It's been a busy Bank Holiday weekend and start to September. Joe's birthday was very much a celebratory affair; no party (we were naive to think the new house would be ready in time) but lots of treats and gatherings and trips out.
There have been steam train rides and a day out at the canal to go on Grandad's boat. A visit to the local farm shop with his little friends for ice cream and a run around the play area. And cake...
Or at least, the Smarties from the top of the cake.
Lovely gifts too. A gardening set, a wooden garage, a little kitchen, Gruffalo pyjamas (I want some as well). Knitted things, wellies, books, any number of toy cars and tractors, Duplo. An electric organ - which currently resides in another room to preserve our sanity. So many things. He's a very lucky little boy.
And something even came through the post for me: a parcel containing the Observer Book of Wild Flowers, some truly wonderful-tasting hot chocolate and a book for Joe. All courtesy of Bee. I never receive things like this through the letterbox so you can imagine how delighted I was. Thank you again, Bee.
So, on Saturday we had lunch on board the boat and took a walk along the tow path. I love looking at all the boats and the way they're decorated.
On Sunday we went to Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I've always fancied a daytime visit (having only previously been at night to an exhibition opening). We met up with some blogging friends and their families: Nina and Catherine.
The place is vast. I'd love to stay nearby for a weekend and explore at our leisure as there's so much to see and so many walks to be had.
And like our visit to the boat the day before, we were blessed with good weather. Mild and sunny (here and there) but autumn's creeping in...
I do love September and October. Although it's coming up for a year since my mum died, and that's going to be a sad time. I worried that it would always blight this time of year for me but I don't want to let it. My mum stressed to us that we should continue to live and love our lives; I know she wanted us to savour each day and enjoy our happy times together.
Is it just me or does time seem to be flying by? More so than ever, it seems. I can't quite believe that Joe is now three.
Speaking of time flying... I've been feeling the pressure of late. September is a month of deadlines and now Joe's started preschool I'm managing to get stuck into some projects. My artwork is almost finished; I'm hoping to do the last few bits of painting tomorrow and then everything's off to the printers. It'll be a huge relief to have completed that.
I also have to produce some articles for TEND magazine by the end of the month. I'm looking forward to doing those.
Joe recently dropped his afternoon nap. So although his starting preschool (today, in fact) is sad in some ways, it also means I get some precious and much-needed time to work. I'm pleased that once he's done his three mornings a week we can come home and do things together in the afternoons. Today, once I collected him, we did the following:
Walked to the station to see the steam train
Went to feed the ducks
Got caught in a heavy rain shower
Dried off then did some painting
Put the paint away and did some crayoning
Played with tractors and dinosaurs
Got the Play Doh out
Cleared up the Play Doh and had a Duplo session.
Three-year-olds like to keep things moving.
So. Busy times. Deadlines, house renovations, family...
That's before all the other things that need to be done when I find time. Between household stuff and all the rest of it, I'm not managing to keep on top of emails (sorry to anyone currently waiting for replies - I'm trying to catch up). Twitter has been abandoned altogether. I'm thinking I'll do the same with Facebook. Identifying these non-essentials and taking them out of the equation helps.
For the next few weeks I'll be taking a blogging break. I need to meet those deadlines and to keep the rest of our lives on track. I'll still be taking photographs and reading other blogs, but for now it's all about priorities and necessities.
I don't see the point of churning out posts just to maintain a presence; I'd rather post something and do it justice in terms of writing something considered and meaningful. So, a brief hiatus.
Thank you for sticking around for this past month or so when my posts have been simply about recording what we've been doing: eating, watching, reading, visiting. I'm looking forward to life slowing down again at some point. And now I have a dedicated 15 hours a week when I can work. By the middle of next month I should have a little office/studio too.
I did used to work from the front room but to be honest, it's damp and absolutely freezing - even in summer. So the back room currently serves as office, playroom, living room and dining room. Not ideal. I can't wait to move house.
So, until my next post - which will be the September Colour Collaborative - I hope you have a good few weeks.
I'll still be popping up on Instagram. And I'm looking forward to updating you on the house progress and my paintings being delivered to the shop where they'll be displayed and sold.
Back soon :)