because raising a large family isn’t for the faint-hearted

How we spent our Summer Vacation

I can’t believe summer is over already! It seems to have flown by in an instant and now it’s time for the children to go to school and the nights to start drawing in. I don’t mind though, because autumn is my favourite time of the year! 

This summer has been hectic and we’ve experienced things we’ve never done before. 

Guinea Pig Shows

two guinea pigs, one black one cream and black in a cage at the Royal Welsh show 2019. Text says April and May at the Royal Welsh Show 2019
Two of our guinea pigs, April and May at the Royal Welsh Show waiting to be judged.

We went to the Royal Welsh Show in July for the very first time, it was also the 100th Royal Welsh. We entered our 4 guinea pigs in the juvenile owned section, Want to know how we did? You can read all about it soon. We also went to the Gwendwr show a few days later and again entered our guinea pigs in their fur and feather section, Reese was thrilled when she won a trophy for being the Best Young Handler and our two female guinea pigs came 1st and 3rd. We were supposed to go to the Angelsey show and show the guinea pigs, but I accidentally booked for us to go away for a few days the same day. We even went to our local nursery as they were having a pet day and wanted us to bring the piggies and talk about them to the children which was a big success. We took the girls and the children loved meeting them and holding them.

Small girl with brown hair and red t-shirt holding a winning silver cup
Reese and her winning trophy at the Gwendwr Show

Summer Holiday – City Break

Living by the beach means every day is a holiday for us so when we do go away, especially in the summer, we want to do something different. That’s why we chose to go to the city for a few days and we went to Dudley. We had a wonderful time in Dudley as we did school shopping at Merry Hill where Reese was thrilled to get a birthday Build a Bear, a bear that you only pay the child’s age to buy as long as their birthday is that month. They also fixed her beloved Kal-El teddy bear who had suffered an injury. Then we went to the cinema and watched the new Lion King movie as well as a pizza hut for tea. The 2nd day was Reese’s birthday treat and we went to Dudley Zoo. Our last day we decided we missed the canal so much that we wanted a ride on a canal boat, so we took a tour through Dudley tunnel. We all really enjoyed this and as it was only a quick 45-minute tour talking about the history of the tunnel and mines, we want to go back and do the full two tunnel tour. 

man wearing white hard hat stood beside a canal boat by the Dudley Tunnel
Dad all ready for the Dudley Tunnel Tour

Lazy Beach Days

We spent lots of days lounging on the beach, playing in the sea and we took a ferry ride across the harbour and a ride on one of the Littlest Trains in Wales on the Fairbourne Railway

little girl with a waterfront back ground and mountain selfie
Ferry Ride to Fairbourne

Reese – Turning six and getting hurt

At the start of the Summer holidays, Reese turned 6! I can’t believe how quickly my baby is growing up. She’s my last baby and I want to enjoy her being small for as long as possible. We didn’t do much to celebrate on her actual birthday, although she did get cake and the best surprise! What was her surprise? Was it what she wanted more than anything? I’ll share all about it soon.

Just before the start of the Summer, Reese actually earnt a Rainbow badge for looking after her pets and she was thrilled to do so. She’s a little vet in the making as she’s always happier when she’s with her animals.

little girl in Rainbow uniform holding a circle badge saying rainbow lover and a tan and white guinea pig
Reese the Rainbow holding Ozzy and her badge

Of course it wasn’t all sunshine for Reese this holiday. The poor thing was injured not once, not twice, but three times. I guess things really do come in threes!

The 1st week of the holiday she stood on a weaver fish which stung her foot.

The 2nd Week of the holiday she stood on a broken beer bottle in the river which sliced her foot.

On the 3rd week, she went shopping with nanny and granddad to buy her birthday present and whilst eating lunch she was stung by a wasp!

Thankfully the last two weeks were injury-free for her but she does say she had a bad holiday!

sad little girl wearing a towel in minor injuries waiting to get her foot looked at
Reese at minor injuries getting her foot looked at after she stood on broken glass

Back to School

Now the children are back in school. Ryan has officially left school although he does have to finish his BTEC course, he is thinking about college which is an amazing achievement for him. He will be seeing an advisor soon to help him decide what he wants to do,

Becky goes into year 10 and begins her GCSE years, she made her choices back in May and has chosen History, Cookery and Business. She is still planning to attend a nearby agricultural college when she leaves school and their animal welfare course,

Ruby had a fantastic first year in secondary school with an amazing school report and she has made plenty of friends. One friend is a girl she has been friends with since infants and as they are at the same school and same class their friendship has become even closer. In fact, it felt like her friend had moved in most days! She is now in Year 8

four girls stood in a line wearing their school uniforms

Rhian moved into year 5. The last half of the year Rhian has been struggling with anxiety, especially separation anxiety, and this has impacted on her schooling. Last year it was a struggle to get her to school and she was very nervous at moving into year 5. She had had the same teacher for two years, although for the second year her class was split in half with half going to a different class. The two halves then merged with the year below which had also been halved. This year she is reunited with all her classmates. Luckily she likes her new teacher and after a difficult first day she has settled back down. Although getting her to leave me in the morning to go to school and to get dressed is difficult.

Reese is now in year 2. Last year her class was also split in two and merged with the class above. This year they are all back together and she has the same teacher for the 3rd year running! I do worry about Reese sometimes as she is the youngest in her class (being an August baby) and her school report last year said she was at reception level and not year 1. The sad thing is, had she been born just four weeks later she would have been a reception student rather than a year 1. To make it even more difficult, her attendance was very low last year because of illness as well as hospital appointments for her hearing and speech. Hopefully, we’ll see a big change this year and she will start to catch up with her classmates.

Looking forward to Autumn

Now we start looking forward to autumn, to walks through the crunching leaves and the beautiful colours on the trees, hot cocoa and snuggling under a blanket to watch tv, nights drawing in and cooler days, Halloween, bonfire night, the build-up to Christmas, Ruby’s 13th birthday and a trip to Harry Potter World, daddy’s birthday (the last of his 40s). Did I mention I love this time of year?

Changes for Me too

Things are going to be different for me as well. For the last two years, I’ve worked as a relief in the school canteen, meaning that if any of the dinner ladies were off I would go into cover them. Now I’ve just been made a permanent member of the team and I look forward to being in the kitchen every day, especially as it means I get to see the two littlies! 

I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable summer. Feel free to comment down below what you got up to and what your favourite bits of the summer were!

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Rachel (My Crazy Brood)

Parenting Blogger & Mum of 5

Hi, I’m Rachel, the poor mum of this crazy lot! We are; Dad (Bob), Ryan (17), Becky (15) Ruby  (14), Rhian (11) and Reese (7). We also have Gwen the staffy dog, 5 guinea pigs and 2 hamsters. Join us as we navigate the craziness that raising a large family with additional needs can bring.


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