Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Schooldays and Happy Halloween

Since I last posted here, my little boy's first day at school has come and gone.  That day filled me with delight and pride for the little 'big' boy that he has become but also with tears and nostalgia for the little 'baby' boy he no longer is.

On his first day, he got into his uniform reluctantly and held both our hands tightly as he entered the classroom with trepidation. He joined in with the other children at a round table adorned with crayons and playthings. Although he looked happy enough, it was such a wrench to leave him, that even my normally controlled husband had a tear in his eye!

We need not have worried ourselves in the least about him.  After his first day, he was bursting with excitement and really happy that one of his best friends and  a few from his preschool were in his class.When I took him to visit his Granny in his uniform, he was so proud of himself and so exuberant about it all.

I couldn't help but think back to my own first day, many moons ago (approximately 42!) and let me say, it was very very different. I didn't like the shirt and tie, the green checked duffle coat and the heavy schoolbag. I was terrified to be thrust into this noisy, crowded unfamiliar room with a bunch of strangers.  I wailed loudly when my mother left me.  I still remember sitting at my individual wooden desk with the inkwell and measurements on it,( inherited from the dark ages it seemed) and feeling so desolate and confused. To make matters even stranger, many of the teachers and staff were nuns and in those days, wore full regalia!  Nowadays, the children are seated in a circle together, given crayons and things to play with and gently introduced to their new world.  Most children have had some experience of preschool too, so it makes for an easier transition all round.  In my day, nobody but the privileged few had done this.

Now that Halloween is nearly upon us, the nightly sounds of bangers and fireworks going off is becoming a familiar sound.  I can't say that it is a time of year that I particularly enjoy, mainly for the reason that it's a scary time for the animals.  However, it is an exciting time for the children so I am begrudgingly throwing myself into things for the sake of my five year old son.  He dressed up as a ghost last year and as he has an imaginary friend in Casper the Ghost, this was very apt.  This year he is obsessed with Spiderman and will probably wear the costume his Granny Joan (my mother) got him.  We will go to a Halloween party on Monday and then he will go to visit his cousins for trick or treating on Halloween itself.

When I was an child, we didn't have fancy shop bought costumes but made our own out of black binliners and old sheets and blankets.  I used to wear a wig of my mothers that had survived from the sixties and I looked forward to wearing it each year. We then went around a few friends and neighbours in disguise chanting our mantra 'help the halloween party'.  As far as I know this was something we said here in Ireland when they were saying 'trick or treat' in other places. It was a phrase that guilted your neighbours into giving you lots of treats although the treats back then were much healthier.  We mainly received apples, oranges, bananas, coconuts and peanuts where nowadays they seem to get a lot of sugary things!

I would love to hear some of your memories of your first day at school and your childhood Halloween rituals so feel free to share!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sisters or Friends? Who Do You Turn To?

The best thing about having a sister was that I always had a friend - Calie Rae Turner

For as long as I can remember, I have always wished for a  sister.  And never more so, as now that I am older.  I sometimes feel quite lonely even though I have a husband, child, brothers, mother and pets. When I was young I used to pretend that my best friend was my sister.  She didn't have to do that as she had two of her own.

Oh sure, I have some close friends but we are  not as involved in each others lives as we would be if we were related.  I feel that this is true in most cases, though, I accept, not all. I do have a friend who never got along with her sister growing up and that has never changed.

But as far as I can see, that type of thing usually reverses itself. Some of my friends, though their relationships with their sisters might have been competitive and fractured growing up, are now the closest people I know. They  have become closer as they have had families and grown older.  They support each other and they count on each other as the  person/people they can really rely on, apart from themselves.

Most of my friends had children before I did and although we always met from time to time and are still in touch, we drifted apart a little. I fear I am mostly responsible for this, through my own insecurities about not having children. These insecurities meant that I distanced myself rather more than I had intended to.

Then at the advanced age of almost forty two, I had my child, only to find that my friends were at a different stage of life. I imagine that I now feel how my friends who had children when I didn't, felt, when I seemed to show little interest. 

One of my good friends has three sisters and although they are all totally different personalities, they are completely there for each other.  She agrees that growing up they might have had fights but they also swapped clothes and had lots of great nights out together.  Now that they are older, with families of their own, they meet up at least once a week for brunch as well as at family get togethers. She is also delighted that their own children have that same closeness growing up together as they did.  I  don't think I am a jealous person but I admit that I sometimes feel envious when I see them all together. 

I have cousins who are sisters and I sometimes feel like an outsider when we meet. I know they would never want me to feel like that but it's there. They know all each others little secrets and foibles and can communicate with each other in ways that I cannot. I know twin sisters who are so close, I feel as if there is really something missing in my life, when I see them. When I recently asked one of them how she felt about her sister she said ' She is my right arm. She is my best friend. I could tell her anything, no matter how bad and know she would still love me. She is the one person I would trust completely with my kids if anything were to happen to me.  I would be lost without her. In short, she is the other half of me'.  

I have four brothers who have terrific partners and although I love them all and get on with them, I wouldn't say that we are exceptionally close.  Again, I feel it's more to do with my own past insecurities than with anything they do or do not do. I have two wonderful sister-in-laws but their lives are so busy, we don't get the time to get together much.

I feel that people who have close relationships with their sisters are very blessed. The same goes for people who feel that sisterly bond with their friends.

Twins working out
What I am wondering about you all out there is.....  who is it you turn to in times of need?  Your Sisters or your Friends?  Do you count your sisters as your best friends or indeed your friends as your sisters?  


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Can You Ever Get Enough Hugs? How do you feel?

Can you ever get enough hugs?  The answer for some, would be a resounding yes because they don't consider themselves to be huggy people. They are uncomfortable with touchy, feely people and so they retreat from, rather than respond to the hugs.

The answer for others, like my mother and other senior citizens that I have asked, would be no, because they simply do not get many, if any at all.

I would consider myself to be slightly resistant to hugs. I feel a little uncomfortable and find it hard to hug back. My brothers, who were never particularly huggy growing up, now greet and say goodbye with one. At a kiddie's party the other week, it was as if people could sense this from me as they didn't greet me with a hug as they did with others. I always feel a certain caginess about hugging and I wonder why, since I do feel good when I am given one.  I wonder if it's because of my background or if its just something inert in me.  As my Dad got older he used to give us what we called 'bone crusher' hugs, but I can't remember him doing that when we were younger. My mother hugged us a lot as children, but not so much when we grew up.

Yet, as a mother, I have no difficulty in accepting hugs from my little son.  There is nothing that fills me with so much joy as a hug from those little arms.  My mother loves to get hugs from her grandchildren as do many of her friends with theirs.  They say they simply don't get as many these days.  As their spouses and close relatives and friends are passing on, the hugs are few and far between.  Since I heard this, I have been making efforts to hug my mother much more. Sometimes it's hard, after a conversation where I am being criticised as only mothers can do with their daughters, but I do it anyway. Though she wants and accepts the hugs and always seems delighted, I can still sense a kind of reticence where she wants to respond but holds back.  If we get hugged less as we get older, I better start giving and receiving more now!

Once, on a family holiday to France, we passed through Barcelona.  In the square, at the Cathedral, it felt like such a happy place.  There were people hanging around with signs offering 'free hugs' and there were people just going up to avail of them.

For someone who is slightly nervous of being hugged,  I felt compelled to give and receive one.  The feeling was very strong and I thought I might actually do it.  Then I looked at my parents-in-law who are quite reserved and knew they wouldn't approve.  My father in law thought they were weirdos and since I often suspect he thinks I am too, I decided against it!  They were more interested in entering the Cathedral for the latin mass so that is what I ended up doing too.  It was beautiful but I would have preferred a free hug, given that I am usually so reserved about them.

There is even a facebook page and a website dedicated to the 'Free Hugs'. You can see an example here.

There is a woman known as 'Amma' who travels the world hugging people.  She believes in the loving healing power of the hug.  Apparently she has hugged more than 20 million people in all parts of the world.  Now there is someone who is not afraid of hugs!

Am I alone with my feelings on this?  How do you feel about hugs?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Getting Old in Ireland

It really is no fun getting old in the Ireland of today.  I am sure this is the case in many other countries too, but I am not able to speak for other places.

As an older mother, and, as of last week, someone who is nearer to fifty than forty, I now also have an older mother and I feel compelled to comment on this.

Let me tell you why.This week, my elderly mother, without any warning, received a letter from the HSE (Health Service Executive) stating that her home help/domestic care service is being cut. Not reduced, not suspended, but totally cut. There is no more government funding for it, apparently.

Before she was hospitalised for the first time, she had home help for only one hour a week. This was eventually increased to two, on doctor's recommendation.  Now, when she needs it most,  when she is sick and living alone, it has been taken away altogether.

Some would say, well why should she have 'free' domestic help anyway?  I say, it is not 'free'. Donations are given voluntarily on a yearly basis from the person receiving the help or from their families.  She, my father, and many others who face this situation now, worked all their lives for everything they ever got.  I say, it is not free, because she created five children who have also worked all their lives, contributed to society and done their best not to cause trouble for anyone else. I say she deserves it, because she deserves to be respected and cared for in her twilight years.  When  her sons and daughter and their families are facing cutbacks, job losses, negative equity, higher taxes, extra charges, extortionate childcare costs, she should feel secure about whatever years that she has left.

She has been hospitalised on many occasions with her conditions, COPD and chronic asthma. She acquired these conditions through no fault of her own. She is on a nebuliser 8 times a day and requires regular antibiotics and steroids. Her conditions are a hereditary, genetic thing, mostly connected with age. She also has osteo-arthritis, a knee replacement and 50% blockage in her heart.  She receives B12 injections each month for the rest of her life. For these reasons she has been in receipt of this home care package, provided by the HSE (Health Service Executive) for the past few years.  She is unable to do housework as even such small things as dusting could set an attack off.  Having a home carer, even for a few hours was a great help to her and to us, her family. My mother is lucky to have five children, all still living in this country who can help her when she really needs it. It is not always possible, as they all have young families and do not live in the immediate vicinity.  The ridiculous rise in property prices, especially in Dublin, during The so called Celtic Tiger pushed them all out of their home county.

It's not just herself that my mother is worried about.  She was a Home Carer herself in her younger days before she had to leave to look after my sick father. She relied on the money that it brought into our household, paltry as the sum was at the time.  She is upset that some of the home carers may lose their livelihoods or have even more pay cuts.  She remembers how it was for her in those very comparable times.

Think also of all the people who are older and sicker than my mother who have no-one to turn to for comfort.  Can you imagine their confusion and anxiety when they received this letter in the post without any inkling beforehand? Some of these people don't have family near to hand or any family at all.  They rely on their home carer to do housework, buy in groceries and they could be one of the few people they see all week.

I understand that there is an economic crisis.  I understand that the country is in financial trouble.  I understand that we have to face up to certain austerity measures but I wish the government would LEAVE OLD PEOPLE alone!  Many of the wrong people have been getting many of the benefits in this country for many, many years. While I know that much of this is being dealt with now,  I feel that it's not fair to now clamp down on the most vulnerable in our society. Old and sick people DO NOT deserve this worry after years of working and caring for the younger generation.

I am a person who usually doesn't get riled up about trivial things.  Even the austerity measures and cutbacks that we are all facing I meet with a certain amount of acceptance.  However, I am incensed about this because OLD PEOPLE have done their work and in some cases still are. They act as grandparents, advice givers and sometimes as guarantors. I was relieved that old peoples pensions were not cut but then found that  they are taking the money from old people in many other ways.  There are now household charges, prescription charges (even with long term illness and medical cards) and I have heard a rumour they now want to meddle with the free travel!

Only old people who need to be washed, helped in and out of bed and have their personal care/needs attended to will receive home help now. It seems that families, neighbours and friends are expected to do their housework, shopping etc. That is fine and people do what they can, but what about those who don't have families that care about them? What about those whose children live abroad? What about old people who don't have good neighbours and friends?

I saw recently, in the news that an elderly man was dead in his home for three months before anyone noticed.  For old and sick people who are alone in this world, the home carer maybe all that stands between them being found like this some day.

I hope to see something in the media about it soon. It hasn't been mentioned so far and has happened without warning.  I hope to hear people questioning the move as they did with the medical card issue for the elderly in the past.  I know I have a personal interest in that it affects my mother.  But surely it will affect the parents, relatives and friends of many others out there too.

Again, I say, LEAVE OLD PEOPLE ALONE.  Let them have peace. They deserve to be cared for and respected in their twilight years.

How do YOU feel about this?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sweet Tooth and Sugar Cravings - Inate Or Developed?

I was just reading a blog post over at the Mama Courage blog in which she talks about doing her best to introduce nutritious and healthy food to her child.  Having a sweet tooth herself, she feels guilty tucking into cupcakes and chocolate in front of him.  For the moment, he seems happy to accept a banana, or a yoghurt treat in lieu. She asks the question 'when is a good time to put down the banana puree and succumb to chocolate buttons?'
It is an unusual thing to say, but maybe she won't have to.  Take my son, for example. He is now four. He loved bananas, yoghurts, rice cakes and diced fruit as treats when he was younger. He still loves them to this day.  He wouldn't thank you for a bar of chocolate or an iced cupcake.  He likes only plain biscuits and plain ice cream. He would have a bite or two of something chocolatey but that would be it.  Even when his Grandfather forces chocolate buttons and the like upon him, he just says he doesn't like them. His Granddad thinks him very odd as he is the only one of his twenty something grandchildren who refuses to eat them.  He even handed back his Easter Eggs last year!  

From what I can see, usually, it's when the child starts being offered sweets and chocolate by other people outside the household.  Grandparents and other relatives may be the first culprits here.  Mixing with other children who are allowed chocolate and sweets as a matter of course can also do it. The blogger says that she declines the treat on his behalf and that some people are incredulous at this.  She says that her son is just as  happy with fruit or yoghurt. It seems that the delayed introduction of  processed sweet stuff isn't impacting on his happiness or development so, she asks, why would they want to hurry it?

Why indeed? An acute sweet tooth can cause problems that will extend from childhood into adulthood. It can spark off a lifetime of weight and dental problems.  I was from a generation where it was deemed acceptable to have sugar sandwiches in your lunchbox! It was a cheap alternative the child was guaranteed to eat and yoghurts and rice cakes weren't on the menu way back then. I feel that this is where my addiction to sweet things started. I am now in my forties but I still battle to stop at one or two biscuits when I open a packet. I  still binge eat on sweet things and my weight goes up and down on a regular basis.Thankfully, my son doesn't take after me in this respect. People think it odd that he refuses chocolate but he just didn't get the sort of things that I did as a child.  I also think I may have overdosed on chocolate when he was in my womb and that helped to put him off!

What do you think?  Is a sweet tooth something that you are born with or is it something that is developed? Are yoghurts and bananas just as likely to cause sweet cravings as sugary processed treats?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hot Cross Mum - bite size slices of motherhood

I have been reading a blog for the past while named 'Hot Cross Mum'.  It's by a lady called Hazel Gaynor and I find it amusing, honest and smart all at the same time.  Hazel left the world of work outside the home in 2009 to become a full-time mum.  Her blog documents her mothering journey and all the joys and challenges that it throws up for her.

I was delighted then, to find that Hazel has written an e-book of the same title, and that I could download it to my new smartphone. I started to read it and immediately identified with things that she mentioned. I read some of it while my husband watched TV and annoyed him with my loud chuckling. I read the rest of it the following night.

It's a book that any mother will connect with and it's also a book that will cheer any mother up!  It's certainly comforting to know as mothers, that any situation can be looked at with such humour!  If you want a chuckle in your daily mothering routine, if you need a book that you can read in 'bitesize' pieces, then this is the book for you.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Freedom in Parenthood

A recent conversation with a friend compelled  me to write about freedom in parenthood over at The WM Parenting Connection

She was lamenting about her bad day at work and all the things she had to deal with.  She said that she wished she had the freedom that I had. As a stay at home parent on a career break, she thought my lifestyle was much freer than her own.

She really made me laugh because I am not free.  As every parent knows, stay at home or otherwise, your life is never your own again, once you have kids.  In essence, you swap one kind of servitude for another kind.   You are still in bondage to someone other than yourself.

I am not complaining and wouldn't have it any other way now.  I love my new life, even the challenging bits.   I am a mother for four years now,  but almost every day still feels new.

I mention in the piece the things that I do to make myself feel free in my new lifestyle.  I go for breakfasts with friends while my son is at preschool.  I take long walks and practice yoga.  I write when I can.

What things do you do to make yourself feel free?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sick in the Head?

I am unwell at the moment. I have some kind of virus.  Or bug.  Or infection.  It started weeks ago as a cough and has now graduated into a full blown illness.  I woke up yesterday with a thumping head, sore throat and aches in parts of my body I didn't know existed.

My little boy, who is four, also has a cough.  But he has had his cough on and off since October.  The doctor thinks he has mild asthma and has now caught the virus too.  He is on two inhalers and a tablet but the cough is still bad.  He has been referred to an asthma specialist so we'll see how that goes.

I have been feeling sorry for myself mainly because of the unbearable tiredness. But although I am actually sick, I sometimes feel I am 'sick in the head'.  At the end of the day, when I look at the news, I see what real troubles are.  I am not in Syria or any of the countries where ordinary people are suffering right now.  What they would give to only have a virus to worry about! What they would give to not have to see their family and friends die in front of their eyes. What I am, is one very lucky forty something first time mum with loads of support and privileges!

I have been very moved watching the news lately and very thankful to be in the position that I am in. It made me sad to read about the Journalist Marie Colvin who was killed in Syria this week. It seems she spent years in various countries highlighting human rights issues and the plight of the ordinary citizen. What a brave woman, writing about things that are both life-threatening and life-saving in this world.  And ultimately paying the price by losing her own life.

I know that everything is relative to who and where you are in life but, as they say, it could happen to anyone.  None of us are immune to what life can give us.I often think that I am actually very sheltered and live a very blessed life.  I just hope that I am appreciating it enough.

I don't  have to worry about anything except my immediate and extended family and friends, from the time I get up until the time I sleep. My mother was recently ill but has recovered, and we are all fairly healthy apart from the odd virus! So many people around me are splitting up, losing their jobs and homes, suffering cutbacks and illnesses and I wonder, why, so , far I am escaping it.  I hope I am not jinxing myself in saying all this, as life has a way of throwing things at you when you least expect it.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that although I am feeling kind of sorry for myself at the moment, I know  I am very blessed. I am going to stop worrying about getting older and getting fatter and various other things.  So many people don't get that chance at all.  For those of us who are lucky enough to have a family, a roof over our heads, food on the table and enough money to live, we should be so thankful.

But still, if anyone has any remedies or ideas for helping a mucusy cough, sore throat and a general feeling of lethargy, don't be shy to let me know what they are.  I am definitely sick in body even if I'm not sure about the head! So far, lettuce, manuka honey, gargling with salt have been suggested on facebook.  Click here to see the suggestions so far  and feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments below.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Brave, Mad, Selfish?

I have written about it before but I find myself doing it yet again.   Of course, the 'it' is always something that gets into my head, so writing about it here really helps to get it out again.

The other day the 'it' was being harassed by teenagers in the playground as I tried to have fun with my son  and today the 'it' is me being branded  crazy for having a first baby in my forties. This, from someone who had all their children by the time they were twenty five. This person is adamant that her way was the right way, not allowing for circumstances, different strokes for different folks or indeed, fate.

This is where I wrote about it before and I still feel the same way. I was delighted to receive so many supportive comments on the subject at the time and I really appreciated reading them. It is even better when someone who has done it a completely different way still is open minded enough to realise that their way is not the only way it should be!

You will better understand where I am coming from if you read this  and

Sometimes, I do wish that I had done things differently.  Sometimes, I  do wish that I had had children when I was younger.  Sometimes, I do wish that my mind was not so set against the idea for so long.  But mostly I wish that people who have done things differently didn't feel the need to pass judgement that anything different to what they think about it is so wrong.

I may be a forty five year old first time mother (almost forty six) of a four year old toddler, but I wouldn't have it any other way. In my twenties and for some of my thirties, I was all over the place. I was also working and partying my time away.  Now that certainly wouldn't have been the time for me to bring a child into this world. Now I have the privilege of being on a career break and I have time to spend with my child that I wouldn't have had at an earlier age.

I have been called 'crazy' and 'mad' to embark on motherhood in my forties.  I don't think that I am either of those things, but maybe, just maybe, there is a grain of truth in that, but only a grain.... a very small grain.....................

What do you think?  Am I? Am I?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

This isn't me!

This isn't me!  Or at least, it wasn't me!

I am not, or at least, I was not, one of those timid women who cowered in the face of adversity.  I have always been able to say what I think and admonish where admonishment was needed. So, I am exasperated at my own behaviour in our local park the other day.  Indeed, it has infuriated me so much, that I am still admonishing myself about it!

Let me fill you in on what happened!

I am sitting on the bench, happily watching my little boy mucking around with some other kids on the swings and slides. He is getting mucky as it had been raining earlier and the ground is wet.  I just sit there smiling because he is enjoying himself. I exchange the odd pleasantry with another mother.  I am enjoying myself  too.  Then, out of nowhere, our fun is ruined.

Three teenage boys hoist themselves up onto the bigger slide and sit at the top smoking. Our children are playing just underneath as one of the boys flicks his ash down towards them.  I am incensed and get up to caution them but they don't care. I ask them politely to move to let the children play and to find somewhere else to hang out.   The expletives and obscenities showered upon me are too horrible to repeat. One of them poured a can of lager down the slide and made a rude gesture at me.

The other mother gathered her children and left immediately and, after a little hesitation, I did the same. I did not want my child to witness any more of their vulgarity. And I am ashamed to say, that I was also very scared.

I wish, in that situation, that I had been like I was before I became a mother.  Back then, I would have challenged them more.  I would have been angrier.  I would not have been so scared. I would  not have just walked away. But these days, the fear rises inside me like bile, and I worry that I would not be around for my little boy, if something were to happen.

I am a forty something first time mum and I want to be around for my son for as long as I can.  This is what motivates me to avoid danger these days.  That's what I want to think anyway.  My mother says that she feels like this nearly all the time.  She thinks the older you get the more vulnerable you get and the more fearful you get.

I would love to know what others think and what others would have done in this situation. Did I do the right thing?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's Happened at Last..... The Icing On The Cake!

Well, it's finally happened to me.  I always said if this day ever came I would have truly flipped! In my twenties and thirties, while others of my age were settling down and figuring out what family life was all about, I was working and partying my days away.

As anyone who knows me well will agree, I have never been the most domesticated person.   What's more I have never yearned to be.  I have always felt that life is too short for housework, baking and even parenting!  I saw these things as too mundane, ordinary, and restricting and that terrified me.

So it's ironic now, that even though I came to parenthood late, I find that it is not only the best thing that ever happened to me but I love the way of life! 

I admit that I actually get satisfaction from doing housework now. But hey, those who know me needn't worry too much.  It's not that fulfilling that I will spend time doing it when something more interesting presents itself!  I am still liable to drop everything and worry about it later. Life is still too short to do too much housework! And the older I get the shorter it gets so alternative activities get priority!

The best bit of it all though is sharing time with my four year old son. We do lots of fun things together and I love reliving my childhood with him. He has been pestering me for a while now to bake some cookies and cupcakes or biscuits and fairy cakes as we call them here in Ireland. I have been putting it off for ages because baking is something I never enjoyed as a child and hated even more in domestic science at school.  My mother used to get annoyed at the mess and say I had more on the floor than in the bowl.  My teacher was an old nun who was very strict and unmotivating. Actually to say I hated baking and cooking is really an understatement.

I have wonderful sisters in laws and a mother in law that can bake anything. I also have a friend who can do the same.  They always put me to shame because they bake their kid’s birthday cakes and all the things that go with it.  I go to the shop for everything, birthday cake, cupcakes, biscuits, the lot! I have never baked from the day I left the domestic science class in favour of another subject aged about fifteen. 

However, last week, while out with my cousins, I spotted a cute baking kit and decided to buy it for my little boy.  I knew he would love it since he has been pestering me for ages and I thought buying it might finally egg me on. And what do you know, it did.  It actually did!  I had had conversations with various friends about the fun they have baking with their kids but put it out of my mind. Yet yesterday I found myself in the baking aisle of the supermarket perusing all the things we would need.

Today, my little boy and I made our first batch of cookies and our first batch of fairy/queenie/cupcakes and we couldn't be more thrilled!  True, the cupcakes are a little pathetic since some of them haven't risen but hey, it's a first attempt! The cookies are not too bad considering we forgot to add vanilla essence and they could probably do with being sweeter.  They do look cute though, cut out into shapes of little men, women and elephants.  I really must do something about getting some cat cookie cutters.  Now that would please us even more since we are both cat crazy!

I have started to bake.  I have started to bake.  I have started to bake.  I have to keep repeating that as it seems so incredible to me!  And even more uncharacteristically, I think I might even have the baking bug. I can't wait to try making banana bread and carrot cake next. Gosh, is that me saying that?  It can't be, can it?  But, it is..........I am now a fully-fledged domesticated parent. It has finally and unbelievably happened to me! Just have to figure out how to finally put the icing on the cake!