inspiration and comfort for your birthing day
• An empowered connection to your inner voice
• Postpartum healing and expectations
• More confidence with breastfeeding basics

(straight from the web site, if you can’t tell:)

We also signed up for an infant basic first aid class (choking and CPR, etc), have been touring lots of day cares (quite possibly the most stressful part of this whole process), and even had our first doula interview last night.

So, progress is being made!

We have scheduled a hospital tour, done tons of insurance research, and are trying to make the most of our last 10 weeks or so as just the two of us, as I know the change is going to be intense, and fast. Nothing I can do will prepare us for the speed with which our world shifts or the fact that nothing will ever be the same again, but we are doing our best and trying to stay calm throughout it all.

We are trying not to overdo it (but perhaps this list seems like we are? We aren’t anal or obsessive, I promise! Just trying to prepare), but at the same time do our best to learn what we can to help the transition, and the unexpected.

Progress! Strength. Optimism! Realism. Hopes! Patience.


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