Saturday, October 31, 2015

happy due date day!

Today is your due date my little man. I should know by now that in my case, due dates are for the birds, especially due dates that fall on Halloween (yuck). I'll love you forever for NOT being born on this day, my least favorite of all the days. But on this day, your original day, these are some things I love about you, baby J. I really love...

+ How you really devour that bottle. I mean you go after it.
+ How you sleep so quietly. I have to check on you one thousand times because you're so very quiet. (Your sisters slept with snorts and growls.)
+ How if I put you up to burp or to snuggle on my chest, you must turn your head so you can see me. And then you furrow your brow when I cover your head in kisses, like you're trying to stretch for more.
+ How sometimes when you're sad (which is not often) you just want some mama snuggles. Oh how I love that you remember me from all those months in my belly.
+ How you get drowsy when we comb through your beautiful blonde hair. (Please stay hair!)
+ How you smile in your sleep, especially when you hear my voice. And how you have a dimple! Smack dab in that right cheek, the happiest surprise.
+ How I can sense the calm in you, the same calm your daddy has. 
+ How you have the same long fingers and toes as your sisters. I love that you come from the same familiar mold.
+ How you don't seem to mind the chaos of two dramatic sisters dancing around you most of the day.
+ How you coo in your sleep when I snuggle you, like a tiny monologue.
+ How patient you are, always quick to quiet down as soon as we're near.
+ How you narrow your eyes and look away when you're working on diaper business. No one needs to know.
+ How your favorite things to stare at are our travel magnet boards. I think you're studying up on all the places you'll go someday.
+ How you KNOW when you have a fresh diaper and you ALWAYS promptly drop a bomb.
+ How your legs fold up like a frog, or a very cute rotisserie chicken.
+ How you sleep with your arms up (just like your sisters). Touchdown! 
+ How your little cries sound like a baby sheep. 
+ How you scrunch up your face in distaste when we give you a binky but then take it begrudgingly. You're so patient.
+ How you felt familiar to me the moment I saw you, those feet from the inside now so very familiar on the out.
+ How impossibly lovable you are. 

Happy two weeks sweet baby boy. I love you so very much.

Friday, October 30, 2015

THE garth

I am of the Garth Generation. If you were a country girl or boy in the nineties (or really just any teenager), you knew Garth Brooks. You probably knew every word of Garth. You probably had one or two or five high school dances with a Garth theme song. (Hello, The Dance?) And if you know anything about Garth, you know the man is a music legend. He changed everything about the country music industry, not to mention the production of a concert. I've always adored the man, quite honestly. I know most of his songs by heart, and I vividly recall blasting my two disc compilation of his best hits in my Chevy Prizm on the way to school every morning.

When he announced the added on Salt Lake concert dates to his tour, I was so excited. I would gladly give up my left arm for a ticket. But then I saw the dates - right before my due date. And when Jess' boss offered him tickets it took all my willpower to turn them down. I figured I'd either be in labor or a giant fat pregnant woman. It killed me too. I spent hours watching Garth concert clips and playing his music on repeat, sorrowing over my loss.

And then we had our little J and I promptly forgot about Garth as my brain filled with insomnia and feedings and diapers and the softest baby cheeks in the world. Until Jess called a few days ago and said, "How much do you love me?" Me: "Um you tell me?" Jess: "You're going to Garth tomorrow night."

I think I screamed. Dropped the phone. No lie. Teenage status.

He was able to get four tickets, and I went with two of his sisters and a cousin. And ohmygosh it was everything I hoped it would be. He is an amazing performer. It's not about the stage or the tricks for him. He is there to sing his brains out. He performed all the classics, and the sold out venue screamed every word to every song, and it was just amazing.  (You should have HEARD "Friends in Low Places." I'm now partially deaf.) I was legitimately star struck. Total magic and I never wanted it to end. He did four encores. Four. And I think the only reason he didn't do a fifth was he was literally spent. That fifty something year old man was running and jumping and singing just like he did decades ago. He gave us a piece of his heart on that stage.

I'm a country girl at heart. And this was seriously one of those experiences I'll never forget. I feel so lucky to have gone. I really do. He's playing two shows tonight, one at 7 p.m. and one at 10:30 p.m. (the 10:30 p.m. was an add on when his original dates sold so quickly). It is taking every ounce of my self control to not scoop up a ticket and sneak out to see this magic one more time. 

This was during one of my favorite songs - Unanswered Prayers. The crowd was of course booming it out with him, 
and at one point Garth got emotional and stopped singing and turned it over to us.
Everyone had their cell phone flash lights waving like twinkle lights, and it was the most magical moment.
I'm not a huge concert goer (I really usually hate them), but this moment - I get it. Magic.

P.S. J still hasn't a middle name. I'm now pulling for Jess Brooks Cheney. I know, right?

Sunday, October 25, 2015


​This little mister came earlier than planned (thank the heavens). I had developed cholestasis. (Cholestasis is a pregnancy induced liver problem that sends bile into the blood instead of the intestines and makes the body a dangerous place for the baby and a miserable place for the mother.) Before I knew it, we were at the hospital. And there I was again - hooked up to tubes and monitors, being pumped with pitocin and all sorts of magic (bloat inducing garbage) in an effort to get this little man to come out (I've been induced for all three births, three different reasons).

It took hours upon hours before my body would let this baby go (I went in at noon and had him at 2:30 a.m.), and when it was time to push I had barely the energy to muster, but then there he was. The doctor held him up, and because Jess lets me have the first look, I yelped "Hon, you got your boy!" 

There he was safe and screaming and beautiful. All I remember is holding his face next to mine and saying over and over, "We made it baby. We made it." Those last weeks were long and hard, with unexplained medical problems and giant sized worries. Not to mention physical misery on my part. I had never wanted a baby to come more than I wanted this one. I wanted this baby out and safe. And finally - there he was.

And my goodness he's wonderful. His spirit in our home is magic. He exudes love and happiness and peace, and he is really everything we've needed for so long. Worth the wait a hundred times over.

I've always been incredibly nervous to have a baby boy. I only know the girl thing. But now he's here, and it's like he always has been. And he has stolen my heart entirely. He's welcome to keep it. 

So grateful he's here and that he's ours. 

That's a giant bruise on his head. :(
He was huge and got man handled on the way out.
Kind of breaks our hearts.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Jess Christian Cheney
October 18, 2015
2:30 a.m.
8 lb. 6 oz.
20.5 inches

It's a BOY!

Friday, October 16, 2015

on the inside

July 14, 2015 (day we arrived) at our hotel on Trafalgar Square.
I am just shy of 25 weeks pregnant here.
(And I left London at roughly 29 weeks.)

I wrote this letter to the baby while in London. I thought it would be appropriate to get it posted before the baby actually arrives. (And if I have my way, it will arrive yesterday.) Traveling internationally when pregnant isn't ideal by any means, but I know I was blessed to have the strength I needed to truck through that beautiful country, my two girls at my sides, without any issue. It was such a blessing to be in London together as a family, and I'm so grateful I was there, big belly and all. (Photos included here were taken throughout the trip.)


Dear Baby Cheney:

Remember that time I took you to London? 

You were in my belly, so you probably had the easiest time of all of us. I think you slept the days away, being rocked to sleep while I walked until my bones ached. And then at night I'd lay down and you'd start kicking and rolling and stretching out. So much energy after a full day of sleeping. I bet you loved that I started indulging in chocolate and diet Dr. Pepper and all the yummy things that London had to offer. I bet that London for you was a bit of a new adventure, just like it was for us. 

I want you to know that although I've been busy and worried and running for weeks, I'm so grateful that you got to be a part of our London adventure. I'm a little sad that you're not outside experiencing it, but I've no doubt that this little family of ours will continue traveling, and you too will see the world little one. It's in our bones - we don't sit still very well or for very long. 

August 1, 2015 at the National Maritime Museum
I love that you've been with me the entire time - your presence is heavily known because you are literally heavy. My belly is beacon like in this town of hustle and bustle - you get smiled at all day long. And although I ache, I somewhat love the constant reminder of the small miracle in my belly. In a strange way, sharing this experience with you has helped me get to know you. I mentally bargain with you every day - hang in there. Just hang in there a few more weeks. And then we'll be home again, and we can rest. Who am I kidding - then mommy can rest.

I'm so excited to meet you, and in many years I'll tell you all about that time you went to London, on the inside. Safe and rocked to sleep through the city streets of this beautiful old town.


August 4, 2015 in the Pizza Express bathroom

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

charles dickens museum

July 28, 2015

Jess had to make a quick site visit out to Wales yesterday, so it's been just me and the girls. Last night, I decided it called for dinner at Pizza Express. (Side note - we need a Pizza Express here so bad. The best gourmet pizza. With gluten free options!) Of course, the service there is so flippin slow (it's slow no matter where you go here), so while the girls were coloring and waiting (and waiting) for our food to come, I did a quick search for something fun to do with the kids (that Jess wouldn't feel too bad about missing). I stumbled on the Charles Dickens Museum and upon clicking around, found that they'd be doing a family workshop! Perfect! And even more perfect - they were making marbleized Victorian book covers and tying their own books! What? 

Let's pause here and recall that I'm a book nerd to my core. Paper, books, crackling spines. I could smell a new book for days. And then there's my education - English. And I happened to take just about every British Literature class offered. If I hadn't minored in Editing, I'd have emphasized in Brit Lit. So with a craft for the girls and a bit of literary history for me, this seemed like a win win. And boy howdy was it ever.

If you happen to be going to London any time soon and have any sort of literary love in you, I can't recommend this place enough. It's a little off the beaten path, but totally worth it. The museum is housed in Charles Dickens' home, the very home many of our most beloved books were penned (his very writing desk is there!). The rooms are so lovely, and many are hands on. The girls got to play in the kitchen and then in the nursery and they were so excited that no one was yelling at them to NOT TOUCH. There are many original pieces - furniture and writing - and it really is a quaint little walk back in time. They also provide really fun paper tour guides for the kids, which helps them search for things, fill in the blanks, and just generally move from room to room. There are also helpful volunteers at every corner, and my goodness they're so nice. (There is also a cafe that serves very British food - biscuits, tea, etc.)

Our craft was so much fun. I made my own, even though it was clearly geared for the kids. No matter. This was too good to pass up. We started by marbleizing our paper. While it dried, we tied our books up. Then we cut out our marbleized book covers and adhered. And aren't they pretty?

The book nerd in me was so happy here. And I think what's even more wonderful is the kids legitimately loved it. They both said it was one of their favorite things they've done here. Well done, Charles Dickens Museum, well done.

Post Script: We went to Dickens the next week as well. We loved it just as much the second time. Can't recommend this place enough. Photos here are from both visits.

Oh just the actual desk that many of our favorite books were penned on.
No big deal.

These blocks weren't wooden - more like a ceramic.

Oh my tiny belly. That is truly comical to me right now.

They encourage kids to play in both the nursery and the kitchen.
They chose some dress ups in the kitchen.
Did not tell them they are the help. :)

I'm including this sort of fuzzy photo because the girls were obsessed
with grinding coffee. There were actual coffee beans too...
they felt so fancy grinding up coffee they wouldn't drink.
Just geeking out in Charles Dickens' bathroom.

One of the best bits of Dickens.
(said by Scrooge's nephew Fred in A Christmas Carol)

I have no idea if this is the original door color.
But guys. My color. On Dickens' very door.


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