School’s Out!

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Wednesday was the boy’s last day of term!  They don’t return to school until 24th April and I’m so looking forward to spending the next week with them.  The weather is almost brightening and we are making a list of what we would like to do including:

A trip to Dublin to stay with Grandpa Crispy and visit Dublin Zoo.
A breakfast picnic at Minnowburn.
A beach visit or two!
Swimming!
A sleepover at Grandma’s house!
Visit the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge!
Feed ducks.
Plant some flowers.
Fly the kites.
Dye Easter eggs and do Easter baking.
Visit Hillsborough Lake.

We might not get ALL of this covered but they’re the ideas that came up when I asked the boys.  They’re excited.

Don’t you love Springtime?  The first quarter of the year, every year, I find very hard to shake off the slumpy after Christmas feeling until the weather changes, the nights get brighter and the flowers and blue sky make the world look pretty!  It then becomes easier to be enthusiastic and motivated.  I find myself becoming productive and full of new ideas.  The ‘shake off the slump’ phase is well underway and I’m feeling excited. Goodbye winter!

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Letter to Littlest

Nate, You’re 5!!!

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Holy moly, how time flies!  It still feels like yesterday that we rushed to the hospital to have you, our little waterbaby.  How have 5 years passed us by?  5 is such a big age and I know you are super excited to be older.  You told me on the morning of your birthday that you felt like you knew more things and that your bones had definitely grown!

You started school this year and you have loved it from day 1.  Always excited to learn new things and see your friends and your confidence is developing at a rapid rate!

You make me and Daddy and Ollie smile every single day and you has so much love for everyone.  You want to see everyone happy and you’ll go out of your way to make it so. You’re caring and kind and your giggle is SO infectious!!  You can bring joy to a houseful of people with just one chuckle and you have an abundance of kisses and cuddles to give.

You and Ollie are closer now than you ever have been especially with shared interests now, which is lovely for me to see.  You play the Xbox together, he lets you take part in the movies he makes, he reads to you sometimes and he loves having you to play with.  The two of you still fight sometimes, but that’s normal isn’t it?  You always make up with a sorry and a hug.  Always always treasure that lovely brother of yours.

You are super creative and you love anything to do with drawing, painting, practicing your writing, playing playdoh, using scissors and glue, you’re like me!  I loved (and still do) all of those things.  You’re drawings are SO SO good and we’ve loved having them stuck on our walls and fridge and wherever they will fit.

You still love Batman, Spiderman and every other superhero you can think of and you know everything there is to know about My Little Pony.  You’ve started playing big boy games like Minecraft and Terraria and you love being able to play these two player with your brother.  When Daddy is here you love boys time with him and Ollie and you have a new found interest in board games.  For Christmas you got a small keyboard and you love putting in piano and dance performances for us all.

You’re favourite foods are sausages, cereal and milk, pancakes, pepperoni pizza and pasta, though you do make a huge effort to try new foods knowing that sometimes you find foods that you like!

I can’t wait to learn more and adventure more with you, my little lovesome.  I love each and every day I get to spend with you and be your mummy… you bring incredible happiness to my life and to our family and I love you millions.

Mummy.

Christmas 2015

Christmas didn’t start quite as early as it has done in the past… unless you count Ollie coming into the bedroom at 3am to say that Santa had been!  He went back to bed and straight back to sleep though.  When it was ACTUALLY morning, we all went into Ollie’s room and the boys got stuck into the sacks that Santa brought.

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When the boys were done going through their Santa sacks (which included pyjamas, boxers, socks, sweets, books, art things, games) we made our way downstairs to open the rest of our gifts.

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This year we had a super top secret surprise present for each of the boys that was not under the tree.  We got them each an iPod Touch and hid them under breakfast cereal and called them into the dining room.  Ollie was the first to discover his… but there was also confusion on their faces followed by much excitement.

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After all the presents were opened, I made breakfast (the real breakfast that was not cheerios) which consisted of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and potato bread.

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As is the tradition now, we all got ready to go and visit James family at his Mum’s house.  The boys got dressed in gorgeous new Christmas shirts (this might be the last year I get away with dressing them the same!) and off we went.  Christmas morning at his Mum’s is full of snacks and chatting and the boys run around crazy with their two cousins.

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This year I planned the dinner out properly so that the turkey was almost cooked when we got home.  Most years I don’t start dinner until we are back but it leaves little time in the day to do much else.  This year was a lot more relaxed.

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The boys had a ton of fun pulling the crackers and dinner was delicious.  I’d made ham the day before and this year had homemade stuffing too.  We didn’t have desert because we were too full after dinner so we sat in the living room and snuggled together watching Christmas tv while James slept.

Later in the evening, my family came round.  We had another big round of opening presents with the boys and drank shloer, mulled wine and ate mince pies.  Ollie was so surprised to see that Grandma and Grandpa had bought him a lovely half size guitar complete with everything he needed to get started learning.  Nate got a big remote control truck.  It was a lovely way to get the evening in before the boys went to bed.

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Nate’s Birthday, a Catch Up Post!

So my littlest is no longer super little… he actually turned 2 almost a month ago and it has taken until now to write up the post and share his photos!

My littlest and last, little one, turned 2 on 18th January… bringing about a stark realisation that there are no more babies here… and there never will be.  I miss the baby days for a mere second, before I have to run off and attend to whatever chaos/ mischief my growing boys are getting into… and then I don’t miss the baby days anymore because the boys are both as SUCH fun ages.

This year, his birthday came so fast after Christmas that it pained me to sit and wrap things again haha!  I loved choosing the toys though, each year, toys get more exciting for kids as they get older and this year was no different… I wrapped a Playmobil Recycling Truck, a Bruder tractor, a Magnadoodle and there was also an Imaginext Batcave!

Ollie ‘helped’ him unwrap (and by help, I mean he kind of got stuck in tearing the corners of each parcel haha) and I think it was hard for him to not be the birthday boy while Nate got a ton of gifts.

Luckily it was a Saturday so we were able to hang out all day together.  We got up to some fun!!

We had breakfast together, played with Nate’s toys for a little while and got ourselves ready for the day (dressed the boys in their new tops, Batman for Nate and Minecraft for Ollie.  We decided to go to KFC for a treat lunch because the boys love it and afterwards we headed to Funtastic, a cool soft play place near our house.  It’s relatively new and both boys had an awesome time.

When we got home, I got to work making dinner and a mini cake and also a HUGE cake for Nate’s party the next day.  I actually made the mini cake in error, because I just failed at making the first layer of the cake.  There was just enough to share between the boys and they thought it was cool which is all that matters.

On Sunday, we went to church, leaving James at home to clear up and get some things ready. People started to arrive at 4pm to celebrate my little man’s birthday.  I served up cheese and pineapple sticks, crackers and cheese, cocktail sausages, sausage rolls, chips and dip and my mum made her legendary parsnip soup which we served with bread.  Also, the party was rocket themed.

Parties in ones home are so very busy!!  It went so fast and I don’t think I saw much of Nate at all haha.  Everyone had a lot of fun though, Ollie entertained the older guests upstairs in his room and Nate entertained the older guests downstairs by being insanely cute and opening presents!

Our house was literally jam packed.  It is celebrations like this that make me realise just how many people care about us and our little family… and I feel so so lucky!  The moment everyone sings Happy Birthday to my kid… because everyone is there for him, makes me feel like bursting into tears.  So much love.

Still can’t believe littlest is two.  The amount of things he has learnt since his birthday, the rate at which his vocabulary is increasing… crazy!  I am super proud.

Christmas Day 2013

Ollie was the first to wake on Christmas Day this year… at some time around 2am… he came running into our room to tell us that Santa had been and his sack was full of presents.  I of course told him to go back to bed, but he then couldn’t sleep… had a cough etc… eventually he climbed into our bed again at 4am and I went to sleep in the bunk bed with Nate.

James and Ollie came in around 7ish and the 4 of us sat on the floor and rummaged our way through both of the boys sacks full of presents.  In our house, Santa brings smaller gifts and nick nacks, whereas James and I buy the bigger things, wrap them and leave them under the tree.  

Nate’s Santa presents included Thomas The Tank socks, vests and knickers, chocolate, an orange, Playdoh, Dough cutters, My First Crayons, stacking cups, wild animals, glow in the dark stars. Ollie’s Santa presents included a Dalek, Doctor Who Top Trumps, vests, knickers, chocolate, a dinosaur torch, Finn’s sword from Adventure Time, Adventure Time tattoos, Lego and a globe!

We didn’t even bother to clear up the toy covered floor before heading downstairs to explore MORE gifts!  Nate saw his first gift when we opened the door, a Little Tikes Car Transporter.  His eyes became big when he realised what it was.  He also got some jigsaw, Imaginext Batman, Leapfrog Phonics and some books.  Ollie got The Lone Ranger lego train set along with a Tardis, a nerf cross bow, Robofish, a gigantic cuddly shark from Ikea and Finn from Adventure Time.  Such lucky lucky little boys.

I also got super treats!  James bought me TWO David and Goliath tees, The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal for Mothers, a doughnut baking tin, a doughnut recipe book, Snowfairy shower gel from Lush, a necklace and a set of cute earrings!

Of course, Marcie was not left out… she too got presents!  She got a new collar, a new lead and a little stocking with dog treats and a new toy inside!

After the presents had all been opened, I went and prepared breakfast.  Each year we always have the same… scrambled eggs on toast with smoked salmon.  Both boys like it, though Ollie only likes the smoked salmon if it is cold…. I served it with sparkly shloer in wine glasses which Ollie thought was a super treat!

After breakfast we all went to get ready in our Christmas clothes ready to go to James’ mums house.  Each year the whole of James’ family gathers there in the morning for some drinks and nibbles and to catch up!  We get there a little early to exchange presents with James’ sister, Sandra and parents.  Ollie wore a pretend moustache that he found in his stocking!

Ollie opened monster lego and a wordsearch game to play as a family and Nate got a giggly monkey and a remote control dinosaur (which he was afraid of but is slowly coming around to!  I was spoilt and treated to a gift voucher for a local spa and new jammies!

James family all come over to his mum’s house… all the aunts and uncles and cousins and it is so lovely to catch up and here everyone’s news.  It is really the only occasion in a year that the ENTIRE Hughes clan is together.  The house gets jam packed!!  

Ollie and Nate loved seeing their cousins and of course, a couple more gifts were passed to the boys… a trick moneybox which Ollie LOVES, a fossil discovery thing, money, the cutest pottery egg cups, a book and a toy van.  We also got to meet James’ cousin’s baby for the first time.

Afterwards we headed home to let Marcie out and snuggle her for a while, play with the boys toys and have a small bite to eat.

At 3pm we headed to mum and Harry’s for Christmas dinner!  Mum, Harry, Ryan, Jason and Jason’s girlfriend Claire, were all there already.  Mum was in the kitchen getting a little bit stressed about dinner.  They recently had their house redecorated so it was nice to get to see it for the first time!  I went into the kitchen to give mum a hand while everyone hung out and caught up!

When the dinner was on it’s last bit of cooking, we all went into the living room to exchange presents with one another.  It was hectic because there were so many people and presents and gift wrap was flying, but OH SO FUN!  The boys got well and truly spoilt!  Grandma and Grandpa bought Nate his first trike and as soon as he saw it he exclaimed “BIKE!”.  They also bought him a cute outfit, some jigsaws and a Playmobil 123 Farm!  Ollie received an army helicopter, and army boat and a proper big tank with an Army Action Man inside!  On top of this he also got a Dalek costume!  For real! Happy boys!

My mum is awesome and stayed up until 2am Christmas morning finishing hand knitting me a gorgeous scarf.  It’s one of my favourite presents this year.  Mum and Harry also bought me a new dress, a cardigan and driving lessons (because 2014 is my year to learn to drive. I just HAVE to get it).  My brothers gave James and I money for a date and a voucher for Pizza Express!!

After we exchanged gifts with everyone we got dinner sorted.  We all sat at the bigger table and the two boys had a special kids table with kids crackers.  To start we had parsnip, bacon and gruyere soup made by my brother Jason.  For our main we had turkey, ham, mashed sweet potato, roast potatoes, red cabbage, sprouts fried with bacon, stuffing and amaaaaaazing gravy.  There were also roast carrots and parsnips cooked, but in the rush and craziness of serving up the food we forgot to serve those.

We didn’t stay for desert because we were so full of food, and it would soon be the boys bedtime anyway so we packed up the car with all our new goodies and said farewell to family.  Such a lovely Christmas evening spent with family.

When we got home James and Ollie built the new Lone Ranger Lego train set while I relaxed in new Christmas pyjamas and watched the Christmas special of Call The Midwife.  When the boys were done, Ollie went to bed and James and I spent the rest of the night hanging out and watching the Christmas episode of Doctor Who.

Christmas Day really is the best, albeit quite crazy and I think next year we will do the normal arrangement in the morning but have everyone over to our house or Christmas dinner.  It would mean that the boys could carry on playing with all of there toys and could then go to bed without requiring us to leave early.  It would mean everyone could stay as long as they like.

10 Things I Live For…

I can’t live without my family.  The 4 of us here in our little home, making memories and raising little gentlemen.  I feel like this is what I was born to do, raise boys that is.  I live for being told I’m loved “997 hearts” by a wonderfully affectionate 5 year old… and I live for being covered in weetabix, because my toddler just really wanted to cuddle at that precise moment.

I live for the opportunity to travel!  I have restless feet… I don’t want to stand still or stay in this same place.  I’ve travelled a little and while travelling to the destinations pinned on my wanderlist, is on hold right now as I raise my little family, I live for the day that I can wander the world a little more.  There is too much out there for us to see… it would be silly to stay here, on this little island, for forever.

Friends.  Some I’ve known only a short time…. and others I have known for more than a decade!  With some, I’ve had falling outs and makeups and with others we’ve gone too long without talking and then reconnected.  Whatever the circumstance though, the friends I have in my life, mean the world and more to me.

I could live without blogging, but I wouldn’t want to!  Writing regularly has become a part of who I am… 5 1/2 years of keeping a blog and only getting better at it.  I feel like I’ve documented my boys’ lives this far, how on earth could I ever choose to just quit.  I love looking back on things I’ve forgotten… important details that I’m glad are recorded and safe.  But it’s not just that… over the past little while, blogging has become more of a hobby that a need to document our life.

Taking photos… I can’t stop.  It comes so naturally to me, to want to capture happenings.  I have 11,000 or more photos edited and stored away safe.  I capture moments and memories that can be retrieved and looked back on at any time.  My photos mean more to me than possessions.  A photo can’t be replaced.  It is a special moment in time that I can hold onto forever.

I guess I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to memories…. ain’t nothing wrong with that though.

Sunshine.  I live for sunny days, days we can be outside together.  I can’t cope with the cold or snow or winter.  Dull sky makes me miserable…. sunshine and blue sky changes everything.

I live to love and be loved.  Love is the most amazing thing we can feel and I feel it, hard.  If I love someone or something, I love it with all that I am.  If my heart was not so full, I’d not be the same happy and positive person I am.  Love is exciting and warm and something I couldn’t go a day without.  There is that old lyric from Nature Boy…”The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

I live for food.  I feel similarly about food, as I do about travelling.  There is so much out there, it would be silly to only ever eat the same things.  I’m not at all fussy, though I can’t eat anything creamy.  Aside from that I’ll try anything once… and I could eat seconds and thirds.  My apetite could rival any mans!

Music!!  I listen to music each and every day… I have certain songs that I listen to when I am in certain moods… songs that bring back memories… songs that make me feel.

I live for what comes next!  I’m excited about what I am going to do in the future, both on my own and with my family…. what we might learn and experience and the memories we will make.  I do appreciate each and every day, take it as it comes and all that, but I do like daydreaming about what is in store for me too.