Ten Months of Elise

We've made it to another month day! Happy 10 months, Elise!

Also, a note: a took her pictures on the actual day, but I have been remiss in my chronicling duties and am posting about it a week late. Alas! 

The most notable thing to occur this month was the big trip, of course. That included several milestones for Elise: first international trip, first passport stamp, first croissant, etc. But she's glad to be home now, exploring her familiar things and places, and she's growing like a weed. Her 9-month clothes are getting too short, and I'm packing up some of my favorite outfits in favor of ones that fit. While I normally start with the standard white onesie shots, I decided to first pay homage to her hedgehog pajamas with the matching hat, since they're going to end up in the storage box after their next washing.

fullsizeoutput_9d4.jpeg

She's been practicing standing all on her own more and more lately, usually when she's absorbed in something (like removing all of the books from her bookshelf). She has also expanded her vocabulary a bit, using more consonants and speaking in what sound like full sentences of gibberish. 

DSC_0073.JPG

We also discovered that she has sprouted yet another tooth, bringing the total up to five. I suspect that the same tooth on the other side is on its way in as well, but she hasn't been complaining about it. As a result, it may be a little while before her mouth gets into a symmetrical state again. She's totally pulling off the look though. 

fullsizeoutput_9e9.jpeg

She has also been sampling a ton of foods! She'll eat whatever is on my plate, and so I've tried to become more intentional about making her a little miniature meals at mealtime so that she gets a substantial amount of solids each day. That works some days and other days she subsists entirely on milk, but since food is more for exploration than nutrition at this point, I think she's doing just fine. 

DSC_0091.JPG

As of eight or nine months, she began playing games with people, usually with Chaz, where she leans all the way over to one side when she's sitting or standing and expects you to reciprocate. Once you've leaned over to match her, she'll lean the other way and wait for you to follow. She thinks it's hilarious and the game is typically accompanied with lots of smiles, babbling, and giggles. 

DSC_0107.JPG

And whenever she's in the presence of a light blanket, you can be sure she'll play peekaboo with you. She pulls the blanket up so it's covering her face, and when you ask where she is, she'll pull it down with gusto and grin. 

DSC_0120.JPG

She has also developed a strong affinity for climbing anything and everything that she can, so stairs hold a particular fascination for her. However, when stairs are not available, the nearest chair suits her just fine. 

DSC_0103.JPG

Fear not; I rescued her immediately once things started heading that direction. 

When not climbing, her preferred activity of late has been reading, which I love. She sits on our laps to read, and when we get to the end of the page, she'll reach with her left hand (only - never the right) and turn it. She really loves lift-the-flap books, and her absolute favorite is Dear Zoo. She gets very excited when we begin, and her excitement culminates on the page with the lion. So much so, in fact, that when you ask, "Elise, what does a lion say?" at any point, she'll roar. It's the best. We're still working on monkey and elephant noises, since those are some of the other animals in the book, but having the lion noise down pat is pretty great. 

I think that's all I have to report for the moment. See you next month for another report!

Six Months of Elise

At this exact moment a half a year ago, I was lying in a hospital bed with a 16-minute old baby in my arms. Upon her arrival sixteen minutes prior, she had been whisked over to the warmer to be evaluated by the neonatologist to make sure all her bells and whistles were in good order, and when she was declared perfectly healthy, they handed her to Chaz, who handed her to me. And after that turn of events, our little family's world has never been the same, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

It's hard to believe that was only six months ago. Every single parent on the face of the earth says, "I can't remember what life was like before Baby arrived," and we all just chuckle and carry on, but as with almost every saying that is repeated 'round the globe, it's completely true. That IS why it's a common saying, after all. But that doesn't stop me from repeating it once again. I can't really remember what life was like before Elise arrived. Heck, what did we DO with all of our spare time? 

In other news, Elise is six months old and is a ball full of energy. 

fullsizeoutput_3bc.jpeg

She's gotten significantly better at holding herself in seated position once placed there, although she hasn't quite mastered getting there herself. She's trying on the regular though, so I suppose that will come in no time.

She rarely cries, but she has zero tolerance for being on her back and will flip herself over on to her stomach and get up on her hands and knees before you can say Jack Robinson. 

fullsizeoutput_3c8.jpeg

She's pretty proud of herself, too. 

She talks most of the time, and has expanded her vocabulary to "Babababababa," "Bwahbwahbwahbwah" (I promise that's different from babababa), "Mamamamama," "Dadadadada," and "Brrrbrrrbrrrbrrr." She still enjoys both squealing and growling, although more often than not those sounds include syllables as well. What excitement!

Speaking of excitement, when she finds something particularly thrilling, she'll make a funny sort of inhaling gasp/squeak, accompanied with curling up into a ball and enthusiastically clutching the shoulder of whoever is carrying her. This combination of actions is usually brought on by walking down the stairs after waking up for a nap, going outside, or whenever someone says something excitedly. 

fullsizeoutput_3d5.jpeg

She seems to be within days of figuring out how to crawl, as she is able to move her knees while on all fours, and often rocks back and forth trying to get herself to move forward. Once she figures out her hands need to move as well, she'll be off to the races.

fullsizeoutput_3d1.jpeg

And last but not least, she cut two teeth while we were in Washington for Thanksgiving, and she is suddenly back to (mostly) sleeping through the night. Insert praise hands here. 

fullsizeoutput_3e1.jpeg

Other fast facts to note:

  • She took her first flight and handled it like a champ.
  • She had her first Thanksgiving and ate no Thanksgiving food - still on a fully liquid (milk) diet!
  • She's started sleeping in her own room at night, now that she's more consistent in not waking up. 
  • She's working on moving up a clothes size, and as a result has a rather inflated closet since she fits in 3-6 month but also in 6-9 month outfits.
DSC_0090.JPG

And we love her to pieces. 

Five Months of Elise

Somehow, another month has passed already and I'm back here to document. Usually I like to have a few posts between the month by month ones, but...here I am without other filler. Besides, a regular dose of Elise updates is all anyone ever wanted, right? Ha.

DSC_0968.JPG

This month, Elise finally decided that rolling from her back to her stomach is her new favorite activity, and if you put her down on her back, she'll be on her stomach within the blink of an eye. Occasionally, typically in the morning when she has the most energy, she'll do a few barrel rolls and go from back to stomach, stomach to back, back to stomach, etc. until she's reached the opposite side of whatever surface she's lying on. Needless to say, it has become even more difficult to get a non-blurry photo of her while she plays, since all she wants to do is move around. 

DSC_0991.JPG

She continues to expand her repertoire of sounds, from the bottom of her range with growls, and the very top of her range with extremely high pitched squeals. The growls are particularly endearing, while the squeals could be considered ear-splitting. Upon experiencing them during a 3-hour car trip, Chaz said, "I think it's time to invest in some ear plugs."

DSC_0963.JPG

She's got a little more peach fuzz on top of her head, and it looks like she's going to be blond, at least for now. With two brunette parents, I think chances are good that she will one day join the club. 

DSC_0945.JPG

She has just started to be able to sit up by herself if put in position, although it's pretty hit or miss whether she'll stay up or tip over on her side. I'm guessing by the time six months rolls around, she will be doing it all on her own. She's also showing some signs of getting ready to crawl, pushing herself backwards in order to get up on hands and knees. 

DSC_0954.JPG

All the changes have been pretty exciting, except that she has gone back to waking up a few times a night rather than sleeping all the way through. Nevertheless, we think she's the greatest, even when we're getting a bit less rest.  

DSC_0978.JPG

With everything that's changed this month, we're so excited to see what next month brings!

Four Months of Elise

Things have been a little more...distracted around here these days, seeing as I'm writing this a solid two weeks late. Elise is four months old! She's growing like a weed! She's learning new things! Per usual, we must document.

DSC_0843.JPG

My photos weren't as good this month because she was wiggling all around, exploring the world around her. Or at least her own fingers. At the four month mark, she is able to consistently roll over from front to back, and occasionally roll from back to front. However, she still prefers to reserve this particular activity for the most special of times, namely when she doesn't want to sleep. As with last month, her most favorite activity while spending time lying on her stomach is to try to propel herself forward, so far to no avail. She is an absolute pro at rotating herself in a full circle when she has the room though, so it's only a matter of time.

DSC_0855.JPG

She talks all the time while at home or in her car seat, but when we're out and about she would rather observe everything than say much. Her favorite sounds include "Ummmmm," "Mmmmm," "Maaaaaa," and if we're really lucky, "Mama." I'm 100% sure that she does not associate the word with me at all, but it's rather gratifying nonetheless.

DSC_0853.JPG

Her four month checkup revealed that she has grown a full six inches since birth, and she's off the percentile charts for height. However, if there were a percentile chart for hair growth, that would be incremental at best, seeing as she still gets called Baldie every once in awhile by perfect strangers. Let it be known that she does indeed have hair, but it's very light and very short. And it is growing! Just very slowly. 

And last but not least, here's a smattering of non-month-specific photos from the last month that deserve to be published just because we think she's the sweetest. 

fullsizeoutput_258.jpeg
 Is there anything better than a pajama-clad baby? I say no. 

Is there anything better than a pajama-clad baby? I say no. 

IMG_6726.JPG
IMG_2240.JPG
 Blurry, but her face is too good to not post.

Blurry, but her face is too good to not post.

 She thinks standing is the coolest. Some balancing assistance is required.

She thinks standing is the coolest. Some balancing assistance is required.

We love you, little bean! 

Three Months of Elise

Today, Elise is three months old! Insert a paragraph here about how fast time is passing and oh-my-goodness-HOWWWW. But all of that has been said before both here and by every parent in the history of ever, so I'll spare you the redundancy. Just please note that all of it - every last jot and tittle that you've heard from everyone - is 100% true. 

fullsizeoutput_124.jpeg

Three-month Elise has recently discovered her vocal cords and has been putting them to good use, having full-on conversations with us on the daily. Fortunately, she has not decided to use her newly discovered skills in places slightly less familiar than home, which is good news for us during church. I suspect those days are coming to an end, however, and we'll have to adjust our church service strategies to accommodate. 

DSC_0783.JPG

She has also become the Drool Queen and enjoys chomping on her hands, making a bit of a mess wherever she goes. Toys occasionally find their way into her mouth as well, but at least for now, she enjoys looking at them more than playing with them. Her favorite toy is a stuffed cow from a school I visited for work last year, probably due to the dramatic color contrast between the black and white spots on his body. 

fullsizeoutput_127.jpeg

While she hasn't yet mastered rolling over, she does manage to get from tummy to back with only a tiny bit of assistance, so the day is nigh! She loves tummy time and prefers to spend it attempting to move forward in a sort of crawl rather than trying to flip herself sideways. 

When it comes to routines, we've been following her cues, and within the last two weeks she's established an astonishingly consistent bedtime between 7:30 and 8:00. She spends the first part of the evening sleeping in her crib, and then we feed, change, and move her into our room when we go to bed. She will sometimes give us a full night's rest, but most nights she wakes up between 3:30 and 5:30 looking for food and a clean diaper. She usually goes right back to sleep, though, so we don't complain! 

fullsizeoutput_11d.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_11f.jpeg

She has about 1000 nicknames, ranging from the formal Miss Elise to the much less formal Bean, Nugget, Goober, Grumpkin (when fussing), Peanut, and the list goes on. We think she's the coolest, and with every new achieved milestone, I'm both celebrating her achievements and begging time to slow down. After all, a quarter of a year (already!) is nothing to sneeze at. 

fullsizeoutput_126.jpeg

We love you, baby girl! We're so blessed to be the ones who get to watch you grow.

2 Months of Elise

It's hard to believe that we've had a baby in the house for two full months now. Some days it seems like no time at all, and other days (honestly, most days) it feels like she's been here forever. It's hard to remember what life was like before she arrived! 

I meant to write down everything when she was one month, but I only got so far as taking a few pictures. Right around that time she hit a developmental leap (read: a week of fussing), we went on vacation, and she caught a cold. But she was still cute!

We made it back from vacation, her cold (plus conjunctivitis) went away thanks to some lovely Erythromycin ointment, and life carried on, and here we are at two months!

Elise, at two months of age, smiles a lot. She's happiest in the morning when she wakes up and after eating, and likes to talk, presumably telling me all about her dreams from the past night. We lucked out and she typically sleeps at least one six-hour stint every night, and occasionally sets records by going for 8.5 hours. This sleep schedule is a vast improvement from her first month, when she predictably woke up at 1:30, 4:30, and 6:30. I'm expecting that schedule to return around her fourth month, but we'll enjoy the longer stretches while they last.

fullsizeoutput_b3.jpeg

While she hasn't quite rolled over yet, she's very, very close, getting frustrated when she can't twist herself in quite the right way get all the way over. Her favorite activity is practicing standing. She'll put weight on her legs, wave her arms like she's trying to do a crawl stroke in the air instead of a pool, and do what we've come to refer to as "standing face" - opening her eyes very wide and opening her mouth to match. We didn't get the greatest picture of it, but it has been documented nonetheless! 

She's a happy, content girl unless she's tired, hungry, or uncomfortable due to digestion, which was a little tough for her during her first month. This month has seen a vast improvement in that department though! 

fullsizeoutput_b8.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_b5.jpeg

She also loves hanging out in her wrap, and has taken to munching on the part of it that is in closest proximity to her mouth. Since her other most favorite pacifiers are a) nursing and b) sucking on my pinky, eating the wrap gives me a nice break! 

She's our favorite girl - since we only have one kid it's ok to say such things - and we're so glad that she's here with us. We love you, Elise! We can't wait to see how much you grow in your next month of life!

#momlife

This blog once was all about traveling, random experiences, and who knows what else. Food I found abroad? Organic house products? I guess both of those fall under the "random experiences" category. I clearly should have been a little more specific in my initial list of options.

Those posts are all fine and dandy, but life looks a tad bit different now and I'm home waaaaay more often than I will be abroad these days, so I suppose the content is going to be different. Now that I have a kid I guess that makes me a legitimate mommy blogger and thus my list of daily accomplishments has changed significantly. For example, formerly you might have found something here like, "I made it through a 7-hour flight without having to use an airplane bathroom!" (Side note: if I was listing that as an accomplishment, I was clearly not pregnant.) Now, my small feat of the day might be something like, "I made it through the last 12 hours without getting spit up, poop, or other sundry body fluids on my shirt!" Lofty goals, I tell you!

So I guess you could say life is a little slower at the moment. I spend a lot of time doing this:

I'm very aware that if there's another baby in our future, chasing after a toddler would seriously limit my human mattress capabilities, so I'm trying to soak up the opportunity now and fight against my constant urge to get up and do something productive, creative, or otherwise useful with my time. 

I haven't quite figured out that balance. I'm looking forward to the days of having an older, more interactive child so that we can do things together, but I'm simultaneously wishing time would slow down so my tiny cuddly baby doesn't outgrow her propensity to nuzzle against my shoulder while she falls asleep. At the same time, I don't think it's too shameful to admit that I do sometimes miss the ease with which I could pack up and go in a minute if need be, and the adult-only interaction that came with life in an office. Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't trade my current status for the world, this job is infinitely more worthwhile, and the benefits far outweigh the small inconveniences. But as time goes on, I'm sure the days will become more routine and we'll all feel more settled.

In the meantime, here's another photo of my favorite girl. And also my leg.

 Please note that I was indeed wearing shorts.

Please note that I was indeed wearing shorts.

And that's not to say that every day is without adventure. In two weeks, Chaz, Elise, and I are all packing up and hauling ourselves to NYC for a couple days. I'm sure you'll be absolutely dying to hear all about it, so get yourselves all good and ready for that enthralling tale. 

Oh, and today's small accomplishment? Elise napped in her crib! Score!

Elise Lorraine: An Arrival Tale

Let me just start by saying right off the bat that I know birth stories aren't everyone's cup of tea, so feel free to skip this one if you're less than enthused about the topic! However, I'll spare the goriest details, since...the internet doesn't really need those anyway. Continuing with the disclaimers, I apologize about the length. This post is more for my own memory-keeping than anything else, so it's pretty much a small novel. 

I finished working on Friday, May 26th. I had honestly been hoping that the little one would make her appearance ON the 26th, since Chaz and I got engaged on October 26th and married on July 26th, but no luck - I finished working, packed up the remainder of the things left in my office, and Chaz helped me carry it all down to my car. At 39+3 weeks, I was DONE being pregnant. Pregnancy, overall, treated me extremely well - no morning sickness, no cravings, no excessive weight gain - until the last two weeks. Between swelling of all my extremities and some unpleasant side effects that caused severe discomfort, I was really, really hoping to go into labor over the long weekend. Plus, it was a long weekend! Aside from the fact that my brother had declared that May 28th was an off-limits date since it was his birthday, the timing couldn't have been better.

I'd been having consistent Braxton Hicks contractions for most of the day on both Thursday and Friday, to the point where they were timeable. But by the time the evening rolled around, they'd taper off, and I'd go to bed hoping that I'd get a full night's rest and go into real labor bright and early the following morning. 

I woke up on Saturday (May 27th) and felt the same - extraordinary discomfort due to my "side effects," with mild contractions about 20 minutes apart. Every few hours I'd get excited because they'd increase to about 15 minutes apart and start feeling mildly painful, but they'd space out again shortly thereafter. We proceeded with our regular Saturday routine. Chaz went to the dump, we cleaned the house, and then we got ready for the day. Around lunchtime, we decided to go on an excursion to Wahlburgers for lunch. While the burger was delicious, it was probably the most uncomfortable meal of my entire life. I could barely sit on the hard chair, and my "Braxton Hicks" contractions, though still not more frequent than 15 apart, were decidedly uncomfortable. We got back in the car, headed home, and spent a quiet afternoon around the house. 

The evening rolled around and we grilled pork chops for dinner and sat down to watch a show. I noticed the contractions were getting closer together, clocking in at 10 to 12 minutes apart, but remained convinced they'd go away as soon as I went to bed. But as soon as we got tucked in around 10:00, I realized sleep wasn't in the cards for me. I told Chaz to get some rest, but that I was going to go downstairs and manage them there "until they went away." 

I went to our guest bedroom and dozed there between contractions, which were getting steadily more painful and decidedly closer together. I stayed down there until 1:00, at which point they jumped from every 6 - 7 minutes to every 4. I finally convinced myself that they weren't stopping like I expected, so I gave the birth center a call, and to my surprise - I'm still not sure why I found this surprising - they told me to come in. 

Since our guest bedroom is downstairs and Chaz was sleeping upstairs, I texted him at first to see if I could avoid climbing the steps. No luck. I waited another five minutes, breathed my way through another contraction, and then went to wake him up. "Is it time to go?" he said. I confirmed, and I put in earrings (again...not sure why I felt that was necessary) while he got his bag ready and put everything in the car. 

We arrived at the hospital 15 minutes later and they sent us to L&D triage, where they put me on the monitors for 20 minutes to make sure everything was consistent. After the nurse told me that the contractions weren't the "strong, middle-of-labor contractions" variety characteristic of active labor, I convinced myself they were going to send me home. But! The doctor came to check me, and upon finding that I had made some progress, he informed me I could stay and we'd be having a baby. They had me sign a bunch of forms, took my blood (though I tried to talk them out of that...), and got me into a delivery room by 3:00am.

The hours between 3:00 and 6:00 are a bit of a blur. I spent most of the time sitting on a yoga ball beside the bed with my head and arms draped over a stack of three pillows so I could rest between contractions. The nurse came in to check on me every so often, but by the time 6:00 rolled around, I knew something needed to change since I felt like I wasn't going to be able to handle the pain for much longer. The nurse offered me a couple of non-epidural drug options that I wasn't thrilled about - I've never liked the idea of not being fully mentally present for anything, let alone delivering a baby - but then she suggested that I get into the tub. It sounded perfect, so off she went to fill it up. 20 minutes later, I was sinking into a nice warm bath, which helped immensely. Contractions were still coming regularly, but they were easier to manage when surrounded by what essentially felt like a giant heating pad. Chaz was even able to sleep a bit in a chair nearby! 

I hung out in the tub for 7:30. The contractions picked up in intensity again, and I wasn't getting much of a break between them anymore. And by then...I was done with it. I asked for an epidural, and died a little inside when they told me the entire process would take about 20 minutes from start to finish. Fortunately, they said they could do the IV while I was still in the tub, so at least I could distract myself with being surrounded by warm water while they stuck me with needles. Have I mentioned how much I hate needles? I HATE NEEDLES. Prior to labor, I thought my hatred of needles would be enough to prevent me from wanting an epidural. Ha. No. After 10 hours of labor, my mental state was something akin to "Stick me with all the needles! Help!"

And so I hobbled back to the delivery room from the tub room at the speed of an overheated, dehydrated tortoise with an IV pole, where the anesthesiologist arrived with a tray of giant needles that I steadfastly turned my gaze away from. Chaz apparently had a nice view though, and he tactfully said nothing about the size of the needles until several hours later. 

They had to do the epidural twice. The first time I could still feel the insertion of the tubing used to administer the drug and it HURT, so they pulled everything out, waited through another contraction, stuck me with the numbing needle a second time, and then did the tubing again. The second time I could still feel a little, but it didn't hurt anymore. Shortly thereafter, my legs started tingling and the contraction pain was significantly diminished, and I sent two friends a text saying, "I've concluded epidurals are God's most perfect gift to women." It was glorious and though after another 10 minutes I couldn't feel the lower half of my body at all, it was so nice to have a bit of a break.

The break was a bit short-lived, however, because about 10 minutes after that, I noticed my arms were tingling as well. When I asked about it, the nurse said she thought it was the blood pressure cuff, since it was taking measurements every two minutes. But the next thing I knew, the nurse was handing me an oxygen mask and paging the doctor. This part is all very hazy to me, but apparently my blood pressure had dropped like crazy, as had the baby's heart rate (normally around 150, down to 80 beats per minute). The flipped me every which way to try to get her heart rate to stabilize, assuming that the cord was wrapped around her neck. I heard the anesthesiologist say, "Ok, give her ephedrine," but around the same time they realized that I wasn't able to support the upper half of my body at all to assist in positioning myself to fix the baby heart rate issue. The doctor was there as well and they realized that the problem was the epidural, not the cord. The epidural drug had gone both down (which is what it was supposed to do) and up (which is not what it's supposed to do), so I had no feeling at all from my neck to my toes! 

Eventually, they got me into a position where the baby's heart rate was stable, but they also broke my water and stuck a fetal monitor on the baby's head so they could get more accurate information about her status. They turned the epidural completely off, and once I was looking a little less...zombie-like, I guess...they left us to our own devices until the effects wore off. Fortunately, my body kept on laboring during the whole thing, so things were still progressing.

About two hours later, I could feel my arms again, although everything below my navel was still numb. No complaints - I wasn't really interested in feeling much after that, so I was a happy camper. They gave me a popsicle and I took a selfie that turned out to be a very accurate portrayal of my state of affairs:

Tasty popsicle, messy hair, tired red eyes, and SUPER BLURRY because I'd been shaking nonstop probably since 3am. Labor + adrenaline = the shakes, I suppose. 

And so we waited. It was a pleasant couple of hours once I'd recovered enough to talk. Around 10:30 I made a dumb joke that if we had the baby in the next 20 minutes, we could still make it to church on time. Around 11:15, they checked me again and said it was time to push. The doctor recommended that we try every other contraction, since her heart rate was still on the unsteady side and we didn't want to rock the boat too hard. So for the next 1.5 hours, that's what we did. I was starting to feel contractions again now that the epidural's effects had mostly dissipated, but epidurals have a magical re-up button and after a bit they let me hit it since the renewed pain was distracting me from pushing. 

I knew things were getting close when people started assembling and the doctor suited himself up. In addition to the doctor, there were at least three extra nurses (aside from the one - Katy! - who'd been with us the whole time) and the neonatologist. When they called in the neonatologist I knew they weren't going to put the baby on me right away, and I was fine with that because it meant they were going to make sure she was in good shape right away. 

I guess she wasn't moving out quite as fast as her health required, because the doctor said that it was time for the vacuum. Another side note: the term "vacuum" isn't really accurate. It's really more like a suction cup. With that, they stuck it on her head, gave me a small surgical modification, and vacuumed while I pushed. And there she was! It was 12:58 pm on May 28th, and we named her Elise. We definitely missed church.

They took her over to the warmer right away and checked her all over. She screamed immediately, so we knew her lungs were doing just fine. She was pink and she had ten fingers and ten toes, weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and was 20.5 inches long, and was perfect. Then they handed her to us and we loved her.

We spent the next two days in the hospital getting to know her, recovering, taking a thousand pictures, seeing visitors, sleeping a very little, and eating some surprisingly good hospital food. 

And then we took her home and started figuring out how to be parents. It's an adventure! 

IMG_5454.JPG

And we love it.

New Year, New Post, New...Woodstock!

It looks like 2016 turned out to be the Year Without a Blog, because my last post was back in September! But...there's a good reason for that, because four days after my last post, we realized that the next weeks/months/years were going to look a little different than everything preceding them.

And so before, on, or sometime after May 31, there will be a new, very small Woodstock in the house, and we couldn't be more excited.

I've been really lucky to have a very easy pregnancy so far - no morning sickness, and apart from a near-constant headache, no other major side effects. Our one complication earned us a super fun evening/early morning in the ER at 9.5 weeks, but even that came with the unexpected blessing of getting to see our baby for the first time - wriggling around and (presumably) happy, safe and sound.

I had taken a pregnancy test early one Saturday morning before Chaz had woken up, expecting a negative result. To my surprise, it was positive, and so like the average rational person, I decided I immediately needed to go to Target - the logical response to a positive pregnancy test. I traded my pajamas for a pair of jeans, told a still-sleeping Chaz I needed to run an errand, and ran out the door. I arrived about 10 minutes before Target opened...so I sat in the parking lot and checked the test a few times over again to make sure that I wasn't imagining an extra line (again, bringing it with me was the obvious, ultra-logical choice). Once the doors opened, I hurried inside, picked up some juice, another few pregnancy tests, a small gift bag, and a pack of onesies. Upon checkout, the cashier said, "Do you need a gift receipt?" Since I responded to the negative, I suppose she was the very first person to suspect anything...

When I got home, I stuffed the bag with some tissue paper, the test, and a onesie, and waited for Chaz to come downstairs. He was awake by that point, so when he came down he saw the gift bag on the table, and much excitement abounded henceforth.

And as of this past Friday, we know it's a girl! Hooray! We can't wait to meet her.