December 16th, 2014
The bedroom next to ours stood empty for the longest time (and by “empty” I mean filled with random hiking gear and outdoor cushions), but this spring we finally had the motivation to spruce it up and get it ready for our little nugget.
We decided on a woodlandish theme, which means that Nora inherited the awesome bear beanbag JK got me for my birthday a couple of years ago and we finally got to use the little rug we couldn’t resist at IKEA.
The couch used to live in the office and is fairly ugly, but it turns into a bed, something that might come in handy in the future. The ladder shelf is from our old bedroom and will be replaced with something that’s less tempting to climb once a certain someone starts toddling around.
JK painted the walls (including a slightly darker accent wall) while I supervised from the couch, then JK put up vinyl decals while I supervised from the couch, and then JK hung the bird mobile while I supervised from the couch. Aaah, pregnancy. The only time in my life I was physically able to nap. *suppressing a yawn*
The picture frame above the changing table is going to be filled with photos of relatives back home, but I was supposed to print them the week Nora showed up…and somehow I haven’t even gotten around to buy ink for our printer yet. Christmas. Surely I’ll get it done over Christmas.
Here comes the Nora train! We found these train car letters at a toy store here in town and finalized her name right then and there. This will probably grow into an epic train set over the years.
…and of course, Nora’s first piece of art – our friend painted this based on our baby announcement photo. I love, love, love it so much!
Nora’s aunt got her this AMAZING romper. It’s still a little too big, so for now it serves as decor…as will her collection of newborn sports supporter jerseys and onesies that she’s now grown out of (sniff sniff). Oh, and since babies produce an impressive amount of laundry, I found this vaguely Mukmukian laundry hamper for all those spit-up-on and blown-out-in teeny tiny pieces of clothing.
November 29th, 2014
Blog posts are scarce these days, so here’s a lazy one where I just copy the text from a facebook update where I was tagged to post five photos that make me happy. I was trapped under an adorable, sleeping baby at the time, so I only went two years back in time.
The best vacation ever on St. John in 2013, marinating in sunshine and happiness. We went back this year, but since I spent much of the trip puking (for excellent reasons), it didn’t quite reach 2013′s level of awesomeness.
From a trail run to Mt. Defiance in 2013. So many good outdoor adventures that summer, and I felt like I was in decent shape for the first time in ten years.
Larch heaven, a day of light and hope (and of realizing yet again how lucky I am to have this guy) in an otherwise difficult autumn of fertility treatments (and look where I am one year later).
Hiking my favorite trail while carrying that long-awaited baby bump. Nuff said.
My favorite photo – my first look at Nora – won’t ever make it onto the interwebs, but this one will do. Nothing, *nothing* could have prepared me for the instant feeling of love (and of magical pain relief/amnesia, which makes me remember labor as “not that bad”, which I KNOW can’t be true) that came the second I laid eyes on that beautiful, wiggling little lump.
…and I have to cheat and add a sixth photo – actually, ALL the photos of my little nugget smiling. My totally zen newborn turned into a very fussy (which is the polite term for screamy) baby, but just one smile from this beautiful being makes it all okay. I asked a friend what happened to our Buddha babies, whose awesome mellowness we had been bragging about a couple of weeks earlier, and she told me that they’re helping turn us into Buddhas. Troof.
November 10th, 2014
Nora turned two months last week and decided she was more than old enough for her first visit to Mount Rainier. Mama and papa were happy to oblige!
Between the end of Daylight Saving Time, a late morning nap for Nora, and the fact that everything takes about seven times longer than you expect it to when you’re travelling with a wee babby with a prodigious appetite, we didn’t hit the trail until about an hour before sunset. No worries, it gave us enough time to mosey along on the touristy trails above Paradise.
Nora insisted on keeping her cute little head outside of the Moby wrap to look at the scenery, so she clearly didn’t mind the fact that we were walking on paved trails for most of the way.
I say this every year and never actually follow through, but this year, dagnabbit, we will send out Christmas cards. It would be a crime not to after we scored this perfect Mukmukian family photo!
Speaking of Mukmuk, Nora’s Halloween costume shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who reads this blog. My dreams, thems done gone come true!
Back to Mount Rainier – while we may have gone deaf from the car ride there (and that’s a looong drive), seeing this little lady seemingly enjoying herself in one of my favorite places made the trip so worth it.
I know she can’t really see much of anything at all yet and probably won’t appreciate the views until she’s in her twenties, but I love being able to include her in our family traditions like this. Babywearing is such a wonderful feeling to begin with (and a workout, now that Nora is pushing 12 lbs!), but getting to do it while looking at views like these? Amazing.
JK got to do the babywearing this time, while I was stuck with the lame, non-adorable, non-warm, non-snuggly backpack.
Our hike ended with yet another nursing session for the hungry little hiker, with a side of excellent sunset views and happy cooing. One of my favorite moments yet.
…and luckily hiking is such hard work that Nora spent the entire drive home sleeping like, well, a baby. I’ll call our first real mountain outing a success for sure.
October 25th, 2014
In lieu of an actual blog post, which would require much more brain power than I am currently able to expend, here’s an Instagram roundup!
A tiny little someone has emerged from the newborn coma and wants to play! | JK got me a bouquet of dried flowers from the market to better suit our current floral upkeep abilities.
The leaves are finally turning, bring on the pumpkin spice. | First postpartum run! It felt surprisingly good (except for my new…nursing accessories), gestational diabetes really did turn out to be a blessing in disguise since it forced me to get off the ice cream diet and eat well and exercise throughout the third trimester. We don’t own a scale, but the last time I was able to weigh myself, I was down 8 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight…and now ice cream tastes too sweet, which I know sounds preposterous. Chocolate, on the other hand. Mmm. Anyway, yay, endorphins!
The Moby wrap is so much more comfortable now that it’s not hot as Hades outside anymore. And carrying this little nugget fast uphill produces endorphins too! Babywearing is also the only way I’m able to get a little bit of housework done these days. Fussy baby + tight wrap + movement + white noise from the vacuum = sleeping baby. | Our neglected garden is still producing delicious tomatoes!
Gratuitous flower shot, just because they’re pretty. | I could stare at that little face all day. Oh wait, I already do!
I’ve always wanted to go to a pumpkin patch, but I kept putting it off until we’d have a little pumpkin of our own to bring along. Success! And maybe next year she’ll sort of enjoy it, too! | Nature’s confetti, autumn edition.
It’s official, she’s the best. | My parents came over from Norway to help out (aka snuggle the baby) for two weeks. I’ve been suffering from massive homesickness ever since Nora was born, so it was great to have the new grandparents here. Next summer we’ll take a long trip back home so our little Norwegian-American can get to know the old country.
Most of my days are spent like this, with my little snuggle buddy stretched out on top of me. This photo is old and Nora takes up so much more space on my chest now (she’s already over 10 lbs!), but my wardrobe is generally the same due to a charming phenomenon known as postpartum hot flashes. Anyway, chest naps are the best. I was worried because I wasn’t getting anything done that’s socially accepted as being productive, but then I realized she’ll only be this tiny once, and I want to soak it all up while I can. Soon enough she’ll be a teenager and want nothing to do with me.
The chest naps have been even more important the last week and a half since Nora has a cold and the only thing I can really do for her – beyond giving her saline nose drops and removing unwelcome nasal inhabitants with the snot sucker – is to keep her close to me and make her feel safe.
To sum it all up – life is good. Tiring, but oh so good.
October 6th, 2014
Nora’s birth was even more emotional than I had thought it would be. My grandmother had passed away two days before, so there were huge, sad, bittersweet, circle-of-life type feelings swirling around in me on top of the all-encompassing love I felt the second I laid eyes on Nora.
Our bodies are pretty amazing things. I keep looking at this wonderful little creature and thinking we made her? From scratch? This perfect little being? Man, I love her. The birth itself was wonderful – I know it’s easy to say that now, since all memories of pain just evaporated the second I saw my baby, but I truly feel lucky that I was able to have the exact experience I was hoping for.
On Labor Day we went for a hike on Tiger Mountain to pick mushrooms, and I started feeling some contractions. I assumed it was just a continuation of the false labor symptoms I had been having all weekend (False Labor Day, I called it) and was somewhat in denial about the fact that they hurt much more than Braxton-Hicks when we were in the car on the way home. They were strong enough to wake me up in the early morning the next day, and a couple hours later, it finally dawned on me that wait, I think this is the real thing! I was only 38 weeks and 2 days along, so even though I suspected she would come early, I thought I had more time.
I got in the tub, which felt amazing all through labor (along with having warm water sprayed on my lower back and an ice cold washcloth covering my eyes, which allowed me to retreat into an introverted pain cave of sorts, where all that existed during contractions was myself and the music I had on – I realized early on that what I really needed to focus on to get through labor was to stay calm and avoid getting caught in the panic spiral of doom), and then we went to the hospital when the contractions got closer together. JK kept our families updated, and at 11:25 PM, just about the time when our people were starting their work days back home in Norway, little Nora made her appearance.
If you’re local, I highly recommend the midwifery clinic at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland. The midwives provide excellent prenatal care and support during delivery, and you have the added peace of mind of delivering in a hospital, with operating rooms and a NICU right there in case something should happen. Evergreen is also a certified baby-friendly hospital (the very first hospital to get certified in this country!), so you can get all the help and support you’ll need for breastfeeding.
I have never taken care of a newborn before, but Nora made the transition pretty easy for us. She’s been a very happy baby so far, and her Dunstan Baby Language skills are great, especially “neh!” (feed me, peasant!), “eh!” (burp me, peasant!), “heh-heh-heh” (I’m uncomfortable and probably working on a diaper present for you, peasant!). She’s also added her own word to the vocabulary: “flarn! flarn!” (how dare you undress me, peasant?!) – my only issue is lack of sleep, which obviously comes with the territory. It’s not really Nora’s fault, it’s just that I have always been a horrible sleeper, and feeding and changing her at night wakes me up so much that it can easily take 1-2 hours for me to fall back asleep, which is extremely annoying when sleep is pretty much the only thing I need right now. Oh well, it’ll get better.
So far, we’ve taken Nora out on two hikes on Tiger Mountain to pick chanterelles, but other than that, my interest in hiking seems to have disappeared completely these days. Five weeks in, all I want to do (except sleep, natch) is just to snuggle with this perfect little creature in our cozy little nest at home. I’m sure my love of mountains will prevail, and when it does, I’ll post more updates. Apart from this initial post, I don’t think I’ll want to post much about Nora except for hiking-with-a-baby type updates, since a) this is a hiking blog and b) Nora didn’t sign up to be blog material. This will admittedly be hard, because she is obviously the most amazing baby ever and I want to share all the cute things she does, but I’ll do my best.
(How can I not share things like this themed mushrooming outfit??)
In the meantime, my little lady and I will stay swaddled here in our little cocoon, simply enjoying life.