Me and Mine - A Family Portrait Project September
We live in a little village in the countryside. A village full of farming history and the most spectacular viewpoint over the fields of corn and cows and bales of hay. Our house was one of the original dairy farmers homes and his daughter who once slept in the boys' attic bedroom, still lives in the village in the cottage behind us. Every year the village holds an annual Harvest festival lunch to honour all the farmer's hard work and take stock of the year gone by. And that's what I feel September has been in house too. Hard work, reflection and planning for the year ahead.
I feel like I have waited a whole month to share these photos on the blog. And every time I look at them, they make me take a sharp in take of breath. Big boys, in big boy school shoes, with big boy long socks and little boy grazed knees beneath their shorts.
We said we needed a reboot in September.
Time to get back into routine, get on top of the rolling to do list that had to be sidelined somewhat during the school summer holidays and make definite decisions about the next 12 months.
When you work from home there are so many distractions especially when the house has it’s own never ending to do list! So we decided to get the lovely team of decorators who made over our offices (which I still need to show you!) back to give the hallway a new lease of life. It connects our lounge and family living space, both of which feel like us. We’ve painted, decorated and changed the way the rooms are used from the previous owners. In fact September was the anniversary of us getting the keys and on the very day, the lady who lived here for the past 30 years came back to the village for the first time. She popped in for a walk around the garden she adored, approved of all our updates and renovations and it was heart warming to see how much she obviously cherishes the memories they made in these four walls. As she left she said “I knew you would make changes and I knew they would be lovely, because you just love the house so much!”
So we have plans for the next few months, to get the house ready for winter so we don’t spend another 3 months going to bed in hoodies and socks! But we have held off until we felt the boys had started to settle at their new school.
A year ago Sammy started at the village school about 20 minutes away. For the first 3 weeks we tag teamed living in a B&B during the school week a few miles from the school until we completed on the house. Incredibly our confident boy settled into that crazy schedule with ease and within weeks had made firm friends. We knew moving him again for the third time in 3 years was going to be a challenge but we also knew it was the best decision for him long term and quite remarkably our floppy haired 6 year old has sailed through another change. He’s had a party invitation, a play date after school and every morning I chase after them as they run into school. Yes run! Every day is a new adventure, Ollie came home yesterday with tales of tennis, cricket and badminton and Sammy has joined the swimming club and started learning the violin. Eeek. We may need a hip flask to get through the concert at the end of the half term!
They both have found friends, we joke in the playground that they all look the same. Bouncy hair that always looks in need of a brush, shirts untucked great huge school bags that look like tortoise shells on their backs. It feels like they have the world at their feet. So many from the primary school go on to the feeder secondary together and I knew I had made my own firm friend when one of the mums text me in the first week saying I can’t wait to watch our boys grow up together.
It may sound silly but I feel like I have found a best friend. We even wore an identical outfit on the school run the other day and have been blasting each other with messages in the evening even though we will see each other the next morning!
I can be myself, blast in my print leggings and yellow mac like a giant bumble bee, hair off to a photo shoot, development meeting or blog event in a rush and no one bats an eyelid. They’ve all accepted me into their gang just as I am.
And our boys have made us so proud. There’s so much they do at school that we know nothing about really. I am like the Spanish Inquisition in the car on the way home but sometimes they aren’t very forthcoming! I am desperate to know their day minute by minute! But I guess it’s rather nice that they have this world without us, finding their independence.
Bar a slight incident with Ollie, a pair of pants, and the school toilets begin blocked, we’ve and nothing but encouraging reports. Nice table manners, kindness to classmates, enthusiasm for learning new sports and strong bonds being formed already.
We take an extra minute some days as they head to the lower school hall to read books before it’s time to head to their classrooms to scan the walls for their artwork (“Mama” said Ollie the other day, “They call painting art! But it’s painting!”) and snap a photo. I know we will get it all in a folder at the end of term but it just makes our hearts burst at their observations. The big front tooth on Sammy’s self portrait and his interpretation of what you love” was a story about him and his little brother, when everyone else drew just themselves.
We had a feeling over the summer that we were letting them down in some way, hoofing them off to kid’s clubs to keep on top of work, battling with them to try and explain why some mummies work and some don’t. But when I see how they are flourishing I know we haven’t done such a bad job. I said to a friend yesterday, “We are all just doing our best and learning as we go.” I’ve never had a 6 year old before and the different type of tantrums and attitude that goes with this new phase. We are all figuring parenting out!
Life feels good. The boys are thriving, soaking up everything their new school has to offer. The tea brand has just popped up on two of the nations best loved and respected websites in their Christmas hampers and everyday I look in wonder at my emails and enquiries for new photography clients and collaborations for the blog.
I am off to Honeybuns today to finish their Christmas photography and next week I am off to Manchester for the night for an exciting stay away. More on that asap! I have realised how much I have been absorbed in work in September and I miss my friends so much. So we have booked up our calendar until Christmas with lovely catch ups, weekends away and on Friday I am off for 2 nights to Southbourne with my lovely girlfriends from Weston. Hooray for sunshine and glasses of bubbly at the beach hut!
This month I want to send you to one of my fellow mama's of blue ones! Oh tiny blue babies make my heart ache. Pop over to Alex's blog. She writes with such passion, about her family and her boys. She too is married to her sweetheart and they had a terrible scare this weekend. I am just so glad all is ok.
Come and share your family photos with us, life is so precious and I will treasure all these photos.