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, 18 November 2018

Boy One is SEVEN!

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

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

What a year it has been. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We love you beyond measure, always. 

Mummy and Daddy xXx 

Monday, 15 October 2018

For The Close Of Babyloss Awareness Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remembering little lives lost tonight. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Big Boy School

And that is another one of my babies in big school. Reception. 

It feels such a massive milestone doesn't it. Giving them to school full-time. Even though Zac has been in the school building for 18 months already, this transition into Reception and staying all day still feels like a big deal. 

No more Monday and Tuesday afternoons; lazying around the house, going for a drive to get him to sleep, going to the park, pestering Nana and Bampi and meeting up with our Baby Club friends for an afternoon playdate.   

It is the start of a new chapter. The chapter where Small gets big. But will still be my Small of course. 

No more my baby but actually a school boy. 

I'm not really ready, and he isn't really either. Academically he is ready, more than ready really, for more educational challenge. He is a bright little button and often surprises me with what he already knows, and how quickly he learns.  

But emotionally, in maturity? I'm not so sure.  Our little sensitive one, I really think the expectations and long days of Reception may well overwhelm him. I know he will rise to the challenge eventually, but as with most things I think it will take gentle nurturing and plenty of patience to get him there. 

So after two half days of settling back in, tomorrow he stays all day and tomorrow I go back to work too. Today it really hit me that he has gone into Reception, that is was my last extra middle of the day school run (for a year, until Lucas starts - the forms for that also already arriving today), and our last afternoon. We marked it by going to the park for his last afternoon of freedom, before school claims him for all his best parts of the day. 

I can't deny I'm not looking forward to being able to plan a whole day, instead of days split into rushed two hour chunks because I always need to run back to the school for the next child. I can't deny I'm not looking forward to a year of 1:1 adventures with Luc on my days off. 

But at the same time I'm sad that Zac maybe didn't get as much 1:1 as he should, what with being the middle child. There was much less time with me on his own. And sad that school will get the very best of Zac during the week now, just as I was with Xander. Sad knowing how much he will change over this next year. That his baby days chapter is well and truly at its end. That its time to grow up now. 

This time I'm less naive and know full well how trying the next half term plus is going to be at home, with an overtired small boy (and slightly bigger boy!); even these last two days of after school behaviour is already proving testing! 

Dearest Zachy, 

Yesterday you started Reception. Even though you have only been mornings yesterday and today you have insisted on taking your lunch bag to school with you, with only your break time snack in. You love that you have a lunch bag for school just like Xander now, and there was no deterring you from trying to save taking it until Wednesday (tomorrow). You were insistent, that bag was going in with you on your first day! 

You have been a super star so far. Yesterday you were dressed and had all your bags ready to go at 8.00am and were cross that I kept telling you it was still too early to go. You were ready, even though Mummy was not. I was so nervous. But you? You walked so confidently through the classroom door, not looking back. Today, on morning two, I watched you find your peg straight away to hang your bag up on and delve straight into your classroom again. 

You have been awful grumpy in the afternoons these last two days though, and I kind of dread to imagine how the tiredness is going to catch up with you as the full days start rolling in! Yesterday, even though you had gone in to school happy, and came out happy, by the time we got through the house door you were telling me how stupid Reception was repeatedly and that the next day you were going back to Nursery! Haha! 

But the next day came and we heard none of it again this morning. I think you're happy so far in Reception. Today Mrs Perry must've been bigging up eating your lunch in the hall and staying all day the next day, because this afternoon, as well as being a bit grumpy and tired again, you've also told me lots that you are going to the hall for dinner tomorrow and that you want sandwiches with butter for your dinner. 

So it is time for an end of an era and a brand new adventure. Today the end of the era hit me. Oh its been an emotional kind of day with lasts and next steps. I'm so excited for you, for all you will learn this year, for all the growing you will do, and just know you are going to amaze us.  I can't wait to hear all about your days, if you'll remember to tell me! 

We're going to be right behind you all the way, championing you on!  

We're so proud of you Zachy, and we love you so much, and don't you ever forget it! 

Our beautiful boy.  One more step along the big wide world you go.  

"You're off to great places, today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!" 

Go and Smash Reception baby, because you're going to be great! 

Mummy and Daddy xXx 
Sunday, 2 September 2018

SWOS 2018 Weekly Roundup - Six - Spooky

Here we are. The last week. The conclusion of our six weeks of summer two thousand and eighteen. What a time we've had!  Week six has included dinosaurs, new spooky stories, witches, potions, sleepovers and date night and Big hitting a very big boy milestone!

It is safe to say we are all pretty exhausted (I know, I know, summers are supposed to be restful but we prefer action packed!) and probably ready for the return of routine. It will be back to reality with a bump tomorrow, but one thing is for sure, I am absolutely not ready to give Zac to big boy school. Reception. Full time. He still seems far too little indeed. Wish us luck! 

Week 6. Spooky Week. 


Monday we visited the Jurassic Kingdom in Bute Park with the extended family. The boys always love a day out with their cousins and were all really excited to see the dinosaurs. I was pleasantly surprised by the event after reading a number of pretty poor reviews about it. Although I think it was a rip-off and hugely expensive for what was really an hours walk around, and I agree the dinosaurs could have been in better condition and more made of them. The boys had a great time, running from one dinosaur to the next, loving when they moved and enjoying pretending to feed some of them. Ok, so the only one who found the dinosaurs remotely 'spooky' (scary) was Luc who now often needs persuading to sit in his buggy for any length of time was requesting to be safely secured in his buggy away from the dinosaurs!   Dinosaurs, the park, bike riding outside Nana and Bampi's and a take-away made a great bank holiday Monday. 


Today we met up with some of our nearest and dearest friends aka Baby Club for a day at the park. Zac proving ever the dare devil. Yesterday he had been flying around the crows nest climbing frame at the Boating Lake and today at Roath Park he had climbed right to the top of the expectionally higher climbing frame there. Enough to turn spook me and turn me grey that's for sure!  A nice day followed a rather stressy evening of paying a hall for a birthday party; it took 3 visits by the time the job was done, between not being open when got there, having to return after solo swim lessons, then to be told it was cash only, to go away and come back again and then finally feed the children tea at 7.30pm and get them to bed even later after that! 


Big Boy Wednesday took us to Wookey Hole this week. Although Zac was tired from the moment we got there and out of sorts, surprising me with not really wanting to say hello to the Wookey Witch despite being incredibly excited that morning to be wearing his witch costume!  But anyhoo the boys had a lovely day, exploring the caves, especially watching the circus show and playing in the soft play area. And then, after buying him a broom from the shop, and an ice lolly, Zac perked right up and decided he wanted to show the Wookey Witch his broom - so me being the soft touch I am went on a hunt for her before we left for home. Look at his little happy face with her! 


Day of the Dead colouring, patterns and masks, followed by a magic potion tuff spot meant a morning of colourful and messy fun. 

The tuff spot was a big hit; bowls and cups of water, food colouring, washing up liquid, glitter and gellibaff mix and letting them have free reign to explore and create a potions meant lots of mess. I was glad I had left them in their pyjamas to play! They managed to get splashes of food colouring all over the conservatory and all over themselves. All three boys were so engrossed and played so nicely together, sharing and interacting, sporadically shouting 'Iggity Ziggity Zaggety Zoom' as per Room on the Broom.  They mixed and splashed for over half an hour and would've gone on much longer had we not planned to go to Nana and Bampi's for dinner and then their sleepover night and afternoon of baking. See the before and after pictures! 

Yes Thursday was a real treat. The boys had a sleepover and Jon and I had date night. We went to the cinema to watch Christopher Robin and enjoyed a meal at Zizzi's. And the best bit? Getting a lie in until 11.15am the next morning! Haha! 


Well apart from the lie in of course, Friday's highlight was Xander. Our little superstar, after only having 3 sessions on his 'balance bike' since Saturday, and only two of these being 'proper' sessions, tonight he asked for the pedals back on. Then he told me to let him go. And away he went! Cycling, balancing, pedalling, all by himself and without stabilisers. What a difference a week makes with his Self-Believing Sam Can-Do Attitude. As you can tell I'm so super proud of him! 

Spooky lego with a skeleton mini-fig surprise gifts, Pizza night and family film night. And after colouring our own Day of the Dead skulls we decided the film of the week had to be Coco! 


Today we went to Barry to celebrate our friends twins 5th birthdays, and then after that took the boys to the park for some more bike riding. Zac asked for his bike to be a balance bike like Xander's and had a really good first go although very soon decided he would like the stabilisers and pedals back on please and decided he would do it when he was 5! Haha! We'll take his lead for now.  I must be honest the afternoon was super hard work by the end and the boys were so obviously tired so it was back home and all three boys were in bed at 6.30 tonight after a Room on the Broom bedtime story. 


And today. The very last day of our summer holidays. The boys had a lazy morning at home whilst I went to church, and played the piano again. Then we've had dinner and I went with Mum and Dad to 'Praise In The Park' with their church while Jon took the big two to the cinema for the afternoon to watch Hotel Transylvania 3. A nice fitting spooky end to our spooky week.  Another bike ride and play in the park followed until it was time to go home for tea, bath and bed and to get everything ready for Back To School tomorrow!

Can you believe it? Where did those 6 weeks go!?  

Tomorrow will well and truly be back to reality. It is always a strange feeling a new school year. Anticipation and excitement mixed with wanting to hold tightly onto these little boys and sadness that each passing year gives them a little bit more to the world.  Their new year group always sharply highlights how much older they are always getting. Year 2 for Xander, Reception for Zac (and this time next year Luc will unbelievably join them too!) The last and first year of infants. 

Xander is already planning next summer and has asked for a Lego week next year...  But there is always lots to look forward to in the Autumn Term too. The start of my adventures with Luc while his brothers are both at school all day, plus we have a visit to Plymouth next weekend for my niece's Dedication, more time with friends after that, a weekend away planned at the end of September, Xander's birthday plans, half term, Zac's birthday plans, the boys next sleepover, Christmas weekends away and Christmas. 

Here is to the start of another school year. 

Next on my job list tonight is starting to put together some Dear Zoo sound effects for my own class! 

Happy new year. Happy summer. 

Sunday, 26 August 2018

SWOS 2018 Weekly Roundup - Five - Fairytales and Forests

Another week gone and only one week left to go. Didn't the weather take a turn this week? This weekend has felt practically autumnal with long trousers and jumpers back out! I even wore boots today!  Nearly all of the back to school shopping is complete (all bar a pair of PE trainers for Xander and some forest school wellies for Zac). Shoe shopping was surprisingly painless yesterday considering how awful the shoe shop experience had been at the start of the month, and even better Zac's feet hadn't grown so his current school shoes will do until half term now I hope! Now all Mum has to do is shorten trousers a little, take in PE shorts and joggers for my skinny boys and make PE bags! 

Fairytales and Forests Week 


We kicked off Fairytales and Forests Week by taking a trip up to Bedwellty House in Tredegar for a fairytale story trail around the grounds with Louby Lou Storytelling. I had found this event completely by chance on Friday (while investigating Louby Lou for Zac's birthday entertainment) and was really lucky there were spaces left as they had just opened up a second group because of the level of interest.  We really enjoyed ourselves, Zac and Luc especially. 

Zac was straight in there enjoying all the storytelling, role playing and games and especially enjoyed meeting Granny in the cottage.  Luc couldn't believe his luck that I was allowing him to run free with the rest of the big children crowd! Haha!  Xander, well, he got stuck in for parts and he did enjoy himself but I'm becoming more and more aware that he is feeling too old for these sorts of make-believe games. I think he felt much bigger than most of the other children there and I got the sense he felt a bit self-conscious. Sigh, my boy. I'm not ready to give him over to 'older boy' yet at all!  After the trail ended we explored the park a bit and they all had a go at climbing trees. 

We visited Grandma (the boys Great) for her 89th birthday on the way home which I think she really enjoyed, playing games with the boys and laughing at all their hustle and bustle chasing eachother around her armchair. 


We had a house day and the morning was exceptionally hard work. A month long battle of their resistance to help with the toy tidying up came to a head and I thought my head was going to explode. Anyway, we turned it around in the afternoon with some baking of fairy cakes and icing them in some vivid bright colours.   Luc had a nap for the baking so he was our chief taster when he woke up! 


Big boy Wednesday led us to the forest. We dropped Luc to nursery and then went up to the Secret Forest in Forest of Dean. It is a quirky little place not far from the much larger Puzzlewood and opposite Clearwell Caves. The boys enjoyed fairy spotting through the walk and we counted 55 little fairies around the forest. Then they played in the small park and made friends with another little boy who we spent the rest of our time with while I enjoyed a cup of tea with his grandmother!   

It was a lovely visit, reasonably priced at £8 entry for the three of us, and with the play in the park we were there around 2.5 hours.  Probably not somewhere we will go again as it is quite far for only half a day visit from us, and mostly because there wasn't proper toilets there - going on a compost toilet was quite a unsettling experience I tell you! (Which wasn't obvious on the website prior to visiting!) If you've never seen a compost toilet as I hadn't - it is a box with a toilet seat on, filled with sawdust, you wee and then pour a scoop of sawdust on top! (The boys refused to go into them at all let alone sit on them because they were stinky, and they were stinky, and Zac was especially disturbed by the whole idea because he wouldn't wee the entire day anywhere even when we found proper toilets!) 

We ate our dinner in the car and then went from there to Tredegar House and grounds to fill the afternoon. We all really enjoyed ourselves. We walked around the lake and wooded area and made the Gruffalo story as we went. The boys immersed themselves and really enjoyed finding the nuts for the mouse, discovering an underground house for the fox, treetop houses for the owl, logpile houses for the snake as well as feathers, streams, rocks and even a pile of woodchip that Xander decided was the Gruffalo's fur. (Also can I point out the fab photo of Xander and I taken by Zac?!) 

Then the loved more tree climbing, running through big fields and finding a tree that had a hollow trunk that they could walk right into and look up to see the sky. It was a lovely afternoon and the start of 'The Gruffalo' becoming a theme for the rest of the week, fully led by the boys who before we had even left the park asked me to make them a Gruffalo tuff spot at home! 


A morning at the park for Zac to have a play with one of his favourite nursery buddies and then little more shopping and then an afternoon of me creating a Gruffalo tuff spot as requested. Our Gruffalo teddies joined in the fun and I threw in some playdough for the boys to make the other characters. 

The boys really loved this again and both boys were loudly reciting the story along side me and without me and made some fabulous representations of the characters with the playdough. I really enjoyed watching them play until the rain arrived and sent us retreating back indoors. 


We went up to Mountain View Ranch with school friends today. We've really enjoyed spending lots of time with this Mummy and boys this holiday and today was no different. Each of the boys were given a turn to choose something on the ranch to explore off the map and we did the Gruffalo trail, explored Hobbit Hill, jumped in muddy puddles, found a unicorn in the woods, enjoyed the treehouses, robe swings and wishing well in fairy forest, explored the Lost Boys hideout, ran around for ages in the willow maze, roasted marshmallows on the campfire, had a go at some archery and eventually managed a turn on the new jumping pillow after some pretty heavy showers. The boys got absolutely soaked, muddy and covered in sand but all had a wonderful time!  

Friday family film night was Shrek this week, although I fell asleep on the sofa and Jon sent me up to bed before 8 so I didn't watch all of the film. In bed before Xander and Zac! Haha! 


I had originally planned another trip to the Forest of Dean today but I decided that actually I was still feeling pretty tired and we utilised the time instead to get school shoe ready and then go for a walk more locally after dinner. 

We walked through the wooded path running alongside the river from the boating lake up to Croesy park. The boys took their bikes and Xander had his first go at no stabilisers. Which I must admit didn't go terribly well and in the end he wasn't at all in the mood for trying. We tried him having a go on grass and throwing him in at the deep end and then took it as far back as taking the pedals off to make it a balance bike but apparently with the seat lowered and pedals off his bottom hurt. So we gave it up and had a long chat about being a self-believing Sam and persevering Poppy (as per their growth mindset super hero characters from school!) 

He and Zac did however very much enjoy bumping into their friends (the same friends as our Mountain Ranch visit) and having a play in the park with them. 


Today hasn't had much of a fairytale or forest focus apart from watching Robin Hood with the boys this afternoon.  Instead we've been to church this morning and the boys enjoyed a family fun day there and then an afternoon with family and cousin visits. 

Then this evening I took Xander out again to practice learning to balance on his bike without stabilisers. We had tried after dinner to more complaints of the seat now being too high, so when we got home we again lowered the seat and I asked if he wanted to try one more time before we put the stabilisers back on and forgot about it for a while. He said he did, so we went out for a special Mummy and Xander trip and he was excellent; a new found can-do attitude and did extraodinarily better than he had yesterday. He was picking up speed, trying giant steps, holding his feet in the air and balancing, even beginning to turn the bike a little while balancing. Then he came home and showed Daddy what he had learnt to do outside of our house - which even included balancing down our downward gradient! I'm super impressed with him and we fully intend to practice every day with him until he has mastered this very grown up milestone of riding with no stabilisers! 

So it is the last week. Sob. I better get myself back into some sort of teacher mode this week and really make the sure the boys are ready for going back to school. 

But we still have one week, and we're going to make it a good one. Starting tomorrow with a whole family day out complete with grandparents, auntie and uncles and cousins.  

Spooky Week. 

Sunday, 19 August 2018

SWOS 2018 Weekly Roundup - Four - In The Garden

The summer weather we're more accustomed to has returned. Warm muggy days and shower dodging! We have had a much quieter week this week with plenty of home days, although all written down it doesn't look quieter at all! Another week has flown by! 


Recovering from a tiring few days away with rubbish sleep we all needed this home day. It would've been even better if we (and by that I mean me) hadn't had to go and do the food shopping with three little boys in tow and of course Aldi was absolutely manic. I softened the blow with the boys by popping in Asda to get their lunch boxes ready for Back to School too. Avengers chosen by Xander and PJ Masks chosen by Zac. 

Later in the afternoon after much mooching about watching TV and picking out some garden films for the week we had a play in the garden! 

After playing in the sand pit and with bubbles and generally running riot Xander asked for a tuff spot. I hadn't planned one for today so had to think on my feet! Luckily, we haven't cut the grass out the back in weeks (months) as it hasn't really needed a cut with the hot weather again until recently - so we used this opportunity to do a grass investigation. I got the boys to look at the grass and find lots of different greenery and growth - it was amazing what they pulled up - plenty of flowery weeds, leaves, grass tufts etc.  Zac then decided he wanted to turn the grass tuff into a jungle for his animals. 


A morning at the dentist followed by more Back to School shopping - trying to find material for new PE bags (although ended up getting it online in the end - more Avengers for Xander and PJ Masks for Zac), getting Zac his book bag and taking advantage of some uniform for Xander in the 25% off at Sainsbury's. 

Then for the afternoon we went to Raglan Garden Centre with Mum and Dad aka Nana and Bampi. My Dad visits here regularly but I had never been before. It is a really lovely garden centre with a small outdoor play area and it felt spacious and lovely. Dad said it was the busiest he had ever seen it!    We had lunch in the cafe and then explored. 

We played a 'Can you find me a (colour) flower' game and all three were just loving running around and exploring. Luc's favourite was a water fountain that he kept going back to to splash in and all three enjoyed looking at some fish. It was just a really lovely afternoon and we bought some pots and flowers for planting later in the week. 


Big Boy Wednesday started off in soft play with some of Zac's Reception starter friends. We were supposed to spend the morning in the park but rain called play and we went to soft play instead. It was nice to see how pleased he was to see some of his buddies from nursery and nice for them to all see each other half way through the holidays before Reception starts in a few weeks. 

Then for the afternoon we went over to Dewstow Gardens and Grottos with some friends from school. The boys were excited by the ponds and all the stepping stones and have a great time exploring the gardens and cave areas and were mostly unfazed by an dark tunnels we came across! We bought the childrens trail but to be honest the boys lots interest in it very quickly preferring just to whizz around exploring - or more aptly, whizzing around jumping on stepping stones and in puddles and splashing in their wellies. What is it about water?  Funnily, Zac remembered the cave he was in when he fell into a pool of water last summer - as soon as walked into it, he said this is where I fell in before! 

The bit of  the day that kept all four boys most entertained the longest was playing under a huge conker tree - they must have spent nearly an hour collecting treasures, exploring immature conkers, making pretend camp-fires, running up and down the grass and rolling down hills. 

On the way home Xander asked to go and see Belle to give her some of what he had collected today but we wouldn't have got there before the cemetery closed so I told him we would go another day before the end of the week. 


Thursday was well and truly a messy home day. In the morning they all needed a bath after painting pots and in the afternoon they all needed another bath after a mud tuff spot! 


This morning we went up to see Belle in her garden, as I had promised Xander we would, then we spent the rest of the day at Nana and Bampi's house before Family Film Night. Friday film night has become one of my favourite parts of the week this summer holiday and something I hope we can keep up even when the holidays end. Although it might have to be Saturday nights as I can't believe the boys won't be too exhausted from a week of school to have a later night on a Friday in term time! 

Anyway, as I've said elsewhere today when sharing another aptly time post from Still Standing Magazine, I love how the boys often think of Belle in their own way. The treasures that Xander had collected Wednesday at Dewstow had been precious to him because he had wanted to take them home to put in his collection. But before we had even got home he had thought of his sister and had wanted to take them to her instead. Thoughts of significance. 

So often they'll mention her spontaneously and independently of me. Zac will see a graveyard and get excited because he thinks we're near his sister. They so often say they love or miss her or that they are sad that she died.   I love how much effort both of the big boys were putting into talking to Luc about Belle on the way up to the cemetery too. Getting him to repeat her name again and again and telling them that she was his sister too. 

It fascinates me the relationship they have all carved with the sister they never met.


The plan of action today was to go bike riding around some flower gardens and park but after loading the car and driving down the road the car started flashing up yet more warnings of engine management problems so we thought it best to turn around. The car is about to cost us a ton of money. Sob. 

So no bike riding today, while Jon and his friend did another quick 'sticking plaster' on the car before the even bigger expensive fixes over the next few weeks.  Instead another home day and we got all crafty with the boys making some beautiful paper plate flowers.  I loved watching their different approaches - Xander decided to give his flower a face, Zachy went for a very red theme because this is his favourite colour - he was very thorough colouring the whole flower red with a crayon before sticking bits on top, and Luc did very little colouring before he said he was finished, as you would expect, but then with all the materials on offer for sticking he wanted all of the circles and didn't want to use anything else (until the glitter came out!) All of their favourite bits was definitely the glitter!


With the car road-ready enough again we decided to go for another carvery today (although I over-did it and spent the afternoon wishing we hadn't!) and then to reattempt bike riding.   Bike riding was achieved but the height of excitement today was a baby squirrel in need of help. Whatever next! 

While riding around the boating lake another Mum was pointing out a squirrel to her children - on closer look Jon could see it was moving very abnormally and was very small so he got closer to  investigate. It turns out it was a very young baby squirrel - not yet opened its eyes - and wasn't old enough or strong enough to move anywhere far which is why it looked so strange using all its energy and might to try and scurry anywhere at all. It looked distressed and I think had fallen from the nest. 

I've no idea if we did the right thing or not - but Jon picked it up and it instantly calmed, curled up in his hand and went back to sleep. The boys instantly loved this squirrel - even the baby who is usually wary of animals was asking to cuddle it! (We didn't let him!) and Zac named him Tag. (All this while explaining to them to not get attached because he wasn't going to become our pet!) 

We phoned the RSPCA for advice. Who told us to take it home and make him comfortable in a box and someone would come and collect him. A little later they phoned again and said they wouldn't be able to collect but had made arrangement with a vet nearby if we could take the squirrel there.   On inspection at vets it appears the baby squirrel did have some injury somewhere with signs of blood in nose and mouth but unfortunately unless the RSPCA had somewhere where the squirrel could be hand-reared right now the most likely outcome now would be putting it to sleep because of its 'pest-status' and them not being able to re-release him to the wild. 

What a shame. I feel sorry for the poor little mite and that our rescue efforts were in vain as the outcome ends up being the same! At least he was calmed and comfortable I suppose! 

Only two weeks to go now! This week we're planning a bit more Back to School shopping and lots of Fairytales and Forests! 

My Photo
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
View my complete profile

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Blog Archive


Mumsnet Badge

Written by C.E Morgan. Powered by Blogger.