Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bring on the Summer!

Our 2 big DIY projects this year were the kitchen (99.99% done) and painting the house.
Craig has worked like a demon this week in horribly hot & sticky weather to get the house painting finished before his mum & dad get here on the 8th June.
This Memorial Weekend we got several invites from friends (that we love) to join them in fun stuff, but we wanted to get this DIY finished so we could enjoy the summer, especially when his parents are here. So now folks - we are DONE with house projects and we WILL enjoy the summer... so bring it on!

Here are our "Before and After" pix of the house:




Sunday, May 27, 2007

Cook-out with Friends

Our weekend so far has been really good. We had a cook-out yesterday. Our friends Todd, Kelli and their soon-to-be 2 year old daughter Hannah came over. Todd is sat, left, next to Mike - another friend of ours that called by with some English lads. The weather was scorching - as it has been for about a month. We desperately need rain but no luck so far. Storms have been rolling through all weekend but break up when they get to us.

We got the paddling pool out and it kept the little ones busy all afternoon. Jack needed some coaxing to get in as it was a bit cold but Hannah just dove right in! She's a character.

The English lads brought some beer over and the box was a major source of entertainment!

Last night we watched the new Rocky movie. It was a bit cheesy in parts but we both love Rocky so we didn't mind too much. I think they left it where they could bring another one out. We never really get to see any boxing so I think we are going to try and go to a cage fight sometime. We both felt a little worse for wear today so didn't get any chores done. Plus, we're too stinking hot to move as our AC is on the blink again. The guy's coming out tomorrow to fix it hopefully.

The plan for tomorrow is to finish painting the house (I'll post some pix) and get some stuff done before Craig's mum & dad get here on the 8th.

Friday, May 25, 2007

This boy is FAST!

Jack's using his tractor right now to walk - look how speedy our little fella is!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Holiday Weekend - Yippee!

It's Memorial Day weekend here so we get a 3 - day weekend. Memorial Day weekend is the same as Remembrance Day in England - a time to honor soldiers and remember those that have died. They don't have poppies over here but there's lots of parades and memorials and such.

I am looking forward to hanging out at the house and spending some time with Jack & Craig. This week I have been doing a class project with my students - we have been renovating a local high school baseball field. Currently I'm sat at my desk, having got home about half an hour ago, and I'm sweaty and covered in soil but what a great thing we did! The school has no money or parent involvement so we got a load of stuff donated and fixed their field. The students loved it and I did too. Here's a picture of us after we finished....



Jack's doing great. He LOVES the paddling pool, which is good because it's been hotter than hell this week. 90 degrees again today, which makes me as red as a cherry tomato. Damn my English tanning ability! This week Jack also climbed up the basement stairs - his aim in life right now is to climb things and throw himself off the top. He's on the verge of walking and took his first step this week so in no time he'll be running around like a lunatic.


Craig's doing great too - decided to stay at his job as his boss got "let go" and the big bosses are saying things will improve - which they already seem to have done, so fingers crossed. His mum and dad arrive on the 8th of June so he's excited.

Lastly, to my friends and family in England this weekend:

  • Mum - have a great vacation with the kids.
  • My sis, Jenny - good luck moving house!
  • My friend, Paul - I'm so sorry Liverpool didn't win the Champions League (stupid Italians) but congrats on being an uncle again
  • My gorgeous niece, Abby - belated birthday gift got posted today sweetheart, sorry.
  • My friend, SMBL - good luck moving house!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sorry, can't help myself....

I always promised myself that I would not subject friends & family to pictures of Jack covered in food because I think only a parent can find such a thing cute. BUT, I can't help myself, so here he is...
Other obnoxious behavior I have found myself doing is wiping stuff of his face with my sleeve, taking him shopping with food on his clothes, and lifting him up to smell his bum but come on, how else do you check??

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Jack's Friend Katy Turns One!

Today we went to Katy's first birthday party. Her parents, Brian & Emily, have been good friends of ours for about 8 years - how time flies!

Their daughter, Katy Faith, is such a character and very smart. She's walking with confidence and saying some words. She also knows a bit of sign language. She is about 7 weeks older than Jack so I'm constantly using her progress as a gauge for Jack, and more often than not, she's leaps and bounds ahead of him. I figure our Jack's got something up his sleeve though!

Anyway, today was lovely, mild & sunny and she had her party at a local park with a cool kids play area. There were about 40 people there and we all gathered around the buffet to eat cake & talk about how fab Katy is. We sang "Happy Birthday" to her, she opened her presents & then she got to dive in to her own cake as you can see below...

She didn't get too messy as you can see. She had a good time and certainly got lots of rides down the slide and time with grandparents & friends.

Happy birthday Katy, from Jack - your future prom date!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cody's Story

In 2003 we met Cody - we were thinking about getting a dog & we were looking at the rescue societies in Ohio. Each one urges you to adopt from a "kill" shelter. Basically a kill-shelter has so many dogs and so little money that they have to euthenise the animals after a certain period of time. We saw him on Scioto County Dog Pound website and rang up immedately as he was on "death row". They told me that Columbus Dog Connection (CDC) had just adopted him and to call them, which we did.
We met him at a fair that Columbus Dog Connection had at a pet shop that weekend. They had him inside and he was scared to death of the wild birds that had got in & were flying around. We adopted him that week. They thought he was about 1 or 2 when we got him, so he's 4 or 5 now and going a little grey in his beard!
Here's some of Cody's picture from that day:


The day we met him. Weighing 20 lbs less than he does now. Come on, how can we NOT give him treats? Look at that face....

Home for the first week - very nervous. Not used to a collar or a lead. First time we took him for a walk he sat down, exhausted!


Made the news! Was a "Weather Hound" on Chris Bradley's section of local news. Chris said "and here's Cody, from Clintonville, what a cutie!"


First ice cream from Dairy Queen.

A hot day in the garden. He's so handsome!

Five things we know about Cody:

1. He LOVES to chase squirrels and will sit under a tree, transfixed for hours watching them.

2. He hates the vacuum cleaner and will run when I get it out

3. He'll eat anything except tomatoes

4. When he snores he makes noises like a man talking, which has frightened me to death several times in the middle of the night!

5. No matter what his past story is, he loves people. He'll sit behind Jack & lick the back of his head for as long as Jack will let him.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bear Grylls - Man Versus Wild

I've been on "You Tube" tonight & captured a favourite of ours. Here's a video of "Man versus Wild's" Bear Grylls in Costa Rica. It's 8 minutes long but worth the watch. His show is on the Discovery Channel and we love it. He's an ex SAS guy and got a great personality. He broke his back but then went on to be the youngest Brit to scale Everest. One of his shining moments was drinking liquid from elephant poo in Africa. Mmmmmm, yummy. His second series starts June 15th.



Monday, May 14, 2007

Missing Madeleine

It's nearly 12 Midnight and I'm still up as I'm reading the news. Craig's sound asleep after getting up for work at 3am.

I've been on the BBC and CNN websites tonight following 4-year old Madeleine McCann's abduction in Portugal. I have no idea why this particular case has captivated me when there are so many children abducted each day but it's really got to me.
For those of you that don't know - she was taken from her room at a resort in Portugal last week. Her parents were about 100 yards away having dinner in a restaurant. They had refused a creche service (not sure why) but had checked on her and her 2 year old twin brothers at least once before they saw her missing.

Tonight police are questioning an English guy and his mum who live nearby.

I go on the BBC Forum sometimes and I'm amazed by the backlash the parents are getting. Question is, should they have left their 3 kids asleep in the room alone while they ate dinner 100 yards away? The hotel did not offer food and they thought the resort was safe.

I thought about what Craig and I would do in that situation. I think I would order take-away and one of us would go and get it. If I trusted the creche service I MIGHT have let them look after him. I would not have left him. That's not to say that I think the parents are in the wrong because I have 1 child and they have 3 and are probably more relaxed at this point about child rearing. They are both doctors so they are responsible people I hope.

At the end of the day, someone took her. Probably watched her or why else would they know she was alone? I've read enough crime stuff to think that abductors are "opportunists" so they must have known the situation to break into a resort room and snatch her, right?
I'm hoping they find her soon.

First Mothers Day & More

Hope you like the new blog look - it's a bit pink but I like it!

Mothers Day weekend was great. Char & Jan came over Friday night for a bar-b-q and we woke up Saturday a little worse for wear, which is the norm when the 4 of us get together. I went to Marion Village community yard sale with Gina on Saturday morning then we spent the rest of the day gardening. The garden is starting to look lovely & I'll post some pix soon.

Here's my little love helping mummy water the garden. Seconds later he was chewing on that hose like his life depended on it.

On Sunday Craig was going to give me a lie-in but Jack had other ideas and decided to exercise his vocal chords till I gave up and got out of bed at 8am. Craig cooked me breakfast then we pottered around the garden. It's been mid-70's and sunny for 3 weeks now and we really need rain but it's been lovely to be outside.

Brian, Emily, & Katy came by and we had a good laugh watching Jack & Katy interact. She's 1 this next week and it's so interesting to see where Jack will be soon. She's walking and really interacting with people. She also has a great belly laugh. Here they are having a tandem tractor ride!




On a sidenote, I've had BIG news in the last week. I'm going to be a Great Auntie! My niece, Gemma, is pregnant. Also my sister, Jen and her family are moving from Manchester to the Lancashire countryside to a place called Haskayne.

Then just today - more big news.. Craig gave his notice at work and starts a new one Monday. I'm pleased about it. This morning he got up at 3am so he could work in Cincinnati. He put in a 10 1/2 hour day then drove home exhausted. Life's far too short for that nonsense.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My Mothers Day Treat

I had a fabulous day today. I took a day off work to spend with Jack - my Mothers Day gift to myself and one I intend to give every year.

It started this morning when Jack ate breakfast and started to say "No" for the first time. He has no idea what he's doing and shakes his head at everything, even chocolate.



Next, we went to Chadwick Arboretum plant sale & bought a fabulous contorted purple Beech for the front garden, then we went to COSI to the infant play room - he had a great time and played like a madman!



He loved this water area and played till his teeth chattered he was so wet!


Back home when Craig got back from work we got his pool out and played in the garden. Then he had a hot bath and conked out - exhausted.

One last thing - twice today he's clinged onto me and said "mama" - if he's really saying my name on Mothers Day weekend I'll be over the moon!


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Sweet Potato Puffs Batman!

Jack can now pick up food with his fingers! A small feat you might think, but a big milestone for our little lad. He loves these sweet potato puffs we get him. Here's a little video - funny how I was obsessed with bleaching & sterilising everything and now I let him eat off the floor. Bad bad mummy.

Camping Disaster Take 2

We took Jack camping when he was 6 weeks old (WHAT where we thinking??) and it was a nightmare so we waited till he was 10 months old & tried again. We went to River Trail Crossing Campground in Bellville, Ohio last night. The weather forecast was for a perfect sunny weekend.




It was a lovely night in the 70's and we got the tent site we wanted - right next to the river. There's trout in the river so Craig was excited about fly fishing for the first time this year. Jack finally got to sleep about 9pm so we lit a camp fire, enjoyed a glass of wine and began to unwind - perfect!

About 5am it started raining HARD and just didn't stop. It came into the tent. When Jack woke up about 7am I noticed his socks were wet - there was drips going into his bed and he was soaked! Poor little lad didn't complain. We went into Butler for breakfast at a great little cafe called the Whittlestop Diner. At this point we were still determined to keep going as we love camping. We even thought we could maybe go and visit Mansfield Reformatory where the Shawshank Redemption was filmed but when the weather was forecast rain all day & low 40's tonight we said stuff it, and came home. That's too cold for Jack and too wet for us all!

Here's a little video of our dejected car ride home. Craig's listening to a local radio program that had a session called "Marketplace" where people rang up to sell stuff. It was great! People were calling up drunk or crazy. One old girl said she was selling eggs for 20 cents a piece - I hope she meant "hens" and not hers!



We'll try camping again soon - third time lucky???

He's the Reason We Can't Have Nice Things

I say this line a lot to Craig - When the cats barf on the bed "We can never have nice things" When Ben poos on the basement car...