Saturday, March 30, 2013

My 44th Birthday

What a fantastic birthday! Craig and the boys surprised me with gifts this morning - Happy perfume, The Sound of Music on blue ray (yes really, leave me alone), and an egg custard pie. I am not a cake lover and had asked Craig to get me egg custard. They also got me licorice, my favourite candy.
We took the boys to the local park for the Easter egg hunt and hung out with friends down there, then Jack did parkour at the rec center and we went for lunch at a fried chicken food truck that we all love.

By this time I was shattered so we went home and had a nap. I haven't done that in so long! Then it was full speed ahead again and we got a babysitter so that Craig and I could go out for a bike ride through the wetlands. I loved it. Hearing the evening song of all the birds, watching the sunset and being with Craig was just the perfect end to a perfect day.

So I'm 44 but I don't care. I've never got upset at getting older and can't see me ever getting that way. Each birthday is celebrated with as much gusto as the one before and I still feel as young and invincible as I did twenty years ago. My body doesn't of course. I've still got a pressure fracture in my foot which is painful as hell and I'm sure I'll be suffering tomorrow for my free-wheeling bike ride tonight. But that's okay. Today was perfect.

Thanks to everyone who sent me presents, cards & messages. I'm going to try my best to ring everyone tomorrow. x

Friday, March 29, 2013

Crossed the Aisle Today

I ran out at lunchtime today to get stuff for the boy's Easter baskets. I went to look at the clothes and very quickly concluded that Danny has outgrown the baby and toddler section, which is actually 0-5! With a sad little lump in my throat I crossed the aisle to the youth section. I'm surprised how sad that made me feel! I guess our baby boy is no longer a baby.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Messing About with the Camera

Snow storm last Sunday night, taken by Craig

Ohio's State Bird: The Cardinal, taken by Craig

Danny & Ben, by me

Watching telly

Cheeky smile

New trampoline! Taken by Craig

Happy bouncing boy, taken by Craig

Love him, by me

Monday, March 25, 2013

Winter's End?

It snowed today and it was gorgeous. Still. I want winter to go away now. I'm fed up with it.

Gorgeous Snow

I want to walk more and ride my bike and put the boy's trampoline up and join the local pool and start gardening. Unfortunately I can't walk right now though as I think I have a pressure fracture in my foot. It's very painful and I'm under the guidance of docs right now figuring it out. I can put the trampoline up though because I called my house insurance company today and they upped my liability to a cool million $. Yes that's right. If a neighbour's kid comes over I should probably have a million just in case he falls out or bounces wrong. I have a feeling I'll be very selective about who can come and I'll be setting up some pretty rigid ground rules like 1 kid at a time and no crawling underneath. Did parents think about these things when we were little? Did they seek out liability insurance? I don't think so.  It reminds me of a cartoon that's been going around Facebook this week:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Our New Car!

We got the new car! I bought the Acura MDX which is like a luxury version of a Honda Pilot. It's got 3 rows of heated leather seats, sunroof, 4WD, sat nav, rear camera, roof rack, and those chunky rubber mats everywhere to stop your smelly dirty dogs and messy kids ruining the carpets.   It's called a cross-over (a cross between a minivan and an SUV). I love it. Craig said it's such a nice drive it's like driving a couch. I can't wait to do our big road trip this summer!

Our new wheels


Kid approved
One of the salesman said to me "I wish I could afford an Acura".  He was about 25 years old.  I told him of the cars I've had over the years: The Vauxhall Astra that didn't start until you hit the engine with a hammer, the $500 Dodge 600 with the velour bench seat that spewed power steering fluid over the road, the Chevy Astro van that backfired as you drove along in shame, the Saturn that had a broken seat so you had to lie down as you drove. The list goes on. I'm 43 years old and I've had more than my fair share of old bangers!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Used Car Sales Lady

Wide boy
I might be getting a new car tomorrow. Well not new, used obviously, but new for me. An Acura MDX with 3 rows of leather heated seats (ahhhhh), sunroof, sat nav, rear camera, "Luxury" package, tow bar, and 4-wheel drive!   I cannot wait.

As if in defiance of my decision, the minivan decided that as well as giving me transmission, traction control and ABS issues, that the front headlamp would blow on the way back from the dealer. It was like a scene from "Christine".  I'm glad it happened because now there will be no tears shed when I hand the old lady over.

So I really like the Acura but I have to play it cool. Been around enough salesmen recently to know that they have become even more aggressive and shark-like than they were 5 years ago. Some of them are downright scary and vomit-inducing. One young man was such a wideboy that he put me off the whole dealership and I'll never go there again.

Tonight my "salesman" was actually a woman. She looked Indian or Pakistani and she was a bit nervous but she was so down to earth and friendly.  I got a bit lost and went to the "new" car dealer at first and the guy there was friendly but very false and when he realised I wanted to see the used cars he directed me then gave Danny a chocolate bar and smiled a cool smile and called him buddy, like they do. But as I was leaving the used car place tonight my sales lady was stood in the window, crouched over at child-height grinning and waving at Danny, and he was waving back.

Now I am no fool. I know she's being nice to get a sale. I just really like the fact that she's using her personality to make the sale, and not relying on a load of sales patter and arm-twisting. I wish all dealerships had a woman on hand.

This time tomorrow I might have new wheels! Very excited!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Jack's Sponsored Walk

Today was Jack's sponsored walk at his school. They did laps around the school and then around the gym where we cheered them on and gave them coloured bracelets for each lap. He had such a good time. I don't know how much money they raised yet but 72 kids took part.

Laps in the gym

Jack and a classmate
This afternoon I took both boys for a haircut and then took Jack to tang soo do and then we went looking at cars. And we got a flat tyre on Craig's truck! I'm not kidding! How much of a coincidence is that. A good Samaritan pulled over & came over with a hydraulic jack to help switch the tyres out, bless him. Craig offered him some cash afterwards but he said no. What a great human being.
So we are now home and I am worn out tired. What a great day though. And what a nice man. That makes me feel so much better about people after the fiasco yesterday.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Car Dealership Palava

Yep, that's flat
I went to a car dealer tonight with Daniel but on the way I banged into a curb & wrecked my tyre. By the time I got to the dealership it was flat as a pancake. The guys in the dealership were no help at all and their mechanic huffed and said it was too damaged to put air in.

I then test drove the car I was going to see - a 2008 VW Passat Wagon, and OMG! It smelled of dead dogs, had no breaks, then overheated on the test drive! The overheating thing was funny because when I told the guy that the warning light was on for the coolant he said "that's perfectly okay - it just needs topped-up, nothing to worry about!". Half-way around the test drive when I told him the temperature gauge said 200 degrees and the light was blinking he told me hurriedly to get back to the dealership. What a muppet.

Back at the dealership the salesman completely ditched me and stood inside the warm office while I waited in the freezing cold outside for the AAA to come and change my tyre. Daniel then said he really needed to pee but I refused to go back in the office so made him pee in a sippy cup! The AAA man said spare tire was too crappy to put on, so he then called a tow truck. The a'hole in the office still didn't venture out to be helpful but he and his buddies stood in the warm behind the glass and watched. Yes, I saw them.

Thankfully, Craig came to my rescue after he and Jack got out of tang soo do and he waited for the two truck while I brought the kids home in his big F150 (first time I drove it!). As we were leaving I warned Craig not to drink from the red sippy cup and Daniel said "yes, because I peed in it" - right in front of the AAA man!

Ohhhh I'm so glad to be home. What a palava! Thank goodness for Craig. And red sippy cups.

Childish Humour

On my way to work this morning I was driving behind a man with a license plate that said "Avapu". It probably refers to some cool hiking place in Arizona but it made me smile.
Then a lady on the radio thanked a sponsor called Lynn Wankit, which actually made me burst out laughing.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Today in Pictures

There is a sponsored walk at Jack's school on Friday. Anyway, they had a competition to design this year's t-shirt and Jack won! He is so chuffed about it bless him. His teacher was giving the shirts out and when he went up to get his he said "I looked down and it was my drawing! and my name!" I wish I could have seen his face when he realised.

Jack's t-shirt design
Tonight Danny and I made Playdoh for his pre-school. It was actually a fun and non-traumatic event. I didn't end up in green dye and he didn't end up with 3rd degree burns, so that's a bonus. We did a pretty good job actually. Teamwork he said.  He picked the color for me, as it's my favourite.

My Playdoh helper
Look what Craig found at the supermarket! I can hardly wait until morning to have some on toast....

Goosegog Jam

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Car Shopping & Arranging Shoes

I took the day off today to catch up on housework and get my car seen to. Turns out the minivan might have a mechanical problem so I can either cut my losses and trade it in, or drive it till it dies. Which might be next month or in five years. I hate vague stuff like that.

So I've been car shopping which is always great (what's not to love about shopping) but can also be stressful (car salesmen). I am quintessentially English when it comes to dealing with car salesmen - I agree with everything they say for fear of being rude, and then run out of there as fast as I can. Tonight I even made the excuse that I had to get the boys to bed.

My mechanic is telling me to buy a car in my price range with the lowest mileage, which sounds like common sense. But that means I have to buy a car I don't like. And where's the fun in that? So far, I like VW (Jetta, Passat and even a Bug that I drove tonight), Subaru, and a Toyota Highlander that was just lovely - 3 rows of seats, leather, sunroof, dvd, 4WD, sunroof, luxury inside and only 73 k miles. It wasn't great on mpg though. I guess I'll keep looking.

I did get quite a bit of housework done today too, thankfully. As I was cleaning the boys room today I  noticed again that Daniel had taken all of the shoes and rearranged them how he wants them. So I set about arranging them how I want them and was thinking to myself "why does he keep rearranging these shoes?" then I burst out laughing because he probably says the same about me -"why does mummy keep rearranging my shoes?" I guess we both have OCD.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Madness

Monday mornings are always a drag aren't they, especially when the clocks have gone forward so it's dark at 7am AND it's raining.
But just in case that wasn't bad enough, the Monday gods decided it would be a fine idea if my youngest had a major melt-down, the dog pooped on the living room carpet and the car had a flat tire.

It was actually a relief to get to work, sit down and go "annnnnnd, relax!".

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mother's Day, Bouncing & Brynner

First of all: Happy English Mothers Day to my mum, step-mum and mum-in-law! I wish I could have been in England to go over and see my mum and give her a big hug but I'll be seeing her in June for the first time since 2008 so I'm sure there will be lot of hugging going on.

Today I went walking again with my friend Becca and we did 4 miles. There's 4 of us now and it's so nice to have girly chats on the way round.

Also today I found an amazing deal on a trampoline on Craigslist, so we drove an hour north of town and went to get it. I felt bad for the woman selling it as it turned out her kids (two young girls) didn't know and would be very upset with her. But she said she was moving and had no space for it at the new place so I bought it and am trying not to feel guilty about it. There's never a clean transaction with Craigslist is there. Always some baggage.  But anyway, as soon as the people buying our play set come and get it this weekend we can set up the trampoline and just let the boys bounce and bounce. Danny loves them and will bounce for hours, bless him.

After doing some housework and getting the boys to bed tonight I am absolutely tired out! This week we've laid off the alcohol so I think my body is catching up on sleep.  That's right - not one sip of wine has passed my lips all week! I'm trying to give it a break for a while, just in time for my birthday celebration at the end of the month!  

Lastly - I did something extremely naff last night. I bought myself a birthday present. I order the 50th anniversary DVD of The King & I off Amazon and when it comes I am jolly well going to sit and watch it in the living room during the kid's waking hours! And if they complain once about watching it they can bugger off to their room. I need me some Yul Brynner.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

I'll be Suffering the Morra

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to get up at 7am and walk the dogs for a couple of miles. I was feeling rather smug when I got home, acting all healthy and energetic and trouncing around like Jane Fonda.

Then we went to a friend's belt test. He got his green belt so we celebrated by having lunch with him and his family.

Emery & Jack: friends for 4 years already!
The weather was great (50 degrees F) so the boys got outside and did some digging this afternoon while I cleaned up dog poo. The most hateful job on this earth.

Future Horticulturalists
Then we went and dug these up and brought them back to our house - hundreds of free bricks from Craigslist! It was back-breaking work but we are looking forward to getting started on our courtyard garden soon.

Tonight we went for dinner with friends that we havn't seen in ages so that was great. Now we are home and I'm shattered. Between the walk and the bricks I'm going to be suffering tomorrow.  But I have a weekly date with a friend to go walking every Sunday at 9am and we walk 4-6 miles usually.  I'll be walking like an old gimmer! It's all good though isn't it and can't do anything but help my quest to be a lot lighter by the time swimming season gets here.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Yellow Belt

After a month of training, Jack got his yellow belt tonight in tang soo do. He was so nervous that he went deathly white and his hands were shaking. It's a big deal to do all those moves in front of a room full of instructors and black belts I can tell you.

Jack and his friend (L) 
He had to do certain moves and spar and also learn rules about obedience and respect and recite the names of his instructors and the martial art. It was quite intense for a 6-year old.

When he went up to get his belt my heart just about burst with pride for him. To see him so nervous and yet make himself do it makes me very proud of him. Here's a little video...

Put em up

On a separate note. I took this picture of Danny today and I love it. I had bought him a dinosaur toy that I knew he'd love and I told him I had a surprise for him. I've been trying to lavish him with love and attention as much as I can since I knew tonight was going to be all about his big brother.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


It snowed! We got six inches of big,heavy lumpy snow! Alright now old man winter I've had enough. Bugger off please.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

New Breakfast Bar

New Breakfast bar
We went to Ikea yesterday to get some stuff. Lots of stuff actually, including a new breakfast bar for the kitchen. I hated our old table and chairs and love the new set-up.

Our only concern now is that we don't have a place for all four of us to sit and eat. We rarely do that anyway as we eat on our laps but I do like to sit together on occasion. Maybe when we get a new sofa we can make a small dining area in the living room. For now, I'm just happy with the kitchen. So happy that I gave it a damn good clean today.

I have to oil the top of the bar every other day for a month and I did so carefully today, only to see Daniel on there and hour later getting ready to do some vroom vroom scratchy-thing on there with all his matchbox cars. Nooooooo!!!!