Sunday, 23 February 2014

Twenty weeks! Halfway there!!

I wanted to thank everyone for their kind words and support over the past few weeks. It's been amazing to receive so much feedback - online and in person from here and afar. I'm always shocked by the number of hits my posts get (especially as I think I'm just rattling off utter rubbish). I'm just glad people want to know how B and I getting on - it's just going to get funnier and funnier (as we have NO IDEA what we are doing).  
Stay tuned - you may get a chuckle or two!

(Photo update!)

How far along:  Twenty Weeks!
Weight Gain: 9 Pounds!  Wow! 
Maternity Clothes:  I ran out of excuses....and clothes.  See  below for the update!
Stretch Marks:  Nope!
Belly Button:  In but feeling rather vast. 
Queasy or Sick:   I'm feeling pretty good even though I've had a few vomity days. Every time I smugly remember I'm vomit free - boom - I'm hugging the toilet.
Sleep:  I'm sleeping really well.  My only problem is I need to get more and more of it. I'm not interested in staying up any later than 9 - this makes me a real social recluse. I don't care how anti-social I appear. Grumpy and pregnant just aren't a good mix. 
Best Moment of the Week:  It's been half term - every day is wonderful. But really it had to be the scan on Friday.  Baby was all arms and legs - which isn't a surprise if you've seen my arms and legs.  Baby also kept it's legs crossed, so we had no chance of finding out the gender!  Auntie Erin thought it was a good sign - conservative baby.
Worst Moment of the Week:    Having to pay out £90 to remove the buildup of winter grime on my tyres - at least it will save me from screeching every time I stop the car!
Miss Anything:  I've had a real hankering for Stilton and white wine. A proper wine and cheese tasting - but more than a taste. More a jumbo sized selection.... a lunchable to end all lunchables...I just have this really refined a pallet, ok?
Movement:   I've worked out what "flutters" feel like and I've had loads of them!  B can even feel them now!  Baby doesn't like me resting the iPad on the edge of my belly. That message has been received loud and clear. 
Cravings:   I'm not sure there's been any mad cravings. I'm just far more obsessed with certain foods and won't rest until I get to eat what I want. Soft pretzels, for instance. Where on earth am I going to get an Aunt Annie's Pretzel in King's Lynn?  Solution.  And Lemon Curd? I'm obsessed at the moment!  I've just had a very big fail trying to make buttermilk, moving back to America is really the only option here.
Looking forward to:  We have a really busy week this week, but most importantly we are having our couples massage on Thursday for our Monthly Anniversary gift!  I'm so glad I booked that.....a much needed treat!

Why hello, bump!

B and I have been debating names this past week. We are both dead set on our girl name, but our boy name has been spoken for - so it's back to the drawing board for Baby Boy McBerry. Being a teacher, names are a real problem.   There's a list about a metre long of names that could be quite lovely - could be - if it weren't for some child who ruined the integrity of that good old name and has haunted my memories.

Maternity Clothes! I finally had success!  After going into *every* shop in King's Lynn, I finally visited New Look - and geeze - talk about having to eat my words.  There wasn't a massive selection, but it was the best selection I had ever come into contact with.  Clothes were affordable and - gasp - stylish.  They actually are cut in a flattering way - I especially love this red top as I can wear it with leggings or trousers (when I find some) and B really likes the black dress (similar) (my chests looks huge...of course he loves it).  Mom and Erin also came to the rescue and are sending me some US maternity trousers....Frumpy is not ok - and I'm lucky I have my family to help me fight the limited maternity clothes selection!

In other news, I've started a youtube Pregnancy Yoga class, seeing as there are NO classes for much of anything maternity related in the West Norfolk Area.  At least it's something to keep me moving and stretching.  I tried a session the other night when I was feeling pretty lousy and the breathing and gentle stretches genuinely made me feel better!

B and I are also attending an Expectant Parent Night at Mothercare.  Now this is a good idea.  A friend recommend it and I'm really glad we have signed up - there's loads of freebies, plus teaching of first aid/CPR, advice on feeding and safety and other shopping/buying options.

For my emotional well being, I've joined Lauren Conrad's Book Club to keep me reading and engaged in a life beyond work.   "Where'd you go, Bernadette" is the book on the table at the moment - it was only £3 on Kindle, so I was more than happy to jump on board!  The only problem?  You have to read section 1 by 6 March.  I finished the whole thing in 24 hours.  Oops.  A good read though - I loved the style of the book with emails and faxes and articles.  It just helped to shape the characters!  I've now started Gina Ford's "The New Contented Little Baby Book" at the recommendation of a few friends.  I've learned a lot - it's terrifying!

As half term is coming to a close, I'm jumping with glee at the next break - in six weeks time I'll be in America with my fabulous family!  Baby needs to experience Ohio.  I've been so homesick recently, so I can't wait to see my US family and friends.   My sister sent me this picture the other night of my mom and I felt those pangs of homesickness creeping in again.  Luckily, Auntie Erin has it all sorted and we have a checklist of places to see (mostly food places) to settle my pregnancy cravings for Ohio!


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A very English half term...

It's been a rather English February Half Term.  B is working ALL WEEK on his surgical rota, so I'm on my own for most of the week.  We did get to spend an evening together at the weekend and attended a 1940s Sweetheart Dance in aid of the King's Lynn Players upcoming production of Blackadder Goes Forth.  

We were greeted at the door by military men, learnt some rock jive dances and enjoyed the company of loads the Players.  We also had the very English snack platter which included cheese and pickle sandwich triangles, sausage rolls and French fancies. Yummy. 

B and I enjoyed a dance to the live music- he cleans up pretty well, doesn't he?  

On Monday, I joined my friends in town for a jolly jaunt around the Mart - a travelling carnival that comes to King's Lynn every February half term (which usually means it's rained out).  There are rides, games and sweet stalls.  It's mental - seriously.  

Being from Ohio and having Cedar Point at my fingertips, I don't really have the same respect for the Mart that the locals may have.  Big, scary rides don't really compare to Millennium Force, but hey - it's better than nothing, right?  I was in it for the Nougat and Candy Floss.  I have polished them off today whilst writing this post!

I've spent the rest of my glorious week off marking assessments on the sofa whilst watching Olympic action. I've become quite a fan of curling -particularly Team GB with their amazing last second win the other night (Ladies didn't have the victory today!  Shame!).

I'm trying to ignore the fact that we are moving in two weeks time - I should probably start packing.....but then again I've got two teams to cheer for in Sochi and it'd be really rude to neglect them....

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Nursery Inspiration

It's actually amazing how nursery inspiration evolves.  I've had loads and loads of ideas for Baby McBerry's room - and let's be honest: there are some seriously fabulous nurseries out there.


We have three serious issues:  
1.  We Rent - and we aren't planning on staying here long term.  
2.  We don't know Baby McBerry's gender.
3.  I'm fussy and opinionated....and I'm not keen on typical "baby" decor.

As we are renting, we can't paint or nail holes in the walls or change the carpet.  With that said, I'm not at all keen on the whole "baby" theme for a room.  B and I are quite classic and modern, and we like the idea of a crisp and simple nursery for Baby McBerry.  The *coolest* feature of the nursery is the wallpaper: white background with black circles.  That was a serious surprise when we viewed the house.  B knew that it was the nursery right away.

And this whole gender neutral thing is a tad frustrating.  I finally settled on simple and white - with slight shades of blue, green, white and grey.

My inspiration board is currently looking a little like this:

For me, it all started with the bedding.  I fell in love with the bumper and sheet set I saw online at Vertbaudet (on Sale as well!) - and then a plan was born!  I haven't been keen on the gender neutral sets, but actually the greeny/blue tones are quite pretty...or masculine.

I LOVE the idea of Pom Poms on the ceiling.  When I saw the image above on Pinterest I was immediately won over.  I've ordered Tassel Garland from the Pom Pom Studios, so I was super excited to get some lanterns and poms from Sarah as well.  She sent me the colour samples and it's what really helped us focus on what the nursery will look like.

We still have a month until the big move, so there's not a massive hurry to get the room sorted. All of these ideas will change about as often as I change my pants....but hey - it's nice to know that nesting has begun!  


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Week 18 and Old Wives Tales!

How far along:  Eighteen Weeks! 
Weight Gain:  6 whole pounds!
Maternity Clothes:  I know I don't look very big, but I really need to get some maternity trousers.  I'm only wearing leggings now - yikes!
Stretch Marks:  Nope!
Belly Button:  In!
Queasy or Sick:  Taking my tablets and feeling OK!
Sleep:  I've had a few nights where I've woken up with sharp pains, panicked, listened to the wind and then drifted off again.  I've bought a V Shaped pillow (Similar) and I'm hoping that gives me a bit more support.
Best Moment of the Week:  Yesterday, B and I had an "us" day:  Tea and Cake at Florence Cafe, Mothercare for pram browsing and B and Q for some power tools (B's request for Valentine's Day!).  
Worst Moment of the Week:  It's not been a great week if I'm honest. I've been tired, lonely and just plain grumpy.  B has been on night shifts....I've been left to wallow.  It's been pretty bad.
Miss Anything:  Starburst Jelly Beans. Not missing them because I can't eat them, but just because you can't GET them here.
Movement:   I don't think so.  Everyone says I should start to feel something, but I'm not sure what exactly I should be feeling.
Cravings:   As the chalkboard says, it's mostly all junk at the moment.  I can't get enough!
Looking forward to:  Friday.  It's the last day of the half term - thank goodness!

Tea and Carrot Cake...Yes, please!

In other news, I had a bit of fun Saturday morning going through the Old Wives Tales and seeing if I could shed some light on Baby McBerry.   We decided not find out the gender of baby, but now that my 20 week scan is getting closer and closer, curiosity is getting the better of me.

I was initially convinced that Baby McBerry is a girl.   I've had strange dreams and just had that gut instinct - of course this could be because I know what to do with girls and the thought of having a boy scares me.  Now, I'm convinced baby is a boy.  So much for instinct!

B, on the other hand, is convinced that it's a boy.  Why?  We know a lot of girl babies.  Good logic, B.  

Old Wives Tales

Morning Sickness:     Yes    No
Cravings:     Sweet    Salty/Sour
Chinese Calendar:     Girl    Boy
Sleeping on:     Right    Left
Mood:     Moody    Happy
Disposition:     Graceful    Clumsy
Headaches:     More    Less
Ring Test:     Girl    Boy
Hands:     Soft    Dry
Carrying Baby:     High    Low
Even/Odd Test:     Girl    Boy 

Girl  5   Boy  6  

Well...that's a close call, Old Wives.  To be fair, the sleeping question isn't really true as I am lying on my back (I know - I'm getting close to that time when you aren't supposed to) as it's the only comfortable position.  I'm usually so desperate to get rid of the nausea, I'll lay however I can.

I guess we will just have to wait for mid July!

On the topic of sickness, my dad often recalls how he spent my night feeds watching the 1984 Olympics and cleaning my adorable baby vomit off of his chest.   Seems kind of ironic that I've been nursing my own sickness and watching the Sochi Olympics. Coincidence?  Who knows....


Thursday, 6 February 2014

February Love

Ah, the month of love.

While Valentine's Day has been an ever present staple in the calendar since my childhood, I'm quite shocked to learn it's still relatively new here in the UK. I merely mentioned sending a Valentine to someone and B, puzzled, queried how I would send a person in the post. 

That's when it hit me. 

The English didn't decorate shoe boxes as mailboxes as kids. They didn't go to the shop to select the "coolest" Valentines for their classmates. They didn't spend hours trying to remember the names of everyone in their class based on the seating plan. They didn't struggle to select the least romantic - let alone friendly - note in the pack of valentines for that kid in the class who you didn't like and didn't want to appear as though you liked. 

No conversation hearts, no Malley's chocolate covered strawberries, no wearing red for the day.  Nothing.

Don't get me wrong - I've always been able to but a card with "Happy Valentines Day, Boyfriend/Husband."  Good luck finding one for someone you are friends with as opposed to in love with.   It's difficult to get a table in restaurants - although some boast a special menu. There are heart shaped boxes of chocolates on sale and Moonpig advertises quite a selection of gift hampers.
But it's not the same. 

Last year, I had to work on Valentines day. It was Parents Evening - so my night was spent with my colleagues, in a freezing cold hall, discussing how Johnny Sixth Form was getting on in my subject. It just wasn't a big deal.  The parent's didn't seem to care.  Most of the staff didn't seem to be bothered.  I seemed to be the only person sulking as my first married Valentine's Day was being spent with everyone apart from my new husband!

There is a nod in recognition to the holiday (much like Halloween - and DON'T get me started on Paddy's day!) -but it's more a polite gesture rather than a celebration. 

So THIS year - I'm really excited to see a bit more of a celebratory "wahoo" in the general direction of Valentine's day.  B is going to get a Valentines Day as American as I can make it.  He's already enjoyed a batch of Red Velvet Cupcakes (recipe here) and gifted me with one of my Valentine's Gifts - a phone wallet.

See - purply pink nails - I'm ready for Valentine's day whether the UK is going to join me or not!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Dear Baby

Dear Baby,

It feels strange writing this because I've been thinking all of these things, but never said them out loud. I don't think you can hear my thoughts (that's a good thing though) so I wanted to write them down here.

This idea of being a mother terrifies me. I'm going to be 30 a few weeks after you are born, and I still feel like I'm too young to be a parent. Most people I know are onto their second or third baby - in the grand scheme of things, B and I are pretty old for first time parents. 

I'm sure everyone gets this feeling of panic. I'm going to be responsible for a little human being? How am I going to know what to do?  Why is everyone else so much younger than me (my kid is going to be friends with someone whose parents are more than ten years younger than me!)? What if I make a mistake? I know that you are exactly what we want. But that doesn't make it less scary. 

Whenever I'm worried, I focus on you and us and our little family. I don't know what kind of a mom I'll be, but I know what kind of mom I want to be. 

I'm going to be the mom who bakes. My mom and grandma taught me how, and I'm going to show you everything I know.  We will bake cookies at Christmas and cupcakes on a rainy day.  We will bake blueberry pie in the summer and rosemary cookies when we fancy a snack.  I promise I will write all of the recipes down so that you can make them if I'm unable to help you. 

I'm going to be the mom who sits with you while you do your homework.  I'm a teacher and I put a lot of time and effort into my students. You will be no exception.   I love the idea of helping you as you learn and explore new things.

I'm going to be the mom who reads to you. Every night. We will read together, you will read to me, we will read side by side.  We will go to book shops (if they aren't a thing of the past) and a book is always a gift you can take home.   So many kids tell me they hate reading or they never read with their parents.  I think my fondest memories of childhood involve reading books with my dad - especially A Woggle of Witches or Watch out for Chicken Feet in your Soup.

We will eat as a family, we will go on outings as a family, and you will know the importance of family. Family is not an option, nor is it a sentence. I've been lucky enough to be a part of a family where we loved, shared and enjoyed being together. Your Auntie Erin and Uncle Brian are still two of my best friends - I would do anything for them and I know they would do the same for me, you and Daddy. Grandma and Grandad US and UK are the same.  It doesn't matter what country we live in, you are loved by people across a sea. Family is imperative. 

We will have pudding and there will be chocolate or cookies in the house.  I'm not going to ban you from eating things, but I will always make sure we have blueberry or strawberries or other fruits and vegetables that you love. Food will be fun and tasty - I promise you that.   I don't care if you want to sit and eat the whole carton of raspberries the day we buy it.  They are good.  Eat them!

I'm going to support you in anything you choose to persue. If it's illegal, B and I will intervene (sorry, but rules are rules). I'll be a soccer mom, football mom, ballet mom, band mom - you name it. I'll be there and I'll be cheering you on with B. Just get involved in something and we will be there.

I promise I won't dress you up in hideous clothes. If you look back at photos and wonder what we were thinking - I do apologise. Trust me - they were cute in 2014.  I like to think I dress in a classic way, so I'll do my best to give you timeless clothes.  And when you want to try on my high heels or lipstick (even if you are a boy), I will love you for wanting to be a grown up.

I hope you have my stubbornness - it's shown me how to stand up for what I believe in. I hope you have my determination, because it showed me opportunities are endless. If I could pick up and move to another country, you can do anything. I hope you have your Daddy's motivation - he's a fighter and so will you be and I hope you have his sense of serenity. He keeps calm - you need to too!  

You have no idea how much I've dreamt of you and how in love with you I already am. Most importantly, I promise to love, trust, cherish, value and appreciate you

And when you look at all of this, everything I have written, I'm not sure I should be terrified. I was raised by great parents, and as long as I use the tools they gave me, I - and we - will all be fine. I know the mom I want to be, and it's not too different from the person I am today. I can't wait to meet you and actually take on the role of "mom."  Until then...

Love always,