Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Christmas memory

Memory Monday (except I'm writing it on Tuesday!)

I am currently squatting on an exercise ball bouncing away as I type. Now 5 days over. I walked about 5 miles today in a bid to try and make baby move along quicker. Perhaps by the end of this post I may be able to announce the beginnings of some labour pains. Fat chance. 

As I was raiding by box of old family photos for inspiration on these 'Memory Monday' posts, I came across a few old Christmas pics. I have also dug out an old diary which begins on Christmas day. I was laughing to myself as I read a few pages from it as I remember so clearly writing it now and the atmosphere in the house. I realise a Christmas post is a big odd seeing as it's April. But hey, who cares... 

I have many many happy memories of Christmas' over the years. As you can imagine, with 8 kids to buy for it must have been a pretty stressful occasion for my parents (mostly my mother as she did the majority of the organizing and prepping as is the case in most house holds). I have one memory of being dropped off for school one morning and my Mum exploding... "Every one thinks it all happens by MAGIC... BUT IT DOESN'T... If I don't do it all... NOTHING WOULD HAPPEN.... I think I might just lock myself in a cupboard when I get home and SCREAM!!". But in her credit, we always had a wonderful day and there was lots of laughter and fun every year.

So, picture a 14 year old teenager curled up in a sitting room armchair writing away in her brand new diary...

22nd December 2002

Thank you Meg and Anna for this journal, I only just finished the last one!! Merry Christmas!!We have just finished opening our stockings here is a list of what I got (this is slightly edited as it goes on for ever) :

Funky Chick Mirror
Writing Set 
Alarm Clock
Tooth brush - red
Stickers and notepad that say my name
Books 'Red sky in the morning' , 'Out of the Ashes', 'The secret of platform 13'
Knickers (funky pink ones)

(Stocking opening was one of the best bits during Christmas... we'd all wait until the alarm went off and trundle over to my parent's room with our tights stockings and pile in. We then found a spot somewhere and the fun began)

People are starting to come downstairs for breakfast now.
I'm lost for words.
It's raining outside which I guess is a blessing because if it had snowed we wouldn't be able to get up to the Slovaks.

Already the bubble of different conversation is breaking out. Gideon gives out lectures about punctuation and apostrophes. 'Fish' somehow comes into the conversation, Bethany announces that the Salmon is only £4 for 6lbs (she was a fish counter lady at Tesco around this time). Martha is patiently putting the blocks of jenga back into its box. 
Us 3 sisters have decided to wear red tops and wear bright red lipsick to get into the festive season.
Mummy announces that she will pull the plug out of the computer if they try and go on "that damned machine again". Gestures are going about of how to turn the table to make the most room. Yeeeek, Bethany has just announced that Lady has pooed under the table and that it's dry and rolling around the floor!! How vulgar as Mummy would say.

The knife has finally stopped on Beth. She gets an Avril Lavigne album and CD holder.
Wehey.. my turn! I got earings, nail varnish, make-up, top and ... CENTRE STAGE! Argh! WOW, I sooo wanted that... LUSH. I want to see it now.. but we are getting the DVD player on Saturday :(
Christmas is such a joyous time. Classic FM is blaring from the kitchen, with the familiar carols singing. "Spin the knife" shouts Martha.. Well I got 'The Very Best Pop Songs of all Time' from Aunty Manda... it's got loads of fantastic songs on it. 

Everyone is making the food for Christmas dinner! I peeled what felt like 20 parsnips!

We are just about to start our home carol service (not sure why that was.. most years we'd all drive to our church and sing carols there)

We have started our Christmas food.. YUM YUM! To think that it took so long and yet got eaten in 20 minutes.

We're all chilling Just like chatting and stuff. We just had a photo shoot with all the coats Mummy made me Martha and Bethany.

(This is a photo from another year where again, my Mum made all of us jumpers/dresses for Christmas... Seriousely do not know how she found the time to do this every year!!)

Gosh time really flew by! Mummy, Gideon, Uncle Peter and Aunty Pam were having a long discussion about religion and President Bush.  Also the Elders came round. (I've edited out the next part as I start wittering on about how good looking one of the Elders is... bit embarrassing). 
Man, I can't believe Christmas is nearly over... in 6 minutes. (more chatter about the other presants I got)
Ok it's now boxing day.  Farewell to Christmas and bring on the New Year! Hannah xxx

Oh.. the simplicity of a 14 year old's mind! I sometimes read a few pages from old diaries then quickly shut them again as I'm too embarrassed to continue. 

On a different note. I'm still bouncing on this blinking ball and NOTHING is happening!! Booooo!! 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

colouring addict

This child loves colouring and drawing. Most mornings after we've had breakfast, he'll ask for 'drawing peas Mummy'.

Love this sequence of photos that shows how many times he changes position to colour in about 10 minutes!

Friday, 11 April 2014

attingham walk

Just found these photos from a few months ago when we took a walk in Attingham. It was a really lovely sunny day, but the kids got absolutely plastered in mud!


Frame it Friday

First things first - this photo is not my favorite from this week! I don't really do selfies. But I thought it was appropriate seeing as it's my due date today! I can't really get the angle right to actually show the full enormity of my belly. Plus I've already thrown up today and have some really horrible pains in my abdomen (no not labour... just IBS).  Not feeling very much like doing anything other than sleeping and trying to ignore the discomfort. 

But hey.. I've reached my D-day, if only I was the kind of person to actually go into labour the day I am supposed to. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

the beginning of all things

Thought for the week Thursday

'A baby is like the beginning of all things,
wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities'
Eda. J Le Shan

So far this pregnancy I have been completely distracted with work and the general business of life that I haven't really stopped to think about the change that is soon to come when we welcome baby 3. The majority of the time the due date has seemed so far in the distance that it felt like it would never really come. Reality check. Due date is tomorrow. What? When did 9 months just go by?

Some of you might find this next part offensive, but I don't care. It's a reality of pregnancy and birthing children. Today as I got out of my car after having nipped into town to grab a few last bits and bobs for the baby I realised I needed the loo. So what?... I hear some of you say. The toilet is in the house. No biggy. 

Well, I reached the front door, managed to unlock it, close the door then begun fumbling with the keys to try and lock it behind me as I started the 'bob' motions (you mothers out there know what I'm talking about). As the urges to go to the loo got stronger I abandoned my keys on the floor and decided making the lavatory in time was far more important. Disaster averted. I questioned at this point, and have done so before, when using trampolines for example, why do I do this to my body? Pregnancy and child birth = no bladder control, stretch marks, not so pert body parts and other more graphic details. Yes, I can hear you big sister Bethany (midwife) shouting... 'why aren't you doing your pelvic floor exercises'? Too lazy and forgetful ... this one is on my own head. 

Why share this delightful information? There is a reason.

As a woman who is about to go through the traumas of labour for the third time, there are certain 'sacrifices' I have made and will soon make in order to sustain the right of holding that precious new bundle of absolute delight and joy in my arms. 

As I looked at the shelves of baby products today, I was suddenly struck with a huge wave of emotion. I'll be perfectly honest and say this is the first time I have truly felt excited about baby 3. Perhaps it is because I have been so busy, or that other events in our family's circumstances have been weighing more heavily on my mind. Maybe it is because I have had misgivings about my ability as a mother of 2 and I am concerned that I am going to be doing a disservice to the new baby and the two I already have? 

It could be all of these reasons. But today that changed in a big way.

I suddenly realised my husband and I were about to meet a new little person. A little person with a personality all of its own. God willing, this baby will grow up and change our life forever in ways we don't even know yet. Through their actions and life choices they will give us the opportunity to feel a multitude of differing emotions and experiences...love, laughter, tears, pride, disappointment, worry, peace, joy. 

This person inside me has the potential to change the lives of others in ways I can't even know yet. What will they become? What will they look like? Who will they meet? What will they go and do in their life time? How will I change as a person as a result of who they are? 

Life is so beautiful. It is precious. I really am so very excited to meet my little one. Don't take too much longer baby. I love you already. 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Last week as a family of 4?

What we've been up to Wednesday

The last week I have feel like I've eased up on the 'nesting'... i.e. my obsession with de-cluttering and organizing. I was starting to feel it at the end of the week and my legs had started turning to jelly if I was on my feet too long. Such a pansy. 

During the mornings I've had some time to myself while the kiddies are in nursery, so generally those hours are dedicated to any house work and 'to-do' list jobs. However on a few days I've taken some time out to just chill with Gareth or go for a little lunch together if his shift pattern allowed it. It's been lovely. 

The children have enjoyed a variety of activities this week. My energy levels really dictate what kind of fun we got up to on the weekend and during the afternoons. 

On Saturday morning, the kids asked me to get the trains out, so we had some fun building tracks.

It's always intriguing listening to their chatter as they play. Zak tells me he was taking the man with the broken leg to the hospital ( this was the little wooden man that buddy chewed a leg off the same day Zak got the train set) 

I've never really seen Aniah enjoy playing with the train set before. But this day she was very focused on creating a very long train and taking it all the way around the track. She asked me what was written on the little wooden signs (stop, go and danger) then used these signals each time she passed them. 

At lunch we met up with my sisters, mother and their families (Bethany was also visiting from Surrey with Lewis) for a hearty carvery. We then made the decision over lunch to drive over to the Airforce Museum for a few hours. 

Sometimes this can be quite a stressful experience as I spend most of the time chasing after the children trying to prevent them from climbing into all the planes! But this time it was rather pleasant with so many nieces, nephews and aunties to keep a close eye on my two little monkeys. 

Very often Gareth can be incredibly thoughtful, and Saturday was one of those days. He suggested that as all 4 sisters were all in the same location we should meet up without the children for a girly night. He even went out of his way to buy us all some delicious snacks. 

We realized that it had been over 2 years since the last time we had got together properly. It was such a lovely evening of chatting, painting toe nails and eating yummy food. I got a real boost from sharing life experiences and opinions. I have really wonderful sisters. It would be great to be able to meet up more often. Hopefully it wont be another 2 years before the next girly night!

After my sisters left at about 12.30am, I went to check on Zak and discovered him like this - 

He hadn't made a sound so must have slept right through the little fall!

Last Sunday we spent the morning in our PJ's (I always worry someone will come to the door on days like this and question my parenting!). It was conference broadcast, so we didn't need to get ourselves ready for church...yay for relaxed mornings!

Zak made me a birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday :)

I wrote down Aniah's chatter as she was using the playdough... She seems to enjoy verbalizing everything giving me a step by step guild of what she is doing...

"We cut it, and squash it like this. Now we need to cut it up and put it in here and squash it again. I need to roll it up. I need to make it hard. And put a roller. And I roll it up... I cut it like this. It look like a train track."

In the photo to the left she had just told me I was 25. So I talked with her about what numbers were in 25 (a two and a 5). I watched as she then placed two candles on one side and 6 on the other. She then counted to check each side... as soon as she realised she had put 6 on the other side she removed one and said something along the lines of 'there you go Mummy... you're 25'. Quite sweet really.

 They started getting bored with the play dough, so I brought out the TREASURE!! My kids love the idea of pirates and treasure, so I keep any trinkety/treasure-like things (my oh my.. I'm such a hoarder!)

Anyway, these little stones(I forget their actual names) have been sitting in my cupboard for a while, so I gave them the stones and several little glass jars. I always find it interesting what each child does when given a set of resource and left to their own devices. 

Zak was keen to pour his from jar to jar then screw the lids back on and shake them to see what noise it would make. 

Aniah took hers out one at a time and counted them into another pot. 

I remembered I had some black card in the cupboard and figured the stones would show up much better on that than the table. Again... interesting how Zak arranged his in a seemingly haphazard way and spent some time turning them all the right way. While Aniah lined hers up and counted again.

We finally got ourselves dressed by about 12 and started playing with the conkers and acorns in the living room. Unfortunately this time, they realised they could crack open the acorns using their teeth. I then had a pair of squirrels chewing and peeling all the acorns. Thankfully they didn't eat them as well. I was then very grateful to be able to get out of the house and spend lunch at my Mums and Martha and Adam (who are living there while they sort out buying their new house).

Monday was toddler group day with Martha and Josh...

We enjoyed a little bit of Easter themed craft -

What is it Zak? "DINOSAUR!".. but of course it is! Any drawing/painting is the same thing :)
Zak really enjoyed doing the puzzles with very little help from me...

"Mommy... eat your sandwich.... and your pudding. Now have a drink. You like it? I make it for you." We rehearsed the same thing about 5 or 6 times I'm sure.
Zak brought over the Charlie and Lola dolls... here is how the conversation went -

Z: "Lola been naughty... Naughty step Lola"
M: "What did she do Zak?"
Z "Ah food... Ah food on ah floor...She pushed it. Naughty Lola"

Oh dear.. am I bringing up my children to fit into stereotypical roles?? I can promise they made these selections all by them self!!

When we got home I put out some plastic eggs and rice for them to make their own little shakers with. Aniah as you can see rather enjoyed this activity.

Zak on the other hand was not best pleased about having to take part in an activity so soon after waking up.

After we finished with the shakers, Aniah helped me decorate an easter bonnet as she was doing a parade with her nursery and local school the following day. This was my first attempt at an Easter bonnet, so was not really sure what it should look like .

 Aniah helped stick on the chicks and eggs, while I tried my hand at the slightly more fiddly flower bits.

Not a bad first attempt!

Sadly, the next day when we got the bonnet out for Aniah, she completely refused to wear it. The joys of 3 year olds.

By the time we got to the nursery and Aniah had heard me give an explanation about what an Easter bonnet parade was... surprisingly she changed her mind and wore the hat! Success!

When I went to pick her up I was told she had won a prize for 'Best Easter bonnet(girl)'... Get in!

I remember the only thing I won as a child was 3rd prize in a fancy dress costume(I'm the clown!)...

Tuesday afternoons have become 'soft play day', normally we'd go to the same one every week but this week we went to see the animals at a local garden center and play in their sand pit (for free!). 

After getting totally covered in sand, we headed over to the play pit which is conveniently right next door to the garden center.

Finally, today after coercing the children to wake up from their nap by promising to go to the shops to get them both a new ball (Buddy has destroyed every inflatable ball in the house) we got into the car and headed out. 

The children were delighted to choose their own new ball (a quid each, can't complain) and head over to the park on this very fine, sunny afternoon. 

We went to a park they had never been to before and they were delighted to see it had a pirate ship (something else they both love pretending to play at- pirates)

We finished the day by choosing our own pizza toppings for dinner.

While dinner was cooking the children enjoyed decorating a giant Easter egg outline,

The teacher in me always wants to work in some sort of  educational spin. With this activity we talked about the shapes they were using on their picture. To be fair both of them can name most 2D shapes now but it's always good to keep re-enforcing that kind of thing. 

Zak seems to struggle with picking up colours at the moment so I sat with him and I tried getting him to identify the colours he was choosing to paint with (there were only the 3 primary colours to choose from).

Sometimes I find it really hard to sit back and let them do their own thing. In my head I'd wanted to get them to decorate the whole egg and follow the patterns I'd drawn for them before hand. In self-directed play (which is what the majority of early years education is about), you're supposed to let the child choose what they prefer to do without any major intervention. You guide them by showing them things but ultimately need to leave them to do things the way they want. After really trying hard to take a step back I watched them both show their preferences again... Zak being to put things on in a more methodical manner...

While Aniah wanted to tip an entire bowl of cut up tissue paper onto her egg and smudge it all around. The majority ended up stuck to her hand!


 It's been a nice, relaxed week and now I'm starting to really get apprehensive about the imminent labour. The children are so excited. Zak has become quite aware of what is happening now, as he cuddled me this morning he said "I have baby brother in Mummy tummy... It come out now?"

Blogging may take a step back for a little while as I get to grips with the dynamic of looking after three children... but hey, if my mum did it with 8, this will be a walk in the park ... right?