Monday, October 31, 2011

Role on November!

Well Halloween is over and I'm a bit glad. October is a bit of a drag for me as it marks the start of the looooong and cold Ohio winter and it just seems so rainy & grey. Not that we haven't had some fun this month with farm visits and costume parades and trick-or-treat tonight.

Both boys were Power Rangers of course. What else? They both had school parades but I missed Jack's today. I swear the paperwork from school didn't mention parent involvement so Craig and I thought we couldn't go. Turns out we were probably the only parents that didn't go so Jack was upset, and so am I.

I am now ready to move on to November for a few reasons. First, we have a trip planned to Nashville to see friends. Then it's Thanksgiving. And lastly we'll have the OSU:Michigan game. So I like November. And I have decided that I will once again participate in National Blog Posting Month by posting every day for 30 days so please come by and leave me a comment if you have time.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Big Brave Superhero

It was Danny's Halloween parade today at pre-school. He didn't want to put his costume on at home, he hated his cape and he cried when we got to school. But he did it!

Mmmm, not sure about this mum...

Once he saw me on the parade route, he wanted to lock me in like a stealth bomber eyeballing his target. Of course he's the one that refused to hold the rope that all the kids held as they marched. He got to hang out at the back & hold the teacher's hand instead.

Here he comes - looking shocked but I did get a hint of a smile.
What a little trooper he was. He hated it, but he did it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Seeking Happiness

I'm really enjoying the book about seeking happiness that I bought last week. It's opened my eyes and most importantly made me feel like perhaps I'm not the worst parent in the world or the most miserable human being to ever walk the earth.

In one chapter she examines what hobbies make us happy and comes to the conclusion that the kinds of things we think we want to do is not necessarily what makes us happy. So I was thinking about this this week. I've always thought that maybe one day I'd return to skydiving. Mainly because I love skydivers (they are wonderful people) and the adrenaline rush after you've landed is not something that could ever be beaten. But you know what? It scares the crap out of me and I don't want to do it. The same can be said for climbing a high mountain and water skiing. Other things I always thought I'd get good at one day but probably won't? Cooking, enjoying classical music and opera, learning to sew, skiing, going to the gym, and playing with lego. I really have no desire to do these things. They do not make me happy.

What makes me really happy is reading, gardening and hiking. I also love to read with my kids and draw with them. I enjoy making crafts with them and taking them outdoors. I do not like crawling round on the floor playing with blocks. Not do I like pretending to be a power ranger (sorry Jack) but that's probably because I'm 42 and don't look great in lycra. I also really enjoy organizing my photos and music and making projects with them. I rarely make the time to do that and I should. At this point in my life maybe I can accept that I'm not going to do those other things in life and maybe concentrate on things I know makes me happy? Just "Be Pam" as the author suggests.

I know it looks like dirty dish water but I really like root-beer floats

What's not to love about rambling through the countryside?

I would love to hear from other bloggers about what makes them genuinely happy. And what things they might just accept that they'll never do in life, because, well, they just don't want to.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Animals on the Loose!

Bizarre news tonight from Zanesville, Ohio! The little town I took my family to last year and home to the famous wild west author Zane Grey has had a horrible turn of events.
The owner of an exotic animal farm has been shot dead and his animals released. All 48 of them, including grizzly bears, wolves, tigers, lions, giraffes, camels, cougars, and cheetahs. Can you imagine how terrifying that is for a mum taking her kids to school tomorrow? Or someone getting out of their car, on a dark driveway at home tonight? You lock your car then turn around and see a grizzly! The words poo and pants come to mind. So far 25 of the animals have been killed and the Sheriff has a "shoot to kill" strategy given that his number one concern has to be public safety.
Meanwhile, I am just glad I do not live in Zanesville right now, since I still have poorly feet and can't run. Our Cody wouldn't fare too well either with his old man paunch. We'd have to wait until the elderly neighbour left the house and just hope he looks more tasty.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Last 3 Books

I've read two fabulous books this past couple of weeks and just started a third.

First off, I read "Seabiscuit" by Laura Hillenbrand. I thought her book "Unbroken" was one of the best books I've read in years so thought I'd give this one a go too and I wasn't disappointed. It's fascinating stuff about the life of the jockeys and of course very heartwarming about Seabiscuit's challenges and rise to fame. It was also interesting to read about his link to thoroughbred greats like Man O' War and War Admiral. You don't have to be nuts about horses to read it but it certainly does make you have an enormous amount of respect for the horses & jockeys after you've read it.

Last Friday morning as I was leaving for Texas, I snatched a couple of books from the shelf, chose "Waiting to exhale" and was out the door when Linda suggested that I take "Labor Day" by Joyce Maynard instead as she had read both. By the time my shuttle dropped me at the Hyatt in San Antonio I could hardly say thank you to the driver I was so engrossed. By later that afternoon I'd read the whole thing. Unputdownable - if there is such a word! It's the bizarre but wonderful story from the perspective of a 13-year old boy over a Labor Day weekend. You really get to like the characters and it makes you feel like being a better person after you've read it. Highly recommended!

When I left San Antonio to come home today I had a conundrum. There's no way I could travel for 6 hours without a book but I hate to buy books from the airport. I like to get my books from thrift shops and the library (cheapskate I know). As I was browsing the books at the airport I couldn't find a single one - even the flimsy paperbacks - for less than $15! Scandalous I tell you. Still, I absolutely cannot travel without a book so I had to suck it up and bought "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. This is going to be an interesting book. It's a diary, or blog type book written by a woman who realises one day that she's not happy. Not depressed, but not happy. She then goes on a quest to look at happiness with a commitment to increasing her happiness and therefore the happiness of all around her (husband, kids, family, work colleagues). So far it's been very good - enlightening almost and makes me want to come up with my own happiness project. The stories she recounts of snapping at her kids and picking on her husband rings a bit too true for me not to at least try to soak as much of this book up as I can. It is not a self-help or preachy book at all - like I said, she writes it almost like a blog and it's witty and honest. I'm going to like it a lot and maybe I can take some things from it. I'm sure my husband and kids would very much appreciate it!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Remember the Alamo! (actually I don't)

I am on my way to San Antonio, Texas for a work thing. If I get a few minutes I might try and wander over the the Alamo again and soak up a bit of American history. I went with Craig 10 years ago but I can't remember much detail - too many glasses of wine, crazy kids and old age dead brain cells have occurred since then. Ozzy Osbourne, in his heyday, once woke up plastered next to the Alamo and peed on it, not realising what it was. I think he was banned from Texas for a couple of decades for that one. I certainly won't be getting up to those kind of shenanigans, especially since I'm officially off wine. Two weeks today since I've had a glass! Not that I'm giving up alcohol altogether I may add. As my friend posted on their facebook page yesterday, "no great story ever started with eating a salad"

Monday, October 10, 2011

Feeling Homesick

Craig's niece Jenna had a baby this morning. A little boy called Samuel. I couldn't wait to get home tonight so I could go out and buy him something and get it posted tomorrow. Good grief I'm homesick. I've been thinking about home a lot lately and what it means to miss it, especially since I haven't been to England since September 2008.

Do I miss England the country. The green and pleasant land? Or do I miss the people, my family & friends in particular? A bit of both I think but definitely family more. My mum has been to Portsmouth this past week which has been on my wish-list for a few years. I want to see HMS Victory and The Mary Rose and Charles Dickens's house. Last month she went to Whitby - a quaint fishing village and home of Bram Stoker. And she's been to Warwick Castle and Ironbridge and Howarth this year. All places I either want to see or that I love to visit. So I do miss England as a country and especially during those patriotic times like the royal wedding or a big national sporting event. In 2012 it's the Queen's 50th anniversary of being on the throne and also the London Olympics, so that will be a poignant time for me.

More than anything in the world though I miss my family. My niece Gemma is expecting her second child, a daughter, next February so there will be at least 6 great nieces & nephews new to mine & Craig's family in the last few years. I have aunties and uncles that I haven't seen for ages and of course we miss our parents and siblings badly. My mum & sister haven't even met Daniel yet! I think that's what bothers me the most - that Jack and Danny don't get to spend time with their grandparents and aunties, uncles, cousins and extended family. Between me and Craig we've got a large and close-knit family, so it's hard not to be a daily part of it.

Each day recently I've wished that our family could see Jack & Danny, just as they are right now. They are so gorgeous and funny and sweet that they need to be seen. And they need their family. Our Jack is sch a social little boy and he would be over the moon to have all those people as relatives! I can just imagine him planning his sleep-overs at his auntie or nan's house.

We do our best to Skype, write and phone but it's not the same.We spend half of the time on Skype shouting "can you hear me? Oh! I've lost you. Can you see me?" And the phone is impossible when I have Jack and Danny in the room because they will do anything to get me off the phone, including playing jump rope with the cord (I have a lovely old wall telephone with big long curly cord) and launching themselves off the furniture.

So anyway, I'm just homesick and I'm determined to go back to England Christmas 2012. Not that I don't love living in America because I do. And I'm very grateful for the life we have here and for our friends. But I just need to see my family. I am loooong overdue!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Jack's Parade

Jack came into the kitchen at 7am this morning and starting singing "Do you ever feel, like a plastic bag..." He then spent the time before school watching Katy Perry on You Tube. It was so funny.
The parade was great! All the local schools came together to support the local high school. Our Jack's school had made lovely t-shirts that said "We are Family" on the back. Here he is with his teacher, Mrs C.
Daniel spent the time taking his shoes off, throwing leaves, jumping off things and at one point banged his head on a concrete wall. I'm looking forward to the first event we go to where I don't have to have 1 eye on my youngest the whole time while he tries to take over the world. I only got a 12-second video of Mrs C and the group as they went past, even though I had planned for this all week. Mummy brain strikes again.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

It's the Best Right Now

Our Jack has developed three new habits this week. Firstly, he wants to know what we are doing for every minute of the whole day so that when I answer "having breakfast" I get "Then what?" until I've relayed the whole day's activities, right down to going to bed. The next thing he's started doing is asking me pretty informed and difficult questions. Good for him! Argh for me! On the way to soccer tonight I had to try my best describing what happens to objects when they re-enter the earth's atmosphere. I must confess I made half of it up. Last week he asked me how electricity gets into the house and I said something about wires and it running like water then mumbled something about how the slide makes his hair stands on end and made a hasty retreat to the kitchen. I think I got away with it. I think perhaps it is time to buy a nice big encyclopedia (for me, not for him). The last (and lovely) thing he's started doing is waiting until he's in bed then whispering "can I tell you about school?" and then he gives me a few snippets from his day.

I wish my family in England could see Daniel right now. He's unbelievable sweet and funny and such a unique little person. I can't get enough of him. It makes me sad that they are missing out on him, and him on them. This morning he looked out the window and he said "mummy it's froggy!" and yes it was foggy. And each time we come in the front door, he pokes the little Halloween gel-clings I have on the glass and he says "like jelly!" I could just eat him.

I did love my boys as babies but this time, right now, is my favourite time. It just seems to get better and better. When Jack asks me to sing to him and stroke his head before bed, when Danny kisses all of my left arm when he sits on the potty, when Jack runs to meet me when I get home from work, when Danny says "I'm a rockstar!" and dances his butt off, when Jack sings Katie Perry's Firework. It's all fabulous.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

A Most Sober Update

Danny's pre-school didn't get much better this week. He cried again Thursday and the teacher has told me to just drop and go. I know she's right but ugh. They do say that he calms down and is ok after I've left but I think it takes a while. I know that I'm not the first mum to go through this but it's awful. I hide outside so I can peek in his room to see if he's stopped crying and on Thursday I saw him stood by the sink, sobbing so hard he could hardly catch his breath.

We had Jack's open house and his first report card came home on Thursday. His card pretty much said "progressing towards" and "satisfactory" and a couple of "meetings" but no "excellent". I was a bit disappointed about it at first till I realised he's only been there two weeks. And then another mum at the open house told me that her son got an almost identical report. On Jack's it also said that he chatters too much. Absolutely no surprise there! He's been shouting over to the neighbours and pestering local supermarket cashiers since he was 18-months old! The open house was great though. His teacher had them all sing a few songs for us and he showed us around. He was very proud and so was I, especially when his teacher told me he deserved to be student of the week.

After a quick hair cut for both of them (I do love our authentic barber shop!) we've had a busy day today. Jack scored his first goal ever in a soccer game and was so pleased with himself. For a while now he's been confident in practice but then a bit scared of getting stuck in at games but today he tried his best and did it. In direct contrast to us forgetting the snacks last week, the lady who brought them this week brought coffee for all the adults and home-made soccer cookies for the kids. Bloody show-off.

I went to the football game this afternoon which was terrible. I haven't seen the Buckeyes play that bad in the 12 years I've lived in this country. It's going to be a terrible season!

And now I think I'm going to bed early. No wine for me for a while peeps. Trying to give the old body a rest. And Craig will be off trying to get bambi tomorrow so I've have the kids on my own. He's able to hunt on private property now which is a relief. I hate it when he goes off into public woods with God knows who else hiding in there with guns! I've seen Deliverance!