Showing posts with label Baby #2. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baby #2. Show all posts

Monday, June 26, 2017

9 + 10 + 11 month favorites

three months included here and as I look back at nine months it seems like forever ago! 
but since tanner hit that age and has been nonstop mobile, we've used a lot of the same items and not much has changed in this department.

life these last couple months have been a whole lotta food, sleep, playing, + me running around.

george hats //  this one has been a more recent item for us as summer has approached. I feel like I'm constantly putting a hat on tanner to protect his little head from the sun. because sunscreen IN THE HAIR is the absolute worst. it's also so cute on him that I wish would've been having him wear one forever ago! and the sun hat is just perrrfect for pool days!

honest night time diapers // we used these with both our babies and they are THE BEST. once they reach the age where middle of the night diaper changes were out & in tanner's case tummy sleeping started causing some leaking. honest dipes for the win!

contigo water bottle // what harper has, tanner wants. siblings!! so the boy version of the contigo kids water bottle was added to my target shopping list. I've loved the stainless steel for keeping the water colder longer. though it is heavier and he no longer gets to have it in his highchair cause when he throws that down-- I fear for my toes every time.

honest baby multi vitamin // tanner gets one packet of this every morning in his yogurt and loves it!

baby finger toothbrush + gel // boy has EIGHT teeth. and eats LOTS of food. so those chompers need some cleaning! I used to use a baby washcloth to wipe them, but he started biting my finger, so this gives a little more protection on my part haha!

snack cups // so many snack cups out there! we fill them with cheerios, puffs, goldfish, ect. I love these OXO ones cause they come with a lid for when they're stored in the diaper bag. helps save on some of the crumby mess!

booth bath mat // this thing has a hook to HANG over the shower head so it can hang and dry out after bath. finally someone came up with this!!

previous month's favorites:


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Friday, March 17, 2017

seven + eight month favorites

two more months. (HOW?)
another handful of changes. (STOP GROWING!)
and another list of new favorite things. (SO MANY THINGS) ;)

babies don't stop growing and changing. not even as hard as we mamas try to make them stay just itty bitty forever. every month brings so much newness and also so much fun! (for the most part. like not the teething part.)
in addition to many things from previous months that we are also still using (ONE, TWO, THREE + FOUR, FIVE + SIX), here are a few of our favorite things over these last couple months:

bibs // with solids comes mess. I've tried a number of bibs and I want something that doesn't stain from food, can withstand the washer + dryer, and is cute of course :) these bumkin bibs are the best.

nosefrida // this one has actually been something we've been using for a few months. since back when tanner had bronchiolitis. it really grossed me out at first, but this thing is AMAZING! SO effective in getting that 'yuck' out ;) all mamas of babies need to have this on hand. Tanner has been hard core teething and this was a lifesaver in cleaning out his little nose :)

sippy cup // tanner is just slowly used to his sippy cup, but nuby sippy cups are the best when it comes to finding one that doesn't leak! having a leaky sippy cup is one annoying thing that I just don't have the patience for. we tried a number of brands when harper was a baby and nuby was and still is where we found success!

exersaucer // we pulled this out from the closet under the stairs and it's been great for keeping tanner entertained (and contained) ;) even though he fairly recently just started truly crawling, he had been army crawling, scooting, and pushing himself allll around prior.

ergo // now this we've been using for quite some time (in addition to our solly wrap), but with how big tanner is, the ergo feels a bit more solid when I'm throwing him in it as we run into a store. unless we're at costco, tanner gets strapped into the ergo while harper gets the shopping cart. maybe once he's a little older and can hold his own better ;) I'll let them both cozy up and ride together in the regular sized shopping carts.

wean green containers // we have these from when harper was a baby (yet another handmedown). they are still in like new condition. i love them! they're small and a good size for tanner who doesn't eat a large amount of foods and the lids are great for storing uneaten foods in the fridge for later. another favorite thing- they don't stain and get dingy looking like their plastic competitors.

happy friday friends!! OH! and it's st. patty's day, so a double happy friday to ya!!


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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

five + six month favorites

a handful of our favorite things over the last couple of months. though I often think there are too many baby products out there, I have definitely found some that have helped make our days roll out better. most of the time ;) because there's still no ignoring the fact that our days involve a two and half year old and a six month old. both who have a lot of needs!!

{kinda lengthy descriptions, but it explains why we like each of these products} :)

blackout curtains // we don't have blinds in the bedrooms of our house so the sun shines through with nothin stopping it. not good when it wakes sleeping babes! we installed pull down black out shades into the bedrooms when we first moved in (I think I bought them a jcpenny..??). found that from the direction the bedroom windows face, extra darkening was necessary for good sleeping babies :) and have bought pottery barn black out curtains. they are amazing! they block the light so well and I don't have to worry about the sun shinning in and waking the babes earlier than they ought to ;)

quilt // we've been using these quilts/blankets to lay down over the rug in our living room when setting Tanner up to play in the day. it's mainly to protect our rug from spit up and/or blowouts! they're also so soft and we use them when going out of the house too for staying a little warmer during these cold days we've been having. we have this one + this fun new print that I'm thinking might turn into being his 'baby blanket'. there are so many prints between the two brands, that I just want so many of them!!

diffuser + oils // amongst working on getting better sleep for tanner, I brought our essential oils into our night time routine. we had been using them here and there, but now it's every night. I totally believe they have helped! a little coconut oil + lavendar on his jaw line, behind the ears, and back of his neck (especially when he's teething!). a relaxing chamomile blend I have from timelabs that I massage on his feet. and lavendar + frankensense in the diffuser (I have this one and have been very happy with it- we actually have two in our home).
baby boy loves getting his little massage before bed. it really calms him down and settles him in for the night. a little bonus- it's relaxing for me too!

zipadee zip // we used what in our home we call the "zippy" with harper as a baby as well. since we've had them on hand, we pulled them out for tanner (really ever since we stopped swaddling him months ago), but it's still what he sleeps in. and it's working great for us. I've thought about trying to transition him to having his arms out, but why mess up a good thing ;)
--he wakes a time or two in the night, but for me that's no big deal when I can get him right back to sleep after nursing.
--also, being a tummy sleeper 50% of the time, with the amount of space he has in this sleep sack, he is able to move around freely and sleep on his tummy comfortably.

high chair //  since we started solids at five months and he's now been sitting around six months, we've pulled the high chair out and use it every night. we were using the play chair, but it was just too big on our kitchen table during dinner and with being such a big boy.. we started getting concerned with safety! this is the high chair from when harper was a baby, and it's held up so well. we love the wood on it so it isn't an eyesore in our kitchen, and it's so easy to clean.

baby breeza // here again with solids. it's so easy to make baby food with this product. and inexpensive! one sweet potato and I can make over a dozen servings for tanner. it steams + purees so there aren't multiple cooking steps. easy peasy!!

there ya have it!
let me know if you have anything you are loving for this age (or any other age at that matter!) mama recommendations are the best recommendations! ;)

previous month's favorites:


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Monday, December 5, 2016

sleep. sleep. SLEEP.

Brandon and I have been quite blessed in the sleep department with our kiddos. 
there's always that anticipation that once you become parents you won't get ANY sleep. and though it has definitely been reduced (and there are of course always sleepless times) overall, we haven't been too sleep deprived. 
*i'm literally knocking on our wood desk right now*
and then.. harper got sick.
and then.. tanner got sick.
and then.. thanksgiving weekend rolled around.

and we are doing everything in our power to get our sleep back!

tanner has just been all thrown off. with a whole bunch of variables in the mix. bronchiolitis. moving out of the pack 'n play and into his crib in his nursery. and then of course the fact alone that he's a four month baby ;)

harper's days run so much better when we have our structure and routine. that was lost for about 3 weeks. and then comes thanksgiving weekend where she went days without a nap + bedtime was much past it's usual. 

fast forwarding to now. tanner we've pretty much checked him off our list and sleep's improving for him. the toddler, miss harper, on the other hand. for about a week's time there's been nap protesting, bedtime protesting, and early morning rising. a few days of skipping nap and she was quick to realize that fun things go down while she sleeps ;) 
...but hearing that sweet little voice come into our bedroom at 5:30am really takes away its sweetness.

the last few days the 2-3 hour naps are making their way back (hallelujah!!!!), bedtime hasn't been quite as much struggle, and we're on night three of using the ok to wake clock. so far that brilliant thing is slowly helping the bags under our eyes.

so a post about sleep... but it's always a hot topic...
and I'll forever remind myself and say, "it's just a phase" :)


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Thursday, December 1, 2016

three + four month favorites

...doing this quick before yet another month flies by!
november has been a bit of a tough month over here. from harper being sick with a yucky cold, to then tanner coming down with bronchiolitis. I'm not quite sure where the last three weeks went. sick babies make for such a roller coster of days/weeks. it looks like we're finally seeing the light though! 

so... a few of our favorite things for three + four months!

floor play mat // since tanner began reaching and playing with toys- toys have been a big new favorite around here. the floor mat we have is from when harper was a baby and it's just as loved!

car seat toys // we're entering the phase of needing entertainment in the car. of course tanner gets very entertained by harper :) a few carseat toys have also been helpful. we have this elephant and this hanging toy and he really likes them both. 

nursing cover // I ended up buying a second of these after tanner was born. being that it doubles as a carseat cover, it easily got dirty and days (or weeks) could pass by the time I got it washed, dried, and back in my bag :)

paci clips // we use these every day! though my legs could benefit from the squatting down all day long, it's much easier that we use a clip to keep the paci from falling on the ground. and these leather ones by Ryan & Rose, I love for tanner.

monitor // we had/have this exact same levana monitor for harper and were so happy with it that we bought a second to have for tanner. harper's has been dropped a thousand and one times, but is somehow still hanging in there and working for us!

play chair // we used this chair allll the time when harper was a baby. and we're already getting lots of use out of it with tanner! it's also so easy to clean- which makes me love it that much more :)

mama roo // another hand-me-down from harper. we're likely nearing the end of swing days as tanner prefers more and more to be in a sitting position. but it's still quite useful to bring into the kitchen for him to hang out in while i"m making dinner on the nights where he doesn't want me out of his sight :)

how in heaven's name will he be tuning F I V E months in just less than two weeks!?


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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

dry shampoo review

I had listed dry shampoo as one of my favorite things on my two month favorites post and thought a post like this might be fun :) I'm no beauty expert, but I have tried my share of dry shampoos. and there are LOTS of them out there! I've loved some and hated some! here are my opinions on the handful of the ones I've tried. I'm always trying new ones too, so over time this list may change and I may come upon new favorites.
I'm all too dependent on my dry shampoo, but as a mom, I don't think I could live without!
I know.. I know.. first world problems.

I've seen this floating around on pinterest, and isn't it the truth!?
dislike! which I was very disappointed about. I had high expectations for this one. but I found it didn't help with the greasy-ness. and hello(!!) that's the point of using dry shampoo. it actually made my hair feel more oily. the only pro I found- it smells good.

big sexy hair volumizing dry shampoo
this one almost makes my hair feel worse! I thought I would like it much better than I did. it covers up the dirty hair look pretty well, but if I touch my hair, it feels more dirty... weird. and no thanks.

LOVE this product... the only downfall, which is a big one... the spray on the bottle tends to break and no longer spray. I had some that didn't and some that did. which is so disappointing, because the dry shampoo itself is my favorite. if there wasn't that issue, this would be my number 1.

psssst! instant dry shampoo
this one is ok. a good fresh smell. I don't find it to leave any white residue in my hair. it's decent at taking care of the greasy hair.

a good strong spray- which is great to cover more area at the root. I find I have to make sure I shake it well before spraying to avoid the white powder look in my hair- cause no one wants that!

eva nyc freshen up dry shampoo
love it! sprays really well, great cover, and no white residue. win, win, win!

I'll say this is my favorite! it covers so well, and for the price- can't be beat! I don't find it to leave any white residue and it covers around so well. this is my go to for sure!

-shake really well before spraying
-rub into scalp/roots well with your fingers
-brush your hair after

would LOVE to know any other brands that you've tried and tested! please share!


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Friday, September 23, 2016

two month favorites

here's a quick run down of my favorite things over this last month with our baby Tanner Ross.
still love and use everything from last month. plus a few more!
life with a two month old! :)
solly baby wrap // let's just say hands free! with this I can run around with Harper and keep Tanner close. it's A-MAZE-ING

medela sterilizing bags // we've been trying to offer Tanner a bottle a little more frequently to get him used to it. these have been great in cleaning my pumping supplies. I hand wash them as well, but it's also great to use these sterilizing bags every so often and when I really just don't feel like hand washing with the bottle brush and soap :) it's so quick and easy to throw it in the bag and pop it in the microwave!

nursing bra // really I've loved this since day one of nursing, but it is still hanging on as a favorite!

dry shampoo // well because- I now go longer than I ever have before with washing my hair. how would we live without this stuff!?? I started using dry shampoo once I became a mom with Harper, and I don't see myself e v e r stopping! I've tried so many different brands too. some that I love and some that I hate. (thinking of doing a dry shampoo review post! - if anyone would care) ;)

grass drying rack  // I wouldn't say it's a complete necessity, BUT it works really well for the inside of the bottles to dry well when they're upside down

pacifier // we introduced Tanner to the pacifier when he was having a couple of fussy days at 7 weeks old. since then he has grown to really like this one and it soothes him so, so well! and I'm a fan of the solid, simplicity of it :)

Happy Friday, all!!


Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Letter to Harper || becoming a big sister

we are EIGHT weeks in with our little love bug, Tanner!
as if I thought time flew when Harper was a baby, it is flying even faster with baby number two- Tanner! but it is so great, and I truly LOVE being a family of four!
I can only imagine what it will be like when we get to baby number four ;)

I was looking back and found this 'letter' (if that's what you want to call it) to/for Harper that I had written towards the end of my pregnancy with Tanner. man was I feeling emotional and mixed about bringing our new baby to the world! as I read through, I felt some of those feelings again, and yet I also realize how many of my fears/concerns weren't anything I needed to worry about. and what a peace that brings to me now!! Harper is AMAZING at her role as a BIG sister (at the little age of just two!). not once has she had resentment, jealousy, or sadness about baby Tanner coming into our lives and her no longer being my only baby.

I love both of these two with my whole heart. there isn't anything like it.

so here it is. a little bit of my heart on my sleeve.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

she has no idea how many changes are to come in just a couple short weeks. her world is going to change. so much good, yet some hard things too. it's no longer going to be just her and I in our days. she's going to have to share me and I'm going to have to learn how to divide myself between my two babies. she's my world and fear of the unknown creeps in to think that I will no longer be able to give her all of me. she doesn't even know how her world is about to be rocked.
I think of seeing her and saying goodbye the last time as a family of three. as we leave her when we're about to welcome her new sibling into the world, I will say 'I love you and goodbye' one last time while it's still just her. the next time I see her our life won't be just her anymore.

as I sit here writing this with tears rolling down my face, emotions are flooding. emotions I haven't felt until now. at 38 weeks pregnant. maybe it's because it's becoming 'real' to me. and it's no longer just talking about what's to come, but realizing we're fully in it and it is so, so close to being our new reality.

I find myself feeling these emotions of sadness and guilt for what I'm taking away from Harper. soon she will no longer be our one and only.

I find myself feeling emotions of joy and excitement for such a great gift of a little brother that we will be giving her.

I've heard so many moms say before that they wonder if they will be able to love a second child the way they've loved their first. will they have enough love in them?
my wonder and concern falls a little different. I KNOW I will be able to love this new little love of ours just as much as I felt that instant love for Harper. but will I still be able to give Harper the love and attention that she needs while at the same time caring for our new baby boy. am I going to be taking away from her and sacrificing her needs?

I know we will get there and we will be just fine.

I know deep in my heart that there will certainly be challenges for both Brandon and I and for Harper as we adjust to our new life as four. but I also know it is going to bring us all so much joy. for her to learn what it is to have a sibling and love on him the way I know she will... that there, will be priceless.

I love you my sweet girl. you will always be the one who made me a mama. you will always be the one who got the piece of my heart first. that love will never, ever change. I am excited and nervous to watch you step into this new big role as a sister. I just wish I could explain to you what is coming our way.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tanner has been nothing but pure joy to our family. joy that stomps every bit of concern I felt when writing that 'letter'. the Lord's plan is ever so perfect and I feel somewhat silly for the fear and doubt I ever had. not only have Brandon and I been given the gift of a new baby, but Harper has been given the gift of a sibling. and there is absolutely nothing like witnessing sibling love!


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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

OUR TABLE || Freezer Meals

those two words can put a busy mama's mind at so much ease. and in my case, a mama caring for a two year old + a newborn! 
a delicious (still homemade) meal that's ready to go without the need to prep the meal. 
I had mentioned back in my one month favorites how I had prepped freezer meals towards the end of my pregnancy. hands down the best thing I've done to prep for adding a new baby to our family. I still haven't had to actually make dinner yet! and we're 7 weeks in with our little Tanner. that's a combination of freezer meals, friends/family bringing us meals, and any other reason we haven't been home at dinner. but I still have a good handful of them in the freezer and it gives me a peace of mind that I don't have to worry about what's for dinner
that question that is so often so dreaded.
"what's for dinner?"
must admit I went a little bit overboard with how many I made, but when you have an extra freezer in the garage that's just waiting to be filled... it was plum full!

here are ones that I found on pinterst and made:
spaghetti casserole // this one was a win! I'll be saving this recipe to make it even not as a freezer meal
slow cooker sweet and tangy meatballs // simple, easy, and good! win, win, win!
slow cooker honey sesame chicken // we haven't had this one yet, but looks delicious.
spaghetti sauce // this has been my favorite spaghetti sauce recipe. I decided to make it, split it in two, and freeze it.
baked ziti // now this one we have tried, and honestly I wouldn't recommend it. it's fine, but there just isn't much flavor to it.
slow cooker 8-can taco soup // haven't had this one, but looking forward to it as Fall is rolling in!
ravioli lasagna // good, but a little bland.
crock pot sweet and sour bbq meatballs // still have this one to try, but how can you go wrong with meatballs, bbq, and sweet + sour?!
slow cooker black bean and corn salsa chicken // another one that is waiting for us :)
cheesy chicken and black bean enchiladas // these are a fave for sure!! I made them first while I was pregnant with Harper and they have carried through over the last two years!

 no question it is time consuming to make all these. it took me a good two afternoons. but I tell ya, it was so, so worth it.

a few tips from my experience:
-pull all your recipes, make that big, long grocery list, and knock all your shopping out in one big trip.
-use frozen, diced onions. save yourself from all the chopping.
-make sure you have all the saran wrap, tin foil, disposable pans, and freezer ziplocs you'll need.
-take it one recipe at a time and try to do those that have the same meats back to back.
-recruit your mom or a friend to help.
-being SO pregnant, you might find yourself being SO over it when you're about half way through (I did!)... and remind yourself that you'll be happy you did all this once baby arrives!

freezer meals are our dinner life line right now!


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tanner's newborn photos

we had Tanner's newborn pictures done when he was just a mere eight days old with our favorite photographer, Kristal. I truly love every single picture. she has a way of capturing those sweet, real life moments. this has been such a precious time for our little family and to have moments to look back on of those first days with our baby boy- it's priceless.
so now... a big over-share of our photos :)
I'm now so ready to order prints of these and hang them around our home :)


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Thursday, August 25, 2016

one month favorites

we've gotten through our first month with a newborn, and I have to say we have transitioned quite well! beyond thankful for that! though a lot of it is due to having a sweet, mellow baby, there have been some items that have helped ease us into our new normal. now don't get me wrong, we've definitely had our times where morning comes all too quickly and bedtime can't come quick enough.
nuroo swaddler // we started swaddling Tanner at 2 weeks when he had his first overtired/fussy night. this made all the difference in helping him settle down and relax. I love swaddles with velcro because it makes swaddling SO easy. this particular brand has been the one we use every night. the fabric is super soft and light enough so he doesn't get too hot during these summer nights.

noise machine // (we also have the portable version which I keep in the diaper bag). another game changer at two weeks when it came time to help Tanner settle down. white noise, played about as loud as a running shower, is so soothing for babies. Harper liked it as a baby just as much as Tanner does. if you haven't I would recommend reading The Happiest Baby on the Block. it's a great book in helping to understand your baby and figuring out how to help them feel comfortable (less crying!!).

white onsies // simple. easy. my go-to. and I just love a baby boy in a plain white onsie!

aden and anais swaddle blankets // I couldn't resist these ones pictured :) I use these blankets every single day. I think I have a swaddle blanket obsession. just ask my husband- he would agree! there really isn't much more to say, other than they're so great!!

boppy newborn lounger // my friend Kaylani had one of these for her baby who's the same age of Harper and it always looked so great. so with Tanner I just HAD to get one and we've loved it! Tanner loves 'lounging' in it and it's been so convenient in taking him every where we go around the house. often during Harper's bath he's right there with us on his pillow :)

boppy nursing pillow // so helpful in the beginning nursing months when baby is still so little!

IKEA spoka night light // when my friend Holly had her baby a few months ago I saw this night light she had gotten and was very intrigued. since it's a dim light, we use it in the middle of the night for diaper changes. it's great because it gives enough light to see, without being too bright to where it would wake Tanner too much. and what's even better is that it's so portable. the battery lasts so long and is rechargeable. since using it over the past few weeks, we haven't needed to recharge it once.

freezer meals // (hoping to post more on this soon!) last, but most certainly not least! I made a number of freezer meals towards the end of my pregnancy to have on hand for after baby was born. I did this while pregnant with Harper as well. hands down the best thing I ever did to prepare for baby!! between freezer meals and meals that friends/family have brought to us, I haven't had to 'really' make dinner once since Tanner was born! nothing compares to a hot, home-cooked meal. this way we get to enjoy that with such minimal work. 


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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tanner's Birth Story

Tanner Ross Hjelseth
born Wednesday, July 13, 2016
3:19 pm
well.. tomorrow my baby will be four whole weeks old. and though every detail of his birth is still so vivid in my memory, it's about time I get his birth story written and shared.
a lot took place before the moment we actually welcomed him into this world :)
of course I know babies come when babies are ready and there's no way to determine when they will be born (especially without any interventions)... but baby Tanner really caught me off guard.
being that I was a whole eight days over my due date with Harper, I was absolutely certain that I would reach and pass my due date with Tanner as well.
so from the beginning :)
all was well and nothing out of the norm when I went to bed that night.
in the middle of the night though I woke a few times from some braxton hicks contractions that were just a bit more uncomfortable than normal. but nothing alarming.

I had 9:30am chiropractor and 10:30am massage appointments scheduled.
I had still been noticing my braxton hicks like I had in the night, but they hadn't changed and were by no means regular in any way. as I was busy with my day I half noticed them due to other distractions of the morning's busy-ness.
my massage therapist (who knew I was just a couple days from my due date) pressed on some pressure points and used cleary sage essential oil during my massage. both of which are suppose to help in getting labor started if your body is ready for it.
after my appointments (which felt so great!) I headed home to carry on with the rest of my day.
Brandon was working from home that day. I mentioned to him how I had been feeling more braxton hicks. by late afternoon I wasn't only feeling them in my lower back (which was typical throughout my pregnancy) but also some here and there on the sides of my lower abdomen. 
but all was bearable and I was certain it was nothing and that it would eventually just go away.
around 6:30 that evening we were home eating dinner and I started noticing contractions happening more often. I made a few glances at the clock and they seemed to be like every 8ish minutes and a little more uncomfortable. but again, still manageable. 
still, I was certain it was nothing and that it would eventually just go away.
we carried on with the evening. dinner clean up. Harper's bedtime routine- bath, milk + bubble guppies, brush teeth, books, and then lights out.
--it was a little extra special that night as it was her birthday eve and in the morning she was going to wake up a big two year old!!
Brandon was taking work off for her birthday (Wednesday the 13th)  and we had a fun day planned to celebrate her. the zoo. finding dory. birthday gifts. and cupcakes.--

it was now about 8:30pm and I was still having the same contractions. Brandon and I changed into our sweats and went downstairs to blow up balloons for Harper's birthday in the morning, watched a little DVR, then headed up to bed around 10:30pm. 
as I was trying to go to sleep, my contractions had become just too uncomfortable for me to lay through them in bed. as each one came I had to get up out of bed (every 8ish minutes) to move and work through them. at that point Brandon thought we should really start tracking these better to see what's going on. he was feeling pretty certain that I was in labor at this point.
but still, I was certain it was nothing and that it would eventually just go away.

to fast forward a little and to not bore you with all the details (if I haven't already, that is) ;)
the night continued on like this. I was in and out of the tub a couple of times, had music going, and my hubby by my side as I worked through each contraction. this all continued until about 6am Wednesday morning with contractions coming and going every 4-6ish minutes.

since the time between my contractions was moving around from 4-6 minutes, we thought it'd be a good idea to contact my midwife to see what she thought.  I was still in doubt that labor had really started because of the contractions (which yes, at this point had certainly gotten more intense) they however could go 4 minutes between then slow down to 6 minutes. 
and in my mind (as referenced earlier) it was near impossible that this baby was going to be born BEFORE his due date- let alone on Harper's birthday! it was all just going to stop and go away.
(as I look back on it, who was I kidding!)
we checked in with my midwife each hour to give her an update on where things were. she encouraged me to rest when I could since I had been up all night long. and I most certainly would need my energy as this progressed.
with the slow down between some contractions, she figured that the cause could possibly be that baby may have gotten out of position.

we loaded up the car, Brandon's mom had already come over to be with Harper at this point, and we headed in to The Birthing Inn so that Susan, my midwife, could check me and see where we were with things.
contractions were strong. it took a lot to work through each one. and they most certainly were NOT stopping.
I was dilated 4cm. I was shocked!
as Susan had predicted, baby had flipped to the other side and was out of his usual position. we decided to do what was in our power to get this labor progressing. Susan stripped my membranes and turned baby back to the position we wanted him in.
now it was go time!
Brandon unloaded the things from the car while I settled into the room. we weren't going to be leaving without our baby in our arms. ahhh! it was really happening!
though I had finally accepted the fact that labor was happening and baby was coming, mentally I was a little unprepared since I had never, ever, EVER expected this to be happening on this particular day.

labor. labor. labor.
contrations. contractions. contractions.
with as much rest, fluids, and food in between as possible!
somewhere during all this (I wasn't watching the clock) Susan had given me the option of breaking my water.
well... my hesitation here was that I remembered that point when Harper was being born and once my water bag was broken, contractions really intensified as I went straight into transition phase.
mentally, I wasn't so sure I was ready for this... I knew how intense it was at the moment, and knew it would only intensify.
I took some time, ate some food, prayed, and got to the point where I felt a bit more refreshed and ready to push through this last stretch. 

it was time for Susan to break my water. she checked me and I was at 9cm! she said baby was going to be coming soon. and by soon that meant by like 3:30/4ish! tears just started flowing. I can't put into words how much relief I felt in this moment. I knew it was about to get tough, but to know that we were so close- it washed away all of the worries and stress I had been feeling prior to this moment.

we went ahead with breaking my water bag. the next contraction was so intense. but to know I was so close!! that helped me through every bit of it.

I got into the tub.
had the feeling I needed to push and began pushing.

our sweet baby Tanner was born.

relief. so much relief. labor was over and I had my baby boy in my arms.
the emotions, the feelings. it was all so much. 
I could feel God's presence so well and I felt I had the greatest reward from Him.
that reward was a perfectly healthy 8lb 2oz, 21 inch baby.
this perfect baby boy decided to come on the day we least expected.
and gave his sister the greatest birthday gift :)
we have birthday twins born exactly 2 years + 30 minutes apart!
I felt it all. I was present in it all. in the end I had the moment I was waiting for and my baby in my arms. it's all worth it. every moment of it. every bit of pain and discomfort was completely gone the moment my baby landed on my chest.
this guy right here. I could not have done it without him by my side. he was there with me for each and every contraction. birthing our babies has been two experiences that have brought us even closer together. it's indescribable.
I did it. we did it. and we now have our perfect, healthy baby Tanner.
he's everything we had dreamed and prayed for.
may seem like a long birth story (then again, this is what birth stories are about). for me there's even so much more to it than this.
birth is a topic I just love and love to share about. any questions- ask me. I am so willing to share. especially when it helps another mama out.

...another piece to the story. all of these amazing pictures. when we first arrived at The Birthing Inn, my midwife offered us the opportunity to have a birth photographer (if we wanted and were comfortable, of course). I was in from the moment she said the words! she had a photographer Linenko Photography to do some "working" photos for her and she thought we'd be a good family for it. I can't begin to express how blessed we felt to be given this priceless gift.
memories and photos that I will forever cherish.
"When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world." John 16:21
Tanner Ross Hjelseth
July 13, 2016
3:19 pm
8 pounds 2 ounces
21 inches long

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