Thursday, January 28, 2016

Danny at Seven

Our Danny boy is seven. I asked Craig what defines him and he said "he knows who he is and he won't do anything he doesn't want to do".  I'd agree with that.  I love that about him mostly, except when I'm trying to make him eat, or dress, and do something. Let's be honest, he's a stubborn bugger.

But ohhhhhh do we ever love him. His personality is so unique and funny. He'll entertain himself for hours playing imaginatively. And he has a good soul. Loves his brother, his family and his friends. And he doesn't have an enemy on this planet.  At an age where most kids have spats at school, this boy has never had one.

As I look at previous birthday posts I have to say that he's who he's always been, but also more. His confidence is building. He ZIP-LINED last year! And played soccer and went to summer camp and made new friends. I used to be so worried about my highly sensitive boy, but his confidence is blowing me away. As Craig said, he's confident that he knows who he is.

Happy Birthday my darling boy. I'm so proud of you. You are funny, intelligent and you are a good friend to all around you. My wish for you, for 2016, is that you continue doing what you're doing. And eat eggs. I'll give you fifty bucks if you'll eat an egg.

Finally neck-and-neck! Same height at 7. Danny has historically been taller. 

Woke up at 6.30 am  - Presents!!! 

You'll shoot your eye out

Look who got a selfie stick haha!


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Week in San Diego

I had a week away in San Diego last week for work, and not going to lie, it was sweet. The weather was warm and beautiful, I got to spend lots of good times with American and International friends and I learned a little.

The highlights? 

I've been asked to be an advisor to a big group of people I respect and attended their first meeting.

I saw lots of people I love in my industry, some I may never see again. Two in particular, who are old and frail, told me this was their last conference and it breaks my heart to think I won't see them again. One used to be the Field Manager at the Tennessee Titans but he needed my help to exit a taxi we shared and he told me he was "tired" and needed to step away from the conference. 

I took 6 students who with me who were, as usual,  amazing. Anyone who says young people aren't as good as we were "in our day" haven't spent enough time with young people. 

My partners in crime. The few I always party with and love to see. It resulted in 3am bedtime each morning, even when I had to be up at 6am to work, but God we had fun. I laughed so hard each night my sides hurt and I went to bed smiling. 
The only low point?

Missing Craig and the boys. But we Face-timed every day and talked several times a day. And actually, Craig and I had the best conversation we've had in years on FaceTime.   I should go away more often. :)

My lads put a snake in my suitcase. 


At The Top Gun Bar

I'm the only woman. Maybe I should be more assertive? #wimpypeeker

That's better!

View from my room

The journey home. The American south west = BEAUTIFUL, even at 30,000 ft. 

But not as beautiful as Ohio. Flat, snowy, and HOME. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Attempting a 365 Project

My friend & neighbor Erika is a birth photographer and very kindly showed me how to actually use my camera this week. I own a Nikon 5100 and it has great capabilities but I have no idea how to work the damn thing. So she's given me some pointers to get started. I thought I might try a 365 project, where you take a photo every day for a year, but let's just see how I do. I'm not going to take anything on that adds stress to my life.

Here's some pictures I took of our human & animal kids. I took about 200 and these were the best. It's going to be a big learning curve!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Christmas 2015 - 1 Second a Day

If you are really astute you might notice that I skipped a few days and that it runs from November 27th to January 13th. Sorry if that gives you a twitch.


It was hard saying goodbye to Dennis on Monday, as it always is when an English visitor leaves. That sick feeling never gets any better with each visit.

I hope he had a good time, though I'm afraid we weren't very exciting. Craig did manage to get him to Mansfield Reformatory (old prison where the Shawshank Redemption was filmed) and took him shooting but that was about the extent of his visit. We didn't do a big road trip or do anything crazy.  But then it was Christmas and we have 2 young kids and last year we were tapped out after spending crazy money on my car and the trip to England.

Taken by Erika
But he did have a little fling, a little extra special friendship with one of my friends, Jackie, and I think that gave him a little bit of extra sparkle over his holiday. I hope they keep in touch.

Dennis & Jackie

I thought after having Siobhan living with us for 5 months, then Den for 5 weeks that I would feel happy to have my house back to just us, but it feels weird. I feel like an empty nester. I haven't even really been down to the lower floor since he left as it feels empty and cold. Time will help, I know it will.

New Year's Eve & Resolutions

We decided to host a New Year's Eve party, which is something we haven't done in years. In true Pamela style I couldn't decide who not to invite, so pretty much invited the Brits, my neighbors & PTA ladies, plus a few close friends. Turned into a party for about 60 people and 17 kids, which sounds like too much but it wasn't. We made it work, people found little corners of space or hung out on my porch or just enjoyed each other's company in the crowded kitchen.
We laughed A LOT and we drank A LOT.
We rang in the New Year with kisses and clanking glasses and then we laughed some more. I've had a few messages from people after the fact saying how much they loved it. Us too.

Gina & Josephine
Lynn & Fred
Matt & Rosalie
Ann Marie & Charley
Bobby, Jan & Dave
Heather & Erika
PTA ladies!
Dennis & Jackie
Bobby, Dave, me & Angee
Motley crew
Cheeky monkeys
One last selfie
Danny & Bella getting in on the selfie action
Jan & Danny the next day
So a great night then with just a couple of regrets; that I didn't clear away the food before I went to bed (screw it!) only to find the cats had had a feast and spread shrimp tails all over my kitchen floor, and that Eric wasn't there. He'd have loved it and would have been the last to leave. 


Lastly, on to my resolutions for 2016.  
I went to a local bar with Erika and we each documented our resolutions on each other's phone, so I have hers and she has mine.  In 11.5 months time we'll go back to the bar and see how well we fared. 
My list is as follows: Lose 50 lbs, only drink when necessary (see what I did there?), do more for family & close friends, have more baths, and say no and not feel guilty about it.  I do believe that last sentence said something more like "tell more people to go f*** themselves", but in the cold light of day that might come across as a bit unfriendly. 
That's a doable list I think.

3 Month Catch-up

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