Thursday, December 31, 2009

God Save the Queen - or Not?

This time of year always makes me really homesick, so I'm currently on You Tube looking at songs performed at my favourite patriotic concert -  "The Last Night of The Proms".   Ahhem, Craig - I've been hinting for 10 years - please take me before I croak. 

Anyhoo - I do like the official "God Save the Queen" as our national anthem but if I had a choice I'd choose JERUSALEM.  Here's the videos - which song do you think would make a great UK national anthem? ...





I have to say that I love the USA anthem nearly as much as the UK anthem, but I don't know if there are variations of the USA anthem? All I know is that at every single sporting event when the anthem is played, and the flag gets flown, the hair on my arms go up. So here it is.


So it is fitting that "The Last Night of the Proms 2009" concluded with the traditional New Years Eve song of  Auld Lang Syne, sung by a British crowd and conducted by an American ...


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting in on the Action

A friend came to see me today to talk about her pregnancy and have a little rant. She's 33 weeks along and due mid-February. Her problem is, her mother-in-law wants to be involved every step of the way and this past weekend my friend got strict instructions to call her when they are on the way to the hospital so that she can jump in the car and be there during labor & delivery. My friends wants to be on her own with her hubby during L&D and to call her in-laws once they have bonded with baby and settled in the hospital room. Her husband doesn't want to upset his mum so is trying to avoid all eye contact with both women. What a conundrum to have - enjoy your big day and upset your in-laws, or be pissed off on the big day when they take it over. 

It reminded me of a story I heard when I was pregnant. I used to go on this forum for women expecting in the same month - we all chatted and shared horror stories about gyno visits and bodily functions and chosen baby names. A girl came on the forum one day terribly upset that her sister-in-law had really stuck the knife in. The SIL wanted to be involved in the birth and when she was told no it got ugly. About a month before the baby was born the SIL bought a dog and gave it the same name this girl had chosen for her new baby.  It it wasn't so obnoxious it would be funny.  I told her to buy a pet rat and name it after her SIL.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Just a Little Missing

So Christmas is over and forgetting the fact that we couldn't find brussel sprouts for Craig all things went well. The snow eventually turned up and the kids were happy with their presents. But it could have been just a smidge better, just a smidge, if I'd have had the following:

1. My family from England in my house for the day
2. English chocolates - Quality Street, Roses, boxes of liqueurs, Cadbury's chocolate fingers
3. Mince pies
4. Decent crackers
5. Christmas pudding on fire
6. The afternoon outing to the local pub to see friends
7. The Royle Family Christmas special
8. Only Fools and Horses re-runs
9. Advocaat

That's quite a big list isn't it. Makes me sound like my Christmas was pants, but it wasn't. I just missed the things I'm used to and that make it extra special.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Great Christmas Day!

It's been a magical day, it really has. It started last night when Eric came over and helped Jack track Santa's progress on the computer and before he went to bed he left out cookies. This morning he ran into the kitchen and exclaimed "the cookies are gone! Santa came!". I wish I would have captured the moment on video now as it was heartwarming. I wasn't organized enough though  as we had a few too many drinkies with Eric last night and I was a bit blurry round the edges. Good times though. 

As soon as he donned his football gear he said "can I go to a football game now?" and it took some effort to convince him he couldn't play for the Buckeyes quite yet. 

Their Auntie Sandra sent an inflatable car and it was a big hit all round. Thomas train sets were also the toy of the day, which was a new challenge for me. "Mummy help me set it up" was like asking Paris Hilton to help change a spark plug. Craig came to the rescue again and slipped me one of those sideways glances which says "and you have a degree?"

Our living room at 10am this morning. You have to understand that I'm a neat freak so I tried really hard not to clear it all immediately away but when it started raising my blood pressure all the paper & cardboard had to get binned. 

Linda came over for dinner and we had a very cool coincidental moment when her and I were sat at the dinner table watching the Queen's speech. I like to watch it as I'm a closet royalist but Craig had left the table in disgust mumbling something about parasites and old wrinklies. Anyway, as Linda and I were watching, the Queen made a big deal about the Commonwealth meeting in Tobago and Trinidad this year and there was lots of footage of the area. That's where Linda is from - so it was like we both got to see our homeland as commonwealth citizens, together. Now that I've typed it all out it doesn't sound that good but it felt really nice at the time, like we shared a common bond. 

The highlights of my day were speaking to my family & friends on the phone & Skype, watching my boys go nuts with toys, eating a fabulous dinner made by my genius cook of a husband, Craig and spending some quality time with Linda. Oh and I do just love the Spongebob Christmas video "Don't be a jerk it's Christmas" that's been playing all day on kids tv. And I really love the new book Jack got from his friend Noah about a mole that gets poo on his head and sets off to find out which animal did the dirty deed. 

The lows of my day? Well the sink blocked up and poor Craig spent a few hours dealing with it (that's what happens when you pour old pancake mix down there) and the cracker toys were awful. Even the plastic fish didn't curl up!  But the best crap cracker joke was this: What do vampires sing on New Years Eve? Old fang syne!

Now Craig & I are partaking in a few festive drinks and getting ready to watch Tropic Thunder. I love my life, my family, my friends and I feel lucky to be where I am, even if I do get homesick now & again. I hope you all had a fun day too.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Humble Beginnings & a Fast Cat

I posted baby stuff to sell on Craigslist and a young and lovely Bulgarian people came by to buy it because they are having a baby girl in March. I asked them how long they had been in the States - one year they said. I asked them where they lived and they told me. And it took me back 10 years because I remember me and Craig when we first got here and we lived at the same apartment complex as them. As I showed them the baby item she said "ohh, is beautiful!" and she meant it. I was thinking how old and scruffy it looked but then I thought back to me and Craig again, when we had nothing and how beautiful anything looked because the alternative was nothing at all. 

When they had left I stood and looked all around me, at my home, my things, my Christmas tree and piles of presents and shiny wood floors and precious things. I wondered how my house looked to these people. Did they walk away whispering to each other "such a nice house - they must be so rich!" like we would have done 10 years ago. Here's the thing. My house isn't posh. By my friend's standards I am the back sheep - no solid wood antique furniture or kitchen appliances worth a grand. But we have so much more than we did 10 years ago that to them it must seem like luxury.

I hope I don't sound condescending for the young couple - it's just that they reminded me of how we were when we got here. In a new world. Trying to gather all of life's necessities for little or no money. Craig and I dumpster-dived for a stereo cabinet, inherited a flea-ridden couch and on many occasions didn't have money for gas or food. At one point my husband sat in the work truck while all his colleagues went into McDonalds and had lunch while he sat in the freezing van eating dry bread. It sounds so far-fetched now but at the time that was our life. I still remember coming home from work and Craig had been out to buy a mop and a bucket and some cleaning supplies. All together it cost about $25 but it felt great, like we'd started to finally make it. One of the funniest stories from that era involved my cat Frank. We had a tin of tuna left to eat so we mixed it with mayo and got some bread out for dinner. As we left the room to get a drink, Frank got stuck in. I think we spent the next two hours chasing the little bugger round the room with the new mop. 

I wouldn't change any of it for the world of course, as I think it made us who we are and it gives us funny stories to tell at dinner parties. Life is actually pretty great when you have some challenges isn't it.   I will be thinking about the Bulgarian couple a lot this Christmas though and hope they are okay. 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Low-Key Snowy Weekend

We got a couple of inches of snow this weekend, though nothing like the east coast. Both boys are fascinated with it and this morning Craig took Jack out sledding for the first time this winter. He loved it. 
Danny is too young yet to go sledding so hung out with me in the house. He says 4 words now: Mama, Dada, Linda, and kitty-cat. I was rather hoping he'd be saying "mama" a lot but he's said "Linda" most of the weekend. That's one of the downfalls of not being a stay-at-home mum - he's spending his time with someone else. I'm trying to remind myself that being jealous is childish and not how a mature and loving mummy would act but the old green-eyed monster rears it's head now and again.

It's been a low-key weekend really. We watched "The Hangover" which really made me laugh - a must after the heartbreaking "Precious" that I watched earlier in the week. The Hangover will join the ranks of "Superbad" and "Snatch" & those films that I could watch 100 times over. 

My neighbour has about 2/3 of his tree lights done and I'm in the festive mood! We have Christmas music playing and Jack is getting steadily more excited about Christmas Day, even if he has no concept of time. Last night we wrapped their presents and put them in their sacks. Poor Danny has about a tenth of Jack's presents but he'll probably be happy with some wrapping paper won't he. I wrapped Jack's train set and labelled it "from mummy & daddy" before realising it's supposed to be from Santa. It's a good job my boy can't read yet. 

Right then, Jack and I are going to cuddle up on the couch & watch Frosty the Snowman for the 10th time this weekend. Danny is chewing on a skittle set. Craig is out in the woods, in one last ditch attempt to get Bambi. Then it's back to work tomorrow for a couple of days before the big day. I'm getting just as excited as the little ones!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Splashy Boy

As promised a couple of posts ago, here's a short 30-second video of Danny going nuts in the bath. He does it for the duration of the bath and I am soaked by the time the little bugger gets out. It's great to see him in action though. He's a superstar.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Film Precious - Wonderful

It was a girl's night out tonight for the first time in, oh, years I think. We went to watch "Precious" on my request. I'm a sucker for true stories - whether it's books or films, the true stuff rules. It's far more fascinating than fiction. I've always been this way, reading books about history, war, nature, love and crime. Case in point - when I was expecting Jack I read the book about the BTK killer and had to look under the bed and in the wardrobe when I went to sleep & I still do. Even so, I bought a $3 version of the movie last week because these things fascinate me even if they scare me to death.

I absolutely loved this film, "Precious". It will not spoil the film if I say that it's about a 16 year old girl in Harlem who's abused so badly you bring your hands up to your mouth and you say "no" on many occasions during the film. I cried a bit, but not big sobs like I did in "Marley & Me" (the director of that film needs shooting!) No, it's not a soppy crying movie - it's far above that. It's a film that shocks you at a time when you didn't think you could be shocked by anything anymore. It's sometimes a bit too much, a bit far-fetched but then you remind yourself that it's a true story. My friend Gina came out and said she wasn't quite sure how she felt about the film, because it was "too much" and I know exactly what she means. Linda and I drove home and discussed how lucky we were, even in this terrible economy. At this point, in my post-film mood, I'm hoping that Mo'Nique (who played her mum) gets an Oscar and maybe even the film gets best picture. I liked it that much.

For the first time in years I also loved the soundtrack to a film, so will be snaffling buying it soon. My favourite song was the last one in the film by Patti Labelle "It Took a Long Time". It made me cry AGAIN.

"Precious" soundtrack:
1.I Can See In Color - Mary J. Blige
2.He Is The Joy - Donna Allen
3.Was That All It Was - Jean Carn
4.Did You Ever See A Dream Walking - Sunny Gale
5.Come Into My House - Queen Latifah
6.Just A Closer Walk With Thee - Mahalia Jackson
7.Love Is The Message - MFSB (featuring The Three Degrees)
8.Now That I Know Who I Am - Nona Hendryx
9.System - Labelle
10.Somethin's Comin' My Way - Performed by Grace Hightower
11.It Took A Long Time - Labelle
12.Letters - Mario Grigorov

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Water Babies, Daft Goats & Believers

On Friday I said to Craig, let's not organize anything this weekend and just relax and it turned out to be one of our busiest weekends in a while. 
Yesterday we took the boys swimming and they loved it. It was Danny's first time and he had a bit of a wobbly lip at first but soon got into it and was splashing like a loony after a few minutes. 
Danny is definitely more of a water baby than Jack and I don't know why. I'm a bit afraid of water so I try my hardest not to influence them but since Jack was a  toddler he hasn't been able to stand water up his nose or in his eyes. If he so much as gets a trickle in his eye he has to dry it with a towel. Danny, on the other hand, is crazy in the bath. He splashes so much Craig and I drape ourselves and the floor in towels. I'll take some video sometime because it's so funny how much he loves the water.

Last night two of Craig's friends came over. At one point I just sat and watched them in action, which was a sight to behold. Three men sat on the couch, the middle man with the laptop perched on his knee. "Hey" said one of them "type in, camel gets hit by train, that's a good one" and so the middle man searches YouTube and then they recoil and go "arghh" and laugh in unison. At one point there was hysterical laughter as they were watching a goat keep licking an electric fence.  The differences between men and woman are just so amazing aren't they? It's a wonder we all get along but I'm glad we do.

Today we went to the zoo to see the light displays and to catch up with Brian & Emily. I really enjoyed it - great company, nice weather, great lights, kids loved playing together, we watched them dance. I wish there were more opportunities to get together in winter at things that were almost free. Ohio winters are LONG and we get stir crazy.  

So, 12 days till Christmas now and I'm so excited for Jack. He's really in to it all and he can't wait to put cookies out for Santa and carrots on the front lawn for Rudolph. He believes in it all so completely and earnestly that it's lovely to watch. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bye Bye Fence

I am sat with a glass of Chianti in front of a roaring fire while it's frigid outside and blowing an icy hard wind . Yesterday our fence got blown down, killing all the plants that were in front of it, and today while crossing a major road to go to a conference I stepped on ice and did a very comical "River Dance" move in front of stopped traffic. Hopefully no one knew me. The fence blowing down has upset me. No longer can I let Cody out and know he's safe. All those bets are OFF. As soon as he sees a squirrel he'll run after it all the way to Canada.

My wonderful industry conference is dying. In the old days the place was so busy I couldn't find a place to park, 4,000 friends and colleagues got together and went to educational sessions, looked at the new equipment and had a good time at night. We told stories of those nights for years after - still do. Not this time. I've been able to park with no difficulty, the halls are empty, the speakers fly in from 1,000 miles away to talk to twenty people. I don't know how to save it but I'm going to give it a bloody good try.

On to other things ..

Danny has 2 teeth and is jabbering a lot. He says "mama" but I'm not certain that he really means me yet. He's cruising around the furniture and bouncing balls and starting to play with toys. He's growing so quick it's sad, but his cheeks have been consistently fat, red and kissable, so that's the good news.

Jack is gorgeous and crazy, amazing and annoying. 3. 4 years old. I read somewhere that 3.5 got better so in two weeks time he should turn into a cherub, right? My husband is the most laid-back person on the planet and came in the front room tonight after the bedtime routine, clutching his chest and saying he couldn't take any more. People who's kids have flown the nest tell me to cherish every moment but that's hard to do with a toddler who's hell bent on annoying you to death. On the flip side, he's wonderful. Huggy with lots of kisses. Tells me he loves me. Plays and dances and sings with me. My heart aches with how much I love him. I just wish I could erase those moments of, well, exhausting lunacy.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Santa Video

I was at a work conference today and got home at 10.30pm, knackered. The absolute highlight of my day was meeting National Geographic photographer Dick Dorrance. 
When I got home Craig poured me a glass of Chianti and showed me what he's been up to tonight. I think it beats any kind of Elf Yourself video (see link below).  Talking of Santa, I asked a colleague today what his daughter wanted for Christmas and he said "I don't get sucked into all that. She doesn't ask for anything".  This is insulting to me in two ways - he's letting me know his daughter is more well behaved than my kids and that I'm an idiot that obviously does get "sucked in" to Christmas. He's probably right on both fronts but I was tempted to say "ba humbug" and put my hand up to my nose, wave and do "na na na na na" at him. I just asked Craig what the word for that action was and he looked baffled. It's been a long day. 

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Santa Claus is in Town

The tree is up & my lights are hung outside. My neighbour Dave is working on his fabulous Tree and I did wonder if he'd get it done by Christmas but he's retired now so can work on it during the day too. He came over this afternoon to help me with my lights. I had sections that didn't light up and he used his magic clicker gadget to make them work again. I have no idea how it works but it's marvelous.

Yesterday we took the boys to see Santa. The same Santa Jack has seen each year. Jack was so excited to see him but then withdrew like a clam once we got in the room. He didn't want to sit on his knee or really talk to him but as soon as we left he said "can we see Santa again?" He asked for a train and a track and a tunnel, the same thing he asked for in his letter to Santa that we posted yesterday.

The second Danny was placed on Santa's knee, his bottom lip curled down and he whimpered. Craig got him before he cried but as you can see from the picture, our boy Danny isn't ready to mingle with the big jolly man in the red suit quite yet.

You might see a small plaster/band aid on Jack's cheek. Lesson learned - It is not a good idea to bang two small glass snow globes together. 

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Craig's 40th

It was Craig's 40th birthday yesterday so we went off to a cabin in the woods. The plan was 2-fold: we were going to lounge in a hot tub and he was going to hunt. He took his tree stand and shotgun and saw a few doe but he hasn't got one yet. Gun seasons ends Sunday then he could go out with his bow again until Feb next year. 

The cabin was in the Hocking Hills region on 25 acres of private hunting ground. Here's the view from our cabin as my OH comes down one of the hills after a hike. I ventured up a big hill with him too but I think I talked too much to get within 50 miles of a deer and by the time I got to the top my lungs were on fire and I was gasping and clutching my sides, so I scuttled back to the cozy cabin.

While Craig hunted I watched terrible romantic films that were in the cabin. "Fake Fiance", "Cinderella Story" and "A Walk to Remember" to name a few stinkers that I really embarrassingly enjoyed. There was no telly or cell phone reception at this place but hey - I had a bathroom and electricity and a HOT TUB  so I was not complaining.  We got in the hot-tub a couple of times, which was outside in the woods, and it was marvelous but I did think (1) the man that owns the cabin is video taping us and (2) we'll hear a rustle of leaves and then a black bear will jump in and bite my head off. I have so say though - there's not much that beats lying in a hot tub in the woods with your hottie.  
So gun season ends on Sunday and Craig has yet to get his bambi but this chap got 3! Sorry for the graphic picture but I was asking why they got hung up for 3 days and Craig said it's so the rigor mortis goes away before they process the meat. 

We got home this afternoon and started to get the house Christmassy by getting our real pine tree and it smells lovely. Jack and I also sat and wrote his letter to Santa. He's asking politely for a train and a track and a tunnel.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dreaming of Tropstiples

Jack woke up this morning and came into the kitchen rubbing his eyes, looking confused and whining "I want pRomsTipcAls".
Big whine now, and some minor crying "prmospola"
More whining, more crying, slight hysteria "portugpos"
You want to go to Portugal?
"Noooooo! possiblels"
You're impossible?
"NOOOOO!" Major crying now "topsicals"
You want Tutzy-girl? (our cat)
I realise I'm not being helpful so I lift the little fella onto my lap and ask him to calm down and tell me in a non-whining voice what it is he actually wants. He sniffs and rubs his eyes.
Okay love. I have no idea what you are saying. Can you show me?
Wriggles off my lap, crying again and really whines "Plobsticas in the fwidge"
Okay, now I'm getting somewhere. Show me where in the fridge.
He opens the freezer and points to a fluorescent green icy-pop. "Propsticals!"
Ahhhhh, popsicles. No, you can't have one till after your breakfast.
Total whiny, crying meltdown ensues till I serve him his breakfast.
Danny looks on, chewing bits of banana and wondering what all the malarkey is about.

Where on earth did all THAT come from? He must have dreamt of popsicles!

And now, after 30 posts ...

Now that it's over I'm going to hide for a few days. I'll be back after Craig's 40th birthday, when I'll have a hangover and he'll hopefully have a bambi.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Party with Yummy Pizza

Me & Jack went to his friend Sophia's 3rd birthday party today. All the kids were dressed up in party frocks and suits, which was just adorable. Jack & Sophia haven't seen each other in a month but they were glued together and even shared a seat at the table. I think Jack may have regretted that decision when she got hold of the cake knife.

I had a good old chin-wag with her mum Heather but she got really sick by the end of the party and thought she might have got slammed with a flu bug.

The restaurant was lovely and I ate the BEST pizza I have ever had. I'm going to try and describe it and it might sound a bit crazy for a pizza but it worked: thin pizza crust with a light tomato sauce on top, mozzarella cheese, all kinds of exotic mushroom pieces, little lumps of herb Feta and a sprinkle of salad greens. I never would have put salad greens on a pizza but it was yummy. The side salad was the same greens & feta with a balsamic vinegar dressing. 

Now that Thanksgiving is over I'm going to try & slim down before Christmas. Basically, I've got three weeks to lose the weight I gained from eating a turkey before I eat another one! And don't get me started on the English chocolate.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Last 3 Books

False Memory by Dean Koontz took me about 3 months to get through. It was my first Dean Koontz book and I found it a bit scary and unnerving at the beginning and I had to set it down for a couple of weeks and get away from it. I've never had to do that with a book before. The villain in the book hypnotized people and made them destroy themselves and their families, all for his sick pleasure. He was so evil and so lacking in humanity that it bothered me. Eventually I warmed to it and got it finished but I'm not sure I'd read any more of his books. 

Be Brave, Young & Handsome by Leif Enger was great. The main character had written a best selling book about the wild west but then gets writers block. He befriends an old cowboy with a past and they embark on an adventure that is reminiscent of the old times of frontiersmen and gunslingers. I am looking forward to reading his first novel "Peace like a River" next.

Right now I am 3/4 way through A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. On the order recommendation of Clippy Mat, I got the book from the library last week and I have delved into it every chance I get. He is hiking his way through portions of the Appalachian Trail and having a grand old time doing it. Here is his advice on avoiding grizzly attacks ... "Make for a tall tree, since grizzles aren't much for climbing. If a tree is not available, then back off slowly, avoiding direct eye contact. All the books tell you that if the grizzly comes for you, on no account should you run. This is the sort of advice you get from someone who is sitting at a keyboard when he gives it. Take it from me, if you are in an open space with no weapons and a grizzly comes for you, run. You may as well. If nothing else, it will give you something to do with the last seven seconds of your life."  I'm loving the book and hoping I can hike some of the AT myself in the future. I'll also be checking out his other books, especially the one he wrote about England.

My son Jack is also mad on books. For a kid that spends 14 hours a day on manic overdrive, he surprisingly loves to sit with books and try to read and we read several book a day together. I'm so glad about that. Looks like he will be a reader like me. 

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Part 2

Happy Thanksgiving part 2. 

Craig made turkey tikka masala, brown rice, poppadoms and spinach pooris. It was marvelous!

All friends are gone and it's me, Craig, Char & Jan left and I know I have to post to keep up with my pledge but I'm not going to be a bad host and keep tapping away.

I promise a better post tomorrow  - when Danny will be 10 months old!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We've had a lovely day so far. Though I have to start this post with a funny story. Craig and I watched The Wrestler last night and we were so knackered we both fell asleep in the living room. When we woke up, a porn film had come on HBO! Our neighbours can see our telly from their house - what a nightmare! Hopefully they were in bed otherwise they think we spend our weekends watching porn until 3am.
Okay, so back to today. I am so thankful for:

Chief cook, great dad and soul mate Craig. I don't know what I'd do without him.

Our lads
That Danny is healthy and happy

That we live in a wonderful place with a lovely dog, wonderful friends and we both have jobs (touch wood)

That Jack is healthy and happy and looked after, not just by us but by Linda too.

I am thankful that our families in England are all okay. 
I miss them terribly at times like this though. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! X

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cover Woman (too old to be a girl)

I am most chuffed. This month I am gracing the cover of a national magazine that services the industry I work in. I've never been on a cover before so today I am puffing my chest out and showing everyone and his auntie my picture. Craig said he'll frame it for me and I'm going to ask for extra copies for my family (just humour me please).

I do wish I hadn't worn my grey pants. I was under the illusion that dark colours made you look slimmer but they obviously aren't dark enough and make me look like Lady Thunder Thighs. Damn Toblerones to hell.

Talking about food - it is Thanksgiving here tomorrow. We were very kindly invited by friends a few hours away to have dinner but we are going to stay home and do the family thing. Craig and Jack performed all kinds of surgical maneuvers on the turkey tonight - gutting, washing out with water, injecting, marinading, and stuffing. They even boiled up the offal for Cody, Frank & Tutz as a treat. I love this holiday. Four days with my loved ones. AHHHHH.

If the Finger Fits ....

Jack likes to stick his finger up his nose. A lot. Where a baby will have a pacifier or a toddler may suck on his thumb, our Jack shoves his finger up his nose like it's a thing of comfort. He'll sit on the couch, digit up the nostril, eyes glazed watching Spongebob Squarepants and I think "good lord I'm a terrible mother".

I have tried all kinds of tactics to stop it:

Polite reasoning: Take your finger out please, you'll spread germs
Pleading: PLEASE don't put your finger up your nose
Anger: Get the finger out NOW
Humour: Are you digging for gold?
Threats: If you don't get your finger out, Spongebob's going off
Bargaining: If you stop doing it I'll give you cake
More humour: Your finger will fall off and then where will you be?
And so on

At the zoo this fall I whispered to him "take your finger out of your nose!" and the lady next to me said "but it fits so well!" Maybe that's my solution. I'll make him wear rubber gloves.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An Awesome Woman

Stephanie Spielman died from breast cancer last Friday at the age of 42. She was an Ohio mum with 4 kids and a devoted husband and she was, as they say in America, "awesome".

I wasn't living in the states when her husband Chris played football for the Ohio State Buckeyes or even when he played for the NFL. When I came here in 1999 her husband had retired from professional football to become a broadcaster and she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. When she was first diagnosed, her husband left his big money football career for a full year just to be with her. They were high school sweethearts and when she lost her hair to chemotherapy he shaved his head too.

Since 1999 she got cancer 5 times and that would have floored most people I think but she was such an amazing woman. She spearheaded an effort into breast cancer that raised nearly $7 million for research at Ohio State and she was always so graceful and giving and just an amazing mum.

Of course I didn't know her and I hope I don't sound like a lunatic by writing about her like this. I last saw her at the Navy game when I was shocked to see her in a wheel chair because I thought she had beaten it. Obviously she hadn't.

I wanted to honor her somehow and acknowledge her death. I've thought about her all day (it was her memorial today) and especially the family that she leaves behind. The paper said today that they were with her when she died, which just breaks my heart. 
I hope I could be half as courageous and positive and noble as her if I faced something like that.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The King of Spinning

I was sat at the park with Jack yesterday when we saw an older boy with a skateboard.

"Can I have a go on one of those mummy?" he said. "Maybe when you are a bit older" I said "When you - and here I got a bit lost for words - are a bit taller and can balance and won't fall off and hurt yourself". As a mother I offer up these rambling idiotic responses quite often. He says why can't I have coffee? and I say because it'll make you go bananas and he says I didn't ask for a banana, why can't I have coffee? I hope I am not the only one that turns to a blithering idiot when it comes to reasoning with toddlers.

So anyway, back to the skateboard. After I basically told my son that he was short, unbalanced and accident prone, he looked VERY offended and said "mummy, I can balance and I am fast and I can kick a ball and do the monkey bars AND I am really good at spinning around!" I can't argue with that one. He spins round so fast sometimes I catch my breath in my throat when he stops, half expecting him to lurch drunkenly sideways and crack his skull open on the nearest object. But he doesn't and he'll do it again and then run like a pro athlete to do something else.

It's so great how kids define their skills in life isn't it. Imagine going for your annual review with your boss. "So Pam, what did you accomplish in 2009?" "Well boss, I got a grant, taught a couple of classes, wrote a few articles and I'm really rather good at spinning round."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Last Soccer Game

It was the last soccer class today and I think overall the whole thing went well. Watching 3-year olds play soccer was somewhat haphazard but it was a good place to take him each week, the weather has really been good and we've made some new friends.

Unfortunately, when we first get there Jack makes me stand with him and clings on to my leg and doesn't really warm up until the class is virtually over. Then he really gets in to it and doesn't want to leave, so I really do wish the classes had been an hour long and not just 30 minutes.

What next? Well swimming I suppose, though I don't relish the thought of getting into a swimsuit right now and our pool is cold. Maybe more soccer as he said he wanted to do it again and it won't involve me getting undressed. 

I ended up becoming quite pally with the math professor, Ian,  from England and he brought his wife Nicola along today. She's from South Africa but lived in England so also speaks with a strong English accent. I was most impressed with Ian when he went in goal and did these really exaggerated slow-motion saves when the kids tried to score. He missed of course and we all cheered as each toddler put one in the net. We said we'll all try and sign up for the next class so the two Jacks can still play together and we can stand on the sidelines and talk about all things English.

It was a bit sad really, saying goodbye at the end and promising to keep it touch but knowing we probably won't. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Muck Fichigan 2009

It's the Ohio State - Michigan game today. The big game of the year. I, however will be going Christmas shopping and relying upon two forms of updates:  

1. I will gather with all the menfolk at the tellys in the shops
2. My husband will text me the big plays

The reason I'll be shopping and not glued to the telly is that I'm too nervous, even though the Buckeyes aren't relying on this game as they already got to the Rose Bowl. 

Why am I nervous? Well because Michigan are sneaky devils that will sneak up in the 4th quarter and snatch it away like a cunning fox with a degree in deviousness. It's far too painful to watch. 

I do love this picture that Char took. It captures him perfectly.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chasing Chihuahuas

I spent 6 hours on the road today with my boss and it was great. We went to speak at a conference in Toledo and left at 6am. The stars were still out when I left my house which seemed so wrong!

My boss is such good fun on road trips. At one point as we were driving though a neighbourhood he stopped and made me get out of the car to chase a stray chihuahua that he was worried would get run over. He's a big soppy old fool when it comes to animals. Anyway, the dog kept running off and barking at me and I finally gave up after a man came out of his house and told me it belonged to his neighbour who let it run wild. As I got back in the car my boss was on the phone laughing and relaying my antics to the caller and he said "Did she get it? No, Pam's not fast enough to catch a chihuahua" which I thought was the funniest insult I've heard in a long time and something I might put on my gravestone.

On the way home he stopped at Dairy Queen as usual and got us both ridiculously big shakes. I had a  girl scout cookie tagalong peanut butter blizzard and he had a hot fudge sundae with extra hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry on the top. When I told him about Kate Moss's "nothing tastes as good as skinny" comment, he licked the cherry off the top of his sundae and said "who's she?" Precisely.

We had such a good day and we talked for ages about work and planned things for the future. Even talked about possible PhD projects for me, so maybe now I'll get my bum in gear and get it started.

When I got home Craig said "don't put your fingers in Danny's mouth", which obviously means that he had and got bitten! Here's a picture of gnasher and his new pass-time, chewing my coffee table.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Defending my Castle

It's been a strange day. 

Someone who has a key for our house got their bag stolen which spooked me out and resulted in us changing the locks to the house tonight. We have a feeling the person who stole the bag knows the victim and therefore knows us, so to be safe we got things changed out. It's really disturbing to think that someone out there had a key and could enter our house. It's pretty frightening actually. So our locks are swapped out and all the entry points secured and guns loaded (kidding). I don't mean to sound blase about this whole thing because it has really bothered me.

Maybe I'm getting old and frightened or maybe it's because I have kids but things like this happen to me and I get in family protection overdrive and get on a war path. 20 years ago something like this would have been like water off a ducks back but today I was like Mrs Rambo!

I think we'll be okay. Char and Jan are still here and we have our very vicious dog Cody to protect us. If someone does come in, they'll hopefully trip over Char and Jan's bags, then get licked to death by Cody, Frank will meow at them and that might wake me and Craig up so we can throw cushions at them. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Char & Jan Home

Char & Jan are here - wooo!  Arrived today from California and here for 10 days, visiting us and other friends and family.  My liver will get a thrashing. We'll talk about gardening and food and stupid stuff.
We are talking tonight about friends and how you know they are friends for life. You know how you don't talk to a friend for a few months and you can still pick up where you left off? Maybe not even month but years? No pressure. Good friends.

So anyway, we went for wings for tea (dinner) and here's our Wing Leader. Isn't he handsome?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Words from Jack

Holding his play phone to his ear:
"Hi Mickey Mouse, yes okay, you can come over. See you soon! Love you. Bye"

Me: "Clean up your toys Jack"
Jack: "You clean them up too"
Me: "No, you made the mess, you clean it up"
Jack "Moma, TEAMWORK remember?"
Who can argue with that?

Walking through a store ...
Jack: "Why are you holding my hand?"
Me: "Because I want to. Can I?"
Jack: "Mmm okay, you can hold my hand if you really want to"
Why thank you Little Lord Fauntleroy

Jack lying in bed, in the dark, 30 minutes after I put him to bed ...
"Yes Spongebob I'd love a crabby patty!"

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yeahs & Boos

Doc said Danny doesn't have H1N1, he has croup & the worst is over - Yeah!
I have something big coming but am avoiding it with beer and staunch Britishness - Boo!
Danny got his first tooth, bottom left - Yeah!
People are buying Sarah Palin's book - Boo!
Jack came to work with me for an hour today and was brilliant - Yeah!
Jack came to work with me for an hour today and was a little devil - Boo!
I am back on my diet - Yeah!
Jack pushed my tummy tonight at story time and said "big tummy Moma!" - Boo!
Craig made awesome ribs for tea - Yea!
Weather was cold & grey - Boo!
We made a fabulous DVD on my computer that took about 3 days - Yeah!
Computer lost it - Boo! (actually, more than Boo. I wanted to take the stupid F* Mac and wipe the stupid F* look off its face. If you own a Mac you know what I mean. It's really cool until you ask it to do a simple task and then it is a NIGHTMARE that you want to kill stone DEAD)
I am happy - Yeah!
Craig has no bambi yet - Boo (for him, yeah for tree-huggers like me)
My kids are getting healthy - Yeah!
It's Michigan Week - Yeah!
The kid that refused to sing really made my day today. What a superstar! - Yeah

Okay, I think this post is getting cheesy and boring. I'm sat in the basement waiting for the 2nd DVD to burn. If it doesn't burn this time the computer is getting "it".


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Matchsticks Anyone?

I need a couple of matchsticks to prop my eyes open and I'd be in bed right now, at 8.30 pm, if Jack the Lad wasn't getting up to his normal bedtime shenanigans. 
Danny is sick & kept me up most of last night. The monitor was right next to my bed but I had it set as low as I could because he only has roll over and my eyes fly open like a ninja. Isn't that motherly instinct amazing? I am like a member of the elite armed forces when it comes to monitoring the kids. Craig on the other hand sleeps through it all. Anyway, at least three times we had a trip to the bathroom to sit in hot steam so he could breathe and there was lots of rocking and cuddling to get him back to sleep.
Today was no better. He's got a 101 temperature and it's been a battle to make him comfortable. I'm convincing myself that I should not have got the H1N1 vaccine for him because it seems like too much of a coincidence that he had the vaccine on Tuesday and got ill on Saturday. 
He was so fed up tonight that I finally got some medicine for him and fired the syringe down his throat. Bad bad mistake that ended up with me getting changed and him getting changed and us having to repeat the bedtime feed. So there you have it. I have the motherly instincts of a ninja but the common sense of a goat.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Good News & Bad News

OHHHHHHHHHHHHH that game was good! 
By the end of the fourth quarter I was peaking out from my fingers and thought I might keel over from a heart attack. By the start of extra time everyone in Ohio was on the verge of cardiac arrest I think. It went right to the wire but we won. I took this video as the fans rushed the field and everyone gathered in the south end to sing Carmen Ohio. I had goosebumps like I always do when they sing this song. What a fantastic last game for the seniors.

The bad news is that Danny is sick. I'm sat here with his monitor perched next to me and he's rasping and coughing as he tries to breathe. I have a humidifier going in his room, and his room fan is on and his mattress is elevated just a tad. There's not much else I can do, right? Did I do the right thing getting him the H1N1 vaccine this week? I keep thinking that he got just a little bit of the H1N1 virus in the vaccine and maybe his baby immune system just can't handle it. I hope to God he's okay but I have a feeling it's going to be a LONG night.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Watch out Bambi - I'm Coming!

Last night after a few fizzy ones I agreed that for Craig's 40th I will go hunting with him. The plan is to hunt for two days and sleep overnight in a log cabin with a hot tub. Somewhere in Appalachian Ohio. This would be his perfect birthday. I'm a little apprehensive and if he kills a deer I might just never recover but I'm going to do this for him.

Looking for a cabin we found this:

"The Cabin in the Woods" is one of the most scenic spots to stay on the property. It offers most primitive facilities. It is a one-room + loft structure, reconstructed from a pioneer cabin, and next to a fishing pond with a dock. Gas range and oven, big woodstove, lanterns. Limited running water for cooking. Serviced by an outhouse. No electricity. The boy scouts have said it sleeps ten, but we limit it to four for your comfort. Fire/barbecue pit. Two night minimum; $70 per night; $400 per week.

Craig wants to go. I said NO. I consider myself an outdoor person and will gladly camp and go without a shower for a few days. But I absolutely draw the line at 'outhouse' and "no electricity". Call me spoiled, but at the very least I want a loo that flushes and I want to see the damn thing to make sure there aren't any snakes down there ready to bite my bum!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Finally, time with my husband

I am sat having a few beers with my husband. We are chatting away, planning his 40th birthday, laughing together and enjoying each others company.  Usually we see to kids, clean house, do laundry and then have a little R&R time before bed. We spend the R&R time on the computer or reading, solitary times that don't bring us closer together but that we both need for sanity. To be honest it's not fun.

I'm loving tonight. It's me and Craig against the world again. We were married 10 years before we had kids and I'm sorry for being cheesy but we have everything in common and we've always been best friends. I just asked him to describe our marriage in one word. He said "me and you rock".  That's 4 isn't it?

Anyway, I agree. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Avoiding the Big Stuff

I've had a terrible parenting day today. So terrible I want at least a few days to roll it round in my head before I talk about it on here. I'm really hoping (1) all 3 1/2 year old boys are the same (2) I haven't caused all the problems we are having (3) it stops soon.

Big sigh and well-deserved gulp of Killians Irish Red.

And so onto other things.

Danny is waving now! He's at that magical age where he wants to babble at people and clap and wave and even the most grumpy old bugger can't help but smile back. Fantastic it really is.

Next, we have made three rather big house changes. One being to paint and re-do the basement (pictures to follow when I've made new curtains and cushion covers with the sowing machine I got last Christmas and that I have only used this year to sew two plastic shower curtains together to keep the cats off the pool table) , one to build a retaining wall in the garden, and one to swap the basement sofa with the living room sofa.

Anyway, the smaller sofa set has made a huge difference to the living room - made it look miles bigger and shows off the hardwood floor better. As I was rummaging around for old pictures of the living room I found this one from the day we moved in in 2005. I remember that green shag-pile carpet like it was yesterday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kids got H1N1 Vaccines

I took the boys to get their H1N1 vaccine tonight. Craig had to work late so I had to go alone and as usual I wasn't prepared. I stood in line at this huge conference center with hundreds of other people and shuffled through the lines of paperwork and screenings and questions and more screenings.  Poor Danny was hungry and I'd brought his food but forgotten his spoon. I did wonder if I could feed him with a pen but then thought better of it for fear that one of the other parents would publicly humiliate me. I found a little cafe and they had plastic forks so that had to do. 
Jack also had no water or food and was bored. He did all of these things to me and I have ranked them in the most annoying order:
  • Laid on the floor and refused to walk and did the rag doll act when I pulled him up by his arm. 
  • Pulled on the yellow boundary tape
  • Hid behind curtains and chairs
  • Shouted
  • Launched himself off the stroller
  • Rolled his jeans leg up, lifted his trainer-clad foot up and put it in Danny's face
Thankfully, there were dozens of other parents having the same drama and we looked at each other and smiled wearily. I did lots of hissing in Jack's ear too.

The actual vaccination was drama-free. Jack had the mist and did a big sniff like the nurse told him to. Danny cried a bit when he got the injection but just for a few seconds.

So that's it, my kids are vaccinated and it only took an hour and a half. I'm a bit apprehensive about them getting ill over the next couple of weeks but I feel better knowing they have a chance of fighting it off more readily if they get it.  I however feel terrible - tired out and weary. I hope it's just post-traumatic queue syndrome and not the flu!

Monday, November 09, 2009

A Bit of Lancashire Lingo

I called our Jack a daft apeth today and it made me laugh afterwards. As warped as it seems I like the idea of keeping the old Lancashire lingo alive here in the states. No doubt it'll cause some confusion for the boys at school but a rich vocabulary is something I think they should have. Plus, I don't want them visiting England and being stumped when someone is pulling their leg.  I did see that "Ee" ( a popular northern England exclamation) made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, so times are changing!

Here's our Jack, doing his best Ecky Thump impression. He's saying "Ee bah gum", which roughly translates into "well I never!" 
He got his flat cap from here at a posh shop, which is a million miles away from the flat caps of olden times!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Relieved of My Pushing Duties

A word that would describe the weather this weekend would be glorious. It reached 70 today and there was a bright blue cloudless sky. 
We spent most of the weekend outside in the garden or at the park but I didn't want to venture too far as Jack's not well. Croup again I think, if the seal bark is anything to go by. He had a low-grade fever last night but seems okay during the day. Every time he hacks I cringe and wish I could make him better. I am down to my last bit of Calpol medicine from England so will need to do some investigation into which Tylenol one is best.

Anyway, the reason for my post is this - I have been made redundant of one of my mummy chores! Jack can now officially swing himself and won't let me anywhere near. "Don't push me momma!" he says indignantly as I creep up to see if I can help him out. I feel proud of him but sad for me and I think that's pretty much how I'm going to cope with his independence through life!

Here's a 30-second video of his latest accomplishment. Oh, and Danny trying to eat grass.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Rave Review for Benjamin

Last night we watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is by far one of the best but saddest films I've seen in a while. I cried a lot towards the end and went to bed with a puffy face. How Brad Pitt looked so old and then so young during the film is a special effects marvel to me.

We used to watch a lot of films but don't seem to have time these days. Once the kids are in bed and actually asleep and we've done laundry, made milk and packed lunches it's 10 pm.  The film we watched was from Netflix as we signed up for a free month but I'm going to cancel it before they start charging the standard $8/month because we've only been able to watch two films in 4 weeks! How sad it that.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Dicky Hand Saga

I was in the shower this morning contemplating my hospital appointment for my dicky hand and I thought "I have no idea how to dress!" Years ago when I went for a facial at a local spa shop they made me strip my whole top off and they massaged my neck and upper chest as well. I was mortified and haven't been back since. 

So I was worried they might make me strip naked at the hospital & decided to cover all bases. I am semi-justified in being paranoid because the phone message from the hospital told me the time and place and then cheerfully added "don't wear jewelry, earrings, and no lotion". Earrings? I only have a dicky hand I thought.

Hence, this morning I set about shaving underarms and legs to the point of red chicken skin, scrubbing feet and cutting all toe and finger nails. Finished by wearing clean underwear (best bra used in special occasions) and crisp clothes.

As it turned out I only had to pull my sleeves up while the doctor gave me little electric shocks and stuck acupuncture needles in my arms. Nothing to it really and not a stitch of clothing taken off.  It seems a shame to waste shaved legs in winter so I might wear capris tomorrow if it gets above 50.

By the way - I have carpel tunnel syndrome in my right hand but no surgery needed. I just have to wear my wrist brace in bed, which isn't as erotic as it sounds.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Toddlers & Cats

Tonight I was trying to unwrap and eat a Starburst sweet and Jack would snatch it away from me, just as I was about to pop it in my mouth. He was laughing hysterically and sat straddling me on the couch when all of a sudden he did a little choke sound and I thought "he can't be choking, I can see the Starburst stuck to the back of his teeth". No sooner had I thought this than he threw up, all over me, several times. I sat stunned for a moment and he looked at me, equally shocked and waiting for my response, right on the verge of tears. I kept telling him it was okay and Craig scooped him up and got him to the bathroom. I sat there, still stunned and really wasn't quite sure what to do for a minute or two.  After we were all washed and clean and snuggled back in the front room. Jack looked at me and said "Can I have a Starburst mummy?"

It reminded me of Frank our cat. Many years ago he ate a wasp and his head swelled up the size of a balloon. We took him to the vet who shoved a thermometer up his bum and gave him a Benadryl injection. It was most traumatic for Frank as you can imagine. Less than a week passed and he did the same thing.

Toddlers and cats. They never learn. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Didn't Need my Teeth Anyway

I went shopping to Target tonight. For those in the UK - Target is a superstore that has really nice stuff at a nice price. Not general tat like you get at Wally-Mart. They do however have a $1 section at the front that I could rummage in for hours. 

I saw a couple of things in there this year that made me smile and might just end up in a few friend's Christmas stockings - you have been warned!

I wonder if it causes severe rot & all you teeth fall out, just like the pop?

Smurfs! They're back! Just as crap but just as cute. I wrote to "Jim'll Fix It" when I was a kid to see where they were made. I never made it on the show though. 

For dog lovers that already have a snuggie of their own. 
Now you can get a matching one for Rover.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Terms of Endearment

Tonight I ordered a beer with dinner and the waitress asked for my ID. I grinned at her and told her I hadn't been ID'd in a couple of years and she'd made my day.  A few minutes later the waiter came over with our food and addressed me as "ma'am".  That pissed on my chips didn't it.

I hate the term ma'am I really do. I find it insulting for some reason. Probably because the person saying it is telling you you're old. Otherwise they'd call you "miss" or nothing at all wouldn't they.

It's not that I object to being given a pet name by friends and even strangers, In fact in England I rarely had a conversation with anyone without some term of endearment tagged on to the end.  Such as:
Me old mucker
and two particular favourites between me and my best friend Sue "Mrs Miggins" and "Betty Swollocks"

I much prefer these terms to the ones I hear here. Dude is ridiculous. Man is too manly. Guys is too cheesy. Jack keep calling me and Craig guys and I have to pull him up and remind him that we are "mummy" and "daddy".  The exception to the rule over here is my friend Lynn, who's from Louisiana.  She calls me "my darlin" in that southern way that makes you swoon.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Danny Boy Standing

Danny's had a busy two weeks. First he crawled and then tonight for the first time he stood up in his crib and jumped up & down. I remember the first time Jack did the same, we were so excited. This time around we were obviously excited but also entertaining a 3-year old and trying to get housework done. Sometimes I feel like poor Danny doesn't quite get the manic attention that his big brother got.
I get a bit nervous about posting videos or pictures of the kids, this being a public blog, but I also want my family and friends in England to see their progress. So here's just a little 30-second video of Danny boy, showing off his latest skills.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Skating after 25 Years

I went roller skating this weekend with Jack.  I used to skate weekly as a kid, at the Southport YMCA with my mates Vickie & Mandy. It was a roller disco and we used to be so cool, speed skating and crossing our legs over on the bends. Our long skinny legs squeezed into skin-tight jeans and wearing our bat-wing t shirts. I never mastered backwards skating  and used to look longingly at the cool kids that could do it. It was the same with moon-walking - I never could do that either without looking like I was just shuffling backwards.

Anyway, as I put the skates on, probably for the first time in 25 years, I was just hoping I didn't fall too hard. I honestly didn't care if I made an idiot of myself as I've got to the point in life where I don't care too much about that. But all the way around I kept thinking "don't fall, it'll probably really hurt". I had visions of splintered knee caps or a bruised coxix. Thankfully all I got was burning shins and crikey they were burning! 

Here's a few seconds video proof I did it. My lad Jack is number 33.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Big D and Me

Trick or treat went well last night, according to the huge orange bucket of candy sat in my kitchen this morning. Jack didn't quite grasp the notion of thanking people for his sweets though. One woman said "have a great evening' and he replied "you're welcome!" He tried, bless him.
Jack followed one boy around who was dressed in an American Football outfit and it was like idol worship. Every time we saw this boy Jack would swoon "I want a football helmet and a big t-shirt just like him". When I told him he could only ask Santa for ONE present - football helmet and big t-shirt or roller skates, he looked much perplexed. I think he'll work on that conundrum for a while.

Danny hated his Tiger hood and refused to wear it. And blew raspberries at everyone. He had his 9-month docs appointment today and here are his stats:
Weight = 25.8 lbs
Height = 30.5"
So still in the 97th percentile for both height and weight. Both kids got their regular flu vaccine but they are out of H1N1 for now.

I have a couple of things going on with me...

First, I have to go to a doctor because I'm having issues with my right hand. It won't stop going into the orange bucket! Only kidding. I am having real trouble though. Really really painful trouble that's waking me up at 3am and scaring the life out of me. I was terrified of aneurysms or thinking I was about to have a stroke but I'm thinking now that it might be carpel tunnel. Blimey it's painful. So painful I can't put my contact lenses in or even brush my teeth when I first get up. More on that front after I see the doc I suppose.

Second - NaBloPoMo starts on Sunday! Every year in November I do a blog posting every day of the month. 30 blogs in 30 days. Please stay with me and read them. Even better, please comment. I feel very unloved when no one comments. I'll try not to harp on about my dicky hand I promise.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Soppy Moment

At 6.45am this morning, as Craig was leaving the bathroom after a shower, Jack jumped out of his bedroom, clad in his pyjamas, clutching his Halloween candy bucket and yelled "trick or treat!", which could have put my poor husband in the hospital but thankfully just made him laugh.
Next up, Craig came into Danny's room to say goodbye as I was feeding him. Danny reached up his hand to try and touch his dad's face and gazed lovingly at him. It warmed my cockles.

These two boys of ours are the best thing on the planet. Anyone reading this and wondering whether to have kids - have them. For every time they make you feel like running away to a desert Island, there are 400 more that make you burst with love & happiness.

Blimey, aren't I being soppy today.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Woooooo it's Halloween Week

I wish I'd thought of this I really do. Maybe next year I'll copy it.

I'm excited. My house is decorated, complete with a big hairy spider attacking any visitor that comes to the front door.

Danny is going to be Tigger, Jack hasn't quite made up his mind but at the last check wanted to be Spiderman. It's officially "trick or treat" night on Friday* so I better get his costume ready.

The older I get the more I like this kind of stuff.

Am I turning into a mad old cat lady? Will I start wearing Christmas jumpers that light up and adorning seasonal earrings? Hopefully not. Anyway, Craig would bonk me on the head with a large pumpkin if I did.

* Should be Saturday 31st obviously but I knew our district did it earlier and I thought it was Friday. No. It's Thursday. Kids aren't allowed on the streets on weekends apparently. What a load of tosh.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkins & Camels

We went to Circleville Pumpkin Festival yesterday, which was great. It's a huge event with all kinds of pumpkin fare - pumpkin chili, pumpkin fudge, jelly, hot sauce, burgers, cake, donuts and even pizza. Not sure I could eat pumpkin pizza without barfing.

Here's our Jack with the humongous pumpkins. I just realized all my pictures are of Jack but Danny spent all day wrapped up in a cocoon in fleeces and blankets, with just his head popping out like a glow worm. It was cold.

One of the highlights of the day was the camel ride! Who'd have thought you could ride a camel in central Ohio in October. He was very sweet and Craig spent some time cuddling up with him. Now he's told me he wants a pet camel for his 40th birthday.  

Also this weekend I took Jack roller skating for the first time. It was 80's night so he got to skate and I got to reminisce about hideous clothes, even more hideous hairstyles but really funky music. We both had a great time. This short (22 sec) video is hilarious. If the object of the exercise is to roller skate without actually moving then our Jack's a pro.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Life with the Dustbin Lids

I recently discovered that Danny isn't allergic to peanuts when I found him chewing on the dog's toy kong that's packed full of peanut butter, cat hair and dog spit.

One of the things I ask myself daily - why do they say not to give a baby water when you make their formula with water?

Jack is having MAJOR tantrums. So spectacular I can only stand back in awe, with my mouth open and a look of shock on my face. Who is this monster that's demanding Spongebob Squarepants?

Danny clapped! and crawled! and laughed! and said "dada!" Everything he does amazes me. Having a baby in the house is just ace.

I could watch Jack dance all day, I really could.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Marathon Saturday

It's Saturday night 11pm and I'm finally sat down after a LONG day. Glass of white wine, "I am Legend" on the goggle box. Husband snuggled in. Ahhh.

Danny was up at 6.45am as usual. I can't remember the last time I had a lie-in till 9am. Probably won't now till I'm 60 either. This is one of those times I think being a 17-year old mum is far easier than being a 40-year old mum.

Jack was hard work. Wonderful beyond belief but hard work. Whoever coined the phase "terrible twos" didn't know about 3-year olds. Stinkers. Absolute stinkers. Make you laugh one minute, scream the next. This is obviously the age where I am not my best as a mum, since I spent most of my day saying "no", "don't you dare", "timeout", and "stop whining". Don't great mums get by singing and doing crafts and smiling? Or are they just NUTTERS?

At noon a couple came to test-drive my car I'm selling, which means I had to leg it to the car wash, hoover it out and make it look sparkly in about 30 minutes. If anyone has any suggestions how you clean the hollow bit under the seat between the middle consul and the seat (and get a year-old french fry out), please let me know.

1 pm: Drive to day-care center to pick up our stuff (crib etc.). Our lads last day was yesterday but I chickened and couldn't do the pickup at 5pm. Craig said Danny's teacher, Fatima, handed him over, burst into tears and went into the bathroom so last night me and Jack made a card for her and a present and I left it there for her to pick up Monday (they don't close till Friday). I'm sad but thankful I have Linda to come and look after them. I trust her and that means everything.

1.30-4pm: The Buckeye game, but less said the better. Jack crying "I want Sponge bob!" the whole time. Danny refusing to nap. If I was Mother Mary Poppins I would have abandoned the Buckeyes and done puzzles or collected leaves and stuck them on paper with glue. But it's the Buckeyes and I love them and my kids are going to have to understand that.

4-5pm: A long walk & Jack bike riding to the park a few blocks away. Fresh air does wonders for stress.

5pm: Our friends Matt & Gina come to help us do some major furniture moving so that our situation is more kid-friendly for Linda and the lads. We now owe a "move favor" to them - always a good one to have up your sleeve.

7pm: Danny in bed but he cried for 30 minutes, which is not like him, and he keeps waking up - I'm in for a bad night? Oh, please don't be ill Danny

8-9: Craig takes Jack to Kroger while I actually do something in the house - clean the kitchen, make up bottles, do laundry, mop floors (Mop & Glo is fabulous - thank you housekeeping fairy), and feed Cody. Oh how that boy has fallen from Glory.

9pm: Jack in bed, sort of. Regardless of a 7.30pm or 9pm bedtime the ritual is as long and dragged out. If staying up 1 minute longer was an Olympic game, my son would be gold. But how can I be mad when he hugs me tight and tells me he loves me? No better feeling in the world.

9.30-11pm: Me upstairs, rearranging the room after the furniture move, Craig in the basement doing the same. We did watch the last 5 minutes of Slumdog Millionaire together, a film we love.

11pm: We reunite in the basement which is now FABULOUS and watch our big screen telly. Glass of wine, give Cody a scratch behind the ear and apologise for 3 years of neglect. Talking of which, where are the cats and have I fed them today?

11.30pm: Craig tells me of Ochocinco's last stunt and it makes me laugh. I love this guy. He's an NFL player for the Cincinnati Bengals football team. A superstar in his own head, a character that loves his craft. I know there are people out there that hate his arrogance, but he's good, and he has character and he's funny and he LOVES his sport. He makes me love the Bengals. His name is Chad Johnson and his number is 85 so he changed his name by deed-poll to the Spanish for 8-5. Today he was part of a group that bought up 2,000 tickets to tomorrow's Bengals game so that it would be televised locally and he gave them away free to fans.

12.30am: Watching "Juno". What time will we go to bed? Probably too late. Isn't 40 the new 20?