It’s been ages since I’ve written for my blog but my inspiration to do so has finally returned. we've been back just over a week now from an incredible few days camping at our home away from home, Holland's Wood.
I really needed this trip, probably more than I’ve ever needed one. The last three months have not been the easiest dealing with extreme morning sickness, so many scares, and so many ups and downs that I just felt continually drained. There was also Kevin's hernia surgery and his healing journey afterwards which was difficult, he ended up needing to be on sick leave for three weeks unable to drive or pick anything up heavier than a bag of sugar and this coincided with me having the worst of my morning sickness & fatigue, which did not make it easy taking care of and keeping Nixie happy. But I am so grateful to live near the sea, it became me and Nixie's saviour during those weeks & we went for a swim almost everyday. The sea made her happy and took away my all-consuming sick feeling. But thank goodness it's all in the past now, I can’t quite believe all the changes and transformations that have taken place since may.
It had been two months since we’d been camping, our last trip was beginning of July but because of Kevin's surgery we had to wait two months until he recovered enough to be able to go again.
This last trip felt extra special because it’s the last trip with just the tree of us (I’m currently 24 weeks pregnant today with a little boy), next time we go camping there will be four of us, and saying that still blows my mind, I can’t quite believe it! This has been an amazing year for camping, we've been coming to Hollands Wood every month since March just when the leaves were starting to bloom and this last time we got to experience the leaves falling and changing colours. There’s something really wonderful about getting to know a place through its seasons. These past few days in the woods felt so magical.
One of my favourite things about camping is the feeling that I get once we’ve set up our tent. The feeling never changes, immediately afterwards my body just goes into this state of deep relaxation as though every part of me somehow sinks into the earth welcoming me back home. It is pure bliss to me and straight away I begin to feel my energy becoming restored, my soul soothed & my spirit & mind healed.
We had an incredible 5 days in the woods and some of the highlights were making friends with ladybirds- never have I seen so many in one place, they were all over us even climbing on our faces, this happened on our very first day and never again. I had to look up the metaphysical meaning of ladybirds as it seemed like such an unusual encounter: ‘The Ladybird/bug shows us that the last big step of our transformation will result in a quantum leap from one way of being to a brand new one. That you will have a gap or quiet, inactive time when this shift is happening in you, but others will be able to see it taking place.’ wow! That couldn't be more fitting!
But the main theme of this trip were definitely the piggies. I was beginning to think that maybe we wouldn’t see them out in the forest this year during pannage but we saw them almost every single day. We stumbled upon them for the first time in the evening on our first night and since that moment Nixie just couldn’t get them out of her mind for the rest of the trip. She became pig obsessed. It was all she talked about from the moment she woke up. There was one little piggy that had spots and she looked exactly like her favourite little schleich piggy so she gave her the same name of “Little”. This one was her favourite and she just wanted to be near her. On the very last day after we had packed everything up she actually managed to stroke her and the look of sheer joy and excitement on her face was priceless, I'll never forget it!! We were so lucky to have had the chance to see them so many times, it really felt we had a chance to get to know them. On another day though was when Nixie added pig whisperer to her list of talents, it was so incredible to see, a couple of the little piggy's ended up just plopping down straight in front of her rolling over on their backs wanting her to rub their bellies!! It was seriously one of the sweetest things I've seen. Nixie also became very protective of them and if she saw other children throwing acorns at them she would shout at them and tell them to stop that they were hurting them and she would also shush people if she thought they were shouting or being to loud around them. She made me really proud.
We also had some really amazing long walks. It was so nice to be able to take Kevin on one of our favourite circular walks that he never had a chance to do until now. It was a gorgeous day too & we packed a picnic. We went through Holland’s Wood, then through Whitley wood where we made friends with a little toad and collected as many “Y” shaped sticks we could find for Nixie, she turned them into her little dolls giving them all names & her favourites were called Nixie, Laycie & Light (which is the name she’s given her little brother) then onto some bike paths which led us deeper into the forest where we stumbled upon chestnut heaven! We had lots of fun filling up my pockets with as many we could find. And then we finally made it to the location of where i wanted to have our picnic which is what i call the dead trees, it’s one of my favourite spots in the forest. There's just something really magical here. We spent a couple hours just relaxing eating lunch and playing with her family of sticks...Oh and we were blessed with seeing so many deer along the way. I still haven't managed to get a proper photo of one! Eventually we continued on our way & arrived at the streams along the edge of Black Knowl where Nixie was just too tempted and ended up getting soaked. And silly me forgot extra clothes, and it was getting cold and she was feeling a bit poorly so I wasn't very impressed with myself but I came up with a genius plan; we took her trousers & boots off and I turned a flannel shirt I was wearing into trousers for her and it worked like a dream and we continued on our way with her on Kev’s shoulders. We passed a field with the horses who Nixie has a connection with and she was really excited to be able to introduce Kevin to them we also encountered two wild ponies at the same time who were also saying hi to the horses. As we passed the curving streams we came upon the most beautiful stag who froze in the stream startled at seeing us and for a brief few seconds we were able to truly see his beauty, he really took my breath away, but after a few moments he was gone. We continued on our way and walked past one of our favourite spots along the stream a spot where we've had so many beautiful memories over the summer, one memory that I'll never forget happened way back in may when after a beautiful day laying out in the sun, catching fish with our nets, Nixie all of a sudden put her hand on my stomach and kissed it telling me in such a knowing voice that there was a baby in there. I said there is? You think so? And that night I ended up being so sick vomiting all through the night and two days later I took a pregnancy test and discovered she was right! I was pregnant! I love that she knew before me. She's also told me that I'm going to have the baby in our car...hmmm let's hope she's wrong on that one, although we are over 45 minutes away from the hospital!! I'm just gonna somehow have to be really prepared or maybe I'll get to have a homebirth!
On another day we explored a new bit of forest, it was an area that me and Nixie had just briefly touched upon when we were headed in another direction so couldn't explore it properly but ever since that day I've been wanting to return and follow a path that took you into the opposite direction, it just looked so inviting!! And we finally had the chance to do so and wow, I was not disappointed!! We drove to Blackwater and took one of the bigger paths leading to the bit of forest I wanted to be in and before we headed down the path I'd seen we had a picnic. Nixie wasn't feeling the greatest and found the walk to our picnic spot not very fun at all (it's a gravel track. She's never been a fan of these and neither am I) but as soon as we started on our path in the woods, she loved it. Our surroundings felt so fairytale like, we saw deer run past us, it was beautiful and I just love being somewhere I haven't been before as it gives me some of my favourite feelings. We even got a bit lost which I also love. It makes it feel like a proper adventure although I don't think Kevin enjoys that as much as I do! We spent most of our time collecting feathers, climbing trees, playing hide and seek and chasing each other through the woods finding little forts here and there to stop in for snack breaks. This area has become one of my new favourites, and I’m already looking forward to returning and exploring more. I love that we have almost lived here a year and a half and we are still discovering new areas to explore that are close by!
But probably one of the biggest changes that have been taking place is Nixie weaning herself from having boob and this marked our first camping trip where she didn't have any & on a couple of the nights she even fell asleep cuddling daddy before me! She just seems to have gone through so many leaps and bounds recently! It all started changing back in July during the first trimester when it started to become so excruciatingly painful to nurse her, and there were times when I had to deny her them which made me feel awful even though she did seem to understand but there were times where she wasn't happy about it but looking back I think it was more of a shock since before that I had never denied her and it just really angered her. She was already having less and less boob during the day anyways so not letting her nurse during that time wasn't a big deal. We still nursed at night and in the early morning even during times when it was really painful. Its been such an emotional journey and I wasn't even prepared that pregnancy might make it more difficult or make me dry out so in the beginning I had major guilt about it, feeling that it was being forced upon her when I had always wanted it to come purely from her but then as time went on she changed and on Sept 11 was the first night she fell asleep without boob.I was super happy about it but also really sad! I mean we've been on this journey together for 3.5 years and it's always been such a big part of our lives. Everything felt different that night. Since July I had been telling her that I think my milk might be running out and we talked about it a lot. On this night though she had tried to nurse earlier for 5-10 seconds and it didn't really feel right for either of us, it was painful for me and I don't think she was getting any milk and she seemed a bit put off and I said to her how it was hurting me a bit and I don't think there's any milk and if we could skip nursing and just cuddle instead and she didn't get upset about it at all and was absolutely OK with it and after a little while fell asleep holding my arm. From that day on was really when it all changed. We went a few days and nights completely without and then a day or two with boob. But then we reached a point when even if I offered she wasn't interested and there were moments during this transition where I almost hoped she would because our bedtimes had become so incredibly hard and draining, she didn't want to nurse but had no idea how to fall asleep without boob. So we went through a bit of a learning curve figuring out a new routine. And one that has worked has been me holding her and singing her to sleep but I'm unable to carry her for very long so it changed to me rocking her to sleep sitting down to now the newest progression is being able to just lay down next to her. It's really amazing though to be able to just have cuddles without boob being involved and it's kind of nice to have a little break before her baby brother arrives. And on top of that now Kevin can do bedtime which is incredible because it gives me a little time for myself in the evenings when he's home which is how I'm actually able to write this!
(this is the last photo I have of us nursing, it was taken August 29)
But anyways I've gone on a ramble. Don't think I meant to go on so much about my boob's but oh well it obviously was something I needed to get out! This last camping trip was magical and such a perfect experience to have after going through all these changes and transformations. The woods always ground me and always restores my peace after turbulent times. Now I only feel this deep inner excitement about what's to come and I look forward to all the changes and transformations that ate either in progress or are yet to come over the next few months. Nothing ever stays the same, everything is always changing, shifting. And to me that's what makes this life so beautiful.