Monthly Archives: July 2012

Moments To Remember

It’s been an insanely busy few weeks, as you can tell by the absolute lack of posting from me! Here are some of our highlights from the last two weeks, as shared on Twitter.

Since receiving my new Amazon Kindle (love, love, love, by the way!) I’ve been reading again! I highly recommend How Mother’s Love – especially if you’re expecting your second or subsequent child!

Despite some really hard things happening in our lives right now, I’m totally loved up on my babies: 

The last few weeks have been riddled with tech issues:

Oh – and motherhood? It’s not all glamour, let me tell you!

Mamatography: Week 29 – Please Leave A Message After The Beep

I’m afraid I had a hard drive crash yesterday and lost absolutely every last bit of everything on my computer. Fortunately I was able to restore to factory setting and get it to come back to life, but all my data was lost. Even more fortunately I had done a back up of all my photos some time last week, meaning that somewhere in the house I have all our photos from the last year. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time yet to reinstall everything I need, so basically, I’m placing all this here as a placeholder, with a promise that before next week I shall return and actually put some photos in.

In the meantime, please visit the other Mamatography participants week in picture posts and leave a comment – I know they’ll appreciate the love!

Oh, and I leave you with this:

Day 194/366 – Mottled Beauty

My biggest girlie, captured in the mottled sunlight under a tree. My heart melts.

 

Mamatography: Week 28 – A Shift In The Waters

A blessed week, filled with female power, nature, babies and beauty.

188/366 – It was THIS big

This picture made me giggle. Ryan is three weeks younger than Aviya, and is one gorgeous little boy. While his brother and her sister were outside pouring the foam from the coloured foam on bubble wrap into the sand and water table and their mamas were running up and down between the four of them, Ryan was telling Aviya a story, and I think the punch line was “Really, Aviya, it was THAT big!”

189/366 – Blessing The Way

The ‘Natural Parenting’ alternative to the babyshower is the blessing way, a meeting together of women to pour out blessings on the mama-to-be and her baby.  Rhiannon was my doula with Aviya’s birth and it was so special being at her Blessingway. We each brought a bead which we gave with a blessing. We joined the mamas together with a red thread, which we were to wear on our ankles or wrists till the baby is born. We each gave her a candle to light while she’s in labour, and then we ate cake while Laura, who hosted the Blessingway did beautiful belly art.  It was a rich, powerful and beautiful experience.

(Btw, baby Imelda was born this morning!)

190/366 – Fish and Water Day

A home-based day today, so we looked over the activities from Andreas Summer Camp at Home to see what we could do.  We made a fish out of a bottle and tissue paper, an octopus out of an old sock and plastic bag. We then watched The Reef, complete with popcorn before having a fishy themed bath, with blue food colouring!

191/366 –  Camping

Oh, I have looked forward to doing this with  my own children! And Ameli just loved it! The week after Ocean is Camping and since we had an afternoon ‘off’, we decided to go on with the Summer Camp theme. I made ‘hot dogs’ out of shortcrust pastry and sausages, and Ameli ‘roasted’ them on the fire, outside of her ‘tent. What fun.

193/366 – Twiddle Dee And Twiddle Dum

Ameli and her little friend Arthur – or Arthfur as she calls him – at Forest Nursery. They are inseparable… and I’m not always sure he is as happy about that! Arthur’s Mama is a very special friend and we just love watching them explore together. Our very own Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum.

Thanks for joining our week in pictures!

Planning For The 'What If'

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future, recently, and in particular about how I should or could be looking after my children. I guess there’s something about having children that puts your mortality into perspective in the starkest way.

One of my favourite movies is A Little Princess, a story about a girl, Sara Crew, whose Dad puts her in the best boarding school while he goes off to war, and makes sure her every need is catered for. He goes missing, presumed dead in the war, and the British government lays claims to his assets, leaving his child a pauper. The headmistress of the boarding school has obvious Daddy-issues and has hated her from the day she arrived, so she takes massive pleasure out of offering to keep this ‘Daddy’s Princess’ on as a servant girl. Of course, being a story, she rises above it and it turns out that her dad is in the house next door, with memory loss.  During a particularly dramatic scene where Sara discovers her dad just as the headmistress wants to have her arrested for stealing – she didn’t – Sara yells “Papa! Papa! It’s me!” … and without fail I break down in tears. E.V.E.R.Y  time.

In a chat with friends, recently, it came to light that while most of us have something in place, none of us really know what exactly we need. So, here’s a composite of our thoughts – I think I need to turn it into a checklist and get on it, really!

1. Final Will And Testament

I guess the first thing you have to think of ‘in the event of’ is where your children will go. It’s a horrible thought, but it must be discussed. In our group it seems to be one of the most wrestled with topics. Many of us live far from our families, and it could be a good few days or weeks before they even knew something had happened! What happens to our children?

I can’t find any actual guidance on this, but I have been told that if you are incapacitated and have been identified, your GP will be notified. You can have next of kin for your children listed with your GP and ‘they’ will be able to notify your family that way.

Deciding who to leave in charge of our children has been one of the most difficult decisions for us, but this should be listed in a will, following discussions. You can leave your children with someone and leave their financial concerns with a different person, or both with the same person.

Most banks will help you set up a will, and it’s well recommended to do so.

2. Money, money,  it’s so funny in a rich man’s world

Most people have a life insurance policy which you can pay in to every month, and then your family receive a lump sum pay out when you die – look at something like Comparethemarket.com to see what the best available options are for you.  This will help toward funeral expenses, certainly, but will also go to the executor of your estate – preferably someone mentioned in your will as someone you trust – so that it can be used to keep your children, look after their education and so on. You can also decide to put the money in a trust for them so that they can access it when they are 18 or 21, but that might put a huge burden of financial responsibility on the legal guardians! (It seems so hard to know the right thing to do, doesn’t it!?

3. Mothers! Plan for your CHILDREN!

Something that I think is really important for mothers especially is making sure your money reaches your children.  A few years back, I had a friend who told me her story, and I learned a really important lesson from it: don’t leave your money to your spouse, leave it to your children!

My friend’s mother died when she was 15, leaving all her payouts to her husband. He remarried 2 years later, when my friend was 17 to someone with three children of her own.  Three years after that, when my friend was 20, her father had a sudden heart attack, leaving his pay out and assets to his wife – his children’s stepmother.  She gave my friend and her two older siblings nothing, investing it all for her own children.  Bonus for her, sure, but his children were left out in the cold. They had no family home to return to and there wasn’t even money to help her for her final two years in university, which her dad had been paying.

I am pretty certain that that had not been her father’s intention and as a mother I’d be turning in my grave knowing that everything I’d saved for my girls never reached them.

So… wills and life insurance, legal guardians and money – what else is there to think of? What other things do you have in place should the worst happen and someone else has to take care of your little ones? 

Saying Goodbye, Saying Hello

I realise today, again, that the me I was no longer is. Motherhood has killed off much of my previous self, and while that is sometimes something I struggle with, today I’m feeling acceptance. Rather than resignation to this fact, I feel almost relief, a little bit of joy.

It’s like a clean canvas, on which can be drawn, anything.

It’s like a fire that ravages an old building, from which can be built something new.

Has it taken me two years, almost three, to truly embrace the new me? No, perhaps it’s a process, and perhaps tomorrow I’ll wonder again where on earth this thing is taking me, but with the knowledge that yesterday for a few hours I felt good about the opportunity to start afresh, leaving behind the responsible child I was, the obedient teen, the angry young adult, the partially messed up and at times rather screwy young woman. It’s an opportunity to leave behind destructive habits, negative self-image, painful relationships.

And then it’s an opportunity to start again, to rebuild, to pick through the ashes of an old life, and decide what I want to carry forward with me, what I want to pass on to my innocent children. To determine the outcome rather than drift along on the wind.

The old me has died, and I’ve known that for a long time. Perhaps it’s inappropriate to feel happy on the event of your own death. Perhaps it’s not the done thing to pat yourself on the back. It’s unusual, in the least, to acknowledge that you’re adrift and alone. But the blank canvas, the open road, the endless opportunity fills me with something I recognise as excitement.

Here lies my heart:

I make no apologies.

Long may she live.

Dear Aviya – Letter To A Four Month Old

Dear Aviya,

I realised with horror this morning that you’re almost 4 months old now and I’ve not written you a letter in ages. People always said with my second child I wouldn’t do the same and I vowed they’d be wrong. I intend to keep that promise to myself, for you, and to keep writing to you, but I’ll be honest and tell you that I sometimes just don’t have time. Every first thing you do is a beautiful gift to Mama and I treasure it deep in my heart.

So what are those firsts?

How To Make The Most Of A Very Wet Summer

I’ve often said that I’m not very ‘crafty’ and don’t really enjoy too much ‘messy’ play, but any parent to a toddler knows that that just comes with the territory – either that, or your child’s not having much fun. It’s been a learning experience for me, and I must admit, it’s growing on me. Now that Aviya is getting a little older and is able to do real crafts, it’s almost fun.

I started a series recently called Andrea’s Summer Camp At Home. It came about when an old friend of mine, who now lives in Canada with her two boys, aged 5 and 2 decided that to survive the 12 weeks of summer holiday she would need a plan. Others quickly jumped on board and soon Andrea’s Summer Camp At Home was born.

 

Welcome to the July 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Creations

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared crafts, recipes, and philosophies of creativity. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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There’s a theme for each week, which has been awesome, and an activity for each day, and the best part of it has been the flexibility. We’re really enjoying it.

Here are some of our activities from week 1: Ice Cream.

Our home made ice cream truck, painting with water beads in the bath, decorating ‘ice cream’ cupcakes, (Bottom left:) making ice cream balloon shakers, cut and paste water bead ice cream cones and glitter pen ice cream, coloured popsicles. 

And here are a few activities from week 2: Wild Animals  (We actually did very few of the week two activities, and added a few of our own out of our craft box!)

Home made playdough, painting toilet rolls with glitter glue, decorated and drying, (bottom left:) painted frog, looking at the frog through the now dried binoculars, give a child two cups – one with animal shapes, one with bells – and sit back and watch what they get up to. Amazing. 

We’re now in week 3: Ocean theme and so far we’ve had two fishy-dinners this week. I work the first half of the week, so crafty fun has to happen towards the end of the week, but we’re looking forward to it. You can see what we’ll be doing though and feel free to join in! If you want more information on ASCAH, read the first post about it. You can join in at any point, too!

 

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon July 10 with all the carnival links.)

  • Garden Soup — Bailey finds a way to help momma Katy (from Muse of a Daffodil) in the garden.
  • This One Time, I Tried To Make a Car — Ashley at Domestic Chaos tries once again to make something crafty from stuff around the house.
  • Pin-tastic creative ideas — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how Pinterest is inspiring creativity in her family this summer.
  • Baby Hiccups In The Womb — Alinka at Baby Web shares one of the ways she bonds with her unborn baby.
  • Turtle Mosaics — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school and her little family spend a quiet hour making a turtle mosaic inspired by the work of Melanie Mikecz.
  • Edible Art Plus 8 Art Supply Recipes — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares some natural, chemical-free art supply alternatives, which are gauranteed to be tons of fun for children or all ages. They taste great too!
  • A surprise art lesson — Tat at Mum in search has been taking art lessons from her 5-year-old son.
  • Memory Creation — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about how her family aims to create as many memories as they can as a family.
  • A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words — Melissa at Momma Beer tries to replace cars with crafts.
  • My Creative Family: Sometimes Messy, Always Fun — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM embraces the messes that sometimes accompany creative play but admits you don’t always have to get dirty to have fun.
  • Fun Family Learning: Constellation Cave Tutorial — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter gives step-by-step instructions for building a fun new twist on a cardboard box playhouse.
  • Cooking… Kind Of — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings makes pizza with her daughter, hoping to inspire a love of cooking and encourage a bigger interest in food. As well as making mess and having lots of fun, of course!
  • Crockpot Refried BeansThat Mama Gretchen‘s family loves to experiment with new recipes, and today she’s sharing a kitchen success!
  • Creating Memories — Andrea at Tales of Goodness reflects on how the best creations can emerge from just letting kids be kids.
  • Making Beautiful Things … And Sometimes Just Average-Looking Ones — Tamara at Tea for Three looks for ways to add more craft and creativity into every day family life.
  • Making Fruit Leather Together — When Amy Willa at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work took some time to involve her children in the process of finally trying a fruit leather recipe stored on her Pinterest food board, she got more than just a scrumptious homemade snack as a result!
  • Making Glasses from Children’s Art — Mandy at Living Peacefuly with Children used her children’s artwork to make some very special glasses for her husband for Father’s Day.
  • Preparing Family Meals Together — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares how she started the tradition of creating meals together with her children, which makes family gatherings more fun.
  • It’s a trap! — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares the innovative snares her son and husband have set for her.
  • How To Make The Most Of A Very Wet Summer — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shows us the first few weeks of the Summer Camp At Home project for keeping boredom at bay.
  • Creating with… well, what do we have? — If necessity is the mother of invention, Momma Jorje thinks perhaps boredom is (or at least can be) the mother of creativity. In a pinch, she got creative with a household item to entertain herself and her toddler.
  • Creating Joy! Felt Counting Fish and other Fun — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle started creating Felt Counting Fish and then fell down the rabbit hole of fun with a number of other games.
  • I Am Going! (A Code Name: Mama Homemade Theater Production of Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie book) — This might be the finest example of child and baby acting ever recorded. Enjoy this Mo Willems treasure via video from Dionna at Code Name: Mama.
  • DIY Summer Sleep Sack for Baby Tutorial — Shannon at GrowingSlower made an organic summer sleep sack for baby, and you can too with her easy tutorial.
  • Chalk It Up! — Amy at Anktangle recounts how an impulse buy has turned into a fun collaborative activity that she hopes will continue to foster creativity in the whole family.
  • The Family Garden — Excited that her son has been a big help in the garden this year, Ana at Pandamoly shares how her garden grows and offers up some secrets on how a toddler can be a great assistant in the garden.
  • Getting my craft on — Jona at Life, Intertwined takes a trip down memory lane — and finds it in stitches.
  • Easy DIY Sandpit for Toddler Play — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares her easy DIY toddler sandpit tutorial.
  • Building Without Nails — Laura at Laura’s Blog builds a swinging bar using just sticks and twine.
  • Family Talent Show — Erika at Cinco de Mommy holds an after-dinner family talent show.
  • Ar matey! Fun and Learning with Pirate Play. Positive Parenting Connection is sharing lots of really fun Pirate-themed learning activities for the whole family.

 

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