Sunday, December 30, 2012

Six Months of Smiles!

Elin recently took some time away from her busy schedule of playing with her blocks, dolls and other toys to model her tutu. At just six months of age, this kid LOVES the camera. The minute I take it out, she hams it up hoping to bring a smile to whomever sees her picture!

Some things Elin has mastered at the ripe old age of six months:

Rolling from her tummy to her back and back to her tummy
Can pick up her toys and put them in her mouth
Pulls her binkie out and puts it back in (best trick ever, I no longer have to come to the rescue when it falls out!)
She eats and enjoys pureed vegetables and baby cereal
Turning in circles on her tummy
Loves to study her fingers and toes...and put them in her mouth 
Spends tons of time jumping to the moon in her Jumperoo
"Sings" to the radio during car rides
Smiling. Lots and lots of smiling!

 I think this is my favorite. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Post Baby Running

So one of the things Elin and I do to keep busy is run. Running has always been one of my favorite activities and I had no doubts that I'd continue after I had Elin. What I didn't expect was how difficult it would be to get back into it. Despite running until I was 24 weeks, getting back into it was beyond my expectations. I was still 21 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight when I started back up 6 weeks postpartum. I had signed myself up for a Veteran's Day half marathon last spring. I figured it would give me a goal to work towards post baby. I also figured four months was enough time.

Whoops. Rookie mistake.

I could barely run a mile my first time out.

I didn't want to take Elin with me until she was at least 3 months old so I had to sneak runs in whenever Colin was home, which meant for a tough, irregular schedule. By the beginning of November I had worked my way up to 8 miles. It probably wasn't enough but I wasn't going to pull out of the race at that point. So Veteran's Day weekend Colin and I set out for our first 1/2 marathon together. I won't go into detail on how hard it was other than to tell you people in their fifties and sixties were passing me.

Ultimately Colin and I crossed that finish line and it reassured me that while I still had some work to do, I knew I was back to running again and boy did it feel good!

Freedom Half Marathon
November 11, 2012

Blue Moon Wicked 10K
October 29, 2012

Now that Elin is big enough to ride in our BOB stroller she accompanies me on a few runs a week. Sometimes we venture over to Mt Trashmore park. Sometimes we go to the Oceanfront and race the waves of the Atlantic. Most of the time, we just cruise around our neighborhood. Me, clearing my head and organizing my thoughts. Elin, drifting off to dreamland. We were on a five mile run the other day and I marveled at how calm and content she was after the initial excitement of getting into the stroller. She is a pretty good natured baby but she is beyond pleasant during our runs. I have to think my running during pregnancy might have something to do with it. In this post from February I recalled how she would settle in for a nap during runs. It's funny how she does the same exact thing now!

Overall Elin is a joy to run with. Cheddar still accompanies me on a few runs when I'm feeling extra patient. But our squirrel chasing mutt can be a bit tough so I often just take her for her own run when Colin is home to watch Elin. I still have 21 pounds to lose (11 pre-preggo pounds plus an extra 10 I was hoping to lose before pregnancy) and hope our continued running will help me achieve my goal!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Everything we've accomplished in Elin's first five months of life!

Needless to say I've been falling farther and father off the blog train. Getting back to my blog has sort of been like getting back on a diet. When I say to myself "I'm going to blog tomorrow," it sounds a lot like "I'll start my diet tomorrow." We all know the never happens.  Being a new mommy is no walk in the park but I've loved every single minute of it. In the end cuddling my little Elin Grace always seems to win over chores, the computer, exercise and yes, even blogging. However I do miss being able to update all my family and friends across the world on adventures so in effort to catch up I've compiled a blog called "Everything we've accomplished in Elin's first five months of life." Yep, came up with that all by myself. :O

So here we go!

It all started with the birth of one heck of an awesome baby that rocked her mommy and daddy's world. World, meet Elin!

One month later Elin spiked a fever and earned a three day stay at the Children's Hospital. Thankfully, modern medicine is awesome and we got to take our cute bundle of love home.

Two Months: We packed up Elin and took her on her first plane trip. All the way to California. Elin spent two weeks meeting family and friends in Yosemite & San Diego. I actually did blog about that one. Woo! One point for me!

Three months: Elin felt traveling to California wasn't challenging enough so we all embarked on a trip to Denmark & Sweden for two weeks. It's a regular tradition for my side of the family to travel abroad every 2-3 years. It all started with my parents and their good friends Dave & Julie taking a trip to England in 1997. Later trips included Germany, Austria, France, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey & Italy. This year Sweden and Denmark came calling. Elin applied for her first passport and away we went! She is a fabulous traveler and couldn't get enough of the sights. Mommy and Daddy thoroughly enjoyed having two sets of adoring grandparents along for support. 

Helsignor Castle, Denmark

Malmo, Sweden

Malmo, Sweden

Copenhagen, Denmark

Meeting the relatives in Forlanda, Sweden

Four Months: Elin ran her first race. Well sort of. She rode in the jogging stroller while Colin and I pushed her in the Wicked 10k here in Virginia Beach. Since finding a costume for a four month old is rather difficult I dressed her in a tutu! Big surprise there. :)

Five Months: Another first. Elin and I flew by ourselves to San Diego for Thanksgiving. Colin followed later but I definitely gained a new appreciation for moms traveling alone with their little ones. Nursing next to smelly frat brothers, delayed flights, multiple blowouts (and I'm not talking about tires) and exhaustion make for lots of fun stories to share with the relatives. 
Elin had a blast in San Diego, I don't think she was ever put down for the entire stay. There were just too many family members around to play with all this cuteness!

Elin's Baptism 

Aunt Courtney playing with Elin while Colin plays football.

 Some kids go to Chuck E Cheese. Elin goes wine tasting!

We're quickly approaching six months and I cannot believe how fast that came! I promise more is to come (I only promise because I've already starting writing!) about the recent happenings in the Chance family!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Yosemite with the Youngin'

I remember a few months before Elin was born I polled some moms on The Bump for advice on traveling with a 3 month old in Europe. I wanted to see what they recommended in terms of strollers, sleeping arrangements and such. I remember one mom criticizing me for wanted to travel with a baby that young. I decided I shouldn't tell her that we were also planning a trip to California when she was 6 weeks old. And not just California, but Yosemite. Granted we did not camp in a tent but we stayed in a cabin with propane power and an outhouse in the middle of nowhere. So it's a little like camping. Quite a bit like camping actually. For all the fun details about Chateau a la Chance you can read about our visit last year here. It was a little different this year as we had a teeny little baby with us. 

This year we invited our good friends Steve & Diane to join use along with their daughter Hannah. They used to be our neighbors in Virginia and it was their first time meeting Elin! We all enjoyed getting to see each other again with nightly cookouts, hikes around the cabin and good old fashioned catching up by the campfire. No computers. No Iphones. No TV. Given the few modern conveniences the cabin offers, this wasn't difficult to do!

Of course we had to show them around the park so one of the days Steve and Colin tackled the 8 mile Perimeter Trail while Diane and I walked the kids around the valley. It was quite a first for Elin and Hannah as the temperature that day was 104 degrees. We took a very short "hike" straight to the Merced River and sat for a good hour to cool off. After deciding Elin had enough of that we camped out in an air conditioned cafe in Curry Village for the rest of the afternoon. The heat was enough to exhaust all of us and we enjoyed a lazy dinner by the firepit that evening (fortunately the cabin is at a much higher elevation and therefore it was a bit cooler!). 

The rest of the week was fairly uneventful. Colin's dad and stepmom joined us for a couple of days before we headed south to San Diego to spend the week with my family in San Diego. Elin got to meet everyone in the neighborhood and even got to spend an evening with her Grani Karen while Colin and I joined my dad for a Padre game. It was a great week and I am so glad we had the time to bring Elin home to meet everyone!

Glacier Point before Colin and Steve's big hike

Exhausted after an afternoon in Yosemite Valley.

A visit to Tuolomne Meadows

Hanging by the campfire. Ugh, I look enormous!

Cooling off in the river

 Steve & Colin marveling at their accomplishment

Diane, Steve & Hannah at Glacier Point!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Elin update & a hospital stay.

So I have decided my blogging just isn't that exciting these days. I used to blog about some fascinating adventures. Like swimming with jelly fish, scuba diving, visiting Angkor Wat and living on a remote, desert island (uhm, Guam) but these days my days are about as exciting as getting a good deal at the grocery store or getting Elin to take a two hour nap...which is a huge success by all measures for this baby.

However when I really think about it, having a baby IS a big adventure. I've just been too sleep deprived to realize it. It's funny how everyone tells you having a baby is going to be the best thing on the planet and by the end of the pregnancy you are absolutely convinced that is true, because nothing is worse in the middle of a June heatwave than waddling around with an extra 45 pounds on your body. HOWEVER, after giving birth to an cute little 8 pound baby and spending a week completely exhausted wondering how something that tiny could change absolutely everything in your life, you realize you want to kill every person who "oohed" and "awwwed" when they saw your growing baby bump. Then I realized after Elin passed the six week mark that they were right, babies are pretty much the best thing on the planet. We just had to work together to learn how to cohabitate, sleep through the night (NOT the day) and eat on a schedule that doesn't chain me to the couch all day. I can honestly say I absolutely love this little munchkin and now I understand why people have more than one child (I wasn't so sure 2 months ago), because watching them grow and change every day is just spectacular!

Our precious little Elin is smiling, cooing and well, pooping up a storm these days. I'm no longer terrified to take her to the store with me, found she loves bath time, we learned she loves to go on walks and car rides. We also learned she loves to swing. So much in fact it's the only place she'll sleep at night. We learned this during an unfortunate trip to the children's hospital in July. Elin came down with a 100.5 degree fever one night after several days of gas pains that left her screaming for an hour at a time. We decided to bring her into the ER just to be safe and we are sure glad we did.  After the triage nurse took her temperature (which shot up to 101.7) we were rushed to the back for a mind numbing series of tests. Already weary and sleep deprived we spent the wee morning hours watching our tiny daughter get poked, prodded and spinal tapped before being brought up to the oncology ward what would be a 2 1/2 day stay.

It took awhile for me to realize the reality of the situation. Fevers in newborns are taken very seriously by hospital staffs. We were in the oncology ward because they suspected sepsis and she needed an isolation room. She had a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. It took four nurses and ultimately, an IV specialist to get an IV started:


She ended up going on an intense two day round of antibiotics to clear her system of what the doctors felt was a bacterial infection. Colin had to be up at school for both days so I pretty much held Elin and all her wires and tubes for most of the stay. My mom was kind enough to tell me I looked "so old" in the picture we sent her. Thanks mom. 

On Elin's second night one of the nurses brought in a Fisher Price swing to help her calm down from one of her screaming fits. She ended up sleeping 7 hours. Which means I slept for 7 hours. It was amazing and I ordered that exact swing when I got home. Thank you Fisher Price! 

So all in all, Elin was a champ. She barreled through that fever like a freight train and ultimately, nothing serious came back on her cultures. We got to take her home on her 1 month birthday with a clean bill of health. She's been great ever since, something we are immensely grateful for. God is good!

They created a special "nest" for Elin since the hospital crib was too big for her. 

Hanging with dad during his quick visit from school in Williamsburg. Colin battled 2 hours of traffic each way to spend an hour with his munchkin so I could take a shower. Best husband ever!

Hospitals are exhausting, don't you think?

Home from the hospital. Happy and healthy!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Introducing Elin Grace!

Well it's August and I promise you the truth when I say I've been trying to get an entry in since June 21st. On June 21st Colin and I welcomed our daughter Elin Grace Chance into the world. Elin (pronounced "eee-lin") weighed in at 8 lbs 1 oz and 21 1/2" long. Since then, well, we've been busy. The shock & awe of being thrown into full time parenting is unbelievable. Being a person who doesn't function (AT ALL) on little sleep, it's been quite a roller coaster. But I must admit, it's been pretty awesome. We've had a very eventful six weeks, lots of relatives in town and an unexpected stay at the Children's Hospital have kept our schedules full. I'll have to catch you all up on that later but for now, here are a couple of photos of our cute little bug.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

And so here I am...

still pregnant! Granted my due date is still two days away but if you've ever been pregnant you probably know, it gets old! I left my job on June 8th and since then I've been forcing myself to nest. I've decorated the baby's room. Scrubbed the floors. Done about 86 loads of laundry. Scrubbed the bathrooms. Planted flowers. Washed baby clothes. Set up the baby swing and pack-n-play. And baked. Baked my brains out. I am prepared to accept full responsibility for Colin's squadron's failure at next the PRT (Physical Readiness Test) as I've baked some lovely treats...sometimes three times a week. Sorry guys. This girl is nesting.

Pregnancy is a wonderful thing. But all wonderful things must come to an end. I'm just trying to figure out when this little gal will decide that is going to happen. So far two of my good friends, Tessa & Alyssa in our squadron gave birth to handsome little boys 11 hours apart two weeks ago. Alyssa shared my due date. Grrr. As if that isn't bad enough, another gal due July 5th is on the verge of labor right now. Drat. And then I check my Facebook at 4am this morning (sleep is a long lost memory). My friend Allison gave birth to her baby girl yesterday. Her due date was June 27th. Good grief! Either I'm going to have a very patient little daughter. Or I'm going to have one heck of a stubborn, "I will come when I'm darn well ready" type of daughter. Either way, judging by her size on the last ultrasound and the sudden growth of my stomach in the last two weeks, I'm going to give birth to a whopper of a child.  I never thought I'd be so excited yet terrified in my life!

So until she arrives I will continue to nest, rest and relax for hours in the pool like I did today. It was glorious people. I highly recommend it when you're 14 months pregnant and it's 95 degrees outside. Really, it rocks.

And since I have no desire to give you nightmares tonight, I will not post a picture of myself in a bikini. Instead, here's are a couple of photos I took last week.

Can that bump get any bigger?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nesting is in full gear!

So I hit my 36 week mark and have just one more week until this kid is considered full term. Honestly, by the way I'm looking, I'd say this babe is cooked. But that is just her mother's opinion...which I think is fairly valid considering I am walking (er, waddling) around carrying a bowling ball (who gains an ounce every day!) everywhere I go.

 A picture of me at 33 weeks. Dear goodness...

So since I'm at 36 weeks I think I hit my nesting point. For example, Colin and I hit up Home Depot on Thursday morning. We came out pushing two full carts of plants, planters, potting soil, a ceiling fan and more, yes more paint supplies. I put myself to work planting hydrangeas, a new planter of herbs and a mum that although I believe is seasonal, refused to die and therefore I have decided to try and relocate it to a new home for the summer. Hopefully it'll survive better than the two gardenias and boxwood that keeled over this spring. 

A few rows of corn, tomatoes, carrots, basil & onions. Whenever Cheddar gets thrown outside she retaliates by eating the corn leaves. This may explain why the onions and basil are sporting a trampled look. 

Encouraged by my friend Peyton at Peyt's Island, I decided to try my hand at herbs again. After the first planter did so well this spring I decided to add another planter. The parsley and rosemary look like they're on steroids. As much as I hate throwing away herbs, I have to keep them from overtaking the smaller plants! 

Moving to the inside, we are almost finished with the baby's room. Tired of painting and with one room to go, I picked out one sample color and decided it was good enough. Since I doubt our kid is going to have issues later on regarding the paint color or her room as a baby, we decided to go with that color. It's a pretty pale, lime green which will go nicely with the sea coral curtains and crib skirt my mom is putting together. Since the room does not have a closet we bought an armoire from Pottery Barn to double as a closet and dresser. Seriously, this kid is well on her way to a fancier wardrobe than me, or even her Aunt Courtney...which is really saying something:

Based upon the recommendations of several friends we purchased a Babi Italia crib. I am already in love with it. 

Baby still has a quilt in the making but if its anything like the one below, she may reach her first birthday before it's finished. I started this butterfly quilt during the hurricane last year and just finished it up a few weeks ago. I'm great at starting projects. Terrible at finishing them. 

That's it for now. We have a few more small projects on tap and hope we can accomplish those sooner than later. Between work and school, Colin and I are staying busy right up until D-day!