Sunday, December 9, 2012

25 weeks!

I don't have much time to blog this morning, but wanted to at least get up a quick one. Josh is going to Green Bay today with some friends to watch the Packers / Lions game. So I've got Willow all day and I have a bunch of stuff to do for Christmas. Have to get it done now, before Willow wakes up. I am not sure how other parents do it...Josh and I tend to take "shifts" on the weekends. One of us hangs out with Willow for an hour or two while the other gets stuff done. Then we switch. Sometimes I can combine hanging out with Willow with getting stuff done, like if I take her grocery shopping with me. Then we're both being productive. After a few years I guess we've gotten into a groove, but it's not always easy. I really can't imagine how those apostolic women can get anything done with their husbands at work and trying to watch 6 or 8 or 10 little kids at once. But they do! I think they have some special talent that other women don't have. It might be genetic.

So, I'm now 25 weeks pregnant! When I went to the doctor on Wednesday, everything was going great. He said the baby is about 1 pound, 9 ounces. Willow was 1 pound, 13 ounces at birth. Pretty crazy. People ask me all the time, "how are you feeling?". I feel great. I love being pregnant, I really do. But I also felt great last time, right up until right before Willow was born. So feeling great isn't a very good indicator of how things are going. I do keep checking out my ankles, making sure they're not swelled up. That was the first sign of something being wrong before. I have to say, I'm not as stressed out as I imagined I would be at 25 weeks. I am basically just pretending to be a regular pregnant lady, ha. I feel a little better now that I'm at 25 weeks...sort of past that danger zone. When I was at 22, 23, 24 weeks, right at the edge of viability, I was a little more worried. At least I know that if shit hits the fan now, the baby will at least live, probably. Josh and I even went to a childbirth class last night. I have been doing a lot of reading on the topic, so I didn't learn a whole lot, but I think Josh did.

I've been getting ultrasounds at every appointment in Wausau, but I haven't wanted to share them because they were scary-looking. Finally last week, we got a decent one:

We still don't know if it's a boy or a girl. That face looks feminine to me - I actually think it looks like Willow. But who knows. All I know is, those 4-D ultrasounds are pretty amazing. I have a little worry that all the ultrasounds might be harmful to the baby somehow. But I also think the benefits of being monitored this closely outweigh any risks from the ultrasounds.

Anyway, enough about that. Here's what we've been up to:

We went to Minnesota for Thanksgiving, visiting my family and Josh's family. However, we didn't really take any photos. We still don't have any snow to speak of as I'm typing this (although there is a big storm on the way right now, supposedly). A couple weekends ago, Josh was busy doing something, and Willow and I went on a  hike, just us girls (oh, and Scout, too, of course). This was at the nature area out on the Houghton Canal, out by Oskar. I got some pretty cute pictures during our snack break.

Speaking of Josh, he quit his job at the Marketing Department and went back to working at Halonen's. He's much happier, and so am I. I think he wasn't meant for white-collar work...he says he likes to have something to show for a day's work (like a completed sprinkler system or a dozen snow scoops) rather than just pushing paper all day. I'm just happy to have him home in time to make dinner! :)

Last weekend we got our Christmas tree. We found the best place to get it up by Kearsarge. Only 15 bucks for a really nice balsam fir tree. Much cheaper than the place we went last year. Here's one shot of us decorating it.

Yesterday we took Willow to see Santa. She was not afraid to talk to him at all; in fact he commented on how she wasn't afraid to speak her mind and how talkative she was. He probably thought she was younger than she really is. She told him that she wanted an airplane and a bear. Prompted by Santa as to specifically what kind of bear, she said a brown kodiak bear.

Mrs. Claus was there too.

Then kids could decorate cookies. Pretty fun.

We recently (finally) turned Willow's car seat around so she faces forward. It's been pretty humorous; she's become quite the backseat drive. "Mama! Watch out for that car!" and "See that arrow? That means there's a curve coming up!". When we first turned it around, she was squealing with excitement like she was on a roller coaster.

Here's a parting shot of Willow cozy by the fire.

I doubt I will get a chance to update again before, I hope everyone has a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Happy Halloween

I had the best intentions of blogging sooner than this, but here it is, a month later.
I have a lot of photos. I'll start with Halloween; those pictures are the most fun. :)

Willow, Josh and I went over to our friends the Vendlinski's (their blog is listed on our home page) house to carve pumpkins. That was a lot of fun. Willow drew the face and and Josh carved it. Here's Willow checking out the finished product on our front steps.

Willow and I wore matching tights to work and school that day.

It seems like it's becoming a tradition to go over to my parents' house in east Hancock for trick-or-treating. We don't get any trick-or-treaters where we live (in the student ghetto), and east Hancock is a trick-or-treating mecca. I dressed up this year, too. I am sure you can figure out what I am; Willow is a ghost (it seemed obvious to us, but we had people ask if she was a bandit, and an angel). She had a pretty good time, despite cold (about 40 degrees, I think) weather. We basically went around the block. She learned the routine of saying "trick-or-treat" and "thank you".

Here she is with her spoils. I'm thankful that she has pretty much forgotten about the candy already. We've given her a piece here and there, but she hasn't insisted on keeping the whole bag to herself or anything.

Here are some more fall photos from the past few weeks.

Helping rake leaves:

And enjoying the result of all the raking:

I had to take a picture of this one. Scrubbing the floor.

Josh's parents came up last weekend (I think...or was it two weeks ago already?) We were bad about taking pictures of them and Willow - it's terrible! Anyway, while they were here, Josh and Jack went down to our garden and did a final harvest:

The thing I am most proud of is that those carrots and beets have been cleaned, blanched, and frozen. I think that's the hard part. There were many times this summer where we'd harvest something and then let it go bad in the fridge due to lack of time and/or motivation, which left me with a lot of guilt and frustration.

All 5 (6, counting Scouty) of us went up to Copper Harbor that Sunday and went for a hike in the Estivant Pines (another hike from our book!). The weather was chilly but not too bad. It was beautiful in there and I took a lot of photos. Here we are by the trail head.

We stopped and sat on some logs to have lunch.

We saw this huge hollow tree and had Willow go inside it for a photo op.

I went in too, and took a photo looking up. It was hollow all the way to the top.

Willow hiking. She did hike most of the way herself, and later got tired and Josh carried her. The hike was a few miles.

Tree hugging.

I thought this was really pretty - a small white pine with red maple leaves stuck in it. Sort of looked like a Christmas tree.

Willow and daddy:

After the hike, we met my parents at Fitzgerald's for dinner. So delicious and a nice change from the restaurants in Houghton.

OK, switching gears entirely..A week before the Jensons' visit, Willow and I and my friend Anna and her daughter Maisa went on a girls' trip to Duluth for two nights. The only reason was for fun, and so that I could visit Sharon. We stayed at "The Edge" waterpark hotel. The girls had fun. I guess they are still a *little* young for most of the slides and stuff. Maisa got into the little slides by the second day, but Willow didn't want to do those. However Willow was very into the lazy river, which Maisa didn't want to do. We all spent a lot of time in the hot tub (don't worry, I just sat on the side and put my legs in). :) It's hard to take photos in the water park, with the water splashing around and chaos everywhere, but we did get this cute one of the girls, though it's a little blurry.

The experience itself was a little more hectic than I had expected. I guess I'm naive, but I thought the girls would play and entertain each other a lot more, and Anna and I could relax a little. It didn't really work that way. Our small hotel room was covered with toys and they bickered a lot over sharing and stuff. But don't get me wrong, it was still fun and I'm glad we went. The weather in Duluth was terrible while we were there, so we didn't do much outside, but we checked out the Duluth children's museum. It was more of an indoor play area than a museum, but it was still a great diversion. One area had costumes the kids could wear, and the girls had fun pretending to be raccoons.

It was great to see Sharon, of course; I was glad I got to see her before her baby is born. She is 20 weeks ahead of me in our pregnancies. How fun that we are pregnant at the same time. She hung out with us in our hotel room a bit, and we also went out to breakfast one day.

In this photo, she is 36 weeks and I am 16. As of today she has not had her baby yet. I am now 20 weeks - crazy. So far, so good. My next appointment in Wausau is on Wednesday.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Here we go again...

Yep, I'm pregnant. Although I am not such an avid blogger anymore, I figured I'd have to "announce" it at some point on here, and I've waited until now - I'm nearly 16 weeks.

I am not sure I like the title of this blog, which makes it sound like this pregnancy will be like the last one. Which, obviously, I don't want. We didn't enter into this lightly. In fact, for a couple years after Willow was born, we were pretty sure we were not having any more kids. Then, we looked into adoption a little bit and soon realized we could never afford that (on a side note, I think this is really sad, with all the kids out there that need homes). After awhile, though, as the memories of those NICU months started to fade, I guess we started to reconsider getting pregnant again. Maybe we're nuts. I will admit that a small part of it was selfish, with myself really, really wanting to experience a normal pregnancy and "get it right" this time...I think that might be something only other preemie moms can understand.

Shortly after Willow was born, I had seen a perinatologist at MGHS who ran some tests to try to figure out why I got preeclampsia and HELLP. He couldn't find anything, and his opinion seemed to be that it was a fluke and I was just unlucky. Before we got pregnant this time, I went and saw another perinatologist in Wausau. We wanted numbers. Statistics. He was able to give that to us, and stated that there's a 10-15% chance of my getting preeclampsia again. And even if I do get it again, it's more likely that it'll be later and less severe. I also saw my regular OB in advance, and she ran some more tests, which were all normal as well. All the doctors I consulted with seemed to think there's no reason why we shouldn't try again. Sooooo...we decided to take the gamble.

And so far, so good. The pregnancy is going fine. I am past the exhausted stage, thankfully. This time, I did have a little queasiness, which I didn't with Willow, but that's passed as well. I have to go see the doctor in Wausau once a month; I saw him September 13 (when that ultrasound shot was taken), and I see him again next week. I'll be getting ultrasounds each time, so there'll be lots of photos. The reason I have to get so many ultrasounds is that the doctor is checking the blood flow in my uterine artery, and the placenta and the umbilical cord. I guess that can help predict whether things are A-OK or if things are going bad and I'm likely to get preeclampsia again. As a bonus, I get to see the baby every month. They have those 4-D ultrasounds there, which are pretty wicked, hey? We'd like to be surprised about the baby's sex, but I'm not sure if that will be possible with monthly 4-D ultrasounds - you can see so much detail.

I am also seeing my regular OB once a month for now, alternating with the guy in Wausau. That adds up to a doctor's appointment every 2 weeks. And once I get to 22 weeks or so, my regular OB wants to see me twice a week. Good thing her office is just a few blocks from the hospital where I work.

So there you have it. Wish us luck, we need it! :)

Here are a few other shots from the past few weeks.

Willow and Maisa playing with play-doh. Maisa's mom Anna and I and the girls are heading for Duluth next weekend for a little getaway. We're staying at the water park hotel and I'm excited to visit Sharon!

I had to post this drawing that Willow did because I think it's hilarious. The big guy on the left is pooping, and the thing under him is a potty. Do you see it?

Last weekend, our NICU friends Nate and Lauren were in the Copper Country from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, for their anniversary. We had Linda watch Willow and met up with them on Saturday. We had a great time. The weather was beautiful and the leaves were peaking. The guys went biking in Copper Harbor, and Lauren and I hiked up Mount Bohemia. Later we came down to Houghton and went out to dinner. Here are some pictures from our Bohemia hike. My little point-and-shoot can't really do justice to how amazing it was. Lauren had a fancy camera, and the shots she took were much better.

Here's Willow and Grandma with their purses. Willow put on her purse and insisted we take a picture.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Isle Royale 2012

Over Labor Day weekend, we made another trip to Isle Royale. It was awesome, again.

We took the "Big Blue Boat" (the Ranger III) out on Friday morning. It was a smooth trip. 5-6 hours on the boat always seems to fly by. Willow didn't get too antsy or anything. It's nice that she's able to run around. Here we are doing some reading.

We got off on Mott Island and met Seth after he got off of work. We stayed in his luxury condo again and he was as great a host as he was last year. We didn't spend quite as much time this year boating around and doing different things, which was not necessarily a bad thing. We stayed on Mott most of the time, and took several hikes to the little beach near Seth's house - he calls it the Algoma beach since it's where the Algoma shipwreck occurred (you can check out our Isle Royale post from last summer if you want to learn more about that - it's a crazy story). Here's Willow hiking on the way to the beach.

We did more fishing this year. Well, I didn't, but Seth and Josh did. Seth has a cool boat now called the Incredible Hull. It's bright green. We took 2 or 3 trips out together, and Willow and I just hung out on the front of the boat while the guys fished from the back. The boat has 2 big downriggers (I think that is what they are called? I am not too good at fishing terminology) that hang off the back. Our other fishing partner was Seth's neighbor's son, Birch. His dad was off the island for something, so he hung out with us a lot. I think he's about 9 or 10. We didn't mind at all, he is a really cool kid, pretty mature for his age. He knows a lot about fishing, and he was so cute and helpful with Willow. Here's a shot of Willow sitting on his lap. He was helping her hold the fishing pole.

Here's Josh with a lake trout he caught. We ate it for dinner - yum.

We had a full moon while we were out there,and while our little point-and-shoot camera couldn't capture just how beautiful it was, we had to post the pictures we did get. They aren't bad. Here's the first one - this was on the actual night of the full moon. We were out fishing when it was starting to get dark.

Although it's not like Mott Island is densely populated (uh, not at all), there was no shortage of little girls, which was nice for Willow. Here's Willow at Algoma beach with Birch's little sisters, Acorn and Zephyr. On this day, I hung out on the beach with Willow while Josh and Seth and Birch went snorkeling to the shipwreck. A little later, Birch's mom Azure came over with the girls,and then the guys came back so I went out snorkeling a little bit while they watched Willow. It was a beautiful day. The water was still so warm. Hanging on this beach with little kids is a little bit of a challenge; it's not a sandy beach.There are big rocks everywhere.

Willow had another chance to play with Acorn and Zephyr one night when the guys went out fishing alone, and Willow and I went over to Azure's place. Azure and I visited for awhile and the girls played. It's easy to be envious of their lifestyle out there. They live on the island from about May to October every year. No roads, no cell phones, no stress.

One day we took the Incredible Hull over to the main island and docked at Daisy Farm. We hiked up a couple miles to the Mt. Ojibway fire tower. Seth's other coworker Rick came with, along with his wife Val and their 4-year-old daughter, Violet (see, another little girl!) Violet is much bigger than Willow (I don't mean that in a bad way; she's just the size of your average 4-year old), and Josh and I were amazed to watch Rick carry her all the way there and back on his shoulders. Josh says his shoulders get sore after just mile or so of carrying Willow that way. But Rick's job (I think he's a marine biologist or something?) involves a lot of portaging of canoes, so I guess his shoulders were super tough.

I've visited this fire tower several times in my life, but this was the first time I ever got to go into the little room and platform at the top. Normally you just go up the stairs and there's a lock at the top so you can't get in. But of course Seth had the secret key. It was so cool. It was a very clear day too. You could see for miles and miles. Here's Willow and I on the tower.

We even signed the guest book inside.

We rested for awhile at the bottom of the tower and had snacks. Willow and Violet found a caterpillar. I love this photo! Shortly after this was taken, they got a little rough with it and unfortunately, it got a little squished. Fortunately, though, Josh was able to tell them it just wanted to go home to its mama and put it in the grass before they realized it was dead.

That night we (just me, Josh and Willow) camped at Daisy Farm instead of going back to Seth's. We stayed in the 3-sided shelter. We got one that was close enough to the lake where Willow could hang on the beach and throw rocks in the water and we could be back at the camp but still keep an eye on her. She literally spent about an hour doing that. She just loved it. Here's Dad with Willow, eating dinner at our campsite.

Willow happy on the beach at dusk.

Sunset number 2. This one was orange.

Here's the 3 of us sitting on the steps of our shelter.

Looking back on this blog, I realized there's not a single photo of Seth. He probably won't mind though; when we were out there, he had recently lost his prescription sunglasses, so as a back-up he was wearing those type of big plastic shades that fit over your glasses, like old ladies wear. Haha.

And, that's it. Sadly, we did have to leave and go back to the real world. We took the Queen back, and it was a choppy ride. Willow got seasick last year, so we were very grateful that this time, she fell asleep for most of the ride.