Living Arrows

Living Arrows 2019 – 15/52

Last week was a big one for Rhys.

He went on his first overnight trip with school.  They didn’t go far, just to a place out on the Gower, so we all knew that if it came to it we could go and pick our children up if they really got upset about being away.

But it was still a huge step.

A whole night away from home, with people outside of the family.

He wanted to go as soon as he first heard about it which honestly surprised me a bit.  Most of the time in the run up to it he’d said he was really excited and looking forward to it when we talked about it.

The nerves came at the start of last week when he realised the trip was only days away.  And we did have a few tears.  But he seemed to feel much better once Steve explained to him that what he was feeling was nervous excitement.

Living Arrows

 

On the day of the trip he was just brilliant.

He was clearly still feeling nervous but he gave me a big hug and went into his classroom with his friends with no fuss at all.  I decided not to wait around and wave him off as they all got on the bus, thinking that having that clean break would be better for both of us.

 

What was really lovely is that our school uses Class Dojo, so we were all kept updated throughout the trip with photos of the children and the things they were doing.

They had an absolutely amazing time.  Building dens and learning firelighting skills.  Walking to the beach and creating sand art.  Sleeping in big dorms with all their friends.

 

It felt very strange at home without him for the night, and really odd taking Nerys to school on her own the next morning.  But before I knew it the message came through that they were back at school and we could go and pick them up.

 

I am so proud of Rhys for going and for getting stuck into the whole experience.

He had a brilliant time and really enjoyed all the different activities.  I know he was scared about going, and about being away from us for the night and I’m so impressed with him for being brave and going for it anyway.

 

They say don’t they, that our children often teach us as much about life as we teach them.  And I think one lesson I keep coming back to through my own children is this one of being brave.   That being brave isn’t about not being scared.

It’s about feeling scared but doing the thing anyway.

 

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Living arrows

Living Arrows 2019 – 14/52

I have a feeling I’ll be finding bits of glitter everywhere for the next week.

Nerys went to her friend’s birthday party yesterday and had glitter tattoos on both her arms and glitter all over both cheeks.  So by the time we got home she had dots of the stuff all over her face.  And in her hair.  And on my face where she’d hugged me.

She absolutely loved it though.  This girl is a big fan of sparkles and pretty things.

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I think all but 2 of the girls at the party were wearing their favourite princess dresses and they were all so excited when the special guest arrived.

My friend had arranged for Belle to come and entertain them with the glitter make up and some party games.  They all absolutely loved it and had a brilliant time.  This little group of girls make me smile so much, because one minute they’ll be sat beautifully still, waiting patiently to have a glitter tattoo put on.  Then the next they’ll be bouncing around like loons, dancing like only 4 and 5 year olds can in a game of musical bumps.

It’s just such a lovely age where they seem so completely themselves.

I managed to get these photos of Nerys when we got home, in the last of the late afternoon sunlight in our back garden.

This was just before she burst her heart-shaped balloon wand that Belle made her, which made her burst into tears.  I think both the children are so tired and ready for this last week of term to be over so they can have a little break.  Their resilience just drops completely towards the end of term and things they can normally cope with suddenly become a bit too much.

Are your children on Easter holiday already or do you have another week to go like us?

 

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A month of photos of me

A month of photos 2019 (#ShowYouWereThere)

This year is the fifth year in a row that I’ve completed a little personal photography project in the month of March.

I started back in 2015 calling it the ‘mummy was there’ project.  I felt so strongly about making sure that I actually existed in photos with and for my children, that I wanted to do something to make sure it happened.  So for the month of March I got in a photo every single day.

That first year was hard but I still absolutely love the photos that I took that month.  And so I decided to carry on and complete the project every March.  Since that first year it’s evolved a bit, away from the ‘mummy was there’ title and more tied in with my Instagram community #ShowYouWereThere.

The concept is the same though, to get in a photo, one way or another, every day for the month of March.

Here are the photos from this year’s project:

A month of photos 1

 

A month of photos 2

 

A month of photos 3

 

A month of photos 4

 

A month of photos 5

 

A month of photos 6

 

A month of photos 7

 

I used a remote trigger for most of these photos which definitely makes the whole thing easier than trying to take them with outstretched arms or with the timer.  I did still find it quite hard this year though.  I think with the children getting older I’m finding it harder to take photos with them that feel natural and unposed.

I also found that, with them being in school all day long, I took more photos of just me this year.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but it did make me have to think a bit more creatively to make sure I didn’t end up with 31 almost identical photos of myself.

Looking through this collection of pictures though, I’m pretty pleased.

I think I did get quite a nice variety in the photos in the end that capture me and my life as it was in March quite nicely.  Although it has made me laugh to look back at last year’s photos and realise that some of them are awfully similar to this year’s!

 

This little project of mine is definitely a challenge each time, but it’s something that I’m so happy to make the time to do every year.  I love that there are all these photos from my children’s early years that actually have me in them.

I still feel just as strongly now as I did back in 2015 that it is so important for us parents to exist in photos.

This quote from Sue Bryce always gets me when I read it,

“One day your children will look for photographs of you. What will they have?”

It makes me feel so much better knowing that my children will have photos of me to find on that day in the future when they go looking.

 

When did you last make a point of getting in front of the camera?  If it’s been longer than you’d like then make a point of taking a photo today.

Living Arrows

Living Arrows 2019 – 13/52

I’m a little bit on the back foot this week.

I normally have these Living Arrows posts written and scheduled by Sunday evening.  I like knowing that they’re all done and ready to go come Monday morning.

This week though I basically took Sunday off.

It was Mother’s day after all, and I just wanted to really enjoy the day with my family.  And with the clocks going forward we were all a bit out of sync come bedtime so instead of sitting down at the computer to write this, I sat on the sofa with a glass of wine and caught up with an episode of ‘ this time next year’.

And it was glorious.

In the morning the children excitedly handed me the presents they’d chosen for me at the school Mother’s day shop.  Rhys had picked out a little vase and Nerys had chosen some mermaid sticky notes.  And they’d both made me really lovely cards at school too.

Steve had got some chocolates and wine for me too, on their behalf so I really felt quite spoilt.

After swimming lessons we went to the beach for a walk and for Nerys to find some pebbles to take to school.  Their homework over the weekend was to find one to take in today, apparently for them to decorate and sell at a tabletop sale they’re doing this week for charity.

 

 

We found quite a collection of pebbles in the end, so it took Nerys a while to pick which ones she wanted to take home.  She ended up taking about 5 into school with her this morning because she just couldn’t decide which one she wanted to use.

 

Rhys helped for a bit collecting pebbles then took advantage of the wide expanse of beach in front of him to just run around, practice pretend karate kicks and generally burn off some energy.

He is suddenly in desperate need of a haircut again and I’m wondering if we can hold off until the Easter holidays to have it done or if it’ll need to be an after-school-one-day job.

Living Arrows

 

I do quite like it when his hair gets like this though, the slightly wild look suits him!

He did his 400m badge at his swimming lesson yesterday and we were so proud of him.  He didn’t know he was going to be doing it so all of a sudden he was told to move to a different part of the pool.  Then he spent over 20 minutes just swimming length after length.  He was so tired but he really impressed us with the fact that he kept going.  He was so determined to do it and really proud of himself when he managed it.

I think he slept well last night though after all that swimming and then a good blast of sea air at the beach.

 

As for me, I had a lovely day with my family, with absolutely no regrets about leaving writing this until Monday.  The weekend ended on a good, peaceful note that was just what I needed.  I’d been reading the children ‘The owl who was afraid of the dark’ at bedtime and we finished that last night.  It’s the first time I’ve read a proper chapter book to them and we all really enjoyed it.

Now I’m wondering what book to choose next, let me know if you have any suggestions!

 

 

Living Arrows
Me and mine March 2019

Me and Mine – March 2019

I planned to get our family photos taken the weekend before last, but things didn’t quite go to plan.

You know those days where everyone is just a bit tired and grumpy and really not in the mood to have pictures taken?!  It was one of those days.  So we abandoned the idea and waited until the last day of the month to do it instead.

I’ve learnt over the last few years of doing this project that it’s generally best to do this.  Wait until a time when everyone is in the right mood to take these family photos.  Even if sometimes that means doing them a few days into the next month.

This time though I’m happy that we did manage to squeeze the photos in before March ended.

We took these on a trip to Swansea bay after the children had their swimming lesson on Sunday

me and mine March 2019

 

That last photo makes me laugh so much because it looks like a really nice, natural picture of me and Steve smiling at each other.  It looks like such a genuine moment between us, when actually we were both joking around, doing the whole ‘haha, lets laugh and pretend it’s natural for the photo’ thing.

It seems to have worked quite nicely I think!

 

Living arrows

Living Arrows 2019 – 12/52

Do you ever have those weeks where there’s a slight change in your routine and it throws you completely?

Last week was one of those weeks for me.  The children normally spend Thursday afternoons after school with my in-laws.  This has been the routine for ages now.  But we’re changing things up because Nerys started at Rainbows last Thursday.

One of her friends from school goes to the group that she’s joining so she was really excited to go and see what it was all about.  I wasn’t sure what she would make of it but she came out so happy, declaring that she definitely wants to keep going.

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So as long as she keeps on enjoying it she’ll be going to Rainbows every Thursday afternoon now.  And hopefully after Easter Rhys will be starting at cubs on a Thursday afternoon too.

I spoke to a few of the mums at school whose sons go to cubs already and it sounds like he’ll have a lot of fun there.  He’s already excited about the idea of working towards badges!

 

With Nerys at Rainbows this Thursday the children were with their grandparents on Tuesday instead last week, and then again on Friday.  And it meant I was thrown all week about what day it was.

Sunday at least kept its normal routine of swimming lessons and a trip to the beach and Victoria Park.

The children both did really well with their swimming.  Nerys has come on so quickly and makes us smile so much with how confident she seems in the water.  And Rhys had a bit of a breakthrough with his breathing technique that was brilliant to see.

When we walked along the seafront after their lessons he went on a mission to find the perfect stick, and managed to find this one that was just the right shape and size to be a pretend bow.

Living arrows

 

I do wonder when he’ll stop picking up random sticks and pleading with us to let him bring them home.

We’ve got a whole pile of them in the back garden that he’s brought home from various places.  He would bring a new one home from school most days if I let him.  He’s always picking them up on the short walk to the car.

One day though, I’ll realise that he’s not done it in a while.  The pile in the garden will disappear.  It’s quite sad to think about really.

Which is why I like to take photos like this one of Rhys.

So I have these childhood memories tucked safely away; for that time in the future when there are no more stick piles in our garden.

 

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Living arrows

Living Arrows 2019 – 11/52

I know this is such a clichéd thing to say, but how lovely is it now the afternoons are getting lighter for longer!

We had enough of a break in the rain last week that I was able to take Nerys’ scooter with me when I went to pick the children up from school.  So she had a brilliant time scooting round the playground before we headed back to the car.

Then once we got home she asked if she could stay out and scoot around outside the house for a little bit.  The late afternoon light was gorgeous so I grabbed the camera and called Rhys out so I could take a photo of him while she played.

Living arrows

 

I don’t know if it’s his pose or his expression but he looks so much older to me in this photo.

He’ll be 8 in a little over a month and it feels like he’s in a bit of a transition; still so young in many ways but getting quite grown up in others.  I’m very aware that I need to keep taking little steps back and letting him make his own way, his own choices.  All while letting him know that I’m still right here whenever he needs me.

 

After taking a few pictures of Rhys I managed to get Nerys to stay still long enough to get a few of her before she whizzed off again.

I love this photo of her, the happy smile on her face, the rather windswept hair.

Living arrows

 

She has always been quite independent, wanting to do things for herself.  One of the last few ‘baby phrases’ that she still uses is ‘let I do it’, and she uses it quite a lot.

At her swimming lesson this week she told me with complete confidence that she could walk down to her group by herself without me.  What made me smile though was that, while she walked off happily on her own, she still looked back to make sure I was still right there in case she needed me.

 

My mum has always said to me that our children are only lent to us.

Our job is to give them the skills they need to go out into the world on their own.  To make their own way.  To live their own lives.  They’re not ours to keep or to hold on to too tightly.

If we do it right though, they go out into the world completely safe in the knowledge that whatever happens we’re always here if they need us.

My parents did it right.  I hope I’m doing OK too.

 

Living Arrows