Uncle Edward comes to stay

Levi and I both have an eight year gap between us and our youngest sibling. Those siblings really are the apple of our eyes' - it must be something about being the baby of the family that endears them to us so particularly... it might also be that they are two of the sweetest people we know. One of those people is Edward, Levi's youngest brother.

I knew Edward long before I knew Levi, when he was just a young teenage boy. The things I remember most clearly about Edward from those days were his height and that the girls would flock to him. All without saying a word! The strong, silent type. I never imagined back then that one day he would be my brother, and I his sister.

Since Levi and I moved to Nelson Bay, Edward comes and spends a few weeks with us a couple of times each year, For the most part Levi has to work, leaving Edward and I to one another. It took us a little while to find our groove. With my chatter and his reserve we made for a funny pair at first. I would always be doling out advice and direction, putting him to task around the house and making him do things like exercising at the pool! Edward complied but I'm not sure he was always to happy about it. Thinking about it now not much has changed with me - I'm still bossing him about when he comes to stay, but we are comfortable with one another and most of all I think we understand and appreciate each other.

On this visit, his last to Nelson Bay I asked him as I always do what he would like to do during his stay. The list was: eat at a variety of restaurants and learn to sew. Eating rightfully takes front and center and we are often the beneficiaries of Edwards incredible kindness as he treats us to dinner - thanks Edward! But the highlight for me this visit was teaching him to sew his own pair of pajamas and watching how thrilled he was to be learning the skill. I see many handmade, colourful suits in his future. It also wouldn't be a visit here without a deep and meaningful and this time we ( we meaning I : )) spoke a lot about being our best selves. Who do we want to be? And are we making steps, even little ones, every day to make it so. These thoughts are on my mind at the moment. I'm conscious of not remaining still, making sure I'm making some progress, however small to becoming who I envision for myself. I want that for Edward too.

Edward is a fantastic uncle. Finley told anyone who would listen that his uncle was coming to stay. They have great fun together and Finley wants to be tall just like Edward when he becomes a 'big man'. Edward also participated in the blessing of Primrose. I felt very touched at the sight of the important men in her life surrounding her with love and blessings from above. She might not know more than cuddles and warmth from you at this point in her life Edward but she will grow to love you just as Finley does, as we all do.

The First

Our first baby - a boy. It's beautiful how the birth of another child brings back memories of the last. I feel like I have this small window of time to record the things that had faded in my mind. Those memories feel so fresh to me now, like it was just yesterday that I held my first child and wondered how on earth I was going to do this. 

I had the most amazing pregnancy with Finley. I had small bouts of tiredness in the early months and some leg and pelvic pain in the final but overall I was blissfully happy and ignorant to the suffering many face. I didn't work in the final few months and busied myself with spring cleaning, decorating the nursery and seeing movies at 11am on Thursday mornings by chance with Nelson Bay's senior citizen community. It was lovely. Until my due date arrived ... and passed.

I wrongly assumed that with such a lovely pregnancy, labour and birth would follow suit. This was not to be the case. 13 days past and our little bundle still wasn't budging. Knowing Finley now I can see what was happening in there. He was warm and cosy, sucking his two little fingers and content with things just as they were. I imagine it was a rude awakening when I was induced and the pressure was literally on to get moving into the world. I laboured for 12 hours with no progress and with his heart rate dropping things got very real and I needed an emergency cesarean. At the time I felt sad that my birth plans were crushed but hugely relieved that the pain would end and I would meet my baby. What was a long and difficult experience morphed into a party as the surgical team, fresh on for the day, went about getting our very stuck baby out. It took twice the normal time, with Finley so entrenched in my body that he just wasn't coming. They discovered the cord twice around his neck, so tight and close to the placenta that intervention would have been the only way to get our little boy safely out. To me this is a miracle. A miracle of the time we live in and the knowledge we have to safely deliver babies into the world. 

Out he came and into his Daddy's arms. One very precious memory while I was in recovery was watching Levi walk towards me with our boy in his arms. They had spent the last 20 minutes together and I saw that they had bonded instantly. I can remember Levi's face - huge smile, eyes wide and beaming down at this precious gift. The long hours forgotten, nothing else in the world more important than this little life. Levi and Finley have a really incredible bond and I know it started right there in Finley's first moments on earth. 

I have always thought of Finley and I as a team. I'm not a naturally maternal person (until I had my own) so didn't have much hands on experience with young children. I was a first timer, but so was he and I felt as though we set off on a new adventure together. He was patience with me, teaching me who he was and what he needed and together we learnt how to be. He had this way of looking at me in those early days and speaking to my heart. I felt like he was telling me, it's okay, I love you, we will get there. 

A Rose by any other name

I was almost positive at the end of my pregnancy that we were having a boy. So positive that when I saw that it was free F day on a kids label site I ordered some in one of the two names we were deciding between for a boy (and some for Finley too). 

After I gave birth, I was so thrilled that I had given birth naturally I didn't even think to check the sex of the baby. A midwife suggested we take a look and when Levi told me it was a girl I was in absolute shock - so much so the midwife thought that I was disappointed. Disappointed I was not. Though I admit that it took me a few moments to let go of the boy I had conjured in my dreams - here I was holding my daughter - a DAUGHTER - wow. I was positive one day I would have a girl but here she was in my arms earlier than anticipated. 

Amidst the joy came the remembrance that Levi and I had not come to any firm decisions on a girl's name. In fact Levi highly favoured one name and I another. What to do? One thing I am grateful for in our marriage is that we almost always come to decisions together. I can't think of many, if any times that I have really had to forsake a strongly held conviction for his or the other way around. This was a different story, neither of us was budging. What to do? 

In the end, after days of deliberation Levi gave me the choice, a gift for her being our first girl and for my stoic effort in giving birth - what a sweetheart. So she was named Primrose Anne Catton. 

Years ago I read a fantastic fictional series, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. It's about young female spies in Victorian era England, basically the coolest basis for a story ever right? : ). In one of the books there is a small reference to a young lady named Primrose and once I read it I knew that would be the name of one of my daughters. The literal meaning of Primrose is 'first rose' which also feels fitting for our first daughter. 

Anne (with an e!) is a reference to my most beloved fictional character Anne of Green Gables. When Levi and I were first married we read the first book of the series aloud to one another before we went to bed each night. When the last page was turned Levi said he understood me better. From when I was just a little girl I related to, admired and loved who Anne was. I hope my girl can have a little of the spark, curiosity and sense of self of her namesake.

She is the ... what?

I love the name of this blog for lots of reasons, none more than that my husband thinks I am funny for choosing it. That fact alone brings a smile to my face because when we first became engaged I would make a 'meow' sound whenever my soon to be last name - Catton, was said! I think this was my random way of coming to terms with losing my maiden name Ryan which I was particularly attached to at the time, having just come back from a full-time mission where I was known as 'Sister Ryan' for 18 months. I suppose I was trying in my own way to get excited about the name Catton. Anyway Levi didn't find this particularly funny, our sense of humours hadn't quite converged yet, but I continued on irregardless and I think he eventually found it slightly amusing. It died off, I don't still go around meowing (he he), but it makes me laugh to think of it.

So Cats - Catton, Mother - Me. 

I also just love the reprimand. When I was growing up my mum was firm but kind in her correction of my speech and it gave me a real love and interest in the intricacies and rules of the English language. Having said that I make errors all the time! So be kind dear reader. 

Don't you just love Sylvania Families?!

Let's Begin ...

Wow, I'm here writing a blog...finally! I've been thinking about doing this for a LONG time and it feels good to be putting fingers to keyboard and beginning what I hope will be a record of the happenings of our family and a place for me to muse. Life, love, children, marriage, adventures, happiness, memories, books - all on the agenda.

My mum often remarks that I have a book in me, I'd like to think so too but shopping and to-do lists do not a writer make. As many an author has counselled 'to be a writer you need to write'. This is me writing and no better place to start than with what I know.

It has taken awhile but we stand on the brink of big change as a family and it feels right and timely to have a place to share and connect with family and friends. Not to mention that I am instructed in my Patriarchal Blessing to keep a journal and told how precious this will become to me in the years ahead. I've sporadically attempted to follow this counsel over the years but let's face facts - here I am at 30 with many beautifully bound journals about the place, each with only a few entries...shame! Time to get my act together and keep a record of this amazing life I am blessed to live. Here we go...