Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Doing Something Good

There is a resource center in my neighbourhood that helps out needy and homeless people by supplying food, books, housewares, life skills and medical help.

My friend puts on a dinner there once a month and she asked if I wanted to help her by supplying food and serving it, so I said yes. So Jack and I went and we took food and helped serve the dinner to about 50 people, then we stayed on and helped upload a big truck full of several pallets of donated fruit and veg. It was actually hard work - I can't remember the last time I carried boxes of veg and unloaded pallets of melons!

But anyway it was really good. Jack did great, talking with people and helping unload. He's just such a social kid. By the end he was even joking with some people and making them laugh and I thought my heart would explode with pride. As we left he begged me to do it again soon and I said we would. It felt really good giving something back to the community and Craig and I can certainly attest to how rough it is when you don't have enough money for food. When we first came here we had weeks with no food but at least we didn't have kids then. I can't imagine how hard it must be for families if they can't afford to give food to their children, when they know that they are hungry.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

World's End, Bumped Head and Pirates

On Friday we got a babysitter and went to see "The World's End" with our neighbours Erika & Mark. The film was wonderful, very funny, then we went back to ours for a drink. We were sat in the front room chatting and Mark starting telling a funny story. Craig was laughing and then coughed a bit and stood up to go to the kitchen. All of a sudden, he made a funny little noise, like a gasp for breath, and fell forward, headlong into the wall. It was terrifying actually because I knew he was unconscious before he fell but didn't know why. His head slammed into the wall and he lay perfectly still. I asked Erika to call 911 and rushed to him. He came round immediately and was a bit confused, asking me why he needed to call 911 and saying he felt fine, so we got him onto the couch and didn't have an ambulance come. As you can see by the picture he took the morning after he really hurt himself...

I was worried to death as to why he passed out, so made him go to get checked out on Saturday. The doc said he's fine and also said that a combination of laughing and coughing and standing up can make someone faint. I never knew that. I certainly never want to see it again because it was awful. At least it gave bragging rights to Mark - his stories being so funny that they make people faint.

Craig was so sore and I was so worried that it definitely put a damper on the weekend. We did some pool time and caught up on housework but not too much else. The boys did watch The Goonies twice and loved it. They got a big pirate flag from their grandad so we hung it outside and they played for ages.

One eyed Willy & his first mate looked for treasure.

The only other news of the weekend worth noting is that Danny did the diving board at the pool. So at the end of the season he did the last big thing there. He loved it and went on it 50 times at least.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Always go to bed laughing

It's 11.53 and Craig and the boys are in bed. I have a glass of wine (my first for a while as I'm on a diet. Again), and I'm probably going to ramble. I haven't slept all week. I started teaching again and have 134 students, so that stresses me out at the beginning of the semester, but I'm ok now it's got under way - isn't that always the case? The lead-up is always more fraught than the actual event?

Then Jack went back to school which was quite emotional. And I volunteered to help friends out by having their kids come to our house pre and post school, which is perfectly okay but also a bit unnerving since I am not a morning person. Thankfully Jack is - so I can get him up and dressed and have him entertain the kids while I shower and get ready for work. That's my plan at least.

I am a member of several Facebook groups that recently have got downright nasty and upsetting. I have a friend who has been ousted and many others upset. In particular there is a woman that I really want to send a personal message to, to tell her that she's being an absolutely hideous human being. Probably won't though. Don't get me wrong I love Facebook, for a hundred reasons (that would be a good blog post some day) but there's 2 groups I might just have to leave, for my own sanity.

Moving on, I did find a very funny video about tea - our English pastime. This is so funny because it's perfectly true. And since I'm going to bed soon, I want to go smiling.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

17 Year Anniversary

We had a fantastic wedding anniversary last Friday. We took the day off work to take the boys to the zoo then we got a babysitter and went to our friend Maureen's for dinner. It was lovely just to sit and talk with her and another English couple we know. We had gourmet pizza, wine and fabulous conversation. It doesn't get much better than that does it. I'm so lucky to have these English friends in my life. As much as I love our American friends there is a strong underlying bond with people from the same country. I have to add though that we've met at least two Englishmen over here that I can't stand and would cross over the road if I saw coming! Just goes to show that each nationality has their share of idiots.  One of the things I loved the most was having really good conversations and learning more about the dinner guests.  And it was nice spending the evening with this muppet of course...

17 Marvelous Years
On Saturday we went to the big yard sale at Danny's school and got more plastic crap for the house. Then we went swimming. We swam Sunday too. I want to squeeze in as much swimming as possible before the pool closes Labor Day Weekend.

So it's "back to normal" tomorrow although it feels more like I'm sat at the top of a big roller coaster just before the drop. I start teaching and Jack goes back to school and soon after Danny will start pre-k. I'm not quite ready for summer to be over and definitely not ready for the mountains of kid-stuff coming my way.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Tooth Fairy is NOT Me, oh and I set the kitchen on fire.

Jack put his tooth under his pillow in an envelope for the tooth fairy to find. When I woke him up the next morning he sat bolt upright in bed, threw his pillow off and snatched up the envelope. He looked so disappointed when he saw the coin and said quietly "it's a quarter". I told him no, it's a gold coin with an Indian princess on (it was a Sacajawea gold dollar piece) and I told him that gold coins were like treasure, like pirate treasure. That really cheered him up and he said he'd keep it forever. He's made a couple of references to the fact that I am indeed the tooth fairy but I'm denying it. An older boy recently told him that Santa wasn't real too and I completely lied and said he was. I have no problem lying to them about all this stuff - let's keep the dream alive as long as we can hey.

Last night Craig and I watched a film, based on a true story,  called "The Impossible" about a family caught in the 2004 Tsunami. I am still distraught today. At one point last night, while I was sobbing, I looked at Craig and he said "FFS! Doesn't Netflix have any comedies?" He loved it too but good grief it was graphic and emotional.

Tonight I took Jack to tang soo do - we are trying to get back into that routine. Most nights he tries to wriggle out of it but when we are there he loves it. If he doesn't want to do it any more by winter (I signed up for a year) then I'll let him drop it, but he's going until then if I have to drag him! We also got info on fall soccer today.

Which leads me into saying that I'm not ready for fall. I wish it was still summer!! This is the major difference between stay at home mums and working mums I'm sure. Every SAHM I've met says they can't wait for next week (except SAHM moms that work by babysitting other kids or working at home - they haven't said that). Well I can certainly wait until next week. Next week I start teaching again and I also have to get both boys to school in the morning. I'll have packed lunches to make, homework to deal with, Pre-school runs every day during my lunch break (this is the absolute worst thing) and PTA meetings, soccer games and earlier bedtimes (I can already see the impending tantrums). I'm going to pretend it's still summer until the end of August thank you very much. Now I just need the weather to cooperate (it's 56 degrees tonight).

On the house project front we have so much to do: fix the breaker box (ugh), band-aid the AC unit, stain the fences and deck, install living room ceiling fan, bathroom shelf and kitchen lights, paint steps, cut a tree down and do a million hours of yard work.
Oh and we need a new oven since I burnt the last one (and nearly set the kitchen on fire). I don't think I wrote about that on here but I was cooking sausages on the grill with the oven door ajar and the fat on the tray just went woof! and set on fire. In just a few seconds the whole front of the oven was on fire up to the ceiling. I screamed at the kids to get out and I called 911. Craig ran in and pulled the tray out and put the fire out. A friend asked why I didn't just slam the oven door shut and turn it off, starving it of oxygen. I don't know - that didn't even enter my head. Well the result is that we now have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and our double oven is dead. We have to get a quote on a new one and submit to our insurance company. That $500 deductible is going to suck. I told Craig maybe we should use this as an opportunity to do some major kitchen renovations. I won't repeat what he said because it wasn't gentlemanly.
Dead as a Doorknob: The double oven, installed in the cabinets (note melted control panel at top)

Friday, August 09, 2013

Playdate, Prom, Pool and Pets

What a crazy week it's been. Last weekend I organized a play-date for all local kindergartners and their families at a local school. There were about 200 people there which was great but then also very stressful. That same night I went to an 1980's prom party to raise money for our local middle school "beautification project". So far $15,000 has been raised, which is fabulous. I had such a good time and danced for 2 solid hours. I can't remember the last time I did that.

Me and my hot prom dates, Paige & Julie
Sunday I just died. It was one of those days you wished you lived on your own in an expensive hotel room with crisp linen sheets and room service. Unfortunately I don't live like that, so had to entertain the kids and do housework and see to the animals all the while wishing for bedtime.

Talking of animals, this little fella is doing great. Hank is now very much settled and he is such a great cat. He's very loving and social and starting to become friendly with Ben. It's time to buy him a collar and harness and let him wander about in the back yard I think. I want to let him wallow in the catnip and watch birds, like Frank used to love doing.

Hanky Panky
I must get photos on here of Ben's new summer hair cut (which makes him look like a puppy) and of Luke and Whitey in their hamster balls. They scoot all over the house in them and they are hilarious to watch. Luke looks like that fat orange hamster called Rino in the film Bolt. We've even started calling him Rino Luke.

This week I had two major events at work and I got a bit of sunstroke I think, which is not surprising since I have the complexion of a Icelander. Spending huge amount of time outdoors in the sun really does me in. I did manage to get the boys to the pool once but the weather continues to be mid-70's and just not quite hot enough to swim outside (well that's a First World problem if ever there was one hey).

Making the most of 80 degrees
 Yesterday morning both boys told me what they want to do when they grow up: They want to own a pet shop during the day and be American Ninjas at night. Seems doable I think.

This weekend we have NOTHING planned, which really means catching up on phone calls, Skype, housework and gardening. Still I am looking forward to having a couple of days with no set plans. Next weekend it's our 17th wedding anniversary so we will be doing something big and exciting. At least I hope so. The official gift for the 17th anniversary is...wait for it ... furniture! What? Yes that's right. Furniture. How romantic.

Friday, August 02, 2013

State Fair Day

Today we took a day off work and took the boys to the State Fair. It's one of  my favourite days of the year and we spend at least 10 hours there.  Here's a few pictures from our day:

Craig and Danny walked while Jack and I did the chair lift. It doesn't look too high or scary does it? Don't be fooled. That thing is high and stops every 30 seconds and your chair sways in the wind. Nightmare. I tried my best to be brave and not let Jack know I was scared but my knuckles were white.

We aways go to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) area first because, well that's what we like. We fish, shoot, kayak and see birds, butterflies and animals.

Then we hit the fair and the rides. Last year we bought both boys a ride-all-day wrist band and Danny wouldn't go on anything, except a couple of fun houses. This year he was amazing! And this is what started it - Craig put him on the carousel on his own. He was on an outside horse and my heart was in my mouth but you could physically see his confidence build during the ride. He loved the fact that he did it on his own.

We tried the crazy fair food of the year: Maple & Bacon Ice Cream (pic below). It was bloody VILE! Tasted like cat food. We also saw: Deep fried butter, deep fried Buckeyes, deep fried gummy bears, and pork wings (Craig had some).

Jack LOVED it all. He's such a social kid and so excited to experience life has to offer. Makes my heart melt.

This is the surprise of the day. I paid for Jack to do this ride and when I went to watch him, I saw that Danny was also in line. He had told Craig that he really wanted to do it and he loved it! He was shrieking with laughter and I thought my heart would burst watching him. That absolutely made my day, that he took the plunge and did something new.

So another fantastic trip to the fair. I am completely done-in but that's ok. I just wish I didn't have a full day tomorrow but I do. Two major events in fact. Sigh.