Siblings – February 2018

I’m so pleased to say that it’s the middle of February and that we have survived the longest, most miserable part of the year intact!  Typically for us the start of the year is intentionally very quiet, we plan very little in the way of adventures and essentially hibernate for a few weeks – this means lots of rest time for Ben, Chloe and Amy at home whilst Dave and I tend to try and get stuff done around the house.  Last year this meant rearranging the dining room to create an office space for me to work, this year it has been more about odd bits of jobs like painting or making some new shelves.  We’ve got quite a big list of things we’d like to try and get done in the house this year, which to be honest is no different to usual, we just need to save up and get on with working our way down the list.

Of course this rest time is much needed for all of us, but does mean the kids can get a bit fed up of being in each other’s pockets and there’s definitely been times where I’ve had to send them to their rooms to have some time on their own just to stop them bickering!

Ben and Chloe are much closer again at the moment, enjoying spending time playing on the Xbox together which Amy really isn’t all that bothered about at the moment and as such she tends to feel a bit left out.  I have often worried that having three children would mean that one would be left out and I think that’s happening more and more, but luckily it’s not the same one each time – the girls play dress up together, the big two play Xbox, Ben and Amy play rough and tumble – they all have different things to offer each other.

As they get older, there is definitely more jostling to assert authority – Amy is no longer happy to just go along with what the other two want, Ben is determined to be the leader, Chloe just wants to please everyone.

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

Siblings – January 2018

January brings with it not only the first Siblings post of the year, but the start of our fourth year of Siblings posts.  We’ve missed the odd long along the way but for the most part I now have three years of monthly photos of my little team – and without this regular monthly prompt I can safely say there would be times where that didn’t happen!  Particularly when I first started concentrating on trying to take my Siblings photos it was often quite difficult to get them all in the same photo and looking the same way, now they tend to just get on with it knowing that I’ll leave them alone if they do it quickly!

The Christmas holidays were survived and we’re now back into the swing of things at school.  I must admit I’d expected a whole world of bickering over the festive period but it actually wasn’t bad.  For the most part the three of them got on really well and played nicely together. That said, by the time we got to the last day of the holidays I think they were ready to go back.

Ben and Chloe seem to have settled into a much nicer relationship with each other again, they’ve been happier to play with each other and are often found snuggled up on the sofa together – though if you asked them Chloe would tell you that Ben hates her.  Ben and Amy adore each other and when he’s in the mood he’s super caring and the best possible big brother; giving piggy backs, fastening her coat or holding her hand but then there are times where she drives him mad and he shouts at her – which usually ends up with him getting into trouble.   I expect this will be a continuing theme over the coming months if I’m honest!

Siblings January 2018 Heaton Park

Siblings January 2018

Brother and sisters in the woods

Siblings pulling silly faces Big brother giving his little sister a piggyback in the park

Brightly dressed kids playing on the slide in the park

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

Siblings – November 2017

Last month, for one reason or another, I missed my Siblings post.  I’d actually planned a specific time to take photos for the post and had mentally written it – but then despite taking loads of photos on that particularly day out, I didn’t have a single one of the kids together.  Before I knew it the moment had passed and I’d missed it completely.  This month I’ve ended up using photos you’ve seen before – ones I’d taken specifically for campaigns I’m working on but which actually fit the bill quite nicely.  At very end of October we had a lovely walk in the woods with my mum and sister (once Ben had given his head a wobble and stopped sulking) and it was nice to be outside with my camera and able to take photos in daylight – I do find this time of year so challenging for photography, all the more so when the kids are at school and our opportunities for daylight are limited!

After writing back in September that I was worried Chloe was feeling a little left out, things seem to have settled again and she’s back to having the best of both worlds – she can be the big sister and mother Amy, bossing her about in their role play or she can be the little sister and play rough and tumble with Ben.

The first thing Amy does in the morning, after checking that it’s ok to get out of bed, is go in to her siblings to see if they are awake.  Ben is almost always awake, Chloe not so much.  Luckily she’s not too bothered by being woken up but I must admit I’d rather she was able to take full advantage of the opportunity to sleep as she can be a right grump when she’s tired.  (Yes, she gets that from me!)

There are definitely times that Ben gets fed up with the girls and takes his role of being the eldest all too seriously, telling them off and trying to make them do things his way.  He gets into quite a lot of trouble for shouting at them and bossing them about – I’m sure he thinks he has some sort of divine right to expect them to behave the way he wants them too!

My little team really enjoyed their half term together – we had a fairly relaxed time visiting friends or going to the cinema before the kids went to Nana’s for a long weekend.  Thankfully they seem to have slipped back into their school routine fairly easily and by the time I write my next Siblings update we’ll be in the full throes of Christmas prep and looking forward to the end of term!  I can’t wait!

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

Siblings – August 2017

Unusually it actually feels like ages since I wrote my last Siblings post . . . so much so that I actually had to check that I hadn’t missed July out completely!

We’ve done so much since I published my last Sibling update – celebrated both Ben and Chloe’s birthday, multiple camping trips, a road trip to Dover – it feel like we haven’t stopped if I’m honest.

As is to be expected for a long summer holiday, it’s fair to say there has been plenty of bickering and squabbling.  Mostly about inane rubbish like what to watch on TV, what to see at the cinema or whether to have an ice cream or a hot chocolate for a treat.  I’m quite sure that sometimes when I give them a choice about something, one of them purposely plumps for the opposite option to their sibling just to make life difficult.  It makes me not want to give them a choice about anything half the time!

In fairness they’re all getting on really well – they’ve been great company for each other whilst we’ve been out on our various adventures, always looking out for each other and playing together.  The difficulty comes when we spend too much time at home and everyone loses their patience!

By the time I write my next Siblings post, all three children will be in school together for the first time – Chloe and Amy at the Infant site and Ben over at the Juniors.  Although Ben and and Amy are relatively close together in age, they won’t actually attend primary school together as by the time Amy moves to the Juniors, Ben will have gone to Secondary – which makes me feel a bit sad if I’m honest!

This month’s photos were taken on our trip to Dover – we struck lucky with the weather and managed a day at the seaside!

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

Siblings – July 2017

This month’s Siblings photos were taken fairly early on – I decided to take full advantage of our trip to Alton Towers (which I’ve yet to write about!) to try and get some photos of my little gang.  I loved the bright blue fencing near the Go Jetters ride and thought I was going to nail my shots within minutes – turned out that Ben really couldn’t be bothered to smile for my camera, and I probably should have take his hat off him so you could actually see his miserable face . . .

But still, they make me laugh.  And they can’t all be happy and smiley or even looking at the camera all the time can they?

School finishes for summer next week and I can’t wait to have these three to myself – though I might change my mind about that by the end of the month!  I know Amy in particular will love to have Ben and Chloe home from school and I’ve got so much planned for them!  (Keep an eye on my youtube channel for our weekly summer vlogs)

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

Siblings – June 2017

My little gang have driven me insane tonight.  They’re all so tired and have just bickered about anything and everything.  I had to give Amy the biggest telling off ever for throwing pasta in the dining room.  She cried a lot, did a good job of being sorry and cleaned it all up.  They’re absolutely exhausted from our weekend at Center Parcs so I’ve tried to be a bit patient, to cut them a bit of slack.  But hell I’m tired too.  The most ridiculous thing was that all of ten minutes later they were tucked up in a corner of the playroom together beavering away with a set of Beados (which incidentally they love and I can’t flipping stand).

And I think that probably about sums up their sibling relationship right now – they flipping adore each other, they really do.  I was editing some video from Chester Zoo this afternoon and caught the most gorgeous clip of Ben stood with his arms round Chloe while they were watching the giraffes and then another clip of him walking hand in hand with Amy.  He is the most adorable big brother for about 80% of the time and has so much patience for Amy, he helps her with things she struggles with, holds her hand walking down the street and reads her stories, but for the other 20% he either can’t be bothered or tries to take the role of parent and gets cross with his sisters, shouts at them for whatever they’re doing wrong and then ends up in trouble himself as they clearly don’t want to listen to him telling them off and quite frankly it’s not his job!

Siblings - June 2017

Siblings - June 2017

Siblings - June 2017

Siblings - June 2017

Siblings - June 2017

We’ve had some really lovely family times over the last few weeks with a busy bank holiday of adventures together, the half term holidays and then this weekend just gone at Center Parcs – it has been really nice to spend time together, to get out and do things and has made me really excited for the summer holidays which, if we’re honest, are now only just around the corner!

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

Siblings – May 2017

It has become something of a tradition that around the middle of May I take a set of photos of the kids lying together on the floor.  It started a couple of years ago and because Facebook kindly reminds me each year, it’s easy to repeat.  However, for some reason, I don’t use them for my Siblings photos!  I had fully expected to go back through my May Siblings posts and find they were all photos of the kids lying on the floor but they’re not – well, not until this year.

They were not easy pictures to take – I couldn’t get the lighting right, Amy thought it was hilarious to lie anywhere but near her siblings – but I got them.  The tradition remains intact.

And this one might be the least perfect of the lot in terms of the lighting, the fact it’s a bit blurred but hell I love it!

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

Siblings – April 2017

Continuing on a theme this year, Amy is still being a complete toad when it come to having her photo taken with her siblings.  She’s not daft, she knows exactly what I want her to do but thinks it’s hilarious to hide her face or just run off as I’ve got everyone in place.  And that just about sums Bo up at the moment.  She’s so full of cheek and constantly giggling.

Ben finds this almost as frustrating as I do, he knows that he just needs to get the job done quickly so he can go back to whatever LEGO model he was building or Minecraft world he was creating.

This month’s Siblings photos were taken in Whitby when we had a family day out for my birthday.  They were all so excited, so giddy to be by the sea and feel the sunshine on their faces for the first time in what felt like forever.

If ever a set of images showed how hard it is to photograph three children at once, this is it!

Our Easter holidays have been punctuated by bickering – shouting and screeching at each other over something and nothing.  All quickly forgotten again of course and normal service resumed.  I imagine this will be the theme for the next fifteen or so years . . .

The Me and Mine Project

Siblings – March 2017

Last month I wrote about how Amy was being a bit of a tinker when I was trying to take our monthly Siblings photos . . . sadly this month was no better!

We dashed out to the park last Monday after school to take full advantage of the sunshine – I had review photos I needed to take and I wanted to take the chance to get some nice photos for this month’s post.  Unfortunately Amy wasn’t playing ball so I had to snap quickly meaning the light isn’t great at all and I don’t particularly love any of the photos I took, none of them seemed to be quite what I was aiming for.

What I have got is a set of photos which encapsulates their relationship right now – Chloe trying to do the right thing, Amy being a bit of a pain and Ben being all grown up and sensible.  (Please don’t think this is par for the course – he’s still very much a silly seven year old boy with just a hint of maturity when he feels like it!)  I must admit I do have a soft spot for this first one, which makes me smile because you can see Amy trying to ‘dab’ just like her big bro and I like the light and shadows!

Siblings March 2017

Fingers crossed the promise of spring sunshine which is in the air will mean that we get out a whole lot more of the next few weeks – we have an exciting trip planned for Easter so I should think we’ll have lots of lovely photos and stories to share come the middle of the next month when Siblings Project time rolls around again!

The Me and Mine Project

Siblings – February 2017

As a mum of three, there is always the worry that someone will be left out.  That one child won’t be part of the game, understand the joke or know the secrets.  For the most part this isn’t something that happens in our house.  For the most part they are a team.  They play together.  They laugh together.  They love together.

This month, for the first time, I’ve been more aware of the big two choosing to play games that they don’t want Amy to play, of them not wanting Amy to come in their rooms and “mess things up”.  Whether this is more evident because it’s actually happening more or often or if it’s just that she’s wanting to join in more than she has before so it feels more obvious I’m not honestly sure.  I’m not overly concerned about it, I know things will come good again and it’s not a constant state, just happening more at the moment than it usually does.

We are lucky that, being so close in age, they do mostly like to do the same things.  They don’t argue too much over the TV (though obviously Ben would rather be watching CBBC than Cbeebies these days) and they enjoy the same sort of things when we we go on an adventure.  Their needs are fairly similar.  They argue and bicker like most siblings do I’m sure but it’s not their default setting.  Their default setting is one of love and laughter.

I can’t tell you how hard it was to get my Siblings photos this month – We’ve spent a lot of time indoors over the last few weeks and I purposely left them till the last minute knowing that it should be easy to get some photos at half term, especially as we’d be out and the weather should be ok.  What is it they say about best laid plans?

Gorgeous lighting, gorgeous setting and one small hangry child who really didn’t want to have her photo taken thanks very much.

“Right ok Amy, lunch then photos?”

“Yep Mummy, I’m just sad.  We can do photos after lunch.”

Thanks to a bit of a feast at Jamie’s Italian (kids eat free in half term whoop!) Amy was in a much better mood when we tried again but still didn’t really want to comply!  She was full of beans (or perhaps sugar) and just wanted to chase around in pretty much the opposite direction to Ben and Chloe who were trying their best to just get the photos done.  Anyway, thanks to Ben we finally managed to get them all in the same place and I think this set of photos says it all – Chloe with her “Quick, just get the shot” face and Amy giggling away at all the fuss she’s caused . . .

Siblings - February 2017

Siblings - February 2017

Siblings - February 2017

Siblings - February 2017

Siblings - February 2017

Siblings - February 2017

Siblings - February 2017

Only the other month did I say they were getting really good at cracking on and having their photo taken . . . never again will I utter those words!

The Me and Mine Project