Friday, 28 December 2012

He came.....

Well we have survived our first Christmas stateside.

The elves left on the eve of Christmas eve.  They left some new pajamas, and a Christmas story for the boys.  If Paul and I had not got soo drunk that night, they would have left a few other things we have since found in the cupboard, oopps.

Oliver and Isaac opening presents
The boys went to bed very excited on Christmas eve.  I prepped the turkey (my first one ever, eeeekkkkkk), while Paul made up a few of the boys bigger presents ready for me to wrap.  I am exceptionally pleased that I had wrapped their other presents  a few days before, there was no way I could have done them all on Christmas eve. We eventually made it to bed just after midnight.  Oliver was so excited, that he was out of bed at 1.30am, 3.30am, 5.30am, and I am sure there are a few others that have all blurred into the ones mentioned.  We all got up about 6.30am, and came down to see all their presents.  Bless Oliver and Isaac, even the small presents of pots of playdoh and stocking stuff got instant excitable reactions.  Seb, however, was completely underwhelmed by the whole thing, barely wanted to open anything, was more interested in what his brothers had got.  I managed to cajole him by half opening ones I knew he would like, then getting him to do the rest.  They all got a lot, a lot more than normal.  We made a conscious effort on this, as they had brought so little from the UK.  I won't talk about all their presents, but big hits seem to be an Angry Birds game for Oliver, any of the Imaginex stuff for Isaac, and Seb's Little Tikes car.
Seb's new ride

After the boys were done with presents from Father Christmas, we started Skype-ing.  First up were the Goslings in Oxford.  They opened all their presents from us, which we had delivered there, and the boys did the ones from them.  Next up, we FaceTimed with my mum and Lee, did the same thing with the presents.  Oliver and Seb were exceptionally pleased to see a Furby each to go along with Isaac's.  The Furby's are getting along well, and have been known to talk to each other for up to 15 minutes with no human interaction, spooky.  We then Skype-d with my dad.  By now Seb had  gone for a sleep, which was a shame, as he absolutely loved what he received.  Was great to see all the family at Christmas, even if just on a screen.

My first ever turkey
By now I had begun Christmas dinner.  I did all the prep the night before, so all i had to do was turn the cooker on.  I was perfectly distracted while dishing up by the Gosling band playing through Skype. My timings were perfect, and we sat down at 2.45 to a yummy Christmas dinner, and it was YUMMY.

The rest of the afternoon was spent playing the Gosling online on the XBox at F1 Race Stars, a very cool game Isaac received for his birthday.  And Paul insisted on watching the basketball.  There were only 5 games on back to back......

Yesterday was another day spent indoors.  We played some more computer, did some Lego and Paul sorted out more of the boys toys.  We currently have a basketball hoop and a water table set up in the front room.  These will go outside once the weather improves.  I made the ultimate triple-decker turkey sandwich for lunch yesterday, and we had Turkey curry last night.  Was all really tasty.  I have eaten far too much food in the last few days, but its ok.  One of my presents was Dance Central 3 on the Xbox Kinect.  I had a little practice on it last night, it is awesome.  I shall be using it to shift my Christmas belly.

The ultimate trolley, can sit 3 children.
My bread, yeah!!!!!!
Today we actually left the house!!!! Didn't go anywhere exciting, just Walmart.  We have some people coming round tomorrow so needed to pick up some more food.  I also needed some other items to enable me to play with my new toys.  We came back, and I stuck some ingredient in the slow cooker for turkey soup (another thing I hope is going to help rid me of my belly).  I then stuck some ingredients in my bread maker.  My first loaf looks awesome, I can't wait to try it!!!!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Its nearly Christmas......


This is the 3rd blog I am updating tonight, getting quite into this blogging, good job I have Uni revision beginning in January, so you can all stop getting annoyed with my endless tirades of nonsense.....

So Oliver finished school on tuesday.  He went in for 1/2 hour of lessons, then had chapel service.  As I was driving in to school, people were already parking up in preparation for going to chapel.  I felt a bit bad for Oli, as there is no way Seb and Isaac would sit through an hours church service.  When I returned to pick him up at 9.45, the car park was heaving, they were even parked on the road leading up to school.  Drove into school, car pool lane was blocked by people parked in it.  By the time  I got Oli, it was 10.15.  Thank goodness for Lego Star Wars videos on Youtube to keep Isaac and Seb happy.  Tuesday afternoon we headed to Legacy Park to meet up with the boys from Oli's grade.  Must have been about 15-20 6-7 year old boys.  Thank goodness this park has a fenced in area for younger kids, and an open area for older kids.  Plus the water feature and pond.  Eventually got talking to some of the mums, am now able to pin point the mums of the kids who he speaks most frequently about.  They all seem very pleasant. One of the mums had brought cupcakes for all the kids, and another was selling the school Christmas ornaments.  A nice keepsake memento.  Oliver and Isaac ended up playing pooh-sticks with the other boys, cue wet feet from Oliver.  Its December FFS!!!!!  It didn't phase him though, luckily it was a nice sunny day.....

Wednesday we had my lovely friend Donna round with her boy Leo.  They both had a good time (I think....)  Then went food shopping in the afternoon (yawn), all the boys were fabulously behaved.  So they got M&M's as a treat for being so good.  Lets see if they are as good when we do the Christmas shop over the weekend.......

Thursday, we went to the Barton's.  I have not seen Anna for what feels like an age, it was so nice to catch up with her, and nice to meet Dave's parents.  The boys were pretty well behaved, and Anna even let Oliver use their iPad, and Isaac use her iPhone, while Seb played trains upstairs with Jack.  Again they were all really good, and we ended up staying longer than intended. Because of this, it was lunchtime when we left, and it was raining (don't know what that has to do with anything...) so we decided to get a drive through McDonalds for lunch.  We headed out in the evening to Roper Mountain Christmas lights.  This is a science place that every year puts on a massive display of lights for people to drive through, very impressive.

Oli and me on the ice
Oliver meets Father Christmas
Today we had a last minute call on Rachel coming round with Riley and Layla.  My boys were again very well behaved, and Sebastian and Layla had great fun chasing each other around.  Paul managed to get out of work early, and we headed to Greenville for a late lunch at the Carolina Ale House.  Greenville set up an ice rink in December on Main Street, so we headed here after lunch.  Isaac was not up for it, neither was Paul, so Oli and I headed out on the ice.  For what we did, it was a bit pricey, but it was nice to give Oli an experience he has never had before.  We did one lap, with Oli holding on to the side the whole way round.  I was quite grateful for this, as it has been a long time since I skated in any form. Admittedly, he didn't fall over once, but Paul did remark that he was like Bambi on ice.  I was going to go and do a lap after he had had enough, but thought better of it.  I would have ended up on my arse, and it was freezing cold.....  The boys then got to meet Father Christmas, albeit briefly, as he prepared his sleigh to ride people around Greenville.

Now we are into the preparation for Christmas.  Most of the boys pressies are wrapped.  THey all have one more each that need to be wrapped/moved/made on Christmas eve. A big thank you to all that have sent us cards from the UK. Really excited about our first Christmas here.....

Also really excited about my sis-inlaws 12 days of Christmas blogging challenge.  Please see my entry, with links to other peoples.  This is good fun, please feel free to read, share and participate!!!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Bit somber this, sorry


Well.....Where to start???

Last week was a good week.  We had friends round on tuesday and thursday, was lovely to catch up and chat while the kids played.  Paul and I sat up and watched the 12-12-12 concert on wednesday night.  It was really good, my only moans are how late it went on, and that Dave Grohl and co should have played more than one song.

Isaac at his holiday show, he is right in the middle, under the glare of the lights
Isaac started last week being very naughty at school, to the point where I got phone calls home on tuesday.  Wednesday he went in, and it was his Christmas party.  He was good as gold!!!! I told him how happy I was that he had been good, his response ' me had bad days, but now me gonna have lots of good days'.  Thursday morning I had to drop him in Fountain Inn (the next town down) as he had a rehearsal for his Holiday Program.  Again when I picked him up, he had been good as gold, and had really enjoyed his ride in the school bus from Fountain Inn back to preschool.  That evening I took him back for his actually show.  It was really good.  It was held in a big auditorium, and all age groups, from toddler (2-3) to Grade 4 (9-10) and older performed.  Again Isaac was really good.  He was sat right in the middle of all the kids, and although he didn't sing, and wriggled like mad, I felt really proud.
He had another good day on friday, and has now finished for the year.

Friday, I had Debbie from our relocation company round in the morning to give me some intercultural training.  This was very interesting, we discussed all sorts, religion, guns, school, medical care.  She left me two books, one the company writes, and another more generic one on American culture and customs.  I have finished them both already, and they are a very good read.  A lot of it I knew already, but some startling statistics and facts.

Strange that while I am discussing American culture, that a vulgar side of it should rear its head in the North.  The news has been dominated by what happened in that school on friday morning.  So sad, so shocking.  We have not told the boys, they do not need to know.  American schools have got a lot safer in recent years, and these things don't happen in schools often.  I hope, like many others do, that the media do not become obsessed with the perpetrator, and instead focus on those victims, many of whom are the same age as Oliver.....

My boys at Heritage Park

We had quite a relaxing weekend.  We went out for lunch both days.  Saturday we went to Fountain
Inn to get  a proper look at it.  It is smaller than Simpsonville, but by the looks of things, they are about to redevelop the infrastructure and take it from a 4 lane road down to 2, a bit like Greenville. We stopped at Heritage Park on the way home.  Its huge!!!!! It has a bigger car park than Oliver's school.  The boys had a play in the park, then we went for a walk around.  I believe there is a hot air ballon event there on memorial day, and there is also an amphitheater where they put on shows and cinema nights through the summer.  The boys were pretty tired after this, so we came home and watched a film (I had a sleep.....).

Sunday the elves had left some arts and crafts for the boys, so we did those in the morning.  We were going to go to Cracker Barrel for lunch, but as we drove into the packed car park, we noticed people sitting outside, waiting for tables.  So we went next door to the Arizona Steakhouse. All I can say is yummy, and I am going to start another blog about our experiences of eating out in the USA.
Watch this space......

I started wrapping Christmas presents last night.  I got all the ones from relatives done, then started on the ones from Father Christmas.  Then I ran out of tape......

This week is turning out to be quite busy.  We have a relaxing day today, in fact it is raining.  Think I am going to take the boys to the library this afternoon, see what its like.  Oliver has his last day tomorrow.  He has to be at school normal time, then has his chapel service at 8.30, and finishes after that, so aboyt 9.30.  He has an event in a local park with all of the boys in his grade that we are goiing to, so that should be interesting.....  Wednesday we have a friend round, thursday we are off to another friens, then friday should be another relaxing one.  Christmas dinner and last minute present to get next weekend.  then thats it, our first Christmas in the states, and the first one we have had without any relatives around, going to be different.....


Night of December 15th - The elves have brought some arts and crafts


 Night of December 16th - They're trying to escape.......


Night of December 17th - Naughty elves, playing on the stairs


Night of December 18th - indulging in some computer time

*********************************************************************************Night of December 19th - The elves decided to sleep in Isaac's and Sebastian's room, so no photos.  Isaac was really pleased to see them in his room (at 5.30am.......)


Night of December 20th - the elves brought some dough and cookie cutters and decorations, so the boys could make some Christmas cookies

*********************************************************************************Night of 21st December - the elves keep an eye on the time, knowing it is not long till they have to go home...

Night of the 23rd December - the elves have to go home tonight to help Father Christmas load his sleigh.  Here are Isaac and Sebastian in the pajamas that they have left.....

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Another house guest....

Butler Bear doing craft with the boys

Who would have thought it..... First Elves, now a bear!!!! Oliver has got 'Butler Bear' for the weekend. This is something his class teacher has been doing for 20 years!  Every child in her class gets to take Butler home for a weekend, they have to take photos and document what they have done with Butler.   So far he has had a snack and played Xbox.  This morning he has helped the boys do some Christmas arts and crafts.  It is nice to read through the journal and see what other kids have done.  Oliver seems to be really enjoying it.

This week has been good.  Paul came home on Wednesday after being at Talledega for 2 nights doing testing on the cars.  He loved it!  Good job too, as he is there again in 2 weeks time.  

Seb at the Zoo.  Yes it really was cold....
Thursday I went to Greenville Zoo with Liene.  Typically after a week of temperatures in the low 20's, the thermometer was only hitting 11!  Was good to go to the zoo again, and nice to share it with someone who is so knowledgable about the local area.  The boys all had a good time, and we even got to see the baby giraffe despite the cold temperatures.  

Friday I went food shopping (yawn!), then went to pick Isaac up from preschool.  He had been really good, the teachers hadn't spoken to be about any bad behaviour so I had told him that if he was good on friday he could have some sweets after lunch.  He wasn't.  He had been pushing in line, and trying to hurt other children.  So then we had a big upset Isaac, as he realised he would not get his sweets.  not a happy bunny, not a happy mummy. Paul had already said he was going to try and leave early, so I text him to see if he could pick Oliver up on the way home.  Luckily he could.  He also picked up my prescription from the pharmacy.  Bye bye $300!!!!  Thank goodness for  health insurance, so we can claim it back.  In the meantime, Isaac, Seb and I went to our local Target store.  Man, I love those shops.... could spent a fortune without even realising it..... 

Today Paul spent the morning putting the Christmas lights outside.  I did some Christmas arts and Crafts with the boys, which was good fun.  They were at it for about an hour, really good concentration from my boys, especially as there was no tv involved, lol.  We went out to Chik-a-fila for lunch today, yummy, not your ordinary fast food, the service is good, as is the food.  Then to Lowes for some additional Christmas bits, then home.  Paul snuck out later in the afternoon to get the Christmas tree.  In the UK, he would have taken the boys, but seeing as he wanted a huge one, we thought it easier he go on his own.  We are going to decorate it tonight, then put the elves underneath it, with some character decorations for the boys to hang,  New Christmas tradition.

So I am now off to decorate the tree....


Night of December 7th - The elves have some treats for the boys... 

Night of December 8th - The elves brought us a Christmas tree, straight from the North Pole (Home Depot).  They had also been to see Father Christmas, and left the boys the report that they had shown him about their first week in the Gosling house.  The elves had some new Disney decorations for the boys to put on the tree.

Night of December 9th - The elves got cosy in the stockings

*********************************************************************************Night of December 10th - The elves messed around in the bathroom

Night of December 11th - The elves were waiting patiently for their breakfasts...


Night of 12-12-12 - The elves appear to have been jumping on the sofa, wonder where they got that idea.....

Night of December 13th - the elves had a quiet one, reading in the playroom

*********************************************************************************Night of December 14th - The elves have been mischievous.  They decorated the christmas tree with the boys pants, then hid in it!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

First diabetic appointment, American style

So I have survived Pauls first business trip away, as have the boys (just......)

I had my first diabetic appointment at the endocrinologists department.  A small building over the way from one of the hospitals.  It was scheduled for 9am, but in the letter I received it asked me to be there 20 minutes early, so I could fill in the paperwork,  the same paperwork they sent me with the letter.  As I had school runs to do, I didn't make it till 8.50.  Walked in, nice and quiet.  Went to reception desk to check in, all good.

I was called at 9.03. Woohooo a medical centre that appears to run on time.  Michelle (a healthcare practitioner) took me through, weighed me (125 pounds), then took me in to a consulting room.  She did my blood pressure (120/70) then started going through my notes.  She was very thorough, and very understanding.  I currently measure in millimoles, they use a different unit of measurement (milligrams per decimeter).  Luckily I didn't manage to confuse her too much.

Then the nurse practitioner Elaine came in.  She went through my notes, asked me some other questions about my blood sugar levels, my carbs to insulin ratio and my exercise regime.  She was pleased that I halve my insulin with dinner before I exercise, but also warned me about house work and running after the boys and how it may bring me lower.  I did already know this, but never really give it much thought.  She also told me that when I drink alcohol, after 2 drinks my blood sugar starts dropping, which I did not realise.  She has decided to give me a new meter, which is cool, and she is happy that I have what is called a junior pen for my rapid insulin, as it has half units on it.  She also checked my feet.  Apparently because I have hairy toes (gross, I know) it means my circulation in my feet is good.  This can be a major problem for diabetics.  She has also offered to put me on an insulin pump.  I am going to look into this and give it some thought.  She said it may make my life easier because of running around after small boys.

Michelle came back with my new meter, and set it up for me.  It has the time and date, so when I do my reads they will be exact.  She also gave me a lovely large prescription. As I have a new meter I need new lancets, and new testing strips.  This prescription may cost a small fortune, but at least we can claim it back (thank you BMW)

These ladies were awesome, I am looking forward to having my diabetes well taken care off.  I just have to keep up my part of the bargain and monitor more often.  As I was checking out, the receptionist called Elaine the 'Sargent', I can see why, and I really don't want to cross her.  My diabetes monitoring IS going to improve, I WILL get my next A1C (3 monthly read of blood sugars) to below 120ml/dc (7 mmol).

My next appointment is 11th January.  This is with the dietician.  I look forward to going and moaning about how much sugar there is in all the food out here.......

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The elf days of Christmas

Seeing as we are in a different country we have decided to start some new Christmas traditions, as it is nigh on impossible to maintain the ones we had.

 I read last year about the magical Christmas elves that come to visit children in the period before Christmas.  Their job is to report good and bad behavior back to Father Christmas.  Sometimes the elves can be mischievous...  Other people report them throwing underwear on the Christmas tree, toothpaste on mirrors, mustaches on pictures, drinking all of daddy's beer, etc.  but they can do good things too.  They often bring gifts, leave equipment for arts Christmas arts and crafts or Christmas baking.  The elves go backs to Father Christmas on the eve of Christmas Eve, taking with them their elf report on how the children have behaved.  They often leave a parting hamper, full of christmas goodies for the children.

Jingles, Sparkles and Fred
Our elves arrived last night (I bought them in k-mart after trawling quite a few stores).  They are called Jingles, Sparkles and Fred.  They came with a letter from Father Christmas and a elf report sheet.  The boys were very lucky, as they also brought the advent calendars and chocolate Santas.  The boys face was a picture this morning.  Oliver read most of the letter, but seeing as Isaac wasn't listening, I took over.  Oliver defiantly understands the concept, and I think Isaac does too.  Seb was more concerned as to why he only got one chocolate from his advent calendar, and could he have more of the chocolate Santa.....

A blurry Isaac with his chocolate Santa
Oliver reading the letter

I must give big kudos to the Netmums ladies on Facebook, and the Netmums coffeehouse thread.  There is loads of ideas on here.  I think what I am going to do is attach photos of the mischief the elves get up to on this blog entry.  Then I will do different entries for each week....  I might change my mind, though, depends what the elves drive me too......

Night of December 1st - The elves had a party to celebrate their arrival.  Think they had sore heads this  morning.....
Party time.....
 Night of December 2nd - The elves chillin' with Frosty the count down snow man, after a day of being almost torn apart by Gosling boys...

'Frosty's a dude'

*********************************************************************************Night of December 3rd - After a bit of TLC from Mummy Gosling, the elf's feel up for some play time

Night of December 4th - Watching a bit of late night TV.  Hope its nothing too dodgy......

Night of December 5th - Play time with Isaac's confiscated toys....

Night of December 6th - The elves were really tired and took themselves off to bed....

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Relaxing week

It has been sooooooooo nice having Paul off this week.  We have spent a lot of time shopping (have done a lot on line), and the boys presents are pretty much sorted.  Only problem is, we keep seeing more and more things for them!!!  We also know what we want to get each other, which we never usually do.

We went to Greer DMV on tuesday to sort out our South Carolina driving licenses.  Because I did not have proof of residency (a letter from Paul's employer with my name on it)  I could not do mine.  Paul got his done in the morning.  Paul managed to sort me out a letter for thursday, so we went back again. It involved me filling out a form, doing a sight test, then a theory test.  You are allowed to get 6 wrong, and you find out instantly if they are wrong.  I got 3 wrong in the first 10.  Luckily I only got 3 wrong overall.  This was then followed by more waiting, then a practical test.  I didn't have to wait long for my intimidating female examiner to come out.  Despite the fact that I only passed my test 3 years ago, I was a little nervous.  We drove around, had to do a 3-point turn down what was almost a narrow track road, then drove back to the DMV.  I made quite a few errors, but still passed.Think you just need to show observation skills, and be able to drive a car to get a license as a foreign national.  While I had been away, Paul had a chance to observe the locals.... Interesting people, there was the gent who needed 5 attempts to pass the eye exam.  Then the family, mum had just got out of jail, and the 2 teenage boys  (possibly older???)  were space cadets.  One was talking to everyone, the other looked like he had done all the drugs in the world.  Exceptionally grateful that this is not our 'local' office, and is over 10 miles away.  Hopefully we will never encounter these people on the roads....

The boys in the book store
Paul went back to work on friday.  Luckily I had already arranged to go to my friends in the morning, which was very nice.  We relaxed last night, and had a few beers, while prepping the elves (more in my next blog).  Today we shopped (again).  Seems to be the American way....  We went to Hobbylobby, a hobby shop, which stocks everything for, well, hobbies. Paul has purchased himself some model cars to make, so needed some glue and paint.  They have loads in this shop, we got yet more Christmas decorations.  Then we travelled to Barnes and Noble, a book store where Oliver's school had their book fair.  Basically any books you purchased today, 20% of the price goes to the library at Oliver's school.  We got a few books....  An interesting one about Greenville, which I am looking forward to reading.  We then went to Longhorn Steak house for lunch.  Not going there again.  Waiting staff aren't great, my steak was undercooked, so they took it back to the kitchen.  It came out alright, but by a grumpy waitress.  The floor in the ladies restroom was worryingly sticky.....  Not a nice experience...  I am sure next time we eat out it will be much better.......

One happy 4 year old
BAD MUMMY FOOT NOTE - Isaac had his 4th birthday on Sunday ( I nearly forgot to put it in.....)  He had a really good day, loved his presents especially his Imaginext Castle, his Furby, his Xbox game (though Oliver loves this more)  and pretty much everything else.  We went for a McDonalds (his choice) and to Frankies Fun Park.  Then we came home, he had his Furby cake (he loved it), and he went to bed a happy 4 year old.  Can't believe he is 4 already.... Thanks to everyone who has given him a present, he loves all of them.  On the Monday he had his special birthday celebration at school, which involved me going in and taking a snack for his class.  They had the calendar months set put on the floor around the sun, and Isaac was holding a globe.  His teacher showed photos of him at birth, then he walked round the sun, then photos of him at 1, you get the gist....  Slightly different, but a nice celebration.  I had to say a few bits about him at each birthday, which was nice to remember