Christmas, help!

As the kids get older I find it harder to think of Christmas presents for them. Our apartment is not massive so I really have to think about space, also I don’t like just buying things for the sake of buying. I want to get them gifts that will mean something to them and they will use. I just don’t know what those things are.

My first thought was bikes, Summer is the only one that can ride without stabilizers which I find totally ridiculous but I guess moving to the city where the sidewalks suck and everyone drives, it never calls for cycling much.

Really, I think I would just like to get them a couple of little things each and then spend the big money taking them somewhere exciting. An experience to remember! But Christmas for kids has turned into a shit show of plastic and paper, with the excitement of opening gifts then throwing them aside. Do they really need another box of shopkins or  more toy cars or whatever fad gift is relevant this year?

I’ve been wondering a safe way to teach them about the value of giving, that is a much nicer and more fulfilling way to spend Christmas than receiving an abundance of toys. I’d really like to head down to a soup kitchen or something but I don’t know about having a four year old in that environment is any good or even a thing that is allowed. Also I know that everyone wants to help at this time of year and we would be better doing a homeless charity when volunteers are low mid year. I guess google will be my friend when investigating this.

So how do you all choose Christmas presents? How do you differentiate between what they really want and what they REALLY want? My kids tend to look at catalogues that we get through the door and pick about 10 things on each page. Telling me how cool it is and how they absolutely need a chocolate making kit or they may not survive Christmas. Jeezy, were we all this greedy as kids?

I still remember my favourite present as a kid. I don’t really remember my age, maybe six or seven. I was overjoyed with a cardboard sweet shop that had real sweets. I sat for hours weighing out sweets for everyone that they were not allowed to eat, because then I’d have none left to play with. The sweet shop could not have cost for then a couple of quid, but boy did my mum do well that year! Now it’s about spending as much as you possibly can on the kids. Everyone posts to Instagram and Facebook with their massive piles of presents under the tree on Christmas eve. I feel a bit like it is keeping up with the Joneses and I just couldn’t give a crap about that. I would rather impress my kids with time and an experience.

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Since I started writing this blog post, Jacob and I have decided that we are going to go away for Christmas. The kids will get a few little presents as we can’t carry that much then a larger one between them when we get back. While away we will show them the craziness and man made eyesore that is Las Vegas, then move on to Lake Mead in the hope that we can teach them about how Vegas may be fun but it is draining this lake dry. I will come armed with information about what conservation ideas are around and see if they can think of any. From there we’ll move on to the Grand Canyon because who doesn’t want to see metamorphic rock…this will take some good explaining, I’m sure! Then to the Joshua tree for a little hiking and peace. Being a thrifty chick I want to do all this on a budget. Google has already told me a lot of exciting free things to do while on the trip but if anyone has anymore ideas then hit me up. I really want to show these kids everything!

 

 

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Find your hurricane friends!

I’m back!

Having had a very long summer holiday for WordPress.

Life has to continue, are we not here to fight the downs and love the ups?!

When tragedy ensues, we live and learn!

I am finding out many things about myself and other around me. Who my real friends are, who has the ability to listen and not judge and who can appropriately change the subject to lighten the mood and get a little laugh in.

I am not going to go into details about my trauma, it is mine to bear.

I’d more like to share what I think a woman should mean to another woman.

It is only in the last 10 years that I have really surrounded myself with women, strong, unapologetic women. Women that hold another woman’s friendship close. Women who when the chips are down they’ll take your kids for the day so you can weep, they will bring you grocery shopping, they will hold you and listen to your pain without telling you to stop and get a grip, but also have the ability to tell you to get a grip when you are being crazy.

Moving to L.A took me away from the women that I held dear, the ones that got me through the day when my husband was away for weeks on end. Restarting was painful and exciting but as luck would have it I have found the same type of women here. Women with values and heart.  Unfortunately I have also discovered the kind of woman who is selfish and doesn’t belong to this breed. Like a kind of wild dog that will do anything to rip apart others. Thriving on the pain they cause, just to create a false sense of self worth.

Yes, we need to create our own happiness but will we ever get it if it is at the expense of another?

It’s a question that I have asked myself many times. Watching other peoples behaviour and wondering if it would really get them anywhere. And believe me I have also been a class A bitch in the past but luckily I have become wiser with age and because I had great women by my side to call me on it.

I had a conversation with a friend recently about a situation that she was in in the past and the advice that I gave her. (I actually forgot all about the conversation but was happy to hear that I gave her good advice)…as any real friend should! She asked me what she should do about a man who was married with kids but was being overly friendly to her. My answer was something like…”Don’t be stupid. This is not about you, this is about his ego. You’re not going to be happy and you will cause others so much pain. If he really wants you he will leave his marriage in the correct way, then you give him a chance. If he is not going to do that, then it’s only about him and his selfish needs. Do not go there!!!!” Luckily she took this advice and didn’t go down the road of causing destruction to so many people and throwing her karma scale way out of whack. Would there be any coming back from that? What I am trying to say, is if your friends can’t be frank with you or they sit back and watch as you press the self destruct button or even encourage you to do stupid shit, then are they really your friends? are they really the friends that you want around? or will they even be around when the going gets tough? Everyone has the friends that are around because of your circumstance, maybe the job you do, the people you know, or indeed craziness you give out. These are fair weather friends and play a role in your life but the role is to learn what they are and find your true hurricane friends.

I don’t have to mention names, my hurricane friends know who they are. They know I love and appreciate them. They are new friends and old friends, .they come from all over the world but I know them by they way they treat me. We don’t have to talk every day, indeed some I have not spoken to for years, but they are still there, they will never leave. There is never a  comment about the length of time we have been apart, just an appreciation for the time together. These friends will drop things to help me when I hurt, they welcome my family into their homes so we don’t have to alone, they send me messages for a far just to check in and they will listen endlessly without judgment. I don’t ever wish any pain on them but I know for sure that if something should happen I will have their backs just as they always have mine.

I read a book recently that had some interesting advice. It said the old saying of ‘treat people how you wish to be treated’ is wrong, it should be ‘treat people how they wish to be treated’ meaning you need to understand others around you, that their needs and expectations are may be very different to yours. It rang true to me, if I treat others how I wish to be treated am I not being selfish to my needs and wishes. Should I not think about what they want, how they expect to be spoken to? that culturally they may expect different things?

I guess in the end it’s all about love, respect, friendship and honesty.

To survive this crazy old life you need to have your real, true friends around. Create your tribe, show them they are worth their weight in gold and more.

Peace out hurricane bitches!! 😉 x