Me and Mine - A Family Portrait Project April

Well this is quite frankly a spectacular failure. Of course it could get a tiny bit worse and this post ends up being published after midnight and then it's an epic failure, but I am determined that in the next 120 minutes this will go live! Every month, along with lots of others, I post a Me and Mine update.

We've been posting a monthly photo of our family units for over 3 years now and never ever has one of mine been so late. But I think that completely sums up the state of life at the moment. 

The plumbers have turned off the new boiler for this weekend for stage 2 of the heating renovations so we needed to ship out! Our home away from home in Southbourne is one of my most favourite places in the world. I love it at any time of year, in the Winter when the sea looks ferocious but a cup of tea huddled in the beach hut makes you laugh like drains and in summer when the days seem to last forever, you forget your shoes walking back up the zig zag path to the flat and your skin feels sun kissed by the British sunshine that feels that much sweeter because it’s so unpredictable. I am so grateful for a sunny weekend at this seaside. 

We just about managed to pack up after school on Friday and get down for the sun to set over the groynes. A perfect calming pastel pink sky to end a frenetic week with. We got to the steps of the flats and Ollie ran up and shouted "I love Southbourne!" as he burst through the familiar door. There's something special about this not so special looking flat. A rather ugly c1960s block, with no redeeming features on the outside but an inside filled with childhood memories of 3 generations. We won't be back here until the summer when we have a week booked with my sister, bringing Logan on his first ever holiday, just like all the other little ones in our family, so being spoilt with a red sky at night made it feel like the sun was waiting to cheer us up the next day. Like a welcome home. 

We've made the last 24 hours feel like a week. Busy doing nothing. A wagon ride into the high street for bread and cakes, a cheeky hot chocolate and round of Connect 4 in one of our favourite cafes and the rest of the day at the beach. Scooting under stormy skies and dodging the showers that we could see out at sea. 

After 5 attempts this is my Me and Mine for April. Someone with their eyes closed, Ollie's face hidden by Sammy trying to steal the show. I look at this and see two mini mes. Ollie who despite not looking anything like Rich did when he was the same age, but looks the spitting image of his Dada, is like a little shadow, in awe of everything Rich does and I got to join in their bubble for a little while on the beach. You realise that all they really want is you. All of you, no phone in your hand, not talking to a stranger passing with their dogs on the beach. Just you and a bat and a ball. 

Then there's Sammy who looks, sounds and shouts just like me. He has my rollercoaster of emotions on a daily basis, you have to soak up the highs to get your through the frustrations of the lows and I am no different. He is counting down to his birthday month, constantly talking about his party at the end of May and is full of a new phase of attitude. We have hit the eye rolling, the stomping up the stairs, I am just waiting for the slamming doors bit and we will be set for pre teen hood! Is this normal for 7?! Help!

To say we've all been unsettled over the last 4 weeks is an understatement. The boys are antsy, we are itchy. Everyone is out of routine, each room is still packed up into the middle with a few bits of furniture unearthed from the mountain of dust sheets. We had the old AGA boiler (all 40+ years of it) taken out this week and wow, the dirt and grime behind it was revolting! 

But in a bizarre way all of this disruption is brilliant! It means we are a step closer to putting the house back together. The rooms feel warm for the first time since we moved in and instead of barricading our bedroom that  has literally been ripped apart and is in the process of being rebuilt (cue more dust sheets and dust on our bedside tables that you could write a book in) to stop the draught chilling the house to it's bones, we have an even, warm temperature, where you can walk around in a t-shirt. The luxury!

I have been taking some behind the scenes photos to make a scrap book but the best thing about having a blog is that you have a digital journal of your emotions, a visual story of the progress and you get to share it all. Share the excitement, the planning and the big reveals. 

A weekend in Southbourne was just what we needed, we just need to relax. Does that make sense? You know when it takes you a few days when you've been wound up like a spring to gently unravel, but you don't have that kind of time?! It's been a lovely day, still with the odd temper tantrum moment (from all of us) and we ended the day with dinner at home, Walking with Dinosaurs with two boys snugged on me in an armchair under a duvet whipped off one of the bunk beds and a second night of a lounge disco. Hats off to Rich for improvising with his iPhone torch and several pieces of clear coloured Lego bricks. We had disco lights and everything!

Tomorrow we are going to head to Moors Valley Country Park, climb wooden spider's webs, ride the little land train and eat ice cream.

Happy Bank holiday everyone!

P.S. I did look back through all my photos in April and found one of the four of us. This one. It's been an extraordinary week for me and my blog. I was bouncing around the room when I found out I have been shortlisted for a Brilliance in Blogging award in the PHOTO category and am a Finalist in this year's Mum and Dad (MAD) Awards in the PHOTOGRAPHY category

Everyone in the categories would love to win, of course they would, and I can honestly say holding one of those awards changes your life. If you haven't voted you can scoot on over and cast your vote for your favourite. 

I am so proud to see some of the Me and Mine co hosts listed in the awards this year and I am honoured to be among such talented bloggers, parent bloggers and photographers. Make sure you pop over and see what Lucy, Alex, Jenny, Fritha and Katie have been up to this month. There's a new member of the Me and Mine gang this month - welcome to the world sweet boy and congratulations to Katie and her precious new family of 5. Little boys get me every time, enjoy all the newborn snuggles, I could barely carry Sammy to bed tonight!

Come and share your family photos with us, link up your blog posts or if you are not a blogger tag your photos on Instagram with #meandmineproject. It's an ace gang to be part of :)

Phew 9 minutes to spare!