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

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

Friday, 22 February 2019

Lucas is Two Plus Half

I wish I could say that I can't believe that my first post of 2019 is bypassing January altogether, and that in-fact February is almost at a close too. But actually, I can. I've no idea where the weeks fly by but our days and weeks are so full, and so busy, between work and school and parenting and running a home.  There is always something else that needs doing, so the nice little update I want to write always gets pushed further down the never-ending list. 

But here we are. I've prioritised it tonight after a week of tonsillitis and feeling ridiculously sorry for myself. Not to mention that my little Lucas has already reached the next month milestone, long ago already feels his half birthday. 

His second and a half birthday.  Two and a half.

If I could bottle him just as he is now I would. Just to keep this little piece of him just as he is right now forever. With all of his toddler cuteness, his cheeky ways, fledgling independence and determined streaks, wanting to be big but with still so many of his baby ways just clinging on. With all those mispronunciations and broken sentences where you can almost hear him thinking about every single word he says sometimes. 

He is just beautiful company right now. I'm so much more relaxed about the inevitable tantrums this time, even more so on this third boy and just absolutely enjoying myself. I can honestly say he is such lovely company, our little Monday and Tuesday adventures are some of my favourite times of the week - him soaking up the new adventure and discovery and me soaking him up before I have to give him away to school like his big brothers before him.  

I find myself with so many pangs of 'the last one' right now;  clinging on to him just as he is now, before he becomes a properly big boy and not at all a baby anymore.


I mean when exactly did he become so big?! All of a sudden he feels absolutely giant. Enormous. He has filled out no end and sprouted centimeter upon centimeter in height. Already he is a centimeter taller than Zachy was at three and a half, nevermind two and a half! (Granted, Zac is at the tiny end of the spectrum so it isn't a fair comparison). But it does make Lucas seem so very big for his age when he weighs just shy already of what his middle big brother does right now. Although according to my red books he is just on a par with what Xander was around two and a half. I don't remember Xander feeling quite so massive though! But then he had no-one to be compared to. 

At two and a half  Lucas is more than comfortably into 2-3 clothes now (which happened all at once over Christmas!) and 91cm tall. Mostly I just hope he doesn't hit 100cm in shoes before July so I can get him into Peppa Pig World once more for free! 

My darling Lucas Elias. You are just simply gorgeous. Mummy is really enjoying spending time with you right now. Every week we go on our little adventures and try new things together. All the things you hadn't quite got to do before now because our days were split into three schools runs. But this year we are making up for it! It all started with a bus day adventure, and since then we've been on all kinds of adventures like; soft play, autumn, farm, rainbow, vibe tots, boating lake, lego shop, christmas shop, library, swimming, cafes, shopping, cinema, more buses, trampolining, garden centre and this week a train adventure. And all the other ones I've forgotten too. We are having a blast little boy! 

At two and a half you love transport. Riding transport and playing with transport, cars, trains, tractors, rockets. You have simply adored your bus rides and train ride. So often your first choice to play with is the car mat and cars, or garage at Nana and Bampi's. You've discovered the Toot Toot finally and thoroughly enjoyed making the cars go all the way around the enormous track that I built for you.   You also love playing with your Duplo and Peppa Pig Toys; in particular Grandpa Pig's Boat and Peppa's car.  



You love singing and dancing and reading books. All the very baby books have vacated the shelves now; now you're ready for picture book stories with lots of the younger Julia Donaldson titles vacating your brothers shelves and moving on to yours. That's not to say your brother don't still enjoy them too, they do, but it is your turn for them to become your favourites too. I think we're already there with Gruffalo and Room on the Broom. 



You still love Ben and Holly, Hey Duggee and Peppa Pig, and now, being a big boy.... Transformers. Yes, following in your brothers footsteps you have discovered those Rescue Bots and they have become your favourite things to take around with you. Asking Mummy to make them a robot, and then make it a car again. And superheroes seem to be on your radar now as you're able to distinguish Batman, Superman, Hulk whenever you see something with them on when you're out and about or at home. That will be more big brother influence won't it! 

You have become a bossy little chatterbox my Little. Why for the life of me I had any slight concerns about your speech ability six months ago is beyond me; because between two and two and a half you have more than made up for it. An EXPLOSION of talking, words, ideas. Ideas that you are very firm on. What a determined fierce little man you can be!   And one of those very firm ideas is that I am your Mummy.  Boy do your brothers know it sometimes! "My Mummy" you shout at them if they dare to sit on my lap or cuddle me. Running over and trying to pull them off or if that fails climbing up and maneuvering yourself between me and one of them, or even if it is Daddy!   "My Mummy" you yell! I don't remember encountering this quite like this with the other two - how often we go through the 'No Lucas, I'm not just your Mummy, I'm Xander's Mummy and Zac's Mummy too and they're allowed cuddles as well.' 

Oh the glorious age of "Mine" - you and Zac particularly are struggling to navigate this phase. You thinking everything you like is yours, and Zac not having quite the maturity or patience with you and so battles back at you every time. Unlike Xander who spoils you incessantly! You get away with far too much with your Big Big Lucas!  Brother bonds. So very different with each brother now, but so very equal too. 



You've also got into this gorgeous habit of calling people "Babe" - that will be Daddy's influence. So frequently you will ask me if I "want cup tea babe" or "you 'right babe" or "that one babe" - and then there is the pulling at my arm and saying "play me Mummy"  Super talking cuteness. I know I will miss these days when you start talking more properly, with full sentences and less jagged phrases. 

It is amazing how much growing up little people do in only six months. At the start of September you had your last morning feed with Mummy, 2 year and a month and a half old. You still remember though, which is kind of nice. Even just today you've pulled at my top, patted my chest and said 'milk' - not asking for it anymore, but just remembering. Now you only have a bedtime bottle - and that will not be too long before it is gone either. 

Recently you've done an even huger piece of growing up! Just after your half birthday you gave up Dee-Dee. I thought it was never going to happen, you were so much more attached to it than either of your big brothers had been at this age. And in the end it happened quite by accident.  We had planned to go Dummy-turkey over the Christmas holidays and then we chickened out. Then, at the very beginning of February, Daddy simply told you it was broken (after you had bitten a hole through it), and you accepted that and went to sleep without it - with no fuss - I thought it must be a fluke. But then you did it for another two nights! Then we had a wobble night. But we didn't go backwards. Oh no - we are a dummy free household!  Now this bit of growing up I was definitely ready for. What a big clever boy! 



You really are growing up little Lucas. Whizzing through these toddler days and will before long be, gasp, a pre-schooler. While you were barely two I had already put your nursery application in, and as of September you have your place in your big brothers school in the Nursery class. Nursery class and uniform. It all seems pretty terrifying to me. Especially as you're my last  and I will have to put those baby days behind me once and for all. 



Our wonderful, crazy, fun-filled little boy.

We have so many adventures to have before you are three!

We love every day with you and love you enormously. 

Mummy and Daddy xXx 





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. 


January 

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. 


February 

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.


March

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. 


April

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.


May

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.


June 

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!


July

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)


August 

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.


September

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.


October

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.


November

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.


December 

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 



Saturday, 29 December 2018

Boy Two Is FIVE!



The end of the year blog is mostly penned already, but before we reach New Years Eve and the sentimentality of the end of two thousand and eighteen it is high time I put together Zac's fifth birthday post. After all, he has already been five for a month now (on Boxing Day). From his half birthday he has been so adamantly four and half.

Not four.

The half has been important!

And maybe the half has made a big difference because he certainly has had the biggest growth spurt I've ever known him have these last few months. On his fifth birthday Zac measured 102.5cm and 33.9lb heavy.

Compare that to June went he was still under a meter tall! So-much-so that although Zac is still comfortably in 3-4 aged clothes currently, (with the odd 4-5 pyjamas and dressing gown thrown in for plenty of wear!) it wouldn't surprise me if 4-5 wasn't more quickly on the horizon after barely being in his 3-4 wardrobe any time at all. 

Springing up and maturing too to go with it.  

Zac has blown me away with how he has coped with finishing Nursery and starting Reception (and of course that means school full-time.) For the amount I worried about it... he has taken to it like a duck to water! Sure he was so so tired in that first half term, and he has had the odd blip in school, but, mostly he has started big school like an absolute pro. Parents evening was just lovely with his teacher describing him as a 'delightful little boy' and that he was an absolute dream in the classroom. So keen to learn and producing some beautiful work already. 

My super Small. 

My beautiful Zachary. Another six months has whizzed by in the blink of an eye. It feels like you were only four and a half for a mere moment and now you are already five. Already five and one month old. 
It has been a busy six months nonetheless. Finishing Nursery and starting Reception. You've made us so proud with how you have coped with the transition from one to the other. The day you Graduated from Nursery I couldn't have been prouder of you. We had spent weeks preparing you with a bit of 'drawing and chat therapy' so you knew exactly what to expect on the day. And it worked. So proud I was in fact that I cried happy proud tears and had to hold a huge proud lump of a sob in my throat throughout your Graduation performance. 



From not managing a single parent attended event very well all of the Nursery year.. then for Graduation, in that final week of the school year, not only did you manage it well, but with Miss Davies (your favourite teaching assistant) sat near you, coaching you, encouraging you and sometimes just distracting you with a big boy job of holding her clipboard -  you stood on the stage, joining in the actions and the singing and just being an absolute superstar!  Showing us how you are maturing all of the time and being such a very big boy ready for Reception. 

Of course there are still those times when you're finding something overwhelming and tricky, but you're finding new grown up ways to cope and react all of the time too. I can see you trying to so hard and so can lots of other people. Bampi commented just this week what a grown up boy you are being these days.


And now you have been in Reception for a whole school term and you've been amazing.  Knocking graduation out of the park and raising it up with a Christmas concert. Not only were you expected to be on stage, but this time you had a line to say all by yourself too - Do you remember when Santa got stuck up the chimney? - and you were one of the clearest and loudest to hear as well. 

I'm totally gushing I know, but my heart bursts with pride how far you have come in yourself these last six months.All of a sudden all that lacking self-confidence I have worried so much about seems to be blossoming. What a grown up boy you are.

At four and a half to five my favourite things are putting bold bright prints in your wardrobe. Jazzy tops and tshirts really suit you and some of your favourite things to wear this summer was your lion and animal t-shirts from Next, a style that you can pull off that I wouldn't have bought for Xander. You are definitely more one on your own my boy! 


At five my favourite thing about you is that you still don't conform to the 'boy' mold of society and that you are still so blissfully unaware, well either that or you don't yet care, that the majority of 5 year old boys wouldn't necessarily choose the things you do. You are so perfectly you with your love of unicorns, princesses and sparkles.  Your manner is still so sensitive in a way that I still feel the Mama Bear in me wants to protect, whilst having an internal battle with myself to encourage your individual spirit too. 


A prime example of this was in September when you needed new wellies. You really wanted the pink and glittery unicorns wellies. I wanted to let you have the unicorn wellies but guided you towards the Mickey Mouse wellies that we eventually settled on instead. Not because I cared if you had pink unicorn wellies, but because I knew other people would make comment about my little boy in pink unicorn wellies and I was fairly sure your sensitive little soul would be crushed if you were made to feel silly for wearing pink unicorn wellies. 

So with some gentle coaxing I steered you (while telling myself off because I there hence became part of the bigger societal problem) towards the Mickey wellies.   My wish for you is that you'll keep a part of  indifference to societal norms always and that you'll keep on liking what you like because you like it and not because of some silly gender rules. I hope your unicorn onesie off Aunty Bex for Christmas has made up for it! 


At five your favourites things are still My Little Pony and unicorns (we just covered that), PJ Masks (another whole range of PJ Masks toys joined the PJ Mask box over your birthday and you couldn't be more thrilled with your Owlette costume in particular), Disney Princesses and Lego (and especially Disney Princess combined with Lego and Princess Mini-figs. As an aside you are going to be wild excited for the surprise we have in store you with some Disney Princesses at Easter), your favourite story is still Room On The Broom (and so your birthday was themed around that), you love drawing and colouring and Mrs Perry says whenever there is choice in school you go straight to the writing table. 

Your drawings are so recognisable and detailed, your letter formation is just beautiful and you take such care over colouring in already. I adore all your little artwork. So different to your older brother who didn't click with being bothered about putting pen to paper or writing really at all until half way through Year 1.  But just like your older brother you are so bright. On that front you were definitely more than ready for Reception! 

You are flourishing with the new challenges at school and are really enjoying learning, soaking up all of the new things you can do.  More and more welsh words, reading, number bonds to mention but a few things. You have already learnt to blend sounds to make words and are so proud of yourself bringing home your very own reading books from school now in your very own book bag.  Playing dominoes you have learnt to double your numbers 1-6 and are quickly picking up number bonds to and within 10.  Early on, at the start of Reception you came home with a certificate for being able to write your numbers to 20 independently.

We celebrated your fifth birthday with a 'Room On The Broom' themed party. Zoe the Witch from Louby Lou storytelling came to help your party go off with a Iggity Ziggity Zaggety Zoom! You had a great party and what I loved about Zoe was that she was so switched on to you straight away and changed her approach with you as soon as she noticed that you were unsettled about something. Unfortunately you had spiked a temperature in the hours after your party and you weren't feeling 100% for the rest of the weekend but with some sponsorship from Calpol we got you through to enjoy all of your celebrations. So the next day we went to the Legoland Discovery Centre and we all had a great time. You loved all the Lego Friends mini figs and building area and the Lego City themed soft play area, and we all loved the Lego 3D Cinema! 

Then the very next day it was the actual day. Your fifth birthday. You so proudly set off for school with your number 5 badge and your teachers said you spent all day showing it to everybody. After school we enjoyed your birthday banquet (with amounts of food to rival the current Christmas situation!) and your as requested birthday fireworks party in the garden. I think you had forgotten that fireworks were loud though because the first surprise bang had you (and your baby brother) bursting into tears. You soon recovered though and thought your birthday fireworks and sparklers were the best. 



And just like that another birthday and another year is done! My favourite part of a birthday is always the snapshot of the year birthday video. I hope you enjoy it. I thought the 'What I Am' song by Will.i.am was just perfect this year, along with 'Life is a Highway'... summing up your journey from four to five perfectly. Our beautiful, thoughtful, musical, smart, brave, helpful, special, super, proud, friendly, grouchy, magical little boy! You've had such a year of growing up, especially these last six months and we're so totally proud of you. 



You, our Zachy Small is FIVE and wonderful with it too.   

I absolutely cannot wait to share all the adventures in store this year all the way to six with you. 



We love you endlessly and forever Zachary Stephen. 

Mummy and Daddy xXx 




Sunday, 18 November 2018

Boy One is SEVEN!

Before Zac's birthday sneaks up upon us (there is only 9 days to go, and less than that to his party!) it is about time I did a little Xander update. A month ago he turned seven and it is a whole year since my last blog update about him. 

Seven! Another year has whizzed by in a blink of an eye.  Xander seems more grown up by the day. Floating into the older boy bracket now and I'm not sure I like it! From the clothes section (and all the dark colours), to a changing looks (from cute to, well, teeth!) and the attitude and pushing all those boundaries (is seven the new kind of toddler stage?!), seven seems like a whole new ball game! 

What a year it has been. 

My beautiful lovely boy. You are seven. You are so desperate to be considered grown up and so often recently you talk about "when you are a teenager". You are so like me in that respect when I was a child. I always looked forward to a time when I would be a bit older. But I'm not ready for you to be older at all, never mind a teenager. These last few months I've felt you transitioning; challenging me for some independence and autonomy, so ready to assert your own identity.   

You may think your fisherman sunhat is too babyish now (you insisted I bought you a cap at the end of this summer), but I'm not loving the jump into 'older boy' clothes as we sneak into size 6-7. You are getting keener to have more of a say in what you wear and will certainly tell me if you think something isn't grown up (your star hoody for example, haha!) Clothes are so much darker and boring, or covered in aggressive looking dinosaurs or skeleton logos instead of the cute versions in the younger section. Luckily I think H&M have a younger range that spans to age 10 so I think it may become one of my favourite places to shop for you for the time being. 

It has been a year full of wonderful highlights from turning six to turning seven. 

Just after your 6th birthday we were on our first fly away holiday since you were born. Your first time on a plane! You could not have been more excited; even then being the grown up boy pushing along one of the smaller suitcases and helping Mummy and Daddy. But the best bit of probably that entire holiday (apart from some much needed mid-autumn sunshine) was the absolute treat of getting inside the cockpit as we were disembarking after arriving in Spain. The door was open and the pilot spoke to the three of you and invited you to sit inside with him. What a treat! You won't understand what a special and privileged treat that was until you are much much older but it was a special moment for a first flight indeed. 



And in stark contrast to Spanish sunshine, within just over a month after getting home we were having our first proper snowfall since you were a year old. You couldn't really remember snow, and then over this last year we haven't just had one day of snow, but five! March of this year was incredible, the snow was deeper than it had been since I was about 10 years old, up and over my knees and up to your bottom in places. One of my very favourite photos of you this year are from that snowfall; throwing yourself into the snow and making snow angels. The joy on your face is just wonderful. I wonder if you will remember this time in your life? 


Oh but all this growing up. I think slowly slowly your disbelief in magic is on the horizon. Last Christmas we bought you all an elf each and you told me the elves were just toys, it took all my enthusiasm and insistence that the elves were magical. Then once you had got into it you believed again wholeheartedly. Like you do in Father Christmas still and the Tooth Fairy. Oh boy am I determined to keep this belief for as long as I possibly can, although I'm aware my time and years are limited. All this growing up. 

This year you have lost another three teeth between your 6th and 7th birthdays. Over the summer in fact. Two more bottom teeth and your first top tooth which you were incredibly proud to lose! Your other top tooth is also loose but the adult tooth has cut over the top of it (after two months of this I'm giving it another 24 hours to shift and then I'm ringing the dentist about it Monday, food is now getting trapped between the baby tooth and the adult toot and it just has to come out!) Losing a top tooth and both big teeth cutting has completely changed your looks; no longer do you feel baby faced at all, instead you've reached the awkward 'teeth too big for your face stage' while your growth catches up with these adult teeth over the next few years! Yet more of this racing to being grown up. 

At the moment you no longer wear your hearing aid. You passed your first hearing test in two years in the middle of September and with your hearing now in the normal range bracket the audiologist said you could have a break from your hearing aid. You've accepted it amazingly, but you were pleased that you would 'be like everyone else now'. It isn't a guaranteed thing of the past yet, you have to pass more hearing tests in the months to come before we will be discharged from service, and there is every chance the winter months may see your hearing aid return. 

You have an another incredible year at school. In February you moved into the new build at your school (two years after the fire that devastated the entire infants building) and you continue to thrive. Year 1 was the year where your writing has transformed. You enjoy writing now and have created countless books this year; stapling paper together and creating your own stories. Countless times your writing tasks in school have been raved about by your teachers in school, in both formation and imagination. In February you even bought home a trophy for your amazing writing! 


And then there is your reading. You are becoming so much more fluent and confident. Over this year you have started to read the bedtime stories to me, the first one you read all by yourself was 'The Smartest Giant In Town' and you've had a go at many more since. I think you have become bored with your school reading books though; often because I think they have not been challenging enough for you and sometimes school has been slow to move you to the next reading level band. But you are getting there and although you are not always motivated to read your school reading books (with lots of 'why do I have to read it? I can read already now Mummy') we'll see tomorrow how you fair with the highest level book sent home yet... level 10! 

Now you are in Year 2 and into Mrs Knights class. Goodness have we noticed an attitude change at home. You have an answer for absolutely everything these days and are trying to stand your ground more and more. You answer back and pull faces, stamp your feet and point blank refuse to co-operate at times! I had no idea being nearly seven and seven became so boundary pushing all over again! 

But Year 2 is such a jump in expectation and you have been so clearly exhausted at times at the end of the school day. You have gone from being expected to concentrate for 20 minutes at a time to 40 minutes at time in your lessons, the workload has increased, there is less choice time than there has been before. Of course you are tired. Although getting up after 6.00am instead of before would also undoubtedly help. 

Yes you are still a ridiculously early riser. If it as late as 6.00am you've basically had a lie in. Somewhere around 5.30 is usually your norm. You quietly take yourself downstairs and play with your lego, or your iPad or watch TV until the rest of the family gets out of bed at a slightly more reasonable hour of the day! Oh I look forward to the day when you finally sleep late and I can wake you up and silly o'clock! 

But for all the strops and standing your ground you display you are a little boy still full of love and kindness. You shower me in so many home-made cards tell me I'm beautiful or the best Mummy. You are quick to console your baby brother if he is crying and have such a gentle way with your little Luc. He looks up to you no end and I hope this biggest brother littlest brother bond never fades. And then with Zac you spend so much time being loons together, little laughing companions and best brothers of old, you might not always have the best patience with Zac, and sometimes you need to be reminded that Zac's achievements are as clever as your own, but underneath it all you show him you love him in your actions too. Even today gave him the end of your slush because he had dropped his on the floor. 


This has been the year of swimming badges, progressing through Wave 2 and Wave 3 and achieving your 5m and 10m distance badges too. Something over this last year has clicked and although you're still not the most natural swimmer in the world your technique is definitely improving. A change of swimming teacher has done you the world of good and Sian has a way that works for you. You're in Wave 4 now, and I think to have gone through two Waves in a year is amazing! 

Not only that but this was the year you learnt to ride your bike without stabilisers. You found it really tricky at first, but once you found that self-believing Sam in you you became determined. Within a week you were off and away. What a wonderful way that was to end our summer holidays.  


And now because you are now big, and in Year 2 you have started to learn the guitar at school, you have inherited my childhood guitar and are so proud that you have your own instrument. Your first report from your teacher indicates you are doing well and certainly enjoying. You know the names of the open strings and have learnt what a 'rest' looks like in the music. Just this week you impressed me playing a piece in your book from beginning to end. Four lines of knowing which string you had to play next and how many times you had to play it and when you needed to pause and rest. I'm really excited that you are now learning to read music just like Mummy. I think of this next year I will try and teach you a little bit of the piano too, if you are interested. 


At age seven your favourite things are How To Train Your Dragon, Lego Ninjargo, Lego lego and more lego, slime, anything STEM related (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and more recently you have got into Voltron on the TV.  It is still all about Lego. For your seventh birthday you even asked for a Lego party at the village hall.  We bought tons of lego, and transported all of it, and the Duplo up to the hall, hired a bouncy castle and you were all well away. You loved it. We continued celebrating with a special Mummy, Daddy and you day out on your own, no brothers, which of course included the Lego shop and a mega treat visit to Kaspas pudding restaurant. And then we finished your birthday celebrations with a family day out to Cadbury World. One birthday, spread out over three weekends and summed up in three words; Lego and Chocolate! 


Now we have another year of exciting adventures planned. I absolutely cannot wait to share them with you; especially our biggest surprise for you all at Easter. Eeee! 


Keep being you, my rainbow boy Big, we're so lucky to have you. 


We love you beyond measure, always. 

Mummy and Daddy xXx 










Monday, 15 October 2018

For The Close Of Babyloss Awareness Week

Last year I felt completely unable to join in with Babyloss Awareness Week or Wave of Light. More than unable, I actively didn't want to join in. I wrote a half-hearted post and that was about it. For the first time ever I didn't light a candle on October 15th. I felt disconnected and at a purposefully arms length from a community and "club" that I am a member of. 

Last year I had nothing to give and certainly a lot that I was unable to say. 

Our baby daughter I physically ached for and then another surprise baby I had miscarried in June 2017.   A mixture of griefs that all got a bit confusing and colliding; trying to convince myself that I shouldn't be as deeply affected as I felt by what was happening to me. So few people even knowing that it was happening to me. 

Wave of Light didn't feel a comfort last year, it felt torturously uncomfortable and I wanted so much to distance myself from it. As the facebook pings from such lovely people remembering Belle came in, we were driving home from London and my entire facebook feed was awash with candles, all I wanted was to be anywhere else but in my own skin. 

I think it is no accident that Mental Health Awareness day also resides in this week, because it is no surprise that losing a baby shake or indeed obliterates the very core of your being and nothing is ever the same again. 

Some of what I'll divulge here tonight will no doubt be pretty hard hitting and shocking for some people who don't really know me that well, and infact maybe more so for those that do know me so well. 

This time last year I was much more mentally unwell than I have voiced publicly then or since. I've hinted at it in previous blog posts and when I made known there had been an extra baby last year.  But even in those blog posts I hadn't really delved into what was the worst of that mental health crisis. 

Only my husband and best friend truthfully knew how unwell I was / had been. I was going through the motions and keeping that game face on masterfully.  I had spent weeks, if not months spiralling out of control and then it all came to a head. 

Spiralling since probably the May/June half term when I had finally plucked up some sort of courage to do a pregnancy test after experiencing a fortnight of tell-tale symptoms I knew so well by pregnancy five. Symptoms that told me I must be coming up six weeks. To then start bleeding and miscarry just days later and the calendar ticked into the month of June and the bleeding continued on and off for weeks.  It was an absolute shocker of a week, month; understatement. To compound it all before the positive test I had found out I was having a niece due in the October and not one part of me knew how to cope with any of it. Terrified of an unborn baby and even seven years after Belle not ready for a girl in the family. Of course I discovered, as I always do, the build up was to be far worse than the actual event and there has been nothing worse about it at all in the end. What a delightful addition to our family she was / is and I love her enormously. 

But for those months between June and October - and really December before I was feeling remotely beginning to recover really... All the raw grief for Belle was stirred up and intensified, conflicting feeling about the other baby that should never have existed with a 'fixed' husband but somehow did anyway took hold. And down the dark hole I went. 

Whilst walking around London for Xander's 6th birthday I felt choked and close to tears for so much of the time. I felt terrified of intrusive dark thought in my head and the overwhelming feeling that if is wasn't for my boys I didn't much want to live anymore. 

Now I would NEVER have done anything stupid.  I wouldn't have classed myself as suicidal. But for a few weeks there I truly cared not if I had lived to see another day. It felt the only possibly eventual final escape from the pain and grief that still so often overwhelms me. I felt done - in a way I don't think I ever even felt in those very early days after Belle's death. I didn't know what to do anymore or if I could do it anymore.   I know how shocking this must read to some of you. 

Jon and my best friend urged me to go to the doctor and seek more grief counselling. But I didn't, maybe I should've. But I had no energy for the saga of trying to get a Doctors appointment and then the additional waiting list it would entail after even getting a Doctors appointment that would've been weeks away as it was as a start. I wouldn't have known where to start. And then, as we approached Christmas and new year and 2018 the darkness started to lift and I came out of the other side as I always seem to do. Those beautiful rainbow boys and the mother I want them to remember saved me once again. Always for them. 

I'm in no doubt that will be another time in my life when grief will pull me down hard and under again.  Because babyloss isn't just one week or one day where we all light a candle for a Wave of Light. For so many people it is every day, a life time, a grief that never ends. It ebbs and flows but boy it is always there. An ever knowing ache and keenly felt absense for our little girl who should now be eight and in year 4 learning about whatever year 4 is learning about and giving me as much, if not more, sass than her slightly younger brother. 

For Belle whose entire life was robbed from us and another tiny soul that even now I catch myself wondering what on earth life would've been like now had 2017 been different

How many people are around you today who have lost a baby you know nothing about? 

Remembering little lives lost tonight. 






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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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