Look who’s wide awake! It’s two month old Emery! 😜 I used to call him my little firecracker when I was pregnant, and that’s definitely what he is. To be honest, I was a little puzzled about how calm he was in the beginning, because it didn’t match the impression I had of him before he was born lol Now that he’s becoming more alert and more active throughout the day, his overall energy matches exactly how I had pictured him all along. 😊
I’ve been trying so hard to take a picture of him smiling for the past two weeks, but still no luck. He smiles and laughs so often! I just cannot seem to snap it. As soon as I pull out the camera, he stops and stares all intrigued at the lens. Haha!
And here are finally some pictures of the “sugar beans” treats I crafted right after he was born. I mentioned them last month in my “birth announcement card” post.
I basically stuck to the same Summery / honey bee theme I had going on with his birth announcement. And here it is, next to Sam’s white and blue one; which we never got to give to people:
I don’t know why, I love seeing them right next to each other like that. I think it’s because those are the only two items I can look at together, and forget for a second that the little boy to whom the blue jar belongs isn’t here. For a split second, I feel like both my babies made it alive and well, and got to be celebrated equally, as all babies deserve to be.
This brings me to this very special gift I received last month:
This mobile is packed with symbols and special meanings to me. It is a perfect replica of all the symbols that were featured on Emery’s birth announcement card. The sun, the cloud, the bee and the firefly. And most importantly, in the center, a beautiful blue star with Sam’s initial on it. 💕 I absolutely wanted this to become part of Emery’s daily life, so I took a few days to figure out where I wanted to hang it, and I ended up putting it right above his changing table. I had noticed a while ago that he enjoyed looking up at the hair brush and random things that were hanging above him on the wall, so it seemed like the perfect thing to keep him entertained during those countless diaper changes every day and night. I’m glad to report that it works like a charm! He LOVES it! He stares at it every single time, smiles at it, tries to reach out to touch it … It’s so fun for me to see. Obviously, I put it high enough so he can’t reach it. I would be devastated if it ever got damaged. This is definitely something I will keep for the rest of my life.
There are so many other beautiful gifts we have received. And I’m planning to include them in Emery’s updates, little by little. But I will end today’s update here, as I don’t want to flood the blog with baby items. More later! 😊
Most people to whom we’ve mailed Emery’s birth announcement card have probably received it by now, so here it is … My little sunshine themed card. I designed it myself from scratch and basically poured my heart into every little detail. At first, we thought about going to a specialized business to have this done. But then I didn’t feel like anyone would be able to nail it completely; considering how personal and emotional it all is. I absolutely wanted Sam to be mentioned in some way.
I knew from the start I wanted a Summer / sunshine theme, because that’s the season Emery was going to arrive. But then the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was a lovely symbol after those dark few years we’ve been through. I started working on the design somewhere around the fifth month of my pregnancy, after we found out we were going to have a little boy again. Finally, the last few details were in place just a few days before he was born. All I needed before I could order the prints was his actual date of birth, his weight and size, and I had been thinking about adding a picture of him but wasn’t quite sure yet how that was going to work out. In the end, I did manage to get some lovely newborn photos of him in the outfit which I had hoped would be the right size, and everything came together quite nicely.
I may have gone a bit cheesy with the Beatles lyrics on the back, but I had had this song in my head during my whole pregnancy and it just felt so right and appropriate. I’m sure some people found it a bit too much or what have you. But I don’t care, it meant a lot to me and I really wanted it on there! ☀️
Originally, this outfit was actually meant for Sam. I bought it in August 2014; about 4 weeks or so before he died. Sam turned out to be a solid little man, and I remember it broke my heart to think that there was no way he would have fitted in it. Emery ended up being quite a bit smaller (granted, he was born earlier), and it kind of weirds me out now how it all fell into place to match perfectly.
I’ve been munching on these sugary treats for a few days now as I’m busy putting together this typical Belgian tradition: sugar coated chocolates – which literally translate to “sugar beans” – and which are meant to be wrapped up nicely in small portions and labeled with some sort of tag that mentions the newborn’s name and date of birth. They’re meant as little gifts for whoever comes to visit the baby, or well, whoever the Hell you feel like handing them out to. It doesn’t really matter. They’re basically a cute little keepsake to mark the baby’s birth. I think these were originally supposed to be handed out at the baby’s christening. But the whole tradition got a little blurry over time. We’ll probably be handing out another type of little gift at Emery’s christening later this year.
Emery’s sugar beans are yellow. These blue ones are Sam’s. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them at first. They’ve been sitting in the nursery for two years now and just expired a few weeks ago. At first, I thought about throwing them away. But then I couldn’t bring myself to do that. And I have a terribly sweet tooth. Maybe that seems a little messed up, but I decided to open the box and eat them. It’s not like they’re actually bad barely a couple of weeks past their expiration date lol I’ve been thinking about it though and decided that I will keep some blue treats aside and put together one piece of what I had originally planned for Sam, after all. We already had all the supplies, which we had bought just two days before he passed away. It’s still so sad. Once it’s done, I will put his blue sugar beans gift in the big box that contains all his stuff. I like to go through it every once in a while.
Emery’s version will be a lot more elaborate, since I couldn’t wait to FINALLY be able to hand out something cute and fun to people! I can’t wait to show the result.
He’s changing so fast already. I can literally see his face changing a tiny bit every day. Tomorrow, he’ll be exactly two weeks old!
Gert’s aunt is celebrating her 80th birthday this year. That’s a whole lot of candles! Her actual birthday was several months ago, but she wanted to invite the whole family to a fancy restaurant and it got a bit tricky to get everyone to come because of vacations and other various reasons. So, the one date that seemed to work for most people was August 31st.
She originally purchased invitation cards at a local store, which she simply had to fill out (such as the date, address, etc). But then she wasn’t happy about how it looked, so I offered to give it a shot. She was quite excited about having something personalized and was keen on adding her own touches. One requirement was to add a picture of her as a small child, and she got to decide about the whole text.
Because of her old childhood picture inside, I decided to go for a total vintage look.
She absolutely loved the final result; which is quite an achievement because she’s one tough lady to please lol She definitely knew what she wanted, so I’m glad it met her expectations. It’s not always easy to interpret what people envision in their heads. So yay for another card success!
I had intended to post this well over a month ago, but only managed to get around to it now. My in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in July. They had organized a whole fancy dinner for the entire family and felt a bit lost as to how to get their own menus and name tags made, so I offered to do it. Here are the results:
Right after printing, before they were folded
I also took their portrait, which I’m not going to post here for obvious privacy reasons. But it was taken in their yard and had pale and dark pink hydrangeas in the background. Hence the reason why I used these particular illustrations on their menus, so that everything would blend into one theme.
The background was printed in a pink damascus pattern, which gave a nice lace effect.
You can see it well on the back of the menu cards.
So I used the same pattern for the name tags that were going to be placed on the tables, at each assigned seat.
And here are additional pictures of everything together:
All neatly packed and ready to give:
They loved the result. And I was very pleased to hear that most guests actually took their little menu and name tags home after the party, which is the biggest compliment I could get :-)
It came as such a surprise! Gert was convinced from day 1 that we’d be having a girl, and all our friends and family seemed quite sure of it too. I had to try real hard to stay as neutral and open to both as possible. I kept having to tell people “stop saying it’s a girl, we don’t know yet”. But I admit in the end I started getting a bit carried away by everyone’s certainty! So, when the doctor said “boy”, our jaws dropped.
And then we panicked because, although we had agreed on an option for a boy name, it wasn’t quite as sure as the girl name we had picked. And now it was definitely serious, so we threw our idea out the window and started back from scratch.
First it took me a whole day to get used to the idea of having a boy lol Don’t get me wrong though, I was not disappointed. Just very much surprised and unprepared! Then I started going through the national list of almost 8000 baby boy names, all born last year. So I wrote down whatever I found decent. I grabbed my list, went to my mom’s place and said them all out loud. She nodded yes or no as I was saying each name, so I started unchecking a few. And then I got to “Sam” and she stopped and said “oh, I like that.” I thought “Ok, we have a winner”. Especially since it’s a name I had actually considered from the very beginning, but sort of wrote off because there wasn’t really any family tie or meaning to it. But now it was definitely back on the top of my list.
It ticked all the boxes:
– the same in every language (this is especially important to us in Dutch, French and English, since we use all three on a regular basis).
– nothing weird or too original; just nice and normal
– flows well with our last name
– won’t be made fun of or twisted into something messed up
I also didn’t want something that would require him to spell his name to everyone. And we didn’t really care to be unique. We just wanted something that would be easy for him to carry for life.
Then the next day, we started considering Louis, which is Gert’s father’s name. We actually considered Louis from the very beginning of the pregnancy. But when I checked out the national list, I noticed it was in the top 10. Now, I know I wanted something nice and normal, but a top 10 first name was out of the question, because we have one of the most common last names of the country. We went back & forth between Sam and Louis the whole weekend. At the end, I sat down and said both names out loud and tried to get a feel of it. I started imagining him as both a “Sam” and a “Louis”, and I realized that “Sam” felt much more right. I can’t quite explain it; it just felt like it would suit him better. And extra bonus: it’s way down in the national top 50. So, not too popular, but without being too rare. Which is exactly what we were looking for.
Now, I know there are definitely other people named Sam who also have our last name. But at least it won’t be as many.
So I asked Gert when he got home how he would feel about naming him that, and he agreed right away and said he liked it :-) Hallelujah! A name at last!
We traditionally have one first name and two middle names over here. We figured those out quite quickly after we settled on a first name. He will thus be named: Sam Alexander Louis. Alexander after my great-grandfather, and Louis, obviously, after Gert’s dad. We had gotten so close to naming him Louis that it still deserved a spot in the full name.
The next day, we went to Gert’s parents to ask their opinion about “Sam”. We were 99% sure of our choice, but I didn’t want to name him something they would hate. Thank Goodness though, they said they liked it and seemed happy :-) Quite frankly though, I think the fact that we asked their opinion made them more happy than the actual name lol I wasn’t planning to get the whole family involved in the name choosing process, but the grandparents matter a lot, in my opinion.
Soooo … here are the gender / name reveal cards I’ve been working on:
Quite a stash to send out …
I know nobody ever sends out cards like these (maybe we’ll launch a new trend here?). But I figured it was such a nice gesture and would make people feel more involved, as well as a bit more excited about the upcoming birth. We generally just get birth announcements in the mail, and often think “okay … we had no idea they were expecting” lol So this gives time to whoever we may have not seen in a while, to maybe reconnect and meet up or drop us a note or whatever they feel like doing. There are no strings attached and we’re definitely not expecting any response, but at least it gives people a chance if they want to. And for those who already know there’s a baby on the way, I thought this was the most diplomatic way of handling the gender and name reveal. Because I sent out all the cards at once, so everyone will get them the same day, and nobody can moan and complain about finding out after other people. I also included a little handwritten “thank you” note for those who have already purchased some early gifts.
Some people may wonder why we didn’t opt for the more formal “Samuel”. But we would personally NEVER call him Samuel anyway, so I figured there was no point. I’m really quite happy about our choice. I think it’s versatile enough to suit him whatever life path and profession he chooses later on. I absolutely wanted to figure out his name as soon as possible so that I can start calling him that and start feeling more familiar about it before his birth. Just being able to say “him” instead of “it” or “he/she” already feels awesome! I can’t wait to meet our little boy and dress him in mini-Gert outfits :-)