Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

On the Day You Defend Your Thesis

November 3rd, 2015

On the day you defend your thesis, Dear Guillaume, I remember telling you about four and a half years ago, when you first started pondering a PhD, that it would be really nice if you did it before we had kids. (Cue, naïve laughter.) I wasn’t sure if I/we could handle you working full time, […]


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On the day you defend your thesis, Dear Guillaume,

I remember telling you about four and a half years ago, when you first started pondering a PhD, that it would be really nice if you did it before we had kids. (Cue, naïve laughter.) I wasn’t sure if I/we could handle you working full time, plus studying in all your spare time, AND having kids. Hmmm… All I can say is God’s grace is sufficient, because I’m looking back and realizing, not only did we have three kids in the past three years, you also worked full time, finished a PhD in record time, I graduated, run a small business, and we still somehow keep up with the laundry, dishes, and toys, and still find time to smile at each other and fall in love again. (To anyone reading this, please know that “keep up with” doesn’t mean spotless and clean, it just means that things are generally taken care of before they grow mold… usually…) So, so much for finishing before we had kids. I’m amazed that you finished, given the insane amount of work that went into the endeavor, but knowing you I really shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve never met someone with a stronger work ethic and drive when it comes to your research, and this passion you have welling deep inside of you to find the truth and share it with the world.

So instead of finishing this crazy dream before we had kids, you waited until we found out we were pregnant with Piper to start. Oops. And now here I am, almost four years later, sitting in a quiet house (how crazy is that?! You probably don’t even believe me since you’re not here to see it…), with an almost potty trained toddler in her bed, a one year old with hair you keep begging me to get my act together and get it cut (sorry, it still didn’t happen this weekend when you were gone) in his crib, and a swaddled newborn sleeping on my side of the bed (I have to sleep on your side when you’re out of town, a little factoid that I guess you may not know since it only happens when you’re out of town. Either I miss you, or subconsciously I’m jealous since you have the better side of the bed…) And I couldn’t be happier. Yes some days are hard, especially when you’re out of town, but watching everything you’ve accomplished in the last four years has been an amazing journey, and quite simply, every hard moment is worth it. And it’s not simply your research that you’ve accomplished, you have relentlessly pursued me every day of our marriage, you have raised three children alongside of me every day, and you have helped me create a home to raise that family in. And never once have we felt like we “lost you” to your research. You have been there every time we needed you, every time we asked, and all the times in between when I didn’t even have to. Our kids will know one day you completed a PhD when they were little, because they’ll see your name published in books and in journals, not because they had to ask me where was Daddy, why was he always so busy? You’re in every picture, in every memory. I don’t know how you managed to pull it all off. So now I laugh, why on earth did I need you to finish this before we had kids?! I can’t imagine our life any different, or you not working on this project these last four years. It’s helped shape our family into who we are and I love every bit of it.

People call me Supermom, which makes me laugh because really it’s not true, but whatever bit of it is true is only that way because you are the driving force behind me, the “wind beneath my wings” if we were getting sappy (Oh, Bette Midler!), my Superman. (Well, let’s go with Batman, you’ve always liked him better than Superman, and we basically live in Gotham, and well, his house and cars and gadgets… You can be my Batman. Hmmm, Batdad? That could be a cool thing… ). I seriously couldn’t do any of what I do without you guiding me and leading me and constantly holding my hand. Pushing me forward and encouraging me, and pulling me back and reminding me to take it slow and relax.  And thank you, for never complaining when you clean up my messes.

I’ll follow you anywhere, wherever this next chapter leads us, whenever that is. Never stop your relentless pursuit of the truth, never stop your snarky one-liners, never stop making me laugh when I want to cry, and never stop making me fall in love with you.

Yours forever.

K

P.S. However, if you could stop applying the rules of logic to our discussions to try to win the arguments, I would highly appreciate it. Thanks babe.

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From my graduation. I can’t wait to see you at yours. xoxo

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Meeting Bebe JJ

August 11th, 2015

Good morning! If you’re an insta-friend you’ve seen me refer to Bebe JJ a lot this summer, as we near the end of the pregnancy (39 1/2 weeks already… crazy!!!) but I haven’t shared the full name, or gender for that matter yet and I realized I never shared why… With Piper we found out […]


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Good morning!

If you’re an insta-friend you’ve seen me refer to Bebe JJ a lot this summer, as we near the end of the pregnancy (39 1/2 weeks already… crazy!!!) but I haven’t shared the full name, or gender for that matter yet and I realized I never shared why…

With Piper we found out her gender, named her, and shared with everybody.  With Eaden, we didn’t find out his gender, we had 4 name options and waited until we met him to decide.  With this baby, we went back to the finding the gender out option, and naming the baby, but we never shared, at least not on social media… so why?!

I loved finding out that Piper was a girl, sharing with everyone excitedly and planning every detail.  And when we got pregnant again, everyone was shocked that I didn’t want to find out the gender.  But there was something so special about the wait and the surprise, and the feeling that he was all mine and I didn’t have to share yet…  The pregnancy felt so intimate because noone knew him as well as me.  I know it’s like that whether you know the gender or not, but there was something about not knowing, and noone knowing, that made it seem all the more like he was only mine for those 9 months, and it was so special.  (Little disclaimer! Honestly, we almost gave in and found out his gender…  at the beginning I felt like I couldn’t connect with the pregnancy because I didn’t know his gender, but then suddenly that changed and I realized how special the not knowing was!  We kept a little piece of paper in our drawer that the sonogram technician had written the gender down on for 24 weeks without peeking… and I made sure it was still folded and slipped into our hospital bag to bring with us to make sure they had been right!)

When we found out that baby #3 was on the way, Guillaume really wanted to find out the gender this time, and I completely supported him, I wanted him to be as much a part of this as I could make him.  But there was also a part of me that felt like I was losing something by letting other people in on all the details.  So… I delayed the sonogram a bit until I was ready, and then we went together, held each other’s hands (and I cried a little :) and we “met” our [insert son/daughter!] together, went out to dinner just us two and savored the moments, decided the first name, and then decided that we would share with family and friends.  Just the people who knew us well enough to ask, but we would keep it private from social media until the baby was here.  We share so much of our lives, and I love that, I truly do!  I love sharing all the details of how we’re raising our babies, and the brand I’m creating, and all the little adventures we find ourselves on.  But there’s been something magical about keeping this just for us so far, at least for what may only be a few more days…

So thank you for waiting, thank you for your patience, and for those of you who do know what we’re having, thank you for being some of our nearest and dearest and for all your love and support!  We can’t wait to introduce you to…

p.s. we still haven’t decided on a middle name… oops!!

Katherine Bignon Maternity Portrait by Boudoirathon Jessica Ruth Annmarie Swift Katherine Bignon Maternity Portrait BW by Boudoirathon Jessica Ruth Annmarie Swift

Photos by the insanely talented ladies of Boudoirathon | Jessica Ruth & Annmarie Swift 

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Boss Ladies and Dreamers: The Hard Days

May 5th, 2015

It was a long hard weekend and Monday…   Both kids and Guillaume were sick this weekend (it started Friday night with Eaden and my first thought was I am SO grateful our new car has leather seats because oh man would this be rough with cloth…), my to-do list was piled way too high, I’m […]

 

It was a long hard weekend and Monday…   Both kids and Guillaume were sick this weekend (it started Friday night with Eaden and my first thought was I am SO grateful our new car has leather seats because oh man would this be rough with cloth…), my to-do list was piled way too high, I’m in the middle of final papers before graduation, and I didn’t get my normal Saturday morning coffee-shop work and blog time which I’ve found is the only way to get my week off right with blogging and scheduling.  So, another week started with no Monday blog post, I was behind on orders needing to be shipped, and when I went to print my labels and care cards, the first printed blurry and the second printed in the wrong colors because the ink was low.  Not my day!  So as I sat here thinking about something to write, and trying to figure out how I was going to get through Tuesday, the things I’m grateful for started to pop into my head and I realized that’s what I need to share.  Because we all have hard days, that’s what this boss lady dream promises us… But it also promises us adventure, and dreams, and an amazing community to help us grow and succeed, and that makes all the Mondays like today worth it.

So, here we go!  These are the things that are making sure I’m smiling right now instead of still in the heap of tears I was in earlier yesterday afternoon…

For iced espresso with cream and double strollers, exhausted kiddos
and a teeny town with beautiful homes to walk by, even if the sidewalks are falling apart.

Friends who came up with an awesome way to make their own clothing labels, and then told me exactly how they did it, and offered to help, so that I could finish a last minute order without panicking.  (Shout out to Jr Baby Hatter, one of the sweetest families around and pursuing an amazing creative dream!)

A #tuesdaystogether meetup tonight that I couldn’t be more excited about!  I am loving the Community over Competition movement, it’s a breath of fresh air and exactly what I’ve been craving.

I’m grateful for business, and orders that are coming in, even when I’m feeling overwhelmed and not sure if I’ve got this…

For a dear friend with a huge front porch to sit on when the day is stressful, while my kids run around and get crazy dirty and laugh and learn to let ants crawl up and down their arms.

That Piper will only fall asleep if she has her Bible stories playing on audiobook, and when we snuggle together she tells me about them and the little details she remembers.  (like how God said don’t eat the fruit, but they were disobedient so he flicked their cheek…  I think she has God and mama mixed up a little!!)

For the clean apartment that I came home to after an afternoon walk and trip to the post office and park.  Guillaume picked everything up, cleaned the kitchen, and then vacuumed!

And I’m so grateful for the amazing friendships that being a boss lady in the creative community has brought me.  I wouldn’t be where I am without any of them!

I hope your Monday was better than mine, and I hope we all have a beautiful Tuesday!

xoxo

Katherine

p.s. Did you see the Pottery Barn giveaway on Instagram yesterday?!  It’s a big one… and it’s still going…  Hurry and check it out!

Katherine Bignon Styling for Creatives Jewelry and Tea Cup Flat

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A Surprise Homebirth: Eaden’s Birth Story, Part 2

April 20th, 2015

Part 1 of Eaden’s birth story is here, from last Monday.  When I sat down to write out his birth story, for his first birthday, I realized that I couldn’t write his without first writing Piper’s, because to me they feel like one story.  His story wouldn’t be what it is without what I went […]


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Part 1 of Eaden’s birth story is here, from last Monday.  When I sat down to write out his birth story, for his first birthday, I realized that I couldn’t write his without first writing Piper’s, because to me they feel like one story.  His story wouldn’t be what it is without what I went through with Piper.  It wouldn’t have the same meaning for me, and it probably would have been much different and a lot scarier…

Piper and I wouldn’t have survived a home birth, and although it was originally what we wanted we were advised against it from the beginning due to a few things in our family history I was being monitored for.  Spoiler alert for the end of this story: Eaden was born on our bedroom floor, in a very accidental, very un planned, very fast home birth.  Piper’s labor had taken over twenty-four hours, and I had pushed for over three hours, and I had no idea how long labor would take this time due to how heavily medicated and controlled hers was.  So I had nothing to base the timeline, or the level of pain off of.  All I remembered was that Piper’s birth was extremely miserable, and extremely long.

Labor started with Eaden at 8am on a Thursday, and went fast!  Pitocin contractions are nothing like normal contractions, and two hours later when my contractions were completely unbearable (as they had been during Piper’s entire labor), I assumed it was normal and I still had a long time to go, not realizing it was a sign that labor was just about over… My doula was there, and being the complete introvert that I am, we found out that I completely internalize all of my pain and she was questioning whether I was actually in labor or not…  Meanwhile I’m screaming on the inside.  We started to grab our bags to head to the hospital, and she rubbed my back to help me through a contraction and suddenly realized I was starting to push.  I replied calmly that yes I was pushing, but just a little so it was ok…  I mean, I had pushed for over three hours with Piper so obviously we still had time, right?!  Yes time, as in less than five minutes.  We realized we weren’t going to make it out the door…  I remember thinking I don’t want to stain the rug on our bedroom floor, it was a birthday present, and shoving it out of the way.  We called 911 to let them know what was happening, Guillaume grabbed towels and after less than five pushes I heard Sara yell, “It’s a boy!” and then, “and he’s peeing all over me!” and I collapsed forward onto the floor in exhaustion and relief.

Piper walked into the room immediately, getting a chance to give her baby brother kisses and hugs before medics had shown up and before the cord had been cut. The ambulance arrived about ten minutes later to take over and make sure we were ok.  They cut the cord, put me on oxygen and got ready to transfer us.  (Fun fact: in New Jersey, it’s illegal to plan for unattended home birth like we had- and yes, ours was truly very unplanned!! So along with the paramedics, a senior officer had to show up to check the situation and get a handle on what may have truly happened!  I’m pretty sure all it took was one glance into the bedroom to see a rug shoved out of the way and me laying on our fancy pillow shams and the towels that had been wedding presents to see that we weren’t quite prepared for this to happen…)

We live in an upstairs apartment of our house, so I was carried down our stairs onto a chair stretcher, then switched to a normal stretcher outside on our sidewalk and then slid into an ambulance for a ten minutes, lights flashing ride to the local hospital where we were both checked out, and then taken to a recovery room to sit around for almost two days waiting to be released to go home.

I started sobbing when he was handed back to me in the hospital after they cleaned us up and checked us out.  I felt something, I knew who this was and I could feel all the feelings.  And on top of all that, I could see him clearly.

It was the most redemptive experience I could have asked for, and to this day I’m extremely grateful.  People still ask me if I was scared, and tell me they would have been terrified, but the funny thing is is that it felt so right, that there was nothing to do but feel calm and at peace during the entire experience.

The best part of all of it for me was that Piper was right there to meet him.  The first time around I may have missed out on some of this moment with her, but the second time it was all three of us together and it was perfect.

My heart cries for women who don’t get the birth they wanted, who feel like something was taken from them and they missed out on something.  There’s a part of me that is still nervous about going into labor again with baby 3, but we’re trying a new hospital this time, and a new midwife practice, and ultimately I have to remind myself that God is in control and He knows what he’s doing.

xoxo, Katherine

Bignon Family Newborn Session by Richmond Photographics Bignon Family Newborn Session by Richmond Photographics

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A Sonogram Letter

April 16th, 2015

I see you in black and white, like an old film photograph; grainy and distorted, and intensely beautiful.  With hands that sway gently, rocking you back and forth, and ten tiny and bony white fingers resting at the end.  Ten toes as well, thank God, even though for a minute I only saw nine and […]

 

I see you in black and white, like an old film photograph; grainy and distorted, and intensely beautiful.  With hands that sway gently, rocking you back and forth, and ten tiny and bony white fingers resting at the end.  Ten toes as well, thank God, even though for a minute I only saw nine and had to recount.  We’ll chalk that up to the grainy snapshot, and not a future character quirk that I’ll have to learn to get used to.  There are enough of those going around already here.

You’re kicking me, with the foot with the hidden toe.  Not in an urgent, pay attention to me now, drop everything and run, type manner, but more in a, “are you sure you don’t need to step out to the bathroom again?” fashion.  A subtle under the table type rhythmic beat that is a mixture of a “hello I’m here” announcement and a gentle caress.  Thank you for the constant reminder, making sure we don’t lose you amidst the crowd.  It is a big one that’s gathered here already.  And then you pause for a second, to wave.

I’m the only one watching, but since you can’t see me, do you just know?  You’re being watched, just for a moment here, and apparently that sits just fine with you.  Or rests I guess, (lays, reclines?), you’re not quite sitting yet, but that will come.  There’s something about that wave, as if I’ve seen it before, but can’t quite place it.  And I’ve certainly never seen it end with a thumb being placed in the mouth, as if you were waving a quick hello to make sure I’ve found you, and then going back to your day to day relaxing and reaching the standard growth milestones.  The others weren’t like that, no waves, no “yes I know you’re watching moments”, no thumb sucking.  Yes, I’ve found you, and don’t worry, I won’t be leaving.

You don’t seem to mind the intrusion; all the prodding and bumping, making you roll this way to check your back, and lie still like this to check your neck.  Everything seems to be perfect, (except for that little toe mishap), and I’m realizing I won’t be privileged enough to stare for much longer.  Wave again please, do you know that I’ll be going soon?  That’s the problem when things go right; they send you on your way with a quick nod and a thank you, shutting off the whir of the machines without a second thought to the fact that you haven’t gotten that second move of the hand you’re longing for yet.  Just a quick flick of your finger, or tilt of your head is all I need.  Oh, I see.  (And feel.)  Another kick.  Well, that’ll do too.

You’re hidden, in a peaceful private world of one, that’s no one but yours, and mine.  You’re not to be shared yet.  The others get to see the photograph I hand them, a moment frozen in time, a black and white image of bones and fluid.  But the wave, and the missing toe question, and the kicking under the table, that’s all mine.  None of that comes across on a flat shiny four by six.  The performance had to be seen live.  And your audience of one, a mama who had the privilege to stare, for just a moment, was captured.  Anyone else would have been an intrusion, but us, it feels just right.  You and I with our silent language of rolling and kicking, tickling, and nausea each morning.  We’re the only ones who got to see.

The grainy film roll image is perfect for you, like an old 35 mm that would have captured your great grandparents walking hand in hand.  It catches you just right; the wrinkles, hunched back, curled fingers, the inability to hold yourself steady, it suits.

For now you’re my own private memory, those twenty minutes.  Not a word was shared, nor a sound made, save for the rhythmic beating of two hearts, inside one body.

For the first time I’ve seen your face.  One more quick wave, before you drift to sleep and I lower my shirt, wiping off the thick gel that only moments before had blanketed you and covered me, opening up the door into your tiny world.  And mercifully, the kicking stops, but only until naptime is over.  Long enough for me to breathe easy for a moment, and you to feel the need to remind me you’re still there when your eyes flutter open again.

We’re all so excited to meet you, but for now I cherish that you’re only mine.

xoxo, Mama

Katherine Bignon Maternity Shoot with a Custom Silk Robe, Image by V.A. Photography

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Eaden’s Birth Story, Starting with Piper

April 13th, 2015

I sat down to write Eaden’s birth story, in honor of his first birthday, and it hit me that I had never shared Piper’s full birth story, and there’s honestly no way to write his without sharing hers.  The two stories are so closely intertwined, and his is so dependent on hers that suddenly this […]

 

I sat down to write Eaden’s birth story, in honor of his first birthday, and it hit me that I had never shared Piper’s full birth story, and there’s honestly no way to write his without sharing hers.  The two stories are so closely intertwined, and his is so dependent on hers that suddenly this had turned into a two part story in order to share his birth and do the story justice.

Throughout Eaden’s entire pregnancy I knew I needed things to be different.  I knew that there was an extreme fear of going back to the hospital and being put on the same medicines again, of not being able to make it through labor.  But it wasn’t until six weeks before he was born and a close friend had a baby that I began to actually understand what I was scared of most.  I was scared of looking at him and falling in love instantly, and being reminded of everything I felt Piper had missed out on.  And yet despite everything a silent part of me was hoping for everything to be exactly the same as before so that I didn’t have to feel guilty, I could just feel pain.

There’s an emotional disconnect that happens when a labor is induced and your body isn’t ready for it.  Your body fights it, you fight it mentally and eventually you feel like your baby was removed from you before you were ready.  Suddenly you’re holding this tiny precious baby and don’t know what to do.  You shouldn’t be in this moment yet, this shouldn’t have happened yet, and you have no idea how you got there.

I was monitored closely all throughout my pregnancy with Piper for potential complications due to family history and some abnormal test results, but everything went fine until I showed up for a 39 week sonogram that I had almost cancelled the day before, but had forgotten to within the cancellation time window.  They checked things, and checked things again, and called another doctor in to check things, and then told me that my amniotic fluid was getting rather low and they needed to keep an eye on things.  I had a doctor’s appointment the next day and when I went in, things went downhill fast.  They checked my blood pressure in three different rooms thinking the machines were broken, then said I needed to go to the hospital immediately, they would be inducing me due to severe and sudden onset preeclampsia, and the fact that the placenta had stopped producing any nutrients and there was almost no amniotic fluid left.

I hadn’t started to dilate at all, and my cervix hadn’t even begun to soften yet, so there was nothing that was ready to go into labor.  They told me I had twenty-four hours to deliver her, and then it would be an emergency c-section because they couldn’t let my blood pressure stay this high for that long, and the only way to begin to make it go down was to deliver the baby.  This sounds feasible right?!  It gets better… I would be on Pitocin to start labor and keep it going, along with a balloon induction, but I would also be on Magnesium to help control my blood pressure and keep me from seizing.  The side effects of Magnesium are blurred vision, semi-loopiness, loss of hunger, and stopping labor.  Yes, stopping labor!!  (Magnesium can be used as a medication to halt labor for someone who goes into early labor before the baby is ready.,,)  In order to induce labor, and keep both Piper and I alive and safe they had to use two opposing medicines at the same time and try to find the balance that would lead to a healthy delivery.  My blood pressure was checked every ten minutes for the next twenty-four hours, plus the two days following while I recovered, and for two weeks after delivery I was on a medicine to keep my blood pressure under control because it still wouldn’t go down, and I had to buy an at home BP cuff to keep checking it.

Her birth was a complete miracle, she was born 24 hours and 30 minutes from when I was induced.  I pushed for three and a half hours, and with each push they would tell me they could see her hair and the next one would be the last, but it never was.  The Magnesium had taken away the ability to push hard enough and finish the delivery, so she was delivered with forceps (think large salad tongs that the doctors insert, find your babies chin and grip, then pull).  Suddenly she was placed on my chest and my memory is spotty after that.  I remember seeing double, and it wasn’t something my glasses could fix.  I remember looking at her and thinking oh, this is interesting, there’s a baby here, but making no move to hold her tight and cuddle, or any connection to the fact that she was mine, and after nine months of waiting she was finally here.  Guillaume sat there tearing up and looking at her saying, “don’t you love her, she’s just so beautiful”, and I was lying there feeling guilty for feeling nothing, and thinking why is this such a big deal? I remember feeling nothing.

Her lungs had to be suctioned immediately because there had been such a drop in the fluid around her that she was covered in meconium, and had filled her lungs with it.  I had always wanted to have a homebirth, but it wasn’t feasible in the area we lived in at that time.  She wouldn’t have survived a home birth, and neither would I have with everything that happened.

I had to stay on the Magnesium IV drip for the next twenty-four hours and wasn’t allowed to move around or eat.  I laid there in the hospital that night holding her, still not connecting to what had happened and flipping channels on the tv; I came across an old episode of House and started watching.  It’s the one where a baby is born in the hospital, and then disappears, and the whole hospital is on lockdown trying to find this missing newborn.  It should have scared me a little right?  It should have made me hold Piper a little tighter, grateful that she was in my arms and I didn’t have to call up to the nursery to make sure she was ok and still there.  The only thought that went through my head was, oh, I hope that doesn’t happen to me one day when I have a baby.  Wait, what?!!  I had just had a baby, but there was no recognition or attachment, or connection to what had just happened.

My heart cries for moms who are required to be under heavy medication during labor.  I’m grateful for all the medical intervention we had, it literally kept both of us alive, but oh man did it change things for those first few months after she was born.

Those first hours after delivery are crucial for attachment, and we lost out on that completely.  It took so long for the medicine to work its way out of my system that emotionally I lived at the beginning like nothing had changed.  There was a baby with me 24/7, but it didn’t feel like she was mine, she was just there.  We went through the motions, but nothing seemed real.  Eventually things got better, life adjusted back to normal, my body re-regulated itself and we were fine, things adjusted to how they should have been all along.  I was pregnant again, and scared to death about going back to the same hospital and being put back through everything again.  I wasn’t showing any symptoms for developing preeclampsia again, or any of the other issues that went wrong but I couldn’t get it out of my head that everything would go downhill again at the hospital.

I didn’t fully start to process what had happened emotionally at the beginning with Piper until six weeks before Eaden was born when a close friend had a baby.  I saw a picture of her at the hospital holding her newborn, looking completely in love and happy, albeit exhausted.  She texted the picture to me and I broke down sobbing.  She looked completely opposite from anything I had felt; she was holding her son, looking completely in love, and most of all she knew it was her son, and things looked normal.  I had felt none of that; I don’t remember feeling that overwhelming feeling of love for Piper until she was at least four or five months old.  I spent the weekend crying, and processing, and finally started the process to heal and be ready to welcome another baby into our family.  She and I had used the same doctor, and she scheduled her post-partum apt at the same time as one of my standard appointments, so we drove together, and on the way back I remember telling her, “I wish there was a way that I could just skip the hospital this time around, and then once the baby is born, drive to our doctors to be checked out and start the recovery.”  I loved our doctors; I just couldn’t deal with the hospital experience.  That white room held too many memories and too many fears.  The post-partum depression and emotional disconnect only lasted for the first few months after she was born, but the trauma of the experience and a bit of PTSD still lingered.  Honestly, it’s still there.  I have a hard time breathing normal and thinking clearly when I think of going back to the hospital where she was born.  For me, it marks everything that went wrong with the delivery and the emotional process after…  And I still struggle with choosing to hold a baby; to reach out and take them and not let their dad carry them.  It was so natural for me at the beginning with Piper to not hold her, I didn’t have the urge to.  It was easier to just let things be and I made myself feel like that was normal.  I have to remember to physically remind myself to reach out and carry them sometimes, even now when things are completely normal and fine.

I can’t get back the time that I lost with Piper, but when Eaden was born, we did all of our post partum snuggling all three of us together, and it was the most amazing feeling of healing that I could have imagined.

As the icing on the cake to her birth, Hurricane Sandy hit the day after we made it home from the hospital, and we lost power in our apartment for a week, so after three days of living without hot water and learning to nurse and change diapers in the pitch black (we ran out of matches for our candles!!), we packed everything up and had enough gas in the car to make it far enough down the interstate towards Virginia and my family and a hot shower!

Part two will be coming next Monday, I promise!

xoxo, Katherine

p.s. Here’s a link to a post I wrote shortly before Eaden was born, when I shared a bit about Piper’s birth story and the struggle I had emotionally.  My prayer for you if you’re going through anything like this is that you reach out and ask for help, don’t go through it alone!

2015-04-12_00012015-04-12_0002Images by Richmond Photographics

 

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Measuring Cups

April 8th, 2015

Two cups is the general equivalent of 400 grams, at least when it comes to flour.  The measurements are relatively interchangeable, depending on whether you’re cooking a metric recipe or an American one, but the difference can also be just enough to make sure your cake never quite sets, or your bread turns to brick. […]

 

Two cups is the general equivalent of 400 grams, at least when it comes to flour.  The measurements are relatively interchangeable, depending on whether you’re cooking a metric recipe or an American one, but the difference can also be just enough to make sure your cake never quite sets, or your bread turns to brick.

If we ever move back to France, the first thing I’m hiding in my suitcase is a set of measuring cups.  Ones that will let me still cling to some of my favorite foods in moments of desperation.  Ones that will let me still smell my mother’s zucchini bread rising in the oven; 3 cups of flour, in order to keep the bread just moist enough. Ones that will still let me make waffles from scratch for my family on Saturday mornings; two cups of flour, plus a dash of sour cream and coconut oil.  And ones that will let me still get a sugar high from my chocolate chip cookie recipe that made my husband fall in love with me; 4 cups of flour for a firmness that’s just so and lets them melt in your mouth like butter.  God forbid we cook those on the French system, he won’t know who I am anymore.

It’s funny, my attachment to these little white stacked cups, with their handles and red numbers engraved on the side, because I learned how to cook in France, without them to guide me, yet I feel like I’m not quite at home without them now.

The difference between two cups and 400 grams is what keeps me from finding a home in my mother’s kitchen, and what stops my mother-in-law from inviting me into hers.  It’s a difference that can’t quite be explained, because there’s no way to make it equivalent.  It’s simply what makes me different.  I can copy their recipes, but I can’t quite duplicate them.  There’s always something just a little bit off.

I will always speak just a little different; my children will always speak it too.  Our accent, our cadence, our choice of word order.  None of it is equivalent, yet similar enough.  We are understood, but it is not always correct.  It’s two cups in a recipe that really wanted its 400 grams.  I will always dress just a little bit off, I will always parent slightly outside the lines of their culture and what they expect.  It’s simply me trying to find a balance between my cups and your grams, and knowing that it doesn’t always exist.

According to someone, I will always be holding two cups instead of 400 grams, or grams instead of its’ slightly off equivalent of cups.  Yet if I can learn to take the forthcoming questions and eye-raising with a grain of salt; whether it’s the 99 cent box from the bodega or the lavender fleur de sel at the supermarché that’s a little out of my reach, my cups and I might just be able to make it through, knowing that at least if all else fails, I still have my little white handled safety nets, and those chocolate chips, four cups of flour, and a man who loves me for them every time they melt like butter in his mouth.

I’ll always be working from the wrong side of the system, trying to find the middle ground and which recipes will work there; buy maybe we simply need to expand our palette a bit and steer clear of the cakes that don’t set and the loaves of gluten brick.

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As I’m finishing up my last semester at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I found out right before the semester started that I was short one English class, so I’ve been able to spend the semester taking a creative non-fiction writing class.  It’s my favorite genre to read, and I think I finally found my writing niche; I can get lost with hours and hours of journaling for the class… This is an excerpt from one of the pieces for class, and it’s the inspiration for a longer piece due in a few weeks that I’m currently working on.  This course ranks high in the top 3 I’ve taken at FIT, and it’s not even related to my major!!  But, I have a feeling it will be related to future projects… My professor is trying to talk me into writing a book about all of our French family experiences, and I have a couple other projects up my sleeve too!

xoxo, Katherine

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2015 Goals | Bridal Design, Custom Lingerie, and Personal

January 16th, 2015

2015 is off to a pretty amazing start here in our house, with lots of fun adventures, and lots of busy-ness!  I’ve already been off to one conference and had a weekend away, and Guillaume is gone this weekend to Atlanta for one for him!  My business is growing, his ministry is growing, our kids […]


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2013 Shay Cochrane

2015 is off to a pretty amazing start here in our house, with lots of fun adventures, and lots of busy-ness!  I’ve already been off to one conference and had a weekend away, and Guillaume is gone this weekend to Atlanta for one for him!  My business is growing, his ministry is growing, our kids are growing… you get the picture!  And… I’m GRADUATING this year!! Woohoo!! So before we get too far into the year, I wanted to be honest, and vulnerable, and share my vision for and biggest goals for myself, our family, and this business for 2015!

Without being cliche or planning it, the list I sat down and typed has 15 things on it, and I want to share them with you!

1. Clean, Purge, and Stop Spending! Manage to run a consistently clean house, filled with only the essential, and meaningful things.  We have so much extra junk floating around in our house, and I think it’s a huge reason why we struggle with keeping things put away and clean.  (That’s a huge thing for me to be willing to say… I have a huge pride issue with keeping a clean house, and I make it spotless before someone shows up at my house, but on a day to day basis, it doesn’t stay that way, and that’s not the life I want to live!)  So purge the unnecessary, and live a simpler, more intentional life inside our house.  (It naturally follows from this that I need to cut out unnecessary shopping, and filling our house up with these pretty, but unnecessary items, so I’m considering a contentment challenge…)

2. Wake Up! For me, personally, I would love to be better about having a consistent morning routine.  I need time to get my day going before the kids wake up.  Time to drink a pot of tea, read my Bible, and get a little blogging and writing done.  And I have never been one to respond well to the alarm clock in the morning… This is probably my biggest personal goal for myself for this year!

3. Start using essential oils!  I’ve been talking about doing this for so long, I need to just place that order, do a little research, and go!

4. Blogging! Along the lines of the previous goal, one of my goals for 2015 is consistent, and frequent blogging.  I love to write, I love to pour my heart out on paper, and I love the business that I’m growing, I just need to be better about sharing it!

5. 6 new bridal clients.  This is one of my growth goals for the year!  My dream is to work with a bride that lets me create her wedding gown, and then a lingerie collection for her honeymoon (which leads into the next goal!) I want to know her from the beginning of her marriage, and form a relationship that will last well into her marriage, because marriage, and encouraging the growth and development of strong and beautiful marriages is a huge passion of mine!

6. 6 new lingerie clients!

7. A rebrand and a new website!  I have been “not in love” with my site for too long now…  And I can see my new brand so clearly in my mind, I just need to get it onto paper and screen!!

8. Marriage Mentoring! I would love to have the opportunity to mentor a couple going into marriage.  Our pre-marital counseling is one of my best engagement memories, the couple we worked with was amazing, and they helped us start our marriage with an incredibly strong foundation.  Since then, and every time I hear a couple struggling and having a rough time, I get this urge to take them to coffee, and sit down and chat and pray and help them work through it!

9. Business Mentoring! As I grow my business, I would love to work into the opportunity to mentor other small business owners.  I know I am not at a point professionally to offer this yet, but I want to be honest, and up front that this is a dream of mine, and whether or not I get there in 2015, I want to at least be working towards that!!

10. Portraits! We’re coming up on our 5th anniversary this year (woohoo!!) and I would love to book an anniversary/family portrait session to celebrate that.  I know this may be a weird list to put that on, having that as one of my official goals for 2015, but this is something that I’ve talked about doing for so long, and have never actually taken the time to make that dream happen, so here it is, in writing!  (And along with a portrait session, a little getaway would be pretty nice too!)  I didn’t end up designing my own wedding dress, but I would love to design something for this!

11. A Shop! Once I finish the rebrand process, I want to open up a small online shop with a few standard lingerie pieces for clients to order without going through the entire custom process.  Silk robes, tulle skirts, some sleepwear… things like that!

12.  A Lingerie Library and Events! I am in the process of developing a “lingerie rental library” with pieces for someone to rent if they’re doing a boudoir photoshoot (Read Wedneday’s post for an amazing boudoir photography experience!!).  It gives women an option in between paying the price for something custom, but not having to resort to something that every other woman could buy at Victoria’s Secret.  So, with the development of the library, my dream is to host at least two “events” of my own this year with the pieces, pairing with a photographer and a planner to offer a boutique type photoshoot experience where women can put together an album for a wedding gift, or anniversary present, or something like that!

p.s. One has already been planned!! Did you see yesterday’s Instagram invite?  More info coming to the blog on Monday!!

13. Cooking Natural! Cooking is a huge passion of mine, in case you didn’t know!  I love cooking from scratch, playing around with foods, and one of the best parts of my day is when Guillaume gets home and plays with the kids and I close myself in the kitchen and have time to myself to cook.  (The beauty of these vintage houses is that the kitchens have DOORS on them!)  I have a list of cookbooks I want to read this year, all along the lines of getting back to the basics of cooking, and cutting out all processed foods.  I would love to live a consistent farm-to-table lifestyle, with no processed foods, and everything from scratch.  Will I succeed 100%? Probably not!! But I would love to be able to do as much as I can towards this, for the beauty of the food, but also for the health of our family!  There’s so many things I think we could fix health-wise with just some simple diet changes!!  So books like, The Nourished Kitchen, The art of Fermentation, and Nourishing Traditions are high on my list for this year!!  We have a local farm where we can get most of our meat, and all our dairy products delivered to us weekly (how fun is that?!), and we already get a huge chunk of our meat from my dad’s hunting adventures and summer fishing in Alaska, so we’re well on our way to a good start, but I know there’s more to be done!

14.  Cooking French! Just to warn you, this one’s about food too.  And quite possibly the next one…  Like I said, it’s a passion!!  We were given a French cookbook as a wedding gift by an old college professor of mine, and I’ve used it over the years, but never really dove into it.  And then I found out this past summer, that this cookbook was actually a family tradition on my husband’s side.  It was given to his grandmother when she married, and then she passed it onto Guillaume’s mom when she was married, and she still has it and loves to cook out of it!  How sweet is that?! So my dream for this year is to cook through it, learning the art of French cooking and turning those recipes into regulars in our household, all the while applying the principles from the previously mentioned cookbooks!

15. A Family Cookbook Memoir! Last food one, I promise!  I want to journal/blog my way through this and begin to create a cookbook for our family that I can pass on to Piper one day.  All of our favorite recipes, our journey of learning how to cook from the basics, and our journey of cooking French!

So, in a nutshell, my dream for this year is intentionality.  Intentionality in my business to keep it growing, intentionality in our home to keep it a healthy and peaceful environment, and intentionality with our family, to be there, and be present, and do the things that matter most.  This isn’t on the above list, but I would love to live a life where social media is only used during specific times of the day, where it never comes between me and my marriage, and me and my children, so that I have the time to do the things like teach my daughter how to cook and write about it for her to have the memories later.

So, there you have it!  Help me stay accountable!!

xoxo

 

p.s. Aren’t Shay Cochrane’s Stock Shop images always so stunning?!

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Niagara Falls & Lewiston, NY | A Family Adventure!

November 10th, 2014

This past weekend was AMAZING! We roadtripped up to Niagara Falls, and had a wonderful little family getaway!  I shared here about the start of some of our adventures, but we hadn’t seen the Falls yet and I hadn’t pulled out my camera, so here are all the pictures!!  We saw the falls on a […]


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This past weekend was AMAZING! We roadtripped up to Niagara Falls, and had a wonderful little family getaway!  I shared here about the start of some of our adventures, but we hadn’t seen the Falls yet and I hadn’t pulled out my camera, so here are all the pictures!!  We saw the falls on a gorgeous fall morning, (the leaf colors up there are INCREDIBLE!!) and then we went back late at night to see it all lit up! Oh man was it beautiful!  And then yesterday morning before leaving, we got the car all packed up and drove about 10 minutes to get to the border of Lake Ontario, the skyline of Toronto, and Old Fort Niagara, the old French fort built to protect France’s interests back when this area was “New France”.  Then we went back to the Falls for one more peek, and a chance to walk out onto the observation deck to see a view of both the American and Horseshoe Falls at the same time!

The kids did incredible on the drive home, we only had to stop once to feed them and once to feed us (at Krispy Kreme!), and made it back home in time for some wonderful friends to cook us dinner (we traded dinner for donuts, who would pass that offer up?!) Here’s some pictures from our adventure, enjoy!

p.s. Yes, I’ve already told Guillaume that he must take me back, our hotel experience at the Barton Hill Hotel & Spa was seriously incredible and I’m a little excited about the day we get to go back just the two of us for a little vacation without the babies!


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Look at the colors!!  And this adorable Main Street! I fell in love!
2014-11-10_00022014-11-10_0003Yes they even have an old red brick schoolhouse!

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2014-11-10_0011Yes we forgot our passports, but my phone seemed to think we had crossed into Canada…

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2014-11-10_0014“It’s too cold for me!!”

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One of my favorites!  That’s our hotel all blurred out in the background…
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The Underground Railroad Memorial we could see from our hotel window
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The Barton Lewis hotel, and those GORGEOUS leaves!  And gorgeous little benches you could sit on and stare across the river at Canada!  So peaceful2014-11-10_00182014-11-10_00192014-11-10_0020

If you look really really hard, you can see the Toronto skyline…2014-11-10_00212014-11-10_00222014-11-10_00232014-11-10_00242014-11-10_0025

This man guys, I fall in love every time I see him.2014-11-10_00262014-11-10_00272014-11-10_00292014-11-10_00282014-11-10_0030

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Family Getaway

November 8th, 2014

I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something  about hotel living that makes life seem more peaceful and relaxing, even in the midst of a crazy busy season!  We’re way up north this weekend, just outside of Niagara Falls, and staring at Canada across the river from our hotel window in Lewiston (seriously, […]


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I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something  about hotel living that makes life seem more peaceful and relaxing, even in the midst of a crazy busy season!  We’re way up north this weekend, just outside of Niagara Falls, and staring at Canada across the river from our hotel window in Lewiston (seriously, my phone keeps telling me I’ve gone international and will be paying extra fees!).  My husband had a paper accepted at a conference up here (can we say super proud wife?!) and I’ve been begging him to take me to the falls since we got married, so here we are!  We packed up the kids, a ton of food, a bag of toys, about half of our winter gear, and all of my patternmaking supplies, and started the drive!  The only thing we forgot was our passports so I guess we won’t be venturing into Canada this time around… just means he’ll have to bring me back!
He’s been spending the days at the conference, while I’ve been able to enjoy the hotel with the kids (there’s a fireplace in our room for me and the kids are experiencing a tv in the bedroom for the first time!), work during naptimes and take bundled up chilly walks around this gorgeous little town when they wake up.  We’re right on the riverfront and when we went out to explore yesterday morning,  I discovered that we were standing on the spot that marked the end of the Underground Railroad!! What?!  This is where the escaped slaves crossed the river in tiny wooden rowboats to make it to freedom in Canada!  I had chills and had to take a moment to catch my breath!  (I don’t know if we’re going to homeschool our kids or not, but this was one of those moments that made me stop and think, I wish I could sit right here and teach my babies about the civil war, and human rights, and freedom, and the list goes on and on… too bad they’re barely two and six months… yet another reason to come back!)
I had a lovely afternoon yesterday browsing through an old bookshop filled with the most gorgeous books, owned by an old man who just wanted someone to listen to what he had to share.  I’m telling you friends, take the time to browse through old shops run by people who have seen the world and have stories to tell, and then ask them to share those stories with you and really listen, they’ll change your perspective and open your eyes!  And it’ll completely bless them in the process, they just want someone to listen!  I bought myself a couple amazing vintage etiquette and housekeeping books!  Ahhhh so excited!! I have a total weakness for all things vintage when it comes to the kitchen and home.  I can’t wait to dig into them and find all the little gems, like the secret recipe for getting rid of bed bugs and restoring the pile to old velvet!  Who knew?!  Yes I’m a bit of an “Emily Post’s Etiquette” nerd!
We’re off to see the Falls today and I’m ridiculously excited, like little girl giddy!!  I can’t wait to share pictures soon from our adventures, but what I truly wanted to share this morning was this, take the time in this busy season to say yes to making memories and being intentional about how you’re spending your time.  It’ll all pass by in an instant and suddenly it’ll be January and you’ll think where did the time go?!  Take the time to take a walk and see the colors with someone you love, to bake cookies with your babies, to read a book by candlelight.  Take a moment and take a deep breath and be thankful and grateful, and relax.  Choose to say yes to the people you love, instead of, “wait just a minute, I don’t have time just yet…”
Xoxo
K