Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Christmas morning we told Jack that Santa had been and he ran from his bedroom in his pyjamas, wide-eyed and with a crazy bed-head. He noticed the milk had gone and then saw his bike and said "ohhhhhhh!" like it was the best thing in the world. His first words were: "get Santa more milk?", which doesn't surprise me as our boy is a little sweetheart. Then he ripped the wrapping paper off, jumped on, immediately fell off & clambered back on again.
Here's a 40-second video of his first venture out:
As for me and Craig - we're exhausted, which comes from amusing a toddler for two whole days indoors due to bad weather. To keep sane, Craig's been looking at cross-bows on Craigslist with the view that bow season is much longer than shooting season, so gives him more chances to snag a deer. He's also been playing a bit of "Grand Theft Auto IV, my gift to him.
I've read two really great books over the holidays, both by Mark Haddon: A Spot of Bother and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. The latter, while a great read, has educated me about autism more than I thought possible and it's made me very sad because I can't fathom having a child that would not let me hug them, or kiss them or joke with them. If I ever do come into contact with a person with autism I feel a bit more prepared now though, unless of course Mark Haddon made it all up and now I have an idiotic view on the whole subject.
We've also watched two new films - one was fabulous and typical Clint Eastwood (Grand Turino), and the other one was an absolute stinker from hell (Will Smith in Seven Pounds).
All in all a great Christmas then, with lots of traits of Old Blighty (crackers with hats at dinner, Christmas puds, queens' speech and English chocolate), some Americana (egg-nogg, cranberry sauce with the turkey, watching "A Christmas Story") and lots of amusing behaviour from our toddler, including hysterics at the dinner table when his dad got a whoopie cushion in his cracker and then tried to blame the noises it made on me.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Have a lovely Christmas Day everyone. Best wishes to you all in Blog land - there are some of you that I feel like I'm friends with even though we've never met. And love in abundance to our families and friends in England. We'll call you tomorrow!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- Equal parts apple juice and cranberry juice
- 3 slices lemon
- 3 sticks Cinnamon
- Tsp. of cloves
Heat it up in a saucepan, drain & drink. It's that simple!
If you Google this subject you'll see there's all kinds of variations, including instant tea and Tang. It can also be made as a dry mix & put in a jar as a Christmas gift. I have only tried Lynn's fabulous version so can't comment on any of that.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
On to cheerier things - we've had a great weekend. Last night friends & neighbours came over to see Char & Jan who flew in from California. I
Today we took Jack to see Santa. I thought he might be okay as we had built him up to the moment and he was excited but the grotto was so dark & scary that even Craig and I were freaked out. By the time we actually saw the old man himself, Jack was digging his fingers into my leg and hiding behind me with eyes like saucers. I could only get him to sit with Santa by sitting next to him and then cropping myself out of the picture:
He politely asked Santa for his bike and then ruined my proud moment by also asking him for a selection of the stuffed animals in the grotto. But all-in-all a successful trip - better than the screaming fit last year, & the beard pulling incident two years ago.
After Santa we had a horse-drawn carriage ride with our friends, Emily, Brian & Katy then the kiddos had a play-date where they destroyed my house in 15 minutes flat. I had a vision of my two boys in the future - rambunctious, loud, screaming boys wrestling each other and breaking things and being cheeky. It may just be the thing I need to make myself relax in life. Or it could be the final straw that puts me in a mental institution.
Tonight another party with friends, this one short being that we all have work in the morning. I love this group of people - they are so genuine, so loving and caring and fun. My son is instantly at ease with them, running from room to room, being chased by adults pretending to be monsters and trying to bite his feet. I feel really lucky that we have these people in our life.
Righty-ho, I'm off to the kitchen now to make food for Jack's Christmas party at school tomorrow and to sit with Craig while he enjoys his acoholic egg-nogg. After nine years of fruitless searching for Warninks Advocaat we found out that good old egg-nogg is exactly the same thing, which means we can have "snowballs" again at Christmas! God bless America.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Me: "Jack, do you know what mummy would like more than anything this Christmas?"
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The swimming instructor came over at the end and said he needn't repeat the Tiny Tots class but could sign up for "Little Nemo" next, which sounds far more advanced and mature doesn't it. You'd have thought she told me he'd just beaten Michael Phelps 50 metre record the way my heart swelled up.
If I'm absolutely honest I was just a tiny bit scared, especially when Craig took him down a humongous windy water slide. Then on the way home he said "I'm going to keep taking him because I want him to be able to pull himself out of a river if he falls in next summer when we go fishing" and I thought "note to self: hide his fishing rods and refuse to go camping for the next five years".
Monday, December 15, 2008
Jack got some traditional thermals from his nana that even have cute little Union Jack labels that say "Made in England". That kind of thing makes me homesick but it's not something you see too much these days is it? It's more likely to say "Made in China" or The Philippines, like those Nick Jr. cartoon underpants I got him that scratched his bottom to shreds and led to the MRSA infection (I'm still hopping mad about that as you can see).This weekend we took Jack to a Dickensian Christmas event at Ohio Village. He got to meet St. Nick, though he called him Santa Claus the whole time and St. Nick was a bit miffed but life is complicated enough without trying to explain to a toddler the intricacies of all this. A man in a red suit is a man in a red suit. He also got to meet Charles Dickens, who in this case was an Englishman called Roger who'd lived in Ohio 18 years, liked Jameson's and was mad as a hatter. We chatted for a while about England and what we missed. He talked about Wayne Rooney a lot as he loved football. All the while dressed like Dickens - very surreal.
Anyway, one of my favourite American traditions is decorating the Christmas tree with personal and historic ornaments. Unless things have changed (and maybe they have) this isn't something we did in England. Our ornaments were made up of baubles and tinsel and a star, but we didn't really have ornaments that were family heirlooms. There are friends here who've got ornaments on their tree from when they were first born, which I think is such a lovely thing to do that I have started doing it myself. The picture on the left is a little collage of my personal ornaments so far - given by family and friends and lovingly packed away each new year and brought out each Christmas. This year I'm also going to take Jack to Hallmark and let him pick one out for himself and Danny. Am I being twee? Sorry, but as they say "when in Rome ..."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
That's the bitch about being pregnant in winter - I have to wear socks. It's not a big price to pay though when I think that my last pregnancy in the summer meant I had to shave my legs a lot and my ankles swelled up so much Craig called me Shrek.
Monday, December 08, 2008
First major snow event caused much excitement
Walk the dog
Trip to Lowes for the tree. Bought one in ample time this year as we usually end up with one the week before Christmas that's dog-eared and looks like its been in a forest fire.
Friday, December 05, 2008
All plans could be changed for my weekend though depending on whether Craig shoots a deer today as he's venturing off into the woods to have a go. I'm scared to death some redneck yahoo is going to shoot him by accident so made him wear so much orange he looked like an orangutan. I hope my mum is right - when I spoke to her about it she said "don't worry, Craig's too nice to shoot a deer, he'll pretend he never saw one!".
I had an ultrasound this week and got to see Danny again. He's BIG: 5.6 lbs already and off the charts for height and I have some way to go yet. He looks the spitting image of Jack too so I'll have two boys that look alike & are both very tall with big hands, head and feet. The head size is a problem - every single time I take one of Jack's jumpers or t-shirts off, the neck part gets stuck on his ears and he howls. The trick is to get it off before he goes ballistic without tearing his ears and nose off. You also have to remove one item at a time because if you try and remove two layers at the same time, he becomes so stuck he starts yelling things like "moma stop!" while you try and suppress laughter and resist the urge to tickle him under his armpits.
Lastly, if you would like to read a short story to warm your cockles today, take a look at the kid's nativity story on Strawberry Jam Anne's blog.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
It's always hard to buy Craig presents as he won't give any hints, he insists on buying his own clothes and he's quite the picky bugger really. I did get it right with his present from Jack, even though I never imagined in a million years I'd be buying him pottery for his birthday!
Talking of Jack, when I announced in the summer of 2005 that I had indeed succumbed to the ticking clock and wanted a baby after 10 years of marriage and promising I would never darken our doorstep with kids, the only way I could get him to agree was to promise he could buy a boat.
Three and a half years later, with a second baby on the way, the poor man still spends his summers very much on Terra Firma. Today I have started to rectify that by launching the New Boat Fund....
Hopefully he'll buy a boat he can fish in but is more than two metal seats and a bit of outdoor carpet. Something that we can tow easily & get in and out of the water without making complete fools of ourselves. And it'll ideally be safe for the boys and have a non-slip table for my wine glass.
Two hours later he did the same thing, only this time on the bedroom floor. Craig threw the poor thing out in the garden to nibble on frosty grass and then wiped it up. Not very well I might add as I stuck my big toe in some on the way back from the bathroom and was thankful this time I didn't have my contacts in or might have started barfing myself.
It wasn't until the following day that I worked out what caused all this. There were two big clues: (1) the sick was bright orange (2) the sick contained very small oval stickers.
When I told Craig that Cody had been eating clementines, he said "how on earth has Cody been getting them from the fruit bowl?" Bless my husband's heart - he has a never-ending belief that our two year old is as innocent as the day is long. I, on the other hand, know full well that the little bugger has been feeding our dog whole oranges and that our dog is daft enough to keep eating them.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Right now, I'm exhausted. Yesterday & today have been particularly hard for some reason - I'm having Braxton Hicks contractions and feel like my stomach is so tight it's going to explode. I can't tie my shoe laces or even bend down without saying "UHHH" very loudly when I get up. I feel dog tired too and want to relax, just for a minute, pleeease.
Relaxation is of course impossible with a toddler and to top it all, Jack has been a nightmare. He wants everything and nothing, he wants me to engage him constantly, he wants picking up & putting down, he wants his teddy, he doesn't want his teddy. I'm about ready to strangle him. We ran out to a shop this afternoon and he played holy hell the whole time we were there and I'm looking at other toddlers, sat in their carts or on their dad's shoulders or walking with their mum, holding hands quietly. And then I look at my son, with his bottom lip stuck out screaming "I want a balloon!" and refusing to walk and I think that we're either doing a really bad job at parenting or he's the devil himself.
People say things like "well, they don't call it the terrible two's for nothing!" and laugh but it's just awful. It should be called "the period where you deserve a medal if you don't sell your child to the circus".
To end NaBloPoMo on a brighter note - tonight Craig and I sat down with Jack and we penned his letter to Santa. He told us to tell Santa that he's been a good boy all year and that he would really like a red bike and a hat for Christmas. Something tells me that I'll remember times like that for the rest of my life, and that the terrible two period will gradually slip from my memory.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Craig's upstairs right now groaning & rubbing his belly and Jack is flat out asleep. Cody's exhausted having run about 18 miles today with their dog Gracie.
I hope you all had a good day too, whether it was Thanksgiving, or just a regular Thursday ..
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Photographs were taken of every day people in Oxford, Iowa 20 years ago and then again recently. The author has captured the inhabitants of the town and their stories. For example, this little girl was 3 years old when her mum, travelling with the carnival, dropped her at the church with her dog and a sign around her neck saying she needed taking care of.
I got the book out from the library as it's a new hardback, big & expensive, but well worth a look ...
2. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
I bought this at a thrift shop and was influenced by the big "Oprah's Book Club" sticker on the front. I have to admit I have yet to read a stinker that's been endorsed by her. This is about a young man in the 40's in Louisiana on death row. His aunt wants him to be educated so that he doesn't die as ignorant as a hog. His character is amazing because he is indeed uneducated but he has the whole world sussed out and knows his place in it. I cried at the end, but then I cry over dropped hats. If you are too lazy to read the book, you can always rent the film ....
3. Birds without Wings by Louis De Bernieres
Recommended by Mountainear. This book is set in a little town in Eskibahçe, in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire during World War 1. I got to really like some of the characters and I also learnt so much about the Great War. I admit I knew nothing about this area of the world and it's history and now I feel like I have a better understanding of it, but the book also made me despair at the atrocities of mankind in the war and since. It's a big book and not a light read at all but I loved it. My only slight niggle is that the author dragged it on about 10 pages too long, couldn't seem to bring himself to finish it.
So that's it, my latest three reads. I just started "Their eyes were watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston.
Monday, November 24, 2008
It got me thinking about what my favourite present was as a kid, so I got my old pictures out when I got home and found this. It was taken in 1979 (I was 10) and I got a Merlin for Christmas! It was the absolute best present I ever got and I played with it for hours and hours. I can still remember the feeling of excitement when I opened the wrapping paper because I had wanted a Merlin for ages and probably pestered my mum to death about it. Craig said he really wanted one too but they were too expensive. That makes me feel a bit guilty because we didn't have any money growing up either, so my mum must have scrimped to get it.
The Merlin was one of the first computer toys and it had 6 games on it, including a music memory game and blackjack. I actually found an old commercial for it on YouTube tonight that made me smile and brought back some great memories of my childhood.
Do you remember what your favourite present was?
Sunday, November 23, 2008
We took him to a kid's place (thanks for the coupon Emily) to avoid the possibility of utter meltdown. It was fab - he got to sit in an aeroplane and watch Curious George DVDs and he was dead quiet - shocked almost. He wouldn't make eye contact with anyone, not even me, and he looked like a trapped rat the whole time. When she got the electric clippers out his eyes filled with tears but he didn't cry. She was really good with him ..
Did I get upset? A bit I must admit. At the beginning she looked at me and said "ready mom?" and I got a lump in my throat but didn't cry. I did however collect several blonde curls as they tumbled off his head. She asked me if I wanted a bag for them. I told her I already had one ready in my back pocket and Craig looked at me and said "you brought a bag?" Before I could stick up for myself, the lady looked at him and said "of course she brought a bag, she's his mom!"
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
*Footnote: I really don't need any more chest swelling at the moment as pregnancy has caused a Dolly Parton effect that I hate. The funny thing is that I could have boobs like humongous beach balls and Craig would still pay for enhancement.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Hopefully it won't stick but I'm already a tad worried about tomorrow's drive. Once the first few snow drives are out of the way it's not too bad but those first few times are terrible.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
The reason I'm blogging about this is that Jack's grandma and grandad from England sent him a little Pudsy last week. Pudsy is the Children in Need Mascot. I have often wished that Jack had an affinity for a blanket or teddy bear but he never has. We gave him Craig's teddy bear that he had as a baby, lovingly kept by Craig's mum so it obviously has huge sentimental value - he throws it under his bed. I try to make him bond with the monkey I bought him the day I found out I was having a boy - he chucks it on the floor. He never cared for a dummy/pacifier. Never sucked his thumb, never wants a "blankey". I was beginning to think he wasn't going to get fixed onto anything like that. Until Pudsy. Pudsy has to go with him to school, in the car, and to bed. I snook into Jack's bedroom earlier this week and took pudsy off him to put on a shelf. As soon as I left the room he wailed "I want Pudsyyyyy".
I wonder if it's because Pudsy has a bandage around his head? Jack looks at him with genuine concern and says to me "he has a sore eye!" and then he hugs him. It's great to see him like that because I hear a lot from school about how thoughtful he is to other kids but it's nice to see it first hand.
Who knows how a toddler's mind works though. Next week I might be blogging to say that I found Pudsy down the toilet with his head cut off.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Later, I was sat with Jack at the breakfast table, we talked about his friends at daycare. He said "Can I see Dylan and Avery and Chicken today?" so I said "Dylan, Avery and Christian" He said "Yeah, Dylan, Avery and Chicken". So I slowly pronounced "Christian" for him. He looked at me, like I was daft, and replied slowly "yes moma, Chicken". You know, when you say it, it is a hard name to pronouce isn't it? I do hope his mum isn't offended when she hears Jack call him chicken though.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The pediatrician confirmed on Monday that is was a staph infection that Jack had and that it was indeed MRSA. He must have seen the blind panic on my face because he spent the next 5 minutes telling me not to worry, that's it's all okay, that Jack will heal. After his soothing comments and my friend Lee's blog comment about it I'm trying not to worry but I'll be forever on alert now for abrasions and pimples and anything that could even remotely let this bacteria back into his skin. Maybe I should make him live like Bubble Boy? It would ease my mind and I would save a lot on shoes. I wouldn't have to buy him that bike for Christmas either.
We spent about 5 hours dead-heading, mowing (last one of the season hopefully), raking, edging borders and moving plants around. I now have all my Hydrangeas in the south-facing shady wet border where they seem to thrive. My back is aching like buggery and I bent over far too much for a pregnant woman but it was worth it to see the tidy results. I'm also hoping that all this Autumn work will pay off next spring when I'll be far too preoccupied with Jack & Danny to worry about those pesky thistles in my east border. Damn them to hell, they won't go away.
My next garden dilemma is where to put my dwarf purple beech tree. The term "tree" is a bit of an exaggeration seeing as its no bigger than 18 inches tall. It cost a lot of money and I've moved it twice already to no avail. I would hate to lose it but can't seem to find the right spot - it gets so cold here in the winter and so hot in the summer that some plants just can't hack it. I had the same dilemma with my Stewartia tree last year, moved it and it died. It took me until May to finally admit that it wasn't going to form new buds and come bursting back to life. There's a good reason you don't see a lot of these kinds of trees in Ohio I guess. Now, if I lose my golden chain tree (Laburnum) then I'll be really upset. I've kept that bloody thing hanging by a thread for the last 3 years and I'm counting on it finding it's niche and really flourishing in 2009. I was messing with it today and even talking to it, willing it to hang on and endure another Ohio winter with me. The neighbours hopefully didn't hear me.
I'll try and post some pictures of my garden before it gets covered in snow.
Finally, why the picture of a Christmas pudding? We swung by a special grocery store today to pick up some English crumpets and saw that they had some puds in boxes in their seasonal display. I picked one up and they were asking $30 for it. Thirty dollars! I am willing to cough-up five bucks for McVities chocolate Hobnobs and even six bucks for British tea-bags but 15 quid for a Christmas pudding? I'm not paying $30 for something I'll set fire to, make myself sick eating and that will inevitably make me fat. I can do that with a $5 cherry pie.
Monday, November 10, 2008
This past week I read a short piece on the BBC website about some of the last soldiers to die in the Great War, including Henry Gunther from Baltimore, who died at 10.59am, just one minute short of the ceasefire. Even though everyone knew the end was just moments away, they fought to the end. It's so very very sad.
I also saw today that Rolf Harris is going to re-record "Two Little Boys" to mark the 90th anniversary of the ceasefire. This is the only song in existence that makes me cry. There's plenty of books and films that do, but not songs, bar this one. So I'm going to post it on my blog for you all to sit down and enjoy for a moment.
It was a number 1 hit in England 40 years ago and much loved in Australia & Europe. Was it loved in the USA? I have no idea and will have to ask an American friend ....
Sunday, November 09, 2008
It will have the desired effect on your toddler, but will make your husband swear like a sailor and look at you in disbelief.
Oops, sorry honey.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
While Craig got cracking this morning, I took the little fella to an indoor play area for a couple of hours. I know I got the better deal here! Being 6 months pregnant certainly has it's advantages when you want to avoid hard work.
Jack has started to develop such a great sense of humour. As well as being kind and friendly and caring about other people, he now makes us laugh every day. Yes, Yes, I know I'm gushing too much about my boy but he makes me proud every day. He's a good egg.