Saturday, 12 May 2018

39 weeks...and the countdown is over take 2!

I wrote a blog post all about my happiest 9 months last time around when I was pregnant with Ella so thought it would be fun to do the same for baby B this time around! You can check out the last one here

Last time, Byron and I took the test together...but this time since we had been trying for such a long time I didn't want to get his hopes up incase it was a no go again and so I took the test by myself.  I really wasn't expecting to see anything so kind of just put it down and forgot about it (rather than the frantically watching for the line to appear that I would usually do!) I picked it up again and thought that maybe it looked like there was a super faint line, but it was so faint I thought I could have been imagining it! I really didn't know what to do, so I sent a message to my friend Milah in California - she got it at 4am! and excitedly messaged back saying she thought she saw a line too even tho she was half asleep! but I still decided I would wait before telling Byron for sure and would take a test in a few days time to double check!

So that night Byron was working at forest in Northumberland and asked if we wanted to tag along and then have a bbq on Bamburgh beach - it was such a beautiful sunshining evening (in late August), and it felt so exciting knowing I had this secret! (I think that's why I'm smiling extra big!)

 I was really tempted to tell him then on the beach but I still wanted to know for sure! 

So the next day we went away camping to Kielder Forest for the weekend, 

enjoyed some more amazing weather, and met up with friends for some mini golfing by the waterside

 and some feasting at the food trucks!

I was riduncuously happy to find shaved ice! just like the good old Vancouver days! 

 and when we came home on the Saturday night I took another test.  This time the line was definitely visible and I knew it was the real deal! We had put Ella to bed and were settling down for the night for some Netflix and Toblerone (of the coconut variety, thanks to my friend Lizzie who had brought us some from duty free!!) - so I pulled the chocolate pieces out of the cardboard Toblerone tube and put the pregnancy test in there, made us some hot chocolates and then excitedly took the Toblerone and handed it to Byron! 

He opened it up and just looked a bit disgusted and was like 'gross, why is there an old pregnancy test in here'!!! I told him it's not old! and then the penny dropped! there were tears, and so much joy! and that was how I broke the news to him! 

Initially we were both worrying it was twins! With Ella I only really got a visible bump around 24/25 weeks of being pregnant! This picture above was me at about 8 weeks pregnant! already wearing the maternity leggings!!! 

and this protruding bump was 12 weeks! I felt like it would have been really hard to hide it from people but luckily we don't know that many people in the Borders so it wasn't too tricky to keep a secret in the end! 

So when we just saw one baby on the screen at our 12 week scan it was a relief (although I secretly think twins would be super fun too!!)

The next few weeks we shared the news with some of our closest family and friends, but wanted to wait before announcing it to the world because we had our South Africa trip planned in November and so wanted to tell Byron's Mom and grandparents in person! 

We headed to my parents one weekend in September to break up a trip down south we were making to Reading.  My mom greeted us with root beer floats and lemon drizzle cake! Little did she know we were going to be toasting some baby news with those floats so it was a fitting arrival! 
We didn't know when we were going to next see my sisters in person, so as we drove down to Reading the next morning I scribbled this sign on a scrap of paper and got Ella to hold it and sent it to them in our sisters whatsapp group! We still hadn't told Ella at this point so she had no idea what she was holding but was an obliging model anyway! 

Then we spent another gorgeously sunny weekend in Reading catching up with my 2 best friends from uni - Lucy and Tash, I tried to tell them the whole weekend but with Ella always around there never seemed to be a good time.  So I just had to run out as Lucy was leaving to go back to Birmingham and tell them both at the car our news! 

The weekend before we left for South Africa was Bonfire night, we were staying with Byron's dad in Bedford so we went and caught a firework display in Cranfield and then headed to Smashburger after for the best shakes and that's where we broke the news to Byron's dad and brother!

We shared the news with Byron's mom in the car heading home from Cape Town airport on our first day arriving as we were too excited to wait, and then with his grandparents a few days later when we stayed with them in Cape Town.

We were also able to share it with Byron's aunt Claire and his cousins Loren and James too...

and then also with my aunt Di and my cousin Marc and his wife Tanya when we stayed with them in Simons town.  

It was nice to share with so many people in person, and since all my tricks of revealing the news seemed to go wrong last time around with Ella we just kept it simple this time!! haha!

This was one of our first beach days at Hermanus, and I really felt like my bump was obvious here, but now looking back I can't really even tell! I was worried people on the beach would think I was just fat and letting it all hang out so I kept rubbing my bump to try and make it obvious it was a baby in there!! 

We had also planned on climbing Table Mountain, this was always my number 1 thing I wanted to do in Cape Town (I just didn't know I was going to be pregnant when we did it!) so I'm not going to lie, it was pretty hard going! and I smiled when this Rasta guy who had passed us on the way up cheered as I made it to the top and said 'hooray for the baby maker'!! Hooray indeed!

We took some announcement pics right at the top after being reunited with Ella - she had caught the gondola up with Granny! It was so busy with so many people walking along behind the camera that we got lots of congratulations from passer bys which was sweet!

The next day we went to Fishoek beach, which is where my mom grew up.  Her house was one of the ones in the background behind Ella and I! I have heard my mom talk so fondly of her childhood literally growing up on the beach and seen pics so it was super fun for us to be there and Ella loved frolicking in the water!

It seemed so full circle taking a bump picture on the sand where my mom had walked as a child! 

Up until now everything had been pretty normal with my pregnancy, I had experienced quite a lot of 'morning' sickness (whoever called it that must have been a man because mine is always all day sickness!) in the weeks preceding our South Africa trip but I anticipated this as it had happened with Ella's pregnancy too.  I thought all would be well once I got prescribed some anti nausea medication but actually this didn't seem as effective as the awesome one I had been prescribed when we were living in Vancouver so I still didn't feel great on it. 

However the worst was yet to come! In the early weeks of December my sickness really reared its ugly head and it was probably the most ill I've ever been in my whole life! Not to sound dramatic, but not wanting to sugar coat anything either and have this be a true representation of this time in my life - for about 2 straight weeks it was just throwing up 50 times a day from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep. It was awful, it was beyond awful.  I did experience this briefly in my pregnancy with Ella but that was only when I ran out of anti nausea medication on our West Coast USA road trip and so spent 2 awful days in Orange County being beyond sick until I sucked it up and paid crazy prices to go to an American doctor and get a new prescription of the tablets! The difference was Byron was by my side all day, and we were staying with my lovely cousin Stephaney who was trying every ginger trick in the book and trying to ease the sickness too and so it was pretty different this time around - being so far away from family and friends and having zero help, whilst still trying to run a baking business, run a household and look after a 4 year old!!! They were some dark dark days! Some days I would even wonder if I could shout on the post man to come in and get me a drink of water because I literally couldn't move from the sofa! I felt like I was never going to be well again! I ended up being admitted into the hospital because I wasn't able to keep anything down and nothing was stopping the sickness.  I was kept in overnight and let out the next day, and Byron had to pull over on the drive back home for me to throw up again! 

I had to snap this, because you know you're in Scotland when they are offering Haggis on the menu at the hospital! 

So the next day I was readmitted again because nothing had changed and the sickness was still ongoing, this time they kept me in for 2 days until everything had calmed down and I was able to hold down fluids and food again and then I was let home.  So the whole of December seemed a bit of a blur - I felt like I didn't get to do half the fun festive things I had planned for us because I had just been so so unwell, but we did have our 20 week scan on the 22nd December which was something to look forward to! Byron and I had attended the 12 week scan on our own, just incase all had not been well, and so Ella was crazy excited to be joining us this time! 

She even insisted on wearing her Big Sister top that our lovely friend Milah had posted to her from California! 

and all was well with baby B! I had been worried during all the sickness that the baby perhaps wasn't getting the nutrients it needed since I definitely wasn't, but the nurse reassured me the baby is like a parasite and will basically suck everything out of you that it needs so even though I was not doing well baby was thriving!! 

So I kept taking my anti nausea medication - not daring to try and come off them because I just didn't want to go back to how bad it had been! but I finally came off them about 4 weeks ago and have just been feeling amazing ever since! I am definitely in the blooming phase, thank goodness!! and I have not had any other problems or issues these past few weeks.  In fact I don't even feel like I'm going to have this baby any day since I still feel so mobile and just so well within myself! Everyone keeps freaking out when I tell them I'm due this week and I keep getting told how neat I am and how well I am looking which is just what every fat preggo lady likes to hear! So I'm crossing my fingers that this small neat bump makes for a nice small neat baby that will pop out ;) 

It has been all go, getting the babies room ready, organising hospital bags, getting as much baking in as I could before I stopped for maternity leave last week and now it's just a waiting game! Ella came 4 days past her due date so we will see what this baby will do!   

We had originally said we weren't going to get a nursery ready just yet, because the baby will probably be in with us in its Moses basket in our bedroom for the first 3 or 4 months anyway, but I think I've really felt this time around that everything has been much more low key than when you were pregnant with your first.  Less excitement, less celebrations - alot of it is just circumstance and where we find ourselves living, but I didn't want the baby to feel like we weren't as excited for its arrival because we are beyond excited! 

so in my head I felt like giving it a nice little room would make up for some of the being forgotten about this time around!!! 

Ella loved walking into the babies room when it was first done and kept saying 'it's just so beautiful' 

and she loves to go in there and read the baby books, and play with the cuddly toys, and pull on the star that plays lullabies beside the cot! I keep telling her one day soon there will be a baby in there sleeping beside her (because her bedroom is next door) and that is very exciting indeed!! 

 We also had some family photos taken, because it has been something I have wanted doing for so long - but have just struggled to find outdoor family photographers up here! Our one actually came from Portugal! but I thought it was a great moment in time to capture for our family, before we become a family of 4! 

I loved how they turned out! and despite it being a freezing cold minus degree day that day up Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, and we even had some snow, I can still feel the warmth of the love we all have for this baby joining our family! 

Had to include this snapshot I took one day.  Ella and I had sat down to read a stack of books, and the baby really started kicking like crazy, I said to Ella 'the baby must enjoy Charlie and Lola books too!' and she reached down and gave the bump a kiss - too precious! I can't wait to see the sibling relationship unfold on the other side! 

and here are just a few bump shots I tried to take along the way, I felt like I didn't take as many pictures as I did with Ella and I definitely wanted to remember this special time so here are the ones I managed to capture! 

29 weeks, and chilling with the snowdrops in Peebles!

31 weeks, and chilling with my girl on Mother's Day!

37 weeks, and chilling with the buttercups in Roxburgh

39 weeks, and chilling with the rhodos at Bowhill House in the sunshine! Ella captured this bump shot for me!

Almost 40 weeks, and chilling with the bluebells just in the woods behind our house in Kelso (baby arrived later that evening!!)

and that's it, 9 months of pregnancy in a nutshell! Well done if you made it to the end of this beastly post! Next post will be sharing all about our exciting arrival!! 


Wednesday, 2 May 2018

A Unicorn-tastic birthday celebration as Ella turns 4!

So before our newest member of the family joins our ranks in the next few weeks, I thought it was important to blog Ella Bella's birthday! because how did she go from that teeny tiny little newborn to this bright vivacious 4 year old in the blink of an eye?! 

Seriously, I know it's the cliche-st cliche out there, but time just moves so quickly! and in a few short months she will be starting school!!! I cannot get my head around that! (even though she is definitely more than ready!)

Her birthday, on the 8th Feb, began with some present opening! We thought she would be super excited for this cupcake and doughnut print pink bike we found for her! We had been telling her for months that once she had mastered her balance bike she could get her own pedal bike (complete with a seat for monkey or a doll at the back - that bit was very important!) but actually she wasn't too sure about those pedals! and when we took her for a spin later that day cried about that silly bike with pedals and asked why she had to have pedals at all!!! (nearly 3 months down the line she is much happier about pedals and has now nearly almost mastered the pedal bike too!) 

She also got the next size up car seat (in pink as requested) and so her prezzies were more practical I guess, so she was very happy to be having her little friends come over later that afternoon to bring the good stuff! 

Every year I do a monthly photo banner, showing just how she's grown up over the year! I was especially pleased to find this unicorn birthday banner online too to go with it! 

Ella always plans her themes a long time in advance (she apparently already has every party lined up from now until she turns 10!! although I keep telling her that may change as her interests change!) so she had been talking about a unicorn party for a long time, and it just so happened that it co-incided with a unicorn boom! so it was pretty easy to find unicorn tableware everywhere I looked!

I loved those serviettes! and the pretty pastel plates and party hats complete with ribbons.

The tablecloth also had golden unicorns around the border.

Ella helped me bake up these chocolate cupcakes, and requested rainbow frosting with these little unicorn and rainbow fondant toppers.

I also loved these unicorn cookies I found online from the amazing Cookie Pop Shop and we had them as party favours to go along with the party bags.

I also found this adorable unicorn play doh through The Dotty Dough Factory, I thought it was a super fun addition to all the other pony/unicorn bits we managed to find! Party bags are always one of my fave parts of the party planning!

We spent a long time picking out the perfect unicorn party dress! and so it was a quick change when she got in from nursery before all her friends arrived for the party.

We wasted no time in cracking on with the party games - Ella was determined that she was going to win them all!! because apparently she had been practicing lots of musical bumps and musical statues at nursery in the weeks leading up to the party! 

She didn't actually end up winning any of the musical games, but did win pin the horn on the unicorn which she was pretty pleased about!

Pass the parcel is always a fun one,

and we played hide the pony in the garden.  

I think Daddy forgot how small 3 and 4 year olds are and so his high up hiding place was a bit too tricky for them to spot! 

After all the games it was time to finish off with a cupcake! and luckily no one blew out her candle this time around (she was still traumatised from last year when her candles got blown out at both her parties by other kids!)

and she got so spoilt by all her lovely friends, and received a rather impressive collection of unicorn themed birthday cards too! 

I have to say a big shout out to Daddy too - I had come down with awful flu the whole week and so he prepped all the food for the party, even down to the unicorn shaped sandwiches which proved more fiddly than he would have wanted! but I couldn't have done it without him and was so grateful he had taken the day off work! 

The next day Byron had also taken off work, so we went for a birthday day of fun to Cumbria! Try as we might Ella still wanted to stick with her tradition of visiting a farm park despite the freezing conditions outside! so we wrapped up super warm - with her unicorn hat from Granny Kathy coming in super handy! and we had a super fun day out regardless of the baltic wind! 

We went to Walby Farm Park and it was a great day out.  Ella is just animal crazy! and so she loved getting to see all the farmyard animals like these super friendly goats...

and feeding the bunnies was also a highlight.  

In between the timed little animal slots, we would duck into the soft play to warm up! 

It was actually really big and better than expected and Ella could have spent all day in just the soft play and been happy!

Getting to pet a real life pony was pretty exciting for her!

and some more animal feeding!

Of course no birthday fun is complete without ice cream!

The next day was Saturday and it was time for round 2 of her party when all my family came up to celebrate! 

Auntie Mara again stepped into help (so I didn't infect anyone, as I was still pretty ill) and helped decorate these rainbow marshmallows with chocolate unicorns!

We also decorated this unicorn cake together, that Ella had been really looking forward to!

She was also super excited to get this turquoise and purple unicorn headband from Auntie Mara that morning! just in time for her party get up!

We grabbed a family pic with the birthday girl!

and here's the food table part 2 in all its glory!

There was a whole lot of present opening thanks to everyone being super generous!

and then more party games! This was unicorn musical bumps.

Ellis and Mia trying their luck at pin the horn on the unicorn...

and even Granny getting involved, and failing miserably!

I think Ella won round 2 of this again!

Daddy teaching Ella and Mia how to change a nappy! (showing he still knows how ahead of baby B arriving imminently!) Ella got a baby Annabel doll from Auntie Alli that she is smitten with, and Mia was pretty keen on her too! 

We finished off the party with another happy birthday rendition and more cake! 
It was certainly a busy 3 days! but birthdays that drag on are always the best kind right?! 

So here are some things I want to remember about our 4 year old:

Her love of the outdoors, and nature! She loves a woodland wander in almost any weather (she has to living in the country we live in!) This was a snowdrop walk we went on in Peebles.

and she really loves flower spotting just like me! 

She is already getting excited for the few cherry blossoms that are beginning to bloom and for some bluebells just appearing in the woods behind her house 

(although in her prayers at night she says she is grateful for pretend flowers too because she doesn't like it when flowers die!) Lately she has been wanting her own vase of flowers in her room everytime I buy some new flowers for the kitchen table! 

and it just makes my heart happy that she loves flowers as much as I do! 

Her love of the world! Despite not having travelled to too many other countries herself, she certainly has a thirst for travel and seeing new places! She often just randomly drops into conversation how she can't wait to go to New Zealand or asks when we can go to Canada! (this is the question we are all asking!!) and of course she is always wanting to head back to London! She loves to learn facts about the world - she has a favourite tv programme on Netflix she watches called 'Justin Time' he goes and visits different countries around the world and so she will often just come out with random facts like about what a mirage is or she'll remind me not to ski when there's an avalanche!! or will tell me that fireflies live in New Orleans! 

She loves church! and has been working at being a great little missionary lately, even asking her little friends at nursery if they believe in Jesus and God! We went to the Temple for the first time that she can remember and she was just so excited to be there! and just prayed in her prayers this week at bedtime and said 'wasn't it so cool that we went to the Temple'!!! She loves to sing primary songs and really takes in the messages from the animated scripture stories we read each night before bed.  One night we read the parable about the lost coin in Luke, and a few weeks later when we were talking about someone we knew who didn't go to church anymore she turned to me and said 'they're like the lost coin from the story aren't they mommy?'

She got her own little set of scriptures from the Temple which she was thrilled about! and we have started going to church in Edinburgh once a month so that she gets to have a proper primary experience with other children and she has really been enjoying this! 

Here she is singing 'I am a Child of God' whilst she does her little handwriting book! 

Another of her favourite things right now is writing and spelling words! If she has 10 minutes spare she will choose for fun to work on her handwriting! She really enjoys writing and can write about 10 different words from memory like mum, dad, milo, cat, dog etc.. that's why I think she is just going to lap everything up at school! She is also really into drawing just now, and her pictures have suddenly just really improved where you can make out what she's drawing now quite clearly and drawing different people are her favourite thing to do! She made this family picture for Daddy's birthday recently, and I loved everyone she drew - especially Milo and Roxy! 

I also think her handwriting is so neat and small for a 4 year old! She wrote 'I love my Daddy' for this photo frame gift we made for By:

Another favourite hobby is building lego! She got that cute little ice cream van as a birthday gift from her friend Juniper, and has been hooked on building lego sets ever since! She got the Frozen one a few weeks later from Uncle Cam, and has now just finished a new Elsa and Anna one too.  I'm impressed at how she perseveres with each step and follows the instructions really well to build each thing!

She is still super into arts and crafts...loves to paint,

make pictures with sand art,

and she loves a sticker book - especially when it involves unicorns!

and naturally she is her mommy's daughter and so she still just loves to bake! She is really great at mixing and measuring things out, but takes particular joy in licking the bowls and spatulas at the end of course!

I couldn't be prouder of the loving little girl she has turned into! She makes our life and everyone's around her that little bit brighter! She is SO excited about becoming a big sister, and I just know she will be the best helper when baby arrives!