There's going to be a bit of a blogging hiatus at Bod for tea. The move has finally taken over and I need to focus on unpacking boxes, finding toys, putting together things that were taken apart, replacing things that didn't make it in one piece and getting some sort of order and routine into our new life. In the meantime, be good and don't eat all the chocolate biscuits. As Arnie was so fond of saying, I'll be back.
Posted by Bod for tea6 comments
Labels: expat, Moving house
Friday, 24 June 2011
Reasons to be cheerful and oh so grateful
Blogging's taken a back seat to recently. No apologies. No excuses. No time! But I made myself find the time this week to express some heartfelt gratitudes and cheerfulness in the middle of all the chaos.
1. Friends. I am grateful beyond words for the glorious, funny, caring, gorgeous and downright fantabulous mummy friends that I've made during this wild three year ride. We've bumped together, birthed together (almost literally in one case!) and raised our toddlers together. We've celebrated and commiserated. They were there for me when I cried and despaired with shoulders to cry on and heartfelt advice. I hope that I was able to do the same for them. I will miss them more than I can say.
2. The Interweb. What would I have done without this amazing invention? Thanks to the interwebicle I've ordered DD's birthday card and present to be delivered when we return home, filled an online basket with all the groceries and other household items we'll need for someone to drop right at my door, kept in touch with friends and family, vented my spleen and given wings to my creative side through this little blog and made some absolutely wonderful bloggy friends who I hope to someday meet in the 'real' world.
3. Birthday parties. There's nothing like a few birthday parties to distract a little from the fact that all her real (i.e. not ) toys have disappeared. Phew! (And goody bags are fab for keeping until the twelve hour *gulp* plane ride home.)
Yes this is exactly how
I'll look on my new bike
4. Spinning. Bike, not top. Yes we've bought a spinning bike!!!!! In a nail biting finish on Ebay we were the lucky bidders on an ex-gym model which I will be jumping on as soon as it's delivered. Ok, so perhaps I'm overdoing the enthusiasm a teensy bit and I'll probably only work up to it some time in November, but it's a start non?
Grateful? Cheerful? Link up over at the lovely Michelle's Reasons to be Cheerful and Maxabella's Grateful for...
Well that fateful day has been and gone. The packers arrived yesterday morning to throw our things pack all our worldly possessions nice and carefully into crates and lose them ship them back to the UK. The last few days have been a whirlwind of 'do I really want this?' and 'oh, I wondered where that went', and 'put that back in the box!'. And so it is with some experience that I share some top tips for moving house (and country) with a toddler.
Top tip #1: Make a list of everything that's going in the shipment, and mark the rooms that they came from. It's a pain in the arse but if the worst happened and it all got lost at sea you'll be grateful you did when the claims adjuster doesn't believe you had 5 pairs of Jimmy Choos in a crate next to a bug zapper. Highlight the brands of items that are precious to you and include serial numbers where possible. It also makes it easier when you're unpacking the boxes at the other end as you can check off the items and make sure nothing's missing. Our list ran to 33 pages. Seriously.
Top tip #2: Make some home-made toys that you can leave behind when you finally move. We've been remarkably lucky with DD and she hasn't been too upset that all her toys have disappeared into boxes in preparation for the packers arrival (see top tip #3). I credit the 'new' play house and Maisy figures that I made from a cardboard box. She loves it and I don't need to try and squash it into a case when we leave. I was inspired by the lovely Lorraine over at ikatbag who is seriously talented with cardboard in ways I cannot ever hope to be. (You could just borrow toys from friends too - but this is much more fun!)
Top tip #3: Buy some cardboard boxes from IKEA, collect together small less-valuable items and pack them yourself. Nothing that needs bubble-wrap y'all, that's what packers are for, but things like stationery, small toys, kitchen utensils etc. Mark clearly on the outside what's in the box. When it arrives at the other end all these bits and bobs won't be floating around a large box with your garden furniture and you can just pop them on a shelf until there's time to re-home them. Also makes it easier to see the wood for the trees in your looks-like-a-bomb's-hit-it-apartment.
Top tip #4: Read all your customs paperwork carefully and make sure you know what you can and can't ship home. We can't have any liquids in our shipment back to the UK. None. All those toiletries I stock-piled because I can't get them here? Yep, in my case or in the bin. If you know you're moving and friends or family are coming to visit before you leave, get them to squirrel a few things into their case for you.
Top tip #5: Collect together your little one's favourite DVDs, take them out of the boxes and put them in a slip case. You can ship the boxes to save weight in your case and they're all in one place when you need to whip 'em out. DD watched DVDs for two days straight while we were trying to get ready for the movers. No, I'm not proud of it, but it was necessary.
Top tip #6: It's kinda scary if you're little and all your most treasured friends and possessions suddenly disappear. If you're little one is old enough explain to them what it happening. Nana came out for a visit not long ago so I used that as a starter for 10, drew a picture of our apartment here and our house in the UK with a wavy blue sea between them and an aeroplane in the sky above. I sat her down and the conversation went something like this...
Me: Do you remember where Nana went?
DD: On aero-plane.
Me: That's right. Nana went on an aeroplane to England.
Me: Yes. Tomorrow a lot of our toys and books are going to go to visit Nana on an aeroplane too.
DD: (looks nonplussed)
Me: And then we're going to go on an aeroplane and visit Nana too! Won't that be fun?!
During the packing day whenever DD asked for one of her toys that was packed I reminded her of the aeroplane/England/Nana scenario. I expected HUGE tears. But none arrived. She simply repeated 'Nana' a couple of times and pottered on her way. Result.
Top tip #7: Go out for a meal when the packers have left. You will likely have been in your soon-to-be-ex- apartment all day without a break and the place will be a mess. Or at the very least empty and echo'y Tidy up as best you can and then leave. Celebrate the fact that you got through it and have someone else serve you, even if it's just pizza. You deserve it!
What do you do when all your toys are packed in boxes?
You play with the one your Mummy made you. Complete with cardboard Maisy, Panda and Eddie Elephant cardboard figures. Who needs Fisher Price?
Posted by Bod for tea5 comments
Sunday, 12 June 2011
The plum rains have started here in China and it's likely to rain everyday until we leave. No more play dates in the park then. On the plus side there's been a serious draught here so the rain will be welcomed and at least it's preparing us for the British summer.
So in celebration of the rain clouds, a slightly damp Sunday Saying this week. Ok, I know it's not really about rain as such, but it made me laugh. Have a great day everyone.
A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.
Image credit: Old letters by Simon Howden at freedigitalphotos.net, quote from brainyquote.com
Posted by Bod for tea3 comments
Labels: Sunday Sayings
Saturday, 11 June 2011
I'm a pessimist and apparently it's ok
It's not sexy or cool like optimism, but it's the truth and I have to own up to it. I'm a pessimist. I expect the worst and hope for just ok. I scare myself witless thinking about all the bad things that could happen. I wasn't always like this. My pessimism feels like a protective blanket, cushioning me from pain. If things aren't as bad as I think they're going to be then I'm pleasantly surprised. But if they are, I'm not shocked. I'm not knocked reeling like I have been in the past.
And I've just discovered today that my own particular brand of negativity has a name - it's called 'Defensive Pessimism'. Coined by Dr Julie K Norem, Defensive Pessimism is a strategy of imaging the worst-case scenario of any situation so that you can manage anxiety and work more productively. She even wrote a book about it; The Positive Power of Negative Thinking. Apparently Defensive Pessimists (like me) lower their expectations to help prepare themselves for the worst. Then, they mentally play through all the bad things that might happen. This helps them to focus away from their emotions so that they can plan and act effectively. Yep, that's me all right.
Isn't it funny how labelling something can legitimise it? I feel so much better knowing that my negativity is my 'defensive strategy'. So the next time I'm thinking the worst about something, I'll stop kicking myself in the butt and pat myself on the back for preparing to be more effective.
I tend to be at my most pessimistic at home. I'm usually a pretty cheerful soul when I'm out and about, at play dates or going about my daily business. The black cloud stops at the door. But now I'm wondering if I should let it out of the house? If I should proudly display my Defensive Pessimism badge for all to see. Yes, I'm expecting the worst today, how about you? It would certainly make meeting new people a lot less troublesome if you knew up front they were a DP and not just a whinging moan-bag.
Are you a Defensive Pessimist? According to Dr. Norem if you're tired of always being told to "look on the bright side", criticized for imagining worst case scenarios, or wish your optimistic friends would just leave you alone and let you be negative, then there's a good chance you're a Defensive Pessimist too. Come on, dive in. The water's probably cold.
Image credit: despair.com
Posted by Bod for tea37 comments
Thursday, 9 June 2011
Toddlers and nutrition: Dr Keith Ayoob interview at Kneebouncers.com
Watched a fab interview about toddlers and nutrition with Dr Keith Ayoob, a child nutrition expert, today over at Kneebouncers.com. Some great take outs for me, including that you may have to offer your toddler a particular food up to 15 times before they'll decide if they like it (err....try taste it!). Also love that he's in favour of simple foods like hard-boiled eggs and fruit. Yay! (Now just to get DD to try a hard-boiled egg...). Overall, well worth watching, even just to allay my fears that DD is some kind of new breed of non-food-eating child. Enjoy!
Posted by Bod for tea4 comments
Labels: DD, food, fussy eaters support club, nutrition, toddler
It's changed again. Just as I get used to the morning routine we've had for the past few months, DD throws it all up in the air again, just to keep me on my toes! We'd settled into a comfortable pattern for a while - I'd be up at 6am for a shower, a cup of tea and a sneaky surf before anyone else was up, then she would wake around 7am for milk and a story. So far so easy.
But for the past few weeks that 7am wake up's been creeping forward. First I got my shower and tea but no surf. Then no tea. And then Friday morning no shower - heck I wasn't even awake! Five thirty, my darling daughter? Seriously? That's not a civilised time for anyone to be up and about (especially not someone who wakes up so full of beans) so we brought her into bed with us for a family snuggle for an hour until OH's alarm went off. Was it an anomaly? Or is this the new normal? One thing's for sure, nothing's certain with a toddler in the house. And so tonight I'll be going to be early, just in case.
We started packing this weekend. Well, more sorting out what's going in our suitcases and what's going in our shipment to arrive two months later really. I've discovered that clothes expand of their own volition to exceed the space you have to pack them in. Which is really rather unhelpful. So this week's Sunday Saying is, albeit in a rather loose way, dedicated to moving house.
The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.
And how right he was, if I waited for a perfect man to pack my suitcases for me I'd be waiting all day. (Apologies to OH, who is, in fact, the perfect man, but still isn't going to pack my suitcases for me.)
Image credit: Old letters bySimon Howdenat freedigitalphotos.net, quote from brainyquote.com
Posted by Bod for tea3 comments
Labels: Sunday Sayings
Friday, 3 June 2011
Reasons to be cheerful and grateful
Recent events have had me soul-searching a bit and I'm grateful for these lovely memes from Michelle over at and to get some stuff out of my head. This week I'm dedicating my reasons to our attempts for a #2. Sorry, bit of a heavy one this week.
1. DD - my miracle baby, what better reason to be cheerful and grateful than the fact that we were blessed with your safe, if eventful and earlier than expected, arrival twenty-three months ago? You may be the only child that we can have but how lucky we are that you picked us to join you for this roller-coaster ride.And what a ride! You're full-steam-ahead into your toddler years and grabbing life with both your little hands, as you've always done. I'm sorry that we can't give you a brother or sister but I'll be doing my darnedest to make up for that. I love you my darling.
2. IUI - I'm constantly grateful that someone invented the amazing IUI and IVF processes so that couples such as us with unexplained infertility can have the opportunity to try and conceive a child. Mother Nature is glorious but she's a busy woman and who doesn't need an extra pair of hands around the place sometimes to pick up the slack? Thank you, inventor, whoever and wherever you are. You rock.
3. Perspective - after seven months of striving, hoping, praying, and all manner of medical procedures, we're done. Our move home in four weeks time (yes home!) has necessitated this but it's also a fitting end point. We're starting the next adventure together as a family, and now that I'm finally drug free and hormone neutral after almost two years I am grateful for the perspective to see how amazing that is, how lucky we are, and cheerful about embarking on that adventure without the excess emotional baggage I've been carrying around.
Do you have reasons to be cheerful or grateful this week? Pop 'em down and link up.
Posted by Bod for tea10 comments
Labels: DD, infertility, Reasons to be cheerful
Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Dear So and So...
Sorry that you're not looking at your best at the moment. The packing boxes are untidy, I know, and the cupboards are starting to look a bit sad and bare, but fear not, when we leave I'm sure some other lovely people will move in and fill you up with interesting things that you can have a good nosey at. Thanks for being a fab place to live for the last three years.
Soon to be ex-tenant
Did you really have to choose lunchtime to drill untold numbers of holes in walls? Really? Just when DD was down for her nap? You're lucky she didn't wake up. Believe me.
Thank you SO much for coming to visit us for three whole weeks and for making that time such fun. We're missing you lots already but it won't be long until we're all together again.
Your DD and mine
Thank you for solving my and meeting all the requirements on my list with the gorgeous Emily. Cold hard cash well spent I reckon. Look forward to getting to know her better as soon as she arrives. Reassured she will be coming to a good home, but she will have to work hard for her keep.
Excited new owner
Do you have any Dear So and So... letters this week? Link them up over at .