The days are mostly about the garden at the moment, because we're in it all the time. The boys are really enjoying getting to do a bit of digging and planting (because I can't stay away from the garden centre at the moment - really have to stop buying, else I'm going to be going to Barbados in rags, and my children will be eating beans on toast for tea from now until Christmas; but at least they'll have a pretty garden to look at while they're eating!)
We were planting out the new bedding plants that I bought yesterday (erm, let me see, verbena, dianthus, lobelia, and ... something else; acanthus? Not sure), and we literally stumbled upon this little nest of spiders! Now, I am getting better and better all the time with creepy crawlies. At one time, not very long ago at all, I would run screaming from any sign of a spider, and I would certainly be very nervous about going into the garden when I knew it was big spider time. But I've been working on desensitising myself, because I absolutely will not allow my phobia to be passed onto my children if I can help it at all. So I've been allowing myself to be exposed to spiders to a small degree. I'm now very good at leaving them alone whenever they appear from under the couch in the living room - as long as I can see that they've skittered away to a nice dark and cool corner away from me, I can carry on with whatever I was doing without giving them a second thought. I can now also go to sleep if there's a little one on the ceiling of my room. And I can do the thing with the glass and the card if I need to remove one from the house. Still no go with moths, butterflies and crane flies - not sure I can ever get over those irrational, hysterical fears. I had the heeby-jeebies at Wildlife Oasis a few weeks ago because I had to walk past their enormous moth. I hyperventilated. Silly cow! It's very annoying, but I can't help it.
But anyway, here's the nest of spiders, which I can very happily look at - I even think they're cute :) They cluster together in a tight little spider bundle (for warmth, protection, what?), and when you agitate the grass next to them they instantly spread out, scurrying in all directions and looking as if they've been caught slacking on the job: 'quick, they've seen us having an unauthorised tea break, everyone, back to work!'. There are two little nests: one is right at the edge of the lawn, so they'd better have moved out by the time I need to cut the grass again! And the other is on our astilbe (which is just starting to flower, and is very beautiful, a rich dark pink). Anyway, so, part of the reason I am okay with these baby spiders is that we call them 'Charlotte's Babies', as in Charlotte's Web. And since I think that Charlotte is beautiful - both in the book, and in the film in which Julia Roberts provides the silky voiceover - Charlotte's Babies are also beautiful to me. Not so sure how I will feel when they get much bigger, but I will continue to visit them every day so that I'm not suddenly shocked when I see a garden full of ginormous eight-legged beasts. I absolutely could not kill them, since I know they will deal with the flies for us.
This is our new acer. We've got a thing for acers. They so very, very elegant. I would have a garden full of them if I could afford it. At the moment we have three. Two are in pots, and usually get eaten half to death by black fly before Summer has really arrived. They're not looking too bad this year though. But I thought I'd try planting one out and seeing if it fared better. I want to see how big it will get.
James playing football in the garden. He loves to play football. He's very easy to keep entertained in Spring and Summer :) We are going to let Thomas and James start football training on a Friday evening from September - they're very excited. Matthew will scream the place down because he's not old enough!
My beautiful middle son - who has in no way developed Middle Child Syndrome, I'm very pleased to report! Very happy and secure little boy, as you see. Does have an unfortunate habit of wearing his hat and sunglasses in such a way as to push his ears into a Shrek-like formation though, bless ;)
And just because we like to be fair, here is a picture of Matthew. At about 4am today Matthew woke up, heartbroken and complaining of a sore tummy. Matthew had been sent to bed without tea or pudding, because he had refused to eat anything for an hour. I guessed that he just wasn't particularly hungry yesterday. But he was starving at 4am! Having learnt from last time that he would whimper for the next two and a half hours if I didn't give him a little something, I let him have a piece of dry bread and a drink of water. It was very funny to watch - he kept dropping off with bits of bread sticking out of his mouth, and I had to keep nudging him awake so that he could finish it. I think he will eat his tea tonight though.
Fearless Thomas. Likes to spend quiet moments at the top of the climbing frame. I think he wishes that the climbing frame was a good bit higher, so that he could see over the rooftops. I'd love to take him for a proper scramble up some of the peaks in the Lakes some time.
The garden centre :) Our favourite place at the moment. I remember trips to garden centres being very dull when I was a kid. I don't think we spent a lot of time in them, but I remember the sinking feeling of being doomed to an afternoon of dullness whenever they were mentioned. I don't know why my children love them so much, but I don't think there are many children who will shout out 'yay, garden centre' whenever a trip to one is suggested as a fun way to spend an afternoon. They are actually, genuinely interested in the plants, and ask the names, and feel the leaves, and smell the flowers and the herbs. My kids are a little weird at times - I love that :)
So, that's what's going on here. Not much, same old. But having lots of fun family time. We're hopefully going off for a little camping trip this afternoon, and should be back on Sunday. We might be back tonight if the site is full! I phoned and left a message of enquiry about whether we needed to book, but I've not had a call back yet, so we'll just turn up and hope I think. Could have done with a better night's sleep last night, considering the fact that I don't get much sleep in a tent. But never mind - I'll get sleep next week. Pah! Who needs sleep anyway? Sleeps for wimps!