My Baby Is One Year Old!

I cannot believe how fast this past year has gone.

Josiah is so wonderful, and is now a whole one year old!

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It seems that he loves presents!  This was a chair he received from Granny and Grandpa!

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He actually had three cakes, one for nursery on the birthday, one at teatime on his birthday at home, and this one yesterday at his little family party at home.  It all went very nicely too, and he loved seeing everyone!

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We had funny glasses to wear, and Josiah having been poorly for the previous week had slept a lot for the past couple of days but woke up on Saturday happy and ready to eat again!  I almost ready to cancel the party on friday after another trip to the doctors but am glad I didn’t.  The inside of the cake was layered chocolate and yellow cake, but I dropped a yellow layer straight from the oven and incinerated the replacement (left it cooking whilst we took Joel to his swimming class, just completely forgot about it!!) so gave up on it in the end!  It still tasted nice at any rate!

Josiah

This was a birthday poster I had made for Josiah.  He didn’t get the big party with eight baby friends in a hall like Joel did!  He did go to Baby Sensory classes for two terms though which cost about the same as one party so I feel they’re equal in that regard, but this was a nice little thing to have as a memento of him turning one.  I might get Joel one for turning four and then when they come to share a room I may hang them on the wall!

Joel Turned Three :)

Here we all are on Saturday, when we had a little family gathering for Joel’s birthday.  This post has a lot of photos all out of order, so I’ll do my best to remember what happened when!!

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Joel and Martha had fun using Theo and Isaac’s old dressing up clothes!!

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This climbing frame was the main present which we and his grandparents all contributed towards.  I bought it from an online company which had great reviews and great prices.  This one was £1200 reduced to £450 in a sale.  I pre-ordered it before Christmas and it was delivered last month.  It’s sat as planks of wood in our garage for a month and took Steve’s Dad 3 days to assemble.  We also had to level the section of garden for it to go on, so it was a big Easter project and we couldn’t have done without the help for it, but we look on it as an investment for the future garden playtime of both boys really!

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We’re really pleased with it.  There are two parks nearby, one is across a busy road and more suitable for older kids, and alot of teenagers use it to hang out at, and hte other is on my parents estate and is tiny and not worth the walk there, so now he has a park of his own in the garden.

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Martha enjoyed helping him with his presents.  You wouldn’t think she was a whole year younger than Joel would you?!

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Then on Joel’s proper birthday we all went to Church as it was Easter Sunday, and went out for a lunch at the local carvery.  Steve’s dad loves the carvery!! Then it was home again for more presents and cake…  We used the bottom cake today and Joel got to blow the candles out again and have Happy Birthday sung which he loved!

 

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He had his presents from us on Sunday as he had to have something to unwrap on the day!  We got him a Megabloks Percy set, a dino game (like hungry hippos which was technically free from Asda at christmas with an offer and we saved it), a Diesel and Diesel 10 train figure for his Brio track and some pyjamas.

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What else, oh yes, on the Saturday Steve decided to light the chiminea, so the kids all thought that was brilliant.  Joel had an outfit ready courtesy of his big boy cousins, and I made them do it at the bottom of the garden.  We all still smelt very smoky though!!  It wasn’t so much a fire as a big smoke!!

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Here’s me and Joss.  He had his injections last Tuesday (I’ve missed a weeks’ update so must rectify that soon) and was very grizzly and clingy for the onset of Steve’s parents visit, but soon felt better and was a wonderfully happy boy in time for the weekend.

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Whether Joel appreciated the effort which went into his cake or not I’ll never know, but enough people have said they were impressed to please me!!  It took 5 hours, and I really underestimated how tricky fondant icing is!  I don’t know whether I’ll be so ambitious again, but it was fun to create it, and the cake itself stayed tasty inside!

This was Saturday evening after both boys had been bathed to get rid of the smoke smell.  Both were very tired and were asleep for 7.00pm leaving a free evening for Steve and I to watch more of An American Office (as i’ve never seen that series and am really liking it!!)

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here are some more of my family on the Saturday.  Aunty Amy with Grandad and Martha trying to share her rabbit with Josiah, and my sister Sarah in a rare smiling photo as she doesn’t like pictures and won’t be on them very often!!  They both enjoyed their happy Josiah cuddles.

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During the afternoon we had an Easter Egg hunt for the kiddies, and also an ice cream bar.  Well, I had a tub of vanilla, with sauces and sprinkles and cones.  Everyone had one so Joel wanted one, took a lick and gave his to Daddy.  Then he cried as he did want one really, so on having a second ice cream, still didn’t want it so it went to Martha.  He’s a funny three year old!

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Here’s Steve and his family who came up to help with the garden project.  They have a new puppy called Oscar who is a bit of a liability when it comes to food, so it does make visits a bit more complicated as our dog doesn’t try and help herself ever, and doors have to be shut, our bin has to be relocated and for a party with a buffet laid out and toddlers eating at dog level, dogs have to be shut away.

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Here’s me with my sisters and mum.   They are all much better at posing than I am.  Look at my weird bendy legs.  I need a lesson in looking more svelte!!

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Joel is here enjoying his birthday cake with the vanilla layer.

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And some more sheep pictures.  They were a very cute pair!!

All in all, it was a busy weekend but the party itself was very relaxed and just right.  I think too many people would have overwhelmed Joel a bit too much and he knows and loves his cousins so it was perfect.  It was lovely to have both my sisters there as we don’t get together all that often with one from Wales and the other Nottingham and Joel enjoyed having Grandma, Grandad, Granny and Grandpa to spoil him rotten!!

Aiming High

Joel has asked for a Thomas cake for his 3rd birthday.

I have made his first and second birthday cakes, so want to have a go at a Thomas cake this time round.

Here’s the rainbow cake of 2013….

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And the giant cupcake of 2012….

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And I am hoping to be able to create something like this…..

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Wish me luck!!!!

The Finished Cake Post

So I’ve already posted about how I made it, but heres a few  pictures of the finished article…..

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All covered in smarties….

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The six layers……

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Blowing out the candles….

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Made the day before (before the smarties faded overnight!!!)

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The Birthday Post!!

It’s been such a busy and hectic weekend I’ve not had chance to sit and collect my thoughts on what has been a lovely 2nd birthday for Joel.

After our visit to Hoo farm and the creating of his giant birthday cake, the next challenge was his birthday party.  It was a joint party with his friend Trudy from nursery and we decided to invite the toddlers they play with at nursery, and the creche age children from Church.  We hadn’t got a great list, and I’d counted up16 which turned out to be a bit under, as we had about 22 on the day!!  And Joel’s cousins came along for the fun as well.

Anyway, before that bit we had to wake Joel up as he was asleep till gone 8am!!  Which is typical as I’d woken up at 6.15 and decided to get the required shopping done and I was there for 6.30 getting sausages for hotdogs!!

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Joel liked his wheelbarrow and garden set, it’ll be useful when he’s put to work in the garden at our new house!!

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He had these cool George pig pyjamas which he loved,

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And although Steve wondered why I’d got him a pink buggy, Joel loves pushing it around, although the doll was thrown to the ground quickly!!

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Joel is good at presents now, he knows what to do with them!!  We hadn’t got him much really, just a couple of things to open, we’re going to get him outdoor things once we’ve moved, as are his grandparents, (both sets!!)

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Peppa Pig books!!  What was nice, was that everything he opened, he wanted to see and play with straight away….

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This was just a Peppa Pig set from Ebay, and is probably a bit old for him, but he’ll grow into it.

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The birthday boy had birthday pancakes and strawberries for breakfast….

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Then it was time to get dressed and walk the dog in the beautiful sunshine outside!!

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The buggy had to come too, although it was carried most of the way by Daddy…

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Joel loves doing the steps on his own now, and not having to crawl about in the dust!!

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And once we got home, Granny and Grandpa arrived with more presents from Devon!!  We had oatcakes for lunch with cheese and bacon, before naptime, and then it was off to the hall for party time…

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We hired the church playgroup hall, and used their toys, all very simple…

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We so so lucky with the weather as it meant that the garden could be used, even a plane went overhead, just for Joel!!  He loves planes!

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One of the church members has a bouncy castle there, so we were allowed to borrow that.  It was lovely to have it just for toddlers and safe and not too boisterous!  Some liked it, and some didn’t!

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Joel was very pleased his big boy cousins came to his party, and they were really good with the toddlers blowing them bubbles to play with.

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A bit out of order, but here’s Steve’s cake blowing out pictures….

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The inside of my rainbow cake!  It worked!!

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Joel, my parents and me!

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My sisters, nephews, niece but no Joel!

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The outside play area at church…

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The indoor playing….

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The tea was great!  We just cooked hotdogs which everyone ate with ketchup, and had a big platter of salad bits, tomatos, cucumber, celery and it went down really well.

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Pudding was a peppa pig cake each, and then we had a big fruit platter with strawberries, grapes and melon.  And squash to drink, with teas and coffees for grown ups.  After all that I didn’t want to bother cooking dinner at home, or even wash anything up, so we went with Steve’s parents out for dinner at the Brewers Fayre pub.

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In that he’d just eaten a hotdog, salad, cakes and other goodies, he picked off our plates,

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And then it was time for more presents once back home…

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It was a lovely end to a great day!!

Joel’s Rainbow Cake

I noted these on Pinterest a while ago, when starting to think about Joel’s 2nd birthday and set myself the challenge of making one for him.  Last year I made a giant cupcake which turned out well, and it amused me to think that he could have the current ‘trendy’ cake for two years in a row!!

There aren’t many blogs for UK versions and most recipes have the American quantities.

Anyway, this is how I made Joel’s rainbow cake.  I made some errors along the way but it all turned out tasty and ok in the end!!  Apologies in advance for such a long post!!

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First I made a regular cake mix, with a 12, 12, 12, 6 ratio.  So I beat 12oz butter with 12 ounces of caster sugar until creamy and fluffy.

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It’s a lot of buter I know, but it’s a big cake and worth it!!  I beat the butter first to soften it and make it suitable for adding the sugar.

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I then added the sugar and kept beating with my electric whisk.  (I made the cake at my Mum’s house and used her giant Christmas pudding mixing bowl)!

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I then added the eggs one at a time and beat them in to loosen the mixture.  It still seemed a bit thick for my liking, but I thought I’d keep going and see if I needed to think on my feet later on.

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More mixing, mixing, mixing!! Until all 6 eggs are in….

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And I then sifted 12 oz self raising flour into the mix.

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I love the freshly sifted pile of flour, it looks so soft!!

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And more mixing mixing!  You can see it still looks too thick, and I added a dollop of vanilla essence and some milk to add more moisture.  It was still too thick though so I added another egg at this point and was finally happy with the consistency.  I think the eggs weren’t large enough so 7 probably made more sense than 6 in this case.

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Then came the fun part.  I split my cake mix into 6 different tubs.  My mum saves stork tubs and pudding tubs which made handy dishes for such a job.

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And here’s my gel colours all lined up and ready to go….  I bought them from Ebay after reading the recipe on this blog here ‘Kerry Cooks’:

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And here’s my brightly coloured sponges all sorted.   I probably wouldn’t use square tubs again to be honest!!  They were awkward to get the sponge mix out of the corners!!

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And this was my failing.  I went to get the foil cake cases from Wilkos, which are normally 10 for £1, but they’d sold out!!  My cake tins were too big to make a 6 layered cake with and I’d have had to make more cake mix than I had ingredients for (have I mentioned I hadn’t had a test of this cake and was going for it rather last minute?!) and my mum had small cake tins which would have given me a very tall but thin cake tower which wouldn’t have been easy to cut at all!   So I bought these flan cakes instead (6 for £1) and thought I’d try to fold the sides up a bit instead.  I thought it was risky, but they were size I wanted, and I was kicking myself for not being prepared and going to get the cases earlier.  I think all of my town have got folk making rainbow cakes and snapping up the last suitable foil cases!!

Red and orange are cooking during this pic, but you can see the rest waiting to go in.  Oh, and I cut a circle of grease proof paper to line the base of each case as well which really helped the cake come out.  I also greased with some butter round the edge and base as well.

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Whilst the cakes baked, I started on the cream cheese icing.  Now, this was a bit silly of as well as I didn’t have the recipe to hand, so I threw in the remainder of my butter, a good 200g or so of cream cheese and just kept whisking more icing sugar in until I was happy with the consistency.  If in this photo it looks lumpy and odd, that’s because it was 😦  The butter seemed to have loads of tiny petit pois size lumps in it.  So I just kept whisking and whisking.  It got ok in the end, but I also took to beating by hand with a wooden spoon and that seemed to help smooth it out as well.  Not to mention build up a bicep that must be lop sided to my left arm now.

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I’d decided to cover my cake in smarties, and bought a big pack, not realising they were mini smarties!! I seemed to be making my life a lot harder than it needed to be.  Mum aso collects mini pudding tubs and I used these to sort through the colours so I could get the rainbow effect I wanted whilst the cakes cooled.

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And heres the sponges.  The flan cakes being bent up sort of worked, but it meant I didn’t have any true rounds!!  They rose nicely, but stayed thinner at the edges.  I was worried at this point about stacking them and filling in the gaps.

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I was very impressed with the colours though.  All lovely and bright.

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But I set to work layering with my icing and coating, and this is the finished result.  I ran out of icing after this point, and wondered whether to make more (not having the ingredients to hand) but with the gaps being quite full of icing as it was, didn’t want to overdo it, so added my smarties.  On reflection, it wasn’t too much, and I would add another layer to hide the layers a bit better if I did it again.

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I used the colours to sweep around the cake as above, I liked it and used 6 colours twice which worked out perfectly.

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I left space on top for the ‘2’ candle and added two individual ones next to the ‘2’ of smarties and ta da.  This is the finished result.  It looked better on the day I made it, as having spent a night in the fridge (due to the cream cheese in the icing) the smarties all seemed to fade but it still looked ok the next day.

I’ll show off the finished result later on when I detail Joel’s birthday as we had a lovely day, but I have to get up and dressed now!!

EDIT – The Finished Cake and inside…

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Where Has The Time Gone?!

My little boy is now a whole one year old!

I don’t know where this year has gone.  The start of it felt like forever, the sleep deprivation took it’s toll and suddenly, once he started smiling, and responding, sitting up and playing the days began speeding by and now here we are.

I have lots of photos I want to post and things to  put down here and remember.  We’ve had quite a busy week and not only with Joel’s  birthday.

My Dad had been waiting for surgery at hospital to have some biospys on lumps found in his lungs.  He got a terrible chest infection over Christmas and subsequent chest x-rays showed some matter that needed investigating.  His first date for going in was postponed, and his second and the third meant that he’d miss Joel’s party.

So on the Wednesday before his birthday and the day before my Dad was due to report at hospital we had a little party tea just the four of us (Steve was working) and it was lovely.  Mum did his favourite foods, and he opened his presents and it was nice to have the celebrations going over many days so he wasn’t too overwhelmed with it all.

Pasta is my very favourite food of all
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I like cake Grandma!
Presents!!
Poor Nok Tok!! (the blur!)
Unwrapping his presents
Loving his Little People garage

Then on Thursday he had a birthday cake at nursery (I bought one, didn’t make it!) and the little tots all sang Happy Birthday to him.

On Friday we gave him our meagre presents (we decided to wait and get him things as he needs them in the summer such as garden toys) and he had a drum and instrument set, funky feet mat and some amazing animals to go with his choo choo train and then we took him to the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham.  It was a great place to go to, and he responded so well to seeing the fish.  We had lunch in Nando’s, (he had a peanut butter sandwich) but the manager gave him a cake as it was his birthday!!  Joel is turning into a cake monster!

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His Nando’s cake
Watching the fish
Hello Barracuda
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Looking cute at the aquarium

On Saturday it was his party day.  Steve’s family had come up the previous night, and came round with more presents and Joel had napped till nearly 11 which I hoped would be enough to get him through his party!!  After a quick lunch of beans on toast, we’d got all the party stuff together and we went to the community centre we’d booked.  We had an hour to get decorations up and the Baby Sensory woman arrived and set up and we were ready!!

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Joel’s baby friends began to arrive and he crawled about saying hello.  His little friend Trudy had a beautiful pink tutu on, and Joel crawled over as if to say ‘hello Trude’ and rustled her skirt!!  They’re at nursery together and see each other a lot as we go to church together too.

The baby sensory was a big hit.  I think four of the six babies there hadn’t done it so they and their mums had a great time.  The two babies who go weekly knew all the songs and their parents were signing and everything but I couldn’t quite keep up with that!

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Shaking jingle bells

We had space teddies jumping around with glowing stars, twinkling stars and fiberoptic lights, incy spider with pompoms and a jungle scene with puppets and a big jungley sheet we held over their heads!

I loved it and although Joel was a bit tired by the end of it he seemed quite enthralled for the best part of it.

We lit his birthday cake and sang happy birthday to him and had a bit of a snack time afterwards as I’d put out some fruit plates, baby crisps, bread sticks, cheese, baby biscuits and rice cakes and they sat around on the mats I borrowed from Mums and Toddlers amongst the toys we’d put out and ate and played for a bit longer.

Joel’s birthday cakes
Ooh, mini cake for me?!

We also managed to get a group photo of the little group although we couldn’t get one of all the babies looking happy and in the right direction but I’d challenge the best photographer to do so without some photoshop!!

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Bouncing Baby Friends
All tired out after a busy party weekend!
 It was after the weekend that I realised once again I’d not got any pictures of my family with Joel.  I keep forgetting!  I guess the fact that half my family were ill in bed didn’t help so we may have a meet up at my parents in the coming weeks so we could do it then.  I’d like a nice one of my parents holding him, and Sarah and Amy.  And maybe a new big group one with Martha included!  My new niece came along to the party and enjoyed the songs!!

The whole weekend did seem to go well.  Save for the fact my Dad and sister weren’t there.  And it was nice to spread the occasion out a bit to save him being overwhelmed.  He’s been a tired boy since though and slept very well on the Saturday night.  Not Sunday night though!  He decided he wanted to party some more I think at 1.30am!

This has become quite a long post so I think I’ll leave it there 🙂

Aside from saying lets see what the next year brings us!