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The moment Talitha woke up this morning, before she’d even got out of bed, she asked in the dark (I was still in the bed beneath with Ophelia), “Mummy, can me and Effie open our Advent calendars?” In years past, I’ve made intricate calendars like this toilet roll tree, complete with an activity planned for each day and a Bible passage. This year, I spotted standard chocolate Advent calendars at a fundraising fair for Easton Jubilee Trust, a non-profit organisation my brother and my sister-in-law are involved in, and I

I’ve had the word “balance” on my mind a lot recently, probably because the concept has felt elusive for a long time. I try to grab hold of it by making the most of naptime and planning our days the day before, making sure we have a good mix of days in and days out, parent initiated activities and free play. I sometimes successfully edge closer to it by going to bed on time. I strategise for balance by sending my kids to a childminder (both girls for three hours

I didn’t grow up with Advent. I may have mentioned this here before. My first December in England, nine years ago, I didn’t know what it was. My introduction came from my little cousin (who lives up north – and isn’t so little anymore!) showing me his Advent calendar. I’m guessing it was either left behind as a Catholic relic by the Protestant community I grew up in or it’s just one of those European traditions that didn’t translate to the Caribbean in great strength. In the last decade, I

Here’s a fun little Easter craft Talitha and I did about a week before Ophelia was born. I’d started to find it difficult to motivate myself to do anything much and going out was not really happening either. Determined to make this happen for us, I laid out all the materials the night before. When she came downstairs, it was like Christmas! I’ve tried to start talking with her about Easter. Our faith is such an integral and important part of our lives, we want to honour our children by

The Christmas thing seems to be happening for us so much earlier this year. Usually I’d blame it on commercialism and certainly it was weird walking into The Co-operative today and seeing all the merry banners. However, other markers are ushering us into the season sooner than I expected. In an attempt to make this the year I don’t get ulcers stressing over last minute Christmas presents and the state of our bank account, I’ve been shopping gradually and putting things aside. Talitha’s presents are all done now, except for

Ignore the fact that these are possibly the wonkiest hearts you’ve ever seen. I am so pleased with myself for managing to carve a pumpkin, start to finish, on my own. I didn’t even grow up with Autumn or Halloween, friends. And getting bread sliced straight is an ongoing challenge. This is art. Last year I mentioned being a bit conflicted over Halloween. I’m not really there anymore. I can wholeheartedly say that we do not celebrate the true festival that Halloween is. We also do not embrace the scary

We made such a big fuss of Christmas around here that I’m actually a little embarrassed that I’ve let Easter sneak up on us when it’s such a significant part of the Christian calendar. Talking to Talitha about Jesus’ death and resurrection just wasn’t on my radar last year. I was in such a spiritual funk. But God has really has been doing some serious work in me since then (and is continuing – I certainly need it) and I’ve been feeling strongly that I want to somehow observe Good

Almost four weeks into Lent, I can finally say it: I’ve kicked my addiction to caffeine. For years, I’ve been saying I’d do it but was always too busy, lazy, tired, depressed, socially active or in denial to give it a proper go. I’m not lightly throwing around the word “addiction” either. I wince when the skinny guys on Supersize vs Superskinny (how’s that for high brow television?) name their Coke count at ten or whatever, starting with breakfast and practically breathing the stuff throughout the day. Yet, it’s been

Halloween dilemma

Yesterday we celebrated our first Halloween. I say our first because I feel like this is the first one we’ve participated in. Sure, Talitha was alive last year but I must have still been in that “new baby” daze because I can’t at all remember what we did. Growing up, Halloween was not something we touched much. I explained in a guest post on WAHM-BAM earlier this week that it was an American thing, not really part of Trinidadian culture when I was growing up. I went to the odd

I was thinking this past weekend about what Easter means to me and to our little family. I remembered my childhood Easters. They always involved going to church, sometimes as early as dawn, and eating a hearty meal, often with extended family. One year my aunt gave us chocolate bunnies which constituted the largest slabs of the stuff I’d ever seen. Is it weird that I still remember the taste and smell of them? How we celebrated was never hugely ritualistic or consistent but there was a definite focus on

A dedication

I’m over at Mother’s Always Right today with a guest post, “5.30am is not morning”, go check it out and leave some comment love, why don’t you? ———————————————— Over here, I’m thinking about my daughter’s dedication. We went to a dedication yesterday for another baby girl we know, so it’s on my mind. What’s a dedication? It’s kind of like a christening, I guess, except the thrust of an infant baptism (as I understand it) is to make a statement of belief on behalf of the child, with the intention