Saturday, 30 October 2010

Shorts weather

I asked Lily to stand in the leaves so I could take her picture and she struck this pose. I have absolutely no idea where she learned to stand like that...she is such a poser! 

The gales we had the night before last left the trees in our garden bare of leaves and our lawn covered in them, so Mark decided to go out and rake them up this afternoon. Lily wanted to help, but was adamant that she wanted to wear shorts. It was a fairly mild autumn day, but it certainly wasn't shorts weather, so Mummy had to get creative. I persuaded Lily to put a pair of tights on underneath her shorts and she surprisingly thought it was a great idea and complied. She is getting quite particular about what she will and won't wear these days and I'm all for saving my battles for the things that matter!
 Lily had a lot of fun playing in the leaves before she helped her daddy rake them up.
When Emma woke from her nap she wanted to join in too. After watching Mark with the rake for a while, she wandered off and found the toy rake before sitting in the pile of leaves and 'helping'.

Fun in the South

Playing football 

Our friend Fiona and her family were also at the wedding on Saturday and we spent the Sunday with them before we went our separate ways. We met for breakfast (which was quite easy since we were all staying in the same hotel) and then drove out to Lightwater Country Park near Guildford. The children had a lovely time playing together while Fiona's one year old daughter Sophie chilled out in her pushchair. The children ran around and played with the ball for a while and then we took them to the playground for a spell.

After our visit to Lightwater, we made the mistake of going to Starbucks for lunch. Don't get me wrong, the food and coffee were lovely, but that place is expensive! After lunch we set off home, us to Staffordshire and Fiona and family to Wales. Emma and Lily were so worn out from the weekend that they slept almost the whole way home, which meant we could do the whole journey without stopping. We had a really lovely weekend and it was nice to catch up with everyone again.

 Emma, who now insists on going everywhere under her own steam.
 Simon adores Lily and seems to want to be with her all the time. Lily even had to walk Simon back to his hotel room on Saturday night because he didn't want to leave her (thankfully it was only a few rooms down from ours!). So sweet!
 Tom in typical pose, biting the head off a Lego man. Yes, he was playing Lego in the park. Is he Lego-obsessed...possibly!
Fiona, Lily, Simon and Tom

Thursday, 28 October 2010

The bride wore blue

Last Saturday we had the pleasure of attending the wedding of two friends of ours from our postgraduate days. Les and Susan finally tied the knot after thirteen years together and we were honoured to have been invited to share in their special day. Mark lodged in Les's house during the latter part of his PhD and both Les and Susan always made me feel at home when I visited him there. Susan became a good friend to me and our weekly lunch dates probably kept me sane during the final three months of my PhD.

They met at a science fiction convention are both sci-fi afficionados, so it came as no surprise that the wedding was themed with this in mind. Susan walked down the aisle to the theme music from Deep Space 9 and looked stunning in a blue wedding dress. The wedding was beautiful because it was so very personal to them. Stars were the ongoing theme of the decor, with the wedding party sporting blue stars for buttonholes and even the favours containing star-shaped chocolates. Tom was especially fond of the blue and silver star confetti that was scattered on the tables. He spent most of the evening on his hands and knees collecting stars that had fallen on the dance floor.

The Podlings behaved beautifully and Mark and I were really proud of them. Several people came up and told us how well behaved they thought they were and most of them were rather taken with Emma's groovy moves on the dance floor. I was especially proud of Lily who behaved impeccably during the ceremony. Emma was being very fussy and I had to take her out of the room. A kindly usher offered to watch Lily as Mark and Tom were seated on the opposite side of the room. After the ceremony was over, the usher told me that Lily was the best behaved child she had seen in a long time and that we should be very proud. At least Lily knows how to behave when in matters!

 Tom tucking into the sweets from the generous bag of treats and toys the bride and groom left for each of the children at the wedding.

The whole family had a lovely time at Les and Susan's wedding and it was lovely to see them again. We enjoyed spending time with some other friends we knew at the wedding and Mark and I were especially pleased to see Susan's parents again after many years. They are two of the nicest people you could ever meet and since I know they read my blog, I will take the opportunity to say 'Hello' to Ann and Dennis and to wish them both well.

Les and Susan have a shared web album with some of their wedding pictures and if they say it is okay I will put a link to it in this post. I just want to make sure they don't mind first. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Mind the gap

Tom showing off his new gap (and his new Spiderman pyjamas).
Tom had his first visit from the tooth fairy last night. He lost his first tooth as he was heading up to bed after his birthday party. The tooth fairy was especially generous and left two pound coins in exchange for his tooth. I daresay she left him a little something extra because he lost his tooth on his birthday, which is extra special. Coincidentally, two pounds will buy him one of the little Lego mini figures that he loves to collect. Lucky boy!.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Tom's Lego Party

Tom preparing to blow out the candles on his cake.
Tom has been quite adamant that he wanted a Lego-themed birthday party for some while. This is hardly surprising given his obsession with all things Lego! We invited Tom's two best friends to tea after school and they had a great time playing together before we all sat down to enjoy Tom's Lego-themed birthday tea. I think everyone had a lovely time and everyone went home in one piece, so I shall rate it a success. Tom certainly went to bed one happy little boy, which is what it is all about!
 The sideboard, complete with Lego models and party blowers.
 I used the Lego man cookie cutter I bought at Legoland to make these gingerbread men. I iced them with ready coloured sugarpaste and then drew on the faces.

 Tom's Lego cake.
I made a sponge in a 9 inch square cake tin, halved it and sandwiched the two halves in the usual manner. I cut 8 marshmallows in half and put them on top of the cake. I used ready coloured icing in two colours to give the impression of two Lego bricks joined together. I wish the seam between the two 'blocks' were a little neater, but other than that I am quite pleased with how the cake turned out.

 A vase full of large bricks decorated the sideboard.
I made these Lego head 'pops' from marshmallows and covered them in royal icing before drawing on the faces.
 I printed off the Lego signs onto white card and hung them from the light fitting above the table. I then chose a selection of Tom's Lego men to hang below the light.
We gave Tom this wind-up torch for his birthday.
It made the perfect centrepiece for his birthday tea table
A not very good picture of the banner I made, which features some of Tom's favourite Lego mini figures.
Special mention: I just want to say a huge 'Thank you!' to Mum and Dad P. who did such a great job taking care of Emma so I could pull this tea off. I couldn't have done it without them.

Now we are six

2 days old, cosy and warm in his incubator

Happy 6th birthday to my favourite little boy!

We love you Tom!

Opening his gifts this morning

Friday, 8 October 2010

Nocturnal disturbances

Sweet face isn't it? I have to say I find it marginally less sweet at five o'clock in the morning when it appears on my pillow and seems to be attached to a body that takes up half the bed!

It would seem that I am not destined to be blessed with girls who sleep well. Tom was sleeping a solid 13 hours through the night at 10 weeks old, but Lily and Emma are a different story. Lily didn't sleep through the night until she was 14 months old, but then started waking up again a few months after Emma was born. It wasn't every night, but there were many nights when I seemed to spend the whole night alternating between Lily and Emma and got hardly any sleep.

Emma started off well and was almost sleeping through at 8 weeks old. Then she had several bad colds in a row and it completely disrupted her sleep pattern. She has hardly ever given me an undisturbed night since then, but on the rare occasions that she has slept through, without fail Lily has woken up several times in the night. It is almost like they have some kind of arrangement to make sure somebody is getting me up! I think we might finally be turning a corner with Emma as she has slept through the night for the last three nights in a row (hope I haven't just jinxed it!). However, for the last three nights I have been up with Lily at least twice a night. What does it take to get a good night's sleep around here!

There is a line in Psalm 127 that always makes me smile when I read it:

"He grants sleep to those he loves."


Tuesday, 5 October 2010