Tuesday, August 30, 2011

K's Finger Sucking Challenge

K is a cute girl. (I am biased but I don't care!) Anyway, she has a habit that she has had since she was a baby. She sucks her 2 middle fingers on her right hand. She never liked a dummy/pacifier and would spit it out if anyone tried to give her one. A dummy/pacifier can be taken away from a child and they can be made to effectively go 'cold turkey' but it is not so easy when the thing your child sucks is part of them. You can't chop off their hand! K's dad did exactly the same thing with the same hand (although obviously his hand and not K's!). It has gotten to the point now that we really want her to stop. We can see her teeth starting to go a bit squint and we don't want her to have to wear a set of braces on her teeth if we can help it, and I'm not even thinking about the cost! So last week Ben found something online and bought it for her. It is a finger guard and she has to wear it for about a month or so to break the habit. She can't wear it at school as it affects her ability to hold a pencil properly. Probably would have been best to do this during summer break but we didn't think about it then.

But, better late than never, we are starting now. I have even said to her this morning that if she can wear the finger guard without complaining I will give her $1 for each day, until it is obvious that she has broken the habit and is not just trying to milk me dry!

Fingers crossed it works and she gives up the sucking!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Planning and Irritation

I like organizing things. I like to plan stuff so I know what is going on and if I am able to fit in other things. Of course it is nice to just 'wing it' sometimes but other stuff needs forward planning. Especially if kids and a tight budget are involved.

I'm currently trying to work out field trips for my Girl Scout Troop (yes we are going to be going out and about this year as the girls new 'Journey' is "5 Flowers, 4 Stories, 3 Cheers for Animals" so I am thinking lots of animal related excursions, sorting calendars so I know who has to be where and at what time for Boy/Girl Scouts, cheerleading, swimming and other activities, anniversary break in Canada and look forward to our dinner reservation and what to do for Labor Day weekend. For the last one we're thinking possibly Chicago as everyone else seems to have been there recently and I wouldn't mind going up Willis Tower (a.k.a Sears Tower) to the Skydeck as we have only been to Lincoln Park Zoo!

Plus planning things helps me keep my mind of the current state of our visa and if it will be renewed or not. I am remaining positive that it will as otherwise I would most likely get depressed. If any friends/family in the UK are actually reading this I am sorry to say that I do not actually want to return to live in the UK permanently. We are enjoying it here and would very much like to stay.

I am still irritated by SiriusXM decision to get rid of BBC Radio 1 from their channel line up and their decision to put it online (for a fee) is just ridiculous. They seem to forget the fact that it is online for FREE already. One thing that is really bothering me about it all is the fact the Sirius have not even had the decency to make an official statement about it and are just sending out cut and paste emails that don't actually say a whole bunch. Their customer service sucks.

Another irritation of mine is the pre-conceived idea that children that appear to be misbehaving are naughty or bad children. I wonder how many of the people who whisper and comment about seemingly out of control children, actually think about the fact that the child may actually be ill. I was told a few weeks ago, by his pediatrician, that my son Z may have mild ADD. He has not been officially diagnosed yet and his new teacher has an assessment form that she is completing for me and will give back to me after Labor Day. Once that is done we will return it and the assessment forms I have for me and his dad to complete to the Dr and we will take it from there. If he has indeed got ADD then we will deal with it. If he does not have it then we will move on. I love my son and his father and I will decide what is the best course of action for him. I do worry about what people may be thinking of him but I do not want anyone talking about him or us behind our backs. I do actually have very good hearing so if you talk about me/my children and I am nearby I will probably hear you. (I only appear to not hear some stuff but that is because I am choosing to not listen). I will defend my children and you do not want to mess with me as you will lose. If you don't want anything to do with me now then feel free to 'unfriend' me on FB. aaah. I feel better after that.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


It is that time again. K is back cheering with the Carmel Dads Club. Her squad this year is Oakland Raiders. The uniform is black and white rather than blue and orange that she had last year. It looks pretty but as it is still very sunny and hot out, black is not a great color to wear whilst jumping around the place!

Yesterday she went to a cheer clinic at Carmel High School and met 2 cheerleaders from the Indianapolis Colts Cheer Squad. She met Ashli A and Emily G. There were a lot of dads there, much more than there was last year. K got a signed picture of the Colts Cheer Squad and they signed the back of her Cheer Clinic t-shirt. She also got her picture taken with them. (I am pleased they were not wearing their cheer uniform!)

We were given K's new uniform and she got to practice some cheers with the Carmel Dads Club Pup Cheerleaders. After 2 hours of cheering and clapping her hands K got tired and was glad it was time to go home. I think after being back at school again, wore her out more than she realized.

This morning I got her ready to cheer at her first football game of the season. The Oakland Raiders were playing Green Bay Packers. (We lost. I think the end score was something like 21-6)

It was hot and sunny and the girls were drinking a lot of water and trying to keep cool. They all were sprayed with sunscreen and then stood on the touchline to do the cheers for the team. At the moment they only know 4 so we heard the same ones over and over again. Practice is on Tuesday so they are going to learn more then. I think K does remember quite a few from last year but the other girls don't know them yet.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

SiriusXM Drops BBC Radio 1



[PLEASE READ EDITS AT BOTTOM. More information obtained since original posting.]

Usually I just blog about my family and our adjusting to life in the USA. I write about my kids and what we get up to. Today however I have been really irritated by something that happened this morning. I am not a morning person so if I am put in a bad mood then it is not good for anyone who should come in contact with me!

I got Ben a SiriusXM radio and subscription for Christmas just after we moved here. The only reason I got it was so we could listen to BBC Radio 1.

Every day since then we have had our alarm go off and BBC Radio 1 is playing on a 5 hour delay. Well, that was until this morning. This morning there is no BBC Radio 1. Instead there is a stupid message saying this...

Yes, I probably could hear the same songs on other Sirius channels. However, the BBC does not play the songs on what seems to be a 30 minute loop. Also Sirius does not have Chris Moyles, Sara Cox, Fearne Cotton, Scott Mills, up to date UK news....etc

Yes, I have moved to another country HOWEVER, I still like to stay in touch with what is going on in the UK and I LIKE THE SHOWS. It is not just about the music! If it was I would only listen to my iPod!

There was no warning from Sirius that they were going to be dropping the channel. In my mind that is bad customer service! All of a sudden it was just gone. According to the BBC Radio 1 Wikipedia page there are approximately 20 million+ listeners in the US and Canada on satellite radio alone! Did they not deserve enough respect to be told? They pay for the service so should be told of changes!

So, SiriusXM you need to get your arse in gear and re-instate Radio 1 to your channel line up! You have really dropped the ball on this one.

Scott Mills tweeted that he didn't know it was dropped. BBC Radio 1 PR didn't know either! Aled Haydn Jones a producer on the Chris Moyles Breakfast Show seems to know nothing about it either. Shouldn't the channels presenters/producers know there are not on Sirius anymore? Shouldn't the stations PR people know?!

EDIT (08/10/2011):  BBC Radio 1 have apparently said the following in regards to SiriusXM dropping the station from their channel line up.
We're sorry you're currently unable to enjoy Radio 1 via Sirius/XM. Thedeal which allowed Radio 1 to be broadcast in America recently finishedand has unfortunately, at the moment, has not been renewed by Sirius/XM.We're not sure if this is a final decision, so if may be worthcontacting them directly to express your view, but we would like tothank you for listening up until now.
Kind Regards,
Radio 1

I just got this email from Gary Schoenwetter at SiriusXM. (I did reply to this email)

BBC Worldwide Press Office have released an official statement about SiriusXM dropping BBC Radio 1

Even Jackie Collins wants BBC Radio 1 back! Greg James and Sara Cox have made sure our Tweets get seen!

1st Day Back to School - Their Thoughts.

Their views on their first day back to school.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Why Hello There!

It's been a while hasn't it?! Thanks to a very talented son of a fellow British Expat here in Carmel, my laptop is now working again and I can blog, tweet, Facebook and so on to my hearts content! (I would highly recommend my friends son, he is a Carmel High School senior as of tomorrow and he knows his stuff when it comes to computers!)

Anyhoo, what have we been up to recently? Well we went on our summer vacation to Walt Disney World in Florida. We drove down, in a hire car, and stopped overnight with some friends in Atlanta before carrying on to Orlando. The kids loved Disney and as K was just the right height for a lot of rides she went on Expedition Everest, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Dinosaur, Tower of Terror, Space Mountain and various other rides. Z was not so keen on the roller coasters but he really liked Kali River Rapids. At first he said he didn't want to go on it but by the end of the day he'd gone on it 3 times! He also went on Splash Mountain but only after I promised to buy him a Captain Sparrow sword from the gift shop. (I think he secretly liked it!)

K also got to meet several characters and she really loved being called a princess by the Disney cast members whilst she was in the line waiting. Z was not so keen on meeting characters as, to quote him "the big heads freak me out!"

We spent a great week in Disney and I got to celebrate my 35th birthday there. Also I got to repeat something that happened when I was at Epcot in 2000. During the visit 11 years ago Ben wanted to go on Test Track and I didn't. As we were arriving at Epcot we were discussing where he would meet me after he had been on the ride. As we walked in we were stopped by a woman who asked me if I would mind taking part in a focus group discussion about Disney. If I agreed to do it they would give me $100. I obviously agreed to do it! Fast forward to 2011 and I am walking in with Z. Ben and K have already rushed ahead as they want to get on Space Mountain. Cue woman with clipboard coming towards me and asking if I would like to take part in a focus group for Disney. Once again if I agree they will give me $100. (But this time as a Disney gift card and not cold hard cash like on 2000). I agree to do it and choose a time when I can have Ben look after Z as kids are not allowed.

At the end of our trip we decided to drive home via New Orleans. The friends we had stayed with in Atlanta were not going to be home on our return trip so we decided to see a bit more of the country. We arrived in New Orleans very late and after a night in a hotel headed north to Nashville, Tennessee, which would be another stop over night in a hotel before continuing on to Indiana. Things were going fine drive from Louisiana and into Mississippi, that is until a storm hit and the car hydroplaned off the road and into a ditch. Luckily Ben is an excellent driver and the car stayed the correct way up. K actually slept through the whole thing and only woke up to ask why were we in a ditch?! In all we were in the ditch about 3 hours and the tow truck which came to rescue us also got stuck in the mud and had to have a tow truck come and pull it out! The driver reminded Ben of Mater from Cars and he could hardly understand a word he said! $175 later and we were once again on our way. We arrived at the hotel in Nashville much later than planned but happy to be uninjured. We had a drive around Nashville the following day and then continued on home to Indiana.

It was a fun and eventful trip. We took over 500 photos and have 65 official Disney PhotoPass photos, mainly of K meeting characters around the parks. If you have a spare hour or two and are so inclined, here are the photos.

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. ...