Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jack's Kindergarten Graduation

Today was Jack's kindergarten graduation. This morning as he was sat on the loo he said "Mum, I've waited for this day all week!" then he looked serious and said "But I haven't waited all week to leave Mrs C" (his beloved teacher). And I thought oh lordy, I'm going to cry at this ceremony. Thankfully my friend's mum had tissues.

Singing & dancing before the ceremony

A little nervous

With Mrs C.

Celebrating with his best friend

Ice cream treat after
I had to go back to work after and got home at 8pm, knackered. But it was also my last class until the Autumn so it's a big day for both of us. While I was working Craig went and bought Jack an inflatable shark, then took both boys swimming and then to the local park. So he's on his chin-strap too. But what a fab day.

So there you are, let the summer fun for my boys begin! But Ohhhh we wish we could be summer stay-at-home parents.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Cracking Memorial Weekend

It's been a fabulous long weekend. We didn't do anything to commemorate veterans (looking guilty) like going to a parade, but I did think about them and we did talk with the boys about what the day off is for.

What we did do is swim swim swim! God I love the fact that we are members at the local pool. My cleavage might be sun burnt to hell but I've had a cracking time there. The boys also loved it and they are already better at swimming than they were last Friday! Jack conquered the diving board and this afternoon did some kind of crazy corkscrew move when he jumped off it. Thankfully he didn't do a big belly flop (loads of kids did) as all of us parents were stood on the side of the pool cringing and hiding behind our hands.

Daniel summing up how much we all love the pool
This morning Jack made a lemonade stand and charged a quarter for a drink. I was so happy that a few people (thank you neighbours!) stopped by and bought one from him. He made about $5 that he's going to give to our local charity. He didn't do it for the money - he did it because he loves to do that kind of thing. He's a showman and he loves to chat to people.  I did exactly the same kind of things as a kid. Genetics are amazing aren't they.

Get your lemonade!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Craig & Buster

Craig and I had a date night tonight and went to a boxing match. It was awesome, as we say in the USA, (notice that I said "we" and not "they".  I think after 13 years of living here that its time to be a "we"). Anyway, we got to chat with loads of people who also didn't know too much (we love boxing but this was our first live match) and we laughed, we got a bit tipsy and we cheered for all our Columbus fighters.  The big fight of the night was a featherweight title fight that the lad from Ohio won- woo hoo!

Just before the title fight they brought Buster Douglas into the ring and then he went and sat at the other side of the arena. I know that my husband Craig would LOVE to meet him  and  I could see where he was sat so I grabbed Craig by the arm and we ran around the stadium to his seat and met him.  Seize the moment right!

So here's my hubby with one of his idols. He's convinced that he could take him on,  based on his fist size and he says his forearm is much larger.

A 40-sec video of Buster knocking out Tyson. The stuff of legends!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Talent Show!

This afternoon it was Jack's school talent show (remember, he & his friend are magicians). He wasn't allowed to go to the middle school to perform this morning as magic is a bit hard to hear or see on a big stage, so he was part of the second show at his school this afternoon. When I was at work this morning I got a text from my friend Heather telling me about the middle school performance as her son was doing his fabulous act. She said "Bring tissues". I'm glad she told me that because yes I needed them.

I know I've said this before but I'll say it again.  I LOVE Jack's school. 50% of the population are orthopedically impaired kids in wheelchairs or kids with other difficulties. 25% are lottery kids and 25% are neighbourhood kids. So it's a big mix of kids from all walks of life and all abilities and I just love it.

So anyway, here's Jack &  his friends magic performance. I shrunk this video down to just 54 seconds. I think my boy Jack and his two friends did great, don't you! I know you have no idea what the card trick is about but you get the gist......

After the magic performance they had kids come up and do all kinds of great stuff. I sat there and thought  Every single person on this planet needs to witness this - to sit for one hour and watch kids of all abilities put on a talent show.

Kids were singing a cappella, dancing in pop groups, playing guitar & violin, Irish dancing, break dancing, being Michael Jackson, hula-hooping, and telling jokes.  It was just great.  Towards the end four kids came out in wheelchairs and sang Dynamite (by Taio Cruz)  and everyone swayed their hands in the air and cheered and yes I lost it (so did everyone else I may add!) But it was a happy kind of "lost it" because the kids were just having a fabulous time.  It didn't help that I was sat right opposite the Principal and she's retiring this year after 30 years there. She loves these kids and all it took was a quick glance at her face during a performance and I'd be in bits.  I ended up doing my best to avoid eye contact with her just to be safe.


Well done you lot!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Today is not the day

It's been 2 months almost to the day when we found out that our dog Cody had cancer. The vet said he had about two months left to live because mouth cancer is quick and the prognosis is horrible.

But today is a VERY good day. And here is he, wagging his tail.

The last few days have not been good at all and we've been cleaning up a lot of diarrhea with blood and he's been lethargic and just fed-up. This morning as I was tickling his ears he looked at me and I thought he was telling me "okay mum, I've had enough". I texted Craig and just said "I think it's time. Please call the vet", which he did. All day I've been trying not to think about the appointment tonight but several times it got so bad I had to close my office door. What a horrible thing to have to make a decision like that when you love your dog so much.

But then Craig and I took him on a big walk down by the stream after work and he seemed to perk-up. He was drinking lots of water but biting at it, rather than licking it (his tongue has the cancer). It suddenly dawned on us that we haven't seen him drinking too much the last two days. Maybe he can't get water out of the little bowl in the kitchen because of his tongue? Anyway, by the time we got him to the vet he was wagging his tail again and looked much happier.

They tested him and he does have some pretty nasty bacteria that's making him have diarrhea so he's on meds for that and some antibiotics to kill off infection. Tonight he's like a different dog as you can see by the picture. He also has a humongous red bowl of water sat by his feet.

As I type he's laying on my foot like he always does, instead of lying on his own in another room like he's done the last few nights. I'm not prolonging my boy's life to suit me. I swear that Craig and I are doing our best by him. He's happy right now eating and enjoying sitting in the garden watching birds. He loved our walk tonight and most importantly, his tail is up & wagging. I hope I have many more months with him but my heart tells me it might be just one.

But anyway. Today turned out to be a great day after all. And thank you to Linda and Heather for being there for us and taking care of the kids while we took Cody to the vet. It meant a lot.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Looks like We Made it!

Loving the splash pad
We made the decision this year to buy a membership to a local outdoor pool complex. It was fairly expensive ($380) but we ducked out of other things for this year, like zoo membership. I love this pool complex as it has lots of pools and slides and nice sitting and eating areas, including a cheap little cafe.

For years we've done the free outdoor pool in town but good grief it's rough. Each week we'd encounter something crazy, like grown adults stealing Danny's toys, or homeless people having a wash in the pool. The two most hideous things we encountered was a kid vomiting in the pool last summer (I can NEVER get in again) and once we had to leave and push our way through an angry family that was gathered outside and were being refused access and they were shouting racist and really offensive stuff in front of my kids. We took all this in our stride - how can we not when we are from working class backgrounds,  and we had a policy to come home wet (the restrooms were vile) but I'm glad we are done with that place, for now at least.

So today I took Danny to the pool complex because they opened the splash pad. The main pools open Memorial weekend - next weekend. He loved it as you can see and cried when we left!  What struck me though was that I felt like we've finally made it. Never once in my life have I splashed out on such non-essential luxury. To be a member of this pool complex makes me feel incredibly lucky and almost like a fraud. At any moment I was expecting someone to come up and tell me that there had been a mistake with my membership. It was a wonderful feeling and I hope I didn't just jinx it. Silly isn't it. I'm a 43 year old professional woman but I still feel like the girl who worked at a beetroot packing factory in my summer holidays for pocket money.

There is of course one disadvantage of moving up in the pool complex world. At the old place the fact that I only had two tattoos, all my own teeth and children that I actually played with made me look like Supermummy. At this new place I'll be mingling with the beautiful & distant Abercrombie & Fitch crowd. Please Lord don't let Danny kick anyone in the goolies or poop on the splash pad!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Day at the Madhouse

That was a day for the record I can tell you!
 I took the boys to t-ball practice this morning at 8am (that's never going to become routine for me) and didn't sit my arse down till 10pm! T-ball was fun and I got to see my friend for a chin-wag but then I had to race back and get Craig as Jack had his last soccer game of the season at 9.30am.
Thumbs up - just scored a goal!
He scored a goal and saved a goal! I was so  proud of him and I can't believe how much better he is at soccer,  even than last fall. We are sad to say goodbye to his lovely and cool coach Andy but I'm excited for the fall soccer season because we have signed him up with his friends from school on the same team.

After soccer we ran over to get our car cleaned by the kids of a friend who were raising money for their baseball team, THEN  I took Jack to a clinic because he had been up the night before with ear-ache. I thought the Doc would say a mild ear infection but no, he has strep throat again, a horrid ear infection and then he got a fever.  He was crying at the clinic and just terrified when she put the drops in his ears to numb the pain. They've given him stronger medicine than standard antibiotics this time and I got a telling off for not going to see my doctor because I think I have strep too but haven't been to a doctor (no time - like all mums!). As soon as she told me that strep can get into your heart and destroy valves I made a mental note to call my doctors at 8am on Monday!

After the clinic I had to go to a supermarket pharmacy to get the medicine. Let me set the scene. I have a distraught child sat in my shopping trolley, wearing a medical wrist band and with cotton wool balls in his ears. He is so exhausted at this point he is leaning his head against the cart bars and he has bloodshot eyes. I am exhausted too and dying for the loo. And the lady in front of me was trying to have an in-depth conversation with the pharmacist about all her her ailments. After 10 minutes I wanted to whack her over the head with a bread stick.  Another assistant at the counter saw my face and called me over to pick up the medicine and pay. I think she could read my mind and was worried my head might explode. The annoying lady continued to prattle on long after I'd left I'm sure.  Craig is more charitable than I am and suggested she might not get to talk to many people in life. I'm still not against giving her the bread stick treatment if I see her in the supermarket anytime soon.

When we got home Jack laid on the couch and looked dreadful so I took his temp again and he had a 101 fever. At this point I checked in on Danny who was having a nap and OH MY GOD he had made a mess. He had stuck his hands down in there and smeared the contents all over the cream carpet and bedroom furniture. At this point I nearly cried. So while I had a poorly child on the couch I spent 30 minutes hand-scrubbing poo out of carpet and bleaching  & bisseling the room. It was awful. Craig at the same time had him in the bath scrubbing his nails (why oh why can't you buy nail brushes in the USA? Doesn't anyone have dirty fingernails? Every bathroom in England has a nailbrush in it). I am still in shock that he did it. I thought he was way beyond doing stuff like that now. *sigh*

It's a good job he's cute

So there you are. What a bonkers day. Craig was a trooper and went out to get dinner and a nailbrush. And he put the boys to bed and helped put drops in Jack's ear which was a traumatic experience again. I am now officially drop-dead tired and after a little mummy juice will be going to bed.  The good news is that Ben didn't do anything crazy today, other than jump the fence and chase strangers, dig a hole in the garden and chew the cat's toys.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

2 Little Triumphs!

Level 2 Passed!
Two achievement for the boys today!

Jack passed his level 2 swimming and Danny wore undies to school! Not to worry that there's only one more day of pre-school left for Danny. He wore undies to school! You have no idea how happy it makes me that he has finally decided to cooperate with potty training!

Time Flying By

One of the main reasons I love this blog is that I can go back and look at my kids' whole lives. From the moment that each of them was born (actually from the moment I was pregnant with Jack back in 95) I've been documenting their birthdays and funny moments and milestones. It's like having an online scrapbook of their lives, I love it. Sometimes I worry that Blogger will suddenly close down and I'll lose it all.

Craig has also got into a nostalgic mood this week and been sending me baby pictures of Jack that he's found on his PC. He also sent a side-view of a very pregnant Pam, looking the size of a small bungalow, but you don't need to be subjected to that.

Anyway, this is all leading to something. I found this video today and it actually made me cry a little bit. Jack was two and it feels like yesterday.  Time flies by.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fabulous Mothers Day

I had a great day today, starting with a lie-in and then a Craigy scrambler breakfast and lots of kisses and loving off the boys. They got me some lovely diamond and peridot earrings. I feel spoiled.

Anyway, I wanted to just do a quick post showing some pictures from the day, though I'm starting with a picture of Jack's first t-ball experience since I forgot to post one yesterday. The rest are of our walk around the Park of Roses and some shots of my garden today.

Jack's first t-ball practice (taken by Duane & Heather)

My sweet boy Danny

You'll shoot your eye out!

Danny & Jack, aka Hawkeye

My garden (east border)

Front border

Mmm, can't remember the name. Pretty though isn't it?

Front of my house

I found a rose "Queen Elizabeth" and it seems fitting for her Majesty's Jubilee year. I hope it lives!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Godzilla Versus Mary Poppins

The Boys
Well I made one child cry today and one child happy today (both not mine). Hopefully that cancels out, right?

The first was this morning at t-ball practice when a 6/7 yr old was throwing grass and soil in Danny's face & mouth and I ran over to them just as Danny started to really cry so I told the little bugger that it was not ok to do that and he ran and hid under a bush and cried hysterically. His mum came running over and asked him what was wrong and I thought she might come over and say something to me but she didn't.   I have rolled it around in my head a few times since and convinced myself that she would have done the same thing, had the roles been reversed.

But then today I also babysat for a friend's 4-year old boy and both he and my boys had their first sleep-over experience. They have loved it & are now asleep, so far so good (did I just jinx all 3 to wake up at 3am?)  It was an interesting dynamic to see a 3, 4 and 5 year old all together. Jack was definitely the leader and more mature and the one "in charge" and, thank God, the one you could reason with. The 4-year old was in a new house and wanted to explore.  My 3 year old, Danny, was his usual tyrannical self. It was alright, not too stressful and I feel really good about helping the mum out.

So there you are. One crying child then one happy child. I do hate that I made a child cry and feel mad at the mum for putting me in that position.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sadistic Weekend Practices

Well I'm glad that week's over.  It's Mothers Day weekend & the weather forecast looks fab, so it should be a good one. We have lots planned as usual!

Bonky Ben continues to make life interesting, including his newest hobby - digging holes in the garden. Not in the flower beds but in my turf.  What a nightmare. An interesting pet dynamic has surfaced though.  Our cat Tutz has always tried to be best friends with Cody but he completely ignores her. But now, if Ben tries to chase her or even goes near her, Cody snarls at him and protects her and Ben will run off. It's very sweet of Cody and I love him all the more for it. He's doing okay but did a weird thing tonight at the park where he kept trying to wee and couldn't and then kept trying to sit down. He's still eating and drinking like a champ though and not showing signs of distress so we'll just keep going.

My garden is also coming along great guns. At a plant sale today I picked up an Umbrella Magnolia  (native to Ohio) and some funky annuals, including black Petunias. Once I get it all planted I'll post some pictures.

Right then, time to unwind before bed because I have an early start tomorrow.  Jack's first t-ball (kiddie baseball) practice is at 8am. EIGHT AM!  I'd like to know which sadist thought that was a dandy idea so that I could poke them in the eye.

Monday, May 07, 2012

It's a Kind of Magic!

Jack has been practicing for his magic tricks. Here's a good one. The other two tricks need a bit of work but I think our little fella is doing a great job. I hope no one laughs or boos at him or there'll be trouble int' mill!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Date Night & The Avengers

It's been another bonkers crazy weekend in our house. Friday night & Saturday morning we had a big event at Jack's school and then he had a soccer game (he scored two goals! woo hoo!) and we signed him up for another year of soccer starting this fall. Saturday night we got a babysitter and went to an event held by a local public school support group then we went out for dinner and to a local pub. I am loving the date nights with Craig. It's been way too long in coming and it's making us reconnect and feel good about us again, rather than stressed out and not talking about anything other than kids. It is worth every penny we pay on babysitters.

Today I got up at ELEVEN a.m. (I love my husband) then did house & yard work. I also took Jack to see The Avengers which was a great film. We both loved it. It was scary and exciting and funny and a little sad, so had all the right ingredients.  At one point Jack was sat on my knee when Hulk was being really loud and we both jumped about a foot.  Talking of loud, the lady next to me didn't shut her trap through the whole thing. If she wasn't talking she was laughing really loud and just annoying as hell. She asked me if I was from Australia or New Zealand and when I said England she looked a little p'd off that she'd got it wrong.

Also today we got the pool out for the first time and I captured a little video...

Well we have a jam-packed week lined up, which consists of the following in addition to normal jobs:
  • Dressing Jack up in fancy dress each day for school (it's "decades of music" week)
  • Finishing up Jack's magician's costume and practicing his tricks prior to the auditions on Tuesday
  • Labelling 100 plants and giving them to staff at Jack's school (staff appreciation week) 
  • Helping cook breakfast for said staff one day 
  • Taking Jack to soccer practice and a game
  • Taking Jack to swimming lessons 
  • Teaching two night classes 
  • Helping neighbours with their Internet access (Craig's forte - not mine)
  • Taking Jack to his first t-ball practice
It all sounds exhausting doesn't it. Is it Friday yet?

Thursday, May 03, 2012

No Scouts for us

I just had a go at teachers (see below) and now I'm after the scouts. All I can say it's that it's been a hard day and I'm in a foul mood & maybe I'll be a bit more like Julie Andrews tomorrow.


When I was a kid in England I was a Brownie and a Girl Guide and I loved it. Craig was a Venture Scout and he also loved the whole thing - camping, hiking, orienteering and building fires without matches. Those kinds of cool, adventurous things. I had similar aspirations for my kids and have already been in contact with local cub scout leaders to get Jack signed up this year.  Then the news this week about a scout troop that told a gay mum that she had to leave got me very upset so I did a bit more investigation into the whole thing.  Turns out the scout oath prohibits anyone from joining who is atheist, agnostic or gay. Huh. Glad I know that. My kids will not be joining the scouts anytime soon. I feel really sad about this. I thought the scouts and guides were all about helping people, doing good and helping our kids become good citizens, not bigots.

Ben & Not the End

Please forget everything I said about Ben bringing joy, since he has brought nothing but grief in the last 10 hours. He chewed Daniel's very cool and trendy Adidas trainers, pooped in the basement and dismantled my slippers. Little bugger.

I'm so glad today is done. I've been outside for most of it, teaching in 90 degree, humid weather while I sweated like only an English woman in Ohio can. After tonight though I'll be full on busy with not a minute to spare until Sunday. More school events to help with.

Talking of school I'm going to have a tiny niggle about it. If any of you reading this are teachers please don't take offense and put me on a hit list but I have to say this.  For the past two weeks, Jack's school has been acting as if it's the end of the school year, when in fact they have a month left to go. When they started the whole count-down thing they had 8 weeks to go! There are daily count-down numbers on the school's office door and Jack told me they can't get any more books from the school library since it's the end. It isn't the end. There's a month to go.  And once we have ridden this last month of winding down and what feels like not starting anything new (why bother, it's the end!) it must be nice to have two whole months off work. I teach and I don't get 2 months off work in the summer. Well, like I said, I'll probably end up on a teacher's hit list for saying it but I'm just getting a bit irritated of the whole "woo-hoo it's the end!" thing.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Bringing Joy Always

Tonight I was messing about on YouTube and watched a video on "Korea's got Talent"  (or something like that)  of a young homeless boy who sang really well but had a horrific story to tell and it made me cry.

Then I looked to my right and saw this.  And how can you not laugh. God I love this dog .

Three of Daniel

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Getting Old & Grumpy

The older I get the more I don't want to do things.  Those emails that come in asking for help, or my opinion or just general info stuff at work gets immediately trashed. The local newspaper that gets delivered and tells me all about my community goes straight into the recycle and I avoid people and situations like the plague sometimes. Terrible isn't it.

The latest thing I don't want to do is befriend a mom from Jack's school because Jack and her son have decided that they want to be magicians together and try out for the talent show auditions next week. Under duress I am prepared to make Jack a costume and teach him a couple of tricks he can do from a stage. That alone is stressing me out. Now I have to deal with two kids and the mom?  It doesn't help that I only ever hear about this kid when he has (1) pulled Jack's band-aid off and poked him in his injury or (2) said mean things to him. That just brings out the mummy bear in me & gets my claws up.

Anyway, I have emailed said mother this evening and I'm hoping she won't respond. Maybe she's equally busy and horrified at making a new friend at the end of the school year, particularly when our kids aren't even good friends. Sometimes I wish our Jack didn't want to be every body's best friend.

More Dog Shenanigans

I should rename this blog "Life with our Mental Dog".

Yesterday evening while I was in the kitchen and the boys & dogs were in the back garden playing I heard a lady scream "arghh get away!", followed by Jack shouting "Ben, no!" and I looked out of the kitchen window to see that Ben had jumped the fence and was running full-pelt at some woman and her small dog. I ran as fast as I could out the front door and into the street to get him. The poor woman was shaking and told me she'd thrown water on him to stop him getting close. Ben was cowering under our tree in the front garden. Not sure if he was cowering from the water or from the murderous look on my face. I know he wouldn't have done anything to her other than run up and wag his tail but she didn't know that. If I had a big dog charging at me I'd crap my pants too. So he's in big trouble. AGAIN.

Craig wants to get an invisible fence and collar for him so that he gets zapped when he goes near the fence. Friends of ours used that system and they said it cured their dog of leaving their property pretty quick. It's just more cost and more hassle to deal with. Bloody nuisance hound. On the bright side he's been left out of his crate for 2 weeks now with only 1 minor incident so maybe we can take him off the Prozak. And we got a furminator brush so the mounds of black fur are more manageable.

Is it all worth it, I hear you ask. Well yes it is. When he crawls up on my knee each evening, puts his paws around my neck and snuggles up then all is forgiven. And what's not to love about a dog that goes into the boys room each morning, leans over their bed and licks them awake.

3 Month Catch-up

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