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Baby Elma Family Kitty Me and Mine Photography

Me and Mine – a family portrait for July


This month’s Me and Mine is extra special.  Or at least I really really hope it is.  With a bit of luck and a following wind (and probably some acupuncture and encouraging thoughts towards the Little Bump) this should be our last Me and Mine as a family of four.  And I can’t believe I just wrote that.  Apart from the whole fact that this means this baby’s arrival really is happening quite soon, I’ve almost certainly just consigned myself to going all the way to my induction date and an early September arrival!

Of more certainty is that this is the last Me and Mine in which we don’t own garden furniture that did not come from a hockey tour.  It’s probably a sign of advancing middle age but I’m claiming pregnancy and the fact that it feels like it takes ten minutes to get up off the ground at the moment as the impetus that took us to Homebase on a Sunday afternoon to order a nice comfy garden chair – and a table and the rest of the chairs that go with it.  It arrives this week and I can’t wait; I’m having lovely visions of sitting outside with our tiny new baby while the girls run up and down the garden for the rest of the summer, even if the reality is that we sit and watch the rain plopping down onto the table half the time! (That would be this weekend’s forecast then).

Because it is that last Me and Mine, I really wanted to do something special, to think of somewhere stunning for a backdrop, magically coax all of the family into the most perfect of picture-taking moods, and somehow become a completely genius photographer overnight, not to mention be able to split myself in two so that I can both take the photos and be in them.  And my mind went blank; well about the achievable bits anyway, it just got realistic about the rest.

But at the end of the day what really matters is not so much how the photo looks, but that I took it, and preferably without everyone’s memories of the occasion being something along the lines of “oh yes, that was the day Mummy made us go out and have our picture taken and it was really annoying because we just wanted to turn the house upside down and sit on Daddy’s head instead”.  So we went back to basics.

At the end of the day I think that most of us that join in with the Me and Mine project do so not because we never ever ever took pictures of our family as a whole, but because we realised that we’d got the high days and holidays covered but not the in between.  The missing links of those months between Christmas and Easter, or Easter and birthdays.  And so what I’m trying to capture isn’t, and shouldn’t really be some highly polished scrubbed cheek version of us, but the everyday reality of what our life is like.  Or perhaps a version that’s had a quick once over with a baby wipe; no one really wants to look back on the diary of their early childhood to discover just how many times in one day the phrase “stop right there – we use gentle hands in this family!” could be heard.

So for our probably hopefully last Me and Mine as a quartet, it’s just us, in the back garden, on a gorgeously sunny evening, eating BBQ supper (thank you lovely husband).  All the detritus is there, the drinks, the ketchup, the smears of sauce across tiny cheeks and everyone’s fingers, and we’re all still camped out on the picnic blankets (which is more comfortable for some of us than others!)

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life


I remember the little things; the certainty that in just about every photo at least one of us would have a mouthful of food

.Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

The squeals of delight that we got from Elma when we told her to say “Daddy” rather than ‘cheese”

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

The bliss that comes in feeling that the day is finally starting to cool down; not too much but just enough to make sitting still bearable, combined with a supper that did not involve adding any additional source of heat to our kitchen.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And above all, the happiness in simply being in that moment together, at the end of a day that had held more than its fair share of exhausted parents and fractiously hyperactive children.  And being able to step back to the knowledge that a day is made up of many many moments; some will be good, some will be not so great, and some will just be; and that’s OK; and that this was a good one.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

My little family; in July.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

dear beautiful


Baby Family Milestones Pregnancy

37 Weeks of a Little Bump and Me


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Remember how I thought I was doing OK with the heat. It turned out it was a big fib.

I’m not going to go all ranty and complaining on you don’t worry (I don’t want to write wingeing and I can’t imagine who on earth would want to read it) but in the spirit of reality I can say with some degree of certainty that last Saturday broke me.  It was the kind of hot humid day where you just want to take your skin off and sit in your bones.  With wall to wall thick cloud of that palest grey that looks and feels like you’re being smothered in a blanket of stuffed toy filling, even sitting still was just too hot.  My fingers and toes and ankles all started to impersonate hot air balloons and a happier girl you never did find on Sunday morning when we woke up to the familiar rustle of the wind rippling through the trees behind the house.

Even the baby seemed to feel it; for those few trying days the over-excited hops and kicks turned into more languid rolls and prods, although I’m sure at least some of that must be due to the Little Bump starting to run out of space.

Please let him or her be starting to run out of space; I really thought I couldn’t have got much bigger in one week and yet the camera doesn’t lie (well not unless I tell it to) and I think that bump might just have got bigger again.  I’ve not seen the midwife this week so I don’t have an updated estimate weight, and to be honest I think I might have to start ignoring estimated weights in the interest of maintaining a little calm aura of optimism about the birth.  What I do know is that even H thinks it’s (a) bigger and (b) lower than last week.  The pictures suggest he’s right about (a), as does the appearance of a whole new set of bright red stretch marks across the top of the bump, and (b) is rather verified by my inability to sit in a ladylike manner!

This week’s big event (at least in baby planning terms) was our visit from the Health Visitor.  It’s something our Health Visiting team starting doing when I was expecting Elma, they come out for a visit a few weeks before your due date for a half hour chat; usually about what the Health Visitors do, when they’ll take over from the midwives, when clinic is and things like that.  The idea behind it is really excellent; you get to meet your Health Visitor so they’re a familiar face when they turn up at your door in the middle of the sleep deprived baby haze, and they get to see you when you’re not sleep deprived and baby hazy which I suspect gives them quite a nice benchmark for your particular version of normal to help them assess you for any non-verbal signs of post natal depression etc.

If the effect was somewhat spoiled by our visitor being a temporary summer cover; well at least we all tried; she was lovely and we had a nice chat.

I have also pulled out from the drawer my hospital bag and put it on the bench in our bedroom.  It’s funny, it’s a bag I was given as a birthday present the year we had Kitty (it’s a squish it and fold away Cath Kidston holdall) and I’ve used it as my hospital bag for all the children; I just always seem to forget about its existence when I’m packing to go anywhere else.  Right now it contains the Little Bump’s mama-made cardigan, a packet of newborn nappies and a packet of Water Wipes so I’m not sure I could claim that I’m completely packed, but I have at least started to acknowledge that I may need some of these bits and bobs at some time in the next three to five weeks.

And speaking of the next three to five weeks – any signs of labour? No.  The baby may be lower and I’m getting a few runs of Braxton-Hicks with a fairly strong correlation to Elma nursing but they aren’t painful, just noticeable so I think we’ve still got some way to go!