Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

This post is late. By two months.

The reason being that myself and my beautiful little family have been in newborn baby bliss. Our new human has been all any of us have wanted to talk about. We have all been occupied with falling in love a million times over in that time. With that new baby smell, the cute noises, the first smiles and laughs… It has been all kinds of amazing.

I fall hard for my kids. They sweep this mama off of her feet on the daily. It’s probably another reason why this post is so late too. The writing I could do, no problem… It was a beautiful day. Full of celebrations for my handsome eight year old, Noah (p.s. how am I a mama to an eight year old, it’s crazy and heartbreaking all at the same time?) Of course with great celebrations comes the chance to whip out my big girl camera and snap away. Trying to capture the moments, the smiles, the fun… The times that are a little out of the ordinary… The times that I simply have to remember.

By the way, when I say snap away, what I really mean is… click, click, click whether you are smiling, ready, on your best side or not… And hey, say ‘cheeeese! Most of what I take is blurry, out of focus, badly framed…but in the roll somewhere are ‘The Ones’ that say it all, if you get what I mean. Also… please don’t for one second think that the blurry one’s are discarded… oh no… they are always sent to clog up the space on my hard drive for me to look at ‘one day’. It hurts me to delete any photograph’s of those I love, even if you have to squint to make out who is in the picture. Because I know who it is… #photographhoarder

Anyway, I digress.. My point actually is, that I take a lot of photographs and it takes a lot of time and attention to find those particular ‘Ones’… And I haven’t had the time and attention to do my search justice… Until now.

Noah’s birthday was on Sunday 2nd July 2017 and it was a hot, sunny day. Perfect for a BBQ. Noah asked for one so that he could spend his birthday with his nearest and dearest. He has an old soul sometimes. He definitely understands the importance of family, which I love about him. He played with his sister in the morning, mainly with the balloons which we had set out the night before… Like we do for every birthday. He was excited about his remote control car though, he was itching to play with that. It was his main gift and not one that he had asked for… or even expressed that he would like. The problem is, nowadays it’s all about Xbox, playstation and video games galore. I refer to them as calculators in a bid to be funny with my kids (cheap laughs). Don’t get me wrong, Noah and Ellenah do play with these things… Their Papa is techno mad… but I don’t like it that much. I want them to use their imaginations and to get lost in play. Is it mean that when Noah asked me for a Nintendo Switch, I kind of said ‘not a chance’ in the nicest way that I could? I felt guilty about it. For saying no to the thing that Noah wanted for his birthday. I felt like I was crushing his dreams for a while. So, Matt and I had to up our game and come up with something that could compete with the calculator (ha!) that he wanted.

He loved his car. Loved the tyre marks that it left on our garden. It went fast at 25 mph. It had the number eight on it, like his age. It was bright and cool. He felt cool when he opened it… A little grown up. Especially when we told him that we chose it from a model shop and that Daddy wanted one. It flew down our garden, nearly taking my legs out from under me at one point. Noah had fun chasing after it. Making a tunnel with his legs as his Papa drove it through them. He thought it was great, chasing his little sister with it. We chose well. He wasn’t sad that he wasn’t opening up ‘something different’. He was more than happy with that, his little book of things to make with sticks and all of the other gifts that he was lucky to receive.

Matt and I busied ourselves in the kitchen and the garden, getting everything ready. It was hot, I was heavily pregnant and uncomfortable, so it wasn’t easy. Noah was only turning eight once though and I was determined to make sure that he would have an awesome birthday, one to remember. Especially after he had requested that his baby brother would arrive in time to be at his party. I somehow felt guilty for that too, guilty that he hadn’t. Like it was within my control or something.

There was a a lot of food, plenty to drink and all of the smiles.

We had a lovely afternoon. Noah played with his sister (who had a curl in her hair for the day and a pretty dress on) and with his cousins and lapped up all of the attention from those who love him. He played with his Nerf Guns and Light Sabre’s… The girls played with the sand pit when they were doing the latter though.

Us grown-up’s ate, talked, laughed and listened to music while we sat together on the grass. We enjoyed being in the sunshine (I sat myself in the shade for the most part, struggling to cope well in the heat) but it was just nice hanging out together. It was lovely watching the children play together without having to check the clock too much, without having to tell them ‘no’ every two minutes and without being occupied with every day life.

I set out to give Noah a lovely birthday. It mattered to me because I was conscious about his baby brother being overdue and a lot of attention was being directed at that long awaited life event. I didn’t want him to feel overlooked. Noah was my first born child. He was the boy who showed me what unconditional love was and is. He is so very special to me and he deserved the effort, a million times over.

For next year, I have agreed that we will discuss the idea of him having a party of some description with his friends from school… and a homemade birthday cake because I have never made him one myself. I must have found myself on a high from him having a lovely birthday, knowing that he was happy. I say this because next year, I will be planning his baby brother’s 1st birthday which will be two days later. My boys are going to have me sliding into July 2018 with my to-do lists firmly in my hand and an overwhelmed look on my face.

Seeing how happy Noah was on his birthday this year though, it will be well and truly worth it.

With Love,

Ria  x

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Meeting Baby Brother

Meeting Baby Brother

Meeting Baby Brother

Meeting Baby Brother Meeting Baby Brother

Meeting Baby Brother

Meeting Baby Brother

Meeting Baby BrotherMeeting Baby Brother

Meeting Baby Brother

The moment that Noah and Ellenah met their baby brother for the first time, on the morning that he was born, was one of the best moments of my life. It was easily better than christmas morning, better than any birthday, better than most other days that has lead us to here actually.

Dexter was born at 1.55am, that morning. He was born in the very small bathroom of our family home. The home that has seen five of Noah’s eight years and all of Ellenah’s, other than just six months. It is a safe place. It is where the children have seen magic unfold, from the christmas’, the tooth fairy and even better,  to the games that they play where their imaginations have no limits.

It is the home that has watched Matt and I grow, up together and a little bit older I’m privileged to say. It is where we have fallen in love with each other, over and over again. It is where we talk about our future as a family… and together, when the children grow up and have lives of their own. It is where we laugh, where we are allowed to cry and it is where we are happy. Our home is where we dream together , about so many things. It is where we dreamt of this family. Our family. One with five of us. It is the home where that dream came true.

I was exhausted but awake when I heard the first creaking of a door opening that morning. I had been awake all night. I squinted my eyes in the darkness, to watch Dexter breathing. He was awake for the most part of it too. He was watching the shadows and flickers of light that made up the silhouette of his mama. He knew me already. I made him feel safe. He hardly made a sound the whole time.

My eyes were heavy by the time I heard the door that morning, so far from feeling ready to go to sleep though. I was on cloud nine. Walking on air. Singing ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams to myself in my head and humming it out loud, when ultimately I forgot myself. I had been waiting for this moment for nine, long months. It was my happy thought that kept me going since just before 10pm the night before when I had my first contraction. Our new beginning would mean that I had made it to the end. I let myself imagine what our lives would become. How it would change in the best ways. I could see how happy we were and are going to be. The smiles of my children meeting each other, meant so much to me.

I heard little, dainty footsteps. I knew that it was Ellenah walking towards our bedroom. Ellenah who we tucked in to bed last night at the same time as Noah, after telling them both that by morning, they should have a baby brother waiting for them in our bedroom. I knew that behind that door was a nervous little girl. One who was hoping with all of her heart that she would be opening the door to the boy, who was making her a big sister.

The door opened, very slowly. I saw her bright blonde hair first of all and then our eyes met. Her big blue eyes, full of hope, found me across the room. She tiptoed towards me, as quietly as she could. She stopped short of my reach… and I so desperately wanted to cuddle her. She stopped and turned towards the beautiful moses basket that had been waiting there, empty for two months. She gasped when she found it empty. Her face fell and she looked so sad. In her shaky, quiet as a mouse voice, she spoke. ‘No baby?’ was all she could manage in her disbelief.

She was right. He wasn’t in there. I couldn’t be apart from him. Even for a few hours while the country was fast asleep. We had been together for nine months. It was alien to have him anywhere else but nestled in my arms.

‘He’s here sweetheart!’ I whispered, as I pointed towards him, in-between Papa and me. She stepped forwards and looked over me hesitantly, to the middle of the bed where he was actually sleeping for the first time.

Words could never tell you, how beautiful Ellenah looked in that moment, so vulnerable and happy. Words could never do justice, to describe how every emotion that she felt washed over her face. Her large eyes grew bigger as tears sat behind them and the smile that she wore, I had never seen it before and I’m sure that I will never see it again. That one was for Dex. It was beaming but shaky. Her hand reached towards her chest and she gasped inwards, again. Almost as if she was breathless. Like she had been hit in the heart with overwhelming love. She looked at me and back at Dexter…and back at me, then Dexter again. She didn’t know what to do, what to say… how to explain how this made her feel. So I reached for her. My little girl. And, I held her so tightly as she dry sobbed with such joy. Her body vibrated against me with excitement and she asked if she could kiss him. I nodded and watched her lean over so gently to kiss him on the head. It was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen her experience and I will carry it within my heart until forever.

It didn’t take Noah long to bound in to the room after that. Noah being much less subtle in his ways. Noah who boldly pushed the door open and asked me if his little brother had arrived. Again, that look of hope was very much present… but the sheer excitement was apparent and definitely not something that he could filter or condense. Noah was true to his personality. Charismatic, bold, excitable and full of heart. He walked in with swag before anyone could answer him and clambered clumsily around the bed until he was at my side. He kind of landed there with both feet, flat to the ground and standing tall.

And then he saw him…

Noah’s eyes fixed on to his baby brother and rather than the emotion dancing across his face like it did with Ellenah… each and every feeling came out of his eyes, in tears. As they plopped down his cheeks, all big and fat…he looked surprised. And very much like his little sister, it was as if Dexter had taken his breath away.

Noah squinted his eyes and rubbed at them both with his finger and thumb. Pinching them together, he was desperate to stop crying. I asked him what was wrong.

‘I’m just so happy Mum… And I’m so proud of you!’ He told me, as his voice shook.

Hearing those words from my sweet little boy… the one who made me a mama first, broke me. The tears stung my eyes and it was almost as if I could feel my heart grow inside me, when I didn’t believe it could possibly make any more room. It had already made space for our third and final baby. Enough of it to love him unconditionally, until the end of time. I wondered how my heart could grow any more.

But it did… I think it does every day.

When my beautiful children say beautiful things. When I watch them get lost in each other. When they choose love. When they choose happiness. When they are kind, thoughtful… warm.

My heart grows because of them in so many ways.

While my heart was having a growth spurt on this day. While I watched Noah and Ellenah fall head over heels in love with their new brother, smothering him with kisses and looking upon him in amazement. It felt like everything was in slow motion. Like time had stopped. Like nothing else on this earth mattered.

Unfortunately, the clock waits for no-one. And with less than an hour until the children were due to walk through the school gates for a day of learning, we had to test out our new normal… try it on for size. Well, as much as I could from my bed.

Watching the children say goodbye to each other that morning was so hard because I just wanted us all to be together, in our new baby bubble. Seeing how they said ‘hello’ to each other though, seeing how Noah and Ellenah welcomed Baby Dexter into our world… The world, was priceless. A moment that I will never forget. A moment that I wouldn’t change. A moment that I could never wish was different. A moment that was EVERYTHING to me… Full of my favourite people in the whole world.

It was absolute perfection… x

 

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To my beautiful boy, Noah – On the Eve of your eighth birthday

As Noah Turns Eight

These letters are becoming harder to write each year, without breaking apart. Some people say that you are most emotional as a mother, when your children are babies and the moments fly by so quickly. I find each year that you turn a new age much harder. Back when you were a baby, you needed me for everything. I was the centre of your whole world. You didn’t question me. You didn’t question yourself. You didn’t need much else, other than me and my time. The older you get and with each birthday, I can see the look in your eyes… that need for more. You want more freedom. You want to experience more. You crave life and you want to explore all of the things that you are capable of, all of the things that you can do. You are trying so hard to establish your independence… You need me much less.

As Noah Turns Eight

I know that you still need me. As always, you will cuddle me and show me affection, every single day. I really am lucky for that and for you. You are and I don’t doubt always will be a loving little boy, a lovely human. But in this past year, I have noticed that when I say goodbye to you at the school gates, you have started to run ahead, happy to wave a goodbye but will gently avoid a kiss goodbye in front of your friends. This past year, you decided to ditch your book bag with the school emblem on it, opting for a backpack which you tell me is much cooler. You’ve started to use wax in your hair some days and you care about which clothes you wear too. You know how to fix a puncture and you’ve recently learned how to cook an egg on a cooker made out of baked bean tins.

As Noah Turns Eight

You are not a baby anymore, are you? You don’t tend to play the role for my benefit anymore. You are growing up fast. You are changing in front of my eyes.

I often reach out to hold your hand as we walk together, wanting to swing your arms with mine like we used to when you were tiny. Every now and again, you will let me…but you don’t stay there for very long before you get itchy feet and feel that need to run or walk ahead. I watch you as you go, making up games, using your imagination. And I do love it. I love watching you have fun… it makes my heart and soul very happy.

As Noah Turns Eight

Last weekend, we went to a summer fair at your cousin’s school. I saw you watch your bigger cousin, running around with his friends, being that bit older than you. I could see that you were jealous. I could see that you wanted to go with him. I could tell you thought he was having a lot more fun, than you. I kept you close to me, not to stray far away at all. My heart panicked if you had fallen just steps behind and I couldn’t see you. I’m struggling to let you go at all. Struggling to let you grow up. I tried so hard to keep you… to almost tell you that you were having more fun walking around with me and your little sister. But you weren’t, were you? I could see that look in your eyes and I made myself be brave. I was shaking as I said it… but I told you that you could go off with your cousin but you had to stay with him at all times. I knew that everywhere you went in the school grounds, I could see you… watch you. It still felt difficult to let you be away from me though. When I said it, your eyes grew wide… you couldn’t even believe the words that were coming out of my mouth. You are so used to me being cautious, over-protective… possibly a bit of a control freak and an advocate of organised fun. You smiled at me like you never have before…and off you ran. I didn’t have to tell you twice. I did watch you though Noah. I didn’t take my eyes off of you. It was weird seeing you out of arms reach, laughing and being perfectly fine without me. So endearing though. This was you. This was how you socialised. This was you responding to other children, away from my watchful eye…or so you thought (baby steps, okay?)… And, you were absolutely fine. Sensible, free  and so happy.

I am trying Noah, to change alongside you. To keep up. This will never be an easy part of being your mama, please know that. Please accept that about me and understand, it is because I love you so very much. Protecting you, nurturing you… these are the things that I understand most about raising you. Everything else feels like scary territory. Like you once did, I have to learn to crawl before I can walk and walk before I can run.

As Noah Turns Eight

We are absolute best friends beautiful boy… but I am your mama first. That is a role that comes with a fierce maternal instinct to keep you safe, do what is best for you always and to love you unconditionally. The year ahead of us is going to push and pull me so far out of my comfort zone, it’s going to leave me dizzy. BUT, we will challenge the balance and all of the madness that comes with you growing up and getting older…and we will do it together.

As Noah Turns Eight

Tomorrow, you are going to be eight years old, I just cant believe it. It only feels like five minutes ago that I was writing the first one of these letters. I was gushing about how you had learned to pretend sneeze…and it was just one of the adorable things that came with having a one year old. That was a long time ago now. So much has changed since then. You have changed. I have changed. One thing that never changes though, is how much my heart expands each year, How much my love for you grows with it and how proud of you I am. You surprise me constantly with your charm, wit and spirit and you make me smile every single day. You really are my sunshine and you always will be.

As Noah Turns Eight

Happy 8th Birthday for tomorrow Noah, I hope your day is as special as you are.

I love you, more and most,

From Mama x x x

 

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Noah and pregnancy with baby number thr
Written at 34 weeks pregnant… when I didn’t feel like I was doing very well

 

Dear Noah,

There are so many things that I want to say to you in this moment. I want to tell you how proud of you, how grateful, how in awe of you I am. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of you right now though, is the words ‘I’m so sorry!’. I feel this deep, aching need in my heart to hold on to you so tightly and to apologise over and over again until I’m certain that you have heard me.

I’ve never wanted you to have to accept this version of your mama, to understand her, to be so fiercely loyal to her. I’m not proud to be her and I don’t really know how you can look at me like you do. Like I’m the best thing since sliced bread.

But, you do!

Everyday, you wipe the slate clean. You show up. You smile at me. You encourage me. You love me. You love me even harder lately, I can feel it. It’s almost as if you are loving me harder because you know that I am struggling to love myself.

I am sorry Son! Ever since I became a mother… Your mother, I have wanted you to see me as this ‘perfect’ person, this wonderful woman who can do no wrong. I’ve wanted you to put me on a pedestal. I’ve wanted you to hold me in high regard and to hold me in your heart as someone who will never falter.

And now I’m scared that even though you tell me every day without fail, that I am the best mum in the world… You may not really think so anymore. Now that it has become so obvious that I am just a human being. Just a person. Now that I have faltered. Now that I have shown you that I am so very far from being perfect.

Every day you somehow manage to tell me that I am your beautiful mama. Everyday you kiss my belly, your little brother and you talk to him… so excited for him to be here with us all. You don’t show envy towards him. You don’t show resentment, for the times I have been forced to put him first. As someone who loves you with everything I am… It has hurt me to have to do that. To make a choice to lay down and rest so I don’t fall down…rather than to play with you in the garden. You have taken 34 weeks (so far) of my choices and needs in your stride, constantly reminding me that I am pregnant and I need to relax. You are an old soul and you have such kindness in your heart. So much love and empathy. You have shown how truly selfless you can be and I don’t think words could ever express what that means to me.

Noah and pregnancy with baby number thr

I’m sorry that you have had to see me struggle, to walk and to cope with sickness. I’m sorry that I’ve had to ask you to wait, for things and for me. I’m sorry that I have become someone who has made you learn about how patient you can be and are. I just want you to be a child. I just want you to have fun. I don’t want you to learn all of your lessons now. You have time.

I have found myself saying to you a lot lately, that there isn’t long left, that in a few weeks your baby brother will be here. I have implied that as if by magic, you will have me back, as I was. As you remember. As I remember. And it doesn’t phase you. You look at me like I’m mad, like nothing has changed…and then you carry on talking about life after, with your new baby brother.

Can it be that you haven’t noticed how badly I’m doing? Can it be that I’m carrying the heavy burden of this mum guilt on my shoulders, every second of every day and you are actually okay?

Are you happy Noah? I desperately hope that you are.

You are going to be such an amazing brother to your baby brother. Even though you bicker and rough and tumble with her, I’ve seen how great you already are to Ellenah. You are perfect proof of how a heart can grow and how much love one can hold.

Noah and pregnancy with baby number thr

We are all so blessed to have you in our lives. So lucky to have you brightening every day with your beautiful spirit and energy. Apart from saying a world of sorry’s… I also want to say the biggest thank you.

Thank you for being you. Thank you for smiling every day. Thank you for trying your hardest at school. Thank you for being strong. Thank you for being resilient. Thank you for your acceptance. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for loving me back, unconditionally. Thank you for the spring in your step. Thank you for the cuddles. Thank you for the bump love. Thank you for being so considerate. Thank you for being mine.

Noah and pregnancy with baby number thr

Thank you for being a daily reminder that even when things feel tough and I don’t feel like I have very much confidence left within myself at all… I did something so right and so perfect. I raised one incredible little boy. I love watching you shine bright and be exactly everything that makes up who you are.

Thank you for being a daily reminder that there is good in every day… simply because you are in it.

I love you,

Mama x

 

 

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Finding Autumn At The Park

Saturday was the official start of the half term break and it was such a gorgeous day. The sun was so warm, so beautiful and it was beating through my bedroom window from the moment that we opened our eyes.

We spent the morning pottering around the house, being a little lazy and giving in the the freedom of the holiday. The freedom of the weekend. I managed to drink a hot peppermint tea while I talked to my little favourites. For ages.

It always surprises me in the most pleasant way how they see life, how when I give them a little time they will talk to me for hours, how they always want me to be included in everything that they want to do, play and make and how openly they love the family that they were born in to. How happy they are.

We ate lunch together, at the table where we talked some more, laughed and talked about our plan for the afternoon.

Finding Autumn At The Park

My sister and her beautiful little family were heading to us in the early afternoon to take the children out on their scooters and bikes. We were going to hit the park on such a beautiful day. It was too much of a perfect autumnal day to waste it.

Finding Autumn At The Park

There was so much excitement about our mini adventure. Noah watched the clock and Ellenah asked me constantly if it was time to leave.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finally we were on our way and the kids zoomed off in front.

Finding Autumn At The Park

They enjoyed the park. They played on the outside gym, the zip wire and the assault course. We collected leaves and jumped around in them. It was just so nice to see the children wearing rosy cheeks, big smiles and laughs.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finding Autumn At The Park

Seeing them all happy makes me happy.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finding Autumn At The Park

Making memories with them, even the simple ones at the park, makes me feel lighter, content and like I am a part of something so incredible.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Being with them shows me life through their eyes. The beauty of it.

I’m so excited about the rest of half term and all of the joy, love and memories that will come with it. What are y’all planning on doing with your little loves?

With Love,

Ria x

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