Thursday, 16 June 2011

Motherhood

I'm loving being a mother!

Ok, I'll start from the beginning... My baby boy Eric was born on the 13th May, after making us wait for a week after the due date, at a healthy 3.75Kg (8lbs 4oz). His dad and I are so in love!

It's hard to describe this love and although people tell you about it, it's only when it happens to you that you really understand how it feels. From the very first moment I saw him, as he was put on my chest, this brand new feeling, this whole new "section" of love was created in me. And he seems to have fallen for me too, judging by the fact that my voice seemed to calm his crying and by the way he stared at my face, just a few seconds after he was born.

As for labour itself, I expected the worse (in fact, I think I mentioned here I was in denial about it) and overall it was a positive experience (and didn't put me off doing it again). It was very painful (pre-epidural, that is), but definitely worth it...

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

38 weeks and waiting...

I'm actually nearly 39 weeks now and I must say I'm a bit bored... This is the problem with being organised, having the time to do everything and being impatient... and the baby being comfortable inside me...

I have now been on maternity leave for nearly 3 weeks, and I've done everything I wanted to do for the baby's arrival. I have also washed, cleaned and organised all I wanted to around the house... This is on top of resting and relaxing as much as I want... I shouldn't complain, really, I should make the most of this time, and I do try, but I can't help felling bored sometimes...

Anyway, I shall go and think of something to do now, while we continue to wait for baby to give us a sign he/she intends to joins us...

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

35 weeks and counting down...

It is about 1 month till the due date, but more importantly it's my last week at work before I go on maternity leave! I can't wait! I will hopefully be able make up for sleepless nights during the day! I hope the baby will wait at least until I have rested for a bit and organised the house for it's arrival. :)

It's all getting very exciting! And scary! But, I'm trying not to think of the scary bit, just looking forward to meeting the baby.

Of my To-Do list from the last post, here's the report:

- Wash and iron all the baby's clothes, bedding, towels, etc (well, anything baby-related that can go in the washing machine :P) - Check! Baby things are sooo cute!

- Pack the hospital bags - probably one with enough things for the shortest possible stay (i.e. best case scenario) and another one with extra things, in case we're staying in hospital longer than expected (and this will stay in the car boot, so hubby can fetch it, should it be required). - Check (mostly - only a few last minute things left to pack)!

- Assemble cot (and the little carry cot which comes with the travel system we bought, since I imagine we might want the baby to sleep in it downstairs during the day, while we're doing chores, etc) - Check!

- Install baby car seat - Check... sort of... it's ready to be thrown in the car when we go to the hospital. We plan to take it into the hospital (when we're discharged), take the baby to the car in it and then set it up in the car. We might need to practice installing though...

- Cook and freeze some healthy meals, so hubs and I have one less thing to worry about once we get home from the hospital - Still to do (when I'm actually off work)

- Leave house clean and organised (well, as much as possible, since we don't know exactly when labour may start). Again, this is to try to minimise the number of things we would have to worry about once we're home with the baby (I suspect we might have a lot of other things on our plate!). - Still to do (when I'm off work).

So, we're making progress and keeping busy. That's probably why it feels like time is flying by. And, just in case the baby is on time or late and so I don't find myself getting bored (whilst on maternity leave) , I have thought of a few little tasks to do like a bit of de-cluttering here and there, tidying up our filling system, organising photos and other files on my laptop (and updating all back ups) and do a lot of laundry (including curtains, seat covers, that sort of stuff).

So, now we wait... :)

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

33 weeks... yikes!

I can't believe how quickly time is passing by! I've got a couple of weeks left at work before I go on maternity leave and the due date is about a month after that! I'm really looking forward to meeting my little kick-boxer and I'm so curious to find out what he/she will look like (strangely enough, more than I am about finding out the gender, despite the fact that I was so anxious to find out when we went for the 2nd scan). Will he/she look more like me or hubby, or a mix of both, or like somebody else in the family (grandparents, etc)? And since both hubby and I are mixed race, what sort of "blend" will the little one be born with. Of course, the most important thing is that everything goes well and baby is good and healthy, but that goes without saying.

When it comes to labour itself, I'm doing the coward thing and pretending is not going to happen... I can't even imagine what the pain must be like and how I will react when it all starts, but I'm hoping I will just be brave and calm and breathe through it all (yeah, right... knowing myself, this is unlikely :D ). So, in the meantime, I'll just go on pretending it's not going to happen... I'll just wake up one day and my gorgeous little baby will be in my arms :D

Ideally I would like to take the most natural approach to the birth, including breastfeeding and I will try my very best so that it happens in that way, but if it doesn't go entirely that way, I will not beat myself about it. At the end of the day, the best outcome is for mum and baby to be healthy and happy.

On the practical side, although I have nothing else to buy, there's a lot to do and organise for the baby's arrival, which I'm hoping to get sorted as soon as possible (so I can - hopefully! - chill out a bit while I'm on maternity leave and before the baby's born):

- Wash and iron all the baby's clothes, bedding, towels, etc (well, anything baby-related that can go in the washing machine :P)

- Pack the hospital bags - probably one with enough things for the shortest possible stay (i.e. best case scenario) and another one with extra things, in case we're staying in hospital longer than expected (and this will stay in the car boot, so hubby can fetch it, should it be required).

- Assemble cot (and the little carry cot which comes with the travel system we bought, since I imagine we might want the baby to sleep in it downstairs during the day, while we're doing chores, etc)

- Install baby car seat

- Cook and freeze some healthy meals, so hubs and I have one less thing to worry about once we get home from the hospital

- Leave house clean and organised (well, as much as possible, since we don't know exactly when labour may start). Again, this is to try to minimise the number of things we would have to worry about once we're home with the baby (I suspect we might have a lot of other things on our plate!).

So, once all this is done, it's just a matter of waiting for baby to join us! :) Hubs is taking a couple of weeks paternity leave and we're both looking forward to coming home with the little one and just being a little family of three. We can't wait until our family and friends meet the baby, but we have asked them to start visiting only after those few initial weeks, simply because we would like that time and those first moments to be just ours. Like any first-time parents, we don't really know what to expect in that time, I mean, emotionally, and we would like to experience it all in privacy, until we're ready to introduce the little one to the world.

Until then, I will do my best to overlook the tiredness and all the things that come with the last weeks of pregnancy, and enjoy our current life, which is about to change. Oh, and I will try to make the most of the lovely Spring weather we've got at the moment!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

30 weeks and more crafty bits

I am now 30 weeks pregnant, and apart from the tiredness and the feeling that I'm carrying this extra weight (Oh, wait! I am!), the pregnancy is still going well, thankfully. We've have started the antenatal classes this week, which forced me to think about the actual labour (which I have been avoiding as much as possible) and to realise that it's going to happen at some point. I have not yet decided on the birth plan and to be honest I don't think I will have a plan as such. I have an idea of some of the things I would like to avoid, if at all possible, but I'm thinking that going with the flow and deciding what's in the baby's best interest (and mine too) when the time comes, is as better plan. It feels like this is all a long way away, but at the same time, the weeks are flying by so quickly! I better start thinking about packing that hospital bag... In the meantime...

I had mentioned on previous posts that I have this renewed enthusiasm for all things crafty... So, despite the reduced amounts of energy I get now (associated with being firmly in the 3rd trimester now, I guess), I got a couple more things done in the baby/guest room:
  • A revamped basket for guests/baby toiletries (depending on who's using the room at that point) - I had received the basket (originally lilac) as a present and as part of a set of lavender products years ago, and when we moved to this house it was perfect for the lilac room (as I knew we wouldn't re-decorate in there for a while, despite my dislike of the colour). Now, with the new colour scheme, it's out of place. But I like the little basket so much (for keeping all bits and pieces in there, rather than all over the room) that I decided I would make it one of my little projects: A lick (or 4!) of white paint and a fabric base to match the soft furnishings in the room. Fun and free!
As I like all things practical, I decided to make a base of cardboard with a plastic top (to protect the bottom of the basket,should there be any accidents with the toiletries kept inside) and a couple of fabric covers (so I can alternate, while one is being washed, or even change later, if the colour scheme in the room changes). So here's the result:





  • A cover for the tissues box - I know I didn't have to do this, I could just buy green tissue boxes. But, I have so much fabric left from the when I got it for the room furnishings, so I decided to do the cover (you never know, they might not have green tissue boxes when I go to the supermarket next, or worse, they might stop doing them all together!!! :P ). And here it is:

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Keeping it simple

When starting this blog, "B's life" was meant to be a temporary name for it. At the time, I couldn't come up with an appropriate name, as I didn't really know which direction this blog would take. After over 2 year's of this blogs existence, I realised it wasn't taking any particular direction, it was and is simply for anything and everything I fancy talking about. But, looking back through it, I believe it does portray one of my favorite mottoes: "keeping it simple".
And this is present and "visible" in many (if not all) aspects of my life, from the emotional.. :

- I'm straightforward. Sometimes people don't like/understand it, but I believe in being straight to the point (no beating around the bush). I do my best to be polite and gentle with words, but when I think I should be direct, I am. This is not to cause offense or to hurt anyone, simply so they are aware of what I feel/my opinion is. In the same token, I prefer when people are straight with me. Even if I might not like to hear what they have to say, I like to know where I stand with people, or if I (inadvertently) have done/said something wrong. I don't like to play emotional games.

- I (although I don't consider myself a cold person) and the reality of life is that people can be mean or indifferent to you, so with those people, I tend to stay away and not waste my time with them (at least, when I do realise that I am indeed wasting my time with them). If someone says/does something that offends or annoys me I may or may not (depending on whether I think the relationship I have - or not - with that person is worth it) say something to them and/or deal with it in some way, but then I move on. What I say is what I mean, I generally don't try to hide my feelings. If I'm hurt/sad/annoyed/frustrated/etc, I don't pretend I'm not. Equally, some things don't really affect me much, and sometimes it's just that, and it's not me "trying to be strong" and hide my pain/sadness/annoyance/frustration/etc.

- I'm there for my friends/family/people in general as much as I can and I'm willing to help those in need, but I'm not a doormat and I don't like being taken advantage of, regardless of who does the taking advantage of.

- I generally don't care what other people think of me. I try to live by the "don't do to others what you wouldn't want done to you" rule, but like everyone else, I'm (very) aware that I'm not perfect, and I do mess up sometimes, of course. And I don't like to upset anyone unnecessarily, so I try to resolve any issues I may cause. But, I always say that for as long as somebody has a problem with me (that I'm unaware of) and doesn't talk to me about it, it's THEIR problem, not mine (I'm not a mind reader, after all!).

- I live a simple life, as much as possible. I believe there are more important things in life than money, although I do, of course want to have a stress-free life too, which means not worrying about debts, bills, etc. I also want to be able to make the most of life, and because not all best things in life (in my opinion) are free (although they don't have to be expensive either), of course I work and do all I can to be in a stable financial position. I am ambitious, but I also strive to find a balance between work and personal life, because at the end of the day, work is for money, financial independence and career fulfilment, but life is for living and it's too short (another one of my mottoes).

... to the practical:

- Continuing on the financial note (above), I like the idea of living within our means, and do my best to do so. This means setting priorities & budgets, thinking ahead and planning where possible, but also allowing ourselves treats (including the occasional impulsive one!), within reason, of course.

- In almost everything I do (or buy), I try to think of the practical side of it (how easy/cheap it is to run/maintain/clean/etc). For example, pretty much everything I made/bought for the baby so far, is not only comfortable for the baby (I hope!), easy to use/put on/assemble, but it's also easy to keep clean/in working order. Of course, I found a lot of cute things around, but I tried to stick to the things that were cute, actually necessary (mostly) AND practical.

- Following on from the last post, I couldn't not mention my current enthusiasm for making/recycling things around the house. I have already some ideas in the pipeline, and I will surely be posting in more detail about these. For sure, the "keeping it simple" theme applies here too, as I want to go with the crafty flow, but I don't intend to go over the top with it. The idea is to make it practical, re-use things I may already have (with possible modifications for the new purpose), not spend too much time (or money!) on each idea and just make it an enjoyable process. It has been so far, so I hope it continues!

So, there you go... another long(ish) post to basically say (as the blog description does): "Keep it simple" and make the most of life!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Baby/guest room

As I had mentioned in previous posts, there have been some changes in the spare room in preparation from the arrival of the new family member, but this room is to serve a dual purpose, as a guest room too.

When we started this project, we hadn't really thought much about it. I had some ideas, but nothing concrete, but I just knew we needed to start with a blank canvas. So, we started with:

Phase I - Paint the room (including removing the border and the heater, then painting the heater too). Chosen colour: white. This was because we already had some white furniture and thought we could just buy a white cot, then later inject some colour through the soft furnishings, which I knew I wanted to make myself.

At this point, my idea was to use a colour scheme that would make it appropriate for a child's room, but without being too childish (as it would also have to work as an occasional guest room). I thought of a selection of bright colours and to start it off I wanted a wall sticker/mural (one of those removable ones, to make it easier to change the theme/colour scheme later). I searched around for months probably, but couldn't find anything I liked enough to buy. And then I came across this one wall sticker which I fell in love with (well, as much as you can fall in love with a wall sticker). It meant the colour scheme would change from what I had in mind and this was the result of:

Phase II - Make/buy soft furnishings (curtains, cushion covers, throw, drawers and wardrobe interior covers).

Here's before (did I mention I hated that lilac colour scheme? Nothing against the colour lilac itself, just not the sort of colour I would choose to paint a room, which I would then add lilac curtains and lampshade to. Too much lilac for such a small room, in my opinion!):


And here's the after (well, the during, I guess, because it's not quite finished yet):


And here's the sticker that inspired it all:


Note: See the bedside table on the photo above? I thought I'd paint it (and it's twin on the other side of the bed) white to go with the rest of the furniture, but then I realised they will probably go anyway (more on this in a bit).

Note 2: See the polka dot changing mat? Once I knew I was going for the black-white-green colour scheme, I kept my eye on anything that I was going to buy for the baby, to go with the room, of course. I loved it, and had to have it! Then, in one of my trips to a fabric shop I saw the polka dot fabric I just had to use for the little cushion covers.

I had initially thought I would have a lot of different sized cushions with a lot of different patterned fabrics (within the same colour scheme, of course), but when I put all the fabrics together, it all just seemed too much for such a small room, so I changed m strategy: try to keep it simple. Use the same material as used for the curtains to make the covers for the bigger cushions, have medium black cushions, to contrast with the white in the furniture and walls, and with the green bed throw, and make polka dot covers for the little cushions (to go with the polka dot in the changing mat above). But I still wanted to incorporate more of the other fabrics I bought, so here what I did with a white and green stripes fabric:

I lined the inside of the see-through part of the wardrobe doors. And the same to the drawer fronts on the matching drawer unit next to it. And it's all removable for washing, thanks to my new best friend Velcro.

Now, where's all the baby stuff? This room still looks very much like a guest room! Yes, and that's what it's going to be until:

Phase III - When the baby actually moves in! We are planning to have the baby's cot in our room initially, so until the cot comes into what is now the guest room, there's little point doing much else to it, especially as we will have family visiting and staying over after the baby arrives. So, when the time comes for the cot to go in there, we will be taking out the bed and bedside tables (as I mentioned above), re-arranging the furniture and putting a sofa-bed for the occasional guests in there. But more details on this phase later. For now, I'm happy with this room...

I'm getting into this crafting thing a lot more. I've always liked to make things, but now, I try to think of what I can re-use and give it another "life" by painting, covering or something like that (even when I could probably buy something inexpensive to do the same job). I really enjoy the making process, more than I would probably enjoy the buying. I try to imagine how I could organise things better and what I could use (maybe from another room in the house or from the loft) to help keep things organised.

For example, remember the bedside tables which will be removed from the room? I already have plans for them... One of them is going to be turned into a little bench with storage for the living room (more about this on a later post) and another is probably going in the kitchen into a cupboard under the oven, to help keep trays and pots organised (also more on this later).

The only "problem" with starting with this crafting and decoration business seems to be that once I get started, I'll always find a multitude on mini-projects to do.

And now that I have bored you all (yes, you, my whole audience of one!) to death, I'll leave you to rest your eyes, but not before apologising for the exceedingly long post (but not promising shorter ones in future!).