Sunday 31 December 2006

cocoa overload

I never, ever thought I would say this, but I can't face any more chocolate. There really is such a thing as too much chocolate, and I've surpassed my limit. For some strange reason, everyone got me products made of cocoa this year. How did they know that I have a bit of a thing for this type of treat? Yeah, subtle I'm not. My husband purchased stock in Cadburys for me, so I am now officially part owner. My chocolate booty this year included: Hotel Chocolate products (truffles and a 500g slab of rocky road chocolate), lots of Green and Blacks goodies, delicious fair trade Divine dark chocolate (it's morally good for you so you can eat more), a Green and Blacks cookbook that came with a giant bar of chocolate, and a selection of Canadian chocs from Mom. To top it all off, I made a chocolate trifle for Christmas Day and I spent the week nibbling on Quality Street and anything else that happened to be placed in little glass dishes around the house.

Chocolate, I love you dearly but we need a bit of a break. You fill me with happiness but you also make my heart burn. You've been keeping me up all night and this has to stop. Please forgive me for putting you in the pantry until I can face you again.

Pass the salad, please.

Friday 29 December 2006

surely you jest

From this week's pregnancy-related emails:
Welcome to week 16! You may find your regular clothes are getting a bit tight.


Friday 22 December 2006

we're number 1!

For the bazillionth year running, Jack is the number one boys' name in the UK. Yet oddly enough, we don't know any other little boys called Jack. Just to tease you all, I will say that our boy name contender (still undecided on that one) is in the top 20, as is our girl name (decided on that one). Am I bovvered? Not at all. I think that if you choose a name that has some meaning to you - whether it's just something you like or has some sentimental significance - it doesn't matter whether or not it's popular. I don't really understand why people fret if their baby's name appears on these top 100 lists. If you like a name, use it!

Thank you; that is my tip of the day. I hope you enjoyed it.

and the bells were ringing out for christmas day

It's the last day of work before the holidays, my cards are finally in the post, my cookies were a hit (the nursery staff requested I bring in more soon), our little boy made us a Christmas pudding card and met Santa, one of Jack's presents arrived yesterday (better than nothing), I had a wonderful meal at my favourite Indian restaurant with my lovely girlies last night, and I drove into work singing along to "Fairytale of New York" really loudly. I think I'm ready for Christmas now.

My fellow ex-pat Canuck Vero tagged me on this one, so here is the last meme on this blog for 2006.

Five things you (probably) didn't know about me:
  1. I've never had a cavity. In my teeth; don't be rude.
  2. When I was 7, I met one of the dogs who played "The Littlest Hobo". He signed a picture for me and I got my picture in the local newspaper.
  3. I sold a book to Bjork. She's 2 feet tall and looks 8 years old. I also sold petrol/gas to Brian Orser, Canadian figure skater. He's 2 feet tall and looks 18 years old.
  4. I spilled a plate of hot french fries in the lap of a blind man when I had a very brief career as a waitress. At the same job, I dropped a tray full of ketchup bottles.
  5. The first record I ever bought was a 45 of Blondie's "Heart of Glass".

To all of you, have a wonderful holiday - and try not to get stuck in the fog. I mean honestly, how stereotypical. Now everyone's going to think it's always foggy here. Tsk.

Much love and happiness to everyone!
Lisa, Paul, Jack, Jasper, and Beanie xxx

Wednesday 20 December 2006

desperate measures

I've had to resort to child labour to get my cards finished. I'm not proud.

singalonga with jack

Please try to ignore the wailing sounds of some lunatic woman in the backgroud, and enjoy the cuteness.

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jingle all the way

My cards are still sitting on the dining room table; filled out, addressed, but just not posted. Yes, even my overseas cards. I get a tummy ache just thinking about it.

Jack's nursery is having a Christmas party tomorrow and we were asked to donate some food for the festivities. I decided to make gingerbread men, and Jack could help decorate (we used up all the silver balls on the tree ornaments, so his nostrils should be safe for the time being). As I've found with all the North American cookie recipes I have, the gingerbread men didn't turn out well at all. The dough spread so the men look like Mr. Blobby, and the cookies turned out thin and crispy instead of thick and chewy like they are supposed to. Fortunately, I have a backup cookie recipe that I will try out tonight (bless you, Nigella) and that I know turns out perfectly fine with British ingredients in a British oven. Why do my recipes from home turn out so badly here? The same thing happened with a batch of chocolate chip cookies I tried out a couple of years ago, and it just uses standard ingredients like flour, baking soda, brown sugar, butter, eggs, etc. Truly, I'm stumped.

To top it all, I just got an email today saying that Jack's Christmas presents have been dispatched and should be arriving on December 27th. Thankfully, he's too young to know (or care) that his presents will be late, but I'm so disappointed. I know he'll have plenty of presents from all the relatives to open on Christmas Day, but I so wanted to see his reaction to his new JCB ride-on digger with accompanying hard hat.

On the plus side, our tree looks very pretty, all my shopping is done, and I don't have to cook or clean next week. Deck them halls.

Sunday 17 December 2006

there must be another one hiding in there

I finally got around to taking a belly picture today, and just for fun, let's compare with a picture from my pregnancy with Jack. On the left, I'm 14 weeks 4 days with Jack. On the right, I'm 14 weeks 1 day with Beanie.

It's worth pointing out that I started this pregnancy 25lbs. lighter than I was before falling pregnant with Jack. So when they say you tend to show a little bit sooner with baby #2 or more, they aren't kidding. Better get going with those pilates, eh.

Friday 15 December 2006

thank you and goodnight!

Update to the funniest thing we've heard on the baby monitor:
"La la la doo doo doo laaaa. La la laaaa. Dooo deee dooo. La la laaaa...YAY!!" [claps hands]

We think he's been rehearsing for tonight's Christmas play.

Thursday 14 December 2006

i need some reindeer and a really fast sled

Okay so if you live in North America or New Zealand and you would normally receive a Christmas card from me, I can only offer my sincere apologies. Said cards are currently sitting on our dining room table (some of them written) and haven't made it anywhere near a mailbox yet.

I know, I know. Think of it as the Christmas that keeps on going, well into 2007.

Monday 11 December 2006

now that's more like it

The hospital in Cambridge runs student scanning sessions twice a year, but with Jack, I was too early for the first one and too far along for the second. Fortunately, timing is on our side this time and I've signed us up for a scan. So on January 16 from 10-11am, not only will we get paid one shiny new fiver for our troubles (and free parking to boot), we should also find out the gender. This is good news because our silly hospital doesn't tell you the gender unless you pay £60 for a specific gender scan. I refuse to give our hospital more money - I think we've paid them enough for a new wing in parking fees alone over the years. As an added bonus, it means less of a wait to see Beanie again. This makes Anxious Mummy happy.

Five more weeks until we find out if we need to panic about not having a boy name. Whee!

Thursday 7 December 2006

because it's there

Last night, Jack found a little silver ball on the floor that had escaped when we made some decorations on Monday. See Exhibit A:

After a few moments, he pointed to his face and said "Ball! Nose!" and upon closer inspection, I saw a little silver glint in his right nostril. For reasons only known to his toddler mind, he decided to shove the decoration up his nose. Paul held his head while I tried to remove the ball from his nose with a pair of tweezers like a life-sized game of "Operation". It finally dropped out on its own and Jack went off on his merry way.

Seriously, why do kids do stuff like that? Is it to give us heart attacks?

Wednesday 6 December 2006

notes from placentabrainland

I talked about being slightly superstitious and being aware of "signs". Recently, I realised that the NT scan was exactly three months after I found out I miscarried. I feel like Squeak's watching over this one in a way. I also realised that the flower for the month of June is a rose, which was the English name my grandmother used. So maybe that's two people watching over Beanie right now. I'd like to think so.

The baby likes: pineapple chunks (bleah!), pasta, curry, fish and chips, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and dill pickle flavoured popcorn.

The baby doesn't like: non-starchy vegetables, chicken (only sometimes), cooked mushrooms on pizza, eggs, Chinese food (although I had a strange urge to eat egg rolls the other day), and anything swimming in butter or a cream sauce.

One day I really wanted some Kellogg's Crunchy Nut cereal (Honey Nut Corn Flakes to us North Americans), so I bought some. Then I decided that I didn't really want it after all. Yerrrs. I never really had specific food cravings with Jack (it was more a general thing like "something spicy" or "something salty") but this time I get urges for particular food items...usually something I don't have in the house and/or cannot purchase in this country. Thankfully, the food silliness is going away somewhat now.

Damn, I really want egg rolls now.

Tuesday 5 December 2006

out of the pregnancy closet

...and boy, am I glad. See the post below to read through my ramblings from the first 12 weeks (well, 10 weeks of pregnancy really - don't ask me how this stuff works). It's been tough. Really, really tough. It was impossible to know what it would be like to be pregnant after a loss, and it truly threw me. Panic, worry, anxiety, fear, pessimism, superstition (before I had the miscarriage, I kept coming across articles about people losing babies which made me extremely aware of "signs" like that this time around), dread, paranoia, and a million other negative emotions have plagued me from the beginning. I used to absolutely love being pregnant; it breaks my heart that this has been stolen from me.

I felt sick all day yesterday, waiting for 6:30pm to have my scan. I kept myself busy, which is easy to do when it's my day off with Jack. We ran errands and spent the afternoon making Christmas tree decorations, and seeing the happiness in my little boy's face as he smeared icing and sprinkles all over the place lifted my heart. I spent the later hours trying not to wee, drinking copious amounts of water. We got to the Day Assessment Unit and discovered that we had to wait - ironically, because the lady ahead of me didn't come prepared and had to wait for a jug of water to make it through to her bladder. We sat (I squirmed) while Jack pointed at every visible object and said "What's that?" Personally, I think it's rather cruel to force a nervous pregnant lady who is about to burst to wait for half an hour. I really do hate hospitals.

Our turn finally came and the Mysterious Mr. Lim (readers from Jack's birth will remember this character) entered the room to do the scan. The scan was so thorough and he kindly pointed everything on the screen out to us. Jack kept up his chant of "What's that?" interspersed with "Mummy!", and he was brilliantly behaved after a shaky start. Apparently entering a strange darkened room full of electronic equipment isn't a pleasant experience when you're a toddler. The baby moved around like mad, waving its arms, stretching, and at one point, it turned its back on us and mooned us. This is why I'm thinking "boy" at the moment. My risk for Downs and a few other chromosomal defects were assessed, showing a far reduced risk for my age group. In fact, I'm carrying the baby of a 28-year-old. Not bad for an old broad. It was wonderful to see the baby being so active (Jack barely budged during his 12 week scan and had to be prodded every now and then by the sonographer), and it was a huge relief to know that everything was fine. Finally.

This pregnancy has been very different. I've had every symptom in the book and not only am I craving specific foods (some of which I normally hate - like fruitcake, for goodness sake), I've gone of some foods as well. Never had that happen before. Still thinking boy but with all the trouble I've had so far, maybe it is a girl after all.

one more time

I guess that night away for our anniversary did us more good than I realised - I'm pregnant again. While I'm very happy about it, I'm also terrified that it'll end in another miscarriage. I hate that the joy of being pregnant has been stolen from me and I feel almost detached from the whole thing. At the same time, I accept that things are out of my hands and I'm grateful that we have a two week holiday to help take my mind off the worrying. I will get a scan at 8 weeks instead of 12, which is a huge relief. I don't want an earlier scan or any other tests done before then because we lost our little one just before 8 weeks. Had we seen the heartbeat or had any other tests done before then, we would have thought everything was okay. Not knowing makes things easier in that sense, and 8 weeks isn't long to wait in the larger scheme of things. That's less than 2 weeks after we return from holiday.

So far, I've been feeling almost exactly as I did when I was pregnant with Jack. I feel like I'm constantly jet lagged, on the verge of getting a cold, and experiencing really bad hayfever. The nausea isn't as bad this time and my other symptoms are pretty much as they were with Jack. I find all of this strangely reassuring.

I have a load of posts sitting in draft form from my last pregnancy that I'll keep for myself and probably never publish. What I will share from those posts is this:
I'm far more relaxed this time, which is due to a few things: having been there/done that before, being too busy toddler wrangling to obsess over every little twinge and tingle, and knowing that things are pretty much out of my hands at the moment. It sounds dreadful, but I've accepted the fact that there's nothing we can do in the first trimester but wait until the 12 week scan. Worrying will do absolutely nothing to prevent something bad from happening, so I'm just letting the days pass as usual. I think that knowing this will be my last pregnancy makes quite a big difference, too. I am trying to enjoy every minute of it rather than stress because I don't have my head in the toilet (yet).

So I am going to enjoy every single second of this pregnancy because now I truly understand how precious it is. Just over 5 weeks to go before we face the first hurdle. God, do I ever need this vacation.

Monday, October 23
Just over 6 weeks along now. The day I hit 6 weeks, morning sickness found me and slapped me around real good. Imagine your worst hangover, triple it, put yourself in 88 degree heat with nothing but American restaurant food to eat, and you can imagine the level of hell I'm in. I was never this sick with Jack or my last pregnancy, so I think this is some sort of cosmic payback for the easy pregnancy I had with Jack. Blergh.

Friday, November 24
One month later and I'm kind of surprised that it's been so long. I think it shows how pessimistic/cautious/scared I am, and it's my brain's way of not getting too excited about things just in case something goes wrong. I've built an emotional wall around this pregnancy, and I'm too afraid to feel anything. What a horrible, sad way to be during a time that should be so special. It probably also explains why I've been feeling so rough: extremely nauseous, heartburn, pounding headaches, numerous digestive issues, fatigue, placenta brain, and just a general feeling of being unwell.

Time to be positive. We had our 8 week scan and we saw a little heartbeat flickering away.

The nurse said that my chances of carrying to term are now 90%, because we've seen a heartbeat at 8 weeks. The baby is measuring slightly ahead of schedule (just like his/her big brother), and it was a relief to pass that first milestone. We have nicknamed this one "Beanie Baby" because it looked just like a kidney bean on the scan. The NT scan is on Dec. 4 and if all goes well, this post will finally go public. It's been a very, very long and harrowing wait.

Monday 4 December 2006

and then there were four

Introducing Beanie Baby (thus nicknamed at the 8 week scan because s/he looked exactly like a kidney bean), due June 16, 2007.

We had the NT scan today (to look for markers for Downs and other abnormalities) and all is well. Apparently I have the same risk as a 28-year-old now, which means I can now claim to be almost 10 years younger on my next birthday. Or at least that's my interpretation of things.

Details of the first 12 weeks and associated paranoia will be found on the baby blog shortly. But for now, one huge massive sigh of relief. My god, I will finally sleep tonight.