Friday, January 30, 2015

Danny at Six

My Boy
My darling Daniel.  He loves Minecraft, WWE, his trampoline, and spraying whipped cream straight from the can into his mouth. He loves our cat Bart and just this week scooped him up and kissed him when he thought no one was watching.

He's incredibly bright, bringing home report cards crammed full of excellent grades, which is all his own doing. I can't take credit for any of that. He's perceptive, headstrong, guarded, shy, loving and funny. So funny, with the most infectious laugh.

We still knock heads a lot. Me wanting to make him do things and him refusing. Things like homework, eating, getting dressed, and doing something "new".  His stubbornness is not born out of a desire to be obstinate or cheeky, it's born out of fear, or a real desire to be comfortable. He's very picky about the texture of his clothes and food for example. He's so unwavering about these things that I'm beginning to think he might never eat an egg, even though I've tried bribing him with money.

On the bench with his coach
He loves to play basketball but he doesn't like the games. They are fast-paced and there's lots of rules and buzzers going off and parents shouting (don't get me started on that topic). For someone like Danny, who doesn't like noise and chaos, it's unpleasant to say the least. At the game two weeks ago he left the court crying and refused to play. Last week I made him go and was getting ready to have our usual clash when a good friend of mine, Michelle, whispered to him " how about you just sit on the bench and cheer for your team and we'll sit by you?"  And he did, and he enjoyed himself.  When they won he celebrated with them and he smiled all day. She's right when she told me that the most important thing about kids and sports is that they enjoy it. I have to remember that.

Kindness is one of his most defining traits. If another child wants a toy he'll give it to them, even if he's playing with it, and he hates to see other people upset. During his birthday party, when he opened his presents, he would not just thank each child but he would run up and hug them and show absolute delight. One of the kids went home and told his mum that he thought Daniel's reactions to each of his presents was lovely. I agree, it was wonderful to see him do that, unprompted by me I may add.

He's also mischievous. The term cheeky monkey springs to mind. He spends his time making science projects in the bathroom, hiding things away and drawing on things he shouldn't draw on. He's the kid that's always up to something and you worry when you can't hear him. I have a sneaking suspicion that I was the same at his age.

He's still very tall and strong. He's about an inch taller than Jack was at six. Already Craig and I are mixing up their clothes so it's not unusual to find Jack lying on his floor in the mornings,  struggling to put on a pair of jeans that actually belong to his brother.

Lastly, I'm looking forward to taking him back to England this year to meet his family because I know he will love it. One of the only things that makes me sad in life is that my boys are not surrounded by their wonderful and loving English families. It's the price we've paid for being here, and I don't regret anything, but it will be so nice to see him enjoy that this summer.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Daniel's 6th (in pictures)

There's so much I want to say but I'm so tired my knees are aching. Daniel, I believe, just had the best 24 hours of his life with friends, celebrating his birthday. So I'm going to post a load of pictures today and write my letter to him tomorrow.  And after entertaining 9 kids for 24 hours I'm going to do 2 things:  (1) drink a large glass of wine (2) nothing.

I have to say that getting phone calls and presents from grandparents and family and friends in England meant a lot to him, so thank you. And also, one of the highlights of his day was that he got to Facetime Linda. That was awesome.

Minecraft cake, of course

Minecraft food
With his two best friends

Getting a Minecraft Diamond Sword from his brother
Sticky hands were a hit 


Friday, January 23, 2015

A Picture I Like

I Googled "how to look your best in a photograph" and I think it helped. Finally a picture of me I like. The secrets? Wear dark clothes that are not baggy or bulky, hands on hips, away from body, and chin up.
Oh, and stand next to something awesome.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Minecraft Quilt

The Minecraft quilt is finished! It has 122 squares and a bright green flannel backing with black polka-dot binding. It's about 45" x 60".

I cheated when I made the creeper's face, by just laying out the 5" fabric squares on a section of interface and ironing them on, then sowing the back hems. I did that to make sure all the squares on the face lined up exactly, since (if you look closely) you'll see that I don't do a great job of lining up the squares.

I'd really like to give this quilt as a gift to a young family member, if I can persuade my boys to let it go. My plan is to make a quilt for each of the young children in my family in England, since I do a terrible job of sending them regular gifts (though in my defense there's lots of them).

National Champs, Denver & a 5K Challenge

The Buckeyes beat Oregon 42-20 in the national championship and it was ohhhhhhh so good! Eric came over so we watched and celebrated together. What a great night for the Buckeyes.

Celebrate good times come on!

The next morning I went to Denver, Colorado for a work conference and was gone 5 days (yes, was nursing a hangover).  It was a great conference and I love seeing friends but of course I missed the family. Each night Craig would FaceTime me and the kids would take me to their room with them before bed and whisper to me about their day. I would blow kisses and say goodnight to them. It was awesome and one of the nicest, most loving things Craig did for me that week.

View from my hotel room in Denver

Shenanigans on 16th Street with my British  buddies
During the conference my friends Sun and Christi took me out to Golden to see their athletic field complex (they won an award for it - woohoo!) and they also took me to see Red Rocks.

The "Sleeping Indian" -  backdrop to their athletic fields

Red Rocks. On my bucket list to see a concert there.

With Sun & Christi

It was so nice to get home on Saturday and then have a long weekend off from work (It's MLK Day today). I've played with the boys and we've got the bikes back out. Today I walked 3 miles as I'm training for a 5K in April. This is my year to get healthy. I'm feeling committed!!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Football & Basketball

The Buckeyes are going to the National Championship Game on January 13th. I remember when they won the title in 2002 and can hardly believe that we have the chance again. In 2002 we went to a bar called Miani's on campus with some fiends and we watched the whole thing there, including the 3 overtimes. When the whistle blew the whole bar erupted and people were in their cars and in the streets honking horns and shouting, it was such a great night. The bar lost Internet so I had to go back the day after to close my bar tab out and I was rather sheepish as Craig had got mad at one of the bouncers the night before. So Monday night we will watch with friends at our house and no doubt I'll lose my voice again.

Buckeyes are going to the national championship! 
I like watching basketball. There I've said it. I thought it would be as excruciatingly boring as baseball but it turns out that it's quite fun watching my boys play. I like it. Not a clue what's going on but baby steps, hey.

Basketball Dudes

Ohio's State's National Championship trailer. Gives me goosebumps.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

First Snow Day

The kids had one day back at school and then a snow day today. I know it's fun for them but I really needed to work so spent the day sat at my computer pretty much ignoring them. They got to play at a neighbor's house and I did take them sledding for an hour, so there's that. Hopefully they are back in school tomorrow.

The first time Jack helped a neighbor. He got a nice $5 for his effort

Monday, January 05, 2015

My Cousin Kay

My first cousin Kay came to visit this past weekend. We haven't seen each other in 25 years but you wouldn't have known it. When we met at the airport we both cried and hugged hard. We did the same when I dropped her back at the airport this morning. Our personalities and the parallels of our lives are amazing.

She's the same age as me and her daughter Megan, who is 26, shares the same birthday as my son Daniel.  How funny that she had her child at 20 and I had mine at 40.

Megan had HSP when she was 4 years old, just like my Jack did. It's funny that such a rare disease that supposedly isn't genetic happened to both of our children.

Her older sister is the same age as my older sister.

We are both Travelling Wilburys and both fascinated in history and reading.

An immediate hit with the boys

She was brought up in London and I was brought up in the north of England so our paths did not cross very much when we were kids. She was very close to our paternal grandparents, not just in proximity but in day to day life. I barely remember my Nana and don't remember my Grandad at all. She told me lots of stories and described their house and personalities. It was lovely to hear. Grandad was brought up in an orphanage and had a fascinating life, which included being sent to work in Canada when he was 14.

So we had lots to talk about but we also just got along and had a laugh. She's a brilliant diving instructor in Tulum in Mexico but already looking to move on and live in the Philippines by summer. What a life of adventure she lives. I'm sad to see her go.

3 Month Catch-up

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