And then there were 5.....

Family of 5! I never dreamed this would happen!

The older two met their younger brother when he was just a few hours old. My Mum and Dad drove them to the hospital just before visiting finished. I had been through the mill and everyone was in a state of euphoria, so although it was wonderful to see them all together, to see their excited faces and give them gifts from the baby, and to see my Mum and Dad hold our little miracle. It was the next day, however, that was the emotional one.

I moved out of the hospital and into the birth centre the day after giving birth. Our other 2 children, along with my parents, came to visit. My parents had held the baby the previous night but it was wonderful to see the love in their eyes when they cradled our bundle of joy again. The children were waiting patiently for their moment with their brother and there it was...the perfect picture – older Sister, older Brother and Baby together for their first photograph. Many more photo opportunities would follow but probably none as special as that moment.

We arrived home the following day and were soon knee deep in cards, flowers and gifts from well wishers all over the country. The house had a lovely fresh flower smell and everything felt new.

I spent most of my days staring at our miracle and bursting into tears. Husband would ask why I was crying and everytime I answered, ‘he’s so beautiful’. I cried at everything. My husband commented I would cry because the wall in the kitchen was painted red. Of course it was my hormones, but I was in awe, and still am, of this little human I had grown.

Days with a newborn tend to merge into one long, exhausting rota of feed, sleep, change, feed, sleep, change. My In-Laws arrived when Baby was 5 days old and we got out of the house and down to the sea. It was very painful as I still had healing wounds from the traumatic birth, but well worth the effort as the sea air cleared my head and everyone enjoyed our first trip to the sea as a family of five, (plus Grandparents).

The next school half term went by in a blur.  The older two were ferried to and from school by their Daddy or my parents, which gave me lots of time with our beautiful son.  The children were amazing with him.  After school they helped out whenever they could.  We could all see the bonds they were forming and hoped it would last a lifetime.

School finished for the summer and our eldest left primary school!  That all felt strange.  We had just begun a new chapter in our lives with our little one and now another chapter would begin with secondary school and the new experiences that would bring.

At six weeks old baby went on his first holiday.  We rented a cottage in Devon.  Looking back I don’t know how we had the confidence to leave the safe confines of our own home but actually it was wonderful.  The cottage itself was perfect for our family, the older children each having their own room and our room was big enough to house the travel cot.  We took all the equipment we needed to make life as easy as possible, including the steriliser and prep machine.

Our days out included visits to attractions, the sea and Dartmoor.  Our first holiday as a family of five went surprisingly well, even with the night feeds followed by full days out.

Before long it was back to school.  Eldest child settled very well in Year 7.  The year seemed to fly by, Halloween, Bonfire Night, Grandad’s birthday and all of a sudden we were preparing for Christmas.

We saw Father Christmas and had a wonderful photo of the children with him.  The excitement was building and life seemed so busy with juggling the lives of three children, carol concerts, discos, Christmas shopping, Christmas markets and of course the day we bought it our real tree and decorated our house.  It was a great day.  The house rang out with Christmas music, the baby, (now six months old), was fascinated with the shiny baubles and twinkling lights and everyone was filled with good cheer.  Next stop – Christmas!

My favourite day of the year is Christmas Eve, but this year it was a little stressful.  Baby had caught a nasty cough and cold and we ended up at hospital.  Fortunately, the doctors decided he would be ok to rest and recuperate at home, so we arrived home having missed the opportunity to enjoy a pint at the pub but still in good time to put out the whisky and shortbread for Father Christmas and carrots for the reindeer.  We also gave the children their Christmas Eve treats – new pyjamas, hot chocolate sachets, a tube of smarties and a book.  We all went to bed with a lovely feeling of anticipation and excitement for the day ahead, and there was enormous relief the next day when we discovered father Christmas HAD BEEN!

Soon the house was filled with discarded wrapping paper and packaging and all three children were delighted with their gifts.  Baby received a baby walker which really added another dimension to his little world.  He soon got the hang of whizzing around our open plan kitchen and running us over at every opportunity.

In all of the mayhem I did manage to cook Christmas lunch for seven.  As the day drew to a close the children were exhausted but very happy and were soon asleep when their heads hit the pillow. The rest of the Christmas holidays were a joy. Exhausting but wonderful.

The winter months were predictably cold, wet and miserable and I found myself thanking my lucky stars I had lots of help doing school runs at both ends of the day.  Baby was growing up fast.  By February half term he was starting to try to walk on his own, he was very wobbly.  He loved his baby walker and so did I because it gave him much more freedom without worrying he’d fall and hurt himself.  By the end of February, he had started to sleep through the night, not every night, but having been weaned I really felt this had helped with his sleeping pattern.  We had put baby to sleep at night in his cot, in our room, from day one and I really think this worked well and helped. Things were starting to seem a little easier, although I think it was only because I was sleeping a little better.

Before we knew it baby had found his feet and the hard work really began.  Wow!  He can move.  It was great having the other two children as between the four of us we could round baby up and keep him under some sort of control.

At Easter baby tasted a tiny bit of chocolate for the first time and since then he’s become a little bit of a chocoholic.  No idea where he gets that from!

So now the big day had arrived.  Baby turned 1!  I couldn’t quite believe it had been a year since that wonderful day, full of pain, trauma, emotion and euphoria.  The day was filled with lots of fun.  We had a picnic in the forest and a run around afterwards.  Baby received huge amounts of gifts from family and friends and generally spent the day laughing and eating cake.

The Summer was almost upon us and before we turned our attention to holidays, we were lucky enough to be surrounding by our loving family and friends for Baby’s Christening. We had chosen a small chapel for an intimate service, followed by beautiful photographs outside the chapel and also, as it was a lovely sunny day, we wandered over to the village cricket pitch and pavilion and had a few snaps taken there too. As a cricketing family, we hope Baby will follow in his siblings footsteps and play for the village team one day.

We were lucky enough to have two Summer holidays.  The first was spent in a Hobbit Hole in Wales. Although it wasn’t very baby friendly and I wouldn’t recommend it to families with children under three, we made the best of it and had a great time.  We visited local attractions, nearby castles and the sea.  All three children lived on ice cream and sunshine.

Due to no electricity in a Hobbit Hole we had to fetch wood on a daily basis to light the wood burning stove, campfire and wood burning hot tub.  Eldest son loved that part of Hobbit life, (in fact he loved every aspect of it and would’ve stayed an extra week if he could!). We even managed to get the baby to help out with the wood collecting chores!

Our next holiday was very different.  We stayed in Cornwall on a resort called Retallack.  I have written a review which may prove useful should you wish to find out more.  This holiday was a little more relaxing, especially the day I went to the spa.  There was something for all of us and a week just wasn’t long enough.  Having two older children that were capable of riding bikes and going together to ride safely around the resort was a real bonus, not only did they have the freedom to roam safely while we looked after the baby in the villa, but it also meant that we could put baby to bed and have a gin and tonic, while sending them out to fetch takeaways from the resort restaurant!  We were all sorry to leave, but September beckoned and the Autumn began with high winds and rain.

Again we raced through September, October and November with our usual celebrations.  Baby helped carve a pumpkin, and we had an added treat, a visit to Scotland in half term.  This was a 50th birthday treat for husband but we all had a fabulous time.  We stayed in Edinburgh & Speyside, known for the Whisky Trail. 

A lot of whisky was drunk in Speyside by the birthday boy and I was handed the car keys!  The children had a wonderful time too.  The older two managed a distillery tour and we also went dolphin spotting, Loch Ness monster spotting and played on the beach, (cold but sunny and a wonderful experience for baby to run around and get close to the sea).

Christmas was upon us once again and as with last year baby caught a cold.  We had a brief stay in hospital, as he went downhill quite quickly and became oxygen dependent for a few days, but we were out in time to enjoy the exciting events leading up to the big day.  Father Christmas visit was interesting!  Last year baby was happy to sit close to him but not this year.  A funny bloke in a red suit just didn’t do it for him.  We did manage a photo though.  We visited Longleat to see the Festival of Light, which was spectacular and all three children loved it. (Pizza was amazing too!)

Favourite day of the year came round again and thankfully we managed all the traditions including a pint in the pub.  Back home the children had their Christmas Eve treats, put their new pyjamas on and left the usual goodies out for Father Christmas and the reindeer.  The next day was, as you would expect, filled with fun, laughter and pressies. I managed to cook Christmas lunch to perfection, even with a toddler at my feet and a large amount of fizz consumed by 11am!

We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary on 28 December by going to the local pub and having Nachos.  A family favourite!  Baby had chicken, chips and peas.  He loves the pub which is a good thing as we end up in one rather a lot.  So what will the New Year bring?  It will bring more growing up too quickly by our three children and hopefully plenty of new experiences for us all.

Please explore my website and read my blogs, view my photos and quotes and general posts about day to day life as a family of five.  Pleased also check out Toddler Activities, Recipes, Links, Reviews and Angel Cards as each page will hopefully contain something for everyone.