Tuesday, 14 August 2012

On a kraft background

I told you'd be back with some pretty paper and cute children!  I thought I'd take you on a wander through some pages I've made recently.

First up, two pages about Isaac's second birthday.  I printed 20 odd photos from the day itself and divided up into those that tell a particular story and those that are just pretty to look at.  I think I have between 6 and 8 pages to make and I wanted to tie them together without using all the same supplies so I've decided to use kraft cardstock as the background.

This is the only real portrait shot I have of Isaac on his birthday.  We went to our usual Thursday morning toddler group at Holy Trinity Church in Leicester and Isaac likes to stop between the church and the car to sit on a wall.  Just to sit.  Really, I have no idea, but he enjoys himself.  I snapped a few photos on my phone as he beckoned me over to sit next to him.  It's a really simple page but I thought it would be perfect as an opening page to his third year.

I used my Slice to cut different styles of star from patterned paper and moved them around til I was happy.  The papers are all from October Afternoon Cakewalk and I used the co-ordinating mini market stickers for the date.  I love love love these new thickers - Amy Tangerine Muse thickers in woodgrain - they're smooth and shiny with a lovely pattern.  Add some measuring tape washi and it's done.

I have another set of photos to use for a cupcake page so I used these to talk about Isaac's birthday tea.  I really wanted to cook something I knew he'd enjoy eating (we're going through some testing toddler mealtimes lately) so we had chicken nuggets, potato wedges and corn-on-the-cob.  With dippy sauce, of course!  We had cupcakes for pudding; Isaac loved blowing out the candles and then doling out the cakes to everyone.

This is mostly Lily Bee Double Dutch collection (gingham papers, spotty paper, bunting and round sticker) with a bit of Bella Blvd Finally Fall (clouds) and some thickers (well duh!).
 Every time I boil the kettle these days, Isaac dashes in to grab the hot chocolate and a spoon.  He's addicted!  I snapped this phone photo of our cups back in April as part of Week in the Life and printed it with this page in mind.  The papers are really old October Afternoon (Detours I think) with some Jillibean corrugated alphas, random washi tape and a kraft luggage tag (from WHSmith).
A bit more October Afternoon with altered Darling thickers (I ran out of e and t) and the mini market litters I bought last month.  The little tag on the top left is from Martha Stewart for Staples US.  They've recently released a line in Staples UK; the journals are lovely, with a really nice feel to the covers and thick paper on the inside.  We took this photo in May on an afternoon in Bradgate Park.  It's a bit out of focus and nobody's really looking at the camera, but I love it.  The title, I had a dream...., is inspired by a challenge on One Story Down.
These photos were taken on Isaac's birthday and it's Anna's first attempt at a corn cob.  She had no teeth at this point and it was remarkable how much damage she did with just her gums!  The face she's pulling in the bottom photo is just so precisely her - she pulls that sort of face at me all the time!  I used Echo Park Hello Summer with some Paperchase washi tape (they do some great basics like ginghams and spots and have released a 3 pack of tapes to co-ordinate with some of their seasonal lines over the last year).

I hope that was enough paper to please the crafters and enough cute children to satisfy my family.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

On a more serious note

I've had this post percolating through my brain for a little while now.  It's a bit of a departure from my usual fare of crafts and cute children.  I feel really strongly about these issues and I hope I can express my thoughts clearly.
I read a few mummy blogs (actually, they're mommy blogs mostly!) and I've started to become aware of "the mommy wars" taking place in the US recently.  It seems that everyone has an opinion on every aspect of child-raising, whether they've had their own children or not.  And the result of this overload of information and opinion is that individual mummies feel overwhelmed and under-prepared to mother their children the 'right' way.
Children are just like adults, but smaller and with much poorer impulse control - you can see their personalities from the moment they're born.  Some babies come out screaming, shocked and angry.  Some cry from fear or discomfort; it's cold and bright out here in the world. Some are silent, regarding us with wide eyes and prompting their parents to ask if they're ok.  Some reach for food, some just want a cuddle.  Every baby is different, from the moment they are born.  And if I could give a new mother just one piece of advice, it would be that no one will know that baby better than you.
That knowledge should bring confidence, a positive place from which to meet the world.  It should make the challenges of parenting less unsettling, more reachable.
From time to time since I became a mother, I've forgotten that the person who knows my children best is me.  (My husband is a full-time, hands-on dad who loves his children wholeheartedly and knows them better than anyone else but you can't deny the effects of being with your children all day everyday.)  Isaac has been a mostly straight-forward baby and a mildly challenging toddler.  Anna has fitted into our lives beautifully.  I'm so thankful for the blessings we've received in our children!  But every child comes with their challenges.  Anyone who tells you their child is a complete angel is lying, or hasn't hit that challenge yet.
Our challenge with Isaac has been bedtimes; I was planning to give you a bit more detail but it's turning into a post all of its own.  Suffice to say that I knew my baby but I ignored his cues to follow my beliefs about 'proper parenting' and it was a huge failure.  These days, we've evolved a style that suits all of us and we're making forward progress.  And that's enough.  Parenting is about the long term after all and this too shall pass.
It's ok to share your problems.  It's ok to ask for advice.  It's ok to admit that you feel overwhelmed and out of your depth.  It's ok to ask if this is normal, if that is healthy, if other children do it too.  Talking about things makes them smaller, reminds you that you're not alone and encourages and strengthens you.
But know this; you are enough.  God brought you this child, at this time, to parent as only you know how.  You will make mistakes, everyone does.  But no one else knows your child like you and no one else can be the mother (or father) that you are.  And that's enough.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

On the tenth of August

Anna is now nine months old.  She's still wearing her 6-9 months wardrobe (with plenty of growing room left in most things) and a size 4 nappy.  She's learned to pull herself up to standing in her cot, which is much more fun now she can get back to sitting again when she gets bored!  She's also on the move, cruising around the furniture and starting to walk with her baby walker.
She's still noisy; she likes to shout and growl when she's happy and she's got an enormous cry when she's angry or hurt.  Andy swears she says 'dada' but she also calls him 'tata' and 'baba'.  I'm not sure she's a talking prodigy!  She likes to press her mouth against people and blow raspberries.  She also likes to have a bit of a chew while she's there!  And since she cut her first tooth this month, with the second only a week later, it can give you a bit of a shock!  She's a great teether, we almost haven't noticed them coming though.
She's mostly over her stranger problems, though she definitely still prefers mummy, daddy and Isaac.  They spent a couple of hours with their child-minder this week, starting the preparations for me going back to work.  Both of them had a lovely time and hardly noticed that I wasn't there, good news I guess!
The sun's come back out again this month and Anna had her first ice-cream; a mini-milk, of course!  She had a lovely time, getting in a huge mess, but most of it ended up in her mouth!  She's a complete eating machine.  She loves pasta, cheese, bread, melon, eggs, sausages, pretty much everything we put in front of her actually!  I'm constantly surprised at the amount she eats, so much more than Isaac these days.
She's got a taste for cat food too; you can just see the bowls in the photo above.  She makes a beeline for them every time she's in the kitchen, dipping her hands in the water and picking up individual cat biscuits to chew on.  I don't think it does her too much damage but the cats really aren't keen!  Isaac has taken to scolding her and putting the dishes on the kitchen surface, out of her reach.  Helpful child!
He doesn't really appreciate that Anna is now playing with the toys he's grown out of, or having to share his current favourites.  The most heard phrase in our house this month has been "No Nanny!"  Anna mostly takes it well; she's easily distracted and only occasionally bursts into loud floods of tears.  Her happiest expression is a wide smile, split by a sticking-out tongue.  No idea where that's come from...