The Show

This year's dance show fast approaches. I hoped I might be able to get a couple of photographs of Grier in her costumes so I can maintain 'dance mom' status and have them blown up to billboard size. Kidding - kind of.

Last year my tiny ballerina would have none of it and I got a couple of pictures of her rolling her eyes with boredom holding the ever present elephant. This year she danced and jumped and rolled and showed me some of her very best moves. Joy.

So forgive me if you will for posing a ton of photos. The dimple, the swinging plait, the utter delight at wearing a leotard with a skirt attached. I love it all.

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Update

The show was actually a couple of nights ago. She was so delighted to be on the stage. She beamed, she danced, she sang every word.  She sneaked a feel of the stage curtain and declared it to be super soft.  She scanned the crowd looking for us and we waved like mad and although she couldn't pick us out I think she knew how much we were willing her on.  We were reunited after the show finished and she chatted all the way home clutching the pink rose tied with a pink ribbon I picked up for her earlier that day. 

8 years young

We celebrated Brodie over the weekend. He was so excited about his birthday. He had a party with friends which involved soft play and nerf guns and cake. He was a glorious ball of fun interspersed with quiet moments building new Lego and playing new games. He shared the day with his brother and sister in the most wonderful, generous big brotherly way.  He let me take photos in exchange for a game of Monopoly Deal  - bargain!

Every time the kids have a birthday it's hard not to lament the passing of time. To wish for just a bit longer at each stage. But it's also amazing to see how they change and grow. As they get older I'm bemused by how much of their personalities seems to have been present since they were tiny. The very Brodieness of Brodie was inside my teeny newborn. 

I still feel exactly the same about him now as I did then. I really don't want to mess it up. I try everyday to make sure he knows that he matters very much. I want to lead by example and show him how to tread lightly, to care deeply, to feel passionately and love with abandon. 

And the mix of adult and baby teeth on show in each smiley grin kills me. The too big teeth mixed with the too small teeth. The in between.

 

 

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,