Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Lily's 2nd birthday

I went in to get Lily this morning and told her it was her birthday today. "Hooray!" she replied, "Birthday cake!". She obviously had a fair idea what is involved in a birthday! We opened the presents gradually over the course of the morning and I was really pleased that she loved the apron and the lamb I made her. In fact, she insisted on wearing the apron all morning!

We spent the morning playing with her new toys and books. The Podlings spent over an hour playing with the plasticine set that she received (thanks to Fiona for was a big hit!). Mark's mum and dad arrived while the Podlings were resting, so I got Tom up a bit early so he could play outside with his Nanna and Grandad.

When Lily woke up from her nap, they got to enjoy the two 'big' presents from her Nanna and Grandad...a Wendy house and a sand table. These were, hands down, the favourite presents of the day. Thankfully the rain that was forecast for today held off and the Podlings were able to play in the garden all afternoon. They had a wonderful time. Lily told me, whilst shovelling sand into a bucket, that she was having a "busy day".

Mark was able to get home from work early so he could come to Lily's birthday party. Her birthday cake was the usual Smartie cake, but I put a few little farm animals on top because Lily is currently farm obsessed. She loved it when we all sang "Happy Birthday" to her (even Tom joined in) and we had to sing it to her several times over the rest of the day!

I love that both Tom and Lily's eyes are glued to the cake stand with the sweet treats on it!
Both of the Podlings enjoyed today. In fact, Tom pretty much thought it was his birthday anyway! They both went to bed late tonight having had a wonderful day. I just can't believe my baby is two years old!
After her party, Lily invited her Nanna into the Wendy house for coffee.

Look who's two!

27th May 2006

27th May 2008

Where does the time go?

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Blog the frog

This little guy frightened the living daylights out of me today. We had bought a load of peat to add to the border along our driveway as I wanted to plant some flowers and our existing soil was pretty poor. Mark and I had spread the peat while the children were resting (we figured the Podlings would spread the peat further than we wanted!), then we all went out to plant the flowers when they got up. I was happily putting my Chrysanthemums in the ground when this frog jumped right by my hand. Worms and spiders I was prepared for, but the frog was a bit of a shock! We think it must have been in the sack of peat we bought yesterday. The poor thing had met with an accident at some point as it was missing one of its back legs below the knee. It seemed pretty mobile though as we have no idea where it is now!

The Podlings were absolutely thrilled with the frog. They watched it for a while, then pretended to be frogs by jumping up and down the driveway. After tea, we sang 'five little speckled frogs' and read a couple of stories with frogs in them. Lily was still talking about the 'fwoggy' at bedtime.

Incidentally, I have a new respect for the bravery of my husband, who took this photo of the frog by lying on his stomach right in front of it and using the optical zoom on the camera. I would have been terrified of the thing jumping in my face!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Made with love

I always wear an apron when I am baking, so whenever the Podlings and I do baking together, I have to make them 'aprons' out of a tea towel and a peg. Granted, this seems to satisfy the apron craving in both of them, but I wanted to make Lily an apron of her very own for her birthday. I used the leftover fabric from the lambkin and made up my own pattern. My first attempt at machine applique (the heart on the patch pocket) is frankly a bit of a disaster, but I don't suppose Lily will be over-critical of my sewing. Overall I think it is a very sweet little apron and I am pleased with it. I am going to wrap it up with a wooden spoon she can call her own and a packet of chocolate chips. One of her favourite parts of the whole 'baking with mummy' thing is when we come to add chocolate chips to something and I give her and Tom a few chocolate chips each. I expect she will be happier with her packet of chocolate chips than she will with any of her other presents!

In addition to the lambkin and the apron, we are also giving her a new doll, some farm animals to add to her collection and a stack of books (what would a birthday be without a pile of new books to enjoy!). She will also be receiving presents from family members and friends, so I think we will have to spread the presents out over the day so she can enjoy them all. I'm hoping she'll enjoy her handmade presents as much as I enjoyed making them for her.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Little lamb who made thee?

Since our visit to the farm a couple of weeks ago, Lily has become inordinately fond of lambs. Whenever we come across a picture of a lamb in one of her story books, she immediately starts stroking it and repeating "I wuff you too!" over and over again. The little lady will be turning two next week, so I made this little lambkin for her to open on her birthday (the pattern for the lambkin can be found here). The fabric arrived this morning and I started making it during the Podling's rest time. I finished it off this evening, so it was a nice quick project. I am rather proud of the result.

I am especially pleased that I got it done today as I was in no small amount of discomfort thanks to a wry neck. This is something I have suffered with on and off since I was a child. Basically, the muscles in the right side of my neck go into spasm, with the result that I spend a couple of days in pain with my head over at a funny angle. When it is at its worst, my head goes so far over to the side that I have to rest it on my shoulder. Thankfully it wasn't that bad today, so I was able to make Lily's lambkin. I hope she likes it as much as I do!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Highway to Heaven

This evening, before we said his prayers, Tom told me that God is in Heaven and asked if he could go to Heaven too. I explained that hopefully we will all go to Heaven someday, but Heaven is a long way away. He thought about this for a moment, then opened the door of the toy car he had brought to bed with him. "It's God's car" he told me, "and Jesus is going to drive it to Heaven".
"1940 Coupe at Takeoff" by David Perry

Monday, 19 May 2008

Have you seen the muffin man?

So, in case you were wondering, we made chocolate muffins this afternoon and Lily got to lick the spoon. Apparently, this can result in your 23 month old daughter sprouting a chocolate moustache and goatee. All she needs is a beret and she'd look like a beatnik!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Bunny laundering

I took advantage of the good drying weather today and washed the Podlings' cuddly rabbits. The Podlings both take their rabbits to bed with them every night and they travel with us when we stay overnight anywhere, so they were both in need of a wash. I thought they looked really funny hanging by their ears from the line!

We bought the rabbit on the left when I was 12 weeks pregnant with Tom (the first thing I bought for 'the baby') and it is the only cuddly toy he has ever shown any interest in. It was invaluable when he was tiny as we found the bunny really useful if we needed Tom to sleep when he was overstimulated. We'd place the rabbit on his tummy as if it were giving him a cuddle and we'd put one of the ears over his eyes to block out the light (see picture below). He'd fall asleep really quickly like that and we'd move the ear away from his face as soon as he dozed off. It worked so well, we bought a similar rabbit for Lily when she was born. It was even more useful for her as she was very easily overstimulated and really difficult to get off to sleep. The whole 'ear over the eyes' thing earned the rabbits the nickname Blackout Bunnies...I'm hoping they still sell these if/when we have another baby.

Tom, aged 3 months, with his Blackout Bunny

Monday, 12 May 2008

Theology with the under 5s

Tom has obviously started mulling theological questions over in his mind. I've had questions from him recently along the lines of "But we can't see Jesus?". After we said his prayers this evening, Tom pondered for a moment and then asked "But God can't give me a cuddle?". I smiled to myself and then gently explained that "No, God can't give you a cuddle like Mummy and Daddy can give you a cuddle, but God loves you very much." I love that Tom has started asking questions about God, but it's new territory for me as to how to explain things to him in a way that he will understand. I think I'm going to need some guidance here!
"Christ and child" by Danny Hahlbohm

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Five wonderful years

Five years, three houses and two children gets better and better!

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband. I love you!

Friday, 9 May 2008

A little taste of Devon

Breakfast in the garden

Last weekend went down to visit my parents in Devon. We travelled down on Friday afternoon and arrived at my parents house quite late. The weather was lovely for the whole weekend, despite what the forecasters had predicted. In fact, it was so nice on the Saturday that we had breakfast in the garden. After lunch we walked to a nearby field and the Podlings had a lovely time running around and chasing my parents' dog, Molly. We spent a lovely couple of hours in the sunshine. Mum made a daisy chain for Lily, Tom found a puddle to jump in and the children enjoyed their snack of apples and juice lounging against their daddy on the grass. It was a pretty idyllic afternoon. On the way home, we popped into a shop and bought ice creams. Tom had a red ice lolly which, as you can see from the picture, he enjoyed a great deal!

Apple time! Snacks in the sunshine.

Mum making a daisy chain. Lily had wandered off by this point!

No, he hasn't been involved in a terrible accident, that's ice lolly all over his face!

On the Sunday we went to a local farm attraction (see post below), and on the Monday we went to visit my grandad. I haven't seen my grandad since before Christmas, so I really wanted to see him this visit. He lives alone and can get a little lonely, so I knew a visit from the Podlings would cheer him up. He absolutely adores little children and was completely taken with Lily, who was on top form that day. She has completely overcome her shyness of men and was chatting quite happily to her great grandad and even sat on his lap a couple of times. She gave him the most enormous hug when we left, which my mum managed to capture on camera. I was pleased we got to see him and I'm glad we were able to brighten his day.

Lily with my grandad

We travelled home Monday night and planned to put the Podlings straight to bed when we got home. We were halfway back to Staffordshire when I realised my house keys were back in Devon! Mark's parents live just over an hour away from us, but they are the nearest people to us who have a key to our house so we had drag them out of their house in the middle of the night to come and let us in! We were still able to put the children straight to bed, but poor Mum and Dad P had a late night that night. I felt like a bit of a wally for forgetting my keys I can tell you!

Key fiasco notwithstanding, we had a wonderful visit with my mum and dad. The three day weekend really made it feel like a holiday and we had a lot of fun. I can't wait until we see them again.

Down on the farm

On the Sunday of our visit to Devon we took the Podlings to Pennywell Farm. We had a wonderful afternoon there petting the animals, playing on the playground equipment and generally having lots of fun. I had as much fun as the Podlings with the animals and I really wanted to bring one of these little piglets home with me...until I saw what they grew into!

Lily absolutely adores all animals, so she was in her element. Unfortunately, the girl has no fear and I was amazed that she came home with ten fingers on her hands! She took a particular shine to a very large Shire horse called Royal, whose head was bigger than her. My mum kept trying to get her to go and look at the smaller animals, but Lily insisted on hanging out with Royal. "Look, horse!" she informed us, as if we could miss him! I was too worried about keeping Lily from poking Royal to take a photo of them together, which is a great shame.

Mark and Tom in the barn
Tom wasn't that interested in the animals, but he's a very active little boy so he loved all the play equipment they had. There was even a special area for the under-5s and they got to have their first go on a trampoline. This was later declared by Tom to be his favourite part of the day. We got some video footage of them on the trampoline, so if I ever work out how to upload video to blogger I'll post it here.

Lily and my mum feeding the lambs
We had a fantastic time here and the Podlings were talking about it for days afterwards. If you are ever in South Devon and looking for something to do with your little ones, I can heartily recommend a trip to Pennywell farm.

This minature cottage was in the Under-5s play area. I figured it would do as my country residence until something bigger comes along!