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yes, that’s right. i’m halfway through being pregnant. and though i feel like i’ve already gained enough weight for the whole pregnancy, i’m sure that’s not true and in fact, is just me exaggerating a little. luckily, the doctor weighs me in kilograms and i’m still not entirely sure what the conversion would be. easy enough to find out, but why torture myself with knowing?

baby boy is healthy and kicking (a lot), and now that i can definitely feel it, it seems absurd that i wasn’t sure what it was before. of course, he’s still just as shy or stubborn as ever at the doctor’s office and won’t let us get any good pictures of him. i’m hoping if i eat something he really likes (which seems to be peanut butter; even though the books say not to eat it, i do anyway…) and get to bed early enough, maybe he’ll be in a good mood to make a wonderful showing at our appointment on tuesday, which is for the big 3d/4d scan. yay!

christmas was wonderful (as christmas ALWAYS is) and of course, the let down is just that: a let down. especially the part where i had to go back to work. sigh. i think to be honest i’d be a lot more positive and active if it hadn’t been raining here since june. no, i’m not exaggerating this time (as evidenced by one of my earlier posts here). it has seriously been raining since june, with only a brief couple of weeks break in november – which prompted everyone around to talk about what a horrible drought we were having (as a southern californian, i found that pretty amusing).

my parents came on the twenty-second, and unfortunately, that same morning, james had to fly back to england early to go to his cousin’s funeral, which definitely put a damper on things. they weren’t extremely close, but he was still his cousin and young deaths are so much more impactful, as you just feel like they shouldn’t have happened. he died at thirty-eight, which is just so young. i would have gone with him, of course, but my parents were flying in and it just didn’t make sense.

he was very cute though and was really sad to leave the baby for two days (and me, too, of course).

so my parents came in and it was, obviously, raining. i did my best to keep them up for the day, so they didn’t “nap” for hours and then get off to a bad start with their jet-lag, which is always worse coming this way. we took walks around our little neighborhood and had lunch “downtown” (it doesn’t seem right to say that about the center of leverkusen – it’s really just a mall and one street of shops and cafés). after the hovels we had been forced to live in in barcelona, they were really impressed with the cleanliness and ‘normalcy’ of our apartment here.

the next day, we toured the christmas markets and walked through the city center of cologne – which i have to admit, is beautiful at christmas, with or without the rain (though, it was raining… the whole day…).

on christmas eve morning, we took to the road, which i was really excited about. in the time it would have taken us to get to san luis obispo or las vegas, we drove through four countries: germany, belgium, france and england. our route took us through belgium (which was really interesting and we looked forward to stopping on the way back) and into france to calais, where we boarded the ferry to cross to dover (which i can’t write or say without thinking “the white cliffs of dover”, which must have come from some jane austen novel or something, from the way i say it in my head).

the night before, we had started to get a bit nervous about not having booked our crossing, so my dad had hastily booked it for four o’clock in the afternoon – having confirmed that if we arrive earlier, then we can still board earlier if there is space available, but at least then we have something definite.

when we arrived, however, the man told us that in actuality, my dad had booked four o’clock in the morning (because they use the twenty-four hour clock here, so four o’clock in the afternoon would be 16:00). luckily, he switched our reservation to the next available crossing without hesitation, which in hindsight was pretty lucky, because he really could have been a jerk about it. it was pretty funny though.

we had our first fish and chips on the ride over (not the first ever, but the first of that trip), which wasn’t so bad, considering it was on a ferry. halfway through, however, i remembered that i get motion sick now that i’m pregnant and the swaying of the boat wasn’t really making me feel all that great. but that only meant that i got to drink my first coca-cola since getting pregnant, which i was ridiculously excited about. not that i drink it often anyway, but when you don’t have one in months and months, you remember just how darn good they are (though i’ve been craving a root beer ever since, which of course, they don’t have here…).

christmas was great. it was really nice, though a bit stressful, to have all of us together – james’s family and mine. of course, we got a lot of baby presents already. and thanks to his dad, the baby is now officially ready to support the welsh rugby side, as he no doubt will have to. daddy is already planning his first game – either next february in rome, or in cardiff if he can manage it.

we walked around hampton court, and of course visited with his family and to everyone’s surprise, england was much nicer than germany weather-wise: it barely rained at all!

on the way back, we stayed the night in gent, belgium, which is just absolutely beautiful. seriously, one of the most picturesque towns i’ve ever seen. we just walked and walked and there were rivers, bridges, castles, towers, quant little shops and lots and lots of belgian chocolate.

once we got back, though, i started to have more baby effects. we were lying in bed, reading and just about to go to sleep, when i had these really sharp, stabbing pains in my pelvic area, which were really scary. eventually, we found out that they were normal, especially for the 18th – 20th weeks, and were pains from stretching ligaments. but it left me wondering what people do here when they have questions. so, i asked my doctor. the answer? go to the hospital. i then asked, “what if it isn’t an emergency, i just want to know if it is something?” the answer? go to the hospital. i have an appointment with my midwife on the 31st, i’m going to ask her.

i also started getting CRAZY heartburn. i’ve had heartburn before, and in fact, have always been pretty prone to it, and i’ve had it a bit throughout the pregnancy, but it’s now gone to a-whole-nother level. and it’s not a good level. i’ve realized that i can’t even eat a normal serving of soup or anything. i have to eat crazy small amounts and a lot throughout the day. if i eat too much, heartburn (and not the good kind) and if i don’t eat enough, dizzy spells and shakiness.

which isn’t good mainly because i can’t ever get to the grocery store because IT’S ALWAYS RAINING. oh, have i mentioned that already?

i am now almost 21 weeks and am just bursting to start decorating the nursery and our new house. we don’t move in until march though. so i have to content myself with pinning all sorts of things on pinterest and just biding my time…

and now i have to go out in the rain, because i made the mistake of making dinner plans. sigh.