Wednesday, 30 April 2008

A special day

I celebrated my birthday on Saturday. The day began with breakfast in bed and a chance to indulge in the rare luxury of reading before getting up. Mark brought me a delicious breakfast of pain au chocolat and chocolate chip brioche, and he even made my tea in my favourite cup. I read in bed for about 40 minutes (bliss!), then got dressed and went downstairs to open my cards. Mark had to pop to the bank, so he took Lily with him (he got me a beautiful bunch of roses while they were out). Tom stayed behind and helped to make my birthday cake. We have a tradition of 'Oxo' birthday cakes in my family. As children, my mum would often bake us a Victoria sandwich cake for birthdays and arrange the Smarties to make a noughts and crosses board. Sometimes the noughts and crosses would spell out OXO, so that is how they came to be known as Oxo cakes. I promise we don't put beef stock in them! I just arranged my Smarties round the edge of the cake, but it turned out really well and was popular with those that consumed it!
After lunch, we went out to a local park and had fun with the Podlings. We couldn't get Lily away from the duck pond, she just loved the birds! Tom loves the chance to just run and run, so he had a great time too. We spent a couple of hours there and had a lovely time, before heading home for my birthday tea party.

Mark took this rather artistic shot of Tom playing in the grass

In honour of the occasion, Lily was allowed to sit to the table instead of her high chair. She loved having instant access to all the food! After tea and cake, I opened my presents. I was absolutely thrilled when Mark gave me a beautiful pair of pearl stud earrings, something I've wanted for a very long time. Mark's parents and brother gave me vouchers for a new craft shop they have discovered, with the offer to take the children to the park so I can browse the shop at my leisure. I'm very excited as I adore craft shops and I've never been to this one. It specialises in card making and scrapbooking, so I will be in my element! I had many other lovely presents, all of which I had assistance in the opening of. Thankfully nothing was broken or damaged in the process!

I really had a lovely birthday, mainly thanks to my wonderful husband and children who made the day so special for me. I have been left with some special memories to treasure.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Daddy's girl

I took this picture of Lily and her daddy yesterday evening and I just love it. Lily will happily go anywhere with Mark, unlike Tom who has always been reluctant to leave my side. Mark took Lily to the bank with him on Friday and she has been talking about it ever since, so Mark has said he will try and take her out more often. I think he is secretly quite chuffed, but wouldn't admit it aloud!

Notice anything different about Lily in the picture? That's right, I've finally got her hair in pigtails...

Doesn't she look adorable! I have been wanting to do this for ages, but she doesn't like me even brushing her hair so I thought she wouldn't let me. To my surprise, she not only let me do it she also kept them in! She seems really pleased with her pigtails and I had to keep lifting her up so she could look in the mirror. We tell her it's her 'princess hair', which seems to be a good incentive to wear them. I put them in again this morning and they stayed in until lunchtime, when I took them out before her nap. I'm so pleased...I've been waiting for so long to put my little girl's hair up!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Lamentations of a would-be dressmaker

I'm beginning to think that I'm never going to be able to finish the dress I am making. On Saturday, you may remember, I went to sew my dress and discovered I had been sent the wrong thread. I was able to pick up some thread on Sunday, so last night I got my sewing machine out again and planned to do some dressmaking. Then we had a power cut! The power cut itself lasted less than five seconds and the lights came right back on. It was enough, however, to trip the fuses for all the upstairs and downstairs power sockets. Naturally, this happened when Mark was attending a work-related ball in London, so I was by myself. I had a look in the fuse box, but was completely thrown by the contents. I've dealt with it many times when the lights have blown, but the arrangement for the power sockets seemed completely different. I rang my mum for advice and for moral support while I switched off the mains power and switched it on again (a sort of 'reboot' approach!). I figured if I electrocuted myself she could call an ambulance! We didn't have any luck, so I rang Mark to give him the news. I was concerned as I have two freezers full of food, which I didn't want to spoil. I went to bed expecting trouble in the morning when I couldn't heat up the Podlings' milk quickly enough. I was surprised how dark it was with Mark's radio alarm clock not working.

I woke up at three in the morning and noticed the display on the alarm clock flashing. Mark had got home shortly before and gone straight to the fuse box and fixed the problem. He then loaded a few things into the dishwasher and programmed it for me, so I wouldn't have to do it when I got up. I am so blessed to have a husband who thinks of doing something like that for his wife at three in the morning! I'm still none the wiser as to how to fix the fuse if it happens again, so I've asked Mark to show me what he did.

No harm was done, but I was so frustrated at being thwarted in my attempts at dressmaking yet again. Mark has another business dinner to go to this evening, so I'm going to make a cup of tea and a bite to eat and then, if that revives my tired frame, I'm going to have another go at the dress. Maybe it will be third time lucky!

"Quilting" by Caroyn Watson

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

The first Spring day

Although the first day of spring was a few weeks ago, today felt like the first spring day. It was sunny and mild, with only a slight breeze. Days like this are few and far between, so today I tried to spend as much time outdoors with the Podlings as possible. We went to the park this morning, something we haven't been able to do for a little while. I took their morning snack with us and they sat on the park bench and ate it in the sunshine. They played on the swings, slid down the slide and just ran around and enjoyed being outside. Lily did not want to go home again. She was very clear about that!

While the Podlings were having their rest time this afternoon, I took my cup of tea and wandered round the garden. I'd noticed some flowers appearing and as this is the first spring we have been in this house, I am excited to see what my garden has in store for me. I took some photos of the flowers I found, but I don't know what any of them are. Given the abundance of the purple flower in the front and back gardens, I suspect it may be a weed. It seems to be some kind of climber and is very pretty so it can stay whether it is a weed or not! If anyone knows what these flowers are, I'd love to know as I like to be able to tell the children the names of flowers, birds and the sundry things we find in nature. Tom can name a dandelion, daisy, daffodil and forget-me-not and has already asked me what the purple flower is called. Feel free to leave a comment if you can enlighten me (or just leave a comment anyway, I love to get comments!).

After the Podlings' rest time, we all went out into the garden for some fun. We ran, read stories, looked at the flowers, played ball, played with some toys on a blanket and just had the most wonderful afternoon together. I hope that today wasn't just a fluke and that we have some more mild weather in store. The Podlings and I love being outdoors and I'm looking forward to being able to plant some flowers of my own this year.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Bags of fun

I wanted to get my sewing machine out this weekend and had planned to carry on with a dress I am making. I went to thread up the sewing machine and noticed that the company I ordered my thread from had sent me black cotton instead of navy blue. However, I really wanted to do some sewing, so I went into my scrap basket and made this bag with some of the fabric I found in there. It's far from perfect as I didn't have a pattern and just made it up as I went along. To be honest, the fabric is too thin for the bag to be overly useful, but I am disproportionately proud of it! I had so much fun making it!

As I was finishing up the bag last night, I noticed that it went rather well with the outfit I was wearing, so I had to have my picture taken with it! It's not a very good picture of me as it was taken about eleven o'clock at night and I was really tired! It does show you how big the bag is though.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

An afternoon tea party

This afternoon, after nap time, the Podlings and I assembled the tent that their Uncle Ryan and Auntie Gill gave them for Christmas and had a little tea party inside it. For our eatables, I put together a plate of Jammie Dodgers (on offer at Tesco this week), Smarties and some homemade double chocolate mini-muffins (Lily is addicted to these at the moment).

I dug out a few pieces of the china tea set I had as a little girl and we used apple juice for tea. However, although we started off with this tea set...

....we ended up with this one:

Frankly, my nerves weren't up to watching a three year old and a not-quite-two year old gamely bashing my precious china tea set around! I had forgotten how pretty my old tea set was though, so it is now adorning the mantelpiece in the family room.

The Podlings and I had a lovely afternoon, though I had A LOT of apple juice to mop off the carpet when we finished. Their pouring skills need work!
The cup that cheers

Dance like nobody's watching

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Aaaarrggh Spider!!

We bought 'Aaaarrgghh Spider' by Lydia Monks for Tom's second birthday when he was in to spiders in a big way. Since then, this book has been one his favourites and waxes and wanes as his bedtime 'must read'. It is a wonderful book about a spider that wants to be a family pet, but whenever he tries to impress the family he lives with, they scream "Aaaarrggh Spider!" in terror and throw him in the garden. It is a very entertaining story and the illustrations are wonderfully comical. This has been THE bedtime story for a while now, which means Tom has heard it twice a night, every night, for almost two weeks. This means that he knows it off by heart and can now do a very good impression of a child who can read! I run my finger under the text as we read the story and he says the words as I say them. Anyone looking on would think that Tom was reading the story himself. The funny thing is that he also copies my intonation, so I get to hear how I sound when I read the story!

Thursday, 10 April 2008

I want to be alone...

Tom has increasingly been wanting to spend time upstairs by himself. He loves his bedroom and has always seemed to like playing by himself. As he is getting older, I am allowing him to spend some time in his room when Lily and I are downstairs, though I check on him very regularly (like every 3-5 minutes!) and I insist he leaves the door open . He's usually happy to play up there for 10-20 minutes before he wants to rejoin us. Yesterday afternoon I went to check on him and found him on his bed reading a comic. I sneaked downstairs to get the camera and managed to take a picture of him. He obviously enjoys this little bit of time to himself.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Out of the mouths of babes

Tom came to me this afternoon holding his finger in the air.

"I hurt my finger." he informed me, "I got a tummy ache in it"

Be happy

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter" - E. E. Cummings

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Neither rain, nor snow...

I marvel at the unshakable optimism of our local ice cream man. He drives around our area between four and five almost every afternoon, whatever the weather. You are as likely to get an ice-cream from this guy in the depths of winter as you are on the hottest summer's day. I fear his optimism may have been a triumph of hope over experience today though. Thoughts of running across the road in the wind and driving snow to buy an ice cream were not appealing.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

"Is something burning?"

The carnage

"Is something burning?". The immortal words of my husband as he came downstairs to find me waving the lid of our steriliser and blowing on it to put out the flames! With Lily still under the weather, we thought it wise to gather up all her dummies and sterilise them. I had taken the steriliser out of the microwave, taken the lid off and plonked it on the hob, which I often use as an extra 'flat surface' when not in use. Unbeknownst to me, someone (who shall remain nameless, but lets just say he stood next to me at the altar when I got married!) had neglected to turn off the gas earlier in the evening. I, of course, didn't realise this until I wandered back into the kitchen and thought 'That sounds like fire!'. I turned to see the lid in flames and melting happily all over my nice clean hob. Having extinguished the flames, I then stood there dumbly inhaling the fumes before sense took over and I remembered that plastic fumes are toxic (and I'm a polymer chemist by training!). Commence much opening of windows and doors! No harm was done, but we are going to need a new steriliser when, God willing, we next expand our family!

Who's the child?

The Podlings are back into Play Dough in a big way at the moment. I can't say I mind! I'm not sure who has more fun with it, me or the children! I named this little guy Homer because I made him from D'oh (my husband is a Simpsons fan!).

Friday, 4 April 2008

On the mend

As you can see from the photo, Lily appears to be on the mend. I was worried this morning when her morning bottle of milk came right back up again, but 90 minutes later she was demanding toast and Cheerios. I gave them to her with trepidation, expecting to be doing a clean up job shortly afterwards. However, she ate a small bowl of Cheerios with milk and a slice of toast and marmite and has kept them down. This small meal seems to have given her her energy back as she was up and trotting around within an hour, having spent two days lying listlessly on the sofa. I am waiting to see how she is after her nap, but I'm hoping to be able to cancel the doctor's appointment I had made for her for this afternoon.

In the picture above, she has commandeered the tent I made for Tom. I was feeling a bit sorry for him as the well child usually dips out on attention a bit when the other is sick. He has been as good as gold while Lily has been ill, so I made him a tent from two dining room chairs and a sheet and filled it with toys for him. Lily thought this looked like tremendous fun and promptly moved in! Tom did eventually go in too, but he insisted that Lily had a turn first. He is such a sweet, thoughtful boy.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Poorly baby

I haven't had much time for blogging for a nearly a fortnight. Last week we had a lovely visit from my mum and dad. I loved having them here with us and I miss them dreadfully already. Devon seems so far away...I wish they lived right down the road and could pop over for coffee a couple of times a week. I keep dropping hints, but no dice! They went home on Sunday, but not before I had picked Mum's brains on various subjects including dressmaking, cooking, patchworking and knitting. I had quite an education from her last week!

Unfortunately, the little lady took ill yesterday and has been quite sick. She couldn't even keep liquids down yesterday, but managed to eat a little scrambled egg and some yoghurt today. Unfortunately, it went straight through her and she still has a temperature, so she is far from well. Lily's sickness coincides with one of Mark's foreign business trips, so I'm here on my own with them at the moment. Thankfully, Tom is well, so I only have one sick baby to tend to.

It would seem that Lily's pink teddy bear has succumbed to the same illness as her owner. I came in from the kitchen yesterday morning to find that Piglet (she named the bear herself) had her head in Lily's sick bowl and appeared to be quite unwell! Thankfully the bowl was empty at the time. I just had to take a photo!