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

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

Monday, 24 June 2019

Nine

I've spent this weekend feeling utterly exhausted. Bone-achingly, everything just hurts, zero energy, zero motivation, tired. I'm not feeling quite well. Nauseous. The post-birthday recovery.

The build up is long, the day feels short and then the recovery.   

Saturday I slept in to 8.30am and then was back in bed at 1.00pm. Yesterday I was up at 6.30am but back in bed at 9.00am for two more hours, and then had another nap this afternoon at 5.00pm for another two and a half hours. Sleeping. And I've needed it. 

That's not to say we've done nothing. The boys have played in the garden this weekend, washing has been done, we went for a walk with the boys on their bikes, we went to my parents for dinner. But there has been lots of sleeping in-between all of that. 

Today I had hoped I would be snapping out of it but the exhausted and nauseous feelings have remained. I even had to close my eyes earlier for an attempted a forty wink sofa doze earlier while the boys were watching My Little Pony all sat around me after school. Something which I rarely to never do.

I feel a bit like I'm in a daze I guess. It is like walking through treacle.  Anabelle's birthday, June, so physically takes it out of me.  If I'm totally honest I'm ready to feel better now. Its been a very long months so far.

Our baby Anabelle. On Friday you turned NINE. What a ridiculously grown up number! 

Nine. 

A few months ago we spent the day with extended friends. Their little girl is almost exactly the same age as you, although we hadn't known that before then. A passing comment that she was going to turn 9 in June led us to ask what her birthday was. The 23rd. Just two days younger than you. In all these years I don't think we have ever met another girl so close to your age. Two days apart. Two very different stories. It was a shocking realisation for us just how big you would be now. Tall, slender, long-limbed. Almost looking like a young lady rather than a little girl at all. Seeing her towering over your brothers, even Xander who is only 16 months younger, was surreal; I wish I could imagine. So that is what it might be like if you were here. 

But I find it so hard to picture you as anything other than the 4lb 5oz tiny baby you were. 

Nine. 

This June has been particularly rubbish weather-wise. But once again, after almost three solid weeks of rain (or so it felt like), your birthday was glorious. Another beautiful sunny day, for your day, the longest day. 

This year, for maybe for the first time truly for the entire day, it didn't feel like your birthday was running away with me, or that I was running out of time. Maybe I've learnt what will be too much or too many things to try and complete in a day. Or maybe I've finally learnt to not forget to breathe on your birthday. 

To breathe and slow down, Mama. 

We saw your birthday in as we always do. 00:08. That moment stuck in time when you arrived. Oh those eight minutes after midnight seem to take so long to pass. Just as the time between the contraction a little before midnight on the 20th June 2010 and the one that saw you arrive on 21st June 2010... those minutes after midnight seemed endless too. And then that moment, 00.08, that minute gone in a blink on an eye. 


We started the day by making the beginnings of prettying up the front patch by the front door. Zac had chosen a metal 'Princess Belle' rose for your birthday and your biggest fairy of the day was given its new home on the wishing well.  This year your birthday was Fairy themed. 

Choosing a theme never gets any easier. Neither does visiting the garden centre for garden ornament style presents.  It makes me so angry. This year it was fairies and your brothers each chose a fairy for your garden for you; Xander a green one, Zac a pink one and Lucas a purple one. We bought your a beautiful pink fairy handbag house for them to live in.   






We went for breakfast after dropping Brother 1 and Brother 2 to school. As seems to have become our tradition these last couple of years.  Lucas enjoyed being able to open the presents you had been given by other people; thoughtful friends aware of this years theme and buying something so lovely for your brothers to play with for you... a little fairy set. Lucas has of course commandeered this as his because he was the one who got to unwrap it, much to Zachy's disgust! 

We breakfasted and bought last minute bits. More double sided tape and ribbon for example so I could finish the fairy wings I had made for later on in the day. We bought your balloon. We visited the garden centre and bought some more flowers to go out the front to go with the ones another friend have bought you for your birthday. We collected your birthday flowers from the florist.  We went home. Daddy built a bug house with Lucas and I planted your garden flowers. 

Then we collected your brothers from school and went to your garden for your fairy party. Your garden was so overgrown when we arrived after school on Friday. It looked shocking. I couldn't decorate it like that; but neither did I have the right tools for the job with me. In years past I know that would've seen me on the tip of a massive panic. And maybe in future years it might be like it again.

Complications I know would you have sent me spiral only a year or two ago, I met with a surprising level of calmness.  I phoned your Bampi and calmly waited. Not feeling like time was running out, not panicking because there was a delay in proceedings. Being flexible with the plan and letting your brothers play with bubbles while we waited for Bampi to come with some shears. 

So the garden was sheared, we decorated it, each of your brothers helped to put flowers in the pot and give the fairies their spots on your headstone.  We threw fairy wishes dust and made it all sparkle and glittery, we blew bubbles. Your brothers played and played for nearly three hours. It is the longest time we have spent in your garden in such a long time.  I had made fairy wings for your brothers to decorate. Cardboard cut out fairy wings with double sided tape that they could decorate with nature / flowers / leaves / grass / petals and whatever else they could find in the garden all around you. 




They decorated them, they wore them and they ran riot having a fairy party for you. Zac in particular took such care over his fairy wings, being so particular about what he was putting where, taking such care of making his wings look symmetrical. Xander was having a whale of a time throwing anything he could lay his hands on on to his wings and Lucas, well, he didn't like the that the wings were so sticky but he stuck bits on and loved wearing them and playing with his fairy wand when he was finished.








Then we went home, sang Happy Birthday with your birthday cake and watched a fairy film,  of course (Tinkerbell) for a Family Film Night. Before the boys finally went to bed at 9.00pm. 



I'm always so aware when making these birthday choices that we don't really know at all. I'm guessing it probably wouldn't have been a fairy party in the real world. I'm guessing it would've been to babyish for a nearly Year 5 girl.  I wonder if it would've been cinema and meal, or trampolining, or  bowling, or maybe even a slime party (seems to be ever so popular at the moment and what Xander wants for his birthday party).  

What you would've liked for your ninth birthday. What would've been the 'in' thing for girls of your age. What would your interests have been. If having Zac has taught me anything; we choose girly things for you, well because it seems like the right thing to do. But who knows, maybe you would've been into Marvel Superheroes or something totally breaking free of gender stereotyping instead and not the frilly pink and girly things. 

We had a lovely Belle special day for your birthday my beautiful girl, but I wish I really knew you.


Happy birthday. Nine. 

Mummy, Daddy, Xander, Zachy and Luc love you and miss you. Endlessly. 














Monday, 10 June 2019

A Start Of June Battering

As transitions into June go, this year has been pretty brutal. 

I woke up in Croatia on June 1st after a much-needed and gorgeous wedding guest mini-break with Jon and some of our best friends. Child free none-the-less.   Fly home day. 

Woke up with swollen - couldn't get my shoes on - feet and not feeling quite myself. Nothing unusual about not feeling myself on June 1st, I know. But at the day went on a slightly sore tickley throat and cough got worse and by bedtime I felt pretty rubbish. 

Sunday I woke up feeling positively unwell and by the afternoon very unwell. Throat and ear pain and ill, swollen neck and face ill.  A Monday GP visit to a viral infection (isn't it always?!) and high blood pressure diagnosis. Still ill enough mid-week to need Wednesday and Thursday off work. Thankfully Thursday was turn the corner day and able to get my shoes back on my feet day. 

Now a full week on I'm feeling mostly better. Still coughing a bit and not feeling quite 100% but better. Tomorrow I have a some blood tests (unrelated to virus) and blood pressure check to make sure it was only an illness related high blood pressure last week but in the meantime, Jon and the children haven't shown any sign of catching whatever it was.

Which leaves me pretty sure this viral whatever it was, is entirely linked to my reaction to a month. Like not a real virus at all but another manifestation of grief, almost like an allergic reaction and my entire anatomy effect by a month of the year.  Ill because the month changed to June. 

This year it seems my reserves are lower than ever and last week felt like a battering. 

I feel like I've lost a week of preparing myself for the month and all of a sudden it is now the 11th tomorrow, with ten days to go to her birthday, with not enough prepared.  Tonight I'm feeling a running out of time panic. An ever familiar nauseous ball in my stomach. 

I'm glad to be feeling physically better this week though. Even on a good month I've little time (quite literally) for illness. There are never enough hours in the day to get my job and the rest of life done as it is! 

At the weekend we bought Belle's ninth birthday presents.  The annual visit to the garden centre. To buy presents for our should-be nine year old.  The. Garden. Centre.  Garden ornaments.  Even though the boys were instrumental in the choices and their input is always precious... and even though they are pretty and girly purchases, they're still not what would be buying if she were here. At least I assume it isn't what we would be buying. Unless she particularly wanted a fairy village in the garden. Fairies being the theme her Daddy decided on for this year.  

Every year I feel somewhat angry that we don't really know what girls of her age really like. Not really. We make half-educated guesses. Land on something appropriately girly. 

So presents have been chosen. 

This week flowers will be ordered if one of us can steel ourselves to go to the florist. This year I find myself avoiding it. I've never known the 11th June without flowers ordered before. Another location where birthday money shouldn't be spent. Tomorrow that needs to get done.

Then Sunday we endure 'the day, the 16th, in collaboration with Father's Day. Then those five lost days ticking up to her birthday begin. The no-mans-land days of 2010. The just waiting. I haven't got a firmed up birthday day plan yet either.  

I'm so unbelievably already distracted by next years birthday. 

NINE means we're just twelve months off Belle being TEN. A decade. Double figures.  Distracted because I remember my own tenth birthday and how grown up it felt to be in double figures. Like a rite of passage.  Distracted because I'm already awash with anxiety about next year. A super significant 2020.  I wonder every year how another year of my life has ticked by. How the date is June 20andsomethingdifferent when my mind for this month always says 2010 to me. But ten years. A decade. That is a hell of a lot of growing up and getting older time. 

I may not have firmed up a birthday plan for this year quite yet. I have ideas, I'll set a plan in motion this week.  But next year, I'm planning to do it all a bit differently.  A bit differently like we would've if she had been here for such a significant birthday. Like we will also for the boys. Traditions starting with Belle. Our children's tenth birthdays will mean a quirky get away! 

We might not even be home at all on her actual tenth birthday. Which I have no doubt will present its own anxiety and guilt ridden challenges for me. But its ok isn't it? To plan to do something different that we might have done on her tenth birthday anyway. To not be here. To not necessarily be graveside on the actual day? 

I think I want Belle's quirky tenth birthday to have a beach / mermaid theme. Something like a beach-hut stay.  I've done a bit of googling tonight. Something not too far away but still away. I want to find something magical.  Magical that also doesn't break the bank. I've been surprised by the costs of weekends away that are not a Premier Inn on the longest day of the year so far.  

So if anyone knows of somewhere magical and quirky between an hour/hour and half from Cardiff that will fit the brief please send the links my way please! 

This year I'm distracting myself by already fretting about next year. Fretting how we'll mark it with the significance it deserves, beyond a quirky weekender. 

But anyway. I need to shelve ten for another time. 

Tomorrow I need to refocus on Belle just turning nine and get my act and plan together around that. Because a plan is what always sees me through. 

The ever changing symptoms, coping mechanisms and lack thereof this time of year never cease to amaze me.  Illness and distracted thoughts are right up there this year. 







Thursday, 23 May 2019

The Garden

Belle's first bloom of the year, in May. I thought it was going
to bloom in April this year when lots of buds appeared.
This plant keeps us guessing every year! 
Three years ago the song "The Garden" by Take That spoke to me like a bolt out of the blue. The words shouting at me to sort myself out from the latest crisis I felt completely unable to process and deal with.  

You know, it was that time when we had been told Lucas was a girl, (click to open) and then just as we had started to take that reality on board, and so ridiculously allow ourselves to wonder and hope,  it was swiftly taken away again. The next scan identified they had gendered our baby wrong and he indeed did have a winky. 

There I lived a few weeks of anger and brokenness.  I felt like a cruel joke had been played at my fragile expense.    A whole host of broken emotions I don't think I would've felt if they had just said boy right from the start. I had expected another boy, I was ready for that, anticipating three boys and imagining a life of a boy trio. Where as I hadn't prepared myself to be told girl, and certainly hadn't prepared myself for the gender to change on the next scan. 

A girl for moment and then he wasn't. 

And I didn't really know what to feel. Guilt was high up there. I had this tiny growing baby that for a moment I felt like I had completely lost my bond with. When all that had changed was this one scan. He hadn't changed. He had always been he in reality.  I had forgotten how to feel. Almost like I had become completely detached from myself and any other reality. Almost like watching myself from a distance. There was some crying, that turned into numbness and I kind of got stuck there for a bit.  And then fear. Fear that this unfortunate event would have a detrimental impact to how I would love my baby after he arrived. I wished hard they had just told me boy in the first place. It wouldn't have been like this had they just not got it wrong. 

Of course those fears we unfounded. Of course there would be no question of bond. He arrived and completed us perfectly.  Almost three years on and he most certainly has me wrapped around his little finger. Charming me endlessly, loved beyond measure,  my baby and Mummy's boy, and he definitely knows it! And what is with this business of him coming up three? Not really a baby at all! 

From the moment he was named I felt myself calm and settle. Almost like magic. This blip vanishing as we decided on Lucas Elias. Just like that I felt bonded and reconnected once again. His little person and identity.  And then by the time he arrived a few months later it was almost like there had never been this anguish of mistaken identity at all.   

And now three little rainbow boys that I couldn't want any other way. My little band of brothers. Unless of course the big sister accompaniment was here. 

But I remember it and how awful it felt to feel like it. 

That wasn't me. 

In amongst it all this song played in the car. And I remember crying to the words. Shouting at me like some sort of sign that someone seeing the wrong bits on a scan wasn't worth breaking my heart over and I most certainly needed to pull myself together, to open my mind, to put to bed the girl that he never was and concentrate on who he is. Lucas (although not named yet) needed his mother. 

Three years on, whenever the album is played in the car, the words are the same reminder to me again. A message I guess, to keep trying to heal. The life I've been given. 

"This is the life we've been given,
so open your mind and start living,
we can play a part if we only start believing.
This is the life we've been given.
So open your heart and start loving,
we can make a start if we only learn to listen." 


There are parts of the life I have been given I have accepted in abundance. My wonderful little boys, mine. I can be a boy-Mum, I can accept the world seeing me as an only-boy Mum, even though it is clear that is far from the real truth.   I could accept that I needed to start living. And not just living in the breathing sense; but really living, a full and joyful and wonderful life. Accepting that I could feel complete in my day-to-day life while feeling universally incomplete all at the same time. I accepted I was allowed to feel great joy along with carrying great pain. Neither negated the other. Finding some way to carry it all together. Just there hand in hand.  I have accepted how my life feels almost like two versions. Parallel, intertwining, colliding as they do at this time of year.

But how do I ever accept that this life only exists because my daughter died? How do I accept that she died. And I don't mean in a reality sense, because I know my reality. But how on earth do I ever truly make my peace with that. This huge overwhelming reality that brings chaos to my entire self for all of this time every year.  When too many emotions over-spill and I feel like I'm thrown back in time.

A month yesterday and she will be, would be, should be nine.

Today wasn't my best day. I didn't feel myself today. Almost like I was processing the 21st the day before and the 'month to go' had passed. Distant and detached maybe. So tired. Feeling incredibly low on motivation and energy to do the big stuff.  Whilst forcing myself to get through my never-ending personal and work life to do list.

The next shift in the downward turn I have no idea how to fight. When to be honest, experience tells me that fighting the feelings only makes it worse for myself in the long run anyway.   Ride the storm.

This year so far the symptoms appear to be feeling tired, not just tired, but drained, exhausted, heavy, (yet not being able to sleep well, and yes I should be in bed). Feeling detached.

 On the cusp of the 23rd May and already in the last 23 days I have lost count of how many times I have written or typed the date down as 2010 and having to correct that 0 to a 9. Like a subconscious reflex.

This period of the year that has moved on, but hasn't really moved on at all. Right there, here I am in 2010. Living it all again.  Such a pivotal point in my life. Before and after.  The moment of growing up. The life that would've been vs. the life that is. This is the life we've been given. Blowing my mind that I cannot imagine life without three little boys who only exist in the way they do because their sister does not. A 2019 that would've looked so very different if the dice had fallen a different way in 2010. It is always 2010 this time of year.

At least tomorrow I can say I am tired because I stayed up far too late, rather than tired just because I'm tired.

"You and me, we just lay down in the garden." 

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Foreboding

Today it is the first day of May and I can already feel it.

The foreboding.

The flicking of the time of year almost upon us.

How like the first day of May means it is nearly June.

I'm either getting better at recognising the signals and the subtle, but there, shift of well-being or it is just there upon me earlier each year.

The foreboding.

I was aware of it yesterday. That knot of my stomach in a ball as the month became 'nearly June'.  The here we go again while anxiety pops its head up and all the self-doubt that comes along with it.

And I feel so tired.

Yes that could easily be because Jon has now been away since Sunday. And I set the alarm for 5.30am this morning and did a long day at work.

And now it is 10.30pm and I should most definitely be already asleep before I repeat the 5.30am alarm tomorrow morning.

But this shift of foreboding today has drained me too.

Knowing my true to form pattern that a month from now I'll be spiralling towards my worst. Waiting for the weeks of feeling sick and however else my subconscious self will react to nearly June and June this year.

The juxtaposition; having so many wonderful things happening in our lives, a full life, happiness in abundance and adventures with the boys; Disney just gone, Croatia almost here and our 10th wedding anniversary in the summer yet living the heightened grief parallel life each time this season rolls around.  Two lives colliding again. The should be so strongly shouting along with the what is.

The build up to the 21st June feels longer and longer each year.

Already driving along a dual carriage way thinking how to theme and celebrate my dead daughters ninth birthday. What do nine year old girls like these days anyway?  Resenting that I should know that already because in a different world our eldest would be here to celebrate her birthday.

I couldn't do it any other way.   My beautiful girls only day needs marking in its fullest.

I know I will ride this out. I know I will come out of the other side. And I know on birthday nine I am the biggest broken record. A whole lifetime to go.

But it is so exhausting.

And it is only the first day of May.








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 




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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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