Sunday, 27 April 2014

29 weeks: Hello, Third Trimester!

Old Navy Maternity Dress (Similar)

How far along:  Twenty-nine Weeks!
Weight Gain:  21 Pounds (that number was a bit higher when I got back, but I blame that on American food - it quickly dropped off once I returned to jolly old England)
Maternity Clothes:  But of course!  I have started to think about hospital bag packing and that has commenced some rather horrified conversations between myself and some American mums. Things are done slightly different over here. One thing I've been thinking about is nursing tank tops and like the look of this.  I'm in love with the nursing bras I bought from Target!
Stretch Marks:  Since the appearance of those cheeky little things on my chest, I've been inspecting daily - nothing new....slight relief!
Belly Button:  Is it normal for that area of my stomach to be flat as a pancake?  B told me I'd explode unless I expand more....
Queasy or Sick:   Feeling good!   Some heartburn in the evenings, but it's nothing too unbearable.  
Sleep:  I like my sleep a bit too much at the moment. I'm still going to bed quite early and needing it.  
Best Moment of the Week:  Sunday morning with B.  We put on BBC Radio 2 (Sunday morning love songs), made scrambled eggs on bagels and fresh coffee.  Before we knew it, it had been nearly an hour since we had sat down!  We don't get time to just sit and chat with both of us being so busy.  It was a beautiful morning and the best possible way to spend it.  
Worst Moment of the Week:   LAST Sunday morning when I arrived at Heathrow airport.  I had a rather traumatic trip back from America and just burst into tears as soon as I saw B.  I was overly tired as I didn't get any sleep on the turbulent flight and my feet and ankles were swollen beyond reason as my seat had been changed and I didn't get the extra leg room I had paid for (£136!!). Not cool, Air Canada.  
Miss Anything:  I miss America.  I'm not going to into the ins and outs, but I love my hometown and miss everything about the place, my family and friends.  Hopefully we will be seeing you again soon!
Movement:   Loads of movement!  You can now feel a foot/head/bum bulging out of my side.  Slightly creepy and slightly alien-like....but it's a nice reminder that Baby McBerry is happy!
Cravings:   Ice poles!  I couldn't believe how badly I wanted these this week.  Unfortunately, they aren't really a popular item in the shops yet as it's not really summer weather yet.  We tracked some down in PoundLand yesterday and I'm waiting patiently for them to freeze.  I did bust out the Zoku for a Iced Tea lolly and that almost appeased me!
Looking forward to: It's an unbelievably busy week this week.  I have a midwife appointment on Thursday and am looking forward to hearing Baby's heartbeat and finding out next steps.  I had a glucose tolerance test on Tuesday where I had to starve myself, have blood taken, drink a lucozade and then wait TWO HOURS before another blood test.  That wasn't too bad, but my surgery keeps cancelling my appointments since our move.  Hopefully they actually have me on record for this week!

B and I finally managed to find a spare moment to create some sense of order in Baby's room!  I'm not going to post photos until it's done, but I'm *loving* the look of the room.  It won't be properly finished until baby is born as we have a route for Baby Boy McBerry and then a different route for Baby Girl McBerry. The foundation is the same, just slight additions of a few things!  I've just ordered more poms as there just isn't enough up there!

Poms (I LOVE Sarah at Pom Pom Studios - she is always helpful and efficient!)

B did a marvellous job painting our chest of drawers white!

We have also washed and folded all of the clothes (cutest laundry load ever?!) and have found a home for everything.  It really LOOKS like a baby's room now rather than just a dumping ground.  Hopefully next week we will be finished!  I can't wait to share!

We were gifted with so many amazing things while I was in America. Packing was slightly more challenging than I anticipated, but my mom is a super packer and managed to get nearly everything in my suitcase ("That's wasted space!  Let me stuff your underwear into those baby bottles."  Thanks, Mom.  Don't worry - I'll sterilise them). I had to pay excess baggage, but I figured it was worth it for all of the treats Baby McBerry would have upon arrival. 

With some of the money we were gifted, I bought this adorable Baby MD outfit. I thought B would appreciate it - I'm so in love and can't wait to put it onto our little one!!

Oh scrubs....

I've also been suffering from a serious case of post America blues!  It's so difficult to go from seeing people nearly every day to seeing them once in awhile over Skype. I really miss cuddles from this guy:

It's great to be at the age where friends and family are having babies!  I've never really been around babies since my own siblings were born. I was WAY too young to appreciate all that went into them being raised - so now I'm asking questions and seeking advice. It's been good fun comparing ante and post natal treatment.  Fun in the sense that I enjoy the horrified looks!

Another thing to look forward to this week is the Hen weekend for my friend, Gemma!  I can't reveal any details because it's all a big surprise, but I am *super* excited for the festivities!  Gemma was one of my first friends here in the UK and at my hen do managed to persuade me to dress up like a chicken. Good thing she was willing to put that chicken mask on so I didn't look like such a pratt! 

The tables have turned, Miss Coombs. 

In other good news, the weather is turning - spring has sprung, the sun is out (sometimes) and everything is in bloom!  Just think - ten weeks and we should have a little McBerry to enjoy the glorious British summer!  Happy Spring and a very happy week to everyone!


Friday, 18 April 2014

5 things I will be taking back to England with me

The past two weeks have just flown by.  I cannot actually believe that my time here in Ohio is over and I am going to be heading back to ol Blightly over the weekend.  It's even more difficult to believe that the next time I come back, I'll have Baby McBerry with me - in the flesh!

There are a few things I'll be  taking home with me in addition to my kick butt gifts for Baby.

1.  Raspberries and Strawberries are ALWAYS a good idea
I'm fairly certain I've eaten close to six pounds of each over the past two weeks.  (Think my belly has grown?  Nope, it's just fruit and Fritos)   I LOVE berries.  Baby LOVES berries.  Why on earth don't we buy berries in England?  

Berries are always a good idea.  PYO season will be here before we know it, so there's no excuse for us not to stock up on these delicious little gems.  In the meantime, Tesco may charge an arm and a leg for them....but it's totally worth it.

2.  Happy Little Trees

I can't actually believe you can still watch Bob Ross on WVIZ. I just stood watching him the other day in awe.  The Bob Ross philosophy has always made me smile - there are no mistakes, just happy accidents. Things that don't appear "right" can be turned into something great. Perspective is a beautiful thing. Thanks, Bob. I needed that reminder. 

3. Tradition 

We have so many family traditions. When you live about 4,000 miles away you tend to become slightly removed from tradition.  It could be convenience or lack of resources, it could be because some things just aren't done. For one reason or another, I've lost so many traditions.  

I haven't coloured Easter eggs or gone to a fish fry in seven years. Seven. I've taken to hiding B's Easter egg - merging the two ways of celebrating Easter. I'm not sure he likes searching for his chocolate in the house, but it's tradition. Baby McBerry will definitely have an Easter basket.  Baby will definitely be dressed up for Halloween.  Baby will send Valentines and wear green on Paddy's day. Tradition. It's important.

4.  The McDonalds Filet-O-Fish Song
Seriously.  What is that advertisement?  I can't get it out of my head.  I don't like filet-o-fish - let alone McDonalds.  I have visions of singing this four weeks down the line and no one will have a clue what I'm talking about.  I know.  And that's torture enough!

5.  Sometimes you just need to curl up on the sofa and watch Frozen
When I come back to Ohio, I like to spend my evenings with my family.  We've gone out together to get ice cream, we've popped out for drinks at the Winking Lizard, but my favourite times have been curling up in the living room and watching a film with the family.
B and I work so hard during the week.  It seems by the time we get home and eat I have a few hours worth of work to do and before you know it - it's bed time.  Is it worth it?  I don't think so.  Obviously things need to get done, but I think recharging in the evenings needs to be a new priority.  Besides - who could pass up on the opportunity to watch Frozen?

Five things that won't take up any room in my suitcase, but five things I'm more than happy to be taking back to London with me.  It's hard to believe that the next time I'm back here it could be for good.  
B reminded me today that we need to spend the next year relishing all that England has to offer.  He's got a point.  What I've always loved about living in England is the "quintessentially English" things. Stay tuned - I have a feeling the next year is going to be a year to remember.


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Baby Shower: You are my Sunshine!

I am so SO excited to be writing a post about the Baby Shower my sister and mom threw for me on Sunday!  I didn't have a bridal shower as it's just not something that is done in England, but these two were not going to miss the chance to celebrate Baby McBerry's upcoming arrival with family and friends!

The Venue:  We opted for Hellriegel's Inn in Painesville to house the event, which is the same place we had our American wedding last year!  They are well known for their food (which is delicious), but they also have a large room with a old fashion, family feel to it.  We had about 35 guests, so we needed somewhere spacious, but not huge!  

The tables were arranged in a U shape, making it easy for everyone to see and chat and just enjoy themselves.  We are friends with the owners and I couldn't recommend a place in the Painesville area more!
When I visit, I tend to have such a rushed stay I can't see everyone I'd like to.  This was the perfect opportunity for me to visit with everyone at once.  I don't know if people realise how often I think of them and how much I miss them.
(Talk about a blast from the past - the three of us grew up together!)
The Menu:    Breakfast was on the offer for our midday shower!  Pancakes and syrup, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, fresh fruit and pastries.  Tea and Coffee were also on offer, but I think everyone was more interested in the Mimosa bar!  

The Dessert table housed a gorgeous sunflower cupcake cake made by Cakes to You (the icing was out of this world), plus a massive tray of our Italian cookies.  

I can't give away too much, but we had family recipes and all sorts of amazing treats on there.  The cake pops were a labour of love Erin and I trialled this week.   They are really hard to make!  How do people get them so round and pristine?!

The Decorations:  Erin really outdid herself on the decorations.  There were sunflowers, ivy and a hyacinth type flowers in small vases, wrapped with twine and set around the tables. There were also pictures of elephants and sunshine drawn by a friend's students as place mats.

The Games:   We are not big fans on playing games at showers, but we thought it would be fun to have a few activities for people.  Firstly, we had onesie decorating in the corner.  Erin had tons of onesies in different sizes and she provided fabric, stencils, fabric glue and fabric pens.  We had some adorable onesies by the end - my friends and family are so talented. 

We didn't manage to get a shot with all of them on the line - but I thought the presentation was just spot on!  Clothes pegs!  Adorable!

The other big hit was the Frozen Baby game found on Pinterest.  Erin froze little plastic babies in medicine cups and then gave one to everyone to "look after" whilst enjoying their food.  You weren't allowed to touch the baby, but if your baby melted out of the ice first, you had to shout "My water broke!" to win a prize.  We had some serious strategies in place with salt and babies being placed over cups of coffee.  

The prizes were adorable flower pots with lemon soap, sunflower seeds, candles and hand cream.  My favourite winning moment was when one of our Italian ladies shouted "The baby's out!  The baby's out!" 

We also spent a bit of time trying to guess the gender of Baby McBerry based on Old Wives tales (still half and half) and gave people notecards to try and guess the Baby's Name.  There were some hilarious options making the most of a surname like Berry.  Terry Berry and Ellie Font Berry had to top the list.

On the tables Erin also left a sheet with "Wishes for Baby" (adapted from Pinterest) for people to fill in in their own time. Erin has since put them all in a binder with the place mats and baby name suggestions.  

The Gifts:  I'm totally blown away by the generosity of my family and friends. I'm touched by the kindess and thought people put into gifts for Baby McBerry.  

One of my favourite things that we did, was asking for books instead of cards.  Being an English teacher, a mini library is incredibly important to me.  We were gifted some gorgeous books - some for infants, some for when baby grows a bit older.  The notes people left were beautiful and I cannot wait to read these stories to baby - always thinking of the person who gave the book to us.

 (My Dress)

We did an Amazon Baby Wish List in order to help with the whole transportation of gifts back to the UK.  It was fabulous because people picked out gifts and they are shipped directly to us in England.  It's been a lovely treat to get things in the post and have no idea what they are or who they are from!  I took photos of some of the gifts and Erin displayed them behind the gift table with clothes pegs.

There are a few things I'll be taking back with me, but thankfully my suitcase is HUGE and fairly empty!  My dad and friend, Jen, took loads of photos, and I thought I'd post a few pictures of some of the wonderful gifts we received.

  My cousin got us a baby calendar - there are little stickers for "firsts" or other important events.  She is currently using one for Baby James and said it is a lot easier than filling in a baby book/diary.  I LOVE the look of it and can't wait to fill it in!

 Boy or girl - Baby McBerry loves the Indians.  

My friend Jen asked me for old T Shirts B and I no longer wear a few weeks ago.  This AMAZING quilt came from Maiden Jane - the quality is outstanding!  I can totally recommend it!

 Jeri (my cousin's mother in law) knitted a few gorgeous jumpers, but I love the elephant buttons on this one!  I'm wondering if she knits adult sized....

Luckily we had the adorable Baby James on hand to seek his seal of approval on a super cool car mirror.  I'm fairly sure I'm going to hang it up in the mini - baby or not!

And finally, my mom gave me a gift and said it was from my Grandma.  If you have been reading, you'll know about my wonderful grandma and how we lost her this past September (link here and here).  There was a poem in the box (similar here) about a handkerchief which has been fashioned into a bonnet.  It's meant to be the "something old" on a wedding day. Well, I nearly lost it.  But what an amazing idea.

And that, my friends, was the Baby McBerry Shower.  It was a truly amazing day and I am so thankful and blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people.  Baby - I can't wait for you to meet these people.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Twenty Seven Weeks and reporting live from Ohio!

Good Afternoon, from Painesville, Ohio!

(I love everything about this photo.  Firstly, my sister holding the chalkboard.  Secondly, the chalkboard is the one we used to play with when we played teachers - and I was always the teacher.  Thirdly, the stairs are the ONLY location in the house for taking posed photos.  And finally, my dad took the picture on my iPhone and did a burst photo - taking nine shots of the same.  I LOVE being home!)
How far along:  Twenty-seven Weeks!
Weight Gain:  16 Pounds and counting.  I cannot believe it's not more than that with the amount I've been eating....
Maternity Clothes:  Mom and I went shopping in Legacy Village the other day and stumbled upon a HUGE Maternity shop (seriously - it was like the size of a normal shop with ALL maternity clothes.  My mouth was permanently dropped in shock!).  They had a huge collection of clothes from the brand A Pea in the Pod - totally adorable (and a bit out of my budget).  I got these jeans on sale and I'm practically living in them!
Stretch Marks:  I'm horrified to admit it....I've spotted some lines creeping their way across my chest.  Panic set in until B said "You worked hard for those stripes! Be proud!"
Belly Button:  It's starting to poke out of my shirt ever so slightly.  I'm not sure how I feel about an outie - but at least I know it goes back to normal eventually!
Queasy or Sick:   Mostly, I'm ok.  I was worried about the time difference, but that hasn't seemed to make a difference at all.  I have little flashes of nausea, but I'm fairly quick to take some B6 and eat some crackers before it gets too bad.
Sleep:  Also not bad!  I'm waking up early, but I don't mind as it gives me time to write a post or have first dibs on breakfast (Eggo Waffles......)
 Best Moment of the Week:  Coming home has been the obvious best moment of the week.  What made it even better was when my dad left the other night to help my Aunt out and returned with my brother, Brian, who is living and working in Texas.  I was shocked!  My whole family is back under one roof and I couldn't be happier!
Worst Moment of the Week:   I thought being a pregnant woman traveling on her own people would offer to help when I was struggling to lift my bag into the overhead bin....Nope.  I was barged into more than once, ignored when I was trying to lift things and even sighed at once when I was walking too slow!  There was one woman in Cleveland who offered to carry my bag up a flight of stairs after we landed - but she was it!
 Miss Anything:  B!  I hate being here when he is back home.  Baby McBerry went crazy kicking the other day when we were on Skype - I think it misses hearing his voice (although perhaps not his pokes and prods!)
 Movement:   Baby has been quite quiet recently. I'm not sure if it's the time difference, but I haven't felt it moving about nearly as much.  B said it's probably because I'm busier than I was in England, which could be the case.  Erin and Mom managed to feel a kick the other day, so they were happy!
 Cravings:   I've managed to polish off a Sam's Club punnet of Raspberries AND Strawberries.  I'm not even sorry about it.  You would believe the SIZE - nor would you believe the PRICE.  ($3.98 for 2 pounds.....!!!!)
 Looking forward to: The Baby Shower tomorrow plus visits with Family and Friends this week before I have to head back home.  I'm having an amazing time and it's making me want to stay forever.  I'm sure Mom and Dad wouldn't mind if B and I just move in here and stay?

I have had such a blast being home.  I've been homesick for awhile now, so this was exactly what I needed to help get me out of my funk.  It's been FREEZING compared to England, but luckily my grandmother's pink coat (circa 1940?) fits around my growing belly!

Aside from seeing my awesome family, the one thing I really love about coming back is the fact that nothing has really changed here.  I realised I've been living in England for nearly a decade.  That's a REALLY long time!!

But everything seems familiar - almost as though old fashioned values die hard.  People still talk to you randomly in the shop - just striking up conversation because they overhear you say something or see you looking at something they are also interested in.  You can still pay in shops with cheques.  You go out to socialise with friends after dinner in a bar.  You just drop in on people for a visit, unannounced.  Geeze - I miss it here.

I've had some proper bonding time with everyone - which is exactly what I needed.  The girls headed out for nails and a "light" lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (Have you seen their menu?!). I forget that when you order a half salad/pizza combination it's pretty much the size of a regular portion in England.

 (At Jack Aarra's Spa in Concord)

 (Casear salad and Margherita Pizza)

I feel like everything I've done so far has revolved around food.  Mom, Erin and I went to Menchie's - a Frozen yogurt bar which B was obsessed with when he visited here.  You get to fill your own cup with frozen yogurt, toppings and then pay by weight when you are satisfied.  We were very satisfied.

Gartman's Model Bakery in Downtown Painesville is STILL running, STILL smells the same and STILL does the best doughnuts I've ever tasted (since 1898 - Now, that's History to us Americans).  It was like stepping into my childhood when we went in there for a cheeky treat the other day.
Speaking of Frozen, we had a family film night watching it.  I saw it on the plane and pretty much cried the whole time and was more than happy when my sister suggested watching it the other night.  I'm in love with it!  Why hadn't I seen it sooner?  Best Disney film ever?  I'm thinking it could be up there.... 

Priceless time spent at home....I couldn't have asked for a better Easter Holiday.  I defiantly can't wait for the Shower tomorrow!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Twenty-Five Weeks and Brighton Love!

How far along:  Twenty-five Weeks!
Weight Gain: 14 pounds!!  Eek! 
Maternity Clothes:  I'm loving leggings and my maternity t shirts from New Look.  They are cheap and comfortable - bonus in my opinion!  The jeans I bought ages ago from Top Shop just aren't cutting it - I think I need to get something over the bump to prevent jean falling down syndrome.
Stretch Marks:  Nada!  I feel like my stomach is just stretching and stretching....
Belly Button:  Vast!
Queasy or Sick:   Oh, the nausea is back.  I have had a few flickers of it, but it seems to be creeping back into my life at the moment.  I can't work out if it's the time change and my body is just annoyed with being up the hour earlier, or if it's the approach of the third trimester that makes it want to return to my life.  Regardless, I am not enjoying the sudden rushes for the loo.
Sleep:  Quite good following some odd waking up spells last week!
 Best Moment of the Week:  This weekend we went to Brighton to visit Jen from Two Itchy Feet.  More on that below - it was Legendary.
Worst Moment of the Week:    We had a lovely follow up visit from Ofsted Thursday and Friday last week.  If you know anything about Ofsted, you'll know that is dreadful news.  It's stressful.  I was one of the only English teachers seen, so at least I can be grateful that it was a great lesson.  We are making our way out of special measures...slowly.
 Miss Anything:  Wine. Again. One thing that got me through the last Ofsted was a nice glass of wine at the end of the day.  I had a cup of apple juice.  Not the same. 
 Movement:   Loads of movement.  Baby McBerry is definitely going to kick through my womb at some point.  Seriously.
 Cravings:    Ice cream.  I managed to polish off our collection of sorbet (do you blame me?) and now I'm dreaming of what lovely treats await me in my parent's refrigerator!  
 Looking forward to:  The Easter Holidays.  I cannot wait to be jetting off to America for two weeks with the family.  Not to mention the awesome baby shower my mum and sister are throwing!  Woo hoo!

So this weekend we headed down to Brighton to visit my favourite lady, Jen.  We used to meet up far more frequently when she was a bit closer to home, but the three hour trek turned into a great road trip/weekend away for B and myself.  

We stopped at IKEA for some baby room goodies.  I was dying to pick up this trolley for the nursery - it was on SALE and I cannot wait to fill it up with....well....I'll let you know when I decide what I want to fill it up with!

Onwards to Brighton!  We had beautiful weather so we enjoyed walks along the promenade, some fabulous food and shopping, plus plenty of chit chat and catching up.

We made a stop for ice cream at Marrocco's just outside of Hove.  The guys thought very seriously about their purchases.  I enjoyed a cookies and cream gelato and was not keen on sharing.  Good ice cream?  I think I could live on the coast!

Following that, we enjoyed lunch at Tortilla (a little sister to Chipotle and WOW was I in love.They seriously had the best Salsa Verde I've ever tried!) and then for dinner we feasted at Makara, a Turkish restaurant which didn't fail to impress!  They had an amazing meze menu for starters and then the vegetarian options were outstanding!

I'd recommend both...come to think of it, I'd recommend Brighton!  Lucky for us, every time we come to Brighton, we are shown the good eats!  I could get used to life on the south coast....perhaps an option for the future?