Sunday, January 27

4/52 Weekly Portraits

Wilf wiggling wildly, looking at the dog lying in front of the fire

Molly wearing a princess crown and building a monster garden.

Gwen making a giant mermaid. She's happiest when she's creating something. 

Joining in with Che and Fidel

Saturday, January 26

Wilf is 2 Months

Dear Wilf,
What happened? One minute you were a scrunched up froggy newborn and now you are a big, wide-eyed boy. Whoosh - it whizzes by in a flash.

This month has been all about the smiling. It started on Christmas Eve, when you looked right at me and gave me the biggest grin - the best present ever. Then you seemed to be smiling at all kinds of things - mainly inanimate objects. You are always delighted to see the light fitting in our bedroom, you love the wardrobe and you have a special place in your heart for the back of the sofa.

Nowadays, we all take it turns to smile at you and watch you smile back. And none of us ever get sick of it, because your grin is so bloomin' gorgeous.

You are the most easy going of babies. I'm not into routines, but it seems you are. You spend the day in a cycle of wake-feed-wiggle about-cry-conk out, then it's off to bed for the night at about eight. And you worked that out all by yourself.

You seem like a very big baby. Being the third child, of course I haven't got around to taking you to to get weighed, but you are already in 3-6 month clothes, so I'm guessing you must be a bit of a bouncer. I'm certainly enjoying squidging your chunky thighs.

Your big sisters adore you, even if they are a little overenthusiastic and spend half the day with their faces approximately 2cms away from yours, which after a while makes you a bit grumpy (and who can blame you).

Thanks for coming to live with us, you beautiful boy. Today, to make you happy, I sat on a wet tree stump in a snowy forest with my boob out - that's how much I love you.

Love, Mama

Thursday, January 24

Spot the Dog

Blod found a cunning camouflage to stop and chew a stick on our snowy walk yesterday.

Wednesday, January 23

On Cabin Fever and Creativity

Since Wilf has been born, life has not been normal. And not just because we have a new baby. Firstly, there was the norovirus seeping through the house for a week (parenting low point - holding a breastfeeding baby with one hand, while using the other hand to hold back the hair of a child that is vomiting all over my bed - and all on the first night my husband went back to work after paternity leave!). Then there was the excitement of Christmas and New Year and the school holidays. And just when I thought we were finding our new normal, down came the snow.

It was so, so beautiful to wake up last Friday to total silence and the most magical glowing white when we opened the curtains. The children were so excited to build a snowman and throw snowballs and go sledging. Problem was, I know from experience, that after a relatively short time, small people start to feel the cold in their fingers and toes and that is the end of the snowy fun.

So, faced with a weekend of lots of indoor time (which is unusual for us) we decided to get creative and wrote a list of all the things we were going to do on the snowy weekend. Here it is:
We had a great time doing a combination of playing in the snow and having cosy indoor time. By Monday we'd done almost everything on the list, plus we threw an impromptu snow party for lots of our lovely neighbours, who came round to drink all the leftover Christmas booze while the children played.

All good stuff. Problem was, the snow came again on Tuesday. The school closed. The pavements were icy. The roads were slippery. The children were were done with the snow-related activities. So we were housebound again. And then again the next day.

So mama had to come up with two more days worth of indoor activities. Luckily, we have lots of young families on our street, so we had a bit of an anti-cabin fever social life going on. Pancake party one day, lunch and playing the next. And in between that, we played 'schools', we made sticker pictures, we did lots of dancing in the kitchen, we bought CBeebies magazines from the village shop and did all the activities in them, we read and read and read some more, and we built lots of things out of Lego.   

But the girls also did a lot of bickering and arguing and winding each other up. There were tears and tantrums and emotional meltdowns (and that was just me). I checked the weather forecast every hour, hoping for the thaw to kick in. I daydreamed about running around a big empty field. I even Googled 'emmigrating to Australia'. I was all mothered and cabin fevered out.

So although you were pretty and fun for a while, please melt now, snow. Please.

Tuesday, January 22

3/52 Weekly Portraits

Wilf loves being held and is rather partial to sucking on your hand.
Molly with snowflakes in her hair.
Gwen looking wistful (and so grown up!).

Friday, January 18

2/52 Weekly Portraits

Wilf - I want to eat him!
Molly, with extreme bed head, being a monster.
Gwen has the smiliest eyes.

Thursday, January 17

Two Hours of Me Time

Wilf the wonder baby has done something amazing - he's decided that he needs to be properly asleep at night. He started with a highly antisocial bedtime of midnight, then switched to 11pm, then 10.30pm, then 10, then earlier at 9pm, and tonight he conked out on my shoulder while I was making enchilladas one-handed (don't try this at home) - at 8.15pm!

So instead of spending the evening on the sofa breastfeeding, winding and generally jiggling a baby around, I now suddenly have over two hours to myself each evening. So what to do?

I could have a bath. Watch a film, Write my blog. Read a book. Bake a cake. Listen to music. Cook a meal. Chat to the mister. Play my ukulele. Go for an evening stroll with Blod. Paint my toenails. Exercise. Meditate. Plan stuff. Knit. Sew. Play scrabble. Work on the list.

Whatever happens, I'm going to appreciate every one of the 7,200 seconds of time to myself.

(But first I'll get in a few early nights.)

Wednesday, January 16

Avoiding the January Blues

Embracing the cosy with fairy lights and early nights
Every year without fail I have a January Crisis. Every time I've had a baby, I've had an identity crisis. This year, both seem to have passed me by.

I think I've finally come to terms with the fact that January is always going to be rubbish (and February even worse). And three babies on, I know that 24-7 newborn craziness and the 'argh, I don't know who I am anymore' thing is so, so fleeting.

So this time, I'm embracing it all. I have stubbly legs and straggly eyebrows, the house is messy, I'm eating a lot of Covent Garden soups, I always have a little bit of baby sick on my shoulder. My expectations are low - if I end the day with five people (and a dog) asleep and with full tummies, I am a happy lady. The other stuff can wait.

Winter dog walks rock!
And as for January, who can be sad when there's a new series of One Born Every Minute on 4OD, a lovely log burner in the lounge, oodles of books to read for children and grown ups, Baileys to finish off (with star-shaped ice cubes, of course), winter walks on sunny days, big frosty skies to photograph and marvel at, soups to make, cakes to bake and lots of early nights to work on those dark circles.

And here I am, cosied up in bed, chamomile tea and a Molly-made cookie, fairy lights on, big stack of novels next to me, and a notebook for filling with plans of lovely things to do, places to go and people to see. What's not to like about that?

Friday, January 11

1/52 Weekly Portraits

Joining in with a squillion other bloggers who are taking part in the portrait project on the lovely Che and Fidel. After eight weeks of newborn-ness, lovely and amazing though it is, I am beginning to feel like I am just a giant pair of boobs with no ideas, interests, opinions, friends or anything else outside of baby land. So the camera is charged up and I'm ready to go (even if it is to take pictures of my babies!). Here's my first attempt.

Wilf grinning during his evening wide-awakey time.

Moll - always, always dressed as a ladybird - playing Peppa Pig Sports Day on my iPhone.

Gwen - because I'm so in love with her messy curls.