Monday, July 30, 2012

Our Resident Ghost

My friend Heather told me she saw an outine of our ghost and she's right. I can clearly see G & his wife.

The original picture of the orb

G and his wife? 

Shots from the Weekend (antique-style!)

Best friends get their tee-ball trophies. Soccer starts in just a few weeks! 

Ohio State Fair!  Can you see Craig and Jack waving at me?

Danny's first try at fishing with dad

Jack on the bungee. It took Danny most of the day to pluck up the courage but he did go on some rides.  

Zoombezi Bay water park today.
Craig and Jack did all the crazy slides. Me and Danny held hands down the tamer one.  We all loved the lazy river! 

My Danny boy. We had such a good laugh together today. I love him so much my heart aches.  

Stood in line, a lady said to me "goodness me, he has pretty eyes - they're yellow!" Which they did kind-of look like at the time. Must be the hat colour. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Chocka Weekend

Is that you Gene?
What a weekend!

  • Friday night: swimming
  • Saturday: Jack's last tee-ball game, then housework, then a cook-out and ghost hunt.
  • Today: The state fair for nine hours!
  • I am done in. So much to share and photos to post but I'm knackered

I'll just share a bit of the ghost hunt. This picture was taken by Craig the night before the hunt when he said "G, show yourself!" and you can see a large "orb" to the top left which hunters attribute to the spirits of ghosts.   Since then we have taken loads of pictures and the orbs are always near  Craig or the boys - never over me & Julie (my ghost hunter). Craig said he's a man's man.

The "big thing" during the hunt was this - Ben started barking to be let inside as he was out in the garden with the kids. It was a bit of a frantic bark and not what he does usually if he's got company in the back garden. Julie and Craig and I were in our basement in the pitch black and Ben came down. Julie said "G, please pet Ben, because he'll know you're here better than us" and then Ben obviously got touched because he got very scared, tried to jump out of the window (he actually parted the curtains!),  then he crouched down and scratched the floor like he was afraid/excited,  and  scrambled under the pool table  & ran upstairs. He would not come back down.   So we may not have see or heard anything but Ben did.

Right then, I'm so tired I can hardly think.
Night night ...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ghost Hunt at my House!

I posted a while ago about our resident friendly ghost.  Well things have remained as active in our house since we posted and lately I made friends with a woman who wants to come & see. And so we are going to do a ghost hunt this weekend! We are so excited. 
I met this woman a while ago through our kids and I really like her. She's full of tattoos, silver jewelry, she's in a band, she's a nana, bringing up her granddaughter and she has a shop with her own business as an astrologist/palm reader/healer/ghost hunter.   She also has the most amazing eyes I've ever seen, with all the colors of the rainbow.
I will try and post videos or pictures of the hunt but will probably be too jittery!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A "Me" Upgrade

I have decided to do some things for myself, starting with another haircut.

As I said some time ago, my hairdresser butchered my hair and it really upset me, but today I went to a new salon on the recommendation of a friend and now I love it.  It's amazing how much better you feel when your hair doesn't look like it's been cut by a blind-folded monkey.

I have a tattoo on my back left shoulder that I hate and I'm going to get it covered. I heard today about a great female tattoo artist that I'll call. I want my new tat to say something about Jack & Danny without being cheesy. Ideas Sue?

I need to get back on Weight Watchers. No reason or explanation needed!

So that's my plan for the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Growing Boys & Restroom Anxiety

Danny Daredevil
Walking behind Danny on our walk tonight I marvelled at how big and accomplished he's getting. He's only 3 for Pete's sake. Slow down there tiger!!!

Another hurdle I have had to address this week is to let Jack go into the men's restroom on his own in public, which is heart-stoppingly terrifying.  The urge to ask all men that come out if my boy is safe and okay is almost too much to bear and I do much hand-wringing and peering in during door-openings as I stand outside.

On the odd occasion he comes into the women's restroom with me it feels uncomfortable now. Six is definitely too old for him to be seeing women and little girls in their moment of privacy. It's not like he's 3 and can look under the stall and be young enough to make women laugh. Yes, Danny has done that. As well as crawl out under the stall door at supersonic speed while I furiously whisper threats about not doing it but am not able to stop him since I'm mid-pee! Little bugger.

I think a dad must feel marginally better sending his daughter into a women's restroom alone than a mom sending her son into a men's restroom, don't you think?  I know when Jack went in on his own at a cheap cafe recently he came back out looking green and declared that there was NO WAY he could go back into that dirty stinky place. Of course he also told me in great detail why it was so bad, so no wonder the poor lad wants to keep his women's restroom privileges!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Many Benefits of Ben

After reading that recent article about how living with dogs and cats can make your kids more healthy, I decided to add my own list about living with Ben and how he has enriched our lives.

My house is tidier. All I have to say to the kids is "If you leave toys on the floor Ben will chew them" and they pick up! It's amazing. I'm not bluffing either. He will chew them.

He's a crime stopper. Like most neighbourhoods at the minute, break-ins are becoming more common. Having a big black dog with pointy teeth is a good burglar deterrent.

He vacuums my kitchen floor.

He loves us unconditionally and is always happy to see us. Can't say that about too many humans.

He cheers me up and calms me down. Whether I'm throwing a squeaky squirrel for him or just laying on the couch rubbing his belly, he is definitely a stress-buster.

He makes me laugh. His tail rotates like a helicopter when he wags it. He sometimes wags his tail so hard he falls over, he rearranges things in the house and gets our underwear out of the laundry basket when we leave him home alone, in fact each time we are at the front door the kids say excitedly "wonder what bonky Ben's done this time!"  and he attacks my vacuum cleaner every time I use it.

Being only about 1-year old he still smells like a puppy and he has that puppy belly that you want to squish. Both human and animal babies have that smell don't they?  One blog said it smells like hay, candy, vanilla and almond. I'm not sure about that, but it is a lovely smell.

Now there's a couple of idiosyncrasies I could do without. Jumping up onto the kitchen counter each day when we leave is not very hygienic. I know he does this because everything on the counter-top gets knocked over and there's slobber marks on the window by the sink where he has his nose pushed against it no doubt saying "where've they gone? Are they back yet?" And we still have to hide all trash cans and recycle when we leave, but he's getting better at being alone. He's only about 1 after all, just a toddler in dog years,  and I don't know any toddlers that behave.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Johnny Cash Trees

Mimosa trees close their leaves at night,
which is why it looks poorly
When I was at Johnny Cash's abandoned house in Hendersonville I took a few seedlings from a Mimosa tree in his garden. I dug them out with my car keys but I don't think the word "stole" is appropriate!

We took them and lovingly kept them in a polystyrene cup with tissue and lake water until we got home 7 hours later. I'll always remember Craig running down to Johnny Cash's  lake edge to get some water for them.  We started with 9 seedlings, now we have 5.  Mmmmm. I have read all I can about how to grow them. In most states they are considered a bloody noxious pest. So why have I lost four?  

I'm nurturing them like a mother hen and if there's a storm tonight I'll probably run out and rescue my Johnny Cash trees before I put my contact lenses in or put underwear one (that should keep the neighbours amused). I do hope I don't lose them. I know they live in this neighbourhood because at the end of our street there is a magnificent specimen. But that's the only one I've ever seen around here.

My mum I'm sure finds it all amusing that I am loving Johnny Cash right now because I laughed at country music. I am from a house of music that rung out all day long and we were all different. My sister Jenny loved Motown and northern soul and pop, I loved pop and Indie music and Irish stuff. My mum & Tom have always loved old country: Hank Williams, Charlie Pride, Johnny Cash. Tom T Hall, Merle Haggard, George Jones. I always laughed about old country and my mum would say  "when you are older Pam you'll love it, trust me".  And I do.  Even really old stuff like Woody Guthrie - who's 100th Birthday celebration is this weekend! I just listened to his "Hobo Lullaby" and it makes you feel humble that he wrote it during the dust bowl, when just about everybody had nothing.

So I'll keep everybody up to date with my Johnny Cash trees and how they fare.

And in the meantime, here's a very cool project that happened recently. Fans of Johnny Cash were asked to send in their hand-drawn pictures  to make up a music video and it looks like thousands did. In the video he goes back to his birthplace in Arkansas - a little white, dilapidated, abandoned  shack  that you can still see on Google Earth.

WHY is no one making his legacy a treasure?  I tell you what. When I win the lottery.....


Friday, July 13, 2012

Our Boy is Home from the Sleep-Over

It's funny how you know your child so well that you can tell how he's feeling even by a brief phone call that lasted less than 10 seconds. Just by his tone and demeanor I could tell all was not right with him. All evening I got text reports of his play-date and him having a great time. He adores his friend Frankie  and his family. When they called at 10.30pm for us to say goodnight I knew he was upset. He was distant and just said "bye".  45 mins later I got the phone call to come and get him.

I think he was a little embarrassed and worried that he'd done wrong so I assured him that it's ok and he's young and he can try again next year. On the way home he said "When we had to go to sleep I got sad and missed you and I just wasn't comstable".  I know what he meant :)

I'm glad he's home. I missed him. It was nice but odd just the three of us tonight. You could definitely tell that one of our little group was missing.

First Sleep-Over

Tonight Jack will be having his first sleep-over at a friend's house and I don't know who's more nervous - him or me. We've had a sleep-over with a friend at our house and he's been without me for a few nights while I've been away at some work-related thing, but this is the first time I'm having to completely trust that he's staying at someone else's house and going to be okay. I do trust the other people by the way, as much as any parent can. When I was a kid I used to love spending the night at my Auntie May's house with my cousin Julie. We'd have a ball and I never wanted to go home. I don't remember ever asking for my mum to come and get me but I'll have to run that one by my mum for verification. I also don't remember how old I was.  Maybe I was older than six. No doubt I'll have my cell phone next to me all night in case I get the call.
But what to do with Daniel for the night? He gets to have his mum and dad all to himself for a few hours so must make sure he has fun. It'll also be the first time alone in his bedroom. Gulp.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lost a bit of Faith in Humanity

Do you remember that movie Falling Down with Michael Douglas? Well yesterday threw me a few curve balls  & just about put me over the edge.

First of all, someone at work told me that they didn't like my new haircut. Now I'm not overly keen myself since my hairdresser lopped so much off (we were chatting and she got carried away) but really - how useful is a comment like that? It's not like I can do anything about it now, other than feel that I'm wandering about with a shit haircut.

Then I got harassed by trolls on a Facebook forum. I didn't even know what the term troll meant until a friend at the park tonight told me it was a classic case of Internet trolls causing a fight. It just went on and on and on until this afternoon I just went back and deleted the original thread.  It was actually very upsetting and draining and as strong as I am I have to admit they got to me. Damn, no wonder teenagers get so wrapped up and depressed about that stuff.

I thought a trip to the pool after work might help with it being 90 degrees and we are all a bit frayed with the recent hot weather. When I got there I realised I'd left the sun cream at home so went to the pool shop and the poor girl (she was new) kept me waiting for 20 minutes because the cream had no price on it and the boss wouldn't get back to her on the phone. In the end I persuaded her to accept $12 for a small tube because I still hadn't had dinner at this point and my family was waiting to jump in the water.

On the way to the pool we realised that we had left Jack's big orange inflatable piranha at the poolside the night before so we checked the lost & found container but it wasn't in there. When I got back from the long wait in the pool shop, Craig told me that a young boy of about 8 had the piranha but when Craig had approached him he'd said "It's mine. I bought it".  By this point I am ready to murder someone so I rolled up my imaginary Popeye sleeves and stomped off to the orange piranha I can see bobbing about at the other side of the pool. I called the boy over and told him to give it back. He tried to argue with me a couple of times but when I asked him to get out of the water so I could talk to his mum he did a big huff, conceded and gave it back. Little bugger.  It made me feel marginally better but not much.

In the whole scheme of things, what happened to me isn't even a drop in the ocean compared to what some people put up with each day, but overall it got to me. More than anything I just lost a bit of faith in humanity. Thank God my husband & kids made me laugh last night and today has been a good day as usual. Going to the park tonight and hanging out with good friends was a much needed tonic.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Jack's 6th Birthday Party

Yesterday we hosted Jack's 6th birthday party at the house. We were supposed to have it at a local park with park rangers doing activities with the kids. They allowed up to 15 kids so of course I invited a lot of his school friends. In hindsight that was a big mistake because the park cancelled on me (storm damage) and I was left with 13 kids to entertain for 2.5 hours! And it was forecast 104 degrees! Arghhhhhhhhhh!
Slip-n-slide action, Daniel-style
I think everything turned out ok. We had lots of water stuff and got the kids inside for games and lunch etc. The time flew by actually and some of the parents dropped their kids off and left so it didn't seem so busy in my house.

A lunch and cool-down break
We played "pin the nose on spongebob" which is a game I made up for Jack's 3rd birthday party and he remembered it so I made it again. We gave out  medals to kids that got the nose close.  Hours later, one of the boys returned to our house to pick up shoes that he had left behind,and when I answered the door he was still wearing his medal, bless.

Happy Birthday Iron Man
So happy birthday Jack. I cannot believe you are six and I have been grabbing you and cuddling you far more than I should have this weekend. I'm trying to soak it all in before you become independent and embarrassed of your old mum. You are such a bright spark in my life you really are. You are never surly or bad tempered. You love to be around people and have fun and you amaze me everyday with your accomplishments. Just this weekend you have decided to swim along the bottom of the pool and you walk on your hands under water. You've mastered your new bike and you scored a couple of home runs at tee ball. I think you are going to be a social butterfly and an athlete as you go through life. You are so social that it's hard for you to concentrate on school work and you're impossible to tell a story to because you interrupt with your own version, but I think patience and studiousness will come with time.  I do not however, think that you'll grow out of fighting bedtime. For six years now you have fought it like a true warrior and it's always hard to get you to GO. TO. BED!
It was such a wonderful thing to sit back and watch you interact with your cousin Luke and your grandparents this past few weeks and my heart aches that you are not surrounded by your family because you would absolutely love to be with them. I will do my best to get you back to England as often as I can so that you feel close to your family as you go through life. Your brother Daniel adores you and copies you but also gives you a run for your money! You squabble over the usual stuff like sharing toys, but overall you have fun together and I love to sit and listen to you both in bed, whispering and giggling together before falling asleep. You are his protector and friend and little acts of kindness, like giving him your toy if he's crying, does not go unnoticed by me and your dad. Your kindness towards our dog also says a lot about you. So happy birthday Jack Sparrow. I asked you today not to grow up any more but you looked at me earnestly and said "But moma I have to become an adult by eating my food". Yes I suppose you do. xxx

Friday, July 06, 2012

Local Tragedy

There's been a horrible tragic accident in my community the last 24-hours. A teenager found a hand-gun belonging to his grandparents and shot and killed his best friend Noah by accident. The grandmother was out shopping at the time. Both boys were by all accounts great young men, loved by many and both were on their school baseball team. A woman we know has a son that also played with them a lot (in fact both boys were at her house the night before the accident), so she is obviously upset. It very easily could have been her son there too. It's such a tragic event and I can't even begin to imagine what Noah's parents are going through tonight.  I'm hoping they won't charge the boy who did it. He is devastated and will have to live with it the rest of his life. He's only 14. I have no idea what will happen to the grandparents though.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Our Family Leave

Craig's mum & dad and Luke flew back to England today and we are very sad. We had such a good time and it went so quick. So we are both a bit depressed and won't be happy till we know they are home safe.
I'm trying to post something before the next storm comes in, seeing as we've lost power 2 x already and another one is on it's way. So a few more captured photos ...

Crew game 

All boys (including Luke) ran in EVERY sprinkler we saw. This was at a cook-out at Eric & Dave's.

Red, White & Boom! A fabulous night with our friends Heather & Duane  & kids.

The new Stingray Bay at the zoo. You can touch and feed the stingrays and it's awesome! 

Doo-Dah Parade. Boys meet a storm trooper and a naked Darth Vader 

Jack's birthday bike (20" Schwinn BMX) and very first ride with dad & Luke

The boys are going to miss their cousin Luke. He was such a good sport with them. 
This weekend we have Jack's birthday party which should have been at a local park with park rangers doing the activity but they cancelled as they have no power and lots of downed trees, so we are having it here instead. So I have THIRTEEN children coming here. Oh my.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday Jack!

Jack the lad at 6
Power is back on! Yea! Just as we bought a generator. We are off to the zoo this morning before it gets too hot then fireworks tonight. Will post pictures later.

Happy Birthday to Jack! It's hard to believe that he is 6 today. The best way I have to describe my love for him is summed up in this short article I read yesterday: The Story I Can't Stop Telling

Monday, July 02, 2012

No Power & HOT!

Just a quick update. We got our power back on on Saturday about 5pm so we took the family out to a Columbus Crew game (and they won - yea!). Yesterday we took them to Caesar Creek flea market and on the way back I drove through a horrific storm with hail and 50 mph winds. The bloody thing chased us all the way back to Columbus and then slammed us there at home.

So we have no power again which means we can't phone anyone or use the wireless Internet. The bad thing is that we are also in the middle of a heatwave and the temps are between 95-100. Ugh! The electric company are saying we might not get it back until the 7th of July because there are just thousands & thousands of people without power. Thankfully we are all okay and we have no house damage. I also made sure when we had 24 hrs of power on Saturday that I did all the laundry and hoovered. Glad I did that!