35/52 :: Home

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#1 & #2 Boys, these are the sort of pictures I take of you when I’m all out of time, busy packing for our holiday, and when I ask you to pose. What can I say except ‘sorry’?!

We’re one week into our two week summer holiday in France and it feels like an age since I took these corny last minute shots a week ago. Being the type of person I am, there’s no way my 52 Project could only have 51 submissions unless there’s a very good reason. Therefore week 35 brings you slightly naff shots of the boys posing in front of the garage, under pressure. I’d love to promise you wonderful French captures for the next couple of weeks to make up for it but I’m struggling to find my camera mojo at the moment. Short and sweet for today so until next time, au revoir x

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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 //

31/52 :: the barn

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#2 You constantly surprise me with what you’re fearless about when, so often, you’re naturally cautious. There is more to you than meets the eye, my handsome boy.

We pass this barn all the time; it’s between our house and Nanny and Grandad’s. We’ve not stopped before but the light on this particular evening was just beautiful. I wish I was skilled enough to capture it how I would like to. We were already way past bedtime. The boys were tired and grubby but keen to jump out and investigate. While I helped the little one to get his wellies on, Boy1 was off exploring. I’d intended to simply try and get a couple of shots of them outside the barn (after all, I guess we shouldn’t really have been there) but by the time we’d caught up he was in and rummaging. I find it strange and interesting that in many and most situations he’s cautious, holds back, over analyses. And yet here was a semi derelict barn, full of goodness knows what – piles of old tyres, broken machinery, overgrown dark corners, crazy shadows – and he was in his element. He created hulk-like action figure shadows on the corrugated iron walls and imagined himself as Stig of the Dump. I tried to persuade him not to touch stuff, that we didn’t know if it was safe and that we shouldn’t really be there, but he came home with pockets stuffed with broken bits and bobs. Boy treasure.

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

30/52 :: part 2

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#2 We were so unbelievably proud of you this week, especially. You did it!

Phew. What a week. Exciting, exhausting, overwhelming and memorable. Countless rehearsals, three performances, two celebratory meals out, too many late nights (and a few tantrums thrown in for good measure). It was wonderful but we are pleased to now be back to normal, a week later.

On Monday, right at end of my week 30, we dropped everything, The Man included, and headed out to the White Cliffs at Dover. It was an emergency mission. The pre-show craziness followed by the post-performance low really messed with all of us, especially he and I. Being outside with space to run and explore was the only option. He found his stick before we’d even left the car park and only let it go to share with his brother for a moment.

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On this particular day, and the couple of weeks leading up to it, I felt as though I was scraping my nails down a blackboard. Now, with a bit of distance granting perspective, I can see things how they really are. That this was a major achievement for a boy who is essentially shy, emotionally and physically sensitive, easily overwhelmed, and kicks out against instruction and correction. He loved the actual performances, coming out of that stage door excited and so happy. But within 20 minutes each time he had his nose buried deep within the pages of a book, where he’s most comfortable. For my part I now realise just how anxious I was, at no ot being able to control his situation for him, to soften the edges. And the creeping fear that, because of his sensitive nature, he’d be the child who did a runner mid act, back to the dressing room.

We are beyond proud. And still singing the entire musical score which is driving us all slightly potty 😊

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

30/52 :: part 1

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#1 Yes, you really do need your fringe trimmed. I suggested to your Dad that we let the fringe grow out. You asked for a crew cut. Neither is happening!*

This week (which is now technically last week), this little lad got extra one:one time from both me and The Man. When his brother was rehearsing and performing hard he got to just hang out. We didn’t do much but then this one doesn’t seem to need it. We watched combine harvesters cutting wheat, we took a little walk to the park, but mostly he just busied himself in the yard by our garages. This broken old toy tractor was found dumped on the side of the road; he couldn’t have been any happier – proving, once again, that kids don’t need too much. I’m not sure where his shoe went. He wore just one for well over an hour 💛
* I’ve since cut his fringe, reasonably badly.

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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.

26/52

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#1 Bubble face
#2 Bubble love

The Man was sorting out in the garage and came across a bottle of big bubble mix we’d made up for Boy1’s 5th birthday party. At the time it didn’t work and in the end we gave up. Turns out that sitting in the bottle for two and a half years did the trick! And so followed half an hour of intense bubble making and breaking fun. They were both drenched and very sticky afterwards but their joy was infectious. Everyone loves a bubble 🙂

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

25/52

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#1 You’ve always been physical, actually finding it almost impossible to stay still, but this week you discovered that you can balance. And I mean really balance.

#2 You were so tempted to get straight into the water. The deal was that we’d head to a cafe for lunch before getting soaked. You just about kept to that promise. Just about.

We took a train into London for a day of exploring the HMS Belfast, and playing in the water fountains on the More London Estate. The boys had the best time, climbing up and down steep stairs on the ship, engaging in navy related imaginary play, and waving to passing tourist boats. Just a short walk from the Belfast we found the water fountains and made the most of a warm day. London really is the most bizarre place, you know. I lived there for seven years prior to having the boys and I never really noticed. Where else would you find young children, wearing just their swimming trunks, running around playing water games (and acting out bizarre contemporary dance moves) amongst city workers on their lunch break and no one bats an eyelid, engages in conversation or even remotely acknowledges your kids are, quite literally batsh*t crazy?! If this sort of thing happened on Canterbury high street it would make the local news 🙂

It was a great, albeit slightly mad, day (and despite the very serious faces I seem to have captured, they did an awful lot of laughing!)

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

24/52

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#1 A new dressing up costume because you’ve grown out of all the old ones, but you’ve not yet grown out of pretending. It’s something of a passion.

#2 You handled the disappointment of not getting a new costume with such maturity it took me by complete surprise. My little bear, with a mouthful of muesli.

This week, for the boys, it was all about dressing up. For me it was all about the iPhone and suddenly working out that Instagram is so much more than a set of photo filters. Since I all but forgot to even share a week 24 these will have to do. And you know what, I love them both, mostly because they say it how it is perfectly ❤

If you use Instagram and want to follow I can be found lurking at @loopygibbens 🙂

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

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