Thursday 31 May 2007

what does everyone know that i don't?

Yesterday, my friend Susan (jokingly) said that I would give birth early or on time and have a water birth, because I'd have the complete opposite to both of her births. The other day, I reiterated to the homeopath that I would go overdue, and he looked away and made a noncommittal "mmm" noise (this was the same man who was certain I'd go late the first time I met him.) Today, my neighbour said that she was sure I'd give birth before they returned from holiday on the 20th. To top it all, my dog has been acting funny with me lately. He won't let me out of his sight and has developed a habit of sitting and staring at me. It's unnerving, but kind of cute.

So will this baby arrive early? Probably, simply because I'm not at all prepared.

Wednesday 30 May 2007

no sense of urgency

For some strange reason, I don't really feel like my due date is as close as it is. Maybe it's because I'm certain Beanie will arrive late. Maybe it's because I feel pretty good (on the most part) and relaxed. Maybe it's denial. Whatever the reason, my brain hasn't quite processed the fact that we will have a newborn in the house next month.

I am definitely happier and healthier than I was at this point with Jack. By 37 weeks, I had Hobbit feet, cankles, and my blood pressure was on the rise. At the moment, I've only had to take off my engagement ring (which is a half size smaller than my wedding band) and my ankles and feet look the same as always. My blood pressure has been exactly the same each midwife visit - which might sound suspicious but she did assure me that her other clients had readings other than 120/70. I feel strangely calm, which I'm certain is down to going off work far earlier this time. My life revolves around alternative therapies (homeopathy, reflexology, aromatherapy massage, and osteopathy) and eating. I'm out with my girly girls tonight for supper, eating a giant burger with Conchita on Friday, then Paul and I are heading out for a date to Restaurant 22 on Saturday night. So these days, I'm either having something done to me, or I'm shovelling food into my gob. Not a bad life, really.

Apart from wanting to kill everyone at Tesco today (nothing new there), I'm happy. My little boy makes me laugh my head off every day ("I'm not a boy, I'm a little man!"), we slept in our newly decorated bedroom last night and it was like being in a nice hotel (minus the maid service), and I'm going to stuff myself stupid with crispy duck in a few hours.

Birth-related panic may set in at a later date, though.

Tuesday 29 May 2007


We have carpet! We have carpet! We have carpet! We can move out of the nursery and I can busy myself making Beanie's room all pretty like!


Ouch. I think I just pulled something.

Monday 28 May 2007


Things that are making me happy:
-we managed to book a table at Restaurant 22 for our "Last Meal Out Before A Tiny Screaming Being Keeps Us Up All Night Long." I am most excited about the peanut butter parfait.
-the bedroom is thisclose to being done, and Paul got the shower pump working temporarily. I managed to rinse my hair in 3 minutes flat the other day. Mmmm.
-I did the Sunday roast this week and it turned out really well. I can cook, but timing is not my forte - a definite hindrance when making a Sunday roast.
-I reached full term on Saturday.
-Jack has started to sit in bed and yell out "DAD-EEE! DAD-EEE!" in the morning instead of his usual routine of coming into our room to see us. This is funny because a) it's very cute and b) he's not calling for me, so I don't have to get out of bed.
-I have an aromatherapy massage booked for tomorrow morning.

It doesn't take much to make me happy, really. Little things lift my spirits, like eating supper in the garden with my table lanterns lit up. Getting an extra half hour of sleep. Discovering forgotten ice cream in the back of the freezer. Hearing the baby's galloping heart beat once a week at my midwife appointments. Having carpet installed. Stuff like that.

Saturday 26 May 2007

happy talk

These are my (current) favourite Jack moments and sayings:
-the opposite of sleeping is "awaking". For example, "I was sleeping. I awaking now."
-"I did a poo on my bicycle!" (He didn't, thankfully.)
-"Bob now." [pause to cock head and look up at me with big brown eyes] "Yeah?" [nods]
-the Bob the Builder theme tune goes like this: "Bob the builder...YES! HE! CAN!" (and it's great fun to sing it to the builders working on the en suite)
-we went upstairs to look at the finished en suite, and Jack shouted out "I like it! I like the taps! WOW!"
-Jack wanted me to lift him up so he could see over the garden fence. I told him I couldn't lift him because he's too heavy for mummy. Jack thought for a moment and said "Tuggle, mummy." I bent down and gave him a cuddle, only to feel his feet scrambling to climb up on my knee so that I would have to carry him. Smart little monkey.
-"What do you want to watch today, Jack?" "NEWS!" (no, I don't get it either)
-"I'm eating Jasper! Mmmm nice!"
-"I hurt my eyes on the window. I'm okay now."
-[as I'm putting on my makeup in the morning] "Wot's dat?" "Mascara." "Scara?" "Ma-scara." "Your scara!"

And my absolute favourite:
-Jack insists on seeing my belly every day, and always gives "the baby" a hug ("I tuggle the baby") and a kiss. Then he takes great delight in trying to stick his finger in my weird pregnant belly button, which just freaks me out (thus making him want to do it more.)

Friday 25 May 2007

i'm not like a bird

Nesting is a myth, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Or at least this is the case with me - I never had the "nesting instinct" with Jack and I'm certainly not feeling it now. There are a bazillion things I should be doing but I cannot find the motivation.

Here's my "to do" list:
-cook many things and put them in the freezer
-finish knitting the baby's blanket (only 50" to go fffttttt)
-pack a hospital bag
-set up Beanie's room and buy things for it
-move out of Beanie's room (okay, this one will be done next week)
-clear out all the clothes I never wear/will never fit into again and put them in the Oxfam box
-buy new baby feeding/changing items, other than the one pack of nappies and bag of cotton wool I've got already
-I probably should start stretching now
-do that yoga DVD that I attempted once this entire pregnancy
-get a haircut
-get a pedicure
-take Jack to see the planes at Duxford, Thomas at Nene Valley, and the animals at Wimpole Hall Farm
-have a pre-Canada Day BBQ
-buy something for Paul for Father's Day
-take several naps

I'm a big bird with no nest.

Thursday 24 May 2007

good omen

Just spoke to the lady from the bathroom installation company; she was calling to make sure we were happy with their service (imagine!) She wanted to know how my pregnancy was going and mentioned that she's got a boy and a girl. Her boy was born by c-section after a failed induction, and her little girl arrived without any medical coaxing (albeit a bit late) via a vaginal birth.

I'll take this as a good sign, thank you.

pas de panique

Beanie's name guesses have been moved to the left pane, and I'm pleased to say that her real name hasn't been guessed yet. Either we're really clever, or people have come across the name and thought "There's no way in hell they'd give a name like that to a poor defenseless baby." Oh, the suspense!

My midwife visit went very well yesterday. My blood pressure is exactly the same as it has been since week 9, there's nothing evil in my wee, I've avoided the dreaded Hobbit feet and Doughboy fingers so far, the baby's heart rate is good and strong, and she's even managed to wriggle herself into a better position for her and I both. She's now more back to front (usually she's got her back to my right hand side) and I've noticed a lot less pain and discomfort recently. Hopefully she'll stay that way as it's a good position for the birth. She's still free floating, which isn't at all surprising. Jack's head didn't start to engage until 38 weeks, and it's not uncommon for 2nd (or more) babies to only start engaging in labour. And frankly, if it means not feeling like there's a bowling ball bouncing up and down on my bladder, I'm in no rush for her to engage.

A few people have remarked how "brave" I am for going for a home birth. The thing is, I'm not doing this out of bravery at all. I'm actually doing this out of fear: I loathe being in hospital and even just going there for scans makes me break into a cold sweat. I don't feel safe there and there's no satellite television or Internet access. What kind of barbaric institution is that?! After a week of being cooped up in a tiny ward with five other mothers and their newborns (and let's not forget the woman next to me who had a special oversized bed and chair due to her weight that literally forced one curtained "wall" a couple of inches from the side of my bed - and her baby screamed 24/7), having to share two showers and four toilets with both the postnatal and antenatal wards, eating white starchy unsalted/oversugared foods three meals a day (and having to toast your own bread using the one shared toaster), coping with harsh florescent lights being switched on every day at 7:00 sharp (even though most of us had only been asleep for about 10 minutes by that point), a midwife who pulled all of our dividing/privacy curtains open as soon as the lights came on, the clear plastic cots that are too high for c-section mums who can't sit up yet, the metal beds that aren't wide enough to breastfeed comfortably, the unbearable heat, and the routine. Oh gods, the routine. Breakfast at 8, visiting hours begin at 9, tea lady does a round, newspaper guy asks if you'd like to buy a paper, lunch at 12, "quiet time" (i.e. when visitors/partners had to leave) from 1-2:30, another tea round, supper at 5, visiting hours end at 8, then the last tea round (by which point the tea lady knows exactly how you and your husband take your tea) and a drugs trolley pays you a visit. Lights out, futile attempt to sleep. Midwives spend the entire night shouting down the corridors at one another, while the persistent "ding ding ding ding" sound of the midwife call bell thingy rings non-stop. One baby starts crying, which has a domino effect and suddenly everyone's baby is screaming at the top of their lungs.

So no, I'm not brave. I'm terrified of ending up back at that place.

Birthing at home with an independent midwife just made sense to me, especially as I tend to deal with pain by distraction. I want to be able to watch a silly movie or TV show, cuddle my dog, go online and keep my mind occupied. I want to know that I will be able to use the pool (our hospital has two but it's first come, first served) and most importantly, I want to know and trust the midwife who will help me give birth to this baby. And afterwards, I want to be able to use my own shower, snuggle up in our big lovely bed with Beanie, and eat my own food. Which reminds me, I've informed Paul that I would like an entire wheel of brie placed in a low oven as soon as I go into labour.

I can transfer to hospital quite easily and quickly, whether it's an emergency or I scream for an epidural. All I really want is a peaceful birth and a shower I can use without wearing flipflops. Not much to ask, is it?

Wednesday 23 May 2007

snuggly cuddly

Caroline gave me the handmade Taggie blanket for Beanie today:

She got everyone to pin ribbons to the blanket at the shower and even got one from my mom (the polka dot bow). She also included the pink gingham ribbon from the favour bags I gave to everyone. It's lovely. It's so soft. It makes me all weepy just thinking about it.

These are the best kind of presents.


We've had the builders in (no, that's not a euphemism) to take care of our en suite renovations, and thank the gods, it's finally finished. Well, except for the fact that our shower pump has decided not to work but that should get sorted next week. My husband and father-in-law have been slaving away with the bedroom renovation, with just some painting and a carpet installation left to do. This means I can start sorting out the nursery next week. This makes Heavily Pregnant Lady very happy.

Some before and after pics of the en suite, because I know you people love that sort of thing. (especially now that our "Changing Rooms" has gone off the air)

The en suite was cobbled together by the Man With No Taste who lived here before us. It had floral tiles, a shower, a ratty old carpet, sink, and for some inexplicable reason, a bidet. That's right, a bidet. No toilet, just a bidet. Don't ask me why. This is the en suite before:

And after pics can be seen here. I luuuurve it! If I could fit a giant tub and fancy toilet in there, it would be like staying in a nice hotel.

Tuesday 22 May 2007

then and now

36+5 with Jack (left) and 36+3 with Beanie (right):

That's right, I've had the same hairstyle for 3 years and I'm wearing the same H&M delightfully stretchy black trousers. Yummy mummy, me.

ode to a very patient dog

You give me a baleful look when your eye has been poked for the tenth time today,
but you simply walk away and curl up on your beanbag.
When your ears get pulled and your whiskers plucked,
you respond with a severe licking that usually drives the culprit away.
You've been used as a stepladder,
and have been scolded many times for coming a bit too close to "MY bike!"
You've had yoghurt dumped on your head,
your blankets stolen from you,
and your bed taken over.

And there's another one coming in June.
We'll make it up to you, promise.

Happy 4th birthday, Jasper.

Monday 21 May 2007

notes from the final haul

As I head into the home stretch, for the record, I would like to note that I am:
-grumpy and exhausted. Why yes, I am looking for a fight. Why do you ask?
-starting to get a bit puffy. Not as puffy as with Jack, thankfully - I still have ankles.
-experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions regularly and they are making me irritable.
-having hideous heartburn that 300mg of ranitidine/day isn't always preventing.
-unable to eat very much at one time, and nothing too rich. What's the point of being pregnant if you can't eat like a pig? Fffft.
-still several episodes behind with Lost.
-still unable to set up the nursery because we are still sleeping in it.
-not inclined to pack a hospital bag because I'm in denial.
-worried about all sorts of irrational things. Like whether or not I'll need a hospital bag.

But on the plus side, I am:
-managing to get a fairly good night's sleep almost every night.
-keeping my blood pressure at a normal level and there is nothing of interest happening in my wee.
-very excited at the thought of trying out the birthing pool, particularly if we get a sunny day and I can watch TV and enjoy a fruity smoothie while sitting in a pool in our lounge.
-grateful for the crappy weather. I never wanted to be hugely pregnant during a heat wave.
-enjoying my days off and using the time to prepare myself/pamper myself before the birth.
-very close to having a finished en suite with a shower that doesn't require me to cock my leg like an overweight bulldog to get into it.

More exciting updates coming soon.

Friday 18 May 2007

meatball hooligan

You know how some people shout at the television when they watch sports? Like when the referee makes a bad call or a player does something stupid? Me, I shout at the television when I watch cookery programmes.

"I cannot believe she just put double cream in a risotto! CREAM! In a risotto! Ffffttt."
"Why is she adding salt to a salad dressing made almost entirely of Hellman's mayonnaise?"
"Did he just say he pureed olives and honey to make a sauce for the cake? Ewww!"
"Noooooooo you don't put prunes in brownies!"
"Who the hell has time to blanch and peel 1kg of almonds?!"

*(extra points to you if you can guess which TV cook I'm shouting at for each quote.)

Paul often asks me why I watch certain programmes, as I tend to get vexed at some more than others. It's a good question, really. I do enjoy watching my programmes but cannot resist giving (loud) advice when I see something awry. Why do people shout at televised sports? To get into the spirit of the game? To feel superior to/more knowledgeable than the officials? Maybe I secretly want to host my own cookery show. I should apply to Gordon Ramsay who is looking for a new female TV chef, although I think he's seeking a cross between Joan Crawford and Martha Stewart. And I cannot be bothered to put together a 3 minute audition tape.

I love food, and I cannot let a perfectly good piece of grilled duck be forced to sit in a pool of mango coulis without some words of protest. I cannot. At least not while I've got a lot of free time on my hands and a hormonal imbalance.

i know how to grow 'em

I had a scan this morning to check on my placenta, and it isn't anywhere near my cervix, so we're all clear for takeoff. I found out that it's actually on the left hand side, which probably explains why I've always felt plenty of movement even with an anterior placenta. The baby is lying head down with her back to my right side, which has been her position of preference for weeks now. It makes sense if she likes facing the placenta on the left, as babies are supposedly wont to do. (This is why "they" say babies tend to go back-to-back if you've got an anterior placenta as they like to face it, so this is good news that mine's on the left.)

I asked the Lovely Sonographer Lady (they really are so much nicer this time) to see if she could tell if the placenta had grown into the uterine wall (i.e. my scar), but she said it wasn't something they can usually detect by ultrasound. She did have a look and said the placenta looked complete to her, and judging by its position, felt it wasn't near where my scar would be.

We got to see Beanie's face, arms, feet, and girly bits (very obvious this time!) and she's growing right on schedule - just 1 day ahead of my EDD. Estimated weight is 5lbs 13oz at the moment, so she could end up around the same birth weight as Jack (roughly 8lbs). The sonographer also did a quick anatomy check (e.g. heart, stomach, head) and she said all looked fine. The scan was more detailed than I expected; I thought they would just look at the placenta and boot me out of there. Although we didn't leave with pictures (the baby's just too big for a good photo op), we got a lovely long peek at Beanie.

Feeling much better now, thank you.

Thursday 17 May 2007


Beanie's "red book" arrived in the post today. This is the book where your midwives, doctors, and health visitors make note of anything related to the baby (like immunisations, growth checks, etc.) I'm sure I got Jack's from the midwife after his birth - maybe even at the hospital - so it's a bit strange to have it already. Is it normal to get this before the birth? Hmm maybe they sent it to me early because I'm using an independent midwife and having a home birth. Or does the NHS know something I don't? I have been rather tired and crampy lately...

Wednesday 16 May 2007

be prepared

Right, it's time to get organised. My due date is one month from today (give or take), and no amount of cute baby girl outfits will make up for the lack of essentials. My replacement birth pool liners are on their way in the next day or so, the TENS machine is arriving in the next two weeks, I've written my birth plans and given them to my midwife, the waterproof mattress protector will be safely tucked under my enormous backside tonight, and the bathroom installation guys are here right now and claim I will have a shiny new en suite by the end of the week. This means not having to hoist my leg over the side of the tub to get into the shower in the family bathroom anymore. Trust me, that isn't a pretty sight.

I am still convinced that our girl will arrive fashionably late, so I'm by no means eagerly anticipating labour to occur in the near future. It's just nice to get some things done in preparation. Still have loads left to do like cook things and put them in little freezer bags, but it's a good start. I suppose I should pack a hospital bag soon, just in case. Must remember to pack a rope and crowbar to jimmy open the hospital window in case I need to escape.

Cute Jack moment yesterday. I sat on the sofa and started to eat an apple, then Jack climbed up next to me and the following conversation ensued:
"Apple, please."
"Mummy will share her apple with you. Do you want a bite?"
"Yeah. Mummy share apple." [takes a chomp] "Want a bite? Here go!" [hands apple back to me and I take a bite]
"I want bite now, please." [I hand the apple to Jack] "Mmm nice! Want a bite? Here go!"
[this incredibly polite exchange continues until the apple is down to its core]

Makes a nice change from the usual shouty one word demands, like "BOB! BOB NOW!" (The Builder, that is)

Monday 14 May 2007


On Sunday (Mother's Day back home), Caroline and Tosha put together a wonderful baby shower for me - a very rare event in the UK, I might add. After reading whingey posts from American mothers-to-be on pregnancy web boards(yeah, I know I should really just avoid reading them from now on) about how "only" 20 people are coming to the shower, how they're "only" having one shower (apparently it's not that unusual to have several), and how they didn't get everything they wanted from the gift registry, I am actually very glad that this...erm...tradition hasn't made it over this side of the pond.

I decided to do a pamper day because we're all tired mums and deserve a little bit of massage and moisturising treatments. I booked a massage therapist called Elizabeth Hughes and a beauty therapist called Nicci Trudgeon (of Bliss pamper parties and Innerlather) who made us all glowy and relaxed during the afternoon. I made sushi and bought two of Tom's Cakes (v. proud of myself that I didn't eat them between buying them on Friday and the party on Sunday), and Caroline and Tosha brought a ton of other food including things for the Chocolate Fountain That Went Pfffft. Disappointingly, the fountain decided not to work but luckily I had a backup fondue pot. Conchita made a genuine Spanish tortilla (she's a real Spanish person, you know) which Jack devoured afterwards and for lunch today, and Liz made fairy cakes/cupcakes with her little girl Lucy for the shower. We lounged, we laughed, we ate. And ate.

We played some hilarious games such as Guess How Huge Lisa Is (guests had to estimate my belly circumference using a ribbon - some were close while others *cough cough Caroline* overestimated by about three feet), What's In the Bag? (have a feel around the inside of a bag and guess what's in it), Dummy Takeaway (we all wore dummies/pacifiers around our necks and if we said the word "baby" or crossed our legs, whoever caught us would take the dummy; person with the most dummies won), and my personal favourite Guess the Smeared Nappy Chocolate (Caroline melted five different varieties of chocolate bars in separate nappies, which actually wasn't as gross as it sounds.) My friend Liz took the nappies into her school the next day because she thought her pupils would appreciate that sort of humour.

Caroline got everyone to pin decorative fabric tags on a beautiful multicoloured blanket to create a handmade "Taggie" for Beanie that she's sewing together. I had to do everything I could to not blub like an idiot, I was so touched. She also got everyone to sign a pretty notebook for me, even a couple of girls who couldn't make it to the shower. I finally got a chance to read it after everyone went home and this time, I did blub like an idiot. My friends wrote such lovely things, I just couldn't hold back the tears.

It was a perfect day. Thank you so, so much.

Favour bag and contents (handmade soap and candle, courtesy of Nicci):

Me, glowing (mostly because of the flash):

The spread:

Playing the Guess the Chocolate Bar game:

My feet getting a pedicure:

Thursday 10 May 2007

say again?

I don't know what's wrong with me, but I keep mishearing song lyrics lately. The first one was the new Natasha Bedingfield song; I swore she said "I wanna have your babies, it's serious like rabies." Apparently she's actually saying "you're serious like crazy" but I kind of prefer my version since the rest of the song is just as ridiculous. The other day, I thought Jamie T was singing "Sheila goes out with homemade Stella" (as in Stella Artois, the beer) but the actual lyrics are "Sheila goes out with her mate Stella" (also in reference to the beer.) I was wondering how one would make Stella at home, so perhaps the real lyrics are more suitable in this case. I think what all of this means that I'm officially old and will soon embarrass my children by singing misheard song lyrics out loud during school runs.

Must add these to the classic Archive of Misheard Song Lyrics site.

no no no

At the butcher's today, the young butcher lad asked when I was due. When I told him the date, he said "Wow, that's only around a month from now." to which I replied "YES. ONE MONTH. HA HA HA - IT'S GOING SO QUICKLY. REALLY QUICKLY. HA HA HA. ONE MONTH, GOSH!" with a slightly hysterical tone. Holy guacamole, it is going by quickly. Not sure if that's a good thing or not yet.

So in the "does my bump look big in this" department, I was accosted by a girl outside Tesco yesterday asking if I belong to a gym. I said not really these days and pointed at my belly. She then said, "Oh, are you pregnant?" I should have said no and looked really offended.

Today's entry is for all the people who keep asking me what I'm doing with all of my free time now that I'm on leave. I thank you.

Wednesday 9 May 2007

are we there yet?

I wrote a rather lengthy post, but Internet Explorer decided to shut down on me and ate my post. Vexed is not the word. Feh.

As I was saying, I'm in no great rush to give birth (unlike the lunatics on one of the pregnancy web boards I frequent who are complaining because they have "no signs of labour" yet. No, seriously.) but I am at the Huge and Fed Up phase of pregnancy. This is accompanied by the Look At Me Funny and I'll Throw Something At You phase, so it's a good thing I'm on leave. I'm sore. I'm tired. I've still got an annoying thing on my butt. I've got another cold. My son keeps pointing at me and shouting "BELLY!" then laughing hysterically. Speaking of which, I'm amazed at how many people have stared wide-eyed at my bump and remarked at its massive size. I never had comments like that when I was pregnant with Jack. Am I really that huge this time?

But as this is my last pregnancy, I will try with all my might to look at the positive side. I love feeling Beanie moving around. She gently rolls from side to side, creating waves across my bump. Thankfully, I've managed to produce another baby who stays well away from my ribcage. I'm very excited about giving birth - call me crazy, but I can't wait to feel a contraction. I'm also quite excited at the thought of having a pool in the living room, particularly if we have another hot June. I'm so glad that I went on leave early this time. Yesterday, I went for an aromatherapy massage in the middle of the afternoon. I no longer have to go to Tesco on a Monday. I can now get a haircut anytime my hairdresser is free. I can nap. Mmmm.

And on a totally unrelated note, here's Jack in a typical boy moment (sound needed):

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Tuesday 8 May 2007

enjoying it while i still have an income

Maternity leave update: have watched all recorded episodes of "Desperate Housewives" but am now five episodes behind with "Lost" (don't even ask how many "Battlestar Galacitca" episodes I have recorded), my son has given me a miserable cold, my husband made the best roast chicken dinner ever on Sunday, I'm seeing a homeopath who thinks the baby will have a calm demeanor (one can only hope) but will arrive late (typical girl), and it's 9.30 in the morning and I have a craving for Burger King.

Riveting stuff, eh?

On Saturday night, the girls and I went to Graffiti at the Hotel Felix in Cambridge. It's modern and inviting, staffed by attentive (if not a little bit loopy) waitpersons. I had crab spring rolls to start, that unfortunately came with two trends that are currently driving me nuts: foam and gelatin cubes. Maybe I'm unsophisticated, but foam always reminds me of cuckoo spit and looks completely unappetising. More importantly, the foam that came with my spring rolls added no identifiable flavour (it was supposedly apple) which just reinforced my theory that it's unnecessary. The jelly cubes, although flavoursome, also didn't add anything of note to the dish. Like the tiny towers of food on gigantic white plates of the 80s, purposeless foam and jelly cubes irk me to no end. The spring rolls themselves were lovely however, leading nicely to my main course of grilled duck breast, herbed mashed potatoes, and sauteed cabbage. Dessert for all of us was a chocolate fondant with raspberry sorbet. When Tosha told the waiter that we were having "chocolate fondant all around", the waiter thought she meant one between three of us. I'm guessing he doesn't spend a lot of time around groups of women. The wine waiter was hilarious, and kept trying to fill my glass with prosecco despite being told numerous times that I'm heavy with child. Europeans are slightly more lax about alcohol intake during pregnancy (continental Europeans even more so), but I'm pretty sure that no one condones several glasses in one evening. Or maybe I just looked like I really needed several drinks and he was trying to do me a favour. At any rate, it was agreed that we would like to take him home in our pocket because he was so darn cute.

And in other culinary news, my mom sent a parcel last week containing more supplies of Kraft Dinner. No foam or cubes, thanks.

Saturday 5 May 2007

an offer i couldn't refuse

So during my spa day, I had a bit of time between lunch and my pampering afternoon. I decided to nip over to the retail park and ended up in Boots to buy a few things. As I was standing at the till, I noticed their baby clothes section with big red "SALE!" tags all over the place. It would have been rude not to look, so I gave up my place in line and had a gander.

I came out of there with two dresses and two pairs of cropped trousers. Very practical for a newborn who will spend most of her time sleeping, eating, and pooing, I know.

Friday 4 May 2007

bumpity bump bump

Beanie belly at 34 weeks (almost):

and the day Jack put on his daddy's head torch and found a screwdriver because "Puppy's sick":

Puppy made it through the operation and is recovering nicely.

Thursday 3 May 2007

dare i say it?

I'm actually feeling good today. I had a decent night's sleep, nothing hurts too much, the heartburn isn't too bad (I *heart* Ranitidine), and I managed to do the weekly shop at Tesco without killing anyone. I'm on a roll. I saw my lovely midwife today who informed me that Beanie has her head down and back to my side (stay baby, STAY) and all is well with me. Long may this last.

On the Jack front, he keeps coming up with things that crack me up to no end. He'll hug me and if I say, "I like cuddles" he'll respond "I like tuggles!" This leads to a debate of who likes cuddles best and gets louder and gigglier until we stop. I love our early morning conversations, too; they're surreal until you realise what he's talking about. Take this morning, for example:
"I in the water! On a boat! Jasper in the water! Splash!" (said while sitting on Paul's leg.)

We realised that he was talking about seeing boats on the river and watching Jasper swim when he took Jasper for a walk with Paul on the weekend. Up until that point, we did a lot of smiling while nodding as enthusiastically as you can first thing in the morning. Then comes the "Ohhhhhhh!" moment when it all clicks into place, until the next abstract conversation. I love it.

Maternity leave continues to go well. On the agenda tomorrow: pub lunch and a visit to a homeopath. Am thinking one may contradict the other.

notes from the sofa

Today feels like my first official day on leave; I'm home with the dog with nothing on the agenda other than a midwife appointment this afternoon. Astoundingly, I was showered and dressed before 9 this morning. Hoo yeah, I know how to live it up.

We went into London town on Tuesday to see Spamalot with work (to celebrate our many product releases), which was okay...mostly because it was free. I've seen "The Holy Grail" so many times I know the entire film verbatim, so scenes lifted directly from the film for the stage version didn't really fill me with laughter. The new scenes weren't that hilarious either, although I did snort out loud a couple of times during the (more enjoyable) second act. What was nice was being in London and catching up with workmates from both offices. Our product release celebrations tend to be limited to drinking venues, and also tend to coincide with me being pregnant or breastfeeding. This event I could enjoy.

After the play, we went to a restaurant called Benares. As you all know, we're suckers for "celebrity chef" restaurants and this one fit the bill. Atul Kochhar was the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star a few years ago and has since opened up Benares where he has received another Michelin star. He is currently on the second series of "Great British Menu" on BBC2, which is the programme that introduced him to us last year. We decided to take advantage of our time in London (probably our last before the baby comes) and have a posh Indian meal to end our day.

Benares is located on Berkeley Square in the Mayfair district. A short walk up a stone staircase leads to the bar, decorated in dark wood with rectangular ponds filled with exotic flowers. The restaurant area is to the right, neutrally decorated in white walls and dark wood, with a sense of cosiness despite the stark decor. I had a soft shell crab and squid salad to start, while Paul had a plate of salt cured salmon. I can't vouch for Paul's salmon (there was some talk that he deliberately chose something I couldn't eat), but my salad was divine. Although it's slightly unnerving to shove an entire crab into my mouth, legs and all, it was tender and sweet. Both the crab and the squid rings were coated in a light spicy batter and served with a sweet papaya dressing. It was a beautiful combination of hot and sweet. For our main course, I had monkfish with a ginger and coriander sauce, and Paul had tandoori prawns that were the size of a Rolex. Both dishes were perfectly cooked and spiced, only needing one portion of delicately flavoured rice between us to complete the meal. For dessert, we both opted for banana-filled crepes in a cinnamon chocolate sauce.

We were more than pleased with our food and the quality of the service, however service was too attentive, if there is such a thing. As soon as one sip of water was taken, someone was there to top up the glass. During the entire meal, I could see wait staff bobbing around the corner checking our table to see if I needed my napkin refolded (I'm not exaggerating - they did this while I was in the bathroom at one point) and to clear away our plates the moment the last forkful touched my lips. I found it very distracting and the interruptions created several pauses in our conversation as we politely smiled and thanked our sixth waitperson (again, I'm not exaggerating) for refilling our water for the twentieth time. Our only other complaint would be the cost - that was the priciest curry we've ever had in our lives, and we're not convinced it was warranted. Starters were in the £13 range and mains were £16 (for the veggie options) to £38, and considering the portion sizes, we didn't really get a whole lot for our £120 final bill. I'm glad we went and we had a fantastic evening, but I can't say I'd want to go back again.

Well, maybe if someone else is paying.

Wednesday 2 May 2007

what's in a name?

Sadly, none of you have managed to guess Beanie's name although I have pulled several ligaments giggling myself stupid over your suggestions. No hints, sorry! I did (inadvertently) give a hint a while ago, which could narrow it down a bit. Strangely, I always think of the baby using her real name, not Beanie. With Jack, he was most definitely Pip until the day he was born - I couldn't think of him as Jack before that. So it's actually been difficult keeping her name under wraps as I have to actually stop myself from saying it out loud sometimes.

And I can't believe none of you have guessed Rubella, Lactancia, Citronella, Ciabatta, or Lisa Junior.