Saturday, January 30, 2010

Birthday Party Success

I am sat here exhausted after Danny's birthday party today. Craig had to work this morning so it was down to me to get ready for it (although Craig did help last night by making a gazillion egg butties).   As I'm typing this, Danny is bathed and in his PJs, chewing on Jack's shoulder and hitting him on the head at the same time. Brotherly love huh.

The party games went down a treat, especially pass the parcel and musical bumps which aren't really played over here. After 5 games I ran out of ideas though so we had cake. 

We had ice cream cake as it's Danny's favourite. He really enjoyed himself, especially playing with the balloons. Currently he's lying on one, trying to bite it, so I better hold my ears

video

Happy birthday sweetheart!  And well done me. I entertained the kids and fed everyone, which is a major accomplishment for someone as domestically challenged as me.

I need to do two posts tomorrow - one showing Danny's walking skills and one showing our lovely new minivan. But right now I'm going to play with my lads one last time before they go to  bed. Then me & Craig are going to watch District 9 and have a drinkie to celebrate a successful first birthday party!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Entertaining Little Poeple

I took Danny for his 1-year check up today. What a horrid mummy I am scheduling injections on his birthday (sorry about that Danny boy) but they didn't have openings tomorrow. Anyway, here are his stats:

Weight = 26 lbs (95th %'ile)
Height = 32" (97th)

No surprises here then - he'll be big and tall. He's actually taller than Jack was at one (Jack weighed 23 lbs and was 31" tall). Talking of Jack, I got him a Buzz Lightyear toy because he watched Toy Story last week and loved it, so for the past 24 hours he's been running around the house yelling "to imbinity and beyond!" Bless.

Danny's conked out in bed now and I've just been out buying toys for the party games we'll play at his birthday party this weekend. I'm also trying to remember all the fun games - musical chairs, pass the parcel, musical bumps, the guessing game etc. I hope I can entertain 10 kids and not end up locked in the bathroom with a glass of Chianti, crying. Oh, the stress! I feel like I totally know what to do with kids 3 years old and younger but give me a 5 year old and I'm stuck. I even bought whoopie cushions in the hope that toilet humour will save me! 

A Ditty for Danny

Happy Birthday Danny Lewis

He of 10,000 decibels
Son of Craig of Warrington
With chubby cheeks and fair hair
Arch enemy of green beans
Maker of things most vile in the diaper
Grandson, nephew, cousin, brother, friend
Coveter of strawberries
Chewer of all things small and dangerous
Maker of mischief
My darling son


Monday, January 25, 2010

Danny's Week

This is Danny's Birthday week! On Thursday my gorgeous boy will turn 1 and and a couple of milestones will take place - we can start giving him cow's milk and we can turn his car seat around to face the front. I'm quite glad about both because formula costs a small fortune and poor Danny's legs are so long he has to sit like John Cleese in a Mini Cooper, with his knees up to his chin.

I was looking right into his eyes this morning, wishing him a happy birthday, and he said "Mama" and smiled the best smile in the world. He took two steps yesterday and he's started holding his own bottle, so independence is just around the corner.

It all goes so quick doesn't it. I wish I could bottle some of it up - like the moment I had with him this morning. That's the great thing about this blog though. I can record it all and look back. I have a feeling that'll come in handy as I get more forgetful and demented.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Day of Illness

What a horrible day it's been!  Jack is really sick with an ear and sinus infection that would floor most grown men. It's horrible to see him like this and I'm hoping Danny doesn't get it. I've been up since about 1 am this morning and spent the day at the doctors and pharmacist and fussing over him.   I have to give him 6 mls of antibiotic twice a day, but the syringe that came with it is only big enough for 5  mls, so that's handy.  
Throughout it all he's fought it like only a toddler can and was dressed up as Bob the Builder all day to boot! Here's hoping he's a bit better tomorrow.

Danny had his second H1N1 vaccine today too and didn't even flinch when he got it. That boy has nerves of steel I tell you. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday's Broken Biscuits

Many years ago we lived next door to a lady that had a bumper sticker on her car that read "Fat people are harder to kidnap", which went down as my all-time favourite sticker. On the way home tonight though I was behind another lady in a big red pick-up truck with a sticker that said "Warning! Driving under the influence of Dolly Parton". 

Danny's most endearing attribute is his desire to share his food and his toys. This morning after he finished drinking his milk he held the bottle up to my lips for me to share. Bless. Our dog Cody takes full advantage and sits next to Danny's highchair as Danny eats one for him, one for Cody, one for him, one for Cody. It's lovely to watch.

One week from today our Danny will be 1 year old! I remember every single detail of the day, including the ice storm. We're going to have a small party for him and get him an ice cream cake in the shape of a kitty-cat (his first words).

Jack has spent the last two days being a dog. Woofing, playing catch, fetching, and refusing to answer me unless I call him doggy-Jack and scratch him behind the ears. 

Is January over yet? Now? .... Now? ...  UGH.  Not only is it the most lean month financially but the weather is pants. Roll on February! (Now, if you're birthday is in January (i.e. mum, Eric, & Danny) then what I meant to say was, it's the most important and marvelous month of the year of course)

Isn't it amazing that several days after you walk out of a car showroom, the salesman calls you at home and offers the car to you again for a few grand less. I do hate the whole haggling process!  Last weekend as we left an auto place Craig told me to stop sounding like I'm desperate, so I'm trying to be a cool cucumber but it's hard for me, being naturally eager to please. 

I am still amazed at how easy it was to give money to Haiti by texting "Haiti" to 90999 last week. What a great and easy way for us to give. Like a lot of people though I'm still heartbroken by the whole thing and feeling guilty and useless. 

 I can't believe it's Friday tomorrow!  Having Monday off work threw me completely and left me dizzy and unorganized all week. Of course some might say that describes my work ethic  every week. 
Happy Weekend everyone. X

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Man Named Christ

I met a man today called Christ. A real man! I was fairly certain that name was already taken but then I met him over a cup of coffee. He's little and white haired, 83 years old and from Youngstown, Ohio. He pronounces his name to rhyme with "Missed" by the way, in case you were currently sat back in your chair with a horrified look on your face and getting ready to call the pope.

He told me his mum (who died 3 years ago and who he took care of his whole life) was a devout Greek Orthodox. In 1926 and when she was 7 months pregnant she stepped off a trolley car in downtown Youngstown and was hit by a car. As she lay in the road, convinced she was dying, she prayed and said "If you let my baby live I will name him as close to God as I can". It was pretty amazing that he survived at that time being 2 months premature but survive he did. And hence his name. He said over the years people have told him to drop the "t" but he told them no. Good on him.

Anyway, this man is a legend, a man involved in his church, involved in two businesses, and he also has a PT job. I can tell immediately that he's a character and one of those unique people you meet in life that remind you of the old days, when character and manners and treating people right was the norm. I like him a lot already.

Why did I meet him? Well, he came recommended by my friend because he is a car expert and he's going to help me buy a decent minivan. I'm meeting him again Friday and then he's taking me to the auctions next week. I'm looking forward to seeing him again. I feel like I'm getting to know one of the last good ones.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back home, on my chin strap

I flew out to Florida last week on Southwest Airlines and the stewardess was a real character, singing (rapping) all of the safety instructions and making us all cheer for the armed services and for the weather in Orlando. On the return flight there was some banter over the intercom between the pilot and one of the stewardesses, which I think was his fiancee, and when we had to sit on the runway for a while before pulling up to the gate, he told us a couple of funny stories. As we took off from Florida, a seagull flew next to us with a big fish in his mouth, then he dropped it, flew down and got it again and flew off towards the terminal. The pilot told us that several years earlier two pilots had been merrily flying along when a big salmon hit the windshield. Probably dropped by an eagle. I bet they crapped themselves and then burst out laughing. It's not something you expect to see at 30,000 ft is it.

Anyway, now I'm home & knackered but it is so good to see my family and I've been kissing the boys constantly. They have changed I swear it, just in 4 days.  Today I took Jack swimming and on the way into the pool building, he got hold of my hand and said "thanks for taking me swimming mummy, I love you" and my heart ached with love for him. Age 3 and a half is just wonderful. 

And lastly, hurrah!  - tomorrow we are off work to celebrate Martin Luther King Day. I should probably go to a parade and do something slightly relating to MLK but I'm going to test drive a few minivans and have a big English breakfast! Monday holidays are just the best aren't they.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Twiddling my Thumbs at the Airport

I am sat at the airport waiting for a flight in 2 hours. I got here super early because I'm a worry-monger. 

This airport will get two of those full body scanners soon but thankfully today my bare bum didn't get looked at. Maybe I can lose a few pounds before my next flight then it won't be as embarrassing. I have no problem with the scanners and can't fathom why the news anchor last night was talking about the loss of human rights and people's dignity. If the alternative is that you have to sit next to a loon that tries to blow his underpants up then I'm all for it. 

I do wish I didn't get so nervous going through the check-point though. I get that feeling that I get when there's a police car driving behind me - that I've done something wrong and will be imprisoned. The security man asked for my driving license and I gulped and tried not to look like I was up to no good. I actually thought "I hope he doesn't ask me something because I have an English accent and maybe the underpants bomber did too".  This unfounded guilt is ridiculous! I am an upstanding member of the community I'll have you know!

Right then, where's the Starbucks ..

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Salt of the Earth (plus a few nutters)

While we were out and about today in the car it became very obvious that Danny needed changing so we swung into the WalMart carpark and Craig dropped us at the front door, pulling over to the side and flicking his hazards on.   I grabbed Mr smelly-bum and ran to the restrooms and immediately groaned inside because the restroom was packed and I knew I would have to do the dirty deed with several women watching and trying not to retch.  OHHH, it was bad. Messy beyond belief, right up to the back of his neck. So bad I threw his onesie away and went through a full small pack of wipes because I had to strip him completely naked and give him a full body wipe-down.  All the time I was doing this I was trying to avoid eye contact with people, sweating profusely with shame, and trying to calmly tell Danny to stop crocodile rolling. 

Here's the wonderful thing about WalMart - the women in the restroom were lovely and gracious! They ignored the mess and the terrible pong, made chirpy encouraging comments "I remember those days!", and they made Danny laugh "I bet you're proud of that one you little tyke!"  I wonder if they'd have been as friendly in Abercrombie & Fitch? 

When I got back in the car I looked at Craig and said you owe me at least 5 diaper changes for that one,  and he said guess what happened to me? Several people tried to get in the car, including an old couple that were pulling on the door handle, banging on the roof and yelling "open the damn door Jesse!"    I love WalMart people. They are mostly friendly but with some absolute nutters thrown in. 

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Five From the Family

Here's five pictures taken this week that I particularly like. I'll post some snowy ones later this afternoon, when we've got our next storm through!

Our neighbour brought this over for Cody last night. His face says it all. "For me, really?"

An Amaryllis bulb that we grew, from our friends Debbie & Lynn. Just lovely.

Who'd have thought my hubby and I would spent Sundays chasing toddlers through tubes and slides. Sometimes being a 40-year old parent is exhausting. Give me the Sunday paper and a comfy chair any day.

Danny at 11 months: cute, tall, bitey, into everything, picky eater, demanding, sweet, laughs like a champion. Loves the bath and kitty-cats. Hates nappy/diaper changes and going to bed.

At least once a month it hits me that we live in America, usually when I see pictures like this one. We've been here 10 years so it might be something I never get used to. It you'd have told me twenty years ago that I'd be living in the States with two kids I'd have looked at you like you were demented. I wonder if other expats still feel like that?

Monday, January 04, 2010

The First Drive of Winter

It was the first drive home from work tonight in terrible winter weather. It's been freezing cold and icy and then we got about 2 inches of snow.  The first drive is always the worst for me and I spend it hunched over like Quasimodo with the grip of death on the steering wheel and talking to myself "just take it slow, Pamela, it's not a race". It's funny how I use my long and formal name when I talk to myself and sometimes I mutter under my breath about other drivers that are out to kill me. 
As I was approaching a traffic light doing about 30 it went red and I knew I couldn't make it so braked and the back end of the Jeep did a little scary number on me and I could feel that feeling when you know you have no control on what's going to happen next. Thankfully, it was just a little skid but my heart was pumping in my chest when I got home. I know it'll get better and I'll get more confident by about, oh April but I do hate the long Ohio winter.  One of my friends that's in Arizona right now said on Facebook today that she was driving with the window down, her arm slung casually out as she cruised past the palm trees. Ahhh, wouldn't that be nice right now.


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Up Great, Car Gone

We watched 'Up" last night with the little fella and then again tonight - you know how that goes with kids, they want to watch it again and again until you want to throw the bloody thing under the next passing car. However, "Up" was wonderful - the best Disney film I think I've seen in years. I'm not a cartoon/animation fan really, but this film was just lovely. There's a TRAILER on You Tube but it won't let me embed it here. 

Big news of the weekend is that I did sell my car so I am now officially car-less and I feel a bit lost. My little diesel Golf only cost me $45/month for fuel and it was such a cool car. Small but sounded like a semi-truck and made me smile when I drove it or saw it.

My next one will be a minivan - the official car of mums that take their kids to soccer practice and don't care that their car is like a big blunderbus. There are some cool minivans of course, like the Ford Flex, but I don't have 30 grand spare right now so I'm looking for a used Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna. A Dodge Caravan at a push.   And I'm going to have some non-negotiable demands seeing as I'm sacrificing my mojo . I want leather interior, a DVD player and a nice exterior color. If I'm going to drive a cheap blunderbus I want the sexiest one I can find.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Hope you had a good night whatever you did. We had a nice dinner (salmon stuffed with crab) then had movies with Jack. Craig and I had a few tipples, watched the ball drop at Time Square, had a kiss and went to bed!

Today we are meeting friends at a big indoor play area then watching football at Eric's. Big game for the Buckeyes today.

My resolutions are the same as last year - lose weight, recycle, save money. Yeah right.

Oh, I think I have sold my car. My lovely diesel VW Golf that makes me smile when I drive it. It's going to be replaced by a minivan. I'll be a soccer mum. Not really who I want to be in life but there you go.

I hope 2010 is a good one for us all. XXX

He's the Reason We Can't Have Nice Things

I say this line a lot to Craig - When the cats barf on the bed "We can never have nice things" When Ben poos on the basement car...