Sunday, December 27, 2009

We had a photo shoot today...

Martha-Cate is the best photographer in the world! She's from East Tennessee and her family still lives here. She lives outside of Charlotte with her darling husband, Andy,  but she'll gladly make the trek back to these parts to take your picture!

Here's a link to the pics from today!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh, I almost forgot!

Hello, all you beautiful McEngland blog readers! Today was a MUCH BETTER day than yesterday. Ben took Declan to my Mama's and I felt much better today. Also, my afternoon infusion was cancelled last minute and I got to pick up my sweet son while the sun was still out ( Not seeing a peak of daylight ALL DAY really messes with my ol' mood for SURE). My appetite is still gone as I just picked at lunch but that's ok. I think I'm gonna be  alright after all. I guess Ben won't need to get that paper route after all (You dodged a bullet on that one, Honey Pie! *wink*)

I forgot to give the 4 month update on our little fella. He only gained 3 ounces from last month to this month but he grew almost an inch! The Doc wasn't worried in the least as he gained so much the first 3 months (He's 70% weight and stable at 38% height)  He also gave us the all clear to slowly start baby foods if Declan seemed so inclined. Declan also had to get 4 month shots. He was much easier consoled this time around but the after-effects were worse. He was cranky and he ran a low grade fever off and on for 36 hours after. No FUN!

What was fun was letting Declan try some organic brown rice cereal! He's doing really well with it. Next food on the menu: AVOCADO! Yum! Here's a pic of my handsome prince on his throne enjoying his first feast!

Ok, here's another because I just can't decide which one I like best

And here is one for the ladies...

"Here's lookin' at you, Nana!"

Monday, December 21, 2009

First day back at work...

*I sobbed the entire drive to my Mama's.
*I sobbed when I nursed my son one last time before leaving.
*I sobbed when I kissed him goodbye.
*I sobbed when I drove away.
*I was glad I wore water-proof mascara
*I couldn't remember my clock-in number then...
*I thought I remembered it suddenly.
*I lost my appetite.
*I talked to my Mama at lunch and guess what (here's a hint...I SOBBED!)
*I discovered I was double booked for the afternoon.
*My second infusion was an hour and forty-five minutes late getting started which means...
*I didn't get to leave work until 5 minutes before 6.
*I didn't remember my clock-in number after all...
*I sobbed all the way back to my Mama's.

My son, however, had a GREAT day. Gramma took him to get his picture made with Santa and then they met a friend for lunch. I don't think he even noticed that he hadn't seen me all day. Oh well.

Tomorrow better be easier or else Ben will have to get a paper route. Keep me in your prayers!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

This time last year...

Ben and I were celebrating our first married Christmas and Declan, well, he was just a twinkle in his Daddy's eye and a longing in his Mama's heart. 

This year we celebrate our first Christmas as a family.

As my maternity leave comes to it's inevitable end and we bid adieu to what has been a most amazing year I can't help but feel a little bit sad to see them both come to a close. This past year has been chock full of so many blessings for our little family ranging from Ben's fellowship to the discovery, growth and delivery of a healthy, happy bouncing baby boy. Being Declan's Mama is the best thing I've ever done next to marrying his Daddy and I have been very fortunate to have such a long and joyful maternity leave. I've learned so much in these last four months with my beautiful Son! Thanks to Declan, I can experience Christmas with a deeper understanding of the Blessed Miracle and God's incredible sacrifice. It makes my heart explode with gratitude. I hope all of my lovely readers have an amazing Christmas and that 2010 is full of great things!
With so much love,
Katy England 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Declan has officially been to 5 states!

This past weekend we went to Hattiesburg, MS. It really was a neat little college town. It reminded me of a cross between Mobile, AL and Chattanooga, TN but smaller and less established in areas than both of those places. We really had a great visit. Declan and I were taken around town to look at neighborhoods and visit several schools while Ben was in meetings and interviews.

It was unseasonably cold in Hattiesburg but that didn't stop Declan from being happy!

Ben really loved the job, set-up and benefits and I really loved the Catholic school in Hattiesburg. Sacred Heart is pre-K through 12th grade and it is AMAZING. The kiddos are READING by Kindergarten and the whole place hums with curiosity and excitement. The students love to learn at that school and it's truly wonderful. The school infuses the arts into EVERY subject and there is a real focus on community service. It's everything a Catholic school should be and it is exactly the kind of education I want for Declan as well as any other children we may be blessed with.

It has everything we want except all of our loved ones (friends, family, friends that have morphed into family and vice versa). Hattiesburg would be the perfect fit if it were two towns over or even still in-state or if we could just bring everyone we love with us. The thing is that we are so happy and content here in Knoxville. What if we have to move somewhere and we never find that sense of completeness and belonging again? What if where we move never becomes home to us? It's terrifying... which is why I'm asking for prayers.

 I know this isn't an easy thing to do especially since so many of you want exactly what we want, which is for us to stay right here. None the less, please pray that we may find our place and that we end up where we can do the most good. That God's plan prevails and we can trust his will... and learn to suck it up and answer his call no matter how far it takes us from where we want to be.
Thanks, sweet friends.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


*The Daddy will have his first real live "I'm a REAL Doctor" job interview.
*The Mama will be turning 30.
*The Baby will be leaving town for the SECOND time in his life. (Fancy boy!)

The England family is flying to Hattiesburg, MS for Ben's interview. Please keep us and our pilots and fellow travelers in your prayers. Also, please pray that the group LOVES Ben as much as we do and decides they can't live without him OR that if this job isn't a good fit that we can discern that pretty quickly. In addition, if it isn't too much trouble, pray that our first England family trip is a good one.
 Thanks, ya'll!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Did you know that Declan's girlfriend is a supermodel?

Her name is Bridgette and she's a real live cover girl! She's about to be on the cover of KnoxMom's magazine! She's the daughter of our dear friends, the Fawvers. Way to go, Bridgette! We love you and we're so proud of you! (Here's a pic of Bridgette and Declan together!)

Declan and the snow...

(taken from behind a windshield)
As many of you know, Declan and I are spending this weekend in Buffalo with the McDonald grandparents while Ben in is at a conference in Arizona. Today was the first time I've been fortunate enough to be up here for a big fat lake effect snowfall. It was BEAUTIFUL and, of course,  Gramma and Mama decided to bundle Declan up and go... SHOPPING!

Our shopping trip was cut short, however, when Grandaddy called Gramma and said "I've spilled something on my shirt, could you bring me a sweater?" So off we went to Grandaddy's office where Declan decided to do Grandaddy's job for a while.

Here he is in Grandaddy's chair...

Here he is testing out Grandaddy's couch...

Here he is being toted around and doted on by Gramma.

Here he is snuggled in his jammies after a long day.

Declan isn't totally certain about what a CEO does but if today was any indication then he's pretty sure it involves spilling stuff on your shirt, sitting in a chair, laying on a couch, being doted on by Gramma and snuggling in your pajamas with your lambchop lovey. Watch out, Grandaddy, Declan is gunning for your job !*Wink*

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Two pictures from Declan's first air travel experience

First plane ride...

Sitting in the Charlotte airport just talking about Daddy! Declan LOVES his Daddy!

Getting to know you

Wednesday night Ben and I went to Target to pick up a few items for our assorted travels to Phoenix (Ben flew out yesterday), Buffalo (Declan and I flew out today) and Hattiesburg (All three of us leave next Thursday). It was there that I discovered something about my husband that I had never noticed before...

Ben LOVES anything in miniature. In the travel aisle I watched in amusement as Ben delighted in filling the buggy with little mini sized toothpastes, itty bitty deodorants, teeny tiny cans of shaving cream, petite bottles of face wash. When I pointed this out, he noted that his love of miniature did not stop at toiletries, it also encompassed his little wife. So sweet! I could kiss his face off, he's such a love!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Three years ago today...

This very handsome man...

...met this short and goofy girl

and suddenly everything became so clear.

Happy December 1st!

Declan's very first Thanksgiving...

Started on Tuesday when the McDonald grandparents came in.

Wednesday, he got to watch Mama bake some cakes and back on up to the big house we went, where he strolled in his stroller as Mama and Gramma walked and talked... and Bo, Uncle Jamesy's big ol' bull-in-a-china-shop of a boxer, got sprayed by a skunk. Fun City.

Thursday, that dear Daddy of Declan's was off work for the first time in about a month and a half. He got to go for a nice long run and when Daddy gets to run, the whole house hums with happiness! After Daddy had a shower, we packed the car and headed on out to get our thankful turkey party started! We dropped off a cake at the big house only to find that Uncle Micah had purchased a silver Vespa. We left and headed up to Kingsport for the Durnin family Thanksgiving. As you can see, Declan...

was the center of attention!

We also were lucky enough to visit with Ben's sweet Aunt Sabra and Uncle John. Cousin Laura and Cousin Heath were there too. They had their Christmas tree up and Declan just LOVED watching the lights. It was so very sweet.

Friday was an entire day of Man-Time with Daddy while I participated in a long-standing McDonald female tradition of shopping and lunch with my Mama (Gramma) and my aunt Barbara (the grand Barb!) Cousin Reece and her dear mother-in-law, Debbie (Aunt Nana!)... Did I mention that lunch includes wine? Very well, then.

Saturday was super fun! Declan got to meet his Nashville cousins at the England Family Thanksgiving. It was so sweet to see Paige and Preston play with Declan. Nan and Bop-Bop were impressed with Declan's heft and also all of his England charm! Declan was impressed with Nan's ability to snuggle and sway at the same time!

Sunday was "Festive Christmas Family Picture" day at the big house with Gramma, Granddaddy, Jamesy, Micah and us. The following photo best exemplifies the chaos of Thanksgiving this year...

And this next one is how Declan feels about his routine being messed with since Tuesday...

This would be a pouty frown. Sad day!

Monday morning found Daddy with a very painful back, Mama with a sinus infection and Declan unafraid of vocalizing his displeasure about being slighted out of all those naps! Whew!

I hate to break it to him but the next few weeks will find Declan's cheese DEFINITELY moved.

That's all for now!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Looooooooong Day, BUSY BABY!

So Declan had his 3 month check-up today. He's 86th percentile in weight at 15 lbs and he's 38 percentile height at 23 and 1/2 inches. The practitioner that saw him recognized his Daddy's name. Turns out, he was from Maryville and graduated from William-Blount with Uncle Kip and Aunt Valerie... Apparently, was best buddies with Aunt Val. Does Benjamin Batchelor ring a bell?  He was very good to Declan and said that Declan looked WONDERFUL and healthy and is developmentally on a 5 month level but to not be surprised if he ends up a little behind in rolling over. Apparently, roly poly babies don't always roll as fast as their svelte baby friends. Ironic, isn't it?

After our fun-filled visit to the pediatrician's office, I headed over to the GI For Kids office to show off  handsome baby Declan to my coworkers. He slept for most of the visit but a few people got to see him with his eyes open.  As we were leaving the office, my parents called to say that they had made it in to town and please hurry and bring Declan over.

We went straight to the big house to see the McDonald grandparents. Declan had big fun with his Uncle Micah and Uncle Jamesy. He enjoyed snuggling with Gramma but he really had a good time laying in Granddaddy's arms and watching the ceiling fans. Here's a picture of all that rowdy partying...

Two peas in a pod, if you ask me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day...

My Grandpa Wilkinson was in the Navy and was stationed in the Pacific during WWII. His sister, my great aunt, was an Army nurse on the banks of Normandy D-day plus 2. My Grandaddy McDonald was a bombardier in the Army Air corps during WWII and was shot down over Europe... He made it home alive, though, and just in time to marry my beautiful Grandmother. I am proud of these veterans. I am proud of their service...and I am proud to be their granddaughter and her great niece. Thank you for being so brave.  The freedoms we enjoy were paid for by your courage and the bravery of all of your fellow veterans that we remember today.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lady Vols Scrimmage...

Last night we took Declan to watch his first basketball game. It was at Thompson-Boling Arena and there was much to see.

He had a really great time! He's just gotten to where he can see and focus well and there were lots of fun new sights and sounds. He saw lots of people and heard the band play. He also got to spend time with his dear ol' Daddy... which makes us all very happy.

In the end, though, he was still up past his bedtime...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Declan and I have something in common... Chubby Chipmunk Cheeks. This is a facial feature that many find "adorable" and "cute" and feel the need make comments about. This attention is all fine and good. Sometimes, the attention goes too far... Usually at the hands of well-meaning distant relatives and others without Chubby Chipmunk Cheeks (CCC).


So please, next time you reach to pinch some infant, child or adult suffering from CCC, stop...and remember that Cheekies are for smooching ONLY!

Thank you!
That's MUCH better.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

my love affair with cloth

(Remember when he was this tiny?)

As soon as we got home from the hospital, Declan began wearing cloth diapers. We tried several different types but in the end our favorite turned out to be the bumgenius all-in-one fitteds. They don't leak, they come in great colors, they wash up well and are just as easy to put on and take off as a disposable. I am proud to announce that I love cloth diapers sooooooo much that tonight I ordered sized mediums of the fitted bumgenius as well as a new product called "Flip". 

Here is why I love cloth diapers...
#1: We never have to run to the store to buy disposable diapers.
#2: Super cute fun colors!
#3: Soooo Soft!
#4: We get to use these same diapers for each and every baby we have!
#5: In countries where cloth is predominantly used, the kiddies get potty trained faster. Fingers crossed that Declan follows suit. :)

I have a few more reasons but I won't share them here because Ben just looked over at what I'm typing and said "I think you're gonna gross people out talking about diapers."
I guess he's right.
Goodnight, All! I hope everyone had a happy Halloween and that the upcoming week is full of happiness!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Big Friday Night!!!

Since Daddy works high school football games on Friday nights, Declan and I usually relax at home and catch up on housework. This friday night, we decided to show off Declan's awesome Halloween costume at Nana's house! I channeled my mother's creativity and made the garden gnome costume myself! Declan loved the costume for all of five minutes and then got too hot and cranky. WE removed the costume and he was in a much better mood after that.

We then ate a little dinner and went over to spend time with cousin Charley and cousin Elias. Elias was a wild man and showed me all of his fun toys. While we were there we had a baby photo shoot with cousin Charley, who is only 1 month younger than Declan and about 5 lbs lighter.Both babies were squirmy little buddies until we arranged them next to each other. They both melted into baby relaxation immediately. It was so sweet. I think they are going to grow up to be thick as thieves if tonight was any indication.

I hope all of you bloggy loved ones are well and have a happy Halloween!
The Englands!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

the day after...

Declan had shots yesterday. He was a little cranky baby bear yesterday.

Today, our little cranky bear decided to hibernate. It's better than crying, I suppose. When baby bear DID wake up today, he was sure hungry! That little bear melts my heart!!**sigh**!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

just thought I'd add

My son is so handsome he could be a baby supermodel. I could be humble about it, but, as my friend Misti in NYC says ,"Why lie?"

Oh the horror!

Declan had his 2 month shots today. He threw the biggest fit I'd ever seen while the Doc was examining him and this was BEFORE the shots. It was almost as if he knew what was coming. The Doc said our fella looked great and meeting all of his milestones. Declan spit out about half of his rotovirus vaccine (It was oral) and the rest were given by injection into his chubby little thighs. He cried his little heart out until I nursed him. He calmed down as soon as he latched on and then he slept the whole way home.
Here are his stats so far.

AGE: 2 months on the nose
WEIGHT:13 lbs (this is 78th percentile weight for age)
HEIGHT:22inches (this is 22nd percentile height for age)
HAIR COLOR: Reddish brown and he still has all of it but his head is getting bigger so it's spreading a little thin on top. WE are seeing new growth, however.
EYE COLOR: Dark blue-ish, gray-ish green-ish.
HAS MOM'S: Cheeks, chin, mouth, smile
HAS DAD'S: Eyes, nose, hairline, dimple and appetite!

Stay tuned for more crazy England antics!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Because one day he'll be an adolescent...

And I'll need something to hold over his head...

We had a big weekend...

Ben was called away to work one of the medic stations at the Marine Corps Marathon (ooh-rah!) this weekend. He left on Thursday and was so sad to leave because it was the first time he's EVER spent the night away from Declan. He was heartbroken to leave us and we were as equally sad to see him go. Thursday night it was just Declan and me and the girls all by ourselves. We did alright, I think.

Friday, my dear friend Jan came up for a visit and she brought Declan SUNGLASSES!!! Woohoo! Jan stayed until this morning. We went hiking on the trails at Ijams on friday afternoon and then the three of us went to dinner.

Saturday we decided to make an early start of it and drive up to the aquarium in Gatlinburg. Well, early starts don't exactly happen as planned with a little 2 month old snuggle bug so we didn't get out of the house until 11:30. And we made the mistake of taking the interstate instead of Chapman Hwy. Sad day! 4 HOURS LATER we were barely past the visitors center in Gatlinburg . We decided that we'd rather outlet shop than drive the 45 minutes it would take us to get to stoplight five in G'burg only to spend $20 a head to get us in to see the aquarium (which was likely just as overcrowded as the traffic). So we turned it around and headed back to the outlets. We did a little shopping. Declan was a total trooper up until we went into the maidenform outlet. In typical male fashion, he got overwhelmed and flustered surrounded by all of those mysterious female underthings and had a total meltdown. We got out of there pronto and packed ourselves and our goodies up in the beetle and headed back to the house where we unloaded, fed and changed the baby in the quiet of his own room and felt settled enough to pack it all back up and go get Mexican for dinner...ARRIBA!

It's Sunday now and Jan has left after a fun filled weekend and Declan is sleeping in his crib. There is a load of diapers running in the wash and Daddy is still in DC until the marathon is over and he can come home (a LOOOOOONG 8 hour drive) to us. We had a great weekend but we are both tired and cranky and Declan needs some man time with the Daddy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

my newborn son...

My beautiful newborn son is now nearly 2 months old... which means he isn't a newborn anymore. As you can plainly see, he is so beautiful he makes my heart ache for a dozen more just like him. He's growing so big and so fast right before my eyes and I wish I could live in the moment better or stop time just for a second to take him all in.

Here are the updates for our darling Declan.
He is sleeping from 7:30 pm to 7:00 am with a "wake-up and nurse" break around 11:00pm and 3:45 am and he eats and goes right back to sleep. This is much improved from the "wake up and nurse" breaks that occurred every hour to hour and a half. Ben and I both find we love him EVEN MORE now that he lets us sleep longer (haha)

His smiles are about a 50/50 ratio of gas to true amusement now.

He grasps and pats my shoulder and pulls Ben's chest hair.

He whacks at toys and clutches his frog lovey at bedtime.

He holds his head up VERY well but every now and then swings it around like a belligerent drunk baby... Don't worry, we haven't let him into the liquor cabinet yet (We only let him get milk drunk, people!).

Also, you should know, he aces his "tummy-time" work outs. We are having so much fun with this little fella that we can hardly stand it.

The Englands