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.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Big is EIGHT!

In a few days time we start the birthday celebrations of Small. But it seems only right that before the next boy starts birthday celebrating, that I finally record our Biggest boy turning eight. 

Five weeks ago Big was eight. Every birthday I find so remarkable that they can possibly be that age! Getting bigger and more grown up all of the time. Xander has moved into the junior school now and with it he is suddenly so tall and lanky; outgrowing all of his clothes and costing me an absolute fortune kitting out the next size wardrobe!

I can still barely accept that he is now in the older child category of a clothes shop and school but already I fear the "pre-teen" chapter of life feeling a bit too close on the horizon.  Already we keep getting glimpses of what might be his teenage self; the boy who loves to play on the Xbox now and happy chilling with an iPad in his own space! And then there are the strops! Everyone warns you about the twos and toddlers don't they, they even warn you about the threenagers... but no-one warns you about the sevens and eights! Goodness gracious! 

My Boy Big. It doesn't feel very long ago really that I was writing your seven update. Yet here I am pretty amazed that you are now eight years and one month old. I wish I knew how to slow down time. To keep you mine and small for just a little longer.  You'll have moved out before I know it! But you on the other hand seem to wish your life away. Just like me when I was small! Still so often you talk about 'when you're a teenager' - I'm not sure what magic you're expecting to happen when you are a teenager mind you.  But, eight.  Eight now. Eight is just so ridiculous!  

Seven to Eight was a year you transitioned from infants to juniors. A year when you learnt some hard lessons about the unkindness of others. A year where you sat your first proper school tests. A year of pushing your boundaries a little bit more and striving for more autonomy. A year where I've continued to be so very proud of you.   

Back in the winter months of last year, in Year 2, it came to our attention that you had been physically bullied in school. Even now these eight months later I'm finding it pretty hard to write this down. For some reason I cannot fathom, you became a target for some completely unacceptable violence. Too frequently pushed to the ground or flung, or hit amongst other hurt.   I'm ashamed to admit that for weeks and weeks I repeatedly told you off for coming home so filthy, cross that I had to try and get your thick winter coat washed and dried overnight yet again.  Ashamed that I didn't listen closely enough to you when I should've picked it up. It broke my heart.  

In hindsight you had tried to tell me you were having a hard time on the yard and you didn't like it; but because you didn't use words that were red flags to me I didn't realise that someone, the same someone again and again no less, was hurting you so deliberately. That you were nervous to be around one of your peers.   And then, even when it all came out and I felt murderous, you had no idea that what was happening to you was bullying! Too innocent to label it in that way, too innocent to realise you didn't have to put up with it, and whats more that it shouldn't have been happening to you. 

Your kindness overflowed and even when you were the one that had been wronged, you said how you felt sorry for the person who had hurt you because he didn't know how to be a kind friend. I was so proud how quick you were to forgive and how willing you were in the weeks after to give him another chance to be a good friend. You held absolutely no grudge and that is a beautiful thing. I'm so proud of you and blown away by your resilience and kindness. 


And that is you Xander.  You might be getting increasingly stubborn and stroppy, increasingly strong-willed and assertive and pushing all of my buttons, but you are also one of the most thoughtful, kind and generous children I know. Even with my biased mother's hat on; you are the first to give your things away to your friends, first to give to others that don't have what you have, first to think about how you can be kind. What a quality to already have when you are only seven and eight years old! 

As well as being kind and generous you also continue to be an amazing helpful big brother. You have well and truly taken them both under your wing; picking up after Zac in the dinner hall when you notice he has left his things behind, opening packets for him, tidying up when he is being pretty hopeless at it and then basically obliging Lucas with anything and everything - getting him food, sorting games out, building tracks, getting him a toy he can't reach, turning the TV on, making him something with Lego, sorting the iPad out for him.... this list is pretty endless! You have no idea just how much he looks up to you. You are his idol, his very biggest brother. Always wanting to hold your hand, not mine, on the walk up to school, the gorgeousness of how excited he is when you come out of the door at the end of the school day, running up to you for a cuddle!   Brother bonds are some of my favourite things. 

This year you have done tons of growing up.  Lost more baby teeth to make eight adult teeth now creating your ever changing older boy looks. You've shot up in a year growing 8cm between your seventh and eighth birthdays. 

Then New Year 2018-19 you saw in the new year for the first time, staying up until midnight and looking pretty bemused at the midnight rituals of Big Ben, clinking glasses, sparklers and Auld Lang Syne. You were pretty pleased with yourself lasting until gone midnight though and have mentioned it many times this year since! No doubt you'll want to make that an annual event now! Haha!  I think it made you feel very grown up that you were allowed to be up so very late!   

You've done other 'older boy' things too this last year; like the high ropes at Bluestone (after always asking about them in the outdoor places you find them), discovering Xbox gaming, being allowed on the much older boy rides at Disneyland (yes you were chuffed you were tall enough for rides your brothers were not!), the enormous very high up zip wire you were old enough for more recently on your birthday day trip just because you were eight now.  And even more recently demanding a later bedtime because, and I quote "I'm eight now and I don't see why I should have to go to bed the same time as the babies anymore."  That told us then.  So now you go to bed at 7.30pm instead of 6.45pm! 

Yes, so Disneyland. We arrived on your half birthday and you fell in love with the magic of it all, just as much as you did when we went when you were almost three and a half.  Magic. I love that you still believe in magic and I already dread the day it disappears. 

 

Last Christmas 2018 it felt as if you were testing us with the elves.  You commented that they were just teddies and not real. You spent quite a few nights that month trying to catch them out; locking them in the car to prove they were really magic to get back in the house, lying on top of them in bed so they couldn't escape in the night. Really testing them. Maybe testing me.  Deep down I wonder if you really believed in the elves last Christmas but played along. But then this November you have already remembered and seem excited about the expectation and wanting Santa to send you the same elves again this year.  At the end of Year 2 you even wanted to BE Santa when you grow up. Because Xander sounds like Santa anyway, you said. I just love it.  I'm going to keep clinging onto that magic with you, before my days of Santa and the Toothfairy are numbered.  

At eight year old your favourite things are still Lego (can you ever have too much lego?), games on the Xbox, Ninjargo, Superheroes, How To Train Your Dragon, maths, science, slime and anything STEM related. Harry Potter is also starting to become quite a keen interest.  

At eight you are no longer learning the guitar (you just weren't at all keen on practice at home and just didn't seem quite ready to stick at an instrument so we wrapped that up at the end of year two) but you are still learning to swim. 

In the last 12 months have achieved your Wave/Nofio 4 and 5 badges as well as your 25m badge. You are so so close to finishing Nofio/Wave 6 too but you haven't quite got the stamina to swim three length back-to-back comfortably yet. You can do it, you don't stop or put your feet down, but you can see how tired you are, and what hard work you find that final length at the moment.  Which is hardly surprising on a Friday evening at the end of a long school week. But you my boy are now a swimmer; you are confident in the deep end and it was lovely when we went family swimming in half term that I felt more confident not to feel the need to be by your side the entire time. I knew you could do it! 

So swimming is on the way and you've recently started Karate too. You had been asking us since about February to join a Karate club so when you started Year 3 and you were still asking we joined the club that trains in your school hall. You clearly really enjoy it and you totally look the part since you had your first Gi too. We're looking forward to your first grading in a few weeks! 


You've started Year 3 now and you're in Miss Thomas / Mrs Reynolds class. You found the transition to the juniors quite tough. You've been so tired, you even complained you didn't like school anymore for a few weeks at the beginning, because there was no playing or toys in Year 3! That didn't last very long though and you love it now and as keen to learn as ever. Being in Year 3 has also meant you can join the choir which you really seem to be enjoying, and against my better judgement has meant we've allowed you to book on to your first overnight school trip for choir in January. It will be an amazing experience but I'm pretty nervous already about sending you away overnight at only the age of eight. You are very excited about it though, of course.

Otherwise in school, you are so motivated by Maths and Science lessons and have seemed really engaged in the longer texts and stories you've been studying. So far this year you've done work around The Journey Home and now you're reading Fantastic Mr Fox.  It can be quite difficult to get you to read at home though; you find the home school reading books pretty boring and uninspiring if I'm honest!    You continue to thrive and do so very well at school, meeting and exceeding expectations. Parents evening at the end of October was just lovely; we hadn't even sat down yet and your teachers were simply gushing about you as soon as we stepped in the doorway! 

We celebrated your 8th birthday with science and slime. Two of your favourite things! You enjoyed a slime party with your friends in our house hosted by Creation Station. Such joy on your face blowing slime bubbles and flipping slime - in your element! 


And then on your actual birthday day you wanted a science party after school, so out came your science kits and we made some glowing eyeballs. We finished your birthday celebrations with a trip to Heatherton Activities and Adventures in West Wales where you were thrilled that because you were 8 years and 5 days old it meant you were big enough to go on the pretty terrifying zipwire. I'll admit my heart was in my mouth until you were down safely again! Phew! 


Another beautiful year Xander, making our world so much brighter.  

I know you have got to grow up and get bigger, but you must never grow out of cuddles, you hear me?! 


You'll never know how precious you are to us. 
We love you our boy. Endlessly and always. 
Mummy and Daddy xXx






Tuesday, 10 September 2019

SWOS 2019: Week 6 - Trains

I realise the summer is well and truly over. I also realised I neglected to finish my SWOS series. So for this morning, while I indulge in my first two hours to myself since Lucas started Nursery (can I say how strange this is?! To be in the house, on my own, without children, when I'm not feeling like death warmed up? Usually this only happens when I'm ill!) I thought I would a) have a cup of tea,  b) finish SWOS, c) sort Grandma's birthday photos and d) do some washing.

I mean six weeks? What six weeks?! Last week definitely bought us all back to reality with a bump and our household feels as tired, (if not more personally for myself!) than we did in those final weeks of July. Back to school has been hard going this year.  How many weeks until half term now? Haha!

But anyway, the long ago (it feels like!) Trains week!


Monday 

Monday was spent garden partying, where every single member our family gathered to celebrate Grandma's 90th birthday that has been the week before. It was a really lovely lovely day and my favourite thing was that by some miracle we managed to take an entire family photo. With all 32 (including nine children age 7 or under!) of us, looking in the right direction and smiling at the same time! One of the best photos ever! 


Tuesday

A much needed home day. Apart from an hour out on bikes. Trying to persuade a very reluctant Lucas that he might like to learn to pedal his trike.   I didn't persuade and apart from 10 seconds at a time few and far between he managed to get his brothers to push him around some more instead! 



Back at home it was creative Tuesday. A large cardboard box acquired off my cousin meant we could turn it into a big train for teddies and small boys to travel in.  Followed by lots of chilling and watching Thomas the Tank engine films.   We needed a quieter day.




Wednesday

The first of three train journeys this week. A groupon purchased for the Pontypool and Blaenavon Steam Railway, costing us only £12 for a family ticket!   It is one of the stranger steam train lines we've ridden on, in that there is a lot of too and fro between stations going up and down the same parts of track a number of times.

However the boys loved it; they were given a Thomas the Tank sticker and activity book to take with them on the train by the guard as soon as they arrived and they got to travel in (what the guards told them was) a Harry Potter carriage.   We spent two hours on the train completing the journey twice and it was a lovely way to spend a bit of a dreary and damp Wednesday morning.




Thursday

Jon took the car to work today. So as well as getting the planned train ride to Cardiff I had intended for the day,  we also caught the bus to the station and back home again too later on.  Three happy boys!  They were brilliantly well behaved all day too and I was so impressed with the helpfulness of strangers, helping the older boys and me plus buggy off the train; one lady even standing with them on the platform to make sure they were safe while I got Lucas and buggy off the train too.

So train ride completed, treated us to a Nando's for lunch and allowed the boys to spend some money each in town. Of course, money, as nearly always is was spent in the Lego shop (after a bit of drama with Zac who took almost two hours to decide what to spend his money on because he didn't have enough money for thing he really wanted!) 



Friday

A day off trains today.

Instead we decided to explore the Blaen Bran - a nature reserve woodland area in Upper Cwmbran. We decided to park in the Mountain Air carpark which meant we ended up climbing up the Mountain Air. 

It was actually really nice (apart from dodging illegal off-road motorbikes who ignored my frantic gesturing to stop or slow down as they whizzed past me right into the path of Xander and Lucas over the brow of a hill - to watch him then have to emergency stop instead - as you can imagine, I was WILD!)  to be able to do something different, now that Lucas is more reliant on his own steam, that up until recently we wouldn't have managed.   I guess this is another sign of the youngest growing up and there not being another baby coming up the rear.

Next time we're going to park in the Blaen Bran car park and explore the bottom end of the reserve.



Saturday

Another day, another train. This time we spent the day at Perrygrove Trains in the Forest of Dean. A really quaint little place, with strange indoor village with tunnels, stairs and secret passageways for the children to run around, treehouses and outdoor play areas, model trains and a small steam train ride.     We really enjoyed our afternoon. I think we might return here for Father Christmas this year and the twilight evening train rides.



Sunday 

The last day of summer. Spent on Barry Island beach, in the sunshine, celebrating our friends twins birthdays.  And now all three of my little people wear a school uniform in Year 3, Year 1 and Nursery. As usual none of us were ready for summer to end and I already have a list of theme ideas going for Summer 2020.

Here goes the Autumn Term.
Monday, 26 August 2019

SWOS 2019: Week 5 - Under The Sea

As weeks go this one has been fairly hard going so we've done less themed stuff than we usually do in a week and have instead done quite a lot of TV watching as the week has gone on! 

The boys behaviour has been hard; lots of bickering, screaming, tantrums and meltdowns, lots of not listening, lots of attitude... and my patience ran out.  Friday afternoon was a particularly low moment when after a 'sleepy drive' still hadn't improved the situation with the younger two, when Jon got home from work I was pretty shouty and sent him off packing with all three kids in tow to Xander's swimming lesson! 

I think this final week we need to really crack down with some bedtimes again! 


Sunday

Under the Sea week commenced with a day trip to Birmingham Sealife Centre.  So many sea species to see including penguins, seals, massive jellyfish, an octopus, star fish, sharks, rays and a huge green turtle in the 360 tunnel.  It was a great day out, all three boys were mesmerised by watching the sea creatures and we went around the centre twice!   Although today was also clearly the beginning of the boys turbulent week when we were already on our way home again around 3.30pm because the boys were so clearly tired! 



Monday 

Monday was a bit of a quiet day. In the day time at least. We watched Finding Nemo (of course!) and then the idea was we would pick Jon up from work and then take the boys for a scoot somewhere coastal / watery.   Instead Jon spontaenously decided this afternoon / evening was a good day for school shoe shopping so we ended up in Bridgend outlet getting the boys their shoes. So as a mega treat the scooting became a walk around Cwmbran boating lake and a play in the park at 8.00pm at night! The boys obviously thought this was great!   




Tuesday

We took a little morning visit to the garden centre to see the fish - some of which were just as enormous as those that had been at the Sealife centre on Sunday! We needed to get a few last bit for  Grandma's birthday present (who was 90 today!) so it seemed like the perfect excuse to fit in some more sea creatures.  We then of course visited Grandma and then had another lazy afternoon at home. 





Wednesday

Wednesday was trip to Barry Island with our friends day!  We all opted for a late start which I think we all needed and got down to Barry in time for a late lunch. Another day where my boys weren't quite as easy going as they could've been but a lush day nonetheless. Once they had all settled in to playing on the sand, and a splash in the sea of course, it was such a lovely lovely afternoon! 





Thursday 

Another lazy morning watching Finding Dory before Luc had his first settling in hour with his new childminder as of September. Not really new to us though as already a friend of ours and Jon's from all the way back to high school.   I think this just about sums up the level of tiredness by this point of this week....




Friday 

The less said about Friday the better! Haha! I knew the children were shattered, so we didn't do much at all. More lazing, another visit to childminder for Luc while the rest of us popped to Asda. And when a sleepy drive after this didn't do the trick for the children's mood it turned into me losing the plot, Jon doing a solo swimming lesson and me culling the playroom! 



Saturday 

The summer has returned! Hot and glorious weather meant we got the paddling pool out (as we had missed the boat with the previous hot spell)... cousins up for the weekend meant cousins came up for a paddling pool party too - tenuous like to 'under the sea' no?! 





Sunday 

Standard Sunday along with the addition of an evening to the beer garden! What's not to love! I think this is possibly only the 2nd or 3rd time we've attempted a beer garden with children in tow and it felt like a real treat. Meaning we had another late night bedtime (ooops) but it was great watching the children run around with their cousins and friends. Super evening. 




Now, sixth and final week starting a day late tomorrow (Bank Holiday Monday has been Grandma's party day!) and we're choo-chooing into Trains week!    Can I bury my head in the sand about this time next week?!







Saturday, 17 August 2019

SWOS 2019: Week 4 - Circus

Yet another week down! 

I cannot believe that in two weeks we'll be back on the hamster wheel of term-time! 

This week was Circus - ending a day early today because tomorrow we're starting our next theme a day early with a trip to a surprise somewhere for the boys! 

Monday

At the end of last week I was feeling quite unprepared for this theme; that it was all a bit flat without an actual circus booked. (I found one in Bridgewater that sort of clashed with our trip to Plymouth and other dates that were expensive; was kind of surprised how much money it would be to go tot he circus!) Then after some googling, by chance I found a circus themed day event at Parc Play today and booked the children onto it. 

First impressions were not great. The 'clown' wasn't particularly engaging and apart from dumping a bag of tired looking circus toys (juggling balls etc) on the floor and waving some bubbles around... I was beginning to feel disappointed after the boys had lost interest after 5 minutes. 

BUT the day improved. 

Unplanned, a uni friend and her boys also turned up and our children all had a blast having the opportunity to play together. They all had a play with the circus toys again and the 'clown' improved.  Later in the day having a walkabout on stilts and entertaining the children and a particularly impressive circus tricks mini-show including 'knife' juggling, 'fire' juggling and 'fire' eating - which Xander was especially excited about. 

Super start to the week in the end. Arriving at the centre for 11.00am and then still have to literally drag the boys away at gone 4.00pm! 





Tuesday

Tuesday was baby club day. We spent the day at the Boating Lake and Lucas totally cracked scooting; suddenly speedier and more naturally building up momentum. Still wanting me to push him along though. Park, duck feeding, ice-cream and blue lolly eating, scooting kind of day.  



Then we shirked off swimming lessons to instead snuggle down at home to watch Dumbo.  Luc has spent the week since cuddling a toy elephant we had bought for Xander on his 2nd birthday at West Midlands Safari... of course, now renamed, Dumbo. 

Wednesday

A rainy day spent camped out at Mum and Dad's house.  Mum offered to bake cakes with the boys and use up old icing (from Luc's Gruffalo birthday cake) to make clown face fairy cakes.  She is very good at getting on board with my themes!   Inbetween making and decorating we did some arts and crafts - turning some black and white portait photos of ourselves into clown faces.  I love them and they're definitely becoming the new feature of the fridge!  (My kitchen / diner is now almost completely a boys art gallery!) 




Thursday

A really busy day!  We were going off to Plymouth this afternoon, but with Jon working from home this morning I needed to keep the boys busy and out of his way.

So a trip up to the 'funny faces' park (Henllys Village up the road) was on the agenda and for 45 minutes we had the entire park to ourselves! It was brilliant. All the boys had a great time exploring and taking risks and exploring movement. All the kind of things trapeze artists would do!



Then we came home and did a massive bubble experiment in the garden. It worked better than I was expecting it to and all three boys loved exploring the mixture and attempting to make their own bubble tubes and tunnels with the mixture.  A whole bottle of fairy liquid in the tuff tray plus filled with water worked best, but I would love to know how to improve the solution to be able to make enormous bubbles using the hoops. 



Then quick dinner and off to Plymouth we went for the second night of the annual fireworks festival on the Hoe.   It was a great evening! My sister-in-law had found a golf club the opposite side of the Hoe which meant we weren't in the thick of the crowds but still got a fantastic view of the firework displays. The boys had space to run riot (which they did) and it was a completely stress-free outing. Blankets, processco, tea, glowsticks, fireworks and a very late night (back in the cars just before 11.00pm!) but we really enjoyed ourselves. It may become a new annual tradition! 



Friday 

It bucketed down today and we had six very tired children. It was a day of short visits to other family members in Plymouth, a pit-stop in the tent shop (aka GoOutdoors) and an afternoon of snacks and film watching before driving back home at bedtime. 

Saturday 

Another quite day. Well kind of. Jon cut the hedge back and I sorted through all the uniform, tried it on all three boys, finding the next size up of stuff that Zac could get away with, handing the smaller stuff to Luc, taking Xander's trousers down so they fit him another term or so and then ordered the socks and  bits of PE kit we needed.  Pleased we can get away with the rest of the uniform we have for now meaning it is only PE trainers and school shoes to sort next week! 

Then a double bill of family film night: Dumbo the acted version, followed and wrapping the week up with The Greatest Showman, or course! 

Lucas dancing to the opening sequence might be one of my favourite things of the week! 


Looking forward to our day trip tomorrow and splashing into (see what I did there!?) Under the Sea.  It will be September again before know it. 


Monday, 12 August 2019

SWOS 2019: Week 3 - Dragons

Another week gone and already half way through the summer holidays. I dislike that the weeks pass by so quickly and that already I'm starting to think about going back to school / work. After giving myself two solid weeks off, this week I've been working again and starting to prepare for September and beyond. 

Each summer seems to go by quicker and quicker. As does each year of life I guess. 

This week was Dragons Week - which perfectly complimented our previous weeks theme of Knights and Castles. 


Monday

You would think my children would have had their fill of castles last week wouldn't you?! But no, after a morning spent at Penarth Seafront and Pier (we went to find some Dragon's eggs), at their request we spent the afternoon at Caerphilly Castle to go and see the Cadw dragons that reside there. I had planned to take them there later in the week, but all three boys were quite insistent they wanted to go there today! 



We had been to Caerphilly Castle fairly recently in April but I don't think we really took in the story of the Dragons on that visit - this time we listened to the tale at least 4 times as the boys sat there watching the dragons and pressing the button to activate the story again and again!  We also discovered loads of other parts of the castle that we hadn't explored on our previous visit and the maze had opened for the summer too.  I especially enjoyed our walk back to the car afterwards when we discovered another entrance / exit that we could access and got a view of the castle I hadn't had before.




Four castle in a space of a week is fairly good going isn't it. The boys certainly were more confident on the 'curly' stairs and turrets by this castle visit too and Xander was excellent at helping me navigate the tricker parts of the castle with the buggy!



Tuesday 

Tuesday was a play in the house and watch some films kind of day. Some of the boys favourite movies are the How To Train Your Dragon films. So today we watched number one (and Zog too), watched some of the Dragon's series on Netflix and of course played with all of their How To Train Your Dragon toys. We have a fair amount of the playmobil Dragons range including the Isle of Berk. Xander's favourite dragon is Toothless, Zac's is Stormfly and Lucas likes Meatlug!



Wednesday

We went back out to play today to Cardiff Bay. Four different people had tagged me is Cardiff Mummy Says post advertising the Lego figures that are in Mermaid Quay at the moment; so I took that as a sign we were meant to go! Haha!   Everyone knows how much my children enjoy Lego and obviously the theme of the Lego figures fitted in perfectly with our current two weeks themes with statues including an enormous dragon, a knight and princess amongst others.   The dragon was especially impressive with its stats of 7 builders, over 1600 (I think!?) hours and 210,000 bricks used!  

After that we went off for a walk over the barrage to encourage Lucas to persevere a little more with his scooter. The little dare devil he is mind you, by the time we got to the skate park... he of course wanted to have go; which started with me holding the scooter and not being allowed to let him go and finishing with him going down some of the ramps by himself. Even when he fell off twice he just got up, had a cuddle and wanted to get straight back on again.    The things I allow him to do that never in a million years would I have let Xander, or even Zac, when they were just turned three. To think Xander wasn't allowed on these skate parks until fairly recently (and I mean like in the last 12-18 months!) HAHA! 

The other two were well away. Xander whizzing around like a mad thing, and Zac for a while until he spotted a professional graffiti artist decorating the skate park wall (with permission he said - it looked official anyway!) and wanted to watch him instead and question the poor mans ear off. Which he was very good about and seems like like that Zac was showing so much interest.



Thursday

A bit of a lazy home morning managing to fit in How To Train Your Dragon 2 before we headed to Greenmeadow Community Farm for the afternoon to go and have a look at Cwmbran's very own dragon. I know the boys have seen this one many many times before, but we always enjoy a visit to the farm and it was a good excuse to fit in a visit there this summer. So we looked at the dragon, had a walk around the bottom end of the farm, Xander fed some ponies and donkeys on our travels, we fed the chickens, the boys enjoyed seeing a baby calf and piglets and playing on every park and outdoor play area the farm has to offer! We also walked through the woodland bit that has been opened up again this year over to the paddock; but I couldn't persuade the boys to actually walk around the paddock this time though.




Friday 

The boys were clearly feeling tired today and the weather was absolutely appalling so we put on our comfiest house clothes and slobbed the day out watching lots of films. We watched Shrek 3 and Shrek 4 and a bit later on in the day we painted our dragons eggs we had collected earlier on in the week. I absolutely love the boys finished results. So bright and colourful!  I'm going to varnish them and put them in our little patch of garden under the bay window with Belle's things.



Saturday

More yucky weather which meant another excuse for a house day! The boys of course know that the dragon is a symbol of Wales and is on our flag but we decided to learn about Dragons in other cultures too. Xander put on his dragon onesie and we watched a little bit of traditional Chinese dragon dancing and then the boys used colourful streamers to join in the dancing too. Zac didn't want to join in the dancing but Xander and Luc loved it - like little wild things - Luc shouting at Xander to go faster and faster and experimenting with the different ways they could move their ribbons to make patterns. Luc even insisted that I get up and join in so the three of us were jumping around the living room like loons at one point!



After dragon dancing the boys did some more painting. This time exploring using lots of colours and completing free mark-making on one side of a piece of paper, before folding it over the other way to make a symmetrical pattern.  The looked fab and gorgeous impressions of the big and bold Chinese dragon faces we had seen on the youtube videos.



Saturday finished off with family film night watching How To Train Your Dragon 3.


Sunday 

Sunday has been a quiet kind of day with a visit to our close friends house for the morning, dinner at the parents, tea at my Grandmothers and then another film to finish the week. Pete's Dragon. We do love all of us snuggled up on the sofa with a blanket big enough for five!




Another exciting and action packed week planned ahead....  rolling into Circus Week!






Monday, 5 August 2019

SWOS 2019: Week 2 - Knights and Castles

This week we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. Back in February we booked to stay overnight in a medieval glamping tent for part of our celebrations and so this week had to become Knights and Castles week and I have to say it has been epic! 

Monday 

Kicking the week off using our Cardiff Castle keys. (People who live or work in Cardiff can have 'keys' which allow them access to the castle for three years at only the cost of £6.00 per family member over the age of five - which is a spectacular discount considering the usual entry costs to the castle! This has been a great perk of Jon working in Cardiff!) 


We've visited the castle a number of times over the last few years now but each visit still manages to be a little bit different from the last. Today was a day doing the castle family trail, counting how many flags were flying the castle walls, being brave delving through the noisy war tunnels, picnicking on the lawn, running around the grounds chasing bird shadows, looking over the walls in the turrets, climbing the keep (which was me freaking out trying to get the three of them safely single handedly up and down the sheer almost vertical steep steps!), and exploring different areas of the castle. 


Then of course finishing the day with a visit to the Lego shop and catching the park and ride bus back to the car. 




Tuesday

A very rainy home day although not as stormy as maybe had been predicted. We spent the day being creative and turning ourselves into life-size knights. Once again Xander's memory was amazing when he announced we had done this before but had turned ourselves into pirates that time - an activity we did two years ago!  I was especially impressed with Zac's creativity as he drew different features to complete his knight. He is definitely the most carefully creative of the three with very definite ideas! 




Wednesday 

Lucas's last day in baby nursery and the last 'big boy' Wednesday as we know it! We visited Caldicot Castle and bumped into an old work friend. We ended up spending a lovely hour or so together and the boys really enjoyed playing with her little one too! The best bit was that he really knew his way around the castle so my boys loved chasing him around discovering turrets and towers.  I had no idea before this visit that Caldicot Castle is free to enter and has huge park grounds and a playground all around it too - which we didn't have time to explore today so we'll definitely be back down!



Thursday and Friday 

We've been married ten years! This anniversary feels like such a significant milestone and I'll do another blog on that at some point. In the hazy days before kids when I was much more naive I imagined that this anniversary would be spent back in St Lucia where we honeymooned, doing some sort of vow renewal and sharing it all with the kids! But of course, when I priced that up for a family of five for even just seven days the costs spiralled into the many multiple multiple thousands. So that idea was knocked on the head and instead we decided to book Warwick Castle for a medieval glamping stay! I know that is quite a contrast in holiday ideas! Haha! 





I have to say it turned into one of the more expensive overnight stays we've ever done anywhere with all the extras we ended up paying after we arrived (swords for knight school at £8.95 each, 1:1 Falconry experience at £7.50 each, the boys dressed as little princes photo, then buying our Coat of Arms as an anniversary gift to ourselves too, the cost of dinner and drinks etc) but the entire experience was totally worth it. We thoroughly enjoyed the castle, climbing to the top of what felt like a never-ending tall tower, a castle tour, the knightly experiences, battles and knight school, jousting show (Luc enjoyed it so much he asked to go and see the 'horses on the sand' on the second day too!), falconry show, princess tower stories, horrible histories maze, archery... and the medieval themed tent in the Knight's Village. I just loved it and everyone got so much out of our stay! Somewhere to go again when they're older! 



Saturday and Sunday 

The boys stayed with Nana and Bampi and we took ourselves off to London to continue anniversary celebrations. We love a London stay and it felt like a real treat of an adult weekend; afternoon tea at the Globe, spontaneously booking a show (The Book of Mormon - exceeded my expectations, lots of laughs, although not for the easily offended!) at a theatre while eating afternoon tea, spending time in Covent Garden and Leicester Square, dinner and a lie in at the hotel, then transport museum and a bit of time on Oxford Street. Such a lovely two days and actually really nice to just be the two of us for a little while. 

So knights and castle's was only a short week but definitely a jammed packed Monday to Friday kind of week! So, Week 3 (already!!!) and we're exploring Dragons - which incidentally has taken us to another castle at the request of the children today!   
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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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