Monday, 31 August 2009

Day 335 of 365: Paradise!

Yet, I managed to walk out empty-handed.

I convinced Matt to take a little gander 12.4 miles away in Wolverhampton to this little mecca of crafts. I did well to not linger too long in any one aisle and funny enough dear hubby actually found a section of interest to him -- the model planes and fantasy game pieces. Bless.

It reminded me a lot of Michaels in the US, only super expensive. They wanted £25 for some of the simplest cross-stitch patterns and I STILL have yet to locate any flipping rubber cement in this entire country. To be fair, my search has been limited to the West Midlands, so that's not the ENTIRE country, but still. I think I may have to have it shipped in specially.

Anyone interested in starting a fund via pay-pal..."Sponsor an Expat Scrapbooker" fund?

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Day 334 of 365: From Across the Pond

I was reading this article in a UK pregnancy magazine and saw a mention of a study from The Ohio State University (highlighted). Although it's not my own Alma Mater, it's still from my town. Might even make me tear up a bit.

Well...okay, maybe I won't go that far.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Day 333 of 365: Palmers - Smoothes Marks...

...and makes you smell like cake.

Emma passed down to me some of the things she didn't use during her pregnancy and just after and one of them was this yummy bottle of Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula. I put a bit on immediately when we got home tonight, and Matt informed me that I now smell like cake. I gave him a hug and the man's response was, "all I can smell is cake."

Now let's just hope it doesn't make me want to scarf down the bakery selection at Asda.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Day 332 of 365: They're Here!

All twenty-three of them! Baby Bennett's library has OFFICIALLY started!!

I joined a children's book club over the weekend with the promotion of this set of small hardbacks for an absolute STEAL -- just £4.99 for the lot! Of course, like many clubs, I must buy 4 more books in my first year with the club -- which will not be difficult. They even make it easier now because I can decline the Editor's Choice each month in advance via the web so I won't have to bother with sending a book back each time.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that Beatrix Potter is one of my favourite author/illustrators of all time and in fact, 'The Tale of Peter Rabbit' was the first story I learned to read on my own when I was only three. I was quite lucky to have had a dedicated mom with the time to read to me from the time I was just a baby.

Luckily Matt enjoys reading too (although I can't say that he has an obsession like mine with any children's books). Either way, our son will be blessed that his daddy and I can share our love of literature with him as well.

So, this is where I ask you, my readers...what is YOUR favourite children's book of all time? Is it one you read to your own children or one you remember growing up? Leave a comment and share your book suggestions!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Day 331 of 365: Somebunny Wants a Cuddle

I heard a knock at the door shortly after 9 this morning and when I peered down from the open bedroom window I saw a man with red Royal Mail gear. I've learned from experience that if you don't catch a parcel delivery here when they show up (which can be anywhere from 9am to 12pm) that you cannot pick up the parcel until the following business day and by then it is only within a certain small window. Let it be known now that I don't possess that degree of patience.

I signed for the delivery and took it inside for further inspection. I saw it had been sent from Washington DC and it dawned on me that one fabulous Natalie I know (who makes what I imagine to be equally fabulous cupcakes) mentioned something might "not" be on it's way to me. Ignoring the customs declaration slip (as I wanted to be surprised of the contents) I opened the box and brown tissue paper to find this super-soft cuddly, snuggly buddy inside with a card that it was for 'Baby Boy Bennett.'

!! Isn't he the CUTEST?! I cannot emphasize how SOFT he is! I couldn't quit rubbing his floppy bunny ears! Matt even had a little play by posing the ears into what he called 'G-Force' and 'Rastafarian' bunny-mode, which was quite funny to see.

Something tells me I may have to have a special chat with dear hubby to remind him about sharing once our little bunny is here. And of course a HUGE shout out of THANKS to Natalie and her hubby Jeff for the sweet and thoughtful gift!! xx

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Day 330 of 365: In Progress...

At the moment, it's holding all of our boxes and miscellaneous items from when we moved in almost 2 months ago. It will be the nursery once we have sorted through all the boxes and found homes for everything.

I started by re-assembling one of the pine shelving units to put into our bedroom on my side so the other can go on Matt's and house his ever-growing collection of books. The remaining items will go up into our attic and I won't be more pleased than to see them go.

It's coming along.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Day 329 of 365: Stocking Up

I've organised a place to store the growing collection of baby stuffs. Mmm, baby smell-goods!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Day 328 of 365: Miss Spider's Garden Dwelling

This intricate masterpiece is woven within the ivy growing on the shed in our back garden. I didn't expect Miss Spider to be quite as big as she was, but I'm okay with this being her home as opposed to it being inside my own. (Click on the photo to enlarge it to see more detail.)

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Day 327 of 365: Can He Fix It?

Well, this now fully functional drain in our bathroom sink says...YES!

Within our first week of living here we noticed it took FOREVER for water to drain from the sink and bath. We tried several lots of drain un-blockers and it didn't seem to matter how 'heavy duty' they claimed to be. This naturally led to my dear husband disassembling the pedestal from the sink as well as the pipes and removing a handful of cotton buds (Q-tips) -- incidentally not our doing -- from the trap. We thought this would fix the problem, but to no avail, the drain still appeared to be blocked and we determined the problem was in the plumbing under the bath.

Matt's final attempt was going this morning to a DIY shop to get a special plunger that was capable of blasting water down through the pipe. Roughly five 'blasts' with this special plunger and the two of us nearly got sucked down the drain with the water!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Day 326 of 365: I.D. My Tree

When we first moved in we thought these tropical looking trees might be on their last leg because the palm leaves were brownish and not green. Matt has since pointed out that there is a bit of growth (reddish leaves) coming out of the top of the small one and also some shoots or something coming out of the side of the other.

I just wish I knew exactly what kind of trees they were so we could properly care for them.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Day 325 of 365: Rock Garden

Is it weird that I sometimes actually wish I had a lawn to mow?

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Day 324 of 365: Girls' Day Out

I went shopping this afternoon at Merry Hill with two of my favourite Bennett's (sister-in-law, Emma and mother-in-law, Josie) as well as my cutie 1-month-old niece. Then, after a few hours at the mall and a brief cat-nap at home, Em, baby and I were off to Lyndsey's for the night. Her daughter really missed not being able to play around with Em while she was pregnant, so she took full advantage of the opportunity.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Day 323 of 365: Food Poetry, Anyone?

are on my mind
from early morning
to late at night
in spring
there is no wrong
or right
to feel that sudden
to find that sudden

am always

(Forgive me Mr. Arnold Adoff for screwing with the format of your lovely poem and not giving it true justice in its original form. My autographed copy of your book, which I received in first grade, is now housed in one of twenty boxes I have stored in the US waiting to join me here in the UK. I am finding much comfort in these poems in my current stage of gestating a human, so thank you for sharing your gift.)

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Day 322 of 365: I Got Nothin'

Chasing moths has worn him out

And now time for a stretch. (For some reason this photo cracked me up.)

You guessed it...dead photo day.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Day 321 of 365: The Early Bird

The picture looks a bit blurry, right? Welcome to MY view first thing in the morning before I put my contacts in!

We discovered this weekend, just after all the visits from everyone, that Emma happened to have a spare key to the Corsa! So, early yesterday evening Matt and I went to Stourbridge to pick up my car from the garage and we left a note for the owner so he wouldn't think it was stolen. I looked out the window this morning ecstatic to know my car was here and I wouldn't have to worry about finding transportation to my appointment at Russell's Hall.

Yay for blood-draws at 9am!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Day 320 of 365: Does This Top Make My Bump Look Big?

I had a hard time today finding much of anything that comfortably fit my new-found bumpage. Yep, here it is in all its glory at 23 weeks! I'd like more if my rear-end didn't feel like it was competing with the front, but hey, what can you do?

Our little thumper is thoroughly enjoying kick-kick-kicking his mommy and as much as I wish he wouldn't do it while I was trying to get to sleep, it's reassuring to know he's there.

Just less than four months now until his arrival!!

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Day 319 of 365: Yes, I Know...

...I married him.

We had another visit from family in Manchester today. This time from Matt's Aunt Margaret and Uncle Eric. I had never met them before and Matt and I had always talked about going up sometime for a visit. I know it was nice for the rest of my Bennett family to spend time with them as it had been some time since they had last seen one another.

I snapped this photo after I messed up the first, half-expecting my husband to make a silly face (which explains why I didn't bother smiling)...and he didn't let me down! Silly lovey.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Day 318 of 365: Sorry for the Inconvenience??

I wish this had even been said when we went to pick up my car from the garage today at 3pm. Matt received a call yesterday to say it was ready and he told them we would be around today to pick it up. They had to put on a new rear axle as the previous one was bent. Luckily we found a used one for a decent price and just bought it and then took the car in with the second-hand axle to be fitted.

Unfortunately, as you can see from the photo, the garage appeared shut. This was confirmed by the company next door who mentioned the owner had left at dinnertime (noon) to start his weekend. Neither of us were happy bunnies as the only key was in the possession of the owner of the garage. This means that instead of being able to drive myself to tutoring in the morning, Matt will have to get up early to do it.

Argh! What happened to communication?!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Day 317 of 365: Just Hanging Around

We had the chance to see Matt's cousins, Sarah and Julia, today when they came to visit from Manchester. The last time I saw them was in 2007 when I was visiting England for the summer, so it had been a while. Their daughters have all grown SO much...I couldn't believe it!

The monkey in the photo belongs to part of a little play/activity tube they had gifted to Em & Daz's new little one. He was so cute, and his bottom rattles! I really enjoyed --erm, I mean, Amy will really enjoy playing with it.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Day 316 of 365: Shall I Compare Thee To a Summer's Day?

We decided to take a little trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon this afternoon. It was rainy and glum here in Brierley Hill so what better way to spend a Wednesday than in Shakespeare Country?! It turned out to be quite a nice day there as well. We did decide that we would have to definitely come back when I was able to walk around for longer -- so once little one is here. I got some pretty nice photos as well (although I am still learning the camera's functions a bit).

I'll post the rest of them on Facebook.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Day 315 of 365: On or Off?

For the first time since my first trimester...I can stomach RED MEAT!!! Hallelujah! Let's hope this wasn't a fluke.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Day 314 of 365: Happy Birthday, Matt!

Matt turned 35 today and I still don't think he looks like he's out of his twenties. So many hats, hubby, son. Just think, next year he will have another that says 'Happy Birthday, Daddy!' as well.

He has the week booked off work, so I get him all to myself...kinda. We've been tossing some thoughts around about places we can go to celebrate a bit. Initially we thought camping a few nights at The Lake District would be ideal, however, that might not be best until after our little thumper is here. The amount of times I need to get up in the middle of the night anymore and the aches in my lower back would not make for fun camping. We'd still like to take a couple short, inexpensive day-trips if we can. Good thing I have a camera now willing and able to take pictures.

Anyway, here's to you, Love! Happy Birthday!!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Day 313 of 365: Look What I Can Do!

I haven't posted an update on the hanging basket in a while. I think the last one was about a month ago when we moved in. As you can see, the flowers now dangle to cover the entire bottom of the basket frame.

I'm so happy I have managed to keep it alive! Perhaps I can graduate on to a window basket as well. Oooh!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Day 312 of 365: Happy Bunny

I spent the better part of my afternoon and evening ooh-ing, ahh-ing, and stealing cuddles from my adorable new niece. I'm loving all the faces and sounds she makes and I feel so lucky that our little one will have a cousin so close in age to grow up with.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Day 311 of 365: Smell Good Stuff

My cousin, Ashley (aka "Sassy"), sent me a fantastic assortment of Bath & Body Works lotions. It's actually my first proper parcel from the US since I have lived here and I was so excited on my 2 mile walk to the Royal Mail sorting office in Brierley Hill to pick it up!

Her note reads:

Hey Lady,
I hope you
enjoy these
smelly good
lotions! I
also included
...boys have
Love you,

These should all last me a while and keep me smelling yummy! Thanks, Ashley!!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Day 310 of 365: Special Delivery!!

Gorgeous red sunset photo tonight with my new 14 mega-pixel HD Kodak!! It wasn't supposed to be delivered until tomorrow, but I spotted the delivery truck this morning and nearly pounced on the delivery man when he knocked on the door!

The 5 mega-pixel Kodak (which I have had since 2004) has been dropped one too many times and we decided that with little one on his way in December, it would be a good investment to get a new camera. The best part is we got it out of the catalog at a really decent price and can make small payments on it until I am back at work in September and we can just clear the balance.

One of my favourite features is that it does auto-stitching for panoramic shots...such as this:

Although, chances are you will have to click on the photo to see much detail. I wasn't going for anything with this one, just trying out the settings.

Ultimately I'm quite satisfied with the quality of photos this camera takes. I like that there are more manual options for people like me, who aren't always 'point-and-shoot' (amateur) photographers.

Yeah, Myst had to get in on the action as well and I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Day 309 of 365: He Who Has Not Been Named

Look what hubby brought me today!!

Matt was cutting the paddock for work again and nearly ran this little fella over. He got two plastic flower pots and "rescued" him by taping them together with gaffer tape and brought him home to surprise me!

We haven't decided if we will try to keep him or release him by a lush, sparkling oasis. In the meantime...he resides inside a Nescafe Gold coffee jar...with some greenery, of course, to give the illusion of a natural habitat.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Day 308 of 365: Intruder!!

First of all...NOT as cute as the snails out front.

Second, who invited YOU, Mr. Slug, into my conservatory and what underground tunnel did you enter from?!

Hmm...any surprise he was both nominated AND evicted tonight?!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Day 306 of 365: Redirection Ripoff

I cannot begin to express my frustration with this system. For one, we moved at the end of June and have been living here just over a month now. Initially when we planned on doing a redirection with our postal service we couldn't because the debit card I was using to pay (yes, it's not free here...more like £7.95/month) was not connected to either address as I had not had it properly changed (in branch) from the first address where we lived in Kingswinford. As a result (and for "convenience") we were sent via e-mail a pre-completed form with which to take TO the post office by hand.

Sounds simple, right?


We naturally forget to do this for weeks on end and when we finally remember and take the form in, not only do they say it's not the proper form (something about not having enough room to input their information...which I believe to be a cop-out for the person not wanting to write in the tiny fields the form leaves you with), but we were also informed we didn't have proper identification. (Passport and two utility bills from the previous address)

Sorry folks, but in America (yeah, I went there) you fill in a stinkin form with your old and new address, mail it in, and your mail gets redirected...for FREE!

I won't even go into how irritated I was to read that I had to fill the new form out with the EXACT info as the printed e-mail version...but in BLOCK CAPITALS and BLACK INK ONLY.

Christ on a cracker...would you like the cord blood from our first born as well?

Sorry...I'm done now.

Looking forward to my mail being redirected for the next month soon.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Day 305 of 365: Sleepy Sweep

Again, nothing to report for the day and we spent the evening at Em & Daz's ooh-ing and ahh-ing over our adorable new niece. I think Sweep was aiming to be recognised as well, so I had to give him some camera-time. This is from when he and I decided to stretch out on the comfy, furry rug.

*ETA: Today marks my 1 year anniversary of living in the UK!!