Friday, 1 June 2012

A whimper in the dark

I'm taking a break from my blogging hiatus today. I'm taking time out from my busy work schedule. I'm finally sitting down to read the full news reports on something that happened last week in a place called Houla in Syria. I heard about it when it happened, but I tried to block it out. I was getting tired of Syria and its monster of a president and how, through the support of Russia and China, he kept getting away with terrorising his own people and all the UN and the rest of the world could do was tut-tut at his behaviour.

This time though, something about the reports coming out of Houla caught my attention--what happened there was clearly a massacre. Over a hundred people died not as a result of random shelling, but of being shot and/or stabbed. And here's the heartbreaking bit: as of last count, almost half of the dead are children, many of whom had parts of their bodies hacked or blown off. Some of them were mere babies and toddlers. Some weren't much older than my own kids. None of them deserved to die the way they did.

It has been a week since the massacre. Russia and China are still refusing to let the UN Security Council take any action against Syria. The UN is still trying to get Kofi Annan's peace plan for Syria implemented, ignoring the fact that what's happening in Syria now is similar to what happened in Rwanda and Bosnia,where hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives. It's enough to make anyone tear their hair out in desperation.

It's so easy for the leaders of the world to condemn what's going on in Syria and shake their heads at their helplessness at the situation. It's so easy for ordinary citizens like you and me to shake our heads at our own helplessness, to look at our kids and thank God or the universe that we are in a place where we can sleep at night knowing that our kids are safe and no one will barge into our homes to hurt them.

It's so easy to talk in broad terms about history and politics and culture and heck, even religion, and how these have made Syria the way it is now. But really, shouldn't we start talking about the people of Syria instead, and what they need right now? They need safety and security. They need their children to live and grow up. Who's going to give them what they need? If we can't rely on the UN to do this, who else can we turn to?

This is why we can no longer block Syria out. The Syrian people's pleas for help may have sounded like a whimper in the dark to most of us, but maybe if we merge our voices with theirs, we can get them the help that they need. Maybe, just maybe, if we get together and let our leaders know that we can't let them ignore the Syrian people any longer, they might actually do something now. Let's shout out loud and  let them know that we do care and we want them to, as well. 

[There are petitions from Amnesty International and Save the Children that you can sign. If you're a blogger, you can join the protest by blogging about Syria and if you're on Twitter, you can link to your post by using the tags #Syria #tippingpoint  #Stopthekilling. ]

[Edit: There's another petition from Avaaz that you can sign, plus a whole load of blog posts from other women at BritMums. Let's keep talking about this!]

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A Grafham Water story

One day, Prince Lucas and Princess Sofia went out for a leisurely walk on the palace grounds.

Suddenly, a swarm of flying creatures descended on them. Their warrior instincts told them that these were sent by the evil Emperor Dukestar.

Unfazed by the approaching army, the young royals stood calmly, as their training since birth in the way of the ninja had taught them to do. It was time to put their magnificent weapons to use.

The Emperor's soldiers hardly knew what hit them, so swift and precise were the strokes the prince and princess made with their swords.

Before long, the few that were left of the Emperor's army had scrambled desperately back to their master, who of course was unhappy that his attempt to take over the kingdom of Watfordia had once again been thwarted.

The people of Watfordia celebrated yet another victory of good over evil by flying the magical W Kite, which scatters seeds of abundance and good health in every place over which it flies.

For the brave prince and princess, it was just another adventure-filled day. Many more lie ahead of them, as they continue their fight against every darkness that threatens their wonderful kingdom.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Handmade Pressies!

Half-term is almost over. I can't believe how time has flown! I guess it's because I haven't really had a lot of time to relax this week. Things were quite hectic in the run-up to half-term, and this week, I've been working and preparing for a new feature in my other blog.

Anyway, one of Sofia's friends celebrated her fourth birthday on Saturday. Sofia has somehow managed to get it in her head that all her close friends will get only handmade gifts this year. It was definitely easy for her to decide, as of course, it's Mummy who has to do all the making! I decided to humour her on this occasion seeing as it was almost half-term and I would at least have a day to plan and make the present. Here's the present I came up with:

A colourful little tote just big enough for a little girl's favourite things to take along with her!

And into the bag went this little amigurumi bear.

There's a pocket in the bag with a few slots for pencils or crayons.

Here's Sofia's handmade card:

And here she is at the party. She had fun watching a magician/puppeteer and had a very filling lunch afterwards!

We met up with the birthday girl a few days later and were told that she loved her bag and teddy. Whew! What a relief, and what a lovely feeling when something you made is a hit with the recipient. :)

Saturday, 31 December 2011

The year that was

What a year 2011 has been. It's so easy to dismiss it as an annus horribilis for our family (and for many others who have been affected by the worsening state of the economy), but it had a lot of good moments too. All in all, it was a year full of challenges, a few humbling tumbles and many lessons learnt.

It was year of making new friends

Lucas and Sofia spending an evening at their new friend Michael's house.

and renewing old friendships.

Lucas celebrating his 9th birthday with friends he has known since Reception

It was a year of developing new interests and hobbies.

Sofia learning to steer her uncle's boat . . . 

. . . and striking her 'king of the world' pose

Lucas gives the kayak a go with his cousins' help.

Lucas learning wall climbing

Lucas joins the school choir and discovers that he can sing.

Sofia discovers the joy of reading and using the computer

Lucas became a Cub Scout this year.

And Simon learned to skydive.

Lucas tries out long-distance cycling.

It was the year that Sofia got to meet Peppa Pig and her family at Paulton's Park

and Lucas discovered that he has the potential to become a fashion model (a lovely boost to his sometimes-shaky self-confidence).

It was a year of births

Our new friend Phoebe was born in September.

Simon's corn snake breeding program turned out to be a huge success.

The kids and their friends William and Ollie saying hello to the very young lambs at Sacrewell Farm

and saying farewell to a favourite pet.

Ziggy, my favourite mouse, died in the middle of the year. 

There were many moments spent having fun and chilling out with good friends

and beloved cousins.

We spent hours reading books that we thoroughly enjoyed.

Sofia gets another Miffy book on Christmas Day.

Our evening ritual: reading books, lots of them

My December reading pile, all borrowed from the library

It was the year my little girl turned 4 and my not-so-little boy turned 9, 

The kids on Christmas Day

Sofia doing her yoga pose on her 4th birthday

Lucas's birthday cake: a double layer chocolate cheesecake (as he requested)

Lucas opening his birthday present from us—a Rubik's cube

the year that I ventured into selling my art and this Christmas, discovered that I could sell my cookies too!

My chocolate crinkles

It was a year spent learning to live in the moment and cherish each other's company;

In Sunny Hunny on a not-so-sunny day

Sofia the shark

The clifftop at Hoburne Naish

Playing on the beach at Hoburne Naish

 of learning to simplify our lives and discovering what really counts.

The kids opening their Christmas presents this year--no bulky toys, just games they can play together and books to read

Oh, and a little dress-up Madeline doll for Sofia

It was also the year we relearned the value of putting our feet up once in a while.

Here's looking forward to a blessed, wonderful, adventure-filled 2012! May your new year be filled with beautiful things.