Back2basics

Hello there!  This blog has again been silent for some time; write a few posts, radio silence for months, repeat(!) seems to be the name of my game for some time.

It frustrates me.  This blog is a journal for our family and an important creative outlet for me.  But somewhere in the flurry of life it gets brushed by and mainly remains a thorn in my side for its lack of being.  It’s a crappy way to feel about something that’s meant to capture inspiration, reflection and generally be a good thing.

Blog identity and time are the main things I’m grappling with.  Pregnancy and early parenting days morphed some really random blog musings into a more focused diary of life from bump to basics.  But with M starting school in September and the kids at 4 and 6 years, we are now a fair way from bump and I feel like I need to get back to basics about what this space is about.

There are some blogs out there I’ve read for a long time.  Others I find on Instagram, recommendations or sporadic surfing.  Lots of voices, lots of genres, lots of food for thought (which is something that I love about blogging) and ultimately, lots of confusion for me about where I fit in to this global ecosystem.  It’s all a bit overwhelming if you give it too much thought, and that in turn is immobilising.

But that’s wrong!  If I love writing, which I genuinely do, that’s simply what I must do.  I’ve always asserted that this blog is about the mothering, and that’s what I still want.  To capture our family adventures, inspirations and challenges.  To record the gems that the kids come out with.  To talk about things that I like in the context of family life: fitness, renovating our new home, music… To reflect on differences between raising my kids here in the UK versus my upbringing in New York, and how I remain my own woman amongst the whir of life.

This is my angle, so now to use my voice!  Please say hello and join in the discussion if you happen to visit my slice of the Internet.  I hope that my musings may connect with others that find my little slice of the Internet.

From Bump2Basics, to Back2Basics!

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Friday Funnies: sweet imagination

The other night C read her book on igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock like a cowgirl.  As in Howdy Partner.  Just because.

Last week M came home from the babysitter’s wearing a ‘wedding ring’ on his ring finger.  Apparently the children decided to marry him and one of his little loves before dinner.  It was an outdoor affair, very free spirited.  When he got home and remembered his first and other little love, the ring came off.

C’s very into mothering at the moment and has been pootling around with her two babies in tow.  She feeds them and changes them and then feeds her favourite Beanie Babies (strange kind of scary things, the smaller the better in my view!) for good measure.  But then tells me she’s not getting married or having children.  Apparently she’s going to “live with lots of cats.”

M has decided he likes to double and triple an animal / robot.  This manifests itself in various ways: anything from being a dog on a  leash to a horse that his sister attempts to ride to grabbing onto our builder’s leg and talking in code.

And of course there are copious references to things magical and Silly Town, a world they’ve built that knows only their boundaries.

Random, sweet imagination.  It’s like a spoonful of sugar for every day life.

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The two sides of “The Force”

M and I are at our local playground and he’s insisted in me pushing him on one of the baby swings. He loves the swings and can go on for ages, and took this opportunity to loudly dissect the nature of the good versus bad side of The Force while I silently cringed.

I mentioned in M’s birthday poem that we threw him a Star Wars themed party. He’s been bitten with the Star Wars bug, big time, and has seen the original three movies plus the recently released ‘The Force Awakens.’

Star Wars is probably the most dark / violent movie that we’ve shown C and M, but we opened the floodgates after watching The Force Awakens sans children and remembering our mutual awe at the original trilogy growing up. So we thought we’d try the films out on our reasonably robust children.

But I’m also aware that the films are probably too adult and scary for some kids.  And ironically, M chose that moment in a crowded park with lots of 2 -3 year olds to muse about why there was a dark side to The Force and what it resulted in (in his analysis, people doing mean things and some Ewoks dying).  I could see the other adult glances.

After an initial wave of guilt and sheepishness, I got over myself and ploughed on with our conversation. I asked M if the films were make believe, and he confirmed they were. We discussed The Force as having a light and dark side, and how the dark side represented those who’d strayed from their morals and leading a kind life. Then we talked about how Darth Vader came back from the dark side in the end, realising the error of his ways. So it was reflective but reasonably light.  Sort of.

Have your kids seen Star Wars and did it precipitate interesting chat?

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Friday Funnies: telling jokes

C and M are enamoured by telling jokes at the moment.  But let me be clear.  The essence of what a joke is, beyond generating laughter, is still lost on them.  There is no sensible punchline.

I give you M:

Why did the car cross the road?  Mrs Miggins! (now he’s talking to me) Listen, hahahah.  Why did the car cross the road?  

Why?

So he could gas in your face!!  Hahahahahahaha!!!!! 

Knock Knock?

Who’s there?

Smelly face.

Smelly face who?

SILLY smelly face?

Thanks M.  How about one not about smells?….

Why did the face cross the road?

Why?

It was a silly face!  Hahahahhah  

Ok buddy… Credit where credit is due, he’s got the heartiest, dirty old man laugh and that is infectious.  And yes, he calls me Mrs Miggins.  I’ve got my father-in-law to thank for that!

Then C has a crack.  Two years older, two years wiser right?

Why did the giraffe cross the road?

Why?

Because it was a jungle giraffe road hahahaha!

This will go on and on.  Save us!

 

 

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Wanderlust, family and the modern era

Today’s technology makes it much easier to live away from people that you love.

When I met Chris in 1999 there was no Skype or FaceTime. We met in the UK where he lived, but I soon returned to the States so we built our friendship, and eventual relationship at a distance. I came away from that period with a pretty sweet stockpile of actual letters and a huge phone bill, but when I think back on it compared to what’s available 17 years later it’s pretty staggering.

Now we regularly FaceTime with my family in the States a few times a week. C and M only see their grandparents once a year, but there is no ‘warming up’ period required. Technology has allowed for that. You can be on different continents but still in the same room.

Having built a home away from home on these shores, there is still a bit of latent wanderlust within me. Before I met Chris it was my intention to study in Spain and travel. Then England captured my heart and plans of wider travel turned into lots of trips to England.

And lately when I’ve heard of friends and acquaintances  planning to relocate further afield in pursuit of a different lifestyle, part of my heart pangs with desire. The adventurous, entrepreneurial part of me nags…”is this something that could work for our family?” The anchored, sensible part of me replies…”could we uproot the kids, jobs?!?!, could we bear living abroad from the home we’ve built here and be even further away from both of our families?”  Not to mention we’ve only today entered phase 2 of project house renovate (more on that another day).

My parents have supported me to live my own life and be happy, even if it means I live across an ocean and they don’t see me that much. When I think of how I’d feel if C or M make the same decision some day, I hate it and my heart aches. But with this perspective comes an appreciation and determination to support them in the same way.

As for our family, wanderlust considered, we don’t have plans to permanently up sticks and move abroad. If we went anywhere, it would be the States.  This is something we’ve thought about over time but haven’t done for various reasons.  And with the current Trump threat, most of my family and friends are looking to escape the country!

But I’m still curious. If we had the chance to relocate further afield for a year and then return to a secure situation while the kids are at a reasonably young age, I’d love that kind of adventure…

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