Friday, 29 May 2009

Pregnancy update - 34 weeks

This photo was taken on Monday when I was 33.5 weeks pregnant
I'm now heading into the final stretch of this pregnancy and I certainly feel as big as I look now! The delightful burst of energy I had in the middle of the pregnancy has long since waned and I now tire easily and have to sit down frequently due to back ache. All part and parcel of having a baby though, so I'm just trying to take this into account when I'm trying to get things done. I still have a strong desire to clean, sort and organise (I've been nesting like a good 'un for weeks!), I'm just trying not to go nuts and wipe myself out in the process! I'm pacing myself!
I'm certainly not wishing for it all to be over yet. At the moment I'm just enjoying the pregnancy and the delightful feeling of the baby moving around. I love it when he/she pushes out a little foot and I can stoke the hard little bump it makes until the baby moves it away. I really miss feeling the baby move after its born, so I'm trying to relish every movement...even the hard, jarring ones to the ribs!
Lily is quite convinced the baby is going to be a girl and will not even entertain ideas that it could be a boy. She has already named the baby Anna, which isn't even a name we have on our shortlist! I wonder how she will react if the baby is a girl and she finds out that we are not calling her Anna! Tom also seems to think the baby is a girl, though less vehemently than Lily. Let's hope they are not too upset if a little brother shows up!
It seems incredible that the baby could be here in as little as four weeks and I know these last few weeks are going to fly by. I still have so much on my To Do list! I have been blessed with a healthy pregnancy so far, so hopefully the baby won't decide to 'do a Tom' and come early. I want everything to be ready for this baby when he/she does arrive. I just want to be able to relax and enjoy those newborn days with my newest little one...they don't last long.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

A weekend in the Lakes

The view from our secluded picnic spot by Windermere.
We had such a lovely time in the Lake District at Easter that we decided to go there again last weekend. We set off about lunchtime on Saturday and took the scenic route, arriving in the Lake District in time for a late picnic tea by Windermere. We then pushed on to Carlisle, where we were staying in a Travelodge. The Podlings were high as kites when we got to our room and it took us a while to calm them down enough to sleep.
The Podlings at our first picnic spot by Windermere

Lily and me enjoying our picnic by Windermere
On Sunday we enjoyed our picnic lunch at a fabulous little spot Mark found on the shore of Wastwater. The scenery there really was breathtaking. The Podlings had a lovely time throwing stones in the lake, splashing about in their wellies and exploring the rocks with Mark. We then drove to the beach on Walney Island (by Barrow-in-Furness) for an ice cream.
Wastwater - probably the nicest picnic spot we've enjoyed so far. Mark has a wonderful talent for finding quiet, picturesque spots for our picnics. I don't know how he does it.

Lily splashing about in Wastwater.
Tom tried this for a short while and then chickened out when the water started going in his wellies and he realised just how cold it was. Tom hates being cold!

Tom by Wastwater

Exploring the shore of Wastwater with Daddy
Tom was so tired on Monday morning that he slept in until 10.30am!

We left the hotel late on Monday morning, following Tom's epic lie-in. The boy needs his sleep, so we just left him to wake up on his own. We had lunch in Penrith and then went to Thirlmere where we spent a couple of hours by the lake and the nearby woods. We ended the weekend with a final picnic at our original spot by Windermere.

It was a wonderful little holiday and we all had a lovely time. It is likely to be our last holiday for a while and it was almost certainly our last holiday as a family of four. Next time we go to the Lake District we will be trying to get three children to sleep in one room...could be a while before I'm ready for that one!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Blowing out the candles

"Happy birthday to you..."

Make a wish

Lily found the whole process of blowing out the candles hilarious

Both Podlings were in stitches trying to blow out the candles. Much fun was had by all!

The doll's house

Last month for my birthday, we took the Podlings to the Sudbury Museum of Childhood. We all had a lovely time there, particularly Lily who we could hardly drag away from the doll's houses. She enjoyed playing with them so much that Mark and I decided then and there that we wanted to try and give her a doll's house for her birthday. We already had the house itself, which my talented grandfather made for me when I was a little girl. The decor is a little worse for wear these days, having seen many hours of play with my sister and me, but it is still a good, solid doll's house and has many years of play left in in it.

I wanted to furnish it with good quality wooden furniture, but was surprised at how expensive that could work out to be. Luckily, I found an excellent deal for a full set of furniture on eBay and my parents and my sister and brother-in-law all chipped in to give Lily a fully furnished doll's house and doll family for her third birthday. The bedroom is a little crowded as the parents and children are all sleeping in the same room, but no-one seems to be objecting!

The house is a big hit with Lily (and with Tom when he can get near it). I hope that it will continue to be enjoyed for many years by all current and future Podlings, and who knows, maybe it will eventually be enjoyed by grandpodlings. I wish my grandad were here to see how much enjoyment his doll's house is still giving.

Lily's third birthday

The presents
Lily is now old enough to know exactly what birthdays are all about. For several days she has been asking 'is it my birthday today?', so she was thrilled when the answer this morning was 'Yes". She wasn't remotely interested in breakfast this morning and opened all her presents whilst still in her pyjamas. I like to indulge the Podlings in the things that they enjoy on their birthdays, which meant that this morning I was meeting myself coming back with Lily's various craft requests. By eleven o'clock the Podlings had been involved in plasticine modelling, painting, colouring and gluing. I finally threw them in the bath just before lunch to try and get them back to something resembling skin colour! They both had a slightly multi-coloured tinge to them all day!
Lily surrounded by some of her gifts

Tom enjoying his aeroplane painting kit, a gift from his Nanna and Grandad. When one Podling has a birthday, we give the other one a few small gifts to open so they don't feel left out.

The birthday girl at her tea party. She spent all day asking about her party, it's the highlight of her birthday. If forced to choose, I honestly think she'd take the tea party over the presents. The Podlings enjoyed blowing out the candles on her cake so much, we relit them and sang 'Happy Birthday' about four times!

The birthday cake. I made a Victoria sponge and sandwiched it together with seedless raspberry jam. Lily wanted a pink cake, so to decorate it I coloured some white chocolate and used white chocolate buttons and yellow jelly beans to make daisies.

Lily was thrilled to receive an international call from her Nanna, who is on holiday in Cyprus at the moment. She was highly entertained when Nanna sang 'Happy birthday' to her.

Happy 3rd Birthday Lily!

Lily at about a week old.
I don't know what happened to all that black hair!
Our little girl turns three years old today.
Happy Birthday Lily!

Lily, still clad in her pyjamas, opening presents first thing this morning.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Weekend away

Lily by Wastwater

We got home late last night after another lovely weekend break in the Lake District. We were blessed with good weather for the entire weekend and enjoyed many a lakeside picnic while we were away. I have lots of pictures to share, but I'm rather busy today getting ready for Lily's birthday tomorrow (I can't believe she is turning three already!) I hope to be able to post about our little holiday later this week. .

Monday, 18 May 2009

Eurovision 2009

Eurovision 2009, with Mark sporting his Alpine hat. The stuffed cow is Winnie the Kuh (Kuh is German for cow and is pronounced as in 'Pooh'). Mark bought him for me on the German leg of our honeymoon tour and he often presides at our Eurovision table.

Every year for the past eight years, Mark and I have enjoyed the cheese fest that is the Eurovision Song Contest with a cheese fest of our own. It has become our annual tradition to have our own little Eurovision party, the main point of which is to try to get foods to represent as many European countries as possible. Whilst enjoying our continental victuals, we amuse ourselves by writing our own comments about each of the performances. In 2003, Eurovision fell in the middle of our honeymoon tour of Europe, so we bought a load of continental foods and holed ourselves up in our Swiss hotel to watch the contest on BBC world.

This year we managed to have 12 countries represented in various cheeses, meats, breads, savoury biscuits and sweet treats. In Eurovision 2009, the UK was represented by a bottle of ginger beer...very Famous Five and, therefore, exceptionally English! Portugal got our vote this year with their extremely perky little tune and we were disappointed that they didn't do better. Podling No.3 obviously knows how to pick a winner though as he/she was very active during Norway's song, which then went on to achieve the highest score ever in Eurovision.

Our Eurovision 2003 party, which we enjoyed in Switzerland whilst on our honeymoon. The small dog I'm holding is Mini Mark, a gift from Mark to me when I was going to America for three weeks during my PhD. He goes with us whenever we are travelling and I suppose you could call him our unofficial family mascot.

As always we really enjoyed our evening, though it is continually disappointing to see the political block voting that goes on the Eastern and Baltic states. It was nice to see the UK doing so well this year, though I have to confess that Mark and I both disliked our song and found it rather dull! Ah well, if there's one thing that the Eurovision Song Contest proves year after year it's that there's no accounting for taste!

Friday, 15 May 2009

Man at work

Mark was working from home today. The Podlings came downstairs after quiet time to find Mark working in the play room. Tom wanted to play with the dress up box and obviously decided that Daddy needed in on the action. The end result amused me intensely!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Staying power

Tom has a tendency to lose interest quickly when we are doing craft projects, but I think I have finally discovered a craft activity in which Tom has more staying power than Lily. The Podlings were doing gluing at playgroup yesterday and Tom was mortified when he wasn't allowed to bring his project home (don't ask me why they weren't allowed them...maybe they have some grand plan for the pictures). I managed to discern that the project involved tissue paper, glue and clouds. At bedtime last night, I promised Tom we'd try and make our own tissue paper pictures today.
Tom decided he wanted to do a picture with lots of colours, so I drew a couple of rainbows with clouds for the Podlings to stick their tissue paper to. Neither of them followed the picture, so it ended up being more of a 'free art' activity, but they both enjoyed it. Lily started to get rather frustrated with the tissue paper sticking to her fingers and, to my surprise, called it a day before Tom. He sat there happily tearing tissue and gluing for a quite some time after Lily finished. Tom is much happier doing free art than he is doing structured crafts, but I was still surprised how long this activity kept him engrossed. It's certainly something we'll do again.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Our Anniversary

Mark gave me a bunch of roses and daisies (my favourite flowers) for our annivesary.

Mark and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary yesterday. At 3.00pm on May 10th 2003 I promised to love, honour and obey my husband and I've never found a promise so easy to keep. Life with Mark just gets better and better and I thank God that I am fortunate enough to be his wife. Our marriage has been blessed with three children (one yet to be born) who have brought so much joy and purpose to my life. I am also lucky enough to have married into a wonderful family and now have a fantastic mother and father-in-law and two lovely brothers-in-law to add to my own wonderful family. I truly feel blessed to be Mark's wife and look forward to what our future may bring.