Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Closing in on Christmas 2012

We are nearly at Christmas. That's what the calendar says anyway. The calendar tells me it is December. If that is in fact true then how was I able to go to the beach last week without losing feeling in my extremities and wander along the sand wearing just jeans and t-shirt?

I dropped Ben off at work. Z & K were at school. I dropped off some books at the library. Picked up lunch from Publix. Picked up Z's meds from CVS, waited for repair man to come and fix our loo and got to the beach by 10am. Sunny day, hardly and clouds in the sky and not cold.

Ben and I went to the beach with Z and watched the sunrise and sunset whilst K was at Girl Scout camp and we got some great pictures. Unfortunately K was not with us and we wanted to get a shot of the 4 of us at the sun rose or set. So we tried on Saturday. Unfortunately it was a bit overcast when we got there. (Please excuse my big old backside in this pic.)We are going to try again this Friday as it will be sunny once again and not too cold. Z & K are off school for Christmas break from Thursday so they won't be too put out at getting up at silly o'clock to get to the beach for about 6.30am.

All these visits to the beach really make my brain hurt when it realizes that it is in fact December. It is going to be our 4th Christmas in America next week. (My 5th ever Christmas in the US)

I know it is almost Christmas because we have our tree up.

I know it is almost Christmas because we have been to a Christmas parade.

I know it is almost Christmas because the kids have seen Santa.

I know it is almost Christmas because I am not yet finished Christmas shopping.

I know it is almost Christmas because we have see the Christmas lights switch on in Mount Pleasant.

I know it is almost Christmas because we have been to see the Festival of Lights in James Island.

I  know it is almost Christmas because Ben's work have had their annual 'Toys for Tots' celebration.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Rollerblade Buddy

Ben was very happy that K liked rollercoaters when we went to Walt Disney World for vacation. He now has a rollercoaster buddy.

He now even happier that K has decided to learn how to rollerblade with him. So he now has a rollerblade buddy. He took her out for a lesson this morning. She had on her elbow and knee pads and he held onto her hand whilst she learnt how to move her feet with her heavy skates. She did really well considering she had never been out on skates before.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

USPS and My Problem with Them.

I had to complain to USPS about my mail not being collected from my mailbox and I've gotten a sarcastic note from my mail carrier. Lovely! I am apparently putting my outgoing mail in the wrong mailbox. I only have 1 mailbox. I cannot access my neighbors mailboxes as they are all locked. I'd like to know where I am putting my mail that is causing so much problem!

I have one box. One little shiny metal square that I have a key to open. A key that I had to pay $35 for! When you open the box that is all there is. One box = one place to put mail. The back of the bank of boxes, there are about 16 mailboxes, opens as one big door and only the mail carrier person has access to that. There literally is nowhere else I can leave mail that I want to send. To avoid further grief I think I may just drive to the nearest blue mailbox, at the post office, and put any mail I want to send in there. Usually my mail gets collected from my mailbox 70% of the time on the day I put it in there. 

We were away for Thanksgiving and I put our mail on hold. Or so I thought. From the Tuesday before Thanksgiving we were to get no mail delivered and it was all to be delivered on the Monday after Thanksgiving. We got back on the Sunday evening and watched a Netflix dvd we had. I wanted to mail it back so went to the mailbox to put it in there so it would be collected on the Monday. I opened the door to see it stuffed full of mail.

I spoke to my neighbor who has lived in the house next door for a couple of years. He said he puts his outgoing mail in his mailbox. The larger boxes that are next to the metal bank of mailboxes are apparently for large packages. However, all the large packages I have had have been left next to my front door. My neighbor thinks there is an 'outgoing' mailbox a bit further down the street but is not totally sure where. He's lived in this neighborhood for at least 3 years and he doesn't know! He said our mail carrier is different every week. Perhaps if they were not always chatting on their cell phone they could pay better attention and might not miss my mail!

I have actually had to complain several times as I never get a response. When I do get a response it is this lovely little note. I'm not sure who would win in the battle between USPS and Royal Mail. It would be a tight race. 

EDIT on Wednesday December 5: To end the mail hoo-haa I seem to be having, I left a polite note for the mail carrier who in turn left a polite note for me. They have told me where the 'outgoing' mail box is. It turns out it is down the street at another bank of mailboxes. Why they couldn't all have an outgoing box is beyond me but at least now I know! If I want to mail something I am to either walk down the street for a couple minutes and place it in an 'outgoing mail' slot or drive to the nearest post box at the Post Office.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ask A Kid A Question You'd Better Be Prepared For Their Answer

I do love how literal Z can be. When I asked him about it he said, "If I wasn't wearing clothes then I'd be naked wouldn't I. They didn't say it was a choice of one or another!" My son definitely has a sense of humor! His teacher however does not.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Lights Up" at Mount Pleasant Towne Center

We went to see the Christmas lights switched on on the Christmas tree yesterday. The tree is just outside Belk in Mount Pleasant Towne Center.

Last year we were in Carmel and went to Holiday on the Square and saw their Christmas lights switched on.

There were no palm trees with Christmas lights on them in Carmel. That was a first for us yesterday, never seen that before.

Some of the baubles appeared to have fallen off the tree. Not sure how big the tree would be that would fit that bauble! Although a lot of stuff is bigger in the US than in the UK.

Z and K enjoyed seeing all the lights and getting a few free samples of food and candy. Once the tree was lit there was a laser show and K danced around like a loon with our neighbors little girl. Z was not so keen on dancing but did enjoy laughing at some of the laser show.

It was a bit chilly and we wore our sweaters but it was no where near as cold as it was in Carmel. Some people were wearing hats and scarfs and sweaters etc but if you spend a long time in the south then you feel the cold sooner than those in the north. People say it is cold here when it is in the mid 40s (Fahrenheit obviously) but in Indiana we were used to it getting to be around low 30s and mid 20s and that was cold!

I did a video of some of the laser show but held my phone the wrong way round so it is not full screen.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Elf on the Shelf

A Twitter friend mentioned it was almost time for their Elf to come out and keep an eye on their kids to make sure they were behaving themselves in the lead up to Christmas. Perhaps I am a bit slow but I had no idea what she was going on about. So, I decided to use the best tool at my disposal and find out. Thank you Google.

It seems she was talking about Elf on the Shelf. This is where an Elf is sent out by Santa and is adopted by a new family and lets Santa know what children are being good and which are being naughty. There is a tradition to it all it seems. I must have missed out on this whole thing!

It sounds like a fun idea and I think we will adopt an Elf this year. K may enjoy it more than Z but I may be surprised. I think I would have liked this when I was growing up.

I will either go to my local adoption center at Target or will arrange it through Amazon.

Any of my readers have an Elf in the family? Do your kids like it? Interested to find out.

Honor Roll & Terrific Kids Awards Ceremony

Further to this post. Both Z & K have now been awarded their certificates.

Z got a certificate, ribbon and voucher for a free meal at one of the sponsors, Sticky Fingers.

K got a certificate, pencil, bumper sticker for our car (from one of the sponsors, Kiwanis International) and a voucher for a free ice cream at the other sponsor Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream & Sandwich Cafe

I do like that both kids have had recognition at school for doing well. It shows to them that working hard in class and being a good person, has rewards.

On a sidebar, K had had surgery scheduled to get her lazy eye fixed. It is being done on December 14 so I'd appreciate good luck vibes as I am freaking out! I know it is needed and she will benefit from it but the thought of my little 7 year old being put under general anesthesia and totally knocked out just gives me the jitters.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Perk of Living Where I Do....

...I can get in my car and drive for 5 minutes and see this wonderful view at Isle of Palms Beach.

Isn't that a great way to start the day? 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Honor Roll & Terrific Kids

I did fairly well at school. I was an average student. I probably got mainly B grades. Never exceptional but I got by. There was no scheme/program at my High School that acknowledged all the straight A students or students that consistently performed well. There may be now but there wasn't when I was at school.

In the US, and probably other countries, there is the Honor Roll. I never really knew what it was all about. I didn't get on it when I was an Exchange Student in Michigan and never really paid much attention to it.

Today Z & K came home with their report cards for the 1st 9 weeks of school. K is in 2nd Grade and Z is in 3rd Grade. Z started medication for his ADD the day before starting back to school.

K has been chosen as a 'Terrific Kid' Representative for her class and will be recognized at a 'Celebration Ceremony' next week.

Z got all As and 1 B+ and has made the Honor Roll. He will be recognized at a 'Celebration Program' this Thursday.

Some people may not think Honor Roll is a worthwhile thing or something that accurately acknowledges students hard work but I like it. When I told Z his grades, he hadn't looked in his report card envelope so had no idea, and I told him how proud I was of him and how proud his dad and sister were of him too, he smiled the biggest smile. That made my heart happy. Especially when I know how hard it has been for him to adjust to school in the US and to be on medication. I wondered if I was doing the right thing by putting him on meds. I also wondered if I was doing the right thing when we kept him back a grade when we first moved to Indiana. (We put him into 1st grade but moved him to Kindergarten at Christmas break, not long after we moved over.)

I think we have made the right choices for our kids education.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Christmas. British Style.

It is almost November. I won't mention the fact it will be 73F/23C on Guy Fawkes Night. That will be the warmest November 5th I will ever have experienced.

November brings Thanksgiving but December brings Christmas and there is something that has been part of my Christmas for all of my life and has been missing for a couple Christmases here in the US. (Mainly due to my dislike of American chocolate.)

Today I received in the mail a package from a friend in the UK. It was a lovely surprise and not at all expected but it means that I will be able to have the Christmas experience that I've had since I was a little girl. Now there are 3 calendars and 4 people live in my house.....

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween - Have You Got Money To Spend?

It is Halloween soon. Did you know that? I'd never have known. It's not like there is much stuff around in the stores.

Of course I am lying. There is stuff EVERYWHERE! Talk about commercialism! Wow! Costume stores are one thing but when there is something in almost every store you go into it gets a bit much. Can't even go to the store for milk without seeing at least dozen Halloween specific things.

I was just at one of the Wal-Mart stores near me and in the space of a few minutes I saw so much stuff that has been repackaged just for Halloween. It is only for 1 day isn't it? It's not secretly a week long? Is it as big as Christmas or Thanksgiving? I don't think so but the sheer volume of products out there with packaging just for Halloween is mind boggling! Plus most of it is aimed at children. (Although I admit I bought a bag of the candy corn M&Ms today.)

There are whole, and really long, aisles of candy for Halloween. Bags with 10 pieces of candy. Bags with 20 pieces of candy. Bags with 250 pieces of candy!! We don't have any trick or treat candy yet. Last year I bought 2 bags from Walgreens and we only got 4 kids come to the door and 2 of them were my own children! Our neighbor has said that there will be loads of kids this year but I am not sure if we will be home as we will be taking our own kids out trick or treating. hmmmm. decisions decisions!

I have been to a Halloween party this past weekend and K also went to one at her friends house. Z has not gone to a party but he does not seem all that bothered. We are going to be taking them both trick or treating on Halloween night but that is it for us going to parties. My Halloween costume is actually on eBay right now. I got a wedding dress from Goodwill and 'zombiefied' it. Ben got a suit from the same Goodwill and tore it up and rolled around in the dirt. Bizarrely I don't usually dress up, for anything so no idea what got into me this time!
Every year since we have been in the US, I have gotten more and more caught up in it all. First year, no costume. Second year, a lovely polyester black & white stripe prisoner outfit. This year, full on liquid latex, fake blood, lots of make-up, a wig and a customized dress! What on earth will I do for Halloween 2013?!

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. ...