Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Little Sunshine Just Went Away

Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo, which means I'm no longer obliged to blog every day. Not that I was obliged anyway as it's purely voluntary but I do like to try & do it. I'm glad of a couple of days rest from it at least but with Craig's birthday and an ultrasound set for this week no doubt I'll be on here again very soon.

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

Kids & Guns = Bad Idea

Craig did his hunter's education course today then got his license tonight. That means he can go out into the woods and shoot a deer this week. He's wanted to go hunting for a few years but I've begged him not to as I can't imagine shooting an animal. It's not really my choice though and since I've lived here I have relaxed my opinions somewhat on deer hunting. 

Deer are everywhere in Ohio* and they cause a lot of carnage on the roads. At dusk they run out onto the road and run head-long into your car. If you have a Hummer of big SUV you are probably going to be okay but in a small car like mine it would probably come crashing through the windscreen and kill me.  A friend of mine hit one a few years ago and he drove a Jeep but the deer came through the windscreen and he was lucky to walk away. Anyway, regardless of your opinions on deer hunting, it is legal in Ohio during certain times and this coming week (Craig's birthday) is the time. 

Craig has talked to me a lot about it and I think he understands what's in store if he shoots one, he's also good with guns and very safety conscious. I imagined that you shot it, dragged it to your truck and drove it on over to a trusty butcher to process the meat. I imagined that the worst possible thing about the whole task of killing a deer would be pulling the trigger. I didn't know that hunters have to "field dress" the deer before they get it to their truck, which involves removing all of the organs of the animal.

When he got back from his class tonight I was badgering him with questions about it and I was surprised by his stories.  A lot of his classmates were kids, some just 12 years old. Some had parents with them that were allowed to help them with the test as they were too young to comprehend the questions. One of the kids asked the instructor if it was okay to shoot a deer with an air rifle. This worries me a lot because these are the people that will be wandering around in the woods armed at the same time as my husband. I told him he better wear orange from the tip of his head to his number 13 boots, and if he hears that Dick Cheney is in town, he's to come home immediately.

*ODNR state that there are more deer in Ohio now than when Christopher Columbus landed in the new world. I guess someone ran straight over here and counted them!

Friday, November 28, 2008

My First Black Friday

For the first time in 9 years, I got up at 4.45am this morning and ventured out to get the door buster deals of Black Friday. 

The stores in my neighbourhood were thankfully not as nuts as other states, where a Wal-Mart employee got trampled to death, two people got shot dead at Toys R'Us and a pregnant woman got thrown to the ground. I did go to a local Wal-Mart but people were surprisingly cordial & self-contained. No pushing, shoving, running and grabbing of merchandise that you read about, which is good because I'm a bit too rotund now to stick up for myself and if someone had pushed me to the ground there's a very good chance I would have been weeble-like until a kind soul helped me back up. 

I got to my first shop early enough that I could have got one of the 42" plasma flat-screen TVs for just $499. We had talked about it yesterday and decided to stick with our old telly until next year, save the cash and get one then. Still, when I saw it sat there (the last one) and I knew what a tremendous bargain it was I was tempted to ring Craig and make the case for getting it. As I thought about it, I patted my pocket and realised I'd left my phone in the car, which felt like fate, so I turned my back on the lovely plasma and went to look at kitchen knife sets. Far more handy don't you think?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving at Debbie & Lynn's

We just got back from Debbie & Lynn's house where we had a lovely day. Lynn is from Louisiana and the best cook I ever met. She made the most gorgeous spiced tea which I drank all day to take my mind off the whisky egg-nogg, wine and cocktails. I snaffled the recipe from her and will post it later. We had a turkey dinner with cranberry salad, corn-bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, garlic mash, broccoli & cauliflower cheese, green beans and gravy. All this followed by homemade almond apple pie, pecan pie and ice cream.
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.

Their house is lovely and located in the countryside . The house has a central vacuum system (please God let me win the lottery and get one) and they are currently turning their basement into the coolest bar and party room I have ever seen, complete with mural of New Orleans.

Debbie & Gracie get ready for our after-dinner walk. Gracie is a Louisiana Catahoula dog

Lynn gives one of her bird boxes a big kiss. On her 50th birthday, we made her 50 bird boxes that sit on the fence at her house. This one was was made by our friend Eric and he won the coveted "best box" award. To this day he swears he has no fingerprints left as the glue gun burnt them off, but that's what happens when you mix a glue gun & Maker's Mark.

Cody & Gracie played for HOURS, till his tongue was hanging out and he looked about ready to die. He still thinks he's a puppy but he's at least 8, maybe 9.

Jack gets to ride on the tractor (and play soccer, run about with the dogs, play with Debbie & Lynn, and watch The Wiggles that has thankfully taken favor over Barney). He had a packed day and loved being out there. This kind of thing makes you want to move out into the country.

I hope you all had a good day too, whether it was Thanksgiving, or just a regular Thursday ..

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We just got back from a night out with good friends and we're looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow with Debbie & Lynn. We can take Cody too, as they have five acres and an eager young pup ready to play with him. All in all, it's going to be a relaxing four days.
As much as I miss my family and English friends at times like this, I have so much to be thankful for in my life: 
* My wonderful husband & partner in crime, Craig. 
* My son Jack and the fact that my pregnancy with Danny is going so well
* Our friends in America
* The fact that we both have jobs. This is something I have taken for granted for many years but I realise how fortunate we are

All in all,  we are doing okay. Great actually, and I'm very thankful for that.

Two Mid-Morning Rants

We both took a day off to catch up on house stuff. Craig's gone shopping and I'm drinking coffee & blogging as you can see. 

I have two mid-morning rants I really want to get off my chest:

1. We took Jack to his swimming class last night. This involves getting home from work at Superman speed, feeding & de-pooing the animals, feeding Jack, finding swim wear and getting to the pool in less than 1 hour. As we piled out of our house, arms laden with bags and towels, we realized neither of us had car or house keys. Mother of all F***s! Pardon the language. Ran to the neighbour, got the spare key. Thanked God neighbours hadn't set off on their holidays yet (they were just about to) and drove like a manic to the pool.  With just 3 minutes to spare, we sprinted to the pool only to be met by a sign that said 'Classes cancelled Thanksgiving week". GREAT. Nobody thought to mention that at last week's lesson did they. I now have a two-year old who hasn't stopped crying "I want swim with daddy!" for the last 18 hours. Next week the instructor is getting his speedos pulled way up his forgetful arse.

2. I just read an article by a pregnancy "expert" telling me NOT to eat for two. That it is in fact a myth and pregnant women should eat healthily for the sake of the baby.  Listen honeypie,  first of all, you are MALE, which gives you no opinions whatsoever when it comes to writing about pregnancy. Second, pregnant women go through: cramps, piles, varicose veins, engorged breasts,  swelled ankles, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, aching hips, back ache, limp hair, lack of eyesight, morning sickness, the pain of childbirth or c-section surgery, the loss of bowel and bladder control, chewed nipples, and NO ALCOHOL for 10 months. 
Don't tell me I can't eat for two. I might just hunt you down and shoot you.

I feel much better now, so I'm going to get another cup of coffee and get cracking.  Yes, I'm having two cups of coffee this morning, caffeinated too! Got a problem with that Mr. Expert?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Three Book Reviews

1. The Oxford Project
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 Eskibah├že, 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

My Favourite Christmas Present

Tonight Jack told us that he wants Santa to bring him a bike and a hat for Christmas. He's been obsessed with bikes for a while but not sure where the hat request came from.

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

Jack's First Haircut

We finally bit the bullet and got Jack a haircut today. His hair had evolved from cute, to messy, to downright ferrel.
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 ..

Look how messy that noggin is! I can't believe I've let him walk around like that for the last few weeks. People must have been whispering.

What a handsome young man! The lady gave him a lolly and he cheekily asked for a balloon as well. You've got to hand it to the lad - he knows how to get what he wants from the ladies.

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

Five Reasons to be Cheerful

1. The Buckeyes won. Now we find out December 7th who we play  in a bowl game (repeat after me: "not Florida, not Florida, not Florida")

2. Our friend Char, who moved to California, called to say she passed the bar exam. This is fabulous news

3. I just saw diesel for $2.99/gallon

4. Our new gas log fire is fabulous in this biting cold weather. I thought our log-burning fireplace was cute until I realized you had to clean the bloody thing and scrape out all the ash and be smoked out like a badger every time it got lit. And you have to buy stupid logs and lug them home from the supermarket. Did I mention our gas fire was remote control? Ahhhhh

 5. We have a 3-day work week coming up as it's Thanksgiving 

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Face to Make you Feel Guilty

He's a good boy; faithful, loving, good natured, barks when someone comes to the door, keeps me warm on the bed in winter and is always ready to give me kisses. He doesn't ask for much in return - a chance to run and chase squirrels, three walks a day, and maybe some peanut butter in his kong.  
Before Jack was born I didn't think that it was possible to love anything or anybody as much as I loved Cody. Now his name is "Cody move!"  and I swear at him sometimes.  
This picture I took today on our winter walk captures his good nature perfectly and makes me feel unbelievably guilty for not giving him as much attention as I should.   Okay, I'm off to crawl under the kitchen table right now, retrieve his kong and find the peanut butter ...

Getting into the Mood ...

The game tomorrow is not as exciting as it could have been, given both of our disappointing season's, but still. It's the OSU:Michigan Game. College football's greatest rivalry, maybe sports greatest rivalry? A friend sent me this little taster video today that makes all the hairs on my arms stand up and swells up my chest with Buckeye pride* ....





*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

Mother Nature is a Witch

I'm at that stage in my pregnancy now where I can't sleep. I have to get up 2-3 times a night for the loo because my bladder is reduced to the size of a walnut and Danny's using it as a trampoline.  He likes to give me a swift kick in the ribs for good measure too.  
Once I'm awake my brain starts to wander and before I know it, I'm making lists for work, planning my weekend and deciding what to buy people for Christmas, then I tell myself to try and clear my mind so I can go back to sleep. Of course once you tell your mind that then it ramps up even faster doesn't it .. like it's working against you. I finally drift off about 15 minutes before the alarm goes off, Jack wakes up and Frank starts meowing. Big Sigh. You would think that Mother Nature would let you get plenty of rest before the new baby comes, but she's a bit of a sadistic maniac if you ask me.

Once I'm up and showered it's not too bad, as long as Jack just gives me a bit of space. He comes into the bedroom now, lies in my bed watching telly while I get ready and chats to me the whole time. This week he's taken to "dressing up" when we eat breakfast which is very endearing and cheers me up no end. One morning it was his Bob the Builder hat & PJs, then green frog wellies & PJs,  then this morning his Batman outfit.  I can't wait to see what fashion statement he's got in store for me in the morning ...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

LOVE the Bucks but ...

It's Beat Michigan Week, which means that The Ohio State University Buckeyes and Michigan University Wolverines football teams play their big rivalry game this Saturday. For the first time in 9 years, I'm not going to the game when I could.  Buckeye fans are now wishing they could grab their car keys and drive over to my house to kick me up the arse for being so stupid as to not go to this game, because even though the stadium seats 105,000 people the tickets are like gold dust.

What on earth could stop me? I'm a huge fan, love the Buckeyes and will be glued to the telly during the game. I might even have to lock Jack in the coat cupboard so he doesn't disturb me and ask for food during a crucial play.  Well mainly, it's because I'm heavily pregnant, in fact a bit too "heavily" pregnant given that I've eaten without a shred of guilt for the last few months. As I'm typing this I'm licking cherry pie and Bird's custard off my lips. Ahhh. Where was I? Oh yes, the Buckeye game....

I'm pregnant and it's cold as hell and that's all there is to it.  I'm going to sit in my pink fluffy slippers and swear profusely at the telly for 4 hours. Bliss.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yellow Curtains be Damned

I've asked Craig to get me a sewing machine for Christmas, which will make some friends laugh out loud, seeing as I'm as domesticated as a yeti.  I was forced to sew at school and seem to remember getting about half-way through a navy blue pleated skirt before the blessed end of the class.  I've mended a few things too (most recently a quilt of Jack's) but it ends up looking like someone with really big hands and no thumbs attempted it.

When I met Craig I tried to make some yellow curtains for our caravan but all I had was blue cotton and I couldn't get the machine off  zig-zag so the hems were not only uneven but very funky looking. For years now, whenever I bring up the fact that I'd like to be able to sew, Craig looks at me with  raised eyebrows and says "yellow curtains".

It's vitally important that he buy me a simple machine because I seem to remember it took about an hour to thread the cotton around a maze of wires and loops and spools, only to break at the very end, or get jammed as it came through the hole and I'd have to start the whole sorry process again. That kind of thing might put me off, being as impatient as I am.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Post Office Nonsense

We had a dusting of snow this morning and biting cold wind. The sight depressed me to no end because it means we've got another 5 months of ice, snow and treacherous driving that makes up a typical Ohio winter. The driving thing is the worst because all the fools that drive badly on dry roads don't know how to drive on ice and invariably end up either mounted up a pole, skidded into a ditch or trying to kill me.   My drive to day care each morning is like running the gauntlet of idiots.  I love my little car in good weather but at this time of year I always wish I had a Hummer so I could cheerfully barge my way through it all. 

Tonight it has turned into more than a "dusting" as you can see ...

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. 
Wish me luck ...

A little tag-on story that happened today on the way home from work - I stopped by the Post Office to pick up a Christmas parcel from my mum that needed to be signed for. I gave the attendant the pink bit of paper that had been dropped in the mailbox and my ID. She looked at me and said "The parcel is not for you, it's for Jack".  I smiled at her and replied "Yes, sorry, but I'm his mum. He's two". She said "Well, it's addressed to him and it needs signing by him".  What? I replied, as nicely as I could but with an edge in my voice I couldn't help, "He's TWO and can't drive here, or sign for it". She calmly looked at me, knowing full well that she was the one in the right and the one with the procedures to back her up, and she gave me a very loud & triumphant lecture on how things should be done in the future.  It took a cup of tea and a good hour of making up scenarios about getting her fired for me to calm down. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

6 Things About Poo

I got tagged today by Strawberry Jam Anne to post 6 interesting things about me on this blog, so here goes:

1. During my teenage years, I worked as a Saturday girl at a beetroot packing factory. My uniform consisted of pink overalls, hat, and wellies. I can still remember the overpowering smell of vinegar and to this day I cannot eat a beetroot.

2. My older sister and I have called each other "Poo" as a nickname since we were kids and even now we never use each others real name. 

3. I do not have an engagement ring and my wedding band is plain silver and cost $10. 

4. I have done 50 skydives, 8 bungee jumps and been aerobatic flying but now I'm too scared to do any of those things.

5. I'm terrified of deep water, even though I can swim.

6. To get through college, I worked as a barmaid at several pubs. Owning/managing a pub would have been my second choice career.

According to the rules, I now tag 6 people to do this on their blog.  I totally understand if the following people don't want to do it, and in no particular order, I'm tagging:  Emily, Rachel, Mommy Daisy, Oma, Jen, and ExpatMum

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Loved the New Bond Movie

We've seen two good films this week:

We got "Run, Fat Boy Run"  on DVD which was funny and definitely a feel-good film that we both liked. I wanted to rent Atonement but I knew Craig would rather watch paint dry. Anyway, this film was great, very entertaining.

Last night we got tickets to the opening night of "Quantum of Solace", the new Bond movie. I love Daniel Craig as Bond and think he's probably the best one so far. If you are in the "Sean" camp, please don't give me abuse! Anyway, I don't think it was quite as good as Casino Royale but we both enjoyed it.  The cinema was sold out so we got there early and ate cinema food for dinner.  In other words, we paid a million quid for a greasy pizza and a bag of M&Ms. We had to get there early though - I've left it too late in the past and ended up on the front row, which knocked me sick and made us both as cross-eyed as Marty Feldman for a week.  

One little story worth a mention - about 10 minutes before the film started, a young couple came in. She was a mega-confident blonde, he was trailing behind her. She came up the stairs to the back of the cinema and saw two spaces behind me and Craig. She said to her boyfriend - "let's sit there!"  He said "I think they're probably being held" and they were because there was a big group of high-school kids behind us. She said "if the seats aren't occupied right now, then we are sitting there. Now sit down"  Me and Craig looked at each other and winced.  She marched over to the seats, only to be told quite sternly by the group that the occupiers were out at the restroom and the seats were indeed taken. The boyfriend went back down the stairs and sat at the front. She followed him, gave him a stern telling off and walked out of the cinema (no doubt to get her money back) & the poor guy trudged after her.  If she's such a psycho now, I wonder what she'll treat him like when they get married?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pudsy is "THE ONE"

It's Children in Need night tonight in England. It's been going since 1927 and the aim is to raise money for kids charities. Since the 50's they've been having this one night on telly where they have music and all kinds of entertainment by British movie & pop stars. People ring into the "telethon" and pledge money. Last year alone they raised over $70 million. I suppose "American Idol Gives back" would be a good USA comparison.

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

Cat Abuse & The Perfect Bike

This morning didn't start well. At 5am Craig's work pager went off, which woke Jack up, which prompted our soon to be dead cat Frank to start his dawn choir. After damage control (pager OFF, Jack back to sleep) Frank still howled and howled and howled. For another hour. Finally I got up to look for him, to give him a sound telling off and maybe a swift broom up the bum. I looked for the little bugger everywhere and finally found him locked underneath the sink. I have no idea how he got there because both myself and Craig swear we didn't let him in, so maybe it was our guest Gene. More on him later.

Anyway, even though I've been awake since 5, today went on to be pretty good. Most importantly, I got Jack's Christmas present, which he will LOVE. A "Retro Red" Radio Flyer bike. It's a proper bike, heavy and shiny, with a hint of nostalgia that conjures up images of kids peddling through tree-lined streets in the summer, without a care in the world. It's just right for a little boy who is craving his first bike.   Craig's going to buy a new bell for it tomorrow and get it all cleaned up and shiny for Christmas morning. We're both dying to see his little face light up.  I don't think I've been this excited about Christmas since I was a kid myself.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Living with Loonies

About 4am this morning I was sleeping soundly, which is a feat these days as Danny dances on my bladder and kicks me in the ribs if I move. I was woken up by someone tickling my cheek affectionately. It was my husband. I whispered "Craig, what on earth are you doing?" and he woke up and replied "Oh, sorry. I was dreaming that Jack gave me a piece of his orange"

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

Staph Infection: Part 2

TWO posts today - an update on Jack's staph infection and one on plants & puddings. How random I am today.

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.

Plants & Puddings

We both had today off work so we dropped Jack at day care & got stuck into the garden. I felt a tad guilty taking him to day care instead of the zoo or something but it was so nice to really get into a job and spend some quality time getting a lot accomplished.

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

Veteran's Day - Two Little Boys

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day in the USA (Remembrance Day in England), held on the anniversary of the World War 1 ceasefire at 11am on 11th November 1918. In England, people wear poppies on their lapels as a sign of remembrance. In the USA there will be parades and services for American veteran's of all wars.

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

How to Give your Husband a Heart Attack

When your husband is driving in the dark & rain and making a left turn into oncoming traffic at a busy intersection, shout as loud as you can "watch out - here comes the spiderman!" in the hope of making your toddler son laugh.

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

Avoiding the Dreaded Basement

Our basement has become the dumping ground of my old office and stuff to put away. We 're also in the middle of painting the fireplace down there and Craig had a ton of plumbing work in the downstairs loo, so it looks like a bomb site. A bomb site infested with pesky cats. Those two little buggers have added to my troubles by covering every fabric surface in hair and plucking the carpet. It is a crying shame that our basement has become so trashy because we love it. It's a huge walk-out room with a big picture window and we've got a big screen TV down there ideal for winter night films and football. SO, the plan is to clean it, fix the loo, finish painting and kill the cats. Only kidding.

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 builds a fort! 10 seconds later, an older child comes along, knocks it down and one piece hits Jack in the face. Her mum says nothing to her, so I give her the most evil & scary face I can muster up. I think it flew right by her, not surprisingly.


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.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Raincoats & Rockcakes

We kept Jack off day care today at the advice of his doctor. This morning, while I got some work done he watched Noggin the only way you can when you have a sore bum - spread out on his belly, on his bean bag, with a raincoat on ...

After his nap this afteroon, he came through to the kitchen where I was painting something. He had rosy-red cheeks and a sleepy face and mad hair like Ken Dodd and he asked expectantly "are you making cake?" So Craig grabbed the ingredients and they made rock cakes together.



You might ask why I didn't grab the ingredients? Well, because I can burn a salad. We have a deal in our house: Craig cooks, I clean, and everyone's happy (and not food-poisoned).

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Staph Infection - Part 1

Last week I blogged about Jack getting a horrendous rash on his bum after I bought him some cartoon character underpants and didn't wash them before he wore them for the first time. The underpants contained some kind of irritant (formaldehyde maybe) that really hurt him. I washed the offending undies and tried them once more but they irritated him again so I've chucked them out and bought cotton tighty-whities. The original & best obviously.

This last couple of days I've noticed a red lump on his bum and it was so sore he couldn't sit down, so today I took him to the docs. My poor boy had to lay on his belly with his head on my arm while the doctor lanced and drained the red area and took samples from it. He screamed bloody murder and cried his heart out. It was horrible to watch. The doctor said he has a staph infection and he's sent the samples away for testing to see which staph it is. I'm obviously scared to death that it's MRSA and hoping it's any one of the other types of staph. He's now on antibiotics and cream and bath treatments and the doctor's keeping in touch.

If any mum reads this blog, take note & please don't buy undies with paint or dyes or anything that might irritate tender skin. Stick to plain cotton and wash it before you use it.

WHO in their right mind thought it was a good idea to put harmful chemicals on kids underwear???? I know the undies didn't cause the staph - but they caused a skin abrasion that got infected with staph. I don't know where the staph came from but we're now paranoid about washing hands and towels.

Sorry to bore you with this, but it's worrying me to death ...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

This Moment in American History

It was about 10.45pm and I was checking on Jack when I heard Craig, already in bed with the TV on, do an intake of breath. I tip-toed out of Jack's room at lightning speed and hissed "what what???" and he replied "Virginia picked Obama!" and we both got excited and watched, as in the next few minutes Obama was named President Elect. At one point I realised I was holding Craig's hand so tight my fingers were overlapped, painfully.

We stayed up to watch McCain's speech - wow, the old McCain came back! Where has he been for the last 12 months? I shed a small tear for him and felt really good about what he said. He was gracious and eloquent. It then spanned to Palin and I thought (and sorry, but I'm going to be honest) - "please go and crawl back under your rock".

Then we stayed up to watch Obama's speech and I cried through the whole thing. It was so moving and inspirational and everyone was so desperate to hear something about hope. Seeing all those people in Chicago and New York & DC celebrating and waving American flags was great. Craig turned to me and said - "we should take down the Buckeye flag tomorrow and put our America flag back up". Phew! What an emotional & historical event it was.

Today I feel happy & refreshed and excited about the future. A lot of other people must too because I had to go to 3 shops before I could find a USA Today newspaper. I also saw something rather funny this morning - "The Onion" newspaper ran the headline "Black Man given Nation's Worst Job"

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Like a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

I'm like a cat on a hot tin roof I'm so excited. For the last 12 months I've been wrapped up in this election. That's 12 months of discussing policies with friends & colleagues, watching debates, keeping up with the radio & TV and newspapers. It also included an Obama rally this summer and I'm so glad now that I took the time to go and see him.

Without sounding too warm & fuzzy, it definitely seems like there's excitement in the air today, like we're on the verge of something new and the rest of the world will hopefully fall in love with America all over again.

Tonight, Craig and I will be sat cuddled up on the sofa, watching the results come in. I might even drink a small glass of champers. Let me re-phrase that as I don't want to jinx anything. I HOPE I'll be drinking a small glass of champers.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Purple Dinosaur from Hell

Jack loves Barney and asks several times a day to put Barney DVDs on. I try and get him to watch Leapfrog or Sesame Street or Noggin but he chants "Barney!" until he wears me down.

Here's the thing. I absolutely detest Barney and all his friends. Especially the little yellow one that has a gravelly voice that sounds like he smokes 40 Marlboro a day. And the green one with a big flat head brings out something close to rage in me. I mean, I could quite easily drive over the lot of them if I ever saw them on a sidewalk.

I happened to get onto this subject with another mum at work and she confessed she felt the same. Turns out there's a whole society out there that can't stand them either. There's even websites dedicated to hating them.

What is it about Barney that brings out my dark side I wonder?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

48 Hours to Go ...

Not being a US citizen, I cannot vote on Tuesday. Still, I cannot let such a momentous occasion go by without saying something about the election on my blog.

As usual, Ohio plays a major role in the election and on Tuesday night we'll watch the results pour in but will probably be in bed before the announcement comes, sometime after midnight. Here's the conundrum - shall I turn the bedroom TV on to see the results, say at 1am, and run the risk of hearing something terrible and never sleeping again, or should I wait until Wednesday morning to find out?

I don't normally use my blog for polical ramblings, but like I said, momentous occasion and all that. SO, if I could vote, who would I vote for? Well I'd vote for Obama because I'm a liberal Democrat. I always have been and I'm proud of it. Most importantly though, I think he has what it takes to get us out of this mess. And what a moment in history it could be, to have a young, dynamic African-American President in office.

The next 48 hours are going to be excruciatingly long ...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Beginning of NaBloPoMo

November is NaBloPoMo for me. I did it last year and am going to attempt it this year. There's no theme - just me twittering on every day for the next month.

Last year I posted 37 times. I'll be lucky if I do 30 this year as I don't seem to have the energy these days to get everything done. As I'm sitting here, my annual plants are outside, black and squishy from the frost, my Hostas are yellow, & there's leaves on my lawn.

I'll just have a cup of tea and then I'll shape myself.