Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Lasagna

Well, my four weeks home in America are coming to a quick close.  Can't believe it is almost time to go back to Derry.  I'm not super thrilled about it, I suppose you never want to leave home.  But, I know I have to get back because we've only got five more weeks until baby Concannon arrives and I can't have the baby here...I have no health insurance here...yikes!

So, what have I done in these past 4 weeks?  Let's see...

I've worked part-time at my old job.  It is nice to be able to come and go as you please and pick the hours you work...something which of course I couldn't do when working there full-time.

I had my baby shower which was super cute and nursery rhyme themed.  And, I had to buy another suitcase to fit all the baby stuff in to bring back to Derry with me and ship two boxes.  I can't help but wonder where we're going to put all this stuff in our little one bedroom flat.  How could something so teeny require so much stuff?

I went and saw the Nutcracker with my friend and her two lovely stepchildren, which I really enjoyed. The first time I saw it I wasn't that impressed, but I really liked it this time.

I've had lots of lunches and dinners with my friends and family which I think is evident on me arse.  Oh and of course all the Christmas cookies and candy have assisted with this.

I've seen my stomach (and feet and ankles) nearly double in size since I've gotten here.  Everything is bigger in America I guess...including my belly!

I've Christmas shopped my rear end off and I'm malled out.

I've killed Taco Bell and just about everything on the menu.  And, it in turned, killed my stomach.

I've gone to lots of different Zumba classes and went on lots of walks to keep up with exercise.

I finally learned what Braxton Hicks contractions feel like.

I have discovered that the baby has three inch Shaniqua finger nails.  Or, at least if feels like it!  I feel like my insides are being clawed by a grizzly bear at times.

I've also discovered that regardless of what I eat, the baby gets hiccups.

I enjoyed my mom's annual Christmas party.

I began the process of planning my friend's bridal shower and we picked out my Maid of Honor dress for her wedding in June and ordered it(which was fun doing with a massive baby bump) even though technically I'm the Matron of Honor although that term sounds awful so we're sticking with Maid of Honor.  We actually just ordered the dress online since the bridal shop mislead us in the discount we were to get from the bride having purchased her wedding dress there.  We were supposed to get 25% off the bridesmaid dress, but we're told right before ordering that that was only if you had three or more bridesmaids.  This was followed by a comment from the bride: "What?  I have a problem with that!  That's discrimination!  What if I only have three friends?!"  A question that remained unanswered by the bridal shop so we purchased elsewhere. So, there you silly overpriced, rude bridal shop!

I've caught up on all the driving I've missed.  And, the road rage that comes with it.

I've been tortured with these two questions: "When are you moving back?" and "Are you sure you're okay to fly?"  Answers to these are: "I don't know" and "Yes, of course I am, you can fly up to 36 weeks as long as you're healthy and I'm healthy and I'm not quite 36 weeks yet."  I considered briefly having a shirt made with the answers printed on them.  It reminds me of the questions I got when I announced our engagement. It was always the same question: "Where are you going to live?"  Then, after we got married, it was "When are you moving?"  Then, when I got to Ireland, I heard all the time, "So, how are you settling in?"  or from folks who didn't know me, "Are you from America?"  No worries though, I know everyone doesn't realize how many times I get asked the same thing over and over again lol, how could they I guess.

I enjoyed our annual Christmas dinner of Lasagna followed by a trip to the movies.  Yes, we eat lasagna on Christmas.  No, most Americans don't do this. Since we have the big meals (turkey, ham, potatoes, gravy, green beans, stuffing, etc.) on Thanksgiving and usually for Christmas Eve, we're sick of turkey and ham by Christmas day, so we began having lasagna about 7 or 8 years ago, which I really like.  We saw We Bought a Zoo at the movies...class wee film it was.

And, of course, I've missed my hubby and kitties.

Oh, and I forgot to take photographs of any of this.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Home for the holidays

Just a quick and dirty post here.  I've been home for the holidays for about a week and a half now.  I've got to partake in some of my favorite food items, a.k.a. Taco Bell, which was delectable.   But, I have eaten other stuff besides Taco Bell, too.  And, I have one major complaint!  Wendy's changed their burgers!  Gasp!  They now put sweet pickles on their burgers instead of dill pickles!  Guhross!!!!

I won't go on about food.  I have other stuff of note to mention as well. Last weekend was Mom's annual Christmas party.  I'll post some pictures, but they're crap pictures since I forgot to take any during the party, I had to hurry and get them fast before people left just so I'd have something to put up on the blog.  Here are my crap photos:

And, since I've landed in America, the baby has GROWN!  Just 8 more weeks to go! I'm twice the size I was when I left Ireland. With this increase in size has come an increase in pregnancy symptoms which I've been lucky enough to not have to deal with the whole pregnancy.  Yes, I now have a backache, a severe case of pregnancy rhinitis, a waddle that would put a duck to shame, swollen feet which have caused me to have to buy new shoes since all the shoes I've brought with me are too tight, about three new skin tags (yuck!), a baby who never stops hiccuping, leg cramps, terrible fatigue and heartburn that would choke a bear.  Hopefully, that line of hair that grows on your stomach and the stretch marks stay away.  My baby shower is this weekend, so I'll post photos of that, too!

I've also been working part-time at my old job so I'm staying busy!

That is all!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The shutter goes down

At 6pm, Thursday, December 8, 2011, Barry locked the door of the shop, Elmwood Stores, and pulled the shutter down for the last time.  Even though Elmwood Stores has been there for many, many years, he has been the shopkeeper for nearly seven years. He has worked his ass off the past year and a half to try and keep things afloat...working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, but unfortunately, no amount of work would help the economy recover.  I don't think people understand the amount of blood, sweat and tears he poured into that wee corner store...the hours he worked and the stress he put himself through. I'm very proud of him for his hard work.

After much contemplating, he made the difficult decision to close the doors due to the poor economy.  It seems, especially over the past few months, the economy has gone from bad to worse and unfortunately, staying open was no longer an option.  It is happening everywhere in Derry...shops that have been open for YEARS are deciding to call it quits because there is no business.  How could there be when no one is working?  It's a bad situation and who knows how long it will remain this way.

I know Barry is sad to have to close and so am I.  The shop has been a big part of our lives and it bothers me that our baby will never know this part of his/her parent's lives.  After all, the shop inspired part of my book, Coincidence.  Although, in the book it was named something different, not Elmwood  Stores.  The publication of the book, led to this article in the Derry Journal.  Love in a corner shop indeed.  There was much love there.

The shop also made an appearance in our silent movie, The Wedding Train, which Barry and I made for our 1920s themed wedding.  When the deejay introduced us into the reception, we didn't go in.  Instead, we played this silent movie before entering as a surprise to our guests.

After filming our movie.
The shop was also a place where I was welcomed to Derry:

My first day in Derry after moving here back in March.  Our two wee neighbors welcomed me with flowers.
There are many more photos I could post here of the shop and the many ways in which we've celebrated some of life's milestones within it's walls, but I won't.  It's best to just say the shop has served us well and we're sorry to see it go. But, we know after one door closes, another opens.  So, hopefully, a door will open soon.

Here we are a few days before the doors closed, knowing they would be the last photos of us in there:

Goodbye Elmwood Stores.  Thanks for the memories!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Zumba Christmas get together

We had a little night out with some ladies from my Zumba classes on Saturday.  It was funny, especially considering I was the only sober one in the crowd given I'm nearly eight months pregnant.

At the River Inn, Derry, Ireland.
Some of the girlies had shirts made and then jumped out at the bar and performed a Zumba song.  The story behind the shirts is kind of a long story that involves one gal and a pledge to kiss my cats if I bring back an old Zumba song we used to do.
Then they gave me a Best Zumba Instructor in Derry award.  Lovely it was!
Zumba baby was there too!  Nothing classier than being a pregnant lady in a bar!