We Moved!



Big news in the Procter family: we bought a house!

It’s actually a condo not a whole house but it’s no less impressive in the context of the Lower Mainland’s current real estate market (for our family across the pond, things are roughly comparable to London). So I guess we could also say we bought a flat 😉

So far we are loving our new city and our new neighbourhood. We bought in a central location near a river because we prefer to be in a walkable area with access to gorgeous views and lots of different shops (read: types of food). Our new ‘hood has train tracks, tugboats, bridges, and a heck of a lot of steep hills; my buns were burnin’ after a short stroller walk on moving day (and Hennie’s only getting heavier!).

It’s only been a week in our new home but we are settling in well, unpacking, and making some plans for future projects (painting! renovations! adult stuff!). Since having Hennie in her own room I feel like we’ve gotten our lives back. The one-bedroom apartment we just moved out of was spacious, bright, and lovely, but our Hen is a very sensitive sleeper who wakes to seemingly innocuous sounds despite the white noise we put on to drown out general tomfoolery (see what I did there?). Cooking dinner or washing dishes in the evening often woke her up and reading in bed with a small light on was absolutely out of the question. In our new place we can actually talk to each other after she goes to bed at 6:30 (a game changer for our marriage?) and at long last I can read in bed again, a favourite past time that I’ve been missing for ten months.

With our proximity to the riverfront, new parks to explore, and of course a brewery, hopefully we won’t be missing Vancouver anytime soon.

Travels with Hen: UK Edition

Our recent family trip to Yorkshire was a little stressful, a lot of fun, and a major learning curve for two new parents who will have to troubleshoot Kiddo Jet Lag many times in the future. I spent a lot of time worrying about the 9 hour flight, not knowing that the 8 hour time difference would actually be the bigger problem. It took over a week of sleepless nights and sleeping-all-day for all three of us to successfully transition to the new timezone. We enjoyed a few blissful days on the new schedule before having to fly home. Luckily, Tom didn’t seem to mind playing with his daughter in a nice quiet house in the middle of the night, and Grandma P didn’t seem to mind making us breakfast in the late afternoon when we woke up for the day!

The first week of our trip we lounged around at home with family – all of us were under one roof for the first time since Christmas 2014 so we had a lot of catching up to do! The second week was much busier – a wedding, Tom’s 30th birthday, and visits with friends and extended family.

Highlights of our trip included:

  • getting to see Hennie spend time with her English grandparents
  • country pub dates with siblings
  • surviving our first outing (sort of) without Hen
  • the majestic Bennett wedding
  • Tom’s 30th Birthday BBQ
  • playing tourist in cute little towns like Harrogate and Ilkley

Big thank you to all who hosted and housed us over the course of our trip, it was lovely to see everyone and we’re looking forward to traveling more with a baby now that we know we can survive it!

Travels with Hen: Road Trip Edition


In July we drove through the Okanagan Valley to stay in Rossland, BC for two weeks. Rossland is a little mountain town where Tom’s company is based and where the company’s annual summer conference is held. Despite my worries about the 37 degree forecast (how do you even keep a baby cool in that weather?) we had such a fantastic time relaxing and enjoying small-town life.

“Mountain Hennie” thrived on the road! She did amazingly well on a 10+ hour road trip, slept through the night multiple times in her (dark, air-conditioned) bedroom, and even napped longer than she normally does at home. It’s almost enough to make her parents wanna move to a big house in a small mountain town! We stayed in a house the first week but a hotel room the second – guess which is easier with a baby? Luckily, the hotel obliged our request for a room close to the conference room, lobby, and hotel bar, so our baby monitor offered me some freedom while she was napping during the day and sleeping during the evening.

Hennie had a lot of first experiences while visiting Rossland!

  • first time at the pool (big hit)
  • first time trying frozen yogurt (even bigger hit!)
  • first time seeing cats (very apprehensive and distrusting)
  • first time having pizza (she grabbed mama’s slice and had a full bite before anyone could stop her)
  • first time clapping her hands
  • first time going to a lake

I think we’ll always have fond memories of this first big trip with Hennie, especially considering we had our offer accepted for our first home purchase while staying in Rossland. It was a relaxing, slow-paced time with an exciting twist!

Six Weeks Old

Hennie James is six weeks old, which means we’re halfway to a major milestone – the end of the fourth trimester and (hopefully) the end of these colicky days. Having a baby has been a crazy, emotional ride so far but we love seeing Hen become more alert and interactive already.

While Tom was away in Whistler for a work conference, Hen and I stayed at Omie (grandma)’s house for extra help and snuggles. During that week Hennie’s second cousin was born! Hennie and Baby Greyson will be almost exactly a month apart in age and we can’t wait to watch them grow and play together. It has been snowy and cold in Vancouver these past couple weeks (the first time in a long time!) and we are enjoying staying home and staying warm.

The First Two Weeks

Thought I’d take a moment to write an update on the first two weeks of life with Hennie James – probably a brief update as she is stirring from her short slumber beside me and doesn’t like to give her mama and papa much time to do anything these days 🙂

Our little HenBaby has her daddy’s long limbs and insatiable appetite. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have her daddy’s easy disposition but her mama’s sassy attitude and big voice; Hennie has so far been a difficult, colicky baby. She isn’t soothed easily or for long, she needs to be held almost all the time, and she cries bloody murder from about 11pm to 7am (srsly kid?), as well as sometimes during daytime hours as well. We are experimenting with some gas-relieving tactics, some bouncy chairs and rockers, attempting to get her to come around to a pacifier, and basically trying anything we can think of to see if she likes it. Every day it seems she likes or dislikes something new that used to work and is really keeping us on our toes. Some nights Tom does laps around our kitchen island for 6 hours bouncing and shushing her because she won’t be put down – at least we are meeting the daily step goals on our FitBits!

That said, we know that this crazy newborn phase won’t last forever and are doing our best to adjust and readjust our expectations of parenthood daily while appreciating her short stints of sleepiness. We are staying positive and approaching every day as a team, and trying to give her the coziest, safest environment possible.

Tom is now back to work, some days at home and some days in the downtown office. My goal right now is to get outside at least once every day, whether by myself or with Hennie. We have enjoyed some walks to nearby parks in East Van as well as lots of visits to the corner coffee shop! Thanks, JJBean, for fuelling this mama’s mornings!

Trimester Overview

Since we’re nearing the end of this little gal’s time in utero I thought I would take a moment to document the journey in terms of the symptoms I experienced. This way if there’s a “next time” (I can hear my mom saying “IF?!” already), I’ll know what to expect from my body without having to read What to Expect.


At 12 weeks: I thought it was SO obvious that I was pregnant, HA. At 25 weeks: wondering how much bigger I’d get over the next 15 weeks. At 38 weeks: happy to be nearing my due date!

The First Trimester

Throughout the first trimester I worked as a server so I clocked some serious on-my-feet mileage despite experiencing a fatigue like I’ve never known before. This could be due in part to a later discovery that I was very low in iron, or perhaps to the fact that I had given up coffee. I had some mild nausea in the mornings but it was usually abated by eating something good and carb-y, so I happily rekindled an old friendship with bagels that I had broken away from years ago. In fact, the whole first trimester was a time of constant and glorious hunger, usually including 1-2 midnight snacks from my bedside table. Despite this, my weight gain was slight and infrequent. From the very beginning of my pregnancy I suffered my fate as a small-bladdered woman, getting up to pee 2-3 times per night on average.  My must-haves during this time were Cheerios (the fastest breakfast I could muster when I woke up ravenous) and healthy takeout that I didn’t have to cook myself or feel guilty about (I think we kept the Lebanese place around the corner in business). I fell asleep reading Sherlock Holmes stories every single night, usually around 7pm. We bought a pregnancy pillow on sale after hearing what a “must buy” item they are, but it turned out to be a “don’t need” item for me and I still haven’t used it.

The Second Trimester

At the beginning of the second trimester I hung up my serving apron for good after 13 years as a waitress and spent some time off work when the in-laws visited Vancouver from England! My energy returned tenfold and I was able to bake and cook a lot again (no more aversions to raw chicken!) and take myself for daily walks around the seawall, usually 1-4 hours long. I reintroduced my morning iced coffee as well, but went for a half-caff brew instead of full strength. I still woke up 1-2 times per night but started sleeping in a little longer because my body wasn’t waking me up from hunger. I “popped” at 18 weeks, suddenly looking pregnant after seeing no belly for over 4 months, and then rapidly put on weight until around week 28. My must-haves during this time were my two pairs of maternity shorts, Ina May’s “Guide to Childbirth”, and multiple crochet projects. The second trimester was definitely the most comfortable and the sunniest and for both of those reasons it was my favourite! I’ll always look back fondly on those long summer walks around the city, day-dreaming of the babe I was to meet.

The Third Trimester

In the third trimester I started working again, this time from home. The baby’s movements ramped up a lot and made evenings in bed my new favourite time because she was most active then. I started doing prenatal exercise videos in my living room a couple times a week to get some low-impact cardio in and kept walking a lot until week 37 when I slowed down to about a half hour per day. My weight gain slowed down a lot compared to the months previous and I felt relatively comfortable (and super lucky about that!) right up until week 37. I started noticing swollen ankles at week 35 and made an effort to put my feet up for an hour or two during the day. Braxton Hicks contractions started sporadically shortly after 30 weeks and ramped up more and more over time – not feeling painful, just tight. My night time bathroom breaks became more frequent at about 4-5 times/night, or roughly every two hours. I was able to wear a lot of my non-maternity shirts and dresses until about 38 weeks pregnant, when I realized I would likely have to wear the same two sweaters from Tom’s side of the closet for the remainder of my pregnancy. I started feeling very occasional pains halfway through week 37 but at almost 40 weeks still haven’t felt too much to hint that the end is near.

What Surprised Me

I think I’m the most surprised that I enjoyed pregnancy as much as I did because I’ve always thought I wouldn’t, though I’m not sure what I was basing that assumption on. While the list of symptoms in the front of my What to Expect When You’re Expecting book was extensive and frightening, I realized quickly that these are only possible symptoms, and thankfully not every pregnant woman experiences all of them. That said, I was quite surprised by how pregnancy can affect so many other parts of your body that you wouldn’t think would be impacted, like your gums (sensitive!), nails (amazing), and skin (even my moles changed!). The effects of hormones are far-reaching! Speaking of hormones, another surprise is that I haven’t felt at all like the hormonal “crazy” pregnant woman stereotype; while I haven’t been immune to the worries and anxieties of approaching parenthood, I haven’t cried or felt overwhelmed… guess I’m saving that for post-partum.



Canadian Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays every year – what could be better than celebrating the health, family, and friends we’re blessed with by eating homemade feasts and basking in the crisp sunshine of an October long weekend? This year October feels especially lovely for me, as a November 4th due date means that this is also my ninth month of pregnancy and Thanksgiving is the last holiday we’ll share with the family before this baby makes her grand entrance (Halloween doesn’t count). It already feels like October is a month of anticipatory energy, of preparation and nesting, and of getting ready to hunker down for the winter with a newborn.

Thanksgiving weekend was equal parts slow and restful and chaotic and loud. We had downtime to go to the track after dinner, do hours of laundry at my moms, and chat with grandparents, but we also had time to catch up with a large (and growing!) extended family to share recipes, crack beers, and stuff our faces in general. But the best part of the weekend for me was realizing that wherever we go my silly, patient, imaginative husband is enthusiastically appreciated by children. Despite how easy it is to ignore kids (let’s be honest, they can be annoying), he remains un-phased when they use his iPhone, make him play the same game over and over again, feed him weird things, drag him into the teepee in the living room, or repeatedly wipe their boogers on his shirt (that last one courtesy of Amelia, photographic evidence above). Tom, I’m so thankful that your patience with me extends to everyone else as well, and that our daughter will always have an example of an adult who is intelligent, inquisitive, and immature.

Now where are those leftovers!?

A Shower for Baby Procter

We had our baby shower this weekend and it was wonderful to spend some time with family and friends celebrating the baby we’re so eager to meet! Having so many people I love in one room was overwhelming in the best way possible. I’ve found that there is an abundance of encouragement, wisdom, and experience to be gained from the women/parents in our lives, from sharing regretful or hilarious parenting moments to a favourite brand of swaddle blankets or a cherished book, and I felt very tapped in to the network of moms, aunts, grandmas, cousins, and friends who have already “been there” or are currently there.

We have avoided buying any baby things since we found out the news (not easy for an expectant mama!), and it made receiving so many thoughtful, practical, handmade, and downright adorable gifts from those who love us (and her!) even more exciting. We were truly blown away by everyone’s generosity – thank you to all!

Fun Fact: this morning I did a little research about the origins of baby showers, and found that they are quite uncommon in the UK. Instead (according to Wikipedia) of celebrating a forthcoming baby by “showering” the mum-to-be with gifts and advice as we do in North America, Brits “wet the baby’s head,” by taking a new Dad to the pub for pints when his baby is born. Two very different (and very gender-cliche) customs! I think our little family will have to do both 🙂

*all photo credit goes to two of my aunties who saved the day by documenting all of the best and cutest moments! Thank you both!

Having a Baby in a One Bedroom

Welcome to our bedroom / nursery!

We thought our family across the world might like to see a few photos of where the baby will be living once she gets here – hopefully that’ll give some context to anyone who is planning to FaceTime our newborn!

Because real estate is crazy expensive and also because we love our apartment and neighborhood so much, we made the choice to stay in our one-bedroom flat indefinitely. Upgrading to a home with an extra bedroom would necessitate a significant financial sacrifice and we know quite a few young couples who are raising their baby (or multiple kids!) in the same amount of space that we have. The upside: we don’t have to waste our money on an expensive baby moniter since we’ll be able to hear if she’s crying from all corners of our cozy abode…and probably in the hallway, in the street outside our balcony, and in our neighbours’ apartments too, for that matter. #thinwalls

When I first started thinking about the best way to smoothly transition an extra human into our home, I was sure of only one thing: I didn’t want the nice adult space we had created to become Babysville. As a homebody, my bedroom has always been a sanctuary for reading and relaxing, and while I recognize that the baby is probably going to take over our hearts, schedules, and spaces, I figured that could happen without hanging pink bows and baby animals all over the place. Not really our style anyway.

What we ended up doing was dividing our room into grownup space and baby space (ish). Half of the room has retained an adult feel, with our bed under the watchful gaze of Lake Louise, while the other half of the room has the baby’s crib, changing table, and the storage units that already house the growing collection of little girl clothes from my own mama, who cannot seem to help herself. The trick now is figuring out how to keep the room this clean once there are three of us living in it!