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Life with sweet Simon has been absolutely amazing. While I’m tempted to just refuse to believe that he is 1 month old in the hope that he will just stop growing, I am honestly just in awe of the family of four that we have become now that he is here with us. He fits like he’s been here all along.


At Simon’s 3 week well check, he was 11lbs 7oz, 22″ long, and has a head circumference of 15″.

{at birth, he was 9lbs 2oz, 20.25″ long, and his head was 14″. The boy can GROW.}

He still sleeps like a champ–sometimes upwards of 18-20 hours a day. He is a heavy wetter and needs changing several times a night {thanks, Peder, for doing most–ok, all–of the nighttime diaper changes!}, but he rarely stays up and instead prefers to nurse and go right back to sleep. He has his fussy moments, but overall he is an incredibly calm baby. He rarely cries more than a few seconds, and if he does you know something is wrong!

He also, though, had his first cold this week. Luckily just a low-grade fever and some nasty congestion, but man is he a different baby when sick! I think I’ve quadrupled the number of times I’ve heard him cry in the last 24 hours. The poor boy. So glad I can just be home with him, though.

He started tracking and even smiling on purpose this week, which is always the best milestone to reach. He has twice looked up at me and smiled, which makes every long night instantly worth it.

We also had Simon baptized at our church in Lincoln this month on November 29th. His sponsors were Peder’s cousin Madison and our good friends Caitlyn & Nate. We were lucky enough to have over 25 family and friends who were ale to come celebrate with us, many from out of town! It was a whirlwind weekend {especially with big sister’s stomach flu 😦 } but it was so fun.


   Amazing photos by (Aunt) Catharine Bliss of Bliss Photography

While I can’t wait for him to start to learn more about his world and to see him start to have a relationship with Norah, I also wouldn’t mind in the slightest if he stayed sleeping on my chest for forever. I could watch those sweet, sleepy eyes all day.

Time flew by when I was pregnant. It seems like only yesterday that I was calling to Peder for the second time to squint at these two faint lines, and suddenly now we’re here. Now my arms finally feel the weight of my son, my heart finally feels the space that only his presence can create…and time has quickened. The days I was longing for are fading, and my sweet boy is already almost a month old. Stay little, little one. Slow down so I can remember every moment of you. Because I don’t want to miss this.


The wait for Simon felt just as intense as it did for Norah’s birth, but in different ways. Norah’s due date was very hard for me to approach–even though I knew she wasn’t “due” for anything–and Simon’s was no different. But with Norah, I went into labor the next day {and had her two days after that…ouch}. With Simon, the day came and went….and still nothing. It wasn’t until 6 days later that I finally felt like labor was imminent, and that was after trying nearly every trick in the book.

We had made it to the 41 week appointment on Thursday, October 29th, which meant a modified BPP with an ultrasound. It was neat to see him again, though the appointment was coupled with discussions about what interventions we would be comfortable with and when. Normally, we don’t do any interventions or inductions at all, but we could only deliver at the birth center until 42 weeks. After that, we would need to induce labor and change our plan to go to the hospital. This would be a huge change in a number of ways, and meant that we were suddenly OK with many interventions that we were not OK with merely a week earlier. After the BPP, I asked my midwife to check to see how dilated I was (not routine in our office) and strip my membranes. I was already at 2.5cm, and left hoping that the membrane sweep would kickstart labor in the next 4-6 hours. If not, no harm done. We also made appointments to try a Foley bulb induction in the midwife’s office the following Monday and to break my water there on Thursday at 41.5–just incase.

Stripping my membranes certainly brought on contractions, ones that were more uncomfortable and more frequent than the prodromal labor bouts that I had been experiencing in the previous weeks. But even these seemed to taper off as the day went on, and we went to bed on Thursday night thinking that perhaps it hadn’t worked. It wasn’t until I got up for the first of my many customary nighttime bathroom trips that I realized I was contracting strongly and regularly.

At 2am, I decided to stay up. After laying on the couch and sleeping in between contractions for a while, I decided to text my doula Becky to tell her that I thought I was in labor but was doing fine and hadn’t even woken up Peder yet. I was using my hypnobabies tracks by this time (which meant that the contractions were strong enough that I had to focus through them or I would tense up and cause them to become more painful). Around 3am I decided that I needed the tub, but as I filled it with hot water it subsequently woke up Peder. It was then that we were both up on the day that Simon was to be born.

Laboring the rest of the morning was a rotation of tub, birth ball, couch, and floor. Some of it with Peder, some of it on my own. Some of it with Norah (who got up around 6:30am that day) playing around me, some of it without. But overall, I would describe the morning of my labor with Simon as incredibly calm and peaceful. This is entirely due to the Hypnobabies that I had practiced for the past two months. More than anything, Hypnobabies gave me a way to relax in the midst of pain. Essentially, it teaches you how to relax your muscles and turn pain into pressure. It changes your mindset about what “pain” is (I came to think of it as discomfort) and gives visualization techniques to help strengthen a feeling of anesthesia. Then you can turn it on or off during labor and direct it towards your discomfort. It’s like I was choosing to focus on relaxing; I would close my eyes and breathe deeply, trying to relax into the pressure and not let it overwhelm me.  Then when the contraction was done, I came out of the hypnosis and was able to talk, drink, eat, play with Norah, etc.

In fact, I found a video on Peder’s phone that shows me in labor on the couch with Norah sitting beside me, talking about how her hugs were like magic and giving each other hugs before she left for the day. This was after about 7 hours of labor, only 5 hours before he was born, and probably 4-5cm dilated. I could never have labored for so long with a two year old by my side without the techniques I had practiced. And Norah was great, too; to Norah, it just seemed like mommy was sleeping, so she would play by me or lay on me a little bit, and then run off and do her thing. Peder was flitting between Norah and me, which left me alone for what seemed like most of Norah’s time at home, but he was amazing at trying to manage both of us at once. Truly a superdad, caring for one child while bringing another into the world.

Norah finally left at about 9:30 right after my doula arrived. I remember feeling these hot tears well up in my eyes, knowing that this was the last time I would see my baby while she was still a baby. While I didn’t want her to stay and knew that she couldn’t, I just hated seeing her leave. The next time I would see her, twelve hours later, she would be inexplicably bigger. I came out of my labor space for as many hugs and kisses as she needed, and then she was gone.

But once she left, I was able to focus a bit more and get more support from just Peder. I remember sitting on the couch right after my doula got there and getting through 8 contractions all on my own, silently, without moving or opening my eyes. These were about 3-4 minutes a part at this point. When the couch wasn’t comfortable any more, I moved to the tub again. The hot water felt incredible against my back (even though he wasn’t posterior like Norah was, the back pain was still pretty intense. Ok, awful). I was still able to hold onto the hypnosis when contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, but they started getting harder to work through. I had to breathe deeply and a little audibly to get through them. That’s when we decided to head to the midwife at about 11am.

We live an hour away from the birth center, and I remember not wanting to make that drive when it finally came time to leave during Norah’s labor. This time, I was ready and willing to leave, but had a much harder time coping during the car ride. I think we hit every pot hole and I felt what seemed like every pebble in the road between here and there, and it was excruciating. Somewhere on the interstate, I told Peder in my delirious state, “I’m not doing this again,” which he apparently found to be hilarious. Looking back, the painful drive was what caused me to lose my focus, and it set the tone for the remainder of my labor. Everything was much more painful, and I never really got back to my peaceful, silent state from home.

Once we got to the birth center, they had already set up the room and even filled the tub with water. This shocked me, as I was so nervous about being far enough along to stay and I was concerned about the possibility of having to go back home. I knew I could never sit through the hour’s car ride home, much less the return trip; where would I go if, for some reason, I hadn’t progressed enough to stay? Target?! But once I was in the water, the midwife came to check me and said I was (only) 5cm. When I arrived to have Norah I was at a 7 and still had about 8 hours to go before having her, so to hear I was at a 5 nearly crushed me. I felt sure that they would say I had to go back home. But not minutes later, my water broke while I was sitting in the tub and I instantly progressed to a 6 and moved two stations down. Clearly I was in labor, and clearly things were moving along. I could stay. That 1cm of progress was enough to keep me going.

Laboring at the birth center was a bit like laboring at home; I moved between the tub, standing by the bed, sitting backwards on the toilet, and laying down on the bed, primarily because I was so exhausted. I just wanted to lay down–though of course “resting” in labor is an oxymoron like no other. The tub wasn’t nearly hot enough (though unbiased observers said it was actually quite warm!), so it wasn’t as much of a comfort to me as it was at home. My doula, Peder, and my midwife Latrice (who came in just for my labor, as another woman was audibly having her baby next door) were incredible during this time. With Norah, it was just Peder and me until the very end when the student midwife Amanda started giving us suggestions of what to do to move things along. This time, I had three solid pillars of support the entire two hours we were there before his birth. I had six hands on me, trying desperately to push and rub and take away some of the searing pain and pressure. I had someone to help me while Peder phoned our families or ran to get something. I even had enough support that my doula was able to step back and take some pictures for us during labor, which are incredible and surreal to look back on now. I had Hypnobabies still playing and was able to still breathe and relax through contractions with much less vocalization than with Norah, but it was still long, hard, and intense. But between these three people, I progressed from a 5 to a 10 in about two hours.


Towards the end, I finally started talking to Simon, telling him to just come already, please just come. And just as the midwife suggested that I get up and sit on the toilet for a while to open my hips before sitting in the water again, I realized that Simon was crowning.

As chaotic as Norah’s labor was, her birth was quiet, peaceful, and slow. Simon’s birth was fast, intense, and loud. I joke now that I apparently just decided that I was done, and just wanted to get him out already. I can even remember Peder asking if I wanted to move into the tub (since we wanted a water birth) and I told him no, there isn’t enough time! It seemed like every push was suddenly 10x stronger and more effective, and in just a minute or so his head was out. Time blurs here for me, but later I learned that he got stuck at his shoulders for just a liiiittle too long for comfort. With one giant push, he arrived.


Moving faster and with more agility than I had in months, I looked down to see this tiny, pale little baby below me. I scooped him out of Peder’s arms and saw my Simon. He heard me, and he came.

Simon James Laurence Thompson was born on October 30th, 2015, at 2:29pm. 9lbs 2oz, 20.25″ long. Perfect.


The space the he has filled in our family was one that we didn’t even know we needed, now that we are four. Time is flying by and my sweet, sleepy, incredibly calm and happy baby is growing right before my eyes. I think the sweetest part about having a second child is the perspective that I have on every day that he’s been with us. I know that these days won’t last, because they don’t. I know that this nap is sweet and precious and needed, so I rest with him on my chest for just a little longer. I see that sweet scrunched-up nose that looks like my dad’s and the eyes that look like mine and the hair that is turning more and more like his dad’s every single day and just breathe it all in. I relax and put him down more often. I hear him fuss but hold his big sister just a little longer. I make room on my lap for two, because the days when they’ll both be able to fit there are few. The days are long, but I can’t imagine spending them with anyone else.

Unless you follow me on Instagram, I don’t post a lot about Norah on social media. And I realized that many of the people we love don’t get to hear nearly enough about her, simply because we don’t put it out there. So as our big girl is about to become a big sister, I thought I’d take a minute to brag about her awesomeness and all of the amazing things she can do!

Norah turned 2.5 at the end of August, and we had her two year well check….in September {whoops}. She’s a wee little thing at just 25lbs and 34″ {4th and 6th percentile respectively}, but she’s growing on her own curve so neither we nor her pediatrician are concerned. She’s in 2T clothes, but her tiny waist makes pants a challenge sometimes 😛 She has also completely mastered the toilet, and has been out of daytime diapers since the beginning of the summer and nighttime diapers since July. It has been a fabulous respite before we welcome little baby any day now!

Her hair is so amazing; wavy just like her mama's, blonde like her daddy's, and very fine.

Her hair is so amazing; wavy just like her mama’s, blonde like her daddy’s, and very fine.

While brushing can be a battle, sometimes she lets me do fun things with it.

While brushing can be a battle, sometimes she lets me do fun things with it.

Her favorites and interests are wide and varied, although like any toddler she will love something to death one day and forget it entirely the next. Animals are still a constant favorite, and she’s starting to be more interested in their specific habits and diets. Her favorite stuffed animals are a bunny, a polar bear, and a teddy bear, but I would say her favorite zoo animal is a Red Panda–and her Halloween costume this year! She’s taken animal love to a whole new level now, though, in taking care of them like a little mama. We have a constant presence of animals laying on every available surface of our house, covered in little dish towels for “nap time” with tiny plastic plates and forks by their heads. She also loves to play grocery shopping, complete with a system of paying via debit card {oh the things they see!}. A funny moment: She turned to us one day and asked, “Paper or plastic?”

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Taking care of her babies.

Playing in her favorite exhibit at the Children's Museum...the grocery store!

Playing in her favorite exhibit at the Children’s Museum…the grocery store!

Norah has always been a fabulous eater, and rarely refuses a food. She probably has more foods that she doesn’t care for now, but she is a champ about eating them eventually {ok, with some coercion from mom and dad}. Favorites still include yogurt, cheese, avocado, bread, bagel & hummus…and also whole meals such as chicken noodle soup, meatballs, chili, and sandwiches. She LOVES to help us cook, and is the resident vegetable washing expert in the house. She had great fun canning foods with us this summer, too, particularly when she was given her own tiny jar to preserve.

Canning tomatoes this summer.

Canning tomatoes this summer.

She is still an avid lover of books, which makes her English teacher mama so proud. This year has brought a host of new favorite characters and series, including Clifford, Arthur, Berenstain Bears, Amelia Bedelia, Little House on the Prairie, Biscuit, and Pete the Cat. While it is not so fun to read these stories to her on repeat, it is so amazing to hear her pick up the words and then read them to herself completely unsupported. It is all memorization, but it is starting to turn into real learning…she can spell her name out loud and knows the letters A, B, C, D, and E by sight, and will spontaneously interrupt our reading to point out a letter she has found in the books. Who knew she even looked at the writing??

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Her artistic skills have also blown me away…she can draw people complete with a head, a body, arms and legs, shoes, fingers, eyes/nose/mouth, and hair. So cool to see her draw to deliberately!

Her vocabulary is awesome–and awesomely hilarious. Some of my favorite toddler phrases include “bana” for banana, “why-brary” for library, and “nack” for snack. Even better are some of the phrases that she picks up around her, unbeknownst to us most of the time! She one day told us that she has “different options!” when deciding something, and even tells us that she has just “decided to be happy.” 🙂

Most of all, she is beyond excited to be a big sister. She constantly asks about the baby and will include him in everything she does, from asking to bring him to the library when he’s born to saving him a tiny little dinner roll that she helped make. My mama heart sometimes grieves for the time that I will have to spend away from her to have the baby, and then for the time that we will inevitably have to share after he’s here. But she is so amazing and kind-hearted and wonderful, that I know we will just add him to our world…he won’t take anything away from her.

Loving her baby sibling already

Loving her baby sibling already

 

 

Not that I intended on blogging every little detail of pregnancy #2, but man…it has been 12 weeks since an update. Whoops!

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Time is just flying by. Perhaps it’s just that our world is busier, but I can barely believe that in just a couple of months we will be a family of four. Personally, I am more than ready for baby’s arrival. I just want to meet my little one already!

We’ve moved into biweekly appointments, and we’ve been so lucky thusfar to have most of our appointments with our favorite midwife, Heather. Now that her practice has grown, there are two other midwives who might also be on call the day/night we deliver, but we prefer Heather as we’ve known her the longest. She is so calming, yet she is also very open and she listens to our concerns. I’ve been having a lot of braxton hicks contractions, which is normal for a second pregnancy, and our midwife is amazing at making me feel heard and validated. I can’t believe that my next appointment {in just a week} is in September. Where did August/the summer/this whole pregnancy go??

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At 32 weeks, I’m also starting to hit my “I’m done” phase. I love being pregnant, and it’s super easy for me, but MAN do my hips kill. It is way worse than last time, too, and I now have two children to carry 😛 I also have trouble breathing, I feel like I’m starting to waddle…I’m getting to the “fun” part of pregnancy, and I still have two months left!

Baby-wise, this kid is doing great. My “easy child,” as I sometimes say! This baby seems to be much more of a mover than Norah was in utero. While my mom-brain makes it difficult to remember exactly what it was like to be pregnant with Norah {that space has kindly moved over to remember the exact wherabouts of Norah’s most favorite thing-of-the-moment and the time that she last used the toilet}, I feel like this baby is much “rollier” than Norah was. I always remember Norah’s kicks; I’d be sitting in a meeting, and she’d be nudging me away. This baby seems to have more “dance parties” than sweet “nudges,” and will frequently make me question whether or not the head is still down with all the movement I feel {it is}. Hiccups also resonate throughout my entire belly, which I don’t remember happening last time! Peder, my mom, and my sister have all gotten to feel hiccups, which are much more predictable movements than the kicks.

We have done literally nothing to prepare for baby’s arrival, save for some {admittedly unnecessary} clothes buying. Since I know the gender this time, I can’t help but buy some cute gendered things when I see them on sale. A September goal of mine is to get the baby’s clothes washed and put away, to pull out Norah’s fall things, and to do a better once-over of Norah’s old clothes that I don’t want to drag on our move. I’m sure once I take a full inventory, I’ll be pleasantly surprised to realize I can clothe this kid into what will probably the 8th grade. We do still need a seat/bouncer/rocker of somesort, which my mom has happily offered to buy, and I think I’ve settled on the rock n’ play. Otherwise, baby could come tomorrow and we’d honestly be ok! Yay for cloth diapering and breastfeeding, right?!

One big change we’ve made this pregnancy is to hire a doula and to take on the Hypnobabies homestudy course. With Norah, we took a basic birth class in Omaha–and while it was great to connect with a natural-minded birth group {something Lincoln is STILL sorely lacking!}, it did little in the way of preparing me for both the scope and management of the pain. We both admit that when the time came, all of the positions we’d learned and the advice we’d heard flew right out the window. I don’t even remember utilizing the shower or the tub {though my birth story says I did? Apparently former me remembers better than current me}. This was a big consideration in hiring a doula, if only to have someone else supporting us and focusing on just our needs {again, cue the higher demands of the busier birth center}. We were lucky to find someone we feel very comfortable with, and are looking forward to building a relationship with her and having her help when the time comes.

I also just ordered and started reading the Hypnobabies home study course. As I approach the birth, I recognize daily that I carry a lot of fear and anxiety into the whole process. This is due in part to having an entirely new source of stress this time around {what to do with Norah/how is Norah doing/when can we get back to Norah/etc}, but also largely due to the feelings and memories I have tied to the last time I gave birth. I was in labor with {a posterior} Norah for 41 hours, 18 of which were full-blown H.A.R.D. It hurt immensely, and I do not shy away from pain nor cave easily to the option of help. It shook me to my core, and we’ve always joked that I’ll probably have a lot of fear going into birth #2. Turns out we were right, and it’s not so funny when it’s staring you in the face! Everything I’ve read about a hypnobirth is exactly what I had wanted for Norah’s birth but didn’t have. I’m excited that it gives me some power and control back, and gives me more tools to help me cope.

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Only two more months til we meet our sweet babe…October can’t come soon enough!

Norah had her first school performance this week! Prairie Hill does an all-school event once every month, and this month they had a talent show. Norah’s class (18 months – 3 year olds) sang “Jingle Bells” with their teacher and even shook small jingle bells on stage. It was adorable, particularly when Norah stood on the stage after everyone else had left, wanting to sing it again 🙂 





Stay tuned for a video to be added soon! 

Top 10 things we did on spring break:

1. Went to the park with friends:

2. Built a cardboard box barn (and stocked it with animal friends).

3. Went to Pioneers Park and fell in love with buffaloes.

 

 

 

4. Went to St. Paul NE to visit my Grandma, Aunt, Uncle, and Mom.

5. Played in the sandbox.

6. Played in the park {again}.

7. Went to the Omaha zoo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Enjoyed having Daddy home after two weekends on the road!

9. Played in Mommy’s classroom.

10.   Had entirely too much fun!

The most wonderful moment of the week? Seeing little baby for the first time.

We had our 8 week appointment with the midwife at 7w6d. We’re going back to the same birth center we used when we had Norah, and it was so nice to walk into a familiar place. we even got to meet with our labor nurse from Norah, which was wonderful!

They have two new midwives on staff, who we will see as we move along. I really liked the midwife we met with for our first appointment, Lindsay, and we also got to meet briefly with the other one, Rachel, as well. I’m excited to continue to get to know them!

The best surprise: seeing baby. We aren’t planning on doing the 20 week ultrasound scan this time, so it was a surprise to hear that we could see baby so early to check on its dating. Everything looked wonderful, and we’re looking forward to hearing it’s heartbeat at our 12 week appointment in April.

Grow baby grow 😉

Biggest topic of conversation in our house this week: putting urine in the toilet.

{yet another addition to the things-you-underestimate-about-parenthood list}

Norah’s school has a fabulous approach to toilet learning, and Norah has just taken to it like a sponge. This week, though, we {and they} started to be more consistent about having her sit on the toilet and encouraging her to go. I’ve now joined the mommy club who tells the world that my child put her urine in the toilet!

{we’ve taken the lead of her Montessori teachers on terminology here. Urine is what is coming out of her body, and a toilet is what she is sitting on. No other way about it!}

She’s a long way from being “trained,” and we still put her in diapers for going out. But, it won’t be long before she figures that out, too. I’m just excited that we’ll have one out of diapers before the next one gets us back in them!

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As Norah’s birthday celebrations continue, so does the arrival of her visitors! This weekend, we spent some time with Grammy and Auntie Em, and boy did we have fun!

Norah knew that they were coming, and apparently somewhere along the way I had mentioned that Grammy was bringing mangos. The things this smart little girl remembers is amazing, because as soon as we got home from school, a chorus of “Grammy? Mangos?” rang out and continued for most of the evening as we waited for their arrival. Luckily, Grammy knows her granddaughter and brought three mangos, raspberries, and strawberries! A fruit-loving girl’s dream.

On Saturday, we went to Morrill Hall, one of Norah’s favorite places. She had a blast showing Grammy and Auntie Em all of the animals and fossils!

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We also got to eat at HuHot, and Norah even filled her own bowl full of her favorites: steak, chicken, tomatoes, carrots, two pieces of broccoli, peas, and mushrooms. She was a happy camper!

We also got to make Norah’s second birthday cake: Great-Aunt Mary’a yummy cupcakes {chocolate cake with a chocolate chip cream cheese filling. They are, in a word, divine}.

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Norah is starting to get the hang of blowing out candles, though she still appreciates some moral support.

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She loved her new farm animals, her rain coat and boots, her mop, her scrub brushes for washing vegetables and dishes, and her Dr Seuss books. But most of all, she loved seeing and playing with Grammy and Auntie Em!

The highlight of this week: finding out that out lives are going to change forever.

Littlest baby love, due October 2015.

We love you already, sweet little one.

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While timing isn’t always something that we can plan on, we have been wanting and wishing for another baby for several months. My mama heart has been aching for a baby, and it has been more difficult than I would have imagined to wait for “the perfect time.” And as it turns out this isn’t it, but it is still amazing and beautiful and wonderful.

It was half expected, half not, but wholly loved and wanted.

On the morning I found out, I half-heartedly decided to take a pregnancy test, mostly out of pure hope. As soon as I looked up and saw it was a faint positive, I was instantly awake and alert! I called for Peder, and said “I’m pretty sure that’s a positive” as I handed him the test. Seeing him slowly realize what I was talking about and grow a big grin on his face was priceless.

We spent the rest of the week in various stages of shock and excitement and anxiety and eagerness and amazement. We ended up telling our families and some close friends much sooner than we did with Norah, in part because we’re seeing everyone this week for Norah’s birthday. But being this is the second baby, everything is, of course, more laid back and relaxed, including the revealing of our secret 🙂

We did do something fun for my family, as I couldn’t resist the opportunity with their visit this weekend. We told my mom and Em by putting Norah in her “Big Sis” shirt and waiting for them to see. It didn’t take long, and was such a fun way to share our news.

By the end of the week, we were already dreaming and thinking about who this little one will be and what our life will be like come October.

The only thing we know for sure: it will be wonderful.

Norah-roo

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Our family

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Norah’s words & signs

Words:
Mama (7 months)
Dada (12 months)
Kitty (11 months)
Bear
Bath
Book (12 months)
Bird (12 months)
Baby
More (13 months)
All done
Cheese (12 months)
Fish (12 months)
Norah (14 months)

Signs:
Kitty (10 months)
More (10 months)
All Done (10 months)
Bird (12 months)
Dada (11 months)
Mama (13 months)
Train (14 months)
Please (14 months)
Carrot (13 months)
Banana (13 months)
Fish (12 months)
Horse (14 months)
Goat (14 months)
Thank you (10 months)
Milk/Noms (12 months)
I love you (15 months)