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30/11/2014

Elma Family Kitty Me and Mine Milestones Photography Pip

Me and Mine – a family portrait for November

30/11/2014

I feel I must start by managing your expectations a little.  I know I said in last month’s Me and Mine post that we were feeling adventurous and we’d actually gone out and about to take a photo of the five of us that didn’t feature our garden fence because I didn’t want my entire series of photos to turn into Me, Mine and the Fence….

Well, this month we’re back with the garden fence.  And a very nice garden fence it is too.

This month I left taking the photos almost to the last minute.  I’d plan for each weekend and the days would dawn grey, cloudy and damp and only degenerate further as the all pervading damp turned into fat round raindrops that trickled tauntingly down the garden doors and plopped into the puddle that was once our patio, or the grey cloud would simply build, enveloping the sun in a thick blanket of darkness that my camera can’t even try to compete with.

And then one day I started to see blue sky peeking through; and the blue grew and grew until there was something vaguely approximating actual natural daylight outside.  Lunch was paused, children rounded up, the camera set up on the tripod and H extracted from the studio that was doing double duty as a home office.

So if in all of these pictures it looks like my family are desperately straining towards something just a little off camera; well that would be the garlic bread sitting on the dinner table.  I promise they weren’t too deprived and it was all still lovely and warm by the time we got back in.

And perhaps it’s appropriate that this month’s photo is at home. It’s always seemed to me to be a season of consolidation; a little gap between the flurries of autumn and then first the lights and sparkle and twinkle of December and all its celebrations, and then the bleak midwinter proper when January and February roll in and we start to long for Spring.

It’s a chance to just be, to be at home in the familiar rhythms of everyday life, to be so very uneventful and blissfully ordinary.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

This month we’ve loved: our trips to the park; watching Kitty in her final ballet class of the term; running up and down the side of the hockey pitch on bright sunny days and cowering under the corrugated plastic roof of the shelter when the rain comes battering down; kitchen dance parties while supper cooks; building Duplo and block castles; watching the girls laugh together without having any clue what they’re laughing about; and the simple little spur of the moment things, the time Kitty asked what colour you would get mixing pink and green and H took her off to the studio to mix them up and find out (a sort of steely grey if you’re curious) or the impromptu decision to have a fish and chip supper just because.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year; Kitty for one is incredibly excited.  If last Christmas was the first year that she got the concept of the celebration, this is the year that she’s mastering anticipation.  She tells me all sorts of things about Father Christmas including all the important points about how he’s going to get into our house given that we don’t have a chimney (he’s going to use the door), and what we need to leave out for him (she’s very particular about porridge for the reindeer), and at the same time is fascinated by the stories of the first Christmas, especially Mary and the angel.  And her excitement is becoming catching; the Christmas music is loaded on iTunes, we’ve been making gingerbread spice tree biscuits using my very best copper cookie cutters and I’ve even broken out the Christmas pinny.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

I know this next month is going to be brilliant but at the same time it’s been nice to look back at November a little and to reflect on a month that was special in its own right, and not just a filler until Christmas.  I know I always say how thankful I am to have these pictures, and how pleased I am that I started but every month I seem to find another reason why they are special.

Special photos of my very special people.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

My little family in November:

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And as for the outtakes – well I think H is still waiting for his call back as a Burton Menswear model!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

 


dear beautiful

Elma Family Kitty Motherhood Pip {the ordinary moments}

Silence

30/11/2014

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Silence is golden so the saying goes but I’m becoming convinced that that’s not actually true. Or at least not true for me.  I know I love, ok crave, moments of peace and quiet in our daily life, but I’m not sure I want absolute silence, more just the gentle hum of a contented family.

In the last week our whole family has had a stinking coldy virus.  Elma copped the worst of it on top of her ear infections and tonsilitis (from which she is now thankfully completely recovered) but we’ve all gone down with lesser versions and for all of the last week I’ve had a really nasty tickly cough.  The sort where any sort of speaking brings on a ten minute coughing fit.

It’s unpleasant and rather annoying but nothing more than that and we’ll be over it before we know it but for a whole week I could barely talk.  All instructions were given in an urgent whispered monotone which I think made me sound perpetually grumpy and that was as good as we got.  There was no singing, no telling of “from my head’ stories, no snuggling down in the twilight to read book after book while we wait for H to come home.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It’s very corny to say you don’t miss it til it’s gone but it’s so true.  I just hadn’t realised how much of a cornerstone to our days the singing and storytelling had become.

We sing The Grand Old Duke of York to climb the hill up to the playpark, and on the really windy days we shout half remembered verses of Sea Fever into the gusts as they swirl through.

There’s the singing to start the day, watching Kitty try to teach us the latest song she’s been learning at nursery or trying to pass down to both girls the songs I loved in my childhood, the action songs to get rid of excess wriggles in two little girls sometimes prone to cabin fever on long drizzly winter days, the stories you read where one or two scamper off on their own ideas half way through and you set the book aside for another time, and the stories that we read before bedtime, one head already drifting off to sleep on a pink spotty pillow which the other cuddles in under my arm, curled into my side with her ever faithful blankie tightly clasped in her other hand.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It sounds really silly to say that I think singing might be part of my parenting technique but it turns out it’s true; when I can feel that I’m getting wound up by making the same request time and again with absolutely no impact I sing it to a silly tune and somehow it both lets out the annoyance and nine times out of ten it catches the girls’ attention and the books finally get put back on the bookcase or everyone at last locates their shoes and we can get ready to go out.

And I don’t know whether it’s because we’ve all been tired and feeling grotty or whether having a cold and a sore throat and a hacking cough just made me perpetually slightly irritated but everything just felt like such hard work.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Even when I could look back on a day and know that we went to the park and we played with the glitter glue and we danced around the kitchen to Christmas music and got the cutters out and made biscuits and everyone napped and went to bed as and when they should and that on paper it was a great day it felt like the effort required to keep my temper, to keep everyone happy and ticking along had made it a bit of a failure.  It’s that feeling that everything you have achieved has been done unwillingly and as a result of gargantuan effort on your part that rather sucks the joy out of it.

In my heart of hearts I know it wasn’t, just as I also know that it’s just a tad unrealistic to expect every day to be ushered in by sunshine and unicorns, and there’s every possibility that it was just one of those days regardless of whether I could speak or not, but I also know that the first day that I could get through the whole of the bedtime story without having to go and get a drink and take a break while I coughed up my toes just felt wonderful.  It was so perfectly normal and routine, and I think we all breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

So despite all my threats to have the bathroom soundproofed it seems that silence is not good for Mummies and as if it’s coming from the children it usually means they’re up to something that requires immediate investigation, I think I’ll choose noise every time.

PS I know the pictures are a bit of a tangent but have you ever tried to photograph singing. While doing it? So instead I bring you cookies, which it seems are almost as good for restoring family equilibrium, but not quite!