Tuesday, 25 February 2014

28 Week Scan

28 week ultrasound scan of Podling Number 4. I can't wait to kiss that adorable button nose!

Because Tom and Emma were considered small for gestational age, I have been booked in for a series of growth scans for this baby. I had my 28 week scan today and to my delight they also allowed Tom, Lily and Emma to come in to the scan room as well. They were all thrilled to be able to see their baby brother/ sister on the screen and Lily was particularly fascinated. Tom was somewhat distracted by the fact that my belly button currently disappears when I lie down. He got slightly concerned when Emma came next to the couch and warned her, "Emma! Don't touch that blue jelly! Your belly button will disappear!" He thought it was the gel they spread on your abdomen that made it flatten out until I explained that it is just because the baby is stretching me and that my belly button will come back after the baby is born!

I am so thrilled that they were able to see the baby as I feel it was an important bonding experience for them. Emma took more of it in than I realised when she told me later that we saw the baby's head, leg bone and waist...all the measurements that the sonographer took of the baby. The Podlings all want a copy of the scan picture to take into school tomorrow.

Everything is looking really good with the baby, who was head down today. The baby was remarkably cooperative and didn't actually move much during the scan. Everything is measuring just right for my dates and his/her growth is within the normal range. The estimated weight is currently 3lb 2oz, which is a pretty good weight for almost 29 weeks. To give an idea of how big the baby currently is, his/her femur measured 54.7 mm. I loved getting an extra peak at my littlest Podling and I have another growth scan in the middle of March to look forward to now.

Sunday, 23 February 2014


'A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2014'

I didn't do very well for photos this week. Throughout half term we had at least one member of the household sick every day and somehow, despite my parents being here and us having an enjoyable time together, the camera hardly came out. This photo of the Podlings at the Lego Movie will have to suffice for week eight.

Tom, this week you: 
  • Loved seeing the Lego Movie!
  • Finally got to try the strawberry glaze doughnut you have been looking for since last October.
  • Have been suffering from a sore throat most nights this week, but seem to have avoided the worst of the illnesses that have been going through the family. You never make a fuss when you are ill though, so it is impossible to know quite how rough you have been feeling.
  • Were so sweet when we went shopping with Nanny and Grandad. When Nanny told you you could pick out a toy from the store, all you wanted was a 79p pack of pencils and rubbers, "Can I have these pencils because I like drawing?". You are not remotely materialistic and I love that about you.
  • Had a great time at Jacob's party on Friday and couldn't believe how fast the two hours had flown by when we came to pick you up.

Lily, this week you: 

  • Have loved being home for half term.
  • Loved crafting this week and made some pom pom caterpillars, pom pom jewelry, sewed a felt purse (with lovely neat stitches) and did a lot of drawing and writing.
  • Have been singing 'Everything is Awesome' a lot!
  • Loved playing with Flash. You two are such good friends.
  • Told me that Jacob's party was the best party you have ever been to!
  • Were very sick with a stomach bug on Saturday, but bounced right back on Sunday like you always do. You have the fastest recovery time from illness of anyone I know!

Emma, this week you:
  • Had a bad case of conjunctivitis and hated having your eye ointment put in. You tried to be very brave about it though.
  • Used a real needle and thread for the first time and loved making a pom pom tiara and necklace. You didn't prick your finger once!
  • Did real sewing for the first time and made a felt purse with a little help from me. You did really well at following my instructions. You are so patient and a joy to teach.
  • Have loved playing with the dogs and having your grandad to play with.
  • Loved Jacob's party and the first thing you told me when you awoke the morning after was that you wanted to go again! You were very brave when your favourite balloon animal unravelled and didn't cry at all.

Podling Number 4 (28 weeks pregnant), this week I had a midwife's appointment and got to hear your heartbeat again. Daddy was able to come to this appointment, so heard your heartbeat for the first time. You were head up at the appointment, but you are such a wriggler it is anyone's guess which way up you are now! You are measuring spot on for your dates, but because Tom and Emma measured small for gestational age I will need to have some growth scans to keep an eye on you. The midwife doesn't think you will be small though and I am glad I will get a chance to see you again before you are born. Nanny was very pleased to be able to feel you kick this week.

Friday, 21 February 2014

The Lego Movie

Tom has long been a fan of Lego (you may remember his sixth birthday party), so when he read about the upcoming Lego Movie in his Lego Club magazine he was very keen to go and see it. The film came out the Friday before half term, so when my parents came to stay with us for half term week they took us all to the the cinema for a treat. Going to the cinema is a really big thing for us. With a family of five it is normally prohibitively expensive, so it hardly ever happens. We normally make do with our family film nights at home! In fact, although the Podlings have all been to the cinema before, this was the first time Mark and I had gone with them as they normally go with their grandparents. We were all very much looking forward to it.

Unfortunately, on the day my Mum was too ill to join us, but my Dad and the five of us went. We were well-provisioned with sweets, popcorn and drink and all thoroughly enjoyed the film. Lily and Emma sang 'Everything is Awesome' (the song in the film) for much of the way home and Tom has already asked if we can get it on DVD as soon as it comes out! We stopped off in Tesco on the way home and bought pizza for tea and Dad treated us to a tray of Krispie Kreme doughnuts, much to the Podlings delight. Tom finally got to try the strawberry glaze doughnut he has wanted for months and it was every bit as delicious as he had anticipated. It was a wonderful day and we all had a great time.


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Big Girl Bed

Emma has been sneaking into our bed every night for weeks and Mark and I keep waking up in the middle of the night, balanced on the edges of the mattress, devoid of covers to find a small person spread out in the middle of the bed. For a small person, Emma manages to take up an awful lot of space in a double bed. Mark and I were becoming somewhat sleep deprived and with the prospect of an even smaller person waking us up in the night in a few months' time, we really needed to find a solution.
Her toddler bed, in addition to becoming too small for a very fidgety sleeper, was not exactly in the best state of repair thanks to an unsanctioned bouncing on the bed incident a little while ago. I had tried my best to patch up the bed, but it left a lot to be desired and I know she wasn't amazingly comfortable in it. Before ordering a new bed for her though, we needed to sort out the sleeping arrangements for after the baby is born.
Emma is currently in the biggest of the children's rooms as we had always planned on having four children, so knew that she would have to share one day. Who she will be sharing with has been the issue for the last few weeks. Lily is currently in the smallest bedroom and I wanted it to be her choice whether she stayed in her own room or moved in with Emma. It had to be her choice as I don't want her to feel that the new baby is kicking her out of her room. Lily has been agonising over the decision for weeks and has finally decided to share a room with Emma. We then had to decide whether we wanted bunk beds or two singles before we spent any money on a new bed for Emma.
After much deliberation, we all decided that two single beds was the way forward, so Emma's new bed was duly ordered. We can't move Lily into the room yet as there is some heavy furniture in Emma's room that needs to be moved out and we can't do that until we can enlist some help. The girls are so excited to move in together though and they keep asking when it will happen! I am so glad Lily chose to share with Emma as they are very close and neither of them like being on their own at night. I think they will have great times together and I know they are very much looking forward to it.
For now, the new bed has made a slight improvement to Emma's sleeping. When she wakes up, she still comes in with us, but she isn't waking up quite as often now that she is in a more comfortable bed. She hasn't been well this week either and her cough is waking her at night. I'm hoping that when she is well again, she will wake up less. I think sharing with Lily will reduce the need to come into our room even further, so there is some hope that I may get her sleeping in her own bed most nights before the new baby arrives to keep me awake all night instead!

Emma looked so tiny in her full size single bed!

Sunday, 16 February 2014


"A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2014"

Tom, this week you enjoyed watching trailers for 'The Lego Movie' with your sisters, in anticipation of our trip to see the movie next week. That and playing Angry Birds of LOVE Angry Birds!

Lily, this week you really loved playing with the toy you bought from eBay last week. Your despair at finding the toy had not arrived when you got home from school, followed by your unbounded joy when it turned out that the post was just very late that day are so typical of your roller coaster personality!

Emma, this week you slept in a BIG bed for the very first time! Your toddler bed had grown so uncomfortable and a move to a single bed was long overdue. You love your new bed and its pretty covers and canopy. Now you can't wait for Lily to move in with you!

Podling Number 4 ( 27 weeks pregnant), this week you continue to wriggle, stretch and kick a lot. Your brother and sisters love to feel you move. You seem to be awake more than you are asleep, although that's probably just my imagination! You are by far the most active baby I have carried, though what that means for your little personality we have yet to discover. Keep growing little one!

Valentine's Roses

I adore roses. They are my favourite flower, so I was over the moon when Mark brought these beautiful cream 'Sweetheart' roses home for me on Valentine's Day. It was obviously my week for fresh flowers, because when we were shopping a couple of days after Valentine's Day, the store was selling off their luxury Valentine's potted roses at half price. These beautiful deep red, velvety roses came home with me and there are still several buds on the bush still to open. Lucky me!

The colours are all off in my photos. These 'Sweetheart' roses are actually cream, not the yellow they appear in the photos.

Again, the colours are off in the photo. These roses are actually a much deeper, richer red than they appear here.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Valentine's Day

The Podlings always look forward to Valentine's Day. I've been laid low with a cold this week, so we didn't do lots of Valentine's crafts like we normally do, but I did have some lovely treats waiting for them in the morning and we still had our Valentine's tea in the afternoon. For their Valentine's treat, I gave them each a mug with hearts all over them and half filled them with chocolate coins. I then put a cookie pop, a packet of love hearts and some Thornton's strawberry hearts in the mug and placed a single chocolate rose alongside. A lacy table cloth (with hearts of course) and a pot of flowers later and it all looks rather lovely for them to come down to.

I made a raspberry jelly, some chocolate chip cookies and Valentine's krispie cakes over the day and after school, the girls and I made pink heart-shaped fairy cakes. Lily and Emma decorated them with pink icing, Love Hearts and sprinkles. Tom isn't really into baking these days, so he was busy doing other things. Once the cakes were finished we laid out a simple party tea and we enjoyed a lovely Valentine's tea together.

Our Valentine's tea

Pink, heart-shaped fairy cakes, made by Lily and Emma

Sunday, 9 February 2014


"A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2014"
Tom, this week you:
  • Fell over and bruised your hand at school. It actually hurt enough that you consented to take Calpol.
  • Were extremely excited to earn enough coins on your Nyan cat game to get the pumpkin skin pack you so desperately wanted.
  • Have been brilliant by now carrying your own school bag to and from school all the time. Such a big help to Mummy!
  • Have drawn lots of pictures and been designing a Star Wars version of your Tackle Fire creations.

Lily, this week you:
  • Have been really enjoying David Attenborough's Planet Earth documentaries and were excited to share the jungle documentary with your class for your rainforest topic.
  • Agonised over whether or not to share a room with your sister or keep your own room. It's been really tough for you, but you finally came to a decision.
  • Had fun helping Emma decorate cakes for her Star of the Week party.
  • Discovered the thrills and spills of bidding for a toy on eBay. Asking us to check regularly to see if anyone else had bid on it, counting down the minutes and literally jumping around the room in excitement when you won the auction!

Emma, this week you:
  • Loved every minute of being Star of the Week.
  • Fell over and badly grazed your knee on the way home from school.
  • Sneaked into our room and slept in our bed every single night!
  • Have been really cheerful going into school every morning. You really seem to have turned a corner!

Podling Number 4 (26 weeks pregnant, so no picture yet obviously!), this week you:
  • Should be opening your eyes for the first time.
  • Are approximately 35 cm long and weigh around 760g.
  • Continue to be incredibly active. You are far more active than your brother and sisters were!

A Note:

I've just come across the 52 Week Project concept. The idea is that you take a portrait of your child or children once a week, every week of the year. The pictures can take can take any form, the idea is to just have a weekly record. I think it is such a lovely idea that I wanted to do it myself. I'm not sure whether I have the staying power to see it through, but I hope that if nothing else it will make me do at least one blog post every week! Obviously I'm coming rather late to the party, joining in in week 6, but 'better late than never' I always say!

Friday, 7 February 2014

A Little Party

To celebrate Emma's week as her class Star of the Week, we had a little Star of the Week party for tea last night. This is something I always did with Tom and Lily and I knew Emma would love it too. Over the day I made some gingerbread biscuits in the shapes of stars, teddies and little girls with big smiles. Emma requested the little girl with a big smile biscuits because she was awarded the Star of the Week for coming into school with a big smile. She has been showing her daddy and me her big smile all week and it is so wonderful to see her going into school happily.

When Emma got home from school, we made star-shaped fairy cakes and she and Lily decorated them with yellow icing and lots of sprinkles. We had lots of lovely party foods and used Tom's star blanket as a table cloth. Emma kept coming over to me during her party, giving me kisses and saying 'thank you'. She's so sweet!

Emma has loved being Star of the Week and has taken the bear to bed with her each night. I know she wasn't looking forward to taking him back to school, so I was really surprised that we didn't have tears this morning. Other than a slightly pouty 'It's not fair!' as we left the house, she was fine. You'll always be my little Star Emma!

Making fairy cakes

Emma's Star of the Week party

The gingerbread biscuits I made for Emma's little party

Monday, 3 February 2014

The Only Way is Pemberley

On Sunday we went to Lyme Park in Cheshire to see 'The Only Way is Pemberley' winter exhibition. Lyme Park was used as the location for Mr Darcy's home Pemberley in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. The exhibition was put on to celebrate the bi-centennial of the novel's publication, although it mainly focused on the BBC adaptation. It was rather a thrill for me to see some of the costumes worn during filming as I have long been a fan of the series. I first read Pride and Prejudice when I was about fourteen and I have loved it ever since. The BBC adaptation is so faithful to the book that I couldn't help but love it and it remains one of my favourite television series of all time.

As well as costumes from the series, there were also costumes that you could try on. This was rather a thrill for Emma as she loves nothing more than dressing up. Lily didn't want to put on the whole costume, but she loved wearing the bonnet and cloak and playing with the fan. Mark cut a dash in an officer's costume and Tom just sat patiently and waited for everyone to get it all out of their system. Dressing up is definitely not Tom's thing! After wearing their lovely Regency costumes, the girls spent the rest of the day wearing their coats as cloaks by not using the sleeves and simply doing up one button at the neck. They were probably cold, but they were happy!

In addition to costumes, there were Regency foods to try, although there wasn't much of anything left by the time we were going around. I did pick up a recipe for venison pate though, so if I can just get hold of some venison...

We were lucky with the weather and we enjoyed walking around the garden in the February sunshine and seeing the first snowdrops peaking up out of the ground. Although the trip was mainly for my benefit, we all had a lovely time.

The only picture I managed to get of Tom!

Emma loved dressing up in a (much too big) Regency costume. 

Lily loved the cloak and fan

A dashing officer and his followers

The 12ft fibreglass statue of Mr Darcy emerging from the lake (recalling the famous scene from the BBC series) is something of a peculiarity. It was originally commissioned to celebrate the launch of some TV channel or other and was first seen emerging from the Serpentine in Hyde Park. It is peculiar, to say the least!

Note the 'cloaks'!

Darcy and Elizabeth's wedding costumes from the series

You may recognise this shirt! It is the outfit that Mr Darcy wore in that famous lake scene. Need I say more?

A detail from Elizabeth's wedding dress

The bonnet that Elizabeth wore at her wedding originally matched the dress, but has yellowed with age.

Darcy and Elizabeth's day outfits. I couldn't get a good picture as they were in front of a window and I didn't like to use flash. I always loved that dress and jacket! I much preferred the simpler costumes of the Bennet girls to the more ostentatious dresses worn by Caroline and Louisa. Give me a simple cotton print any day!


Sunday, 2 February 2014

A Visit to Nanna's

Lily and Emma with their much-adored Nanna

We visited Mark's parents yesterday as Mark's Dad is still recovering from his hip operation. He seems to be coming on very well, which is wonderful. Hopefully he will be back on his feet fully and pain free soon. Mark's Mum cooked us a fabulous roast lamb dinner and the Podlings got to have some fun with both of their uncles, who came to visit over the day. The Podlings adore their uncles, who are both brilliant with them. They will spend ages planning out their games in advance! Families are great!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Star of the Week

Emma is her class Star of the Week this week and she couldn't be more thrilled! She has been having trouble settling into school and has been upset and often in tears most mornings going in to school. She seems to have turned a corner this week and has been going into school happily and without her comforter (she still takes a pink muslin around with her wherever we go and had also been taking it to school with her since she started). Her teachers recognised what a big step this is for Emma and awarded her the Star of the Week for "coming into school with a big smile and ready to learn".
We get to look after the class teddy for a week and have to take lots of photos and write about his adventures with us in the Star of the Week diary. Emma is over the moon! Walking home from school she turned to me and said excitedly, "This is the best day of my life!". I am so pleased the teachers chose to recognise what a big step Emma has taken this week. She is one of the youngest in her class and starting school has been a huge change for her. She wasn't really ready for school and it has been a hard adjustment for her. I am so pleased that she seems to finally be settling in. It has been breaking my heart leaving her at school each morning!
Well done on being the Star of the Week Emma.
Mummy and Daddy are so proud of you!

My gorgeous little Star of the Week. Love her so much!