Sunday, December 14, 2008

Our week :0)

Days whizzing by so fast ,and I keep forgetting (or running out of time) to write in here.

I cna;t even remember what we've been doing, lol, but somehow it keeps us busy.

I'll work backward and see if I can remember...

In the weekend we had our cousins J13 and M11 to stay...that was a lot of fun. They mostly monopolised the computers, but J13 spent a lot of time playing board games with Princess, and also drawing and making Christmas cards with her. It was very sweet.

The boys didn't want to go out on Saturday night, so we stayed home and had takeaways, treats and a movie together. It was very nice, and so good to just relax with them.

Grandma and Poppy came over for a bit on Sunday before heading of to meet friends and see Billy Joel in concert. Tombliboo has always had a bit of a thing for Poppy, and this visit was no exception. He hovered about his Poppy the whole time, and asked "Where'd Poppy go?" whenever he seemed to disappear (however briefly).

During the week, I made russian fudge (yum!) and did ordinary house and garden things.

We got a lot of shopping done on Friday night (first time we've attempted some Christmas shopping), and dn a bit more done on Saturday. We also went to the dentist- I had a toohache like nothing I've had before, and thought it was time :0(

Actualyl, now that I've been and there is no hole (though I can see a shadow), I wonder if it is a crack. Anyway, I was determined not to get fillings before I am not happy with any of the materials (with the possible exception of gold, which is out of the question anyway).

I was really pleased to learn that the hole I had 3 years ago, and opted for ozone treatment instead of a filling had in fact remineralised. I had two other teeth ozone treated, and expect the same result.

Princess has been counting down the days until Christmas, she is very excited. She reminds me regularly through the day of all the thinggns I ought to eb doign to get ready for Christmas.

Tombliboo is exctied by some Christmas lights down our street...he calls it "Ki-mas shirework"...which translated is "Christmas Firework", and it's not a firework, but I can see how he would think so.

I'm hoping J-Man will put up our Christmas lights in the next couple of days. He used to be *very* in to Christmas lights, even requesting them for his birthday, but the interest has waned somewhat. I might have to put them up myself :0)

We haven't got a tree yet...J-Man asked if we could please have a real tree this year, and we agreed. We agreed last year, but somehow there is always something we would rather spend $30-40 (for a small tree) on.

Tombliboo surprised us last night by correctly counting 5 little tokens in Spanish. It was terribly sweet. He is doing wonderfully with peeing on the potty. The only trouble is not knowing he has been and someone kicking it over before it's been emptied....only really a problem when we have visitors, since we're so used to having a potty around, and avoiding it"just in case".

I read an interesting article by Naomi Aldor about night weaning. She said that a co-sleeping toddler has no primal need for night feeds in to the 3rd year. I'm mulling that over and considering the possibility of night-weaning Tombliboo (who currently feeds every 2 hrs all night).

I'm reading a book called The Gabriel Method about weightloss. It appeals to me because it is a weightloss-without-dieting book, but it also makes some good points about how stresses and "lacks" in our lives translate (for our bodies) as reaosns to get fat, to stay safe.

It's a lot more complicated than that, but I feel it makes sense...that it doens;t matter how many calories you count, or how regularly you exercise- when there is some emotional worry in the mix, your efforts amount to nought.

Well, that's my story- and I'm sticking to it (for now) :0)

Photos (Dec 14 2008)



Our family :0)
My handsome husband :0)
My gorgeous J-Man (nearly 10) :0)
My beautiful Princess (aged 6) :0)
My scrumptious Tombliboo (aged 2, and not liking staying still for photos) :0)

Me, not normally keen on photos, but ah well :0)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Our week...






We've been busy as usual, doing not a lot that I can remember off-hand (I can't even remember when my last post was)...so I'll bulletpoint a few bits and pieces, and add some photos.

* Tombliboo ran to the potty to poop last night...hooray! He has been wonderful with pee for a while now- I finally learned to back off, and not mention the potty...hey presto! He just uses it without comment. When we're going out, I tell him ,"Keep those pants dry- tell Mama if you need the potty." And he does.

*We took the kids fishing! It was a Kids Gone Fishin' day at Mangere, and it was a tonne of fun...well, the kids weren't particularly interested in fishing- we were using (free!) handlines, where they have only ever fished off Grandma and Poppy's yacht with fancy rods. We also (inadvertently) picked the wrong spot, where I think (judging by more experienced fishermans' experiences) it was impossible to catch anything.


*I took Tombliboo and Princess for a swim while dh stayed home to watch Rugby, and J-Man played Maplestory (he's taking a voluntary break from WoW atm). I told myself I probably wouldn't take just the two of them again for a while...Tombliboo kept disappearing, and while I chased him I had no choice but to leave Princess alone...it was fairly hard-going. (never worse than whilst changing).

*We visited N and B (23 months) briefly), but it was a lot of fun. Their chicks have grown soooo much!

*We went to a Christmas show with our friends A and J11...that was a blast, and went so quickly. We saw more friends (E and M9) on the way out, which was a bonus.

*J and J22 months came to visit and that was a blast as well...so nice to just sit and natter...with a million interruptions from our toddlers, but still- just so nice.



*We're gearing up for Christmas, but I feel woefully behind on (even just the) basics of ordinary life atm. I really want to get a reusable advent calendar for the kids, where I can give them little treats that are beter than the piddly chocolate you normally get (which is no use for our lactose-intolerant children anyway) and no plastic...or if there is plastic, at least it is not of the "buy every December" variety.

*Tombliboo finally got "a monkey book" like he's been asking for...we live a minute from the library- why is it hard to get there some days??



*N and A5 came to play for the day...it was wonderful. Princess and A5 get on famously, and I thoroughly enjoy N's company. We cooked together, and watched Zeitgeist which is the most important thing I have seen in a while...one of those movies (like Who Killed the Electric Car?) which everyone should see.

*Princess made a robot costume out of a big box, which Tombliboo models here...



*We've painted, and drawn pictures, and made pizzas with playdough...we've planted seeds, and watered the garden, weeded her and there and attempted to trim the edges (I can't cut a straight line to save my life). We've read books, watched movies, and danced to cd's, made cookies, and plenty of popcorn. We've had a good week, full of joy.

The Long Emergency

I finally finished reading The Long Emergency and it was a very worthwhile read. It is a very detailed book, and blew my mind regularly.

The most important point (I thought) was that there is less than 40 years of oil left in the ground...that's the good news.

The bad news is that we have already passed the "peak"...meaning, that half the world's oil is already gone. At that point, I breathed a bit of a sigh of relief- yay- there's still plenty left. BUt actually, that was the half that was easy to get, cheap to remove, and the rest is not. There is plenty there that will never be recovered. This is because of the cost of recovering oil. As he described, if it costs a barrel to get a barrel, you engaged in futile activity...but if it costs 2 barrels to get one, you engaed in an act of madness.

He also describes the other "calamities of the 21st century", and they were alarming too...natural gas depletion, wars over oil, infectious diseases, and many more.

It's a very scary book (to quote Shrek), but an important one.

I would love all my fmaily and friends to start to really consider what our lives will be like when the oil runs out, and from now on- as it is running out (because it is already having a big impact...think about the price of cheese!). It's not just about how much petrol costs for zipping about in cars.



I was glad to finally get started on Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, but alas- it seems the world is against me reading that book, lol...my friend N from down south gave me another excellent book, which I think is more pertinent reading for me right now....The Gabriel Method.

I'm fairly sceptical about these sorts of things, but hey! I've tried everything else, so why not...and I love the basic premise...losing weight without dieting.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Comparing Children



I've been struggling with a few things for a while, when it hit me one day that the real struggle was that I was comparing my children.

Comparing them to each other, and to others...

Everyone knows you're not meant to do that, and I should know better...but I *do* compare.

Not always in a negative way...more like noticing that J-Man did such-and-such earlier than Princess, and Princess did this other thing earlier than Tombliboo, and so on.

Half of it, I think, is that I have such a good memory for incidental things...like when the babies took their first steps, or when J-Man started counting or read his first word, or when Princess started doing puzzles or began dressing herself, or when Tombliboo first used the potty.

But none of it is overly useful. For one thing, it breeds a sort of competitiveness- I'm wary of it, so I don't think it has been damaging...but lately, I have been worried that J-Man spends the hours in his day in a different way to most children, and very differently to his sister. It's bugged me because of issues of health, and of power-usage, and wondering about squandered potential.



I've worried that Princess is not yet reading, and more than that- she seems utterly convinced she cannot read, and therefore has no reason to attempt it. I've thought about where J-Man was at the same age, and the enormous discrepancy, and while I have seen that she is still on a level with children her age, I was not relieved.

And I've worried that Tombliboo still won't use the potty for poo, and is still happy enough to pee in his pants- where his brother and sister (not ec'ed, gently but conventionally "toilet-trained" at their request) had these things sorted by this age (24 months).

Such a lot of worry...such a lot of questioning myself and my beliefs about how children learn....wondering what on earth one could do to change these things, and feeling powerless because I do believe in the inate ability of children to learn what they need for their lives without artificial contrivance, or parental interference or any coercion.

I'm too tired to think things through properly at the moment, and have never been a deep thinker in the first place. It was just sitting with me...and it's not a nice thing to think.

And then it hit me...hallelujah!

Whenever I compare my children to others, whenever I don't accept (and adore) who they are right now...I am effectively saying they are not good enough, not quite complete, "less than", actually they are a disappointment.

And that is assuredly what they are not.

I must have known this before, and I'm not sure what changed...but I know it properly now.

I am loving the unfolding, and unfurling, the growing and learning I see...maybe I had stopped noticing it, stopped looking for it, got too caught up in the "end result" rather than this day, this hour, this moment.

J-Man explained the fractional reserve banking system, as well as the likely effects of peak oil to his guild members on WoW the other day. I only just learned about those things this year...is his potential being squandered? I don't think so.

Princess is not reading at double her chronological age like her brother was...but by 6, he had already stopped reading, where she still adores books- would love to visit the library every day. Watching her learn to read is fascinating...watching her learn anything, and wondering why "today" was the day, and what made the switch flick, is fascinating.

Tombliboo has begun to take his pants off and run to the potty, calling out "Where'd it go, where'd it go?", until he finds it (why oh why don't we leave it in the same place??). He used to only take his pants off *after* he had wet them. He is dry every night, and most days as well. I wouldn't say he's a grad yet, even for pee, but he's on his way. He's learning at his own pace, and in his own way.

All three of them are learning all the time, even when I don't see it, even when they are not aware. So, I'm back...and I'm loving it :0)

"Way more happy than just pleased"



Princess has been paid again for a tv ad that was filmed a year ago...they have decided to run it again this Christmas. I got so excited about her getting the thing she most wanted in the world (a Polly Pocket Mall), that I went and got it for her right away.

Dh thought that was so weird, and that I should have allowed her to have the excitement of going to the shop herself. I was certain it was what she most wanted, and that it was only part of the payment she received -so there would be plenty more shopping-opportunites. Still, I felt awful, when I realised that was precisely what I should have done.

Still, when she got home from friends (having had a fabulous time), I showed her the purchase, and she was ecstatic!

I said, "I'm so glad you're pleased Princess"...where she said, "I'm way, way more happy than just pleased!"

She has loved getting a few more bits and pieces she wanted.

I suggested she might like to get something for J-Man, after she purchased Tombliboo another (soft toy) Hippo he has wanted for a while.

She said she planned to, and she was going to buy J-Man a big bag of lollies. She has no real concept of money or the value of different things. I said J-Man might feel a bit stink about getting a bag of lollies when she had been paid quite a substantial amount.

She said, "Oh, yes- well, then, I'll buy him *two* bags!" (lol).

Princess says the most lovely things...like that I'm the best Mummy in the world, and yesterday commented, "Some days mothers probably wish they weren't mothers, aye Mum?"

I said that some moments are harder than others, but that I loved being a mother...she said, "Oh! I didn't mean you- I know you love being our mummy!"

I had also decided to take the kiddos to McDonald's for breakfast...mostly because we never do that, and we were out of plenty of stuff, and we were running short on time, and I also had plenty to do, and wanted it done early.

On the way, Princess said, "I can pay for the breakfast if you like, Mama."

I was about to say ,"No, it's OK- Mummy will pay", when I thought I shouldn't knock her offer, so instead asked, "Would you like to?"

She blew me away, by saying, "Oh yes! I'd be honoured."

Honoured to buy the family breakfast? What a bizarre, but lovely thing for a little girl to say.

Some days I wonder when she will "get" money, but mostly I love that she doesn't- that it is nothing to her, that the packet of bubblegum the agent sends with her cheque is more exciting than the cheque itself.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday- Grey Lynn Festival

We headed out to the Grey Lynn Festival today for the first time...what a lot of fun we had.

We met our friends N and B(22 months) and ate a picnic lunch there.

We wandered about the stalls, and the kids had a ride on a bouncy slide.



There were so many tents/stalls, and it was a blast looking through them- and being amazed at the creativity of people. We all enjoyed looking at he native instruments, and J-Man bought a pan-type flute, and a really cool whistle for Princess.



Tombliboo really enjoyed looking at this worm farm. He dug around in it with a stick as well, and there were people looking on and exclaiming over how cute and brave he was (lol). He kept saying 'I saw some-ping, I saw some-ping", and it was all very exciting...



There was a cool giant red fish at he Greenpeace stand, which the kids enjoyed...



J-Man was really keen to have a go at being the person inside it, and asked if they would mind if he had a turn (a very hot, red and sweaty man had just come out), and they agreed!

J-Man the Fish...


We stayed for ages watching this man with his fabulous bubble wands...



Then Tombliboo stayed for ages watching this man sing and play his guitar. (He also then tried to take the money from the man's coat which amused osme onlookers).

Next we went to the Ukelele Festival primarily to drop Princess off with friends (she is spending the night away), but also to support our friends' children who were performing in it. It wasn't overly exciting, but still fun catching up with friends, and seeing new things.



Tombliboo kept going like an energiser bunny and finally crashed on the way home...and has spent most of the evneing asleep...meanwhile, dh, J-Man and I are hanging out on computers. J-Man (nearly 10) is getting married on WoW on Tuesday (lol), and is having a Bachelor's Party tonight...too funny.

Sad

Yesterday Princess, Tombliboo and I went to the supermarket early and I was struck by how many Intermediate-aged kids (10-13 yrs olds) were walking to school, eating garbage.

Now when I bought lunch when I was that age, I also bought rubbish, so I don't mean to sound too self-righteous. But it was a different *kind* of rubbish.

I used to get a luncheon and salad breadroll, a doughnut and a Zap (strawberry or chocolate flavoured milk) for $1. I still remember because I remember the day it went up to $1.05c and I had to decide which of my three faves I would not be able to buy that day. The same "meal" would cost at least $5 today. Not particularly healthy, but not Twisties and Mountain Dew like I saw kids consuming yesterday.

Now I wonder if these diets are contributing to all the problems I hear about schools...children getting bullied, children being bullies, teachers getting abused.

It has to have an influence.

The number of chemicals and nasty additives in food today is quite disgusting...and, noone has bothered to check what reaction a "cocktail" of these chemicals will produce. Nor has anyone (as far as I know) researched the effect on our bodies of consuming these additives often and over a long period of time (years).

I have read that the *entire* human population will react to msg at some particular dose. Some people, like us, react afer a very small dose- but the whole world does react, so why is it in our food? And what happens when half (or more) of a class have been eating the stuff for breakfast?

This is a great website for finding out more about msg in particular.

The "numbers" to avoid flavour enhancers like msg are

Glutamates incl MSG 620-625

Ribonucleotides 627, 631, 635

Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein (HVP)

While you're at it, some other additives that are especially problematic, and very good to avoid are

COLOURS

102,104,107,110,122,123,124,127,128,

129,132,133,142,151,155

natural colour 160b (annatto)

PRESERVATIVES

Sorbates 200-203

Benzoates 210-213

Sulphites 220-228

Nitrates, nitrites 249-252

Propionates 280-283

SYNTHETIC ANTIOXIDANTS

Gallates 310-312

TBHQ, BHA, BHT 319-321

ARTIFICIAL FLAVOURS

No numbers since they are trade secrets

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Wonders of Baking Soda :0)

Here are the current uses for baking soda in my home...

1. Toothpaste! Yes- I know, it tastes completely disgusting...but Wow! After my second brushing, dh confirmed what I thought I was seeing in the mirror- my teeth are whiter! Incredible stuff. I have been using unconventional toothpaste for a while, but lately I have begun to think that we are merely swapping nasty products for ok ones, but still "*products*...still stuff we need to go and buy from a shop...I'm not relaly happy abtu that for myself, happy enough for the children for now- because, really, I can't see any of them agreeing to brush with baking soda ;0)

2. Deoderant/anti-perspirant! I know, sounds crazy...but it works, boy-oh-boy does it work! Here's the thing... I tried going wihtout deoderant a few years ago- it did *not* work. It wasn't tooooo bad, but it was a pain, and I really couldn't get it to last for the day...and I didn't feel comfortable leaving the house. We changed to non-aluminium (crystal) deoderant, and that does the trick reasonably well, as well as any conventional deoderants anyway...and that's another thing, none of them really worked with me anyway. Maybe it's the breastfeeding, or maybe becauseI am overweight- I don't know...but I stink! I can shower in teh morniong, apply deoderant, and still smell by 10am :0(

In fact, I had begun to suppose the smell (of me, laas) was trapped in my t-shirts, and that was that. I tried using baking soda (applied damp in armpits) on Saturday, and I still sweated- but there was no smell...I only put it on once, and all day long, I didn't stink, not even once...wow!

3. Shampoo! We ll, I tried this a few years ago too- and it did work, but I go all fussy (and mopey) about the fact that my hair didn't smell nice...how silly...but that was me then, and I have changed (and I also have some good essential oils). We changed to organic shampoo, which still had nasties, and still didn't suit my scalp. We changed to all-natural shampoo soaps and have been reasonably happy since (though the soap does build up, I htink). The difference between then and now, is also that I thught I needed to wash with baking soda (bs) and apple cider vingear (acv) every day...I don't.

Last week, I washed my hair once with bs, once with acv, once twice with water....it looks lovely, it feels soft, it is definitely not smelly, and certainly does not look unclean. I'm also trying to change my "under 5 minute" showers to under 2 minutes.

And then there are the standard uses...cleaning pots I neglected too long ;0( and making volcanoes for the kiddos, deoderising the carpet, making banana cakes and cleaning the sink.

Currently the rest of my supply is languishing on the lounge floor, where tombliboo got it while I was in the shower- I suppose I hsould be pleased he was trying to clean.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

When your toddler seems unusually quiet...

We bought a bubble machine!










What a lot of fun we all had (and bubbles floating down the street)...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

J-Man is Level 70!




J-Man leveled his main World of Warcraft character up to level 70 on Tuesday night!

That is the top level...at least until the new expansion pack is released at midnight tonight.

So proud of him :0)

He has been torn between wanting to level up, and knowing he also wants to spend more time with his family. He actually told his guild members last week that "WoW is getting in the way of his family time"...too sweet.

I think a balance can be struck. There is no way I would want him to give up a game that gives him so much pleasure.

He and Daddy will be going to pick up their pre-ordered copy of Return of the Lich King tonight, and I don't think they will be going to bed early tonight!

Photo Note: That t-shirt has a caption..."You want me to go outside? Is that a secret level?"

We saw Thomas!



We went to the Glenbrook Railway Station for a special day. Tombliboo is really in to trains, and we have been meaning to go for (literally) years anyway...so it was perfect.

J-Man wasn't so interested in going on a steam train (he went on one when he was 2), so he and Daddy stayed behind to chat, and watch trains. Princess, Tombliboo and I went on the steam train with our friends J, M and little J (22 months).

It was wonderful- everyone had a great time. Tombliboo loved being on the train, and looking out the window. Mostly, he liked to stand on the bit between the carriages, looking through a gate at the tracks whizzing by.



One of his favourite things to do at the moment, is ask, "How many?" then proceed to count. Where he used to be able to count to 1 or 10 (often missing 5), he now counts "1...2...6", which is kinda cute, and kinda weird as well. He enjoyed counting trains, and pointing out their eyes, and noses etc.



We went home with our friends, while Daddy and Princess went to the bach for the rest of the weekend. They had a wonderful time, Princess had been wanting to get "her turn" alone with Daddy since J-Man had had his. She was bursting when I told her it was time. Daddy loved it too...there is somethingso very special for parent and child about some time alone together. It made me kinda envious of my dh, but I'm sure I will get my turn (htough Tombliboo does look set to breastfeed until he's 11, lol).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tombliboo is 2!





Our special little fellow turned 2, and we had a great day celebrating him. (I had woken up at 2:35am- a minute before his actual birth time, and given him a kiss and an extra special snuggle).

It was a different day than we had planned (meeting friends at the zoo) because he woke up with spots all over his arms and legs. He had had some (what we presumed were...) fleabites on his knees the night before, but they seemed to multiply as the evening wore on, and in the morning there were loads of them.

The rash on his arms looked different- not like bites, and I started to panic about what could be wrong (have we not had enough worries the last couple of weeks??). I imagined he must be getting measles, since our other chidlren have had chicken pox and I knew it wasn't that.

We took Tombliboo to the Dr for a diagnosis, asking that our friends stand-by rather than leaving for the zoo, but the Dr couldn't tell us what it was. He said the most likely diagnosis was a post-viral rash, but he mentioned some other possibilities we didn't like the sound of- so opted not to (possibly) infect our little friends.

I felt awful since we had said we were going to the zoo, and we had also told him he would be seeing his friends. I know, logically, he probably doesn't really care- but it feels like I lied (at least that is how I imagine a 2 yr old might see it).

He got some super-cool presents...we bought him a Thomas train, which he instantly loved. I think the rest of us might have dropped off the face of the earth at that point, and Tombliboo wouldn't have noticed (so long as we left a pair of "boobahs"). Daddy joined the tracks up to our other wooden train set- this is why Dads buy train sets, you know (and he thought he wanted a slot car set, lol).


I got the cake made, and for the first time since Tombliboo's birth- I was happy with it.


We all puddled around home, being attentive to Tombliboo (who, as I hinted at- didn't notice). Daddy was spending the day with us (he always takes the children's birthdays off work).



In the afternoon, we went to a park and out to a toyshop for Princess to pick up the present she purchased for her little brother (a Limited Edition Gold Thomas train). J-Man had bought him a Russ Hippotamus (Tombliboo says "hippo" or "hippy-poh-ee-miss" soft toy- Tombliboo had tried to take it from the shop a few times, and on the last occasion J-Man had promised he would buy it for him on his birthday.




I was really proud of them...

last year, I gave them money to choose something each that they would like to get their little brother. This year, I didn't think we would have the money, and I said the train set was from all of us- but they spent (more than) their fortnight's pocket money/allowance on the present they thought he would most like. It wasn't like I remember my brother buying things for people that *he* would like, lol...they thought long and hard about what Tombliboo would most like- and they were right- he loved their presents.



Princess made him a nice card, and J-Man downloaded a birthday song for Tombliboo to listen to on his PSP (he recently spent the last of his ad money on a 2nd hand PSP).

We spent a long time at the park, and it was a lot of fun. It was back home to the trains, while I got dinner ready, and after dinner we did the cake.

Tombliboo was adorable- he was *beaming* as we sung, and he knew what the cake was (unlike Princess on her birthday lol). He cut it himself, and we all had far too much (well, it was a honey and date cake- sugar and colour free, so the "big" kids mostly just ate icing). It was actually very nice, but dh remembers well his dislike of dates at their age.



The evening was more trains, and Tombliboo wanted to watch Scooby-Doo and the Care Bears, which we did. He fell asleep around 10pm, and I carried him to bed. I stared at him for a very long time, busriting with love for this wonderful little person we all adore- and promising him a trip to the zoo a soon as we can.