Monday, September 28, 2009

Danny at 8 Months

Our boy is 8 months old today! He started babbling this week but no teeth yet. He's not crawling yet either but he's the master of moving backwards! Last night he crawled backwards from his bedroom, down the hallway all the way to the front room. It was so funny to watch. He's trying really hard to move forwards so hopefully he'll get it soon.
I think he's going to be different to Jack in so many ways but I hope every day that they are going to be best friends. Jack's a whirling-dermish, a real pistol but I get the feeling Danny's going to be more calm, a little rock. Whatever their personalities I really hope they love each other, especially since they have no family here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Say the Dumbest Things

Now and again I have blonde moments but this week I had TWO really big ones that have given my husband free license to rib me and rib me often. 

When we got back from Tennessee, our neighbour that was checking on the cats told us that he found a chipmunk's head on the basement steps. Craig said - wow, the cats really do do something useful! And I said - you know what, it could have been Cody (our dog). Craig smiled that smile he does when he knows he's got me and said "he was in Tennessee with us - but hey maybe he drove home one night when we were sleeping". 

I read a small book/pamphlet this weekend about the underground railroad that was the mechanism for slaves to escape from the south and travel north. There are tons of places in Ohio associated with it and a new Freedom Museum in Cincinnati. After reading it I said to Craig that I didn't realise that "railroad" was a pseudonym for homes and roads and people that helped the journey. I thought it was an actual railway, underground. I knew the second I said it that I had just without a doubt let him know that I'm a big thicko AND he didn't even laugh. He just looked at me with pity.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Southern Tennessee

Like most holidays we take lately, we did a 4-day speed visit where we packed in so much driving and sightseeing that I need a holiday to get over it. We had a fabulous time though. Here's a few pictures of our trip to Southern Tennessee ...

Our cabin in Townsend. We were about 30 minutes away from Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, right at the base of The Great Smoky Mountain National Park. OHHHHH I wish I could have spent several more days there.

Craig & Danny enjoying the view from the wrap-around balcony

Did I mention how much I loved this cabin? The only scary part was driving up the steep dirt path to get to it, especially at night in the pitch black

This thing was so big it had visible knee-caps. I'm not kidding. Other local widlife we saw included bear, skunk, and wild turkeys.

Gatlinburg, all dressed up for Halloween

The water ride at Dollywood

" Can we have one mummy pleeeese?" Yes, love, that's all we need. Another animal ruining my house and making poo for me to pick up. And it squeals. It is made of bacon though.

What we might have looked like in the 1860's as our husbands went off to fight in the Civil War. Probably wouldn't be smiling so much though. The lady who dressed us was most put-out that we wanted to dress as Yankees and not southern rebels, but I have to show my loyalty to Ohio.

Lastly, on a trip to Cades Cove in the Smokies, look what we saw. If he had dropped out of the tree I would have squealed like that pig! I'm not sure what he was doing - looking for acorns maybe?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lovely Marietta

Last Friday we went to the Marietta Sternwheel Festival in south-east Ohio. There were about 30 paddle boats there and one of them was set up as a stage for a band so people were sat on the riverbank listening to the music and enjoying the magnificent view of the Ohio River.

We went for a ride on one of the boats and had a shufty around the little shops. They also had a bit of fair stuff, including bouncy castles, which amused Jack to no end. I could watch him play on that stuff all day, screeching with delight and shouting "look at me mama!" as he throws himself head first down a big bouncy slope. Sheer joy.

Marietta is lovely. It has a gorgeous college campus and historic brick buildings that date back to 1788. It's the oldest town in Ohio I think. The river is still used by huge barges that carry coal and other supplies, but like most of Appalachian Ohio, the town is having some hard times right now.
Harry in his Manchester United FC shirt. They brought one for Jack & Danny too but Danny is my little Everton boy, so I told them he'll wear it but I had my fingers crossed at the time.

Craig and Danny. Two peas in a pod.


Wednesday, September 09, 2009


On a recent road trip with work friends I told them I have a lot of tornado dreams. Out of four people in the car, one said "me too!

I had no idea what tornado dreams meant so I Googled it and it said I'm sometimes scared of disruptive and terrifying changes beyond my control.   Like lots of people right now I suppose I'm worried about keeping my job and being able to pay my mortgage but I've had these dreams for the 10 years I've lived in the USA. 

We talked about other dreams too: 

(1) Having to take a big test or try and get a grade at the end of a class when you realize you haven't been in class all year

(2) Showing up somewhere and not realizing you were naked till you got there

(3) You can't run fast because legs are sluggish.

Then sometimes I have an erotic dream about someone I either don't know (how is that possible?) or someone I really don't like and wouldn't even poke in the eye with a 50 ft pole.

It's an amazing thing isn't it, that when human beings are going though stressful times, we all dream about the same scenarios, regardless of what country we were born in. 

This video was taken in South Dakota where I just drove the full length of the state. My colleague told me today that SD is notorious for violent tornadoes. I told her I'm glad I didn't talk to her before I set off on my hols!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Visitors & Game Pictures

Craig's mum and dad got here on Thursday night. They are staying with us for a while on their holidays. As usual, they brought a suitcase full of English chocolate so I'll have to have willpower of steel not to eat it all. I'm not doing too great so far. Damn those curly wurlys.

It is so nice to have family here who love to play with the kids. It feels weird to have them playing with someone else and demanding someone else's time but it's great that I can do some housework without doing it at breakneck speed with one eye constantly on the kids. Imagine having family support all the time - must be heaven!  Jack is so excited to have them here it's lovely to see.  We aren't sure yet where we are going while they are here but we'll make sure they have a great time. They've done 16 states so far and it would be great to do more but it's hard to  take them somewhere interesting without driving 500 miles to get there. 

The game today was brilliant! To honor the Navy team, all the fans cheered them when they ran onto the field, which they did at the same time as the Buckeyes.  There was a moments silence for soldiers & the national anthem and then three fighter jets flew low over the stadium. All the hairs on my arm stood on end and I got a bit choked up. I have got really sentimental in my old age.

One of the highlights of the day was seeing John Glenn when he dotted the "I" during script Ohio. In my book, this man is up there with Sir Edmund Hilary and Chuck Yeager and Sir Ernest Shackleton, so I'm absolutely chuffed that I saw him. He had his wife Annie with him and they were laughing and joking with one another which is so sweet. 

Friday, September 04, 2009

Ready to Cheer for our Boys

I am like a cat on a hot tin roof and can't concentrate at all. The reason for my excitement is that Buckeye Football starts tomorrow. They play Navy at noon.

When I lived in England I never watched American football because it just looked so boooooring and the way they stop and start all the time looked annoying and confusing. I think I can speak for 99% of the population when I say that American football is not part of the average Brit's viewing pleasure.

BUT if you go to a game, and especially in Ohio Stadium, then you love it.

The game is fascinating, really it truly is. It's very strategic, like a military operation. It isn't fast paced like real football (soccer) but I would say it's a cross between rugby and chess. But a bit more aggressive. With lots more players. You get the drift.

You would have to be numb not to feel the emotion and the patriotism when the Army raises the American flag and people stand, hand on heart, to sing their national anthem before each game

The Best Damn Band in the Land might do script Ohio

Sometimes (like tomorrow!) really cool things happen, like military jet fly-overs

Sitting in one place with 105,000 like-minded people is just great. The singing, the chanting, the Mexican waves, the banter.

At the end of the day, the players are not professional athletes being paid big money, they are students from The Ohio State University. Our students and we love them.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Good for a Laugh

Someone showed me this new website today which is just hilarious.

What is quite worrying is that I nearly bought a rug that one lady (the Britney mutant) has in her trolley. Oh dear.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Peacekeeper

It was lunchtime at day-care and Jack was sat between Sophia and Ava, two of his closest friends. Sophia and Ava were arguing and bickering back and forth, back and forth.

Finally, Ava retorted "Sophia - I don't like your attitude!" and Jack looked at her and said "you don't like applesauce?" and everybody cracked up laughing.

I think my boy should work for the UN