About Me

Hi! I'm Abby. My husband, Carl, and I are happily married since October 2007. Our little family of 2 (well, 3 if you count Chief, the dog) added one more in October 2011 when we welcomed Audrey Elizabeth, our first child into the world. Our life was forever changed. And to add to the joy and excitement, we added another daughter, Clara Marie, in May 2014. I wanted to create this blog originally to document all the milestones throughout my pregnancy with Audrey so we could remember that special time in our lives. And now I get to write all about Audrey and Clara and our life with these amazing "Larson Ladies", which is so much more fun!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Audrey is 2 months old!

Today, Audrey is 2 months old.  Can you believe it?!  Even our doctor (Dr. Tess) at Audrey's 2-month checkup on Tuesday said he couldn't believe how quickly 2 months has gone by.  Tell me about it!

We had our monthly photo shoot today and I took a lot of pictures... I mean, like 30 pictures... yeah, a lot.  I couldn't get enough of her.  She was so alert and cooperative.  Here are some of my favorites:
 If Audrey could talk, she would probably be saying:  "Mom, what are you doing?  Why do you have my dressed like this?  And why are you talking so funny?"

 See, Audrey was having fun!

I took this one without the tutu so we can see her whole body, long legs and feet and all.

At 2 months...

Audrey weighs 10 pounds, 13 ounces and measures 23 inches long!
In the last month, she has grown an inch and a half and a pound and a half.  This puts her in the 75th percentile for length, and 50th percentile for weight (Source: CDC.gov WHO growth standards).  Perfect!  We think she's going to be a tall girl.  

Audrey is wearing size 0-3 months clothes
Although, some of the 0-3 months onesies are snug on her.  Especially the ones that we wash over and over again.  Also, there's a pink Puma outfit that I love dressing her in to run errands and that's snug on her now.  Maybe I'm just shrinking it in the wash?  Nah, I don't think so.  :)  I hate to see her grow out of these cute clothes!  Most of her Christmas outfits are 0-3 months, so she just needs to stay that size until after Christmas.  Then she can move up to 3-6 months.  I will be prepared.

Audrey wears a size 1 diaper
She has worn this size since birth and it's still serving us well.  I think we have another 3 pounds or so to go before she's size 2.  We do have a big box of transitional size 1-2 diapers that we will use after we run out of 1's.  

Audrey is eating about every 3 hours during the day and frequently sleeping through the night.  There are still some nights that she'll wake up every 3-4 hours, but more and more frequently she is sleeping all through the night from about 10pm or 11pm to 4am or 5am.  I'm reading On Becoming Babywise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep so we can start getting into a routine.  Up until this point, Audrey has done pretty well with a routine; she regulates her eating to about every 3 hours (and has ever since she was just a couple weeks old), she naps when she needs to during the day, and she sleeps well in her crib.  It's just that sometimes her wake-up time varies for that first feeding so then our days are not as predictable.  I still have a few weeks to get us into our daycare/work routine, but I'm getting started now.  They say it takes a few days for a baby to get into a new routine, so hopefully she'll consistently be sleeping through the night every night very soon!  

Audrey is so alert during her awake time.  She is so much fun with her smiles and laughs and sounds.  She wakes up smiling and laughing.  She loves when we sing to her (even when I sing to her, poor girl).  So much fun!  And it's pretty funny what Carl and I will do to get her to laugh.  If only there were a hidden camera in our house.  You guys would think we were nuts.  Anything to get her to smile and laugh!  She is such a beautiful, happy baby.  We visited the Applied Systems office last week to visit my coworkers and they all commented on how happy and alert, but quiet she is.  She is such a good baby!  And at our 2-month checkup, all the nurses and Dr. Tess were so pleased with how easy-going and happy and alert she is. Dr. Tess said she was his easiest patient!  And the cutest too.  (Wait, that's what I said.)  Although, she did have to get 2 shots at this appointment, so let's see if she's as cooperative in the future.  She took the shots like a champ, but she sure wasn't happy about it.  She let us hear her screams!  But then after a few minutes of crying, she calmed down.  She was sucking on her paci really hard.  She has been a little irritable since getting them, but no fever or big change in behavior.  Next checkup is at 4 months where she'll get a couple more shots.  They say it's harder on the parents to see their babies getting shots.  I agree that it is so hard!  I keep telling her that we still love her and it's going to be better in the long run.  Of course I'm trying to reason with her.  Do you think she understands?  ;)

Audrey can nap/sleep anywhere.  She almost always falls asleep when we run errands or go out to eat.  That makes it so easy to take her places.  People tell us to take advantage of it and go do things now, because once she's a toddler and up moving around, we won't be able to go out as easily!  Grandma Larson plays piano in a Dixieland Jazz band called The Dixie Bandits.  This past weekend, they played at a coffee shop in downtown Joliet.  We surprised Grandma Larson and came to see her play!  It was pretty loud in there.  They have I think 7 different musicians and instruments, and it got loud.  
Would you believe it that Audrey fell asleep and slept right through all the noise?  What a good baby!  Here she is listening to the band with her Daddy: 

Sidenote:  The coffeeshop, Jitters in downtown Joliet, is the cutest place.  They had great food (we had the Muffaletta sandwiches and pumpkin pie) and the people are so nice.  You must stop by there if you're in Joliet.  

It has been a really great month.  This past month really flew by, even faster than the first month.  And I know with Christmas and New Year's, this next month will go by even faster.  I'm really enjoying my time at home with Audrey.  I don't want it to end!  

We love you, Audrey!  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Audrey's Newborn Pictures

We had these pictures taken when Audrey was just 1 week old.  A lady I work with, Cynthia Kristufek, came to our house to take these pictures.  Aren't they fantastic?  She was so patient and so creative and really great to work with!  Here is a link to Cynthia's website - http://www.cynthiakphotography.com/.  This is the 2nd time that we've had her take pictures for us.  Last year, she took pics of Carl and me and Chief for our Christmas cards.  The cards and prints last year turned out really good, so I was very confident about how the pics of Audrey would turn out.  And Audrey's just so darn cute, so how could they not look good!  :)

Here are the pictures:

Cynthia is working on our Christmas card/birth announcement design, and she should be getting me a proof tonight.  I need to put in our order for the cards and the prints we want, but I'm having such a hard time deciding what to order!  Really, I'm trying to decide what NOT to order.  :)  How could I not order all of them?  Oh Lord...  Some of our favorites are the one with the crocheted hat in black and white, the ones with the flower headband, the other ones with the fluffy white background, and the guitar one.

The guitar one.  Seriously, how precious?  Carl owns (and plays for Audrey) a few different guitars.  This one in the pictures happens to be the 6-string guitar that I gave Carl for our wedding present 4 years ago.  How special that Cindy was creative enough to capture this.  And look how small Audrey is on the end of that guitar.  It's just so special.  I feel like this is a picture that Audrey and Carl will treasure forever.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Audrey's first Thanksgiving...

...was spent in Oak Forest, IL, at Carl's Aunt Janet and Uncle Tudy's house.  It was really a great day.  We got to spend it with Audrey's Grandma & Grandpa Larson:

Aunt Jennifer Larson:

Grandma and Grandpa Bockelmann:

and Aunt Janet, Uncle Tudy, and Jay Swanson (no picture - shame on me!).  They were busy hosting us so they didn't get much of a chance to hold Audrey.  

Uncle Tudy cooked our Thanksgiving meal, and it was delicious.  We had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey, green bean casserole, corn pudding, stuffing, carrots, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, fruit medley pie... I'm probably forgetting something, but you get the idea. A lot of food that was delicious!  And like most Americans, I overindulged.  I made sure to wear my maternity pants.  :)  

Note about overeating on Thanksgiving... can you believe that I talked to a nurse at my doctor's office that actually counted her calories and only ate 1200 calories on Thanksgiving!  I couldn't believe it.  Good for her!  They said on Biggest Loser that most Americans eat 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving... 3,500 calories is 1 pound, you do the math.  I think I gained weight (despite breastfeeding) on Thanksgiving and that following weekend!  So much good food!

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, a lot of people were up early doing Black Friday shopping.  CUH-RAZY.  I wasn't shopping (you could never catch me shopping the morning of Black Friday), but I was up at 3:30am unable to fall back asleep.  I was anxious about traveling down to my parents' house in Forsyth for Audrey's first overnight trip.  I was in Audrey's room putting away clean clothes and packing her... I figured I might as well take advantage of the time since I couldn't sleep.  I even got in the shower at 6:30am - that hasn't happened in A LONG TIME.  We were shooting to leave the house by 9:30am, so I thought for sure we'd be able to get on the road a lot sooner since I was up and ready and Audrey was basically ready.  Yeah.. right.. we got out the door at about 9:00am.  Here is Audrey on the way down.  She looks excited, doesn't she?  
She's really good in the car.  Slept the whole ride down.  We had a great weekend in Forsyth.  Audrey got to meet her Great Grandpa Hahn, Great Aunt Faye and Great Uncle Jim, and Keely and Matt and Chloe McClure (cousins) on Friday.  My mom had everyone over for a yummy Mexican dinner.  She even had (un)fried ice cream for dessert.  Yum!  Here are some pics from Friday:

Keely, Chloe (age 17.5 months), me, Audrey (age 6 weeks)

 Matt and Audrey

Grandma Patton and Great Grandpa Hahn with Audrey
(look how long Audrey looks in this pic!)
Great Grandpa Hahn with Audrey - how precious is this picture??

Keely and Matt's daughter, Chloe, is on the move!  She was keeping us entertained.  She loved climbing in Bixby's cage.  
 And she was playing with dried pasta in tupperware containers.  After a short while, there was no more pasta left.  I wonder why!  Turns out Bixby and Chief like dried pasta.  Looks like Chief has a new treat...much more inexpensive than the other chicken-free treats we buy for him!  ;)

And of course Grandma and Grandpa Patton and Auntie Am and Auntie Ash loved on Audrey a lot the whole weekend.  Amber and Ashley were having fun with Audrey's "I <3 My Aunt" onesie that Ashley got for her.

 I love this pic of Audrey laying on Amber's Team USA jersey.  This is the jersey she played in when she played in the Japan Cup for Team USA.  Pretty cool, huh?

Then on Saturday, we had even more visitors... Jim and Karen Czuprynski (my parents' neighbors across the street), Bob and Nicky Bachtold (next door neighbors), Cynda and Andy Marr, Crystal Whetstone, and my Aunt Mary (Audrey's Great-Aunt).

Aunt Mary and Audrey

Cynda and Andy Marr are getting ready to have their baby boy, Colby.  Cynda looked FANTASTIC at 37 weeks.  They're a lot of fun and we had fun visiting with them.  I can't wait for Colby to arrive! Oh, and I just have to document that an egg CAN be broken with one hand while gripping it like a tennis ball.  There was a misconception that it couldn't be broken, but Andy sure proved that wrong.  I haven't laughed that hard in a LONG time!  

What an eventful weekend.  It really was so much fun, and Audrey did GREAT on her 2 night overnight stay. We'll be back down for Christmas, if not sooner.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Activity Mat Fun

Carl took this video of Audrey playing on her activity mat on 11/27/11.  Audrey is 6 weeks old in this video.  She has so much fun playing with the toys!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Audrey is 1 month old!

On Tuesday, November 15th , Audrey turned one month old. I cannot even believe it has already been a month since she was born. Every day, I just smile and thank God that we have her in our lives. She is a true blessing!

Picture taken Nov 15th

At one month...

Audrey weighs 9 pounds, 4 ounces and measures 21.5 inches long
That means she has grown about 2 pounds in this first month! Doctor Tess, our family practitioner Audrey is seeing (in lieu of a pediatrician, which is another story for a different day), really was pleased with this growth. I believe this puts her in the 65-70th percentile for height and weight.  (Source: CDC.gov WHO growth standards) She sure does like to eat. And sometimes more often than is "convenient" or ideal for me. But I wouldn't trade those feeding times for anything in the world. I love her facial expressions and those smiles that melt my heart. I love these bonding times with her! And I also realize that the more I feed her, the more milk supply I will have and therefore the longer I will be able to breastfeed. Breastfeeding has really worked out well. It's been hard at times, but I am thankful I get to do it because of the health benefits (for Audrey and me) and because of the cost savings. Formula is expensive! And me (being my frugal self) would just rather not spend money on formula when breastfeeding is free!  Do you think she'll be tall?  We sure do hope she gets the Larson height, and growing an inch and a half in the first month is a good start!
Picture taken Oct 30th

Audrey is wearing size 0-3 months clothes
I tried dressing her in some newborn clothes at 3 weeks old, but they were really snug.  That was my first indication that Audrey had grown in weight and length.  We love the side-snap shirts for wear everyday.  They are so convenient in that you don't have to pull them over her head.  In fact, Carl went out and bought a lot more of those shirts that first week we had Audrey at home.  We have shirts and onesies.  And they have mittens which is so nice to both keep her hands warm and keep her from scratching herself.  Love them!  We also really like sleep gowns, sleep sacks, and sleep onesies with the footies.  Do you see a pattern?  We love clothes that keep her warm and make it easy on us to change her diaper.  Audrey has been in "regular outfits" a few time like when we are going out to the mall or to the store or out to eat.  But you will be more likely to find her just in a onesie or shirt and diaper around the house.

Audrey wears a size 1 diaper
When we were in the hospital, we got used to the size 1 Huggies (with the wetness indicator).  When we got home, we had some newborn diapers that were really handy because they have the cutout for her umbilical cord.  But after her cord fell off and we ran out of newborns, we switched back to size 1.  There really isn't much difference between different brands of diapers; they all do their job.  We use Pampers, Huggies, and Target brand.  But we found that we prefer Huggies to the rest.  Target's are kinda big and bulky on her, and Pampers has a mesh lining that sticks to her bum when her diaper is really wet or full.  It looks like it would hurt.  But believe me, we are not throwing any unused diapers away!  We will use anything we have.  We are so lucky and appreciative that we received so many diapers as gifts!

Audrey has accepted a bottle several times now, which makes me so happy!  That gives me the flexibility to pump and then run some errands or just be away from her for longer than a couple hours.  Carl and I were even able to go out and celebrate our anniversary on November 13th...4 years and 1 month.  Finally, right?  We were planning to go out for a nice dinner on October 15th, but Audrey had a different plan for us.  :)  Grandma Larson was nice enough to watch her for us for a couple hours and Carl and I went to Coopers Hawk for a nice dinner.  I even had a glass of red wine!

Audrey is eating about every 2 1/2 to 3 hours, even during the night.  Although, she did go almost 5 hours one night.  Needless to say, that was awesome!  It's really not too bad, though, getting up in the middle of the night.  Every night's different, but I've seen this pattern quite often...11pm, 2am, 5am, 8am.  Most nights are good nights, although we have had some challenging nights.  Through her first month, Audrey slept in a cradle right next to our bed.  This was so convenient for the nighttime feedings.  The trick, and what determined whether it was a good night or not, was how easily and quickly she fell asleep again.  The first week was no problem.  She slept soundly between feedings, day or night. But after about 2 weeks, she became much more alert during the day.  Even though it's a lot of fun during the day, she sometimes would want to stay up at night, too.  And since she was sleeping in our room, I didn't want her to wake up Carl who had to get up early for work.  There were quite a few nights of rocking her to sleep only to have her wake up again after only a few minutes in her cradle.  And then there was the walking about hte house trying to lull her to sleep.  Or giving her a pacifier to occupy and calm her, but usually that's more trouble than good because she wouldn't be happy when the "paci" fell out so I had to be there and awake every few minutes.  So, after talking with the nurses at Audrey's checkup, we decided it was time to transition her to her crib. That has worked out really well, and she has been such a good sleeper in her crib.  What a good baby!  I seriously don't think we could have gotten any luckier with Audrey.

Audrey loves to be held!  We have been so fortunate to have many friends and family who want to come see Audrey.  And most love holding her.  A lot of times, she'll just fall asleep in their arms.  When I'm home during the day with Audrey, I try and put her in her bouncy seat so I can cook breakfast/lunch/dinner or eat or take a shower for instance.  She likes the bouncy seat and a lot of times will fall asleep.  But there are some times when she'd just rather be held.  And I am happy to stop and hold her.  Seriously, I don't think there is anything better in the world than holding her and looking into that sweet face or watching her sleep in my arms.  So precious!  (And because of that, I still haven't finished all our thank you notes.  I'm working on it.  Almost there.)  I love seeing Carl hold and interact with Audrey.  He was trying to give her a pacifier the other day and commented on how she'll only take it "it it's on her terms, just like her mom".  Ha!  I guess I am like that...I am more willing to do things when they're my idea.  Hopefully this means she will be strong and independent, but not stubborn or difficult.  We will see!
Picture taken Oct 21st

Audrey loves to play on her Baby Einstein activity mat.  
She loves to look up at the whale and octopus and all the other toys dangling from the top.  She will swing her arms to hit them so they make sound and move.  And then a couple times a day, we'll turn her over for "tummy time".  She's very tolerable of being on her tummy, even from the very first time we tried it.  We started tummy time as soon as her umbilical cord fell off around day 10 or so.  She proves she is a strong little girl.  She bicycles out her legs so they slide on the mat, to the point that we joke that she would get up and run out of here if she could.  Also, she can hold her head up for several seconds and turn it from side to side.  She also pushes herself up on one arm/leg at a time so her body is in the beginning stages of rolling over.  Carl did see her roll over on November 15th, but we think she had a headstart with how he had her positioned on the mat.  Either way, she's getting some muscle strength and coordination.  Gramps Patton compares her to Secretariat.  Ha!
Source:  IMDB.com

Audrey likes to make a lot of sounds...coos, moans, grunts, you name it.  Grandma Larson says Audrey is "singing".  She's just getting ready to voice her opinion!  

I think that about sums up the first month.  Audrey is such a blessing!  She's easy-going, strong, beautiful, loving... the list could go on and on and on.  

What a great month it has been getting to know our little girl.  We love you, Audrey!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Audrey's umbilical cord fell off on October 26th (last Wednesday).  And you know what that means?  She can take a "real" bath now!

She just loves her bathtime.  She's so laid-back but wide-eyed during the bath. I just crack up...she is so cute it just kills me.  (I'm a little biased; a proud Momma!)  But really, she doesn't cry or fuss at all.  She's really curious and seems to enjoy it.  Here are some pics from the first bath that Carl and I gave her together.

This last pic captures the "get a diaper on her ASAP" moment right after the bath.  Isn't she so cute with the monkey-hooded towel?  Our cute little monkey!