Friday, 28 December 2012

Five Things for Friday: Family Life Edition

-1-

My youngest child is the clown of the family. At 2.5 years old, she does everything and anything she can in order to get a laugh from someone else. Unfortunately, my older children do not have discerning tastes when it comes to humour, so toilet jokes rule the day. Specifically, she has recently taken to calling me "Mummy Butt". 

I'm not too fond of that nick-name, to be honest.

So after a few days of asking her to stop, she occasionally reminds herself by coming out with, "No say butt?" and every time, I have to confirm this fact.

But this has severely limited her joking material. A two year old only has a couple of jokes, and I've taken one away! Don't worry, she came up with a replacement. 

Whenever I do something she approves of, such as helping her on the toilet, or serving food, or tying shoes, she'll say "Good doggie!"

At least before, I was actually human.


-2-

Yesterday was another daughter's birthday. She is now six years old! She has to use TWO hands to show her age! It's a breakthrough. As you can imagine, having a birthday so close to Christmas can be quite hectic. Ever since I found out her due date (the 1st of January, actually, so hurray for not going overdue!), I stressed about how to make her birthday memorable and separate from Christmas itself.

Our birthday traditions don't change for her, for one thing. She still goes out shopping for her own presents with birthday money (usually with just Dad, but we've had to be flexible on this one from time to time), she still gets to bake her own cake and eat the "first bite". (birthday kid takes a bite out of the cake before cutting) A banner or balloons or some such are put up. We usually forego birthday wrapping paper and either use plain paper or pile everything up on the table with a cloth covering it all. (I'd like to say this is because we're just so good at being green but it's mostly due to laziness!)

The day after Christmas, we take all the decorations down. We put them up during the first week of December, so we don't mind the mad rush to put them away straight after Christmas. This gives us a small break between two celebrations. 

Birthday parties are best in early January, after the flurry of family visits are out of the way.

Yesterday, I asked her if her birthday felt special, and she said yes. She quite likes her birthday being so close to Christmas, because she gets a mountain of presents by the end of it all! The rest of the year seems a bit hum-drum, of course, but at least she won't ever feel like her birthday was lumped in with Christmas. I heard stories of people's birthdays being forgotten, or presents combined into one "big" present, or a present wrapped in Christmas paper.... I mean, if it was no big deal, kids wouldn't carry those memories into adulthood, right? I didn't want that to happen to my daughter.

So far, so good. I look forward to making the same effort for many more birthdays to come!


-3-

We rent. Due to house prices, the way banks lend, being a single income family, and our family size, we'll probably be renting for a long time to come. As such, house decor has never been high on my list of priorities. 

A few years back, my friends came up with an AMAZING surprise while my husband and I went away for a short weekend break. They looked after our kids while at the same time repainted our living room! We had talked about painting the lower half of the wall a lovely chocolate brown for several years, but never really got around to it. These friends called in some more people and completely blitzed the house in 24 hours. It was jaw-dropping! I still smile thinking about it.

On a sad note, we moved out of that house a little over a year later, and the landlords wanted the walls back to off-white. Repainting the walls was a little bit heartbreaking but also just plain ANNOYING. The brown was really nice! It may not sound as good as I'm describing it, but it really gave the house some character, in a quiet sort of way.

We painted the house after moving most of the furniture out of the way, but it was highly stressful in a stressful situation (is moving EVER simple?!).

So this house has all white walls, except for in the kids' bedrooms, and we're keeping them that way. The girls' bedroom has one garishly pink wall - fine. My son's bedroom as a bright yellow wall - also fine. We've put a few pictures up and that's that.

But the rest of the house is bright white. Well, bright white from about 4 feet from the floor and upwards. My toddler views the walls as her blank canvas, and grubby hands make marks all along doorways and around light switches! 

I digress. On one wall, there was a lovely centrepiece of pretty wallpaper just on the part that jutted out around the (gas) fireplace. When we first moved in, it was in pretty great condition. Two years later, not so much. There were gouges and scratches and peeled bits of paper and it finally succeeded in driving me just crazy enough to do something about it.

Last night I started pulling it down, and 24 hours later, it's over halfway done. I do a little bit at a time, encouraging the kids to join in, and soon there will be more bright whiteness staring me in the face.

I will not succumb to the temptation of painting colour on the walls. I will keep them white. 

I may, however, buy some sort of vinyl sticker motif to put on the walls; at least they come off easily!












-4-

In about a month, I'm going back to the States for a visit! I've lived in England for 13.5 years, and have only been back ONCE. Isn't that crazy? Well, I mean, the cost makes it difficult, but still! Since I've been married, my husband has been to the States like 5 times or something. HE'S NOT EVEN AMERICAN. LIKE ME. I AM AMERICAN.

Okay, so most of those times he went for work. I'm still not letting him off easy.

The main reason I'm going back is to visit my friend and help her with her new baby. She's pregnant with her eighth! She'll need all the help she can get! I haven't seen her since she moved back to America about 6 months ago? I can't quite remember. Anyway, it's been a while! And my other friend, who also moved back to the States but over a year ago, is coming along to help with the baby too, and it's going to be a reunion! I'm super excited!

Hopefully, I'll be able to see family, too, but I don't know... direct flights between the two cities are hard to find, which is silly. The other flights had 2 or 3 stop overs and took 12+ hours to reach the destination. A direct flight would take 3 or 4 hours. Bah!

I'm kind of scared to leave my kids for 11 days, because I'm still breastfeeding my toddler and don't want to forcibly wean her. I have a feeling that she'll pick right back up from where we left off, but who knows, y'know? We'll see. She has Daddy and all her older siblings, so she'll be ok. Me? I'll probably be a wreck by the end of it, but at least I'll be comforted by a brand new baby to hold. Aaaahhh.


-5-

Y'all remember my Living Chemical Free series? Well, I thought I'd mention a new hair wash alternative that I just tried today.

Eggs.

Yup. Just crack that baby on your scalp and you're good to go!

Okay, not really.

You use the egg yolk. I just did it all in the shower, straight up. I cracked the egg into my hand, let the whites dribble through my fingers down the drain, and agitated the yolk in between my palms just like soap. I was surprised at how big the yolk is - way more to it than a blob of shampoo!

As I scrubbed it into my hair, the yolk left a white residue on my hands. Weird?! I don't know if the white was the grease coming off or what, but that was not the colour I expected.

Today my hair was pretty gross; I can't remember the last time I washed it, but probably a good week ago at least. I needed two eggs to get the job done thoroughly! (I just feel the need to mention here that I actually shower much more regularly than I wash my hair....)

So two egg yolks destroyed the oil slick on my head and left my hair tangle-free and soft and lovely. Hurray!

It doesn't smell of anything. My hair smells like hair. I was ever-so-slightly concerned that my ultra-hot shower would cook the egg on my head (which is silly, because I don't like my showers hot enough to scald my skin), so out of paranoia I turned the heat down to more luke-warm ish. 

I gotta say, I LOVE THIS. How easy is it to crack an egg, right? No prep work, no extra thought, no concoctions to brew up. Crack, plop, done.

So yeah. Try washing your hair with an egg. See what happens.

I also washed my 9 year old's hair with apple sauce today, because apparently it's good for dandruff and that child has dry skin issues. I didn't want to bathe her scalp in chemicals, so this seemed like a good alternative. FYI, make sure your homemade applesauce is skin-less. Those little pieces of apple peelings are not easy to wash out! However, I think it's been worth it because her head looks flake-free. I will update on that later.

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