makar [ˈmækər]
n (Literature / Poetry) Scot a creative artist, esp a poet
[a Scot variant of maker]

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays to all! xxxx

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I think you make your own happiness: some people are miserable even when they have everything, others make the decision to be happy despite devastating loss. I know that at some point, after my mum died, I decided to be happy again.

Today, I was basking in the glow of two hours of child-free, last-minute Christmas shopping, waiting for a latte in one of my favourite cafes, when I picked up the paper. One moment, I was happy and content, the next I was shaking all over, the blood drained from my face, the sadness coarsing through me. On the front page was a photograph of my cousin with her wide smile and twinkly blue eyes. Last Christmas she was here, this Christmas she is not: she will never be older than 23. Seeing her face suddenly put everything into perspective: all the superficial crap we worry about, all the nonsense we indulge in, means nothing. When you lose someone that you love that much, you wonder if you will ever be happy again. This Christmas will be a horrible ordeal for her mum and dad and her three sisters, but I hope that, despite the sense of loss that will never ever go away, they will one day have happiness in their lives again.

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's not over yet, but overall the activity advent has been a lot of fun. Some things have been more successful than others, and we did skip a few days because we simply ran out of time. It's actually established a rather lovely rhythm to the day, which I think I will try to keep in place. I'm also hoping to continue being a bit more creative with the activities we do during the rest of the year: I'm not much of a planner and tend to fall back on those old favourites of playdough, painting, or baking. Being creative and a touch more organised has increased my enthusiasm, as well as that of the kids. My little girl really wants to learn to sew, so I'm going to dream up some simple activities to get her started. I also definitely want to do more with clay, having recently rediscovered my own love of sculpture and pottery. As for baking, well, let's just say that constructing and decorating a gingerbread house is not nearly as much fun as it looks... Not, unfortunately, a tradition that I shall be incorporating into future Christmas preparations!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Whether you're attempting to resist or embracing it fully, now is a materialistic time of year. There's just no escaping it. For the last few years, I've found myself getting a little down about what to buy everyone for Christmas: no one seems to need anything, and anything they do want, tends to be quite beyond my means. After much pondering, I haven't really worked out a solution, and yet again I am vexed about what to do when it comes to gifts (making gifts for everyone is a pipe-dream - I have neither the time, nor the energy). The children are the exception - I have no trouble thinking of things they would enjoy - and my only problem is reigning myself in before the credit card implodes and/or they turn into spoiled brats.

Anyway, it is most definitely a time to ponder the haves and the have nots. It seems to me that the culture of compare and contrast amongst parents is not just consigned to our kids' achievements and our approaches to parenting, but extends out to who has what and how much. I am guilty of this. I still can't fathom how anyone can afford to do extensive renovations to their house, or run two, huge cars. I wish we had enough savings to build a small veranda on the front of our house and to install solar panels. I'd like to buy decent furniture and not just settle for Ikea every single time, because it is so bloody cheap and looks vaguely presentable. It would be nice to not feel so bad about the cost of going to the hairdresser that despite it being more than a year since my last visit, I ask my husband to trim off the split ends. But, we have made our choices and they were led by ideals and not practicality, and I'm happy with that. I remember, as a child, thinking we must be poor because we didn't have a microwave and our television was tiny and second-hand. It was only years later that I realised the reason for this was that my parents just didn't think those things were important: they choose to spend their money on other things, which they valued more highly.

A few days ago, someone asked me what I would like for Christmas. At the time I couldn't think of anything, but what I'd really like is for my husband to work a little less, to have some more time to myself, and to possess enough energy to be and do all that I want. Those are the things I really covet in other people's lives.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I just read this article about flexi-schooling, something I had never heard of before. It sounds great, and probably something parents have been doing on an informal basis for a while.

The Rise of Flexi-Schooling

Saturday, December 3, 2011

So it's only day three of the activity advent and already we've failed to do today's activity. Admittedly, it was a little foolish, or perhaps cruel, of me to choose Make a Christmas Pudding (with dad) for the day after his work Christmas party. Still he bought us some fabulous chocolate ice cream this afternoon when everyone was hot and grumpy, so all is forgiven. And the kids don't even seem to realise that we never quite managed to make that pud. Hush hush.

Friday, December 2, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by Soulemama

Thursday, December 1, 2011

We have a grand total of four advent calendars in our house, which is great because my children have decided that 5.30am is the new 6.30am, and it's going to give me a little time to wake up before the demands of honey toast and milk start coming thick and fast. Anyway the advents from Grandma are all beautiful, especially the little sparkly one for the grown-ups. The fourth is probably going to be the end of me, but it seemed like a lovely idea when I spotted it on Pin Interest, as well as being a good alternative to 24 days of chocolate consumption. It's an activity calendar, the concept being that every day we do something Christmas-related, such as bake mince pies, or decorate the tree, or make paper chains. I had a little trouble coming up with all the activities because I wanted to have a few that were for lazy days (Read a Christmas Story or Colour in a Christmas Picture), and some that they could do with their dad (Make a Christmas Cake, Go to the Christmas Bazaar). I stole a few ideas from my friend at Little Piece of Pie because she is a craft genius, and who could resist those Reindeer Cookies with their chocolate pretzel antlers? I'm looking forward to all the baking and making, although I've decided to select the activity the night before, so that I can judge whether or not it would be the best day to do this, that, or the other. We'll see how it goes...Today, we started with a simple one: Hang the Wreath on the Door.

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