Thursday, 31 January 2013

Good Luck Geisha

Lily will be performing in her class assembly tomorrow and the poor girl is in a bit of a tizz about it. They have been learning about Japanese culture this term and the assembly will be based on their project. Lily will be dressed as a geisha girl (in her dressing gown with one of my pretty scarves for a sash!) and she has to deliver a line. She suffers rather from stage fright, plus she always gets emotional when she knows I am in the audience. All in all, she is looking on tomorrow morning as a bit of a trauma.

Stage fright notwithstanding, she is in love with all things Japanese this term, so I made her this geisha peg doll this evening (loosely based on the one I found here) to give to her as a good luck talisman tomorrow morning. Since it was rather an impulsive thing, I kept it simple, so it was quite quick to put together. I hope the doll will cheer Lily up enough that she can muster up the courage to get through the assembly without crying. Poor little mite, I do feel for her!


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Last of the Snow

We knew that Saturday would be our last chance to play in the snow as the temperatures were higher and the rains were due to arrive on Saturday night. Accordingly, we took our sledges to one of the fields near our house for a last bit of snow fun. Unfortunately, the higher temperatures meant that the snow, deep as it was, was already too wet to sledge on, so we had to satisfy ourselves with simply walking in it.

As predicted, the rain started at about six on Saturday evening and when we awoke on Sunday morning, much of the snow had already gone. Now we need our wellies just to get through all the mud!

Cheeky Emma sticking out her tongue at the camera

Emma looked so adorable in her snowsuit, like a big, pink marshmallow!

Friday, 25 January 2013

More Pom Pom Snowmen

It's so cold here! A good day for snuggling on the sofa under an enormous quilt and crafting. We made more pom pom snowmen today, one for Tom and one for Emma. Emma had a really good go at making her own pom pom. I was suitably impressed and not a little surprised at the control she had. She did a really good job before she got tired and wanted me to finish it for her. I hope Tom will be pleased with his when he gets home. These little guys are quite cute!


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Pom Pom Snowman

Lily twisted her leg playing Elefun last night and could barely walk this morning. Although the school reopened today, Lily stayed home with me. Since she had to spend the day resting on the sofa, playing in the snow was obviously out of the question, so I thought she would enjoy making an 'indoors' snowman. I resurrected my long unused pom pom kit and we set about making our very own snowman out of some white wool and felt from my stash. I now have to make two more since Tom and Emma both want pom pom snowmen of their own!

Ice, Ice Bunny

When we were adding the carrot nose to our snowman the other day, Lily said to me, "Wouldn't it be funny if a rabbit came out with a hairdryer to melt the snowman so he could get the carrot!". The idea really tickled me, so when she was home from school with a bad leg today, I doodled this picture for her amusement. She has taken the picture to bed with her tonight, so I think she liked it!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Still enjoying the snow...

More snow fell last night, so the school was closed again today. Naturally this meant more fun in the snow for the family. I'm really hoping the school will be closed again tomorrow. I do love having all my Podlings home and we are really enjoying these snow days.


Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Snowman Cometh

As predicted, we built a snowman today. It was a bit of a rush job as Lily was keen to go sledging and wanted the snowman finished quickly. Tom pottered about the garden, occasionally patting down some snow on the pile before declaring himself cold and heading indoors. He hasn't actually seen the completed snowman, though he did go back outside to go sledging a littler later. Emma did very well, but got cold before we finished. I carried her back outside to look at the completed snowman, which she was rather taken with. Lily was there all the way through, so she got the fun of putting on the features, arms and borrowed hat (a bobble hat my mum made for Mark). Having finished the snowman, she went straight out the front and went sledging for ages. She's got some staying power, that girl! She was looking pretty worn out come bedtime though!



Friday, 18 January 2013

Snow Day!!

The severe weather meant that Tom and Lily's school was closed today, which meant a day off for the Podlings. There was naturally much rejoicing! We went out to play in the snow in the morning, but whilst the girls stayed out for a while, Tom lasted barely five minutes before he declared himself too cold and went back indoors. He has never liked being cold!

After lunch we cut snowflakes out of paper whilst we waited for Mark to get home. He was sent home from work early because of the snow, so the afternoon saw the whole family out and playing in the snow. Much fun was had by all, but mostly by Lily who stayed out with Mark long after Tom and Emma had given up and gone indoors. It was so nice to have some extra family time, especially since Mark has been in Brussels all week and we have been missing him. Now we have a lovely weekend to look forward to. I see a snowman in our future...

Daddy has a go on the sledge! 

Tom thought his Beanie Ballz penguin, Avalanche, might enjoy the snow. 

Mark making a snow angel. More of an archangel really, it was quite impressive! 


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Swim Little Fishy

I had so much fun making PE bags for the Podlings last year that when I found out Tom would be continuing with his school swimming lessons this term I wanted to make a bag for him to take his swimming kit in. I normally cobble things like this together from things I have in my stash, but I was extravagant on this bag and actually bought the fabric. I really wanted something with fish on it since it was going to be a swimming bag. I am completely in love with this nautical sea creatures cotton fabric I found in Hobbycraft. It was exactly what I had in mind.  The bag went together really quickly and I love how it turned out. I really could have done with buying more cord as the drawstring is a little short, but I can always replace that later and it is certainly serviceable for now. Hopefully Tom will like it as much as I do!

The fabric is a 100% cotton quilting fabric called Nautical Sea Creatures by The Henley Studio, Makower UK

Monday, 14 January 2013

A Little Snow...

It started snowing last night, but it really wasn't trying very hard. It snowed again this morning. Proper snow this time, big flakes that looked like real snow, not the tiny grains that were trying to pass for snowflakes last night. I love snow! It makes everything look so fresh and clean and makes the air smell so crisp. I took my camera with me when I collected Emma from playgroup this morning and I took a few photos on our walk home. Lovely, lovely snow!

Sadly, it didn't last. A combination of sun and rain has now turned the snow in the lane to mud and slush and collecting Tom and Lily from school was a far from pleasant experience. It will be worse tomorrow as the slush will freeze overnight, turning the lane into a ice rink. I know from past experience that walking to school in these conditions is not fun. I am not looking forward to it!


Friday, 11 January 2013

Tom's Violin Debut

Emma and I had the very great pleasure of watching Tom play the violin in his very first concert this morning. I was positively brimming with pride! Tom's class have only been learning the violin for 10 weeks and have made incredible progress during that time. They played four pieces on the violin and also sang us a song. To perform all that in front of not only their parents, but also the entire school (staff and pupils) after only a few weeks of learning is a testament to both the skill of the violin teacher and the commitment of the pupils. I am very, very proud of Tom for doing so well. 

The sad thing is that, having made such incredible strides, Tom's class now have to pass their violins on to another class, so no more violin for Tom. This is, I think, an incredible shame. Tom has expressed an interest in carrying on with the violin, so Mark and I are going to look into the practicality (and crucially the cost) of a small violin and lessons. It is my great hope that each of the Podlings will want to learn at least one instrument. I know that Lily would love piano lessons (we have been holding off as we think she lacks the patience required at the moment).

Mark plays the piano and I play the piano and the flute, so it would be lovely if the children were musical too. I believe that learning an instrument not only gives great pleasure, it also teaches valuable lessons in discipline, dedication and commitment. I have to confess I had rather hoped they would choose instruments we already owned (piano, flute or sister started to teach me the guitar, but I left home before we had got very far. I still hope to learn someday). However, if Tom really is serious about wanting to learn the violin, then it is certainly worth looking into. We would need to be sure that he would stick at it before we rushed into anything, so we will see.

I took some video from the concert this morning. Tom is in the front row, second from the right. I'm so proud of my boy!


Thursday, 10 January 2013

A Walk in Ilam Park

The entrance to Ilam Holy Cross church 

On the second to last day of my parents' visit, we took them to Ilam Park for a short walk. We thought they might enjoy seeing the Peak District and the park and the village of Ilam are so pretty. It was rather cold and we didn't stay for very long, but at least we got to blow the cobwebs away from being indoors all Christmas. We met Mark's parents there too and we all enjoyed tea (we always bring a Thermos!) and some leftover Christmas goodies in the car park before heading home.

From left to right, Mark's dad, Mark, Mark's mum and my mum 

My dad trying to persuade Tom to put his hat on! 

Lily looking thoughtful!

Seeing in the New Year

My parents came to stay with us for a week after Christmas and were here to see the New Year in with us. The four of us were sat downstairs with our drinks waiting to hear Big Ben ring in the New Year when we realised that we weren't the only ones awake in the house. Tom seemed to be indulging in a bout of insomnia during the Christmas holidays and had been lying awake quite late most nights. On New Year's Eve he excelled himself by still being awake at nearly midnight. Since he was awake anyway, it seemed a shame not to include him in the festivities, so he was allowed a rare treat and was invited downstairs to join us. You can see from his face that he rather enjoyed the experience!

For the first time in his life, Tom got to hear Big Ben toll in the New Year (an absolutely essential part of any New Year celebration for the English. The New Year doesn't start for us until we hear the first toll of the bell) and he really enjoyed the fabulous fireworks they had in London. Ever the thoughtful little boy, a few minutes into the display he asked if we could record it "so Lily can watch it too." He enjoyed listening to Auld Lang Syne and we opened the front door 'to let in the New Year' and opened the back door 'to let out the Old Year', a tradition I've always been fond of. I loved introducing Tom to all these New Year was so much fun to be sharing them with him.

Mark's mum rang up just after midnight to wish us a Happy New Year and was rather surprised to get to wish it to her grandson too, not least because Tom never usually talks to anyone on the telephone. It was obviously an evening of firsts! We let him have some lemonade and a couple of chocolates before tucking him back into bed, where he stayed until very late the next morning.

The cuckoo clock on the wall is showing the time as just before midnight! 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Christmas Day Catch-up

Continuing with the festive catch-up, here are a few photos from Christmas day. My camera doesn't really do indoor photos, but although the pictures are low quality they bring back lovely memories. We had a really lovely Christmas with Mark's family and the Podlings had a wonderful time.

Emma managed to liven the evening up by locking herself in one of the bedrooms and removing the key from the door. We tried to get her to unlock it from her side, but she couldn't manage to get the key back in the keyhole. Mark's dad found a spare key, but couldn't get it to turn in the lock. The bedroom windows were locked from the inside, so we couldn't get in that way either. I was just beginning to calculate the cost of calling out a locksmith late on Christmas Day when my father-in-law realised there was something inside the lock. He unscrewed the door plate and managed to get out the paper that had been stuffed in there (probably by a Podling, let's be honest!). After that it was a simple matter of using the spare key to unlock the door and release the child within! Phew!

I was so proud of Emma because throughout the entire time she was in there she stayed as calm as a cucumber and didn't panic or cry. I was talking to her through the door, but she was so co-operative and very sensible. Good girl! We had a quiet little chat afterwards about not playing with keys and after that we kept the key out of her reach!

The Podlings all love 'The Gruffalo' by Julia Donaldson and were thrilled to each receive a chocolate Gruffalo from their Nanna and Grandad for Christmas. Emma was particularly thrilled to be able to tuck into hers straight after breakfast! 

Tom collects Ty Beanies and is particularly fond of the Beanie Ballz. Here he is holding Rascal...the main thing he wanted for Christmas. I love my boy, his wants are simple and few. 

Emma is an incredibly imaginative child and loves to dress up. One of her favourite gifts was this pink princess dress which came with a doll in a matching dress (which she is holding in the photo). She alternated between this and her ballerina dress (another Christmas gift) for the rest of the holidays. Getting her in normal clothes was a struggle!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Baby Rowan update

My nephew Rowan. Look at those adorable baby lips and those little ears! I know I'm going to get terribly broody when I meet him...

For those who are interested, little Rowan is now out of hospital and is at home keeping his mummy and daddy awake at all hours! My sister has updated her blog with a short version of his birth story, so I will link to it here so those who are interested can read it. It was a pretty traumatic time for them, but there was a happy ending and that is what matters.

I am so looking forward to meeting my little nephew but I have a really persistent cough and cold that I am struggling to shake off before I can chance going near a newborn. It's driving me nuts...I can't wait to give him a cuddle! Thank you to anyone who said prayers for Rowan whilst he was in hospital. He is a thriving, healthy little boy now and very much loved.