My Mother’s Visit

June 8, 2011

My mother arrived on May 17 and left Monday evening, June 6.  The time came and went very quickly but we managed to do a couple of things together and yet make it a relaxing trip.  On her first weekend here the three of us, Mum, Kirsten and myself, got up and went to the Peach Festival at Schnepf Farms. We left home around 7.45am and reached our destination at around 9am.  I was amazed at how many people were already there.  We spent a good couple of hours there and came home with a tray of freshly picked peaches (by ourselves), a peach pie, some apricots (we purchased from the store) and various other little peach items.

My mother, bless her, spent Sunday morning turning the peaches into pots of jam and the apricots too.  She also made 2 small crumbles which we put in the freezer for a later date.

We finally got to go and visit the Phoenix Children’s Museum.  I had heard such wonderful things so I was hoping it would live up to my expectation.  Kirsten loved it.  There is so much there to see and do that she had 3 fun filled hours and fell asleep in the car on the way home. We are actually going again next week as Kirsten has a field trip with her new school as part of their Summer Camp. I’m going as a chaperone so I’ve not doubt I’ll be exhausted at the end of that day.

Then we celebrated Kirsten’s 4th Birthday on Memorial day.  We invited a couple of friends over with their children for a BBQ/Pool party. We were 7 adults and 5 kids, and I hope they all had as much fun as they appeared to.  Kirsten is currently going through her Disney Princess phase so everything is Disney at the moment.  She needed new dress up clothes so I had 4 outfits made by 2 separate shops on Etsy.  She got costumes of Belle; Cinderella; Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. The local Safeway also made me a beautiful Princess and the Frog birthday cake with chocolate/vanilla marble cake and strawberries.  We were eating the cake for the rest of the week.

Last but not least Mum and I managed to attend a cooking class at Sur La Table together.  Mum had never attended a cooking class in her life and yet she bakes and sells preserves at Cirencester Farmer’s Market back home in England every other week.  Anyway, back to the class.  This one was Summer Treats of Italy. We had a wonderful 2.5 hours that just flew by.  There were only 4 of us in the class so plenty of food for tasting and we even got to take a little home so that my husband could try some of the peach stuffed gnocchi.  The cherry granita and cherry sorbet were exactly the same recipe but one was made with the ice cream maker and the other was just placed in the freezer.  I have to say that the granita/sorbet and the gnocchi were my 2 favourite items of the evening.

Almost Halfway

June 16, 2010

Wow.  Apologies for the delay in the next post but as usual we keep ourselves busy.  My Mum came out on 11 May – you remember the trip that she was originally due to make in March but was postponed due to British Airways striking.  Anyway she was due to return to England on June 1st but guess what?  British Airways went on strike again and her return flight was cancelled so she was here until Sunday 13 June.  This suited me fine.  Kirsten had finished Preschool for the Summer back on 19 May and John had to go on his Company’s annual conference on Saturday 5 June and wasn’t due home until evening on Thursday 10 June.  This meant that I actually had company myself for the 6 days John was away and that Kirsten had someone else to fuss over her too.  Kirsten is actually at camp at her Preschool for the month of June.  She’s going Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9-12 and calls it her special camp out.  She is still having her swim lessons on Thursday mornings but we’ve discovered that although she can swim a width of their pool unaided by rotating from front to back whenever she gets tired she doesn’t behave the same in our pool.  As we now have a YMCA about 5 minutes from home I have signed her up for swim lessons there too, so for the entire Summer (June/July) she has a second swim lesson Mondays — Thursdays for 30 minutes every afternoon.  The difference it made in a matter of a few days as to her confidence outside!  She’s exhausted in the evening and it’s a nightmare to get the dinner cooked but I would rather she were safe around water.  She’s now teaching some of her toys to swim in the bath every night too by practising back floats and kicking with them.

Can you believe Kirsten has turned 3!  Celebrations were long and drawn out due to Kirsten having strep!  We thought she had a stomach virus as I was then sick over the weekend too, but when we went for her 3 year check-up a week later we talked to her doctor about it and mentioned she was still suffering a little.  The doctor took a throat swab and told us she was positive for strep…oops! So she went on antibiotics and is absolutely fine now.  Anyway due to being sick we had to postpone her party at Build-A-Bear and also didn’t get to have a BBQ at home on the day as planned.  We finally had our trip to Build-A-Bear on Friday.  There were 6 adults and 6 children and the children had a $25 limit to spend on building their bear.  Fun and chaos all around.  No they don’t just have to build teddy bears, there are dogs, monkeys, Hello Kitty and all sorts.  Kirsten went home with a very hippy colourful looking bunny another child went home with a Hello Kitty and a little boy went home with a Coyote.  You choose your soft shell, then how hard/soft you want to stuff it and then do you want to give it clothes etc.  Kirsten was exhausted at the end but slept for 25 minutes in the car then crashed (ie couldn’t cope any more) but didn’t nap once she got home.  We all had to suffer that afternoon.

While my Mum was here we took Kirsten to the photographer.  Partly to commemorate her 3rd birthday but also as we had got pictures of the 3 generations of us together when my Mum was here for her 1st birthday so we wanted to update those pictures.  Here are a few of them.

Summer is coming

May 7, 2010

Well it’s been another month and I’ve completed my first triathlon.  It was a wonderful day.  I set myself a target of 90 minutes or less to complete the 400 metre swim; 8 mile bike ride; and 2.25 mile run and finished in 79 minutes and 59 seconds which I was over the moon with as I did the 8 miles on a mountain bike and could barely feel my legs to run.  I had originally informed people that this was a once in a lifetime event that I could take off my bucket list but loved every minute of it and am planning to do a couple more in the Autumn/winter.  They will be sprint triathlons again but most of the sprint seem to have shorter swims but slightly longer bikes.  My plan is to get a road bike slightly later in the summer and I suspect that the running will then be a little easier as I won’t be putting quite so much effort into moving as fast.

Kirsten continues to go to swim class on a weekly basis and has now been moved up a level.  She stays at exactly the same time and with the same coach as the other little boy in her class, Ryan, has also moved up.  The difference now is that we are seeing the coach try to teach them stroke technique.  Yup, he is trying to teach Kirsten front and back crawl which is funny to watch as even I don’t do that very well.  Swim season is almost upon us so this year I am certain Kirsten and I are going to spend many hours out in our own pool.  The school year finishes here in 10 days time.  So far I’ve signed up Kirsten for 3 weeks’ of camp at 3 days a week.  John is also going to be gone for a week at the start of June for his Company’s annual conference.  This year they won’t be at The Ritz at Lake Las Vegas as it has closed so they have been moved to The Ritz at Dana Point, California.  I had originally planned to go with Kirsten but decided about a month or so ago it just wasn’t worth it as Kirsten wouldn’t get to spend any time with Daddy anyway.  We’ll try and get across to California for a family holiday towards the end of the summer or even once she goes back to school as the prices will go back down again.

My mother is due out on Tuesday.  This is the trip that was postponed originally due to the British Airways strike in March.  Now we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the volcanic ash doesn’t put a halt on planes again as I know airports in Scotland and Ireland were closed for a day this week.  It would just be our luck.

March/Early April

April 7, 2010

OK so in the 2 weeks since I last posted John’s grandmother also passed away.  You will remember from my my previous post that Grandad had died due to terminal cancer.  Nan lasted an additional 4 weeks and 1 day.  My thoughts go out not only to my husband, John, but also to his amazing Mum, Dad, sister and husband too.  Due to a variety of reasons John did not get to make it back for any of the funerals.

Thanks to British Airways, not, my mother didn’t make it out either.  For those of you not aware, they have had 2 separate strikes since my last post.  Ma, as she likes to be known, is now rescheduled to come out mid-May for 3 weeks and will be here for Kirsten’s birthday instead of mine.  There were pros and cons.  It mean’t that by not having Mum here we didn’t go out for my birthday last week and we won’t have our babysitter here for when I attempt my sprint triathlon this Sunday, but thanks to a wonderful new friend, Melissa, John still gets to come and support me on the big day.  Kirsten gets to spend the day with her best friend, Siena, from preschool and Siena’s 2 sisters.  Oh what fun she’ll have and she’s rounding out the day with a birthday party.  She’ll sleep well on Sunday night as will I!  Back to the pros – Ma will be here for 3 weeks instead of 2.5 weeks at no additional cost as the time of year is more expensive and the pool will now be warm enough to use rather than the 60 degrees that it currently is.

So what did we do to celebrate my birthday.  We had take-out from Pei Wei on the day itself to save me from cooking otherwise it was a normal weekday.  On the saturday before we had a lovely family day.  We started the day out by going to “Sprinkles” ( ).  It’s a fancy cupcake store that has a number of locations throughout the USA.  We’d never been before although my neighbours had treated me to a Red Velvet cupcake on Valentine’s Day.  This time we went and bought ourselves half a dozen plus a couple of mixes to take home.  From there we went and spent the morning at McCormick Railroad Park ( ).  Kirsten had great fun riding the carousel and train.  Daddy took her on the rides while I got 30 minutes alone time with my kindle!

In the evening we met up with another English friend, Sunny, and her 2 children, Olivia and Jamie, at the english fish and chip shop, The Codfather, located at 16th St and Bell ( ).  We’ve decided to make it a monthly meet-up for a group of us.  Hopefully it will work out.

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The first quarter!

March 23, 2010

OK , so it’s about a month since I last posted and as usual a lot has happened.  Marbles is settling into the fold and we’re now having less accidents in the house.  I can also say that Kirsten is fully potty trained and I’m about ready to take the nappies off her at night and see how she does as she is dry every night.

John has been sick but after 2 rounds of antibiotics he is recovered although he is having a follow-up visit to the doctor.  Unfortunately in the last month we lost John’s wonderful Grandfather, Cliff, to cancer.  He will be greatly missed.  We have also lost 2 other members of our extended family in the last 2 months, Vi and Betty.  Our condolences go out to Chris and Paul in Slough for the loss of Chris’ mother, Vi, and also to Robert and Carol Jobson for the loss of Robert’s mother, Betty.  

 John’s lovely grandmother has been moved into a nursing home and my grandmother in Norway took a tumble and has spent the last couple of weeks in recovery but after an email from my mother she is apparently due to return home in the next week.  At the same time I also found out that my Dad took quite a tumble off of his bicycle.  It seems that he was knocked about badly but thank goodness for helmets as it turns out he has absolutely no recollection of getting home! Yes, I make sure John wears a helmet when he goes out and carries a mobile phone with him too.  As for ID I think I need to invest in one of those ID bracelets for him.

Now onto the brighter side of life.  My mother, Anne-Lise, is due out for her semi-annual visit on Sunday providing her flight doesn’t get cancelled as she is due to fly with British Airways.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed as this will be the first time since we moved out that she has been here to help celebrate my birthday.

Last but not least I continue with my quilting.  I have now had my first 4 quilts quilted by taking them to the local shop, The Olde World Quilt Shoppe.  Whitney did a wonderful job.  You will see that the most recent “Roundabout” I actually made larger as the pattern gave you the option for 2 sizes.  John told me that I’d been making blankets and quilts for everyone else so this one is for him.