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.

 

 

This Boy is 7

The gifts are wrapped, the breakfast prepared, the bedroom is filled with balloons.

Try as I might I can't quite remember what 7 felt like. Being a grown up has squeezed it out of me.

Luckily I birthed the most sensitive, articulate, compassionate, tenacious, astute, imaginative boy I've ever met and he shares it with me everyday. We often marvel at how well Brodie verbalises how he is feeling. And how those feelings are experienced to very extremes of human emotion. He feels big and he loves big.

He holds the world around him to very high standards. He holds himself to even higher ones. He commands us to find more, be more, live more.  He is mindful, lives in the moment and sees the good in others sometimes before they see it themselves. He is as grateful for tiny moments of joy as he is for the big things.

He is the kind of big brother I wish every child could have. He is gentle and thoughtful and playful and kind. Scratch that - he's the kind of human being I wish we could all be.

If this all sounds too good to be true I would counter the above with the fact that he is a real living, breathing, growing child. He makes bad choices sometimes. He makes it right. He wanders off the path and then gets right back on it. He rarely makes the same mistake twice. I hope he is always willing to make amends, to say sorry and to move on.

In his seven years on the planet Brodie has helped me make more sense of the world than I did in the 28 years I existed without him. He has challenged me to look in dark places, to confront truths and let go of falsehood.

Thank you Brodes. Have a wonderful birthday. We couldn't love you more.

 

 

Me and Mine October 2015

It's been a really long time since I joined in with #meandmine because not only does it require me to take a photograph of all of me and mine it requires me to post it on the right day. But occasionally the stars do align so here we go!

Lots of mums say they don't appear much in family albums and I'm no different so I'm sure I'll look back on these fondly because I'm actually in them!

October was a good month. We were all sick at various points but there was lots of great times too.

You didn't think the holiday photographs were finished did you?

I must have been in Blackpool at some point in my life but honestly I can't remember. It looks beautiful here doesn't it? The sunshine helped, and the faded glamour of the north pier was lovely to photograph. If you're looking for class and sophistication Blackpool is probably not for you. If you're 6 or 3 though you'll probably think you're in Heaven. Tack is in great abundance, everything flashes in gaudy colours, it's jam packed full of Scottish people this time of year and you can't find a vegetable for love nor money.

Brodie is not a sunshine fan. Grier is an icecream fan. I'm a Baxter fan. And Greig, bless his heart, always looks at the camera and smiles even when everyone else epically fails.

The kids thought Greig had lost his mind when he brought them deep fried donuts, strawberry jam pancakes and slushies for tea. They ate quickly to ensure his senses didn't return before their little bellies were full. To be fair, the dinner offerings at the pier were slim and the delight on their faces was priceless.

Back at the ranch (farmhouse) a girl and her elephant took her shiny new kite out for a spin.

There was a full scale domestic over who got to sleep in this bed as it had fancy golden knobs on it. Grier won the argument but not the war I feel.

The Pleasure Beach was much busier, noisier and more sensorily overwhelming than we had anticipated. Country bumpkins that we are. Grier was just sort of dizzingly happy to be there, Brodie was a bit miffed that there were some rides he couldn't get on and Baxter had me for company the lucky little duck.

D D D D D Dora!

My raincoat, his sunhat.

I have to say absolutely every member of staff we encountered at the Pleasure Beach and the Sandcastle Water Park were lovely. So friendly and helpful, hospitality is a big deal for them, despite Blackpool's dare I say less salubrious image?

Stanley Park provided Grier with this lovely bandstand so she could write, produce and direct her own show for us.

The actual words coming out of her mouth at this point - 'Grier's Fairytale Theatre is proud to present the Princess and the Rescue'. No word of a lie. Off the top of her head. Greig and I stood there agog until......

Greig (and Baxter) were cast as the Bad Witch.

Don't worry, the Princess totes survived and took the biggest of bows in front of her rapturous audience.

Heald Farm, the beauty.

The neighbours

It was quite windy on top of that hill. Despite our countryside location this is the furthest we ventured into the wild. About 200 paces from the door of the farmhouse. Perhaps we're townies after all?

Sadly it was all too soon time to pack up and come home. We're already planning our next adventures though. It's fair to say they might include a beach and some icecream.

Holiday 2015

We came home from holidays with more Lego, a giant magnet, some champers and strawberry jam and a fresh outlook on life, job done.

It's only fair I split the photos over a couple of posts, lest you nod off. Here goes.

Sand, as usual featured heavily in holiday pursuits. We happened upon the town Carnival by chance when we visited St Annes. We also came across this lovely park.

I'm not sure who loved this more, me or her.

Fleetwood wins for prettiest beach huts.

The baby was a rockstar. He napped on the hoof, ate on the hoof, waved his chubby feet in the air like he just didn't care. Top marks little man, your chill attitude kept me sane for sure.

Slacker.

We were lucky with weather and only had one rainy day. We went to Lancaster and we found that the Museum of Childhood was having small Lego exhibition. We couldn't miss that:)

The kids cracked open their holiday money and Grier chose this paint your own treasure chest. And Brodie chose......

Lego!!

The farmhouse we stayed in turned out to be just beautiful. We had seen photos online before we travelled but it was so much more in the flesh. It was the dream of someone who not so secretly harbors living in rural, isolated farmhouse fantasies.

I have a sink at home identical to this one. I've never thought to bath the baby in it though.

The aga proved very handy for drying baby buns.

We enjoyed our eggs in the morning. 

I've been pestering Greig for a while about a patch of poppies in fields near our house. I really don't see what could possibly go wrong with stopping at the side of the road and ferrying three children into said field to take photos. He thinks because I found this patch of poppies on holiday my urge is satisfied. It is not.

Does anyone else see teenager?

There's more where these came from, many more. Hurry back!