Another trip around the sun

Once again, like every year before for almost a decade now, our advent celebrations have been put on pause as we take a few days out to remember another special birthday this month. My beautiful girl, Sophia, is turning eight. And like every year that has gone before, I find myself thinking, how can it have been this long already?! It feels like a lifetime ago that her arrival drew me crashing into the wonderful and maddening journey that is motherhood. Simultaneously though, it feels like just yesterday that I took a tiny bundle of delicious babyness home for our first Christmas at home. I still remember Dan slaving away all day making a delicious roast dinner and me crying in frustration when Sophia woke up needing her nappy changed and feeding just as he announced it was ready to eat.

Time is a funny thing, it doesn’t move in a consistent manner, rather dragging out minutes for what feels like eternity and then seemingly skipping whole months in the blink of an eye. Memories are similarly erratic, some moments are etched permanently in vivid technicolour where others blur into a hazy recollection of feelings and sensations that can’t quite be caught onto and remembered, always just out of reach.

This year, I’m marveling at just how grown up my eldest child seems. The transition seemed more profound this year than it has for the last few years. She is independent (or wants to be!) and a little sassy, she is capable of holding an interesting and reasoned conversation with you, she is turning into quite a serious soul and seems wise beyond her years, a marked departure from the toddler who was always sunny and bouncing. She thinks a lot, is fiercely loyal and caring, always wanting to make sure that those she loves are OK. But then when she’s tired, my little girl reappears in a silly grumpy declaration, in a desire to be babied, to be treated as an equal with her younger brothers rather than having to always wear the hat of being the eldest.

Like parents everywhere, I worry that I’ve expected too much from her as the oldest one, that I’ve had unreasonable standards and have been too hard on her. I think I probably have been, which makes me sad. I want her to remember having the freedom to be young and childlike for as long as she wants, I want her to remember having fun with me, laughing and being silly.

This year as we celebrate another year around the sun for our beautiful girl, I am making a commitment to having more fun and to being less serious. I am marveling at how amazing she is (despite my flawed parenting!) and counting my blessings again at being allowed to have her in my life. Happy birthday dearest Sophia, my gorgeous gorgeous girl. We love you and hope that being 8 is simply, quite great!

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End of an era

(This was conveniently in the Express and Echo on the day of my birthday but I forgot to post it here until today, it also reads as a little gloomy but that wasn’t the intention, honest!)

In years gone by when I had more time to update my blog regularly, I used to write a special post for the kids whenever they had a birthday. I’d write about how they had changed over the last year, what I loved about them, what made them tick and what it was about them that was unique and made them, them. Recently I’ve stopped this habit. A combination of just being too busy and also wanting to afford them a little more privacy I guess. But this week, as I approach my 30th birthday, I thought I’d be a little self indulgent and reflect on my last decade.

Ten years is a long time and I am testament to quite how much can change in that period. Ten years ago, in 2007 I was midway through my degree in International Relations and Politics, I played (badly!) in a band, I was a little overweight with no interest in exercise and my biggest concern was getting my assignments in on time. I didn’t know it at the time but I had not a care in the world. I was responsible for no one but myself. I had the freedom to wake up when I liked, go where I liked, eat whatever I liked. I used to stay up late having endless deep conversations about philosophy and politics. I was in the early stages of my relationship with Dan; we went on dates, played board games and had no external constraints on our time or energy. I remember cycling to his house in the middle of the night in a cocktail dress just to say hi (although to this day, I’m still not sure the reason for my strange attire).

Fast forward to present day, in 2017. I am responsible for the emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of three small, gorgeous beings. I am trying to juggle that with a dozen hours of freelance work a week as well as sharing the running of the household with Dan and trying to train for a marathon and generally keep fit. I no longer play music (although I miss it) but now love weightlifting, pole dancing and running. I have discovered my passion for writing. My interest in politics has deepened although just like my university lecturers, I have subsided into a often hopelessness at the current state of affairs. My relationship with Dan, whilst strong, is not quite as carefree and fun as it was. Far too often our conversations are dominated by the children, by money, by organisation.

Which leaves me to wonder where I’ll find myself in another ten years. Will I come full circle, re-gaining some independence as the children grow up? Maybe 40 will be my sweet spot! That is not to say that I’m not enjoying life at the moment. Life is full, it is complicated and often hard. But I am trying to consciously embrace all that I loved about life at 20. My love of music, our spontaneous attitude to plans, my passion. I figure if I can align that with the awesomeness of raising my three urchins and love of writing then I’ll have it made! So I’m looking forward to what my thirties will bring (as long as Theresa May isn’t still PM in a week!) and will keep you updated here on my comings and goings as they unfold.

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One!

On Friday, Isaac turned one! One! And crikey, the last week he’s really been acting like a little person rather than a baby…laughing at us all, laughing at himself, playing games with us and just being a bundle of gorgeous-ness! He is one happy little man!

I’ve had friends whose children are obsessed with cars from as young as 6 months, or dinosaurs, or fish, or in the case of Sophia, books, but from almost day one, Isaac has had one focus and that has been moving. So we had planned to go to a soft play centre with some friends to allow him to fully explore and throw himself about with wild abandon. Unfortunately we were foiled by the snow and didn’t fancy driving our not always terribly reliable van across the city and back (especially as it was half full with boxes as we were completing the process of moving off the boat).

However, we didn’t let this spoil our fun and had a really really lovely day just the four of us at home, Isaac played with new toys (the Happy Hopper being a big success!) and then we took a walk so Sophia could build a snowman in the marina. We warmed up with a hot chocolate in the Laughing Dog (I’d definitely recommend) and then went home for a birthday dinner and the all important cake!

Without being soppy, it felt like a day full of love, laughter and smiles – just perfect for a little man’s first birthday.

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Happy Birthday Isaac, we love you!

3 years young!

My gorgeous girl turned three yesterday….three! The last three years have gone so fast yet at the same time, I can’t remember life before her. I’m not soppy enough to do one of those letter to her style posts (though don’t get me wrong, I do find them sweet!) but suffice to say she has changed our lives immeasurably for the better over the last three years. She is joyful, compassionate, loving, laughing (especially at her attempts to tell jokes or play tricks on us), thoughtful and wise. I have no idea where she gets it all from but she continually surprises me with her generous loving attitude (today desperately wanting to give Isaac one of her birthday presents as she’d gotten so many and wanted to share) and I am just so so proud to be her Mum.

I will save the story of her party and birthday shenanigans for another post but thought that I’d just include some photos of her from the last three years to commemorate her turning three.

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Sophia's Birthday Weekend 2010 156

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Playing with her present from us aged 3 exactly!