Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip {the ordinary moments}



I wonder what truly defines ordinariness.  Does it mean something that happens every day, or every week? Or if it isn’t repetition that sets it apart is it the activity itself that needs to be mundane?  It’s a fairly theoretical question I know because at the end of the day this is my blog and I can write about whatever I want; to a degree, I make the definitions.

But it crossed my mind this week because my ‘ordinary moment’ this week was both incredibly ordinary and in the same breath much rarer and therefore more treasured than I would have it be in an ideal world.

My sister came to visit.

She and the small nephew drove up to spend the day with all of us, and to deliver a bag of baby boy clothes in Pip’s next size up mere moments before that young gentleman decides to have another growth spurt and spring out of his current vests and babygros, and it was wonderful to see them.

We played Brio trains, we made soup of both the real and play kitchen varieties, we watched most of the contents of the bookcase being happily emptied all over the floor, we sat and sang nursery rhymes and made as much racket as possible with every toddler friendly musical instrument we could find in the house, we confused both Elma and the nephew by referring to each other as “Auntie” before we gave up and declared a universal “Mummy” for the day (shades of answering to each other’s names as children!), and in a moment of either madness or brilliance we lined three small children up around my kitchen counter to pour or stir the ingredients to the loaf of bread for lunch (they did a great job, it was yummy).

And then as the clouds cleared and the sun came out to play we took all four up to the play park to run off some of their shared energy.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Through all of that we had a chance to catch up, to perch on tiny toadstools and talk about our families and our family, to compare notes as we both choose schools or nursery schools for next year, to put those years of French lessons to good use as Christmas present code.

We speak on the phone all the time, and face time as often as we’re both in front of the computer at the same lunchtime, but it isn’t quite the same as hanging out together, there are fewer hugs for one thing.  There’s something so very familiar and comfortable about being with your sister, something that’s different to even the closest of close friends, something that only comes with 32-odd years of shared history.  And I think that’s been amplified by our both becoming mothers, especially since Elma and the small nephew arrived with a few months of each other; we’re finding our way through the motherhood maze in good company and I love that we’ve got each other to bounce ideas and concerns around, and even if we don’t always reach the same conclusion or make different choices for our different children, it’s entirely without judgment.

It would be so much fun to meet up every week, but we’re living the closest to each other that we have since we lived in the same house, and that’s still a two hour drive away, so I think that’s a little unlikely right now, and instead I’ll treasure the days when we can meet up, days filled with such day to day ordinariness, elevated to special because there aren’t half enough of them.

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  • Not A Frumpy Mum 02/11/2014 at 8:06 am

    How lovely to be able to spend such a great day with your sister, must be hard living 2 hours always from each other. Good to have a catch up xx

    • Carie 02/11/2014 at 10:41 pm

      I definitely wish she were closer, but it was lovely to spend all day together and properly catch up 🙂

  • Potty Mouthed Mummy 02/11/2014 at 1:29 pm

    Sounds lovely and a perfect sort of ordinary! xx

    • Carie 02/11/2014 at 10:41 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • Brandi 02/11/2014 at 2:27 pm

    I only have brothers, so I find your day extraordinary 🙂 but I also live a couple hours from my family, and spending time together is both a sort of return to normal/ordinary and a whole special thing of its own at the same time–especially when cousins get together!

    • Carie 02/11/2014 at 10:41 pm

      Isn’t it lovely seeing cousins playing together and building friendships – I love it when I get to meet up with my cousins, and I hope my children and my nephew feel the same way in the years to come!

  • Seychellesmama 02/11/2014 at 2:32 pm

    Aww this is lovely!! I love that you used french for Christmas present code, just genius!!!
    The two of you look so alike and yet so different, you can definitely tell you are sisters 🙂

    • Carie 02/11/2014 at 10:40 pm

      It’s all in the posture and the expressions isn’t it – physically we look nothing alike and yet people always seem to be able to pick us out as sisters!

  • Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations 02/11/2014 at 2:45 pm

    How lovely. Sisters really are very special and it sounds like you have a lovely one! So glad you had a lovely time catching up.xxx

    • Carie 02/11/2014 at 10:39 pm

      She’s really very special indeed – this is after all the sister who brought cake and supper when she came to meet Pip!

  • Anna 02/11/2014 at 5:03 pm

    Aah, this is so lovely. I have two sisters, both of which live a fair way from me and the one who has children (also two girls) lives 4 hours away, far too far! The three of us are very different, but the things we have in common are the little quirky things from our childhood and our love of crafts. We’re getting together at the beginning of December for a family meetup and a Christmas craftathon and I can’t wait 🙂

    • Carie 02/11/2014 at 10:38 pm

      Oh your Christmas craftathon sounds amazing fun – I might have to pinch that as an idea when the children are all a bit bigger 🙂

  • Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) 02/11/2014 at 7:04 pm

    Sounds like you have a lovely relationship and though it would be lovely to he physically closer and see each other more, its very lovely how close you are despite the distance. Loving the French Christmas present code! 🙂 xx

    • Carie 02/11/2014 at 10:37 pm

      Christmas present code is awesome – and a very handy alternative to spelling everything!!

  • Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper 02/11/2014 at 8:16 pm

    This is so fab Carie, you are so lucky to have a sister, especially one you get on so well with! I only have brothers, so have never experienced a sisterly relationship, and so often wish I did. It must be great to be close to, and have someone to confide in, who gets your family and you have so many years of shared experiences with 🙂 x

    • Carie 02/11/2014 at 10:36 pm

      In some ways it’s funny how close we are now – we were friendly but very independent as children and teenagers – we seem to have hit our stride as mothers, perhaps because we are experiencing the same things at the same time for the first time?!

  • Sam 02/11/2014 at 9:17 pm

    I agree that the sister relationship is a special one. I just wish my sister and I could have children at the same time too and found our way through it together. As it turned out she did it at the normal time (aged 30ish) but I hadn’t met the right man back then and our kids are not only ten years apart but hers are girls and mine are boys! We also live about an hour’s drive away and the different stages our kids are at makes it difficult to coordinate schedules much. It’s just nice to know that she’ll always be out there for me – shared history counts for a lot! X #ordinarymoments

    • Carie 02/11/2014 at 10:35 pm

      It’s nice that you’re there for each other like that 🙂 I’ll admit I do love that Elma and the small nephew are so close in age – I hope they stay close as they grow up together 🙂

  • Katie 02/11/2014 at 10:40 pm

    Ahh lovely post Carie – i have two sisters, we were not close growing up, in fact we fought a lot but now we are all friends. Having children has certainly brought us even closer x

    • Carie 02/11/2014 at 10:44 pm

      Oh that’s lovely that you’re friends now – motherhood seems to be the next level of shared experience doesn’t it – perhaps it’s the natural conclusion to our childhood?

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 03/11/2014 at 4:09 pm

    What a wonderful sister you have and don’t you look alike? I am glad you had a lovely visit together and that you treasure the moments you spend together. My sister is ten years younger than me but she is still one of my best friends. x

    • Carie 05/11/2014 at 8:45 pm

      It’s funny you say that – we were nothing alike as children but we seem to be getting more alike as we get older – that and some of it is in the posture and the expressions!

  • Natalie @ Little Jam Pot Life Blog 03/11/2014 at 9:56 pm

    Lovely post, it’s just lovely to re-connect with each other face to face isn’t it? I see my younger sister (also ten years younger!)a few times a week and it’s so funny as even though there is that age-gap, we just bounce off each other with the same sense of humour that only me ‘get 🙂 x

    • Carie 05/11/2014 at 8:43 pm

      There is something about a shared childhood that definitely gives you a sort of secret language isn’t there!

  • Donna 03/11/2014 at 10:00 pm

    Oh how lovely to have such a catch up and that the sun came out for it. I would have loved a sister growing up, and one to talk to at times now, it must be wonderful to have her in your life. Thanks for linking up x

    • Carie 05/11/2014 at 8:43 pm

      She’s definitely a keeper!! And not just for the cake 🙂

  • Jane @ northernmum 03/11/2014 at 11:32 pm

    I always wanted a sister! x lovely writing

    • Carie 05/11/2014 at 8:42 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • Vickie 04/11/2014 at 1:24 pm

    Sounds like a lovely day was had by all. You clearly have a great relationship with your sister and it’s not hard to tell that you two are siblings! I don’t look like my brother very much at all and people are always surprised to learn that we’re related.

    I always wanted a sister and was apparently quite miffed with my brother was born. 🙂

    • Carie 05/11/2014 at 8:39 pm

      I don’t know whether I wanted a sister or a brother (I’m the eldest) but I’m told I was quite pleased with her to start with, and then rather unimpressed that she couldn’t do very much!

  • older mum in a muddle 04/11/2014 at 6:25 pm

    What a lovely post and lovely day spent with your sister. I loved the first two sentences in this post, ‘I wonder what truly defines ordinariness. Does it mean something that happens every day, or every week? Or if it isn’t repetition that sets it apart is it the activity itself that needs to be mundane?’…. I’ve always wanted a sister (but I have two brothers instead). X

    • Carie 05/11/2014 at 8:36 pm

      Well I always wondered what life would be like with a big brother – perhaps we’re always curious about what we didn’t experience!

  • sally 05/11/2014 at 9:21 pm

    What a lovely, different siblings post, and how great that you have that relationship even if you don’t live close by.

    • Carie 05/11/2014 at 10:11 pm

      thank you 🙂