Me and Mine – August 2017

I’ve got a little – teeny, tiny – confession to make.

This picture wasn’t actually taken in August, but back in July.

One month ago, on the 31st of July, I was sat snuggled on the sofa with a poorly boy, having taken the day off work to be with him. All his usual vitality was absent – the only time Thomas is ever still, calm and quiet is when he isn’t well. As he half slept on me, I took the opportunity to sneak a look at the blogs in my feed reader, including – of course, the many Me and Mine posts that had been shared that day.

It was actually in that moment that I made a decision to try to resurrect the blog that had been languishing, unloved, for the previous eleven months, and that had been short of proper attention for considerably longer than that.

It was an idea I’d been toying with for a while. My blog may never have been particularly popular or widely read, but it was my space to share our family adventures. And in the last few months there has been an increasing amount that I wanted to have the means to share. I liked that blogging forces me to give structure to the recording of our memories. It helps me focus on editing photos and filing them away with written records of the memories they illustrate.

Whilst the family I have may be very much smaller than the one I’d envisaged, it is still my family, and we’re a very happy one. The Me and Mine project seemed like a fitting prompt to bring me back.

The problem, of course, was that my old blog was not in the best state. Plenty of broken links littered the pages. It could be incredibly slow to load thanks to a template that displayed whole posts on the home page, rather than excerpts. It hadn’t had a refresh in the six years since it was first published. If I was finally going to dip my toes back in the water, I wanted to do it right. So it wasn’t a matter of just throwing a photo up and joining in.

It took a couple of weeks to lick the blog in to some sort of shape (and that work is still ongoing!) I also settled on a change of name. The previous title – Sweetener and Spice – reflected my pregnancy with diabetes. But since there will be no more babies (and the child that resulted from that pregnancy was a boy anyway) it no longer felt right. I opted for the name Two Plus One is Three because it perfectly describes my little family.

And this is us, in the summer of 2017.

(We’re on a steam train on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Trains are still a theme around here!)

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful

 

Me and Mine – February 2015

Yes, we’re so far in to March that it’s almost April. And so no, I couldn’t be much later with this post if I tried. But here it is anyway, in the interests of being better late than never, and because I don’t want to be the blogger -never mind the person – that can never commit to anything, or see anything through.

It’s true that I’m far closer to being that kind of person right now than anything else. I want to be… so many things: more productive, more organised, more efficient, more creative. But more than anything I want to be more motivated to be these things. I want to recapture the enthusiasm and zest that I once had. I don’t want to be floundering in the sea of “can’t be arsed” that threatens to overwhelm me at any minute. It may seem that the reasons for my apathy don’t require genius to deduce, but like so much of life, it isn’t all as straightforward as it appears.

But this. This is definitely the thing that keeps me going: My family.

Small. Different to how I once imagined. But mine. Ours. Us.

We’re good. Even if one of us is bored by the fifth or sixth take it took to get this! Even if my hair is a disaster and my trousers are wrinkled. We fit together.

And I’d be lost without them.

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dear beautiful

Me and Mine – January 2015

2015 is the year that I’m determined will see me collect a complete set of twelve photographs of the three of us together as a family. In an ideal world there will be some nicely composed, properly exposed shots taken during days out or memorable occasions, and preferably taken using a camera rather than my phone. These are all things that I’ve generally failed at in the last two years of the Me and Mine project.

On the one hand, we’re off to a good start – I have a photograph to share. On the other hand… Well at least it wasn’t taken on my phone!

January is always a strange month. And this year, between less than great weather, illness, work and other commitments, it’s not been the most exciting or productive month. So I suppose this photograph, taken at home, does reflect our January quite well. I staged it in the one area of our house that tends to get reasonable light in the winter: the stairs up to our top floor which are flooded with the light from a rooftop skylight. There are a lot of problems with this setting, however. Not least juggling a camera, tripod and a very energetic three year old on stairs could easily be a recipe for disaster. With that in mind, this was a bit of a one shot deal. One chance to position us correctly, get us all looking at the camera and expose it correctly. As it turned out my test shots of an empty staircase didn’t allow me to get the settings quite right and as a consequence I’ve over-blown the top of the shot – exactly where all that lovely natural light is!

But I like it anyway.

And at least no one fell down the stairs!

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dear beautiful

Me and Mine – December 2014

So here we are – the final day of 2014 and the final Me and Mine portrait of the year. My intention, after missing several months last year, was to ensure that I tried my best to participate every month this year. I guess I did try, but I certainly didn’t succeed! Sadly that seems to be a bit of a theme as far as participation in this kind of thing goes. My Living Arrows posts petered out after I got behind and well… excuses, excuses!

To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure about contributing this month. Somehow the only pictures I can find of all three of us over this festive period are some horribly grainy selfies taken to share our family efforts at Christmas jumpers.

The thing is – I’ve said it before – the fact that these pictures are of horrible quality actually matters less than the fact that they exist at all. If I hadn’t seized that opportunity one evening to capture a quick snap, we wouldn’t have any pictures of the three of us as a family from this month.

And continuing that theme, I guess it doesn’t matter that I haven’t managed to take, or sometimes just share, a family picture every single month. At least I have some pictures, and that is always better than none. When I look back at the Me and Mine portraits I have shared this year, they fill me with warm fuzzies. I know that my family may not look exactly how I may have hoped and dreamed, but it’s my family nonetheless and I love my happy, daft, kind, generous and devoted boys more than the words can say.

So I’ll leave you with our silly selfie. Yes, my jumper is flashing. If you’re going to do a Christmas jumper, you may as well do it properly!

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dear beautiful

Me and Mine – November 2014

It’s been a funny sort of a month. It’s been incredibly busy and in some ways seems to have passed in a flash. But at the same time there has been a slowness about it, and an edge of deep sadness too.

This was the month that, back in March, I was optimistic would see another face joining our Me and Mine shots. I thought, if only for the briefest of times, that I’d have another child to call mine, and we’d become a family of four. Instead, this month has been spent coming to terms with the fact that it will never happen and beginning the slow journey to acceptance of that fact. We have to move on, and that has to start somewhere.

When I look at pictures of the three of us, though, it helps me to remember that the reality really isn’t so bad. Sure, it may not match the dream. But that was only ever just that: a dream. A fantasy.

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This picture of me and my two boys was taken on Thomas’s birthday. It was the only one out of a considerable number that is in any way usable. The rest feature at least one of us (usually Thomas) in a blur of movement, or one adult with a small child’s finger inserted into a mouth, ear or nostril. Or they are just plain out of focus. Or have us all creased in two with laughter, only the tops of our heads caught by the camera.

Because despite the tears there has been a lot of laughter too.

This is my family. It may be small, but it’s incredibly perfect. And I love them to the moon… and back.

dear beautiful

Me and Mine – July 2014

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve managed to link up with the Me and Mine project. I’ll have to be honest and say that lack of photos of the three of us is the whole reason. Part of my motivation to consistently join in is to ensure that we capture those precious shots with all of us in the frame. I’ve clearly been failing at that!

This month, however, I captured two lovely family pictures without even thinking about it, and both were at the top of tall buildings.

The first was taken on our final morning in Berlin when we visited to glass dome that sits atop the Reichstag Building. It was taken by a passing stranger, who seeing our camera offered his services before I’d had time to consider whether I wanted to ask anyone to get a picture of the three of us together. If only that could happen more often!

 

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Despite the look on Thomas’s face, he’d actually had a blast running up, and then down, the circular walkway inside the Dome! Unfortunately I’m squinting in the ridiculous sunlight, but it was a beautiful morning for taking in the city views.

Our second image was taken back in London, at the top of the Shard during a visit as part of my grandfather’s 90th birthday celebrations a couple of weeks ago. An engineer by trade he was fascinated by the actual structure as well as the views. Almost 88 years his junior, Thomas was equally impressed with the views of the train tracks below and the space to run around… and around… and around. Those of us aged in between had a great time too. It turns out to be an attraction that most definitely can appeal to all ages.

 

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I really love this photo for the fact that, for once, Thomas is actually looking directly at the camera, even if I am not! And my brother was on hand to take the shot, so no awkward requests of strangers for this one!

My final bonus shot was taken at the Deutsches Technikmuseum, in their Spectrum Science Centre, an interactive science museum full to the brim with hands on experiments. Thomas was quite transfixed by the thermal imaging camera. I like we’re looking hot… sorry, couldn’t resist!

 

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dear beautiful

Me and Mine – April 2014

I’m more than a little bit tardy with posting this month’s Me and Mine. In fact, in the interests of being completely honest, this picture wasn’t actually taken until after April had ended. But what’s a couple of days between bloggers?

Besides, I really, really like this particular photo.

We set off for a walk in the woods, in search of muddy puddles (Thomas) and bluebells (me). On the spur of the moment, I tossed the tripod in to the car. There were lots of muddy puddles and plentiful bluebells, although sadly not too many suitable places to set up the tripod. However we happened across this wooden bench as Thomas demanded a snack. So we gave it a go, using the handy app that lets me control our camera from my phone. The light was far from perfect in this particular spot, and somehow we cropped my left toe out, but nevertheless I love it.

Me, and my family.

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dear beautiful