"" From Now Till 'I Do'...: November 2011

If I Should Have A Daughter

2 Things the people are saying

I came across this wonderful poem the other day written by American poet Sarah Kay.

Words for those of you who can’t watch the video:

If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she's gonna call me Point B, because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me.

And I'm going to paint solar systems on the backs of her hands, so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say, "Oh, I know that like the back of my hand."

And she's going to learn that this life will hit you hard in the face, wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach.

But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.

There is hurt here that cannot be fixed by Band-Aids or poetry.

So the first time she realizes that Wonder Woman isn't coming, I'll make sure she knows she doesn't have to wear the cape all by herself.

Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal.

Believe me, I've tried. "And, baby," I'll tell her, don't keep your nose up in the air like that. I know that trick; I've done it a million times. You're just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house, so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else find the boy who lit the fire in the first place, to see if you can change him."

But I know she will anyway, so instead I'll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boots nearby, because there is no heartbreak that chocolate can't fix.

Okay, there's a few heartbreaks that chocolate can't fix.

But that's what the rain boots are for.

Because rain will wash away everything, if you let it.

I want her to look at the world through the underside of a glass-bottom boat, to look through a microscope at the galaxies that exist on the pinpoint of a human mind, because that's the way my mom taught me.

That there'll be days like this.

♫ There'll be days like this, my momma said. ♫

When you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises; when you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you want to save are the ones standing on your cape; when your boots will fill with rain, and you'll be up to your knees in disappointment.

And those are the very days you have all the more reason to say thank you.

Because there's nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it's swept away.

You will put the wind in winsome, lose some.

You will put the star in starting over, and over.

And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute, be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting, I am pretty damn naive.

But I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar.

It can crumble so easily, but don't be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

"Baby," I'll tell her, "remember, your mama is a worrier, and your papa is a warrior, and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more."

Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things.

And always apologize when you've done something wrong.

But don't you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining.

Your voice is small, but don't ever stop singing.

And when they finally hand you heartache, when they slip war and hatred under your door and offer you handouts on street-corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.

You can buy a book of this poem, B by Sarah Kay from Amazon, which would make a great Christmas gift for your sister, mother, friend or daughter.

Happy Wednesday!

Not long now

5 Things the people are saying
13 days. That's how many working days I have left before I finish up at work.

Time has gone so quickly and it's hard to believe that very soon work will no longer be on the brain.

Don't get me wrong I enjoy work and the people I work with but I am relishing the next twelve months where I will get to use my mind for other things and focus my attentions on new interests and goals.

You know all those things you wished you had the time to pursue? Well it's those things I hope I can get an opportunity to embrace.

My MIL is also going to be around for two months and because she does not live here in the UK, I am looking forward to spending quality time building our mother/daughter relationship.

Mainly this next year will be about becoming a mother and all that it entails. Living the life of a SAHM.

It will be an adjustment but one I am ready for. It's time.

Parentcraft Class

3 Things the people are saying

antenatal class

(Not my antenatal class)

On Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to attend our day of Parentcraft classes. For those outside the UK these are the antenatal classes provided to you by your hospital in the run up to your birth. They’re free and can either be attended over several evenings or in one large block. We decided that we would prefer to do a whole day session and we would also be able to get a tour of the delivery suite/rooms as well.

Having spoken to a couple of my mummy friends, we had a bit of an idea what to expect, although there were things I thought would happened which didn’t.

There were around 20 couples, all of whom were due within the next two months and the class was led by a lovely midwife. A mother of six herself, I really enjoyed her teaching style. She made the class very interesting and humorous, interjecting theory with real life examples.

The topics she covered were:

* stages of labour (got to watch a video along with it)

* what to bring to the hospital (the NHS doesn’t give you ANYTHING these days!)

* putting together a birth plan

* forms of pain relief

* hospital policy – dos & don’ts

* different types of births including induction & caesarean plus after effects

What she didn’t cover:

* breathing techniques

* breastfeeding

For me I found the session really useful because we were able to ask questions specific to ourselves and the hospital. Being an experienced midwife she didn’t pull any punches and was really practical and honest about what happens, which I appreciated.

We talked through all the different forms of pain relief and it confirmed my original thoughts around keeping labour as natural as possible. The plan for me is to use gas and air and not have an epidural.

At the hospital you have two options where to have your baby, the Delivery Suite or the Midwife Led Unit (MLU). I have opted for the MLU. The MLU is like having your baby in the comfort of your home but with the safety of a hospital environment and is less evasive.

Women for whom it is suitable will give birth in a low tech, midwife-led area, often requiring less pain relief, the unit specialises in normal (natural) childbirth in a relaxed and restful environment and caters for water births, breastfeeding and traditional methods of child birth/care.

As the class didn’t cover breastfeeding I have a separate session on this with a local breastfeeding specialist.

How many of you put together a birth plan – was it helpful when you went into labour?

Image (source)

Just wanna say…

2 Things the people are saying

thankful

Whilst everyday I am thankful to God for all that he does, I will use this opportunity to acknowledge all He has done in my life and the life of my family this past year.

For our little bun in the oven to our new home.

For good health to good jobs.

For our friends and family to our church family.

For my marriage and wonderful husband.

For provision and guidance every step of the way.

Lord I say thank you.

And to my blog readers, thank you for following me on this journey!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Psalm 107:31

Image (source)

31 weeks and waddling about

7 Things the people are saying

32 weeks is around the corner and it seems like overnight things have just changed. Had my antenatal appointment on Friday and after waiting an HOUR(!), got seen by the midwife who told me that the baby had turned head down but was not yet engaged.

I had sort of sensed this because recently had started to feel kicks up top and this hard lump at the top of my tummy, which as you can see from the pic below, is her booty!

baby head down

Whilst this is good news for baby and delivery, it has caused me an immense amount of pain and discomfort this past weekend. From sitting down, to lying down to even walking around (hence the waddling), there has been this heavy pressure I have been feeling which is very uncomfortable and has brought me to tears on a few occasions. Now considering how gracious God has been to me throughout this pregnancy it has definitely been a change from the norm and potentially a sign of more things to come!!!

Speaking of antenatal appointments we have decided to transfer our care to the midwife at my local GP surgery. This was for a number of reasons. Not only will I see the same person each time round, the location is a lot closer to home and I’m hoping I won’t have the hour long waits I have experienced recently. In addition it will be this midwife who will come to visit us when the baby is born.

The reason we haven't been going to a local midwife from day one was that we didn’t like our previous GP practice. There were some serious service issues and we weren’t comfortable starting our antenatal care there. At the time we also knew that we would be moving in a couple of months and could potentially transfer to a local midwife then.

As it turns out the midwives at our new GP don’t work with the hospital where we are having the baby and won’t have access to all my records/results etc. However when I spoke to her on the phone, she said she can still see me, but if I need any referrals I will have to go back to the hospital, which I am fine with. Given that the appointments tend to last 15mins or so and sometimes you have to wait up to an hour to see the midwife at the hospital, it doesn’t seem worth it to travel all that way.

Recently hubby and I have started watching One Born Every Minute. We’re watching Season 2 and so far have found it to be a fascinating programme. It has been a real eye opener to the different births and situations people face and I am seriously toying with the idea of a water birth as it seems a great natural form of pain relief. My desire is to avoid having a epidural and we will enquire more about our options at our antenatal class next week.

Other than that with less than 8 weeks to go (eek!) baby is measuring well and my stats are good.

Next thing on my to do list…hospital bag. If you’ve got any great tips on what is good or not good to take, please let me know in the comments. I’m hoping to have it all ready to go in the next couple of weeks.

Love Objects

4 Things the people are saying

love heart

Objects of love and affection. They are various things, projects, people or places that evoke love, admiration, affection and conviction in people. It is these things that create excitement in their hearts. It is what develops their interests and their appetite. It is what they secretly desire to be or have. It is what consumes much of their time and attention.

It is the idol of the heart.

But once you touch this object of their love, you have touched them at a soft spot. If you attack that thing, they themselves become violently defensive: if you are a fan to that thing, you immediately woo them over.

Friendships are easily struck with those who hold that thing as their own love as well.

The above excerpt is taken from the book No More Two – God’s Principles for Marriage by Gbile Akanni. We are currently studying it as part of our couples time and have found it to be a real blessing to our marriage. Ironically both of us had read the book before we got married and now reading it again we are discovering things we didn’t see the first time round.

We are presently reading the chapter on the joining of mind and soul and Uncle Gbile says that in order to be successful in this area, we (husband and wife) need to know what our spouse love objects are. This is important because this is the thing which excites your spouse and where they will spend a fair amount of time.

For example, my husband loves watching football, I love to blog. In themselves they are separate activities, things we did before we got married and things we still enjoy. When we got married we had to learn to embrace each others love object, so that these activities could be part of each other’s world.

How is this done practically?

Well every now and then I will sit and watch a game with him. I also swear allegiance to the same football team and follow their ups and downs throughout the season. But sometimes I will let him watch a game and do something else and then catch up with afterwards, enquiring about what happened.

For me, my husband sometimes reads my blog posts before I hit the publish button and gives me his view. He also reads a lot of your comments and helps me when I draft responses to reader emails. This doesn’t happen all the time but he has a window into my world, as I to his.

Ultimately for our souls to join we need to find things we love together, so that we can spend quality time as a couple.

Clearly there are times when a person does not acknowledge the love object of their spouse and this could potentially lead the spouse to find someone who DOES share that same love object (but that is another post entirely).

Ultimately our primary love object is GOD and as Christians we are called to set our affections on things above and not things on the earth. By doing so this will drive the activities and pursuits that are of interest to you both of you.

Have you identified the love objects of your spouse?

Image (source)

Family Christmas Card

5 Things the people are saying

On my 101 in 1001 days list, I have ‘design family Christmas Card’.

Now at the time of writing this goal I thought it would be a cool idea to have personalised Christmas cards to send to family and friends, so something different from the norm. Since this is my last Christmas year before my 1001 days ‘expire’ I want to see what I put together.

I know personalised holiday cards with family pictures are big in the States but are they in the UK? This Christmas it will most likely still just be the two of us and I’m not sure how comfortable I feel sending out Christmas cards with our faces on!

A picture of baby on the other hand, I wouldn’t mind so I’m thinking given the timing of her birth maybe we can send out Happy New Year/Birth Announcement cards instead?

Here is a cute holiday/announcement card via Pinterest:

 

Do you send personalised Christmas cards? What pictures do you use?

Winter in the kitchen

3 Things the people are saying

 

Winter is definitely on her way. The days are so much shorter and the weather is getting so much colder. I am sensing it won’t be too long before I have to whip out the hat and gloves. Hopefully I will have finished work before the weather turns really bad. Can’t face walking in the snow – bump in tow!

We had a good weekend spent mainly hanging out with friends and family. It was the birthday of one of Afam’s cousins so we went to join him for a celebratory dinner. It’s been a while since we've got dressed up to go out, so it was nice. We also took some pictures that night (love instagram!) one of which is on my ‘About me’ page. Thought it was time to update the picture from the wedding one.

At the moment I have the baking itch and long to get in the kitchen to make some muffins or a cake. In our last place the oven wasn’t really that great and it ruined all my cakes, so I stopped making anything, but a couple of weeks ago I attempted to make my favourite banana cake in our new oven and it came out perfectly! Looking through old blog posts I haven’t done an In the Kitchen post for a year!!! In the past year I have learned heaps of new dishes, so that will definitely change in the coming weeks when I get a bit of time before baby comes.

I’m on the look out for some good cake, cookie or muffin recipes as they will make great little gifts at Christmas or something to share for when people come round, so if you like your desserts do share your favourites and I will give them a try.

Enjoy the week ahead!

p.s. pregnancy vlog updated (I do them for the previous week)

Yes I can

5 Things the people are saying

 

I have many dreams and goals.

Things that I want to achieve that have not yet happened.

Some days I believe I can achieve them and then other days there is this voice of doubt which discourages me and tells me I can’t. It is so frustrating.

One of my goals has always been to run my own business, which is a passion of mine. I believe in what I am doing and I know that I am good at it, but sometimes I don’t believe in myself and my abilities. 

Yesterday I was watching a sermon and realised that my whole mindset was wrong.

In life it is not about the I can’t but the fact that I can, because the Bible tells me that I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. {Philippians 4:13}

Anytime I believe I can’t do something, that is the enemy feeding me lies. Trying to make me believe that things are not possible, I am not capable enough, I can’t do it. All lies.

But today I choose truth.

I choose to believe that with God’s help – I can and I will.

As I look to next year, I need to hold onto this verse. You should too.

Have a great weekend!

p.s. Cot arrived today – being the efficient parents we are, it’s now all beautifully set up in the nursery. I love looking at it and can’t wait for it to filled!

I’m in my 30s (baby weeks that is)!

2 Things the people are saying

So we have reached week 30 on this pregnancy journey! Only 10 more to go. Or 7 if she decides to come at full term. It’s starting to become more real that in two months or so we’re going to be parents!

At work things are strange as I am on wind down. Trying to finish reports, sort out files and generally get ready to handover. I’m starting to feel a bit like a spare part as the world moves on without me. I knew this time would come and quite honestly it is the right thing to be happening but it still feels strange.

Pregnancy wise I’m definitely feeling the effects of baby’s growth as I have this constant ache in my lower belly as my centre of gravity has shifted and while I’m still sleeping okay(ish), turning over in the middle of the night is getting harder. Other than that, I’m well.

All the time my thoughts now turn to will I be ready? Will I have everything I need in time? Will I know what to do? I have an idea what to expect but then again I don’t. I have never walked this path before.

Then I remember like with anything new in life you adjust and adapt.

I’m sure motherhood will be like that or at least I hope it will be.

7 Tips To Help You Sell Your Wedding Dress

0 Things the people are saying

7 tips to help you sell your wedding dress

So I finally sold my wedding dress (big cheers)!

It has taken a few months from when I first decided to sell it and I could have probably sold it sooner if I had put my mind to it. But it was only recently when we were unpacking in the new house that I thought to myself I really must do this and before the baby comes!

After trying a number of different sites, I finally sold her on eBay via auction, which I was originally reluctant to do given the temperamental outcome of auctions but in the end I was satisfied with the result.

If you’re thinking of selling your wedding dress, here are my seven tips to help you sell :

1. Decide on what is important to you and then get emotionally detached!

When I first decided to sell my dress, the return I got for it was important to me. While it could no longer be classed as a new dress, it had only been worn once and I wanted to recoup some of the cost of what I paid. However I think is why it took so long to sell. Given that the dress was still being sold new, the price I wanted for it was not realistic in the second hand market (I wanted 50% of what I paid, rather than 30%-40% which is the norm). So the second time round I lowered my expectations and took the view that sitting in my house it wasn’t earning me anything, so whatever I sold it for (within reason) I would be happy to accept.

Another reason why I think I was slow to sell the dress was that I was still emotionally attached to it. It holds a lot of positive memories for me and sometimes I would think, why am I selling it? However in the end dress or no dress, I will always have great memories of my wedding day with great pictures to boot, so having it hanging it my house for months on end was not really a good used of space.

2. Choose your preferred site

Like I mentioned earlier, I tried a number of different online sites to sell my dress. From general selling sites to sites dedicated to selling wedding dresses, all of which were unsuccessful. One site, Preloved, I did receive a number of enquiries but nothing ever went forward. In the end as my last attempt I decided to use the auction option on eBay. Benefits being that it would reach a wide audience and I could have the dress sold within a week.

There are lots of sites out there who will claim to sell your dress for a fee, but I was a bit dubious about them and wanted to do it myself. Whichever site you do choose remember to factor in any fees that you will have to pay when you sell it.

3. Write a detailed description

This is key not only because it will minimise the number of questions you will be asked but it will also help people make an informed decision on whether they wish to buy your dress. Having researched around, I realised that my original descriptions were quite basic and brides-to-be wanted a lot more information, especially around measurements etc.

This is a copy of my final advert:

I am selling my wedding dress.

Designer: Maggie Sottero

Name of dress: 'Harriet' {still available as part of her collection}

Size: 14 but due to bodice can fit 12/14. Bust - 41 inches Waist - 35 inches Hips - 43.5 inches (Important to mention)

Colour: Diamond White

Alterations: I am 5ft10 and had an extra 2 inches added to the length {wore 2" heels} and a bustle put in at the back. (Important to mention)

Has not been dry cleaned. (Important to mention)

Dress Description:It is a one-piece, strapless, A-line gown with corset closure. It features an asymmetrically draped A-line silhouette with Duchess Organza creating an airy lightness. Lovely embellished lace motifs decorate the bodice, skirt and train.

Fell in love with the dress when I saw it and got loads of comments on the day.  Reason for sale: Baby on the way and want to create space in our home. (Always good to include)

Open to reasonable offers.Feel free to ask any questions or request for more pictures. Happy for you to come and view the dress as well.

4. Take lots of pictures

Unless a person comes and views the dress before hand, they will be making their decision based on your description and pictures, which is why it is important to include as many pictures as possible from all angles. You don’t need to be a David Bailey, these are a mixture of camera and iPhone pics. (The picture at the top of this post is Instagram for iPhone!)

7 tips to help you sell your wedding dress7 tips to help you sell your wedding dress

7 tips to help you sell your wedding dress7 tips to help you sell your wedding dress

7 tips to help you sell your wedding dress7 tips to help you sell your wedding dress

5. Investigate delivery options

At first I was dead set on ‘collection only’. I mean how was I going to be able to pack up this huge dress and post it anywhere. However when I started getting lots of questions from people asking whether I would post it, I realised that I was limiting my market by saying collection only.

So I took time to find a suitable box and gently folded the dress to fit into it and enquired about couriers. Surprisingly it was not as expensive as I thought. Given the size of the box, it would have made it quite expensive with Royal Mail but sites like Parcel to Go are great in finding a range of courier prices.

The person who won the dress did not live locally and the dress was sent to her by courier.

6. Promote your advert

Throughout the whole week of the auction I promoted the dress on my personal Facebook page and the blog Facebook page. I also tweeted about it and my friends re-tweeted it as well. Don’t know if it helped but it’s all promotion!

7. Respond to questions and queries promptly

This should be a given as you are talking to a prospective buyer. Equally with having a 7 day auction on eBay, I was on a timeline so the quicker I responded the better, so that they could decide if they want to bid or not.

If you have successfully sold your wedding dress do you have any additional advice that worked for you?

Who’s that girl?

1 Things the people are saying

music love

A few weeks ago I was clearing through some old boxes and stumbled across some old CDs, in fact loads of them. Some of the CDs were labelled ‘Summer Mix 2003’ or ‘Holiday photos’ but others were blank. As I was in clear out mode and wanted to decide which to keep or throw out, I painstakingly went through them all to find out.

On some CDs I found ‘mixtapes’ that I had made back in the day, tracks of different songs, different artists and as I listened I couldn’t help notice how much my music taste has changed over the years. Music has a funny way of taking you back to a memory, a place, a moment and as I sat there reflecting, I found it hard to believe I am the same girl who made all those mixes years ago.

Even just going back five years, the things I was into,  the things I did or didn’t do or the things that occupied my thoughts and mind, I feel like my life has moved a thousand knots in a completely different direction and I don’t really recognised or relate to that girl anymore.

I guess it’s all part of growing up and maturing but if I could pinpoint anything that helped this transformation, I would credit two things: God and my husband.

Over the last few years my relationship with God has taken a new dimension. I trust and rely on Him more. I have seen Him do some many great things in my life, but He has also taught me many lessons, some more painful than others as He moulds me into the woman he wants me to be. My faith is strong and I look to Him for guidance in all aspects of my life.

Through God I met my husband who has also had a profound and positive impact on my life. Encouraging me to believe in myself, learn new skills, take new risks and be my daily mirror.

When you reflect back on your life, do you recognise the person from your past? Are you happy with the direction you’re moving in?

{Image source}

Happy Birthday to my one and only

4 Things the people are saying

Today is my dear husband’s birthday…

How time flies my love…

I don’t tell you enough but I admire you so much. You are a good man, who loves God, loves his family and works hard to ensure that we are taken care of. I thank God for your life and I am honoured to be called your wife. You make my life richer with each passing day and I love you so much. Our daughter will be blessed to have you as her daddy!

May God continue to upload you, bless you with good health and grant you wisdom as you lead our family.

May he also grant you the desires of your heart. 

We love you now and always…x

chifam 2011_thumb[2]

29 weeks

2 Things the people are saying

We had our latest antenatal appointment today and our midwife turned out to be one of the nicer ones. She did all the usual checks (which were fine) and then for the first time measured my belly. Now for those of you who have watched my recent pregnancy vlogs, size of baby was something that I was concerned about, since so many people keep telling me that I looked small for 7 months. Well today I got the confirmation that our baby is growing fine and that my size is on track.

She measured from pubic bone to fundus (top of the uterus) and the measurement was 29cm which it should be for 29 weeks. She said because I am tall my pregnancy belly will spread itself out and won’t necessarily stick out like on shorter people and that I have nothing to worry about. Yay!

She also felt the baby and told us she was in the breech position at the moment, but that it isn’t an issue at this point as she has weeks to turn into position.  She got us to feel my belly and told us this was the head or back etc. but we were a bit clueless to it all. The midwife said at this stage of pregnancy the baby still has lots of room to be moving around and summersaulting so her position could change all the time.

29 weeks marks when I can officially start maternity leave. While I enjoy work some days I wish I could stop working now, but then I remind myself its only 6 weeks to go. It’s going to be so weird (in a good way and providing baby comes on her due date) having a month or so to just chill and get ready when the time comes.

In other news we have bought our first piece of baby furniture! Enter the Eric cot from John Lewis. After researching around online, reading reviews and then seeing it person, we decided to go for a cot over a crib or a cot bed. I really wanted a white cot with a drop down side and adjustable mattress heights and this one fit the bill perfectly. The price was really good so we decided to get it and it will be delivered next week. We’ll hopefully put it together next weekend. So exciting!

One of my dear friends is throwing me a baby shower next month, which is going to be a lovely opportunity to catch up with friends and family I haven’t seen in a while. For ease we decided to set up our baby registry at John Lewis as their site was the easiest to navigate online. Walking around shops no longer does it for me, so it’s all about easy online access! I particularly like John Lewis as they have excellent customer service and they price match if you see the same item elsewhere cheaper.

Those of you expecting what was the first piece of baby gear you bought?

p.s. if you’re looking for ways to save money in the whole baby buying process, Baby Centre have a fantastic article Buying for baby on a budget.

Irreconcilable differences

4 Things the people are saying

That’s the reason Kim Kardashian has quoted on her divorce papers, 72 days after getting married.

kim kardashian   kris humpries

While this news is not surprising it is still a sad situation. Any marriage that breaks down is sad news but this is a classic example of the way the world views marriage, ‘If it doesn’t work out, just walk away’.

The truth is marriage is a lifetime of reconcilable differences, you are two people coming together to become one. This life long process requires less of ‘I’ and more of ‘us’ and is hard work but has great reward. 

Whatever the reasons behind the breakdown of this union, I hope one day Kim is able to understand the true meaning of what marriage is all about.

Image {source}

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