Happy holidays & All the Best for 2016

Dear blog friends,

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Signs of madness

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The morning breaks, still in darkness
No pings, no audience, just emptiness
Thoughts awaken a quiet buzz
I’m not as sane as I once was

Wonder what the radio man meant
When he said falling ice will soon melt
I can’t thaw this eerie possession
Car engines drown the obsession

Senseless rock music plays my mind for days
I’m all smiles, but my head is clearly in a haze
Alone, I laugh at my perverse fondness
Are these not the signs of madness?

Snowflakes signal a chilly Christmas
Perhaps the blessed will amass
The bitter-sweet gift of forgetfulness
While those conflicted thirst for sure signs of madness

poem & photo by kemi otaru

Christmas Photos 2012 (Part 1)

I thought I’d share some photos of how my Christmas is building up. It’s going to be a good one I can tell. My son’s got a list as long as my arm for Santa and my 3-year old daughter wants spaghetti and meatballs from our bearded friend.

Our church altar is gorgeous, thanks to Martha, Hazel and their team *wink* (you ladies are amazing!)

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We had Christmas jumper Sunday last week.

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I went for some crazy Christmas hair and I’m working the new look ;-).

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We’ve had fun with our neighbours and friends, from candy cane Lego to applauding a “Star” at the Christmas nativity.

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I’m looking forward to hosting this Christmas. It should be quiet for us but slightly noisier on Boxing Day when we open our doors to friendly troops.

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Merry Christmas!! xx

Runaway Christmas

Last winter was the first winter where I felt like I wanted to move out of colder climates to warmer, sunnier pastures. There was too much snow and I was constantly getting stuck miles away from my house, with my kids onboard.

But at least there was snow last Christmas. I never thought I’d say this but I missed snow this year. The white hills, the children sledding, snowman building and frosty mornings were all sorely missing this year. It was 12 degrees Celsius (54 Fahrenheit) on Christmas morning – more than a few degrees above zero.

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I did not feel very Christmassy this year. I moved house a week to Christmas and had a lot on my mind in the weeks leading to the move. Presents were bought mainly online and I was disorganised as far as sending cards out to friends and family. But it was not all haphazard. The move went more smoothly than I expected (actually, the lack of snow helped). I spent much of my unpacking time reflecting on the year that had gone by. Some things went well while other things could have been better. Ending the year with a house move is a blessing. We love our new house and feel privilege to have custody of it.

The view outside my kitchen window on Christmas day was not one of a white blanket. I could see the grass and the hills. The trees in a distance swayed slightly as light winds passed through as if to greet us into a new era of our lives. Though christmas seems to have run away this year, the things I need to be grateful for have never been more apparent.

What was Christmas day like where you are?

Moonlighting as Santa Claus…and the Tooth Fairy

Like most parents, I have a starring role as Santa this time of year. It’s not an easy role to play – in fact, I suspect my son might be on to me.

Last year, he walked into the downstairs guest room and found me wrapping a pile of presents. His eyes widened in horror.

‘Mummy, why are YOU wrapping the presents?’ he asked incredulously. I had seconds to think. I turned my head around, sweating from fear under my armpits. Had I scarred the boy for life? What should I say? Think, Kemi, think! My head was working like clockwork.

Christmas gifts.

Image via Wikipedia

‘Santa’s not very well so he asked me to wrap the presents for him,’ I answered. I nearly convinced myself. Surely, this 5-year old is not smarter than me, I hoped. He sighed with relief and asked how bad Santa was. I said it was the flu but assured him that Santa would recover in time to deliver the presents nonetheless.

As he left the guest room, I could still feel my heart pumping hard against my rib cage. That was close.

You see, I didn’t grow up with all this Santa stuff. We didn’t get presents, not because we were poor or not cared for but because of our culture. We focused on the reason for Christmas, which is the birth of Jesus Christ. And that was all good. However, having experienced the excitement and cheer of children on moving to the Western world, I have to say I fell for it. I remind my kids of the reason for the season but I LOVE the look on their faces when they open a present and the way they look forward to Christmas day. It’s priceless although the season certainly has a hefty price on it.

I was looking at my son’s list to Santa the other day and then I foolishly said, ‘Gosh, this is a lot. Do you think Santa can buy all this?’ My son, now 6 years old, looked at me with irritation, ‘Santa doesn’t BUY them, Mummy! He MAKES them!’

‘Oh, sorry. MAKE them, I mean,’ I said with a sheepish look on my face. How much longer can I keep this up?

My acting skills are further stretched now that my son is losing teeth. Enter the tooth fairy. The other day, he accidentally swallowed a tooth that had been dangling for weeks. He was distorted because he would not get any money for it. I convinced him that the tooth fairy would still know of it. ‘She looks into every little boy’s mouth,’ I said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll get money.’ And he did.

An eight-year old's deciduous teeth.

Image via Wikipedia

But I haven’t always been that smooth. About two months ago, he was ready for school when he suddenly said, ‘I haven’t checked under my pillow!’ and began to run upstairs to his bedroom. I had forgotten to exchange his tooth for a coin! I shot my husband a panicked look, shaking my head violently and mouthing, ‘Occupy him’.

‘Hang on,’ I said urgently, ‘Daddy wants to show you the new Wii game,’ I continued, nodding towards his father who didn’t completely understand but did as he was told.

I marched upstairs, two stairs at a time as they went into the lounge where the Wii was located. Quickly digging into my wallet for 50 pence, I found none. A 20 pence coin was all I had. I sighed. ‘The tooth fairy is broke,’ I explained, mainly to myself.

I returned downstairs from my tint as tooth fairy wondering where this tooth fairy idea came from. As if parents don’t have enough hats to wear: the bad cop hat, the good cop hat, the playful friend hat, the homework merchant hat and so on. But my son looks forward to Christmas and he looks forward to losing teeth. It sure makes growing up more exciting. I wish I got a penny for every tooth I’ve lost!

Merry Christmas, folks! Have an amazing time.

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