Saturday, September 25, 2010

Our First Skull Session

At 9 am this morning I was stood on the sideline of Jack's 2nd soccer game. Once again I am amazed how much my life has changed! (for the better of course). The Flaming Soccer Balls lost 3-0, which is a big improvement from the 5-0 loss last week. They did great in our book and most importantly enjoyed themselves.

Then we loaded up the car & took the kids to the skull session at Ohio State. It's basically a big pep-rally for the Buckeye football team where 13,000 die-hard fans go and watch the best damn band in the land (TBDBITL) perform in St. John Arena. As a treat the football team march through too, all decked out in their smart suits. We've lived here 11 years and it was our first skull session, which is shameful!

We had nose-bleed seats as you can see, because we got there late. Jack looked down at the band and said "are they playing musical chairs?"

We met up with our friends Michelle & Chris and their kids afterwards

After the skull session I went to the football game and got home about 7 pm. We won 73-20 but that was expected and the real test will come in the next few weeks.
I am dog tired now, my feet are aching and my face is burnt again. I've been on my poor feet for 12 hours, but I'm not complaining as it's been a great day.

Here's a short video of TBDBITL as they enter St. John Arena (taken a while ago) ...





Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bravery in Numbers

This is one of my favourite pictures of me and my sister Jenny. Can you guess which one is me? Aren't these t-shirts hilarious? And the groovy pants of course.

I was thinking today about when I was a kid at St. Marks C of E school back in the 70's. When we had our injections (vaccines), a school nurse did us all in one big swoop. We lined up in the linoleum corridor and took it in turns going into the office shaking with fear for our big shot in the arm. After you got your shot you came out wincing at all the other kids in line, rubbing your arm and saying "it WRECKED!" then you walked off laughing as they all grasped their arms in anticipation and fear. I'm not sure if it was the same nurse or not, but we had one lady that made us all line up and she checked us for nits. We used to call her "Nitty Nora the Bug Explorer". Do they still do group injections at school in the UK, or is it more like America now where you take your child on their own to a doctor's office?

The reason this was on my mind is that Jack had his 4-year doctors visit today and they gave him an injection after I had told him specifically that he wouldn't get one. In my defense they did spring it on us. He was a brave soldier but couldn't use his arm afterwards unless it involved reaching for ice-pops or swinging on monkey bars. His statistics were odd: 43-inches tall and weighing 43 lbs. One pound for every inch! Tonight as I put his PJs on (him, not me), he told me glumly not to touch the band-aid covering the shot mark on his arm. I said "does it wreck?" and he looked at me like I was a martian. You obviously had to be there.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

There's a Ghost in my Kitchen

This is Daniel's favourite thing to do at the dinner table at the moment. Then he pulls it down quickly and shouts boo! before erupting into laughter and doing it again. I try my best to just go with the moment and not worry too much about food rolling onto the floor. Cody's in scrap-food heaven as you can see.

Danny is so head-strong and adventurous that I can barely keep up. I seem to spend all my time with him saying "get down" "stop!" "danger!" and "no!". It would be so much more pleasant if I could come up with ways to make our interactions more positive but by the time I get home from work, get them fed, dog walked and then clean the kitchen I'm too worn out. I feel less like Maria von Trapp and more like Frankenstein, only not as agile.

Forgetting the power struggles and constant climbing, my lad Danny is a little star he really is. He puckers up now and gives me kisses and he twirls my hair in his fingers (is there anything better than that in the world I wonder?). He dances like a loon and chatters and plays ball. He growls like a monster or snorts like a pig and chases us all around the house as we squeal "A monster's coming!"

I worry sometimes that he gets just a fraction of the attention that Jack does because I keep telling myself that he's too young to notice such things. But I think he IS starting to notice and I think I'm missing an opportunity to have some me & Danny time. But it's so hard when my 4-year old wants my attention so badly right now. I wonder how other mothers balance things out.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jack's 1st Soccer Game

Jack's team "The Flaming Soccer Balls" lost about 5-0. I gave up counting at 5 so it could have been more. Their goalie stood in the back of the net, or was absent. Kids ran everywhere. It was bedlam. And much fun.

I have decided that watching 4 year olds play soccer is the best spectator sport ever.


Friday, September 17, 2010

BIG Road Trip to South Carolina

On Wednesday this week I set off on a work road trip. I drove through Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and on to Lyman, South Carolina, which is 500 miles. On Thursday I had my work meeting and then set off back for home. Blimey. I'm actually impressed that I can drive for 1,000 miles over two days and not get killed in a car crash or get kidnapped by toothless hillbillies, or run off the road asleep and end up upside down in a ditch. Now, I'm extra thankful that I didn't run into one of the tornadoes that ripped through Ohio. Ohio State's research station in Wooster was smashed and the Secrest Arboretum destroyed. It's such a loss.

My trip was memorable though. On Wednesday night I stayed at the Walnut Lane Inn B&B in Lyman, owned by Hoyt & David. It's a 1902 plantation house that farmed cotton, beef and crops, so lots of USA history. My bedroom was like something out of "Gone with the Wind". At breakfast the following morning, Hoyt and I made friends and we talked about life and ghosts! He told me that my room was the most haunted. Thankfully he didn't tell me pre-check-in about the giggling ladies in taffeta or I'd have spent the night fully dressed, eyes wide open in bed with a pen in my fist ready to poke some ghosties eyes out. For breakfast he made me a Monte Cristo, then gave me a hug and sent me on my way to my work appointment at 8am . . . .

My work appointment, who I had driven 9 hours to meet, made me take my shoes off and wash my hands before we greeted each other. I was gracious and did as he asked. The appointment was worth the drive. I learned more in 3 hours than I would have learned on my own in 3 weeks. When it was time to leave & I said "cheerio!" to him and shook his hand & he said "would you like to wash your hands before you leave?" and I said "No mate, no need". Strange but very intelligent man.


On the drive home I had a couple of moments that were interesting to say the least. Firstly, I learnt not to overtake the sheriff of South Carolina doing 85 mph while he's doing 70 mph. That makes sheriffs a teeny bit angry. He pulled me over & gave me a very stern verbal caution and then let me off. I apologized at least 4 times and had the shakes afterwards for 15 miles. Phew. And then, after 18 hours of driving, I suddenly realized that my music taste has totally changed over the years. My love has always been pop and rock and Indie music but I am now drawn to music from my past and to current music that is really different. Now, I want Duran Duran, not Lady Gaga. I much prefer Johnny Cash to Katy Perry. Queen and the Beatles over Maroon 5 and Eminem. But good grief - radio channels get worse as you go south. Ohio was very cultural and played great music but by the time I got to South Carolina most stations were all about talk-show hosts being very pious and judgmental and talking about everybody's "seens" (sins). Makes me want to commit one just listening to them and you can't help feeling that most of them go home and beat their wives & watch porn.


So anyway, enough about the oddities of my journey. My favourite part of the trip was the scenery. I travelled through the Appalachian & Blue Ridge Mountains and it was breathtakingly beautiful. The leaves were just turning and the roads were empty, so I could wind my way over the tops and in the valleys and through mountain tunnels as if I was a Formula 1 driver (hence Mr. pissed-off sheriff). At one point I was breezing along a huge curving mountain road in Beckley, West Virginia, one of mine & Craig's favourite places on earth, and I sang along to "Take me Home Country Road" by John Denver which is a wonderful song but oh, I do wish I had heard this version ....





A great trip then - HUGELY important for my job. It was great to get home though and see Craig and the boys. As much as I love going on these adventures, there is no place like home.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hello There Bear!

I just got back from a 18-hr mammoth drive and I'm working on a post, but right now I need (1) hubby kisses (2) kid kisses (3) wine.

While I'm working on my post I'd like to post this that my hubby Craig showed me. Craig's going bow hunting in 1 weeks time and I asked him what he'd do if he found himself in this situation without his gun. He said he'd crap his pants but then take the bear to McDonald's for a McGriddle breakfast.

And that is why I love Craig.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I love Soap!

I bought a lovely Crabtree & Evelyn soap dispenser for our 5/8ths done bathroom (not the Hoff, though that is F'in hilarious). I think it's okay to start buying the sexy stuff now since we've only got tiling, plumbing, shelves, towel racks, shower curtain rail and re-finishing the bath to complete in 3 weeks before my dad and Sheila get here. Piece of cake wouldn't you say.

So back to the C&E soap dish. It's very lovely but I've been using my stash of hotel give-away soaps for a few weeks and it just hasn't done it justice. The hotel soaps are hit & miss. The one from Disney's Coronado Hotel was fabulous, but the one I just put in there this week from America's Value Inn stinks of cheap pine toilet cleaner, leaves a big gooey white mess on your hands and is about as vulgar as Lady Gaga's meat dress.

Feeling very disgruntled with the nasty hotel soap, and feeling even more affronted by the fact that Jack had been painting acorns black today so had left a black, milky ooze in the soap dish and all over the vanity, I went out tonight and bough a lemongrass Dove soap and I swear I'll never go back to liquid stuff or squishy white goo ever again. Proper soap makes your bathroom smell fabulous! And the color matches my walls. But it's the fresh smell that I love. How on earth have I not been buying proper soap for the last few years? Liquid soap is rubbish, doesn't smell and runs out and won't pump way before it runs out (you know what I mean).

This is probably the weirdest blog post I've ever done but I just had to share my soap revelation. Why on earth did we try and re-invent the wheel with that non-scented liquid rubbish when block soap is just so fabulous?

Jack's First Day at Pre-School

Today was Jack's first day at pre-school and he did really well. His teachers are lovely and the place has a great reputation for getting kids ready for Kindergarten. I felt so proud of him and also a bit sad as he's growing up so quickly. I can't believe my boy is four already!
I asked him what his favourite thing about the morning was and he said playing with the toy laviloli (ravioli) and pizza and he got to wear a policeman's hat.
Bless.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Danny the Escape Artist

This morning I was talking with Jack in his room while Craig was in the bathroom. All of a sudden, we heard a thud and then a pitter-patter of feet on wood floors. And around the corner came a-trotting Daniel, smiling. Little bugger had climbed out of his crib.

Jack was out of his crib too at 20 months and the transition went really well, but Danny doesn't seem quite so mellow as Jack. Jack slept in his bed and took to it like a fish to water. I have a horrible feeling Danny will not be content until he's standing on top of his dressing table, swinging on his ceiling fan or probably more scary, escaping from his room. He is such a little terror, he really is. I have to be on my toes with this lad. But we have no choice right? Converting his crib to a toddler bed is better than him breaking a bone from launching himself off the crib rail. Wish us luck on this one!

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Today, I am off to the OSU:Miami game and I'm excited. With it being such a big game there'll be all kinds of celebrities down there and I think the Rascal Flats are singing the national anthem. There will probably be a fly-over too, to commemorate September 11th. It's such a sad anniversary but I really don't want to spend it watching re-runs of the tragedy. It's a beautiful day, my family is happy, and there's a great football game to go to.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Welcome Eli!

Our wonderful friends, Sue & Lee, had a baby this morning at 3.30am. Welcome to the world Elijah Ewan and all 8lbs of you.
I'm not going to post a picture of him since I forgot to ask the parents permission. But take it from me he's VERY cute but also looks like Winston Churchill, as all babies do. Only kidding, at this point I'd say he really looks like his dad. So well done Sue & Lee, he's lovely.
I'll see you next year Eli and get ready for some major cheek kissing...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Me & Social Media

I heard a great quote recently from Stephen Fry: "there is a big downside of the Internet. It's filled with comments from people who have decided to be unutterably mean, and are the unwanted dead caterpillar in the otherwise lovely salad that is the Internet"

Luckily, I haven't had too many dead caterpillars in my social media experience although once there was a middle aged man from Belgium make a comment about one of the kids in his PJs and I wanted to track him down and kill him. At some point my kids will no longer appear on here, either though their want or through my paranoia, but I'd hate to see that day since this is a way from my loved ones in England to see how we are doing

Blogging's great and I've been doing it for 5 years now, mainly so that family & friends in England can see what we're up to and I've met some great women (& the odd man) along the way. Other people's blogs are wonderful too. Blogging to me is real people writing about their lives and I love it.

I like Facebook mainly because I can keep in touch with past students, current students and F&F from the last 20 years. I have nearly 450 friends on there, most of which are students, and that's bloody marvelous. But I don't like to put too much personal stuff on there because I'm also friends with a lot of people at work and I don't want to come across as a complete Muppet.

I don't Tweet. Seems too narcissistic.

I do love You Tube. I go on at least once a week to watch music videos and film clips and socials silly stuff. Just this weekend I spent a mindless hour catching up on Britain's Got talent.
I saw this tonight - aren't young people just amazing in their talent! ...


Monday, September 06, 2010

Bugs, Toys & Great Cabin Pix

We spent Labor Day weekend mooching about at home and at Char & Jan's cabin. It was a bitter sweet cabin visit. Always a treat of course to go there and spend time on the lake but sad that Char and Jan weren't there to enjoy it with. I think we were good guests though, other than breaking a fishing net, stealing a book "I know why the caged bird sings" by Maya Angelou, and robbing their linens & towels (I brought them home to wash).
Here's a few favourite pictures from the last few days ...


A preying mantis in our garden. Some say they bring good luck. All I know is, when it about-turned and scuttled up towards my fingers I dropped that stick with lightening speed and did a rather ridiculous Irish jig.


I love watching them play and not just put WWF moves on each other.

Craig, Jack & Cody enjoying the fabulous weather (70's day, 50's night).

Proper fishing! Not just casting a plastic orange Nemo fish like he's been doing all summer. He caught 3 fish - one baby small-mouthed bass and two sunfish.

Me and Jack by the fire. Danny was zonked out in bed. This is the first time I've worn long sleeves since the end of April I think!

A view of the channel from the fishing point, taken by Craig. The super-bright planet must be Saturn or maybe Jupiter? Craig says it's Uranus. It never gets old does it.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Jack Sings Carmen Ohio!

Football season starts today! Here's Jack singing Carmen Ohio, to the rapturous applause of Danny ...

video

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...