January 24, 2013


Two weeks ago, on the 9th, we had a crazy night. Our kitchen faucet had broken that morning so we were headed out the door to Lowe's to grab a new one and to go by Trader Joe's for some dinner. As I was walking down the brick stairs we have outside our front door, I caught my heel and fell belly-first onto the walkway. I caught myself on my hands and knees as best I could but still ended up hitting my belly pretty hard. After sitting for a few seconds to make sure nothing was horribly wrong, we got back in the house, called the midwife and sat down on the couch to wait for instructions. I was having more contractions than normal due to the fall and I knew that any kind of abdominal trauma could mean a torn placenta or abnormal bleeding (which is why they tell pregnant women to ALWAYS go to the hospital after any kind of car accident) so I was pretty nervous. Let me tell you, if this was my first foray into Mommy guilt, I think I had a pretty good initiation into the club. I felt HORRIBLE that something I did could have hurt him, especially something that I felt so stupid for doing in the first place.

The midwife had us come to the hospital for monitoring and I was admitted and in a gown within the hour. We hadn't eaten dinner, the dogs were starving and we were definitely not planning on spending the night on the L&D floor. They told us we were going to be monitored but didn't tell us for how long, so, we left the house thinking it would be a couple hours. Turns out it was about 13 hours- continuous fetal monitoring, two bags of IV fluids, two ultrasounds, multiple tubes of blood, a RhoGam injection and a cervical exam (1 cm dilated, 60% effaced)- later that we actually got to go home. (Don't worry, the pups didn't starve :) Nick went home later that night to grab himself some dinner, feed the dogs and bring me back some pajamas and a toothbrush)

monitoring his heart rate and my contractions


Every test they ran came back normal, the ultrasounds showed no abnormal placental bleeding or reduction of amniotic fluid and he looked "perfect" (according to the nurses and midwife) on the monitors all night long. After a long night, they discharged us around 9 a.m. We were, of course, so relieved that everything was OK and were very happy to be headed home to our shower and comfy bed. Hospital beds are CRAP and the cot Nick slept on wasn't much better...

We had an appointment at the midwife the next afternoon (about 7 hours after being discharged) and it turns out that I was very dehydrated (even after two bags of IV fluids!). The midwife thinks I may have gotten a little lightheaded or dizzy and that may have contributed to my falling- so she told me to drink as close to a gallon of water a day as I could and to make sure that I was resting properly and eating well.

Moral of the story: watch where you're going. pregnant or not. but especially if you're pregnant! I had read all the warnings that told me to be more careful but since my body hasn't really changed much other than gaining the belly, I really hadn't had to alter much about the way I was doing things. I've been able to put my shoes on, bend over, get things down from cabinets, play with the dogs, etc. like normal so I guess I hadn't mentally adjusted to my altered center of gravity. Now, I am SUPER careful doing everything and have successfully rehydrated myself so I'm feeling much better. The swelling that had started in my feet has even (almost completely) gone away!

It was a scary and uncomfortable night but, on the upside, now we know exactly what to expect when I actually go into labor and get admitted to the hospital. I think it will help my anxiety so much to know some of what to expect (like getting an IV put in if I need one and wearing the fetal monitors). So maybe there's a silver lining after all :)

much love, L&N

the obligatory name on the nursery wall

So, I know that everyone and their brother puts the baby's name on the wall using some sort of wooden, printed, painted, or crafted technique. And if you know me, you know that I generally shy away from things that everyone else does because I like to be complicated and figure out cool ways to "go my own way" (in the words of Fleetwood Mac)...

Welp. I totally and completely jumped on the bandwagon when it comes to this one.

I decided that there are some things that you do not because they're great design or super unique, but just because you like them :) I really love the name on the wall in nurseries- maybe because it's a way to stamp the room as theirs, or maybe because I remember the sense of "mine-ness" that came with my bedroom as a kid and I like the idea of making him feel as at home as possible from the very beginning.

Either way, I bought some wooden letters from Craftcuts (you can pick from a wide range of fonts, specify the thickness and height and type of wood for an almost-custom product) with the intention of Mod Podge-ing some book pages to the front.

Nick and I are both big readers and love having books around the house, plus I thought the texture of an old book page would look really cool on the wood. So we found an old book at Goodwill for, like, $1.00 that had the aged look we were going for and that had a good sized font (we didn't want it too big because then you would have been able to read the pages from across the room and too little would have meant losing some of the initial "hey, those are book pages and that's cool!" reaction that we wanted). Turns out, the book we came home with was "It" by Stephen King. I know, I know. It's weird to use a horror book for nursery crafts. I was convinced that since you wouldn't be able to read the words, it wouldn't matter and the pages were the perfect color so we came home with it anyway.

Fast forward a few weeks when I finally sit down to start applying the pages to the letters...

I start flipping through the book to pick which pages to use and I. just. can't. I tried so hard to find a page that didn't have something creepy and/or scary written on it (an apparent impossibility in a Stephen King novel) and just couldn't do it. I walked into the other room and showed the pages to Nick. He was creeped out, too. On to plan B...

My Mom had actually warned me about this exact thing happening because she thought the book was a weird choice and had suggested using pages from a children's book. This was back in my stubborn "my plan will work exactly the way I'm hoping" stage, so I didn't think much about it. Until the creepy book forced my hand. (So, thanks, Mom! I should just listen to you from the beginning next time)

Plan B entailed Nick & I picking our favorite children's books, looking through them on Google Books to see which ones had the coolest illustrations and colors and then ordering a used copy of our favorite from Amazon for really cheap. We ended up going with Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak because we both LOVE the book and because it has amazing graphics with very cool colors.

Quick rundown of the method:

-Stained the sides of the letters so they would "pop" off the wall more
-Used my exacto knife to cut out the shape of the letters on the pages we picked out
-Applied a thin coat of Mod Podge to the letter's surface
-Stuck the page onto the wooden letter and let dry
-Applied a second thin coat of Mod Podge to the top of the page to provide some protection and to give a slight sheen, let dry completely

-Mounted on the wall using spray adhesive (that I applied to the back of the letters using a paintbrush dipped in spray adhesive that had been sprayed into a paper plate instead of spraying it directly on the letters)

Now here are some photos!

cutting out the letters

after the page had been mod podged

final sheen

on the wall!

I just love that little corner! Can't wait for the final touches :)

up close

Ultimately, I really love how they turned out and am so happy our original idea didn't work!

much love, L&N

37 weeks!

Since I'll be 38 weeks tomorrow, I figured I should get this post done today :) I am definitely feeling pregnant lately- which is kind of a surprise since, so far, pregnancy has been pretty easy going for me. I haven't had a lot of physical symptoms to deal with and have felt pretty great since we hit the second trimester. It feels like my body was coping really well until last week when all of a sudden, boom! I feel it. I am counting myself lucky, though, since feeling really pregnant for 3 weeks is so much easier to cope with than feeling really pregnant for 5 months! 

So many people have told me that by now I should be really sick of being pregnant but that's not really the case. I certainly feel bigger and I can tell that my body is approaching its capacity but otherwise, I'm not miserable and (at least at this point) am still perfectly fine with him hanging out in there for a little while longer. 

We're planning to spend these last couple of weeks getting the house clean, making sure everything is completely done in the nursery and relaxing with each other as much as possible. We're going to go out to a couple nice dinners at our favorite places in Athens, maybe make a really fancy meal at home one night, sleep in on the weekends and just enjoy each other's company :) I keep trying to think of a way to treat Nick for being such an amazing partner through this whole experience but I haven't decided what I want to do for him yet. Suggestions are welcome! :) 

Overall, I'm getting really excited to finally meet Alden. I catch myself thinking about the reality of him being here- being able to hold him, hear his noises, smell his hair- and realize that so much of a pregnancy is spent preparing for the physical changes, getting the house ready, prepping for delivery that now I'm just really enjoying the thought of having him here and a part of our family. I'm pretty sure he's going to be awesome :) 


Foods I'm craving:  chocolate milk (super weird because I hate milk & am lactose intolerant), peanut butter and comfort foods like burgers and soup

Foods I can't stand:  Nothing really...

Symptoms:  Braxton Hicks like crazy (definitely painful and uncomfortable), some swelling in my feet at times and an itchy belly from the stretched skin and dry winter air

Maternity clothes: yep! 

Weddings rings (on/off): on

Favorite thing this week: Going to the midwife and hearing that everything was perfect and that as of now, "we're just waiting!" 

much love, L&N

January 18, 2013

yes, we are still alive.


I realize that it's been a while since I posted. That whole new-job-while-almost-in-labor thing is just a tad more stressful than I expected. I am really enjoying the new gig, though, and it is definitely making the time fly by while waiting for Alden to make his appearance. I'm not completely sure how I feel about that, but that's what's happening in any case...

Hopefully we'll have a 37 week photo and update tonight or sometime this weekend (since I'm a slacker and didn't get a 36 week photo like I was supposed to) and we're going to force ourselves to finally finish the last touches in the nursery so the final reveal post should be coming in the next week.

For now, just a few quick updates on life...

We have been touring daycares and making our pro/con lists to help us decide where/who will be taking care of the little man when I go back to work. This is a much harder process than I expected. Mostly because the things we would base our decision on (the feel-good, mushy stuff) if cost wasn't a factor are pushed farther down the list because we HAVE to take cost into account. For example, we absolutely L.O.V.E. one of the daycares in town- they have an amazing facility, great policies on cloth diapering, illness, curriculum, etc., are nationally certified and gave us a sweet, warm-and-cuddly feeling when we visited. BUT, they are also the most expensive daycare in town and they have the most restrictive policies concerning a waiting list and application fees. This means that what would probably be our number one choice if we were Donald Trump (actually, that's not true- we'd definitely hire a full-time nanny if we were the Trumps, so maybe more like not-on-a-budget-young-professionals-slash-grad-students), ends up being towards the bottom of our list because the cost is so prohibitive. (Also- to all of you experienced parents out there- I'm sure this is a common challenge in the daycare world and something you have all experienced before, but we were still in a little bit of sticker-shock during our search) So now we're in the middle of the process where we're weighing our options and finding the place that fits best with what we need and that makes us the most comfortable. There are a couple of non-daycare options in the pipeline (home-based daycare, friends, etc.) so maybe we'll go that way in the end...still a lot of decisions to make on this issue.

We officially chose a pediatrician! Before getting pregnant, we had no idea that this would even be a "thing" but, apparently, picking a pediatrician is quite the process. We had to set up service introductions with a number of pediatricians before being allowed to designate them as Alden's official doctor and many of the pediatricians we contacted had very specific policies regarding what type of patients they were accepting (things like, "We are only accepting new patients if you are currently pregnant, have private insurance and this is your first child"). It ended up working out wonderfully, though, since we decided to go with a pediatrician that is also board-certified in Internal Medicine and sees adults as well. She was actually my primary care physician when I was working at UGA before grad school and I loved her, so she was my first choice when pediatricians became a concern. We met with her and Nick really loved her too so we decided to just go with our gut. A perk is that since she is double board certified in both Pediatrics and Internal Medicine and because of her policies, she will be happy to be the primary care physician for the whole family. This means we can all see the same doctor, at the same time, if we want to and save ourselves a lot of time, driving and money. We are so glad to have this major to-do crossed off the list!

I have lists made for all of the hospital bags (me, Alden and Nick) and after one more load of laundry, I'll be able to pack up everything we're going to need for our hospital stay and get it loaded in the car. For some reason, getting this done has really been bugging me so I'm looking forward to it being handled. I got some great pajamas from my mom for Christmas that I'm going to take to the hospital for after-baby comfort but I had to exchange them for different sizes and they finally got to the house yesterday, plus there were some toiletry items and baby things that were still on the list of things to buy and we finally went and bought them this week-so, now I'm ready to pack the bags!

That's enough blabber for now- more updates to come!

much love, L&N

January 5, 2013

Christmas and the New Year

We had a wonderful Christmas! Nick's parents came up to Athens and we spent the days cooking, relaxing and shopping around town. I felt bad that we didn't do more while they were here but I wasn't feeling well for a few of the days they were in town and I get easily tired now that I'm carrying around all this extra baby. We had a good time anyway and definitely ate some delicious food!

Our Christmas Eve dinner

Jesper & Vicki after dinner

In Denmark, they traditionally celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve with a big dinner and the opening of presents with family around the tree. Since the Wiese family is Danish, we celebrate on Christmas Eve, too. We made a stuffed pork tenderloin with an apple, sausage and kale stuffing, roasted fingerling potatoes, pan sauce and roasted brussel sprouts. It was so yummy!

Then, we opened presents! 

This Duplo bunny has a story...
So, the bunny. This bunny is actually a little bag with handles and a zipper in his back so that you can carry things around in him. Nick had one exactly like this when he was a little boy and he carried it everywhere! The bunny eventually got burned when Nick left it on a lamp but was so loved that I have heard many stories about it since Nick & I have been married. Vicki & Jes found an original Duplo bunny online from the 1980's (when they were originally made) and gave it to Nick as a Christmas present so Alden would have his very own Duplo bunny to carry around. It is such a thoughtful gift and we're so excited to share this little part of Nick's childhood with our son! :)

opening their presents from us

two Gator blankets in Daddy & Son sizes :)

with the yogurt maker that I got him

my fantastic new diaper bag!

the aftermath :)
We were so fortunate this year to have so many family members send us such wonderful things! We definitely got much, much more than we expected and/or deserved. I was incredible happy to receive the Boba Wrap that I was pining over for baby from my Mom & Dad, the diaper bag I had picked out from Vicki & Jes and some other things that I wanted (like perfume, pajamas for after Alden gets here, some baking accessories and many other wonderful things). Nicholas got pretty much everything on his list and was so excited to get his new Kindle, yogurt maker and super awesome ladder for cleaning off the roof! We are so grateful to everyone who sent us a gift and if you haven't already gotten a thank you from us, it's in the mail! :)

talking with family in Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas on FaceTime

surprising Grandma Hovland with her new iPad (over FaceTime)

On Christmas Day, we slept in late and got up just in time to start cooking :) The dogs got their Christmas presents and I talked to my family in Alabama on FaceTime. We made prime rib and mushroom gravy, pommes anna and green bean casserole. My husband is a fabulous cook!

my sweet family at my Nana's house in Alabama on Christmas Day

our first pommes anna: successful!

the delicious prime rib
all the boys with their Christmas bones

Overall, we had a wonderful holiday and are so happy Vicki & Jes could come spend time with us before the baby gets here! We were so thankful to be able to stay home and celebrate this year since traveling while 8 months pregnant can be stressful and so tiring, thank you for coming, y'all! 

Our New Year's was spent in warm, comfy clothes relaxing on the couch after a delicious dinner of steak, German nuremberg sausages, curry sauce, asparagus, rice and sparkling chardonnay grape juice :) 

We had a great time watching the New Year's celebrations on TV and lighting sparklers on the deck! 

our "champagne" for the night

Happy New Year!

We hope everyone had a great holiday season and an exciting New Year's! Cheers to a peaceful, happy and healthy 2013!

much love, L&N

34 weeks!

We're technically at 35 weeks now (as of yesterday) but I'm a little behind on posts, so this is the 34 week belly! Alden & I are doing well- everything is healthy and progressing like expected. We're in the midst of interviewing pediatricians and daycares and trying to get all of the final touches done in the nursery. 

I started my job this past week, well, both of my new jobs (story to follow...) and have been exhausted all week! The stress of a new job coupled with being 35 weeks pregnant is a combination that definitely doesn't lead to well-rested and dewey-eyed, that I can assure you :) I am really enjoying my new position and am so happy to have ended up where I did. My boss and colleagues are so open and flexible with how I'm going to handle being on leave when the baby comes and they have welcomed me with open arms while allowing me to dive in to my new responsibilities. I think I have a great future with the HIER Center and am excited to see where this path takes me! 

To go back to that second new job statement...I was also recently offered the position of Communications Director for a non-profit organization called Safe Mothers, Safe Babies. It's a position that allows me to be involved in public health work that I am (sometimes insanely) passionate about while still giving me the freedom to have a "normal" job and spend time with my family. I will be responsible for all of the communications work that is done for the organization over the next year (at least) and am really, really, really excited to be involved with such a wonderful organization that does such amazing work for mamas and babies! All of my involvement can be done on my own schedule and from home, thanks to an equally passionate group of fellow Directors that make themselves available to each other through Skype, email and occasional conference calls. I will be writing blog posts, managing the Facebook and Twitter presence of the organization, working on developing the website and pursuing other public outreach and social media outlets for public involvement and education in maternal and child health issues. I fully expect to use my own blog as a platform for this new role and will probably use this forum to help extend the reach of the SAFE message- you have been warned ;) 

p.s. Thank you to my very sweet friend, Sarah Hines, who is the one who originally found and made me aware of the opportunity with SAFE in the first place. Thanks, friend :) 

I'm probably going to go on a little blogging rampage this afternoon since I've been so behind- so more posts to come! Here are the stats...


Foods I'm craving:  peanut butter, bananas, and all of the yummy downtown restaurants that we haven't been to in a long time that I can see and smell from my office :)

Foods I can't stand:  still haven't wanted Indian (which is weird for me) and am nauseated at the smell of raw meat (so much so that I have to stand as far away as I can if we're standing at the meat counter in the grocery store)

Symptoms:  insomnia, Braxton Hicks (which have become more painful and much more frequent) and leg cramps/"wormies", our word for the restless leg syndrome-like symptoms that are common in pregnant women

Maternity clothes: yep! 

Weddings rings (on/off): on

Favorite thing this week: Finishing my first week at my new position and welcoming the new year with my favorite person in the whole world, my hubby :) 

much love, L&N