Sunday, July 31, 2011

Michigan Day 1:

I've waited 6 months for my holiday and this last week Jack and I counted down with eager anticipation. We drove 7 hours to get here - our campsite in Michigan with our 3-bedroom cabin overlooking a lake. I had visions of a busy campsite, bustling with families, and us splashing about in the lake and having fun then coming back to a great cabin (luxurious and deluxe the ad said).

When we got here it was a rude awakening. It's a rustic campsite and there's not many people here. I've seen no families at all and each site is secluded in the woods. And our cabin was dirty. The bathroom bin made me gag (so foul I can't even type it here in case it sets me off again - let's just say it had items in it) and the kitchen needed a damn good scrub. Craig took the boys to the play area while I cleaned and unpacked with an heavy heart and when he got back and asked if I was okay I sat at the kitchen table and cried because I've needed this holiday and I felt like all my expectations had been dashed. I don't normally cry at this kind of thing - I roll my sleeves up & get stuck in and make the best of it, but this one felt like a punch to the stomach because I've looked forward to it so much. Craig said we should leave and head home but then Jack started crying that he wanted to stay and I felt bad.

So here I am. I cleaned the cabin and got to know the lady at the office a bit and she seems nice. Nice but obviously a dirty bugger. When I asked for another fan because it's 85 in the cabin, she gave me a contraption so black and covered in dirt that I had to take the thing apart and bleach it. Then she charged me $3.00 for a special blue trash bag. Maybe I'll ask Cody to leave something "special" behind when we leave. There you are see - got my mojo back!

One bright light - the sunset on the lake tonight was amazingly beautiful and the kids appear to be having a good time. Now if I can just get the doors and windows to lock then I might get a good night's rest.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Area 51 & Yoghurt Trumps!

We're going on holidays soon and I can't wait. Tonight I sang "We're all going on a summer holiday" at Jack's bedtime and he made me promise that he could meet Cliff Richard one day. I'm laughing as I'm typing this as Cliff Richard is not your normal kid's hero and probably in his late 60's now at least.

I'm taking a GREAT book with me. "Area 51" by Annie Jacobsen. From nuclear testing, to spy plane and aliens (not what you think) - it's all there. It's formed from a collection of interviews and recently unclassified documents. I'm amazed that a lot is still classified in 2011, given that some of this stuff took place in 1946. I mean really, what is still worth protecting 65 years later? The one bummer is that I'm on a 15-day loan from the library and the book is the size of a cereal box so I might not get to it. I'll give you a teaser for the book - the Roswell crash was a Russian aircraft that contained doctored kids from Mengele's lab (German scientists were kidnapped and made to work by America, Britain and Russia in 1945). It was Stalin's way of trying to create hysteria after the "War of the Worlds" hysteria on the radio. Think about it - all the UFO sightings happened just before and during the cold war - right?

Anyway, I'm completely stuck in the book already. Looking forward to our hols and just want to finish with a great video of Danny. God I love this boy....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Here we are at Char & Jan's cabin at the weekend. We went Friday night and watched a fabulous sunset then Jan and I stayed up until 2, or maybe even 3am (who knows - it's Island time) talking and drinking. We came up with up a solution for the USA 4 trillion debt recovery problem and immigration and social issues. Unfortunately, by the time we awoke the next morning we had forgotten all about it all and so just ate cheesy eggs and potatoes.

This week has been a busy one. I've been to Toledo and Dayton. Craig has some major things going on at work. I don't know if I mentioned this before but our child care lady is doing us all a favour & also looking after our neighbours kids (2 girls) at the same time as Jack & Danny. So every day I have 4 kids in the house going nuts. They can't go out in the garden for too long because it's been 95 (110 with the heat index) most days. So when I get home from work my boys are wound like two springs and ready to PARTY whereas I'm ready to DIE. Jack follows me about saying - pretend you're a bad man or pretend you're a horse or pretend you're a new momma. And I say "Can I pretend I'm an old woman that needs to go and take nap?

And so we are counting down the days until our holidays. My goal is to spend a week not searching for Americana. We are going to Michigan to a cabin with our boys and Cody and we are just going to have a fab time as a family. I can't wait.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chalk & Cheese

I was sat in a meeting on Saturday (in Kansas) and I got a voice mail from Craig. Seeing as he knew I was in an important meeting, and seeing as I knew he was down the ravine with the boys throwing rocks into the stream, I understood immediately that it was important and I did my best to exit the room with dignity - but fooled no one. Turned out Danny had flung a rock at Jack's head and there was a lot of blood. We talked, Craig set off for the hospital and I went back in the room holding my phone under the table so I could see texts (I have to say here that 90% of the other people did the same throughout the meeting and I'm assuming that they did not have emergencies going on).
Two minutes later I get the text "He threw up" and I'm thinking that Jack has brain damage, is going to die and I have a moment where I don't know where I am or what to do. Turns out it was okay - a small lump and bruise and the docs said a lot of kids throw up from all the upset. Phew.
Now, Danny loves his brother, idolizes his brother, but thought it was great fun to chuck a rock at him. But in the last couple of months we've been to the ER twice - one with Danny after he slammed into a wall and needed a stitch in his head, and now this. I wonder how Danny is going to make it to adulthood? How am I going to protect my little love from harm when he's so intent on getting into something? He's so loving and friendly but good grief so independent and headstrong and unpredictable. And he'll not be told what to do, but If I'm honest I secretly love that about him. Jack is so eager to please and Daniel is so independent it amazes me every day how they can be so different.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jack's 5th Slideshow

I meant to post this last week but I forgot and then it took a day to get it done. So it's a week late, (sorry to my fam in England), but here's Jack's 5th BD slideshow ...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Loving the Local Free Stuff!

My mum was telling me recently that her local library has closed and that many more are following suit in England. That's really sad. I love where I live because even in tough economic times we have a fantastic library system and local things for the kids to do that's free. For example, just this weekend I took J&D's library forms to the summer reading program at the library and got free passes to a water park, the zoo, colouring books and pencil cases, each chocked full of goodies. I can't imagine what I'd do without my local library.

Then yesterday we met friends at Scioto Mile - our new downtown park complete with splash pad. Danny was a bit scared of it at first but Jack had a great time.

Today we'll probably hit the local outdoor pool - also free. I feel very lucky to have these local places at my fingertips, especially when it's HOT like today (85 degrees). Right now the boys are in our garden pool while I catch up on here (mummy's time out). Craig is on his way back from his annual white-water rafting trip to West Virginia. I've missed him and once again I take my hat off and salute single parents everywhere because having two kids to entertain on your own is tough. I feel like I'm always just one step away from complete insanity.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Help - Fabulous Book (the film?)

I just finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I bought it at the airport a couple of weeks ago after I'd finished Unbroken and was panicking about having to fly bare-handed. I always have to read when I fly, eat, or have a moment to myself. Always. Sometimes if I only have a few minutes between fights I'll just grab a People magazine, or Life, or National Geographic and whatever else I panic buy. I once bought a Popular Science on a 3 hour flight and nearly chewed my own fingernails off with boredom. Anyway. I was so sad that I'd finished Unbroken that I read about 5 pages of The Help and put it down. No book could compete with Unbroken. I spent the flight trying to sleep and browsing through the airline magazines (why are they so crap??)

When I got home I gave the book to a friend because I was still in love with Unbroken (if I sound like a maniac I'm sorry but sometimes a book gets to me for a while and I need to just have that book in me). My friend told me that she finished it in days and couldn't put it down. So I picked it back up Tuesday this week. And here I am - Thursday night and I finished it. All 522 pages. Couldn't put it down. It made me sad, ashamed, laugh and at the end cry.

It's being released as a film next month as you can see by the trailer below. The trailer, to me, makes it look commercial and girly and not as meaningful as the book. I hope that's not the case when I go and see it. It does, however, capture the women's personalities perfectly.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday Sunshine

Yesterday was Jack's 5th birthday and I made somewhat of a big deal about it, with a party and lots of presents and fun things to do all week. It feels like a big deal though. He's FIVE and going to start school in a couple of months and I don't know where all that time went.

Our Jack is such a good lad. I never have to worry about how he'll treat other kids and other people and he's kind to our dog. His brilliant imagination defines him and he's going to do so well with other kids at school. Within minutes of being with other kids they are the best of friends, running about playing tigers, or cowboys or super heroes. My only worry about kindergarten is that he chatters constantly and can't sit still, but if those are his only challenges then I think that's ok.

My hope for Jack this next twelve months is that he enjoys school, that he builds his confidence up a bit and that he continues to have a strong and close relationship with his brother and with us. Most of all, I want him to be happy and to laugh. A lot. After all, he's just five.