Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Seriously..what am I thinking?

I think I must miss working more than I realize! However, until we get green cards (which is not happening any time soon!) I cannot work. I cannot do any kind of paid work. Whilst it would be a lot better if we were a two income family, I realize that I have to just stick to volunteering. As good as it is staying at home and not dealing with office politics, there is only so much Facebook you can handle in a day and daytime TV is rubbish no matter where you are in the world!

So at the moment I am volunteering twice a week at the kids school and it looks like I will be a Troop leader for a Daisy Troop in the Girl Scouts. I have a meeting tomorrow afternoon to sort all of that out. I saw something on Twitter earlier about The Center for the Performing Arts that is opening here in Carmel soon and that there are volunteer opportunities there. I am going to go to the 'information sessions' that are being held in October and will find out some more about it. I wouldn't have to do any actual volunteering until after it opened in January and most of it would most likely be in the evening. Do you get the feeling that I need something to do?! One of the benefits of volunteering is that it is a good way to meet people.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Next 7 Days

2 volunteer stints at kids school. 

Taking K to Cheer practice and 2 football games. 

Meeting regarding Girl Scouts. 

Packing and moving house. 

Sending Ben and Z off to Boy Scout Family Camp Out. 

Swimming Lessons. 

Selling Boy Scout Popcorn. 

Making cupcakes with K. 

Finding a large K & Z for kids bedroom doors.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Boy Scout Popcorn

This may seem a rather odd request but, if you live in the US and would like to help Z reach his goal selling Boy Scout Popcorn, please go to this web page and place an order. He has an individual target to reach of $340! He's 7 years old and has to sell $340 worth of popcorn!!

I remember when I was in the Brownies and Girl Guides all I had to do was pay 25p per week sub money and that was it. I didn't have to sell anything. If I want to go on a trip or outing with them then I paid for it when I needed to! However it seems to be different now and fund raising is to be expected. When K finally joins a Girl Scout Troop, no doubt she will be required to sell stuff!

At the moment they only ship to the USA so family and friends in the UK cannot have popcorn delivered to them. I am not sure if you could place an order with a UK debit/credit card and have it delivered to us here. Another option for British family and friends is they could send us cash and we could buy popcorn that way. You know you want to support Z in his endeavors! Prices for all the popcorn are on his sales page. (The kids would certainly get through it!)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Carmel Elementary School

A few weeks ago Carmel Elementary had a Colts NFL Health Day. This YouTube video shows pictures from around the school on the day. (There is no sound)

A picture drawn by K is at around 5:40. She writes that she likes strawberries and draws a picture of herself. (She does indeed like strawberries as she recently ate a pack of strawberries all to herself!) A picture of her head then appears at 5:55 in a big picture of all her classmates. She is the head with a white top and is in between the kids wearing blue tops with the numbers 10 and 2 on them. I looked for Z but he seems to have avoided the pictures. (He's like me in that respect!)

Below is a little video about Carmel Elementary that family back in the UK may like to see.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pottery Barn...

....is evil! No it's not really but I should probably stop getting their catalogs in the mail. I just got their 'Welcome Fall' catalog in the mail today and I have had a quick look through it. There are lots of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas items in it that I just love. I either need to stop getting it or I need to come into a lot of money. I first heard of Pottery Barn through watching episodes like this of Friends.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Main Trailer

I am definitely going to be going to the cinema to see this when it comes out. Who's coming with me?!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Volunteering in Action - Take 2

This morning I did my 2nd volunteering duty at the kids school. I have been in the Media Center twice now and I seem to be getting the hang of it fairly easily. Today I was in the Parent Center and helping the KG kids who are using the computers and listening stations. There was me and one other parent who oddly enough is also quite new to the USA but English is not her first language. Neither of us really knew what we were doing and fumbled through most of it. Luckily the kids had a good idea what they were supposed to be doing. It was all going fine until one of the kids said their computer had gone off. Then they were all saying their computers had gone off! 8 kids all sat at their computers and all looking at blank screens! Why does this always happen to me? Turns out a fuse had blown and it was got sorted quickly. Luckily this was near the end of my Parent Center stint and the kids were all taken back to their classrooms to get ready for lunch. They have their lunch at around 10.20am! Yes they eat lunch while it is still morning!

I left the school and walked down to where our new home is so I could sign the lease and pick up the keys. I also went into the Public Library so I could ask about using a room to meet the Girl Scout people in. Turns out that I can't book a room, I just have to turn up and see if one is free. There has been a slight snag in my being a leader though. It transpires that you need to have a SSN, and I do but it is in my maiden name and I can't get it changed until I have work authorization (no idea when that is going to be). It is being checked with the Girl Scout Council to see if I can still do it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bobcat Badge

Z joined the Cub Scouts a few weeks ago and last night he got his first badge, the Bobcat Badge. He also got a buckle or something (I admit I don't know exactly what it is) for marbles! I totally forgot he had played marbles when we went for the information evening but the Scout leaders remembered and the awarded him something for doing well at it! The pictures are a little blurry as they were taken on our cell phones and there was a lot of people at the Pack Meeting so a lot of people moving around and nudging each other.

 Oh and in other news, it seems that I may have volunteered myself to be a Troop Leader for the Girl Scouts! K wants to join and when we went to the information/registration evening there was only K and one other girl from the KG classes at their school so we needed to get some more girls to be able to form a troop. Now it seems there is at least 5 girls who want to join and we are going to have another meeting next week to complete the registration. Someone else might of course volunteer to be a leader but at the moment it is looking like it might be me! What have I let myself in for? I never put myself in situations like this! What is it about being in the USA that has made me get involved in cheerleading, Boy Scouts, PTO volunteering at school and now Girl Scout Troop Leader?! Should I be medicated?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Once Upon A Time

A while ago, before we moved to the US, I used to make noises about wanting to be a writer. I even started to write a novel but I ran out of steam and lost interest. I even had a blog all about my writing. It has been deleted so you won't find it. It even had a fairly decent Google Page Rank and had lots of links to it and lots of regular readers. But I got taken up with moving over here and the writing took a back seat. That did surprise me a bit as I have a lot of free time so there really is no excuse for me not to write. I am not allowed to work here so I could spend a large chunk of time writing. I suppose at first I didn't as K was not yet at school and it wouldn't be fair to her if I sat on my laptop all day typing. She would get a tad irritated by that. Now, however, both my kids are at school so my days are free for me to do what I want. I volunteer at the school 2 mornings a week but that still leaves 3 days where I can write between 8am and 3pm. I actually started writing again yesterday and managed to get over 1,000 words done. The question is what do I want to write? A novel, a column for a magazine/newspaper or something about being an Expat or something else? In a dream world I would get a call from someone at Random House saying they have read my blog and would love to hear my ideas about writing something, or someone from a womans glossy magazine like Marie Claire saying they want me to write a column for their fabulous magazine. I think I really need to do something as I am going to eventually going to lose my mind. The good news is that I have started writing again and hopefully I will find the motivation to continue it. Who knows if I finish, whatever it is going to be, I could send it off to an agent/publishing house. You don't get anything in this life if you don't work for it. I need to work, and work hard! If anything was to come of it I could possibly qualify for my own visa and that would be awesome!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Scout Family Picnic

Today was the Scout Family picnic for the Pack that Z is now a member of. It was at Cool Creek Park not far from our apartment. Z got his 'Class B' uniform which is an official Pack t-shirt and he wore it for the duration of the picnic.

It started with everyone doing the pledge of allegiance and future events being explained. Then it was food time. There was so much food! We managed to get the kids having a good mix of food by making sure they had a hotdog and fruit and vegetables before having a piece of the various cakes that were there.

After eating all the kids disappeared to the Creek. Or what there was of the creek as it was pretty dry as we've not had much rain for a very long time. Soon though they all began re-appearing with plastic cups full of creek water with different kinds of fish in them. Someone also found a snake and someone else found a turtle. They was lots of excitement and crowding round to look inside the cups. Z & K were not to be outdone and they also managed to catch a little fish. Z put it back in the creek and decided he would like to try fishing. I told him he will probably be able to do it at the Scout Camp Out in a few weeks and he is now really looking forward to it.

I overheard one of the boys who was walking with Z asking him if he had ever seen Big Ben. Z really simply "Yes" to which the other boy then asked "Is it really big?" to which Z looked at him and said "Yeah" as if to say 'why do you think it's called BIG Ben?' (I know that Big Ben is actually the bell inside and not the clock but Z didn't know that and neither did the other boy. I wasn't going to confuse them by explaining it all)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Colts & Scouts

This morning the kids headed off to school wearing their new Indianapolis Colts t-shirts. Their school is encouraging all the kids to wear blue & white or a Colts shirt to school today. The NFL season for the Colts starts on Sunday when they play against Houston Texans. The school are teaching the kids all about healthy eating and being active. Z has actually said he wants to watch the game on Sunday! K didn't seem all that fussed though. She was more concerned that I remember that we are having spaghetti for dinner tonight! Tonight is the first night this week since Monday that we will all be home with nothing to do. Tuesday K had cheerleading practice, Wednesday Z had his first Cub Scout Den Meeting (more on that in a minute) and K had cheerleading practice again last night. Tomorrow morning K has an early football game to cheer at so it is good that we will all be home at a reasonable hour to have dinner together. The kids have been getting to bed late this week and have not been so keen to get up in the morning for school.

On Wednesday we took Z for his first Cub Scout Den Meeting. It lasted an hour and Z had a blast. He had loads of fun with the other boys and got some of the steps accomplished to get his first badge. The Bobcat badge. His Den Leader is a policeman and I think he is also ex-military. He has a definite air of authority about him and the boys became aware of that very quickly. He discussed the "Go See It" field trips the boys will do. One trip has to be to a sporting event and I suggested taking the boys to see a game at Carmel Dads Club. It would be free and most likely very close to where the Den Meetings are held. The Scout Family Picnic is on Sunday and the Den Z is in is responsible for dessert. I think we will be taking bags of cookies or donuts!

In 2 weeks we sign the lease for our new place and we will have the keys from October 1st. Of course moving means packing again! It is almost a year since we packed up our stuff and moved across to Indiana from Northampton. So I guess it is good that I am not having to get it all into suitcases and fly across the Atlantic with the kids by myself! The day after we get the keys Z will be going to the Scout Family Camp Out with Ben. I will be staying at home with K as she will either have a football game to cheer at or will be going to the High School football stadium to cheer the Pups football team. She will get a special treat bag if she wears her uniform and some other bits and pieces. Also I am not a big fan of camping so I try to avoid it whenever possible. I am a fan of bricks, electricity and running water. I stay in hotels not tents!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I saw my Plastic Surgeon today for a final check up. I am now in the care of my Dermatologist and Primary Care Doctor and will only have to go back to see the Plastic Surgeon if any more suspect moles are found.

It was confirmed today that I had Dysplastic Nevi. More information about that can be found here, here and here.

Friday, September 3, 2010


This morning I opened an email that made me smile. It contained some news that is potentially REALLY GOOD! I need to get a bit of clarification on a few things but it is looking good. REALLY GOOD! I let you work out what it could possibly be.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Next 3 Months

From today until the end of the year, we have a few things happening!

Girl Scout registration, working towards first Cub Scout badge being awarded, cheerleading photos, Boy Scout picnic, school photos, swim lessons, volunteering, Boy Scout camp out, cheerleading, Girl Scout activities, moving house.....and lets not forget Halloween, Thanksgiving, 9th wedding Anniversary and Christmas!

Anything else we could possibly be doing?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Volunteering in Action

I've done it. I completed my first stint volunteering in the Media Center (also known as library) at my kids school. I have signed up to help out every Tuesday from 8.15am until 10am. (This may end up seeming like a mad idea but I'll see how it all pans out) At least I am doing something with my time. I am waiting to hear from K's Kindergarten teacher as I said I would help out in the classroom too. (What am I doing?!)

I arrived at the school at 8.10am yesterday morning and as I walked into the building there were a lot of people stood in the entrance way looking at me. It was kind of unnerving. I wasn't expecting a welcome committee. It turns out the school was doing a 'bus evacuation drill' and they were making sure all the kids got to where they should be. I ended up stood around waiting for about 15 minutes whilst the school finished the drill and the 'Media Center' teacher came back. As I stood waiting I saw my two little people walking down the corridor back to class together holding hands. Isn't that sweet. I know it won't last and I probably should have taken a picture.

Eventually all got back to normal and I was able to do what I volunteered for. I was shown how to process returned books and then where they go. Over the course of about 20 minutes loads of kids came in from their classes carrying big baskets full of books that were to be returned. I was there with 3 other volunteers and we got to work. I eventually left at about 10.40am which is a little bit later than the advertised time!

Whilst I was at the school I asked about what form I need to fill in to notify the school of the kids new address. I also mentioned the fact that as they will be living so close to the school, they will not be able to get a bus so will walk to and from school instead. I was told that everyone is entitled to travel to school by bus no matter how close they live to the school they go to! Seems a bit daft to me for my kids to get a school bus when we move as they could walk to the school in about 5 minutes. I suppose if the weather is bad and I don't want to walk in the rain/snow/gale force winds with them, then they have the option of getting a bus.

K is going to be registering to join the Girl Scouts on Thursday and I will try to get the required uniform for her on Friday as well as the patch adhesive for putting the patches on both her and Z's uniforms. So soon there will be, in no particular order: swim lessons at the Monon Center, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cheerleading, PTO Volunteering.

Is there anything else we could be doing that I have not yet discovered?! (We will also have moving home, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas to deal with soon!)

Well that is enough for today. I am off to get dinner ready for tonight. Slow cooker indian chicken stew.

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. ...