Saturday, May 30, 2009

Everton all the Way

We lost 2-1. Should have been 3-1 to Chelsea but the linesman didn't see it, thankfully.

I'm sad, but will always love my Everton.


The video is of Everton fans ahead of a game a few weeks ago and it makes me unbelievably homesick..

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cool Hwip

I went into the freezer tonight for something and saw a tub of Cool Whip and I thought "ah, Craig must have bought Cool Whip" and I said it just like Stewie. "Cool Hwip". I don't think I'll ever say Cool Whip normally ever again.

It's like singing jingles when I see certain things. The most annoying is whenever I hear someone mention that they are looking to buy a bike. Inside my head I sing "Buy a Bike! Buy a Bike! Go down to Charnock Richard Cycles. And Buy a Bike!"

I've been doing that for twenty years so I'm looking forward to the day when I'm senile enough to have forgotten the words.

Danny at 4 Months

It's hard to believe that Danny will be 4 months old this week.

Gone are the days of the wobbly, uncontrollable head, the extra long sleeps, the newborn nappies, the startle reflex where the arms stretch out and shake for a second, the glassy-eyes that sometimes go cross-eyed as they try to focus on your face. The tiny body that you hold close that is totally dependent and yearning for your love and protection.

Now he's a little person. He smiles and talks to us (see below). He tries to sit up and will stand up if you pull him up as he grips your fingers. He loves to spend time with us and he loves to eat. He settles himself to sleep, which is either a testament to him as a laid-back baby or a result of us having to deal with two boys at bedtime.

His cheeks are chubby and firm, just begging to be kissed all day. His smile is a knockout. I love this boy with all my heart.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Scary Phone Call

A few weeks ago, a worker at Jack's day-care centre got let go. It was nothing serious. The owner told me this woman loved the kids but just didn't really know how to engage them and was more likely to stand back and watch the mayhem. This worker (I've posted about her before) loved Jack and has known him for about a year. She spoiled him and on many an occasion told me how much she loved him and that she talked about him all the time to her Aunt that she lives with.

Tonight about 9pm I got a call on my mobile and I didn't recognise the number but I answered it anyway (I wish I hadn't) and it was her. She started off by asking after the boys and then how me & Craig were. I asked her if she had another job and she said she was taking care of kids at her house and that she had 6 kids already. She said she loves kids and wants to keep doing it. I wondered if she was ringing to try and get us to put our lads with her so I was trying to think of a nice way of telling her "no" when she asked for our address. She said she wanted to send Jack a birthday card and maybe swing by and see him.

I gave it to her because I'm English and too scared of hurting people's feelings and I am a moron.

Then she went on to say that she dreams about Jack, loves him, misses him and wants to come and see him before his birthday. I have no doubt in my mind that she is obsessed with my son.

Thankfully I did have the wherewithal to get her second name and address and I Googled her and see that she's on Facebook, so at least I know she's reachable. I even looked up her house details on the county auditors site. The house isn't in her name but I think she lives with her aunt. I thought about ringing her back and telling her I don't think her having any kind of relationship with Jack is a good idea but would that make her mad? Mad enough to come and do something? Is it best ignored?

I tried ringing the owner of the day care tonight to ask her opinion but it's a holiday weekend & she didn't answer. I'm going to ask her to be extra vigilant at the day-care center and make sure this woman doesn't show up there.

I am so scared about all this. Craig wanted me to call the police but all the woman has done is say she misses him. But I do want some kind of public record of what's happened - hence this blog tonight.

If anyone has advice for me I'd love to hear it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Got Sussed Out

When Jack was watering my plants today I grabbed my camera and thought "oh yes - I'm going to have a David Bailey moment".
Like this ...

Or this ...

But he sussed me out ..

And I got this ...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What a Bonkers Week

Saturday: Craig went to a gun show & Jack locked himself in the bathroom. No amount of me shouting and him frantically trying to turn the knob helped. He was crying and I was worried to death he was going to find a razor and bludgeon himself to death with it. In hindsight that was probably more common in 1940 when everyone used razor blades, but I wasn't thinking so straight at the time. I ran out of the house, leaving him in the bathroom and Danny in his swing, and I legged it across the road to a neighbour. Just as I got to their porch I saw a HUGE black stray dog galloping towards me, like something out of Hound of the Baskervilles. Then I heard Danny wake up and start crying. I thought "are you bloody kidding me? One kid locked in the loo, another yelling and I'm going to get eaten on my neighbours front step by a rabid dog". I crouched down on the porch and the dog turned his head towards my house when he heard Danny. S**t, I thought. I had visions of him crashing through the screen door at my house and getting Danny. Luckily he trotted off towards the main street and I legged it to my next neighbour, Bo, for help. Bo came right over, armed with a coat hanger, and saved the day. Phew.

Sunday: Went to the cabin & Jan stayed with us overnight. It doesn't matter how old we all get. When we get together we drink too much and stay up too late.
Monday night we all met up at BW3's local restaurant = too much beer & stayed up too late.

Tuesday morning Jan left to go back to California. When she went to visit another friend during her short stay here, they had snuck a big orange vibrator in her bag for a laugh. She was of course mortified and left it at our house as she carries her flight bag onto the plane and didn't want to have to put it through the x-ray machine at the airport gate. Just before she left for her flight I put it back in her bag (he he he)

Tuesday night - A lovely visit from English friends that live in South Carolina. Drank too much, stayed up too late (see a pattern here?)

Wednesday: Jack fell over at day-care and bashed both his knees in. He is milking his injuries for every single scrap of sympathy he can muster & makes me carry him around the house like Heidi. It's hard to say "no" to such a character, even if my back is killing me.

Thursday: I had something I had to get done at work and didn't get to it for a million reasons. One included a request from someone to help them out, which I did. Then as I was leaving them and jumped into my car I split my jeans across the bum and had to run home to get changed. Thank God my neighbours were not gardening when I got home to see me limping into the house with my bum hanging out.

In the afternoon I got an email from Jan saying they x-rayed her bag 3 times at the airport and that she has lost faith in humanity. On a good note, they didn't confiscate it and I have a feeling I'll be seeing ol' ginger again.

I got home from work at 8pm tonight and am now determined to go to weight watchers tomorrow. Split jeans are a good indication that its time to eat celery. And wine of course. I'm sure tomorrow will be equally frantic BUT it's a bank holiday weekend, both in England and the USA, so we have 3 days to unwind.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bald Eagle in the Back Garden

Our friend Jan came back to Ohio this weekend to visit. Char had to stay in California, which was a bummer. Anyway, we went to the cabin today to see her. At some point I'm going to blog about what happened to me when Craig left me alone with the kids (locked bathroom, blowouts, no clothes and vicious dogs - but more about that later).

In the meantime (because I have guests waiting for me in the living room and I'm in here blogging for God's sake!), here's a few pictures.

Jan & her old work friend Rod. He blew his achilles this winter. OW

Craig and Danny and what's that in the distance, above Craig's head?

It is a BALD EAGLE'S NEST, that's what!!! We spent the entire day taking pictures and looking through bino's at it. That is by far the coolest thing I have ever seen in someone's back garden. EVER. Seriously. The only thing that might top it would be a vineyard.

I have a sneeky feeling that Cody doesn't like Craig too much. It's obvious that he beats him.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Farrah Fawcett & Inherited Legs

I had every intention of coming on here and having a good old moan tonight as I feel ill, but after just watching Farrah Fawcett's story on NBC I'm feeling decidedly more optimistic and grateful. Farrah, my favourite Angel, in case you didn't know, has cancer and is dying. There was a bit in the film where she reads a letter to her son, Redmond. Redmond has made the news a lot for the last couple of years for drugs and probation violation and he's in prison at the moment.

But oh, the letter she wrote to him reduced me to a blubbering wreck. It was from a dying mum to her darling son. While she was reading it, the telly showed pictures of her with him when he was a newborn, a baby gurgling at her, a toddler holding his little arms around her neck. By that time I was crying so bad I couldn't see, was gulping for air, and had bubbles coming out of my nose. Bloody hell. One minute I don't give a bugger about Farrah Fawcett and now I'm going to have to follow her story by Googling her on a regular basis.

It's like when I get sad stories to watch on DVD (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was the last one). Craig looks at me and says "Why can't you just watch happy stuff?"

I don't know. It's something we HAVE to do. It's a woman's thing.

Anyway, to lighten the mood here's 2 pix of our lads taken tonight by Craig:

Jack - Got his dad's fabulous soccer legs

Danny - Right now, got legs like his mum

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Day

It was Mothers Day today in the USA and I spent my day having fun with the two lads. We did some gardening and we went to the park a couple of times. Craig spoiled me - I slept in till 8.30am (woo hoo) & he cooked for me all day.

I feel unbelievably lucky to have these two boys in my life. When Danny hears my voice or sees me, he gets so excited and grins at me & the feeling that generates is worth a million pounds. Jack has started telling me that he loves me and it chokes me up every time. I can't ever imagine letting these boys go into the world as independent human beings but I know I'll have to.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Our New Brick Patio

I'm on a blogging frenzy & posted twice today; about our new patio & about Katy's 3rd birthday party.

Our new brick patio started with a donation of bricks from a friend's mum over two years ago, then they sat harbouring algae and slugs until we got our bums in gear.

Picture 1: The location. The reason for a patio? I'm sick of moving garden furniture every time we mow. We want an outdoor room and I'm really not keen on decks - too much cleaning, warping, staining, and overall fannying about.

Picture 2: Patio will be 12 ft. x 12 ft. We dug out 6 inches soil. Used 4 x 4 x 12 treated lumber for the edge and the patio has a 1% slope (cute dog added for scale)

Picture 3: Getting subsoil dug out (cut & fill) & edging installed (very cute helper in frog wellies added for scale). Soil was tamped down with a wacker-plate.

Picture 4: Four inches of limestone gravel (3 tonnes used) laid down & tamped

Picture 5: One inch of concrete sand (0.75 tonnes) laid down & tamped

Picture 6: Bricks laid on top of the sand "basket-weave" design. Total bricks used: 550

Picture 7: Ed helped us, because as much as I love this stuff I had to look after Jack & Danny while Craig did the lions share of the grafting. Lesson number 1 learned here - DO NOT tamp loose bricks. In fact, after picture 5, return wacker-plate to rental place.
(note: our friend Ed is not a nutter that spends his weekends dressed like Ronaldo - he had a football game after he helped us).

Picture 8: Ed & Craig were finishing up the hard landscaping then Emily came along to help plant around the edges. Jack was overjoyed as "Lemily" babysits for him occasionally.

Picture 9: After laying the bricks, dry joint sand was brushed in. Craig used 2.5 buckets (I can't remember the weight of each bucket but each covered 56 sq.ft.).
My exhausted, extremely talented and fab husband stands on the finished patio. He said: I need a shower, wine, tremendous gratitude, & promise you'll never ask me to do brick landscaping ever again or I'll have to kill you. It's a fair cop.

Picture 10: Ta daaa!

Last but not least (like they say at the Oscars), this project could not have been completed without the constant supervision of our lad Jack ...

Happy Birthday Katy!

Last night we celebrated our friend Gina's birthday and today Jack went to Katy's 3rd birthday party. He was so excited today and said "I want to go to Katy's house" at least 60 times this morning. Here's a couple of pictures from the party:

As we pulled up to the house, Jack said "Katy. My best friend!" I'm not taking too much notice of his ramblings right now though as he also said "mummy can't drive" when we were on the way there. I think Craig put him up to it. Here he is with Katy, Brooklyn and Ella - looking very much at home entertaining the ladies!

Danny belly-laughed for the first time today and it made my heart melt. He loved this swing on Brian & Emily's porch, so it looks like we'll be trying to find a hanging place for one in our garden.

Brian & Emily are moving a few miles away in a couple of weeks and we'll miss having them in the neighbourhood but we're excited for them too.
So anyway, Happy Birthday Katy-Katy. You're a little gem.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Ravioli Chops

I showed you all how he likes to eat mash

And now you know how he likes to eat lavilowly (ravioli)

If we ever get invited to tea with the queen I might have to make an excuse

Monday, May 04, 2009

Loony Boys

Talking with a mum of 3 boys recently, I asked her for advice. She said "exercise them like dogs!". It seems like this might be some trusty advice. Friends with girls seem to have much calmer children. Children that will read and do a puzzle and entertain themselves for a few minutes.

My boy is a lunatic, and I mean that in a lovable way but OH MY GOD, from sunrise to sunset he is like a mini tornado. He does not stop talking, asking "why", asking me things, telling me things, demanding things, doing things, dumping, pouring, crashing, tumbling, leaping, running and wrestling.

He refuses to nap in the afternoon until I threaten him with violence.
He fights sleep at bedtime so fantastically that it's actually impressive. When he finally goes off, I sit down with a glass of wine, huge knot in my chest and just breathe out ... ahhhh. Poor Danny gets as much attention as I can physically give when I have a whirling dermish in the house.

But Jack is SO smart. He's not even three and wowing us every day with his vocabulary and school skills. He's truly amazing and funny as hell. There isn't a day goes by he doesn't make me belly-laugh. And he's so kind and loving.

I worry though that he's too manic, bored too easy with no attention span. I see other toddlers at restaurants eating quietly and my son is telling me in his loudest voice why mushrooms are nice, knocking his water over, chatting-up the waitress and then trying to climb out of his seat. Sometimes he's so intense that he frustrates himself and I can see it on his face.

It's hard being a mum to such a character. I worry that he's too out-of-control, then I worry that I'm shouting at him too much and breaking his spirit. It's such a science isn't it, "mumhood"- trying to raise an independent human being but at the same time trying to instill some time-honoured principles.