Well, a splendid new year to you all. Whether you turned with the sun or the calendar, here we all are, safely on the other side. It's much sunnier here. And, as we are past Christmas, I can now show you one of the name signs I made this (no, last) year:
I had a little exhibition in the local cafe, as I have for a few years:
and autumn came in exceptionally splendid colour:
We, very sadly, had our last day at Forest School. Pickle climbed trees (of course),
then the mums had had enough of the freezing cold and we went into the hut to make clay pots,
and dress up as a ram.
When we thought all the fun was over, we found an excavator in the car park!
We were all (mums definitely included) sorry to leave, but luckily at home we have the best toy ever - a washing machine box (note 'cat flap' onto sofa):
Pickle's final day at her superb Montessori nursery came and she was a gender-bending Jack Frost in their Christmas play:
Tip for parents here: it takes a VERY long time for liquid eyeliner to come off a child's face. About a week, in fact.
And then, after all that picture-door opening and day-counting and decorating and wrapping and card-making... it was Christmas! I think last year Pickle couldn't anticipate so well, but this year she really struggled with the waiting. But it was all worth it. She spent the first 24 hours in her dinosaur onesie and was kept in a constant state of delight with presents and lights and music and treaty food and all manner of rules (I love a rule) relaxed.
We spent Christmas morning together, just the two of us, for the first time. I had been worried it somehow wouldn't be special - wouldn't feel Christmassy. This is linked to my suspicion that just Pickle and I aren't enough people to really feel like a family. Basically, I feel there should be more squabbling and a complexity of dynamics. I thought a lot about the last time we were home for Christmas, in 2010:
but was rescued from my secret maudlin thoughts by Christmas dinner with our wonderful neighbours and an afternoon of more presents, much food and some ridiculous fashion attempts with a fibre-optic lamp.
And throughout all these doings, I have been through my first cycle of IVF. I never really believe things will be as tough as people say, until I do them and discover, yes, this is really tough in every way. As well as the emotional double-whammy of doing a really intense thing while injecting yourself with hormones, I had a bad reaction to some of the drugs (OHSS if you're in the know) and it all got a bit scary at the point I couldn't quite take a full breath. I was put on extreme rest (an older, and old-school, nurse gave me a proper scolding about what I had been doing (which I thought was resting). She actually wagged her finger and told me I was not allowed out the house or to stand up much at all. This became boring within minutes but I was a good patient and I'm fine... but no baby. It was amazing watching (on a screen, obvs) the little embryo being squirted into my uterus (twice, in fact, as it accidentally got sucked back out!) and the doctors were excited about the quality of my embryos... but it just didn't snuggle down and stick.
So, this month we go again, but without the drugs which made me ill, because I have two little snow babies (frozen embryos) waiting for their chance at life. And such a beautiful world to welcome them into:
When gorse is in blossom, love is in fashion: