That’s Not My Sunflower

I can’t even remember when we planted our sunflower seeds this year. I know that the kitchen windowsill was full of soil filled yoghurt pots for quite a while and I was beginning to think that they would never sprout. Then, one evening, the first one did! The next day, 7 of the 8 seeds had started to grow. Over the next few weeks they grew from spindly little two-leafed seedlings into little sunflower plants that were large enough to plant out into pots in the yard. Some succumbed to slugs. One did pretty well, standing on top of the dustbin and out of the reach of slugs and snails and Tiny Tin Girl, aka “Destroyer of Plants”. It grew strong and tall and eventually we had to move it off the dustbin for fear that it would be blown off in the wind.

We waited and waited and waited for it to flower. It grew taller than Tiny Tin Girl, then taller than Tiny Tin Bird, taller than me, and taller than Andy. Still no flower.

Eventually, at the beginning of September when we came back from our holiday, it had started to flower! OH how exciting. I lifted TTB up to see it and he exclaimed, “Oh it’s BEAUTIFUL!” I took a photo (above) and we eagerly awaited the day when it would be in full bloom.

We didn’t have to wait long. A few days later and the sunflower smiled it’s bright yellow smile and I couldn’t wait it to stop raining so I could go and take a photo.

It’s at this point that I should mention that the sunflower was tall enough to touch the washing lines, which stretch from one end of our yard to the other.

Oh.

And that the rainy day turned very quickly into a very windy day.

Oh again.

In fairness I can’t really blame the windy day too much, as the sunflower probably would’ve weathered it ok if it hadn’t been next to the washing lines. As it was, it is now a prematurely bald sunflower, after being battered against the washing line so much in the wind.

 

Poor sunflower. Next year, I shall move the pot further away from the washing line!

Disappointing though it was that the petals were knocked off before I could take a photo, the process of growing the sunflower has been great for Tiny Tin Bird. He’s learnt about how things grow from a seed and what conditions they need to grow, how plants make food from light from the sun, and also that slugs and snails really like to eat sunflowers. We don’t have a whole lot of space in our back yard, but it’s enough for some pots and hopefully a raised bed at some point too. I believe that it’s so important for children to experience how plants grow and I’m so glad that we can do that even just in this small way. When you think about it, it’s absolutely incredible that one tiny little seed can grow into marvellous things.

The title of the post is because it reminded me of the baby books in the “That’s not my …” series. “That’s not MY sunflower, it’s missing half it’s petals!”

The Beach

We have lots of adventures, me and my two little ones, and I have a great many photos that I have enjoyed taking and love to look at. Every now and again, we do something that is just so brilliant and special that I feel like I want to dance a little jig of happiness when I think about it, and I know that I will treasure these photos for always.

After we had admired the view from the top of the Spinnaker Tower, raced to Southsea to see the hovercraft, and made our way back to the car again, we made our way back over to Southampton and all the way to Calshot beach so that we could see the Queen Elizabeth set sail. We watched the cruise ships leaving port last year and it was something we all really enjoyed and wanted to make time to do again this year. Little did I know how special this evening would turn out to be.

Up until I was 15, my grandma and my great aunt owned a tiny little cottage on the coast at Pevensey Bay and we spent spring half term, and two weeks of the summer holiday there every year. My absolute BEST childhood memories are of being there and I dearly miss it. I love the sea and the coast immensely and I wish I could visit more, unfortunately I have accidentally ended up land locked again. I wish, wish, wish that I could give my children the same seasidey experiences that I had. For now, I’ll take whatever beach time that I can get.

I try to keep my children’s faces off of my blog (I’m sure you groan and go “oh not ANOTHER photo of the back of their heads”) which is what Andy and I both decided to do way back when TTB was born. I kind of wish I didn’t, because I take so many photos of them that I love so much and I always want to put them on here and declare “LOOK at my beautiful children and LOOK at these photos that I TOOK, MYSELF, in MANUAL SETTINGS!” (possibly more proud of the actual photography part of it really!). I’m rambling. Anyway, usually I have to pick out ones that don’t show too much face to share on here, but this time I’ve just uploaded 99% of them because they were so busy exploring and having fun that they didn’t see the camera and I just hung back and snap-snap-snapped away. SO for once I get to show you a whole sequence of photos and I think these really capture the time there. They were so happy. They both went into the water fully clothed and shod and experienced the total joy of being in the sea and that moment the water comes up to your thighs that makes you gasp with the sudden cold sensation which has previously only been up to your knees and felt just fine.

The tide came in fairly quickly and TTG was very excited to have so much water around her. She had to be lifted back onto her feet a few times and she wasn’t impressed with the taste of the water! We got her out quite soon after as she was getting chilly. It was then that I realised I had brought a change of clothes for both of them, but no towel. Ah. Thankfully my father in law was better prepared than I, and had both a towel and a 2ltr bottle of water so we could sort of rinse and dry the children. There’s nothing quite like warm, dry clothes after being in the sea; when you still feel a bit sticky and salty but it’s so much nicer being dry and dressed again than it is being shivery and wet while you’re waiting to be changed. I’d forgotten how sticky the sea makes you feel.

Back on the beach again, we watched the QE set sail. I thought back to last year when TTB had been so reluctant to go on the beach at all, and TTG had been a tiny little thing all snuggled up in the sling on my chest. Oh, how they grow. And as things always do when you compare them year on year, it made me think about how quickly they grow, and change, and how much I loved them then and how much I love them now. They’re my same children but they’re different versions of themselves too. How lucky I am. How lucky we are.

 

(The photo above is my absolute favourite.)