Archive for July 2010

front row seats

frontrowseats We are so into camping this year. It’s not ever straightforward – at least two of us need to get up and pee in the night, Fraser’s always the last to fall asleep, Duncan’s always the first up – but it’s brilliant to sleep all together and snuggled up. I think part of what I like is that we do all sleep together – the whole multi-room tent thing doesn’t appeal at all. But then I know Cory would quite like an adult evening, rather than curling up at half eight with the tent all a-glow.

I’ve made eight more applique tees in the past few days – and aside from the vast amount of thread consumed by the buttonhole stitch (I’ve switched to a running stitch – fingers crossed it’ll wash well) – these are brilliant affordable gifts and treats. Fraser’s walking around with an Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus) plant-eating dinosaur on his tummy and roaring and expecting me to run away – I haven’t the heart to tell him it’s a herbivore!

Keep calm and make things…

monsterteeCombine a rainy day checking out the clothes in the Boden preview catalogue with a sewing room full of scraps – I’m guessing the total cost of our handmade monster tee is about £3.00, considerably cheaper than the Boden one! (It would have had eyes and a mouth but someone insisted on wearing it right away. Depending on how it washes, I might add some later.)

I find shopping for special boys clothes really challenging – there’s not the variety and scope like you have with girls clothes (I’m in love with all the gorgeous dresses – I’m saving a fortune with my boys!) and it’s hard to pay £10 for a tee that’s only marginally better than the £2 supermarket option. Maybe I’ve been going at it the wrong way though – a few special additions might turn their clothes into the scariest of monsters or dinosaurs. And in the age of “Austerity Britain” (the media’s comparison of the current recession with post-war rationing strikes me as a bit over the top) homemade is looking a lot more hip…

boy books, boy bed

tenthirtyatnight Fraser’s in a big boy bed now, or some nights (10:30 pm last night to be exact) he’s only half in it…

By boy books though I’m not meaning more chat about Horrid Henry, but the books I’m reading and thinking about – and here I’m being very sexist and loosely describing boy books as concerned with concepts rather than relationships. I think this was the turn off for half my book club when I chose Wolf Hall, which although full of amazing characters, spends a lot of time on ideas and exploring the transition to a new way of thinking (the English Bible, the theoretical concept of computing). It is this denseness and exploration of ideas that slows down the book and perhaps turns off some readers who want a story rather than a concept.

Calling them boy-books will just end up offending everyone though, and ‘conceptual-books’ sounds more experimental than content-driven, so perhaps I’ll settle on idea-books, which is not a satisfactory label at all. I’m currently reading Neal Stephenson’s Anathem and enjoying it, although I’m still only part-way through. The references to math, theories, the construction of an entire world system; this is science fiction to a high standard. But as caught up as I am in the construction of this world, I’m not as caught with the characters and I agree with the amazon reviewer who described it as “endless talk … and lack of any recognisable plot” – except that I’m enjoying the endless talk. I think that’s partially due to my current status as a stay at home mum – I’m enjoying idea-books more than ever – it gives me something to think about while we ride bikes and play in the garden…

found on sofa …

horridhenryreading He’s not reading already, just looking at the pictures of the book we’ve been reading together while Fraser is supposed to nap. But turning the corner into the playroom and seeing this made me feel like I’d jumped ahead a few years to having a seven year old instead of my pre-schooler… Even Duncan’s face has changed shape lately and he just seems grown up…

mucking about

It’s summer vacation – six weeks of no nursery school, no driving 6 miles each way to drop Duncan off, no rushed lunches to make sure we’re there on time. I feel like the weather should be sunny, I should be lounging in the hammock drinking lemonade (note not Pimms – lemonade), and the boys should play nicely in the garden. What will happen is that it’s supposed to rain all next week after the spectacular weather we’ve had up until today. It’s guaranteed isn’t it?
(One of my favourite not-perfect-weather days out are the gardens at Crathes Castle. There’s something softer about them under a cloudy sky and I think we appreciate the colours more. We pulled on our wellies and spent an hour this morning running up and down the paths. Ducking from the sprinkler at the last moment was the biggest hit, but the fountain is always a special place for us too.)
One thing I will miss about the school year is the time to myself. Today was Duncan’s last day, and my last day with an hour of peace while Fraser napped. I used it to alter clothes – changing the lines of a skirt from flippy to slim – and I was a bit sad to think that this is the end of my regular break times. By next year Fraser will have stopped napping so this time will disappear, aside from my one afternoon a week when I’ve a babysitter/mother’s helper (a family friend) who comes by after school and takes care of the boys for 90 minutes while I work/cook/relax.

It’s worked really well this year to have Duncan in school while Fraser naps and I’ve done a lot with my afternoons; read two textbooks, done a bit of contract work, sewed four and a half quilts, knitted, done the company accounts, and even napped myself. At least once a week Fraser and I would stay at the school and go for a long walk on country roads – getting to know local farmers and residents while seeing some magnificent scenery in the Grampian Hills. Walking lets you see things you’d never notice from a noisy car; we’ve startled deer, scared cows and sheep, and walked through snow, rain, and hot sun. The one thing I consistently haven’t done in those two hours is clean up – I might be a decent stay at home mother but I’m a lousy housewife. (I’m okay with that).