Update for January 2024

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope you all had a great break like we did and feel refreshed and ready to begin taking on the new year. Our Christmas break started with Mister Pick and I having a few days to ourselves, which is something we always look forward to (a lot). We went into Newcastle to shop, visit the Christmas market, have a fantastic lunch at The Botanist, and just had time to relax for a change. The following day was our mall day for shopping which completely exhausted us. We had dinner at Thaikun as it’s one of our favorites and we knew it would be a while before we could have a nice meal together on our own. We spent the next day at home watching Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny which really was pretty good, so I don’t know what the exact complaints were about it. That was us done for our proper break. Jack had to go back to the nursery for a bit on Friday, much to his disappointment, to do his first nativity play where he was the innkeeper. My heart was completely full. Saturday we went to the Elf Enchanted Journey at Whitehouse Farm for the first time and that was fantastic. We will definitely be doing that again and I really liked that we waited when we were all on break to have fun and get in the festive spirit. The next day, on Christmas Eve, we went to the Santa Breakfast at our local Tobey Carvery. It’s always a bit of a tough one when Jack is excited and we’re trying to keep him entertained while we eat, but it was a nice experience to say the least. I found it interesting that Jack usually won’t speak to Santa but at breakfast, he told him he wanted his Robot Doggy which he did receive on Christmas morning. (Santa said he’d seen the elves working on them too!) Then the rest of the break was us hanging out. Jack told us over and over again how he liked being home with us, playing with his toys, so we didn’t exhaust ourselves with more goings out. As part of Jack’s 4th birthday, we went to Locomotion to see the trains. The Flying Scotsman was there and I underestimated how busy the place would be because of that, but we eventually got through the parking lot traffic and in for a nice visit. I, of course, had two colds while we were on break and did have to work on the Saturday before New Year’s, but I survived. I was shattered from coughing so much one night and waking up around 3:30 in the morning (then going to work — always fun) but the two rest days after that helped a lot. And now I’ve been to work and taken the day off again to get all the tasks done that I wanted to get done. I’ve taken the Paw Patrol cake topper to the baker to get Jack’s party cake done this weekend. As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I’ve rejoined Slimming World and spent some time on the treadmill at my new gym. (Not to mention watching TV and sitting around with the dog which is not part of my resolutions but it’s worth it anyway.) I wish everyone a fantastic new year and a great start to 2024.

November 2023 Update

It’s autumn, November, cold, colorful, rainy, and on its way to winter. If we had experienced a nice summer, it wouldn’t be so unwelcome but it seems we’ve had nothing but wet, stay-indoors-type weather for months and months. Even in England, we usually get quite warm in July and August but no luck this year.

Now that it’s November, it’s time to get ready for our version of Thanksgiving here. Since there are some American-isms around here, I can get a hold of canned pumpkin for the most part and marshmallows for Steve’s sweet potato casserole (no thank you). We have a turkey joint, ready-made mash, chilled turkey gravy (again, if it’s available), boxed mac and cheese from Florida, brioche rolls, noodles, chicken, and my Schultz family oysters that I make with cheese Ritz and canned oysters. In The States I would have used fresh oysters and saltines but, alas, this is the way I have to make them here and since I’m the only one who eats them, it’s fine.

This also means we’re beginning to get ready for Christmas. Already we’ve taken Christmas photos and seen Santa at his workshop. We have lots of events to look forward to between now and the big day, then we have Jack’s 4th birthday soon after so birthday party invitations have been passed out at nursery. Last year there were quite a lot of children ill so they couldn’t attend his party, so I’m counting on this year having a better turnout.

Work is a bit up in the air these days and some changes in our schedules will occur that I anticipate. I’m hoping everyone adjusts well and we get along okay despite the disruption but, again, I’ll count on everything working out well. (That’s all you can do really.)


September 2023 update

Well, it’s that time when we start getting ready to head back over the pond to visit my folks. As usual, I’m super excited but think what a pain it will be to get everything ready. But, alas, the excitement and prospect of being back in Florida far outweigh the annoyance of the tasks.

The main concern is taking a small child on the plane and into the parks. It’s one of those things that we’ll have to see how things go because either Jack will be absolutely fine and stay with us, or he will try to run off every two seconds and it won’t be worth spending the money on park tickets if no one can enjoy it.

Other than the parks, we have plenty of beaches and pools to keep us entertained. Obviously visiting and having family time is the most important, so I’m looking forward to all of that. Plus, it will be my birthday when we fly out so hooray!

I sadly have been neglecting my writing and reading. I’ve kind of accepted that it’s just going to be that way for a while until I have the time and the mental capacity to get back into it. I have ideas of YA book series as always but, alas, nothing started and/or nothing completed.

Instead, I’ve been obsessing about Mia Tui bags and have realized that it’s a whole thing where people show off their items on a Facebook group and even involve themselves in drama revolving around the owner and who she invited to the warehouse. There is a whole section of bags for sale on Facebook Marketplace as well so, by all means, if anyone is interested, go have a look.

Jack was off from nursery for two weeks in August, so we kept him as busy as possible. Now I’m keeping him home on the weekends to make double sure he’s well for the trip. All three of us have had an annoying cold for a while now.

Jack’s primary school applications opened too and I have very mixed feelings on the subject. It’s tough because I have to find a school that works with our work schedules, and is somewhere that I think Jack will be happy. That means a lot of visits in the near future and I have to narrow down my top three where I’d like him to go. I’d hate for him to be away from his little friends at nursery but I just don’t know if he can even get into some of the schools or how difficult it will be for us to manage if there’s no after-school club available.

I’ve already booked Christmas events and am looking forward to all of that. I should have a nice chunk of time off work if my leave is approved, so we can keep Jack busy then with winter-time fun. We have a train ride, Disney on Ice, Santa at Beamish Christmas Evenings, Santa at Redfox Garden Centre, Northern Lights in Leazes Park, and even Breakfast with Santa at Tobey Carvery.

I even have half a day off before Thanksgiving so I can feel semi-normal and keep to my American traditions.

And with that said, I hope everyone has enjoyed their summer. I usually love autumn but I am not interested in cold weather or warm clothes wearing again. Our British summer consisted of torrential downpours most days so I am not ready to transition into another season when we didn’t have much warm weather. But I’ll be on the beach soon with my tropical drink, so it’s all good.

July 2023 mid-month update

I am getting worse at titling these blog posts. Sorry.

Well, we’re all on Threads now, yeah? I’m here: https://www.threads.net/@suzannepick if anyone wants to follow me.

So last week was a bit of a tough one. Jack got sick on Tuesday night, so I had to stay home and look after him. I, of course, got a weird version of what he had and have been fighting stomach pains ever since then.

The sad part is that coffee seems to make this worse and no coffee makes me not feel as bad. I guess this is all part of my transition into a full British lady because tea is about the only thing I can handle caffeine-wise right now.

Being tired and half sick and without caffeine is just not pleasant. I get so short with Jack and feel awful about it because I don’t have the mental capacity to deal with inconveniences. I took him swimming on Sunday after we got insanely too early to find out that he didn’t want to swim because he was too tired. I can only say that my lesson learned is that I will go with my gut instinct and stay home when I think we need to.

I don’t know if anyone else feels this, but after Covid, do you feel like you’re lazy for just wanting to be home? I know I shouldn’t feel guilty after being sick or not being able to sleep past 2AM like Sunday morning, but I do. I think that being out means I’m doing fun things and being a better mom, productive, interesting, etc. I recently saw a video online talking about how just because people have nice houses, it doesn’t mean they’re content with them. I think being at home has been taught to be bad, boring, unimaginative, and everything in between.

I quite like being at home, especially when we’re all home together. It’s not to say that I don’t like going out as well, but I need to work on not being so hard on myself when I just feel like we should stay in.

That’s exactly what we did this past week. On one hand, I will book family outings and places to go with Jack but this week, we just stayed home. He went to two out of his three swim lessons and his soccer with Steve on Saturday, but that’s all. It was rainy all week and much more cozy indoors.

Family fun Summer Party June 2023

Evening, everyone. I’ve just looked at a middle-grade book titled The Private Blog of Joe Cowley and it started with, “I’m sorry I’ve been neglecting you, blog.” Yup. this is exactly how I feel most days. Usually, I get five or ten minutes to myself and I veg out in front of the TV instead of being constructive but, alas, that’s Mum Life for you. But, today is another day and it’s another reason to post an update. We had a fantastic time at Steve’s work family summer party. It was a rainy day in Stockton-on-Tees but there were a lot of lovely people to meet and Jack was happy to have cake. There were some fairground rides and a petting zoo as well, plus the atmosphere was nice with a big party tent next to a lakeside park walk. Very pleasant indeed. I made sure that Jack was included in some of Steve’s group photos with his colleagues because one day he may look back on his video gaming career (if he so chooses) and can say, “See, I was there when I was this young!” In fact, I felt it was really good that we went as a family and did something other than the regular go-to activities of swimming, soccer, shopping, etc. We still have holidays on the horizon, so I’m excited for that as well. It always seems really daunting to take a toddler out of the normal routine but when it’s a worthy cause such as having time off for family, it’s worth the effort. Aside from that, it’s cooled off a bit more and jackets have gone back on. I’m feeling better after being sick for a couple of days from the heat and lack of sleep. (No, we do not have air conditioning in houses here.) That and the cool rain makes for a more positive outlook on life. At work, I’ve done some Health Literacy training that I’ll have to share with the library staff. I’ve also been working extra Saturdays because that is the easiest day for me to snag a few hours. Jack is in a new, privately run soccer group because I think the large groups run by big companies just made it way easier for him to be overwhelmed and distracted. He’s a leader, not a follower, so he does what he wants to do if there is no direct attention. My mother’s birthday is today and I’m super grateful that we’re still able to celebrate even from afar. I’ve tried to talk her into having a day fit for a princess with food, shopping, and a nap because that’s what I like to do on my birthday. I’ve also decided to just act as if with my writing. If I mentally believe I’m working on one of my young adult series, I’ll be more apt to actually work on it. Again, it’s just time I do not have, so the delusional belief is strong. But it has to be.

Updates for June 2023

Okay, guys, I’ve finally done it: I upgraded my site. I could have dropped the WordPress.com hindrance altogether and just gone for my own hosting but, alas, I’ve used this blog on this platform for so long that I may as well just make it a little snazzier. That said, this means that Mister Pick will have to work on a new theme for me as the current one is outdated. We now have an extra cat, a dog, and our little Master Pick to make out happy family complete. As the picture above indicates, it’s been raining lately and cooling off the super hot summer days we’ve had recently. Today it was quite warm and Jack and I went out to see the fire engine at Dream Big Role Play. That was a first for both of us and we really enjoyed it. Jack was shy about the fire engine and gets so involved in what he’s doing that he doesn’t want to be interrupted (can’t imagine where he gets that from) but we played with all of the toys, had a nice visit, and took some photos with the “nee naw.” I’ve been reading again, which seems silly, but I am so tired at night that I can’t keep my eyes open, so getting into my Little House on the Prarie books has been a nice, comforting way to ease back into a before bedtime reading routine. I really think it’s because my brain can’t handle anything more than middle-grade and high-school books right now. Not that they aren’t complex and interesting on their own but anything that I can’t just submerse myself in won’t keep my tired brains to attention until 10PM each night. I also updated recently that I got another Passion Planner after swearing I wouldn’t bother anymore since I don’t have time to plan. It’s been nice to get back to my hobbies and activities that I enjoy doing because for so long I put them aside. Baby brains and tiredness do not work well with solitary whims. With that said, I’m still losing on Slimming World as well (Hallelujah) so I can be more comfortable when we go to Florida, which is my main aim. And as I speak, Mister Pick has put dinner on the table so it’s time to sign off. I’m excited to have my new upgraded blog options to work with soon.

A reminder to get back on track

When I went into town the other day with my workmates (past and present), the topic of my writing came up.

“Didn’t you publish a book?” “Didn’t you use to have a blog?” “What about your Substack?”

This got me back to the idea that I had to make an effort to keep up my posts. I had told myself not long before that Saturday that I would never ever have time to work on another book, or do another podcast episode, and there certainly was no reason to post to my blog anymore. But, alas, I still want to and that’s the important part.

So I came back to my online platforms. Actually, I tried to do a podcast episode the other day, only to find that my wireless earpods picked up only the background sounds of the cafe and not my actual voice, so it was fifteen minutes wasted. I should have done a sound check but I was in public and felt conspicuous and just dove right in. Lesson learned, I suppose.

My current status has been that of keeping afloat. Jack takes up most of our energy and time so I dip in and out of “me” things when I can. I’ve gone to Slimming World regularly and had my night out in town. Mister Pick and I had a couple of nice days together in May but it won’t be until September when we’ll be able to do that again. I haven’t watched much TV or read any books, so I’ve listened to lots of podcasts including the Wilder one by iheartradio. 60 Songs That Explain the 90s is amazing too.

I’m working most Saturdays too because it’s the easiest day for me to get extra hours.

The weather has gotten increasingly warm so being outside with the paddling pool and a cold drink is usually where you’ll find us. I’m so grateful to have a house with a back patio to hang out in when the weather is nice.

I even bought a new Passion Planner just to feel like myself again and back to planning, organizing, and being interested in what’s going on each week.

Not a fascinating post but a post nonetheless. I’ll put a sticker in my new planner to say I updated my blog.

Finding motivation on your commute through podcasts

Am I the only one who needs that extra boost of “let’s take on the day,” each morning?

Being American in England, I find a lot of disconnect in attitudes or ways of thinking from how I grew up and where I live now. There is a definite difference between being a very contented British person and a very motivated and ambitious American. I feel very conflicted a lot of times because in the way I live now, I’m happy with what I do, where I live, how my family structure is set, and everything in between. As an American, I feel that pull that I should be doing more, achieving goals, and setting the bar for myself.

To be honest, when I wasn’t a mother, I was insanely bored. I had Passion Planners and “goals” that I just didn’t care about. It felt like a Plan B for achieving the real goal that I wanted in life. I felt a lot of shoulds about myself. I should want to write my book series, I should write a non-fiction book, I should go back to university, I should want to do a run, and I should want more for myself. But I just didn’t. I worked full time and spent the weekend traveling to B&Bs with my husband. It all was filler and time-killing.

For a long time, I thought I needed more of a social life or closer friends, or someone to just understand that I wanted to do the things but I didn’t want it more than I wanted a family.

Fast forward to now when I’m a mother and working part-time. My days at home are for looking after my son and just being present with him the best I can. That is the essential desire in my life and the one I take the most care of. I protect those days.

However, now that I’ve achieved my big dream, I can go back to find other projects that are for me, by me, and this is where my podcasts fit in. I commute for a couple of hours at least each day, and while some days I just want to zone out on music because that does motivate me to imagine scenes for a book to write, most of the time, I need to hear someone to say, “this is what I’ve found that works well in my life.”

I know that the self-improvement business is huge and I don’t really follow a lot of people who are promoting the “go go go” attitude. A lot of them, I find are for businesswomen and other than the business of “author” I don’t have the need to know how to make more money just yet. What I like is hearing people who do live a life like that and who are continually trying to improve themselves and their brand. For me, all the books I have as my goals to set for myself will be tied to my brand of me.

What I’m saying is: if you want to find someone who inspires you, there are always podcasts. Someone’s story and experiences will fill in those gaps you find when you’re trying to plot out how you want to model your life and you just don’t have the resources available in real life.

Don’t get me wrong: I find tons of good, helpful advice and chat with other mothers which is why I started my own podcast, Jack’s Mum, because I wanted to help other mothers who may have felt the same need for connection and help that I do.

This post was originally posted via my Substack: A Publication by Missus P.

Sunday reboot

Yesterday, I had a little reboot. I was sick with a cold and pink eye (super fun) and was absolutely exhausted. All I did was sleep through the day and had zero interest or energy for anything other than watching TV with Jack and Mister Pick.

I didn’t have the energy to feel guilty for not going anywhere as a family. I didn’t worry about what I ate, or how “lazy” I was being. I just stayed at home, in my comfies, and reset myself.

I knew today I would feel better. I’d be out of the house, busy at work, drinking water, walking, eating healthy, and doing normal things again. But that incredible need to just rest and recharge was really evident to me. Mostly, I try to push through if we have time together to go on a walk, or spend the day at home being productive somehow, but nope. I just stopped.

Now, yeah, I’ve been sick before where I physically couldn’t get off the couch, but this was a conscious acceptance that I was run down and needed to recuperate before I was going to start this week feeling half way decent again.

I still have a sore throat and cough. I still have pink eye. I still feel tired but I am so much better than if I hadn’t rested so much while I had a chance on Sunday.


Library Life is the best life

The biggest part of library work is community connection. I was glad to be invited to attend a book launch and spend some time seeing how important libraries are to people in the local area.

It was a busy day of cake eating and camaraderie. The best part of the day was sitting with the librarians and hearing them say how much they enjoy their job and how glad they were to have chosen that career path.

As usual, the whole first part of the week flew by and now it’s time for me to manage my side hustle as a domestic goddess.

The laundry is in, everyone has had breakfast, and now it’s time to watch Teen Titans Go (all day!)

My back has been bothering me which means I need a walk or some kind of exercise. That’s why I made the decision to order my Boogie Bounce today. I have a discount gym membership but I never have time to go (I will write the book on why this is a legitimate excuse) so an in-home gym will have to do.

I’m trying to convince Mister Pick that we need a Peloton bike but he is not yet convinced. Yet!

The weekend will be me busy at work on Saturday morning (gotta get those extra hours) and a work dinner party in the evening. Sunday will once again be Lazy Sunday.

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