The newest addition to our growing family, Clara Cecilia, was born on Saturday 9th December at 6.15am weighing a healthy 8lb 6oz! She is absolutely incredible and we are all loving her so much.
I was very lucky to have my sister staying with us for a month before Clara was born. I can’t express enough what a help it was to have her around during that time; doing the school run, baking bread, cooking homemade soups, preparing our meals, but also just being able to have lunch together and to watch a bit of cheeky daytime tv while Rose was napping! It was a really blessed time and I’m so thankful for her.
Clara ended up coming two days late and it was the curry that finally got things moving! We celebrated the Immaculate Conception with a hot curry and two hours later all the action started!
Benedict and Rose are madly in love with her. Every time Benedict comes home from school he goes straight to Clara to give her the most gentle hug and kiss, its really beautiful to watch. And every so often Benedict will burst out with “We’ve got our new baby sister, hooray!” Rose is also very enthusiastic with her hugs and kisses too, we’ve had to teach her a safe way of going to kiss her rather than just pouncing on her with her enthusiasm!
In the hospital:
Benedict and Rose first meeting Clara at home:
Clara at 5 weeks old:
A couple of weeks ago, a group of us were lucky enough to spend a few days in the Lake District in a house with the most incredible view imaginable! It was like waking up to a real live painting every morning.
It was an awesome few days spending time with other young families similar to us. It was also a great opportunity for the children to have fun and play together. We were a pretty big group – in total there were 15 adults and 10 children all staying under one roof – and somehow it actually worked! At around 7.30pm each night the parents would gradually disappear with their children for their baths and bedtime, and then by 8.30pm the adults were enjoying the evening together with great food and company!
The first day we enjoyed a boat trip on Lake Windermere and ended up in a beautiful English restaurant for lunch over looking the lakes. Above are some of the children on the boat.
Most of the week it rained so we were on the look out for day trips indoors. We found Beatrix Potter World which I would really recommend. It was a long queue to get in but the amount of detail that had been put into creating the characters and scenes from the stories was truly astounding. And the children absolutely loved it, it was like the books had been brought to life.
Above – story time before bed. And below, some playing first thing in the morning
Below – the adults’ very serious play time with scrabble
Below – the whole crew on our last morning together:
While the house is looking like a building site; with dust everywhere and no bathroom to use, we have taken refuge at my parents’ home. We have been so thankful for it. It’s also been a great opportunity for Benedict and Rose to spend more time with Nana and Grandad.
We’ve been at my parents for 2 weeks now. Last week was very special because everyone was home (apart from Eoin!) which never happens. However, we’d had some distressing news that my mum might have cancer. It’s looking very positive now though, she’s had surgery to remove it and now we’re just waiting for the biopsy results, but the consultant seemed very positive about it.
Our family has always been very close, but last week when everyone was around I felt that we had come even closer together and were really looking out for each other. I’m incredibly thankful for my family! I’m honestly not sure what I’d do without them.
We made the most of being together and went on some nostalgic day trips from our childhood. Hannah took us to Puzzle Wood which played beautifully to Benedict’s imagination and Rose’s enthusiasm to run and explore! It was a lot of fun…
We also had an awesome day out at Goodrich Castle
And Prinknash Abbey with Granny and Grandfather…
Although we’re making the most of it and I am so so thankful for my parent’s generosity, the kids and I are missing Eoin like crazy. It’s like our family has been put on hold while our house is sorted. I keep telling myself it’ll be worth it in the end, but it doesn’t make it any easier being apart from Eoin for long periods of time. Benedict keeps asking if daddy will be here for his birthday next week and I’m so glad to say that he will be! Eoin, we miss you!!
Last June, Eoin’s family surprised their mum and dad at Gatwick airport as they were trying to find their gate number in the departure lounge! They were on their way to Rome to celebrate their Ruby wedding anniversary, but little did they know we were all coming too! I think it was a good surprise!
We had such a great time, and we got to spend a lot of time with Eoin’s sister who is studying out there at the moment. We also got to meet the Late Father, Bishop Javier Echevarria – it was such a special moment, especially as he passed away in December last year.
For the past several months, Eoin and I have been involved in the Family Development Foundation. It’s designed to give families practical help and advice in bringing up children using everyday scenarios. The programme splits about 20 couples into groups of 5 and then we meet up in our small groups to discuss a scenario each month. Then the following week all 20 couples meet up together to go through the scenarios with a mediator.
Eoin and I have found the whole programme so helpful, mainly because of the other families we’ve met through the process. We’ve been incredibly blessed I think to find such lovely families who want to bring up their children in a similar way to us.
The programme is coming to an end now but I have no doubt we’ll all keep in touch. One of the couples suggested having a big family pilgrimage to Aylesford Priory last weekend and it was such a fun and blessed time. We started with the Rosary Walk, then had Mass, and then finished with a picnic. I’m hoping it will be an annual event at the least!
Eoin took a week off work last Easter week. Normally when Eoin’s off we’ll visit family/friends or just go away for a few days, so we have never just spent a good amount of time in Tonbridge investigating nice places to visit. But this time we decided to do a bit of both; we came back from my parents on Tuesday, and then spent the rest of the week doing some nice things with the three of us. It was a lot of fun and I had a real sense of creating our own family memories.
Our first stop was Hop Farm – Benedict was like a child in a sweet shop when we saw all the animals; he didn’t know which pen to go to first. He would run to one and exclaim “ooh woow!” and then he’d quickly notice something else and run over to that one, it was so funny to watch.
I think B thought he was a goat and wanted to join them…
Kent’s famous oast houses:
On Friday we drove to Hever Castle which was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. It’s such a beautiful place and we were really blessed with the weather too. With B alongside us, we decided it would be better if we avoided the antiques of the castle and just stuck to the gardens! But there’s so much to do outside, we really didn’t miss out; there’s mazes, boat rides, adventure playgrounds, gardens, Lindt bunny hunts for Easter etc. It was great fun.
Making a break for freedom…!
There have been days this winter where I’ve just absolutely longed for the summer again! It seems like a distant memory now; being able to take Benedict to the park in shorts and t-shirt and letting him run wherever he pleased, while I sat with the other mums soaking up the sun with an iced-coffee! Instead, I’ve been putting off “outside-play” because it means chasing after a head-strong 18 month old who would rather wade through deep puddles of squishy mud than play in a nice, dry cornered-off tarmac bit in the playground!
My mum’s advice, after dutifully listening to my moaning over the phone, was pretty much: If you can’t beat the weather (or an 18 month old), join them. So I did… I ordered a puddle suit and some wellies and sucked it up and let Benedict have his fun!!
Unfortunately these photos aren’t great… I think B was just having too much fun to keep still for a photo!
Gleefully destroying a mole hill like a real boy! And beautiful hat too – made by Nana!
Some nicer pictures of the country park
I think after every birth of a new baby a mother is heard saying “never again!” And yet, often a year or so later that same mother is excitedly anticipating the new arrival of their next child! After Benedict was born, and weeks afterwards, I remember thinking the same thing; I just couldn’t believe there were actually families out there with more than one child – how on earth did those mothers go through the pains of labour more than once!?! Thankfully I am now over that trauma, and its true, pain really does dull with time!
I’m loving the new series of One Born Every Minute at the moment! It’s such an emotional roller-coaster and I think I’ve lost count of the times I’ve shed a tear when the baby’s finally delivered haha! And I love it that pretty much all of the couples I’ve seen, whether they’ve been shouting and swearing at each other during the labour, they will always kiss and come together as they gaze at their newborn… Amazing. Life is just such a precious gift!
Last Monday saw Benedict’s first birthday. One whole year already! Looking back at the year though I’m not surprised how fast it’s gone… So much has happened and I think as every parent says a billion times – I really can’t imagine Benedict not being there. He’s definitely always been there!!
Reminiscing on those first few weeks after B was born I’ve realised how much has changed in such a short space of time. From taking 15 minutes to change a nappy with a patient newborn to getting it down to 30 seconds with a wriggling impatient one year old! From worrying that he’s sleeping so much you want to wake him up, to praying he’ll stay asleep just those extra 5 minutes so you can get those neglected jobs done. From those blissful quiet moments feeding a newborn whilst watching ‘Call the Midwife‘, to dodging food thrown at you from the high chair and thinking where on earth to begin with cleaning the mess from the carpet!
Having said all that though, now is the time where we can really have fun together! With B’s little made up games he allows me to join in with, playing peek-a-boo with faces and toys, throwing and fetching balls, and lots and lots of tickles! I think both Eoin and I have never been so thankful.
So on Sunday we invited mine and Eoin’s family over to celebrate – and it really was such a special day. We had a picnic in the park with sports day activities… You’re never too old for sports day fun!
On Monday we’re off to Germany! B’s first summer holiday, very exciting. We’re going to Uberlingen, near the border of Switzerland where a good friend of ours comes from. A group of us first went there three years ago and we had such a good time; staying close to the lakes, swimming and boating, staying up late playing intensive and competitive card games!
From Uberlingen, Eoin, Benedict and I are heading to Spain to visit Eoin’s sister who lives there. She has two children and it’ll be the first time they meet Benedict (B’s only cousins!) so we are rather excited!
Then… straight after we get back I’m going on a retreat for a week; my first since Benedict was born and the longest time I’ll have been away from him… very mixed emotions!
So a very busy and exciting couple of weeks ahead.