Friday, October 29, 2010

1st Ameriversary

Exactly 1 year ago today I arrived in the USA with Z & K. We have been apart from Ben for over 3 weeks so we were finally back together as a family. 

Cake anyone? 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Crazy Socks Day at School

Today is crazy socks day at the kids school as part of the drug free living week. I managed to get K a pair of knee high socks with a Halloween theme. It wasn't so easy for Z, so I settled on a sort of camouflage theme with skulls on them. You can't see them under his trousers though and there was no way I was going to convince him to roll his trouser legs up so you could see them! He did add to the camouflage theme though with a pair of combat pants that he was given last year.

Gaming & Technology

I am taking a little break from writing about my kids wearing 'crazy socks' or the fact that the weather has now just started to turn cold. I am asking for opinions today. I am terrible with computers. Absolutely shocking. When I say computers I of course mean computer video games! I can just about handle playing the Nintendo DS and games on Facebook! When I take the kids to get their haircut at Cookie Cutters they play the Playstation and Wii there while they are waiting and whilst they get their hair cut. My hand eye co-ordination is not great so I generally don't play computer games. I have tried to play the Wii whilst at an event in the UK but was not very good at it. Also it is probably not a great idea to be sat on your backside playing computer games. Z has been known on occasion to disappear with the DS and not turn his bedroom light out until very late! I think if I was to get a computer game system it would need to be one that made them get up off their backside and move about.

I was watching the Ellen DeGeneres show today and at the start of the show she was talking about the Kinect for Xbox 360. It seems pretty similar to the Nintendo Wii but you don't have to hold anything in your hand and it senses your body movements. I have also now seen there is a Playstation Move available to buy, but this seems more similar to the Wii as there is a handheld device with it too. It would appear that the gaming industry is moving towards keeping people moving whilst playing games on their gaming systems and I think that is a great idea. Kids should still be able to play on their computers but if they just sit still for hours then that is not going to be good for their health and they may develop weight problems. I have a weight issue of my own so I would definitely need a game console that only really worked if I kept moving! If you were in the market for a computer games console which one would you get? (please note I am not currently looking to buy a game console as can't afford it, just be good to know peoples thoughts about the ones out there now)

Whilst I have been on this technology fact finding mission, I have also discovered that there is an internet TV that you can get from Sony and Google! You can even get a 3D Blu Ray player! Of course you would only want that if you had a 3D TV! I suppose the next thing is 3D games consoles! There are not enough DVDs or TV shows available in 3D to warrant spending $$$$ on a 3D TV or Blu Ray player. Our basic DVD player is working just fine.

There is even a car that can park itself! I am not too sure I would be bothered about a car parking itself. I am not too bad at parking the car so would rather simply have a car not held together by gaffer tape!

There is even an internet fridge! Yep, you can buy a fridge that has a TV, diary and a list of food stored in it. What happened to the days of having a memo pad stuck by magnet to the fridge door? The way my kids adapt to technology they would manage to find a way to program it to say we need more popcicles or ice cream!

So on the day I win the lottery, I shall be buying all of the above!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Twins

K and one of her twins from school today!

Drug Free Living

Yesterday the kids came home from school wearing badges that said "'PAWS'-itively Drug Free" and a flyer in their class folders saying that this week the school is focusing on 'living a drug-free life'. To support this cause they want the kids to go to school today, tomorrow and Friday dressed a particular way.

Today is 'Twin Day'. The kids have to pick a friend and dress in similar clothing.
Thursday is Crazy Socks Day.
Friday is Wear ALL red day.

Both Z & K came home yesterday saying they hadn't chosen a friend to twin with but K kept going on about needing to wear a dress to school today. I needed to get some black leggings for her to go with her Halloween costume, and a few other things, so I took them both to Target. I found a pair of simple black leggings but K spotted a sparkly pair of black leggings so we got them. Then she spotted a purple patterned dress (it may just be a long top with a frilly bit at the bottom) that she wanted to get to wear to school for twin day. The dress (or possibly long top)  was reduced to $4 so I wasn't complaining! In the end K decided she would wear the new dress/top and the leggings to school today. Z was not at all enthusiastic about twin day so he wasn't all that fussed about getting something new to wear to school. (I am going to get them both a pair of 'crazy socks' today for them to wear tomorrow. It is picture re-take day tomorrow but you won't see their feet in the picture so it doesn't matter what kind of socks they are wearing!)

Cut to this morning and I walk the kids to school. As we approach the school there are 3 girls who spot us and started shouting for K. When we get to them the girls are all giddy and excited and they all decided they are twinned with K. One decided she was K's twin as she had a purple top on and K has purple on her top/dress. Another girl says she is a twin because she has a sparkly cardigan on and K has her sparkly leggings! The third girl says she is K's twin as she has her hair in bunches just like K has! The bell then sounds for them all to go into school. K and her 3 twins all hold hands and run into school giggling. Z was standing next to me with a look on his face as if to say "what was that about?!" and "girls are weird!" He gave me a kiss and cuddle and then I walked into school with him. I had actually remembered to pick up the forms for picture re-take day so needed to go to the office. I am going to try and get a picture of K and at least one of her friends when I meet them after school later today.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Letter Painting



In the video above the kids painted large letters for their bedroom doors and the finished products are below.

It's A Bit Wet Out

I am just back from the kids school where I have been doing my Tuesday volunteer stint in the Media Center. When we left for school this morning there was a tornado watch for our area. Always a good way to start a Tuesday! I walked the kids to school and then came home again to get the car and my umbrella as the storm was due to be hitting us around the time I would probably be leaving the school. Z was going on a field trip with the 1st Grade classes today so he was not going to be in school until the afternoon. K was not going anywhere so if anything happened I would be in school near her.

The storm hit a bit earlier than I expected it to and the school did a severe weather drill. All the kids were taken to safe places and in most cases were on their knees with their hands over their heads or were under tables in rooms with no windows. They stayed that way for about 20 minutes or so and I'll give the kids their dues, they did really well. I was near some of the kids and they stayed on the floor with their hands over their heads with their bums in the air for the whole time. Looking outside the wind and rain were whipping around really fast and the sky was really dark. When the storm passed and the kids all went back to class I went back to the media center for a few minutes and then left to come home. The school principal emailed all the parents to let them know about the drill the kids had done and to also let the 1st Grade parents (me being one of them!) that they had been in touch with the kids that were on their field trip and that they were all fine.


Good morning, CE Parents!
This morning, we did execute our severe weather procedures.  The students and staff did a wonderful job! 
We were also in close contact with our 1st grade teachers who were on a field trip at Clowes Hall.  They also followed the severe weather procedure in place at Clowes and are now enjoying the play.  We anticipate they will return to school approximately 30 minutes later than scheduled. 
At this time, students are safe and following our regular schedule!
Thank you,
Mrs. Klinginsmith

The storm has passed over us now but here is a screen shot from the local CBS station showing the radar picture for a little while ago. I don't think I have to explain that green is rain, yellow is a bit more rain and red is fecking shed loads of rain!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Competition

K and Ben carved a pumpkin on Saturday and today I entered it in a competition to win a $50 March gift card. If you like it please vote for it here. Voting starts on October 26th! Thanks!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Trunk & Treat

Z went to a Scout Pack Meeting last night. At the end of the Meeting all the Scouts went out to the car park at the back of the Carmel Lions Club and had a trunk or treat. I had no idea what trunk or treat actually was so I had to Google it. Turns out you have to decorate the trunk (boot) of your car and the kids go round the cars and get candy from everyone. I had no real idea what to do so I went the lazy route. I went to Wal-Mart to get some more candy and bought some $2 cobweb stuff.  I then carved 2 small pumpkins with K when she and Z came home from school. I draped the cobweb stuff around the back of the car, put the carved pumpkins, pumpkin baskets and a pumpkin decoration in as well and, voila!


It turns out that I was wise to get extra candy. There was around 65 Scouts at the Pack Meeting and once it was all over we were left with about a handful of candy! Luckily the Scouts took all the Pixy Stix so I don't have to worry about my kids finding them and going loopy off the sugar!

I also bought a another larger pumpkin when I was at the store yesterday so Ben could carve one with the kids at the weekend.

Monday, October 18, 2010

K Dancing in her Halloween Costume

Whodunit? aka TV Break

[This is not a sponsored post. Be nice if it was though. I'm kidding!]

As I'm not allowed to work I need to find something to do with my time. Being a 1 income family means that I can't simply go shopping and spend all of my husbands money. If I could I would shop till I dropped as I have seen so many things in stores that I would love to buy for our home and the kids. Usually during the day I can be found doing one of a few things. I will either be wandering down the Monon listening to the Chris Moyles podcast and trying not to laugh out loud and have passers by thinking I am barking mad. Alternatively I could be found at my kids school where I volunteer a couple times a week. I never volunteered for anything before. Not even for when I was at school. Well, except for that one mad moment when I suggested to my Head Teacher that our school have a Yearbook and he agreed! I would like to add here that that was the only time my high school had a Yearbook! Another place you could find me is in a grocery store buying food as I have discovered it is so much easier to shop when the kids are in school. That way I don't get to the check out and discover there are 4 boxes of cereal and several packets of cookies in the shopping cart!

I also read a lot of magazines and books. I have taken out several subscriptions since coming to the US as a little treat to myself. Obviously I can also be found online on Facebook or Twitter during the day. I do sometimes venture out to lunch with people which is always nice but something I can only do every so often, as again money is not endless. I also watch TV. There are some shows that I watch that I wouldn't let my kids watch and Ben has no interest in. I like working out puzzles. I like mysteries and trying to figure out whodunit. I have a collection of Agatha Christie books that are currently in a box in an attic in the UK and I am going to have to wait to see again

Maybe the fact that I like writing adds to the fact that I like mysteries and trying to work out who the bad guy is in crime shows. (That sounds a lot better than admitting I like the gore and blood!) So because it is usually only me that likes to watch these shows I tend to record them on the DVR and then watch back later when I am home alone. I think that some shows are done a lot better in the US than in other places. Maybe it is the money available for the shows or the fact that the US is so diverse that almost anything can and usually does happen. Some things are more feasible here than they would be in the UK. (Please don't ask for examples right now though!)

I watch Fringe and Eureka which are both very different shows but equally mind bending and I love it. Ben finds it really odd that I watch Fringe but never watched X Files! I also watch all the CSI shows, Vegas, NY and Miami but I have to say that the NY one is my favorite. I think that may be because I love NYC. I have been there several times and would love to go again. I went when I was an Exchange Student and I was one of the few students whose first language was English. I felt so at home in the city. We were told to not go to certain areas and lots of the students were wandering around with a rather apprehensive look about them but I was striding down the street without a care in the world and not obviously looking like a tourist with a big camera hanging around my neck! I want to take my kids there but am wondering if they are currently too young to go. If I was given some plane tickets and a hotel room in NYC I would go in a heartbeat though and would most likely take my kids. There is a lot of things they would enjoy and I think they would remember it. I feel privileged that I went up to the observation deck in the Twin Towers when I was there in early 1995. I still have my entrance ticket. It is in a photograph album with all my mementos from my year as an Exchange Student. Another show has just started that is also fueling my love of New York City. This show is called Blue Bloods and I love it! A family of police officers and the cases they deal with is just brilliant. If you had asked me 20 or so years ago if I would have watched a prime time TV show starring Donnie Wahlberg I would have probably laughed at you but he has built up a solid acting resume that I don't have any need to mention the career before acting. If I were to be a police officer (which obviously I am not a likely candidate) I would want to be a NYPD officer rather than anywhere else. Their website and look is a bit different to Carmel PD but they both do a fine job.

However, when I've had enough of working out who the bad guy is or if the world will be saved, I like to have a laugh and the best place to get that is in "The Middle". As it's set in Indiana it already gets my vote but it is such a great show. I really do laugh out loud when watching it.

Well that is enough TV talk as I need to go get my kids from school. Today has been productive for me. I wrote another blog post and I admit that I did watch Fridays episode of Blue Bloods and CSI Miami from last night, but I have also done a lot of networking and have contacted a few people about possible writing opportunities (non paid of course!) The kids are only at school 3 days this week so I am planning what to do with them on Thursday and Friday. 2 things we will definitely be doing is getting Z a haircut and taking both Z & K to get passport pictures done as their passports expire the week before my brothers wedding! I may also take them both to MaggieMoos and/or Stonycreek Farm

Happy Monday everyone!

Weekend Activities

If you tell your kids that you are going to take them on a road trip and that they are going to have a great time, I will bet that your kids won't expect you to tell them that you are going to be spending a lot of time looking at trees! As it is Fall/Autumn here now (not that the temperatures are currently reflecting that!) we decided to take the kids out to enjoy the scenery and drive down to Nashville, Indiana.

The day started with a visit to the joy that is the BMV! We both needed to update our drivers licences and also the car registration. We had gone in last weekend but as I am not allowed to work I needed to get a letter stating that I am not entitled to a SSN. I do have one but it is in my maiden name and the SSA won't update it to my married name as I have 'no valid reason' to require a SSN. I got a letter stating that I am not eligible to have a SSN when I did my written test last winter but now I needed a letter dated within the last 6 months. Cue Ben spending an hour and a half at the Federal Building in Indianapolis to get me a newer letter. We then arrive at the BMV early on Saturday morning and after about 30 or 45 minutes we leave after paying $10 each to update our licences, getting new pictures done (I also updated the weight as I have lost over 14lbs since I passed my test!). We will get our new licences in the mail shortly.


How could we possibly top that excitement? Well, we could go and look at some trees! We drove down to Nashville and on the way we enjoyed the scenery. I tried to take a few pictures on the drive down but some were a bit blurry. We were in a car moving faster than walking speed!

We had lunch at Muddy Boots Cafe and got some ice cream at Fearrin's Ice Cream & Yogurt Depot. I had a very yummy orange pineapple flavor. (lets all welcome back the weight I have lost!) We had a wander around the town and looked in some of the little stores. The kids did want to buy somethings but the ice cream seemed to be enough!

We then drove back to Carmel as we had been invited to a Fall/Halloween party by the parents of Dan who Ben used to work with. (They are the same people who welcomed us into their home for Thanksgiving last year just a few weeks after I arrived with the kids. They are a lovely family and have been lovely to us.) There was crafts for the kids to do. There was a treasure pit for the kids to dig in and find a toy. There was also a trailer ride for the kids. One thing my kids had the most fun in was the big pile of leaves. The leaves were dry and crunchy, not like the soggy wet ones we are used to in the UK. No worry of finding a pile of doggy poo in their either thankfully! We then had some food and let the kids continue to run around and wear themselves out.


We had spent all of Saturday out of the house and by the time we got home again we were all exhausted. Sunday was going to be a bit quieter and not quite so much travelling. All that we had planned was going to The Children's Museum of Indianapolis to see Skeletown, get the kids their Halloween costumes (K is going to be a blue fairy/butterfly and Z is going to be Spongebob Squarepants) and some other bits n pieces for Halloween as we want to carve our pumpkins and we need some candy for the Scout Pack Meeting on Tuesday.

The kids rounded off their day by having their swimming lessons. K seemed to be very taken with her new, young (male) swim instructor. Makes me afraid for the teenage years. Z managed to have a good swim lesson as last week he complained of not feeling well and when we took his temperature at home later it turned out he had a fever. This swim lesson however, her was 100% well and no complaints from him!


I rounded off my night by watching a bit of the Colts football game and the CSI NY I had recorded on the DVR. As much as I love writing, and I do love writing (you can probably tell that by the amount of gibberish I write on here sometimes) I also love a good mystery and trying to solve whodunnit!

Friday, October 15, 2010

1st Grade Report Card

Last year when we moved over to the US, we put Z into 1st Grade. However, as Christmas drew near it was decided that he should be moved to Kindergarten as he was really struggling with the lessons in the 1st Grade class. He was also put into a Title 1 reading program that aims to help kids who are struggling with things like reading. After he was put into the Kindergarten class after the Christmas break Z started to thrive. He showed a real interest in reading and even though he struggled with concentration he progressed well in the class. In August he started 1st Grade, again. He was actually put in a 1st Grade class with the teacher he first had when he started at school in Carmel. Today he came home with his first school report card. There is the odd mention of concentration issues and not having a great attention span in the afternoon (who does?!) but in the whole it is a good report card. He is reading well, really well! He is almost at 2nd Grade reading level. He is good at writing, we just need to encourage him to write about things other than dinosaurs (he has said he wants to be a paleontologist so that interest may never go away!). He is also showing real promise in science and math! For his first report card of the year I am very pleased with it. He has done a few tests in the past weeks where there is a cut off that the kids should be able to reach and he has steadily improved his results and is above the cut off level now. He has been getting full marks in his last several spelling tests and his writing is really easy to read now. I am one happy mummy/mommy at the moment! I think my boy deserves a reward of some sort.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

K the Cheerleader

Today marked the end of K participating in cheerleading for Carmel Dads Club this season. She met up with her cheer squad and had a party at MaggieMoos. She was given her trophy and her pom poms to keep. She enjoyed her time, mostly, as a cheerleader and I think she'll want to do it again. For now she has a shiny new trophy as another memento of her first time doing cheer! I will have to see if she wants to do it again. I think there may be something at Carmel High School around January (there was this past January) so she may do that.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall

OK so the temperatures are not what I am used to for this time in October (89°F/32°C in recent days!) but it is Fall/Autumn at the moment and trees are turning beautiful colors. This weekend Ben and I are taking the kids to Nashville, Indiana so we can show them the change in colors and enjoy the beauty of Fall in the Midwest.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pumpkins, Sandwiches and 2 Girl Scouts

Last night was the registration evening I had arranged for girls to join a  Daisy Girl Scout Troop. I started with 8 girls wanting to join and had 1 drop out last weekend. As that left 7 that was more than enough to start a Troop. (You need at least 3)

So K and I sat in the church and waited for the girls to arrive with their parents and sign up. And we waited. We drew some pictures and debated what colors we should make our flower petals. Then a girl turned up with her mother. This girl was a last minute addition as her mum had contacted me just before the meeting I had last week. They were the only other people to turn up. No one else showed up. So with K and this other girl being the only 2 who apparently wanted to join the Girl Scouts, there was not enough girls to form a troop. I sent out a final email this morning to find out exactly who did and did not want to join. If no one else does then I am going to have to try and find another way to get K involved. I am disappointed as K really wants to do it and I spent several hours yesterday researching what to do with Daisy Girl Scouts and planning possible Troop meetings for the next few months. I am disappointed that no one bothered to contact me to say they were no longer interested. I am going to feel rather foolish going back to the church to give them their key and say I no longer need to use their facilities for troop meetings as it is not likely that there is going to be a troop.

Today we went to the Pumpkin Patch Festival at Clarian North Medical Center which was also sponsored by RE/MAX Legends Group. It started at noon and we arrived just after 12 and it was already really busy. Each child is allowed to choose one free pumpkin to take home so K & Z had lots of fun choosing one each. The kids also got a free Clarian North polar bear toy. By the time we left at around 1.30pm there were lots of cars circling the parking lot looking for a space. I think we will still go to another pumpkin patch before Halloween. There is one at Stonycreek Farm in Noblesville that we will most likely go to.

We decided to head over to "Which Wich" for lunch. (There was free food and drinks at the pumpkin patch but the line was really long.) It seemed like we arrived in the middle of the lunch time rush. It was really busy and really loud in there. I'd never been before and had no idea what it would be like. The sandwich I got was really good but as I had jalapenos in it, it was a bit too hot for Ben to have. It was a bit of a novelty that you have to check off boxes on a brown paper bag stating what you want in your sandwich. The kids menu could have been a bit more diverse but K & Z managed to choose something they liked. As is normally the case there is still some sandwich left for both of them! 

Now we have 2 real pumpkins, 1 decorative pumpkin and 2 pumpkin trick or treat baskets outside our front door. We will carve something into the real ones but not just now as by the time Halloween comes around they'll be all gross and rotten.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Daisy Girl Scouts

It could all go horribly wrong. I could find myself sat in the Carmel Christian Church with K and have no one turn up. As long as at least 3 girls show up and register then we will be able to form a Troop. I sent an email out to all the interested parents on Monday to tell them about the meeting tonight, as well as two representatives in the Girl Scouts. I have not heard back from anyone. I hope people turn up as K really wants to be a Girl Scout. I still don't really know what I am doing but, I will figure it out and hopefully get help from some of the other parents.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kindness Doesn't Cost Anything

I read a blog post earlier that prompted me to write this. I am sure everyone has head about the Rutgers student who killed himself after someone filmed him with another guy. I am sure everyone has heard about the scary increase in suicides amongst young people. Youngsters are killing themselves because they are being bullied and feel they have no one to turn to or feel that no one will believe them or because they feel alone. No one is ever truly alone. There is always someone who you can talk to. Sometimes it may be hard but it is better to talk than to do something that later cannot be undone. My kids are only young but I am trying to teach them that they will never be alone and they can always talk to me and their about anything. Nothing they can do will ever stop us loving them. Nothing. Some people are mean. Some people don't think about what their actions may cause. Luckily other people, do think and do consider their actions. There is always someone out there going through the same thing. No one ever has to go through life alone. Everyone has feelings and those feelings need to be respected. I can try to protect my children from being bullied but I am not with them all the time. There will be times when they are not with me. I need to feel secure in the knowledge that the school/club/group/whatever they are involved in take bullying seriously and will act appropriately if they become aware of it. We can't place all responsibility on schools though. Parents need to act and teach their children that it is not acceptable to bully others. Parents also need to be aware of their own actions though too. If their kids see them being mean to someone else then their kids will think that kind of behavior is acceptable. We all need to do something.

Some people need a little extra protection. 
Some people need a little extra guidance.
Some people need a little more love.
Some people just need to be listened to.
Sometimes I can talk too much but my ears work just fine.





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. ...