Cups

There are 50 odd draft blog posts on my computer. There are 56784 draft blog posts in my head. I always have the best ideas when I'm about to fall asleep but I'm far too lazy to sit up and put the light on and record it in the beautiful (empty) notebook I keep by my bed.

I am so out of the habit of blogging - and taking photographs that it feels odd and uncomfortable to do it again. Yet here I am. The urge to write it down and perhaps get it out? Is insistent. I have 4 half read books on my bedside table beside that notebook. And a stack of unread, unopened magazine subscriptions. I have a queue of knitting projects I'd like to start before the kids outgrow the patterns. Baxter still doesn't have a quilt to call his own. 

If this sounds like a complaint, it's really not. It's a bit of acceptance that I have more than enough to fill my days. And when I do get time to read or knit or sew or blog or take photographs it's a real treat. Sometimes I get everything on my mental to do list ticked off so I reward myself with some time to do one of those things. Sometimes I feel the need to ignore the to do list and let myself off the hook and pick up the knitting until the school run rolls around or the kids find me. (They always find me, I love it really).

The notion of 'self care' needs re-branding. It sounds so indulgent and unnecessary. But to quote a well used phrase, you simply cannot pour from an empty cup. I imagine you probably already know that but do you really live it? For me, it's taken me a long time to realise that my cup is sometimes empty at an inconvenient time. Maybe I have lots to do, everyone needs something from me, the weather would be perfect for a walk, the ingredients for a complicated meal are going off in the fridge.  I've realised that part of the point of self care is that it needs to happen when you need it to happen - when possible. Some weeks things might seem easy - I might have some help at home from Greig, something to look forward to, a week when I should be feeling great. But it doesn't always happen like that. Sometimes those are the weeks I need to forget the washing pile, not empty the dishwasher, not plan fun days out for chlidren who are quite happy to play at home. And conversely sometimes the long hard slog of a week with no breaks don't weigh heavily at all.

I'm still working all of this out for myself. Experimenting on what makes me feel better when I'm worn out. I know that I need to eat a lot of vegetables and drink water. So boring but so true. It helps to exercise, sometimes to the point of sweaty exhaustion, sometimes more gently, sometimes with the heaviest weights I can lift. A bath with posh bubbles. A half hour with coffee in a quiet house. A cuddle on the couch with a little person all snuggled up. Phoning a friend. Cleaning out a cupboard. Finding a way to make an everyday task more efficient or just feel a bit more special. A face mask followed by a fancy cream. Abusing the husband's Amazon Prime to order a new book to add to the pile. A Pilates class with my friend P. A solo library trip - actually a solo anywhere trip, dentist, Tesco, Royal Mail sorting office................

 I feel like I'd like to ask my real life friends how they recharge their batteries or fill their cup or (yack) self care. But that's weird isn't it? It's so personal to each of us. One person's joy is another's idea of a chore. But if you felt inclined to leave me a comment you'd be indulging this nosey parker.

If there was ever anyone to teach mindfulness it would be toddler. In pyjamas at midday. Wearing a cozy hat. Reading a giant pile of books in bed. Whilst your responsible adult watches but is not allowed to help. Nailed it.

I was taking these photographs of Baxter as he was busy. He was still busy so I set the camera on his chest of drawers, focused on my chair and set the timer. I'm not sure what I was hoping to capture - the world's least glamorous self portrait? Wet hair, no make up, mum outfit.

Baxter started to tell me a fantastic story with hand actions and my camera caught my reactions. There is something about these photographs I love. It's me as my children see me as of ten as I can be. Not being self conscious. Not hurrying or worrying. Just doing what we do. Taking care of each other and hopefully, at least a little bit, taking care of ourselves.

Baxter is 2

I think the fact that Baxter's birthday is at the beginning of January is a great thing. I have a feeling he might disagree with me when he's older and all his friends are busy/skint/sober but for now it's a something we all look forward to as the magic of Christmas fades.

He's 2 so he didn't really know what all the fuss was about. That's not to say he didn't love opening his parcels, blowing out the candles and hanging out with friends and family. He loved all of that but he was just as happy to get back to normal the next day - all be it with added leftover cake.

Speaking of which I was inspired by Pinterest - a dangerous game - to try and create a dripping candy cake. It turned out ok I thought - the white chocolate ganache was a bit lumpy but apparently it tasted good. On Baxter's birthday we took him to make a soft toy - he loves all things cuddly and he chose a monkey we named Munky. He then rolled about the floor of the cafe with Munky which seemed only fitting.

He is an amazing little boy. He is smart and funny and incredibly affectionate. He loves us very fiercely and he lives for the time the school bell rings and Brodie and Grier come home. He loves Fireman Sam, cars, trains and trucks. He loves to draw and paint and play with dough. He likes to stir and mix and spread his own butter at lunchtime. He runs and jumps and spins around and sings. He notices when little things change, he remembers noises and people and places. He counts 1,2,3 and always takes as many sweeties from Granny's sweetie box as his chubby little hands can carry. He loves his penguin and his fox and building with Duplo. He has a smile which lifts up my heart and eyes which tell a thousand stories. We are so blinking lucky to call him ours.

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Christmas 2016

OOOFT.

It's been such a long time since my last blog post. Such a long time. Yet it feels like about five minutes. Because time is not my friend anymore. It speeds by relentlessly and the blog has slid to the very bottom of the priority list and I'm not sure why. 

But.

My desire to record memories from special events is overwhelming. So here is Christmas. And yes Baxter turned two this week but I must blog in chronological order or the sky might fall down. Maybe.

PS. I am still posting on Instagram lots because it takes about five seconds so if you'd like to keep up with our everyday stuff please find me! And I'd love to follow you back.

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This was my favourite Christmas ever. The kids were delightful - almost all the time. I really made an effort to spend quality time with loved ones. It was exhausting but good exhausting. And makes me already excited for the next,

A ghost, a mouse and a 4 armed yeti

It's that spooky, fiery time of year.

The kids get a real kick out of all things Halloween. I really, really don't. I sort of feel like I should be more into it for them but you can't fake that kind of enthusiasm. I should know - Greig tries every year when Christmas rolls around every year. (Sorry Greig).

But I love costumes so it's always fun getting them together. And I like food so that's all good. And we have friends who dress up every year much to the unbridled delight of my children. And this year I hung up orange felt pumpkins and a fake bat and a couple of glow in the dark skeletons. And I'm happy to pack them away until next year!

First up on our autumn schedule was a trip to the Dragon Matrix in Monikie Park. It was something Brodie heard about and when I mentioned it to a school mum she said they were planning to go so we met up with them there. The children had to find clues and use the smart phone app to help the Dragon Protection League protect dragons. They seemed to really love it and I appreciated the work that had gone into making the trail seem quite magical. The light was very low though so photographs were challenging.

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Apparently the follow up next year is going to be even better!

Monikie Park is handily close to our Halloween crazy friends. I'm sad to say I didn't manage to get a snap of them dressed up as a squid/monster and heavily pregnant woopie cushion. A massive oversight I know - still kicking myself. But if I get my hands on some evidence I will most definitely be posting that ALL OVER the internet. Needless to say the kids were falling about laughing at the costume reveal. Auntie Kerry came through with amazing food, games, dooking for apples and providing the best time. Thanks Kerry!

Halloween continued at home with a visit to Granny's. The big kids went to the Halloween disco at school and we also hit up Great Granda for some supplementary sweeties and I'm not going to lie. By that point even I was bored of the mouse, the ghost and the 4 armed yeti.

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Fireworks night rolled around. We decided it was probably a bit cold for Baxter so he banked some extra Granny and Granda time. The big kids were tired and it was freezing but we had fun. I have strong memories of the excitement of watching fireworks as a child and I still get a thrill . Hope the kids will tag along with me for a few years yet!