21/52

A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2014…

Reed_22mos.8Finn_baseball badgeAlina_tutu skirtBaby #4_33w+5//Reed: toddler-sized pincer grasp clutching a rose-coloured wildflower —sublime.

//Finnlagh: wearing his personal baseball badge with great pride.

//Alina: resident ballerina lifting airy layers of tulle.

//Baby#4: big belly, black tea, beach bucket and bright sunshine (33w+5d)

XO,

N&N

 

Joining in with Jodi of Practising Simplicity

52projecticon

22 Months **

Reed_22mosReed_22mos.15 Reed_22mos.2 Reed_22mos.1 Reed_22mos.3 Reed_22mos.4 Reed_22mos.5 Reed_22mos.6 Reed_22mos.9 Reed_22mos.10 Reed_22mos.11 Reed_22mos.12There is a fair-haired and very mischievous little elf that wanders around our garden, scouring it for pink and purple wildflowers, stopping now and again to pluck off a perfect bloom. He collects them and offers the posey to me with a resounding “Mamaaaa…Love Flowers. Here go!” Just like that, I could care less about whether not he picks every poppy, daisy or gilia. I should be cringing, but there would be no point. There is something so endearing about a toddler discovering the world around him, and developing a sense of appreciation for those very things that adorn our everyday lives.  “We can add them to our flower press,” I tell him, and then he brings me all the ones he can find. Always purple first — it is, afterall, my favourite colour, and if Reed is anything he is a very astute young man who knows his mama’s daily routine and aesthetic tastes fairly well.

Halfway through his 22nd month, this boy is growing up, and yet still very much our darling baby. Yes, it is true he will cease to be the ‘baby of the family’ in less than 6 weeks, but then again, all of our children are still very much our babies —no matter how old they get. He is quick as a bunny, a budding Picasso who draws and adorns walls/paper/coffee tables with very deliberate and concentrated markings. Reed even requires a notebook and pens in the car, and once he’s done, lets his big sister or brother help him ‘sign’ his name on his finished masterpiece.

If you have something, well he’d like it very much please, especially if they are scissors, batteries or dvd discs he can toss like a frisbee. Is that a tabletop I can clear off with one swipe of my arm? Why yes. Do go ahead and throw absolutely everything you can find on the floor, and then get up on top of a too-high surface, shake your naked tushie, and tap dance. By all means!

We do give in to assuage him to avoid that throwing-back-your-head thing our children have seemed to do as toddlers when things aren’t quite going to plan. Grant and I will choose avoiding injuries over ‘discipline’ and ‘making a point’ any day of the week. As I have touched on previously, we practice attachment-style parenting which lends to a very natural, emotional sense of security for the child, but also develops independence and trust. Luckily, for now he is very easily brought out of his itty-bitty tantrums (thankfully!) and still eats, takes bubble baths and nurses with great gusto. He calls himself “Me Me” most of the time (but will answer to a huge variety of nicknames we’ve got for him, from ‘Pas en tout’ to ‘Toodles’). He’s recently started saying his own name, which is positively the sweetest thing; my heart simply melts.

Reed Anders: you have us constantly in awe of what a dear, dear soul you are. You are a bright light… a shining, wide-eyed, pursed-pouty-lips totally inquisitive boy who wants to do everything we are doing, see everything as we see it, and tell us about it all in an unending stream of delightful toddler banter. Flooding the bathroom and pulling the cat’s tail..? Getting your parents up at 3am so you can eat cereal bars and play? Not exactly your best choices, but we’ve all got a little bluster in us, haven’t we? Let’s roll with it.

XO,

N&N

 

 

Monday’s Moment

A single moment captured in a photograph. Candid and fleeting, this will always be a special moment in time…

Reed dumps water_May18:2014The magical properties of water are bound to delight, no matter what the age. It almost looks as if cellophane is rippling out of Reed’s bucket and peeling off into the sunshine, not like ordinary salt water spilling onto the warm surface of the sand. He dumped his water, fetched more from the ocean, and repeated this game over and over, never tiring of the results.

XO,

N&N

 

20/52

A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2014…

Reed_18May2014Finn beach gladiator_18May2014Alina surf jump_18May2014Baby#4_32weeks+5//Reed: arriving at the beach with Papa and reaching out gleefully for the ocean

//Finnlagh: not quite sure how he came to choose a gladiator hat as a suitable accessory, but anything goes on a Sunday morning

//Alina: surf jumper extraordinaire, captured at just the right moment

//Baby#4: marking 32weeks+5 with a whole lot of love

XO,

N&N

Joining in with Jodi of Practising Simplicity

52projecticon

 

 

Playing catch-up

20140516-165937.jpgI’m not quite sure how we’ve already gotten to Friday this week, but I certainly won’t contest it. Everything has been just a little bit off in terms of timing, mostly complicated by a great deal of things that need doing and have to get done in line with some very definite timelines. First and foremost on the agenda has been a massive overhaul of our cottage in preparation for the new baby’s arrival, which we began working on several weeks ago.

We want our house to feel more like a kind of spartan vacation retreat with the bare necessities as opposed to a cozy, lived-in home (which might sound a bit weird to most people, but for us, is an absolute necessity).  Life can get pretty full with the five of us rattling around the same small place (and small it is!); we have realised over time that while we enjoy things like having our books on display and other such items readily accessible, that unless we are using them on a daily basis, the real estate of our home is simply too expensive and too precious to accommodate — every square inch matters. We have left some things out but boxed up most others  and put them away into our storage units, thereby providing clear sight lines and a deep, long exhale of breath for me.

The same strategy was applied to our kitchen. With a chef in the family, we certainly have our fair share of gizmos and gadgets, but even Grant agreed that unless an item is a workhorse for us, it has to disappear for a while. I couldn’t agree more. Our living room has been stripped down to simply a couch and throw pillows, arm chair, coffee table, area rug, piano, tv + console, baby swing (for #4) and floor lamps. We had incorporated a play area for Reed all of these months, but it has become more and more clear that for a child like him who derives immense enjoyment from playing with measuring cups and tablespoons, hanging off the oven door, pushing around furniture and getting into mischief, drawing on the walls and streaking through our back garden with the hose on ‘mist’…that it wasn’t utterly important anymore to have a designated area that just makes us all crazy to clean up on a thrice-daily basis. Let’s face it: at 8-months pregnant, I can’t even see the floor, or what I’m stepping on half of the time, including the poor cat! As the third child, Reed has not been inundated with an oversupply of toys and things; we have all been careful to curb our spending habits so that he has a small but good stock of high quality wooden and heirloom toys, favourite books, clothing and not a great deal more.

Alina and Finnlagh have gotten lovely new beds and a brand new set-up in their bedroom, one that is streamlined and very easy to clean up. Hopefully this will also simplify our lives and give us back a bit of time in the sense that beyond my putting away their laundry and making their beds, the rest is really up to them. Their library of books is now housed in their walk-in closet (an idea I had to prevent Reed from completely destroying their shelves day after day) and they have a bare minimum of favourite toys. To be honest, at the ages of 7.5 and 5.5, our two big kids are not that into toys. They mostly prefer their books and a little snuggly stuffy friend to cuddle with, doing artwork or gross motor-type activities playing outside. We did a massive sweep through their toys and have exchanged a tonne of things at a local re-use toy shop that gives us store credit or cash for the things we bring in. With the money or credit they can pick up some gently used items they might prefer instead (or save for something they really want), and it also gives them a sense of responsibility and a small dose of financial savvy.

Alina did feel terribly upset when we went through her dolls and basically decided to donate all but one or two of her most special ones. This led to a much-needed conversation I’d been meaning to have with her for a while. I explained to her that while in theory she likes the idea of dolls, she has never actually taken to playing with them, but rather, convinced herself that she wanted/needed to own them.  She felt embarrassed about this realisation, like she had somehow disappointed us, until I explained that playing with dolls and incessantly brushing their hair is not a special requirement for being a little girl. Toy stores and tv commercials might lead you to believe that it is, but in actuality, you like what you like — and that’s it. Using her time to read, dance or engage in computer programming are all things which make her really happy, and she shouldn’t have to substitute those things for something that doesn’t.

As for Grant and me, we are finally learning to prioritise ourselves (at least a tiny, wee bit) and have done some serious work on organising our own bedroom and making it a retreat. Because we move so often, our master bedroom is always the last priority in the house. This has always made us absolutely miserable, because we are in desperate need of a space where we can work on the magazine, watch films late at night or simply relax together. Reed also sleeps with us, but we have now given him an area of our bedroom with his own toddler bed, books, etc. that we hope he can transition into over the next couple of months.

Slowly but surely, we’ll get there…

XO,

N&N

19/52

A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2014…

Reed_pinata fury20140511-180111.jpgAlina_Mother'sDay2014

IMGP4104

//Reed: the precise moment he learned that he needed to stop hitting the piñata and let someone else have a go at it. Very real emotions indeed.

//Finnlagh: waiting patiently outside the auditorium until it was his sister’s turn to perform in the Spring concert. He was very proud that he “looked sharp.”

//Alina: my first-born posing with one of the many handmade gifts she made me this Mother’s Day. Inside this envelope are beautiful hand-printed notecards, complete with cupcakes and MOM tattooed across them.

//Baby #4: taken at the start of Week 31 several days ago. I was sure to wear my colourful dress for our Cinco de Mayo festivities.20140511-213505.jpgHappy Mother’s Day! I awoke this morning to a toddler latched onto me nursing, my bedside table covered in handmade flowers and cards, and not-so-quiet sounds coming from the kitchen: “SHHH! You’ll wake her up!” The big kids came charging into my room, wished me their best greetings and hurried me outside to the surprise that awaited me on the patio. Chef Grant and the children had gotten up extra early and prepared a lovely and thoughtful breakfast of heirloom tomato salad (complete with edible flowers), smoked sausages, grilled bread cheese, avocado, Ojai pixie tangerines, chocolate croissants, and my very favourite chai tea. The table was adorned with baskets of miniature roses and a generous vase of sunflowers.

This is a very special post for me today, and for all the mommy bloggers who are participating in The 52 Project. For my family, these are the four little blessings we have in our lives brought front and centre— the high-spirited, extraordinary children that have made me a mother and forever given me a greater purpose in life. Although our fourth child is on the way, this is in fact my sixth pregnancy.  On Mother’s Day in particular, I also mourn the two babies that we lost due to unexplained miscarriages and hold them close in my heart. We have always wanted four children and feel now that our lives are brimming with a gentle whirlwind of joy and chaos —there is no greater happiness than today.

ps: This is the Tree of Life necklace from Birth Designs. “Where there is love there is life” is a quote from Mahatma Gandi and it could not be more appropriate. Whenever the older children ask how they came to be in my tummy and birthed, we always explain that they are the products of the love that Grant and I share for eachother (a good cover until we really have to explain the birds and the bees, although Alina is 7.5 years-old and pretty much onto the idea already). Grant had this necklace made for me for Mother’s Day in 2009 (when we still had just Alina and Finnlagh). Since then we’ve added Reed’s name. We had to get a different jeweler to add it, and while it doesn’t exactly match, the important thing is that he is included. If you glance at the upper right of the circle, you can see that there is space for one more name… a name which we have already picked out for the little man who will make his appearance come early July…

XO,

N&N

20140511-213512.jpg

 

Joining in with Jodi of Practising Simplicity

 

52projecticon