Monday, 28 July 2014

Alexander's First Trip to the Beach

All dressed up in a cute nautical outfit, all ready for my first trip to the beach.

Mummy says that now we are at the beach she thinks I will need a cardigan and thick socks

Hey, it's pretty windy out here Mummy!

Ugh, is that rain? Seriously, Mummy, get me back in the car!

I don't like the beach!

A Typical Day Out at the Beach!

Mark didn't have a cardigan (and it was very cold!), so he was forced to wear the bright yellow fleece hat he keeps in the glove compartment. At least we couldn't lose him! 

It has been glorious weather all week, so we could be forgiven for planning a trip to the beach. I was worried about taking Alexander out in the heat of the day, so we planned to go late and enjoy a late afternoon/early evening picnic. This has the added advantage that the beaches are much quieter later in the day anyway.

We spent Sunday morning making up a lovely picnic. I made chocolate muffins and flapjacks, we made a pile of egg and cress sandwiches and packed lots of fruit and biscuits besides. It was going to be a good spread! We set off with Mark's parents and drove the 75 miles to Prestatyn in North Wales. The nearer we got to beach, the more overcast the sky became. By the time we arrived in Prestatyn car park, it was looking pretty miserable. On getting out of the car it quickly became obvious that it didn't just look miserable, it was miserable! It was cold, incredibly windy and as we got there it started to rain. We managed to give the children their promised ice creams before the heavens truly opened and we were forced to retreat to the cars.

We didn't want to waste the lovely picnic, so we drove to a motorway services and carried our picnic hampers and cool bag inside. We enjoyed a lovely, though somewhat unusual, picnic in the warmth of the motorway services and, funnily enough, the Podlings had a great time! Although disappointed about the beach, our motorway picnic was enough of a novelty that the Podlings really loved it! We bought them all 20p bouncy balls and some sweets from the shop and you would think they had been on holiday! We plan to try the beach again on Saturday...hopefully we'll get better weather this time!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

I Love my Daddy!


What to wear this summer...

Ballet tutu and wellies!
Love her!

A Barbecue and a Big Change

My lovely, lovely parents

On the last day of my parents visit we had a barbecue to celebrate Mark finishing one job and starting a new one. The new job will mean a real lifestyle change for our family. In his previous job Mark had a 90 minute commute, which meant that he wasn't getting home until 8.30pm every night. He wasn't getting home until the children were in bed, but they were always still awake because they wanted to see their daddy. We were never able to eat with the children and we often didn't get to eat our tea until around ten at night. It was not good!

Mark's new job is only 25 minutes away, which will make a huge difference to our weekdays. He will see a lot more of the children and we will finally be able to eat tea as a family on a normal work day for the first time since we've had children. A real bonus for me is that I will have help with the children's bedtime routine, which will make my life so much easier! Not sure Mark is quite so keen on that though!

I can't say how excited I am for this new change to our family life. Mark and I have been like ships that pass in the night lately, so it will be wonderful to spend some real time together both as a couple and as a family. Happy, happy days!

Lily loves meat, just like her Daddy!

Emma brought her new giant monkey (a birthday present from Uncle Ryan and Auntie Carrie) to the barbecue and asked if we could give him a banana!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Braving the Pool

I'm not going in there, it's too cold!

Maybe I'll give it a go.

It's freezing in here!

Hey, this is great!

Tom, dipping a toe in the pool.

We love our new pool Nanny and Grandad!

Summer Surprise

My Dad preparing the surprise

We have been enjoying some incredibly hot summer weather here and upon finding out that we don't have a paddling pool (or Podling pool as we like to call it here), my parents decided to surprise the Podlings with a new one. My Dad inflated the ginormous pool in a shady spot in the garden and started the long, long job of filling it. Finally, after lunch, it was ready for the big reveal. The Podlings had no idea what their surprise was and were incredibly excited to discover it was a new (and very big!) paddling pool. The girls were very quickly clamouring to get into their swimming costumes. They spent most of the rest of the day in it and were two very clean little girls at bedtime! Tom was considerably less keen and having stepped in it for a few seconds declared it to be too cold and hasn't been near it since! 

Thank you Mum and Dad! I'm sure this pool will give us many happy summers of fun!

The big reveal!


Monday, 21 July 2014

Emma's birthday party

Emma decided about a day and a half before her actual birthday that she wanted a mermaid themed birthday party. In a slight panic, knowing that there was no way I could pull that off on such short notice with a new baby thrown in for good measure, I took her to the party aisle in Tescos and allowed her to choose from their party selection. I was fully expecting her to choose the Disney Princess partyware, so was somewhat taken aback when she went for the 'Kittens and Bows' partyware and told me she wanted a kitten birthday. Not being up to much, creatively speaking, with the whole sleep-deprivation thing, I gratefully bought up a bunch of Kittens and Bows partyware (which was thankfully on special offer) and started thinking about what I was going to do about the cake. We did offer to let Emma pick a birthday cake from Tesco, but she told me that she wanted me to make her a kitten cake.

After much consideration, I finally decided that the best thing to do for the cake was to make my standard chocolate topped Victoria sponge and just make a little kitten out of fondant icing. On the morning of Emma's birthday, my parents popped down to Tesco and bought me some white and pink fondant icing and I set to work trying to make something cute to go on Emma's cake. You can see my efforts in the photo below. Emma helped to decorate the cake with lots and lots of coloured sugar. The cake had a real crunch to it! The party contained all the expected party foods, including homemade fairy cakes. Chocolate this time, with strawberry icing. Emma chose the wafer daisies to go on top.

Emma enjoyed her party (though she had to be woken up from a deep sleep to attend it) and loved blowing out the candles on her cake, always a highlight for her! She was particularly pleased with the giant pink '5' candle we bought for the top of the cake. A good time was had by all!

I made the kitten, mouse and number 5 from fondant icing. Emma helped to decorate the cake. Can you tell?

Homemade fairy cakes

Emma was so worn out by all the excitement she fell asleep on the sofa surrounded by her presents and had to woken for her party.

Eating the icing off a fairy cake (she rarely eats the actual cake!)

A sleepy Emma getting ready to blow out her candles

Emma's 5th Birthday

Emma has been looking forward to her birthday since Lily's birthday in May. It's been a long couple of months of waiting for her, but finally her special day arrived. Her birthday list consisted of three things, namely an Elsa costume, a real ballet dress and real ballet shoes. She was, as you can imagine, beyond thrilled to receive all these things for her birthday. She also received a real microphone from my parents and she spent much of her birthday morning changing between her new costumes and singing into her microphone. The day got even better when Nanna and Grandad arrived with even more dress-up costumes! She had a beautiful set of five costumes, complete with shoes and accessories from them and a new Anna (from Frozen) costume from Uncle Greg and Auntie Kelly. She was in dress-up heaven for the rest of the day!

Emma loves baking, so she spent time in the kitchen with me making fairy cakes and her birthday cake. She even got to help decorate her birthday cake, which she loved. This girl loves being in the kitchen with her Mummy!

The excitement of the day got too much for her in the afternoon though and she crashed out on the sofa, surrounded by her presents. She had to woken up for her birthday tea, and she took some waking up! She had the most wonderful day.

Opening gifts

Emma in her new Elsa costume, the main thing she wanted for her birthday

She was very pleased with the new microphone from Nanny and Grandad

Could she be any cuter?

Emma is five!

Baby Emma

Little Emma turned five years old today. Five! It seems only moments ago she was a tiny little baby melting my heart with her ready smile. Emma has completed her first year of school and after taking a while to settle in she now has a lovely little group of friends and really enjoys school. She is still small for her age and is one of the smallest in her year. She hasn't long been wearing size 4-5 year clothes, but she still wears a lot of smaller sizes. Her favourite sundress, which still fits though it is getting a little worn now, is size 18-24 months and I haven't needed to buy her any shorts for a while as she still fits comfortably in her age 2-3 pairs! My little pocket Podling!

Emma's has a wonderful imagination and loves small world play. She spends ages happily engaged with her little dolls and ponies and is happiest when she can play with them in water. She is still a complete water baby. You can't keep this child out of the water, no matter how cold it is! Her favourite thing to do is dress-up and she has amassed an impressive array of costumes. There isn't a great deal of point dressing Emma in normal clothes unless you are going somewhere as she spends the day changing between her various dressing-up costumes.

Emma has the potential to become quite a bookworm, despite not yet being able to read very well. She certainly loves books! She adores being read to and will sit and spend ages looking through books, even though she can't yet read them.  I am confident that, like her older siblings, something will just click when she is ready and she will become a keen reader. She has been, I think, slightly put off actually reading by being made to start learning before she was ready (that's mainstream education for you...all must start learning to read at four!). She is now a little intimidated by the actual process of reading, though I am thankful that this hasn't affected her love of the books themselves. 

Emma loves music and her ability to carry a tune still continues to amaze me. She picks up new songs incredibly quickly and when singing them back she not only sings the tune pitch perfect, she copies the intonations of the singer. She tells me she wants to be a singer when she grows up! I think she has the potential to become very musical with the right encouragement and I would love to explore how we can develop her love of music (and, it seems, natural talent) further.

Emma continues to delight us with her sunshiny personality. She is such a happy child and incredibly even-tempered. She is the most patient of all her siblings and is always willing to share or compromise to please them. She adores Lily and there is definitely some hero-worship going on there. She will do anything to be like Lily and will do anything to please her (which is not always a good thing!). She is a lovely big sister to her new baby brother and loves him very much, although she isn't as all over him as Tom and Lily. She is quite content to admire him without the need to constantly poke at him which is definitely a good thing!

Emma is just the most delightful, happy and sweet little girl and she brightens up the whole family. We are lucky to have such a sweet little daughter.

Happy 5th Birthday Emma!
You make the world a better place and we love you very much!

Five year old Emma. She's too cool for school!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Alexander Again!

Because he is just so gorgeous! 


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Alderley Edge

We had a lovely walk in Alderley Edge. The Rosebay Willowherb was out in full bloom and the woods were simply delightful. I was exceedingly cheesed off when the batteries in my camera died, leaving me with a paltry four photos! I'm sure we'll be back though, so I shall have to make up for it then!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Friday, 11 July 2014

Read to me

I came downstairs from running Alexander's bath to find Lily reading to her baby brother. He really seemed to be enjoying the book! The lovely thing about having older siblings is that there is always someone to entertain you! Love my little people!


Bonus Podling Day

We were much obliged to the teachers for striking on Thursday, thereby giving me a bonus day at home with my Podlings. Lily spent most of the day at a friends house, so that left me at home with Emma and the boys. Tom generally entertains himself and Alex still naps a lot in the daytime, so Emma and I were able to indulge in a little kitchen fun. She has been wanting to make gingerbread men for ages, so we finally got around to that and she had tremendous fun cutting out various shapes and stamping faces on them. We even made some gingerbread biscuits in the shape of some of the characters that Tom has invented, much to his delight!

In the afternoon we made some glittery play dough and Emma had tremendous fun playing with it. We all had a lovely day!