Overflowing Heart (and Belly)

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Hi, it’s been a while (*cough*understatement*cough*cough*)…

To be honest, life got pretty hectic and stressful for us this past year. Will finished and defended his thesis whilst watching Liam full-time. I worked full-time whilst pregnant (yes, I’m pregnant and due in early April!) and I struggled with this pregnancy more than the last. So. Tired. To top it all off, some last-minute changes in our visa situation made us switch roles in January. Now I’m the stay-at-home parent and Will is working full-time, first on his thesis corrections, then on job applications. Through all of that I kinda forgot about this blog.

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Well, not really. I thought about the blog a lot, but that was it. Part of me didn’t really feel like sharing what was going on. Honestly, it was not the easiest time for us and I just did not have the extra energy to figure out how to put my feelings into words. It felt like all of my energy was spent on being a good wife and a good mom and a good coworker. Everything else took a back seat.

Before Christmas, both my brother and my mom came to visit us! They gave us such a reprieve from the stress of our lives. For my brother’s trip in October, we took a little road trip out west to Islay, partly for the scenery and partly for the whisky. This also was just in time for Liam’s canines to come in. All of them. At the same time. My poor brother! My mom visited in November for Thanksgiving and for Edinburgh’s wonderful long Christmas season. She was so impressed with Will’s cooking! Yes, Will cooks now. And he’s soooo good (#blessed). Those two visits were medicine for our hearts! Both visits came before Will had his viva, basically his thesis defence, which was such a good break for us. By the way, he totally rocked his viva!

We spent all of our Christmas break in hibernation. We lounged as much as we could with an 18 month old. We ate, took walks, and lounged some more. It was exactly what we needed. Early in the new year, I took an early maternity leave so I could watch Liam full-time. I have been adjusting to the new schedule and adjusting to my ever-growing belly at the same time! Let me tell you, chasing a toddler with a full-term belly is no easy task. I don’t think being pregnant is very easy to begin with, but when your kid pushes you to your physicial/emotional limits all day, it makes it that much harder. Needless to say, I’m very, very ready not to be pregnant anymore.

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I never imagined myself as a stay-at-home mom, so it’s been quite an adjustment. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE hanging out with Liam, seeing his little personality grow, and being there for him. I also really enjoy having a little bit of a daily grind, with an office and coworkers and, dare I say it, a boss! A part of me misses that, but I know this is what my family needs right now. So that is what we’re doing.

I will also say that I’m enjoying this phase a lot more than I thought I would! Liam is so much fun! He loves to run and jump, and he responds to us in new ways all the time. He “tells jokes”, he climbs all over us and everything else, and he takes us by the hand to lead us wherever he wants to go. He knows what he wants and what he doesn’t like, and he tells us what he thinks. By the way, I have been working hard on my Spanish the past few years, and I try to speak only in Spanish with him. Between my Spanglish and his toddler-speak, our house is like the Tower of Babel. The struggle is real. Liam knows there’s a baby in my belly and he likes to pat it and give it kisses. He likes both to give and to get tickles. He inhales blueberries, bread, cheese, grapes, and salmon risotto, and he still only likes to drink water. He’s becoming more independent all the time, and I’m learning to be more excited than fearful about it.

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I’m learning so much about myself whilst watching him. Pre-kids, I had all of these pre-conceived notions of what type of parent I would be. Most of them have gone out the window! Hahaha! What has rung true, though, is my love for the toddler phase! I used to work in a nursery and my favourite age was the two-four year olds. They were so much fun to watch and play with. Of course, they’re a lot of work too. I thought I’d be eating my words when I had Liam, but I really am enjoying this phase and I’m still excited for all that comes with it — big emotions and all!

I’ve learned that I struggle with comparison a lot. I compare myself to other moms out there all the time. Their parenting style, their “mom style”, how their kid(s) behave,  etc. Comparison is the thief of joy. I have to work really hard to be more confident in myself, the way that I parent, and what’s best for our family. It helps to have Will around to tame my craziness. It also helps that I’ve made some pretty good mom-friends who have been vulnerable with me and allowed me to be vulnerable with them. Community, man, you need it.

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I have so many thoughts about welcoming a second kid into our life. I remember feeling protective of Will when I was pregnant with Liam. Like, I only have so much love and Liam was going to take some of it away from Will. Obviously, that’s not at all what happens. Your love just grows as a parent. But now I’m feeling myself get protective of Liam. I’m really trying to savour every moment with him because I know I won’t be able to give him as much undivided attention as I can now. It also makes me anxious to change our routine, because I’m really enjoying the one we have now.

With Liam, I had no choice and needed a caesarean because of placenta previa. With this pregnancy though, I have the option of a vaginal delivery, which means I’m feeling all of the typical first-time pregnancy anxieties! When will I go into labour? How will it feel? How long will it be? Will I be able to do it? Will I want an epidural? I don’t know. I’m not one to make too many plans, but I would like my delivery to be as natural as possible. I want to feel my body do it’s thing. Of course, I’m very ready to accept the fact that I will probably eat my words and scream for an epidural the minute I feel my first contraction! Hahaha! Ultimately, it won’t matter if I have a caesarean, VBAC, epidural, birthing pool, etc. What matters is that the baby and I are taken care of and that we both end up ok. That’s my birth plan.

We’ve decided not to find out the sex of the baby again, and we have really enjoyed not knowing! We both have a feeling this might be a girl. This pregnancy has been pretty different; I’ve been more sick, I’m more easily out of breath, and I’m eating waaaaaaaaaaay more sweets. But we know that pregnancies can differ from one time to the next for so many reasons, not just “boy pregnancies” from “girl pregnancies”. We just don’t know. Either way, s/he will have the sweetest older brother, and lots of hand-me-downs.

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Our family is now in this funny phase of limbo/transition between the PhD and the job. We don’t know how long this phase will last, but for now we have to learn to be ok with not having all the answers. All we know is that Will is casting a wide net and we will go wherever the job takes us. But we also have visas to think about, and we can’t stay in Edinburgh forever. This city has solidified its place in our hearts and the time we’ve spent here has meant so much to us. This is our home. Where Will and I have learned to be “us” and where our family went from two to three and soon to be four. The thought of leaving is tough, but we know it will happen. It’s inevitable. We’re just trying to figure out how we can prioritise our time and energy so that we can make the most of our life here.

While the academic/student life can feel limiting, it also comes with so many blessings! Will can be flexible with his time since he works from home, and having him here during the day has me feeling all of the feels! Instead of heading off to an office, he stays here so we get to see him throughout the day. He’ll take five minutes here and there to help me get Liam up the stairs when we come back from our outings, or to make me a cup of tea, or to help with lunch, or to be my relief when I’ve reached my emotional and physical limit. We haven’t had many chances for “date nights”, but we try to make the most of the time we do get to spend together, learning new games, reading, finding a new show to watch, chatting about life and its endless possibilities. Some days I’m sooooooo keen to feel more like an adult, maybe have our own place and a better pay check. But I try to remind myself that a lot of what I love about our life now is because of the current stage we’re in, and it will more than likely go away with that “big boy” job.

Anyway, I just wanted to say hi. We’re still here, figuring out the expat/academic/growing family life and we still want to share it with you. The updates just may be a little bit less frequent than before. Thank you for your patience and for sticking around!

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Note: these pictures are from a tickle-session yesterday afternoon that made my heart explode!

 

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To our beautiful boy.

You have brought us so much joy this year: so much love.

We didn’t think we could love like this; or this much. We didn’t know we could be this patient, this fun, this selfless, this disciplined. We thought being parents would highlight all of the areas we’re lacking in but instead, those areas have grown and flourished.

We have loved watching you grow and learn. Seeing your personality develop has made us laugh and get even more excited for what’s to come. Though, I can’t tell if you have your father’s determination or my stubbornness?? We’ll see.

Happy first birthday, mi hijo.

We love you very much!

Another Brain Dump (+ Photos)

Hiya!

I know, I know, it’s been a while. We’ve just been getting on with life and, truthfully, I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep up with blogging. I don’t consider myself a very good writer and I didn’t feel like I had the time, or energy, to put together nice posts. And I didn’t want to just throw something up for the sake of posting something. Anyway, I decided to give myself the time and space to just figure things out.

But, it’s Sunday, both of my boys are napping and I’m sitting here in a quiet flat drinking my third cup of tea. I thought I’d get back into blogging by doing a quick catch up on all things ‘Kelly Lyfe’… and show off some pictures of Liam.  :)

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We’ll start with all things ‘Liam’.

Where do I start? This little 10+ month old is blowing our minds on a daily basis over here! He’s crawling e v e r y w h e r e !! He’s pulling himself up on whatever he can get his hands on and is starting to walk along things like the coffee table and bookcases. He’s babbling so much more as well. I think he’s starting to say “mama” but it’s mainly when he’s whining about something. He’s also starting to yell at us. It’s actually kinda funny and Will and I have tried really hard to not laugh. I think this means we really need to step up on the sign language game. And by “step up” I mean we need to actually do it. I did it for about two weeks a few months ago but it didn’t take fast enough and I gave up. I think he’s ready now.

He’s primed and ready for so many things now I am trying not to blink because I know I’ll miss something. Though, I am sooooooo keen for Liam to start walking and talking and making his own food – any day now ;-)

Liam’s first birthday is next month and I’m already planning it. I’d love to do a barbeque outside, but considering where we live, I’m gonna need to think of a plan B.

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Liam still loves his bath! Will and I need to get him out to a pool.

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We started a nighttime routine of 6pm dinner-brush teeth-bath-feed-sleep and it’s been really good for us to have. It’s hard for us to have our own dinners ready by 6pm but it’s a goal we’re inching closer and closer to.

Liam is doing so well with food but I’m getting tired of making seperate meals for him. This week I started making him eat what we eat. It’s going ok. As long as I remember to take out a portion for Liam before adding salt we’re good.

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Liam and I are heading off to Germany to visit some friends, sans Will. I’m really looking forward to seeing our friends and also seeing how Liam does travelling. This will be his first trip since the States and his first trip this year.

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I’ve been doing Kayla’s BBG for about three months now, but I’m just on week seven. I’ve taken a few breaks but I will finish this program even if it kills me – #deathbykayla. Will has been working out too and looks amazing! I’m so glad he’s taking his role as my trophy husband seriously!

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Will and I just got into watching House of Cards. Kevin Spacey is brilliant! I’ve also started watching Obama’s Whitehouse on the BBC and that is really well done. I just love the BBC!

I’m also loving Spotify’s “Discover Weekly”. Their mixes for us have been on point with Nina Simone, Dirty Projectors, Bob Dylan, William Onyeabor, and Odetta!

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I’ve been back at work now for over a month and it’s been good. I think we’ve gotten through most of the teething pains of our new roles but it seems to be going really well. I never saw myself as a stay-at-home mom so it actually feels good to be back at work. It  helps that Will is an amazing father and does a phenomenal job of watching Liam during the day. We’ve had to be really intentional about enforcing “date night” since the evenings are Will’s “work hours” but we’re managing.

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I can’t get enough of seeing Liam’s little toes grip the floor with all their might!

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PC: Will

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Well, that’s all I can think of for the time being. Hope you enjoy these photos of our little man!

Six Months

Today Liam is six months old!

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You can’t tell in the picture above, or any of the following pictures–good job, son–but Liam is a pretty content baby and an absolute joy to be around. Even when he’s being fussy all I have to do is hold him and stand up. If it gets really bad, then I sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” in his ear and he instantly gets quiet and his cries turn into little baby sniffles. Yeah, my heart melts on a daily basis over here.

He’s like most six month olds in that he puts  e v e r y t h i n g  in his mouth. Except parsnips. He’s not a fan of those. And eggs, he’s on the fence about eggs. But everything else is free game; especially his Sophie. He LOVES her!

He already has two teeth and is gearing up for two more (I think the top two are next?). And he is a drool machine. I cannot handle all of the drool.

He hates being on his tummy but is slowly tolerating more time on it. So, he can roll onto his back but not off of it. There aren’t really any signs of him crawling soon. But he is sitting up with minimal assistance! He especially enjoys sitting on someone’s lap and facing the arm of a chair/couch and hearing his nails scratch the fabric.

Liam is a great sleeper! Well, as in he sleeps through the night, 7pm-7am, but dealing with him unswaddling himself was not giving me an uninterrupted 12hrs of sleep. So, after about two months of trying to figure out how to get him used to his legs and arms being free, we just cut him off from the swaddle cold turkey… and we moved him out of our room last week. He’ll still wake up once or twice in the night but those moments are much less frequent; like last night, he woke up at 5am, chirped once or twice, and then went right back to sleep! Thank you, son. Thank you.

He’s a quiet observer. He doesn’t seem shy, just like he’s sitting back, taking it all in and assessing his surroundings. I wish I was more like that. It’s great taking him out in public or hanging out with our friends… unless you get loud in his face. He doesn’t enjoy that – but who does, really?

He’s not consistently chatty but can be. He’s learning and making new sounds all of the time. Lately he’s been fake coughing. I have no clue where that came from because Will and I don’t really cough. With my allergies I’ve been sneezing most mornings–thank you, Scotland–but no coughing. So, maybe that’s his “sneeze”? I don’t know, either way, it’s one of his noises.

He LOVES bath time! He kicks and splashes and moves around so much in the water. His new thing is to be belly-down in the water, raise his head and chest high, and start kicking his legs. It’s pretty freakin’ adorable!

Oh man, six months. Six months!

Happy half birthday, Liam!

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All pictures by the talented Ms. Fleck last month in Harrison Park East!

A Brain Dump (+ Photos!!)

Tomorrow Liam will be 20 weeks – TWENTY WEEKS!! I can’t believe it’s been that long… or that short? I can’t tell just yet ;) So much has happened within these last four plus months and at the same time nothing has happened. I mean, Liam is blowing my mind, and taking care of him is such a joy, but, I know it’s not as exciting to you as it is to me.

Or maybe it is? I don’t know.

So, if you don’t mind, I’m just gonna dump it all out and we’ll take it from there. Thanks.

I’ve started exercising again! A friend gifted me her Kayla Itsines’ BBG workout and  I’ve died about five times now; but it feels good to be exercising again. I can’t do her guides completely (my body is not ready for mountain climbers or burpees) but most of it is pretty doable. I’ve got a looooong way to go.

Will is working from home now and it’s been great. I wasn’t sure it was a good idea at first (I wasn’t sure I had the self-discipline to leave him alone all day), but after seeing how Will and Liam have grown closer because of the extra time Will is spending at home has made it worth it! I have nothing but heart eyes for these two!

I love catching Liam’s silly faces on camera!!

I will forever love Dean Bridge for this view.

I made goat’s milk soap with my friend, Aya, and love it. Everyone’s getting soap for Christmas!

Friends of ours moved back to the States so we bought their tv for dirt cheap. It’s made binging on Suits much more enjoyable. Though, I do have to share it with Will and Liam so they can watch their sports.

Our MC (Missional Community) spent a Sunday at the beach. I wish there were more days like this one during the summer.

I went to a breastfeeding clinic last week and Liam put on a show for the nurses – as in he did his new trick of feeding for only three minutes and crying for the better part of an hour. The midwives confirmed that he is teething and recommended Ashton & Parsons Infants’ Powder; it’s a game changer! He hasn’t put on much weight in the last month so this should help with that.

was using cloth diapers on Liam but then he started soiling his outfit every time so I went back to paper diapers. I’m hoping he’ll put on some more weight now that he’s eating better so we can go back to cloth. We’re using BumGenius diapers that we inherited from a sweet friend and it’s such a money saver! Honestly, I kinda don’t like using cloth, but I dislike spending the money on paper more – sooooo yeah.

I just bought River Cottage’s Baby & Toddler Cookbook and can’t wait to use it!

I’m on an organising spree so I’ve got Evernote and iBank on my phone – meal planning and budgeting FTW!

I just celebrated my 32nd birthday (woah!!) and it was such a pleasant day. Will was away in Sweden for the weekend so I was happy to have him home. We made a big breakfast, spent 90 minutes looking for a movie to watch on Netflix (as you do), gave Liam a bath, and did a little shopping. It wasn’t much but I loved every minute of it!