Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Some Christmas photos

We have had a wonderful Christmas, but it is getting late and I'm tired so I'll keep it short. I just wanted to share some photos so that my parents in Devon can see what their grandchildren got up to today. The children are too young to fully get what Christmas is about, so we weren't woken up until Lily surfaced at 7.30am. We helped the Podlings to open their stockings and had some breakfast before heading to church. We were quite excited by the appearance of a real donkey in the Nativity play! The children had a few presents before lunch, including their 'main' present, a ride-on car each. We had a fantastic Christmas dinner thanks to the efforts of Mark's mum and dad, after which we all amassed in the lounge to open presents. The Podlings had so many gifts that we decided it was too much for one day. They still have half of them to open, so they have another day of excitement to look forward too. Lily was very tired and couldn't wait to go to bed this evening, but Tom was somewhat more reluctant to go! He was having far too much fun to want it to end! I have also had a great deal of fun today, but I'm rather more on Lily's side and will be grateful to go to bed! I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and will have a peaceful and relaxing Boxing Day.

Lily investigates the contents of her stocking

Lily with her favourite present, the apple from her stocking!

Tom enjoying a breakfast of smarties, courtesy of Father Christmas

Lily decides she has had enough of posing for photos

Lily on her ride-on car

Tom adores his new toy car. He spent most of the day in it.

Lily adores Tom's car too. There were squabbles!

Lily having a cuddle with Daddy

Tom and Lily with their new Rainbow Aquadraw.

Merry Christmas

The children are nestled all snug in their beds, and soon I will be too! The presents are wrapped and under the tree, the stockings are filled and the clothes are all pressed and ready for church. I'm hoping our little lady will fight off the temperature she has had today and will be bright and happy tomorrow. We are looking forward to spending some time with Mark's family this Christmas and I may not be able to post for a few days. I will try and put up some pictures if I can. In the meantime I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful time.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Festive fare

I managed to have my entire Christmas social life crammed into five days this year. We had three Christmas dinners to go to, all of which have been in the last week. Last Saturday we went to a get-together in Exeter with the people that Mark used to work with before we moved up here. I also used to work with a couple of them a few years ago, so it was nice to catch up with them again. The Podlings joined us for this meal and behaved admirably. Tuesday night was the Christmas meal for the group Mark manages at work and last night was the senior management staff meal. Many delicious three course meals, which will no doubt translate into many extra pounds on the bathroom scales!

I thoroughly enjoyed all the meals, but I particularly enjoyed last night's. I had the most fabulous piece of beef I have ever was cooked to perfection! I also had a rather entertaining dinner companion in the form the husband of one of the management staff. I could not have sat next to anyone with a more differing life view than me! He is an atheist who doesn't celebrate Christmas, dislikes young children and thinks that women with qualifications who become housewives are wasted. Hmmm...I'm a Christian who loves to celebrate Christmas, has two small children (and wants more) and loves being a housewife despite possessing a PhD in polymer chemistry! Despite our opposing views, I found him the most delightful fellow and he certainly kept me entertained.

I've had a most enjoyable time this week, not least because I have been able to spend some time with the man I married. Mark works very hard, so it isn't often we get time to just go out and enjoy ourselves. It has been lovely just relaxing and enjoying his company. After all, I was Mark's wife before I became the Podling's mother!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

The greatest story of all...

"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son,
and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is,
God with us." Matthew 1:23

Lest we should lose sight of what this season is really about.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

We got home late on Sunday night after spending a lovely week with my parents down in Devon. Mark was away in Europe all week on a business trip, so the Podlings and I went to stay with my mum and dad. It was so nice to go home again after such a long time away. I was also able to make a considerable dent on my Christmas shopping while I was down there as I had help with the Podlings. I'm just hoping my online orders will arrive in time!

We managed to put most things away the night we got back (a first...usually things lurk around for weeks after a trip!), but I am now running around like the proverbial headless chicken trying to get everything ready for Christmas. We haven't even decorated our Christmas tree yet, which is standing, forlorn and naked, in our lounge. Still, I'll get there! My stress is nothing in comparison to what my mother-in-law must be going through. She has 9 adults and 2 children to cater for on Christmas day and she still manages to remain cheerful. Would that I had her fortitude!

'Well traveled luggage II' by Richard Vergine

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Random pictures presents...

This picture, taken this morning, shows Tom in his element. He is in to cars in a big way and he owns dozens of toy ones in all shapes and sizes (well, mostly car-shaped to be honest, but the point is he has lots of different ones!). He will play with his cars, bikes and trucks for hours on end and is never happier than when we can go for a long drive so he can look out the window at oncoming traffic. Much of his 'rest time' now consists of him looking out his window for cars. If you look carefully at the picture below, you can make out Tom's face as he gazes out of his window during his rest time (top left window).

To wee or not to wee, that is the question!

I've been trying, with limited success, to introduce Tom to the concept of using the potty. Tom, however, is quite content to stay in nappies. A definite downside to disposable nappies is that there is no incentive to use a potty, as a 'wet' nappy is just as comfortable as a dry one. I thought we had turned a corner a couple of days ago as he independently asked for the potty twice in one day and actually used it. The second time was while I was running the bath, so after he used the potty I just left his nappy off. I figured that his bladder was now empty, so I didn't need to worry about accidents. Boy was I wrong! When the bath was ready, I went on a quest for Tom and found him in Mark's office standing in the most enormous puddle of wee. "I done a wee-wee" he announced at the top of his voice, with a 'wouldn't you believe it's happened again' expression on his face! I just couldn't believe that one little boy's bladder could contain that much liquid, especially after using the potty all of five minutes beforehand. Thankfully, we have laminate floor in the office, so clean-up could have been worse! However, I'm starting to see that potty training Tom is going to be no easy task!

In case you were wondering, no I'm not trying to potty train Lily. She just insists on doing whatever Tom is doing, so whenever I get the potty for Tom I have to get one for her or she gets upset. When given the potty, she puts it on the floor, sits on it and looks me quite seriously in the face before announcing 'wee wee'. We rarely get one in there, but she's trying bless her!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

The latest thing in Podling entertainment...

Play dough. Tom is obsessed with play dough at the moment. We are eating, sleeping, breathing and, in Lily's case, eating the stuff at every given opportunity. This wouldn't be so bad were it not for the fact that Tom doesn't so much play with it as sit in his chair issuing demands.

"I wanna red star.", "I wanna blue star.", "I wanna BIG letter 'A'.", "I wanna little 'z'.", "I wanna rainbow","I wanna purple bear", and so on ad nauseum.

I get to sit there and make all these things, whilst simultaneously trying to stop Lily from eating the play dough, which she does the second I take my eye off her. At least I can be confident from the sheer quantity she has ingested that 'a little of what you fancy' whilst probably not doing her any good, at least does her no harm!

I started off enjoying these little creative sessions, but you can only cut out so many play dough stars before it starts to get tedious. One of the drawbacks to Tom knowing all his colours is that he wants the same shape made in all the available colours. Mark and I bought them a pack of play dough with ten colours last weekend, so that's a lot of repetition. I keep trying to encourage Tom to make his own shapes as well, but he is happier to supervise me and then destroy each thing as I hand it to him. It keeps the Podlings amused though and there isn't much I won't do to keep my babies happy!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

May contain shot

It's not often I can boast that about our tea, but, according to the packaging, last night's tea may indeed have contained shot. It didn't, but it could have done, which left me with a lovely domestic goddess glow after preparing our meal! I was quite impressed with the meal I made for Mark and myself last night, which is why I feel the need to boast of my culinary prowess! We had roast pheasant, gravy, roast potatoes (made from scratch, of course), broccoli, carrots and peas. Someone in Mark's group at work has an orchard and recently gave us some cooking apples, so I used some of these to make an apple and cinnamon crumble, served with custard, for dessert. It wasn't even a special occasion, I just felt like going the extra mile last night. It was so delicious and I definitely felt like a Good Wife for giving my husband such hearty fare!

(BTW, my friend Matthew will be totally unimpressed by this tale. He and his wife have a small farm in New Zealand and never buy meat. What they don't raise themselves, Matthew hunts for. They are, in fact, raising a piglet called 'Spit Roast' for Christmas dinner. Makes my shop-bought pheasant look a bit pathetic really! Hi Matthew!)

Sunday, 18 November 2007


I couldn't believe my eyes, but sure enough we had snow this afternoon. In fact, it snowed quite heavily for a couple of hours, though it was too wet to settle anywhere other than on the cars. I can't remember the last time I saw snow this early in the winter (is it even officially winter yet?). I love snow, so I guess that's one of the advantages of moving north. Think I might need to invest in some warmer clothing though! I really feel the cold and I'm missing that Westcountry Gulf Stream!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007


The parents amongst you will know how it is when your child gets a favourite story. It becomes THE get to the end, and lo and behold you have to start it all over again. There are dozens of books that make me groan inwardly when I have to read them just once, let alone over and over again, but Tom's current favourite is not one of them. "Marvin wanted more" by Joseph Theobold is about a little sheep who is fed up that all the other sheep can run faster and jump higher than him. As with many of us, Marvin thinks the answer to his problems is to eat (ah, we've all been there Marvin!). In fact, Marvin is insatiable and eventually devours the entire world, which, as you might expect, makes him feel a bit unwell. The moral of the story, in short, is that if you eat too much you will be sick! My mum-in-law gave this book to Tom a couple of years ago, and I never get tired of reading it to the Podlings. I just love this book! If you are planning on giving a toddler a book for Christmas, may I heartily recommend "Marvin wanted more".

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Ground, swallow me up!

OK, all you mums who read this blog, what embarrassing situations have your children got you into? I only ask because misery loves company, and boy was I embarrassed earlier this evening!

I was taking the children upstairs for their bath. We were halfway up the stairs when there was a knock at the door. I couldn't think who it might be as we don't know anyone here and we never get visitors. I bundled one Podling under each arm and carried them back downstairs. I could see through the glass of the door that it was the police, but I couldn't think why they would be calling here. Thankfully, Mark had just rung to say he was on his way home from work, otherwise I know I would have thought they were here to tell me some awful news! Maybe they were talking about neighbourhood watch, or perhaps some crime had been committed and they wanted to know if I had heard anything? I opened the door to two very pleasant police women one of whom smiled and asked if "everything was okay because we've received an abandoned 999 call from this address".

"Ah," I said, my heart sinking as I flashed back twenty minutes to finding the phone off the hook, "That would be my daughter!".

Earlier today, Tom had come into the kitchen as I was clearing up the lunch things to tell me that "Yiyi's ringing on the telephone!". I had gone into the playroom to find her sat on the sofa chatting merrily away into the phone. I took it off her and moved it out of her reach...or so I thought! At about 5.45pm this evening, my 17 month old daughter called the police! You can imagine my embarrassment! I was suitably chagrined and apologised for wasting their time, but they were exceedingly pleasant about the whole thing and left with smiles on their faces. I, as you can guess, was not smiling!

Gotta love that baby girl!

So, that's (thus far!) the most embarrassing situation one of my children has got me into. Tell me yours...

"Silent sorrow" by Walter Langley

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

A happy home

"Bricks and mortar make a house,
but the laughter of children makes a home"
- Irish Proverb

Monday, 5 November 2007

Remember, remember...

"Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."

We took the Podlings to their first fireworks display on Saturday. Tom thought it was wonderful. Held in Daddy's arms, he gazed with open-mouthed delight at the beautiful display of light and colour. Quickly catching on from the other children in the crowd, he was soon calling out "Hooray!" (well, actually it was "Hooway") with every bang. Lily on the other hand, was less impressed. She didn't mind the quiet fireworks, but was quite upset by the loud noises and buried her head in my shoulder, often crying with the loudest bangs. I think she'll enjoy it more next year. She was still a bit too young to go this year really, but we didn't want Tom to miss out.

It wasn't all bad for Lily though. As a treat, we took them to McDonald's for tea before the display and Lily had her first beefburger. Does it make me a bad mother, giving my daughter a beefburger at the tender age of 17 months?! Bad mother, or not, Lily loved it, so at least she enjoyed some of the evening's entertainment!

Lily's first burger

(I should probably point out that the fireworks photo is just a random picture from the Internet, not one from the display we went to!)

Random Pictures presents...

Taken about two weeks ago, this picture shows two bleary-eyed Podlings shortly after getting up. They both like to relax with a bottle of milk before starting their day. In fact, it's not really worth trying to talk to Tom until he's had his milk...he's not a morning person at all! Can't think where he gets that from!

At last...

I finally managed to get a picture of Speedy Gonzales zooming across the kitchen in my slippers. How she hasn't fallen flat on her face I'll never know!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Lily has taken to fetching my slippers for me. I keep them by the side of my bed and for the past two mornings she has walked over to them, put them on and then shuffled to the other side of the room to admire herself in the full length mirror. She then shuffles over to wherever I'm standing and steps out of the slippers before picking them up and putting them on my feet. I'm amazed at how adept she is at walking in my size fours and she looks really cute. I'm desperate to take a photo of her in them! Naturally, the camera is never nearby when you need it. I will try and remember to take it upstairs tonight in case she fetches my slippers again tomorrow.

"Shag dog" by Bambi Papais

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Random Pictures presents...

Ring a ring o' roses,
A pocketful of posies.
Ah-tishoo, ah-tishoo...
We all fall down!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

A family night out

Last night was something of a first for our family...we went to a party together. I've always been something of a stickler for a regular bedtime routine for our children and it has always worked very well for us. I have tried to keep the Podlings to a regular bedtime right from the start, so we never went out at night with them even when they were tiny. Last night was a treat for us all though as we had the pleasure of attending the evening reception of a good friend of ours who married recently (Mark and I attended the wedding, which was held on the beautiful Amalfi coast in Italy last week. I'll post some pictures soon).

We arrived at the party at about 8.30pm and the Podlings were both in high spirits. Tom quickly honed in on the balloon table centrepieces and immediately took possession of a gold star balloon which he then held on to for the entire night. As you can see from the picture below, Mark couldn't see much of what was going on for much of the night! In addition to which, flush from the success of blowing out the candles on his birthday cake, Tom was going from table to table trying to blow out all the tea lights!

Unfortunately, we left the camera in the car and by the time there was an opportunity to go and get it, Tom was getting tired. The only picture I have of him in his party finery is the one below. He'd been asking to go home for some time before this photo was taken! At about the same time, however, Lily was just getting into her stride! They didn't start the disco until about 10.15pm, but Lily was up and dancing like there was no tomorrow. She was spinning and stomping and twirling away and basically having a great time! I think I know which of my children will be the party animal!

We had a lovely time and left at about eleven, which is about two hours later than we thought the Podlings would last! We put them in their pajamas before we left and then carried them straight up to bed when we got home 50 minutes later. You would think we'd have had a nice lie-in this morning, but sadly they both woke up at more or less their usual times. Oh can't have it all!

FYI, I will be posting some pictures of Tom's third birthday later this week.

Time flies...

A conversation with Tom last Monday:

Mummy: It's your birthday this week. How old will you be on your birthday?
Tom: I gonna be 3 minutes

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Random Pictures presents...

This photo was taken last month in the park near our house. The only time I relax when I take the Podlings to the park on my own is when they are both safely contained in the swings. Lily loves to follow her brother everywhere and is so adventurous that I am constantly afraid she is going to fall off something, walk into something, or find some other way to give me heart failure! So far she hasn't injured herself, but I don't know how much of that is down to luck and how much to skill! At least when they are in the swings I know she is safe...till she learns to climb out!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

A penchant for paint

Today saw a return to the typical British weather of rain, rain and more rain, so we turned once again to the delights of painting to while away our afternoon. This is an activity that both the Podlings love, and is guaranteed to keep them out of mischief for at least an hour...normally! Today I got to experience the relative delights of keeping two children from smearing paint all over the kitchen when your mum calls you in the middle of the painting session. Well Mum, here are the pictures....!During a momentary lapse in concentration (mine, not hers), Lily decided to sample the culinary delight of blue poster paint. Beautiful shade of lipstick she has on there, really brings out her eyes! She then decided that her paper was looking a bit full, so proceeded to paint the wall next to her chair. You can see the result in the above photo. Hmmm, I hadn't considered green walls in the kitchen, but maybe I should! Shortly after this, I had to stop her trying to drink the green paint, which I had foolishly mixed in a spare plastic cup. She picked it up by the handle and appeared to know exactly how to use it...probably preparing for elegant tea parties with her dolls. I stopped it as it reached her lips.

Tom, meanwhile, had been mostly content and was quietly painting away. He had tried to get down a couple of times, but I managed to persuade him to stay in his seat with the promise of clean paper and some fresh paint. Then he got bored. He was off his chair and gone before you could say 'Tom don't touch anything!'. I decided that this was a prudent point to end the telephone conversation with my mum. I set off after him and caught him before he left the kitchen, but you wouldn't believe the mess he made in the less than a minute he was out of his chair. Here, for my mum's amusement, is the list of things I had to clean at the end of the painting session:
  1. Three of the kitchen walls
  2. The door frame
  3. My chest freezer
  4. Both of the Podlings' chairs (and obviously the table, but you'd expect that)
  5. The kitchen floor, in three places
  6. Five cupboard doors and two drawer fronts
  7. Two very messy children!

Below is a picture of Lily washing her hands at the end of painting session (apologies for the blurry photo), posted mainly because you can see some of the mess I had to clean in the background (and I'd already cleared most of the table by this point). I only buy washable paint, but I have to say that my walls do appear to have a faint green tinge to them now! Ironically, green is my mum's favourite colour. Thanks mum!

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Random Pictures presents...

This rather adorable picture, taken about four weeks ago, shows the Podlings enjoying snacktime on the step to 'The Library'. This is the rather grand term I use to describe a small corridor between the utility room and lounge that we have had shelved (thanks again to Mum and Dad P. and Uncle Keith for this). Mark and I have hundreds of books, most of which are now kept in 'The Library', but we still have about five other bookcases round the house with our books, plus one in the family room for the Podlings' books. You'd be right in thinking we are all fond of reading!

Saturday, 29 September 2007


Sugar and spice and all things nice...that's what little girls are supposed to be made of. Not mine! Mine came trotting into the kitchen this morning and proudly handed me a woodlouse. Ewwww! It was dead by the time she gave it to me, but whether she found it alive will remain one of life's unsolvable mysteries. I'm not about to perform a postmortem on the thing, which is now enjoying it's final resting place in my bin.

"Lovebugs, Ladybug" by Tania Schuppert

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

A taste of Autumn...

The Podlings and I had a lovely Autumn themed day today that I'd planned to tell you about this evening, but my Internet connection is being a pain in the proverbial and I don't have the time or the patience to upload all my pictures at this speed. I promise to tell you all about our day...just not tonight! Hope you are all enjoying the season.

My Number 1 Fan

Tom has a current fascination with having the lights turned on in our upstairs and en suite bathrooms. I suspected he liked the sound of the extractor fan and this was confirmed today when, for no apparent reason, the fan in the main bathroom just stopped working. This seemed to concern him somewhat as he followed me around with a sad face telling me I needed to "change the batteries" in the fan (his solution when anything is broken!). I figured I'd have to wait for Mark to get back from his business trip to help me fix it, so I told Tom I couldn't fix it right now. However, this evening when the Podlings and I went upstairs to get their bath ready the fan spontaneously started working again. Tom obviously came to the conclusion that I had fixed it. He ran in to the bathroom with a huge grin on his face and said, with a great deal of enthusiasm, "Well DONE Mummy! Thank you Mummy! FANTASTIC!!". I've achieved a great deal in my life, but nothing compares to the adoration of a nearly three year old who thinks you can fix anything!

"Oriental Fan I" by Sally Ray Cairns

Disposing of nappies

I've come to realise that Lily is going to be no trouble to potty train when the time comes. She is not quite 16 months old and twice today she has come to find me to announce that she had a dirty nappy. The second time, she came up to me after lunch, looked me straight in the eye and said "Poo!" She then trotted over to the box where we keep all our nappy changing supplies and pointed to it, before turning to me and smiling. Clever girl!

I probably ought to get Tom dry first though! I've been meaning to start this for some time, but with all the disruption with the move, etc., it never seemed like the right time. I plan on starting to potty train him sometime next month, though I have a very laid back attitude about the whole thing. He'll be ready when he's ready and, as my mum always says, "They never start school in nappies do they!".

Monday, 24 September 2007

Random Pictures presents...

So, this is my idea. I always have more Podling pictures than I have time to blog about them and I end up never sharing these with people. I thought I would share some of these photos weekly in a "Random Pictures presents" post. This means that the pictures might have been taken weeks, months, or even longer ago, but may still be enjoyed by those who are interested in our family. It also means I'll always have something to blog about, even if nothing of note happened that week!

So, for my first "Random Pictures" post, I'd like to share some pictures we took this August Bank Holiday weekend of our trip to the beach at Prestatyn. It was Lily's first proper trip to the beach. We took her to a beach in Cornwall when she was three months old, but I don't suppose she remembers much about it!

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Checking in...

Wow, I can't believe it's been so long since my last post. It's been pretty busy round here this month, with my parents coming up for their first visit and then, after they left, us all succumbing to the usual round of colds, coughs and other bugs that seem to be prevalent as soon as the air turns chilly. We are all still ill at the moment and I'm not getting much sleep with two sick babies to attend to.

We had a fabulous time when my parents came to visit and I miss them so much already! I wish they didn't live so far away! They brought their Yorkshire Terrier, Molly, with them for the week and she was a huge hit with the Podlings. Now referred to as 'Molly-The-Dog' by Tom, she is much missed by both of them. One of the nights when Lily was particularly poorly, she woke up at midnight asking for 'Moyee'!

I guess it would take too long to fully catch up with all our happenings, which is a shame as I have so many lovely pictures I'd like to share. Which leads me to my next post...of which more tomorrow as it now grows late and I need to try and get some sleep!
'From the Rose Garden I' by L. Psaryova

Thursday, 30 August 2007

To sleep, perchance to dream

Thanks to Pickfords losing half the parts to Tom's cot during the move, our little man is now sleeping in a 'big boy' bed. Luckily, we had a spare single bed that my mum had given us when she turned my sister's bedroom into a sewing room (don't worry, she did wait until she moved out!). It is an orthopaedic bed, so it is quite high and Tom can't actually get in it on his own. However, since he still wears his sleeping bag to bed and doesn't climb out, this hasn't been a problem. Until yesterday. He has been favouring 'rest time' over nap time recently, but after a busy weekend he has been sleepy the last two lunchtimes. Yesterday, he seemed to be making more noise than usual, but seemed happy until all went quiet, signifying that he had gone to sleep. I went to wake him a bit later and found him curled up asleep on the floor in his sleeping bag. He had obviously climbed out of bed to play and then been unable to get back in again. The poor thing couldn't have slept well because he woke up very cranky. He had the imprint from the carpet on his little cheek and wasn't at all happy. Needless to say, I felt very guilty for not rescuing my poor boy from his uncomfortable slumber sooner. I found chocolate buttons to be a suitable remedy for both his crankiness and my guilt!
"Sleeping baby" by Grant

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Ten random facts about Tom

1. He can recite the alphabet and can recognise all its letters.
2. He can count to 50 and read numbers up to 30.
3. He can count backwards from ten.
3. He calls milk 'cuddy', a word he made up himself and we have no idea where it came from.
4. He loves vegetables and will eat half a cucumber in one sitting if given the chance.
5. He can read about 20 words, and is rapidly learning more.
6. He knows all the colours, including gold and silver.
7. He knows the order of the colours of the rainbow.
8. He will try to send me out of the room if he knows he is about to do something he shouldn't ("Mummy in the kitchen!")
9. He loves cars and is always trying to get us to take him for a drive.
10. He is very hard to tell off because he thinks it's funny when you get cross with him!