Sunday, 31 July 2011

The rainbow party!

I decided a few weeks before Aniah turned 1 that I wanted to do a bit of a party... mostly because it's an excuse for kiddy games and a bit of fun. The only problem was that we are on a really tight budget at the moment, so I knew I had to do things as cheaply as possible!

I had seen a rainbow cake a while ago and thought it looked AMAZING ! As a result, I became obsessed with the rainbow theme for her party. I knew I wouldn't be able to do the standard party games i.e. pass the parcel ad pin the tail on the donkey for a baby party, so I figured I would create a sensory play afternoon with all the colours of the rainbow....

 After several hours preparing that morning... everything looked just about ready ...

Party bags were all in place ...

The activities included a paddling pool (which Aniah had got from us for her birthday)... Alex (the boy in the pool) was so excited by this part that about 5 minutes after he arrived he'd jumped right in with all his clothes on! He was so cute splashing around without a care in the world! As you can see from this pic, we tried to get Aniah in, but she did not like it much at all... oh well!

 There was painting - using some edible paint I'd made myself (same stuff we used for the father's day painting) . I knew it had to be edible as Aniah will eat anything and everything.

As shown in the following activity, the spaghetti dip. Which was baisically a load of cooked spaghetti, then coloured with food dye. Then I put a load of Aniah's magnetic letters mixed into it which the kiddies had to try and find. Very messy indeed! Aniah didn't quite understand the concept and spent the majority of the party eating the stuff in handfuls!

I just loved the juxtaposition between Aniah taking the spaghetti out in handfuls, then Freya who was so careful about taking one piece out at a time ...

... I wasn't kidding! I'm intrigued to see the after effects of Aniah's spaghetti consumption... more rainbows to be seen methinks?

Aniah took a bit of a liking to Alex... he was very patient with her constantly trying to wrestle him...

Cousin Celeste enjoying some fanta

I was so excited about this part!! The rainbow cake was ready to shine ...

 oooooooh.... pretty colours

When the party was over ... I looked at the garden to see spaghetti, paint and crisps strewn all over the garden and smiled - loads of mess, but loads of fun :)

A year on...

This time last year, I remember turning to Gareth with our new baby in arms saying - 'can you believe that this time next year we will have a one year old'. In my head, I couldn't picture having a one year old when the reality of a new born was so apparent in front of me. 

But time doesn't wait for anyone! Here we are, with our little babbling, nearly walking one year old.WOW - did that year fly! I have found that having your own child really does instill a desire to make the most of each moment, because before you know it, the first word...tooth...step is all just a precious memory. 

Well, in true Hannah fashion, I took loads of photos of Aniah's first birthday celebrations. I know that my memory is awful, and I really want to hold on to these moments forever... 

On the 28th we started the day  by having the birthday breakfast and opening presents time.

It must be said, 1 year olds don't really have a clue what's going on... so we had to actively encourage her with the present opening part!

She loved her magnetic numbers :)

Then we took her to the Pirate Play pit down the road - she even got in free because it was her birthday!!

Then after we got home, we took a stroll to the nearby pond to feed the ducks with her lovely cousins and Auntie Esther.

...then the horses, Celeste was very keen waving her leaf

By the time it came to birthday cake she was completely worn out! She was really frightened by the candle for some reason :(

But... all in all we think she had a lovely day which is all that matters :)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Pregnancy... take 2

I was lying in bed the this morning, when it suddenly dawned on me... a year ago today I was only 1 week away from holding my new, goo covered, but perfectly formed Aniah in my arms for the first time. Those 3 days I spent in labour was filled with a myriad of  emotions. The days seemed to have blurred together, with memories of exhaustion, pain, relief, frustration, fear, love, joy...

Yet, the overriding memory is that of cradling our newborn with Gareth by my side, both of us in tears welcoming our new little one to the world.

But here I am again, 28 weeks gone. It feels as though I'm back on the rollercoaster slowly making my way up the first incline before that first big drop.

This pregnancy has felt very different from the first in many ways. For one, with the last pregnancy I was so diligent in keeping a pregnancy diary - today I read that at the same stage with Aniah, I weighed 10+1/5 st, and had a 39inch belly. Whereas this time, I am sporadically weighing myself, and even more rarely measuring my waist (but haven't written anything down this time). I am only 10stone at 28 weeks this time (does this mean I might have a smaller baby?? or just that I've been eating less cream cakes!?)

Sickness during the first trimester has been about the same. A nasty car sickness feeling most days, then right at the end of the trimester I was sick once. I feel quite blessed that I've had it so easy, whereas my sister Martha who is now 34 weeks gone is still being sick now!

It's been so lovely experiencing pregnancy with my sister. We've been able to chat about what we're experiencing and the concerns we have. It's going to be so lovely to see both of them growing up together with such a small age gap.

My real trial this time round has been the fatigue I feel by about 7pm each day. I feel totally wasted and collapse onto the couch most evenings, only to fall asleep and then try and make my way to bed at 10pm.

Last time I didn't have a clue if it was a boy or girl (until the 20 week scan). But this time we haven't found out, but my instincts tell me it's a boy. I've done all those silly old wives tales with the thread and needle/ chinese birth calendar, and according to those we'll be having a boy... hmm, only time will tell.

Wow! Just got a massive kick from the little monkey as I write... I love those moments. I absolutely love the connection I get as I watch my belly move and just imagine this tiny baby stretching and somersaulting (well until it gets too big!)

I think there must be something in the water this year, as I know over 10 women who are pregnant within a few months of each other. At church there are 6 of us!

I just love this picture!

I must say, from the experiences so far that I love being pregnant. I love the knowledge that there is someone special that is just months away from joining our family and bringing so many new memorable moments to our lives. The whole journey is such a miracle.

I can't wait to meet number 2. I totally adore motherhood with Aniah. I'm sure that having a second so close to the first will have it's challenges. I can see myself pulling an inquisitive Aniah away from poking her new sibling in the eye on many an occasion. But I can also see us all enjoying the journey and learning as we go...

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Independence begins...

Up unitil today I have loved 'food time' with Aniah. The way in which she openes her mouth wide like an expectant chick is just so endearing. But today was different. She didn't want to play that game, as I went to put the spoon to her mouth, she just grabbed the spoon from me and then reached out with it trying to place it into the yoghurt pot. At that moment I wanted to hold onto that little baby Aniah that needed me to feed her for a bit longer... but then I realised I also needed to embrace her desire to become a little bit more independent.

So, a little reluctantly I handed over the yoghut pot...

'How am I supposed to get this stuff out?'

'Ah Haaaa' .... She finaly figured it out after much trial and error!


 She's just the sweetest thing... and check out those gappy teeth!


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

We're all going on a summer holiday...

Last week Gareth and I had the opportunity to spend a few days down in Wales visiting my childhood home. We realised this may be one of the few times we get to do anything for a while as the baby is due in a few months and Gareth will be starting Uni in October so spare pennies and spare days will be few and far between.

Another reason we wanted to go and visit 'Penrallt' is because it may be one of the last times we spend time there as my Mum is selling up and moving this summer. It will be the end of an era.

While I lived in Pembrokeshire my whole life, I realised there were so many places I had not visited before. So on Monday we spend a little time searching google for 'places to visit in South West Wales'! The weatherforecast looked like rain the whole week, but we wanted to make the most of it anyway and decided we'd have fun come rain or shine!

The places we went for were Pembroke CastleFolly Farm, and some local Nationl Trust sites.

So on Tuesday we spent the whole day cleaning the house (don't know if it's just me, but I hate coming home to an untidy house after I've been away!) and packing our bags. Even though there is just three of us at the moment... to look at the amount of stuff we needed to take for just 3 days away was unreal!

After several hours traveling, we arrived on Tuesday night...

Much to my delight, we awoke to partly blue skies. No rain!!

I had a quick look at the weatherforecast again and saw that we had until 1pm before the rain was to hit. So I rushed around getting everything ready, packed lunches, spare clothes... etc etc. Once we got to the castle it was about 11am, so we still had a little while before the rain was forecast.

Hmm... I should know by now how changeable the weather is by now - on our walk up to the castle we got hit by a heavy downpour and managed to find shelter under a tree!

The castle itself was stunning. It had been restored since the time of Cromwel (who had spent many months tearing a lot of it down).

... and as I had hoped we had loads of fun and learnt lots of new things despite the rain!! A really lovely day out :)

On Thursday we were suprised again with sunny weather... so off we popped to Folly Farm. Aniah absolutely loves animals, so she really loved this part of the holiday. Unfortunately Gareth got hit by one of his awful headaches, but was a real trouper and didn't compain about it once.

Here's how the day went...

'Driven' on ma tratrrrrrr'  (said in a west country accent!)

Having fun with Mamgu!

On the fairground rides with Daddy

This was the foal of a miniture pony, and had only been born a few days earlier...
 Time for some big people fun ... except the karts were not very fast, in fact I probably could have run faster than they drove ... oh well!
Nothing like looking at yourself all deformed ....

I do always feel a little guilty when I see wild animals in captivity like this. But, I felt much better when I read on a plaque that many of the animals had been rescued from cruel circumstances. It was great being able to show Aniah so many new things, and also I got to use all my baby sign language skills for all the different animals we saw!

Friday we had meant to go to see some National Trust sites, but the weather was really bad, so we decided to make some last minute visits to old friends and family in the area.

In the words of the Welsh - " joio ni mas draw " - roughly translated to "We had a fab time" !!