Friday, August 28, 2015

A Letter to My Firstborn

Dearest Madison,

I love you so much baby girl, but I want to apologize to you and try to explain some things I've realized since having your sisters.

You are my firstborn. I thought I was prepared to become a mom and I quickly realized otherwise. I was overwhelmed at how difficult things were. I struggled greatly and I didn't handle the transition into motherhood well... I worried and stressed over everything and anything.

Were you gaining enough weight? Why were you always screaming after feeds? Why wouldn't you sleep? What do we need to do to prevent your days and nights getting mixed up? Are you using the pacifier too much? Why are you acting like you want to eat now when it's only been 1.5 hours since your last feed and not 2-3? Why are you still acting hungry when you just ate for 20 min? Why do you spit up every single time you eat?

I thought everything was a bigger deal than it actually was...a rookie mistake for sure. You were our test subject and, baby girl, I'm sorry. I feel like I failed you in some ways. I know I was too hard on you. I know I was too impatient with you. I know I expected too much of you.

I regret not cuddling you more. I regret being so selfish and not appreciating more the time I had with you. I see now how quickly time goes by and I hold your sisters close a little longer at night wishing I'd done the same with you instead of wanting to rush back to my own wants/needs.

I can't go back in time and re-do the mistakes I've made. I can only learn from them and do better with you and your sister in the future. I can only ask for your forgiveness and to promise that I love you and your sisters all the same.

But the next time I put you to bed, I will hold you for a little longer and praise the Lord for your unconditional love and that I still have time left with you to cuddle.

I love you now and always my sweet, precious girl.



Sunday, August 23, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up: Friends and Family Fun

We had a lot of fun this week as a family and with our friends. Last Sunday our little ladies were wide awake, which I think everyone in church was happy about. Daphne and Kemi were quick to call dibs on a baby (and Kemi has asked to reserve one every Sunday!). They held these two the entire service and I think everyone was a fan. :-)

Monday and Tuesday were planning days for barnehage meaning that they were closed and we had to keep Madi home. Jason needed to work on Monday and rather than tackle all three kiddos by myself, our friend Sandy offered to come over and help us. Madi had a blast playing with her and I enjoyed getting to visit with her during naptimes.

Jason was able to take off Tuesday and we decided to take Madi to Leo's Lekeland, one of our favorite places. We had a blast playing together and Madi made it up the highest she ever has before on the volcano! Girl is a good climber!!

Our week mostly consisted of snuggles and playtime with our three precious girls. I have a feeling that's what will occupy the majority of our time from now on. :-)

They are so loved by their big sister! Madi enjoys giving baby sisters kisses, holding them, and playing with them. In fact I think they are getting more kisses than us these days!

It's kind of long, but absolutely precious. "Not push me baby sisters."

Saturday we took the girls to Sandvedparken, one of our other favorite spots. Our friend Kristy and her daughter Sara were able to join us and the girls had fun playing together! But these two slept through the whole thing. ;-)

Today we went to church and while I intended to get pictures of our three cuties afterwards, two of them were asleep and one wanted to play outside in the beautiful weather we were having again. Alas, I don't have any pictures from today. But... I do have an adorable video of Madi singing her ABCs! Sort of. Pretty good for a two year old I'd say! Especially the part where she switches and almost starts singing "Him belong, they are weak" from "Jesus Loves Me". Ha! ;-)


Monday, August 17, 2015

August Fun with Family

After my mom left after helping us for five weeks, my dad and his wife Mary arrived to help us. There was a quick turnaround in guests (like 2.5 hours between my mom departing and them arriving!). They were able to stay and help us for two weeks, including Madi's third week out of barnehage.

I had the luxury of not taking any pictures while they were here because they constantly had a camera or iphone to capture all of the fun they were having! Madi had such an amazing time with her Papa and Grandma and we appreciated having so much extra help with Madi, Evy, and Liv! :-)

The weather was great during their visit and they were really good about getting her outside and playing in the yard and on her trampoline. They went for walks, got ice cream, and had so much fun!

They were also amazing with the twins and enjoyed holding them!

Madi was also a good helper!

We made sure to visit Soma Gard while they were here as well. Poor Madi was put to work pulling Papa and Daddy on the tractor!

Here are some other pictures of the fun times during their visit!

We are so grateful to have been blessed with so much help from our family! My mom, Jeff, my dad, and Mary are amazing parents and grandparents! I don't know what we would have done without all their help this summer. We sure do miss them already!


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Seven Year Anniversary

I love making this collages and looking back at pictures of Jason and I. There weren't many pictures of just us this year though. (And honestly I am surprised I had time to make a collage since I did it on Friday, my first day home alone with the twins!)

We are at a stage in life where most of our pictures together include little ones! I know it won't always be that way so I'm perfectly happy with it in this stage of our lives. :-)



It's been seven wonderful years as your wife! I love you so much and wouldn't change a thing about our history together. We've laughed together, cried together, travelled together, and grown together. I cherish being your help mate and I look forward to all that our future brings! We may not be able to go out and celebrate this anniversary, but we have three beautiful reasons why I'm okay with that. :-)

Happy anniversary!


Here's our 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th anniversary posts. :-)


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Oslo Embassy Trip

Do you ever have this circumstances where things just fall into place perfectly despite appearing to veer off course? We had a handful of those type of encounters and knew without a doubt God's hand was looking over our trip to Oslo and orchestrating things to work in our favor.

First, the decision to make the trip to the embassy this soon came pretty last minute. We emailed the embassy on Wednesday of last week and by Friday had an appointment for the following Wednesday. They opened an appointment slot up for us surprisingly!

One of the things we need to present at the embassy appointment is birth certificates from Norway. We got notification that they were being mailed July 24. Well, for some reason, the tax office now uses KPMG as our mailing address. My co worker told me I had an envelope from KPMG and I foolishly assumed it was or birth certificates. We were quite panicked Monday night when she dropped off our mail and we didn't have them!

Jason headed to the tax office the next morning in hopes of getting a copy printed. He waited in line and was told that they no longer print them and you order them online. She said they can order them for you when you come in. He explained that we were headed to the embassy the next day and didn't know why they'd been mailed to KPMG and was there any way she could print them for us. She said "no" but walked over to the printer to retrieve the copies of the birth certificate! Yay!!!

Our next obstacle was airline tickets. By the time we got the appointment there weren't many seats left and we needed to book fast. The flight we needed we couldn't book online with the airline because we wanted to book three seats and it wouldn't let you do that with an infant under two. And of course because this is Norway, the customer service was closed. We were able to book through cheap tickets though! Jason called to get us three seats together and they said they couldn't assign us seats because it was SAS's system and when we called SAS they said they couldn't because we hadn't booked through them. Ugh!

Once we were able to check in we could pick seats. Except they only allowed us to pick two seats going out! I called and spoke with someone and got it arranged to have an entire row on both legs of the flight. Phew. Except that when we went to check-in, it was the same as the original error. Nothing had been changed from my phone call the day before and now it was after 7:00 am for our 8:00 am flight! The gal had to call and it took some time to correct things. She said thye had put the infant lap child with Evelyn, our other infant, and that she was barely able to get our seats together. She said they crew would also be confused why they only had one infant on the manifest so to make sure and tell them we booked an infant with seat ticket. But it got resolved and we made it through security in enough time! 

Once we landed, we made our way to the train station, but not without a quick stop at Starbucks. As we were in line to buy our tickets, an agent asked us if we needed help. We told her where we were headed and she informed us that train left every 20 min and the next one was about to depart in 4 min. She walked us to the escalator where you can just swipe your credit card and go. She was super helpful and we were glad to make that train and not have to wait for the next one!

Once we arrived, we walked the short 8 min to the embassy arrving around 10:15 am. Unfortunately our appointment wasn't until 11:00 am. We went through security however, and asked at the counter if we could go early if there was an opening. He took our paperwork right away and started our processing. The whole thing took a little over an hour and the girls needed to eat. I kindly asked the guards if I could bring my nursing pillow in if they performed additional checks on it. Since it had already been checked for explosives, they let me take it! (This is a big deal because you can't bring anything into the embassy with you - no strollers, backpacks, blankets, etc. - so I was super grateful!)

We got out of the embassy around 11:15 and had plenty of time to grab lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and feed the girls again. We slowly made our way back to the train station and headed to the airport. Things went smoothly the rest of the trip and we were so glad to have the trip finished! 

The girls were angels on both flights and did fabulous! They must have been tired because they slept 5.5 hours last night!!! :-) 

Here's our trip to the embassy two years ago with Madi and the same picture we took with her. We were able to do a bit more touristy stuff then, making it a weekend trip.  


Monday, August 10, 2015

Evelyn and Olivia: One Month

I can't believe it's been a month! (I also still can't believe we have two babies so apparently I am just not good at accepting reality?) This past month has flown by quickly and had lots of ups and downs, but mostly ups. These girls have stolen our hearts and are being loved on by their big sister Madi. She loves to give them stuffed animals, play food, blankets, and have Hans (her doggie) kiss them.

Here's your one month update baby girls! :-)

- We haven't gotten into a great routine yet, but I'm okay with that. You are typically eating every 2- 3 hours during the day and have been kind and given us between 2-4 hours at night. One night you even gave us 5 hours!
- We are tandem breastfeeding still and that's going pretty well. If one of you wakes, then we wake the other one in order to keep you on the same schedule. It's going well, but we've also had help this whole month. I'm going to try keeping you on the same schedule still, but it will be more strategic once I am on my own!
- You girls are sleeping together at night because I hold you and lay you down simultaneously after your feeding. However, for naps we are putting you in separate cribs. Sometimes you'll nap in the nap nanny together and every once in awhile a swing, but we are starting to try and do naps in the crib when we are home. You also did not get the memo that you were born in Norway and should be sleeping in your pram. We've taken a few walks in hopes of calming you and getting you to take a nap and they have been a big fat fail. :-/


Length - 20.1 in
Head - 14 in
Weight - 8 lb, 4 oz

- Your arms! Girl, you have got some long arms and love to stretch them out, especially during a diaper change. We joke that you're directing traffic or practicing for cheerleading. :-)
- You are more laid back (in general) than your sister. We've noticed a few times that you've been crying, but if Olivia starts to cry you get quiet and wait for your turn. 
- You are very strong and have had good head control since you were born. We're comfortable putting you on your stomach for naps as you seem to prefer that and can hold your head just fine. 
- You are very alert! You love to gaze around at everything when we are holding you. 
- You are the spitting image of your Daddy and I love it! We had to get Daddy's birth certificate out for our upcoming trip to the embassy and saw that he weighed 6 lbs, 6.75 ounces (compared to your 6 lbs, 6.5 ounces). How crazy that you were so close to weighing the same!!
- Seriously little one - let's talk about milestones. You are not supposed to roll yet... but you have rolled from your stomach to your back THREE times! 


Length - 19.7 in
Head - 15 in
Weight - 8 lb, 13 oz

- You have such wide eyes! You almost look like you are perpetually surprised and it's adorable. 
- As mentioned above, you are a little more fussy than you sister and definitely have a louder and stronger cry. 
- You seem to be sensitive to dairy (and Evelyn too, but less so) so Mommy is cutting that out now along with caffeine. It's not pretty!
- You are a better eater than your sister and like to comfort suck once you are finished. There have been multiple times you've smiled on the breast and milk has dribbled out. 
- You like to pee on Daddy during your diaper changes. You've done it to me once or twice, but you do it for Daddy pretty much every time, haha.
- You have the cutest smile and show it most after you've finished eating and I'm holding you in my arms. It makes me laugh that you are so content after mealtime. :-)


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Evelyn and Olivia's DIY Newborn Photos

We decided to attempt our own newborn photos this year... quite the challenge with twins, right? The prices for photographers are so expensive here in Norway and they've gone up since we did Madi's. We had a friend of ours take some lifestyle family pictures which turned out fabulous and I am so glad we were able to capture some of all of us and Jason still get a chance to test out his photography skills with some DIY ones.

There were definitely some advantages to taking them ourselves - we were able to setup the photo shoot and take them throughout the day when the girls were sleeping best. (Opposite behavior we had with our family lifestyle pictures!!) We had times where one was asleep and the other wasn't so that worked well for individual photos also. Plus I was able to continue feeding on their schedule and we had three sets of adult hands (Jason, me, and my mom) to arrange, hold, and help with the babies.

I put together the props and Jason got the backdrop built from spare cardboard and wood. We had most of the props already either given to us as gifts or random things from around the house or things we borrowed from friends. So overall we didn't have to spend a lot of money on new things. Jason already had all of the camera equipment, but purchased a light director thing.

Here's a behind the scenes picture of our photo shoot -

Jason did a phenomenal job with taking the pictures and spent a few hours watching some tutorials and then editing them. Do I have an uber talented hubby or what?? Look at these gorgeous shots!!

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