Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Videos of the boys

My mother rang me yesterday to check that I was ok.
"Yes, why did you think otherwise?" I said.
"Well you haven't blogged for a few days" was the reply.

I'm happy to report that all is well and there is certainly no shortage of blogging mojo in this house,  but a few sleepless nights resulting in two new front teeth sent us to one of those 'back to basic' kind of periods that you have as a parent - you know the one where you just retreat inward as a family and no one does any washing or cleaning.

But now all is well and my backlog of posts has morphed into a bigger backlog of posts. 

So, for you mum here is a video of the boys (and a chance to hear a little Swedish for anyone participating in the Cultural Exchange).

For non Swedish speakers Freddy is basically describing that his Uncle (my brother) climbed a tall tree to put up a rope slide.  I love at the end where he says "Henry......Henry......Dragkedja (zip)".

Monday, 20 February 2012

Mother and baby whales mobile

I want to share with you all of the mobiles that I have been using with Henry especially the ones that I have been making (coming very soon I promise).  But first I thought that I would show you the beautiful Mother and Baby Whales mobile (purchased from Michael Olaf).
At any one time I have about 6 mobiles (I have many more than 6 but rotate them regularly) hung in various places around the house and Henry (4.5 months) is showing no signs of being fed up with them.  I tend to have a bit of a 'system' with where I put them:
  • I will put calm/relaxing ones in places where Henry usually sleeps, 
  • interesting and bright ones in places where he is usually more active 
  • and interactive ones in strategic locations where he can be put under them safely (such as the musical mobile).
This mobile is hung in our 'Montessori room' which is a mezzanine level in the house so there is lots of natural light and a really airy feeling.

The mobile hangs from a brass hook I screwed into the wooden beam which allows it to hang over the corner of a sofa bed that I have out permanently for Henry (and all of us) to relax on.
I introduced this mobile to Henry when he was around 10 weeks but it was a little early as I don't think that he could really see it that well.  From 14 weeks he was very interested in it and now at 19 weeks (4.5 months) he loves it more than ever.
And as the mama and baby whales gracefully swim above his head Henry drifts off for a nap...
psssst..did you notice the progress on the DIY dressing frames? More on that later.

Linked up with the wonderful Living Montessori Now.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sitting up!

It's such a big milestone in a baby's development and one that heralds the start of many jumps and leaps in the coming weeks.

For about a week now Henry (4.5 months) would try to sit up straight if he was held in my lap, a sure sign that he is trying to strengthen those back muscles ready for sitting.

Personally I am not a big fan of propping up babies.  We don't have any of those contraptions that help a baby to sit (apart from a bean bag that we lie him down on to play with his musical mobile) but instead love to find fun ways to help Henry build up his muscles (like this).

At the moment he can sit comfortably for around 10 minutes but after that he throws himself back and takes it easy.

A whole new visual world has been opened up to him now and best of all I can start bringing out the treasure baskets soon!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Animal postcards

Farmor and Farfar regularly send Freddy (26 months) animal postcards which is a lovely way to introduce new animals and their sounds.

Here is the latest one he has recieved - a tiger!
 Closely followed by Freddy roaring - ggrrrrrrr!
He loves his postcards!
These postcards will be used many times in the future too I'm sure.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Wooden musical mobile

Henry loves watching and playing with mobiles which is extremely helpful as I LOVE making them!  But I cannot talk about mobiles without showing one of Henry's favourites (which I bought from Michael Olaf).

This photo was taken when Henry was about 14 weeks old.  Back then I used to put him up on a bean bag on the dining room table for some serious grasping practice (putting him up there stopped him from being run over by Freddy and his many vehicles). 

The mobile consists of 4 wooden flutes with a round bead that bangs against them like a wind chime would.  The wooden ring is so easy to grasp and bat at and the sound that the mobile makes is beautifully gentle on the ears even when it is being bashed about vigorously. 

From around 15 weeks old Henry really seemed to understand that he was creating the sounds.

Fast forward to now and Henry is 4.5 months old but he still adores this mobile (although the days of being able to be perched on the dining room table are long behind us!). 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Watermelon shark

The good people at the National Watermelon Promotion Board (found via pinterest) work tirelessly to think up new ways of encouraging us to buy more watermelons - and what a fine job they do of it.

It's thanks to them that we tried a watermelon shark today...

Easy, fun and a great party centrepiece!  Sometimes I'm not sure who the biggest kid is in the house.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Ch ch ch ch changes

How can so much change in just one week?

Freddy (25 months) appears to have changed in so many ways in such a short period of time.  I remember the transition from baby to toddler seemed to happen overnight too at around 15 months but this time the transformation seems to be from a toddler to an independent little boy carving out his place in our family routines.
One week ago the potty wasn't really seeing much action, there were accidents daily and suggesting
that Freddy 'might want to try to sit on it?' never ended well.  We weren't bothered.  After all, we had decided to just follow his lead - and lead he did!  He suddenly started standing on a step in front of the toilet and standing to pee!  Now the potty gets used like clockwork for the 'serious business' and the toilet for everything else.

Along with this huge leap of independence came a sudden ability to tell us what he 'likes' and 'dislikes'.  Of course in the past we have been able to make pretty accurate guesses; he appears to like lining things up or it seems that he isn't too fond of marmalade (shame because we made a huge batch recently).  But now we know for sure.  This is the current list:

Freddy likes
  • trains
  • Sean (a local boy he just met)
  • pears
    Freddy no like
    • mushrooms
    • toy train derailments
    • mama wearing jumpers (he is really serious about this and it was tough on me when I was sick last week)
    Freddy loves.......mama?....no......papa?.....no......Henry?.....no......water!  I see.

    He also asked his first question; he asked if birds have thumbs?  What an amazing first question!
    A week ago he couldn't ride a scooter thing (I'm not sure the real name for them) but now he scoots around the house like it's the most natural thing in the world.

    Another little milestone is that he took his first photograph today!  Of course it makes sense that it would be a photo of a vehicle and not a family member but it's sweet nonetheless.  By the way, am I the only mother that peels the logo stickers off vehicles like this so that they don't 'advertise' to my son? 

    All this in just a week - it just shows how precious time is.

    Friday, 10 February 2012

    Crochet retro lampshade

    A few eagle eyed observers pointed out that my brother in law (who was wearing the Viking hat that I made him) was sitting next to a rather unusual lamp......

    It's true and I'm excited to say that it was one of my first foreys into the relm of making gifts by hand at christmas.

    So here with a staring role in it's very own post is the crochet lampshade that I made for my lovely sister in law (my very first blog follower). 
    It's really easy to make.  Just make 5 granny squares and join them together to make what looks like a tissue box holder.  Then slip this cover over an simple IKEA table lamp and finish off with a little bit of a fancy finish around the bottom.

    Sunday, 5 February 2012

    Cultural Exchange update

    Time for another update on the Cultural Exchange!

    But first a bit about this photo.  This was my Christmas present from my brother: a flag representing the birthplaces of my mother, father, husband, grandmother, and I (and to think that he got a pair of slippers from me!).  There is also a flag for Thailand as my husband's brother is living there at the moment.  But my dear brother you forgot the Welsh flag for our grandfather didn't you?  We are an international bunch aren't we?

    The European Union flag is also just creeping into the left of the picture.  Do you recognise the others?

    So I hope now you can see why I enjoy these exchanges so much as a way to learn about all the lovely different cultures out there.

    On to the update...

    Right now another 36 groups have started an exchange with each other meaning that around 750 packages will be criss crossing around the globe over the next few months!

    I'm still experimenting with different ways or organising the exchange to make it as easy and pain free as possible, so you may have noticed the following changes since we started out:
    1. Previously there were two forms to fill in; one for the initial registration and another to collect more detailed information.  Now there is just one form which can be found here.
    2. I have created two new pages on this site:  one for an overview of packages that have been sent and another with a list of frequently asked questions about the exchange.
    3. My Facebook page is a place for participants to connect with each other and I add updates about the next planned starting date of an exchange.
    If you have sent me your detailed information but have not been allocated a group please don't panic.  I still have a few more groups to add in the next couple of days.

    Thursday, 2 February 2012

    Simple wooden teething ring

    At 17 weeks a wooden teething ring is Henry's best friend.  He has this one and a crochet covered one which he loves to sooth his sore gums on.  He keeps the wooden one in his left hand and the crochet covered on in his right hand :)

    The best thing about a ring of course is that at this age anything that you put in a baby's hand usually ends up poking them in eye so you just can't give them anything long or with a blunt end (obviously).  Thankfully the ring avoids this problem and is really easy for the baby to work out how to get it into his mouth i.e. it doesn't have to be the right way round or held in a certain way.

    Something else that | have started to do is to tie a piece of muslin to the ring with a knot.  I do this because for some reason that knot is also irresistible to Henry and he loves it when the cloth goes over his face too!
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