Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year 2010!

I have had the pleasure of seeing in the New Year in my hometown on Edinburgh and have been to the street party in the Ciy Centre several times too. This year's New Years will be spent indoors but Hogmany in Scotland is an amazing time of year.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay from Edinburgh's Hogmanay on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snowy Problems

Ben has been wanting snow for a while now. He missed the last few days of snow as he was working and couldn't play in it with the kids. The Weather Channel had said we were due for snow over the weekend and today it came. We went to Walmart to get a sledge and a snow shovel.

We were then going to go to the Disney Store so the kids could spend their gift card but first we went to look at a possible location for sledding later on. The snow was really coming down now but we went round the corner from Walmart to Cool Creek Park and drove around looking at the park and where we could sled. As we came back down a hilly bit the car skidded on a slippery bit and we lost traction for a second or two. Then we crashed into a car coming the other way. A big chunk of the front of our car was now on the ground and one of the lower lights was hanging off. Luckily no one was hurt. Our car came off worse than the other one.

We had to wait for the police to come to file a police report and Ben and the other driver exchanged insurance details. The police came quite quickly but there was a bit of waiting around to do whilst the paperwork was done. The kids got out the car and ran around in the snow for a bit. After about 30-45 minutes we were able to leave.

The driver of the other car called someone else to come out and take their kids home as their seatbelts didn't seem to be working in the front and they didn't want to risk driving with the kids in the car. As we drove away they were still there with the policeman.

Ben dropped me and the kids off at the apartment and he went to get glue and duck tape to try and tape the front of the car back together again. I had picked up a lot of the debris from the ground after the crash so we would be able to stick it all back together. He parked the car under the car port outside and set to work trying to repair it. The snow was really coming down hard and the wind chill was very cold. Luckily he didn't glue his fingers together or to anything on the car. The front corner of the car is now silver due to all the tape on it and is currently missing a light as that has to be put back in later on. The light is actually sat on the floor by the apartment door at the moment waiting to be put back onto the car!

I have my driving test on Saturday so hopefully there won't be any problems with the car or too much more snow!
If I ever am in a position to buy a new car I know exactly what car I want to get.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

So we got a wonderful Christmas gift from the kids. We got a lie in! We woke at 7.30am! Woo-Hoo! The kids were all excited by the sheer volume of gifts under the tree and quickly set to work opening them. We need not have worried about the kids not having much for Christmas. They had loads of stuff. They even got a bike each so in the New Year they will be learning to ride them. (When they have cycle helmets too of course!)

I then got started on Christmas lunch. I was planning on making a pumpkin pie for dessert but managed to drop the pie crust on the counter and it broke into hundreds of pieces. I wasn't put off though and just put them back in the foil and then put the pumpkin pie mix on top. Ok so it wasn't great to look at but it tasted nice. The chicken was cooked perfectly. I got a chicken that has a sort of timer in it that pops up when the chicken is cooked thoroughly. The timer device looks a bit like a golf tee but it seems to work. We also had stuffing, gravy and loads of veg. The kids ate loads as did Ben.

There were leftovers and they were eaten at dinner time in the form of a chicken and stuffing sandwich.

Z and K managed to watch both of their dvds during the day too. They got G-Force and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. All in all it was a good day but next year I think I wil get prepared a bit earlier and relax on Christmas Eve rather than going to a Mall shopping!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Even though it is Christmas Eve, I decided to go against my best judgement and went to Castleton Mall to do some Christmas shopping! I am usually done with all the Christmas shopping by the middle of November but this year there was a slight delay to starting the Christmas preparations. (We moved to Indiana and have been a bit busy trying to get the apartment sorted)
Anyway, Ben dropped me off at the mall and he went off with the kids. I aimed to be done in an hour and a half and I was. I called Ben after an hour to get him to come collect me again. Turned out he was in the food court so I didn't have long to wait.
We came home and I wrapped up all the things I had bought. Then the kids had a nap as we were going to a Christmas Eve party at the home of a fellow British Expat. We drove over to Angela and Kevan's house and then followed them over to the party. A good time was had by all. K had decided to go in her Snow White outfit and between her and Z they ate almost all of the fruit in the house! I drove home and managed to get back safely and without getting lost! We put the kids to bed and then put out the gifts from 'Santa'. Then to bed. I just know we will be awake by 4am!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Went to the BMV. Again. This time managed to do the written part of the test to get an Indiana State Drivers Licence. Passed the written test and have the practical driving bit booked for 0930 on Saturday January 2 2010.

Fingers crossed that it is not snowy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Change of Class

Tomorrow is the last day of the semester at Z's school. He has enjoyed going and really loves going by the school bus. One thing that has been a bit of an 'issue' is the curriculum. It is so much more advanced than the school he went to in the UK that he has really struggled to keep up with it all. Also you have to have turned 6 by August 1 and Z didn't turn 6 until the end of August. So, after discussion with his teacher, the Principal and Ben, it has been decided that next Semester he will be going into a Kindergarten class. This is not like the Reception class he was in when at school in the UK. It is more like a Year 1/Year 2 class. He is happy with the decision and hopefully he will thrive in the new class. The kids will still be his age so he is not going to be with really young kids. Also because of his age there won't be any 'stigma' with being held back a year. It was either going to be keep him in 1st grade and have him struggle through the year and then repeat the year again, or go to Kindergarten and move up with the class to 1st grade next August.
I do/did worry that I caused this problem for him as I decided he should go to 1st grade without properly looking at the curriculum and speaking to the school. I have put all this pressure on a 6 year old boy that wasn't ready for it. Luckily he still seems to be enjoying school and has never said he didn't want to go ro refused to do the homework. I just hope this change in class will benefit him and he will feel like he is improving and able to understand what he is being taught.
Tomorrow is Christmas party day at school and he finishes at 10.50am. Saturday will be bringing us snow!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Police and Firemen

Today started off like any normal day. Z went to school and Ben went off to work with Dan. Z had been complaining of a poorly tummy last night but decided he was better in the morning and could go to school. Anyway, I had the car so had plans to go to the grocery store to get a few bits and pieces.

I was thinking about getting ready to go when there was a knock on the door. It was the woman from next door and she was asking to borrow my phone. She looked upset and had a little boy next to her who looked around Z and K age range. I gave her the phone and stood in the doorway whilst she used it. She was asking whoever she called to come get her and her husband/boyfriend/partner who is on crutches was trying to get past her saying stuff like 'I am going to tell them you are abusing me' and was pushing her out the way with his crutches and she kept going in front of him. She gave me the phone back and I shut the door. A few minutes later the little boy knocked on the door and asked to borrow the phone again. I gave him it and left the door slightly open for them to bring it back. I sat on the couch with K and watched a cartoon. Next thing I know a police car turns up and a policeman is calling through the door asking if I called the police. I say no but it might have been the neighbours as they borrowed the phone. He knocks on the door and the woman answers and she gives the phone back to me and goes back inside with the policeman. I shut my door and sit back down with K on the couch. A few minutes later and someone is opening my door. I jump up and open it before anyone come in and there are 4 firemen stood there asking if I called for them. I say, again, no but it might be the neighbours as they borrowed my phone.

I go back to sitting on the couch and wait to see if the policeman comes back to ask me anything about what was going on. Eventually I hear people in the corridor and someone says that someone is being taken to hospital and then it all goes quite and the police cars go away so I decide it is fine to leave so I take K out to the grocery store.

We get the bits and pieces we need and head home again. I haver just got all the stuff in cupboards and am opening the apartment door to take the rubbish out and I come face to face with the same policeman as earlier. He has come back to ask me about earlier. He asks what I heard and saw. Turns out the man with the crutches had said he had been screaming and shouting for help but I didn't hear any of it. The policeman writes down everything I say but doesn't ask for my name so I am assuming that I am not going to hear anything else about it. Unless the neighbours come back and do it all again!

All this before lunch time!
I am not going out again, except to meet Z from his bus, as it is -9C but the windchill makes it feel like -18C!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Tree Hunting

Today we went to get our Christmas Tree. We had looked at fake ones pre-lit and they averaged about $280! So we decided to get a real tree. It is environmentally friendly and cheaper! We found a tree farm and decided to drive up and choose a tree.
Don't worry we measured the height of the room and worked out the maximum height of tree our room could cope with. No National Lampoons Christmas Vacation here!

After a short drive up to the farm we find that there are loads of trees to choose from. The kids are all bundled up as it is  freezin cold and they run around looking at all the trees trying to decide which one to get. There were a few pointed at that would not have gotten through the door and so were quickly bypassed.

Eventually we find one and decide it is the right height and width for our living room. I get a pot/stand thing for it and the guys at the farm take it round back to drill a hole in it for the stand and attach the stand to the bottom whilst I go to pay.

It gets strapped to the roof of the car and we head home to put it in the room and then go to get lights for it. I had already bought some baubles but no lights so we go to Meijer to get some lights and then set about decorating it. The kids love it and K gets to put the star on the top. It just fits!

Our first ever real Christmas tree. I just hope it survuves until Christmas day! Must remember to water it every so often! All we need now are presents at the bottom of it. Must do Christmas shopping. Only problem is need to do it without the kids being there and that is easier said than done!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

To Drive or Not to Drive

Ben was scheduled to take his driving test today so he could get an Indiana State driving licence. I hoped to do my written test so I could schedule my driving test but after speaking to a very miserable woman at the BMV she told me I couldn't as my Social Security Card did not match my 'primary id' as the names were not the same. I had sent off the form and copies of my id to the Social Security Administration but hadn't heard anything. Until I get a letter or document confirming that my Social Security records have been amended and I am who I say I am, I can't get a Indiana driving licence. Ben has offered to go into the Federal Building with all my documents and another completed form. Happy lady at the BMV told me I needed a 'NUMI' form and then I could do my tests.

Ben was able to carry on with his test which involved going out for a 10 minute drive and performing a parallel park. That was it. Unsurprisingly he passed. There seemed to be a bit of a 'computer says no' going on afterwards as same happy woman that had seen me, took about 45 minutes to get Ben's licence sorted out. Eventually he got a printout of what his licence will look like but not the actual licence. The BMV have to check with Homeland Security that all the visas/documents etc Ben provided them with are legal and he is supposed to be in the US. At least I now have an idea what to expect when I finally get to that point. I am hoping it won't take me 7 attempts to pass like it did in the UK though!

After finishing up at the BMV we went to the Childrens Museum again and then home for a nap before heading out to the Columbus Electric Lights Parade. We arrived after it had started but found a very good parking space by the Dairy Queen and only had to walk for about 2 minutes until we found a decent vantage point to watch all the floats go by with their Christmas lights on. We got 4 hot chocolates for $3 as one of them was only half full and the guy serving us didn't have a refill to hand. After standing watching it all for a while we went back to the car and the kids watched the fireworks from the warmth of the back seat.

As it was late I knew we wouldn't get back in time for dinner so got some food from McDonalds. mmmm. Lovely. not.

Tomorrow we are going tree hunting. We are getting a real Christmas tree for the first time ever.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tom Cruise!

I only get a mention on the official Tom Cruise blog part of his website! His verified Twitter feed asked about movies that inspire yesterday and I tweeted a reply. Didn't think anything of it. I have had 2 celebrities reply to my Tweets - Richard Bacon and Alexander Armstrong.

Tom Cruise (Ok not actually him but one of his 'people' only went and re-tweeted my post! Now it is on the Official Tom Cruise blog. Along with my photo! I am part of a screen grab of tweets! Check it out here. I think I may love Tom Cruise! (My Twitter user name is sarah1807 in case you have a problem finding me!)

This weekends activities involve driving tests, Christmas light celebrations and chopping down trees!

14 year olds & Green Cards

Did you know that you need to get a new green card when you turn 14? Do you know the reason why? No really, I'd like to know why. ...