There's beauty outside in a spring that unfurled late and is hanging around. Daffodils when they've usually left us. The quiet earth, parched but cold for so long, suddenly verdant with grasses and new growth now that the rain has been coming. Some days it's a sprinkling here and there, other days fine and sideways but constant. Either way, we had about four or five days of sunshine and warmth over a week ago and that was it. Early spring weather, so ironically late to start, has just stuck, the clouds above viciously cycling and no sign of that mid- to late-spring warmth we'd have expected.
Some days I say I'm fed up with it, but today I'm trying to roll with its punches. Summer, which should be just a fortnight off, is something we can barely remember let alone expect. I suspect this year may end up being another damp squib, as the Gulf Stream - source of all our old glorious summers - slows down and drifts away from our shores. I find myself thinking of my Geography degree all the time now, and the uncanny truth that global warming will actually cool our country down. I still believe in fairy tales, and the story of hot summers to come, but we all have to grow up sometime.
Speaking of growing up, the Tiny One is talking like he was a year older than two, and we're all so lucky to experience his personality, his opinions and his quirks as a result of it. He is such a big boy in a small boy's body, and follows his older brother around all the time, echoing his sentences, hoping for his attention, laughing at his jokes. The Little One is nearly four. Serious, strong of opinion, fragile of emotion at times, and yet with such a fun and funny side. He rides, balances and plays like a child several years older, and I know that as soon as he's old enough to join in our village's cricket and football activities, he'll be flying. Despite his activity and physical prowess, he's also a wonderful concentrator, meticulous and imaginative in his play, advanced in his questioning, keen on his pattern finding, logical in his thinking.
The Big One, oh my. An early GCSE, girlfriends, hill walks with friends, Warhammer championships... he is such an independent spirit, in some ways so mature for his age, in others still so adolescent. This year has been easier than the last, as his body and mind become more accustomed to the testosterone of late childhood; as he walks more comfortably in the footsteps of a man. Sometimes I feel that he's so independent, he's almost and not quite my boy any more. I often view him as another adult (yet a surly one) in the house, and grasp tightly to those moments when he still needs me or shares some of himself. It's a funny thing, this growing up. When you think of it with your toddlers, you don't realise that as they reach their teenage years it's not so much growing up as growing away. It's an education for both of us, and while it's a little sad, it's also lovely to see glimpses of the man he will become.
My lovely husband is still working hard, but despairing of the cuts, bureaucracy and nonsensical decisions in his work, and dreaming of better times. He walks up hills alone most weeks, and we've come to a fair arrangement whereby his half day of walking while I 'babysit' is matched by a half day of sewing for me. Though, as you can imagine, my half day always gets curtailed one way or another! I love him but miss him. It's hard living with a man working shifts, small children taking all your time, and constant DIY and errands to do on days off. We try our hardest to get family time and couple time every week, and are still dreaming of a future when the whole family can head up a hill together, once all our legs are strong enough (and hoping we all have the passion for it).
I am sewing more at the moment, and my heart and soul are steadied, settled and smitten by it. My brother's quilt is finished, I've made and gifted a lovely drawstring bag, and I have two more and a cushion cover on the go. It's still often a difficult and frustrating balance between the sewing, all my responsibilities and everyone else's needs, but while things are flowing a bit better I'm going with it. I'll be showing you some of the sewing very soon.
I'm baking once a week; the craving to eat sugar versus the craving to bake seems to have lead to this sort of regular irregularity. I'm also making almost all our bread in the bread maker, and have been doing so since November. It's a lovely habit to have gotten into, and satisfying in every sense of the word. I'll be sharing some of my loaves here soon too.
The Little One is at nursery and the Tiny One is playing by my feet, little men and vehicles engaged in important work, and lots of talk of spiders. My lovely husband has just returned from his walk (he worked at the weekend, and is now on two days off - this walk earns me my sewing tomorrow!). There's a shoulder of lamb slow cooking in the oven, very gently softening til dinner time, and I've got a loaf of seeded bread due to get started in the breadmaker, a pea and lettuce soup awaiting cooking for lunch, and some peppers to blacken then skin. The sun is out, though rain is threatening, and I'm debating whether to plead for a few hours of family gardening after lunch (the lovely husband needs some heavy persuasion to garden, despite an alleged interest in it), ditch the gardening idea and go through a walk through our local gorge, or force myself to take the boys swimming before the Big One needs collecting from astronomy after school.
You may notice that none of those activities involve me sitting here, writing on the computer, and so I say goodbye and thank you for reading!