Breaking out of the gloom – January

Logically I know we have had a great month. When I think about our little family it’s all loveliness, but the outside world is encroaching so darkly.

Good stuff first though. Thanks to lots of time at home over Christmas we have been able to keep the house as under control as it can be with a toddler who likes taking everything out of everywhere she can reach then scattering it far and wide. I have even managed to do a bit of decluttering as and when I see it, which also helps as there is less general stuff everywhere.

Trike & ducks
We have managed to find a few new groups to go to which fit with Felicity’s nap time and we fill my non working days very happily with lots of trips down to the park, Library, feeding the ducks or toddling about our little town. Her latest obsession is her push along tricycle which she points to ever so hopefully every time we open the garage to get the oh so much more practical pushchair out. Most of the time I can’t resist either…

A lot of time has been taken up with planning our kitchen renovation, which is very exciting. Ignoring how much our savings are going to disappear the thought of a working oven and dishwasher is so wonderful. And the fun of looking  at storage solutions – under plinth drawers and pull out spice racks make me genuinely shudder with delight. Felicity has been so patient with us spending a large percentage of our weekends at kitchen showrooms too. She is going through a phase of loving to nose in cupboards, so going to places where there is nothing to do but open and shut drawers and cupboard doors seems to be a hit way to spend a weekend in her eyes.

I have also been keeping in mind my word for 2017 and have been crafting almost every evening for the first time in a long time. It has definitely helped to have something relaxing to focus on rather than just drifting the evening away messing about on the Internet. The only trouble with my tactic of using up random craft kits is my makes aren’t necessarily things I need. Anyone want this owl? I don’t trust Felicity to not chew the felt bits off.

Handmade owl

All lovely and yet I feel gloomy – the news from the US has literally been keeping me up at night, with the Muslim ban being signed just as I was up for Felicity’s first wake up and stupidly checked the news. It was all so horrifying that I then couldn’t get to sleep for hours watching the developments.

I desperately feel I want to be doing something but managed to completely miss that the Women’s March was happening until it was too late to go. We would have loved to have taken Felicity as I worry so much about her growing up in this kind of environment for women. I feel guilty for worrying about kitchens which I know is so unimportant in the grand scheme of things. All the things I hold most dear: human rights, the NHS, even actual facts (I’m a librarian, verifiable sources are kind of important to me), are being chipped away at the moment.

Yet I know that just obsessing about these things – rather than resisting them in a useful way, I’m obviously going to do that – won’t make them go away. So I will continue choosing kitchen flooring, taking my daughter to the park and making. Then ramble on about all that on the Internet.

Home again and hello July 

It doesn’t seem like a whole month has gone by since my May post, probably because we spent all of June travelling and time flies so quickly in new places.

We are feeling pretty good that we survived a month away from home with an eight month old. In fact I think survive is too negative a word, Felicity loved being out and about all day and seeing new things, she genuinely seemed to thrive on it. She even slept better than she ever has before for a good portion of the trip  – teeth have now wrecked that happy spell sadly. I’m hoping her early adaptability is a sign she will be a traveller when she’s older, and that we haven’t put her off with the epic car journeys that she was distinctly unimpressed with (screamed her lungs out at) by the end of the month.

Felicity's first beach

Obviously almost everything  is new when you’re a baby, but there have been lots of firsts for her on this trip. First train ride, first time up a mountain, first sight of the sea and first time on a beach. Weaning continues apace and being out so much has meant she has tried a variety of things, there have been some unexpected successes: Venison (she’s clearly training to be a tiny Tudor monarch), raw onion, rocket, spring onion mash and fried bread all were received with enthusiasm; grapefruit was the only real failure and her expression when she tried it was amazing!

Having grandparents around for two of the weeks we were away also meant Will and I managed our first meal out as a couple since Felicity was born, and even managed to get a sauna, hot tub and swim on our own whilst in Northumberland. It was rather heavenly to reconnect as adults rather than just parents for even a short time.

Then there was, of course, the EU Referendum, and the subsequent apparent disintegration of UK politics. I was upset at the result, but I was also not very surprised either. I can’t work out whether it is more depressing I always thought that it might go this way or if I was saved the nasty shock that it did. I still count myself very much as a European and am just praying that the impacts are not as terrible as predicted. On a personal level I am so sad that people I care about have been affected by the anti-immigration tone of it all. Several friends are now in limbo due to jobs being funded by the EU, couples from different nations are worried about residency and what it will mean for them, it just seems like a terrible mess.

The continuing depressing news, and the end of our holidays, meant it was rather back to earth with a bump when we got home properly at the beginning of July. Will was back at his desk on Monday morning and I was completely solo parenting for the first time in almost a month, I had some work admin to sort out urgently and slightly unexpectedly and then the dreaded teeth made themselves known. Lunch was cooked and then abandoned on Monday for both me and Felicity as all she wanted was cuddles and quiet. Back to reality! This is my excuse for why this end of June post is going up a week late…