23 thoughts on “Eleven

  1. Absolutely wonderful pictures. We have a similar photo of our daughter holding a frog when she was about 10 or 11. When she graduated from college and was on her way to spend a year in Spain, we told her it was time to spread her wings and fly away, she replied that it was time for us to let go. Wow, that was tough, but we got her and her husband back after about four years. Now she is not only in the same time zone, but in the same state. You’ve got to cherish these years.

    1. A big step for us as parents was the summer (35 days or so) American Youth Hostels – our son (only child) was age 15, bicycle (bought new for the occasion) beginning Heathrow airport and around a bit of Europe. He returned to us quite changed in my view. Very positive. He was not quite eighteen the day we took him to University.

      1. Wow, a cycling adventure in Europe at 15, that sounds pretty amazing. I think you’re right about travel and seeing new places changing anyone who has that experience.

    2. Thank you, it was a lot of fun choosing them. How wonderful to hear that your daughter and her husband now live so close to you. At the time, it must have been hard to let her go so far, but it sounds like it was the right decision for lots of reasons. I want to encourage my boys to get out into the world, but I know it will seem too soon when the time comes!

      1. I think sometimes you have to let them go before they realize what they have where they grew up. You’re right, it was hard to let her go, especially for her ‘over protective’ father, but it worked out well.
        I have to say your kids and family look so happy together. I wonder if it’s from being home schooled.

      2. I hear you, it’s as much a journey for the parents, isn’t it.

        Thanks for the kind words. While I do feel that we have a strong family culture, it’s been tested by many things in this life and we have loads of tough moments. We lived bike-free for a year when we were still living in the city, and I used to inwardly groan when we’d be out on our bikes having an argument. It did make me feel more real somehow too, as we couldn’t hide some of those tough moments!

    1. I know, it blows us away too. We’ve been comparing the photos again this morning together and he’s kind of surprised at how much he’s changed!

  2. Happy Birthday PetKid!!! 11 is a grand age to be. It’s going to be such a great year. What I love about the photos is seeing the contrasts of how strong and gentle he’s become. The picture of him with Dad and older brother – look at him striding forward, a half length ahead, loppers tucked under his arm like they weigh nothing. That’s a kid who has things to do, and the energy to get them done. Letting baby Reggie clamber around on his lap, but sitting quite still. Holding the budgie. Being such a careful cook. That’s a boy who cares about creatures, cares about doing things right when it matters. What great attributes for life.

    1. What lovely observations, and I think you’ve read the strong/gentle combination very accurately. I know that he’ll want to respond directly to your comment himself when he has some time this week, it really made him feel good.

    2. I was finally able to read this now and it really touches my feelings. Thank you so much for such a nice comment. (By the way, that puppy who looks so much like Reggie was from when I was helping give the puppies needles with the vet, which we posted on my mum’s blog.) Thanks so much again!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. Precious!!!!! 🙂 Your little guy is so sweet. And I’ve just received a harsh lesson in math. 11 is only 4 more than 7. Which I thought I knew — until it hit me that my own little boy is 7, and in a blink he’ll be 11. Eeeek! But we’re busy filling our days with all things 7, and I am so thankful. Without a doubt, you’ve done the same. What fantastic pictures. And Reggie looked so small with the red harness on! Happy Birthday to your wonderful son.

    1. Thank you Melissa! I think that enjoying all things 7 sounds absolutely wonderful; I loved looking back at what 7 looked like just those few short years ago. The best part of this whole journey is watching who they are becoming, which of course we don’t see in the day to day, but only when we stand back and compare who they are today to a few months ago or last year or, in this case, a few years ago. In many ways it was even more astonishing for him to look over these pictures – he was very struck by how much he has grown and done.

  4. When you say you lived bike-free for a year, are you saying you only used bicycles (and didn’t use cars?) for a whole year? I’ve been thinking about that picture of your boys and husband walking out through the field to the orchard. Your husband had that long toothed hand saw. I would have been carrying a chain saw. I’m trying to put this together…if you are adamant about not using cars for an entire year, using a handsaw instead of a chainsaw, is it because you don’t want to use fossil fuel? I’m interested because I’m trying to cut my carbon footprint. There’s no way that I’m as strict as you are. but I think we all should cut back our energy use quite a bit. I applaud your efforts.

    1. I was obviously very tired when I wrote my last response; yes, I meant car-free 🙂 We relied on our bikes, walking and public transport for the most part, and used a car-share service a couple of times a month when we had errands to run that really demanded a vehicle. It was fantastic, but we were in an inner-city suburb with dense development and it just made sense. Wish we’d thought of it sooner than we did before moving to the country. While we were primarily motivated by trying to reduce our footprint, it had great side benefits. We’re still motivated to try to reduce our footprint, but struggle with it and fail at it as much as anyone else. Our love of old-school ways of doing things means we’re even slower and less productive at many things than we would like to be or should be. And we each have our limits: we’re trying to break our teen of his love of long showers (poor kid has to get to school for 8am, I think it’s really how he tries to wake up!), my husband continues to scold me for switching over to an electric coffee grinder after relying on our antique hand grinder for a long time, and we recently traded in our extremely efficient and clean diesel fueled VW Golf TDI (considered better than a hybrid when we got it four years ago) for another Volkswagen that runs on gas. I have to admit that I often feel at odds with the world and how best to simplify our lives in an environment that seems to actively fight simplicity, and I’m very much a work in progress when it comes to living in the way that I’d most like to. It sounds like we’re both trying, and I guess that counts for something!

      1. Slowly turning down the hot water output at the tank worked for me in the past, but it does evoke an angry response from my son. I only did it once.
        We tried hand grinding wheat berries for flour. That was really tough, so I hooked up the grinder to my 10 speed bicycle. I took the tire off the wheel and put a V belt in the wheel ‘groove.’ I hooked that up to the grinder so when I pedaled it, it ground the flour. Whew, that was really an effort. I’m glad to have electricity. Don’t you have a bunch of solar panels that produce electricity? I thought you had a large system…much larger than mine that produces enough electricity for my presses. I don’t think you need to feel bad for grinding up a little coffee. My wife drinks a morning cup…I know better than to cross her path before her coffee. 🙂

      2. I love your ingenuity with hooking up your bike to grind the wheat berries! I can’t say we’ve ever been quite that creative, so my hat’s off to you. Solar panels, yes, but we lease the land to the owner. So we get a cut of the profits, which covers our own bill and sometimes a bit more. Wish we owned the panels outright, but the timing for doing that wasn’t right, so this is the next best thing. I’m not really feeling guilty about the coffee grinding, and I think my husband knows he won’t get a rise out of me!!

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