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!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

31 Weeks

We had a really eventful and fun weekend to end week 30 and bring in week 31.

Friday night we had pizza at Carl's parents house (yum!) and then went out shopping!  They wanted to purchase the glider and ottoman for us.  I'm so excited about this glider.  Remember a few weeks back when "the Carl's" had to take 2 trips from Buy Buy Baby to transport the crib and dresser?  Well, my Mom and I hung out in the glider section at Buy Buy Baby to wait for them and I just fell in love with this one particular upholstered glider.  It's the Braxton Glider and Ottoman by Best Chairs.  It's so comfortable!!!  And that's the one we chose to go with - Carl and his parents all took a turn sitting in it and comparing to the other gliders and we were all in agreement that was the one for us.  We decided to go with the same color and fabric on the floor model; it's a neutral "Buckwheat" color so we can use it in any room in the house.  Once we got the crib and dresser set up in the nursery, I started to think that we might not have any room in there for a glider.  We'll play around with the layout, but I'm thinking that the glider will probably fit best out in the loft.  I know this glider will last us a long long time... maybe even for a couple (?) more babies.  And if we decide not to use it for babies down the road, it would work great in any room in the house!  I'm so glad Joyce wanted to go this past weekend because it's going to take 8-12 weeks to come in!  We might be doing feedings on the couch if Audrey comes before the glider/ottoman does.  And then, as if that wasn't generous enough, they really wanted to buy us this really nice Canon video camera.  I mean, really nice.  It can take HD videos and also still shots.  I joked with Carl that we might regret having HD video on Christmas mornings when we're looking alert, awake, and at our utmost best.  Ha!  What a wonderful gift to us.  We'll definitely be able to capture a lot of Audrey's "first's".  So cool.

Audrey's grandparents are so generous!  Carl and I are so spoiled between both sets of our parents.  We really can't thank them enough for all their support and generosity.

Then Saturday, Carl golfed in the annual golf outing for the Martin J. Larson II Foundation.  I just read a Facebook post today that they had their biggest year yet raising over $31,900 for the Foundation!  This money goes to benefit different charities:  Lincolnway High School Scholarships, American Cancer Society, Multiple Sclerosis (in honor of Erik Larson who was diagnosed with MS), Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation (in honor of Grandma Larson who passed away from this disease in 2008), and other local charities.  They always have a really great outing and I was sad to miss it this year.  The "celebrity" this year was Staley the Bear, the Chicago Bears mascot.
Photo courtesy of The Chicago Bears - http://www.chicagobears.com/staley/staleysbio.asp

As I mentioned, I had to miss the outing, but for very good reason.  Maci Whetstone (Crystal Wilkey Whetstone's daughter) turned 1 on August 18th and they had her birthday party on Saturday.  Take a look at how cute this little girl is.  The tutu just kills me.  And she was wearing a onesie that had the number 1 and Maci embroidered on it.  And of course the little headband with the flower.  I'm in love with this cute little girl.  She's so curious and laid-back.  So cute!

I didn't get any pictures of it, but she opened all her presents (and there were a TON of presents) and even had a cupcake.  Although, I'm pretty sure she didn't eat any of it... she basically crushed it between her fingers and smeared it all over her highchair.  So stinkin cute!  The party was so much fun, not only because I got to see Maci, but I got to hang out with my best friends, Crystal, Cynda, and Katie.  Katie and I see each other quite often because she lives up in Chicagoland and is engaged to Carl's best friend, Frank.  But I don't get to see Cynda and Crystal but every couple months.  And rarely do the 4 of us get to hang out.  And we took pictures this time... imagine that!  In these pictures, I'm 31 weeks and Cynda is 24 weeks pregnant - check out Cynda's baby bump!

Then Sunday we had our Birthing Class at Christ Hospital where we will be delivering.  (Can you believe that all this has happened in 1 weekend?  Seriously...)  I'll post a separate post about the Birthing Class.  It was a really great experience and really got us excited and geared up to have our baby and become parents!

Here is my update on how I am feeling at 31 weeks...
How far along:  31 (and a half!) weeks
Size of baby:  Audrey now weighs as much as four (4) navel oranges (about 3.5 pounds) and is over 16 inches long.  My updates tell me she's accumulating much-needed fat.
Total weight gain:  This question is really starting to bother me... :)  I've gained 27.5 pounds so far in this pregnancy.
Maternity clothes:  Nothing's really changed here... still wearing a lot of dresses.  I did wear my new full panel jeans from Target and I love them!  I got a lot of compliments on them when I wore them to work last Friday.  In fact, my boss told me that I was so lucky that I have gained weight only in my belly.  Ha!  I told her I thought it was an "optical illusion".  :)  That's how good these jeans are!  Still haven't gotten the support belt.  I just need to go to the maternity store and buy it, but I haven't been by there in awhile.
Gender:  Girl
Movement:  She's still really active!  I feel her at all different times of day, but I find I feel her moving around the most when I stop for the day and sit (or lay down) on the couch or in bed.
Sleep:  I've been really exhausted this week.  I fell asleep on Monday night around 8pm and slept through the entire night.  Then today, Wednesday, I left work early to come home and work from home in the afternoon.  I got my work done, but I was able to change into shorts and a t-shirt and even fell asleep for a short nap.  (Don't tell my boss!)  Not sure what's going on... maybe I just needed to catch up from this weekend?  I swear I'm taking my iron supplements!
What I miss:  Relaxing with a nice alcoholic beverage.  Especially being at Maci's party, Crystal and Katie popped open a bottle of Chardonnay.  Yum - there is nothing better than a cold glass of white wine on a nice hot summer day.
Cravings:  Today I didn't really feel that well, so I've just been craving carbs.  But that's really not unusual for me.  I haven't really had too many weird food cravings during this pregancy.  Carl said guys at work ask him if I have any spontaneous requests for him to rush out and get me food to satisfy my weird cravings.  Carl and I joked that it's no more than normal!  I do like my ice cream so I suggest that regularly.  :)
Symptoms:  Monday night, I was cooking dinner when I got home from work while Carl and Chief were out on a run.  All of a sudden, I got light headed and felt nauseous.  I got a tall glass of water thinking that would help and knew that eating would help too.  I finished my dinner, then I ran to the bathroom thinking I was going to throw-up.  Weird, right?  I wasn't even sick in my first trimester!  I didn't get sick, but I just felt really terrible.  Hence the falling asleep at 8pm and sleeping through the night.  When I woke up on Tuesday morning, I had a headache.  Not sure if that's all related?  And then today (Wednesday), I felt overall just crummy and run-down so I left work early and worked from home this afternoon.  Maybe I just really need to rest and get some more sleep?  Not sure, but hopefully I get over this soon!
Best moment this week:  Gosh, how can I decide one moment from all that happened this past weekend.  Let's just say it was a really fun weekend full of a lot of "best moments".  As far as the pregnancy goes, the Birthing Class was a big highlight for me (and I think Carl, too).  I'm so excited to deliver at Christ and really excited to become a mother to our Audrey.
Best husband quote of the week:  We were in the car with Joyce and Carl going from Buy Buy Baby to Best Buy and Carl was saying that I haven't been seeking a lot of attention during this pregnancy.  He thanked me for not being an "Attention [______]".  I'm not posting the actual word he used, but we all got a big laugh out of it and even joked that this was going to show up as my "husband quote of the week".

This next weekend is a big one... my first baby shower!  My cousin Keely is throwing this shower for me on Saturday, August 27th, at my Aunt Faye's house in Decatur.  We've already received some gifts in the mail from people who can't make it.  I'll be sure to take a lot of pictures and post about it next week!

Monday, August 15, 2011

30 Weeks

How far along:  30 weeks and 1 day
Size of baby:  She weighs about 3 pounds and is about 15.7 inches long.  She's getting bigger!
Total weight gain:  I just had my 30-week doctor's visit tonight, and I have officially gained 27 pounds.
Maternity clothes:  Dresses, dresses, dresses.  That is all I want to wear to work and church.  They're so much easier than pants.  And I've concluded that I can only do full-panel jeans.  I had 2 different pairs of maternity jeans on Friday, and both were the kind that have the band that hits right at the belly button.  Well, let's just say they're very uncomfortable these days.  On Friday night, I was at the Chicago Bandits game with Carl, Ashley, my parents, and Carl's parents.  And everyone kept asking if Audrey was kicking.  The big joke was that Audrey had no room to move in there because of my jeans!  :)  I bought a pair of full-panel jeans from Target today.  I haven't tried them on yet, but I'm hoping that I really like them!  Also, I was asking my doctor about the pressure I felt in my lower pelvis/pubic bone after our walk yesterday.  She told me that it's normal, it's just the weight of the baby on my pelvis.  She has been telling me for a long time to get a support belt, and I'm going to have to give in this week!
Gender:  Girl
Movement:  She's still moving a lot!  I feel like she moves like crazy when I'm laying on my right side.  I feel her on the left side of my belly like crazy when I'm in that position.  Sometimes, I feel like I can even make out a limb, like I can grab her foot or leg through my belly.  It's so cool.  Carl's still amazed!
Sleep:  Still been sleeping well!  I still feel very tired, even with my extra iron supplements.
What I miss:  Diet Coke.  Yummmmm.
Cravings:  Mac/Shells 'n Cheese.  I made Shells 'n Cheese for lunch on Saturday.  So good!!
Symptoms:  I haven't had heartburn yet this week... yet.  Hopefully I don't get it this week.  I was reading that the reason heartburn is so common during pregnancy is because a lot of the body's ligaments and joints really loosen up.  In addition, the flap between the stomach and the esophagus becomes a little lax and stomach acid is able to creep up into the esophagus.  That's heartburn!  I've also been experiencing some Braxton Hicks contractions I think.  I asked the doctor about these this week and she said I'm okay as long as there's less than 4 per hour.  And it's definitely been less than that, and not every day either.  She said it could feel tight just in one area because the baby is curled up in a ball and pushing against just one part of my belly.
Best moment this week:  My parents stayed the night on Friday night which is always so fun.  Mom and Carl installed the curtains on Saturday morning.  They're beautiful!  Also, on Saturday, after I got my Rhogam shot (see more details below), Carl and I bought a video camera at Best Buy.  It's a Flip Video UltraHD (3rd Generation) Black/Silver Camcorder with 2 Hour/8GB internal memory.  One of my friends at work has this camera and loves it.  It's so small (the size of a small digital camera) so I can keep it in my purse (or the diaper bag soon) and have it on hand at all times.  And the videos look to be pretty good.  You can just plug the camera into a USB port right on the computer and play videos from there.  Since I've shown interest in the camera, my friend has been keeping an eye on when it goes on sale.  And it was on super sale at Best Buy, so we went ahead and bought it.  We've taken 1 video so far... it's Chief on the couch staring at Carl/the camera while Carl tries to get him to speak.  Chief wasn't having it.  So funny!
Best husband quote of the week:  He had several really good ones this week.  He's been making me laugh a lot... maybe I need to keep a journal to keep track because I always forget the really good ones when I come to this question on my update.  Here's one that sticks out from this past week... One night last week, I was cutting up onions for fajitas.  I was telling Carl that the onions must have been good and ripe because they made me cry.  He said, "Must be the pregnancy hormones."  It may not sound that funny in writing, but we cracked up laughing.

I want to make a new category this week for Unnecessary drama this week or Least favorite part of this week.  This revolves around this darn Rhogam shot I had to get this week.  Well, I was supposed to get it taken when I was 28 weeks, but my schedule just didn't allow, so I got it at the very end of my 29th week.  I usually don't mind shots, but I was pretty high-strung about this.  Here's the story:

At my 28 week doctor appointment, my doctor handed me a piece of paper (or maybe she handed it straight to Carl, I can't remember).  Either way, there was no discussion about this piece of paper at all.  And I didn't look at it until we left the doctor's office.  It was an order to get a Rhogam shot at this hospital that's about 45 minutes from our house, Little Company of Mary, between the hours of 8-2 M-F and 9-12 Sat.  I called the doctor's office a couple days later to find out the timeframe for when I need to get the shot and to see if I could get it done at Silver Cross Hospital or another hospital closer to our house.  They told me I had to get it that week and that it had to be at Little Company of Mary.  I talked to a number of nurses over that week and couldn't get a straight answer for why it had to be done at that hospital and details about the shot and what's involved in the process.  Carl even called for me one time to see if he could get answers that I couldn't.  I felt like the nurse at the doctor's office as BS-ing me and she couldn't tell me the benefits of getting the shot.  It made me nervous and anxious about getting the shot.  I just wanted to know what was going on... Who is benefiting from the shot, me or the baby?  What does the process look like?  Little Company of Mary told me it was a 2-hour process.  I also called to make an appointment at Little Company of Mary and I got passed around to about 10 different departments and then back again.  It's like no one has every heard of this freaking shot.  And to top it all off, I know of someone who died giving childbirth at that hospital.  I was really uneasy.  I felt like I couldn't get answers from my doctor's office or from the hospital.  I ended up calling Blue Cross Blue Shield to see if they could clear some things up for me.  I am enrolled in the "Special Beginnings Program", which is just for pregnant women.  They have RN's on staff and available 24 hours a day if I ever have any questions... perfect opportunity to use this resource!  So I found out from Cindy, the RN I spoke to, a lot of details:

My blood type is A- (negative).  The negative part is what deems it necessary that I get the Rhogam shot.  Cindy told me that this is fairly common and she's administered Rhogam shots over her career working in a hospital.  It does not affect Audrey or anything to do with this pregnancy at all.  The shot helps my body build up antibodies so that if Audrey's Rh factor is positive and there is some spillover into my blood during delivery, my body doesn't try and fight it off because it's a foreign substance.  If that were to happen, I could become severely anemic after delivery, which is not good (actually, the nurse at Little Company of Mary told me that part).  Additionally, for my future pregnancies, my body would fight off the fetus and I would continue to miscarry if these antibodies weren't built up.  So I get this shot around 28 weeks and then if Audrey's blood type is positive, another shot right after delivery.

I had very low expectations of Little Company of Mary hospital, and I'm happy to say they exceeded my low expectations.  :)  When I registered, I had to sign an additional waiver "because this procedure requires more care than normal". What the heck does that mean??  I told the woman, "Just take care of me and the baby, ok?"  I went up to the lab to get my blood drawn.  The phlebotomist took my blood and told me that she had to get this Rhogam shot when she had her child 18 years ago.  She told me they gave her the shot in her bum, and she really didn't talk about it like it was a good experience.  Great... Next, they put a hospital ID bracelet on me and she took my blood.  Here's a pic of my bracelet:

And then I asked where to go next after she was done.  She didn't really know what happened next, just that I had to go to Outpatient Services.  But she didn't even know where that was.  Really?  We went down to the service desk by the entrance and they directed us to Outpatient Services.  once there, the experience got so much better.  They explained that we just had to wait about 30 minutes while the blood work was being processed.  Then, she would call me back and she would give me the shot.  We waited in the lobby and I read Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix on my Kindle while Carl did some work on his laptop.  Sure enough, about 30 minutes later, the nurse called me back.  She was really nice and warm and friendly.  She made me feel very comfortable.  Because of that nurse, I left with a good experience.  And we were only there for 1 hour total.  Nice!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

1st Nike+ Sportband Walk Stats

Last Summer, I began to like running... weird, right? And to track my runs, I had always used a Garmin Forerunner 301.  It's really nice and provides a lot of information, but it's so bulky on my wrist.  For Christmas this past year, my sister Ashley got me a Nike+ Sportband as a gift.  It's a simple bracelet that you wear and not bulky at all.  So easy!  Well, let's just say I haven't run as much this Spring/Summer as I planned to as of Christmas 2010.  This Spring, I ordered a little park that allows me to attach the special chip to my shoes.. but can you believe it, I hadn't yet used the Sportband!

The temp was awesome this morning!  It was about 70* out, so Carl and I decided to go on a long walk with Chief.  Carl checked the doppler before we left the house and it was completely clear.  Forecast showed "cloudy", nothing about rain.  Well, sure enough, as we were heading to Old Plank Road Trail in New Lenox, it started sprinkling.  On the trail, there's a lot of tree cover so our walk was still very enjoyable.  And it really only drizzled on us.  Nothing like last night at the Chicago Bandits' game where we got poured on!  :)

We walked a little over 3 miles.  Here are the stats:

I love that Nike assumes we ran.  Let's just say I'm not doing much running these days!  I did run to the bathroom the other day and got heartburn immediately afterward.  :)

I felt really good on our run.  The weather was cool, which is a big change from the hot temperatures that have been the norm this Summer.  After we get done walking, though, I feel this pressure in my lower pelvis.  I've kinda been taking it easy this afternoon.  3 miles used to not bother me at all... but now I feel it a lot more.  Audrey is weighing in now at about 3 pounds and is around 15.7 inches long.  That probably explains the pressure, huh?  

Curtains for the Nursery... Sneak Peek

Curtains are finished!  Mom has been working on them over the past few weeks and she and Carl installed them on Saturday morning.  They are just beautiful and totally complement the bedding.  The fabric is just beautiful.  I love all the green and pink and the different textures and patterns.  I keep telling Mom she should do this professionally.  She is so good!

We chose to do full-length curtains on each side of the window.  Mom found a nice white curtain rod and beautiful white finials that match the dresser and crib to hang the side curtains from.  We are going to cut the curtain rod down just about another inch on each side so that the finial lays right on the outside of the bracket.    The [faux] Roman Shade spans across the width of the window and lays right behind the side panels and the curtain rod. 

Mom incorporated some pink rick rack onto the full-length drapes on the sides.  The top fabric is this beautiful green and white fabric and the bottom fabric is the fitted crib sheet from the baby bedding collection.  I love how these 2 fabrics play off of each other and go together.  And the pink rick rack ties them together so perfectly.  

These are Roman Shades made out of this really cool fabric we found and really liked.  It integrates so many of the colors from the bedding in a fun way and in a great pattern.  Mom added the beading, which I love.  We debated on whether or not to make these shades functional, but we ultimately decided that Mom would sew them so they stayed just like this and we did not use them as real shades.  We already have good blinds in there, and really these shades are just for decoration.  And let's be honest, they'll look better for a long time to come if we aren't pulling them up and down.

This is just a preview... more pics to come!  Carl's working on the closet doors in the bedroom and right now, everything is pulled out of the closet and all over the room.  And the mattress and box springs are standing on end leaning right up against the shelving unit underneath the window.  I'll of course post better pics when #1 the window is in clear view and the entire room is put together.  Exciting stuff!

Letter to Audrey

We received this letter in the mail a few weeks ago:

It's from Grandpa Tim addressed to Audrey Elizabeth!

The letter reads:

July 18, 2011

To my precious granddaughter Audrey Elizabeth,

Everyone is very excited that in about 3 months you will be born!  Your mom & dad are busy preparing for your arrival.

You will be your mom & dad's 1st child and they may be nervous because as the world will be new to you, their new world with you will be new to them.  Fortunately for you, you have 2 sets of very experienced grandparents and we are equally anxious and excited for you to light up our worlds!!

You are not born yet and we all love you very much.

Your loving Grandpa Tim

P.S. I sure hope you like being held!

It made me cry when we received this, I saw who it was from, and then read the letter.  Audrey is so blessed to have grandparents who love her so much already.  Grandpa Tim is really excited and cannot wait to meet her.  Grandpa Tim was the best Dad I could have ever asked for, so supportive and loving and full of wisdom.  And he's already a wonderful and loving Grandpa!

We are going to put this letter in a safe place so Audrey will always have it.  Her first letter!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

28 Weeks

I'm nearing the end of my 28th week!  I feel like the 2nd trimester just flew by.  And now it won't be long before we meet Audrey.  :)  She weighs as much as a Chinese cabbage.  What the heck is a Chinese cabbage?  I don't know... but they say it weighs 2.25 pounds.  And she is about 15 inches from head to heel.

This week, I've felt pretty good.  The doctor confirmed that the tingling I feel under my left ribcage after I eat is acid reflux.  She said that is right where the esophagus meets the stomach.  Ever since I've felt the tingling, I haven't had bad heartburn.  I will take the tingling over the heartburn burning in my throat anyday!

I got my test results back from my glucose (and other things) test.  My sugar level was in the normal range.  I scored 128, and they have patients come back and do the 3-hour test if the sugar level is 130 or above.  Whew - close call!  But they did tell me that I am low iron, so now I take an over-the-counter iron supplement twice a day.  I sent Carl an article about iron deficiency during pregnancy (apparently it's really common) and the article said that if you're low-iron you may experience low energy and feeling run-down.  He emailed me back:  "So, do you think you're iron-deficient normally (before pregnancy)."  Haha!  Probably the funniest quote from Carl this week.  (By the way, I really do think I'm iron-deficient normally... Carl may call it "narcoleptic", but now I can call it iron-deficient.)

Last weekend, we were in Iowa for a friend's wedding (Ted Bliefnick).  I got to see a lot of people from Decatur/Forsyth that I haven't seen in a long time.  It was a really fun wedding!  You would have thought that I would have taken some pictures, and at least gotten a picture with Carl, me, Sam, Lindsey, and Josh Swift.  But let's just say that it's not my top priority to carry my camera with me at all times.  I'm not too ecstatic about taking pics lately.  :)  I took only 1 pic, and it was a self-portrait of me and Carl.  

It was a nerve-racking trip, though, to Iowa.... we drove the 5-ish hours to get to Cedar Falls, Iowa, we parked the car (my Camry) at the hotel, checked in, and went upstairs to change and get ready for the Wedding Ceremony.  After only about 45-50 mins, we came back down to the car, and it was dead!  Couldn't believe it.  We hitched a ride with these really nice people from Bloomington who were friends with Ted from Millikin.  And then we caught a ride back to the reception/hotel with Allan, Kathy, and Lindsey Hans.  Allan and Kathy Hans were kind enough to let us borrow their car Sunday morning so Carl and I could run to Walmart.  We bought a new battery and hoped and prayed that after Carl replaced the battery (in the hotel parking lot, no less), that the car would be good as new.  We knew that if it were something other than the battery, we would be spending an extra night in Iowa to get the car fixed on Monday.  Thank goodness the car started and was good to go after Carl replaced the battery.  He's so darned handy, isn't he?  :)  We only had 1 hiccup on the drive home... we stopped at an Arby's drive-thru in Iowa City for some lunch and the car stalled in the drive-thru.  I was so scared that we were going to be stranded... and in Hawkeye territory.  That's enough to frighten even Carl.  :)  I restarted the car and Carl looked at me and said, "Hurry up and order."  So I did just that and we just prayed that the car would make it home.  Alas, we got home safe and sound and the car has started okay ever since.  I'm so thankful, and I'm definitely going to have the car thoroughly checked out when I get my oil change next.

Tomorrow (Friday), my Mom is staying the night with us.  It's always fun when she comes and visits!  And this time, she's bringing curtains for the nursery.  :)  She has been working so hard on them, and I can't wait to see them.