Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip {the ordinary moments}

Utterly ordinary


On Thursday morning I loaded all three children into the car, added changes of clothes, and swimming cossies, and drinks and a handful of snacks for the journey and set off.  We drove for about two hours including a stint on the world’s most uninteresting car park (the M25) and then we were there.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that an expedition of this magnitude should be for some really amazing day out, a trip to an as yet undiscovered theme park that combines a water park, painting, Duplo, a yarn shop, cake and a spa for Mummy, but alas no such place exists although I may just have had a really great idea for a business venture.

In fact we spent the day sitting on the floor, playing shop, building a robot, playing jigsaws and Duplo and car garage.  We ate lunch, played in the garden, and had frozen yoghurt for tea. And it was wonderful.

And the reason why we went so far for what was pretty much an ordinary day at home was this little man, and his Mum.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Because for all the fun we have chatting over FaceTime, waving at the tiny nephew and setting the world to rights with my sis, there’s nothing quite like being together in person.

It was wonderful.  And in some ways unexpectedly wonderful.  Between us we have four children aged four, two, two and eight months and so for the last few years we’ve always been part chatting, part parenting, that sort of conversation where you jump between making Duplo flowers and putting teddy’s jumper back on to whatever it was you were talking about and back again.

But our little ones are getting bigger and while Pip rolled around on the floor and got rid of all of his wiggles from being tucked up in the car, the three biggest set up a very elaborate game of supermarket checkout.  And we sat down 0n the floor next to each other and just watched them play while we talked.

They weren’t entirely self sufficient of course, we we still dipped in and out to stop Pip trying to eat the play food and to help build a robot and get the scanner to scan, but it marked a watershed; the start of the moment where we don’t need to be so very present in their play, they’ve got it.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

After lunch we filled up the paddling pool and brought out my nephew’s play house to act as a bit of shade (it’s a ticket office for the tube and the tunnel is a tube train) and it felt exactly like summers should feel.  Pip sat and splashed and splashed and splashed in the pool, and occasionally reached back over the edge to grab a handful of grass for a sneaky chomp.  Kitty splashed, she and her cousin tried to water the garden, and mostly watered the fence and the next door neighbour’s garden, and Elma curled up like a cat in the sun to snuggle with her blanky.


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

But the best was yet to come. My Dad was staying the night and when he arrived there was a very lengthy queue of little grandchildren wanting cuddles, and to climb on his knee and tell him all about the day.

Sitting around the table together felt so much like our big family holiday in Putsborough last summer, and not just because it was spag bol and strawberries again. It was the same sense of being exactly where we should be, sunkissed and full of good food and even better company.

And my favourite moment of the day? Well apart from putting all four kids in the tub at once where there was so little space that there was no danger of Pip ever falling over, it was reliving a memory from my childhood, Dad, now Grandpa, reading the bedtime story.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

And of course, before we popped my trio back in the car to head north into the twilight, we had to take our now customary photo of Grandpa plus all his grandchildren on the red sofa.  We have pictures of Grandpa and all three at various ages from a newborn nephew onwards but this is the first with all four, Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

And I think this latest in the series is definitely my most favourite yet!

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  • Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations 23/05/2015 at 11:02 pm

    Oh look at Pip’s gorgeous chubby cheeks in that last picture! Adorable! Family time is so precious, isn’t it? So glad you got a lovely day with your sister…
    And seriously… I want that tent and tube tunnel!!

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 11:05 pm

      It’s it fantastic – we’ve got a caterpillar tunnel but no ticket office tent!

  • Mandycharlie 24/05/2015 at 7:23 am

    Wow, what a wonderful, wonderful day. Brilliant photos, magical moments captured forever. And I’m so in love with that tube tunnel and ticket office tent.

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 11:04 pm

      Isn’t it awesome – Dad found it for the tiny nephew’s first birthday and it’s brilliant fun!

  • Mackenzie Glanville (reflectionsfromme.com) 24/05/2015 at 7:29 am

    What a wonderful post, put a big smile on my face, beautiful to see family together

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 11:04 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • Em @ snowingindoors 24/05/2015 at 8:24 am

    Sounds like a brilliant day, love the photo of the grandchildren with Grandad x

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 11:03 pm

      We have a whole series all taken on that sofa over the years so it’s nice to have an updated one!

  • Potty Mouthed Mummy 24/05/2015 at 8:25 am

    Oh this is lovely, sounds like a totally gorgeous day and is just brimming with happiness. A lovely read xx

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 11:03 pm

      aww thank you 🙂

  • Sam 24/05/2015 at 8:53 am

    Ah that sounds like the best day ever! I really wish that my sister and I had had kids at the same time (there’s only 2.5 years between us) but unfortunately it didn’t work out like that and she’s got a 15 & 16 year old girl whilst I’ve got a (nearly) 3 and 5 year old boy! They’ve all mucked in together before on family holidays but now the girls are proper teenagers and taking their GCSEs it feels like the gap is widening. Your description of the perfect place for kids & parents reminded me a bit of Wroxham Barns in Norfolk (although there is no water park but they do have a little children’s farm!) X #ordinarymoments

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 11:02 pm

      My sister and I are the youngest in our cousin set, there’s 2-3 years between me and the next oldest and when we were little there were times when the gap felt quite wide, but now we’re all adults and had our own children very close together (apart from the two eldest there are eight cousins from Kitty down to baby L who is a couple of months younger than Pip) and that’s brought whatever gap was still there right down to nothing 🙂

  • sally 24/05/2015 at 11:14 am

    Sounds like the best reason to drive 2 hours. What a gorgeous day, and especially lovely pictures of your Dad.

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 10:59 pm

      Definitely the best – though I still think I’m on to something with a Spa theme park!

  • Ivona 24/05/2015 at 1:07 pm

    That sounds like a wonderful day.

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 10:59 pm

      it really was, thank you 🙂

  • Mary 24/05/2015 at 5:16 pm

    Oh I really like this post – heart warming and entertaining all rolled into one! The pictures are beautiful and there really is nothing like the relationships and fun they have with cousins x

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 10:58 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • barnraised (Jen) 24/05/2015 at 5:17 pm

    Nurturing those cousin relationships is so good for our children. Looks like a lovely time!

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 10:58 pm

      I think it really is, especially as my nephew is their only cousin

  • Hayley (@hayleyfromhome) 24/05/2015 at 5:20 pm

    Sounds like such a perfect day, I just love that your Dad read the bedtime story and you got a lovely photo to capture it. There is nothing better than just watching children enjoying being together, lovely!

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 10:57 pm

      Quite – and thank you 🙂

  • Charlotte 24/05/2015 at 7:02 pm

    Oh brilliant pictures. Me and my sisters all have had children close together ( Arthur and his two cousins all celebrate their first birthdays this year). We’re a bit too far from each other to see each other regularly, but it is SO special when all the cousins meet up, but feels so normal at the same time. Shame we can’t do it more often.

    We have the same tunnel and ticket hall! They’re fab.

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 10:57 pm

      It’s a brilliant tunnel isn’t it – Grandpa’s present to my nephew on his first birthday!!

  • Michelle Bailey 24/05/2015 at 8:20 pm

    What a great day! It’s great they are all so close in age and they obviously have a close relationship. I love it when grandparents get involved in bedtime! My two love it when Granddad reads stories! 🙂 x

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 10:56 pm

      I love it because I can remember my Dad reading to me – they snuggle in and I start to feel all of about six again!

  • Gemma @ gemslittletreasures 25/05/2015 at 7:30 am

    Oh this looks simply perfect! I love the fact that the kids looks so engrossed in their games and what fabulous memories as a family x

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 10:55 pm

      It really was pretty perfect as ordinary days out go!

  • older mum in a muddle 25/05/2015 at 1:13 pm

    Oh look at Pip – how lovely. And it wasn’t too cold for the paddling pool!? You are all very brave :o)…. it hasn’t been the warmest of springs so far. X

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 10:54 pm

      It was scorching where we were – but then that was London which always helps boost the temperatures (and we did add a bit of hot too to make it tepid rather than freezing!)

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 25/05/2015 at 6:48 pm

    Aw this is so lovely Carie. I remember how fondly you speak of your sister so I bet it was wonderful to spend some time with her. How lovely for them to grow up having cousins so close in age. A perfect family day. x

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 10:53 pm

      She’s my best sister in the whole wide world (there are only the two of us!!) and yes it was wonderful to be actually actually together!

  • Chantal Milk&Nappies 25/05/2015 at 10:42 pm

    This was so lovely to read – it sounds like you have such a wonderful and loving family! It’s great that they are so close in age as they can grow up together and be thick as thieves! I love the final photo, Grandads are just the best! xx

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 10:51 pm

      Ah their Grandpa is pretty special – and a master storyteller!

  • Alexandra @dontcallmestepmummy 26/05/2015 at 8:45 pm

    Oh Carie, this is just lovely, what a beautiful post xxx The photos are stunning. My sister is thinking of moving and I’m like… argh… no.. not when you may have children soon 🙁 but yay for Skype and being able to travel when needed. Looks like you had an amazing time xxx #ordinarymoments

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 10:48 pm

      FaceTime is the best invention ever when you live too far to drive everyday!!

  • Carlin 26/05/2015 at 10:27 pm

    So sweet. And it looks like full on summer where you are! How nice to be so close to family, and to be able to have those regular days.

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 10:47 pm

      It was an absolutely gorgeous day – just how we hope summer will turn out!