A Little Reminder of How Lucky I Am

Last week, I began working a very temporary office job to help out at my husband’s office. Up until last Thursday, I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at home with our girl since her birth. I am only doing 1 1/2 days a week, and my first day truthfully flew. I was busy and enjoyed having some time back in an office setting. I arrived home and Richard asked me how the first day went. I said that I did not mind it at all, but if anything, it really lit a fire under my bum to find work that provides me flexibility in my hours because I dropped our girl off at 7:15 AM and picked her up at 6:30 PM. It was a long day for her to be away from home, a long day for me to be away from her, and a long day for her grandmother who looked after her.

I never thought I would be the mom that did not go back to work because I have always worked and been proud of my professional career. But, she arrived and things changed and the opportunity was there for me to stay at home. I feel ever so lucky and fortunate that I’ve been able to spend the past couple of years with her. It was always our agreement that once she began nursery at the age of 3 that I would find some sort of steady work, so as the months tick by and we come closer to her 3rd birthday, I’ve begun to look for work and have applied for a number of part-time jobs. So far, I have not had any luck, but I’ll keep trying.

Today was my half day at the office, and when I got to my mother-in-law’s house to collect our girl, I was oh-so-happy to see her and be on the receiving end of one of her amazing hugs. (You know those hugs that kids give with every ounce of their being? It was one of those. Wow, did I feel loved!) She was excited to get home and see Daddy too, so after a quick tidy up of the children’s toys and books scattered around Grandma’s lounge, we were off to our house. As I reversed into the drive, she saw Richard’s car and said excitedly, “Daddy’s car! Daddy’s home!” It always makes my heart smile when I see our little blondie run to her daddy after he has been gone all day and give him a crazy big cuddle, and tonight was no different.

What was different about tonight though is that as I was reading her a story, she began to get upset and said, “Mummy stay home with me.” This broke my heart. It doesn’t help that I was gone for 4 days on 2 separate occasions in the past month, and now, I’m gone again. Even though I talk to her about me going to work and her going to Grandma’s, I’m still not there with her and her schedule has changed. I know she is having fun with her grandma, but as Richard and I discussed tonight, it was almost like it hit her all of a sudden.

As I held back tears and comforted her, I promised her that tomorrow I would be home. That tomorrow would be a day for just the two of us. I brainstormed what big plans I could make for us, but when I mentioned to her that we would have to the grocery store, her eyes got big and she said, “Yes! Buy yogurt. Buy watermelon. Buy crumpets. Put jam on them.” I was so sweetly reminded that I don’t need any grand gestures to make up for my time away from her. All she needs is me and the normal every day.

 

Serious love to all mommas out there! We rock! xx

 

 

 

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Enjoying St Brelade’s Bay

After the not great weather we had on Saturday, we were hoping for a day of sun to explore a different part of Jersey. Thankfully, the sun came out and the sky was blue as could be! The temperature was around 50 degrees Fahrenheit making it a great day to check out St Brelade’s Bay.

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A friend of mine had recommended we eat at Jersey Crab Shack, so we booked a table for 12:30 on Sunday and took a taxi to St Brelade’s Bay about an hour before. As I mentioned in my first post about Jersey, the people were so incredibly friendly, so when we told our taxi driver where we were heading, he came up with a plan for us to enjoy walking on the beach and end up at the Crab Shack just in time for our reservation.

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The tide was out when we arrived leaving us loads of beach to explore. We strolled nearly the entire way to the far end away from the hotels and restaurants of St Brelade’s Bay before turning back. It was truly beautiful with the sun shining down. St Brelade’s Bay is a bit of an oasis as it is much quieter and tucked away from the city and the main road around the island. It would be a great place for families to stay when visiting Jersey.

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Our lunch at Jersey Crab Shack was absolutely delicious. We’re so glad we booked a table too because we saw group after group of people come in only to be turned away because the restaurant was completely booked. (Yes, even in the winter!) If you ever plan to visit Jersey Crab Shack, definitely make sure you reserve a table ahead of time – it’s so easy to do online through their website.

We had a table right at the window and drooled over the menu for a few minutes before deciding on the crab bruschetta to share as a starter. For our main courses, Richard ordered the crab tacos and I ordered the seafood platter (I think that is what it was called). When our meals came, we couldn’t believe how generous the portions were and how great the food looked. Richard’s tacos were brimming with crab meat and my whole platter was just mouth-watering. They tasted as good as they looked, too!

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After finishing our meal, we got a taxi to take us to St Aubin. We were dropped off on one end of the bay, which allowed us to continue enjoying the nice weather by walking along the bay back to St Helier and to our hotel. It was the perfect end to a wonderful Valentine’s weekend.

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I would most definitely recommend Jersey to anyone considering a visit there. We loved everything about the island and are looking forward to returning in the future with our girl.

 

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!

To Londontown We Went

Last year, during the last weekend in October, Richard and I went to London for our last getaway before our baby was due. This year, unknowingly, we booked the same weekend for the three of us to travel down south for a couple of days in our favorite city. In 2013, we had no idea what we were in for with a baby on the way, but I do know we hoped she would be an easy traveler and that she would just go with the flow. So far, she has proved to be an awesome addition to our travels – both near and far!

We had no real plans for our time in London aside from taking her to Hamley’s and Harrods to check out the toys. She is extremely curious about everything around her, so we were both excited to see how she would react to these two places full of sensory overload. If we had to do it again, we would skip Hamley’s. It was just too crowded.

Harrods toy department, on the other hand, was really enjoyable and just the right amount of hectic. It probably also helped that we got there just as it opened on Sunday, so we avoided a lot of the normal tourist onslaught. Our little lady loved looking around at everything there was to see, and we loved gawking at some of the crazy (expensive) gifts on offer. We actually found her Christmas gift there, which we think she will really enjoy.

After we left the toy shop, we wandered around the children’s clothing department and happened to notice The Disney Café. It was lunch time, so we thought we would give it a go. We really enjoyed it! The food was top notch, which we had expected from a restaurant in Harrods. The girl had a ham and cheese toastie cut into the shape of Mickey Mouse, Richard had a savoury crepe, and I had the mini cheeseburgers (and I was pleasantly surprised when the server asked how I would like them to be cooked). And, imagine my surprise when Richard ordered us a bottle of wine! It was such a nice lunch, and we loved watching our girl (wearing Minnie Mouse ears!) chomp away at her toastie whilst looking around at all of the older kids. She was in her element for sure!

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After leaving Harrods we walked towards Hyde Park Corner to Buckingham Palace and on to St James’s Park. We stopped in St James’s Park because it was time for the girl to be fed. (Yes, she had just eaten, but sister needed her milk!) I plopped down to feed her underneath some fabulous towering trees. When she finished I sat her next to me in the leaves and she was amazed by them. She examined them and played for awhile, and it was fun to just see her taking in the textures and the colors of the leaves. Richard would pick up bunches of leaves and throw them up in the air, which absolutely amused her!

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After leaving the park, we headed to Westminster and crossed the Thames at Westminster Bridge to the Southbank. There is a carousel on the Southbank, so Richard took the girl for a ride. She was unsure when they first sat down on the horse, but after a thorough inspection, she smiled big whilst pointing directly at me stood along the side. (Someone had to look after the pram and our shopping!) She seemed to absolutely love the ride, and Richard laughed the entire way around. And me? I could not stop smiling! I love those unexpected moments that we share when we are all together.

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After the carousel ride, we decided it was time to call it a day (plus we had to get back to watch the Strictly Come Dancing results), so we set off walking back to Islington. Once we were near the hotel, I happened to spot an advertisement for Chipotle, and it was all I could think about since it has been ages since I’ve had anything remotely resembling decent Mexican food. We located said restaurant and grabbed takeaway to enjoy in the comforts of our hotel room. The day ended with us plopped on the bed in comfy clothes chowing down on delicious burritos and chips and salsa.

That weekend was made up of so many little moments that were completely unplanned. We smiled a lot and laughed hard and introduced our daughter to a number of new places and experiences. I don’t think either of us could have anticipated how much joy we would get from observing our daughter absorb the world around her. It was great to slow down and really watch her take everything in. This trip allowed us to look back on where we were a year ago – full of wonder about what our daughter would be like and what we would be like as parents – and realize that we are living our life as a family of three in the best way that we know how. And, in my mind, that is a great way to be.

I’m hopeful that we now potentially have a new family tradition of spending an October weekend in London! (What do you think, Richard?)

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A Weekend That Was So Much More

Two weekends ago, Richard was away (enjoying the Oktoberfest festivities in Germany, no less!), so the girl and I were on our own. I love our weekends as a family because our weekdays are so hectic, so I was a little sad when I woke up on Friday morning knowing that we wouldn’t see Richard again until Sunday night.

In a daze of melancholy and exhaustion, I grabbed the video monitor and saw the girl squirming in her cot and making her usual morning hey-Mom-I’m-here noises. I wandered over to her room and she greeted me with a smile, as she does every morning. When I saw that smile, the sadness didn’t linger and my heart was bursting as I smiled back at her and said, “Good morning, sweet girl.” After I picked her up, we opened the brightly-colored curtains and she waved out the window whilst I say, “Hello, world, we’re ready for another day!” We walked into the hallway where she continued her waves at a photo frame full of pictures from our wedding before we head back to my bed where I breastfed her then we snuggled for a bit.

I’d love to say that the rest of the morning was fabulous, but in all honesty, it was a little rough and I just felt off. Our girl is teething something fierce plus she is in a major growth spurt (or leap if you follow Wonder Weeks, which I highly recommend for any new parents, as it has been pretty much spot on for us). Right now, she is in a weird phase of high-pitched screaming, which is extremely odd for our smiley, laid-back girl. It is seriously ear-piercing!

This was one of those days where I felt super sorry for myself that we live thousands of miles away from my family. All I could think about was how badly I wished I could drive to my parents’ house and lounge in the living room with them whilst they swooned over their granddaughter. Also? I wanted someone else to cook for me. And? I wanted to avoid the overwhelming pile of laundry from our trip to the States.

I knew, though, that for the sake of our girl and her mood that I needed to snap out of this funk. When she went down for her morning nap, I decided to crawl back into bed and basically start the day over again after both of our naps. Honestly, this was the best decision I could have made. I woke up refreshed and ready to enjoy every moment of our girls’ weekend.

Over the next couple of days, I focused on spending quality time with my favorite girl. There were moments, like when we went to the park on Sunday and she loved every second I pushed her in the swing, that I wished Richard was with us to see the joy on her face. But, that weekend made me so grateful for our daughter and for our little family.

That weekend reminded me of so many things that I needed to remember. That the three of us are better together and that we have the most fun then. That we are incredibly blessed to be able to raise this sweet girl and to say that we are her mom and dad. That despite the miles that separate us from my side of the family that this is our home and it’s a place where I feel fortunate to live. That there are tough times, but really there are so many more amazing times. That I love that I have the opportunity to stay at home with our girl during these early years of her life. That even though Richard and I both like to have time away with our friends that we both come back from those times being even more grateful for our life together. That despite the fact that Richard and I have an extremely strong marriage we know it is still a constant work in progress. That he is, without a doubt, my best friend. That this life we have is pretty darn amazing, and I’ll take the good and the bad any day knowing that I have these two beside me.

So, the weekend that started with me feeling down about just about everything ended with me being reminded of what is important and of how fortunate I am. I’m so glad I chose happiness and positivity and to enjoy every moment of the weekend I had with our baby girl.

Have you ever wanted to start a day over again? Ever had one of those days/weekends/weeks where you are reminded just how fortunate you are?

IMG_4946 Look at that face! I love how she holds on to the swing…ah, my heart.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

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 Photo by HDC Photo

Although Mother’s Day was celebrated in March here in the UK (and I was definitely treated like a queen for my first!), it is being celebrated today in the US. So, I’d like to wish my beautiful mom a very happy Mother’s Day! Also, happy Mother’s Day to all of the other moms out there!

I feel extremely lucky that Mom visited us for two weeks in April and that the little one and I were able to take her out for a special afternoon tea to shower her with love. We had a lovely Saturday afternoon of just us girls! (Blog post to come reviewing the tea!)

On this special day, I want to take a moment to tell her again how much she means to me. I’ve always appreciated my parents, but when I hit my mid- to late 20s, I gained a whole new appreciation for them, their marriage, and for everything they did for me and my brother. That appreciation increased even more once our daughter was born because now I truly see and understand how much a mom emotionally, physically, and mentally invests in motherhood and in her children.

I’m forever grateful to have been raised by such a strong, loving, and beautiful woman. She has set an incredible example for me to follow. I only hope that I can be as much of a mother to our daughter as my mom was to me. And, I am so thankful that I now can call my mom an incredible friend. I miss her terribly, so the time we do have together is very important and I really cherish every moment of it. Her visit showed me that not only is she a great mom and wonderful friend, but also an amazing grandmother. Our girl loves her Noni something fierce and I could tell she enjoyed Mom’s visit just as much as I did.

I love you, Mom. Thank you for everything. We can’t wait to see you again in a few weeks. Happy Mother’s Day! xx

 

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.

How We Came to Buy Our New Home

I say our new home because this house we recently bought and moved into is definitely a home. Within two minutes of our first viewing of the house, we looked at each other with bright eyes and big smiles and didn’t have to say a word. We both just knew. This was the place we wanted to buy and to start our family together. It all happened very fast, but to say it was meant to be is an understatement.

We found out we were pregnant 8 days before Easter and 5 days before Richard was set to leave for his annual skiing holiday with the guys. It was also a day after much of northern England was pounded with a massive snow storm. The amount of snow we had rivaled the winters of my childhood in western PA. It was crazy! We walked everywhere that weekend and spent a lot of time just puttering around and smiling at each other. (This, in my opinion, is a totally normal way in which to react when you find out you will be having a baby!)

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We also spent some time online looking at houses for sale. This had become a fairly regular occurrence for us over the past 6 to 8 months. During that time, we saw one house that we were interested in viewing. I contacted the estate agent and that house was under offer already. We just laughed as it obviously wasn’t right for us. On this day though, Richard spotted a house that we knew we HAD to see. I called the estate agent first thing on Monday morning from a hotel in Wiltshire as we had driven down the night before because Richard had a meeting. The woman I spoke with first asked if we had a house to sell before she would arrange an appointment for us. I explained that we planned to rent our current home then she proceeded to ask if we could come that evening to which I told her I would get back to her in a few hours as I had no idea when Richard’s meeting would finish and if we could make the 4- to 5-hour drive in time for a 7:00 viewing. It turns out we could, so we were set and we were anxious.

That evening, when we arrived at the house, we were greeted by the seller who lived there alone. He was friendly and we chatted with him about skiing and travel and the guys bonded over Sky Sports. When you walk into the lounge (the living room to those of us from the US!), you cannot help but immediately walk to the back of it, which offers the most stunning views of the countryside. The same is true for the dining room. He showed us around the rest of the house and then let us have a nosey on our own and we knew. This was it. The only house we ever viewed, but we could see Christmases here and barbecues in the back garden. We could actually have visitors stay with us because we would have space for them. We both pictured us cozy in the lounge relaxing with a new baby this winter. It was everything we had discussed and pictured when we spoke of buying a new house.

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Our garden and our view.

We were probably in the house for 20 minutes and had about zero questions for the seller. We said our goodbyes, got in the car, and started to try to figure out how this was going to work. This house came probably about 10-12 months before we really had planned to buy, but we could not let this pass us by. The next day, Richard got to work by contacting the estate agent to put an offer on the house and by meeting with a mortgage advisor to acquire proof of funds. (What?! You won’t just take our word that we can pay for it? Come on!)

So, that was all taken care of and the waiting began to see if our offer was accepted. Richard took off to Austria, the pregnancy hormones kicked in, and I cried a lot. Awesome. On Thursday, I got a call from the estate agent and my heart stopped. Our offer was accepted! I was ecstatic! And, I couldn’t get in touch with Richard. Haha! Both sets of parents knew, but he was still oblivious in Austria. He called me later that night asking if I was joking about the texts I had sent. Um, no…who jokes about something like that?! (We later came to find out through the estate agent that there were 2 other offers the same as ours, but the seller really ‘took to us’ and that sealed the deal for him. We both took this as a massive compliment!) Three days after we had put the offer in, it was accepted and the craziness started. Not only were we buying, but we were renting our other house. We were a great team – Richard dealt mostly with the purchase and I dealt mostly with the rental. Thankfully, we found a couple around our age to rent the house very shortly after it went on the market, so that was a major relief.

Yep, so that is how we bought a new home completely out of the blue! I’m not going to say I recommend this way of making a large purchase, but it definitely worked for us. I had to laugh one day whilst shopping for a new lounge/living room suite as I realized it took us three trips to the same furniture shop before we finally made a purchase, yet it only took us 15 minutes to decide we wanted to buy a house. But, so it goes sometimes!

Just out of curiosity, would anyone be interested in knowing more about the buying process in the UK? I think I could get Richard to either guest post on it or else I can do my best to explain it with his guidance. Let me know!

Don’t worry — more pictures are to come!

Just a note:  I must take a minute to say how amazing my husband has been through all of this, especially as I have been not well with morning all-day sickness. I don’t see his work personality much (I mostly get the fun-loving, stress-free guy!) and he deals mostly with contracts and overseeing both small and large-scale projects, so I knew he would handle this home-buying process well and he did. But wow, his professionalism and gentlemanly-ness throughout it made the whole process run smoothly and quickly for us. From the date we found out our offer had been accepted until we moved in, it was only 6 weeks and 1 day. This might not seem that fast when it comes to buying a house in the U.S., but in the UK, it is extremely quick. Richard had a lot to do with that because he was on the ball with emails and appointments and following up with appropriate people that it all went through without a hitch. This house was something we both saw as an incredible opportunity and investment for our family and he did everything to make sure it happened for us. Thank you for always doing what you feel is best for us, babe!

{Our Wedding} Getting Ready

The first two posts about our wedding can be found here and here, if you’re interested!

We woke up to sun – and a good bit of wind – on the 29th. I darted off to meet my parents and three of my bridesmaids for breakfast whilst the Brit stayed in our room putting the finishing touches on his speech. After breakfast, we all headed to the pool for a couple of hours. Honestly, the fact that we could do that just made the day even better. We all had time to relax, share some laughs, and sip on mimosas (aka Buck’s fizz to the Brits). It. Was. Perfect.

Around 11 AM, we met with Silvia to check the weather reports and to determine whether we would continue on with the plan of having the ceremony and the reception outside on the beach. The reports looked fine and clear of rain, but there was no sign of the wind calming down. Silvia gave us an hour to determine what our plan would be, so back to the pool it was for more relaxing before we finally just said we were going for it and stuck with the beach ceremony and reception because it is what we had imagined of our wedding from day one.

Soon, it was time for me to head to our room to begin getting beautified. I feel very fortunate that my good friend, who was also my hair stylist when I lived in Washington, made the journey to celebrate our wedding with us not only because she was there to celebrate with us, but she so generously offered to do my hair and my make-up on the wedding day. This was a major added bonus that I wasn’t expecting because I wanted her to enjoy her vacation, so I was overjoyed when she brought it up with me. Having her help with my hair and make-up was incredible because she knows me, she knows my hair, and she knows what I like. She also did an incredible job with my mom’s hair and make-up. Mom and I were happy ladies!

Me&TawnyHugs with my incredible friend who worked her magic on hair and make-up. And, special thanks to my sweet sister-in-law, who surprised me with the cute robe to wear whilst getting ready!

All of the bridesmaids were in the suite as well getting ready and chatting away. It was so fun for my mom and I to be there being made pretty by one good friend whilst my bridesmaids flitted around the room laughing and chatting. I loved every minute of that because I was really surrounded by some of the most amazing women I know.

Soon, the photographer arrived and he was snapping away at us. The next knock on the door was from the best man – still in his swim shorts – with Richard’s gift for me. We had made the decision that he would buy me my jewelry for the wedding and I would buy him his cufflinks.

BmirrorYou can catch a little glimpse of my new favorite earrings!

Because he had never seen my dress, I sent him some ideas of what styles of jewelry would look good with my dress. Well, he went his own route, as he normally does (I truly love this about him!), and he completely blew me away with what he chose. I had images of chandelier-style earrings and a matching cuff, instead he went with beautiful bubble-style studs and a matching bracelet. I never in a million years would have chosen those two pieces on my own, but he knows me better than I know myself sometimes and they were perfect. (I wear the earrings nearly every day!) Funnily enough, he had purchased the jewelry prior to us choosing my wedding band and they all matched! We are terrible at keeping secrets from each other, so I am in awe of the fact that he never let it slip that the three pieces look like they were purchased as a set.

RichardGifts

For his cufflinks, I found a vendor on notonthehighstreet.com who stamps cufflinks with the longitude and latitude of a location, so I had them stamped with the coordinates for Punta Cana. I also found a vendor on Etsy who does something similar with collar stays for shirts. I had one of the stays stamped with the coordinates of another very meaningful location to us and the other stamped with a simple two-line message. I’m so glad we chose to do our gifts this way because it meant we both contributed in an extra special way to the other’s wedding day attire.

Those few hours before the ceremony went by in the blink of an eye, and Silvia was soon in the room telling us we didn’t have much time to go. Truthfully, I had no idea what time it was at any point during the week and the same held true on the wedding day. It was awesome not to care one bit about timing (a first for me!) and this was made better when Silvia informed us that the bride being 10 to 15 minutes late to the wedding is good luck! You can’t not love that!

By this time, my gorgeous bridesmaids were all ready whilst I was still in my robe, so they quickly helped me dress. I did follow the tradition of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” with the added UK bit of “and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” The two most touching were my something old/blue and the silver sixpence. My mom had found her garter from her wedding to my dad in 1980 and had gifted it to me. I was unbelievably touched by this gift from my mom. The marriage the two of them have is one Richard and I look to as inspiration in how we want to live our life as a married couple, so it was with extreme honor I wore her garter on our wedding day. What’s even more amazing is she has trusted me with it, and hopefully, one day, if we are blessed with one, I can pass it on to my daughter. It was a really amazing moment to have my mom put that garter on me.

Momgarter

The other was the silver sixpence which was gifted to me by Richard’s mum. It was another incredible surprise when she walked into our suite on the wedding day and handed me this tiny box. I was worried I would lose it in the sand if it were in my shoe, so you can see the concentration in the photo below as my friend uses body tape to stick it to my side. It was really amazing to be able to take part in a tradition that reflected Richard’s heritage as well.

BMshelpingI wish I could say this photo was staged, but I was in need of major help in getting ready. It’s not easy to fasten your shoes in a form-fitting dress!

M&DbeforeweddingMy incredible parents!

BMsPosing

BMtoast

Next thing we knew, after a few quick snaps by the photographer, we were in the elevator heading to the ceremony. On our way to the ceremony location, we had to walk by one of the resort pools and the people there were clapping and offering their congratulations. The bartenders at the pool bar were crying, which in turn had my mom crying. My bridesmaids were all smiles, and my best friend from when we were in middle school was twirling around in her dress and I was overcome with happiness! I wasn’t nervous. I was SO happy and I could NOT stop smiling! I had my best girls in front of me, my parents on either side of me, and a handsome groom waiting for me by the ocean. This was the wedding day Richard and I had planned for and dreamt of. We were about to become husband and wife with the most amazing group of people as our witnesses.

All photos were taken by Miljan Vasovic from HDC Photo.