A brand new chapter

Helping my littlest boy into his brand new school uniform this morning made me think about those other special outfits that mark turning points in childhood.

Those tiny babygrows, vests and hats that were chosen with such care to go into the hospital bags weeks before he arrived; an expanding me holding them up to my bump and inwardly wondering how can anything growing in me ever be big enough to fill those.

Of course he grew and grew and soon those first clothes, like so many to follow, were suddenly too small.

I know it will be the same now with school uniform.

If you’d have shown me a school uniform back in those newborn days, I’d have scoffed that the need for those was surely a lifetime away.

Yet suddenly we’re here. Nearly 5 years later, gone in a blink, and we’re back with another set of clothes, lovingly chosen, labelled and laid out.

Now with two schoolboys in the family, I feel like we’ve started a new chapter in this book of life and I’m really excited to experience the next one!

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School day #1, take two…

In looking back over this space, I realise I didn’t ever fully capture Elliot’s first day at school, in 2015. So, in a nod to ultimate efficiency, here’s both of my boys’ first days in pictures – only 3 years apart.

Elliot: September 2015

Alexander: September 2018:

I remember thinking that the transition to school is surely the easy bit. That was before I had school age children. I’ve been working most of the time since Elliot was 10 months old (minus a year for my maternity leave with Alexander) and then Alexander was about the same age when he started nursery too.

I had assumed that since they were used to being away from us during the day, AND I’m used to leaving them, all would be fine.

Nothing can prepare you for the finality of “big” school. The time that I got to spend with each of them during the working week – I had Friday’s off – just doing whatever we fancied, and enjoying each other’s company, has gone. Suddenly the only “free” time we have together is at the weekend, when the world and his mother want to be in the same places we are.

Now with both boys becoming school boys, it is absolutely the end of an era. Alexander is outwardly beyond excited to join his big bro at school yet creeping into our bed a bit more frequently during the night. Elliot is somewhat hesitantly looking forward to Year 3.

I’m sure in a few weeks we’ll have adjusted to the routine and all will be well. For now I’m going to sit with a hot cup of tea and try to focus on the saying “When one door closes, another opens”.

London to Paris, on a bike…

In June, to celebrate my Mum’s 60th, my family took on a challenge unlike anything we’ve ever done before. My Mum, my sister and I cycled from London to Paris in a little peloton of three, with my Dad as our support driver/lunch provider/hotel porter.

We took on the 250 miles over 5 days, some longer than others – the longest was over 70 miles and the shortest (the last) under 30 miles. We stayed in some lovely places along the route and surprised ourselves at how much we enjoyed the experience – our legs coped so well with all the hills (there were LOTS!!) and I don’t think we felt tired once!

There is nothing like the feeling of cycling alongside fields of poppies and vast open spaces to clear the head and put lots of things into perspective. In my case, I’d been head down and full steam ahead in a pretty stressful project at work and it was such a lovely feeling to down tools and just be free even if just for a few days.

Time spent with family is never a waste, we enjoyed being in each others company – a rarity these days with small children around – and the added benefit of doing all of this for charity was not lost on us – we are incredibly fortunate to have our health and the ability to undertake such a mammoth task, so any difficult hills along the way were met with determination and grit (and lots of pedalling!)

We raised over £3,700 for the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation in honour of my cousin Mark who has had a Liver disease since birth and received a donor liver four years ago. I was invited to speak on Radio Oxford before and during the journey, which was a lovely thing to do to be able to raise awareness of this charity.

Here are some photos from our journey:

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New Start

The time has come to send the littlest one off to school. Most of his years have been absent from this little blog of mine. Things got busy, and I simply lost confidence. That is about to change. With Alexander starting school I’m hoping to find more time for me – yes I still need to work, pretty much full time, but I’m hoping to carve out at least a few hours a week to focus on writing and building up this space of mine, and perhaps a new project or two.

In the meantime, let me tell you about this darling littlest boy of mine.

We had a few trials to get to Alexander, but oh he was worth the wait and all the heartache. He made us complete, and I couldn’t love him any more than I do. He is a bundle of happiness, chatter and hugs (he’s very keen on the hugs) and he has a wonderful way of making everyone around him smile.

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At nearly 5 (his birthday, like his brother’s, is in December – well done us!)  he is so ready to go to school. I’m not sure I’m ready but then I don’t think as a mum you are ever ready for your babies to start their journey away from you.

I know from experience that the school years go so quickly – Elliot is going into Year 3 and it only seems like yesterday that it was his very first day in Reception. Alexander will have the same Reception teacher as Elliot did, which is lovely.  I’m sure they’ll notice some similarities between them, but in other ways they are very different.

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I’ll be posting updates on both boys soon, as this is definitely a blog to chart their story  and one that they can look back on when they’re all grown up.

In the meantime I’d like this September to mark a new start, for my boys, and for me. Hopefully I’ll be posting more on here, and I am very keen to start some projects I’ve been thinking about for some time. Watch this space!

End of term 2017

Somehow we’ve reached the end of the summer term. Elliot has finished in Year 1 and Alexander only has one more year in Pre-school before he starts Primary school in 2018. These babies of mine are sure growing up fast!


To mark the end of the school year, we took a little quiz – we’ll aim to do this year by year and hopefully see little personalities coming through and developing over the years.



Elliot, aged 6 1/2. End of Year 1:

What is your favourite food? – “sausage roll”

What is your favourite colour? – “green and blue”

What would you like to be when you grow up? – “a builder and a footballer”

What is your favourite film?  – “Star Wars”

What is your favourite book?  – “Calvin and Hobbes”

Who is your favourite superhero?  – “Spider-Man and Captain America”

 


Alexander, aged 3 1/2. Pre-school:

What is your favourite food? – “Milk”

What are your favourite colours? – “Pink and green”

What would you like to be when you grow up? – “a builder or a milk delivery man”

What is your favourite film? – “Octonauts”

What is your favourite book? – “Thomas books”

Who is your favourite superhero? – “Robin and Hulk smash”

I’m quite excited at the prospect of a building company run by brothers. I know Alexander would definitely be in more of the demolition trade based on his tendencies with LEGO in this house!

It’s been fun asking them questions and noting them down. Will definitely try to make this an annual exercise just to see how it changes!
Photos by Jamie Conroy, Witney