Making the most of every minute…

Talk to Your Teenagers about Homelessness

@RailwayChildren every retweet gets the charity £2 from @AvivaUK

via Talk to Your Teenagers about Homelessness.

Mum to Teens is a leading light in the Parent Blogger world.  She is honest, witty, compelling and an inspiration to new bloggers like me.  Do go and read this post and others via the link.  It’s very informative and contains some shocking statistics.  I touched -very lightly- on this subject a few posts ago so I’m “pleased” to be able to add some depth to what teenagers on  street corners are (sometimes) really going through.

When you’ve read it, please leave a comment as Aviva UK will donate £2 to The Railway Children (Charity) and help make the invisible, visible.


And the Award goes to…. (Part 2)

Well, I promised a part two of my Award nomination acceptance and here it is!  Now I’m  answering the questions set by my nominator:

1. What do you get out of blogging?

It is where I can be completely myself.  My husband actually said he wouldn’t have known it was me if I hadn’t told him, because the writing on my blog is “perceptive” and “insightful”!   That’s because he never lets me talk without interrupting me!  I didn’t stab him with a blunt object for saying that, but I was tempted!  I also like having Freedom to express myself without causing an argument.  Well, maybe I will cause an argument one day when I have more readers.  Poor Kate from found herself in the middle of a bit of a ding-dong recently because she dared to talk about her daughters liking pink!

2. Was motherhood what you thought it would be, and if not how is it different?

Motherhood is SOOO not what I expected.  It is MUCH harder work than any job I’ve ever had.  I wasn’t completely unrealistic.  I knew there would be crying and dirty nappies.  I just thought the crying would stop instantly when their loving mother picked them up and cuddled them and I didn’t realise the nappies would happen during the night.  When I was living through the demanding brat years, I never realised they would be so long.  And now they are almost adults, I wish I could have all those years back and appreciate them more!

3. What do you miss most about your pre-children self?

My figure.  It has never recovered from the staggering amount of weight I whacked on during two too-close-together pregnancies!  Also my tolerance for alcohol.  I am now a wimp when it comes to drinking.

4. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Trust your instincts.  Let go of the need to prove yourself or gain approval from others.   Remember you are in charge of your own feelings, no-one can make you feel bad, you choose how to react to what they are saying.

5. As a woman – do you believe it’s possible to have it all

I believe it is possible for a woman to HAVE it all, but not to DO it all.   For example, you can’t work full time, have perfect hair/make-up/nails, spend quality time with your kids and partner/spouse, look after the pets, do the shopping, school runs etc., AND tidy the house and garden.  Chores should be shared, or preferably outsourced.  If you are lucky enough to be able to make the choice to be a SAHM as I was, that’s brilliant.  Then you just have to accept that you can still have it all, but not all at once.  When my new business is up and running, a cleaner is first on my wish-list!

Well, that’s the world according to Karen done and dusted – in the context of my Award, you understand.  I have opinions to voice and stories to tell on a LOT of other subjects!

Now it’s time to spread the Liebster love and think of others…

Questions for my nominees:

1.  Why do you blog?

2.  What is your favourite way to relax?

3.  Which meal do you cook way too often?

4.  Now you’re a parent, what do you do, or let your child do, that you swore you never would?

5.  Which Disney or Pixar film do you now know all the words to?

6.  If you had the perfect babysitter – what is the longest you think you could manage without the children, and where would you go?

7.  If you could start parenthood all over again, what if anything would you change?

8.  If you had your way, what would your children be when they grow up?

9.  On a scale of 1-10 (1 being not at all, 10 being definitely) based on their current behaviour, how likely are your children to meet your aspirations as set out above?

10. What do you worry about your child doing, above all other possibilities?

11. How much is too much when it comes to organised activities?

And finally….  I have no idea how to check how many followers a blog has, so I am just going with blogs I like,  in which the blogger has mentioned they are new.  I would like to give an honorary mention to whyishersostroppy who nominated me and has, therefore already been nominated.  Another honorary mention needs to be said for “Mummysonthewine” who, for a relatively short time, wrote a fantastic blog and who was the person who finally inspired me to dive in and start writing but has now given up blogging to pursue studies.

After much, pfaffing about, searching, reading, and generally deciding who best fit the criteria My nominees for the Liebster Award are: – whose take on life has me laughing out loud.  Be prepared for a very frank, sweary but hilarious look at life with a dominant toddler; and -this lady writes posts on various subjects in such a chatty, witty, likeable style, that I almost feel I know her.  I do hope she isn’t creeped-out by that!

I’d also like to say to my nominees, please don’t be put off by the fact that I had to split my post in two.  Maybe I talk too much, or perhaps I’m just not brave enough to put a great big long post on all in one go!

And the Award goes to….

Well, there I was, quietly sitting around thinking how cool I am, and suddenly, out of the blue at 1 O’clock in the morning, I get an e-mail telling me I have been nominated for an award, which just goes to prove that I am, in fact, very cool!

Oh, if only all of that was true…  Sadly only 50% of the above paragraph is true.  I did get an email at that strange hour and it did tell me I’ve been nominated for an award (well, my blog has, but as I write it, I am definitely taking the credit!)  At 1am in the morning, I wasn’t feeling in the slightest bit cool.  I was tired but couldn’t sleep and while I did write an excited note back to the lovely lady who nominated me (who writes at and accept the nomination, and then sit there smiling and trying to resist the temptation to wake everyone up and tell them my good news (which would not have helped my placement on the cool-ness scale), I have since been a bit like a rabbit in the headlights!

Writing an acceptance speech isn’t very easy when you keep turning into Gwyneth-Paltrow-at-the-Oscars in your head.  I’m having a little bit of trouble with the grateful acknowledgements – is “thanks must go to my family, for providing blog-fodder, even though they don’t know they’re doing it” good enough?  My natural positivity is starting to waver, the self-doubt that necessitated the buying of armfuls of self-help books (as mentioned in a previous blog) is rearing its nasty little head.  I’ve never won an award before!  Do I really deserve it?  People will look at me!  They will think I don’t deserve it… PAANIIIIICC!!!

Ah, but wait.  The award I have been nominated for is The Liebster award.  It doesn’t involve ceremonies and acceptance speeches at all.  Phew!  On following the blog-trail back I found this information: “The Liebster award is a blogger-to-blogger award with no winners and no judges.  It is given to new bloggers who are building their audience, given by the bloggers who believe they are doing an exceptional job.”  Apparently, Liebster means “favourite” in German, so I am feeling very pleased with myself and very kindly-disposed to Whyishersostroppy.  Actually, if there were an acceptance speech, I would include her in it, now I come to think of it.  She has definitely played a part in getting me where I am today…Ahem.  Sorry – I went a bit “Oscars” again.

There are rules that I need to comply with  “When nominated, the blogger must list eleven facts about his/herself, answers questions given by the nominator, and come up with eleven questions for the bloggers he/she nominates.”

OK.  So here are 11 facts about myself:

1.   I’m very glad the rules don’t say “11 interesting facts”.  That would make life difficult.

2.   I am increasingly obsessed with Twitter and now have two accounts.

3.   I am very good at, and even slightly obsessive about cleaning when I get going, but I truly hate tidying up.

4.   I do not like cyclists who ride in the road when a cycle lane is available.

5.   I like baking and have become proficient at Macaroons.   I have a collection of colours for them and even some edible gold dust!

6.   I am currently working with a Health Coach because I need to lose weight and get fitter.

7.   Even though I STILL gaze longingly at the girl’s clothes in children’s shops, I’m really glad I have boys.  They seem easier and more straightforward than girls.

8.   I used to be a Registered Sick Children’s Nurse.  I let my registration lapse in 2008.

9.   Since 2006 I have been a fully trained Clinical Aromatherapist.   This qualification means I am educated to the same level as someone with a Masters level degree.  Since I left school at 15 (my birthday is late August) with only “O” levels, I am extremely proud of this.

10.  I am a people person and a keen networker, and love nothing better than helping people build mutually beneficial relationships.

11.  I am currently setting up a business to deliver anti-ageing and aromatherapy facials.  There are products that cost less and (in my opinion) give better results than botox.  I will get to pamper people AND save them from having frozen faces!

The observant reader will notice that I have only done one of the things required by the Liebster rules at this point.  And yet I am bringing this post to a close here.  This is because I need to split my post in two as the word count was too high and I couldn’t edit it back any further!  The next post will come soon.  Much sooner than usual, in fact.  But I couldn’t bring myself to inflict a post more than twice as long as usual on my fledgling audience.  I don’t want to scare you off, just as my big break has arrived….

(that’s a joke, by the way!)

NOT just a teenage dirt-bag, baby (with apologies to Wheatus)

This morning when I was at the gym, I walked into the changing room and caught the tail end of a conversation  “…he was ever such a nice young man, its unusual these days… blah, blah… really well -mannered and pleasant, young boys aren’t like that anymore…” and so it went on  for the time it took for me to open my locker and remove the things I needed for my shower.  So not very long at all really, except that, as the parent of two older teenage boys, it was long enough to make my blood boil and then calm myself down enough to say “you must be talking about one of my sons!” with a suitably sweet smile that didn’t quite make it to my eyes.

The one who had been talking made a sharp exit, but the other one wasn’t in a position to leave the room, so I said “boys get such a bad rap these days, it isn’t fair!  My eldest has always been tall for his age and I remember him coming in from the shop one day, when he was about 11, quite distraught because an old lady had crossed the road when she saw him coming.”  And do you know what her reply was?  “Yes, well, it only takes one incident and they all get tarred with the same brush….”  Really?!  I don’t think so.  I think that was bare naked prejudice and I think we, as a society are on dangerous ground.

This is something that has wound me up at various times throughout the boy’s lives.  Like when they come in freezing because they won’t put their hoods up for fear of frightening someone, or even in a more general sense when groups of teenagers are labelled “gangs”.   Obviously, there are certain combinations of lateness of hour and adverse weather conditions, where even I would worry if I came across a group of youths, but my first thought would be for how horrid their home-life must be if they’d rather be hanging around outside in those conditions than chatting in one of their bedrooms – not how horrible they are.

I’ve considered several different routes I could take here, but for now I am going with teenagers in general…

As a society, we give teenagers no respect whatsoever.  Right when they are at their most self-conscious we tend to ostracise, label and loudly and negatively debate the relative merits, or mostly otherwise, of the young people who are, after all, the future bedrock of our society.  They are busy worrying about spots, relationships, choosing what they want to do for the rest of their lives (when most of the time they don’t know how they feel about tomorrow), studying for exams whose results will determine their path, needing sleep, weight issues, popularity contests, stifling parents who won’t let them out and insist they eat dinner at dinner time, managing a social life, finding a job, juggling part time jobs with study time, navigating new friendships while maintaining or moving on from old ones, questioning their very existence, believing the world hates them – It’s a massive amount for someone who doesn’t even know who they are yet!  Yet,,these are the people whose taxes will pay for our hospital bills and pensions (I’m deliberately ignoring the state of the public purse here for the sake of my argument.) If there were to be a military draft, the boys that lady would cross the road to avoid are likely to be the ones who would fight for us.  The teen years are a relatively short part of a child’s life, yet they are extremely important in shaping the adult they will have to become all too quickly.  We seem to have forgotten that teenagers are still children and childhood is precious.  As a society, we need to look much more carefully at the messages and cues we give them.

When they were 13 and 14, my husband and I  took our boys to Italy where they were welcomed with open arms.  Everywhere we went, people engaged with them.   They were not made to feel like some waste of space appendage to their parents and ignored as so often happens when we are out and about here in the UK.  As a result, they blossomed.  They expected to be welcomed and they walked about with their heads held high, instead of shuffling about with their heads down like they generally feel obliged to do here.

It ISN’T rare to find a well-mannered, eloquent, funny teenager (I love chatting to my sons’ friends ) but it IS rare to find a middle-aged or above adult who will show enough tolerance and respect make a teenager (with all the horrendous baggage that comes with being in that age-group) feel confident enough to express themselves well.

Wait….. What?

Tomorrow at 7.04pm my eldest son becomes an adult.  How did this happen?  There are days when I hardly even feel like a grown-up myself and now I am the parent of a genuine bona-fide card-carrying adult!  He will be able to vote, drink in pubs, get married without my consent and will, in the eyes of the law, be responsible for his own actions.  For all of those reasons, this is alarming.  My son has gone from 4lb 2oz to 6ft 3inches in what seems like the blink of an eye.

I really wanted to document this special occasion on the day and not with the benefit of hindsight.  I’m not sure why the timing is so important to me – after all I’ve been a mum for 18 years now, so it’s not like it’s new and fresh anymore.  I read mummy-blogs all the time where the mum is documenting how she felt, what she saw, what made her laugh or cry as something to look back on in the years to come and I didn’t do that, because 18 years ago, blogging didn’t exist!  But it does exist now, and now I am facing a new stage of parent-hood with some trepidation….

I don’t know what to say…..  I only started blogging less than two months ago and I really enjoy it, I see it as a place to express my views on life, the universe and everything – but for three weeks now, I’ve been paralysed by the thought of expressing how I feel about my baby turning 18.  In my head, I’ve composed poems, and written reams of sentimental drivel to try and express what a milestone this is for us as a family.  His brother is only 15 months younger but is determinedly clinging to childhood and my husband seems just as shocked as I am by the speed at which this milestone has arrived, but is (outwardly at least) much more stoic than me.

A small part of me is doing that crying where no tears or sound come out because of all those years that went by in a blur of  PE kit panics, last minute ironing of school uniforms and forgotten ingredients for cookery lessons that I somehow “got through” without appreciating quite how precious those days really were.  We had some wonderful times, especially in school holidays but for the day to day stuff, I could have done a lot better.

Part of me wants to dance, cheer and pat myself on the back at my brilliance (admittedly, my husband had a great deal of involvement in this, but this IS my blog!)  My son is a really nice person!  He’s confident, caring, has a great sense of humour, is reliable, hard working, talented, well liked by his peers, co-workers and his tutors, and is tall, good looking and robustly healthy.  

Another part of me is worried by what is yet to come.  If it is this hard to face the fact that when I wake up in the morning it will be my son’s 18th birthday, what will it be like on the day he is leaving home?  That day will come soon, I am sure of it.  

Mike has always been in a rush….  He arrived two months early and was so small he would  almost have fitted in one of his own (size 13) current shoes!  At birth he had to be fed through a naso-gastric tube because he had no suck reflex, but has been eating for England ever since making it to solid food.  He stayed little for his age until about 18 months, but seems to have been growing constantly ever since.  At 14 he went to China with school for THREE weeks, and had far too much of a good time to bother contacting us (surely a sign of things to come) and he talks endlessly of his ambition to go to London – a decision made easier, I think, by the fact that my mum lives there.

So this is it – my little boy is becoming a man and although I would give anything to be able to scoop him up and carry him round again, or to hear him call me “mummy” without sarcasm, or a need for money – I guess I am going to have to be grown up about this, feel proud at the job I’ve done so far and wait to see what happens next.  I gave him roots and wings and I love him enough to watch him fly.  It doesn’t mean I won’t cry when he does though….

Somebody stop me!!!

I am seriously considering throwing my collection of self-improvement and/or motivational books in a bath full of water, because what I actually want to do is burn them but that’s too final and I have to do SOMETHING to them, because those same books say you shouldn’t procrastinate when something needs doing.

 If I hadn’t spent time reading all those bloody books, I probably would have burnt them, but I guess I now have evidence that reading the books is worthwhile, for I *dramatic pause* have changed!

I’ve realised that I learn by osmosis because I just dealt with a situation very differently than I would have done a few months ago and I can’t attribute it to a particular book or writer – rather a general shift in my thought processes probably caused by reading a series of books on the same subject from an assortment of authors.

However, now I am dealing with the emotions associated with experiencing a sort of out-of-body experience and the books don’t tell you how to deal with being surprised at yourself when you do something out of character do they?  No – they just assume everythings going to be wonderful and you’ll just be happily singing in your own permanent ray of sunshine and making daisy chains to crown yourself with at your self-congratulation ceremony when you’ve achieved whatever you wanted when you bought the book in the first place.

(By way of qualifying the out-of-body experience part, I just want to say I have mentioned my dramatic tendencies in an earlier post, but because of the said books I am starting to be less dramatic in real life and write dramatically about things instead.)

You see, I’ve just mentioned a new project to my dear husband which he wasn’t happy about, and instead of telling him immediately and firmly that I thought he was being an arse and backing it up with chapter and verse on why I thought that, I found myself thinking (without trying and without reference to any particular book) “hmm, this is obviously difficult for him, I’ll have to find another way to deal with this”.  This is absolutely not normal for me.  Then I just said “Okay” and calmly carried on with what I was doing.  It’s taken me about an hour to realise that it was totally out of character  and now I’m thinking “WHAT?!  What did I just do?”  

It’s funny, but I can only assume he didn’t know how to cope with the new me – especially as he is normally the calm sensible one – because even though I was practically angelic in the face of adversity, he stopped speaking to me

That’s why those bloody books need to get dunked.  They tell you how to change, why change is necessary, what will be better when you change and some of them even warn you that people around you might find it difficult to deal with the changes but they don’t tell you how to deal with that part, do they?  

So for now, I guess I’ll have to try another self-help tactic and practice gratitude.  I’m grateful that he’s gone out (don’t panic, it was planned before our discussion!) and of course I’m extremely grateful that there’s a bottle of chilled wine in the fridge…..

It’s life Jim, but not as we know it…..

Life in Techworld is very strange.  Everything is equally hard but nothing is the same from site to site.  It has been brought home to me today that computer software designers must be even more insular than we stereotypically give them credit for, because otherwise they might actually collaborate and standardise some stuff.

Today, I have spent more time than is appropriate for an air-breather holed up with my computer.  I am attempting to bring cohesion to my online presence.  There is a possibility that I may discover the point of even having an online presence, beyond stressing myself out for no apparent reason, although I am prepared to concede this possibility is some way off yet.

I have achieved several things including managing to upload the same picture to the background of this blog and my Twitter account.  However, in both cases only the upper left corner of said picture is visible which is rather upsetting and also something of a puzzle since the instructions for uploading were different on the two sites.  Apparently, I need to resize the picture, but since neither of the Teens can do this for me this is obviously a genuinely very hard task.  I felt quite proud, because not only did they not look at me in the usual pitying fashion, but they actually looked quite impressed that I a) wanted to do this and b) could show them the picture’s current statistics.  (I didn’t tell them that I had no idea what these statistics meant).  I’ve also linked myself to two blogging sites and added a follow button to the blog (see right) and my Twitter feed (although this has not kept up with today’s Tweets, but I’ll worry about that tomorrow).

My most favourite achievement has been getting my phone to Tweet like a bird when a “mention” happens on Twitter.  If you have never suffered the confusion caused by your phone making a text notification noise for a mysterious something other than an incoming text, you won’t appreciate the enormity of that last one.  Until fairly recently, I barely ever bothered to charge my phone and I couldn’t understand the point of texting at all.  By way of explanation, a friend told me it was great for talking to your friends when you didn’t have time to chat.  At the time, that made no sense at all but now I’m a blogger!  How times change!

Anyway, In the process of navigating the blog sites, I came across a reminder of one of my favourite factoids:  Every day is worth 84,600 seconds!  This means that I have spent at least 36,000 seconds working on my little project today.  Working on the basis that every second is worth £1, you don’t get any refunds once it’s spent and the balance is cleared at the end of the day, I had to ask myself if this was time well spent and overall, can you believe it? Amazingly, the answer is a resounding YES!

An expert could have done this job for me in a matter of minutes, I’m sure, but then I would have missed the interaction with the people on the blogging sites, I would not be enjoying the feeling of FINALLY getting to grips with technology, and I would not now be enjoying a general sense of ownership over my pages.  I know I still have a thousand miles to go, but hey, every journey starts with a single step and I’ve taken several today!

I’m still new to blogging, so if you’ve read and enjoyed this, please feel free to like, share and even leave a comment!

HO HO Home ZZzzweet Home and considering resolutions

It is the fourth day since we arrived home and I am amusing myself by watching the Teens cope with jet lag.  I am relatively unaffected, since I used to work shifts when I did my nursing training, and shift work is good preparation for time-zone hopping.  So when I got up in the night for a glass of water to help my kidneys deal with the festive cheer, I was not entirely surprised to see the Teens wide awake and roaming the house searching for their old Guitar Hero guitar, which they haven’t played with for about 5 years.  There was a little bit of an altercation since I wouldn’t let them check the loft as this would have disturbed their dad, who has managed to bring himself within two hours of a normal sleep pattern.  This meant that I was then fully awake and as a result I sat up until 5am and now I too am very tired today. 

It isn’t all bad however, as the effort I have expended in trying to resist going to bed has cleared my mind of the normal day-to-day minutiae and enabled me to consider my new year’s resolutions.   It might seem a bit late but actually most of mine were formulated in November, after I had a near death experience which was much more unexpected than 21st December and which threw me into a tailspin of self-pity so bad I couldn’t even be bothered with the dramatic potential for a few weeks.  Luckily, I am an eternal optimist who always bounces back and on top of that, our holiday has lifted my spirits so much that even the rain-sodden return to grey UK climes could not lower them again. 

So what I was considering was not what my resolutions should be, but how I am going to implement them.  So I have the usual list – fitter, slimmer, tidier, more organised and more focussed – so far so normal.  But for me, with my dramatic tendencies, latent perfectionism and chronic fear of failure, what should be normal becomes unachievable because I try too hard and expect too much in too short of a time frame, thus discouraging myself.  

This year however, is going to be different!  Have you noticed that the list says fitter, slimmer, tidier etc. NOT fit, slim, tidy….?  This is how I am going to stick to my resolutions for the entire year, because what I am striving for is a little improvement every day – not a massive, sudden and unachievable change within a fortnight.  I also have the benefit of several mentors and role models whom I met or got to know better during the last year and who inspire me daily both in my working life and my social life which are occasionally interchangeable. 

All of this is underlined by Sunday Times Astrologer, Shelley Von Strunckel, who as I’m born on the cusp of Leo and Virgo I am delighted with for this year’s guidance.  To the Leo in me, she says “for you, much of 2012 has been about discovering and exploring a new freedom.  True, sometimes that process has been spurred by unanticipated or unwelcome events, yet with the expansive Jupiter supervising this journey of discovery, you’ll benefit from what you did and encountered and who you met for years to come.”  And to my Virgo side she promises  that “by the Autumn, when the courageous Mars enters Virgo, you’ll be making changes that, only months before, you wouldn’t have considered possible.”    Yep, she absolutely said what I just said above, except she added planets and removed specifics.  When it comes to me, I could totally do her job!

So the World didn’t end and now I can talk Christmas!

Since I am occasionally (not always unfairly) called a drama queen by those who know me well, it seemed appropriate to write my first blog the day after the world was going to end, but didn’t.

I’m still here, and hadn’t made plans so I finally have time!  As time goes on, you might see, despite my current resolution not to do it anymore that I am prone to procrastination.  I first set the wheels in motion for writing a blog at the beginning of October.  I took professional and very good advice on the practicalities of content, schedule, format, platform and other stuff that I still don’t understand.  It was my intention that blog-writing and posting would help with my chronic time-management issues with regard to social media – giving me a handy tool on which to base my social media interactions.  Instead I ventured into the blogosphere for inspiration and immediately started spending time reading a tiny selection of the many and varied excellent blogs out there.  This meant that, in addition to having even less free time because of my “research” I added even more self-doubt to the volatile cocktail that is my personality.  Luckily, because the world was going to end, but didn’t – I see an opportunity to venture forth with a new, braver me!

Actually, I am currently on holiday in sunny Florida.  With the end of the world approaching, I thought it might be nice to end my days on holiday, five hours behind the UK, in case it was a time-zone specific ending.  In the end, as I watched the clock turn past midnight, I started to think I might have been better off in Australia where I would have been amongst the first to know everything was OK – but then I realised that the Mayans were in South America and would have written the calendar according to their own daylight hours, so I was in the best place as far as time zones go after all.

During the build-up to this holiday, I started to question whether we were doing the right thing, because we have never been away from home for Christmas since The Teens were born.  It felt really weird to be packing summer clothes at a time when I would normally be cleaning taps with a toothbrush in preparation for a week-long Christmas visit by my parents.  However, now we are here I question why we’ve never done it before.   Suddenly, the perfect Christmas Dinner that I have always taken such pride in preparing doesn’t seem important at all and after a genuinely dramatic six months, in which I’ve been hospitalised twice for different reasons, started a business, and dealt with some major lifestyle changes (of which more in a separate post) – the opportunity to get out in the sun, have fun with my nearest and dearest, and take stock of life, the universe and everything is a blessing far greater than a perfectly cooked sprout.

This Christmas, for me then, is proving quite different from the norm and I am loving it even more than I thought I would when we booked it, not least because having seen 12.21.12 come and go, I am now quite sure it will actually happen!   In the corner of my temporary living room is a cute little 3ft artificial tree bought from Wal-Mart, which I am ridiculously pleased with, but just in case I feel short-changed I can always pop out and find a 30ft tall tree lavishly bedecked with about a million lights.  Better still, The Teens are happy!  No really – I know that last sentence is potentially an oxymoron but they really are happy.  They have talked to me in full sentences on several occasions and have even participated in conversations that included laughing and smiling.  I’ve gained some “cred” by going on an assortment of rides, some of which involved being turned upside down but have, so far, resisted being launched on the behemoth known as “The Incredible Hulk”.

Have a wonderful Christmas, whether you are creating traditions or breaking with them, and I look forward to speaking to you again in the New Year!

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Phillybookpick's Blog

GREAT BOOK PICKS -In the World of page turning thrillers !


The wacky stories of a crazy lady.

Parenting And Stuff

Not a "how to be a great parent" blog


All the interesting junk I find on the internet

Alina's Scentsy Scents

scentsy scents, an honest opinion about fragrances


Got teenagers? Then you know what I'm blogging on about.