Sunday, 16 September 2012

An Upcoming Change

There is some good news in the Jolley house.  Matthew and I are expecting our first baby in Spring 2013.  :)  We are thrilled by this upcoming change and ready (as you can be) for this wonderful change to our family of two!

We found out this great news on July 25th.  I was over a week late so we decided to try a pregnancy test.  This is the good news that showed up. 

We went to the doctor later in the week where he confirmed the good news again and set me up with a midwife.  I was around 4 weeks pregnant by this point.  The doctor gave us the date of 24th March as a rough estimate for the due date.

Mid-August was my first appointment with the midwife.  It was here where she took a blood sample and urine sample which was to be sent off for testing.  She ran through family history and just an overall of what to expect in the coming months and procedures in the UK when having a baby.  It was very helpful making it feel all the more real. 

Throughout the first trimester I have generally felt good.  I have had 3-4 days where I didn't feel great and only came close to getting sick once.  My main symptom has been tiredness.  It doesn't take much currently to make me feel exhausted and I constantly feel tired.  This should hopefullly pass soon as I am now entering into the 2nd trimester stage.

This past Monday was my 12 week scan.  :)  This made everything VERY real.  It was such an amazing feeling getting to see this little baby that is inside me.  Crazy to think that it was moving around yet I can't feel a thing.  At the scan, they confirmed it was only just one baby and that everything looked good.  There were no initial signs of any problems.  It took some time getting the baby to move around so they could get a clear picture and measurement of the baby.  The measurement they finally got was around 48mm (almost 5 centimeters) and gave us the due date of the 28th March 2013.  It is all very exciting and is starting to feel very real as my clothes are beginning to get tighter at the moment! 

Check out our beautiful baby so far...

My next appointment is the 16 week appointment with the midwife at the beginning of October.  Then my 20 week scan is on the 13th November.  It will be here that Matthew and I will find out whether to expect a little boy or little girl next spring.  We don't have a preference - just a healthy baby is all we pray for!  We are hoping to visit IN during Christmas time which will be lovely to see my family while pregnant.  It will be great to see my sister-in-law especially as she will be pregnant too.  We are expecting 2-3 weeks apart which will be fun for our children as they will be close in age!  Exciting times ahead and will continue to keep you posted...

Thursday, 12 April 2012

My (almost) brush with fame

Last Wednesday Matthew and I visited Highclere Castle, the home of the show Downton Abbey.  Upon our arrival to the castle, this sign greeted us at the front gates.

I could have the chance to interview with the today show!!  I was excited at the premise of being on TV and talked Matthew's ear off with different things I could say.  :)  Matthew and I continued to walk through the gardens and the house.  After looking around the house, we met up with the rather large group (50+) of Americans ready for their chance at fame!  The film crew was getting set up and began to interview, asking questions like; 'What brought you here?' 'What do you think of the way the show portrays Americans?' 'What is going to happen in Season 3?'  It was amazing to watch how people would act when getting around a camera.  I saw several elbows flying as people tried to get their way to the front of the line, and others jumping in front of someone else to try and be interviewed next.  Here are a few shots of them interviewing...

After a few interviews Lady Carnarvon of Highclere Castle showed up as well!! 

The film crew decided then to do a group walk up to the castle and then give us a chance to shake the hand of the Countess of Carnarvon.  I knew the chance of getting to do an interview was slim so I made sure I was prominent in the group walk to the castle....AND you can see me for two whole seconds in the actual piece for the today show  (check out 00:34 - 00:36)  I'm in the purple jacket!!

After getting to shake the Lady's hand and walking into the house, we came back outside.  The main reporter (who had just showed up) then asked some in a group where they were from.  I didn't get asked but the man in front of me did so again you can see me from the nose up behind the man in red (from North Carolina) at (00:46) .

This whole process has taken over an hour and they were going to continue with some more interviews.  Matthew was being very patient and it was getting rather chilly so we decided to go home.  I think we made a good move.  We watched at least five interviews being done and they only used one interview that we saw (the one with the two ladies at the end).  So even if I did stay and interview I would most likely being on the cutting room floor at this point.  It was still fun and this my first time being on national TV...if you call 3 seconds being on!!  :)  Check out the link to watch the video as try to look out for me:
(00.34-00:36 and 00:46) 

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Quiz Night

Two weeks ago Matthew and I participated in a quiz night at the community centre our church has moved into.  This was my first quiz night ever and I was really excited about it.  We had four people on our team, the Jolley's and Macintyre's.  We named our team  'Bravehearts' since the Macintyre's are Scottish and because of Matthew's recent health trouble.  Throughout the evening we went through 9 topics with 20 questions each.  The topic we did the best in was 'history' with 16 out of 20 correct.  Our worst topic was music and only got 7 out of 20 correct.  There were a total of four teams participating and we came in.......2nd place!!  Overall I enjoyed the evening although I was not a great help to my team.  I was only able to help answer a handful of questions throughout the evening and most of those were related to cartoons...not sure what that says about me?  In my defense, many questions would have been hard to answer if you weren't British!!  As a whole, a good, fun evening and I look forward to the chance to have another quiz night in the future!!
Here is a sample of some of the questions we had to answer: (good luck!)
1. What is a baldric?
2. Morpheus was a Greek God of what?
3. What is given on 13th wedding anniversary?
4. In what century was tea first brought to England?
5. In a pack of cards, which was does the king of spades look, his left or right?

How did you do? 

Monday, 5 March 2012

A Change is Coming...

Well, there is an exciting change happening in our church in the coming few months.  Over the past 9 months we have been involved in a community centre on the Howard Estate and held a few events such as a children's day, cookout and our Harvest Supper.  We have been blessed each time we have held an event there and a real open mind to hearing the Gospel. 
Last weekend at our General Annual Meeting it was proposed that we move our church service to the community centre from where we are currently meeting in the town centre.  This would be a big change but hopefully one for the better.  This would provide a better facility, building better relationships with local people and a better opportunity to serve our local community.  Please pray for our church during this time of transitition and that the local community on the Howard Estate will keep an open heart to us.

Check out the website to get a better understanding of where we are going and what this building can offer.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour

Eeek!!  I had to share my exciting news (Matthew's not quite as excited).  We have officially booked our tickets for the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour in London!  :)  The date is Saturday 16th June and I cannot wait.  I love movies and I love Harry Potter so this seems like an ideal thing to do!  To have my picture taken in the actual Great Hall is pretty cool....well it is to me!!  Check out more details about where we are going and what we'll see here...

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Dark Side of Humpty Dumpty

One of my goals for 2012 is to make more of an effort in reading more books.  I tend to go through phases with reading all the time to reading hardly at all.  Last year I read over 10 books the first half of the year and then 1 book the second half.  I would like to stop that from happening so a goal I have set for myself is to read at least one book a month.  I am also going to try and read more church books as well as the fiction books I usually read.  So far I am sticking to it.  Here are the books I have read in January and the ones I hope to read for February.

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde
Summary:  It's Easter in Reading - a bad time for eggs - and the shattered, tuxedo-clad corpse of local businessman Humpty Dumpty has been found lying beneath a wall in a shabby part of town. Detective Inspector Jack Spratt and Sergeant Mary Mary, part ot he Nursery Crimes Division, investigate the murder of Humpty Dumpty. 
Thoughts: I started this book back in October and I enjoyed the concept and premise but just wasn't motivated in my reading.  I finally got to finish it and really enjoyed the book.  I am now looking at getting the next book in the Jack Spratt series, The Fourth Bear, as I enjoy the fairy tales mixed in with adult humor!  I would highly recommend this book for a fun read.

Matched by Ally Condle
Summary: In Cassia's society, Officials decide who people love.  How many children they have.  Where they work.  When they die.  But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices on her own.  And that's when her whole word begins to unravel.
Thoughts:  I enjoyed this book but I think I had higher expectations for it than it lived up to.  It is a Young Adult book so I was thinking it would be along the lines of a Twilight or Hunger Games.  It was a good read but this story didn't quite work for me as in similar books I have read.  I'm sure this won't stop me from getting and reading its sequal Crossed which came out in November.

Those are the books I've read for January.  I have started my next two books for February.  I am currently reading a church book called The Minister's Wife which is a book about being a minister's wife, the privileges and pitfalls that come with the job.  It has been a helpful book so far and enlightening in several ways.  I can only hope this book may help me in better serving my husband, church and firstly the Lord.

I've also started reading A Game of Thrones.  When Matthew was sick during the Autumn he bought the books and quickly read through them.  I thought I would give it a go.  The only downfall is it is a big book and small print.  At least I have the half-term in February that I can spend more time reading especially at night before bed.  Here is hoping I can finish both books in the coming month. 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Solomon: dog or cow?

If you don't know we have an adorable dog named Solomon.  Solomon is almost 8 years old and is part of our family. He is our American dog in England!!

We had a bit of a scare two weeks ago with Solomon.  Everything seemed well until Thursday evening he seemed a bit down and got sick after eating his dinner.  He didn't keep any food down on Friday so we took him to the vet Friday evening.  They thought he could have picked up a tummy bug which was causing him to be sick or perhaps he had a blockage of some sort.  Hoping for just a tummy bug (the easier and cheapier option) they gave Solomon a shot and some medicine to give him.  We were to give him a small amount of food on Saturday.  If it threw that up we would have to go back to the vet's straight away.

Nevertheless, 20 minutes after eating his breakfast Saturday morning Solomon got sick again.  We took him back to the vet's where they were going to keep him and take an x-ray of his body to see if there were any problems.  A few hours later they called back saying that the x-ray showed his stomach was full.  Knowning that it had been 48 hours since he had kept anything down this made no sense.  The end resulted in an operation to empty his stomach and find the problem.  It was a worrying few hours until the vet called.  Solomon was fine.  He had eaten some type of fabric which upset his stomach so much that he gorged himself on grass.  The fabric and grass compressed in his stomach.  He had eaten so much grass that it could have filled a football.  The vet's words were: "He isn't a dog.  He's a cow."

We were able to pick Solomon up from the vet's on Monday evening.  He felt very sorry for himself and would just lie on his bed and cry.  It did look painful as you can see below.

The concern after the surgery was infection.  Solomon was on several different medicines for the pain and to prevent infection.  He went to the vet on the Thursday of that week and then again on Tuesday this past week to get his stitches out.  Solomon has healed very well and almost back to himself now.  His stomach is looking much better and is back to begging for food and walks again.  It is glad to have him back to normal and hopefully we won't have to do this again.  It is also amazing how quickly his hair do grow...This was a week after his surgery.

Thanks for everyone who left us messages on facebook, asked about Solomon and even prayed for our boy.  He is very much part of the family and will be a sad day when he goes....luckily, we have awhile before that happens!!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Health Update: Going Private

Last week we saw a private doctor (cardiologist) in Cambridge for a second opinion.  It was a good visit overall with good and bad news.  The benefit of going private for this opinion is that we knew a cardiologist would take the time to go through Matthew's test results and fully examine Matthew.  The downfall is you have to pay for it but for peace of mind it would be well worth it!

Anyways when we arrived they ran an EKG on Matthew.  On the NHS it took Matthew two months to get this done.  Then we got to meet with the doctor.  It was very helpful as he listened to Matthew, asked questions and examined him.  The doctor then went onto explain all the different tests Matthew has taken over the past few months and their results.  He came to the same diagnosis that Matthew had myocarditis following a flu from July that went and infected the area around the heart.  This was reassuring to hear just to know we have been on the right track.

The good news:
All the damage done to the heart has completely healed with little to no scarring. 

The bad news:
The electrical system of Matthew's heart hasn't quite fixed itself leaving Matthew with an irregular heartbeat.  The EKG showed Matthew was having more abnormal than normal heartbeats. 

The cure:
Again...there is none for this.  He is taking medicine and right now it is just finding the correct dosage to lessen the symptoms of the irregular heartbeat.  He was on a low dosage of the medicine which has now increased.  Best case is that the heart fixes itself and the irregular heartbeat goes away.  Worst case is that Matthew could be on medicine the rest of his life for the irregular heartbeat.

So even though it wasn't the cure all I was hoping for it was good news overall.  The damage done to the heart has healed itself.  Now we are just trying to get the correct dosage for Matthew to lessen the symptoms of the irregular heartbeat which in time will help him to feel better and function at 100%.  Matthew is still having good and bad days but we are finally having more good days than bad which is a massive improvement from where we were a few months ago.  He still isn't 100% but everyday getting stronger and able to do more.  Prayer would be appreciated as he continues to heals and slowly gets back to working full-time and back into the ministry.  Thank you for all those that have been praying for Matthew during these last six months.  They have not been easy but our great Father in Heaven has been with us every step and lifting us up in those down moments.  I'll be sure to update you when we have the next appointment in a few weeks time.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

2011: A Year in Review

First off I am very sorry for the lack of posting this year.  There were many times I thought about posting something but got busy doing something else and never got around to doing it!  I will try much harder this coming year to post more about our lives here in England but moving on to the main reason for this post...

2011...another year has come and gone!  How quickly time seems to pass.  Here is our year in review...

January 2011
*Began working full-time as Year 4 Teacher in a maternity position
*Matthew finished exams and interviews to be ordained into the Presbyterian Church
*Our old car died so we had to get a new car.  Matthew kindly got an automatic car so I could learn to drive more easily over here....he does miss having a manual though!

February 2011
On the 5th of February Matthew was ordained into the ministry and joined the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of England and Wales.  This was a very special day and one that we will always remember.  We are now officially Rev. and Mrs. Matthew Jolley.

March 2011
*I applied, interviewed and was offered a full-time teaching position at my current school. 
*Matthew got contacts/Kristen dyed her hair red

April 2011
April brought Easter break and a few travelling opportunities with it. 
*Travelled to Cadbury World to see how the company got started and operates today.  Lots of chocolate was sampled during this visit!
*Kentwell Hall
*Wimpole Estate

The highlight of this month was the Royal Wedding.  It was a Bank Holiday which meant no school.  We had a few people over to watch the wedding and partake in a Tea Party!  It was a fun day and an occasion I won’t be forgetting soon!

May 2011
*Kristen began driving lessons and took her road theory exam
*Kristen took practical exams for Biology, Chemistry and Physics test
*Matthew prepared final details for mission trip of Americans coming to England
*Visited Framlingham Castle

*School Trip to the New Olympic Village with my Year 4 students

June 2011
June was the busiest month of the whole year...where to even begin. 
*31 students arrived from America for a mission trip in Bury St Edmunds
*Matthew turned 30!!

*Celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary
*I took my big science exam - managed to get a B.
*We moved house.  J  Finally have parking and yard for the dog!  And an awesome kitchen!! 

My awesome new kitchen!!

July 2011
 *Got my English driving license!  I passed my test!!  :)

*Had a lovely visit with Matthew’s cousin Phil and family
*Holiday (vacation) to Dorset with Matt’s mum, Pat
*First two A&E visits for Matthew with flu with an irregular heartbeat

August 2011
*Highlight of the Year: my parents came for a visit.  Things we saw: Riverboat cruise, Orford Castle, Burghley House, Peterborough Cathedral, Lavenham, Cambridge, Canterbury.

*Visit to Dover Castle
*Visit to Leeds Castle

*I got a chance to visit family and friends in Indiana.  Always a good time!!

September 2011
*Florida to see my friend Amanda (my maid of honor) get married on the beach!
*Start my new teaching job as a Year 3 teacher
*Matthew falls even more ill and spend one week in the hospital.  Get the diagnosis of myrocarditis.  The flu from July went to his heart causing damage around the muscle tissue of the heart.

This was the hardest and worst month of the whole year.  I was working full-time in a new job and Matthew was really unwell...bed rest for most of the days during the whole month! 

October 2011
*With increase in medication Matthew begins to feel better but still not working and doing great
*Visit with Matt’s mum and sister, Pat and Ruth

November 2011
 *Matthew’s health remains about the same still not working and mostly resting at home
*Church Thanksgiving dinner

December 2011
*Another increase to his medicine and Matthew begins to show signs of recovery.  Begins working again.
*Kristen visits Ruth in London - Hyde Park Christmas Market and Wizard of Oz
*Lovely Christmas and New Year’s with Matt’s mum and sister

Mattthew and I got to visit some lovely places over the course of the year and had some great time with family and friends both in the UK and US.  September and onward have been hard months with Matthew battling an illness but as we enter 2012 things are looking up.  God has graciously seen us through a difficult time and it is He who strengthens us.  Matthew is on the road to recovery and feeling better everyday.  Hopefully his full strength will return soon and he will be able to get on with things that he hasn't been able to for the past four months.  This was our 2011...looking forward to the things 2012 brings!