First Letter to Caroline

Dear Caroline,

This is the first of many letters I will write to you as you grow. You will have no memory of these young days, and my memory fades so quickly that we will both cherish the documentation these letters provide. This first letter comes to you just a day and a half from your birth.

A few notes about my pregnancy with you... 
  • I found out I was pregnant with you on September 22, 2010. Kate had just turned 8 months old! Daddy and I were excited as we hoped God would add to our family soon, wanting our children to be close in age. We also felt nervous and overwhelmed that Kate would still be a "baby" herself when you would arrive.
  • I was sick for the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. I took medications to stop the nausea. (With Kate I wasn't sick at all.)
  • Braxton Hicks contractions started early with you, as they did with Kate, at about 18 weeks.
  • We found out that you were a GIRL on January 3, 2011, when I was 18 weeks along. Daddy knew you'd be a girl, but I thought you'd be a boy since I wasn't sick with my first pregnancy. I was thrilled to know you were a girl; you and Kate will share a neat bond.
  • We decided on your name when I was about 20 weeks pregnant. I always knew I wanted to use my grandmother's name for one of my girls. You're fortunate to be named for two of your great grandmothers; Caroline on my side, and Grace on Daddy's.
  • I had all the normal aches and pains of pregnancy: heartburn, sciatic pain, sore hips, etc. It was hard at times with Kate being so active to keep up with her. 
  • I didn't have much swelling with you at all! My rings didn't fit, but other than that, I don't think I retained much water at all. (Very different story with Kate!)
  • Since Kate was delivered by C-Section, we decided early on that you should come that way, too. Your birthday has been planned for several months! You don't seem to want to come any sooner. Thanks for sticking to the schedule!
I feel you now, moving inside me, pushing your boundaries as you run out of room in my belly. I feel like I've been pregnant for such a very long time, yet I somehow can't believe the date we've anticipated for so many months is almost here! But God has been anticipating you even longer, sweet child...

 For you created my inmost being; 
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
   your works are wonderful, 
   I know that full well. 
My frame was not hidden from you 
   when I was made in the secret place, 
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
Your eyes saw my unformed body; 
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
{Psalm 139:13-16}

We can't wait to see you; to count your tiny fingers and toes, to smell your sweet baby smell, to kiss your sweet head, to hold you close. 

We already love you so much, Caroline.
Your mama (& Daddy, too)


{final stretch}
This is our last week before Caroline arrives on the 31st (unless God has other ideas).  My mind is racing trying to think of everything I should do this week to be as prepared as possible. While I can think of a few important to-dos (like final grocery shopping), I think the most important will be to rest as much as possible. I caught Kate's cold, and I've just felt crummy all day. Hopefully we'll both kick this quickly so that we will be germ-free for Caroline!

Lens Baby: Mommy & Me

Yesterday my Lens Baby group met at a park in Allen with a beautiful meadow adjacent. I'm so glad to have some sweet shots of Kate with me, even if I am hugely preggo! We only have a bit over 4 weeks to go until we become a family of four, so these pictures of me with our first girl are extra special right now.

Thanks for these shots goes to my friend, Jennifer Strain...

And credit to Elizabeth Alexander for these...

I'm so fortunate to have this fun group of moms who are also such talented photographers! Thanks, y'all!


{rockabye baby}
I'm so glad I had my camera ready right at this moment. I was taking pictures of Kate's new room (stay tuned for another post) while Kate played. She pulled out her doll, put it on the rocking chair, and started rocking it back and forth. It was definitely a "NO WAY she's doing that!" kind of moment... her first evident pretend play. It gives me a glimmer of hope for this soon-to-be big sister and the real baby girl who's about to join our family.

Sweet Caroline (bum bum bum)

Here's a brain dump about baby #2...

1) We decided on a name! Caroline Grace Carlson will be named after two of her great grandmothers. Caroline was my dad's mom who passed away several years before I was born. I have always wanted to name a girl Caroline after her. Grace is Nick's maternal grandmother. She's such a sweet and loving lady who always has a smile on her face. How lucky this baby girl will be to have a piece of both sides of her family in her name.

2) She is going to have Kate's nursery, and Kate will move next door into the room with the antique furniture that was in my room growing up. We ordered another crib to match the dark wood in that room, and it should be here in just a few weeks. We'll take down the double bed and maybe put in a twin bed that goes well with the set. I think it would be nice to have a bed in there still, and the room is big enough to accommodate one (I think). Kate's bedding will go with her, and I've ordered this bedding from Pottery Barn Kids for Caroline...

3) Speaking of Pottery Barn Kids, Caroline already has her own Anywhere Chair like Kate's. When I ordered Kate's at Christmas, I had to call about 6 times to get the order straightened out. I'll spare you all the details, but I ended up with an extra set of the insert pillows and a $50 merchandise card as a "we're sorry" gift that I used to buy the slipcover. SO, I got Caroline's chair for free! Gotta love that.

4) I started organizing all of Kate's clothes she's outgrown. Unfortunately, Caroline will be born at the beginning of summer, while Kate was born in the winter. I hope there will be some overlap with the clothes we have, but all the cute summer things we had for Kate will for sure be too big for Caroline. Also, Kate was quite the spitter-upper, and there are lots of stains on the newborn clothes. They seem to have darkened and multiplied during the time in storage. Yuck. I'll have to see how some bleach and/or Oxi-Clean help. Poor Caroline... the hand-me-downing begins. :)

5) The C-section date is May 31, which is only four days from my due date. She could decide to come sooner, but we will have a May baby! I'll deliver at Baylor Frisco this time, since my doctor now steers patients away from Centennial Medical Center (where I delivered Kate). Our stay there was fine, but if your doctor says she'd rather not work with them, you listen! I look forward to taking a tour of the other hospital. It looks beautiful!

6) We're really excited that our girls will be so close in age. I'm sure that it will be difficult the first couple of years, but I look forward to them playing together and becoming best friends. Some days I get really nervous, though. Like today when we took Kate to the nursery and we were paged 10 minutes after we dropped her off because she was screaming, and they couldn't calm her down. I think, "We have a baby. What were we thinking?" But I know God has given me all the strength I'll ever need as I depend on Jesus to parent through me. Please help me remember this when Caroline comes! I'm sure I'll need the encouragement.

7) Caroline kicks all the time. I look forward to when it's a whole leg or arm moving across my entire belly. What a fun feeling that is. At 22 weeks plus, she's probably about a foot long and weighs about a pound. I go to the doctor again this week. Won't be long, and I'll be going to the doctor every 2 weeks again. Didn't I just do this? (Don't answer that.)

8) We "test drove" a few double strollers. We really like the Baby Jogger brand. We want something that will accommodate a car seat, and these both do. The City Mini is a double wide stroller and folds very easily. The City Select is more versatile. You can use it as a single stroller or a double with a wide variety of seating options. They could face each other or not, depending on how friendly they're feeling! There's lots of storage room below. To fold it, you have to take off one of the seats then fold it. I'm sure I'd get used to it really fast. Thoughts??

City Mini Double

City Select

9) We already bought a new baby monitor, and we'll need an additional camera, too. Our first one was almost shot. I bought this new one to try, and although I love it, the lowest volume setting isn't low enough for me at night. I'm a very light sleeper, and I don't want to wake up every time Kate whimpers as she rolls over in her sleep. I love all the other settings about it, though. Not sure what I'm going to do about it yet. Maybe I'll buy another one to try out. Again, if you have suggestions, let me know. Monitors are so frustrating to buy; none is perfect, and they're so expensive.
10) Being type-A, I have to make my list an even 10! I would like for Caroline to have a nickname. I like Callie; Nick doesn't. The dog next door is Callie, and he says there are a couple other dog Callies he knows, so he says it's a dog's name. He prefers C.C. Um, VETO. I really like Callie, and I can't think of a cuter nickname for Caroline. We're open to suggestions!