I love …….{for a 3rd birthday}

Please tell me I’m not the only one who occasionally writes a post and forgets to finish it off and publish it. This one was actually intending for the beginning of March. Ooops!

The birthday season is upon us. Three birthdays, evenly spaced over three months, that leave me feeling bittersweet and a little exhausted. The first out of the gates is my littlest love. Born quickly and at home, on the most gorgeous, crisp first day of Spring. I remember being amazed that she was a girl (still am!) and relieved that she would always have a March birthday. Now she is three and these are the things I love.

I love that you care. If anyone is upset, you want to give them a cuddle. If I am cross with you, you will tell me “don’t be sad, Mummy” and say sorry…..most of the time. I love that you can tell me and others how you feel. Your speech is amazing, but you can also put words to your emotions and explain when you don’t like something. This makes me so proud.

I love how you move. You adore your gymnastics class and push yourself every week to do something a little new. You can balance really well and climb really high. You will jump from a higher place than when you started and throughout it all you have the most enormous smile on your face. I love that you sort the hoops into colours, before you start playing with them. I love that you want to show the teacher what you can do and ask him how each piece of equipment works. I love that you climb on the end of your bed, to be able to reach your clock and your light at the end of the day and that you insist of doing everything yourself.

I love that you are like my little companion. We don’t do very much, in the way of groups, but you are more than happy to follow me around the house, helping me or doing your own thing, but always nearby. I love that you are easy in the supermarket. You push the trolley and get things we need off the shelves and then when it is too heavy to push, you ask to get in the seat and you stay there until we have finished, helping to put the shopping on the conveyer belt and charming staff and customers while we shop. You will bake with me and help me prepare lunch or a cup of tea. You don’t mind what we do, as long as you can be involved.

I love that you love our cats. You properly look after them. You feed them and stroke them so gently. I love that you don’t rush at them. You know to move slowly and quietly. You talk to them gently. “You’re a good cat, Mabel” “Sophie is so soft and cuddly” and even our grumpy, fat, old man cat rubs himself around your legs for a stroke and a top up of food in his bowl. I love that they are not scared of you. They will jump on your bed, while we are reading your bedtime story and stay while you fuss them and I read.

I love how much you are learning. You can hold a pen and are starting to draw shapes and numbers. I love that you love an activity book. I love that you have started to build Lego……and you are really good too! I love your small world play. I love to listen as you make your toys talk to each other and talk to you. In fact, you talk to yourself a lot and I love it. I love that you want to bike and scoot, run and throw. You just want to be doing something all the time. I love that you scoot so fast down our hill, that I cannot watch, as it scares me too much.

I love your hair. It is all the way down your back now, something that you tell me is “just like Cinderella”. Your most favourite way to wear it now, is in two little plaits. I love that they stay in all day, but are messy and straggley within half and hour. I love that when you do let me brush it, it looks like golden thread.



I love your relationships with your family. You love so large. Your brother, your Dad and even your wider family. You love spending time with your Aunt, your Godfather and your Grandparents and they all love spending time with you. But I also love that still, I am your person. The one you want to have a cuddle with, the one you need to go to when you are upset, the one you need to make you feel comforted and safe. I am still that person and I love that.



I love…..for a 5th birthday. 

It feels a little wrong to start an ‘I love’ post with a caveat, but in this case it also feels wrong not to. Many of the things that I love about Nano, also, in the heat of the moment enrage and frustrate me. He was such a serene and easy baby and toddler, but for last couple of years he has been the one that gives me the most worry. The one who I feel I am failing. We are all trying hard to be better and I know this is a phase, albeit a rather long one, but for today I wanted to celebrate that stuff that often makes him hard to parent and I wanted to be honest about it. It could so easily be read and taken that I am a perfect zen mother, professing to love those things that we all know can cause conflict and frustration. Far from it. Love me when I least deserve it, as that is when I need it most is a Swedish expression that springs to mind with this boy. This is unashamedly blogging my highlight reel and I make no apology for that, because who shouldn’t be told they’re amazing to mark their birthday. 

I love how gregarious you are. Settling into school this year has been a complete breeze for you. I love that as we walk through the playground, your classmates shout out your name. I love that parents always tell me that their child talks about you a lot. Everybody wants to be your friend. I love that you hug your friends, actually you hug everyone. You show your emotions, both good and bad.

I love how brilliantly you have taken to wearing glasses. Having been warned you might resist it complain, you have been a dream. I love that you chose them yourself and picked the best pair. They look so fab. I love how you dance, with a rhythm that you feel in your bones. You want to sing and dance and play. I love that you ask me everyday whether it is drama class day, even after starting months ago.



I love how you play with your sister. You take her along in your crazy ride of imagination and she follows you gladly. She does everything you tell her to do and you enjoy this to it’s full advantage, especially when the two of you are up to mischief. I love how you play alone, detailed, crazy games that just have to be finished before you can move onto the next thing.

I love how determined you are in everything you do. Nothing can stand in your way when you have an idea in your head. It doesn’t always fit with our family life, but I cannot help but marvel at your single-mindedness. Don’t lose that, it will help you through all of your life. I love that you don’t care what anyone thinks of you. For someone so young, you have a confidence at your core that I can only marvel at. These two things together make you different to other kids. You walk your own path or perhaps more accurately you run your own path.

I love your passion for knowledge. You love books about space and will ask questions for weeks afterwards and many times in different ways until you have a concept in your mind and yes, one day the world will explode, but no, you won’t be alive, so don’t worry about it. I love how clever you are, but that you hold back until you feel you will be able to do something. You were slow to start talking, but when you did the words came out strong and fully formed. You were slow to start drawing, but again it was like you were storing the information until you were ready to let rip.

I love how funny you are. You make us all laugh every day, your clever, quick mind entertains us. And when you laugh, you really laugh, an infectious giggle that turns into a cackle right down to your belly. Nothing is half measure with you, nothing.


Everything is big with you. You love fiercely, you rage strongly. You question big. You live in the moment and huge. You have no fear and you will not be told no. It makes being your parent a big job, but oh, my love, imagine a man who lives big, who loves big and who has his own mind and won’t be blown off his chosen course. A man who uses this stuff for good could live a big, amazing life.

I love…..for a 7th birthday

Another month, another birthday. I think of the Spring as birthday season. All neatly spaced six weeks apart, but it does leave me with a sense of time rushing by, especially with Mini Mck. As the oldest, his is always a new number in our little family and it marks, not only his birthday, but the amount of time I have been a mother. I am hoping that seven is as awesome as six has been. Here are some of the reasons why it is…….

I love that your questions have changed, they are challenging and intelligent and show how your brain is changing and thinking on it’s own. I love how you are opening up to the world more and more. Before school everything is small and you saw not much further than the home, for the first couple of years at school your focus widened a little, to friends and teachers and those around you. Now, what you notice and talk about has exploded. Politics, football, places, the future, the environment, art. Your world is widening and you are soaking it up. 

I love that you wanted a craft party for your birthday and you were right, it was awesome. I love that you are starting to realise that ‘cool’ doesn’t have to mean gelled hair and being a boisterous, rude boy. That it can mean being creative, being funny, having your own sense of style (Thank you Art Ninja) I love that you are starting to have an opinion about what you want to wear or how you want to have your hair. Not to a damaging level, but growing your own sense of identity. 

I love your devotion to your sister. It has been a totally unexpected surprise, but the kindness you show to her, your patience and willingness to spend time with her still floors me after two years. I love how hard you try with your brother. You want to help him do stuff, you want to teach him things that you know and when you’ve stepped way over the line with him, you try your best to put it right. 

I love that you sometimes come back downstairs after the other kids are in bed. You clearly want a peak into the adult world and will chat with us or do some schoolwork or watch football with Dad. I love that you want to go running and you can run for long distances. I love that you try new food and that taking you to a restaurant is a really pleasant experience. I love that you chose Afternoon Tea somewhere “fancy” to celebrate your birthday. 

I love your talent for things that I can’t do. Your inventiveness with Lego, your ability to draw, your love of climbing things. I love how your body has changed. You are still small and wirey as you always have been, but I see muscle definition where before there was the shadow of a toddler. I love that you are starting to really enjoy playing football, there is an intention behind your play that wasn’t there before and playing in a team pushes you out of your comfort zone. I love how creative you are. I know how it is to have to do something creative everyday and this is how you are. Hold onto that, whether it be for money or just pleasure, it will enrich your life for many years.

I love that you still like a cuddle in the mornings, at other times too, but especially in the mornings. I love that you still want to be read to every night and you never want us to put the book down and turn out the light. 

I love that you know people. You know me, you understand what makes me tick and how my brain works and you can use this for good or not so good. You have always been tuned in to how people feel and this has never left you. I hope it never does. I love how you are, in many ways, the same as a boy, as you were as a toddler and even a baby. You have a core, that is entirely you and is unwavering. I hope that this stands you in good stead for the whole of your life. 

I love…..{for a 2nd birthday}

Last month saw a birthday in our house. Once that I let go unmarked here and I want to put that right. So many of the post I like to re-read are ones that capture my children in a moment of time. They may not be the most read or shared, but they are some of my favourites and so they can sit along side the other bits of my life that make it here. Here are some of the things I love…..

I love that your hair curls at the ends. I love that it is long enough for teeny tiny cute bunches. I love that each day your speech is growing, new words and full sentences tumble from your mouth and never fail to astound me. I love that you tidy up, you put things in the bin when you are finished, you take your shoes off and very carefully line them up in the shoe cupboard, you hang up your coat. Of course, you also empty the Tupperware drawer and mix all the food in the larder drawer. I’ll be honest, I don’t love that so much.

I love that you talk about your day when we sit in the rocking chair at the end of the day. I love that you can ask for a cuddle, when you’ve had enough milk. I love that you try and hold all your stuffed toys at bedtime, until you realise that you won’t be able to reach me to have your milk and you quickly reject all, except your precious Felix Bear. I love that you tell me what you need to fall asleep “Sing Mummy” or just as common “NO sing Mummy!”. I love that you try to sing along with me, tunelessly.

I love that you want to choose the clothes to wear or even which pyjamas you want to wear. I love that you will try to dress yourself and can definitely undress yourself. I love that you put your brothers pants on over the top of your own trousers and try to sit on the toilet, even though you’ve already filled your nappy.

I love that you smile, almost all the time. You are either extremely happy or extremely sad and upset. There is little in between. I love that you want to climb and jump and be held upside down. You are fearless and will find yourself of any surface into your biggest brother’s arms. I love that you try to climb the doorframe, just as they do. “MY TURN MY TURN”

I love that you make sure everyone in the family is OK and that we have all kissed and cuddled each other at the end of the day or when your Daddy leaves each morning. I love that you follow your brothers and allow them to lead you in play, but are also not shy in bossing them around.

I love that you want to solve problems, you like to work things out and sometimes will even take some guidance in how to do things. You will try again and get it right. I love that you want to play rough, big games. You love to jump of high things into people’s arms and be held upside down for as long as possible. I love that when we have had enough and want to stop the game, you say “Last time. Last time”

Caring for a two year old is hard work, especially one who still needs so much touch time, but I love watching the person that you are becoming. I love watching you change from a baby into a child.


A very late, but very big Happy Birthday to my littlest love.

Styling the Seasons – March

Styling the Seasons, by Apartment Apothecary and Lotts and Lots :“Reflect the change of seasons and show those changes in your own home, by styling any surface (shelf, dining table, mantelpiece) with something you like to reflect the new month and what it means to you”

I missed Styling the Seasons for January and February. January just went by in a blur and as my ‘Year of Organising’ post confirmed, I didn’t really start the year until February and I’m afraid nothing particularly inspired me in this dull and grey month. 

However, March sees the first signs of Spring, the pastel, Easter colours in the shops and gorgeous soft hues of Spring bulbs. It also is the start of, what I like to call, birthday season, in our house. All of the children’s birthdays fall in a three month stretch, starting on March 1st. Clearly, I do Spring babies. I guess it was Mother Nature’s cruel way of ensuring I felt dreadful for my own birthday in September and that I was denied the cheese and booze festival that is Christmas. 

Anyway, Lady Mck starts the whole thing off, six weeks later my eldest will turn seven and six weeks after that Nano will be five. Lady Mck was due at the end of February and I have to admit I was a little relieved that she arrived just a few hours into March. It seems like such an optimistic time to be born and it seemed to fitting to me that the day she arrived was a crisp spring morning. The boys were taken to the lambing weekend at the local agricultural collage and I gazed at my new baby and the bright, blue sky. This year she was two, this always feels like a biggie. Two is toddler. Two is ripping open your own presents and blowing out your own candles. Two is a big one, that makes me take a sharp intake of breath and shake my head in disbelief. 


I decided to rearrange a shelf above our bed for this month’s Styling the Seasons. I love this shelf, but I noticed that things had crept on it that shouldn’t be there and it was looking cluttered. With a nod to spring cleaning, everything needed to be dusted and cleaned and then either put back or moved. As I ended up doing this on Mother’s Day, (a treat to faff about with blog posts and pictures) I decided to update some of the photos as well. As with, I suspect, many families, most of the pictures in frames are of our first born and we are trying to even this out a little. I swapped two of Mini Mck, for some of the younger two, very shortly after they were born. I was clearly in a nostalgic mood, what with the whole birthday/Mother’s Day thing going on. 



Oh, and the reason for two different set ups? Well, you have an idea about what you want to photograph and you even choose a card with that in mind and then a fabulous friend sends a homemade card, that just blows all the others out of the water!

I love…..{for a sixth birthday}

For Lady Mck’s birthday I wrote an utterly positive post. It was a joy to write, so I am doing it again for Mini Mck, my eldest. I wonder if perhaps I’m not always as positive about my children as I could be. It feels good. 

I love how much you have grown in the past year. Gone are the tantrums of old, replaced with someone who can reason and think things through. I love how you adore your sister. Still. I keep waiting for the novelty of her to wear off, but it doesn’t. I love that you will help your brother with things, if he can’t make something, you will do it for him.

I love your enthusiasm for life. It is easy to get you interested in things. I love that you have a proper, best friend, who you spend ages just chatting with. I love that this hasn’t meant you’ve excluded yourself from others. I love that other kids in your class are always calling your name to say goodbye at the end of the day.

I love how creative you are. Always making and drawing and making stories, always to your own tune. I love that you are so full of ideas and will independently make them work. I hope you keep this need to be creative, it will enrich your life in so many ways. I love that you have your own, very specific and excellent ideas about your birthday parties and that when it was done you thanked me and your Dad for working so hard on it and doing such a good job.

I love that you are different at school, quieter, beautifully behaved at all times and yet, when I speak to your teachers, I can recognise the boy they are describing. I love that you have let them know you. I love that you are an ‘all-rounder’ in your learning, happy to join in with all subjects, good at maths and science, as well as art. I love that you really listen at school.

I love that you love Lego. Building it, using the instructions, doing your own thing and then making up fabulous stories with it. I love that you will save your pocket money to buy the sets you really want. I love that you tidy your room and put the shopping away with little complaint to get your pocket money. I love that you can make scrambled eggs and carry a cup of tea upstairs. I love that you can carry your sister and that she trusts you enough to let you. I love that you are much more adventurous with food than you used to be and that you love going to a restaurant to eat.

I love that, to me, you seem to be getting really tall and your legs just keep growing and yet when I see you with your friends you are still the shortest. I love ‘that, even though you don’t like “babyish TV”, you will still sit and watch Peppa Pig with your brother and giggle at it, despite yourself. I love that you can whistle and wink and your most recent achievement, click your fingers.

I love that you seem to suit ‘six’ already.

Noah 6th birthday collage


13th April


Five. A messy jumble of words, ideas and questions that tumble out one after the other. Filling the eldest brother shoes with ease. Funny, caring, loud, challenging, unbending and loving. Needs to run. A Lego loving, imagination explosion. Amazing company.


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In other words, everything a five year old should be.

Thanks to Heather for the last photo. I hope she doesn’t sue me for putting up a slightly blurred one, but I just love it so much


We are a noisy house, most houses with children are, but Mckdaddy, Mini Mck and I all love to talk. Hollering up the stairs is quite a common thing and we often have to remind each other that it is someone else’s turn to talk.

Then two years ago a new person arrived, with an altogether different vibe, quiet, stoic, patient. Looking back at old blog posts it seems that Nano was born as just a smaller version of what he is now. Hungry, happy, easy. So different from his brother and so different from me that he takes my breath away.

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Even as his toddler personality starts to shine and he begins to stamp his wishes and desires on the world, it is in a calm way. Tantrums mostly involve laying down silently on the pavement or in the shop, like someone from a Peace March in the 1970’s, unless of course the tantrum involves food, in which case it can get a little vocal. However, they are short lived and always finish with a sniveling toddler holding his arms wide for a cuddle.

And so, in the last two years Nano has quietly wound his way into the affections of everyone he meets. They comment on his stoical nature and agree that he seems to pass this calmness to those around him. Without fuss, he has got himself quite a fan base, particularly an older brother who adores him.

He slotted into our family so quickly and easily that I can’t fully remember much about us being just three. He complements us and makes us better. Despite only being two I always feel I could learn much from him.

The problem with being the quiet easy one in a family of noise is that you don’t always get noticed as much as you should. You don’t shout about your needs and so are left to pootle around enjoying your own world.

A day where he is the centre of attention is rare and a birthday is the perfect time for those of us who are noisier and more selfish to put him first and to watch him lap it up. ‘Two’ is really the year where they learn what a birthday is. In the morning they are happy to play with their old toys, not really knowing what presents are all about. By the end of the day he had got the hang of birthdays, of presents and cakes and candles and demanding Happy Birthday be sung twice.

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I still marvel at what happens to a person in two years. From a tiny helpless baby, who can’t even straighten their legs fully, to a walking, talking person, with likes and dislikes, who finds things funny and interesting and who wants to climb and jump and run. Such an amazing journey. No longer a baby, but always my baby.

What to do on a 1st birthday when you are trying to ignore a 1st birthday

Regular visitors amongst you will know that I don’t do well with change or milestones and my children’s impending birthdays are a sure fire way to make me anxious. First Birthdays are particularly difficult for me. The baby stage speeds past in a blink and it is all such a tired, busy blur that you feel you have missed so much of it. Thank goodness that this time I have had the blog to record some of it, but still, I find it hard.

This melancholy tends to manifest itself in a lack of desire to do anything for the day and a total lack of enthusiasm and this time was no different. As the day approached I just wanted to put my fingers in my ears, shut my eyes tight and shout “LALALALALALALALA”

However, a conversation with a couple of friends made me realise that we spend an awful lot of time doing about what we think we ought to do, rather than what we want to do and that first birthdays are really as much about the parents as the baby, because, let’s be honest they don’t have a clue what is going on.

As I walked around the supermarket, filling it with kid’s style party food I realised I didn’t want a children’s party and that I didn’t have to have all the family over at the same time, something which just makes it all work for me and so I changed my plans.

Inspired my the many Jubilee preparations and also my default cake and scone mode, I decided that what I wanted to do by way of celebration was an old fashioned afternoon tea, with just Nano, Mini and my Dad and Step-mum. No stress, no other children just lots of nice, simple food and a big pot of tea. There was the odd nod in the direction of a child’s tea party with a proper jelly and some party rings, but there was also lots of nice china, a simple cake, with no garish icing and home baked scones.

I also realised that this wasn’t what Mckdaddy wanted to do and that he would like to join end of term drinks with his friends. I decided that I was fine with his choice and actually would rather go out for dinner, with just him to celebrate the fact that we had survived the last year.

I am so glad that I took a moment to really think about what I wanted and that I forgot what I ought to be doing, it was such a relief to have a quiet day. I can’t say there weren’t moments in the day when I felt wistful for the passing of my baby’s first year, but mostly I had fun and so did he.

Long time, no see

Hello little blog, I’ve missed you. Unfortunately, not only have I not had the brain space to get posts onto the page, I haven’t even had the actual time. With Nano’s Baptism on Saturday most evenings have been taken up with lists and little jobs and most days have been used to shop and bring together food for fifty people. Of course I got very caught up in the little details, but honestly I like the details. I like to put thought into what the tables would look like and what music would be the best choice, but all of that can be time consuming and just a little bit exhausting.

It was all worth it though and the details plus lots of lovely food, many cups of tea and lots of bottles of sparkly stuff helped make Saturday a really special day with most of our most important people there to share it with us. Nano charmed everyone, as I expected. He was more than happy to be passed around, smiling and twinkling at all the right moments.

It was a lovely finish to a month that has been a little too busy and a little too stressful, where the unfortunate casualty was this little space and the people that visit it.

We have also had a birthday in the family with the obligatory over iced cake and of course a party. This was quickly followed by the start of nursery, which has been far more stressful for me than it has for Mini Mck, exactly as it should be.

All of this has been done while the rain has continued to fall, almost every day and another week of rain is forecast this week. When I had a career that involved every bit of me to be there for too many hours a week I never noticed the weather and now I live by it. I know that June is the best month of the summer and that April is when I start wearing my Birkinstocks and we go to the park without our coats. Not this year though. As I stare at the rainy window I do try to remember that it is good for the growing, but I really am over it now and long for warmth and sunshine or frankly even one of those things would do right now.

Gosh, I think I’ve just managed to write a rambling, general update blog post. I hope so, I love reading them on other blogs, but have never been able to get the hang of them. Insightful, meaningful service will be resumed shortly……maybe.