Sunday, 26 July 2015

Downs Banks Again

The weekend of my parents' visit we took them out to Downs Banks so that the Podlings and the Dogs could have  a run and my parents could enjoy some of our lovely Staffordshire countryside. We brought a Thermos and some cake and biscuits (of course) and also brought along Phoebe, the girls' friend from over the road. The three girls found a lovely spot in the woods and claimed it for their own, spending most our time there playing in it. Tom bounced his ball and Alex loved being able to roam free. My little outdoor boy is never happier than when playing outside! We were entertained by an entire herd of young cows walking past us whilst we enjoyed our little picnic. Thankfully we were in a little fenced off picnic area, otherwise I think there might have been more terror and less amusement amongst the children! As it was they lined themselves up along the fence and had a great time watching the cows parading past.

"Come on Grandad..."

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Emma's Birthday Tea

Can you see the sneaky little baby hand stealing a pasty in this picture of the party table? That's what happens when you put the highchair too close to the table!

From her fifth birthday until a couple of weeks before her sixth birthday, Emma had been quite adamant that she was going to have a rainbow unicorn birthday. In true Emma fashion, she then suddenly decided she wanted a Minion birthday cake, so I ordered some Minion toys for her to put on the cake. Three days before her birthday she saw some kitten partyware in Tesco and decided she wanted a kitten birthday! Her birthday ended up being a funny mix of all things Emma and she loved it! We had kitten plates, party blowers and bunting from Tesco, pink and floral party decorations and a Minion cake! We invited Lily and Emma's friend from over the road and her mother to tea and the girls had a lovely time. It was the perfect celebration of our funny, quirky little girl. We love her to bits!

I think Emma did a wonderful job decorating her cake

Lily did a lovely job decorating the fairy cakes. The rainbows recall Emma's original chosen rainbow unicorn theme!

"Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday to you..."

Make a wish!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Emma's Sixth Birthday

Opening gifts

A few pictures from Emma's sixth birthday. Emma isn't as keen as Lily to pose for photos, so I just snapped these few over the day. Emma loved her birthday! She had been looking forward to it for so long (more or less since her last birthday!) and clearly loved every minute of her day when it arrived. She opened lots of lovely presents and had doughnuts for breakfast in the morning (a family tradition on birthdays). Her Nanna and Grandad arrived later in the day with the Podlings' cousin Grace, who spends two days a week with her grandparents now that Carrie has gone back to work. Emma was beyond thrilled that Grace was able to come to her birthday. "I'm the first one in the family to have a cousin at their birthday!" she told me proudly. My parents always try to come up for the Podlings' birthdays, so they were with us too and we had quite a houseful on the day.

Emma played happily with her toys, had a wonderful time helping to make her birthday cake and fairy cakes and loved getting to decorate her cake all by herself. We had a little birthday tea in the afternoon and Emma played with her friend from over the road, whom we had invited to tea. She went to bed a very tired and a very happy six year old. She was already planning her seventh birthday!

A very happy little girl!

The girls played with Emma's new Playmobil all morning. It has such a high play value and I really like it for the children. Lily has asked for some of her own for Christmas.

Decorating her own birthday cake

Lily and Emma loved playing with Grace

Beautiful baby Grace, always smiling!

Playing Playmobil with Nanna

A very tired Emma snuggled up with her Daddy, who delivered her six years ago today! That was definitely a day to remember! 

The observant amongst you will notice that Emma still has a dummy. She really loves it! Does this bother me? Not in the slightest! She doesn't have any second teeth yet and she only normally has it at bedtime (or when she is very tired). It was her birthday, so we just let her go! She certainly isn't allowed it out of the house. She'll drop it when she's ready (or we'll make a point of it when she gets second teeth). I'm pretty laid back about these things. I'm a great believer in choosing your battles wisely and choosing the right time to fight them! Having four children has given me some experience in these matters!

Emma is Six

Tiny baby Emma

My little bundle of sunshine turned six years old today! Not that she looks it! She is still very petite and is one of the smallest in her year. In fact, there are quite a number of children in the year below her who are already taller than my little pocket Podling. Alex will be overtaking her in a few years!

Emma has always been such a happy little girl and has so much character in her little frame. She has an infectious laugh and spreads joy wherever she goes. Even her teacher has commented on her sunshiny personality. She spends a lot of her life in her own little world and it is not always easy to bring her back to the real world, something that is not always of benefit to her in the classroom! Emma is not over keen on school and would much prefer to be home with me. I would much prefer her to be home with me too, so at least we are in agreement! She has been at school for two years and I still miss her being home.

Emma and Lily have a special bond and Emma will do anything for her big sister, often sacrificing her own desires to please her. She is a very giving little girl and shares readily. 

Emma loves to be read to and spends a lot of time drawing pictures and stories. She loves small world play and will play on her own quite contentedly for long periods of time. She is very affectionate and frequently tells me she loves me. The feeling is entirely reciprocated. I absolutely adore this little girl!

Happy 6th Birthday Emma
We love you so much!

Still quite tiny!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Monday, 13 July 2015

Sudbury Hall

We haven't been to the Museum of Childhood at Sudbury for quite a while, so we decided to take the Podlings there this weekend. As usual the Podlings had a fantastic time, even little Alexander found plenty to keep him amused. We love it there!

Although we have been to the Museum of Childhood a couple of times before, we have never been in the hall itself, something that we rectified on this visit. For those of you interested in such things, Sudbury Hall was used for the interior shots of Pemberley in the BBC's 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (Lyme Park was used for the exterior shots). I absolutely love that series, so it was rather thrilling for me to recognise some of the locations. I was rather flattered by the lovely old and very informative gentleman who was stewarding the Long Gallery, who seemed to think I was too young to have seen the programme!

After the hall and the museum the Podlings had a play in the rather fantastic woodland adventure playground. We then had a quick look around the churchyard of All Saints Church adjacent to the hall before heading back to the car park for a little picnic snack and thence home. It was a lovely day out and we still felt like we could have done with more time there. 

Poor William Tildsley, a groom in service of the dowager queen, met an unfortunate end when he was "accidentally killed by the incautious use of a gun"

A boy and his biscuits!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Sand, Sea and Squirrels

Mark's failure to see a red squirrel on our first trip to Formby necessitated a return visit the following week. Our commitment to the quest for the red squirrel was amply rewarded by the little chap in the picture above, who sauntered over to a tree right in front of us and sat there calmly eating and glancing at us occasionally with his beady eyes. He stayed there for ages before going on his merry way again and we felt that we had been exceedingly lucky to get so close to a red squirrel.

We carried on our walk in the woods for a while and then went to the beach where Alex enjoyed his first proper walk on sand. He loved being able to just walk and walk. He also loved paddling in the tide pool until he plopped straight down on his little bottom in it. Suddenly the water was dramatically less amusing! I think he would have got used to it on a warmer day, but it was quite cold and windy the day we were there and he was not amused! Thankfully, rather like his mother, there isn't much a slice of cake and a couple of biscuits can't fix and he was soon his happy self again.

We've rather enjoyed our trips to Formby and I'm sure we will return. For Alexander's sake, hopefully the weather will be better the next time!

Shortly before he sat down rather unexpectedly in the water and found he didn't like it quite as much as he thought he did!

Finding solace in a slice of angel cake!