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The stories behind their names: 

Norah Josephine

When Peder and I got married in 2010, we went through a very private and stressful time when we thought we wouldn’t be able to have kids (or at the very least, that it would be difficult for us to get pregnant). It was hugely stressful for me, and left me desperate and anxious to know that we would someday be able to have a family. After a year and a half went by, the issues I was struggling with health-wise started to resolve themselves and shortly thereafter we found ourselves pregnant with a surprise Norah.

It was unexpected, and came with a lot of life-altering decisions. At that time, I wasn’t working full time (and would have to postpone my MA and teaching certification for 7 additional months), we lived in an apartment, we were making peanuts on Peder’s TA salary {still are, ha!}…it just wasn’t the life that I had envisioned bringing my baby into. Not many people know this, but I was very anxious and even regretful for most of my first trimester of Norah’s pregnancy, simply because I felt like I had already failed her by not having my life together in the way I thought I should have. Of course by the time she came into the world in February 2013, my love for Norah had evolved to an instantaneous, unequivocal kind of love that I could never have imagined before having her, but it was a very emotional journey to her birth day. Her name means “light,” and fittingly enough represents the warm light that she shines on every part of my world–even the parts that don’t look the way I always thought they would.

Her middle name, Josephine, is after a  long lineage of strong women in my family: My great-grandmother, Josie, my mother,  Lori Jo, and me, Hannah Jo. We later learned that there are also Josephine’s in Peder’s family, which is a really cool connection, but I love sharing Norah with the pioneer women I’m descended from.

  

 
  
Simon James Laurence

With Simon, I had the chance to actively want him. I was desperate for a baby for a good 6-9 months before we actually got pregnant with him, filling my heart with the kind of ache that only the empty arms of a mother in wanting can feel. I had my Norah, which is more than many have, but my heart ached for another. It was a long, long wait for the “right” time to conceive Simon. And even then, Simon came earlier than we had expected and meant another round of hard choices–including leaving my job and staying home to mother my two children. But Simon, whose name means “he has heard,” did exactly that: He heard me. He heard my heart crying for him, and he answered my whispered calls and immediately, instantaneously, filled my heart with love from the moment I first knew he would be here. He had heard me. My Simon, who joined my Light.

In another fun coincidence, Simon Peter was one of Jesus’ original 12 disciples. His original name was Simon, but Jesus later changed it to Peter {which is as close to Peder’s name as you can get}. We thought it was a fitting connection for Peder’s son to have that biblical link to his name!

“James” comes from my dad, James (Jim) Lincoln. He passed away when I was 16, and I think Peder and I have always known that we’d use James in our son’s name in some way. Though I wish we didn’t have to use it, it fits Simon so well. He even looks like my dad, in such incredibly striking ways.

“Laurence” is, of course, in honor of Peder. Peder’s second middle name is Laurence, partially named after his mother, and it just flowed so well with Simon and James. We loved the thought of having our son named after his father, and having two middle names like him as well.

   
 


 

My children’s timing hasn’t always made sense to me, but it has unknowingly given me the two most amazing babies I could have ever asked for.Through a lot of fate and opportunity, everyone in our family has a “J” and “L” middle name (well, except for Norah. Poor girl). Something fun that connects us all 🙂

Peder Jay Laurence Thompson

Hannah Jo Lincoln Thompson

Norah Josephine Thompson

Simon James Laurence Thompson

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

 

 

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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To my sweet Norah, on her second birthday,

May you always be….
As sweet
As kind
As smiley
As feisty
As loving
As smart
As swimmy
As dancey
As beautiful
And as happy

as you are today on your 2nd birthday.

All my love,
Mama

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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 is a very lucky little girl.

Although her second birthday is still over a week away, she has managed to plan 3 birthday shindigs with all of the people who want to celebrate with her! This weekend, we had the first birthday visit when Peder’s mom came to stay.

We of course made birthday cake (carrot cake, harkening back to her first birthday celebration), topped with a candle that Norah picked out herself (in orange).

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Then, on Valentine’s Day we bundled up and went to the zoo. For a girl who loves animals and has her own zoo habitat on the stove {for animal magnets}, this was heaven.

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I’d say the festivities are off to a great start!

As busy as our lives are, we try to be active (beyond just chasing after a toddler). We aim to get in a few yoga practices a week….and it’s been apparent that a little someone has been watching us!

We’ve been doing yoga together for a while–

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…although let me tell you, it makes my practice a lot harder when you add a baby!

But after watching us for so long, Norah’s now interested in doing more than just hanging on for a ride. She had a lot of fun this week showing us her down dog:

And even tackled a tricky leg extension:

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She knows tree pose, mountain pose, and forward fold, among others–and ironically is not all that interested in child’s pose. She’d much rather use mama or daddy as a jungle gym!

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It’s one of our favorite parts of the night!

We had a legendary week of snow last week, after two big storms hit us hard. The perk of being a family of teachers: we still celebrate snow days!

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It all started with a big Sunday snow, which resulted in a mini-snow-day of its own when it canceled church. We stayed in, and only went outside to play. Our outdoorsy girl loves being outside, so we bundled up to go scoop.

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Norah even got to build a snow fort with daddy after the first snow.

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…that only improved in height with each snow day!

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To our bewilderment, the cold temps and high winds meant that a snow day was called for Monday at 4pm on Sunday for both UNL and LPS! A teacher’s dream.

After a quick day back at work, though, we had another day off on Wednesday for our second big storm. A bonus Snow Day 2.0!

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Needless to say, it was an awesome week.

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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)