Halloween is one of my favourite dates of the year. Sure birthdays and Christmas are huge events I look forward to, but there's something a bit different to Halloween, there's no pressure to get it 'right' because literally anything goes and however it's presented, it's just about having fun!

I was unsure about hosting a party this year because it does take up a lot of time and effort, but I figured these years are our best years. I've found myself as a mum and I'm using my strengths to help push me through parenthood. The boys totally appreciate a party, having their friends round, whom the mums are friends of mine in the process and they have lots of fun, talking about it for days after. These are the days I'll remember when they're much older, because it was fun, I enjoyed decorating the house up, throwing my head into the planning. Remembering the mayhem of 10 kids running around the place, laying out a full buffet for everyone to enjoy (because you don't go home hungry from here) and a few party games that aren't taken too seriously but are quick, fun and easy for if anyone fancy joining in. Seeing the kids laugh and play was more than worth it for me - it is all about the kids at the end of the day, eh? I really love this type of stuff!

 I'm really pleased with how everything looked and tasted, most of the buffet went with the majority being able to be kept in tins or in the fridge, so we're still making our way through sausage rolls, cakes, chicken wings and hot dogs but that's nature of parties - don't eat properly for ages after! The Mummy Tarts were really a favourite of mine and so simple to make.

We all got dressed up bar Chris who was sadly working that night, but that's pretty standard with his shifts.  Everyone looked so cool - Arthur just made me melt with how adorable he looked! Fred and Noah were so excited to get started that one the party started I didn't have two minutes to take a photo of many of them, I wish I had been able to get one of all of them but we had so many trick or treaters amongst it, we never got there, maybe next year I'll do it on a separate night so to avoid the constant door knocks.

Freddie came home from school yesterday telling me his friends thought the party was really good and that they had fun, three more friends said "if you have one next year can I come?" which is quite sweet. I'm so glad they enjoyed it and that it stuck with them - I remember attending parties as a kid and still think of them now! He then proceeded to say "hey mum, next we could have a Christmas party!" - erm, I have no plans for a Christmas one at all. I have Arthur's Birthday party to sort so that'll be the only party I'm sorting around that time!

I'm feeling like Me

Isn't it nice to feel at peace with yourself? A few months ago I didn't feel too well mentally. I constantly put myself down, wasn't sure of my worth or entirely where I was going or hoping for.
I spent too long comparing myself or wondering what others thought rather than doing what made me happy and bob along nicely in my bubble. So I did, I cut loose of things that didn't make me happy and focussed on the things that did. Simple things. I spent more time with the people I love and stepping forward for things I'm passionate about. Things that made me smile or gave me good thoughts. Realising you get as much out of experiences as you put in.

I found myself a while back retreating from friendships, things I enjoyed and constantly questioning everything under a fog. I wanted to feel like more somehow and it just made me lose all perspective. I decided to push myself a little and seek those things I enjoy. I contacted my zumba instructor. I messaged old friends. I booked my smear test - which i had been putting off for ages! I deleted the things that made me feel bad. I started this blog. I began posting what I loved on my feed, whenever I wanted. I set a clear target of what I wanted to achieve regarding slimming world. I spent more time with Chris. I decided if I wanted to go see a film, I would, even alone. I spoke up about something I want in the future, out of the blue one day.
I decided to just take a chance. I decided to just let go and embrace my little friends voices especially when this week I got told I was their best friend. To the love you mama whilst eating dinner. To the constant want of holding mum's hand. To being very wanted and loved by so many special people.

Its just so lovely to feel like myself again. To feel confident to speak up, laugh and smile comfortably again. Taking control of what I want more of in my life. Theres no particular message in this, it's just a waffle of where my head is at, because sometimes we just want to say these things out loud. I'm really enjoying writing again and having absolutely no pressure on what I want to say or when. Sometimes we really do need to realise that we only answer to ourselves.

A Cake Date With My Noah

Saturday I headed out into town with Noah. I wanted to make a start on the Halloween party I have planned and so we went round the shops and picked up lots of bits for our set up. We got costumes too - A ghost for Fred, he picked out a skeleton and Arthur shall be a one eyed monster! I actually got quite a bargain on these and they're decent quality so I really look forward to seeing how they look come the end of the month!

After some shopping we headed to a little coffee shop for a kids hot chocolate (with marshmallows!), a strawberry ring doughnut - which had strawberry jam running round! I had a carrot cake fibre one and green tea. It was actually just so nice to sit down and have a chat, we've not had time together for such a long while. Now he's started school our time is limited and with two brothers one to one time even more so! He's such a chatty little boy and I just love listening to him, no matter what he says he giggles through it and has such a twinkle in his eye. We talked of things in the shops, what he's looking forward to regarding Halloween, what he likes most at school and who's naughty in his class!

He asked if we could have a hot chocolate together and I let him choose something to eat. I just loved that we got the chance to escape from everything for a while and just enjoy each other's company. Something so simple yet is so special and brings lots of warmth to my heart. It's so cliche but it really is the little things in life and I absolutely live by this!

The First Panic Attack

So, yes, this is likely to be another rambling post, but i'm not sure how else to write it otherwise. The night before last we had a bit of a scary episode. Freddie (mostly known as Fred between us) had what we've come to learn, a panic attack. He's seven years of age and it feels a little odd to be coming to this realisation, you know? It sounds naive but I always had the vision of them being in older children/teens - a 'life changing' age or even stepping into Adulthood. That really just goes to show little is known to every day people on Mental Health conditions! We've recently passed Mental Health Awareness Day and I read so many people's stories, empathising with every single one. I don't have a Mental Health issue, I get the natural butterflies or worry what people think but it's so manageable. I count myself grateful because it sounds so draining and scary in some senses. Reading about trigger points and trying to find help in various forms whether it's tablets, counselling or simply a bit of self care. It really does need so much more awareness. 

It was ironically the night of Mental Health Awareness Day that Fred's episode happened. It was a regular school day of coming home, homework, catching up with each others days, dinner and bath. After homework I was looking through a fact file with Noah - a book he got from the school library and it was on various bugs. It was a interesting read and he was asking all the names and where they live. Fred at the time was on the laptop playing a new maths game they've started doing at school, just chipping into this book as we went through.

After they headed off to bed, did cuddles and 'good nights', I went down to get on with a packed lunch, hoover after dinner, laying out uniform. It was after that time that I heard a sudden loud scream, I was startled, thinking 'the TV isn't on? What is that?' it wasn't until it continued and shouting started happening, I realised it must've been the boys upstairs. I dropped the uniform and just ran up the stairs, I had no idea what was going on but upon arriving the boys room Fred was hysterical, screaming, sobbing and flinching like mad. 
Now, I've seen my boys a bit scared and nervous. I've seen them cry because they're worried. I've seem them hide up a bit towards something that they don't like the look of, but this was completely different. This was full on freak out, stuck to the spot, terrified, can't speak, choked up petrified.

Instinct was to ask what was wrong whilst checking out the room, asking Noah if something has happened - he seemed clueless and said he just started screaming for 'no reason'. Next I tried to get him to 'breathe' there was no way I was going to understand what was happening here when he's too scared to speak. I repeated 'it's okay, you're safe, you're in your room, in your bed, I'm here, you're safe' over and over for at least a good 20 minutes until he felt calm enough to talk to me. I could see he wanted me to 'save' him from this problem.

Calmed down enough he started to ramble about shadows on the wall. Shadows that looked like one of the spiders in the fact file.

Something about Fred is, he is a sensitive boy. He's so calm and has a tendency to over think things and we spend a lot of time talking about things that are happening around him, things to do with school and the world. He's curious and asks so many questions. He has a thirst to want to know and understand everything. He's chatty yet has a anxious streak.
He's always been this way and it's something we've just gone along with. I try to have the most open relationship with the boys in explaining things we're doing and why, I always ask about their day and if there's anything that happened that they'd like to discuss. I ask about friends, teachers and work. I always ask one good thing that happened to them that day over dinner. 

I have found through the years it has really helped him come out and talk about things he's worried about, and then we can find a way to break it down and rationalise it - a problem halved and all that! 
So when he calmed down he explained that the shadows on the wall made him think about that spider he saw and he thought it might come after him or bite him. I talked through the facts like it lives in Asia and Australia. It's a small spider and eats tree bark and insects. None of these would place him in danger, it doesn't live here and there's no danger. The fact file was about interesting facts on all bugs.

I tried so hard not to use the phrase 'there's nothing to worry about' because I just don't think this helps in a situation where someone is clearly worried. It took over an hour to try and settle him altogether. Trying to get him to lay down, I turned the night light off and opened their door as so no shadows would be cast. "Sometimes, Mum, I get a bit scared of what is behind me when I go to sleep" - I'm sorry but that broke me. Seeing him flinch behind him an hour later thinking there was stuff trying to get him was the most heartbreaking thing. We had to remove anything from his bed that 'felt like it could be a spider', his blanket was removed and several teddies. I had to show him there's nothing behind him and that there's never any danger in his room. I stayed with him till he dropped off - funnily enough it didn't take many minutes.

Standing by his bed I cried, the whole episode overwhelmed me and I just didn't know what to do or say beyond this point. You try and do everything you can protect your little ones. Trying to grow them into confident, happy people. Now I'm not dumbing my parental efforts because I did everything in that moment I could, I was calm, reassuring, kept eye contact and supported him through it. There's no other way you can do it.

I hoped it would be a one off and just a case of him having a huge imagination and it went into overdrive for a good while there. I've never seen him that way and it was emotionally disturbing. I was drained and he was quiet the next day but slowly came round to feeling safe again.

Last night however we did get woken in the night due to overthinking once again and I feel so sad because I don't want life to be scary for him. I don't want him to feel worried. He has so much potential, it would be such a shame if anything ever dulled my dear boy.
But, like always, I'll do my best to be the best support for him - I'm going no where and maybe if it continues or makes his anxiety worse, we will have to seek help.

Motherhood is so damn hard sometimes.

My boy life

I never imagined being a boy mum. I always said as a young girl, I'd have two girls. Lily and Florence. I'd braid hair and paint nails. We'd discuss girly things and pick out clothes and choose wallpapers.
I know it's such a naive and young mindset! I guess it's my own relationship with my mum and sister that imagined this scenario.

Now, so many years later I'm surrounded by three boys and it makes me smile back to my daydreams of a.. all girl life. I don't feel a pang of sadness at all because it makes me realise that life sets out as it's meant to and we really have somewhat little control over that. I don't get to control the sex of any of my babies, they were made with love and wow, I love them so much. My life is really blessed.

When I found out I was pregnant with another boy with Arthur, I felt heartbroken because I felt I'd never get that chance of having a little girl. I cried, felt so ashamed and guilty. I wanted to buy little flowery grows. That was literally my sadness; I figured out it was my mind wrapped around the 'idea' - the idea I was incomplete because of those daydreams. I would never get to plan a wedding, help gather a scrapbook and talk plans. It was my mum that made me realise. She said "they're both the same you know? You bring them both up exactly the same. You love the same whether they're a boy or girl. Nothing is different." I instantly felt a huge relief once hearing that, it's so true. I wouldn't love a daughter any more than my boys, I wouldn't play with her differently or teach her anything, I wouldn't them. It was my ideas that warped my sense of need.

I'm so grateful to my mum for saying that to me. I was sad because I couldn't buy a floral grow. That is sad in such a hilarious way! I mean don't get me wrong I'd love to have a draw full of mustard tights, floral grows and lilac booties. But, it is what it is, I love my boys way too much to ruin my mind over a childish vision. I have even come to the point in thinking if we ever had another child, I think it would be weird to find out it was a girl. I envision four boys if nothing else. I know how to love my boys. I know how to play with them. Joke and be silly with them. I know how to teach them and try and mentor them. Who says I won't discuss wedding plans with them? Or choose clothes (I'll have you know they love looking through the Next book!) or even wallpaper? I couldn't imagine a house of girls because that isn't my life. This is my life and I love it and them too much. I laid in bed with them tonight chatting and telling them how proud of them I was for behaving amazingly at a party we attended. We took silly selfies and cuddled under a blanket from the bottom of my bed, it was lovely. I adore my boy life and these little faces, I hope they know how much!

Cuppa Chats

I have to admit it feels very weird to be suddenly typing again. This was a total spur of the moment. A flash of inspiration and to be honest a longing. Back late last year I found myself too busy to type, too preoccupied and got myself stuck under my cloud of self doubt. A little something about that is, I convinced myself that I was too boring and not 'enough' to write - my head told me no one wanted to read it and that nothing flowed well enough. I've come to learn in the last few weeks is that, we've all got a story to tell and why yes, mine isn't exactly the height of drama or holds the most extravagant profile out there - but it's a little bit of me. My friend told me recently 'you're not boring, you're just not a drama queen!' This made me laugh and for a moment I snapped out of that worried state. I know I worry too much, I care too much about how people will perceive me when, actually.. I'm just a nice person, who tries so very hard to be empathetic and kind to every person. I'm very happy with nights in watching a film (researching the reviews afterwards!). I enjoy a cup of tea. I like being at home with my little boys. I like seeing them learn, do homework with them and talk about their worries. I live for the little things - honestly the smallest thing will make me happy and I like to think that's a trait I'd like to keep.
 I've really struggled lately in the world of Instagram as I realised that everything is so hung up on looking perfect and looking like you're in the know. It honestly got me down and again felt my feed wasn't 'enough' so I slowed down on posting and that made me sad. I felt cut off as I find that page is my little diary in a sense of my boys growing up. I liked the idea of years down the line looking through those little squares and seeing little sections of our home, a milestone or how I was feeling that day even! I often find myself scrolling through smiling at beaming faces, blue skies, cups of tea and my fireplace. That's my little world - yep it's not overly exciting to many but it's rather special to me and I realised I needed to clear out accounts that made me feel rubbish when scrolling. Not that anything was posted was offensive, it's just I realise maybe we have to remove the things that makes us feel inadequate. I found my taste changing in accounts, I used to love to watch the perfect and lust over how they were but it wasn't good for me as it created such negativity. Now I like seeing the 'every day' - I like seeing B&M purchases, food shops and talks of the kids routine. Just real life with people who want to share little things. Maybe one day I'll share those accounts that make me feel happy? I'm now figuring out how to work on myself and just feel like I am enough for everything - I have my own style and I need to be okay enough to just embrace it. I love a good waffle and I love fiercely and I don't think there is anything wrong in that.

I can say that I've missed writing so much, I miss just having a couple of hours to myself typing how I'm feeling or about something we've done - so it really does feel like a nice bubble to walk back into. I want it to feel warm and comfortable here. I want to feel like we're friends and to show that living and loving the simple things, is enough. We are enough. I think with this blog I'd like to share how I'm feeling a lot more without feeling awkwardness and I'd love anyone else who'd like to join in with these 'cuppa chats', to feel more than welcome!

Look forward to seeing you around, Imz.