Sunday, 29 June 2014

38 weeks and Baby McBerry's Nursery!

How far along:  Thirty-eight Weeks!
Weight Gain:  33 pounds! (I'm not sure how I lost that one pound)
Maternity Clothes: I'm currently back in my Pea in the Pod maternity jeans as it's so cold here at the moment!  Good thing cardigans don't need to be done up over a bump!
Stretch Marks:  So far so good. I'd be really happy if I escape with none other than the ones on my chest!  I caught sight of a little purple line earlier -- I'm hoping it's a bruise and not a stretch mark taking shape!
Belly Button: Poking out - visible in any shirt. I'm debating sticking a sticker over it. 
Queasy or Sick:   I've had pretty wicked heartburn this week and generally feel a bit pukey and tired, but on the whole, I'm feeling good!
Sleep:  B was working nights all week so I had the bed to myself. Well. That was a whole new level of sleeping.  Now that we are back to sharing I've decided the best thing about that was I could turn from one side to the other side in a less painful manoeuvre. I'm still up about four times a night and I'm awake and ready to go from a VERY early hour. I'm currently waiting on B to wake up - hence this lovely 38 week post!
Best Moment of the Week:  FRIDAY WAS MY LAST DAY AT WORK!  It was a great day in the sense that people were so kind and thoughtful, wishing us luck and gifting us with some gorgeous treats for baby McB. My department had a banner and cake at lunch - not to mention an adorable set of Beatrix Potter books and some pampering treats for me after baby arrives! 
Worst Moment of the Week:  I've had two moments: Tuesday we were visited for the FORTH time this year by Ofsted. Could I catch a break?  Of course not. In fact, I was observed within the first hour of them being on site. Luckily, it was all very positive, but seriously - I didn't need that at 37 weeks pregnant with two days to go. The second worst moment week was FRIDAY - MY LAST DAY AT WORK!  It's just a terrible feeling that I won't be with my friends every day, battling on through the next challenges. I know I have my own challenges trying to figure out this "mom" stuff, but I'll miss my job and my classroom and my parking space. 
Miss Anything:  After trying Tequila sunrise mocktails on Friday night, I'm not sure I need alcohol. I'm starting to crave all of the things I've not had over the past nine months:  blue cheese, wine, Starbucks 3-4 times a day....
Movement:  Plenty. We are fairly confident baby is in the right place now, and hopefully my midwife can confirm that on Monday!  Plenty of kicking in the rib region today, which leads me to believe that Baby is well aware of America's ranking in the World Cup.  Let's hope it takes the American stance over the English!
Cravings:   Strong flavours. Really really sweet or really really salty foods. I feel like I need them constantly. I think I'll have to employ a grazing technique this week - good thing we stocked up on healthy snacks as opposed to rubbish!  
Looking forward to:  The weather warming up!  It's awful here - cold, dark and rainy. I'm so jealous of my American friends and family and every photo I've seen from the past few days is sunshine and shorts and pools! I'm currently writing this post in Starbucks whilst wrapped up in a scarf and cardigan (sipping my Mocha Coconut Frappuccino - cold or not, it's June and that's just something you do you June). Hopefully by next weekend our weather will pick up (B swears it's always like this during Wimbledon!). 

Leaving work has been a truly bittersweet experience. I know I need the break and I owe to both myself and baby to take some time and look after myself before the real adventure begins.  It's hard to let go when you love the people you spend the day with.  Sure, work has been stressful above anything this year, but I love my department and friends and can't wait to be back with them in December.  

The lovely book set my team gifted us is so very English - I love it.  B was over the moon as he loved these stories growing up.  Baby has a nice little library taking shape on the windowsill in the nursery.  As an English teacher, I totally approve of this.

And FINALLY - The Nursery!  I've kept it fairly under wraps until now as it's been a bit of a holding area for everything and anything to do with baby!  I've finally made B take boxes downstairs and get everything put into place so I can see what it's actually going to look like.  The only thing missing is my big, comfy nursing chair (not to mention a baby) - but I want that in the lounge until it's absolutely needed upstairs!

I love panorama shots on the iPhone.

The wallpaper was already in the house when we moved in and we both loved the funky look.  

The chest of drawers was an old, cheap set from Ikea which B painted (very well, I might add). 

The crib is from Mothercare and much appreciated gift from Grandma and Granddad Berry.  The bedding has come from Vertbaudet and was really the inspiration for the room as a whole (not available anymore!).

The sleigh change table (which you can't really see) we got on offer from Kiddiecare as there was a slight nick in the side.    The change mat was a gift from some dear friends in America and was shipped to us using our Amazon Baby Registry.

The alphabet print on the wall was a steal from The Range for £5 and the teal storage trolly holding blankets, muslins and toys was my favourite find in Ikea.  The rug is also an oldie but goodie we had from Ikea.

The Car Seat and Pram (a generous gift from Nona and Granddad McManus) just needed somewhere to go whist we await the arrival of baby.  Not to mention the Bumbo seat and feeding instruments in the corner.  You can't miss my hospital bags in the middle of the room - all packed and ready to go!  Baby's things are in the OiOi change bag - another gorgeous find from Kiddiecare.  

I have a few favourites in the room at the moment:

Firstly, the tree lamp from The Range!  I wanted something you could touch to dim and jut loved the look of the trees on this one.  B picked it out - he is incredibly keen that I acknowledge his efforts!

And of course, the pom poms from Pom Pom Studio!  I did underestimate the amount of poms we would need, but I think we have it just right here.  And the colours!  I love the white, teal, mint and aqua - easily gender neutral and easily tailored to boy or girl! Brian bear (a gift to me from Uncle Brian -my brother - a few years ago) is hanging out in the crib as he awaits the arrival of his new best friend (Speaking of, have you seen this video??) - he is even breaking in the flat cap we found in Primark in case Baby McBerry is a boy!

SO that's it!  Tomorrow is going to be very strange as I'll be on my own...waiting.  I can't take baths to pass the time and ease my aches as I can't get myself out of the tub.  I anticipate a rather nerve wracking week - it's only a matter of time now!

You hear that, Baby?  We are ready for you!

Have a good week everyone!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

37 weeks: Ready to Pop!

How far along:  Thirty-seven Weeks!
Weight Gain:  34 pounds!
Maternity Clothes: I may finally get to wear my shorts this weekend as it's finally warming up!  I am having a real issue with shoes though as I've now swelled out of my wide fit shoes I bought around Easter time.  There is now only a flip flop option as part of my wardrobe. Pray for no rain?
Stretch Marks:  None!  I feel very fortunate that this hasn't been one of my symptoms!
Belly Button: Out and a little bit wonky!  It seems to point off to the left a bit. I think that's because Baby McB likes to push and prod my right side. B thinks it likes my liver - maybe it's warm.  
Queasy or Sick:   Just exhausted! 
Sleep:  I've started waking up four to five times a night needing the loo. That's REALLY annoying as every time my feet hit the floor it's like stepping on millions of tiny daggers. Plus the real HEAVE of getting myself up. 
Best Moment of the Week:  On Thursday, B and I went to London to the US Consulate for his immigration visa interview!  Don't get me wrong, the actual process was drawn out and horribly frustrating, but just the knowledge that the interview was the last step had me leaping (as much as I could) with joy. We aren't in the clear yet for a visa, but hopefully soon.  We celebrated anyways with a  cup of tea and macaroons at Laduree in Harrods. B did - after all - pass his second USMLE exam with flying colour!
Worst Moment of the Week:  QUEUING at the US Consulate. There must have been 300 people there at 7:30 when we arrived. There was nowhere to sit, so we stood for a good hour. Then, you sat in an airport style waiting room listening to an awful "ding" "ding" "ding" every time a number came up. It was a long, long wait and my feet definitely took one for the team. Poor things. 
Miss Anything:  Being able to move rather than waddle/limp?
Movement:  I met with my midwife on Tuesday and she said baby was head down, hence the tickling I'm getting under my bump and urge to have a wee every ten minutes.  I've started to get the Braxton Hicks tightening across my bump- I'm finding that really uncomfortable.  
Cravings:   Cold drinks - especially fruit smoothies. B made me an awesome watermelon, apple, strawberry and spinach smoothie on Friday for breakfast. I could have just melted. It was gorgeous and actually managed to quench my thirst!
Looking forward to:  This week is my last official week of work.  One of my new colleagues for next year is starting on Monday and will be taking lessons and classes from me throughout the week- really I'm only teaching two or three lessons this week.  I'm quite overwhelmed as I have a lot to do before I go, but I also know that the end is now eminent. I have to give up my OCD control over my desk and where things are. I've surrendered job responsibilities.  I'm leaving keys. I'm turning my email off of my phone. It's actually really sad....but I know maternity leave is one of the most important things in the world, and I'm so lucky I get five months of it. 

Today we popped into the Old Stores in Roydon to pick up my mason jar glasses.  If you are in the area, you must pop in as everything is just gorgeous.  I had to restrict myself to just the jars and a wedding card today.  I could do some serious damage in there.  Check them out on Facebook - it's that quintessentially English look to a T!

B and I are taking some time off from socialising this weekend as it could be one of our last before Baby McBerry joins us.  There's plenty of rest and relaxation scheduled (for me) and pottering in the garden (for B).  We are BBQing this evening and we even have s'mores (I cannot actually contain my excitement!) made with Ritz crackers.  Trust me.  Ritz crackers are where it's at.

Happy Weekend!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

36 Weeks....four weeks to go!

How far along:  Thirty-six Weeks!
Weight Gain:  32 pounds!

Maternity Clothes:  I'm loving my new Gap maternity jean shorts. Warmer weather seems to be creeping back into our lives and they are a lifesaver. UNFORTUNATELY, the weather is not consistent and it's freezing today - hence the jumper and jeans!
Stretch Marks: Nothing new to report! 
Belly Button:  Out. Let's hope that "snapped cord" B was talking about was really a joke. I miss my innie. 
Queasy or Sick:   Feeling good aside from tired and achy. I do have to admit my vomit free streak ended - I think heartburn has a lot to answer for there. 
Sleep:  BOOOOOO. Anyone else feel that it's just plain cruel that insomnia sets in during your last few weeks?  I'm so uncomfortable in bed and not feeling rested at all - regardless of what time I go to bed! 
Best Moment of the Week:  Jen and Graham came to play this weekend!  More on that below!
Worst Moment of the Week:  I tried to make dinner a few nights ago and when I opened a cupboard, B's liquid smoke I bought him for his birthday fell - in slow motion - and shattered EVERYWHERE. I just didn't know what to do with myself - sobbing, I tried to clean up the mess. I could hardly bend and the smell was making me sick. It was NOT a good night to feel tired and hormonal on top of having a kitchen nightmare.  I really lost it.
Miss Anything:  I really fancied wine this weekend. We had some amazing food and a nice glass of white wine was desperately needed. Soon enough, I suppose. 
Movement:   I swear to you - Baby McBerry is trying to escape through my belly button. In 
ÜBER exciting news:  I think I've dropped/lightened! I can breathe again,
my bladder feels smooshed and according to B, I didn't snore last night!   You know what THAT means....!!
Cravings:   Watermelon!  Cool, sweet and watery. I feel as though nothing can quench my thirst at the moment and the best solution is watermelon!  
Looking forward to:  This is my last full week before my maternity cover comes in to save me!  We will most likely team teach next week so she can get the hang of my classes - I couldn't be happier!  Roll on Maternity Leave!!

This weekend Jen and Graham have journeyed up to good ol' Norfolk for some quality, pre-baby time!

We couldn't resist a chalkboard photo op!!

As the sky was grey and the air was cold, we took them to the biggest Beer warehouse in England: Beers of Europe.  It's just up the road from us but we never knew it was there until last weekend!  B and Graham stocked up - I even got myself a Non-Alcholic Kopparberg pear cider!

Whenever we get together, we tend to spend most of our time focused on good food and good conversation.  Quite frankly, I don't think there's much that could be classed as "better" in life!

The Weekend 
(According to our stomachs)

Saturday Breakfast:  I made my favourite recipe of Waffles with cream and berries and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (probably the best gift we could have received from our houseguests!)
Saturday Lunch: B grilled some Sea Bass with lemon, rosemary, basil and thyme and we enjoyed some potato salad and greek salad.  I had grilled haulloumi - always a favourite for the vegetarians at the BBQ!  (In typical British fashion, we braved the cool weather and sat outside, wrapped up until the sun came out!).

Saturday Drinks:  We have enjoyed drinks on the quay before, but the weather was not kind to us.  We opted for the upstairs lounge in Marriot's Warehouse in King's Lynn.  It was a lovely place for a quick drink and the menu looked amazing!
Saturday Dinner:  Our favourite - Middleton Steakhouse.  We love this place as it's basic food done really well for a good price.  I always opt for the Piri Piri Vegetarian burger, but the meat eaters in our crew *loved* the ribs and fries.  Not to mention the ice cream on the pudding menu!

(Watch England shamefully lose to Italy in the World Cup)

Sunday Breakfast:   Priors Sausage, scrambled eggs and Tiger Bread
We then went to Sandringham for a little wander - B and I are going to get a season pass so we can have access to the gardens whilst the baby is a newborn.  What better place to go for a walk than the Queen's estate?
Sunday Lunch:  Cream teas at the Castle Rising Tea Rooms - probably the best place you can go in the area for a cuppa and conversation - again, what a shame we couldn't enjoy the sunshine in their garden!

It's ALWAYS great fun when we get to see Jen and Graham - it's even better when we get to enjoy such lovely eating opportunities.  The next time we meet, we will have a little one (or two!) in tow!  I can't wait for the babies to become besties!

All good weekends are followed by good weeks!  We have something really exciting scheduled this week - I can't wait to share it in my next post!  Not to mention the imminent arrival of Baby McBerry!  It could be any day now!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Happy Birthday, B!

It feels like it's all about Baby McBerry at the moment.  Let's take a minute and see what else is going on in the world of J and B!

Last weekend, we celebrated B's birthday with his parents and Heidi and Toby.  B's mum, Marilyn, prepared a mouthwatering three course meal, complete with Champagne and Chambord (I even had a little taste!).

Vegetarian option:  No Prawns
Vegetarian option:  Arancini (similar recipe) instead of lamb

It was an amazing meal - we felt truly spoilt!

After, we enjoyed a cup of tea with carrot cake!  Marilyn is an amazing cake decorator - I can do the baking, but I'm not very skilled in the decoration department.  We had a little tutorial where she taught me the tricks of the trade.  I am so pleased with how it turned out!

For B's actual birthday, I wanted to celebrate in the best way I knew how! Presents!  I had loads of great ideas, but the unpredictable nature of the next month or two left me with few options.  I decided to go for some good ol' gifts I knew he would like.

Gifts included a garden tool set, liquid smoke, a Michael Kors reversible belt and a Dents wallet. Success?  I think so. 

In the evening, we used our June date night gift from our anniversary present!  I had purchased £20 gift vouchers for Nando's, Pizza Express and Prezzo - the three restaurants in town in King's Lynn.  The challenge:  One evening, one course in each restaurant.  

Starter: Dough Balls and a tomato cucumber salad from Pizza Express

Main:  Half a Chicken and chips and a veggie bean burger with chips from Nandos. 


Dessert:  Honeycomb cheesecake with banana gelato and amaretti and banana gelato from Prezzo. 

In case you missed it, here are the 1st Anniversary Paper gifts so far:
January:  Tickets to the King's Lynn Comedy Club
February:  B and B (Which didn't actually happen due to our sudden move!)
March:  A Couples Massage at Knight's Hill Imagine Spa
April:  £10 for a Fondue night in
May:  £100 for the Neptune Inn in Hunstanton
June:  £20 for Prezzo, Pizza Express and Nando's.  One night, One course in each restaurant

Happy weekend, Everyone!  Happy Birthday, B!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

34 Weeks...this is getting a bit scary now!

How far along:  Thirty-four Weeks!
Weight Gain:  29 pounds (Oh. My. Goodness.)
Maternity Clothes:  The weather looked like it was going to change for the better, but ol' Mother Nature had better ideas for us this May half term. It's been rainy and cool - perfect weather for all of my winter/spring maternity clothes!  I've had a little shopping spree online at Gap Maternity, thanks to Jen!  This dress and these shorts are on their way!  30% SunnyDay discount?  Yes, yes, yes! 
Stretch Marks: It seems that after that initial appearance, nothing new had decided to surface.  With that said, I'm getting bigger....and I can feel LOTS of stretching....
Belly Button:  On the morning of Wednesday 28 May, I woke up feeling bigger than normal. It seemed as though my normally compact bump took a nose-dive south.  With it, fell my belly button.  I'm officially an outie.
Queasy or Sick:   Nothing much!  A little queasy at times, but on the whole I'm just exhausted.  My feet ache and I just feel shattered.  I can tell we are nearing the end as I've noticed a massive difference in myself.  Heartburn and aches are definitely on the rise. 
Sleep:  After all of those weeks of lovely, peaceful sleep (for me, at least), I've started to become quite restless in the night.  Falling asleep is difficult - I'm grizzly and just cannot get comfortable.   I have stolen one of our guest room pillows for under my bump, but due to a bit of company I've given it back.  
Best Moment of the Week:  On Wednesday, Jen and I went to the MALL.  You can take the girls out of America, but you can't take the thirst for a mall out of the girls!  We met at Westfields in London for a day of shopping and EATING.  Five hours, two pregnant girls, 300 shops and a PinkBerry? was undoubtedly the Best. Playdate.  Ever.
Worst Moment of the Week:  I'm going to go ahead and say today - I'm stressed and overwhelmed - having a slight meltdown. I came to the realisation that I have no idea what I'm doing with a baby. I have one billion things to do (at work and home), 20 official working days left and whether I'm ready or not, this baby is going to be very much out and about in a little over a month. 
Miss Anything:  Summer clothes.  I'm thinking if the weather ever heats up (ok ok.....WHEN the weather heats up), I'm not going to be able to fit into my summer wardrobe.  This makes me pretty sad, but there's always next year.  Autumn is my favourite shopping season anyways!
Movement:   You can really tell that Baby McBerry is bigger.  Movements are more pronounced and although I can't tell what is a foot or head or bum, something keeps bulging out and I often check just to make sure nothing is punctured.  Baby is strong
Cravings:   Iced coffee.  My Nespresso machine has been resting unused for months and months, but it's all of a sudden sprung back to life!  I have rationed myself one iced coffee a few times a week as I am still quite dubious about caffeine.  
Looking forward to:  CUDDLES!  After seeing Heidi's gorgeous nephew this week, I cannot actually wait for cuddles with Baby McBerry. I'm not usually one to ask to hold the baby, but I have a real yearning for it now!

So this baby is going to be coming out soon. 
I don't know if it's a shock to anyone else, but to me, this realisation is a bit 

There are so many lists that say you need to have or should have this or that.  One TREAT item I was desperate to get ahold of was the 4Moms Mamaroo. We found a slightly used one for half the price  - I love the sight of this hanging out in our living room. 

BUT - Baby McBerry can't live in a MamaRoo alone!  I realised I didn't have a hospital bag, there's nothing in the nappy bag, I have a two month supply of size 2 nappies (because that seemed like a good buy)....but that still left a serious gap in our "baby collection."  

With six weeks to go until due date, I thought I had better get a bit more prepared - mainly as I know babies in our family tend to come early.  Helpfully, I have friends who have taken those lists and crossed off half of the stuff on there.   Heidi took me under her wing and we had a "hospital bag and first week" shop. Now the only thing left to panic about is the thought of maternity pads...!!

Here's the start to my Hospital Bag!

So far, I've got a bag of toiletries at the ready. I don't want to fuss with anything - makeup included. We went to Boots and raided the 3 for 2 travel toiletries!

(Toothpaste, toothbrush, Sanctuary Body wash, Aussie shampoo and conditioner, Sure deodorant, tissues, Simple Face Wipes - plus an old No 7 tinted moisturiser and Benefit eye pallet)

That is easy - not to mention the next easy bit - clothing for myself.  I'm not a massive fan of Primark, but I see no point in providing my own nightgown to give birth in which is more than £10.   Clothing wise - I don't care what I'm wearing. I'm sure I'll add more to that pile (going home outfit?  Slippers?), but at least this is a start!

(Blue and white striped shirt nightgown, white robe, navy PJ bottoms and two vests, very big knickers)

Then there's the bit that freaks me out: Things for after the baby actually arrives.   I need to wash everything and maybe condense the number of cotton balls  - but seriously - this stuff scares the life out of me.

(Nursing pads, maternity pass, Nappies (size 1....because that's what you need for newborns), nappy sacks, scratch mittens, vests and cotton wool)

There's still loads of bits which need to be added to THAT pile (Clothes for baby?  Hat? Car seat? Muslins? Blankets?) but THIS was all I could really manage before I hid in the bathtub. 

It's been a learning curve.  I'm going to go ahead and say it's the first time I've been utterly panicked about having to keep our little human alive. I'm sure it'll be fine and we will figure it all out...but geeze.  Try telling me that!

Things I've learnt this week:
1.  There is a difference between 0-3 month old clothing and Newborn clothing. 
2.  Vests have short sleeves and no legs, sleep suits are long sleeved and footed. 
3. Vest goes on after nappy, followed by sleep suit (weather pending) and that's how newborn Baby McBerry will rock out during her/his first few weeks of existence. 
4. In England, assume it will be cold and rainy and prepare to dress baby in No 3.  If it's warm, check baby's tummy or back of neck and remove sleep suit if necessary. 

Maybe I need to go back to work in order to calm down. It's B's birthday this week, so I'm super excited to share his cake and presents with everyone!  

Have a happy and STRESS FREE week everyone!