It is, what it is.

This year has been such a turbulent one, probably the most of my adult life thus far. The phrase “It is, what it is” has passed my lips so many time, that it could easily be my catchphrase.

It’s been hard not to look back, not to second guess myself and not to focus on the ifs and buts, but this phrase has kept me moving forward. If only in baby steps. 

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Christmas Day

Christmas has certainly changed in my life over the years, with growing up, with getting married, with relocating and with having children. 

When I was a child, whether in England or in Canada, Christmas was always pretty similar, because it brought with it the traditions that my parents had built. Opening presents first thing, a big breakfast cooked by mom, playing with our toys, watching tv and having a huge Christmas lunch, crackers, paper hats and all. The house when we were younger would be decorated with shiny foil streamers from one corner of the living room to the other, Christmas cards hung on thread across the walls. There was always myself, Kylie, mom and dad, and some variation of having John, Robert and Stacey with us. Eat, drink, laugh and fall asleep with full bellies and even fuller hearts! 

 It changed as I grew up, when it was just Kylie and I still living at home, siblings would join us for dinner either Christmas Day or Boxing Day, spending the mornings exchanging presents in one location or the other, the decorations becoming more minimal, but the love and laughter remaining.

When I moved to America, I joined Curtis’ family at Christmas time, either with Curtis or alone if he was working. Our decoration, a tree with a box of ornaments accumulated over the years of Curtis’ life from his Nannie, with a few of my own being added these past few years. I have spent one Christmas away from everyone since being here, I just couldn’t stand to be in the spirit of the holiday, feeling depressed and frustrated, and I hope never to have a Christmas like that again.  

Our first tree didn’t even light up properly but we didn’t care!

 Now Christmas is about creating traditions with Calvin and Mia. Calvin understands Santa now, so there is a renewed energy and excitement surrounding the holidays. Ornaments on the trees are a mixture of Curtis’, mine and the kids. Calvin even made our tree topper this year. We put out cookies and milk for Santa, carrots for the reindeer and had our dinner Christmas Eve because of Curtis having to work. The kids and I spend the day quietly, playing with toys, watching movies and enjoying the unseasonably cool weather for California! We even got to the snow this year and I’m sure we will again before winter over.  

   
So Christmas has changed. It includes Skype chats, international parcel services, split family gatherings and new traditions being made each time. But one thing remains the same, the love. 

 

 

Anglophiles

Maybe this post will come across as petty, but sometimes I am genuinely offended by self described Anglophiles and the way they represent British people and their culture. I’m a British expat living in America, and I wouldn’t align myself as being a fanatic of Americans or American culture. I love my Americans, I love where I live, and I like the culture, but I don’t make sweeping assumptions about the people of this great land, or the ways that they live.

I don’t have a problem with Anglophiles or Anglophilia in general, but it hurts my heart when I see narrow views or misrepresentations of my home country. I see it on YouTube channels, on Buzzfeed articles, on blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and printed across garish items of clothing… Words, imagery and ideas that are somewhat offensive.

Let me clear something up. Television representation and I’m referring to tv series (other than documentaries, although there are exceptions) and feature films, are not always accurate depictions of British life, as they are not accurate depictions of American life.

If the stereotypes were true, all British people would live in London, have terrible teeth, be completely emotionless and utter phrases like “Pip pip, cheerio!” and of course, we would all know members of the royal family.

It’s akin to people outside of America viewing all Californians as blonde haired, blue eyed, tall, tanned, somewhat unintelligent, stoned surfers who talk like this “Did you see that sweet wave, dude? It was like, totally righteous!”.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this, other than to say, if you meet a Brit on your travels, perhaps put the stereotypes aside and talk to them before assuming that wherever they are from, it must be part or close to London, and for the love of God, please don’t try to imitate the accent, okay dude? 

Night Weaning

Tonight is night one of night weaning Mia. I started to do this a couple of months ago, but when she got sick with croup, we went backwards and ended up where we are now, with her waking every few hours wanting to nurse. 

I have been researching different methods, and a lot of them involve that of Ferber, which I think is excellent, apart from the fact that our little lady is so strong willed, that she would rather throw up from crying so hard, than give up. So I’ve decided to do what I did with Calvin. When she wakes, I will give her the opportunity to settle herself. If she doesn’t settle, I will go in and rock her until she settles. At no point will I nurse. I’m hoping that like Calvin, after a few nights of this she will realize that waking does not equate to me feeding her.

She’s 1 now, she eats 3 meals of solids a day, nurses still during the daytime and really doesn’t need the mama milk for anything other than comfort at night. I’m not cutting out nursing entirely, just at night for now. We both need our sleep and something has got to give!

Here’s to night one, if you are going through this too right now, I wish you the best of luck in your endevor! We can do this!