Posts in children
Love and Crochet

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He helped her the entire walk. Teaching her how to pedal his old bike. His patience far exceeded that of his parents who quickly grew tired of repeating over and over "Push this foot down, then this foot" after about the 50th time.

However, Georgia and Ellis make a great team and by the end, she was pedalling confidently. My heart swelled with mama pride.

They also posed for one of their first ever photographs of all 3 together. The parenting Gods were obviously smiling upon us on Sunday.  Perhaps it was good karma from rescuing 4 more hens from Homes 4 Hens...they are as yet unnamed, but we are calling them the Skeksis.


The hat is a new design, probably for a kit. The sample is made in gorgeous Dream in Color Classy yarn - a real workhorse yarn that blends that classic worsted weight handle (think Cascade 220) with hand dyed colourways.  I am really in love with this, as I am a fan of semi-solid + solid parings in stripes. The colours are Ruby River and Black Pearl.  I got mine directly from Dream in Color, but it looks like its also available from Tangled Yarns in the UK.



Before and After

For months she'd asked for "hair like a boy". I have to admit that I wasn't that keen. I loved the way she looked - hair flying everywhere, or on the odd occasion she would let us, with pigtails flying in the wind. 20140418-IMG_2197

But she was adamant, asking again and again for short hair. Finally, I agreed and an appointment was made. All day she asked "Is it time yet?" "What about now?" so finally when it was time to drive down to the salon, she could hardly contain herself. After a bit of gentle persuasion, the hair dresser agreed to doing it, with the condition of first trying out a chin-length bob to see if that would work.

The bob was cut and we asked Georgia if that is what she wanted. She said no and the rest came off to a longish pixie cut. She is thrilled and tells anyone who mistakes her for a boy that "Girls can have short hair too."


Perfect in every way, and (in Georgia's words) "Now it won't get snot in it."

Well said, baby girl.


Best Friends

Before I met these 2, I didn't know that very young children could have best friends. But from the moment Ellis and C met, that was it. They were inseparable. From about age 2, these boys have been the best of best friends - each other's "person". 20140407-IMG_1991

Now they live at opposite ends of the country, and while Facetime can bridge some of the gap, there is nothing like having your bestie with you. They disappear off for as long as we let them, resurfacing only for food.

20140407-IMG_2001 20140407-IMG_2012 20140407-IMG_2033 20140407-IMG_204920140407-IMG_2036I was going to write more about just how special their relationship is, but looking back over the photos, I think they speak for themselves. Man, I love those boys.



A Birthday in the Woods

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My biggest boy is 7. How on earth that happened, I simply don't know. But it did and to celebrate the awesome kid he is, we threw his very first ever birthday party. With the ulterior motive of getting to know as many people at his new school as possible, we invited his entire class, plus a handful of select friends, to share a day in the woods. 23 kids arrived on Saturday afternoon ready to celebrate the awesomeness of Ellis.

With 2 other birthdays and final book edits all happening in the 7 days before the party, I simply wanted something with as little stress as possible that would not break the bank. We bought a truckload of sausages from Costco,  decorated one of the outbuildings with random festive bits from the house and hired an awesome local business, intrepid:scotland, to run an outdoorsy birthday party in the woods.

intrepid:scotland is run and staffed by rangers who work in the National Park. Clare and Callum were just great with the kids and lead fun activities we just never would have had the skills or confidence to manage.  The kids got to roast marshmallows over a campfire, make journey sticks and charcoal pencils, run all over fields and forests and  generally explore this amazing area we live in. If you are local, I highly recommend them! It also meant that Kevin and I could actually hang out and talk to people, meet Ellis' new friends and not have 23 seven year olds destroy the house. Plus, we had fabulous friends make cake and handle sausage cooking for the hard working kids and adults. It was *almost* relaxing!

For party bags, we bought some sweet little less-than-a-pound pots from ikea and split up some packs of wildflower seeds for a mini nature reserve.  I used my normal post office (4 to an A4 sheet) sticky labels and designed an instruction note to put on 9x15cm envelopes for the seeds.

Easy, stress free and fun. And awesome. Just like him.


* the party invite is just a photo I took (inspired by Kat who was inspired by Catherine) with directions to where we live added in photoshop on the bit where the moleskin is. We just printed out colour copies and sent them to school. Easy, peasy.

** the chickens freak out every time someone comes in and out of the door, running up to the gate to see if we have anything for them. Ellis is their favourite because he brings them left over porridge.


And So It Begins...

Birthday week, that is. Just in case you missed it the last 3 years when I have said it: if you have a choice, maybe don't have ALL 3 of your children's birthdays fall in the space of a week. The frenetic (and not always good) energy that accompanies so much party planning, expectation, organisation and sugar consumption could probably power much of Scotland this week. That said, we are half way through day 1 and I haven't cried yet, so I suppose that is an improvement on previous years. 20140227-IMG_1879

Kicking off Birthday Week is wee miss animal-obsessed, tae kwan do loving Georgia, who turns 4 today. Four years old!! How that happened, I simply don't know. Happy Birthday, Cookie.

Let Me Entertain You

20131020-IMG_5577 20131020-IMG_5576 20131020-IMG_5572 If you come to my house any time in the near future, be prepared to be entertained. A pile of tickets await you at the door and you will be ushered in to sit down and watch some version of "A Dragon and/or a Troll kills everyone except Uncle Matt the Police Officer".

And if you, say, have other things to do, the show will follow you around - sometimes with the entire puppet theatre coming upstairs to the studio/bedroom/bathroom. Or you will be given orders to sing one of the childrens' theme songs* and they will perform their specially rehearsed number for the Harrison-Goldin Variety Show.

Georgia sings the Batman version of Jingle Bells (insisting of course there is no other version), Theo jumps off of things and Ellis does magic tricks.

Performances start at 6:30am and continue until bed time - all day every day.

Fact: having kids is the best thing ever.

*The Georgia/Theo/Ellis Show

The  Georgia/Theo/Ellis  Show

Everybody Ready for The  Georgia/Theo/Ellis  Show

She/He loves to dance and sing

And she loves to do her/his thing

The  Georgia/Theo/Ellis Show

The  Georgia/Theo/Ellis  Show

Yeah! *waves jazz hands*


One of the Best

IMG_9650 IMG_9649 IMG_9641 IMG_9635 IMG_9637 IMG_9634-Edit Sometimes I forget. Their three lives sometimes meld into one indistinguishable "baby" or "toddler" memory and I am unable to separate out whose experience was whose. I catch myself asking Kevin "who liked this?" or "who did that when they were a baby?" - maybe I am just getting old or maybe it is a natural consequence of having 3 children in 4 years.

I was certain he had seen a bubble machine before, but when I turned it on, he "whooped" in surprise with his whole body in the way that only the very young or uninhibited can do.  He watched in amazement as a cloud of milky soap bubbles were carried away in the wind, desperately trying to catch and keep hold of them in his chubby toddler hands. Squeals of gleeful amazement echoing across our neighbourhood of retirees and childless professionals. He ran back and forth through the stream of orbs and delighted when they popped around him. "Again! Again!" he cried when the soap ran out. We went through half a bottle of bubble mix, only going inside as his sister's patience finished.

This one, I won't forget.

Notes on a Georgia


IMG_8753-2IMG_8751 Today, my favourite little girl, you turn 3.  However, we aren't allowed to mention that because you insist you are 2 and will not be turning 3. (And, having known you for the last 3 years, we know that this is a battle there is no point in fighting.)

You have a total mind of your own.

You love to talk and will happily chat away to anyone who will listen, walking up to strangers to introduce yourself and your constant companion, Theo.

You are mama's studio buddy.  You love to make necklaces with yarn and are often caught unravelling mama's work to make them. You would draw all day if you could.

You love porridge, chicken, animals and your brothers. In fact, I have never seen a little girl so in love with her family.

You are not so keen on bed time, hair brushing or pasta.

I count it amongst my greatest blessings in life that you came into my life 3 years ago today.

Love you, Cookie Head.





Ellis: Mom, I really want you to have a new baby.

Me: No, sweetie.  We have plenty of babies and Mama's very tired.

Ellis: Well, what if we got rid of Georgia?

Me: But we'd miss her terribly and I would cry every day.

Ellis: It's Ok. We could visit her and bring her cat food.  You know how she likes to eat cat food.


I love almost-6 year old logic, even if I am not certain about his argument.


Have a lovely weekend.

Glimpses of Sun

Generally speaking, I try not to let the weather get me down.  I live in Scotland. It rains a lot.  60F is scorching heat. That's just how it is.

But recently, oh man, it has been miserable.  Torrential rain, freezing cold.  We didn't even have the snow that England had.  Just slush falling from the sky to then turn the ground into a wet mess. Its been so dark in the house, I have been shooting at ridiculously high ISOs just to get in-focus pictures at noon! Even with a fancy camera and lens, photos are just. so. dismal.

We all need complete changes of clothes every time we have been out and mud is ingrained in the floors.  Its that time of year where nothing stays clean and we vacuum a billion times a day just to stop everyone's socks from turning black. Children are bored and being even crazier than normal (did you know, when a bag of quinoa is poured out by an almost 2yo it has magical properties to spread to every corner of your home?  And it takes 3 goes round with the hoover to get most of it up?).  We operate on a cycle of draw, bake, play lego - repeated a million times a week.   Tis the season.

But then, today, the sun came out. Just for a few hours. And we all moved a few steps closer to sanity.  We watched the birds.  I took a million photos, bundled the kids up and forced them made them hot chocolate to drink in the park.  And even though we were all shivering at the end, it was exactly the reminder we needed. That there IS light at the end of the tunnel.

And then it rained again.

Construction Demolition Man

Ellis: When Georgia grows up she's going to be a doctor.  When I grow up, I'm going to be a vet.

Me: What's Theo going to be?

Ellis: Um, maybe an Evil Scientist.

Me: We don't call "Evil"

Ellis: Ok, maybe a Construction Demolition Man, but mostly Demolition.

Me: That sounds about right.


Theo is wearing the most adorable shirt from Amanda Kitschy Coo and the photo was taken by Kevin - both of whom are Capturing Childhood students.  There is still time to register for our courses starting next week.

Artists Shouldn't Procreate


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Lying in bed yesterday morning, as Georgia sang "Baa Baa Black Sheep" and yelled "Wook at Meeeee!!!!!" whenever we turned away, and Theo ran around with a bucket on his head, while Ellis told me he was "Never ever going to school ever ever again", Kevin and I agreed that artists should probably not be allowed to procreate with each other.  


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My children are at their best when in open spaces. Cafes, soft plays, restaurants, toddler groups, often bring out the worst sides of them.  They are busy people, with lots of energy that can rarely be happily contained within 4 walls.

We are always on the look-out for new places to explore.  We are so lucky to have so many within a short drive of the house.  Our routine most weekends is simple - load car, drive, stop, release children, run them out, get back in car, go home. I wish the car element wasn't there.  I miss having the countryside literally on my doorstep.  Its been a long time since I felt so hemmed in (which is ironic because I can see the beautiful, empty Ochil Hills out of my back window).  I long to have the space and wilderness for my own children that I had growing up.  We would spend hours wandering around the woods and ponds, my Scottie dog Snickers at my side. 

But, what I give up in wild, I make up for in a house that I love as if it were my own...a rare thing when you rent.  So if a drive to the woods is my payment for that, I will take it.

This past weekend, we stopped at Flander's Moss National Nature Reserve.  Wide paths, board walks, viewing tower, piles of gravel, bridge...just about the perfect combination

(these are only some of the photos from the day.  The rest were uploading when the laptop took a coffee shower.  Sigh.)



Kat's Crafty Confessions

Ok. So I have something that I need to get off of my chest.

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I hate crafting with my children.  


Crafting with Kids

It starts with such promise-- usually a beautifully photographed tutorial on pinterest, extolling the virtues of stimulating creativity with your children.  Each time, I approach the project like an optimistic goldfish, if any previous negative memories remain, I brush them away with the simple "this time will be different".

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It never is.

On average, it takes 25 minutes to set up, 35 minutes to clean up and about 2.3 minutes for my children to 'do' the activity, managing in that short time to fling the materials as far and wide as possible. There is usually swearing (me), often tears (me again) and sometimes tantrums (yep, me).

Of course, that is if they even do it.  If paint is involved, Georgia just paints herself.  If there are scissors involved, Ellis cuts his clothes/hair/(insert other inappropriate object here).  Theo eats everything (as we sadly learned this story to follow) and the cats always have a way of getting involved in some complicated way that ends with glitter being traipsed throughout the house.


children and craft

What makes the whole situation worse is that people just assume that I spend my days happily creating with my children.  As local folks find out about my blog and know that Kevin works in the arts as well, I get more and more comments about how creative we are as a family and how much art we must do.  It is like our deep dark secret, because the truth is, if I am bad at doing crafts with the kids, Kevin is worse.  The most laid back man most of the time, art projects with our children turn him into the craft police.  If a project even looks like it is going to change from the  original intentions, Kev loses it, doing that thing he does with his hair when stressed.

What a fraud, right?  All of that Christmas crafting was a blip in a long history of me freaking out about the mess.  I love it when the kids just draw...anything beyond that sends me quivering in a corner. But then, one or two turns 'round the tank and I forget how much I despise it and out comes the paint and glitter once again.

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And while I am off-loading.  My children also hate wearing hats.  Each and every one of them has done since birth.  


Whew. I feel lighter already.