Saturday, 10 December 2011

Birthday Lunch

We went to pizza hut for lunch after picking up Laura's free Design-a-Bear at Argos, free to those kids who had a birthday today or tomorrow!
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Lara is 4 today

Lara opening her first present just after 7am this morning.
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Friday, 9 December 2011

Christmas and New Year plans

Not having an office as such, Flare doesn't have a Christmas Party, so we'll make our own entertainment - perhaps the High Wycombe branch might go out for a meal. There is a night out in Reading on the 16th to catch up with Anton and Becca and the Learys, and this will give me a chance to do my final shopping on the 17th - should be nice and quiet in Reading 8 days before Christmas.
Grandma is coming down to stay with us for Christmas this year, which will be lovely. We've made much more of an effort with the decorations, as much for Lara of course as for the fact that we'll actually be here over the Christmas period. We've not gone to the same extent as some of the houses on our street, but we've pushed the boat out a little with some fairy lights outside, and we've no less than three trees up - two downstairs and one in Lara's room.

After Christmas we'll go with Grandma and meet Catherine, Nick and the kids in a lovely country pub in the Cotswolds for a pub tea, and to swap presents. This is after we've blasted round the John Lewis sales! Lara's big treat before Junior arrives will be a new bed, probably one of those cabin-type ones with lots of space underneath to explore and fill with rubbish all her stuff. 
We're really looking forward to New Year too - Olga is a member of a Russian social media website, and one of her contacts on there alerted us to a get-together some of the local Russian community is organising. They're hired a local village hall, and will be having a party there. Everyone brings a dish for the buffet, chosen from a list, so no-one brings the same thing - there'll be plenty of Russian salads, so I've been given special dispensation to bring some English food too; there'll be other English spouses there, so at least I'll have other husbands to chat to and drink vodka with. Kids are coming too, of course, and each family will being a game along to keep them entertained, we're going to bring Pin the Tail on the Donkey, and Olga is going to paint the tail-less Donkey.  New Year is much bigger deal in the Russian community than 25th December, so it will be a great experience to see how much everyone enjoys it. And as a bonus, poor old Olga can drive us home, no need for a triple-price taxi or a cold 2 mile walk. Thanks, Darling!

Building up to birthday and Christmas

The past few weeks have been about getting ready for Lara's birthday and Christmas. Presents for both have been bought and wrapped (Lara, if you're reading this when you're much older, it's a good job you've not looked in the garage!).  Last weekend Lucy came over, and we went into Wycombe to do some shopping, and Lara went to see Santa. This was the first time she'd seen him when she understands who he is, she did meet him in the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park a couple of years ago but that pretty much went over her head. He was very good, there were clever little touches that I'd not appreciated, such as we'd told his "elves" her name in advance, so when she first saw him, he welcomed her by name. This helps us with the whole "Santa knows if you're being a good girl, remember he knew your name when you met him" thing. Here she is in the queue:

Then we went for a Chinese meal; Lara's never going to polish off a whole plate of chicken chow mein in one sitting, but it was nice to see her have a go..

She's definitely a fan of foreign food, this week she out-ate Olga and I when we had palmeny (lovely Russian dumplings) - she started with 15, while Olga and I started with 20 each. We had to donate some of ours to Lara, and she ended up eating 20, leaving me with 18 and Olga 17. She loves ravioli, which is just like palmeny in tomato sauce to her, and today she wolfed down polish sausages. Pasta Bolognese is her all-time favourite at the moment, but I still persist with a Sunday roast. It's not a big deal if she doesn't finish that, I'll find room for extras. It has got to the point now where we've started serving some of her meals on adult plates rather than her kids ones!

On Sunday we went for a walk in the park in Marlow, and fed the ducks, although Lara ate almost as much of the bread as the ducks, swans and geese..

Olga is over her pneumonia now, though other pregnancy-related aches, pains and cramps are cropping up. Junior is kicking and punching, and when he's particularly active I've been able to feel him too, if I get my hand in the right place. Lara is still giving him big hugs before bed; we're trying to get her to understand how she'll not be the 95% focus of our attention (the boys get the other 5%) once he arrives. It's probably good that she's getting a lot of extra attention now for her birthday and Christmas without Junior being on the scene.
The boys are getting cold at night, we've put both their beds next to the radiator in the hall now, where Mishka has always been, but we'd come down in the morning and find that Jackson had turfed Mishka out of his bed, and Jackie had settled in! We're going to treat Mishka to a nice new, big bed, and Jackson can have Mishka's old one.
It's all about keeping the kids happy....

Last day as a three year old

Lara and Olga baked some cakes last night for Lara to take to nursery today. The kids had a little party, with some games and dancing, and Lara made sure each child took a cake home, with some left over for the staff. She took her mini-me, Natasha, with her, wearing the outfits Baba Luda created whilst she was staying here this summer.

Tonight Lara helped Olga pack the party bags for the party tomorrow at the soft play centre near our house. Lara is sooooo looking forward to being four, she's been pretending she's four for the past two days.
We've got lots of plans for tomorrow, it'll be a busy day!