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.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

The End of a Decade

There have been tons of 2009 to 2019 transformation posts all over facebook this last few days. As people reflect the difference a decade has made to their lives.  This was me at the end of 2009. Still in the newly married glow and newly pregnant for the first time too. Thrilled that I was bloated enough to look suspiciously 'showing'. I was so ready for this next stage of life and so very very excited we were going to start the next decade by becoming a family.  Oh little did I know. 

The twenty tens and teens have been a decade of the best and worst times of my life. A decade of sharply growing up. A decade of facing mental health and grief head on. A decade of rainbows and magical moments. My boys!   2010 turned from one of blissful excited naivety into the bleakest year of my life; from my first 12 weeks scan in the January, to finding out we were having a girl, our Anabelle, in the March to losing her and burying her in the June.  Now its about to become 2020. I simply cannot fathom how that is now coming up for ten years ago when each June feels forever stuck in 2010.  That we have survived and indeed thrived for all of this time. Ten years. Ten years of grief and healing, ups and downs, brokenness and joy. 

2020.  This is the year we should have a 10 year old daughter.  A milestone we reach with trepidation. I already feel so very sad that we're facing another important milestone without her.  I can remember how grown up and important it felt on my own tenth birthday. The milestone of becoming 'double figures' - staring down the excited barrel of becoming a teenager a few years ahead.  We've already booked a quirky special weekend away for the weekend Belle will turn 10. I've spent her last few birthdays wishing we could escape, fighting an urge to run-away; so this year, for her tenth, of which I'm anticipating a really tough month getting through it, we have booked an escape. We're going to make it magical and mermaid themed.  It will start a tradition that all of our children will get a quirky weekend away to mark such a special milestone birthday.  

The twenty tens and teens have certainly been a decade of making our family. Anabelle, Alexander, Zachary and Lucas. I guess the twenty twenties will be about watching our family grow and reaching a ton of milestones between them. We will have three teenage boys, Jon and I will both turn forty (one of us sooner in rather than later, haha!) Then, by the end of this decade Alexander will become an adult! Say what now?!   I cannot quite imagine it.  This will be another decade of transition and action packed, that is for sure. 

2019 has been a good year. I've felt emotionally well for almost all of it; discounting May to June. We have enjoyed so many holidays and mini-breaks this year! A unseasonal February holiday in Looe where the sun shone and it was warm enough to splash in the sea, a fabulous family holiday to Disneyland where we marked our upcoming tenth wedding anniversary a few months later, an adult only few days in Croatia for a friends wedding, a medieval themed night at Warwick Castle for our anniversary and more recently a week spent in the New Forest for an October half term break.   We've been on tons of day trips and adventures along the way too; all of our Six Weeks of Summer, Peppa Pig World, Chessington World of Adventures, Heatherton World of Activities, Legoland Discovery Centre, London. Plenty more I'll have forgotten.  

Another year of living our best lives with our boys. Determined the next decade will be more of the same. Hoping that they have grown up by the end of this next decade knowing undoubtedly how incredibly precious they are to us, will always be to us, and how loved they are, beyond measure.

This years best nine is such a lovely mix of my family, still even Belle. Even after all these years she is so firmly in the mix and as central to us as her brothers are.  This year our best nine feature our special holiday to Disneyland Paris, Belle's 9th birthday, Lucas's throwback new baby photo compared to still sleeping in my arms to similarly, my entire family celebrating Grandma's 90th birthday, Wave of Light, my boys looking so handsomely smart at my cousins wedding, Xander's 8th birthday, our family photo where I included Belle's space and shadow and Lucas when he wanted to hug his sister and declared "My Belle sister likes me!" 


Once again I have kept a record of all the special moments this year; the big and little days. It has firmly become a tradition now to read back on all these moments through the year and something I definitely plan to keep up into the next one too. 

As well as all this I've compiled my top nine of the year for each boy too - so if you're on Instagram or Facebook have a little nose in stories for my 2019 highlights. 

Two Thousand and Nineteen; Nifty Nineteen.

January 

1st - an aimless drive that ended up with arriving in Weston-Super-Mare and scooting down the promenade. 

2nd - A Mummy and Daddy and big-boys day! (Lucas was in Nursery) We went to the cinema to watch The Grinch, had a Harvester dinner and visited the Lego shop. 

3rd - Going for a solo 5km walk. Peaceful fresh-air!

3rd - Girly night with Jo! Going to the cinema to watch Mary Poppins Returns, then Kaspas puddings and a bar for cocktails! 

4th - Catching up with Marie, Noa and Isaac with an afternoon of play at their house.

4th - Baby club girls night and a gorgeous home-made curry by Lex. 

5th - Couch to 5k, Week 1, Run 1 done. 

5th - Watching Moana and Luc continually shouting at the TV and Moana to "get back on the boat" when she falls off! 

6th - Zac telling Uncle Steve how to count. Uncle Steve said '10'. Zac said 'no not 10, 1'  So Uncle Steve says '1' and Zac pipes in with 'now 2'. Every time Uncle Steve counted wrong Zac came back with 'you did it wrong, its 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10' 

7th - Zac still insisting his swimming teachers name is 'Crisp' even though its Chris! 

8th - Luc saying "I excited Mummy" when we were parking the car in town. He was an absolute delight all morning; shopping, Costa, toy shop and then a Library Adventure. 

14th - Swimming Adventure with Luc. Super excited about going swimming today. Spending most of his time on the froggy slide and sporadically self initiating singing 'Baby Shark'. 

15th - Costa Coffee with Jo and Lucas holding the mannequins hands in Next. "I see girls Mummy" 

18th - My first and new three Popsy dresses that I won in the Christmas competition.  (I've gone from zero to    dresses plus a jumpsuit in the space of a Popsy year!) 

19th - Zac's new glasses - he totally suits them! 

21st - Luc's first trip to the cinema to see Hey Duggee along with Daddy, Auntie Reya and Jac. 

26th - Lex's hen weekend and a night away in the Celtic Manor. 

28th - Bus trip adventure to town with Luc.

31st  - Xander's first piano lesson with Mummy. 

February 

1st - Snow Day! 

2nd - Xander's big boy haircut with gel.

4th - Trampolining Adventure with Sorreya and Jac.

5th - Zac's nomination assembly - we celebrated him trying new foods and getting used to wearing glasses. 

6th - Xander being kind. Mum and Jo both texting me to tell me how kind he is before dinner time. He had made Harri a friendship bracelet, and he gave it to Harri and then took his own off and gave that to  Ethan so he wasn't left out - because 'I can make myself another one when I get home'. 

10th - Xander being very busy Warhammer painting with Daddy.

11th - Garden Centre Adventure day with Luc.

12th - "How To Train Your Dragon" after school mega treat cinema trip with Xander and Zachy. 

13th - Making Xander's homework recipe and sharing popping candy together. Lots of giggles. 

15th - after school trip to the park. 

17th - Zac choosing his bow tie outfit for the day. 

18th - Train trip Adventure day to Cardiff with Mum and Luc. A lovely day and finally finding a sequin tshirt to buy for Zachy! 

18th - Zac being confident and chatty at Nana and Bampi's church.  Standing out the front to help with the actions - not doing many actions but just standing out the front is huge for him. 

23rd - Feeling better after tonsillitis and sunny days.

24th - Another sunny day!

25th - Holiday to Looe along with Sorreya, Keith, Oscar and Jac. 

26th - Morning doing the Zog Trail in Cardinham Wood and then afternoon playing on the beach in Looe in unseasonal hot temperatures. 

27th - Polperro morning - scooting in the village square. Another afternoon on the beach in Loee and even being brave enough to splash toes in the very cold sea!  But a very warm beach and catching the sun on our faces! 

28th - An evening in the clubhouse. Xander's and his millions of machine tickets - excitement exploding all over his face! 

March 

1st - a day with our cousins before coming home. 

6th - Tiny Rebel evening for Jon's birthday. 

7th - Room On The Broom themed World Book Day dress up in my class on my birthday.

8th  - Traditional Welsh Dress Up photo. 

9th - Bike ride and the park with Roo, Joel and Isla followed by a whole cousin sleepover! 

11th - A day at the farm with Luc, Roo, Joel and Isla. 

17th - Xander calling oars for a boat "paddling sticks" 

17th - Mummy and Zac day out to Cardiff: Train, Lego Shop (buying Cinderella Carriage Lego), Disney Shop (buying a Rapunzal Doll), World Book Day voucher (buying Supertato Valley of Doom), carousel, red jeggings and vests for me, lunch, first grown up Nike trainers for him, train, bus and a Harvester tea! 

21st - Luc falling asleep cupping my face. 

23rd - Xander and Mummy day out to Cardiff: Park and Ride bus, carousel, World Book Day voucher (buying George's Marvellous Medicine), Lego Shop (buying a Car creator set, Ninjargo set and a minifig surprise bag), cardigan, socks and shoes bought for me and then back on the bus, a Harvester dinner (because Xander wanted to go the 'salad place') and then a trip over to Smyths toy shops to spend the rest of his money! 

25th - another boy, another day, another Cardiff adventure! Haha! This time Luc's turn. Bus ride, World Book Day voucher spends (There's a Dragon in Your Book), Lego shop and the Carousel. 

28th - lovely love notes cards from my middle boy. "I will always hug Mummy, she is beautiful, I will always love you!'  (I wil ulways hug Mumy, she is byootfl,  I wil ulways leve you). 

31st - Beautiful Mother's Day things. Tons of chocolate, a new Popsy dress (Clemmie Coral), and a cardi, plus more importantly all the gorgeous own made cards and gifts from the boys. 

April 

1st - Luc and I went to visit Belle.  "My hug Belle?" Luc asked. Yes I said. He hugs the headstone and then says "My Belle sister loves me!" 

2nd - Xander nomination assembly. We celebrated his kind nature and giving the example of when he made friendship bracelets for him and Harri but took his own off and gave it to Ethan, so Harri's little brother didn't feel left out. 

5th - Tiny Rebel evening out. 

8th - Peppa Pig at the Cinema with Luc, Sorreya and Jac. 

11th - The big class move! 

13th - We're on the way to Disneyland! Lush evening in France in a lovely AirBnB in a tranquil area. Walking around near the Somme. Not the bit where we got attacked by Geese though haha! 

14th - Arriving at Disneyland! The boys telling me off they weren't 8 and 6 like we had originally told them they would be the next time we went to Disneyland! Seeing the castle, lush family picture at the castle, the parade, big boys on Big Thunder Mountain, Luc meeting Donald Duck. 

15th - A day in Studios park, watching Mickey and the Magician show, Zac beaming and saying "my sister" when he saw Princess Belle in the show. Lightening McQueen's amazing car stunt show, Luc and the Hulk poses, being a super big boy and brave on the toy soilders parachute ride, slinky dog ride and Xander on the RC ride. 

16th - Zac meeting Rapunzal and his beaming little face. Fantastyland, meeting Mickey, lots of rides, Small World, Train, Boats, Madhatter Teacups, Pirates of the Caribbean ride, caves, treehouse, and the Wild West Show which all boys loved - including Jon who got ot join in the show with some shooting. 

17th - another day in Studios, tram tour, Superheroes show, some spending money and buying superheroes! Then having a nap before staying out for illuminations and fireworks - wow - and we got THE picture! (Children and Castle in the dark)

18th - Meeting Minnie, meeting Donald again, Mickey's 4D Orchestra cinema show, surprise Princess lunch for the boys - meeting Snow White, Rapunzal, Merida and Cinderella. Zac's absolute joy in it all. Buzz Lightyear ride and spending all their money. Our last day before going back to the lovely AirBnB. 

21st - Marion at church telling me how she was looking at the boys in churhc and thinking how gorgeous each of them are andthat they're an absolute credif to me, every one of them. 

21st - Easter egg hunt in Mum and Dad's garden.

22nd - Easter Monday bank holiday with a BBQ. Jo, Harri and Ethan coming over to join in. Lush afternoon.

24th - 13 years together. 

24th - Baby club at Jellytotz soft play and a play over Sorreya's house day. 

25th - An afternoon at the farm with Evie and Lucy. Lots and lots of puddle jumping, donkey grooming and a walk in the woods.

26th - A day at Caerphilly Castle with Jo, Harri and Ethan. A lovely trail around the castle and warrior day. Boys loved trying sword fighting and archery. Loved it! 

29th - Bristol Aquarium adventure day with Luc. 

30th - Luc walking his baby with his dolly pram. River walk and morning in Croesy Park.

30th - Harvester tea with the boys. (While Daddy is away for a week, we will play treat) 

May 

3rd - We survived solo week! 

4th - some more big boy days all booked! 

5th - Mountain View Ranch for Jac's birthday. 

7th - Swimming and Ikea day out with Luc. Luc playing peekaboo in the lift with the teddy on the wall. 

10th - Xander winning first prize for Easter book bingo at school. 

10th - Luc having a Daddy day out adventure! Bus to Cardiff, carousel, Cardiff Castle, Lego Shop. 

10th - Lex's hen night out to Cardiff.

11th - New (to us) sofa day!

13th - Coffee with Sorreya, Julie and Sue. 

13th - Tredegar house / Gruffalo woods with Luc. "My Saddo" day when he spotted his shadow on the floor! 

14th - Barry Island day with Luc.

18th - Mummy and Zachy day out to Legoland Discovery Centre in Birmingham, seeing Sarah. 

19th - Dinosaur show with Jo, Harri and Ethan. 

20th - Boys being super cute and super pleased to see each other after school. All 3 holding hands. 

21st - Zac's nomination assembly. Celebrating his hard work in swimming without a float or belt. Then being brave having an x-ray after stepping on a nail, and being lovely company on our Mummy and Zachy day. 

27th - Bryn Bach Park with family.

28th - the start of our adult mini-break! 

29th - Croatia - exploring Cavtat. 

30th - Croatia - Lex's beautiful wedding. 

31st - Croatia - exploring Dubrovnik (aka King's Landing Game of Thrones). 

June 

3rd - Luc being a super star on his first couple of hours in pants. Tiny accidents, stopping himself and getting to the potty to finish. 

4th - Zac being chuffed his sunflower is now taller than him.

7th - lush photo of the boys together on Rainbow Baby Day. 

10th - Zac on sports day. Joining in and enjoying himself mostly, even winning his running race. 

12th - Luc dry at Nursery all day.

14th - Luc doing poos on the potty and no accidents again all day. 

16th - Father's Day tree tops golf.

18th - Xander's nomination assembly. Celebrating all his effort and improvements in swimming. 

22nd - Sunny Saturday - watching the boys play in the garden. 

25th - Xander - passing swimming Wave 5 after only 1 block! Amazing! 

28th - Xander - achieving his 25 meter swimming badge. 

30th - Moors Valley Country Park with Sorreya and Jac and a little night away. 

July 

1st - Luc's Peppa Pig World mega adventure with Sorreya and Jac too. 

3rd - Luc's settling in session at school nursery. He was all about the diggers and crane toys. 

6th - Xander and Mummy trip to London; Science museum, Princess Diana playground, Disney Shop, Hamleys, Lego shop.

8th - Two glowing end of Year 2 and Reception reports! 
Xander "Bright, sensitive, confident and well-meaning... Hard-working, perseveres and has produced work he should be proud of... showing a passion and real interest for science." 
Zac "Very pleasant and happy boy... has coped with change and grown in confidence throughout the year... caring and considerate to others... always tried his best... an inquisitive boy who enjoys a challenge!"  I'm so proud of you both my boys! 

15th - Browns Bears Cafe with Luc and a brownie. 

16th - The Wild Place adventure with Luc. 

19th - Luc's 3rd Birthday

20th - Luc's Mountain View Ranch birthday party.

21st - Toy Story 4 at the Cinema. 

22nd - Chessington World of Adventures. Luc loving the Gruffalo Ride and Gruffalo show. The mini sea life centre. 

23rd - Zac passing Wave 1 swimming! Absolutely prouder than proud of him for trying so hard. 4 weeks into current bloc, and still 6 weeks until badge week but his teacher said he deserved it early. 

24th - Ice skating with Jo, Harri and Ethan. both boys having a little go without holding on. 

27th - Christmas in July BBQ in the back graden with Jo, Harri and Ethan

27th - Zac in the opticians answering the question 'How many brothers and sisters do you have?' with 1 sister and 2 brothers. 

28th - Zac insisting he NEEDS to send a letter to Father Christmas today! 

28th - Luc saying "Can we play go away and find me" (aka Hide and Seek) 

29th - Cardiff Castle day with boys.

31st - Caldicot Castle and bumping into Kirsty. The boys enjoyed playing with her youngest and running around the castle with him! 

August

1st - Warwick Castle; princess story, prince's photo, knight school, medieval glamping, archery, more knights, falconry experiences. Knights congratulating us on 10 years of marriage to the crowd before final evening battle commenced. Zac being particularly loving towards Luc. 

3rd - Grown up anniversary celebrations in London. Afternoon tea at the Swan (Globe) followed by the theatre to watch "The Book of Mormon". Wandering around Leicester Sq and Covent Garden before evening meal back at the hotel.  

4th - More London time. Transport Museum and Oxford Street.

5th - Penarth Pier and Caerphilly Castle with my boys.

7th - Cardiff Bay with the boys. Luc getting brave at the skate park and going down slopes by himself. 

8th - Greenmeadow Farm day. 

9th - Zac cuddling Luc on the sofa while watching a film. 

10th - Luc and Xander Chinese Dragon dancing. 

11th - Luc on seeing my graduation photo from 2006... "Mummy looks like a wizard" haha! 

12th - Circus Day at Parc Play - bumping into Marie and the boys. 

13th - Baby club day at the boating lake. Luc doing his best scooting ever - think he has cracked it now. 

14th - The silly clown face creations. 

15th - Enormous bubble mix play. 

15th - Plymouth fireworks and a cousin sleepover.

17th - Luc singing and dancing to the Greatest Showman film. 

18th - Birmingham sealife and seeing an enormous green turtle in the 360 tunnel. 

19th  - a little late evening trip to the boating lake. playing on the park at 8.00pm! 

20th  - Grandma's 90th birthday. 

21st - Barry Island with Jo, Harri and Ethan. 

24th - paddling pool party with cousins. 

25th - the pub garden evening. A really enjoyable few hours letting the kids run riot and enjoy the band. 

26th - Grandma's 90th birthday party and managing to achieve a whole family photo! 

28th - Pontypool and Blaenavon steam railway - boys particularly impressed with "Harry Potter" carriages. 

29th - Mummy and boys day to Cardiff on the train. Xander and Luc giving each other cuddles. 

30th - we climbed up the Mountain Air. 

31st - Perrygrove Railway day out. 

September 

2nd - Xander and Zac back to school day. Xander starting the Juniors and wanting to go straight up onto the yard and Zac into year 1 without any wobbles. 

2nd - Mummy, Daddy and Luc day out to Cardiff day! 

4th - Luc started nursery! Didn't even look back and straight into school. 

6th - Girls night out to Millar and Carter for Lex's birthday. 

12th - Xander's first go at Karate and loving it. 

16th - Zac and Luc spotting each other through the Year 1 fence after I had picked Luc up from nursery - giving each other cuddles through the fence. 

17th - I had a hair cut! 

18th - Zac with his ideas about cool teenagers in their black hoodies and backwards caps!

21st - Sunny day in Roath Park. 

24th - Mummy and Luc trip to the Congress Theatre to watch Dear Zoo.

28th - Sarah and Thomas's wedding. Managing to play the piano without no catastrophes! The boys being super cute in their bow ties and smart shirts. 

30th - 6 runs complete in September. 

October 

1st  - Xander's Family Tuesday and being able to go because its on my day off! 

2nd - Luc wanting to xbox game with his Daddy. 

6th - Girls day out bowling and Zizzi's. 

7th - Happy Hands with Luc.

10th - Xander got his karate clothes today and now totally looks the part. 

12th - Xander's slime party with Sarah Creation Station Cwmbran. 

14th - Xander is 8 today! Loving his science kit after school party. 

17th -  Rebekah and Luc doing Cosmic Yoga Moves. 

19th - Xander's birthday day trip to Heatherton World of Activities. Him being able to go on the enormously tall zip wire because he was 8 now and 8 was the minimum age! 

20th - Nana knits wear kind of Sunday. 

21st - Lush first parents evening for Lucas. 

22nd - Family Tuesday in school with Lucas. Making lovely leaf pictures. 

24th - Xander - an absolutely gushing parents evening - his teachers were glowing before we even sat down!

24th - Zac - a lovely lovely parents evening. His teacher thinks he is awesome and is very impressed with him. 

26th - Zac coping well with a change of plan with replacement glasses. (After an absolute meltdown two weeks before when we tried to sort it out)

27th - Zac telling Luc he loves him!

28th - Our beautiful holiday caravan in the New Forest. 

29th - Mario Kart in the arcades at Bournemouth Seafront. 

30th - A proper relaxing day!

31st - Moors Valley Country Park with Hannah, Jack, Katie and George. 

November 

2nd - Jon and Xander day out to the Avengers Station Cardiff. 

6th - Zac trying to read Topsy and Tim book from when we were little and managing to read the first two pages all by himself. 

7th - Zac and Daddy family Thursday time at school. 

8th - Luc and his funny poses in Nana's Sunday best hat!

9th - Grandma, Mum and Bex afternoon tea at the Parkway. 

10th - An afternoon in the Celtic Manor Lounge with Baby Club girls. Love all our 5 year grand savings plans for adventures. 

13th - Cwmbran Christmas lights switch on. A lovely evening Costa's with the boys. 

20th - the marvellous A+E again after Xander needing their services again. Xander had a nasty fall at school, nasty gash open on knee full of gravel. 

23rd - the big family birthday sleepover for Zac. A funny game of Cards Against Humanity. 

26th - Zac is 6! Loving his after school Cheeky Monkey's party.

30th - London and watching Frozen 2 in Leicester Square! Zac's joy at buying and wearing Elsa's dress. 

December 

1st - London and Shrek's Adventure 

2nd - Zac lost his first tooth! 

3rd - Zac's concert - and him doing so very well to get through it albeit the end. Super proud of him. 

4th - Elf day for my class.

5th - Xander getting his red and white stripe belt in his first Karate grading. 

6th - boys elf day in their school and Xander's concert - sang his little heart out and I'm totally beaming. 

7th - we put the tree up day! 

8th - Christmas knit day! 

9th - Jon and me had a Christmas shopping day, productive and lush us time. 

11th - Zac doing do brilliantly at Movie and Munch night at school without me. Claire messaging to say what a delight and wonderful little boys he is and how proud she is of him. A few blips but he coped amazingly with cuddles and reassurance with her. So thrilled with him I could burst. 

15th - Zac and Luc superstars at church, not sat with me because I was playing the piano. 

17th - Luc's first christmas concert - sang all the way through and did all the actions. Funny little superstar. 

20th - End. Of. Term. Hooray!  

21st - Babyclub Christmas dinner - cooking lovingly by Lex! Lush afternoon.

23rd - Christmas Eve Eve at Perrygrove Railway - a lovely festive Santa Twilight Train, with beautiful lights and just a lovely lovely evening.   The boys singing songs to Santa when they met him. 

24th - funny things they say - in Primark - Lucas picks up a Bra and announces that "this is for boobies" 

24th - Christmas Eve Snow White panto at the Congress Theatre. 

25th - A totally chillaxed Christmas day. Spaced out the presents so they lasted all day - boys played with everything they opened and it was such a lovely quiet calm day. 

27th - Christmas Date Night - Drago Lounge followed by the pub. 

28th - the boys on their bikes and a family Christmas day with Dan, Janet and co! Zac transitioning onto the bigger bike (Xander's old one) so well, recovering from a meltdown at the mere suggestion of giving it a try.  Giving it an amazing go - super! Luc pedalling a little too under his own steam on the little bike. 

30th - randomly bumping into Jo a the square with Harri and Ethan out on our bikes again.     Then a little bit of shopping, getting a new Hoover and a lampshade finally for Luc's bedroom!

31st  - Mark fixing out bathroom floor! Hooray! 

31st - Finishing the year at Auntie Ruth's house for an extended family NYE. 


Two hundred and fourteen moments and days of note this year and wondering just how many there will be as we go into Twenty Twenty. 


Wishing all we know a happy, healthy and peaceful new year and indeed new decade. 

Much love xXx 
Monday, 30 December 2019

Small is SIX!

Unbelievably a year has gone by since I last updated about Zac. Facebook memories reminded me yesterday that on the day last year I published his "Five" update, which gave me a kick up the bum to actually make an effort to make a start on "Six". What a year it has been. 

Zachary, ever my Small one, ever my sensitive sweet little boy, ever not confined by societal 'norms' and expectations. So perfectly uniquely delightfully himself. This last couple of months has been one of realisation I guess. I've always said he was our 'worry'; sensitive yes, but sometimes extremely so and so genuinely distressed in some situations, sometimes some really extreme reactions and meltdowns over seemingly 'nothing'. It has been becoming more and more evident there are just some events, changes and routine disruptions that he really struggles to cope with.   

So in October we bit the bullet (after a few years of pondering I suppose, you would think being an SEN professional would help in this situation, but if anything it has not helped at all - so many conflicted thoughts about if we needed to start this process or not, if I was over-reacting, over thinking, over-recognising etc etc.)  and reached out to his school ALNCo and detailed our concerns; we think Zac is experiencing Sensory Processing Disorder / Difficulties; after some research we think Zac is struggling with Auditory and Tactile input along with some organisational difficulties and social/emotional difficulties. Namely being that he is hypersensitive to stimulus in some situations. Reading "The Out-of-Sync Child" has been a revelation and really helped us already support him better when we've come up against a tricky day.

School support has been great, they recognise our concerns in him even though they haven't raised any huge concerns themselves since Nursery. His ALNCo said it is also very likely that he 'masks' in the school environment and has developed his own self-coping strategies. So those little blips he does have, just haven't yet been linked together to a highlight a sensory trigger or recognised within the context of our concerns. She described it like a bucket; we meet his needs so well at home that he sent to school with his bucket full; through the day he comes up against situations which may unsettle him but he uses the reserves in his bucket to see him through them all, comes home empty and then we meet all those needs to fill him up again. And so on, and so forth.


We've already seen Ed Psych who was equally supportive and said the family concerns are more valuable than school and a referral has now been made to ISCAN to see if a) he meets their threshold and b) if he does meet threshold which agencies can offer him support.  Basically we're not sure where this goes now and its been quite overwhelming to take the step. We were just aware that he was almost six, and that things you would expect him to have grown out of by now he just hasn't. Sometimes it really feels like we have two threenagers in the house!   

I desperately didn't / don't want to be in a situation 18 months to 2 years from now where we set him up to fail if we hadn't at least seen if seeking support now was appropriate, because the process is LONG and you know when he is finishing Infants and transitioning to Juniors when the young 'age excuse' disappears and expectations wildly change. I so don't want him to be labelled difficult or naughty. Because he isn't, he is a really sweet kid who sometimes struggles to self-regulate.  I think we have a way to go for everyone to 'get him' and not just assume he can be a tricky at-times over-emotional boy but I think Jon and I have got much better recently at recognising what is usual and normal difficult child-behaviour and what is his anxiety / sensory related behaviour. Because you know what; there is no way any child would consciously choose to be wired and unsettled on high alert like Zac appears sometimes.  (Boxing Day was a prime example, wow!) 

All that being said, Zac has continued to thrive; he is such a marvellous boy. He HAS matured, he has continued to blow us away all of the time.  Reception year was brilliant, his teachers 'got him' with the perfect gentle and nurturing approach for him. They were so blown away by his work that they kept his Reception books as one of the their top end examples on writing improvement for moderation!  He has started Year 1 with continued brilliance and we love how he loves to read.  He is such a happy boy with an infectious giggle and silly funny sense of humour.

It all reads so ridiculously negative when its down like that above - and that above doesn't even really scratch the surface but even that makes him sound like incredibly hard work; and boy does he have his off days and moments, but he is a little joy all the same! 


Zachy, beautiful boy! You are SIX! Which sounds far too grown up really. Each year just zooms by.  Grown up you certainly have. A whole 6+ cm in a year! But still my Small!  Your first day in Year 1 photo compared your first day in Reception photo really shows the difference a year makes; honestly - you've shot up the front door! 



Growing up in height and growing up in your ways too.  Ever blossoming into big brother roles now. Of course you and Lucas have the mightiest of clashes (too many shared likes!) but you are the cutest when you spot him after Nursery at pick up time or when you get protective of Luc at the park! I love watching you play big brother - those moments where you steal cuddles with Lucas and you tell each other 'I love you'.  What a super place to be in; a big brother and a little brother. Being able to look up to Xander and be looked up to by Lucas.  You really live up to the middle spot if I'm honest; playing Small when you want to but equally bolstering big when you want to too! 

A lot has happened between five and six.   

To start off 2019, and not that long after your fifth birthday, this happened... 


Glasses!  It was strange at first, but they suit you so much that whenever you're not wearing your glasses now you don't look like you anymore! My little mini-me.  You went for a routine eye-test and the optician discovered you have mild astigmatism in both eyes. I kinda knew that one of you would need glasses one day; the odds were high since I started wearing glasses at age 6, but I expected the reason to be short-sightedness like me and not because your eyes were a funny shape!  You look the cutest in your glasses Zachy and I love the bright coloured frames on you. You rock them my Small! 

Then we moved your swimming lessons. Out of 'Bubble Tots' and into standard big boy leisure centre swimming lessons.  I couldn't make heads or tails of your progress really with Bubble Tots anymore so we made  the jump to put you with the same swimming teacher as Xander. It could've gone one of two ways as major change is always a challenge.  But luckily it went the right way and you've gelled well with Sian.  You still need lots of encouragement to stay on task for the whole of your lesson, you still have weeks where it is too much and you opt out by the end of the lesson and you still find 'watch weeks' quite tricky. However, you're getting more confident in the water and starting to resemble something of a swimmer; you've already achieved Wave 1 back on 23rd July (look at that proud little face, we were bursting for you Zachy!) and I bet you'll have your 5m badge before we know it!



We have had so many lovely adventures this year.  We've had holidays at Bluestone, Looe, Disneyland, Warwick Castle and Bournemouth.  February was a particularly crazy month where we started with snow and at the end of the month you were running through the waves on a beach in Cornwall on a 23 degree summer-like day.   Bonkers! 



We've been to so many places and some of my favourites days this year were our Mummy and Zac adventure days; the day we caught the train to Cardiff in March and the day we went to Legoland Discovery Centre in Birmingham just us in May.  


But I think some of my favourite memories of all this year was the day you met the Princesses at Disneyland. The joy on your face after we queued for two hours for you to meet Rapunzal and how utterly ecstatic you were at the Princess dinner in the restaurant underneath the castle.  Cuddles with Cinderella and Snow White and Merida.  Disneyland was just gorgeous; I would love to take you again one day, you were so happy and so immersed in all the magic. 
  

Another year where you've remained free-from-the-mold my beautiful boy. Not constrained by things that should be boys or girls but just loving whatever you love. And you still love Princesses and unicorns and magic.  You totally love Frozen and Elsa right now! For your birthday trip we went to London (more on that shortly) and you spent lots of your money on Frozen merchandise and insisted you wanted Elsa's dress; you've remained absolutely joyful dressing up in that dress since! You can totally pull it off and even more exciting is that we were able to match in our Elsa dresses, because Mummy has a snowflake print dress named Elsa! 



As well as Princesses, you love Lego and Paw Patrol Mighty Pups too.  I thought we had escaped the Paw Patrol phrase, but now there are Mighty Pups you and Lucas are all over it; so it is unsurprising lots of Mighty Pup toys have arrived in the house over your birthday and Christmas! You love drawing and colouring in and being creative. Your attention to detail is gorgeous.  You love painting and getting messy - you can guarantee every time the paint comes out you'll find an excuse to get it all over your hands!  

Little boy. At the end of Reception you said you wanted to be a Ninja. Which is quite an interesting occupational choice! Reception was a great year for you. You had the best teachers that totally got you. I think one of your favourite things in Reception was the sunflower project. It started as planting a seed with Nana in Family Thursday. You bought the pot home and Bampi helped you keep it alive, re-potting it into a bigger pot, and then a bigger pot again! It kept growing and growing until it was nearly the size of two of you!   




My highlight of Reception was Sport's Day; oh my boy you were amazing. Joining in so beautifully and even winning one of your running races. It was so lovely to see you enjoying yourself. You had had enough by the time it got to the medal ceremony, but that didn't matter because you had done so so well up to then.    I can't tell you how proud of you we are when you try your hardest to cope in situations where you are clearly become saturated and overwhelmed or out of your comfort zone.

And now you are a big boy in Year 1. It is a different set of challenges but you are rising to them. Your reading is coming on leaps and bounds at the moment and your handwriting is superb. You've joined Yoga Club which you really seem to enjoy and most of all you seem happy in school and enjoy learning. You've really enjoyed your Autumn Term project of Africa!  I think you kind of miss the routine of school days when we're in school holidays like we are now. 

We had such a wonderful time celebrating your 6th birthday. We made a week of it, like we always tend to do. Birthdays are such an important milestone event and we're so thankful for every one that you have.   This year we celebrated your birthday with a whole family sleepover; your cousins, Auntie and Uncle came for party food and games and some sleep of sorts! Then for your actual birthday you wanted your Cheeky Monkey's Soft Play birthday party - after school chaos! Then the weekend after you turned six we did your London weekend. Much like we had for Xander when he turned six, and now it was your turn. 


 

You were so excited about your Mummy, Daddy and just you trip to London. It took you the first three or four hours to settle into the big city; you just seemed on high alert for those first few hours, overwhelmed maybe by the frequent train hopping, how busy it was, the noise level, the crowds and size of the buildings. We started in the Lego shop and it was tricky to get you to look around properly; you were on a one track mind to find the Elsa set that you wanted and you couldn't focus on anything else until we had exchanged money for it!  

You were excited about Elsa things all weekend; none more so than when we watched Frozen 2 in Leicester Square on a VIP balcony (that had 100 seats I imagine up there but the only seats that were booked out on the balcony were the three Daddy had booked for us - which made it feel properly VIP!) and the visit to the Disney shop where you bought your Elsa dress and mini Elsa dolls house and when you saw Anna and Elsa statues too! It was a proper Frozen weekend.  Sunday we went to Shrek's Adventure and then you were ready to come home, so we did.  I absolutely loved our London weekend with you and hope to take you back next year to watch Frozen on the West End Stage. 



Here we are then, SIX! I'm excited to see where the next year takes us and what adventures we'll have. One thing I do know though is how amazing you're going to be through it all. 

You make us burst, Zachy.  



We love you so very much our Small. 
Always, Mummy and Daddy xXx 






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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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