Sunday, 23 February 2014

:: 8 : 52 ::

"A portrait of our children once a week, every week, in 2014."

A: This week we've had many birthday parties for Larry the Cucumber, Larry Boy, Junior Asparagus, Franklin the Turtle and Susie Sheep (I even had to break up an argument about whether the birthday cake was for Larry or Junior the other day!). So sweet to watch the party table being set up, enjoyed, then packed diligently away :o) 
E: She asked and asked to blow her bubbles - one of my favourite things!
T: His latest expression - so cute! I managed to grab it in the split second he did it for the camera ;o) 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

:: lessons from the laundry ::

The other day I wrote about what I had noticed in nature. Well, as it happens, common household appliances can teach life lessons as profound as wonderfully created insect species. My day did not get off to a good start today. Maybe it was because my sleep was broken in middle of the night when I got up to a little girl who was scared of the dark. It probably didn't help that it was also cut short when her sister came through around 6am full of energy and ready to start the day. Or most probably it was because I knew that our washing machine was throwing problems at us and we'd tried different things last night to get it to drain the water, to no avail. The thought of such a often-used machine being out of action and, worse, the large repair bill, led to a pretty grumpy mummy.

Well, thankfully the story ends well. My handy-man got out his tool kit and took the whole machine apart to figure out what was going wrong. After a good hour or so he came out with a lump of something unidentifiable, saying "I've found the problem!.....but I might have wrecked the machine!"
Turns out that there was a wad of hair-tie/nappy liner plus a piece of shell and hair clip all caught up in the pipe. No wonder the water wasn't going anywhere. My amazing man was then able to put the whole machine back together, after mopping out the water that had poured into its base as a result of the rescue operation. And we've put about five loads of washing through since ;o)

A clear lesson stood out straight away, to this guilty-but-much-happier mummy: take care of the little things (like checking pockets in this case!) and you'll avoid bigger problems. I think that's a clear one that applies to many other life situations... ;o)

:: 7 : 52 ::

"A portrait of our children once a week, every week, in 2014."

A: Cleaning up after enjoying mummy's birthday gâteau
E: Enjoying every chocolate-y bite (and it really was delicious!)
T: Summer days in the hammock chair -peaceful but uncertain

:: 6 : 52 ::

"A portrait of our children once a week, every week, in 2014."

Two photos to make up for those missing!

T: He started rolling for real, from back to tummy, and enjoying that tummy time a whole lot more. The beginning of the end of having a baby lying still!

T: Those sparkly smiling eyes get me every time. Our little guy and his beautiful spirit of joy.

:: 5 : 52 ::

"A portrait of our children once a week, every week, in 2014."

A King tide rose against our shores this weekend, and combined with a stunning clear day, made for a beautiful location to spend our time at this Sunday morning.

A: Looking older than her years
E: Taking care of her babies (as always) in the early morning light.
T: His first close up view of the sea 

:: 4 : 52 ::

"A portrait of our children once a week, every week, in 2014."

T: First week trying solid foods and he loves it - even the rusks were an instant hit! This boy was ready :o)

:: 3 : 52 ::

"A portrait of our children once a week, every week, in 2014."

Our girls love playgrounds and are often asking to go to the "toboggan" (slide) or "balançoire" (swings). On this beautiful summer's evening I made a pizza for dinner and we met papa in the local village.

A: Serious contemplation as she swings back and forth!
E: On the favoured horse - beautiful in her joy of movement
T: Chewing on anything he can get into his mouth - most often the fingers!

:: 2 : 52 ::

"A portrait of our children once a week, every week, in 2014."

A: Lost in her beautiful ponderings on papa's new tire swing
E: Enjoying the experience!
T: Like father, like son - such a sweet, cuddly guy! 

:: 1 : 52 ::

Last year I jumped on the 52 project bandwagon fashionably late, and fell off typically within a week or two. This year I'm back, late again, but with renewed determination to keep at this because I love the idea of recording our children once a week to preserve these precious memories and moments. I have seven weeks to catch up on and have realised there are couple of weeks in which I took no photos of the girls. I'll make up for this lapse in the coming weeks & months!

"A portrait of our children once a week, every week, in 2014."

A: Ever the artist - always creating and describing in detail
E:  Our sweet-hearted adventurer
T: First time in the Jolly Jumper - he was sold! 


Thursday, 20 February 2014

:: la cigale ::

They're the quintessential soundtrack that accompany long, hot, summer days. Cicadas, or les cigales (which makes them sound a little more exotic!). I'd never quite noticed them here as I have during the last few weeks. Maybe it's the almost-deafening sound that greets us when we venture outside, that ensures we can't miss them! I remember lying in the caravan on our summer holidays in the South of France, where les cigales are a folklore symbol of the Provence and Mediterranean regions, enjoying the peaceful stillness of the early morning before the sun appeared setting off the thousands of miniature percussionists in their treetop perches. Here, it seems, they don't wait for the sun to come up and they certainly don't let its setting cue their rest.

The other day as I went out to hang up some washing, I noticed an empty cicada skin clinging to a tree I passed. Within a minute I had collected several, all empty, fragile outlines of these fascinating insects. Left behind in their process of passing from childhood to adult. I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty of nature as the sun lit up their golden amber skins, so intricate with detail.

As I showed the girls and we searched for more, I wondered what we can learn from this feat of nature. The shedding of the past, former self that, while still holding beauty, is nothing compared to the life ahead. The former not able to hold the magnitude of what lies ahead. In many ways they are the symbol of death and life, which has been my family's experience in recent weeks with the passing of my Grandma. Seeing the body that is but an empty shell, still holding the outer beauty that we knew so well, but realising that the life-filled soul has passed on into another world. Wondering where they are now and what it's like...

It never ceases to amaze me what we can find in the nature all around us. The seasons, the details, the sounds, the smells...each holding a gift to learn from. A knowledge that we're not alone in this great, marvellous universe, and a strong sense, a belief even, that this beauty was created for us to enjoy. All we need to do is take notice...