Monday, 18 September 2017

Here she is!

Beatrix Evelyn has finally arrived and we cannot actually believe how amazing she is!  

I had a planned caesarian section scheduled for September 8 and after the rocky pregnancy with HG, PUPPS and horrific heartburn, I was more than ready to meet the little miss.  

 Walking into the operating room was probably the scariest part of the whole ordeal.  When I had Emma, I had labored for 36 hours and then had an emergency caesarian.  I didn't have time to be nervous or take it all in because it happened so fast.  This time, there was a slow buildup.  I felt the spinal.  I could see the room and the people in it.  I waited anxiously for B to be allowed into the room.  I'm pretty sure my arm was tied down - that was frightening.  

The procedure itself went by quickly.  It's an aggressive surgery - if you've never had a section, that's one thing you don't really realize. There's a lot of pulling.  Nausea hits.  At one point, I thought my head was going to explode (and it was a good thing my arm was strapped down, as I wanted to grab the back of my head).  

The greatest moment?  When my doctor - who was amazing - told me to get ready and everyone shouted "Happy Birthday!" as this tiny little human was pulled out and held up for me to see. 


Beatrix Evelyn 
6 pounds 12 ounces
20 inches
Total perfection

I was so relieved.  I know you worry about whether or not baby will be ok, but when you're on those nausea meds, a little bit of anxiety creeps in and you hope you aren't hurting the baby by trying to keep yourself alive.  

The care I received at the hospital was nothing short of amazing.  Maternity ward nurses are truly amazing.  They know what to say to ease your worries and they certainly know how to help you maintain a little bit of dignity.  I was urged to stand on that first night and then helped to the bathroom the next day.  I had great breastfeeding support and Trixie had an amazing latch. 

Much like Emma, we had some feeding troubles.  Trixie was losing a bit more weight than we hoped and she was dehydrated.  We were given a SNS tube to give her a little top up for formula while she was breastfeeding.  After a few days, we had to use bottles to give her an extra ounce after feeds. She should be nearly back at birth weight....I'm hoping.

Emma has been an amazing big sister. She was so good for my parents and sister while we were in the hospital and even now as we are home, she is so helpful and careful around "her baby."  I'm surprised they sleep through each other - Emma doesn't wake up at night and Trixie doesn't seem bothered by Emma during the day.  She started dance lessons as a nice big girl treat.   We wanted her to have something of her own with all of the chaos of having a new baby in the house.  

So there's our little update!  We are ten days in and Trixie has proved to be an amazing sleeper and a champion eater!  I wouldn't have her any other way.  I cannot wait to be a bit more healed so that I can really enjoy time with my two girls.  

Fortunately, B is off for another three weeks so we can make the most of the time together as a family of four!  

I hope to keep you updated - I know I've not been very good with Blogging since our return to America. I hope to change that!  


Thursday, 16 March 2017

Baby McBerry #2!


It looks like our little Berry patch is growing by one more this coming September. We are super excited - Emma is pretty indifferent. If you ask her if she wants a brother or sister, she'll say "sister."  If you ask if she wants a baby, she'll say "No."

You win some, you lose some I guess!

It looks like the blog is back with DOUBLE the trouble!  Emma and Baby McBerry 2 are coming at you! 

Let's talk about pregnancy because - how could you forget - I had a tough time when pregnant with Emma. Unfortunately, I'm victim to HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) for a second time. Fortunately, I'm allowed a heck of a lot more medication to try and control it. I'm able to function - so I've managed to go to work and drive and shower - you know, those little life luxuries I couldn't do when pregnant with Emma. I've got an amazing support network - B, my mom, dad and sister have been amazing and look after Emma when I just need to lie down.  The nausea is horrific, but I'm vomiting far less and able to eat and drink far more. I am hoping and praying it stops soon, as it does make for a very sad and difficult existence. 

I usually keep this blog as positive as possible, but I think there's something that needs to be said about HG.  

There are really great support systems set up for women suffering with HG.  It's not a joke, it's not morning sickness, and all of the normal "remedies" don't come close to helping.  This time is a little better than last time in the respect that I can function, but it's not fixed or bettered - people find that really hard to understand.  Some days are harder than other, some days are ok.  If there's one thing I've learnt throughout this whole process:  it's OK to find it difficult.  It's OK to be upset.  Yes, it's a blessing, but it's OK to find the sickness too much.  

A friend posted this article about HG pregnancies the other day and it really hit home for me.  It's brutally honest and says many of the things I'm not brave enough to say myself. No- it's not as bad as last time as I don't need fluids and have kept out of the ER, but the effect on me is just as powerful and just as bad. 

How far along:  14 weeks!
Weight Gain: 2 pounds
Maternity Clothes:  Oh yea. Mama isn't playing. I've got a nursing bra, maternity leggings and tops. I want to be comfortable and I want no pressure ANYWHERE near that bump. 
Stretch Marks:  Some of those old lines that faded are coming back to life. I've started slathering on some coco butter....we will see. 
Belly Button: What the heck is up with belly buttons!  It's week 14 and it's vast! It never really went back to normal after last time. I claim a design fault! 
Queasy or Sick:  Heaven help me. I take medication three times a day and I'm pretty good from 10-3. After or before is pretty ropey. Most nights I'm in bed by 6. 
Sleep:  Wonderful. Part of my medication cocktail is Unisom which is effectively a sleeping pill. It does truly tire me out so I sleep like a baby. 
 Best Moment of the Week:  This week I completed my FINAL weekend of Yoga Teacher Training (more on that later). I was so proud of myself because after ten weeks I was able to actually do a yoga sequence!  I've felt too awful to do much of anything, let alone yoga, and I did it!  
Worst Moment of the Week:  I had a night on my own without B and Emma. I saw a commercial for Taco Bell seven layer burritos and I immediately wanted one. Like - I was obsessed. I was too ill to move so I just sat whimpering to myself and looking pathetic. That's the worst moment of the week because it was pretty pitiful. 
 Miss Anything:  I could really REALLY go for a nice glass of wine. REALLY. 
 Movement:   Nothing yet! 
 Cravings:  Usually it's a Panera Asiago Cheese bagel and lemonade. Fortunately, I pass Panera four times a day. 👍🏻
 Looking forward to:  I have another scan in about a week. Until you feel movements, it's nice to know baby is still healthy and doing well.  I like that little bit of reassurance. 

And *new* this year...

Sister Emma's thoughts:  
Me: Do you like the idea of our new baby?
Emma:  I like the idea of apple juice.  


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Remembering Aunt Maureen

Aunt Maureen’s Eulogy

How do you capture the color and life of a human being?  CAN you capture the life and love of Maureen Ellen Frances McManus?  She was caring and generous, friendly and all embracing.  Words can’t capture her and all that she has done or meant to so many of us here today.  I wish I could show you a picture - we all know she took beautiful pictures.  She always captured every celebration, and now it’s our turn to celebrate and remember her life.   So I’m going to try to paint a picture of the life of my Aunt Maureen and all that she was.

Firstly, Maureen didn’t hate many things. But she did hate Mondays...and early mornings.  So, we are sorry about meeting here this early on a Monday morning.

I knew Maureen McManus as Aunt Maureen.  She was so proud of being the “crazy Aunt,” the “wild Aunt.”  She loved being involved with us kids because she would be the one on the floor with us, reading us books, playing with our toys, playing make believe. It didn’t matter what book she read us, every story involved going to Wendy’s for a frosty and fries.  I’m not even sure she liked frosties and fries.  She wanted us to laugh - and it worked every time. She brought life to everything - our art, our toys, Indians games, whistling through her thumbs, and walks even through the cemetery. She was our biggest support system.

She was always the one nearest our birthday cake, urging us to go for the biggest icing flower - because everyone knew she loved Gartman Model Bakery icing.   The best thing about Christmas morning was Aunt Maureen. Not because of the gifts she brought, but because of the story behind each present.  Her generosity was vast and can be seen in every circle of life in which she belonged.

Outside of being my Aunt, she was also a dear friend to so many.  She never wanted to conform to any of the titles of the groups, so instead of being a member of the WOW (wild older women), she claimed to be a WOW - Wannabe.  Instead of a being called a YaYa - she preferred to be described as a YoYo.  Her friends in these circles all remember the same image - Aunt Maureen laughing and finding humor in every situation.  Whether it be a miscommunication over a “draft” beer... or was it a “giraffe” beer or joking about being nocturnal. She was never one to turn down an invitation for a visit to a very special place - as soon as she’d get the call asking  “whatcha doin??” she knew a trip to the casino was in her future. We all know she “enjoyed” making donations to the casinos.  Regardless of what it was, Maureen was always the first to arrive and the last to leave.  Whether it be for a party or a hospice visit.  That’s the beauty of Aunt Maureen: she made everyone feel as though they mattered, because to her, they truly did.  

Most of us here today remember Maureen as an Aunt and a friend.  But - being who she is - she had so many different interests and circles of life.   She was a social worker and she went into this field due to her love and care for her brother, Kevin; she specialized in working with those with developmental disabilities.  She always provided time, comfort and support to her friends when a family member was living their last moments leading her to volunteer with the Hospice of the Western Reserve.  No matter what stage of life someone was, she would provide caring and loving support.

She also spent nearly 50 years playing on countless softball teams.  Her teammates remembered her awesome pitching talent, line drives, diving catches, playing injured and her incredibly warm heart.    She was the queen of animals - from cats to hedgehogs, iguanas to opossums - because even if it wasn’t her own pet, she would make it her pet, and love it as her own.  She loved thunderstorms and wild weather, and would stay up late or make a special trip to photograph or record them. She found beauty in the simplicity and elegance of nature and many things which most people would overlook, she would photograph them and present them as something special, because to her they were.  She truly believed in the healing power of faith, having been healed herself and was fascinated by paranormal and supernatural phenomena. She knew that there is a God and greater forces that do help us throughout our lives.

Every time I spoke to Aunt Maureen, she would say “remember when…”  She was forever reminiscing.  She remembered and cataloged happy, positive memories, and recalled them often.  By sharing those memories, it would awaken that feeling of warmth and laughter.  We all need to remember.  Remember Aunt Maureen for the times she made us laugh and the times she stood by us.  Remember those playful moments, those colorful moments.  Remember her for her.  Hang on to those memories and talk about them often.   She is alive in our memories, her picture will always stay with us.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The Sharpie Incident

I have a confession to make.  Yesterday, I made a mothering mistake.  It wasn't a mistake per say, but it was something I regret.

I've been working on some calligraphy projects and I tend to use a notebook and sharpie to draft my work.   While Emma was napping, I hung out in the living room with a bit of Mr. Selfridge (Thank you, Amazon Fire fuel my addiction...) and when Emma woke up, I left all of my pens and paper on the floor.  I didn't think much of it as we were outside for the rest of the afternoon.

Here's my critical error: I made dinner.  I don't tend to make dinner before B gets home as I much prefer to "get stuck in" with Emma (B and I eat much later anyways).  I'll play with play doh and color or have tea parties because - to me - that's how I mother.  I like to be present.  I like to get on the floor. I like to read the same book fifty times.

As I busied myself with polenta, Emma got ahold of the sharpie.  B and I were talking in the kitchen and our little two year old came wandering into the kitchen with a huge, mischievous grin on her face.  In her hand - the sharpie.  Her fingers were black - I panicked.  


I quickly snatched the pen out of her hand and looked around my living room for the destruction.  I found none.  NONE.  Her face crumbled; she sobbed. 

This isn't the worst bit.  Sure, I make her cry all the time by giving her the wrong cup or changing her dirty diapers.  The worst bit was that when I found the "destruction":

She was copying me.  She holds the pen perfectly and is already making pseudo-letters and straight lines.   Her little marks were nestled in amongst mine.  It just broke my heart - she wanted to be like mummy.  To her - she didn't do anything wrong as she was copying me.

I felt terrible.  I left the piece out in the living room to remind me to be patient - Sharpie is permanent, but does a little mark of sharpie really matter? I mean, really? I think my actions have a more permanent impact on Emma than a little marker.  

This morning, Emma showed me the "coloring" and I told her it was very good.  I asked if she wanted to do more and she showed up with another sharpie (Seriously!  Where does she find them?!) 

Ah, ha.  A teachable moment.  We spent about half an hour coloring with sharpie.  

Will she remember?  Probably not. Does it matter?  Not really.  Did we share a lovely moment together?  Of course.


Friday, 22 July 2016

Happy Second Birthday, Emma Rose

This blog was started a few years ago to document our lives.  I love to write because I feel as though I can fully think through every detail - reflect and learn by putting my fingers to the keyboard.  I stopped a few months ago because I felt as though I needed to take the time to ground myself:  celebrate our lives first hand and live in the moment.

Now, I feel that I need to return to the keyboard and document life once more.  It was actually Emma's birthday which pushed me to do so.  

On July 17th, our feisty and fiery little lady turned two.  We were surrounded by friends and family.  We received love notes from near and far.  Family from around the world took time out of their day to celebrate my wonderful child's birthday.

It got me to thinking about birthdays.  They are merely a day.  One day out of the year where we choose to celebrate a life and all that that life has achieved in a year.  Growth, change, learning, developing.  Birthdays are fantastic reminders that we as a human race care about life and value it so much.  When the world seems clouded with hate, anger and violence, something as simple as gathering around a birthday cake can refresh our view of mankind.  

Emma's Birthday Interview!

What is your favorite color?   
Pink (much to mummy's dismay) but she forever calls everything "Blue."

What is your favorite food? 
Banana or "treats" (which could be anything)

What is your favorite TV show?  
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

What is your favorite thing to do? 
JUMP!  Especially on trampolines.

Where is your favorite place to go?  
The playground - especially Preston's Hope.  It's adorable.

What is your favorite toy?  
Brian Bear (heaven forbid we ever lose him) and the trampoline 

What is your favorite animal? 

Who is your best friend?
I don't think there's any one best friend, but she's made quite a few new friends! I think mummy still wins as favorite! 

What do you want to be when you grow up? 
At the moment, she seems to enjoy playing doctor!  She gives pretty unsuccessful CPR - let's hope she gets a bit better if that's her career ambition! 

I'm happy to be back in the world of blogging.  I'm making a promise to myself to update you all a lot more.  Emma's birthday served as the perfect reminder that she is so very loved.  We are so very loved.  I need to remember to keep you all in the loop because we are embarking on exciting times. 

*Thank you to Aunt Maureen for the photos! 

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Hey there, October!

While I was living in England, I used to have serious Autumn withdrawal symptoms.  It's seriously a thing.  I making the most of our return to America and buying into the festivities, full force. I'm talking pumpkins, trick-or-treating, pumpkins, hay rides, pumpkins, and ponchos.


Yes, I'm having withdrawal from England, but I making the most of our first autumn here and I'm trying to forget about crisp walks at National Trust estates and instead enjoying Pattersons or Holden or even walks around the mall!

Let's talk about this little lady:

Five things she's done this week to make me smile
Emma's Best Bits

1.  She's saying "dada," "mummy" and "juice" (does "mm-hmm" count if she means "yes"?) - I can't even comprehend this.

2.  She has a new obsession with her stacking cups and can stack them one inside the other. She's busy for ages figuring it out, but she can do it and it's fascinating to watch.

3. She now wraps her arms around you. Your leg, your neck, stomach (as she body slams into you).

4. I suggested we go outside and she disappeared and returned with a pair of my shoes. Really impressive - mostly because they matched my outfit. Daddy couldn't do that.

5.  She copies everything I do. If I'm drinking water, she wants it. She tries to talk on my phone. She wants a cup at Starbucks. I shook out a carpet outside as it was a bit dusty and she watched me rather intently.  It was a matter of seconds before she picked up the same carpet and proceeded to shake it around the kitchen.

She is at an age that is - in my opinion - the most fun yet.  

So now that monthly updates are pretty much over, I've decided to try and give you weekly "Emma's Best Bits." If you aren't following me on Instagram, you can find some of my favorite photos here.

I'm also going to try to give you a monthly breakdown of what we are "Currently" up to. In an attempt to apologize for my lack of posts, I've give you BOTH here - RIGHT NOW.

This calls for a Wahoo!

Listening: We have been rocking out to Country music on XM radio these days.  My new car has free XM streaming at the moment, so I'm lapping up the advert free tunes.  Emma doesn't seem to care what I listen to in the car as long as she isn't stuck in it for any more than 9.5 minutes.  In the house or at my desk, I'm rocking out to KLFM.  No radio station here rivals KLFM. None.  

Eating:  I've found a recipe for cookie/muffins that she LOVES. I was not keen, but she can't get enough.  I've mixed quinoa flour, quinoa Flakes, applesauce, banana, cinnamon, apple cider and chia seeds (soaked in water) and baked -- I don't know how, but it works.  Finally. Something different!   If you find any recipes with alternative ingredients, please send them my way.  I'm struggling!!

Drinking:  It's pumpkin everything here!  Emma is obsessed with Apple juice and we love being so close to Pattersons that we can get it in the shops!  I'm also trying every autumnal flavor of everything - just because I CAN.  

Wearing:  Emma's slowly outgrowing all of those 12-month clothes and I'm bracing myself for a big Autumn/Winter shop of 18-24-month clothes. I think she's even in a few 2T shirts and PJs.  JimJams seem to be the one thing we never have enough of and she always needs bigger sizes.  And socks.  Geeze.   As for me -- I'm wearing anything cozy as my classroom has gone from feeling like the fires of hades to ice box all in the span of a week.  LAYERS!  Speaking of - have you heard of Stitch Fix?  Do it.  It's awesome. Better yet - do it but say I referred you.  

Feeling:  American.  There's something about this time of year - preparing for Halloween and Thanksgiving and CHRISTMAS that makes me feel so at home and positively American.  I'm going to really miss Christmas in England, but I'm so excited to see what it's going to be like here after so many years.

Wanting:  A lie in.  I'm tired.  School starts at 7:30 so I am here by 7.  Emma is waking up at 6:15 midweek and weekends.  6:15 is ok -- the 5:30 wake up so I can get ready before she is up?  Not so fun. 

Needing:  This virus to go away. Emma and I both have a cough/cold.  Runny noses and sore throats.  I've not had a voice for three days - but it's been hilarious trying to teach.  Imagine that scene from Matilda when the kids are reading the message on the chalkboard all in unison?  That's been my life.  Poor Emma though!  I hope she stays relatively healthy this winter!

Thinking:  School School School.  I'm always thinking about school.  Things are so much different here than they are in England and I think I'm doing what I should be doing, but I'm not 100% convinced.  I'm working hard - very hard - but not because I have things I have to do, because I've set myself targets and things to complete.  I'm working on becoming a better teacher - it's reflective and really time-consuming.

Enjoying:  We have had a fantastic visit from the Berrys!  I am so glad they were able to come and stay with us for a whole month. We have done so much and Emma has really enjoyed having two more people in the house to play with.  They have done so much for us while they have been for -- any chance they will consider buying a summer home down the street??


Until next time!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Long overdue: Goodbye Summer, Hello Working Mama!

I wrote this post ages ago and never clicked publish.  This is pretty out of date, but I thought I would share it with you anyways!  I promise to work on another, more current post tonight for you!  Today is Rosie's birthday and I know she would have loved to read a blog post today. So - Stay tuned!

Written August 17!

You didn't think I'd stop writing all together, did you?  Today is actually Emma's 13 month birthday!   She is so grown up - I can't believe how far she has come in such a short time.  

She's walking, she's chatting, she's leaving a wake of chaos.

That's life with a one year old, am I right?!

I've worked out a new way to keep you posted on our happenings each month - and there's been plenty happening in the Berry house these days.


Listening: Why is it that KLFM still rules the airwaves in this house.  Emma's favorite songs at the moment are "Ghost" by Ella Henderson and "Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars.  We have taught her to dance with her fingers - just like mummy - and it's hilarious.

Eating: Let's talk about menu planning.  I've actually planned out my weekly menu, done the shopping in accordance and we are not only saving money but actually USING what I have in the house.  Clever, eh?  Emma has failed on a retrial of Sweet Potato and Carrot - although we have noticed her FPIES reactions are now more GI as opposed to vomiting.  It's a shame, but we are not out of the woods yet.  I have FINALLY mastered pancakes using quinoa flour and applesauce. 

Drinking:  Flavored coffeeeeeeeeee!  Ryders does a amazing selection of flavored coffee beans and we couldn't pass on S'mores and Pumpkin Brûlée coffee.  We grind it and use a cafetierie here at home - it's like Starbucks in our own home!  Emma isn't drinking much other than milk and water - that's a good thing!

Wearing:  It is still so hot here in Ohio - dare I say I'm craving Autumn and the crisp, cool air?  I'm cashing in my shorts and flip flops for heels and skirts.  Back to work means a lot of new things - not just a new wardrobe.  Emma is rocking out sweet little ensembles at her childminders and as she is on the move, I need to look into some new moccasins! 

Feeling:  Happy!  We are finally getting settled into our new house.  I can't wait until we are fully in order and can share photos.  It is starting to look more and more like home.  It gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling!  Emma is fiery as ever - she is truly an "Emma" by nature.  She knows what she wants and lets everyone know it.

Wanting:  Blinds.  I've been tripping over boxes of blinds for a week now.  I can't wait to have them up and off of my floor!  We ordered them through Lowes and it is taking ages to get them installed.  Emma wants everything.  In her mouth.  All of the time.  

Needing:   A good night of sleep.  I've not worked since April in England - I haven't needed to go anywhere by any time and I've not had to worry about dropping Emma off in the morning before rushing off to work since the good old KES days.  I need my mornings to go smoothly - especially as every minute is accounted for.  Emma has decided to sleep in (?!) as of a few days ago.  She was waking up at like 5:30 and now she's asleep at 6:30!  

Thinking:  I'm thinking an awful lot about my Aunt Rosie.  All of the furniture in the house, the car, clothes - everything is hers and should be hers.  I'm finding myself frustrated.  As grateful as I am for the generous gift she gave us, I wish she was still here.  

Enjoying:  At the minute, we are just enjoying our evenings.  B works such long hours that we need a bit of time in the evening to just do nothing.  Once bottles are done and lunches are packed we curl up with Downton Abbey.  Amazon Prime is our ticket to the series and we are seriously loving it.  We are currently on Season 2.  As for Emma, her greatest enjoyment is reading!  I drop everything when she hands me a book to read.  She loves board books and flip books.  I love her a little bit more for loving books!

How's that for a new twist on a monthly update?

Until next time?