Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Review: 2013

Once again, a year comes to a close. Before I take a few moments to ponder all that has happened this year let me first wish you a Happy New Year!

Much of 2013 was focused on preparing our home and our hearts for our child. We had hoped and prayed we would become parents this year and were thrilled to discover we were expecting in early February. We kept it pretty quiet until the end of April and we had a chance to tell our family first.  I spent months figuring out ways to create more space in our one bedroom apartment; we made a few big purchases and got rid of quite a bit of stuff. All in all, I think we are happy with the way things turned out, but are also realizing that more changes will be required soon! We're learning to be flexible with our possessions.

I read quite a few books about parenting and childbirth and attended a group appointment each month with ten other couples. I have to admit that most of my waking moments - and sleepless nights - were spent learning, planning, dreaming, and hoping for our baby. And on the evening of October 1, William Bradley was born! Now all my waking moments and sleepless nights are spent trying to make sure he's eating enough and sleeping enough. So far so good - he's growing like a weed!

The other major theme of 2013 was FAMILY. Living so far away from our families, it always seems like a rare occasion that brings us together, but this year, we were able to see our families (at least one person) almost every month this year! There was a wedding, babies, and vacations that brought us together! We are blessed!

January was a pretty quite month. I started going to a Pilates class and continued acupuncture and my gluten free diet. Chris had started working as an office manager for the hedge fund he worked for back in 2010 when we first moved out here. We enjoyed more time together as he no longer had a commute across the Golden Gate Bridge as well as a few more dollars in our pockets since he could ride is bike to work rather than drive.

In February, my brother came to visit us in SF for the first time. The very next weekend, Chris and I took a long weekend and drove to Las Vegas to see my parents and my sister and her husband. They had a gender reveal party to reveal they were having a baby girl in July. I thought it was going to be a boy for sure, but I wrong. We also took a road trip all together to the Grand Canyon. It was chilly, but an enjoyable trip.

In March, Chris's mom and grandma drove out to see us and a few other relatives. We took this opportunity to share our baby news with them. I don't need to tell you how excited they were! Unfortunately, they were the only ones we told in person.

Chris turned 30 in April and we had a big birthday brunch with our friends. We also used that gathering to officially announce our pregnancy. His parents also visited us again in April and took us to wine country for the weekend.

In May, Chris's brother Brad got married to Emilee. (Yes, there are now two of us!) We flew to San Antonio to celebrate with them. It was really a gorgeous ceremony and a great weekend. We also made the decision to start investing in our retirement accounts; it wasn't always much, but it was something!

In June, the big news was my new glasses. I also started feeling better so instead of napping during my breaks, I started reading. I read a ton of free ebooks on my little smart phone. I had been wanting to get into newborn photography for a while and had my first real opportunity in June. It was great practice for my session with my niece in July!

I traveled a lot in July. I went home to visit my best friend Katie (while she was home from Australia) and see a few other people I hadn't seen in years. It was a packed week, but super fun. On the way home, I ended up in Vegas unexpectedly. It was a little tramatic as a plane had crashed in SF, but I did end up getting to see my sister! Two weeks later, I went back to Vegas to see my sister and her new baby girl. She is a cutie!

Chris took me to Morro Bay for my birthday in August. We toured Hearst Castle and spent a day on the beach. It was our last little get-a-way before Baby B was born.

In September we had three baby showers; we were showered with so much love! And we felt so much more prepared by everyone's generosity! I attended a Beth Moore simulcast with a few friends which was inspiring and a day I felt was much needed for "me and God." September 30th was my last day of work before beginning maternity leave.

And then my world was turned upside down when my baby arrived a week early! William Bradley was born on October 1st. I feel like I could stop writing right now as each and every day is all about him - literally, night and day. I don't even know how to describe how I feel about him and being a mom - it's awesome - and exhausting. He's adorable and exhausting! Both of our moms came out to help me for a week each. I was so thankful for their willingness to help and their eagerness to meet William.

For Thanksgiving we stayed in town visiting with friends. We were the only couple there with kids which was a new experience for us. It won't be the last I'm sure. We had so much to be thankful for this year!

And for Christmas we traveled to Minnesota to make my mom's dream of having both of her grandbabies home for their first Christmas come true. It was another great week with family.

There it is, 2013. A year I will never forget. As I write about the blessings and memories of my year, I am remembering friends who have had a rough year - friends have lost loved ones and homes and experienced illness and trauma and I want you to know that I think of you, pray for you and hope your faith remains strong and hope is restored in this next year.

Flying with Baby Babiak

Last week, we braved the harsh winter weather (leaving behind a glorious 60 degree week in SF) and flew to Northern Minnesota for Christmas with my family. It was our first time flying with William, just shy of three months old.

Our flight left at six a.m. Saturday morning. Giving ourselves plenty of time for a baby meltdown, we left our apartment at 3:30 in the morning. Not really a big deal for me, as I had usually been up between two and four a.m. every day for the past two months. Not getting any naps during our twelve hour travel day -- that was hard! We got there with plenty of time and little baby William did pretty well. A few diaper changes, a feeding before boarding and we were set.

The actual flight was perfect. I was told that to avoid a screaming baby during take off and landing to nurse or use a pacifier to help with the pressure in his ears. Well, I started feeding him way too early and he was out cold for the first hour our so. The hum of the engine and the turbulence put him right to sleep! We had a lay over in Dallas, which was a short 40 minutes. We made it just in time only to find that it was delayed for 30 minutes. At least it wasn't canceled like the flight at the next gate! Again, he did superb on that flight too! Chris gave him an A- since he squawked twice, but I was thrilled. Chris also handled all the diaper changes on the plane, so maybe he knows something I don't!

My brother picked us up at the airport with a carseat. I bundled William up in a little fleece suit that we were given (which barely fit!) and entered the frozen tundra that is Fargo. I think it was -5 degrees that afternoon, but the roads were pretty clear. We arrived at my parent's house around 5 p.m.

The return flight was a little more eventful, starting with the drive to the airport! Visibility was awful, practically zero I'm sure. The temperature was about 24 degrees, but with the blowing snow and harsh wind, it seemed much colder. We bundled William up as best we could, his snowsuit not fitting at all anymore. We got to the airport with plenty of time to go through security. When it was time to board the plane, the wind was gusting up the walkway so much so that I had to hold William tightly to my chest so his face wouldn't feel much of the cold. I had packed my winter jacket in my suitcase which left me freezing!

William was awake a lot more on the return flight, not necessarily fussy, just awake. I'm sure it had something to do with the hot chocolate and can of Coke I drank earlier. Oops! When we got to Dallas we were suppose to have an hour layover, but when we got to our gate, they had already started boarding! We had just enough time for me to change William's diaper and hop on! For the first time in my life, I purchased airplane food. It was actually pretty good.

All in all, he did fantastic. Much better than all those other screaming toddlers for sure. I guess that is what I have to look forward to next time. First flight = success.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Hutch Repaired

Thanks to the generosity of our church friends our hutch has been restored! It took a while, but it was worth the wait. I can't believe a woman from our church that we barely knew offered to repair the glass for us! It turned out beautifully!

The before photos were posted in May when we found the hutch.

The Christmas of Firsts

William's first Christmas was also:
  • His first flight
  • His first time to Minnesota (and first time outside of California)
  • His first time in below-zero temperatures - a real winter
  • His first time meeting his Grandpa Hagen and Uncle John, Auntie El and Uncle Ryan 

 Grandpa & Grandma Hagen with their grandbabies
  •  It was also the first time he met a great-great relative (my Great-Aunt Sylvia)

The week of December 22-28 we spent in Minnesota visiting my side of the family. All of my siblings and their significant others stayed at my parent's house, meaning there were 12 people under one roof! We had a wonderful time being together, but now that I think about it, there were very few times it was just the 12 of us! I'm going to do my best to remember the full week of events! Here goes:

On Sunday, we all headed to church, taking up two pews and enjoying coffee fellowship with many people I hadn't seen in years. Later that afternoon, my mom hosted a "Meet the Babies" shower for William and my niece Charlotte who were visiting Grandma for the first time. My mom loved showing them off to the women who came by. Many of them bearing gifts. William now has a nice collection of footie pajamas featuring monkeys and a few other new toys.

On Monday, my aunt and her three grown children joined us for dinner and games. Originally they had planned to stay with us also, but once they saw how chaotic our house was already, they decided to find a hotel.  Chris received a new game for Christmas called "Bonanza" which we played several times throughout the week. It was a huge hit!

Tuesday, Christmas Eve was a special day. It's tradition that our family open gifts that night, going around in a circle one at a time so we can all see what was given. For the past few years we've drawn names instead of buying gifts for everyone -- our family is just too big for that now (and we're all a little broke) --with the exception of the babies of course - which both ended up needing an entire suitcase to get everything home! It was a late night for the little ones (and me too) but it was pretty fun until they I got crabby. Chris got new bike tires from my parents and books. I got a beautiful hand made scarf from my sister and a sweater, meat grinder, and a few other things from my parents. William got a few outfits and plenty of toys.

Christmas day ended up being a pretty big deal. Originally the plan had been to keep it to just our growing family as we rarely get time together, but it worked out that most of our near-by relatives on my dad's side could make it too! Our house was packed for Christmas dinner! William went to sleep just in time for Chris and I to join the rest as they sat down for the meal. I was so thankful that neither one of us had to skip that part. The rest of the week, it felt like one of us was in another room with him either feeding him or trying to get him to fall asleep. Our precious little baby didn't want to miss out on anything! 

The next day (Thursday if you're keeping track) my cousin Mary and her family stopped by on their way to her parents home (even farther north than mine live!) I was so glad she stopped by, her kids are always growing and changing and I can't see them often enough. Her baby girls are almost a year old already. Everyone was snapping photos of the four babies under 12 months! Her older kids are adorable as ever sporting their backpacks full of new Christmas toys.

That night we had a few more people for dinner -- My great Aunt Sylvia, my Uncle Ken and Aunt Anne and their daughter Heather drove up from Minneapolis for a couple of days. I was so thankful William got to meet Sylvia. Although, I felt bad that she couldn't spend all day with him -- most of his day is spent sleeping and eating, I know she would have liked to hold him at least one more time. My cousin Terry and his wife Riki also joined us for dinner. (No, mom's table isn't quite that big, five people had to eat in another room.)

On Friday, the morning started with a family photo for mom's greeting cards. It turned out pretty well considering it was taken with a timer and a tripod (meaning no one could get the babies attention!)

Then all of my siblings went snowboarding but Chris and I stayed home. He didn't think Minnesota hills were worth skiing on, just kidding, he really just wanted to get some work done! But that didn't really happen either unfortunately. Baby care is exhausting and I needed his help most of the day. That night we played games with our visitors until way past my bed time. Visiting with people I only see every few years trumped opportunities to sleep most of the week.

Saturday was our last morning together. I actually got to sleep in for a while making it a little chaotic to get everything ready in time, but with a 12 hour travel day ahead, it was much needed. The visibility on the roads was awful. My brother drove us to the airport which is usually two hours away but with the blowing snow, patches of icy roads and fog, he couldn't drive very fast. We made it with just enough time to grab a bite to eat before leaving. (For the details, see this post)

We had a busy, but great time visiting with so many special people. I loved spending time with my siblings and being under one roof again. William had a great First Christmas at Grandma's house and survived his first real winter experience. Thank you to everyone who made the trek to see us that week! And thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Hagen for making this Christmas so special!

I took many more photos; you can see them here.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
I've been waiting to post our little family Christmas photos since some of you have the privilege of being on our mailing list and I didn't want to ruin the surprise. But now that Christmas is finally here I can show them off without restraint. 

William was a little less than two months old in these photos. I took them when my sister and her family came to visit before Thanksgiving. So, they are a little "dated" already as he will be three months old in a week! (eek!)

May you have a joy-filled celebration of our Savior's birth with those you love!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Meeting Cousin Charlotte

The week before Thanksgiving (yes, I am that far behind on my blog!), my sister and her family came to visit for a long weekend. They just could not wait until Christmas to meet Baby William! And I was so excited to see all of them too -- but especially my four month old niece, Charlotte. I hadn't seen her since she was 15 days old! And she had grown a lot since then!

Cousins meet for the first time -- Charlotte thought it was great, William wasn't too sure!
We hung out that first evening together making dinner and homemade ice cream, neither of which would have been successful if Molly hadn't stepped in to help. We talked about baby stuff and what our lives are like now with children.

Our evenings and nights were interesting, I'd often wake up to feed William and find Molly also up with her daughter. If we had a larger apartment, we could have had a little nursery party every few hours! (But to keep our husbands sane, we kept quiet.)

On Friday we drove to Muir Woods to take a little hike. It was a gorgeous day with the sun shining bright, but once you are under the canopy of red wood trees, it was dark and cold. Going on a hike with babies is interesting. This was our second big outing with William and getting out the door took much longer than I had anticipated. By the time we got to the park, we had about an hour before we needed to head back in order to miss rush hour traffic. One hour was probably just perfect as I had not been used to hiking with a baby strapped to me and my hips felt it by the end. I did love getting outside though -- and Muir Woods is always beautiful and breath taking.

On Saturday, I spent the day taking photos of their family for their Christmas cards. I had just gotten my new camera, so this was the perfect opportunity to really try it out. I won't post their photos here, because I don't want to spoil their cards (in case you are on their list!)

The weekend went too quickly and they had to leave early Sunday morning. Our little apartment was pretty crowded for those two and a half days but it was incredibly fun to have them! Looking forward to Christmas in just a few weeks and more baby-chaos!

William with Aunt Molly

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Baby B: 2 Months Old

December 1st was the two month mark of Baby William's life. He celebrated it by catching his first cold and refusing to sleep more than 90 minutes at a time both day and night. (And yes, I should be sleeping right now!)

He has started to coo and make sweet noises that make it feel like you're almost having a conversation. He has also started to smile and be a little more expressive. Except of course on "Picture Day" as he was pretty sick and fussy.

He has outgrown a few of his newborn clothes, especially the ones with feet. Baby B is one long baby-- measuring 24" at his 2 month appointment. My sweet little guy is already 2 feet tall! Only four more to go and he'll be taller than me! (It's silly to think of it that way I know.) He weighs 11 lbs which makes him a long and lean little man -- just like his dad.

Our neighbor gave him his first pair of baby booties, technically "crib shoes." They barely fit so I promptly dressed him up in and took his picture in them! They are so adorable! I imagine myself pulling them out of a box in 18 years exclaiming "Just look at how tiny your feet used to be!" And of course, my respectful son will roll his eyes at me. . . again.


His eyes are a dark blue, often times looking almost navy or dark violet. I find myself marveling at them often. His hair as started to grow back on the top of his head, it is in fact brown. The lighter color in the photos is actually "cradle cap" and should go away in a couple of months.

Visitors this month include Aunt Molly, Uncle Quintin and Cousin Charlotte, my cousin Sarah and a few of my friends. We also ventured out to church for the first time and our small group with him in tow.