He is SO freaking handsome. Grr. Check that hot hunk of man out.

Warning Ladies: You can look, but you can’t touch!

Sweet Sweet Lee

Actually, with his teeth in he’s not half bad.

The Real Deal

 Pumpkins

Today is Hallowe’en.  Yes, even in England.  They may do it a little differently; an example being that we were the only people on the street with any sort of sign that we were home and willing to shell out goodies.

Halloween at our House

By sign, I am not talking a placard, but anything resembling something to do with Hallowe’en.   Somewhere some neighbourhood must be littered with it because they’ve been selling tons and tons of stuff in the stores for weeks now, yet with all of the kids that come knocking, no one else seems to make an effort.

Oh well, the plan is to have BoB walking by next year – he/she will have 8 months to get the hang of it – so that I can get back on my Trick or Treating game.  I’m not asking too much right?  That’s what I thought.

This year however, we spent it shelling out candy to children of all ages … those that spoke, and those that you wish you had a supply of razor blade apples for (usually the age group of 14-17).

Trick or Treat

Okay, so we cheated.. that’s Lee’s hand, but if The Hills can fake it, so can we!

Between gaggles of ghouls (well actually, almost all girls are witches of some sort and all boys are skeletons or in Scream masks) and the exercise of getting up off the sofa, BoB and I chilled.

BoB at 24w1d

As you can see, this child has had enough of being held hostage in my womb and is trying heartily to dig his/her way out … via the belly button.  I am beginning to feel like a Weeble .. or Shamu.  Though I think that is just because today was one of those days where I caught a sight of myself in the mirror when I was getting ready and realised that I was sticking a lot further out than I was when I went to bed.  To think, that black sweater used to go midway down my bum!  Thank goodness for H&M Mama tank tops (or whatever they are called in England).  Then again, it could be because there are only 16 weeks to go.  That’s right, I said ONLY.

Anyway, back to Hallowe’en… not that there is much else to say.  It came (early! people knocked on the door at 5.30!!) and it went (last Trick or Treater hit around 8.30pm) and I cannot wait to get BoB out there on the streets, pimping my child out in some lame costume so that I can go through their bag/bucket/pillowcase/what-have-you to pick out what I want and ration the rest to him/her.

Sure my mother thinks that this baby is payback for what I’ve done to her, but I’ve also paid attention to her tricks over the years and will be using them when and where I see fit.

Game On.

I was going to write separate entries tonight. Complete will differing photos and stories and …. well, that’s about it really. But then I started writing on the other blog and I ran out of energy and brainpower. So, if you go over there The Main Blog, there are newer photos… that are not that pretty and an update on what “we’ve” been up to today.

It may not discuss the entire weekend, but I thought I’d leave out the part where I was REALLY craving a cheeseburger, got Lee to go to a place that he swore off over a year and a half ago and whilst he got a great meal, my cheeseburger tasted weird and had nice “bouncy” bits in it to exercise my jaw.

I’m gagging again thinking about it.

The entry on the other blog is gross bits free … other than pictures of my stomach.

Somehow I never imagined that I’d ever be truly barefoot, pregnant and baking. That is for other…more girly… type women. Me, well I guess I lack the girly. However, it would appear that come the end of the year, I get an itch to cook. Well bake really. It happened last year and it overcame me to the point that all I wanted for Christmas was cooking utensils, food magazines and cooking supplies!

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it this year. Mainly because this baby has turned me off of food more than it has turned me on to food … not that you can tell by OUR profile:

Me and BoB 23w5d from the side ..ugh

Yes, I know… frightening! It is weird wearing these over the belly jeans. Because of the “waist” being so low, when I see photos of a belly sticking out over them, I get scared. Scared that I am turning in John Goodman. Without the alcohol issues. I’ve already instructed Lee to get me on Weight Watchers as soon as I pop. Well, after a massive sushi dinner. THEN get me hooked up to WW ASAP!

I digress. Back the the calorie laden kitchen experience.

I’ve been a fan of food blogs for a while now. Though I hadn’t been reading them since BoB has decided to turn me off of so many things. I just never knew when I would accidentally throw up onto the keyboard.

But this weekend I started reading again. Skipping past the poultry, lamb, Moroccan etc. dishes and went on a hunt for the less offensive… baking! Something I’ve never been good at, but really want to be.

Yesterday I gave up after hours of reading about cupcakes and rolls and tarts and cakes and brownies. I actually made myself sick thinking about all of the ingredients. Today was a different day. I was getting in a bit of a down mood, and I felt like I had to occupy my mind… in the kitchen. Lee said that he was going to go to ASDA, and although I like to pretend I’m too posh to go there, I threw on a hoody and some flip flops and scoured the food blogs for something “easy” to try out and the next thing I knew we were home with baking ingredients, a bag of spinach, some bagels and Hallowe’en balloons.

Remember, we are the people that bought a toilet seat at The Baby Show.

So I got all of the ingredients out and made an Baking Crap Area of the kitchen counter:
Baking Crap

Grabbed myself and my glasses:

Julia Child Who!!

And of course BoB too:
BoB 23w5d

And started separating eggs, making crusts, whipping eggs whites into a meringue and doing a bunch of stuff I didn’t realise I was able to do. Popped it all in the oven and 23 minutes later (okay I should have left it in the extra 2 minutes but I panicked with the Celsius/Fahrenheit conversion) voila:

Meringue Bars

That’s right, a hot tin of brown stuff. That’s actually the meringue top – with brown sugar and vanilla, not burnt.

Lee had a nap while this all went on and then waited patiently on the sofa watching crap television with me until it all cooled down…

Lee B

And then Mmm Mmm Calorific Mmmm…. we dug in..

Chocolate and Butterscotch Meringue Bars

Next, I will be trying Guinness Brownies.

I have no idea why.. it just seemed like a good idea at the time.

This morning I went for a blood test. Apparently the doctor I saw two weeks ago believes that any depression I may have could be caused by renal problems, my thyroid or high blood pressure.

Let me state for the record that I hate needles. Sometimes I cry when I have to get one, sometimes I feel like I am going to faint, and no matter how gentle the administrator promises to be .. they never are (except my Dad gave rather painless needles).

I get into the doctor’s office and I am sat across from one of the nurse’s rooms. She looked a bit miserable and mean and I hoped not to get her. When they called my name to Room 1, I nearly skipped with delight down the hallway. I met a nice middle aged lady who was all smiles and sunshine. She took a look at my arms and decided to go for the right one stating that she’d found a nice vein. I explained that I was not really a fan of needles and she said she’d be gentle.

And she was.

But.. apparently found a bloodless vein. I sat there for what felt like 20 minutes, but more like 1, wondering if she meant I was a slow leaker or if nothing at all was coming. I finally peeked through my fingers to see an empty vial. Realising that this meant ANOTHER needle, I started to pumped my fist like mad to try and get something flowing. No luck.

She hrmed and haahed and eventually called in the miserable and mean nurse who came in to check out my arms and decided to have a go at the left one. TADA! Success …and don’t tell anyone I said this – pretty painless. And now I look a bit like Pete Doherty on a good night with matching needle marks on my arms.

But my day didn’t end there. Oh no. After being talked into trying a cheeseburger from M&S (who knew they even made them?!) and waiting ages for it (That time it really did take about 20 minutes), I returned to work with the other sucker who got one and proceeded to give it a try. The burger was crap. But that’s not the bad bit. Having been raised by my father (my mother was there too, but not half the mess-a-phobe that my Dad was), before the first bite I wrapped the bottom to make sure that my hands remained clear of any spillage.

Apparently the paper didn’t get the memo that it was supposed to be a protective wrapping. Halfway through, someone commented about me being a messy eater. If you knew my father, then you can imagine the instant state of panic I went into. What? Me? Messy eating? NEVER!

And then I looked down …. at the trail of ketchup from my boobs to my crotch.

At least the size of The Bump meant the bottom half of my stomach escaped.

And at least I was wearing dark clothing.

I’m almost afraid to do anything but go to sleep now. What else could be waiting for me???

It would appear that BoB put quite a bit of effort into his/her home renovations over the past 24 hours with the equivalent of a new wing.   Not only have I discovered that I can no longer roll over without the Belly Drag, but it would appear that my stomach is stunning the most talkative of co-workers into silence.   I lost count of how many times today I heard “wow, you REALLY look pregnant now”.  Because apparently I only pretended to before.

This takes a bit of getting used to.  The belly button thing I thought would be a go-to-sleep-and-wake-up-an-outtie deal and the belly blow-out was more of a slow change to me.  I am oh so wrong.  But I cannot begrudge the little dude, because if I had hiccups that often, I too would need some space in which to deal with them.

May I introduce BoB at 22w6d and The MotherShip:

Check it out, my belly is bigger than my butt!!  I bet this is the stage J-Lo is really looking forward to!

Side View 22w6d

Putting myself out there…. literally OUT THERE…

The Belly 22w6d

Today is a sad day.  Or rather last night was a sad night.

I don’t know when it happened or where it came from, but …. I can no longer turn over in bed without getting up on my knees to try and minimise the Belly Drag.

I think we need a bigger bed.  And BoB needs to slow it down in there.  I’ve still got to fit into an airplane seat in a month and a bit.

*gulp*

Until I sat down to write this, I hadn’t realised that we had spent time every day (or night) of this weekend doing “baby stuff”.  On Friday night we hit up Toys R Us for a Tommy Tippee Nappy Wrapper (or as Lee prefers to call it, the Poo Sausage Machine) and a Summer Infant Prenatal Heart Listening Device (or as I like to call it Heart Attack with Headphones).

The Poo Sausage Machine still sits in its box where it shall remain until this nursery gets done…or started… or BoB’s born – whichever comes first.  However, we were SO excited to listen to the heartbeat.  Something that we… rather I…. had thought would calm me down.  I had been warned not to get one because it can cause a great deal of stress when you get no heartbeat.  That person should be listened to.  I wanted to throw this thing at the wall a couple of times because I knew that there beat a heart somewhere in there, but this thing refused to find it.  Sure we heard hiccups  and a kick here and there, but in my mind it was all gas because feet cannot function without a heart right?!  So just as I was about to take a sledgehammer (had I had one handy) to this crap piece of plastic, Lee decided we would turn it off and he placed his hand on my stomach when low and behold… BoB decided to kick his so hard it was visible.

Just another example of my child already playing mind games with me.  Little does he or she know that I am keeping score here.

We’ve now put it away somewhere so that I cannot find it, strap it on and convince myself that BoB’s escaped or that all of this activity in my expanding belly is just the universe play a mad mad trick on me and it is just the motherload of gas.

I’m better not be turning into Teenwolf for some Cosmic practical joke!

Right.. on to Saturday (we’ll skip the bit where we tried for the heart again and I swear we could only hear mine… )! We headed out for the booming metropolis that is Bedford, to visit this baby stuff store that I had found online and that stocks the crib (aka cot-bed) and highchair that we want.  They did have the crib in (though in a box) and it was way cheaper than anywhere else, however she wasn’t sure if it was sold to anyone else so they said they’d call me on Monday to let me know. Fair enough.   I then asked about this highchair. I’d seen it online and wanted to see it in person.  She took us up to the store room, past the sign that said Please Do Not Go Upstairs – Staff Only, and there it was… in a box.  There it remained … in a box.

So we left empty handed, and after realising that the people of Bedford are scarier than the one in Milton Keynes, we headed back home.  Taking an alternative Tour of the Crap Estate of the MK on the way.  People are right, they were crap.  I felt like I lived in Laguna Beach by the time we got home.  Perhaps it was the lack of Stella cans on our driveway or the presence of all of our windows.

Today we headed out to The Baby Show in London (right across from our old stomping ground of West Brompton tube station, Mom!).  I was hoping to score a lot of freebies and see what was out there that I had no clue about.  Oh, and see if anyone had that highchair… not in a box.  At first I was overwhelmed. So much to see, so many scam draws to enter, so many bags of useless flyers to collect and SO many big bellied women.

It was weird.  Weird, but worth it.

We found a tiny stall with a cute little stuffed monkey and Che Guevara baby gros which we loved.  We got the monkey – 25% off!  Then we made our way through the larger nursery supply stores looking for the cot-bed and highchair.  It looked like we were going to go home with nothing but a monkey and free nipple soothing cream, until I saw it standing there.  Right by the weird Mork and Mindy egg shaped highchairs, and sat in amongst the $459 strollers… the red leatherette beckoning me.

BoB's Food Throne

No, that’s not BoB.  Just focus on the chair.

So yes, it folds, it has rear wheels (even though the photo has front and back), the tray is big enough for a plate and cup (I am paying attention, Cath!), it folds in half(ish) to store away, the seat is wipeable without many places for the food to disappear, it reclines, the height is adjustable, it has a funky placemat toy thing and most of all I LOVE IT! And even better,  we OWN it! Poor Lee had to lug it all the way back to the car – thanks to the collections place being closed an hour and a half before the event was over, and us not knowing you could drop it off earlier.

I make so many spur of the moment decisions, that when we walked away and I saw the Fisher-Price Healthy Care Highchair, I started to panic.  But when we got closer I hated the material it was made out of and Lee pronounced that he preferred the  one we’d just purchased.  I took the opportunity to exhale and throw away most of the doubt.  Then we walked around and Lee said how much he now disliked the Stokke style highchairs and I felt a little better, and then we went to collect the highchair and some lady said “We have that highchair at home. It is amazing. My little boy LOVES it.  It is worth the price”.  Hallelujah! I made a correct decision.  Universe 3429324 – Me 1!!!!!!  Actually Me – 2 (marrying Lee was kind of smart too)

So other than the highchair we picked up a couple of Tommee Tippee bottles on sale along with a baby monitor.  A slow closing toilet seat (okay, you had to know we’d get something not normal) and lots of free samples of laundry detergent, breast pads and two hats that are too big for a newborn, but might come in handy in case we need to protect BoB’s baldy head from the bright Milton Keynes sunshine a few months down the line.

We also booked our 4D scan (I was completely against this in the start, but certain events and people have brought me around and convinced me of the good that will come of it) which we got a great discount on.  And we’ve booked it so that we will be able to show BoB off in Canada when we head over there in December.  They even gave us an extra week in between in case BoB didn’t behave the first time – I informed them that there are already some behavioural issues that we are working on.

So all in all a busy weekend, but a productive one.  And… I only cried on the Sunday.  One out of three ain’t bad!  Oh wait, I lie, I think I cried on Saturday too. Crap, well Meatloaf still thinks two out of three ain’t bad.  Just this once, I’ll have to agree with Mr. Meat Loaf.

Today Lee finally decided to join me on the Road To 32. Though to be honest, I think he prefers to just call it 31. Not many people are as enthusiastic about their birthday as I am… which is okay. However, if you are close to me or worse yet married to me.. then you have to suffer Birthday Madness whether you want to or not. When I first met Lee, he was pretty much an “or not” kind of guy. Luckily, I have been molding him over the years and convincing him that birthdays are a WONDERFUL thing. It also doesn’t hurt when you give your husband a games console for his birthday. If he is into that kind of thing. So Lee’s wonderful birthday marathon started a few weeks ago when I gave him his Wii early. He’s since had a surprise dinner and pubbing with his friends in Stratford (thanks to Steve! … and everyone who showed up!), a day before birthday lunch with the family and pressies, a birthday morning with a few more pressies (thanks to Steve! … and me), returned home from work to find post that was not a bill …. and then I took him out to dinner.

Yes, most people go to dinner on their birthdays and it is not that big of a deal. I do realise this. However, most people haven’t been forced to make mashed potatoes for supper almost nightly because their pregnant whining wife can’t imagine food with much flavour (other than Friday night curries). This made dinner out of the house THAT much better.

However, I had a last minute change of plans after having Italian two nights in a row, so on Sunday when Lee was out getting dinner I had to rush and find a suitable alternative. After flip flopping between places we’d been I decided to go out on a limb. Not always a good thing with me … much less a pregnant and sometimes brainless me. I found a review from March 2007 on a Milton Keynes website for the restaurant at the Inn at Woburn. One review … time running out… really left me no option. I went for it.

So we got ready, posed for the Ooh it’s an Occasion to Take a Photo photos – and the now obligatory BoB shot:

Lee is 31 and has balloons!

Happy Birthday Lee B!
Us:

Us on Lee's Birthday

Big Old BoB:

BoB at 21w6d

When we arrived I was nervous because all I had spotted on the outside was the hotel bar. I held my breath. Then we went in and it was much nicer inside. Exhale. We walked to the restaurant where there were three other people all in jeans. Sharp inhale. Then they offered us a complimentary bottle of still or sparkling water (Exibit Ahhh). Exhale. We looked around and saw so many conflicting things that we really had no idea what we were in for. Cloth napkins – paper napkin rings, oil and vinegar for the bread – with olives from a can, editorial cartoon type drawings on the walls – formal waiters. We placed our orders and hoped for the best.

For once, I got what I hoped for. Actually, no, Lee got what he hoped for. He definitely “won”. I came close…oh so close, but overall he was the winner. And not just because he was the one with the wine.

Exhibit Ahh (the free water):
Free Water!

Lee’s Starter ( Pan-Fried Scallops set on a Cauliflower Purée & Grilled Black Pudding served with a beetroot coulis)

Mmm Scallops

My Shouldn’tHaveButIDidAnyway Starter (Tian of Smoked Salmon and Crab flavoured with Shallots & Dill accompanied with avruga caviar and lemon grissini)

Crab and Salmon and Yum

After we inhaled this course we moved on to the mains. We were still nervous because we’d had hit and miss experiences before and didn’t want to get our hopes up. But we needn’t have worried!

Lee’s Main (Loin of Woburn Venison & Quince Jus accompanied with braised savoy cabbage, turnip purée & parmentier potatoes)

Venison.... and the best turnip on EARTH

My Main (Seared Fillet of Sea Bass on a Chorizo Mash, Baby Spinach served with a chive butter sauce) (Only downside was too much chorizo)

Kick Ass, Sea Bass!

We were getting giddy at this point and were more than ready to take on dessert. Something that we do not often do, but just this once…we were willing to put ourselves out there. No need to thank us, we’re just doing our bit.

Look at these innocent faces:
Us at Olivier's

Lee’s dream came true when Rhubarb was the star of one of the desserts: A Taste of Rhubarb – Rhubarb jelly accompanied with rhubarb crème brûlée and crumble (the brûlée was still flaming when it arrived)

Rhubard Bonanza

And I finished off with a nice Pineapple Tart Tatin served with Malibu and Coconut sorbet….
Shake the Pineapple

All in all, we are more than happy with the turn out. Lee’s birthday ended with a lovely meal (before retiring to the house where he played Splinter Cell past his bedtime) and I … I was just happy that we left with satisfied tummies and smiles on our faces and that Lee has loved his birthday … which goes on until the last present arrives.

Oh this baby is going to LOVE his or her birthday!! I’ll make sure of it.

So thank you to the chef(s) at Olivier’s for making sure that Lee had a Happy Happy Birthday!! And thank you to Lee for putting up with my … well… me.

The Birthday Boy

At lunchtime today I went to the mall (shopping centre..whatever) with a co-worker and as we were walking around I kept saying “ooh do you smell that? Is that….?”.  The guesses ranged from popcorn to soup to steak.  After we got my lunch we started to walk back and I said “Wow, the air smells like Parmigiano cheese.  It is almost like I’ve stuck my head in a wheel of it” and she just chuckled.

After work I was walking out to the parking lot (car park… whatever) with a different co-worker and I said “wow, the air still smells like cheese”.  She stopped dead in her tracks and looked at me.  My mind was racing and I started hoping that there was going to be something at the restaurant that had Parmigiano cheese on it when my illusions were shattered and my co-worker brought me crashing back down to earth with these 8 words:

That is not cheese, that is cow shit. 

I thought my sense of smell was supposed to be heightened, not on hiatus.

In other news:  Only 126 days, 6 hours and 41 minutes until BoB’s estimated time of arrival (according to Lee).  Personally I think it is more like 131 days and 16 hours of labour… but at least I’ll still make it in time for the February spot on the calendar!