Archives for December 2011

Another year…

As 2011 draws to a close I find myself reflecting on the last 12 months and the discoveries I’ve made this year. Some surprising, pills some I knew all along but finally acknowledged and others which have altered a tiny bit of my being making me a slightly different ‘Me’ as we go into 2012.

This year (in no particular order) I have discovered :-

  • I have a big crush on Olly Murs
  • I’ve grown up enough to finally enjoy and appreciate red wine.
  • Spaghetti hoops and fish fingers is a perfectly acceptable kids dinner every now and again.
  • I AM looking older, troche because I AM getting older….
  • … but I’m also wiser and that brings the balance.
  • Life is fragile, loss is painful and bad things happen to good people, with no rhyme or reason.
  • But good things also happen to good people, and when they do, it’s amazing.
  • Our family motto – “We can do anything we try” – is absolutely right.
  • Watching my big girl start school was as emotional as I thought it would be, but without a doubt it’s also been the most fantastic experience this far for her.
  • I’ll never be 8 stone 4 again.
  • I’m actually quite good at my job.
  • I still hate ironing as much as I ever did.
  • I didn’t  look that awful in my swimming costume this summer, but I will never wear a bikini again.
  • You get out of relationships what you put in – applies to love, family relationships and friendships equally.
  • The love I have for Little Monster Blue takes my breath away, it still shocks me that there was a time when I once couldn’t see that coming.
  • I now accept the dark puffy circles under my eyes. And my stretch marks.
  • I am a super multi-tasker.
  • I love writing and need to do more of it.
  • I take myself too seriously sometimes and the ‘chilled’ me is actually quite cool.
  • My husband has an equally big love of online shopping as I do.
  • FaceTime rocks.
  • I am the only person who can make my dreams come true.
  • I am content.

Happy New Year all, may 2012 bring you all you wish for.

This post is part of the Brit Mums Blog Hop.

Mumsy? Moi?!

You reach a certain age, viagra buy or maybe it’s a parenting stage, buy where the joy you get from seeing your children’s reactions when opening their Christmas gifts far outweighs that which you get from opening your own gifts. Yes, I’ve received some questionable gifts over the years (Khaki Tie-Dye T-shirt emblazoned with three cats dressed in clothes anyone?) but no matter how good the gift, I can honestly say seeing Little Princess Pink physically shaking with excitement when she unwrapped talking Elmo two years ago and Little Monster Blue jumping up and down on the spot when he saw his Car Race (scaletrix) this year, are two mummy moments I won’t forget in a hurry.

But then, I got an AMAZING present from my own parents and an EQUALLY AMAZING present from the outlaws and I might have just had similar reactions to those of the nippers.

The gifts? Mugs. And an Apron.

And I’m being truly serious, no sarcasm, tongue in cheek humour or backhanded criticism here at all.  I actually rate these very highly in the gift stakes. There are a number of reasons for the singing of praises on these gifts.

Firstly, they are exactly what I asked for.

Being an avid tea drinker, mugs are well used in our house. Coupled with the ferociousness with which I throw too many dishes into the dishwasher, our once loved pastel coloured polka dot mugs had seen better days. Cue perfect present buying from Mum and we now have gorgeous chunky, cream and red mugs decorated beautifully with hearts and snowflakes and in keeping with our kitchen colour scheme just perfectly! Okay, I get that it’s a bit sad to love mugs quite so much, but they did also come with a matching biscuit barrel…

Then came the apron.  Too often I start cooking dinner after a mad dash from the office, to school, then nursery and home and don’t actually change from my work clothes before hand, thus resulting in curry stained shirts and greasy fish finger printed skirts, hence my request for an apron. I think I actually shrieked louder than Little Princess Pink did when she saw her much coveted Hello Kitty Bike this Christmas morning. To be clear, this is no ordinary apron. This is a handmade, Ulster Weavers (suppliers of kitchen textiles to the Queen no less!) prettily printed with teapots and other kitchen accoutrements apron, finished with bows and scalloped edging in coral pink. Very ‘Stepford Wives’. I LOVE it.

Upon opening it, it just had to be tried on for size. Drawing oohs and aahs from the ladies in the room, as I tied the apron strings around my waist, I knew it looked fabulous.  Super Daddy was very bemused by the over excitable squawking, not fully understanding just how gorgeously kitsch this apron was. Then I added the final touch to the look. Kicking off my comfy leopard print slippers, I stepped gracefully into my towering shiny heels and gave a little wiggle ala Stepford Wife extraordinaire, ta da!

He was sold.

Now before this suggests I’m becoming too mumsy and domesticated in my old age, I must note that I’m also suitably taken with all my other gorgeous (age appropriate) gifts. I’m also very much looking forward to bagging a bargain in the sales too, I’ve got my eyes on a gorgeous plum handbag, some slinky undies and I also believe Argos have £110 off their range of Dysons.

Happy days.

It’s a tradition!

Christmas traditions.

The whole festive season is characterised by these little things that often we can’t quite remember the meaning behind, help nor remember when they started, purchase but without them, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas. Some traditions are known and practised worldwide, the obvious ones – leaving milk (beer / whiskey / Malibu and coke) and cookies for Santa, hanging up stockings, putting up and decorating a Christmas tree. Others are particular to specific families, or perhaps even communities. Some have passed from generation to generation, again always just being that way with no real memory of why or when that particular tradition started.

What I love about Christmas in our house is that special blend of the traditions rooted in Super Daddy’s history, those that come from my side of the family, and best of all, those new traditions that we’ve started on our own, that are special to us and our little gang. Already,  we have many. Some we’re not quite sure why they’ve become tradition, but they’ve stuck and we like it. From the lovely (and replicated in many a family) new Christmas pyjamas for the kids to wear on Christmas Eve (for us, randomly they’ve got to be from Gap and got to be skinny legged and be adorned with snowmen / penguins / polar bears / angels / Eskimos and the like) to the sprinkling of reindeer magic dust across the front doorstep so they know where to land as they make their way from house to house; to the covering of Super Daddy’s Rockport boots with icing sugar and the stomping all the way from the front door to the plate of milk and cookies in the kitchen then back through to the living room beside all the gifts, thus showing that Santa with his non-melting North Pole Snow covered boots has indeed made his way through our home while we slept and deposited all our gifts.

There’s the opening of stockings (containing the traditional satsuma and £1 coin) only allowed on our bed, and the eating of one chocolate coin before we’ve even rubbed the sleep from our bleary eyes. Then there’s ‘Daddy has to go downstairs and check Santa’s been’ before the rest of us troop down excitedly behind him. Since the receiving of a coffee machine four Christmases ago, this practice has evolved to include the switching on of said machine and the quick making of two coffees to add that caffeine kick to the adrenaline rush us parents already have at the thought of the joy the unwrapping of Santa gifts holds.

Then there’s the Christmas Eve tradition of a Smoked Salmon starter, Beef Wellington, Red Cabbage and dauphinose potato dinner for Super Daddy and I, washed down with a millionaire shortbread desert and followed swiftly by the opening of the gifts we’ve bought for one another (one of which for Super Daddy will always be a box of red Lindt chocolates, nothing else will do.) There was a mild panic this year on Super Daddy’s part when I told him I hadn’t been able to pick up a Wellington, similar to that of the year I’d bought the Gold variety of Lindt Chocolates to mix things up a little. Note to self, tradition all the way.

There’s the Christmas Day Sausages for breakfast with my parents and sister, then the Christmas Day dinner with the outlaws. Not to mention the obligatory cheese and oatcakes once the winks are safely tucked up in bed after a day of festivities – whether we need them or not (always not). Not all traditions centre around food I must add, there’s the traditional ‘won’t-be-a-late-one-nipping-out-for-a-few-festive-beers-with-the-lads’ that must feature in Super Daddy’s Christmas break, which of course, traditionally ends up being ‘never-want-to-have-a-drink-again-as-being-sick-whilst-sitting-on-the-loo-and-not-knowing-how-I-got-that-muddy-mark-on-my-new-Christmas-shirt-is-so-last-year’

This year we decided to add staying in our PJ’s on Boxing Day to the list of traditions, one which was a huge hit with the kids as I expect will be the case for a number of years such was the novelty. I’m also adding having a bath in the middle of the day to the new traditions I’ll partake in during the festivities, though next year I’ll lock the door to save being joined by every other member of the household who clearly found my trying to relax in peace behaviour quite uncharacteristic!

One final addition this year, and it’s only now I’m a little wiser and a little more tuned into what really matters at Christmas time, is taking time to be thankful, and grateful for all that we have;  to acknowledge that none of it is taken for granted, and everything is appreciated, and to count every single one of my blessings. I hope this is one tradition I can fulfil each and every year and hope it’s included in the special blends we share with all our family and friends.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Santa Baby!

I’m struggling to know what the party line is to take with a 5 year old and a 2 year old when it comes to all things Christmas.  Take the weekend for example, viagra canada nursery Christmas Fayre and a visit to their fantastically homemade Santas’ Grotto. Little Monster Blue was incredibly brave and stood a whole three feet away from Santa and with his back to him muttered that he’d like a ‘car race’ for Christmas. Then he was out of there like a shot leaving his gifted Reindeer puzzle book and Haribo behind him such was his haste. When asked later if he’d liked meeting Santa, Little Princess Pink piped up loud and clear and confirmed as only a know-it-all five year old can, for the avoidance of any doubt, “THAT WASN’T THE REAL SANTA!”

Really. Already?!

Tentatively asking her what made her say that, my mind was frantically whizzing through potential plausible explanations as to why some man in a dress up costume was inviting little children to tell him all their Christmas present wishes when he was about as likely as Postman Pat with four flat tyres to deliver what they were looking for.

“Weelll,” she began in her ‘I can’t believe you don’t know this, isn’t it obvious’ voice,’  “There are no reindeers here. How did he get here? I don’t see Rudolph.” And she was right. So, did I make up some excuse that the reindeers were in training / resting up before the main event / getting sloshed on their Christmas day out?  I couldn’t exactly say Santa had gotten on the 11.35 from Edinburgh Waverley and walked the short distance round the corner from the station. I’m not sure Mrs Claus drives and could have given him a lift, and anyway it would be a fair trek from Lapland, North Pole.

With four beady eyes on me, I was under pressure to give an answer one way or the other, so I confidently confirmed that the reindeer must have dropped him off and would be back to collect him later. “Where did they land?” she asks. I deployed a different tactic this time by answering a question with a question:

” Where do you think they might have parked? ”  I put back to her.

“On the roof, she exclaimed, they flew in Santa jumped out, and off they went again.”

Great. I’ll buy that .

Then next she confidently advises anyone within earshot … “It’s not the real Santa, Santa has lots of helpers and sometimes he asks them to go to all the different grotters (I regularly remind her its grotto but unfortunately ‘grotter’ has stuck!) so all the boys and girls can tell them what they’d like for Christmas and they report back to the proper Santa.”

Happy with her explanation, and I later found out that she’d been fed this line previously by Super Daddy, this was also perfectly satisfactory for Little Monster Blue who by now had retrieved the nearly lost Haribo and was stuffing foam fried eggs in his chops like they were going out of fashion.

“How do the reindeer fly then?” comes the next challenge. I reply that Santa sprinkles them with magic flying dust and gives them only commands that reindeer understand.  I stole the magic flying dust from Arthur Christmas, and embellished the rest myself. I quite like that.

We then moved on to the small matter of how he gets into our house on Christmas Eve when we don’t have a chimney.  I explain knowingly (as my mother and father told me, so that makes its true) that Santa has a magic key which fits each and every door. Once again, this satisfied the question and I was beginning to think I had it covered.

Then pipes up Little Monster Blue.

“And Santa’s got a big tummy ’cause hims got a baby in it. How did it get there?”

Really. Already?!

What? No chocolate?!

Last advent LPP and LMB had Hello Kitty and Winnie the Pooh themed advent calendars respectively. Neither calendar had any real leaning towards being Christmassy in design or sentiment other than a sparse sprinkling of holly on Hello Kitty’s bow and a snowy covering on the hundred acre wood. They clearly did all they had to from a child’s perspective, pharmacy that is provide chocolate before PJs were off and faces were washed and, gasp, breakfast was had. Last year, LPP had completely understood the concept of opening one door per day, counting all the way down to Christmas day, and being the keen bean that she is, it was also a welcome number practising and counting exercise for her too. Little Monster Blue on the other hand was arguably still a little bit too young to grasp the concept of opening a particular window each day, and only one at a time. He very much subscribed to the view, if there is chocolate in one, there’s chocolate in them all, why wait til tomorrow for you can have today? We had many a morning meltdown over opening only one window, and you can imagine the morning (Day 14 as I recall) when it was a fridge magnet instead of chocolate behind the window.

So this year, I decided a return to tradition was in order. No character themed advent calendars, but good old traditional ones, with proper Christmas scenes and nothing more than a Christmas themed picture behind the daily windows. The same kind as my sister and I had growing up. Off we trotted a few weekends ago with the specific task of buying advent calendars in mind. LPP selected a beautifully depicted nativity scene, commercially sparkling with glitter nonetheless, but containing all the requisite parts of a true Christmas scene. LMB opted for a traditional Santa scene, a proper drawing, less cartoony than the heavily characterised ones with and more artistic sketching, surrounded by traditional toys and festive offerings.

This morning there was much excitement as the official opening of day one on the advent calendars commenced. LPP explained the inner workings to her little brother, “you open 1 today, there’ll be a picture, 2 tomorrow, there’ll be a picture, 3 the next day, there’ll be a picture, 4 the next day, there’ll be a picture”….and so forth through to 24.  Really.  By this time LMB had tuned out as despite being so ickle something in his memory reserves was clearly taking him back to similar activities of the year previous where the chocolate had been an integral part of this process. He was itching to pop open window number 1 and uncover its contents. With a little bit of help, and a lot of patience, we prised open the well hidden number 1 window to reveal an advent wreath topped with candles. ‘Yay, a birthday cake!’ he exclaimed. Hhmm.

LPP went next, and revealed beneath window number 1, a trumpet. A Christmas trumpet she tells me. But a trumpet all the same.

It was over in seconds and didn’t quite have the excitement I recall when at that same age my sister and I would wonder for hours what might be behind the next window. The calendars were propped back up on the table and breakfast was had, only for LPP to holler through a short while later when the pair of them had been tasked with getting shoes and jackets on….” Mummmmmy, he’s opened 18, 23 and 21.”

Thanks goodness for that Peppa Pig caramel centred chocolate filled calendar with the faux Christmas scene I’ve got hidden in the cupboard.  I think I’ll scoff the lot tonight!

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