Blue suede shoes

Ok, so they aren’t real suede, but “blue faux-suede shoes” just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

These are my latest (guilt-free) mommy purchase and I am already devising plans of when/where I can don these bright blue babies! I’m sure they are perfectly acceptable to wear to parents evening or the weekly grocery shop…

When I put them on, I feel fabulous, and being able to walk more than six steps in them is definitely a bonus!

Every girl should have a pair.

 

 

 

Image: MAC Edit: MPQ

Me, mad? Never!

This morning a close friend said to me “you always seem angry” (or unhappy, or something of the sort, I can’t remember verbatim) and I remember feeling completely gobsmacked. A plethora of choice retorts instantly sprang to mind, none of them I can repeat here in this post… (maybe he had a point? Haha) My second reaction was one of defense. Who is at their best at 9am? I sure as hell am not, especially when the only place I want to be is back in my warm bed and not trudging up the hill toward my house, post school run.

My third reaction? Tears.

I felt wounded and, as the upset subsided, I sort of saw his point. I am a little stressed out these days. Ok, A LOT stressed out. Between trying to be supermom (school runs, parent/teacher meetings, morning assemblies, playgroups) and superstudent (yeah, that dissertation isn’t gonna write itself), I seem to have lost myself along the way. And somehow my sadness and stress has painted me as some kind of mad black woman. That isn’t to say I’m not trying. I really am trying to relax and have fun when I can.

These days I’m actually wearing a bit of makeup, buying cute things for my hair, and picking up the odd Glamour magazine. Last week I bought the most fabulous pair of electric blue suede high heels. That would cheer anyone up, hehe.

I think as moms we really can never underestimate the importance of “ME” time. Without it, it’s really easy to slip away into maternal oblivion.  Next on my agenda is a girlie weekend, methinks.

Anything to avoid being “that angry girl”. And if my friend says that again, I might punch him.

Gently. 🙂

Raising my 3 stooges

Back when Zoie was brand new.

Parenting: it’s not for the faint-hearted.

My  firstborn, my 6 yr old son Liam, has special needs and his years have been punctuated by hospital admissions, medications, therapies, and a whole lot of worry. My first experience of raising a child was an odd juxtaposition of fear, heartache, and unconditional love. That being said, my boy is all kinds of awesome. He loves music and is the dancing-est thing you’ve ever seen. And don’t challenge him to a game of football – you will lose. His smile can light up a room. He simply glows inside and out.

Everything else I ever needed to know about parenting, I’ve learned from my 4 yr old daughter, Emilie. A cheeky little whip of a kid with a kind heart and a splash of diva.

Although Emmie is my second child, raising her has been so vastly different. Liam met his milestones in his own time – we were used to a gentle pace with him. Emmie was walking by 7 months and chatting our ears off by mid toddlerhood. There were no worries about her health, no real concerns other than the usual ones that any parent has for their child’s future. Emilie was, and still is, a whirlwind of what raising a typical child is like.

Yesterday she got into trouble for telling tales on a schoolmate, today she asked my mom how babies get into mommies’ bellies. I’m fine tuning my stork story as I type. At parent’s evening tonight her teacher revealed that she is in the advanced reading group for her class and her numeracy skills are stellar. Last week she asked her classmate, Tristan, if he would marry her. The kid is on a roll. Guess I must be doing something right, haha.

By the time kiddo number 3 came along, I felt I had this parenting gig all figured out. I was wrong. Zoie, at 20 months old, is my ninja baby. She gets up to more shenanigans than the other 2 kids combined. She provokes her sister, eats anything she isn’t supposed to, and has one heck of  a scowl when she gets in a mood. If looks could kill….

Yes, my work is cut out for me.

There truly is no such thing as one-size-fits-all parenting. 3 kids, 3 completely different personalities and needs, all completely wonderful.

Running out of excuses, ha

Well talk about fallin’ right off the face of the blogosphere! What’s going on with me? Could it be that I’ve run out of things to say? Never, haha.

Last week was half term, which in my world means one stir-crazy 4 year old who redefined the phrase “couch potato”. I’m surprised her butt didn’t fuse to the sofa! I did manage to pry her away from the TV long enough to drag her to a doctor’s appointment (for her little sis), a session at the soft-play centre, a run around at the park, and two playdates. Win.

If I had my way, they’d be in school always. Yeah, I said it.

Besides the hassle of half term, I’ve been in full on party planning panic mode for Emilie’s 5th birthday. If you know me, you know my parties. And you know that there is no halfway. It’s all or nothing. If it’s not perfect, well, mama ain’t happy. The theme is a closely guarded secret. If I told you I’d have to silence you, then who would be left to read my blog? For those who do know the theme, consider yourselves a part of the elite few — my ninja party planning crew. All shall be revealed in time. Watch this space!

So other than losing sleep and ignoring the fact that I still have a 20,000 word dissertation to write, all is well in my world of nappies, snot, and bruised knees.

I promise to get back on the blogging ball. Soon.

 

 

11 Things That Grind My Gears

I might not LOOK like I have three kids but I sure FEEL like I do!

1.  People who say to me, “You don’t look like you have THREE kids?!”  Really? Well what should a woman with three kids look like then? Enlighten me. I guess I’m supposed to look haggard or like I’ve gotten too friendly with my pals, Ben & Jerry? Here’s a recent example:

Standing in line at the checkout in the supermarket yesterday. Newborn baby in pram at the opposite checkout starts wailing inconsolably. I shake my head sympathetically and say “Oh I remember those days” to which the checkout lady practically shrieks “You’ve had a baby?!” I smile sweetly and say “I’ve had three…” and was immediately met by the audible gasps of not only the checkout lady but every customer within earshot. Right. Took my groceries and got the hell out.

The youngest mother on record was 5 years old. Keep that in mind.

2.  People who say, “You don’t look old enough to have kids!”  Seriously now? So, what, I can’t even pass for 15 nowadays?  Clearly someone has never watched Teen Mom.

So sorry the education system failed you...

3.  People who can’t spell. Oh. My. God. Now I’m no grammar Nazi and I am undoubtedly guilty of forgetting to spell check once or twice but for crying out loud! Facebook status updates are the bane of my existence! The thing that gets me riled up the most is the misspelling of simple words. “Themselfs” is a real winner.

"Oh hey girl! It's been sooo long!" (Not long enough)

 4.  When you are in town (or other random public place) and you see someone you know who you haven’t seen in a while and you don’t know how to react so you pretend that you didn’t see them because you aren’t sure if they saw you and if they did see you and are ignoring you, you don’t want to look the fool by going up to them and saying hi just in case they really didn’t see you or are actually trying to avoid you. So you walk away pretending not to see them and are left wondering if they did see you but were pretending not to and probably now think you are a bitch for not saying anything at all. Yeah. Happens to me ALL the time.

345... repeat after me. 345...

5.  People who say this:

“What part of America are you from?”

“The part called the Cayman Islands.”

“Oh um, ok, it’s just that your accent sounds so… so…”

“American? No it don’t, you na been payin’ attention awa?”

Because high voltage electricity is really bad for your health. And life.

6.  The one idiot who always insists on making a mad dash for the tube/train just as the doors are closing and either gets some appendage trapped or makes the doors reopen, thereby delaying my journey. You could fall onto the rails, genius. And then you’d be dead and the train will still leave your ass.  Just so you know.

First world problems...

7.  When my favourite food/snack/toiletry runs out at the store the one time I actually manage to make it there after weeks of daydreaming about it. Why??????? Didn’t they know I was coming?!

Get 'em Blade! Muhahaha

 8.  People who freak out over movie spoilers (you know who you are)… I mean is it really the end of the world if you find out that Edward and Bella’s little tot eventually turns out to be… **********… ooops. Ah yes, well nevermind.

And I was so sure green was my colour.

9.  People who ask me, “Is that your real hair?” No. I went out and bought this frizz-fest in a shop. On purpose.

That's what I say.

10.  People who say “Are you going to have any more kids?” or “You’re done now, right?” Well that’s between me and my uterus, thankyouverymuch.

If only it really worked.

11.  Sticky labels that don’t come off. Ever. You know the ones – you pick, peel, and scratch your fingernails to stubs just trying to get a piece off but can only manage to tear out one unsightly section so you go get the baby oil/washing liquid/WD-40 and douse and rub until the paper and glue become one big gooey mess only to wipe it off and find that it is still completely sticky underneath! Sigh.

So tell me: what are YOUR pet peeves?

Oh, for all my friends who find that they have said any of the above comments to me (or are terrible spellers), it’s cool. I still love you.  This is only directed toward ignorant strangers. And as for not being American – my hubby is American, my sisters are American, my kids are American by association, I spent one year of Kindergarten and two years of college in America. I freakin’ love America. I’m just not from there. That is all.

Good to be paraben free?

Well I’ve wanted to do this post for a while now, especially after I stumbled across this report which made me raise an eyebrow. It’s about parabens. Big word there. Here’s a definition:

Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives by cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries

– thank you Wikipedia

My first reaction after reading the article was “great just one more thing that’ll kill us, just like all the cell phone waves that are turning our brains to jelly”. But then I remembered those three little anklebiters that call me “mum” and I that thought if I could possibly do my part to expose them to a few less chemicals, where is the harm in that?

Mind you this was also following on the back of the revelation that the red stuff my mom used to paint on my scraped knees back in the ’80’s (called Mercurochrome) actually contained mercury. Yeah. True story.

So, armed with the knowledge that I had managed to cheat a mercury-induced death (I was a real tomboy) I started to Google around the place looking for more info on these parabens. I found a couple of interesting articles:

What Are Parabens and Why You Should Avoid Them

Paraben Free Products

These articles (as you may have guessed) are in support of avoiding parabens, if you can, on the basis of “why risk it?” This is pretty much my stance on the matter. To gain a balanced view, however, I found some articles that stated that the concentration of parabens that are used in various products are of such a low level they are unlikely to be harmful to humans. Here is one mainly for concerned parents:

Parabens

I had a gander at the FDA website and they state that:

FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area.

FDA.gov

However, I did note that the paraben page on the FDA site hadn’t been updated since 2007.  So what was I going to do about all this mild paraben panic? Well I decided to inspect my cosmetics, toiletries, and those that I used for the kids. Imagine my complete lack of surprise when I found that just about everything I owned contained these preservatives. Even my super expensive Dermalogica face products. Great. Just my luck.

My plan of action? Simple. Throw them out. Seriously. I just binned it all. Most of the products were down to the last drops of liquid anyhow — things like the kids’ L’oreal shampoo and my Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner (man I was pissed). The hair products I used for the girls were already paraben free (Original Little Sprout – omg, I could do an entire post on them!) as were a decent amount of other products I use like my Dove Invisible Dry deodorant.

The next day I went shopping. A little experiment to see just what kind of products I could find that were paraben free.

Stay tuned for the details of what I found!

Bad Mommy Moment #258

Yesterday, instead of cooking dinner, I bought the kids a bucket of KFC – extra fries, extra gravy. And coleslaw. Lots of it.

Today, instead of cooking lunch, I microwaved the leftover chicken and fries. Extra ketchup.

That is all.

*Disclaimer*

They got porridge for breakfast and shrimp with rice, steamed broccoli and green beans for tonight’s dinner. That should balance it out.

Critical theory, political economy, and Marxism, oh my!

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post but it made me laugh when all I want to do is pull my hair out...

 

“What does a ‘political economy’ approach to study of the Creative and Cultural Industries involve?  What are its advantages and disadvantages?”   (word limit: 5,000)

What, I ask you, did I do to deserve such punishment? Political what now? I’m not even sure if I am reading English, though it is far better than one of the alternatives:  “What is cultural hegemony?  Is it ubiquitous and insurmountable?” Huh?

I’ll tell you what is insurmountable — this essay! I am up to my eyeballs in textbooks grappling with the delicate issues of critical theory and analysis in relation to the cultural industries, economies, and all sorts a fancy crap that is going way over my little writer’s head. I write stories. I try to avoid politics and complicated theoretical stuff at all costs. Sigh.

When I was in high school I loved the sciences. I adored balancing chemical equations and had a perverse affinity for the Periodic Table. I could tell you all about the process of osmosis and enjoyed rolling “deoxyribonucleic acid” off my tongue. Science I can handle. English Literature I can handle. Heck, I’m not even too bad at math…

But this? Ideological hocus pocus? It surpasses me. Just… can’t… get it.

And it isn’t for lack of trying — I keep reading and reading and the more I read, the dumber I feel! Lol. It is truly a cruel joke.

So I’ve emailed the tutor for a desperate sit down session so that I can somehow grasp these utterly foreign concepts. I have a deadline on the 23rd and all I have so far is a stark blank Word document and a splitting headache.

Anyone out there in cyberworld have a clue about any of this?? Honestly, I can’t be the only one mystified by this… can I?

The First 29th

I spend so much time organising parties for my kiddos, that I’ve never thrown one for myself! This year I thought why the heck not?!

"Wish" tile lovingly made by Emilie (mummy helped with the letters)

Soooo, despite my birthday being on New Year’s Day (terrible day to be born, honestly the whole world is hung over) I arranged to throw my little shindig on the following Friday.

My budget? Non existent.  So I improvised.

I recycled, reused, and repurposed items from the kids’ recent birthdays. The cupcake stand, glass jars, and mini pails from Zoie’s 1st birthday all got a new lease on life.  Vases and dishes from Emilie’s 4th birthday were again put to good use.

My theme? Why, rainbow of course! (because of my indecision and inability to choose just one or two main colours haha)

I found super cute plates, cups, table cover, and bunting for only 99p per pack. I also draped brightly coloured streamers everywhere – again only 99p for about a zillion of them. I scooped up some red napkins that were on sale after the Christmas rush and some bright cupcake cases to match.

One of my favorite ways of decorating is with flowers. They bring such a great burst of colour and freshness to any party and you can find flowers to match just about any colour scheme. I bought a simple, multicoloured £5 bouquet at the supermarket and separated and trimmed the flowers to fit my various sized jars, vases, and mini pails. I gave the vessels some pizzaz by wrapping them in bright lengths of yarn that I bought (also 99p) in a kiddie cross stitch activity pack. Oooh… and I can’t forget the super shiny silly straws I scooped for, you guessed it, 99p!

And what about the menu? I hit up the frozen food section baby! Everything from spring rolls to chicken satay sticks — just popped them in the oven and it was party time! The cupcakes (Funfetti!) I made earlier in the morning, frosted, and adorned them with colorful mini chocolate buttons. Dessert was ridiculously simple: freshly sliced strawberries with Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread for those who are not familiar with this glorious concoction)(I zapped the Nutella in the microwave for 10 seconds to make it a gooey dippable consistency… heaven!)

The party itself was honestly the most fun I’ve had in years. Since (secretly) I knew the party was as much for the kiddies as it was for me, I made sure we played a rousing game of Pass the Parcel (everyone got a prize!) and the requisite Pin the Tail on the Donkey. And of course there were copious amounts of dancing, even some of the, ahem, more vivacious Caribbean variety.

So my 29th birthday was a great success and a fantastic time was had by all.

Can’t wait until next year when my second 29th rolls around. Because we all know, there’s no such thing as 30! 😉