Sunday, 30 August 2009

Picnic in the rain

Running to the gazebo in the rain
The rain once again threatened our plans for a picnic this afternoon. It wasn't raining very heavily, but enough to make a picnic in the countryside an unpleasant prospect. Rather than cancel our plans, we relocated the picnic to the Podlings' gazebo in the back garden. We packed up the hamper with goodies and made a quick dash across the garden to the shelter of gazebo. We zipped up the door and enjoyed our outdoor picnic while the rain pattered gently on the roof. We had a lovely time and, when the rain got heavier, we didn't have far to go home!
The picnic
The girls

The boys

Windows of the soul

“I have looked into your eyes with my eyes. I have put my heart near your heart.” ~ Pope John XXIII
Lily has the most beautifully expressive eyes. They are such a dark brown they are almost black and are framed with long, dark lashes. She'll melt a few hearts with those orbs when she's older.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Baby love

I adore this little girl. I just can't get enough of her!

The secret garden

After leaving our favourite library this afternoon, we realised that Emma's next feed was imminent. We only had twenty five minutes left on our parking ticket, so we didn't really have time to head to a cafe. Mark suddenly spotted a beautiful public garden just down the road that we have never previously noticed, despite regular trips to the library. We sat down on a shaded bench and Mark read some of our new library books to Tom and Lily whilst they munched on apples and I fed Emma. The flower beds in the garden were stunning and I can't believe we've never noticed it before. I would have loved to have conducted a Podling photo shoot, but we had to rush back to the car to avoid a parking ticket. I managed to snap a couple of pictures though, including this fabulous one of Lily:

I asked her to stand in front of the flowers and smile and this cheesy grin is what she delivered. She loves to have her picture taken and is quite the little poser!
I'm hoping to be able to go back to the garden again while the flowers are still in bloom and take some more photos. You can never have enough pictures of your children. They grow so quickly and I want to record every precious moment of their childhood.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

A bramble ramble

The Podlings and I took advantage of the dry weather today and went blackberry picking. There are several bramble patches in the hedgerows near our house, so we don't have far to go to gather our harvest. It is still early in the season, so there weren't that many ripe berries today. However, we managed to pick enough for Tom to come home with a purple mouth and still have enough berries left for our tea. I made an apple and blackberry crumble when we got home, which we ate hot with custard for pudding. Heavenly!
Given the number of unripe berries on the bushes, we should have a bumper crop of blackberries later in the season. Last year, no one else in the area seemed to be picking them, so we only have the birds for competition. I see homemade blackberry jam in my future!
Tom loves to pick blackberries and knows exactly which ones to pick and which to leave on the bush.

"Emma, we picking blackberries"
Lily explains the purpose of our excursion to her baby sister

Tom and Lily seem to eat as many berries as they put in the basket and generally snack on them all the way home too. It's a wonder I ever have any left to cook with!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Bless this mess

The two-person demolition crew that is Tom and Lily were on top form today. We started the day with a tidy playroom and this is the scene shortly after lunch. Pretty impressive, even by their standards!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Enjoying the great indoors

Enjoying their picnic in the conservatory.

We had planned to drive out to Tittesworth Reservoir (near Leek) this afternoon for a picnic in the park, but a last minute change in the weather forced us to alter our plans. Tom and Lily had their hearts set on a picnic, but the rain seemed set to make that a less than enjoyable experience. We had everything ready, so we put some blankets down in the conservatory and laid all the food out. The Podlings seemed quite happy with their indoor picnic followed by a game of hide and seek with Daddy. One has to learn to adapt when living at the mercy of the British climate!

Friday, 21 August 2009

One month old

Emma at one month old
The littlest Podling is one month old today and I'm left wondering where the time has gone. She now weighs 8lbs 1oz and is fitting her newborn size clothes quite nicely. She sleeps very well at night and I generally only have one night feed, so I'm not as tired as I expected to be with a baby in the house.
Emma is a very happy little soul. She gave me her first proper smile at only two and a half weeks old and she makes a delightful little cooing noise when she is content. She still has quite firm opinions about being undressed though and loathes her baths with a passion that is a wonder to behold.
She is such a darling little girl and is much loved by all of us. I just can't believe she is already a month old. Babies grow up much too quickly!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

A trip to the gym

Emma is increasingly alert during her daytime awake periods, so today I pulled out our baby play gym to see if it made any impression on her. She seemed to take to it straightaway and lay there happily cooing at the colourful toys hanging above her. I'm well aware she can't fully focus yet, but the change of scenery seemed to entertain her. Tom and Lily were also rather taken with the play gym and they were quick to lie down and take a turn when Emma was no longer on it.


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Farewell Nancy!

After nearly two years of being off the road, we finally got rid of our old Peugeot 106 this afternoon. It has been parked, immobile, on our driveway for almost the whole time we have lived here and the Podlings have enjoyed having it as a play car. They loved to pretend to drive it and just recently it has been their ice cream van, with Tom and Lily selling imaginary ice creams through its open windows to anyone willing to be a customer. Today, however, saw us finally waving a fond farewell to Nancy (so named because of the number plate, which ended NCY). We all enjoyed watching the tonne of metal being effortlessly lifted onto the back of the truck, though Mark and I had a slightly worrying time when we thought it was going to take out our garden wall! We told Tom and Lily that the car was going to be recycled, which Tom has taken a little too literally. He seems to be under the impression that a new green car will be showing up soon. If only it were that easy to get a new car!

We loved watching the car being lifted off the ground, though Emma was relatively unimpressed and slept through the whole thing. Tom looks as though he has a three o'clock shadow in this photo. I don't know how he always manages to get so dirty when he plays outside. The boy is a muck magnet!

Tom and Lily were thrilled by the whole thing, though I think they will miss their play car.


Monday, 17 August 2009

Sugar and Spice

My Aunt and Uncle (the Podlings' Great Auntie Diane and Uncle Dave) sent us this gorgeous little outfit for Emma. She looks so adorable in the dress, hat and matching knickers. Lily likes the dress so much she wants Emma to wear it all the time. She took it out of the dirty laundry pile this morning and told me that Emma wanted to wear it again. In addition to the dress set, Auntie Diane also knitted Emma a beautiful matinee jacket (pictures to follow) using the pattern that my Nan used to use to make matinee jackets for all of us when we were babies. It is really lovely and I am so touched that she took the time to make it for my littlest Podling.

A visit from Nanny and Grandad

My parents went home yesterday having spent nearly a week with us. It was so lovely to see them and I certainly appreciated the extra help! Tom and Lily enjoyed blackberry picking and frequent trips to the park with my dad and Emma enjoyed sleeping on my mum...a lot! We're thinking of renaming her Nanny Nod as it seemed as though Emma was completely incapable of staying awake in her arms! We really enjoyed their visit and hope it won't be too long before we see them again.
Off to the park with Grandad and my parents' Yorkie, Molly
My mum became Emma's favourite place to nap during her visit!
On Saturday, we took the Podlings to a nearby ball pool for fun and frolics and afterwards my parents took us out for a lovely meal.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Thursday, 13 August 2009

All aboard the Nappy Train

Mark's brother Greg and his lovely girlfriend Kelly visited us on Sunday to meet Emma for the first time. They brought us a gift that was so delightful I had to take pictures of it before I could use it. It is a train made up entirely of things you can use for your baby. The engine and the three carriages are made up of disposable nappies and the wheels are made of muslins and facecloths. The carriages are filled with tiny clothes, baby toiletries, a dummy and a bottle. I have never seen anything quite like it before and I think it is fantastic. It seems such a shame to break it up!
My brother-in-law Greg and his girlfriend Kelly meeting Emma

Saturday, 8 August 2009

There were three in the bed...

I popped Emma down on the bed this morning while we were getting ready and she dozed off. Tom and Lily were upstairs with me, so it seemed like a good opportunity for an impromptu photo shoot. It's much easier to get decent photos of three children if one of them is asleep!

Tom and Lily announced they were going to sleep like Emma, said 'Goodnight!' and pretended to go to sleep. I wish it were that easy at bedtime!

To sleep, perchance to dream

Sadly, only one of them is really asleep.

Oh for the days of the midday nap!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Have pram, will travel

I think Emma brought the rain with her as it seems to have been raining constantly since the day she was born. We have now had two dry days in a row however, so this afternoon I popped Emma in the pram, packed a bag of snacks and ventured out for our first trip to the park together. Tom and Lily were thrilled to get out in the fresh air and had a lovely time and Emma was very obliging and remained in a good humour the whole time we were there. She stayed awake and just stared about her, taking in her surroundings and the apparently rather fascinating design on the pram cover. The Podlings love the park and it was good to get out, so I'm hoping for some more good weather so we can go again soon. Hoping, but not expecting...what is it with the weather this year!

"How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!"
from 'The Swing' by Robert Louis Stevenson
Emma in her pram, just taking it all in

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

So far so good

Today was my first day on my own with three Podlings and it went pretty well. It helped that Emma slept for six solid hours last night and had to be woken for a feed at 6am, so I was reasonably well rested. Because we still haven't managed to get Tom and Lily back to their normal bedtime, they are currently sleeping late in the morning. I therefore had time to get up, drink a cup of coffee and get dressed before any of the Podlings woke this morning. I'm always in a better frame of mind if I can manage this. I had a good hour with Tom and Lily before Emma woke and the morning went pretty smoothly. Thankfully it was a dry day, so the the older Podlings were able to play outside.

I had my final midwives appointment this morning and have now been officially discharged. Emma now weighs 7lbs 8oz, so no worries there! My midwife suggested that if I have another baby, I should plan to have it at home and not even think about trying to make it to a hospital!

Mark's mum and dad came for a visit this afternoon (so technically I guess this wasn't my first day on my own) and brought a fabulous fish pie for tea. We have been so blessed by Mark's mum, who filled our freezer with casseroles, curries and sauces before Emma was born. We haven't had to cook a meal in a fortnight, which has been a huge blessing. It is so nice to be able to enjoy good home cooking at a time when our energy levels are at an all time low!

All three Podlings are now tucked up in their beds and I feel like the day went quite well. We'll be heading to bed after Emma's next feed and I'm hoping for another six hour stretch of sleep (a girl can dream can't she!). Hopefully the next couple of days on my own will go smoothly and then I have a week long visit from my parents to look forward to.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Victor/ Victoria

We didn't know Emma's gender before she was born, so whenever the Podling's expressed a preference we told them that the baby could be a boy or a girl and we wouldn't know which until it was born. Tom told us he wanted a brother and Lily was adamant she wanted a girl, but they would both tell anyone who asked that the baby could be a boy or a girl. Shortly after Emma was born, I peeked under the towel the baby was wrapped in and discovered a little girl. Tom immediately responded to this piece of information with "Can I have a boy next time?".

Lily was obviously pleased to get a little girl, but seems a little confused as to where the boy comes into it. Her first response on learning that the baby was a girl was to ask "when is the boy baby coming?". She seems to have been expecting one of each. Having established that there is only one baby, she now seems a little unsure of the permanency of Emma's gender. Since about two days after Emma's birth, Lily has asked almost daily "Is Emma a boy today?". We keep explaining that Emma will always be a little girl, but the question keeps coming nonetheless. I tend to dress my newborns in white towelling babygros, but I think we'll have to start putting Emma in frilly dresses and hair bows to avoid further confusion!