Festive Fun with Friends

Last week my gorgeous friend Sara came to stay one last time before flying home to Canada in December. I had the most wonderful time- full of giggles, Elf hats, silly moments, Christmas films and festive treats.
I greeted Sara at the station on the wettest-windiest day this Autumn. I seriously had to fight back the tears as I had struggled in the strong winds, but then Sara's smilie face made it all better. We were blown into town where we stocked up on treats before heading home to the warm.
After dinner we had a few funny five minutes being silly and decided to braid our hair into beards... yes- BEARDS! Not sure what came over us but it could well be the prosecco infused festive crisps we bought (sorry baby!). After some teary eyed giggles we got our hair in check and headed out with Sebastian to meet a friend for drinks. We were promised a night of board games and catch ups and weren't disappointed. Except... half the stash of board games were near to empty- I expect there have been a few drunken souls that have ended up with bags filled with counters and cards.
We ended up playing Connect Four in teams and it got more competitive that we expected it to!
After some more goofing around we walked back to ours for late night warm mince pies and mulled fruit punch before falling into our slumbers.
The following morning called for delicious Cherry Bakewell porridge (team work!) and tea in the cosy morning sunlight. In our pyjamas we watched a few festive films whilst chatting about Christmas traditions and such. We watched Arthur Christmas and The Santa Clause.
We spent the whole day feasting on Christmas treats and endless cups of tea. The winter berry and prosecco crisps were finished, metallic shimmery macarons were devoured, brandy sauce filled iced fruit buns were enjoyed.
We chatted about Canada, futures, families, Christmas, bakes and more. We sung Mariah Carey, Michael Buble and Wham. We danced liked Elves and performed the 'England snow dance' and 'reverse Canada snow dance'. We got ready to face the chilly outside and sadly ambled to the train station for Sara's train ride home back to Brighton.
After a couple of hugs goodbye and sad faced smiles, I scrambled back home through the park and cut through town and climbed into bed where I napped the afternoon away in my elf hat. I woke up feeling droopy mouthed and welcomed Sebastian home with a hug. I felt sad. We both did.

I tend to make friends with kind sweet souls... who live no where near me! I shall miss my elfin buddy but look forward to that text telling me shes coming to England to visit and potentially staying... that is if I haven't married her off to one of our English friends before then!
I have made many online friends from blogging and Instagram and the like. But Sara is one true friend that I believe is forever... our little blogs were meant to find eachother. There may be an ocean between us (for now anyway!!) but what's a little water between friends?! 
All I can say is 'Canada, I'll be seeing you!'!


A soft farewell

So today marks the day that our family home is sold and left behind for someone else's family to start their own memories. I didn't think I would be as sad as I am though as I left my pretty attic bedroom to start a new life with Sebastian back in December 2010. But needless to say it's been hard. I didn't get to have a proper goodbye and a moment alone sitting cross-legged on the bare wooden floors. Truth be told I guess I detached myself from this place a long time ago, for reasons I won't go into, except it genuinely no longer felt like MY home.
Going through old Facebook snaps and old blog posts I smiled. I absolutely LOVED my time there. Yes there were some pretty grey days and memories that I'd rather stay locked up in those journals I bravely threw out a few summers ago. But there were some great chapters. There were break ups (of all kinds), there was love, there were late nights, there was some pretty awesome family times, there were kisses, there were magical Christmases, there was snow, there were those cute wild ponies in the woods behind the garden, there were chickens, giant bunnies, a handful of cats, Tilly~Rose, there were games, there were new loves, there were parties, there were a whole bunch of haircuts and colours! There was alot of fun.
For me there is no better time to let go, Sebastian and I are married, we have a little one on the way and we have a future of different homes to start memories and traditions and wonderful moments of our own. Things are never really the same again for anyone in a house full of memories- the children grow up, the parents separate, the walls get re-painted, we leave home and come back and leave again. It's hard to say goodbye but let's face it... things will never have been the same and it's best to leave a house full of wonderful memories, chipped floorboards and a beautiful flowered garden and make way for new adventures. Adventures perhaps that one would have been too scared to make if it hadn't been for timing and unfortunate circumstances.
So as I gaze through my blog and this post full of wonderful throwbacks, on this day, I say goodbye silently sitting in my own cosy spot draped with fairylights, a wriggly bump, and just smile. Smile that I have these memories, that I captured these moments and that I'm truly grateful for a wonderful upbringing and lovely traditions back at Wychwood Cottage. We still have our family, even if they may be scattered around the country. We still have traditions and we still have more to make! Life is what we make it after all.


The Third Trimester

Less than 4 weeks away until the little lady is due and things are starting to feel oh so real now. With discussions of birth plans and the delayed delivery of our nursery furniture only happening this week I have had a few (very small) moments of panic and bouts of feeling overly unorganised.
Truth be told though, I'm actually more ready than I thought! Making lists have helped me so much over the past few weeks. Lists of 'To do's', lists of 'Still to get's' and lists of how many sleepsuits, bodysuits, bags of nappies etc we have. I appear to be doing ok.

So, Week 28 came around quickly and my midwife arranged for me to have a GTT (Glucose Tolerance Test) as my grandmother had diabetes. The results were back a few days later and all appeared normal, as did my bloods.
^^^ Post-nap hair is the best kind of hair (teamed with rosy cheeks!)

The following few weeks I continued to feel content. The leg/foot cramps started again during the night and the heartburn has been consistent and only just in the last four weeks or so has gotten worse... yet manageable.
My midwife appointments were scheduled every three weeks instead of four and now they are every two. The little one's heartbeat is wonderful and my amazing, solid bump has been measured during these last few appointments. The measurements were all on schedule but my midwives may have measured differently to one another so I'm being sent for another scan to be on the safe side.

During this trimester I was offered both the Whooping cough and flu vaccinations which I had made sure to carry out enough research (and experience) before making my decisions. I decided to have the whooping cough vaccination only, this has been recommended to protect my baby until she's 2 months when she'll have further immunisations. Seeing as the flu vaccination is to protect me only I decided this was unnecessary. Working within the NHS environment I am offered this every year and a few years ago I suffered with a horrible flu-like virus and ever since I have avoided the very thing. Every winter I avoid viruses, including the sniffles and look after my health so this year is no different. (Plus PMA!!!). My midwives respected my decisions, as did my husband- the nurse who gave me my vaccination for whooping cough however wasn't as supportive.
You need to remember that whatever you feel is right for YOU and YOUR baby is your decision to make and no other. Family/medical professions/everyone and his wife can offer their opinion and advice but whatever you feel is right for you, be confident and stand your ground.
I scheduled my Maternity leave to start at the beginning of November (at 34 weeks) and luckily had two weeks of annual leave to use up which I added on. It took me ages to decide on what was the best amount of time to take before the due date.
I decided 6 weeks was perfect for me because I really wanted to have Christmas organised and mostly done/planned before baby arrives. I also really loved the idea of having some time to myself before our little one joins the team. I knew I wouldn't have this precious time back and wanted some real good 'me' time. I have mostly been tidying/sorting and nesting but the next few weeks promise some down-time filled with festive films and Christmas gift making... and napping!

At over 36 weeks in I am now feeling heavy, uncomfortable and very 'compact'. The tiredness has come back and I feel exhausted yet sleeping is pretty hard. Getting to sleep feels like it takes forever- I expect it's because my brain is in overdrive and I have already experienced a 'giving birth' dream (miraculous birth by the way- did it all myself, not even a midwife present... Yeh definitely a dream!!!). Also getting comfortable and rolling over feels like a HUGE ordeal and poor Sebastian isn't getting the sleep he deserves... guess it really is setting us up for what's to come.
Little lady's wriggles are heavy and strong and sometimes a little uncomfortable but still pretty magical in my eyes. I can feel her nuzzling down into position and wowee is that an experience. I have had little twinges and aches but nothing major, I'm pretty sure it's just her fidgeting about rather than these infamous 'Braxton Hicks' but I'm sure I'll know for sure once I've had little lady and experience the real deal (contractions).

My hormones and cravings have been kept at bay. Though I DID have a little love for 'Screme eggs', yes the Hallowe'en version of the classic Easter egg. I have no idea why (and I really didn't like them back in Spring). I had about one a day and Sebastian had to keep a stash of them in case the shops ran out as we did experience that once or twice! Oh and there was that time that I desperately wanted a yoghurt after seeing Sebastian eating some late one night. 
I finally feel a little more ready, a little more prepared and even though I am not as 'organised' as all the websites and emails and apps say I should be, I feel confident and excited as ever. Sebastian and I still have a few moments when we look at eachother and we're like "Woah". It's pretty surreal still! Like, we're going to be actual PARENTS soon! Well, I suppose we already are.