I'll draw him

I made this a few years ago. I used it to announce that I was expecting Baxter. I took it off the wall months ago when we redecorated our hallway after all the loft conversion fun was finished with. I rearranged our pictures, swapped some around and put this into the pile of - don't throw it away but no idea what to do with it yet - things. I hoped that at some time in the future I'd be able to update with a little figure to represent Baxter but it wasn't high priority (sorry Baby B).

It has sat in the craft/junk room since then. Until a few weeks ago when Grier found it. And she carefully undid the hooks at the back. And she drew Baxter in where he should be - she told me that I'm holding him because he can't stand up on his own yet. And then she presented me with it and told me to hang it back up.

And I think I stood there with my mouth open for about two minutes. I couldn't believe that she had taken the initiative to include her little brother. I couldn't believe that the injustice of him not being included had moved her to do it for herself.

Of course I hung it straight up. I liked it before but now I know I will keep it forever. And I'll probably tell her the story of how it came to be a million times because she is just amazing. She often shows her love by creating things for us but this might be the best one ever.

I am still amazed that being big siblings is (mostly) the best thing ever for Brodie and Grier. That they can't, don't, won't remember a time before Baxter.

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.

The Birthday Girl is 4!

Grier, when you make wishes you wish to fly like a fairy. I know this because you tell me. You tell me all your secrets which feels like a wonderful if temporary privilege. Your brothers are the cornerstones of your world, you look for them at all points of the day. You love dressing up but not as a mermaid ( a story for another day). You love ballet and dragons and digging in the muck. You much prefer skirts and dresses to trousers. You swim in the pool like a little fish. You run down hills with your hair blowing wildly in the wind. You love anything which involves painting or sparkles, preferably both. You are cuddly and affectionate and sometimes ridiculously stubborn. You are kind and generous but are not to be taken advantage of. You will make me read the same book 20 times and then correct me when I get one word slightly wrong. You chatter when you are nervous and are much, much braver than you think you are. You are the most wonderful and precious gift and the world is a much better place with you in it.

After presents, pancakes for breakfast.

Baxter is not exactly sure what a birthday is but he knows what pancakes are. Win.

A few months ago Grier mentioned she wanted a pink spider girl costume. I may have thought 'oh crap, I'm going to have to fashion something out of pink shiny material and pretend it's the coolest thing ever because no way does a pink spider girl costume exsist'. Only I didn't have to do that because the internet came to my rescue and delivered me this pink number for the princely sum of less than a tenner. Done.

I thought she might have forgotten all about it but her wee eyes lit up when she opened it, she put it on straight away and bascially wore it all day. The Lollipop Man thought she was a princess but she soon put him right. Ahem.

grier9.jpg

She had nursery in the morning but was too shy to tell anyone it was her birthday. Later on the only thing she wanted to do was go this none too fancy park.

I got the sparkly gold name banner on holiday and put it away for her birthday. She's never going to get things with her name on it #weirdnameproblems and it was pink, gold and sparkly so I couldn't resist. We'll hang it over her bed after the birthday fun is over. I made the tissue paper garland and I foresee myself making one of these for each and every occasion I can because it was fun and very Instagram friendly don't you think? And onto the cake. I learned last year that making fondant figures which don't fall apart is a bit out of my skill level. So I ordered Tinkerbell and friends from ebay and stuck them on with aplomb. The request was for a fairy princess castle cake and I think I delivered a not too shabby effort. In real life it was pretty sparkly and the buttercream was thick enough to make me feel a little sugar high just spreading it on. And it was pink you know?

It's maybe silly to say but I think she is so beautiful, it sometimes takes my breath away.

Best friends at 88 years and 8 months.

It wasn't an overly fancy birthday but it was just for her. Things she loves and people she loves and I hope that when she fell asleep cakes and costumes and fun were dancing in her head.

The sun was going down and I wanted a photo of all five of us. I imagined a beautiful, natural, photojournalistic potrait capturing a special day. This is what I got:)

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.