back on the plot (with a little helper)

With a heavy heart we made the decision to let our allotment plot go when E was two years old.  As we packed up the last few bits from our shed our allotment neighbour Dave kindly said ”don’t feel bad about it, when Euan is older and the time is right you can return to it”.   He added that if we ever wanted to do some growing with E we could always have a little patch on his plot if we weren’t ready to tackle a full plot again.  This summer we took him up on his offer and it’s been fabulous returning to the plot.

Dave has been amazing.  He cleared a patch of ground and marked it ”Euan’s garden”.  He let us rummage through his seed packets and he keeps an eye on it when we’re not able to get down (which has only been once a week while E was at school and even less often than that in the holidays).  We’ve found allotment time and baby L are not really compatible unless there’s another adult on hand to hold back our little plant grabber but we’ve had some lucky nap time walks on the weekends Gs been working.  

It’s been lovely to have one to one time with E sharing my awe of how nature turns a tiny seed into a giant plant that provides us with food (think runner bean to a child and you have something of the concept of what it means to create a giant). 

It’s amazing how kids are suddenly more open to trying vegetables they’ve previously refused if they’ve had a hand in growing them.  I love eating beans fresh from the plant and although E declared “I am not keen on those” to both our runner beans and Henri’s broad beans I loved his willingness and “errrr, no” face.

If you asked E what his favourite part of going to the allotment is, without hesitation he’d say “seeing Dave and going in his shed”.  Such a beautiful friendship forming.

I’m looking forward to next summer already when I shall have two little helpers.

 

 

 

August 13, 2017 at 6:43 am 1 comment

wordless wednesday

July 26, 2017 at 8:49 am Leave a comment

1 cup, 2 cup, 3 cup more

Any parent will tell you that leak proof cups are rarely that and waterproof bibs always end up as wet on the inside as they do on the outside. It’s such a talent these small ones have for creating a mess! Baby L is no different of course but, unlike when his brother E was a small baby, we do have a leak proof cup for him to shake about and drop from the high chair. The OXO Good Grips sippy cup withstands all shaking challenges and L only ends up soaked still because he loves to glugg and then squirt the water out through his gappy front teeth!

The OXO Good grips sippy cup has two soft grippy handles which L mastered surprisingly quickly and these simply click onto the bottom of the cup and can be removed easily for washing. In fact our handles are removed several times a day as they ping off when dropped from the high chair but despite the many flings there is no sign of damage to the cup yet (although the force of the impact which is stronger than a sip does make the floor wet).
Our big boy E took to using his blue OXO Good Grips twist top bottle when he was 1.5 years old.  L already loves the green one too, mastering the straw at just 9 months old!  The OXO Good Grips Twist top bottle is really handy for when I can’t give L a sippy cup because there’s no room for him to tip his head back, like travelling in the car. For the same reason E likes it at bedtime because he can drink from it lying down.

Of course the great thing about the twist top bottle is that it’s fab for any age (I take it swimming and would love it in a larger size). E takes a water bottle into school to avoid night time wakings with leg cramps and it’s good to know the twist top bottle won’t leak into his book bag. It has a lovely grippy handle so we do tend to carry it just in case E doesn’t twist the top right round – leaks do happen due to user error sometimes! We notice such a difference in energy levels and concentration on the days E forgets to take a water bottle in so it’s great he loves his bottle so much (especially with ice in which is an easy fun add-in through the wide necked top).

So when L is not flinging his water bottle around you can imagine the flare with which he eats his food. The base of L’s highchair is always peppered with flung food for us to tread into the floor! We keep this OXO compact dustpan and brush close to hand after a quick sweep around. It’s so cute that L likes to try and clean up after himself and it’s just right for small hands! (forgive me for exercising quality control on my photos when I just could not make the daily food mess on our kitchen floor look good!)

When it’s really messy and we have to call in the big guns (this OXO Butterfly mop) it takes no time at all to clean up. This mop makes getting into all the awkward corners easy and with little effort wipes away even the stickiest mess (porridge the prime culprit there). It’s just as well as L’s really perfecting his throwing arm!

Disclosure: I was sent these OXO Good Grips products to try. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

July 17, 2017 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

Me and Mine project [June 2017]

The Isle of Wight holds such a special place in my heart.  Not least because we get to stay with dear friends in Ryde but because visiting tickles all sorts of nostalgic memories of childhood holidays by the sea in Weymouth. Our June trip to Ryde was our third with Euan and our first with Luca and I loved overwriting memories of previous trips with one boy with two boy versions. This beachside picnic at Bembridge was a lunchtime stop off after visiting the National Trust windmill nearby. The tide was out and Euan and I took a walk together to explore the tide pools while Luca pored over pebbles and shells with George.

When I took this photo of the boys popping seaweed together I was gathering ideas for a picture I’d commissioned my friend Lucy to make.  She uses applique fabrics to recreate landscape pictures and is particularly talented at incorporating monuments or buildings.  I’d sent Lucy some pictures of Appley Tower and described the sketch forming in my head of the boys playing on the sand in the foreground. As it was we decided to forego the complication of stitching little boy silhouettes in to the picture! Instead I have this beautiful picture from Lucy to hang alongside a print of my seaweed searchers.

After visiting Bembridge Windmill we sat in the field alongside it soaking up the gentle hum of insects in the grass as clouds rolled by in the blue sky and Euan asked wonderfully curious ”Why do …?” questions.



I’m already looking forward to next year when we’ll return to this beautiful island. And I’m glad that taking part in the Me and Mine project again coincided with our trip so that I’m not absent from our family snapshots!

What family time memories did you make this month?
Perhaps you’ll come and share yours on the Me and Mine project wall here?

June 30, 2017 at 9:16 pm 1 comment

seasons of life

I really like looking at photos and exploring the sometimes hidden story they tell.  I’m full of curiosity about other people’s pictures and love how someone’s face can light up as they re-experience the sights and sounds of a single moment or point out some small detail barely noticeable in the background.  ”Goodness look at my hair, what was I thinking”.  ”He kissed me for the first time under that tree”. When I look at baby photos of my beloved boys it taps all my senses including reminders of milk coma smiles and that beautiful indescribable scent of a newborn baby’s head!

The photo above of a peacefully sleeping 5 day old baby Luca brings up all sorts of memories for me about the first week of his life, not least because I wasn’t actually there when it was taken. It’s titled ”Luca with Katherine while I was in hospital” on my laptop and was sent to me by a very special friend.

I didn’t realise the enormity of it all at the time.   I’d had a terrible night with my post-natal body cycling through fevers and chills and was almost relieved when my midwife said she needed to send me back to hospital to be checked out for a probable infection.  I felt wretched but found it a surprisingly easy decision to make. The phrase ”put your own oxygen mask on first’‘ sprang to mind and I understood for the first time what that really meant.  The best way to Mother my boys was to let someone else do it temporarily so I could focus on getting the medical attention I needed.  It was a decision made easier to bear knowing I had someone I totally trusted with the care of my newborn baby.  Luca would not go hungry as I was cup feeding him expressed milk due to his tongue tie.  Most importantly he would be held and loved and sung to by K while G took care of his brother.  Every Mum needs such a friend for the days when two hands and one heart just don’t seem enough!

So this is post is dedicated to all those beautiful people who step in just when we need them most.  The friends who are always pleased to hear from you even when it’s been a while and who never make you feel bad for asking for help so soon after your first ‘‘hello, how are you?”.  Katherine wrote a beautiful article about life on the other side of such friendships and as it was published a year ago today on BritMums.com it seemed a fitting time to share it here.  Katherine wrote:

“To you, with the children, who let me in.

Do you believe in seasons of life? I do.
So many articles these days are written by (and for) people in specific seasons of their lives. Some from Mums to other Mums, lamenting the sleepless nights and vomit in their hair. Others from single women to single women lamenting the loss of friends or irritation of endless baby photos on social media. Some also from women trying, but not able, to become a Mummy. Heartbreakingly honest letters of the raw grief and the painful jealousy that envelopes them when they see another scan photo of social media.

This, however, is a letter from me. Katherine. 32, single, no children. It’s not how I’d hoped I’d spend my 32nd year and certainly not what I’d planned, but I’m learning that it is what it is, my season of waiting.

My season of waiting
When your friends begin to have children it’s an exciting, amazing time. You wonder how you became old enough for this to be a reality, secretly glad that you aren’t the one staying up all night feeding yet still desperate for the first cuddle. When the next friend, the friend after that and the friend after her have a baby you begin to realise that this is your reality now. Your friends are settling down and starting their own families. This is a strange, limbo era for me. One which I trust will, as all seasons do, come to an end. But trusting in that hope, which for me comes from my faith, does not mean that it hurts less.

To the many I’ve drifted away from, it’s ok. I know that you exist in a strange new world now. One that terrifies and delights you in equal measure. Once someone carelessly uttered the phrase, ” you wouldn’t understand, you’re not a Mum.”
Do you know what? You’re right, I have no idea, but I pray every day that one day I will. They didn’t mean it with any malice intended but boy did it hurt. I’m fully aware that something untouchable now separates me from those who’ve started this wonderful and exhausting new journey and for some of those relationships the foundations weren’t there to sustain the difference. Thankfully, you are different.

Who is this ‘you’ I’m referring to? You are the women who let me in. You are the many women of my life who became Mothers before me and didn’t shut me out. You are the ones who shared your scan pictures with me, knowing that I would genuinely get joy from seeing your fuzzy little shadow of a tiny but perfect human. You are the ones who allowed me to rest my hand on your tummy knowing how excited I would be by a single kick. You are the ones who allowed me to visit the hospital in those first few precious days and spend time holding your pride and joy, breathing in the unbeatable smell of milky baby. In the early days I try not to interfere, afraid to intrude on this intense and wonderful time but you invite me in. You breastfeed on a rocking chair while I lie on the floor beside you chatting aimlessly. I listen, genuinely interested, to your stories of nappies and weaning and in turn you then listen patiently to the stories of my day. You don’t need to do that, you could make an excuse or yawn a lot and I would leave, but you don’t.

Mummy friends
We walk around parks and you manage to multitask, juggling a toddler, an ice cream, a stuffed rabbit and still holding a conversation with me. I know that your priorities have shifted but I don’t feel like a nuisance. As your children get older I delight in the school uniform pictures and the trips with you for school shoes. You don’t think twice about having me with you. You welcome me into your home wholeheartedly at the end of a long day. You are back at work, exhausted but you, your husband and your children behave as though I am meant to be there, part of the family. Birthdays, New Years Eves, holidays are no different, you share your family, your precious ones. You give me the honour of entrusting your child in my care, knowing that I will love every second of imagining, just for that evening, that I could do the immense job of motherhood.

“The problem with women having children much older…” My patient begins during a recent visit, I brace myself…..’‘Is that you can’t enjoy them as Grandparents, as much, when you’re older.”
I reflect for a moment, sad for my parents that they are still awaiting this joy and sad for myself that I’m the one responsible for withholding it. They will be wonderful Grandparents, I know they will.

Being on my own is the one part of my life that does not fulfil me. My friends, family, career, faith and home do and I’m proud of all that I’ve achieved but my ultimate goal is that of Motherhood, it’s yet to be reached and feels further and further away.

You have held me while I’ve cried for this missing part of myself and encouraged me in dating endeavours even when I’ve been less than enthusiastic. You have put up with me becoming periodically upset and lamenting the same point over and over without becoming short tempered with me. You have given up time that could have been spent with your husband or your children and spent it with me. For all of these reasons I love you, my Mummy friends.

Thank you for sharing the most precious people in your life with me.”

 

June 29, 2017 at 12:41 pm 2 comments

wordless wednesday

June 7, 2017 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

wordless wednesday

19-4-17 - goose copy 4B

May 3, 2017 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

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