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August 2016

Elma Family Kitty Me and Mine Photography Pip

Me and Mine 2016: August

31/08/2016

Better than ice cream, better than sunshine, better than beer and sausages and Erdbeer Ritter Sport, better than waking up on the shore of a lake to a swim before breakfast, the very best thing about travelling was the being together, just us five.

What with being away for two weeks, and working a few days at home before we went, and then working three days and going straight into a long bank holiday weekend, it feels as though I’ve spent almost all of August at home with the family, wherever that home happened to be.  We had a wonderful time on our adventures, and I have so many photos to share and stories to tell that will have to wait for just a little while longer.  Suffice to say that it was brilliant (again!).

Travelling like we do, even with the car loaded to the gunwales with camping kit, strips away all the distractions of everyday life; there’s little housework to do beyond the washing up, and there’s only one room so we’re always together.  It isn’t always easy, you’d never believe me if I claimed that the children were angelic cherubs 24/7, especially when they’re tired, but in the way that it helped them to reconnect as a trio, and find their places within the family, I think it also strengthens the bonds that hold us together as a five.

Space for the Butterflies - Me and Mine August

A crazy, slightly scruffy, adventurous five, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Being together gives me time to do the little things for the children that usually fall to Daddy, and to give John as much of a break as I can, to have the time to listen to what the children want to do with their days, and then try to make it happen, and time to share the both the things that we plan and the things that we just happen to come across.

People say that your holidays are supposed to be a chance to relax and rest and rejuvenate but lets be honest here, holidays with a five, three and one year old are never going to be restful in the same way that lying by a pool in the sunshine and falling asleep under a paperback would be. But while I came home from our holiday physically tired it feels like I’m topped up in love.  For a whole month it feels as if I’ve been there for all the important moments, shared in all the cuddles and the memories, and been there to meet their needs.  It’s been brilliant. Space for the Butterflies - Me and Mine August

Our first photos this month were taken in the Black Forest, up on the top of a hill above Bad Wilbard.  It’s a stunning spot and we tucked in among the trees to have our picnic before doing a bit more exploring and then setting off back down the hill to the town below.  There’s no room in the car for the tripod so family photos rely on there being a convenient rock/tree trunk and if you’re after a tree trunk, the Black Forest is the place to find it.  Looking back I can smell the bouncy carpet of needles as they were crushed under our feet, the whir as the occasional bike whistled past in a blur of downhill lycra, and the chatter from other people on other trails around us.

Space for the Butterflies - Me and Mine August

The second set were taken with the camera precariously balanced on a rock on the shores of the Walchensee in the Bavarian Alps.  This is what our August portrait last year would have looked like in Annecy if it hadn’t kept raining all the time!

I’d been thinking of taking a photo the whole time we were there but we were all having far too much fun in and out of the lake that it came down to our last morning.  Our tent, which had been no more than 10 metres from the water’s edge, was all packed up, and just behind the camera the car sat filled with badly packed camping kit and damp swimsuits and towels as we took our first turn towards home.  We were ready to continue the adventure but oh how we wished we could have picked up the lake and brought it with us.

Space for the Butterflies - Me and Mine August

Yes it was as hot as it looks, yes the water is that clear (and that deep out in the middle) and the mountains tower up all around.  It’s breathtakingly beautiful.

And as we stare September in the face, and real life returns with the working week and school starting for Kitty and nursery for Elma, these are the memories I’m holding onto; shared memories of sunny afternoons and ice cold water, and my family, in August:

Space for the Butterflies - Me and Mine August

The Me and Mine Project

Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip The 52 Project

35/52 {the 2016 portraits}

30/08/2016

Linking up with Jodi with a portrait of each of my children once every week for 2016.

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Kitty: Strawberries, ice cream and sticky fingers – the perfect way to spend the last weekend of the summer.

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/250, f/4, ISO 160)

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Elma: Caught mid twirl in-between dashing around the garden being Cinderella and eating your strawberries and cream from perched on top of the camping picnic table.

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/250, f/4, ISO 160)

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Pip: Strawberry ice cream doesn’t usually produce quite such deep thoughts – I’d love to have known what you were thinking about because with that degree of determination I’m certain you will make it happen!

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/400, f/4, ISO 160)

Birthdays Family Milestones Photography Pip

Two

27/08/2016

To my darling wee boy

To my mind there is now way that my littlest baby can be two.  Whenever I’ve been the mother of a two year old before I’ve always either been heavily pregnant or also the mother of a newborn and as I am/have neither, there is just no way that you can really be two. Perfect Mama-logic. Except for the fact that you really actually are two.

Space for the Butterflies - Pip Squeak is Two

Space for the Butterflies - Pip Squeak is Two

For all the times when you snuggle in my arms to go to sleep, there’s really no denying that the baby that can also give me quite a hefty accidental thwack between the shoulder blades with a rogue hockey stick is fast leaving his babyhood behind.  When I was putting together your birthday video I could suddenly see so clearly how much you have changed in the last year, and why lots of people we meet are a bit surprised to find out just how little you are.  At age two you’re wearing age 3-4 clothes, with size 7 feet, and the jumper that I knitted for your birthday will also easily fit your next biggest sister; they day when you’re taller than her is coming sooner than we think.

Space for the Butterflies - Pip Squeak is Two

The only thing waiting to catch up is your teeth, you finally have your fourth bottom tooth coming in to match the four on top and you’ve just rather painfully acquired four molars but you’re far from having a full set just yet.  It doesn’t keep you from your food though, and if anyone has something you’ll be after a bite, even if it’s met with the most amazing pouty face and an “I no like it Mummy!”.  On our way travelling back across Europe we asked all three of you what your favourite part about the trip so far had been, expecting perhaps tales of watching thunder storms in the mountains or climbing forest towers but quick as a flash you came back with “chok-lat”.  Well it was pretty good chocolate, I’ll grant you that.

Space for the Butterflies - Pip Squeak is Two

I suspect your real favourite was all the times when you could just be outside exploring at your own pace, be it paddling at the edge of a lake and throwing stones into the deep water, or finding a stick and setting about digging a nice big hole in the dirt right in front of our tent.  Like your sisters before you, you love being outside, and the more mud pies the merrier, much to your poor Daddy’s dismay when your favourite digging spot in the garden turned out to be where he’d previously been trying to re-grow a bit of lawn. You love hockey and football and golf and I’m pretty sure while we were travelling you invented a version of croquet using the tent mallet It has to be a really miserable day to keep you from the garden.

Space for the Butterflies - Pip Squeak is Two

You love the water too, even if you are convinced that any expanse of water that isn’t a puddle is a bath.

“Look Mummy! Bath!”
“That’s the English Channel sweetheart; it’s a bit bigger than a bath!”

Space for the Butterflies - Pip Squeak is Two

On the days when we’re besieged by the weather you make a beeline for your train tracks.  It doesn’t matter if you can make them join up or not, though you’re getting better with practice, you just like to play with all the different pieces and then usually send a few trains hurtling off the edge of a cliff.

Space for the Butterflies - Pip Squeak is Two

Last summer on a whim and to give you something to play with in the car we bought you a few “Petit Bebe T’choupi” board books, just pictures and the words in French, and a whole year later they’re still your favourite books, and I’ve added a good few bits and pieces to my French vocabulary from reading them to you on a near daily basis.  Until recently you’ve not been too bothered about snuggling in for stories as your sisters do, you would always listen and play at the same time but now I think you’ve started to figure out that it’s fun to see the pictures too and I love having you curl up and claim your spot too, it makes bedtimes all the more fun.

Space for the Butterflies - Pip Squeak is Two

In the last few months, and even the last few weeks you’ve had a real language explosion, and you’ve gone from random words to trying to put together little sentences.  You are our little mimic at the moment and when you’ve got something that we understand and respond to then you’ll tell us lots of times just for the fun of it.  I think the last hour of our journey to Calais this week was punctuated with “Underground tunnel. I go in Underground Tunnel Mummy!”, and so we did.  You’re using it to good effect when we go shopping too, if I ask you what else we need you’ll invariable say either “Like Beer Mama!” or “Daddy Monster!”; and you’re so proud to take it to him when we get home, even if a beer at 11am wasn’t quite what your father was planning.

Space for the Butterflies - Pip Squeak is Two

Oh my little boy at two you are just so much fun.  You are at times loud with joy and loud with rage; boisterous and yet so sweet when we remind you to use your gentle hands.  You adore your sisters and you’re becoming more and more their equal every day, especially with your middle sister.

Space for the Butterflies - Pip Squeak is Two

Space for the Butterflies - Pip Squeak is Two

We took these pictures on your birthday itself, heading out after supper with your balloon to take advantage of the gorgeous evening light, and after we’d run around the windmill a few times, and taken photos of you hugging/attacking your balloon, I tried to take pictures with the sails in the background, lying on my back in the long grass.  But where I went, so you wanted to be, and you came and lay down on my tummy, gazing upwards at the last few clouds of the day, just content to be with me, and it was the perfect way to end a day of singing and laughter and start a whole new year of adventures.

Love Mummy

Space for the Butterflies - Pip Squeak is Two

Space for the Butterflies - Pip Squeak is Two

Space for the Butterflies - Pip Squeak is Two

Birthdays Family Pip Video

Pip Squeak turns two

26/08/2016

Today my little Pip Squeak is two.  We got back from Europe on Tuesday and despite my very best efforts not to have Pip’s birthday be a stereotypical third baby last minute job I’ve still got a sleeve to knit on his sweater, I fell asleep trying to stay up and finish his birthday video for a post on Thursday and I have birthday portraits but not birthday words (yet).  He’s had a wonderful day and so I’m certain he’ll never really mind if his birthday day turns into a birthday weekend, and after I tucked him sleepily into his bed tonight, I came downstairs to have a little look at what he’s been up to over the last year.

I so often find myself looking at him and wondering just when he got so big, there’s no trace of the baby in the little boy who sang happy birthday to himself today anymore, and seeing him every day it feels like his babyhood may have scampered off in the night.  But looking back, I can see exactly when it was, it was the year when he was one:

Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip The 52 Project

34/52 {the 2016 portraits}

20/08/2016

Linking up with Jodi with a portrait of each of my children once every week for 2016. All iPhone photos this week:

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Kitty: Happiness is swinging in the sunshine in the English Gardens in Munich. You are, as your t-shirt says, a very happy camper and you seem to have grown up so much while we’ve been away. Gone is the little girl who needed pushing on the swing or who was timid about jumping in a pool; you soar to the heights and spent most of this week plunging into a lake at the first opportunity!

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Elma: that’s one very intense game of leaf pooh sticks you’re playing there and neither the fact that the leaves kept sinking nor the bikes hurtling across your path could distract you from your game. It’s lovely to see such focus but you really are going to have to start noticing a few bikes!

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Pip: my favourite photo of this week and probably of our adventures so far and definitely your favourite spot. This is the beach at lake Walchensee, our tent is maybe five metres behind you and you are in your element in the shallows, picking up rocks and throwing them in for a loud plop. You called it “‘tones” and any time we left the tent, this is what you wanted to be doing!