Thursday, 27 September 2012

Troll Cooking

Normal people might have a nice lasagne in their oven, or perhaps, given the weather at the moment, a warm winter stew.

Not us.  Not in our house.

Today, my husband spent some time with H&L's class in school.  They've been learning all about trolls since they started school, and have been on a number of troll-related adventures. 

They've been reading "The Troll" by Julia Donaldson & David Roberts.

Their latest adventure, today, was cooking.  My husband's part was making troll bread with the children. 

As he prepared and packed his equipment this morning, and practised eating fish (erm, cucumber) from the dirty river water (water and food colouring), it was clear he was looking forward to the session. I thought it was the children who were supposed to be more excited about these things?! 

So anyway, no lasagne in our oven today, but instead a lovely loaf of troll bread.  Made, as all good troll bread is, from squashed flies, crushed goats bones, frogs eyes and other delights....

Monday, 24 September 2012

Last Camp Of The Season

We love, love, LOVE camping. 

My husband and I used to camp a lot before we had children.  We'd decide, on a whim, to go away for the weekend & just throw our tent in the car along with a few basic necessities, and drive to wherever the mood took us. We generally camped in quieter sites with basic facilities, opting for decent views and romantic surroundings over pet corners and soft-play areas.

These days, since the arrival of the children, our choice of campsite may have changed, but our love of camping has not.  And it's great to see that the twins appear to love camping too.

Just over a week ago, we had our last camp of the season.  I just had to write about the site, because it was BRILLIANT.

We went with close friends of ours - they also have 3 children - to Whitemead Forest Park, in the Forest Of Dean.  It's a Civil Service Members Association site, although it is open to non-members as well. It is located deep in the heart of the Forest; the toots of the Forest Steam Railway in the distance by day, and the chiming of a church bell echoing through the trees by night, add to the charm of the site, which is really pretty, well laid out, and immaculately kept.

Wandering around the site, it was surprisingly full, yet at no point did the place feel busy or crowded.  There are large green open spaces, a playground, sports areas, forest walks, etc, and also a really decent number of facilities, which would definitely come into their own in case of wet weather.

One of the things I loved most about Whitemead was that we felt we could, unlike some campsites we've been to, manage to avoid the more commercial aspects of the site if we wished, without the children feeling that they're missing out in some way (they're starting to pick up on such things!).  We didn't feel forced or pressured into using any of the facilities at all.

When I reflect on all that we did in just 2 days & 2 nights there (see photo below, although there's a lot more I could add), I realise why we all came back exhausted, but with huge smiles on our faces and a definite intention to return when the camping season next begins; it was a perfect final camp of 2012.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Unexpected House Guest

We have an unexpected guest this weekend. 

He held hands with H&L on the walk home from school today. Strictly speaking he is H's guest, but both twins were besides themselves with excitement at the thought of having a sleepover.

I'm hoping he's ok.  He hasn't said a word since he arrived - although I imagine if he's come from a smaller family he's probably waiting patiently to get a word in edgeways.  He could be waiting a while.

He sat at the table tonight and didn't touch his lasagne.  Ditto the chocolate cupcake we produced to tempt him.  He was shown and offered all kinds of toys, but seemed to prefer cuddles.  He watched the children have their bath and showed no interest in joining in. 

The twins helped him to bed early.  They thought he might be tired out.  He has his own bed in their room, and a beaker of water by his bed, just like the twins.

I had a quiet word in his ear, when no-one else was around, and suggested he tries to have a lie-in tomorrow...well it is Saturday

I do hope he has fun with us tomorrow and Sunday.  

I hope also, that when Terry the class teddy has to return to school on Monday, the twins won't be too sad.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Temporary Silence

So after making a good start with this blogging malarky, I have slipped behind in the last 2 weeks and have struggled to find the time to write.

It's only a temporary silence - honest - it is a time of lots of changes and exciting new adventures in our family.

The twins (H&L) have started school; the baby (M) has started nursery; the husband has started his new working hours (some from home; some in the office & various other locations) and I have returned to the workforce for the first time since losing Polly, starting a brand new job.

I'm happy to report that all our new adventures are going well, and I'm especially pleased (and relieved) to write that the twins love school so far, even though they are almost translucent with tiredness (despite their new 6pm bedtime).

So, while I get a little more used to the whirlwind mornings and the frazzled evenings; the production lines of lunch boxes and uniforms; the logistics involved in ensuring we're all where we're meant to be at the right time, I may not have much time to write.

I fully intend the blogging to resume in a week or so's time. 

'Til then, here's a pic of  the fun baby M is having this morning... I am trying to pack for a weekend away camping (yes, I know, it was one of those things that seemed a really good idea at the time) and while I'm whizzing around hunting for woolly hats, thick jumpers and blankets, baby M has spent the last hour happily building towers with various cups, bowls & beakers - who needs expensive toys eh.  ;-)

"Speak" soon.....

Saturday, 1 September 2012

I Dreamed A Dream

We played the song “Precious Child” by Karen Taylor Goode at Polly’s funeral:

“In my dreams, you are alive and well, precious child, precious child.
And in my mind, I see you clear as a bell, precious child, precious child.”

I had the strangest dream last night.

I dreamt I was on a car journey with my husband, our twins H&L, baby M and also our daughter Polly, and my Dad. We were travelling uphill, through some kind of forest.  As we drove over a bump, little Polly and my Dad fell out of the car.  We carried on the journey regardless.

A long while later, when we were much further down the road, we turned around and went back to see Polly and Dad.  They were, by now, in a hospital.

On arriving at the door to the hospital I informed the nurse who was holding a huge syringe and clipboard, that I was there to see my daughter.  I didn’t tell the nurse my daughter’s name, but she looked at me knowingly. Her reply was instant “Yes, they’re here.  We’ve been waiting for you”.  It was said as though the nurse had been waiting for a long, long time. Not with impatience, but with the confidence and expectation, somehow, that I was always going to arrive at the hospital, at some point.

I walked into the hospital room with my husband, the twins and baby M. The room was white, brilliant white.  My Dad was sat on a hospital bed.  He looked well, and happy.  Little Polly looked different to how I remembered her; she was probably about 2 (which she would be now, had she lived), and although she was an incredible mixture facially of the twins and baby M, she was very clearly Polly.  She too, looked well and happy.

As I watched my husband and children chatter and laugh with my Dad and Polly, I witnessed my Dad smile at Polly amidst the chaos and noise.  Polly caught his smile, and smiled back.  That look, that smile, that love and that bond between them, completely took my breath away.

And then I woke up.

My daughter Polly and my Dad were buried just 2 days apart - at the same time, in the same place, with my Mum who was already waiting for them.

In the way that a rainbow ebbs away slowly from the sky leaving the memory of it's beauty but no trace of its start or finish, my dream’s clarity has faded from my mind during the day today.  And in the same way that I would never try to chase a rainbow, I won’t be attempting to chase or return to my dream.

But it leaves, in it’s wake, an indescribable feeling of reassurance and peace.



A Letter To My Postman

Dear Postman,

Thank you…for never having reported me for indecent exposure, or at the very least for never having refused to deliver our mail any more.  I have often half-expected both…there have been ample opportunities.  Sometimes by an unknowing ill-timed ring of the doorbell on your part, resulting in a baby/toy/item of clothing placed strategically, but never quite well enough, to cover my modesty. More commonly a total oversight on my part, suddenly feeling the breeze during our doorstep conversation, and realising that yet again I have forgotten to, erm, “cover up”, post-feeding.

I realise that you’ve been on a journey, too.   The first few times, when I answered the door in various form of top-half nakedness, it was only after I saw you standing there, noticing that your expression had changed from your usual indifference to one of utter horror, that I twigged that I still had my baby attached, or hadn’t concealed myself properly.  One mumbled & mortified apology from me quickly turned into many, many apologies, and you have now perfected the art of handing over the post in the fastest possible way, immediately followed by the speediest retreat possible….sometimes involving backward steps, and yes, I have seen you leaping over the wall to next door.

I wanted to thank you, genuinely so, for your understanding and compassion over the last year.  Because without people like you, I would NEVER have had the courage to begin, never mind carry on, breastfeeding my little girl.  You see, it’s the best thing that I have ever done, without a doubt.  I also wanted to reassure you faithfully, as I consider an end to feeding my little girl, that soon you will be able to come to my house and not feel pressurised by the possibility of seeing far more of me than is strictly necessary.  And maybe even open your eyes again.  Soon.

With respect,