Monday, September 14, 2015

Six months going back.

It's taken me six whole months to write this. The thought has crossed my mind many times, like every time Noah turned another month older and a few times in between. However, I seem to be living most of life in this slightly belated time warped fashion so hey, whats a six month delay.

We have a son! Noah Alexander Rohan Paterson was born at 1:03pm on Saturday the 14th of March this year after a long, hard, traumatic and awful-in-every-way labour. (The next one is coming straight out the sun-roof, let it be noted.)
But he's here now and he is such a joy and delight I don't ever think about those last few days of being pregnant. The last six months have gone so quickly and I feel like I want to write SO much down but that would take days. I might over time blog some highlights for the memory box but if you're desperate to catch up on the first six overgrammed months of Noah's life, feel free to pop over to my instagram account.

I have about ten minutes before he is very likely to wake from his nap so what's been one big lesson I've learnt in the last six months? (And parenthood is one big, long, sharp learning curve I assure you)

I think probably just how important it is to cherish the present - to find joy and grace and strength for today. I think for the first few weeks of our baby boy's life we mourned for what we had lost - the fun and freedom of being a two, sleep, and working to no ones schedules but our own. Suddenly we had a little person , who by most accounts is as easyyyyy as they come, he really is, but our lives can no longer be lived as selfishly as I might like.
And now I often find myself pining for the tiny newborn babe we brought home from hospital and wondering how he turning into a giggly, moving, sitting up, eating little boy and I really need to knock that habit on the head. I will find myself at a different stage in a few months from now and so regret not soaking up these wonderful days.
And because I'm me and I'll recognise a problem and not do anything about it I need to take the Bible seriously when it says "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." 
Each day also has so much joy and reason for thanks and yet I can be so anxious about the future. About tiny Noah and being parenting failures to him, about our future, about my mum, about making the wrong decisions and doing the wrong things and arghhhhh...basically everything.

Anyway, you didn't come to read a birth announcement detailing my rubbish-ness so let me tell you about Noah.

He's amazing. Just so perfectly wonderful only God could have thought him up, for reals. He smiles all day, and he's so easy to hang out with and be around. I promise it has little or nothing to do with us; he's just got an easy going temperament, is not prone to screaming and crying and is so much more than we could have asked for or imagined.
He sleeps people, he's got those strong sleep-loving mummy genes running through his body which mean he does really well with lots of naps and sleeping 12 hours a night. We are well rested, and grateful.
He also likes his food - he may not look much like me, but trust me -the food thing - that's another mummy trait shining through.(Can you believe he's started on solid food before I've got around to writing this post. Yikes!)
Speaking of looks though - he's apparently the spitting image of Steve. i.e. Very handsome indeed. And speaking of Steve, well he's a wonderful daddy. I think he was made for this. But he deserves a post of his own so we'll get to that one day soon. 
And you know what, people tell you there's nothing like the love you feel for a child but it's true. Maybe not to start with but oh my, over the weeks and months we have grown to love this little boy SO much. So very, very much. And he grows more fun, and interactive, and silly each day as his little personality develops and we are enjoying him more every day.

I would like to try and blog more regularly because, you know, learning poor memory...bla bla - basically if I don't write it down, I WILL FORGET. 

On that note - here's a couple of pics from the last six months. See you soon! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Borrowed time..

This little fellow of ours is now officially overdue. Although he's not really because no one ever gave him a due date and so it's not that fair to hold him to something he doesn't know about! Mummy and daddy cannot wait to meet him but also know that these could be the last two weeks ever of life as we know it and so in the grand scheme of things really don't matter one bit. We're trying to enjoy our time together, and sleeping all night if we want, and going out for dinners and lots of dates and chatting lots and generally having plenty of marriage time. We so want to protect that and make it a priority once baby is here as well but know it will be hard and will probably take some time to figure out the best way to do that. 

And since you asked so nicely - here were are - full term and ready to burst!! That poor blue top *insert crying with laughter emoji here*

End of first, second and third tri respectively!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Jail term nearly complete - and escape/release imminent!

It's such a funny feeling to be writing some reflections on what (we hope) is nearly the end of this pregnancy. I still frequently stop and have moments of total disbelief that I am in fact pregnant. And although nine months is a greater part of the year, and it sounds like a cliche, I really can't believe how quickly this has gone. I'm not quite at that stage where I'm desperate to have him out although I'm more excited than ever to meet him and the pain from my SPD has gone up 20 notches so I'm certainly heading in that direction. If he could hang on in there until next Friday so we can go and watch Wicked I know his daddy will be very pleased. We didn't book tickets knowing we'd be heavily pregnant. In fact, we booked these some 14 months ago which is itself a mystery because we never do things like that. Anyway, I digress.

Whilst this fully cooked bun is still just about keeping warm in the oven and I still have a few minutes to spare, here's what the third trimester has been like.

It feels appropriate to put a disclaimer at the front of this post and say that my brain has turned to absolute mush in the last couple of months so I may in fact recollect very little of what's been happening. I have honestly got awful at remembering names or places or in fact anything and frequently stop mid-sentence having totally lost my train of thought. I hear pregnancy-brain is swiftly followed by baby brain so I could use this as a legitimate excuse for not having one coherent thought for the next few years of my life :)

Our baby boy has been growing at an incredible rate if the growth of my belly is anything to go by although that could very easily just be all the cake I've been consuming. I can't remember a time in my life quite like this, when I'd happily eat cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then some in between. I use the term 'cake' to cover a multitude of sinful sweet treats - cakes, pastries, chocolate, biscuits - I'll have them all please, thankyouverymuch. This in addition to my usual preference for savoury, meaty food. My main pregnancy craving has continued to be cheese so we are still buying cheddar in industrial quantities.

Seriously though, without properly knowing what's going on the inside I've been *quite* healthy and we hope baby boy is healthy too. He's measuring right and my sugar and BP and all those sorts of things have been achingly normal which does help alleviate worry a little bit.

He's a very active baby and has been lying back to back for quite a few weeks now which means I feel his kicks and punches much more vigourously than usual. Before he goes to work each morning Steve tends to say to him, "Bye baby, have fun in mummy's tummy today" which the little one often interprets to mean - you have permission to kick the c**p out of her if you like :S Thanks Daddy! 

It really is fine though. I know that an active baby is a real blessing and takes away all the worries that come with a quiet one.

And although I've got a dodgy pelvis and there are moments when I'd like to just unstrap this two stone in weight that's attached to my body, and going up and down the stairs has become pretty uncomfortable, I genuinely do like being pregnant and I suspect I'm going to miss it a little bit when the baby arrives. The little fellow reacts to sound and light and poking and prodding and it's very cute, but has none of the crying , feeding issues or dirty nappies to go with it. What's not to miss hey?!

Equally fun has been preparing for little boys arrival. We've decided on a name that we really love and that's been a fun activity for us both. Boy names are so much harder than girl names. We have names lined up for our first, second and third daughters so I suspect we're never going to have any of those. We've been trying to think about parenting and family life and praying through the kind of people we would like to be and that's been challenging already, but so exciting. We know we will need so much help & grace on this journey and we will mess up in a thousand different ways. More than anything we want to show this little boy Jesus in the way that we love and forgive and talk and act and that feels massive.
The easier but more tangible prep has been getting stuff ready for his arrival. Buying the pram and the cot, washing and putting away loads of tiny newborn clothes, framing pictures for his room and buying lots and lots of books. 
So many people have been so generous to us and to him and I've said before but we feel so overwhelmed by how many people love and pray for this baby already. A sweet girlfriend organised a really lovely baby shower and it was a really special, fun time to celebrate this pregnancy and the gift of this Little child.

These last few months it's been such a privilege to be sharing this pregnancy and new parenting journey with others. We have five couples who are quickly becoming friends from our NCT class and it's been great getting to know them. Four of those babies have been born already and there are a couple left to go including ours. There are 10 couples in our first time moms and dads group at church and I think six of the 10 babies have now arrived. I know not everyone has the privilege of doing life with others at a similar stage but it's really helpful to watch and learn and read together and pray for one another as we all go through this massive change in our lives, together.

There really has been so much good stuff but the reality has also been very hard. My mum is right in the thick of chemo which means she isn't here with us and probably won't get over any time soon and that's been really difficult for her and for us. I struggle more on days when she is sick and in pain but this baby has been a real blessing and especially in terms of having something to look forward to. Being on maternity leave means we can spend lots of quality time on FaceTime and those days are really nice when we can talk about the baby and catch up and plan and dream, and the cancer and the reality of being apart feel less difficult on those days. I think God is teaching all of us hard but wonderful lessons in trusting him for all of this.

I may have said before but we hope that everything will go OK with the birth and recovery and we can get over to see everyone at home in Bangalore ASAP. 
God is definitely working in all of this so we just leave that to him because he knows better that us what he's doing. 

I feel like there's so much more to ramble on about but I'll leave this right here for the moment. We'll aim to be back with some final pictures but that may never happen if the little man has other plans! Signing off with lots of excitement, terror and nervous anticipation for the change that is to come!! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

On de-cluttering the mind...(And heart and soul)

It must be a side-effect of pregnancy but my tolerance for clutter and mess and stuff is definitely waning.
I've said before that I feel desperate to just clean and sort and tidy and throw away. All the junk we seem to accumulate daily, and the bags of bits and bobs that haven't been moved once since before our wedding, when I moved in.

And it feels very therapeutic:
Bouquets of dried flowers and baskets of pine cones and pots of lavender - gone
Dozens of clothes and pairs of shoes - ruthlessly bagged and taken to the charity shop.
DVDs - Put in the loft
Toileteries, smelly bath things etc. - binned or given away
Wii + controllers + wii fit board  - up for grabs. Anyone?! (just kidding Steve. kind of.)
Paperwork and boxes of admin-y things - Not going to lie, one step more than I feel motivated to tackle at the moment. But I would like it gone.

Anyway, like I was saying - it feels really good just getting rid of stuff.  Mainly because I know we're clearing up and de-cluttering and making space in our lives for something lovely and so much better than all this! And it has made me think about why I'm not so driven to periodically and intentionally try and do the same with my heart and mind.

Because when I stop and take a good long look it's very clear to see that there's a whole lot of junk lying around.
Habits that really need to be un-habituated. (word?!)
Thought patterns that do more harm than good.
Judgemental defaults that grow bitterness and a spirit that isn't very generous.
Baggage of heart and mind that we haven't gone near for years.
Faith that so often tends to trust myself more than God.
Laziness, mean words, anger, selfish deeds. 

I could go on, but I'd just like to change. And the only way to sort this mess and take out the trash is with the Holy Spirit's help. I need some daily dusting and some monthly pruning and a more often than yearly spring clean. And I need to soak myself in his wonderful word and be still in his delighting presence and talk to his always listening ears. And I so want the Father to enable that work in me, that my life would bear the fruit of his spirit.

Volume 1.36 of the super stripey bump series

It was -2°C outside, my pregnancy bloat face is giving you its best performance, I had about 45 seconds before running to work and it's now taken me about 5 days to put this up. For your viewing pleasure despite all odds ladies and gentlemen - the 36 week stripey bump!! (Cut this pregnant lady a bit of slack won't you and ignore the minor technicality that it is in fact  my cardi that is stripey and not my bump).

Friday, February 6, 2015

That Friday post...{6}

It's FRIDAY. Amazing.

It's my last day at work before a long summer holiday x 8. Woohoo!

I am so excited about the potential for daytime coffee, cake and lunches with friends anytime I fancy! Hello new life experiences! 

I can't stop crying. What on earth is going on. You blasted hormones! :S

I'd say that pretty much sums up what my whole week actually. We've had some proper meltdowns but some real joy moments too. 

We're seeing lots of lovely friends this weekend - some that we haven't see in a while and probably won't see in a while, and others who are about to have a baby in the next few weeks too. We're going to a baby dedication, women's breakfast (just me!), watching the football but not the rugby (definitely not me!) and hopefully getting lots of jobs done as well. 

I hope your weekend is cheery, whatever you are getting up to. 

p.s. I thought you might enjoy my little Shetland ponies :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pembrokeshire, January 2015

It's true. What the Beatles wrote. True of these friends in the photos below and all the others we are so blessed to have around us and that are kind enough to do life with us. The good and bad bits. The friends that make us laugh, and sharpen us, and sing with us and provide practical help in so many selfless ways. And I hope we never take them for granted!
Some pics from the other weekend, if you'd like to see...

Friday, January 30, 2015

That Friday post... {5}


This is getting more and more shabby - this week the stripey bump has been bumped right into the Friday post. That's volume 1.35 in case you've lost track. Just think of it as two for the price of one!
Maybe after next week when I'm on maternity level we'll be able to show the blog some more loving. Maybe. Did you hear that though - WE'RE NEARLY ON MATERNITY LEAVE!! WOOHOO.
For someone that loves their job as much as I do, I didn't think I would feel this way but I am so ready to be done with work.

In the week gone by though -

I have struggled:

..with our as yet unfinished room. I am so grateful to the best hardworking efforts of the master decorators around here (not me) but it must be that cocktail of hormones swimming round my body making me desperate to just sort and tidy and clean and move and I'm not enjoying not being able to do that. I'm learning all sorts of lessons in patience and trust though which must be good for me! And Steve has promised that it will be done and all the junk in our room and downstairs and everywhere else will be gone in two weeks. I can do two weeks people!!! 

On the foodie front:

We're eating fruit like it's going out of fashion around here. But that's kind of standard. That was our fruit bowl at the start of this week - it's all gone now so it must at some point be making up for the vast amounts of cake also being consumed.
Much more exciting when one is craving productivity however, are the eight meals that have gone in the freezer for after baby arrives. Now I only need to make twelve more!

This weekend:

We're having a family weekend in Cornwall with the Paterson side of our family which should be lovely! I'm much better at forgetting the jobs when I'm away from the house so this will be good. Plus we get to hang out with these cuties all weekend. Fun!

More later! Including a double installment of weekend away photos. Have a great weekend whatever you're doing! x

Friday, January 23, 2015

That Friday post...{4}

This week has been we're going to jump on the old thanksgiving train. I know from experience it's the best thing to make it all better.

So, I am very thankful for:

1. A lovely restful weekend in Pembrokeshire and kind friends who mainly let me sleep (Photos will follow at some point obvs.)

2. That rainbow, over St. David's cathedral. Rainbows do always make things more beautiful and hopeful, don't they?

3. A good midwife appointment on Monday - baby is measuring right on track and his heartbeat is always delicious to listen to.


4. A warm bubble bath with music and candles and everything, to soothe aching hips. Thank you hubs. I'm a shower person and that was the first bath I've had since moving into our house 3.5 years ago - but I might even be tempted to have another soon, that's how good it was.

5. Being able to work at home more than half the week because it really is very painful going up and down to my third floor office.

6. Marvellous mother-in-law decorating skills and help with sanding and painting our baby room. And making our kitchen all shiny and clean. Helps keep the stress levels down for this preggo lady who is choosing not to think about the fact that we're five weeks away from D-day and still living in utter chaos. Oops - fail. Try harder next time Arps!

7. Tacos for tea - they really are a fun, happy meal. One can't be grumpy around tacos. And this amazing dessert which I shamelessly ate for breakfast two days in a row. So indulgent, and so totally allowed when you're heavily pregnant! 

And the current view from the moon:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Volume 1.34 of the super stripey bump series

Sorry - we've been far too laid back this week and important stripey efforts have been neglected! But despair not, here's your fix for week 34. We are growing! This week the midwife asked if my partner was very tall. And to my slightly worried, instant 'NO' she sort of went 'oh right...ahh....oh...don't worry, I'm sure your baby will be ermm..very average sized.' Really Ms. Midwife?! I'm not sure that's what your voice said :P Ah well....we shall see!

Ignore my dead/dying plants in the corner :P Why oh why can't we have inherited half a green thumb between us - especially when we have wonderfully-talented-in-the-horticultural-department mothers.

Monday, January 19, 2015

My mum's amazing chocolate cake recipe

 I miss my mum at the moment. More than I usually do. I absolutely know without a doubt she’s in the right place because we want more than anything for her to beat this cancer, and so, chemo sooner rather than later is good. But part of me wishes she was around – just to be here for part of this pregnancy, just so she can tell me about her pregnancies, tell me what she loved and hated, and what helped. And in a few weeks, tell me what her life was like with a newborn.

But she can’t be here and that’s OK. We will try and go see her as soon as we can once the little squish arrives. And in the meantime I am so grateful for Whatsapp and Facetime and Skype and Facebook and the rest.

These are a variety of birthday cakes I made last year. The magic is on the inside – they’re all the same moist, rich, dark chocolate cake and it’s so good. It’s a simple recipe and reminds me of my mum because it is her go-to recipe and I grew up on this baby. 

For posterity and safe keeping - here's the recipe!


 2 cups plain flour
2 cups castor sugar
2 tsp bicarb of sod
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup baking cocoa + 1-2 tbsp
2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 3/4 cup water
1 cup milk
3/4 cup cooking oil
1.5 tsp vanilla essence

Sieve all powders together - flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb of soda. Add the sugar.
Beat eggs in separate bowl, add milk and then coffee mixture
Pour the liquid mix gradually into the powders - beating as you go.
Add oil and vanilla essence to the batter and beat for 2-3 mins.
Pour into one round greased tins (or two or more like I do because I'm no good at slicing cakes in half)  and bake for 35-40 min @ 180 deg C, or until cocktail stick comes out clean...

And boom! Fantastic chocolate cake. And lots of very happy customers.

Friday, January 16, 2015

That Friday post..

This weekend:

..we are going to Pembrokeshire for a little mini-break. It's one of a couple of weekends away we're hoping to have before baby arrives.

Last time we did this:
p.s.I can't find a picture with horses but I promise we rode actual horses and did not just play dress up
p.p.s. How short am I??!! Like seriously? Or are all my family and friends just very tall?!

And we did this.. a very beautiful part of the Wales!

Wales will still be very beautiful I'm sure but it will also be beautiful when we go back post baby. For now I doubt I will be doing much prancing round the countryside in wellies (or on a horse). However, I might take a good book and then the others are free to go on adventures whilst I eat cake in a coffee shop somewhere. The weather forecast isn't so great, so we might end up spending lots of time playing board games in front of the fire. I am quite happy for the weekend to look something like this:

This week we've had:

Our last NCT class and the first of the six babies arrived early so her parents popped in with her. She is tiny and scrummy and it felt so surreal that they're all going to be here in the next few weeks!

And to leave you with:

This made me laugh this week, so I'll share. Tis true - ALL OF IT!!! 

And this is the view I'm mainly enjoying these days!

Have a great weekend!!