30 March 2009

More weekend outdoors-y pictures

Courtesy of getting hubby a photobucket account he doesn't know about (yup, I managed to max out flickr as well, don't ask me how)! Bound to now keep messing up resizing having gotten used to a different system...

In mum's garden, Morgan's favorite outdoor activity - spooning sand OUT of the sandpit and INto any available receptacle. The plant pots have a nice dusting of sand on top of each one, and the birdbath is a bit unsuitable for bathing in. Our sandpit is going to be built soon, well, as soon as we've managed to trim the weeds down a little bit so we can find the least bumpy place for it, as our lawn only gets two haircuts a year generally! I can see me getting a bit sick of asking for the sand to stay in the sand area; but then again we have VERY wet heavy soil so maybe sand everywhere can only be an improvement?

Oh I can't wait to be spending the summer in the garden, eating outside most days, nursing a small baby on a bench in the sunshine, watching helplessly as the children dig up the onion sets again because the baby is asleep, laughing at Jenna's blackcurrant-stained face, seeing another little person touch grass for the first time - and soil, and sand, and brick...

We burned some old broken fencing on the firepit, and the girls stayed back with far more wariness than I expected. Our first fire of the year actually, and they seem to remember how hot it is without me fussing.

Mum also introduced us to something wonderful - a brand new farm shop, who MAKE THEIR OWN ICE-CREAM!! Yum. We came home with a big bunch of daffodils from mum, and a big tub of strawberry ice-cream from the shop. It only lasted about two minutes after I took a photo.

On Sunday afternoon we were at the in-laws for the first time in months. We walked to the park Martin used to play on as a child - apparently nothing has changed - and Jenna demonstrated her scary upper-body strength by climbing fearlessly up a frame taller than I am and then lowering herself slowly by her arms to drop down inside it!


Morgan ALWAYS spots anything in the sky - be it bird, "airpwane", "eecopter", or "buwoon"! She's a transport nut at the moment. How can a child who can't say her own name yet and who rarely strings more than three words together have so MANY words for kind of transport? She differentiates between van, truck, lorry, car, train and bus with the ease of a much older child.

Feeling huge and uncomfortable still. And a little jealous that everyone else seems to be having their babies before me! But it will be my turn soon. :) There is just so much to look forward to! This is the closest I have to a new bump picture, one of three sari ring slings I'm making for GP mamas (the only one I already had the rings for lol so the first one to be made)!

29 March 2009

Short weekend thoughts on learning...

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The last few days have been amazing; she has started using her reference books, really using them...

I look things up online myself, when I need some information, and although I DO use reference books sometimes I don't talk about what I'm doing. It's one of those invisible activites in our house. But Jenna does have her own reference books, looks in them from time to time, doesn't read them, but likes to have them on her shelves where she can see them. I think before now they just made her feel grown up, like if she wanted to know something then she COULD, it was just finding the right book (and someone to help decode it for her)!

On Saturday she suddenly came running in from outside, clutching her bird book. She thrust it at me, pointed at a picture of a blackbird and said, all in a rush, "What kind of bird is he? There's one of those in the garden RIGHT NOW and I saw him and he's the same as the book!" I said he was a blackbird, and this picture is of the female and this is the male, and she ran off with the book in her hands again calling back to me that she KNEW it was a boy blackbird anyway and she was going to go and see if she could see any more of the birds that are in the book!

Then, after we saw some frogspawn in a pond, she came home and went right to the bookshelves to look for her encyclopedia. After much frowning she demanded to know which book she would find frogs in, and when given the right volume she flicked through to find frogs and spent a happy half hour talking about ALL the pictures of frogs, frog bones, frogspawn, tadpoles... She can't read enough of it to decode any more meaning than she gets from the pictures, but it has still shocked me that this has just come, so naturally.

She is curious, she wants to know more, she goes and starts trying to find something that will tell her more. And it has so little to do with me apart from facilitating by finding volumes or reading words out to her!

I think that this is where so many people don't understand what it is exactly we do - even people who have heard of unschooling or have read a bit about it. It's easy to give the impression that unschooling is still something that we DO TO a child. We wait for a teachable moment, and then we teach them something. It's something they're interested in (yay) therefore we can try to fit our knowledge into their heads... But that just isn't what's happening in our lives; we're learning and developing all of the time, but not through teaching/learning. Just through living.

Not that I never talk about things I'm interested in, or try to share something with her, or answer her question with an explanation... Just that when I share something with her I'm not expecting her to learn it, or trying to make her understand it. There IS a difference. There feels like a difference: and I know all too well when I'm trying to teach instead of just be with her.

The book use is a big deal to me. It has shown me that I'm not crazy to think that this is working well for us, and has clarified for me that I don't WANT to be a teacher and I don't need to be. If I saw myself as teaching homeschool I would have introduced the reference volumes to her. I probably would have made a point of using them to look things up. The moment she showed an interest in them I'd have explained how they work and how to find things by letter of the alphabet. And any time she asked a question, I'd have gone to the books and looked it up, and tried to get her to decode the pages with me.

But I don't need to look for learning opportunities. Or teachable moments. I just need to live. Because she's watching... Even the things I think are minor and invisible.

Walking today Jenna spotted the blackbird at the top of this rambling. She was so excited we had to stop and take a picture. The knowledge is hers, not mine. Gained in her way, not mine. I can trust this process. It's a beautiful thing to watch.

28 March 2009

3am today...

...and my brain would NOT go to sleep, no matter how tired the rest of me was. And nothing would do but to get up and move the living room around and do some Serious Cleaning. This had better be nesting!

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New crafting table for the girls, and tidied sofa area... And look at the toys! It isn't going to stay like this. But I swear, there is NOTHING under my sofa or chairs (that shouldn't be there anyway). I scared the spiders again. Now I just need a baby, before the Crazy House-cleaning Mama comes back again in the early hours and I lose yet more much-needed sleep...

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27 March 2009

Treats!

...another little something special for baby. Huge huge thanks to Liz of Dark Star Baby for making these custom shorts (and TINY gorgeous booties)!

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And a sling for my Jenna, repurposed from my first ever home-made mei tai (whose straps were too narrow for me but are just fine for a four year old!).

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Today we urgently had to get some things in the post, do some shopping (no washing soap left in the house) and use a book voucher that was about to go out of date. I was partly sneakily hoping that planning Important Things to Do would encourage baby to disrupt our plans, but no such luck. We're home. And we found some very cool little Easter presents for the girls.

easter gifts

Of course Jenna went through the bags and found them as soon as we got home, so no surprises, but ah well...

25 March 2009

Finding joy...

... all over the place today.

Happy, lovely, creative, playtime mess. Tidied up voluntarily, which officially makes it Good Mess.
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Sibling love and affection, as Morgan "reads" to Jenna. Jenna giggles all the way through and keeps saying, "oh she's so FUNNY!"
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Pots of herbs growing in my kitchen in the sunshine.
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The heady smell of hyacinths from my mantlepiece.
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Fresh-baked Challah, warm with butter and jam for lunch.
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And one bump, demonstrated by Jenna to be absolutely officially gigantic.
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The thought keeps occuring to me that a huge part of the work of pregnancy is making space for this little person. Physically, and emotionally. Making room for a real live baby with its own needs and desires and spirit. And if that's the case, then part of the work I have yet to do is to simply wait for the baby's readiness. I can't deny the baby the freedom to come when it's good and ready, I have no right to dictate the time.
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Because the baby is a real human being; and if I have to make more space in my heart for meeting needs where and when they are at rather than only when it's to my liking, then that's the work I'll set my mind to in this waiting period. With less than good grace at times, admittedly, but...

I'm making space for you, baby. There is room for you here and you will be loved and accepted no matter how inconvenient your timing.

I had no idea she knew that one...

Morgan just picked up a book she has been reading with us a lot lately. "I'm Not Cute", it's called, about a baby owl. She loves it (anyone who knows this book might well understand why, this baby owl is SO Morgan).

She sat there "reading" it to herself and I started recognising words. This happens a lot at the moment. It will sound like babbling, and then suddenly it clicks into focus and I can understand her! Almost every word! It's been a long time in coming...

She was saying, "Ox... NOT COOT!!" (Ox, I translated as Fox... I must have been right because a moment later...) "Ribbit... NOT COOT!!" (Ribbit being her word for both frogs and rabbits, and I know there is a rabbit in the story...)

Then she paused, did a funny little gesture, and said, "NOT COOT!" again. It was only when she turned back to the start of the book and went through the whole thing again that I caught what she was doing. Somehow, from somewhere, she has picked up the SIGN for "squirrel".

24 March 2009

Pictures of the day

Well, honestly. I don't know what goes on in this cat's head. But she does make for good photographs.

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And of course two beautiful grown-up girls.

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Today has been a building sort of a day. Giving me chance to read the whole of The Silmarillion and part of Playful Parenting. I may have prioritised the wrong one... ;)

More spring crafts

So, some of the things we did the other day all finished, and some daffodils made yesterday. *grins*

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I'm impatient with bump, therefore finding it very hard to stay patient with noisy, lively, needy, distructive, (normal, happy, lively, funny, brilliant) children. If I could just shut myself away for a while, take a Mummy Timeout until I feel less on EDGE... Anyway, can't do that, so need to find a way to reconnect with them without too much noise or any of the other things that make me want to shout til I lose my voice... More art is needed around here.

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I'm thinking I might need to wash our messy mats now though. Otherwise I'm going to get yellow knees if I use them to birth on.

Moaning posts, in avoidance of

There are only so many times I can reasonably post the same pregnancy complaints without sounding a) whiney and b)ungrateful, so I'm trying really hard not to! Also I keep REALLY hoping that THIS will be the evening I can post to say that I'm in labour, so increasingly I'm not turning the computer on until evening and then I'm too tired to blog properly... I'm trying not to drive everyone crazy with the labour watch though, honestly.

I just had another midwife appointment - remember the one last week with the strange midwife who gave me all the reasons things could go wrong and insisted that merely being BOOKED for a homebirth makes me high risk and therefor I need extra monitoring? Well my own midwife is still off ill, but at least this week *this* midwife pulled a face and said, "So are we looking for reasons to refuse you the birth you want? Stupid. I'll book you in for two weeks or so."

Now that's more like it!

Everything on the bump front this week: fine. Baby measuring big still but not quite so big because, "if it gets any more engaged it will be out!" Lots of rolling around in there as things must be getting rather cramped. All ready for homebirth (in fact, even finally filled in the forms for maternity health payment and got them signed). So hopefully no more midwives until I phone triage to tell them I'm having the baby!

Last night Jenna asked me if I'm going to be more grumpy when the baby is born. I told her that mostly I'm grumpy because I'm tired and feel poorly, and once the baby is born I won't be so poorly but I might still be grumpy. And she said, "That's OK mummy, I can help you more when the baby is born, and you won't be sick any more."

22 March 2009

Yes, still here...

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Back-ache all weekend. More contractions. Another small show. And baby still happily kicking me in the ribs and getting fatter every day!

We had a fab day today, went for a picnic lunch at Attenborough and finished our crafts from yesterday. I've not had time to be disappointed that I'm still not actually in proper labour. Until this evening, when I was tucking Jenna in, and she sighed and said, "I don't think this baby wants to be born today mummy... Maybe tomorrow, and then Daddy won't have to go to work."

21 March 2009

Equinox randomness

What a beautiful sunny day it has been! We started the day with some craft activities (which I'm not going to put up on the other blog just yet for the sake of simplifying photo uploading which I've still not 100% figured out). The girls also found the Season Table newly re-decorated with more spring goodies too, especially our wooden sun making its seasonal reappearance, paper eggs, and a new flower fairy!
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Anyway, we made ribbon streamers and took them outside to play in the sunshine and lovely fresh light spring breezes. I made a hole in the top of a lolly stick using a paper punch and the girls both chose their ribbons. :)
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After a lot of running around we came back inside and did some other painting/sticking stuff too, but none of those got finished except the tissue paper flowers which Jenna INSISTED on making again.
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And lemon cake. It tasted every bit as good as it looks.
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But what did the girls MOST want to do this afternoon with a friend over? Wash the car, of course; warm sunshine plus water plus bubbles = preschooler heaven. Plus of course the car is still a HUGE novelty, and mummy is for some reason really stingy about children desperately wanting to just got for a ride in it... ;)
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They all got soaked. Someone thought it was a good idea to let Morgan help fill the water bucket...
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Oh drat, I seem to remember that being me...

20 March 2009

Simple pleasures on quiet days

One big-little girl happily singing herself a song as she makes a world for fairies and starts telling another endlessly intricate story about their lives. Seeing them learn, concentrate fully in the present moment, carry on whole little lives and grow in ways I never could have prepared for. Trusting that the person she is becoming is not, and should not be, something I control.
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One sturdy toddler, strong little legs showing bare and beautiful skin under her big sister's t-shirt. She insists on "buboos" (bobbles) and then cries if I try to give her matching ones. She laughs so much at Jenna blowing a raspberry at her that we all end up totally in tears.
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Making presents for Mother's Day; a felt lady for my mum, and a project bag and knitting needle roll for my mother-in-law. Will I have a third baby myself by Sunday? What a blessing to carry with me so much love from how I was mothered, and to have that relationship with such a wonderful woman now.
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Watching those precious faces as they sleep, in total trusting abandonment, curling up wherever they feel like it for a much-needed nap.
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Listening to the stillness and feeling the empty weight of my own arms, full for so much of the last five years and soon to be busy to overflowing again.

An urban walk

(Yes, I'm still getting to grips with Flickr lol!) That walk to the health visitor last week, and a lot more practice at staying present and not nagging. :) walk and craft 010

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Sorry about the pictures, folks!

OK, well apparently too many people are viewing my blog and photobucket might fall over if I am too loved. ;)

Therefore either I can pay to have them host my pictures (nope), transfer all my old pictures to different hosting and have *them* ask me to pay instead (nope), or put up with nothing showing from photobucket until the 2nd of next month.

I've got Flickr now, to fill the gap, can't stop putting up pictures lol - if baby is born soon I think a number of people would actually seriously fall out with me if I use the rubbish-ness of photobucket as an excuse not to post baby pictures...

On the other hand, from the bandwidth I'm using just from my 200-odd pictures, there must be a LOT of people viewing this blog... Welcome, friends old and new! And please bear with me while I sulk some more at image hosting people. :(

18 March 2009

Preoccupied...

Today, baby? baby hurry up 006
Little clay pregnant woman (baby in utero provided by Morgan)... baby hurry up 003
Tiny new precious baby gifts from some wonderful mamas... (Thankyou so much Joxy and Alison for these fabulously sweet little baby things!) baby hurry up 004
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When are you going to come and meet us, baby? I keep promising not to get impatient with you, but my arms are just longing to hold you now. It has felt like the *longest* couple of months...

And here is a little clay collaboration made by a certain two little girlies - another woman statue (mostly made by Jenna) and another little baby (contributed by Morgan again) - this lady is breastfeeding her newborn. Usually when I give them clay, all they want to make are lots of little animals and insects, but today it has been ALL about baby! baby hurry up 007