Life with three

Apologies for my radio silence, I can’t believe it’s been nearly four weeks since my last proper post and that Elijah is over a month old already. Where does time go?!

Life with three is so far, going more smoothly than I had anticipated. I was envisioning these early weeks as being stress filled and being unable to meet everyone’s needs but actually, adjusting to being a family of five is going well. The transition has definitely been helped by friends and our Church family feeding us for three weeks, Dan being nothing short of incredible and being on the go continuously as he is back at work and helping with the kids in every spare minute he has and me embracing the words of the most hated or loved Disney film (depending on your age) and remembering to Let It Go. The control freak in me struggles slightly with this but I’m just trying to remember that it doesn’t matter if the house isn’t as clean as I’d like it to be, if I haven’t written a post twice a week or if we haven’t managed to keep up with our home ed curriculum….these weeks are precious and fleeting so we just need to relax and enjoy them.

image

Having said that, we’ve actually been out and about a fair bit this last fortnight and enjoying the onset of Spring. There has certainly been a lot of informal and conversational learning going on here recently. We’ve only managed one week of our Spring B’s curriculum so far and now are embracing the Easter holidays but I’m confident we’ll be back on it once Easter is over. The week we did do though was all about birds and we had good fun reading our books, visiting the RSPB reserve, putting up nesting boxes and a feeder and making clay birds and nests. Once we restart we’ll continue our bird based learning including some ace looking craft activities such as felt eggs and making edible nests aka macaroons!
image

image
image

We finished the week with a Church weekend away to Newquay. We had a lovely time away and enjoyed getting to know folk from church better as well as making the most of the gorgeous weather with some time on the beach.
image
image
Then last week saw us taking the train to Dartmouth for a few days with Mum, Dad and Julia. We enjoyed relaxing, spending time with then and even a spot of crabbing! The kids were excited to catch a bucket full of the nippy critters and I very much appreciated the extra daytime help with the small people.
image
image
Reading back it looks like we’ve been busy but in reality I’ve found plenty of time to rest and we have pottered at home a lot. Sophia and Isaac have been getting on amazingly (even if they have been a bit stroppy with me!) and that has definitely made things easier as they’ve spent a lot of time playing or reading books together. Elijah continues to be a very relaxed small person and is just starting to smile which is just an unbeatable feeling, he’s capturing all our hearts with his cuteness! All in all, it’s been a good few weeks and with some exciting things to look forward to in April I’m hoping life with three continues as happily as it has started!
image

It may not be a place of beauty…

…but we are certainly growing as much as possible in the small concrete space that is our garden.
image

image
Taking part in two national growing competitions/experiments (Grow Your Own Potatoes and Bees and Beans) has prompted me to sew seeds on specific dates and consequently we’ve been having bursts of doing lots in the garden over the last few weeks. So far we have strawberry and tomato plants growing in various pots although I admit I cheated and bought seedlings rather than growing from seed (combination of lack of indoor space to cultivate and lack of time and energy). We have however successfully grown from seed cucumber and pea plants which are doing well and ready for bigger pots. We’ve also sprouted some sunflower seeds and filled our shallow beds with pretty orange and purple flowers (marigolds and violets I think). Finally we’ve chitted and planted our seed potatoes and planted our broad bean and radish seeds for the schemes we’re participating in. The only thing left to do is find another big pot and plant some salad as I love being able to pick our own salad all summer long.

Out of the two schemes Sophia is especially interested in the Bees and Beans experiment from the university of Sussex. It is being conducted to look at the presence of bee’s in urban spaces and as you’d expect from an experiment wants all sorts of information such as size and type of growing space, specific dates on which you planted seeds and implemented the growing conditions (one plant left, one bagged and one hand pollinated) and of course, at harvest time, detailed results about your crop. I’m fascinated to see how it goes and happy to be taking part in something that might ultimately help in the preservation of our bees. For a small concrete space, our garden does seem to attract a lot of wildlife. Our feeders have been attracting a lot of birds and I think some might be nesting in the plants that are growing around the garage. I also spotted a lot of bees whilst out there yesterday.
image
I’m not going to lie, spending time in the garden recently has made me miss the gardens in our last two homes even more. It’s hard to be inspired by such a grotty looking space and frustrating when I’d love to grow so much more but am limited by space and stone. We’ve been given free rein to do what we like in the garden and I’ve pondered removing all the stones and replacing with turf for a bit of green space for the kids but it’s a big undertaking both financially and in terms of physical work and I’m reluctant to invest heavily in a rented garden as we don’t know how long we will be here. Our long term goal (like most young-ish couples) is to save enough to buy our own home and I’ve told Dan that my one requirement when we get to that stage will be a half decent garden. It doesn’t have to be huge but big enough for the kids to have a good outside place and for me to be able to have a reasonable area for growing. I am not going to let myself get down and sulk about our current garden though, we’ll get the most out of it that we can. And at the end of the day, we’ve got the wonderful Topsham rec minutes away, the swimming pool mere seconds away and a whole host of amazing outside places to explore just a short drive or train ride away.

What’s growing in your garden this spring? Or if you’re not particularly green fingered how have you been enjoying the recent spate of much welcomed sunshine as the seasons change?

Starting (educationally) afresh

Although it is now March (I can’t quite believe we’re in the third month of the year already but apparently that is indeed the case!), I feel like our 2015 home ed year is just about to start. I chose not to follow the Winter Wonderland wee folk art curriculum after Christmas as I didn’t think we’d get the 12 weeks done in time with a new arrival blessing our family and somewhat disrupting things for a while. So my plan is to do that next January and for the last two months our home education has comprised of KS1 workbooks, expanding what we’ve been looking at in our home ed groups at home, the James Dyson Foundation Challenge cards once a week and various miscellaneous activities that have taken our fancy.

But now Elijah is here and Dan’s paternity leave is coming to an end I am gearing up to start the Spring B’s curriculum with Sophia (and to a lesser extent, Isaac) next week, providing the first weeks books arrive in time! I think having the loose structure to follow will help as I adjust to juggling three as I won’t need to think too much about what to do, I can just look at the notes and see what is on the plan for any given week. The books they suggest were without exception, lovely choices in the harvest time curriculum so I’m hoping the same is true for this Spring curriculum.

We’re hastily getting some seeds sown this week and potatoes have been chitting for a few weeks and should be ready for planting soon. I’ve also signed up to an experiment that the University of Sussex is conducting called Bees N’ Beans. They send you free seeds to grow beans and in exchange you have to monitor how many get pollinated and report back. It’s part of their research on bees in the wild and seems like a win-win opportunity to me! It starts in April so it’s not too late to sign up if you fancy joining in.

I’m not quite sure how comprehensively we’ll be able to follow and fulfill these plans with a newborn added into the mix (I forgot about cluster feeds and my multitasking skills need some polishing!) but I like having the goals there. I am trying to remember to go easy on myself and am reminding myself that Sophia is only reception year so she’s certainly not missing out on anything. Am also trying to not let the messy house and mountains of laundry get to me! This is only a short period so am trying to enjoy the gorgeous newborn cuddles, spend some quality time with my big ones and Dan and chill out about everything else!

Apologies that this post hasn’t been that interesting, I was mostly trying to make a record of my plans so I can look back as needed. I hope this finds you all well and I’ll leave you with a few more photos from the last two weeks for your viewing pleasure!
image

image

image

image