Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Lonestar State

I am blogging from a hotel foyer in Austin, Texas while I wait for my shuttle to the airport. I'm really excited about walking in my front door at home tonight and seeing my husband and tip-toeing into the kids room's to give them a kiss while they sleep. 
As I was leaving on Friday morning Danny had a high fever and was sick so Craig had to take the day off work and take him to a doctor where he got diagnosed with strep. While I've been in the Lonestar state all weekend, poor Craig has been at home with a sick 1-year old, a looney 3 and a half year old, and a snowy blizzard going on outside. I owe him for this one folks. I see a weekend of deer hunting in the fall where I will have to keep quiet and act like a cheery and accommodating wife, which isn't one of my usual traits!

So anyway, Austin is lovely. In true Texas style, things are big - including the state capital building which is 2 ft. bigger than the capital building in Washington DC as my proud taxi driver told me on the way over here. The accent is adorable and something I could listen to all day. They say ya'll quite a bit and they open doors for women - chivalry is not dead! The party place is 6th Street, which reminded me of a calmer Bourbon Street or a cowboy version of Beale Street. The Lonestar beer was nasty but had to be partaken purely because of it's name. I like it here a lot I really do - it's culturally diverse and there's music playing everywhere and there's no snow.

Talking of snow. I'm off to get my shuttle bus so I can get back to snowy Ohio. Back to my lovely hubby and my gorgeous boys. And I am going to get them both a pair of cowboy boots from the airport shops. You have to really don't you ... 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Something for the soul

I've just clocked a 14 hr work day.  
Family in bed.
Me and a glass of wine.
Need good things.
Favourite movie moments is a good start.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Beauty and the Beast

Jack has taken to saying "I love you" a lot. He'll say "momma?" and I'll say "yes love?" and he says "I love you". Just like that, very matter-of-fact.  He does the same to Craig. Yesterday in the kitchen, Craig scooped him up for a hug and he patted his dad on the back and said "this makes me so happy".  Craig looked at me and I could tell on his face that his heart just swelled up like a balloon. As you can imagine, both Craig and I want this stage of Jack's life to last forever. He's so sweet and funny and imaginative. 

Danny, on the other hand, is a little terror. He'll walk around with his sippy-cup then he'll stop and take a big swig, lean back and go "arggh!" like he's a 30 year old man that just had a cold beer after mowing the lawn. God help you if you take away a toy or remove him from doing something, or take him out of the bath, because he'll fight you like a gladiator. And he picks the most dangerous thing in the house and plays with it. Last week I caught him chewing my laptop cable, while it was plugged in

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Eat Yer Broccoli

Some time ago, on a visit to the pediatricians, I saw a poster on the wall that listed foods for kids and had them in 3 categories: Green, Orange and Red. 

Green was the good foods obviously  - fruit & veg, lean protein, whole grains, good fats etc., Orange foods were red meats, chicken nuggets, cheese, sweet potato fries and hot dogs. Red foods were the pure sugar, salt & fat foods but I was surprised that the number two villain was marshmallows and the number one was ... Lunchables! After looking at the label I totally understood why it is the on the no-no list for kids. I haven't bought them since and just hope I haven't caused a lifetime of obesity, high blood pressure and behavioral issues by pumping him full of it between the ages of 1 and 2.

I do try and feed my kids good things but there are days when tins of ravioli or microwave pizza get me through. And I'm guilty of giving my kids ranch dip to make them eat carrots and celery. Where is all this leading you might be asking? Well, I think I found something worse than lunchables ...

Last week I asked Craig to pick up some cheese slices while he was at WalMart and he did just that. "American Singles" no doubt - the standard in all things cheesy and bland. I ate one last weekend on a chicken salad sandwich and immediately pulled the sucking lemon face. The cheese slice had a texture of silly putty and tasted of chemicals. When I went to the fridge to investigate I saw that underneath the words "American Singles" it said "Imitation pasteurized process cheese food". WHAT? A quick gander at the label confirmed that the cheese slices did not in fact contain any cheese. 

This kind of thing makes me despair. How are we supposed to raise healthy kids when we don't even put the ingredients in food now?

Monday, February 15, 2010

More Snow Pictures

At the risk of sounding monotonous, I'm going to post about more snow. About eight inches fell today and it's forecast for the next 10 days. I'm beyond pissed off with it now. Sorry about the French folks but there's only so much more I can take of this weather!

White out! The drive home from work was dicey to say the least. My poor car kept trying to switch to traction control but just ended up making grinding noises and skidding around like a bumper car. It was hairy stuff I can tell you.

I dug us out, again. The drifts either side of the path are a good 3-4 ft high by now.

It's really pretty when you don't have to drive in it.

I see more sledding and snowman building on the horizon. Maybe I'll take Danny sledding with me too, now that he's a tad better. We all are actually - not 100% but not on death beds, mooching about like 4 sloths. I am breathing through my nose as I'm typing - how little I took that little comfort for granted!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Avatar was Brilliant (and saved my weekend)

Another weekend of sickness and snow. Of being holed up in the house with 2 kids while we are all hacking up. This morning, just to really put a cherry on the cake of poo, Danny got a full-on body rash that had me calling doctors again. Woooo, Happy Valentine's Day! There were some high points over the weekend of course. At one point I gave up on trying to keep busy and just hung out with the kids and we had fun. I have spent a large portion of the weekend as "policeman mummy", putting Jack in pretend prisons and chasing him around.

We also got to watch a lot of telly & films (hey, I'm not Mary Poppins). We watched Bolt & Monsters Inc, both of which Jack loved. Craig and I got to watch our favourite "Spartacus" on Starz on Friday night. Last night we watched the new film "Moon". I was excited to see it because I like Sam Rockwell and the plot sounded good. It was okay I suppose, watchable. Some people have raved about it but I wouldn't go that far. 
Today, we did manage to leave the house for 3 hours and go to see Avatar.  Ohhh, we loved it. Loved it, loved it. I'm trying to think of another movie over the years that has affected me quite like this - maybe The Lord of the Rings or Titanic. On the web tonight I was reading that some people have got depressed since watching the film because they want to live on Pandora, or because they have lost faith in humankind.  I can understand that, I really can. Not that I'm depressed or looney or anything but you really do get into it and feel part of the community of Pandora. Those of you that haven't seen it will think I've finally lost my marbles. Hopefully those of you that have seen it will understand what I'm saying.

So the Oscars are in 20 days and I have seen 4 of the 9 nominated best movies. My favourites are:

1. Avatar
2. District 9
3. Up
4. Precious

I have not seen Hurt Locker (the favourite?), Up in the Air, An Education, Serious Man, Inglorious Basterds, or Blind Side.  Craig will probably watch all of these other films with me except Blind Side as he has some kind of unfathomable hatred for Sandra Bullock.  I am kind of the same about Colin Farrell. There's no reason for it either. Bizarre don't you think. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow, Sickness and One Fast Toddler

We've had a week of sickness and snow and it's been pretty miserable to be honest. All 4 of us have the lurgi and the damn snow just keeps piling up and up and up. Cold as buggery too. Sniff. 

I have been reading other people's blogs but I don't even have the energy to comment. Sorry. Also, I am in terrific trouble with family & friends for not ringing. Sorry again. I do have something mildly exciting to share today though. Danny is walking! 
I hope this lovely 50-second video makes up for my blogging and calling inadequacies.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Get you off?

In America there is a cooking oil called Pam.  Craig's in taking-the-piss heaven at their latest commercial. 

Any more & we'll eat each other

This weekend was a little bit of a washout with Craig and Danny being sick but we've had some fun. Today I was VERY brave and took Jack to Chuck E Cheese - a place so hideous that I vowed never to go again. That's how desperate I've become to get my kids out of the house before we all eat each other.

So onto a few snow pictures 

and who's that geeking in the window?

Jack's snowman, wearing my Everton scarf. Yes I know we got beaten by Liverpool. And yes I know Man U won 5-0. Sometimes it's hard living with a Man U fan 

Here's a few neighbourhood snowmen that I snapped today ...

Spongebob and a tower of buckets (?)

Hey pretty lady

Mmm, call me dirty-minded but ..


Really no need for the flags and stick now is there

My local news just said 5-8 inches of snow coming tomorrow. Nooooooooooooooooooo!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Snow & Broken Toe!

It started snowing at 10 am this morning and it just keeps coming & coming. I was so worried about driving the minivan, it being a 2WD and thinking it would be sliding around like a cake tray, but it did great. And of course I drove like a 110-year old. So we're all home safe and sound and probably holed up for the weekend.  I am nursing a broken toe (stupid door) and Craig came home and went straight to bed with flu. What a pair of old gimmers we are.

I took this picture last weekend. Do you think he's trying to tell me something? In England this little gesture would not be a nice thing to do to your mummy. On Wednesday he got sick with ear infections and a bad cold, so it was back to the doctor and home again armed with bubblegum flavoured amoxycillin. I wish there was  a magic button I could press where I could switch places with my kids when they were sick. 

The only good thing about snow is watching your kids go sledding. Jack's friend has been over to play this week and watching them together is dead funny. They were hiding in cupboards to search for ghosts, chasing each other around as pirates, and pretending to be dogs. These are great times to be a mum. 

In regard to the snow, I am absolutely FED UP with it. Bugger off snow. Really. Bugger off. I want to cut my grass and drive without having palpitations. I want to see color and be able to take my kids to the park. I want to walk my dog and sit outside to drink my morning coffee. But Punxsutawney Phil said this week that we have 6 more weeks of winter. Smelly old  groundhog what does he know. 

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Morning Madness

One morning last week I was running late because the kids were playing up. I was flustered and when I finally got in the car to go to work, I pulled the sun visor down and Craig's sunglasses dropped into my coffee cup, splashing my white shirt with coffee. It was just so ludicrous that I burst out laughing and went back inside to change. Then on the way to work I nearly ran out of petrol and nearly got hit by another car. That was a corking morning, wouldn't you agree.

This morning as I was just out of the shower with wet hair I heard Danny making peculiar noises so went to investigate and found vomit everywhere - crib, floor, hair, bedding, chair. You name it. As I'm on my knees cleaning it up, Jack comes wandering in, all sleepy with hair stuck up like Cindy Lauper, demanding binoculars so he can look out for pirates. I look at Danny, grinning at me, with lumps of sick in his hair. I look at Jack, grinning at me and saying "arrrrr" like a pirate and I wonder what on earth my mornings used to be like before I had kids.

Boring or bliss? I can't remember now.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Meet the New Minivan

Here's the new minivan (people carrier) that replaces my little Golf TDI. It a 2005 Saturn Relay 3. It seats 7, has fold-down seats, is all leather and has a DVD player. The boys even have their own Bose headphones, so we can listen to music up front and not have to endure Dora the Explorer!  I'm only 1 week in and completely sold on minivans. No more do I worry about looking like a soccer mom, crashing parking it, or about the extra fuel consumption. I just sit back in my leather, heated captain's chair and cruise along wondering why it took me so long to get one. It makes me want to drive to California and back, which is something we think we might do this summer.