I remember when Ethan was a tot, and a friend passed on some toys for him. In them were some lovely wooden building blocks, and for days on end we built anything from buildings, to animal houses for his toys, and forts. As he grew he used them to launch at his sister (?!), and they built all sorts together too. Soon they became too tatty and lost, that we decided to get rid of the remaining ones to de-clutter and make space for more age appropriate toys!

How much fun they brought us, and how they drove their imaginations!

Move forward a few years, and little Alice entered our lives! Then, last January whilst sale shopping, I found some lovely colourful building blocks in Wilko for £1.25 and bought them for her 1st Birthday! Like anything you buy for that major milestone of turning 1, it’s often more for the foreseeable future for them to grow in to. And only now (at almost 19 months), has she really shown an interest and a love for them.

Almost every day this week we have had them out. Stacking, carefully placing, clapping and laughing together. We have built all sorts and taken risks with which block goes where! I have loved her meticulous concentration as she balanced one on another. I have loved her eager noises of excitement and cheeky grins as she succeeded! But mostly I loved that I made time with her to play, to build and to share these ordinary moments of childhood development. It was so lovely to spend a good 40 minutes on Wednesday, when the kids were in school and the house was quiet; to be together and giggle, clap and play with building blocks.

Too many times I set her on task with toys so I can do laundry, clean the kitchen or tidy up. But this week I have chilled out and played more. I have tried harder (in line with my goals) to be a more present parent and make more ordinary and lovely memories in the moment.

Alice loves her building blocks – there are so many things she can do with them, and they bring hours of fun. I am excited for more days of building, laughing and “ahhhhhhh-ing” as they fall, as we play together and bond over the blocks!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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This week has seen been all about new starts! The kids started back at school and Ethan back to Judo on Tuesday. Megan finally started Gymnastics, and then last night they both started swimming lessons. Its been rather busy and full on, but I am excited that they are getting active and throwing themselves into some new interests and extra-curricula activities! They’ve been delighted with each thing, and I have loved seeing it.

Grateful for…

This week I am grateful for my mother in law and one of my sister in laws (I have 6).

On Tuesday I was planning an “Alice in Wonderland themed” night for the 11 year old girls at church that would be moving up to my class this year when they turn 12! We call it “New Beginnings” and it is an opportunity to tell them about the programme for 12 – 18 yr olds, as well as welcome them. I had a whole list of things that needed to be done, and things I wanted to include and by Monday I was feeling a little under pressure.

With the kids back to school and so much to do, I asked my sister in law to help me with the baking for it. She was delighted to, and we had a lovely day making a Victoria sponge, butterfly buns and brownies, that all went down a treat!

I was grateful that she not only helped me, but that she came in the evening to help me set up for it too. During our baking sess, Nath’s mum had Alice so I could just get on and also made me a gorgeous Pepper, lentil and chilli soup for lunch! I felt well and truly looked after and helped, and I felt so blessed to have them close by.

Succeeded at…

As well as the aforementioned evening going well, I would have to say that my biggest success this week has been with getting the kids to their individual activities on time and by public transport! It’s not ideal not having a car midweek, and to add to that there has also been a train strike!

One of the classes (Judo) is at 8am…the others over dinner time (hello potential whining!), and it’s blumming hard work with 3 of them in tow, as well as to get them changed and fed. But we’ve done it! I felt a great sense of achievement last night that they’ve been able to get to all of these great classes with very little drama, and (the biggest success of them all) – on time!

Found Beauty In…

I thought it was really beautiful to see Alice sat reading with Grandma by the AGA for warmth! It was like a scene out of some oldie film, and was just lovely. She doesn’t tend to like being with anyone but Nathan or I, so to see her there happy and content was a gorgeous sight to see this week!

I am so glad that this week has come to an end. At the start of it I was a little anxious and now I am just worn out! I have a bit of a cold, but I am looking forward to our new routine, and all of the things the kids will be learning and experiencing in their new classes.

If you would like to share any achievements and nuggets of gratitude from your week, then please do link up below! I will comment before next week!

 

#MyHeartyLife Rules

You can link up one post a week that fits into either or all of the “Prompts”, and I ask that you at least comment on mine and one or 2 others too. Kindness costs nothing and a comment on your blog feels amaze!

Please use the #MyHeartyLife on Social media whenever to share the goodness and cheerful moments in your life that day! It might also help when summing up the week into a blog post to link up!

The Hearty Life
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I wasn’t planning on a post today – or tonight even. I was yesterday, about something completely different, but I was far too busy to do anything about that. And so, here we are tonight.. alone in the kitchen with my thoughts, and making a sneaky snack whilst the house is silent (there’s a first!). And so of course I’ve reached for the laptop to blog, and well… basically brain dump to you all!

I don’t really know where I am going with this, other than to share with you all that I have felt troubled for the last few days. Yes troubled and weighed down (and a little heavy too). I have felt overwhelmed with all I am doing and are responsible for, and just generally in need of a mega rest. Subsequently I have spent many moments questioning what my priorities need to be and if I need to cut something out? or of it will even make a difference?

I still don’t know the answer to that, or if it really is the solution to what I feel. You see I think I know why I am so melancholy and irritable. It’s the same reason it always is – the fact that I feel this way comes down to, and always seems to come back to, the fact that I carry a burden daily of loss. Yes some days I carry that better than others (with ease really) but still it is a daily thing and some day’s it’s far from easy!

I feel at the moment that I am in a place where I wonder where the peace is? Where did the ease go that I felt a few weeks ago with this? and why do I feel this torture more so some days? why can’t I get a grip or rather just a break from it all?

I do not get how you heal when a part of you is missing? It just doesn’t make sense, and as much as I try, and seem to make progress, something happens and I am right back to “poor old me” and feeling the strain and unfairness of it all again.

I don’t want to get over “it” and move on, because to me it means we move on from her and that isn’t really an option! You cannot possibly move on in life from someone you love. But I do want to feel lighter, and I don’t want to keep feeling weak, and feeling like a missing part in life. I don’t want to keep pretending on days I feel rotten, and I am tired of feeling vulnerable and tender on a regular basis because we are bombarded with one trigger or reminder after another.

Some days I feel great and life feels almost normal to me, and then on others I feel so tender, delicate and generally overwhelmed so easily by the things I once bore with ease.

I want to remember her – our 3rd little girl. But I don’t want to accept this, by putting on a headstone to see for reals that in there is my daughters body. The body I grew and fought so hard to save, but that I failed at! The body I only held briefly and never kissed enough. I don’t want to see the name we never get to speak without awkwardness, but then I want to acknowledge her existence and reality to us!

I don’t want to acknowledge it, but then I do.

I want to talk about her and remember her, and I want to forget the trauma of it all.

I want to remember she existed and what she brought to our life and family. But I want to forget how she never took a breath, and how I had to birth her body with no life.

I want to remember how she looked so similar to Megan, and yet I want to forget that I will never know if she would have the same characteristics.

I want to remember her every day, but I want to forget the pain that that brings.

I want to remember the facts of her life, her illness and condition. And of course I want to forget how poorly we were treated and how she was never given a chance!

But I cannot forget any of it. Because I want to remember. And this – every painful part, is her story, and therefore our story. It is what makes me me now. I have hard days. I have overwhelming days. And days I cannot bear to remember what I saw and went through. And whilst I may never be able to accept and be okay with the fact my daughter died, I love her and so I live each day, as best as I can with that missing part. I have hope there is a purpose in it. I hope there will be far more days of Joy and peace to come to us and return as they have done, to give us a rest. But mostly I hope we never forget, because I want there to be purpose in the pain and I want to remember that I birthed an Angel!

I want to remember, but for the sheer overwhelming feelings of pain and grief that that brings, some days I just want to forget!

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For the last few years, we have looked forward to, and very much enjoyed our day on the railway! By tradition, we go up to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway sometime between Christmas and New year with as many of Nathan’s family that are able to, and have a lovely steam train adventure in North Yorkshire!

I love to see everyone, catch up and laugh, and generally just chill out on the steam trains, and see the kids loving this ordinary and yet special moment that comes around each year.

This year we went on New years day. It was a challenge to get to Grandma’s for 9am (especially when we slept in til 8.30!), but like always, we needed to catch the mini coach that had been hired to get us there for the 11am train from Pickering up to Grosmont. And so like a scene from Home Alone, we dashed too and fro to get out the door and on the bus, with all the kids… and with a quick head count we were off!

Just so you know, having 11 kids, a handful of in laws and (at the moment) 12 grand-kids; a mini coach is the only way to travel en mass for a family day out in the Smith Family!

The Railway was quiet on the way up, and the kids not too crazy. The hills were scattered in patches of snow and the sun shone brightly. It was the perfect day to have gone, and as we trudged up the track we gazed out of the windows and chatted back and forth to one another about the lovely Christmas we had enjoyed, things we want to change and improve on and plans for the coming year.

We did our usual walk around Grosmont…exploring the quaint little station, cute shops, and walking through the long tunnel to the engine sheds. All before hopping aboard the steam train and heading back to Pickering! It was a fantastic day with everyone and each other, and a great start to our year!

Nathan’s dad was a great lover of the railway, as Ethan kept reminding us of, and so it is always sad to not have him there enjoying his favourite moments with us and his eager GrandKids! It is however always a special moment just to be together making memories, and having the opportunity to have him at the forefront of out minds and in conversation whilst we explore a place rich in his memory.

I love to see the rolling Yorkshire hills, be with family and enjoy North Yorkshire from the steam railway! Our day on the Railway is an ordinary moment we all look forward to and love… so much so, that this year we hope to take the kids again and head to Whitby on it, because it is THAT great!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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