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’—

A year

We have been here, in America, for a year.

Wow.

My babies have grown and changed so much.

I think I have too. I never imagined being a full time stay at home parent.

It’s hard. It’s exhausting. But it’s also amazing.

I get to see my babies grow and change. I see every new skill they develop, and particularly in the case of TT, I know it’s mostly down to me.


Don’t get me wrong, nursery is, and was, great for both of them, but I know I’m teaching her things directly.


There’s still guilt – I’m only human, and there are times when I’m grumpy, or tired, or just missing the company of other adults. Even earning my own money. But that last one lessens slightly. As I keep the house ticking over.

I’m still bad at housework. I still don’t always see what needs doing at a useful point. But that is improving too.

It’s learning what needs doing vs what can wait. And what I can insist the kids do.

As it’s also my job to teach them how to become adults. Fully capable adults who will know this stuff.

Yes, they are 6 and 2. But they already know how to empty the dishwasher (within reason) and where dirty clothes go.

They are capable of putting toys away. Even if TT at least gets them out again immediately πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜­

It’s been a hell of a year, but it’s been a good one.

Here’s to the next one.

The Second week of camp(s)

So Wednesday this last week was Independence Day. And because his teacher (not unreasonably) had booked a little extra annual leave – well it’s not really annual leave when you’re not supposed to be working is it – #1 Son was only in “summer learning Academy” camp for two days this week.

Monday was fine. He had a great day and everything was brilliant. You see, they send home daily worksheets of the things that he’s been doing; and I’ve seen such an improvement in them that it reassures me that this was definitely the right thing to do for him.

However Tuesday? Tuesday was not so good. The wonderful H’s daughter did the pick up run as H herself was I think feeling under the weather due to impending dental torture and it just wasn’t a good day. The report I got back was that he had not done anything and had really gotten grumpy with the teacher. What I got out of him (and I’m actually impressed he told me) was that:

They had been learning about dolphins again and he had already learned about dolphins 10, 20, 100 days before in real school and he did not need to learn about them again.

He also claimed that he had tried to tell the teacher this and that she just hadn’t listened to him and didn’t understand him. Now I’m a tad sceptical about this as I’m fairly sure this teacher knows what she’s doing (as they seem to have a lot of experience with neuro-atypical children) but he felt that she wasn’t listening and he ran out. Of the classroom. First time he’s done that actually in a good few months. I can’t say I was impressed with the behaviour but I am impressed that he at least told me the truth. We then had a nice talk about it and I try to explain (as I have done many times before) that he’s got to learn the simple stuff before he can learn the more exciting stuff.

I also tried to explain that the teacher didn’t necessarily have a good clear indication of which children had already learned about dolphins versus which children had not as these are kids who come from across the town and across the different primary schools that may even be cross district but I doubt that actually, as it does all seem to be the Melrose schools rather than some of the others that they seem to have around here.

Not sure exactly how much of it sunk in but he cheered up a bit and we had a better day the following day. Hopefully this means a better week this week as he is back at camp Monday to Thursday this week.

Another potential issue is that his current therapist is leaving the practice where we’ve been taking him since last year sometime I forget exactly how long and is going into private practice. I panicked a bit when the hus-creature told me this because quite frankly I can’t go through the changes again. However she did say that she will continue to take our insurance so hopefully we could just knows him across when she leaves in August. I can’t I just can’t go through explaining it all the new therapist, getting him to see the new therapist, building up that report again it’s just not going to be good. So hopefully we’ll have a clear indication this week what she plans on doing about her current clients.

I mean I can’t blame her, there is so much more money in private practice, but we’ve been through this before. Still, at least this one was able to be honest with us about it and not just leave us in the lurch.

Wednesday was pretty uneventful really. I recently made a new friend – another friend who previously only lived in my computer and is now part of my real life.

We are currently educating each other on films. Apparently if you’ve never seen “The Princess Bride” you must forever be shunned in this country. So he has educated me (and to a lesser extent the hus-creature – who is normally playing video games and rolling his eyes whilst we watch films and act like children πŸ˜‚) on:

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. Red Line

I have introduced him to:

  1. Labyrinth

I also have The Dark Crystal and Leon on my side of the list πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

It seems to be becoming a somewhat weekly thing, and it’s nice to have another friend who lives in-state.

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful until Saturday when #1 Son had Reading summer camp.

Which apparently went a bit better than the week before. Which is great. He’s still so bad at focussing, but he’s coming on in leaps and bounds so I’m confident he will be at the level he needs to be at come end of August.

The new principal of his school has been elected, and it is Candidate A – who has the PhD in Education Administration and the neatly trimmed beard.

While I think I personally would have preferred candidate B – who was keen and had not yet had a principal-ship I knew A would get it, and from the talks they both gave, both have a style that ought to benefit my son, so we will attend whatever “Meet And Greets” are held and go from there.

TT has been her usual happy self and there have been some wonderful days:

And me? I’ve taken my mental health in my own hands. I have been walking in the evenings. Usually a minimum of 2km a day. It started because I needed to return books to the library and it’s just slightly too far away to easily take the kids.

And then I rediscovered PokΓ©mon Go (look it up and if you have a Smartphone go get it) and for the last week or so I have been simply “following the pokΓ©stops”.

See, one of the benefits to living in this country is that everything is on the grid system so you can pretty much wander in a circle except it’s not really, and you will eventually find yourself back home after doing either a giant loop or maybe a lollipop/balloon shape on the map.

I mean yes, I do also have Google Maps which I use to cross check, but more often than not I simply find myself back on Main Street after about 45-60 minutes of rambling and then I just toddle home.

And the scenery is beautiful:

And I’m learning the local geography, am getting my heart rate up and am not getting bored. All bonuses really.

And catching Snorlax πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

No, really, I did – and without the stampede!

A long break?

Hello dear audience, I know I’ve been away for a very long time. I think my mental health took a little bit of a downturn. I just couldn’t face writing things down honestly and quite a lot has happened in the last… almost 2 weeks gosh.

But here I am sat in the park with the kiddos on a warm but overcast day and there is a breeze okay there is traffic but will ignore that and quite frankly I’m feeling a little bit at peace.


I also just got handed this treasure from TT and it made me smile


Well in the first case #1 Son’s birthday party happened on Saturday, the 6th of June which was almost 2 weeks ago.

We had had quite a few replies in the positive for the party but on the day of I still could not shake the feeling that he was effectively going to be stood up by his classmates. But I needn’t have worried there was so many kids there it was wonderful. TT had a whale of a time and honestly despite it costing $600 (it was all thanks to Merry Tax-mas that we could pay for it!) it was well worth it.

Yes that is Jestro and The Red Ninja from both Ninjago and Nexo Knights who guest-starred in the party room. #1 Son was ecstatic truly. TT was in the “okay I really want to play with them and I really want to hug them but I know they’re scary!” mode which was sort of hilarious πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

There was pizza and cake:

So. Much. Cake. And So. Much. Pizza. As part of the booking there were seven pizzas and lord alone knows how many cupcakes included.

All I know is, we brought 4 whole pizzas and 16 cupcakes home!!!


No we weren’t allowed to give some to the staff. We tried.


So H received two pizzas and a box of cupcakes when we returned home, as, sadly, the twins had been poorly and hadn’t been able to attend.

And the gifts. Dear lord. We have never exactly cheaped out when buying the gifts for those classmate birthday parties that he attended, but seeing the sheer generosity from the fellow parents I definitely feel more than a little bit guilty. Well, now we know more for next year.

And I didn’t have to do party bags either praise the good lord Jesus because there was a buildable mini figure for every child included in the party package. That included a Duplo figure for TT so even she was catered for which was lovely.

The next thing to happen really of note was spirit day on the Tuesday which would have made it the 9th of June. Each child had a shirt:

How to make a parent feel old in one easy step? Put the year that their child will graduate overall from high school on the back of the Kindergarten T-shirt. Yeah my son will graduate in 2030.

Welp always good to be prepared right?

So Spirit Day seemed very much an open event but I didn’t manage to get up there as TT wasn’t being cooperative. However class photos were shared πŸ’—

My boy is, as always, clinging to an adult God love him.

He had an amazing time though, and even caught the sun a little.


Fret not dear audience he did not burn


There was also an entire school photo posted on the schools own Facebook page so I feel no compunction about half inching it and popping it up here.

Hint: my son is the one clinging to an adult on the left hand side the bottom.

And after spirit today came DPW day. This is a day to celebrate Melrose Department of Public Works. Which for the adult sounds about as exciting as it probably was except that the kids had such an amazing time.

She’s absolutely in love with that little hardhat and tries to take it with her everywhere. Unfortunately it’s really flimsy plastic so blows off with the slightest breeze so I keep trying to persuade her to keep it in the house.

Again school wanted us to go with him to chaperone but there was free ice cream and snacks there was sunshine and all manner of giant heavy duty vehicles for the kids to climb on and poke, so I consider it a morning well spent.

Sadly it was too far away from the house for me to go it alone with TT so daddy had to come to and drive but we’ll had a pretty good time.

And then, it was Friday. Having chatted with his teacher at DPW day, at length, it was decided that we shouldn’t take him in for the half day on Monday because he actually handled the fifth graders leaving not very well.* And she felt (and I didn’t disagree with her) that given they already finished the formal teaching part of the year it would just add stress to have a half day. Which meant that Friday was his last day of kindergarten. I didn’t really quite know how to feel if I’m honest he’s grown so so much and then I saw this picture:

There just aren’t words to describe the sheer pride I have felt in seeing these pictures. He’s grown, he’s changed and he’s done so so well. And then to top it off his report card came home on Friday as well. Now okay he has slipped a bit in certain areas, but overall? He has excelled compared to the winter report. I’m so so proud of him.

So this update is already super long so I think I’ll leave it there and will try and catch up with this week plus last weekend as soon as I can which hopefully will be tomorrow. Having said that, he’s got his first summer Reading camp tomorrow so we will see how we go.

*We have put so much effort into explaining to him about the transition to 1st grade, the change in class, the change in teacher etc, but we completely forgot that he had a lot of friends in the fifth grade who are moving up to the middle school in September. He was devastated on the Friday.

School Science Fair

Well not really, but sort of.

On Thursday #1 Son had his Kids Enquiry Conference. It was 18:30-19:30 and attendance was strongly encouraged.

I can’t say that I was particularly happy about it as it was after TT’s bedtime and ran past his own for a school night. Still, since it was the school making him go, I figured that they could just suck up any residual issues potentially caused by him being late to bed.

As it turned out, it was more of a “kids showing parents what they had been up to during science” in the same manner as the writing wherein we learned all about dolphins

(Please to be remembering that it is, in fact, about dolphins):

And the Maths one I previously wrote about.

So daddy took him up as someone needed to stay behind with TT and I had seen the others. I felt it would be good for #1 Son to spend some time with daddy.

I think they had fun?

πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

It was all pretty standard. The class had been doing group projects building bridges out of cardboard, egg cartons etc.

We also had the school reading and maths lists for the summer sent home.

Big stuff to do sigh. I just hope we can get most of it done.

We are now all signed up with the Melrose Public Library now at least.


And I am also endeavouring to ascertain whether all the reading he does must be off of the prescribed reading list. I’m hoping not.


I am in shock.

Total shock. I am stunned. I am speechless.

Tonight I made (another) soup.

  • Rainbow new potatoes – 1 bag
  • Rainbow carrots – 1 bag
  • 1 boneless pork chop
  • Acorn squash – roasted with olive oil and maple syrup (and I tipped the maple-y juice back into the pan)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 apples
  • A good handful of kale
  • Veggie stock from the last two soups
  • 2 cloves of garlic

Did the usual 6-7 hours in the slow cooker and blitzed it down:

#1 Son’s is on the top,TT’s is underneath.

I used some leftover baguette from yesterday’s lunch as the dippable item. TT yummed that up.

#1 Son was much more reticent, but that’s kind of standard and expected these days.

He actually dipped the bread though. And ate it. He told me “I don’t actually like it mom, but I want my sister to eat it, so I am saying how yummy it is”

I could have burst with pride.

And this was what was left:

The bowls are in the same order. Yes TT practically wiped hers out, which is great, but look.

He. Ate. Food.

Real food.

Food I cooked.

And, and and he asked to have it again tomorrow!!! I damn well nearly keeled over in shock.

And I may have been *this* close to crying tears of happiness and shock.

A busy few days

I tend to not write posts when it’s much of the same old same old day to day stuff.

Plus it was Spring Break this week so I had both kidlets with me, so times to sit and blog were very few and far between.

I’ve made five sales in my store now! I’m just blown away that I’ve sold anything at all so fast! I just hope that it will continue. Sadly I missed the Easter sales, and alas I think Mother’s Day is closing too fast to take advantage there, but we shall see.

#1 Son has had the Sunday blues today bless him after a week off. So he has been cuddled and reassured. Hopefully tomorrow will not be as bad as any of us fear it could be.

Yesterday was a good, normal, family fun day.

TV whilst daddy had his lie in.

Followed by a lovely walk in the sunshine to have lunch at the local Mexican cantina:

We decided to skip dessert there as there was nothing that the kids (#1 Son especially) would recognise as pudding, so we went to Cloud 9 for ice cream.

TT had fun:

Do not be fooled by the implement she is grasping. She had given up using the spoon and had simply face planted her ice cream πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

An emergency bath was administered as soon as we got home:

πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

Butter wouldn’t melt I swear!

Today was much the same, but we had to return to the Mall in order to exchange a tshirt for #1 Son, as he is not an XS.

So we decided to have dinner there.

TT spent a lot of time transfixed by the ceiling:

She was saying “hello” to it a lot. Well it beats harassing other diners, which is her usual mode of entertaining herself when we forget their jab screens.

From next weekend there is another slew of birthday parties, so I have ordered double copies of the next few books in the Supertato series – #1 Son loves them, so he is happy, and his classmates are unlikely to have already read them.

We have also booked his birthday party, as it was recently Merry Taxmas and so some of the rebate has been used for that. Legoland Discovery Centre has impressively decent value packages, and TT is free for this year at least.

I. Have. To. Make. Party. Bags.

Oh gods.

I also need to send the invites out. That will be tomorrow’s job then.

I can’t not share this

I made a meal that both kids ate!!!!!

I am astounded and amazed and slightly scared to be honest.

It was another stew/soup thing made of the following:

  • Fingerling potatoes – white, russet, purple.
  • Sweet potato/yams.
  • Rainbow carrots – orange, yellow, white, purple.
  • Red onion.
  • Beef.
  • Roasted Acorn squash – roasted with olive oil and maple syrup.
  • Frozen peas (because it needed something green!)
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • My homemade vegetable stock from the last batch of soup, leftover store-bought chicken stock (yes, yes, I know it’s not normal but it’s what I had on hand)
  • A sachet of posh beef bullion to deal with the above.
  • A good dash of salt

And I don’t mind admitting it tasted bloody awesome! Heck, I had some for my lunch today.

I decided that since there was so many carbs in it, that I wasn’t going to add pasta to it. However, based on observation, I felt it best to blend it down and turn it into potage for them.

And wow am I glad I did!

Now admittedly #1 Son’s bowl is the one on the right, but look – it’s half empty!!!!

Okay, it took patience and cajoling and persuasion to get him to do that, but it’s homemade and nutritious and he ate it!!!

I’m not foolish enough to believe that it’s any kind of breakthrough, but it progress!!!!

Nine Months!

Been here 3/4 of a year!!!

That’s a whole pregnancy!

(The comparison amuses me πŸ˜‚πŸ€£)

Our visas are 1 year and 3 days old!

Honestly? I think it’s starting to come together. It’s been a total rollercoaster of a ride but I’m finding my feet.

The kids are settling – though TT is finding it easier than her brother, but we’ve been here over a quarter of her entire life so that makes sense!

I’m within a stone’s throw of setting up my yarn business! Logo is purchased, shop is almost set up. I’ve bought the packaging materials to ship sold items.

I need to take photos of my snow dyed items then I’m ready to go!

It’s terrifying but exhilarating. Let’s just hope something sells!

Now onto some updates.

Yesterday #1 Son effectively had not just one but two play dates!!!

We managed about 10 minutes on a Skype call with his school friend from England! And it was lovely to watch the two of them interacting together.

She asked if her was top of his class in America bless her πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

They shared war stories – her with her broken leg, and him with his battered face lord love them both!

Then about an hour later the first official Melrose play date happened.

I love his little friend – she’s bold and polite and just great for him to have as a friend.

I have more trepidation about the transition to First Grade now. As here, you do not stay in the same class as you move through the school. Each year the classes get switched around! Now, admittedly I can actually see the logic in this, but as a mother of a special needs child who hates change with every fibre of his being, this concerns me greatly. And let’s not forget that the concept is totally alien to me.

Apparently the teachers do construct the class lists in advance, and the Principal has full right of veto.

I have already requested of his class teacher that he be placed with at least a few of whom ever in his class he is both working well with and playing well with outside – apparently these are different groupings.

Hopefully his new friend will be in his class. Her mum is very epic too – a civil lawyer who made partner in January! Her dad is a high flyer too (though I forget exactly what he does – something in Risk Management I think).

Might come in handy if you know, we ever need to sue a company…*

It was lovely to chat with a fellow mum. And she also confirmed #1 son’s improvement in recent weeks – she sometimes volunteers up at the school. Apparently her daughter is very vocal about kids who are mean to the class teacher or who don’t follow the rule and my son:

“he’s cool, he’s okay”

I honestly can’t tell you how much my heart swelled to hear that quote from a peer!!!

Sadly we had to cut it shorter than I’d hoped, as he got overwhelmed, but I’m learning too, so next time I’ll plan it a bit better.

They both go to the same nail salon as me too. I cannot wait until I can take TT there too πŸ˜πŸ’—

As for today? Well we went to the mall to get some new clothes for the kids – and thanks to the lovely sales lady running my purchases through on two orders instead of one, I got $240 worth of clothes for $120 – and TT is now completely kitted our for the warmer weather – so pretty much until October/November given the seasons here.

TT had a massive strop so we left in a bit of a hurry, but it was overall a success.


Until she did a massive poo on the living room floor, but hey let’s just gloss over that one…


#1 Son also spent some of his allowance today on this:

So he and his daddy are having fun building this tonight. They were so engrossed we lost track of time so we had a cereal dinner!

All in all it’s been a decent weekend. Spring Break is all of next week so I get to spend quality time with both of them. Which will be both fun, and probably have me crawling into the whiskey bottle by the end of the week!

Hey, at least I know myself right?


*Yes I do have a company in mind here….

Ida, Always

Last week there was an author visit to #1 Son’s school, so I purchased the two recommended books for her to sign. Sadly, due to the damn inclement weather they didn’t arrive in time. But, he still has them, so at least he is not left out when his classmates read them. He picked the first off his story book shelf tonight:I knew roughly the premise – it’s to help children deal with death. But I should have read it first. Halfway through I was choked up, and by three quarters in I was full on ugly crying. This is a truly apt description. The book is both haunting and heartbreaking and truly beautiful. Both in story and in illustration. What I had prepared for was some questions, but I had honestly hoped that the subtext might fly over his head


Things like this often do


But sadly, no such luck. He asked some very hard questions.

What will happen to me when you and daddy die? You are big and I am small. I will be all alone.

God my heart broke when he asked that. I think I handled it okay. We didn’t gloss over it, nor did we hide the truth. In fact, daddy went into quite a lot of detail about burial and cremation when #1 Son asked what happened to Ida after she died. (There is a reason I get him to help with the bigger questions). But there was a side effect we didn’t expect. A complete outpouring of grief regarding his former school in general, and one friend in particular. Floored me and his dad completely. But he was so distraught we are endeavouring to see if we can put them back in touch with each other if we can. I did also send an email to his class teacher, school counsellor and his own personal therapist outlining the above as well. As we say online: this is well above my pay grade!