Jul 30, 2014

Nowhere to nest

Ohhhh friends, nesting. I'm 26 weeks this week, just a couple weeks shy of that third trimester (already!?) and my nesting instincts are in super high alert mode. I tried to ignore it, because after all - we are MOVING soon (I'm the dumbest person for doing this), but last week I couldn't put it off any longer. I sorted through old baby clothes, completely moved everything around in the living room, and we (Mark) cleaned out the fridge. It's not much, but it's all I could do.

I am kind of dying inside that I've put us in this position to move right when I'll be getting tired and won't be able to get things done as quickly. But I keep telling myself that it's much better to be a little tired while moving into a new place than to try and flat hunt with a newborn and toddler and get anything done with the soon-to-be little gang!

I've been so focused on researching neighborhoods and hunting for that perfect unicorn flat that doesn't exist, that I've hardly been thinking of how life will change so soon with a new little baby girl in our arms. Funny, because she kicks all day long, she's a wiggly thing, and Henry always reminds me of the baby - wants to kiss my belly, invite the baby out to play kickball with him, and feel her kick. She's a constant reminder of why I'm working so hard right now to get us all settled and happy before she joins our family.

When we moved into our current flat, we had no idea where we wanted to live, and we only had one day to look at about 15 flats, and less than 24 hours to choose a flat after seeing them. It was a whirlwind of a day. I was looking at old emails I sent our relocation specialist, and I requested we look for flats in: Islington, Clapham, Notting Hill, Highgate, and Fulham. Those neighborhoods are all over the map! We had no idea what we were doing! Now that we've lived here for a year and I've figured out my own routine and abilities as a stay at home mama, I've realized Highgate is a little further away from everything than I want to be. It's easy enough to get on the tube and zoom down to central London, but I find myself wanting to spend more time in the huge (and free!) museums in South Kensington, and it takes us an hour of buses and trains just to get there now. So I'm hoping we can find somewhere with an easy bus ride to museums, close access to parks, and a good family-friendly neighborhood. I basically want to find the Capitol Hill (DC) of London, is that so hard to find? :)

I'm looking in parts of West London, and hopefully we'll find that perfect flat! We've seen four already, and nearly put in an offer on a flat in Ladbroke Grove, but going to hold off for another week just in case something else becomes available. I'm so ready to make this happen, and get my nest on so we can really get ready for baby girl, who doesn't even have a place to sleep or a place in the pram. So much to do!

Jul 15, 2014

23 weeks and feeling fine

Last night my friends threw a small Bastille party, complete with a fabulous spread of delicious crepes and all the fillings you could ever dream of. One of my guy friends asked me how the whole pregnancy thing was going and I launched into this (hormonal-induced?) diatribe of how great the 2nd trimester is and how happy I am and etc etc. I went on for a good 2 minutes before I realized he was mostly just trying to be polite and probably, as a single man, didn't really care to know all the intricacies of trimesters and weeks and hormones and the run-down I gave him. Oops.

It's a funny thing, pregnancy. I've had some pretty serious ups and downs with baby #2. We had been trying for awhile to get pregnant again and had two miscarriages after moving to London last September. The first miscarriage I shrugged my shoulders and said we'll try again, but the second one wrecked me. It was really very hard, made more difficult by the fact that nearly to the day of my second miscarriage, two of my sisters announced they were very early on in their pregnancies. After a couple weeks of taking it slow and just trying to come to terms with what had happened, I decided to focus on my health and to improve my eating habits and start exercising again, so I could feel proud of my body again. And I did it - I gained muscle and lost a few extra pounds, started eating more greens and grains, less cookies and ice cream, and after about a month I felt renewed. Two months later, I found out I was pregnant again. I was so nervous to even sneeze or run too fast for fear of miscarrying again, but here we are 23 weeks into the pregnancy and my belly is swelling larger every day. I finally stopped having morning sickness about 3 weeks ago, and now I just feel great. And yes, I'll tell anybody who asks all about how great I feel. :) I have so much energy, my focus is ever-so-slowly returning to me. I've taken on several projects "just because", including:
1. We are moving to a new flat sometime in the next two months
2. We transitioned Henry out of his crib, and he's now sleeping on his mattress on the floor. He's doing great with it.
3. POTTY TRAINING. Again, he's doing great but I feel like a prisoner in my own home. I thought potty training in 3 days meant he'd be totally good to go, no accidents, but of course things are never that easy. We are on day 6 and he was accident free today, but mostly because I badger him with "do you have to pee?" every 20 minutes.

Not to mention all the nesting I'm doing of shopping for baby girl, taking stock of what we have vs what we need, stressing over double strollers vs stroller/ride-on board.

I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to be in this stage of life. So many tender moments talking to Henry about the baby - he's taken to kissing my belly lately (he's also become quite the little kissing boy, it's hilarious) and will sing to the baby with me. I hate that I had to experience miscarriages and endure 3 unending months of horrible morning sickness, but it has made me so grateful for the miracle of pregnancy and feeling well again.

Jul 10, 2014

Henry's first photos and art direction

I've been pretty lazy about bringing out my nice camera this year, but occasionally I'll remember and start to use it again. I brought it out for Portugal and it's been coming on outings with us ever since. And one little boy is taking a notice. I can hardly take a photo without him running over asking to push the button or take a picture of something.

So the other day I let him take a few photos in our living room (while heavily heavily supervising him over a carpet). He wanted to take a picture of his bus, and then he insisted on another picture of the bus inside the dump truck. It was so cute to watch him think of new photos to take, and he directed me on where to put the bus and everything. Future director? Or just bossy? ;)

The first couple photos are test shots (by me). Just thought his little hands were too cute not to share.

Jul 3, 2014

Traveling The Algarve, Portugal

We've lived in London for nearly 10 months, and about 6 weeks ago, I finally heard about the Algarve. How had I missed out on this little piece of paradise my entire life? As an American, we mostly hear about European beaches on the Almafi coast and Greece and maybe some parts of southern France, but nobody really talks about this hidden little secret of the entire southern coast of Portugal. Due to my frantic attempt to travel as much as possible before baby #2 comes along, I booked us tickets lickety split and a few weeks later we were off! We 4 days in mid-June, which seemed to be the perfect time - weather wasn't too hot yet, and since school is in until July here, the beaches weren't crowded at all.

Below are some photos from my camera, and we have many more from our iPhones I'll try to post here soon.

The End of the World (Sagres, Portugal)

The drive into Salema, the little fishing village beach. We drove back twice just for the fish. :)

Hen had a lot of fun building sand castles and collecting rocks

The best fish we've ever had in our lives. Caught and served on the same day.

White sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and laid-back feeling that reminded me of the Caribbean or parts of Mexico, and the most beautiful cliff-lined beaches I've ever seen. We stayed in Lagos, which is known for the Ponte de Piedade (point of rocks) with beautiful rock formations of grottos, caves, and secret, sheltered beaches. We rented a car and drove to Sagres to see The End of the World and Salema, a sweet little fishing village with a beautiful beach and the best, freshest fish I've ever eaten anywhere. We only saw a small part of Portugal and I've always wanted to visit Lisbon and listen to some moody fado and eat more of the incredible Portuguese cuisine. With any luck, we'll return someday to this beautiful country.