Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The wonder of Freya

Freya seems to have taken Edie's arrival into her stride. We keep expecting a jealous tantrum, which hasn't materialised yet. The only time you can see her eyes flash is when she has to share Nanny and Grandad. She talks about Edie a lot and says "Love Edie", she is always keen to kiss her goodnight and apart from toy and blanket stealing I think it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


Having Edie has made us appreciate Freya more because she is so interesting compared to Edie who cries and sleeps at present. Freya has developed an obsession with breakfast cereal and constantly runs to the cupboard to steal large handfuls of Sugar Puffs or Cheerios. If she is caught by surprise she may grab the wrong box and have to put up with a handful of All Bran (not enjoyed by anyone but left over from our slimming world cake days!) The other day whilst on the the changing table she snatched an unidentified object and stuffed it in her mouth. She then informed me in a very sorry way that it was "Poo, not Cheerio" I dread to think how she knows what poo tastes like.

I have been considering the idea of potty training Freya as she seems very ready. She had an attempt the other day but ran round and round and finally pooed in the hall. Thank goodness for Amtico and Simple Solution enzyme cleaner. Nevertheless, we made a big fuss and put the poo in the potty and then trooped upstairs to put it in the loo. She can identify when she needs to go so I had a look at trusty Gina Ford and Freya fitted the criteria for training, however, it stated not to bother if there had been a big life change in the last month-Hello! I have contented myself with slowly gathering all the things we will need for attempting it in January. I would like to do it before I go back to work in March. I have my potties and Aunty Sally has got her some really cute Charlie and Lola knickers for Christmas, just need some other bits and a reward chart.

Freya's behaviour has taken a bit of a dive and we have had to start using Jo Frost's naughty step technique. Both Craig and myself are not against a rap on the back of legs if really necessary but this technique seems to really work so far and it keeps you from getting mad. She has also regressed a bit by peeing when we take her nappy off- even Edie has grown out of that habit.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

I Love My Kids But...

I have just had the most wonderful uninterrupted bath thanks to Craig for supplying the cocktail, British Gas for the hot water and the girls for staying quiet in their cots. I got to have a drink and read my Red magazine and felt very much like myself again and not a milk sodden children's entertainer/maid. I love family time but it's nice to get some time to myself. It is easy to forget what you like to do when you spend all day, every day doing what other people want. I feel pleasantly merry, cleaner, younger and happier. I thought I would have a quick blog before the chinese turns up.

Bedtime is my new favourite thing. Edie gets to paddle in the water while Freya enjoys her toys and then we divide and conquer with Craig sorting Freya out and I take Edie to our bedroom to massage then feed her.


Edie and I get to lie on the bed listening to Craig reading the bedtime story. He has a varied selection of voices, my personal favourite is his Rhod Gilbert-inspired dragon voice for 'Room on the Broom', a Julia Donaldson book.


Julia Donaldson wrote 'the Gruffalo' and her books are wonderful. We have recently moved on from very simple boring books (such as 'That's not my monkey...') to  stuff that has a bit more of a story. I recently discovered the blog 'The ramblings of an everyday mummy', in one of her posts she talked about favourite children's books. I read her recommendations and also other books suggested in the comments section and ordered a few from amazon. Story telling is just so much more fun now.

The boiler had been playing up recently. The water was going hot and cold and we were unable to run a warm bath for the girls. After calling out British Gas, they told us that the system was 'sick' and needed powerflushing and preferably replacing. A heart stopping amount of money later, we have a new boiler and clean pipes. The water is so hot that we had to turn the temperature down for fear of burning ourselves- it makes for a great bath/ shower experience. The house is nice and toasty too which is good because the temperatures have been falling to minus three outside.

We have been out at Elodie's second birthday party today. Freya and I joined them for a birthday picnic on Monday but today was the day of the party. Nicola bravely arranged for 40 people to come to her house and had outside caterers do 'Pie and Peas'.


The event was a real success, it was great from our point of view, Edie spent a lot of her time being cuddled by aunty Becky and slept all day long whilst Freya enjoyed the indoor trampoline, lots of people complimented us on how independent Freya was as she happily mingled around the 'play area'.


Nicola, who is an excellent baker, made Elodie's birthday cake. She did say that it had turned out "a little eighties"- I hope she didn't mind me saying but I immediately thought Fanny Craddock. Well done for a cute and tasty cake though.


As an aside...the nice thing about having girls is the beautiful clothes. I don't usually spend a lot of money on Freya's clothes but seeing as how it was a party... I got a new dress for her and bought some ugg type boots.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Halloween.

Running slightly behind with the blog obviously...


We had a lovely Halloween considering Edie was only 4 days old. It is really important to me that Freya's life stays as normal (and fun) as possible now that her little sister has arrived. We wanted to 'do something' to mark the occasion, that meant carving a couple of pumpkins between feeds on Saturday. Seems a little mad when you are supposed to rest when the baby rests not hollow out seasonal vegetables.


Craig did his in the afternoon when Becky had popped round to meet the new arrival and I got mine done whilst we watched the Amityville horror with Craig's parents in the evening. I chose a 'first pumpkin' design as Freya had had one.



Craig did a wizard design as seen on the right and my dad chose one called 'Bat-tle Axe'.


I thought that the evening was going to be low key, a chance to show nanny and grandad Freya's costume and compare pumpkins.


Freya's pumpkin princess dress was only £7 from Tesco accesorised up with a hat et voila.


The evening turned out to be a real success. Mum had a laid on a fine 'spread' for the trick or treaters to which we added a couple of bags of iced gems (Sainsbury's was devoid of sweets by the time we went shopping for them). We lit the candles and pumpkins and settled down to watch Roald Dahl's 'The Witches'. It struck me that the little boy's parents getting killed in the first few chapters of the book just wouldn't do in today's politically correct society where children's books have to be full of benal happy crap. I recently paid £50 on Ebay to get all the original Far Away Tree books as somebody has decided that Enid Blyton is a little too hardcore for our little ones. Both Dame Slap and Fanny got the axe in the new version- crazy. Anyway, I digress.



Mum took Freya down the street in her slippers and they even called in on a house and Freya got her first treat. She was made up with the idea that she could knock on a someone's door and come away with chocolate. This is how nanny and grandad's house looked from the outside, very inviting to the armies of kids. The knocking began...


 

We took Freya to answer the door, she always wanted someone with her for reassurance "Daddy help... or Grandad help..." but she really enjoyed seeing the other boys and girls cotumes. She was particularly pleased with the skeletons as she knows that word (thanks to the book 'Funny Bones' by Allan Alhberg) She was also being quite sneaky and eating from the bowls of sweets that were kept near the door- how much she actually ingested we'll never know. All the excitment and sugar had her saying 'Trick or Treat' over and over with a huge smile on her face.

All in all, a great first Halloween. One of the trick or treater's mums reminded us that next year we would be trawling round the streets rather than being tucked up warm. 


The evening was made complete when I went in to Freya next morning to find that she had vomited chocolate and grapes all over her cotbed. Ah well, it was worth it. We just jumped in the bath together before Edie and daddy got up.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Topless in Darwen.

Made you look.

Just a short blog about Lancashire getting battered by the wind the other night (11th Nov). We spent the evening snuggled up in our cosy front room behind the big curtains with the fire roaring, so we heard the tempest but weren't really bothered by it. I ventured out the following morning to take the girls to the park (in the new buggy incidentally) to discover something was different.


(Top and bottom bunks...)


We have hundreds of pictures of Darwen tower because we live so close and because 'it's just there'. Having said that, it has just taken us ten minutes to find a couple of these pictures. Here's a good clear 'before' picture of the tower with it's dome intact.


This is one of Craig's more 'arty' shots but I love the shadow of the tower and the mist hanging over the town.


Anyway, it is on the horizon and we see it every day. When I went to the park, I noticed that something was wrong with the skyline straight away but you know when you think to yourself 'Has sleep deprivation addled my mind so much?'. I went to mum and dad's, where dad got his binoculars out and confirmed that I wasn't going mad. Here are the pictures from the news.


You can see that the tower looks more like a rook and less like a rocket, which is what it used to look like from a distance.


This particularly well framed and crystal clear photo was on the BBC website as compared to 'fuzzy, far away' local news- see below.


And finally, this is the clean-up operation. We are hoping that they repair it and re-attach it. Craig was unsure whether they would in the current economic climate.


Blogging has been more difficult of late, my day starts at six and I am still loading the washing machine and doing other chores at eight before sitting down to my tea. Blogging has fallen down my list of priorities- oh well managed to sneak this one in. I would add that I didn't manage to complete the post without Edie needing 'settling' and Craig taking over the computer to do routine 'maintenance'. At least I have a nice cocktail on the desk which is more than can be said for Craig. He has made me a French Martini, my favourite, 3 parts pineapple juice, 2 parts vodka and 1 part Chambord. Unfortunately his Lynchberg Lemonade required triple sec which Craig had to substitute for parfait amour (a disgusting perfumey ink coloured liqueur) and it has turned out like something teenagers drink to get smashed.


Must dash, tea will be ready soon... although, not too soon judging by Craig muttering 'Cook from bastard frozen' and slamming the oven door.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Stand and Deliver

It's official...I am no longer pregnant.

My due date was initially the 26th of October, this was then revised to the 28th after my third scan. When the 26th came and went, I was so disappointed and thought that I would be unable to bare 'going-over' and experiencing the horror that is a 'membrane sweep'. On the 27th, I waddled round the park and took myself to Sainsburys to do the heaviest shop possible. By the time I got back from the shop- I was feeling quite unwell, nothing specific but definitely not sparkly. I went to bed that night planning strategies for the next day.

At 0400 I awoke with a pain that I put down to just being uncomfortable in bed, when the pain went and then came back, taking my breath away with it, I knew. I had had weeks of false starts, thinking 'shall I tell Craig not to go to work?, shall I send Freya to mums? Shall I clean the kitchen?- I needn't have worried, you can't mistake labour. I went and cleaned the bath of all the bath crayon, see below. (Freya really loves the bath crayons but it does kind of spoil a nice clean bathroom.)


I ran a nice warm bath, lit my coconut candle (not my favourite smell but I couldn't justify buying a Jo Malone Orange Blossom Candle for £40) and tried to relax with my ipod in. I lasted for about an hour in the bath and even tried using Bejewelled as effective distraction/pain relief in labour with limited effect. I then felt the need for a shower which lasted about half an hour. By the time I had finished faddling in the bathroom my contractions were every two minutes- time to get Craig up. The rest is history and detailed in Craig's post.

It felt wonderful to be relaxing in our clean bedroom, munching toast and party rings washed down with tea whilst Edie slept and we watched Iron Man 2, I would thoroughly recommend a home birth.

Friday, 5 November 2010

When a child is born...

Sam's not had a lot of time lately, so I thought I'd fill in a quick update post in my work lunch break.

At 4am on the 28th of October 2010, Sam was woken from sleep by something she could not ignore - her labour had started. She busied herself for a couple of hours by having a bath and woke me at 6 am to tell me that she was having contractions every 3 minutes.

I called her mum to come and pick up our daughter Freya, and we got the room all prepared for the home birth. At 7 am with contractions now roughly 2 and a half minutes apart, I called the midwives. For some reason they thought that speaking to Sam was more important than me, but the upshot was that they would send someone immediately. Immediately in this case turns out to be after an hour when the day shift comes on - and who says that UK midwives are not dedicated?

Well, after such a delay they arrived and examined Sam to find her cervix at 6cm and totally thinned. They just had time to get themselves set-up and to discover that their rigorous planning for home birth did not seemingly include ensuring that the nitrous oxide cylinders had tubing to allow their use. So at 8.23 am after less than 4 and a half hours of labour and on paracetamol only, stood up clutching on to the blacking covered fireplace in our bedroom, Sam delivered our second child.

Welcome to the world to our new baby girl - unfortunately at this point sans nom.
A quick clean-up and shortly afterwards she was weighed at 3.42 kg or 8lb 6.5 oz.

Both mother and baby were healthy after the birth and once the midwives had gone, I made some toast and we settled down to watch Iron Man 2 in HD ;-)

We did eventually decide on a name and here it is, along with a picture...

Edie Niamh Chambers

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Can you feel the force?

I am spending the evening watching Craig play on his new Star Wars game for the PS3. It is a great pass-time because although I enjoy watching, I don't actually have the patience to play myself. My favourite games to watch are the Resident Evil, zombie mangling games but Craig gets too spooked to play them late at night. The adrenaline stops him sleeping. Being an observer also provides me with the opportunity to trawl the internet looking at craft sites and other people's blogs.

Tonight, I have also done a little bit of shopping. I have ordered some new Christmas decorations from Next. I have stacks but it is nice to get something new every year. I just love this rug for the kids room. It's the kind of thing that you won't find again- so I snapped it up!


I want the place to be well decorated this year because we are entertaining again. You want everybody to feel festive.

I also got chance to look at the Martha website for some Halloween projects to keep me occupied over the next week. These are the three I have selected...


Chocolate cupcakes with impossibly difficult icing.


These clothespin bats seem nice and easy, can be pinned in Freya's room and she loves pegs.


I don't know whether I will get round to this, but it will give me the impetus to clean and polish the front door. I love a good wreath.

On the baby front, I am continuing to make everyone's life a misery by whinging. I went to see the midwives on Friday- she grabbed the baby's head and shook it like a dog, then proceeded to tell me that the head wasn't engaged. I thought "Well it bloody isn't now!" So that's a bit disappointing. Still uncomfortable- worst of all I have ripped through my only remaining pair of maternity jeans like the incredible hulk. Bless them, they just couldn't take the strain any longer. I have vowed to go out as little as possible then I can sit around in my Maxi summer dress like Gilbert Grape's mother. Oh well, one spicy Kung Po chicken, a whole pineapple and cup of raspberry leaf tea later... I have indigestion.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Busy week so far.

I went to call in on my friend Emily and her daughter Amelia on Monday. It's really nice to see friends with babies such as Nic and Emily because we always meet for 'elevensies'. A good cup of coffee and some baked products, then you can say your farewells and put the whipper-snappers down for their afternoon naps, catching 40 winks yourself. This was one of those occasions- I had brought waffles and syrup this time. Emily seems to be really stressed at the moment because on top of being a new mum and starting a degree module, they have given her some of my responsibilities at work. We joke that I will get it all back when I go back in March and she goes off to have her second.

Emily and Lee are currently having a porch built to enable them to park the buggy in there with its muddy wheels. The buggy problem was exacerbated because they have cream carpets throughout because they didn't think they were going to have children. I couldn't imagine Craig doing something like that. We haven't even got an exterior light at the front at present- some poor midwife is at risk of being scared to death by next door's creepy victorian children looming out of the darkness.



Freya loved playing with all the toys that weren't hers which was fine when it's a V-tech tree house but a little more embarrassing when it's an ipod touch and a pair of ceramic vases. We always said that we would would baby proof our child rather than baby proof our house but there are somethings that you just don't do with a toddler around, collections of ceramic vases precariously arranged on the cream carpet is probably one of them. When Amelia starts crawling, I will be relieved. After giving me a few helpful tips about nursery vouchers and NHS discounts at the nursery where Freya will be starting- I said my goodbyes. She has promised to text me regularly to see if I'm in labour to piss me off just like her mother-in-law did to her.

I had another girly date on tuesday. I was meeting some girls from work for lunch. Our merry band consisted of Fran, Lisa and Charley and Lisa and William. I turned up 40 minutes late, probably a record for me. We were meeting at Huntley's farm shop and restaurant. A place that I had never been to. Armed with my AA route map, I managed to go to the opposite end of the A59 nearly eleven miles off course, just outside Clitheroe. Oh well, beautiful countryside to get lost in.

Freya was asleep by the time we got there. We had a lovely meal and catch up without talking about work. Freya was really well behaved, helped by a large portion of chips and a small medicine cup full of ketchup to keep her occupied. We had a little mooch around the farm shop which seemed pricey but I would definitely go back for a closer look when not carrying a struggling toddler. They had some things that looked good for Christmas- posh cheese biscuits etc. When I left, Lisa, my old ward manager said that I better have had this baby by the next time I see her- I am sure I will, because she still scares me.


Craig had been off sick from work, so me and Freya getting lost in the Ribble Valley for the afternoon was a bit of a boon for him. Peace and quiet. I took Mooms out round the park and Freya on the swings before collapsing into Freya's bath. Craig kindly did the nighttime routine and then started wrapping our eBay parcels. This worked out nicely as my back pain was really bad by this point, so much so that I started to vomit. I took my birthing ball downstairs and had a bit of a bounce before starting with contractions. Sadly, everything settled with a glass of wine and going to bed three hours later. I did get to try out my contraction counter app for my smart phone though and I managed to tidy up the kitchen before retiring.

After all the drama, I could have done with a restful day but unfortunately I had beauty appointments. Lisa, the girl who does mine and mum's nails was coming over at  10.30. I had booked in for a pedicure- lush and a bikini wax- urggh. I don't think Lisa has had training, despite the fancy folding table. Painful doesn't cover it and I have ended up with a 'hair-do' that is wider than it is tall, very odd. Beauty treatments all done at least. I'm just relaxing in my lovely bed, blogging now.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Our weekend.

Half past seven on a Sunday. Freya's down. I have just finished bathing Moomin because she decided to roll in cow dung today. It is not the most comfortable experience leaning over the bath when you are nine months pregnant! Craig's cooking a fish stew and I am just putting off doing the ironing. It's actually been very good having the threat of labour and strange midwives poking around the house- it has meant that everything has to be kept tidy- probably for the first time in my life, I used to save it all up for a day off and do 6 hours worth of cleaning at once.

It's not been a particularly productive weekend but we did manage to get some stuff done. Craig has play barked the garden- it's finally looking tidier for the winter, which is definitely on the way. We have had a couple of mornings with ground frost and the heating is now on- a sure sign. Freya has had an outing to the soft play centre and a walk on the moors (without me!). Craig has also sold some gubbins on eBay. Mum and dad's breakfast table, which mum has been dying to replace for ages, has made them £25- better than a poke in the eye. We have also sold some crockery which we haven't used and is probably never going to get used. The money from the crockery is going to go towards the double buggy.


It is a lovely buggy, the kids can face each other and it comes with a carrycot attachment for the wee one. Unfortunately, it is £600, so we have really had to 'copper-up' for it. However, seeing as how we go out for a walk everyday- it should be worth it.

Time for a small glass of wine in front of QI with my hubby and beautiful smelling pooch.

Friday, 15 October 2010

The Autumn Blues

The weather has changed dramatically in the last few days. What was unseasonably warm and dry is now cold and tipping down with rain. The change in weather has made me pretty miserable or maybe it's hormone levels falling in preparation for D-day. Either way, all my get up and go is gone. Luckily, Craig has been great, helping me keep on top of the house, mum has helped me keep up with Freya and Freya still has her sunny moments despite the new battle that is teeth brushing. I have been online for advice and we are currently using a mirror and mum and dad are brushing theirs at the same time with lots of praise and songs.

I am trying all I can to expedite the little one's arrival. I have consumed large quantities of fresh pineapple. These have a chemical Bromelin in, which apparently has 'moving-things-on' effects. The scientist in me knows that apparently you would have to eat the equivalent of seven fresh pineapples a day to produce clinically significant levels but - 'every little helps' eh? It does give me the excuse to use a really fabulous kitchen gadget. The pineapple preparing thingy from Vacuvin that I got from Lakeland Limited.


Here you see the simplicity of the thing- it's just two bits of plastic, like a cork screw.


So you lop the top off then screw the 'thingy' to the bottom of the pineapple and pull out a continuous ring of pineapple.



No need to chop off the outer skin or the hard core in the middle. The whole thing is done in 45 seconds ish. Fabulous- have I sold you on it yet? Anyway, the gadget does make it easier to get fresh pineapple into your diet. This is also washed down with raspberry leaf tea that is supposed to kick start things.

On Tuesday, I had an hour of contractions seven minutes apart but after getting myself, sorry, sending Craig to the fridge to get me a glass of white wine and settling down to watch Masterchef- they disappeared. I was a bit panicky at first thinking 'Can I really manage at home- It is pretty painful' but I just tried to relax and 'strapped on a pair'. I was actually disappointed when I realised that they were fading but it did mean that I could enjoy the rest of Professional Masterchef. Craig and I just love Michel roux Jnr. and Monica Galetti, his right hand woman. We always imagine Gregg Wallace getting a hard time for being a mere green grocer.

It was odd thinking of what would happen with Freya. It was ten o clock at night... do we phone my mum, so she can have her stay over or just crack on and hope that she sleeps through. I'd have to let mum know anyway- she'd be mad if we didn't. Last time she was still up at 4am to phone the hospital to ask what was going on!

I had a midwife appointment today and told them my story thinking that they would be impressed and perhaps give me an exam but they were unimpressed and didn't. We discovered that the baby doesn't like me being on my back- his heart rate was slowing when I was on the couch and improving when I flicked onto my side. I will have to start being careful how I sleep. Surely that's a sign that the accommodation is now a little small. Time to move on baby.

Getting our craft on.

I have been feeling rather crafty of late. Justine sent us a picture that William had done for Freya and some Christmas paper chains to make together. Jussie seems to do loads of cool stuff with William. 


Couple this with sitting at the craft table at Wellybob's Farm and getting my Toddler's Busy Book through from Amazon, made me think that we should be doing more sticking, painting, molding etc together. So we trotted off to The Range and spent a small fortune on gubbins- fortuitously the weather has also broken, so we now have lots of rainy day stuff to do. I also bought a scrap book to keep all the kid's art work in, I have already got pictures from William and Aimee to store.

The craft bug doesn't only extend to our house. Mum has been very busy. I found this free 'berry hat' pattern online and fell in love with it. Unfortunately, it had American jargon and required circular needles and all other kinds of hassles but I think it is the most fabulous thing ever- well done mum.


I spent £15 on the hat below from a website last year (unfortunately it got lost on the moors). I think mum's hats for the baby and Freya are far superior- she needs to start up a little business!



Mum has also finished off my marathon 2 year knitting project. This yellow and lilac baby receiving blanket. There are a lot of man hours gone into that, I can tell you. She also tidied up a scarf that I knitted and made a raspberry coloured cloche hat for Freya.


The cloche hat is wonderful and makes Freya look like Victoria plum. It accessories her cheapo Tesco coat nicely. Shame she is out walking with me in black velour sweatpants, wellies and t-shirts that don't quite fit, too young to be embarrassed hopefully.


Not to be outdone by mum- I finally got round to making a poster for my rough routine of what happens in a day (after baby arrives). I remember from last time that some days you are so tired that you can barely remember your own name let alone who's been fed what and when. It seems crazy but it should help.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Accident free.

We can proudly announce that we have had three whole days without an accident.


As a parent you do seem to spend an awful lot of time dreaming up terrible scenarios and how to prevent them. I have always been a bit nervous about my GHD straighteners as they do heat up to 300 degrees. I always store them out of the way. This week I was actually using them and Freya sneaked up in front of me and stuck her thumb on the plate. She was miserable as you can imagine but coped very well with me holding her hand under cold water for 15 minutes. During this time she sobbed about chocolate, Pan and phoning Piggle. She ended up with a nasty blister and a second degree burn. I felt horrible.

The very next day, she 'went for a Burton' down our stairs. She fell from the second to top step after climbing the stairs with Craig. I heard her clattering down the stairs before hitting with a thud at the bottom. She now has 'sore legs' to add to her 'sore thumb'. She was limping when she finally got up and about. Are we actually qualified to look after this child? I ordered a children's first aid book from Amazon on Thursday and two accidents later, it's still not here.

On Saturday we decided to take the girls to the Entwistle for their walk. Freya made it round the three miles using various modes of transport, tricycle, walking and dad. A triathlon event. It was fabulous to see that the water levels are almost back to normal. We even discovered a cormorant making eyes at the giant Heron sculpture.

 
On Sunday we met up with the Mannings, who wanted to try out the new petting zoo, Wellybob's Farm. The farm just opened in August with government grant money. It's only down the road- a five minute drive. The place was very clean and new looking. I had worn my wellies but actually, the farm was probably cleaner than our back garden. It seems really well organised but will benefit from more people and revenue coming in.


Among the list of creatures was Alpaccas, horses, cows, sheep, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, goats and chickens. Freya's favourite seemed to be the chickens. If we weren't about to increase the family, I would like to get a chicken but I think at the moment we have enough going on! Although, these eglu things are quite tempting...







Thursday, 7 October 2010

Pumpkins.

Pumpkin carving is another passion of mine. We initially got a 'Pumpkin Masters' carving kit from Tesco in Abingdon one year. All you had to do was pin the pattern to the outside of the pumpkin and poke holes to trace around the design. Here's mum and Suzy doing some before one of the Halloween parties.


Rubbing flour into the holes makes the picture easier to see. Then, you use the little saw from the kit and cut out the design. The results look amazing. We never saw the kits in the supermarket again but found an American website that supplied from the US. We ended up with over seventy different patterns, and have done barely half of them. We used to do them for the pub- dad once got offered £15 quid for one.

This is what I custom made for Freya last year. It is difficult to see the picture but you have to take photos of pumpkins lit and in the dark. It says 'Freya's First Pumpkin'.


I saw the following pumpkin on the Martha Stewart website last year. I was so impressed, printed out the templates and bought a small antique key from eBay. When it came to making it, I was unable to get a large enough pumpkin. Apparently, the growing conditions had all been wrong last year. Fingers crossed for a better harvest this year and that I have enough time to do it.


Nothing to do with pumpkins... but this is my Halloween handbag that I bought from the Etsy website last year. I think it is supposed to be a trick or treat bag for kids but what the hell. Etsy is a great site for all things handmade- just a little too much stuff to look at, there are so many talented people out there.


Just a Waiting Game.

I was seen by the midwives yesterday. They came to run through the home birth and check that all my medical gases and drugs had arrived. I have four cyclinders of entonox, each will last approx 20mins, so here's hoping for a quick delivery. I had finally set up the bedroom with a table we use for camping, an angle-poise lamp and collected towels together etc.


During my check- my sugar levels were normal- yipee. Gestational diabetes was something that I was dreading because I know that my diet is just so bad at the moment, I am eating so much sugar and my weight is not what it should be. To be told that I had to buck my ideas up would have been terrible. The battle of the bulge will begin in earnest after Christmas. Blood pressure was perfect and the baby's head had 'engaged'- fabulous.

Mum had kindly taken Freya for me earlier in the day so that I could hoover up. It feels great as all of the upstairs is de-cluttered, sorted and now clean- so just need to keep on top of it for the next few weeks. The only jobs that I hadn't done were cleaning out my fridges and one of the places that the midwife saw...I was desperately trying to smuggle the drugs out of the fridge through a tiny crack in the door so she wouldn't see my mouldy grapes and week old spaghetti primavera. I got up early to do one fridge this morning and have a date with the beer fridge tomorrow morning.

Freya has been an absolute delight today. Last night I felt 'aggitated'- maybe because everything is set up and now I want it over, but today I have just felt exhausted. Some days Freya is a whirlwind and is trashing things faster than you can put them back and telling her off again and again is soul destroying. She has been as calm as a Hindu cow today. I managed a twenty minute bath while she played in her room, only twice coming to scoop water out of the bath and throw it on the floor.

We went to the park where she ate her weight in duck bread- I don't know when she will understand the concept of throwing it. She also enjoyed her first game of chase with a little boy, Oliver. Oliver was a really sweet three year old but his jeans were so short it made me a little sad. I wondered if his mum didn't have much money. She was nice too. After this tiny walk, I was tired again and Freya let me enjoy a coke in the garden while she played quietly with worms and spiders.

Lunchtime saw a little more drama with her having her first 'choke'. She had pork chops which were just a bit too chewy. Bless her for trying but after two failed chews she tried to swallow a piece- which rapidly got stuck. Her face had changed from red to purple by the time I had got the straps of the chair off and her eyes looked kind of vacant. The sensible nurse in me knows that even if the child becomes unconscious, the airway relaxes and you can usually get the object out with back slaps- but it doesn't stop you panicking anyway. Luckily, she has a strong enough survival instinct and managed to dislodge it. I chucked the rest of the meat in the bin.

I have finally completed, or should I say we (as in me, mum and dad) my stool revamp project. My Nan had a step stool in her kitchen when we were little. We used to sit and eat our tea on it and do the washing up knelt on it- lots of nice memories. When Craig and I got our first house together in Toft Street (Liverpool) mum and dad re-sprayed and covered the stool for us. Many years later, having neglected it and decorated on it etc, it needed another face lift.


I decided to go for pale matt colours- more form over function but nevermind, I love it. Spray painting it was a challenge. I won't be going down the spray paint aisle at B and Q for a while. It took seven or eight coats. Craig couldn't understand why I hadn't abandoned the idea and bought a new one. Firstly, I like to 'make do and mend', secondly, it's nice that the furniture has a bit of history and thirdly, I haven't seen anything like it. I would like Freya to grow up doing the washing up on it.