Friday, November 13, 2009

halloween and other adventures

It's been about a month since I posted, which means we've taken a month's worth of new pictures. We've done quite a bit in the last several weeks, I now realize looking back. Not sure how we've managed to squeeze everything in between busy schedules and icky weather (October was the wettest, dreariest, most depressing month ever!) but we've certainly kept active.

Everyone is doing well. Madison is making great strides in her artistic endeavors...she's drawing people with faces and sometimes they are even granted arms, legs, and an occasional lucky so-and-so gets 3 or 4 fingers. Also, she can write her name, all by herself, with no help at all. She's gotten really good at writing letters. I wouldn't be surprised if the girl is reading before she starts kindergarten, too. We certainly don't drill her, but we read to her all the time and she's beginning to recognize words!

Ali is about 2 1/2 months now. She's smiling and cooing a lot, and we think she's maybe laughed a couple of times. She's a cuddle bug and loves to be held. We have lots of pictures of her but since I'm bad about printing pics, her cute little mug has yet to grace photo frames in the house. I feel badly about that, and hope to at least get our family photo scheduled soon. Here are a few snapshots of random photos:

Happy baby (& big sis's hand)

Polka dot girls

Birthday cookout (Mom's & Kevin's)


Halloween was fun this year. There were a few opportunities to dress up--first for the library Halloween story time, then trick or treating on our street, and finally at the mall that evening. We really got our $7 worth out of these costumes! I scored both costumes at Goodwill, paying only $2 for M's Tigger--we made the mask though--and $5 for Ali's pumpkin. Love, love LOVE me a good deal! ;)

Tigger treat!

Sleepy pumpkin

K & M on his fav bench, outside the Garlic Press

Me and the girls

Miss M with her friend Logan

Photo op at Starved Rock...clan of Harts

I'm sure you are tired of scrolling--ha!--so I'll wrap it up. Until next time!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hart Family Update

Do you hear that? I don't. And I'm lovin' it!

My dad took Miss M to the park and the museum today and Ali is napping (poor thing has a touch of a cold I think) and the house is absolutely quiet. Although I have a pile of housework to do, I wanted to take a few minutes to update the blog.

I've been keeping a mental list in my head of all the things I want to mention, but by the time I find a few minutes to update I'm too tired to recall everything I wanted to talk about (let alone type everything!). So, I'll keep the commentary short and just state the basics. We're adjusting to life as a family of four, and everyone seems to be finding their place once again.

Madison is a wonderful big sister. While the novelty of having a baby in the house is beginning to fade for her, I think, she still is a big help. Kevin clearly enjoys being with his girls when he's home, and I am beginning to feel as if caring for two children is actually doable!

Ali is 7 weeks old...hard to believe she's almost 2 months already! She's still quite the sleeper but is having more periods of alertness during the day. She sleeps great at night, but getting her down in the evening has been a challenge. We had about two weeks where I swore she had colic. The last week has been considerably easier however, thanks to two things: GRIPE WATER and my MEI TAI CARRIER. I don't know exactly how the gripe water works, but it's a miracle invention. Stops fussing in its tracks and usually brings on the sleepies. The carrier is a cozy way for A to doze off while being close to mama, which makes sense as she's still technically in the newborn stage.

Here are some new pics of everyone, thanks for looking!

Trip to the Fall Festival put on by local Ropp & Rader Farms. We went last year and had a blast. This year was super fun, too! Here's M feeding the calves:

Decorating a supersnack cookie:

The four of us on a hayride. A is under the yellow burp cloth. It was really bright out and she didn't appreciate the light in her eyes.

Daddy and Maddi on a big ol' stack of haybales:

The corn sandbox returns!

A enjoying the farms. Ha!

Punkin' baby...caught you smiling!

Ha! Caught you again! (Loving on Daddy.)

The girls, chillin' on the couch.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Welcome, Alexandria Leigh!

Our family's newest addition was born on August 24, one day past my due date. Alexandria is a big name for such a little person, so we’re calling her Ali.

I already wrote out Ali’s birth story to share on my fav discussion forum, so this may be more info that you want to read (LOL). But as you parents know, time is limited (I’ve been meaning to update this blog for a couple weeks now and am just now getting around to it!) so I’ll just copy what I posted earlier.

On "Labor Day" verything went smoothly and actually, relatively quickly. Sunday morning (the 23rd) I had slight cramping, which progressed to irregular, very low-key contractions. This continued all day, not becoming regular until about 7 pm. The contractions were about 5 minutes apart then, but still not very strong at all, and only in the lower pelvic region (not the back). When they were about 4 minutes--around midnight--apart we went into the hospital, as per my OB's instructions. It still didn't really hurt though, so I wondered if they'd send us home. After the nurse checked me and said I was at 6 cm and 90% effaced, though, she said she was pretty sure we were there for the duration.

Since it didn't hurt really, still, I didn't ask for any medication. I was even able to walk the halls, which was nice. This also seemed to intensify the contractions a little bit, but they were manageable if I just concentrated on getting through one at a time. The next time the nurse checked me I was 8-9 cm dilated and she went to call the doctor. By the time she got there it was time to push. I don't think I pushed more than 10 minutes, probably less actually, before Ali entered the world at 5 a.m. exactly...7 lb 5 oz and 18".

This experience was sooo different from when I had Madison. I think I just got lucky with a relatively short labor and no real pain until the last hour or two. If the labor had been longer and more intense I may not have been able to do it naturally, but I'm very grateful for this experience! And I had an awesome nurse (Thanks, Trish at BroMenn!), she was very supportive. And of course, a great partner, Kevin. He let me squeeze the crap out of his hands, arms, or whatever happened to be near me during the more intense contractions.

I also have to credit an awesome book I read called Baby Catcher. It was written by a midwife and detailed her patient's experiences...all natural births. Many were at home, but some were in the hospital. These womens' frame of mind during childbirth was very inspirational, as was the fact that they all seemed to be up and about doing things...walking around, frying bacon and eggs, even fishing on a fishing boat (!)...immediately after childbirth. And in my limited experience it's true...I felt much better after giving birth to Ali than after Miss M was born.

So far it’s been going well at home. Madison is a great big sister and really seems to enjoy having Ali around. She will play with her and “read” to her, and loves patting and kissing her head. It has been a little difficult juggling two kids, but not too stressful. The hardest part is that Ali, when awake, pretty much just wants to nurse. That’s when Madison needs something and of course I can’t get it for her. I fear the novelty of being the big sister will wear off when she hears, “not now, I’m feeding the baby” for the zillionth time.

More updates about both kids to come as time allows…but for now, enjoy the pictures!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

the waiting game

So this is the week of my due date--technically August 23 (Sunday). It's so weird thinking that at any time labor could start, I'd head to the hospital at the recommended time, and we'd become a family of four! But I'm ready. Everything is ready, actually. We moved the furniture around in Miss M's room to make way for the crib (well, we don't have a crib yet but the pack n' play is set up to mark the spot) this weekend, all baby clothes and washable items are clean, my hospital bag is packed and my body is totally ready! I'm tired of not being able to bend over and pick things up. I want to shave my legs comfortably again. I'd love to roll over in the middle of the night and not be dragged down by a basketball belly. But most of all, I want to meet this new little girl!

Last week we had a beautiful day and decided to take advantage of it, since it was Kevin's last full free week before school started and we didn't know what would be going on this week. So we headed to the beach! Now remember, we live in Central IL so it's not like we were able to relish squawking seagulls and splashing waves. Around here it's more like dodging geese (and their excrements) and taking care not to swallow lake water. But we do have a couple of nice beaches to visit in the area. We tried to hit up Comlara Park/Lake Evergreen, but apparently they're only open weekends now. So we drove to Moraine View State Park
and luckily, their beach was open. We enjoyed a very relaxing afternoon, and Madison love, love, loved playing in the sand and water!

Other news: this has been an exciting season for gardening! I have really gotten into all aspects this year, even the dreaded chore of weeding (admittedly, however, I've slacked off recently due to the struggles associated with bending over to grasp the annoying suckers). So far we've been able to enjoy the "fruits" of our efforts by consuming delicious green beans, cucumbers, sweet corn, and finally, tomatoes! Had our first round of BLT's last night and boy, were they good. Recent garden pics:

And one final pic for good measure. Miss M, at the exciting age of 3, has moved on to a "big girl" bike. Our neighbors found it as someone had pitched it curbside and thought of her. It's really in good condition...could use a couple new tires, but we can take care of that. And we found a pair of training wheels at a garage sale ($1) so we're good to go! She doesn't like to go fast and chugs along at a snail's pace for now, testing the brakes every 30 seconds, but hey, it's a start! We've got a beautiful bike trail system in town so before too long we'll be taking family rides. Maybe next year, when Baby will be big enough to ride in the trailer and M has mastered the bike thing. Here she is:

And yeah, yeah, I helmet. We haven't gotten one yet.

For the time of being she's wearing a baseball hat to prepare for having something on her head. Of course, growing up *we* never wore helmets, but it's the thing now so I guess we'll confrom.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading if you've made it through this novel of updates. Hopefully next post there will be news/pics of our new little one!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Miss M's first haircut!

Finally it came time to give Madison a haircut...her first *real* one. (This only took 3 years and 4 months!) I've trimmed her bangs many times and even once tried my hand at evening out the back, but this is what I consider her first actual cut. We took her to the same place Kevin and I go and had the same hairdresser tackle her locks. She did a great job! I was apprehensive about losing some of the length, but it was looking so scraggly back there that I understand why it had to be cut. Now her hair is to the middle of her neck and really looks lays so much more nicely and is a perfect summer cut. Of course I had to bring the camera for the big event!

1st haircut



She never did smile but seems happy to have had the experience. Here's a view of the flips up a bit in back since there's some curl to her hair now, and looks super cute.


And on the preggo front...I'm now 36 weeks. Only 4 to go if I make it to term! My goal is to get most of what we still need this week, which isn't much. We still don't have a crib but probably won't need that right away. We'll use the mini-crib in our room for the first few months and the pack n' play has a bassinette feature, which I figure we can place in the girls' room to "mark" the spot until we find a good deal on a crib. I don't think M used hers until she was at least 6 months, anyway.

HOpefully I'll manage to get everything done before this baby decides to make an appearance!

Friday, July 10, 2009

We made our annual trek to the Iowa City Jazz Festival again last weekend. It's become an integrated family event, with both my folks and Kevin's attending. This year one of his sisters and her husband also came along. Got some good shots of everyone here and there, like these!

And in case anyone is wondering, here are some pregnancy tidbits:

It's almost week 34. In one more week I'll technically be considered full-term! For the most part this pregnancy has been fairly easy, until just recently when I’ve begun to experience a few of the joys of the third trimester. Like...

...peeing every 15 minutes
...intermittent pressure in the abdominal area
...lots of pokes and jabs in the ribs and bladder (it’s so weird when you can feel an elbow or a knee)
...general minor physical discomfort

The last part really gets to me. I’ve been a pretty fit/agile person for most of my life, and now when I take a walk I feel pains that make me have to slow down. I resurrected a Pregnancy Yoga DVD the other day (took a break after I was able to get out in the nice weather regularly and start walking…mistake #1) and realized the exercises I thought were so easy before are now actually difficult. I feel like such a wimp.

But all in all I really don't have much room to complain. Some ladies have it so much worse!

And here's a fun when Miss M and I arrived our Friday playgroup at the park, we were greeted by one little boy who eagerly steered us toward some picnic tables with food and gift bags. Turns out the ladies decided to throw a shower...which was a total surprise and super sweet of them. I received some adorable otufits for the baby as well as some much-needed practical items, and M was given a couple big sister gifts. Here's one of them, a tu-tu!

What a great group of gals. Their generousity is much appreciated. What a nice start for the weekend!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

31 week u/s pics

I realize I promised ultrasound pics for Baby No Name a while back but I still haven't scanned them. However, I had a second u/s today to see why I haven't gained as much weight as my doctor thinks I should (everything's fine! measurements are good and baby weighs 3 lbs, on target) so I have a couple of really good pics to share now!

You can totally see her face here. Amazing, especially for a regular u/s and not a 3D one. And she has Miss M's chin...which also happens to be my mom's chin. Cool!

Profile shot. That little blob above the nose/mouth is a hand. She kept putting it in front of her face like she didn't want her picture taken. I guess she's already taking after my sister.

And we can't forget big sis. Here's a nice one my dad took recently:

Thanks for looking. More updates as stuff happens!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

school daze

After much debating, I finally signed Miss M up for a preschool class. This isn't a year-round class but a summer session through the park district. Last week was her first time attending and as much as I worried about the waterworks being turned on when I left, she surprised me! She was a bit clingy as we entered the classroom, but I noticed a play kitchen set (the girl loves this sort of thing) and steered her toward it, and that was the end of her needing me for anything. I was able to leave guilt-free and we've since had 3 sessions of school, which she really seems to enjoy. On one hand I wish I had her signed up for the fall, but I still am uncertain about how to deal with getting her there plus the needs of a newborn right around the same time. I do plan on looking into having her start, if possible, mid-year in January. I think this is going to be really good for her and since she enjoys it so far, well, why not?

I am now 30 weeks pregnant. That means only 10 weeks to go! It's unbelievable how quickly time has passed. I still feel pretty good, but there are moments of discomfort every now and then, as Baby No-Name seems to enjoy sitting directly on my bladder. I also tend to get sore when's a feeling of having a stitch in the side when running, but it's just the ligaments stretching. So I walk through it and eventually it subsides. Baby No-Name is pretty active all day and night long. Kind of keeps my mind at ease, though.

I'll have to take some pictures of M at her school and post them...until I get that done, here's a recent one of Maddi and Daddy at Miller Park!