Thursday, February 28, 2008

Double Mummy Presents?

It's Mothers Day in England on Sunday (March 2nd), and of course I'm English so should really celebrate it on that day. Mothers Day in America is May 11th and I've lived here 10 years, and Jack is American-English, so maybe I should celebrate it here too? Would I be a spoiled brat if I wanted to celebrate it twice? Last year I celebrated the American holiday and took a day off work to spend with him which I'm going to do again this year. Maybe I'll just ask Craig to spoil me a bit on Sunday - let me lie in?

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When Jack goes to bed or wakes up, he spends a good 30 minutes talking to himself and playing in his crib. I like to lie and listen to him and even though I don't know what he's saying yet you can tell he's trying really hard to form sentences and get his words out. I could listen to this baby-babble all day long and not get bored. This week during one of his bedroom babbling spells the phone rang in the living room and he shouted out "hello?"
This morning the cat, Frank, was doing his usual high-pitched howl as he used his litter tray in the basement and Jack started to mimic him. So it's 7am and I'm lying in bed listening to both my cat and my son meow at the top of their lungs. Sometimes it feels like I live in a mad house.

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WW update: I have lost 1 stone (14 lbs) and I'm so pleased. To giddy things up a bit I bought an exercise DVD, based on dancing. I thought to myself "I love dancing, used to be quite good actually, and I'll enjoy it". Gina told me she hates the dancing DVDs because it's really hard and you can't follow the moves and you realise what a bad dancer you are, but I bought one nevertheless. Anyway, I banished Craig from the basement - even though chances are he might not divorce me after 11 years I can't take the risk of him seeing my wobbly bits move in time to music. I tried really hard to get into the bloody thing only to come to the conclusion that I have the rhythm, balance and finesse of a donkey. At one point I was so mad at the instructor that as she said "come on girls - strike a pose!", I gave her the finger.
Should have listened to Gina.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

It's all about the Little People

I'm doing 3 posts tonight and basically it's a load of pictures from our weekend. It'll be pretty self-explanatory what we did this weekend!

The only missing pictures would be our dinner & movie night last night with Matt & Gina. We watched "American Gangster". It was long (2.5 hrs) but I liked it. Matt & Craig fell asleep so take what you will from that.

This afty we had late lunch/dinner at Todd & Kelli's house. Jack & Hannah sat at the table like two little people and were very civil.


Jack on Todd's old rocking horse he had when he was a baby.


Jack & Hannah get messy with the chalk. Jack's still too young to play with another kiddo - he kind of plays alongside and tries to get by without sharing toys. I hope these two will be great friends for many years to come.

Murder Most Fowl

I love having Zoo membership. It means we can go all the time, even for just an hour, and not feel like we have to see everything. It's also a handy place to take Jack - I'm desperate to get him outside as much as possible as I'm worried he's going to get some kind of vitamin deficiency if he's not getting fresh air & sunshine every day
Oh boy, he loves his wellies. Wants to wear them all the time & gets very upset when he has to wear normal shoes.

Don't call social services. I'm hiding behind the mushroom stalk and I have a grip of death on the back of his coat.


Craig getting a bonus hug while Jack distractedly watches the Mexican wolves. You have to get your sneaky hugs in whenever you can.


My favourite thing at the zoo today was the birds.
Here's a Woodpecker - I think it's called a "Red-Bellied Woodpecker"?


Majestic Trumpeter Swans, or as Craig likes to call them "vicious little ****ers"

Pair of Bald Eagles - the United States national bird. This pair are called "George" and "Barbara". I would have prefered Hillary and Bill but no one asked me.

My absolute favourite - the Cardinal, Ohio's state bird.

I was an accomplice in the murder of one several years ago and it still upsets me. I saw one right in the middle of my lane while I was driving so I straddled my tyres across it and gratefully thought I'd missed it. Unfortunately, it must have tried to fly up as I went over it. I looked in my rear-view mirror as it wobbled in the road, stunned, only to see a big fat cat dart out from under a parked car and get it. I did wonder if you got charged with a crime for killing a state bird? Seems like you should really (if it was on purpose and not erm, in my particular situation)

Ice Pictures from the Garden

We had an ice storm on Friday night & our plants got covered. It's actually quite beautiful as all the plants glisten in the sunshine.

Looking back at the house from the old crab apple tree

Autumn flowering Clematis


Jack's rose (picture taken last fall). My mum bought this rose for me the day that Jack was born, so it has HUGE sentimental value


Jack's rose yesterday - I hope it makes it!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Snow Showers & Baby Showers

We had 5 inches of snow today. I think more's forecast over the next two days and it's bitterly cold. Still, the little fella now gets home and stands by the back door and says over and over and over "outsi" "outsi" "outsi" until we all bundle up and go out. Tonight I was so cold my eyes hurt but no amount of "come on Jack walk faster mummys got frostbite" seemed to do the trick. Here's a few pictures from our jolly jaunt..




All bundled up like Ralphie's brother. Poor lad couldn't bend his legs.

I went to Emily's baby shower on Saturday. It's great to have a bunch of baby-crazy ladies sat together & see each others presents being opened. We all gasped "ahhhhhhhhh" at the tiny baby clothes and genuinely loved being in the moment. I'm so excited for them and nervous for them too - going from 1 to 2 is something we talk about but fear!
While I was at the shower, Craig got to spend a couple of hours with Jack. I called him after the shower and asked what he'd been up to. He'd spent the entire time shopping for a new fly-fishing rod and bait. When I have 3 spare hours I think about laundry and housework and getting as much done as possible. Craig thinks about fishing and cars and boats. Guess who the fun parent will be?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Those Pesky Pakores..

Right now I'm allowed 26 points/day on my Weight Watcher (WW) program. I'm VERY good at counting my points and keeping to them. As an added way to lose weight I ignore the fact that I'm allowed 35 extra points a week and extra points if I'm active. Not that that has helped really but it makes me feel better.
The conundrum I have with drinking wine on a weekend and then reaping what I've sown on a Monday deserves a post all on it's own. I was hoping to somehow get round not having to give up the lovely grape juice but really don't see another way. Anyhoo, like I said, for another post.
My post today is about Indian food. I LOVE Indian food and had the opportunity to have some at lunch with a friend. It was a buffet lunch, dreaded by the WW faithful for the temptation of going back for more and more and more. Anyway, I thought I did really well as I only went twice and got really small portions. Here's what I ate:
  • Half naan bread
  • Small (about 3 tbsp) chicken curry
  • 2 small pieces of tandoori chicken
  • Half cup spicy potatoes and beans
  • Fresh lettuce & onion
  • 3 very small pakores
Guess how much this all comes to? Twenty two chuffin points!
Probably more but I'm hoping the lettuce and onion were free and I was a tad liberal when I calculated how much constituted half a naan bread (what's a couple of inches right?). Oh, and I couldn't find any WW reference to pakores and knowing my luck they are a whopping 10 points each.
I thought Indian food was good for you? Or did I just make that up because I've eaten if for years and I love it? That's one of those things you do isn't it, until you ask yourself why you thought that in the first place.
Bugger.

Friday, February 15, 2008

We Love Pablo, Tyrone, Uniqua, Tasha and Austin!

It's been a week of dressing up for our lad. From my shoes to his dressing gown, he likes to play dress-up a lot. Other things? Well he's talking up a storm but I catch about 1 in 100 words. He loves European rice pudding. Hates mushrooms. Loves loves loves the "Backyardigans" (Mmmm, I kinda do too). Loves the snow. Likes to brush his "Sheeth", and right now wants to play with crayons all the time.

Anyway, enough of me twittering on. Here's some pix of our lad this week and a little video at the end. It's impossible to video him once he spots the camera...


Blue eyes like his dad. Mine are green. That's okay though -his eyes are lovely.


Take a look at the fireplace in the background - tonight we started on the monstrous thing. It's being tiled. More pix to follow.




Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day!

Greetings from us! This picture is taken from the card I bought Craig. If we were monkeys this is what we'd look like. Those of you that know us may just think the resemblence is a bit too uncanny.

Anyway, we had a great day. I got Craig a red rose bush that we can plant in the garden next to Jack's rose. Craig got me a silver engraved bracelet I've wanted for ages. It says "A mother holds her children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever". I hope you all had a nice day too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dancing in Snow Shoes

I worked from home today and kept Jack with me. A weather forecast of snow, ice, rain, snow and ice again is not my idea of driving fun. Scares me to death actually. Tomorrow looks equally bad but I'll make that call in the morning. Luckily, I have a lot of web work I need to get done - so I can be just as productive here, as long as I keep the little fella entertained.


This time last year we had snow too - it was funny looking at the blog pictures of Jack and seeing just how much he's changed.


I took this picture today, as Jack was playing peek-a-boo through his legs. He spent most of the afternoon wearing my shoes, even dancing in them, which is more than I can actually do.

He loves our shoes but refuses to wear his own, especially in the car. Within minutes of leaving the house, his shoes and socks are off and flung with gusto, to be retrieved when we reach our destination. It can be quite annoying because he does it all the time, but it's not a battle that I'm going to take on because I can't win. There's no way I can stop him from doing it and drive at the same time, unless I zip-tie his hands together (joking).

Wishing for Spring

I've had enough of snow and ice and grey skies. My flower bulbs were just poking their little green buds out of the ground and now they're covered again. My neighbour's crocus were up already - I hope this ice won't kill them.

Trawling through my garden pictures tonight I came across this one and it makes me yearn for spring and all the colours that it will bring back to Ohio...

I saw that spring has already arrived in England. These pictures were posted today on the BBC wesbite: Spring Pictures

Monday, February 11, 2008

A chip off the old block

Finally!! After 19 months of being told that my son looks like his dad alone I got told this weekend that he looks like me. The lady preparing our taxes looked at him and said "wow, he looks just like you!" and she was talking to me for a change, not Craig. This is such a welcome change from "wow, he looks nothing like you does he? Are you sure he's yours?"

I can see myself in him now too. And when he's defiant (which is becoming increasingly more common), he stares at me and we lock eyes and it's the weirdest thing - looking at a little person with your own genetics!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Shenanigans at Sears

Seven years ago we bought a vacuum cleaner from Sears. I loved it and still have it, although it's now relegated to the basement to clean up cat litter and lint off the pool table. One of the wheels is missing so it would scratch my wood floors upstairs. It also produced an odor like burning cat fur and old man's underpants. I can't throw it away as it is still soldiering on and has seen me through the lean years.

Craig bought me a new one - the very same brand from Sears. It came with two heads - one with a rotating brush which immediately stopped working, and a flat-one that broke off the second time I used it. Needless to say I'm very sad about the quality of the new model as my old one is such a trusty little soul.

We took disgraced number 2 to Sears today and explained that even though we didn't keep the receipt we did indeed purchase it from that store on a debit card, so it sould be easily traceable in their system, and that we wanted to return it as it was broken. Our teenage assistant (who I will refer to as "smug trollop") informed us that we were in their system for buying numerous items over the years but that the only vacuum cleaner we had bought from them was seven years ago.

This blows my mind - she actually insinuated that we were returning a seven year old vacuum. How absolutely desperate or insane would you be to return a vacuum 7 years old for Pete's sake??? Okay, so my blood isn't actually boiling at this point but I'm ready to do some business with someone other than smug trollop.

When I asked to talk to the manager, s.t. whispered to her " the only record we have is of them buying a vacuum in 2001". How I didn't drop-kick the little cow I don't know.

Long story short, they eventually found us in their system. They regretfully informed us that we'd narrowly missed the return date but we could pay to have it fixed. I regretfully informed them that I was ready to have a conniption on the shop floor and so they gave us a replacement vacuum.

I know times are hard. I know Sears is probably hurting in this dead ecomony like everyone else. But Sears is supposed to be our friendly neigbourhood DIY store and they made us fight REALLY hard for an hour for what should have been a simple and fair return.

Interestingly, I took out a 2-year maintenance plan on vacuum 3 and I have a feeling I'll be seeing miss smug trollop very soon. It's quite tempting to take old faithful back and let her get a wiff of old man's underpants.......

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Broken Biscuits

I just got back from watching "27 Dresses" at the movies. Gina made me go in retribution for her coming to watch Kite Runner with me last week (as she quite rightly pointed out - that film had subtitles). I wouldn't consider myself a "chick-flick" kind of person but I have to hold my hand up and say I loved the film tonight. It was a film that makes you feel all gooey about love. If we're taking turns I guess I get to choose next. Mmmm, have to think about that one.

Weight Watchers is going great. Got "weighed in" today which makes me feel even more like a heifer. I have learnt something this week though. It doesn't matter that you can drink beer on the program. Counting them in your daily points doesn't make the slightest minute bit of difference. The bottom line is this - if you drink any beer at all you will look like a tub of lard. Period. Now I'm sure there are people out there that will tell you that beer is okay. Those people probably weight 80 pounds wet-through. If you are trying to lose weight, beer is the enemy.

This puts me in a predicament. I am not about to recycle, work on debt, diet AND abscond from beer. I mean, what's left? Coffee and hot showers for heavens sake? This is a conundrum I'll have to discuss in great detail with Craig so we can come up with a cunning plan.


This week's been wet & miserable for us but Jack's had fun. He's done his very first puddle-jumping this week! Check out his new wellies...




Another "new" for Jack this week has been to take his black crayon and draw all over the kitchen walls. Not just a few squiggles but an area 4-5 ft wide. Craig was cooking at the time and didn't see him (?) I was walking Cody. Trying to explain the ramifications of black crayon on walls to a 19 month old was pretty futile but I think he got the gist of the conversation.

Lastly, I loved the post by Swearing Mother today. I've been thinking about my 6 words and will post them this weekend. It requires a lot of thought.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A change of shift on sick duty

It's back to the daily grind tomorrow and Craig takes over on sick duty. I have really enjoyed these two days at home with Jack and I'm sad to go back to work and not be with him. Ho hum.

He had his 1st real tantrum today. I was trying to make him wear a raincoat for our walk and he wanted to wear his bathrobe. He struggled and cried and ran off, all the while pointing to the robe hanging on the back of his door and saying "oo" "oo". That's one of his new weekly "words". Instead of asking for something he points and says "oo" in an excited way, like I would looking at shoes and handbags. Maybe that's where he gets it from..


Here's "before & after" pictures of the new living room colour. It does look a bit GOLD! but it's not that glitsy in real life I promise.




Monday, February 04, 2008

Some things I've learned in the last 24 hrs

1. If you are going to sit in a hot, steamy bathroom for 10 minutes with a croupy child, don't wear winter pyjamas, bathrobe and fluffy slippers

2. My boss is great. I told him I had to be home with Jack today and tomorrow and he was more than okay about it. I know he's supposed to be - but I could tell he really was.

3. My son could be learning so much if I stayed at home with him. This breaks my heart.

4. I know the reason for high blood pressure - automated phone service. After 15 minutes of trying to navigate to a real person at AT&T today I wanted to kill someone

5. No matter how difficult I make it, my dog manages to eat cat poo

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Diets, DIY and The Dreaded Croup

The little fella has croup. This morning about 6am he started this bloody awful cough that jolted us both awake. We lay there for a few minutes listening to this cough, which does indeed sound like a baby seal barking. Whoever came up with that description is 100% spot-on.

I went into his room and held him in my arms while his little body just shook and rattled while he tried to breath. It was very frightening and I felt completely helpless. A call to the Doc didn't help much either - just keep him hydrated and get him into a steamy bathroom if it happens again tonight (oh, please no). It doesn't help when you read about it and it says things like "watch for blue lips which indicated lack of oxygen". I'll not sleep a wink tonight for worrying.

By the way - there are no daytime symptoms. He's been happy as Larry today, running around and being himself. I had to get a photo of him in this set-up - he insisted on wearing his pumpkin cape and ear defenders for most of the afternoon. He gets his dress sense from his dad.

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We have started 3 new house DIY projects:

1. Tile the fireplace surround and hearth
2. Paint the living room ( was lilac, now gold. Not Liberace gold, bit more subdued)
3. Install the new telly in the bedroom (Craig working on that as I type)

I'll post "before & afters" this week.

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Lastly, one week on from our healthy lifestyle campaign, we have both lost 10 pounds (fat, not sterling). I just hope we can keep going and that this time next week I'm not sat here saying we've eaten like ogres, drank like sailors and put it all back on. Wish us luck!

3 Month Catch-up

I can't believe I haven't posted for over 2 months! So much to say. Jack's a middle-schooler and after a week of belly aches a...