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Siblings 2017: October


It doesn’t feel like October does it? Around here it’s not just that yet another month has scampered away without so much as a backward glance, as a climbing thermometer that’s seen the first day of half term significantly warmer than most of our August.  Having just gone digging through boxes of clothes for the long sleeves and the wooly jumpers, we’ve gone piling back through looking for the shorts and t-shirts that I was certain I’d put away for this year.  Last month two of my three were wearing coats and the other a thick cardigan and wind blown pink cheeks.  And now look at them.

You’d be forgiven for thinking we’d jumped a few months backwards, both for the summer clothes and the fact that these pictures came from an afternoon expedition to the farm, to see my aunt and uncle and catch up on all of their news, and then to pick some veggies for supper.  Despite our long stay while we waited for this house to complete, I never did do a Siblings post from the fields; June was the last post from our old house, July a trip to our old cricket club, and by August we’d just moved in.

Topsy turvy though it might be, I’m glad to include them in this year’s set of twelve because it is without a doubt one of our happy places; and one of many reasons why our crazy stop gap house plans worked so incredibly well.


Today we needed potatoes and they made a concerted bid for beans and kale – and when I cook it they genuinely will eat it.  But then these are the children that will make sneaky inroads on a dish of cooked carrots and fight to the teeth over the last piece of broccoli in the bowl.  I’d love to claim that it’s the result of some sort of superior parenting but when they wolfed down a bowl of kale at the end of August no one was more surprised than me.  If I were to get evangelical about one thing though, I’d have to stay that farm fresh veggies are so far removed from anything that’s ever touched a piece of plastic that they shouldn’t really be classed as the same thing, and when veggies taste as good as they possibly can they’re just about irresistible.

All three are off school for the next two weeks and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  Kitty has been ferociously tired as we reached the end of the week, and in need of serious cosseting, as early nights as we can get away with, and just a bit of time to stop and let her mind catch up with itself.  She has adored the first half of term, is so happy she’d go to school seven days a week in a heartbeat, but I think she is more than ready to have a couple of weeks of just pottering around at home.  We have very minimal plans for the holiday, mostly because I used up all of my holiday allowance for the year moving house, and I think it will do her the power of good.

Elma and Pip both missed the last day of term, Pip because he’d had a slight temperature and a grouchy cold, and Elma, well Elma’s motto for life is “go big or go home” so she had to one-up us all.  After a horrible Tuesday into Wednesday night, when she was really struggling with a horrible cough, I asked John to take her to the doctors because everything we’d tried overnight hadn’t really done the trick and she was starting to breath like a steam train and I thought it must be a chest infection.  Well the doctors tried their magic tricks and when those didn’t really work as well as they wanted, they tucked her up in an ambulance and sent her to the nearest A&E.  Several inhalers and one diagnosis of probably a viral wheeze later we brought home a little girl who was absolutely bouncing off the walls with vitality.  That would be the steroids kicking in then.  She’s been having an inhaler every four hours since, including all through the night and hello sleep deprivation my old friend.

It’s funny, every time we’ve had a newborn we’ve just rolled with the lack of sleep and got through it more or less coherently.  This time, whether we’re older, or just less used to it, it’s wiped the pair of us out and I know John is definitely looking forward to some lazy mornings at home, without even our ridiculously short school run to interrupt the dozing.

Aside from comparing ambulance stories the three of them have had a lovely month together, and for all their ups and downs, they are such a happy little trio, I couldn’t imagine life any other way than with the crazy, noisy world that these three bring.

Two sisters, and their brother, in October:

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!








And now you are Seven {family}


I’m a little late with this post, but for the first time pretty much since I started taking your portrait to mark your birthdays the weather refused to co-operate.  The sunshine saved itself entirely for when we were out of the house and away from home and the only thing to do was to roll with it and wait for the gorgeous sunny evening that must eventually come.  And so these pictures are of you at seven and a handful of days, but as only you are going to be particular about the days right now, I think they can still count as the portraits for this year for my not so little any more little girl.

At the weekend you stood next to a height chart and was easily over the 135cm mark and you’re wearing age 10-12 clothes and size 2 1/2 shoes so I think I might be the only one still calling you little.  To everyone else you are a tall, strong, confident girl, even though we both know that there’s part of you that will always be my baby.  As I’m writing this you’ve flitted in and out a couple of times asking for a hug and claiming that you can’t get to sleep, so yes, very much like your were as a baby.

I’m sure last year I felt that six was a big step up and away into your own personality, but it had nothing on seven.  Last year you were in Kindergarten, later to be joined by your sister and with all three of you in various sections of the Early Years part of school I think it lulled us into a sense that we were still in those early days with all three of you; a sort of mental lowest common denominator that tells my brain that because your brother is three, all of my children are still tiny.  Now you’ve started Class One and even in those few weeks I’ve seen you stretch out and away from us again, growing more and more into who you are and who you are going to be.  Last Christmas we came to see your nativity ring time and you acted out your role as the star just beautifully, but you didn’t join in with any of the songs, and when we asked you if you’d forgotten the words you said that you just didn’t want anyone looking at you.  Nine months later you have blossomed, and it has been lovely to see your confidence in your place within your class friends.  Part of it is your natural development, and part of it is that you’ve found your school home.

And with that confidence has come the baffling mixture of old and young that is a seven year old.  You can follow something really mature and sweet and loving with something so utterly daft that we just sit blinking at you like goldfish wondering what on earth happened.

On occasion you are very very seven, in much the same way that from time to time you were very very six, but that’s OK, you’re not meant to be an angel, you’re a child, and one who is learning her way in the world and within a family as much as we are learning parenting as we go along.  For both of us it’s try to say that just when we think we’ve got things figured out, everything changes all over again, but on the whole I think we’re getting there.

And in other moments you are the loveliest part of being seven.  After last year’s constant array of knock-knock jokes some of yours are actually genuinely funny now rather than simply very factual, and you love to make people laugh and to sing and dance and put on a show to tell us all about what you’ve been learning at school.  My knowledge of German has nearly doubled and we can both knock out a mean rendition of heads, shoulders, knees and toes which I’m certain will be of deep practical application when we next travel in that direction.

In the last year you’ve started hockey training, a day I suspect your Daddy has been waiting for since you were born, and you’ve been so excited about training both at your old club and the new.  You’re one of the littler ones at your new club, which makes your sister seem even dinkier, and your brother resolutely angry as he fumes from the sidelines at the unfairness of it all.  He’d be with you in a heartbeat, and I love seeing the three of you race around our new back garden in pursuit of some game or other.  I know you’ve started to move ahead of both of them, and it’s stretched the gap out again a little bit, but they still adore you, and you them, and few things give me more joy than seeing the three of you playing happily together, even if playing later turns out to have been a code word for mischief making.

I’ve said before how proud I am of you as a big sister, and while sometimes you wind your own siblings up a treat you are also very loving with them, and any other babies who happen to be in the vicinity.  You met a vast array of aunts and uncles and first cousins once removed and second cousins and all the rest at a family party and you were just so sweet playing with the babies, just as you are with your own cousins.  If you had a say in it I think there’d be a dozen little brothers and sisters (just for the record; not a chance), but you can cuddle your baby cousin all you want.

Recently you’ve been scootering and our running with your Daddy and for the weeks before your birthday you desperately wanted a skateboard, very possibly because one of your dearest friends has one.  On your birthday you unwrapped a teeny tiny skateboard just the size for your fingers and you were so over the moon delighted with it it was just so sweet, and made it even more fun to give you a proper one as your final present.  We’re going to have to get you some lessons because I haven’t a clue how to skateboard and your Daddy struggles to show you the little bits he knows on a smaller board but if you can master it you’ll never have any problems with your core strength and balance, and I know you have the tenacity to stick at it until you do.

If sport is something to do with Daddy, then time with me is all about the creative and crafty.  You have all sorts of little projects on the go; from finger knitting a ball of rainbow yarn that your brother gave you for your birthday to sewing felt to make a picture for an embroidery hoop and half a dozen little felt and pipe cleaner creations that are scattered around the house.  If it has coloured pens and glue and sprinkles and glitter and feathers it’s your kind of project and I love that when I asked your sister how her scalp came to be shimmering in the afternoon sunshine her immediate reaction was to tell me that you definitely didn’t do it.  Hmmm.

I love that I can share so much of my love of making with you and there’s something very special about curling up together with our current projects for an afternoon of making and listening to Swallows & Amazons on audiobook.  When you get to reading them for yourself you’ll realise how much I’m sitting on my hands to only download the first two of the twelve, but I want you to discover them for yourself for the first time, and then we’ll get the audiobooks when all three of you have caught up.

Above all my lovely girl, you are clever and courageous and kind.  I am phenomenally proud of you, and blessed beyond measure to have you,

love Mummy x

Family Me and Mine Photography

Me and Mine 2017: September


Oh this wonderful crazy family of mine.  What a wonderful crazy busy month we’ve had to match.  I thought we hadn’t done very much this month, just settled into life in the new house and the new back to school routine, but as soon as I stopped to start to think about it the more I realised just how much we’d been here there and everywhere in a near constant whirlwind.  It’s been a good sort of whirlwind though, the sort that softly breezes you along, and it’s meant that our month has been full of some of our favourite things; time spent together, and just the occasional adventure.

Some of them were near at hand, Pip’s Mummy morning on the day both his sisters were at school and Daddy was playing golf, and Kitty’s school expedition to harvest sweetcorn didn’t take us very far afield, and some were further flung (and I maintain it may actually be quicker to get to Majorca (for golf) than to Skipton (for Yarndale)).  What is certain is that they were both well worth the effort, and I suspect we both came back knowing that we’re going again next year.


On the house front we continue to unpack.  I fear I may be saying that for many many many more months to come; proof, not that it was ever needed, that we were right to have other people come to pack for us.  We’re trying to unpack gently; actually thinking about what we need rather than just bunging everything in a cupboard, but a random filing cabinet still stuck in the middle of my study says we’re not quite there yet.

And with September gone, we’re properly into autumn; the leaves are turning in the garden and the trains emerge from the mist each morning, audit’s hard not to start to get excited about what comes next, and what comes after that.  In the month to come we have half term; which seems crazy because we obviously only started term 30 seconds ago, and lots of plans to make, and still the occasional box to unpack.

John loves:

  • The golf trip to Majorca.
  • His brother and sister-in-law coming to visit.
  • Having built IKEA furniture for his studio, the actual building of it wasn’t so fun.
  • The start of the hockey season (and football and cricket on the telly)

Carie loves:

  • The trip to Yarndale
  • All the yarn that came home with her.
  • Seeing her first piece of published fiction appear in print
  • A long weekend pottering around with the children

Kitty loves:

  • Her birthday celebrations; many and ongoing
  • Learning to balance on her skateboard
  • the start of school.
  • rediscovering all her treasures as we put the craft cupboard to rights.

Elma loves:

  • getting to see her brother during school playtime.
  • being big enough to go hockey training.
  • magic tricks.
  • collecting huge bunches of autumn leaves.

Pip loves:

  • Mummy.
  • Climbing the Clent Hills.
  • Playing trains.
  • Waking up ridiculously early for his own private adventures while the rest of us are still asleep.

My little family, in September:

Family Video

The year that Kitty was six


I am not ready for Kitty to be seven tomorrow. I know I say this every time one of the children turns another year older, and it’s true that I would happily slow down the sun to enjoy their childhood just a little bit longer, but in this case it’s a fairly literal not ready. Her present is made (just as long as John goes to buy me the final component) but there are cakes to be made (one for school and one for home), and birthday banners to be found and hung and all the last minute flurry of wrapping and trying to keep one super super excited little girl just about calm enough to sleep tonight.

So for now, it’s time to look back at the year in which Kitty was six:

And if you want a little blast down memory lane, here she is at two:

The year you were two from Carie K on Vimeo.



and five:

she was so little – sob!

Family Siblings

Siblings 2017: September


The evenings are dark, the mornings have turned decidedly nippy, and for the first time since February at least one of the kids is wearing a coat; it’s definitely September, and the time for Siblings posts seems to have rushed around once again.  I’m certain that it wasn’t five minutes ago we were all in shorts and now we’re digging out the fluffy socks.

September has been a milestone month for two of my little trio.  Kitty started Class 1 (equivalent to Year 2 in mainstream and the formal start to Lower School), and Pip Squeak has graduated from parent and toddler group to spend three mornings a week in nursery.  Both mark big changes, Pip joining the Early Years section just as Kitty leaves it to start the next adventure, and I think Elma started to wonder why she was the only one doing exactly the same as last term.

It’s made for a start to the month full of last minute shopping trips for new boots and shoes, the search for comfy slippers that don’t have characters on them, and then the early morning search for a slipper that has mysteriously gone missing between purchase and school (we found it a whole day later zipped into one of the kid’s camping backpacks.

Kitty has shot up over the summer, though thankfully her feet haven’t grown too much.  That being said, an adult 2.5 is good going when you’re six.  Elma is still taller than Pip, but she’s so much slighter in build that there’s barely any difference between them.  They can share wellies and t-shirts and jumpers and all sorts of useful things, though for some extraordinary reason they think this is a lot less exciting when we do when we’re scrambling around the house looking for whatever sock is nearest.  With only 20 months between them I can easily see that they’ll leapfrog each other all the way through their childhood until eventually Pip grows taller and stays taller.  Elma is never going to be short, but she might well end up the littlest of the three.

But for now that’s years away; now they are all three about the excitement of school and seeing their friends again, exploring our new house and working out which trees to climb in the garden.

They bump into each other during the school day; Elma and Pip are often playing outside at the same time, even if Pip is just in the nursery garden, but they’ll have a little chat over the garden gate before Elma rushes off to play, and Kitty told me of her class heading out to play and seeing their kindergarten class friends from last year peeping out of the window.  I love that they have half an eye and an ear out for each other, and that they do seems to really underscore the relationship they have as a trio which is entirely separate to their part in our family.

It’s a relationship that has it’s ups and downs and fallings out, and there are days when I wonder whether it is genuinely possible for them to spend five minutes in the same house without someone wailing, but they’re balanced by the days of coming home to find that they’ve all been working on a “show” (to be performed while balanced precariously on top of our garden chairs), or to see them snuggled up in a big arm chair to listen to a story.  They’re friends, with the added layer of sibling that allows them to push every button going and forget about it a minute later.

For our pictures this month we headed up to the Clent Hills.  I had a perfectly brilliant plan that involved gorgeous evening sunshine, views of Wales (just), and not a single drop of rain, and to be fair, when we drove up to the car park, and when we first started out along the path, the sunshine was dimpling through the trees and it was all looking very perfect.

And I must point out that it didn’t rain on us until after we’d climbed to the view point and were heading over the ridgeline and back to the car.  But rain it did.  All those clouds that you can see in the back of my photos converged on the top of the hill and we dashed down the hill and into the woods for a bit of shelter.  It was drier, but definitely darker, and with everyone else finding their own shelter it felt as if it could be just us and the fairies.

It gave it a spirit of adventure that just isn’t there when the sun shines.  Which as we go into the autumn is probably a good idea!

Two little sisters, and their brother too, in September

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.