Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Bank Holiday Bliss

Four day weekend, what a treat! All I could think of as I left work on Thursday was the exciting prospect of spending all that extra precious time with my family! And we’ve been so very busy and happy!

Much has been achieved in the garden – I sowed a lawn at the front of our house almost 2 years after we moved in! Which in this heat has drunk as much water as I have cared to throw at it this weekend and the ground still looks parched and unloved. More veg planted in the veg beds and another herb patch has sprung up unplanned. There are just too many damn herbs I need for culinary and remedial uses. I love that my garden is a mish mash of flowers, herbs, fruit, veg (... and weeds) and in no particular order either. It is organised chaos and I can’t deal with any more organisation than that!

And my favourite site of all ... cloth nappies drying in the sunshine.

Easter morning started with breakfast and chocolate eggs. I am not religious.  Spiritual but not religious.  Before we had the kids we focused on the pagan festivals, which would be Ostara this time of year, spring equinox. But with the children we are extending the celebration of the season and blending both spring equinox and mainstream easter celebrations. I think it would be unfair on the children if we omitted them completely as all their peers at nursery and in our social circle and the rest of our close family will be celebrating together. 

 The kitchen fairy, cleaning up the baking....
We could have chanced the farmers market being open as usual but instead we stayed home, baked olive bread and had an impromptu dance off!...

‘put something funky that I can dance to on’ sounded like a challenge to me!

Now I used to have my CD’s arranged in genre (I have hundreds!) so I could go find what I wanted to play instantly. I haven’t been through them since we had building work done last year and everything got moved. Everything is higgledy piggledy and I can’t find shit! I put something unarguabley funky on …

‘this ain’t funky Mum’ came a cheeky little voice.

If that wasn’t funky then this boys funk-o-meter isn’t working I thought! I persevered until we were all bouncing and swirling, jumping and making shapes, pulling faces and laughing hard.  We made up new moves and even danced lying down. Invigorating! Cathartic! Joyful!

An impromptu picnic happened later that afternoon, in dreamy sunny meadows by the river.

I love impromptu, you don’t have to plan or factor baking time in, you just grab what you’ve got and head out! What followed was an afternoon full of sun drenched moments, moments that I dreamt raising a family would be like.


 We gelled so well - all of us giggling, piggy backing, playing football and chasing. I know I fed off it and you know what made the biggest difference? Me being playful with Cliff as well as with the kids - which itself is something I am re-learning how to do right now.

I have realised how serious I have become. Serious with my children, serious with Cliff, serious with myself. Enough already I have to be done with serious! It was a revelation to be clowning about.


Gaia moseyed off down the river bank, as is her way. Many many minutes were spent climbing over the kissing gate.  But even though she started out in the prettiest of sandals ...

... they were soon discarded in favour of barefoot wandering. Thats my girl.

Barefoot over lush green grass, barefoot over course exfoliating gravel, barefoot over thistles even, accidentally, but ouch! 


... We found a Rabbit Hole...

Zander was keen to swim in the river as he’d seen adults doing so. Although I love the idea of us all swimming in rivers and lakes this mama said no as right now I think we are too young, but he did his best at getting as close to the edge of the bank as possible to freak me out … throwing sticks in and demanding their retrieval!

Monday we drove to Wimpole Hall Farm in the afternoon, where walking the long way through the trees and the estate from the car park to the farm seemed more fun for the children than the actual farm itself. I sometimes wonder why we pay to get in places when they are perfectly happy with a wood and some undergrowth!

  'I big now' Gaia proclaimed, insisting she walks everywhere.  Bumbling through wilting daffodils and through the Gaia size gaps in random fencing, picking up feathers and leaves.

I am still awestruck by non-time that children seem to run on. They have no constraints, time for everything, they are living in real time, blissfully unaware of the passing seconds. It is amazing how much fun they created out of the journey - the things they noticed and repeated over and over for the fun and for the learning.

Zander collected myriad sticks pretending they were guns – turning them on unsuspecting passers by! All the while dressed as a Transformer, Optimus Prime I believe. I tried to coax him out of the full length nylon cat suit before we left but he was having none of it. In the end I thought hell if he wants to be a transformer who am I to tell him he should wear shorts and a T shirt? Individuality.


Zander and I made a toilet stop. As we walked back out into the sunshine we saw Daddy & Gaia underneath a cherry tree heavy with pink blossom and surrounded by a carpet of the fallen pink petals. More fell like confetti in the breeze. What an image to etch, it was like one of those stylized Japanese art house movies where the colours are accentuated beautifully. A timeless moment, but Gaia is too fast and my new camera too slow to catch that particular one … I do like this one though … I caught Zander sitting Zen like at the bottom of the cherry tree.


Sweet Dreams X

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Moments ...

I was mourning the loss of my trusty little digital camera (I dropped it on the kitchen floor) until this evening when I finally got to grips with the new camera I have been playing with the last week or so. It belonged to my late mother in law. I'm not keen on the long delay which means I'm missing some beautiful moments, but I suppose equally I'm catching some beautifully natural ones as well.

I’ve been playing over in my mind something Zander said twice in the space of a few days. ‘Mummy I wish I was Gaia’. I guessed why before he’d elaborated but I asked him to anyway. ‘You don’t get cross with her’ he said. My heart sinks. I know. I’m starkly aware that this is how unjust it appears to him.

Reality check.  Note to self ... Breathe, let those little annoyances go, like water under a bridge.

No need for cross ...

Just love...

… love for my children, my best little friends, which swells like the sea. Regular, infinite, rolling waves. The other night as I leaned into this feeling I was overwhelmed by it. The background noise of everyday life muffles out my intense feelings until the day is done and they are tucked up in bed and it’s just me, myself and I.

The noise stops, space grows...

and I can replay the memories in my heart...

… ‘beau’ful eyes mummy’
                                       Gaia says and I look back into hers, sparkling like denim jewels.

‘Portobello Road, Portobello road, anything and everything a chap can unload ….’
                                                                                                                      Zander sings word for word from Bedknobs and Broomsticks,

‘Guffayo, what guffayo, didn’t know?’
                                                         Gaia recites the ‘Guffayo’ on the bike heading home from the shop. She kisses the insides of my elbows alternately all the way home, soft sweet little kisses.

I make silent vows to myself; treasure each moment more, hold each gaze longer – fall into their eyes, surrender to their whimsical ways and kooky ideas. Hug harder, laugh and smile more with them, have more fun, do more things, goof about, listen to them, for they are wise and the way they see the world is simple but real.

These feelings of overwhelming love are effecting me in more ways than one … I’m normally a very frugal creature but of late I have noticed myself buying more things - not tat, nice things, well made things that I want them to have & I’m taking them more places that aren’t free to try new stuff like swimming.

I am not trying to buy their love, I keep telling myself … or am I?

I just want their experience to be myriad, varied and vibrant. I want them to have supplies at their finger tips that will inspire their imaginings and creations. I have never done the whole retail therapy thing before but I wonder if I’m starting … selflessly for the kids!
I save other ways though; so although not scurrying money away we are living and I’m going to leave guilt in it’s box tonight, lid tightly shut!

Some more memories etched onto my mind from the last few days...

...Bath time last night. As I gazed into Zander' eyes time seemed to stop, things seemed to slow down, even sound was distorted in my mind. I realised I was in the present and the present felt good.

I found Gaia proudly weeding my vegetable bed; only I'm going to have to replant some lettuces now. I couldn't be cross with her for doing as mama does!  And the veg garden springs into life ...

Forget-me-nots are my favourite flower ever!

Please let there be pears this year!

Pea shoots!



Sleepy feet after a long and happy day playing with good friends in the sunshine.
Gaia awoke briefly but hunkered back down to sleep in my arms for a while. I dozed too. I love nothing more. I don't do this often enough. I'll try and do it more!

Love my boys locks.

I loved watching Zander wrestle with my best friends boy today. They were like lion cubs, rolling around and pouncing on each other. There were no tears or ill feelings, everything about it 100% playful. Ordinarily I'd probably have insisted Zander stop but having watched them closely I judged no harm could come from it. Thinking about the lion cubs - only good can come from it. They were practicing instinctual survival skills and testing their strength against one another. They seemed well matched though Oskar is older Zander is feisty. They revelled in their wrestling, neither wanted to stop. We had to literally prize them apart from each other so that Tefa could get them home.

Bright Blessings X

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Free Spirits

                                                 Hot chocolate to warm little tums first thing.  
By 8.30 yesterday morning the sumptuous smell of banana bread baking billowed through the house teasing our tummies whilst we tidied.  I hate to be confined to the pokey work top by myself.  Instead I spread everything out on the big kitchen table, we don our aprons and the kids get mashing and mixing. 

Zander requests to crack the eggs now he is bigger but he’s not entirely sure about the eggy mess he finds on his hands after. 

Friends came and played and bought fresh eggs from their clever hens, cheese and herb omlettes for lunch!  You know when you’ve eaten something fresh and oh-so-good – like eating veggies straight out the garden, yum!

Instead of quiet time and napping we went out after lunch.  There’s a farm shop just up the road from us so I biked us up there.  The children loved the pigs, goats, runner ducks and chickens – oinking and clucking along with them.

                                     Swathes of forget-me-not blue await me outside my front door.

                                                       Peeking at his freckles in a sculpture.  

I loved the garden centre and came away with Echinacea for the garden and a big punnet of strawberries - most of which were devoured on the way back.  When I got off my bike at home two little cheeky faces covered in scarlett strawberry juice grinned back at me.

I loved that one of the volunteers in the shop entertained the children whilst I finished flapping over my choices.  No-one minded that they ran wild like the free spirits they are, giggling all the way.  This happened in the Urban Larder on Saturday too.  The two ladies behind the till delighted in my little imps; encouraged them to play with the toys for sale, didn’t mind when Zander stuffed a handful of dried porcini in his mouth and offered them a free cake.  I smiled.

Zander once told me ‘I’m just a boy who needs to do what he wants to do’  You can't fault his logic.  Beyond keeping him safe how can I argue with that?

I always keep an eye and make sure they are not damaging anything or anyone but beyond that I don’t try and control them to be seen and not heard for the sake of others.  When someone else embraces what I’m doing, like today and saturday, my faith in human nature is restored and I feel supported by the wider community.  After all the old saying goes ‘it takes a village to raise a child’….

That was yesterdays bliss, today I’ve been at work ….

... which was less blissfull.  But the time I spent with my children between getting home and putting them to bed was.  I am trying to be more playful and connecting in my parenting and I happen to know pluto is in my sign at the moment bringing deep change ... I think I feel a shift ... so here's hoping.

Bright blessings x