Self improvement

Starts here.

Actually, it started last week when both the hus-creature and I joined a gym!

Yes I know, I can hear you all laughing hysterically. But it’s true.

Through ruthless calorie counting, and as close to a daily walk around beautiful Melrose as I can, I have managed to shift just over 20lb.

And I’m really proud of that. But I need to keep the momentum going. And I’m getting very familiar with my town now, and I needed to step it up a gear. So gym it was. You have 24/7 access and, after the first 30 day’s, can access any branch globally as part of your membership πŸ™€

So, yesterday I went for my induction session.


I feel that it should be noted that I had attended the gym pretty much daily last week barring Wednesday. I had signed the “I promise I won’t sue you if I hurt myself” disclaimer, and I remembered how most of the main machines worked so while I was waiting for them to book me in, off I went.


With the lovely Erik. Well he was very friendly and very good at his job.

I told him I hated him at least twenty times during the course of that hour, to which he merely laughed – the evil man!

But I did recant at the end of the session.

They seem positive that if I regularly attend (and I will) I should be able to reach my initial goal weight within a reasonable time frame – which I want to have done by next summer.

I will wear a pretty bikini goddammit

However I seem to have mildly overdone it πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

I will also in part attribute this to going out on the town last night with my wonderful H πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

We danced, we laughed and we got very, very drunk πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ we were total dirty stop outs and didn’t get home til 1am!

Yes, I am rocking navy lipstick πŸ˜‰

It matched my dress. My TARDIS dress. No I won’t be wearing it as an everyday look, but I put full face on for the first time ever by myself

It all comes under the self care banner. I’ll never be a “girly girl” but I can enjoy the occasional benefit from it.

Oh and the hus-creature? He still needs to sort out his induction – but he threw his back out again this week. Hopefully he can sort it out next week.

Me, I won’t be going to the gym tomorrow. We have a stupidly full schedule and I can barely walk so…

It’s the differences that hurt

I started writing this post in late May this year. Mostly to quietly vent. I’m not sure if I ever intended to publish it. But I feel I should. It’s important to be honest, with myself as well as everyone else.


I’ve been ruminating on this post for a while, and I suspect that it will be a good few days in the writing before I hit the publish button to be honest.

We all know that I have my two kidlets:

And

And I love them both to death. I do. I would both die and kill for these two. I have been a mama lion for #1 Son over the last year or so, and will continue to be for as long as he needs or wants me to be. But, can I admit something?

I get so tired.

It’s so hard. So so hard. And half the time at least it’s just not his fault or anything to do with him as himself. He continues to be one of the kindest, funniest, sweetest boys that anyone would be lucky to know.

But it’s his condition. It’s his disability (and I bloody loathe that word).

He is not a standard child. And this world is set up for the standard. For the “normal”. And everyone else is left to sink or swim.

TT is growing up. Every day it seems she does something new.

And she is blowing right past him

I don’t mean like for like now, at almost six he still ahead of her, but at their comparative ages she’s miles ahead.

  • She plays with toys.
  • She has proper imaginative play.
  • She is capable of playing on her own.
  • She wants to play with her brother. She idolises him if truth be known.
  • Her language skills are amazing
  • She has concepts such as sharing down. Admittedly mostly when they benefit her but she’s got them.
  • Milestones such as crawling, walking etc she already blew past him with.

There are more, so many more, but these are the ones that stick in my head.

It’s almost daily that I will look at the hus-creature and say:

He was never like this.

Or

He never did this/that.

And I wonder if he has somehow been short changed by my just not knowing that he was non-standard.

How did I not know? Well for a premature child and a boy, he was hitting all the relevant milestones within the age-appropriate ranges.

We didn’t see a problem until he first started formal schooling.

I worry for him. I worry about him. If I, as his mother, can get upset and frustrated


And I do, believe me I do


Then how will the rest of the world cope? How will he cope with it?!?!?


And that is where I stopped. I couldn’t carry it on.

I think my pain, worry, fear is quite obvious no? But, I’m pleased to say, that things are once again on the upswing.

He’s had a few knocks since the start of the school year. For example he started leaving class again, particularly after we got back from England. However that was two weeks ago, and he’s getting better.

I still haven’t had to visit the new Principal (which is great) and he’s making great strides in his reading, writing and math.

I’m just so proud of this kid.

He’s a trooper. He’s my best boy. And I will continue to be the Mamasaurus that he needs me to be.

He got that star in his first week and we have also had another since.

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’—

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!

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»

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.

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.

Momma has departed

I had 9 weeks with my wonderful momma.

But the best things in life must come to an end and she had to return to the homeland.

There was much packing and re-packing:

I’m sad, but have been promised that she and dad will return in the summer for at least a fortnight, maybe even three weeks.

We will have barbecues and the kiddies will play outside…


Well, if we get the fence we were promised before we moved in


And we will do the tourist thing and it will be lots of fun.

Well, it’s only three months away.


Well, that and Momma accidentally pinched my fleece – so she has to come back to return it πŸ˜‚πŸ€£


For now, I will snuggle with the hus-creature on the sofa, and continue watching Wonder Woman.

Pass the whiskey

No. Really.

It’s 17:30, mom is starting her third beer, I am drinking my first (which is actually yesterday’s first – since my op I haven’t really drunk much in a go).

In the first instance mom kicked me out of the house, gently persuaded me, to take TT to the park.

She refused to wear her snow boots. Or indeed any boots. And there was snow.

Not vast amounts, as it is melting, but it was there. She got wet.

But there were moments of cuteness

She then found (and ignored) a stick

No. There was no stick song.

We stayed out for about 45 minutes, and she had a whale of a time. But she did end up soaking wet due to snow and falling down.

I had to bribe her with candy to get her back in the pram! She totally charmed the man behind the counter in the grocery store though πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

Then came dinner. Sigh.

Yes, it went about as well as expected.

Take a guess, dear audience as to which bowl on the right hand side belonged to which child….

Go on…

I’ll wait…

She scoffed it. We are having the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Honestly, even though I am tooting my own horn more than a little, it actually tastes really good!!!

#1 Son on the other hand? I basically begged him to eat three mouthfuls. Total bust.

I’ll keep trying…