Laurence hasn’t had as much work on this week so he’s been around a bit more. It’s something we always want to embrace with him working freelance. It’s annoying when he has to work away or longer hours but brilliant fun when he gets to spend more time with us.
The girls have loved having him around to “play chase”, do more gardening and even a spot of baking! Admittedly, the TV hasn’t been on as much because someone less burned out than I am is here to keep things going. I’ve been teasing him that he’s better at this home educating/parenting lark than I am and maybe I need to be the one out working.
The truth is, we are all a bit happier when we get to share the load, parenting and working. In an ideal scenario, we’d find a way to hit that sweet spot more so that both of us get to pursue careers part-time (ish) and be with the children. Realistically, that can’t happen right now so it’s about making the most of the flexibility we have been blessed with – and we do have more of that than many families.
Another great thing about having him around more is that I’ve been able to kick through a fair few things on my spring cleaning (nesting?) list, which has meant getting some stuff out of the shed, like our good ol’ indo board, as well as massively decluttering all of our wardrobes. It’s made space for the baby’s things, simplified the morning dressing process for the kids and generally decreased the mountain of washing.
It’s also made way for adding fun new bits like a T-shirt from House of Fraser. This is the O’Neill O`Riginals Odyssey Print. It’s organic, with a solid big print and a sea reference, always welcome in these parts. Laurence has gone off most of the big surf brands but he respects O’Neill for keeping their focus and doing things well. And I quite like the colour!
Here’s to more Spring days, getting the balance right.
In association with House of Fraser
I’ve been collecting a few bits here and there for baby girl number three since we’d given most of our baby things away. Mostly it’s second hand and I’m hoping to make a few bits too (we’ll see!). It’s been quite fun as I didn’t go through this process the first couple of times. In fact, Talitha was dressed in my cousin’s son’s stereotypically “boy” baby clothes. While I really didn’t mind, it’s fun actually choosing things because I like them.
When Funky Giraffe asked if I’d take a look at their collection, I enjoyed picking a few bits and making it an opportunity to give one of you the opportunity to win some of their sweet bibs too.
In the throes of Spring tulips are fully on my mind, some of ours have opened but many in the garden are just waiting. I’m willing them to be OK as we may have planted them in too shady a spot. Anyway, this tulip bandana bib was just the thing.
They also do bigger bibs, perfect for when you’re out and about with food and need a bit more coverage. I couldn’t resist snapping up a pair of purple socks. Is there anything sweeter than tiny baby socks?
I also chose a bib from their bamboo range because it’s such a great fabric for absorbency and is naturally antibacterial too. I like that Funky Giraffe steers away from the typical baby colours and isn’t afraid to go bold and brave.
To win 10 baby bibs* from Funky Giraffe, visit their website and tell me what your favourite print in the bandana bib range is, then enter the Rafflecopter below.
My 30th birthday was last Thursday and I doubt it’ll come as a surprise that I had mixed feelings about this milestone. I know how ridiculous that may sound to those who’ve already been here, done that and know it’s not suddenly a big shift from being 29. It’s even less so for me because I didn’t have a “typical” twenties, not least because I got married at 23 and had Talitha two years later.
If anything, this birthday has hugely reminded me that there is no one path we all have to take, no one route that’s ultimately successful. I look around at other friends turning 30 this year or next or recently and we are all in such different places, doing different things.
I think the main reason I’ve struggled with thirty is that there were things I thought I would have done by now. I thought I would have written a book for example – or something longer form anyway. Now that I’m here, I think it’s ridiculous that I had an unspoken cut off point for that. I know it will still happen. I also know I don’t have the mental space to offer a project like that right now and that that’s OK. I’m doing other things I didn’t expect to be doing and who knows where they’ll lead?
My 30th was spent walking around National Trust property Stourhead with my little family. I was surprised at how well the kids and I managed getting around. I look at them and am reminded that motherhood has profoundly affected the way I view my life and the way I measure success.
So much of parenting involves just getting through the day. Especially when babies are tiny and incredibly vulnerable, you get down to the bare bones of what’s necessary; anything outside of that will just have to wait. As they get older, coping with their changing needs and your own can be, as a mum friend of mine put it, an intense form of therapy. It’s an opportunity to change, to go deeper, to grow. Success is in the little things, it’s not a final destination.
It’s been a while since I shared some of the things I’ve been loving lately so I thought I’d welcome the weekend with a little roundup. Let me know anything you’ve been into lately that you think I should checkout.
More time outdoors
This is such an obvious thing but we are so much happier and healthier when we’re outdoors, aren’t we? The trouble is, I hate winter. Even all bundled up (this was my best winter on the layers front) I think having grown up in a tropical climate makes me particularly susceptible to suffering under the dark and cold. I’ve also been finding that carrying Ophelia or pushing a pushchair leaves me in agony with my ligaments softening in pregnancy.
I’ve been pushing through recently and committing to taking the kids outside once a day and staying out with them, even if it’s just the garden or the park across from where our home ed co-op meets, and it’s really been helping me to cope a bit better with everything else. It helps that we’ve had some warmer, sunnier days recently but I’ve been appreciating that there’s something to be said for a walk through the rain or pushing through the wind too. Ophelia is walking so much now that getting out is far less daunting. She’s also making good strides with learning to ride her scooter.
Peaky Blinders, Vikings and Winter’s Bone
We’ve been waiting – it feels like forever – to watch Series 2 of Peaky Blinders. Yes, I know Series 3 is out now but Season 2 only recently came to Netflix. I was repulsed by so much in this series and really went off Cillian Murphey’s character, Tommy Shelby, in the earlier episodes but it’s impossible to stop watching, so beautifully shot and really captures British city bleakness. I only wish we hadn’t flown through the whole series in about a week.
Over on Amazon Video, I’ve been making my way through Series 4 of Vikings. This is one of those shows Laurence and I really should watch together as it appeals to both of us but for some reason we keep catching it when we’re apart. He doesn’t seem to be as into the latest series (maybe not enough full-on battles?) but I continue to be intrigued by what’s happening with Lagertha, the shield maiden turned earl. I have no idea how historical the programme is despite being produced by The History Channel but even if it’s pure historical fantasy, I’m happy to be taken in.
Also, a few weeks ago I watched Winter’s Bone on Netflix while babysitting for a friend and it’s really stayed with me. It’s truly a sign of a quality movie when you can’t stop thinking about it, isn’t it? This is the film Jennifer Lawrence was nominated in the Oscars for a few years ago and I can definitely see why. It’s terrifying, shocking, bleak and reassuring in one hit. I keep recommending it anytime “what have you been watching lately” conversations come up.
All the rainbows
Rainbows seem to have taken over children’s clothing. Maybe I’m really suggestible with this sort of thing but I’m desperate to get a hold of some for my girls, especially for Ophelia who is rainbow-mad at the moment. I love this Frugi dress and almost bought it for her birthday but wound up being a bit skint at the time. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get around to making some rainbow clothes. Time to dust off those applique skills.
Creating over consuming
On that note, I’ve felt really convicted recently that I want to make more than consume. There’s a lasting pleasure that comes from creating that the quick thrill of buying just can’t match up to, for me anyway. Crocheting a granny square baby blanket for our baby due in July has been nothing short of therapeutic. I’m really looking forward to wrapping her in it.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
Lastly, you might remember me going on about how Netflix’s Master of None was basically the funniest, most culturally literate TV series I’d seen in a long time and that I’d become an Aziz Ansari mega fan as a result. Well, on the back of that, Penguin asked me whether I’d like to check out his new book, Modern Romance and give away a copy. Well, yes I would. So here we go.
The book reads as a hilarious study of how technology, from sexting to online dating to social media, has complicated how people find love today. Ansari is astute in his understanding of people, open about his own experiences, thoughtful and laugh-out-loud funny in turn. He writes as he speaks and if you’ve ever seen his standup comedy, you’ll know that can only be a good thing.
To win a copy of Modern Romance, enter the Rafflecopter widget below.
I hit 25 weeks last Saturday and this week has been about getting a couple of big things sorted and seriously getting my head around the fact that we are actually having another baby.
I’ve been anxious about a lot of things lately, both to do with day-to-day living and with the big life change happening this summer when baby number three joins us. Without realising it, I feel tense at the thought of giving birth again.
That really surprised me when I stopped long enough to uncover it. Ophelia’s birth was absolutely amazing. It was a calm, empowering home birth in water.
It was not entirely straightforward, though, as I ended up transferring afterward to have my tear checked and stayed in for observations since I’d been found Group B Strep positive a couple of days before the birth but had decided against antibiotics in labour. I partly comforted myself on the maternity ward, frustrated by being unable to sleep, that at least we wouldn’t have to make difficult decisions around birth again.
But life often doesn’t come neatly packaged and planned. We are doing this again. Just as it did last time, pregnancy is bringing to the surface many feelings not dealt with. Once again, I see the connection between how I approach birth and how I live. Recently, my inner life has been chaotic so it’s not a surprise that I approach the thought of birth with some anxiety.
So I’m looking forward to getting back into hypnobirthing by re-reading Katharine Graves’ book, listening to her CD and practising the scripts in the folder she gave us on the course we did with her three years ago when I was pregnant with Ophelia. We both think the “fear release” script will be particularly good for us to read again.
I’m also getting back to reading the Bible more regularly, talking to God about the stuff that’s tumbling around in my head and just listening. I used to expect these disciplines to be an instant fix – perfect peace on a plate. Sometimes, I still impatiently want this to be the case. Actually, I’m mostly learning to wait, to be quiet, to accept that nothing I’m feeling excludes me from this relationship.
When I admitted to Laurence that I was feeling worried about the birth, he pushed for us to go to the Bristol Home Birth Group meeting on Sunday night. His brother babysat while we went and swapped stories with other couples who’d had babies before, chatted with the midwives volunteering there about birth preferences and even got to unpack bits of our last birth experience that we’d never had the chance to talk about with health care professionals before.
Leaving the meeting, I felt a mix of things. I felt closer to Laurence because we’d opened up about things we’d not had the mental space to discuss. I also felt connected to the women I’d met there and a part of me looked forward to birthing this ever active baby.
I also felt sad about how unsupported I’m feeling with hardly seeing a midwife in this pregnancy and never seeing the same one. I still woke up multiple times that night, worried about the unidentifiable. It occurred to me that part of why I’ve mostly ignored the fact that I’m pregnant is that it’s easier than actually dealing with the things that are bothering me, not all of them even to do with the birth or this baby but brought to the surface now that I feel vulnerable. Yet, these things manifest themselves in other ways, anyway.
I finally went to see the GP this week to rule out physical causes for my constant exhaustion and my low moods. The lab is going to run some tests to check my Vitamin D and iron levels and to make sure I don’t have a bladder infection or diabetes. I am grateful that he took me seriously enough to be willing to offer all this. I’m still trying to decide whether to call someone to discuss talk therapy as a route to explore.
This week, it’s becoming impossible to ignore the fact that I’m pregnant. I can see the baby moving about when I buckle myself in to drive. Talitha and Ophelia keep asking to feel “Butterfly” (their nickname for her while we try to settle on a name) but she helpfully stops moving the moment they put their hands on me – and then they lose patience waiting!
I’ve started to feel pain mostly in my lower back from ligaments relaxing. If we’ve been out and about earlier in the day, I groan my way up and down the steps and shuffle about in the evening. Osteopathy wasn’t going to be on the card this time since money is tight but I’m starting to reconsider it, even if it’s just a session here and there.
Thankfully, Ophelia walks a lot more than Talitha did at this age, though. It makes such a difference not having to lug a toddler around all the time or push a pushchair that often. Talitha has also become really helpful around the house, even taking down the washing from the line the other day.
I think I’m all out of denial that our family is expanding, that this is really happening. I’m also embracing the fact that I don’t know what that’s going to look like. It is different every time. This time the journey isn’t just Laurence’s and mine. This time we get to share it with our two-year-old and “four-and-three-quarter-year-old” (as she likes telling people she is).
And that means that even though there’s a lot of weird stuff I’m dealing with, it is still a whole lot of fun.
It’s funny how you can feel like not much is happening when you’re in the middle of something but then look back and be blown away by just how much has happened. That’s one of the reasons I value recording these highlights of home education journey each month.
March has been a tough one for me because I’ve been tired, irritable and struggling to cope with day-to-day tasks quite a lot of the time. I’ve seen the doctor and we’re doing some tests just to rule out the usual physical suspects that come up when pregnant. In the meantime, life goes on as it has to with small children. And looking at this post, I’m so grateful for how much we’re managing without me being that up to it.
This month has been all about dinosaur madness and the interest just seems to be deepening. It started with Jim Henson’s Dinosaur Train which Talitha is utterly hooked on. It’s such a good show too. She’s learning masses about dinosaurs, prehistoric times, animal classification and scientific discovery to just name a little of what this imaginative show manages to weave together.
She wants to talk endlessly about the things she’s learned, often asking questions I can’t answer which we then write down and look for the research online or in books. When we go to the library she wants to borrow dinosaur books and read them repeatedly, asking questions, making observations and drawing comparisons. She has ideas about what she wants to find out more about when we visit the dinosaur section of Bristol Museum so I think a trip to a bigger museum is on the cards.
She’s often role playing with the toy dinosaurs she was given and wants to tell me all about their features, what they are and what they do. Every song from the show is memorised and she’s even adapted the song “I’m a hungry, hungry herbivore” to “I’m a hungry, hungry omnivore” at mealtimes. It’s beyond cute hearing Ophelia join in with the songs and identify the “saurus” too. Talitha is fascinated with how big dinosaurs were so we’ve been doing lots of measuring on the ground with tape and comparing our feet to various dinosaur feet. She’s also been measuring all of us and objects,making comparisons.
Whenever we’ve gone for nature walks she quotes the paleontologist’s line at the end of every episode: “Get out into nature and make your own discovery.” She’s very keen to go look at fossils with Laurence in Lyme Regis when it’s a bit warmer but I don’t think she’s quite wrapped her head around that not being a digging thing.
Whales and Dolphins
Whales and dolphins also got a look-in when she stumbled across an old book Laurence was given as a child. It’s not a children’s book but she asked me to read all of it, comparing animals and asking what words meant when she didn’t understand. I have to admit I was bit taken aback at the comments about captivity (it’s an old book) so I asked her questions about that and fielded hers. I think she’s quite shocked that an orca meant to have so much freedom and autonomy would be kept in a fish tank and made to perform and that this treatment so severely limits its lifespan.
We then looked to see what other marine life books we had and wound up using the website links at the back of Usborne’s Under the Sea which led us into a world of discovery. A happy afternoon was spent listening to whale noises and imitating them then pretending to be a whale family.
Of course, a highlight of this month has been Easter. I meant to do all sorts of Easter activities and readings in the lead up but just didn’t manage it in the end. We mostly just made things Talitha suggested, read the Easter story over and over and looked for answers to confusing questions. We had a lovely Easter party with our home ed group, which involved an egg hunt and Easter crafts.
We’d made salt dough decorations beforehand but not all of them got used so we took the rest home and Ophelia has been painting them alongside Talitha’s various painting projects. We then hang them up on a branch that was our Easter tree but has become our Spring tree. She’s so proud of them.
Writing lists and letters
Talitha’s been writing lists and letters for a long time now but I was getting a bit tired of always either writing them out for her to copy or having to spell everything at her request. So I suggested that she just start writing them the way they sound and not worry about it being “right”. She was unsure at first but now I think she’s delighted by the freedom in finding she doesn’t need me to be able to write what she wants to write. The spelling is often hilarious but it makes sense and she’s learning so much from thinking about how words sound and what she wants to say.
A photo posted by Adele Jarrett-Kerr (@beautiful.tribe) on
Finger knitting and sewing
I think my renewed interest in crafting has sparked Talitha’s. Since I’m crocheting a blanket for the new baby, she wanted to do some needlework too. So far she’s finished a sewing card and learned to finger knit. She had said she wanted to actually sew something so we were going to give a fairy a go but she changed her mind and decided she wanted to do more finger knitting instead. Even Ophelia is trying to do it as well but it’s tricky because she really doesn’t have the coordination for it yet and doesn’t want me to help her! N
ext on Talitha’s list is arm knitting because she saw a basket she wants to try. We don’t have the materials for it, though so I might suggest we trying making things with the finger knitting first.
Gardening and the outdoors
We are all so happy that Spring is finally here, even if most days are still grey and chilly! The girls have been asking to go outside even more than usual, spending hours in the garden playing with their mud kitchen, which has now become a mud cafe, apparently, going looking for things, playing on their slide and gardening. Ophelia is practising using her scooter out there too.
They’ve been doing lots of gardening with Laurence especially, planting seeds for our summer veg and flower beds, watering the greenhouse and continuing to harvest winter veg. They’re learning so much about growing through it all and more importantly, loving it. He’s also recently taken them foraging for garlic and all of us checked out a cave in Goatchurch to look at bats and minerals.
I am so grateful for his input into this as I can’t say I’ve been that enthusiastic about going outside, getting into nature and making my own discoveries recently! 🙂 I am motivated to do more in the garden, though, especially because Ophelia rang away from an earthworm shouting “snake!” the other day!
Every month, I’ll give a little update on what we’ve been up to as part of This Homeschooling Life, a new linky I’m hosting with blogger friends Jess, Polly and Laura. I’m sure I’ll have lots more to share next time around. Do read more about it below and if you blog, consider linking up.
This Homeschooling Life is a linky sharing a week, a day or even just a moment from your life as a homeschooling family. We are hoping it will be a great way to discover new blogs and learn how we all do things differently.
The linky will open at 8am on the first Monday of every month and, throughout the rest of the month, the hosts will share your posts on their social media channels.
A few weeks ago, the girls and I enjoyed a day out with Trunki at the Wild Place Project, a Bristol family attraction that offers nature trails, adventure play and a chance to see animals in the outdoors and contributes to animal conservation around the globe.
The focus of our visit was the Wild Place Project’s giraffe house appeal and Trunki’s contribution to it. The project is currently trying to raise money for a huge giraffe house in connection with protecting giraffe populations in Africa.
For every sale of their Gerry the Giraffe pull along suitcase, Trunki will donate £5 to the Bristol Zoological Society to help support the conservation work their team are carrying out.
Trunki is offering one Beautiful Tribe reader a Trunki of their choice* and a family pass to Bristol Wild Place. To enter, check out the Trunki range, leave a comment telling me which design you’d like to win and enter the Rafflecopter widget below.