Monday, January 31, 2011

Till Next Time Old Blighty

After quite a bit of consideration and lots of talking back and forth between me & Craig we made the horrible decision this week not to go to England this summer. Even as I type the words I feel sad. The bottom line is that we'd be foolish to spend 5 grand on flights this year with the economy the way it is. Our mortgage and other commitments are too important. Imagine coming home from that trip and one of us loses our job, or gets sick? It's scary times, not the time to gallivant.Do I sound convinced of my own decision or what?? I know I don't. It's doubly hard for me because I'm a "sod it, let's do it!" person and Craig's more conservative, more grounded about these things. So. No trip home to look forward to then. Humph. In rebellion I have abandoned my diet (must lose weight before I go home to England) and I have eaten like a pig the last few days. Of course I'll behave again soon when I don't feel so fed-up.

I should spend my time this summer doing house projects but, well, you know.
I could actually start my PhD project.
Or maybe I'll make elaborate plans for the garden.
Or maybe I'll just sulk for the rest or 2011.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Daniel!

Danny is 2! Good grief where did those two years go? Last night we measured him too and he stands a clear 1.5 inches taller than Jack at this age. He's currently 3ft. 2" tall, which apparently means he'll be 6 ft. 4" tall when fully grown. Blimey. I'm going to have to share my small bathroom with two strapping lads.

So what is Danny like at two? Well since he was a newborn Danny has been very headstrong. It may shock some of you to know that I have NEVER fed him solid food. Seriously. Since the age of 6 months, he has insisted on holding his own spoon and feeding himself. I am not exaggerating this point I promise. That's just who he is. He dictates a lot about what he eats and what he does each day and no amount of cajoling, bribing or torturing will sway him. This can be very annoying frustrating at times, but I'm also secretly proud of his confidence.

He's got a very loving side to him too. In the last month especially, he has become very tactile and wants lots of hugs and kisses. He runs and wraps his little arms around us and puckers up for a kiss and it makes me get choked up I'm so in love with him. He's equally loving with Craig - but then I am blessed with a husband who believes dads should be affectionate with their kids and not say idiotic things like "he needs to be a man!"

I do have to say that he's also very intelligent, but who's kid isn't, right? I think he's bright as a button anyway. And what else? Well, he has no fear of people or situations and he's about as rambunctious as it gets. He's a morning person who's up with the lark and he hates to nap. He loves balls, trains and trucks, blocks, and painting. The only telly he loves is Thomas and Yo Gabba Gabba and he can do some awesome dance moves when he's in the mood (note: must capture him on video as there is nothing quite so fantastic as a toddler dancing).

Lastly, he loves his big brother and follows him about. Each morning when he wakes, he jumps into Jack's bed and Jack is the only one that can make him laugh when he's having a melt-down. This morning Jack called him "buddy" and sometimes I'll see them hold hands or tickle each other. It's great to see them like that. I so want them to be best friends.

So Happy Birthday my darling Danny. Enjoy your new toys and your birthday cupcakes (eats the icing, gives the cake to Cody). More than anything, I'm looking forward to having conversations with you and watching your personality flourish this next 12 months. And please try not to give me too many grey hairs.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cleaning Sucks - bring on scrabble

Craig and I cleaned for ten hours on Sunday. I'm not kidding. 8 am till 6 pm.
Yes yes yes, I know that rocking a baby is far more important than dusting, but we decided to let the kids run wild a bit in the name of getting the house slightly less filthy. We had pet hair balls the size of tumble weeds and strange fluffy stuff clinging to walls and grease behind the cooker. The thing of nightmares for someone like me that's a bit manic about cleanliness. I won't even say what I found under my bed.

And so today is Thursday (which is errr just four days later) and the house is the pits once again. Dirty floors, pet hair, toys scattered like a bomb went off, food & cutlery stuffed under Danny's booster seat that comes tumbling out when I tilt the chair forward, full laundry baskets, and a filthy kitchen. Barnacles as Jack would say. Effing F F I say. There aren't enough F words to really conjure up the moment sometimes. I do worry that I'm turning into Ozzy, swearing in front of the kids, but I do it under my breath and hope for the best. If I win the lottery I'm absolutely definitely getting a cleaner.

And now - it's 11pm ad I'm going to sign off & play Scrabble on the iPad with Craig. We are so crap at it and think we're Einstein when we get four letters....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Great Pretender and Sidekick

Jack's imagination is something that amuses me every day. Today I gave him an old store card and he's signed the back of it and declared that it's his driving license. He jumps on our old lumpy sofa and races through the streets, changing gears and chatting with me, his passenger on his adventures. He's also a teacher at the moment and loves to teach me things. For example, did you know there's a dinosaur called a triposaurus that lives in Ohio that will bite your legs off? He makes me sit at the table like a proper pupil and he also makes me bring him teacher gifts, like an apple. Today I sat and listened while he had long and fascinating conversations with himself in his room. I am in awe of this lad. What a wonderful imaginary world he creates! Yesterday Linda went to check on him after he'd been playing in my bedroom and he'd climbed into one leg of Craig's sweatpants and pulled them up to his chin like a sleeping bag and fallen asleep. I do wish she had had her camera handy for that one.

Danny has turned into the hugger and kisser of the century and jibber-jabbers non stop. Another talkative child! Just what this house needs. Today he made up a song and sang it loud and proud at the dining table. What a character he is. But oh, what do I get him for his birthday in 2 days time? His favourite thing in the world is to play with us - bowling, soccer, blocks. Basically anything that he can play with us, not on his own. It's hard to think of something we can play together indoors that doesn't involve a board game. Hmmmm.

And lastly, me and Craig are doing great. Just dog tired. We are looking forward to the big birthday celebrations, and we are also going to watch 'Inception" at some point. And I'm 3/4 of the way through Keith Richard's book "Life" and absolutely loving it. I never knew the old pirate was such a talented and funny man.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Potty Time!

A milestone for Danny today! He used the potty. He's galloping along at break-neck speed at the moment and it's impossible to write about all the things he's doing without sounding like a show-off. So let me just say that he's nothing short of a genius. ;-)
One new thing he does that I love is to charge at me at full-speed, wrap his arms around my legs and give me a big hug. Ahhh, no feeling like it. Is he still completely nuts? Why yes he is.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Planning to have Kids?

A friend sent this to me today and I thought it was so funny that I had to share it. It describes my car to a tee!

11 Step Program for those thinking of having kids

Lesson 1
1. Go to the grocery store. 2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office. 3. Go home. 4. Pick up the paper. 5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their... 1. Methods of discipline. 2. Lack of patience. 3. Appallingly low tolerance levels. 4. Allowing their children to run wild. 5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior. Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3
A really good way to discover how the nights might feel... 1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner) 2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep. 3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM. 4. Set the alarm for 3AM. 5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial. 6. Go to bed at 2:45AM. 7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off. 8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM. 9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)
Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4
Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out... 1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. 2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. 3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed. 4. Then rub them on the clean walls. 5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it. 6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5
Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems. 1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh. 2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.
Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6
Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that. 1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.Leave it there. 2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player. 3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot. 4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7
Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8
1. Hollow out a melon. 2. Make a small hole in the side. 3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. 4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane. 5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone. 6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.
You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9
Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10
Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11
Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Austin, Texas

When I told Jack I was leaving for a few days to go to Texas he had a dicky-fit, followed by a most horrible predication that my plane would crash. Thankfully it didn't.
I like Austin. They pride themselves on being weird and wacky and there's music playing everywhere. The historic "6th Street" is like Bourbon St. in New Orleans or Beale St. in Memphis - it's pedestrianised at night and full of people enjoying the more bohemian things in life. My kind of place then.
I'm here with 1,000 like-minded work people so we all talk shop and visit places we all find fascinating. On the occasion Craig has come with me he's enjoyed the fun times but thinks listening to us all talk about work is about as fun as having his finger nails pulled out with pliers. Fair point.
So Craig is at home with the boys and trying to keep things going during the middle of a snow storm. Jack cries every time I call or Skype but then quickly recovers and Danny will say "Hi Moma!" before getting back to his usual rambunctious self. God I miss them. Every time I see a child my heart aches.
One thing that I have learned on this particular trip is this - ALWAYS take a pair of flat shoes. Right now, I am in agony, having worn heels and walked miles over the last couple of days. I am having dreams of loafers and Hush Puppies (shoes, not those weird corn ball things you can eat) and fluffy slippers.

Friday, January 07, 2011

No Flight, Bad Colds, and A Little Bit of Humour

Well you can ignore yesterday's blog. Dot & Harry's flight got postponed due to bad snow in New York. Maybe they'll get out tomorrow.
Jack announced with gusto that he does indeed WANT to share a room with Daniel so we might just stick with it for a while.
We are all sick. UGH. My head is so bunged up it's not funny. Another trip to the pediatricians this morning resulted on antibiotics for both boy's ear infections. Neither of them will eat anything and they are fed-up and crying.
Cody is lethargic and acting strange - can dogs get colds?
So there you are folks. I'm feeling a bit down in the dumps and can only imagine how frustrated D&H feel wanting to be home now that they had begun the journey.

So, something to cheer us all up. This made me laugh so hard I had to blow my nose . . .

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The January Jollies

I'm trying to be "Mrs. cup half-full" today, even though Craig's mum and dad leave tomorrow, both our boys have hideous colds and it's snowing. And we didn't win the lottery and $350 million would have come in very handy if we had.
And I have thrown in the towel on the lads sharing a room. After tomorrow we'll do a switch back to their own rooms. It has been a chuffing NIGHTMARE to be honest. Like putting two hyperactive monkeys on acid in a bedroom together. Maybe when Danny's a bit older I'll try again but right now we're all exhausted from it. Even poor Jack has started saying he can't wait to have his own space again, especially since he's sick right now.

Other than that things are just chipper.
I started to be healthy again after 1 ton of nuts and 5 pounds of cheese eaten over the holidays. I am determined to go home to England this summer looking and feeling good like I did pre-Danny in 2008. Pregnancy does horrible things to a woman's body though and mine will never be the same. Unless I win the lottery of course and then everything will get lifted, chopped off and tightened.
Danny's personality has lit up having his grandparents around. He's counting already and chattering and just the best little chap I could hope for. Still mad as balloons of course but then I'm beginning to get on board with it a bit and trying my best not to break his spirit. Sorry if that sounds cheesy - don't know of another way to put it. Jack is such a character too. He will only wear short pants (even in freezing weather!) and has become very independent in his ways. His imagination is great too and I think he'll be a very creative young man.
What else to be positive about? Good health for me and Craig. My mum's birthday (Happy Birthday, I love you!). The visit home to England this summer and a great Buckeye win this past Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Homeless no More

There's a homeless man that stands near to a home improvement store that me & Craig go to a lot. He stands by the road with a sign written on cardboard asking for help. A reporter for The Columbus Dispatch took some video of him and posted in on You Tube, then this morning a local radio show had him on for an interview. Now, 24 hours after being homeless, this man has a house and a job announcing for the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. What a great story to start off the new year! Makes me feel happy to be part of the human race.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you brought the new year in with style. We had a party and about 30 people came, all armed with food & booze, so I now have more beer, wine and food in my kitchen than the local grocer.
What a good night though! The kids partied like loonies and we did too. The last group standing popped the champagne (fizzy apple for the kids) then went out and had a festive picture taken next to my neighbour's tree.

Today I de-Christmassed the house and it felt good to clean the house and get things sorted out. So we are back to normal and getting ready for the year ahead. I'm excited about this year and what it will bring. I hope it brings:
  • Good health for all my loved ones
  • Weight loss
  • Continued employment
  • A trip home to England
  • A great start for Jack in Kindergarten
  • and of course a fun 2nd birthday party for Danny in 4 weeks time.

3 Month Catch-up

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