Monday, 30 July 2012

A Blustery Day at the Beach

On Saturday we went to the beach. It wasn't really beach weather to be honest, but we figured that if we waited for beach weather this summer, we'd probably never get there! There is no such thing as bad weather, only improper attire after all! What we hadn't counted on was the wind. Although it wasn't particularly cold, it was pretty windy at the beach. Lily wasn't too impressed at having sand blown into the back of her legs and spent much of the first hour hiding under a towel. Shall we be charitable and say that Lily has a low pain threshold...the girl does not like to be made uncomfortable! Nobody else minded though and we had a lovely time.

Tom just ran around, collected shells and basically enjoyed himself. Emma and I paddled in the sea, made sandcastles, buried each other in the sand and basically had a great time. After we had our picnic, Lily emerged from her shell and actually enjoyed the rest of the visit. She and Tom had a lovely game together and then Lily and I looked for shells. It was getting late by this time and everyone was starting to feel cold so we headed back to the car and drove home.

It was late when we got in, but I needed to wash the sand off Emma before I put her bedtime nappy on and I didn't want to run a full bath. I filled the kitchen sink and was tickled to find that Emma is still tiny enough that I can bathe her in it. I love that my littlest one is so small...I can baby her for a bit longer!

You just can't keep Emma away from water. Thankfully I had planned for this and had packed a spare outfit for her to wear home! 

Tom loves the wide open space of the beach and loves to just run and run

Lily gives us a jaunty wave from beneath her towel! 

Oh, that sweet face! 

Emma insisted that Daddy bury her in the sand.

Emma wanted us to be buried together. 

The tide was coming in, so Emma and I built a huge sandcastle with a moat for the sea to fill. Would you believe the tide turned and went back out again about a foot away from the end of the moat, so our poor moat remained dry. Oh well, we had fun building it and Emma kept talking about the 'big hole' we had dug, so she obviously thought it was good.

Olympic Football Tea

The day after our trip to Old Trafford to watch the Olympic football, I was excited to find these football-shaped rolls and Olympic gingerbread bears in our local shop. I made the children burgers for their tea and tried to carry through the Olympic theme by attempting to arrange their chips and carrot sticks to look like the Olympic torch. If you squint a bit you might just see the resemblance!  The Podlings liked it though and it made for a cute tea!


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Olympic Football

The Podlings outside Old Trafford 

Last Thursday saw us outside Old Trafford in Manchester, ready to watch Team GB play Senegal in the opening session of the men's Olympic football. I will come clean and say that I was dreading it. I am not a big fan of sport and the thought of trying to keep three increasingly tired children in their seats for over four hours in a crowded football stadium filled me with dread. The session we were due to watch covered two football matches and I saw this as an awfully long time to keep the Podlings amused.

I couldn't have been more wrong! We all had an absolutely wonderful time. Lily and Emma, in particular, enjoyed it and whilst they didn't really understand the football, they certainly enjoyed the atmosphere. They were especially enthusatic about the Mexican waves! Tom enjoyed the football, but wasn't keen on the noise, so he lost himself in his own world for a few hours, emerging occasionally to take in the sights. That's how he is and as long as he is happy then so are we.

I have to admit that football is much more interesting when you care about who wins and I have to confess that I really enjoyed watching the match. Mark really enjoyed it too, but that goes without saying! I never expected to have such a good time at a football match, but I am so glad we went. It was a truly memorable family occasion and I hope the Podlings will be glad to say that they were at the Olympics in 2012.

Waiting for it all to start 

Emma loved the sprinklers that came on to water the pitch

Emma really surprised us by thoroughly enjoying the whole thing. We really thought there would be a large amount of 'keeping Emma happy' involved in the outing, but she loved it and was so good. Emma just loves life and always seems to find a way to enjoy herself, so perhaps we shouldn't have been surprised. 

Team GB warming up before the match 

More warming up 

It is fair to say that the Podlings weren't paying attention all the time!

Just before kick-off

Lily was thrilled with her hot chocolate. We were less thrilled with the extortionate prices they charged for drinks, but since you aren't allowed to bring liquids into Olympic events and it was a hot day, we had no choice but to pay their prices. You can't begrudge a girl a hot chocolate when she appreciates it so much though, can you?

I somehow ended up in the scarf I had made for Tom. I think we all wore it at some point during the matches. We all wore red, white and blue for the occasion.

The half-time score had us all excited

Lily and Emma spent most of the second half on Mark's lap!

Tom has always been distressed by loud noise, so we were a little concerned about how he would be with a crowd of over 70, 000 people shouting at the top of their lungs. He has learnt to cope with noise much better since starting school. When he first started school they had to take him out of assemblies because he found the singing so upsetting, but he will now sit through assemblies and concerts without a fuss, though they are probably still not exactly his favourite thing. We allowed him to bring his DS to the football in the hope that it would help him to switch off from the noise a bit. It must have worked as he seemed quite relaxed and happy most of the time, only putting his DS over his ear when the noise was especially loud. He told me afterwards that he liked the football, but he didn't like the noise. It hasn't put him off though as he has asked to be taken to another football match.

Sadly, in the end Team GB could only manage a draw. At least we didn't lose!

An Olympic skirt for Emma

I raised 'last minute' to new heights with this little skirt for Emma. We had tickets to see Team GB play football at Old Trafford last Thursday and I wanted Lily to wear the Jubilee skirt I made her since it is obviously very patriotic. As I dressed Lily in the skirt the morning of the football match, Emma asked "Where's my skirt?". Ah. I had never found the time to make the matching skirt for Emma and I foolishly thought that she wouldn't have remembered about it since I made Lily's a couple of months ago. I ought to have known better as all my children have scarily good memories!

With that sweet little face looking up at me how could I do anything other than reply "Mummy hasn't made it yet. Come on, let's go downstairs and I'll measure you." A couple of hours before Mark came home from work to pick us up, I was sat at my sewing machine frantically sewing a little Union flag skirt for Emma. I actually made it in under an hour, which left me about five minutes to quickly sew up a scarf for Tom in the remaining length of the fabric so he didn't feel left out. Phew!

It was worth the last minute rush as Emma was over the moon with her skirt. She kept coming over to me when I was making it and asking "Is it finished yet?", so when the answer was 'Yes!' she had to put it on right away. Lily and Emma looked so sweet together in their matching skirts. I tied red, white and blue ribbons in their hair before we left and they looked adorable in their little Olympic outfits. I always did work better with a tight deadline!

Emma's skirt has a gathered Broderie Anglaise trim round the bottom and a red, white and blue ribbon bow at the waist. 

My Olympic girls

Worthy of Note...

The weather was so nice one day last week that we actually got the paddling pool out. Decent summer weather is so rare this year that I just thought I'd mention it!


Emma's Hello Kitty Party

I made these decorations myself. I hung some above the party table and strung others together to make banners that I hung in the lounge and the dining room. 

We are not entirely sure where Emma's love of Hello Kitty has sprung from, but we suspect it was the Hello Kitty electric toothbrush that her grandparents gave her that started it. There is obviously something she finds appealing in the little face as whenever she sees anything with Hello Kitty on it she declares it "My Hello Kitty!!", clasps her hands together in delight and positively gushes over it. Much as I dislike commercially branded anything, how could I not give her a Hello Kitty birthday when she loves her so much! The character also reminds me of when I lived in Malaysia and Brunei as a child, where Hello Kitty and characters very like her were very popular on things for little girls. I suppose I am not completely averse to her myself.

I have to admit I had great fun pulling this party together. The one advantage of having a party with a well known character for the theme was that there is Hello Kitty everything out there, most of it available quite cheaply if you shop around. I was even able to buy Hello Kitty balloons in my weekly online shop from Tesco! I made the hanging printables myself, but the personalised rice papers, bib and KitKat wrappers were all from eBay and were very cheap.

Emma enjoyed her party, but didn't hang around for long. It was really all about the cake for her! She had been after that birthday cake since I made it and had been asking to eat it all day. After she ate her party food, she wandered off to play while everyone else enjoyed the party. Both sets of grandparents were able to be there and I was thrilled that my sister and brother-in-law were also able to come.

When it was time for the cake, Emma was back at the table in a flash. She loved it when we sang 'Happy Birthday' to her and relished blowing out the candles on her cake. Unlike the others, we didn't have to sing it to her a second time as she couldn't wait to get a slice of cake! It was obviously worth the wait as she tucked into her cake, whilst admiring the little Hello Kitty figures I had placed around it.

I really loved doing this party and although I know Emma was probably a little young to take in all the details, I know that we all had a lovely time. That's what it is all about!

The party food

 The cake table, complete with fairy cakes, KitKats and marshmallows, which Emma loves.

Emma's birthday cake. I ordered the personalised rice paper from eBay. It curled a little at the edges unfortunately, but Emma didn't seem to notice! 

Another view of the cake, showing some of the little Hello Kitty toys I bought to decorate it. Mmmm...homemade Victoria sponge! 

I loved these personalised Hello Kitty KitKat wrappers that I found on eBay. You simply remove the normal wrapper and glue these ones on instead. I am now on a mission to design a template for these myself that I can use for future parties. They are so adorable! 

More personalised rice papers on the homemade fairy cakes. Fun! 

I turned the bookcase in the dining room into a little favour table for the Podlings. It looks impressive, but I spent very little on it.

Emma wearing her personalised Hello Kitty bib at her party 

Blowing out the candles...probably the highlight of her day!

 Playing with the Hello Kitty toys from her cake

At last! She'd been waiting all day for that cake!

Friday, 27 July 2012

One in the Bed

First thing in the morning after her last night in a cot. 

I'm a great believer in keeping children in cots as long as possible. I think putting a toddler in a bed too early can lead to all sorts of problems, so all of mine have been at least two and a half before being put in a bed. Emma has been in her cot bed since she was about seven months old. She has always been tiny, so she was in the Moses basket in our bedroom until then. She has always been quite happy in her cot and has never made any attempt to climb out of it, so I just left her in it. However, she couldn't stay in there forever, so one of Emma's birthday presents was to have the bars taken off her cot.

She thought it was wonderful when she walked into her room and was able to climb in and out of bed by herself. She immediately invited Lily into bed with her and Lily read her a story, which they both enjoyed. At bedtime she climbed happily into bed, but as she lay there drinking her milk she looked around her room and said "Put the sticks back on."

She had no trouble going to sleep after her busy day and slept right through the night (this is still quite unusual unfortunately). The following morning Lily came to me and said "Emma is awake. I just heard her little footsteps running across the floor". We went in together to find Emma sat on the chair in her room playing with her toys!

This seems to be the way of things now. She gets into bed at bedtime, stays there until morning and then gets out of bed and plays in her room until someone comes to get her. It has been a smooth transition for her, I believe because I waited until she was that little bit older before doing it. I have to admit to being a bit sad that all of my children are in beds now!


Birthday Presents

Emma was greeted by a lovely pile of presents when she came downstairs. She dived straight in and opened the ones in the Hello Kitty paper first 

Just a few (mostly blurry) photos of Emma opening her presents on her third birthday. My camera is great at outdoor photos, but not so good indoors unfortunately.

A new watering can of her very own for when she helps me in the garden 

Emma had no trouble opening her own presents this year.

Emma loved her Hello Kitty mushroom house.  

Emma with her new Bearington Bear. I started collecting these for her last year and she now gets a new one for each birthday and Christmas. 

Emma trying out her new bike, a gift from her Nanna and Grandad