Some days, it is nothing but an honour and a pleasure to be mama to these children.
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.
Just some of the yarns coming into the house at the minute.
-- The top one is a custom dye of Flump Aran from Sarah at Babylonglegs that begged and pleaded with me to make it into something beautiful. I told it that I had no time for other projects that I needed to work on Work. But it looked at me so forelornly and I was sucked in. I am going to try and write up the pattern today in my "free" moments.
-- Malabrigo Silky Merino in Cape Code Grey is another simply amazing wool to work with. It is on the thin side of DK, but just shimmery and gorgeous.
- Do not adjust your computer screens. The "retina singeing" green is another Babylonglegs masterpiece...Baron GreenBack on her Semi-Precious DK base. I love working with silk. While it is on the expensive end of yarns, I am a huge fan of yarns with a silk content for children. They are light, wear and wash well, holds their shape and is great for maintaining body temperature. Plus I have yet to meet a yarn with a silk content that is scratchy. Children's wear takes such small amounts of wool, that it doesn't work out to be that expensive for a jumper or vest.
- Finally, most unexpectedly lovely yarn is Artesano superwash. Don't get me wrong, I didn't have low expectations, but I just didn't have any expectations because I'd never heard of it before. It is soft, has beautiful stitch definition and is just joyful to work with.
I have to admit that I have found choosing and sourcing the yarns challenging. Its where my lack of years of experience really show as I simply have not seen and touched that many wools in person. Plus, the sheer number of options available is mind-blowing. However, slowly I am getting there. There are still a couple of projects that I have no idea what I am going to use, but I am hoping a trip to Loop Knitting next week when we are in London will sort me out.
Every week, I come to Wednesday and I hit a wall - of tiredness, of boredom, of irritability. I usually lay on the sofa moaning and swearing and not talking to anyone in particular, but as Kevin was working from home yesterday, he reminded me that there is a simple cure for my problem: the outdoors and the camera.
And so that is how we spent the afternoon - first at The Pineapple, exploring this rather strange folly. Its a summer house with, unsurprisingly, a pineapple on top.
Wide open spaces, wild gardens and a big hill, perfect for 2 toddlers. Apparently Georgia is now afraid of spiders and wouldn't go anywhere near anything resembling a web. "'Piders. Scary."
However, she is not afraid to roll down hills.
And when upon returning home and the grump returned, I headed out into the garden with my macro lens.
Sigh. much better...now on to "What am I going to do with the children" Thursday.
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.)
I am trying to maintain some semblance of structure, some regime to our days so that my children, house, the bills get some of my attention. A small attempt has been made to differentiate "working" from the rest of the day, so that everything can get a bit more focus.
It would be fair to say that this is not my natural state. Routine has never been my strength, we are more fly by the seat of out pants while multi-tasking on a thousand different situations people, "crisis management" being our chief occupation.
And so yesterday, I left work in the office and focused my attention on the children, the house, the bills. After about half an hour, Ellis looked at me and said "Why are you hanging around, Mummy? Why aren't you working?"
Focus is over-rated.
“Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.”
This quote from Mary Oliver has been up on my About Me page for some time... I have always felt it captures the essence of why I blog and take photographs with an almost obsessive urgency. It is how I try and live my life: embrace the important things (and ignore the unimportant ones), see the beauty and wonder in the every day and then capture it through the lens of my camera, bringing it all together like a patchwork quilt here in this space for my family.
And so, when Kat Molesworth from Housewife Confidential approached me with her idea (about 5 hours after agreeing my deal and *gulp* deadlines with the publisher), it was too good an opportunity to pass up, despite the rather crazy timing. Behind closed virtual doors, through tweets and emails, Skype and phone calls, magic has been happening...
Magic that I am delighted to share with you today
Capturing Childhood was born from a mutual love for photography, film and recording family moments. We decided to create the business to share our passion for taking great pictures every day, offering a series of photography eCourses to inspire you to take another look at your children through the lens of your camera.
Our first six week course is called Collect the Moments. Here is a bit of a taster of what is to come...
(I have been humming the theme tune for days!!)
Registration for Collect the Moments opens tomorrow, Saturday April 28th at 2pm BST for the Summer class beginning 28th May.
Thank you so much for sharing the magic with us!!
Today will be spent:
- watching for the post and a VERY EXCITING PARCEL which may or may not arrive today, but I still must check the window every time a car drives by
- updating the aviator hat pattern to include a chunky weight version (is there anyone who would have time next week to do a quick read through? I would email you the finalised version as well as the draft)
- working my way through a very long to-do list that includes: 7 aviators, 2 Vikings, 2 lions, 2 Spartacuses (Spartacaii?), 1 owl, 1 pair of fingerless gloves, paying bills, sorting out new car, cleaning the house and baking a cake
- taking my big boy swimming, just he and I
- counting the hours until my babies are home from their first day of nursery *sob*
Its a good thing the rest of my list is so long, because I tell you, that last one is going to be a killer.
Ok. So I have something that I need to get off of my chest.
I hate crafting with my children.
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".
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 morning...no 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.
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.
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.
When I was little, I was the ultimate morning person. I used to wake up at 3am, ready to start the day. According to my mother, I would play quietly by myself until the rest of the house joined me. I loved mornings. My favourite thing was to watch the National Anthem on the TV as they started programming for the day. I remembering shivering in anticipation as the clock ticked closer and closer to the moment when the American flag would wave on the screen and "Oh say can you see" would play. Wasn't I special, I would think, that I was up before everyone else...before even the TV woke up.
Some time in the last few years, mornings have become loathed and dreaded. Waking up well before 5am to the sounds of "MUMMY! COME ON!" or having a 4 year old lean over me, breathing heavily into my face as I sleep, are not the sun salutations with which I would like to greet the day.
A lot happens in our house before 8am...breakfast and second breakfast, cartoons, races, grumping, lego, drawing, emails, getting dressed, laundry, coffee and more coffee.
Maybe if we started singing the National Anthem, I'd be more pleasant about it all...