Archive | December, 2012

The old man

31 Dec

“Are you seeing this?” Aaron asked me, laughing as we drove along.

“No, what?” I was looking out the window in the opposite direction.

“Over there.”

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HIS BUTT CRACK IS HANGING OUT!”

“I think his underwear are from 1970.”

We laughed and laughed as we drove past.  It’s not every day that you see an old man mowing the lawn right next to a busy road wearing only his droopy maroon underpants, with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and skin that resembled leather.  Only in the western suburbs….

mowing

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A bike for Christmas

29 Dec

BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!  I turned over, still half asleep, and looked at the clock with blurry eyes, not recognising what the beeping until a few seconds later.  5am. It was my alarm.

“Merry Christmas Boo! Did you sleep ok?” I asked Aaron.

“Not really.  You?”

“Horribly. Between the wind and the garbage trucks at 3am, I hardly got any sleep.”  Maybe some of that sleeplessness was due to excitement. I couldn’t wait to see the kids’ happy faces when they opened their presents.  But seriously, who allowed the garbage men to collect the bins at 3am? So uncalled for.

Aaron and I wanted to be showered, and have our stockings already opened before the kids woke up. They are too young to sit around watching us open stockings, they want to open their own, and we didn’t want to miss them opening theirs by being distracted with ours.

Daniel and Hannah with their stockings. Daniel was still half asleep and had no idea what was going on.

Daniel and Hannah with their stockings. Daniel was still half asleep and had no idea what was going on.

We were super naughty and ate some of the s’mores Pop Tarts that I got in my stocking. Aaron managed to find all sorts of American goodies for me. I guess it was more of a pre-breakfast snack. We had a proper breakfast with bacon, eggs, toast, and hash browns after church. But you know, it was Christmas, so calories didn’t count. Especially since I went for a 4 kilometer run that evening, which, at the time, was my longest run ever. I’ve since completed a 5K run, after which, I nearly exploded, but that’s another story for another day.

My Christmas evening run. I had to make the most of the cool weather.

My Christmas evening run. I had to make the most of the cool weather.

We went to Aaron’s Mum (YaYa) and Grandma’s house to open more presents and have lunch. Nothing like the gigantic gathering of relatives my family in the states has, but it was a gathering none the less. Christmas time is always weird for me over here. It just doesn’t seem right having Christmas in the summer.

This year felt a little more normal. The clouds opened and saturated the area with what turned out to be the most rain on Christmas day since 1942, and the coldest in 5 years. A mere 21 degrees (69.8f).  That’s more like a Seattle Christmas. Only far warmer.

Hannah decided she would be the present hander-outer. Which of course was difficult, since she can’t actually read.

“Mommy, who is this one for?”

“That one is for Aunty Jess and Uncle Jim.” I told her.

She skipped off, present in hand and gleefully handed it to Aunty Jess. “That’s not all Aunty Jess, there’s a coffe machine too!” Hannah told her as The Jess opened up a box of chocolates.

Everyone froze for a second, looking at each other wondering what to say, quickly followed by bursts of giggles.

“Well, I guess you can open it now then.” I said, giving The Jess the wrapped coffee machine.

Everyone opened presents all at the same time. There were no turns, there was no order, just chaos as we all got handed presents and opened them at our leisure.  Turn order would have taken hours and the kids would have been over it after 10 minutes.  Maybe when they’re older….

Daniel was running around putting things on his head and trying to steal Hannah’s things until he opened a box full of Dora figurines, his present from Aunty Jess and Uncle Jim. He does love Dora.

After about an hour of present opening (I know, there were way too many presents, Grandma and YaYa always buy the kids way too much stuff and spoil the them rotten), it came to the end. I took Hannah out of the room and when we came back, there was a big thing sitting there, in the middle of the room, covered in sheets.

“Hannah, that’s your present.” We told her.

She excitedly ran up to it and pulled the sheets off, revealing a shiny new pink bike with a basket, tassels, and even a seat in the back for her dolly.  Or in this case, an obnoxious penguin that sings Jingle Bells over and over again. Hannah cuddled that penguin all day.

Hannah on her first bike ride

Hannah on her first bike ride

She was over the moon. Immediately, we took her outside to give it a spin, which we filmed with our new GoPro camera (that Aaron and I got each other for Christmas) mounted on her handle bars.

Hannah got to ride for about 15 minutes before it started pouring down rain.

We stuffed ourselves silly at lunch time, followed by a decadent, choc mud mirror cake that I made from an Adriano Zumbo cake mix. Oh. My. Gosh. Delicious. It was an expensive mix, but totally worth it.

Adriano Zumbo choc mud mirror cake. The one that I made.

Adriano Zumbo choc mud mirror cake. The one that I made.

And then after the kids went to bed, I went running. On Christmas. As you do. And yes, I am a hypocrite. Earlier that day, I told The Jess she was crazy for wanting to work out on Christmas, and earlier in the week I told another friend the same thing. Oh well….

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Jumping up and down in muddy puddles

28 Dec

“FLOWER!” Daniel exclaimed as we entered the nursery (the flower kind, not the baby kind.)  He loves flowers. But I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before. We walked along, both kids pointed and poking all the flowers as we went.

“Puddles!!!!!” Hannah yelled excitedly as we walked through the outdoor paths. They ran to big puddle, giggling as they went.

Jump, jump jump. Giggle giggle.  Hannah was jumping as high as she could, splashing water everywhere, her feet covered in water and splotches of dirt.  Daniel picked up one foot, then the other, back and forth, back and forth. He can’t quite jump yet, but stomping with one foot at a time, at a very rapid rate creates the desired splash effect.  Everyone who walked past either looked at us like we’d gone mad, or smiled at the delight on the kids’ faces. We don’t mind them jumping in puddles, they love it. I er…may have jumped a little bit myself. Maybe.

They both played in the puddle, giggling and shrieking in delight for quite a while, a la Peppa Pig.

It was hard dragging them away from the puddle, but we had a rose to buy. We had to stop at about  more puddles before we finally got to the roses.

Both Hannah and Daniel love going to the nursery, and they both love helping me garden.

Heirloom purple peas from our vegetable garden

Heirloom purple peas from our vegetable garden

Gardening is actually very good for kids. They learn about where food comes from, the environment, they love digging and pulling up weeds, teaches them responsibility, and best of all, they are far more likely to eat their vegetables if they grow them themselves. Every time we go to Grandma’s house, both Hannah and Daniel run to our vegetable patch to see what is ripe for them to eat. When we had broccoli, Hannah used to walk up to the plant and eat it without even picking it first. At home, she won’t even let broccoli onto her plate, and if I do put it there, she takes it straight off as if it’s some radioactive contaminant that is going to spoil the rest of her food.

Heirloom carrots from our vegetable garden. The purple ones are the most delicious.

Heirloom carrots from our vegetable garden. The purple ones are the most delicious.

Unfortunately, our local nursery doesn’t have any sort of kids activities, but if you live in the UK, Hayes Garden World has a Budding Young Gardeners Club.  They have planned activities, downloads, and a free membership pack.

Hayes Garden World sells plants, outdoor furniture, garden tools, and even pond accessories.

*This post was brought to you by Hayes Garden World.

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Failed sleep in

23 Dec

I stood next to the bedroom door, my ear pressed right up against it. I could hear Aaron and Hannah making breakfast in the kitchen. I couldn’t hear Daniel, which meant he was either getting into mischief, or playing quietly. I slowly turned the door handle, which makes loud noises no matter what you do, and peeked my head past the doorway.

Daniel was sitting in the living room, his back towards me, reading a book. Or maybe playing with a train or something. I couldn’t really tell, since his back was to me. He didn’t seem to notice the noise the door handle made, and continued playing without even a small glance over his shoulder.

I decided to go for it, tip-toeing my way to the bathroom and opening the door as quietly as I could.

It was my sleep in day. And by sleep in, I mean laying in bed reading on my Kindle until 7:30am. Aaron gets to sleep in on Saturdays, I get to sleep in on Sundays. The kids don’t know that we aren’t actually asleep during our sleep ins, otherwise they would stand and the door banging, wanting whomever is having the sleep in to come out and play. For some reason, they don’t bother us if they think we’re actually asleep. It’s a great system.

Except that I always have to poop about 5 minutes after I wake up in the morning. I held it as long as I could this morning, but then I needed to go. I had to take a gamble and try to get to the bathroom without being spotted.

My efforts were paying off. I didn’t hear any cries of “MOMMY!!” I didn’t hear any little feet bounding down the hallway, nor did I hear any tell-tale banging on the bathroom door. I was home free. I’d managed to get there and do my business completely unnoticed.

I stood inside the bathroom, ear to the door, listening for signs of anyone in the vicinity who might hear or see me upon my exit.

I could still hear Hannah and Aaron making breakfast gleefully in the kitchen. I still couldn’t hear any noise from Daniel. He will sit and read books for ages.

Slowly, I turned the door knob and opened the door, quiet as a mouse, chuffed with my efforts.

And then, I saw him. There he was, standing right next to Aaron’s and my bed, his chubby little fingers playing with the iPad.

He turned around, a cheeky smile on his face, and saw me standing there like a stunned mullet in the hallway, my eyes wide as saucers. How did I not hear him going in there?

“Mommy!”

Busted.

“You should have shut the bedroom door.” Aaron told me.

Needless to say, I didn’t get to sleep in this morning. Sigh.

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The second child

21 Dec

I can’t remember how old Hannah was when she started counting. If I wasn’t being lazy, I could go in my bedroom, open up her baby book, and find the section that lists all sorts of milestones, and easily find out when she started counting. But I can’t be bothered. I’ve been running around after the kids all day, and I’m tired. I’m sitting on the couch, my feet are up, the TV is on, and my laptop is, well, on my lap.

Every day, Daniel practices his counting. He counts in the car, while playing, while eating, and cutest of all, in the morning when he wakes up. I can hear him in his cot, counting away.  He can count all the way to 10. Sometimes he misses a couple numbers, but recently he he misses numbers less and less, to the point where he gets all the numbers more often than he doesn’t.

All this counting started at 15 months old. He’s now 16 months old. Lucky I’m writing this down on the blog, otherwise this giant milestone might get lost in time, just like all of his other milestones. Sure, I have a baby book for him, but never once have I actually opened it.

It’s not that I don’t love Daniel, or that he’s not important, or anything like that. It’s just second child syndrome. I don’t have the time to work on Daniel’s book. I used to fill in Hannah’s book when she was napping. When Daniel’s napping, Hannah’s not. If I got the book out, she’d want to write in it too, and touch everything, and accidentally bend pages, etc., etc. Not to mention when Daniel’s asleep, I am busy washing dishes and making dinner anyway (Hannah has quiet time and watches TV, usually whilst cutting pieces of paper into tiny impossible to clean up little bits, painting, playing with Play-doh, or having a tea party with Roobios and her stuffed animals and dolls).

When the kids go to bed, I am either hanging out with Aaron, blogging, ironing, or folding clothes. There’s just no time for things like baby books.

One day I will make time for the baby books. I don’t want him to find the books when he’s older and feel unloved because his book is empty and Hannah’s is not.

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Ride your bike

20 Dec

Hannah is going to go insane when she gets her Christmas present this year.  Insane in a good way, I mean. There will be shrieks of joy, jumping up and down, and probably that nanny goat laugh she does when she gets really excited about something. We have grand plans of mounting our brand new GoPro video camera on her present and filming her reaction when she sees it (the present, not the camera).

Unfortunately, she doesn’t actually get to open her present. It’s too big. We’ve stashed it in the garage at Grandma’s house with a sheet on top of it.  She is going to be so surprised.

A while ago, we went to a bike shop to get a back mounted child seat to stick  on the back of Aaron’s bike so we could all go bike riding. I already have a front mounted seat on my bike. But we have 2 kids, so one is always left out. Whilst we were there, Hannah’s shiny things radar took her straight to the back corner of the store where all the little pink bikes with sparkley tassels and baskets on the front were kept.

Example of a preschooler bike. Basket and everything.

Example of a preschooler bike. Basket and everything.

She excitedly jumped on the pinkest, sparkliest bike she could find and rode it around the shop, disappointed that she wouldn’t be taking it home.

When we got home, we discovered that the child seat didn’t fit Aaron’s bike. Well, it would, except we got the wrong length bar that goes from seat to bike. After some discussion, we decided that Hannah would probably like her own bike better anyway.  When the kids were at daycare, I returned the seat instead of exchanging it and got a bike for Hannah instead. But we couldn’t just give her a bike for no reason. We don’t want her to turn into a spoiled little brat. So I got the bike and hid it at Grandma’s for her Christmas present. I can’t wait to see her little face when she sees her very own bike.  Now I just have to remember to bring her helmet to Grandma’s on Christmas day. Without her knowing that we are bringing it, of course.

This post was brought to you buy Leisure Lakes Bikes, where you can not only buy bikes, but all sorts of biking accessories including clothing, Camelbaks, GoPro cameras and accessories, and nutritional supplements.

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MILF

18 Dec

I was driving down the highway yesterday when I spotted a Lancer with horribly ugly stickers across the side and in the back window. The side sticker said in giant letters, “custom.” Um… yes, awesome, you customised your Lancer, why don’t you broadcast it to the world through an oversized, fluro green sticker across the whole side of your car? You are so cool.

As the custom Lancer sped past me, I read the giant fluro green sticker in the back window. “SEXY MILF.” I’m not even joking, that is what it said. Under the sexy milf sticker, was a  line of those stick family characters, a man, a woman, and 2 kids.

Oops, I forgot to draw the spoiler/wing

Oops, I forgot to draw the spoiler/wing

Now I’m sorry, but wouldn’t you be embarrassed to step out of a car that read “SEXY MILF?” Conceited much?

Sexy Milf was driving like a lunatic (hopefully not with her kids in the car), weaving in and out of traffic without the use of a blinker (is it really that hard to put your blinker on?), tailgating, and going at least 20kph over the speed limit, which, I might add, was already 80kph.

I could see heads turning in all the cars in front of me as the sexy milf drove crazily around them. Maybe they were muttering expletives to themselves as she sped past, or maybe they were attempting to catch a glimpse of the sexy milf herself.

Is she really sexy? After she passed me, I tried to get next to her at the next set of lights so I could see for myself. But the sexy milf is a crazy driver and I couldn’t get anywhere near.

I wonder if the sexy milf’s kids are anything like Hannah. “Mommy, what does that say?” They’d ask if they are. And what would the sexy milf say in reply?

“Um… that says Sexy MILF.”

“What does that mean, Mommy?” they’d enquire in all their innocence.

“Um….”

WHY WOULD YOU PUT THAT ON YOUR CAR?!!!

I certainly hope her kids are not of reading age. How mortified they would be riding around in a car with THEIR MOM, that said Sexy MILF. Then their friends would read the stickers when she came to pick them up from school, which would either drive the friends to make inappropriate remarks about the sexy milf, or tease/bully those poor kids mercilessly.

WHY WOULD YOU PUT THAT ON YOUR CAR? I’m baffled.

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Learn how to drive

14 Dec

Have you ever noticed that other drivers are ridiculously annoying? Or maybe it’s just me. But they are. Seriously. I’m not one for road rage (mostly because I have kids in the car, and yelling at other drivers doesn’t really set the best example, nor would it make the kids feel comfortable. Plus I’d never actually yell at the offending person, just inside my car with the windows up. I am not about to get myself shot!), but sometimes the rude and stupid driving of other people makes me want to scream.

For starters, what is with those people who stop about 10 feet from the marked this-is-where-you-stop line on the road? Do they think it’s going to bite them or something? Once I was driving with friends many years ago, and this old lady in front of us stopped so short of the line in a right hand turn lane (we drive on the left hand side over here, don’t forget) that the turning arrow wasn’t actually triggered. After 2 or 3 cycles of light changes, I had to get out of the car and go knock on her window, probably scaring the pee right out of her in the process, to tell her to move up a bit so we could actually get to our destination.

Why stop way back there?!?! SO ANNOYING!

Why stop way back there?!?! SO ANNOYING! Oops, I drew the car on the wrong side of the road. My bad.

Other people stop way short of the line and then turn into creepers! ARGH, CREEPERS ARE SO ANNOYING (In Minecraft, and on the roads). It doesn’t even have to be the line, they also stop 2-3 car lengths back from the person in front of them. After sitting at the red light a while they start creeping forward. They go about a foot, then stop. Then they go another foot, then stop. Some people do a giant creep, covering the 2-3 car lengths all in one go. Not even when the light is about to change to green, in some sort of ridiculous effort to get a move on quicker. No, creepers do the creep when the light is still red and is obviously not changing any time soon. And by obviously, I mean you can tell by the steady stream of cars still going through the intersection perpendicular to the creepers. When they finish creeping, there is a 2-3 car length gap between their car and mine.  Then if I don’t move forward, look like the ass who left a giant gap.

Why does the giant gap matter? In part because it makes you look ridiculous, but mostly because a little further down the road, behind the giant gap, there will be a left turning lane that some poor chap can’t get into because they can’t quite fit past the car in front of them. Of course if the giant creeper gap wasn’t there, the car in front of turning guy could move forward and he could actually use the green arrow that is sitting there on the light, doing nothing because none of the turners can get in the turning lane.

Sometimes the car that is blocking the turning lane is the one that left the giant gap. If he was paying any sort of attention to his surroundings, he’d notice me, right behind him, with my left blinker on, attempting to get my car past the edge of his without mounting the curb so I can turn on my green arrow. But giant gap man doesn’t notice. Or doesn’t care, and sits there with 3 car lengths between him and the car in front of him and no one can get past to turn. Ass.

Argh, I can't get through!

Argh, I can’t get through!

Back to right turn lanes. Usually on a busy road that has a decently high speed limit, the right hand turning lane is quite long. Unfortunately, that also usually means that ridiculous drivers don’t feel they need to move into the turning lane until about halfway down. Since the speed limit is high, they hit their brakes whilst moving into the turning lane, which means everyone behind them has to hit their brakes too. Can’t you just move into the turning lane at the very start of it and then start braking? Is it really that hard?

Move into the turning lane sooner! like at the beginning of the turning lane.

Move into the turning lane sooner! like at the beginning of the turning lane.

Oh, and then there are those suburban roads that have lots of little side streets. A little ways before the side street, the solid white line on the left hand side, separating the road from the shoulder, turns into a dashed line. That is there so you can move into that shoulder area and turn from there. You don’t have to come to a near stop in the middle of the lane to turn onto the little side street. Most people do get that you are supposed to move over into the dashed line shoulder area, but then they fail to move all the way over. They move halfway over, so they are mostly in the turning lane, but you still have to slow down and wait for them to turn because part of their car is still in the normal lane and if you go around them, you will have a head on collision.

Move all the way over!

Move all the way over!

There are a few large roads around here that you turn left onto. Time and time again, I see people (usually in front of me, prompting me to honk my horn and keep a lid on annoyance) turn the corner and stop, waiting for a gap in the traffic so they can move to the right. Seriously people? DID YOU NOT SEE THE GIANT LANE ADDED SIGN? Or perhaps notice that right in front of your car is open road?

Lane added! You don't need to stop there!

Lane added! You don’t need to stop there!

Or what about those people who drive in the middle lane of the freeway/motorway? They’re not passing anyone. They’re not even going the speed limit. They’re just cruising along, oblivious to the people passing on their right AND left. Oblivious to the fact that other cars are having to change lanes to get around them. Oblivious to the numerous “keep left unless overtaking” signs that line the motorway at regular intervals.

Photobucket

Speaking of freeways and motorways, WHY, oh WHY do people slow down when trying to merge onto a motorway?? It’s much easier, AND safer to actually be going the speed limit when you are trying to merge into motorway traffic that is going 110 kilometers per hour. Going 80kph is just dumb. Then you pull into the gap between me and the guy in front of me and I have to slam on my brakes so I don’t rear end you, since you are stupidly pulling into 110kph whilst going 80kph.

What do other drivers do that makes you want to scream? Or, if you do one of the things I mentioned, why do you do it? Maybe you have a legitimate reason that I just can’t seem to think of?

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My child is an alien

13 Dec

Hannah: “Why do we need to eat food?”

Me: “That’s where your energy comes from. If you don’t eat, you can’t run and jump and play.”

Photobucket

Hannah: “But I don’t get my energy from food. I get my energy from lights.”

Um…ok then.

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The last few days

12 Dec

Sunday we had our annual bubba’s Christmas party. Not that Hannah and her friends are bubbas anymore, but that’s still what I call it. You know how it is, she’ll always be my baby. We’ve been getting together for Christmas with all the other parents and kids from antenatal class since Hannah’s very first Christmas. Every year, we also line the kids up in order of birth (first born on the left. Hannah is second left) and take a photo.

This is the result we got when we asked the question "who wants cupcakes?!" Looks like Hannah is not the only lefty in the group.

This is the result we got when we asked the question “who wants cupcakes?!” Looks like Hannah is not the only lefty in the group.

The party was supposed to be at the beach but got changed at the last minute due to poor weather. Fine by me, there was a jumping castle and plenty of toys for all of the kids to play with at one of the other mum’s house.

Seems the fake smiles for the camera are pretty universal

Seems the fake smiles for the camera are pretty universal

The next morning, Hannah woke up and started vomiting. Ick. At least by that time, she had already digested everything in her stomach from the day before (and she ate a LOT the day before!) and all that came up was water. Because we all know how I feel about vomit.  Lucky for me, Hannah is now at an age where she can let me know she needs to vomit and actually get the vomit in a bowl, rather then just suddenly retching all over herself, the floor, and the couch. Sure, I had to hold the bowl for her to make sure every last drop was collected in there, but as I said, it was only liquid, so holding the bowl whilst rubbing her back was actually do able. Had there been chunks? Oh. My. Gosh. I’m not quite sure what I would have done. Probably still held the bowl and looked the other way. I don’t know.

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I gave her Powerade to drink (for all the electrolytes), but poor girl, she couldn’t keep it down. She tried drinking water, but couldn’t keep that down either. For the whole morning, she laid on the couch, cuddling me and watching Peppa Pig in between bouts of vomiting. Poor Danny boy had to play by himself all morning. Not that he minded, since Peppa Pig was on. He does love Peppa Pig.

Suddenly, at 3pm, Hannah jumped off the couch and started dancing around the living room. She bounced and laughed and didn’t look at all like the sorry sick little girl of the morning. And that was it. She was better.

“I have to concentrate on not throwing up.” The text message from Aaron said. And not long after that, I got another one. “I’m on the train now. The motion making it even worse.” He was sick too. So sick he had to come home from work. It must have been really bad. Aaron never goes home from work sick. He will stay there and finish the day even if he has to go to the toilet every 5 minutes.

He slept for a few hours in the afternoon, and then felt much better.  We all had a good sleep that night.

Which brings us to yesterday. My boob appointment. No cancer, I found out, whilst awkwardly sitting there, talking to a man about my boobs as a first year medical student looked on, taking notes and learning. There are some lumps in the ducts. I’ll have to get another ultrasound in March, and then schedule surgery to have all the lumps and maybe the ducts removed. We can’t do it before then because I only stopped breastfeeding 4 months ago. You don’t dry up until after 6 months. If a duct was open during surgery and milk started coming out, and then seeped into the open wound made from surgery, it wouldn’t heal properly and could lead to all sorts of complications. So, later it is. At least I don’t have cancer. Phew.

I looked at the clock. 11:11pm. Last night. There was a rumbling in my belly. Oh crap. I went to the bathroom and then laid back down in bed. The rumbling started again. I went back to the bathroom. As soon as I was done I the toilet, before I could even pull my pants up, I nearly vomited. The noises and stomach heaves were there, but nothing came out. Luckily. I couldn’t lay down so flat, so I went to the couch instead, sitting half up with my back against the side of the couch to prevent the bile taste from going up my oesophagus.

The whole night was spent with my stomach in horrible pain, attempting in vain to get some sleep, and going to the bathroom at way too regular intervals. Needless to say, Aaron had to stay home from work today. I don’t know what sort of virus this is, but it’s pretty horrible. It’s short in duration, but goodness it comes on strong. I’m feeling much better now, as long as I’m resting. I think I’ll be better by tomorrow. I hope. I’m just praying that Daniel doesn’t get it too. He’s the only one left now who hasn’t gotten it, and I think it’d be the hardest for him. He hasn’t really been sick before. He’s had colds, but nothing too terrible. He did throw up once. Well, twice, in the same night, but then he was better by morning. It was pretty mild. And that’s it. Please don’t get this Daniel, it’s horrible! And he’s growing 2 more teeth right now too, so he’s already a cranky pants. Plus tomorrow is a daycare day and I have so much stuff to get done, none of which will be easy if I have a sick me or Daniel to take care of.

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