Sunday, 30 March 2014


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

Tom, this week you:
  • Enjoyed some extra time home from school. You gagged on your lunch at school and thanks to the school's policy that you cannot go back to school for 24 hours after you've been sick you got to spend a day at home with me even though there was nothing wrong with you. It's a silly policy, but I loved getting to spend some extra time with you.
  • Had another bonus day off because your teacher was on strike on Wednesday. It was a good week for some Mummy/ Tom time!
  • Were less than impressed when I told you that we had to go to school on Wednesday anyway for the Mother's Day school lunch with Lily and Emma.
  • Thankfully seemed to really enjoy aforementioned Mother's Day lunch with your sisters and me.
  • Are doing very well according to your teacher on parents' evening. She said your mental agility is excellent!
  • Made me a lovely picture frame for Mother's Day and had the patience to wait until Sunday to give it to me.
  • Had lots of fun with your uncles on Mothering Sunday.
Lily, this week you:
  • Were incensed that Tom got to spend so much time at home this week when he wasn't ill!
  • Were really disappointed when I couldn't come to our original Mother's Day lunch on Tuesday. You were looking forward to having me to yourself.
  • Enjoyed our rescheduled lunch on Wednesday, even though you had to share me with your brother and sister. You did get very sad when it was time for me to leave though.
  • Your teacher said lots of nice things about you on parents' evening. He said for you to keep doing what you are doing.
  • Made me a lovely card and picture frame for Mother's Day.
  • Had a wonderful time in the woods on Saturday
  • Loved playing with your uncles on Mothering Sunday

Emma, this week you:
  • Enjoyed the novelty of Mummy coming in to eat lunch with you at school. You loved showing me where I had to take my tray and put my cutlery. I loved having lunch with you and your brother and sister.
  • You gave me a lovely little pot with a sunflower seed planted in it for Mother's Day and made a lovely card to go with it.
  • Had a lovely report from your teacher on parents' evening. I am so glad you have finally settled happily into school, even if I do still miss you terribly at home!
  • Had a great time playing with Lily in the woods on Sunday. I don't know how you didn't feel cold, but you insisted you were warm enough in your short sleeves!
  • Had fun decorating me with the sequins that fell off my Mother's Day card!
  • Loved having all the family together on Mothering Sunday and had a great time playing Superdogs!
Podling Number 4 (33 weeks pregnant), we are really getting close to meeting you now! I have been exceedingly aware of your head this week and it is obvious you are running out of room in there! Someone very kindly gave us a cot for you this week, so now you will have somewhere to sleep when you outgrow your Moses basket. I'm really wanting to nest in earnest now. I am keen to start washing all our baby clothes and have moved the bedroom around to that I can have you sleeping next to my side of the bed. I'm getting so excited to meet you now little one, but don't be in a hurry as I have so much I want to get done before you arrive! I want everything ready so that I can just soak you up and enjoy you when you get here.

First Picnic of 2014

It was a lovely day today, so Mark suggested we have a picnic tea. He packed us up a lovely picnic, filled up a couple of Thermos flasks and off we went to Biddulph Grange Country Park. The Podlings had a great time climbing on the felled trees and getting thoroughly muddy (always a sign of a good day out!) We enjoyed a leisurely picnic by the pond and just enjoyed being able to sit outside without freezing!

It was dusk as we packed up our picnic and we were lucky enough to see a large number of bats flying around above the pond. The Podlings were absolutely fascinated by them and it was a real treat to see so many. Some of them flew quite close to us, which I think Mark and I enjoyed more than the Podlings did!

We really enjoyed our first picnic of 2014 and will need to return in a couple of weeks to check on the frogspawn we saw in a small pond near the car park. Fingers crossed for more of this mild weather. I'm fed up with being cold now!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

33 Weeks Pregnant

 33 weeks and 3 days pregnant with Podling Number 4

Obviously, if the camera is out then the girls want in on the action...


Sunday, 23 March 2014


"A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2014"
Bit of a 52 Week project fail for me this week! I don't have individual portraits of the Podlings this week, so this picture of the three of them taken at Biddulph Grange Garden will have to suffice.
Podling Number 4 (32 weeks pregnant), this week we had our NHS growth scan at 31 Weeks and 5 Days. You are growing splendidly and obliged us with a lovely profile shot. It is always a thrill to get a glimpse of your world.  I'm fairly sure I saw you trying to put your hand in your mouth, which was unbelievably sweet!
You are definitely head down and are, I suspect, quite well engaged. My bump is very low and I am very aware of your head when I am walking, which is somewhat uncomfortable at times! I am starting to feel VERY pregnant, but I don't mind in the slightest. I love being pregnant and it is such a privilege to be growing a new life...your life, little one! I can't wait to hold you in my arms, but I am quite content to keep you safe inside for now.



Nothing lifts my heart more after a long winter than to see crowds of daffodils breaking out everywhere. I'm not really a winter person and the appearance of those nodding golden heads really heralds the onset of spring and the promise of warmer weather. They line the roadsides and hedges and gardens and green spaces everywhere are filled with their golden loveliness. I don't think there is a more cheerful flower than the daffodil and throughout the spring I like to have a vase of them on my kitchen windowsill. The daffodils were out in all their splendour in Biddulph Grange Garden today. These pictures were all taken in the car park!


Saturday, 22 March 2014

31 Week Scan

Ultrasound scan of Podling Number 4 at 31 weeks 5 days

A little late because I've had some trouble getting my scanner to talk to my computer, here is my latest growth scan of Podling Number 4, taken just three days after my 4D Scan. The baby is growing nicely and is following the same growth line beautifully. The baby obviously loves to have a hand up by his/her face as the same hand that kept getting in the way of my 4D scan was once again up by the face. It actually looked at one point as though the baby had opened its mouth and was putting its hand or fingers in it, but it is so hard to make out exactly what is going on in the 2D scans.

The NHS scan measured the baby at around 4lb 5oz, 5oz heavier than the scan the previous week. I doubt very much the baby put on that much weight in a single weekend, so it just goes to show how approximate these things are. Suffice to say the baby is an excellent weight for its gestation, so we don't need to be concerned on that score.

I have one more scan to look forward to in the middle of April, by which time the baby will be sufficiently large that I will just be able to get a face shot. It won't be too much longer before I will be able to see the baby in person though. I'm getting so excited!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Nursery Dreams

roomset Beatrix Potter hand painted childrens furniture

Despite this being my fourth baby, I have never had the pleasure of doing up a nursery before the birth of a child. We moved house about two months before Tom was due, and then the little man decided to surprise us by arriving six weeks early! We had nothing ready, his nursery furniture was all still flat-packed and we had to try to put his nursery together whilst adjusting to life as new parents! Fun! I didn't need to do up a nursery for Lily as she simply used the nursery that Tom had and Tom moved out and into his first 'big boy room'.

Fast forward a few years to a new house and another new baby. The room that was destined to become Emma's room was originally our office (for office, read 'room full of office furniture and miscellaneous junk', it was never actually used as an office!). Emma was seven months old before I got the room straight enough that we could put a cot in there!  It's not easy to sort these things out when you have three children under five! Luckily, Emma was tiny, so she was able to stay in her Moses basket for ages. I tried very hard to make the room look as much like a nursery as possible, but there was really no disguising the office furniture she has had to share a room with for the past four years.

This is my last chance to indulge in the fun of getting a baby's room ready, and at the rate things are currently going it is looking like the pleasure of doing up a nursery is again going to have to wait until after the baby is born! Although Emma and Lily are going to share a room, the office furniture is still in Emma's room and Lily is still in her old room (which will be the baby's room). Sorting everything out is proving to be a huge undertaking and at 32 weeks pregnant I may have the drive, but I certainly don't have the stamina or the energy! I tire easily and suffer from back ache if I am on my feet too long. This is driving this nesting Mummy a bit potty as I am desperate to get things organised before our newest addition arrives.

Since the reality is still a long way off, I thought I'd indulge in a little fantasy nursery preparation. I plan to decorate the baby's room with a Beatrix Potter theme. I love the works of Beatrix Potter and think her charming illustrations are eminently suitable for a nursery. They are both gender neutral and timelessly classic and are perfect for baby! Since this is a fantasy and in fantasies money is no object, I have been amusing myself by looking at the delightful nursery furniture and furnishings of Dragons of Walton Street. Way, way out of our budget, but a mother can dream for her unborn child can't she!

This lovely cot is £1355. Ouch! 

Beatrix Potter Nursery Collection by Jane Churchill and the celebrated Knightsbridge children’s emporium, Dragons of Walton Street.
Pretty nursery bedding, designed by Jane Churchill. This lovely cot quilt will set you back £235. 

How about this delightful beechwood hairbrush for baby? A mere snip at £80!

A personalised print is a mere £315!

I absolutely adore this dresser. Shame it is £2595!

Whilst we are on the subject of fantasies. I would love the Dragons of Walton Street Flower Fairy range for the girls' room. The Flower Fairies were another childhood favourite of mine and I am confident the girls would love this range...

Fun though it is to dream, I know that my baby will have everything it needs regardless of whether or not there is a pretty nursery waiting for it. Stuff doesn't matter, people matter. Our baby will be born into a loving home full of people who will love and cherish it. This baby will want for nothing that actually matters and I am so looking forward to holding him/her in my arms.

The pictures in this post are from the Dragon of Walton Street website. Their beautiful furniture is well worth a look, even if it is very expensive. A cat can look at a king!

Sunday, 16 March 2014


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

Tom, this week you:

  • Had fun playing in the park after school almost every night.
  • Are loving football club after school on Wednesdays
  • Have been working hard on your Tackle Fire map.
  • Were rather disturbed by the 4D scan pictures of the baby!
  • Loved the stepping stone bridges at Deep Hayes Country Park. You went over and back across them several times just for the fun of it. 
  • Fell in love with a tree!

Lily, this week you:
  • Have been loving this milder weather and have playing outside as much as possible after school.
  • Are really enjoying playing football after school on Wednesday.
  • Had lots of fun decorating the front of the house with chalks. You and Emma made it look very pretty!
  • Have been drawing pictures, making bookmarks and writing lots of thoughtful little notes for everyone. You always seem to have a pen in your hand!
  • Suffered a little with bad dreams at the start of this week. You seem fine again now though.

Emma, this week you:
  • Have been playing outside with your sister every night after school. You two have been playing so beautifully together this week.
  • Had lots of fun chalking the house (and yourself!) with Lily.
  • Have added lots of sticks to the stick family collection that you are building up next to the front door. It's starting to look like a giant bird has built a nest there!
  • Persist in coming into Mummy and Daddy's bed once every night. You arrive at about 2.30am and announce, "I've come for a cuddle". You do now stay in your own bed when I take you back again after your cuddle (if I don't fall asleep...then you get to stay a bit longer!)
  • Have been singing to the baby in Mummy's tummy.

Podling Number 4 (31 weeks pregnant), this week we saw your face for the first time! Mummy was beyond excited and although you weren't in the best position for the scan, I do feel I have a pretty good idea what you are going to look like. Your brother and sisters were not sure what to make of your 4D scan images though! I think they prefer the 2D ones! The scan estimated that you are already approximately 4 lbs in weight. I don't think you are going to be a small baby!

At my midwife's appointment on Thursday you were head down and already engaged. Your heartbeat was as strong as ever...a lovely sound! I still feel you moving around lots, which is always reassuring. I think the iron tablets are already starting to help with my anaemia as I now find I am not just dozing off every time I sit in an armchair! I've found the energy to start sorting out the house again. Mummy is nesting!

Deep Hayes Country Park

We took a lovely walk around Deep Hayes Country Park this afternoon. It was our first time here and we thoroughly enjoyed the fresh air and the milder weather. The Podlings enjoyed themselves immensely, particularly Tom who loved the stepping stone bridges and fell in love with one particular tree on the walk. The girls had fun collecting sticks and enjoyed feeding biscuit crumbs to the ducks. It really was a lovely afternoon and we will definitely come here again.


A large clump of primroses in the wood. Beautiful!

Lily was a little nervous about the stepping stone bridge, but Tom loved it and went over and back several times just for the fun of it.

Emma was a bit small to manage the stepping stones alone, much to her disgust. She really wanted to do this on her own!

Stopping for hot chocolate and biscuits

A picture of Daddy, taken by Lily

Lily also took this picture of the four of us

Tom sat on his favourite tree

Friday, 14 March 2014

Preview of Upcoming Attractions

Oh my goodness, what a wonderful morning! Today, I got to see the face of my littlest Podling in amazing is that! Since we plan that this will be my last baby, I really wanted to have the chance to experience a 4D ultrasound scan and have been looking forward to today since we booked the scan. However, after an antenatal appointment with my midwife yesterday I was a little apprehensive that I wouldn't actually get to see much of the baby. Apparently, the baby is already engaged, so I was really concerned that we wouldn't be able to see much of the face, and since we don't want to see the other end (boy/girl surprise for us!) I was concerned that we would have wasted a great deal of money!

The baby was, unfortunately, not in a very good position for the scan. Its face was seriously squashed up against the wall of my uterus and the sonographer told us that this makes it a lot harder to get a clear image of the baby. As if this weren't bad enough, the baby kept its hand over its face for much of the scan and the umbilical cord was across the lower part of the face! Our lovely lady sonographer was wonderful! She kept at it for absolutely ages trying to make sure that we got some good images and had a good experience. We saw the baby open and close its mouth, wave its little fingers and stick its little tongue in and out. So precious!

The scan we booked should only have been 10-15 minutes long, but we were in there for a good half an hour (at no extra cost) as the lady valiantly tried to get some good images. I think she did a wonderful job and I am really pleased with the pictures, which are, I think, excellent given the awkward position of the baby.  I have a disk of 47 images and a DVD of the whole scan to immortalise the experience. You are lucky I have restricted myself to just posting seven of them on was hard to choose which ones to share! A huge thank you to the very nice lady sonographer at Premier Scans in Lichfield!

We also had a wellness check of the baby included in the package and everything is looking wonderful. The baby is approximately 4lbs in weight and his/her femur measured 59 mm. The baby is well within normal parameters for my dates is looking lovely and healthy. We were also told that the baby has hair already! Emma had masses of hair when she was born, so it looks like this one my take after his/her sister!

My 4D scan was a wonderful experience and I loved every minute of it. I feel like I have bonded even more deeply with the baby and I just can't wait to see his/her face and kiss that beautiful nose. I am in love with that nose!

Hand up by his/her cheek. That hand spent a lot of time in front of baby's face! I look forward to holding those adorable little fingers in my own in due course.

With mouth open

You can only see half of the baby's face here, but I've included it to show the little smile.