Friday, 18 August 2017

Summer Fun

While we've been busily finishing things off, getting things ready and generally preparing for baby, life has slowed down a lot for our little people which although at times has been hard, has also been a nice break. 

We wouldn't be us though if there hadn't been some special adventures... 


We went to a Treehouse Theatre performance of King Arthur which of course they had to join in as much as possible with. Its always surprising to me how much Thea genuinely loves being on any form of stage, and it was lovely to have Gabe feel confident enough to join in as a roundtable knight. 




Bored kids on a sunny day while I obsessed over cleaning kitchen cupboards resulted in using up every bottle of vinegar, tub of baking soda and tube of food colouring we had... scarily about 4 of each because its one of those experiments I always seem to stock up for and then forget about. 



Walks in the forest as a family of five. I'm hoping we'll get a lot of this in for autumn, its one of the easiest activities to do as a family with a tiny person and I think we'll all appreciate the air and space before winter sets in. 




These two...




And of course our annual visit to the New Forest Fairy Festival. I really didn't think we'd make it this year and didn't buy tickets in advance. At half an hour from home the idea of going into labour and then having to drive us all home wasn't a good one. However, I woke up feeling good and it was one of our good friends hen gathering so we didn't want to miss just a few hours. 



Circus skills are still their favourite and they've all made requests for this tight rope.







The gorgeous Fae Queen Samantha. 




We also got to spend some time learning about Tibetan monks, listening to them chant and dance some traditional dances in full costume. I'm thinking about arranging a workshop for next spring with them. 


So, house tidy, lists completed and due date only a couple of days away. I'll be back when I have some very special pictures. 



Friday, 11 August 2017

Gabe turned 6!


Just over a week ago our littlest boy, who is definitely not little at all turned 6. 


By request he had a treasure hunt round the house to find his presents.




And once they were all gathered up, the next round of fun could begin. 



We knew he'd love the lego batman stuff but I didn't quite realise just how happy he'd be to finally have his own baby.


This was the ultra cute card Thea made for him. 


Easily the best part of birthdays for parents... when siblings get on for a whole day!



It was the usual party fun, though a little shorter than normal to accommodate my flagging energy levels, though it wouldn't be right without some parcel the parcel and piƱata fun which had to be inside due to the torrential rain. 




My gift to myself was to buy this gorgeous cake rather than stress myself out making it, and I must say it was worth every penny. 


Thank you everyone who sent gifts, cards and best wishes. He had a great couple of days. 

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Image

I don't think I've ever met a woman who didn't have some insecurity or dissatisfaction about her body and image. Whether it be too big, too small, too pale, too dark, or too anything else. It seems as though feeling truly enough is a very rare and fleeting thing. 

We are all more than capable of celebrating the beauty we see in others, in whatever form resonates for us. For me the beauty is in images that capture moments of genuine laughter and joy, moments of strength and pride, moments of grief and vulnerability. In other words, the honest moments. The captures where the woman doesn't need to hide her true nature, where it all spills out unchecked by cultural and societal norms. I feel awed by those women, open and exposed in their powerful truth. I crave to be like them but the chattering in my head keeps me small and looking for ways to hide.

We're also very good at pulling other women down, even while we are admiring them for their courage. If we see a picture posted on social media, there's a voice which whispers 'who do they think they are'. That sees vanity not courage, that is so scared to join in it can only pick holes in a brief moment of pride, so as to reassure itself in its hidden dark place. I do this. I am guilty of this.

As a part of a strong Red Tent community, and being surrounded by women whose beauty literally astounds me, for the first time in my life I am able to see both sides of this process within myself and this year I've been fighting back. Slowly and inconsistently, I've been challenging the thoughts in my head, the clothes that I wear, and the way I see the world around me. I'm not 'there' by any means but I've had a helping hand. I've used my pregnancy as a vehicle, as a way to not be 'fat'. I have told myself daily as I stand in the mirror, 'I can't be fat, I'm pregnant!'. It sounds silly but its helped, because it gave me a brief enough reprieve to see my body in the way I see all the other pregnant women around me and in images. The female form is glorious, and pregnancy is just one of the ways it demonstrates its power. The female capacity to nurture, to create, to take so much within us and transform it into something new, doesn't just apply to the birthing of our race.

One of my secret wishes throughout all four of my pregnancies has been to have a photograph of myself. Just one which I actually liked, which captured that feeling. I know this is my last so I thought to myself, maybe just maybe...

I know a photographer who is more than just an artist, though that alone makes her a gift. No this woman is a healer, but her tool is her camera. Jessica took some pictures of my family last year. I desperately wanted to be in them but I couldn't do that, that would be vain and self indulgent, so I encouraged her to capture my children. She gave me a set of images which captured my mundane and showed me the beauty, and she caught me too. That gave me strength, it gave me physical proof that the beauty is there, I just needed help to see it. Hesitantly I asked for help and told her I wanted pictures of this my last bump, and on a rainy day in Croydon she took me by the hand, patiently and lovingly, and showed me myself.

I cried when I saw the pictures. I had felt so good on the day, the experience had been enough to fulfil whatever need I had, but the photos added more. But now the true problem... what to do with them. Alternately I wanted to hide them away as though it never happened, but then I wanted to plaster them all over Facebook and show people, 'look, look at me, look at what I did'. Neither were right, but it feels important that in some form they are out there, visible. That I am visible, that I don't allow that whispering voice of insecurity to take over and rise to a shout. So here they are, a few anyway and I hope that the strength, courage and beauty I feel deep down in my stomach, that once awakened cannot be extinguished, echoes within you.