Friday, December 23, 2011

She's Here!!

Our sweet girl, Maya Hope, arrived two and a half weeks early on December 14 at 7:35pm weighing in at 5 pounds and 12 ounces and measuring 19 inches! We are so happy and excited to share this first special Christmas with her as a family of 3. She is a sweet happy baby and has made our world complete. We are totally in love.

Happy holidays!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

35 weeks

Here I am at 35 weeks, a ticking time bomb. When I was about 18 weeks I promised a late pregnancy update. Well here it is...

-Being 8 months pregnant really improves the way you feel about your body, retrospectively. I now look at pictures of myself before I was pregnant and remember thinking I needed to lose a few and just laugh. HAHAHA, what a fool. NOW I'm fat. If I can get that body back I will be so happy. If.

-Moving is incredibly and laughably difficult. Which is cruel because of the number of times I have to get up to pee in the middle of the night. Sam often gets a good laugh out of watching me rock my way off the couch with the assistance of the coffee table and book shelf. Gone are the days of daintily easing my ace into a sitting position, now I just release the catch and collapse onto a seat. Timber.

-The belly can get in the way sometimes. I may as well wash the dishes in my bathing suit.

-The little sweet pea I'm sharing my body with is really good company throughout the day. It's like having a little friend in my pocket, with me wherever I go. She likes to wake me up every morning with a few love taps and maybe a somersault. I think I'll miss it when she's not in there anymore. But sometimes it can be a little, shall we say, distracting. Such as when she does bicycle kicks to my bladder during an important phone call, or practices her highly advanced kickboxing skills when I'm driving. I guess she has a sense of humor already.

-My poor poor ankles, where did they go?! And my feet, what did they do to deserve becoming Yeti-fied? I thought they were joking about your feet swelling in the last few weeks.

-There are so many nice people out there with kind and encouraging things to say about having a baby. Last night at dinner a lady at the table next to us leaned over and asked how "imminent" I am, and said that I was glowing. If you want to make a pregger's day tell them they look good, because it sure doesn't feel like it. Aaand I'm pretty sure I was just sweating but I still really appreciated the kind words.

-I didn't see it coming, but my maternity clothes have even become tight. What the. I never thought I'd even grow into them but now they're snug? Excuse me, this is unacceptable.

-The big push is quickly approaching. What's going to happen? How long is it going to take? Will I even survive? It's crazy to have no idea how it's all going to go down. Whenever I have voiced this opinion to other women who have had babies they say that if you knew what was going to happen you probably wouldn't get pregnant. Oh thanks, that's so reassuring. But believe it or not, I'm not scared. It's not like there's anything I can do, except pray.

-I find myself going into the baby's room a lot more these days feeling like there's stuff I should be doing in there, but usually I just end up looking at her little outfits and imagining a sweet little tiny baby in them and it's kind of overwhelming how excited that makes me.

-I feel really sorry for Sam. He has been so good to me these past 8 months, so patient, so kind. I feel bad he has had to live with this large, irrational version of myself for so long. The other night we were sitting on the couch before I went to dinner with friends and I was kind of moaning about how miserable I feel sometimes and I know I'm pathetic and blah blah blah. And Sam said, do you realize the last three things you said to me just now were "I feel so fat. Look at my huge ankles. Please don't eat all my chocolate while I'm gone tonight." Which is ridiculous and made me laugh hysterically.

-Besides being totally irrational I'm also a complete emotional sap, which is a trait I've always been terrified of acquiring. I cried on Thanksgiving Day when I had to go to work, I shed a tear when my favorite bakery didn't have any donuts left, I wept a little during the birthing scene of the latest Twilight movie (for good reason hey), and I even teared up while making my packing list for the hospital. Somehow writing down "must get breastpads" what too much for me to bear.

-Everyone tells you to expect to have really stupid arguments with your spouse when your baby is first born--usually in the middle of the night. But in my experience, the tension and arguments begin a little earlier, say, when you have outgrown your side of the bed and your husband has recently developed a snoring habit; "Babe, could you move over a little? And roll onto your side? And go get me a cookie and a glass of water?" Tension. Or when you get home from work really irritated by how many people needed your help (the nerve!) and you have to have ice cream or you're going to possibly commit murder but the ice cream is missing. Argument.

-To summarize: In the last month you are are large, uncomfortable, hungry, tired and freaky. But the best part is that it's almost over and you will then have a sweet little baby all your own. Which is quite possibly freakier. But still, I can actually see now that I will miss being pregnant, it's been such a weird and interesting experience, and very sweet and memorable too. I have really enjoyed it and I can't wait to see the outcome--our baby girl.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


There is a garden in Dunster called the Dream Garden that is full of dahlias of all sizes, shapes and colors. The last time we visited I finally remembered to take my camera...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

warmer days

English weather is so predictably unpredictable. Just as soon as we got our shed stocked with logs and started looking forward to cozy evenings by the fire sipping hot chocolate and eating pumpkin pie it gets hot for the first time since April. During the past two weeks people have been wearing flip flops, taking their shirts off, eating on their patios and going to the beach. Even the plants have started blooming again. So Sam and I took the opportunity to get some color on our pasty selves and hit the beach as well.

(beached whale at 27 weeks)

But not to worry, they are already predicting hail and snow for some areas later this week so soup is back on the menu...

Monday, September 19, 2011

cooler days

Cooler days? Who am I kidding? It's been like this since April. Our summer this year was in what was technically springtime and was just 2 weeks of weather that was in the 70s and one of those weeks we were in Thailand. But I'm excited it's fallish because it just feels different somehow but really it's just the same as summer except that I have an overwhelming impulse to collect pine cones. In honor of the beginning of fall I made a pumpkin pie this weekend and it was delish. I am also looking forward to start making some of our favorite soups like roasted butternut squash, carrot and corriander (aka cilantro), broccoli cheese and leek and potato. Yum. What are some other good soups? Any seasonal favorites that I should add to my soup list?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

21 weeks

Here I am at 21 weeks (I'm 23 now, just a little behind with my posts), this was the day that we found out we are having a baby girl! We are both so excited!! Now comes the hard part, choosing a name.

It's really hard to choose a name for your child. It's probably so bad that I'd advise people not to get pregnant because of it. I'm serious. There's so many decisions. First of all you have to agree. Secondly, it can't be the name of anyone you know--and just think of how many people you know. I suppose it can be the name of someone you know if you're willing to take that risk. It would be great to use a family name but how to pick which side of the family? And what if all your favorites have already been taken by other people in your family? It can't be something that rhymes with anything bad or that could generate a mean nick name. You want to pick something semi-unique so that your kid isn't one of 18 children with the same name in her class, but not so unique that it's obvious you're trying too hard. Will the initials spell something weird? Will her initials spell something weird once she's married? Then of course you have to deal with those special people in your life who ask you not to use the name they have chosen for their child--you know who I mean, that friend who isn't even dating but has her kids names picked out? And of course you might want it to mean something. So there may be a really great name that you love but when you look up the meaning and it's something like "hypocrite" or "slothful one" you think maybe not. You might have a really sweet name picked out but when you tell people they react weirdly or not as you expected so you wonder if it's the name or if they just have gas. But this shouldn't really matter because it's your baby so it's should be a name that you love, but it's such a big responsibility that if there's something bad about the name that you haven't realized yet you really do want someone to tell you. Perhaps most importantly, it has to be a name you can imagine yourself shouting across the playground at the top of your lungs when your kid is pulling another kids hair or putting sand down her pants. Am I missing anything?

We have a couple of names picked out, a top two, but so far have not made a formal announcement of the one we have chosen, because we haven't chosen yet. It's still up in the air...


A couple of weeks ago we went to see Sam's football (aka soccer) team play up in Blackburn which is way up north. He has supported the Blackburn Rovers since he was a wee lad and hadn't been to see them in years and years. So it was very exciting. I was looking forward to the fights but it was pretty tame except for a big fat man and a little short man who got annoyed with each other in the row in front of us because Blackburn were losing and the big fat man said something rude and called them all mean names and the little short man said if he couldn't say something nice to not say anything at all so the big fat guy called the little short guy an even ruder name and the little short guy's girlfriend had to restrain him from punching the big fat guy and I was a little disappointed, because like I said, I went for the fights. But it was pretty fun! A lot of the fans stand up chanting and taunting the opposition during the whole game which was strangely familiar and heartwarming, my fellow Aggies might know what I mean by that.

Here are some little hood rats before the game. I got told off by Sam for laughing at their northern accents.

That's me eating a cheese and onion pie (see I told you I was a pie eater) and a giant pile of chips (aka french fries). YUM, I like football:)

The teams warming up.

Sadly Blackburn didn't win but it was still really fun just to be there in person and feel all the excitement and tension. It was a good day.

Monday, July 25, 2011

bump alert

The bump is officially here y'all. I really debated whether or not to post any pictures of my expanding body but as I've already put a picture of my uterus on the blog I figured why not. As you can see, I'm well on my way to becoming a whale. I asked Sam to make me look skinny in this picture but he obviously ignored me. It's amazing because I've only gained two pounds so far, how is this possible? I am constantly eating. You know how Bradd Pitt always has food in his hand in the Ocean's movies? That's me. I have a mini pantry in my purse--I'm never more than 2 feet away from an assortment of snacks. I guess it's all down to how your metabolism speeds up when you're preggo, I just wish it would stay that way when I'm not so I could continue being such a pie eater and only gain 2 pounds in 4 months.

4 months! Yikes. Let's see, what have I learned in these past 18 weeks:

-First and foremost, it's really unfair that pregnant women aren't supposed to drink. This is the time in your life when a gin and tonic would come in handy the most. Instead you get to go home from a stressful week at work and kick back with a nice glass of cranberry juice. Hot dog.

-There are a whole slew of gross and unexpected pregnancy sympotms that no one tells you about before you're with child. I would have known had I added "What to Expect When You're Expecting" to my reading list prior to when I was expecting but why the heck would I do that? So it all came as a bit of a shock. But I wont go into details because I think my Dad reads this blog.

-I appologize to all of my friends and acquaintances who I previously thought were being wimps when they complained about morning sickness. It really is That Bad. And it's not just in the morning. They should really change that term to "24/7 sickness" or "you will lose the will to live before this is over sickness".

-Everyone and their mom (literally) knows a horrifying labor and delivery story that either happened to them and/or their mom (literally) and they will tell it to you in unnecessarily graphic detail and then say "But don't worry, that wont happen to you". It's probably good for you to hear these stories though so you can prepare yourself for all of the eventualities.

-If you are pregnant and skimming through your copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" skip the section on episiotomies. It's for the best.

-I've not really spent much time thinking about a "birth plan" and I secretly snigger whenever I hear that term because so far I've not heard of a single person who's birth plan panned out. But I have made a rough draft of my own: GET THE BABY OUT.

-I'm incredibly blessed to have Sam through this process, he has been amazing. He's picked up the slack in the cooking, cleaning and buying me snacks departments and even rubs my feet when I get home from work. He also reads up about how the baby is developing each week and tells me things like "Did you know the baby has fingerprints now?" I'm clearly spoiled and also probably undeserving, but then again I am hosting his child inside of my body. If only I could figure out a way for him to be the one to give blood when we visit the midwife.

-You receive a lot of advice when people find out you're pregnant, whether it's friends or family or the woman behind the lottery ticket counter at Tesco. And almost all of it will be contradicting.

-There's a heck of a lot of baby equipment out there, I haven't figured out a single thing about that yet.

-Maternity bras. My boobs got big quick and I needed to do something about it. I went into a shop that was recommended by my sisters in law and had no idea where to start. Maternity bras are similar to those worn by women in their 70s and 80s. They're ugly, they're big and they're ugly. So I asked the woman working in the bra section (who just so happened to be in her 70s or 80s) to recommend a few and she kindly brought me a selection of ugly large ugly bras and then proceeded to grope and adjust my boobs inside of them until she found some that she approved of. I didn't really end up having much say in this whole process, I just wanted to get out of there. And really, the ones I ended up getting weren't that bad, and my boobs are a lot happier now. But I did make Sam promise he wouldn't leave me before I showed them to him.

-If you live in England and you are seeing a midwife for your antenatal care she will most likely ask you if you are interested in having a home birth. If you are like me you will snort and say something like, "Do I look totally insane to you?" I think it's great that some people are into that sort of thing, but when I imagine myself actually squeezing a human being out of my body it's in a hospital bed with trained medical professionals nearby and the option to be medicated if I so choose, not lying on a tarp in my living room with Sam boiling water and tearing sheets. We have light colored carpet.

-It's easy to get distracted by the many details and worries that surround becoming a parent, so it's important to set aside some time each day to spend talking to your baby and praying for it and imagining all those lovely things you will do together as a family. It's really an incredibly special time and it's going by so fast. It's amazing how much love I feel for a little creature that's the size of an avacado. Mmmm avacados...

So there you go, what I've learned about being pregnant in 18 weeks. I'll write another list later on. And of course I have no idea what will be on that list at this point, probably stuff like how to get yourself out of bed when you're a beached whale and what to clothe yourself with when you're a beached whale. Until then...

a walk in the country

I never get tired of going for walks around here, and the scenery is always changing. We had a really nice warm weekend so we went for a "wee stretch of the leg" as my Aunt Mary would say. These pics are from the 45 minute loop we like to do from our house through the farms that surround our village. Enjoy.

This handsome fellow is a highland calf.

On top of Withycombe Hill is an old orchard, had we brought a bag with us we would have had apple pie for dessert that night.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

in the last couple of months...

Our niece was born.

We went to a wedding.

Our other niece won the fancy dress contest at her first gymkhana.

I've been bringing strange combinations of things home from the grocery store (this was actually a happy accident--I have been looking for dill pickles forever and lo and behold, they can be found in the Polish food section at your local Tesco. The fact that ice cream also sounded good on this day and that I happen to be pregnant are mere coincidences.)

A garden is growing. Sadly this is not ours but Sam's parents, however, we do benefit from a lovely organic veg box delivered on a weekly basis:)

I got to see my Mom and we spent a hot sunny day by the sea in Devon.

Friends came to visit!! Leah and I lived a lifelong dream of ours, having tea in England together, which we have been practicing for since we were 10.

It's been a good couple of months!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

our latest creation

Heyo! We're going to be parents! Parents to a human being!

This explains my 2 month break from blog life--I have had an extremely lower than normal tolerance for things I don't feel like doing, and all I feel like doing is sleeping. Things are better now that I'm in my second trimester, I'm able to stay off the couch for hours at a time without collapsing.

We're so excited! In fact, excited is an understatement, there really aren't words to describe all of the emotions I am feeling. It's such a big adventure, the biggest and happiest we have been on so far. When we saw the baby for the first time during our scan it was like being suffocated with uncontrollable love, I just couldn't believe I was actually seeing our tiny baby. We watched the baby bounce around and move its little arms and legs, and we could see the heart beating--this little flutter of life. All my fear and anxiety about being a parent just dissolved as I realized how perfect it is. We will figure out the rest as we go. It's such a miracle that Sam and I have made our own little baby, our own little home brew:)

Two months ago when we were waiting to see what the test result would say I realized that I was thinking "please please please let it be positive", and in that moment when it did say positive the universe did a somersault and we entered into an entirely new dimension. We entered it laughing, which is always a good way to begin something terrifying, exciting and new.