13.09

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O N   T H E   9 T H   S E P T E M B E R ,   A T   4 . 4 0 A M…

…and I haven’t stopped going on about it for a week solid! All last week my catchphrase was ‘this time last year!’ as I reminisced over the week I was in labour with Ottilie. ‘This time last year my contractions just started and I was rushing to get my hair washed and legs shaved!’ (let me tell you, no rush was necessary!!!), ‘this time last year was the first full night of contractions’, ‘this time last year I was in the birthing pool!’ and so on and so on…you get the picture!

But really, how on earth has it been a year? Watching Ottilie grow from a tiny baby into a miniature- and very, very sure of herself!- little person, has been the greatest joy of my life so far. She fills our days with so much laughter, and hearing her sweet chatter all day long makes my heart feel so full with love I’m sure it might burst.

I still can’t get my head around the fact that this sweet baby girl is all ours, and when she shouts ‘Mama Mama Mama!’ as she climbs the stairs each morning after she’s had her breakfast downstairs with Jason I feel so privileged that it’s me she’s calling for. I never take for granted what a gift it is to be a Mother, and have embraced all the opportunities this year has brought me to grow as a person as I’ve found my way into this new role.

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We decided to have a little get together over the weekend to celebrate this year with our baby girl, and it was such a fun afternoon! My Mum, sister and I spent most of the day before her birthday preparing sandwiches, rainbow skewers of fruit, chocolate traybakes, salads, and then I stayed up super late baking a vanilla and homemade blackberry jam birthday cake! Just don’t ask me about the first batch of cake that went into the bin, okay?

I honestly think could stare forever at these photos below of Ottilie when she first spotted her pretty confetti balloons, the joy on her face makes my heart ache…

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^^ Getting so steady on her feet these days ^^

We bought Ottilie the a beautiful wooden dolls pram for her birthday, and she wants to push it around non-stop now! I ummed and ahhed for ages over what to choose for her as her gift, but it’s been a hit so far! Up until recently she hadn’t been keen to try and walk at all, but since we gave her the pram over the weekend all she wants to do it stand up holding it and trundle it up and down the hallway. I wonder how long it’ll be until she’s off and running? I’m not sure I’m ready for a walking baby!

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We’d been holding off letting Ottie have anything majorly sugary until she turned one, and so I’d been so excited about giving her a slice of her very first birthday cake! But I’ll be honest, she wasn’t majorly interested…I think she’s still a fruit girl at heart! She really just ate the jam out the middle and then mashed the rest up a bit…but hey, she’ll learn! ;)

Also, seeing the way she’s playing with my cousin Emily’s sweet little girl Darcey in the photos melts my heart! Cousins are just extra siblings, if you ask me <3

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See what I mean about Ottilie and her fruit?! We ‘borrowed’ a couple of apples from the tree next door that has branches hanging over into my Mum’s garden, and they were seriously delicious!

Also, please note the crumbs of something or other in my hair in the first of those two photos above! I nearly edited it out, but then I thought, hey, it’s representative of Mum life!

(p.s. I’ve had a lot of questions about the dress I’m wearing in these photos! It’s from LK Bennett, I bought it in the sale at the end of June. As far as I can see it’s no longer on the website, so I’ve put a few alternatives, at a range of budgets, in the widget below :)


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Tania, Freya and their other halves came down from London to celebrate with us, which of course made me the happiest. I’ve missed being able to be spontaneous and pop up to London as much as I used to this year, and so having them come down to visit is the best! In fact, Tania Freya and Lizzie’s visits when Ottilie was a tiny baby were complete lifesavers- they used to come down for the day, take over Ottie-cuddling duty and send me off upstairs for a relaxing bath! I have the best ever friends- fact.

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And that’s it, my baby is one! It’s been so lovely sharing her first year of life and my first year of motherhood here with you all, and I’ve been so grateful for being able to turn to this community for support and advice along the way. Here’s to year number two!

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10.11

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Everything I was ever told about motherhood is true, I’m learning. About how magical and exhausting it is, about how the love you feel for your baby grows every day, about how spot on the expression ‘long days and short years’ is starting to feel…it’s all so very accurate.

Today I watched Ottilie purposefully, though clumsily, reach out her little hand to bat at a toy over and over again. She did it at the baby group we’d been to in the morning, patting her fist down on a little patch of orange corduroy on the sensory toy I was holding in front of her, and again this afternoon she waved her fingers over and over again at her blue elephant rattle.

It was the simplest thing, and yet it made me so proud and excited to see my baby begin interacting with the world around her in a new way.

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I remember feeling nervous, before I had Ottilie, that I’d be rubbish at entertaining her or that I’d feel silly or self conscious attending singing classes or baby groups with her.

I didn’t get it, couldn’t possibly comprehend what it’s like to see this beautiful, innocent little being you created starting to explore the world as you lay it out in front of them.

But now, as Ottilie begins to spend more and more of each day awake and alert, I treasure this time I get to spend with her and love it even more than the sweet newborn snuggles that filled our early days together. We read stories, we sing songs (‘wind the bobbin up’ always gets a big gummy smile!), we get together with her baby playmates (the friends we made during our NCT class) and attend classes and share each other’s toys.

And it all suddenly feels like it’s slotting into place!

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Everyone told me, before I had Ottilie, that after three months we’d feel like we were finding our feet. And now, as we edge into our third wonderful month together, I’m finding once again that it’s turning out to be true.

We have tricky days, and Ottilie’s cold is currently making our once easy, peaceful feeds an ordeal that test the limits of my patience as my poor baby screams inconsolably because she can’t breathe through her nose well enough to feed. Our nights vary between being as wonderful as I could expect from an eight week old baby (just one middle of the night wake up, praise be!!) to restless stretches where I spend more of my time awake and feeding than peacefully sleeping…but we’re getting there.

It’s beautiful, and tiring, and emotional, and magical, and gruelling, and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier or as in love.

Happy two months Ottilie my love! <3

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02.10

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W E E K   T H R E E  !

We’re getting bigger over here!

Ottilie’s gained half a pound in the three weeks since she was born, and I’m pretty proud to think that my body made those 8 ounces! I was never sure if I’d get on with breast feeding or be able to manage it, but it’s going so well and I’m just loving it. Ottie’s milk drunk face is my favourite thing in the whole world <3

What else is new? Well, we managed our second week without Jason around! I was very glad though that Jason’s family all happened to be nearby to help me out a couple of afternoons, because flying solo is no joke!

Ottilie and I have been getting out of the house at least once every day, and she’s getting pretty regular with the times she takes naps which is helping me plan our outings. We’ve managed errands, shopping trips (for Jason’s birthday next weekend!), trips to visit friends from our NCT group, and, as is obligatory when you’re a Mama, many a coffee shop visit too ;)

Oh, and Ottilie went to Grandma’s house for the first time this Sunday! It was so special seeing her in the house where I have so many amazing memories, so we decided to snap a few photos to remember the occasion.

I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend! Is anyone else super pumped that the weather’s turning? I’m so ready for Autumn!

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25.09

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World, let me introduce you to our daughter- Ottilie Dorothy Chappel! <3

We welcomed our baby girl at 4.40am on the 9th of September, and it was the most magical and overwhelming and beautiful moment of our lives. Jason and I are head over heels in love with Miss Ottilie, and can’t quite believe she’s ours!

~ ~ ~

It’s taken me a good couple of weeks to finally get round to posting here about Ottilie’s arrival, because as any new parent learns pretty sharpish, the first few days are a whirlwind adjustment period!

I’ve also been laying low and spending some time recovering after my labour and delivery, which was not at all the experience I’d hoped for or expected! We found out the week I went into labour that Ottilie was laying ‘back to back’ inside me, which meant it took me days and days of prolonged, hideously painful contractions to make almost no progress at all! After three full days of labouring and getting to only 4cm dilated (my body did *not* want to let this baby go!) I wound up needing some strong pain relief, which was a blessed relief I can tell you!

Delivering Ottilie was the most incredible experience of my life, and my goodness, I’d have a hundred babies for that single moment of having a warm little body placed up on my chest, and the overwhelming joy and relief and bliss that washed over me as I looked between her and Jason. It was better than I ever could have imagined, and even though the labour had been so intense and long, I remember thinking to myself just minutes after she was born ‘I’d do that all over again!’

I was a bit unlucky and suffered a compressed nerve during my labour which has left me with a temporary paralysis in my left ankle and foot, so I left hospital on crutches! I’m slowly slowly getting better and more steady on my feet though, and have managed a fair few trips out just me and Ottilie this week which feels amazing!

Now that I’m getting up and about again I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back to blogging a touch more frequently! I’ve missed updating here so much, but I hope you’ve not minded there being a little break whilst I’ve recovered and adjusted to the amazing whirlwind that is life with a new baby!

Big kisses to you all, from me and Ottilie Dot! <3

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