Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Dance, baby, dance

My first attempt at uploading video to the blog shows Emma dancing to one of the tunes on her 'Pretty Please' tea pot. Every single time she hears this tune she starts bobbing up and down and waving her arms around in exuberant fashion. She has been dancing with gusto all day, but by the time I thought to video her doing it, the length of the dance had diminished. She was jigging to the whole tune earlier today.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Thirty three

Yesterday I celebrated my 33rd birthday, in honour of which I thought I would post 33 random facts about myself. So here you have, in no particular order, 33 things you never wanted to know about yours truly:

  1. My middle name is Margaret, after my mother (who was named after her mother, who was named after her mother...)
  2. I have a degree in Applied Chemistry and a PhD in Polymer Chemistry and yet...
  3. Being a wife, mother and homemaker is my dream job. It doesn't get any better than this!
  4. My PhD viva (oral exam) is the single most terrifying thing I have ever done in my life
  5. I still occasionally have nightmares about not having finished my thesis and being unprepared for my viva.
  6. I was Head Girl of my secondary school.
  7. I don't have a driving license.
  8. As a child, I lived in Malaysia for three years and Brunei for two.
  9. I can't handle flying insects in the house. I usually beat a hasty retreat if there is one in the room, even though they don't bother me when they are outside.
  10. I'm afraid of wasps.
  11. I am dreadfully old-fashioned
  12. I play the flute and the piano (though I am dreadfully out of practice)
  13. My ironing pile is my Nemesis. I never seem to reach the bottom of it, even though...
  14. I enjoy ironing!
  15. I can't resist chocolate. You can't beat Cadbury's Dairy Milk, but I also love Swiss chocolate (especially Lindt Lindor). I think Belgian chocolate is overrated.
  16. I like to collect china and glassware and have a thing for cake stands!
  17. I love flowers and florals.
  18. My favourite flowers are roses and daisies, preferably together.
  19. I love to do hand sewing and embroidery and have a thing for bullion knot roses. I'd put them on everything given half a chance!
  20. I love to read and, if you've read my profile, you'll know that I favour the classics.
  21. Joining the library has never saved me money. If I like a book I have borrowed then I have to buy my own copy. You can never have too many books!
  22. I hate clutter and can't handle disorganisation and chaos.
  23. I have three young children, so I'm learning to live with it!
  24. I'm afraid of heights.
  25. I love tea, except when I'm pregnant. I couldn't stand the stuff for the whole of my pregnancy with Emma and then drank two cups within an hour of having her.
  26. I love being pregnant.
  27. I could live quite happily without a television (but my husband couldn't!)
  28. I love the British countryside. England is indeed a green and pleasant land.
  29. I think the song of the blackbird is one of the most beautiful sounds on Earth.
  30. I love to travel and, thus far, have visited 17 countries over three continents. Germany is my favourite (after England of course!)
  31. Though I can understand a reasonable amount of German, I speak very little. This despite the fact that I excelled in German at school. Use it or lose it I suppose!
  32. I always have more energy when the sun in shining.
  33. I love my life and feel extremely blessed. God is good.


Wednesday, 21 April 2010

9 months old

Emma is now a very active nine month old. This basically means that it is getting quite difficult to get her to pose for her monthly photograph! This was the best of the bunch. In most of the others she is trying to eat the hairbrush I gave her in a vain attempt to stop her rolling away. In the others she is rolling away! She still can't crawl, but she can get around quite quickly now with her bizarre sequence of rolling, pushing and spinning. She also seems to have acquired the ability to move around whilst seated. I will sit her in one spot and find that she has somehow bottom-shuffled her way to a new location. In the last two days she has started trying to pull herself into a kneeling position...she'll be running about the place before I know it!

She is very much a Mummy's girl at the moment and gets very upset if I walk away or leave the room. She has also developed an unfortunate penchant for screaming loudly when she is bored or frustrated. She has always been a very vocal baby, but this particular means of communication is somewhat less endearing than the rest of her baby chatter. It is, in fact, quite annoying!

Emma is growing and developing at such a pace at the moment. It never ceases to amaze me how fast babies develop between six and twelve months. She is such a funny little character, with quite firm opinions. I think she is going to be quite strong willed! She is certainly quite determined not to let me get a decent night's sleep, bless her!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Sick note

Just checking in to let you know that normal blogging services will be resumed when everyone round here stops being ill! Tom was very ill last week with a high fever and vomiting, then Emma got a cold, then me. Lily started a temperature last night and now seems to be suffering from a milder dose of whatever made Tom so ill last week. Suffice to say, looking after poorly Podlings (night and day) whilst suffering from a cold myself hasn't left much time for blogging! Hopefully, things will return to normal round here again soon!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

More Easter photos...

We only planned to get Lily a little chocolate egg for Easter, but they didn't have much choice left by the time we went to Tesco on Saturday. She was understandably thrilled to be presented with such a vast quantity of chocolate! We opened the egg and just let her have at it! She never eats much chocolate in one sitting, so we still have plenty of egg left in the fridge. I have to confess I have sneaked the odd piece...does that make me a terrible mother?
Tom doesn't like chocolate. Quite how I produced a child that doesn't like chocolate is beyond me! Thankfully we were able to find a Haribo egg for him. The boy loves his jelly sweets.
Lily wanted me take a photo of her wearing her egg as a hat, so there you go Lily!
We gave Tom and Lily a craft pack each for Easter. They have spent many happy hours since colouring and sticking (and spreading poms poms and sequins all over my kitchen!)

Lily is never happier than when she has a pot of glue and some collage materials
Tom is really into colouring and crafting at the moment. This is something I have really seen an improvement in since he started school. I struggled to maintain his interest in a lot of craft activities when he was younger. Much as I would have loved to teach my children myself, I cannot deny the improvements Tom has made in his two terms at school. It is a very good school and he really seems to be thriving there.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Emma's first Easter

"What are these strange and colourful objects I see before me?"
"What exactly is one supposed to do with this thing?"

"Perhaps one eats it!"
At eight months old, Emma is obviously too young for an Easter egg. Not wanting her to miss out on all the Easter treats, I bought her a chocolate pudding and some chocolate baby biscuits (although it says '9 months onwards' on the packet, Emma is very good with finger foods). She went into raptures over the biscotti and now she smiles every time I give her one!

Easter victuals

Our Easter tea table. Please tell me I'm not the only woman in her thirties who uses paper doilies!
Would it surprise you to learn that we topped off our Easter Sunday celebrations with a special tea? Mark's mum and dad spent Easter Sunday with us, so I did a roast chicken with the usual trimmings for lunch. I made an apple and blackberry crumble for pudding and served it with custard. One shouldn't be fancying such things in April, but it has been so cold here lately that I'm still wanting winter fare!
Our Easter tea table included sandwiches (one lot of cheese, one of egg), Shrewsbury biscuits, fairy cakes, fruit and Easter nests (chocolate covered Shredded Wheat with Cadbury's mini eggs in the centre). As if we hadn't already consumed enough sugar!
Of course, I had to make fairy cakes! I bought the edible decorations at Hobbycraft...they were too cute to pass up!
I put egg cups filled with mini chocolate eggs around the table
Hastily iced Shrewsbury biscuits, cut into various Easter/spring shapes

Monday, 5 April 2010

Egg hunt

Easter Sunday started out wet and gloomy and I despaired of having an outdoor egg hunt for the Podlings. Although it was still very cold, I was thrilled when the sun came out at lunch time. Mark and I dashed out as soon as we had finished our meal and hid the eggs around the back garden whilst Mark's parents distracted the Podlings. We hid over 40 eggs and I worried that it might be too many for just the two of them to find. I needn't have concerned myself! Tom and Lily ran out the door with their Easter buckets and fairly flew around the garden hunting out the colourful plastic eggs. They had found the lot in under ten minutes. I guess we'll have to hide them a little better next year!
The haul.

Decorating eggs

Taking a chance by putting all our eggs in one basket!
On Saturday, the Podlings and I dyed and decorated some eggs to use for a colourful centrepiece for our Easter table. Using stickers instead of paints and pens allowed the Podlings to get creative and make beautiful eggs without creating a lot of mess. They had a lot of fun and clean up took no time at all. A win/win situation!
First, dye your eggs. We boiled ours for five minutes in a saucepan of water, vinegar and food colouring. For some reason our attempt at green eggs failed miserably, but our other colours turned out fine.
Allow the eggs to cool
Let the Podlings loose with sheets of stickers
Show off your masterpiece

The colour purple

It doesn't pay to get distracted!
Mark gave Emma her pudding today whilst I did some cleaning upstairs. Having eaten only half of her apple and blueberry dessert, Mark put the bowl well out of her reach on the dining room table while he quickly popped upstairs to ask me something. Unfortunately, Mark didn't take the Lily Factor into account. On coming back downstairs, Lily cheerfully called out "I'm feeding Emma!". I walked into the dining room to find that Lily had handed the half full bowl of purple pudding to Emma, who was having a ball smearing it all over herself and every available surface of her highchair. I removed her bib ready to throw the now purple baby in the bath and was rather amused to find a perfect bib shape on her babygro beneath...the only part of her that wasn't covered in pudding! Could this baby look any more pleased with herself!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Happy Easter!

"The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; he is risen, just as he said." - Matthew 28:5-6
Wishing everyone a very happy and blessed
Easter Sunday.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Good Friday

"So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross he went out to the place of the skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others - one on each side and Jesus in the middle."
John 19:17-19
The Podlings and I made a little centrepiece for our Good Friday table this evening. We made crosses out of lolly sticks and blue tack (nothing fancy!) and placed them in a bowl of sand. I explained to them how Jesus was crucified alongside two robbers. I'm not sure Tom entirely got the point of the story as he put a happy sticker on his cross! In front of the tallest cross I put a heart shaped stone that we found on the beach last year. I explained to Tom and Lily that this was to remind us that God loves us and that is why Jesus died for us. Children work well with visuals, so I'm hoping our little centrepiece might have helped them to understand what Good Friday is all about.