Welcome to the world, Cora Rose Norell!

Our little Cora Rose was born at 12:01am on June 7th! She was 20 inches long and weighed 8 lbs! This past week has been nothing but lots of kisses and cuddles with our new favorite girl. Josh and I have always made fun of the parents who turn into blubbering, baby-talking, giddy crazy people when they hold their baby, but we have totally joined that club. Look at that sweet face! How could you not!?  We keep pinching ourselves in disbelief that WE get to be her parents. Its so surreal and so incredibly wonderful.

Settling into the life of dipper changing, bath times, breastfeeding, and getting up several times a night has been less of a challenge with the help of my mom, sister, and best friend Lydia. We haven’t once had to think about cooking, cleaning, or doing laundry and we are beyond thankful for that. What on earth will we do without them come July! We said goodbye to Lydia this morning at the “kiss and fly” and sent her on her way to california. It was such a sweet time having her here to celebrate Coras arrival. We also had the best gift of my Aunt Addie being her for Coras delivery! Its always a breath of fresh air and so much fun to have Addie around. We are blessed, very, very blessed.

Bringing Cora Rose into this world was a wild ride! 60 hours of labor in a foreign hospital was quite the experience. I plan on sharing my “birth story” on the blog soon, but for now I’m just taking some time to enjoy our little one.

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And my favorite!…Preach it sista!IMG_4054

 Thank you Lydia for the wonderful photos! We love you so much!

Party of three

Last weekend Josh and I had the opportunity to spend time with our Church family at a retreat center in France. It was awesome. The sun was shinning, the food was yummy, the forest was beautiful, and we met precious families. Reality hit us as we sat in a pretty meadow in the woods that it was our last weekend just the two of us without family and our baby girl. To be honest it felt very bitter sweet.photo 1-10
For the past seven years (time goes by too fast, y’all!) its just been Josh and I. We have done so much together. We have seen the world together, grown up together, had countless Starbucks dates, spent summers at the lake, planned our wedding, made our house a home, and now becoming parents together. Maybe I’m being a little over sentimental…BUT, it truly is a strange feeling going from a party of two, to a party of three.

So much has already changed. Being pregnant has been a challenge for both of us in different ways. Its a beautiful season but also a difficult one. As a couple we have faced a new level of flexibility and grace for one another and it continues to grow everyday. Just when we would exhale a deep sigh of relief having worked through a new challenge a new trimester would come or a new challenge would present itself and we were back to asking each other and God for MORE grace, and MORE patience. But there was always joy in each season we have walked through together. We have stayed a team through it all and I am so thankful for that.photo 2-9

So here we are! At the end of the pregnancy journey twiddling our thumbs waiting for this little one to make her way into the world. We are so ready for her to join us. We are so ready to learn and experience the person God has created her to be. We are curious to discover the gifts and passions she has been given. As I write this I am watching our little lady move side to side in my belly making a wave like effect under my tight, shinny skin. Sometimes I feel like she will be in there forever enjoying the simplicity of the belly world. Hopefully not too much longer.

How did we get so lucky to be given the incredible responsibility of being her parents? We have been asking this question a lot lately. Grateful can’t begin to describe how we feel about her already. And will I really love her MORE once she is born?…this can’t be possible, because if it is I will surely burst.

 

Note to future self: remember these things for next time around.

photo-31Im just a couple weeks over 8 months pregnant. We recently found out that we should be expecting our little girl closer to the end of May or beginning of June! So ready to meet her face to face.

With the pregnancy coming to an end I have been doing a lot of reflecting. I know that after she is born I will have more lessons learned and more reflection, but I want to share what I have learned so far. Looking back to the day we found out that I was pregnant I feel like I am a totally different person. My view of pregnancy has molded into something new than when I started, and I feel that God has really brought me into a new season of life with Him. For those reasons I feel it is important to share 8 things I have learned during my pregnancy. Im no expert (I’m not even done yet!) but I value sharing and being transparent with where we are in life with others. This is for me, and for you…

FIND THE NAME YOU LOVE.

Picking a name for your baby can be heck of a long process, especially when so many people have their own options. You will probably experience it all: Family members pushing the names of great grandmothers or grandfathers, friends who just can’t accept the meaning of the name, or even people who will respond with the oh so familiar, “Oh no, you can’t name her that, I had a classmate in kindergarden that was so mean named that!”. So many opinions, so many personal experiences, its impossible to please everyone. So dont. To be frank, its your baby, no one else’s. Choose the name YOU love.

STOP WHEN YOU NEED TO. 

Slowing down is a discipline that is hard for me. I enjoy the feeling of a full days work and being productive. In reality pregnancy will limit how much you are able to do during the day. It was a struggle for me to accept the fact that I physically can’t do as much as I did before I was pregnant. Especially in the 3rd trimester when I realized my basketball belly, swollen ankles, and aching back were things I couldn’t just ignore. I want to tell the future pregnant me, “Just stop. Take a break. Accept the season you are in by letting go of the normal life you know, and allow your body to take a rest. Its good for you.”

EAT SOMETHING YUMMY.

For crying out loud, eat the dang chocolate! There are so many books, blogs and magazines that will tell you what you should and shouldn’t eat during pregnancy. For the first 6 months I was so cautious about everything I ate and was always worried if I was hurting the baby. To be honest it can become quite consuming and stressful to think about everything you are putting into your body. Im not saying go crazy and eat all the ice-cream sandwiches you can get your hands on, but don’t become overly paranoid either. Have that Starbucks drink when you go out with a friend and treat yourself to something yummy when the day has been long. A cup of Chai in the evenings has worked wonders for me.

MOVE.

Early on in my pregnancy I began walking everyday. I understand that this isn’t possible for everyone in the beginning especially if you are fighting through morning sickness. I was fortunate that I didn’t suffer to much from feeling sick through my whole pregnancy so far. Walking and doing yoga (I do Shiva Ray pregnancy yoga) has been super helpful for me. I feel that I have been able to cope with a lot of the normal aches and pains much better than I would have if I hadn’t been walking and preparing my body for labour. On days when I didn’t feel well I would feel much better after I went for a walk. Be true to where you are and how you feel when it comes to being active. In the beginning I was able to walk briskly and for a good distance. Now at 34 weeks I can only walk about 20 minutes and I have slowed down my pace to keep my breathing at a good rhythm. Finding an exercise that works for you and keeps you active is so important and I promise you will benefit from it.

HELLO, LITTLE ONE!

Its so exciting when you feel the first movements of your little one! I remember sitting on the couch with my hand on my little belly when I felt her first kick. Everything feels so much more real after that. But even before there are physical signs of your baby I believe that it is so important to speak to that precious little one. Even before your baby develops the ability to hear their spirit is alive. Josh and I from the day we found out we were pregnant began to pray and speak love and blessings over her spirit and developing body. This created a connection very early on for both of us with her and I’m so glad we did that. For us our parenting began when we knew of her existence. We knew that God already had a purpose and plan for her life. He already loved her, knew her name, new her gender. We found so much joy in speaking Gods promises and love over her from day one.

NEVER JUDGE.

Ill keep this one simple and sweet. Never judge someone else for how they are handling their pregnancy. Everyones experience is different and their own. For some its super easy, for others it can be a very depressing season. Whats important is not to put your own standards or expectations on other people. Give others the freedom to be real with how they feel and where they are in their pregnancy. In the end we are all doing the best we can.

Extend grace. Extend love.

 BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU GOOGLE.

Your body will go through the craziest changes throughout your pregnancy. For starters your abs split apart. Then all your organs shift around to make room for your growing baby. Acid reflux kicks in. Constipation. Leg cramps. Itchy skin. Random numb patches. Forgetfulness. Fatigue. Unable to hold your pee when you sneeze. The list doesn’t end. I had a friend tell me recently that pregnancy symptoms are the same as someone who is dying…comforting huh? Every new feeling or discomfort I have had I would begin to worry and turn to good ol’ Google for answers. This was a bad idea. There is a time that you just have to let it go and not worry about every little thing that you feel. Of course there are some things you don’t want to ignore, but don’t google yourself to death over every discomfort. This is to protect your own sanity. Realize that you will hurt sometimes and you will become more uncomfortable as the months go on, and thats normal.

TRUST YOUR BODY.

Lastly, trust your body. No pregnancy is the same and your experience will be different from everyone else’s because you are unique. God created each of our bodies in the most amazing and detailed ways. We don’t tell our bodies how to develop a growing baby or when and how to change during the different trimesters. God has created our bodies to naturally function in this way. Your body is capable and created to do this. So listen to what your body is telling you. Early in my pregnancy I was craving burgers so intensely that it hurt. All I could think about was getting my mouth around a Big Mac from McDonalds. When I went to the doctor for a check-up I found out that I was very, very low in Iron. This explained my craving for burgers. My body new what I was lacking and began craving what it needed. If you feel your body needed a break during the day, take a break. If you are really craving a certain food, ask your doctor what nutrients you could be lacking. Learn to trust the signals your body is giving you.

So thats, that! My 8 things I have learned over these past 8 months during pregnancy. This is my personal experience and I know that it will be different for each person as each pregnancy is unique. If you are in a season of being pregnant I would love to hear some of the things you have gained through your experience.

Thanks for reading!

Bump it Up! 3rd Trimester

Today marks the start of my 3rd trimester!

What I look like…

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What I feel like…

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I feel like each week of my pregnancy my body and emotions change. Besides the occasional melt down, like I experienced last night, emotionally I have been doing pretty well. The most dramatic change has been in the Little Ones position. She has moved much higher up, and her kicks have turned into full on tumbles and rolls! I can watch her go from one side of my belly all the way to the other. Pretty cute. Sleeping has become difficult due to lots of leg cramps and back aches, and my craving for sweets has escalated drastically…I mean like, I eat this religiously…

photo-1( ice-cream, peanut butter, chai powder, resses, and sprinkles.)

Like we shared before we have been praying about many things when it comes to the baby and the birth. Moving to switzerland brought on many new challenges such as language, insurance, doctors, and cultural differences. It was hard not to worry about how everything would work out. But God is good and we are beginning to see our prayers being answered! I was able to have my second official Doctors appointment and everything looked very good. She is growing TALL, and has a beautiful heartbeat and developing body. All of my blood work came back healthy as well. We have also been blessed with a fantastic english speaking Doctor in a Hospital near by.

So ready for these last few months, and SO ready to meet my little girl!

Third trimester, I welcome you with open arms, and ask that you be kind and gracious to me.

She is loved

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I have the best of friends.

Some would say it is a little to early for a baby shower, given the fact that usually they happen around 8 months and not 5, but my sweet friends celebrated my little girl with a beautiful shower on Sunday. They brought the most delicious baked goods, and precious gifts!

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Looking back a few months ago when we found out we would need to return home for our visas I was frustrated and confused. I didn’t understand why the Lord would bring us back so soon and not make a way for everything to work out with us there. I do not believe that everything happens for a reason, but I do believe that God is capable of redeeming all things. I am so grateful for the incredible blessings He has given us through our time being home.

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Our little girl is SO loved. Watching my friends and family say sweet words to her (at my belly, but to her) and fill up our living room with so many adorable clothes and toys brings me so much joy. Celebrating her life in this way with these amazing people was such a beautiful gift.  I know she can feel all that love even now.

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IMG_2455Thank you everyone who has celebrated with us near and far!

Gender Reveal!

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Its a…NORELL-6325

GIRL!

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We are So thrilled to finally know that our Little One is a baby girl! It was such a sweet and exciting experience to watch our little girl twist and turn on the screen. Our whole family was able to be there and the room was filled with lots of joy and happy tears!

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We have loved being able to call her by name the past few days, (yes we already have a name!) We feel so much more connected and close to her. Josh and I can’t stop talking about all the fun girl things we will do with her, and looking at all the super tiny Target and Gap girl clothes! Its ridiculous how CUTE everything is!

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Big special thanks to our dear friend Kelsee Reeves for taking these photos for us! We will treasure them for a long, long time.

Boy or Girl! Whats your vote?

Todays THE DAY!

I have been thinking about this day forever. Who is this little person that will forever change our lives? We are so excited to find out the gender of our Little One today. We had talked about all the options there are on finding out the gender of the baby. We could wait and find out the day it was born, we could go alone to the ultrasound and share the gender when we were ready, or we could have the whole family join and find out with us. I love how there is so much freedom these days when it comes to pregnancy! We decided we wanted to share this special day with our family.  My brother is in town from California and with us living so far away we want to have this experience with everyone. That means the whole crew (10 of us) will be at the ultrasound and Joshs parents will Skype in!

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We have spent all week guessing if Little One is a boy or girl! So what do you think?

18 weeks!

This week has been BY FAR the BEST week of my pregnancy. At the beginning of the week I felt the Little One for the first time. It was unreal! Im always rubbing my hands on my belly and it was the best surprise to feel a little punch on the palm of my hand for the first time.

Ever sense that first punch, or kick, whatever it was, it hasn’t stopped. Im experiencing kicks almost every time I poke my stomach, and I often can feel the baby move if it decides to suddenly roll and flip. Josh and I have a new nightly routine of laying still with our hands on my stomach taking in every movement the baby gives us. Not going to lie, its a little freaky sometimes, but I love it.

I feel like the love I have felt for this Little One has grown stronger now that I feel a physical connection to it. I know that love will only grow stronger.

Speaking of growing, my belly has been making some forward progress these last few weeks!

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                    12 weeks                                             18 weeks

14 weeks!

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Hello, second trimester!

Little One is now about the size of a lemon, can make facial expressions, and possibly stuck its thumb if its in to that sort of thing. I never thought I my heart would melt over these small milestones in a babies development.

Last week we got to hear the babies heartbeat for the first time. It sounded like a galloping horse! It was so surreal to hear the sound of the small life inside of me that I didn’t really even know how to react. Our next ultrasound will be towards the end of January and we will (hopefully!) get to find out if Little One is a boy or a girl. I can’t wait!

14 weeks down, about 24 more to go!