33/52 :: Margate

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#1 Wind and water; possibly two of your most favourite things. After playing by the sea we got unbelievably soaked by a massive rainstorm. You were beyond exhilarated.

#2 Far less sure about the waves, which were crashing against the steps, than your brother. I’d promised you a play on Margate’s sandy beach but a high tide put a stop to that plan.

We love to visit the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate. It satisfies something for each of us every time. On this occasion the boys loved Spencer Finch’s ‘Cloud’ installation, and the cool #summerofcolour viewing filters designed to be used when looking at the Mondrian exhibition. There were yoga mats available for laying on when looking at an overhead installation. In the hands of my boys these became the equipment for an entirely different game, but thankfully nobody seemed to mind.

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Refuelled with cake and ice cream from the Turner cafe, the plan was to head down on to Margate’s wide sandy beach to have a run around. The sun had made a reappearance after a morning of drizzle and the boys remembered finding loads of hermit crabs there last summer. Only this time the tide was high and the beach was non existent. But they made their own fun, as they always do, by running along the steps and wave dodging. Before too long, a huge bank of black clouds rolled in and the heavens opened. The 10 minute walk back to car was long enough for us to get utterly drenched. It was the type of rain where it’s best to just embrace the fact that you’re going to wet through and enjoy it for what it is. Boy1 found the whole experience massively stimulating. He quite literally loved it. Me and Boy2? Slightly less so and to be honest, when the thunder and lightening started banging and crashing right overhead I was pleased to be back in the car.

Margate, you might be down at heel and rough around the edges but you are yet to disappoint ❤️

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// Joining in with lovely people over at Practising Simplicity and I Heart Snapping #52Project #livingarrows //

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32/52 :: fossil hunting

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#1 You squidged your little finger between two rocks and for the rest of the day that pinky stayed sticking out.

#2 ‘These are fossil-finding hands!’. And they were; you found loads.

I had a spectacularly bad day earlier on in the week. Nothing in particular was wrong, just one of ‘those’ days. I basically lost it with myself, and then with The Man. The children were inevitably (shamefully) caught in the cross-fire. The day was declared a total write-off so we made a plan to take the boys fossil-hunting on a local beach the following day; something we’d been meaning to do for a while.

Despite weather warnings about the tail-end of hurricane Bertha, we ventured out. I’m quite convinced that The Man suggested we head for the coast because (and not despite) of the forecast wind and rain. Yes, it was bracing! But it was just what we (I) needed. I can confirm that fossil-hunting is officially addictive. It was hard for me to know whether to keep searching or carry on snapping.

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I seriously take {and post} too many photos, don’t I? Sorry but I’m not that sorry 😊

// Joining in with lovely people over at Practising Simplicity and I Heart Snapping #52Project #livingarrows //

27/52

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#1 Being cheeky on the steam train. You did a pretty good job of avoiding the camera in such close confines but I caught the real you here.

#2 My little artist at work. You love leaving your mark and sand is your favourite.

We squeezed in a couple of precious days back ‘home’ in Norfolk to spend time with Nana and Grandad and the Danish cousins. The visit didn’t quite work out as planned but we did at least spend one afternoon and evening together. We took a ride on a steam train from Sheringham, spent a few hours at the beach, and finished the day off with a fish and chip supper. We’d have liked to stay on longer but too many commitments back here in Kent were calling us home.

This was the week I had a photo of the boys removed from my Instagram account, followed by a warning about violating their community rules. I was angry and upset and a bit baffled, too. As a consequence, this post contains fewer pictures of Boy1 as he chose to strip down to his undies to go into the sea. There has been a weird and worrisome spate of Instagram accounts being closed down with little or no warning in the past couple of weeks. A strange form of censorship directed unfairly at mothers who are choosing to share beautiful and entirely innocent pictures of their children. It’s made me think about which direction to take things here on the blog, too.

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So I’ve come to blogging week 27 so unbelievably late that I’m not able to submit my link to Practising Simplicity or I Heart Snapping. I’m so late I already have my shots from week 28 lined up and ready to go. Let’s just say the last week has been a bit of a write-off. A poorly littlest little and an hectic last rehearsal schedule for the bigger one has meant pretty much everything else has fallen by the wayside. The photos were there, they just sat on the camera a bit too long. And in the grand scheme of things, that’s OK.

23/52

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#1 You returned to ‘base’ momentarily to say something, and then you were off again; my only opportunity to take your photo all afternoon. I love your muddy knees.

#2 And while your brother played at the shore with his friends, you hung out with me again, collecting stones, picking flowers, and admiring beach huts. I love your determination.

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We had another day at the beach, this time with our home ed group. We’ve not joined them as much recently, but with the weather so lovely and the boys being seduced by the craft activity on offer (making catapults), we ventured out. It was so good to see the increase in Boy1’s confidence amongst the other children there.

As you can see, I clearly need some lessons (or self restraint, perhaps) in selecting photos to include here. Trust me, I’ve been tossing coins in an attempt to slim the amount down. Back in the day, I would definitely have been one of those annoying people with a projector who invited people over to sit through endless holiday slides ZZZZzzzzzz.

And right now, we’re literally heading out the door on our way to North Norfolk for a wedding. The boys are safely deposited with the grandparents. It’s been a very, very long time since it was just me and The Man. Such a strange feeling!

Just as my week 23 is submitted, others will be about to submit their week 24. Says it all really! Joining in with lovely people over at Practising Simplicity and I Heart Snapping #52Project #livingarrows

22/52

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#1 Sitting on the sand, with the wind whipping at your hair, watching your brother dancing in the sea.

#2 When it comes to water you really are a little crazy. It was so cold but you swam, right up to your neck, until you were blue. Absolutely bonkers.

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We had a blast meeting new friends and the best of old ones, too, at the seaside. It was one of those weird weather days. Warm, muggy, threatening rain, bright sky, black sky, huge downpour. Our closest beach is Whitstable, stony like most of this part of the Kent coast but Boy2 was thrilled to find the tiniest patch of sand amongst the pebbles. A happy boy and his bucket. The older boys in the group wasted no time getting wet. Boy1 was really reluctant to get out despite chattering teeth and blue skin. I felt cold just watching!

Joining in with lovely people over at Practising Simplicity and I Heart Snapping #52Project #livingarrows

48/52

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#1 Water: it’s your thing. Simple. If you don’t end up living on or next to water as an adult I’ll eat my hat.
#2 Sticks and stones, my builder boy. In complete contrast to your brother you paid no attention to the sea whatsoever.

I love how different my boys are. When we found out that we were having a second son, all I could imagine was having another one just the same as the first. And that would have been wonderful. But it’s even more wonderful that they couldn’t be more different if they tried.

We took an unplanned trip up to my ‘home’ in Norfolk. It was just one night away but The Man came too (actually it was his idea) and it was really nice to all go together. We took a trip out to Old Hunstanton for a beach walk where the boys were fascinated by the striped cliffs and piles of razor clam shells. Because of the broken camera situation these shots were taken with the iPhone. Not ideal but we’re so close to the end of the project I’ve got to hang on in there!

Coming to the end of the 52 Project, over at Che & Fidel.

My favourites from week 47:
Jane Mabel
Wendieland
This Little Port
From Sarah’s Camera

41/52

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#1 Another evening at the beach. You and your little friend from next door managed to cake yourselves in mud at low tide. Despite your expression here, it looked like a lot of fun.

#2 Marching with purpose, you didn’t wade right in like the others. Wet, yes, muddy, no.

What a difference a week makes. This was, most definitely, our final opportunity to string out the summer. What followed were several days of high winds and lashing rain and it’s not really cheered up since. Having been spoilt rotten we’re all feeling the heavy drag of the season’s change. Armed with our first runny noses and tickly throats of Autumn, we’ve been a bit sluggish. I’m trying to be grateful for all the opportunities we’ve had to be outside in good weather for what feels like an eternity, rather than grumpy that its over. I’m not doing particularly well with that, funnily enough.

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#3 Playing a pirate game where the sun sparkling across the sea was your treasure.
Whenever I take a picture into the sun like this I get, to a greater or lesser degree, a strange ghostly green shimmer on the image. I’m assuming that, rather than being an issue with my camera or lens, it just means I need to use a particular setting or filter or something to prevent it? On this picture I quite like it though; its as if Boy1 is catching something unreal in his outstretched hand…

These pictures from last week made me smile:
Doing what little ones do best; Sage and her mud pie pit/Daniela’s ‘M’ showing off her tattoos/Melinda’s Canadian explorer; the colours and feel are just beautiful/Rasmus, Birdie & Alfie; such gorgeous boys and each capture different from the last/Serious but sweet tiny Spanish dancer; such a romantic, nostalgic image.

All these and more joining in with Jodi over at Che & Fidel

39/52

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#1 You were watching your brother going into the sea at sundown, wondering whether it was a good idea or not. Shortly afterwards you took your very first paddle, without any encouragement from anyone other than yourself.
#2 You must have been a fish in a previous life, drawn as you are to the water. It wasn’t long before you were in up to your neck, larking about like some crazy loon!

We got an extra bonus few hours at the beach in Whitstable, following a late afternoon dental appointment. The Man came too and, after a tea of obligatory fish and chips, the boys headed down to the shore. Boy1 typically stripped off and wasted no time in getting in and mucking about. Boy2, usually nervous when right at the water’s edge, decided he’d do some wave jumping too for the very first time and without a hand to grip. I was too busy enjoying watching his moment to bother with a photo. Sometimes it’s good to remember to just join in. We stayed until the sun went down, blessed with the fact that no school in the morning meant no pressure to be home and in bed by a certain time.

Here are a few favourites from wk38, all sharing their photos over at Che & Fidel:

Gus and his flowers for the kitchen; this little man is just too cute for words/These quirky, beautiful shots of 3 boys/Matteo posing with his big boys bed; cute expression and wonderful pops of colour.

Welcome break

The May half term has come to an end, with today being an extra added bonus; a teacher training day plus gorgeous sunshine.  Yes, I love half term breaks, they’re always so welcome, but I’m pretty sure that this will be our last.  The next break is the long summer holidays and I don’t think we’ll be returning in the Autumn. I wonder whether we’ll feel sad at all, or just excited about starting on a homeschooling journey? We’ve been lucky enough to meet up with our local homeschooling group twice in the past few days and I feel more sure than I ever have that it’s the right thing to do. The Man seems more committed to the idea than perhaps he was before. We have so much organising to do at home to make the transition easier, and the summer holidays may well prove to be a mini homeschooling adventure trial period. I’m not sure how much you can tell from six short weeks of dipping a toe in the water but that’s the plan.

This was our half term, in pictures…

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#1 Ice cream for pudding at Nana and Grandad’s…
#2 …every day!
#3 Pretending to be a farmer all day long
#4 Nudy boys bouncing in the sunshine, and the rain
#5 Exploring new woodland
#6 Being curious about everything and anything
#7 Spending time with loved ones
#8 Breakfast and books with our next-door friend
#9 An extra day spent at the beach
#10 Discovering something cool