Monday, April 29, 2013

Quality Time with the Lads

A friend posted on Facebook today that she had spent the whole day doing "nothing". I haven't had a day like that since 1998 when I used to go to the parachute center with Craig and he'd jump and I'd sleep in and then hang around in the caravan or cafe until he was ready to go home. I'd stopped jumping at that point but enjoyed going with him.

Then we came to the states in '99 and I haven't had a down-day since. Seriously I haven't. I'm a bit of a maniac actually. I can't stop. Can't brush my teeth without cleaning the sink and I can't walk from one room to another without picking up, moving, tidying, as I go.

What I have to do is stop volunteering because it's affecting my kids. As a working mum I only have nights and weekends with the boys but I seem to have them filled up with volunteer stuff all the time in their name.  Here's a classic example - On Saturday there was a big fete at Jack's school. It's a fabulous and fun thing with games and prizes and all the stuff of great memories. I decided to do a game so spent 2 out of the 3 hours of the event manning it (Craig and my lovely friend Maureen gave me a break). Last year I didn't take a break at all and never saw my kids.  Anyway, this year I had a "what the hell am I doing?" moment on Saturday as I was telling Daniel to stop pestering and let mummy do her job and I realized I was telling my boy to go away because I was entertaining other people's children. It was a moment I won't forget.

So I'll continue to help out, but from now on I will not be doing it at the expense of my kids. Nobody else does so why am I the fool?

Another thing I'm thinking of doing is getting Facebook off my phone. I'll admit I'm a Facebook fanatic. There's obviously a trend here hey - I don't do anything half-hearted!

I just need to spend more quality time with my kids. Filling their time with stuff is not quality time.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Today was a big event at Jack's school and as always it was fun. Me and Craig made a coconut shy and it went down great guns. At first the kids were saying "what do I do with a coconut?" and then they all started getting competitive about it and they all wanted one. We ran out in the first 40 minutes so must plan better next year.

Jack and Danny in the science room making a lava lamp

Afterwards we went to a friend's house who has 3 boys and they played baseball and pickle. The smaller kids had their face painted. Mums drank a glass of wine and had a laugh.

Backyard baseball
Painted Ninja
Tomorrow it's a school event at Danny's school. This week has been a bonkers ride of school events, the last week of class for me and and kid's sports. Next week it'll ease up a bit.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ending on a Good Note

What a crazy week of news.

The Boston bombs, the Texas explosion, the senate squashing background checks on guns and a local teacher in my neighbourhood got fired after 19 years of teaching because the diocese got a complaint about her being gay. It seemed like it was bad news after bad news. Such negativity that it really made me feel bad.
It was particularly harrowing to see those graphic pictures from Boston of victims with limbs blown off and then to see this picture. The victim and the perpetrator and the bomb, all in the same shot. It is such a heartbreaking picture and I wish I could reach in to it and grab that little boy to safety. My heart aches for him and his parents.

But tonight they caught the second bomber. They just announced it and it feels a bit better that he's caught because maybe we'll get some answers now. I've also seen pictures today of victims in hospital that are okay and healing and getting visits by film stars like Bradley Cooper. They are healing I hope.

And tomorrow we have soccer and two birthday parties and I have to make a coconut shy. Don't ask.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Super Weekend

I wish weekends were longer. On Friday nights I feel like this whole expanse of time stretches before me and then now I sit, wondering where all the time went.
It was a weekend of soccer games, parkour, tang soo do, gardening, housework, and all the usual stuff.
Jack's first soccer game of the season
The weekend did bring 4 new experiences for me however.

On Saturday night we drove out of town to a state park to see if we could see the Northern Lights because they were supposed to be visible in Ohio. No such luck! We did go with my friend Michelle and her two kids though and had a terrific time. We caught up with each other (haven't seen each other in a while) and then we all told ghost stories. The kid's ghost stories were so terrible and so long that you couldn't help but love them. So it was a good night, even if we didn't get to see Aurora borealis.

We started watching "Sons of Anarchy" and are nearly at the end of season 2 (there's 5 seasons so far). It took me a while but now I'm really into it.  But now Craig wants a Harley!

Then this morning at 10am I took Daniel to his pre-school friend Asher's house for a play date. This was Daniel's first play date on his own without Jack. Just him and his friend in a new house with new parents he doesn't know.  He made me promise to stay with him which of course I did, and then he just flourished. He and Asher get on so well. Asher is 3 and I expected them to play next to each other but they actually interacted with each other and told us all at least twice "we are the best friends ever in the whole high world!" Very cute. I really liked Asher's parents too. so I'll be hosting the next one.

Lastly, tonight several families on my street met and had a picnic at our local park. We took food and sidewalk chalk and games for the kids and we all snook beer and wine in cups (how naughty!) The kids all played and all the adults sat and had a laugh. It was fantastic. I love the fact that my kids are old enough now that I don't have to be one step behind them all the time and watching their every move. And I love my neighbours. I now have 3 families within a stones throw of my house with kids the same age as mine. I feel very lucky right now.

Reasons to love our neighbourhood (taken by Erika)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Brave old Girl

An old friend tagged me in this picture today on Facebook.

What a brave soul I was and I remember the day clearly. I was really in to bungee jumping and drove all the way from Preston to some pub miles away that the bungee company I liked was at. I took several students with me and my friend Wayne and my boss Martyn (both of them jumped!) A work colleague Kevin and his wife also came and jumped - he took the picture and tagged me.

I did 3 jumps that day - forward, backward (this one) and a tandem with Kevin.

What a brave girl I was.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Highly Sensitive Child

Those of you that read this blog know that since my youngest was born he's had a unique personality. Over the years, actually, he's been a happy kid, comfortable with himself. It's me that's been going nuts about it all.  I know that its not autism or aspergers or anything on that spectrum because I work with a man who's kids have autism and we once spent the summer with an aspergers kid. It's not OCD or ADD either. I know because I analyse stuff to death so I've been reading and investigating and trying to figure it out this whole time. My postings over the years have documented rantings and ravings from both him and me!

In desperation I booked him in to be evaluated by the school district this summer but it didn't sit well with me or Craig, for a couple of reasons. First of all, we felt that they wouldn't find anything helpful because his personality is so intricate, and also there's no way on earth he would cooperate with them. And we also didn't want something going on his record and following him for the rest of his life. Call me paranoid but I think that happens.

Anyway, last week I posted about our trip to Fort Rapids where he put his hands over his ears and cried at the noise. Then on Monday a friend came to see me at work (who reads my blog) and she told me that she had read that part of the posting and instantly recognised what it was about Danny! She told me to get a book called  "The Highly Sensitive Child", which I did.

I'm only about 1/3 through the book but at the risk of sounding really cheesy and fake I have to say that a light switch has been TURNED ON! I'm serious. This book has completely hit the nail on the head. After I return it to the library I will buy it because it will help us not just while he's a kid but right into the teenage years.

My first learning from this book? His personality is normal. In fact, 15-20% of kids are the same. AND he will grow to be one of the good ones - he will care about people and animals.    I will post a lot more about it when I've read the full book because I have a lot to say about this but I want to be clear what I write.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Sunday, April 07, 2013

A Good Ending

Today started a bit crap. I had to bow out of my Sunday morning walk again because of my foot and I didn't get a response from my walking buddy so I hope she understands. I love walking and I really enjoy her company but my foot is just not better yet.

Then I cleaned for FIVE HOURS. I ignored phone calls, electronics, and even my children and actually the world in general. I cleaned like someone who hasn't cleaned properly in weeks (that's me) and works full-time (that's me) and hates cleaning (that's me).  By 4pm I was red, sweaty, covered in nasty stuff from cleaning out the hoover bag and had a spiteful headache.

So anyway, I took some pain pills, had a shower and got ready to host my dear friend Maureen and her daughter Erin who's visiting from Seattle. We had such a great time. Craig had cooked the most wonderful smoked pork and ribs in the smoker and it was a gorgeous night to sit outside. They set off for Tennessee tomorrow for a mother-daughter road trip.

Maureen & Erin

Saturday, April 06, 2013

A Sunny Day and a Mower

I have a new neighbor Erika, who is a professional photographer. She's also bubbly, funny and likes a beer so we might be a lethal combination. Anyway, I hung out with her and another friend yesterday so that all of our kids could blow off some steam and enjoy the sunshine. We haven't had too many sunny days yet this year. Another dear friend was working and couldn't be there (we missed you woman).

Anyway, here's a couple of shots Erika took. The second one she took with her iPhone. I took the same picture with my iPhone and mine came out terrible! Guess that's why I'm not a photographer, huh.


Icy pops and trampoline

Last night we went to get our new toy - a ride on mower! I'm so excited about it. No more huffing and puffing, pushing an old pedestrian mower up and down my garden in 90 degree weather!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Spring Break

It's "Spring Break" in the USA this week - Easter week in England? I know I always had the week after Easter off school but I can't remember what it was called. I'm getting senile.

Craig and I took Wednesday off work to take the boys to a local indoor water park. I had a groupon so of course had a little hassle at the door (why is that always the case?) but then we had a good time. I wouldn't go again though. Danny hated the noise of people screaming and water rushing. At one point he covered his ears and cried.  And there was no pool so no actual swimming - just play stuff and slides -  so Jack wasn't happy as he wanted to swim and dive.

And somebody stole our chair. The bastards. We searched and found 4 cheap black plastic chairs that were not being used and we set them all together with a little table and we covered them in towels and bags etc.  Like you do at these places. You all respect each other's space right? Especially if you have claimed your space with towels and bags. So we go back to our chairs for lunch and one chair is missing. I look around and I see it. Everyone around us has the normal posh brown sun lounger chairs except one family, with 6 kids, that has one cheap black chair. I glare at the dad who takes no notice, then I sat for 5 minutes and ranted to Craig. He was the calm one - what does it matter he said? Really?  I said, "I want to knock that thieving no manners bastard's teeth out"  Of course I didn't.  But it's still bothering me. People with no manners bother me to death.  And the locker rooms were foul and stinky. I'm sure the kids loved it at the place but I'm too fussy now for filthy stuff. So it's a 2 out of 5 stars then for Fort Rapids. Friends have told me that Kalahari is a 5.

I was at work again today but tomorrow I'm off  with the lads. I can't wait. It's more my style - a low key day that will end in messing about at a local park and in our garden trampolining. But I am going to take both boys with me in the morning to a tattoo parlour. More on that later I guess!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Easter & April Fools

Yesterday was Easter but also an extension of my birthday weekend. We did the Easter basket thing with the boys but we didn't go to church. We don't go to church but we live a good life and we are bringing our boys up with values. Enough said I think.

They got soooo much chocolate from England that we just gave them little gifts like bubbles and playdoh. In no time at all the playdoh was out and smeared all over my front room. Little balls of it squished into my cream carpet. No one to blame but myself hey.

After speaking to family in England we took the boys to the zoo. It was tremendous. Not a soul was there! Other than a few stragglers we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. We fed the stingrays and visited with the gorillas and hung out with the kangaroos. It was great.

Then last night of course it was a telly extravaganza! Call the Midwife, Game of Thrones and the last episode of The Walking Dead. We got the boys in our room watching cartoons and we sat glued for 3 hours. Every time one of the boys came out to ask for food/water/toys/trouble we threatened them with loss of Easter chocolate, shook our fists at them and did the scary parent stare. Seemed to work anyway.

This morning:  OH. MY. GOD. I think it was one of the worst times I've ever had on a Monday morning. This is what happened:

  • I woke up late to a message from my sister saying my mum was in hospital. Rang my step-dad Tom then rang my sister Jenny back. Thank God my mum is ok and back home now.
  • The kitchen was a disaster - full dishwasher, full sink of pots, crap everywhere. The kind of thing that gives you high blood pressure. 
  • Dog Ben had pooped in the living room & had diarrhea everywhere. It has not stopped yet. 
  • I realised I had no bread to make sandwiches for kid's lunches, so sent them to their babysitter with a can of ravioli each and a brown banana. Not a proud parenting moment at all.
  • Ben jumped the fence and ran. Thankfully he came back.
  • Coco refused to come back in the house until I ran around the back garden screaming like a banshee and cursing like a sailor. I will not be surprised if I  have been uninvited from the neighbours party this weekend. 
  • Had to wrestle Jack's bike into the back of my new car.

Finally....... I sat in the drivers seat of my car, sweating, heart about to have a stroke and Jack said in a whiny voice "The iPad is not chaaaaaarged". Well you can imagine my reaction. Actually you probably can't so I'll describe it:  I swore a lot and I shouted a lot. Both boys sat in stunned silence for the duration of the trip to Linda's. I feel so bad that they bore the brunt of the terrible time I'd had but they need to be more thoughtful and not ask me about mundane nonsense when they can see how manic I am in the mornings. I don't think it's a bad lesson to learn. Probably should have curbed my swearing a bit though!

3 Month Catch-up

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