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, 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!  
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! 
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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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