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!

Ice Skating

On Saturday #1 Son was invited to the local rink – Flynn Rink for those interested – for a birthday party.

The birthday boy’s mother was prepared for there to be non-skaters in the group, and had set up snacks and hot chocolate (with marshmallows and chocolate dragΓ©e candies) for those children to hang out away from the ice.

How Daddy thought it would go:

That he would outright refuse to try it.

How I thought it would go:

That we would persuade him to go out on the ice. After 30 seconds he would slip/fall/be unable to move and probably have a meltdown.

We got him into rented skates. Helmets are apparently not compulsory and as such were not rentable.

We gave him a milk crate for balance and stability, and watched him go out on the ice.

With, I admit, our hearts in our mouths.

And then this happened.

Also this – the kid has moves

Please remember this was the first time he had ever been out on the ice!!!

I’m not ashamed to admit, I cried. Full on blubbed and sobbed. I was overwhelmed with how proud I was. I couldn’t explain it.


In fact I find myself tearing up as I write this post and re-watch the videos


He enjoyed himself.

Yes, he fell down. Yes he blunderbussed his way into other children. Yes I spent an inordinate amount of time apologising to the world in general (as I had no idea which parents belonged to which child) but he had so much fun.

Sadly the rink is now closed, a month early, because they had received a $3 Million grant for refurbishing, but they will reopen at the end of August – so we will see if we can sign him up for lessons.

He showed an interest in learning, the rink is close by, and hockey is BIG in this town. I’m not necessarily thinking we will get him into hockey itself, not for a while, but learning to skate is a really good skill to have while we live here.

After the skating was pizza, juice and cake. Sadly the first few pizzas were more than a little carbonised on the bases and so he refused to eat them. So we said our goodbyes and left a little early, but overall I would consider that party a huge success!

As we grownups hadn’t eaten, and the cat needed food too, that we would go to Wegman’s very nice burger bar via PetCo.

Where there were beautiful Bettas (Siamese Fighting fish) – some of whom had made bubble nests yay!

Also gorgeous reptiles of various persuasions.

All in all, a very very good day.

Wow long time

No post.

Been a busy busy week and at so many points I found myself thinking “I must blog about today” and then it was late and I was tired and thought “I will do it tomorrow”

Well tomorrow never comes does it?

So, my last few days:

Friday:

We all accidentally got very tiddled. Which happens when you drink three bottled beers with a 9%ABV and add a glass of mead somewhere in the mix. Whoops. It was fun, and Momma and I chewed the fat, put the world to rights and ganged up on the hus-creature a little poor boy!

Saturday:

Momma and I were going to go to the pub for a drink, but both of us were feeling tired. (This is not a euphemism, amazingly I was not hungover!)

So instead, momma kindly volunteered to stay in with the (asleep) sproglets and we went to the cinema.

Where we had a (really not good*) meal at the bar-which-pretends-to-be-a-restaurant and saw BLACK PANTHER!!!

And if you have not yet been to see this masterpiece GO NOW. No, seriously, I’ll wait right here.

We didn’t get home til gone midnight, but mom had opted for an early night anyway so it was all good.

Apart from TT having a poop accident in her pants but one just isn’t worth fretting over.

*We sent back our nachos. It really was that bad πŸ™€

Sunday:

This was another quietish day, but #1 Son wanted a haircut.


Well, we felt that it was more than a little hard to tame, so for once we gentlyencouraged a cutting of hair


But there is only one barber in the whole of Melrose who is open on Sundays, so off we trotted.

And, rather unsurprisingly, it was very busy. We wanted to give the poor Mothership a break from her beloved grandchildren so we decided to take them both with us.

On the way out, #1 Son somehow caught a splinter in his finger 🀭 so daddy took him back upstairs to remove it whilst I stayed outside with TT – we had just gotten her strapped into the stroller and letting her out again was a nightmare I just did not want to deal with!

He was extremely brave – daddy managed to get half of it out with tweezers, but the bastarding thing snapped halfway out. So then enter the very experienced Nanny (the Mothership) with a sterile needle. And she got it out! And as he was so brave we decided that, regardless of cold, we would take him for an ice cream after the hair cut.

To try and limit the boredom factor for the kids, and to get more errands done, I sat with #1 Son in the barber’s whilst daddy took TT to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions


We actually had to pay a deductible this time – one whole quarter


Sadly we were nowhere near the chair by the time they were done. Fortunately we had the foresight to pack both tablets, so the kids were mostly contained, but it was still rather hair-raising*.

There was one cute moment though. There were a pair of brothers roughly of an age with #1 Son and TT, and, since there were only two barbers on shift, one decided to wait for his colleague to finish with his current client and not seat someone else in his chair so that both boys could be done together.

As a parent with two bored and fractious children this was slightly frustrating, but also wonderful to see from a customer service perspective.

Well we did eventually get to the chair, and for a kid with sensory issues he handled it like a total trooper 😍😊

It was a full scissor cut with a slight buzzing of the nape – and since he hates the clippers this was amazing.

It has been four days since the cut though, and it is already growing back enough to start spiking up at the back sigh. The perils of thick wavy hair I guess.

*Pun not intended πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

Monday:

Not much of note to report beyond being four weeks post op and doing reasonably well. As long as I don’t overdo it too much I’m pretty okay. I did ensure that I renewed my ibuprofen scrip because I could!I’ve been doing some regular driving practice and tonight we went via the mall. Ostensibly to give me some more lengthy practice on a different route, but we also planned to pop in to their pet store to get some cat food, as we are running low on her majesty’s dry feed.

Big Mistake. For, you see, not only was it a very small store designed only for dogs; but they were also selling dogs. Or puppies rather. Stored in large aquarium style tanks.

Not going to deny, as a Brit this shocked and appalled me. I mean, they seemed happy enough but still…

It made me sad. So I went and did a little shopping in Newbury Comics and had a happy again. Game of Thrones t-shirts? Check! Game of Thrones socks? Check!

Right this is already stupidly long so I shall continue it in another entry!

Many things

It’s been a busy few days.

TT is (whisper it) 100% reliable during the day on the toilet when it comes to doing a wee!

We have also had two days in a row where she has successfully done a poo in the correct place*

We have had no accidents all week thus far.

Night training is not happening, as we are attempting to wean her away from her middle of the night bottle and it’s just cruel to do both at the same time…


That and the one night we tried it she screamed bloody murder, fully woke up, and then actively refused to go back to sleep without said bottle – she won that round!


But she’s doing amazingly – especially when you consider she’s only 26 months old!!

Okay so she doesn’t now need the “cooling” pull ups we bought, or the plastic pants. Bugger. Ah well, we live and learn. And if we hadn’t have bought them, we would have needed them.

Sadly we had a bit of a backslide with #1 Son on the behaviour at school front today. He ran out not once, not twice but five time today, and even ran back into school at pick up time whilst the Mothership was talking to his teacher about the previous five occurrences.

I received an email from her this afternoon confirming that he had had an “emotional” day (stating that no-one would play with him and that he felt that no one loved him 😰) outlining her strategies for helping him tomorrow and giving us a framework to talk to him.


One of the problems is his refusal to accept that other children might just want to play games of their own choosing too – we are working on this…


He has had two more party invites though (one of which is ice skating – but thankfully with options for non skaters) which ought to help a little.

The other is a bouncing party – your guess is as good as ours on that – but that should at least be fun for him.

The lovely H brought up some presents for the kidlets today and he completed one of them

Momma and I are hoping that H will be able to join us on a small night on the town on Saturday.

His reading has come on in leaps and bounds. He actually asked to read with mom when he got home from school!!!!

He still hates writing, so I think that will have to be the next point of focus, but it’s amazing to see how well he is doing.

Mom met up with his teacher on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his progress and ensure that we (mostly her) are not confusing him compared to how they are teaching him in class.

It meant she got to meet his support team, and see his little cubby that they’ve built for him to (effectively) escape into when he gets overwhelmed.

Yes, it is literally a cupboard – it works for him.

He will also be having weekly sessions with his therapist every Tuesday at 07:15 – this means he won’t be too late into school, thus not impacting on his daddy’s work day too much.

As for me? I’m slowly getting back behind the wheel. I’m not great, but at least when I screw up I’m following through and have not (for example) crashed into a roundabout, nor ran a red light, nor turned into oncoming traffic without signalling.


Which are all things I did back in England prior to passing my U.K. licence


So I consider that I am doing okay. I need practice, and I need to pass my theory test (yet again) but I am studying and having gotten through half of the USA equivalent to the Highway Code today.

I’m now exhausted and have an incipient migraine πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

I also had my second post-op checkup yesterday.

My doctor is very pleased with my progress. I am to increase my doing of things, though not to lift anything heavier than a gallon until I’m the full six weeks post-surgery.

He does however want me to break up with dairy πŸ™€πŸ™€πŸ™€

(I mentioned I wanted to lose weight)

At the moment dairy and I are merely agreeing to see other people πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

I can cope with losing chocolate but not my cheese. And I’m trying to work out what I could put in my tea instead of cow’s milk.

But I’m going to try.

He next wants to see me in six months, and this appointment is already booked 😱

Mom and I also went up to knitting group yesterday and had much fun πŸ‘πŸ»


*With many apologies to the non-parents in my audience, this sort of thing is big news when you are a stay at home parent!

Several important milestones

So yesterday wasn’t your average Sunday.

I was going to walk to the pub with mum but it was raining really heavily. So we all had a baguette meal at #1 Son’s request. Both children really enjoyed themselves and actually ate real food. TT also tried various adult foods such as horseradish cheese and Gorgonzola dip. No, she didn’t like them but at least it was funny when she tried.

TT has been trying bunches again:

I’m not sure she approves yet πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ whatever we do she yanks out within 10-30 minutes anyway sigh.

We decided that it was a good idea to actually get some exercise, so when we discovered we were almost out of cat food (I know right how did I let this happen?) We decided that I would go to Shaws with the sprogs and the hus-creature, and get some fresh air.

Well we managed it. Nobody ran off, broke anything and I didn’t collapse. Then something very amazing happened.

I drove the car home!!!!

Yes, me – who hasn’t been behind the wheel in over six months!!!

I was probably more than a little aggravating to the other drivers, but I made it home.

#1 Son even told me “you have done well Mommy, good job”

And trust me, I needed to hear that!!!

We went out tonight for a small spin around the immediate estate and to the train station and back – a bit of road position practice mainly. Again, nobody died and there was only one instance of my getting my side of the road screwed up – approaching a one-way gyratory on the left whilst turning left fired up my dormant muscle-memory neurons, but I moved over before there was an issue and didn’t even get beeped so all is good.

I need to be able to do the school run before Momma returns to good ole Blighty.

Tosay #1 Son voluntarily tidied TT’s room – it was done very well. What was amusing was TT checking all the cupboards in her little kitchen to see what he had put in there.

TT is now very upset to wake up to a wet nappy, and for the last two nights has insisted on “wee wee” within 10 min of her bedroom door closing.

So tonight we cut down her bedtime bottle amount and as of last night have cut out her 11pm bottle πŸ™€

We will be attempting to sit her on a potty at 11pm instead after getting #1 Son up for his middle of the night toilet break.

Both of them are growing up. TT is now almost 100% reliable on the #1 front, so now we are working on #2.

Night-dry may well be possible much sooner with her…

I’m also three weeks post-op now. Time flies when you’re “having fun” I guess.

A productive few days

TT has been dry in the day for three days on the trot!!!

This is amazing! And she has completely bypassed the potty and has gone straight to using the toilet.


So I could have saved the $20+ I invested in a mini toilet style potty but never mind eh?


We are struggling a little with #2 at the moment but we are getting there.


We have already thrown at least one pair of underpants out


She has also been a little unwell the last day or so. Wednesday night was awful. She woke screaming in pain at 22:00 and was clearly either constipated or very gassy. We tried a warm bath, Nanny/daddy walking her around, we even gave her an approved constipation tablet – nothing worked.

She was so bad she gave herself a fully hoarse throat the poor wee thing 😰

So we ended up co-sleeping because she just would not settle back in her bed alone.

And it reminded me most forcefully why we do not do the co-sleeping thing.

Poor Daddy ended up curled up on the foot of the bed under the duvet whilst I ended up very sore due to the squirming sleep-thief octopus.

So I spent a lot of yesterday resting because I was exhausted and in pain.

Much better today. However TT has had a slightly upset tummy, so the two events may have been linked. Her pjs were a bit of a state this morning 🀒

#1 Son has been doing reading and writing practice with Nanny. By reading phonetically with the Biff, Chip and Kipper books supplied by other Nanny he is now romping through, and is already on Level 2.

My pride knows no boundaries. We are more than a little concerned though that we are teaching him the British way and not the American way, but it’s working for him – so Momma has volunteered to chat to his teacher about it next week to see if either they can keep letting him learn this way or provide us with suggested resources to help him move on from phonics.

But he is enjoying reading. This is a bloody miracle.

TT decided yesterday that she wasn’t up to being outdone:

Reading practice with TT

I mean, logically it’s nowhere near as impressive, but it’s pretty cute.

Momma has also been trying to tame and tidy the unruly mop that is her hair:

It lasts about ten minutes but hey it’s progress!

We are planning on working on colours and shapes with her next week once #1 Son returns to school.

And as for writing with #1 Son? Well Momma is working on individual upper and lower case letter formation with him, and we are already up to K!!! The hope is that by Monday he will have done the entire alphabet through, but we shall see.

He has also had a full session with his new therapist and he doesn’t hate the musical therapy.

*collapses in relief*

I’m going for a walk at the weekend!!!

πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

The first party

Yes, today #1 Son went to his first party stateside.

Overall experience? Meh *Gallic shrug*

If he were a standard child it probably would have been fine, but as he’s not? Not as well as I hoped, but better than I feared.

Nanny volunteered to take him, whilst daddy stayed with TT.


I don’t think either volunteer got an easy job there to be fair πŸ˜‚πŸ€£


He chose his own outfit:

So smart πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

Now it was one of these activity based ones – all the children taken into a room to rehearse to put on a play at the end for the grown ups.

Would anyone like to guess how this turned out?!?!

Anyone?

Suffice it to say, they left half an hour before the advertised end time, and Momma has had a G&T and a beer or two to calm her nerves!

Now he did have some measure of fun, but missed the cake (which he’s sore about) and didn’t eat the pizza they were serving. My own thinking is that he was over-stimulated (it was very loud) and felt out of control so he seized on one thing he could control – whether or not he ate.

But it’s ok. I sent a thank you email to the birthday girl’s mother, making it clear he had had fun (maybe I took a little creative licence) because I’m grateful he had the chance to have a normal experience.

Slow and steady. That’s how we roll.

And for cuteness, here is a montage of daddy and childer-beasts taken today

My cup runneth over tonight.

Angry mama bear is angry

I just had a call from the counselling centre where #1 Son is registered. His therapist quit. Effective immediately. With zero communication to clients.

I’m furious.

It explains so. much.

  • Why she cancelled last week’s appointment with less than two hour’s notice 😑🀬
  • Why she failed to reschedule it at all.
  • Why she never answered my email when I copied her in to one sent to his school guidance counsellor.
  • Why, despite promising me for over three weeks that she would do so, she has never followed up with the school.

I’m just speechless and furious.

I give major props to the counselling centre though. They stayed 100% professional. Although when I commented that “it made sense” a bit more came out when I read between the lines (see the above list).

They’ve gotten him in with a new therapist. Who specialises in kids with sensory and emotional issues, and is a music therapist.

I’m a bit anxious though, as it isn’t a proven to work with him technique. And he does have an issue with loud noise. But he needs to see someone, so we will give it a go.

It also throws a spanner in the works of the diagnosis procedure.

Argh.

In slightly lighter news, TT ate half an adult portion of yesterday’s vegetable lasagne – including picking out the courgettes and mushrooms to eat.

BREAKING NEWS:

Whilst writing this post, TT has done….

*drum roll please*

A wee wee on the toilet. Unprompted!!!

Much praise, dancing (though not by me) and chocolate have been administered.

I am tired now πŸ€£πŸ˜‚