Tuesday, 29 November 2011

My Beautiful 6 Year Old

I can't believe my tiny baby girl is a great big 6 year old, complete with long arms and legs, all the adorable baby chubbiness gone, slim length in it's place. I really can't think of her as tiny anymore. I'm amazed when I look back through the photos and see just how much she's grown, all that she's done and the amazing individual little girl she has become. I can't help feeling a little sad too.

I hope she never outgrows cuddles and kisses, even when she's a grown woman. I hope she always carries as much energy and enthusiasm as she does now. I hope her amazing confidence is never dented.

Alexandra is around 10 months old in these photographs. We were on holiday at my Aunt and Uncle's on the Isle of Wight. Can't you just see Zachary in that face?

I often comment to her now on how much she is growing and how I can't call her a baby anymore. The other day she came and curled into my arms and said 'I don't want to grow up. I want to be your baby'. I said that she would always be my baby, I just couldn't call her one anymore, but I love her more than ever. I also said 'I thought you wanted your own house so you can have everything how you want it? You have to grow up to be able to do that one day.'
'Well I do, but I want you to stay with me. I will miss you.'
'I couldn't stay with you forever because I have my own house with Daddy. Daddy would get lonely, but I could come visit.'
'Yeah! We could have a sleepover for 10 days. That's a long time.'
'I'd really like that.'
'Don't forget will you Mummy?'
'I wont forget, I just hope you don't...'

On her first birthday - already walking for a month at this point.

In the blink of an eye, 6 years has passed, in another 6, she will be 12, another 6 and she will be ending her teenage years. Time moves too quickly, I hope it can slow down a little.

This is Sudocrem incident that took place at 16 months of age. Lesson to be learned: never leave the change bag unattended. Ever. (If she looked like this, picture if you will, the rest of the living room, the windows, the carpet on the stairs, the TV...)

I'm also well aware how fast the Smaller Person is growing. I hope Mr Bogert and I make good enough parents that we prepare them both for real life while still maintaining a balance of the fun, imagination and innocence of childhood. I hope they enjoy their childhood with us enough to stay close when they are fully grown. I will be the mother that sits at graduations, weddings and christenings and cries.

My littlest hen after my Hen night dinner (around 18 months old)

Mummy's  prettiest Bridesmaid (sorry girls!) August 2007
She is doing well at school and doesn't seem to struggle with anything so far. She loves literacy and has done well in all of her spelling tests, can read at a good level unaided, and has been called out in assembly for special mention by the headmistress for her literacy sequencing skills.

23 Months old

She is in green house and has earned quite a few house points for her team over the last year of school.
She loves lasagne and has been pulled into the latest craze on the playground: Moshi Monters. She still loves drinking milk and water and never has fizzy or caffeinated drinks (there is hope for her teeth, where there is none for Mr Bogert and mine!)

Just before her 2nd birthday at Disney World Florida - our honeymoon.
She takes part in some lunchtime clubs: book club on Tuesdays, recorders on Thursdays, and choir on Fridays. She asked if she could do all of these. We have never pushed her to do any of the extra curricular activitites, she just loves joining in.

Her 2nd birthday and her first big girl bed she got as a birthday present.

She has earned 2 swimming badges and also attends ballet and tap lessons on a Monday after school, and freestyle and musical theatre lessons on a Saturday. She always comes out of classes bouncing all over the place, very happy with herself and the sticker she has recieved from the teacher, but when we ask her what she did, she can't remember!

2 years and 3 months old already enjoying her books.

2 and 1/2 years old
She has already gained a red rosette for Freestyle dance and won a gold medal with her troupe in a ballet competition. They did bees and flowers and she was a bee. My favourite recollection of the performance was I had been worrying that perhaps once she got on stage in front of all of these strange grown ups and other children, she would freeze or maybe get upset and try and hide. What a surprise I got. As they filed onto the stage, Alexandra held the whole line up as she stopped to give everyone a huge grin, and that grin didn't leave her face for the entire performance. She loved it, I loved watching her. She truly was made to perform.

First day of preschool almost 3 years old.

At the end of the first day of preschool, talking to Daddy about her busy day on Mummy's phone.
Speaking of performing, she also happens to be a drama queen. The tiniest thing can be the end of the world and the facial expressions and body language that accompany the moans and sobs would make you think that something entirely tagic has actually happened. It's probably just that the DS battery has run out and she can't find the charger. By the same token, the most amzingly exciting things happen and are retold to you with breathless, energetic expression, raised eyebrows and excessive use of words (a bit like Lola of Charlie and Lola) "It was the most wonderfulest bestest thing ever" followed by vigourous head nodding and those same raised eyebrows.

First Trick or Treat as the Pumpkin Witch

She is a dreamer. I'm all for dreaming, the most wonderful creators are usually dreamers, but I do wish she would come down off her cloud at certain times like homework time, dinner or breakfast, getting ready time, you know, the times when instructions are being given and all that are returned are blank stares or her most frequent question "What did you say?". Sometimes you need the patience of a saint, unfortunately I don't have this...

3rd Birthday
She is still very creative and arty. I'm very proud of her masterpeices. She makes some wonderful things, just out of her own imagination. She draws lovely pictures that don't take any explanation of what they are. It's clear to see who her portraits are of.

3 years and 10 months on holiday in Perranporth after being chosen to feed the penguins

She reads and reads and reads. I'm so pleased she loves books. I think I would have felt a failure if she hadn't liked to read at least some books. She loves to read so much we often find half of her bookshelf strewn all over her bed when we go up to bed, and she's been reading instead of sleeping. We know she will pay for it in the morning when we get her up for school and she's so tired she can hardly work out which items of clothes are which. The thing is, and don't tell her this, but I used to do exactly the same thing, only I had one book I kept under my pillow. I was a master of quietly turning pages and reading in the least light available (from the landing and from the airport by our house through the window, curtains open).

Bridesmaid for a second time, this time for Auntie Simone and Uncle Ted in August 2009
 She is the gentlest caring little person. She really cares for her brother. Loves to play with him and make him laugh. She always shares her toys with him (although we have to explain some are unsuitable because he isn't old enough), and she always shares sweets and nice things (even though you know she really wants to eat them all, seeing other people without makes her want to share more). If anyone is sad, she always wants to jump in and make them better, even if it's me or her Daddy. She can be a real little mother.

4th BIrthday at Thomas Land (her last birthday at home before she started school - we always used to take the day off to spend with her, now she's not allowed the day off!)
She can be very bossy, but this comes from her confidence and also her definite ideas in how things should be. She is a leader, not a follower. Good at times, a bit rude at others, but we're working on that. She finds it more difficult when other people (other than me or her daddy or teacher) tell her, simply because we are used to the way of dealing with her, and she's not sure of recognising anyone else's authority. It can become difficult with more than one person trying to tell her at once too: with a determined mind that struggles to focus at the best of times, other people jump in to 'help' correct her behaviour, and she literally doesn't hear them, or unfortunately us (we get lost in the multiple voices). I have found people can think she is being naughty, but truly, she just hasn't registered what was said. 

4th Birthday Pirate Party - the Dread Pirate Ali
She has this amazingly quirky little character, so grown up and in charge, so caring and gentle, so creative and musical, so fun and silly, but so determined and energetic. With the energy, she sometimes forgets to wait until other people have finished speaking before she speaks (she just has to be gently reminded to wait her turn) she is just so excited to tell you something, or she just must know the answer to a question right now! She is also loud. She gets so excited the volume rises and rises until you have to say 'volume Alexandra'. In addition to "what did you say" being her most used phrase, the second most frequent to escape her lips: "Ooops, sorry!".

Pre-school Graduation July 2010
She's wonderful. If she carries on the way she is, she will never feel as shy as I did in school, she will never be afraid of saying the wrong thing or giving the wrong answer (I always was), she will have the confidence to follow the things that interest her (which seem to be performing arts), she will be able to swim (I can't, my mum can't, my nan can't), she will have many friends who feel lucky to have such a caring friend, and she will continue to achieve all she can in school.

Becoming a big sister

I'm proud of my Small Person. Now, if she would just stop growing...

5th Birthday Superhero Party - Wonderwoman

Just looking through these old photos I'm reminded just how much Zack looks like Alexandra did at that age (only fairer). What pretty babies Mr Bogert and I make (I know I'm biased, but disagree with that little Alexandra face!)

Age 5
Happy Birthday to my Princess who makes all of the sweetest Wishes.

Toddler Group Tuesday - Christmas Pudding Cards

Today at toddler group we have been making potato printed Christmas cards.

You will need:
- some card (any colour you like, but festive colours like red and green work particularly well)
- some green felt/paper/foam cut into holly leaf shapes
- some brown paint
- some black paint
- glue
- red craft pom poms/felt circle/buttons
- white felt
- a baking size potato (cut across so you have a large oval/circle stamp)
- a small carrot (cut so that you have a small circle stamp)
- some glitter

First fold your card in half.

Use your potato stamp with the brown paint and stamp once onto your card.

Now use your small carrot stamp with the black paint to stamp small black circles onto your brown paint.

Sprinkle with glitter whilst the paint is still wet (gold or brown coloured glitter looks best).

Cut a circle from the white felt that is roughly the same size as your potato stamp. Now cut a wiggly line across the centre (the wigglier the better) This will be for the white sauce on top of your pudding.

Glue one of the white felt pieces to the top of your pudding picture. (if you are making more than one card, the other half can be used for another pudding picture).

Glue 2 green holly leaf shape to the top of your white sauce covered pudding.

Glue 3 red berries (the red pom poms/felt/buttons) to the point where your holly leaves meet.

All finished!

You could add some wording to the front either hand written, a stamp, printed from the computer or a sticker. This could also be turned into a lovely little Christmas gift or decoration by creating the picture on a small box canvas, or on some stiff board and the framing it. It could hang on your wall all the festive season and be treasured every year, even when your little artist has grown up.

(sorry for the poor pictures - they were taken rather hastily this morning at Toddler Group.)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Ragley Hall Christmas Fayre

Today we went along to Ragley Hall to browse the lovely stalls and see Santa.

We haven't been to Ragley Hall for quite some time, and we've never been to the Craft and Gift Fayre.

When we arrived the choir were performing on the staircase with the large trompe l'oeil mural in the background. They were fantastic and despite the large cramped crowd, the feeling was very festive.

We went through to the Great Hall to visit Santa who was sitting by a large real Christmas Tree decorated with paper chains and Christmas card pictures. The Small Person sat and coloured Santa a picture whilst I kept our place in line.

Zachary was absolutely fascinated by the high ceiling covered in plaster moulds.

He was not however a huge fan of Santa agiain. When it got to be our turn, he cried and cried and cried! Poor little man. He did like the slinky that Santa gave him though.

Alexandra said "Santa's got grey eyebrows. Is he the real Santa?"
"Ofcourse he's the real Santa. There's only one Santa".
"Well Santa hasn't got grey eyebrows. His eyebrows are white."
Ooops. We may have to explain about how at this time of year, often they are santa's helpers and messengers 'cos Santa's so busy getting ready, and that all of these helpers pass all of the information on to Santa.

We went back downstairs and followed the stalls around. Oh there was such lovliness! I didn't take any pictures of the stalls because I didn't want to appear nosey/rude/weird (delete as you find appropriate) and there really wasn't enough space in the crowds anyway.

There was a lovely salt dough stall (Handmade Saltdough by Bev Wareing) with all sorts of lovely decorations, models, lettering and decorated spoons and rolling pins. The small people each had a gingerbread tree decoration from this stall. Unfortunately there is no web site listed on the business card.

There was Mostly Hearts teamed with Bical Socks on a stall. I would have liked to have bought some of these little sock/shoes as gifts (I love the giraffe and frog ones). They also sell cute hats and organic cotton babygrows.

Pretty Beautiful gifts and cards and also PB Dried Fruit had some lovely festive gifts ideas. There were some pretty tea cup candles and dried fruit wreathes and tree decorations.

We had a little food break in the catering marquee before moving on. We had bacon butties and hot sweet tea, whilst the Small Person chose a salad batch and water. Zacky decided he wasn't hungry because he was far too busy playing with his slinky.

Aneata Boote had some beautiful jewelry. There was an absolutely lovely turquoise ring. Just lovely.

Bluebell Cottage Gifts had ladies accessories and gifts. I was especially attracted to their collection of scarves.

The Sheppard's Flock had the most adorable soft dolls. My favourites were the angels, the Small Person was desperate for a mermaid, and they really were lovely. We'd already bought quite a few things though and I thought, well at least they have a web site.

The stalls that we bought from didn't seem to have any business cards or company name signs. It was pretty much now or never, which is a shame because now I'll never be able to find them again. Alexandra bought some charity colouring sheets, I bought myself a lovely bookmark and some packets of buttons. I saw so many things that I would have loved to buy, especially as gifts for other people for Christmas.

We went past a homemade fudge stall and Mr Bogert said that he wouldn't try any. I moved on to a jewelry stall, and when I went back to show him 'the' perfect gift for me for Christmas, he was in the process of buying 2 bags of fudge! Amazing willpower there! It's very yummy though.

We went across to the jewelry stall where I had seen a pendant watch. I mentioned just a few weeks ago how much I would like one and had added it to my list. I just needed to find the right one. And there it was sitting on the stall. Mr Bogert was not overly impressed. Not because he didn't want to buy it for me, he just hates me to know what any of my gifts are. It's all about surprises. He has threatened in the past to return gifts where I have guessed what they are. He did however relent, and I have promised to try as hard as possible to forget what it looks like before December 25th!

There was also a lovely little stall that had all different sorts of bears including some Steiff ones. Oh I fell in love with nearly every one of those little furry faces! So did the small person. She took a particular fancy to the tiny bears in boxes. She had already spent all of her spending money, so I sent Mr Bogert back to the stall when she wasn't looking to get one to keep for Christmas. It's so sweet with a bow on top of it's head.

(must remember to take things out of my hoodie pocket when having pictures taken. It really isn't very flattering!)

I really could have spent a fortune, and a great deal more time there. We will definitely be returning next year (with more money!) I will try and remember to include some pics of our goodies in a future post.

A member of staff (in Victorian dress) offered to take our photo as a family outside afterwards. It's not often we all get to be in a picture. I love how they've dressed the stairway with foliage and berries. It makes me wish we had railings at our house.

We finished with Sunday lunch at Mr Bogert's mum's house.

This is going to be an incredibly busy week. Tomorrow is Alexandra's school trip followed by dancing, toddler group and the Small Person's birthday on Tuesday, finished off with her birthday dinner on Tuesday evening. Mr Bogert is off on a business trip on Wednesday and the school is closed because of strike, Thursday my next assignment is due in at midday (on the subject of boyhood in some nineteenth century children's novels. I haven't even finished all of the reading, have no essay plan and am nowhere near a starting point for the assignment), Mr Bogert returns on Friday and then it is the Wonderland party on Saturday. Somewhere inbetween all of that, I need to finish our costumes for Saturday, the goody bags, the cake, the games etc and sort out all of our Advent Activity Countdown things.

You will forgive me if I don't get chance to stop by? (but you can look forward to a full account with many photos as soon as I get a minute to breathe!)