So, how's everyone been?
Kendal and I thought we'd fill you in on what we've been up to in January, and then share some news with you.
So, my life... Where to begin? Let's start with Ru and Pixie.
Pixie has been pretty unwell with horrid cough after horrible cold, with Ru catching some of it too. This has pretty much been Snot House, I can tell you. On the positive side, she's had her first haircut, started Mama-Baby ballet lessons, and her speech has EXPLODED! We've had spontaneous cuddles accompanied by a cute little utterance of "Aaah voo!" - love you. If there's ever a moment to make your heart melt, that's it. There is a lot of new-found love for dolls, spending hours dragging Petal (her Mama-made Waldorf doll) around with her. Every animal is a horse and oddly, they all say 'miaow'. I also discovered that at 16 months old, Pixie's hair is long enough for me to French plait. More than that, it has been amazing to watch her learn. Such a different child from her brother, such a beautifully separate entity, such a delightfully unique soul. I am blessed with being able to see her life unfolding little by little every day...
Ru is just... always so completely Ru. His bright, effervescent self shines startlingly brilliant light into all the dark corners of my life. I am thankful for him. He is loving nursery, and loves to talk about his friends at school, especially Alfie, with whom he has a special bond. He's completely toilet trained... well... was toilet trained. We've had a couple of accidents this week, I think due to him being on the back end of a bad cold. He'll get it when he's ready, I just know it. We've had some fantastic new outbursts, learned from school including "That's not FAIR!", "If you keep doing that, I won't be your friend!" and "That's a pain in the ass."
Oh ok, that last one he learned from me.
Seriously though, I am exploring the new world that is fledgling friendships, learning the Small Person politics with him... It's tough to hear him say "So-and-so says that he won't be my friend anymore" but we're slowly getting a grip on it.
He's also really loving his role as Big Brother and Protector of his little sister. During half-term, a little boy pushed her over on purpose at a group we go to, and he was straight over, stood in between them declaring "That's my Pixie. You are NOT allowed to push her!". He adores her, just as much as she loves him. She has a serious case of idolisation.
As for Stephen, he's enjoying his job as a delivery driver for a big supermarket. I think he's relishing the pride of working hard to support his family. He's a good man. Our relationship is as strong as ever.
Myself... well... that certainly is a different story.
From a business point of view, MamaPixie is exploding with wonderful things! We have a photoshoot for the May/June 2013 release collection, 'A Whimsical Summer'. I'm also going to be attending several fairs, including one with my lovely friend Sarah. Stephen has joined me too, taking over the wooden side of things. On top of all that, we also have an expanded product list, including some VERY new quilted wings. I am always grateful for the brilliant customers we have, as each one brings Stephen and I closer to our dream of buying our own, very special home.
From a personal stance, things have been... difficult.
The reason we decided to take a break over January was at my request. I have mentioned before my on-going struggle with depression and during the latter part of 2012, I started taking anti-depressant medication. With the depression being dealt with, a lot, a LOT, of anxiety has come to the surface. Previously, I didn't *want* to leave the house. Now, it's terrifying to even consider going to Kendal's house 3 minutes walk down the road alone. I am unable to leave the house without Stephen being with me. I felt so bad that I even cut off my long pink hair and dyed it brown. I think that's the point I knew something was more than a little off.
Some incredible support, not least from Stephen, has been helping though. I've been reminded of the existence of amazing souls. Emma coming all the way from Derby just to spend a few hours with me. Hannah being a wonderful rock. Offers of help and support and love from my wonderful online Green Parent family too. There have been other good things too. I finished Ru and Pixie's handmade Waldorf dolls. I completely re-sorted and reorganised the attic and my storeroom. I taught myself to knit. I painted.
Most of all, I'm VERY proud to say that after not leaving the house alone in months, I have attended two half-hour Mama-Baby ballet classes with Pixie this year, just me and her. Fair enough, Stephen dropped us off, and picked us up, but for me, this might as well have been climbing Everest.
Tiny baby steps.
Then one more.
And then one more.
I'll get there.
My word for the 2013, my focus if you will, is the word 'build'.
Not only to build up MamaPixie, but also to build up myself, to be the best that I can be.
In order to do this, I need to refocus my life. With MamaPixie being so successful, I simply cannot see a way to fit Crafty by Nurture in there as well. Without this blog, I will have more time to devote to my business, to my husband and children, and maybe even a little to myself. *Definitely* some for myself. I know that similarly, MamaMake's success has Kendal very busy too, both of us scuttling around like little industrious bees, (even though preggy Miss Kendal should be taking it easy... tut tut and a finger-wagging for you. *stern face*)
For the large part, it has been a pleasure sharing with you, whether that was baking and cooking, crafting or just speaking from the heart about something personal to me.
You will be able to catch up with me on the MamaPixie Facebook page, as well as over on my own personal blog, if you fancy it.
I wish all of you the best for 2013, along with more joy and happiness than you can handle!
I am pretty much as busy as I have ever been. Which is somewhat crazy considering I have a toddler and am nearly 7 months pregnant. But, such is life. There is a lot of it. Life, I mean. And I know that in two months time I simply won't have a choice but to stop, to rest, and to enjoy that strange, unreal newborn haze that lasts quite some time.
Aside from enjoying getting to know the newest member of our family, our goals this year are simply to move ever closer to the kind of life we imagine for ourselves. Namely, an unschooling, homesteading kind of life. Our evenings are spent filled with conversation about it and our days are spent working towards that. We hope that soon, Howard and I will both be able to 'work' from home. For me, that means MamaMake and writing, and for Howard, that means being a full-time author/writer.
I started MamaMake just over a year ago, two months after I'd learnt to sew, with the idea that maybe, now and then, I might sell some things I'd made. Looking back on the last year I was totally surprised to tally up just how much I'd ended up making for others - how many orders we'd had - and how busy it had kept me. When you love doing something, it truly doesn't feel like work, and I couldn't believe, for example, that I'd knitted nearly 40 elf hats in one year. How on earth did that pass me by? Are there really 40 little people walking about with something I've knitted. What a heart-warming thought!
Joining ranks with Sam has meant that MamaMake has become a proper business - We launched our Spring Line at the beginning of January with the same intention as we've always had - to add a little 'handmade whimsy' to people's lives, and since then have been kept very busy sewing, knitting, talking to customers, planning our seasonal items and coming up with new ideas for the future.
I've been writing more at Ava and the Snowman which gained an unexpected amount of support last year and which has led me to a variety of other writing ventures which I am so excited to be a part of this year. Writing will always be a huge part of my life and with AATS, I feel like I finally have a lot to say on a topic (parenting, unschooling etc) that I never, ever get bored of.
Howard has just finished his novel and is working diligently on the editing stage, and we are both trying to prepare ourselves for what it will be like to have two (two!) children. Even if that is only painting some furniture and sorting out our garden. (Oh if you only knew how little I know about gardening and how thankful I am I have a friend who is going to tell me exactly what I need to be doing come Spring!)
As for Ava, she is blossoming into this amazing little two year old who continues to be the best person I've ever met. This is such a great age. I know she may yet go through a tantruming or rebellious phase but so far our days are filled with the most incredible conversations and delightful time together. Hearing all about her thoughts on things (this morning she requested a 'tin of tomatoes' for breakfast!), her memories (I never knew a two year old could remember so much) and the things she learns every single day, is just the most incredible parenting experience so far. She is completely smitten with the idea of Ezra, draws pictures of him constantly, talks to my tummy and gives it cuddles, and is obsessed with watching birthing videos and trying to figure out how Mama is going to 'poo Ezra out'. Hmmm.
She is a very sweet, very gentle and very creative little soul and I count my lucky stars every day that I get to be her Mama. With little over two months to go until we meet Ezra, I am finding myself getting a strong idea of who this little man might be, in the same way I did with Ava (and was oddly right, too). I really can't wait to meet him, to see our family fill out a little more, and to get on with living together and moving forwards in the ways we want to.
When I am not doing MamaMake things, or writing, I am trying to give myself time to practice hypnobirthing, to do meditations and to enjoy the pregnancy yoga I've been attending. To prepare myself for, fingers crossed, a homebirth, and to just make room in my head and heart for what is going to be a huge and life-changing experience for our family.
Like Emi said, it has been a true pleasure to share this space and parts of my life with you, and it has been amazing to receive your support and feedback in return. For now, I will be busily sewing or knitting away at MamaMake (I've become obsessed with knitting of late - and discovered I am a complete and utter yarn snob!) or at Ava and the Snowman, where I will be writing a lot more, trying to articulate what it's like going from one to two children, and continuing to explore our unschooling adventures.
Thank you, sincerely, for being here with us.
Wishing you all love and happiness,
'...and it was nearly done, this frail
Traveling coincidence; and what it held
Stood ready to be loosed with all the power
That being changed can give. We slowed again,
And as the tightened brakes took hold, there swelled
A sense of falling, like an arrow-shower
Sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain.'
from The Whitsun Weddings, by Philip Larkin