Saturday, 20 October 2012

Memory moments - running out to gaze at the sunset.

Sometimes I don't have the words, but I want to share it with you.

Running out with the boys to the garages at the back of our house, because the sunset was just so stunning.  watching as they become silhouettes against the fiery sky.

Sighing and "Wowing" as the sky rolls out flame upon flame over our heads.

I know we don't have the best of views from anywhere in our house - and if you took a wander up the road for a few minutes - we'd have had the most stunning view of the downs, but the moment would have been gone by then.  Sometimes you just have to go with what you've got and this is our patch of paradise.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Well Worn Weekend

(I'll explain the picture later.)

Sometimes, no matter how much you'd rather it wasn't, the weekend can be the most hectic round of social events, washing, DIY, clubs and homework.

I was determined that this weekend we were going to have a chilled out family weekend.  The kind I remember growing up with as a child.  Long hours of relaxing, pottering, amusing oneself with trivial things, watching old films, eating scrumptious food and enjoying one anothers' company in a haze of blissful appreciation.
It was a good thought.

At first they run.....

Actually, the plan started on Friday with a clean of the house, receiving a food shop and a washing amnesty, plus baking a batch of apple and cranberry cake for the grown ups and a batch of brownies for the children. (Although a few did happen to fall onto our plates too.)  This way, I could avoid the chaotic madness of trying to do homework with various children, whilst putting a weeks worth of shopping away, dealing with 3 loads of washing and a mess of a house.  On my own.  While J took Ben to football for the morning.  That was last week and that was NOT good.  Not a happy house, not a happy mummy.

The plan this week was to dish out plenty of baked goodies, with plenty of cups of tea and one at a time, help the children do their project homework.  Followed by a Roast dinner on Sunday (which I never usually attempt midday!), a walk in the lovely sunshine and a "bread and butter" tea whilst watching a film together.
Now, a few things happened along the way that nudged the plan sideways (a trip to A&E with my mum, mid dinner on Saturday and then also the following morning.), but generally, we had decided to be chilled out, and that is what we managed.

....then he wants to be carried.....

I think what I realised, is that those blissful memories of my youth of endless hours of relaxation and fun at the weekends, were probably just that, for me - but facilitated by the love, care and nurture of my parents, who determined that family time was important and worked hard to make it happen.  A change of pace between working our socks off was important.  A knowledge that Home was a safe place where we could be ourselves was important.  Fun was important.  And I am so thankful that we were allowed the freedom in those hours of childhood to be children and PLAY.

...then his brother wants a carry too.....

This weekend, my friend Kelly ran her first ever half marathon, to raise money for a charity I have mentioned before - Children on the Edge.  It was a gruelling 13 miles, through sometimes rough terrain.  Thankfully the sun shone, but it was a freezing cold morning!

I'm mentioning this because it struck me that what we were so blessed to have this weekend, is not the story for so many children across the world.

In Haiti, children who have lost sometimes their whole family and home are given hope and a little snippet of childish fun through playing football at project COTE helps to fund.

In Romania they help to give children with disabilities and their families help to play together with able bodied children in bright, colourful spaces with friendly caring staff.

In East Timor, where children have been dragged though the horrors of conflict, they support a Child and Community centre which not only offers health care, nutrition, education, after-school and youth activities, plus psychological and health advice for parents, but also gives children space to be children again and play.

In Bangladesh COTE supports Learning centres for children who because of extreme poverty are working, when our children in the UK are enjoying the freedoms of childhood.. These child workers are given a meal, the opportunity to wash, attend lessons and crucially rest and play.

Where war, natural disaster, poverty and abuse rob children of the essential ingredients that make up a full childhood, COTE aims to give these things back.

It was a struggle to set aside time to relax this weekend and come together as a family.  It's a struggle to carve out a precious piece of time territory and mark it as sacred.  If it's that much of a struggle here, with these facilities, these beautiful surroundings, this plenty, this security, this love, this abundance....think of the battle COTE have.

Never take Play for granted. It's a powerful thing and it changes not only lives, but history.

Now - I promise I'll go all crafty on you again soon and bring you some pictures of pretty things, but in the meantime, cast your discerning eyes on the beautifully designed calender at the top of the post.  Created to raise money for the work Children on the Edge do across the world by Sussex based designer Sandra Isaksson, this beauty is a must have.  I already have my copy - because I am going to be Mrs Ultra Organised next year ;0) and I have a couple of Christmas presents sorted too- they are a steal at £5, every penny of which goes to bringing smiles to children.  There you go - I have solved two of your problems in one go - which calender to adorn you kitchen wall with next year and how to extend your love of children to the far reaches of the world. Perfect.  Buy yours here.