Our Girl Turned ONE!

It’s hard to believe our sweet girl turned ONE in December!

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We love a good party in this house, so we went a bit wild for her 1st birthday party. I’ll be the first to admit that I am by no means a crafty or artsy, so I was scouring the internet months before for help with invitations and decor ideas. We knew we wanted it to be rainbow-themed because one of her favorite books is about the colors of the rainbow, but I needed some creative help. Richard, on the other hand, has this creative side that most people don’t see, so he had some great ideas as well. With the internet and my husband as guides, I knew the party would be excellent and it did turn out so well.

The morning of was a bit of a disaster (that I really want to describe with some not-so-nice words!) because we had put up a marquee (basically a big tent) with heaters in it in the back garden earlier in the week to allow people to mingle outside as well as inside. Richard and his dad even lined the inside of the marquee with colored Christmas lights and it looked wonderful and went perfectly with the party theme. Well, the night before the party, a terrible windstorm blew in and it was actually lifting the marquee up in the air! In the rain and vicious wind, Richard, my dad, and I were outside taking the sides down from the marquee. We can look back now and laugh, but at the time, it was quite frightening to think this tent could just fly away at any moment! Richard had big plans for a back wall full of rainbow balloons, so he was gutted when it wouldn’t work out. Truthfully, so was I, as it would have looked great.

Originally, I had wanted to order a cake, but we decided to take on the task with me baking and Richard decorating. I’m so glad that Richard convinced me that we should do this. We had so many compliments on both how they tasted and how they were decorated. A few people even asked where we had bought the cakes! Score one for Team Becky & Richard!

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We had hot snack foods for the adults and kids, but the shining stars of the snacks were the rainbow fruit and veggie platters. We were really proud of these. (It’s funny the things that make you happy, isn’t it?!) I love Jelly Belly jelly beans, so we bought some in each color of the rainbow to add to the food table.

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Our little lady played with her friends and had lots of attention showered on her. We could tell she was getting tired (she had refused to nap that morning), so we lit the candle on her cake and sang happy birthday to her. She looked around at all of the people and had a little smirk on her face. It seemed it was kind of clicking that this was all for her. After the singing she went straight for a nap in the middle of her party! Haha…the life of a toddler!

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Because we had two cakes, we cut one after she went for a nap and used the other for a little cake ‘smash’ later on in the day. We did that with just the grandparents there, which was really nice for them to see her for a bit without so many other people around. However, we failed to consider that the cake was iced with fondant making it near impossible for her to do any smashing! Instead, Richard had to cut some of it and she went for it. It’s fair to say this girl loves her sweets!

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It’s hard to believe that our gorgeous and clever daughter is already ONE! (Honestly, I feel like I can definitely be inducted into the ‘parent club’ now because I have actually heard myself say, “I can’t believe how fast she is growing up!”) She keeps us on our toes and always laughing. She adds joy to every day, and I love that I get to spend my days with her. We love to watch her explore and pick up on how things work. She chatters non-stop and is saying “hi” and “Daddy” and a million other words that we don’t quite understand yet. She loves to eat and especially loves it when Daddy shares bites of his breakfast (either cereal, bagels, or crumpets) with her. She is becoming strong-willed and won’t hesitate to let us know when she isn’t happy. (The first tantrum, which stemmed from me not peeling her satsuma fast enough, was definitely a bit of a shock. Wow!) We’re so proud to be her parents and love when she gives us kisses and cuddles.

It was really nice to have so many of our friends and family there to celebrate our little girl turning 1, so a big thank you to all of them for coming! I think we were surprised at how many people we could fit into our house and it was definitely cozy, so maybe we should also thank them for being so accommodating and not flinching when not everyone had a place to sit!

I’m so happy we threw a party to celebrate her birthday (because let’s be honest…it’s really for the parents anyway). It was the perfect way to wrap up her first year of life that has been such a fun and wild ride for all of us!

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Life lately.

Oh, hey…it’s me! It’s been ages since I’ve written a post, hasn’t it?!

I’ve been settling into motherhood and life as a stay-at-home mom. It is amazing and it is hard and it is beautiful and it is exhausting and it is invigorating all at once. I love being a mom. I honestly absolutely love it, despite how difficult it can be sometimes. I love spending my days with our darling daughter. She is such a joy. Her toothless grin makes my heart burst with love.

She has this amazing giggle that will turn even the worst day completely around. The best part of her laugh is you never know exactly what will bring it on, so sometimes she downright surprises me with it. And, I love that. I love the fact that it seems like she understands what her dad and I are saying and that she moves her mouth in a way that makes it appear she is trying to talk to us.

I am constantly in awe of her. I love watching her grow and learn new things. At the same time though, my heart is breaking because our little girl is not-so-little anymore. She turns five months this week. How is that even possible?!

Last week, she was having a particularly tough day due to teething. She woke up from her nap, and I could tell she was still tired. We snuggled up on the couch together and she fell asleep on me for a couple of hours. At one point during her nap, I found myself in tears because I want her to learn and to grow and to explore, but at the same time, it is so hard to really grasp how quickly she is growing up.

So, in between loving and learning, I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog and decided to stop thinking and to actually start doing, so here I am ready to share our little life again. I don’t plan to turn this into a blog that just focuses on parenthood, but it will most definitely come up quite frequently because our girl adds such an incredible dimension to our life that I know I will want to write about that. My idea is to write from the heart and go with the flow and see where that takes me.

 

I’m really excited to write because it is something I truly enjoy, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading what I have to share here in my little corner of the internet. So, thanks so much for reading (especially you, Dad)!

We’re parents!

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Photo by two for joy photography

I wrote this post over two weeks ago and am finally posting it. Those of you that follow me on Instagram know our darling daughter made her way into the world in December – 13 days after her due date! 

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I’m typing this solely with my left hand while I hold a sleeping snuggly nearly 8-week old baby girl with my right hand. This little one has brought so much love into our lives, even more than we knew we could give. You plan and plan for baby to arrive, but you really have no idea what her arrival will bring and how she will fit into your life, and all that nursery decorating and pram researching is your little way of preparing for what is a complete unknown.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t one of those women who dreamt of being a mom. I knew if I found my true partner in life then having a child might be a possibility, but it wasn’t something I thought would be what made my life complete.

I think back, though, to her first day of life. She lay sleeping in the small cot next to my hospital bed. Every noise she heard caused her to startle, and Richard and I would laugh while she continually awoke and quickly fell back to sleep as she adjusted to the world outside of my belly. We sat there with our hearts bursting with love and I remarked that having her here with us just made sense. At that moment I knew she was always meant to be in our lives. She just fit. Our little family felt complete.

Yes, we’re still figuring out how to be parents (and we know that learning will likely never end!), but I’m so happy to have been given such an incredible opportunity to raise this sweet girl with my amazing husband. When we got married, we both said we couldn’t wait to continue our adventures together and now we get to share those adventures with our daughter who is already showing much interest in exploring the world around her. We’re sure she’ll add so much to our lives and to our adventures.

Our Daughter on my Mind

I find I’m at a funny place with this blog. The title implies me sharing my tales of living in Yorkshire, but sometimes what I want to write about has very little to do with Yorkshire or even England. There are days when I don’t write because I fail to see how what I want to share relates to the ‘purpose’ of this blog. Today though, I decided to just put some words down and see what happens, so this post has nothing to do with England – just a warning!

I think it is safe to say that most people who read my blog are well aware that I am pregnant. I’m 37 weeks along and wondering how much bigger I can possibly get, even if everyone continually tells me that this growing bump is fairly small for this stage of pregnancy. It’s all relative though, isn’t it? And, everyone carries babies differently making it impossible to compare.

I have to say that I feel I have been lucky to have a fairly straight-forward, healthy, and enjoyable pregnancy. I know that this isn’t the case for all women, which makes me very grateful for the past nine months I’ve had of growing this little one and getting excited for her upcoming arrival.

Richard and I cannot wait to have her here, and we feel ever-so-lucky that we’ll have all four grandparents with us to celebrate her first Christmas!  Our life is about to change immensely, but there is so much to look forward to and to have her with us as we continue to enjoy life will just be incredible. I can’t wait to take her on her first trip to the US and Richard is beyond excited to teach her to ski. We are already smitten with her.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it will be like to be a mom. Obviously, it can’t be predicted as to how it will all pan out, but I plan to share my love of life with her and hope that translates into making her a well-rounded person. While I’ve been thinking about all of this, I remembered a TED Talk a great friend of mine shared with me back when babies weren’t even a consideration for us. Even then, I was extremely moved by the poem Sarah Kay shared. Now though, this poem and her words have a whole new meaning for me as we gear up to welcome our daughter into our lives. I love the words she speaks and the advice she plans to give to her future daughter. The entire video is nearly 19 minutes long, but if you only want to hear the poem, it is roughly the first 4 minutes. It’s definitely worth a listen.

It’s a…

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We are extremely excited to have found out that our little one is a girl! And, funnily enough, we found this out on the 4th of July, which is sort of fitting for a British-American baby. Can I just say that clothes for baby girls are ridiculously adorable?!

Also?! Yesterday marked six months of me being pregnant! It’s pretty incredible to think that we’re nearing the end of the second trimester.

Up until week 16 or so, I was not feeling fabulous at all. I was experiencing a constant state of nausea or what I would compare to feeling like I was always hungover without the fun of the night before and without the ability to self-medicate with greasy food and a Sprite Zero.  Now, I have my energy back as well as the desire to eat more than cheese, pizza, and chunky chips. It’s fabulous! I’m hoping that it will continue this way for the duration of the pregnancy.

In mid-July I was in the U.S. for 2 weeks and it was then that I really started to feel her kicking. The kicks have gotten stronger as the weeks have gone on. She is not only a dancing queen, but also a night owl because she prefers being active in the evenings and late at night – definitely equal parts of Richard and I! It’s been so fun for us to watch her kick and for Richard to be able to feel as well as see the kicks. We have had a right old time laughing at my belly bounce!

So far, we’ve had two ultrasounds or scans and we won’t have any more, which from what I understand is different than in the U.S. where most people have more than two. (Or am I wrong on this? Anyone have any input?) We’ve also had three midwife appointments up until now – two at our local medical centre (in weeks 8 and 16) and and one home visit (in week 9). Our next appointment is next week (in week 25) and the appointments will then begin every two to three weeks until her arrival.

We’ve received a few questions from family and friends asking about where I will give birth – meaning in the U.S. or the UK. This seems like a strange question to me because we live in the UK. Do people actually travel back to their home countries even if they are residents of a different country to give birth? So, I’ll be having her here at the birthing centre attached to our local hospital.

And, as for her room, we have three pieces of artwork up on the wall! Haha, progress! This weekend, we’ll be getting the wardrobes for her room and hopefully a crib/cotbed.

Little lady has led quite the life so far between a hen party to Amsterdam, a trip to the U.S. which included her baby shower in PA and a bachelorette party in NYC, a wedding in England, a day at Old Trafford watching cricket, and many walks around the countryside. Hopefully, she’ll be an easy traveler, like my parents said I was as an infant, as Richard and I have lots of plans for our little family of three!

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At the wedding of our good friends a few weeks back

So much to share!

I’ve wanted to write for awhile now, but a multitude of things have kept me away. And of course, today, when I woke up and started to tackle my to-do list which included me publishing this post, I remembered the power had been shut off for some works happening right up the road from us, so the post would have to wait due to lack of electricity leading to lack of wifi!

During the next week(s), I plan to recap a lot of what has been happening in the last few months. This particular post won’t be anything spectacular (well, maybe it will be!), but I knew that if I just wrote one post then I would want to keep writing more posts. You need to start somewhere to get to where you want to be, so this little post is it for me!

(I really cannot believe I have not written since March. Yikes. Not happy with myself about that, but such is life sometimes!)

Our days have been filled with visits from friends and family, a trip to Wales, a trip to Edinburgh, purchasing an incredible new house and moving into that house, and putting our old house for rent and saying a tearful goodbye to the place where we started our life in England together. Needless to say, it has been an exciting and emotional time for us!

There is one thing that I haven’t mentioned, and to us, that thing is the most important of all. We’re still in disbelief some days and completely over-the-moon excited to have found out right before Easter that our family of two will become three in late November! We’re going to have a little British-American baby!

So yes, there is a lot for me to cover and I’m looking forward to sharing it all!

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You’ve heard me moan about the horrendous weather here and are probably wondering if we are buried under this much snow in mid-June. Thankfully, we aren’t and we’re actually experiencing a stretch of beautiful weather! The relevance of this photo is that I took it on a walk the day we found out we were going to become parents. Every time I think about that day, I remember our excitement and I remember the snowstorm. 

P.S. Due to the power outage, our security alarm has gone off twice today leaving me frantic and unable to shut it off. No matter how many times I punch in the code, the alarm will not stop screeching! I ran out of the house earlier to apologize to the neighbors on either side of us, and thankfully we’ve lucked out in the neighbor department because they were so understanding and one of them was actually outside checking to make sure everything was okay. It’s now off, but I’m afraid to move around the house for fear the motion sensors will trigger the alarm again! (I just spoke to Richard again and he has assured me this will not happen. Phew.) The irony of the situation is Richard works in the security systems industry and he is in London until the evening, so he’s had to helplessly field both of my panicked calls – one of which was me sobbing! Oh, the pregnancy hormones are out in force. Ha.