Tuesday, 31 May 2011


I'm having quite a few 'moments' this week with Matthew away. Some shouty and impatient and some quiet and gentle. After a lot of rain on Monday and that feeling of cabin fever the only answer was to get out of the house, somewhere, anywhere. With a broken washing machine I also had dirty clothes piling up and so we went and took advantage of a friend's house while they're away on holiday (thanks).

The sun shone and we played in the garden and picked strawberries. Two loads of washing were done and the book shelves and cd racks pillaged. And then we went home and hung the washing to dry and spent a bit of time in our own garden. The forecast is good for the rest of the week and Danna is on her way here so I may get the odd lie in.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Hanging around

I try hard to model the behaviours I want my children to learn - I didn't realise reading whilst nursing would end up like this though...

We had a trip to a different park yesterday. Isabel was keen to see where we were going (isaac ran off way ahead as usual).

Yep the red speck at the top of the slide is the boy.

There was much fun to be had in the tunnels.

And hanging around.

The log spins round so it's a real test of balance to be able to get across it. Isaac loved it.

Isabel contented herself with bouncing up and down on the wibbly wobbly bridge.

The tripod remains a firm favourite with Isaac at the moment. It means there are lots of pictures of our ceiling and of me feeding Isabel (taken from very unflattering angles) but also meant I got some snaps of Isabel in one of her favourite activities. Hanging upside down.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

A death in the family

Sock Monkey is no more.

RIP little fella.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Getting by

Sometimes a little post dinner marble action is where it's at. Isabel loves playing but as she and it aren't very stable it needs a lot of supervision. She managed very well though and it was only as we were negotiating whether it was going to be left up for breakfast or not that she knocked it down and ended the discussion.

Favourite words of the moment is 'book' (buh buh buh) and she's loving Bear on a Bike and spots random details like a hat (she's a bit hat obsessed). It's lovely watching her getting new words and signs at the moment.

The decoration is finished in the bedroom but it's going to take a while to get everything in place especially with two small helpers. The room is looking bare without mirrors and pictures up and I need to sort out curtains as Matthew has banned me from putting the old ones up. I've found a lovely old pair but they're too small to be a permanent fixture but they will help tide us over. Whilst I was moving books around this afternoon Isaac busied himself with the camera and a tripod whilst Isabel bounced on the bed. That was great whilst the tripod help his attention as two of them bouncing on the bed usually ends up with wrestling and parental involvement needed.

With two English graduates in the house (one a writer and one a would-be academic) we have just a few books around the place. Whilst I was studying I banned books from the bedroom as I spent all day surrounded by them so wanted some down time without seeing them but now logistics mean we need to move some of them at least from the back bedroom so I've started shifting them. That always leads to the issue of whether to just shove them on the shelf, arrange them thematically or alphabetically or by size. I'm half tempted to arrange them by spine colour as you see in posh interior magazines but that would frustrate me when I wanted to actually find a book. At the moment they are in blocks of plays and poetry but we will see whether this is the selection that ends up living here or whether some will make way for fiction. Whatever selection I go for the truth is that they won't all fit in here by a long way so we may have to go through a painful cull (that won't go down well). It was quite gratifying that all the Shakespeare fitted on one shelf - well until I found a copy of Macbeth in amongst the poetry...

Isabel seems finally to be on the mend from a sickness bug. The problem is our washing machine has suffered (probably from too many towels being washed at once) and so I am now still trying to catch up with washing with a broken washing machine, a house still in disarray and a husband away. One day I might feel like I'm on top of everything but mostly I settle for just getting by.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Squirrel playground

We've effectively had a drought here for the last few months. We keep being forecast rain but except for the weekend we went camping it's turned out to be nothing. Even this week when we were forecast storms it turned into one quick heavy shower and that was it. It sent us scurrying outside to collect toys and washing though.

Today was windy but sunny and we had a quick outing to the park. Isabel has been sick since Saturday so it was nice to get out of the house. The park was very quiet but we were joined by two squirrels who were having fun running around.

Isaac loves using the camera. He hasn't yet worked out proximity and things like that though so this afternoon we had extreme close ups.

He's been able to do headstands for a while but recently seems to want to spend a lot of time upside down.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

How many shots of pretty flowers can you take

Erm.... quite a lot. But I'll only post a selection.

Lessons in trust

It's been an odd week this week feeling a bit of a come down after a busy weekend last weekend. Trying (and failing) to catch up on some sleep. Hoping to be able to reclaim the bedroom any day and still waiting (we're promised just one more day). Working up to another of Matthew's trips. It's all had that feeling of limbo.

But in amongst it things are happening.

The sibling relationship is changing. There are still many many times a day when a referee is needed but there are also touching moments - holding hands as they both feed (we'll gloss over the eye poking) and sharing a yogurt.

A big lesson in life is 'take wellies' otherwise adults end up left with the choice of wet feet or letting children (and bear) roam free in the water. Not such a bad thing when it's the older child.

But a little unnerving when it's the smaller.

I've been reading bits of Jean Liedloff as there are various tributes to her following her recent death. One of the things she talks about is children's innate sense of exploration but also of wariness and how in our childproofed lives we rob them of this faith in their own judgement of possibly dangerous situations. If we allow them to learn their own limits then they are surprisingly safe even in potentially dangerous situations. It's when we undermine their internal mechanisms by constantly jumping in before anything can possibly happen that they find it hard to learn limits.

As is often the case with children book knowledge is soon shown in real life. I know that the edge of the water is shallow but that it gets deeper once you're a few feet into the river. The water is always cloudy with mud (and more so once a dog has thundered through it) so there's no way to visually see the depth of the water. So take one 14 month old intent on doing things her way and without help (thank you very much!) and one mama standing just out of the water trying to work out whether it's worth ruining my boots or not and whether I'm ready to dive in to the rescue and then walk wet or naked back to the car.

But she went carefully. She did a lot of standing and feeling with her feet. She went as far as she was comfortable. And then she turned round and came back and was happy to have had her paddle and now wanted 'up' (this girl knows her own mind).

Lesson in trust learnt by one grown woman. Fun and exploration enjoyed by one girl. No one drowned (although the dog did his best).

There was much picking of clover and lying in sunny fields. It was fun.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Nearly, nearly. Oh so nearly.

We now have a ceiling and smooth walls. And they're painted (Dulux natural hessian for those who care). The shelves will go up in the alcove on Monday and the furniture back in and then it'll be a proper useable room again. It's only taken 5 months.

And the peony is almost there too.