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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Introducing Emerson August Armstrong

Emerson August Armstrong was born Thursday, June 4, 2015 at 2:37pm.  Here's some quick info about him and his first few days.  This post will be followed by his birth story:

- He came 5 days late, just like his sister.

- He was 8lbs. 9oz. and 21.5" long at birth.

- When he was born he took one breath and then became unresponsive.  They cut his cord and rushed him to the warming table to work on him.  It turned out that he had a pneumothorax (basically, his lungs collapsed).  They aren't sure why since it usually happens when babies are premature or have an infection (which he did not).

- He spent the rest of his 3 day hospital stay in the NICU, in the "Very Low Birthweight" area.  He didn't actually need to be in the NICU after the first day and a half, but they didn't have room for him in the well baby nursery.

- He was, at various points, hooked up to a CPAP machine, Canula and IV.

- He couldn't breastfeed while he was hooked up to the CPAP machine, so we got a bit of a rough start with that.

- He has a long torso, long legs, long feet and long fingers.

- His middle name is August for a few reasons.  We liked the name to begin with, but not enough to use it as a first name and we like middle names that have significance.  The NICU he was in was called the August L. Jung NICU and I kept noticing the name each time I'd walk in to visit him.  Finally, I looked up the guy and found out that he was a pretty awesome guy.  He actually pioneered the NICU system in the Western US, starting with that very NICU at the U of U.  Basically, in my mind, he's responsible for my kid being alive AND he was a really great guy to boot.  As an added bonus, it turns out my great great grandfather was also named August.  And that's how he got his middle name.  Here's a link to some info about August L. Jung:  http://healthcare.utah.edu/publicaffairs/news/archive/2011/01-05-11_JungObit.php

- So far, he is VERY chill.  He sleeps A LOT and barely cries.


Monday, June 1, 2015

May 2015

I feel like May has been the month of nesting and waiting...and rain.  Nesting because we finally figured out where we were moving (Tom's parents basement).  Waiting because, you know, I'm due May 30th and you never know when the baby will come.  Rain because it has rained almost every day this month, which has made it especially challenging to find things to do with Harp during the day.  At the beginning of the month I was in super nesting mode.  We got everything moved in remarkably fast because it was the only thing on my mind and I just couldn't stop putting things away.  It was exhausting but good.  And it felt good to get things in their places so fast.  I still took Harper out to do things, since she demands it, but anytime I could, I was working on putting things away or other important things on the to-do list.  For a little while it felt like my to-do list was insurmountable.  But, I just worked so hard that it cleared up pretty fast.  Tom was a great help too.  He pretty much always is.  He's was very glad when the to-do list got smaller though, because he didn't get much of a break either.  

So, the first few weeks of the month were focused on doing all of the absolutely essential things to get the house ready for the baby.  Next, I spent about a week getting a bunch of freezer meals ready.  It was hard work but I'm so glad I did it.  It's really hard not to eat it all now though, especially since it made me sick of cooking!  I made taco soup, spaghetti, chicken cacciatore, enchiladas, tomato basil soup (which I actually use as a sauce on noodles because it's really rich), Mexican pork (for tacos, quesadillas, on rice, etc.), quiche, two curries, a curry soup and some chocolate/peanut butter/honey/chia/flax/oat balls.  Um, but if you were planning on bringing us meals, please forget that I just told you all that and pretend we have nothing.  That's like my favorite part of having a baby except for...um...the baby.  That and getting free unlimited hospital food during the hospital stay.  I like food, ok?  Alright.  My next baby-prep task, after the freezer food, was to put together a slew of activities that Harper can do at home, that should (theoretically) garner her attention for a little while at a time.  Things like finger painting, snack necklaces, oobleck, etc.  I found a bunch of ideas on pinterest, then created a word document for each one with supplies needed and instructions, then got any supplies we didn't already have. Now, if I need a quick activity for her, especially in the early days of double-kid-dom I'll have plenty of things to fall back on.  I think I have 14 activities so far. Not bad, eh?  I'm trying not to use them until after the baby comes and after Tom goes back to work and my mom goes home.  Turns out it's just one more thing making me impatient for the baby to come, like the freezer food.  But, it will make things better after the baby comes, right?  Basically, the theme is that everything = more impatience for baby.

To illustrate the rest of this month, the rest of this blog post will be organized into themes.

Things to do in So Jo

So, when we lived downtown, I got to the point where I had quite the quiver of activities that I could fill our days with.  Feeling like a big, fun adventure?  Zoo or children's museum.  Quick outside activity?  At least 3 parks within walking distance.  Feeling like some time to myself?  Gym.  Want to see Tom?  City Creek.  Plus, I'd started a babysitting co-op and dropped Harper off at a friend's house 2 or 3 times a week.  Basically, I almost had TOO many activities for us to do.  This was important because Harper is an out-of-the-house kind of kid.  As in, if we even stay inside for an entire morning it's miserable.  She will just constantly beg to go "outside."  Now that we've moved and it takes us at least 20 minutes to get to all our old activities (and she has started hating the car again and falls asleep in it and skips her nap if I'm not vigilant) I am in the process of trying to come up with activities close to our new home.  This has proven rather difficult.  Even though there are more kids/capita in South Jordan (a lot more, I'm pretty sure) there seem to be way fewer kids activities.  Plus, there are much fewer places we can go that are within walking distance (or even biking distance, but we'll touch on that later).  Plus, it has rained almost every day THIS ENTIRE MONTH.  Not a good combination for trying to pass the time at the end of pregnancy.  If you've never been pregnant before, let me just say that the last month of pregnancy feels like a year.  The only plus side is that I now have midwife appointments once a week AND THEY HAVE BABYSITTING, which Harper actually loves.  Anyway, here are some of the things we have done:

There is a tiny and kind of lame neighborhood park within (kind of far) walking distance of our house.  The first time we went it was great.  Harper was in full-on flower picking mode and the park has this huge grassy area (with just a teeny tiny park on it...whatever) with tons of dandelions.  She was in heaven.  Unfortunately though, I didn't realize the reason she was so quiet all the way there was because she'd fallen asleep.



Can you see Harper way off in the distance in this bottom pic?  She was so happy wandering all over picking the flowers.

I was super paranoid that she'd fall asleep on the way home and not fall asleep in her crib when we got home.  Even though I checked on her obsessively, it only takes a second and she did fall asleep.  I figured the best way to transition her to her crib and have her actually sleep would be to hold her, so I picked her up.  She fell right asleep on me, but I still had quite a way to go!  It was SO hard to push the stroller, hold Harper on my shoulder and be super duper pregnant.  I swear I almost didn't make it.  But I will do almost anything to get my naptime break, and it worked!
Got some new backyard toys at the local kids consignment store:

Harper is a big fan of babydolls and strollers these days...which is great since I'm about to have a baby.

Went to the Museum of Natural Curiosity (Children's Museum) at Thanksgiving Point.  Harper LOVED the water table.  Plus, we ran into an old friend from my home ward (church congregation) in California who got us in for half-off.  This was the 2nd of FOUR times I've now run into someone from that ward since moving back to SoJo:





She also loved the fishies in the outside part of the museum:



McDonald's playplace:

I was actually really proud of her for wandering all the way up in the structure a couple times.  I was also really fortunate that each time some nice little girl would help her back down when she inevitably got lost and wanted mom.  Navigating a playplace structure is not on my bucket list while being 9 months pregnant.
I like to say that Harp makes friends easily because she's that friend who laughs at you even when you're not being that funny, making you think you're hilarious.  Everyone needs that friend.  Here's an example with a friend she made at the playplace:


The store, of course.  This particular outing she saw a bin of those little taffy candies and I decided she could have one.  She knows you have to wait til we "pay" though, to eat it.  The whole time at the store she held onto it and was super happy and kept saying, "candy! pay! pay!"  When we finally paid I used a grocery bag as an impromptu bag for all the purple goo running down her chin.  Happy Harper:


Typical grocery store outing moment:


I haven't been terribly impressed with the parks here, and there's almost never anyone at them, but I will say that they often have fabulous mountain views:

Much more impressive in person, as usual.

Harper actually made a friend at this park trip.  The girl was playing with the bike rack and Harp thought it looked fun so she joined.  It was pretty cute.  They sat there and pointed out cars and trees and stuff to each other.
 The Aquarium.  Verdict is that she's still much too young to enjoy it and it was super crowded too:



Chick-Fil-A Playplace.  Loved having her own dipping sauce for the chicken, but the play area was lame:

She is saying, "Chick-Fil-A!!!"
Auntie Jan.  One day this month we went back up to our old stomping grounds to visit with our friend Jan.  Harper knows Jan as the nice lady who has fun toys and feeds her ice cream.  Every time I say, "Jan," Harper says, "ice keem!"


Jan let Harper play with this big bear and Harper was SO excited.  She walked right up to me and said, "picture!  Take a picture!"  First time she's ever requested I take a picture of something.

The other reason we go see Auntie Jan is because she helps me figure out how to do genealogy.  And because we just like her.

Cousin Ellie.  One good thing about living in SoJo is that we get to see Cousin Ellie a lot more than we did before.  Ellie is one of Harper's favorite people.  She's always excited to see her and always has fun with her.


Backyard. Another plus to living in SoJo is that we have use of a backyard!  I don't know why I don't have more pictures of Harper playing in it, because she does all the time, but I'll try to get some next month.  She plays with scooters, kid chairs, a water table, a trampoline and swings, among other things.  I generally chill on a pool lounger.  Or, in the case of swings (like below), a chair that I strategically placed so that I can push while sitting.  Yay pregnancy.  Anyway, this video was pretty much the first time Harp used a big kid swing without falling off.  She LOVED it and sat in it quietly for like 45 min til Tom got home.  Other times we talk about everything and anything while she swings - birds, colors, clouds, wood chips, food, Daddy, every sing person she knows, etc. 


Biking.  This month, for my birthday, Tom got me a bike and his parents got me a bike trailer.  It was pretty great.  I'm still trying to figure out places we can go via bike though.  I've found a few and hope that once I'm not pregnant I can venture a little farther.  So far, I took Harp and her best-buddy-cousin Ellie to that neighborhood park I mentioned earlier:

They had a BLAST.
Took Harper to the store:

One awesome thing about the trailer is how much I can fit in it.  I had several grocery bags underneath.
And took Harper to the temple.  The temple trip was definitely one of the highlights of this month.  Harper really likes temple and requests the "temple song" all the time, so I thought she'd enjoy it.  


At first we just looked at all the flowers.  


Then, a nice man who was doing some of the temple gardening came over and gave her two pansies.

She carried them around until they were ragged and limp...and then carried them around some more.
She chased a bird:


 Found some mushrooms:


Then (and this is the real highlight), a random temple patron came over and gave her a dum dum.  Oh. My. Goodness.  I don't think she could have loved that dum dum any more than she did.  For the next hour and a half she sucked on that dum dum and said "yoyipop!" at least a few times every couple of minutes.



Right after she got it we sat on the edge of the fountain, near the doors of the temple.  Most of the time she was silent, just sucking on her lollipop (unusual for her), but every few minutes she'd just say, "yoyipop!"  We sat there for like 45 minutes, just like that.  Then, we walked back down to the bike.  I think this will be one of my main memories from our last days of it just being Harper and I all day.



She happily sucked on it during the ride home.

I feel like she looks a little crazy in this picture.  Is it just me?

Then, she happily sucked on it for a quick trip to the store.  Finally, I had to take it away for her nap, since she still had a ways to go.  She fell asleep sobbing, "yoyipop!"  When she got up I gave it back to her and we watched youtube videos of various versions of the "Lollipop" song by the Chordettes. 


 She sucked it dry and is now thoroughly obsessed with lollipops.  She found a toy block with a picture of a lollipop on it (for the letter, "L") and carries it around with her 24/7.  If she finds anything with a lollipop on it she instantly loves it.  The random guy at the temple will never know how much his tiny gesture influenced our week!

Jordan River Trail.  This was something I really really wanted to do as a family before the baby came.  The rain made it really hard to find a good a good time, but we finally did it.  So, we live pretty close to a long trail that goes along a river.  Along the trail is a playground.  I wanted to have us go down to the trail (it's too steep to bike back with the trailer from the trail, so we had to drive one of the bikes there and have Tom bike the other one), bike along it til we got to the playground,  get off and play, then bike back (and drive back).  It worked out great.

While we were waiting for Tom to get to the trailhead with the other bike Harper and I discovered some cows.  I thought she might be afraid of them but she LOVED them.


When we got to the playground, we ran into the Wrights!  It was the 2nd time we'd run into them and the 4th time we'd run into someone from my home ward, since moving back to SoJo!  Crazy!


When we got back to the trailhead, Tom headed home with his bike while Harper chased some very friendly ducks.  



Then we hopped in the car and met Tom at home.

It was a great outing!

Anyway, besides those these I've mentioned, other places we've gone (not via bike) are the rec center pool (a pretty good one) and the library.  Unfortunately, the libraries here stop doing storytime for toddlers over the summer.  They do have this open play thing though, where they just lay out a bunch of toys and let the kids go at it.  

So far, I'm not impressed with the kids stuff that SoJo has to offer and would take downtown's activities any day.  But, we'll survive.  At least we have a backyard now!  Need to get some pictures of that next month.  Oh, and at least we are on the verge of summer and will be able to take advantage of a whole new slew of activities.  It's been hard to have so much rain this month, but things should be looking up from now on.

Pretend Play

This month Harper has really started to pretend.  It's the best.  I love it.  So far, her pretend play pretty much centers around food (she is sooooo my child) and to a lesser extent, all of her babies and animals.

The picture below shows pretty much the first time I remember her pretend playing.  That block you see in the middle there is part of a block puzzle.  One day she just started calling it "chocolate" and pretending to eat it.  Then she started giving it hugs and kisses and, as you can see here, put it down for a nap.  "Night night chocolate," she said.  Since then, various other blocks in the puzzle have received identities.  Theres her pancake block, her ice cream block, her cookie block, her peanut butter block, her "English" block (don't ask, I don't know) and, of course, her "yoyipop" block (from a different set).  She even seems to know which puzzle block is which, and sometimes must have a specific one.  She almost always has at least one block in her hand these days.


She will also often take one of the blocks and put it inside of one of a set of nesting boxes (boxes that fit inside of each other) that we have and pretend it's in a bowl.  Then she'll want to sit on a chair at a table and pretend to eat it.  One day, I was taking a nap while she was playing (yup, I do that) and when I woke up she was carrying a stool over to these green baskets, where she had her box with block inside and she was pretending the stool was her chair and the baskets were a table.


At the desk with various boxes with blocks, feeding Panda.

Dress Up

Harper has also really gotten into dressing up.  I've decided that I really aught to make her a dress up box, because whenever there's any opportunity to dress-up she loves it.

To illustrate my point, here is Harper decked out with a necklace, a bib and one of the baby's pjs on her arm, all requested by her.
And this time she requested bunny ears and a gold necklace.  Pretty good combo IMO.

Unfortunately, she has also learned how to UNdress.
Stuffed Animals

Harper has really started loving her stuffed animals this month.  She's loved Panda for a while now, but this month it has turned into a loved of stuffed animals and baby dolls in general.  Her favorites are Panda, Puppy (sandwiched in the middle below) and Ladybug (the pillow, below, which is actually her cousin's).  She likes to hug them (or, as she says, "hold you"), put them down for naps, pretend to nap with them (below), actually nap with them, "rockabye" them and feed them food blocks (see "pretend play" above) among other things.  She's often carrying multiple ones at once.




Harper's Room

Another big thing this month was putting Harper's room together.  Initially, there was a big bunkbed in her room, which took up most of the space.  It was pretty crowded.  Then, it got even more crowded because we tried to dismantle it and some of the screws were stripped and we kept trying things to get it apart and kept failing.  The room was a disaster zone.  Then, one night we officially gave up on taking it apart and decided to put it back together again and just leave it.  I was pretty sad about it, but was coming to terms with it.  Then, we came home to find it all taken apart and in pieces in the theater room.  And even more amazing, her room was nicely arranged, cleaned up and vacuumed!  Yup, Tom's dad had just randomly thought of a tool that could take out the screws and they went to work on it!  It was honestly one of the best surprised ever!  I was in shock for a while.  How nice is that?  I must say, living with Tom's parents really has been great so far.  I know in-laws get a bad rap, but they're an exception.  After the initial clean up we ended up buying her a bookshelf and a chair, for her table.  Then we rearranged it again and voila!

Wall decorations will, theoretically, come later.
This picture kind of cracks me up because she LOVES her chair and you can see their connection from the very beginning.  I took this pic on the way home from IKEA after buying it:


All the room work ended up being SO worth it.  Harper LOVES her room.  In our old place she almost never played in her room even though there were largely the same items in it.  I think a lot of the reason for that is that it was much smaller and, therefore, cramped.  This one just feels so open and inviting.  To illustrate what I mean, when I got her up from her nap today she wouldn't let me carry her to the living room like I do every day.  She wiggled down and wanted to play in her room instead.  That NEVER happened in the old place.  It has been so nice.  She is finally playing with her toys!!!





Sick Harper

This was another sick Harper month.  Harper has, at the least, had a runny nose nearly every day this month.  Some of the time I think it has been seasonal allergies (like, when the snot is clear and she has no other symptoms), other times it has clearly been sickness.  She had one sickness that was particularly bad.  She had a horrendous runny nose, to the point that the skin around her nose started bleeding and would just bleed more if we tried to clean it and she'd have to have a scabby clump of bloody yuck under her nose all day (yum!), an ear infection, a fever, a bad cough (croup) and was just in a bad mood.  Poor thing.  Poor us.  




It was a rough week or so.  It was so nice once it was over and she got back to her normal, jolly self.  The runny nose was only gone for like 2 days though and has been back every since.  Will I ever have a break from wiping her nose every couple of minutes?  She's super patient about it though, so that's a blessing.

Pregnancy

So, this WILL be the last blog post of this pregnancy.  I am due May 30th and will be induced by June 13th if he doesn't come on his own before then.  I am convinced that's exactly what's going to happen.  Harper was 5 days late when she was induced for preeclampsia and I feel like she wouldn't have come for at least several days on her own.  I had no symptoms of labor before the induction and don't this time either.  I'm just looking at June 13th as my due date.  It's not working that well though, because I'm still feeling super impatient.  At the beginning of the month I didn't want him to come yet because things weren't ready yet.  Now there's almost nothing left on my to-do list and the things that are left aren't that important.  Plus, I'm WAY more uncomfortable now.  I feel like my entire middle section, and then some, hurts.  Trying to sleep....or even walk....is ridiculous.  Plus, the end of pregnancy really messes with my head.  Like, I can't plan the next month AT ALL.  I have no idea whether he'll be here today or in 2+ weeks!  Ahhh!  The good news is that last time I got a lot more patient after my due date passed and I think the same will happen this time.  I think it's because at that point I know that no matter what the baby will come SOON.  Plus, this time that's also about the start of when the weather will start to be more summery, which will help us pass the time.

37 weeks
39 weeks

Blanket

Most of this month I've been too busy for projects.  But, I did do one or two!  A little while ago I bought a square of plain white muslin fabric (same as what they use for Aden and Anais swaddle blankets).  Then, this month I stamped on it using a stamp and some fabric ink that I bought.  If you can't tell, the stamp is of a leaf.  It looks way better in person.  Then, I hemmed the edges and ironed over all the leaves (hadn't done those two things yet when I took this pic).  It turned out great and I'm super excited for the baby to actually COME and use it.  Aye.  Come out already!

The other blanket in the picture is an Aden and Anais blanket.  They are the same size now that I've hemmed the one I made.
Other Random Photos


Took a nap while Harper was playing one day (yup) and noticed she'd been quiet for a while.  Still not sure if she was actually asleep or just playing because Tom came home right after I took the pic and she got up when she heard him.
Every month I can't help but take a few sleeping Harp pics.  She's just so sweet looking when she sleeps:







And then there's her awesome hair:







Having fun eating the cottage cheese all by herself:



And to end of this month's post, here are two really cute videos of Harper.

First, Harper being really cute while eating cottage cheese (again):



And finally, I decided to ask Harper to say a prayer, just to see what she'd do.  Here's her really cute response:



AMEN!!!