Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Memorable 2014

2014 was a memorable year for the Stingerie family - we did lots of traveling (both around Norway and Europe), celebrated our daughter's first birthday, and learned some exciting news of expanding our family in 2015 by not one, but two babies! I'd venture to say 2014 was a bit tamer than 2015 will be despite a big slow-down in our globe trotting! :-)

So before we ring in the New Year with friends, here's some highlights from 2014 -


After spending the whole month of December in the States, we returned to Norway. I had a couple more weeks at home with Madi before I returned to work part-time. It was a hard transition for sure, but Madi did wonderfully with her nanny, Miss Sally.


Lots of joy and lots of pain this month - Madi said her first word (Da Da) and had her first serious injury. She burned her hand on one of the heaters in our apartment and got second degree burns and a nice boxing glove to wear for a few weeks. Her hand healed perfectly and she has no scarring and perfect usage.


At the very end of February/beginning of March we moved! We're still in Norway, but moved to a larger home much closer to work. It's lovely and we are soooo happy we moved! (View our Tananger home here, Part 1 and Part 2).


We had such fun in April! Over the Easter holiday we booked a cruise around Greece and it was absolutely magical! Madi had a blast and we enjoyed getting to see different places without having to pack and unpack a bunch of times. Plus she was a big hit on the boat and made lots of friends! :-) We also kicked off a summer of Norwegian hiking with a nice and easy view of Stavanger from Dalsnuten.


I celebrated my first Mother's Day with a precious video from my hubby (who was away for work on the actual day). We also took a short trip to Finland and got ready for our big trip to the States for Madi's baptism!


Madi was baptized at our home church in Houston, CEPC, amongst family and friends. We had a wonderful reception afterwards and spent the rest of our visit seeing as many people as we could. We returned home to Norway a week and half before Madi's first birthday and celebrated with friends here. Madi also got her first set of wheels, courtesy of Daddy. ;-)


This month we made the rounds on famous Norwegian hikes in the area. We had an unusually warm summer and Lily, Jason's little sister, came to visit and watch Madi for a few weeks. We had fun visiting Flor & Fjaere, hiking Maanafossen, Preikestolen, and Kjerag (Part 1 and Part 2) together.


It was a busy month as Jason went offshore for almost two weeks this month. Fortunately, he made it back onshore in time for our sixth wedding anniversary. ;-) We also said goodbye to Miss Sally (our nanny) as Madi began barnehage (daycare). She made a smooth transition over, but definitely misses her. I also went back to work full-time after enjoying four-day work weeks (and an extra Madi snuggle day) for most of the year.


We took a family vacation to the Canary Islands and enjoyed some warm beach weather! The rest of the month was pretty quiet with work and getting into a new routine with barnehage


I kicked off the month hiking one of the hardest hikes I've ever done to-date: Trolltunga. It was an 8.5 hour hike that I did sans Madi and Daddy. A couple girlfriends were going and we planned to start trying soon for another baby so Jason encouraged me to take the chance to go while I could. So glad I did!

Later that month, we headed back to Spain, but the main country this time. We attended the World Rally Championship outside Barcelona and enjoyed showing Madi her first car race.


We had a fun November celebrating my birthday with Grandma here for a visit! We also found out this month that we were expecting, but weren't quite ready to share the news. :-)


We got the surprise of our lives when the doctor told me at the 8-week ultrasound that there was not one, but two babies! We had already done big sister reveal photos with Madi and used them to make this announcement.

Good-bye 2014! You were an amazing year, but we can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for us! :-)


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Twin Tuesday: Twin Basics/FAQ and 8 Week Ultrasound Pics

We've had a lot of questions since finding out that we are having twins... we've also been doing lots of research (surprise, surprise) on our own as well. We've also had lots of people offer support, encouragement, and advice - thank you!!

A sweet wreath made by encouraging friends :-)

I want to start capturing the twins' pregnancy similar to how I did Madi's, but with a few changes. Developmentally, twins are 3-4 weeks ahead of a singleton pregnancy. So basically the weekly updates I did with Madi aren't accurate for our new babies development. I found on Baby Center an update on development every four weeks so I'll do bump picture posts then with how they are growing.

Additionally, if there's other news or things to share I'll do them in this type of post - Twin Tuesday, so they are still getting a bit more spotlight. ;-)

So for the first edition, here's some questions we've gotten and information we've learned since that Tuesday three weeks ago now...

1. Are there twins in your family? Only fraternal twins are hereditary and only on the mother's side (since the father has no bearing on how many eggs you might release in a cycle). There are no twins, fraternal or identical, at least the past four generations that we are aware of.

2. Were you taking fertility drugs? For pity's sake, it was our first month trying! No, we were not taking any sort of supplements to increase the chances of pregnancy. These twins are au natural. :-)

3. Are they fraternal or identical? Identical twins means the egg splits into two parts. Fraternal means that two eggs were released in a cycle and both were fertilized. Currently, there is no definitive way to tell if they are fraternal or identical. We hypothesize that they are fraternal based on the fact that they each have their own placenta and are measuring the same size (but if the egg had split early enough with identical twins they could also have their own placenta so again, it's not a definitive way to tell.)

If they are different genders, then they are obviously fraternal. If they are the same gender, then you could look at blood type to see if they are identical. Since Jason and I are both O-, both of the twins will be O- so that doesn't help. The only way we'd be able to tell if they were identical if they are the same gender is if we did a DNA test to see if their DNA was identical.

4. Are you going to find out gender? Yes, we are most definitely going to find out the gender! And we will share it on the blog after we tell family. :-)

5. When is your due date? My due date was July 25th, but I was measuring about a week ahead when I went into the ultrasound. However, in Norway they will induce twins at 38 weeks and the probability of them being born sooner than that is pretty high (on average twins are born around 36 weeks). I have a sneaking suspicion they will be born in June overshadowing Madi's June 20th birthday...

We go back for another appointment on Jan 12th and the doctor has scheduled an hour for Jason and I to do another ultrasound, more measurements, and hopefully answer the page-long list of questions we've compiled for her. ;-)

Until then, here's the ultrasound pictures we got when I went in at 8 weeks to hear the heartbeat and got quite the surprise! On the left is Baby A and on the right is Baby B.

And here's both babies together!


Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas!

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve attending church and having a meal with some of our expat "family". The surprise at the end of the night was a flurry of snow - actual snow!! And it stayed until morning leaving a beautiful landscape of snow across Tananger. :-)

Our morning was lazy - it consisted of cereal, Christmas movies, and lots of presents for Madi. She'd open one, play with it for awhile and then be tuned into the movie again. It was a slow process, and we loved getting to see her open all the gifts and play with them!

And of course we had to go play in the gorgeous snow!!

And we ended the day with some delicious ham, which Daddy and Madi both loved!

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas too!


Our Christmas Tree

This year we got to do something we haven't done before - we went to pick out our very own Christmas tree at Raege Juletregard! It was a cute place with lots of trees and warm glogg and cookies for us to snack on.

When we went to pick out the tree in late November, we had sunshine and clear skies. We put a tag on our tree and then went back to get it the second week in December. Of course when we went to pick it up, the weather was rainy and super cold so I'm glad we took pictures when we picked it out! :-)

We kept pointing at trees and asking Madi "What about this one?" She kept saing "Nei." Finally, after getting tired of this routine, I finally gave her an ultimatum. I said "Okay Madi, do you want this guy or that guy?" pointing at two different trees. Without missing a beat, Madi pointed at the second one and said "That guy". Whaatttt???? We busted up laughing and of course had to get that tree. :-)

Now our tree is sitting beautifully in our living room. We don't have lights or a lot of ornaments, but the ornaments we do have are from the many different countries we've visited or special ones from Madi's first Christmas. We love it and wouldn't change a thing about "that guy". ;-)

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Big Sister Reveal Photos

A few weeks ago I entered a contest on Facebook for a local photographer, Lineik Photography, who was giving away a Child's Mini Session. I was thrilled when I won and knew exactly what I wanted to use the session for - big sister reveal photos.

I tentatively emailed Lineik and asked her about an expiration date on the session, spilling the beans that we were hoping to use it for a big sister reveal, but needed to get pregnant first! She said our secret was safe and we had six months so not to worry about it expiring. She was quite surprised when just a few weeks later I emailed her to schedule a session! :-)

We were able to get in the first week in December, before we found out the news of twins. We found Madi's facial expressions to be perfect to use in our reveal later though. We had lots of great photos to choose from in our session.

Lineik, the photographer, was flexible with us on meeting time and setup, but also brought her own suggestions of things to do or incorporate. She also was able to recommend someone here in Norway who could do the embroidery on Madi's onesie at a comparable cost to the States. She was very professional and efficient in getting us the proofs and the final edited images once we'd chosen our favorites. She was a pleasure to work with and I would definitely recommend her to others in the Stavanger-area!

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