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Saturday, 29 May 2010

"Happy Birthday to you..."

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The heart party

Since Lily had been telling me she wanted a heart birthday party for the past six months, I had plenty of time to plan for it! The food included heart-shaped sandwiches, strawberries and raspberries (served in heart-shaped ramekins), heart fairy cakes, jelly, cocktail sausages, various children's party biscuits and some heart-shaped fruit treats I found in Tesco. To drink, we had pink lemonade, cooled with heart-shaped ice cubes. Mark was able to get home from work early so he could be there too. I could tell from Lily's face that I had got it right, though apparently there should also have been red balloons. Oh well!
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Tom and Lily enjoying the party.
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The heart-shaped fairy cakes turned out really well in the end.
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As requested by the birthday girl, the cake was strawberry, chocolate and cream. I was quite pleased with how it turned out and it tasted delicious!
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I made the jelly with the cake tin I used for our Valentine's cake
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Friday, 28 May 2010

The birthday girl

My beautiful four year old girl!
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Lily had a lovely day. I woke everyone early to make sure she had time to open her gifts before we took Tom to school. My late night was more than rewarded when, having seen her decorations and opened a couple of gifts, she gave me a big hug and said "Thank you for making my birthday lovely".
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We spent the morning playing with her new toys, doing her new puzzle and making lots of art. Her Nanna and Grandad arrived just after lunch, so they played with her while I decorated the cake, made sandwiches and got the table ready. They brought lots more gifts with them, including lots of new art supplies, so Lily (and Tom when he got home) had a great afternoon crafting. I was quite touched when Lily brought me a thank you card she had made, entirely without prompting. Such a sweet girl...I can't believe she's four!
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Opening gifts

Playing with her new tin tea set and wooden cake stand.
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Watching her paint turntable
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Playing with the Bindeez set sent by her Auntie Lainey and Uncle Gruff.
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The night before the birthday...

Lily doesn't have playgroup on Thursdays, so the day before her birthday she took some lollipops in to share with her friends. She came out of playgroup telling me that she had invited everyone to her party...good thing she doesn't know our address! The playgroup leaders made her a special birthday hat and she liked it so much she wanted to wear it to bed. She settled for letting me put it on one of her teddy bears on the bottom of her bed.

I have learnt from experience that when planning your children's birthdays it pays to get as much done as possible the night before. The day before would of course be better, but with three little ones it is hard to get things done when they are awake! After the Podlings went to bed I baked and decorated the fairy cakes, baked the cake, finished wrapping the last few gifts and decorated the dining room. My inner perfectionist also made me tidy and clean until I ran out of steam! All of which meant that I didn't get to bed until 2am! I do wish I could quell my perfectionism sometimes, but something about Christmas and birthdays makes me want everything just so. I know the Podlings couldn't give two hoots whether the skirting boards are clean the day they turn four, but clean them I must!
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Gifts wrapped...

...decorations up...
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...just waiting for the birthday girl.
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Thursday, 27 May 2010

Just for you Nanny and Grandad...

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A short video of Lily enjoying the gift my parents sent for her. It is a rather nifty painting turntable. You put your paper/card on the turntable, put on a few drops of paint and set it spinning. The resulting patterns are quite lovely and it was a big hit with the birthday girl.

Four today


Today we celebrated the fourth birthday of a very special little girl.
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Happy Birthday Lily!
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Tuesday, 25 May 2010

An impromptu picnic

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For some unknown reason, we found ourselves without power this afternoon. Something tripped the main fuse and I couldn't get the power back to the sockets in the house, even though we had lights (turns out I wasn't pushing the right button in the fuse box, but let's not dwell on that!). I got home from the school run with three hungry Podlings and no means of cooking the tea I had planned for them. Emma was getting fussy, Tom and Lily were starting to wind each other up and Tom was upset because he wanted to play on the laptop and there was no power.

It was all starting to descend into chaos when I suddenly knew how to turn the situation into something fun. I cobbled together a meal for Emma and then told Tom and Lily we were going to have tea in the front garden. I took a blanket, a basket of story books and a toy for Emma and we set up an impromptu picnic on the front lawn. Tom and Lily ate their picnic tea whilst I read them stories and Emma played happily on the blanket. We spent a happy hour together and only came in because Emma was getting tired and I had to get her ready for bed.

Mark came home a few minutes later, pushed the right button on the fuse box and life returned normal. If it hadn't been for the lack of electricity, the Podlings would have had a hot tea, but we would have missed out on something special. I'm not a naturally spontaneous person, but perhaps I should try it more often!
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Lily choosing a story book for Emma
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Monday, 24 May 2010

Where did the time go?

2006
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2010
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It seems like only yesterday that Tom was toddling into the sea holding onto his daddy's hand for support. They grow up so fast!
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Sunday, 23 May 2010

A trip to the beach

Emma was so happy at the beach and loved every minute of it.
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The weather has been glorious this week, so we took the opportunity to take our first visit to the beach this year. We packed up a picnic and headed to our favourite spot, Talacre Beach in North Wales. It was Emma's first time at the beach and she absolutely loved it. We bought a small two person tent to pitch on the beach so we could keep her out of the sun and all three Podlings had as much fun playing in that as they did on the beach! We had a really lovely afternoon and I came home feeling rather like I had been on holiday. It was quite a tonic!
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A rare shot of Tom sitting still. It is very hard to get pictures of him on the beach because he doesn't stop moving. He is quite the free spirit when he gets near the sea!
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Lily had a great time in the sea, though she alternated between calling it the river and the ocean.
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Emma is quite the water baby and loved playing with the waves.
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Love that little baby, even when giving her a kiss means a mouthful of sand!
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A wholegrain diet

Emma expanded her diet to include wholegrains during our beach trip...grains of sand! The first thing she did when she put her hand into the sand was to grab a handful and eat it. I thought that would put her off doing it again, but no! It turns out that Emma really likes to eat sand. We tried to keep her on the blanket and in the tent because every time she felt sand beneath her hands she grabbed another handful and shoved it in her mouth before we could stop her. When we put her in the sea, she would wait for the waves to go out and then take the opportunity to partake of some grainy goodness. Odd, odd baby! Still, for your viewing pleasure, I have included a video of Emma eating sand. Thankfully, she was none the worse for eating half of Talacre beach!
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Friday, 21 May 2010

10 months old

Emma is ten months old today, which I consider to be a milestone in that she has now been alive outside the womb longer than she was alive in it. I don't know why I consider that significant, but I do!
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Emma's development continues apace. In the last month, she has started to pull herself into a standing position and has finally worked out how to crawl 'properly'. She was getting around pretty fast anyway, but now she has mastered the traditional baby crawl, there really is no stopping her! All her frustration has vanished now that she can get around and you hardly know you've got her half the time as she spends so much time contentedly exploring the house. She hasn't mastered the stairs yet, so she currently has free reign of the main part of the house. I occasionally have to stop her from pulling my books off shelves, but she is quite happy to move on to something else. Something that has surprised me with Emma is how quickly she has learned 'No'. If I see her starting to pull books off the shelf, I simply have to say 'Emma, no." and she will generally look at me and stop. Let's hope that means she will be a compliant child (I'm not holding my breath!).
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Emma is still quite a dinky baby. The dress she is wearing in these pictures is size 3-6 months. Though she generally wears 6-9 months in most things, they all have plenty of growing room. Gotta love the little ones!
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Emma loves finger foods now and likes nothing better than having a selection of goodies placed in front of her to pick at. She still isn't over keen on lumps in her food, but will tuck into toast, cheerios, cooked veg, rice cakes and other baby snacks.
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She remains a very vocal baby. There is a lot of baby talk and babbling and she makes various consonant sounds with no particular meaning attached, with one exception. If I walk away from her and she doesn't want me to leave her, she will put up her arms and call 'Ma Ma' in a plaintive little voice. Gets me every time! Given that Tom was two before I heard him call me 'Mummy', I'm rather pleased that Emma's first attempt at a word is my name!
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I continue to delight in this darling little girl. She really brightens my day with her smiles and I love her infectious little laugh. Now that the warmer weather is here and she is in her summer dresses, I am particularly enjoying her chubby little baby arms and legs! Love that little girl of mine!
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Thursday, 20 May 2010

Party planning

Lily will be turning four next week. Ever since Tom's sunshine party last October, Lily has been quite adamant that she wants a "heart party and a strawberry birthday cake". Since it is only a family affair this year I'm not going over the top, but I am having a lot of fun putting together a little heart-themed birthday for her.
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With Lily's theme in mind, I decided to treat myself to a couple of 8 inch heart-shaped cake tins. With two daughters (not to mention Valentine's Day) I figured I will get a fair amount of use out of them. I really wanted the 10 inch tin, but it wasn't available when I came to order it and I wanted to make sure I had it in time for next week. I've already started making the party decorations and I am really hoping to be able to pick up some wrapping paper with hearts on. I'm particularly excited about using my heart-shaped silicone bun cases to make the fairy cakes. I picked them up around Valentine's Day, knowing that they would come in handy for Lily's birthday. I've not used them yet though and my previous experiences of using silicone bakeware have not been great. We may end up with traditional fairy cakes yet, but at least the birthday cake will be in the shape of a heart!
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Monday, 17 May 2010

Reassurance

Lily: When I grow up I'm going to be a mermaid.
Me: Oh, lovely! Will you live in the sea?
Lily: Yes. [Pauses] Will you still be my mummy?
Me: Of course. I will always be your mummy.
Lily: Forever?
Me: Forever.
Lily: Good. [She smiles and bounces off]
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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Standing room only

Emma gets a real kick out of standing up now. She can't pull herself up onto the furniture yet, but she is working really hard at it. She pulls herself onto her knees and then looks like she doesn't really know what happens next. She therefore requires other people to help her go that extra mile. As far as she is concerned, my main purpose in her life at the moment is to help her stand up. She will put her arms out like she wants a cuddle (and who can resist that!), but when you get to her she grabs hold of your forearms. With very little assistance she's on her feet looking very pleased with herself. Emma is a very determined little lady, so I daresay it won't be long before she'll be doing it by herself.
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Monday, 10 May 2010

Seven wonderful years!

Seven years ago today I married my best friend.
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Happy Anniversary Mark, I love you!
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(Apologies for the picture quality. We don't have digital pictures of our wedding, and as my scanner isn't working at the moment, the picture is a photo of a photo.)
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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

A random picture...

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...just to let you know that I'm still here! I seem to be rather slack at updating the blog this month, but rest assured all is well and we are bumbling merrily along. Tom and Lily are healthy and happy and although Emma has a cold, it doesn't seem to be bothering her unduly. I've been tweaking my housekeeping routine and spending my birthday money on eBay, but other than that life is much as usual. I will try not to leave it another week before updating again, especially as Emma has been mastering new skills at a rate of knots this week. So much to do, so little time...
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