Sunday, February 21, 2016

More 365 Pictures

I'm never going to be a great photographer, but I'm enjoying myself.

Nerf war on the trampoline with Quinn

Such a wonderful man

How cute when he sleeps?

Whiskers. That is all. 

The eyes show his good soul

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Jack's Invention Convention

Nervous before his presentation
Today was the Invention Convention at Jack's school. All 4th and 5th graders had to invent something and work through the process of a patent search, building a prototype, producing a display and giving a presentation to school staff.

He worked really hard at it and practiced what seemed like ten times last night and this morning before school. As you can see by this picture, taken by a friend, he was very nervous.

I was lucky that I could swing over there to see him at the event and then take him for lunch.

Well he won!  He's one of 5 kids to advance onto the next stage, which takes place at the end of March. I'm so happy for him, he's over the moon.

His invention is a "Journey and Camping Kloset" (spells Jack, get it?). It's a wagon on wheels that can transport camping gear to a tent, then turns into a waterproof closet to hang clothes and charge phones and there's a mirror with lights, to help his poor old mum to put her contact lenses in. I actually want one of these, as camping in the rain is no great delight.

I was blown away by a lot of the inventions. Some were REALLY good and I would buy them: a multi-use dog leash, a GPS helmet for kids, a toothbrush with all kinds of gadgets, and even a drone that located dog poop!  Well maybe not that one.

Well done Jack! Proud of you sunshine :)

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

What I want for Valentine's Day

Craig and I are not smoochy people. We didn't even get each other a Christmas gift and birthday's go like this... "What do you want for your birthday?"  "I dunno".
Valentine's Day, since we've had the kids, is usually a day like every other day, except there's a bunch of flowers on the mantel.  We once even ate lunch on Valentine's Day in the drive-through at Wendy's.  Seriously.

But this year I want to celebrate it. And here's what I want to do:

Have a lie-in together. NO KIDS.
Have a curry
Watch The Walking Dead
Give each other a little, well thought-out gift

That seems doable, right? 

Monday, February 08, 2016

Jack & Eric's RC Car

I'm not sure if I believe in ghosts or an afterlife. I like to think there is (doesn't everyone?) and of course if either of my kids asked if we meet after death I'd say yes. Any other response would be terrifying for them I'm sure.

Since Eric died I've talked to him a lot but I can't say whether I've ever  "felt" his presence. Last week I thought I did, but I had had a couple of glasses of wine, so you know..

But here's a story that makes me think maybe he's around.  On Christmas Eve 2014 Eric bought the boys a remote control car each. By accident I sold Jack's car in a yard sale last summer at my house and Jack was mad and upset. He still had the remote in a box.
When we lost Eric last September, Jack was heartbroken as he loved him very much. He was also sad that Eric's car was gone.
This Christmas my boss bought the boys a remote control car each, and Jack's was exactly the same as the one that Eric got him.  Here's the weird thing - Jack's new car does not work with the remote it came with. It only works with the remote from Eric's car. So now Jack is driving the new car with Eric's remote. I believe Eric was involved in all that, somehow. And even if he wasn't it makes me feel good thinking that he was.

Dave & the boys, Feb 2016
And some happier news - Eric's partner Dave has met someone and they are madly in love. They are moving in to a house together and talking about marriage at the end of the year. Too soon?  No it isn't. Dave needs this, he needs happiness in his life and I for one want to see him happy and not sat at home in a pit of despair and grief. And I like his boyfriend. And most importantly, Dave believes that he was sent by Eric and that Eric wants him to be happy too. 
See, we all believe he's still with us.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Funny things and something sweet

Two weeks ago, when I was in San Diego, a parent dropped her child off at my house for Daniel's pizza party. She was a week early. I wish I'd have seen her's and Craig's faces as that panned out. Her: "What time should I come back and get him? Craig: "huh?"

Last week at Daniel's pizza party with his school and Cub Scout buddies we were stood in the kitchen and we heard a child say loud & proud  "Daniel, I have a fever and I'm really sick, but I still came to your birthday party!"

Yesterday I was talking with Daniel about video games. I asked him why he doesn't play the Play Station 4 that we bought for him & Jack for Christmas and he said he doesn't like to (I think it scares him).
Me: Then the PS4 wasn't a good Christmas present for you was it?
Daniel: No.
Me: Then WHY on earth did you ask for the PS4 for Christmas?
Daniel: Because I wanted Jack to be happy.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this boy. Not a bad bone is his body.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

My Uncle Stan

Uncle Stan, in blue. August 2015
My mum is one of 7 children. The oldest, Uncle John, is 91 this year and the youngest,Uncle Harry, is in his 70's. 

All seven of them are dynamic and ageless and fit as oxes. Growing up my mum would always say "you've got good genes, you're a Lloyd!" with such gusto that I absolutely believed that I was  invincible. Still do.  And I say the same thing to my kids now, whenever one of them gets whiny or feigns illness I hear myself repeating my mum's words to them and it makes me inwardly smile.

So today I was shocked to my core to hear that my Uncle Stan, one of my heroes and my mentor from a very young age, has stomach cancer. The mass it too large to operate and so they are going to try and treat it, which probably means chemo.  His wife, Auntie Jean, is a mess understandably, as they are a loving couple and very close. He has a score of kids and grand kids to help with things but that doesn't stop me wishing I could be there right now, to pop over for a cup of tea with him.

It was my uncle Stan that got me started on my career. I worked for him from the age of 11 and always looked up to him. Not just because he was a successful businessman but because he was kind and funny and one of those typical English gentlemen who always wore a suit and never talked about his time served during the war. Thirty six years later, I can still conjure up the look of him when we worked together. His brown sunburned arms and face, shirt sleeves rolled up, and a cigarette constantly in the corner of his mouth.

It is inevitable that I will lose family members or they will get sick, I know that. But it doesn't make it any easier. I'm hoping that this thing gets cured and that he has many many years to enjoy his retirement and his family.  I find it really hard to imagine anything less.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Birthday & Derby Weekend

We continued Daniel's birthday celebrations into the weekend with a pizza dinner for his first grade class/cub scout friends and then it was time for Pinewood Derby!

Friday pizza dinner. These six friends are in school and also in Cub Scouts together
A play date with his good friend Bella
Pinewood Derby with the Cub Scouts. Both won trophies and had a lot of fun. 

Jack playing with his RC car 

A visit with friends from Nashville

3 Month Catch-up

I can't believe I haven't posted for over 2 months! So much to say.