Monday, November 13, 2017

No more scares this year

Leading off with 2 photos this time, because I really wanted both kids, but Ryan was very grumpy in his Optimus Prime costume - unless he was collecting candy - so we'll make do with his medal efforts from his school sponsored run and Hannah proving we were right to hold onto the Tigger costume from way back when, and has there been a more merited costume than that for a little wubbah?? Nope!

As is usual Halloween was an enjoyable night out, with adults discussing matters of interest and vaguely wondering what candy they could steal later.  We missed Sophia & Hayley though, but were compensated by the arrival of Jack,  his sister Harper & Hannah's friend Harper (HJ) who formed a joint task operation to visit as many houses as possible.

Jessica put in many hours of effort for Halloween bingo, even inviting a quorum round on more than one occasion to stuff bags, discuss structure & schedule etc etc.  As is usual in times like this you try to cover off all eventualities and the whole crew did an excellent job, much to the benefit of the school.

Had our first mishap in the new house as a sink gasket let by and in looking at taking it apart cos "it's just the gasket, that's easy to change" I ran into the problem of the O-Rings popping followed by some of the pipework, I swiftly ran out of talent, but not swearwords (high vocabulary in that context) so Jessica went out with the kids and said "Call a plumber!"  Which I did.  After all it's not like map reading, this is a skilled trade!

That provided us the impetus to also sign up with the inspection plan which helps on heating/AC... and that's necessary because that's our major outlay ahead.  D'oh.  When the inspection took place I listened intently to the information and then said "Yeah, I used to be in the heating business"  so he wasn't pulling a swift one there.  To be fair he was very professional and it's clear he was legit in his concerns at the age and condition of the heating unit.

Hannah has a cold... not easy to survive, plus some teething... and a fondness for singing "Daddy Finger" plus "Spider" (Itsy Bitsy Spider) when she goes to bed, that can become more of a singalong than X-Factor, probably with more tune too.

Ryan is back with his speech teacher as well, working on his reading comprehension, I'm sure it's working as he's closing the gap down step by step between where he needs to be and where he's at.  We'll keep pounding away and he'll get there soon enough.

Ok, enough for now, till next time.
J, J, R & H.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cats & Nats

Hello there, and suddenly we're into the middle of October and today the temperature plummeted after heavy rain on Tuesday.

Of course Ryan decided to still wear a t-shirt & shorts...... then complained he was cold in the car. 

So to the cats, Jet was the source of much concern last time, in fact we'd almost decided she wasn't having much of a life and took her to the vet fully prepared to not come back with her. Trying to explain this to Ryan led to this epic exchange.  "Ryan, we're taking Jet to the vet, she's sick and she might not be able to come back". "Why don't you burn her?" "Ryan..... that's not nice!" "No, I mean like ashes, like Nugget & Nathan" "Oh, you mean cremate her... well yes, but you do that when they're dead, not to make them dead".  

Fortunately the vet took some blood, decided arthritis & general pain could be managed  by medication and we decided to give it a shot.  Jet's general attitude in the run up to this appointment and the few days after can best be described as "spirited" as if she was aiming to convince us she's still got life in her.  Turns out she had an overactive thyroid in addition to the arthritis so more meds than expected but she's doing ok to date.

Poofy decided not only did he like the extra soft food - part of the overall Jet investment to get her weight back up - but the attention was worth it, so he's walking round sneezing.... including an impressive launch off the perch, landing next to Jessica on the sofa and looking right at her and launching a large amount of cat snot directly onto her!  Top Work!

Meantime thug is busy creating thug shaped beds on top of each and every sofa. he just loves to curl up and rest there, much to Jessica's displeasure as she comes along and thumps the sofa back into shape, only to see him back there inside 5 mins.

Kids are fine, Hannah still being a smiling assassin as she plots a killing spree, bopping along to Coldplay, Ryan is now enjoying Star Wars Battlefront (not telling him there's a new one out soon!) He's still progressing at school, still needs to work on his reading & comprehension, but is getting more confident as he gets older.

Sitting here cheering on the Nats but thinking back precisely 5 years since the collapse vs St Louis.... and so far as it's shaping up, this looks to have a similar fate, and as I say that it's another shit show -  FFS.   Anyway, I'm regularly surprised by how often baseball managers are caught out by events, the differences can be so minute that a poor call looks horrible, Nats lost the 3rd game not because the starting pitcher was pulled (justifiably, despite giving up only the 1 hit) but because despite the open base, the decision not to walk the best hitter in the lineup backfired.   In the 162 game regular season those choices are forgotten, but in the post-season the top managers get those calls right 90%+ and that's the reason they lead their team to wins that truly matter.  Proper planning prevents piss poor performance - sometimes you have to say well played, but don't simply play the so-called odds, the easiest opponent is the predictable one.  Here's hoping for a comeback along the lines of Istanbul 2005!

Late addendum - Also hoping for a heavy defeat for Man U this weekend, ok, every weekend, but especially THIS weekend!

Till next time,
J, J, R & H

Monday, September 4, 2017

Ready to learn!

We're into September right now and the summer zipped by, last time we split up a lot of news into 2 parts so we're going to condense as much as possible this time via a list.

1> Jessica is pissed off she has to wait at least 18 months for GoT.  She's spending her time investigating plot holes..... she's probably not got enough time before the next season.

2> Ryan is back at school which may be a concern, but after 1 week he's loving it - not the homework obviously, where the score is already 3 meltdowns but progress is slowly being made with his mentality & approach to it all. He's getting a lot of "Dojo points" which is a good thing.

3> Hannah is 2 - "TWO!" as she likes to say.  A very nice little gathering was held at our house and Hannah certainly had a great time.

4> Premier League is back and I'm not an Arsenal fan - HOORAH!  Wish it was Man U going through this, but 1 less close rival for a Top 4 finish is never a bad thing. PS: Money rolling through the game is a nightmare, sooner or later a big team is going to go under.

5>House still looks inhabitable, notwithstanding the state of the grill, or the understairs cubby hole.

6>We lucked out with the neighbors, time will tell if they say the same!

7>No more headaches :)

8> Where did that summer go?  Will winter bring snow and if so, how much?

9> Plans made for the Kings Dominion visit much to the delight of Ryan, I will not enjoy the Eiffel Tower. He will.

10> Jessica loves Cava - it's her new favorite.

11> Ryan is now two teeth short in the front (bottom half) having worked out for a little pain he gets paid.  Getting that corporate mentality down pat at a young age.

12> We're all doing well!  Even Jet, but more detailed information of her next time.

 Till then,
J, J, R & H.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Another new post - Part 2

Hello again everyone and as the title suggests, this is part 2 of a recent update so if you're not up to date, go back a page!

Well I did promise another blog post by today and despite a very intense attempt to avoid it (more of that later) here I am, so what did we get up to in June?

Biggest thing was my parents came to visit, obviously planned prior to any house moving ideas so that at least gave us a deadline to get 95% of the crap stored, but we managed to entertain them by making trips to Home Depot, The Container Store and a few others.  The biggest issue beforehand was "How would the old farts cope with the heat?" That actually turned out ok, first here wasn't as hot or as stormy as predicted and second, it was actually hotter most days in the UK.  Yes, that's right, the UK was hotter than the US.  With no air conditioning.  Mmmmm Sweaty!

Having had some fun with baggage possibly coming after they did, all turned out well and they enjoyed a relaxing time here, of course the biggest relaxation was when the Wubphoon had gone to bed, once she'd thrown all but her pillow off her bed in rage of course, but when she was up she busied herself showing off all her new tricks, of course since they were last here she's walking, talking and generally being Hannah.

Ryan stuck his head further into his iPad, only coming up for Ice Cream and some scowls at Daddy, but eventually he too managed to find other things to do such as cheat at Chutes & Ladders, cheat at Candy Land and laugh as the Yanks beat the Brits via Friendly Fire at Battleship.

We didn't do too much visiting this time, as it was very hot outside, but we rolled in a trip to Clemyjohntri (very hot) and a quick tour of Falls Church to see how it had developed since their very first visit 8 years ago.  Food highlights included Sweetwater Tavern which was sensational, Popeyes, Subway (yes, we went really out on that limb) an Italian restaurant (v.good) and finished off with Cheesecake Factory where I managed to find out a slice of mine was in fact a full days worth of calories once I'd bought it.... oops.

Postscript: They were bumped out of their seats for the return flight...... so they got upgraded to Club Class, on an Airbus..... Jammy Bastards.

Why did I almost miss this agreed update?  Well it had been a while since I'd made an ER visit so I decided to cram one in on Wednesday night/Thursday morning.  Turned out the massive headache I experienced wasn't anything too serious, but it took a series of tests and enough needles to ensure Jessica didn't look to find that out.  Cue a few days of work and some heavy prescriptions, I feel like Greg House right about now, only with 1 slightly less messed up leg.

Till next time.

J, J, R & H

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wow! A new post - Part 1

Ok, so this has taken over two months and a LOT has happened so expect this to be part 1 of at least 2, kinda like the new GoT series, it's been a long time coming, hopefully worth the wait!

Let's break this down into events through May, so basically we're older, live slightly further South (if my thoughts are correct) have hammered our credit rating, have survived another year of school, and are now officially settled in our 1st home as a family.


The big news is the house of course and it's fair to say we love it, as sad as we are to have had to say bye to Bill and his house, this is ours and it means so much more. Obviously we have to thank Natalie & Andy for all their work they put in here, it's clear they valued it dearly but having seen their wonderful new house it's clear that Andy loves a project or 5! :)

The move was as expected, a lot more crap accumulated over the years and some crap we even forgot to unpack from years back, work friend Jen helped by dumping off several car loads to unfortunates so expect Washington Redskins to have several outfits available soon - just teasing Jen, we know our rejects are much too good for the 'Skins.  As is usual the vast bulk of the load was completed by me and the last lots fell to Paul, however we hit our deadline and got the old place in good order for the handover, so keen were the new renters to get in they were literally at the door as we concluded our tour with Bill. There's keen and then there's somewhat pushy! Never mind, good luck to them.

Ryan is no longer a 1st grader! He's delighted to be having a break from homework but he's still going to tutoring and also working hard on his library reading list, pounding the Elephant & Piggie collection.  He also finished the spring baseball season, with a little less success on pure stats he's actually far better now than the fall, the reason for the fall in hitting avg is he's hitting it harder & further so the defense can make plays and that's getting him out. However he also had terrible luck on the bases as he always found a team mate to hit it directly to the base he had to run to, in fact prior to the final game I even called him out at 3rd before the player had hit the ball!

Hannah is just a typhoon of terror, on her new bed she has gone through a phase of turfing everything off but her pillow prior to falling asleep, she may be a terror but she's not dumb! Of course that smile melts most hearts and most people think she's a delight- they're the same people who live far away.

Right, for now that mini-recap will do, I will have part 2 up by the conclusion of the weekend. Promise.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Itchy feet, scratched heads and new beginnings

Hi everyone,

Well this has been a while!  But to be fair Jessica is totally at fault for all of this.

So the biggest news is that after 3 1/2 years of stability Jessica's itchy feet came up again and we'll be on the move next month.  It would be hard to beat our 2010 move of 50yds but we've come close, moving just 31 doors up the street to buy Natalie & Andy's house, parents of Sophia (Ryan's school pal) & Hayley.  The opportunity came up suddenly and caught us very much off guard, but after some quick research and checking it became apparent if we didn't take this chance we'd probably regret it down the line.  It means a lot of tough decisions will come up in the next years, Ryan is already bemoaning the lack of carpet and beach trips but I'm sure he'll come round once he's settled in.

Obviously this is the first house I'm involved with buying here, and there's a fair few differences between US & UK, not least the way the interest rates are calculated & offered, with the recession back in 2008 it's clear that more attention is paid to offers available, and as we weren't in the market we really had to thin down our numbers very rapidly but I think we've got a good option overall.

Yeah, it's stressful buying here too........ good job Jessica already made me lose my hair.

Hannah is showing progress with her words and attitude, though she's not going to make many friends if she continues to grass up her partners in crime "Harper bite" is her current tattle of choice.  Though it's equally conceivable that's not a finger pointing exercise, more a command to her minion.

Ryan has been working really hard on his reading, we've swapped swimming for extra tuition and he's taken to it very well, he's about to begin baseball once again and hopefully this will all give him further opportunity to grow.  He has finished his initial IEP with Lowes Island and that is being updated to move away from speech and concentrate more on his attention/concentration issues.  With both his speech specialists expecting babies late in the summer, it's probably perfect timing to move onto the next stage.

We had a tornado warning in the week here, and that led to a fun escapade by me.  As the rain poured down I heard a rumble from our deck and looked out the window to see our rather heavy umbrella lift up and cartwheel over onto next doors deck... after 30 mins the rain stopped and I could see it sat on the deck, so it was easy enough to grab a step stool, hop over, grab it and put it back on our deck.  Of course I didn't take the step stool with me so how did I get back?  Well, with some difficulty! Got up on the wooden posts easily enough, but the gap was wider than it seems and down below was the fence splitting our gardens, and of course due to the rain they were a little slick.  Anyway I made it, but suffice to say if the umbrella flies again it's over to Jessica or Ryan to get it back!

Yesterday we went out on the annual Easter Egg hunt, and it turned out a bit hotter than we thought it would, so now the only one without a slight case of sunburn is Ryan because he stayed under cover in the bouncy castles most of the afternoon.  Must mean summer will soon be here and that also means mowing the lawn.....D'oh!

Hopefully 1 more update prior to the move, but packing & chucking out inherited crap will be taking priority!

Have fun,

J,J,R & H.

Note: Harper isn't Hannah's minion and Jessica disagrees with any notion that it may have been implied above.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Good, The Bad & The Wubbly

Welcome back to the Booster & Wiggles Blog,

First update of the year and it mostly centers on the behavior of our youngest.  Little Miss Wubbet has been excelling herself making friends at her day care and making recognition easier by biting them to show they're part of the gang... it's all part of a cunning plan to ease up on stranger danger.  Or she's the next Hannah-bal Lecter.

Probably the 2nd option makes more sense as I'm damn sure she'd nosh down some fava beans and a nice chianti given half a chance, she does love her food, and rather like a python digesting a deer, her stomach lets everyone know she's just eaten a meal sized for a horse.

Ryan is busy showing her his iPad in the above picture, which now comes with free (once paid for!) Goat Simulator which oddly enough managed to download without anyone sanctioning the arrival.  Fairly confident the automatic shutdown feature we now have in place should anything like that happen again will prevent a re-occurrence, if it doesn't he'll be playing escape mode from Prison Architect for real.

This time last year was definitely snowmaggedon, but now we face a temp expected to be in the 60's tomorrow so Ryan is crossing his fingers and hoping the next few weeks bring a downturn so he can make more snow angels or watch Daddy shovel 20t of frozen water out of the way.

Hannah has been getting to know her music, having loved the Gorilla's in "Adventure of a Lifetime" I showed her an old advert featuring a Gorilla playing the best bit of "In the Air Tonight", now if she sees 1, she has to see both and likes pointing her finger vaguely to the beat.  In less than a week she turns 18 months and her progress is pretty much up to a normal standard, with a standard check up set up soon we'll soon find out her metrics.

Have to cheer for the Falcons in the SuperBowl as Ryan maintains he's a Patriots fan, oddly enough he regularly says "the other team is cheating" which as a Patriots fan he should be able to recognize easily enough.

Hard to believe January is almost done, unlike last year barely any celebrities have bitten the dust which given the outrage over events here in the past 7 days may be considered something of a surprise!

Till next time,
J, J, R & H.