Wednesday, October 25, 2017

3 Month Catch-up

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

Jack's a middle-schooler and after a week of belly aches and high anxiety is doing great. He loves his teachers and got "Student of the Week". It's refreshing to hear him rave about school and talk excitedly about learning.  He is a Boy Scout now and got his Tenderfoot. He's earned 7% of the Eagle Scout. No pressure for him to keep going of course, but I have to admit I'd be devastated if he gave up. He's given up the cello, but plays soccer. Watching You Tube in his room is becoming more common. Damn it! I had a cunning plan not to let him have a TV in his room so he wouldn't be a teenage hermit, but these kids don't give a rats ass about TV. As long as they have access to You Tube & Netflix it's all good. I was the same as a teen - I'd spend hours in my room listening to Michael Jackson LPs and dancing like I thought I was a superstar. He's a tween & perfecting the eye rolls, back-chat and awkward humor in front of others. On more than one occasion I've had to furious whisper in his ear about being respectful to me in public or I'd kill him at home. But I keep telling myself - I DID THIS AND MUCH WORSE, LOL!

Danny is my little superstar. Good lord he's funny. Now a 3rd grader, he's full filling his role in our family as the peacekeeper, the one who'll make you laugh, the one who'll step back and say "you first" and mean it. And he's the best tickle-giver. But... he still won't eat anything good. He has a cavity in his tooth but we've had at least 3 visits to dentists that will go down in the annals of history as far as how bad a kid can physically fight a dentist before being arrested. At this point I'm waiting till it hurts him so much he begs me to take him back. Yes, I'm a terrible mother. He still refuses to play sports or do something on command, but I actually admire his independence. I'm leaving Danny alone - he's going to be ok.

Me and Craig? .. are over-worked, under-paid, stressed, adding to the "to-do" DIY list every day. I used to think babies and toddlers were hard work, but this is another level of busy.  We are both 110% involved with Scouts but we LOVE it. I have stepped away from a lot of other volunteer commitments because it finally dawned on me to volunteer doing something I like that's not a "chore". I love Scouts and it's our family "thing".

What else?
We have loved camping in our pop-up this year. That's our thing.  

Dave got married. I was glad I was there and he's very happy. It was a gorgeous wedding. But I miss Eric every single day. Not a day goes by I don't miss him.

Loved visiting England. Would we like to move back? Yes! Will we? OMG, depends on sooooo many things.

Our pet family has grown - we now have Ben (dog), Bart, Slinky & Cinnamon (cats) and Tiger (Beardie). Cinnamon Sticky Buns is our newest addition. He was a stray shot in the leg with a BB gun. Slinky will allow him to eat and poo sometimes, when it suits him. He's such an asshole.

No mention of Trump or the devastation I still feel?  Yes. He's still a racist, homophobic, narcissistic, woman assaulting,  embarrassing bloated orange moron,  and yes I'm still devastated.


And so a photo dump..


















Wednesday, August 02, 2017

He's the Reason We Can't Have Nice Things

I say this line a lot to Craig -
When the cats barf on the bed "We can never have nice things"
When Ben poos on the basement carpet "We can never have nice things"
When the kids put slime on the carpets or smash something "We can never have nice things"
All of this is said tongue-in-cheek, knowing full well that me & Craig were just as mischievous  (or worse) and that things will not get smashed or ruined so much as they age. Or maybe they will. But when they fly the nest we'll buy nice things, let's put it that way.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

England Trip 2017: Family Time

There's so much to say and so many stories to tell about our July trip back to England for two weeks, but I'll sum it up by saying it was a time for family. I enjoyed and soaked up every second with family because life is short and I want my boys to know they have a big, loving family that will always be there for them. I want them to travel back to the UK on their own one day, maybe go to college there, maybe even move back there. Seeing them with their family was the highlight of my year. And we had lots of fun. We hiked, we went to seaside towns & played in the rock pools, we explored castles and played on the arcades. And I drank far too much and ate too many Gregg's cheese & onion pasties, but there's not a regret in sight! Haha!

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Loss of Two Favorite Uncles

This summer I lost two favourite Uncles in England.  I know what death is inevitable, but it doesn't make it any easier.

Uncle Stan was my mum's brother (she is one of 7 kids and he is the first to go). He served in WW2 and owned a nursery and garden center. He's the reason I got into the horticulture industry as I started work for him when I was 13. He and my Auntie Jean adored each other and raised a huge family. He was one of the nicest men I ever met.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Jack's Birthday

Jack has turned eleven years old. I know everyone says it flies by, but it really does. I can still remember the second he was born, the feeling of bringing him home from the hospital.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Union Jack Table

I came across this blog post last year about how to stain an old coffee table with a Union Jack design. I bought the same table on Craigslist for $40 but then it sat for a year in my basement. In fact, after the basement flooded I avoided the whole room for a while but finally got my bum in gear and decided to get things tackled.

Monday, June 26, 2017

End of School Year Updates

Our end of school year was crammed with camping with Dolly, Boy Scouts & school events. Danny is now a Bear Cub Scout, entering 3rd grade at school, and Jack is a Boy Scout, starting 6th grade (middle school) this August.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My 48th Birthday

I have no idea what I did for my 48th birthday. Scrolling through Facebook I see that I met Craig for an Indian at lunchtime but then I'm drawing a blank on the day's events and the following weekend. It must have been so astronomically fantastic and wine-infused that I've forgotten! Maybe we danced till dawn and laughed till we cried.

Cub Scouts

When Craig first said he wanted Jack to join Boy Scouts of America (BSA)  I said no way. At that time they did not allow gay kids or atheists to join or lead and I didn't want to support an organization that did that.
In time he won me over (he had been a scout and loved it) so I got to know the local pack and thought I'd give it a go. It felt inclusive and friendly, though a couple of leaders were a tad "unique" I have to say.  Then, happily, BSA announced they would include gay scouts and have actually gone one step further and recently announced their support for transgender kids. Awesome.
The atheist thing is still a bit wishy-washy but our local pack leaves people alone to worship whatever faith they wish to. Like I said, it's a friendly, inclusive group.

S-Town

By far, the best Podcast* I have ever listened to is S-Town.

It's a true story, set in rural Alabama in a small town with colorful and crazy characters. It's only 7 episodes long and I binged the whole series in 2 days. It was quite amusing, walking around with head phones in, dusting and ignoring my children for two days or scowling at them when they persisted with questions. I had to hide in the loo at least twice.

At the end I felt lost - I wanted so much more! But I think that's the sign of a great series.  I spent a long time on Google maps looking at the town and searching for what's happening to the characters after the series finished. I can't recommend it enough. Listen to it!

*If, like me, you hate learning about yet another type of technology and don't know how to upload or listen to podcasts, simple look for S-town on the Internet and follow the link to the podcast. Hit "Subscribe" and then listen for free! Or go to the Podcast app on your phone and search for it.

Turtle Hike & Pizza Party

Craig and the boys wracked-up some accolades this week. On Monday Craig and Jack got honored at the Boy Scout's Court of Honor for completing the 18 mile Turtle back-pack hike and today both boys got recognized at school for doing kind and thoughtful things so I got invited to their pizza party. Jack and Craig got really nice, hand-poured metal turtle medals.
Yep, I'm boasting. And nope, I don't feel bad. These guys deserve it.




Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day Camping

For the 2nd time this year we got Dolly out and went camping for the weekend and it was PERFECT.  My only complaint is that it went too quick.

Friends came to visit for the day on Saturday but it was primarily just us 4 hiking, star gazing and hanging out together for the weekend. I was so relaxed and didn't shout once. No stress, no place to be or things to organize, just enjoying the moment with my family. I made a little vow to do this more. To put them first more. Us first.

The only bad thing was that Danny fell off his scooter and hurt his head and shoulder and has vowed never to go near any kind of vehicle for the rest of his existence, but I'm fairly sure he'll change his mind on that. Oh, and raccoons ate our entire food supply by raiding our cooler, but that's ok. Like I said, I was relaxed the entire weekend.

When we got home I did some gardening and Craig made me a Sunday roast. He's made a huge effort lately and that's a good thing. The boys made me cute cards. They are adorable & funny. Daniel described me as being as tall as a smart board and Jack drew a picture of me that makes me look like Russell Brand. But they tried, bless them.

I am one lucky lady :)









Brit Expat Picnic

After the election I hid for a while. I avoided groups like the Brit Expat group because I knew several people in it who had voted for Trump and it was just too much to be around them. Even now, there's a couple I can't even look at, but I also know that there's a lot of people in the group that I love and I also help run events.  So I put a smile on my face and co-hosted the Spring Picnic and Sports Games Day.

It was a great day. The weather was perfect and the kids LOVED it! Those classic English games like the 3-legged race and egg & spoon race are timeless. Danny had fun but refused to enter any games, bless him.  Jack did every game with gusto, determined to win. The usual scenario.

I did get to chat with a friend who's originally from Iraq and she was telling me about the hoops she has to jump through with immigration, and I realize that we've had it easy, being from the UK. For example, we had to live here on a green card for 5 years before applying for citizenship and she has to wait for 10 years. On a light note she was telling me about her son and his monstrous fibs. He told his teachers she was in hospital dying (there's nothing wrong with her) and he told their neighbor that his dad liked their car and was planning on stealing it. She told me these stories and my sides ached with laughing. I'm glad to know it's not just Jack that has a problem with fibbing.
So all in all a great day. And I managed to avoid the Trump people.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Turtle

Jack and Craig did the once-every-4-years "Turtle" hike with Boy Scouts. It's a 20 mile hike carrying all supplies on your back (hence, the turtle theme). In true Boy Scout fashion, it chucked it down the entire first day. Oh joy!


 
Turtle Hike 2017 from Pam on Vimeo.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Jan-Feb '17 Pictures: Sanitary Pads & Family (What can I say)

We bought sanitary pads for refugee woman. And we wrote postcards to politicians. And we drank. And we had fun. 

Would have given my arm to be there with my cousin Kay, my dad, and my family 

Our refugee friends. 

With our Brit & refugee friends

Earshad is a lovely lad. I wish every person on earth could meet him. 

Red hair! I love that this lad is a rebel.

Getting his  Cub Scout "Arrow of Light" with his friend. 

Arrow of Light

My boy

Crossing over to Boy Scouts

Crossing the bridge to Boy Scouts

Jack's Boy Scout ceremony

Women's rally with Mo, Karen & Erika. I'm so glad I'm surrounded by STRONG, BADASS women.

More strong, badass women, raising money for our school


Thursday, March 09, 2017

Feminism

I have so many things I want to post - pictures, videos, updates on Scouts, school, jobs, life.
All cosy stuff.  All nice & fluffy, funny stuff.

But I'm going to talk about another topic - Feminism. That word to me means I'm part of a tribe of women who live on this planet and we all know what it means to have periods, or be a mother, or have a rough time with kids. It's a club that we belong to. It has no negative aspect, it really doesn't. What possible horrible things has feminism done over the last 1,000 years?

The one thing I cannot understand is a woman saying "I'm not a feminist".  I want to say "the reason you don't need to be a feminist sweetheart is that women ahead of you fought for your rights. Feminism has brought the vote and a certain level of respect, but there is still a lot to do....

During the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, Columbus Ohio is the 2nd place in the country for sex trafficking.
Women earn 30% less than men in America
Trump is going to defund Planned Parenthood that offer pap smears & mammograms
Trump wants to ban abortion. In other words: Woman are too damn stupid to make their own decision about their body.
America has NO maternity leave (ranks LAST worldwide)
Women of colour are treated badly, especially Muslim women, and refugees, and women who wear head scarfs, and gay women. Need I go on?
Women who work their ass off in agriculture and have no rights, no good pay, no respect.

The feminist movement also recognizes and supports other groups.  It's all about social justice, love, kindness & being helpful.

My message to these women: If you hate feminism, or are scared of it, you need to ask yourself why.




Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Danny at 8

He's eight! How did that happen.

He's a tall, skinny, picky eater whirlwind. He dresses himself, and always chooses his own things. So independent.

Loves Loves Loves Pokemon. Likes Nerf guns and other toys....But LOVES Pokemon. Knows them all, knows all the cards, the characters, the points, the powers, the evolved characters. All he wanted for birthdays and Christmas's the last 18 months has been Pokemon.

He's an awesome roller skater, runner, and soccer player. He refuses to ride a bike, eat an egg/meat/salad/veggies/beans/soup and any other food he doesn't like the look of. He's the same with clothes. Who knew there was so much vetting as to the virtues of certain underpants. 

He takes his own sweet goddamn time. I once called him "Danny 20" because it takes him 20 minutes just to move but then immediately stopped as I know kids become what they are called (crap parenting moment). But good grief he's slow to get going.

His heart is HUGE. He has empathy. He notices things I never notice.

My hope for Danny this year is for him to love himself more, to stop saying negative things to himself. To step it up a bit with the chores and try a bit harder with reading & writing. 
But mostly, to continue being himself and to have fun with his friends. He has a good soul this one. A really good soul.  Love you Danny x


3 Month Catch-up

I can't believe I haven't posted for over 2 months! So much to say. Jack's a middle-schooler and after a week of belly aches a...