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.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

In The Dead Of Night

3.00am and awake.   Partly because I worked until almost 1.30am tonight to finish writing my class reports. Partly no doubt because I took a long nap this afternoon. But mostly because I feel so unsettled. 

No, worse than unsettled. Tormented. 

I took myself to bed this afternoon because I could barely breathe. Between feeling constantly nauseous, my chest racing and feeling shaky, I haven't known what to do with myself. On the verge of a panic attack for most of the day.  Now here we are at 3.00am and I can't stay in bed for exactly the same reasons that put me there 12 hours ago! I'll try and sleep on the sofa in a bit even though I know at this point that at least one of my boys will be up for the new day in 2 hours. 

June has kicked in with a vengeance this week.   

Increasingly feeling that urge to run away again. With nowhere to go. 

The last three to four days have been increasingly horrendous. 

Every year. This never ending cycle. The reality of life after trauma. 

The June 2010 the replay. 

Today (or yesterday, as it is now) the 6th. The first major "what if" day among many of them; should of, could of, wishing something different had happened in hindsight day. Wishing a different decision had been made, wishing the dice had fallen another way.   Wishing even though I know there is no guarantee the outcome would have been any different if a different intervention had happened today. 

Swinging between almost wanting to feel grief in its full force because I need to feel it as part of this June process. But feeling so very tired of feeling so utterly broken and damaged. Feeling so tired of trying to function for the sake of everyone else.  Needless to say patience has not been my forte this week. Nor is it likely to be for the weeks ahead. 

Helter-skeltering. 

Probably not helped this year by the big plan changing. 

Probably not helped by the insanity of 2020 in general. 

Probably not helped by the Welsh 'Back to School' announcement this week that definitely set the Corona anxiety part of whatever this is into full drive. Although ironically being in work Friday and whilst writing reports into the evenings this week has been when I've felt most calm, in-control and like myself. Apparently my professional hat is helpful. 

Because it will mean changes to our now settled home routine; even if we've decided the boys won't be returning, it will mean I'll physically be in work more often. It means another increase to our household risk, and June is not the month for me coping with even a hint of increased risk. Because even though I know we're a low-risk family for Corona, so was Belle a low-risk pregnancy and still the absolute worst thing happened.  When you live with the fear of one of your children dying daily as a reality and you've been that tragic 'one in .....' before it becomes entirely believable and likely that tiny risk proportion could be you again. However irrational and ridiculous that is to anyone else. 

Probably entirely exacerbated by the daily "Belle's birthday" packages that have been arriving. Because what is normal about any of it really?   Items to create the 10th birthday that never was party two weeks from today. All the frills and fancies of a garden birthday party without the birthday girl. All for the benefit of her brothers. 

I still cannot get my head around Ten.  

Ten. 

I keep saying it emptily in my head and not knowing what thought to follow it up with. 

Just Ten. 

You might think I should be better by now. A decade on. But here we are, still barely able to cope at all when its all stripped away through my re-live month of the year. 

Its now 4.00am, and I guess I just try and go to sleep again. 
Thursday, 21 May 2020

A Month Today

A month today will be Belle's 10th birthday.  

Which just seems so ludicrous. Ludicrous that a whole decade has passed by.  Ten years living without her.  Ten years filling my life with my boys, but living without her.  I cannot even fathom ten years today. 

I feel massively under-prepared for her birthday. 

Coronavirus has pulled her birthday plans from beneath our feet.  

We had booked a beach hut styled cabin in the Gower for her birthday weekend this year. Something different, something special for such an important milestone birthday.  I had agonised over changing our, her birthday routine. Had felt enormously guilty that we wouldn't be home to decorate her garden on her day. 

But when it came down to it, it felt the right thing to do.  If she had been alive we would've aimed to make her 10th birthday different, and that bit more special. Made a fuss of going into double figures and all that. So it felt only right that we do something really different any how.  Just like we will do for the boys (and you know, come the Autumn I will need to think a year ahead for Xander's double figure birthday plans!)  So back in August (!) we booked the cabin and started thinking about how we would theme a 'Mermaid Beach' away birthday for her.  I imagined spending the whole of her birthday on the sand. 

Clearly we're not going now.

We've been offered a change of dates and re-booking. But we've made the decision we're cancelling completely. If we cannot go for her 10th birthday weekend, we cannot face going at all. It wouldn't be the same. 

Ironic really that I have spent so many of her birthdays these last few years with the urge to run away. Then the year we bite the bullet and book an away birthday we end up more locked down and restricted than ever! And more-so willingly restricted because leaving the house is enormously stressful anyway and of how desperate I am to keep the boys safe slash hugely anxious I am of the boys becoming ill at the moment. But that is another blog for another time. 

Now I feel like I'm running out of time to create a Mermaid extravaganza in the garden instead. Every time I start browsing online for ideas I start feeling panicky. There is a lot saved in a list I need to start picking through.  Last week I ordered her first gifts; something for our wall, and a Mermaid "10" birthday rosette. It sent me down a black hole for a few days, drained and exhausted.  That moment every year where I start choosing items that probably wouldn't have even been on my radar had she been alive. You know, like a mermaid ornament to go up the grave.  

Today I've set myself the task of ordering the bits for a birthday cake, so cake toppers and whatever are here in plenty of time. Because that is the other stress isn't it in all this Coronavirus nightmare. Not all parcels are arriving in a timely fashion at the moment!  Today its feeling too much. 

It is really difficult this May to pick apart what is May / June anxiety and what is Covid anxiety. What an intense 10 weeks we've lived already. Everyone. Of course everything feels heightened at the moment in whatever part of this insane situation we're all feeling overwhelmed by.  But the usual spiral has started the last ten days too. And then on top of that the guilt for the boys, more than ever this year when little about life is normal, that they need me to be strong and normal and not going to pieces for the best part of six weeks or more. 

Birthday build up Twenty Twenty; feeling like everything is out of my control, panic, chest racing, restlessness, impatience, poor sleep.  And feeling angry. So angry. 

Here we go nearly June.
Sunday, 15 March 2020

Little is Three and a Half


Time keeps whizzing on by and Little Lucas is more than three and a half years old. As now has become my usual standard, this update is nigh on two months late and we're nearly as close to his birthday as we are to his half birthday just gone! 

It is insane how much Lucas has grown up these last six (eight!) months! Isn't three a beautiful age? Still a baby but not all at the same time. So curious and full of discovery. Changing so quickly all of the time, speech becoming more advanced, process of thought expanding all of the time, figuring his little world out. He is such a little wonder of delight!  And growing so fast; becoming a bit of a giant in fact! Ok, not a giant, but he seems so very tall all of a sudden! 

Little Lucas. Or not so little considering you're coming up a meter tall. On your half birthday you were 99cm, and to be honest, the way you're growing it wouldn't surprise me if you've already hit or surpassed the 100cm mark these two  more months down the line! 

So much has happened since your third birthday.  The year of three is whizzing by at an alarming rate and I find myself not ready for you to grow up quite so much.   We're on the verge of receiving your Reception placement which just blows my mind; six months from now you'll be in school full time. I wanted to spend the rest of this school year enjoying some summery Mummy and Lucas afternoons, but our world is going in to some very bizzare and unheard of times so I'm not sure how many adventures will come to fruition. I'll be making the most of you just the same though! 

Since you've turned three you have had your last day at Acorns Nursery and started your Nursery year at big school. You haven't looked back; quite literally! Every day you walk through the doors without a backwards glance. You are loving Nursery life and thriving, making friends and enjoying all the experiences that Mrs Evans offers you. I think your favourite thing to do in Nursery is play on the bikes outdoors, if your constantly dirty knees trousers are anything to go by!   Nursery milestones are already passing by and your first Christmas concert was just gorgeous, you were a superstar, joining in all the singing and all the actions. For weeks afterwards you kept singing the little songs; you sang them to Belle in her garden on Christmas Eve and you even sang them to Father Christmas on the train on Christmas Eve Eve too.  



As well as starting Nursery we took the step of starting you at a childminder for two afternoons a week too. It was made an easier decision by the fact she is longtime friend of Daddy's! You absolutely adore her and you tell us weekly that you love Jo! It has definitely been a good move for you and has given Nana and Bampi a little bit of a break.   




You are such an affectionate little boy, Luc.  You are always asking for kisses and cuddles and giving kisses and cuddles. You tell us countless times a day that you love us.   Sometimes I know you're saying it because you just want to find something to say, but mostly you are just bursting with love for your family and special people!   I love how you identify family members as "my", sometimes protectively and possessively so, but in a good way!   I especially love how you refer to your brothers as "My Xander" and "My Zachy". Heart burst! 




You my boy are a little wild child and dare-devil. I find myself allowing you to do things that I wouldn't have entertained your brothers doing at three! This is undoubtedly why you are constantly bumping and covered in bruises, you seem so accident prone. But my boy you are so desperate to be as big as brothers, I've said it many times before.  It is delightful now watching you three together, and especially beautiful watching you and Zac bond more and more.  You just seemed to have gelled and clicked. Ok granted, you also seem to argue a lot because your interests are aligning, but mostly you are becoming a little team. 

I love watching you spot each other through the fence of the Year 1 yard after Nursery pick up time; Zachy runs over and you give each other a big hug through the fence.  I think you're going to be little buds when you're in the Infants together next year,  I'm sure Zac is going to rise to the occasion and really look after you. Oh you really look up to them both, and simply adore playing with them. Your Xander and your Zachy. 




At three and a half your favourite colour is still orange! You love Thomas the Tank and Sonic the Hedgehog. You spend hours playing with your wooden train tracks and have quite an impressive collection of Thomas and Friends trains now (and I'm pretty sure we haven't finished our collection yet!). When you're not playing trains you are playing Sonic on your Fire Pad, I find it astounding that a three year old can play a computer game with much more skill than me!   




You love books and stories and have developed quite a love of The Cat In The Hat, The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo's Child, Superworm and so many other Julia Donaldson books. Recently I packed away all the "baby" books and took them to my class in school, because you want proper stories now. You certainly won't let us forget that you are a big boy! 

You also love singing in the car and have quite a collection of favourite songs now, maybe no all of them appropriate. I don't know whether to be amused or horrified that you most often ask for "Bonkers" by Dizzee Rascal. Probably because bonkers and crazy are your favourite words and you are incessently cheeky Mr Lucas. Haha. Otherwise you love singing along to Shotgun, Old Town Road, The Greatest Showman, Moana, Frozen 2 and so many more that I cannot remember from the top of my head!



I hope I can always remember you at this marvellous age, all the funny things you say and how your little mind works.  You are so cheeky, so affectionate, so inquisitive.  A bit of a drama King too at times for sure, but you're such lovely company. I know you live in anticipation of your fourth birthday (you've mentioned your four balloon hundreds of times since your third birthday and constantly announce the next thing you would like for fourth birthday, "When its my birthday" or "for my four birthday" haha!), but I would quite like to enjoy these last few months of your three-ness. 




We love you enormously our beautiful baby boy.

My Little One. 

Mummy and Daddy xXx 


Tuesday, 31 December 2019

The End of a Decade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Two Thousand and Nineteen; Nifty Nineteen.

January 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

28th - Bus trip adventure to town with Luc.

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

February 

1st - Snow Day! 

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

4th - Trampolining Adventure with Sorreya and Jac.

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

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

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

11th - Garden Centre Adventure day with Luc.

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

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

15th - after school trip to the park. 

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

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

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

23rd - Feeling better after tonsillitis and sunny days.

24th - Another sunny day!

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

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

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

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

March 

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

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

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

8th  - Traditional Welsh Dress Up photo. 

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

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

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

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

21st - Luc falling asleep cupping my face. 

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

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

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

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

April 

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

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

5th - Tiny Rebel evening out. 

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

11th - The big class move! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

24th - 13 years together. 

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

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

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

29th - Bristol Aquarium adventure day with Luc. 

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

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

May 

3rd - We survived solo week! 

4th - some more big boy days all booked! 

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

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

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

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

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

11th - New (to us) sofa day!

13th - Coffee with Sorreya, Julie and Sue. 

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

14th - Barry Island day with Luc.

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

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

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

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

27th - Bryn Bach Park with family.

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

29th - Croatia - exploring Cavtat. 

30th - Croatia - Lex's beautiful wedding. 

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

June 

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

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

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

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

12th - Luc dry at Nursery all day.

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

16th - Father's Day tree tops golf.

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

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

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

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

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

July 

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

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

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

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

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

16th - The Wild Place adventure with Luc. 

19th - Luc's 3rd Birthday

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

21st - Toy Story 4 at the Cinema. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29th - Cardiff Castle day with boys.

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

August

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

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

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

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

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

8th - Greenmeadow Farm day. 

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

10th - Luc and Xander Chinese Dragon dancing. 

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

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

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

14th - The silly clown face creations. 

15th - Enormous bubble mix play. 

15th - Plymouth fireworks and a cousin sleepover.

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

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

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

20th  - Grandma's 90th birthday. 

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

24th - paddling pool party with cousins. 

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

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

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

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

30th - we climbed up the Mountain Air. 

31st - Perrygrove Railway day out. 

September 

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

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

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

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

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

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

17th - I had a hair cut! 

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

21st - Sunny day in Roath Park. 

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

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

30th - 6 runs complete in September. 

October 

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

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

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

7th - Happy Hands with Luc.

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

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

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

17th -  Rebekah and Luc doing Cosmic Yoga Moves. 

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

20th - Nana knits wear kind of Sunday. 

21st - Lush first parents evening for Lucas. 

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

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

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

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

27th - Zac telling Luc he loves him!

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

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

30th - A proper relaxing day!

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

November 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 

1st - London and Shrek's Adventure 

2nd - Zac lost his first tooth! 

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

4th - Elf day for my class.

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

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

7th - we put the tree up day! 

8th - Christmas knit day! 

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

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

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

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

20th - End. Of. Term. Hooray!  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

31st  - Mark fixing out bathroom floor! Hooray! 

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


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


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

Much love xXx 
Monday, 30 December 2019

Small is SIX!

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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



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

A lot has happened between five and six.   

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


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

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



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



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


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

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



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

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




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

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

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


 

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

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



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

You make us burst, Zachy.  



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






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






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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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