This year we decided to do a joint birthday party for Benedict’s 5th birthday and Rose’s 3rd. We went back to the same place we had a picnic for Benedict’s first birthday… little did we know we’d be returning four years later as a family of five and a proper children’s birthday party in toe. Benedict has been talking about his ‘number 5 birthday party’ since last October, so not much pressure then!
We really could not have had a better day though. It took a lot of planning but it was so worth it. We had sports day races, pin the tail on the donkey, fajita wraps, a treasure chest birthday cake, a scavenger hunt, and some very excited children!
Sports day races
Pin the tail on the donkey
Birthday cake time!
Eoin spent the night before the party putting together the treasure chest cake. Headphones in and listening to dance music… he was definitely in the zone!
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…!