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.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Six Weeks of Summer Week 6: Outer Space

Well we were supposed to start the final week of the holidays with a bank holiday day trip to the Space Centre up in Leicester... what better way could there be to start Outer Space week...? However, we were feeling utterly shattered Sunday night and after much umming and ahhing we decided to abandon the idea and think of something a little less full on for the bank holiday instead. I knew then from the outset that to be honest it was going to be a 'wing it' week with a bit of space thrown in if we were lucky! Haha! (We're now going to save the Space Centre for a birthday day trip maybe next year!) 

So Monday was visit the family in Plymouth day instead! The boys always love getting together with their cousins and we spent an unusually sunny bank holiday playing on Dartmoor and with the paddling pools and water squirters in the back garden at my brothers house. Lucas's highlight was of course definitely some ice-cream. 




Tuesday we did manage to space it up a bit. We baked some stars, moon and planet biscuits whilst listening to The Planet Suite by Holst. The boys had a good go at guessing which part of the music was about which planet and I was surprised by how many planet names they already knew. They all loved baking, even Lucas who had each step of the ingredients given to him on his tray to explore; I should do it more often with them, especially now Mum and Dad bought me my own mixer for our wedding anniversary this year (that I somehow managed to find a home for in my kitchen! Haha!)  Xander thought the spinning mixer bowl was fairly hysterical and Zachary loved getting his hands stuck into the biscuit mixture. 








Wednesday was of course 'big boys' day out. This week we went to Dewstow Gardens and Grottos near Caldicot with my Mum. She has wanted to go there with the boys for ages, but it isn't a baby suitable place so it had to be a day without Lucas. The gardens and grottos are fairly magical and very different; so we pretended we were going on an adventure to a new planet. The boys promptly decided between them we were visiting a planet called "Zoomi Mars" and thoroughly enjoyed themselves running across bridges and stepping stones, into caves and caverns. My little plonker Zachy managed somehow to fall into one of the little ponds and finished exploring the gardens soaking wet... we even pretended the water might turn him into an alien! Haha! 









Wednesday night the boys had the real treat of sleeping over Nana and Bampi's house so Thursday was another fairly quiet day after we had returned home. Lucas has some rare 1:1 playtime in the morning before went to collect his big brothers, so we played with our  'space blanket' and he discovered some plantets and stars using our imagination with some of his orbit rattles, tambourines and star stacker toys! He loved the foil blanket and made sure he had a good go at shaking it as loudly as he could! 





When the big boys were home we watched some story bots videos on YouTube - with this planet video being one of my personal favourites! 


Friday was a complete Space off day (as Saturday and today have been, apart from watching a film called Planet 51), and instead we spent a glorious start of September day at the beach celebrating our friends twins 4th birthdays. We arrived at the beach at 11.00am and didn't leave until bedtime. We really are loving the seaside this year! 



The weekend has been spent mostly getting ready for school. We have had the most fantastic summer and we can't wait to do it all again next year; infact the boys have already requested some themes for next year so Boats and Jungle are already on the list for Six Weeks of Summer for 2018! 

And now it is time for back to school... Boo! But we've got so much to look forward to before half term, and indeed throughout this entire academic year with Big's birthday in 6 weeks and his London weekend away, our fly away holiday at half term in 8 weeks, a new cousin for the boys around the same time, Small's birthday in November, Christmas, my BFF's Hen weekend to start 2018,  Jon has the stag to look forward to in Feburary, our birthdays in March and the wedding of course all before we get to Easter! 

How lucky am I to have been able to have so many adventures with my boys this summer! My confidence with solo outings with three has definitely improved (although ask me again next Summer when Little can walk! Haha!). We've made some wonderful memories and I'm determined to make the most of our summers like this every year until they decide they are too old. I'm just loving them at the age they are now; yes sometimes it is really exhausting and really hard but they are little children that just love life and prove to me every day that life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful.  Even though I think they are pretty perfect! 

Our wonderful summer and my rainbow boys, still healing me. 

Six Weeks of Summer Week 5: Dinosaurs

I absolutely cannot believe that tomorrow my babies go back to school! 

I've been entirely rubbish at keeping up with my Six Weeks of Summer diary entries but we really have had the most marvellous summer. I'm not ready for it to end and feel sad that its over. I know I'm exceptionally lucky to be able to spend school holidays with my children and jam them pack full with adventures in the way that we have this summer; but now I face term-time when I'll miss 'Family Thursdays' and the prospect of many other things in school because the irony of my job makes it difficult to attend school events for my own children. 

Back to school is a milestone each year that rests quite heavily on me; it is undoubtably exciting and the boys are definitely excited to spend the day with their new teachers and cannot wait to see their friends. But along with the momentary gut-wrench that my boys are moving another year away from being babies and getting so big,  there is always that smack in the face that another chalk board should be ready for the 'Back to School' photo tomorrow morning too. Another yearly milestone where Anabelle is missing. Tomorrow she should be starting the junior school, joining Year 3 and feeling very grown up because she isn't in the infants anymore. But her cohort starts without her again while Alexander start Year 1 and Zachary becomes a rising 4 at Nursery instead of a rising 3. 

The last two weeks have been so busy. Although I'll admit Week 6 we have been flagging. Outer Space week has been extremely flimsy on the ground to say the least, to the point that its hardly worth giving it its own blog! Haha!  We've all been tired, six weeks of adventures have tired us out, so although I don't back to reality to arrive I think we'll all certainly benefit from the back to routine. 

But anyway.... Week 5, Dinosaur Week. 



We started the week with some dinosaur egg hatching. The boys had been dying to do this for ages, after we had found them in the cupboard (we had forgotten we had them!) but they made a perfect activity for dinosaur week so I saved them for the summer. We found our eggs with our dinosaurs and put them in water, waiting for them to grow and hatch. Zac was most put out that they were not going to hatch instantly! 



Tuesday was a home day. We spent the morning building some Lego Duplo dinosaurs (and watched The Land Before Time). The boys worked separately on this for a while, Xander building lots of different designs of dinosaur and Zachy making a Diplodocus. After a while they started to work together, joining their bricks to build a very tall dinosaur!  Later on in the day they then decided to build a tree for some of their dinosaurs to eat. 





In the afternoon I went to get the tuff spot out. I was going to make some sort of dinosaur land in it for playing in the garden that afternoon but discovered it filled with water (note to self - the blue sheeting isn't waterproof!). Not to matter I thought it can be a dinosaur swampland! Now the boys loved it but I don't really think entirely thought the swamp through... of course all three of them were in it within minutes; the baby especially thought this was marvellous! But the soggy mess! Haha! 





Wednesday was 'big boy' day out and this week we went to Cardiff Museum, especially for the Dinosaur Babies additional exhibition currently there. We arrived to discover some enormous dinosaur footprints outside the museum and some ominous claws over the side of the building! We spent a good few hours discovering animatronic dinosaurs, fossils, skeleton models of dinosaurs and their babies, baby dinosaurs in their eggs, the children had a pit they could climb in to reveal dinosaur bones, made up their own dinosaur names, dressed up as a dinosaur, read dinosaur books, and completed big dinosaur puzzles. It was an exhibition well worth the visit and the small entrance fee to that part of the museum. Both boys came away happy with their mini dinosaurs I bought them too. 







Thursday we were in Cardiff again. This time for the dinosaur encounter event at Cardiff castle. I must say, that although we had a lovely afternoon out it was an incredibly busy session with many many other people there too. I was quite disappointed that the group was so large because it meant there wasn't any opportunity for the children to have a 1:1 moment with the T-Rex in the walkabout session and didn't get chosen to meet one of the animals in the animal encounter session. The boys were subsequently quite underwhelmed by the whole experience to be honest! Zachy lost interest and all Xander had to say was the T-Rex was a man in a costume because he could see his legs, jumper and shoes. Not the best effort into disguising! They enjoyed themselves though in the castle grounds - we'll definitely be back with our castle keys (heavily discounted 3 year entry passes because Jon works in Cardiff) soon to explore the castle properly with more time (and less people!) 



Friday was mostly a dinosaur day off. Instead we met with some of our friends for a day out in Cardiff Bay. We parked in Penarth and walked and scooted along the barrage to the Bay, stopped half way for a play in the park,  had ice-cream and another park play when we got there, had a Starbucks, couldn't get on a boat (too full) so had to walk the rest of the way back as well. 14,367 steps (or 4 miles). The children were super!  


Luc got in on dinosaur day though, because after a late nap and then a car nap he wasn't going to bed on time that night. So instead had a dinosaur hopper session! Hehe! 


Saturday the boys watched The Good Dinosaur in the morning and played in the sand making Triceratops skeleton fossils with sand moulds in the afternoon. 


And then Sunday was another dinosaur day off and another day spent in Cardiff Bay with a different friend!


Then we loosely started Outer Space week... more to follow! 

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Six Weeks of Summer Week 4: Beside the Seaside

This has been my favourite week of the six so far and I think the boys would agree, especially as Xander said to me yesterday evening it has been his 'best day ever' (although we all know how fickle little children can be, and his next best day ever is no doubt just around the corner!) 

We are loving going to the seaside this year. Since our birthday visit to Barry Island for Belle this year we have seemed to be on the sand often, much more so than any other year since we've had the children. The boys are loving it; the huge open space to run (or crawl) around, the sea to splash about it and the fresh air is doing them the world of good. I expect we'll be on the sand at least a couple of more times before this summer is out! 

Beside the Seaside week has been ace and its another impossible task of narrowing down some photos to share of our week! 

Monday we started the week quietly - having just got home from a weeks holiday I was through the ceiling in a washing pile and we were all tired. It was a much needed home and pyjama day! So in the morning we watched The Little Mermaid and in the afternoon we were outside pretending the garden was our beach. This week we haven't had a playhouse, we've had a beach hut! 


Tuesday was a super long, but super fun day. We went out for the day with my Mum to Bristol Aquarium and then onto Weston Super Mare.  The boys enjoyed the aquarium, feeding some of the fish and seeing so many sea creatures up close in huge glass tanks. I especially enjoyed watching the Octopus - gliding up and down the tank and seeing all the suckers on his tentacles.  I don't think I've ever seen an Octopus behave quite like it before. It was quite creepy but mesmerising all at the same time! I was glad that we hadn't payed full price to go into the aquarium and had used the 'Kids visit for a quid' offer, because although we enjoyed it, we had been around twice and finished our visit in just over three hours (and that included stopping for a snack half way around the first time, and stopping for lunch before going around our second time). So by two o clock we were finished and looking for something else to do.... spontaneously the decision was to head down the road half hour to Weston. 






I must say, we haven't been to Weston for a few years now since my 30th birthday but I found the beach alarmingly hazardous which we hadn't before! Within half an hour I had found a sewing pin and two shards of broken glass buried in the sand around where we had sat. Now maybe we were just unlucky that day, but I was glad I had found the hazards before my children had stepped on them.  

I wanted to walk up to the pier but all three boys couldn't have been happier on the beach (and had no interest in moving from the beach!) We hadn't any buckets or spades for them but they just created their own fun regardless. Writing and drawing in the sand with their fingers, running around, jumping in the holes that others had already dug, creating slides sound a little embankment. It was a fabulous hour or so. 






Then we went to have a look at this years sand sculptures. I'd love to know how these enormous sculptures stay standing when exposed to all the elements for months on end - they had apparently been there since April?   They were really impressive and clever and the boys decided that their favourite was a baby elephant playing on his back. I liked children under the bed scaring the monster who was in the bed!  I wouldn't pay £10 to go in there again though...! 

We went for a Harvester meal to finish the day and got back home at 9.00pm with a Zachy STILL awake and Xander only falling asleep as we pulled into our street! I've no idea how they didn't fall asleep on the journey home. 

Wednesday it was our 'big boy only' day with Lucas in nursery. I had had every intention of taking the boys to Barry Island again, but they didn't want to go!! Both of them told me they were 'too tired for the seaside again today Mummy' so instead after dropping Luc off at nursery we started the day off in Asda buying them a small car each and then onto McDonalds for a treat of a pancake breakfast! 

Then we visited Penarth seafront to have a walk along a pier. They loved it - running the full length of the pier and lying down on the boards to listen and peek at the sea beneath them. We had a play on the pebbles too and collected some seaweed to bring back home with us. Xander found a pebble he was absolutely convinced is a dinosaurs tooth - so that has been bought home with us ready to explore in dinosaur week!  It was one of those visits where I wished I had taken the big camera with us; although still managed to get some pretty lovely shots on my iPhone. 






After a drive so at least one of those boys could nap (Xander refused! Haha) we ended up at the Wetlands in Newport, discovering the lighthouse in the park and the lighthouse on the sea wall.  Definitely somewhere we should visit more often; free carparking, free entry, a lovely playground and walks the boys could scoot around. I definitely should have taken the scooters or the stroller buggy for Zachy this Wednesday as he was flagging by the time we had walked from the car to the lighthouse.   (Note to self; next Wednesday big boy day out take the stoller buggy, because it is hard work with a tired Small boy who hasn't got a buggy board but doesn't want to walk either!) 

Thursday was another much needed home day. And mostly we watched films; a total film fest day! We watched Finding Nemo, Finding Dory and Moana! But we did get into the garden too and played with the Seaside tuff spot; bringing together everything we had collected on beaches on Pirate week, Holiday week and Seaside Week.... sea shells, pebbles and seaweed and of course some sand, buckets and spade. The sand was an absolute bargain at 63p for 10kg from Asda the evening before! I absolutely loved watching the three of them playing seasides together in the tuff spot, its lovely that Lucas can join in that bit more now! 





Of course they played again in their 'beach hut' and decided that was where they were going to eat their dinner for Thursday lunch. 



Friday was another quieter day with a a quick visit to town followed by the afternoon at Nana and Bampi's house. However, Xander thoroughly enjoyed playing the seaside counting game with his Bampi. (Bargain £3 games in Aldi earlier in the summer!) 


Which brings us to Saturday - Xander's proclaimed 'best day ever' for now! After a lovely quiet home morning, and a birthday party for Xander's school friend in the afternoon - we packed up some lunch boxes and headed down to Cardiff Bay Beach for a late afternoon/early evening trip. I always love love love Cardiff Bay. We don't go too often, but when we do the atmosphere is always great and we always have a good time. Every summer we go to the six week beach festival once (its way to expensive to go more than once; the beach part is free but the fairground on the other hand is a second mortgage!) and of course this week was the perfect week for this years summer visit! 

The boys loved the sand again, got absolutely filthy and were like little crazy things altogether. Lucas couldn't have tried hard to crawl quickly enough to catch up with his brothers and was following them around the beach and in and out of the beach huts. His little relationship is blossoming all the time at the moment with his brothers, especially so with Xander with whom he seems to be developing a really strong bond now. 







Then we went on the rides! Half hour (or not even quite that!) on the rides and £16 spent!!  This gave them four rides each - which was ample. Xander had been going on about going on a Helter Skelter all summer; clearly remembering our visit to the Bay Beach last time so he was chuffed to get two slides down there. 



Unfortunately for Zachy he was still that bit too small to go down the Helter Skelter on his own and I wasn't feeling up to going down with him on this visit (having a flare up of pain around my c-section site again, feeling like I had the baby four weeks ago, not a year and four weeks ago right now), so he felt really sad that he missed that one out. But they were both thrilled with the Beach Buggies (aka Lightning Mqueen) ride! Zachy is all about Cars and Lightning McQueen at the moment so he had two goes in the red Lightning car!  Xander had a go around the Fun House while Zachy had a go on the Bumper Boats. 

All-in-all a fabulous evening out and bought our Beside the Seaside week perfectly to a close.


We've had a day off from the seaside theme completely today and have instead spent the day with family; a visit from Jon's Dad and the boys Godmother this morning and popping to visit my Grandma on her birthday this afternoon. 

Tomorrow it is the start of Dinosaur week and we already have exciting days out for this week planned too!  
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Caz
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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