Thursday, 26 February 2009

Fearfully and wonderfully made

21 week ultrasound scan of Podling No.3 (head on the right, hand up by the face)

I had my 21 week ultrasound scan this afternoon. Everything is as it should be with the baby and he/she appears normal and healthy. I was thrilled to see the baby's tiny little hand waving at me during the scan. I could clearly see every finger bone, each one tiny and perfect. It never ceases to amaze me how perfectly formed a baby is, even with half the pregnancy still to go. The length of the baby's femur is only 31.3 mm at the moment, so imagine how tiny those little finger bones must be. We truly are fearfully and wonderfully made.

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well."
(Psalm 139:13-14)

Sunday, 22 February 2009


Mark is quite passionate about recycling. I have actually seen this man taking the tabs off tea bags in order to recycle the card! He once took a survey that told him that if everyone on Earth lived his lifestyle, it would take 11 'Earths' to sustain us all (due to all the travelling he does on business) and I think he feels the need to offset his impact in some way! We go to the recycling centre most weekends with our plastic, card and Tetrapak, but the ones we usually go to do not allow children to get out of the car. Since the Podlings are quite interested in the whole recycling thing, Mark drove us out to a small recycling point 18 miles away so the children could get out and take part (though arguably the mileage offset the benefit of recycling this week!) They had a wonderful time helping Daddy put the recycling in the right containers, though Tom soon retired to the car complaining about the cold. Lily sensibly asked to have her coat put on and helped Mark until every piece of cardboard had been individually posted into the correct container. It took much longer than our usual visits, but the Podlings enjoyed it and we feel we are encouraging good habits for the future. Shame the bottom has fallen out of the recycling market, it sort of makes the whole exercise rather pointless really!

20 weeks pregnant

Here, as promised, is a picture of my burgeoning baby bump. This photo was taken this morning and I'm 20 weeks and 3 days pregnant.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Big girl bed

When it comes to my children's sleeping arrangements, my philosophy has always been to keep them in a cot as long as possible. Since Lily still wears a sleeping bag to bed, she has never been able to climb out of the cot and shows no inclination to have it any other way. However, my rapidly expanding abdomen has finally made it necessary for us to approach the 'big girl bed' issue. I have been finding it increasingly difficult to put her in her cot and I effectively have to drop her the last few centimetres now. On the grounds that Lily is currently waking up at night at the moment anyway, I thought I may as well deal with any other sleep issues at the same time and get it out of the way with. Mark's parents were visiting today, so my father-in-law converted Lily's cot into a toddler bed for us while they were here.

Lily is a very fidgety sleeper, so when Mark's parents took the Podlings to the ball pool for a couple of hours this afternoon, we popped out to Mothercare and bought a bed guard. It actually covers about two thirds of the length of her bed, so I'm hoping that in the dark she'll just find it too difficult to get out of bed! Wishful thinking, no doubt!

Lily's quilt was handmade by my mum. Lily calls it her "tuck-ups"

As you can tell from the pictures, Lily is thrilled with her big girl bed. She loves the fact that she can get on and off it herself, though I'm hoping she won't indulge in this new-found freedom at three in the morning! We skipped her nap today, so combined with the exercise she had at the ball pool this afternoon she was pretty tired at bedtime and settled down without a peep. Whether this will happen every night remains to be seen! As to how she'll be in the night...well, I'll let you know!

Tom loves being able to climb on Lily's bed too and wanted in on the action!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Look Ma, no hands!

We had the water colour paints out this morning. Lily had been painting happily for about twenty minutes when she spontaneously put the paintbrush in her mouth and started painting her hand (we'd been doing hand prints). I encouraged her to have a go at painting using just her mouth and she seemed to find this highly diverting. I think it is good for children to try new ways of doing things and she certainly enjoyed the novelty of it.

Getting the brush wet

Mouth painting

My craft posts tend to have lots of pictures of Lily (because she actually does them!). Tom only joined in the painting for about three minutes before going to play with his trains. Just to prove that he does join in sometimes, I thought I'd share a picture of him with the play dough I got out after we'd put the paints away.
Building up a little collection of play dough "worms".

Thursday, 19 February 2009


I'm 20 weeks pregnant today, which marks the halfway point in this pregnancy. I definitely feel pregnant now. My bump is quite pronounced and I look much bigger than 20 weeks. Mark is away on business at the moment, but I will ask him to take a photo of me at the weekend so I can show you my rapidly expanding waistline.

I finally started to lose the nausea and constant lack of energy about 2 weeks ago. I'd probably be feeling pretty normal now if it weren't for the fact that I have a horrible cough that wakes me up at night. This, coupled with the fact that Lily has started waking up several times a night, means I'm not getting much sleep at the moment and I'm feeling pretty wiped out. Still, good practice for when the baby arrives I suppose! Despite the cough and lack of sleep, I am feeling much better than I have been and am actually able to do simple things like make breakfast without retching, which I haven't been able to do for some months! The house is looking much better as I'm now keeping on top of the tidying and laundry. The Podlings are also reaping the benefit as I am now finding the energy to do crafts and things with them again.

Whilst Tom remains uninterested in the proceedings, Lily is quite fascinated with the baby and frequently talks to my stomach, strokes it and gives it kisses. She has decided it is a 'girl baby', so I hope she won't be disappointed if a boy shows up! When I was expecting Lily I had a very strong feeling that I was having a girl, but I don't really have any feelings either way this time. It just means I'll have to wash both boy and girl newborn clothes before the baby arrives. Ugh...more laundry!

I'm looking forward to my next and final ultrasound scan next week, particularly as the 20 week scan is longer than the early scan. It is so wonderful being able to see your baby moving around. I'm praying that the scan will show that all is well with the baby and hopefully I'll have a nice scan picture to share on Thursday.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Feeling sheepish

We had a bit of a sheep theme going on this morning. No particular reason other than that I've had an idea for a sheep craft in my head for a while and wanted to do it with the Podlings this morning. The craft is incredibly quick and simple to do, and requires a paper plate, cotton wool balls, cardboard, googly eyes (of course!) and, in Lily's case, excessive amounts of glue. I drew out the head, legs and facial features and cut them out. All the Podlings had to do was assemble the sheep. Lily really enjoyed doing this craft and couldn't stop looking at her sheep when he was finished. I had trouble getting it off her to allow it to dry as she really wanted to play with it. Tom opted not to take part again and wandered off to play at being a postman instead. Because the projects we do at home are supposed to be for fun, I tend not to push Tom into joining in if he doesn't want to. However, I think he will find the transition to school quite difficult once he realises that he will have to do things he isn't necessarily inclined towards! I guess that's something we'll need to work on over the next few months.
After we'd finished making the sheep, we sang a few sheep-related nursery rhymes (Baa Baa Black sheep, Old McDonald, etc.) and talked about what sheep eat and where wool comes from. After that we read a few sheep-based stories, including one of our family favourites, 'Marvin wanted more' by Joseph Theobold (I wrote about this book here).

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Friday, 13 February 2009

Valentine animals

Continuing with our Valentine theme, this morning I made Valentine animals with the Podlings. These cute little beasties are made up entirely of heart shapes (the templates I used, plus loads of others, are available here). I made some slight modifications to the templates, such as using pipe cleaners or cotton wool for tails. We also added googly eyes, because what craft animal isn't improved with these fantastic little things! Lily really loved this craft, particularly as I let her decorate the hearts with glitter before we assembled the animals. I think we may be making some more of these animals next week, never mind that Valentine's day will have passed by then. Tom wasn't very interested in the animals, though consented to put googly eyes on the owl I printed off for him. He wanted to make a big heart like the ones that Lily made the other day, so that kept him entertained for about 5-10 minutes.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Glitter bug

The pregnancy-related tiredness must finally be wearing off, because I actually did a proper craft with Lily this morning. Other than stickers, colouring and, very occasionally, painting, I haven't had the energy to do a structured craft with the Podlings in quite a while (though it's not so much the craft that requires the energy, as the post-mess clean-up!) Tom didn't want to join in the craft today, but played quite happily with his dominoes in the playroom while Lily made a mess in the kitchen. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy his uninterrupted playtime. Whilst Lily very much prefers to play with others, Tom does enjoy playing by himself. Although the Podlings usually play well together, it is nice for him to play in his own little world sometimes. Tom has always had a phenomenal capacity to amuse himself that I wish Lily would learn from!

With Valentine's Day approaching on Saturday, I'm trying to do a couple of Valentine/heart themed activities with the children this week. Lily adores glitter (really, really loves it!), so today I cut several large hearts out of pink and red construction paper and let her loose with the glue, shiny shapes and pink and purple glitter. She loves to do arts and crafts of any kind, and this one kept her entertained for ages. She decorated three paper hearts and then, when I went to check on Tom, took the opportunity to spread glue over her hands and glitter them up a bit too!

Snow fun

Lily preparing to launch a snowball

Mark was working from home yesterday, but he took a break just before lunch so we could all go in the garden and play in what was left of the snow. We don't have any more snow forecast, so we thought we'd better take advantage of what was left before it all disappeared. We had snowball fights, made footprints, tried to revive our ailing snowman, built snowcastles with buckets and spades and basically had a lot of fun. We did, however, have to stop intermittently to redress Tom, who persisted in removing his coat and gloves as soon as he was out of grabbing range. I don't know what that boy has against wearing clothes at the moment!

Making snowballs for the Podlings.
I'm doing a passable impression of the Michelin Man in my snow coat here! Am I pregnant, or did I just eat all the pies? I hate being cold, so I chose warmth over vanity!

Prepare to be pelted

Making snowcastles with Daddy

Monday, 9 February 2009

Brotherly love

Tom and Lily were playing a particularly exciting game of chase after their bath this evening when Lily paused mid-game, gave Tom a big hug and said, "Tom, you my best friend! I love you SO much!"

Let's hope she always feels that way about her big brother!


Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Our first snowman

Our first snowman. He has raisin eyes and buttons and the obligatory carrot nose. We eventually gave him some twig arms, but my camera batteries died before I could get a picture of the result.

On our way back from playgroup, Lily asked if we could make a snowman, so as soon as we got home we went into the back garden to make one. We all started to pile up the snow for the body, but Tom soon started to feel cold and lose interest and asked to go inside. Undeterred, Lily and I carried on and made our very first family snowman. I think he's rather cute! I decided to keep it small as it was already getting late for lunch and I thought Lily might lose interest quickly. I couldn't have been more wrong! As soon as we finished our little snowman she was asking to build a mummy snowman! If I had consented to this, I'm sure we'd have been out there all afternoon making daddy snowmen, Tom snowmen and goodness knows what else! Since neither of the Podlings likes hot chocolate, I managed to coax her back indoors with the promise of warm milk. They normally only get this at breakfast and supper, so having it in the middle of the day was a nice treat for them.

We had a great time playing in the snow today. It makes me realise how fortunate I am to be able to stay home with my children, allowing me to take advantage of days like today.

Lily putting raisin 'buttons' on the snowman

Lily standing proudly beside our creation

My blue-eyed boy

Tom took great delight in pelting me with mini-snowballs on the way home from playgroup. It's not often you are able to get away with throwing things at your mother!

A snow walk home

It is still very cold here and the snow is lasting longer than I expected, so it was still thick on the ground when I picked the Podlings up from playgroup at 11.30am. Tom enjoyed the walk home a lot more than he enjoyed the walk there and both children had a great time stomping in the snow. I showed them how to make snowballs, which naturally resulted in them having a mini-snowball fight on the way home. Then they ganged up and starting throwing their tiny little snowballs at me instead! It took us three times longer than usual to walk home, but we had a great time.

Stopping for a hug

Learning the fine art of snowball-making

Discovering that snow sticks to your gloves

Winter Wonderland

We didn't get as much snow as the eastern side of the country, but we had enough yesterday to give everything a beautiful coating. Just deep enough to get that fabulous crunch when you walk on it. I took some pictures of the house and garden this morning before the sun gets any higher and melts the snow. Already, the snow on the roof is melting and it won't be long before we are left with just a few white patches on the grass.

I was rather disappointed that the Podlings didn't show any interest in wanting to play in the snow yesterday...unnatural pair! Maybe I'll get them out in it later, but Tom really hates the cold so I doubt I'll have much luck there. He cried for much of the walk up to playgroup this morning, even though the only part of unexposed flesh was his face, poor thing. I think I'll have more luck with Lily, who was stomping in the snow and watching her feet sink with interest. If I get any photos of them playing in the snow, I will share them later.

Mark took this picture of the garden late last night.

Monday, 2 February 2009

New job!

Wishing my wonderful husband the very best of luck on the first day of his new job.