Tips for an awesome Vacation at Walt Disney World!

So we just went on holiday – to DISNEY WORLD, FLORIDA! My mind = blown. It was awesome!! So, I figured I’d compile a list of some things we found handy & some other things you simply MUST DO when you’re there! (Nb. Some of these apply to folks who have young children (because I have young children!) Some are just child-free, friendly advice!)

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1: Don’t have any pre-conceived ideas.

Let’s just get this out of the way now; young children? Disney World? It will be harder than you think. How hard do you think it will be?

Ha!

Triple it.

Now I’m not saying it won’t be the best holiday of your whole entire lives, that it won’t surpass all your expectations & be absolutely magical – because IT WILL. But I’m just saying; prepare yourselves.

You know how cranky your child gets when they’re overtired at home?? OK, well add to that the heat. And the fact that they’ve been walking for hours. And probably queuing for rides. And are confused by the time difference. And don’t understand how, when it rains, it RAINS.

Like I said – triple it.

2. Nap time.

Seriously. Those kids are going to NEED naps. Even if they haven’t napped in 2 years, they’re going to want to nap on holiday. And you’re going to want them to. Everyone will want them to. And it will be so worth it. Break up your day – spend the morning in Animal Kingdom, go MAKE them have an afternoon nap, go back out to Magic Kingdom in the evening & watch the Fireworks – believe me, it will make for a much more enjoyable & fulfilling holiday for all involved.

2. Meet Mickey Mouse

I’m talking about a specific Mickey here.

Yes, they’re all great – heck, they’re a life-sized Mickey Mouse!

But the one I’m talking about is at Magic Kingdom doing Meet & Greets in the Main Street Theatre.

Do it; just do it!

It will surpass all of your expectations when you see your little ones faces light up in sheer joy & adoration as their childhood ‘idol’ starts talking & interacting with them. Because he can TALK! His mouth moves & he blinks & everything!

It. Is. Awesome.

HE HAS AN ANIMATRONIC HEAD!

*cough* Sorry, what I mean to say (as my husband was told by a lovely Disney Worker when he enquired about whether there was a talking Minnie) is that “Mickey is the only one who has learned to talk”.

It is truly fantastic.

One of, if not THE, absolute highlight of our trip. Magical.

Look at Babu’s face =’) ❤

mickey

3. Follow your parental instincts.

Some of the rides your child is tall enough to go on, you will NOT want them to go on. You know your child best. Noah, for instance, has night terrors, is scared of the dark, monsters, ghosts & anything remotely creepy – but he is tall enough to go on the Hollywood Tower of Terror in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Uh huh. No way. How easy do you think it would be to get him on a ride after that? The word TERROR is in the TITLE! Now, that’s not to say you can’t go on. Have at it. Child swap (we’ll cover this later.) But think carefully about what your child can cope with – you know them best. My parents went on & witnessed an awful experience where a little girl cried in fear for the entire ride. Awful.

tower of terror

4. Take advantage of the child swap system.

This is brilliant!

If you have children too small to go on a ride but you yourself want to go on it, tell the ride worker that you wish to do a “child swap” & they will give a ticket to the person (or people) waiting with the children which they can then use when you exit the ride. Though be warned, you will have to entertain them while you wait……….

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The ticket is valid for a few extra days too, so you don’t have to use it there & then, & it is normally valid for up to 3 people. It also enables the child waitees to go through the Fast Pass queue instead of the standard line. This brings me on to the Fast Pass+ system.

5. Fast Pass+

60 days before your trip begins, you can go on line at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/plan/my-disney-experience/fastpass-plus/ and start booking your Fast Passes. Each person is entitled to 3. (Once you are there and have used your 3, you can then head on over to a kiosk situated in all the Disney Parks & book a fourth (for that day) & so on.) What we did (sneaky sneaky) is get a “Child Swap” Pass for the children-waiting folks hanging with the baby, head on through the Fast Pass queue with our Fast Passes & the kiddos big enough to go on, & then when we emerged the waitees would use there Fast Passes & the “Child Swap” pass to go back on, taking the children on with them again. Hey presto! The boys got to ride twice! Genius!

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6. Prepare for rain.

Since visiting Florida I have discovered something – English rain is not real rain. Real rain is Florida rain. It will appear out of nowhere, drench you in seconds, & then clear up faster than you can blink (or hang around for a while – weather can be unpredictable like that.) Rain Macs/Ponchos are a must (though beware, those things can RIP!), as are umbrellas (though don’t put them up when it’s thunder & lightening – yikes!) & pushchair (stroller) rain covers. We were caught out a few times. The pushchair was caught out once. It wasn’t pretty.

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7. Meet characters.

This relates back to Mickey, but really, take time to meet the characters.Yes, queuing is boring. Yes, it’s solely for your children. But believe me, out of everything, they remember those character meets the best of all. Get them an autograph book & have Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Jake, Sophia – all of them – have them sign them! They’ll treasure them forever; & you’ll treasure the memories. Seriously, these meets were the things I enjoyed the most. The boys loved them & so did I; beautiful.

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jake

goofy

minnie

8. Take in your own water.

I can’t really elaborate more on this except to say, tap water in Florida is…well…gross. It’s never properly cold & (I think) has a weird taste and/or smell. You need to head to the supermarket (Walmart, Publix), buy a case of lots of individual bottles of water & stick them in your fridge. Then on the morning you’re due to head off, pack them into a little backpack & off you go! I’d probably suggest two bottles each (you’ll drink some things in the parks anyway & you don’t want to be lugging too much about! But, there was one day where we were so hot & desperate for a drink having devoured our bottled water that we had to use some water fountains. YACK! Don’t get caught out!)

9. Budget your spending money by day.

This is probably a given, but it will really help you out (especially if you’re vacationing on a budget!) We even gave the boys an allowance each morning before we headed out! It’ll save time, arguments & take any monetary pressure away from your trip! We’d also budget any food money for each day (whether we were eating out or eating in the Villa.) e.g. $20 adult spending, $10 child spending, $100 food for the family. Anything not spent on one day, would carry over to the next. Easy squeezy!

10. Stay close to the parks.

We didn’t do this. I mean, we weren’t far out but the advertised “15 minute drive” from the Villa every day ended up being over 40 minutes due to traffic problems etc. (I’ve never seen so many accidents!) So, stay close. International Drive has some great places & my parents have stayed there before, as well as my sister, & they loved it. If you can afford it, actually stay ON one of the parks! That’s one of our (very very far into the future) future dreams =D Don’t get me wrong, the Villa had its upsides – it had its own pool, it was quiet & relaxing, we had Wifi, & Cable, a fridge/freezer (American sized – yeah baby!), a dishwasher, a washer, a dryer, a Games room, individual bedrooms – it was truly lovely! & it might be just the thing for your family!  But the time we would have saved had we stayed closer doesn’t bare thinking about…

holiday-budget

11. Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure & Seaworld

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If you can, just go. I guarantee it’s worth it! Especially if you love Harry Potter like some people I know…

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Pooily (Yes, I’m treating that as a real word) the newer section in Universal wasn’t open when we went, but it will be for you *scowls* We at least got to see a few sneaky glimpses…

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the dragon

 

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So close, yet so far… anyway, *cough* May be getting slightly off track here…

There’s so much I can say about Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure that it would take a whole new Blog Post to cover it, from Curious George Town,

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to Springfield,

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to the new Transformers 3D ride,

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to Seuss Landing (my boys came away OBSESSED with Dr Seuss).

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It really is just awesome – all of it! I particularly recommend the children’s sections – I didn’t even Mention Fievel’s Playland where everything is oversized to make you feel like a mouse! It is all wonderful! (Incidentally, bare in mind that their Child swap system is better than Disney’s (you can take the children through to the ride with you & there’s a “Child Swap Room”)..but their Fast Pass system is not. Really)

SeaWorld is fun – the kids section is great! And Manta is awesome (if slightly terrifying for folks afraid of heights…)

(I’m not going to get into a whole animal cruelty/abuse debate as that isn’t what this Blog Post is about, however I will say that it is clear in relation to the Killer Whales that things need to change.)

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I definitely recommend The Clyde & Seamore Show – both day & night – (HILARIOUS), The Dolphin “Blue Horizons” Show, sitting at the front right (or left) of the “A’lure, Call of the Ocean” Show (you’ll thank me later), viewing the Beluga Whales & feeding the dolphins! Hint – in the shows featuring animals, you might not want to sit at the front…when it says “Splash Zone” it means “SOAK ZONE!” We super enjoyed it – especially at night!

Which reminds me – as great as the parks are throughout the day, at night that is when they look truly MAGICAL – believe me – there’s just something different about them – the entire feel & atmosphere – I just loved them all at night!

I think I enjoyed Universal/Islands of Adventure a bit more than I did Disney (don’t tell the kids that…) with Harry Potter being the pinnacle for me (obviously!) but it is all fantastic!  Babu in particular is still Disney World obsessed with Magic Kingdom being the highlight – Mickey Mouse, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the section dedicated to Beauty & the Beast, Cinderella’s Castle (which he’s still convinced Mickey lives in), Goofy’s Barnstormer, Dumbo, Peter Pan’s Flight, the shows, Tomorrowland, the Journey of the Little Mermaid &, of course, the characters!

There’s still so much I haven’t mentioned but my main piece of advice I have saved until last & it is this;

12. Enjoy it!

Truly. There are so many things to see & do that you can feel rushed & hustled & bustled by the crowds & meeting your Fast Pass Plus deadlines, but really, the only thing to do is to have a good time! Don’t complain about the queues, don’t hurry by to the next place you need to be without looking around you – imagine what you could miss! – don’t get stressed out by the kids whining – just think where you are! Just imagine the hundred – thousands – of people dying to be in your shoes! & you’re there! Love every second! Take the time to take photos – & lots of them! Cherish the memories you’re making!

Have FUN!

Mum Problems Part 3…

…continued…

Mum Problem #9

They grow up too fast…

Seriously; they never stop.

This week has been a week of milestones: Toby started nursery, Jonas has been teething, & Noah (for the first time ever) has had his hair cut short. (Excuse me while I go sob into a pillow…waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…OK, done.)

kids grow up

It’s not like I didn’t know children grew up, got older, developed & changed – I’m not a complete idiot – but I just didn’t realise it happened so damn fast! All those people – grandmas, parents, aunties, perfect strangers – who tell you to cherish each moment, that it passes by in the blink if an eye – I used to roll my eyes at them. But now I’m ONE OF THEM! Even Jonas, with his chubby red cheeks & expanding waistline, is defying old me, taunting old me, telling old me what a fool she was . Why didn’t I believe them? Why did I scoff at them? Where has the time GONE??

I never thought about schools when we were deciding to have children. I admit it – I never even thought about them getting older! You think “let’s have a baby” but you seem to block out the realisation (or at least put it off for a long while) that these babies don’t stay babies forever! They get teeth, they learn to walk, turn on the TV & wipe their own bums (can’t say I’m not looking forward to that one though…) Children are geniuses – absolute geniuses! They learn to recognise your boundaries & push, they figure out who the softest parent is & exploit that knowledge, they learn how to lie & laugh & make you giggle when they’ve done something wrong (GENIUS!) They are funny & passionate & unstoppable, testosterone fuelled creations who need every bit of our patience & grace & wisdom & tact. & love. I love my children. I love them so much I physically don’t know what to do with myself sometimes (I won’t say the cliché “it hurts” because I’m not so sure that’s an accurate description).

Noah is due to start school this year.

Home Education is a definite option for us & something we’re seriously considering. I’m self-employed, I work from home, the idea of sending them to school fills me with dread…

I want our boys to pursue things that truly make them passionate & excited. I want them to learn at their own speed. I want them to come out of their educational experience feeling empowered & believe they can do anything. I want them to WANT to learn. I want their own curiosity to fuel their learning. I want them to finish the things they start in their own time. I want them to learn something because they are genuinely interested in learning about it or out of necessity, not because they have to fit into a category. I want them to play out & read by the river & dance in the garden & learn about the sea by going to the seaside & travel to a farm to study animals & do nature drawings & collages & learn to follow their own intuition. I want them to act out of freedom – I want them to explore this world – their world – in a safe environment, to let them make choices & make mistakes & learn from them, learn how to make the right choices & not have them penalised for sometimes making the wrong ones. I want them to learn in an environment of love & acceptance & tolerance & discipline. I want them to learn how to control themselves.

The things Noah knows now are mostly down to what he’s learnt at home. This isn’t because we wanted to force information on him, but because he’s asked about things & let his curiosity guide him. I’m sure all children are the same! He wanted to know how the rain cycle worked, what makes things fall down, how motors run, how to count to 100 – & he’s learnt & remembered most of these things because of his natural curiosity. He can do addition & has started to wonder & learn about subtraction. He loves playing eye spy & using phonics. He wants to build things out of blocks & loves what happens when they fall down. He wants to help me cook & he wants to wrestle & know how the human body works. He loves to sing – & is nearly always pitch perfect – & learns words to the songs he likes by listening to them. This is all him – all that he wants to know!

Even so, thoughts keep running through my head that scare me into thinking I’m not capable of teaching them. What’s funny is that I always had in the back of my mind that I could perhaps be a teacher one day, so what  makes me incapable of teaching my own children?

I saw a quote the other day that read “Do what you won’t regret” & since then I’ve been asking myself, what won’t I regret? Will I regret trying Home Education or giving it a go? Or will I regret sending him to school & not trying? The funny thing is, you have to opt in to school, not out, meaning the default for a child is Home Education. I’ve been pondering on that a lot over the last few days…

I can’t believe I’m even writing this right now. It only seems like it was yesterday that we were deciding to have a baby & now we’re choosing schooling options…I look at Toby, school bag in hand, & my heart aches. I can already see them headed off to university. Even my sweetie Jonas. I keep reminding myself, every day, not to take anything for granted, not to get cross so quickly, not to push them to be big boys just yet – they’ve got a heck of a lot of time to be adults. For now, I just want to let them be kids & I want to be there to experience them – every step of the way…

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They grow up too fast…

Now a song to make you all weep into your evening supper…

…to be continued…

Mum Problems Part 2…

Continued…

Mum Problem #5

Eating.

baby food

Now this covers a whole range of topics, from putting on weight because their treats just look (& inevitably taste) so damn delicious, to never being able to eat a proper meal as all you have time to do is snack, to your snacks never being healthy ones because all you crave is a sugar high to get you through the rest of the day, to picking at their leftovers because you’ve spent the day not eating properly & now you’re STARVING, to learning how to eat like a monkey with your toes when you’re breastfeeding & I have no free hands (not really…), to getting to your dinner at goodness knows what time & realising you’re not hungry anymore. *sigh* I miss food…

Mum Problem #6

Television.

tv kids

You’re TV time is restricted until after their bedtime because, despite having paid for the TV, having set up the TV, & bought everything they watch on the TV, they consider it their property. Even the old “let’s take it in turns to watch something” still somehow forgets to include you.

Mum Problem #7

Everything is a mission.

You can never just go out. You have to have a plan. All parties must stick to the plan. If one person veers away from the plan, you must forfeit the plan & formulate a new plan. Formulating a new plan can take a long time.

You must prepare a bag – sometimes two – of all the things you will need, may need & think you need for the day. You will inevitably forget something important, e.g. your mind.

Mum Problem #8

Meals are a major pain in the badoingedie.

choice foods

If you have one child, they won’t like what you’re giving them. If you have two children, one will like what you’ve made, the other will think it’s Satan’s poop. They will throw it, refuse to eat it, tell you they hate it (even though they ate it last week & declared it was the “bestest ever”). You will beg. You will plead. You will hope & pray. You will threaten them with time out. You will put them in time out. You will give them a choice. They will choose the wrong choice. You will end up eating their dinner (see Mum Problem #5 for details…)

To be continued…

Music Snobbery

(Disclaimer: This post probably does not peg me in a good light. Roll with it though; I’m pretty sure everyone feels the same way, whether it be hidden deep down or blatantly slung in someone’s face.)

My name is Nina & I’m a Music-aholic.

I love music. I’m in love with music. If I were stranded somewhere & I could have only one thing, it would be music. Even above food & conversation & great works of literature. I need music in my life. Correction; I need my music in my life.

I’m a music snob. A complete & utter snob. I have this (sometimes) hidden need to be right when it comes to music. I almost feel like I have a monopoly on all good music. Heck, not almost – I do feel like I have a monopoly on all good music. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you disagree with me about a certain track or album I won’t sound off at you (unless you’re my husband, but he promised to love me in sickness & in health & (as said by Monica – “this is my sickness”!) I may however think a little less of you. Sorry. =/ Does that make me a terrible person?

*I can’t resist using a FRIENDS video…*

 

Either way, I like to think I have a fairly eclectic taste & open mind when it comes to music. I just love it. From Des’ree’s soulful tone, to the rough passion of Dave Grohl, to Jeff Buckley’s purity, to The Civil Wars unarguably perfect harmonies, I love music. I love a moving melody, a catchy riff, an interesting or touching lyric. Harmonies are what really do me though. I love a good harmony.

I should say however, that I do have just a couple of rules when it comes to music:

1. Never insult Jeff Buckley. Musical genius. No debate.

2. Never be too hasty in judging a piece of music.

3. Stick to your guns. If you love a piece of music, but no one else does, who cares? It’s your taste. Defend it. Explain why you love it. Maybe you’ll educate someone =P

Anyway…here’s a list of some of my favourite songs to listen to at the moment.** I’ll pop up videos of a few of them at the end too…

– Lover You Should’ve Come Over, Jeff Buckley

– Radioactive, Imagine Dragons

– Shelter, Birdy

– Turning Page, Sleeping At Last

– Roslyn, Bon Ivor & St. Vincent

– Heaven Song, Phil Wickham

I’m Kissing You, Des’ree

Iris, Goo Goo Dolls

Poison & Wine, Eavesdrop, Same Old Same Old, actually, anything by The Civil Wars

Heroes, David Bowie

– The Story, Brandi Carlile

– Atlas, Coldplay

– Hide and Seek, Imogen Heap

– Both Sides Now, Joni Mitchell

– Never Let Me Go, Florence and the Machine

– Everlong, Foo Fighters

**NB: These change. A lot.

Noah’s current favourite song is Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus. He sings it all the time and asks us to put it on as soon as we get in the car. I love that about him. He’s already developing his music taste. Actually in truth, I’m just so happy he’s moved away from Justin Beiber. Phew.

 

Now please, enjoy…

Mum Problems…

I’ve decided to do a list of mummy problems (as in parental mummy, not walking, groaning corpse). These will be listed 1 to however many I can think of, but aren’t done in order of importance. Sometimes there’ll be more than one in a post, sometimes just one lonesome giant rant of a problem – enjoy! And please, feel free to add!

Mum Problem #1

When you’re baby sucks their thumb so loudly you have to wear earplugs in order to sleep.

jonas thumb

Now this only really applies if your baby/child shares a room with you. And it’s only really doable if you have someone, AKA your spouse, to nudge you if said baby (or any other child you have) starts screaming the house down in the middle of the night.

I hate doing it, but from time to time, I have to wear ear plugs. I’ve tried a pillow over the head (my head, that is) & stuffing the duvet against my ears. I’ve tried listening to music with my earpods, but I can still here the continuous sucking noise. I’m a very light & sensitive sleeper. I hate any noise when I’m trying to sleep. Frustratingly ,I normally end up worrying that my husband won’t wake if one of the children starts to cry, or that we’ll get burgled & I won’t hear the dog barking or a door opening or the tell tale smashing of a window. I stay awake pondering random stuff which sort of defeats the object of the earplugs in the first place (because sleep is still not being had). I even lay awake & wonder if I’ve just heard a suspicious noise even though I know that’s impossible!

And then there’s the morning itchy ear-athon in which you remove the earplugs & you have to rub & rub & rub & find an earbud & scratch that itch that has suddenly sprung up from nowhere! Boo you earplugs, you unnecessary yet necessary evil!! BOO YOU!!

Mum Problem #2

Everything is a competition.

mums competing

Mum A: My child can use armbands now.
Mum B: Yeh, well mine has been out of armbands for a year.
Mum C: Really? Well mine’s never used armbands.
Mum D: My child can swim the 100metres now.
Mum E: Mine can swim 800metres.
Mum F: Mine can swim a mile.
Mum G: Mine’s going to swim the English Channel.
Mum H: Mine’s swimming the Atlantic Ocean…

And on it goes.

Ridiculous. But such an easy trap to fall into (My two boys can both use the toilet now – BOOM!)

Mum Problem #3

You become a professional worrier.

mum worries

Whats that rash? Is that seat belt tight enough? Do we have enough nappies? I think we need one more change of clothes. Are you sure that’s the right amount of Calpol? This show looks a bit scary. Are those shoes too tight? Did I give them enough vegetables? Is that a thick enough blanket? Are they warm enough? Are they too cold? Why are they crying? Do they have a fever? Should we have a schedule? Is the schedule we have working? Am I doing this right? Do they know I love them? Do they love me? Why do they keep fighting with each other? & on & on & on it goes…

Mum Problem #4

The poo.

poop

The poo, the poo, the poo, the poo, the poo. Number two. Doodoo. Jobby’s. Faeces. Caca. The shadoobie. Butt goblins. The funky monkey. Bum nuggets. Hell’s candy. Potty animals. The logs (TIIIIMMMMBER!!).

Ok, I just grossed myself out there a bit.

To be continued...

Smog Attack!

Anyone else not afraid to admit they’re a bit freaked out by this smog?

It’s like something out of a Sci-Fy movie, all this thick clouded air, folks taking it easy, not leaving their homes, faces covered with bandanas & masks. The Conspiracy Theories have already started – radioactive dust from overseas, gene mutating vapours sent by aliens to transform us all into them, mind altering gas released by the government to make us conform; I’d be surprised if someone doesn’t bring the missing MH370 plane into it at some point.

I think the problem is, that whether it’s going to kill us all or not (I keep swaying) we can see it. We’ve seen the air alter around us. We’re all watching our children breathing, fearful of coughing fits, wheezing, or the worst, an asthma attack. It might not be dangerous, but being able to see it makes any risk seem very plausible & real. It doesn’t help with the media posting pictures of people in makeshift mask contraptions & spewing scaremongering press titles (“Rise in 999 calls for breathing problems”, “The toxic truth”, “Killer smog”, “How to survive the pollution”.)

Air pollution. Level 10. A cocktail of man-made & natural pollutants. So much spiel. The medias sole initiative in the face of this is to bombard us with words evoking bad feeling & nasty connotations. Every time I turn on the TV I’m expecting to see footage akin to the Duck & Cover cartoons. They revel in the drama & the effect they can make it have on us & what’s more dramatic than an airborne death attack ?? It’s like they’re preparing us – that Deathcon Five is imminent. I admit it, as much as I think it’s ridiculous, there’s a teeny tiny, minuscule (though no less very real part of me) that’s a bit worried. Because once a niggling seed of doubt is planted, if we don’t stop it straight away it roots in & makes itself comfortable.

To be honest though, you definitely shouldn’t take my word for it; I’m weird when it comes to breathing. Maybe it’s a form of claustrophobia? If someone gets too close I fear they’ll breathe in my mouth/nose & I’ll breathe in their exerted carbon dioxide & die. Seriously. Well, slight exaggeration, but I sometimes think it. & I know it’s stupid. I know it’s not going to happen. But I still think it might. & it’s the same with this sandy air. I know it’s probably not going to hurt me – the chances are minuscule – but it doesn’t mean it couldn’t, in my mind. & even though I’m inside my home I’m still breathing in air – air that is made from outside my home. (I need to be surrounded by trees right now. Why don’t I live in a forest?? Where’s a gas mask when you need one???!)

I love the idea that once you’ve said something you can’t ever take it back – not really. Once it’s been said, it’s out in the universe for all to ponder on.

I haven’t read any conspiracy theories about aliens being in control of the smog. But I wrote it just a few paragraphs up. So now I’ve said it. & the majority of folks who read this won’t think anything of it – they’ll laugh it off as what it is, a joke. But I guarantee you, someone out there, in the back of their mind maybe or perhaps at the very forefront is thinking that it’s a possibility – that I haven’t just made it up, that I have a viable source where I got this information from. & they will search for it. & they will talk about it. & they will post it on Facebook & Twitter. & other people will see it, & voila – it’s everywhere! The media knows this. The media uses this tactic to get people talking about their stories. Everyone does it; films, TV shows, novels. No matter how ridiculous the idea, once it is said or written or shown, it’s out there (just think about Animal Planet’s Mermaid Mockumentary; they even outright stated it wasn’t real & yet people still believe it, even now.)

Someone said it so it must be true, somewhere. Someone thought it so it must have some grounding. It’s all ludicrous. After all, if I told Noah that the sea used to be pink, & that was in his thoughts & he told other people, it doesn’t make it any more true, does it? So by this theory, the smog will pass in a few days, blown away, and we’ll be left with clean(ish) tidy air again. No worries.

But then, just because the pink sea isn’t true to you or I, it doesn’t mean it’s not true to Noah. And so it is true. At least to one little boy.

Maybe the aliens really are up to something…

The future that believes… (p.s. I’m baaaaaack!)

A lot has happened since I last wrote a post.

Noah is now 4, entirely toilet trained & attending nursery.

Babu is now (almost always) referred to as Toby, has just started being potty trained, & is 3 in a few weeks time.

We have a new baby –  Jonas – who is nearly 3 months old. (I know – crazy, huh?)

I started my own business – upcycling, re-purposing & re-loving old furniture =O (Though I’m currently on Maternity Leave.)

So that’s sort of caught you up on all the major things that have been happening…

I don’t know why, today of all days, I’ve decided to come back on here. I seemed to take a long break from writing. I didn’t tell anyone – I didn’t tell myself. I didn’t even think about it; it’s wasn’t a conscious choice – I just did it. I finished my NaNoWriMo Novel (the first/second draft anyway) & just stopped writing. Maybe I needed a break. Maybe I needed new inspiration, a muse. Maybe I needed to get my head around 3 children (duh??)? Either way, I’ve just begun editing the novel again and, at the end of Chapter Two, I’ve found myself on here.

It’s odd, this need to write, this burn that comes in waves, never fully leaving but always simmering under the surface, ready at any moment to show itself & consume me, set me on fire.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like myself when I’m not writing. Maybe it’s not writing for you; maybe it’s painting, or dancing, or singing, or cycling, or building, or running, or designing, or math (though hopefully not math – please don’t say it’s math – I hate math (or should that be, math hates me??) I don’t think we can be friends if you say math…okay maybe we could, but no equations – please?) Anyway, I’m talking about the thing that you can’t forget or put aside – the thing that’s always there, even when it’s not.

I found myself coming back to it in the way I always do – in reading.

I went through one of my crazy reading periods recently, consuming every work of fiction I could get my hands on, reading one book after another, like a chain smoker only with books (Chain booker? Chain reader? Doesn’t have quite the same ring…) In the end, Ash accepted the inevitable & came home with a new book for me after every trip out to the shop – he knows me so well 😉

I think to be a writer, you have to first & foremost be a reader.

Reading: it is food; fuel; ammunition. It ignites passion in a writer. It inspires & challenges & scares us into thinking we’re running out of time – we have to write now or the moment will pass us by & we’ll never have our voice heard & we’ll end up living in regret of never pursuing our dream. I don’t want to be that person; I don’t want to be a person of regret. I don’t want my children to see their mother as someone who never chased after her dream – how will they ever run after theirs if I don’t show them the way?

As parents it’s our duty to pursue our dreams so that our children can do the same. We have to be persons of influence so that our children can do the same. We have to fight the fear & turn it around, use it to fan the flames of inspiration. We can’t give in to fear; we can’t let our children. I’m raising creative, talented, well-rounded, hilarious, passionate, hopeful, intelligent, wonderful, “we believe anything is possible”, faith-filled boys – I have to believe in myself so that they can believe in themselves. I’m doing it for me, yes. But ultimately, looking at the bigger picture & gazing at the (not so) far off horizon, I’m doing it for them.

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Food choices

So, Babu’s added eggs onto the long list of foods he won’t eat.

So that’s now …

  • Eggs
  • Fish (of any kind)
  • Mince
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Pastry
  • Butternut squash
  • Chicken
  • Steak
  • Kiwi
  • Lasagne
  • Pies
  • Pizza
  • Sausage
  • Bacon

It just goes on … and on …

He will forever be living off of pasta and cheese.

I don’t know. I don’t know how you convince a two year old to eat the things that are good for him.

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Threats? (“Eat that food or Buzz Lightyear gets it!” (Note: This has never happened.)) Bribery? (“I’ll buy you a new toy!” (Note: This has also never happened.)) Choices?

Choices are what we decided to go with – got to give the little fellas some kind of control haven’t we? Otherwise they’d run mad!

A family member recently told me that as long as they’re eating something, they’re fine. Her specific words were “If he only wants to eat crisps, let him eat crisps. If he wants to only eat ice cream, let him eat ice cream.”

I don’t think I agree …

I think if Toby wants to eat some ice cream, that’s fine, but he has to eat at least some kind of vegetable first. Or at least some of his meal. Surely sweets, and treats and sweet things are a privilege and, well, a treat(!) and should be treated as such? Noah’s fine with this. Noah’s three year old mind can deal with this and has learnt to compromise – he knows he has to eat his broccoli before he gets any kind of (dare I say it?) reward.

They both have a choice – either eat your dinner and get a treat, or don’t eat your dinner and get no treat. Noah always goes for the first (give the boy a clap!) but Babu … well, he does not. He will quite happily eat nothing and scream for an hour because of the one sweet he wants but he knows he can’t have until after he’s eaten.

Still, I think we’re making progress – he ate a full plate of food last night! YEY! Lets see if there’s a repeat tonight – COME ON BABU!!

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(On the whole choices thing, I’d recommend reading “Loving Your Kids on Purpose” by Danny Silk. AWESOME!)