Friday, 30 March 2012

It's all about the bikes...

... well, everyones except mine which sits sulking and unused in the front garden, cursing me and my hormones every time I walk past it.

But the kids have dynamo enthusiasm.  As soon as the sun donned his hat for more than 24 hours and the clocks sprung forwards last weekend lengthening our evenings beautifully, it was all about the outdoors and bikes.  For Gaia the balance bike and for Zander his big boys bike with stabilisers.  I have been feeling guilty up and till recently for not devoting enough time to their cycling skills - watching Zanders peers zip around on unstabilised bikes with ease, judging myself as a bad mama.  But this year, now Gaia is that little bit older, I can manage the two of them on bikes together no problems without worrying one of them will dart off into the road suddenly.  NOTE to self - never judge yourself against other peoples inevitably different situations.

So every night after school I've hurried dinner into the oven, grabbed their bikes and headed off in the direction of the common.

I still feel so blessed to have this only hundreds of yards away, once we get off the housing estate it's like we live in the country - Cambridge is rich for ample green space amongst bustling metropolitan living.

The sunshine has done us all good, me in particular - I think I suffer in the winter, my disposition has been so cheery and happy go lucky this last month or so. 

Been pondering the 'boys are special and simple' thang, determined to understand a little more.  So I thought, lets break it down;

He doesn't mean to make me mad.

really all he wants is to feel my love and feel that he pleases me.

Ok, what can I learn from him?... does he let me know he loves me and that I please him? 

Ah ha, he writes me love notes....

... he can read and write now soooooo ... i'll try writing him love notes and leave them in his lunch box to find.

... excellent! His reaction to the first he found choked me almost as much as reading his first 'I luv yoo mum'. He beamed from the inside out. His teacher said he held on to it all day and when another boy tore it (not sure weather this was on purpose or not) he sobbed.

I'm trying not to be too predictable, not writing one every day - but often.  And we've spent a fair few nights each week snuggling, reading books and falling asleep together in my big bed.  This helps with the connection thang for all of us, there's nothing nicer than having two dreamy warm little bodies either side of me - one under each wing.

Finding time to meditate; with the best will in the world, it sometimes just doesn't happen.  But I am ever aware of how good it is for me and as such everyone else in the house, how much I need it to be at my happiest.  I bought this gorgeous set of turquoise prayer beads last year.  This last week I've worn them constantly and whilst enjoying long evening strolls with the kids on their bikes or Gaia's mammoth bike hikes into town I've slipped it off my wrist and into my palm then turned it one bead at a time reminding myself

I am here ... with this breathe ... with this step ... with my children ... may I be well ... may I be happy

and you know what, it'll do.  There's nothing like the rejuvination a long sit brings but if this is the only way I can fit it in then it'll do and it does help.  Just like with working nights, people ask me how it's going and happily I can say that'll do too.  It isn't a perfect senario but it works with things as they are right now.

I have applied for Gaia's pre-school place for next year.  Only one day a week as I am loving my new found stay at home mum status but with this one day a week it will also give me time to do an access course in preparation for university in 2013, that is quite an exciting prospect!

some more sunny spring moments from the last week ...

So it's all good and with school breaking up today and our big extended family holiday to Wales next week there's a holiday vibe dancing in the air.

Love and springtide Blessings


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Sweet Equinox

Twas a mighty oak of a day that started as humble acorn.  I love these days, spontaneous, relaxing and nourishingly beautiful.

It started with an hour long soak in the tub with Gaia.  If I don't get this post night shift I feel disjointed and ungrounded.  She is after all my water babe.

Then a circle of mothers and daughters gathered in our house.  Gaia and I, dear Lucy and baby Sophie and Anna and Dolly - who was the sweetest of spring fairies!  With each of us contributing to the table there was indeed a feast after all.  Anna's raw chocolate brownies were un-real.  Sumptuously satisfying, they will be my very next culinary experiment.  Brownies that are no baking faff, no sugar and good for you?  Win Win! 

Gathering in the name of spring and mother earth, no ritual required, just coming together with a common purpose is enough.  We marked the day, it nodded back.

Then after school, a fire with the boy who is always chief picnic gatherer.  Lucky we had leftovers from lunch!

Enchanted by shadows.

My soul danced as my heart played it's gypsy fiddle.

 Writing wishes for the fire.  I began to explain that whilst we may write one for ourselves we must write one for someone else we know and one for the world as a whole.  Then the smoke from the fire takes our wishes through the sky to the stars.  And so begins some family folklore.  He believes.

Father sky will not let us forget the duality of nature, of life.  He delivered too with an auspicious and stunning astronomical alignment which I chanced upon  gathering in the washing after dark the previous night.  Not only the slender crescent of the new moon hanging in the dark prussian blue sky but Venus and Jupiter one directly beneath the other.  Venus, a beacon, beaming oh so bright, Jupiter fainter for it's greater distance from us but the alignment as plain as day.  Last night I showed the boy.  They have been in Taurus - a sign ruled by Venus - the planet of love.  Apparently Venus shows us what we are attracted to and with Taurus this is the earth and nature.  I can relate to that, so can my kids.  Taurus wants to be rooted and grounded ... funny the boy, who is a Taurus, has found a  plateau the last few days, since mothers day, seemingly he is more grounded, I would say in his element.  I wonder.  Jupiter is the planet of the teacher so this is a time to be learning, moving forwards with existing projects, delving into new ones maybe.  So my garden, my mindfulness, some midwifery journals maybe.

To end the day the kids bundled into my bed for stories.  Gaia imped about as Zander and I drifted into dreamland in each others arms, ah chamomile you work every time!

Blessings X

Monday, 19 March 2012

Tea and Thrift.

I hear by re-enrol in the school of thrift.  Spurred on by this little book whispering my name from our dusty bookshelf ...

And the fact that my finances are in more of a pickle than I thought.  It doesn't pay to just stick it on the credit card and worry about it later.  No no no.  Every spare penny I have must now go towards paying that cursed bit of plastic off.  Though I originally applied for a credit card to build a credit rating it's morphed into a debt I never intended and debt is no life for a young family.  It's not as if I have anything exuberant to show for the money either ... it got me through Christmas, my thirtieth and we survived a little but now it's gone I thoroughly wish I'd splashed out on the DSLR and a pair of DM's at the outset.  At least I could say oops! then simultaneously yay! and do a little happy dance ... in new boots!  I just feel a little wretched, rather irresponsible and slightly panicky about this little pickle.

It's brought clarity though, I'm a one motivated mama on a mission.  I will not be beaten.  I will have to be thriftier than ever for a while thats all.  It would be nice to be debt free within six months to a year, so no more coffee shop dates with the little lady from now on, we'll have to play coffee shops at home.  I will have to scrutinise  the shop shelves for the best bargains and reduced products.  I will stop doing a big old monthly shop for food and except for sundry things like washing powder and loo roll, buy daily only precisely what I need.  All treats will be home made.  Store cupboard stock must be used!  There must be tens of meals sitting there waiting to be made.  Veg can continue to come from the farm shop or organic market as that is cheapest and happiest anyway and come May it will be coming from our own back yard.  I will start planning meals again instead of winging it on a whim and a trip to the shop.  I will try and keep charity shop purchases to a minimum but really it's no sweat spending a couple of pounds here and there on new-pre-loved clothes if we're in need.  Skincare has always been simple but I will simplify and thrift even more - I've moved my bottle of extra virgin olive oil up to the bath room.  It removes mascara, softens beautifully and dissolves on contact with water.  I might try and sell some old baby stuff in the loft - cots, mobiles and the likes that we will never use again.

But skint and happy has been my moto for the majourity of my life so nothing new.  Today the sun is shining and the boy merrily skipped like a newborn lamb through a patch of nubile daffodils and dappled light on the way to school this morning.  I consciously kept myself completely present in the moment and etched it into my memory.  He's still on a mothers day high, insistent the celebration continues ... old ethos of a celebration being a season not just one day seems so much a part of our little beans ... when did we forget this, aim for a single day and sigh with relief once it was over?  It had my bakin' synapses and fingers all of a twitch anyway and so a mothers day tea party happened.

... absent mama's with us in spirit.  My own little family made me feel special and loved.  I love my Worlds Best Mum mug, the photo frame and key ring that Cliff arranged for the children to give to me.  A cup of tea in bed ... well that is a rare luxury, one much savoured.  I loved  Zanders homemade card inside of which for the first time he wrote I Luv You.  Seriously I felt my heart miss an actual beat and I gasped as I saw it.  And as I helped them dress he told me he was going to 'look his best' for me.  Blessed?  I think so.

Who knew you could turn baking into an independent writing exercise?   He wrote out some recipes. I left as many of the spellings and phonics to him as I could, he's very good at segmenting.

On making a mistake ... (actual transcript)

mama: 'can you turn the cat C into a kicking K?'

Zander: 'Yes indeed I can because there's a capital K that has that C shape'

Love him!

There have been other joys too ...

Delighted squeals from the children as they gallivant like imps around a fresh sodden garden. The birds have been singing 'bout spring too.

....finding a well kept secret of a park nearby.

... ladybird house.

... Gaia's first drawing of a person...tis my friend Lima, complete with a little pink baby belly and sunglasses.

... sticking with the star chart and mummy has one too this coming week - my targets as directed by Zander - to meditate daily and to try not to be moody or cross when they misbehave. 

... Self entertaining.

... planting the first vegetables in the garden ... potato's and onions are in.  This little lady loves worms!

The spring equinox happens tomorrow, clocks leap forwards an hour at the weekend and the days stretch out fumbling to grasp summers delicate fingers, marvellous.  If this weather holds a fire in the garden can be had and a humble feast can be savoured and devoured.  Or perhaps a drive up to some ancient woods with a picnic tea maybe.  So long as we are outside in mother natures cradle I care not and the outdoors is free.

Blessings and Love x

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Rock on!

"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie"
~Tenneva Jordan

This is a mother's day shout out to all the Mama's I know.  Some I'm really close to our friendships have endured decades and blossomed into deep and beautiful blooms.  Some I met just last year in the school playground - a cheery smile and common ground unite us and we see that our paths will continue to cross as our children's do.  One I was born to thirty years ago, she kept me warm and safe.  One I look up to as I might a big sister ... even though really she's two years my junior.  One who has cared for my children as I have gone out to work and how glad I am they found a surrogate mama in her for whilst I was absent.  Some I am only just meeting, dipping our toes in the waters of friendship, making ripples in each others lives, taking chances; weaving each other in, in the hope that one day we can call each other old family friends.  Some I only know through the ether - this magical thing called the Internet.  Though I am a stone age girl with my stone age phone, never even seen an app (what's that?!) the sheer wealth of inspiration, beauty and like minded souls out there, my how nourishing it has been to set foot into the blogosphere and to find gentle wholesome forums.

My boyfriend jovially mocks me when as I sit at the computer tapping away he asks what I am doing ... for he knows I'm reading blogs, writing my own or gleaning pearls of wisdom from those forums.  He calls it 'chatting rubbish' with my 'bloggy mates' but secretly I think he's envious! 
Motherhood was never meant to be a solitary journey, even with a partner at hand women are communal societal creatures who rely on each other and their matriarchal networks, where ever they may be - to work things out, find new ways of doing things, bounce ideas, have a wee grumble and a cup of tea. Without all the above women I would probably be a nervous wreck, so I raise my glass (thank you my sister, wine was a terrific alternative to cut flowers!) to mama's every where and say ... rock on ... you rock!

“Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.” – Ambrose Bierce


Monday, 12 March 2012

A Life Most Ordinary

There is nothing extraordinary about my life, though of course life itself is innately extra-ordinary.  Still I have the desire to record and share our ordinary adventures even when there are no frilly metaphors or underlying themes of inspiration.

Things have been more settled this week.

New dimension ... A cupboard full of new games  has given us hours of quality time together. It has solved many of the problems with boredom and I realise now that of course boredom breeds the challenging behaviour we sometimes battle with.  An epiphany is always nice, if a little tardy in revealing itself! 

... chessquito, especially, has had little synapses firing.  Trust the french to come up with a training version of chess.  It's so manageable, wonderfully tactile, beautifully crafted and Zander is so into it.  He's shown an interest in full chess before but the board full of pieces and rules has been obviously overwhelming and frustrating for him.  This should do the trick!

 ... Fun with sums ... Gaia's favourite this week. She does simple counting and the boy does simple sums, which he tells me they've not started doing at school - one nil to Mama, he's gonna be cooking on gas when they are introduced in the classroom!

I'm seriously getting such a kick out of their fondness of these games, especially where developing logic, problem solving or learning is involved.  There's a home educator inside of me somewhere I just know it. 

I've re-arranged the rhythm ... early tea time rocks.  So does simple meals.  I've really stuck at it this week.  The evening elongates, there's more time for me to focus on the  little ones, more quality time - give them longer baths, play more games, read more stories and have Zander read his school books more often.  The pace is much more nurturing.

It's a week for sticking at things; I'm jumping back on the meditation express.  It's good for me, I know it, it shouldn't be hard to find the time. 

We stuck at Zanders reward chart for the second week ... It has actually had a positive impact on his attitude and behaviour.  5 categories, one star for each at the end of the day if it has 'mostly' been achieved.

This weeks were
say please and thank you
do as I am asked/told
be nice to Gaia
keep my room tidy
do my school reading

Sunday's reward was to go to Kids A.M at the cinema. 

Bittersweet this mamahood thang though ... after said cinema treat, behaviour and attitude took a nose dive.  So this week, whilst we are sticking with those categories I'm stretching the targets for rewards, more stars are required.

And nature, she never fails.  Eternal inspiration and sanctuary.  We walked the long way round on Thursday.

Always some worry involved in this job though.  Dreams.  How can we know what's inside their little minds?  Last night a real nightmare came a knocking on Zanders door... he dreamt he kicked his sister down the stairs and she died.  He said we held her, him and me.  He still had the pictures in his head after school and was overly keen to know where she was and how she was.  He told her he loved her even more often than he usually does.
What can you do?  except reassure and love them tenderly?  I casually suggested we have dreams to learn things - like how much we love people and how we wouldn't want to be without them.  Perhaps a lesson in being careful, safe, tender and even how to protect our dearest.  It makes me uncomfortable to think he's in anguish at night.  It gets me in my gut even writing this now.

There are always many other pockets of joy, this week they have most deffinitly been ...

baking baking baking

digging digging digging

buying myself new sparkly teal fingerless gloves ... my hands are thirty too and chap till they are sore in the cold.

drinking with old friends in the pub on Saturday night

ploughmans sandwiches

oh and falling in love with a punky pair of mid-calf DM boots ... it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when!  Never fallen for a pair of boots so badly, never really fall for shoes at all.

blossom!  what's that in the tree mama?!  Gaia exclaimed.

What are they birds singing 'bout?  They're singing about spring my darling...

Here's to a pleasant happy week.

Blessings x