7 Years and Counting – A Long Distance Relationship Success Storyย 

I’ve decided to start this week off on a thankful note. Read this verse yesterday as part of my devotional and it’s stuck with me; 

Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.

Psalms 50:14 NLT

I don’t know why, I read a tonne of verses that instruct us  to always give thanks no matter what. Maybe it’s the fact that the verse before highlights the fact that God doesn’t actually need our offerings or money, all he wants is a sacrifice of thankfulness. It’s so simple but profound to me, so this morning I’ve woken up in a super positive and thankful state. Despite getting very little sleep all thanks to my little human, I find myself surprisingly at peace and grounded. To top it off I’ve just had an awesome conversation with my husband which also brought about this post. 

My husband and I have been together for 7 years this year, and in those 7 years we’ve been apart. Yes, long distance. We met through a mutual friend via Twitter and then in person 7 months later and that pretty much kicked things off for us. The longest time we’ve ever spent together at a go was 3 months during my pregnancy. That being said we have a great relationship and are in the process of building a good marriage. 

I am beyond grateful for just how amazing God has been to the both of us. We met on social media and even I didn’t believe anything concrete could come from it but here we are 7 years later married and with a beautiful baby boy! I’ve taken how big a deal what we’re doing is for granted a lot of the times and stopped me from being thankful to God. It is a huge deal that we are still together and in love. I know people who have been in relationships with their partners in the same country and they still couldn’t hack it, or how they found out they still didn’t know each other. I’m proud to say that I know my husband to very good extent and there isn’t a lot he could do that would surprise me and vice versa. You don’t get to know people by sleeping in the same bed with them every night or seeing each other everyday. There has to be a willingness from the other person to want to communicate and open up. You have to want to learn about the other person and welcome dialogue.

We fight just as much as the next couple and have had some pretty close calls but we’ve made it through. I know that long distance isn’t ideal for any relationship and I’m thrilled to say that ours will soon be coming to an end, finally! But I know it’s made us better friends and strengthen our trust. It’s made communication priority and  forced us to mature quickly. And with as great as all that is, its still blatantly obvious that without God carrying us in the palm of his hands we definitely would not have made it. Speaking for myself, God’s grace and has been ever sufficient for me. On many occasions I could have singlehandedly brought our relationship  to our end but God went ahead of me and gave me husband more patience and the grace to forgive. We didn’t make it this far because we’re experts in communication or have it all figured out. We’re definitely not good, but God is. I can say with all confidence that the only reason we’ve made it this far is because God wanted us to and we’ve been willing to work at it. 

Thank God for the Holy Spirit who is the best one on one marriage counsellor. Thank You for bringing us this far!

P.S I’ll be following up on this with a post on things that we do that helped us in a long distance relationship. Keep your eyes peeled ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today…

All around me I can see what needs to be done – kitchen to clean, bottles to sterilise, bible plans to catch up on, diaper genie to be emptied, laundry to be done, sheets to be changed… the list is endless. But at the centre of all of this is my baby. He is finally asleep peacefully on my chest in his last clean sleep suit. The sound of his breathing seems to be the only thing I’ve ever needed to hear. I can’t bring myself to put him down because what excuses would I have then? Everyday I wake up with determination about how my day is going to go and everyday I’m taught that planning is all good and fine but what really gets ticked off the list is determination – deciding to get things done whether or not they fall perfectly into your day.

Every day with my son is a curve ball, nothing ever goes to plan. I’m aware of the time but that’s pretty much where our relationship starts and end. I have a new clock now. I can feel my eyes getting heavier as the sound of his breathing lulls me into slumber. Yes determination is great but sometimes take the curve balls as a sign from above and just sleep ๐Ÿ˜Š

Life update… what’s been going on!

It’s coming up to almost 2 years since my last post- disregarding my most recent post of course. I was in the middle of planning my wedding the last a time I put a post up and now I’ve just skipped right to having a baby. Yes guys, I did get married, things were done the proper way ๐Ÿ˜Š. Baby arrived on my wedding anniversary as a matter of fact so you can do the math if you would like lol.

I’m not sure what way to do this. I mean this blog is really more of a personal diary than anything else. I don’t do a whole lot to get traffic going here and i guess what I’m getting at is whether or not I should fill whoever in on the last two years? The wedding planning, the actual wedding, changing jobs, then getting pregnant and then moving…there’s a lot! Or maybe a fresh should start is what is needed? 

I would like to think that I am a completely different person from my last post in 2015, but am I really? I mean I’m a wife and mother in the space of a year but I don’t think I’ve changed that much. I think I wish I had changed in some way… for the better at least but instead I feel like I’ve just added layers for each new role while remaining the same at my core, you know what I mean? Like I’m a mum but im not just that, I’m Dupe as a mum. Underneath all the things that make me a mum you can still see accents of me ๐Ÿ˜Š.

Ok, maybe I’ll just summarise for the sake of record keeping. Planning the wedding was stressful especially as it was during a super busy period at work. I felt split. I always had to be in work earlier than normal to clear the constant backlog and stay back late to get a jump start on the next day. In the midst of that we were being taken over by a new company which presented an entirely different hassle of its own. And with the wedding getting closer I was still trying to stay on top of my fitness which meant late night gym sessions after a long day. The only time I had to plan was sometimes to and from work but I somehow made it work. I managed to make 2 trips home that year before going back a third time for the actual wedding. I will tell you this, planning your wedding will test your relationship in one way or another just make sure you always remember what the end goal is. 

Picking my dress was a thing in itself! It’s no child’s play! I tried on about 25 dresses and ended up picking no.1 of the 25 dresses 7 months later ๐Ÿ˜†. 

So the wedding came and went with minor hitches. Overall it was a beautiful and blessed day. Not everything went according to plan but at the same time nothing went drastically wrong either thank Jesus! 

Fast forward to just over 3 months after the wedding and I find out I’m pregnant right after starting a new job. It was a FTC role so naturally when the found out I was pregnant they were less inclined to extend my contract… which thinking about it now was probably for the best as I did not exactly love the role, it just wasn’t a right fit. 

So I’ve had the baby and I’m about 4 months into this motherhood thing and personally I think it’s going good but we’ll leave that for another post ๐Ÿ˜‰. In terms of how often I’m going to post now that I’m trying to be back, I really can’t say. My life revolves around my small human, it’s not all about my son but he is definitely a determining factor in most things at this stage of his life. I have tonnes of post just sitting in my drafts and I’m not quite sure how to fit them into my current life, everything seems so changed these days I’m not always entirely sure if I can still relate to my previous state of mind. I read a post I drafted in my first months of pregnancy and I was in shock with how ungrateful and selfish I sounded. Oh BTW, when I found out I was pregnant I was not thrilled at all, and not because I didn’t love kids- I adore them but I wasn’t ready. I wanted so badly to be ready mentally, financially, physically and emotionally. I always said I wanted to be a stay at home mum for about a year and to do that we’d have to make sure our finances were in check. And at 3 months after a wedding we weren’t there yet, plus I just got this new job and things looked like they were picking up – not that pregnancy is the part of life “picking up”- but it wasn’t for me at that moment in my life. But yea, reading that post made feel so disconnected from myself especially since having my son. And I know some of you will say that I’m being too hard on myself and it’s OK to want to wait and be prepared but I’m so happy that I had my son when I did. I’m 4 months in and it’s just right, its not perfect but I know it’s right. I expected to be writing about life after a year of marriage and how we were ready to expand our family but life has a funny way of happening to your plans. I’ll just have to go with the flow from now on. I won’t make any promises about getting posts up but I will try and do better this year. I feel that this part of my life deserves some sort of documenting even if it’s just for myself ๐Ÿ˜‹. 

My Birth Story ๐Ÿ’Œ

18th of December and still no sign of baby or any sort of movement down there! I was now 8 days overdue and I know due dates are never really accurate but I really wanted to have my baby early and not late. I had my mind set on the 2nd of December initially which would have made me a week early but that Friday came and went without the slightest cramp. My due date was the 9th of December and I wanted to have him way before the rush and bustle of Christmas. So now it was the 18th and my mum had us all in the living room for some good ol’ family devotion time which always turned into a mini sermon when we let her lead (in our family you’re never too old to be cajoled into family devotion time ๐Ÿ˜). So we were wrapping things up with prayer requests from everyone and we all decided enough was enough, this baby had to come today ( the 18th of December). So we held hands and put our faith together and prayed. Being pregnant on its own was such a task but being overdue brought on a new level of frustration, not just on me but on the family too. I was so uncomfortable and barely sleeping plus I was super anxious to meet my baby. It obviously did not help that everyone else seemed to be having their babies just fine albeit even early!!! Some days I would just stay in bed all day or shed pathetic tears at night, I was just so tired and in constant discomfort. Hubby would have to rub my back and remind me of how perfect Godโ€™s timing is and to be patient . It also did not help that my midwives were unwilling to do anything in the lines of induction because it was my first baby and I was low risk. So I would sit through appointments while they smiled and told me it was normal to be 2 weeks overdue and I should hang in there. Damn you low risk pregnancy!! Anyway, back to the 18th, we went about our business as usual after praying – even with the prayers it still felt like things might never ever kick off (thank God that the prayers weren’t resting on my faith alone as I was running very low). Towards the evening I started getting very intense back aches like more intense that usual and sitting was not enough to make them go away this time. I should have suspected something was off but I had been on my feet most of the day so I just got on with it. When I got home from running erands the pain went back to normal as soon as I sat on my pregnancy ball but my braxton hicks were like every minute now! At midnight I called it a night and got ready for bed. About an hour later I got up to pee for what seemed like the millionth time, I noticed I was bleeding. I had read up on what “the show” should look like and I was pretty sure this wasn’t it but it was still alarming. I mentioned it to hubby who was adamant that we call the hospital and see what they had to say – I was very chilled about the whole thing and very reluctant to call in but eventually I did and I was told to come in. Luckily the hospital was only a 5min drive from home so if they had to send us back home, which I was sure they would, it wouldn’t be so bad. We (myself, mum and hubby) got to the hospital and were shown into a delivery room immediately to wait for a midwife and doctor. Bear in mind that I wasn’t feeling any sort of pain at this time, I found it all very exciting. I had never spent time in the hospital my entire adult life so this was weird being there in the middle of the night. Eventually the midwife and consultant on call came in to assess me and ask me questions about the bleeding. Turns out it was my show so there was nothing to worry about which translated to your behind is going back home… that was until the doctor asked me how baby’s movement had been over the last two weeks as I was now pushing 42 weeks. Told her they were ok but he wasn’t as active during the day as before, which I thought was nothing because he was probably resting getting ready for labour,right? The look of horror on their faces let me know that I was WRONG! I wasn’t naive or nothing, just that I had mentioned it to my midwife at check ups and she didn’t seem alarmed. This changed every thing. They went from not wanting to interfere to wanting to start induction that morning to get baby out as soon as! I was like finally, game time! That enthusiasm lasted for about 5 mins till they went over the process of induction with me. 

They were going to kickoff the process with the infamous stretch and sweep (kill me now) this is when they take two fingers into your cervix and move it around to get things going – it was NOT PLEASANT. I hand to squeeze hubby’s hand and do breathing exercises to get through it. Halfway through she asked me if I was ok or if I needed her to pull her hand out, which meant she would have to go back in, gave her a solid NO through my pants. I was so fed up being pregnant that if I had to go through some discomfort to get things going I was pretty much game. Besides so far nothing about my delivery had gone to plan so I was going with the flow and saying yes to everything, I just wanted to meet my baby and get my bladder back.

I got admitted that night and was booked in for an induction first thing that morning. This was my first time in a hospital overnight, my hubby and mum were asked to go home and come back later in the morning. It was weird, I was oddly charged and anxious that this was actually happening. I didn’t get much sleep and having the stretch and sweep brought on some mild cramps which escalated and hand me keeling over by the time I had to go back to my delivery room. I met a new midwife who would carry out the induction and be with me for the whole day…. well till her shift ended. At first I didn’t have any confidence in her, she looked quite young. I actually thought she was a student midwife but boy was I wrong! To start the induction, lets call her Molly โ˜บ, Molly had to check if I was dilated at all and also break my water at the same time. It didn’t hurt getting my water broken probably because her hand was already up there checking my cervix… AGAIN! Once my water was broken the real labour kicked off. I will say this, having your water break makes labour that bit more unpleasant. You literally just sit in a bed with liquid squirting out of you with each passing contraction. They give you this sort of pad thing that absorbs the fluids so it doesn’t mess up the actual bed which I suppose is good but you still have to sit in it. Plus at this point you have no knickers on so everything is out in the open. Not only was I trying to cope with the contractions I now had to cope with the disgusting wetness down there that seemed never ending, I mean how much water did I have in there anyway?!

My birthplan included me labouring in a birth pool and giving birth there if possible but with the induction the baby had to be constantly monitored and I had a drip put in my hand eventually to speed things up. By the time I had my water broken hubby and mum were back in the room, just as well too, the contractions felt like my midsection was being ripped through. I needed help sitting up for every contraction because taking them laying down on my back was not an option.Contractions were getting closer and closer and I  had been offered painkillers along the way but declined willing myself to do without anything till I physically could not go on anymore. The thing about contractions is that they tire you out so after about 5 hours of going at it with nothing, I gave in and with an approving nod from my mum, I uttered the blessed word – EPIDURAL!!!!

Now the thing about me and an epidural is that I hate needles! Like absolutely petrified of them, I’ve always joked about needing an epidural to get an epidural. And where they have to stick the needle in as well… goodness, it’s just all bad! With the day I’d been having everything I had put down as never wanting to happen had already happened so I just gave in. Plus the contractions were demonic at this stage so I was briefly distracted from processing what getting an epidural actually entailed. Plus it was too late, I was already in the hospital gown that shows your arse and sitting on the edge of the bed with my back bent leaning into my mum’s chest to steady myself. I was so thrilled my mum was there as hubby had to sit this one out once he saw the anesthetist’s instruments. Its a good thing I didn’t see them myself because I would have changed my mind. Getting an epidural with contractions so close together is such a delight as the procedure requires you to be exceptionally still because of where it’s being placed, and my contractions caused me to vibrate violently from head to toe. Let’s just say it took a lot longer for him to find the right spot in my spine and I can swear he hit the wrong nerve at one point because I had pins and needles on one side of my body and my legs began to jerk of its own accord. Like I said, it was an absolute delight ๐Ÿ˜‘.

Right so I had gotten the epidural and everything thing had started to slow down. I was ready for my nap- everyone told me you get a nap when you get an epidural because it slows everything down. Even the midwife told me to get settled in for a nap- I was exhausted! I asked hubby and mum to go home for lunch, it was going to be at least 3 hours and we only lived a 15mins walk from the hospital- plus, I was only 4cm dilated! It would take me ages to get to 10cm, or so I thought. After much persuasion they left and I was settling in for my glorious nap, even asked Molly to turn down the lights, I was about to go in on this nap! If only the bloody monitor would stop making that beeping noise every so often. Oh, I forgot to mention, because I was wriggling so much during my conractions they couldn’t get a steady read on the baby so they had to stick something on is head to monitor him better- you know what that meant- yet another hand up my hoo-ha.

Molly came back in to check the machine every so often,  and I knew it had something to do with baby so I had to ask. She said baby kept having dips in his heart rate and that was what that reoccurring beeping noise was. She looked a little worried so I was super worried, she tried to break down the medical jargon for me but I was starting to panic! A consultant came in to talk more jargon to me, all I heard was baby was getting tired and if I wasn’t fully dilated they would have to get him out through cesarean. The smallest part of me was calm about this part because low key, I was petrified of pushing. I didn’t think I could do it ๐Ÿ™ˆ. I was asked to call hubby and mum back to the hospital in case they had to wheel me to the theatre. I’d never had surgery in my life! Even though it was routine for them it was pretty scary for me- called hubby and mum ASAP and asked them to come back! The consultant check how dilated I was and surprise surprise I was fully dilated. I went from barely 4cm to 10cm  just under 2 hours in spite of the epidural. After they had emptied my bladder with the catheter (another thing I did not want happening ticked off my list ๐Ÿ™ƒ) thankfully they did not have to leave it there. Once my bladder was emptied it was time to push… but I wasn’t ready, I mean my mum and hubby weren’t there and I didn’t want to do it alone. Plus I didn’t even know how to push and I wanted it to be like in the movies where I’d have my hubby holding my hand telling me I could do it while wiping my forehead. Instead I was alone in the room with Molly who was eager for me to start pushing because of baby’s heart rate. She told me to push into my bum like I wanted to do a big poo. I told her that was precisely what I was trying to avoid ( that was the one thing on that horrid list I refused to have ticked off!)

Pushing with an epidural can be tricky but I had only had the initial dose and was never topped up so I was very aware of everything that was going on down there. Where there was no pain per second because of the epidural I could still feel the intense pressure of each contraction so instead of molly having to look at a monitor to check for contractions I could tell her myself. My first go at pushing was pathetic, I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t actually think it was going to make anything happen. The epidural was obviously at work masking the actual effort I put into each push. Thankfully 5mins into me pushing my hubby makes an appearance without my mum. I was getting better at my pushes now and still trying really hard not to crap myself. And because there was one thing left un-ticked on my list of horrid things that I never wanted happen to me, it was only natural that Molly would say that she would have to cut me on my next contraction to avoid me tearing. At that stage I did not care- I was tired and the effects of the epidural had pretty much worn off. I was over the process, I wanted to meet my baby and put this pain behind me. On my next contraction I felt her make the cut as I gave my last push and the sensation after that was sooooo weird! It went from stinging and burning to a quick slither of limbs and then a glorious cry. I did it! My baby was out and screaming for everyone to hear. Two seconds later my mum walks in as they placed baby on my chest. I could not believe it. I mean I knew I was carrying a little human this whole time but seeing him instead of just feeling him was surreal. There he was on my chest as content as ever quietly sucking on the edge of his hand and falling asleep peaceful. I was in awe of what had happened and the fact that I did it. God was behind it all from his conception to that very moment! Not like I needed more reason to be grateful to God but I was, and speechless too! Just overflowing with gratitude- my baby was finally here. 

A Pick Me Up…

Woke up this morning to an email from my mum and it was a link to a video. When I saw the title I was like noooo! It’s way too early for a message this heavy, plus I was running late which means I wouldn’t even have time to do my devotion. But since it was a video I figured I could listen to it while I did my make up and got ready, plus it would feed my spirit something to ponder and meditate on during the day, which I find works great when I’m fasting. 10 seconds in I’m wondering if there’s any real point to the video but then I hear your destination is right in front of you and I pay attention! Some people will pick fault with the girls approach and delivery of the message, but there’s no time for that now! There’s no time to make the Word sweet and presentable. It is what it is… nothing gripped my heart like the image she gave of the door pretty much being closed and Jesus still trying to fit the last few in… am I the last few? Are you?

Last bits of Poland…

This post is long overdue! Like pushing on 3 months ago now! Right before I left Poland I had the opportunity to spend my last weekend in the country side with my colleague and his wonderful family. They had the cutest little cabin in the woods by a gorgeous lake. Now, being me of course I’ve totally forgotten the name of the town and lake so all I can show you are pictures ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Being pampered... :)
Being pampered… ๐Ÿ™‚
How pretty are these cabins?!!? And you wouldn't think it but they're so spacious and modern inside!
How pretty are these cabins?!!? And you wouldn’t think it but they’re so spacious and modern inside!
I love how shabby chic the porch was... this is everything should stand for LAID BACK stands for!
I love how shabby chic the porch was… this is everything should stand for LAID BACK stands for!

We were pretty much still in summer while I was there so the weather was just perfect, we had all meals out on the porch and beautiful walks by the lake in the evening. And the lake is nothing like I’d ever seen before. The water was so clean and clear and the sand leading into the water was soft like beach sand. It was so just so nice to get away from the city and be in the quiet of nature. We had lazy evenings with ย lovely summer wine and bbqs. It was the perfect memory to leave Poland with.

Spent both afternoons with our feet in the water and chilled beer!
Spent both afternoons with our feet in the water enjoying the sun and cold beers!

 

One of the main reasons for being invited down was because my colleague’s partner was a photographer by hobby and wanted to take pictures of me for a her growing portfolio. The location was perfect for what she had in mind and we both had a lot of fun doing it. Here are a couple of my favourite ones from the shoot. I hope you enjoy them – all photos taken are by Magdalena Orylska.

 

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That Time Jamie Oliver Made “Jollof Rice” #JollofGate

If you get upset, I don’t blame you.

Rant-y African't...

Yes, guys, it finally happened โ€“ they finally got their hands on Jollof rice!

Some context for those who donโ€™t know what Jollof rice is: Jollof rice is one of the 7 wonders of Africa. The list goes: Nelson Mandela, Cape Town, Jollof Rice, Senegalese Twists, Lupita Nyongโ€™o, Shea Butter, and P Square. People might disagree with this list (feel free to add your own list in the comments section. Donโ€™t curtly state your disagreement and move on, ok? Donโ€™t be rude), but the point is that Jollof rice is a BIG deal.(Horrible) songs have been written about Jollof rice. Case in point: this god-awful song by Fuse ODG:

Jollof rice has even caused ย a diplomatic tension/Cold War of sorts between Nigeria and Ghana over who actually owns this dish (it actually originated in Senegal, but Iโ€™m sleep).

In Nigeria, Jollof rice is sacred. It is not just theโ€ฆ

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