Thursday, 31 December 2009

greatest hits 2009

2009 was a big year for me.

The last few months have been a runaway train and a bit of a blur.

Luckily, I have been keeping track along the way, noting the things great and small that made me happy.

So in chronological not importance order, my hits of 2009.

  1. Ion hairdryer, smoother, silkier hair than one thought possible
  2. Double lines on the EPT on my birthday
  3. Food processor -- finally able to mince quickly
  4. Life Clubs Canada -- Shalom Village and Toronto! Thanks Pat and Eva Marie and Nina!
  5. Underbates in Scotland, with surprise Abby on her way
  6. There's a monkey in there
  7. The Belly
  8. Lanzarote skinny dipping in private pool, 6 months pregnant
  9. Lewie sandwich
  10. Lewis Room Miracle Transformation
  11. 5 Star Husband
  12. October 20 Lewis arrival
  13. New local baby pals, saving my sanity and sense of humour
  14. Trifecta of chocolate getting me through pregnant and recovery -- plain chocolate digestives, Biblo's chocolate cake and pan de chocolat
  15. Glasgow Waitrose
  16. Lewis heart melting smiles
  17. Fountain in Kelvingrove Park
  18. An Clachan café in Kelvingrove Park,
  19. Notes from the Universe
  20. Making happy, enthusiastic grandparents, aunts and uncles
  21. Mark as Daddy
  22. Being Lewis' Mum

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

what I've learned in 6 weeks of motherhood

  1. Doing one household chore a day is an accomplishment. Load of laundry or making a meal or changing the sheets or paying the bills. The operative word is ONE.
  2. Little fingernails are sharp
  3. On demand feeding is, well, demanding. And leaves little time for anything else
  4. Taking a book out of the library doesn't mean you will read it
  5. Babies make you stupid and unable to really hold a proper conversation
  6. You start to talk in the 3rd person to your spouse in a passive aggressive way ... "Daddy is making a mess in the kitchen." "Daddy is taking his sweet time getting ready"
  7. You will do anything to insure getting sleep, like going to bed at 8 pm every night and following the same pattern because it worked once
  8. Boobs are just food and they come out everywhere
  9. Smiles and giggles from your little one reduce you to a pool of mush
  10. It is vital to all persons to get outside and get air every single day
  11. Hideous windy Scotland rain makes number 10 challenging
  12. You can't imagine how any single parent copes
  13. Breastfeeding may burn off as many as 600 calories a day, but eating miniature Snicker bars in bed while nursing may counterbalance any weight loss
  14. You can't help comparing your baby and your parenting to other people, even if you don't want to
  15. You root and cheer for burbs and farts, but only from your little one
  16. You know you are supposed to cherish every minute but secretly sometimes wish he was 4, potty trained and could chat with you
  17. Fashion goes by the way of easy-access-breast-whipping out tops
  18. Sleeping on your stomach is as lovely as you remember
  19. You find yourself squeezing your boobs in public without a second thought to check which one is fullest
  20. Watching your son and your husband smile at each other gives you utter blissful feelings
  21. You still can't believe this small person is yours and wonder when the grown ups are going to show up
  22. Hours fly by like minutes when you are having quiet time staring at the little one
  23. You do indeed check to make sure he is breathing if things have been too blissfully quiet for too long
  24. You envy the baby's adorable snugly outfits and wish you could pull them off
  25. When you get even a moment, you realise how happy you are

Thursday, 5 November 2009

what is oddly surprising to me

  • That new parents REALLY do not sleep. I know it was mentioned, but somehow it never really hit home.
  • That I -- a 9-10-hour-in love-with-my-bed sleeper -- is surviving *barely* on 5-7 hours of broken sleep.
  • That "Sleep When He Sleeps" would be hard. I lov(ed) naps and prided myself on my ability to sleep easily. Now if I try to catch an hour or so when the monkey is post feed dozing, I lie awake in stiff hyper vigilance, awaiting the inevitable whimper before it becomes murderess cry, twitching with exhaustion.
  • Murderous cry ... all the midwives in the hospital and home visits have remarked on his "powerful cry" ... it makes your guts churn and your heart break. We know when he has something to say.
  • Home visits! Good NHS ... we had a midwife/saviour visit our home nearly every day for the first 10 days. What a god-send to have a nice lady come and weight your babe, answer all your ridiculous questions, show you what you are doing wrong w your breastfeeding, and generally make you feel competent. Now we have a health home visitor nurse who checks in on us until we are ready to start going to the Doctor office. Amazing service!
  • My own melt down hour happens at 5-7 pm when it gets dark, I am still exhausted by the night before and worried about the night ahead. Especially if I had a failed Sleep When He Sleeps nap. Cue the tears and the anxiety.
  • Every morning I want to get out of bed, shower, put on real clothes, lipstick and participate in the world. If it wasn't so daunting.
  • Vulnerability. Hormones. Sleep Deprivation. All make me very needy spouse clinging for all support.
  • Missing 1:1 husband time. Already. When do we get to focus on each other? I didn't realise how important that is to my well being. I rely on it!
  • 2 weeks post birth and my body is shrinking back. THAT feels amazing!
  • Watching Mark with the boy makes my heart grow 10 times over
  • No shame. After c section and lots of breastfeeding lessons, 5 day hospital stay, I am far less shy about my body then pre babe. It has a different purpose now.
  • How fun it is to get to know our boy... his funny noises and freakishly strong arms, his serious old man expressions and his eyes as they occasionally make the focus to my face with vague recognition. He is delicious.
  • How I feel my molecules rearranging into something new, different and unknown. Motherhood.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

12 days after birth

  • eyelashes coming in
  • sleeping 3.5- 6 hours at a shot
  • gaining 2 oz a day
  • outgrowing smallest outfits
  • discovering and admitting my own melt down hour
  • trying desperately to sleep when he sleeps and insure a daytime nap
  • seeing Mark as baby whisperer and ultimate Lewis calmer
  • witnessing more consciousness emerge when we lock eyes
  • adorable baby sneezes and hiccups
  • setting up nursing station with laptop, jug of water, ipod, pillows, remote, blankets, house phone, reading material, snax and mobile phone.
  • giving up being house chef and laundry folder to allow Mark to showcase his skills
  • out and about in slings -- enduring the curious stares -- and questions "is that a dog in there? you shouldn't carry a dog like that."
  • being in charge of Input and Mark in charge of Output (wonder how long I can get away with that one)
  • feeding like a champ. both of us
  • falling more in love everyday

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

8 days after birth

  1. I can sleep on my back. ALMOST on my stomach
  2. I can turn over in bed!
  3. I can put on my OWN socks and shoes!
  4. My shoes FIT!
  5. No more carpel tunnel - watch me make a fist!
  6. 1000% less puffy, but no wedding ring yet (booo!)
  7. Innards straightened out, room for all the important organs who have been squished
  8. No more heartburn!
  9. Runny eggs
  10. All the smelliest softest cheeses
  11. As soon as I am off pain killers - moderate WINE!!
  12. Close hugs with the husband
  13. pregnancy hair and nails still nice
  14. perma bra at all times
  15. everyone smells like sweet condensed milk
  16. blankets, muslin squares and glasses of water everywhere I sit
  17. held captive to a nursing position
  18. deep need for pastries
  19. short attention span
  20. dream of leaving house some day
  21. dream of talking on phone some day
  22. thankful for wifi, laptop and internet and itunes for small hours
  23. getting better every day!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Finally. Deliriously. Happily. Here.

The wait is over.
The boy has arrived.

He waited and waited.
And we waited and waited.
It was hard.
16 days.
An unsuccessful induction.
Raging hormones.
Fear and stress.
A scary 5 day hospital stay.
And finally we went to go get 'em.
A very successful C- section.

And now he is here and the memory of how he got here is fading as is the first scary sleepless nights.
He is one week new.
And all I see is soft milky boy
Sweet and light and love

Lewis, we are glad to have you
Welcome to us
Welcome to the world
We are all the better with you here

Monday, 12 October 2009

Dear L

Dear L-

Where are you?

I thought you would be here by now.

I don't know why, but I imagined you coming in right at the date the doctor's predicted.

But here it is 8 days later and you seem completely happy in your watery world. I am so glad you are comfortable.

And I need to tell you we are really excited for you to come out.

Not just because I can barely waddle up the stairs. Or I can't wear any of my shoes any more. Or because I really want to drink red wine. Or because your grandparents are here now. Or even because I am tired of carrying you.

It may sound cliché, even to your young ears. But it is purely because of you, little boy.

We want to meet you. And show you the world. And take care of you. And see your little face and give you many cuddles and kisses. I am ready to be your mom and your dad is ready to be your dad.

So know that.

Come when you are ready.

And know that we are ready.

For you.

Love from your mom

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Circling Houston

Exactly 5 years ago, I moved to the UK for a new life.

I didn't have the easiest time getting INTO the UK (if anyone remembers my melt down and near denial of entry at Heathrow Immigration).

And now, exactly 5 years later, I am due another chapter.

Today is my due date for entry into another new foreign country -- motherhood.

After 40 weeks of pregnancy, I feel like I have been on a very long flight and have been able to occupy myself just fine -- reading, sleeping, music, snacking, looking out the windows, chatting with fellow passengers, etc. And now it is time to land and we are near the airport but are circling over and over, awaiting clearance. Circling Houston.

I am uncomfortable. I want to stretch out. I am out of chat, out of magazines and out of patience. I want to land. I want to BE there.

Unlike me in 2004, I am very hopeful that Lewis will seamlessly enter this world with all his papers in order and will be greeted with smiles and warm welcomes without a hitch.

He may come today -- or not... we all know the art not the science of predicting due dates.

What I do know (in my most southernly regions and in my heart) that he IS coming.

I just need to calm myself the heck down and reread the Skymall catalog. They have some nifty things in there.

And the next chapter is about to begin.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

I wonder

I wonder when I will go into labour
I wonder if I will go into labour or if I will have to have something *done* to jump start it
I wonder how I'll cope -- quietly? swearing? not at all? like a champ?
I wonder if I will end up with a C section
I wonder how much L will weigh
I wonder if he will have hair when he comes out
I wonder what it will be like to be someone's mother
I wonder if I will become one of those mothers who becomes obsessed with all things related to her child
I wonder if I will get bored
I wonder how M & I will trade off and work together on being parents
I wonder if I will want to go back to work straight away. Or never.
I wonder what real sleep deprivation would do to me
I wonder if I can get away with not having sleep deprivation
I wonder if I'll be a natural or if everything will feel foreign
I wonder if I will still want to watch all my favourite TV shows and if I will have time
I wonder if I will be able to read
I wonder what it will be like to drink again. And eat runny eggs and sushi.
I wonder if diaper changing will infiltrate my dreams
I wonder when my wedding rings will fit again
I wonder what breast feeding will be like
I wonder what it will be like to go out into the world for the first time with L by myself
I wonder if I will be a freaky worried mom
I wonder if I will want to do it again. Or never.
I wonder if I will ever stop wondering.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

38 weeks, 5 days!

And here is how it all looks ...
Waddling has commenced.

Monday, 21 September 2009

the waiting is the hardest part

Sorry Tom Petty. Even as I write that I am not sure that it is strictly true for me.

Yes. It is a little weird to live in suspended anticipation. Like waiting for a package to arrive. A flight to land. The cable guy. An important phone call.

All to come out the bottom end of your body.

Yes. I am helpless to retrieve anything at my feet. Put on my shoes. Walk very far without huffing. Eat very much without reaching for the Gaviscon. Turn over in bed without a project plan and a crane.

My body is very very full. And tired.

Yes. The novelty of pregnancy has worn off a while ago. The sympathy and the empathy and the extra attention has waned. My general crankiness and body woes are old news.

My body is over it.

But somehow, I am still finding small things to do. Today I am making my play lists for labour! Chill CDs and UpBeat CDs! Who knows if I will actually use them, but is sure fun to choose what songs I imagine will make me mellow and breathe and which will spur me on to Keep Going.

I am washing all the wee clothes and blankets.
I am piling more things on the Hospital Bag Pile.
I am having Coffee Dates with Pregnant Pals. (I have never been so popular).
I am reading novels by the boatload.
I am seeing movies.
I am taking naps.
I am downloading Feeding and Diaper tracking apps for my iPhone.

Yet I know the time is coming near. And not just because people who were due before me have now HAD their babies. (which is a pretty loud wake up call). I can feel my body changing. Things shifting south. My hormones cranking up. Odd things making me irritable. Odd things making me cling to Mark.

SO waiting so far is hard. But not the hardest part.

I have a sneaky suspicion that is still to come. The labour. The delivery. The coming home as parents. The enormous change that I am standing at the precipice of. The responsibility. The heartbreaking love I am already having for my boy.

What I can do now is be calm about that.

And not freak.

Be excited that our boy is coming very soon.

And breathe.

Monday, 14 September 2009

prepare yee

When I was in Leadership, Karen Kimsey House said something that really stuck with me. (Well, she said many things that stuck, but this one is germane to this here.)

Planning is often pointless -- things rarely go the way you anticipate. But what you can do is prepare. Prepare and dance with whatever shows up.

This has become my mantra and outlook on birth. I am preparing. Preparing the room, preparing my body, preparing the *stuff*, preparing the rest of my life to slow down, preparing help, preparing my energy levels. Doing what I can do.

I don't know how this boy will come into the world. I have thoroughly thought about the preferences on how I'd LIKE it to go. I've outlined my preferences. And at the end of the day, I have to allow what is going to happen to happen. The truest definition of dancing in the moment I can think of.

I have been getting a lot of Leadership lessons flashing into this experience. Asking for help. Trusting my body. Leaning in 100% to Mark, to my child, my body. Operating with intention. Not getting hung up on the particles (oh so hard not to do) and keeping my stake really clear. Creating space in the level 3. And a bit of failing, recovering and staying.

Who knew all those lessons from last year would come in such waves for me now. I think of the ropes courses we did and I know I can trust my body to deliver what it needs to. To tap into inner wisdom. I have my belay team. They have my rope. And I have me.

Something else Karen said also keeps going through my mind.

There will be a time to get nervous and it isn't yet. I'll let you know when.

Kinder words could not be spoken at the time of serious nerves and fear.

And taking that lesson to heart, I am just not going to get nervous yet.

Lewis will tell me when. And I can tell he is already a pretty smart kid.

Monday, 7 September 2009

ready for action

Wouldn't you like to sleep here?
Sunny lemonade walls and crisp white things?
New and shiny.
At long last the junk room is no more.
100% baby ready.
Alls we need is the kid!
And 4 more weeks of baking the bun.

Sunday, 6 September 2009


At 36 weeks into this whole Creating a Person Project, it is really starting to look like it is all going to come together.

This weekend, we got the crib/cot ... and watching Mark put it together really hit it all the way home. I mean, he has put together ALL the furniture in our lives and houses, but for some reason, the crib... the crib... wow.

I felt a little like we are in a movie of our lives with a happy soft rock soundtrack playing and featuring snapshots of moments like that one.

So we are getting as ready as one can.

And have created a place I would be happy to sleep in if I was a babe -- sunny, bright, clean, comfortable, quiet, safe and cozy.

It is weird/lovely that we are having someone move in with us. A new person. Who is part of us. Who is OF Us. And is going to up-end all we know about ourselves and our world.

How does anyone really get ready for that?

Open. Curious. In the moment. Intent. Surrender. Clean. Organize. Sleep. Read. Laugh. Rub belly. Kiss husband. Appreciate.

Oh yeah, and wait.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

35 weeks

And this is how it all looks at 35 weeks!

Slowing down my slow down.

Life Clubs is passed over for now.

A few clients to finish for now.

Lists to make.

Naps to take.

Worries to abate.

Things for the freezer to create.

Time to pull my weight.

OK, I am out of rhymes. But not things to do.

Lots we still need to "get". And several hospital things to "iron out".

Simultaneously wanting the time to go faster and also stop all together. Ready and Not At All.

An interesting paradox. I am guessing/hoping that one of those will win out sooner or later.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

My Life According to the Indigo Girls

Several bloggers are posting their life according to their favourite artist.

The Indigo Girls have always been able to pour emotions into their songs in a way that makes me want to sing them at the top of my lungs.

Give it a go with your fav artist!

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions.

Pick your Artist: Indigo Girls

Are you a man or a woman: Girl With The Weight Of The World In Her Hands

Describe yourself: Closer to Fine

How do you feel: Make It Easier

Describe where you currently live: Get out the Map

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Southland In The Springtime

Your favorite form of transportation: Least Complicated

Your best friend? Hey Kind Friend

You and your best friends are: Strange Fire

What's the weather like: None But The Rain

Favorite time of day: Killing Time

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called: Power of Two

What is life to you? Hand In Hand

Your fear: Kid Fears

What is the best advice you have to give: Love Will Come to You

Thought for the Day: The Water is Wide

How I would like to die: Welcome Me

My soul's present condition: Free Through Eternity

My motto: Make This House A Home

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

slow ride (take it ea-say)

And suddenly.

It slows.

After what felt like a cafuffal of a last few weeks, I suddenly can see some space beginning to emerge in my head.

It is lovely.
The slow down has begun.
And I am grateful for it.

  • Midst switching hospitals. (which feels like a huge relief)
  • Starting to close down my Life Clubs shop (or pass the baton) only one more until post baby.
  • Heeding my primal needs to eat and sleep in frequent bursts. (never underestimating the power of toast)
  • Trying not to catch Mark's cold. (which is tricky as it requires a wide berth and no cuddles)
  • Doing some bonding with other pregnant people we've been lucky to meet through our classes the last 2 weekends.
  • Getting good, belly laugh and compassionate chat with my pregnant yoga pal -- who I am happily drafting off of, sharing a doula and a soon a hospital. Boys bonding over beers and buildings.
  • Making lists of (probably) ridiculous things.
  • Amazed at the longest, strongest nails of my life.
  • Wondering why after a blissfully headache free 8 months, my head has decided to start to hurt again
  • Spending time WATCHING my belly as Lewis rolls around, alien-style, contorting in ways that entertain.
Looking forward to an even blanker September.

And for extra measure, am checking out the (hilarious) International Institute of Not Doing Much.

Which I think everyone should consider belonging to for the rest of the summer.

Monday, 17 August 2009

33 weeks

In all my blooming glory.

(Standing, please note, in the FINISHED baby room. Well done to my dream boat, perfectionist and 110% giver Mark!!!)

winning words

I was given this little award by a dear fellow blogger and am dead chuffed.

Even though I've been blogging for a while, I was totally ignorant to all the funny, clever, poignant blogging going on out there.

People following each other and giving each other kudos and recognition feels really nice and neighbourly. And inspires one to keep writing - take time to stop and be thoughtful and conjure up an angle, a perspective to review.

So even though I don't follow many blogs - I am hereby passing the good vibe and nominating the ones I most religiously go to for my daily dose.

Here's to your continued brain power, vulnerability, commitment and sharing with the world!

Thank you and your words. They matter.

Friday, 14 August 2009

(scary) (perhaps) cultural difference

(this is amended)

Outside my (current, hopefully not for much longer) maternity hospital.

Woman in her nightgown and robe, clearly in the early stages of labour, standing outside to have a cigarette.

Sums up much of the health attitude here.

Different and somewhat Mortifying.

P.S. As an amendment to this posting, it not that women in the US don't smoke while pregnant, it is perhaps that they hide it more. This is in no way meant to slander my adopted home of bonnie Scotland, where I have been welcomed so nicely. It is perhaps more of a reflection of the specific neighbourhood and attitude of certain areas in Glasgow.

(am I out of trouble now?)

Friday, 7 August 2009

Doula Done Deal

Happy to report we have *hired* our doula. She's a trainee, but exudes a comfortable and confident vibe and has given birth twice at our hospital. She has a famous Scottish Dad too- but that is oddly not my headline news.

What is new is that I feel the penny has dropped somehow in the last few weeks. We've gone from 1 to 100. From total ignorance to Kinda Knowing Things. And it was not a pretty trip. I was resistant to thinking about giving birth, so initially my brain was kicking and screaming to shut it all out. Denial.

Not that I know all. Or even have my body or mind ready. But between the 5 classes the hospital offer, the 2 weekend courses we are going on through the NCT (National Child Trust), the books, DVDs and Pregtastic -- we ought to have a through and balanced and bigger view of what is possible and what is what.

That, coupled with the near completion of Lewis Room (Halle- freaking -luah ) has me feeling calmer and more comfortable with what is to come. Less overwhelm and more open-ness.
(Almost) ready to make the famed lasagnas for the freezer that supposedly comes with nesting.

But for sure ready to stop panicking.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

freakishly fascinating

I want to apologize for any errant thought I may have ever had about a pregnant person being obsessed with her pregnancy.

I defy ANYONE to have something grow in them, distort their body and not be interested in it.

And then make that something a PERSON who you created that will grow big and then come out of you in a dramatic and amazing way and then will move in with you, feed off of your body, be utterly and 100% dependant on you for many years and not be totally, um, distracted.

I now know that this process of becoming a parent is a Very Big Deal in one's life. I understand why friends go inwards, why they don't want to go out, why home is haven, why they do not have time for me for a while.

I get it.

And I am sorry if I ever didn't.

And I am hoping my world adjusts as I feel my tunnel vision closing in and my current interests point to he who lives underneath my navel for a while.

It isn't that I don't care or am not interested in what is happening in other people's lives, it is purely that I am mesmerized by the biology and evolutionary experiment which is my own self.

I promise to return to being a good friend, sister, daughter, tribe member, coach, student at some point.

Me, I may never be quite as interesting to myself ever again.

Monday, 3 August 2009

uk baby

UK to US
pram= stroller
consultant= OB/GYN
cot= crib
moses basket=bassinet
dummy= pacifier
nappy= diaper
muslin squares= burping blankets
wee man= little boy
surgery= doctor's office
wean = baby
maternity leave= 52 weeks

US to UK
baby shower= Does Not Exist
diaper genie= tommee tippee
maternity leave= 6 weeks
head nurse= sister

Thursday, 30 July 2009

be the pooh

My 24 hour rant + some crying + releasing some stress+ a long soak in the tub + talking to Postitive Lexie = I feel better
My job is not to be annoyed or angry or scared.
My job is to be calm and appreciative and grateful and optimistic and excited for what is to come.
I have a beautiful, 100% normal boy growing happily inside me.
I feel good.
I love my husband and our relationship is only getting stronger.
I appreciate this moment.
I am really really grateful for all my life has become.

Float on my back like a happy, round Winnie the Pooh.
Knowing that what is next is going to be just right.
Trust that I am OK.
While keeping my head and heart in the grounded, comfortable place it has been these last 7 months, which has served me so well.
I forget.
And I am reminded.
And I am grateful.

P.S. What hormones? What mood swing? I have no idea what you are talking about.

Friday, 24 July 2009

cheating on you

Did you know I started to write on the Life Club blog?

Nina, the founder, was generous in inviting other writers to plop their 2 cents in for our Life Club universe of readers.

And since I seem to have ceased to have a Non Pregnancy Related thought for my own blog, I love the chance to write about life changes, coaching, leadership and the more meaty, brain related things on that one.

Have a look, read all about it. See I am more than just a pretty belly and a hormone addled mind.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

happiness is ...

  • crawling into bed at 9:30 with your husband, each with your books
  • silky PJ bottoms
  • open windows with cool breeze
  • big tumblers of water on hand
  • bonus scan of wee boy who is measuring 100% average/normal
  • wireless connection
  • 1/2 way through Orange Fiction prize winner
  • 2 new amazon birth books on deck
  • leisure
  • all we need is the warm puppy

Sunday, 12 July 2009

brain dump

This happens to me all the time.

When something big is coming up -- like a move, a big trip, getting married, or perhaps giving birth-- I tend to hyper list. Scraps of paper. Random thinking. A bit skatty and ping pongy.

So indulge me as I dump the contents of my head to get it out.
  • To doula or not to doula. Must find the right doula
  • Do I need a new nightgown for the hospital?
  • One of my friends has her hospital bag packed already, should I?
  • When will my remaining clothes totally stop fitting?
  • Who knew you could bring music and snacks to the hospital? This opens up another whole group of lists
  • Must buy clock radio for the guest room for the Tour of Guests 2009
  • Summer soups - not ones serves cold ... hmmm
  • Wow, I need a pedicure
  • I wish we had Target - I need new comfy pants I can go out in public in
  • Pre-Tastic podcasts are great and I can't stop listening to them
  • Do you tell insurance people when you have a baby? When?
  • Does the UK have tax deductions like the US?
  • Wouldn't it be nice if I had a "go-to" group of easy recipes for my guests when then come -- for both pre and post baby?
  • Why do US people seem so much more upbeat about pregnancy than UK? (pregtastic podcasts vs. NCT DVD and info)
  • I really don't feel like cooking
  • Can't stop doing laundry
  • Glucose Tolerance Test Wednesday -- ugh hope I don't have Gestational Diabetes. That would suck
  • When am I going to start thinking about things other than pregnancy and babies? I am boring even myself.
  • Mark is cute when he is covered in paint. When WILL he be finished???
  • Am I gonna have a baby shower?
  • gotta pee
  • Maybe getting a cleaner every other week during MAT leave is a good idea
  • I wish we had a car so I could go shopping today
  • When will the birth books from Amazon come?
  • The pile of baby things in the office looks sad and, well, piled. I can't wait to put things in their place
  • I miss drinking
  • What is my Birth Plan? Low dose/patient controlled epidural/no episiotomy/calm environment. not too many people/can do attitude/reassurance/sorry of I swear at you/whoosh- here's the baby/please
  • Stairs are hard. 55 to our flat is becoming an expedition
  • When do I send in my Maternity Allowance form?
  • Am I eating too much peanut butter toast?
  • No good movies out
  • Is the baby room gonna be too baby-ish and bug me?
  • gotta pee
  • mmmm, peanut butter toast

Friday, 10 July 2009

home alone

Mark is out tonight and I have Friday night All To Myself.
Delicious and solo.

No matter how much you love someone and their company, there is something indescribably lovely about being in one's own company.

No chat. No discussion. Channel surfing without comment. King of Queens reruns. Daal for dinner. (It would have been nachos, but that would have required going to the store!) Maybe a bath and the library book.

Not that Any of those things above are un-doable with Mark here, it is somehow more yummy occasionally by myself.

Nice to fly solo once in a while.

And how can I miss you if you never go away?

The really nice this is that after a night on my own, I'll be ready for him again.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

da belly

OK, I am feeling brave enough and preggo enough to share these. And perhaps it is cultural, but no strangers have come up to me to touch my belly. Perhaps it is because many of the lassies here look like they have Iron Bru and sausage roll babies growing and it is too hard to tell if a gal is with child or with lunch.

If it looks like I am sweaty and possibly annoyed, it is because I am. (Mark & I had a bit of an awkward/dissatisfying photo shoot. "Turn SIDEWAYS" "I AM!" "Put your hand down" "I am hot" "JUST TAKE THE PICTURE") Sigh. He is a a better builder than photographer, which is OK by me.

Note, my the NON wedding ring on my marriage finger.
Oh yeah, sausage hands.

Onward and outward!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

mommyblogger madness

Thanks to Mary J, I have been reading Sleep is for the Weak -- a compilation of the 'best of the mommybloggers'.

Now I have been blogging near 5 years and I must admit... I don't read many of my own, just a few friends who have recently dipped into their own writing. What have I been missing?!

I was unaware of the GINORMOUS outpouring from women who are new mothers. They. Are. Everywhere. Many many blogs are written by smart and funny women (and a few men) who are adapting to parenthood and relaying their experiences with the world. Great writing. And truth telling.

This book collects just some of the stories of parenthood -- covering old chestnuts like sleep deprivation, poop and pee, balancing life and work, stress, body changes, etc.

It is Great. And Alarming.

I admit I have been very very chill this last 6 months of being pregnant for the most part. Once I stopped feeling like I had a monster case of malaise, I just felt like regular me with increasingly tighter pants. I have had only a few overly emotional and (only) slightly irrational outbursts. (Never tell me I am over-reacting to something, especially when I am over reacting!)

But now I am in the 3rd and final trimester, things are starting to get more, real.

As time is ticking, the belly growing, moving, gurgling, and I am getting closer to the End Game, I realise that my LALALALAEVERYTHINGISFINEANDNORMAL way of being is going to end.

I see (loud/crying/whining) kids with harangued mothers and I think YUCK! I realise I stop seeing women and I see Mothers. I take mental inventory of things kids are doing and vow piously "THAT will not be allowed." Or, "He WON'T be eating/drinking/sitting/screaming/yelling/like THAT."

So these stories of parenthood and all of its trials and stress and confusion and freak out are all written with humour and humility. And Reality.

It is a Reality (which needs a capital R) which I have not yet quite accepted will actually happen yet. Being The Mother, much like Giving Birth remain Out There and Far. And Theoretical.

While it is a treat to read these cleverly written stories, they are kind of freaking me out. I know that sleep will be slippery and not normal. That going out with a baby into the world will require Gear, Patience, and Stamina. That my world will shrink and grow in a way I can't understand yet. That breastfeeding and diaper/nappy changing will be all consuming. I have no illusions that it will be easy or really All Fun. Certainly some of it will be. And some won't. AND It is all out there waiting.

But somehow now, in my innocent not knowing, reading these tales it is killing my last months of unclogged and first person singular thinking. And it is scaring me. I like my ignorance a little.

Perhaps when I am in the thick of my own real life When He is Here adventure I will appreciate them more. Certainly relate to them and admire the ability to tell the story. Or better yet, write about them myself to give perspective, lightness, humility and witness to my own experience.

Heck, what's one more mommyblogger to add to the list.

Sunday, 21 June 2009


I like being a pregnant person. (And no, that is not my stomach up there. I am holding out on those kinds of photos until there is no shadow of a doubt it is Baby Not Burgers)

  • People are nice to you.
  • They care about how you are doing. And mean it.
  • They think being round is Cute. For Once.
  • Resting is important and excused
  • People squeal when they see you
  • And are really genuinely excited for you
  • You get to buy big clothes
  • You no longer need to (or can) hold your gut in
  • Not seeing your feet is comical, not tragic
  • Looking good is secondary, OK, tertiary, to feeling good
  • Asking for help comes really easily
  • It matches my already advanced need for quiet time and naps and comfy bottoms
So yes, it suits. I love the attention. I love my thick hair and strong nails. I love the kicks and the somersaults. I love Mark talking to my tummy. I have a few physical niggles, but not bad. I feel good. And Special. Because I am growing a person.

What's going to happen after the boy comes? Will I get any attention? Will I care? Is this the ultimate test of being a Grown Up? It is no longer about you -- and that is OK? Does the maternal love kick in and all that matters is the Baby?

Being a Very Important Pregnant Person is lovely. I look forward to seeing if I can give up the crown graciously to my new Prince.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

taking pictures

You know how when you are on holiday or at an important party with all your friends and you really want to capture the moments for your memory bank, but you are so busy ENJOYING the moments that stopping to break out of it and photograph it feels wrong?

That is kinda how I have been feeling about this particular time of pregnancy. I know I am going to want to remember little things, what I am feeling, what steps we are taking to get ready, what is happening, but I kind of can't be arsed.

Is that weird? It is like I am so happy In It that I don't want to break the spell to look at things more closely or record them.

This does not bode well for me keeping baby journals, does it. I find I am getting lazier about those kinds of things. We still haven't ordered (shhhh) our Cambridge wedding photos from 3 years ago. Nor have we really put our DC wedding ones in any kind of album.

All the baby stuff I have -- maternity papers, stuff from the doctor, etc. are shoved into a blue folder named "Baby". I have not organized anything official. The few things we have bought are sitting piled up in the office. Unsorted. Un -cooed about.

I haven't really gotten a jones to shop for small adorable things. Or large and practical ones either.

I kind of want to just read novels and sleep and go for walks. The End.

Lexie put it nicely -- that I am providing a House. A safe shelter that is constant and stable and not too hot and not too cool and is sturdy and quiet. Nothing too jiggley. No sudden movements.

Somehow that gives me a little more permission to be quiet about it all. Be a Safe House.

Perhaps I wake up a bit more to be more conscious about what kind of House I am and pay a bit more attention to the inner workings.

As soon as I take one more nap.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Fame! (I'm gonna live 4ever. I'm gonna learn how to fly!)

At least for the day! Dig my article about Life Clubs in today's Scotland's Daily Record.
A giant photo of me and my name SEVERAL times feels weird. And nice.

I recall that I also really SAID all those things but they didn't sound nearly so precious at the time. Nor do I remember trying to sound British. (Rubbish, Brilliant, Have A Go) Do I really talk like that when I am trying to fit in?

Well it is a good day for the Scots as they now know that we exist!

Too bad there is no mention as to how to attend! (!)

P.S. Look how LONG my hair is!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

hard labour

Mark's that is.

As Mark is spending his 4th weekend eyeball deep in drilling and sawing and pounding and earning blood blisters, I sit idly by with offers of occasional cups of tea and making good on my promises of a good meal when the day is done.

He is seriously going to TOWN. Building from scratch:
  • a walk in 'cupboard' for all manner of tools and buckets, and hide able cleaning junk
  • a wardrobe
  • and is now installing new wooded worktops/counters in the kitchen.
I am amazed at his hard work, his perfectionism, his tireless cheer and lack of moaning, even when he incurs minor cuts, scrapes and falls into bed exhausted.

I sometimes feel a little guilty that I am not really helping. Or Helping At All. I mean, this is my baby's room and my house too. Shouldn't I be helping? No, he claims. Honestly, I do love my pregnancy excuse for not lifting things or holding stuff. But I am seriously Not Needed for this project. Not for the Figuring it Out. The Decisions of How. The Buying of the Materials. The Clean Up of the Mess. And I am so grateful.

He treats this as his job. While mine is to take a nap. How did I get so lucky?

I feel so honoured and a little pampered as he rubs MY hands after a day of hard work.

I can really learn some lessons from him to keep going and see the big picture of how things will look. Not get hung up when things go slightly wrong. Be creative in the approach. Have the right tools. Get help when you need it.

Perhaps this is his version of nesting to get ready for the little one. And this is his labour. Mine after all, will come in 4.5 months. And may involve a little more than a blood blister. And I'll get pain meds.

What is really true is that this, Mark's labour, is no less a labour of love.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

nine (and three)

Celebrating nine years of togetherness today. Nine feels like a hefty number. Longer than grade school. Nearly a decade. Past any 7 year itches and headed into double digits.

And we are also celebrating three years of being married to each other too. (Near to the day we met too!)

Hard to believe it has only been that long. And that it has been that long. We reviewed the places we have lived and the jobs and phases each of us has been through. And my move to the UK and how seamlessly the rest worked out. A lovely walk through the memory.

Who knew that fateful Happy Hour for LW's birthday at Sequioa in 2000 would change the very course of my life. And the cheeky English boy whose original claim to fame was that he insulted my sister's hair would worm his way into my very soul and enrich it in ways I never dreamed.

So yes, today we celebrate. And I celebrate my very own version of personal happiness.

And love.