28 February 2011

Wild Weekend

Our Saturday walk took us to Stanton moor to walk the sandy paths amongst the bronze heather.
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The sky was grey and dark, and the wind blew us all the coldest drizzle. It was wild and sparse and beautiful.
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As I put up these pictures, Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten by Arvo Part is playing on Spotify. I highly recommend the eerily beautiful combination!
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We walked and talked and explored our way to the standing stones, where Jenna was awestruck to touch something as ancient as the stories she has been reading this week. Imagining the lives of those people, in this place, so very long ago...
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After bath time on Saturday night, Jenna asked me to plait her hair to make it wavy. My mum has done this for her before, and although I expected her to complain the entire time she did sit very still - I was much reminded that she does indeed know her own mind!
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Leaving the house on Sunday morning (with a handful of chocolate chip oatcakes!) looking a bit too grown up for my liking. ;)
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We were with Emma, Chris and Connor until really late this Sunday. Mostly lots of story reading, and running up and down. They do love each others' company. Frequent reminders of gentleness for the toddlers though (I am finding the concept of moving *with* them very helpful at the moment, for this age of imitation).
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And a good helping of sisterly craziness, of course!
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25 February 2011

A Weekly Roundup

This week we went swimming with friends. We caught up with some of the folks who are usually school-busy during the week. We started cleaning the kitchen cupboards, swept the floor in there thoroughly, and reorganised the dining table space so that there is room for guests next week.

This week the children have been dancing with play silks a lot. Jenna has stepped up the amount of writing she wants to do, and copied some maps in great detail (to my utter surprise and delight). She seems a little sunnier, but is still quite down at times and resents anything she sees as us trying to control her!

Morgan has started learning to propel herself in the water and can nearly swim two metres if she plucks up the courage - she is suddenly so brave about getting her face wet (which she hasn't since her near-drowning a year ago). She has also started to recognise letters and sometimes words, and I am learning to sit on my hands and not get overexcited like I did when Jenna did some pre-reading.

Rowan is talking all the time. From this morning, "Look mumma, fly climbing up dere!" She is sometimes dressing herself. I can barely call her my baby any more, if I'm honest, she is such a proper toddler and has been for a while. A little bit of comforting maternal blindness there I think!

We have been outside either digging the garden or walking to the corner park every day this week. We are still eating mostly vegan wholefoods, and lots of raw food, but tonight I am also looking forward to an organic roast chicken (and making chicken soup and extra stock with the leftovers and carcass). I also have enough blackberries left in the freezer to make my favourite italian blackberry and almond cake. :)

I am back to being shampoo-free and happy about it, as last night my hair finally balanced and stopped feeling like it had wax in it (yuck!). I'm also temporarily caught up with the washing again (except for one load of wool things that need drying flat).

I am feeling a flow a bit more, but being a little less anxious and less prone to fly to pieces if things don't fit my plans and preparations. I'm also, though, feeling quite tired and hormonal, crying at seeing a newborn baby and overwhelmed when the children argue and fight. Normal ups and downs. :) Life is pretty good.

(I'll be even better later on today when I can finally buy myself a new belt for my falling-down jeans and a couple of balls of yarn from our carefully budgetted paypacket! Consumerist, much?)

22 February 2011

Our Day

I started off today feeling so frazzled! The older girls were bickering, a lot, and I was at my wits end mediating between them and scripting non-violent interactions to the point where I took them to seperate rooms and retreated to feel guilty about it until we were all calm enough to try again... This sibling fighting thing is a really recent thing for us, and they are pretty physical with each other. I know a big part of it is needing more outdoor time, so I distracted them with circle and snacks before herding them all outside to dig some holes for our new second-hand rose bushes. I hope the plants survive their move!

We all felt much better after a good hour physical labour. :) No pictures - muddy hands. ;)

We did eventually get around to some of the things we had planned though. A bit of spinning with the drop spindle resulted in both girls laughing and working together, though not a lot of very slubby yarn! :) Oh, and Jenna was clamouring to get out her Main Lesson Book, and astounded me with this double page spread from the Story of the World book (all her own ideas)!
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And then the afternoon of calm free play, interrupted by one of our most fascinating yearly visitors - the gas safety inspector, who was slightly abashed to be the centre of attention as the children calmoured to ask what his gadgets did and why he was turning that, lifting that off, lighting the other lol.

As usual I totally forgot he was coming, and the poor man had to kneel in the children's breadcrumbs and bits of dropped carrot from lunch. *sigh* He took it in good grace, and told me that it was one of the tidier homes he'd visited today (which was kind of him, but I sincerely doubt)!

Where were we, yes, play!
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My camera takes atrocious pictures when backlit, but anyhow, I had to try. Look at the little people eating cake. Cuteness. :)
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Roo fell asleep after snack time.
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She doesn't often sleep on me like this any more, so I enjoyed the moment, even if it did stop me casting on a new knitting project. Daddy will be home in a minute, and I'm feeling really organised and contented now, vegan lasagne in the oven, yummy spelt banana and date pudding waiting for me to make custard to go with, living room tidy, I really didn't expect today to end so nicely.

21 February 2011

February Weekending

Attenborough singing its Fehruary symphony of green and silver-grey...
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Remember this tree? All the way up, and back down again, my red-cloaked Jenna was singing to herself, "I can do it, I can do it, I am so brave, I am so strong!" *heart*
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Finds on the Season Table.
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And children dancing around in their PJs, is there anything better on a Friday night than a sister to swing and twirl you? :)
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A quest for Jenna on Saturday, to seek surprises besides the roaring rushing river Dove.
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A little golden pouch was her reward, containing a pendant from The Green Daisy to see her through so many changes (an early seventh birthday gift). Later she showed her grandma, proudly, and told her, "It's to remind me that I can always find my way."
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Chef making our baked potatoes for tea. I made a chilli for with it using lentils, beans, lots of minced mushrooms, and home made oven roast vegetable soup. It's our new favourite meal. :)
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Finished Pebble. Yay!
And using the leftover yarn for (would you believe it) my very first granny square.
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Last but not least, my baby, dancing around the living room with Bunny (fixture of my early childhood). :)
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Today, with Jenna spending her second day with my mum, I walked the other two into town in the rain to the wholefoods shop.

A lady stopped me on our way through the centre and told me she had been behind us most of the way and I have the two most WONDERFULLY behaved children! I said, "thankyou, they're lovely" but she said, "no, don't brush it off deary, they're a credit to you, you're doing a great job raising them, I've seen you, they listen to you, and it's kindness that gets their attention."

And then she was gone, and I was brushing away a tear as I distracted Rowan from the fourth sweet shop we had passed. Since usually if anyone comments at all, it's, "oh she's a lively one" or "you've got your hands full" or "gosh she has quite a voice", I am certainly relishing my moment of parental pride!

So our cupboards are full, and there are slivers of almond and a speckling of currants all over the living room since Rowan couldn't wait to get into the packets! Not exactly our normal Monday, but good nevertheless. :)
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16 February 2011

WIP Wednesday

A quick glimpse at what I'm (still) working on - since Rowan pulled the needles out and I had to frog back four rows before I could get them back in and carry on. I have to say, it had me in tears for half an hour and I was gutted about it, but the experience has taught me a lot about how knitting stitches are formed (and fixed) and also about not ever ever leaving anything vaguely fiddly within toddler reach...
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So yes, still "that" Pebble in beautifully coloured Riot. I'm making progress though!

The pile of books is actually all stuff I'm reading right now. And it isn't even a definitive pile. The one on top I just finished (a re-read). The Chinese Cinderella, second down, is for the characters I've been copying out for Jenna to look at and play with. Then there are three that I'm reading for fun, two of them started re-reading today. Yes, I'm feeling a bit like that this week! The bottom two are things I'm dipping in and out of and have been for a while. Fickle, moi?

Joining in with Ginny and others for the yarn along. :)

15 February 2011

Everything and Nothing

What to say about our week? How to put words to the sheer number of things that happen in even one day? I'm lost for the descriptions. We are filled to the brim with living it, and I find so little room for telling it, though I want to.

"How was today?" He says it when he walks in, some days. Sometimes it's later, a companionable sharing of what we did and how we felt about it after all the little eyes have closed tight. And yet, I don't know how to tell it. Today was fine. It was busy - or quiet. It was frustrating, long, joyful, busy, stressy, rushed, peaceful, tiring, or hilarious. Sometimes all of these. It had a flavour all of its own.

How I feel, this week, is full of the ordinary extraordinary business of just being here.
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"It's such a relief to see that girls DO get as dirty as boys!" The mama who says this to me is chasing two little lads in blue jackets and brown trousers. I laugh. My rainbow coloured daughters *are* filthy.
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On our way back along the wet paths through the woods, they are singing a song about how great it is to be dirty, and how wonderful mud is. "Yeah, we're so muddy, we're jumping in the mud, we like to be dirty, it's so fun to be muddy!" I laugh some more. How could I not?
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There has been more reading of Arthurian legends. More baking of cakes with pink glitter on top (of course) and more afternoon just-because baths where the water soaks through my floor and I dispair at the thought of trying to return the bathroom to approaching orderly. More mending, of loved mama-made toys, and making of new ones. More prayers and cleaning windows and prayers whilst cleaning windows.
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More ancient history. More form drawing and watercolours. More walking to the corner park (almost every day). More singing, sometimes in Hebrew, and more looking at the stars.
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It sounds charmed! Sometimes it is *hard* though, and sometimes my heart doesn't want to step with the beat of this and that, sometimes I want to run and not stop running. And yet, and yet. It is also magical. Sometimes the hardest day is, on reflection, the most beautiful and meaningful.

These are the things that are filling my days up, right to the brim. Joy, sorrow, everything and nothing.

11 February 2011

Mama Time

More rainbow-y journal pages in progress...
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I'm loving cheap translucent watercolour blocks, and expensive neocolours. I'm loving grabbing a five minutes here and there to quickly splash some colour down, or write something incoherent. Refueling time, a prayer in colour, solid physical meditation.
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Slow slow knitty progress on another Pebble, this one for Rowan in the gorgeously coloured Riot. It is pretty thin yarn and smaller needles than I'd usually choose, plus I'm sizing up for a toddler lol, that's my excuse for a pitiful few rows taking so long, anyway!
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Bit by bit, a few minutes (almost) every day, I am allowing time for following my own passions as well as theirs.