Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Six Weeks of Summer Week 3: Holiday

The 'nearly half way' week of the holidays was spent on a campsite in Manobier near Tenby with Jon's Mum, step-Dad and our niece. We borrowed Jon's Dad's campervan, packed it full and pitched up at a camp called Buttyland. (Note: neither ourselves or my in-laws were that enamoured by the site itself which wasn't quite as it had advertised itself on the website or over the phone to my MIL) 

We enjoyed ourselves; apart from Tuesday when it rained and flooded the (so called 'Gold' standard hard standing, clearly in need of some drainage maintenance work) pitch ankle deep in a 15 minute downpour... and to be honest for a good hour I was on the verge of packing the kids in the car and returning home! There was tears. Clearly I am not a natural camper and certainly not a 'make the best of it' kind of camper! Can you imagine if I had been dealing with a soggy field under a tent doing it properly! Haha!   So anyway, we re-pitched further up the row where it hadn't accumulated water so quickly, went to soft play for the afternoon, drank wine and ate chocolate in the evening and sorted myself out! 

Monday we had pitched up in the afternoon, settled in, watched the children enjoy helping Grandad to put up his awning, watched the children play on the field and then took them all down the little cove down the road at Manobier beach. We were pretty blown away by the view and how idilically pretty it was. Who needs a bedtime when you can have an hour or so playing on the sands at golden hour? Xander of course got soaked in the sea when he was only supposed to be having a paddle but the weather was beautiful and holiday relaxing was in full swing.

Tuesday, well we've covered that...

Wednesday the weather was much improved and we spent a lovely day on the beach at Tenby. The boys played beautifully together building sandcastles and collecting pebbles. Even baby Luc had a go at trying to put some sand into a bucket! Their favourite of course was the 'in the sea' playtime again! The joy on their faces as they ran in and out of the waves was gorgeous but it all ended in tears when Zac fell over, completely soaked head to toe and then cried because he was cold. Oh dear! After four hours on the beach we dried the boys off and walked into town to find an ice-cream palour - £21 spent on four ice-creams later but we did enjoy it; especially Jon's treasure chest 'ornate' icecream! 

Thursday the whole family (in-laws included) headed to Folly Farm. We love Folly Farm and this was now our fourth visit there in two years! Each visit has been slightly different with different highlights, and this time the boys really enjoyed the outdoor pirate play area, watching the penguins swimming in their pool and the fairground rides. 

The fairground rides however were not my highlight; after being really excited to take the boys on the mini-waltzers (because I had remembered how fun it had been taking Xander on them when he was smaller, and now Zachy was big enough to have a go too...) The boys loved it, but I got off feeling horrendous. Sick, disorientated and banging headache. The carriage had span CONTINUOUSLY the entire ride without a break - which it hadn't done when it was just Xander - and it finished me off. (For the next three or four days I was feeling travel sick in the car and just a bit sensitive... I must be getting old!!!!) Thank goodness we had gone on the fairground at the very end of the day! I was in bed that night without tea, Jon had to go find a shop to find me painkillers and I couldn't eat the chocolate treats he bought back from the shop with him; I must have felt awful to reject Cadbury's! 

Friday was another rainy day. Although not as rainy as Tuesday. We spent the morning chilling out on the campsite (I was still waltzer recovering) and then went over to Haverfordwest to visit the 'Wickedly Welsh' chocolate factory. We had a lovely hot chocolate in the cafe, a chocolate demonstration and both boys got to 'help' make some chocolate then decorated their own chocolate bar in the 'have a go' area. 

Saturday we treated ourselves to a pub-lunch (and randomly bumped into an old uni-friend!) then spent the afternoon at Scolton Manor and Park in Haverfordwest. We loved it; the boys got to ride their scooters, the baby had his first proper ride in his smart-trike and we followed the sculpture trail around the park. You could easily spend all day there with big open spaces for games, different trails around the park, play area and other activities. And all free apart from a reasonable parking fee! 

Then Sunday was going home day, and although we had had a lovely holiday the boys were certainly very tired by now, a week of haphazard routine and barely any resemblance of a bedtime (aka bedtime resisting...) and ready to go home. We left at 10.30 and got home in time for roast dinner with my Mum and Dad. Bonus! 

Monday, 14 August 2017

Six Weeks of Summer Week 2: Pirates

Oh dear. I'm already now two weeks behind with my summer blogging. Between holiday preparation the one Sunday, and holiday return the next, and baby refusing bedtimes as well pen did not hit paper, so to speak. 

Can you believe we're already into Week 4 of the holidays? Urgh. Its going far too quickly and I don't want it to end!  

So Week 2 was Pirate Week with a mini-holiday thrown in too! 

Monday we kicked off with some pirate dancing to pirate music (Pirates of the Caribbean theme), with lots of "oo-argh's" thrown in! We created (larger than) life-size Pirates of the boys. They thought it was pretty cool lying down and having me draw around them, and then used crayons to decorate their pirate costumes; even baby Lucas joined in and led still! The pirate boys are now decorating the fridge and playroom doors! 

Zachary especially enjoyed dressing up  in his Pirate costume and playing with his Pirate Happyland.  He spent a good hour playing pirates and fairies. Of course the Pirate ship needed a Princess and a Tinkerbell! 

Tuesday was our 8th Wedding Anniversary and we spent it dressed up as Pirates and treasure hunting around Abergavenny! The Treasure Trails company do some fab trails around and about all over the UK and we've done a good number of them now. They're an in-expensive way to explore different towns and learn things about an area you may have not known before too! (Caerleon has probably been my favourite one so far, which we did on our anniversary three years ago - treasure hunting must be an anniversary thing! Haha!) Of course, the boys favourite part of treasure hunting is finding the chocolate we sneakily hide for them on the last clue! 

Wednesday I took the boys away for a mini-break at my old uni house, staying with my old room-mate! My friend still owns the house and as it was empty she suggested we use it for a holiday. It was fun! We explored all around the uni grounds and showed the children where we had lived on campus and where we went to very very big school. Xander couldn't really get his head around that he didn't exist at all when I lived there, 'not even in your tummy?' or that I had lived so far away from our home now!   

We even managed to get a few pirate themed activities in away! Wednesday night we went to Tenby beach and the children had a blast running around like maniacs on the beach. Alexander started his beach treasure collection with his shells, by the time he had collected off Tenby sand and then again at Llansteffan I think we bought at least 100 back with us!    

Thursday we visited the National Botanical Garden. And as well as all the gardens, plants, enormous glass dome to walk (and crawl for Lucas) around, butterfly house, hay maze there was also a children's play area with a wooden ship! That of course became the Pirate Ship and Xander thought it was great fun 'crawling along the plank' 

Friday we were back at the beach again. This time Llansteffan, still treasure hunting, but this time the children were digging at "X marks the spot" to discover their beach treasures. And Zachy found another pirate boat to play on! 

We've read lots of piratey bedtime stories with the favourite ones being Pirate Rhymes and Ten Little Pirates. We've watched Peter Pan and Tinkerbell movies although Tinkerbell's own movie had nothing to do with pirates at all we discovered; the boys enjoyed it anyway and it was still a tenuous link!

I feel we could've packed a lot more into Pirate week, and I definitely over-planned again. But we all had fun which rolled into holiday week... (and now we're already into Beside the Seaside week...) Our holiday week report to follow! Hehe! 
Sunday, 30 July 2017

Six Weeks of Summer Week 1: Minibeasties

The summer holidays have arrived, although to be honest you wouldn't think it from the Great British Weather. Infact I've renamed this month Julvember! I know this is a very different post to what is usually on the blog, but I figured we're having such a busy and fun-filled summer it would be nice to diarise it here! 

Two years ago I themed each of the six weeks, planned activities for the weeks topic every day and ended up having some great adventures with the boys with arts, craft, activities and daytrips all around each of our topics. We had a blast and not once did we feel bored at all all summer. It really helped keep the momentum of a long six weeks going, and although some days we needed a rest , having lots of themed plans definitely gave us a focus. 

Now last year we had a tiny newborn and I was recovering post third c-section so we had to wing summer a little. But this year I couldn't wait to plan our six weeks of summer again...you can take a teacher out of a classroom but you can't take the planning out of a teacher!! 

This week we've been exploring all things Minibeast; including stories, films, craft as well as out and about despite the weather.  

Saturday we visited the library and borrowed some minibeast stories. The Fly, The Beeman and Bee Makes Tea and I bought the boys Very Hungry Caterpillar to add to their collection as well as finding all the books in their bookcase all about buglife. We have a surprising number and the week has been filled with Minibeast bedtime stories each night. 

Monday (on our unrelated to Minibeast day out for Lucas's birthday) we found a spider at the rare breeds farm. Which meant Tuesday we decided to have a Spider day and created our own large art spider's web in the garden and did some spider paintings! 

Wednesday we had our 'Big boys only' day out and visited the Butterfly House at Symonds Yat. Both boys enjoyed being little butterfly explorers; however although Zachy liked watching the butterflies around their house he wasn't at all keen on them flying too close to him or indeed landing on him. Xander on the other hand loved the butterflies landing on him and they definitely seemed to like landing on him too.

We spent Wednesday afternoon getting soaked through at Tredegar House, walking around the lake and through the woods to collect sticks to make our own bug hotel later in the week. The boys thoroughly enjoyed puddle splashing and were not at all fazed by the weather. I should've remembered the puddlesuits as well as the wellies though, because of course is all ended in tears when Zachy stumbled and landed on his bottom in a big puddle of water! Ooops! 

Thursday was a much needed home and pyjama day, but we still continued our minibeast week by watching the Bug's Life Movie in the morning and being creative and messy with some paint in the afternoon. We used the boys feet to make butterfly prints and explore symmetry just like a butterflies wings. The boys loved painting only one side of the paper and then folding it over to make the same pattern on the opposite side! 

Friday was another dismal day,  so we watched cBeebies MiniBeast Adventures with Jess and managed to use the sticks we had collected Wednesday to make our very own Bug Hotel! Obviously this was an activity I had planned for the tuff spot in the garden, but beaten by the weather saw Xander emptying the sticks onto the kitchen table instead. Needless to say I hadn't really accounted for the bugs already living in the sticks that then escaped us! Argh! Bug Hotel now situated in our little front garden patch and I know Xander is keen for it to fill with bug life! 

Saturday morning the boys watched The Bee Movie and after going to the boys godmothers fun day we had planned to explore the local Nature Reserve to hunt for bugs. But the rain started again, it was getting late into the afternoon, and with three tired boys none of us had the energy to get soaked again. Yes we are fair weather bug hunters!

So instead today the boys bug hunted in their grandparents garden helped by their Bampi. And what a load of different bugs they managed to find. Today they have seen spiders, woodlice, a snail, a slug, a fly, bees, wasps and worms. They both really enjoyed themselves and Xander was even brave enough to hold the snail and the worms. 

Both Zachy and Xander have become more engaged as the week has gone on and they've both definitely got something out of and learnt something new about Minibeasts! Even Little Lucas enjoyed the painting and spider play in the garden. There was loads on the planning we didn't end up doing because I have a terrible habit of over-planning, so I'll bank those ideas now and save them for maybe another Minibeast week in another summer holiday time. 

So currently Big and Small are finishing their Minibeast week by camping in their ladybird tent in the playroom. Yes, both are still awake and I dread to think what time they will finally go to sleep; but as a one off treat we're allowing them to watch movies on the iPad in their tent. Lets hope we're not paying for the late night too much tomorrow! Haha! 

Starting tomorrow, Week 2: Pirate Week! 
Friday, 28 July 2017

Lucas Elias is ONE!

I can hardly believe that my last baby is now one! I have no idea at all where the last year went. July 2016 seems so long ago but only yesterday all at the same time. How did that tiny little baby get so big?! Oh just think of all the things he will be able to do another six months again from now on my next update. He is  observing and trying to copy lots now and time just moves way way too quickly. 

The run up to Lucas's birthday felt pretty manic, with all the end of the school year stuff going on as well. I did wonder how we would fit it all in. And then to top it off a bug hit the household in the few days before Lucas's Dedication and Party which was a massive stress too! It couldn't have been worse timing; well other than them going down with it the night before or on the day that is! Thankfully the birthday boy and biggest brother recovered enough to enjoy his day but middle brother (and Bampi looking after him) had to stay at home. 

I'm sure there is loads I've forgotten this month, all the little things he has done but he really did have the most wonderful birthday and we had a fabulous week celebrating him!

Little Lucas Elias! You are ONE! What an absolutely beautiful year we have been privileged to spend with you. We have had so many adventures and have loved every moment of watching you grow from the tiny little baby you were to the perfect little boy you are now.  To think you were just 6lb 8oz at your smallest! 

Again this month you have learnt to do so much! You've had your first haircut, you have started to cruise properly, had a little go at walking across the room with your walker, climbing more and more, (including the stairs so the gate has gone up!). You have learnt to clap, knee crawl consistently and even had a go at your first word.  And the best word it was too.... Mama! For me! Crawling after me shouting 'Mama'. I thought it was a fluke at first, but then you did it again and again. Seemingly consistently associating me with 'Mama'. Makes me burst! 

You are getting more and more vocal. Responding with your voice and trying to chat back in a slightly different way now. Shouting out to get our attention and babbling a little more. You are beginning to understand more and more. We think you understand 'No' now although whether you listen to it is another matter. You listen for Bampi apparently!  

You are exceptionally cheeky and know just how to make everyone laugh and get them on side with your super cuteness. You, my boy, are most definitely spoilt - continuing to have a lax-a-daisy bedtime when it suits you. We are totally softer on you than either of your big brothers would have got away with at a year old. A late nap is a disaster now and basically means you end up still downstairs with us until 9.00pm or later! 

But sleep on the whole, touch wood, is improving. The last two or three weeks have started to see a consistent pattern of you sleeping until the morning after your late night bottle. (Apart from the last couple of nights due to the 4 immunisations you had Tuesday, hope its not going to cause another regression!) It is incredible and you may very well be passing the crown of worst baby sleeper back to Zachy. Although I'm not counting my chickens just yet!  

At a year old you have 7 teeth, wear 9-12 month clothes, are 75cm tall and 19lb 6oz big. Which is incredible considering the week before your birthday you had lost a fair amount of weight;  with failing appetite, suspect nappies that turned into full blown diahorrea, plus sickness... it was a stressful few days where I thought we were cancelling your birthday and Dedication celebrations. But anyhoo, you recovered and clearly made up for it in the next few days with some non-stop eating and plentiful weight gain back on too!   

Your Dedication and party day was wonderful and it kicked off your birthday week perfectly. Apart from Zachy still being too poorly to come and celebrate with us, which meant Bampi volunteered to look after him so he missed it too. We celebrated you in Church, told everyone why you are so special to us and read a special story called "I'll Love You Always".  We partied on through the afternoon at your circus themed soft play with so many of our family and friends.  You looked gorgeous in your rainbow and red romper and totally enjoyed yourself all day.

Then the day before your birthday we took you to your first proper visit to a soft play,  Jump in Cardiff. We discovered you are quite the dare devil; wanting to go again and again down the slide with Daddy letting you go and then catching you at the bottom, shrieking and squealing with laughter! You were in your element, exploring all around!

On your birthday Mummy had to work, which just sucks but you had a great time! We opened a few presents in the morning (and your brothers 'helped' you with the rest the next morning!) and took some special birthday morning photos of you. You spent the day in Nursery enjoying extra birthday cake and playing with your other little friends, and then after work we had a lovely little tea party at Nana and Bampi's. You were so excited about your Dinosaur car and thought your brothers pushing you around the living room was just the best! You had tea and cake and a chocolate finger so you were happy! 

Your birthday week you discovered chocolate and boy has it been a slippery slope already! I'm amazed how quickly you have learnt to identify chocolate since that first taste. Just yesterday Xander and Zachy were having some animal biscuits while you were still eating your tea - but you spotted them with their chocolate biscuits, rejected the spoon and cried until Xander gave you one of his biscuits too! A few days ago you cried because Zachy had a chocolate finger and you didn't! I'm sure the other two were not this knowing with food at a year old!

We finished your birthday celebrations Monday with your birthday day trip. We went down to the South Devon Steam Railway and Rare Breeds Farm. You loved it! Sat on a little train table bouncing and cooing as the train took off and we were on our way. You loved looking out of the window! You enjoyed meeting an owl, tortoise and baby goats at the farm, but you weren't so sure about touching them or them touching you! 

Your favourite toys this month has been anything that Xander and Zachy are trying to play with! Haha! But also still the wooden blocks; you have learnt to build towers! You have truly discovered the kitchen cupboards and as I type you are taking great joy in emptying all the small plastic pots and building towers with them too! What a mess! Little mini menace!  

Your favourite birthday toys were your tambourines, wooden shape-sorter blocks and your dinosaur cosy coupe. You were mesmerised playing with the shapes with Daddy, watching them disappear into the hole; very funny you thought it was! 

You love bouncing and throwing yourself backwards on the bed (or sofa or ball pool, but somehow seem to know not to do it on the floor?!) You love Xander picking you up to carry you. You love a bit of rough and tumble with your brothers and Daddy. Xander and Zachy are your favourites. You like Teletubbies, Mr Tumble, Twirlywoos and In The Night Garden. You love cuddles and are full of affection. You love books and dancing and singing songs. 

You just simply love everything about life. 

And we love you.  So completely. 

Here is to another year of adventures with you. 

Happy very first birthday our beautiful beautiful baby boy! 

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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