April has been the month of sunshine, the month when we threw off our winter coats, and full waterproofs, put the wellies and the knee length boots back in the cupboard and just about halved the number of wooly socks waiting to be washed. It’s been wonderful.
Last year we finally bought new garden furniture in an end of season sale in July (no, I’m not sure why the garden furniture season ends in July either but according to our Homebase it does, and you never argue with a discount) and shortly after my maternity leave started we became the proud owners of a nice glass table, six chairs and a lovely big parasol. We had a couple of suppers outside, several lunches and I started to envisage a blissful long summer, eating outside for every meal, relegating the indoor table to a mere sideboard. But this is England and summer here so rarely means what you want it to mean and so the heavens opened, and I sat inside watching fat raindrops plop off the end of the parasol onto the puddle on the table.
We packed away most of it for the winter but this month we’ve dusted off the spiders and set up our outdoor dining room again. Meals outside mean so much less mess from a baby led weaning baby with a rather impressive right overarm throw, it means family meals where everyone is less distracted by the toys they’ve just left or the noises in the kitchen so we seem to spend more time just chatting together, and on the loveliest of evenings it’s meant sitting out until late on in the evening by candlelight, wrapping up in more and more blankets as some very Aprily temperatures exerted themselves.
And when not eating outside we’ve been playing outside; the girls have endless variations on games which start with a bucket of water and some washing up liquid, from washing their tin tea service, to painting their toy car and scooters with my pastry brush (RIP pastry brush – I bought a new one in a different colour shortly after discovering it being used on the potty). We’ve had play tents, we’ve currently got the real tent up and I’m just waiting for a day of pouring rain to go and hide out in it and read stories while we listen to it beating down outside, and the swing, the slide, and the trampoline have all been in near constant use.
As for Pip, he’s perfected the ‘roll and grab a handful of grass manoeuvre’ and I’m pretty sure is straining to crawl just to reach those lovely tasty looking leaves.
So it seems only appropriate that this month our pictures come from our garden, in the late afternoon sunshine at the end of a gentle Sunday with the smell of bacon butties for tea drifting out of the kitchen.
They are in what I think by now has become our trademark style of “utterly bonkers”, a chief requirement of which is that no picture shall be taken while all five people are looking at the camera. As I don’t think I have particularly uncooperative children I think that the only thing that’s going to get that sort of a picture any time soon will be an actual person behind the camera to call to the children. Kitty and Elma just aren’t interested in it and I’m not sure Pip can even see it. I tried putting one of his noisy toys on the tripod and he peered myopically in that vague direction before returning to the all important task of eating the grass while Mummy and Daddy are distracted.
But they are undoubtably happy photos and that’s really what I’m trying to capture; the closeness and the laughter.
It’s that feeling of utter contentment that comes over me when I look around the dinner table and Pip is throwing carrots on the floor while trying to get an entire stem of broccoli in his mouth at once, Kitty is telling us about who said what at nursery and Elma is showing us her “Frozen powers” (a sort of static jazz hands) and it’s noisy and jumbled and so very every day but I look across to H and catch his eye and neither of us need to say anything, I can hear his thoughts as clearly as my own; this life of ours, it’s every thing we ever dreamt of and more.
My family, in April:
And because no Me and Mine post would be complete without the outtakes I can bring to you the before and after shot from the moment that Kitty decided that Daddy was a horse and he giddied up, and Elma decided that this was an opportunity that she really shouldn’t let pass!