17 March, 2016


"I did not get enough sleep last night and I am not a good mother when I am tired. Today is going to be so rough."

That's how today started-- me thinking of my big old self and little of anyone else. Motherhood has shown me I'm actually very good at that.

You know how my husband responds? "You are a wonderful mother to our children." "Not every day can be a win", and "I am so thankful daily for how you nurture them with all you have." Etc etc, and at the same time I'm built up and humbled by his words. He's such a great picture to me of an earthly version of our heavenly Father gently leading those with young (Is 40:11). His expectations are reasonable, and gentle. His challenges are thoughtful and kind.

So I fasten my bootstraps. We bake a loaf of bread while waiting for our grocery delivery, then pack it up and head to Mudchute Farm, a city farm only about 25 minutes from our home. We went once as a family last autumn but hadn't been since today because I'm a freeze baby and winter was long, okay?
We buy several bags of carrots and parsnips before arriving, and spend all morning and into the afternoon petting and feeding animals, racing over hills and through trees, and picnicking in the sunshine. We are all glad to be wearing our Hunters, which have been much neglected since moving to the City.

I'm telling you-- this is the meat of life. These days are everything to me. And this place is an oasis amidst busy London. Now that the weather has broken (has it?) we plan to go back much more often.

We stop at a garden centre on the way back and buy a few spring flowers to plant at home. Everyone has an opinion about which flowers are the most beautiful and mine is that you really can't have enough flowers, so the littles and I are the perfect gardening team (except for my brown thumb, which is really really brown, but never mind. Old dogs do learn new tricks). We buy all the flowers.

Walking back to the train station, flowers hanging out of everywhere (there's even a small bush on the side of the buggy), we pass an ice cream van. About once every 2-3 years I say yes to the good old soft serve. Cones are £2.50 each and I have £3.50 in my pocket and three children, but the vendor kindly gives us three sprinkle-coated cones for the measly £3.50 I had in my palm and my kids give him the greatest smiles I have seen.

"Oh. My. Word! This day!!" 

"What. A. Treat! I cannot believe this."

"Ice cream from an ice cream van! Mama, this is so special!"

If ever I feel we're making our kids miss out on regular "normal" things by trying to give them a simple life, I remember the utter delight of these treats, and I'm convinced they're just fine.

Katharina asks if we could "pop into our charity shop" before going home, and I'm a sucker for treasure hunting so in we go. Sometimes you don't know you need something until you see it (ha). Katharina peruses the baby clothes and Philippa the children's clothes, while Sebastian makes a beeline to the books and bric-a-brac. I secretly buy 10 creaky old children's books, pass them out once we leave, and watch my children walk into things reading them while walking home.

And now we're home. It's 4:15 and I know nap time should be over but the sun is pouring in all the back windows, the house smells like chicken stock, and I am blissfully content like I've just eaten all the chocolate cake. Not that I know what that is like. . .

Tonight I'm making Sweet Potato & Avocado tacos with Slaw but I've just realised I forgot to order red cabbage, so I guess nap time is over. To market to market to buy a fat. . . cabbage?

I hope you're all having a lovely Thursday!

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