Wednesday, December 29, 2010

catch-up

So, I think I can say that December has probably been the busiest month of our lives. We've had my mom come and stay with us, my brother come and stay with us (and he's still here!) and Dave's family come for Christmas. And there's the fact that we have a one-month old baby and its Christmas time. Yeah.

about 2 weeks old

So, I have a lot to blog about, but will do that at another time. I'm still alive and functioning - although some days better than others. Georgia has been such a dream child. She cries when she is hungry, tired, or has a dirty diaper. Other than those times, she is a happy baby, very smiley and easy to take care of. On good nights she'll go 5 hours between feeds, meaning that I can sleep about 4 hours straight.

Hanging with Uncle Tim

Here's a few pictures for those of you who aren't on facebook very much....

I do put pictures up on facebook more often than I do here, so check it out!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Georgia's first weeks

I was thinking the other day how its amazing that God chose Georgia to be in our family. He chose the right combination of personality and strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes that would be exactly perfect.


We have been blessed with an amazing child (so far!). I am probably a little biased, but I know that our little girl is as close to perfect as I could hope for. She is an extremely quite child. She rarely cries, and when she does, its more out of frustration, "mom, don't you know I'm hungry?" She is slowly working on her set of lungs - she's begun groaning, talking, and whining more and more each day. I think she's going to be an early talker. She's also becoming more active, moving her legs and arms a lot. Dave said today, "She's going to be an active toddler!" So, its possible that we have a great infant, and will have a more challenging toddler.

Pretty much all she does is fill up diapers, eat, sleep and look around. When awake, she enjoys sitting in her swing, and the last two days has really seemed to enjoy laying on the floor. Dave's boss and wife stopped by on Saturday one of the things they gave us was a little stuffed animal duck. Georgia has really enjoyed staring at it. (Sorry mom, she seems to like the duck better than Lambie).

She sleeps really well at night (with only one exception in the past two weeks). We have our last feed usually around 9-11pm, and then we have feeds every four hours or whenever she decides she's hungry. So last night, she ate at 10, 2, 6 and 9. On the down side, she's a slow eater, so we do get to spend lots of awake time together in the middle of the night. She is a little noisy (grunting and moaning) when falling back asleep, but does not seem to have a problem otherwise.

Today was the first day I started putting her in her crib for nap time. Up until now we've been letting her sleep on the couch or in her swing or in our arms. But, I don't want to start any bad habits, so I decided that it was time to start using her crib. This last hour I went and set her in the crib and she didn't make a peep!

I'm sure there's more I could say. I could talk about how she's gaining weight so quickly... how she's so easy to take out in public, or probably many other things. I could talk about how both Dave and I just love her so much, or how Dave is surprised that he cares so much for this little baby. I could also talk about the number of dirty diapers she has a day, or how the diapers are too big for her, so occasionally when she pees it sneaks its way out. I'm sure there's much more I can tell... I'll just save it for another day!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Our November 'Holiday'

The last week in November, Dave's dad came to visit us. He was hoping to meet Georgia, but she had other plans! So instead, while he was here, we were able to show him around our new hometown. We went to a German Christmas Market one of the nights he was with us. It was a fun evening, we took the train into Waterloo and met some friends from APU that also live out here. 

There was a fun Merry-Go-Round for the kiddies

We found the Chipotle in London! Walked all around the city, and we found it! From left to right: Dave, Jon (Dave's dad), Jared and Amanda. 

The view walking across the Thames River. 

We also got to show Jon around our part of the city. We spent time exploring Wimbledon and Kingston. 


I think that we were really trying to induce labor by walking. We did a lot of that, including Wimbledon Common. It was a really cold day, and we got some nice hot coffee so we could enjoy the scenery.

It was also Thanksgiving, and Jon and I were able to do some cooking. Well, he did the cooking and I tried to do some baking. I made some molasses cookies (yummy!) and ruined a pecan pie (ingredients are different here... oh well!). We had Jared and Amanda over for dinner. They like to make fun of the way I stand, with my hands resting on top of the bump, so we took this fun picture, too.


We had such a good time having Jon spend the week with us. Unfortunately he didn't get to meet Georgia, but he was able to get a sense of our town so that when he comes back at Christmas time, he can be the tour guide for the rest of the family. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Georgia's Birth

I woke up on Wednesday night, with some contractions. These were the first ones that I had ever had, but I knew instantly what they were. I had a few throughout the night, but when I awoke in the morning, they were gone. This trend continued for the next three days, getting progressively worse, especially in the afternoon and in the middle of the night. I would get my hopes up that, "this was it!" but then they would stop completely.

Saturday afternoon and evening I thought for sure that labor had started. The contractions were every 5 minutes apart and pretty painful. I took a shower and the contractions even got stronger and more frequent! So we packed up the bags to go to the hospital and called. The midwife told me to take some Tylenol (paracetamol) and call back in a couple of hours. At this point, it was 11pm, so I thought I'd try to sleep. To my surprise, the contractions slowed down and I fell asleep. Although I was disappointed, I now realize that God blessed both Dave and I with a last good nights sleep.

Sunday morning I awoke feeling rested, and had a few slight contractions, so we went to church. Around noon, I realized that they were coming every 5 minutes or so, but were rather mild. Around 2pm, I called the hospital to let them know that my contractions were getting worse and we would soon be coming in. The midwife again said to call back in a few hours. I tried taking a shower but couldn't relax so I knew we were getting close. We called someone from the church to take us to the hospital, and finished packing our bags. I called the hospital again, and the midwife again urged me to wait a bit, but I told her that we were on our way.

Arriving at the hospital around 3pm, we were put into a room at the maternity ward. We were assigned a midwife, Sue, who was a wonderful motherly-type woman who was a relatively new midwife. She was with us, in the room the whole time, helping through the contractions and offering pain relief. I tried the gas and air (laughing gas), but didn't like that too much, so labored for a few hours without any medicine. I was at 3 centimeters dilated when we arrived at the hospital, and the contractions were fairly quick and strong. I asked Sue about average labors, and she said the first one usually lasts from 12-16 hours, starting in "active labor" (which they say begins around 4 cm).

The contractions kept getting worse and worse. I was on the monitors the whole labor because Georgia's heart rate was a little fast. They had a doctor come in and give me an ultrasound (because of my uterus shape) just to check that she was still head-down. They also ordered an IV for me to keep me hydrated and help Georgia's heart rate slow down. I labored mostly in bed because of this, but was allowed to also sit on the birthing ball for part of the time. Around 6 pm, I was checked again, and was now at 5 cm (yay!)

After lots of thought, I was getting tired and the contractions were very strong, I thought it might be nice to have a little relief. So, I asked for the epidural. It was the right decision. It took close to an hour to actually get the epidural, and the pain was so immense during that hour. Dave was a little queasy during the procedure and actually had to leave the room to clear his head. I probably would have been too, if I had seen the needle they put into my back :-)

The epidural provided just a small bit of relief. I think I only got the test dose, although I was offered a top-up, the midwife discouraged it because I was progressing so quickly. I could still feel (very strongly, too!) every contraction, but it wasn't quite as bad as it had been. After receiving the epidural, they were no longer able to find Georgia's heartbeat on the monitor, so they called the doctor in to break my water and apply a monitor to the top of her head. The doctor came to do that, and almost immediately I progressed to 8 cm. I was beginning to feel the urge to push, and it was very difficult to hold back.

I kept asking to be checked, and finally about half an hour later I was checked, fully dilated and was allowed to push. It was so relieving and also very hard. I pushed for about half an hour, and Georgia was born at 8:20pm. She was a tiny thing, weighing in at 2.71kg (6 pounds) and 19 inches. We had been in the hospital for just over 5 hours, and I had the epidural for a little over an hour. Because of the meconium in my waters, we were put on 24 hour observation.

Dave cut the umbilical cord and also put on her first diaper and change of clothes. He was so in love with her, it was really sweet to see! 

The recovery went fairly well. We spent two nights in the hospital (and Dave got to sleep at home - thats how they do it here!) and were discharged Tuesday afternoon in the middle of the first snowstorm of the season. 


I really appreciated spending two nights in the hospital. We had some issues with breast feeding - both Georgia and I were slow learners, and it was very helpful to have the midwives come in for every feeding to give suggestions and help. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Introducing....

Georgia Ruth



Weighing in at 6 lbs and 19 inches, she was born on Sunday, November 28th at 8:20 pm after a quick and furious labor. 



We are so in love with her - she already has daddy wrapped around her fingers. 
More to come...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Around the house

Many of you are probably wondering what our house is like! I'd love for you to stop by for some tea (its much better than the instant coffee that's so popular here, believe me!) so that I could show you our little neck of the woods. I know this isn't really possible, (unless you live in the UK and then you are more than welcome to come by!), so here are some pictures of our house as its coming together.
This is our bedroom (well, a bit of it!). The end of our bed (with clothes that I hadn't put away yet), the chair that I will most likely be spending a lot of time in, the crib and dresser.

This is our eating area/clothes drier looking out to the backyard. I didn't put the table in the picture because it was a mess, but we do have a table and chairs, thanks to a wonderful family at our church!


 And here is our kitchen with our huge fridge (really, it is big for the UK!), and brand new appliances (amazing!) and kitchen. We really have a nice kitchen. There's not a whole lot of cabinet space, but I don't even use it all because I haven't purchased all the kitchen items (i.e. baking pans, slow cooker, etc.) that I will be using in the future.

This is another view of the kitchen. You can see our washer/dryer in the corner. You in America (or those of you with wonderful machines - no complaining!) It would take me 5 hours to do a load of laundry - washing and drying for it to be completed. Most of the time, I just use it for washing, and then I hang our clothes up to dry (like in one of the pictures above). Also, you can see our state-of-the-art dishwasher. Known as the kitchen sink and dish drainer.

This is a picture from our living room. This is the final couch that we got this week - a half-price purchase second hand. It is really in great condition, and although its not the most comfortable thing, it has lots of space (probably 3 people easily) and looks pretty cute in our room.



This last picture is Dave's office/guest room. The couch folds out to make a bed, so we will be putting our guests in here.

The good news is that all of our major purchases are done! On the downside, we do not have any decorations up yet. I did bring a few pictures with us to remind us of our home in the States, but we don't have nails or screws, so they aren't hanging up. We have lots of empty walls still around the house, but I'm working to slowly make our place feel more like home - and its working!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Births in the UK

I know a lot of my last posts have been baby or food related. Those are just the top two items on my mind these days :-)
I'm terribly sorry if they're boring, but you get another one of them today

The whole birthing experience is quite different in the UK, compared to the US. I've decided that the best way to describe it is that in the UK, because of the NHS (National Healthcare System), the hospitals/doctors/government are all concerned mostly about cost. In the US, because of private healthcare, they can be more concerned about comfort.

First, the good:

- During the actual labor (from what I've heard), the midwives push you to do as much as you can without any drugs, especially without the epidural. Depending on your point of view, this can be a good or bad thing as you can have a more "natural" birth experience with a birthing tub or ball. (which are much cheaper than drugs and more medical doctors). And if you decide you want drugs, they may not be available as there are limited doctors at the hospital who can give you these drugs.
- They are very unlikely to induce labor here unless there is a major problem. They won't talk about it until you're at 41 weeks.
- The rate of c-sections is fairly low, compared to the US. This can be attributed to the low induction rate and probably also the lower rate of epidurals.
- The midwife visits you at home several times in the week following the birth. This is also a cost-cutting measure as new moms are less likely to run to the hospitals with questions or call the doctors office in the days following the birth.

The not-so-good
- Hands-off mindset: I really think this comes down to cost-cutting. It is cheaper to have midwives verses OBs. Also, it is better for the government to provide fewer ultrasounds and tests (such as the Glucose test for gestational diabetes and the Group B Strep test towards the end of the pregnancy). In the US, they do everything they can to prevent something from happening. In the UK, they wait to see if there is a problem and then they will treat it if one arises. 
- The lack of testing worries me a bit. I did not get tested for GBS (or Group B Strep). Its a infection that can come and go in women and can be passed on to the baby during delivery. This can cause higher rates of meningitis in babies (and then possibly death). They do not test for that here, although you can order tests online and do it yourself and send it in for the results.
- I have heard multiple stories of women who's waters break (some even early - around 32 weeks!) who go to the hospital only to be sent home because they are not in active labor. In the States this is unheard of because they are worried about infection.
- I've heard that some of the hospitals are rather "dirty" or old by American standards (The doctor at my local clinic told me this!)
- Husbands do not spend the night at hospitals. Even if you're in early stages of labor, they will send the husband home with a promise to call if you make progress. Also, after the baby is born they will send the husband home an hour or two after the baby arrives. Also, you can be discharged up to two hours after giving birth if you are able to go home.
- You rarely see the same doctor twice. This is a pain because you have to explain who you are and why you're there. The doctors do not talk to each other - so the person examining me at the hospital will not know the person who did the ultrasound or the doctor in my local clinic. I carry my own medical notes around, and they look at that when they need information.


I do have more thoughts on the NHS as a whole (not just relating to births) but I will save that for another time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Week in Review: Dorking

A few weeks ago, Dave had a work conference in a city half an hour south of Wimbledon called Dorking. Actually there was a little "town" closer called Wotton, but it consisted of a bus stop and a pub. We stayed at an old retreat centre by the name of Wotton House. It was the house of the novelist John Evelyn (if you know who that is, ahem, mom...)

We took the train down to the city of Dorking, which was quite a feat. The train and tube stations here were not designed for anything that has wheels - wheelchairs, strollers or suitcases. And, since we were still technically homeless, we took four suitcases with us. The rest of our belongings were at two different hotels awaiting our return. The first feat we managed was taking the bus down to the train station with our four large suitcases. We only got a few dirty looks.

Then, we had to get on the train. The station has a ramp up to the first platform. Very nice, and although it was a long (and steep!) ramp, very do-able. Then, we had to cross the platform to get to the other side. Of course it was only stairs. So, up we started. Dave would take up two of the suitcases a few stairs, and then come down to get the third one while I took the lightest of the bunch and slowly made my way up. Then, we had to go down. Without thinking, I just pulled the suitcase down the stairs behind me, bouncing all the way down. I have to say we were very lucky that none of the electronics (such as laptops) broke!

The same sort of thing happened once we got into Dorking. Again, we had to cross platforms, and again there were only stairs. So down we went, dragging the bags behind us, and then (finally!) a nice man stopped and offered to help me carry one of the bags up the stairs! 


Anyways, we got a taxi and took it to the Wotton house, arriving to this spectacular view. It was so beautiful on the property, and I got to enjoy it fully while Dave and his co-workers had meetings every day.

I have to admit that the service was less than stellar. Upon arrival we had to ask for two keys (they thought we'd share one room key!), had to wait until 7pm to eat dinner. We got kicked out of the dining room because we were there too early! They had a pool/fitness area that I thought I'd use one day, so I went by the front desk to ask about it, and the only way to get a key to the fitness area was to give them my room key in exchange. I had to beg and plead for them to give me a key without taking away my room key. I told them I was going to come back in my swimming suit and I think that scared them :-)


One of Dave's co-workers who had a car was able to take me to the city of Dorking one of the days that we were there. Unfortunately I didn't take my camera because I was planning on spending several hours there and wanted to carry one less item, but it was very charming.
I did take plenty of pictures of the Wotton House though, so if you'd like to see them, you have some options, well, one mainly. 


Since we had such a difficult time reaching the retreat centre, we rented a car for the ride home :-) I have to say that Dave is getting very good at driving around here. He still likes to ride the left curb and stalls every once in a while, but I feel pretty comfortable in the car! And that's saying a lot....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Autumn

Dave says I'm not putting enough pictures on the blog. Too much writing. So, here you go!


As we are in a waiting pattern, Dave and I have been trying to make the best of our time as a family of two. I have drug him out of the house, promising Starbucks, in exchange for spending time in the cold outdoors. 

These are some pictures from the last few times we've gone out. We caught a bus near our house and took it up the hill to Wimbledon Common area. 

Sorry about the raindrop on the lens... oops. That's what happens when we have no umbrella with us. 

We ended up getting off the bus too early and then had trouble finding an entrance to the park, so instead we walked through some of the more "posh" neighborhoods. It was a cooler afternoon and we had some sprinkles as we started the walk (unfortunate because I forgot the umbrella). 

But, it did clear up pretty quickly and then the sun peaked out just for a bit. It really was a beautiful evening. 


This is the name of the borough we live in. 


Here's a picture of me... I am around 37.5 weeks here. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vinegar and HSBC

They do not sell vinegar in the UK, at least not at the 4 grocery stores I've been to, or the others I've looked at online. Poop.

Its not that distilled vinegar (without spices or malt, thank you!) is that much of a necessity. Really. I'm pretty sure I can get by without it. Its just the annoyance of trying so hard to find something and not being able to find it. Anywhere.

They do sell vinegar - malt vinegar (in many different colors), pear vinegar, balsamic vinegar, vinegar for canning, and any other type of vinegar you can think of. Just not the plain, clear, white one without malt flavoring.

I don't use it all that often - I do like to make my own buttermilk. Add it to some milk, and pretty much instantly it becomes buttermilk! We save a fortune when I make pancakes and waffles because I don't have to buy buttermilk. But I can buy buttermilk. I'm not opposed to it... Its just that for the price of a can (or jug) of buttermilk, you could get two or three jars of vinegar. Although you have to admit that buttermilk tastes better than milk + vinegar.

Dave was a little annoyed that I was getting so worked up about it. Until I found a recipe for Carne Asada (we'll talk about Mexican food another time....).... One of the ingredients you add to the marinade was vinegar. And then, he felt my pain.


.   .   . 



Banking is a whole new ball game. Nothing about opening a bank account and figuring out payments and direct debit has been easy. Nothing.

Dave checked, and our rental payment that was supposed to go out on Friday had not gone out of the account... So our rent was overdue. We had filled out a form asking that they just automatically take it out of our account every month. This was the first month and so I first tried calling our housing manager who told me to try calling the bank.

So, I called the bank. Mind you, this is an 0800 telephone number. If you were in the states, it would be no big deal. But here, you get charged (not just minutes by your phone company... also get charged for the call itself!) when you call one of these numbers. And like a significant amount. For my phone call today, it'll probably cost around $7. So, not cheap.

Back to the story.... The computerized voice asks me to put in my account info, my sorting code, and then asks for my date of birth. I put mine in, but it says it does not recognize it. So, I try Dave's. It works just fine. In the States, this is not a big deal! We have a joint account, both of our names are on it, and we both have credit cards from the same account. So who cares if I'm using his date of birth or mine?!

When the call finally gets answered, the lady proceeds to tell me that I've locked Dave's account. In order for him to access it, he has to go into the nearest branch (which is NOT in our town.... its a bus ride away) and have them re-open basically his part of the account. She continues that she can help me, since my "part" of the account (of our JOINT account - do they have a different meaning for the word here????) was still active. But, because I had not set up a password or pin number in my own name, I would have to prove who I was. No problem. Date of birth, full name, number of my credit card. Then, the last question threw me - I had to tell her "something" that had taken place in our account over the last 7 days. So, if we'd made any purchases using the account, I would have to state the exact amount, the place purchased, and the date. If I were to get it wrong, I would lock my part of the account.

So... I spent a full 10 minutes on the phone with her, trying to find a receipt from something in the last week. But of course this is the week that we've switched to using cash, rather than our debit cards. And I ended up hanging up the phone, rather than tell her something inaccurate and screw-up our account further.

Dave and I take a trip into the bank to sort everything out. First, they have to re-set his part of the account so that he can use it. Then, we have to add my information (i.e. date of birth) so that I can call the bank without feeling like a thief. Then, we try to figure out why our direct debit has not begun to work. They have a copy of the form we've filled out in their computer system with our authorization of the direct debit.

Ah hah.

Dave's signature doesn't match.

Yup. They've become the signature nazis over here.

Someone, somewhere decided that Dave's signature on the direct debit form did not match his signature given to the bank when we opened our account.

The bank has been calling us the last week to try to sort it out. BUT... because of the laws and regulations they have, this is what the call goes like:

"Hi, this is your bank calling (they can't even say the name of the bank because of privacy laws). Can you give us your phone number and account number to prove who you are and then we'll tell you why we're calling?!"

And Dave hangs us because he doesn't give his information out over the phone.

So, its been a headache.

I think Tariq at the bank might become the baby's godfather. That's how much he sees us.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Differences: food

Last night while eating dinner, Dave told me, “Your cooking has gotten so much better - I don’t mind eating at home all the time!” haha..... I told him it was that his options (i.e. eating out) were not that good, making my food seem even better. And then, yes, after thinking about it for a while, he amended his statement, “I can’t think of anything that we’d go out and eat that would be better”

People in America, eat an In-n-out burger for us tonight.

The first complaint about food here is that it is impossible to eat for less than 10 pounds (for the two of us), which is around $16. And that is a cheap meal. At In-N-Out (which we frequented too often), we could eat for $7. Easily.

You wouldn’t think that there were that many differences in the food here. But you would be wrong.

Ranch dressing is obsolete. They do have other dressings by Kraft.... just not ranch. And the Cesear dressing here is the “real” stuff with anchovies. Eiw. The closest they have to ranch is “garlic and parmesan” which is like eating a spoonful of mayonnaise with bits of herbs in it.

Mexican food consists of Old El Paso taco and fajita kits. Either that or Spanish tapas are pretty popular here. And I guess people here think the “Mexican” is too spicy because they just launched the “Very Mild” version of Old El Paso. On the topic of Mexican food, corn tortillas here are only partially corn and then mostly wheat. Not good for a glutard like Dave. We’ve had to buy Masa so that we could try making our own corn tortillas. The best salsa we’ve found is the one made by Doritos.

Pickles here means something that has been “pickled” which is usually onions or beets. Do people just eat canned onions? I find that hard to believe.... They have very limited quantities of what we would consider pickles. I have yet to find the ones you can put on sandwiches (the sour variety).



I’ve been missing fall foods. And I will be missing them for a few years. Pumpkin filling (for pies or breads) does not exist. Well, I haven’t found it yet. So no pumpkin pie this year :-( On the subject of pies, I don't think I will be able to make Pecan pie either. The "Karo" syrup is not the same.... we'll give it a try though.

If you know me well, you know I enjoy my morning cereal. The good news is that there is Kellogs and Nestle (which I believe is the same as General Mills). The bad news is that they only sell about 10 different varieties of cereal total, and that includes Coco Puffs, Frosted Flakes and Honey Cheerios (yes, its different from Honey Nut Cheerios). They have some cheap imitation of shredded wheat, but its a soft cereal, instead of the crunchy that it should be. I miss my American Cereals. What I would give for a bowl of Quaker Oatmeal Squares right now.


Don’t get me started on chips. Instead of flavors like chive, or cheddar, they have “roast chicken” and “prawn cocktail”. I’ve heard they’re actually good, but with names like that my appetite is ruined.


Its a good thing I like to bake (thanks Dad!) because their selection of boxed cake mixes are very limited. Actually, I’ve seen two or three total: Devil Food cake and maybe a vanilla. They are low on the baking supplies I'm used to. Karo Syrup and Molasses syrup are things that are difficult to find. Also, Crisco is also non-existent.

Velveeta is non existent here, too. What am I going to do when I want a grilled cheese? It just isn’t the same with cheddar.... you need that velvety cheesy goodness.....

Can anyone tell I’ve been missing American foods????? I think they need an American section in their grocery stores. Or a store that sells American brands of foods. They have pretty much every other type of food here.

Don’t even get me started on their obsession with beans - only baked beans. It is impossible to find canned pinto beans. Refried beans cost about $2 a jar. AND.... they eat these baked beans for breakfast!  How does that rhyme go? Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you..... well.... you get the idea

That is the plus side - if you want a really good Indian curry, some decent Chinese or even Korean, you’re able to find it very easily. Just not American.....

If you’re English, or you like English food, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to offend you. Just go to America and try the food there. Its transformational. Like change your life good.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We have a compromise....

When we get back to the States, I have an opinion that we will probably need a mini van (or at least something bigger than a car) to lug around kid(s) and everything that you need when you have kids.

Dave has been vehemently opposed to that idea.


Until today.


He found this online.







A swagger-wagon. Stretch-limo mini van.


His actual words, "I would drive that!"

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ticking Time Bomb...

is exactly how I feel. Being a bit past 36 weeks pregnant, I know that our little girl could decide to come any day. Most likely it still won’t happen for a bit, but I want to be prepared for it, so I have been cleaning and organizing and sorting like a crazy lady. Actually, it is really crazy for me, because I don’t usually have this much of an urge to clean!

Another reason I want to be ready is because I *think* that she will decide to come early. I have an arcuate uterus (sorry if this is TMI), but basically, my uterus is heart-shaped. Because its shaped differently than a normal uterus, my little girl is basically running out of room. She has started measuring small, and I would guess that its because there’s no more room (or at least less room) for her to grow in there. In the last few weeks, I have been measuring small. The doctors here were a bit concerned (at one point I was measuring 4 weeks behind!) so they ordered an ultrasound. She was looking just fine, and happy in there, kicking away! She was a little on the small side, but within “normal” range. My doctor back in the US made a guess that she would “run out of room” when I was close to 34 weeks and would probably deliver early.

I hope I’m not jinxing myself by thinking that our little one will be arriving early. She’ll probably come late, just because I’m writing this post now :-) But, that doesn’t change the fact that I feel like a ticking time bomb. I know there’s only a small chance that she’ll come today. But there’s a bigger chance that she’ll come tomorrow, and an even bigger chance she’ll come the day after that. Every day she doesn’t come, the likelihood that she’ll come the next day rises.

I’ve been able to keep very busy nesting. I have an irresistible urge to make sure everything is ready. I have been shopping as much as I can - mostly for household goods such as storage bins, light bulbs and stuff thats not quite as “fun” and also for groceries. We don’t have a car, so I hop on the bus which literally stops 100 feet from our front door and take it to whatever store I need to go to. I don’t have much energy anymore, so I will usually just do one or two trips a day.

The rest of the day I spend cleaning the house, arguing with the washing machine (and I’m still loosing, I’m afraid!) and washing dishes (thanks to no dishwasher). We have Ikea memorized, like the back of our hands - taking an average of 2 trips a week there, and have spent our life savings, I’m afraid. Dave is now an expert at putting together their products. And slowly, our house is starting to feel more like a home.


p.s. sorry for the delay in posts. If I haven't mentioned, we have no Internet in our house until Nov. 11th, so it'll be a few more weeks.... sorry!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Random thoughts

This is an awesome TV show. Even for a woman to watch (or me, if I count as a "woman"). They are totally funny and do some awesome stunts. We've watched them jump a mini off a ski jump, and play "soccer" using their cars. 


Ketchup here tastes funny. It can seriously ruin a meal when you think your fries will be good, but then are in-edible because of the stuff they call ketchup. The good news is that you can buy American ketchup in the grocery store :-)


The people who created the roads here must've been drunk when they did it. Seriously. Try going to one of the major stores (Tescos) around here, and there is only ONE entrance (even though its in a major intersection) and you can only enter coming from one direction. So, woe to you if you live south of the store and have to drive to get there.... add another 10 minutes onto your commute just to do a u-turn in the middle of the crazy traffic!


Another point about roads is that NONE of them go straight... heavens forbid they make it easy to get from point A to point B!


Customer service is excellent. Everyone you talk to is very lovely and polite. But that's only if you're okay waiting forever for anything! For example, we called to set up Internet service. Next available date is Nov. 11th. Seriously?! We're going to be without Internet for almost a month!


Americans have perfected many things. I never realized how wonderful things were like fridges that were full-size and that dispense water and ice at the touch of a button. Freezers that don't have frost coating the inside of if (even if its considered frost-free freezer!) Also, how about a washer that is easy to understand and takes less than 2 hours to complete one cycle (and that's just washing... no drying included in that 2 hours!)


Monday, October 18, 2010

Difficulties in Purchasing items

A few days ago Dave asked me something simple - could I please pick him up some Dayquil? He had a slight cold and wanted to take some medicine. Simple, right? well.....

I walk down to Boots. Find the pharmacy department. After a quick scan of the medicines, none of the brands are the same. Lemsip, Nurofen, Medised, Tixylix and Benilyn. Nope. Don't know any of those. Hmm.... okay.... start looking at the labels. Some of the medicines I've heard of - caffeine, aspirin. Those are good things to start with. But then it ends. Paracetamol, and other unknown substances make up their medicines.

 I figure I'll ask the lady behind the desk. First I try asking her about Dayquil - a simple cold medicine. She has no clue what I'm talking about. But I thought that might be the case. So I try acetaminophen. She looks even more confused! Seriously?!  She tells me she hasn't heard of that before, and doesn't know what it is. How does she not know what acetaminophen is?!

So, I resort to asking her to take several different medicines off the shelves and try to study them to see what is in them. The poor lady thought I was nuts. I kept getting the eye from her. She probably thought I would run off with all the pills and make meth or something like that :-)

I finally picked some out that looked like they might be promising. I asked to purchase them. She told me no - I could only buy one or two of them, but not all three. I had to settle for two of them. For future reference, I got the Benilyn and Nurofn. I think Dave liked the Benilyn.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pregnancy update

God has been so good to me!

Since arriving in England, I have been feeling WONDERFUL! 
Really. I don't know why that is. 
Maybe the fact that I walk everywhere? I'm definitely getting more exercise. 

I have been getting more and more tired, but still have all the energy I need to do what needs to be done. 
I just walk a little slower going places :-)

This picture was taken a day or two ago, so a little before 34 weeks. 

The way the system in England works is that you have to have an address before you find a doctor - everything depends on where you live. So, once we got our lease papers, I took them to the GP Surgery (just their name for Dr.'s office). It is literally one block away from our house. It would take longer to drive there than to walk.

Anyways, they have been pretty helpful with getting everything done. I am now registered at a hospital (although it took several nagging phone calls on my end) and have had a "check-up". But by "check-up" I mean the doctor handed me papers to fill out, and said to come back in a few weeks. So, I guess I'm good to go! I have to go into the hospital tomorrow to discuss payment because I am not technically covered under the NHS (since we're so new to the country). I also have an appointment with a midwife at another hospital tomorrow, I think some sort of check-up or informational meeting. 

On a funny note - can I just say that I was weighed in stones? That's how its done here :-) The nurse and I had quite a time trying to figure out how much weight I've gained and translating everything from pounds to stones. 

There is still so much to do - other than the baby items I brought with us (mostly clothes & blankets), I don't have a single baby item. Well, I did buy diapers last week because I figure I'd need those if the baby were to come soon! Like I've said before, finding baby stuff is just more difficult here because I'm not used to it. I don't know what stores carry what items, or where the best place to find "xyz" is. 

Prayer for us as we continue to navigate this journey. There is lots to do with getting the house ready and the bags packed for the hospital. We still have to figure out payment for the birth and getting reimbursed (hopefully!) from our insurance in the States. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

House Hunt

You deserve an update on the house hunt. 
Well.... ta da! 
We have a house!

And by that, I mean, we turned in paperwork and a deposit, so we *should* get a house.


Hopefully. 


I posted on f-book (yeah, I know, some of you don't check that all the time) some pictures. 

So, here are some pictures from our hopefully-house for those of you blog-followers: 

So, I learned that this little brick building (now used as storage) was originally built as a bomb shelter. Yup. Every time bombs started dropping in the area, the family would run out to the shelter. 12-inch thick walls. 

This is our one and only bathroom. But it is VERY large for bathrooms in England. A full tub (including its awesome lions-paws), shower, toilet, and sink. Plenty of room for all 3 of us to be in there, if need be.

This is the kitchen. It was just remodeled, and not quite done yet, when this photo was taken. Ikea cabinets (with the self-closing hinges), new hob and oven and new sink, and refrigerator. No dishwasher. And that funny looking thing is the hot-water heater for the house. Brand new, also!

And finally, this is Alison. She was our relocation agent. Quite a hoot. Originally from South Africa, but fully England-ified, she is quite proper but lovely as well. Full of information, and willing to help us in any way possible. We loved her!


So, if all goes according to plan, we should get the keys on Oct. 16th. We have Ikea delivering a bed and two couches on Oct. 20th. So, we should be moving in sometime around then. We still have lots of shopping to do, but unfortunately everything is very expensive here. I've been on the hunt for gently-used kitchen table and chairs and other pieces of random furniture that we will need. Also, I've been feeling the pressure to start getting baby stuff ready. We still have much, much that needs to be done! It will be wonderful once we can start getting settled.