20 February 2018

For the love of Spring

Over half term in between the rainy miserable days spent tucked up inside playing, baking and sleeping we managed to sneak in a few trips to glimpse the first signs of the changing seasons. Spring is my all time favourite. I probably say this about Autumn, because I do love it too, but I think Spring just tips it for me. I love the hope and optimism, the awaking of nature, the new life and coming out of hibernation. I love seeing those new signs of colour, buds and shoots growing stronger each day, searching out the sunshine and preparing for those longer days ahead. Both Autumn and Spring remind me of the need to reflect on those long seasons of winter and summer, of a time for change, preparing and taking stock. That's what I love about them the most, they give me the most reason and encouragement to really think about what I want and need to achieve or change, to make plans and help me think about what's important. It's so easy to get caught up in what we 'should' be doing that it's easy to forget to keep your feet on the ground or step out of you comfy hibernation.

I feel that Spring often gets overshadowed by the excitement for the summer, whilst I do like Summer I usually find it too long, a bit disappointing, sometimes quite sweaty and a little pressured to have "the best summer ever". Whereas Spring is just free to be enjoyed for what it is. It's slow to start but once it's here, it's everywhere you look. Roadsides and streets are bursting with blossoming trees and flowers, the trees are getting ready to unfurl their new leaves, there's fresh colours everywhere and you know what, the weather is actually always pretty good. Those first few days where you can feel the sun warm you skin for the first time in months, the need to shed your coat for a few hours in the afternoon and of course the darkness retreating a little every day and those evenings inching along to be longer. There's no pressure for it to be hot or sunny, there are just beautiful days to be enjoyed where there's always new life to spot and an ever changing palette of colour before your eyes. When people announce that they're ready for the Summer, or that a nice Spring day "feels like Summer is here!" then I'm the first to fight in Springs corner for it not to be overlooked. Don't wish away this magical, beautiful time of hope and optimistic days, where it's not too hot or not too cold. Where magnolia flowers take your breath away and you find your self taking detours just to spot out the biggest and the best blooms. I'd swap a warm Spring day with fresh air over a hot, humid, sweaty, sticky summers day spent being chased by wasps and hiding in the shade, every time!

ahem...anyway. I shall just step down from my soapbox and hide it away and get on with showing you a few pictures from our walk around one of my favourite National Trust properties, Lacock Abbey. When we arrived we played in the park and ate our lunch outside (the first mini picnic of the year!) and then ran for cover to the cafe from the rain and hail shower, perfectly timed for scones and hot chocolate. The clouds then disappeared as we made our way round the grounds, taking in the carpets of snowdrops, crocus's and emerging daffodils and wild garlic. We stopped by the greenhouse, admiring the sweet smelling hyacinths and trying to stroke the prettiest but grumpiest cat!

Walking through the grounds surrounded by bird song and the gentle sunshine just felt so restorative and calming. We found another cat to stroke, a rope swing and tree stumps to climb. It just felt good to be outside again. We then explored the Abbey as well as Henry Fox Talbots house before heading home. We didn't get to explore the village again this time, but we can always save that for next time!

14 February 2018

What is love?

Seeing as it's Valentines day, (something that we don't really actually celebrate!) I thought I'd write a little about my own little love story.

It's not wildly romantic, it's not particularly full of fireworks, or exotic trips or holidays, or grand gestures or extravagance. What it is, is safe, comforting and reliable. It's your best friend being by your side.

When Rob and I met, on one drunken winters night in the local club in Newport (see bursting with romance!) things didn't explode straight away. In fact it took a few months of awkwardly bumping into each other and hanging out a little more before we finally realised that hey actually you're really pretty great. We went on a few actual dates (something that I've not ever really done!) and it just grew from there, but once it got going then it just felt right, like everything had slotted into place and this was all it was meant to be. We travelled around Wales in my little car, him helping me on photography shoots, finding wild swimming places, trips to a&e with broken noses etc. We went on dates, we hung out, he visited me at work and sat in the old man pub to keep me company. It all just felt right, and overwhelmingly comfortable. It's like as soon as we found each other I just breathed a huge sigh of relief, like my days of heartbreak were over and that this was it. I'd managed to find what I'd been looking for.

Then a few short months after that there was a big explosion, when we found out I was pregnant. It wasn't ideal, of course, both of us were just coming to the end of our degrees, had no jobs or places to live. We were young (me 22 and him 20) but somehow or other after so much talking and deliberating we decided that actually maybe, just maybe we could make a go of it. To be a family. Writing that down seems crazy, to look back from the other side and see how young we were, how little we knew what our lives would be like. But even though it's not what we planned we made it work, and we've been making it work ever since.

I'm so incredibly proud of what we've achieved as a couple and a family. I often wonder what things would have been like had we not got pregnant, where our lives would be now, but there's not much point is there? We're here because we chose to be here.

We've had some amazing times, got married, have lived in seven different houses together and of course welcomed two children into the world. We bicker and argue like the best old married couples around, I probably don't show my love or affection very often, we're always tired, there are so many things that frustrate me daily (and vice versa I'm sure!) but we are here, together, and we are strong.

Through all the things that have happened to us; being young parents, job changes, moving house, the miscarriage, then Rohan there has always been us. To know that even in the saddest, hardest moments that there is someone else who feels the same as you do, who is in the exact same boat, by your side experiencing it all too, makes it all ok. That's why I don't need any of the other things, because I know that when things are tough (and man have they been tough) that we are strong. That we can overcome so many things that have been thrown at us and we can survive and persevere. That we can still make each other laugh at the end of the day. We can still cuddle and make up after big arguments, that we can rely on that person to be there, holding my hand in hospital. To adapt and grow with all the changes and still carry on the journey together.

So we may not have had all the time in our twenties to live our lives just as us, things are hard, but we have each other and that is enough. Oh and our mutual love of pizza, that helps.

05 February 2018

So long January...a life update

So January was a bit of a shocker right? I hate to start the year off on such a bad foot but it just seemed to go from bad to worse.

Well let's not be too negative, there were some good moments. I spent time with my sister on her visit over, we had a few days exploring which is always great. We had a lovely day for Rohan's birthday and I feel I dealt with all the feelings that come with his birthday pretty well. Then it sort of tails off from there.

I ended up hibernating quite a lot, due largely to the fact that I was phoneless and also due to the fact that perhaps maybe I wasn't dealing the Rohan turning two all that well. It's so hard to remain positive about your situation when there are so many others celebrating their children's second birthdays and they look a lot more like you imagined celebrating yours would, but in fact it's not like that at all. So I tried to take a step back, to not get jealous, or feel angry and resentful, because at the end of the day those aren't nice feelings to have and everyone else has the right to celebrate their children's birthday and share it. I know I wouldn't think twice about it if we were in that situation and not plunged into the world that we are in.

But here we are. Then of course came hospital, the dread and the fear becoming a reality once more. Thankfully it was just a short stay whilst Rohan got over a nasty virus, which made his breathing when asleep pretty problematic (more so than it already is) and rendered us fairly useless at home to help him anymore. So a nearly midnight trip to A&E was made in full knowledge that we would be admitted (I don't take chances anymore and always pack our bags for at least a few nights stay). Nothing can really describe the feeling of having to be in hospital because of your sick child. You know they need to be there, and you're happy that they are being really well looked after and in the best place should anything need to be done, but at the same time you're desperate to be home. I hate not being able to split myself or be all together, or be there for both of my children, but it's impossible. Even if I was at home with Theo then I would feel guilty that I wasn't in hospital with Rohan. Then Rob came down with tonsillitis, leaving me just at hospital all day and night. We did thankfully have grandparents who came to see Rohan and help with Theo, which gave me chance to leave the hospital for half an hour or so to grab some lunch and fresh air. Rohan recovered pretty well and we were discharged, but I'm trying our hardest to just make sure we don't expose ourselves to too many germs and bugs.

But I didn't see Theo for about three days straight, and it was horrible. I know that this time he was really worried about Rohan, and for the first time seemed to really feel the weight of what was going on. I feel so bad about it all. He's had such a tough few weeks since this all happened and it stresses me out so much. I think sometimes that because of everything we have to deal with with Rohan becomes part of our daily life, we expect to have problems, it hits me harder I think when we have a difficult time with Theo. He's just been so cross at the moment, we've had massive meltdowns where he just seems so out of control and I'm at a loss at how to manage them for the best. He's having a few social problems at school too, and whilst he loves being there and learning it does worry me that because of the way he is, we're always going to have this sort of problem. He just doesn't take well to being wound up, or takes things way too literally and gets himself set on an idea or a fact he think's he heard but actually it's not the case but having to break it to him that it's something different is often a massive battle. I know we went through a similar stage at this time last year, and maybe it's all to do with turning a year older, the come down after Christmas then the excitement for his birthday, and of course everything with Rohan. I get all the reasons but it's just so difficult when you really need things to be a little easier.

I think because he is our "typical" child (I hate myself for having to write that, but I don't know how better to describe it) I think I expect things to be easier with him, for things just to coast along nicely and when they don't it just all feels too much. Of course that's such a massive expectation to put onto him (even though I obviously would never ever say that to him or give him that impression) and it's at times like these that I realise Theo has his own things to go through, and reaction to everything that is going on around him too. I'm really trying my best to understand that and give him support and time to work through it, but man does it all feel like all the things are being thrown at us at the moment.

I barely picked up my camera at all in January, I've got a mountain of work I need to do for my photography business and so many blog posts I want to write, but it all just has to be put to the side. I feel like I just want to press the reset button, to gather my thoughts for a little while longer and refresh my mind. It just feels so weighed down with all that is going on and sometimes I feel like I'm really struggling to keep on top of it all. But now January is over and we creep towards Spring I'm hoping that by the time the magnolia blooms we might be in a slightly better place. For even though I always put so much hope into the coming of Spring, it really does seem to set things right. It's my restorative time, the season I yearn for the most and when it finally arrives I feel like I can breathe a little lighter, I can start to feel positive and plan for the future a little more again and just be thankful for all that we have. But for now, the shutters are still slightly closed as we put our heads down and just try and get through the next month or so.

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