Friday, 19 September 2014

Crazy Conversations: Fireman Sam

We've just finished watching a Halloween episode where there's a spooking competition to see who can scare the best. At the end, Station Officer Steele scares Norman and wins the competition.

E: That was funny Mummy! I think he won.
Me: Who won what sweetheart?
E: Sir won. He scared Norman!
Me: Do you mean Station Officer Steele?
E: His name is Sir.
Me: I don't think it is sweetie.
E: It is! That's what Sam says!

I can't argue with that, Sam does always call him Sir. It gave me a good chuckle though.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Photo Gallery: 8am

Tara over at Sticky Fingers has set the theme for her 200th(!) Gallery post as '8am'. I haven't participated in one of these for quite some time but today is a very special day so I couldn't resist - Toby turns two! 

So here we all are at 8am and a bit before (is that breaking the rules? Shhhh!) and as you can see, Toby is enjoying his presents. 

 Elizabeth excitedly waiting for Toby

 Unfortunately Toby wasn't very happy about having to come downstairs....

....until he saw his presnts!

 He enjoyed eating his breakfast at the table on his special new chair, like his sister

 This was us actually at 8am.  Please excuse the washing in the background!!

Hop over to Tara's blog and look at what everyone else has been doing at 8am on their chosen day.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Rolling Rolling Rolling....

A few weeks ago, when Zachary was around 14 weeks old, he rolled onto his front. I was shocked! That's very early to roll onto your front but he did it twice and that was it. A few days later we started to get rolling the other way, from his front to his back, which is much more typical for that age. Since then it's been clear that Zachary has mastered front to back rolling and he would also try to go onto his front but never managed it.

Until this weekend!

While we were in Denmark, Zachary started rolling onto his front and he hasn't stopped. In fact, he's now started 'moving', using his hands and knees to shift himself around in a circle and forward to reach a toy. It's only minor but he rarely stays where I put him now. All this and he's only 18 weeks old.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Travelling to Denmark

We've just got back from a long weekend visiting family in Denmark. We decided to fly this time (last year we drove) and it was going to cost too much to hire a car so we opted for using public transport once we were there. The Danes have a very good public transport system so we actually found the travelling around much easier than we'd expected it to be with three very young children in tow, plus our luggage.

We took our double buggy with us and we found that both the trains and buses had plenty of space for us, with nice wide doors for us to get in and out of, plus big open spaces inside to park the buggy and still stand next to it. The trains were the best for this and had a lot of pull down seats to maximise space. Perfect!

Elizabeth really loved being on the trains and buses. Every so often 'The Wheels on the Bus' would get belted out or she'd tell us what we'd find (like the bell, which goes 'ding' in case you ever wondered). I love her enthusiasm for all the things around her but when you're tired from travelling (and from all the prep for travelling), an almost 4 year old that doesn't stop talking or asking questions can be a little hard going! Still, it was wonderful that we had questions rather than whining and she seemed to take the traveling in her stride. In fact, all three children did. Toby did get frustrated that he couldn't be out of the buggy as much as he'd like but we did get him out as much as we could.

We both agreed that using public transport worked out really well. We're going to talk about maybe doing another 'travel light' holiday next year, pushing ourselves a little and exposing our children to something different. Both Frans and I are in awe of his sister and her husband. They frequently take holidays with their two children (I think they're 6 and 9) where they don't rent a car, only know where they're staying for the first couple of nights and just go where they'd like. I've never 'gone travelling' and it would be great to be able to share something like that with my family.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Holiday Time!

We're off to Denmark today to spend a long weekend with family. We're celebrating some birthdays while we're there but mostly it's about catching up with family that we haven't seen for a year. That's right, a WHOLE year! No one has met Zachary yet and this will be the first time that both boys have been on an airplane (we drove to Denmark with E and T last year).

Truth be told I'm a little apprehensive. Not because of who we're seeing but because of how we're getting there. We're flying to Copenhagen and then relying on public transport to get around. It's too expensive to hire a car for the weekend as with three very young children, we need three car seats and a car big enough to fit them all. Not cheap. So trains and buses it is. We've tried to make things easy for ourselves; where we're staying is right next to a train station and a short(ish) walk from family members. We can get a train from the airport to Copenhagen, then switch to arrive by our apartment.

The apartment is worth a mention actually. We didn't want (for various reasons) to use a hotel or B&B for our stay and we can't crash with family so we're trying AirBNB. In case you've not heard of them, this is from their About Us page:

Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone.

Whether a flat for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetise their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.

So we're staying in an apartment where someone actually lives. They won't be there of course! It's a little weird but it allows us to see our family because we couldn't afford it otherwise (or we couldn't have another holiday later in the year that's just us).

Jumping back to the car issue, due to relying on public transport, we're having to pack fairly light and only take what we really need. Two smallish pieces of hold luggage (one is a hiking backpack) and minimal hand luggage and it's been a challenge! It has made me realise that we can get by on a lot less than I usually take, and I usually try not to over-pack anyway. It's the nappies that take up all the space - two different sets for two different children - but at least we won't be coming back with them.

We're all really excited about our trip. Elizabeth is ridiculously excited about going on a train - it'll be her first time - and it's going to be such an adventure for the children. I've never 'travelled' so this is going to be an experience for me too!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Make-It Monday: Reversible Shorts

There's a blog I've started reading recently; Make It Perfect.  It's a sewing blog and I love it!  One of the posts was about 2-in-1 shorts and the pattern was free to download from here.  So off I went and got the pattern for reversible shorts, thinking "Yeah, I can make shorts.  Easy."  This was a few weeks before I bought the Lazy Day shorts pattern. I printed everything out and read the instructions, left it for a few days, read through everything again, left it for a few days... And on it went. I then started the Lazy Day shorts and Elizabeth asked if I was making them for her. I explained that because I made her a dress, Toby was now getting shorts made for him. However, since I made her dress, E asks me to make lots of things now ("that's OK mummy, you can make Baby Annabel a new top" or "mummy, I think I want another dress now. A pink one.") so naturally she told me that I could make her shorts once I'd made Toby's. So kind of her. 

So this brought me back to these lovely looking reversible shorts from Make It Perfect.  Elizabeth saw the elephant fabric (Michael Miller's Elephant Romp Midnight) in my stash and asked for that so I got busy cutting. I made the first half fairly quickly (the elephant print side) but then switched to another project. I came back to complete these shorts a week or so later. Doing the shorts from the second fabric (plain turquoise cotton) was much easier as I felt more confident with what I was doing.  I even added a pocket which was an option within the instructions.  I then had to combine the two to make the shorts reversible. 

I spent a lot of time making sure my seams lined up and that everything was where it should be. I hadn't realised when I started these shorts just how important it would be for my sewing to be fairly accurate, at least at the points where the two pairs were going to be stitched together (waistband and leg holes). Luckily I did a good job and I didn't have any issues. Phew!

This time, getting the elastic in at the waist was much easier and I made the channel slightly bigger than I needed, to give myself a bit of room should my sewing not be as accurate as I would like. I really struggled with the hem on the leg holes actually. Each pair needed to be turned in and I found it difficult to get both parts to be equal. I took my time and got there in the end. Stitching it was then easy and I like the double row of stitching. 

I love these shorts, as does Elizabeth, but they were quite time consuming and tricky for someone just starting out. I feel I've done a great job though and because they're double layered, they feel really good and hang really well. I'll definitely use this pattern again but once I've got some experience under my belt.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

School uniforms

Elizabeth isn't quite at the age where she'll start school.  She'll start next September but it's something that we've talked a lot about recently as most of her friends from her pre-school, Jack and Jill's, are moving on to school now.  I've had to explain to her that because they're older than her, they will go to school now and then when she's bigger, she'll go.  She's really excited about it.

So when I saw a blog post over on the Mellow Mummy blog about the Debenhams back to school competition, I asked Elizabeth if she'd like to choose her own school uniform (cue 101 questions about school uniform....) and then write about it.  She didn't really respond very well to me asking her why she'd chosen all the bits she picked out - like getting blood out of a stone! - but I did manage to get something from her.  So here it is, Elizabeth's very own 'perfect' school uniform!

We started with the dress.  It had to be a dress.  She wouldn't even entertain the idea of wearing something other than a dress.  Can you tell she likes dresses?  Everyday I get told that she must wear a dress and she gets quite upset when I say it's too cold right now.  Until I say she can wear a pink top, but I'm digressing.  So we looked at dresses.  She chose this really lovely red floral number because "red and pink and white are my favourite colours".  I thought it was a little smart for school but at least the girl has taste.

I think this dress was a close second for her.  She really likes that it's pink but she did keep choosing the red one above when they were next to each other.  I thought the pink dress would win every time.

We then moved on to shoes.  Well Elizabeth didn't like any of them because they're all "black and boring".  I explained that all school shoes were black so maybe we should look at what else the shoes had on them or in them to decide which ones we wanted.  Have you guessed it yet?  Elizabeth likes these delightful shoes purely because they're pink inside.

To finish things off, I told Elizabeth that she could wear a new coat.  At first she picked a rather lovely navy blue puffy coat with pink hearts all over it, which I thought was quite nice for a three year old.  Then she saw this and no other coat even came close! Not only is it pink but it's covered with Peppa Pig.  I thought Elizabeth was going to burst when she saw it! 

So that's what Elizabeth would wear to school if she could.  I asked her if she wanted a cardigan to keep warm but apparently she doesn't need one becasue "my Peppa coat will keep me warm Mummy, don't be silly!"  That told me then.