Waiting for Laken is a test of patience. We have waited so long for a baby and its hard to believe she is getting so close to joining us! We dream and talk about the day when she will make her grand entrance. It's beginning to feel like we are getting to know her. The other night Chase was talking to her up close (face pressed into my tummy) and Laken kicked him by his eye. He backed up startled "woah" and then said, "Hi, Lakey!" And now you can see Laken moving from the outside. She looks like little waves in the belly, and continues to favor just to the right of my belly button. We wonder what kind of little one she will be and what the future holds for our family. I can't count the amount of times we have looked through her closet and imagined her in all of her tiny things. Sometimes we put them out on her dresser, and just look at them for a couple of days. Laken you are well worth the wait and we are enjoying every moment of this journey with you!


Aunt Dusty Love!

I love my big sister Dusty!!! I just opened a pregnant girl care package from her tonight! She sent me really cute maternity shirts. This is amazing because it is so hard to find trendy maternity clothes that don't make you look like a big baby yourself! They are all really cute and fit awesome! The best part of my package was a load of worlds finest almond chocolate bars!!!!! I could melt them down and swim in them.....yummy! I have always loved them. I remember that in elementary school we were supposed to sell them for a fundraiser for some group......and I ate the whole box and had to confess to Mom and Rod so that I could pay for them!

Laken will be so lucky to have Aunt Dusty! She is amazing with children and is a great mother to my niece and nephew Cher and Zack! Thank you sissy!


Comedy Club with the parents 2 be

This is the parents 2 be group out at a comedy club tonight in Scottsdale. We made great material for the comedians:

"I always pick up women at Babies R Us because at least then I know they put out!"

(Next door there was a prom going on in the venue as we entered), "Hey, when I walked in to the club I saw a group of girls in their prom dresses and beside them a group of pregnant ladies. I call it before and after!"


Class crack-up!!!

Rainy and I attended our first birthing class today! We are probably on the teacher's "bad" list after tonight. Surrounded by 9 other couples, Rainy and I sat quietly awaiting instruction on how to begin our relaxation breathing. After closing our eyes and deep breathing as a couple, the instructor continued to lead the exercise. In....out....in....out. All was fine until she asked us all to clench our buttcheeks and then relax. The chair/bench we had chosen to sit in was quite loud as we both clenched our buttcheeks....squeek....groan....silence. Rainy and I tried to mask our laughter but were unsuccessful. In a room full of 10 couples, one instructor, and soft ocean music playing, Rainy and I uncontrollably tried to stop the laughter. You know that laugh that is contagious but you are trying to hide that usually comes out as rapid breathing through your nose? That was the one....and we both had it. The breathing exercise continued for another 10 minutes longer than we had hoped it would. All the while, we continued to distract the class with bursts of air from our nostrils fighting back tears. The exercise ended with the lights being turned back on, an awkward stare from the instructor and more laughter that was even harder to hide in the light. We are hoping to redeem ourselves next week. Same place, same time.

Sweet email from Grandma Ivy

"Every time I see a little red head in the school, I look a little closer and try to visualize Laken but my heart still goes to that little girl in Kindergarten with that blond scraggly hair and the grungy clothes and the great big smile. Hummmm. It’s such a sweet misery to try to picture that wee little soul you are carrying in that tummy of yours. Who will she be, what will she look like, will she be a mover and shaker, or a candle stick maker? Ahhhh, we can only imagine and dream and long to hold her. So close.

I miss you


Raining cats and dogs in tears!

I just got done watching My Sisters Keeper. Beautiful movie and such a tear jerker. Caution never watch it while you are pregnant. Not only were the tears rolling, but then I actually noticed that I was sobbing! Too funny. I am not a crier. And this weekend the tears trickled during a pretty song at church. And lets be honest here, I forgot to mention that when I was rocking Laken on Monday and she was kicking I started a conversation with her that I was unable to finish (because I had a frog in my throat)! Also my good friend Amanda delivered her beautiful little girl Savonni Garrett and my eyes welled up looking at her pictures. Congratulations Amanda and Christian, she is precious!


22 1/2 week Ramble

Laken is really starting to show! This is me getting ready for work..........thrilled as you can tell. The last two days I've been pretty tired, so I think Laken is using lots of energy lately. My best friend Liz came to visit us over the weekend. We had lots of fun baby shopping and eating out! By the pool Liz got to feel Laken kick. I picked up the necklace in the photo while we were out and about. It is an owl.........that reminds me of Laken. Not that I would ever forget her since she kicks by the hour and is beginning to bump into things;) Her nursery is sort of vintage with birds and owls. My mom reminded me that both of my grandma's (Esther Richardson and Ruth Breen) both collected owls. So her nursery theme is generational!

On Monday I read a few stories to Laken while rocking in the recliner. She was very active and seems to enjoy story time already. When I massaged my tummy while reading, she would nudge right back. It is fun to see and feel her. She seems to prefer hanging out just to the right of my belly button. And sometimes there is a little bulge there, that we can see and feel, and Chase and I are pretty sure it is her back and bottom. Today I went out to lunch with another midwestern wife named Christine and her almost 3 year old son Jay. Christine's husband Dave is in the program with Chase. Christine was explaining to Jay that I am going to have a baby girl. He said he wants to take her down the slide at the park! So cute!

Tomorrow evening we start our prepared child birth and parenting classes at our hospital. We are excited that our hospital is less than a mile away and are anxious to start classes! More pics to come.


Tales from a Preggo's Belly

There is just something about blogging that is very cathartic! Or maybe it's pregnancy brain as Laken is all I seem to think and talk about anymore. Somewhere I read that your brain actually changes in pregnancy and many of the prior connections you had in your brain actually die in order to make room for new pathways related to parenthood. I'm buying this theory! Anyhow this has been a week full of events related to the expanding belly. It started with the beginning of the week when Chase double took my tummy and said, "DDDDDDAAAAAMMMNNN!" I was actually excited because I am so tired of hearing, "You hardly look pregnant, are you eating enough, and you can't be that far along," from random strangers. Just in case anyone does not understand, to a women who is planning every meal and action around her growing baby these are very critical statements! As the belly grows my jeans are starting to irritate the sensitive stretched out skin. So I went out and bought a few maternity items, and they are truly like heaven. In the dressing room, I literally did a little dance because I was so comfortable and my belly was out and free from denim constraints. Unfortunately the gloriousness of maternity wear was short lived. That night I wore a maternity summer dress out to dinner with friends. WARNING: There is something about maternity clothing that makes people want to touch your belly!!!!! Now I do not mind friends touching my stomach, or even people who ask. But it was literally like the flood gates were open and people (who maybe had a few drinks prior) began rubbing and caressing my belly. Now don't get me wrong, they were very sweet. But Laken is not a magic genie, and my stomach is currently the most sensitive "bottle" in the world! Today Chase and I were at the pool, and a women asked me how far along I was! Yeah someone was so sure that I was pregnant that they were willing to ask me about it, instead of just staring with an inquisitive look in their eyes! I think I can get used to this. In a strange way I feel like a historical site on the side of a scenic highway. However, I'm seriously considering a blinging necklace that spells out, "Please do not touch."


21 Weeks!

Here is Laken and I at 21 weeks. My baby belly is really starting to pop now! Grandma Ivy asks for a belly picture on a weekly basis.....this should satisfy her for a little while. Chase and I are definitely nesting at this point. Most of her nursery is either set up or on back order. Today we were at Target looking for a bookshelf for her knick knacks, keepsakes, and board books. I thought it was so precious to listen to all of Dad's comments, "Laken would love to lay on this rug, it's so soft and colorful"......so cute!

I have been extremely lucky in the pregnancy so far and Laken is doing so well that I feel bad complaining. However, a few not-so-pleasant pregnancy symptoms are beginning to emerge. I am starting to get really hot in Phoenix! Today was close to 90 degrees and I am beginning to wonder how I am going to survive through the summer packing extra heat! Bring on the 80's sweat band and personal battery operated fans;) The other night I thought I was that awkward brace faced tween in Jr. High on a growth spurt. I woke up to cramps in my calves and feet. To alleviate the muscle spasms I marched right into the kitchen and downed a banana and a glass of milk. Unfortunately this gave me heart burn, like all foods do now, and I could not go back to sleep! And let's not even go into how hard it is to sleep on your left side all of the time. I often wake up flat on my back and panic that Laken's blood supply is cut off. Luckily she is most active when I am in bed and if I wait a while, she either nudges or rolls, and that reassures me! I'm looking forward to tomorrow when I have another meetup with other mommy's 2 be. Pregnant women are hilarious when they get together....and they make me feel at ease about all of the latest quirks. We are going to Fuddruckers because one of the mom's craves their burgers. She is so cute I have to quote her, " I love the cheese sauce, I put it on the top bun, the bottom bun, and dip it in extra sauce the whole way through!"


Mommy's and Daddy's 2 Be

I recently joined a group of women in the Phoenix area who are all Mommy's 2 Be. All of these couples are expecting their first babies this summer! This is the first meetup that Chase and I have been able to attend. It was so nice to talk about babies with people who are right in the thick of it with us. All of the couples were very nice and we can not wait for more meet ups to come.

Breaking news: This week Laken is the length of a banana! Mommy and Daddy begin Prepared Childbirth and Parenting classes in mid April.

Chase's Big Year

Chase is going to be so embarrassed when he checks this....but he has accomplished a lot this past year and I wanted to recognize that and let him know how proud we all are of him. It all started in May of 2009 when he started in one of the best Nurse Anesthesia programs in the West. Just getting in was an accomplishment in itself. Shortly after starting Chase became the class Vice President. And shortly after became the student representative for the State of Arizona's Nurse Anesthesia board. With all of his responsibilities with school he has managed to keep his grades up (receiving only one "B" which he is very upset about;). This week he was selected to attend the Washington, DC AANA assembly with a scholarship from the Idaho Association of Nurse Anesthetists! He is truly just brilliant in his families eyes, but he is very humble about it all and would never mention it. In addition Chase will turn 30 in May and is expecting his first little girl in August! I think he would tell you this is his biggest accomplishment (becoming a dad)! Classes will be coming to an end for Chase in May. He will spend his first clinical rotation in Flagstaff, AZ before Laken is born. We are crossing our fingers that he will return to a Phoenix hospital for the first 3 months of her life. And then our future is unclear and we are not sure where the next 9 months of clinical rotations will take our little family. One thing is for sure, Laken will be a seasoned traveler by the time she is one and daddy graduates! Congratulations Chase and keep up the good work!


Laken's Full Anatomy Scan

I think Laken looks like Chase already. She has his ears and nose!

Once again Laken is camera shy. She bury's her face into the bottom of the uterus. The ultrasound tech. had to shake my tummy to get her to turn around, and then she covered her face with her tiny hands!

Her little profile (tummy on the left, profile on the right)!

The Dr. says that Laken's anatomy is in perfect working order! She has a full bladder, which means a lot of things: her brain stem is intact because she is able to swallow amniotic fluid, her intestines, liver, and kidneys are working because she is eliminating the fluid. Her heart has four healthy chambers, her spinal chord is intact, and her lungs are practicing breathing fluid already. All of her measurements were right on track for her mid August arrival (including her head for those of you who were skeptical)!!! With the Dr. we have decided not to have the triple screen blood test as both Laken and I are in perfect health. The test would look for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down's syndrome and neural tube defects. Our Dr. is confident that with the clear ultrasound photos that neither one of these disorders will be an issue. And we are confident that we would love her all the same, and do not care to know in advance. We love looking at these new photos. The tech even let us see her in 3D! Unfortunately we have to wait until 28 weeks for the 1/2 an hour 3D video and photos. But we can't wait because the 3D images were so clear, and she looked just like the little baby that she is! Happy growing Laken!