29 September 2014

Book Sharing Monday: Leaf Jumpers

Look, two weeks in a row might be the beginning of something reliable, but I doubt it so enjoy/put up with it while it lasts. ;) Seasonal book sharing: Leaf Jumpers.
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Bright, colourful, and simple. Talia quite likes this one, but Rowan thinks it's boring, so I'd not put this firmly on a wish list for a child past toddlerhood. The illustrations are sweet and lively, though.
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Autumn is, for some reason, the most sparse in terms of our seasonal book collections. My grandma kindly sent money to buy new books for the children, and I bought a couple of new ones with that, but there really aren't as many out there as I'd have thought. It feels like a good time of year to be pulling out a basket of stories, and Talia clearly agrees as she is bringing me bigger stacks of picture books every day (or at least it feels like that). Of course, I can't complain about not having enough Autumn books when the box I store them all in on top of my wardrobe contains so many Winter books I've taken to stacking some in my journal/ephemera/paper/collage basket... I should probably go through that at this time of year. I might be able to bear to let a couple go, and make some more room!

(Apologies for the extremely dark photographs! I'm rather lacking light here right now...)

28 September 2014

Seven Days: a very busy week!

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1. Oranges
2. Baby
3. All playing in the same space
4. First conker of the year
5. Board game night at the Book Cafe
6. Derby Feste
7. Green Man

24 September 2014

Autumn Season Table

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Ah, my favourite time of year. :) Talia carded the wool for the little bonfire, and Jenna picked the crab apple. A dear friend sent the teasel hedgehog a couple of years ago (and felted the wool bowl) - another friend sent *giant* pine cones, and another made the felt leaves. So many happy reminders of friendship, and so many reflections of the world outside our windows.

22 September 2014

Night Walking

After tea with Ashleigh, we decided to take another night time walk. Martin remembered a little urban nature reserve he'd driven past and wanted to show us, so we figured we'd go in the dark anyway (and try not to stumble into any nettle patches).
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Just off the main road, yet it was pitch black. With the light of Martin's phone we watched the fish in the stream. We found way markers all out of order. And tiny little fairy mushrooms in the grass.
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Talia shouted her delight at everything she saw and heard from her comfortable seat on my back.
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20 September 2014

Seven Days of Autumning

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1. Calke Abbey babies
2. Night time walk
3. Board game time
4. Clay and twig hedgehogs (and cat hair *sigh*)
5. Child-felted acorns
6. Morgan found a person hiding in the olive jar
7. Talia tasting the rain

19 September 2014

Simple Daybook when money is a worry.

Outside my window the sky is lightening blue-grey, and the daily sounds of cars starting and the rumble of the distant main road are beginning. It is very early, a few moments of peace before my day becomes full of young people and sound and busyness. I have a hot cup of tea. I sneaked out from besides the softly curled snuggly toddler to change over laundry and spend just a few moments alone.

I am thinking about meal plans and post office runs and somehow balancing everything today. No anxiety yet, just a lot of little things that must be done.

I am thankful for family and friends who don't judge us, or see us as hopeless stewards of money, but are just there when we need them. More thankful than I can say for the five different people who have made sure we are kept in bread, milk, fruit, cereal.

In the kitchen a loaf of fresh bread is waiting on the surface for hungry breakfasting children. Grains are soaking for soup for lunch. The washing machine is running already, I have so much laundry to get through - sometimes I think the sound of that machine is taking over my mind.

I am wearing a soft, long, steel-grey dress and a rust-orange cardigan. Bare feet. Copper skeleton leaf necklace.

I am going to make it to the park with a friend next week. I can't really predict more than that, other factors crowd in and make all the usual plans and wishes a little tricky. We wanted to go swimming at the weekend again, maybe visit a friend a little further off, but the car is out of fuel and posting parcels comes before swimming.

I am reading The Dragonfly Pool (well, I just finished it). I love borrowing books from my children! I really enjoyed it, interesting, quirky, light reading but my first completed book for a good while. 

I am hoping that our Tax Credits will finally be reinstated tomorrow, or if not, soon. The money Martin makes is what keeps a roof over our heads. Tax Credits feeds us. My earnings pay for dance classes and books. It has been that way for a while, and without the weekly income ("computer error" they tell us, and "it may take another week or more") we are struggling.

I am looking forward to reading stories with Talia, and kissing her little soft toddler cheeks, and laughing together. She's a sweet little pixie with her own comfortable little rhythm and a generous laugh. I may sneak out of bed to spend a moment alone, but my heart is still there with my babiest one.

Around the house: Here in the living room there is a scattering of toys and a pony castle in the middle of the floor. When I got up, I told myself I would tidy a little in here before our day starts, but as yet I have only looked at it. A doll crib, a hair brush, a discarded pink shoe, a drum. Some kind of flyer that has made it through the door only to be snatched up by little hands and used in some game. This is my life; ragged around the edges and yet creative and full and mostly content.

Yesterday I spent hours sorting out the children's rooms. I woke up from a sleepless night thinking, "Of all the things I worry about not being able to give the children, I can give them at least the gift of uncomplaining service in this one thing." So I set to work picking up the pile of clothes, the strewn dressing up things, the books and pieces of paper piled high by the bed and on the desk. It was more of a mess than I thought it was, but they joined me one by one to say, "Wow, thank you mum! What can I do to help?"

One of my favourite things is changing the season table over to Autumn. 

A few plans for the rest of the week: family time at the weekend, Jenna's dance class (mercifully pre-paid for the term), more science experiments because we found the instruction booklet for the chemistry set (!), and hopefully getting some of the laundry actually put away. Oh, the glamour!

A peek into my day:
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PS: I'm sorry if you don't like to hear me talking about money. I am *incredibly* grateful that we are able to freely make the choice to live with less so that one of us can be at home. I am even more grateful for the generosity of friends and family that has tided us over until our income returns. But if you feel the need to tell me why it's my fault or that I shouldn't be open about the impact money (or lack) has on us, then sorry but I'm not sorry (and I won't publish your comment). :p
PPS: Last time I spoke about our finances, I didn't add a post-script, and had to remove some "helpful" judgement.

18 September 2014

Busy List for Autumn

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(With apologies for the rubbish picture!)

16 September 2014

Early Autumn at Calke Abbey

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Some of our weekend.

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Just an afternoon, needing time out of the house. Something to climb, somewhere to run and screech.

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"Mummy, I need the camera!" Morgan says, running towards me at full tilt. As she brings the camera back, she shows me, "Look! A pretty leaf!"

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15 September 2014

Book Sharing Monday: The Little Yellow Leaf

Yes! A book sharing post! After, well, probably a couple of years? Anyhow, NEW AUTUMN BOOKS. This is pretty much my favourite story book in the entire house right now! The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger.
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"Not Ready, thought the Little Yellow Leaf as a heavy harvest moon bloomed amber in the starry sky."

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Stunning collage illustrations. Hypnotically beautiful words, sweet simple story. Nice colours, gorgeous design, perfect layout. Cosy Autumn picture book reading. :)

13 September 2014

Week in Pictures

Another week. Wait, what? Already?!

We have crunched through leaves. Taken long sunny walks. Been bowling with friends.
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Read stories, written stories, composed poetry, and stuck shark stickers all over *everything*. Had a water fight, and poured cups out of bedroom windows.
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Made outdoor nature art and collected sticks for sculptures at a later date.
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Watched the ducks, tried to jump on our own shadows, and had an amazing Not Back to School picnic in the blazing sunshine.
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Snuggled and laughed and played more Sims and watched Stampy and dressed up and baked chocolate cake.
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And some of us have put temporary tattoos on our faces, and even had the occasional nap (to compensate for being WIDE awake at midnight on more than one occasion)!
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10 September 2014

Sometimes I finish things...

These beautiful Autumn rainbows became trickier to carry around with us this past week. Knitting two at a time is very satisfying, but more to juggle when not comfortably nestled in my favourite corner of the sofa.
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But here they are, all done! (And far too large for Jenna, obviously.)
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Yeah, ignore the cereal on my living room floor... And let's not mention the dozen unfinished WIPs, eh?

8 September 2014

September Adventures

Back to school time, and I'm now legally responsible for facilitating full time education for three. No feeling of panic this year, or urge to get out folders just to feel like I'm doing something. New posters for Autumn ideas and inspiration, though. And a gradual return to some kind of household order as my depression lifts (often a bit too much order and not enough playing-with-the-kids or being-gentle-to-myself, as I suffer from a case of All or Nothing Syndrome).

The start of the school year has felt really peaceful this time around. Our Summer is transitioning into Autumn calmly and smoothly. We are getting out of the house a bit more. Life has a familiar sense of flow, and I am no longer flailing desperately for breath.
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Morgan has been getting out the pencils a lot in the two weeks since I tidied their shelves. She even initiated some copywork after Jenna had some poetry books out.
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We caught up with some friends we haven't seen for a while, and took a nature walk. The children foraged, pretended to be zombies, climbed up and down the river banks, and poked a dead rabbit with sticks.
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Some very friendly little birds chirped at us in town.
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And Rowan made an apple pie all by herself, with apples from our tree.
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Jenna and Morgan went on a first aid course. Rowan and Talia waited somewhat impatiently, and inspected the ambulances. We bought new pens (and cookies) on the way home.
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We visited Ikea and built flatpack furniture at Ashleigh's house.
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Wollaton Hall had a festival running, a new trail around the museum exhibits, and some wonderful tiny bug sculptures.
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We have installed mods for Sims. Painted. Collected leaves and acorn caps and stones and feathers. Baked cupcakes. Read together. Played in the garden. Pulled out the encyclopedia to look for pictures of seals. Threaded beads, Made apple sauce. Had friends round to play. Made our own notebooks.

It was a good week. :)