30 September 2010

Turned Around

Isn't it funny the days that turn out to be unexpectedly delicious? This morning I could NOT have predicted a good day. It started before 6am, the first time this week that the baby has climbed into our bed before 7am. She had little tears in her eyes, and the accusing, "I called and you didn't come to me," look. Way to start the day feeling like a failure as a mother!

By half six, both of the others were up and both were crying. Seriously. Didn't we tire you out last night? Nope? Well, it took me about another ten minutes to give up on the calm meditative breathing and quoting scripture at myself, and I snapped, "look just go away and give me five minutes to wake up, or I will be a ratty horrible mummy!" They stayed. Whining.

Then in order to find clothes I had to tackle the washing pile. A strange sinking feeling reminded me that there were no clean dishes downstairs either, add another unpleasant job to the list of things to be done WHILE dealing (calmly please Lord help me to act calm) with children crying and begging for breakfast, another drink, another story, another song.

This is where TV would come in handy - but no, I would regret it later when they seemingly wanted to join in activities and instead got sucked into another program they didn't even like. At the moment I don't say no if they ask, but I do remind them that they suggested no TV in the mornings, and this usually works. So I firmly told myself to forget about that tempting little avenue of escape.

Another five minutes, and Martin is up and ready for work. And asks me if I need help. Do I need help? What does it LOOK like? I'm tired, I'm seemingly incompetant, I can't find a pair of knickers for Morgan, the house is a mess, and HE gets to go off and LEAVE! I cry. Quite a lot. I also rant. I nearly make him late for work until I am finally calm enough to go in to the children, who are cowering in Jenna's room saying that mummy is crazy but she does love us (yes, that bit is actually a quote, Jenna knows me rather well don't you think?)!

Somewhere in the ranting, my attitude changed. I realised something. I didn't give up my freedom. I have just as much freedom as I ever have had (though maybe, you know, being able to go to the bathroom unaccompanied is something I'm working towards regaining)! I could throw a huge strop and make Martin take a sick day, sure. But I don't. I could go get a job outside the home and leave him to be stay at home day (which, for the record, he would be more than happy with). But I'm here. Every day I DON'T do those things, I choose to be here.
And today turned out to be just wonderful.
Drops of watercolour onto salt...
Yoga.  This little pixie (doing her favorite, the unvonventional "peeing dog") is about to have her pigtails pulled by the smallest.  Ah sibling love and affection!
And we made it to the post office to send off a parcel. I know, there are at least two more promised (sorry folks!) but I'm getting there! Unbelievably, Morgan's footwear issue appears to have been resolved - by the marvel that is the singing day.
Then home for naps. Jenna and Morgan watched Totoro again, Rowan fell asleep at the breast and allowed me to sneak away. So while this happened...
...we got on with this...
Morgan made tea (risotto with pumpkin and unidentified greens from the veg box)...
...and I had time to do my October planning and some of my art journal (yes, sorry, another random picture of a pile of reference books and the pink folder lol)!
One of the four journal pages that are nearly ready for text and embellishment.
And one of my very favorites!
This evening, after tea, we went swimming (free passes to the gym again) and after hot chocolate the little ones have all gone off to bed. I am feeling so GREAT about today, to the point of even sorting out the dishes and washing so that I have everything ready for tomorrow. *phew* Happy mama. :)

29 September 2010

Sunset Walking

We needed some fresh air and adventure, so we headed off to the woods in the darkening evening.

Little Roo was so delighted by the wellies and waterproofs, their first proper outing since winter and they now actually fit!  The suit is 9-12m size, bless her tiny teeny baby boots.
This next picture makes me eek!  Really, sometimes, I catch her looking just too grown up.

And if you fall flat on your face in the woods, hey, no worries - you can always wipe your hands on a conveniently located Daddy...

Michaelmas Preparations

So, today is Michaelmas, and we are celebrating.  :)

We have been planning a bit more this year - helped by the flow of our days which means we have time for stories and songs every day and an actual list of planned stories and songs to keep me on track.  Last year we made dragon bread (on the day) alongside the story from All Year Round, and we had a dragon candle, but that was about it.

Here's one of my favorite new finds, the story of Li Chi in which the female protagonist is the dragon-slayer.  We have been talking about dragons as the things in us that we wish to put to death, my example being that I am working on my tendancy to panic when things go wrong.  My plan to get rid of my dragons is to breathe deep and sit calm for a minute before I made a decision, and to say some of those verses and affirmations that encourage me that all is not lost when my plans fall apart.

Jenna has said that she thinks her dragon is the dragon that makes up stories and doesn't let her tell the truth.  *heart*  Just once or twice recently we have known what has happened, and without accusing or blaming we have told her that we know and asked her to help put things right.  We tell her that we know she wants to change things when she tells us it wasn't her, or that there isn't a mess (!) but that we often need the truth the way things REALLY are not the way she WISHES they were.  She is right in that words-as-magic stage, and she is starting to understand that stories have their place but they can damage relationships if people don't know what is true and trustworthy.  So she is praying for help to be truthful in her relationships, and to find strength and wisdom to know the right time and place for total honesty.  Six seems so very grown up sometimes.

A big thing for me, as she wrestles with ideas of character and trust and how people relate to each other, is to not keep getting involved.  It's a challenge, especially when she borders on self-criticism, not to rush in and add my words, correct her feelings, comfort her when she does not want or need comfort.  I am seeing the wisdom in giving lots of positive role models, stories, and ideas, but letting her puzzle through her own feelings without giving her my adult views all the time.

Anyhow, yes, Michaelmas.  Martin and I spent an hour (on Monday night) warming pieces of beeswax - lovely for little hands but goodness it needs a lot or working on before it can be played with!  The girls made dragons yesterday during project time.
Also yesterday we all worked on a papier mache lantern for the table.  Clearing the table is a task in itself, but I'm willing to forget that for now.  ;)  Ah well, one more festival in the living room with candles all around...  Dining table = task for another day (our work for today involves doing a wardrobe census, which while not very festive is entirely necessary)!
And this morning the girls came down to find that we'd done this last night, a little Michaelmas scene as a focus for today.  :)  

Candle closeup, yes I am pretty proud of the dragon!

Here is the papier mache lantern, lit for breakfast time.
Later it will be time for dragon bread and stories.  Adding little layers to our festivals each year, baby steps to a full enriching seasonal round.  Enjoy your day everyone!  xxx

28 September 2010


 This little lambkin, fast asleep, snuggled in her much loved wrap.  She brings it to me and shouts "up up angoo [translation: thankyou] up angoo up!"  The other thing I love to hear right now is "huggle!"  *melt*
This huge great baby bear turned one last week, and I was too busy packing to post a special birthday greeting to him.  Sweet Connor, keep right on just as you are, you precious crazy toddler!  And dear mama-friend, may you see the purpose and the blessing in the struggle - and may this next year with your beautiful son see the sunlight breaking through those clouds.  xxx
 Yes, I put gold sprinkles on his cake.  ;)  And here we have a photograph of my weekly shop (minus the veg box - and the monthly supplies already in my storecupboard).  Yes, I photographed my shopping.  Yes, I have been guilty of this before.  Accept the crazy, it has purpose - a little welcome mat to you who are sharing the very ordinaryness of my life.  :)
That pink folder again, my Bible, a new book, and a Moomin.  He belongs to my husband.  These are sitting besides my chair, in daily use at the moment.  Except the Moomin.  He just happened to be sitting there for a rest on his way somewhere exciting in the sticky hands of a small child.
There are Moomins everywhere in my house at the moment!  I was so excited to find this cookbook while we were in London.  Cultural studies plus geography plus cooking plus fun and randomness (plus Moomins).  What's not to love?

When we went for a walk...

Three little girls in child's pose, because aw they are too sweet.  :)  Then here are the two big ones standing by the police station around the corner.
We cross the dog park, running up and down the hill a few times for good measure.
The best wall for running along.
The view over the tracks, where mummy's tired arms have to lift up each in turn to look for trains.  
We all saw one passing today!
 Pretty front gardens and local landmarks.
And the view along the busy main road that takes us into town.
A one year old has to stop and touch EVERYTHING.  Poke that spider, feel the moss, pick up every pebble.  They can't keep up, because they have no interest in the destination or even the route, they just want to explore.  

A three year old is often fully immersed in their imaginary world.  They are touching things a bit less, but just as likely to be either miles behind or running in front because they go where their dreams take them.  They may not hear at all when you say their name, so better be within touching distance!  They may appear to walk the whole way looking only at their feet, or with their eyes fixed on the clouds in the sky.

A six year old is competant and big and brave.  They are likely to be ahead, telling everyone else where to go.  They know best, about crossings and things that are safe to climb.  ;)  They love to race and be set challenges.  When you least expect it they tell you something deep and perceptive, or just totally bizarre, that sets you off balance.

I love walking with my children - so long as I walk in step with their development and remember the tricks that keep us all together.  And especially so long as I enjoy the journey and stop thinking about time or destination and just be there in the moment with them.

27 September 2010


The long drive was uneventful, the children happy, the weather warm.  We arrived with a surprising amount of calm.  Of course, within an hour we'd managed to get a parking fine...  But never mind.  Everything else that could have gone wrong mercifully did not.  And we booked in to a surprisingly large family room in a lovely bed and breakfast without a hitch.
The girls loved the rooms!  And yeah, that's a nappy free baby in a bed and breakfast.  We didn't leave any little damp patches on the floor though!  This tiny toddler, having worn a nappy frequently since about seven months old, mostly uses the toilet now (and has fewer misses than Morgan lol).
Meal with family, also uneventful.  Roo didn't much want to stay at the table, but in the end we kept her seated with a zoo leaflet.  "Cat" she says to the lion.  "Roar!" she says to the lizards (I assume she thinks they are dragons - but she roared recently at a little frilled lizard in a pet store and it freaked out so much it fell into its water bowl, oops).  Best of all, she points at a gorilla and says "Morga!"  I think, rather than insulting her sister, she is trying to say "monkey".  Right?
Then a night time walk on the (very cold) beach.  We'd already spent a while on the beach earlier in the day, but no pictures - too busy trying to keep the baby out of the sea.  For the walk she was safely wrapped lol, but Not At All Sleepy.  "Down, down" she shouts.  All the time at the moment.  I put her down.  "Up!  Up!  Huggle!!"  *sigh*  Not Tired.  Right.  ;)
You can just see Jenna determinedly climbing on some rocks here by the light of the moon.  The camera refused to go to the "no flash" mode, so what you can't see includes an astounding array of stars and the horizon flashing with a rainbow of lights from all the boats signalling to each other.  :)
 These two big girls went to bed in their own single beds, but look what my full-to-bursting heart found in the morning!
The flash woke Morgan up.  Look at that little happy sleepy smile! 
Aw Rowan, you want to climb in too and get a cuddle?  Hehehe, why not?
Out we went for a long cold windy walk.  Yeah, Morgan still won't do footwear, but at least we don't get funny looks on the coast!  We do have at least three people stop to tell us how cold it is though (lol) and one to tell us that we're crazy for having the children out on such a wet day.  We smile and say, "oh we don't get to the beach very often, it's an adventure in any weather".
The children collected stones to make a little cairn just a few metres away from the house where Nadia grew up.
This house, here, "oh a castle" the children say, as if it is only fitting that Grandma lived in a castle when she was little.  We wait for the rest of the family, whiling away the time telling stories from Nadia's life.  How she was sent away to have her first baby because the family thought she was too young.  How she adopted another baby, and how every child she ever met became part of her family.  How she and Martin both nearly died (pre-eclampsia) and Roland wasn't allowed to know what was happening.
Jenna wrote a love note in the sand.  Besides the heart it says, "granmor".  Everyone takes it in turns to scatter some ashes into the sea (even the children).  The sea wets a few ankles, and has us all laughing.  It would have been JUST Nadia's sense of humour.
And a quick stop at Felixstowe Ferry, to inspect some boats, and look at the fresh catch (Roland buys rock eel, and we don't).  Jenna is a bit worried about the live lobster.  We buy hot chocolate and cake instead (!) and the children have ice cream because it's always the right weather for ice cream when you are six (and when you are three).
(PS: please excuse the lousy formatting, Blogger's new uploader appears to be set to "random spacing". *sigh*)