Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Updates & Please Vote

Book Update:
I want a daughter. Not that I'm fickle in any way but I just read "Since I don't have you" by Louise Candlish and it's made me feel very broody for a little girl. I know that mother nature doesn't take orders and I'm not saying I wouldn't be 100% happy with another boy because I would. It's just a yearning I have right now & I'm sure it will all pass. Something else this book did for me is to make me cherish every single second I have with Jack.

My current read is "Catherine, called Birdy" - a very funny book by Karen Cushman. The heroine of the book is a 13 year old girl living in Medieval England and she's got a sharp wit. Very enjoyable indeed, but also very thin, so I will be book-less by weekend.

Jack Update:
He's doing okay but today all the symptoms showed themselves - sneezing, coughing runny nose, so I didn't take him to child care. He would probably have been fine but it's not fine to let him sneeze and cough over all the other kids. Anyway, he and I had a great day together. He's really fun to be around but now I'm exhausted. Even though he's ill he's full-on 120% from the second he wakes up till bedtime. Phewwwwwy.
I did learn two new things today about myself. If I was a stay-at-home mum I'd spend nap time grazing from the fridge and surfing EBay. Not good.

One last thing:
Emily's friend Jen is a finalist for her recycled bag design for Kroger's supermarket (see below). If she wins she gets a gift voucher and the honor of her design on the re-usable bags. Please vote for her!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Deja-vu: Croup

Jack has croup again.

Poor little mite is snoozing while I type this. I took him to the Docs this morning and he gave him anti-inflammatory medicine for his voice box, which will hopefully stop that horrendous barking cough. The nurse was like Wonder Woman - she took the syringe full of icky medicine and had it emptied down his neck in less than a second. I would have still been trying to pry his jaws open and squirting it all over the floor. It was so quick Jack was more surprised than upset and he looked at me as if to say "what on earth was that?"

He woke up every hour last night - barking and wheezing. It's always so much worse at night isn't it, laying in bed in the dark listening to your child struggle to breathe. I would go in and pick him up and rub his back until he sounded a bit better. Needless to say, Craig and I got no sleep at all.

Doc said the medicine would last 30 hours. If he's bad again tonight though I might try the steamy bathroom trick, or maybe the cold air seeing as it's going to get cold tonight. I hope he gets over it soon. I hate it when he's sick.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Holiday Fever

We're going on our holidays soon and I'm very excited. We've got a beachfront house in Plymouth, MA for a week. We had booked to fly with Skybus but they went bust so we are going to hire a minivan and set off on an adventure. There'll be seven of us - us 3, Craig's mum & dad, his nephew and his mate.

In my excitement I have made two specific holiday purchases - a humongous, loud and flowery beach bag and a new top size MEDIUM. I can get it on, just, but it doesn't leave much to the imagination. I love this top and I can't wait to wear it. Who'd have thought it - me buying medium? I feel somewhat of a fraudster.

I'd like to buy more for my holidays but it seems like all the tops I saw today were sleeveless or cap-sleeved. I'd love to wear t-shirts like that so now I have to work hard on my bingo wings. Anyone got any good tips?

Friday, April 25, 2008

My Top Ten

Instead of my usual ramblings I thought I'd just post a few things that have popped into my head this week:

1. Ohio weather: How can it be windy and ridiculously humid at the same time?

2. Does it get any cuter than Jack & Amina being best friends?

3. I've lost 29 lbs. That's over 2 stone folks. I have decided to post "before fatty" and "after curvy" pictures at some point - not yet though

4. How come I've lost 2 stone & my boobs have shrunk but my belly & thighs won't go? Mother nature is a sadistic woman.

5. There isn't any feeling better in the world than your child's face lighting up when they see you and running into your arms. I wish I could "pick up" more than "drop off" at child care.

6. Is anyone else getting fed-up that Clinton and Obama won't get it bloody settled? Come on for Pete's sake, we've got an election to win. I don't care which one it is at this point (and erm, can't vote)

7. I went to a talk recently & the speaker said that England doesn't have certain "standard things", like zip lock (self-sealing) bags or ranch dressing. Er, yes actually you can buy both (I checked). This little niggling thing has bothered me for a while.

8. I suddenly realised last night who Carly (American Idol) reminds me of - Boy George!

9. One of my dearest friends lost her mum this week. Everyone reading this - go immediately to the phone, ring your mum and tell her you love her.

10. Isn't spring the most gorgeous season? Just today I took in the fragrant scents of Lilac, Daphne, Daffodils, yellow Primrose, and Hyacinth

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Okay, Okay.......

Formal announcement: Friends & family: Okay I get the message, so stop emailing me about it. I promise I won't cut his unruly hair. Promise.
BUT if he starts to look like something out of "Mad Max" then it's the scissors for our lad!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

St George's Day Celebrations

My step-dad and Jack's grandad Tom is ## years old today (I can't say the age as he'd go spare that I posted it on the Internet. Needless to say, it's a milestone, so make your own mind up).

Here he is at 17 - a young teddy boy from Bolton! I won't be mushy about him because he doesn't like "that sort of thing" but I hope he knows how much we love him.

One of his best attributes is his sense of humour. Years ago he stopped at our local pub on the way home for a pint and then set off for home in his work truck. Some of the local lads had untied the ladders off the roof of his truck and re-tied them on, crossed over like helicopter blades. He couldn't untie them so drove all the way home in a car that looked like the Batmobile. I saw some of those lads last year, twenty years after they did it, and they still laugh about some of the pranks they played on him and he played on them.

Happy Birthday Tom!

Also - Happy 19th Birthday to my wonderful niece Gemma and, if that weren't enough celebration for one day, Happy St. George's Day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Making Hay While the Sun Shines

I had my first "injury" scare today. I brought Jack home from child care early as he was a bit "off" and I gave him some warm milk and put him down for a nap. After about 5 minutes of is usual jabbering he went quiet, so I assumed he'd gone to sleep. WRONG. He had, in fact, decided to find his wellies in the dark room, put them on and then climb onto his toy box. All I heard was a loud scream followed by crying that meant something real, not the "I'm bored" or "Please let me stay up longer" kind of cry. I rushed in to find him lying on the floor, crying, with blood all over his hand. I semi-panicked but not too much that I couldn't get his hand washed and inspect the damage, which I thought might need a stitch but ended up being a tiny cut on his finger. I know it was minor and nothing at all to worry about but it scared me.

Maybe it's because everything is so good for us right now - our family, our jobs, our life in general. I sometimes torment myself with thoughts of something happening just because it all seems too good to be true. Somebody once told me that Scottish people are the worst for this kind of pessimism. That on a bright sunny day they'll look up to the sky and say "we'll pay for this later".


I got home from work later tonight after he'd gone to bed. I was just itching for an excuse to go into his room so I was a bit loud and clumsy around the house, just in case he was still awake. This is how I found him, peeking under his door. I knelt down & whispered "Jack?" and he said "What?"
He's such a cheeky monkey.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Our Little Urchin

We watched 2 new films this weekend. "There will be blood" and "Juno". I was so disappointed in the first. It was great till about 3/4 way through and then it bombed. Like "No country for old men" I was left feeling a tad perplexed as to why it got so many Oscar nods. Juno however was excellent - we both liked it a lot. That means it's not a chick-flick by the way, otherwise it wouldn't get Craig's vote of approval. I also tried to rent "This is England" but Blockbusters don't and aren't going to carry it. Bummer.

Great news in boxing as Joe Calzaghe won last night. We watched it on HBO for free (for a change). I love seeing the ringside celebs - even Simon Cowell was there, sporting his man-boobs. Sylvester Stallone was there too and the audience were chanting "Rocky" which was funny. Maybe that's what I'll do for my 40th next year - try and get to a decent boxing match.

Jack needs a haircut (see exhibit A above). I thought I might let it get long and curly and cute but he looks like he's been dragged through a hedge backwards, like no one looks after him. The word "urchin" springs to mind when you look at him. I don't want a crew cut so not sure what I'll do. I know what we aren't doing and that's getting Craig's clippers out. He cut a friends child's hair with them several years ago and the child was so traumatised he would scream whenever he saw us.

Jack's had a fab day today. We took him swimming again this morning, which was much more successful than last week, and he's spent a bit chunk of time in the garden, painting pictures and digging in the soil and filling his little pockets with rocks. We also got him a new bubble machine, which invariably leads to lots of fun and a chance for me to get some video of him.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Finding His Sea Legs

It's been a long time since we took Jack swimming. Mainly because I didn't want to be seen in public squeezed into a swimming costume. Having both lost some weight we braved the cold and took him today.

It was not a successful trip. He didn't remember the pool or the fact that he liked it. It scared him to death and he clung on to us the entire time. It was also bloody cold. So cold his lips went blue and he was shivering.

Let's hope for a better experience next time. I'm also hoping he's a water person like his dad and not scared like me, because even though I can swim, I don't like to be at a depth where I can't touch the bottom, and Jack was like that today. I wonder if it's genetic?

We did learn 2 things today though - take a padlock for the lockers and go at 10am before church empties out and students get out of bed.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Picture, a Comment, a Question

Picture: Eating a biscotti in his fluffy rabbit slippers. It just doesn't get any cuter than that really. He brightened every one's day today by saying "hi" to people in the supermarket and shouting "bye" to the cashiers when we left. He's such a good egg.

Comment: Ohio has crazy weather in spring. On Tuesday it was nearly 80 degrees F. Today it was 40 and windy. So windy that I stood in the kitchen and watched as our recycle rubbish blew all over the garden, making our house look like a gypsy camp.

Question: I was asked recently what book I would recommend that captures "England". The person who asked me had been told many years ago to read 'The Bang Bang Club" for an insight into South Africa and had since read several books that captures some part of a country, such as "The Flyboys" and "Memoirs of a Geisha" for Japan.

I've thought about this question a lot. Would it be a story about the Middle ages or Normans, or should it be about ruling monarchs? What about the plague, or the Great Fire? Should it be about Winston Churchill, The Beatles or Beatrix Potter? World War 1 or 2? The Industrial Revolution? The British Empire? The expeditions and conquests?

My ideas so far - Bill Bryson is too easy. Shakespeare & Hardy too serious. I did love "Kes" by Barry Hines but that's just a small snapshot of rough times in a Yorkshire mining town. Maybe it isn't a book at all. Maybe it's "The Meaning of Life" by Monty Python or "This is England" by Shane Meadows (can't wait to see it - trailer below).

So I'm putting it out there, for anyone to tell me what they believe would be a good historical fiction book that's fun to read. By the way, if any American friends would like to say what book they feel represents America, I'd love to hear that too.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Passing Time

I have a little bit of time till I work tonight so thought I'd jump on and say something. Nothing too earth-shattering as my mind is currently on work and food (I'm famished) and the current sunny weather outside.

There's thunderstorms forecast so I'm doing a little "rain jig" under my desk as I'll be outside tonight and don't fancy getting hit by lightning or swept up into a tornado like Dorothy and flung to the Land of Oz, though that was far more exciting than Auntie Em's place wasn't it.

I "weighed in" today and I've lost 24.6 lbs. Not bad considering my wine intake is still pretty impressive on a weekend. Craig's lost 42 and looks about 12 years old. I'm actually loving WW - I'm enjoying food more and actually like writing down what I eat. I read a story recently by Victoria Beckham where she said she writes down everything that she puts in her mouth (careful there Victoria). So, every time I write now I think of her. Not sure that's a good thing.

Jack's daycare's going great. He loves it, although still gets upset when I leave which is normal. He comes home every night with crafts and is worn out. What a difference some activity can make. He's growing so fast and learning so much it's hard to keep up and makes me a bit sad. He started doing this lovely thing - where when I pick him up he doesn't just hold onto me, but he twines his fingers in my hair and squeezes my neck. It makes me feel all gooey just writing about it. Better make the most of it before he turns into an 'orrible teenager huh.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sunny, Fabulous Weekend

Finally it seems like spring has arrived - the weather was gorgeous (nearly 70 F), the daffodils & crocuses were out and the song birds were in fine form. We worked like demons in the garden and I'm buggered tonight. I'm sat here with a glass of wine, with soil under my finger nails and killer back ache but we go so much done it was worth the toil. I also gardened so hard I didn't make my weekly calls back to England so sorry - I'll catch up this week I promise!!

Jack had a ball outside all weekend. He was gardening too! He likes to dig with his trowel and throw the soil all over the house, plants and Cody. Very helpful indeed.

Jack, Frank & Cody enjoying the weather. Our efforts were worth it - we now have a completely fenced in garden so the little ones can't run off and terrorize the neighbourhood.

One of the new fences - built by Craig last weekend, painted by me this weekend. It took me 2 full days to paint it, which killed me as I'm itching to get planting and mulching and doing the nice stuff. Every now and then, Jack or Cody would come along and lean on the wet paint so I got Jack's painting stuff out and let him join in. By the time he came in tonight, he had all the colours of the rainbow painted on his clothes.

He starts his new child care tomorrow. I know he'll probably be upset when I leave him there but we took him every day last week so he knows them and likes them. Here he is with his new friends Amina (2) and Samira (4). Jack is the youngest in the group so I'm hoping they'll all take him under their wings and look after him. I guess he'll always be the youngest in his group, even at school, since he was born in July. So, a big day for us all tomorrow. Ohhh man, it's hard leaving your child in someone else's care.

To end on a happy note, here's a sort video of our lad having some fun this weekend.
I love his laugh ...

A Blonde Moment

We were out driving yesterday and saw a lovely lawn full of forget-me-nots. Craig said "what are those called?", I said "forget-me-nots", Craig said "what?", I said "forget me nots", Craig said "what?", I said "forget me nots", Craig said "what?" and I realised he was grinning.

He gets me every bloody time. You think I'd twig-on at some point wouldn't you.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A Taste of Things to Come

Every day this week, on the way home, we've taken Jack to his new child care place so that he's not terrified of it when he starts next week.

Yesterday they had a lady there, Julie, who does music with the kids. She comes once a week and brings her cd player and microphone and she does all kinds of songs and dance with them. Jack and I sat on the floor with the kids, him sat on my knee while he's still a bit scared. She put the music on for "Twinkle twinkle little star" and the kids jumped up on their feet, so excited about singing. There's only about 10 kids there right now, with it being a new venture, so I know each of them already.

As they all started singing Julie went to the first in line, Alex (3) and put the microphone up to her mouth and she started singing in this tiny little voice "twinkle twinkle..." - it was such a lovely sound, to hear a 3 year old singing. Julie then went from child to child, giving each their turn to shine. You could see the confidence building in the kids before your very eyes. Course she got to Jack (still near me but off my knee) and he looked horrifed and clung onto me, but that's to be expected.

I spent the next hour watching kids from Jack's age to five, singing and marching and dancing with reckless abandon. They have no shame or lack of confidence and they were delighted by the simplest things, like waving paper plates with smiley faces on. It was a such wonderful thing to watch that it's stayed with me all day today too.