Friday, September 30, 2011

Relaxing Weekend?

Usually I like to relax at the weekend and chill out with Ben and the kids. Not so this weekend!

K needs to be at Badger Field for 8.45am as it is the last football game she is cheerleading at this season. After the game the girls are all being presented with a trophy and are having cookies and a little mini party with the footballers. We will also get K's official cheer squad photos. She has had an individual, cheer squad and one with the cheer squad and football team. I then have to high tail it across town and take K to buy her friend Samantha a birthday card and gift. We then have to wrap it and have her sign the car before dashing over to Monkey Joe's for the birthday party. After a few hours of running around like a loon and having pizza and birthday cake, I'll be taking K (along with Z and their dad) to Castleton Square Mall. I need to get my watch fixed as I have been wearing if for almost 3 weeks but not being able to use it for its primary purpose which is telling the time! I also want to get a few bits & bobs before getting a bite to eat myself and then heading home to watch a dvd. K and Z are having their school pictures done next Friday so we need to make sure they have a nice outfit to wear and we also have to squeeze in a haircut for Z as he looks a bit scruffy around the ears.

On Sunday we make our weekly visit to the public library. Z is most upset if he does not go to the library to get new books every week. I want to go too this time and check out books for myself as Z has just been officially diagnosed as having ADD. We also need to get a cheap computer desk because when Ben has to work from home (which has been a lot recently) we don't really have a suitable desk for him to work at. The kids also have their swim lessons in the afternoon. I think their instructor looks like Bob from NBC's The Biggest Loser.

I also need to look for a Halloween costume....for myself! Usually it is just the kids who get dressed up but this year I do too. We have all been invited to a Halloween party and you are only allowed in if you come in costume! Last time I went to a fancy dress party I dressed as a nun. I chose a nun outfit as it covered everything and I was still trying to shift some baby weight after having K a few months beforehand. (Lets not mention that I am still trying to shift the weight now!) The party is on the 2nd Ameriversary of me and the kids living in Carmel.



Before I go, check out this rainbow I just spotted outside. If you look really closely you can almost make out the 2nd rainbow above it. It is really faint so you may not see it but believe me it is there!

Friday, September 16, 2011

School Spirit

When I was in high school there was not a great deal of school spirit. Don't get me wrong, my school was alright and was by no means a bad school. It just seemed that the students were a bit apathetic. There was no school sports events that could draw huge crowds or have teenagers willingly wander around, out of school, wearing something that had their school name on it. It may have changed since I left school but I doubt it. My school had a uniform and students only wore it if they really had to!

Now we are in the US and the kids have 'spirit wear'. There are lots of extra curricular activities for kids to get involved in. The high schools have sports teams that are featured in local news and in the sports pages of the newspaper. People pay to go and watch a bunch of teenagers play a sport for an hour or so. Police come out to make sure the roads are safe and there are no accidents. Of course if kids do well in school sports then they have a chance of getting a scholarship to help pay for college. I am sure that pleases parents because would you want to pay these costs?!

This week is Carmel High School Homecoming.


    1. home·com·ing
      noun /ˈhōmˌkəmiNG/ 
      homecomings, plural

      1. An instance of returning home
        • A high school, college, or university game, dance, or other event to which alumni are invited
     There were signs put up down Main St and along part of Rangeline in Carmel for a parade. The schools all had a "Spirit Week" in the week leading up to the parade.

    The school Z & K go to had different themes each day.

    CHS HOMECOMING SPIRIT WEEK
    In support of Carmel High School’s Homecoming Football game, Carmel Elementary will participate in Spirit Week.  Show your support of the Greyhounds each day next week!
    Monday:      Proud to Be an American Day (wear red, white, and blue)
    Tuesday:     Crazy Sock Day (wear your craziest or mismatched socks)
    Wednesday:  Twin Day (wear something that matches a “twin”)
    Thursday:      Favorite Sports Team Day (support your favorite team!)
    Friday:      Blue and Gold Day 
    We will watch the High School Homecoming Parade at 2pm

    The students and faculty at Carmel High School also made Playhouses that are being auctioned on eBay to raise money for various charities. You can bid on them here.

    I had not watched the parade since I have been in Carmel and today I went out to watch it and take some pictures with my phone. Z and K were there to watch it with their classmates. When they got home they told me they liked it and K said someone took a picture of her with her best friend. (She seems to have a new best friend every other week!) There is a football game tonight between Carmel and Lawrence North

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    More Swim Lessons

    The kids started their swim lessons today at the Monon Community Center. It has been a while since the last round of lessons and I was hoping they would do well. Swimming with confidence is a great skill to have and as the summers are so long and hot here, swimming in the outdoor pools is a very common occurrence during summer break from school. We also have a community outdoor pool where we live and the kids spent a lot of time in it over summer break.

    Z had concentration problems last time and I was really hoping he would do a lot better this time around as he is a little older and hopefully in the right frame of mind for it. He didn't let me down. He was great. He tried hard. He listened to the instructor and he followed directions. He even swam for short distances by himself without any flotation devices!

    K had her hour lesson before Z had his hour lesson and she also tried hard and followed the directions given and listened to her instructor. I think she may have been a little cold though in the water as when she got out her lips were a little purple looking!

    There is a few more weeks of classes for them and fingers crossed they will both pass! (So far K is the only one who has pass certificates)

    9/11 10 Years Later

    I usually have a lousy memory. I am lucky if I remember what I did 3 days ago never mind 10 years ago. I do however actually remember where I was 10 years ago when the 9/11 attacks happened.

    I was working at Northamptonshire Magistrates Court and had just gone into the canteen for my lunch. I sat down at a table and was ready to watch Neighbours on BBC 1. However the news came on with the breaking news of what was happening in America. The bosses at the Court decided to send the admin staff home earlier as it was clear no-one was going to get any work done as they were all watching the news on the small tv in the canteen or were looking at online news at their desks. I went home and watch the horrific story unfold on the television. I had called Ben at his work to see if he knew about it and relayed what information I knew. We were in the final preparations for our wedding and were looking forward to our honeymoon in California at the end of November. Today when I watched some of the news and memorial events on television I still found it hard to watch. It is still very hard to believe that it actually happened. If it is hard for me, a grown up, to fully comprehend then how do I explain it to K who is 6 and Z who is 8?

    Sunday is library day for the kids and we walked there in the early afternoon. As K and I neared Carmel Clay Public Library she noticed the flag was at half mast. She asked me if it was broken and I told her it was supposed to be like that. "Why?" was the response she gave and it was understandable. She goes by that flag almost every day and it is pretty much always flying high at the top of the mast. I said that 10 years ago some very bad people crashed planes into some buildings and a field and a lot of people died. Again her response was "Why?". What do I say to her? How do you explain to a young child without scaring them or upsetting them too much? We went into the library and I asked a librarian if they had any books that were age appropriate that might help K understand it a bit better but not go into too much graphic detail. A lot of books were checked out already but she suggested looking at the Patriot Day books. There were 2 books that we did get and I will look at them with both Z and K over the coming week. We got "September Roses" and "It's Still a Dogs New York: A Book of Healing" I just hope I can manage to get through reading them without crying. I just know it will be difficult because even though it is a book that for a child K's age and it won't be graphic but I know the whole story and I have seen the news coverage so that is what will go through my head. I really hope I can get through it otherwise it'll only make the kids ask even more questions!

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Toothless: Mark 3 & 4

    K lost her 2nd tooth a few weeks ago and Z lost his 3rd tooth last night. All teeth lost so far seem to be from the bottom set. I think I lost from the top first. Z does have a loose top tooth but he is enjoying teasing us by wiggling it but it is not loose enough to be pulled out...yet.

    Monday, September 5, 2011

    Chicago, Illinois

    We went to Chicago for the weekend. We crammed a lot in over the 2 days we were there.

    We went to see The Bean and wandered around Millennium Park.

    We went for a ride on the 'L' Train and around the Downtown Loop.

    We walked down (part of) The Magnificent Mile and did a spot of people watching.

    We went to the American Girl Store and did not buy a doll but did buy a little pet. A doll may be purchased for K as a Christmas gift. (Yes the pic is blurry but she wouldn't stand still and was very happy to be carrying that red bag!)

    We went to the Lego store and bought a gift for a friends son as he was 7 at the weekend.

    We had dinner at Gino's East and it may be the best pizza I have ever had! Bonus points were scored when we were waiting for about 5 minutes in a really long line of people where the wait time to get inside was about 45 minutes. Most people were there in pairs and we got pulled from line and taken inside after about 5 minutes as there was a table for 4 free! Result! The looks on the faces of people waiting in line as we went past them was brilliant!

    We went to the Skydeck at Willis (Sears) Tower and stood on the ledge and looked down the 103 floors to the ground below us. The kids were a bit freaked out to begin with but managed to get over it and enjoyed looking at the view.



    We went to the Museum of Science & Industry. The kids loved the Science Storms exhibit. We learned about (among other things) avalanches, tornadoes and lightening. The kids also saw some baby chicks and even got to see an egg hatch right before their eyes at the Genetics and Baby Chick Hatchery exhibit.

    There are still things we would like to see and I am sure we will go back again and spend a few days there. To avoid exhausting the kids and having them moan and whine we decided to limit what we did. Plus driving from Central Indiana to Chicago is tiring and the drivers in Chicago can be a bit stressing!

    I grew up in Edinburgh so I spent the first 18 years of my life in a busy city and now find myself in a small(ish) town. Could I live in a city like Chicago? Sure I could, but I am not sure I'd have a car as parking is a nightmare and very expensive!

    I do like Chicago and I could very easily spend a lot of time wandering around the stores. Of course that would need to be done without Ben or the kids!

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Chicago Visit

    We are going to Chicago for the weekend and I am trying to workout an itinerary of sorts for the weekend.

    Z wants to go to Legoland Discovery Center,

    K wants to go to the American Girl Store (I will admit I am a bit freaked out that the dolls cost $100 and extra clothes are around $35!!),

    and their dad wants to go to the Museum of Science & Industry

    and I wouldn't mind just wandering around and being a tourist, oh and going to the observation deck in the Sears, sorry Willis, Tower!

    *whispers* I also wouldn't mind going to see Harpo Studios.

    Here fishy fishy fishy!

    Now that the kids are back in school, the Boy Scouts have started again and the Pack that Z is a member of had a fishing event on Sunday as a way to get the boys together and possibly recruit more boys to join. We had never been fishing before, well not proper fishing with a pole. Z said he enjoyed it when they were trying to catch fish in the creek last year when we went to a campfire event the Pack had so we got him a pole for his birthday on Friday.

    We got to the lake on Sunday afternoon and it was sunny and warm. The Pack leaders had some poles for the boys to use so K got to use her brothers. We tried for a while to catch fish with some worm bait but in the end we managed to catch some fish with bits of sandwich! It is fine catching a fish but trying to get it off the hook and letting it go again is a whole other matter!

    K was very pleased with herself when she caught a fish but when it started wiggling around and looking like it might, gasp, get close enough to touch her, she freaked out a little and her daddy had to get it in the water again quickly! Z didn't mind and was touching the fish and sat dangling his legs over the edge of the dock we were on and putting his feet in the water.

    Birthday Boy

    My baby boy is now 8. I guess I can't call him my baby boy anymore. He got a lot of gifts and some money for him to spend as he wishes. Sharks and dinosaurs were a big feature in the gifts he got.

    We went to Snapperz in Clay Terrace first. We had planned to spend about 2 hours there but ended up staying for about 4 hours! The kids loved it. They played on all the free stuff and I got a Play Card that I put $10 so they could do some of the other games. We managed to amass a lot of tickets that the kids could redeem for prizes. (I managed to get 1,000 tickets from a game and I also impressed 2 boys who were next to me when I won them!)

    A friend of Z and K joined us and the ran around for most of the time we were there and managed to expel a lot of energy.

    When we finally left Snapperz, Ben and I took Z and K to Red Robin for dinner. Z got a birthday sundae and a chorus of the birthday song from a group of staff. Both kids got a balloon too so K was happy as well.

    Sweets From Back Home

    Are you a fellow Brit abroad?  Do you miss sweets like real Cadbury chocolate, not the Hersheys rubbish? I know personally I have regu...