Family Photography Siblings

Siblings 2017: August

24/08/2017

I know, I’m horribly horribly late with my Siblings post this month.  Actually, I’m horribly horribly late with a gazillion posts from the middle of June onwards, and that’s a conservative estimate.  I still have the story to tell of the move from our old house, of adventures in the summer, and to tell you all about the new house, the good and the “oh that’s going to be expensive”, but tent life was conducive to spending my evenings snuggling down with some knitting and a glass of wine, chatting to John and planning for the new house, and then we moved, and then one of the children got a tummy bug, which would not have made for good photos, and then….!  But now I have internet, I have some time off work to unpack boxes and sort out so my brain isn’t fried from being at work, so for today let’s start with these three little monkeys of mine and Siblings.

When I wrote my July Siblings post they’d settled down into tent life, and we had a rhythm of a sort for our days; running up to the house in the morning to fetch the milk (playing into all of Kitty’s Swallows and Amazons make believe), sneaking big hugs with their auntie and uncle, and being willing volunteers to go and pick just about anything from the fields, especially if it involved a ride in the cart.  But towards the end of the month, as we hurtled towards completion (finally finally!), they could sense the change that was coming, and as much as we told them what was happening, I think it’s quite hard to comprehend when you’re only six and four and two.

The day we finally completed I met John and the kids at the house and for a little while Kitty didn’t even want to come in; she loved tent life and her auntie and uncle so much she wanted to stay there forever.  And then the penny dropped and all three of them started racing round like harumscarums and they’ve barely stopped since.

At the moment all three of them are sharing Pip’s bedroom as the girls’ room needs a wall fitting with plasterboard after the 100 year old plaster came tumbling down when we took off the lining paper (definitely a story for another time) and it’s so sweet to see them all curled up together.  They’ve not always been the best of friends this month; it’s a rather predictable consequence of all the upheaval that they’ve tried to grab back a bit of control wherever they can find it, but as boxes get unpacked and the familiar comes to join the new, they’re happier to have each other around.

These pictures are all taken in the garden of the new house; it’s a huge garden, so much bigger than the one at our old house, and designed in a series of garden rooms, so it’s a lot bigger than you first think. On the first evening our exploration (champagne glass in hand) took us right down to the very back of the garden and there, next to the shed with half its roof missing, was a big purple slide.  If you’ll pardon the pun, it’s a big step up from their little folding green and yellow toddler slide, which Kitty can practically leapfrog, and once we’d pulled it out of the bushes and checked that it wasn’t rotten, we set it up on the grass a little nearer to the house and every time we’re out in the garden there’s always someone rushing down.

It’s a lovely accidental treat for them (and us) but it feels oddly symbolic too.  In two days Pip will turn three, and as he is a very tall little boy, we’re long out of the adorable tiny clothes stage.  I definitely have children, not babies or toddlers now and with no more babies on the horizon (though never say never!), it feels as if we’ve taken a step away from those baby days.

Two increasingly grown up little girls, and their brother too, in August:

Do go and say hi to my co-hosts: Donna at What the Redhead Said Natalie at Little Jam Pot Life,  Keri-Anne at GingerLily Tea, Amber at Meet the Wildes, Katie at Mummy Daddy Me and of course the mastermind behind the whole thing, Lucy at Dear Beautiful.

Handmade

Frozen Pines {handmade for baby}

04/08/2017

New arrivals to the family need knitwear.  I’m sure somewhere you’d find that hardwired into my DNA, and it’s impossible to resist and a certain adorable new baby girl was never going to persuade me otherwise.  She shares my middle name, I’m biased.

With all of my favourite baby patterns, and almost all of my yarn stash in storage, I turned to Ravelry and my little collection of adorable baby patterns that I never seem to get around to knitting for someone because (a) I don’t know what variety of baby to expect and (b) I forget I’ve bookmarked them all and go back to one of my favourite tried and tested patterns.

I’d love to be more organised with my Ravelry queue and have the next twenty things I’m going to make all lined up and in a nice neat order but it never works like that. Whatever I’m going to knit next is largely determined by whichever child has an impending birthday, and because they are 6,4 and almost 3, they’re far too capricious to plan their next knits too far in advance, or it will turn out that pink is entirely out of favour by the time I start the sleeve.  But this time, and with the tiny little miss announcing herself as a little miss by suprising my cousins with her early arrival, I went for a serious trawl through all of my bookmarks.

Not something that I’d knit before, something that wouldn’t be too heavy for the summer, something that would be perfectly sweet and make her even more cuddleable than she already is.

Norwegian Pine won.  It’s a very simple pattern, and a clever one; using the yarn overs in the fern pattern to provide the raglan increases, while the garter stitch makes for a super squishy knit that passes all the cuddle tests.  I know the pattern has had some critical reviews in the past, but it’s worth knowing that it’s been completely re-drafted and I found it really easy to follow.

The yarn is a baby favourite of mine; Rowan’s Baby Merino Silk DK.  It’s as soft as butter, has a gorgeous depth to the colour because the dye takes up differently on the silk and the wool, it’s all natural fibre and best of all, it goes in the washing machine at 40.  I’ll admit I’ve been longing to knit with the Iceberg colour for a while; it reminds me of the sea at the end of the brightest of summer days, and the most prized bits of sea glass that would wash up in winter storms, along with a handful of green.  And for a little girl with an equally adorable big sister, it’s also a nice compliment to the pink.

 

Joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday and Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm, Craft On

Family Me and Mine Photography

Me and Mine 2017: July

31/07/2017

We still live in a tent.  I know that at the end of last month a combination of hope and will power had me near certain that we’d be in the house by this point, but, well, we’re not.  All things being equal we should exchange this week and then complete as soon as possible afterwards, which basically means as soon as the mortgage money can get to our solicitors.  Next month, next month I promise we will not be living in a tent, because if we’re not living in our house then something has gone horribly wrong and we’ll be looking for a long term rental while we start all over again.  Not going to happen though.

We originally thought that we’d be living in the tent for a couple of weeks, three or four at most, and sitting here at six weeks and counting I am beyond grateful to my aunt and uncle for letting us stay; aside from the sheer joy of watching Kitty, Pip and Elma come to know and love them as much as John and I do, and the fun they’ve had helping to pick strawberries and raspberries and swimming in the pool, staying here has meant that while we may not have had a house, we have always had a home, and there just aren’t ever going to be enough thank yous to cover it.

We’ve just come back from a week going “housing”, firstly to Yorkshire to stay with the family, and then John and I escaped to spend a couple of nights away in the Lake District climbing mountains.  If you follow me on Instagram please note that the holiday spam shows no sign of letting up soon, and I’m utterly unapologetic about it – the Lakes are much much prettier than the view from my desk when I head back to work today.  The children, as far as I can gather, wore their grandparents out and flew kites, and we all enjoyed such modern conveniences as walls, beds and electric lights.  With the evenings not as light as they were when we first moved in, and camping lights good enough only really to find something, not read or knit something tricky, it was a revelation to have light that we could just turn on!

The holiday was pretty well timed to avoid a very soggy week; two days before we left the tent sprung a sort of leak, when splits on two sections of the back ridge got so bad that they let the back wall of the tent start to puddle on the ground, and where there was one puddle, another soon followed, and then the day I finished work our gazebo/shelter took off in a rogue gust of wind (despite being fully pegged and guyed out), so this month I have learnt how to mend shelters with self-adhesive tent plasters, and how to replace sections of tent pole and refit the whole shebang while leaving the rest of the tent standing – top tip, don’t try to use cheap and cheerful hacksaws on fibreglass tent poles; I think I cut it mostly through strength of mind!

The tent is much the better for the tlc and despite torrential showers bucketing across the skies yesterday afternoon we’re as dry as a bone.  I did however make the mistake of promising the children a biscuit when it rained, which they interpreted as a biscuit every time it rains, which means that an entire packet of crunch creams were laid to waste in the course of one afternoon.

On the whole the kids are doing pretty well with their life in limbo.  We had a few wobbly moments that could have been as much to do with the end of term as the house moving, and Pip has taken to telling us he loves any new toy so much that he doesn’t want it to go into storage, but they’re a happy little trio (despite Kitty’s very teenage expressions in some of these shots), currently obsessed with playing Swallows and Amazons, right up to and including the rigging of a Wild Cat Island style tent courtesy of some rope (charmed out of their uncle), out badminton posts, and their aunt’s old sheet.  You’d think that they’d have had enough of camping of late, but as I should well know, there’s camping and then there’s proper Swallows and Amazons camping.  Yesterday afternoon they performed Swallowdale: the musical, with particular focus on the climbing of Kanchenjunga and the spotting of goats, which was quite a sight to see.

Despite all of our adventures, this month’s photos could only have been taken in front of our tent.  Neatly cropped to avoid showing you how much of a mess it still is post flood and holiday, but still very recognisably our very own Buckingham Palace.  We haven’t decided when or whether we might go travelling this summer, but I know that even though we’re really really looking forward to the next stage of this big move, it hasn’t dinted our love of life outdoors, and there will be plenty of opportunity in the future to take out photos on our canvas doorstep.

My little family, in July:

 

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful

 

Family Photography {the ordinary moments}

The end of term

16/07/2017

Space for the Butterflies - the end of term

Wednesday marked the end of Kitty’s time in Kindergarten, and the end of Elma’s very first term.  All the parents were invited in for the last circle time of the year and oh there wasn’t a dry eye in the back of the room. Even John, stoic Yorkshireman to the last, admitted to needing his coping mechanisms as we listened to their lovely teacher tell the story of the children climbing the tree in their garden, a branch for each of the years that the Transition class have been in Kindergarten, until finally they reached the third branch and could see over the hedge into a new garden and all of the different paths that wound their way through it that they will discover as they head off to Class 1 and the beginning of the official Lower School.  It was so beautiful and so very personal to the children making the big remove; even writing about it makes me think that someone must have been cutting onions in the vicinity.

Space for the Butterflies - the end of term

In September she started into a relatively established group of friends, wearing her heart on her sleeve and clutching every ounce of courage she could find, and what a difference the year has made.  She seemed so grown up when I took that photo of her in September, and now my first reaction was to think how little she looks!

Space for the Butterflies - the end of term

She’s grown in height (that happens every other week), but also in confidence, and she’s made the best of friends in her new peer group.  She’s developing the silliest sense of humour, with endless variations of why did the cow cross the road, and the little girl who didn’t sing in the Christmas circle time because she didn’t want anyone to look at her (the six year old me would sympathise), sings out happily in every circle time.  This year took a little girl nervous of school after becoming burnt out and disengaged in her previous year and put back some of the joy.

Space for the Butterflies - the end of term

 

The fact is that Kitty loves school, and that’s a sentence that for a while I thought I’d never get to write.  If there were more days in the week she would go for all of them, and still be bouncing around on a Monday morning wanting to be the first through the door. Space for the Butterflies - the end of term

This year she made a mallet from a log, she stitched up a very sweet felt needlecase, and she finally finished her weaving on the penultimate day of term.  It’s gorgeous, and when we move into the new house I’m determined to find a spot on the wall for it somewhere.

And as for Miss Elma, she seemed to go from toddler to school girl overnight.

Space for the Butterflies - the end of term

Elma started the year in nursery, running in with barely a backwards glance, and by the time she moved up to Kindergarten at the beginning of this term she was ready to tunnel her way in over a weekend.  She’s a very self contained contented little girl for the most part and if she ever had any regret it was that she didn’t get to go for all five mornings.

Space for the Butterflies - the end of term

This term she’s done some drawing, painted a crown, made very slow progress on her pompom, and learnt so many songs and finger rhymes and blessings that she and Kitty sing together.  As far as I can work out they didn’t spend that much time in class playing together, but they, and the other two sibling sets, gravitated towards each other at meal times, and would often end up sitting next to each other.  They certainly enjoyed having that time together and I’m glad they had the opportunity to share it.

Space for the Butterflies - the end of term

In mainstream counting she would start Reception in September but at our school she’ll stay in Kindergarten for another couple of years, one of which she’ll share with Pip, and then it will be our time to hold back the happy tears all over again at her final circle time.  By the time Pip leaves Kindergarten I give fair warning that I’ll be a blubbering wreck – we have at least three years before then though.

Space for the Butterflies - the end of term

All of which means that once we’d dried our eyes, the girls had hugged all of their classmates and their teachers, and we’d gone back to rescue Elma’s jumper from her peg before the doors were locked, it’s the summer holidays; and that’s a whole new adventure waiting to happen.

Joining Katie at Mummy Daddy Me and Donna at What the Redhead Said for The Ordinary Moments

 

Family Photography Siblings

Siblings 2017: July

15/07/2017

We’ve uprooted ourselves, put just about everything we own into two storage containers, and moved ourselves and our tent half way across the country and yet this month, my siblings pictures come from Warwick cricket pitch, just like at least one set of summer portraits from every year of my Siblings project.

But for all the pictures that I could share of my little trio this month, these were the ones that I wanted to share.  Whilst he’ll keep commuting back and forth for hockey, cricket is John’s social sport and I suspect that when this season comes to a close, he’ll be looking for a team closer to home for next year, and we’ll be looking for a new outfield to run around.  These pictures sum up not just the children and their ever changing relationship, but the essence of our cricket days out, and it would be remiss of me to move on without recording it.

It had started as the kind of scorching English summer’s day when the humidity thickens the air to the point that you could eat it with a spoon, and we’d all taken refuge from the sunshine in the clubhouse, but as is so often the way, as the sun began to drop and the breeze picked up it became a truly lovely afternoon.  Pip played football with our team, and our spectators, and even some of the opposition after tea, and the girls sat and read stories or ran around to play tractors before all three of them took on the challenge of making themselves as messy as possibly with choc ices at cricket tea.

Space for the Butterflies: Siblings Photo Project

The picture says it all. Elma, with chocolate smears down her dress and mucky feet from running around barefoot, Kitty with her hair all hot and straggly, and Pip Squeak whose apparent cleanliness belies a distinct stickiness about his person, and the three of them closer than ever.

Space for the Butterflies: Siblings Photo Project

Even in the sticky heat it we were all so very content to be there, watching John play and just being together.

It might be living in even closer proximity than normal, it might be that most of their toys are in storage, but I suspect that a good deal of their relationship now is just a product of their ages; the older they get, the closer together they seem, especially Pip and Elma, whose can happily wear each other’s clothes, just about borrow each other’s wellies, and are always swapping sunhats.

Space for the Butterflies: Siblings Photo Project

Elma is still very much the taller, even if she may well be lighter, and while for the most part she and Pip can do pretty much everything together, just occasionally there’s a moment where she can put that extra 20 months to good use.  The nearest playpark to us at present has a wonderful rocket ship slide, but to get to it you have to be able to climb up the ladder.  Kitty has no trouble at all, Elma has finagled a way to make it work, just, but Pip, for all his trying, and frustrated grumping, was most decidedly left behind.  We have a playground rule that if you can do it, you can do it, so Pip had to stay down on the ground until he found another slide more suited to his stature.

Space for the Butterflies: Siblings Photo Project

This month Elma and Kitty finished their first and last ever term together in the same kindergarten.  They’ve both had a wonderful term and a wonderful year and one of the (many many) things we love about their school was that they got this extra time together.

I never took it for granted, and never take it for granted, that these three little individual people will get on; that shared genetics would take them past the hard wiring of love into friendship, but for all their squabbles, they are true friends.  Just before we left the old house, I asked each of them what they liked most about the house, and Kitty’s immediate answer was “my brother and sister”.

Space for the Butterflies: Siblings Photo Project

To watch them play swingball, with a hockey stick for a third bat, or those moments where Kitty and Elma crowd round Pip to make sure he’s OK, and call him “my baby bunting”, or pretend he’s their baby so they can put him to bed in a sleeping bag precariously positioned on the upturned slide, is to watch my hopes and dreams for the three of them surpass themselves and I can only hope that it contines for many years to come.

Two little sisters, and their brother too, in July:

 

Space for the Butterflies: Siblings Photo Project

Do go and say hi to my co-hosts: Donna at What the Redhead Said Natalie at Little Jam Pot Life,  Keri-Anne at GingerLily Tea, Amber at Meet the Wildes, Katie at Mummy Daddy Me and of course the mastermind behind the whole thing, Lucy at Dear Beautiful.  And then link up your Siblings posts below, and if you’re joining in on Instagram if you use the hashtag #siblingsproject and tag @siblings_project_ we’ll be able to see them too!