Friday, 31 July 2009

Pea Podlings

I love this card that my sister and brother-in-law sent to congratulate us on Emma's birth. In case you've ever wondered why we call our children 'The Podlings', you can read my first blog post here.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

The Great British Summer

Emma obliged me by sleeping in a little this morning, so Mark got up with Tom and Lily and took them downstairs so I could rest. Since the Met Office has officially cancelled summer, it came as no surprise to hear that there had been a hail shower while I was sleeping. What was more amusing was to be met on the stairs by Lily in the above outfit. Apparently, she saw the hail and decided she wanted to go out and play. Her outfit was entirely of her own choosing and, rather sensibly, she asked to wear her hat, coat, scarf and boots. I particularly love the combination of snow coat and sundress! A strangely appropriate outfit for enjoying the great British summer!

Little mother

For her third birthday, Lily received a Baby Annabel doll from her Uncle Greg and Auntie Kelly. Since the arrival of her little sister, Lily has renamed the doll the Baby Emma and loves to play at being a mummy. It can be a useful diversion sometimes as Lily loves to help out with Emma and there are just some things she can't do. We've had a few tears as Lily really loves Emma and wants to do everything for her. When this happens we suggest that she does the same thing with her doll that I am doing for Emma and very often this is enough to pacify her. The Podlings' interest in Emma keeps me ever vigilant, but I am so glad that they love her and don't seem jealous.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

One week old

Emma at 1 week
I find it hard to believe that a week has passed since Emma's birth, but sure enough my littlest Podling turned one week old yesterday. We are slowly adjusting to life as a family of five and it helps that, so far at least, Emma is a very good natured baby. As you can imagine, I have taken many, many photographs this week, so I thought I'd share a handful of my favourites. After all, who doesn't love seeing pictures of tiny babies!
Unfortunately, this photo is a little blurry, but I love the expression on Tom's face

My girls


. The littlest Podling. She's a darling!


Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Good catchmanship!

Mark coined the rather excellent phrase 'good catchmanship' to describe any fine example of catching in sport. I'd say he demonstrated excellent catchmanship at Emma's birth last week. Thank you Mark, I'm so glad you were there!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Emma's birth story

I had been having mild contractions late in the evening for several days before Tuesday, but they always went away when I went to bed. I could tell my body was getting ready for labour, though I didn’t realise quite how ready it was until the day of Emma’s birth.

Over the course of Tuesday morning, I had enough random mild contractions to make me realise something might happen today. I rang Mark to ask him to come home from work and to get my mother-in-law round to look after the Podlings. Both of them needed to travel for over an hour to get here and my midwife had warned me not to hang about getting to hospital once my contractions were regularly five minutes apart.

Once Mark and my mum-in-law arrived, I relaxed. I was still having very mild contractions, but they were very irregular and far apart. I was getting worried I’d wasted everyone’s time by dragging them over and that it would all just come to nothing. Things changed rather rapidly at about half past three. I suddenly had three slightly stronger contractions that were five minutes apart. I rang my mum to let her know that we would probably be heading to hospital later and whilst on the phone to her my waters broke in rather dramatic fashion. I hung up the phone and Mark called the labour ward to let them know we were on our way in.

I was, not to put too fine a point on it, a trifle damp following the rupture of my membranes, so headed to the kitchen to get changed. I didn’t make it any further. The contractions had suddenly upped their intensity quite spectacularly. I managed, with help, to get my trousers on and then had two incredibly strong contractions right after the other. I suddenly thought that there was no way I was going to make the 15 minute journey to the hospital. Then I realised I couldn’t even walk to the car, I just couldn’t move. Then…I needed to push. Somebody called an ambulance, but there just wasn’t time. I could feel the baby coming. Mark and my mother-in-law just managed to get my clothes off as Emma made her way into the world. Mark caught her as she was born, with me, still standing in the kitchen, supported by my mother-in-law. Ten minutes after my waters had broken, my baby had been delivered in our kitchen by her Daddy…it was a bit of a shock!

Mark and mum wrapped the baby in a towel and sat me down in a chair. At this point, my midwife and an ambulance man burst in the front door, a mere five minutes after we called them, but too late!

Things calmed right down after the birth. They helped me into the playroom, where Mark cut the cord and the midwife checked me and Emma over. Everything was pronounced fine, so we didn’t have to go to the hospital at all. Despite the speed of the birth, I didn’t even need stitches.

Before long, I was sat up in the playroom, nursing my baby and drinking tea. It was wonderful being at home straight after the birth and I can certainly see how a planned home birth might be a wonderful experience. My one regret was that due to the speed of the birth, there was no chance to get the Podlings out of the way and they saw the whole thing. Tom seems to have taken the whole thing in his stride, but it was rather more distressing for Lily. I would never have chosen to have the children present, especially at such a young age. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to have affected their love for Emma as they both think she is wonderful.

Despite its intensity, it was a really positive birth experience and the fact that Emma was delivered by Mark makes it extra special. He was so calm and took it all in his stride. I am so proud of him! Just when you think you couldn’t possibly love anyone more than you already do…! Honestly, words aren’t sufficient.

I would like to end this (rather long!) post by saying a special thank you to both my wonderful husband and my much-loved mother-in-law for their support during the birth and afterwards. I couldn’t have done it without you!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009


Emma Mary Charlotte
6 lbs 15 1/2 oz, 49 cms
Born on the 21st of July at 4.05pm

Welcome to the family little one

Monday, 20 July 2009

Patriotic in the park

We actually had some sunshine today for the first time in about a week. Since Podling No.3 still isn't showing any immediate signs of emerging, the Podlings and I spent the whole afternoon in the park enjoying the good weather. For some reason, they decided to take flags with them today and had a lot of fun running with them in the summer breeze and holding them aloft as they slid down the slides. Much as I'd like the baby to show up soon, I'm enjoying these last few days with Tom and Lily before we welcome the sleepless nights, nappy changing and endless feeding that inevitably accompanies a newborn. I daresay life with two children will seem like a walk in the park compared to life with three under five!

Friday, 17 July 2009

The Good Ship Lilypop

What better way to while away the time between tea time and bed time than to don your Daddy's hat and set sail across the kitchen in the ironing basket.
It's important to be properly dressed when embarking on a sea-going adventure. She's even wearing her sailor dress, though it's slightly the worse for having had much of her tea spilt over it.

Playgroup Leaver's Concert

I didn't get many decent photos unfortunately. This picture was taken at the end of the concert when the Podlings were getting a bit bored with being on stage. I think they enjoyed it more than this photo seems to imply!
Mark and I went to see the Podlings in their leaver's concert this morning. I was so glad Mark was able to come as he was out of the country and had to miss their Nativity play at Christmas. It was a sweet little concert, with the children having learned 18 songs to perform. Quite impressive for a group of three and four year olds. The Podlings didn't join in all the songs, but I saw them both singing and doing the actions at some point during the concert. I was pleased to see Tom taking part as he had told me this morning that he wasn't going to join in! When Lily wasn't singing, she was generally dancing along to the music. I love seeing my babies in these events!
At the end of the concert, they had a little presentation for all the children who were leaving for 'big school'. Tom's new reception teacher presented him with a little book from the playgroup and he is thrilled with it. I had worried that Lily would get upset that Tom had something she didn't, but it doesn't seem to have caused any problems.
Thus endeth the Podlings first 'school' year. September will see Tom starting primary school full time and Lily returning to playgroup on her own, this time for two mornings a week. For the first time in their short lives they will be doing things separately, so it will be a big change for both of them. I hope they both adapt well to their new situations.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Last day of playgroup

The Podlings only go to playgroup one morning a week, so today is their last day. They are having their leavers concert on Friday, but this morning marks their last normal session before the holidays. For Tom, this means his last ever session at playgroup as he will be starting school in September. To mark the occasion, I snapped a few pictures of the Podlings before we left this morning. We were running a bit late, so I didn't have a lot of time to devote to capturing the perfect photo, but here they are...Tom and Lily having completed one full year of playgroup. Where does the time go?

No more playgroup for Tom.
I can't believe my little boy is off to school in September!

Lily has grown up so much since she started playgroup last year.

Walking up the lane to playgroup

An apple for teacher

This week marks the end of the school year. I wanted to send a little gift to Tom and Lily's playgroup leaders to thank them for all their work over the past year, so I put together a simple little gift basket for the Podlings to give to them this morning.
There are four leaders in the group, so I made up four bags of toffees and tied them up with ribbon. I then made a thank you card with an apple motif to attach to each bag. The back of each card has a picture of Tom and Lily and the words, "Thank you for all your hard work over the past year. Love from Tom and Lily P-". I lined a basket with pink shredded tissue paper and placed the bags inside and to finish the whole thing off, I put in four shiny green apples. An apple for each teacher. I hope this simple little gift will let them know how much their efforts are appreciated.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Time for something sweet

This plate of cupcakes was supposed to be a trip to the park, but an unforeseen change in the weather put a stop to any outdoor play this afternoon. Lily decided she wanted to do some baking and since I had a hankering for something sweet I was happy to oblige. We made some chocolate chip fairy cakes and, since I was in the mood for something that looked as sweet as it tasted, I iced them with pink vanilla buttercream and sugar sprinkles. Delicious!

The Podlings have quite different approaches to eating cupcakes. I always have to leave some undecorated as Tom doesn't like icing. Lily, on the other hand, isn't remotely interested in the cake except as a convenient means of transporting the icing. In typical three year old fashion, she licks the buttercream off the top and leaves the cake untouched. As for me, I have yet to meet a cupcake I didn't like!

Sunday, 12 July 2009


We woke this morning to hear Lily crying in her room. Mark went and fetched her and when we asked her what was wrong, she tearfully explained that she had hurt her hand on her pillow. To illustrate the point she showed me her hand and sure enough, there was a little purplish red mark on her palm. A mark I instantly recognised. "Lily," I explained patiently, "that's pen. You were drawing at suppertime last night". "Oh!" she exclaimed surprised, "Is it?!".

Saturday, 11 July 2009

40 weeks pregnant

Yes, I'm still pregnant!
Even my maternity clothes are too tight now!

Friday, 10 July 2009

The Waiting Game

Walking hand in hand to the park this morning

Today is my official due date, but instead of spending it holding my third child I have spent it enjoying the two I already have and getting a few cleaning jobs done around the house. This morning we walked up to Tom's school to drop off some forms and to pick up his new uniform (it's the smallest size they do and it will still be much too big for him!). I needed to do this anyway, but I have to confess that I had hoped a walk might kick things off. It wasn't to be, ah well! Lily had to be induced at two weeks past her due date, so to be honest I wasn't expecting this little one to show up on time. Hoping, but not expecting!
On the way back from our walk we stopped off at the park. It's been raining all week, so it was the first chance the Podlings have had to play outside for a while. We had a lovely time in the sunshine and they got to burn off some the energy they have been building up from being cooped up all week.
I enjoy being pregnant, so waiting for the baby to arrive isn't that bad. I've been very comfortable during this pregnancy and, other than tiredness and a bit of backache, I'm not suffering for being 40 weeks pregnant. Having said that, everything is now ready for the baby, the house is quite clean and organised and I am really keen to meet my newest little one. However, I know that the baby will show up when he/she is good and ready, so it's just a matter of playing the waiting game now.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

P is for Podling

With Podling No.3 being a July baby, it is quite likely that he/she will spend a lot of time wearing nothing but a vest in the hotter weather. I thought it would be nice to have a few 'dressier' vests for the baby to wear on those days, so I hand embroidered a few newborn vests this evening. As we don't know the gender of our baby, I chose a simple monogram in colours that both a boy or a girl could wear. P is the first letter of our last name, but it amuses me to think it can also be P for Podling. I will probably embroider a few more of these if the baby doesn't show up first.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

By any other name

I love to use homemade objects when decorating the Podling's bedrooms. It keeps the cost of decorating low, shows them I love them and teaches them that we can make things ourselves and don't have to buy everything in shops. Last night I made these name plaques to hang above the children's beds. Unfortunately, they didn't photograph very well because of the glass-fronted frames, but they have turned out really nicely. I simply printed their names onto coloured cardstock and glued them to some attractive scrapbook paper. I added a few embellishments, put them in frames and they were finished. Simple, cheap and attractive.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Cool shades

I've been promising to buy the Podlings sunglasses for some time now, so when we were in Tesco today we sought out the children's accessories and Tom chose some sunglasses for himself and Lily. We had barely left the store before both Podlings were sporting their new shades. Lily drew laughter from several passersby as she kept putting hers on upside down and wearing them halfway down her nose.
They are both deeply enamoured of their new eyewear and both insisted on wearing their cool shades to bed tonight...

Lily cool, tucked up and ready for bed
Tom wearing his sunglasses at prayer time. Yes, I really am that big!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Feeling the heat

It's pretty hot here at the moment and it really isn't much fun being nine months pregnant in this heat. The house was really stifling, so we were trying to keep cool in the garden this afternoon in the children's paddling pool (or Podling Pool, if you will!). The three of us got into our swimming costumes and Lily cooled us all down by spraying us with water from the hose. We had a pleasant hour and a half of water play in glorious sunshine and then, showing once again that you can't rely on the British weather for anything, the heavens opened and we had a thunderstorm. I actually found it quite refreshing as I stood in the rain in my swimming costume and quickly picked in the dry washing I had hung on the line just two hours previously. Within the hour, we were back to glorious sunshine again. The only predictable thing about the British weather is its unpredictability!


Love that girl of mine!