Saturday, 31 January 2015

Me and Mine 2015 - January

dear beautiful  
And so begins another year of joining in with the Me and Mine project hosted by Lucy at Dear Beautiful

Some days you just have to put on the dressing up accessories your 3 year old hands you, and pose for some group shots with the Hubby's selfie stick!

January has gone incredibly quickly, despite being a month of sniffles and colds. We had a brief smattering of snow, but it was gone by lunchtime. The girls were excited to watch the snowflakes coming down. M can walk, and say 'biscuit' and B's name. She's suddenly started to sign much more and it's lovely to see her communicating with us. We've had some visits from old uni friends, which has been lots of fun.

This month...

The Hubby has enjoyed:
Seeing M walk
Deciding to stay in his job
Keeping the kitchen clean and clutter-free
Getting new running shoes
Hot pod yoga
Getting some decent clippers for his beard
Making up a new bedtime story for B

I have enjoyed:
Reading a book
Catching up on the last series of Call the Midwife
Doing a jigsaw puzzle with the Hubby
Hearing M say some words
Catching up with old friends 

B has enjoyed:
Doing puzzles
Colouring inside the lines
Dressing up
Going to the supermarket dressed as Merida
Listening to Daddy's bedtime stories and getting excited about the next instalment.

M has enjoyed:
Learning to walk
Using more signs
Saying words
Mr Tumble
Putting things into boxes

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Thankful Thursday - A Member of My Family

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 
(2 Timothy 1:5 NIVUK)

My Nana and me

My Nana passed away nearly 12 years ago. She was a feisty woman. Strong, tenacious, awe-inspiring. A real Catholic Matriarch. And I was quite scared of her! She cared deeply about all her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren - of which there are many! She made horrendous porridge, but she had a great collection of musicals on video. I first saw The King and I sat on Nana's lounge floor. And we loved discovering glow in the dark rosaries in the bedrooms. She had a 3D picture of the Pope, which I loved to look at. 

But most importantly to me, she was a woman of great faith. I am so grateful for the things I've learnt through her. I believe she covered the whole family in a great deal of prayer - something that is missing - to an extent - from our lives now. I pray one day that I will be as powerful a prayer warrior as she was. At her funeral I found out stories about Nana that have had a great influence on me since...

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

52 Weeks of Memories | 4:Together

Finding Myself Young 52 Weeks of Memories

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV)

Not the greatest of photographs, but this represents our Bible study time together. The hubby and I are exploring Catholicism more deeply - interesting for me to learn more about my own faith, and helpful for him to learn where I'm coming from. Through this I pray we will be able to encourage and support each other better. 

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Thankful Thursday - My Family

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. Desmond Tutu

I am one of four children. I have 31 first cousins, and I don't even know how many second and third cousins. I love being a part of a big family, and I pray that one day my children will know the pleasure of having loads of cousins to play with. They currently have one cousin - a lovely little girl, just two weeks younger than B. 
I'm so grateful for my parents. They have been a great help over the past few years: Mum has guided and supported my breastfeeding journeys, hoovered our stairs and cleaned toilets, and rung me often to check how I'm doing; Dad has entertained the children, done gardening, and come to stay over when the Hubby's been away on business. 
I'm thankful for my siblings too. We have our share of conflict - unavoidable with the stubborn genes we've all inherited! - but we are able to get over that when it counts.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

52 Weeks of Memories | 3: Sky

Finding Myself Young 52 Weeks of Memories
How clearly the sky reveals God's glory! How plainly it shows what he has done!
(Psalm 19:1 GNT)

An ordinary day, a walk to the shop, wrapped up against the cold.
Exhausted from the 4am wake up with M, and feeling harried from the feat of getting everyone dressed and out of the house. Then this sky - cool blue, hazy through the frosty air, shining in the winter sunshine. A reminder that in the ordinary there are moments of beauty, flashes of God at work. The sky is the sky, always there, and yet that doesn't make it any less special, any less beautiful.
A timely reminder to notice the extraordinary in each day.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Thankful Thursday - My Husband

When I think back to the days when I had convinced myself that I would never get married or have children I can't believe how far from that I've come. That crisp, winter morning in 2007 when I was walking to church, praying, and telling God that if He was ever going to let me get married, I'd like it to be on a day like that was, seems like such a long time ago. But His promise that day still burns bright in my mind. I was given my wedding date. In full. I claimed the promise and - Lo! - I got married on that day. So this week, I want to thank God for my husband. Long awaited and very much appreciated.

Out for dinner for our 5th Wedding Anniversary in December

Siblings - January 2015

dear beautiful

It's exciting to be starting another year of the Siblings project. I really enjoyed last year's - everything was new. Now they're used to each other, and really enjoy being together. I'm looking forward to seeing how the dynamics change as M begins to walk and talk. Will they enjoy running around together? What will they talk about? 

It's becoming increasingly difficult to get a photo of these two together where they both look at the camera, or at least stop moving long enough to not be blurry in the picture!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

52 Weeks of Memories | 2: Happy

Finding Myself Young 52 Weeks of Memories
Week 2 - Happy

“God then remains, in following after whom we live well, and in reaching whom we live both well and happily.” St. Augustine - De Moribus Ecclesiae: I, 6, 10 (

Here we are with my best friend and her family. We try to meet up every six weeks or so. She and her husband are godparents to our daughters; the hubby and I are godparents to all three of their children. When we were choosing godparents for B and M, our main concern was that they be people who truly follow God, who would join us in guiding the girls to follow Him. This couple and another good friend met our requirements. We felt confident that they would support us in bringing up our daughters to love and serve Jesus, to lead lifestyles worthy of being called Christians; would pray often for them; would give advice that matches our own beliefs; and would be good role models to imitate. And so, I hope that our daughters will find the true happiness and good life of following after God. This photo means "Happy" to me because it is full of people I love: my husband, my children, my dear friends and my godchildren. I trust that not only will I enjoy their company here on earth, but that I will be able to sing praises to our Creator with them for all eternity in Heaven. What greater happiness can there be?  

"Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise." (James 5:13 NIV)

Saturday, 10 January 2015

52 Weeks of Memories | 1: Summer

Finding Myself Young 52 Weeks of Memories
This year I'm joining in with 52 Weeks of Memories, hosted by Finding Myself Young.
Week 1 - Summer
In the bleakness of January, summer seems a long way off. But the snowdrops have sprouted. "Aslan is on the move!" Winter isn't without end. The sun will return.
I spotted these snowdrops bursting through the undergrowth on a walk around the grounds of Belton House today. Not the best photograph though, unfortunately.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Thankful Thursday - Be Grateful in All Things

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

I started the year feeling unwell - a horrible sore throat that began before Christmas and is still going strong. When I'm ill I find it very easy to sink into feeling sorry for myself, bemoaning my situation and cultivating an attitude of complaint. So, when I discovered that gratitude can actually improve health, I was intrigued. I read about a study where participants were separated into three groups and asked to journal. One group had to write down daily/weekly events they were grateful for; the second group had to write down daily/weekly hassles; the control group wrote down events that had affected them, but without expressing emotions. 

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Wishes for 2015

This time last year I posted my resolutions for 2014. I looked back over them the other day and was pleasantly surprised to discover that I'd actually managed most of them!

My Resolutions for 2014:
1) Less screen time - through the year we've managed to reduce the amount of IPlayer/Netflix we watch quite dramatically. When M was very little, B and I would watch quite a lot, because I was really struggling to keep her occupied whilst almost constantly feeding M. We have days now where we don't watch any, though with M waking up at 4 most mornings, there are afternoons where I hit the wall and put something on so I can have a sneaky nap on the settee. B was using our phones quite a bit at the start of the year too, but that has reduced hugely to maybe once a week at most. We do allow time on Reading Eggs and Mathseeds on the ipad though, because she loves it. The hubby and I tend to watch TV together in the evenings - something I think we need to cut down on. However, I've started putting my phone away when I've got the girls to sleep, so that I can concentrate on the time we have together after bedtime.
2) Institute family prayer & Bible time at least 3 days a week - Family prayer time has been a success. We pray all together every night, on the bed at bedtime, before stories. B often says her own prayers - lovely ones, and some three year old weirdness in there too! She says grace at most meals for us now. These can go on a bit - she takes after my dad ;) And clearly M has been watching closely, as she puts her hands together before eating when we say grace. Bible reading, however, has not been so good. During December we read the Children's Bible at most lunchtimes, but this is something we need to get better at.
3) Drive my car and stop being afraid - I drive all over now, getting out and about with the girls at least once a week, often more. I really enjoy having the freedom, and I'm so proud of myself for overcoming my fear. I like having the time to myself when I'm in the driver's seat, especially when the girls nap on the way home. I still don't enjoy driving itself, but I'm certainly a great deal more confident.
4) Blog more - I've posted more, but not the kind of posts I like the most. Lots of photo posts and writing about our little family, but I didn't get around to writing the meaty stuff I enjoy writing. There just aren't enough hours in the day. I wish I knew how other mums do it.
5) Drink at least 3.5 litres of water a day - some days.
6) Return to meal planning - aargh! This has been my biggest fail. Let's not even go there.

And so, without further ado, here are...
My Wishes for 2015:

1) Blog more - I really want to write some good, meaty blogposts. Ones that make people think. Or - at the very least - make me think.
2) Bible study - I need to read my Bible more. On my own; with the hubby; with the girls.
3) Meal planning - It will save time and money.
4) Date nights - Spend more quality time with the hubby, rather than watching TV together every night. A date night at least once a fortnight too. Not necessarily going out, but making proper time for each other after the girls are asleep. And maybe play some board games together.
5) Read - I want to find time to read. I haven't read a book for myself for a really long time, and I miss reading. I want to get lost in a book. It may well be a pipe dream, but one day I will suceed!
6) Walk more - I want to take the girls out for a proper walk at least twice each week. It will do us so much good. M sleeps better in the fresh air. B might need a bit of persuading, but feeding ducks or playing on climbing frames are good incentives.
7) Declutter - we've made a start on getting rid of lots of 'stuff', but we have so much more to do, and I really want us to keep going.

8) Create an app - I have an idea of what, but no clue as to how! But I can attempt to learn.

I suppose the summary of these eight resolutions would actually be to make more time for myself in 2015 - for my soul, my mind, my relationships, my environment and my body. I've found mothering to be such an all consuming role, and the balance part of Attachment Parenting seems - at times - to be far out of reach. In 2015, I shall claw back some balance, and I hope that will enable me to be a better mother.

It's all about balance!
 Linked up at 5minutesformom.