Sunday, 31 August 2008

Last Of The Summer

So. Here we are on the eve of the first day of school. The holidays are over and I am sitting at the kitchen table looking out at the clearing skies, the rain blowing slowly off the hills, and the children creep out into the garden. Maria Callas is playing and I'm finding the tragedy and drama just right for my mood, (he he). I also find myself reflecting on the last eight weeks. Even though we don't necessarily see it as it happens, there are small changes, momentous changes, in each of us.

For The Eldest, this summer was about turning twelve. Preparing to enter his final year in primary school. He spent the summer devouring Enid Blyton books: most of the Famous Five, Some of the 'Adventure' books, and some of the 'Secret' books. He got his first phone. And he made a film!

For My Only Girl, this summer she turned ten. She got a new, grown-up haircut. She was reunited with some old friends. She re-read most of the Harry Potter books, by herself. She not only went to her first concert, but she got to see her heroine, Avril Lavigne, live on stage.

For The Little One, this summer was about finishing up in playschool and getting ready to start 'big school'. He made some new friends. He discovered he loves Marvel comics, and especially loves the villains! He has learned that although he is no longer the 'littlest', he is somewhere in between, and not quite sure where that is yet.

And for sweet baby, The Smallest, this summer he learned to walk! He learned the meaning of 'wet', and of 'it's raining'. He started singing. He discovered cars. And he learned that it's much more fun to feed himself. And he now has a list of about eight or ten recognisable words.

It's been fun, relaxing, wet, too short, quiet, with lots of hometime, and a wee bit of cabin fever thrown in from time to time. I am torn between rejoicing at getting back to the routine, and feeling like it wasn't long enough. We rode on trains, we 'festival-ed', we swam, we hung out, we baked, we read lots. We wouldn't have minded a bit more swimming, and a bit less rain. But we are ready to face the Autumn and a new year of sorts.

And we hope you can be there with us to share it.

A Week Of Pictures.

Friday, 29 August 2008

The Sun Came Out.

It did. Finally.

We were like starving creatures,
we grabbed it with both hands.

It gives them wings to fly, releasing them from our birdcage house,
free to fly, to fly, to fly.

How easily we slip back into it's warmth.
Savouring it like a balm.

Did I even realise how it's absence made me sad?

Sometimes, happiness is simply this simple.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

I'm Still Here!

Gosh. That is the longest I've gone without blogging here! I suppose the reason is two-fold. First I realised that I have nothing organised for next back-to-school Monday. Really. Nothing. I'm a bit of a last minute girl generally. But there is also an element of sticking my head in the sand. I mean, the summer has been a complete wash-out, and while I am for the first time ever actually looking forward to getting the children back to school, simply to get them out of my hair, I am also kind of resenting the fact that we had such a wet summer with very few beach days or picnics.

The other reason is, as I mentioned above, I've decided I really need to get myself back on the 'making' track as I have really and truly slid off over the last few months. So tonight I am reorganising my work space, and in the next week or two I hope to finally get some proper storage in place, as everything is in bags and boxes and therefore impossible to find.

I have a few projects about to commence too. One is a monthly gathering of friends for a night of stitchery, here in my place. This should be fun, and I hope to have some pictures to share with you.

Another project is an exhibition myself and my dear friend Liz Kavanagh are organising of Mother Art. A kind of a 'Where-Have-You-Been? exhibition of artist friends who are now also Mothers and may not have been making much artwork in the last few years. I am very excited about it and will be sharing it with you as it comes to life.

In short. I will be posting less frequently, but I will be posting. And I will still be visiting your blogs. And this is a temporary situation. So do still check in, as I hope to have lots of creative wonders to share.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

A Poke Around The Soggy Garden

What a strange summer it's been. Here we are with just over a week left until the first day of September, and the first day of school, and I could count on one hand how many times we've been to the beach. (Have I said this before?) I feel as though I've spent the whole time waiting for the sun. I don't think we are alone in this, and I also remember the same thing happening last year too. And our five days in the west was, let's say, a monsoon experience!

What is going on!

So, this evening I crept out between the showers and had a little poke around our poor neglected garden. The grass hasn't been cut in I don't know how long, as it's been so wet, and what a surprise to find summer and autumn hand in hand amongst all the dripping foliage.

I don't know at all at all....

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

A Blessing Of A Precious Kind.

Meeting Thomas.

We went to the west, and we met our new boy. Our time was short, but we held him and he looked into our eyes and he reminded us to be quiet, and to pause and listen.

Tiny sweet thing. Welcome to this big old noisy family of ours. A blessing on you three Andrew and Fiona and Thomas. A blessing full of love on you.

And a house full of happiness.

I Am Here

Every so often I find that life has somehow spun away from me, I am whirling like a dervish and even my thoughts are scattered. There is a need in me to quiet myself and my environment, and it seems impossible. It's that moment in my movie where the pianists fingers dance across the keys in what appears to be a light, skipping tune but soon reveals slightly manic wings that threatens to fly off into the ether altogether.
The last few days were a revelation to me. Time slowed down and I paused, and I found that I do have room in my head for something other than the needs of the small people around me. I have room for poetry, and the kind of being in the present that has nothing to do with not having time to look up and around me. I can pause in the midst of the forest and see the leaves and the sunlight filtering through and it dances on the small faces waiting there, eager and full of love and deeply trusting. And I see clearly how simple it is.

Mindfulness. Mother-ness. The dancing leaves. The quiet that resides in me.

I just have to be mindful about seeing it as it passes me by. To hold out my hand and brush my fingertips against it's golden wings.

To let it quieten me.

A Blessing

A Blessing

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more, they begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

James Wright

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Away We Go.

It's sad to say, but the weather has been quite autumnal here the last couple of days. Across the country there's been crazy rain and flooding. The school holidays are nearly over and it feels as though we've hardly had a summer. I could count on one hand the number of sunny-days-at-the-beach we've had.

But we're hopeful. May and September are generally the best months of the year. There is often a frenzy of beach days in September when they are already back at school and there weather turns golden and we just can't let them pass us by.

But in the meantime, the knitting has started again. And socks are going on in the evening, and I find myself eyeing the fireplace. But not just yet. No. I'm holding out for an 'Indian summer'. (Why is it called that exactly?) And most importantly, we're heading west for a few days. In Sligo, we'll be meeting our newest family addition, Thomas, for the first time and, oh, the excitement! And then we'll be heading down to Galway to see some more cousins, and we just know fun will be had. And we'll have Jay with us, and there'll be no distractions of work.

So, I'll be back blogging on Monday, or maybe Tuesday, and until then I hope you all have a wonderful end-of-week, and weekend!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Something Lovely.

I came across this amazing and wonderful artist over on my sister Emma's blog Alabama Days the other day. Peter Callesen is a Danish artist who works mostly with paper. I do have a thing for papercuts, and his are just incredible. So beautiful

Tower of Babel

Looking Back

Birds Trying To Escape Their Drawings

I am entranced.

Do check out his other work over on his site. Framed papercuts here and here and take a minute to scroll down. It is just amazing the detail he can achieve. Look here for haunting photos. His work is at times funny, sometimes slightly disturbing.
Always beautiful.

Edit: This morning I was exploring his website further with the children, wandered into Installations and found something wonderful. The linking is not working very well so if you just click on Installations on the sidebar, then Click on the top right one. If it says 'Children's Exhibition' at the top of the page your at the right place. Please take a moment to scroll down through the exhibition to the end, where he got children and adults to reflect on life, death, and the exhibition they had just seen. You can read what some of the children wrote, and see what they did with the angels they cut out.
Maybe it's being a mother, but it did move me...

Monday, 11 August 2008

Six Things That Make Me Happy Today.

Tagging is a funny one. Each time I swear I'm going to pass the next one up, some lovely person tags me and I can't say no. Now this is a lovely tag to be tagged here. It came from Pip over at Meet Me At Mikes and it has such a nice theme I reckon it can only do me good to do it! So here it goes. An uneventful day but all the more reflective for it.

Six Things That Make Me Happy Today.

1) It's Monday, and Jay is home! Instant happiness! He has the next two weeks off, and we are planning a little trip west to meet the newest family member. I always regret that we don't work together, as we work together well.

2) I am very happy to be sitting in the quiet house, and even though it's a blustery, wet night out, the door to the garden is open and I can hear to wind shaking the reeds and grasses, and the sea booming on the rocks, and the rain dripping onto the doorstep. And it is peaceful.

3) Even though some days the incessant clamour of little bodies and needy mouths and raised voices causes me to close my eyes and ears for a moment and remind myself to breathe, I also remind myself just how blessed and happy I am to have them all the same. And I appreciate the quiet all the more.

4) I am happy that today I managed to sit with each child at some point and engage with them over something that was important to them. Too many days, on reflection in the dark of night, I see I have failed to do even that. Where is this mythical day when I will have enough time for each of them, and Jay, and me...?

5) I am happy that I can see potential and possibilities, and feel grateful for feeling grateful when money is tight and we have to think more carefully and clearly about what we do and how we do it. Painful but possible.

6) I am happy that so many wonderful people, family and friends are blogging and helping to pull the threads together to create a world, albeit an online one! filled with people I love and am inspired by. It makes your lives so much more real for me. Thank you!

And now I'm passing this on to YOU! If you feel like taking part then do please, and let me know if you are. All of you. I want to know what makes you happy!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

The Green Gathering Day 2

A few more pictures from a lovely, but very muddy day. It was wonderful all the same, though the mud and rain did put us off camping, big wuss' that we are.

Oh well, there's always next year!