The view from our front door

In the last four years we have opened our front door to five different landscapes but I’m rather hoping we’ll stick with our new one for a fair few years before moving on again.

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Idyllic,  no?

Granted we can’t actually (safely) walk anywhere from it because it’s so rural but jump in a car and we can be in the local village within a minute or two and Exeter in fifteen. I’m feeling like we really have managed to get the best of both worlds with the house here, quiet and secluded with lots of space to grow and play outside but with friends and groups and ‘amenities’ near enough.

We moved on saturday and with the help of my lovely parents it was an incredibly smooth move, we had everything in by 4pm and now, three days later everything is unpacked bar one box.

The great thing about renting is that if living in the sticks doesn’t work out we can meekly return to suburbia without losing out on much. But my gut says that won’t be the case.

Waking up and opening the curtains to see nothing but rolling hills is something I can’t imagine tiring of. Today we spent the morning pottering in the garden,  saying hello to the chickens, planting some seeds, spotting the rather shy fish, exploring the stream,  saying hello to the chickens (again!) and generally just enjoying being together in our peaceful surroundings. 

After getting back from Sophia’s violin lesson last night, darkness had crept in and upon parking we opened the door to the most amazing sky full of unbelievably brilliant stars which made me stop and catch my breath. I’m almost pinching myself about the whole thing, it feels like a dream come true or that there’s some awful catch that no one has told us about yet!

So from terraced house in a big city, a temporary gorgeous view over Chichester harbour,  a couple of years in the boat parking lot that is Brighton Marina, a year on the quaint but busy Topsham high street to finally, hopefully many years of rolling countryside as far as the eye can see. If you’re in the area, pop in and join us for a cuppa!

Some recent ‘educational’ happenings

Due to being quite literally all over the place (currently in Surrey at in-laws), not much sit down learning has taken place recently. Though having said that, at 3 I don’t think that is necessarily age appropriate or a concern for us anyway. But here are a few bits and pieces that we have been up to that have inspired conversations, informal learning and fun.

It was briefly warm enough for some trips to the park with me wearing no coat! We observed the snowdrops and crocuses and talked about how snowdrops are the first flowers to show themselves after the long winter and that they are a sign of the approaching spring. In fact, the ongoing conversations we’ve had have inspired me to find a good pocket guide to flowers and fauna so any recommendations are very welcome!

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The next day was similarly warm and we went to the beach with one of my oldest friends. We had a lovely time even though Sophia tripped whilst throwing stones in the sea and ended up face down in the shallows!

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The next day saw us shooting off to Surrey for a few days with my in laws before the final journey to Devon.

Sophia has been doing some painting and drawing here and has amazed me with her pencil control whilst writing words and asking how to spell certain words. It’s funny how even though I thought we hadn’t been doing much over the last few weeks she’s still been picking up and absorbing information and come along leaps and bounds. Such an amazing process to watch!

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Grandad then managed to get a day off work and we had a day out which was lovely; it was freezing so we took the kids to soft play and then went to see the war machine from War of the Worlds in Woking. We had started the day with Grandad telling Sophia about War of the the Worlds and listening to some of the music so she spoke a lot about Martians and stories and orange skies all day! We had hoped to pop by Horsall Common on the way home to see where they landed but kids were too tired in the end.

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Dan then joined us for the weekend and after an indoor picnic we went to the Look Out in Bracknell Forest with Grandad and Uncle Ed. We spent most of our time there in their science/observatory rooms which house lots of hands on discovery and experiment stations. Sophia and Isaac enjoyed themselves, I think Sophia liked the giant Lego bricks and supermarket the best and Isaac loved the light and colour room! I’d definitely recommend going if you’re in the area. And the view from the top of the tower was amazing!

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So we’re off to my parents in Dartmouth tomorrow and then next Saturday we finally move into our new house in Topsham! It’s been a long transitory period and is starting to take it’s toll on us all but the kids for the most part have been amazing and we’re just excited about our new adventure!

Limbo (but a nice one!)

Yup, that’s what it feels like. A state of inertia where nothing is really happening.

We’re just treading water.

Waiting.

Our worldly possessions are stacked (as a result of some Tetris like packing) in the back of our van and we’re 2 weeks into our 6 weeks of sofa surfing before we move into a new home.

I realise that that all sounds a bit negative but it’s not meant to! Quite the opposite! We’ve had a really pleasant few weeks, caring for a friends lovely home and now staying with Jo, Matt and their girls (we’ll be here for another two before heading to see grandparents).

The big girls have got on remarkably well and are being very sweet considering they’ve been together 24/7 and that Sophia is being rather over sensitive from all the upheaval. In fact, the only things they’ve really bickered about is who gets to be doctor when playing with their doctors kits and who gets the pink coaster at meal times! It’s been a glance into communal living; parenting has been easier as Jo and I have been able to tag in and out-it takes a village to raise a child indeed and in this modern day and age we might need to have a slightly different village set up but this week has shown what a difference having other adults around on a very frequent basis can have.

In fact, we’re enjoying the set up so much I suspect it is going to make it hard to leave (although I imagine Jo and family might be quite happy to reclaim their second bedroom-they really have been very kind to let us stay)!

I’ve also met Gemma’s new baby boy properly, another thing I’m going to really miss-seeing that amazing transformation from tiny bundle up climbing, jabbering child!

But we are heading to Devon this week to house hunt which is very exciting! Me and Sophia are in agreement on wanting a nice garden so we’ll see what we can find.

I feel really at peace with the move so am starting to get excited despite the sadness of leaving dear friends. I’m really looking forward to being able to see Mum and Dad regularly-it’s gonna be awesome!

On a home ed note, I’ve been trying to keep up with our letter-a-week but missed this week, no worries though-we’re in no rush. The girls have played lots of board games, read what feels like hundreds of books, made pizza and blackberry crumble, gone to the library and dance class, played with play dough and done lots of reading eggs – a fairly productive week I think!

The babies have been both cute and tiresome, standard for babies I think and Isaac has just taken off since hitting dry land, walking all round the place and even attempting a run! He’s even sitting still enough for a story or two which is awesome-I love this age, they’re just so darned cute!

But I’m aware I’m rambling so I shall bid you adieu and leave you with two pictures of cute small men (though one much smaller than the other)!

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And so it’s happening…

…we have moved off Pinafore and our new adventure is unfolding before us.

We are currently house sitting for friends and then we will be staying with our lovely friends who we spent Christmas with for a few weeks and then off to Dan’s parents and mine for a week and then…if all goes to plan, we should be moving into our very own new house at the end of February!

I won’t lie, I had a few panicky nights last week where I almost freaked out; a combination of leaving our home of the last 2 and a half years and not knowing where we’re going to be living was just too much for me! But I pulled myself together, obviously, because what use would I be if I hadn’t!?

These last few months I have been staying calm mainly by meditating on these two verses.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’

Jeremiah 29: 11 

 ‘Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’

Matthew 6: 34

So now I am holding onto them even more tightly as we wait to find somewhere to live and hopefully get the process completed smoothly and swiftly. Sophia and I have been reading (not really at the memorising stage yet I think!) a bible verse every day from a children’s set of memory verses she has and the last half dozen seem to have been about trusting in God, staying safe with God and generally letting Him protect you…I thought this was appropriate given the upheaval we’re going through! Then at Church this morning the guy speaking was talking about community and I was feeling so blessed and thankful to have a lovely community of friends in Brighton who are helping make the transition so much easier for us.

My main aim for the next 6 weeks it to maintain a modicum of normality for Sophia and Isaac; they are both definitely aware of the change though obviously to differing degrees! Sophia announced in Church this morning that she wanted to go back to the boat to sleep all day long (one of her favourite turns of phrase!) and Isaac has been incredibly unsettled the last few nights (though I’m hoping that might also be due to the emergence of his first tooth…he still hasn’t cut any)!

We will be in Brighton for the next 4 weeks though and staying with close friends for most of that so for now, it’s service as normal which will hopefully help.

I’m aware that I’m digressing slightly and Isaac has just woken again (third time since going down less than 4 hours ago!) so I shall leave you having given you a brief update on what’s going on with us right now. Hope you’re all enjoying the snow and staying safe and warm!

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!

Changes Afoot

Where to start?!

We’ve sold the boat, our home, the good ship Pinafore and will be moving off this weekend and signing her over to the new owners on Monday.

We will essentially be ‘homeless’ for 6 weeks and storing all our worldly belongings in our van and at friends as it looks like we’ll be moving to Devon so there’s no point trying to rent somewhere in Brighton for a month. So we’re housesitting then staying with friends and family for the gap (for which we are very grateful)!

We will be house hunting (for rental accommodation) in the Exeter area during February and hopefully will move into somewhere at the beginning of March.

I was feeling quite chilled about the whole thing and mainly excited about being nearer my parents (for the kids obviously but also for me, it might be a bit lame, but my Mum really is one of my best friends and I hate seeing her so infrequently) but am feeling a bit overwhelmed today. I think it’s just because we thought our van had broken down this morning (Dan has temporarily fixed it by hitting it with a hammer!), I had to have some unexpected and semi-urgent dental work today, we’re moving off on Saturday and I haven’t packed (granted it won’t take more than a few hours but I’m so used to moving houses it seems weird to leave most of the packing until the day) and Isaac, my baby boy is going to be one tomorrow! The last year has flown by!

Nothing negative there (apart from the dentist!), just lots of changes and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with the anticipation of it all!

Also, we had just the most lovely day with Jo and the girls on Wednesday, they came to the boat for lunch and we took a walk to the beach on a gorgeous sunny winters day, got chased by the waves and then shared dinner on the boat again. When I think about leaving them and about other folk (especially Gemma who will be having her second baby any day now, I’m so sad about not seeing him or her grow the way she has Isaac) it’s enough to want to make me cry.

Don’t get me wrong, I think we are definitely making the right decision for our family and I’m excited and at peace with it but I will so miss our friends. Our friends from the last 2 and a half years are like family to us and although we will still see them (I’m busy badgering them all to commit to trips to the West Country) it won’t be the same as the often multiple-times-in-a-week relationship that we have now.

So I’m going to stop thinking and writing about it and must focus on the exciting times ahead! And if anyone has any recommendations for things to do in the Exeter area, especially with young and/or home schooled children, please do share!!

(On the home school note, even in the midst of all this Sophia has still been eagerly doing reading eggs and letter worksheets, we’re doing a letter a week which just involves practising writing that letter, thinking and drawing things that start with it and baking something that starts with it-last week apple crumble, this week burnt [oops!] biscuits and birthday cake)

I’ll keep you updated with our comings and goings but for now, stay warm, and if you do get some snow-enjoy!

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Isaac’s best friend!

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Sophia and Seren: inseparable!

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A is for….