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August 2017

Family Me and Mine Photography

Me and Mine 2017: August

31/08/2017

In the weeks and years to come there’s no doubt that we will find a million and one beautiful places out and about in our new part of the world for our Me and Mine photos, but for this month there’s only one place that we could take them; home.

Yes, really honestly truly, we are home, in a house of our very own. Well ours and the mortgage company’s.

This month has been dominated by the big move.  We got the keys to the house at the very start of the month and then I dithered around my office finishing off everything that really had to be done, before scampering off early, keys clutched in my hand, trying very hard not to skip all the way to the train station, and that first evening we pottered around, trying to decide what we were going to try to do before the furniture arrived, and then giving up and just celebrating, popping the champagne to share with my aunt and uncle, and smiling so hard I thought my cheeks would hurt.

John spent the next 10 days filing, sanding, washing walls, undercoating, painting, stripping away lining paper, sticking bits of paper back on and generally acting like a decorating whirlwind, with help from family and friends, while I went to work from one station and came home to another.  I’ve bought precisely two houses now and both times the sale has completed while the head of my team at work is on holiday, which means that I can’t go on holiday until he’s back. I’d claim it’s a theme but it’s twice in thirteen years.

And then the furniture arrived, and we moved in for real.

 

I’ve been on holiday for the last week, and it’s mostly been spent unpacking boxes while listening to the children playing in the garden.  The bank holiday was just beautiful, and we’ve enjoyed every minute of our outdoor living, even on the days when it’s been too hot to eat anything but salad and sandwiches, and I start to glower at the Aga, and our boiler, whose dubious antiquity means that we can have hot water only if we accept that the central heating will also be on at the same time, and there’s no thermostat.

It’s been a month of upheaval and a month of settling down into some sort of a rhythm as we run up to the start of school next week, and there have been days that felt like magic and days that have been really hard work with boxes seeming never ending and the children unravelling all with uncertainty at each other, but it all evens out, and the moments that I treasure will always outweigh the ones where I just want to go and sit under my duvet and hide.

We had a wonderful day for Pip’s birthday; he was spoiled to bits by all who love him in the nicest possible way, and everyone has enjoyed playing with his new toys, particularly the little tractor, the big tractor and the farm.

In August…

John has loved

  • getting the painting finished before the furniture arrived.
  • going to the gym
  • playing golf
  • Game of Thrones (though not that we have to wait to 2019 for the next series)

Kitty has loved

  • having her bed back; even if we can’t find the bolts to make it.
  • play dates with one of her closest class friends.
  • her Mummy-Kitty date to the Festival of Quilts
  • the slide in the new garden.

Elma has loved:

  • listening to the Magical Faraway Tree on audiobook
  • still sleeping in a sleeping bag
  • going to the flower shop and choosing three enormous sunflowers for her room, even though we’ve kept them on the dinner table because we all love them so much.
  • that her class friend (little sister to Kitty’s friend) also came to play.  They’ll be the middle girls this year, no longer the littlest, and no longer with their big sisters so it will be fun to see them start to take the lead.

Pip has loved:

  • his tractor.
  • his other tractor.
  • running around the new garden at high speed.
  • being reunited with his wooden train set.

I have loved:

  • being reunited with electric light
  • having a good sort out as I unpack my craft room
  • having a craft room
  • a week and a bit’s holiday to unwind and unpack.

It’s been a memorable month, a definite milestone in the adventure of our family, and we can only watch and wait to see where the rollercoaster takes us next!

My family, in August.

 

Family Handmade

The thank you socks {handmade}

29/08/2017

Or, what I made, while we lived in a tent.

Tent life lends itself to a lot of snuggling up of an evening with some knitting, and when we were gathering up the things we’d need for camping, before the packers came in to get the rest ready for storage, the first place I went was the yarn stash.  A nearly finished jumper for Pip went in the bag, and then a fiery orange aran to make a winter jumper for me, and then, right on top, two skeins of sock yarn.  My love language is textiles, and I’m utterly unashamed about it, and so there was never really any question about what these would be, or who they were for.

Socks. A very seasonally appropriate gift for the summer, but the best way I know to say thank you.

They were the first thing I made in the tent, knitting on into the evening and then waking up in the morning to see what stripes had appeared. I wanted to make absolutely sure that they were all finished before our purchase completed and we moved in.  Oh such optimism; I could have made both pairs several times over before we were finally able to move.  They lived, hidden in plain sight in a laundry basket, all through the rest of the summer, until finally I got to give them away.

The first pair are Trekking XXL, in a colour called Greens, that, according to the children, look exactly like tractor tyres and courgettes when knitted up.  I can kind of see what they mean, which makes them serendipitously appropriate, especially given the amount of time Pip spent gazing at his uncle’s tractor’s with open-mouthed adoration.  This yarn I think came from Florida, either from our honeymoon, or when we went back to have another shot at a happy Florida holiday and I still ended up in hospital (a story for another time).  Either way, buying that yarn made me very very happy, and knitting it up made me even happier.  They’re not much use in August I know, but in the winter, they will be warm and snuggly, and as I’m definitely hoping for snow, they should be perfect.

And the second, well this is yarn of my own invention.  We had some leftover Easter Egg dye a year ago and I spent a messy afternoon playing around a blank skein of sock yarn from the back of the stash.  At the time it was just playing, with the full knowledge that if it turned out horribly I’d bin it without a second thought, but it turned out to be one of my prettiest inventions and I’ve been saving it for a very special pair of socks.

I could have found no worthier recipient.  All the time I was knitting them Kitty was quite desperate to know who they were for, I suspect harbouring a secret dream that they might be for her, even though it was blindingly obvious that they weren’t her size.  I’ve got a decent wedge of leftovers though, and I suspect that if I can find the right deep blue solid, they might just end up being part of a pair of Christmas socks.

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

 

 

 

Birthdays Family Photography

Now you are three

26/08/2017

To Pip Squeak, on your third birthday.

Yes, third.  I know you’ve decided that you’re going to be four, and occasionally six, just so that you can keep up with your big sisters, but it’s enough of a challenge for me to recognise that you’re turning three, and not still that not so tiny baby I brought home from the hospital what seems like only a couple of days ago.  Don’t go wishing your years away little boy; the first three have flown past for me and time only seems to be speeding up.

As I write this you’re asleep in the room next door, snuggled down on your pillow with your arms flopped back above your head and it’s easy to see the baby you once were, but are very definitely no longer.

This has been the year when you emerged from your babyhood and became every inch my little boy; you’ve lost that baby roundness that I could still just about see in the snippets at the start of your birthday video, and the more you run and jump and hide and play and run some more you’ve got stronger and stronger.  Part of it is being out of nappies, and part of it is that you’ve shot up several inches. Again.  You still greet people you’re particularly fond of by running into them full tilt, the only difference is now we’re bracing ourselves for the impact, and more than once I’ve felt myself stumbling backwards to catch both of us.

I don’t know exactly how tall you are right now, but I know I’m buying age 4-5 clothes and hoping they’ll have a smidgen of room to grow in them.  You’re wearing size 8 shoes, but I strongly suspect that you’ve grown out of them and we need a trip to the shoe shop before term starts.

You have always been the most outdoors of my babies, and it’s still true; your favourite activity in the old house was digging a hole underneath the play house (that we discovered when we kicked a football underneath it and it disappeared!!), you loved moving a mole hill around while we were living in the tent (to the point that the molehill had to be topped up again), and there’s a curious patch underneath the swing in our garden, right about where someone has left a tiny spade, which rather suggests that a certain someone may have been digging!  Our garden here doesn’t have access to the road unless you go through the house or the garage and I love that you can explore and re-landscape to your heart’s content (though please leave the lawn alone, it has actual grass, rather than the moss with occasional blade of green in the last house).

The biggest change in you this year has to be in your speech; you are a wonderful little chatterbox and I love that you come out with things that you’ve clearly been pondering for a while, even when they’re a complete change in conversation.  Everything has this wonderful logic about it too.  I wasn’t actually there for my favourite of the year, you were in the car with your auntie, trundling along, only to confidently announce: “Cows poo but stinging nettles don’t!”

You love tractors and engines, and living on a farm with actual tractors was your dream come true, and no excuse was too small to go for a little walk to see what the tractor was doing; I’m certain that one of your golden memories of this summer was helping your uncle to fix a puncture in the tractor tyre.

As for the engines, earlier this year I took you to the toy shop for a Mummy and Pip special treat, and you chose the Duchess of Hamilton replica wooden train; she’s been your favourite ever since, and even more so when you realised that there’s an actual real Duchess, and that YouTube has videos of her in action.  So much of the packing up of our old house happened to a soundtrack of a very plummy BBC announcer narrating some 1937 footage, and one of my golden memories from this summer was when you came face to face with the real train at the National Railway Museum at York.  Every day you ask me what colour train I took to work, and give me a long assessing look as if to check that I’m giving the right answer.

It makes you sound like every stereotype of a little boy doesn’t it, railways and tractors, getting muddy and always being on the move, but it’s only part of your personality.  At the moment your favourite colour is still pink, and your favourite rainy day activity is painting, closely followed by colouring in (preferably in one of your sisters’ colouring books if you think you can get away with it!).

As for those big sisters of yours, I think this is the year when their crowns may have slipped a bit; no longer are they adored heroes, purveyors of mischief, entertainment and purloined chocolate, but co-conspirators, up to equal amounts of mischief but with a greater potential for falling out.  It’s all part of the sibling relationship, and I can see in how you play with both girls just how much you love them.  I’m glad you have them, and they you.

You are my best beloved boy; Happy Birthday,

love Mummy

Birthdays Family Pip Video

Pip Squeak: the year you were two

25/08/2017

We’re back on the internet just in time.  I can be late on Siblings posts and stack up ideas until they’re ready to burst out of my head and write themselves, but I would have been really gutted if I’d missed one of the children’s birthday videos.  I love making them; looking back on the year and seeing just how much change has slipped me by, even when I was really focussed on remembering every little thing about all three of them.

Tomorrow is Pip’s third birthday, although he’s decided he’s going to be four, and gets very cross with anyone that suggests anything to the contrary, and as we move well and truly out of the baby days, it’s time to look back at the year that began with a baby and ended with a little boy:

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.