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!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Audrey is 3 months old!

Wow!  Audrey is already 3 months old today, January 15th, 2012.  I took a number of pictures in her 3 month outfit(s).  What a beautiful girl!

Audrey doesn't like the bows so much, but she does LOVE her pacifier.  This isn't her favorite, but it does the trick most days.  Audrey prefers the NUK pacifiers.  The clear one is her favorite.
 And here's the tutu for the 3rd month in a row.  Do you think it will still fit next month?  I hope so...it's so cute!
 Audrey is so much fun.  A highlight for me each day is going in to wake up Audrey in the morning.  Once she opens her eyes, she just gives me the biggest smile and kinda laughs.  Is there anything greater in the world?  Look at those bright blue eyes!

Audrey weights 12.2 pounds and is approximately 24.5 inches long.  We took our own measurements here at home since we don't go in for a checkup this month, but I think they're pretty accurate.  She sure is getting big!  I think that puts her in the 50th percentile for weight and close to the 90th percentile for length.  The lines on this growth chart make me cross-eyed... CDC.gov WHO growth standards.  

Audrey is right in between clothes sizes.  It seems she can wear both 0-3 months (depending on what it is) and 3-6 months.  She's wearing all 3-6 months sleep 'n plays and onesies.  Although, some 0-3 month onesies still fit her and most of her 0-3 months pants still fit.  We'll try and get the most that we can out of the clothes that still fit before we fully transition over to 3-6 months clothes.  I have a feeling that will happen really soon, though.

Audrey is still in size 1 diapers.  I think we only have about 2 weeks (max) of size 1 diapers left, and after they're gone we'll start using the size 1-2  and 2.

Audrey rolled over for the first time at 12 weeks old.  See the video and blog post here.  She is so happy on her activity mat.  She holds her head up for several minutes at a time.  She's getting so strong!  And we put her in her Bumbo seat this month.  She's not completely self-supporting in that seat, but she's close.  The Asst. Director at the daycare suggested putting a blanket behind her in the seat, and that worked!  We put her in the seat and she just smiles.

Audrey found her hands this month.  I'll catch her just studying her hands.  Then she brings them together and then apart.  It's cute.  She's so focused and just amazed by them.  She looks like she's trying to figure them out... "what can these things do for me?"  And we've noticed a big difference just in the past week/week-and-a-half in how she plays with her toys and the objects on her activity mat.  She can now grasp onto them.  She's been pulling my hair and grabbing at objects for several weeks now, but now it seems like she's very purposeful with her movements.  With every movement.  And sometimes she gets those hands in her mouth and starts sucking.  There are times when she prefers to suck on her thumb and her hand over her pacifier.  Here is a pic of her from today munching on those hands...
She loves her activity mat!

Right before Christmas, I noticed that Audrey's arms were rough and a little bumpy.  I thought it might be dry skin, but then I saw it spread to her chest and from her knees to the rest of her legs.  I called our doctor, Dr. Tess, and he referred us to a Dermatology practice.  We went to see Dr. Fox who is in one of the doctor's office buildings at the new Silver Cross Hospital (opening February 26th).  He said Audrey has a mild case of Dermatitis, which he explained is a very general term.  She also has a case of cradle cap that causes her to have a really dry scalp and lose her hair.  Basically, Audrey just has sensitive skin.  It doesn't necessarily mean that she'll always have sensitive skin or develop eczema, just that she has sensitive skin now.  He gave me a prescription for a medicated ointment that he said will clear up her bumps and dry skin in just a few days.  He made me feel comfortable about using the medicine if we want to do that.  He also gave me an option to treat the cradle cap with mineral oil and Q-tips.  But he suggested just not doing anything and letting it get better on its own.  That's what we're going to do.  And we decided to try the non-medicated route first for the Dermatitis, which Dr. Fox supported:  Audrey gets a bath every night.  He stressed that the bath should be no longer than 5-7 minutes and in lukewarm water.  We only wash the body parts that are sweaty or dirty (i.e. armpits, hands, neck, etc.) with Dove Unscented bar soap.  And for the cradle cap, we shampoo with Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo.  Then, twice a day, we apply Cetaphil cream... immediately after her bath and while I'm dressing her in the morning.  It's been about a week and a half and her skin is so much better!  Just over the last couple days, we turned a corner and her skin is so soft again.  She's still a little dry and bumpy in some areas, but nowhere near what it was.  It's winter and so dry.  If it gets worse, we will use the medicine.  But for now things are looking good!

Audrey still loves her bathtime. And now she gets a bath every night.  It's a good routine for us... I feed her for the last time, Audrey gets a bath, and then Carl puts her in her sleep sack and puts on her mittens, reads her a story, then she goes to bed.  This past month, she has really started kicking and splashing around.  She's so funny.  We took a video tonight of Audrey in the bathtub and it is hilarious.  I hesitate to put a video of my naked child on youtube, so we're going to try and figure out how to edit it so we can post it.  You know, black bars across her chest and private parts.  Haha.  I do want everyone to see how funny she is.  Stay tuned.

Audrey is sleeping through the night!  We're not consistent with every night yet, but I'd imagine we'll have consistency pretty soon.  I feed her for the last time around 9pm most nights, and then she has proven this last week that she can sleep until 6am.  This morning, she slept until 7am!  And when she sleeps, she sleeps on her back with her arms straight out to her sides.  She starts off with her pacifier, but loses it at some point after she falls asleep.  Some nights, if she wakes up, she just needs her pacifier then goes right back to sleep.  I feel so spoiled with Audrey and how good and easy-going she is.

Audrey loves listening to her Daddy playing the guitar.  Even if it's a night where she's been a little fussy, Carl can soothe her by playing for her.  He puts her on the couch in the Boppy and plays and sings for her.  She looks at him... his face and his hand strumming.  She is so content and so happy watching her Daddy.  Some of her favorite songs include those by Barenaked Ladies (If I Had a Million Dollars, Brian Wilson), Sister Hazel (All for You), Pearl Jam (Elderly Woman, Better Man), Foo Fighters (Everlong), Led Zepplin (Over the Hills and Far Away), and much more.

Audrey's making a lot more noise... both talking and crying.  It's like she's really found her voice over this past month.  When she's excited (like when she's playing on her activity mat), she'll shout out.  And sometimes she talks to us.  She does a lot of "goo's" and "aah's" and sometimes full-out shouts.  She also has found her really loud cry this month.  If something's wrong or not feeling right, she sure wants us to know about it!  She's been crying a lot more at night before we put her to bed or if she needs a nap.  There are some nights when it takes awhile to console her, but Daddy has the touch and can always make her feel better.  

It's been another fun and exciting month with our Audrey-girl.  She's our little angel, and we love her so much!  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Audrey rolls over!

Tuesday, January 10th was a monumental day for Audrey.  She rolled over!  You might remember, 2 months ago, Carl saw Audrey roll over on her activity mat from her stomach to her back.  But I didn't believe him and he didn't catch it on video.  I gave Carl the benefit of the doubt... he wouldn't joke about a thing like that.  :)  We chalked it up to Carl putting her on her tummy in a convenient position where she had a head start on rolling to her back.

But this time, we got it on video and she purposely rolled over to her back from her tummy... all on her own!  Check it out...

Our baby is getting so big!

Friday, January 13, 2012

First Day of "School" (Daycare)

Monday, January 9th was a big day for Audrey and me.  The time had come... My maternity leave had ended and I had to go back to work.  I wouldn't say I had been dreading this day, but it made me sad that this special time I was able to spend with Audrey was over.  I was looking forward to getting back to work and seeing all my friends and co-workers.  And I knew Audrey was going to do well at daycare... well, I could only hope.

Sunday night (Jan 8th), I got bottles ready, diaper bag packed, breast pump packed/ready, made my lunch, laid out my clothes, and laid out Audrey's clothes.  I wanted us to be ready so there were no surprises in the morning with our new routine.  I can only hope that this continues and I'm this organized from here on out.  *Fingers crossed*

Audrey and I were up earlier than we had been in a long time!  Try... 12 weeks.  Here is Audrey's "First Day of School" picture.  I tried to get her to stand on the doorstep outside, but we're just not there yet.  JK!  :)

Isn't she cute and happy?  She was so excited about her first day of "school".  I was overall just nervous about the day.  About dropping her off for the whole day and about starting at work again.  But it went better than I expected.  I approached the day like a band-aid... just rip it off and not think about it... just drop her off and not think about it.  It's something that needs to happen, and I know she's in good hands.

Audrey is attending Mary Sears Children's Academy on Rt 30 in New Lenox.  There are a couple different teachers in her room, Ms. Andresson and Ms. Craig.  They both are so nice and so sweet and love Audrey.  I feel good about them taking care of my baby during the day.

Carl came with me on Monday so we could drop Audrey off together.  He knew it was going to be tough on me, and it was so good to have his support and to have him there with me.  Driving to the daycare with Audrey in the car, I started to get a little teary, but I just turned on Eric & Kathy (the morning radio show that Carl loves, just ask him about it.  He can't stand Eric & Kathy, but I enjoy it most days and haven't listened for 12 weeks!).  Anyway, I just tried not to think about what was happening and that I was about to drop off my baby for the day.  But everything went just fine.  The Director, Miss Kathleen, commented on how I "was doing well" and that most mom's are crying as they're leaving.  I replied, "I feel like I'm going to throw up... let's just get out of here."  Anyone that knows me well knows that I get nauseous when there's a big change or when I'm anxious or nervous, so this was not alarming.

I called to check on Audrey around lunchtime on Monday and they reported that she was doing well.  She was eating well (she was on her 2nd bottle) and she was really happy and having fun listening to music and reading stories.  That made me feel so good hearing that.

When I went to pick Audrey up on Monday night, she was playing on the activity mat and having fun.  I picked her up and held her... so excited to see her.  In fact, I was so excited, I forgot to bring in the carrier from the car!  She started crying when I put her in the carrier.  And it continued on the way home.  I stopped in a bank parking lot and tried all 3 types of pacifiers I had in the diaper bag, but nothing would console her.  I felt terrible.  She finally fell asleep after a few minutes of driving, but then woke up when we got home.  I was convinced she hated me for dropping her off at daycare and that she had forgotten who I was.  Turns out, Audrey only slept for about 30 minutes during the day on Monday, so she was overly tired.  We gave her a bath and Carl put her to bed in her crib.  And, guess what?  She slept all the way from 9pm to 5am!  Whoa!  And on Tuesday morning, she was super smiley again and our normal, happy and fun baby.  What a relief!

And Tuesday went really well.  Carl got off work a little early, so he picked up Audrey from daycare.  When I got home, she was happy and our normal baby.  She got up once during the night on Tuesday.  Wednesday, she slept a lot during the day, and then she slept through the night again that night.  In fact, she slept from about 9:30ish until 6:15am.  I couldn't believe it!  She is tuckered out from all the fun they're having at daycare.  Thursday, she slept a ton during the day again.  They are impressed with how good of a sleeper she is.  Thursday afternoon, when I picked her up, she was playing with another baby who is about 9 months old. Audrey was just smiling at her.  So cute.  And when she saw me, she gave me a huge smile.  Melt my heart!  All afternoon/night, she was just so precious and happy.  I hope I never forget that face and that toothless smile.

We get a report at the end of the day that documents when and how much she ate, when her diaper was changed and if she pooped, when she napped, and what activities they did that day.  They also put a comment on the sheet, and each day they've commented on how much they enjoy Audrey and that she's had a great day.  I love it!  She's going to make so many friends there and learn so many things.  They asked us to bring in family pictures, so I brought in pictures of Audrey with both sets of her grandparents, her mom & dad, and all 3 of her aunts.  I saw yesterday that they put them up on the wall.  They really care about my Audrey and our family.  I love it!

Today is Friday, and I am working from home today.  It snowed 6 inches starting yesterday afternoon, so the VPs of our department encouraged us to just work from home.  I decided to keep Audrey home with me, so we didn't have to mess with the snow.  We actually got to sleep in a little bit, which I needed.  I don't know about Audrey, but I needed it.  :)  As I look back on this week, it really exceeded my expectations.  We all did so well adjusting to our new routine.  Audrey is so flexible and such a good baby.  She made it so easy for me.

I just love her so!

Happy New Year!

2011 was such a good year for our family.  I was almost sad to see it end.  But, that being said, I'm so excited to see what 2012 brings.  Audrey is growing and learning and changing and laughing and so much fun.  I know that as she grows, things are only going to get more exciting and fun.  I'm really looking forward to 2012!

This year, we spend the New Year's celebration with my parents, aka Gram & Gramps Patton.  They came up the morning of Saturday, Dec 31st.  We hung out during the day and then they babysat Audrey so Carl and I could get some time away just the 2 of us.  We saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Holy cow, what a great movie!  I have all 3 books in the trilogy on my Kindle, but I hadn't started on them yet.  (I'm still in the middle of Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix... still.  I'll finish soon, I promise.)  All I'd heard about the books is that they were good.  And my Mom had seen the Swedish version of the movie with the subtitles, which she said was really good.  I didn't really know anything about the plot, storyline, characters, anything.  It was intense and so good!  Intense.  Carl and I both really enjoyed it!  And Carl has been furiously reading the next book in the trilogy.  I plan to start soon.  The Order of the Phoenix is hanging over my head... still.
Photo courtesy of IMDB.com

Carl and I (mostly Carl!) had prepared to have a great dinner with appetizers for NYE night.  While we were out at the movie, my Mom prepared and cooked the Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts appetizer so they were ready when we got home.  They were soooo good!  We munched on those while Carl was hard at work cooking our dinner.  Dinner menu included Porterhouse steaks and twice-baked potatoes.  He even had sauteed mushrooms to top the steaks and also marinated vegetables.  I don't think I even ate the vegetables because I was so fulfilled and satisfied by the humongous steak and delicious potatoes.  We were all super-impressed with Carl. What a guy!  (Note: New Year's resolution... take more pics.  I wish I could document what the food looked like.  Seriously so good.)  

After dinner, we hung out and played with Audrey and watched TV.  Before we knew it, it was countdown time.  We had our favorite Verdi champagne and pickled herring for our midnight toast.  It is a Swedish New Year's Eve tradition to eat pickled herring at the stroke of midnight to ensure a year of "bounty and prosperity."  The first year I participated in this tradition was NYE2010, and since 2011 was such a good year, I insisted that we continue with the tradition.  Let's just say that my parents *loved* the pickled herring.  (Sense my sarcasm here.)  In fact, my Mom did the Buddy the Elf "aaaahhhhhhhhh"... you know, when he walks in the department store and sprays the perfume in his mouth.  Hilair.  It was so fun to ring in the New Year with them!

Audrey's first New Year's Eve celebration:
 She's a big partier!

Gram & Gramps with Audrey:
 As you can tell, Audrey did not stay up until midnight.  :)

Our first New Years as our new family of 3:

New Year's Day, we had Frank and Katie over for breakfast.  I made a breakfast casserole (with egg and bacon and sausage.. yum!) and hashbrown casserole.  And Carl made his famous Swedish pancakes.  It was a great breakfast with my parents and Frank and Katie who have a big year ahead with them getting married in June.  We made them eat some pickled herring, too.  All because we like to see their sour faces want them to have a happy and prosperous 2012.  :)

Bring on 2012!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christmas 2011: Audrey's First Christmas

I feel like Christmas came (and went) really quick this year!  (Don't we always say that, though?)  I thought with me being home on maternity leave I would have a lot of time to get all my shopping and decorating done way before Christmas.  Well, Miss Audrey kept me really busy, which is what my maternity leave is all about, and I found myself rushing at the last minute.  But it all got done and we really enjoyed the holidays.  I loved being home with Audrey during the Christmas season.  Everyday, we would turn on the lights on our Christmas tree, and I would sing Christmas Carols.  Audrey loved all the colorful lights.  We got a lot of new ornaments this year to signify Audrey's First Christmas.  I love keepsake ornaments.  Growing up, my Grandmother (on my Dad's side) gave us an ornament each year.  For 15 years (give or take) until Hallmark discontinued the collection, she gave us a Hallmark rocking horse (you can see a few of them in this picture).  It's a shame they discontinued the rocking horses, but I guess all good things have to come to an end.  My parents gave me all of *my* ornaments when I moved out of the house after college, and I love looking through all of them now.  It also has helped Carl and I learn even more about each other.  He has a lot of keepsake ornaments, too.  I know Audrey doesn't understand it all now but she will one day, and I love that we will be able to show her all of these ornaments to her so she can learn about our family and where she comes from.  And I look forward to having a collection of *her* ornaments that she can take with her when she has her own Christmas tree.  Here is a picture of our tree this year:
And here is a pic of our stockings... one for Carl, me, Audrey, and Chief.  I thought I had garland, but we must have packed it away last year with the Christmas tree that we gave to Jennifer when we acquired this new one from Grandma and Grandpa Bockelmann.  Next year, I'll get some garland to decorate the banister, and it will look really nice. 
Merry Christmas from the Larson's... our 2011 Christmas Card:

Since we celebrated Thanksgiving with Carl's family, we celebrated Christmas down in Forsyth/Decatur with the Patton family.  We left after Carl got home from work on Friday,
December 23rd, and we stayed until Monday, December 26th.  What a great, long weekend to spend with the family.  Of course my Mom outdid herself and we had delicious food.  She is such a good entertainer.  We had a lot of laughs, too, playing games and just hanging out as a family.  Here is our family picture on Christmas Day:

Holidays at the Patton house are all about family... and food!  Amber and Ashley were both at my parents' over the holiday, so we all could just relax and hang out.  That doesn't happen very often.  Christmas Eve, we had Eggs Benedict Florentine for breakfast, Chicken Braid for lunch, and a Portillo's dinner.  When I say Portillo's dinner, I mean Italian Beef, Chopped Salad (just like Portillo's makes it, complete with their House Salad Dressing), and Portillo's Chocolate Cake for dessert.  Yum!  Anyone from the Chicagoland knows what I'm talking about and is probably salivating right now.  For everyone else, just know that it's good.  So good that most times my Mom is in town, we go to Portillo's for a Chopped Salad.  It's that good.  We played The Game of Things as a Family... Amber, Ashley, Mom, Dad, Grandpa, and me.  That game is so fun!

And we had some visitors on Christmas Eve... Cynda, Andy, and their new baby Colby stopped by on the way to Cynda's grandparents' house.  My parents and sisters got to meet Colby who was not yet 2 weeks old and just as precious as can be.  How did I not take any pictures of the 2 of them??  Gosh!  Well, here is 1 from the week before Christmas.  Colby was not even 1 week old and Audrey was 9 weeks old.  This pic doesn't even show off how cute they are.  They look just thrilled to be having their picture taken!

Christmas Day, we went to mass at St. Pat's Catholic Church in Decatur.  When we got there, Fr. John Burnett asked us to move closer to the front of the church because he wanted to use Audrey during his sermon.  During the sermon, he took Audrey and walked around with her.  She had the honor of representing the Lord Jesus Christ and all of our "rebirth" this Christmas season.  How cool is that?  And she was such a good little girl... she was asleep most of the time he was holding her, but she did wake up and look at him and look around a bit then fell back asleep.  What a good little baby!  And just so darn cute.  Look at her in her Christmas dress and furry white boots:

When we got back to my parents' house, my Grandpa Hahn said to me that it meant a lot to him that Fr. John used Audrey during his sermon like that.  How sweet. 

After Mass on Christmas Day, we had brunch (egg casserole, hashbrown casserole, and my favorite coffee cake). My Dad took this opportunity to read to Audrey:
I think he was reading her something about the Cardinals, which is surprising that she's so content in that picture. Ya know, being that she's a Cubs fan. I think she just really likes her Gramps and the sound of his voice.

Then we opened gifts after brunch. We were spoiled again this year! This was the first year our family drew names to purchase 1 gift for 1 other person. That worked out really great and a tradition that I think will stick around. And of course Santa and my parents were way too generous. I think everyone got everything that was on their wish list. We have a video of Audrey opening her gifts... scratch that, me opening Audrey's gifts. I'll post when it gets uploaded. She got some really cute clothes and neat toys.That afternoon, Carl, Audrey, and I went up to Crystal and Matt's house to visit them and drop off a gift for Maci who is 16 months old.  So cute!

Christmas Night, we had a fancy dinner with prime rib and scalloped potatoes.  Yummo.  Aunt Faye and Uncle Jim came over for Christmas Dinner.  It's always great to see them!  And they had some exciting news to relay to us from Keely and Matt who were in South Carolina with Matt's family...they are expecting another baby!  Yay!  Baby McClure will be due around the middle of September.  So this will be 3 years in a row of "first Christmases".  And now we're thinking about how we can "sync up" so that we are on the same Christmas "schedule" as them with the family and we can all celebrate together.

And then we had a special visit from Santa himself!

Audrey really enjoyed her first Christmas.  Can you tell?  What a happy little girl!

Then Monday, we came home and Santa had been at our house!  So we opened gifts and played with Chief and Audrey.

That night, we celebrated Christmas with Grandma & Grandpa Larson.  Santa came to their house too!  And we were spoiled again by all the gifts.  We have another video that I'll upload of all of Audrey's gifts.

And then Christmas was over before we knew it.  What a special time!