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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Dear Ellenah, You Are Five

Dear Ellenah, my beautiful little girl.

This is long over due. On the evening before each of your birthday’s, I will write you a letter… but on the evening before your fifth birthday, I couldn’t make it happen. I’m really sorry Sweetheart, it wasn’t because I don’t care. It wasn’t because you are not important. It wasn’t because I had forgotten. It was the most important thing for me to do that day but the best I could do was to write down my thoughts in the notes on my phone, hoping that this day would come. This day when I would be able to string together the sentences to better communicate exactly what it is that I want to say to you.

And just over two months late, I have found the right day.

Turning five is a big deal. I can’t remember anything about my fifth birthday but I can remember the feeling of turning five. Your big brother was impatient to get to this age too. It’s the age where things change. It’s the age that you have really started to show the little girl that you are becoming. The petite, inquisitive and sassy little diva that storms through each day with that beautiful smile and sharp wit. You are our delightful chaos. Forever known as ‘Hurricane Bella Roo’.

You are bold and fearless. You are strong-willed and spirited. You are everything that I could ever want in a little girl. You are a pleasure to raise. You challenge me in ways that nobody else can. You question me and you make me question the world around me… Everything and everyone in it. You seem to simply know things that it takes some of us years to understand. You make no apology for being exactly as you are and I love that about you.

Dear Ellenah, You Are Five

Some days I look at you and I see so much of myself. You smile like me. You run like me. You perform like me and you believe in the world like me. Other days, I look at you and see someone who I want to be. Brave, certain and rambunctious.

This past year, you have started to show what matters to you, who you love dearly and how you like to go about your day. You like your space… Alone time is very important to you. It is part of what enables you to be creative which is one of your biggest strengths. You communicate your real feelings clearly and never try and adapt your mood to anyone else’s expectation of you. I respect that about you.

Dear Ellenah, You Are Five

To be honest, as with each passing year and the bigger and more charismatic you get… there never feels to me like enough words in the world that can fully sum up just how wonderful I think you are. Just how much I love you, from the bottom of my proud mama heart.

It has just been so much fun, getting to know each side of you with each passing moment. To see such beautiful sweetness to your sassy. To see such kindness in your heart that balances out your strong will. To see you shine bright and bring out the brightness and light in those around you, those who have fallen in love with you for everything that you are and for the blessing that you are to this world.

I love how much you love snails and how you will always move them if they are in harms way, no matter how much it’s raining. I love how conscious you are of protecting the planet and our daily conversations about throwing our litter away. I love watching you play, watching your imagination soar. I love listening to you make up little songs about the things that you find important. I love watching you dance like mama used to. I love your dirty laugh and how bright red your cheeks turn when you find something really funny.

I love the way that you make every day better.

I love the way that you make me better.

Love, Mama x

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The Half Term Cheer

I have been waiting for this moment for what feels like so long. 7am on Saturday 22nd October 2016. The start of half term with my little crazy one’s. It has been a long six and a half weeks. A long time to spend more time than ever by myself. A long time missing them and wondering what they were up to. Wondering if they were happy and if they were thinking about me.

It has been so long and now I get to steal them back for a whole week. I get to be the one that they come to when they have made a lovely picture, they get to come to me when they fall over and they get to remember just being us again.

And yes, they will both fight. I won’t be able to provide them with a snack quick enough because they are ‘starving’. They will pull at my legs when I am cooking dinner for attention to something. They will constantly ask me what we are doing next. They will demand each and every second of my time and sanity…

And I will love every single second of it.

I need this time with them. They are my favourites. The little people that make me smile without even trying. The little people who taught me about unconditional love. The little people that make my world better.

I hope y’all have the best half term with your little loves and you embrace the half term cheer. Let me know what you guys are getting up to? We will be busy getting autumnal in ‘The Sweetest Life’ family! Apple picking, autumn leaf collecting, pumpkin patch strollin’ and cozy blankets, big hugs kinda snugglin’.

With Love,

Ria x

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It isn’t an easy decision to make. To decide whether or not to extend your already lovely little family by one more. Some could call you crazy for even thinking about it when your children are seven and (almost) five years old. Some would think you were mad for wanting to go back to square one, to start all over again. Some would ask you why you would want to go back to the sleepless nights, dirty nappies and sore nipples. I understand that it doesn’t sound that glamorous and I would probably find it harder now, now I am a little older and a little more used to an easier way of life.

But it just doesn’t make sense to me to not have another little human in our family, to love. It isn’t for a number, an ideal goal… but because Matt and I love raising our children. We love watching them grow, change and become who they are meant to be. We love being a part of it, throwing ourselves in to it and cherishing it. We love being parents, a mother and a father. We love being a family. Our family unit is so very special to us, so unique. We could give another baby a loving family with two amazing siblings, a place in the world and open arms to always be there for them, whatever it is that they need.

We made the decision out of love to start trying for another baby, about five months ago.

I didn’t announce it or make a big deal out of it. I didn’t fancy the pressure. In the same way that I have never used an ovulation test. We have let nature take its course but as it goes, it isn’t our turn just yet. I understand that the best things are worth waiting for but waiting and trying is completely new territory for Matt and me. Noah and Ellenah were both our most lovely surprises… and I realise that I definitely took it for granted at the time. I absolutely did.

And lately, I have found myself isolated and upset with my body, just like so many other women in the same position as me. So I have turned to them and their journeys on YouTube and in the Blogoshere. I have found myself taking comfort in such a beautiful online community. I have found a place where myself and my headspace best belong right now.

Negative pregnancy tests are hard to get over. You know the ones? When you felt so sure! You were certain that this was your month. And then it wasn’t…again.

I know that five months isn’t very long in the grand scheme of things. I know that I must sound impatient and dramatic but I can only feel what I feel. I think all of us in this situation are important. We all want to love a child, or another one in my case, at the end of the day. All of us and the different stages of our journeys matter. We are all in this thing together, this guessing game, this waiting business.

And with that in mind, I wouldn’t feel right about keeping my positivity to myself. It wouldn’t be nice of me to keep it to myself when it has helped me so very much. So in the video below, I introduce myself to the TTC community, with such precious common ground, a smile and some positive thoughts and suggestions to make this time a little happier. I want to help in some way. Please let me know if I do. Even if it is just a smile in the corner of your mouth or a slightly happier heart?

As I said, I have taken such comfort from other people in the past few months. I would love for you to share this part of motherhood and my life with me. It would mean so much to know that you will come back to this space and to see you subscribe over on YouTube Channel. You can do that by clicking here. It’s nice to have people around right now x

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Weekly Meal Plan ( Family Of Four)

So, right now… I am writing this blog post with one eye open and the other is fast asleep. I have just got home from family swimming night at our local swimming pool…And I am exhausted. In a good way though! We all are. I dressed the children in their pyjamas  after we hit the showers, so as soon as we walked through the door, they slid into their beds and I haven’t heard a peep since.

Noah did so well. He is swimming under water like a bit of a boss really and has surprised us all considering that less than a month ago, he was terrified of the water being in his face. I talk a little more about this in my ‘family life, lately’ video (link to video here) but basically, he has transformed in to a water baby and it’s amazing to watch. I still can’t believe that I managed to teach him to swim in twenty minutes. If there was ever a moment that I felt like super mum, that was totally it. Ellenah has come so far in a week too. It’s incredible how quickly such little legs build up strength and memory to learn a skill.

As I say, I’m a little tired by it because I try and get a good chunk of exercise in too, while we are there. It would be silly not to considering how much I miss going to the gym and how much I love to work out. I’ll ache tomorrow but it will be worth it because it makes me feel so good about myself.

I’m trying very hard to be as healthy as I can now. I’ve noticed so quickly how a well-balanced diet and a bit of exercise can make you feel like a million bucks… or at least, a lot less sluggish with a little more energy to play with the kids and to live life well.

This is one of the reasons why I wanted to share my meal plan this week. It is quite well balanced in my opinion, quite healthy…and that’s a hard feat when you have a family to feed.

I have really enjoyed watching grocery haul videos lately too. I really feel like I’m not alone and I have someone to help when I have been stuck in a food rut in the past. Food ruts can be soul destroying if you are the person responsible for the groceries and cooking dinner for your loves. You want to do right by them but sometimes the inspiration just doesn’t come naturally and you are sick of the same old meals that you churn out, week in and week out.

I hope my haul helps you out a little mama?

Let me know in the comments, if you have any healthy, family friendly recipes that I could try also, I would be forever thankful?!

With love, Ria x

P.S. I love my fruit bowl on grocery day. It’s the little things that make me so happy x

Weekly Meal Plan (Family Of Four)

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