Inside Out – Movie Review

This is just out on DVD… potential Christmas present? x

mrs average evaluates

Mmm this is a tricky one – the premise of the movie itself is extraordinarily complicated – and how I feel about the experience is too! The story is about Riley, an 11 year old girl who has to move home and make major life changes, her experiences are expressed by the various ’emotions’ that she uses to make sense of the world, and these are characters in her head. The movie is able to explain feelings, memories, ageing, life changes and human interaction via the vehicle of a funny kids movie – which is pure genius. Big A and Middle A at 5 and 6 were able to understand the concepts and we’ve had some very interesting discussions since…

However, I would not recommend watching it in a heightened emotional state (in my case pregnancy hormones) as it’s is a real challenge to our own understanding of how we grow…

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Spreading Good Cheer

I really don’t ‘do’ Christmas until December as a rule, but once you have children there are lots of things that need to be ready to start on the 1st December, so I find myself getting set up earlier and earlier… This year we are going to hospital on the 20th Dec in the hope of encouraging baby 4 out to be home by the 25th – so there is even more pressure to be ready early!!

There are a couple of things we like to do in our family that have proved popular, they are mostly free and this year we are adding in the challenge of completing a kind act as part of our Advent celebrations… I’ve found the link below so you can download your own calendar if you fancy having a go – it’s from an American site, so we used the blank version and amended it slightly. It’s important to us that the kids learn about sharing and giving being an essential element of Christmas, and that they don’t get completely obsessed with the ‘getting’ part. For example we always put an Oxfam (or similar) gift in with their presents.

Random Acts of Kindness for Dec…Lovely idea…

We also like to wrap our Christmas books up and open one each day of Advent for a ‘surprise’ and in addition to the normal countdown. These arenimages‘t new books, although we sometimes add a new one or two if we see something magical… There are some old favourites in there and we try to make sure all the kids have something age appropriate. Good places to get cheap Christmas books are to ask around from friends with older kids, pop to the charity shops or if you prefer new then try The Book People, we also use library books.

We always have a clear out of old toys, books and clothes that we don’t use anymore and take them to a variety of places to be re-loved. This is largely tolerated by the kids under the guise of making room for new things.

On the 1st December we also have an Elf that comes to stay with us for the whole month, he then reports back to Father Christmas on our behaviour… although there was an initial cost (you could make your own for free?), it’s now free and the fun of trying to find where he is every morning is well worth the cost. He’s not naughty as we try not to encourage that, but he is curious and has been found in some unusual places – the only downside is when it takes so long to find him we end up running late for school (and of course remembering to hide him after a long day!).

I’m sure there is so much more than this to go and get ready, but it sounds like plenty for now. So, off to the loft with me…




Pregnancy Files – Week 16-20

Heavens to betsy things are moving quickly now. You should have had your dating scan, and now looking forward to the detailed scan – this one is to have a really good look at the all the limbs, organs and other bits and bobs that can now be seen by the professionals, don’t be too concerned if you find it much harder to make sense of the images, as long as they seem happy with baby’s progress you should be too. If all is well this will be your last scan, so enjoy the moment and bore everyone to tears with the grainy pictures afterwards.

Hopefully this is the phase of pregnancy that is most ‘fun’. In theory there are no major symptoms, you aren’t big enough yet to be experiencing anything too difficult and should be over the nausea… You may even consider having lots of sex while you still have the energy, embracing the increased blood flow to that neck of the woods. Equally of course, you may buck this ‘average’ trend and feel like eating chocolate and wonder why anyone ever gets out of their pajamas – there are no rules with pregnancy, even if you’ve done it before no two are quite the same. Go with the flow and be prepared to have a range of emotions throughout the day. This is also the time that lots of women start to feel baby moving, it’s not always obvious at first what’s going on, and often just seems like wind… However, it’s a truly special thing that the two (or more) of you have for a while before anyone else can feel it too.

If possible the buzz word from now on is to eats lots of lovely nutritious foods, that baby is growing at an amazing rate and you need to feed them and yourself with lots of veggies, fruits and ice cream (:)) Remember there is a list of foods you should avoid while pregnant

, and the jury is out over how much alcohol is safe, so go with none for now. There are also lots of over the counter medicines that aren’t a good idea, so always check with the pharmacist before you take anything to be on the safe side.

Careful what you wish for…

I’m writing this after a very long 48 hours, for reasons yet unknown we have all been the grumpiest, tantrumiest, meanest, rudest, stampy-feety, ‘where have my children gone?’ EVER!

It’s at these times I am shocked by the sheer exhaustion and hard-work of parenting. That I can be brought to tears by a five year old still amazes and embarrasses me, not least because I see myself as a very capable, patient person – I work in Mental Health discussing extraordinarily difficult topics with often very poorly people and manage to keep professional and have never yet yelled… but at home I can be brought to the worst behaviour of my life in seconds – I’m a work in progress I guess.

What I start to wonder is that I truly wished for this. What was I thinking? There used to be lie-ins, weekends in Paris, expensive jewellery and facials. There are times when I question the trade in!

I have managed to curb the yelling (mostly), which I’m relieved about and I’m currently working on the ‘setting  a good example’ idea. My new mantra is – I’m the adult here – it’s working so far… It’s truly incredible how many buttons I appear to have that my kids can press so easily. We all have pet peeves, as I’m sure they do as well, so it’s a joint mission. I’m also working on not bearing grudges, this is not my strong suit generally in life but a complete necessity in parenting.

So, we shall see what the next 48 hours holds, the school run this morning was smooth (ish) and after school Craft Club should have proved fun… just swimming to tackle and then break out the chocolate either in triumph or despair… And then I remember that I asked for this, that I really absolutely LOVE this, that the joy of parenting is in those magical moments when they take your breath away with their beaP1010094utiful thoughts, caring acts, mastery of a task, cuddle or uncomplicated views of the world. I wanted this and I wouldn’t change it for anything (except maybe… no, not for anything!)

Deep breath x

Pregnancy Files Weeks 12-16

Oh now things are getting exciting! Fingers crossed you have crossed into the Second Trimester, and can start to feel more confident that this is really happening. You should have had a dating scan, which will give you an official ‘due date’, however babies rarely arrive on that exact date (unless they’re showing off) so think of it more as a ‘window of opportunity’. In most UK hospitals you will be able to buy a picture from the scan, which is the start of collecting various bits and bobs that can make a lovely memory book or picture frame. You might want to find a shoe box to keep these bits in?

The first symptoms of tiredness and nausea should be calming down now, and you might start to feel pretty great – embrace this Second Trimester as for many women it’s the best bit physically. If you are still experiencing unpleasant symptoms have a chat with your midwife or GP, there may be some help available. Continue to take the Folic Acid, or a general pregnancy vitamin and try to eat healthily so baby has all they need to grow and develop, although you may not be showing much on the outside there is the most incredible change going on inside!

Lots of websites etc can give you an idea of the size of your baby (usually in terms of fruit?!?) which can help  to visualise what’s going on. There are also lots of images available of what is actually going on in there, some people love this and some find it a bit unnerving, be careful not to freak yourself out with too much internet searching – trust your body and your instincts.



Pregnancy Files – Week 8 -12

So, things are starting to get real now… you are about to finish your first trimester. You are likely to be feeling ridiculously tired and fall asleep at inappropriate times, if you have given up drinking, smoking or going out after 6pm some friends may be getting suspicious. When to tell people your news is a very personal decision, but lots of people choose to wait until after the first scan.

You may be experiencing some odd physical sensations, including being super sensitive to smells and the dreaded nausea. It’s called morning sickness, but don’t let that fool you as it can come on at any time – on occasion it can become a real problem and if you can’t keep anything down for over 24 hours you need to see the GP.

In our average way of things here, nothing very exciting to report at this stage…

The Mysteries of Time Management…

I always make myself laugh when I have a period of being totally out of synch with the world around me (e.g. the last few weeks), not because I’m especially funny, but because I teach a Time Management course! The irony is not lost on me.

We had a week away, it was lovely and despite a drizzly outlook it was fun and relaxing however there was no Wifi… I was in a blackout of technology – and it was rather liberating.

Planning to take young children to a caravan for a whole week can be tricky, especially when you include special diets and poor weather so I was ‘offline’ for the week before we left, the week we were away and am just coming out from under the pile of laundry and essential-have-to-be-done-immediately tasks to get everyone back to work and school etc. I’ve rather missed my cyber life, I didn’t realise how much of link I had made with various organisations, and how ‘adult’ it can be to have head space away from the nappies and the chaos.

I’ve also realised that while sitting at my desk I can’t see the mess piling up behind me, and that perhaps is the strongest lure towards the keyboard… I’m fairly sure we could be burgled and not notice.

So, I’m back online and will be posting lots of things as soon as I get this sleepy toddler off my feet x