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Siblings 2017: October

15/10/2017

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!

 



 

 

 

 

 

Family Siblings

Siblings 2017: September

15/09/2017

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.



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.

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!

 


Family Photography Siblings

Siblings 2017: May

15/05/2017

I wonder whether projects like this, and Me and Mine, the ones that force you to be very clear and very real as to how far through the year you are, somehow contribute to the feeling that it’s speeding up?  I couldn’t stop either now if I tried but I definitely had to do a double take when I came to write in the month. May, how is it May?

Space for the Butterflies - Siblings, a monthly portrait project

But May it is, in all it’s glory of sunny days and long evenings.  Without wishing to jinx us all to a June filled with wall to wall thunderclouds, it has been rather lovely so far this month hasn’t it.  And my little trio have been making the most of it.  They all three love being out in the garden, and it’s so nice to have got to the time of year when we can just let them outside and they’re not going to get so cold, or muddy, or covered in sticky seed pods.

Space for the Butterflies - Siblings, a monthly portrait project

Well, actually muddy might be a bit too much of a stretch.  Pip’s lifetime project appears to be digging a hole in the ground under the playhouse.  He’s always love doing a bit of digging and we’ve given him free reign on most of the flowerbeds, but it was only when John was playing football with him the other day and the football rolled under the playhouse and disappeared that we realised exactly what he’d been up to.  The excavated soil gets put in a plant pot at which point Kitty and Elma start to take an interest in his schemes; one or other of them, usually Kitty, will try to sneak oh so subtly around the corner of the house to the garden tap, fill up a bucket and smuggle it back to him for the making of mud pies and to the general detriment to all of their clothes.  If I had to choose one reason to look forward to the summer right now it’s entirely possible I’d go with “because they can wear swimsuits and then we can hose them down”.  We’ve got a baby wetsuit somewhere from when Elma was little and I’m half tempted to shoehorn Pip into it.

Space for the Butterflies - Siblings, a monthly portrait project

Laundry aside, if they’re happy then the garden can take it, and I love watching them plot together.  They have to come around the studio to get to the tap, and even though they can clearly see that it’s glass on all three sides, somehow they forget to look to see if John or I are in there. So there’s all this creeping, and careful glances back to the patio doors to check we’ve not spotted them, and yet we can both be sat there watching them and they’ll never notice until we call out to turn the tap off properly.

Space for the Butterflies - Siblings, a monthly portrait project

They’re a mischievous little team if ever there was one.

Space for the Butterflies - Siblings, a monthly portrait project

The big change for the girls this month has been Elma’s move up to join Kitty in Kindergarten.  At the girls’ school Kindergarten stretches from usually the term after you turn 4 to the summer term that you’re six. Elma would have moved up last term but as she started nursery two terms late because there wasn’t space for her before she had an extra term to get her really settled in.  I think it probably helped Kitty to settle as well to have those two terms by herself before Elma joined her.  Elma herself is little Miss Independent; she ran into nursery last September without a backwards glance and the same was true of her first Kindergarten morning.  I think she’d have been fine without her sister, but it was very sweet to see Kitty show her where her peg was and where her slippers should live.  As one of the oldest it’s Kitty’s job to help her new class friends to settle in, and from what they tell me of their days Kitty took extra special care with her little sister, made sure that all her friends came to say hello and got to know her Elma.

Space for the Butterflies - Siblings, a monthly portrait project

It’s become a bit of a May tradition around here to take my Siblings photos among the bluebells (last year’s here, and if you want a real blast from the past – 2014’s pictures with a just walking Elma!) and who am I to mess with tradition, so we headed out on a sunny evening to see what the golden hour was doing to the bluebells.  On an aside, tell me I’m not the only one who loves the summer as much for the ability to head out on a little adventure after work as much as for just the general loveliness of it!

Space for the Butterflies - Siblings, a monthly portrait project

As a largely evergreen wood, the bluebell season sees it in full showing off mode, with the wood anemones as a warm up act in the weeks before.  There are bluebells everywhere, and when the sun sparkles through the trees and it all lights up in a blue, green and golden haze it’s the sort of magic trick that makes a fairy enchantment seem slightly less far fetched.

Space for the Butterflies - Siblings, a monthly portrait project

Most of the big patches of bluebells are buried deep in the trees, but just by one of the little stick shelters the ground is thickly carpeted, and the kids loved running down the little paths between them.

Space for the Butterflies - Siblings, a monthly portrait project

Space for the Butterflies - Siblings, a monthly portrait project

Every month I try to get a photo where all three of them are looking at the camera, and only occasionally do I get one – possibly because this is what happens when you ask a 6 year old, a four year old and a two year old to look up at the camera!

Space for the Butterflies - Siblings, a monthly portrait project Space for the Butterflies - Siblings, a monthly portrait project Space for the Butterflies - Siblings, a monthly portrait project

Little monkeys all three!

Two little sisters, and their brother, in May:

Space for the Butterflies - Siblings, a monthly portrait 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!