Pumpkins, Mums and the PTO

Oh my!

There was a Pumpkin and Mums sale up at #1 Son’s school today.


Last year I was completely confused as to why they might potentially be auctioning off fellow mothers…

It turns out the hus-creature was also, as he checked – ‘mums = chrysanthemums

Which was a relief I have to admit πŸ€£πŸ˜‚


There was also hot apple cider sadly, (or perhaps not given my liver still seems to be crying after Friday), not alcoholic, and ring donuts and…. a petting zoo.

I’ve made a vow this year to actually do more of the after/outside of school activities and so I insisted we head up.

First came the petting zoo:

Sadly, #1 Son was not keen, but TT was enthralled. So I sent my boys off to forage for pumpkins – but sadly not mums as it turns out that they are highly toxic to cats and dogs, so no plant for me – while TT went in with the animals.

It wasn’t completely successful as she has actually listened to me about not petting strange animals it seems, and took a lot of convincing that it was ok to do so. There was a lot of “Mummy no, I not touch animals” but she had fun.

Then came… pumpkin decorating:

Both kids had so much fun. I had to intervene a little when #1 Son kept trying to attach stickers to his sister’s pumpkin (and believe me, she was not impressed by that!), and my role was “Chief re-attacher of pen lids”, but they both had so much fun.

Also TT was hilarious – she was most definitely choosing her own pen colours and would not be swayed.

Serious artist is serious

She would not relinquish that red marker.

Then it came time to leave. She would not be parted from her precious pumpkin. She had a full on level 10 meltdown when we left it in the boot of the car to, you know, dry and set.

Her precious:

Both children decorated a pumpkin of course:

And we had to let her have it on the way home from lunch, so she cradled it like a teddy bear:

Such pride many happy πŸ€£πŸ˜‚β€οΈπŸ’—

But then once we returned what were we to do? I had visions of her sleeping with the darned thing. However through some judicious use of lollipop based bribery, to prevent her from sitting outside all afternoon, both pumpkins now have pride of place on our front porch:

But this does mean that for once I have contributed to the Halloween decorations hurrah!

Summer Days Out

So over the summer we had so many plans to have outings with the kids.

But the weather laughed at us! We’ve had glorious weeks and the weekends have been utterly shocking!


Very British in fact πŸ€£πŸ˜‚


So we decided to say sod it and the hus-creature took the day off work on Thursday (almost two weeks ago now, yes I know I know!) and we went up to the beach.

Which is a specific beach about 30 more minutes away that is spelt almost the same as #1 Son’s given name.

Oh it was amazing. We played, we built sandcastles, we splashed, we swam. TT proved to be a complete and total water baby. Yes, she was more than a little apprehensive on the first couple of tries but then she was racing into the waves shouting “more ocean” and I have never seen her grin more.

Actually it backfired on us spectacularly though! First when it came time to go get lunch. Cue a massive meltdown and I had to bodily drag her to the restaurant – as a result we were all leaking sand and sea water on the way there sigh.

The second time was when it came time to go home. She did not want to leave. At all.

Anyway, pictures:

TT playing on the beach. Please bear in mind the last time she was on the beach she was only just crawling πŸ’— also note #1 Son’s new “rock collection” (yes I still have it – it’s out on the balcony!)

Daddy-offspring bonding:

Gittish seagulls were everywhere – honest to god they had no fear. None. Attacking belongings and tourists alike. Gits.

#1 Son made a friend – one with similar issues to himself. He was a little older and showed him how to build tide pools and how to catch small Crustacea for it πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

Sadly there were no photos with me, the mother, because I didn’t take my phone into the ocean and the hus-creature doesn’t think to take them. Ever.

But it was an amazing day out. The kids had a blast and we will go back.

Then this last Saturday we went to a theme park just across the state line in New Hampshire.

I didn’t take many photos this time because we were focussed on having fun, but we took these:

TT went on her first rides. The Ferris wheel – which she liked a lot:

WHEEL!

And then she went on her first proper roller coaster. She loved it. There was much crying of “more ride more ride” but her brother was not impressed.

So we took them across to the newly-built water park bit – it was so newly built that only about a third of it was actually operational. Again, TT adored the water slides and was devastated she couldn’t go on the bigger ones.

#1 Son? Nope. He still can’t deal with water being splashed in his face. But they both had a blast. Prying TT away from the water was as bad as at the beach. Needed to bribe her with the promise of an ice cream πŸ€­πŸ˜¬πŸ™„


It worked though!


But honestly? Comparing the free (mostly) trip to the beach, and the over $100 tickets for the park? Not worth it. They are both still too young and short.

There are a few other options, including an indoor, climate controlled, water park so we will look into that.

Daddy and I both needed a stiff drink or two by the end of those days!

And, oddly enough? I didn’t need to go for a walk either day!

Summer update

Wow it’s been a while (again) hasn’t it?

The issue is that for us, summer rolls on and on and therefore nothing really changes on a daily or, even weekly, basis.

#1 Son finished his summer camps. The reading one keeps trying to coax us into a fall programme for a mere $199 but given how disruptive he was for a good period of the first one, I really can’t justify that.

The Summer Learning Academy was much more successful, and I really hope we can build on it from August 29 when he starts 1st Grade.

Don’t know who his teacher is yet, nor have the supplies lists been issued, so I await that with bated breath.

He is signed up for Education Stations (basically after school club) for one day a week – pending cashing of cheque as I let that little bit of house admin slip past me!

Which will give him a little socialisation outside of school hours with his peers. I’m hopeful about it. It coincides with knitting group as daddy needs to pick him up so that seemed smart.

The wonderful A has agreed to pick him up from school for the rest of the week for the foreseeable. Yes, I will get my MA licence – I’ve just been terrified. I’m actually considering learning to ride a bicycle instead. I mean, it’s good exercise, but it’s mostly because driving here scares the beejeebus outta me!

As for me? Well I’ve lost almost 20lb and can fit into dresses I was wearing four years ago! Admittedly those are merely a (U.K.) size 16 but hey it’s progress in the correct direction.

I have finally gone to the dark side of men’s sandals but goddamnit they are comfortable. And they don’t look too bad with the dress – which is actually loose in this picture as it’s (U.K.) 18 but I felt good.

I’ve been baking more and it’s nice to find my zen.

These are the stages of a butterscotch pie – so good. I will be baking that one again!

Next up this week is homemade lemon curd.

TT continues to amaze and amuse. Her language is coming on in leaps and bounds. She is such a determined funny little person. She seems to finally have accepted that daytime clothing is a good thing. Occasionally she even lets me brush her hair!!!

She has also rediscovered her love of baths and even occasionally asks for a hair washing!

We still haven’t made it up to the damn beach as every free weekend we’ve had, the weather has been shite.


Not unlike Old England really πŸ˜‚πŸ€£


So the current plan is for the hus-creature to take a midweek day off and we will either head up to the beach or to the local indoor water park we’ve found.

In less than a month we are heading back to the U.K. for about a week for the wedding of my gorgeous sister in law and her handsome soon-to-be husband and I cannot wait. I’ve missed them so much.

We will be crashing with my parents, so I get to see everyone which is awesome.

My best friend lives within short driving distance of mom and dad too, so we are going to pop and see them too before we head back. I need my bestie cuddles too.

It’s not long enough, but we can’t keep #1 Son out of school for longer than a week (including jet lag recovery time).

He has a doctor’s appointment today for a Polio shot (he’s going to hate me!) and an IEP update. He’s decided he wants his daddy to take him. Am I a little miffed? Well not really – it’s lovely that he feels able to state a preference for the parent he wants. Daddy is more practical and won’t weep so I get it. I’ll stay home with TT to keep her out of the way, and the boys will go for ice cream after, to deal with any residual trauma.

I have a checkup with my own doctor on the 27th for blood pressure things – maybe I can also get some anxiety meds but we will see.

I also have my six month post operative check up on the 22nd. Since I’ve lost 20lb (and there’s still a little time to shift more) since they last saw me, I’m hopeful I won’t get too big a lecture on not having completely broken up with dairy πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

I shall sign off now. There might be changes in post formats to try and encapsulate more stuff “as it happens” rather than trying to wait for enough to write an epic.

I leave you with a recent collage of my offspring. Because I’m bloody proud of them πŸ’—

It’s the 1st of July!

And summer is here! It’s so so hot. But the ever wonderful H, D and K assembled and filled two inflatable pools!!!

A big one (supposedly) for the three boys, and a little one for the two littler girls.


We are assisting simply by buying a new hose.

As H’s broke over the last summer and it’s replacement has mysteriously vanished – apparently there is no such thing as a cheap 100ft one left anywhere in Melrose! So we bought the premium luxury one from Job Lot. $37 well spent πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜ƒ


But, as you might expect, that did not happen. #1 Son got fed up of waiting, so once the hus-creature returned from the weekly shop, he retired upstairs with his daddy to play Minecraft together… no, daddy didn’t get much of a choice! πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

And the twins were significantly more interested in the new “baby” pool, than their “we had this one last summer” big pool god love them!

TT dived headfirst into the big pool (as it was the one that was filled first) but got scared by the “sharks” in it – the inside liner is decorated with fish, seaweed etc.

But she had so much fun playing in the little one:

Group play in the baby pool

Then because of the bigger boys playing in it a little roughly (just boys being boys, but they are, we think, a little bit too big for it) it needed reinflating…

Which is the background noise to this video

All in all, we stayed outside until over an hour past her bedtime. She didn’t eat any dinner – but she had had a big breakfast and lunch, plus her bedtime bottle so I’m not worried there.

All the kidlets (except #1 Son, but we will work on that) had an amazing time, and this is just the start of the summer…

Oh, this is the bath after I insisted my daughter bathe before bed:

Do not worry dear audience, I have cleaned it πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ‘πŸ»

Happy Mother’s Day

Today is MD stateside.

The hus-creature is a little bummed out because the gift he ordered for me (last weekend, and paid for 2-day expedited shipping on) hasn’t arrived.

I would have been sad but look what I got:

This is #1 Son’s handiwork πŸ’•

And this was from TT. She asked Nanoo to help her and he kept his artwork in line with hers πŸ’—πŸ’—

So gift or no gift, I am blessed today.

We also had an invite to go see Libida, Faux, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd so off we toddled to New Hampshire.

Since we last visited, they have acquired:

  • A new tiny Westie puppy named Fearghas.
  • A new baby boy goat named Starlord
  • A new baby boy Alpaca named Cable – he already lives with Knit and Purl

So I got to play with two out of the three.


And oh my gosh Fearghas is just the cutest little bundle of floppy eared fluff ever


TT adored the animals. So much so that she spent the entire visit more or less outside and didn’t ask for her tablet once.

Sadly I wasn’t as lucky with #1 Son, as 1st and 2nd also play Minecraft on XBox so they spent much of the visit playing that together. But although his visit wasn’t screen free, he was playing with other children in his general age bracket. So I count that as a success.

We tried to pet a chicken. She wasn’t keen


And even now I’m not certain whether I mean TT or the chicken πŸ˜‚πŸ€£


She can chase chickens…

We showed her the ducks and their sprinkler. The ducks love the sprinkler πŸ’•

TT attempts to feed the ducks

Here is the wonderful bundle that is Fearghas:

He sat on my head πŸ’•

And I finally got to properly play and cuddle the wonderful mutt that is his big brother Connor:

He is a very smiley pupper but I didn’t manage to catch his grin.

#1 Son did go outside briefly when he spotted that the Faux-lets had a battery powered ride on tractor thing:

They even let him drive it which was really nice of them. TT had a little go too (it helped us get her in the car!)

We stayed long enough that it became mucking out and feeding time.

I got to bottle feed Starlord πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

Oh it was awesome and he’s just so cute – and very chatty bless him. Yes I am ecstatic over bottle feeding a goat!!!

We also had a little play on the Faux-let’s play set:

No baby, it’s a swing

Then as it was 17:00 we decided we should leave – it meant the kids would have a late bedtime but they had had so much fun it was more than worth it 😍

We had two abortive attempts at dinner – apparently eateries etc are only signposted before the relevant highway/interstate exit. After that? You’re on your own kids!

So we got almost all the way back to Melrose and stopped at Friendlys.


I love their ice cream sundaes


TT ate broccoli:

And #1 Son has double cheese sliders and a diy sundae:

TT was too exhausted to eat more than a few bites of her ice cream poor wee* thing.

So the small people’s are abed and the hus-creature and I rounded off the evening with the Beta Co-op of StarDew Valley. I love that game πŸ’•


* slight segue but the poor lass has “not my toilet” fear so we managed to persuade her to do wee wees at Aunty Libida’s after four hours and she held her poop until after put down for bedtime (20:30)

Martin Luther King Day

I’m not sure whether to wish people a happy one or not.

It’s an important day of cultural significance and I felt it should be marked.

So we had a lovely family day today. We:

  • Went out for lunch.
  • Baked cookie-brownies.
  • #1 Son played with daddy on his computer games.

We think I might have been too enthusiastic with my Kitchen Aid and overbeaten the brownie mix. I’ll learn! The kids enjoyed them anyway, and that’s all that matters. *

#1 Son also had his second full counselling session today. He seemed to enjoy it. He did lots of drawing, and his counsellor was impressed with him.

We do not push or pry with him. Both the hus-creature and myself firmly believe that it’s vital he feels and believes that it is a safe space for him, and that we will only be told what we need to be told, or, what he chooses to tell us.

She will send me notes, hopefully tomorrow, and will send a letter to the school with how she is forming a diagnosis by the end of the week.

She did mention that he was able to accurately depict six separate emotions on faces – I could have burst with pride/relief at that.

If he is still proved to be “on the spectrum” I will deal with it, but if he’s not? Life will be infinitely easier for him. So I cannot apologise for wanting that for him. **

TT continues to alternate between “cute as a button” and “truly demonic“. And it’s impossible to guess where she will fall.

New phrases include:

  • I want it <thing>
  • I get it <thing>

The standard “no”, “my do it” are constant and it’s draining.

She pushes boundaries and rules so much more than #1 Son ever did. She’s bright, stubborn and goddamned exhausting.

And she can count up to eight, and can manipulate jigsaw puzzles on her tablet, and is coming up with names for things.

And has discovered a love of Coraline. Of which I approve.


*I will keep telling myself that darn it.


**But please know I will never love him any less, or be any less proud of him – it’s a complicated set of emotions.

To the elderly lady at the mall

Who tutted and shook her head at us while we were having lunch.

What I want to say is unrepeatable and certainly unprintable.

I will therefore settle for this:

  • I have a special needs child, probably ADHD. He was sitting quietly with his tablet. Do you have any idea what a goddamned miracle that is?!?!?!?
  • Yes, my toddler was running around. In a circle. Around our table. That again is contained.
  • Yes, she was disobeying me and lying on the floor under her chair. Yes, I could have dragged her bodily out and forced her to sit on said chair. But do you know what? That just might have caused Armageddon in terms of shrieking and other loud-decibel sounds. So I stuck to our normal parenting methods and persuaded her out verbally.
  • Yes, I was *shock, horror* using my smartphone at the table. I can do this if I wish. My children were not being loud (unduly anyway, see point 1). They were supervised and I’m a goddamn adult. These are my children and they were ignoring you. At worst, TT was interacting with the slightly older little girl at the table behind us, who kept coming over to play/chat/stare at other children.
  • I am so sorry that things might not be as they were “in your day” but I’m guessing they didn’t have overstimulating, loud strip malls in your day.

So, with the greatest of respect*

Go and sit on a cactus

And breathe. I feel so much better now.

Overall the trip out goes in the plus column. #1 Son behaved relatively well. The only sticky moment came when he wanted to use allowance money to buy another vinyl figurine like the CyberMan one he bought last time.

Which he has since lost. So we have said that if he can tidy his room to a reasonable state (he’s still only 5 after all) and (ideally) find said CyberMan then he may buy something else.

I went to the mall to track down hair dye, as one of the lovely H’s equally lovely daughters has offered to do my hair. They are both professional stylists so I’m thrilled.

Yes, I will be paying them πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

So this is my current collection:

She will do me full Galaxy/Unicorn 😁😁😁😁

I also went into Hot Topic and came out with these:

And Yankee Candle we’re having a 3 for $10 (plus tax) sale and I have these:

Yes, there are three the same – I love their festive scents so much!

So far a good-ish day. If you ignore the old fart that precipitated this post.


*Not really

Of indigenous peoples day and allowances

And visits to Legoland. So Monday was a public holiday here in the old US of A.

Apparently good old Christopher Columbus has been co-opted into a celebration of indigenous peoples day. so we’ve gone from celebrating the person who did the murdering to celebrating the people he murdered.

I guess that’s progress of a sort?

Anyway it meant that #1 Son did not have school.

We had rented a car, with the intention of going to the zoo. However the rain was appalling, so instead off we went to Legoland.

#1 Son had a whale of a time on the (two) rides, and built many things.

TT made a friend:

And woe betide any other child who dared to seat him or herself on this Friend.

πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

We also discovered what rain does to her hair:

Daddy threatened to chop it off when she wouldn’t let us brush it over the weekend. I threatened to chop off various parts of his anatomy.

We called it even.

We have also started introducing the concept of budgeting to #1 Son.

He gets a weekly allowance with two options:

  • $5 cash in hand which he could spend on anything he wants within reason.
  • $10 in his bank account to allow him to save for a big item. (Well, in reality it’s notarised in a spreadsheet until he tells us what he wants to buy).

He has never asked for cash in hand. So, up until Monday he had $75 dollars earned (he had $5 docked one week for reasons).

He has been saving up for a big Lego model. The specifics of the model in question change a bit but they have always stayed within the $80-90 mark.

Well, we couldn’t visit Legoland without visiting the gift shop.

We bought TT some Duplo as she’s really into it right now, which was $30.

So we explained to #1 Son that he could have a set worth $30 which we would pay for or he could use some of his allowance in addition and buy a bigger model of his own choosing.

Well, he has $15 dollars left of his savings, and a huge Lego model that he and his daddy are building together and is only halfway done.

They are having brilliant quality building time and daddy isn’t needed per se, so it’s really nice.