Thursday, 23 September 2010

Hike to Harvest

Our neighbor's tree out front has just started turning yellow. Isabella is with her second cold  in two consecutive weeks. We are using our heater twice a day now. And dinner tonight is a hearty, hearth-y moussaka. Autumn is really upon us here in England. I feel we have to spend as much daylight hours outside as possible, before the sun goes down at 4pm by the end of December, and the days begin to wane dramatically by 2pm.

the donkeys and horses from down the road
So Isabella and I have begun to collect even more wild berries, apples and other edibles to use such efforts as an excuse to be outside. We have even started taking the dog down to the creek for regular baths, instead of a hosing.

footpath to Southwick and the giant crabapple tree

But today I'm definitely feeling the indoorsy vibe. My attention has turned from various scattered clothing and gifting projects to projects of the house: what do I really want to look at between these four walls for the next 6-7 months before spring beckons us out again? So I am putting together a few boxes of things we no longer use or need to sell in my first car boot sale - the equivalent of a garage sale, except various people in the village get together in a parking lot and sell their wares from the trunks of their cars.

last stop at The Swan from our recent hike
This weekend we are also planning a big family hike with some other friends and their kids. It will be a kid-friendly pub crawl from one village to another - with good food and drink at both ends - absolutely the best way to do it.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

More Early Autumn Energy

"So you're not sleepy?" "No, it's just I hungry." And she's also eating like a teenager again. I got comments about it on her first day at playgroup. They marvelled at how much she ate at snack time. Parents get just as proud of how much their toddler eats as they do of their grades when they start school. I'm almost sure of it.

"Be careful, Isabella. There are a lot of pokies [thorns] around the blackberries." "The pokies tickle me." Then later after getting stuck, "Pokies, you don't have to hurt me." This was yesterday, when we took Spartacus for a swim down at the stream. This outing ended up being a hour and a half long hike, and by the time we made it home we were rosy cheeked and ready for hot chocolate! Isabella's first hot chocolate. It was a bit anti-climactic: I was expecting her to go bonkers over milk with loads of warm chocolate swirling around in it.

This week the days have been very full. It's not even 4p.m. but since we've been so active outside, it feels like it should be bedtime. Today we took a long bike ride to another village, then hiked up an old castle mound to see the panorama. I missed my camera every step of the way. Because she fell asleep on the bike on our way home, I missed out on a nap time break. But she has been letting her imagination run wild, and so has been entertaining herself very well.
behind her is the partially sanded table I hope to paint and stencil for her - yet another project

This week I also bought her a grab bag of toys at our Oxfam charity shop - only 99p. My investment in that cheap bag of Happy Meal cast offs and random bric-a-brac is turning out dividends in the amount of time she has spent playing with each new piece of junk. Sure, it makes for a huge mess but it buys me time to get other stuff done around here :).

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Late Summer Happenings

that was my teddy as a kid!

Last month we finally decided to move Isabella into a toddler bed. It was just the right time. Now I can squeeze into her little bed for a book before bedtime or just lay by her side for a few minutes to cuddle when she needs it (or I need it - which is actually most of the time). Of course, she often plays in her room now when she should be sleeping, but the transition has made mornings much easier for me. Now she can show up at MY bedside to say "good morning to you!" instead of frantically screaming at me from her crib. It makes a big difference in my usually anti-social morning mood. 

With each passing day, Pedro and I swear that she is getting either clumsier or bolder - most likely the latter - but either way, she ends up with innumerable little bruises on her legs, bloody lips, and even a bruised nose. Last week was just terrible, and she fell badly twice in one day - once while playing around in her little plastic lawn chair (teeth to the coffee table), then she tripped on a new rug I bought and almost broke her nose on a dining chair.


We have put a strict stop to her cuddling with the dogs after Tracia clawed a deep gash in her cheek when Pedro's parents were here. But still, she tests the limits.

I plan to put her into playschool for one day a week this fall/winter. It will help me get errands done while she learns things from people other than me. When she turns three next February she will be entitled to school five days a week (half days), but I'm not sure how long I want her away. I do so like her company, and I have already learned how quickly these days pass.