November 28, 2012

our town.

I just found this video, thanks to a very cool guy named Mark Lamoreaux- fellow MPH'er here in Athens, and wanted it to be saved in posterity on our blog (ya know, since this is really our little life diary in electronic form).

I love where we live. I love this little place so much. I will be really, really, really sad to leave when the time comes.

Athens, you rock our socks off.

This has inspired me to make sure that we take advantage of everything we can while we're still here (until Nick finishes the PhD) and to document all of the things Alden gets to experience about this wonderful place we call home so that maybe one day, he'll fall in love with Athens, too :)

much love, L&N

p.s. if this video makes you want to visit us (which it totally should, because Athens has crazy good food, great music and more bars per capita than anywhere else in the country...), come on down! We have a spare room and love to play host :)

29 week update

Wow! 29 weeks already. Everything is going really smoothly lately. I'm feeling great (except for the back aches) and we're getting more and more done in the house to get ready for Alden's arrival. It's starting to feel like we actually might have a handle on the craziness that's about to happen. I know you can never be fully prepared for what having a new baby means but we're trying to make sure that we do everything we can to make sure our home and our lives are as prepared as possible. 

I remember soon after finding out I was pregnant thinking, "Weird, I'm going to be so pregnant for Thanksgiving and Christmas!" and feeling like it was so far away. Well, here we are...Thanksgiving already past and Christmas coming up right around the corner- I can't believe how fast it's gone! 

We have some exciting stuff coming up and I'm going to try and slow down and enjoy all of it :) Nick's birthday is in 6 days, the Athens Christmas parade, our sweet friends are throwing us a baby shower a few days after that, decorating the tree, finishing up the nursery, Nick's family coming into town for Christmas and then New Year's celebrations! After ringing in 2013 we'll only be about a month away from Alden's due date and I'm sure everything will fly by! 

Physically, this pregnancy has been pretty much by the book. I've had typical symptoms and haven't had any weird or worrisome problems up to this point. Our midwife is happy with how we're progressing and we're hoping for an equally unremarkable labor and delivery (apart from the wonder of bringing Alden into the world, of course). I can feel him bouncing around A LOT more now that he's starting to put on some weight and I've gotten to the point where I can't see my feet easily. My weight is still a little under where it should be but we'll get an update at Centering tonight as to whether our midwife is concerned or not. I'm pretty sure he's still growing as expected, I'm just not adding the pounds at the rate they say I should. Who knows, maybe I'll gain 15 pounds in the last 8 weeks or something crazy like that! So far, total weight gain for the pregnancy is sitting around 11 pounds- the "recommended" amount is 25-35 for someone of normal weight but I really don't see myself gaining another 14 pounds in only 10 weeks...well, maybe I just jinxed myself! Both my mom and my maternal grandmother gained about 18-19 pounds total for their pregnancies so I think it's just the way our family grows babies. As long as he's healthy, I'm fine with whatever comes my way :)

Here are the stats:


Foods I'm craving: a lot of breads. and peanut butter. and cheeseburgers. and chocolate. 

Foods I can't stand:  still fighting the changing food moods- things that sound good one second sound horrible the next. it makes meal planning difficult...

Symptoms:  BACK PAIN, Braxton Hicks (especially when I get up too fast or move in a weird way), heartburn (returning after it's 4 month vacation) and generally feeling like a whale. 

Maternity clothes: yep! 

Weddings rings (on/off): on

Favorite thing this week: My parents visiting for Thanksgiving, crafting for the nursery (update soon!), and making our New Year's cards to send to family! 

much love, L&N

November 26, 2012


Our Thanksgiving week was wonderful. We spent time with my parents, who came to Athens for the holiday, and enjoyed the lazy days and gorgeous weather. We were so happy to have them here and even though my brother wasn't able to join them because of work (a bummer but made a little better by a FaceTime phone call on Thanksgiving night), it was a great visit.

carving the bird

the spread

I try very hard to practice being grateful on a daily basis and am always reminding myself to look at my life through the lens of those less fortunate, but a holiday like Thanksgiving deserves some extra moments of thought about the blessings in my life...

My family has always had the tradition of going around the table and saying what we are thankful for before we eat our Thanksgiving meal. I have always loved hearing what my family members are appreciative of and learning what about our lives were most important to them. As the years have passed and we have all gotten older, the things we are thankful for have certainly changed (I'm sure there were times when my brother and I were thankful for toys or silly things) but the core of our gratefulness has always come from the same place- family, health, safety.

Examining the things in your life that deserve gratitude is the easiest and most rewarding way of re-centering priorities and providing some perspective for your daily challenges. After going around the table this year, I felt so full of peace, gratitude and happiness that I had so many things to be thankful for. I highly doubt that any family sits at their Thanksgiving table and expresses thanks for their expensive cars, closets full of designer shoes or their bulging bank accounts (well, who knows...but I'd like to think that this isn't the case :/). The things we find important enough to express public gratitude for at our dinner table are the true expression of what we think is important in our lives and of what we value most.

This is my list:

Nicholas. My soul mate and partner in life. I honestly have no idea what I would do without him.

My family. I am fortunate to have wonderful parents that support us in all that we do, in-laws that   have become a sturdy second branch of my family tree, a brother that has always been more my friend than my sibling, a brother and sister-in-law that are a real delight to have in our lives, a niece who is healthy and growing, grandparents that have always loved me and been interested in my life, an extended family that I look forward to seeing and who can make a simple game of dominos or cards into a laugh-fest worthy of any comedy show.

My son. We already love him so much and are so grateful that he is growing and, as far as we know, healthy. With all of the change and anxiety that comes with having a child, there is so much excitement, hopefulness and happiness that makes it all worth it. We can't wait to meet him.

Our dogs. They make our family whole and make us happy every day. They show us what it means to truly love unconditionally and remind us that sometimes the only thing to do is run around like a crazy person and play :)

Our home. We are incredibly fortunate to be able to own our home at a time in our lives when many people don't have the resources or opportunity to do so. Knowing that we have a roof over our heads and a comforting place to spend our days is the ultimate feeling of security. I hope that everyone knows this feeling at some point in their lives.

My health. I have access to clean water, physicians, emergency medical care and medications that can easily be procured from a store on the corner. Though our health care system needs many improvements, I am grateful that these things are true.

The ability to pay our bills. We are able to provide for ourselves and to have some things that aren't necessities. We are so fortunate.

My education. Many things in my life would not be possible without the educational opportunities that were given to me. I am thankful for the sacrifices my parents made for my education, the sacrifices Nick made for me to go to grad school and for the support I received along the way.

My country. I am a woman who is able to vote and add my voice to the debate about the direction our country moves in, receive higher education, make my own life decisions, follow my own path and create a life with a man of my own choosing who supports me and treats me as an equal. This is not true everywhere and I am grateful for it every day.

My friends. Near or far, old or new, I am blessed to have some wonderful people in my life that provide laughter, support, motivation and inspiration to me on a regular basis. Even if we don't talk very often, I appreciate every one of the people that I can call a friend.

All of the little things. The sunshine, the breeze, the vegetables growing in our garden, a smile from my husband, warm blankets on a cold night, coffee, wine, chocolate, pastries, beautiful memories, good books, learning new things, laughter and everything else that makes me grateful to be alive.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and that you have many things to be thankful for.

much love, L&N

November 20, 2012

Adalynn Grace

Our first niece is one month old today!

Adalynn Grace Wiese
October 20, 2012
1:17 am
7 lbs. 14 oz. 
22 in. long

Nick and I are so excited to be an Uncle and Aunt for the first time and think it's so cool that Adalynn and Alden will be so close to each other in age. I have such wonderful memories of times with my cousins growing up and now Alden will be able to have a lot of those experiences, too. We are just so thrilled that Adalynn is here, healthy and happy with her wonderful Mom & Dad! We can't wait to meet her!!

Now that her Mom & Dad have had a chance to share their news and settle in with their new addition, we wanted to show off our brand new niece! 

Kristoffer and Lea, 

We are so happy for you both and can't wait to watch these little kiddos grow up together! She is absolutely precious and will bring so much joy and love into your home. We will always be just a phone call away, to provide laughter or a shoulder to cry on. We want you both to know how much we love you and how much we are looking forward to navigating parenthood with y'all along the way!

much love, Nick and Laura

a beautiful family!

November 19, 2012

glucose test: passed

Last Thursday I did the dreaded (or, at least, dreaded by me) 28-week glucose test that screens for gestational diabetes. I was really nervous about the results because I really, really, really wanted to pass. Even though I know that developing gestational diabetes is not dependent on diet, weight, or any specific behavior, there was still a part of me that was scared to be diagnosed with it. These fears were even more ridiculous since this test is simply a screening test and about 30-50% of women "fail" this initial screening only to go on and pass the 3-hour diagnostic test with flying colors.

Long story short, I passed! :) I'm happy to know that everything is still progressing healthily and that another of the hurdles has been cleared. Only 11 1/2 weeks left until full-term so cheers to clearing the rest of the hurdles along the way!

much love, L&N

p.s. they also test your iron levels at 28 weeks and mine were normal...this is a slight surprise because I have easily slipped back and forth across the anemic line in the past and when this is the case, pregnancy often brings full-on anemia. I have resisted taking an oral iron supplement because they make me sick and my midwife has been supportive of me using my diet as the primary method of increasing my iron intake. We had been waiting on the 28 week screening to see if our plan was working and I am happy that it is. Also, I would give other mommas-to-be the advice that you don't always HAVE to take every supplement that the books tell you to, sometimes good ole' nature works just as well :)

November 12, 2012

and he will be called...

c/o Alyssa Alig Photography

c/o Alyssa Alig Photography

     I was incredibly excited to begin the process of naming our little one and am so happy to announce his name to the rest of the world! 

I have a fascination with names and family genealogy, especially the patterns and traditions associated with the naming of children, so having the opportunity to name our child was a thrilling prospect. Both Nick and I wanted his name to be meaningful, both in and of itself but also in its origins and history, while at the same time being unique enough that he didn't get lost in the crowd. We are both drawn to more classic names that avoid being too trendy and that grow well into sophisticated adult names. With all of this in mind, we knew we had a big job ahead of us and had started talking about names, admittedly, long before we were pregnant. While we had lists of both girl and boy names, there was really only one name that we ultimately became really attached to. We thought it was fate that it happened to be a boy name and that we were having a little boy (shout out to my friend, Meghan Nichols, who told me that the name we got attached to was a sign of the sex of the baby. You were right, Meghan!)... here is the story of how we named our little man: 

   While I was working at the CDC this past summer, I was assigned a project that required me to sift through very long lists of CDC employees. Since we had just recently found out that we were expecting, picking out a name wasn't at the forefront of my mind. Even though I was focused on other things, I happened upon a name that grabbed my attention and stuck itself in my mind- Alden. I mentioned it to Nick, wrote it on our list of names and let my mind wander away to other things for a few weeks. 

   Later, I was reading a book that had captivated me from page one and that I had quickly fallen in love with, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. On the last page of the book the author reveals the main character's middle name and, lo and behold, there was the name I had found so attractive in CDC's list of employees- Alden. I swore it was a sign and excitedly shared the story with Nick, telling him that I was getting really attached to this name and that maybe he should seriously think about it as an option. He started doing a little research into the name's origins and was pleased to find that the name had English roots (I am of mostly English ancestry), meant a "wise, old friend" and, my favorite "cosmic coincidence", was thought to have evolved from the word Haldane (a middle ages-era English word) which means "half-Danish"(what a wonderful happenstance!). After Nick had found all of this information, it was pretty much decided. 

   All of this felt even more serendipitous when I glanced over at my classmate's name card during our graduation ceremony and his middle name was Alden. I asked him about it and he told me that his mother had loved the name and that he had never met anyone else with the name. Three different experiences with such a rare name in a matter of weeks? Hello, fate! 

We had found a name, or more accurately, a name had found us, that was classic, meaningful, full of history and sophisticated enough for our little guy to grow into with ease. 

It was meant to be :)

  His middle name is a tribute to Nick's grandfather and uncle, who were both named Peter, and with whom Nick felt special bonds. They both lived in Denmark and were wonderful men. I never had the pleasure of meeting Far Far Wiese (Grandfather Wiese in Danish) but he served as Permanent Undersecretary of State to the Prime Minister and was a well-liked and much-loved man, both personally and professionally. I am fortunate enough to have met Uncle Peter and to have spent time with him on our trip to Copenhagen in 2008. He was quick witted, very funny and worked as a psychologist in the city. Nick always felt very connected to his Uncle Peter and was very sad to lose him, especially since Peter was so young and full of life when he passed in 2009. 

  It will be wonderful to have a reminder of these men in our son's name and to have a connection to his Danish roots through his namesakes. 

We hope that Alden loves his name, and the meaning behind it, as much as we do. 

much love, L&N

p.s. more maternity photos to come!

November 10, 2012

27 weeks!

*a couple of things I would like you to ignore in the photo above: the fact that you can see the tag and my maternity tummy-panel jeans through the shirt & that my shirt is stretched pretty tight across the girls...didn't think to readjust before the photo : / 

It is amazing to me how fast a pregnancy flies by! At the beginning, you're all like, "Don't freak out, we have SO much time to get ready!" and by now it's turned into, "Crap, why don't we have more done?" and, "Wow, I can't believe how big I am. How can I possibly get bigger?" I joked with Nick yesterday that I wish a pregnancy could still last for 9 months but that you only had to get as big as I am now. haha! I feel gigantic and now I can physically feel the weight of my belly when I walk around, which is weird. I just keep reminding myself that bigger is better and that as long as I'm getting bigger, it means that he's getting stronger also. 

This past week I started having Braxton Hicks contractions for the first time and have had at least 3 per day ever since. They are very odd and they make me a little nervous, but I'm starting to get used to them and hopefully they won't be bothersome for much longer. Since they aren't painful they don't really prevent you from doing anything you would normally do, they just feel weird- kinda like someone replaced your baby with a rock for a minute (because your belly gets really hard during them and you all of a sudden feel pressure that you don't normally feel). I have been having some back pain that has been more intense than the typical end of the day achiness, mostly at night, but a lot of women start having back pain much earlier than this so I feel pretty lucky that I didn't seem to notice it until lately. 

It really is amazing to feel your body changing as your pregnancy progresses, such a reminder that our bodies are incredible machines with mind-boggling innate abilities. I mean, I'm growing. a. person. Still completely amazes me. 

and here are the stats...


Foods I'm craving: again, SANDWICHES. Cold, not heated in the microwave, listeria-coated, meat-filled sandwiches. First meal post-listeria concerns, definitely a giant sandwich. 

Foods I can't stand:  I seem to be up for pretty much anything but I have noticed that what sounds good changes pretty quickly. If strawberries sound like manna from heaven one day, there's a good chance they'll sound disgusting the next day. 

Symptoms:  my skin is still crazy-town, my stomach gets full really fast so I have to eat less and more often, Braxton Hicks and super stuffy sinuses and ears

Maternity clothes: yep! 

Weddings rings (on/off): on

Favorite thing this week: Getting the fabric and new lamps for the nursery! I can't wait to get that room done-zo! 

much love, L&N

November 9, 2012

i love lamp!

Just a quick update to share a few things we've bought for the nursery!

I knew that I wanted to find a table lamp for the dresser and a smaller lamp to put on the side table that we'll put next to our rocking chair. I wanted to create a little "breastfeeding station" for us so we're going to set up the rocking chair next to a side table with a small lamp and enough room for my Kindle and a glass of water. I'm hoping that it will create a calm corner for me to feed him and to pump when I need to.

We had been on the hunt for lamps for a while and finally got lucky! We got both the table lamp for the dresser and the smaller lamp for the side table at HomeGoods a couple days ago- and we got both for $60!

Here's the table lamp that we'll put on the dresser. I'm plotting what to do with the shade since this one is white and has some scuffs and dirty spots on it (got us a discount on it, though!). I think we'll try to use the shade as a way to bring in a bright, bold pop of color, especially since it's such a small piece of the room and won't be overwhelming.

bad lighting, but you can see the whole lamp

I love the geometric inspired shape with the glossy gray paint!

Now, this guy I'm in love with! It's the perfect little side table lamp, with such a great texture, color and shape. It feels masculine without being all metal and black and I love how it's made of a natural material, which helps to balance the metal accents that we're using in the room. 


so excited to get this room done and set up :)
Here's my favorite thing about the lamps...they look AWESOME together! The woven lamp has gray undertones that are brought out when you put the lamps next to each other- so I think they'll look great with the gray-washed furniture. 

match made in heaven

Also, the fabric that we fell in love with a while back is finally here! I had quite the challenge trying to find this fabric and I think I may actually have the last two yards in existence in the U.S. And no, I'm not exaggerating ;) 

it's perfect!


This fabric is made by Kokka Japan and is designed by Nancy Wolff, a graphic design artist based in New York. I love her designs because they are bold and interesting but also feel very organic and artistic. This fabric is called Elephants Blue and is part of a collection of her designs that feature circus-inspired scenes. I found the fabric on Fabricworm, the ONLY online retailer in the U.S. that still had any in stock, but was sad to find that they only had 1 yard left :( I continued searching and eventually found a couple retailers based in Japan that sold and shipped products to the U.S. So, Nick and I went on a let's-figure-out-how-to-order-stuff-from-Japan adventure and spent hours one night translating websites, converting currencies and reading about Customs and Trade regulations for importing fabric. Long story short, the fabric itself was going to be slightly cheaper but the shipping and potential customs charges for getting it into the country were going to make the total cost about twice what we would have had to pay Fabricworm. I was crushed (please note, I am completely aware of how ridiculous it is to get so attached to a fabric. #firstworldproblems). We started shopping around again, looking for another fabric to replace this one but that would have the same vibe and color family. After spending more hours trying to talk ourselves into liking another fabric enough to buy it, I accepted the fact that I was only going to settle for my Elephants Blue :) I contacted the customer service people at Fabricworm and basically begged them to special order some extra fabric or point me in the direction of someone who could sell me some (starting to sound a little like a drug deal, huh? haha!). After a few days, Fabricworm contacted me to let me know that they had found an extra yard of the fabric and now had the 2 yards that I needed!! They held the fabric for me so that no one else could buy it and it's finally in our house, ready to be cut and sewn into cute things for the nursery. So, so thankful for the extra time and attention Fabricworm gave to us and am so excited that we will be able to create the space we've been envisioning for baby boy! :) 

Now, I'm going to go read about maternal and child health research, politics and the struggles of restructuring our health care systems to counteract the fact that I just whined for a whole paragraph about not being able to get the fabric that I wanted ;) Gotta keep some perspective, people! 

much love, L&N

Centering Pregnancy

First of all, our midwife practice is amazing. Second, they offer a unique group option for prenatal care called Centering Pregnancy. (Click here for more information on the concept and practice model)

Each couple gets assigned to a Centering group according to their due date (so that everyone in the group is at similar stages of their pregnancy) and begins meeting with this group every two weeks after the 20th week of pregnancy. There are a total of 10 meetings and most groups have between 6 and 8 couples. We've been to three of our Centering group meetings so far and we are really loving it!

Our group has 5 couples, most of them are close to our age and we're all due sometime in February. Nick & I are actually the first due date in the group so we joke that we're the guinea pigs for everyone else- haha! We all bring snacks to each meeting and it's becoming a fun, social way to get the care we need.

The experience has been wonderful so far. Having an opportunity to talk with other couples about concerns, fears, and experiences really does help the learning process and preparation for our own baby. Our group meets with the same midwife every time and our midwife, Susan, is amazing. She is the director of the midwifery practice and has decades of experience. She is supportive, calming and passionate about what she does, which I  really appreciate. We really enjoy the focus that Centering places on individually-driven health care and the importance that is made of providing us with the tools and education to make the best health care decisions for our family. Every couple is given a binder that has educational materials, worksheets and tracking tools so that we can be involved in our prenatal care- Susan even taught all the Dads how to measure the uterus to track the baby's growth and how to use the doppler to hear the baby's heartbeat. Now, at every appointment, Nick gets to do all of my prenatal measurements (blood pressure, weight, fundal height and heartbeat measurement) which is really cool. I think it's great that he gets to be more involved than he would be in a typical prenatal care environment.

I would definitely recommend this model of care to anyone who is expecting and has the opportunity to be involved with a Centering group. It makes a huge difference, especially for the Dads who can sometimes get pushed to the side in a typical prenatal care environment, and is really a wonderful way to create a social support network while learning about our pregnancies.

much love, L&N

November 6, 2012


It's Election Day! Today is like the Super Bowl in our house and we're so excited to hang out all night watching the returns :) Nerd alert!


But remember: 

So here's the thing: I am a passionately political person with strong convictions about the direction of our country. But so are a lot of people, and we don't all agree. That's the FANTASTIC thing about this country. We get to talk, openly, about what we believe. We get to VOTE based on our opinions and convictions. We get to disagree, openly, about the decisions our political entities make. THIS 
IS WHAT MAKES AMERICA (and others) SPECIAL! I'm not going to tell you who I think you should vote for because, to be honest, those of us that already know who we're voting for aren't going to change our minds and those of us that don't know who to vote for should be figuring it out for themselves, but I will tell you this: No matter what happens tomorrow, 10 days from now or 15 years from now in the political sphere- remember that just because someone doesn't agree with you DOES NOT make them stupid or unworthy of respect. It makes them different. And even though we don't teach it the way we should, DIFFERENT ISN'T BAD! It's what makes this place we call home so incredibly amazing. -(copied from my Facebook status of Nov. 5, 2012) 

much love, L&N

some electronic thank you's

We have a couple posts in the works on the 26 week belly and other updates but I wanted to take a few minutes to send out some virtual "Thank You's" to some people who have sent us some wonderful gifts!

The baby gear is definitely increasing and the more stuff we get, the more excited we get for him to be here and use it all :)

First, here's a shot of some of the great things that my Mom & Dad have sent our way over the last few weeks.

Our first batch of cloth diapers!, an adorable gator bib and some toys and accessories
We were so excited to get our first set of cloth diapers (we're using the Elemental All-in-Ones by Bum Genius) in orange for Halloween! Also, the pillow will look so cute in the rocking chair where I'm sure we'll be spending a lot of time :) Thank you, Mom & Dad! We are so appreciative of all you do for us and for the little one! 

Here's a photo of the contents of a wonderful box that was sent to us by a life-long family friend, referred to as Aunt Kiki by my brother and I. 

such necessary stuff!
I was pretty excited to get this box full of goodies, especially since I've been freaking out lately about not having "the essentials". This is all stuff that we definitely needed and kept forgetting about! Thanks again, Kiki! We really appreciate it :)

This wasn't gifted but we got such a great deal that I wanted to brag a little ;) It's a Medela Pump-in-Style breast pump with the Metro bag and removable pump, plus some accessories like bottles, storage bags, and a cooler. We knew we needed to get a breast pump before the baby was here because we're hoping to go breast milk only. We had been stalking Craigslist for weeks to find a good one and we were so thankful to find a woman who was willing to cooperate with us from a distance (she was in Atlanta). I know, a lot of people think buying things like breast pumps used is gross and unsanitary but everything that has touched milk or breasts can be sterilized and/or replaced with new parts from Medela. Also, there are so many women who buy pumps and then either can't or choose not to breastfeed which leaves them stuck with a very expensive and practically new pump. We figured there was no reason to spend almost $400 on something that we could get for less than half of retail, especially since the one we found is less than a year old and was only used for a couple of weeks. We snagged all of this (which includes more than a brand new pump would) for $125! Bargain baby shoppers, unite! :)

This next photo is a virtual thank you for Vicki & Jes, who have sent us so many cute outfits over the last couple of months! We love all of them and are so excited to finally get to see him in all of these adorable get-ups in just a couple months :) Thank you!! 

This last photo is actually to commemorate the first clothing purchase that Nick & I made for little man :) We hadn't bought any clothes before we knew his gender so after we found out, we went and bought him his first outfits from Mommy & Daddy. So sweet!

This last photo is a belated shout-out to my cousin, Anna who made (yes, made! so crafty!) us this adorable elephant :) We're thinking of adding his name to it and using it as a door hanger for the nursery but we were so happy to have one of our first pieces of decor. It made it even better that it was handmade by one of his amazing family members! Thanks again, Anna! (Also, Anna has two wonderful blogs of her own, Pura Vida and Kindergarten Khronicles. Check them out!)

Keep watching for our 26 week update this week and the name reveal (for those who don't already know) in a week or so!

much love, L&N