Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Letters to Gavin: 6 Months

Dear Gavin,

My sweet little boy. Time is going by so fast. It seems like I blinked and here you are already 6 months old.

Rolled into a cute little ball of chunk!

You are such a happy little guy. You're generally a very smiley baby and only get upset when you're hungry or tired. You love to look at everything around you and watch what's going on. You especially love to watch your big sister hop around and do generally crazy things. You get the biggest smile on your face when she's around. And she generally likes you too, except when you grab her hair. You LOVE hair and are constantly grabbing any hair you can get your hands on.

You are growing so fast. At your 6 month checkup you weighed 16 pounds and are 27 1/2" long. You are rolling around like crazy these days and are constantly kicking your little chubby legs. I put you in your baby tent out on the deck the other day and ran inside to grab something. When I looked out the window to check on you I found you'd rolled right out of it! Oops! Guess your days of sleeping on the bed by yourself are over.

Tying flies with Daddy
Speaking of which, you've never slept very well in your own bed. You always had to sleep right there in the bed next to me. Recently we moved your crib into the bedroom and I've slowly started trying to get you used to sleeping in it. You actually fell asleep in there all by yourself last night with no crying and I was shocked! Granted you only slept for a couple hours but it was a huge milestone. I'm hoping you continue to improve so I can kick you out of our bed for good! I think we'll both sleep better.

Hanging out with Mommy
Gavin we are so happy to have you in our family. Every time I walk into the room when you're there I feel such a light happy joy in my heart. I love you so much it hurts. You're my amazing handsome little boy and I love you more than you can imagine.

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Letters to Sylvie: 3 Years!

Dear Sylvie,

All of a sudden you've become my "big" girl. Three! Holy crap. More and more I look at you and realize you're actually growing up. And becoming your own person. It's wonderful and awful all at the same time.

Your biggest accomplishment lately is you're now potty trained! Woohoo! I decided you were going to be trained by the time you were 3 so we put our noses to the grindstone and got to work. Luckily this time you were ready and within a week or so you were going by yourself. You've only had a couple accidents and generally do very well at going when you need to. It's the cutest thing ever to hear you sing your Daniel Tiger potty song and rush off to the potty, during which time you'll read your books. I believe "adorable" is the word for it.

"Painting" out on the deck.

A fast and furious group of drawings you did one morning. (They're all people... Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, etc.)
Speaking of singing... you now sing! I've been waiting for this for a long time! We never could get you to sing and then all of a sudden you decided you wanted to. You sing all the time now. You sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," "Itsy Bitsy Spider," the "Clean Up" and "Potty" songs from Daniel Tiger, "Oh What Do You Do in the Summertime," and you also busted out a perfect rendition of the "ABC" song the other day. I love to hear you sing even though it looks like you've probably inherited your mother's vocal ability.

You also have the amazing ability to memorize things quickly. You have a book of about 20 nursery rhymes and you know just about every one of them. You also know many of your other books by heart and will sit and "read" them on a regular basis. You also love music and dancing. Your dancing is mostly twirling, jumping, and running around but you always look like you're having a great time!

One of your favorite things to do is tie flies with Daddy. You do everything by yourself now except putting a new hook in the vise and starting the thread. You come up with the most creative, awesome flies. You know all the correct names for the fly tying materials and love to cut deer hair and make your own dubbing. You also have a huge stash of foam you cut up and tie onto your flies as well. I'm guessing you'll pass up your Dad by next year.

Me: What are you up to Sylvie? Sylvie: Just hanging out. Tying my deer hair.

You love to go out and explore the world. We got a few passes to museums and such in the area just because you love them so much. We frequently visit the Hill Air Force Museum (the "airplane museum"), the Union Station Train Museum, and the Treehouse Museum (your favorite). We also go to the Ogden Dinosaur Museum on occasion but not very often because you think it's scary. Your favorite part is feeding the giant trout out in the pond.

At the train museum

Hanging out with cousin Lily at the Treehouse

Perfecting your Lincoln Log house at the Treehouse

A rare trip to the aquarium!

You love the airplane museum and point to it every time we drive by. Here you're wearing your new airplane shirt. You always say how you are going to fly the planes when you get bigger. 

Sylvie you are just about the best big sister anyone could ever wish for. Gavin loves you and you love him. You are so gentle and kind– always giving him kisses and hugs, handing him toys, and talking to him. You always say what a good big sister you are and we always agree. You can't wait until he's big enough to sleep in your room with you and play with. You are very helpful and will usually throw his diapers away if asked or fetch a toy or his "chupie" if he needs it.

Here are just a few more random things about you:

Coloring & Painting
Planes & Trains
Swimming in your little pool
Playing catch
Goldfish crackers
Going to McDonald's (the "yellow place") for "fries and juice and toys"
Your family, Grandparents, cousins, etc.
Vegetables & Fruit
Watching your "shows" (Daniel Tiger, Tumble Leaf, Blues Clues, Larry Show (Veggietales))

Getting your hair combed
Going potty on command (i.e. before we leave the house. You like to go when YOU decide.)
Trying new food
Meat except ham
You weren't too sure what was going on when we started singing "Happy Birthday." You had the funniest look on your face!

Daddy helping you blow out the candles

 Sylvie we sure love you to pieces. You are the sweetest, funniest little girl and you're just so much fun to be around. You're our happy little chatterbox and we're so glad we have you! Happy Birthday!

Love, Mommy

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Letters to Gavin: 3 Months

Dear Gavin,

It's already been 3 months since you arrived and you're already so integrated into our family. Our little unit of four feels much more complete with you here.

Only a couple weeks old

With your Great Grandma Warnes

You're still so little you mostly just eat, sleep, and poop. You look like a boy version of your sister and have the same sweet disposition she did at this age. You aren't a super snugly baby and generally don't like to lay on my chest to sleep. You'll fall asleep in my arms while I feed you and sometimes you'll let me hold you that way when you're not eating, but mostly you like to be down in your swing or laying down wiggling. I tried to get you to sleep in the bassinet next to the bed at night, but you would just sit there and fuss until I pulled you into bed next to me. Sylvie must have told you that trick because she did it too. But, at least we all get a lot of sleep that way. You generally only get me up a couple of times a night to eat and then usually it's right back to sleep.

What I wake up to in the morning. Such a sweetie pie!

Hanging with Auntie Rachel

Soaking up the sunshine at the park

Bathtime... you seem to enjoy it!

I am very grateful for the fact that your tummy seems to be much easier going than your sister's was. I haven't found any foods that upset you and you've never had nightly crying fits from gas. You're generally very happy and just go with the flow of things. Really the only times you've gotten mad are after your 2 month shots and in the morning when I give you a lotion massage. The shots I can understand, but you're crazy not to like a daily massage. People pay good money for that you know!

Since about the 2 month mark you've been smiling quite a lot. You even have a little squeal when you get really happy. I love your smile. It just makes me want to kiss your little chubby cheekies! You have recently started to get a bit more control over your hands and can bring them up to your mouth to suck on them. Though sometimes when you're a wound up you have trouble controlling them and like to claw your face off. I swear I have to cut your baby fingernails at least once a week to keep you from injuring yourself!
Enjoying story time in your sister's bed.

My happy little clam

Gavin I can't tell you how happy we are to have such a beautiful little boy. You melt hearts everywhere you go. You're my cute little chunka baby and I love you so much!

Love, Mama

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Letters to Sylvie: April 2015

Dear Sylvie,

I'm a bit behind with your letters, but for good reason. Since the last time I wrote, you became a big sister!

Let me tell you, you're a great big sister. The day that you came to meet baby Gavin in the hospital, you immediately called him YOUR baby. You are always giving him kisses on the head or tickling him or turning on the toys for him. You never get jealous of Mommy or Daddy holding the baby and you're always very gentle with him. You have taken a new-found interest in all your old baby toys though and don't always like to let the baby have his turn first.

Before Gavin arrived, just after Christmas, you started sleeping in your new big girl bed. Aunt Annie gave us a toddler bed that Daddy painted white for you. You have done remarkably well at sleeping in your bed and have only fallen out twice so far (you were sleeping the wrong way on the bed). We did have to get you a little nightlight alarm clock to help you know when it was okay to get up because you kept waking up Mommy and Daddy too early in the morning. You get very excited and come into our room in the morning holding your alarm clock, "It turned green!" You love your new bed and you're excited for baby Gavin to share a room with you when he gets a little bigger.

Loving your new tea set and making tea for your animals.

Going along with the bedtime thing, your new favorite phrase is "one more." Whether it's one more book, song, or snack. But "one more" is never ONE more. We've learned to cut you off at just a couple otherwise you'd go all night long with your one more.

Tying flies with Daddy at the Wasatch Fly Tying Expo
You've really grown up a lot in the last few months. I can't count the number of words you know anymore. It seems we tell you the name of something one time and you forever remember it after that. You can also count to 10 no problem and know all the letters in the alphabet and can usually name something that starts with the letter. Though you don't know the ABCs and won't even try singing it or any other song. You like to twirl and jump which is your version of dancing and anytime you fall down you say, "I'm okay!" and get back up. Over the last month or so you've become more affectionate and like to say "I love you Mommy," and give me a hug while patting me on the back. You're also very curious and you are always asking, "Where did that come from?" which I think you really  mean "what's that."

Riding the carousel at the zoo.

You've also got the best memory ever. I swear something will happen and for months afterwards you'll bring it up, usually out of the blue. For instance, one time I was putting a tablecloth on the table and bumped the chandelier above the table. This was probably 4 months ago at least. You still bring it up as if it just happened, "Mommy bumped the light!" after which you'll laugh like I just did it. Another time Daddy got mad at you for doing something and for weeks afterward you would say, "Daddy's a little bit mean!" Never mind that it was YOU who was being naughty.

You love to help me dust and always get upset when there's nothing else to clean!
You are definitely getting more of a mind of your own lately. You have a hard time nicely saying "no" to something and usually growl it. You also have a bad habit of telling Mommy no when I ask you to do something or you'll just run the other way and do the opposite of what I've told you. You definitely know how to push my buttons. We've also been trying to get you to be more adventurous in what you'll eat but it's not an easy task. You'll whine and cry and throw a big fit about having to try ONE BITE of something I've made for dinner. I keep telling you I wouldn't make you eat yucky food but it still hasn't registered yet. You are getting a bit better though. Last night you even took several bites of salad! *GASP!*

Coloring Easter eggs... which you later kept hiding and finding yourself!
You are currently OBSESSED with going to the playground. We usually take a walk to one of three playgrounds by our house on a daily basis. Sometimes twice. You no longer run away from other children and ask to go home when they come around. You frequently run and play with the other kids and you climb and go down slides like nobody's business. The other day I took you to an indoor playground thing that had a bunch of guns that the kids were using to shoot foam balls at each other. You were too short to use the guns so you were running around gathering up balls to hand to the big kids to use. You also took a liking to a little boy about your age and handed him balls to throw at you. You'd hand him the balls then run away squealing. It was super cute.

Our first trip to the park without Daddy to help!

Recently I went through a bunch of your old baby clothes to give away. It's such a bittersweet thing to see you grow up. I remember all the good time we had when you were wearing those clothes and how little you were. All the milestones you hit while wearing this or that and it gets me choked up. But then I see you and how energetic and beautiful and amazing you are now and I get all teary again thinking how lucky I am. I'm staying at home full time now to be your Mommy and although we get on each other's nerves sometimes, I really love that I get to see so much more of you and experience more of things you do. I can't imagine a better daughter.

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I love you Huggie Bug!

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

He's Here!

I really wanted to make sure I wrote about Gavin's birth story before I forgot. Which is bound to happen sooner than later these days. My brain just isn't what it used to be.

I guess maybe I'll start from a couple weeks prior to the big day. We'd all gone as a family to my 34 week ultrasound. I was hoping to get a good look at baby's face as we hadn't really gotten one yet. While we didn't get to see his face very well, the ultrasound did show my cervix was shortened... enough so that they had us come back a couple hours later to see my doctor. I was shocked when he immediately put me on bed rest. Here I was with 6 weeks left and I was supposed to stay in bed more or less for the remaining duration of my pregnancy. I wasn't ready for it.

My next steps involved calling my boss to give him a heads up. This was Friday afternoon and I promised I'd be in for a couple hours on Monday to meet with him to transfer all my projects. After the longest weekend in history, that's what I did. I'd planned this official send off and a last lunch with all my work friends and what it turned out to be was a couple minutes of "I'm leaving and this is my last day. See ya later." Not quite what I would have liked, but it was better than the alternative of a baby that was 6 weeks early.

So there I was each night with my mom and sister Annie coming over to help with Sylvie and make dinners while I sheepishly lounged on the couch. There's nothing more humbling that being forced to accept help, especially when you feel just fine. They were truly lifesavers during that time. I will be forever grateful for the extra hours they put in for the benefit of me and my family.

Seth's parents were in town on Valentine's Day weekend and stayed over at our house. Seth and his dad planned to go out fishing on Valentine's Day and left with all their gear in the late morning to hit up the local river. I'd been having steady contractions all night and into the morning, but nothing regular or increasing in intensity. Just after they left I noticed I was bleeding a bit. I called the on-call midwife who told me to go get checked out at the doctor. So, I called Seth and had him come home. Poor guys didn't even get a chance to get their lines wet.

We went in to Labor and Delivery where they checked me out. I hadn't dilated at all and of course my contractions had all but stopped. They gave me some antibiotics in case the bleeding was a UTI and sent me home.

Fast forward to early morning on February 16th. I'd had steady contractions since about midnight... getting closer and closer together and strong enough that I couldn't sleep. About 4 o'clock in the morning I called my dad and told him it was time. My mom was out of town in Arizona visiting my sister so he got passed the torch of coming up to take care of Sylvie. Of course this was still 4 weeks away from my due date so none of us thought baby would come while Mom was gone. Little did we know. Dad got to the house an hour or so later to take care of Sylvie and Seth and I headed to the hospital.

We got to the hospital just before 6am and got all checked in. I was happy to hear that I was dilated to 4 cm. Things steadily progressed from there. I wasn't sure yet if I was in for another c-section or if I'd be able to do a VBAC. Both options freaked me out so I just decided to go with whatever happened. I got an epidural and was happy to find that I wasn't completely numb as I'd been with Sylvie.

A couple hours went by and I was progressing steadily. I got to about an 8 or 9cm when I tapered off so they decided to push me over the edge with a little Pitocin. Everything was going smoothly so I'd guess around 12:30 pm or so they let me start pushing. I think by this time the epidural was wearing off again so there wasn't much in the way of relief.

Let me tell you, a vaginal delivery is not for the shy or weak of heart. It takes hard work, 2 people holding your legs, a room full of people staring at your junk, and a lot of pushing to get that baby out. They told me to push during each contraction which wouldn't have been so bad if they'd been farther apart. After each bout of pushing everyone would tell me how good I was doing and how the baby was almost there and I just kept thinking what a bunch of liars they all were. And then after about 10 seconds break I'd have to do it all over again. You get to a point half way through where you're so exhausted and just want to quit but you know you can't and you have to keep going even though there's no resting and to you it feels like nothing is changing.

Finally that baby did come out. It was the most relieved I've ever felt. I'd only had to push a few times but it felt like forever. I was super exhausted and cold and shivering and just wanted to be done. But then comes the delivery of the placenta and lucky me... stitching up a 3rd degree tear. Which all still hurt like hell. After all was said and done I was too weak and tired to hold my new baby... and that was okay with me. They weighed him and cleaned him up and ran all the tests and brought him back to me. It was finally over and I had a new healthy baby. Gavin James Hanson, 7 lbs. 3 oz., 20 inches long born at 1:01pm on President's Day 2015. Hardest, most rewarding day of my life. It was amazing how different his birth was compared to Sylvie's. But two completely different experiences led to two beautiful, healthy babies and that is all I've ever wanted.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Letters to Sylvie: December 2014

Dear Sylvie,

These last couple of months have been quite the wild ride. You've grown up so much it's almost hard to believe. I thought this time I'd just tell you about a few of the things you say and do that make me laugh and on the flip side, make me want to tear my hair out.

You are getting to be quite a chatterbox. You are progressively speaking more in sentences than in one or two word phrases. You have to know where everybody is at all times and what they're doing, especially when you first wake up. Usually the first words out of your mouth are:

"Where Mama/Daddy go?"  or "Mama/Daddy go work in black car?"

Wearing Daddy's head and wrist bands for his Halloween costume. It looked like you were ready to kick some butt at dodge ball!
You also constantly ask what we're doing and want to participate. I'm sure this is why you're so interested in tying flies as Daddy is always sitting at his fly tying bench. He set you up with your own little vice and giant hook to tie on and you're actually getting really good. You love to sit there and tie your own fly and dictate what you're doing – "wrap it, wrap it..." It's the cutest thing ever.

You have several things that you really love. One of them is your "Big Bear". He goes with you EVERYWHERE. He's constantly tucked under your arm, occasionally wearing one of your shirts, and is frequently squeezed with such vehemence as to emit a grunt out of you. You love him so much.
We finally turned your car seat to face forward and you LOVE it!
A rare day on which you let me do your hair.

I cannot believe how much you pick up on. We have to be careful not to give you too much leeway with things or you will exploit the hell out of whatever we do. For instance, if you happen upon something that has bought you more time before taking a nap, you'll invoke it each time before we put you to bed. You will always say you're hungry or want a "pouch" (fruit pouch you get for snacks). There are some times where I think you might be legitimately hungry and the mother in me just can't bear to put you to bed without a snack, just in case. Other times I know you're so full you're about ready to pop and I call your bluff. One time Daddy put you to bed and you played around for a quite a while so he figured you weren't quite tired enough yet. So, he took you downstairs to watch football (you call it "fatball") for a while. So, now you frequently ask if you can "Watch fatball with Daddy?" when he puts you down for a nap. Very clever. You already know so many of our weak spots.

You LOVE to paint!
While you are generally very well behaved, you have begun the tantrum stage. Usually the tantrums come and go. You'll be an angel for a week or two and then have a few days in a row where I could swear your soul has been replaced with one of the Devil's imps. You'll be just fine one minute and then BAM something (sometimes we have no idea what) will set you off into a blind fury of screaming and crying and general irrationality. No amount of calm reasoning or threats will dissuade you in the slightest and I think "WHERE HAS MY SWEET LITTLE GIRL GONE?"

For instance, one day you wanted some grapes I was cutting up. So I thought I'd be nice and cut up a few and put them in a bowl for you. BUT NO. This would not do. You had to have TWO grapes in your hand right that moment and would not calm down until I removed them from the bowl and handed them to you. Of course 2 minutes later you came back looking for more grapes and I handed you the bowl full of grapes you'd previously shunned without incident. There is no knowing what is happening in that little mind of yours.

You wanted me to take your picture with Big Bear in your hood and asked me when you saw it why I was in the picture. Turns out you're 15, not 2 1/2 like I thought.
You are all about playing outside. It's the first thing you want to do every morning when you get up. This is getting a little harder to do as it gets cold and dark outside, but you still enjoy it just as much as you did during the warmer months. We got you a pair of rain boots and a full-body slicker for our trip to Oregon in a month and you especially love your boots. You want to wear them ALL THE TIME.

One of your common phrases is, "Oh yeah, I do!" This doesn't always make complete sense as you will use it for questions such as "Did you eat all your breakfast today?" or "Did Daddy take you to the park?" Daddy and I have taken to using this phrase as well. It'll be a wonder if you are ever able to determine correct speech patterns.

A rare occasion on which you let me try something new with your hair. 
Just a short incident that happened one weekend – Daddy and I were sitting in your room with you and you were scuttling about playing with toys or whatnot. At one point you decided to leave the room for some purpose and as you opened the door to leave you said, "Don't worry, I'll be right back." Daddy and I just looked at each other and laughed in wonder at your grown-up sounding sentence. You really do listen to everything we say.
You LOVE to go get donuts and watch them being made.
 This year you are really loving the Christmas season. You LOVE Christmas lights and point them out wherever we go. We put our Christmas tree up just before Thanksgiving and it is your favorite thing. You call it your "Trismas Tree" and ask every morning if Christmas is still here. We also got a little nativity set for you to play with which you took to immediately. Not too long after it was out of the package, you sent "Baby Zeesus" on a bus ride to the park with the Angel. I have a feeling you are going to be very upset when we have to put Christmas away in another month.

Helping Daddy put the star on the Christmas tree.

Baby Jesus on a bus to the park.
As far as physical milestones go, you are very good at opening and closing doors. You also frequently lock doors, but have figured out with a small amount of coaching how to open them. You love to jump off of things and practice running as fast as you can. You are getting really good at going up and down stairs standing up, though we still try to hold your hand as you aren't super reliable yet. You're very good at drinking out of a regular cup and eating with a fork or spoon. Half of the time I forget to put a bib on you because you're such a clean eater. We have not tried potty training again yet, but I think we're going to try again after Christmas to see if you're ready. You love to flush the potty and you're getting much better at pulling down your pants/removing your clothing.

Here are just a few of your random likes/dislikes:


Movies (esp. Annie, Despicable Me ("Me"), Finding Nemo, and Toy Story)
Sugary Cereal (esp. Trix ("Balls" and Fruit Loops)
Candy (esp. suckers)
Rain Boots
Your pink phone (Mommy's old smartphone that you play songs on)
Wearing multiple shirts
Scrambled Eggs (usually)
Licking the beaters
Helping mama cook/bake
Tying flies
Coloring & Painting
Pizza crust (you eat that end first when we get pizza)
Opening & Closing Doors
Jumping/playing on beds
Green yogurt (lime flavor)
Soda & Juice
Taking your vitamin ("man")
Eating your pizza crust-first.

Meat (you'll rarely eat it)
Potatoes (unless they're fries)
Getting your teeth or hair brushed
Putting on pants
Getting your diaper changed
Trying new foods

Turns out it was hard for me to think of things you don't like. You're generally so easy going and love to play and explore new things. It's a rare occasion you're sad or grumpy for any length of time. You're so fun and full of life and your Daddy and I just love watching you grow and experience things. We enjoy you more and more each day and are so happy to have you in our lives. You're our little ray of sunshine.

I love you Huggie Buggie!

Love, Mama