Tag Archives: Sam

Happy 4th Birthday Sam

Sorry! We’ve had internet trouble with switching providers, and before that I had a serious case of writer’s block. In October Sam turned 4 and was as insane as ever.


For his birthday her got numerous trains and train related items, and was incredibly happy about it. For his actual birthday he didn’t have cake, he had a birthday stack of doughnuts.


He was very impressed, as was I, because I was already doing two cakes. Those are Sainsbury’s lower fat doughnuts, and they are delicious. not too greasy and very light!

Cake number one was for his family birthday dinner at Grandma and Grandad’s, and he requested Olaf.


I really enjoyed making him actually. It’s not as easy as it looks though, carving the shapes from cake is crumbly! Also it looks like it’s going to look terrible right up until you get the arms, hair and eyebrows on.IMG_4865

His nose was my favourite part. Side note, if you need black icing, even if it’s a small amount, for the love of all that is sweet and delicious, buy black icing. I had a huge bag of white and thought nah, it’ll be fine, I’ve got gel colouring! It was not fine. It took forever to mix. It also dyed my hands grey. He’s lumpier than I hoped, but I think that could be remedied by either having thicker icing, or a layer of marzipan under it. We’re not huge fans of icing or marzipan though, so we skipped it.

For his birthday party he took some friends to Kirklees Light Railway, which was a big hit. They provide a hostess, food and a (stationary) party train carriage, the return train ride for 10 kids and 4 adults, and some games at the other end, so there’s minimal preparation for me! It was just under £100, though you can add on party bags. We chose to do our own though.


The party carriage also has the drivers cabin in the end with lots of controls to fiddle with, and the boys all loved it.

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For the cake Sam decided he wanted to pick a shop cake this time, and after having several projects running recently I was more than happy with that!


He even had his own birthday express train! There were other passengers, but he had a separate carriage. I can’t fault the service there either, they’re all fab and great with the kids.


All in all, he had a lovely birthday and is growing up fast. He loves nursery school and has some firm friends, and he loves to play on the tablet, but mostly, he loves trains, singing, and dogs. He will sing anything and everything, and comes home from school happiest when they’ve done a new song. If there’s a dog on the street we have to stop and stroke him. On the same day as his party we also took him to a nearby dog show and he LOVED it. Almost as much as me!

Love you Sam, keep up your mental enthusiasm 🙂

Next time – Ethan’s first try at cosplay!


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September – We’re not weirdos.

I’m sorry, I’ve had a terrible case of writer’s block recently, along with getting back to school and routine, and a couple of real doozy tantrums from Sam, and I was NOT in the mood to write about them. To be honest I’m not particularly in the mood to share them now, but I’ll get to them at the end, along with a couple of things I did to cope.

First I took the children down to mum’s for a few days during which Henry and I went to Nanny’s funeral. For something with the word ‘fun’ in it, it sure does suck. We did however get to have some fun before and after, including the mega 4 hour drives there and back as I took Amy and her two with me to share petrol costs, so I got to learn about traumatic eye injuries and stuff. By the way, Amy is an A&E nurse Sister (I keep forgetting the promotion!) and also teaches lectures on the subject every now and then, we’re not just weirdos. I also got to see my sister Sheri over from New Zealand which is of course rare.


Also not weirdos. Maybe.

We had the return to school, which both boys were excited for, though not especially photogenic!



That’s better! They’ve settled in nicely and Ethan is enjoying being on school dinners this year. He’s enjoying seeing his friends again and as far as I can tell, enjoying lessons. The Headteacher took a lesson with him and mentioned to his uncle (who works at school) that he was very bright so that’s lovely to hear. Sam loves nursery, he’s got some new little friends already and we’ve even had two over for a play already. I was terrified it would be manic but they all played very nicely!

Then two days later, Ethan had his Orange Belt Grading at Tae Kwon Do. Unfortunately I had a brain fart and we were 20 minutes late as I thought it started at ten thirty, when in fact, it did not. They were very kind though and let him in anyway and he did brilliantly.


For some reason I didn’t take a picture of him actually breaking the board, but he did it first time! That’s Tony with him, who he thinks is the bees knees. As an aside, the school is absolutely fantastic. All the teachers are great with the kids and they have such fun, but without too much messing about. It’s Ossett Martial Arts and though it feels expensive as you pay monthly, you can go up to 12 times a month and so it works out at less that £5 a session. You do pay extra for grading but that happens at the most every 3 months. It’s a family run business, Brian and Tony are a father-son team and Brian’s wife Jan runs the office. We love it, so if anyone nearby is interested, tell them we sent you 😉

Slightly deer-in-the-headlights here, but he was so excited. The belt is of course massive.

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That same afternoon (understanding my slight exhaustion yet?) Sam had a birthday party at Ponderosa in Heckmondwike. It was fab! We got the reptile talk party and Sam loved it.


He was mesmerised by the snakes and bearded dragon, and had a lot of fun playing with his friends and riding a pony.


He decided the party hat was a unicorn horn. Also not a weirdo.

The next week we headed over to Accrington to see my brother-in-law Matt, his wife Mel and their new baby Caleb, who was being blessed (just remembered, I still need to transcribe that!) at church.


Isn’t he gorgeous?! I was sat behind them too so I got to steal him for many lovely snuggles. The boys were totally in love with him. Sam kept stroking his head and even Henry was ooh-ing at him. We’ll get to see them again in a couple of weeks which will be lovely, and I hear he is packing on the pounds, sounds familiar!

Then we headed back down to my parents again to bid them farewell on their mission. As there were lots of people we were in a hotel overnight and the boys found it very exciting.


I was impressed actually, it was only a Travelodge, but we had a kingsize bed, two full size pull out single beds, and a cotbed for Henry, and still had enough room to walk around them. The bath was ridiculously small, but the shower was fine. We took our own breakfast snacks and all was fine, except for the people in the room above us clomping about at all hours. You can’t have everything I guess! I also managed to forget my favourite facial scrub and shower gel, along with a jug we’d borrowed from mum but c’est la vie.

We’ve now sent them off for 18 months to New Zealand to serve the Church, where they’ll be helping oversee the building of a new camp which will be opening fairly soon, so not a holiday by any means! That was pretty much the end of the busy weekends though, so now we’ve been tackling the weekdays.

Sam. Oh Sam. Why must we do this? So many tantrums. You’ll be four in less than a month, but we are still entrenched in toddlerhood, it would seem. I assume it’s escalated with the return to school and such, but they’ve turned extra mean. And at pick up time, where everyone is watching. I love you little oddball, but you really must stop punching me. and screeching. Please.

I am desperately trying to be kind about it. We can’t keep fighting each other, we’re too similar. I try not to shout, I promise I do. Now, please try to stop shouting no at me and running away, and hitting. Ta muchly.

I’ve found several posts over at HandsfreeMama helpful, particularly the one about yelling  and one about jumping to conclusions and blame, and most of all, the about page, where she talks about the distractions of life and trying to put them aside and be more in the moment with your children. It’s a little too saccharine for me sometimes, but the points she makes are all spot on.

So, I’m trying to be less distracted. I’m putting the phone, and the lists, and the computer, down more. It’s harder than I thought, but it’s worth it.

So we can be not-weirdos together.

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Summer 2014, part 1

Dear internets,

I’m sorry. I totally abandoned you over the summer (again). Let me make up for it with a bit of a post dump!

We had a fab summer. The big boys stayed at Grandma and Grandad’s caravan for almost a week and then we took Henry down to pick them up and had a lovely long weekend. Upon their reunion, silliness ensued.


We took a day trip on the Friday to Barmouth, which was lovely. Lots of lovely little shops, including this:


I loved this shop. more than a normal amount. We had the kids with us so I didn’t get long to look, but I could have got lost in there. Look at all those boooooks!

And this fab sign outside a sort of pick ‘n’ mix shop with allsorts in.


Why thank you odd little welsh shop! I fear the scales disagree with you.

While there we took a little boat trip across the harbour to a miniature railway. The boys loved it. They had to walk a plank into and out of the boat, pirate style, and then of course Sam was very happy at the train situation.


Look at that floppy hair! It’s so cute, I always regret cutting it.


This one is just a bit mad. At the other end of the train ride there was a fab model railway, and a room full of toy trains. They were totally in their element and didn’t want to leave!

On Saturday we had a gorgeous day at the beach, with sand castles and swimming and ice creams and picnics and the lot. Henry enjoyed paddling with Grandad and smashing sandcastle, and the boys enjoyed going as deep as they dared with me. Ethan is a little more wary, Sam likes to charge in. More on that later. We had a wonderful time, and the weekend went far too quickly.



They were not happy to finish their holiday and come home, and neither were we!

I snapped this one while the boys were playing –


I love it when they randomly love each other 🙂 not long after we got back from Wales we got to meet Stella’s (my sister in law) new puppy Fitz.


He’s a miniature Schnauzer and I think I love him. He, however, saves his love for Sam. He is rather aloof towards me. I don’t mind (much) though, because look at Sam in this picture.


He ADORES Fitz. Also because of Fitz, Rich has come around to me getting a dog, now he knows I would be happy with a medium to small dog (I’ve always wanted a big one). So as soon as we move, that’s now on the table! Hurrah! I have wanted a dog since I was a child and never been able to have one, so the wheels are very tentatively in motion.

We also took a day trip to Pugney’s lake with Amy, Hayley and Austin.


There were ducks, and duck faces.

The big ones ran into the water and had lots of fun.


Then this happened.


Sam wandered a little too far in. He was still above water but started to panic a little. Luckily I was prepared with empty pockets and a watchful eye as this is not the first time he’s charged into water. Last time my dad was the one to charge into the water and scoop him out, and that time was scarier, but he is obviously fine as he continues to love the water! Lesson learned though and Amy and I had actually joked about who would run in for him before it happened.

I drove home wrapped in a towel. I’m so glad I wasn’t in an accident that day!

And I’ll leave you with that flattering picture. You’re welcome! Next time – our official family holiday (back at the caravan) and all that entailed.

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We love Wales

Two weeks ago we headed off for our big family holiday, where we go with my Mum and Dad, my sisters Amy and Jess and their families. This year we went to Borth-y-Gest in North Wales, which is a teeny little village outside of Porthmadog. We stayed in two semi-detached 4 bed houses that were so lovely, though they were halfway up a huge hill with no driveway.


The views were gorgeous though.  We were really lucky to get 3 full days on the beach, and the other days were mostly sunny, with one thunderstorm which unfortunately our little clan were caught out in. The first day on the beach we walked down without swimsuits and the boys in normal clothes. Of course that didn’t last…


Sam and Ethan both loved the rock pools that they went exploring with daddy, and Sam waded right in and got soggy shorts. We improvised for a bit, giving him Ethan’s pants (little boxers), but apparently they were all that was holding his shorts up.


Sam however was happy enough splashing around in his t-shirt.

On a slightly less sunny day, Mum, Dad, us and the kids went into Beddgelert. We had a nice stroll around the short main street, then Grandma helped the boys play pooh sticks over the stream, and we walked up to the Grave of Gelert the dog.

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The story goes that A prince came back from a hunt and his dog runs out to meet him covered in blood. He runs in and sees that his baby’s crib is overturned, blood everywhere. In a rage, he kills the dog. The dog’s dying yelp is answered by a baby’s cry, and on further searching, the prince finds his son, unharmed, next to the body of a huge wolf. The prince was said to never smile again.

As Ethan said, “It’s a very sad story, isn’t it.”

After that we went for ice cream at an award-winning shop (Glaslyns) which was delicious. Sam picked strawberry, and then decided he didn’t want it. I offered him a taste of mine and then mum said “Do you want to swap with mummy?” Yeah thanks mum! She bought me another to make up for it though. As she should have!

A few days later and we were back on the beach. Ethan enlisted Jonny’s help to build a volcano.


Later it turned into a batcave. It was also Henry’s first time at the beach and in the sea.


He wasn’t sure at first! Please excuse his scraped up face – he threw himself out of the pushchair one morning while I was strapping him in, straight into the gravel, poor sausage was a bit battered. He didn’t cry for long :/. It was mostly a graze and has now cleared totally. He liked the sand, and eventually the water too. He’s not too keen on any walking, so it was all slightly disdainful!

IMG_3688 IMG_3696But I don’t want to touch the floor!

I also got to swim in the sea twice. On the first beach day Amy and I swam across to a huge rock. as we got closer, the current started to push us sideways, but we pushed through the freezing water to make it. When we got there, there was a small sign on the rock that said… strong currents around the rock. That really would have been helpful on the beach! Then on the last beach day we swam out in the sea and just swam about for a while. It was fantastic, once you get past the cold. I was so glad I got to do it as I love swimming in the sea. There’s just something about it, it’s so calming and big and open and free.


I think Sam agrees.

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This Is Where We Are – Mother’s Day 2014

My Darling Boys.

Where do I begin? Well, let’s start by saying that I love you with such a fierceness that I’m not entirely sure where it came from. Today you brought me breakfast in bed, and treats galore, and a little pot of tiny daffodils at church, and you were adorable.


Ethan. You are 5, almost six. You are so insanely clever. We had parent’s evening this week and your teacher told us you were a joy to have in the class, and have brilliant reasoning skills. You love to draw and write and now you’re beginning to love to read, and oh, please don’t let that stop. You are so like me that we occasionally have a slight lock of horns, but the advantage is that we often agree against Daddy. You are my gentle soul, my big-hearted boy.

You love pizza and chicken satays, and scotch pancakes. You love superheroes like they’re going out of style. Lego in all it’s forms. Minecraft. Technology. You hate vegetables with the exception of carrots, which are tolerated. You have a wonderful kindness inside of you, you’re usually happy to let Sam choose the movie. You also want other people to share in what you enjoy. When you went to a friend’s birthday party at the cinema, you insisted after that you take Daddy to see the movie, and you’re currently angling to get Sam to see it. You have a crazy giggly laugh, that easily escapes your control and spreads to everyone around you.

You’re not nearly as rough and tumble as you think you are, you’re cautious and careful. You’re skinny as a rake and growing like a weed, and soon you won’t be a little boy at all. Please slow down, it’s going so quickly! You’re my first, and I sometimes worry that my anxiety at not knowing what’s coming transfers to you, as you can be my serious little thinker. There are so many things coming for you that are exciting and a bit scary, but you’ll be ready. You’ll take in on with a leap and a bound and a cuddle from me.


Sam. You are 3 and a half, and a big ball of crazy. You are at nursery school and you love it, so long as you don’t have to do anything you don’t feel like. You are strong and loony, with a grin six miles wide, and a ‘big smile’ that includes crazy eyes and clenched fists and muscles so tensed that you shake. You are absolutely obsessed with Thomas trains, and Thomas in general. You like Ethan to read your Elmer book to you, gingerbread, baking and sausage rolls. You don’t like bedtime and will stall any way you can, and wake early and try to sneak in for a cuddle. You have gorgeous dark brown eyes and my space cadet tendencies.

You absolutely are as rough and tumble as you think you are, and everything must be done at a run. You and Ethan both love the park and you have been scaling the rope ladders on the big slide for ages now, utterly fearless. Cuddles are quick (unless with Daddy) because there is too much to do. You like to hold hands though and quite often while walking home from school you’ll pipe up with “I do love you mummy” out of the blue. You live for fudges and ‘a prize eggs’, people’s ears to rub, and dogs, which you grab round the middle to hug. Especially the fluffy white one that waits outside of school in the afternoon. One day she knocked you down onto your bum and you laughed like a drain. You tear around with the big boys on the playground in the morning and go in without a second glance. You have so many things ahead for you too, and you’ll run straight for it, head first, no fear.


Henry. You are almost 10 months and flying along. You have four teeth and 2 more making trouble for you, everything goes in your mouth. You’ve just mastered crawling and speeding about in your walker destroying ankles everywhere. You eat and eat and eat, though you’re a little picky. You’re stumped by sippy cups and frustrated by naptimes. You’re desperate to walk but totally unable to hold any kind of balance. You have squidgey cheeks and Ethan’s baby curls and clear blue eyes. You are always watching your brothers, ready to bound into action. We just switched you into a forward facing car seat, you’re so excited to see everyone and spend whole journeys chuckling. You love the bath more than life itself, and sit screeching and punching the water and splashing your brothers. When you’re very sleepy, you’ll allow me to hold you close and snuggle up. When you are awake there is no such possibility. You love anyone who will pay you attention, and the only hate you have is for lumpy food.

You’re changing so fast already, you’ve already been out of me longer than you were in. It feels like only yesterday I was rushing (waddling) into the hospital to have you, and that first night we spent there, filled with that special mix of wonder and slight bewilderment known only to a brand new mother.

Who knows what’s ahead for you, there’s so little behind you yet! It’s so wonderful to see little parts of your personality forming and growing, It’s so exciting wondering who you will become.

So there we are, my three musketeers. You’re a force to be reckoned with already. The three of you are hard work, I’m not going to lie. There are times when I’ve been frustrated or muttered under my breath or lost my temper, but there are also many many times where I’ve had fun and laughed and felt so so loved. I couldn’t wish for better boys.

With love, kisses, and cookies,

Mummy x

This post was inspired by Rachel over at Make a Long Story Short, Go check her out 🙂



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Crazy, Hilarious, Lovely Boy

This guy. Dudes. He is hilarious. The stuff he comes out with is just ridiculous.
The faces are even better.
 So, whole he is at the infuriating stage of three year old independence, I have been extra vigilant at looking for the bright spots, where his brain just churns out the entertaining and bizarre.
This smile is almost as big as the one he gives to Mrs Scott. Mrs Scott lives on our street and works at the boys’ school. She’s about 70, and works at lunchtime. We see her almost everyday, as she’s headed into school and we’re coming out from Sam’s morning session. It used to be that he’d give a shy smile and maybe say hello if he wasn’t too tired or feeling grumpy. Now as soon as he sees her he grins like a maniac and runs to give her a hug, and she loves it. At Christmas we took her a little gift and he ran straight into her house and found a toy, so he’s clearly at ease around her!
The other day we were getting in the car on the way to pick up Rich from the train station, and our next door neighbours were also coming out at the same time. Now, we know them just about enough to say hello and smile and take in packages for them. They have a little girl Ethan’s age who they like to chat to when we’re all out. Anyway, Sam sticks his head out of his still open door while I was putting Henry in and shouts “Excuse me!” at them while they are saying goodbye to a friend. Of course they didn’t respond, assuming he was talking to me. So again, “Excuse me!” This time Chris (the dad) turns around and smiles. “We’re going to get my daddy and then we’re going to get dinner at Ikea! Bye!” then pulled his head back in. This is probably the longest conversation any of us have had with each other.
Later on the way home, Rich and I were talking and he couldn’t hear the nursery rhyme CD. After we laughed about something he did a large huffing sigh and said “Calm down guys!” which is quite clearly a phrase he has plucked from my own mouth.
This kind of thing is a normal sight in our house.
He’s also taken a slight laziness when it comes to stairs. If he’s particularly tired he’ll stand at the bottom and say “Help! it’s too high!” despite having been able to climb the stairs for at least 2 and a half years. The last few days he’s started to mimic things. Then he’ll say “I’m not copying you mummy!” just in case it makes me cross. He cracks me up. Yesterday and today it’s been “excuse me!” as Rich leaves for work as I said it yesterday. And he knows when he’s being funny, the little monkey. And then at dinner time yesterday he was saying “Wowcher!” before every bite.
  He has an absolute adoration of dogs. If he sees one in front of us he will run to catch up with it. It started with just stroking them, and has now progressed to him full on wrapping his arms around their bellies and giving them a hug. We’re trying to teach him to ask first, but he just gets so excited! There’s a fluffy little dog that is sometimes outside school that’s as full of beans as he is, and one day it jumped up at Sam and knocked him on his butt. He thought it was hilarious and now tries to repeat it whenever we see it!
He absolutely adores trains. We went to the train museum in York recently and he nearly exploded with pure joy. There’s not many people who wouldn’t smile at that face, just look at the happiness. Any kind of upset can be solved with trains.
He’s a funny little weirdo, and we all adore him. Besides, I’m pretty sure he gets the weird bits from me!

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Sam the Schoolboy

We were lucky enough to be offered a space for Sam at the nursery attached to Ethan’s school before Christmas to start after the break. He went in for a practise session and was less than impressed with me stopping him playing with Postman Pat to get a picture. He also pretty much refused to leave after the hour when no one else was leaving and he’d just discovered a box of Thomas tracks.

He started afternoons just after the Christmas break and loved it, as you can see he was just a tad excited to be off. He’s been having a blast and has finally accepted, on seeing it written down on his name card, that his name is Samuel, not just Sammy. He also shared a class with at least two other Sams, so points for originality, me!
Last week we were offered the chance to move him to mornings as I had asked if it would be possible in September when the rest of Nursery will move up to year one and he’ll be staying on another year. I said yes and it was all arranged in a day and we swapped over. 
The first day we went in, and he hung up his coat and bag and grabbed his name from the board. Then he looked around, turned to me and said “Mummy, where is Sammy with the black glasses?” I had a horrible sinking feeling, and sure enough, when I explained that Sammy was in the afternoon class and he was now in the morning class, the lip came out.
I felt terrible, and he followed me to the door and asked to come home again. I convinced him to stay with the promise of Thomas trains from his teacher and a fudge from me on the way home. Fortunately he has settled back in fine and loves it again.
Now to the matter at hand, HOW is he old enough for a school uniform? He looks ridiculously cute in it, but he really loves school, even if he gets tired easier and is a bit of a grump in the afternoons. That’s one of the benefits of mornings – he can nap after if necessary, and if he happens to nap at the same time as this lively fella…

Well, then the afternoon silence is absolutely miraculous.

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