Bear is really starting to smile a lot. It’s getting to a point where he’s so distracted by smiling that he forgets that he is eating. Get it together kid! :)

– March 23, 2014 from Paris –

Ow ow ow ow

On our very first night abroad, I woke up in the middle of the night to a sore boob. Uh oh, I thought to myself. I think I know what is happening. I came down with Mastitis about a month ago and went through a weekend of horribleness, so I feared the worst. I woke up in the morning and the soreness persisted and worsened after my shower. When I fed the baby, the feeling was absolutely unbearable. I was literally brought to tears from the pain. Geoff had his aunt make me a doctor appointment. I was getting so achey and had the worst headache. The doctor checked me out and confirmed what Geoff and I suspected. Mastitis. For those that have not had the pleasure (ha.ha.), Matitis is an infection in the breast caused by a blocked milk duct. You get a sore red boob and flu-like symptoms. It sucks. The doctor prescribed me some antibiotics and reccomended taking Paracetemol (essentially Tylenol) for the pain.

Side note: Citizens of the UK (like my husband, but not myself, get their healthcare cost covered by the government through the National Healthcare Service. So if you are like me, you have to pay for it yourself (they call it “private”). Still, being uninsured in another country, my appointment and prescription cost me about the same as my co-pays would have been in my home country where I pay hundreds a month in premiums for insurance. Kind of unbelievable. Ugh, back to the story…

I took my pills and a nap (after one more excruciating nursing session) and I was feeling a bit better by dinner. By the next day I was still weary but getting there and the day after that, well enough to head out to Worcester for the day. Today I’m feeling pretty good, aside from a little soreness. Luckily we were with family in England when it happened.  I feel like there is a sentiment that applies to this, and all of life’s unpleasantness — it sucked but I am getting through it.

For those confused by my title, that is how I sound while nursing during recovery. :-/ And for a photo, a cute one of Bear with his adorable second cousins Laura and Lucy who could just not get enough of him.

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How was the flight?

We are finally in Paris! We arrived by train this evening through the Chunnel. I told Geoff it was Bear’s first time in the ocean. Hehehe. The trip so far has been pretty great. Our flight travel across the pond could not have been better.

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We had a quick first flight from San Jose to LAX which went very well. I nursed Bear on takeoff and he slept pretty much the whole rest of the way there. Fairly uneventful (in a good way). We got to LAX and had a bit of time to nurse the baby, feed ourselves a quick bite and relax a tiny bit. When it came time to board the plane we were making our way to our seats when we noticed we were not placed in the seats we had chosen at the back of the plane. In fact the airline assigned us to the bulk head row, meaning when I sat down, I could extend my feet out completely without touching the wall in front of us. Amazing.

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When I saw that they gave Geoff and I seats not next to each other, I state rated to worry momentarily, until I noticed that the intention was to give us an empty seat between us. Can you imagine the smile plastered on my face yet? The icing on the cake was when the super nice flight attendant Colleen, who adorably kept calling me Bernard’s mom, brought us a bassinet for Bear. I couldn’t believe it. It attached to the wall in front of us so he could sleep (and so could we!) Again I nursed him on takeoff and I placed him in the bassinet starting at dinner service. I changed him and swaddled him and Geoff and I fell asleep.

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He barely made a peep the entire flight. He got hungry about 1:45 am our time, which is fine since he had missed his usual “midnight snack” as Geoff and I call it. I fed him once more around six am which was only a couple hours until landing anyway. Even when he woke up hungry he only ever shifted around in his swaddle which was I guess enough to wake me with my super mom hearing. Truth be told I was really afraid that without him in my arms I would not know when he was waking up hungry and he would start wailing. No such thing happened. He slept calmly in my arms during the landing, after one last feed.

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Once we landed I packed him into his carrier and we made our way through the airport. We picked up our rental car and Geoff drove our little family to introduce Bear to his family in Droitwich, a couple hours away.

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The journey was better than I ever could have imagined and our flight to England with our 11 week old baby was actually the best one I’ve ever had. We are so lucky to have such an easygoing little guy.

On our way

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We are in the car on our way to the airport. I’m sitting next to Bear as he sleeps in the backseat. THIS IS HAPPENING. Despite that, I still can’t believe we are going and that our baby is here with us. This is so crazy and so amazing and I am SO grateful for this life that I am lucky enough to be living.

Going to Paris…and making a book!

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Last year, we were lucky enough to have photographed a wedding in Italy and we made a stop in Paris along our way there. Geoff and I had honeymooned there for two weeks in early 2010 and we were positively giddy about a re-visit. I’ll never forget the moment atop the Arc de Triomphe shortly after Geoff and I had arrived. We’d just come in through the Chunnel with our friends Mike and Melissa who we’d met up with in London. It had been lightly raining that day and as we were gazing out over the city it started to POUR! All of the tourists either rushed or were ushered by the monument employees downstairs and inside out of the rain. Not me. Somehow I evaded the employees (I really didn’t even notice them) and remained out on top of the arch. I was pretty much alone except for the, maybe 5 or so, other people that managed to stay. The downpour did not last long and when it did die out, the sun came out from the west and created the most beautiful rainbow over the Sacré Cœur and all of Paris to the east. It was such an amazing moment. 

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I turned around and walked to the other side of the Arch, the side with the view of the Eiffel Tower. The clouds were starting to clear and were forming into soft bubbly versions of their former selves. It was like something off of a postcard. I could not have been happier than I was in that moment. I was truly in my favorite city in the world.

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While Geoff and I were in Paris that time, we had a crazy idea. We decided that whenever we finally have a baby, (we’d been trying to two years at that point with no luck), let’s come to Paris after he or she is born and just hang out. We’ll be at home just hanging out at home taking care of the baby, so why not do it here? We both decided we were going to make this happen. Nothing would make us happier than being in our favorite city with our new favorite person. As luck would have it, not more than two weeks after we got back from our trip we found out I was pregnant with Bernard. The timing could not have been more perfect.

In exactly one week from today, Geoff and I will be boarding a plane for Paris with our baby Bear. (Thank goodness for airline miles or we could not be making this happen!) We’ll be renting an apartment and staying there for just over a month. I’ve been trying really hard this past year to progress past the basics in the French language too. I could not be more excited! We’ve done a lot of the “touristy” things already, so we are thrilled to just explore the city leisurely and live like a Parisian. I’m sure our days will be filled with lots of baguettes, crepes and croissant eating too. :)

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And I have another reason to be excited…Geoff and I are writing a book! Well, to be exact, TWO books and the “writing” will be pretty limited. If you are following me on instagram, you may already know about my #colorhunting. It is something fun that I like to do while I am traveling or just out and about. I like to take photos of the all the colorful things I around me. Its been a really fun way to see things differently. These are a couple of my #colorhunting photos from our trip.

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Well, several months ago I decided that on this trip I would be color hunting a little more purposefully. I decided I wanted to make a color book for our baby based on Paris! I told Geoff about my idea and he loved it! So much that he came up with the idea to do a photo-based ABC book in Paris too! We talked about it and decided that if we were going to make these children’s books, we were going to do it right. Once we have taken the photos and have designed the book we are going to try and get it published. Whether this means self-publishing or something more, time will tell. But for now, we are SO EXCITED about this project and cannot wait to get started. There will be more details and updates to come about the books. Stay tuned!

Proud (and grateful) mom moment

– My kid just slept for 5 and a half hours during the night. –

Out on Mt. Tamalpais

Our second family hiking trip included our wonderful friends Brit and Tim as we headed to the bay area to climb Mt. Tam. Before we started out on our hike I fed Bear. I’m really starting to like “nursing in nature” I told Geoff we have to be sure to take pictures of all the crazy places I nurse the baby.

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The views of San Francisco and the bay were stunning!

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We stopped for a picnic lunch midway through our hike at the West Point Inn.

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It was so fun to be out with friends on a WEEKEND! Being wedding photographers, we usually work weekends, so we do get to do things out of town with our friends too much. This was a special treat!

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Still newlyweds!

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We were all packed up and ready to continue hiking!

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Bear seems to do really well in his Boba carrier. He sleeps most of the time, but when he’s awake he likes to hold his head up and look around. It’s very cute!

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We made one more stop along the trail to feed our hungry Bear.

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Then our camera died (boo!) so we had to take the rest of the photos on our iPhones.

When Geoff told me we were climbing Mt. Tam, I didn’t know he literally meant CLIMB it.  While the first two thirds or so of the hike was an easy and leisurely walk along the fire road.  there came point in our hike where we were turned up the Fern Creek Trail and it got HARD. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in nature. But my idea of hiking is easy, leisurely “nature walks” where I can just enjoy my surroundings without feeling like I am going to die of exhaustion. I am not a fan of strenuous hikes. We were all huffing and puffing as we made our way a half mile straight up, up, up. Even the Cal State Parks website says it’s “very steep”. Finally, we made it up to the summit picnic area with about a quarter mile to go up a steel trail to the peak. Brit, Bear, and I decided to chill on a picnic table while Tim and Geoff hiked up to the very top. Here’s a few cell phone photos that Geoff captured from the peak.

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The boys came back down and we were too tired to even walk back, so Geoff hitched a ride to the parking lot to get the car and then come pick us up. The sunset was so beautiful as we drove down Mt Tam. We could not resist stopping along the road to take a few iPhone photos and take in the gorgeousness.

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Awesome moment of the day

– Baby Bear asleep on my chest, Charlie dog cuddled in my lap. –

Portrait of a new mother

I catch a glimpse of myself as I pass by the mirror in our bedroom. It is morning so I have not yet made my way downstairs. My new baby is in my arms, my hair is protruding from my head in every which way, my eyes are plain and puffy with remnants of smeared mascara. I’m in my pajamas and my nursing tank top is covered in milk and baby pee. I really need to take a shower. I look so exhausted. Behind me in the reflection is the bed, unmade and topped with random baby clothes, blankets and diaper changing supplies. The floor below is littered with laundry that needs sorting and washing. The bassinet and a couple dogs aresomewhere back there too. As I stare at this new version of myself, I think, “I am the portrait of motherhood”. It’s really not a complaint at all because I know how temporary this phase of my baby’s (and mine) life is. Soon I’ll be able to make it downstairs before noon, and I’ll get a handle on keeping up with the household, and MAYBE I’ll actually be able to get some work done too. For now I’ll treasure my surrender to the needs of my growing little one. Life is messy but so good.

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