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.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Closing 2018

Its been a busy busy old year, two thousand and eighteen.

Both in the hours Jon and I find ourselves putting in at work these days and the life we live beyond that.

What is it about NYE that makes everyone feel all nostalgic?!

We've had so much to look forward to and enjoy this year, from hen weekends and stag weekends which started the year, to my best friends wedding and being a bridesmaid at Easter, and countless day trips including cBeebies Lands and Peppa Pig World this year (not including all the rest!), the lots of time with family and friends, our twice away for mini-breaks in the campervan, the awesomeness of six weeks of summer, our superstar Zac starting big school like a pro in September and then our recent date night away and pre-Christmas weekend away at Bluestone for Kingdom of the Elves.

And the same is certainly true of 2019 which is shaping up to be a very exciting year of holidays and memories already. (We have 3 holidays booked before June and plenty of day trips hypothetically planned for the second half of the year already too... you know me!)

Doesn't each year seem to go by faster and faster. Isn't that the sign of getting old?!

Reflecting back on how I finished 2017 (click to open) and how this year might've started so very differently to the way it did, we've come a long way again in a year. Like we seem to do every year. This time last year I was coming out the other side of a long period of time feeling so mentally fragile, exhausted and just generally unwell.  The beginning of stitching myself back together again, and again, and again.

That isn't to say 2018 has been perfect. What year is or will be? The usual May to June crisis hit as always. Weeks spent feeling chaotic, panicky and nauseous. Outside of this the untaken snapshots of spousal bickering and children driving me mad over the year have equalled the number of insta-perfect snapshots actually taken... life with three small children continues to overwhelming, busy, exhausting and more than anything else, wonderful.

But the year on the whole was weathered certainly better than the previous.

I look back to that first NYE (click to open) after Belle died and how difficult I found it to let go of 2010.  Her year. I remember feeling so very unwell NYE 2010. When everything was still so fresh and raw, when still each and every single breath was physically painful. I look back and I still cannot fathom how we survived the death of our daughter.  That NYE I was so terrified of the digits at the end of the year changing from 10 to 11. That we were leaving the only year she had ever lived in behind. Irrational fear, grief and trauma all mingled together. I started 2011 with not a single piece of me put back together again yet.

Already I find myself anxious of the next NYE, for much the same reasons again. The changing digits. Next year when the digits will change from 19 to 20 and it will be TEN YEARS since we had and lost her. I think I'm going to find going into 2020 pretty damn hard. The whole of 2020 pretty damn hard. The prospect of ten years is terrifying too. That this is her last year of single figures. I remember how important my own 10th birthday felt and how grown up I felt being in double figures. But first, this year she will be nine.

There are plans already afoot to mark 2020 of course, and we will. Some of it is going to require a fair amount of self-determination and dedication through 2019. I want to get our overall fundraising figure to £10k for her 10th birthday (we're just shy of the figure by £307.26 from her 1st birthday fundraising), I have 18 months to prepare and plan.

But I'll leave more on that, for another time.

New Years resolutions never felt so poignant. 

I never really did let go of 2010 and a part of me certainly did not survive it. When a whole month of every year since it almost feels like I'm reliving 2010 in a never-ending cycle of some sort of PTSD. Her month, of her year. I accept that is the way some of May and all of June each year are now.

But the years roll on as years do. Faster and faster. 2011 became Xander's year, our Rainbow Big who most certainly saved me and the start of healing so slowly began in amongst the epic lows too. Although I couldn't see it at first, and didn't want to work at it at first.

It has been a long old journey hasn't it. Recovery. If there is such a thing. With all its up and downs. Eight years ago on NYE I still wouldn't have believed I could ever enjoy life again and certainly didn't believe that there was happiness to be found again. The ebbs and flow of grief have been tremendous. They'll continue to be so, Belle's absence is keenly felt by us all and colours every aspect of our lives.

But it also feels good to say eight years on we're undoubtably living some of our best life with our boys. I've worked so hard at it. To be better. To give myself the permission to live a full and happy life for those boys.

This years best in nine from Instagram kind of surprised and thrilled me again. So much of Belle shines through in these photos. Four out of nine all her. She is still there as much a part of us as the boys are. I was equally surprised that the only of our boys that have featured in this years best in nine was Lucas and I always think that if the best in nine came from facebook the top nine photos could well be different.

But the app features our 9th wedding anniversary, Belle's birthday presents, Luc's last feed, Belle's 00:08 moment 2018, my best friends wedding, a beautiful rainbow bracelet my colleague gifted me, Luc calming my June sorrow, Belle's card at the Sands Christmas service and her eighth birthday garden. Maybe if I find time before the day is out I'll create my own nine moments of Xander, nine moments of Zac and nine moments of Luc.   But we're also pretty busy today getting ready for family spending the evening with us tonight to see in the New Year.

For another year, 2018, I have noted down all the big events and special things we've done, but also the day-to-day moments and general outings too; the funny things the boys have said or done that would otherwise might've just passed us by and out of our memories in years to come. 

2018 has been a good year to us, in health and happiness. May it continue into 2019.

Excellent Eighteen. 


1st - Sorreya's house.

2nd - Bridesmaid fun evening with Lex and Danielle, total hysterical laughs and a funny 'Mr and Mrs' phone call with Keith. 

3rd - Lego shop with boys.

3rd - Kingdom of the Elves booked at Bluestone for Christmas 2018 with Sorreya Keith Oscar and Jac. 

5th-7th - Sorreya's Hen weekend at Llety Cynin. Spa treatments, cocktails and an 80s dress up evening into Carmarthen (just like old uni times but different people! haha) 

13th - Sorreya's birthday trip to Tredegar House. Lush photos of Lex, Sorreya and my kids together. 

20th - Sorreya's house for Oscar's birthday. 

23rd - Zac coming out of school telling me all about learning 'Pwy wy ti?' today. 

28th - Zac surprising me by knowing the shape hexagon. 

28th - Xander and Luc playing dens.

28th - Xander reading 'The Smartest Giant In Town' to me at bedtime. 

29th - Luc doing puzzles. 

30th - A walk in the park with Luc. 


1st - Zac moved into the new build at school.

1st - Luc into his new big boy carseat. 

2nd - Xander moved into the new build at school.

2nd - Zac protecting Luc and stopping Nana from taking Luc's dummy off him! 

2nd - 5th - Jon's spectacular drunk weekend on Keith's stag! 

8th - Xander's special weekend trophy award for excellent writing about Goldilocks and the Three Bears. 

11th - Boys on their bikes - super getting hang of it now! 

11th - Xander "I want to read a book with tiny words and give myself a challenge."

13th - Zac's chalk drawing of me! 

14th - Did you do anything about hearts at school today Zachy? "Yes I said I love my Mummy, my Daddy, my Xander, my Luc, my Reuben and my Oscar." 

14th - Luc with his new Peppa books.

14th - The boys face with their little valentines "We love you because" heart picutres.

17th - Cardiff Bay with Sorreya Keith and boys.

20th - Beechenhurst Lodge in Forest of Dean to do the Highway Rat Trail.

21st - Big boys cinema day to watch Early Man.

24th - Cardiff pool family swimming day.

26th - Peter Pan, Captain Hook and a lost boy themed World Book Day.


1st - Snow!

2nd - The most snow ever! Up and over my knees and right up to the boys bottoms! 

3rd - more snow. Snow and sledging and snowman building with Roo and Joel.

4th - snow and snowball fight in Nana and Bampi's garden.

6th - Birthday breakfast at Frankie and Benny's.

6th - Zac and Xander both winning in Eisteddford for their artwork. Zac's leek and Xander's welsh sports kit design.

7th - Birthday tea at the Greenhouse. 

10th - Rough and tumble with the boys and a morning watching Beauty and the Beast.

16th - Ambia's birthday meal out.

17th - Spontaneous Nando's and Ikea trip.

17th - Xander's random knowledge about Donaldson and his four key purposes!

19th - Finishing reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

25th - Finishing reading The Twits. 

26th - Zac's wonderful parents meeting at school settled down and self developed coping strategies when he is finding other children and personal space tricky. Exceeding in lots of areas and lots of skills achieved. 

26th - sunny weather, walking home from school and the park.

27th - Xander's wonderful parents meeting at school. Being told his is 'more able and talented' and exceeding in all areas but more importantly shows his values all the time. Still on track for achieving outcome 6 at the end of year 2. 

29th - Buying Zac's nursery graduation outfit! 

31st - Sorreya and Keith's beautiful wedding. 


1st - Easter egg hunt with cousins.

2nd - Easter egg hunt with clues at home. Luc quite clearly learning the word egg this weekend! 

5th - Greenmeadow Farm with Jo Harri and Ethan. Fab day with a super walking little Lucas. Barely used the buggy all day. Confident little explorer all around the farm.

6th - Bike riding in Oakfield flower gardens. 

6th - Just a mummy and boys trip to Barry Island. The boys were absolutely superbly behaved! 

8th - Zachy finally giving his scooter a go and being a proper scooting superstar all the way from Mum and Dads house - up Llantarnam Road, through to the Boating Lake all the way to Grandma's house in Llanyrafon. 

11th - Cardiff castle day with Mum and the big boys.

12th - Mountain View Ranch day and Daddy's day off! 

14th - Xander's half birthday - him and Daddy went to the Big Pit and Mummy and the other boys did biscuit baking.

18th - the sun shining and summer clothes making their first appearance of the year with 22 degrees outside! 

21st - scooting and boating lake picnic with the boys.

24th - celebrating 12 years together.


3rd - the boys all giving each other kisses and cuddles good night.

6th - Margam Park for Jac's birthday trip.

7th - A day in Bute park with Sorreya and boys.

19th - The wonderful NHS but not why we were there. General anaesthetic for baby Luc and an eyebrow all stitched up back together... after a fall at Nana's hitting the computer desk on the way down. Ouch. 

26th - the 'best half birthday ever' for Zac at cBeebies Land at Alton Towers.

28th - a few days in Eastbourne with Hannah and Jack.

30th - Viva Brazil night out with Sorreya and Keith.


2nd - Cosmeston lakes and a marvellous whole family photos achieved. 

10th - Barry transport day with Marie and the twins. Baby Luc absolutely loved the 'bus' and another new word learnt today.

12th - Project sort our garden out commences.

13th - Xander having saved enough money to buy 'Berk Dragon's Village' toy that he wanted. (RRP £119 but we managed to find it for £75)

18th - New birkenstocks for me! 

21st - Belle's birthday kite flying and picnic at Keeper's Pond on the mountain.

24th - Water play in the garden.

26th - Xander passing Wave 3. 

30th - Joel's birthday in Plymouth and water fight in the back garden!


3rd - Xander getting his 5m badge!

4th - Bex and the boys playing the 'Beans' game. 

6th - Baby needing Iggle Piggle to cuddle to fall asleep now.

7th - The Bush Inn picnic bench afternoon tea with Bex, Mum and Dad. 

14th - Luc's Greenmeadow Farm birthday party. 

16th - Zac's 5m with a float 'Puffin' swimming badge.

17th - Zac's nursery graduation. Oh my that boy - blew me away, stayed on stage, joined in with confidence singing all the songs and joining in the actions. Have never been prouder of him! 

19th - Luc is TWO today garden party with his new sandpit, water table and slide. Daddy took him on a bus ride in the morning.

20th - Luc and Jon surprising me with a visit to work. 

20th - My school family disco and finishing for the summer holidays! 

21st - Xander wanting to be a policeman when he grows up and Zac wanting to be a fireman.

22nd - Peppa Pig World, the splash park, al the rides. The baby wanting 'again' on the dinosaur ride and Grampy rabbit's boat ride. 

23rd - The boys on their first big rollercoaster. Zac saying it was 'wicked fast'  So impressing with how brave they both were! 

24th - Getting into animal week! super duplo zoo building and animal paper plate making.

25th - The Wild Place project zoo day trip with Mum and big boys.

26th - Pontypool Park with Ambia and Sorreya and kids.

27th - Farm tuff spot day - making it up with different foods / cereals and the boys eating it as fast as I was trying to get them to create a farm with it! 

28th - Cefn Mably Farm and the boys going around on pedal tractors.

30th - Wetlands with Pippa Olivia and Tom. Its the start of Boat Week. 

31st - Cardiff Bay day just me and the boys.

31st - Pre-anniversary date night.

31st - Jon having a sneaky look at Xander in swimming lessons - up the deep deep end! Swimming independently - almost managing the whole length! (25m)


1st - Canal Boat day celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary.

2nd - Jo Harry and Ethan came to play day. Treasure Island tuff spot was a big hit, if but messy hit! 

4th - Barry Island afternoon with Sorreya Keith and boys.

5th - Boating lake morning and a go on the pedal boats.

6th - Cardiff Castle day. Its the start of Welsh Week. 

7th - St Fagan's day with Sorreya and boys. All the boys picking one place each on the map to visit around the site. 

8th - Going to the Eisteddfod in Cardiff Bay. Watching welsh folk dancing and being taken back to my childhood.

9th - Tenby beach day and the start of our few days away in the campervan. 

10th - Visiting St David's day - the boys saying this was their favourite day of their holiday - scooting around St David's.

11th - family film morning - watching Pete's Dragon - all together in bed in the campervan. 

12th - Being back home! 

13th - Xander initiating a grass discovery tuff spot.

14th - garden centre day and the start of In The Garden Week. Nana and Bampi putting a sleepover date in the diary.

15th - Dewstow Gardens with Jo Harri and Ethan. Xander asking to take his pebble and shell collection to Belle.

16th - Messy day - painting flowerpots and mud play. Boys needed two baths before dinner time today! 

20th - starting Fairytale and Forests Week with a fairytale trail with Louby Lou storytelling at Bedwellty House. Zac being so engaged with it all and then the boys climbing trees.

21st - making fairy cakes.

22nd - Visiting the Secret Forest (in the morning) at the Forest of Dean and Tredegar House for Gruffalo story making in the woods (in the afternoon).

23rd - The park with Xavier and Sammy.

24th - Visiting Mountain View Ranch with Jo Harri and Ethan. The baby finding the deepest muddiest puddle he could and standing right in it up to his thighs!

26th - Xander trying so hard to balance on his bike.

27th - Dinosaur Day in Bute park with all of the family. The start of Spooky Week.

28th - Roath Park with Baby Club. My tribe!

29th - A day at Wooky Hole with Mum and big boys. Zac loving dressing up as the witch and loving his new broom.

30th - Boys sleepover at Mum and Dads. Our date night to the Cinema to watch Christopher Robin.

31st - Xander riding his bike with pedal but without stabilisers!!!! Absolutely amazing - three times balance biking and then back onto his pedals.


3rd - Zac starting Reception and Xander Year 2.

8th - Isla's Dedication and a lovely cousin photo in Plymouth.

10th - No middle of the day school run = me and the baby went to bed for an after dinner nap!

11th - another middle of the day nap!

17th - Luc went on a Bus adventure day!

20th - We've booked Croatia for Lex's wedding!

21st - Xander being so excited about starting guitar lessons.

24th - Luc went of a Soft Play adventure day.

25th - Luc went on an Autumn adventure day.

28th-30th - Brean weekend away with the in-laws.

29th - Weston-Super-Mare visit.

30th - Xander losing his first top tooth.


2nd - Booking another break with Sorreya! Haha... Looe for February half term.

2nd - Luc went on a Greenmeadow Farm adventure day.

7th - Xander's 7th Lego themed birthday party.

8th - Going to Rainbow babies for the first time in two years.

9th - Zac had a certificate from school for writing his numbers to 20.

10th - Xander's 'Self-Believing Sam' certificate.

13th - Isla's 1st birthday in Plymouth.

14th - Xander is 7! Mummy Daddy and Xander only little afternoon out. We went to the Lego shop - and the staff made him feel really special and important for his birthday. Then we had a Kaspa's pudding restaurant treat.

15th - Luc went on a Vibe Tots music adventure day.

20th - Xander's Cadbury World birthday day trip.

22nd - Luc went on a Boating Lake playground adventure day.

23rd - Luc went on another Greenmeadow Farm adventure.

25th - Awesome parents evening for both big boys. Zac is a 'delightful little boy' and has settled really well into Reception. Xander is fantastic and excellent in all areas, imaginative and full of ideas and has beautiful writing content.

27th - Another day at Greenmeadow Farm.

28th - Luc scooting standing up by himself for the first time just like his big brothers now.

29th - A day out at St Fagans.

30th - Funny things they say - Luc pointing to my boob - "Big mountains"
Zac - "Mummy, Xander is picking his snots"

30th - Visiting Great-Bampi in Southampton.

31st - Phonecall from Great-Bampi telling us yesterday was the most fun he had had in his life and much he loves the boys.

31st - Harvester dinner and cinema day with the boys.


2nd - Play day with Jo Harri and Ethan.

8th - Xander's first guitar report saying how well he is applying himself to learning a new skill.

24th - Zac's 'Room On The Broom' themed 5th birthday party.

25th - Zac's Legoland Discovery Centre birthday day trip out.

26th - Zac is 5! Fireworks in the garden and a birthday banquet out of school.

27th - Xander finally losing that tooth! He has had a top grown up tooth growing over the top of the baby one since the summer.

30th - Zachy was 'Star of the Week' in his class for always trying his best.


1st - Bath Christmas market with Mum and Bex and a Zizzi's with Sorreya and her Mum too.

3rd - Zac's concert and him saying his "Do you remember when Santa got stuck up the chimney?" line so loud and clear!

4th - Luc went on a Lego shop adventure day.

5th - Xander's concernt - he said his really long line beautifully as a narrator and played the part of a stand in Joseph too!

8th - Roo's birthday in Plymouth.

11th - Luc went on a Christmas shop adventure day!

15th - Night away for Jon's 2017 Christmas present. Tour of the Triumph Factory, then watching the Strictly final in bed and then getting up again to go out for a meal at 9.30pm.

16th - Sleeping in until 10.45am at the hotel then spending some of Sunday shopping before coming home.

18th - A day at the panto with my class. Lush day!

20th-23rd - Bluestone holiday for Kingdom of Elves with Sorreya Keith Oscar and Jac.

21st - Kingdom of the Elves, play in the Adventure Centre and swimming in the Blue Lagoon.

22nd - Santa's Workshop experience, play in the village park, a visit to the beach in Tenby and joining in the Christmas Parade back at Bluestone. Watching the light show at the Bluestone Village.

23rd - another swim in the Blue Lagoon.

25th - Christmas Day - Xander's favourite present was his new Xbox pad and Ninjargo game,  Zac's favourite was his Princess Belle 'sister' Lego and Luc's favourite was his Father Christmas Duplo.  In-laws coming for a very squished in Christmas dinner.

26th - Villars Christmas Day at Mum and Dads house with Grandma too.
Funny things they say... Dad asking Zac what his address it. Zac answering "I don't have a dress, I have a t-shirt." Haha!

27th - The boys playing on the scooter park. They loved it and Luc was a proper little dare-devil for his age!

28th - Having a really lazy snuggly onesie kind of day!

29th - A morning at Sorreya's new place and then another onesie afternoon watching Inside Out.

30th - Extending Christmas with Christmas clothes and a little party and play day at Jo Harri and Ethan's house.

One hundred and eighty two moments, special days, important memories and just general wonder of being alive in 2018. So many more I'll have neglected to note down too. This was our year and I'm truly excited for the next one.

The Morgan's wish all we know a happy, healthy, calm and peaceful two thousand and nineteen. 

Much love xx 


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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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