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Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

My nearly 3 yr old son is car mad.  For Christmas he got a bunch of the Characters from Cars, his favorite movie. He was so excited. Played all day.

So it came time for bed. We went through the nightly routine. We head upstairs for bed and I notice he has his hand on his tummy. No matter what he keeps his hand on his tummy. Hmmm. So I go in for a feel, it doesn’t feel like tummy. 😉  Cheeky little monkey was trying to sneak Lightning McQueen into bed with him. This is a first.  “You cant take a car to bed” I tell him. He has a look on his face like he is in trouble, hands the car to me. I then burst out laughing. He is so funny, and so car mad.

His new thing is to lay on his back under his tricycle like a mechanic fixing a car. He uses a laundry clip as a spanner. He will spend a half hour fixing his car… uh bike this way.

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I have to admit that most of my adult life I have hated Christmas. It always felt like the world was rubbing my nose in the fact that I was single. I didn’t get married until I was I was 35, so I spent many years watching everyone else have “family fun” or telling me that I should be the one to work on Christmas eve  because they have family events and I don’t. So Christmas was never fun. It always felt to expensive. A bit depressing. In my entire adult life I only ever put up one tree, until I move to England.

Now my son is close to 3 and he has discovered Mimiss, that’s Christmas to the rest of us. He loves the Mimiss lights. He loves the Mimiss cards on the wall. He loves the Mimiss tree. The tree that I put whilst he was in nursery as fast as I could so he wouldn’t be into the ornaments. The tree that I threatened to take down if he so much touched, and he hasn’t touched it. He loves the tree. Wait until Christmas morning when he discovers presents. 🙂  Last year he just looked at us like we where crazy to destroy unwrap presents. He didn’t like it at all.

Okay, I get it now. I understand why everyone goes crazy over Christmas. To see it through your child’s eyes makes it fun.

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Somewhere around his 2nd birthday, my sweet, wonderful, lovely, lovable baby turned into a terrible two. He was still underlyingly sweet, but everything turned into a battle. Everything. There was not one thing that he didn’t battle me about. For around a year its been very challenging, to say the least. I had times when I wondered who took my little angel and replaced him with someone else who looked like him.

He is back. Somewhere in the last few weeks something changed. Its like we went into a valley of toddler tantrums and are now heading out into the sunshine. My little man has become as sweet as he could be. The battles are getting fewer and farther between. My sweet darling little boy is back.

He has spent the last few days miserable. Full of cold, ears infected, sore throat and a fever. Even with that, sitting up very very late at night cuddled up with a very poorly little boy, he has been so sweet. Even really ill he has been a joy to be around. He has spent the last two days planted on my lap. Its been a joy, and it really reminds me of his baby days.

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It was about 5 yrs ago about this time in Sept that I was heading home to California. I had been in England, staying with my then fiance, for 4 months. In that time we had gone from having met in person once, to having lived together for 4 months. We had traveled to Spain and gotten engaged. I remember feeling so extremely happy, as you should when you are newly engaged. I had a new diamond ring on my finger. It was all so very exciting.

I remember the night before I left. S came down the stairs and he was in tears. He said that it had just hit him, really hit him, that the next day I would be gone. We had no idea for how long. I had to get home and sell my condo, sort my life out there, get rid of everything and get a fiance visa to come back and get married.

The day I left, we stood in tears at the airport in Manchester. The thing I hated most about long distant relationships was saying goodbye, not knowing when you would see this person again. There is always that level of doubt that if a few to many months pass that they will have a change of heart. All your fears come to play. Its very painful, long distance relationships. They are really not very fun at all.

After really no sleep the night before, a 6 hour layover in Atlanta, and a long flight to Sacramento, I was home. I would like to say that the next 5 months before I moved to the UK flew by but they didnt. I had the stress of cleaning, painting, sorting and selling my condo. I had the heartache of being with my beloved step dad as he lost his battle with cancer. I had the blessing of being with him as he took his last breathe. It was a long and painful 5 months.

The one bright point was in November when S came to visit. We had a few days away from the cancer in Southern CA to get my visa, a few trips out but mostly it was a bit of a downer trip for S. We did have our fun moments though. It was also what seemed to be a start of a great friendship with him and my brother. Or as S says, his brother from another mother.

5 yrs on. So much has changed. Marriage, a son, ups and downs. I came to England all lovey with very rose colored glasses on. About a year in the rose color glasses did the typical expat thing and turned to grey. I think being pregnant really threw me into the greys. Pregnancy was mentally and physically hard. Being in a foreign country with no family was very hard. I didn’t really know people as I hadn’t been here all that long. It became easy to see the bad more then the good. Its also a pretty typical expat thing to do. There is a whole science to it.

So here I sit, 5 yrs on from leaving this land for the 1st time. I can not believe how fast it goes. I also am a bit shocked at the next stage of being an expat I seemed to hit. Acceptance. For the past year our lives have been geared towards moving. 2 weeks ago S got laid off from his job. Since then everything is up in the air. Strangely I have quickly become more comfortable with the idea of staying. A month ago I would of said NO WAY. Now, its a possibility. S seems to be more about moving then me. Its all a bit strange. Not sure what to make of it myself, but I am more of the school of if we do we do, if we don’t we don’t right now.  I just wonder what I will be doing in 5 more years and I think back to the day I left to change my entire life.

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We had planned a day out for last week a few weeks ago. We decided to head to the Peak District here in the UK. S took a day off work. We had high hopes for a fun day seeing the sights. Luckily, the day we planned was on the same day of the week that I take my son to a toddler play time at the leisure centre. We figured an hour play would get his energy out and give us a more peaceful drive through the countryside. Besides, S never gets to see him play with the other kids as he is at work. So we went, and my son had his usual fun time running, playing on the little cars, and general toddler play. I keep a really close eye on him as he has a hugging thing and can over hug other children, but he didn’t hug anyone. Then the weirdness started. There was a younger woman there, firmly ensconced with her circle of other younger mothers. We noticed at one point this woman jumped up and pushed this little kid and jumped just as quickly back in her seat. My husband and I just looked at each other.. odd. Must be her kid. Then my son went and touched her son. She was up like a shot. Just before she pushed my son she saw me, stopped, and just snidely said “tell him to not to touch”. Yeah, tell a 2 year old not to touch, right. So I moved my son along. Then it happened again, my son touched this little boys shoulder. She was up again just about ready to push my son. This time she was all glares and very angry. “keep him away”.  By the third time of her trying to get to my son to push him away I had had enough. I looked at my husband and said “that is that, lets go” My husband at this point was biting his tongue and just shooting her dirty looks. I am sure that if my son touched hers again she would of hit me. That is how weird she was acting.

So we pile in the car and off we go. We had a nice drive to the Peaks. Lovely views. Stopped for photo ops. Just had a nice drive. We drove into a town called Buxton. Very cute. Its an old spa town. The types that the rich Victorians would go to and be healed by the waters. My husband drove up to the back of the town and on a one lane, one way street we started looking for parking. As quick as can be, and SUV started backing up. We had to slam on the brakes. “Cool, parking” I said. Because this SUV had shot back so quick we needed to back up to let them out. Didn’t have a lot of room as the SUV behind us had to slam on their brakes as well, but S backed up a bit. Just then, the car behind us started honking and flashing its lights. We stopped, didn’t think to much and the SUV pulled out of the spot and we pulled in. The car behind us kept honking, flashing its lights and I noticed that the woman in this SUV was getting out of the car screaming. What the heck? So S rolls his window down and this woman is screaming every obscenity known and telling us that another woman, parked on the sidewalk/pavement, and not in the car, was waiting for that spot. How this woman knew what was going on in front of us, or in the mind of the woman parked on the curb, is still a mystery. But she was really angry. Red faced. Screaming. Man, I should of taken her picture to post. I had my camera in my hands. Next time, I will be photographing and posting to be sure. After a few mins of exchange between them, she drives off. I had S go ask the woman if she was waiting for the spot. She said yes, but she hadnt been in her car at the time. What ever! So I made him find another spot.

Buxton is a nice town. We had a wonder around. Just in town the heavens opened. I mean it was pouring. We ducked into a cafe for lunch.  One again, I am let down by the food we are served in the UK. We decided to get full English breakfast. I usually don’t go for that, but I know that my son loves sausages and would eat most of it with me.  One scrambled egg, barely cooked through, one small sausage, one fatty piece of English Bacon, one piece of toast, half a grilled tomato and a spoon of beans. Two of these and two pots of tea… £12. That is close to $24. We always feel so ripped off eating here. We wouldn’t of stopped but for the rain.

We left the area and had a nice drive. We went through hill and valleys and villages and towns. We drove through Bakewell, Edale, Eyam and a few more. We saw the Blue John Mine. We decided to get out and wander around Castleton. This is an area that my husband used to go to the youth hostel and stay when he was young. There are tourists wandering everywhere and we figured there must be some cute stores. So he decided to drive up the road, no parking but a great view. Just a lovely stretch of valley. I was looking at the view, trying to decide if it was worth stopping for a photo, when a movement caught my eye. This young woman was yelling at me. “What the F you looking at?” What? I wasn’t even looking at her. With all the tourist around, I didn’t even pay attention that people where around. She was F’in and Jeff’in and glaring. Talk about a chip on her shoulder. We drove on, found parking and wandered around. But that woman had ruined it for me. I just wanted to leave. Actually, all three horrible women had put a damper on a day that I was really looking forward to. I was ready to go home.

If, in the future, I have my camera and people behave like that, I will be photographing. I swear I will start a new blog so people around the world can add horrible people, their stories and their pictures. So next time you want to behave so poorly and have road rage or any other kind of rage, you better be prepared to be shown to the public in all your glory.

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We had a really lovely day out yesterday. We are both in the mindset that we need to see as much of Britain as we can before we move away. Although S sees it everyday. He likes to try and get me to the nice bits. Yesterday we needed to take Kitty to her new owner. She lives in Cambridge so we met down towards that area. It took us about 2 1/2 hrs to get there, but we where stuck in traffic a bit due to a few accidents. I am sure we would of made it in under 2 hrs. Once again, I am struck at how close everything is in this country. We where only about 70 miles away from London at that point. I still, after all these years, can not get my head around the fact that I am about 3 hrs from London. Even more, I have only been twice.

After that we headed up to Stratford upon Avon. If you remember from history class, its the birth place of William Shakespeare.  It wasn’t exactly what we where expecting. I actually don’t know what we where expecting, but I think it was a small town with some pretty sights to photograph and a nice quiet wander around. At least that is the impression the websites gave. But nope. This is a pretty big town but UK standards. It has a large high street with all the shops that goes along with it. Nice though. And the area was chalker block full of tourist. People from every corner of the world. I will admit, we don’t do that great in mass crowds. For some reason, the city girl in me is long gone. I just feel so claustrophobic when so many people are packed together.

Shakespeares home

Shakespeares home

We had a wander up to the house the Shakespeare was born in. Its a really old, higgly piggly building. But when we looked at the prices to get in, forget it. £9 per adult. £4.50 for T who is too small to know what was going on. (that is $45 for the three of us in US dollars) As ever in the UK, things are over prices for what they are.  It is the biggest disappointment for me. Things I would love to see, but I just know its not worth the money. You hear all about how the museums are free, but I have not seen one yet, unless its a tiny museum in a tiny town that is usually naff. We got our magnet, which we do every place we go, and left.

Shakespears  birthplace

Shakespears birthplace

This is where the day got better. We headed up the back roads through Warwickshire. All the while me thinking how I have never properly pronounced my childhood friends last name ever in my life. The surrounding areas where lovely. The day had gone from rainy to sunny. We drove by, then turned around to go into, Warwickshires oldest church. This was actually the ideal place for my son to have a run around. He needed that energy release.  All the churches, especially the old churches, are also the cemetery. I love these places. They are usually quiet, as in no one around, not in spooks making noise. 😉 When the weather is right its a great place to just be. That was what it was like. We found a little bench on a small knoll and T just ran up and down enjoying himself. I got some great photos. The church was lovely. They even had toilets to use that where really nice. That helped as T decided to dig a hole and his hands where covered in dirt.

Oldest church in Warwichshire

Oldest church in Warwickshire

On our way back we went up through Shropshire. The town of Shrewsbury is really lovely. We have decided that we will have to head back and check it out soon.

We ended up having our tea (dinner for you Americans) in a pub not far from our house. One that I have been to a few times with friends, but hadn’t been able to get S to go to as he isn’t a big fan of pubs, pub grub, or ordering at the bar.  He really enjoyed it. He even said that he would like to go back. I was gobsmacked.

All in all a very lovely day indeed.

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I have come to the conclusion that I must sound like an adult in a Peanuts cartoon. I am sure that when I speak, my son only hears “whaa whaa whaa whaa whaa whaa”. I am pretty sure that is what my husband hears after the first sentence of anything I say. Then, when I get upset that he hasn’t done what I asked of him, saying he cant read my mind, he cant hear what my response is. I don’t like living in a cartoon.

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