, by Flora and Fauna
Just thought I'd share some of my favorite photos from last year's Christmas.
It really is the most magical time of the year...
I'm actually 38 weeks today but these are some photos we took last week. I figured after 37 weeks you never know when the baby could come so we wanted to get some last photos in before I lose the bump!
It's been interesting for me to observe the way my feelings have been changing over the past couple of days. Being this close to the due date I would have thought I would be terrified of the delivery but, whether thanks to our birth classes or other factors, I'm feeling pretty good about it. Instead I find myself experiencing anxiety over the fact that there is physically no way I can prepare myself for this life changing event. I'm daily overwhelmed with excitement over meeting our child for the first time in just a short time. This child that is here because papa bear and I fell in love all those years ago, this child that will change our life forever, this child that has already stolen a giant piece of my heart and will carry it with him/her for the rest of their life...
The baby's room is ready, the car seat is locked in place, the bags are by the door but most of all our hearts are so, so ready to fall in love with baby bear.
Baby we are ready for you!
This year for Thanksgiving it was just the two of us and the fur babies. My midwife wasn't looking kindly at us driving more than an hour anywhere and personally I don't enjoy drives more than fifteen minutes long myself these days so... So at home we stayed. And it was glorious.
We were incredibly lazy and ordered a thanksgiving meal from Whole Foods that included the most dreamy pumpkin pie. We checked in with our families throughout the day but it was so nice to spend the day by the fire simply re-heating food rather than cooking it.
After the whirlwind that were the past few months I was so grateful to be in our little cabin with papa bear just focused on really appreciating the last few days that we have left as a family of two.
Thanksgiving was a big "mile marker," so to speak, for this pregnancy and it's unfathomable to think that the countdown is at two weeks now. I'm going to try and not obsess over my due date and just enjoy the fact that this means Christmas is officially here! And you better believe I've been playing Christmas music in this house non-stop since Friday.
Here's to trimming our trees and baking lots of yummy things!
I've always loved Christmas but it wasn't until we moved to the US that my love turned into an obsession. I'll never forget arriving at JFK that December and thinking that we must have landed in heaven. Christmas music softly emanated from speakers, steaming cups of peppermint lattes in festive red cups lined the bar at Starbucks and the gift shops were brimming with candy wrapped in shiny cellophane and tied with bright red bows.
My dad has always been the biggest Christmas aficionado in our family and he too went a little crazy when we moved here. Every Christmas he wants to buy "all the lights" and just recently we had an intervention regarding a hideous plastic snowman that he insisted on having for years. A couple Christmases ago the wind blew it onto the street and we told him that even nature thinks it's ugly... Then there was the year we first watched Elf and felt that we were no longer weird because we're not the only two people in the world who jump up and down with excitement over Christmas and Santa (in fact he was doing just that in the kitchen a few weeks ago when he realized how close Christmas was). He even dressed up as Santa every year until I was in high school!! So yeah, we realllllyyyyyyy, realllyyyyy love Christmas in this family.
And so as the holiday season officially kicks off this Friday I can't wait to put up our tree, start baking cookies that will fill the house with the smell of ginger, get a nice fire going in the fireplace, put on my favorite Christmas record and pull on the coziest of sweaters!
Here's to all things cozy, sparkly, twinkling, crackling, steaming and good!!
Goodness I feel like there is just so much to be thankful for...
I'm thankful for the beautiful autumn season we experienced this year
I'm thankful for this miracle growing inside of me
I'm thankful for chewy gingerbread cookies from Trader Joe's
I'm thankful for kitty snuggles late at night
I'm thankful for the life papa bear and I have have built together here at the cabin
I'm thankful for good music, books that bring me to tears and movies that make me smile
I'm thankful for bubble baths that allow me to be weightless if only for a short time
I'm thankful for the family & friends that have supported us through this pregnancy
I'm thankful for grapefruits, pomegranates & dark chocolate
I'm thankful that pumpkins are edible
I'm thankful for water (being without it when our pump broke made me really appreciate it)
I'm thankful for all the hugs, laughs, kisses and smiles I've been blessed to experience this year
And I'm thankful that the holiday season is finally upon us!
Wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving!!
I recently mentioned that since clothes shopping is no longer very fun for me I went out and fed my shopping desire by buying quite a bit of new makeup. A few items I purchased ended up being revelations for me. You see I essentially haven't changed my makeup routine since high school. Years ago I settled on a look I liked, the routine was fairly simple and it didn't take too long. So I've been doing the same thing for almost a decade - concealer, bronzer, blush, mascara and occasionally eye shadow/liner. I tried different things here and there but the results were disastrous more often than not and since makeup isn't cheap they ended up being costly mistakes. So I would get gun shy and just keep doing the same thing. Well not anymore!
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer - I purchased this just a few weeks ago and it pretty much changed my life! I've heard so much about it but I've always hated the look of foundation and figured this would be the same. Wrong! It's very sheer going on, feels nourishing and makes my skin glow.
Benefit They're Real Mascara - I had tried all sorts of mascaras before and would just end up going back to my standby, Diorshow, but this is the first one that actually impressed me. It truly does look like you're wearing fake lashes! And it's so easy to apply!
bareMinerals Lipstick in Black Currant - This was another recent purchase. I have other lipsticks from bareMinerals and I love them all - they're very lush, moisturizing and give you great coverage. This color is just so perfect for winter time but I must warn you it's quite dramatic!
NARS blush in Angelika - This was a fairly recent addition. I had been using the "orgasm" color for a few years but was getting bored. I love this color because it gives you that "I just went for a run in the freezing cold" look which is lovely. It just really brightens up your face.
Benefit Cream Eyeshadow in R.S.V.P. - I picked up this eyeshadow this summer and I know now that I'll be using it for quite some time. The fact that it's cream means no brushes and quick application and the color is incredibly versatile and understated. It's a nice and quick way to brighten your eyes.
Moulinette Soeurs Eau De Parfum in Odette - I realize this isn't really a makeup item but it's just so lovely (and new to me) that I had to include it. I like Chanel "Chance" for special occasions but this is my go to every day perfume - it's light, fresh and just makes me feel pretty. My mum loved it so much she made me find her some (it's sold out at Anthropologie but I was able to find some on Ebay).
Last but not least I don't go anywhere without Rosebud Salve!
Years ago when we would talk about having kids we would always say it wasn't so much financial stability that we were concerned with but our own emotional stability and growth. My parents have always been believers that there's "no right time to have a baby" and having myself grown up in a family that struggled financially I can attest to the fact that it didn't have long-term damaging effects on me. But what I do believe both from from my study of psychology and life experience is that a parent carrying a lot of emotional baggage can negatively affect the life of their child well into adulthood.
So having both been young when we got married we waited and allowed each other to grow and mature. We graduated, left jobs and got new ones, went to therapy, supported each other through some of our darkest moments, moved from the East Coast to the West and back, lost friends, gained friends and ultimately cheered each other on as we grew into the people who we are today.
I wouldn't say we were necessarily "there" when we started trying but in the process we kind of both arrived at a place where we hoped we would be. Papa bear grew into the man that I am proud to call my husband; someone who spent his summer reading Schopenhauer, can unload forty bails of hay, corrals a dozen middle and high schoolers daily, draws baths for his very pregnant wife and greets his fur babies with kisses every day. And I grew into a much better version of myself. I spent a large part of my early twenties dealing with aspects of my personality that I wasn't even aware existed. I was angry, anxious, lost, lonely, depressed and confused. This state colored everything I did and touched and there was a lot of work to be done. Some of it happened in therapy and some of that work happened when life hit me where it hurt the most.
Somehow out of the mess which was my early twenties I was able to emerge a calmer, more fulfilled, at peace and solid person. Basically I've arrived at a place I only hoped I would one day be. I hoped that by the time I would be a mother I would be the kind of woman my children could look up to and be proud of. I'm not there yet but I'm much closer than I was and I am passionate about staying on this course.
I'm thankful for a husband who is equally as committed to our joint growth as I am and together I have faith that we can build the kind of family that will effuse warm, acceptance, love and joy.
I wanted to share my list of books I've read this year. I don't read a lot but when I do I like to make it count. I pick them carefully and try to have a healthy mix of new reads as well as classics. I suppose I feel like there are so many classics I still haven't read that I want to be careful in regards to the new books I read. It's often hard to tell with new books whether they'll stand the test of time, whereas classics already have.
The Catcher In The Rye - I've been meaning to read this book for years but could never quite get to it. I was surprised by how much I loved it. I found myself laughing out loud often and it has stuck with me for reasons that I'm not aware of yet. More than anything it was interesting to delve deep into the mind of a teenager, to remember the way we used to think and see the world. But there are also lines and passages that are just so brilliant and really sum up our human experience, young or old.
A Book of Common Prayer - This was an interesting one. Obviously, I've been on a Joan Didion kick and I've been reading everything of hers I could get my hands on. This book however, was very different from any of her other ones. It was strange and somewhat difficult to get into but once I did I couldn't put it down. It was one of those books where I stayed up at night worrying about what the characters were up to, their world totally sucked me in. This is also one of the books I missed the most when I was done. It was understated but powerful.
The Bell Jar - Husby has been telling me to read this since we met and this spring I finally did. And I was sad to say I was underwhelmed. My connection with the author or characters means a lot and I suppose in the end I just felt like if I met Esther I would not like her. I know this is probably really strange sounding and even blasphemous but it just wasn't for me. And trust me it's not that I don't respect the plight of women at that time, I just feel like other authors have done a better job of communicating that. In fact, I told husby after I read it that I much more enjoyed the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman on the same topic. He read it with his high schoolers and they all loved it!
Blue Nights - It probably was not the best idea to read this while pregnant and yet at the same time it made me think about this child in a different way than I have before. It made me think of motherhood and our time here on earth. To me no one describes our complex and conflicting human emotions better than Didion. It was a heartbreaking book but also a book that made me even more passionate about cherishing every single tiny moment we have here. To take a mental image of every hug, every rain drop, every kiss, every smile and every tear. Because it seems that there is nothing more painful than regrets at the end of your life. I never want to think I didn't love enough, laugh enough, care enough or live enough.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem - Another Joan Didion book. This however, was a collection of short stories. Each of them were so different from the others and absolutely fantastic. The subject matter varied but in the end it was Joan doing what she does best - truly making you walk in someone else's shoes so you could really experience what it felt like to be them (even if it was only for a few pages). I found "Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream" especially poignant and relevant since it deals with a family in Southern California (something I know all too well).
The Namesake - A book by another one of my favorite female authors, Jhumpa Lahiri. I was actually a bit nervous about this one since I adored all of her short stories but worried how she would translate her voice into a novel. Turns out she did it just as brilliant as anything else. For someone married to an Indian (well, half Indian, husby's mum is Irish-American and his dad is Indian) this book is a must. We practically read it together and it helped us understand a lot about his family, his childhood and our relationship with his parents. I feel like we both grew a lot thanks to this book. Once again I was completely involved with the characters while reading and I basically sobbed through the last five pages. Apart from all of that, this the book was peppered with observations on human nature that transcend all cultures and time.
So there you have it! If you have any further questions about any of these books let me know (for example I know that some of these Didion books are hard to track down). Also, I would love to hear about any books that you read and loved this year! I'm on the search for something new!
I'm finally looking very pregnant! It's an interesting time - people hold open doors, send me well wishes everywhere I go and funny enough everyone wants to know if it's a girl or boy!
We had our 36 week ultrasound yesterday and I was thrilled to hear that baby is doing great! Our midwife even told me that I'm doing a very good job of taking care of baby bear. Best compliment ever!
We also finally got the car seat installed. We went to our local fire department where they had a "car seat expert" help us install it. I'm so glad we did it this way, not only would we never have figured it out ourselves but I'm quite sure even if we did we would have done it incorrectly. In fact she told us that 8 out of 10 car seats are installed incorrectly! Yikes!
And now it's officially time to just settle in at home and wait for baby bear to make his or her appearance! After seeing it's sweet face yesterday I've become even more impatient about having baby in my arms...
P.S. A big thank you to the lovely Adeline for having me over at her blog today!
Well kids this was our last pre-baby weekend in DC. It all felt sort of surreal, to think that the next time we would be here (and probably the next time we will see our family) we will no longer be a family of two...
The passage of time this year has felt rather surreal too. I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week meaning we are mere weeks away from Christmas! When did this all happen?! I demand to know!
We took it easy this weekend as due to my increasing size and increasing number of trips to the bathroom it's hard to be terribly active. We went to Ted's Bulletin for breakfast and absolutely fell in love! The service is so warm and friendly and of course the food is beyond fantastic. Homemade pop tarts?! Sold!
On our way back home we stopped by Turkey Run park for the first time. We've passed it dozens of times on GW Parkway but have never actually gone in. I'm so glad we did. The sun was just starting to come down and bathed the whole forest in a golden light. It was unseasonably warm for November and we went for a short stroll, just the two of us, taking in these last few days. We talked about our fears, our dreams for this baby and squeezed each others hands with excitement at the possibility of holding our little one in a mere thirty days!