We’re lucky enough to live within 30 minutes drive of some of the most beautiful woodlands in the UK. Yesterday we had a fabulous afternoon following the Gruffalo trail at Beechenhurst Lodge in the Forest of Dean with Nana and Grandad. If you download the Gruffalo Spotters app to your phone you can point the app at special markers on the trail and watch the characters from The Gruffalo come to life!
(our app crashed on the final character, the Gruffalo, but we didn’t mind. It was such a lovely day out we’re excited about returning when G is free to join us).
I always wanted to be a Mother and at 23 when we got married I would have expected to be parenting children in double figures by now. Life didn’t follow the path I’d so neatly mapped out in my head and thirteen Mothers’ Days came and went before I finally got to experience my first celebration of Motherhood. I am deeply thankful that I get to Mother my boys but I still hesitate to celebrate it proudly as I know the deep sadness many women (and indeed men on Father’s Day) feel for what lies just out of reach for them. My first Mother’s Day would have been my second if my first pregnancy had not ended in miscarriage so on this day I think too of the Mother’s without children and the children growing up without their Mother. This poem ”For all who aren’t” by Cheyl Lawrie speaks so beautifully of all these feelings that I have no need to write anything else!
For all who aren’t
There are few days so cruel
as mothers day
A prayer of love for those who aren’t mothers.
Today may you know all you are.
A prayer of love
for those who decided they wouldn’t
be a mother
because they dared not
for fear they would replicate a world
that tried to destroy them
A prayer of love for those who did
but not by choice
who had decision thrust upon them
and now live searching for a love
that will catch up to their truth
A prayer of love for those who couldn’t
who tried but it never worked
and for those who did,
A prayer of love for those who never got the chance to even try
and who with all the other pain that lives inside
today bear the fear of being
someone else’s pity
A prayer of love today for those who hear the word
with resentment, disappointment, guilt
fear, rage, horror,
a prayer for those who cannot love their mother
or their child
and who no longer have the strength to try
A prayer of love for those who have no day
that speaks their worth
that tells their story
that reminds them they are also gift to the world
A prayer of love for those who aren’t.
Today may you know all you are.
(Pictures: Euan’s Mother’s Day card made at school – complete with sucker in the centre of the rainbow heart ”to suck all the love in for you’. Inside he wrote ”I love you Mummy bcus you maik me my yumbox”. Flowers above from our allotment, grown in 2011 from seeds sown in memory of our first baby)
Whenever I ask G to take a specific picture for me he knows I’ve got some kooky idea in my head and that his snap probably won’t match the one I’ve already got in mind. These photos were an attempt to recreate the last one of me with bump and E, taken the day I went into hospital to have L. We weren’t bouncing on a birth ball this time round so the background turned out differently and E wasn’t feeling the camera love in quite the same way after a busy day at school but the result is rather lovely nonetheless (thank you G). And the occasion for this particular snapshot? Luca’s earthside birthday which marks the same number of days spent earthside as I spent carrying him in my tummy. (That’s 41 weeks and 4 days to those of you, who like me, can hardly believe 9.5 months have passed already).
I hadn’t heard of an earthside birthday before a Mum in Australia referred to it on her Instagram page. It’s a shame I didn’t know about it for E’s earthside date but scanning my photo archive he would have looked like this at 41 weeks + 5 days…
There’s certainly a striking similarity between the brothers still but marked differences in their hair! How blessed we are to have these gorgeous little humans in our life.
3 years ago I wrote about a lovely New Year tradition of popping a daily gratitude note in a jar. E was just turning 2 and I started with such enthusiasm. Life became a bit busy and the habit slipped after just a few months. The jar remained, gathering dust behind the herbal teas and last year I found it. How I wish I’d kept it up. It’s been so lovely remembering these delightful moments, especially finding the photos that retell their story! My absolute favourite note was:
Telling E he lived in my tummy before he was born…”Yes, when I was a snack”.
We might be two months into a new year but it’s never too late to start is it!
- Crickley Hill walk with friends and their dog
- feeding the cows with E at a friends farm
- coming home from work to find G downstairs and E upstairs. G said ‘‘He’s just doing his own thing” (hiding and watching phone videos of himself)
- playing peekaboo behind trees in the rain and E eating king prawns and chips afterwards
- E’s very sincere ”thank you” when he hands you things… like mouthfuls of yoghurt while sat in his boat (a box)
- E saying ”Squircle” when I asked what shape we should make the track
- Daddy day – G teaching E to say ‘‘thanks” because his very sweet ”fank you” sounds like something else!
- tidal wave splashes in the bath – seeing the funny side when E says ”like rain”
- E copying ”oh my word” with such expression and sleeping longer stretches at night
- E and his friend R giggling at balloons being blown up and let off
- Kindness of strangers – an elderly gentleman I see at the swimming pool giving me a very generous”token for E” for his birthday
- E reading ”The places you’ll go” to himself in his cosy corner
- Appreciation of being a two parent family and making a great team
- Mummy day – going to the spa, blogging, time with G
- E enjoying his books so much – heart melting
- E jabbing blue berries with a fork while saying ”Boo”
- Papa G and Nanny coming to visit – E sticking, playing and chuckling
- Bimbling round the Quays, having a nice lunch in Portivo lounge and having a sleepy cuddle with E
- ”Euan’s turn on the toilet”… E sat for a minute then put the toddler seat on his head
- Video of E saying ”Oh no, it’s rubbish” in a Northern accent
- Toddler world birthday party for E and having friends round for tea
- Going to the Play farm with cousin Zac, excitement at cake and blowing out candles
- Cuddles on the sofa and E falling asleep on me now he’s napping less
- Nana’s birthday – E so happy and curious at out our meal out
- ”Get in… Get out…Get in ….Get out” – E giggling directions to me, Nana and Grandad as we all hid in his ‘den’ (under his duvet)
- First wee (and a bit of spray!) on the potty
- E’s excitement at ”go see Dadda drilling”. Thankful for such a handy husband.
- Going to the bathroom to find E sat on the mat taking his own socks and trousers off
- My birthday – cinema with G, tea at Zizzi’s, E to bed early after a no nap day, Epsom salts bath and in bed by 9.30pm!
- Visit to the dentist confirmed E has all his teeth. Really brave despite being spooked by the big chair. ‘‘Don’t want to” to dentist counting his teeth but enticed by stickers
- Excited E helping with the washing up ”this one hot, this one cold”
- E dancing with Milo, cuddles, seeing his friend Noah
- Being woken up by E singing ”Row, Row, Row your boat. If you see a crocodile, don’t forget to scream. Aaaargh”
- Dancing at a friends birthday party, getting to the allotment even though it was clear out shed day
- E popping balloons at a friends house
- Going shopping and E saying ”I want to go up the eskimo” (meaning escalator)
L to R: Es 4th birthday, visiting friends in Essex, Easter Egg hunt with bestie, new baby brother L arrives, playgroup sports day, extra play dates with Daddy, superhero cousins, bobble hat cousins, camping in Porlock with buddies, Gower seaside break, half term break at the school gate, now we are 4.
With baby L and as a family of 4. Oh what a lovely time we’ve all had sharing present opening (aka wrapping paper chewing) and playing with this little fella.
Wishing you all a blessed 2017.
(Greeting card from a selection at http://www.kaartfanaat.nl)
I’ve been really organised about Christmas this year (versus last year when I was pregnant) and thanks to on-line shopping from my phone while baby naps I will not need to join any last minute scrums in town this week. If you feel like you’re running out of shopping days/energy/inspiration here are some suggestions for you from the fabulous OXO Good Grips range (and with 2 days left for next day delivery too!).
I like to gift practical items that can be loved, used daily or passed on. Sometimes we make edible gifts to enjoy and share (no time for that this year sadly but there’s a terrific Christmas Pudding truffles recipe here!). When the OXO elves sent us this lovely selection of pressies to try out I immediately thought of simple every day uses to bring something tasty to the Christmas table. We used our apple corer, stainless steel bowl mixing bowl, heat resistant silicone spatula and lemon squeeze and store to make a fruit and nut filling for baked apples. The house smelled delicious and baby L was able to share the apples with us. If you have gluten free guests at your Christmas table these would make a simple mince pie alternative (with a big dollop of cream on the side I’m sure they wouldn’t even mind the missing pastry).
The 4 cup angled measuring jug featured in my stocking fillers review a couple of years ago and is still one of our favourite kitchen essentials. I use it most days and unlike every other plastic measuring jug I’ve ever owned it hasn’t cracked from pouring boiled water into it time and time again. This week alone I’ve used it for making gravy, coconut milk from powder, vegetable stock, measuring rice and cooling boiled eggs. E’s favourite use of course is for melting jelly cubes. Yesterday we used it as a receptacle for scooping salt and flour out with our measuring cups. Ours is a 1 litre jug but it’s also available in 1 cup 250ml size and a 2 cup 500ml size.
I’ve always wanted a set of measuring cups to save the time I spend converting recipes using cup measurements into grams. The arrival of this lovely set was timely as the battery has run out on my kitchen scales and E had asked about making salt dough christmas tree decorations. We used Mommypotamus’s salt dough recipe which was simple with our 1 and 1/2 size cups. Whether upsizing or downsizing recipes these cups are fab – the largest is 1.5 cups and all 6 cups have a convenient half line measurement inside. There’s a handy spreader for ensuring an even level for dry contents which doubles up as the hook for hanging your cups away afterwards.
You may have noticed the stainless steel mixing bowl in both our makes. We’ve reviewed it before here and it really is the one-man-band of mixing bowls. E no longer wears it as a hat but it’s only a matter of time before L does. I’m sure he’ll happily turn the bowl and spatula into a drum kit soon. It’s my number one recommendation for a kitchen gift for Christmas, birthdays or weddings.
I know what you’re thinking, a mixing bowl will not fit inside a stocking. In which case my ultimate stocking filler buy would be the lemon squeeze and store and deserves a mention all of it’s own (especially as I forgot to add it to my picture selection above).
It’s just £4 and strains seeds and pulp while directing the lemon juice out of the holes and directly onto your salad, fish, cooking pan, water and more. When you’re done, the Squeeze & Store will hold the other half of your lemon, keeping it protected until the next time you need a splash of citrus.
All items are available from the OXO website (use links above for details) except for the Stainless steel mixing bowl which is available from several other cookware suppliers. The photo used in my review is from Mamahome.com. There are a whole heap of other kitchen gadget gifts in the Good Grips range.
Disclosure: I selected these items to try. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.