On demand

 

Sunrise bedfordshire

I’m sitting here sprawled on the sofa in 30 degree heat, baby spread eagled and snoring on my chest, Lilla our white polar bear of a cat purring by my side. Summer is having a last hurrah, and to be honest, I would much rather it packed it’s bags for good for 2016.

These days, since the birth of my daughter (herein known as ‘E’), it’s a monumental achievement if I can make it out of the house before midday, a rare occurrence that I remember (or bother) to brush my hair, or achieve anything vaguely non-baby related. E is approaching three weeks old and these early days are demanding. I know it won’t always be like this but I do miss routines and the ability to just potter at will.

A return to a new normality will come, I know that. But for my own sanity, I need to achieve a little something every day. Otherwise I feel like I’m just existing – sleeping, eating, a human milk bar, nappy changer, zombified parent who watches the days slip by.

A few weeks ago I invested in a bullet journal (“bujo”), which has been  used since to help track spending, baby shopping before the birth, meal planning, task lists, and so on. It’s been invaluable and a bit of a revelation. In a good way.

But where I was box ticking several items and achieving several tasks a day before E’s arrival, at the moment it’s a different story. Over the last week or so I’ve come to realise that there’s just no way I can do what I was doing before. So to retain my sanity I’ve decided to do keep it simple; do one thing each day.

Today, that task is weeding the front garden. Tomorrow, it might be sorting out the washing and putting it away. On Saturday, I might aim to plant up two plant pots for Autumn. The hope is that these baby steps will keep things rolling and I’ll head into winter having just about kept on top of things at the Smallest Smallholding.

 

New Family

On Friday 26th August I safely delivered our beautiful little girl into the world. The last two and a half weeks have been a whirlwind as we get to grips with life as a new family, and as I recover from one of the hardest but most rewarding things I’ve ever had to do in my life.

Mummy and daughter

I love her so much already, and she is one amazing little girl. We’re slowly finding our feet – I actually cooked myself dinner for the first time a few nights ago, and did a little gardening too – and finding a new normality amidst the chaos (including living without hot water for a week after our 33-year-old boiler finally bit the dust). Life is different now. Harder, more demanding, but better for having our daughter in our lives.

Bear with me. My Smallest Smallholding is having to take a back seat as I adjust to life as a mummy. We’ll get there though. Autumn is just around the corner and I hope it’s going to be magical.

Getting ready

Buddleia in summer

It’s been a long time since I last posted, not that you’d know it by looking around my patch. August has been so devoid of rain here in East Anglia and we’ve slowly gone from the lush greens of July to crispy, ochre tones of a long, dry summer.

Lucy

I have rapidly been expanding and am now four days off my due date. A couple of weeks ago I was in and out of hospital for monitoring, scans and all sorts, but so far we are OK. I was doing well, keeping active and busy, but the last few days have been a real struggle. Lack of sleep, nausea, funny tummy and general emotional wobbly-ness have all played a part. I thought I’d got away with no stretch marks, but no, with half a week to go, they’ve started creeping in. I am so heavy and cumbersome now that rudimentary weeding on my hands and knees, and a bit of pruning here and there is about all I can manage.

The peas have finished, the carrot supply is dwindling and thanks to a lack of rain, my bean and potato harvests are looking modest at best. The onions and garlic have been left on the drying racks in the greenhouse, and grabbed when needed. Despite a much better blackcurrant and gooseberry crop, I know it won’t be a stellar year for harvesting. Even the raspberries look fed up.

Large veg patch

For the summer of 2016, what will be will just have to be as we’ve been focusing on getting the house ready for our baby girl. I still can’t quite believe she’s on her way, despite being woken in the early hours as I’m booted about internally and wondering if every little twinge, niggle or pang is the start of her arrival.

But back to the house. It’s been a family effort to get ready. We lived with holes in the ceiling for a few years, and bare walls knocked back to brick and plaster. Now, with the help of my mum and sister, we have a freshly plastered and painted dining room (open plan) with refreshed painted woodwork and are no longer living under what felt like a dingy cloud. We opted for beachy/coastal colours to try and lift the blue and grey tones from this room that’s a little starved of light. Today, Rich is even attempting to finish the kitchen floor – a job that’s been on the cards for the last 2.5 years. I’ll finally be able to move our big old kitchen table back into the kitchen and reclaim the dining room as a cosy reading room. It won’t be completely finished but I’m starting to accept that fact, and be OK with it. The nesting instinct is still strong with this one.

Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be back to some semblance of physical normality – that is, I really miss being mobile and being able to just potter for half an hour or so in the veg patches and just do what I need to do. No huffing and puffing, taking half a minute to get myself up off the floor and feeling like everything is such an effort. And I am so looking forward to meeting my little girl and showing her the world. Sharing our little slice of it with her. It might be far from perfect right now but that’s OK.