Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Firstborn survey

There are a few reasons for this post:
  1. I have been feeling reminiscent today.

  2. I received this in an email from one of my childhood friends and figured it was right up my alley. Any of you who know me well are aware that pregnancy and motherhood are two my favorite topics of conversation. :)

  3. Any way I can provide myself with reasons to continue loving my daughter, I'll snatch in a heartbeat! These last couple weeks with her have been some of the most challenging yet. The term "terrible twos" doesn't even begin to describe the kind of booger she's been. I do love my Chloebug, don't get me wrong. But selling her has, at moments not only sounded appealing but quite reasonable. So perhaps reflecting back on the days when she didn't know how to be a booger will help me find the patience and understanding needed to endure the remainder of this "phase".

I'd love to read about your experiences, so feel free to consider yourself "tagged" if you're interested!

Firstborn survey

How Old Were You When You Had Your First Baby? 24

What Was Your Due Date? November 23, 2005

When Was Your Baby Actually Born? November 17, 2005 at 9:32pm

Was This A Planned Pregnancy? Neil's Valentine's Day card to me that year simply read, "I'm ready!" That same week I stopped birth control and two weeks later I was pregnant! So yes, it was "planned", but neither of us expected it to happen as quickly as it did!

When And How Did You Find Out You Were Pregnant? March 15th. At the time I worked for the Lynn Institute, a company that conducts pharmaceutical trials. I coordinated most of the women's studies and therefore worked very closely with Dr. Baer, our OB/GYN who oversaw the participants. He also happened to be my OB, and was aware that I'd just stopped birth control and might possibly be pregnant. I remember stopping by his office that morning to have some paperwork signed and him asking if I'd taken a pregnancy test yet. I was expecting to start within the next couple days and didn't want to get ahead of myself so I explained that I had not, but would if I didn't start within a day or so. He then told me it was most likely early enough to detect a positive and that I shouldn't wait to take the test. Apparently he was almost as anxious as I was to know. And so what did I do when I left his office? I headed straight back to work, stopped in the lab (where they always kept a multitude of pregnancy tests), grabbed one and headed to the bathroom. Sure enough, bam! POSITIVE! I remember starring at the test for about a minute while still sitting in the stall, just allowing the reality of those two very distinct lines to sink in. For the next hour I had a permanent grin on my face, and couldn't even remotely concentrate on ANYTHING work-related. Not too much later Neil and I were walking through the parking lot to head to the Olive Garden for lunch (the same restaurant he took me the day he proposed - how ironic), when I just suddenly blurted out, "So, are you ready to be a daddy?"

Did You Have Any Strange Pregnancy Cravings? The only thing I really craved with Chloe was fruit.

Did You Have Any Complications During Your Pregnancy? I had kidney stones at 33 weeks. Boy did that make all the other discomforts of pregnancy (including delivery) seem like a walk in the park!

Did You Go Into Labor On Your Own? No, I was induced 7 days before my due date (November 16th). This may sound really lame, but my doctor had a hunting trip planned the week of Thanksgiving, and my due date landed right smack in the middle of it. I was so worried I'd go into labor while he was gone, and couldn't stand the thought of someone else delivering Chloe. Out of the goodness of his heart, he offered to induce me before his trip and I gladly took him up on it.

What's The Background On Your Baby's Name? Neil liked the name Chloe before he and I even met, and mentioned it for the first time only a month or so into our marriage. We were watching The Skulls and the main female character's name was Chloe, which is what brought the subject up in the first place. I honestly wasn't crazy about it at the time, but it grew on me, obviously. Neil had a great aunt named May, but we'd already come up with Chloe's middle name before learning that. Had she been a boy, her name would have been Kyle.

What Brand Of Diapers Do/Did You Buy? Pampers Swaddlers were and still are my favorite, then Luvs.

Do/Did You Nurse Or Bottle Feed? I nursed Chloe until she was 13 months. She never once took a bottle or tasted a single ounce of formula. I was extremely lucky.

Will You Have More? It's the ongoing debate in the Andersen household. I always wanted 3 (or 4), but Neil is pretty set on 2. Guess it isn't up to us though... right, Shannon?

How Long Were You In Labor? 30 hours.

Did You Get An Epidural? Yes, after 11 hours of labor.

Did You Have A Home Delivery? Not really into that sort of thing - wouldn't have worked anyway since I was induced and ended up having a c-section.

Did You Find Out The Gender Before Birth? No, we wanted it to be a surprise. The technician wasn't able to determine the gender anyway, or so she said.

Did You Have a Baby Shower? Yes, 3! My mom and aunts threw me one in Utah, my dear friend, April, threw me one in Colorado, and my co-workers at the time threw me a surprise shower just a week or so before my last day.

Who Was In The Delivery Room With You? Besides the doctors and nurses, Neil's sister, Lori. We hadn't planned it that way, but she'd driven down from Fort Collins to visit us (thinking we would FOR SURE have had the baby by then) and literally walked into the delivery room as they were about to wheel me into the OR. We all agreed, including Dr. Baer, that Lori was meant to be there for Chloe's birth and Dr. Baer is actually the one who extended the invitation for her to be present. It was really special, and I was extra appreciative because she took over camera duty, allowing Neil to enjoy his first moments of fatherhood to the fullest. Unfortunately none of us thought to take a picture of Lori holding Chloe in the hospital. I still regret that to this day!

How Long Did You Stay In The Hospital After You Gave Birth? Had Chloe Thursday night, went home Saturday afternoon. I was supposed to stay until Sunday but was doing so well, they released me a day early.

Did You Have A C-section? Yes, and it was not planned. Chloe was posterior (head down but facing my abdomen), and my doctor's first suspicion of this is when I told him all of my contractions were being felt in my back. In hopes Chloe would turn on her own, we continued the labor process. But after 30 hours I'd only dilated 2 cm, and it just seemed ridiculous to hope I'd progress. After I came out of recovery my doctor told me that in the process of stitching me back up, he got a good hard look at my pelvis and determined that it probably would have been too narrow to deliver Chloe vaginally, even if she had been positioned perfectly. So regardless of her positioning, I most likely would have had a c-section anyway.

Did You Attend Lamaze Classes? Yes, but Neil and I spent too much time giggling to really learn anything useful. We were HORRIBLE and to this day I wonder how we managed to not get kicked out! I remember one night in particular when Neil and another guy in the class kept cracking jokes during a birth video. In my husband's defense, it was really the other guy cracking all the jokes, but Neil was definitely not discouraging it. Anyway, I about peed my pants trying to contain my laughter. It was awful! It also didn't help that our teacher was a WAY out there - you would have thought she was permanently high by the way she spoke and expressed herself. It was hilarious. We just had a really hard time taking her and the class in general seriously. I know lamaze has been very useful to many, and I don't mean to slam it at all! For us it was just kind of a joke. And I'm sorry, but holding your hand in a bag of ice does NOT compare to actual contractions!

Did/Do You Keep A Baby Journal? I maintained a babysite for Chloe's first 2 years of life. You can look at it here. Since then, I've pretty much documented the big stuff on my blog, which I will eventually transfer over to her scrapbook.

How Much Weight Did You Gain During Your Pregnancy? 35 pounds.

Do You Have Any Keepsakes? Of course! They had Neil put on disposable scrubs before entering the OR for my c-section, and after Chloe was born they put her foot prints on his scrubs top. Still have them, even though the foot prints have totally faded! I even still have the pregnancy test I took the day I found out she was coming.

Did You Suffer From "Morning Sickness" During Your Pregnancy? Just the standard first trimester funk - nausea and lots of migraines.

What Were Your Baby's Stats At Birth? 7 pounds, 5 1/2 ounces, 21 1/2 inches long. Only a week or so before she was born my doctor told me, after feeling around my belly and doing some measurements, that I wouldn't have more than a 5 pound baby. And yet here came Chloe, nearly 7 1/2 pounds an entire week early! Boy were we fooled!

What Music Did You Listen To Most During Your Pregnancy? The last six weeks of my pregnancy I listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Love Is Spoken Here album almost non-stop. To this day every song on that cd takes me back to the weeks leading up to Chloe's birth. Especially the song, 'Turn Around' which is all about having a daughter and watching her grow.

What Was The Best Thing About Being Pregnant? Feeling Chloe move, especially near the end when we could see elbows and knees poking up here and there. Neil and I spent many nights in bed just watching with amazement as she rolled around. Also just the anticipation of her birth, wondering what it'd be like to meet and hold her for the first time, and to finally see what she looked like. I also just generally loved being pregnant, aside from the physical discomforts. I felt attractive in an entirely new way.

What Was The Best Thing About Your Baby's Birth? Oh, so many things! Hearing her first squawk (she didn't cry at all) and seeing her cute little body for a split second before they whisked her off. Hearing Neil announce she was a girl. Listening to him talk so sweetly to her while they cleaned her and did her vitals. He spoke in such a soft tone and was so attentive to her. It practically made me cry even though I couldn't see any of it (since I was laying on the table getting stitched up). Neil remembers how when he said her name, she immediately turned her head toward him as if she recognized his voice. To this day he talks about that being one of his favorite memories of her.

The first time I held her of course topped it all
off! It was just surreal! I was in recovery for two hours and then wheeled up to my room when Neil brought her to me. I remember looking down at her and immediately thinking, "This is my baby! This is really my baby! My daughter! The child I've been carrying and feeling inside me for the last 9 months!" From that moment on I could hardly put her down!

What Has Been The Best Thing About Motherhood So Far? Nursing and cuddling in the beginning. Now that it's been almost 3 years I'd say the overall best thing has been that from day one, Chloe has recognized me as "mommy". No matter the stages or changes that have come and gone, the one thing that has remained consistent is her knowledge that I am her mother and that she needs me. Despite the challenges motherhood brings, I truly cannot think of a greater gift!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The latest

Since returning home from Florida we have been back to house projects. Saturday especially, we spent a good portion of the day painting. No, we are still not finished! It's the never ending project! Despite the hours we've put in, however, we are so much happier with the color and haven't regretted even once getting ourselves into this. We are close to finishing too. Just a little trim, the garage doors and some touch up spots. Here's a before and after sneak peek:

{left photo: May 2007 (right before moving in); right photo: July 2008 (yes, I need a plant on my porch, I know)}

Chloe and I have spent much of the summer at a local neighborhood pool with my friend, Melanie, and her sweet kiddos. It has been heaven having a place to cool off, allow Chloe to exert some of her energy, and maintain my tan while enjoying some mom-to-mom talk.

{Chloe & Matthew}

We've also been taking evening bike rides as a family. We bought a chariot carrier to hook to the back of Neil's bike for Chloe at the end of last summer but have only recently made real use of it. She loves it and squeals with joy as we ride, especially when Neil gets going really fast. The other night we stopped at the park just a block from our house and let Chloe play for a little while.

{Swingin' and slidin' - two of Chloe's favorite things!}

And here I am at 24 weeks! I am feeling good overall, just bigger and further along than I actually am. My doctor's appointment last week went well, and I was once again reminded that weight gain is not an issue for me like it was during my first pregnancy. I gained a total of 35 pounds with Chloe, and the majority of that was during the last three months. I've already gained 26 pounds and still have OVER three months to go! So at this rate I'll be well above the 35 pound mark by the time little R or P makes his/her debut. It's all good though. I'm healthy and the baby's healthy - that's the important thing! And I still feel mostly cute. :)

My latest indulgence is baked goods. Cookies, brownies, muffins, bread - it doesn't really matter! It all sounds good to me - all the time! And while I've always enjoyed these things, I can't seem to ever get enough these days! Every other night I'm baking something. Neil and Chloe don't seem to mind too much.

Baby is moving A TON, often making it difficult for me to fall asleep at night. Go figure 10:30pm would be his favorite time to play! Yesterday in church Neil and I were giggling at my rolling and twitching belly. I love it! I can't believe how fast the time has flown by! Our next appointment is on our wedding anniversary (August 28th), and we are having a 3D ultrasound. By this point I will be into my third trimester! Holy cow!

Not much more to report. I'm working on a post about Chloe, which will hopefully be here for all to see within the next couple of days. Otherwise, that's the latest on our wonderful life!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blog lazy

I haven't been much of a blogger lately, I know. What can I say, I haven't had much to say! I do have a new post in the making however, so just hang tight! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

America blew it this week!

...and apparently I did too in last week's prediction! I am shocked Will got cut tonight! SHOCKED! What on earth happened? I was POSITIVE he would be safe and Mark would go, and yet Mark managed to stay out of the bottom 2! I was a little concerned last night that Will's 'James Brown' solo might turn off some viewers, but not to this degree! And Mark? Ugh! His quirky weirdness just creeps me out, and his dancing has never captured my attention - especially when comparing him to his remaining competitors! Who's with me?

Thank GOODNESS Comfort finally got eliminated. She was getting so old. It seemed like the weeks were dragging on with her being so close to leaving but then somehow managing to skid by. She's a great hip hop dancer, don't get me wrong, but anything else that's been thrown at her has been a mess!

Will was by far the best technical dancer (of ALL of the remaining dancers, I think), and for that reason I feel he deserved to win the competition. Then again, Cat always says the hunt is for America's "Favorite Dancer", not America's "Best Dancer". Regardless, I think America blew it this week. Cristi, have you started eating your shoe yet? I'm about to join you.

Sorry for the not nice talk, but this girl had to vent! Here's to another week of unpredictability!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


This morning as I was entering the grocery store, I passed an employee who without hesitation asked, "So how many days do you have left?"

How many days? Are you for real? I mean I know I'm big, but I'm not that big!

When I responded with, "Just under 4 months," the look of surprise, then horror, and then regret for having opened his mouth overwhelmed the poor guy's face. And all he could utter was, "Oh." It was quite funny. I'd be willing to bet that's the last time he asks a pregnant stranger how far along she is.

While I (still) find the incident to be humorous, I wonder if I ought to take the hint and slow down on the baked goods. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What's your prediction?

Who do you think the winner of this season's SYTYCD will be? Here's our prediction:

He has just recently caught my attention, and it has nothing to do with the fact that he's been shirtless in almost every routine. :) His technique is so strong and precise and he just makes it look easy! Joshua was always our favorite male dancer (Neil's particularly - he's actually watched every episode with me - big brownie points to him!), and has done incredibly well with everything that's been thrown at him considering he's a hip hop dancer! But Will is growing on me more and more, and I am on the brink of considering him my new favorite (of the guys). I predict he and Joshua will be the two male finalists.

As for the girls, I am confident Chelsie will make it to the finale. Can't decide on the second girl though. My guess is either Courtney or Katee. I never liked Katee and was honestly shocked when she made it to the top 20 considering some of the other options. These last couple weeks she's really started to come around though, and I have to admit I'm growing to kinda like her. The two routines she and Will did last night were awesome, particularly their pas de deux. Maybe she's only made it this far because Joshua (her partner from the first five weeks) is so likable. Who knows? It'll be interesting to see how things progress now that the dancers are being voted for individually!

Perhaps it's too early to be making these predictions. And if I'm way off in the end, I may regret having posted this. Oh well! What are your predictions for the coming weeks? Who do you think will be America's next favorite dancer?


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Memories Tag

I've been seeing this tag on some friends' blogs and someone finally tagged me so now I have a legitimate excuse to do it myself! :) Here are directions:

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don't want to play on your blog, or if you don't have a blog, I'll leave my memory of you in my comments.

And like Camille, I tag everyone!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Back to the grind...

We are home and gradually getting back into the swing of things. Our week in Florida was a well-needed escape from the craziness of life and we are so happy we were able to make it out there. Neil's family is scattered all over the country, so it was awesome that almost everyone managed to make it (except Ali and Uncle Mike, who we missed). Because the week flew by so quickly a lot of it is a blur to me. In addition, we really didn't do a whole lot besides relax and lounge around, so I can't say there's much to report - not that that's a bad thing! I did take a bazillion pictures, and am including a slideshow at the bottom of this post, but most of my favorites are just below.

Chloe meets the ocean

Beach Babes

I love the way the sun is reflecting off the water


"He's my daddy! And don't you forget it!"

Posing for the camera

"Don't bother me, I'm reading."

Sorry Neil, but I think I've got you beat!

All FOUR of us!

Too cute for words!

Strollin' to the beach to build a sandcastle

Playin' with Grandma Susie

Chloe got stung by a jellyfish the second day we were there. It was clearly an unpleasant experience, but she was a trooper and, despite the discomfort, quite enjoyed showing off her "owies", while reminding everyone over and over (AND OVER) that the jellyfish "got" her. Poor girl!

We were also privileged to catch the Blue Angels' air show the last day of the trip. It was INCREDIBLE! There is definitely an art to what those crazy pilots do, and I could hardly keep my eyes off them as they buzzed over us and twirled around the sky like perfectly synchronized maniacs!

Many of you will also be pleased to know I finally started the Twilight series. I'll have to admit, with all the hype going around, I was almost determined to NOT like these books - I guess it was my attempt to not be part of "the crowd". But man oh man, I don't think it took twenty pages in before I was hooked! I finished Twilight yesterday and have read the first chapter of the second book, New Moon. Stephanie Meyer is an incredible writer! Her style is so arousing and beautiful - I love it! It's been a long time since I have been this immersed in a book. I stayed up two nights in a row until after 1:30am because I couldn't fathom the thought of waiting until morning to find out what was going to happen next! What's funny is Neil's aunt Sue and aunt Ann were also reading the series. Our Twilight "club" was not a planned one, but rather a mere coincidence. Anyway, I am an official fan and am anxious for the movie to come out (5 months from today).

We got in late late last night and have spent most of today sorting through mail, doing laundry, re-stocking our fridge and enjoying the familiar warmth and comfort of our own home. It's good to be back! But it was also a wonderfully memorable trip! Thank you to everyone who made it happen! And thank you, even more, for all your help with Chloe. She had a blast!

Here's a slideshow with pretty much all of the pictures I took last week.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

And off we go...

Well we are off to sunny Florida, painted toes and all! We are renting a condo in Pensacola (right on the beach) with Neil's entire family. It is going to be an absolute blast! Introducing Chloe to the ocean, building sand castles, relaxing in the sunshine, applying sun screen every 45 minutes, actually finding time to sit down with a good book, eating yummy food, moonlight walks along the shore, card games, sleeping in, lots of laughter, you get the idea. :)

I won't be bloggin' for a while, but when we return I will most definitely post pictures. Have a safe and relaxing 4th, everyone! Tata!