Gideon’s Birth Story

Tomorrow Gideon will be ten months old! It’s taken me far longer than I ever imagined it would to write Gideon’s birth story and I think that I dragged my feet because I felt that our story was somehow “less than.”  (It only took me 10 weeks to write Simon’s.)  Gideon was delivered via c-section, quite unexpectedly, and I remember thinking how I didn’t want to share that first photo of the two of us with Facebook because the blue paper cap would be a dead giveaway that I had a dreaded (and so often frowned upon) c-section.  It’s silly now, but it’s taken me ten long months to get over it.  Thinking so much about it in recent days, looking at pictures, and writing this story have all helped me come to accept it and truly, truly get over the feelings I’ve been plagued with of how our story and Gideon’s birth was “less than.”  So, what follows is probably a bit too long and I really don’t expect anyone but Matt to read every word!

Matt finally decided it probably wasn’t a good idea to go out of town for a conference the week before Gideon was due.  We had talked about it a lot and initially thought it’d be fine since my mom would come up just a day after Matt would leave.  And anyway, if I did go into labor, he could get home in 5 hours — plenty of time!  It was a good thing, though, that Matt came to his senses and called off the trip because wouldn’t you know, I went into labor while he would’ve been away AND I ended up needing a c-section.

Gideon’s due date was June 13.  I was crossing my fingers he’d come on June 6, exactly one week early, because Dr. M (whom I love) was on call that date and how cool would 6-6-12 be as a birthday?  As it turns out, I almost got my wish. Gideon came quite unexpectedly (and a bit traumatically) on Tuesday, June 5.

Throughout my entire pregnancy with Gideon, I wondered and worried about how the end was going to go – what would we do with Simon?  Simon had never spent a night away from me – how would he be?  What if I went into labor very suddenly and early and there was no one to watch him?  We did manage to have two emergency back ups in place, but the preferred plan was for my mom to make it up to Gainesville to be here for whenever Baby Time arrived.  We all breathed a heavy sigh of relief when she arrived on Sunday, 6/3!  She got here just in time for us to have one glorious day together on Monday.  I had no idea it was my last full day of pregnancy, my last day as a mother to just Simon, otherwise we might’ve done something a little different than having lunch at McDonald’s and going to the bookstore.  But I was happy to get some shopping taken care of for Matt’s upcoming birthday and for Father’s Day, and it was fun to buy Simon a new book (or three!).  And, the day ended in a glorious breakfast-for-dinner that my mom cooked!


We went to bed around 10 pm Monday night and as soon as I got into bed, Gideon moved like crazy.  It was such a gigantic, crazy movement that it was definitely visible and it left my stomach looking very lopsided.  Matt saw it and we chuckled at how odd it was, but we never imagined that it was Gideon flipping himself around so that now he was breech.

Around 3 am on Tuesday, June 5, I woke up to go to the bathroom and I thought I might’ve had a contraction.  I certainly had a sharp pain, but it passed pretty quickly.  I sat on the floor by the bed and brought up the laptop thinking that I better type out some instructions for my mom (mainly, how to use the DVD player) in case we’d be heading to the hospital soon.  Sure enough, I felt another pain, and then brought up the contraction tracker app on my phone.  The rest of those wee morning hours were spent tracking contractions and listening to music, specifically this song over and over.  My mom said she saw the light on in our bedroom and wondered if something was about to happen.

As luck would have it, I had my 39 week doctor’s appointment scheduled for that afternoon at 3:40.  I originally told Matt to just go into work and then I would drive myself to the doctor and meet him there.  When both my mom and Matt said this was a pretty stupid idea, I offered the alternative, fine, you should go to work and then come pick me up in time for the appointment.  HA!  Matt did not go to work that day.

I spent that last day of my pregnancy taking three long showers, waiting for my water to break, waiting for the contractions to get consistently closer than 7 minutes apart, lying on the bed in my mom’s room watching Simon sing and play with his new book, sitting in the chair in Simon’s room watching my mom read to Simon.


Matt spent the day hanging curtains in Simon’s room and installing a bookshelf.  And then it was finally time to head to the doctor’s office.  We decided to take my hospital bag just in case.

I remember being pretty calm as we waited for the doctor.  I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but I had already decided that I would not agree to an induction if it was suggested (as the contractions, though painful, weren’t consistent).  I remember telling Dr. M excitedly that I had been contracting since early that morning and she smiled and had me lie back so she could listen to Gideon’s heart.  It took her a while to find the heartbeat and my heart stopped during those very long seconds.  Her face was straight and focused in concentration as she moved the Doppler around my belly looking for the heartbeat.  She helped me sit up and said, “I am 99% sure that Gideon is now breech.  But I’m going to go get the portable ultrasound and we’ll take a look.”  I immediately started to cry as I could feel a c-section was imminent.  She did her best to reassure me and told me we’d talk about our options once she confirmed Gideon’s placement.

He was breech, which was puzzling.  At my 38 week appointment, just 5 days earlier, he was certainly head down.  She asked if I had felt any strange movement recently and then it hit me, the crazy movement the night before must’ve been when he turned.  I begged with Dr. M for the chance to try to turn him, and bless her heart, she was extraordinarily patient with me.  She assured me that if I had to have a c-section, it would not be the end of the world – and here’s why it’s taken me 10 long months to write Gideon’s birth story: I thought it was the end of the world if I delivered Gideon via c-section.  Blogs I read, Facebook friends and groups, and the general consensus of women I know are anti-c-section.  I felt that if our birth story was one that involved a c-section, it was somehow less than.  I felt that I had in some way failed.  I simply couldn’t wrap my head around how Simon’s birth had been so incredibly fast and easy and natural and Gideon’s was going to be like nothing I had planned for or anticipated and hoped for.

Dr. M introduced me to the doctor who was on call that evening (Dr. S), the one who’d be delivering Gideon.  I asked if I could try to deliver him vaginally, even though he was breech.  The practice would not try for a breech delivery with a baby over 7 pounds and they knew Gideon was over 7 pounds (he was born at 8 lbs, 9 oz.).  I begged again if we could try to turn him and the doctors agreed to it while stressing that it’d be very painful and the likelihood of a successful turn at 39 weeks was very slim.  I wanted to try anyway because I simply didn’t want a c-section, what I felt was the sure sign of failure.  We had a plan in place and we were told to get to the hospital immediately (and sadly, not to eat anything!).   I remember calling my mom in the parking garage at the doctor’s office and tearfully telling her that we were on the way to the hospital and I was probably going to have to have a c-section.  She assured me she’d be praying and that Simon was perfectly fine.

The drive from the doctor’s office to the hospital took about 5 minutes.  The last view of my very large pregnant belly!  Having only gained 20 lbs during my first pregnancy, I was pretty shocked to gain about 50 lbs this time around.  And, boy, has it been difficult to lose (though, really, I haven’t tried too hard!).


We were in the elevator heading to the labor and delivery floor at about 5:30.  I was a little bummed the post-doctor-appointment outing was ending in a trip to the hospital instead of a dinner date (which my mom had previously suggested we try to squeeze in), but also a bit excited.  At the day’s end, we’d have Gideon!  Things moved very quickly.  Dr. M had already called ahead and a room was waiting for us.  Three or four nurses were buzzing around the room and told me to immediately go into the restroom and change into the hospital gown.  As soon as I got out of the bathroom and went to sit on the bed, my water broke.  And more tears came because this meant that Dr. S would not be able to try to turn Gideon.  Because my water broke, there was a certain urgency to get to the operating room and things felt like they were moving much too quickly.  One nurse was holding a clipboard for me to sign rambling on about death and things that could happen.  One nurse couldn’t find Gideon’s heartbeat, so another had to rush up and reposition the monitor.  The anesthesiologist came in and explained the spinal block.  More papers to sign, more talk about death.  Another nurse was drawing blood.  And then we had to wait for what seemed like forever for the hospital to do their own type and screen of my blood.  Many calls of “hurry up, lab, we need those results” later, I was being wheeled through the hallways into the operating room.  Matt stayed behind and put on the blue paper clothes.


I felt like I was on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy as I was being wheeled through the hallway and into an operating room, which felt very cold (and I am never cold!).  Getting the spinal block in place was terrible.  A sure way to make someone squirmy is to stress the importance of staying absolutely still.  Throw in constant, painful contractions, and horrible nausea, and I have no idea how I survived those endless minutes as the anesthesiologist did his thing.  It worked near immediately, and before I knew it, I was flat on my back and the room was filling up with people – Dr. S came in, a few nurses, and someone who popped her head in and asked if she could assist.  When she was told yes, her response was, “Cool.”

The attending anesthesiologist joined his resident and helped to tweak the spinal block.  And then I got so incredibly nauseous that I was tipped down and told, “Don’t worry if you throw up.  It will be ok.”  Thankfully, I didn’t throw up.  Matt joined me and the attending anesthesiologist made small talk with us which greatly calmed me down. We asked if Matt could take photos and when the doctor found out that we weren’t afraid of bloody photos, he offered to take our camera and snap some pictures.


And then I heard someone say, “Oh my, he’s definitely a boy!”  (We found out later that Gideon had been born with a hydrocele.)

Now here’s the crazy part – I think I was slightly more emotional during Gideon’s actual birth than Simon’s.  Simon’s birth was nearly perfect.  Though I didn’t get to labor in the water, he came quickly and it was unmedicated.  I was overjoyed when he was immediately placed on my chest and was extremely proud of having delivered him.  But when Gideon was delivered, even though I had done absolutely nothing to bring about his birth – no focused determination or pushing – I was still so overjoyed and the tears came.  I happily watched to my left as Matt watched the nurse assess, measure, and clean Gideon up.


I was aware that the doctor in charge of the c-section was talking to his students and nurses, but their voices were very faint and jumbled.  It was nearly 7:30 when Gideon was born and just minutes after his birth, he was placed on me for our skin to skin contact.  The anesthesiologist helped arrange Gideon and Matt snapped a photo so I could send it to my mom.


I love this photo that the doctor took.


Gideon stayed with me for a good while as they stitched me up.


Matt watched as my uterus was taken out of my body and stitched up resting on my stomach.  He also remarked later how he couldn’t believe how the skin could stretch so much.  I think it’s pretty remarkable that he was able to watch both a natural birth and a c-section without becoming woozy!  I was stitched up and transferred to a recovery room within an hour after delivery and that’s where I was able to nurse my sweet new baby.  He latched on without a problem and contentedly nursed for nearly an hour.


Then it was time for him to go to the nursery to be checked by a pediatrician.  Matt went with him and sent me photo texts like this one


while I stayed in the recovery room drinking box after box of Gatorade and called my mom.


I don’t remember the exact time we were finally transferred to the 9th floor mother/baby unit, but it was late.  We were pleasantly surprised with the size of the room and happy to see a couch that Matt could sleep on, rather than just a reclining chair.


The first night was a bit rocky.  I could not believe how many times someone came to check on us.

Dr. M, who we knew for months was going to be on call on June 6 (remember, that was the day I was hoping to deliver Gideon), made a special visit to our room the following day.  She held our precious Gideon and I so wanted to get their photo together, but instead, I just enjoyed her visit.  She wrote a note in my chart that said not to disturb our room after 9 pm that night and boy, what a different it was!  Matt left in the early afternoon to go pick up Simon and my mom to come for a visit.  I love all three of these photos from that first special visit.




After several very long days in the hospital, we were finally discharged Friday afternoon (6/8), but before we could actually leave the hospital, Gideon had to be fitted with a portable holter monitor to keep track of his heartbeat during his first 24 hours home.  (The pediatrician detected a slight irregularity in his heartbeat and he’s still under the care of a pediatric cardiologist who is certain he’ll outgrow it soon!)  It was rather an ordeal with a few mishaps, so by the time we were finally loading our new babe into the car, it was quite late … but not too late to stop by McDonald’s for a french fry treat!

I’m not sure what made Simon happier — having Mama home or a fry in each hand?


What a relief it was to be home AND what an incredible blessing that my mom was able to stay for 5 weeks to help, especially given the circumstances of my c-section.


And so, 10 months later and I’m finally ok with having had a c-section.  It was crazy unexpected and definitely unwanted, but necessary and I do believe in no way less than my experience with Simon’s birth.  I had unexpected and still unexplained complications many months later, but Gideon is perfect and I am no longer afraid of what future pregnancies might bring, even another c-section (though I pray that won’t ever happen again!).  I’m thankful for having had a doctor whom I trust and so grateful for many things, especially a hugely supportive husband.

The end.


Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


10 on the 10th

I didn’t make any concrete resolutions for 2013.  I wanted to and intended to, but I realized I could set myself up for more success if I just set some goals.  In no particular order, here are ten goals for this new year.

1. Become more organized.  Lately, I’ve been a bit unhappy.  I’ve been extremely overwhelmed and in a recent conversation with Matt (on New Year’s Day of all days!), I came to the realization that a lot of my unhappiness and feeling overwhelmed stems from disorganization.  We moved in to our apartment in February of last year.  There are still many boxes piled high in several closets (and to be clear, this is a super spacious apartment with super spacious closets!).  Enough already!  The boxes in our closets are just the tip of the organizational iceberg that I hope to tackle all throughout 2013.  It’s not going to be easy because finding time to do anything is hard with two children, but thankfully, I have a super supportive husband who is totally on board Project Organization.  My word for 2013 is definitely organize.

2. Become more involved in church.  We started attending our church last February when we first moved to Gainesville.  Simon started attending the preschool there in September and while I joined a weekly Bible study and MOPS at our church, we still kind of felt unconnected.  In December, we had Gideon baptized and we became official members.  We joined a Sunday school class just last week and Matt started going to a Bible study at our church’s midweek service.  I’m still going to the weekly morning study and to MOPS and I think we are both beginning to feel “plugged in.”  I’m hoping we will say yes to more opportunities to get involved.

3. Make a few healthier choices.  I only gained 20 pounds during my pregnancy with Simon and I essentially lost it all by the time I left the hospital with him in my arms.  When I was pregnant with Gideon, well, I stopped keeping count of the pounds added after they reached 40. I’m sure it was a combination of factors: second baby, we lived back in the US and didn’t have to walk everywhere, I didn’t eat as healthily as I did during my first pregnancy, and I had access to EVERYTHING since I was back in the US (like peanut butter M&Ms).  Anyway, I have not lost much of those extra 40 pounds and while I don’t want to diet and am not going to head outside or to a gym to seriously exercise anytime soon, I would like to make some healthier choices …. every now and then.  I think I’ll still need some peanut butter M&Ms, but hopefully I will end this year healthier than I am at its start.

4. Get started on Project Life.  I have grand plans.  I want to do baby editions for each boy, I want to do an annual family album, I want to do a few mini albums for special things (like Simon’s second birthday trip to Disney).  As it’s the 10th, I am already falling behind on a yearly album, so as all the supplies already sit on my bookshelf, I need to start on the main album first.

5. Be more intentional about keeping in touch.  I used to fancy myself a pretty good letter writer, but I cannot remember the last letter I wrote.  I miss it.  I miss the way letter writing was intentional — so much more so than composing an email or a text message.  Even more intentional, in some ways, than a phone call.  I have good friends who I, sadly, know very little about now because I’ve been out of touch for far too long.  So, I’m hoping to be better about keeping in touch this year.  Write more letters.  Send more cards.  Maybe make a phone call or two (I hate the phone).

6. Choose joy.  Often I forget that happiness and joy are choices.  There are so many moments in every single day when I despair and feel like I’m running head first into “the darkness,” and I’m hoping to stop myself in a few of those moments and consciously choose joy instead.  Because there is so much I have to be thankful for.

7. Blog a bit more.  After nearly 2 years, so much has been left undocumented.  I like writing in this space because I like to remember what I was thinking or what I did.  I hate that I didn’t make the time to blog more during Simon’s first year.  And I didn’t blog AT ALL during his second year.  Now, we’re in his third year and we’ve added Gideon to our family.  There are just so many things I don’t want to forget.

8. Use my cookbooks some.  I am just going to say it: I hate to cook.  I don’t like the planning, the shopping, the preparing, the actual cooking, and all the stress over things not turning out like the photos.  I’ve tried to like it, I really have.  Maybe one day I truly will like to cook.  But the time is not now.  However, I have a couple lovely cookbooks that I do enjoy looking through and reading and I want to be more intentional about trying a few of the recipes out even if they end up not looking quite like the photos.

9. Be a bit better with keeping up with Bible study homework.  There’s homework each week for both our Sunday school class and my Tuesday morning women’s Bible.  It’s hard to make time for the reading and the journaling, but I know it’s important.  When I manage to complete the homework, I’m overjoyed because I’ve learned so much and I feel good about myself at the completion of a seemingly impossible amount of work!

10. Spend less on Amazon this year!  This should be a pretty easily attainable goal.  I’m not going to disclose the exact amount spent on Amazon in 2012, but it was pretty shocking when I added it all up on December 31 … before placing one-last-hurrah order!  I very nearly resolved to not buy ANY books for either kiddo in the year 2013, but come on.  That would’ve been setting myself up for failure.  I do, however, want to spend less in general this year and by severely limiting myself on Amazon, I’m well on my way.

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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in 10 on the 10th


May’s Good Things

1 – Finally begun ordering hard copies of photos from Snapfish. Novemeber and December done = 342 prints!

2 – Bank Holiday! We had a nice breakfast, walked to a nearby nature reserve, had brie for dinner, and Simon rolled from his back to his belly!

3 – Organized Simon’s dresser (which made me super happy) and Simon showed off for Grandma on Skype and rolled from back to belly.

4 – CK brought home special treats for me: ice cream and Coke!

5 – My 342 photos from Snapfish arrived! I spent a bit of time in my office organizing shelves and hanging pictures.

6 – CK brought me pretty flowers home AND fish and chips!

7 – Simon gave me some candy in honor of US Mother’s Day, we painted the living room purple, and it rained!

8 – US Mother’s Day and CK showered me with peacock gifts. Hung things on our purple walls and CK’s cousin came to visit for the afternoon.

9 – Mother’s Day card arrived from my mom with some scrapbooking supplies and I decided to complete a photo edit challenge a blog I read hosted (which I later won!!).

10 – Had time to create a scrapbook page after CK came home from work and totally destroyed my tidy office (it was well worth it).  We enjoyed tacos for dinner.

11 – I took a delicious afternoon nap with my boy and after CK came home from work, I scrapped a page.

12 – CK brought me ice cream home.

13 – Went into campus to have lunch with CK and afterwards had a little photo shoot in the garden (which yielded lots of nice shots!) AND he left work and came home with us!

14 – Took a train into nearby Wokingham where we had wonderful sandwiches (mine was bacon and brie!). I went to the charity shops, had a nice rose cupcake, and we ended the afternoon with hot chocolate.

15 – Went to Pret a Manger for the first time after church where we had delicious sandwiches and Simon sat in a high chair for the first time (though he didn’t eat anything).

16 – It must’ve been a slow day because the good thing I have written down in my date book is, “Felt good about cooking dinner.” Ha!

17 – I found out I won the photo edit contest, CK brought me a Snickers ice cream bar home, and he put Simon to bed all by himself.

18 – Another ice cream treat and another night of Daddy putting Simon to bed.

19 – I spoke with my friend Sharon and asked her and her husband to be Simon’s godparents as CK and I decided to have him baptised when we go home.

20 – CK took the morning off and we went to Woodley to take care of some banking business. We had THE BEST experience at HSBC (we’re still kicking ourselves we didn’t start out banking with them when we arrived) and had THE BEST lunch at Gregg’s (bacon + cheese twist and a fresh cream apple danish).

21 – Simon turned 6 months and we celebrated by introducing him to food. He “ate” an apple on Skype and my mom got to be part of the experience, too!

22 – We went to a couple’s home for lunch after church. Lunch was delicious, the company was great, and we were sent home with beautiful peonies and roses from their garden.

23 – CK brought me a Coke and an ice cream bar (this has been a very indulgent month).

24 – Bob Dylan’s Birthday! Simon fell asleep on my lap as I watched Bob videos on YouTube.

25 – Simon began to smile every time I sang “You Are My Sunshine” and just when I thought I was finished with Glee, they sand “For Good” and I cried and cried.

26 – Simon took a 3 hour nap in my arms. So sweet.

27 – I put Simon in the Sleepy Wrap and walked around reading to him from my Flannery O’Connor biography. And, I saw a tooth bud.

28 – Went to a National Trust property, The Vyne, where we got in for free! We enjoyed nice cake in their cafe and a nice, cool walk through the woods. On our way home, we stopped in Sainsbury’s (a grocery store) where we unexpectedly found the perfect little outfit for Simon to wear for his dedication.

29 – Simon’s dedication. It was perfect and lovely and the three couples who mean the most to us were there and all involved in some way. They had even gone through the trouble of making a special surprise cake for us.

30 – Bank Holiday! We spent the day in town where I was trying to find something to wear (fail). Instead, I bought CK a Father’s Day present!! We had a wonderful lunch at the Forbury Hotel and a fabulous piece of cheesecake and delicious hot chocolate at a great coffee shop that somehow manages to stay in business even though it shares a corner with both Starbucks and Costa.

31 – Went to Woodley and had another pleasant banking experience. Got Green & Black chocolates on sale at Waitrose.


April was a pretty great month.

I thought it’d be a good idea for me to chronicle all the good things that happened in April before the end of May (when I hope to chronicle all the good things that happened this month).  So, better late than never!

April was a pretty fantastic month mostly because CK spoiled me both for Mother’s Day weekend and because he was home for 7 days straight because of the Easter school closures! 

1 – Oh, what a fabulous first day of April!  No fooling around here!  CK brought sweet flowers home and I got my first Mother’s Day card (as Mother’s Day in the UK is linked to Lent and therefore never falls on the same weekend as in the US).  There were sweet coupons in the card (that I’ve been holding on to!) for bathroom cleanings and leaving work early!  He also brought home ice cream and we watched the musical episode of Grey’s Anatomy (which we both loved and still don’t understand why it got so much criticism).  Oh, and to top it all off?  Sweet, silly Simon laughed out loud.  Whew!  What a great day, right?

2 – CK cooked bacon and pancakes and Simon gave me a sweet Mother’s Day card with four Divine chocolate bars.  AND, we FINALLY got around to hanging things in the bedroom and I organized Simon’s bookshelf.  It was a gloriously relaxing-while-still-being-productive day!

3 – My first Mother’s Day!  CK got up early allowing me to sleep in until 9 am!  He cooked another fabulous breakfast.  I got sweet Mother’s Day presents and we had lunch at a couple’s house after church during which Simon behaved beautifully!

4 – The grocery delivery was 20 minutes early!  This NEVER happens.  It usually arrives at the very last minute of the two hour delivery window.

5 – CK got a paper accepted for publication!  After speaking with the Home Office, we figured out how to apply for Simon’s immigration documents in the US *huge sigh of relief AND savings!*.

6 – I got 101 free prints from Shutterfly and we had brie for dinner.  Oh, and my new wet bag arrived.

7 – I captured Simon demonstrating his latest skill (foot grabbing).  Simon got his final round of immunizations until his first birthday and I was able to wear him in the Sleepy Wrap the entire time (which meant he did just fine).  He was asleep by 7:45!

8 – Worked on and finished up a mini scrapbook for my mom and Simon took all his naps in the Sleepy Wrap.

9 – Went to Toys R Us and bought Simon the LeapFrog caterpillar.

10 – Simon went in the Johnny Jump Up for the first time and seemed to enjoy it.  I had a delicious salmon and brie sandwich for lunch after church.

11 – Art work ordered from etsy arrived!

12 – My friend Susanne took Simon and me to Dinton Pastures for a walk and nice lunch in their cafe.  Then we had tea and chocolates at her house.

13 – The weather turned chilly again and I got a call from my friend Karen who shared the name of her daughter due in August.

14 – Went into campus to have lunch with CK and then a purple-y family photo shoot in the campus gardens.

15 – Went to Woodley where I got pictures printed (always fun!) and was finally able to put together my Mother’s Day frame present.  Found a wonderful book for CK for an Easter present and an entire season of The West Wing for just £2.99 at Oxfam.  CK brought fish + chips home for dinner!

16 – Enjoyed a lazy Saturday which included a bacon and egg breakfast and enough time in my office to make CK a special mini scrapbook and card to surprise him when he went away for a conference.

17 – We had brie for dinner (always a highlight for me!).

18 –  CK left for a conference and Simon and I walked him to the bus stop (which isn’t the good thing about today).  On our way home from the bus stop, we went in a charity shop where I found a cute Hawaiian shirt for Simon for a mere 79p.  Then, Simon and I took a three hour nap together.

19 – Took a 2.5 hour nap with Simon and gave him a bath all by myself!

20 – CK got  back from his conference!  Yay!  I finally reached the bottom of the laundry basket and I found out The Help was made into a movie!

21 – Simon’s passport arrived (at long last!!).

22 – Did lots of organizing and rearranging at home in the morning and then went into town where I got a peacock folder and some scrapbooking supplies.

23 – Took the train to Oxford and had a wonderful time!  Lunch at The Eagle and Child, a decadent block of fudge, books at Blackwells, pastries from Patisserie Valerie, and brie for dinner!

24 – Easter Sunday!  CK surprised me with a wonderful Flannery O’Connor book I didn’t even know existed.

25 – Easter Monday which CK had off.  Even though Simon was super fussy all day long, we had a nice time together watching lots of The West Wing.

26 – Slept in a bit because CK got up with Simon.  We went into Woodley where I scored a peacock shirt from a charity shop.

27 – A box from my mom arrived and Simon sat unassisted for the first time.  Among the box’s treasures were a cute bunny outfit and Simon the chipmunk.

28 – Pay day!

29 – CK had the day off because of the Royal Wedding (which we caught the tail end of).  Bought paint for the kitchen and living room and ate at McDonald’s.

30 – Went to Dinton Pastures together where we had a wonderful lunch in the cafe.


Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Good Things by the Month


The last of the layout challenges (for now)

The fourth layout challenge for National Scrapbook Day (hosted at was to create a page around a photo with a hidden story.  This challenge should have been a piece of cake for me — for I love to tell a good story.  But, I labored over what photo to choose, what story to tell, and I finally settled on this photo as the focus of my page:

This photo was taken just days before Christmas and Simon is in fact wearing his first of several festive outfits (Santa’s Little Helper shirt gifted by friends from church), but I decided to step away from all the Christmas papers and stickers and embellishments and so I turned to a few pieces of paper from K & Company in the Blue Awning line that I’ve been saving.  I wanted to include some photos other than the one with the hidden story and this is what I came up with:

I remember this day like it was yesterday!  It was just a couple days before Christmas and we spent the afternoon shopping in town.  I needed to find a place to nurse, and fast, and so that meant tea or coffee somewhere.  We decided to give the cafe in Marks & Spencer a whirl…and it was fabulous!  My mom enjoyed a slice of Victoria Sponge and I gambled on a slice of Sticky Toffee Cake (and was SO glad I took the risk).  We enjoyed tea and then snapped some photos of sweet Simon, trying to capture his festive attire.

We headed to the bathroom to change his diaper and this is where the hidden story comes into play.  Up until this point, Simon had cried his way through every single diaper change.  No, I’m not exaggerating —  We went into the baby change room and fully expected a screaming fit, but much to our surprise, he didn’t make a peep.  I was dumbfounded and immediately reached for the camera because I just knew at any moment the screaming would commence.  It never did.  Our little boy made it through an entire diaper change without making a single sound.  I guess he decided all was well in the world right there in Marks & Spencer.  I left the bathroom in utter disbelief and awe and reported the fantastic news to my mom — who promptly cheered for Simon as any good grandmother would do!

I wish I could say that he never again wailed through a diaper change.  He has on several occasions since screamed bloody murder.  He’s gotten a bit better now (thank goodness since he’s staring down six months next weekend!).

A few more details about the page: I love the journaling cards and sticky border tape, both by K & Company.

I don’t have a fancy border punch yet (I plan on using a Jo-Ann’s or Michael’s coupon for one this summer when I’m home), so I made my own border by punching several one inch circles, inking the edges, and then just assembling them in a straight line underneath a photo.  I am pleased with how it turned out:

This layout took the most time to put together and I’m so grateful to CK for giving me so much time in my office this afternoon and evening!  It’s been such a fun week of scrapbooking and creating these layouts to participate in the Scrapbooking Day challenges.  I hope I don’t lose my motivation.


Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Crafting


Layout 3: The Owl and the Pussycat Tea Party

I first saw the Owl and the Pussycat cookies at a Starbucks during our visit to the US last summer.  My mom had her eye on them, so I bought a box and we had them at a special tea party

It was a great excuse to break out the special Wind in the Willows plates, too.  And, since I just got a new camera, it was fun to pull out all the Owl and the Pussycat things to take a picture (or two or ten):

The little Golden Book that is propped open is what started my love of the Owl and the Pussycat.  It was one of a few special books my mom gave me when I had the chicken pox back in 1984 and I remember looking through the book and falling in love with the illustrations. 

Anyway, it was a nice tea party we had together back in June.

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon the Owl and the Pussycat cookies in my neighborhood Waitrose!  And, for just £1.99, which seemed like such a bargain compared to the $5.00 price tag they had at Starbucks.  I promptly bought three boxes, sent one to my mom in a back-to-school box, and kept the other two in the back of my cupboard squirrelling them away so we could have a tea party when she came to visit at Christmas.  I was just sure that Waitrose was going to sell out of the special cookies (of course, they did not).

Then, one day while I was searching eBay for cute Owl and the Pussycat things (like onesies and pajamas, both of which I scored for Simon), I stumbled upon a set of Royal Daulton plates (just like the Wind in the Willows ones my mom has) and so, on a whim, I bid on them.  It was a ridiculously low bid for the set of four and I never thought I’d actually win.  I did.

The plates and the cookies sealed the deal: we were going to have an Owl and the Pussycat tea party when my mom visited at Christmas.  I was going to dress Simon in his Owl and the Pussycat pajamas, we’d eat the special cookies off the special plates, and I might even christen my cupcake maker and make owl cupcakes (that has yet to happen).

I had no idea that my mom was going to gift Simon with some wonderful Owl and the Pussycat things: a beautiful quilt, a double handled baby mug, a pea green boat, and two wonderful copies of the book.  Those gifts served as the decorations for our tea party and on December 29, 2010, we enjoyed those sweet cookies on the sweet plates…along with some other sweet treats. 

I chose to scrap the pictures from that tea party for this next challenge.  The mission was to create a layout with a border between two photos.  We could use as many photos and as many borders as we wanted, but the border had to go between the photos – not off to the side or above or below.  This time I just tried to come up with something on my own and not try to completely copy Shimelle’s example.  Here’s the end result:

I wanted to use all four photos, so I came up with this layout -a grid of sorts, with four pictures and four combinations of borders.  My favorite border, of course, is the sparkly, glittery TEA PARTY against the sparkly, glittery blue snowflake paper:

I used a stocking embellishment that says TREATS which I tied in with a glittery sticker on a plate full of treats:

Aren’t the pastel Owl and Pussycat plates the perfect dish for this tea party?  And those sweet little teapot lemon cookies added a nice touch, I think.  The border between the plate of goodies and the silver plate of the star of the party (macarons) was a simple pale blue ribbon and gingerbread house embellishment:

The final border on the page is the journaling space – a stamp from the 7 Gypsies set I just discovered I had:

I’m so happy to have these photos scrapped so I can look back and remember the great tea party I shared with my mom.

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Posted by on May 12, 2011 in Crafting


Numbered Days

Simon has never slept particularly great – not since he woke up from his post-birth-and-initial-nursing 14 hour coma at around 9 pm the day he was born.  CK and I think back to those first hours and chuckle to ourselves.  He remembers thinking on that most blissful of days how shockingly easy having a newborn was going to be!  We marveled at how sweet his little coo was while he slept, we took pictures, we took video, and then we sat on the edge of my hospital bed peering into his little cot just waiting for him to stir.  And he never did.  He just kept sleeping, and cooing.

But once he woke up from that 14 hour first nap of his, we’ve been absolutely amazed ever since by how little he’ll sleep or how long he can stay awake or how he just needs one of us to hold him, wear him, or lay down with and cuddle him in order for him to go to sleep.  I think we’ve stopped trying to figure out how to fix Simon’s sleeping and we’ve accepted that he’s a bit of a sparkler – that is, he’s a bit difficult when it comes to sleep (and a few other things, too). 

We had a few deceptively amazing moments back in February when we were sure he turned the corner and began “sleeping through the night.”  For a two week stretch, Simon was going 5-7 hours every night before waking.  I remember once waking CK up and saying, “Look, he went 7 hours!”  Maybe he was just sleeping through a growth spurt or something, because no corner was actually turned, it was just a fluke.

And so we press on with our little sparkling Simon and many of my mornings are spent under the weight of this growing boy

His deepest, soundest, longest sleep happens when he’s nestled in the Sleepy Wrap or lain across my chest.  Sometimes I think of all the scrapbook pages I could be making or things I could be doing and I just wish Simon was the baby who could be put down awake and moments later be soundly asleep for a nap or at the very least transfer easily from arms to bed (that practically never happens; once we attempt a move, game over!).  But then I hear his heavy breathing or I feel the wet puddle collecting on my bare skin from his sleepy drool and I realize that these days are so, so numbered.  I don’t care about good intentioned warnings that we’re creating bad habits (we don’t believe it’s possible to “spoil” a baby nor do we believe in letting Simon “cry it out”).  The scrapbook pages can wait and the laundry, dishes, and dinner certainly can wait while I help my boy sleep a bit more soundly.  We spent money on the cutest IKEA crib bedding that goes with the curtains and the bright walls of our bedroom and I wonder if we’ll ever use it because Simon is happy as a clam sleeping in bed with us.  Sometimes I wish he was the baby who’d go down for the night in his own bed and stay down for 12 hours, but it seems that as soon as CK and I tip-toe out of the bedroom and try to avoid the creaky floor boards just outside of the bedroom, I look over at CK and say, “I miss him already.”  I snuggle up next to Simon in bed each night and while I am tired a lot of the time, I’m grateful all of the time that I get to lay next to my baby because I know the days are numbered.

I’m going to try to remember in the middle of a bad night like we had yesterday.  I’m going to try to remember in the middle of a bad day when I look at the clock and find out it’s only 1:00 and CK won’t be home for hours still!  I probably won’t do a very good job of remembering in the midst of it, but it’s there.


Posted by on May 12, 2011 in Baby